Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Jana Richards, author of CHILL OUT (A Candy Hearts Romance.) I love a story with an animal as one of the characters. Jana is sharing what her inspiration for her hero’s dog, Spike was.
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My Inspiration for Spike
In my contemporary romance, CHILL OUT, my hero Noah arrives at his friend’s cottage with his dog Spike in tow. Spike is a rather large dog, to say the least. He’s an English Mastiff, and according to Dog Breed Info, the male of this breed averages 30 inches (76 cm) in height, and about 160 pounds (72 kg), though a male Mastiff can exceed 200 pounds. That’s a lot of dog!
Fortunately, English Mastiffs are not aggressive and are known as Gentle Giants. But that doesn’t mean they’re pushovers. They’re natural guard dogs and are fiercely loyal to their families. They rarely bark, but if an intruder were to break into the house, he might find himself cornered by a two hundred pound Mastiff, or possibly being sat on by one!
Just how big is an English Mastiff? Check out this link to dozens of pictures of the breed. I’m especially fond of ones that show the dog with a pony – they’re the same size!
The inspiration for Spike came from my colleague Michelle’s dog Indigo, Indy for short. Indy comes to work with Michelle almost every day, and spends her day greeting staff, drooling and sleeping, not necessarily in that order. While not nearly as big as some Mastiffs can get, Indy is a powerful girl. Fortunately, she’s a well-behaved girl, and can be bribed with doggie treats to go wherever Michelle wants her to go.
I borrowed a lot from real life for this story. Michelle rescued Indy from a shelter, and in my story Noah also rescued Spike when nobody else wanted him because of his size. He says he looked into Spikes eyes and saw a kindred spirit, which is what Michelle says about Indy. And the fact that Spike likes to sleep in his human’s bed, under the covers? That also comes from Michelle and Indy.
I decided I wanted an English Mastiff in my story because I wanted a dog that was hard to ignore. And let’s face it, that face just makes you smile, doesn’t it?
My only problem now is that the other dogs in my office – Huey, the poodle cross, Aero the pure-bred Standard poodle, and Abby the Pomeranian – want their own stories, too!
Are you a dog/pet lover? Tell me about your pet. Would you ever want a dog as big as Spike? What’s the biggest pet you’ve ever owned?
Renata Cabral needs to hide for the weekend. Her cousin’s Valentine’s Day wedding means she’ll face embarrassing questions from her large, extended family. Questions like “Why aren’t you married yet?” Since the breakup of her last relationship, she’s not ready to answer that question. She invents a work-related excuse and escapes to a friend’s lakeside cottage.
Noah Brownlee has been hiding for two years. But now he’s ready to come home and mend his broken relationship with his brother. When a friend offers the use of his lakeside cottage, Noah arrives in the middle of a blizzard with his English Mastiff, only to find the place is already occupied. With her big brown eyes and quirky sense of humor, Renata stirs feelings he thought long dead.
As the blizzard rages, the candy hearts predict love. Can Valentine’s Day work its magic between them?
Dylan wasn’t just my brother, he was my best friend, and in some ways, he was like a father. When our mother died, he petitioned the court to make him my legal guardian so I wouldn’t have to go into care. He made sure I studied, pushed me to apply to med school, helped me with expenses.”
“He sounds like a wonderful big brother.”
His lips curved in a sad smile and Renata’s heart ached for him. “He was, and I know he’s going to be an amazing father. I want this animosity between us to end. I want my brother back.” His voice cracked. “But I’m not sure he feels the same way. I said some ugly things…”
“Perhaps, with the baby coming, he wants to mend the rift between you as much as you do.” She hoped she was right.
“Maybe. I’ll find out tomorrow. I’m going to phone Dylan and try to arrange a meeting.”
“It’ll work out. You’ll see.”
He leaned toward her, the corners of his eyes wrinkling with his smile. “I appreciate the pep rally.”
“Well, I was a cheerleader in high school. Rah, Rah.”
He laughed softly, then cupped her face with his hand, his thumb idly stroking her cheek. Her breath hitched at his tender touch. “Thank you for making this easier for me, Renata.”
He leaned in and her heart pounded in anticipation of his kiss. When his lips touched hers, a firestorm of longing ignited inside her. She strained toward him, needing his kiss, needing to heal his pain. His lips parted against hers, and she opened her mouth eagerly, reveling in his taste as his tongue danced with hers. The world faded away, and nothing existed for her except this man and all the tenderness she felt for him. It felt so right to kiss him, so perfectly, completely right.
When Jana Richards read her first romance novel, she immediately knew two things: she had to commit the stories running through her head to paper, and they had to end with a happily ever after. She also knew she’d found what she was meant to do. Since then she’s never met a romance genre she didn’t like. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance set in World War Two, in lengths ranging from short story to full length novel. Just for fun, she throws in generous helpings of humor, and the occasional dash of the paranormal. Her paranormal romantic suspense “Seeing Things” was a 2008 EPPIE finalist.
In her life away from writing, Jana is an accountant/admin assistant, a mother to two grown daughters, and a wife to her husband Warren. She enjoys golf, yoga, movies, concerts, travel and reading, not necessarily in that order. She and her husband live in Winnipeg, Canada with their Pug/Terrier cross Lou and several unnamed goldfish. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.janarichards.com
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