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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pickles is in a Pickle





Last month we sold our house and the timing of the subject removal coincided with the four month anniversary week of Annie passing away. Annie and I had spent her whole life together in that home, so it was a very emotional few days for me. Needless to say, there was lots of walking around mournfully and listening to sad music while looking through Annie’s scrapbook. This also timed with my puppy-sitting my friend’s dog, Eddie, the inspiration for Moose in Never Knowing. After he went home the house felt profoundly silent and I realize how much I missed having a doggie companion.

We were in the middle of moving, so it wasn’t good time for us to be looking as we can’t adopt yet (nor am I ready as I swiftly realized), but I started checking out some rescue sites.  It continually shocks and saddens me the things humans do to innocent animals (people as well, but for the purpose of this blog, we’re talking about animals).  And I had to stop reading the sites with their sad stories as I was becoming very depressed. But I was also touched by all the selfless people who are out there doing everything they can to help all the unwanted, abused, and neglected animals. That’s not an easy task.

I try to help when I can, donating to the SPCA and other animal organizations, but I have to be careful to shield myself from seeing anything too harsh, images or stories, as I can’t get the information out of my head and become very upset. So I have a lot of respect for those who are out there in the trenches, working at the shelters, investigating cruelty cases, forming rescue groups, transporting animals, and fostering and rehabbing animals, so they have a better chance of finding a forever home.

When I was in my “torture myself by looking at dogs online” phase, I came across Pickles, an adorable puppy, and fell instantly in love with her crazy ears and cute-as-can be face. In August she’d been abandoned by her owners and was hit by a car. She was still recovering at a foster home, with more surgery and rehab in her future. Her goofy little smile kind of reminds me of Annie, but there’s also just something about her puppy optimism and fun-loving nature, despite what she’s endured, that reminds me of why I love animals so much. They’re so forgiving, so loving, so in the NOW.

There’s a great lesson in that.

I sent Pickles some presents (photos are on her blog) and I think I got more pleasure looking at those photos than she did opening them. Another aspect of Pickle’s story that touched me was that even though she’d been abandoned by her original owners, who could’ve just taken her to a shelter, showing the worst of humanity, many people have rallied to help her. Shelter staff, Bully Buddies (a rescue group), her vet clinic, others have donated towards her surgery and rehab, and she’s also got a fantastic foster mom who started a blog for her (Pickles can really work a keyboard, let me tell you).

That’s another thing that amazed me, the dedication of foster moms. They invest enormous amounts of time, energy, and love into an animal that they will one day see off to another home (though, many end up staying at their foster homes).I know how challenging it was nursing Annie after multiple surgeries, so I found it heart warming to know that there are people out there willing to do that for a dog who wasn’t even their own. I also wanted to know more about fostering, wondering if it’s something I would be able to do in the future, and became e-pen pals with Simone, who’s Pickles’ foster mom.  She kindly agreed to let me interrogate, I mean interview, her for my blog.

You can read out interview below, and if you’d like to learn more about Pickles (trust me, her blog is so freaking sweet it will make your teeth hurt), or make a donation to her rehab (someone has some swimming in her future), you can click on this link.

Chevy: 

When did you start fostering? And what drew you to that process?

Simone:

I started fostering almost 10 years ago. I was sitting at the vet with my newly-adopted puppy, Charlie, and spotted a poster saying that they were looking for foster homes for rabbits. I’ve had pet rabbits my whole life but wasn’t in a position to add another permanent one to my family. I figured it would be something fun and rewarding to do. I sent an email and 2 days later Fluffy moved in. Since then we had over 1000 animals come through our doors. Some just stayed a few days, others for several years.

Chevy: 

What do you find the most rewarding part of opening up your home to a foster animal, and what is the most difficult? Personally, I’d have a hard time letting go, I think. 

Simone:

Most of our foster animals were literally one step away from death due to no fault of their own. They get a second chance simply by us giving them a safe, temporary place to stay.  
It is especially rewarding when you foster an animal like Pickles who is in such rough shape and then you see her take little baby steps every day until she is fully recovered.

Letting go is hard, no question about that. The longer you have them with you, the more attached you get. I often warn adopters that I’ll be crying like a baby but that I’ll be just fine. It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last time.

The groups I foster for, screen the homes very carefully and let me have a say too so I know that they are going to a good home where they will be safe and much loved. That makes letting go a lot easier. I often get updates from previous fosters and some adopters have become very close friends.

Letting go means that it opens up a spot for another one who is just one step away from death. If I adopted, it means I couldn’t help as many animals.Each one of them is so different and you can learn a lot about training, behavior, medical issues etc.

Chevy: 

What kind of animals have you fostered over the years? Any fun experiences you want to share? Elephants in the living room? Penguins in the pantry?

Simone:

We fostered rabbits, pet rats, chinchillas, hamsters, pet mice, cats and dogs over the years. I even had a tarantula here temporarily before she was picked up by her regular foster home. Given that I have arachnophobia it was pretty nerve-wracking.

Animals in general are a lot of fun but there are always fun experiences with fosters:

-          Did you know rats give kisses like little dogs? Did you know you can teach them tricks? I didn’t know until I started fostering them.

-          We raised a few litters of bunnies. There’s nothing cuter than baby bunnies!

-          Rats are illegal in Alberta but the rescue I’m involved with managed to get a few out alive. One of them ended up going viral. One minute I got an email from the shelter in Alberta, next thing I knew I had CTV, Global, Metro, CBC all call and email. Google “Matilda the rat”

-          We were fostering a pair of rabbits who had been starved. Needless to say food became a very crucial thing in their lives. During meal times they were so excited that they would literally hop into the fridge and start munching on the veggies.

-          We had a foster cat named Piggy Fluffbutt who was just about the most mellow cat ever. We would dress him up and he happily complied.

-          Amber our previous foster dog managed to steal a toy right out of Charlie’s mouth. In the almost 10 years that we had him, no dog ever dared to do that. The look on his face was priceless.

-          Waking up to Pickles’ giant mess after she de-fluffed her dog bed and a few toys was pretty darn hilarious! Her zoomies and play bows are also out of this world and make us laugh all the time.

Chevy: 

Do you have any advice for someone considering becoming a foster parent?

Simone:

Think about what kind of animal you would like to foster – Small animals, dogs, cats, exotics? Is there a certain breed of dog that you like?

The key is to find a reputable rescue – Make sure they screen homes well, spay/neuter prior do adoption, provide vet care, provide support to you the foster family, are willing to pay for obedience classes or behaviorist etc.  There are a lot of rescues out there for just about any animal but unfortunately there are black sheep among rescues too so make sure you do a bit of research beforehand.

Have an open discussion with the rescue about your level of experience and the type of animal you can handle. At the same time there might be issues that you cannot handle. If you foster for a reputable rescue, they are more than willing to find a good match for you and your family. I for example cannot foster intact male dogs as my own dog doesn’t like them. I also cannot foster dogs who bark a lot because I live in a condo. On the other hand I’m very comfortable doing after surgery care, giving meds, don’t mind housebreaking or training.

Expect to be screened by the rescue as if you were going to adopt from them. Good rescues care immensely about their animals and want to make sure they are in good hands.
Fostering certainly is a commitment. It is a bit of work and it can be time consuming so make sure that you are up for it!

Other than that, just dive into it. Make them part of your family. Have fun. Love them. Spoil them. Teach them. Prepare them for their forever home.

It is ok to “fail” fostering! We all had one or more we just couldn’t let go. The ultimate goal is to find them a forever home and sometimes that just happens to be with you.

There are many other ways to volunteer if you are not in a position to foster. Often help is needed with transport, fundraising, representing the rescue at an event, website, paperwork etc. – Just get in touch with your local rescues or shelters!

Chevy: Thanks for coming by, Simone! I look forward to reading more of Pickle’s antics on her blog.

Monday, November 21, 2011

NEVER KNOWING is a Finalist for a Goodreads Choice Award!

Thanks to all my amazing readers who voted for NEVER KNOWING and helped it to the finals. I truly appreciate the support. There's one more chance to vote for your favorite!


Sunday, November 13, 2011

VOTE FOR NUKE!

Nuke is a very special dog. He's a rescue, who has now turned into a blood donor. He's saved ten lives! Sadly, he also donated blood to Annie, but she was too ill and we had to let her go. We still appreciated Nuke's sacrifice, and I'll never forget spending that last day in the clinic, lying on a blanket together, watching Nuke's blood going into her leg, and feeling grateful that we had a chance to save her life.

Though we lost Annie, there are many other dogs who can be saved by blood donors, and Nuke is unique in the fact that he has a universal blood type. I'd love to see him win this contest, not only because he deserves it, but it will bring awareness and hopefully more people will allow their pups to donate blood.

You can vote for Nuke up until November 17, 2011 at this link:

Read more about Nuke's amazing story at this link.



Monday, July 18, 2011

STILL MISSING wins the 2011 Thriller of the Year Award for Best First Novel

The 2011 Thriller Awards The 2011 Thriller Awards-->

During a gala banquet and celebration held on Saturday, July 9 at the Grand Hyatt in New York City, the International Thriller Writers announced the winners of the 2011 Thriller Awards.

They are:

Best Hard Cover Novel:BAD BLOOD, John Sandford

Best Paperback Original Novel:THE COLD ROOM, J.T. Ellison

Best First Novel:STILL MISSING, Chevy Stevens

Best Short Story:THE GODS FOR VENGEANCE CRY, Richard Helms

Also receiving special recognition during the ThrillerFest VI Awards Banquet:
R.L. Stine, ThrillerMasterin recognition of his legendary career and outstanding contributions to the thriller genre

Joe McGinniss, True Thriller Award

Karin Slaughter, Silver Bullet Award

The board of directors and members of the International Thriller Writers wish to congratulate all the winners and nominees of the 2011 Thriller Awards.

The 2012 Thriller awards are now open for submissions!
Click here for details.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sweet Annie























































Dear friends--


I’m very sorry to share that on Tuesday night we had to let our beloved Annie go. She'd been bleeding internally for a while, from an unknown source, and her blood count had dropped. She was very pale and tired. We tried to give her a transfusion, but by the end of the day her blood count had dropped even lower, and it was time.


We had spent the whole day together in the exam room, cuddling on a blanket, her favorite stuffed monkey by her side, while she dozed or gazed out the window, just being with each other. My husband was also able to be with her in her final moments. I gave her a hug, she let out a little sigh, and the last thing she heard me say as she died in my arms was, “Do you want to go for a walk?” And then she was gone.

I cancelled my trip to NYC and we've been taking each day and moment as they come. But we are heartbroken. Thanks for all your lovely thoughts and prayers during this difficult time in our lives. We have been touched by all the letters and messages. She was loved by so many.

































































































































Friday, June 24, 2011

A Bookworm's World: Chevy Stevens - Never Knowing - Q & A

A Bookworm's World: Chevy Stevens - Never Knowing - Q & A: "Chevy Stevens jumped onto the the book scene with her thriller debut Still Missing last year. (I reviewed Still Missing and loved it!) Her..."

Saturday, June 18, 2011

NEVER KNOWING is in Chatelaine Magazine!



I'm thrilled that Chatelaine calls Never Knowing a "riveting read" in the July issue, on stands now, under their "Summer's Best Reads" section. If you pick up the magazine, you'll love the pages of burger recipes. I want to try the salmon and avocado one. Looks delicious.










Monday, May 23, 2011

Join me for a live chat on BookTrib.com!















My E-VENT at BookTrib.com to celebrate the paperback release of my debut novel, STILL MISSING, will begin at 3 p.m. ET/noon PT on Tuesday, May 24. On the homepage, an exclusive video will be shown and the chat will begin immediately after. Anyone can attend! Ask all your questions about the book, my own experiences, and the writing process. Everyone that comes to chat will be in the running to win one of 10 exclusive BookTrib gift bags filled with incredible goodies. You can RSVP for the E-VENT at stillmissing@booktrib.com.






Talk to you soon!

Chevy

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Tour Dates!

Come help me celebrate the launch of NEVER KNOWING at the following locations in July:

July 23: Chapters Nanaimo at 2:00 PM

July 24: Chapters Victoria at 2:00 PM

July 25: Chapters Vancouver at 7:00 PM
Granville Location

Hope to see you there!

Chevy

Friday, May 6, 2011

Radio Interviews

I'll be doing some radio interviews this month. If you want to have a listen, here's the info:

WISCONSIN

Wednesday, May 18

8:00 AM to 8:10 AM PT

WEKZ-FM

"The Morning Mess"


MINNEAPOLIS

Monday, May 23

6:20 AM to 6:30 AM PT
KTOE-AM
"KTOE Morning Blend"
Hosts: Don Rivet and Red Lewis
www.ktoe.com

MILWAUKEE

Monday, May 23

7:10 to 7:25 AM PT

WCUB-AM

"Breakfast Club"


DES MOINES

Wednesday, May 23

2:00 PM to 2:20 PM PT
KFMG-FM
"Culture Buzz"
Host: John Busbee

KFMG-FM broadcasts to the Des Moines area at 99.1 FM.

This interview will air on the radio and his website, www.theculturebuzz.com.


DENVER


Friday, May 20

7:00 AM to 7:05 AM PT
KCMN-AM (CBS)
"Tron in the Morning"
Host: Tron Simpson

KCMN-AM is an independent, commercial station that broadcasts to the Denver area on 1530 AM. The station is affiliated with CNN Radio Network and Salem Radio Network


PITTSBURGH

Tuesday, May 24

6:am to 6:10 AM PT
WKYE-FM/WNTJ-AM
"Sunday Magazine"




ORLANDO

Friday May 20

4:35 AM PT

WOCA-AM

Host Larry Whitler

Saturday, April 30, 2011

STILL MISSING is Shortlisted For Two Awards!

I'm very honored that STILL MISSING has been shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Award in the best first novel category, winner announced June 2, 2011 in Victoria BC. Congrats to all the other nominees, and check out their wonderful books on the Crime Writers of Canada website.


STILL MISSING has also been nominated for the International Thriller of the Year in the best first novel category. The winner will be announced July in New York at ThrillerFest, which I will be attending. There are some fabulous books on this list!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Early Praise for Never Knowing!

Sorry I've been such a bad blogger, but I've been working on my third book and preparing for the trade paperback release of STILL MISSING this May. I still try to stay active on Facebook, so come on over and say hi, and learn more about my dog, husband, and popcorn addiction :)


Meanwhile, I wanted to share some early praise for NEVER KNOWING, which I'm deeply honored to receive from such fabulous authors. I know how busy they are, and how hard it is to read when you are working on your own projects, so I truly appreciate the support.


"Block off the weekend, grab a comfy seat, and prepare for the rocket ride of your life. Never Knowing will consume you with the desire to read every last page, gasp at every twist, and know every last secret between one woman and her serial killer father."


--Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling author


"Never Knowing is a chilling thriller with enough twists and turns so every time I thought I knew where it was going I was taken somewhere else. I have a feeling that Chevy Stevens is an author who is going to keep getting better and better with each book! I hope I'm still around for the next six--at which point she'll probably give me a heart attack. But what a great way to go out!"

--Lois Duncan, author of Who Killed My Daughter?; I Know What You Did Last Summer.

"A terrifying, chilling scenario that unfolds into a nightmare that had me keeping the light on at night."

--Rosamund Lupton, bestselling author of Sister

Thursday, February 24, 2011

STILL MISSING is #2 in Germany!

This week I found out STILL MISSING had risen to #2 on the bestseller list, which was a very exciting moment for me. I also have some more photos to share. These ones were taken in the Cologne railway station.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

STILL MISSING Travels the World

My German publishers were kind enough to send me some photos of the advertising they have done for STILL MISSING. They have also generously sent me a copy of the enormous poster ( it's 10 x 12 feet!) that is up in the railways stations. I'm thrilled by all this support for the book. After only being published for five days in Germany, STILL MISSING has already hit the bestseller list, which is fantastic news!
















Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Bird House by Kelly Simmons


One of the joys of being an author is that publishers send us books in hopes that we will fall in love and offer a blurb. But the irony of being a published author is that I have less time to read for pleasure than I used to. When I am really heavy into my work, I simply can't. It throws me off my story, and frankly, by the time I shut down for the evening, I barely have enough brain power left to find the remote and turn on the TV. However, when I'm on a break from my book or traveling somewhere, I try to read as much as I can.


This fall I was flying to Toronto for the International Festival of Authors and I started to read a galley of a fantastic book called The Bird House by Kelly Simmons. I was so impressed, I read most of the book on that flight. The Bird House was just released today. So if you're looking for your next great read, give this one a try.



THE BIRD HOUSE is told from the perspective of one woman, Ann Biddle, during two different times in her life—the present day when she’s seventy and struggling against the slow slide of Alzheimer’s and during the early 1960s when she is a young mother. Replete with flawed, yet genuine, characters and compelling dialogue, it centers on the relationship that slowly grows between Ann and her eight-year-old granddaughter and the long-buried secrets that rise to the surface as they rediscover the past and uncover the present.


Every family has its secrets. But when you are the last survivor tending the dark fires of memory, and your own mind is fading, who do you dare share them with? Your diary…or your eight-year-old granddaughter?

Young Ellie’s bond with her feisty grandmother leads them on a journey that is fraught with risk, as secrets threaten to overwhelm their growing rapport. But when Ellie unknowingly sheds a burst of light on Ann’s shadowy past, it also becomes a journey filled with love, understanding, and healing.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Win a Copy of Carla Buckley's Book, THE THINGS THAT KEEP US HERE















I’m very excited today to be interviewing a wonderful friend, Carla Buckley, who is the author of the novel The Things That Keep Us Here, which has just been released in trade paperback. This is also my very first interview! I promise not to veer off into any crazy directions. Okay, that’s not true. But I do promise to keep it somewhat on topic—the topic might just change rapidly!

Chevy: The Things That Keep Us Here is about a family trying to survive a terrible pandemic and although there are lots of fascinating scientific facts—some which are still keeping me up at night—the book never inundated us with boring data. Personally, I hate it when an author dumps a bunch of information in the middle of a book, but I know how hard it can be to resist sharing all your newfound research. How did you avoid that?

Carla: Thanks, Chevy. That's so nice of you to say! I did a lot of research-- from reading about the 1918 Great Pandemic to interviewing scientists out in the field monitoring the migratory bird population. There's nothing better than talking to people who are passionate about their work. They'll put things in such interesting and conversational ways that even I--a former art major--can follow along.

I didn't want to burden my story with a lot of scientific facts, but I did want to convey just how scary the flu virus is. One way I did this was to have Peter, the husband in my story, deliver a lecture to a group of students who knew nothing about influenza. Another way was to have Ann, Peter's wife and a non-scientist, take the lead so that she could ask the questions that mattered, as the threat unfolded.


Chevy: Reading about the 1918 Great Pandemic, eh? Fun! All kidding aside, another thing I realized after I finished reading the book (when I wasn’t busy stockpiling my house with supplies and trying to convince my husband to build a bunker in the backyard), is that although science supports the story line, it’s really more focused on this one family as they try to survive a pandemic—a family that was already struggling. What made you decide to go in that direction?


Carla: Actually, some of those books on the Great Pandemic are really terrifying! Back then, people didn't have a clue what was making them sick. They could only watch in horror as it worked its way through their neighborhoods and homes.

Some of that helplessness played out in my decision to write about a pandemic from the perspective of one average American family. I wanted to put real people in a situation that tested them and forced them to face their greatest fears, and by doing so, show how people can be pulled apart or brought together under the worst possible circumstances.

Chevy: Well, it was very effective. One of the reasons I couldn’t put your book down was because I became so emotionally involved with the characters. Another reason was that the pandemic you described was an all too real possibility. This was something that could happen, and in fact, did. I also read recently that birds have been falling from the sky. What was it like for you when your nightmares came true?


Carla: Um...not good! I can't tell you how many readers have contacted me regarding the recent bird die-offs, wondering if my story was about to come true. I asked my scientist husband what the scientific community was saying, and his response was that scientists were as perplexed as the rest of us. Yikes! The good news (though not for the birds) was that those recent deaths were not due to disease.

But the recent H1N1 Pandemic was another story. It started off exactly as the 1918 Pandemic had, with a mild, quiet surfacing in the spring followed by a large and much more active rebound in the fall. All my research had shown that this could be the pandemic the world had long been dreading. Smack in the middle of all this, I had my first book appearance scheduled 400 miles away. I decided to board the plane, but I made my husband promise that if the airports shut down and borders were closed, he'd hunker down with the kids and I'd figure out a way to get back home. Very fortunately (not to diminish the tragedy of the lives that were lost) the H1N1 strain proved not to have a high mortality rate and now there is a vaccine against it.



Chevy: That must have been terrifying! Now that the world is relatively safe for the moment, let’s talk about something that’s essential to a writer’s survival. Snacks! As an author myself, I know that those long days at the keyboard can be really frustrating, how you want to tear your hair out rewriting the same scene over and over, and the only things that get me through are popcorn and peanut butter—not at the same time! What are some of your favorite food-related-stress-reliefs?



Carla: Excuse me while I brush the crumbs out of my keyboard. There. Let's see. *studies heap of crumbs on desktop* Well, it seems that this week, I nibbled on leftover Chinese food, Raisinets, brownies, and potato chips. Yep, that seems to be everything. Don't tell my kids what I eat while they're at school. I'm trying to convince them to eat more fruits and vegetables.

Chevy: You are a writer after my own heart, Carla—but now I’m hungry! After we wrap up this interview I’m going to have to hit the store ASAP. I know you have an exciting contest you want to tell us about, but before we learn how readers can win a copy of your book, I wanted to ask about your next novel Invisible. One of the truly frightening aspects of The Things That Keep Us Here was the idea of the threat being this big nameless thing spreading across the world, something we couldn’t see or put a face to, but that was coming for you and your family. Does your next book have any similar elements?

Carla: I wish I could run to the store with you! We could pile a shopping cart with salty and sweet things, and then watch some reality TV while we plot our next books.

Speaking of which, yes, I also wanted my next novel to be about a family in turmoil forced to face a much larger crisis. Invisible tells the story about a woman who returns to her small hometown after a long absence to attend her sister's funeral. While she's there, she not only confronts her own tragic past but what might have what sickened her sister and her former neighbors and friends. I didn't want to be a disease-of-the-week writer, however, so I did a lot of research before unearthing a different sort of a scientific threat that's bearing down on humankind and which I predict it will be making headlines soon.


Chevy: Oh! That sounds like bliss! The running to the store part, not the plot for Invisible—that sounds terrifying. Then again, the two of us loose in a junk food aisle could also be terrifying.


So, now that you've thoroughly scared the crap out of us and I'm fighting the urge to barricade myself into my house, why don't you tell us about your contest?


Carla: No, don't barricade yourself--at least, not until I get there, armed with junk food! Okay, this is how the contest will run:

Everyone who leaves a comment about their favorite survival tip on my
Facebook fan page by Monday, January 31 (12 pm EST) will be entered into a contest to win a signed copy of The Things That Keep Us Here along with my own concept of a survival kit.

Post a comment here on Chevy's blog AND on my fan page and be entered twice. Tweet or FB the link to the contest (and let me know by posting it to my fan page) and be entered three times!



Chevy: Thanks for being such a good sport about my first interview attempt, Carla. Now please hand over--I mean pass--the chocolate.



Carla Buckley is the debut author of the critically-acclaimed The Things That Keep Us Here recently rereleased in trade paperback as a Random House Readers' Circle pick. Find out more at: http://www.carlabuckley.com/



Sunday, January 23, 2011

All in the Name of Research







Yesterday I drove down to Shawnigan Lake BC, where my third novel is set, for research and my brother taught me how to run an excavator. It was a lot more fun than I thought! I destroyed the hill and my poor brother had to fill it back in, Oh, and it turns out a backhoe is a lot more complicated than an excavator. Who knew? Another fun fact, when your hands feel like they are going to freeze off you can warm them in front of the exhaust pipe.Here are some photos!









Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Another Lost Dog in Nanaimo!


If you live in the Nanaimo area, or know anyone who does, please pass on this information.


Lost Dog "Murphy"
Last seen January 1, 2011 near Lantzville (Ware Road) area.
Requires medication
Please call:
250-390-2083 (home)
250-616-9671 (cell)
Update: GOOD NEWS!!! Murphy has been FOUND!