Jan 12, 2010

Animals in Books

Rachel's CAT STATS
Reading: To Catch A Bride, Anne Gracie
Listening to: Michael Buble
Watching: Dr Who (season 4 on dvd)
Making me smile: my 8 year old nephew, Jai

Hi, I’m Rachel and I’m a cat lover. And a dog lover—yep, a huge fan of dogs. And penguins. And green tree frogs. Oh, and wallabies—I love wallabies (they visit my back yard, very cool).

I also love books. So when I find a great book with a dog or a cat or a frog or a penguin, I’m even more in love with it (though I can’t actually remember reading a romance featuring a penguin…).

Some of my favourites have been (but in no way limited to):

Tom Bradley’s Babies, by Marion Lennox (Harlequin Romance / Sweet). A playboy stuck in a storm suddenly has to deal with a woman giving birth to twins and a bloodhound giving birth to six puppies. Both females pass out afterwards from exhaustion and Tom is left caring for a heap of newborns. Fabulous, fabulous story. (Though I could just as easily have chosen Marion's one with the green tree frogs. Or the one where the border collies fall in love.)

Anyone But You, by Jennifer Crusie (originally Harlequin Love and Laughter, now reissued by HQN). In the foreword of the reissue, Jenny Crusie says people often refer to this as Fred’s Book. I can understand why. I loved Fred – he learns to jump out his apartment window and walk down the fire escape for his ablutions. And he brings the hero and heroine together. Definitely a great dog book.

Naughty Nights in the Millionaire's Mansion by Robyn Grady (Modern Extra / Presents / Sexy Sensation). The heroine owns a pet store and the gorgeous alpha hero comes in to buy a fish. Soon after, the heroine has to make an emergency call out when his fish gives him trouble - it keeps leaping from its tank, trying to commit suicide, and the poor hero is completely baffled. This was very sexy and quirky. I loved it.

His Secluded Survivor (working title) by Nikki Logan (Harlequin Romance / Sweet). This one is yet to hit the shelves (it'll be in a UK-only anthology for 2010 release), and I haven’t even read it, but it holds a special place in my heart already – it stars four dogs: Dougal, Oliver, Fergus and Jazmine. Anyone who knows me (or has visited my website) will know they’re my dogs in real life (in fact that's Dougal decorating my post on the top left). :) Nikki has immortalized them and I can’t wait to read it.

Given my love for animals in books, it’s probably no surprise that I managed to sneak in a dog or two into The Blackmailed Bride’s Secret Child. I gave my mother’s Dalmatian Misty a starring role. Well, she’s more of a minor character, but she gets to run in the park with a little boy, and the real Misty loves doing that. :)

So tell me, do you like animals in stories? And if so, what have been some of your favourites? And if you’ve read a romance that features penguins, please let me know!

I have 10 books to give away (including my first two releases and Robyn Grady's book about the hero and the fish):
The Earl’s Dilemma, Emily May (in Fate & Fortune, with A Country Miss In Hanover Square, Anne Herries) Quills / Regency; Marriage Reunited: Baby on the Way, Sharon Archer Medical; Claiming His Bought Bride, Rachel Bailey Desire; The Blackmailed Bride’s Secret Child, Rachel Bailey Desire; Tonight, My Love, Tracie Sommers Spice Briefs; The Rebel King (Suddenly Royal #1), Melissa James Harlequin Romance / Sweet; His Princess in the Making (Suddenly Royal #2), Melissa James Harlequin Romance / Sweet; Naughty Nights in the Millionaire’s Mansion, Robyn Grady Modern Extra / Presents / Sexy Sensation; Back in Fortune’s Bed, Bronwyn Jameson Desire; Stone Cold Lover, Mel Teshco Ellora's Cave


  1. Congratulations on your magnificat launch, and count me in for a giveaway. Will 'At the Boss's Beck and Call' do? It can boast one very small allusion to a couple of cats.


  2. Ooh ooh ooh I LOVE animals in a romance! Loved Kandy Shepherd's debut 'Love is a Four-Legged Word' because of it and I was nodding my head at your 'Anyone but You' and 'Naughty-Nights.' Looks like I'll have to get my hands on some Marion Lennox too.

    Oh and I've just remembered one of my fave's 'Savas Defiant Mistress' by Anne McAllister. It has a whole menagerie of animals... including guinea pigs but no penguins if my memory serves me correctly.

    Although not published... animals have worked their way into at least half of my stories. I just love 'em!!


  3. Anna Cleary! Lovely to see you here! We'd *love* to add your At The Boss's Beck and Call to our Grand Prize - very generous of you! I'll add it to the sidebar soon.

    Thanks for the congratulations - I feel very lucky to be blogging with these fabulous LoveCats. :)

  4. Rach, thanks for the extra titles! I've been hearing *fabulous* reviews of Kandy Shepherd's 'Love is a Four-Legged Word'. It sounds just like my kinda book - must go order it.

    And 'Sava's Defiant Mistress' sounds cool too with all those animals!

    You absolutely should get some Marion Lennox books. Even the ones without animals are true gems.

  5. I do love four-legged furry characters in books -- and I'm not talking about those of the paranormal persuasion, either, LOL.

    My favorites are the Maine Coon cat in Julian May's Intervention -- he is ever so slightly telekinetic when it comes to whisking kitty treats from his owner's pockets. And of course Robin D. Owens' feline "fams" are wonderful!

    As for dogs, who can go past Jennifer Crusie's portrayal of her heroine Lucy's four caninine companions in Getting Rid Of Bradley. They are so funny and so full of personality!

    Love your blog and the concept behind it, ladies -- well done! And Rachel, I'll definitely keep an eye out for penguins.

  6. I love stories with animals. I nodded along with your faves. Animals tend to appear in my stories, mainly dogs i have to admit since I have two. But my mind is blank and I can't think of any titles for you.
    However one of my crit partners sent me a chapter last week and I had to press for the next one cos she'd left the heroine's dog's life in limbo - how could she have done that to me? He pulled through, thank goodness.

  7. Rach I smiled when I read the little blurb about Robyn Grady's Naughty Nights - I absolutely adored that book - so funny and so insightful. Have noted some book TBR books now too =)

  8. Hi Maree! Thanks for those suggestions, I think I might need to write them down for my wish list - especially Intervention.

    And yes, the dogs in Getting Rid of Bradley were fabulous. Remember the dog who had a joke? He tried to show/tell every visitor who walked in the door? Hilarious.

  9. Hi Becca - I guess I'll have to wait until your books get published to read about your dogs. Can't wait! And thank goodness the dog is okay in your cp's book. =)

  10. Mel, wasn't Naughty Nights great? And yep, Robbie is so insightful when she writes her characters. And so funny and sexy!

  11. Penguins, eh....? Say no more. Have been putting together a list of ideas for next book(s) and can add penguins to the list. In fact... I have just the premise...

    Yes I love any story where animals (wild or otherwise) feature. In fiction (as in life) I consider the way a hero treats an animal says a lot about how he's going to treat his heroine when things get tough between them.

    (BTW, thank you for adding me to your list - I hope I've done the Bailey-Four justice.)

  12. Nikki - you'll really do a penguin book? How cool is that?! I guarantee it will get at least one sale at my local shop. ;)

    Yep, agreed about the hero treating animals giving us an insight into how he'll treat the heroine.

  13. I love animals so I really enjoy animals in stories. I think my favorite is Familiar in Caroline Burnes' Fear Familiar stories. That cat has brought more couples together than eharmony. I'm always happy to see a new one come out.

  14. Oh, Linda, what a great recommendation. I've never heard of it before plus it sounds like something I'd like. Thanks! I'm off to google it.

  15. Rachel, you've listed some of my fave animal book keepers. LOVE Tom Bradley's Babies -- I don't think anyone does animals as well as Marion Lennox. And of course, Fred in Crusie's Anyone but you is a winner -- such a personality.
    Rach! I also loved the animals on the houseboat in Savas's Defiant Mistress -- Anne McAllister has a houseful of dogs, just like Rachel.
    Rachel, I'm so looking forward to reading your first book.
    And thank you for all the wonderful work you do for Romance Writers.

  16. Hey Rach and everyone

    Love the blog - its so nice.

    I adore animals, and always smile when there happens to be one in a book - especially cats, dogs or anything fury...just can't help myself liking the hero and heroine more if they are good with animals too.

    As for naming a romance book...mmm blank. Need chocolate to think ...

    My favourite animal book of all time would have to be Jock of The Bushvelt by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick. Jock is one fantastic dog - and as a child I sobbed in it, and as an adult reading it to my kids, I sobbed again.

    Animals worm their way into our hearts, fictional or real, they make the world a nicer place to live in don't you think?

    Bye 4 now

  17. Hey LoveCats!
    What a brilliant website. Goodluck with it!

    I love animals featuring in a story. Kandy Shepherd's was so funny. I got a copy for my aunt as she is a dog lover but hates the animals dying in them. So I've put her onto romances - where happy endings are guaranteed! Thanks for adding to the list of books I must get for her now!


  18. Hi Anne! Yes, I agree - Marion Lennox has a fabulous way with animals on the page.

    Oh, another vote for Salva's Defiant Mistress. Really have to find it...

    Thanks for looking forward to my book, Anne!

  19. Tina, animals in kids' books can be great, can't they? Jock sounds great. I have family staying with me at the moment and I've been reading 'Jack Russell, Pet Detective' to my nephew at night. I think I look forward to the next chapter as much as he does!

    You said: "Animals worm their way into our hearts, fictional or real, they make the world a nicer place to live in don't you think?"

    You'll get definite agreement from all the bloggers here on the LoveCats blog!

  20. Hi Catherine, good work on turning your aunt onto romance. ;)

    I *really* have to get Kandy Shepherd's book. I love animals and I love funny. And I saw on her website that her next book has the working title, 'Home Is Where The Bark Is'. Too cute!

  21. I can't help with a penguin character in a book, Rachel, but it sounds like you've got Nikki teed up beautifully for that. And it's here in writing so you have plenty of witnesses! ;)

    I love animals in stories! And Marion Lennox's Tom Bradley's Babies is a gorgeous one. But how did I miss Robyn's Naughty Night's on the shelf?? Must have been travelling last year! That fishy tale sounds fabulous so I'd better hunt one down! :(

    I'll look forward to meeting your quartet of delightful dogs in Nikki's book! And nice to "see" Dougal here today!

    So some animals in books ...
    --Louella the pig in CC Coburn's Colorado Christmas
    --Wolfram the dog in Anna Campbell's Untouched
    --Booboo the cat in Linda Howard's Mr Perfect
    --Brutus the dog in Kandy Shepherd's Love is a Four-Legged Word.


  22. PS Rach, just wanted to add, how cute is that doggy picture! Talk about one contented pooch =)

  23. Sharon, another great list of animal books! Lord Perfect - excellent, it's already on my wishlist! I loved Mr Impossible and Miss Wonderful, so I'm really looking forward to that one.

    And Wolfram in Anna Campbell's Untouched - of *course*! Glad you listed it!

    I haven't read Colorado Christmas, but now I know there's a pig called Louella, I'll definitely chase it down.

    Another mention for Love Is A Four-Legged Word. Looks like that book will be a keeper!

  24. Hey Mel - glad you liked the pic of Dougal. He's just had a game of dog-tennis and he *was* feeling pretty contented!

  25. It's so nice to know that there are lots of others out there who can't pass up book covers with sweet furry faces peering back at us. Since they play such a major role in our lives, why shouldn't they have star billing in our stories? Thanks for the fun blog, ladies!

  26. Hi Marie! Oh, yes, I think it's safe to say there are *lots* of us around - the lovers of romance and animals. =) Thanks for dropping by!

  27. I LOVE stories with animals - and thanks to everyone commenting here I am gathering a nice list of new books to hunt down. I also recommend Colorado Christmas with Louella the pig.

    I haven't read a romance with a penguin, but for a great animal comedy (even with the odd penguin) you can't beat Gerald Durrell. "Birds, Beasts and Relatives" and "My Family and Other Animals" are two of my all time favourite books.

    Rach - don't include me in today's draw as I was lucky enough to win yesterday :)

  28. With everyone's suggestions, I'm adding more on the pile of 'check out this book'.... Have to love animals in a book. The first I thought of was 'Anyone But You' that you mentioned Rachel. The dog is just so funny.

    Actually Bob in the Stephanie Plum series makes me laugh as well --eats anything in sight - as her describing her hamster who likes his snacks.

    And having read an early draft of Nikki's novella, I'm sure you're going to love Ollie & the gang in that. I'm sure she'll be able to place a penguin in a story somewhere.

    Happy Debut Week!!

    E x

  29. Great topic, Rachel!

    Um, let's see ... I love how Jenny Crusie usually manages to get an animal (or two, or three) into her books -- the highway dog in Welcome to Temptation, the mangy cat in Bet Me, Fred in Fred's Book (aka Anyone But You), the pack of dogs in Getting Rid of Bradley (including the dog that tries the 'dead dog' joke on everyone), the dog-napped dachshund in Fast Women.

    If you enjoy historical romances, Georgette Heyer has dogs in some of her books, e.g. Frederica, The Reluctant Widow, The Grand Sophy (which also has a monkey), and my favourite -- the mongrel Ulysses in Arabella.

    Like you, Rachel, I enjoy writing animals into my books. The heroine in Beauty and the Scarred Hero rescues stray animals (and runaway brides). My favourite animal has to be a dog named Endal, who has a starring role in Thief With No Shadow.

    Now I have to go find copies of Tom Bradley's Babies and Naughty Nights!

  30. As I write mainly historical, I use a lot of horses in my stories. All so far, have been named after an ancient God.
    For instance I've used Eurus (the East wind) because the horse in the story ran like the wind. LOL.
    A little corny perhaps, but I've done this throughout all my books. It's a little tidbit that, should I ever be published I wonder if my readers would pick it up.
    As for penguins (which I love) I haven't come across one of those in any romance...yet.
    But there's still time.

  31. Just have to say... I'm LOVING this discussion!

  32. Hi there Lovecats. This is very cool ladies I must say.

    And the prize of all those amazing books is astonding.

    My favourite books with an animal in it? One has to be a historical by Danelle Harmon called The Defiant One. The heroine is a definate dog lover and Freckles was such a sweet old thing. Add an aphrodisiac and it's gotta be a good read.

    The other one I love is The Last Hellion by Loretta Chase where the heroine has one huge Mastif called Susan. Love this book.

    Don't want to block the blog with all my other favourites only to say I am reading Kandy Shepard's Love is a four-legged word and enjoying it so much.

    have fun with the blog girls.

    Cassie P

  33. Tamara I write historicals too and have a lot of horses in them. Lucky Eurus is for running like the wind and not because he has a digestion problem. LOL.

    The horse in my current WIP Indigo is quite a character too, great huge beast that he is.

    I have never read a book with a penguin in it but I would love to read one. Now you have to write one Nikki.


  34. Enjoying reading everyone's titles.

    I loved Coquette, the valiant, pocket sized dog, in Jo Beverley's, "A Secret Lady".

  35. Hi Anita, congratulations on winning the 10 books yesterday! Such a great haul. =) Thanks for the suggestion of Gerald Durrell - will investigate.

  36. Hi Eleni! Thanks for the debut week wishes. It's my sister's birthday today too, so I'll be having cake and icecream soon for both celebrations.

    I haven't read the Stephanie Plum books, but now you say there's a dog there... =)

  37. Emily! I can't believe I forgot to include your Endal from The Thief With No Shadow - he was fabulous and very much one of my favourite dogs ever in a book. His personality was so beautifully drawn.

    And you say you have a heroine in Beauty And The Scarred Hero who rescues stray animals and runaway brides...? I think Beauty ATSH just moved up from my wishlist to my absolutely-must-buy list!

  38. Oh Ollie - he has a special place in my heart - my wounded little soldier.

    I LOVE animals. And I love them in books. I always put animals in my stories. Always. Khan - sigh.

    I have Kandy Shepherd's debut LOVE IS A FOUR-LEGGED WORD on my teetering TBR.

    I adored CHARLOTTE'S WEB by E. B. White in both book & film form. And while the theme of George Orwell's ANIMAL FARM was more commentary on communism than animals, it was one of my favorite reads as a teenager.

    I’ve only read the one James Herriot book - ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL - but it was enchanting.

    Oh and another book I loved is MY FAMILY AND OTHER ANIMALS by Naturalist Gerald Durrell about a brief period he spent on the Island of Corfu as a child before WWII. It was laugh out loud funny.

  39. I do love books with animals in them - and I'm driving myself mad at the moment trying to remember the book where there was a winking cat. I thought it was one of Robbie's books (and mega apologies if it's not!!) but I've been searching and now I think it's all a big hallucination!!!

    ps and how's this for word verification - catio!!!

  40. BTW - Tracey O'Hara (grin) has a wonderful dog called Cerberus in her book NIGHT'S COLD KISS.

  41. Tamara, your horses sound most excellent. I'll cross my fingers they get published so I can read them! Thanks for dropping by. =)

  42. Rach, I'm loving this discussion too - so glad I started it because I have a heap of new books on my wishlist now!

  43. Cassie, feel free to block the blog with all your favourites - please! Lol. I love Loretta Chase (as I mentioned above after Sharon recommended Lord Perfect). Must buy The Last Hellion too.

    The Defiant One looks intriguing - must go google it. Thanks for the recommendations, and honestly, feel free to list more. ;)

  44. Sue, I read a Jo Beverley book and loved it. I just can't remember the title... But now I have your recommendation of A Secret Lady, I'll go search it out. Coquette sounds like a great personality. Thanks!

  45. I'm champing at the bit wanting to talk about horses in books... but then I'd have nearly nothing in my blog day on Thursday so I'm going to resist. ;) But I'm really enjoying the fantastic list of must-buys that I'm making with everyone's recommendations here!

    And, Rachel, I've led you astray... I meant Mr Perfect by Linda Howard - Jaine is looking after her mother's cat, Booboo. He has a small but quite important role in the story.

  46. Tracie, yep, Ollie certainly is a wounded little soldier. Yes, Khan, sigh. =)

    Interesting - another mention for Gerald Durrell. And oh, James Herriot! I have heaps of his books. Love him.

    Charlotte's web. Such a gem. I loved that when I was a child.

    And who could forget Cerberus from Night's Cold Kiss? ;)

  47. Can I pick my favourite animal in a book? Not really, but I'll pick my most recent animal read - Moe in Nora Robert's Key of Light. Black mutt with a love of jumping on characters in white. Reminds me a little of home...

  48. Oh, Sharon! You didn't lead me astray - I read it wrong. Doh! But the good news is, Lord Perfect was already on my wishlist, and now I can add Mr Perfect as well. Cool. =)

    Looking forward to your horsey post!

  49. Hi Fiona! I remember Moe in Key of Light - he was gorgeous. He introduced the hero and heroine if I remember rightly. That Nora Roberts trilogy was a fun read - thanks for reminding me.

    And yep, dogs jumping reminds me a bit of home too. ;)

  50. Hi Love Cats!

    This blog is a great idea and I hope you keep it running. I've just finished Emily May's debut Historical - out in the UK this month - The Earl's Dilemma and really loved it. I'll be blogging up a review of it as soon as I get a chance. Such a smashing debut, I can't wait to see what else Emily produces. Quite jealous here ... ;)

    Keep up the blog! Jane

  51. Hi Jane! Thanks for dropping in. Oh, you're a lucky duck! I haven't read The Earl's Dilemma yet - it's in the shops now though, and I'm going out today... ;) I *loved* her Thief With No Shadow, so I can't wait to read her Regency.

    And you're in luck - Emily's second Regency is coming out in the US soon: Beauty and the Scarred Hero. Not sure when it's scheduled for the UK and Downunder, but I hope it's soon!

  52. Gosh, thanks Jane! I'm glad you enjoyed The Earl's Dilemma so much. You've made my day!

  53. Coming in late but its such a great topic I have to post. Animals can really be good ways of helping us get to know the hero and the heroine and as an animal lover they can be cute and so funny too. I've read some of the titles mentioned and they are good although I was surprised that no one mentioned Carol Marinelli. I can't think of titles but her stories with animals have had me in tears and laughter often within a few pages. Her stories draw you in completely.

  54. Hi Tracey! Thanks for the tip - sounds like Carol Marinelli really knows animals if she get you into tears of laughter.

    Yep, I agree completely that animals can help us get to know the hero and heroine, plus adding the cuteness factor. Thanks for dropping in!

  55. Christina, I'm just going through all the comments again, choosing a winner, and I saw I hadn't replied to your comment!

    I don't think I remember a winking cat, but now I'm typing this, something is tickling the edges of my memory... Will think on it some more.

    Very appropriate verification word!

  56. WINNER!

    Tuesday's winner is MAREE ANDERSON!

    Maree, send me an email: rachel at rachelbailey dot com to give me your mailing address and you'll soon find your letterbox (and inbox for the eBooks) filled with books from all over Australia and NZ! For a full list of the 10 books Maree won, see the end of my post above.

    Thanks for all the suggestions of books with animals, I've written quite a few of them down and will add some to my TBR pile.

  57. OMG, I won? That is so cool! Happy (slightly early by just a few days) Birthday to me *VBG*

    Thanks Rachel, and your fellow bloggers, and everyone who put in to this awesome prizepack of amazing books. I see many many hours of fabulous reading in my future.... once the kids go back to school, anyway, LOL.