Oct 31, 2012

Turns out a puppy *is* for Christmas!

by Nikki Logan

My first ever Christmas book comes out in November and I’m so pleased to be sharing the space with two fantastic authors: Myrna McKenzie and Carole Mortimer. The three of us were tasked with writing a novella each for the anthology, A Puppy for Christmas. Carole chose to write a workplace story (with a maddening boss with an even more maddening puppy), Myrna gave a struggling war veteran an irresistible puppy/neighbour combo.
And I…?
I toyed for a few minutes with a story which highlighted how very much a puppy was NOT just for Christmas, but then I decided that an animal welfare lecture wasn’t very Christmas-y. So I gave it some more thought. I knew I wouldn’t be writing any old pups. I wanted better puppies, wilder puppies, more puppies than any puppy book ever! Puppies galore!! And thus my third of the anthology was born, complete with a gorgeous French zookeeper, an ambitious but wounded veterinary nurse and not one, not two, but EIGHT wild dog pups desperately needing life-saving vaccinations.

Out in US/UK/AuNZ in November.

Here’s the background of my novella - The Patter of Paws at Christmas.
Zoo Vet nurse Ingrid isn’t much on Christmas because her family split down into two new families pretty  much as soon as she moved out of home, and between her toddler-aged new half-siblings, an inherited uncle who’s heavy on the groping, and two parents who are being so darned civil about their divorce, Christmas has most definitely lost its appeal. So she volunteers to work the night shift from Christmas Eve through to New Year’s Eve, monitoring a wild dog pack for the first signs of emergence of their eight pups from a very rickety den dug by the first-time mother.

What she doesn’t know is that she’ll be sharing the watch with a gorgeous zookeeper, Gabrielle Marque. The same man that she had an ill-advised one-night stand with twelve months ago right after he arrived. Right before the French import stole a coveted promotion out from under her.  
Ingrid and Gabe do their best to keep things professional and civil—after all they’re there to give the pups some life-saving anti-parasitic treatment before they and their developing immune systems get infected with some pretty nasty bugs doing the rounds of the pack—but their past won’t be shaken off as easily.

All that French gorgeousness, all that history, all that past pain, and all crammed into a three-meter square observation room that is little more than a bunker. Twenty-four-seven. For a whole week.

I loved writing this book and, coincidentally, I got to write it in December and so it was a wonderful way to spend last Christmas. I typed ‘the end’ in fact, on Christmas Eve 2011. I’m thinking I’ll read the entire anthology on Christmas Eve 2012 for a nice spoil.
I have one copy of A Puppy for Christmas (featuring all three stories) to give away to one lucky commenter who tells me what you’ll be doing on Christmas Eve 2012. Or whether you’ll have a puppy in your house right about then. Or whether you’ve ever volunteered to work to get out of Christmas family obligations.   Hey…it’s Christmas, I’m easy.


  1. Nikki, what a brilliant sounding book - just in time for the festive season!

    Christmas Eve I'll be hosting a family dinner, which will include an overseas visitor. Sadly I suspect there will be no puppy in the house but you never know. It's definitely the time to add the patter of paws.

  2. Puppies are so adorable! I would love to have one running around in the family but for now will have to wait. The pets I enjoy comes from stories so I can imagine they are my own.

    On Christmas Eve I know the family will all be together and nothing beats a home-cooked meal with all the trimmings.

  3. Nikki, that book will fly off the shelves!!
    Pre-kids of my own, I would volunteer to work every Xmas so that those with littlies didn't have to. It was never a full day, just say 3 till 7, which was doable.
    This Xmas Eve, we'll be making sure all the presents are under the tree before putting the carrots, cookies and glass of milk out ready for Santa's visit. I have a feeling this will be the last year for that. Our youngest is 10.

  4. Oh, I'd love a puppy for Christmas! But I haven't added a new puppy to my pack for a few years now because, as Nikki knows, Oliver is a little... emotionally unstable. (Poor boy had a difficult childhood before he came to us.) He's 9 now, so I'm hoping he'll mellow out soon and we can add a little puppy. :)

    But there will definitely be doggie paws at Christmas, and there will be doggie presents under the tree. They usually comprise of treats, balls and one shiny new thing each, like new dinner bowls.

    Doggie present shopping coming up!

  5. Annie -- ooh, overseas visitor for Christmas, that's a nice extra treat.

    Na - yeah, me too (re: family). Christmas is so busy and crazy and lots of different things to get to, but Christmas Eve is just us, much more together-time.

  6. Robbie - good for you (working Christmas so ppl with family could have the day). I've done the same. I quite liked it bc there was a really nice work-family vibe on Chrissy day.

    Rach - doggie presents. LOL. I now have a vision of your christmas tree destroyed as four dogs skitter after new balls.

  7. Nikki - puppies!! One of most favourite things in the whole world. We actually got a new 'puppy' a week or so ago - a 50kg Dogue De Bordeaux and she is awesome. Can't wait to read your puppy story - the more puppies the better, I say.

  8. I would LOVE to have another puppy in our house for Christmas but I think the cat and the hubby would kill be, so I'll be bestowing Christmas kisses on the old puppy instead. The book sounds FABULOUS!!

  9. Ooh, Nikki, love those puppies. This Christmas Eve will be very different for us as our first grandchild will have arrived on the scene. Due in a few weeks, we're so excited. So no puppy, but a baby for us.

  10. I love the sound of your story, Nikki, I can't wait to read it :)

    This will be our last Christmas with just us and the puppies - so I want to make sure they are particularly spoilt before baby Ashton comes along :)

  11. I LOVE the sound of your book, Nikki!

    This Christmas Eve will be the first in a long time that I won't be hosting. We're off to my brothers place and our puppy will be coming with us as she does on most holidays. She's not technically still a pup, but considering the amount of mischief she gets up to I still like to pretend it's her age and not my bad training {:o/

    All the best with the book!

  12. Helen! A DdB is some kinda puppy! How exciting.

    Rachael - yes, there's a fine art to having just the right number, its true.

    Sue - oh well, a grandbaby for christmas might just trump a puppy. So pleased for you. Hope its beautiful and full of love.

    Leah - you must promise to always spoil the dogs each christmas regardless.... (but yay for a new kind of christmas in the Ashton household)

    Barb - the perfect puppy gift. ROADTRIP!!

  13. Tradition states that we will attend church, go to a neighbour's party (and eat our late supper), stop in at another neighbour's place on the way home (and have a drink or maybe two), and then come home to sort stocking items (and perhaps finish the wrapping of presents).
    We don't own a dog, but we often dogsit for friends who own golden retrievers. We just love these dogs; they are so intelligent!
    Have enjoyed Kandy Shepherd's "dog books", haven't read a Myrna Mackenzie book I didn't enjoy, a person can't go wrong with a Carole Mortimer story, and I would like to read one of your stories (as I don't think I've read one of yours before!), so please please please put me in your draw!

  14. Nikki - I love stories that feature either puppies or cats! So I'm sure this will be on my look for list.
    Christmas eve depends on work and weather. I work in a hospital and we can't do prescheduled time off between Dec. 18 and Jan 2...so will have to wait to see if I can take the day. Family is 600 miles away so travel will depend on weather, sometimes good, sometimes bad. If I make it to family I will have 3 doggie friends to play with Mac the old Shih Itzu, Sparky the miniature poodle (who shares his toys with me) and Molly the puppy Shih Itzu I've yet to meet. If it's no go with the family this year, then I will be curled up with a nice book or spending time with friends who have a variety of animals!

  15. We'll probably have a family meal.


  16. Wow what a great array of Christmas Eves!

    Congratulations Laney4, you've won the book, with a schedule like that you could use a few quiet hours reading! I'll drop you an email to get your postal address.

    Well done!

  17. Just sent my email off to you and am definitely looking forward to immersing myself in your book.... Thanks so much, Nikki!