We are delighted to welcome Eli Easton to Sinfully today as she celebrates the release of How to Wish Upon a Star the third book in the Howl at the Moon series.
Inspiring Milo, the Hospice Dog
By Eli Easton
I’m here to celebrate the release of “How to Wish Upon a Star”, the third book in my “Howl at the Moon” series. The series is a light-hearted, humorous, and (hopefully) sexy paranormal romance series. It’s set in the isolated mountain town of Mad Creek, CA, which is home to dog shifters, aka the quickened. In this world, dogs can become human if they bond deeply enough with a human. If a dog has become quickened, then his or her offspring will be born dog shifters too.
The best part of writing this series has been exploring my dog shifter characters. Book one, “How to Howl at the Moon” featured Sheriff Lance Beaufort, a border collie shifter with an intense need to protect his town. Book two, “How to Walk Like a Man” featured Deputy Roman Charsguard, and ex-military bomb-sniffing dog who became human after he lost his beloved K-9 handler.
So who stars in book three? In “How to Wish Upon a Star”, both of the men in the relationship are dog shifters. Dr. Jason Kunik is a scientist and a third generation Alaskan malamute shifter. He’s a very serious man who is focused on his work studying the quickened. The other MC is Milo, a hospice therapy dog who only recently gained the ability to become human.
I knew I wanted to someday write a hospice therapy dog way back before the series ever began. My husband and I are both dog lovers, so we often watch dog documentaries on TV or read dog-themed books. I fell in love with the book below, “Moments with Baxter”.
Baxter is a therapy dog whose owner took him to hospitals and hospices to meet with, and comfort, patients and their relatives. It’s clear he was a very special dog. Here are some quotes from the article linked above:
The medical staff who worked with Baxter clearly loved and admired him. "If I had just one word to describe Baxter, it'd be 'sage,'" says Dr. Shannon Moore, an oncologist at the institute. "It's not a word you use about many beings, but it was true about Baxter."
Lisa McCollough, the hospice's chaplain, thought Baxter was "a rare dignified soul. He just had this immense dignity and spiritual-like presence."
Reading about Baxter, and seeing the photos of him with patients in the book, moved me so hard. I cried many a tear over this book. Baxter was so selfless and he gave so much comfort to the dying and those grieving. His story really stuck with me. I was waiting for the chance to write a character like that. Or maybe the character just had to percolate for awhile in my subconscious. But finally when I began “How to Wish Upon a Star”, I knew this book belonged to Milo, my hospice comfort dog.
Milo grew up in a shelter, never knowing a real home. There was always the threat that he might be put to sleep there. But fortunately, a nearby hospice asked the shelter to bring by some dogs to try out as therapy dogs. Milo was a natural. He knew just what the patients needed. He sensed their pain and knew how to be gentle and provide them with open love and quiet grace. The hospice adopted him to be their full-time comfort dog.
It was true, Milo never went to school, so he didn’t know all the things Jason knew. If you counted only school, Milo was not a good mate for Jason. But Milo knew other things, things Jason didn't know. He knew about people's hearts and souls and about what you regret in the end. He knew about bonds and how they survived age and trouble and pain and even death. He knew sickness. He knew sacrifice. He knew the magical power of touch. He knew patience and stillness, and he knew how to give those to people even when you didn't feel like being patient or still at all.
Milo’s love and sacrifice at the hospice are eventually rewarded, and he gains the ability to become human. He’s discovered in the hospice by a member of the Mad Creek pack. He’s taken to the town where he can wear his ‘human form’ and learn how to be a man.
In his human form, I picture Milo looking something like model Anthon Wellsjo (you can see his model page here).
Milo’s gentle spirit suffuses “How to Wish Upon a Star”. He continues his healing mission in Mad Creek, healing the other MC, Jason, in a myriad of ways. But Milo also plays an important role in healing the town. But I won’t spoil it here!
When I got back comments from my beta readers, two of them told me: “Milo is so special. He’s a mystic.” I hadn’t thought of it like that, but they are right. He is a mystic. So I guess that means I managed to convey his true spirit on the page.
Milo was one of my favorite characters ever to write, and I already feel like I want to write about him some more. J I hope you will like Milo too.
Here’s another amazing and inspiring hospice therapy dog named JJ.
Hugs and kisses,
How to Wish Upon a Star
(Howl at the Moon #3)
Author ~ Eli Easton
Published ~ 12th May 2016
Genre ~ Paranormal M/M Romance
Dr. Jason Kunik is working on the most earth-shattering genetics project ever, DNA mapping of a new species, the quickened—dogs who can shift into human form. The problem is, no one knows the quickened exist and Jason can’t betray them by publishing his studies. When he moves to Mad Creek to continue his research in a town full of quickened, all he wants is peace, quiet, and to be allowed to bury himself in his work. Perhaps if he figures how out the mutation is activated, he can silence his own inner dog forever.
Milo is a hospice comfort dog who has bonded with, and lost, many beloved patients in his life. He intuitively understands sickness and pain on a spiritual level most can’t see. When he gains the ability to become a man, he thinks he finally has everything he ever wanted. But being a man isn’t the same thing as being loved, and taking shelter in Mad Creek isn’t the same thing as finding a home.
When a mysterious illness hits Mad Creek and threatens all the quickened in town, it’s up to the scientist and the comfort dog to figure out what it is and how to stop it. Along the way they might discover that true love is possible—if you wish upon a star.
This is the third book in the “Howl at the Moon” series, but it can be read as a stand-alone.
::: LISA’S REVIEW :::
Howl at the Moon Series
Book #1: How to Howl at the Moon
The town sheriff, Lance, is all work and no play. He’s got a border collie’s obsessive focus on his job—protecting the town of Mad Creek—and has no time for love or family. When a young human named Tim moves into the area and acts suspiciously, Lance suspects the boy is trouble. Lance pretends to be a regular dog to get closer to Tim and figure out what he’s up to. Tim LOVES his new doggie, though, and Lance’s inner dog bonds with a human for the first time in his life. As Lance gets more attached to Tim he has to figure out how to make Tim love his HUMAN side.
Book #2: How to Walk Like a Man
Deputy Roman Charsguard survived Afghanistan where he lost his best friend—his K-9 handler James. Roman was a military dog until two years ago when he developed the ability to shift into a human. It’s not easy to learn how to be a man. He found a place to live in Mad Creek, a haven for the secret world of dog shifters. Finding a reason to live has been harder. That is, until a certain human walks into the Mad Creek Sheriff’s office and starts making trouble.
Matt Barclay has the worst luck. First he was shot in a SWAT drug raid, then he was sent as DEA investigator to Mad Creek, a little town in the California mountains. Matt’s job is to keep a lookout for illegal drug farms, but nobody in the town wants him there. And then there’s Roman, Matt’s erstwhile baby-sitter. He’s the hottest guy Matt’s ever seen, even if he is a bit peculiar. If the town doesn’t kill him, sexual frustration just might.
The town is counting on Roman to prevent Matt from learning about dog shifters, Matt’s counting on Roman to be his work partner and tell him the truth, and Roman’s trying to navigate love, sex, and a whole lot of messy human emotions. Who knew it was so complicated to walk like a man?
Meet Eli Easton
Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, an organic farmer and a profound sleeper, Eli is happily embarking on yet another incarnation as a m/m romance author.
As an avid reader of such, she is tinkled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, three bulldogs, three cows and six chickens. All of them (except for the husband) are female, hence explaining the naked men that have taken up residence in her latest fiction writing. You can email her firstname.lastname@example.org
1st : INTERNATIONAL - $25 Amazon Gift Certificate
2nd: DOMESTIC ONLY (US & Canada) - A signed paperback copy of “How to Walk Like a Man” and “How to Howl at the Moon” (books #1 and #2 in the Howl at the Moon series).