Get Lost in a Story Readers, it’s always a treat to present the Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter, the dynamic duo who make up the bestselling SPARKLE ABBEY, author(s) of the Pampered Pet Series.   I can attest that these two women are personal friends and a ton of fun.  It’s also no publicity stunt that they love their animals, nor is it a secret they write amusing, heartwarming mysteries.  And today, we’re going to learn more about their newest story FIFTY SHADES OF GREYHOUND!  Please welcome Sparkle Abbey!


It was a killer party.

Caro Lamont, Laguna Beach's favorite pet therapist, is thrilled to support the elite fundraising gala for Greys Matter, a SoCal greyhound rescue group. All the guests in the couture-attired crowd are clad in varying shades of grey, the champagne and donations are flowing, and there are fifty gorgeous greyhounds in attendance. But before the evening ends, a stranger in their midst is dead.

Caro sets out to help the rescue group find the identity of the mystery guest but soon finds herself in the doghouse with homicide detective, Judd Malone--oh, and federal agent, John Milner. When there's a second death, Caro is convinced she's on the track of someone who wants a secret to stay buried, but it's a race to see whether Caro can uncover the truth before the killer decides she's next.

DONNELL:  Hey you, two.  So glad to see you back.  So you take turns writing the series, right?  Caro is a pet therapist and Melinda is a pet boutique owner.  So will I give anything away if I ask who wrote Fifty Shades of Greyhound?  And who was the powerhouse editor?

SPARKLE ABBEY: Fifty Shades of Greyhound is a Caro book and so it was Mary Lee for this one. As you mentioned we take turns with the books and we also trade off with the lead characters (cousins Carolina Lamont and Melinda Langston) so Mary Lee writes the Caro books and Anita writes the Mel books.

DONNELL:  Rescue greyhounds.  Please talk about these amazing animals (And I ask this selfishly because my mother asked for one, and I told her I think they needed to be walked a lot.  I mean they run, don’t they?)

SPARKLE ABBEY: They are absolutely amazing dogs. The interesting thing we learned was that while, like most pooches they need to be exercised regularly, they really are pretty low-key pets. They’re quiet, gentle and good-natured. We talked to several greyhound owners in order to learn about some personal experiences and each one said the same, the dogs are calm and actually sleep a lot. In greyhound circles they’re often referred to as the 40 mph couch potato. LOL

DONNELL:  We’ve talked about this before, but why did you choose Laguna Beach for the setting when you both live elsewhere.  Not that I’m complaining after seeing Monterey.  Did you choose this so you could travel there for a tax write-off?

SPARKLE ABBEY:  Well, there is the tax write-off benefit. LOL We came across Laguna Beach kind of by accident. On a trip to SoCal it was on the way from Anaheim to San Diego and the stop there for coffee turned into a love for the community. It’s very artsy and full of wonderful galleries, shops and restaurants. And, of course, then there’s the incredible Pacific view. Once home and researching Laguna Beach, we found they have more registered dogs than kids. It seemed like the perfect place to set a pampered pets mystery. J

Mary Lee Woods, Allison Brennan, Cathy Perkins, Christine Finlayson, & Anita Carter
at Left Coast Crime  (Not pictured your humble interviewer taking the picture)
DONNELL:  Talk about your brainstorming process.  This series is successful, but how do you keep it fresh?

SPARKLE ABBEY: The brainstorming process is hands-down the most fun and the best part of writing together. We start with an idea. With Fifty Shades of Greyhound we knew we wanted to bring in greyhound rescue. Then we begin the “what if?” process. This can lead to all sorts of wild and bizarre ideas, but often also takes us to someplace a little different than our first thoughts. We’re both outliners and though we don’t have everything mapped out when we start writing, we do have the bones of the story.

As far as keeping it fresh, we try to take things in unexpected directions. Not so far out that our readers would say, “Caro would never do that.” Or “That seemed totally out of character for Mel.” But just as we all have surprises in our own lives, we try to add some surprises for Caro and Mel.

DONNELL:  What is the most interesting thing (Oh dear, I’m going to start a fight) that you’ve ever discovered doing research.  And okay, both of you can answer this one J

SPARKLE & ABBEY: We can definitely answer together. We constantly find interesting things researching and so we’re always emailing back and forth about discoveries. Usually with the subject line: You Can’t Make This Up!

One of the interesting things a while back was an article about pet’s who’ve inherited fortunes. You can see a summary here: 10 Millionaire Pets and Their Furry Fortuned Tales

Or we run across stories about things like the Cat Cafes in Japan. Here’s a Time magazine article about them: An Inside Look at Japan’s Best Cat Cafes  We understand Cat Cafes have just opened in San Francisco and New York. So maybe there will be one coming to your town soon.

DONNELL:  Another two-parter.  When you’re not writing, where will we find you?

SPARKLE & ABBEY: Again, we think we can answer this one together. We’ve both got very busy families and, if we’re not at the day job or writing, you’ll find us with them. In fact, we live only a block from each other and just planned a play date for our granddaughters. Watch for pictures!

DONNELL:  Talk about your fans.  What is the best fan letter either of you have received?

SPARKLE ABBEY: Oh my, Donnell, emails from readers is simply the best thing about writing this series.

Here’s a recent one from Australia:

“Just wanted to say how awesome I find your books. As an avid animal lover, mother of 5 and business owner who has very few hours to spare, downloading your books was a breath of fresh air and I have to say, couldn’t…just couldn’t …put it down.”

DONNELL:  What comes next?

Next up is, The Girl with the Dachshund Tattoo, in the fall. Another story we’re really excited about. This one is a Mel title.


First off, Donnell, thanks for much for inviting us to stop by Get Lost in a Story. We always enjoy visiting with you whether in person or online.

As far as a question for readers, we’d like to know “Where is your favorite get-away?” We love Laguna Beach. It is so beautiful and has a wonderful creative vibe. How about you? If you could pick just one place to go this summer to relax where would it be?

Please comment below. Sparkle Abbey will be giving away two copies of Fifty Shades of Greyhound to two readers draw at random from the comments below.

Find Sparkle Abbey online at:

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  1. That's an easy question to answer: Coolum Beach on the Sunshine Coast, QLD. We have been holidaying there since I was a child. It's just so incredibly beautiful.


    1. Mary - Just looked it up. What a gorgeous place! (Adding it to our must visit spots...)

  2. A favorite place of mine is Chincoteague Virginia. It is a lovely town and the wild horses are there.
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

    1. Maureen - Didn't know about the wild horses. How cool is that? Also, going on our list!

  3. My favorite getaway is the beach, just in the water where no electronics should be located.

    1. Angi - *~*~waving hello~*~*~ We're with you there! Definitely a beach must be involved. :-)

  4. Welcome to the blog! Sounds like a great mystery series--I love animals in books! :)

    1. Thanks, Lara. We love that we get to include animals in our books. :-)

  5. I am origianlly from Santa Barbara, so I love the beaches there. And 50 shades paradies crack me up - must get this book

    yenastone at aol dot com

    1. Tammy - Santa Barbara beaches are wonderful. So many parodies - just saw - Fifty Shades of Earl Grey - a tea book. LOL

  6. Welcome, Sparkle Abbey. I love your books almost as much as I love you!

  7. Obviously, my favorite place to be is on the ocean somewhere, preferably warm, but since I LIVE there, where would I go for a get-away? To Scotland.

    1. Where you live looks like a great place to live! I (ML here) visited Scotland briefly when my son was in college in the UK, but had very little time. We keep talking about a trip to Scotland with our husbands. Any particular part of Scotland you'd recommend?

  8. Hawaii! The flight there probably won't be relaxing but love the beaches!

  9. May - The flight there is long but well worth it! Do you have a favorite island?

  10. no fav place; any island

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  11. my favorite place to be this summer would be somewhere with family -- could be near ocean, or could be lake, or could be a busy city. Just as long as family could be there also. Sister is in TN, hubby's Brother is in Calif, both of our children, and grandchildren, are in OKC area.
    Have a friend in DC area who has a rescue greyhound. She posts quite a bit about Enza and I love her stories and pics.

  12. Donna - We agree about family. Any get-away is wonderful is you have those you love around you.

    Enza is a great name for a dog. Greyhounds are generally gentle and friendly and make great pets!

  13. Donnell - Thanks so much for allowing us to stop by Get Lost in a Story!

  14. And the winners of the copies of Fifty Shades of Greyhound are Lara and Tammy. Please let us know if you'd like an ebook or print and send us your info. Send info to sparkleabbey@gmail.com
    Thanks everyone for stopping by!