Wednesday, May 20, 2015

THE RESCUE TEAM is on SALE!! $0.99 5/22-5/29


Ellie is shocked and confused when her owners leave her at the animal shelter. Feeling abandoned and unloved, Ellie spends her days staring vacantly through the gate of her pen. Ellie’s life changes when she is finally adopted by a compassionate woman named Anne. Ellie and Anne form an unbreakable bond of love and friendship. A thunderstorm drives Toby, a young, frightened kitten, to Anne’s porch. Anne and Ellie immediately welcome him into their family. One night, they hear an emergency broadcast announcement that a little girl is missing in the woods near their home. Anne, Ellie, and Toby join in the search to find her, and an incredible rescue team is formed. The team will be called upon again when a tornado tears through their town. Will they find any survivors?


5 Stars- "I recommend this wonderful little story strongly for anyone old enough to read. I give it 5 barks!"- Reviewed by Lee Ashford for Readers Favorite 

"The Rescue Team is a warm-hearted tale of friendship and dedication, highly recommended especially for young animal lovers."- The Midwest Book Review

"Uplifting story that should hold the interest of most 9 -13 year Olds. Plenty of action and excitement without a lot of violence. Good lesson on why a team that leverages the talents of its individual members can be such a winning combination. She really knows how to build tension and get her readers invested in her characters. After spending a very short time with Ellie, the collie we come to understand how she feels and what she thinks. More importantly, we care enough about Ellie by the end of the 2nd chapter to want the best for her. A good story to read aloud too. I think it would be improved by professional editing, but the story is strong enough to merit 5 stars without it. Would recommend highly."- Amazon Reviewer

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Monday, May 18, 2015

SECOND CHANCE HEARTS 5 star review by Readers' Favorite

Reviewed By Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite

Second Chance Hearts is a historical romance written by Billi Tiner. Rachel had been living in an orphanage ever since her mother passed away when she was six years old. Her father was a soldier and died as a result of the war. Rachel’s mother had been disowned by her parents because they had not gotten married before he died, so the orphaned girl had nowhere else to go. Now that she’ll be turning 18, Rachel is thrilled to be leaving the harsh and austere care found in Whitman’s Home for Orphaned Girls, but she’s saddened at the prospect of leaving behind her best friend Susannah, who had become more of a sister than a friend. In the past, Rachel had some fears about her ability to survive on her own in New York City, but they were put to rest by a chance encounter. Rachel has a secret that only Susannah knows; on an errand to the market for vegetables, she met a handsome and gallant young man named Matthew Compton. They've been secretly meeting, and he’s asked for her hand in marriage. After they’ve wed, they’ll be traveling out west for his new job as a banker. 

Billi Tiner’s historical romance, Second Chance Hearts, is well-written and entertaining, and it continues the Sand Hill Romance Saga begun with Tiner’s previous novel, Scarred Hearts. While the reader is all too aware that the charming, sociopathic Matthew does not have Rachel’s best interests at heart, Rachel soon realizes it herself and takes steps to ensure that she does not remain his victim. I loved seeing how she befriends Lily and the other women in the brothel where she had found Matthew, and how she insists on working for her keep as a housekeeper for them. Rachel’s story is in many ways a coming of age tale as well as a romance, and it’s marvelous to see how she makes her way after that initial disastrous misstep. Second Chance Hearts does have some non-explicit sexual content that might be found objectionable by readers who are seeking squeaky clean historical romances, but the sweet romance and the warm spirit of Western community in this story ring honest and true. Second Chance Hearts is highly recommended.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Pet Health Tip #39- Vomiting/Diarrhea

A wide variety of underlying factors can cause vomiting and/or diarrhea in both dogs and cats.  To narrow down possible causes, look at some important elements in the pet’s history.  These include:

Age- The list of underlying causes in a young, healthy animal is different than the list in an older animal.
Overall health of the animal- Any additional symptoms, such as listlessness or anorexia.
Indoor vs. Outdoor pet- Possible exposure to toxins.
Frequency of vomiting
Presence of blood in vomitus

Potential causes of vomiting and/or diarrhea in puppies/kittens:

1) Foreign Body- This is one of the first things to rule out because puppies and kittens are notorious for eating things that they shouldn’t.
2) Intestinal Parasites- This is a very common cause of diarrhea in young animals.  In addition, a high worm burden will sometimes cause vomiting.
3) Toxin Ingestion- Several house plants will cause vomiting if ingested.  Additional toxins include: chocolate, ethylene glycol, and rat bait.
4) Viral Infection- In a puppy, it is important to rule out the possibility of a viral infection such as Parvovirus or Distemper virus.
5) Diet- An abrupt change in food or if the puppy/kitten eats something outside of their normal diet, especially something high in fat, can cause vomiting.

Potential causes of vomiting and/or diarrhea in older dogs/cats:
1) Stress- Older animals become much more sensitive to changes in their environment.  If the animal has been placed under increased stress in the environment, this can cause vomiting and/or diarrhea.  The diarrhea will often be blood tinged.
2) Food Sensitivity- This can be due to a change in diet or sometimes dogs/cats will develop sensitivity to their regular food as they age.  The most common symptom is chronic unexplained vomiting.
3) Underlying health issue-  In older dogs/cats it is very important to rule out the possibility of an underlying health issue, such as pancreatitis, renal disease, or liver disease.
4) Foreign Body- This includes hairballs for cats.
5) Toxin Ingestion- Several house plants will cause vomiting if ingested.  Additional toxins include: chocolate, ethylene glycol, and rat bait.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Pet Health Tip #38- Allergies-Cats

Just like with dogs, there are several allergens that can cause allergic reactions in cats.  However, the symptoms shown in cats are a little different than in dogs.  Cats are more prone to showing respiratory symptoms, including: runny nose, runny eyes, coughing, and wheezing.  This is because cats are more sensitive to inhaled allergens than dogs.

Food Allergens:  Cats can be allergic to ingredients in commercially available cat foods, such as fish, corn, chicken, wheat, and soy.  Cats with food allergies will often develop dermatitis (inflammation of the skin) around the face and ears.  However, the skin lesions can occur anywhere.  Similar to dogs, diagnosis of food allergies is done by putting the cat on a restricted ingredient diet for several months to see if the skin lesions clear up.

Generalized Allergens:  Several allergens can cause reactions in cats.  These include, dust, mold, pollen, fleas, and cigarette smoke.  Cats who are exposed to cigarette smoke will often develop asthma and have difficulty breathing.  In addition to the respiratory symptoms, cats can also develop localized inflammation of the skin that causes the cat to continuously groom that area.  This is usually on the belly or inside the back legs.  They will often groom themselves to the point of creating severe inflammation of the skin in that area.

Flea allergies cause skin lesions that are referred to as military dermatitis.  These are tiny, scabbed bumps usually located on the face, ears, and rump.

To determine what allergens your cat may be sensitive to, a dermatologist will need to perform intradermal skin testing.  Once you have an idea of what allergens are causing the reactions, you can limit your cat’s exposure to the allergens.  This could include: keeping your cat in a room that is smoke free, treating for fleas, or eliminating possible food allergens from your cat’s diet.  Your cat may also need medications such as oral anti-histamines or steroid injections.

Saturday, May 9, 2015


"Second Chance Hearts", the follow-up to "Scarred Hearts", is now available!! 
Paperback and audiobook coming soon! 


Rachel Somerfield has spent most of her life in Whitman’s Home for Orphaned Girls in New York City. As she approaches her eighteenth birthday, her future looks very bleak. Everything changes the day she runs into Mathew Compton, a dashing young man, who sweeps her off her feet and offers her a chance at happiness. However, things don’t turn out as Rachel hopes, and she finds herself accepting a teaching position in Sand Hill, a small western town. She arrives in Sand Hill penniless, scared, and alone. 

Sheriff Chance Scott has been raising his son, John, alone since his wife died giving him birth. He loved his wife very much, and has given up on the idea of ever finding that kind of love again. He’s resigned to raising his son on his own. When the new schoolteacher arrives, he finds out that she’s in desperate need of his help. Is life offering him a second chance at love? Is it worth risking another broken heart to find out? 

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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Pet Health Tip #37- Allergies-Dogs

Allergies in dogs can be very frustrating for the owner.  Often the problem is chronic and the best thing you can do is try to control the dog’s reaction to the allergens.  Three types of allergens can affect dogs.  All three types will usually manifest themselves by causing dermatitis (inflammation of the skin).  However, the location, severity, and reoccurrence of the skin lesions help to narrow down what type of allergen is causing the issue.  Some dogs will also show respiratory symptoms such as runny eyes, coughing, or difficulty breathing.  The three types of allergens are:

Localized (Contact) Allergens:  These are allergens that come into direct contact with the dog’s skin and cause an allergic reaction.  The most common allergens are grass and pollen.  Localized allergens usually cause dermatitis on the dog’s feet or belly.  You will see your dog chewing or licking their feet.  This aggravates and inflames the skin even more, which in turn causes the dog to lick and chew.  It can become a vicious cycle.

The best way to prevent contact allergens is to prevent the contact.  First, make sure the hair on your dog’s feet is clipped short.  The hair can trap the allergen against the skin.  Next, rinse your dog’s feet off when he comes in from being in the grass; or alternatively, have your dog wear booties on his feet when he is outside.  If your dog is severely sensitive to these allergens, then he may require medication, such as anti-histamine or steroid therapy.

Food Allergens:  The most common ingredients in food that dogs are sensitive to are: beef, chicken, pork, wheat, corn, and soy.  However, they can be sensitive to other ingredients as well.  One of the ways to determine if your dog has a food allergy is to note whether or not the skin lesions are present all year round or seasonally.  Due to the fact your dog is exposed to his food all year, these allergies never clear up.  Also, food allergy dermatitis will often cause chronic ear infections because the skin inside the ear is the most sensitive skin on the dog’s body.  Other allergens can cause ear infections, so an ear infection doesn’t guarantee your dog has a food sensitivity, but you would definitely need to rule it out as a possibility.

Diagnosis of a food allergy is done by starting a feeding trial.  A feeding trial involves placing your dog on a very restricted diet consisting of ingredients not found in your dog’s normal diet.  There are commercially available foods for this purpose or a home-made meal can also be used.  The feeding trial needs to be conducted for several months to give the dog’s skin time to heal and for all the allergens to be eliminated from the dog’s system.  It is also very important to cut out treats, table scraps, etc. during the feeding trial to eliminate them as the possible source of the allergens.  Once a diagnosis of food sensitivity has been confirmed, you can try reintroducing your dog to different treats and dog foods to determine which specific ingredients your dog is sensitive to.

Generalized Allergens:  There are a variety of allergens that can cause generalized reactions in dogs.  These include: dust, pollen, dander, fleas, molds, cigarette smoke, cleaning solutions, and shampoos.  Dogs with severe generalized reactions are often sensitive to more than one allergen.  These can be difficult to completely control.  Diagnosis is usually done by a dermatologist who runs a skin test to determine sensitivities to common allergens.  Finding out what allergens your dog is sensitive to is key to being able to control the symptoms.  The more you can limit your dog’s exposure to the allergens, the more successful you will be at controlling your dog’s reactions.

Treatment of generalized sensitivity reactions usually involves multiple steps.  The first step is limiting your dog’s exposure to the allergen; second, use of a topical treatment on the inflamed skin, such as medicated shampoos, steroid sprays, etc.; third, giving oral medications, such as fatty acid supplements, anti-histamines, and/or steroids.  Allergy injections may also be needed to help de-sensitize your dog to the offending allergen.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

PET HEALTH TIP #36- Skin Tumors- Dogs

Several types of skin tumors can affect dogs.  Most are benign.  However, some skin tumors are malignant.

The benign tumors are usually slow growing, soft, and free moving; meaning that you can grasp them and move them around under the skin.  Benign tumors include: skin tags, warts, moles, and lipomas.  Skin tags, warts, and moles look similar to the ones we get.  They are unsightly, but harmless.  Lipomas are fatty tumors that are very slow growing and soft.  Lipomas are very common in older, overweight dogs.  They typically don’t cause any problems unless they are located in an area that restricts movement; such as under a front limb.

The most common malignant tumors found under the skin are Mast Cell Tumors and Osteosarcomas.  Both of these tumors are usually fast growing, hard, and attached to the tissue under the skin.

Mast Cell tumors are very common and can be found in all breeds.  However, Boxers, Beagles, and Boston Terriers are the breeds most commonly affected.  These tumors can be found anywhere on the body, but are often located on the limbs.  They can change shape and size very rapidly.  Mast Cell tumors are made up of cells the body uses to respond to inflammation and allergies.  These tumors can release high amounts of these cells into the dog’s body and cause damage to the internal organs.  Some Mast Cell tumors remain localized, but others can metastasize to other regions of the body.  It is very important to have Mast Cell tumors removed and sent for a biopsy to determine the malignancy and risk to the dog’s overall health.

Osteosarcomas are bone tumors.  These tumors are highly malignant.  They are most commonly seen at the elbow, wrist, or shoulder.  However, any bone can be affected.  Limping on the affected limb is usually the first symptom.  However, often times the tumor isn’t noticed until it becomes visible.  At the point when it is visible, there is a 90% chance it has already metastasized to another area of the body, usually the lungs.  Treatment of osteosarcoma is very aggressive and usually involves chemotherapy or radiation.

In conclusion, although there are many types of skin tumors that are benign, it is important to have all tumors examined by your veterinarian, so that treatment of malignant tumors can begin as early as possible.