Sunday, December 21, 2014

Pet Health Tip #26- Rat Bait Toxicity

As the weather cools in the fall and winter, mice decide to set up residence in our homes, garages, barns, etc.  When deciding the best course of action to get rid of these pests, it is important to remember your pets.  Most rat poisons contain anticoagulants.  These poisons are not picky about who ingests them, meaning they will cause the same effect whether it is a rat, a dog, or a cat who eats it.  The rat poison smells good, and with your pet’s keen sense of smell, it doesn’t take them long to find it, no matter how well you think you have hidden it.

Many times, it is several days after the pet ingests the poison before they start showing symptoms.  Early symptoms include: Vomit or diarrhea that contains blood, bloody nasal discharge, and pale gums.  As the poison takes more affect, the symptoms will progress to severe anemia, weakness, lethargy, loss of appetite, internal bleeding into the chest or abdomen, and eventually death.

Outdoor pets are at greatest risk for rat poison ingestion.  They can come in contact with it in a barn, neighbor’s trash, or by ingesting a rat who has been poisoned.  If you catch your pet in the act of eating rat poison, you'll need to induce vomiting.  Use a needleless syringe or even a turkey baster to squirt 3% hydrogen peroxide solution into the back of your pet's mouth.  Give between one and two teaspoons of solution for every ten pounds of body weight.  Give the hydrogen peroxide, then wait five or ten minutes to see if your pet vomits.  If not, administer another dose.  Remember- inducing vomiting is ONLY for immediate treatment.  If several hours have already passed since your pet ingested the rat poison, then inducing vomiting will not help.

You will also need to take your pet to the veterinarian to begin treatment.  For acute ingestion without any symptoms, the typical treatment includes giving Vitamin K.  However, if you are seeing the symptoms listed above, then it is important to start emergency treatment.  This may include whole blood or plasma transfusions to restore the blood volume.


Not all rat poisons are toxic to pets.  If you can bring the package with you on your visit, it will help your veterinarian to determine the best treatment options.

Monday, November 24, 2014

SCARRED HEARTS is now available in Audiobook!!

BOOK DESCRIPTION:


Claire Montgomery is a survivor. During the War Between the States, her family's plantation was burned to the ground, killing her parents and leaving her scarred, both physically and emotionally. Despite facing extreme hardship, she's grown into a compassionate woman with a heart for helping people. She lives in a small cabin with an old ex-slave and a young boy, who was the lone survivor of a wagon train attack. The three of them have formed a make-shift family that includes a one-eyed cat and a baby fox. Their world changes the day a gunfighter full of bullet holes collapses on their land.




BOOK REVIEWS:


"I enjoyed reading Scarred Hearts. It's got a grand combination of romance, history and the old west, and it works marvelously on all accounts. Scarred Hearts is highly recommended."- Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite


"I am so happy to find a new writer of western historical romance. A very good book, well written. She captures the emotions of her characters and delivers to the reader perfectly."- Amazon Reviewer


"I loved the characters and the story. The goodness and forgiveness of people is read in this story. I enjoyed it."- Amazon Reviewer



Scarred Hearts
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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Pet Health Tip #25- Chocolate Toxicity

The symptoms of chocolate toxicity can range from mild diarrhea and vomiting to seizures and death.  The severity of the symptoms depends upon the amount and type of chocolate ingested.  The toxicity levels are as follows:

Milk Chocolate: Mild signs at 0.7 oz per pound of body weight; severe toxicity at 2 oz per pound of body weight.  In other words, one pound of milk chocolate can cause severe signs in a 20 lb dog.

Semi-sweet Chocolate: Mild signs at 0.3 oz per pound of body weight; severe toxicity at 1 oz per pound of body weight.

Baking chocolate: This one is the most toxic and can cause severe symptoms with as little as 2 small 1 oz squares.

In most cases, you will only see mild symptoms of chocolate toxicity, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or fever.  However, if enough is ingested, it could cause severe symptoms, such as muscle spasms, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, seizures, coma, and cardiac arrest.


It is extremely important to keep chocolate stored away from pets.  If you know your dog has ingested chocolate, then keep in mind the above information when determining whether or not your pet will require veterinary attention.  If it is just a piece or two of milk chocolate, then be prepared for some mild diarrhea.  On the other hand, if your dog ingested an entire bar of bakers chocolate, then you will need to seek veterinary attention.  If you are in doubt about the need to seek medical attention, then call your veterinarian and follow their advice.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Pet Health Tip #24- Patellar Luxation

Has your dog ever been running and suddenly picked up one of his back legs and started running on three legs?  Usually, this will be for a short distance.  Then, he will give his leg a shake and go back to running on all four legs.

Your dog is experiencing something called Patellar Luxation.  Sounds complicated, but it is really very simple.  The patella (knee cap) is a small bone that sits in a groove at the front of the knee.  For some dogs, the groove the patella sits in is too shallow.  So, when the patella is experiencing a lot of movement (i.e. the dog is running), it will slip out of the groove and cause the knee to lock up.  The dog will hold the leg up and sometimes give it a little shake causing the patella to slip back into its groove.

Patellar Luxation is a congenital problem caused by the failure of the bone to develop correctly.  It is a common problem for small breed dogs such as Pomeranians, Poodles, and Chihuahuas.  The luxation itself isn't painful.  It is more of a nuisance.  However, over time, the action of the patella sliding up and over the groove will cause “wear and tear” on the cartilage of the knee joint.  Eventually, this will lead to arthritis.

If you have a dog that has a luxating patella, then it is important to make sure they maintain a healthy weight.  This will help slow the progression of the arthritis.  Patellar Luxation can also be surgically repaired.  The surgeon will go into the knee joint and deepen the groove the patella sits in, causing a tighter fit.  Surgery is the best solution, but can be expensive.  Most dogs with Patellar Luxation do very well even without treatment.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

PET HEALTH TIP #23- Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is caused by the abnormal development of the hip joint.  The hip joint is a ball and socket joint.  The head (top) of the femur (long upper leg bone) is the ball and it sits in a socket (acetabulum) of the hip bone (os coxae).  The head of the femur is supposed to sit very snugly in the acetabulum.  It allows a rolling motion, but is not supposed to have a sliding motion.  So, in a dog with Hip Dysplasia the ball is usually too small and the socket is too shallow.  This results in a "loose" joint.  In other words, instead of getting that snug fit, the joint has too much motion.  This can allow the joint to subluxate or "pop in and out".  Over time, this extra motion causes "wear and tear" on the joint and results in arthritis.

The development of Hip Dysplasia is primarily the result of genetics.  That is why it is more common in certain breeds of dogs such as Labs and Rottweilers.  As the puppy ages, the joint doesn't develop correctly and results in Hip Dysplasia.

It is often hard to diagnose Hip Dysplasia in really young puppies.  All puppies have pretty loose joints.  The question is whether they are going to develop normally or abnormally as the puppy grows.  By the time the puppy is about six months old, you will often start to see evidence of hip dysplasia.  The puppy may have a "rolling gate" where you can actually see the hip joint slipping when they walk.  This is often missed due to the fact that puppies are pretty resilient and will ignore the inconvenience of a slipping hip joint.

Typically, Hip Dysplasia is diagnosed once the dog has fully matured and the joint starts to break down.  The dog will have trouble rising or may cry out if their hips are pushed on.  Other symptoms include: trouble maneuvering up stairs, jumping into cars, or onto the bed.

Treatment for Hip Dysplasia is usually therapeutic, meaning we just try to alleviate the pain and slow the progression of damage to the cartilage in the joint.  There are several good medications available to accomplish this.  Passive activities, such as walking and swimming, are also good for the joint.  Additionally, it is very important to keep the dog’s body weight normal.  If the dog is carrying extra weight, it will speed the progression of arthritis.


Hip replacement surgery is also an alternative.  There are several veterinary practices that perform this surgery with very high success.  It is expensive, but it will cure the problem rather than just manage the symptoms.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

5 star review of SCARRED HEARTS by Readers' Favorite

Reviewed by  for Readers' Favorite

Scarred Hearts is a historical western romance written by Billi Tiner. Claire Montgomery lives in a little house outside of town with her old friend and mentor, Tobias, and James, a young orphan. She had been raised on a Southern plantation; her parents were wealthy landowners who had slaves. Claire spent most of her time with the black kids on the plantation and was staying overnight with Tobias and his family when her parents' house was burned to the ground. Claire attempted to save her parents and was badly burned in the process. She's the object of scorn and criticism in town as some gentle ladies feel she should cover her scarred face, but she does have some good friends who care about her. When a badly injured man is seen draped across a horse, Claire has Tobias bring him into the house where she tends his wounds.

Billi Tiner's romantic historical western, Scarred Hearts, is entertaining and fast-paced. Claire is a marvelous character, and the gunslinger, Nathan, is the perfect antagonist for this scarred, self-sufficient woman who thinks no one could ever be attracted to her. I loved the animals that James found and adopted and thought how nice it would be to live somewhere where you could have orphaned bear cubs and foxes for pets. There's more to Scarred Hearts than just romance and animals, however, as Nathan is a gunslinger and is still on a job to hunt a rapist. I enjoyed reading Scarred Hearts. It's got a grand combination of romance, history and the old west, and it works marvelously on all accounts. Scarred Hearts is highly recommended.




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Monday, October 20, 2014

PET HEALTH TIP #22-Canine Cognitive Dysfunction

As dogs age, they can develop symptoms similar to dementia in humans.  It is termed Canine Cognitive Dysfunction or CCD.  Dogs with CCD can show a variety of symptoms.  Forgetting how to do simple tasks, such as how to climb stairs or how to back up, is a common symptom.  Your dog may stand at the bottom of the stairs as if he is confused, or he may get stuck in a corner.

Another common symptom is becoming fearful.  Because your dog is fearful, his personality can change causing him to growl or bite if suddenly startled.  When approaching your dog, it is very important to make sure he knows you are there in order to decrease the chance of startling him.

Many dogs will also develop a fear of the dark.  These dogs often pace restlessly at night.  Finally, many dogs with CCD will no longer be housebroken.  They will start to eliminate in the house.

There are medications available that will slow the progression of CCD, but similar to humans with dementia, there is no cure.  The best thing we can do is gain an understanding of these changes and do the best we can to accommodate our geriatric pets.  For instance, if your dog has grown fearful, try to minimize the amount of stress in his life.  One example would be allowing him a safe place to go if there are small children in the house.  If he has grown fearful of the dark, give him a nightlight.  Also, he may need to be constantly shown how to do simple tasks.  Finally, he may need to be placed into a crate when you are not home.  This can accomplish two things; one, it will give him a place where he feels safe when he is alone; and two, it will keep him from eliminating in the house.


Geriatric dogs can be a challenge.  Our dogs give us unconditional love and the least we can do is give them our patience and understanding as they age.

Friday, October 17, 2014

SCARRED HEARTS is due out October 27th!

Good news! the release date for SCARRED HEARTS has been moved up to OCTOBER 27th!!! Pre-order your copy today!



BOOK DESCRIPTION:


A Historical Romance 

Claire Montgomery is a survivor. During the War Between the States, her family’s plantation was burned to the ground, killing both her parents and leaving her scarred, both physically and emotionally. Despite facing extreme hardship, she’s grown into a compassionate woman with a heart for helping people. She lives in a small cabin with an old ex-slave and a young boy, who was the lone survivor of a wagon train attack. The three of them have formed a make-shift family that includes a one-eyed cat and a baby fox. Their world changes the day a gunfighter full of bullet holes collapses on their land. 





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Monday, September 29, 2014

PET HEALTH TIP #21- Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is (unfortunately) a common problem during the hot summer months, especially when temperatures soar into the 100's.  Two of the most important things you can do to protect your dog from the heat are to make sure your dog has lots of shade and plenty of water.  It is easy to forget how fast water can evaporate in extreme heat, so make sure you re-fill the water dishes often.

Outdoor dogs with thick coats of fur, even if it is relatively short, should be shaved.  The thick fur is just like you wearing your winter coat out in the heat!  Another great idea is to add water misters to their pen to act as an air conditioner.  And lastly, do not leave your dog in a vehicle, even if the windows are cracked!

Symptoms of heat stroke include: Excessive panting; recumbency (lying on side); pale mucous membranes (gums and inside of cheeks); and unresponsiveness.

Emergency treatments: It imperative to get the dog's temperature down as quickly as possible.  Heat stroke dog temperatures can rise above 105 degrees.  The best thing you can do is get your dog to a veterinarian, so he can be started on IV fluids and the vet can work on lowering the dog's temperature.  However, if you are unable to get to a vet clinic, there are some treatments you can try.  First of all, you don't want to lower the temperature too quickly.  One of the best ways to lower a dog’s temperatures is to pour rubbing alcohol along his spine.  Rubbing alcohol evaporates more quickly than water, thus acting as a coolant.  Also, a room temperature water enema works well.  You don't want to use cold water as the dog's temperature is already well above room temperature and cold water would be too much of a shock to the dog's system.


Even with proper treatment, a heat stroke victim's chances of survival are minimal. So, the best treatment is prevention.  Please be aware of our four-legged friends during the warm summer months and do what you can to keep them safe and comfortable.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

PET HEALTH TIP #20- Cystitis

Cystitis refers to inflammation of the bladder wall.  Several underlying medical issues can cause cystitis.  The most common cause of cystitis is a bacterial infection.  This is especially true for female dogs and cats.  Bacterial infections in dogs and cats happen the same way they do in people, and pets will show similar symptoms.  These symptoms include: increased frequency of urination, straining to void the bladder, and blood in the urine.  Antibiotics are used to treat bladder infections.

Bladder stones (uroliths) can also cause cystitis.  Bladder stones are mineral deposits that form into rock-like substances.  These stones can be as large as golf balls!  The symptoms are exactly the same as with bladder infections.  Occasionally, a small stone may become trapped in a male dog’s or cat’s urethra causing a blockage.  This is a serious condition that requires emergency treatment.

During the early stages of stone development, the pet will have crystals in the urine.  Dogs may or may not develop symptoms of cystitis during the crystal phase.  Cats will typically start to show symptoms during this phase.  As I stated earlier, these crystals and stones are caused by mineral deposits.  These deposits are created by the urine either being too acidic or too alkaline.  The treatment is a change in diet, which will either raise or lower the pH of the urine.  Some bladder stones will dissolve in response to the diet change.  However, surgery is usually needed to remove the stones.

A less common cause of cystitis is a bladder tumor.  These usually develop in older female dogs. The tumors are typically benign.


There are other less common causes of cystitis.  All causes create the same symptoms.  Therefore, if your pet is showing symptoms if cystitis, you should take him or her to a veterinarian in order to get an accurate diagnosis.

Monday, September 1, 2014

TO LOVE A CAT is a 2014 Readers' Favorite Bronze Medal Award Winner!!!

BOOK DESCRIPTION:



Catherine "Cat" James' life is simple and orderly, and she likes it that way. She loves her job as an accountant. Working with numbers is safe and routine, no surprises. Her childhood had been very abusive and unstable. She vowed not to live that way as an adult. She also made a promise to herself to become a foster parent. She wished someone had been there for her as a teenager, to let her know she wasn't alone.


Cat agrees to foster Ethan Summers, a troubled teenage boy whose childhood closely resembles her own. Suddenly, her nice and orderly life is filled with chaos and uncertainty. Things really start to spin out of control when circumstances bring police detective Mitch Holt into the picture. He's handsome, charming, and definitely not what Cat needs right now, or so she thinks.




BOOK REVIEWS:


"A sexy detective, a pretty redhead, a sullen teenager in foster care and several pets with personality collide in this lighthearted romance"- Kirkus Review
 
"To Love a Cat by Billi Tiner is a story filled with intrigue, suspense, and beautiful romance. Billi Tiner created a group of characters that complement each other perfectly, coupled with a plot full of twists and turns and heart-warming moments, to bring to life a must-read story."-Reviewed by Faridah Nassozi for Readers' Favorite
 
"How the characters meet each other, and adjust makes for a wonderful read and I highly recommend it if you want to escape your reality for a while, and become entwined in the lives of these fictional folk. It highlights how critically important helping less fortunate individuals is, as well as having a stable, loving family."- Reviewed by Patricia Day for Readers' Favorite


"Billi Tiner is an amazing writer who really brought these characters to life and made the relationships realistic.Filled with touching moments that got tears streaming down my face, this was a book that I could not put down. I can't wait to read more from this author."- Reviewed by Cheryl Schopen for Readers' Favorite


    
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Friday, August 29, 2014

Chapter 1 preview of SCARRED HEARTS

Pre-order your copy of "Scarred Hearts" today, expected release November 10th!


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CHAPTER 1




Claire Montgomery stood and arched her back to relieve the tension in her muscles. Her sweat dampened, blue gingham dress clung to her slim body. She’d spent the morning bent over a large, cast-iron pot doing the week’s washing. She hated the chore, especially in the heat of summer. Sighing heavily, she pushed at a strand of fiery red hair that had escaped its binding and fallen into her eyes. A slight smile pulled at the corners of her mouth as Bartholomew, a large orange tabby, who was sleeping on the porch beside her, opened his one good eye and glared at her.
   “Sorry to have disturbed your nap, Bart,” she chuckled. He closed his eye and immediately fell back to sleep. It must be nice, she thought. She raised a hand to shield her eyes from the blinding sun as she glanced across the small yard in front of her cabin. The silhouette of a man on horseback shimmered on the horizon. Thinking her eyes might be playing tricks on her in this heat, she blinked and looked again. The image was still there.
   “Tobias!” she called.
   A large, middle-aged, black man stepped out of the barn. “Did you call me, Miss Claire?” he asked.
   “Yes,” she answered. Pointing toward the horizon, she added, “There’s a rider coming.”
   Tobias turned to look in the direction she pointed. The approaching rider was slumped forward in the saddle. “He don’t look too good,” he commented. “I best ride out to meet him.” He turned and disappeared inside the barn. A few moments later, he led a bay mare out of the barn, mounted, and started toward the man.
   Claire watched as Tobias approached the rider. Her mind hummed with curiosity. Her reputation as a healer was well known and as a result, they frequently had visitors. However, she knew all the townsfolk, and none of them rode a horse as fine as this one.
   “Hello!” Tobias called out as he approached the visitor. There was no answer. The man didn’t appear to be conscious. His horse slowed as Tobias neared it. Without warning, the man slid from the saddle and landed face down. Tobias jumped off his horse and hurried toward him. He rolled the man over and shook his head in dismay when he saw the amount of blood saturating his shirt.
   Seeing the man fall, Claire spun around and hurried inside the cabin. She immediately started a pot of water boiling and gathered up her remedies. The man was obviously injured. She knew Tobias would bring him to her. She glanced up as his giant shadow fell across the room. He stood in the doorway, holding the man in his arms.
   “How badly is he hurt?” she asked.
   “Looks like he’s got several bullet holes,” Tobias answered. “He’s out cold.”
   “Put him on the table and let me take a look,” Claire instructed.
   Tobias nodded and strode to the long dining table in the middle of the room. He gently laid the man down. Claire reached for the buttons of his shirt. Without warning, a hand snaked out and snatched one of her delicate wrists. She sucked in a breath as the hand tightened painfully. Her gaze flew to the man’s face. Grey eyes, glazed with fever, stared straight into hers. Tobias stepped to the table, ready to pull Claire out of the man’s grip. A second later, he loosened his hold on her and dropped back into unconsciousness. Claire and Tobias exchanged a brief look. Then Claire returned to the task of removing his shirt.
   “Sit him up,” she instructed, when she’d reached the last button.
   Tobias gripped his shoulders and pulled him into a sitting position. The man groaned, but didn’t regain consciousness. Claire began removing the blood-soaked shirt, noting that several of the wounds were still oozing, which indicated they were fresh. However, much of the blood had already dried causing the shirt to stick to the man’s chest and back. Claire was as careful as she could be; however, as she pulled the shirt away from his body, blood began to pour from several of the holes.
   As soon as the shirt slid free, Tobias lowered him back to the table. Claire turned to retrieve the kettle of boiling water. She poured some of the water into a shallow bowl and dampened a linen cloth, gently pressing it to the man’s chest. So much blood covered his torso, it was impossible to determine the extent of his injuries. The man’s chest rose and fell in a steady rhythm. With the amount of blood he’d lost, Claire was surprised by the strength she felt beneath her hand. She’d treated many bullet wounds in her lifetime. Usually, the flesh felt like dough. His was firm beneath her touch. He’s extremely fit, she mused. He’s going to need that strength to recover from this.
   “Who’s that?” a child’s voice asked.
   “We don’t know,” Claire answered, glancing up at the small boy standing in the doorway. His dark, curly hair was plastered to his head. Mud clung to almost every part of his body. “Don’t you dare step into this cabin, James,” she warned as the boy started to step toward them. “Go get yourself cleaned up.” The boy’s features drew into a frown, but he obediently turned and left. Claire returned her attention to the man on the table.
   She counted four bullet holes; one in each shoulder, one on the right side of the chest, and one just below the ribs on the left side. Although the flow of blood had eased, it continued to ooze from the holes in his chest and abdomen. “Hold him up again, so I can see if all the bullets passed through,” she instructed.
   Tobias lifted the man’s shoulders off the table. Claire was relieved to see four holes matching the ones on the front. She nodded, and Tobias lowered the man back to the table. “Looks like this is one lucky man,” she commented. “All of the bullets passed through.”
   Tobias chuckled softly. “I’m not sure you can say a man with four bullet holes in him is lucky.”
   Claire glanced up and smiled. “I suppose you’ve got a point.” She spent the next several minutes cleaning the wounds and applying her special poultice. Then Tobias helped her place the bandages. By the time they finished, the man’s entire torso was covered with white linen. Tobias gathered him into his arms and carried him to a cot in the corner of the room.
   “Where am I gonna sleep?” James asked, stepping into the cabin and frowning at the large man in his bed.
   Claire glanced over and sighed in exasperation. Water ran from the boy in rivulets, pooling on the floor at his feet. “Go back outside until you’re dry enough not to leave a puddle in the floor.”
   “But…” James started to protest.
   “No, buts,” Claire replied sternly. “Once you’re dry enough not to drip, you can come back inside, and I’ll do my best to answer those questions you’re dying to get out.” She smiled as the boy dropped his head and shuffled back outside.
   Although she wasn’t James’ natural mother, she couldn’t love him any less. She and Tobias found him when he was only an infant. The small wagon train his family had been traveling with was attacked by a gang of outlaws, and he was the only survivor. She and Tobias were passing through a valley, when they spotted a large group of buzzards circling. Curious, they rode over to see what had attracted so many. When they arrived, they found a small circle of wagons with several dead bodies littering the ground around them. The wagons had obviously been pilfered. After spending an hour burying the dead, they were readying to leave, when they heard the sound of a baby crying. It took several minutes for them to locate the infant. He was hidden under a pile of blankets in one of the wagons. Apparently, his mother had hoped to hide him from their attackers. Claire and Tobias took the baby with them. James was now an energetic six-year-old.
~
Too damn hot, Nathan’s feverish mind kept repeating. He tore at the sheet covering his body. Pain ripped through him as he struggled to regain consciousness. The faint sound of a voice penetrated his mind. What the hell? he thought in confusion as he realized it was a female voice, and it was singing. Am I dead? He dismissed the thought immediately as he knew there was no way he’d have been allowed into heaven with the sins he’d committed, and he was pretty sure there weren’t any singing angels in hell. He gathered all the strength he had and opened one eye.
   Through his feverish haze, he saw the outline of a woman sitting in a chair beside him. It was difficult to make out her features as the only light in the room was coming from a single candle on a stand near the cot he was lying on. He blinked, trying to focus. She must have sensed he was awake, because she slid to the edge of her chair and leaned toward him. He blinked again as one side of her face came into view. She was exquisite. Her skin was so pale it was almost transparent. The candlelight danced across her high cheekbones and perfectly formed, full mouth. Then she turned fully toward him, and he sucked in an involuntary breath. The other side of her face was covered in scars that pulled at her skin, completely distorting her features.
   He saw a flicker of pain flash in her eyes before she pasted a smile on her face. “Hello,” she whispered softly. “It’s good you’re awake.”
   He didn’t reply as he watched her hand move to retrieve a cloth from a bowl at her feet. She gently pressed it to his fevered forehead. He closed his eyes as the cool cloth helped ease some of the heat raging in his body. He reopened them as she leaned to dip the cloth into the bowl again. As she repeated the process a few more times, he felt his eyes growing heavy. Moments later, he slipped back into the darkness.
~
Claire sighed with relief as the man’s eyes drifted closed, and his chest began rising and falling in the gentle rhythm of sleep. His steady gaze had caused her heart to flutter in her chest. It was intimidating to have someone stare at you in that fashion without speaking. Admiration had flashed in his eyes when he’d gotten his first look at her. It quickly turned to revulsion when she turned fully toward him. She’d grown accustomed to being rejected by people because of her scars. However, she’d never been able to harden herself enough not to feel the pain of each rejection. Tobias and James were the only people she had ever known who didn’t judge her by her scars, and because of that, she loved them with all of her heart.
   Trying to ease the ache that seeing the man’s reaction had caused, she returned to softly singing the hymns she’d grown to love as a small child. She’d been raised on a plantation in Georgia. Her parents were wealthy landowners. Before the country had been torn apart by war, they’d attended church every Sunday. From the time she was old enough to talk, she’d loved to sing. It was something she’d continued to do into her adult years. Singing brought her an inner peace she couldn’t feel doing anything else.
   She pressed the cool, damp cloth to the man’s face. She could feel the heat of his fevered flesh burning through the cloth. Although the fever had diminished, it continued to blaze within him. His return to consciousness had been a good sign, even if it had only been for a few brief moments. She found herself wondering what sort of man he was. As he slept, he looked so peaceful. Long, dark lashes framed his eyes. A thin scar ran along the right side of his strong, square jawline. During her ministrations, she’d discovered several more scars on his body. He’d obviously led a violent life. She wondered what had pushed him into such a life. She knew the war had caused many men to turn to crime. Was that what happened to this man? The holster and weapon Tobias had removed from around his waist indicated that he was a gunman for hire. Her thoughts were interrupted when the cabin door opened, and Tobias stepped inside.
   “Let me sit with him for a while, Miss Claire. You need to get some sleep.”
   She nodded. “He woke for a moment. His fever seems to have cooled some, but he’s not out of danger, yet,” she said as she stood.
   “Did he tell you who he was?” Tobias asked.
   “No. He didn’t speak,” she replied, looking down into the man’s handsome face. Then, glancing back up, she said, “I’ll see you in a few hours.”
   Tobias nodded and slid into the chair she’d just vacated. Claire walked over to the pallet of blankets where James slept. Bending down, she placed a soft kiss on his cheek. He’d been so excited by the idea of having a real-life gunfighter in their cabin. She certainly didn’t share in his enthusiasm. She only hoped that whatever trouble the man had been involved in didn’t follow him.
~
“LET GO OF ME!” a voice bellowed. Claire jerked upright and jumped out of bed. She rushed to her bedroom door and threw it open. Tobias was struggling to hold the man down on the cot. He glanced up as her door banged against the wall.
   “He started thrashing around so violently I thought he was gonna hurt himself. Is there anything you can give him?” Tobias asked in a strained voice as the man continued to fight against him.
   She nodded and rushed back into her bedroom. Grabbing one of her remedy bottles, she hurried to the man’s bedside. “Hold him steady,” she instructed.
   Tobias increased his pressure on the man’s arms. Claire grabbed his nose, forcing him to open his mouth. Then she poured a generous portion of the brown liquid down his throat. The man sputtered and coughed, then roared, “SON-OF-A-BITCH!” One of his arms slipped free of Tobias’s grip. His fist flew up and connected with the side of Claire’s face. She stumbled back, placing a hand on the injury.
   Tobias regained his grip on the man’s arm. “I’m so sorry, Miss Claire. The man’s obviously out of his head.”
   “I know, Tobias. I’ll be fine. He really didn’t hit me all that hard. He should calm down in a moment,” Claire replied. In the man’s injured state, the blow had not been too forceful. It had been more surprising than painful. In addition, Claire had spent a year on the battlefield treating wounded soldiers. She’d heard every curse word known to man. She’d grown immune to their ranting a long time ago.
   A few seconds later, the man’s body went limp. She placed her hand on his forehead and noted the fever had intensified. She felt his wrist and was relieved that his pulse continued to be steady and strong. “We’ve got to do more to get his fever down,” she commented.
   “What’s goin’ on?” James’s sleepy voice asked.
   “He’s got a bad fever. Can you go outside and help Tobias fill the horse trough with cold water?”
   James nodded and followed Tobias outside. Ten minutes later, they returned. “It’s ready,” Tobias informed her. He scooped the man into his arms and carried him outside. The trough was in the small corral behind the barn. He strode over to it and placed the man into the water he and James had carried from the creek. It was fed from an underground spring that remained cool in spite of the summer heat.
   Claire breathed a sigh of relief when the man remained unconscious. “He’ll need to stay in the trough until his skin becomes cool to the touch. Then we can carry him back inside,” she instructed. “James, why don’t you go ahead and gather some eggs for breakfast?” she suggested. “The sun’ll be up soon.”
   “Can’t I stay and watch?” he asked.
   “There’s nothing to see,” Claire said. “He’s just lying there. Now, go do as I said.”
   “All right,” James reluctantly agreed.
   Thirty minutes later, Tobias and Claire had the man’s bandages changed, and he was once again resting peacefully on James’ cot. As they sat down to eat breakfast, James asked, “What happened to your face? Why’s it all red?”
   “I had a little accident this morning, but it’s all right,” Claire replied, reaching up to touch her sore jaw.
   James glanced over at the man sleeping on the cot. “Is he gonna live, Ma?”

   She nodded. “I believe he will. He seems like a very strong and determined man.”





Tuesday, August 26, 2014

SCARRED HEARTS is now available for pre-order!

My upcoming new Romantic Western is now available for pre-order. Expected release is November 10th. Order yours today and have it delivered on November 10th!


BOOK DESCRIPTION:


Claire Montgomery is a survivor. During the War Between the States, her family’s plantation was burned to the ground, killing both her parents and leaving her scarred, both physically and emotionally. Despite facing extreme hardship, she’s grown into a compassionate woman with a heart for helping people. She lives in a small cabin with an old ex-slave and a young boy, who was the lone survivor of a wagon train attack. The three of them have formed a make-shift family that includes a one-eyed cat and a baby fox. Their world changes the day a gunfighter full of bullet holes collapses on their land. 



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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Pet Health Tip #19- Hairballs

Hairballs are caused by a cat swallowing hair when it grooms itself.  Most of the hair is passed through the intestinal tract.  However, some of the hair stays in the stomach and aggregates into a hairball.  Young kittens don’t typically have hairball issues for two reasons.  First, they don’t lose much hair when they groom, and therefore, they don’t swallow much hair.  Second, their digestive tract is more active and moves the hair through more easily.  As cats age, they tend to shed more hair; thus causing them to swallow more hair.  Also, they are unable to pass the hair through their digestive tract as efficiently.  As a consequence, the hair sits in the stomach and aggregates into a hairball.  The hairball irritates the stomach causing the cat to retch.  Typically, the cat is able to successfully rid itself of the hairball by vomiting it up.

Hairballs are a normal part of a cat’s life.  They don’t usually cause many problems, other than to the owner who has to clean up the mess.  However, on rare occasions, a hairball will sit in a cat’s stomach so long that it hardens.  This can cause blockage and can become life-threatening.  Again, this is a rare occurrence, but one to be aware of.


So, what can you do about hairballs?  There are some hairball remedy products available.  These products work by binding up the hair and increasing the digestive tract activity to aid in passing the hairball.  They work well and I recommend using them for geriatric cats who have reoccurring issues with hairballs.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

PET HEALTH TIP #18- Feline Aids

"Feline Aids" is caused by a virus; specifically, the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV).  FIV causes symptoms in cats that are very similar to the symptoms that HIV causes in people.  It basically destroys the cat's immune system, causing them to be much more susceptible to infections.  Most of the time, the first indication a cat has FIV is that it has an infection that seems to be causing the cat to be more ill than it should.  An example would be a wound that won’t heal.  Another example would be an upper respiratory infection that just won’t go away.

FIV is transmitted from cat to cat through an exchange between the saliva of an infected cat and the bloodstream of a non-infected cat.  Most typically, this is through a bite wound.  The virus then hides in the cat for up to six years before emerging and attacking the immune system.  So, there are a lot of cats who have FIV, but are not showing any symptoms.  Because it is usually transmitted through bite wounds, FIV occurs most commonly in stray cats and the occasional indoor/outdoor cat.

The most full-proof way to protect the cat from contracting FIV is to keep the cat indoors.  That way they are never exposed to cats who have FIV.  Also, since it is transmitted through a bite, if your cat is only going into its own yard, then you don't really need to worry.  However, there are vaccines available for cats who do go outside and tend to wander.

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) causes symptoms similar to FIV and is transmitted much more easily.  It can be transmitted from an infected cat's saliva to a non-infected cat through the mucus membranes (lining in the mouth, nose, and eyes).  Therefore, it can be transmitted by one cat simply hissing and spitting on another or through sharing a water dish, etc.  Therefore, if your cat is going to go outside, then I highly recommend that you have them vaccinated against FeLV.

A simple blood test is used to diagnose FIV and FeLV.  If you are going to bring a new cat into your home, I highly recommend you have her tested first.  That way you will know what you are dealing with.  Like I said, the cat can have the virus for years and not show any symptoms, so if they test positive, then you have to measure their expected life span and the risk to your other cats.


Unfortunately, there is no treatment for either virus.  However, many FeLV or FIV positive cats live long, happy lives.  If you have a cat that is positive for either virus, then it is imperative they remain indoor cats to prevent them from exposing other cats to infection.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

EVERY DAY NEEDS A DOG Audiobook is NOW AVAILABLE!!

BOOK DESCRIPTION:


When Elizabeth Fischer unexpectedly loses her job as the head of public relations at a large pharmaceutical company, she’s left with big bills and few options. She reluctantly accepts a job as the president of an animal shelter in Spring Valley, a small town twenty miles outside of the city. 

Elizabeth is a big-city girl, who has never even owned a pet. What does she know about running an animal shelter? She has no idea how much her life is about to change. 



BOOK REVIEWS:


"Pet lovers looking for a quick, well-paced, and suspenseful read will appreciate Every 
Day Needs a Dog."- Foreword Clarion Review

"Every Day Needs a Dog by Billi Tiner is the quintessential love story. It has love at first sight, heroes and villains, all the ingredients in the right mix for the perfect story."- Reviewed by Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers' Favorite



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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

PET HEALTH TIP #17- Litter Box Issues

One of the most common reasons people give away their cat is frustration with the cat’s refusal to use the litter box.  Instead of taking the cat to the veterinarian, they assume the cat has a behavioral problem and just get rid of it.  Most of these cats are wonderful animals.  They would have made great pets, if the owners had a better understanding of the underlying problems that caused the cat to refuse to use the litter box.  So, I thought I would share some tips in the hope of preventing a perfectly good cat from ending up in a shelter.

Reason #1-The most common reason a cat will refuse to use the litter box is that they have a medical issue.  This is especially true if the cat has been using the box and then suddenly stops.  There are two main underlying medical issues that will cause a cat to stop using the litter box:  

First, a bladder infection.  Cats are notorious for getting bladder infections.  Their bathroom (i.e. litter box) isn't always the cleanest place in the world.

Second, urinary crystals.  These are caused by mineral deposits that build up in the urine and then form crystals.

Both of these medical issues cause urination to be very painful for the cat.  The cat doesn't know why it hurts to urinate.  She then blames the litter box for the pain and starts trying to go other places.  To make matters worse, she feels like she has to urinate all the time, so she starts urinating everywhere.  That is the most common complaint from the owner, "She just started peeing all over the house." Please, if your cat starts doing this, take it to the vet!

Reason #2-Cats are very sensitive about where they go to the bathroom.  Think about it.  They are very vulnerable during this time.  They want to feel secure about where they are going.  A big mistake that owners make is to stick the litter box next to something that makes a loud noise (i.e. dryer or water heater).  The cat is just plain scared to urinate in those locations and will find somewhere they feel safe.

Reason #3- The number of boxes, type of box, or litter used in the box will play a big role in whether or not your cat feels comfortable using the litter box.  First, the rule of thumb for number of boxes is one for each cat plus one.  So, if you have three cats, then you should have four boxes.  This can become very inconvenient, but if you have cats that don't particularly care for each other, then the last thing they want is to smell each other’s scent while they use the litter box.

The next issue is the type of box.  Some cats like boxes with a lid and door to enter and some don't.  Finally, some cats prefer sand-like litter in their box, some prefer paper, and others like crystals.  If you want your cat to use the box, then you will have to get them the type of box they prefer and place it in an area where they can feel secure.  It's really not asking that much.  In the outdoors, they can go anywhere they choose.  You are asking them to use a particular box placed in a particular area. The least you can do is make it comfortable for them.


Reason #4- Clean the box regularly!  I can't tell you how many times I have asked the question, "How often do you clean the box?" and have been told something like, "Whenever it starts to smell bad."  Do you like to use the bathroom in a place that smells bad?  Remember, by the time it smells "bad" to you, it smells like something died in there to your cat!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

EVERY DAY NEEDS A DOG review by Foreword Clarion Reviews

Every Day Needs A Dog

http://www.amazon.com/Every-Day-Needs-Billi-Tiner-ebook/dp/B00K5A01ZE/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1405440347&sr=8-5&keywords=billi+tiner
Reviewed by 
Both a mystery and a romance, this story is perfect for pet lovers.
Every Day Needs a Dog, by Billi Tiner, is a mystery novel for animal lovers and a unique take on the romance and thriller genres, with its unorthodox setting—a busy and successful animal shelter. It’s a book that seems familiar at first, but while it gives a little too much away too soon, resulting in a climax that has a lesser impact than it could, it offers enough surprises and twists to be engaging, suspenseful, and very entertaining.
Freshly fired from a high-powered corporate gig in a big city and desperate for work, Elizabeth Fischer is recruited to become the president of small town Spring Valley’s animal shelter. While at first convinced she is out of her element, Elizabeth soon discovers an affinity for the animals and a deep respect for the staff and volunteers that make the place tick, and she must decide if that’s worth both the pay cut and the ego hit she’d have to take to stay there. Despite her better judgment, she falls for a charismatic veterinarian, but her feelings are muddled as she gradually gets to know Paul, a gruff volunteer dog walker whose fiancĂ©e recently died. Her new life is further complicated by the presence of someone she increasingly fears is a stalker, and an organized crime ring whose fighting dogs are rescued and brought to the shelter for care but who won’t let them go without a fight of their own.

While it contains both mystery and romance elements, the novel is, at its heart, a testament to the deep bonds formed between animals and their humans, and therein lies its greatest strength. Tiner, a veterinarian herself, skillfully describes the way these kinds of relationships evolve, and she gives animals, particularly the “troubled” ones, a dignified presence in the book. The book treats human foibles with similar compassion, including Elizabeth’s rush to categorize and judge the new people she meets in Spring Valley and Paul’s messy processing of his grief. Though he is perhaps given the White Knight role once or twice too often, Paul is generally an effective foil for Elizabeth, as he challenges her to identify and work on her own prejudices and to discover elements of both herself and of a more community-oriented lifestyle that she didn’t know she could enjoy.

The story’s most dramatic events sometimes suffer from too little development or from inexplicable outcomes, such as when a family whose previous pet died in their care is given another despite the patriarch violently threatening shelter workers. A key mystery is quickly explained away at the end of the book, which leaves the wrap-up feeling a little rushed compared to the well-paced unfurling of the rest of the story. And while the epilogue eventually ties things up neatly, it begins awkwardly as it veers away from narrative and into summary, explaining rather than showing the results of some of the story’s main plot points.


Pet lovers looking for a quick, well-paced, and suspenseful read will appreciate Every Day Needs a Dog.

TO LOVE A CAT is a Readers' Favorite Award Finalist!

I'm happy to announce that "To Love A Cat" was just announced as a 2014 Readers' Favorite Award Finalist!


BOOK DESCRIPTION:

From the author of “Dogs Aren’t Men” comes “To Love a Cat”, a contemporary romance novel. 

Catherine “Cat” James’ life is simple and orderly, and she likes it that way. She loves her job as an accountant. Working with numbers is safe and routine, no surprises. Her childhood had been very abusive and unstable. She vowed not to live that way as an adult. She also made a promise to herself to become a foster parent. She wished someone had been there for her as a teenager, to let her know she wasn’t alone. 

Cat agrees to foster Ethan Summers, a troubled teenage boy whose childhood closely resembles her own. Suddenly, her nice and orderly life is filled with chaos and uncertainty. Things really start to spin out of control when circumstances bring police detective Mitch Holt into the picture. He’s handsome, charming, and definitely not what Cat needs right now, or so she thinks. 




BOOK REVIEWS:


"A sexy detective, a pretty redhead, a sullen teenager in foster care and several pets with personality collide in this lighthearted romance"- Kirkus Review
 
"To Love a Cat by Billi Tiner is a story filled with intrigue, suspense, and beautiful romance. Billi Tiner created a group of characters that complement each other perfectly, coupled with a plot full of twists and turns and heart-warming moments, to bring to life a must-read story."-Reviewed by Faridah Nassozi for Readers' Favorite
 
"How the characters meet each other, and adjust makes for a wonderful read and I highly recommend it if you want to escape your reality for a while, and become entwined in the lives of these fictional folk. It highlights how critically important helping less fortunate individuals is, as well as having a stable, loving family."- Reviewed by Patricia Day for Readers' Favorite


"Billi Tiner is an amazing writer who really brought these characters to life and made the relationships realistic.Filled with touching moments that got tears streaming down my face, this was a book that I could not put down. I can't wait to read more from this author."- Reviewed by Cheryl Schopen for Readers' Favorite



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Monday, July 7, 2014

Pet Health Tip #16 Cat Declaw

One of the most difficult choices a cat owner faces is whether or not to have their cat declawed.  Here are some facts to help in making that decision:

1)  What does the surgery entail?

The claws are removed by removing the last bone in the digit.  Essentially, that would be like removing the ends of all your fingers.  So, it is not just the nail itself that is removed.  The bone has to be removed or the claw will re-grow.  Not only will the claw re-grow, but it will re-grow in an abnormal way and cause a lot of discomfort for the cat.

2)  How painful is the surgery?

This really depends on the age of the cat.  Young kittens who are declawed before they are six months old usually recover within just a few days.  After the first few days, they rarely show any signs of discomfort.  Cats who are declawed over six months of age often show signs of discomfort in their paws for several weeks.  However, there are some very good analgesics (pain medications) on the market that have significantly reduced the amount of post-surgical pain felt by these older cats.  But, if you are going to have the surgery done, the younger the cat the better.

3)  What are some alternatives?

There are several behavioral modification techniques that you can try if your kitten or cat is destroying your furniture.  First, cats do not like water or loud noises.  So, if you spray them with water or blow an air horn every time you catch them scratching something they aren't supposed to scratch, this will be a major deterrent for them.  They also tend to stay away from citrus smells.  So, you can try using lemon or orange scents on the furniture you don't want them to scratch.  Finally, they don't like the feel of plastic or aluminum foil on their paws.  So, you can put a barrier they would have to walk across to get to their favorite scratching area.

Next, you will need to give them an assortment of alternative places to scratch.  These need to be more attractive than the furniture.  Catnip works really well to attract cats to the post you want them to scratch.

Unlike most dogs, cats tend to take a toenail trims pretty well.  You can use human nail clippers to trim the cat’s nails.  Dog toenail trimmers are too big and bulky for the small cat claws.  To trim a cat's nails, press on the end of the toe and the nail pops out.  Then, you can trim off the tips.  By keeping the nails short, they will do significantly less damage when your cat does scratch.

Finally, there are products that can be glued onto your cat’s claws.  I have found these to be difficult to use.  They don't all pop off at once and so it seems to be a constant struggle to keep them on the cat’s claws.


I recommend trying all of the above alternatives before deciding to have your cat declawed; especially, if the cat is an adult.  However, I worked in an animal shelter for several years, and one of the things that caused me the biggest heartache was to see really nice cats given up for adoption because they were destroying the furniture in the house.  Many of the cats never got adopted.  So, I would definitely support having your cat declawed, if the only other alternatives are to turn her out or have her euthanized.  Most cats recover just fine from the surgery and go on to lead happy, healthy lives.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

COMING SOON! EVERY DAY NEEDS A DOG in AUDIOBOOK

I'm happy to announce that the production of the audiobook for "Every Day Needs A Dog" is well underway. Expected release August 1st!!! E-book and Paperback versions are available.


BOOK DESCRIPTION:

When Elizabeth Fischer unexpectedly loses her job as the head of public relations at a large pharmaceutical company, she’s left with big bills and few options. She reluctantly accepts a job as the president of an animal shelter in Spring Valley, a small town twenty miles outside of the city. 

Elizabeth is a big-city girl, who has never even owned a pet. What does she know about running an animal shelter? She has no idea how much her life is about to change. 

“Every Day Needs A Dog” is the third book in the Spring Valley Romance Collection. 




BOOK REVIEWS:


"Every Day Needs a Dog by Billi Tiner is the quintessential love story. It has love at first sight, heroes and villains, all the ingredients in the right mix for the perfect story."- Reviewed by Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers' Favorite



"Enjoyable and a quick read. A little romance, and a lot of enjoyable animal tales. I kept my attention and allowed me to relax and enjoy myself without having to think too much."- Amazon Reviewer


"Every day definitely does need a dog. This series is perfect for romantics and animal lovers. Throw in drama and suspense for a great read."- Amazon Reviewer


"Third in series great story line. If you love animal stories check out this series. I could not put this book down. Lots of action and some suspense."- Amazon Reviewer





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