Saturday, March 1, 2014


My Fur-Babies Made Me an Author
By Victoria Roder

My husband Ron and I heard about a beautiful black and tan Husky that was hit by a car and left for dead. Ron crawled under a porch of a man that was trying to feed the injured puppy chicken bones to kill him. Although he wasn’t our dog, we just couldn’t let the little guy suffer. We believed the vet would put the injured dog to sleep, but to our surprise, the vet said, other than his injuries the stray was a healthy four-month-old puppy. The veterinarian amputated his back leg and tail, and the day after his surgery, Rocky walked out of the veterinarian’s office and into our hearts.

After our senior dog Rigs passed away, Rocky had the worst, most expensive separation anxiety ever recorded. We called him Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. We thought a friend might help his stress level and we brought home a German Shepherd puppy. From day one our Rocky and Tucker were inseparable. One day when Tucker was a little over a year old, while my husband and I worked in the yard, the two friends frolicked. I glanced to the spot where the dogs had been playing and I didn’t see them. I called to them and only a shaking Rocky returned.

We walked the cornfields calling for Tucker, we checked the highway, and drove the streets of our town to no avail. As evening fell, I couldn’t suppress the fear churning like a cement mixer in my stomach. For several days I searched the streets, called the local shelters and the police and as darkness surrounded us on the third day, my hopes of ever seeing Tucker again began to dwindle.

Four days after his disappearance, my husband was working and I decided to drive the long way home from church, a way I never choose because I’m always in a hurry. I scanned the fields and on the outskirts of town, five miles from home, stood a muddy, soaked, thinner German Shepherd Dog. I questioned my eyesight. Was it possible the mangy dog in the field was our Tucker?

I stopped the car in the middle of the road, opened the door, and hopped out. Before I could even call his name, Tucker locked eyes with me and began sprinting toward the road where I stood. I heard tires approaching over the asphalt, turning I held my hand out to signal to the approaching car to stop. I glanced ahead at my own car and realized, in my excitement, I never put the vehicle in park. It was slowly creeping down the road without us! Rushing to the car with the door still open, Tucker dashed past me and jumped inside. Scooting one leg inside, I hopped along beside my rolling car and finally scooted into the driver’s seat and couldn’t wait to get home.

I wrote an article about our three-legged Husky, called Rocky The Survivor and an article about our missing Shepherd entitled Tucker. Both articles appeared in The Farm Dog Hero section of FarmLife magazine. All it took was seeing my words and name in print and I was hooked.  I decided my writing goal would be to have something published, in print, which would memorialize each of my pets for all of eternity.  Not an easy goal when you realize I have dogs, cats and lizards to write about. Through magazine articles, novels, and children’s books I am well on my way to reach my goal of memorializing my pets. You already know that my dogs Rocky and Tucker both appeared in FarmLife magazine.  Tucker also stars as a service dog in my latest novel, The Haunting of Ingersull Penitentiary.  My cat Baby and my sister’s dog Teddy appear in my action thriller Bolt Action.  My cat Zues made his debut in my middle grade adventure The Curse of King Ramesses II from Wild Child Publishing. Rocky, Rigs and my black lab, Molly are sled dog racers in my middle grade adventure Sled Dog Tales and my current middle grade work in progress features my Blue-tongued Skink, Slippery. I ran out of pets, so my picture book An Important Job to Do: A Noah’s Ark Tale spotlights a variety of animals called to the ark by Noah and my picture book What if a Zebra had Triangles? is a twist on the creation of animals that luckily wasn’t created by me.

I believe animals enrich our lives and love us unconditionally.  Think about this, if you locked your husband and your dog in your trunk for five minutes, which one will be happy to see you when you open the trunk?

I’d love to have you visit or contact me at

Converting the former federal prison Ingersull Penitentiary, into The Big House Inn swallowed Hailey Price’s inheritance from her murdered mother and deceased father’s estate. But, with any luck, the rumors of the federal complex being haunted will boost interest of the Inn. The abandoned Penitentiary, cursed by a witch, is in a constant battle of good versus evil, an eternal struggle for the souls that enter the complex.

The residual haunts are the least of the frightening occurrences at the Inn. An electrical storm traps the visitors with a possessed Ouija board and the spirit of a condemned witch and an ancient curse. It might be Heaven checking into The Big House Inn, but it’s Hell checking out.

Available for purchase:
Turning toward the desk, her heart jumped in her chest. Upon it sat an Ouija game board which she would swear had not been there a moment ago. Holding her breath she closed her eyes for a second. Slowly opening them didn’t change the fact. The game remained perched on the desk.
Talking out loud calmed her shaking hands. “I just overlooked it when I walked in.” We signed papers on that desk. I would have seen it.  No. No it had to be there the whole time. The dumb game was there the whole time. Shake it off.
She glanced at the framed pictures of former wardens lining the far wall. The portrait representing 1963 to 1972 caught her attention. It was the only photograph of a warden pictured with his wife. Through her research, Hailey discovered that Maryann Armstrong was a direct descendent of Jonat Ingersull, the man the penitentiary was named after.
“Charles and Maryann Armstrong. Oh, so serious. They don’t look very happily ever after. At least I’m not the only one that didn’t get the fairytale.”
Turning from the portraits she made her way to the registration desk. Picking up the Ouija game, she opened the drawer. Tossing it inside, she slammed the drawer shut.
“There. I hate those creepy games.” 
A dark shadow darted past. A cold shiver rocked her body. Jerking her head, she followed the dark mass’s movement. It disappeared.
What-Where did…? Overactive Imagination? Or were the rumors about Ingersull Penitentiary true?
 Author Bio:
  Born and raised in Wisconsin I currently reside in Spencer, Wisconsin with my husband Ron, and our pets.  Rocky a three-legged Husky, Tucker a German Shepherd dog, Molly a black lab, two cats Baby and Zeus, and a Blue Tongued Skink named Slippery.  We have three grown sons that we are proud of.  Each one making their own way in the world. 

     My mom is the one that always told me I was creative and should write books.  Either I should thank her for this crazy life of a writer, or blame her.  A story about my childhood was included in A Cup of Comfort for Adoptive Families.  
     The Dream House began as a reccurring dream, so now I keep a notebook, flashlight, and pen beside the bed.  You never know when an idea will present itself.  My sister, Tammy told me to write the reoccuring dream down and it became a novel.  Read the story of a kidney donation between my sister and I, featured in Chicken Soup for the Coffee Lover's Soul.

       I am a member of Wisconsin Writer's Association and Wisconsin Sister's in Crime.


  1. What a great story about your dogs. They sure do fill out our lives

  2. Melissa's blog is the perfect place for me to visit. I love talking about my fur-babies!

    1. Thanks Victoria! :-)

      Welcome and thank you for taking part in my blog series on pets. Man, your story had my heart in my throat. I was sure he was going to get hit by the car. I'm so glad Tucker made it home safe.

      Your cover is scaring me too. *G*

    2. Thank you, Melissa and I'm so thrilled to be a part of your blog. I love to talk about my fur-babies. My husband rescued a kitten, almost dead, on the road last week. Took her to the vet, lots of meds, but on the mend to recovery we hope. Another story for another day!

  3. Love your story of the dogs. Ours escaped last night through a hole in the fence. Fortunately, all our neighbours know our dog and so alerted us. We caught the pup and brought him back in the house.

  4. What a relief, Suzanne! Missing pet posters always breaks my heart

  5. Thanks for stopping in Amber. My German Shepherd Dog, Tucker passed
    away about a month after Haunting of Ingersull Penitentiary was released. I miss him terribly but am so glad he'll always be remembered.

  6. Hi Vicki: I couldn't imagine life without dogs. Nova is my girl and she definitely rules the house.

  7. What a great pet story. Beautiful dogs, too. Your excerpt gave me a chill. :)

  8. My husband and I always have to make sure we are not gone too long because our Beagle, Tia might get upset,or that's what we tell ourselves.Our whole lives revolve around her.We even tell her we will bring her a treat .

    I have read the book and when I started reading, it scared me that I could only read it during the day.

  9. You write one heckuva dog story, Vicki -- I loves me them critters. Few subjects appeal to more readers (and listeners, for the storytellers amongst us) as animals. I'm sure your menagerie is only too happy to provide a plethora of ideas for you to write about (g).