Take Me to the Zoo

Confession: I LOVE the zoo. Pretty much any zoo. It doesn’t have to be the Audubon Zoo or the San Diego Zoo. When I was a child the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo opened in Monroe, Louisiana. What a joy and a source of instant entertainment. I spent one day this week there and was flooded with memories.

Through the years I’ve seen some impressive animals at some awesome zoos—London Zoo, Memphis Zoo, Chicago Zoo, and Central Park Zoo. I always love the smaller ones. A recent one is the zoo in Lafayette, Louisiana.

During the pandemic, I’ve noticed the zoos have been able to spend time and resources on the grounds as they cared for the animals. I support their efforts and continued desire to make the habitats conducive to a productive lifestyle for the animals. My heart and sentiments realize the wild is where they should be. But the reality is for some reason they reside in the zoos where many of them have been born and raised.

Bravo for the zoos that strive to recreate a natural environment for our animal friends.

What is your favorite animal (wild)? I love the llama and the sloth.

Pets in Novels

Simba and Scout

Confession: I am a cat lady—not the cat lady—but a lover of cats. I love their antics, aloofness, entitlement, purring, sparring, hissing, personalities, independence, oddities, and beauty. Ant that does not cover it all. Yet, I only have two cats—rescues from a wandering, pregnant stray.

Do you enjoy pets or animals in your reading material? I do, not just in passing but ones who are included in the drama of characters’ lives. Dogs, cats, horses, rabbits—exotic or ordinary. I tend to write them into existence in my novels.


Here is an example. In Hold Me Close—Book One in Revolutionary Faith—I introduce Cleo, a lively, comforting companion cat belonging to Elizabeth. She makes appearances throughout the five books. The real Cleo accompanied me on my writing journey, coaxing me to abandon my computer or writing pad when she needed attention, offering me glimpses into her realm, and coercing me to take time to enjoy the small things—a chocolate treat, a cup of tea, a reading break, a perch on the porch. Although she has passed on, her memory is forever captured in my books.

Tully and Simba

I now have a rescue puppy (14 months old, 62 pounds), Tully. I AM NOT a dog person, but I’m now a TULLY mom. I even have the shirt “Dog Mom.” I love him greatly. I had never written a dog into my novels until I had to include a few King Charles spaniels in my novel set in 1660 Hampton Court, England. Charles II’s dogs followed him from court to court. How could I not feature a pup or two? I will admit, the majority of animals I use are cats. Yet, as a dog mom, I now see the advantage of having a loyal, devoted, curious dog as a major character companion. I’ll see if I can give dog lovers a fictional dog to love.

I’m sending a huge “thank you” to authors who include animals in their novels. The creatures come in all forms. Which do you prefer—exotic or ordinary? Dog, cat, or weasel? Perhaps a mouse or a horse. Let me know as I prepare to write my next novel. I’m stumped about how to include a llama or a monkey!

Review and Giveaway Mishaps off the Mainland


About the Book

Book:  Mishaps off the Mainland

Author: Tabitha Bouldin

Genre:  Christian fiction, contemporary romance

Release Date:  November 24, 2020

BOULDIN-Mishaps Off the Mainland

All Mel wants is to run the business of her dreams.

Melody Carmichael’s mobile pet grooming business might sink before it can sail when a favorite pet escapes her care. Doggie escape-artist, Daphne, got a taste of freedom, and the Afghan hound refuses to be found.

Enter Zeke Solomon. Desperate to bring the dog home for his grandmother, Zeke steps in to save the day.

And working together with Zeke would be a snap—if he would just stop blaming Mel for Daphne making a break for it.

Zeke is desperate to prove himself worthy of the Solomon name and step out from his father’s shadow. With his father breathing down his neck and demanding he return to the company business, Zeke must decide whether confronting the man he admires most is worth the risk of alienation.

Everything’s falling apart, and Mel’s dream transforms into a nightmare. She thought this was what God wanted for her life, but can you blame her for second-guessing everything?

Was it all just a mistake?

Mishaps off the Mainland is the fifth “Merriweather book” in a new series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

The Independence Island Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

Click here to get your copy!

My review

Oh, how I love this island series. Each book is like another season of a favorite show. Onward with the life of a pet groomer—might I say a struggling business with a series of mishaps.

A star of the novel is a runaway dog—an escapee. She ties, and tries, the lives together of many characters as she remains elusive. I can relate as a recent rescue dog owner. My Tully is a puppy, a rather large puppy, begging to be set free to roam. I never intended to have a dog, but I think God had another idea. I rescue cats too. My latest was a mama-to-be cat who gave us six babies—we kept two.

As the heroine Mel explores her options as a groom, she continues to rescue, love, and foster animals. She is an inspiration for us all. If you like animals, this tale is relatable. Sometimes animal lovers do crazy things for the good of the furry “beasts.” Live, laugh, and wander the islands with Mel, Zeke, and the escapee.

About the Author

Tabitha Bouldin

Tabitha Bouldin is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and an avid reader. When she’s not busy homeschooling her two boys, you’ll find her buried in a book.

More from Tabitha

Why mobile pet grooming?

I get this question a lot when I bring up Mishaps off the Mainland.

I mean, I could have chosen any occupation as long as it could be mobile. Anything from a mobile doctor office to a bug specialist. The world was wide open for ideas.

After just completing a rather serious series, I wanted to write something lighter, funnier, but with that same depth and heart that I love to read. I also needed something that fit my character, and Mel had some pretty strong opinions right out of the gate.

You see, Mel is one of those characters who spoke to me right away. She loves animals. All animals but especially dogs. They’re her happy place. Mel is also a giver. She will drop everything to help someone else.

When I asked her what her dream job would be, she answered me faster than any character ever has. Pet groomer! (Yes, I talk to my characters.)

And I thought, why not a mobile pet groomer? She gets to spend all her time with animals (which is a bonus for me as the author), and Mel’s character traits can shine through her actions and reveal her giving heart.

Once the job was decided, I knew there needed to be some drama. What would be the underlying fear of a pet groomer? I didn’t want to injure an animal, so I went for what felt like second most traumatic, an escaped animal.

While Daphne’s escape is serious and causes Mel no end of sleepless nights, it also provides some comedic relief for Mel and Zeke while they work through their own personal battles. I like to think of Mishaps off the Mainland as a mixture of quirky fun and serious truth. The story was a joy to write, and I hope you fall in love with Mel and Zeke.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 18

Livin’ Lit, December 18

Texas Book-aholic, December 19

21st Century Keeper at Home, December 19

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, December 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 20

Connect in Fiction, December 20

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 21

deb’s Book Review, December 21

Inklings and notions, December 22

The Collaborative Press, December 22

For Him and My Family, December 23

lakesidelivingsite, December 23

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, December 23

Joanne Markey, December 24

Reviewingbooksplusmore, December 24

Batya’s Bits, December 25

Daysong Reflections, December 25

She Lives To Read, December 26

Rebekah Reads, December 26

Splashes of Joy, December 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 27

Blossoms and Blessings, December 27

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, December 28

Captive Dreams Window, December 28

Artistic Nobody, December 29 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Simple Harvest Reads, December 29 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Aryn the Libraryan, December 30

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, December 30

Ashley’s Bookshelf, December 30

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 31

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 31


To celebrate her tour, Tabitha is giving away the grand prize package a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


I look forward to your comments. What animals do you like as pets or just because?