Add Cats or Dogs or Highland Cows to Your Novel

Posted on Oct 30, 2014 by   12 Comments | Posted in Blog · Uncategorized

Highland Steer photo by Nancy Lee Badger

Highland Steer
photo by Nancy Lee Badger

by Nancy Lee Badger

As I scroll through the bookstore or shop for books on-line, I have noticed many more book covers that include an animal. There are Regency romances with little dogs sharing the cover with a gowned beauty; science fiction sporting space-traveling cats; and werewolves with…wolves. The visual effect can catch a reader’s eye, but adding animals in your storyline-whether as pets or as wild creatures-can create a whole, new level of interest for readers. Isn’t this what an author wants?

A pet, or any domesticated animal, can be easily woven into your story and might keep your readers reading. Do you realize how many pet lovers live in the United States alone? Even with America’s population of approximately 319,000,000 residents, pets outnumber children four to one. People with pets might want to read stories that include animals.

However, there are even a larger group of people who do not own pets, for whatever reason, and reading a novel that includes an animal offers them a taste of animal ownership…without the mess!

In my Scottish time travel romance, My Dark Highlander (releasing November 1st) my heroine is a veterinarian. This opened several doors for me, and I could not help including my favorite Scottish Highland cows in one of the chapters. Although they are big and hairy, who can resist a bright orange cow? They also come in red, black, and beige, but most people recognize the orange cows. Many states in America breed the Highland steer.

I did not choose to include a photo of these big animals on  the front cover of my book, but the print books will carry a photo on the back cover. I recently attended Scottish Highland games in North Carolina and took photos of the Highland steer on display. I have to assume many people have never seen

The author's muse

The author’s muse

a Highland cow, so I will include the photo on my blog and will share it on Facebook and Twitter. Hopefully, sharing this while reminding readers that my heroine is a veterinarian will gain me even more readers.

Take a chance and add an animal, as long as you make them an integral part of the plot. I was also told long ago that you should try your best never to kill a pet in your book, unless it’s a werewolf!

Book Blurb of My Dark Highlander

Stranded in 1603 Scotland, veterinarian Jenny Morgan is eager to get home to New England. Hiding her ability to read auras, a powerful witch comes to her aid. All Jenny will miss is the man who stole her heart, one dark night. 

Laird Gavin Sinclair has a missing brother, a murderous father, and a dark-eyed beauty on his mind. When Jenny returns to a dangerous future, he sets aside his obligations and searches for her at the New England Highland Games. Jealousy and lust ravage his dark soul, until he and Jenny fight evil together.

More About Nancy Lee Badger

Nancy Lee Badger loves chocolate-chip shortbread and wool plaids wrapped around the trim waist of a Scottish Highlander. Her stories tempt you with the clang of broadswords, the sound of bagpipes in the air, and possibly a dragon or two.  After growing up in Huntington, New York, and raising two handsome sons in New Hampshire, she moved to North Carolina where she writes full-time. Nancy is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, Triangle Area Freelancers, and the Celtic Heart Romance Writers.  

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12 Responses to "Add Cats or Dogs or Highland Cows to Your Novel"

  1. Comment by Riley McKissack
    October 30, 2014 7:11 pm

    I almost always include an animal in my stories, not by design but just because they seem to include themselves, somehow popping up because as you say, they are just a part of life.

  2. Comment by Leslie Nuccio
    October 30, 2014 7:23 pm

    Hi Nancy! I’m involved with Doberman rescue so of course I have 2 Dobies in my book! Part of my proceeds will benefit animal rescues.

    Love the article!

    • Comment by Nancy Lee Badger
      October 30, 2014 7:34 pm

      Awesome, Leslie! We started raising a Golden Retriever as a show dog. Ch. Del Hunts Golden Shana, CD, CDX was our first dog. Shana died long ago, but I included her as one of my heroine’s clinic patients in My Dark Highlander!

      I also have several horses in my book…characters unto themselves!

  3. Comment by Guy Ogan
    October 31, 2014 1:31 am

    I consider dogs to be “God’s gift to man to teach us about love and loyalty” so of course I’ve included them in the first and third of my “Immortal Relations” series starting with the first book, book three, “Immortal Relations Coming Out” has two dogs and a good werewolf. (-;

    • Comment by Nancy Lee Badger
      October 31, 2014 4:48 pm

      I have to admit I am a cat person. Never with out at least one in the house. I used to dog-sit my sister’s Golden retriever…a real sweet dog. Growing up, a neighbor owned horses and he allowed the neighborhood kids to visit and ride them. Thanks for leaving a comment!

  4. Comment by Kelly Ann Scott
    November 5, 2014 8:45 pm

    Hello Nancy.

    Great topic. I’ve included a cat (kitten) in my novel, but his part is really small and I’m now pondering on how to make him more prominent; he does save a secondary character!

    BTW, how do you recognize an author’s cat? He sits or lies on the author’s notes……….. Yours is ex-act-ly like mine on that matter! 🙂

    Kelly Ann

    • Comment by Nancy Lee Badger
      November 6, 2014 9:28 am

      Blaze is my constant companion, and loves to sleep in what ever room I work in. In the dining room, when I need to lay out papers, he either lays on them or sleeps in a huge basket in the corner.

      I love horses but cannot own one, so I use them in some of my books. Two play an important if hilarious roll in My dark Highlander. Thanks for commenting!

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