It didn’t take long for my kids to realize their mom was NOT like other moms, because their mom liked to unwind by playing video games. My son can still remember when he was a little boy, watching me play Halo with the guys (and losing, except the brief moments I was able to commandeer a tank). My girls would recall how I worked my way through puzzles in various Tomb Raider games, and my youngest now (she’s five!) sees me playing video games in my free time, too.
WHY would I play video games to unwind, you might ask? A couple of reasons spring to mind. When I was younger, my brothers and I would spend hours trying to beat Zork and Zelda games. It was quality time, staying up past our bedtime, trying to figure out puzzles. Now that I’m older (and a mom and author), I don’t have as much time to play puzzle games, so I enjoy games I can pop into and play a round or three, then pop back out of (such as Black Ops). Besides bringing back a sense of nostalgia, video games help me disconnect my ever-whirring author brain. I can step OUT of my fictional worlds, away from my made-up characters (who, let’s face it, reside in my head), and focus on beating an enemy, with or without online teammates. I’ve found it’s impossible to brainstorm while I’m gaming. 😉
Of course, my love of gaming worked its way into my mystery series, as well. Belinda Blake (of the Exotic Pet-Sitter series with Lyrical Press) doesn’t just sit exotic pets (a ball python, wolves, and homing pigeons, to name a few), but she also does video game reviews on the side. NO, Belinda is NOT me—she happens to be an excellent gamer girl. I’d never claim to be amazing (just ask my son, who was BEATING me at Halo before he even hit ten years old).
If you are a video gamer, you’ll probably enjoy the retro game references in the Exotic Pet-Sitter series, and if you aren’t, you’ll still get a clearer view of what makes a gamer girl tick. Regardless, you’ll get up close and personal with exotic pets and hang out with Belinda as she comes face to face with killers who are as well-hidden as snakes in the grass.
Heather Day Gilbert, an ECPA Christy award finalist and Grace award winner, writes contemporary mysteries and Viking historicals. Her novels feature small towns, family relationships, and women who aren’t afraid to protect those they love. Like Belinda Blake, Heather plays video games, although so far she hasn’t done any exotic pet-sitting or hunted any murderers. Find out more on HeatherDayGilbert.com.
Exotic pet-sitter Belinda Blake is nervous about her new job at the White Pine Wolf Preserve, but it turns out that the care and feeding of wild carnivores may be the least dangerous part of the gig . . .
Pet-sitter Belinda Blake is no stranger to dealing with wild animals, but she’s wary when the owner of the Greenwich, Connecticut, preserve asks her to help out with her “fluffy darlings.” Her caution seems justified on her very first day, when she discovers a tour guide—dead, bloodied, and surrounded by wolves in the enclosure.
Was it death by predator or something more sinister? The body count rises, but something’s not adding up. As she gets to know the rescued wolves and wolf-dog hybrids better, Belinda realizes that her human colleagues are not above suspicion. With help from her own “pack”—her pregnant sister, Red the chauffeur/bodyguard, and hunky farmer Jonas—Belinda is hot on the killer’s tail, but if she doesn’t find him soon, he’ll do more than muzzle her to keep the truth from escaping.
Praise for Belinda Blake and The Snake in the Grass
“A humorous series debut with exotic pets and a zany cast of characters. Gilbert’s cozy will make you smile.” —Amanda Flower, USA Today bestselling author of Premeditated Peppermint
“Cozy fans will root for pet-sitter Belinda Blake as she unravels this cleverly-crafted mystery in a delightfully-deadly new series by Heather Day Gilbert.” —Elizabeth Spann Craig, author of the bestselling Myrtle Clover Mysteries