EXCLUSIVE SNEAK PEEK: Tatum Comes Home Cover Reveal and Excerpt!

If you’re anything like us here at Modern Dog, you’ve probably experienced what it’s like to look up from your screen and realize you just spent multiple hours surfing funny videos of animals being adorable online. If so, you might already be familiar with Tatum from @hi.this.is.tatum, a lovable rust-coloured rescue dog with a hatred of leaf blowers, eternal passion for pizza, and the gumption to always speak his mind.

Whether or not you’re already a fan of Tatum’s comical shenanigans, everyone who loves to curl up with a humorous, heartfelt story about the love of dogs is in for a treat when Tatum Comes Home hits bookstores on October 24, 2023. This feel-good, hilarious novel casts the very real Tatum from @hi.this.is.tatum in a fictional story about a irrepressible, junk food-loving dog who must find his way home after accidentally hitching a ride in a stranger’s pickup truck.

We’ll to wait another seven months before Tatum Comes Home goes on sale, but here at Modern Dog we have the exclusive honour of hosting the world premiere of the cover art for Tatum Comes Home along with a sneak peek excerpt!

How charming does Tatum look, wearing one of his fancy bow ties and smiling from the cover there?

While Tatum Comes Home is a novel and the plot isn’t based on true events, you can see on the cover that Tatum (with some help from his human mom and dad of course!) co-pawthored the book along with novelist Mica Stone. The result is a heartwarming, page-turning adventure starring a fictional Tatum who shares the same quirky personality and hilarious voice as real Tatum.

And the good news keeps coming, because Tatum Comes Home will be followed by future novels in The Dog Agency Series, each one starring a real-life celebrity pet represented by The Dog Agency, the premier talent agency for the internet’s most famous animals.

Tatum Comes Home comes out October 24, 2023, but you can preorder your copy today on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, your local independent bookstore, or anywhere else books are sold.

In the meantime, enjoy this exclusive sneak peek excerpt from Chapter 16 of Tatum Comes Home!

Dear vacation diary. Cheryl is taking me for the longest walk I have ever been on, and there is more smells than I can count, pwobably like 10.  Fwank is walkin wif us, he knows the new food on vacation rule so he done dis before.

                                                                          –From Tatum’s Diary

They continued to walk, covering another mile, then another, Tatum staying close to Cheryl’s side, stepping off the trail to sniff the ground every so often. Once in a while, his ears shot up and he darted forward. The rope brought him back. She wished she could let him go. She couldn’t even imagine how much fun he’d have out here—and how much trouble he’d find.

“Want me to hold onto him for a while?” Frank asked the next time she had to urge Tatum back in line. “He seems comfortable enough with me.”

“That would be great, thanks.” She passed him the rope and moved behind him to the far side of the trail. “I think he’d be okay if I let him go, but I’d feel terrible if I lost him. I mean, he could be missing medication. Or be on a special diet. Who knows?” And there she went, imagining the worst, just like her mother. She filed that away and said, “I just want to get him to a vet ASAP and hope he’s chipped so he can get home.”

“I guess he’s on his own incredible journey,” Frank said, then after that had settled, he added, “I guess everyone out here is on a journey of some sort. Especially those of us hiking solo. Nowhere to go but forward, driven by our thoughts.”

That was pretty deep, Cheryl mused, thinking how she’d considered going back but had kept pressing on. “Is that what you’re doing?” she asked after a silent moment passed. She thought about the book, recalled  the movie of the same title. “Trying to find your way home?”

“In a manner of speaking, yeah. I guess.” He shrugged. “Hard to explain.”

She was curious but didn’t push. She just let him and Tatum get used to walking together. They continued on, a trio of well-matched hikers, returning to their lives. She looked at Tatum, wondering what went through a dog’s mind, if he lived in the moment or remembered the past. If he looked forward to the future. Or if he was just focused on survival.

She wondered, too, if that’s what Frank had meant. That hiking and camping weren’t just about surviving life in the wild, but getting to the other side of whatever brought them out here.

They covered another half mile in comfortable silence. Most of the morning dew had burned off and the trees provided a much welcome shade when they moved out ofinto the trail’s open sections.

“How long does it take you to make the loop?” Frank asked.

“Most of the time I spend the whole weekend. I only work half days on Fridays so I’ll trek in as far as I can and camp Friday and Saturday nights. Then I’ll head home late Sunday. It’s a great way to spend my free time.” Frank glanced over, his expression amused. “What?”

“Not sure I’ve ever run across anyone who felt that way. Most of my friends can’t wait to go out. Clubs, movies, dinner that costs more than I spend in a week on groceries.”

“I like doing all of those things. Except the spending money part,” she said, ducking a low-hanging branch. “But I prefer the quiet and the solitude. I like to think. And to read.”

“Now you’re singing my song.”

“It’s funny but I rarely have anyone to talk to about what I’m reading unless the book’s been made into a streaming series. Or hit one of the celebrity book clubs.”

“You don’t belong to a local one? Glass of wine and appetizers before the host’s home-cooked meal and a dissection of the main character’s choices?”

Cheryl laughed. “I should find one of those. I need more home-cooked meals.”

“I can probably help with that,” Frank said and intrigued, Cheryl glanced over. “The book club part. Not the cooking. I don’t really cook. But I do own a bookstore.”

“Are you kidding me? That’s like my dream career,” she said, then grimaced with the reality. “Or it would be if I could make a living at it. Every time I turn around, one of my favorites is closing. Browsing virtual shelves isn’t half as much fun.”

“I’m lucky. It belonged to my parents, and they left me set. I do turn a profit, but it’s not a livable one. Fortunately, I don’t need it to be.”

“Where’s your store? I need to visit,” Cheryl said, keeping an eye on Tatum as they continued to walk. He was having what looked like the time of his life, pushing the boundaries of his rope as far as he could. He had to be anxious to get home.

Frank’s store was in the township just east of Mayville. “It’s on the corner of Coastal and Spruce.”

“I know exactly where that is. Don’t be surprised if I show up one day.”

“Let me know when you’re coming and I’ll pay someone to cook for us both.”


Tatum liked Frank, the really tall man who was talking to the nice lady. Her name, he now knew, was Cheryl. He had a kind voice and he laughed a lot like Tatum’s dad. Tatum did wish they’d let him run off into the trees because he smelled so many new things he needed to check into. It was hard to know if they were friends or enemies from so far away.

He wanted to find out where they came from, all those smells. When Cheryl and Frank got him back home, he was going to make sure his mum went on more hikes. He wished she knew about this place so she could bring him back here. Maybe he could find it again and bring her.

Hiking was fun, but he was getting pretty tired. And he was thirsty. His leg was bothering him too. It didn’t really hurt, but he thought resting it sounded like a good idea. His dad and mum had taught him about resting. It was one of his favorite things to do after playing in the backyard. And after breakfast. And almost all the time he wasn’t playing or eating or asleep.

He moved closer to the trail, listening to Frank and Cheryl talk. They really liked to talk a lot. More than his mum and dad talked, he thought, but he probably slept through a lot of that.

Finally, Frank noticed that Tatum wasn’t walking as fast as he had been, mostly because of his leg but really it was time to rest. “Do you think we should give Tatum a break? He may be ready for some water.”

“Yeah. I could use a bit of lunch myself.”

“What’ve you been feeding him?”

“Jerky, peanut butter, dried fruit. I’ve got enough to get us through tonight, but I don’t want to stop for too long since I’m going to run out of food after we eat in the morning.”

“I can help with that,” Frank said. “I was going to take the Michaud back so I packed enough for that, but it can wait.”

“You don’t have to cancel your plans for us,” Cheryl said, but Tatum wanted Frank to stay with them. He wanted to know what kind of food Frank had in his pack. “I’d be happy to pay you for anything you can spare to see us through.”

“Not a chance. It’s just another twenty-four hours, but you might need help.”

“Well I appreciate it. We both do. And yeah. I’d feel a lot better having the backup.”

“Then it’s settled,” Frank said, and Tatum yipped, causing both human friends to laugh.

Maybe Frank had pot roast and gravy. Tatum had decided that was his new favorite thing to eat. He would have to tell his mum to cook it all the time. He knew his dad would agree.

They always agreed about food, even if his dad didn’t share his pizzas.

See the exclusive book cover of STAY CALM AND COLLIE ON here, for the first time ever!

In the first Pet Palace Mystery, Stay Calm and Collie On, Lane Stone introduces Sue Patrick and Lady Anthea, two friends and co-owners of an upscale doggie resort. The very British and proper lover-of-fine arts Lady Anthea and the all-American Elvis fan Sue Patrick couldn’t be more different from one another, but they work well together because of their differences rather than in spite of them. And it’s a good thing they do because they suddenly find themselves having to add “murder sleuths” to their resumes when the driver of their pet limo is found killed. Now they have to get to the bottom of his murder not only to save the reputation of the Buckingham Pet Palace – but also their lives!

Now, without further ado, we are pleased to present the adorable cover of Stay Calm and Collie On!

Stay Calm and Collie On by Lane Stone, $3.99, everywhere eBooks are sold! 


Buckingham Pet Palace is known for treating dogs like royalty—until their chauffeur’s murder dethrones its good reputation!

As owner of an upscale doggy daycare and spa, animal-lover Sue Patrick pampers pooches for the most elite clients in Lewes, Delaware. Surely she can survive a weeklong visit from Lady Anthea Fitzwalter, her well-to-do business partner from England. But before Sue can serve her guest a spot of tea, she discovers more-than-a-spot of blood inside the company van—and all over the driver’s dead body . . .

Someone abandoned the van full of dogs at the Lewes ferry terminal and got away with murder, leaving Sue and Lady Anthea pawing for clues. With a fundraising gala approaching and Buckingham Pet Palace facing scandal, can two very different women work together to fetch the culprit from a list of dodgy suspects—or are they heading toward a proper disaster?

If the cover and synopsis wasn't enough to hook you, keep reading for an excerpt from the book below! Though you'll have to wait until November 11, 2017 for the book's release, you can start falling in love with the characters right now.


Chapter 1

“Sue! Hi!” My customer gave the Buckingham Pet Palace lobby a furtive once-over. “Is she here?”

No need to say who she was.

I propped my elbows on the reception counter and lowered my voice like I was about to reveal news to her and her alone, secrets people would kill for. “Her flight from Heathrow landed on time. She flew into Dulles. The driver called me from there and then again when they crossed the Bay Bridge.” I was happy to indulge her curiosity with minute details; after all, I had worked long and hard to get everyone in Lewes, Delaware talking about Lady Anthea Fitzwalter. The whole town seemed to be looking forward to the first visit of our very own royal personage.

“Good afternoon, Lydia.” My head groomer, Mason, joined us, leading a geriatric beagle. He handed our customer the leash, then pivoted to giveme a tired, put-upon nod.

“Thanks for fitting us in. I wanted Loopy to look his best for Friday’s gala.”

Mason turned back to her and managed a weak smile. I telepathically dared him to point out that the beagle looked pretty much the same after a groom as before, the exception being the Union Jack bandana Loopy now wore. Though only in his mid-twenties, Mason was one of the best dog groomers in Delaware. This particular dog had hardly been a challenge, still I complimented him on a job well done. But received no acknowledgment.

“You look tired,” she cooed. Bingo! That’s what Mason was longing to hear.

“Exhausted. You have no idea.” Mason reached a toned and heavily tattooed arm down to give Loopy one final behind-the-ear scratch, then dragged himself away, calling over his shoulder, “I did teeth and glands.”

She turned back to me. “Sue, is he okay?”

“He’s loving every minute of it.” Mason’s hangdog expression hadn’t fooled me at all. He tells me weekly that he’s an artist. On Saturday he told me he was suffering for his art. I slid Lydia’s credit card slip across the counter and showed her where to sign. “Both of my groomers are booked solid getting all the dogs ready for the gala.” Abby, my standard Schnauzer, still needed to be groomed. It was only Monday, so I wasn’t worried. I discreetely tucked the receipt into a cellophane bag along with a gluten-free dog treat in the shape of a blow-dryer.

She patted her shoulder bag. “I have my invitation right here. Engraved, even. Oh, my. Very nice.” She paused in her quick sentences. “Might wesee Lady Fitzwalter during the week here?”

“Oh, yes. She’ll be in and out all week. Drop by anytime for tea.” I pointed to the table of Twinings tea and Wedgwood mugs, which we have out every day. Our usual fare of Walkers shortbread had been replaced by the more labor-intensive clotted cream and scones. Of course, the Savannah Road Bake Shop had done the heavy lifting in baking the pastries. I’d purchased the clotted cream from a British specialty grocer in Wilmington. Though Walkers sported the coat of arms and the words, By Appointment HM the Queen, showing their Royal Warrant status, I wanted something special for my co-owner’s visit.

Our contract allowed Buckingham Pet Palace to use her likeness and her name, but Lady Anthea had gone above and beyond that with her frequent emails, sometimes asking astute business questions, sometimes attaching photos for me to use. I appreciated all she’d done to make the Pet Palace a success and I wanted her to know it.

The front door opened and my afternoon receptionist floated in. Dana would be starting her senior year at Cape Henlopen High School next month. She has the biggest afro in the history of the world. My blond hair is cut short, so balance was maintained in the hair universe.

“Hi, Dana,” Lydia and I said at the same time.

“Hey!” She and her hair leaned over to pet Loopy. She’s truly beautiful—not pretty, not attractive—but beautiful. She takes advantage of our relative proximity to Manhattan to model part-time. I wondered how many hours she would be able to work at Buckingham’s in the fall and how much time she’d spend in New York, beefing up her college fund.

Loopy lay down and rolled over on his back. A blatant appeal for a belly rub from Dana. Lydia shook her head. “None of that, young man. They have a party to put on,” she said, giving the leash a slight tug. The dog reluctantly accepted defeat and stood. “See you Friday,” she called on their way out.



Lane Stone is the author of the Pet Palace Mystery series and the Tiara Investigations Mysteries.  A native of Atlanta, she, her husband, and their schnauzer, Abby, now divide their time between Sugar Hill, GA and Alexandria, VA. When not writing, she volunteers for A Forever Home, a dog foster organization, and handles communications for the Delaware River & Bay Lighthouse Foundation.

Please visit Lane Stone online at www.LaneStoneBooks.com

Lane and her dog, Abby, can be found on Twitter @TheMenopauseDog and Facebook


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