Mommy Blogs?

As (sadly) traditional media are diluted by their own numbers, syndicated programming, and various sources on the internet, I’m getting out of my comfort zone. I know how to pitch a radio news director for a story or interview that would incidentally promote my book. But I’m still feeling my way with bloggers. Unlike broadcasters, some bloggers don’t have the strict firewall between sales and news. The ethical ones at least identify sponsored posts but it’s been interesting. One blog wanted $600 to post a story that would benefit them, and incidentally promote my book. Um, no.

Planning a day hike this summer with your family? Check out five things you need to stay safe while hiking, from a SAR expert!Others have been incredibly gracious. Such was the case with Nikki at She told me what fit her genre, I produced it, and she published it. I’m looking forward to hearing that it worked for her as well as for me. I provided (I hope) good information, and in return she let me publicize my book. That works for both of us.

It’s a nice blog all around, and especially for Moms with kids. I’d encourage a visit.

Live Find Dog? Or Cadaver Dog?

The decision of when to call off a search is difficult, but has to be made when Incident Commanders have exhausted all their resources and options. IC’s tell the families first, then make the appropriate public announcements explaining their reasons. They usually spend several sleepless nights after, second guessing their own decision.

An equally difficult but behind-the-scenes decision comes in deciding what kind of dogs to deploy during a search. As SAR members start to field “cadaver only” dogs that don’t search for live people, Incident Commanders are faced with an overt decision to switch from dogs that find live people to dogs that find human remains.

And then, along comes a search in Japan, where a little boy is found alive more than a week after he was reported missing.

LINK: CNN Reports Japanese Boy Found Alive a Week After Disappearing.

Human beings are resilient and can survive much longer than common sense and previous experience would indicate. This wonderful trait only complicates things for the already-complicated job of being an Incident commander.

About the only thing you can say is Never Give Up.

# # #

News Release – Rookie Author Releases Books for Children and Adults Simultaneously

Sierra-125  News Release – Callout Press  PO Box 250, Olalla, WA 98359 (844) 344-4374


June 2, 2016

Contact: Robert D. Calkins, Author, (844) 344-4374


(Olalla, WA) – Rookie author Robert D. Calkins ( has released the first trio of books for children and adults inspired by his work as a search-and-rescue dog handler in Western Washington.

The Spring 2016 release of Sierra Becomes a Search Dog, Sierra the Search Dog Finds Fred and Digger—Sierra and the Case of the Chimera Killer gives parents a chance to read the kids to sleep, dim the lights, and then curl up with a darker mystery novel involving the very same characters.

Calkins knew he was taking on a big task to write for all age levels simultaneously.

“My goal was to create a spectrum of entertaining and age-appropriate books that people could grow up with,” Calkins said. “They can start out with a parent or grandparent reading to them about Sierra as a puppy training to be a search dog. When they learn to read for themselves, we’ll have chapter books that stress personal safety and respect for each other. When they’re ready, Digger is a full-on murder mystery in which a grown up Sierra helps police catch a serial killer.”

The title character Sierra takes the name of Calkins’ first working dog, who searched for both live subjects and human remains (cadaver).  Sierra Becomes a Search Dog is a fictionalized account of how little Sierra excels at the game of hide and seek, and puts that skill to good use when a little neighbor girl goes missing. Illustrations by artist Taillefer Long bring Sierra to life in a way that both children and adults will enjoy.

Digger, for grownups, is inspired by Sierra’s work as a cadaver dog. In the story Sierra is paired with 17-year old Bryce Finn, the youngest search dog handler in Washington State. The two of them end up one step behind whoever is dumping bodies in rural Kitsap County, and one step ahead of police trying to unravel the mystery.

Calkins said books in the Sierra the Search Dog Series are deliberately interconnected. “Parents who read Digger will learn about SAR and be better equipped to answer questions their child might have about Sierra Becomes a Search Dog.”

In real life, Calkins has been a volunteer search dog handler in Western Washington for more than a dozen years. He and his dogs have worked everything from routine missing person cases, to homicides, to the 2014 mudslide in Oso, Washington. In 2015 he retired from his position as spokesman for the Washington State Patrol to write full-time. 

Editors: Bob is available for interviews at (844) 344-4374.

Possible interview topics include:

  • Five Things to keep your children safe from strangers, without scaring the daylights out of them.
  • Five Ways to stay safe on day hikes.
  • The Ten Essentials– How to keep these critical safety items small, light and inexpensive.
  • K9 Search and Rescue– the story of how humans and K9s work together to get missing subjects back to their worried families.
  • One man’s journey to becoming an author and the challenge of writing for multiple reading levels simultaneously.

Bob is an experienced interview subject and is available nights, weekends and on short notice.

The Sierra the Search Dog spectrum of books.

Read to Me Books (Pre-school age)

  • Sierra Becomes a Search Dog – The story of a little Golden Retriever puppy who excels at neighborhood games of hide-and-seek. Sierra turns that skill into a life-saving act when a little neighbor girl goes missing.
  • Sierra the Search Dog Finds Fred – Ted’s friend Fred goes to the store to buy some bread, but doesn’t return. Is he under the bed? In the shed? Sierra uses Fred’s stinky shoe to follow his scent, and her discovery has everyone dancing.
  • Sierra the Search Dog Saves Sally (Coming soon) – Sarah and Sally are sweet sisters who do everything together. But while Sarah is sewing, Sally slips off to the shore to look for sea shells. When Sally falls and hurts herself on a trail, Sierra is called to locate the little lady.

Chapter Books (Elementary School Age)

  • Bryce Bumps His Head (Coming Soon) – Dana is a Girl Scout who gets separated from the rest of her troop while hiking in bad weather. The search is a dangerous one, and Sierra ends up rescuing two people that day. Bryce Bumps His Head is a fun book that also explores the topics of safety in the woods, respect for others and leadership.
  • I Need a Search Cat (In Development) – A little developmentally-disabled girl goes missing, and Bryce and Sierra think they know exactly where to look. It turns out they set their sights a little too low. I Need a Search Cat shows Bryce’s skill at working with his dog, sensitivity toward those who are differently-abled, and how to manage conflict with important partners.

Mystery Novels (Teens and Up)

  • Digger, Sierra and Case of the Chimera Killer – Bodies are continuing to turn up in the woods around Kitsap County, Washington. Sierra, in her role as a cadaver dog, works many of the scenes and her nose reveals important clues. Bryce and Sierra remain one step behind the killer, and one step ahead of police in trying to unravel the mystery. Along the way, Bryce meets and nearly loses his first love and learns the manly art of saying “yes, dear” at all the right times.

Media Fact Sheet

The “Sierra the Search Dog” spectrum of books is available on and is coming soon to local book stores.

For a review copy of any title call 1-844-344-4374 or e-mail

Title:                Digger—Sierra and the Case of the Chimera Killer

Author:            Robert D. Calkins

Publisher:         Callout Press

Pub. Date:        May, 2015

Price:                $15.95 Softcover

ISBN:               978-0-997191127

Pages:               346

Title:                Sierra Becomes a Search Dog

Author:            Robert D. Calkins

Illustrator:        Taillefer Long

Publisher:         Callout Press

Pub. Date:        May, 2015

Price:                $10.95

ISBN:               978-0-997191103

Pages:               32

Title:                Sierra the Search Dog Finds Fred

Author:             Robert D. Calkins

Illustrator:        Taillefer Long

Publisher:         Callout Press

Pub. Date:        May, 2015

Price:                $10.95

ISBN:               978-0-997191141

Pages:               32


Coming Soon:

Sierra the Search Dog Saves Sally (Childrens)

Bryce Bumps His Head (Elementary Readers)

I Need a Search Cat (Elementary Readers)