NEWS RELEASE – Bryce Bumps His Head now in audiobook.


June 30, 2017

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

Bryce Bumps His Head now available in audiobook form

Second audiobook in the Sierra the Search Dog series, available on

AudioCoverSierraWEBnologo(Olalla, WA)—Callout Press announced today that Bryce Bumps His Head, the fourth book in the Sierra the Search Dog series, is now available in audiobook form.  Written by Robert D. Calkins and narrated by Christine Lay, Bryce Bumps His Head is a chapter book intended for beginning readers. It’s the story of a search for a missing Girl Scout in which Sierra the Search Dog must save the day…twice.

“Because this book is for beginning readers, parents might wish to buy both the hard copy and audiobook versions,” Calkins said. “Their child can read along with the audiobook, helping them quickly enhance reading skills and build vocabulary.”

Calkins was especially pleased with the narration by Christine Lay.

“Christine has the perfect voice for youngsters,” Calkins said. “I chose her for this project because she comes across as a storyteller rather than a narrator. Christine is able to be casual and friendly, but still models the kind of language skills our children should be hearing.”

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New Math: When 6 x 2 = 113.

I try not to load folks up with too-frequent blog posts, but there’s a development out of Florida that begs for immediate analysis and wider distribution. It’s the case of two boys who went out by themselves on a small boat, got caught up in a big storm, and have never been found. The investigating agency cites egregious errors by all involved, including the parents who waited two hours before calling authorities to report the boys overdue.

In a land search, such as what Ruger and I do, it’s simple math. If somebody can walk three miles an hour then in two hours they can cover six miles. But that’s six miles in any direction. We seldom know which direction they went. On flat, open ground, a two-hour delay in starting our search gives us an initial search area of 113 square miles. There is no SAR team in the country with enough personnel to cover that kind of ground.

The good news is that in western Washington, it’s hard to walk six miles in any one direction. There are usually trails involved, so we have some idea where to look. If the missing person is off-trail, their pace would slow dramatically and we’d have a better chance of catching up. But the concept remains the same: the sooner we start looking, the less area we have to cover.

There is not an unlimited source of SAR personnel anywhere in the country. Our incident commanders are always making tough choices about probable areas to search, leaving less likely areas to be checked later. If we start searching sooner we can give more detailed (and immediate) coverage to the high-probability areas.

If someone you know to be reliable is overdue, call 911 and get search teams rolling. I’d rather be cancelled half-way to the trailhead than have the person get outside our search area and perish.

That’s also why most SAR volunteers oppose charging for searches, even after the most irresponsible behavior. If people delay calling for fear of getting a bill, we’ll be slower out of the gate and lives will undoubtedly be lost.

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Instant Recall?

I’ve heard it before, but it came up again last week. An assistant instructor at a class saying “I have an instant recall on my dog. I can work it off-lead right next to a busy freeway.”Working a Corner2

Are you sure? I mean, really sure? Is it really possible during the life of any dog to proof it off every single thing that it might ever someday find irresistible? Remember, we expect search dogs to be at least a little bit independent of us. Oh, and by-the-way, the penalty for being wrong is the death of your beloved partner.


Have you proofed it off of cats?

A baseball mascot in a hat.

A creepy clown with tooting horn?

The wafting smell of popping corn.

And beyond irresistible, what about terrifying? A car backfire, a ladder falling, or a firefighter blowing the air horn on their rig. Your dog can bolt while your head is turned looking for the source of the noise.

The question is not whether you think you have an instant recall, but why you’d take the risk. What’s wrong with working your dog on a long-line in an area with hazards?

Despite the instructor’s criticism, I chose to work Ruger on a long-line in a city park adjacent to the city’s main street. He nailed the exercise. He also completely ignored the guy mowing the lawn, the family with the Pekinese, and the two town deer that wandered by. He did so because we can predict those distractions, and we’ve specifically worked on them. Still, on a busy city street there’s the unknown. You can never know every sight, sound or smell that your dog could find irresistable. You don’t know what you don’t know.


The instructor also said “putting my dog on a line would shut him down.” Really?

In a knot-tying class I was once told “if you can’t tie the knot with your gloves on, then you can’t tie the knot.”

If you can’t work your dog on a long-line, then you can’t work your dog.

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Author’s Journey – Managing Book Inventory

In this month’s installment of “my journey as an author” let me share my newfound knowledge of inventory management. As an experienced writer of everything but books, I am still learning many concepts about the publishing world. Like figuring out how many books to keep on hand.

When I retired from the Washington State Patrol, the agency was just hitting its stride on something called “Lean.” It’s not an acronym. Lean means doing business in an efficient and cost effective way. The concept was pioneered by Toyota but adopted by many other organizations. There are many component of Lean, but one is to limit stock on hand. “Inventory” is really money, stacked up in a warehouse. WSP applied Lean to the task of outfitting troopers’ cars, arranging just-in-time delivery of accessories like two-way radios and flashing lights.

For an author/publisher, there are a few more variables. The biggest one is having a successful day at a farmers market or other event. Then you realize next week is an even bigger event like a kid’s fair. You go from fist pumping to nail biting in the blink of an eye.

Print on demand, the genesis of self-publishing, can fix some of that. But print and deliver times for authors are usually just over one week, so a sellout Saturday can put you out of business for the next weekend.

My solution- I will now keep 50 copies of all four books on hand as “inventory.” Even though that’s several hundred dollars in “cash” sitting in my home office, it beats not being able to sell anything at all.

I was a reasonably experienced Public Information Officer prior to my retirement, and kinda knew the ropes. Being an author/publisher makes me a total rookie again, and it’s very refreshing. Keeps my mind active.

Stay Found!

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