By day, she’s Michelle Hoffman, a Gilbert mother of three who owns the My CBD Store in Ahwatukee with her significant other.
But by night, she morphs into Dorothy F. Shaw, romance author who is about to publish her seventh novel – “Trusting the Badge” – the third and last in a
trilogy about “a sizzling love affair” between a female veterinarian and a K9 officer in Arizona.
Hoffman said the “Badge” trilogy
books “are not typical K9 romantic-suspense books.”
“They’re really contemporary romance,” she explained. “A couple of years ago, my editor had asked me to plot and write something more mainstream than my typical books – I tend to be a bit edgy in my writing.
“In response, I asked her what was “in” or “selling” right now? She advised, law enforcement, firemen, pets – things like that. So, my brilliant idea was a K9 officer and a veterinarian.”
“The three books follow three K9 officers, who are also best friends, as they find their true love and struggle to make it work.”
So, each book focuses on a different couple and all three pairs work set in Arizona.
The first two – “Avoiding the Badge” and “Redeeming the Badge“– have garnered good reviews from other romance novelists.
For example, New York Times bestselling author Megan Hart raved, “Strong women and the men who love them and a deliciously emotional rollercoaster ride – these are the hallmarks of a Dorothy F. Shaw romance.”
Adds her publisher: “Trusting the Badge” brings together a “woman with trust issues: and an “exasperatingly hot, funny, smart-ass K9 officer.”
“The three books are tied together because all of the characters know each other, but they can also be read as standalone,” Hoffman said, noting that while her “Trusting the Badge” protagonists have been on the periphery in the previous “Badge” books, “everyone, including me, has been waiting to see what their story was to be.”
The “Badge” books are only part of Hoffman’s repertoire. In all she has written 14 novels and novellas.
She’s also writes “The Donnellys Series” and hopes to add her fourth novel in that line soon.
Along with her novels, she also writes a blog and poetry.
Hoffman got started writing 12 years ago as a result of the HBO series “True Blood,” which introduced her to the books the show is based on.
She started reading the books by Charlaine Harris “and it became a wonderful escape.”
“I was lost the fun and fantasy of it all,” Hoffman said. “I’m a fan of a happy ending, a hopeless romantic, but more so, I’m a fan of the angst that can be real life.
“If fiction, no matter which genre, is written properly, a reader can relate it to their life. Lessons can be learned from it. And it can show a person a world they didn’t think possible.”
She met authors in person and online and “with their encouragement, I started writing poetry in 2009. The poems led me to short stories, which led to novellas and then novels.”
All that time she also was in the midst of a 25-year corporate career in the banking industry as director of technology and quality assurance – until she decided about a year ago to become a small-business owner and open the CBD store at 4802 E. Ray Road.
“The business is slowly but surely making its climb,” she said. “Of course, new businesses take time to grow and be profitable, and opening one in the middle of the pandemic can make that even harder but I’m confident we’ll get there.”
Some might reach for the CBD just looking at her writing regime.
“The only way to do this is with a routine and then discipline,” Hoffman said. “For nearly 10 years, I wrote five to six nights a week, sometimes seven if on deadline…I also have kids. I would sit down to write at about 10 p.m. each night and write until around 1:30-2 a.m.
“Fortunately, I worked from home, so I was able to sleep until at least 8 a.m. each day and then start work. Needless to say, after 10 years of that, I was tired. But the only reason I was able to maintain that at all and was able to put out 14 published works, was because I was determined and disciplined.
“You sit in the chair and write, no matter how you feel. If you want it bad enough, you do it. And let’s just say, I wanted it bad enough, so I did it.”
Now that she has the store, she hopes to be able to write during the day between customers – someday.
“So far, I haven’t been able to, but as things get more settled at the store, I’ll be able to give that some time…and again, it’ll come down to discipline.”
While she writes both fiction and nonfiction, Hoffman – whose favorite author is J.R. Ward – admits a love-hate relationship with writing.
“All in all, writing in general, whether it be fiction or non-fiction, is the hardest thing I have ever done,” she said. “There are times when I think I have no more stories in me, and then times when I think, I will always write. I can’t not do it. Writing opened up something inside of me that can’t ever be shut off again. And I’m okay with that.”