Sunday, March 29, 2009

Interview with Mischief, Anne K. Edwards' naughty cat

Mischief is a naughty cat who lives with mystery author Anne K. Edwards. Mischief is not the only cat in the house. He shares his home with DOZENS (yeah, you heard right) of other cats and a few horses. Anne is a fierce cat lover (my mom once sent her a coffee mug that says 'Crazy Cat Lady') and divides her time between writing and taking care of her demanding critters. She's the author of Death on Delivery, The Last to Fall, and the children's book, Jeremy and the Dragon. Together with my mom, they wrote The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing. She also edits a cool newsletter for writers and book lovers, Voice in the Dark.

BIO: My name is Mischief and I am a Thief among my many other occupations. I steal ball point pens, balls, silverware, bits of paper and wood from near the stove. Mom doesn't have a picture of me, but if you picture a pirate with a patch over his eye you pretty much have an idea of what I look like. I only have one eye due to an infection I got from a raccoon last year and the doctor said it had to go. The incident hasn't slowed me down one whit. I get into as much as I can, open cupboard doors and snoop in forbidden places, play with other cats who only want to sleep, and in general am hyper active and into everything. I try so hard to live up to my name. After the operation I became a house cat and only one cat objects to my presence. I think she's a bully, but Mom loves her anyhow. I'm long, lean and fun in a gray coat with black stripes. I carry my tail straight up and love to sneak up on my housemates.
As a housecat I don't have a blog or website. Only Mom does. It's

My favorite thing to do when I'm tired is to sleep with Mom, but I'm not a lapcat. I do love to get into things when she's on the computer however. There is a lot of interesting stuff on the table. Papers and books to knock on the floor, pens to steal, a printer to watch, and a cursor to chase on the screen.

Sorry about your eye, Mischief, but, you know, that black patch must look kind of cool. Gives a dangerous edge, you know. So, are you the boss of Anne K. Edwards?

There are too many other cats around for me to be the boss, but together we do run things. Even Dad gives his chair to a new gray and white kitten who is very nice, but has no name yet. He is Doodles' brother and they look alike.

Mom who is Anne K. Edwards doesn't sit still long enough for us to boss her much. She writes a little, and then runs to break up our fun and then one of us steals her chair. We do have it worked out so that she gets the most uncomfortable place to sit. After all, we are CATS and we deserve the best. Once, we were gods in Egypt.
Now that's something that has always puzzled me--our fall from favor. One day we're gods and mummified like the pharoahs and the next, some guy is digging up our little mummies and shipping them off to England to sell as doorstops. How undignified is that?

Does Anne fall asleep when she reads a book? Does she snore? What titles keep her awake the longest?

Mom falls asleep for anything. She is ancient in cat years and we look for Dad to hire a keeper for her any day now. The truth is, she does snore sometimes when she is very tired. And nothing keeps her awake now. When she is sleepy, off she goes. When she was young, she loved history and animal stories and they'd keep her awake until that last page. She loved The Black Stalliion series the best then. History took over later and mysteries followed. Today she reads almost anything when she has free time but with so much assigned reading for review, that is far between.

Is your mom as stable as she looks in her website photo?

Mom doesn't put a photo on her website but as to her stability, we have our doubts. She talks about cooking our gooses when we're bad, but I've never had a goose. And now she's threatening to make dragon burgers out of some dragon she knows. She'd send you one but the post office wouldn't like packages with green goo seeping out of the wrapper. And I think they'd smell funny too.

Cooked cat, huh? Hmm... (shaking off evil thoughts) Does Anne plot like a madwoman or just write "down the bones"?

Mom is a madwoman I think. She writes as she gets time and picks it apart as she goes. She never outlines or plots out her work. It is a surprise to her when something takes a twist she didn't expect.

Well, my mom is a mad woman too, so we have one thing in common. Does she ask your advice when she's stuck? Does she even listen?

No to both questions. Mom doesn't ask cats anything about her work even though we willing to help. She talks things over with the horses though. She says she gets her straight in the barn while she's shoveling out a stall. I think the fumes get to her is what I think. That stuff I ripe...

Sounds like my kind of perfume, Mischief. The nastier, the better. What advice would you give to those pets that have to live with irrational, egotistical authors?

I'm not sure I can answer this. You do know that cats are more irrational and egotistical than authors. We expect and demand what we want when we want it even if we don't really want it. It's our way of showing our control of the person in our lives.

For instance the cats Wanda and Hobo meow to be let in and meow to be let out in the same ten minutes. They will take their time to decide if they really want in or out while Mom or Dad holds the door for them. Often they change their minds and walk awa.

It's the right of cats to have service and obedient servants who must put their writing after our wants. We expect to have their attention any time we need it.

Since Mischief is a talkative cat, I decided to publish his long monologue here:

Mischief's Ramblings...

Anne K. Edwards is not the most considerate pet owner. She's always taking one or more of us to see the vet. Now that is scary. What cat wants to ride in a cage in a car? She could let us drive though and that would be fun. She says that idea is why her hair is turning gray.

Mom writes anything that comes to mind. She doesn't belong to any one genre. Of my favorite book by Mom is probably Jeremy and the Dragon because I can identify with the dragon. He's always hungry and I like to eat often too.

Mom can't ignore me when she's writing because I'm often on top of the keyboard or pushing it on the floor.
When she's not around to ignores us, we cats hold meetings to decide who's going to bug her next. We take numbers for that. Then we like to walk around meowing like our heart is broken, just to make her jump up. She worries about us then. If that doesn't work, we jump in her lap, start fights, knock things over that makes a lot of noise or chase each other up and down the stairs, or pull things off the bookshelves.
Mom doesn't keep a schedule. She says its impossible with all of us around, but she hates discipline anyhow. She writes as she can or the mood strikes her.

Mom isn't a hermit, but she sleeps a lot...

Mom mostly ignores reviews. She gets them as publicity promo but she knows bad ones are part of life.
Mom doesn't need writer's block or procrastination not to write. She's got us.

We never try to get her to start writing, only to stop. We're more important.

Mom has frostbite on her nose and fingers from standing in front of the refrigerator with the door open. But she doesn't often take anything out. No connection between writing and obesity as most writers aren't that much overweight.

Mom doesn't like book promo work. She's done a few radio shows though and enjoyed them.
The best part of havin an author as mom or dad is they aren't aware a lot of what we get into and often they don't bother trying to find out what happened when we go tearing by after we did something and it crashes. She says if the house doesn't fall down, not worth the time. The worst part is probably the same thing. She doesn't pay us enough mind. As long as the roof stays up to keep the rain off her head, she doesn't care too much what we do. She knows we are inventive and nosy at what we get into. And we do reward her with quiet time when we nap.

Signed Mischief, The Thief

Thanks, Mischief! You make a very interesting blog guest!

Interview with Ted, Carol A. Guy's Cat

My guest today is one very conceited cat, Ted. This feline dud lives with author Carol A. Guy, a cat lover who's written several novels in the paranormal, mystery, romance, and true crime genres. He also shares his home with several other cats... and one canine he keeps abusing!

Gives us the inside scoop, Ted. Are you the boss of Carol?

Are you joking? I had her from minute one.. See, when I was younger, I was a "guest" of the Madison County, Ohio, Animal Shelter. Well, one Saturday, they caged me and some others up (a humiliating experience I hope never to repeat) and transported us to a pet store in Hilliard, Ohio. My future mommy and a tall dude, who I later learned was her son who was just visiting, came in that afternoon to "view" us for possible "adoption." I could tell at first glance she'd be an easy mark. She had that hungry look in her eye. She needed a companion. She came to my cage (awful word) first and lifted me out. Of course I put on a good show--I purred, I nuzzled, I did the slow blink with my big green eyes, and I licked her hand. Then, to my horror, she put me back in that awful contraption and started to walk look at other, less worthy felines. No way! I pulled out all the stops and went for my sure-fire ploy. I stuck one of my front legs out of the cage opening and tapped her on the shoulder with my sweet little paw (claws retracted, of course) and gave her my most pitiful meow. She turned, took one more look at me and I could see that I'd scored a direct hit. I went home with her and the tall dude that day. Mission accomplished!

That's quite impressive, Ted! Good work! Tell us a bit about your mom as an author. What type of books does Carol write?

My human mommy writes what are called Paranormal Mystery/Romances. She's also written cozy mysteries and a true crime book. The paranormal is called Spirit Lake, Books 1&2 and was just released by Devine Destinies. I heard mommy say it has gotten good reviews. It's about ghosts and murder.That sounds a little scary to me. I think it has a wolf-dog in it, too. Unfortunately there's no cat. I punish her for this oversight by constantly knocking her pens from her desk onto the floor and scooting them underneath peices of furniture so she can't find them. Sometimes I drop them down the grates in the floor where the warm air comes out in the winter. I've also collected various pieces of her jewelry that she's carelessly left lying about, and relocated them to more obscure places. She'll learn.

Ghosts and murder, huh? If I were you, I wouldn't trust her one bit--even though she looks quite harmless. So, what do you do for amusement while Carol pounds at the computer all day and ignores you?

Well, you see, a couple of years ago we moved from Hilliard, Ohio to Dayton, Ohio and now live with my mommy's daughter, Sarah, and her offspring, Paul (he's five). This move, unfortunately, gave me "siblings" since Sarah and Paul have two felines and a.....canine. So, this opened up an opportunity for me to have "playmates." Yeah. We play all right. The older feline, named, Oliver, is a little cranky bites sometimes. He's always trying to sneak out of the house (I do too, but that's because he set a bad example.) The other feline, Tiger, spends a lot of time outside. For some reason, no one seems to mind if he goes out. They're no fun. But the canine....oh yeah. There's the one I can get running in circles anytime I want. Her name is Maddie. And she's soooo easy to torment. I especially like to get her barking, then wander away so she gets yelled at. She likes to follow me around, so when she does that, I squeal like I'm hurt and everyone comes running and there she stands with a guilty look on her face. I just lie there looking pitiful and she gets yealled at again. Of course, mommy gets extra mad when these things happen because it "breaks her concentration" while she writing and boy does she hate that! Maddie then gets put outside and I have peace and quiet, at last!

Shame on you for tormenting Maddie! (I'll have to get in touch with her and give her some self-defense tips) Does Carol let you sit on her lap while working at the computer?

Sometimes she'll take me up on her lap when she's taking a break. You see, I LOVE her padded, swivel desk chair. So whenever she gets up to do something else, I hurry in the office and curl up on the seat. If she's out of the office long enough, I fall asleep, but mostly she's not gone that long, so I just pretend to be snoozing when she returns, in hopes she'll let me stay. Most of the time she doesn't though, because she has what she calles a "writing schedule." But, I can always tell when she's finished writing for the day, and then the coast is clear and I make a beeline in there and take a real nap in her chair.

I'd love to sit on my mom's lap, but I'd probably squash her (soffocate her is more like it). What is the best part of having an author as a mom? The worse part?

The best part of having an author for a mommy is that she's home all day. So, she was around the other day when I got outside and got on the roof and then on top of the chimney and almost had a "bad incident." It wasn't my fault. It was all Oliver's doing. He got up on the roof first by jumping on the ouside garage window sill, then onto this lean-to that's attached to the side of the house. He coaxed me to follow. Then I saw a bird flying from the chimney top to the big tree next to the house and....well, I just had to follow so I made my way up the sloping roof of the house. Everyone was upset. Especially mommy. But, she got hold of herself and talked me down, so I wasn't scared at all. Well maybe just a little. It was awfully high.... When I finally jumped into her arms she was so glad I was all right that she just made over me like crazy. Oliver, who was still on the lean-to roof got ignored. Ha .Ha.

The worst part of having an author for a mommy is all the time she spends NOT paying attention to me. That's just not right. So, I'll just have to think of other things to do that will bring her attention back to where it belongs.... me!

Why did you have to wander on the roof? (Cats are always sticking their noses where they don't belong! I bet Maddie has more sense! But of course, she's a canine, isn't she????) Well, Ted, what can I say? Thanks for being my guest, though I didn't appreciate all your anti-canine innuendos.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Meet L. Diane Wolfe's Black Cat Duo: Rocko & Spunky

Today my guests are Rocko & Spunky, two feline duds who share their home with L. Diane Wolfe. Diane is a professional speaker and author of the young adult novel, Circle of Friends, and the inspirational nonfiction book, Overcoming Obstacles with Spunk. Her blog, Spunk on a Stick, is filled with promotional and publishing tips.

Meet the Terrible Two:

Rocko & Spunky are black, American shorthair cats. They were abandoned as kittens by their first owner, but managed to sucker their new parents into adopting them. Spunky is the dominant male at fourteen pounds and is known as “The Love Bug” or “Buoy.” Rocko is almost six pounds lighter, but what she lacks in size, she makes up for in mischief. Indoor-only kitties, they crave attention and love to play!

Welcome to my blog, Rocko and Spunky! What type of books does your mom Diane write?

Spunky: She writes YA fiction and some non-fiction. She says it’s all designed to inspire and help people. We’re just hoping someday she’ll write a book that helps cats! One that inspires people to serve… I mean, love us more.

How long does Diane work each day on a book and ignores you?

Spunky: She only writes an hour or so, but she’s always in front of the computer. At least I think so, because I tend to sleep most of the day…

Rocko: Oh, she is always in front of the computer!! I know, because I NEVER sleep!

I like to stare at my mom while she writes to make her aware that she’s ignoring me and make her feel guilty. What do you do to annoy Diane while she writes?

Rocko: I’ve got a whole list of things! Mom gave me a list when I first came into the house and said these were the things I should not do. So I start at the top and work my way to the bottom. First I chew on some plants. Then I try climbing to the top of the window, beating on the blinds as much as possible. Occasionally I’ll grab a stuffed toy and run off with it…

Spunky: Sometimes I’ll help. Rocko and I fight in the bathtub, shredding the shower curtain and making a lot of racket. Mom calls it drunken kitty tub wrestling…

Good work, guys. What does Diane do besides writing? Is she a hermit or does she actually set her foot outdoors? My mom has to be dragged outside.

Rocko: She’s gone a lot doing seminars & promoting. But sometimes she and Dad go to the movies or out to dinner. They watch movies at home, too. We prefer it when they play with us, though. Bouncing rubber balls sounds so much more fun than staring at that computer!

Is your mom crazy about book promotion? What does she do to promote her books? Does she ask your advice at times?

Spunky: Is she crazy? Wait, no, Rocko's crazy. Yes, Mom loves to promote her books! She’s very involved online and always out doing a seminar or speaking engagement or a signing. We tell her to slow down, but she never listens to us.

Rocko: She listens when we scream at her because our food bowl is empty! Which reminds me…

Which, in turns, reminds me too...! Woof!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Interview with Fuzzle, Margot Finke's Purrrrry Cat

My guest today is Fuzzle, Margot Finke's cat! Margot is the author of many children's picture books as well as a freelance editor extraordinaire. Visit her website and Blog to learn more about her work and freelance editing services.

Bio: Fuzzle Finke ( alliteration unintentional) was born in 1994 on a chair on Margot's side porch. His mom was an independent lady who wanted a home birth. He is one of 5 siblings. Fuzzle is now edging into his "golden years," and feels age gives him the right to do and meow whatever comes into his swelled and furry head. Dare we add racial origins? Yea, with Barak Obama now Fuzzle's President, as well as Margot's, let's go for it - PC or not. Fuzzle is proud to be a mix of American shorthair, prize winning Persian, plus a whisker or two of a quirky gene that adds to his mystique. (HAH! He made me write that!)

Fuzzle likes to vege out on Margot's desk and look at her book illustrations,
eat tuna, stalk birds, eat chicken, chase the young whippersnapper tabby that tries to poach birds off his property, eat salmon, and sit on Margot's lap at night and purr, while they watch TV together. Oh yes, eat more chicken, while arguing long and hard ( hiss, scratch, purr, growl @#$%) whatever it takes, to get Margot to write a book about HIM.

*Favorite food: anything named meat, fish or fowl.
*Hobbies: You gotta be kidding! Fuzzle is too busy for hobbies.

Thanks for stopping by this side of the woods, Fuzzle, though I wish you hadn't talked so much about food. My mouth got watery. As you know, my vet said I'm fat and I'm on a diet. So, let's have it. Give us the lowdown on Margot!

My human is named Margot Finke, and she writes rhyming books for children. If she finds out I’m “grassing” on her, the whole balance of our feline/human relationship will crash. So be warned, I WILL take the 5th. She works at her computer all day, in a special room, with just me for company. I’m guessing her computer is for her what catnip is for me - gotta have it!

She could lose some weight. Maybe climb a few trees with me, and then go get her hair cut. It really needs some TLC. Her computer is chock full of the children’s books she has written, and piles of files about writing, publishing, and promoting her books. She has a website that helps writers, and shows off all her books + how and where to buy them. I’m not sure what a Manuscript Critique Service is, but she has one, and a Blog as well. Humans need a bunch of stuff keep them happy.

She sounds pretty busy... and addicted to the computer, just like my mom! So tell us, are you the boss of her?

Do I need a lawyer to answer that – you connected to the CIA and all. You look harmless, but can I trust you to keep my opinions under your hat? Oh well, I guess this “dirt” is just too good to waste. Listen, Margot thinks she’s the boss, but what does she know? One long purr is good for a can of cat food and a tummy rub. And pitiful meows bring her running every time. So, who do you think is boss?

You can always trust a golden retriever, Fuzzle. Never forget that (evil grin). I'm glad you're her boss. The thing with humans is, they think we need them, but they need us more than we need them. Which points to their weakness. But let's keep talking about Margot! What type of books does she write?

(Arching back, and fizzing up like a demented porcupine.) That woman writes rhyming picture books like, Mama Grizzly Bear, Never Say BOO to a Frilly, Humdinger Hummers, Prairie Dog’s Play Day, Don’t Eat Platypus Stew, Kangaroo Clues, Squirrels Can’t Help Being Nuts, Rattlesnake Jam, and a whole bunch more. Margot SAYS her books tell fun facts about animals from the USA, and that Down-under place she comes from, where I suspect everyone walks upside-down.

Has she ever written fun facts about ME in one of her books? NO SIR! Apparently, I’m not picture book material. Only Tasmanian Devils, Bald Eagles, Koalas and the like, are good enough for Ms Margot Finke to write about.

Humph!! We fight about this all the time. It’s the one thing I can’t make her do. And, what’s really scary, is that she’ll feel s-o-o-o guilty after I die, that she’ll finally write about me AFTER I’m gone – and dedicate it to me posthumously. Me-o-o-o-owe!!!!

That's pretty mean of her, wouldn't you say? After your demise, make sure to appear in ghost form while she sleeps and tickle her feet with your raspy tongue. That'll give her a fright well deserved. So tell us, of all your mom’s books, which one is your favorite?

(glaring at interviewer, eyeball-to-eyeball) You’re really determined to rub it in, aren’t you? Obviously, a book about ME would be the definite paws-down winner. Guess that’s not going to happen any day soon, though: not until I’m in cat heaven – or maybe after this interview, in the other place.

Okay, okay, I promise I won’t be too catty. Margot lets me nap on her desk while she writes on her computer, and I took a cat fancy to her latest rhyming book, Ruthie and the Hippo’s Fat Behind. Yeah, I know there’s a Hippo in the title, but that critter’s kinda cool, and the story tells how Ruthie and the Hippo change for the better. I really like it, because this time, Margot’s main character is a girl, not some dumb animal that isn’t ME! I hear Ruthie will be available soon, in soft cover and download (whatever that means), and published by Guardian Angel Publishing. The pictures for Ruthie’s story (illustrations Margot calls them) will be done by a human named K.C. Snider. This K.C. can really draw! I’ve peeked at the samples she sent Margot.

Oh yes, I had the chance to look at the cover. (And the vet thinks I'm fat?) For some reason, the cover brings to mind Jennifer Lopez... (clearing my throat). Anyway, what's with your warm and fuzzy name... tsk, tsk, tsk. What has that done to your self esteem?

(Sigh) Yes, a macho dude like me would kill for a name like Butch, or Konan. Being named Fuzzle sucks big time. What can you expect, from a writer who has stories named Tasmanian Devil Dance and The Stinker (skunk). Can you imagine the razzing I get from local Toms, when they hear Margot calling me. But I’m stuck with Fuzzle.

Geez... that must be extremely embarrasing! I feel for you. There's one thing I'm wondering about, so tell me the truth... is Margot as disciplined as she said she was in her last interview?

What are you offering? Dirt like this is priceless – way better than soiled kitty litter. Hey, no need to get nasty. Can’t blame a cat for trying. Margot actually does put in the hours. If she isn’t updating her website, or adding a new Blog entry, she’s either reworking a story, or critiquing one of those manuscript thingies for a client. Now, what I’m “grassing” about here is top secret – mainly because I’ve no idea what any of it means. She spends lots of time promoting her books, and doing mysterious things like Twittering, Pinging, Googling, and social networking on places called FaceBook, JacketFlap and Linkedin. Who knows how smart cats could become if we all had computers?

Have you read any of Margot's book? Are they really as good as she thinks they are?

Don’t you know anything? Cats can’t read, dummy! But we love the pictures. I only know what I HEAR. And the humans who read Margot’s books tell us they are fun, educational, and wonderful for kids. She has a REVIEWS page on her website to prove it!

Well, you know, maybe that's one thing I can offer you in exchange for all the dirt you've shared with us: a reading microchip inserted in your feline brain. I'll contact the CIA later today and send you the details. By the way, I was just looking at Margot's photo last night. She looks quite sweet and harmless... but if there's something I've learned at the CIA, is that looks can be deceiving. Is she as stable as she looks in her photo?

Are you kidding. The woman needs a vacation like I need new kitty litter. She’s always yakking about wanting more hours in the day. When she looks like she’s about to BLOW, I hop on her lap and rev up the purrs. Works every time!!

What are her working habits like?

Margot’s a night owl. Her best ideas come late at night, in the bathroom . I know, because she turfs me off the bed every time she sneaks there to write down some new idea or plot twist. Broken sleep is the price I pay for great food, clean litter, and tummy rubs.

What does Margot like to do besides writing?

Margot loves to garden, read and travel. I hate when she travels. It means putting up with neighbors who throw food into my bowl, forget to clean my litter, and never think of tummy rubs. When Margot goes on vacation, my purring apparatus gets pretty rusty.

It’s fun when she gardens. I get to sit with her in the sun as she pulls weeds, prunes shrubs, or plants new seeds. Margot has a bad knee at the moment, so I encourage her to take it easy. If she has to go to hospital for an operation, I’ll be stuck with the neighbors again. Gotta keep that woman off her legs until her knee is better.

I'm sorry to hear about her knee and hope she gets well! To wrap this up, maybe you can talk a bit about book promotion. What does Margot do to promote her books?

Listen, if promotion was a lottery, my human would buy tickets every day. I hear her talk to other writers. “There is never enough book promotion time,” she says. That scares me. What if her desire to promote and sell more books forces her to have that operation on her knee? Can I survive weeks of lousy food, no tummy rubs, and yucky kitty litter? Hmmm. . . I guess for her I can. She’d do the same for me – I know.

Well, you are a warm and fuzzy kitty, after all, behind that macho tough attitude!
Thanks for visiting, Fuzzle, and come back anytime. Woof!

By the way, here's the book trailer for Rattlesnake Jam and below that a slide show of all her children's books. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My Vet Says I'm FAT

I hate life! Why does food have to be so good but then makes us fat?

Yesterday my mom took me to the vet and she officially announced it: Amigo is FAT. She went beyond that:

"When he entered the office," she stated, "I was shocked." So much for being tactful.

Later, when I hopped on the scale, she said: "He must lose 10 kilos." I think I almost chocked on my own saliva. That's like 25 pounds!

Now, don't get me wrong. I love my vet. She's the sweetest and coolest vet on earth--she happens to also be a professional diver and underwater photographer. How may pets can say THAT about their vets?

But this time, she's really hurt my feelings.

She put me in strict diet (yeah, right, more like starvation!) of light food and no snacks except for bits of apple, carrot and broccolli. What am I, a rabbit? She seems to forget the fact that we originated from the wolves and that we're meat eaters!

I'm allowed only one rawhide bone a week! Plus I have to exercise twice a day now, morning and evening (I already walk an hour day!)

All of a sudden nobody is giving me any treats. Everyone has turned so strict! I didn't see my mom getting so resolute when the doc told her she was fat. Why, she breaks her diet every single day!

Last night I dreamed of pepperoni pizza and cheeseburgers....

Later today I'll call the CIA. Maybe they have a secret wonder pill that can make me lose weight without dieting.

So I'm in a lousy mood and will continue to be in a lousy mood for the duration of this diet, which could last up to a year!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Interview with Miss Mooka, Patricia Harrington's Master

Miss Mooka is the doggie companion of mystery author Patricia Harrington. Patricia has penned several books. She lives in the Pacific Northwest and loves gardening, Irish breakfast tea and Pepsi. She writes mysteries because, as she puts it, "Justice must be served!" Visit her blog, Mystery Writing Musings.

But let's hear it from Miss Mooka herself: My author mistress has me and four cats. You can see two of my feline compadres below: AshMan, a traditional Siamese, and Curious George, an orange tabby. Both of them hang out at my lady's desk and help her to write mysteries.
I tolerate them, because it pleases her. And, I'm 75 lb. bigger, so I have no problem-o, keeping them in line. She says she didn't plan for us. After her husband died under tragic circumstances, she said, "I won't have anything I have to love or feed again in the house."

Well . . . something like that.

But my feline buddies all had sad stories that they showed and meowed to her when they wandered one by one into the yard. And then I was kind of a castoff, or "put away" kind of a guy. You see after eight years, my master had me dumped on him after a divorce and his ex couldn't have me in her new apartment. Problem was, my master was a train engineer. Had to be out of town, days at a time. Set me howling and hungry, I have to say, left in a garage.

My author mistress has a dog companion for her traditional sleuth Bridget O'Hern. Darn, while solving a mystery, they found a cat in a burned out building. You guess what the sleuth named her.

Wruff, wruff, here’s my interview of my mom. I’m big, about 85 lb. Of German Shepherd/Lab. Got a couple of those tan dots over my eyes. Story’s whispered about that maybe a Rottie snuck into Grandma’s doghouse one night and cuddled up to her. (Wink, wink). Now down to the questions...

Thanks for the intro and for stopping by on this part of the woods, Miss Mooka. Start spilling the beans. Is your mom crazy about book promotion? What does she do to promote her books? Does she ask your advice at times?

Crazy, no. But she works at it, belongs to a zillion blogsites. Does a lot of readings and booksignings at places like her favorite drug store that also sells books and the senior retirement centers that are more middle-income. She talks about life—and I’m here to tell—she’s been around. Done that, been hurt, got up, went out, helped others and kept on moving. I kind of relate to that, because I was passed around in my family.

Now, you see I’m not a young pup, ‘bout eight or nine years old, and had my ups and downs. And have a bit of the old Arthur-ritis in one hip. So I appreciate that my human mom has a good attitude, a bright smile and a helping hand, whether you’re four-legged, furry or feathered. Yeah, she’s good with two-legged folks with a sorry tale, too.

I admire your positive attitude, Miss Mooka... but Patricia can't be that perfect, common on! What about when she writes all day and ignores you?

Here’s the deal. I have her trained. I snooze until ten or so in the morning. She gets all her e-mailing, messages and such done. Then gets cracking on her writing. I come in to her home office about 10:30, snuffling and plop down by her desk. You probably know the drill. I put my chin on my crossed paws and look up with these, brown, sad eyes. Then I sigh. That makes her type faster. And by eleven a.m., we’re out the door for a good thirty-minute walk. Then she does housework and phone calls about work. Mom’s other writing, besides mysteries and life stories, is doing grants for nonprofits. That’s what her protagonist and amateur sleuth Bridget O’Hern does in Mom’s mysteries. Bridget’s a consultant to nonprofits working with folks on the fringes of mainstream society. Gets her into intriguing settings and working with interesting folks.

Sounds interesting! I like that she takes a break to walk you (take this as an example, all you authors out there!) Does Patricia plot like a madwoman or just writes ‘down the bones’?

This question and the old “bones” thing made my ears perk up. She usually does what’s called in some novel writing classes, an “expanded concept”. That’s like doing a synopsis, where the characters trot out, the place and settings get identified and the plot of major conflict, climax and conclusion gets figured out. It’s enough of an outline to give direction, not so rigid at the beginning that Mom cannot innovate or add to or delete. My mistress’s training in a mystery writing class, one conducted by M. K. Wren, is to think of mysteries as sitting on a three-legged stool. The legs are plot, setting and characters. She likes that analogy (and I like learning big words, woof, woof.)

Nice analogy! What does your mom like to do besides writing?

My mom’s other life is writing grants. She’s done that for a long time and I can tell she’s pretty proud of the fact that she’s written some fifty million dollars in funded grants that have helped a whole lot of people. In her consulting work with nonprofits, she’s worked with a variety of ethnic groups that include Native American, Pacific Islanders, Asian and Southeast Asian, African-American and Soviet Block members. Plus she’s worked with public housing authorities and their resident councils. She’s also written grants for the Tacoma Police Department. She’s done “ride-alongs” with the cops, the last to homeless camps. Gathered ideas for her fiction writing. She has an ex-cop, an alkie, who’s been made the unofficial mayor of a homeless camp in Seattle, called Mudflat Manor. The story, “What Price Retribution” will be out in the Seattle Noir Anthology from Akashic Books, New York, in June, 2009.

That's a sweet picture of you and Patricia... The truth, Miss Mooka. Is she as stable as she looks in that photo?

Yeah, I think so. My tale of how I hooked up with Mom, kind of explains her. Before Mom took me in, I belonged to a family for about eight years and bounced around their relatives. The husband and wife split up, wife kept the two kids and me. But then she moved into an apartment and the manager said, “Your dog’s too big. You can’t have her here.”

So, bottom line my old mom, dumped me on my dad one afternoon. He’d bought the house next to my current and GREAT mom’s house, just a couple of months before. Well, he’s a freight train engineer, on-call, and gone for several days at a time, driving trains between Portland and Seattle. First night at his house, he had to go to work, left me alone in the backyard. Was I ever lonesome. Howled most of the night. Then I broke out of the backyard and sat on his front porch, wondering where I was, what to do.

Little did I know that my “to-be mom” next door heard me howling in the middle of the night. She’d seen me taken into her neighbor’s house, saw his car was gone and figured out quick that I’d been left alone in the backyard and didn’t know where I was. Well, she didn’t think she should wander into a neighbor’s backyard at one in the morning. But she explained later to me later, that she thought that in the morning, she’d go over and check out what was going on. But she had to go to the doctor first thing at eight a.m. When she returned from her appointment, she parked in her driveway. Whem Mom opened her car door, I was right there, let me tell you. She took me in.

Well, my old man didn’t come home for two days and she and I got to be good friends. Long story, short, I’m hers and she’s mine, now. We walk each day and if my old dad is out in the yard, I kind of slink over to say “hello.” But make sure “my mom” is with me. (I know a good thing, when I have it.) She and he talk and laugh, and he rumpble-dumples me, says “You’re a good girl.” I grin back and then go over to mom.

We go on with our walk and I don’t look back.

So, yeah, my mom, the author and grant writer, is okay in my book and with a lot of others.

Hope you’ve enjoyed my story!

Boy, do I have to get back to my nap blanket. I never realized how hard this writing gig was!

Thanks for sharing that, Miss Mooka! You've had a tough life but I'm happy all is well now with a wonderful lady (okay, I'll admit it) that loves you and cares for you. Good luck and visit again soon!

By the way, here's the trailer of Patricia's mystery, Death Comes Too Soon (love the title!)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Meet Maris, Gina Collia Suzuki's Rat

I had always found rats creepy... until now. Just look at that photo!

Please welcome my special guest, Maris the Rat!

Maris is the beloved pet of Gina Collia Suzuki, author of The Wonderful Demise of Benjamin Arnold Guppy and Utamaro Revealed.
She loves writing satirical fiction and historical nonficion focusing on 18th century Japanese art. Gina is also an artist. She lives in the southwest coast of England with her husband and SEVEN other rats besides Maris (is Gina insane?!)

Maris keeps her own blog at The Kingdom of Peas.

Bio: Maris, known to her mom and dad as Mish-Mash, or 'Little Pink Princess,' on account of those gorgeous big pink ears, is a striped Roan dumbo fancy rat. As a baby she had a strong grey stripe down her back, but she lost that early on and turned into a silvery-white fluff ball. She is two years and two months old, which is about sixty-three years old in human terms, and has been blind in one eye since she was a tiny baby. She is an emissary for all ratkind, spreading rat-love all over the world, can sneeze whilst holding three chocolate stars in her mouth without blowing them across the room, talks to herself frequently, and has groomed her sisters bald around the ears... that's how much she loves them. She cannot be trusted to guard your Rice Crispies.

Tell us Maris, how is Gina as a writer and as a pet owner. Don't sugar coat it! Give us the real deal. This blog is only read by pets, so don’t worry, Gina won’t find out what you say. In the event that you find yourself into trouble, I can always offer protection. As yo well know, I have a good connection at the CIA.

I've known mom since I was six weeks old, and she's come on in leaps and bounds with all the training I've given her. She still doesn't clean behind her ears as often as I'd like, but she's quite good at bruxing (that's the teeth-grinding we rats do when we're happy)... although she does it in her sleep, which is a bit unconventional. She loves me more than bananas - she told me so - and only ever gives me the best nibbles. She gives me lots of cuddles and rolls me on my back to tickle my tummy. She laughs at my bald tummy since my fur dropped out there, but I don't mind because she's bald all over (even on her face!) and I laugh about that all the time. I have to have noxious poison (mom calls it 'medicine', pah!) twice a day, and mom always gives me a chocolate star for being a brave girl afterwards.

When she does that writing stuff, she likes it if I run across the keyboard on her laptop and stamp on the space bar. I do this a lot because I like to make her happy. She gets all her best ideas from me, and tells me that when she writes a book about rats she will dedicate it to me (and my sisters, but I am working on getting them smaller text somewhere at the bottom of the page). So far she's written two books (she doesn't work hard enough if you ask me - I could have written eleventy-four by now). One of them is a book about Japanese art, filled with beautiful things (but strangely no pictures of me... must remember to ask why that is). The other one is a funny book about mean neighbours. The silly man in that throws vegetables! Imagine that... using food for throwing. Food is for eating and hiding in slippers, not throwing!

The only thing I don't like about mom's writing is how she has to go outside the den and do talks and signings. When she gets back she cuddles me extra and laughs at my tummy twice as much, but I miss her so much when she's gone that I don't eat my nibbles. I don't know why she has to go out to talk and sign things... hasn't she heard of the telephone and post?

What’s with your name? Did Gina choose it? What has that done to your self esteem and what does that say about her?

I liked my name more before I found out how I got it. Mom and dad were having a think and mom, thinking she is the creative genius around here (I let her go on dreaming), said they should call me Maris and call my sister Piper... Maris Piper... she named us after a type of potato! I think she must have a thing about food because she named my sisters Mince Pie, Pickles, Mung Bean, Mrs Pea, Sprout, and Spud (there's that obsession with potatoes again). It could have been worse though, she named my other sister, Queequeg, after a cannibal! Mom has a whacky sense of humour and is always laughing at things (okay, me), so I guess we couldn't have sensible names like Mavis or Ethel. My self esteem is fine because everyone calls me their little princess... I am royalty you know.

Does your author mom plot like a madwoman or just write ‘down the bones’?

Madwoman... yes my mom is one of them all the time, but she says that when she's writing funny things she has to go with the flow and get all of the ideas out of her head before it explodes. I think that sounds like a good thing... exploding heads are messy. She stays up until four or five in the morning, and comes to talk to me when she gets stuck. I give her the benefit of my wisdom, she eats the left-over pizza that dad was saving for himself for tomorrow, and then goes back to work happy. When she's writing the serious stuff about art, she has to plan things and has lots and lots of notes. Sometimes she lets me chew them, as long as I only nibble the edges and don't pinch the words. Piper pinches the words... and the pictures... and the pens and pencils. She pinches my nibbles too, but I give her a swift kick and she gives them back.

What does your mom do besides writing? Is she a hermit or does she actually set her foot outdoors? My mom has to be dragged outside.

As a rat, outdoors is a dangerous place, and I like it best when mom stays home and give me cuddles. The best bit about having a writer for a mommy is that she stays home a lot. She likes to go to museums, but some of them are far away (at least two miles!), and I hide the door keys so she can't go. She likes to go to France a lot, but that's ok because we all go together. Mostly she likes to be home, reading and painting and tickling my tummy.

Is your mom crazy about book promotion? What does she do to promote her books? Does she ask your advice at times?

She is obsessed with this book promoting. She goes out to sign things (I hang on to her leg, but I'm only a tiny rat... what's a girl to do?). She does these talk things where people spend good money (not the play stuff mom lets me chew) to listen. I've told her, I don't care how much she talks, I'm not paying for it! She has two laptops and uses both at the same time. I have to jump back and forth to hit keys on both... that's my work-out for the day. She asks my advice but doesn't follow it. I told her to rub noses and sniff bottoms more, but she says she'd get arrested. I also told her to give out nibbles, but she gives out bookmarks instead. They don't taste very good at all.

Mom spends a lot of time doing blogging and fiddling with her web site... almost as much time as I spend cleaning my ears. The web site is and there are three blogs:

The last blog is my favourite because mom wrote a blog post about me and put my picture there, and everyone said I was cute and pretty (which I know, but it doesn't hurt to hear it twenty-ten times a day).

I have to admit it, Maris. You're one of the cutest rodents I've ever met! Not at all like those rabbits who have infiltrated my garden and are intent on driving me mad!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Meet Ophelia, Barbara Hodges' Basset Hound

Hey, cool, my guest today is a basset hound whose writer person, Barbara M. Hodges, is published by Twilight Times Books (my mom's publisher).

Here's a short bio...

Lady Shakespeare's Ophelia is a basset hound. She is six years young. Her closest friends are allowed to call her Phelia, all others address her as Ophelia or Princess. Ophelia allows Mom-slave, Barbara M. Hodges, Dad-slave, Jeff, and brother, Hamlet, her footman, to share her castle in Nipomo, CA. a small town on the central coast, made great by her presence. When not training her slaves she enjoys, sleeping, eating, playing, and sleeping, in that order.

Okay, Ophelia. Tell us about Barbara. What is she like? Don't be afraid to give us the inside scoop.

My people, Barbara and Jeff, have a party each Christmas. When I make my royal appearance there is no talk about anything but myself as it should be for the first moments. Later I hear them say my Barbara’s books are adored. She is often questioned as to when her newest will be available. For the most part Barbara has shaped up well in her training. It does bother me that I must remind her when it is time for her to cease writing and take me, Hamlet also, after all every princess must have a footman, to meet my loyal subjects at the park promenade.

When I first joined my people, they thought someone as dignified as myself would be sleeping in a royal crate, they were soon taught better. I was gracious about the whole matter and they do get a adequate space upon my royal king-size bed. Hamlet also after he pays me my homage.

Okay, YOUR HIGHNESS... Are you the boss of Barbara? (as if I don't already know the answer to this one... And they call me pompous?)

Of this there is no doubt. I simply make my wished known with a petite bark, and she jumps to do my will, even if it takes her a few minutes to figure out what it is I require.

What type of books does your human mom write?

She writes fantasy, science fiction and paranormal stories…in all are basset hounds. She of course requested my permission for doing so.

Has your Mom immortalized you in any of her books? Did she show your real character or did she exaggerate it for the book’s purpose? Are you happy with her portrayal of you?

In the book my mom-slave writes now, A Spiral of Echoes, there is a basset named Sammi-Sue and yes she is very much me, with much P.A. (princess attitude) So far she has captured me well. But I am keeping a close watch, I will not be in anyway defamed.

Have you read any of Barbara’s books? Are they really as good as she thinks they are?

Oh my yes. None go to the publisher without my paw of approval. Humm…yes they are. It took her awhile to accept her greatness, humble to the core she is, but I spend time each day training her to be a princess herself.

What does your writer mom do besides writing? Is she a hermit or does she actually set her foot outdoors? My mom has to be dragged outside.

When I nap Mom-slave is allowed to leave my castle. She goes to grandma’s and tells others what to do as they all splash around in a huge bathtub. I don’t get it, but she says it is great exercise for her.

At times we (Mom and Dad-slave, Hamlet the footman and my princess self) take the royal basset motor castle to NASCAR races. I love these. I gives more people the chance to adore me.

And my Mom-slave paints. She has yet to do my portrait as ordered, but I accept her excuse that she has not yet the talent to capture me in all of my beauty.

Now I have no more time for questions. I must begin Mom-slaves day for her.

I guess I should feel honoured to have such a high member of the doggie nobility as my guest. ..

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

In the News: I'm awarded the Sisterhood Award (PLEASE IGNORE PINK SCARF)

Gina Collia-Suzuki has just awarded me with the 'Sisterhood Award'! (Now, obviously she meant to give this award to my mom, so DON'T GET ANY WRONG IDEAS!)

So on my mom's behalf, thank you, Gina! This is quite an honor.

If only my mom wouldn't have taken the award name too seriously and adorned me with a pink scarf! Mayra really has a sadistic sense of humor--don't be fooled by all those sweet children's stories she writes! While she put the scarf on me, my human little sister (her accomplice) took a surprise photo with her cell phone. As soon as we're left alone in the living room without my mom around, I'm going to bully her and cover her new pants with drool. Let's see who'll be the last to laugh.

So, I shall now pass the Sisterhood Award to the following ten lady bloggers I admire (sorry guys, this is a VERY sexist award):

Donna McDine, Write What Inspires You
Shari Lyle-Soffe, Out of My Mind
Margot Finke, Margot Finke's Books for Kids
Dixie Phyllips, From the Heart of Dixie
Lucy Coats, Scribble City Central
Lea Schizas, The Writing Jungle
Cheryl Malandrinos, The Book Connection
April, Cafe of Dreams
Jo Ann Hernandez, BronzeWord
Morgan Mandel, Double M's

These are the rules...

1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate at least 10 blogs which show great attitude and/or gratitude!
3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received your award.

Woof! Woof!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Interview with Barry, Raul Ramos y Sanchez's Goldfish

Hello, Pets and Humans,

Today I have the woof pleasure of introducing you to a very special goldfish...

Barry Goldfish is the pet of Raul Ramos y Sanchez, author of the novel AMERICA LIBRE coming from Grand Central Publishing in July 2009, and winner of the International Latino Book Award for Best Novel 2008.

Barry’s residence in the author’s household is a by-product of a dander allergy by Raul’s wife Kathy. Unable to live with any kind of furry companion, the couple adopted Barry after Kathy’s father found him at a garage sale. Barry’s bowl was on sale for a dollar. Barry was a free option.

OK, Barry. Pet to pet, give us the inside scoop on Raul. What’s it like to live with an author who writes novels about scary stuff like ethnic insurrections?

Just between us pets, Amigo, I’m going to let you in on a secret. I know I can trust you. After all, you have connections with the CIA. You see, I work for a secret government organization called F.I.S.H. -- Furtive Investigations of Subversive Hispanics. We’re keeping Raul under surveillance because he’s got all these humanitarian-one-world-type ideas. You know the kind. The guy actually believes everything in John Lennon’s song “Imagine.” You gotta keep an eye on people like that.

Now you’re probably wondering how I report to the humans at F.I.S.H, right? Well, the Department of Defense spent billions developing a fish-to-human speech interface that lets us communicate via fin wiggles. The DOD was working on a similar technology for dogs, but gave up after they found dogs are too darned loyal. No offense, Amigo, but you guys make lousy spies. Oh yeah, they tried cats, too. But forget about it. They’re way too headstrong to follow orders.

Well, I hate to break it to you, Barry, but you're not the only one with special powers. Among other things, I happen to have a microchip in my brain that allows me to read and write. How do you think I can blog? The other stuff, I'm afraid I can't tell you about, me being with the CIA and all. It's TOP SECRET. There's something I'm wondering about, though: How did F.I.S.H. manage to get Raul to adopt you?

F.I.S.H. had Raul and his family under surveillance for a while and we knew his father-in-law could not pass up a garage sale bargain. So when they put me and my bowl on sale for a buck near his house and offered to throw in a box of fish food, it was a cinch. To be on the safe side, though, our team did have a rescue plan in place in case they decided to flush me down the toilet and keep the bowl for flowers.

So what’s life like with Raul?

He’s supposed to be this great humanitarian, but heck, if it wasn’t for Kathy, I’d starve to death. Kathy is constantly telling him, “Raul, you need to feed Barry.” But does he listen? Man, I splash around and practically jump out of my bowl trying to get his attention. But the guy does not have a clue. He’s there at that laptop clicking away in some kind of trance.

He works really weird hours, too. I’ll be catching some shuteye, dreaming about being in a big

sunny pond, splashing around with lots of lady goldfish, and he wakes me up hours before dawn, tapping away at his laptop. I tell you, I’m on duty practically 24/7.

Have you read Raul’s books? I understand AMERICA LIBRE is pretty controversial.

Yeah, I have to read his books. It’s part of my job. Raul started the first book of a trilogy in 2004 with a novel called AMERICA LIBRE. I brought along a picture of the cover so can see what it looks like. Book two of the trilogy, EL NUEVO ALAMO, will be released by GCP in 2010. He’s developing the third book now, PANCHO LAND. So I have to work hard to keep up with him.

My biggest problem is staying alert for any subversive content. Oh, he’s clever, that one. He wraps his seditious messages in romantic triangles, lots of action and suspense. Before I know it, I’m turning pages to find out what happens next and I forget to look for the subversive material.

Anything else we should know about Raul?

He’s the also the host and editor of a website called that allegedly lets immigrants to the U.S. from all over the world tell their stories in their own words. We’re keeping an eye on that, too. It may be a forum for encouraging immigration reform and a lot of us at F.I.S.H. don’t want to see that happen.

Well, thanks very much Barry. Your interview was certainly revealing.

Sure, Amigo. Anytime. And, hey, if you run into any potentially subversive Hispanics in your neck of the woods, now you know who to call.

I sure do! Woof!