Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Interview with Sophie, Andrea Sisco's Shih Tzu

Sophie Pike was born on November 13, 2008. She's a ruby AKC Shih Tzu and is a running, tumbling, licking, fun-filled bundle of joy. She came into Andrea Sisco and Bob Pike's life when she was 13 weeks old. She's the joy of their lives. And they are really, really, really tired.

Mom, Andrea Sisco, writes cozy mysteries and her web site is www.AndreaSisco.com. She also is the co-owner of Armchair Interviews, an author book review and interview web site. The web address is www.armchairinterviews.com.

Andrea's first mystery novel, A Deadly Habit will be published in July 2009. Read my mom's review of her book on Blogcritics Magazine. My mom also interviewed her. Don't miss the fun interview!

In Sophie's own words...

My mom, Andrea Sisco, is a new mom. It's been twenty-five years since she' had a puppy running around the house and nine years since her beloved Samantha died. She grieved a long time.

I think my ability to play, pee and pooh non stop has been a shock. Mom's not getting any younger, you know (I've been "sufficiently:" warned about telling her age). And the mind does deteriorate when you get older, I understand. You know, forgetfulness.

I've only been in the family for a couple of weeks but I've learned some important things.

  1. Mom is pretty serious about potty training. Security has been heightened since my arrival and any sniffing and running in circles results in a trip outdoors. Pronto.
  2. It's really cold outside in Minnesota right now so you know I don't want to do my "business" outside. I heard her mention that we'd be going to the Arizona house in April and it's warmer there. My question is, why aren't we there now?
  3. I can always make my Mom laugh and laugh and laugh. Even when I can't figure out what is so funny.
  4. Mom loves to be kissed by me.
  5. Mom loves to cuddle with me (Big Secret here! Dad doesn't know she allows me to cuddle with her in bed when he's gone). You won't tell will you? If you do, you'd better have the CIA on speed dial.
  6. I'm being trained to travel by plane (Mom flies a lot). I have my own bright red (it is my color) travel crate. I think I'm becoming a fashionista cuz' my coats, sweaters, leashes and collars and crates are pretty spiffy.
  7. I think Mom and I are going to have a lot of fun and I'm happy that I've brought so much joy to her life.

Tell us, Sophie. What do you do for amusement while Andrea pounds at the computer all day and ignores you?

There is no ignoring me. I simply don't allow it. After all, it is all about me. I'm a puppy for goodness sakes. Everyone (I'm teaching my Mom) knows that puppies must play, play, play. And then there is that little matter of potty training. She's a drill sergeant about that. That's one area in which I can't deter her with my sunny personality.

I'm really small right now (I weigh 5 pounds) so she allows me to sit in her lap while she writes book reviews. She doesn't allow me in her lap anymore when writing her next Penelope Santucci novel. You see we were killing (yes she murdered a man) the bad guy and I squirmed too much (I am not a fan of murdering people) so she announced, "I guess I will write when you're sleeping."

Well, we'll see about that!

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

I don't know what snoring is. And I don't know if she fell asleep reading before my arrival, but she does now. She says she's getting older and I'm a handful! I guess it's because I still wake up during the night to go outside and that interruption keeps her tired during the day. Don't tell her that sometimes I just wake up because I want to cuddle with her. You do have the CIA on speed dial, right? Perhaps the Secret Service? You never know when you'll need witness protection.

What are you talking about, Sophie! Of course I have the CIA on speed dial. The CIA and I go a long way. But do go on. I'm loving all the inside info on Andrea... Does she ask your advice when she's stuck? Does she even listen?

Well… As I told you before, I'm pretty busy and so she's not writing much cuz' I'm still a baby and I demand all of her attention. However, she talks to me ALL the time. Nonsense I tell you, it's all nonsense. Sometimes I just want her to be quiet. I mean do I really need to know she's going to the bathroom, or that she's going to get dressed, or take a shower, or go to the club to work out? Oh, yes, that last one. I absolutely do need to know when she is leaving me. I don't want her to leave me. She's my Mom! I'm a baby and I don't want to be left alone!

(Jeez, what a cry baby) OKAY... What advice would you give to those pets that have to live with irrational, insufferable, egotistical authors?

It's all in the training. If you train your Mom early and well, it will be worth it later on. After all, we are not just their pets, we are their children. At least that's what my Mom, Andrea Sisco says.

And really, I haven't seen the bad side of my Mom yet. She's all about loving on me. Oh, but there are those potty accidents. She does get a "gleam" in her eye when that happens. So I guess the evil eye is about as far as it goes. She is pretty much of a braggart about me though. But that is as it should be.

Will you be boasting to your other pet friends about this interview? Do you think they'll be able to take it?

My Mom is just beginning to socialize me. Her goal is 100 new people and pets in a hundred days. That means we hang out at Pet Smart a lot! I plan on telling all my human and pet friends about this interview. It might help sell Mom's book (and that can only mean more treats and stuff for me) and of course, my Mom loves me and I love her so I want to help all I can.

My friends will probably be jealous about this interview, but more so because my Mom and I are growing so close. She says she loves me sooooo much. And you know what? She does. I can tell. I don't think we'll be needing the CIA any time soon. Or witness protection. We're pretty tight.

Oh, gotta go. She's starting to smooch on me. I think I'll see if she'll scratch my belly.

I guess Andrea is right... Sophie IS a handful...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Meet Drop-dead-gorgeous Miss Lucy, M. Jean Pike's Black Lab

Say hello to my beautiful brunette guest, Miss Lucy. Miss Lucy shares her countryside home with romance author M. Jean Pike.Visit Jean's website and Blog to learn all about her writing, books and stories.

Miss Lucy's Bio (in her own words):

My name is Lucille and I’m two and a half years old. The best way to describe me is I’m a naughty-but-nice Labrador retriever/English setter mix. I have a beautiful black coat and gray speckled toes. I am drop-dead gorgeous and I think my best feature is my big, brown eyes. When mom rescued me from the animal shelter, they told her I wasn’t anything special. Boy, were they wrong! I’m very loyal, though I’m not very brave. I’m secure enough in my doggihood to admit that I’m afraid of the dark. I live in the country, even have my very own creek in the back yard. So basically I live in doggie heaven!

I'm so glad Jean adopted you, Miss Lucy! I'm a sucker for happy-ending stories like that. Okay, so give us the lowdown. What's it like living with an author?

My mom’s name is M. Jean Pike, but mostly I just think of her as Mommy. She is a very busy lady. She and my boy get in the car early every morning and drive away. My boy goes to school, and Mommy goes to work. When they come back home, Mommy feeds me my lunch, and then we go out and play. Mommy usually throws the Frisbee or a ball and I run after it. She tries to get me to give it back, but I never do! After play time, Mommy works in the kitchen and sometimes she washes the clothes or turns on the vacuum cleaner. After supper, she takes my boy places. I don’t really know where they go, but he is a very busy boy. He plays football, wrestling, and track. So there is always someplace for Mommy to go. Soon my boy will be going in the car all by himself and Mommy says she is not looking forward to it! In the evenings, and almost all day on Sunday, Mommy writes stories. She sits at her computer for hours. Daddy, the boy and I are not allowed to bug her then!

What type of books does your Mommy write?

Mommy writes mostly love stories that she calls romances. Some of them are really spooky stories about ghosts and people traveling to other times. When she finishes writing a new chapter she always reads it out loud. Some of the chapters are so scary I have to go and hide under the bed!

Next time you get scared, give me a call. I'm quite the chivalrous golden and will be glad to offer protection. Remember I also have connections with the CIA. So tell us, has your Mommy immortalize you in any of her books?

Right now Mommy is writing something called a “series.” The first book is called Shadow Lake and was released on April fool’s Day from Black Lyon Publishing and that’s no joke! It’s awesome, and probably one of my favorites of all Mommy’s books. The story is set in a campground in New York State. In one scene there is a black lab playing Frisbee in the lake with his boy. I think that is the best scene in the whole doggone book! (Pssst … the black lab is me!)

Good for you, Miss Lucy! My mom is working on a picture book about me (at gun point). Can't wait for her to finish it. So what do you do for amusement while Jean pounds at the computer all day and ignores you?

Mostly I don’t care if Mom ignores me, as long as I get to be where she is. I like to lie on my rug beside the computer where she can reach over and scratch my ears once in awhile. I like it when Mom reads her work out loud to me and I always wag my tail at the good parts. We have a cat named “Boy” and I’m careful to keep him out of Mom’s office while she is writing. He tries to get in Mom’s lap, and it makes it hard for her to work. Sometimes, when Mom writes for a really, really long time, I get bored and I start to chew on stuff. Mostly the legs of the wicker chair. I don’t mean to be naughty, but sometimes I just can’t stop myself. You have to remember, I’m only two!

What happens when Jean gets a bad review?

Mommy definitely doesn’t like to get bad reviews! Thank heavens it doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, I am careful to listen, wag my tail, and give lots of extra kisses so Mommy knows I think she’s the greatest. Personally, I don’t think they should let crazy people write reviews. I know they are crazy people because when Mommy shows Daddy a bad review, he always puts on his angry voice and says, “What is she… crazy?”

Does Jean like to snack while she writes? Sometimes I have to block the entrance to the kitchen to prevent my author mom from snacking too much—but of course, she refuses to give me treats and believes I’m fat! (oddly, the vet agrees with her). Do you think there’s a connection between writing and obesity?

No, but I definitely think there’s a connection between eating and obesity. My vet told Mommy an evil, evil thing. He told her to be careful about overfeeding me, because black labs don’t know when to stop eating and tend to be obese. So Mom doesn’t allow me to eat people food very often, but she keeps a box of my favorite biscuits in the drawer in her office. She keeps cans of cashews for herself. She probably goes through fifty cans while writing a novel. When I beg for her cashews she always says “No!” But like I said, my best feature is my big, brown eyes, and I have learned how to use them! I just keep staring at Mommy and make my eyes really sad and she caves every time!

I totally understand! I wrote something on the FAT subject the other day. Thank you so much for stopping by this side of the woods, Miss Lucy. It's good for my reputation to be visited by young pretty brunettes such as yourself!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Say hello to Queenie, Krista Davis' Golden Retriever

Today is a special day. That's because my guest is a member of the most fantastic breed in the entire universe: Golden Retrievers! That I'm a golden has nothing to do with this, people. Why else are we the most popular dogs in the world? There has to be a reason! We are geniuses and as gentle as babies. Don't believe me? I don't care.

So my guest today is the wonderful Queenie! She's quite the lady. Just look at her and just read her smart answers to my questions (God, I love goldens!).

Queenie lives with mystery author Krista Davis and shares her home with a few other critters of the feline and canine variety. She's spilling the beans on Krista, who writes mysteries with delicious recipes in them. If you visit her website you'll see what I mean. Those cupcakes look to die for!

Welcome to Pets and Their Authors, Queenie! I hear Krista is obsessed with murder? What's that like?

Don't be fooled, she's actually a big softy. She's always dragging in little creatures that my siblings and I would like to chase. The worst was a one-winged bird. Can you imagine how embarrassing it was for a Golden Retriever to have a one-winged bird living in the house? I had to bark at it every day just to save face.

Tell us about her latest novel. I noticed there's a cat on the cover.

Our feline sibling, Mochie, is on the cover of The Diva Runs Out of Thyme. There's a handsome Golden in that story, too, and I can only think it was some kind of mistake that he wasn't on the cover.

Mom writes about two domestic divas. Sophie Winston has a cat and partial custody of Daisy, a mixed-breed hound. Sophie's ex-husband, Mars, has custody of Daisy the rest of the time, but -- poor Daisy -- Mars lives with the other domestic diva, who gets hysterical if there's dog fur on her floor. We even won't discuss muddy footprints.

In Mom's latest book, The Diva Takes the Cake, Sophie's sister, Hannah, is getting married, but problems arise when Daisy discovers the corpse of the groom's ex-wife. Of course, having inferior olfactory abilities, the people can't figure out if the killer is on the bride's side, the groom's side, or waiting at the altar.

Why didn't she put you? What on
earth is it about cats and mysteries?

My canine siblings and I have discussed this at great length, and have concluded that it's because cats are mysterious creatures. Have you ever noticed that they tiptoe into the room so no one knows they're there? A dog bounces in and announces his arrival -- and your arrival, too. We'll announce it to the world if a chipmunk runs by. A cat wouldn't say a word about a chipmunk. He'd twitch the very tip of his tail, and then eat the chipmunk. Talk about murderous! And if you're looking for the cat, he will sit still as a statue and watch you go right by. They're born sneaky and if you don't believe me, I'm sending along a picture from my puppyhood to prove it.

Note how sweet and innocent I look. See what I mean about cats being sneaky?

Those innocent-looking kitties on her website didn't fool me for one minute! What are they like at home?

There's only one kitty now, and we voted to make him a member of the pack. Mochie's a pretty cool cat, and has figured out how to open cabinets and drawers so we can poke our noses inside. He's also a pro at kitty hockey and spins things off the countertops to us. But when he flies through the house at kitty warp speed -- watch out. We had fun the night a bat managed to come inside. Mochie chased the bat, and we chased Mochie, and Mom chased all of us (she's slow...). Mom says we get along with him because he's an Ocicat, and they have some dog-like attitudes.

Proof that we really do love Mochie.

Krista looks like a sweet lady in her website photo. Is she as stable as she appears to be?

Looks can be deceiving. If it weren't for us, she would be glued to the box on her desk all day. We take her for walks just to be sure she gets some exercise and stops to smell the honeysuckle. It took us years to train her to serve us cheese and crackers in the late afternoon. But she stills gets grumpy when we have to pursue a pesky raccoon or skunk out of our kingdom in the middle of the night. It's like she doesn't understand the thrill of the hunt in the dark.

I did notice her recipes... Hmmm... my mom never makes scrumptious cup cakes like that! How did she come up with the idea of combining food and mystery stories?

That was a stroke of luck, especially since eating is my hobby. Mom always liked to cook, but now she tries out a lot of new recipes, and we feel obligated to insist on our fair share so she won't gain too much weight.

Mom blames the food/mystery connection on her editor. She had submitted a proposal for another series and her editor asked a question that led Mom to the idea of two divas -- one who keeps things simple and lovely, and one who thinks everyone should grow their own live Easter grass, hand-embroider napkins, and that dogs and cats shouldn't be allowed in her perfect yard.

Any last words of wisdom you'd like to share?

Yes, thank you. Taking care of a writer Mom is exhausting. Normal moms and dads leave home during the day so their dogs and cats can rest. Since Mom sits a great deal, I try to sleep directly beneath her feet. This forces her to stretch to reach the keyboard, and has the added benefit of alerting me when she rises to head for the kitchen. It's important not to miss an opportunity for a treat. Mochie does his best to wind around her feet when she walks, just to keep her nimble. And, should the clicking noise on the keyboard stop, it is imperative that you take immediate action to remove a writer mom or dad from the vicinity of the big box. Writer's block can set in and it's very difficult to nurse them back to health when that happens. Ward it off by distracting them and forcing them to talk a walk or play fetch.

Thanks, Queenie! Your answers are quite enlightening!

Let's watch the trailer!

Visit Queenie and Krista Davis' sites and blogs at:

Website: http://divamysteries.com
Blog: http://thedivadishes.blogspot.com
Follow Mom on Twitter: http://twitter.com/kristadavis