Sunday, July 26, 2009

Interview with John, Maryann Miller's feline companion

Say hello to John, a feline dude who shares his home with a very busy author named Maryann Miller. John is spilling the beans on her today. So read on, my canine and feline readers!

About John's human writer, Maryann Miller:

Maryann Miller is a diverse writer of columns, feature stories, short fiction, novels, screenplays and stage plays. Her work has appeared in regional and national publications, and the Rosen Publishing Group in New York has published her non-fiction books for teens, including the award-winning Coping with Weapons and Violence In School and On Your Streets. A romantic suspense One Small Victory is a recent release in hardcover from Five Star/ Gale, and Play It Again, Sam is a July 08 release from Uncial Press as an e-book. Other experience includes extensive work as a PR consultant, a script doctor, and an editor. She is currently the Managing Editor for , an online community magazine

You can visit her at her Web site at: and read her blog at

1. I see your mom Maryann keeps herself busy. But tell us, are you the boss of her?

Is this a redundant question? Cats rule.

2. (I see John is a cat of few words) What type of books does Maryann write?

As if I should even care. But last time I watched that funny little thing move around on the screen, I think she was working on a new humorous book.

3. Of all her books, which one is your favorite?

It would have to be One Small Victory. Why? Because she leaves these neat bookmarks and flyers about it on the desk and they make a nifty bed when I want to take a nap.

4. What do you do for amusement while Maryann pounds at the computer all day and ignores you?

There are all kinds of things I can do. Some to amuse myself, like playing with the dog, and others to let my mom know that I am still around. I love to open her top desk drawer, then crawl in for a nap. Or I can go knock all the food dishes off the washer and dryer. I live with two other cats and we get to eat on the appliances so the dog doesn’t get our food. I can do the food dish trick at dinnertime, or any other time I want to get my mom’s attention. If she doesn’t respond to that and I am really done with being ignored, I can just leap up on the computer keyboard. I am not sure if she has kept anything I wrote when I’ve done that, but she should. I’m sure I can write as well as she does.

5. Good tips, John. Does she let you sit on her lap while working at the computer?

In my dreams. Although I’m not really a lap cat. Now, don’t spread this around as I have a reputation to maintain, but I really like to be cradled like a baby. That does make it a little hard for my mom to hold me while she works. No hands for the keyboard. And I make sure of that by grabbing her hand if she tried to sneak it away from me. So she is always trying to make me sleep on this pillow she has put on the floor next to her desk. But really. The floor? So I pretend I don’t even see it. Sometimes I get up on the desk and try to gain access to her arms. If she pulls back, I just stand in front of the monitor. That’s when I can play with that funny little black thing that runs across the screen. Other times I will move to the end of the desk where she has papers and books stacked up. It’s great fun to sort of stretch out and knock them all to the floor. I like to change up my favorite place, just to keep her on her toes.

OKay, I promise not to tell. I also love when my mom cuddles me. I get a fuzzy feeling all over. (please don't tell her I say that!)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Children's Dog Books & Reviews

Hey all,

There's a mom and dog trainer out there who loves reading and reviewing children's dog books!

Visit her at Children's Dog Books & Reviews. Her name is Charlotte Mielziner.

She even reviewed my mom's book here. Be sure to take a look! Woof!

Monday, July 6, 2009

This Booksicals doggy needs a name!

I have a very special guest today, but there's just one problem: I can't properly introduce him because he doesn't have a name... yet! That's where you, the reader, come in. Read his interview below and see how you may help him find a name!

About my 'No-name' guest's mom:

Susan Chodakiewitz is a writer, composer and producer. She is the founder of Booksicals Children’s Books- Encouraging the love of reading through the arts. Through her company Booksicals she has created the Booksicals on Stage literacy program which is currently presenting musical performances of the picture book Too Many Visitors for One Little House at schools, libraries, and special events.

Susan lives in Los Angeles in a lively household filled with music, three sons, a husband, a Dalmatian and lots of visitors. Susan loves picture books and when she wrote a musical based on one of her favorites, she realized it was time to start writing her own picture books.

Too Many Visitors for One Little House is Susan’s debut book. You can visit her website at

Okay, doggy-with-no-name, tell us a little about your human mom and her company, Booksicals. How did she come up with the idea for these type of books?

My human Susan Chodakiewitz absolutely loves picture books. Years ago she decided that one day she would be a children’s book author. She put that idea on the back burner for many years and dedicated herself to writing musical theater.

I starred as one of the main characters in her first children’s musical, Vanillaville. Vanillaville was based on a picture book. Working with picture books made Susan so happy, she decided to start writing her own picture books.

While writing Too Many Visitors for One Little House she couldn’t help thinking up songs for the characters. One day the word BOOKSICALS popped into her head. Eureka! That was it!

In 2008 she launched Booksicals, a line of children’s books whose mission is to encourage a love of reading through the arts. Susan decided to publish Too Many Visitors for One Little House as Booksicals’ debut book.

While Susan auditioned singers for the Booksicals Repertory Company, I got to sit under the piano. As soon as I started singing, I was immediately asked to leave the room. I guess NOT everyone appreciates a dog’s talent!

The Booksicals Repertory Company is now performing the musical version of Too Many Visitors for One Little House at libraries, schools and special events. I tried to attend the debut at the Robertson Library in Los Angeles, but -- you guessed it—no dogs allowed!

That sounds like fun! How did you come to be a character in Too Many Visitors for One Little House?

For a long time I was wandering the streets homeless, looking for the right family. None of the homes I passed seemed right for me.

One day, I saw a lady leaving the supermarket pushing a giant shopping cart filled with lots of food. This looked promising. I decided to follow her.

Suddenly she stopped in front of a house. There was a giant camper parked outside. From the window I heard lively music and the voices of lots of children. A little boy opened the front door and I could see a grandpa playing the clarinet, a grandma snoozing on a chair, teenagers playing the electric guitar, kids jumping on a sofa, and lots of visitors everywhere.

I didn’t want to be rude so I waited politely on the stoop for someone to notice me. From the kitchen I heard the mom call out-- Please close the door! There’s a scraggly old dog outside!

Well, I thought, I guess this it.… Disappointed, I started to walk away when a suddenly a group of kids rushed out with a big bowl of milk for me. Tears welled up in my eyes as I realized… I finally found a home!

All together there were 23 people staying at my new house on El Camino Street. Too Many Visitors for One Little House is the story about that wonderful summer. Though I was the very last visitor to arrive I was certainly the luckiest-- I got to stay forever!

I heard Booksicals is running a NAME THE DOG CONTEST. Tell us all about it.

In the book Too Many Visitors for One Little House the scraggly dog (that’s me) does not have a name. So please help my new family name me for the next book by entering the Too Many Visitors for One Little House Name the Dog Contest at

The winner will get a $25 gift certificate to and a free copy of Too Many Visitors for One Little House!

A little bird told me there's going to be a sequel with you as the main character? How did that come about? Did you threaten your mom at gunpoint?

I had nothing to do with it! The readers themselves decided that I should star in the next book. During two author readings in Arizona the kids asked Susan what her next book would be about. She asked the kids which character they would be most interested in. Of course they unanimously shouted out --THE DOG? (What can I say-- I am irresistibly charming.) And that’s how Susan decided she would write a sequel starring me!

Where is the book available?

Too Many Visitors for One Little House is available at at the following link: or through

Does Booksicals have a website? What about a blog?

Visit to get Nanny’s apple strudel recipe, craft ideas from the characters on El Camino Street, read Susan’s blog, and hear more about how Booksicals encourages the love of reading through the arts and enter the Name the Dog Contest.

Arf, Arf, see you soon!