Saturday, August 22, 2009

Interview with Jolie and Mardi, owners of author Ann Whitaker

Today I have two canine guests, Joli and Mardi, owners of human author Ann Whitaker. Anne has one romantic comedy out, DOG NANNY, currently being read by my own reviewer mom, Mayra Calvani.

Check out Ann Whitaker's cool links and be sure to check out her book!

Welcome to my blog! It's a treat having you here. Let's start with Jolie. Tell me, how did you come to live with Ann?

Jolie Blon: I’m the love child, their “bestest girl in the world.” I’ve lived with my mom and dad since I was seven weeks old. Their whole world revolved around me until I was two. I even had my own puppy book.

Then, it all fell apart. One day they brought home this pound dog named Mardi Gras. I don’t know what they saw in him. He was really wild and dumb and made this “oogly face” where he bared his teeth for no reason. I quickly broke him of that. Then Mom took him to school so he could learn how to act around civilized people, but if you ask me, it just gave him the big head. He later worked as a pet therapy dog. He really thought he was special when he got to go to the hospital and the nursing home, while I stayed home.

Hmm. Have you ever heard of 'jealousy' therapy, Joli? Oh, never mind. I don't know what I would do if Mom brought home another dog... Like, could I handle it? Nooooooo! So, let's switch to Mardi. Your mom writes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and even songs! How does she have any time left for you?

Mardi: Not to brag, but I learned at a very early age how to handle women. One look at my little black eyes and ladies swoon. I’m also a very good kisser. So if my mom gets too wrapped up in her work, I jump on her lap and nudge her hands off the keyboard. She can’t resist petting my soft white fur.

About a year ago, I developed diabetes. So now I’m on a special diet and get shots twice a day, in addition to having my blood glucose tested. Because of my special needs, my mom has to pay a lot more attention to me than she does Jolie. Ha. I even get to sleep in the bed.

Sorry to hear about the diabetes. That must be hard! So I hear your mom has a romantic comedy just published by The Wild Rose Press, Dog Nanny. Tell us about it! It sounds like quite a riot! (my mom keeps laughing while reading it)

Jolie: I don’t understand why our mom wanted to write about those make-believe poodles when she has me. I’m smaller and lots cuter.

The dogs in Mom’s book, Dog Nanny, are named Noche and Blanco because one is black and the other white. They’re clipped like giant bichons—real Texas big-hair—and they’re very bad dogs. Why, they’ve failed so many obedience classes that their dad threatens to get rid of them. They use the furniture for doggy trampolines and jump in people’s laps without permission.

Not only that, they’re interfering with their owners’ love life, if you get my meaning. So their mom hires a nanny who has one month to train them. If that doesn’t work, they’ll be doggies of divorce or maybe out on the street where they won’t know where their next bone is coming from.

Mardi: It’s also a love story (gag). The trainer girl falls for this pilot, and they kiss with their lips. Jolie liked that part (cause she’s a girl), but my favorite scene was where the dogs went bye-bye in the car and got stopped by the cops. The nanny also tell the owners it’s important to neutral your pets. We got neutraled before we were a year old, so we think that’s probably good advice.

Jolie (rolling her eyes): I told you he was a dumbo. He means “neutered.”

Please, guys, show some control... I hear your mom plays the guitar. Between you and me, is she any good? My mom sounds like she's killing a cat when she plays the violin (not that I don't relish the sound).

Jolie: Amigo, you crack me up. Why don’t you come live with us? And I’ll send Mardi to your house. Can you believe Mardi likes cats? He once had a cat friend!

Our mom used to have a mutt dog who howled when she played the harmonica, but she doesn’t play that or the violin these days, thank goodness. And she’s not so hot on the guitar either.

We do like it when she sings and dances with us. She named me after a song. “Jolie Blon” is the name of a Cajun waltz and means “pretty blonde.” The name fits me well, since I’m a natural blonde with big brown eyes, and very pretty. Did I mention I’m a miniature poodle with papers? And highly educated. Since Mardi was a street dog, his lineage is questionable, though he looks like a poodle. I call him “dirty white boy.”

You're also very modest, Joli. So tell me, Mardi, is Ann as stable as she looks in her photo?

Mardi: Stable? You must be kidding. She taught high school English for 30 years! No one who does that can be stable.

Good point! When my mom does school visits, she comes back home looking like a grenade truck her. I keep telling her that dogs are better than children... So, what do you do to attract your mom's attention when she's pounding away on the computer? Share with other canines your most sadistic tactics.

Jolie: When I was younger I liked to shred tissue and chew on her shoes. Nowadays, I perch on the back of the couch where I can look out the big window and bark at nothing, just to irritate her. When the mailman drives up, I go ballistic. Sometimes Mom yells at me to be quiet or hisses at me like she’s the Dog Whisperer. Hah! I just bark louder. I also like to knock the pillows off the couch.

Mardi: My favorite trick is to stare at her and growl really low so she thinks I need something. If I stare at her long enough, she’ll sometimes give me what she calls a non-glycemic treat, like a piece of asparagus.

We both love to ring the bell to go outside, just to see how many times we can make her get up. She’s very well trained.

(With horror) Asparagus?! You must be joking! I pity you. Tells us something about Ann nobody else knows.

Jolie: She used to be a real party animal (snort).

Mardi: Yeah, and she once ran six miles dressed as a lobster. She says she was really hot.

Well, Amigo, we’re really are happy you gave us this chance to talk about our mom. We’d like to close with a reminder to all of you who have writer-moms and dads to train them well and be sure they have enough to drink. They have a rough life. Imagine sitting at a computer all day when you could be sleeping, barking, chasing cats, or rolling in dead stuff.

Gotta run now. We’re late for our naps!

Thanks for stopping by, Jolie and Mardi! You're quite an adorable duo!!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Interview with Sadie, Donna Shepherd's cool Labradoodle

Sadie is a big, loveable two-year old Labradoodle. She's always watchful over her owner, Donna Shepherd, author of children's and inspirational books. Visit Donna at or

Sadie's friend, Angel, who also shares their household, has a book coming by Guardian Angel Publishing: Poodle & Doodle. Sounds like fun!

Sadie has her own blog (you rock, girl!) at

Welcome to my blog, Sadie! I love your picture at the computer, hard at work (or at least, pretending). So tell us what's it like living with Donna Shepherd.

My owner, Donna, tells me all the time how much she loves me. She kisses my nose and under my ears for some reason. Kinda tickles, but it still feels good. I don't know how well she writes, but she really knows how to take care of me, so I try to be a good dog. That picture she sent of me is when I was a puppy, but as you can tell, I was already trying to help.

The truth, Sadie. Are you the boss of her?

Of course, Mom would say 'no' but we all know better. All if have to do is nudge her with my wet brown nose and she goes all gooey. She tries to get me to talk to her, so sometimes I make growly noises. She thinks I'm talking so we're both happy.

What type of books does your human mom write?

My mom writes for children and grownups, so every day is different. I do know one thing, when she gets that faraway look in her eyes, I know she's headed to Topsy Turvy Land. No attention for me for a while.

What do you do for amusement while Donna pounds at the computer all day and ignores you?

When mom starts to ignore me too much, I bring my favorite ball and drop it at her feet. If that doesn't work, I start picking on one of the other dogs. When we get rambunctious, she sighs – really loud! – and gets up to let us out. Works every time.

Does Donna let you sit on her lap while working at the computer?

I'm way too big now to sit in Mom's lap. I heard her tell someone I weigh 75 pounds. Is that a lot? I've tried to get in her lap before though. I mean, the other dogs get to all the time. Angel, the poodle, really aggravates me. She and I don't get along. The Boston terrier, Ariel, can be fun. She snorts and head-butts Angel sometimes, so I think that's hilarious. But then Angel jumps up into Mom's lap for protection, so the game's over.

What is the best part of having an author as a mom? The worse part?

The best part is that I always know where to find her – at her desk pounding away on those keys. Sometimes she has snacks on the desk, and when she walks away, I managed to snag a few bites. She gets mad at me, but I can't help myself.

I can't think of a bad part. Mom keeps me supplied with rawhide bones. She's always at the house, so I get to be with her all the time. I like that.

Thanks for the interview, Sadie! Woof!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Interview with Boo, Angel Leigh McCoy's cat

Give a warm welcome to Boo, a black and white cat who loves to groom herself and is not ashamed to show it, as you can see in the photo. Boo is here today to spill the beans on Angel Leigh McCoy, a horror writer and game designer (how cool is that!). Angel can also be found at Wily Writers, so be sure to check her work. Boo also talks about PAWS, the government's super secret cat agency. I, of course, knew about this agency, being with the CIA and all...


Bobbi Boo was born in the summer of 2007. The truth of what she did and where she went during those first few months is a matter of national security and need-to-know only. In January 2008, she took a new assignment as bodyguard to Angel Leigh McCoy, speculative fiction writer and Wily Writers head editor. At that point, her life became a matter of public record—one of the drawbacks of cohabitating with a writer.

Boo lives in Seattle, WA, USA, where she has distinguished herself with unprecedented acts of bravery and tenderness. She is currently working on becoming a world-renowned yoga master and extra-dimensional cabinet explorer.

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

First, Amigo, let me say what a delight it is to be here. I read your blog every day. Now, to answer your question, the people at PAWS (the government’s super secret cat agency) named me Bobbi because I have no tail. Is that tragic, or what? They thought they were being clever. Then, when Angel came along, she expanded my name to Bobbi Boo, and she calls me her Boo. I like that better. It fits me because I’m spooky.

Angel and I play Peek-a-Boo, and she sings me the Scooby-Boo song. When she comes home, she shouts, “Hey, Boo-Boo!” And I reply, “Hey, Yogi.”

Sorry to hear about your tail. One of my guests this September is a blind cat. So, tell me the truth, is Angel as disciplined as she said she was in her last interview?

We have two types of day here in the Boo-Angel household. On the first type of day, it’s like this: sleep, computer, bacon factory, computer, sleep. Basically, between the time she spends sitting in my chair at the computer, Angel leaves and goes to work. I never actually see any bacon, but she goes so she can bring some home—or so she says. She writes for them, and they give her bacon. It’s pretty cool, when you think about it. I bet you like bacon, don’t you, Amigo? Heck. Who doesn’t like bacon?!

During the second type of day, she doesn’t leave my chair except to visit either her litter box or her food box.

What are you talking about? I LOVE bacon, the greasier the better. But to go back to Angel, what do you do to annoy her? Give my readers some tricks.

I have a plethora of strategies for breaking her train of thought and ultimately annoying her. I’m just that good. Take notes.

Sometimes, I sit on the back of her chair so she has to be very careful not to knock me off. (That one may be a little tough for you, since you’re not a cat, but give it a try anyway.) Other times, I walk on her keyboard. She hates that, but it gets her attention.

Stretching up her leg or arm makes her stop what she’s doing and look at me, every time. The claws don’t have to come out for it to work, but it’s fun to snag her clothes and pull on her. She never ignores that.

When all else fails—and this is the best—I take a single claw, and I stick it into her big toe. She’s all mine then. All mine.

Ha, ha. Very evil. Good work, Boo. Does Angel ask your advice when she’s stuck? Does she even listen?

To be honest, I don’t know. She talks all the time. I tune her out. On and on, blah blah blah. She’s worse than the squirrels, always chittering. Frankly, it’s a good thing she has me, or people would think she was crazy.

I know what you mean. My mom is a chatterbox... What advice would you give to those pets that have to live with irrational, insufferable, egotistical authors?

Get a hobby or five. Squirrel- and bird-watching are great fun. I also highly recommend meditation (a.k.a. sleeping) and Zen sand gardening. Of course, there’s always yoga. I bet you’ve got downward-facing dog licked, huh. When all else fails, work on your Cuteness Factor™. It’ll get you everywhere. Na-mew-ste!

Woof! Woof! Thanks, Boo.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Interview with Lydia, Arlene Sachitano's tuxedo cat

Lydia is the feline companion of mystery author Arlene Sachitano. When she's not writing her novels, she authors she story part of the Storyquilts Lucy Winters Mystery block of the month series. Check out her novel, Quilt As Desired.

Arlene's publisher, Zumaya Publications, is one of my mom's publisher's too... Cool!

In Lydia's own words...

My name is Lydia and as you can see I’m a black and white tuxedo cat. My early years were spent living with a group of college students. When they graduated, I was unceremoniously dumped at the Oregon Humane Society, which I have to say, was quite beneath my social standing. Fortunately I found another situation with a family (the Sachitano’s) who were at that point in time petless. I’ve let them live with me for the last seven years. It has taken a lot of effort on my part but I’ve just about gotten them whipped into shape.

Welcome to my blog, Lydia! No preambles here: Are you the boss of Arlene?

I do think of it as an employer, employee relationship.

What type of books does your human mom write?

My female human writes murder mysteries, although with all those quilter’s they are a bit cozy for my tastes. I’ve given her many demonstrations on killing using my toy mouse and occasionally the real thing, but she just keeps saying “that’s too graphic for my audience.” What a bunch of wimps!

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.

My human knits a lot! I must say knitting is rather fun, especially when I bite the yarn in half and run away. She gets sooo upset, it’s really a hoot! But I digress. . . We have a country home near the Oregon coast and my human teaches knitting there. I love the country, once a lizard got in our house and I ate all of it except its tail, which I left to show my human. I could do without the 75 mile drive, though. I only tolerate the drive if my human plays a book on tape that I like. I really prefer Harry Potter or any book read by a British reader. When my human turns the book off for any reason, I yowl until she puts it back on. This method which works like a charm, I might add. My male human took me without a book once and I almost wore my voice out telling him about it.

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 Arlene while she writes?

Oh, darling, I can do much better than stare. I do see myself as an integral part of the editing process (who knows what she’d write if I didn’t censor her work), so whenever my human gets her laptop out, I come running. I can tell you my fool proof approach: (not that I’m saying you’re a fool, even if you are a dog), I sneak up on the back of the sofa and then turn around and slide tail first down my human’s chest until I’m right between her hands. I hook my claws in her shoulder to check my slide and voila! I’m right in the middle of things.

My human writes quilting mystery stories so we usually make a quilt to go with each book. I’m quite the designer if I do say so myself. For the quilt on the front edge of Quilt As Desired, (we give the pattern away at signings) it was my idea to leave off the final pieces which resulted in angled corners.

Of all your mom’s books, which one is your favorite? Why?

Hmmm, that’s a toughie, in my human’s quilt mystery series, the first one, Quilt As Desired, does feature a cat named Fred who gets to attack a dog. I did encourage that. In the second book in the series, all the characters went to an out of town folk art school, and the cat got left home. That didn’t seem fair.

(Attack a dog, huh? Obviously Lydia likes to fantasize too much...)