Saturday, September 26, 2009

Interview with Cosmo the Cat, owner of Melissa Burmester

Say hello to Cosmo, spoiled cat and proud owner of Melissa Burmester... who happens to be a 15-year old author! Yes, this talented young lady is the published author of the vampire teen novel, Ginger High.

And here to tell us all about it is Cosmo...

Thanks for stopping by this side of the woods, Cosmo. How did you come to live with Melissa?

Hello, my name is Cosmo, I was born in 2004. My mom and her family were looking for a pet and decided on a cat. My mom mentioned to her 5th grade teacher that she wanted to adopt a pet. The teacher’s cat just had kittens. Since I was such a handsome kitty, they decided to take me home. I was a terror in the beginning scratching at the furniture and I quickly learned not to do that. I love my whole family. They spoil me!

I understand Melissa is a 15-year old published author! How cool is that! When did she start writing?

She began to write the novel when she was 12 years old. I would see her writing short stories, but she spent the most time on “Ginger High”.

I hear she likes to write about vampires. What's her book about? Tell us all about it!

As my mom was typing, I could see that the book was about a very special school called Ginger High. The students who went there had mystical powers. There were many unexplained murders at the school. Daisy Fisher attended the school after her old school burned down and she realizes that she also has a special gift. She befriends Matthias, Amanta and Taeru who come to earth via a portal from a parallel universe. One of her friends is a vampire and she plays an important part in the storyline. I do not want to tell you anymore because I do not want to give the whole story away. I loved the cover, it looks sooo cool. I hope you like my mom’s book. I had fun watching her write it.

Do you give her ideas for her writing? What do you do while she works?

I always tell her to put a lot of cats (I do not like dogs) in the story but she did not listen to me. Maybe in the next book she will put in a cat or two. I can only wish! I like to jump on her lap, purring, and she has to stop working for 15 minutes so she can pet me. I can be very persuasive, and I will never give up. If she writes on the table, I like to sit on the laptop keys. It is so warm and cozy.

What do you mean you don't like dogs? Okay, I'll pretend I didn't hear that! So, when does Melissa write? During her school hours?

She told me that she would write during lunch. She was allowed to use a laptop during school time. My mom loves to write in the living room on the recliner. When the fireplace is lit, I like to lie near it and sleep.

What do her friends think of her? Are they supportive? What about her teachers?

One of her 8th grade teachers was told about the book and she mentioned it to her class. They were so excited that they invited her to the 2009 graduation and gave her an award. Boy was she excited. I wanted to go but everyone said I had to stay home. I love to ride in the car. Her friends have all read the book and loved it.

How did she publish her book? Was it difficult?

She tried to get an agent, but she was rejected many times. She decided to self- publish. It took about 2 months for it to be published. My other mom, Eileen, helped her to find the right publisher.

Well, good for herAny last words?

Thanks for interviewing me Amigo. Check out my mom’s website at where you can buy an autographed copy.

She also has a cool blog (meow)

Thank you, Cosmo! You should be mighty proud of your young author mom!

Check out this book trailer!

My canine friend Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog now has a trailer to help promote his book, Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog.

The book has already sold about 10,000 copies! Super! This is an important book for kids, folks. It teaches what kids need to know on how to prevent fires.

Sparkles was adopted from a shelter by firefighter Dayna Hilton and later trained to be a help dog. Sparkles, man, I'm proud of you!!!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Review of Homer's Odyssey, by Gwen Cooper

Hey, my mom recently reviewed Homer's Odyssey, written by Gwen Cooper for Blogcritic's 'Reviews in Brief'.

I thought I'd share it with you all... Enjoy! Woof!

Would you adopt a four-week-old stray kitten with a serious handicap? This is what author Gwen Cooper did and she writes her anecdotes in Homer's Odyssey, a book that will warm the hearts of cat lovers.

Homer's Odyssey is the story of an unusual cat — not only because he's blind, but because he's one of the most resourceful, intrepid and clever felines you'll ever meet. From the day he's adopted, to the time he saves Gwen from a burglar, to the horrific day on that tragic September 11th, Homer's antics will charm and surprise you. It'll also pull at your heart strings.

Cooper's prose is light and witty and shines with insight into the loving bond that can develop between a cat and a human. There's a little of romance and a lot of humor thrown into the mix. The interesting narrative and lovely flow kept me turning pages as if I were reading a fiction story.

The book also offers an important message: we must never give up on what at first glance seems hopeless. Indeed, a little love, faith and perseverance can go a long way.

I highly recommend this tender, sweet account about a very special cat, a very special lady, and how they changed each other's lives for the better.

--Mayra Calvani

Friday, September 18, 2009

Interview with super star cat Homer, owner of Gwen Cooper

Oh boy... my guest today is a super star cat who has been featured in The NY Times, USA Today, Christian Science Monitor and a zillion other publications... (God, I'm jealous!)... Let's give a warm welcome to Homer, star of Homer's Odyssey, written by his human, Gwen Cooper!

Homer's story will fill you with a little sadness but also with hope and laughter... what a cat! And, believe me, I don't say this lightly (you know me and cats). For one, Homer is blind--yes,
blind--but at the same time he's one of the most brave, adventurous and heroic cats you'll ever meet.

You have to take a look at his book--and it's not just for cat lovers, by the way.

I'm telling you, Homer, my human mom wasn't able to put your story, Homer's Odyssey, down. She even got tear-eyed at times. Tell us a little about your kitty babyhood and how Gwen came to adopt you.

First, thanks so much for interviewing me! Everybody always wants to interview my mom. Even being interviewed by a dog is better than nothing. (Oops! No offense! I used to live with a couple of dogs, and they were actually pretty cool!)

I’m so glad your mom liked the book, by the way. Sometimes my mom’s eyes also got teary while she was writing it!

The way I came to live with my human mom is that my “real” cat mom abandoned me when I was only two weeks old. I was very hungry and scared, and I had a bad eye infection so I couldn’t see anything. Some humans found me and brought me to a veterinarian my mom knew. When they heard I would be blind forever, they thought I should be put to sleep because they said I wouldn’t have a good life. Even though everybody said I was a “hopeless” case, the vet disagreed. She tried very hard to find somebody who would adopt me, but nobody wanted a blind kitten. Then the vet called Gwen, my mom.

She was going through a pretty rough time—she had this very low-paying job doing charity work, plus she already had two cats—but when she heard my story she wanted to meet me. As soon as I heard her voice for the first time, I knew she was going to be my mom! I crawled right into her arms and started purring, and she told the vet she would take me home. My mom always says that when she met me, it was love at first sight!

What made Gwen wanna write a book about you? You didn't force her at gunpoint, did you? (considering all your talents, that wouldn't surprise me)

As if! I hate it when my mom’s writing, because it means she has less time to play with me! Although she usually lets me sleep in her lap while she’s writing, which is my favorite place to be anyway.

My mom has always loved great stories, especially great adventure stories, and she said that the story of our life together had all the makings of a classic “boy and his dog” story. (even though she’s a girl and I’m a cat!) She also thinks that sometimes humans give up on themselves or the other humans and pets in their lives too easily. So she wanted to tell everybody all about somebody like me, who was supposed to be “hopeless” and who nobody had wanted, but who went on to prove everybody wrong and have a really terrific life.

But mostly she just likes when stories make people happy. She thought my story might make people happy.

Gwen tells some wonderful anecdotes in her book: your demonic dexterity at catching flies and roaches, not to mention how you scared away a burglar in the middle of the night! These are mighty accomplishments for a feline, I have to admit, but even more so because you're blind. Where on earth did you get all that spunk, man?

I got so mad the night that burglar broke in! I was so mad, I totally forgot how little I am (I only weigh about three pounds). It was late at night and my mom was sleeping, and I heard the man come into our bedroom where we were both sleeping in bed. I started growling and that woke my mom up. I could feel how scared and tense she got when she saw someone in our bedroom. That made me really angry! Nobody scares my mom while I’m around! I tried to claw his face, and when he turned and ran I ran right after him. My mom had to chase after me, and she yelled at me for running after the burglar. (Of course, I knew I totally did the right thing.) But then she calmed down and apologized, and the police came, so everything was all right.

Everybody always wants to know how a blind cat like me can do so many things. But I’ve always been blind, so I don’t know any different way to be. Plus, my senses of hearing and smell are much stronger than other cats’ or even dogs’ (no offense!). I can tell the difference between a can of tuna fish (which I loooooooove) and a can of tomato soup (ewwww!) while they’re still in the can, just by smelling them. Even my sisters, Vashti and Scarlett, can’t do that! My mom always says I have “superpowers,” like the comic book superhero Daredevil.

Alert! Disgusting question: You eat flies but not roaches. Why?

Well, it’s hard to catch a fly in your mouth and not eat it. But the roaches in Miami, where I’m from originally, were a lot bigger. Some of them were almost as big as me! I always thought they’d make a neat gift for my mom, because she does so much for me. So whenever I caught a bunch of really big ones, I’d leave them in a pile for her at the foot of her bed as a present. She always said “thank you!”

On 9/11, you were right there just blocks away from the twin towers. What was your reaction when you heard the explosion? I understand Gwen wasn't at home then. What did you do until you were able to reunite with her?

She was with us when the planes hit the towers, but she thought it was just a car backfiring so she went to work. I knew right away, though, that something was very wrong. I could hear and smell all kinds of things that made me very nervous. I tried to tell her—I hissed and growled and ran back and forth between her and the windows in our apartment—and she ended up leaving for work later than she usually did because she was trying to calm me down. But she still didn’t believe me that something was wrong, so she finally left even though I was still upset. She still blames herself for not listening to me.

It took her three days to get back to us because they weren’t letting people back into the area where we lived. It was only a few blocks from Ground Zero. I knew my mom would never abandon us, but I didn’t understand why it was taking her so long to come back! We ran out of food and water and clean litter, and it was pretty awful. Plus, it smelled and sounded really, really scary down there! But I never lost faith that she would come to get us. And now I know how many people she begged and bribed and got help from just so she could come back and rescue us.

Between you and me, what's it like living with Gwen? Come on, she can't be that perfect! Most authors are psychotic, if you ask me.

She definitely has her moods! And her schedule gets all weird when she’s writing. I like things to happen the same way and at the same time every day, but it doesn’t always work out like that when she’s on a deadline. But she always says that being with me makes her feel better.

Are your feline 'sisters', Vashti and Scarlett, coping well with your stardom?

My mom and the human she married always make sure we all get the same amount of attention. But I’ve been doing some photo and video shoots lately, and when that happens I get all the treats and catnip I want. I pretend like I can’t be “trained,” so that they have to give me treats to make me do what they want me to do for the cameras. I think that makes Vashti and Scarlett a little jealous.

Did Gwen have any trouble selling the manuscript? I bet the first NY editor loved it, you lucky dude!

It actually took her a few tries. Some of the editors who read it didn’t think I was “special” enough, and one even said I was “creepy!” I don’t think I’ve ever heard my mom get so angry (or use so many bad words). But we love Caitlin, the editor at Random House we ended up with. She loves cats, too, and she’s the best!

How are YOU coping with stardom, huh?

People say you shouldn’t let fame go to your head, but I don’t see why. I am a cat, after all! I always thought I was pretty great because my mom tells me so all the time. Still, it’s nice to know that other people realize that now, too!

Any last words of cat wisdom?

Just that there’s nothing you can’t do as long as you have a little “cat-itude.” I was the kitten who nobody wanted or believed in, and look at me now!

I have to say, Homer, that even though you're a cat, it's been an honor having you here!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Responsibilities of Owning a Dog

Woof! Woof!

My mom, Mayra Calvani, is guest blogging today about the responsibilities of owning a dog...

I'm so lucky to have such a kind mommy! (so what? I'm feeling sensitive today)


Saturday, September 12, 2009

I'm awarded the Kreativ Blogger Award! Woof!

I'm becoming more and more famous... but don't worry, I can handle it! I don't let the fumes go to my head!

This time I've been awarded the Kreativ Blogger Award! Aha! As if they had to tell me that I'm creative! Of course I'm creative--I'm a golden, for heaven's sakes!

To commemorate the moment, I decided to take a mud bath! Woof!

Okay, so I guess I should thank the two lovely ladies who honored me with the award...
Two wonderful, terrific, awesome, exquisite authors...
L. Diane Wolfe and Linda M. Faulkner!
They're smart too, since they picked me!

And now I get to give the award to a blogger of my choice (this is exciting!)...
So here it goes...
I give the Kreativ Award to.... (drumroll please!)

Maris the Rat
and to
Angel and Sadie
and to
Willow the Dandy

Congrats, my four-legged friends!

Woof! Woof!

Review of Dog Nanny, by Ann Whitaker

Hey, pets and humans... my mom just reviewed Ann Whitaker's romantic comedy, DOG NANNY. I thought I'd post it here for your reading pleasure. The book kept my mom smiling so it must have been fun!

Ann's doggies, Joli and Mardi, were my guests here last week. Don't miss the interview!

Woof! Woof!

No more delays! Here's the review:

When Julie Shields temporarily loses her job as a vet technician, Fate throws in her way an opportunity to make some good money training two poodles living with a rich couple in a mansion in Waco, Texas.

What does she have to lose? Julie loves dogs and, after all, she has a lot of experience in dog training. Besides, training those two poodles, Nacho and Blanco, appears to be the only way to save the rich couple's marriage. To add to this, Julie is in search of a husband... so who knows what else Fate could bring her way?

Indeed, when pilot Nick Worthington arrives at the airport to fly her to Waco, Julie is instantly taken by him, even though he's a little too infuriating for her taste. He has a great sense of humor, but he's also too sure of his good looks. Soon, however, Nick becomes a suspect in illegal trafficking. Being pulled into a vortex of mystery and trying to train two delinquent poodles in only one month isn't an easy job, even for a feisty, born-again virgin like Julie.

This romantic comedy will be especially enjoyed by dog lovers. Talented author Ann Whitaker has created a delightful story featuring two sympathetic protagonists and a couple of adorable, uncontrollable doggies that will keep readers laughing along the way. The dialogue is witty, the situations humorous, and the events move at an agreeable pace. A fun, hearty read!

--Reviewed by Mayra Calvani

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Interview with Susie, proud owner of author Maureen Lang

Woof! Let me introduce you to a very special guest... her name is Susie and she's the proud owner of Christian author Maureen Lang. Maureen's latest novel, Look to the East (Book I of her Great War series) , has just been released by Tyndale House last month. Visit Maureen and learn all about her work and her love for Belgian waffles (I don't blame her one bit!) at and She can also be found on Facebook!

In Susie's own words...

I was born in Michigan, about five hours away from my home with Maureen. After I was born, I remember hearing the nice lady who took care of me tell Maureen on the phone that all her puppies have great dispositions - whatever that means. She had her eye on me and one of my sister's when she told Maureen about me. So one day Maureen's son came to visit me, and my sister, too. He could only choose one of us, although I do remember him asking his dad if he could take both of us, and him getting no for an answer - but it was reluctant no, let me tell you.

My sister kept wanting to chew on their shoes, so I think that's why they chose me, because I've always been so well behaved. I'm not bragging, it's just a fact. Maureen tells me all the time what a GOOD DOG I am, so it has to be true.

So they picked me from the bunch and I came home. And guess what? My sister lives next door, and my brother across the street. We get together sometimes to run around and tire each other out.

I'd love to tell you a little about Maureen. First of all, she loves God and dogs. That's important. Next, she loves her family: three kids, her husband. And me, of course! She pretty much takes care of all of us as far as eating goes, and cleaning up after us. She's also always been a writer. And I don't mean just since I came to live with her! She tells people all the time about how she's always liked to write and tell stories. In the past few years she's had several books published: The Oak Leaves is a big favorite with people, and her newest book is called Look to the East. She loves the First World War setting, and this is the first of three books set back then. I know she loves all her book covers, but so far there aren't any dogs on them, which is a drawback I'm working on with her...

That's quite an intro, Suzie. Thanks! So tell us, what's it really like living with Maureen?

I don’t know how it is for some of my four-legged-counterparts, but living here is really the life! Maureen likes to get up early (I’m sure the jingly tags around my neck don’t wake her when I answer a scratch at 5 a.m., she just naturally wakes up around then anyway). I very gently place just my nose right next to her on the edge of the bed, to make sure she knows it’s time for our walk. The creative mind works best in the morning, you know! She truly loves our walks; she listens to music that I can only barely hear from her headphones. Sometimes we come across other dogs in the neighborhood and she doesn’t like to stop, even though I would certainly be a little more friendly than that, but still, it’s nice to get home quickly because I know breakfast awaits!

But of course! Breakfast is the best thing about mornings. What do you do after breakfast while Maureen writes her novels?

There are four kinds of floors on the main level of our house; plush carpeting, flat carpeting (I think she calls it Berber), tile and wood. She works above the wood floor, and that’s my second choice. Sometimes I lay right behind her chair while she sits at the computer. But most of the time I’m right outside the double doors to her study. That’s where the floor is tile, and I’m telling you, winter or summer, that’s the best place to be. I can hear everything from any where in the house, look out the windows beside the front door (I like to see who might be passing by, and greet them with a little woof), all the while enjoying that cool tile. There’s just nothing better—well, except on a really warm day, cool air floats up to comfort me from one of those slats in the floor. In the winter it’s warm air, but even that is a comfort to me.

I myself like the hardwood floor. Keeps my back in good shape. Between you and me, does Maureen cry when she reaches 'The End'?

My Maureen just isn’t a crier. More often, she laughs. She doesn’t write funny books, mind you, but she just gets so tickled when stories start writing themselves that she sits there and smiles, sometimes laughs right out loud. I like that. I’m a wiggler myself, which is the canine laugh. It’s more than a tail wag, it’s a wiggle.

My mom gets scared when she writes her horror. She's like a kid. Thank God she has me to protect her. So, tell us about your author's latest novel, Look to the East, and where it's available!

Her new book is the first of a three book series, which means she’s too busy to take me on more than one walk per day. Sigh. However, it also means she’s happy, because she’s always happiest when she’s working (everyone in the house knows that!). This first book in the Great War Series is called Look To The East, and it’s about a girl who lives in a little village in Northern France. It starts in 1914, when everyone in France is looking to the east to see what Germany will do next. Just as the First World War starts, there is a man who gets caught behind the fighting lines, and the girl in France helps him. They fall in love, of course, but I know there are a lot of dangerous things that happen because one day Maureen was laughing right out loud, saying to me: “If I didn’t know better, Sooz, I’d think every last character in this book was doomed, absolutely doomed! But don’t worry, there’s a happy ending ahead.”

I never worry about happy endings; we’re all living one here.

Hmm... Being the tough macho golden that I am, I like tough war stories, not softy love tales... How influential were you in the plot's development?

I like to think I’m the inspiration behind every book Maureen writes. In all modestly, really, where would she be if she didn’t have my unconditional love, my constant faith in her? Sure, her husband and kids give her some of that, but to tell you the truth nobody in the whole world looks at her the way I do. And without my absolute adoration, I just don’t think she’d have the confidence to write a word, not a single word.

On Maureen's website there's a photo of her eating waffles in Brussels. What's that about and why didn't she stop over and pay me a visit? I could have used those waffles (even though everybody at home insists I'm on a diet)!

Last year, Maureen took a research trip to Northern France (the setting for Book One, Look To The East) and Brussels, Belgium (the setting for Book Two, as yet untitled). She came home with lots of pictures, all excited about getting the “feel” for the new books. I’m sure she would have loved stopping by to see a fellow book lover, but Brussels is so far away from home I’m glad she came back as soon as she could. I was left behind, you know. And I’ve heard Europe is so dog-friendly, too! I would have like to go, because those Belgian waffles really DO look scrumptious!

Is Maureen as stable as she looks in that photo?

If you don’t count how she worries about things, I’d say Maureen is pretty stable. She knows she shouldn’t worry (about her books, her kids, the future) because our Creator is right there in the past, present and future, and has it all under control. But still, she frets. More so when she’s not working, so we’re all happier when she’s deeply involved in one of her stories.

Tell us something about Maureen nobody knows. Come on--you're here to spill the beans!

Okay, I’ll tell you something nobody else knows, except me. I hesitate to say anything because it’s not a happy secret, but it might give you a clue about why Maureen’s a writer. Remember I said Maureen just isn’t a crier? Well, that’s not always true. Sometimes when we take a walk and there are kids playing football, or riding by on bikes, or if we’re driving and we happen to pass the local school with a bunch of kids out on the playground, I see some tears on her cheeks. Not every time, of course, but sometimes when there are kids the same age as our Grant. He has Fragile X Syndrome, you see, which means his brain doesn’t work like everybody else’s. He can’t talk or run like other kids. But I have a special place in my heart for him because not only does he love to play “Go Fetch” but he’s the best one in the house for slipping food my way. (I actually don’t think Maureen knows just how many goodies Grant sends my way, so I won’t tell her about that.) Anyway, we all love Grant but sometimes when Maureen sees kids who are Grant’s age who can do a lot of the things Grant can’t do — like going to a regular school, or playing football, or riding a bike with friends — well, Maureen cries. I think she wants all that for him, even though both of us know when we all get to Heaven he’ll be able to do that and more. Sometimes it must seem like a long wait until then, I guess.

And that’s why I think Maureen is a writer. Because even though she might not show all of the emotions she feels to anyone else but me, she feels them all right and likes to write about them.

Woof! :-)

Thanks for sharing that, Susie (sniff, sniff). Did I say I'm a tough macho golden?