Saturday, February 27, 2010

Interview with Piglet, proud owner of Sarita Leone

Say hello to my feline guest, Piglet! Strange name for a cat, huh? If you want to know how this came about, read on!

Okay, dude, describe Sarita as a writer and pet owner. No sugar coating here. Give us the real deal.

Hmm...that's a meowy hard question. The best way I can think of to describe Sarita as a writer is...well, she's like one of those cats you see who sit right outside a mouse hole and wait. She's patient, and while she wouldn't think of eating the little mouse (she's one of those vegetarians, you know!) she will sit, think and figure things out until she not only has the mousie freed from the hole but happily married to a hunky man mouse. Or, if she's writing a murder mystery, she won't back away from the hole until she finds a good way to send the fuzzy rodent to Mouse Heaven. Yeah, that's about right. She sits, thinks, then does.

Now, as a human, she's pretty much the same. She feels, thinks and does, although she rarely sits. She's always on the move, which can be tiring since I follow her around a lot--just to make sure she doesn't need my help with anything, you know? And just in case you're interested, I'm the Boss around here. No doubt!

What type of books does she write?

Oh, she's one of those switch-hitter writers.

First, she writes those mushy love stories. You know the kind where the two humans meet, fall in love, find a huge roadblock and work their way around it before they finally find a happily-ever-after ending. Me? I would love to see more mouse chases, butterfly dances and ice cream on hot days in a dropped cone on the patio in her books but I'm not the one writing them so it's pretty much out of my paws.

If Sarita's not writing romance, she's busy killing people--on the page, that is! She likes mysteries, so she's always plotting how to kill so-and-so with the whatchamacallit in a secluded spot. Me? The only mystery I want solved is where--and when--my next meal will be served. That's enough murder and mayhem for me!

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

That's easy. I like the Chincoteague Island Mysteries, Sniffing Sand and Sandswept, because they take place on Chincoteague Island in Virginia. That's where I was born, so reading those books makes me feel like I've gone back to my whisker roots. And there's loads of romance and murder in those stories so I don't mind reading them on a lazy, rainy afternoon...that is, when I'm not sleeping in the sunshine.

But Vineyard Mambo has the best cover, in my opinion. If you look closely you'll see there's a cat on the cover. It doesn't get any better than that, does it? I think all covers should have at least one animal on them, don't you?

I’m guessing it was Sarita who chose your name... tsk, tsk, tsk. What has that done to your self esteem?

Actually, I'm the one who got the best name out of the bunch!

Mom and Dad found me, my two sisters and my brother just after we were abandoned by our birth mother. The vet said we were probably so sick that the birth mom knew we wouldn't make it but I think she left because she knew we were bound for greatness.

Anyhow, Mimi, Pat, Mike and I were all bottle-fed. Mimi was the biggest, at five ounces, but I grew pretty fast. Sarita says that from the beginning I was a "love Piglet"--always looking to be held and loved. Me? I figure I knew right from the get-go that life should be enjoyed, savored and inhaled. I see what I want, and go for it, and if that makes me a Piglet than that's fine with me. Besides, Mimi, Pat and Mike are human names, aren't they? So many humans, so few names to share... I haven't yet met a human called Piglet, have you?

And my self esteem? I'm a cat--need I say more? Meow...

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.

Oh, that's tough. I love being outdoors, and I'm glad Sarita does, too. She actually does most of her writing early in the morning, while it's still dark (how nuts is that?!) so as far as I can tell the writing is a side gig and life with me is her full-time concern. And that's the way it should be, I think.

We live on an old farm (I'm the only animal, though--another good thing!) so we do a lot of outside stuff. We take long walks in the forest and meadow. Sarita loves to play in the dirt so I'm teaching her about gardening. I supervise her from the dock when she rows on the pond. When she sits in the gazebo and reads, I sit beside her so she doesn't get lonely. And when she takes her sketchbook and pencils to our favorite spot beneath a big, old maple tree, I go along. I watch her draw, and wonder what it would be like to have fingers.

Maybe you could buy your mom some gardening gloves or drawing pencils. That might get her outside more. Or you could visit me sometime. I'm sure Sarita wouldn't mind...she's pretty good about stuff like that.

Hey, thanks for having me today. I've had a blast chatting with you. Like I said, maybe you could come visit with me, either at the farm or on Sarita's blog, From the Heart. I'm sure we'd have a meowy good time!

Woof! Woof!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Interview with Amber, proud owner of Ingrid King

Woof! My special guest today is....

"My name is Amber, and I'm the feline mewse of Ingrid King, the author of Buckley's Story - Lessons from a Feline Master Teacher, a book about my sister Buckley and how she changed my mom's life in ways my mom never could have imagined. Well, I helped with the life changing a little bit, too! After all, I'm the inspurration behind my mom's blog The Conscious Cat, a site dedicated to conscious living, health and happiness for pets and their people. Wow - that's a mouthful, but my mom says that it's important that people learn about stuff like that. I sometimes get to write there, too, I have my own category called Amber's Mewsings."

Thanks for such a nice intro, Amber! Now let's get to the real deal. Describe Ingrid as a writer and as a pet owner. No sugar coating here. This blog is only read by pets, so don’t worry, Ingrid won’t find out what you say. In the event that you find yourself in trouble, I can always offer protection. I have a good connection at the CIA.

My mom is a really good writer (and no, she didn’t bribe me with treats to say this). I say that she’s a good writer because she writes mostly about cats, and how can that not be a good thing!
I can’t comment about her as a pet “owner,” because nobody owns me. I’m a cat! But as a cat mom, she’s really cool. I’ve got her well- trained to indulge my every whim without her even knowing that she’s being manipulated half the time. She loves me so much, and I’m so beautiful, and she just can’t help herself and waits on me hand and paw. The only area where she could use some improvement is when it comes to meal times. She’s good with breakfast – she always serves me my breakfast even before she has her first cup of coffee, but dinner is another story.

Humans seem to have this silly idea that dinner is supposed to be served in the evening. Can I help it that I get hungry halfway through the afternoon? So I have to usually stare holes in the back of her head while she’s on the computer, or weave in between her legs and try to trip her when she’s on her way to the kitchen to get a drink of water, to get her to understand that I’d like my dinner early, thank you very much. Most days, I can get her to cave no later than 4pm.

(Hmm. If she mostly writes about cats--and not DOGS--then how can she be a great writer????) What type of books does your human mom write?

My mom published her first book, Buckley’s Story – Lessons from a Feline Master Teacher, last September. It’s the story of my sister Buckley and the lessons she taught about opening the heart and living a joyful life. It’s also the story of my sister’s battle with heart disease, and how mom coped with that and with ultimately losing her. Mom says she wrote it to share Buckley’s lessons with the world, and also to help others who are going through caring for a very sick pet, or who are sad about a pet that has passed on.

I’m in the book, too. Buckley wasn’t my real sister, but after some initial challenges (that were more mom’s fault than ours, but you’ll have to read the book to find out about that), she and I were so close, we might as well have been sisters. We’re still close. I miss her physical presence, but I talk to her all the time. We cats are better at understanding that nobody ever really dies, we just change form. The heart connection is eternal.

Darn, Amber! Now you made me sad...

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

I love my name! My mom chose it because I have a heart-shaped Amber colored spot on top of my head. I think it purrfectly reflects my inner and outer beauty. I loved the day she gave me my name. It made me feel so special, like I finally was part of a family.

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

My mom helps other pets and their humans in a lot of different ways. She can do a lot of it from home, and I think she really likes working from home. I’ve heard her say that she really likes it that she’s in charge of her schedule. I don’t really know what that word means, but I think it has something to do with her still being in her jammies at lunch time some days. Hmm, she might not want people to know about that. I think it probably also means that it gives her more opportunities to serve me throughout the day.

She writes lots of articles about how to help pets live healthy lives that she publishes on her blog The Conscious Cat (which I inspired!) and in her online newsletter News for You and Your Pet. She also offers phone consultations for pet parents on how to keep pets healthy, how to mange caring for a sick pet, and how to cope with losing a pet. And she’s a Reiki Master Practitioner, which I think means she transfers healing energy to other pets (and their people, too).

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

The best part is having her home with me a lot. I love that! I don’t know that there really is a bad part, except maybe that I have to fight her for the computer when I want to write one of my Amber’s Mewsings columns!

Woof! Woof!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Interview with Rudy, superstar dog in Judi McCoy's Dogwalker Mystery series

Today I have a very special guest. His name is Rudy and he is the star in Judi McCoy's Dogwalker Mystery series. Unfortunately, the real Rudy passed to doggie heaven a year ago... but his spirit lives on through Judi's books. The author is donating all royalties from the first book, Hounding the Pavement, to Best Friends, the largest no-kill shelter in the US (that's so generous, Judi! I'll tell my mom to buy a copy right away!) You may read an excerpt HERE. If you see the photo on the right, Rudy is the little dude in the middle.

Thanks for stopping by this side of the woods, Rudy. I understand you're the
star in Judi McCoy's books. Tell us all about it!

You bet your Milkbones I'm the star. Humans will get to see how clever a canine can really be when they read the dog walker books. Of course, not all of us are genius. You'll find out when you read that some of us are a little on the 'dead air' side, just like people can be.

Your character is based on a real doggy, isn't it? Was there a 'real' Rudy in real life? Was he Judi's pet?

I am the real Rudy. Judi and me lived together for more than 13 years. She rescued me from the jail time at the ASPCA when we lived in Texas. And let me tell you, it was love at first sight. I was eight weeks old, and once she picked me out of a litter, that was it. She never wanted another dog, and I never wanted another human.

How does it feel to be immortalized in a book? You must be proud to be the fictional version of a real dog who loved Judi very much.

I've very proud. I knew she'd get around to using me in a book. She was running out of ideas, so I just sent out my positive thoughts and she finally got it. 'I need a star character. Ah, I know. I choose my Rudy.'

So what do you do in the book?

Are you kidding. I do it all. Track killers; sniff out clues; watch and dissect, connect the dots. I even have a 'sit up and give a woof!' line of lawyer jokes. Most importantly, I protect Ellie, my storybook girl. She couldn't do what she does without me.

What makes Judi's books so special?

Why me, of course. I keep the other dogs straight, noses to the ground, and all that. I'm the big Kahuna, the top dog, the leader of the pack. Without me, those other mutts wouldn't know what end was up. Ellie wouldn't either. And don't even ask me about the Doofus Detective Ellie falls for. He's totally out of it.

What's she working on now?

Besides waiting for book three, Death in Show, which will be out in June, she's finishing up book four in the series. Begging For Trouble is an interesting case about the murder of a cross-dresser. All I can say is "the shoe is the clue." Think about that one for a while.

How much control do you have over Judi's creative process?

I have all the control. My picture is right above her head when she writes, and even though I'm up here in doggy heaven, she looks to me for guidance, ideas, even ways to commit the crime. I am her muse.

Does Judi have a website?

She sure does.

There are pictures of the dogs that live with people who are fans, a list of her appearances, and all kinds of stuff. There's even a list of her old books, but none of them are as good as MY stories.

What else would you like ot bark to our readers?

ONE VERY IMPORTANT THING: All the royalties from the sale of Hounding the Pavement, the first book in the series are going to Best Friends, the largest no-kill shelter in the US. Their in Kanab, Utah, and they have a great show on National Geographic channel called Dogtown. Anyone who is an animal lover needs to watch that show. And buy our first book so they get a
lot of money.

Thank you, Rudy!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Interview with Samsun and Luna, proud owners of editor & publicist Carol Upton

Say hello to my guests, Samsun and Luna!

Samsun is a 16-year-old Russian Blue, who still catches mice, enjoys fresh catnip and roams his territory at will.

Luna is an 11-year-old Akita-Husky-Lab cross, who is alpha female at the doggie park and enjoys guarding her yard.

They share their home with writer-editor, publicist, and dream-chaser Carol Upton. Carol keeps pretty busy (oo busy to take care of her pets, I'm guessing!) and her work has appeared in numerous publications, both print and online. She helps authors and healing artists link their dreams to the world through Dreams Aloud Promotions. When not in front of the computer, she can be found playing with horses, cuddling Samsun-cat, or following Luna-dog down the beach.

No more blah blah blah... Tell us, Samsun and Luna, how did you come to live with Carol?

Samsun: I was a wee feral kitten and something happened to my mom and brothers and sisters. It was almost Christmas and very cold outside. Somehow, I broke one of my hind legs. One of Carol's other cats (Auntie Mouser) showed me the spot to hide under the house. When I got hungry I started to cry. Auntie Mouser told Carol and Kerri about me and that's when I was found.

Luna: Carol's friend owned my mom, Koko, and I was born, along with my sisters. Carol came over to visit one day and there I was, all warm and sleepy from lying by the wood stove. Carol picked me up to hold me and it was love at first sight. She visited me a few more times and after a couple of weeks, I came to live in a nice backyard with lots of spots to dig, toys to chew and a doghouse built especially for me.

Is Carol easy to live with? What type of mommy is she?

Samsun: My mom cuddles me and tells me how beautiful I am all the time. Sometimes, when she is working on her computer, I bug her to play with me and she shoos me away. I know I'll get to play another time, but it's the most fun to scratch her legs when she is trying to work! My favorite time of day is bedtime, when Carol reads books in bed and I get a nice warm spot next to her on the duvet.

Luna: My parents both take me for nice long walks every single day. It is most often Carol who takes me, since she works from home. She works in the mornings and takes me out to the beach, the woods or the doggie park for runs in the afternoons. I like the doggie park best because I have a lot of friends there and that's the place where Carol takes out the ball to throw for me! My favorite time of day is walk time, but I also like the evenings, when Carol is working, the fire is on and I can lie on my back in my bed with my toes in the air.

I hear Carol is a publicist who specializes in authors who have written animal-related books. I didn't even know publicists like this existed! How did she come up with the idea?

Samsun and Luna: Our mom used to be away from the house all day, working at other jobs while writing and teaching writing in the evenings. She said lots of people were asking her how to sell their books once they were published. She decided to take some marketing courses and start offering the service part-time. She said she put up a thing called a website and suddenly lots of authors were coming who needed help. Now she helps animal-related authors all over North America and works from home all the time, which is the part we like the best!

Sounds neat! So what does she offer authors? Tell us all about it!

Samsun and Luna: Carol works only with animal-related authors now. She will visit (either on the phone or in person) with the author once their book is published and she will write up a marketing plan for them. Then, she sends out news announcements about the book all over the world. She reviews the book and gets the review published in print and online everywhere you can imagine. If the author has written articles, she can get those published. She belongs to journalist request groups and will find radio, newspaper and blog interviews for the author, so that lots of people can hear about the book. When the author has a book-signing or a workshop coming up, Carol will spread the news far and wide. She also does something called Social Networking and Blogging on behalf of the author, if they don't have time to do it themselves.

Wow, that sounds like something my mom would be interested in. Does Carol have a newsletter or something?

Samsun and Luna: Not yet, but people can go to her website and find out more by clicking on 'Services'. They are also welcome to email her from the site and ask questions. Their initial consultation does not cost them anything and then they can figure out what to do next.

What else would you like to say about Carol?

Samsun and Luna: Carol is studying animal communication, so she takes time every day to ask us how we are feeling and what we would like to do that day. Not all humans stop their busy lives long enough to do that, so when she talks to us, we make the most of it by having lots to say! We also get combed and brushed when we need it, treats most of the time when we ask, and daily playtimes. Carol likes wild animals, too, so we have learned to respect the deer, bear, squirrels and racoons that pass through our yard in the early morning. Carol says she is thinking about rescuing another dog and we are having discussions about that right now. We really like having her all to ourselves, but we also know we have a great life and think maybe we could share our cozy home with the right someone else!

Another dog? Hmmm... I wouldn't mind a new little brother to boss around...