Sunday, January 30, 2011

Meet Killer the Cat, proud owner of author Cara Marsi

Say hello to Killer the Cat, proud owner of romantic suspense/paranormal romance author Cara Marsi. Killer shares with us what it's like living with Cara and also spills the beans on her latest books. Don't forget to connect with Killer's mom on Twitter!

Hey, Killer. What's up? How did you end up in Cara's household?

Cara's son Joey bought me as a Christmas gift in 2003 for Cara and her husband, my dad Joe. They'd recently lost their beloved 16 year old cat Happy. Mom and Joey went cat shopping together and found me at the shelter. I was 18 months old and had spent my whole life ithere. I guess no one wanted a beautiful black cat. Because I was at the shelter so long I developed the herpes virus and now have chronic upper respiratory disease. If Mom hadn't brought me home, I don't think anyone would have adopted me. But she couldn't let me stay there, knowing I might never be adopted. You can see why I love her, and also Joe and Joey. Of course, they are very lucky to have such a special cat as me.

Do you think you're beautiful?

But of course. My fur is thicker than most cats and very shiny and soft and black, with a dark brown undercoat. My tail is about half the length of other cats' tails, which makes me unique. The vet says I'm overweight, but I say I'm not overweight, I'm just large boned.

What's she like as a pet owner?

She smothers me with love, always petting me, and kissing my head. And she feeds me good food. She wishes I were a lap cat, but I'm not. But I do follow her all around the house, like a shadow. I sleep next to my mom every night, snuggled against her in bed. I don't know what she would do without me.

What about as a writer?

She works really hard at writing. Sometimes I go into her office and bother her until she stops writing and pets me. She has sold lots of short stories lately to the confession magazines, and this makes her happy. She loves to make up stories about passionate people who find love and happiness, even if they have to fight for what they want. I don't get it, but mom thinks romance novels are the best and she craves books with happy endings. She says she writes the books she wants to read. She has lots of books she doesn't have time to read and this makes her sad sometimes.

I love the title of her mystery novella, 'Murder, Mi Amore'--very evocative. What's it about?

Here's the blurb (as my mom calls it):

Lexie Cortese is in Rome to forget. The last thing she expects is to meet a sexy Interpol agent who suspects her of being part of a terrorist plot involving a stolen diamond. Suddenly thrust into a world of murders, muggings, and kidnappings, Lexie doesn’t know what to think—or who to believe.

Dominic Brioni’s assignment is simple. Befriend the American and bring her to justice. Only Lexie seems like the most unlikely terrorist Dominic has ever met. Sweet, determined, and direct, she faces life with courage and fire, a fire that sparks his protective instincts and a longing for something more—something he allowed himself to hope for only once before.

But that woman betrayed him, and his boss isn’t about to let him forget it. With his career on the line and Lexie in danger, will Dominic learn to trust his heart before they both get killed?

Most of the story is set in Rome where Mom and Dad visited in 2006. They left me home with Joey. I missed them. Mom even included a chapter set in her grandparent's hometown of Ripa Teatina. Mom says her heroine Lexie is feisty and learns to be even stronger during the story. And Mom is in love with the hero, Dominic. She hopes lots of people will read her story and enjoy reading it as much as she enjoyed writing it.

What inspires your writer mom?

She loves happy endings and heroes and heroines who fight for what they want. It doesn't hurt to throw in some mystery and a murder or two, as long as the hero and heroine find love. Mom says there's too much bad stuff in the world, and so she writes life affirming stories of love and commitment, all with happy endings, of course.

What's she working on now?

A really scary story about werewolves and demons and a kick-ass werewolf hunter.

Are you in the book?

I'm not in the book, although she's had cats in some of her other books, but they weren't black. She doesn't like to put me in books that are scary because she doesn't want her readers worrying about me. She has put me in her short stories. The first story she sold to a confession magazine was about a smart black cat, much like me, who brings two lonely people together. She also wrote another short story from the cat's point of view, a black cat. My mom is in love with me and thinks I'm the most beautiful cat in the world, even if I am a little plump. I tend to agree with her.

Why did she name you Killer?

Joey named me Killer because he's into irony. My people think I'm really sweet and timid and afraid of everything which is why Joey named me Killer. Irony, you see. But I'm not so innocent as they think. You don't spend your formative years in a shelter with 80 other cats and not learn a few things. Get my drift? But I allow my people to believe I'm sweet and scared and shy. It gets me more attention and petting. And after all, isn't that what a cat's life is all about? This has been fun, but it's time for my nap. Later.

Thanks! Woof!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Meet Sadie, proud owner of author Jennifer A. Nielsen

My guest today is a SUPER CUTE ADORABLE energetic golden retriever puppy named Sadie, who has recently adopted the Nielsen family, including author Jennifer Nielsen. Jennifer has just launched her debut book, Elliot and the Goblin War, with Sourcebooks publishing. Two more are set to release in that series over the next year. She will release another series with Scholastic beginning in April 2012.
Wow, pretty COOL!

Sadie, how did you come to live with the Nielsen family?

It turns out the kids are really good negotiators. They worked out a spectacular deal where they agreed to give up ever asking for anything again in exchange for my coming. That lasted for about ten minutes before they asked for ice cream on the ride home. I got a chewing biscuit.

With a brand new book released, things must be really busy at your house.

There’s been a lot going on lately, but it’s all good things: book signings, school visits, and whatever it is she does on her computer. Luckily, I always know how to get attention if anyone gets distracted from me for too long.

What is “Elliot and the Goblin War” about? Based on the title, I’m guessing it’s not dogs.

There’s no dogs, but there are Goblins and Hags and Brownies. It’s the story of 11-year-old Elliot Penster who becomes king of the Brownies and accidentally prompts an interspecies war. But as my owner writes, “Don’t blame him. As anyone who has ever started an interspecies war will tell you, it’s not that difficult to do.”

Which character in the story are you most like?

Probably one of the Brownie kids, a girl named Patches. She and I are both smart, both love humans, but both have our ways of getting into trouble. For example, Patches finds herself at the bottom of a very deep hole with hungry Goblins at the top. In the meantime, I dug a big hole in the corner of the yard. I hope nobody finds it.

Turnip juice, chocolate cake, and pickles figure heavily into these books. What do you think about that?

Well I’m a puppy, so I’ll eat anything. Unfortunately, my people only let me read about those foods, not eat it. The food I eat probably isn’t interesting enough to write about.

Has Jennifer always had pets?

Lots of animals have owned her over the years: hamsters, fish, a cat, dogs, and a leopard-gecko lizard. But I’m her favorite, of course.

Does Jennifer have a website or blog?

Both. You can find out more about her and her books at or at She hopes everyone will check out Elliot and the Goblin War. Here’s the Amazon link if it’s helpful:

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Meet Miko and Daisy, proud owners of author and writing coach Suzanne Lieurance

Say WOOF! to my special guests Miko and Daisy, proud owners of author, speaker, freelance writer and coach Suzanne Lieurance (talk about busy!).

Suzanne is the founder and director of the National Writing for Children Center. She has written hundreds of articles and also over 25 books! But that's not all! She's also host of the popular Book Bites for Kids, a radio show where she interviews children's authors. My mom loves Suzanne and is always listening to her shows and teleclasses.

Listen, people, this is one lady you'll want to follow on Facebook and Twitter. So don't be shy.

Welcome, Miko and Daisy! How did you come to live with Suzanne?

Miko: Well, I'm Miko, and I'll answer that question first, since I got here first. Actually, Suzanne's younger son Tyler rescued me from some people who weren't very nice to me when I was just a puppy. They didn't feed me and they hit me a lot. Tyler convinced the people to let him have me, then he brought me home to his mom. She adopted me, even though I was supposed to be Tyler's dog.

Daisy: And, I'm Daisy. People think I look like a little black pi
g. But I don't think so. I mean...I don't have a curly tail like pigs do, for gosh sakes. Give me a break! And I can explain why I like to eat so much. Years ago, when I had a litter of pups, my humans were going through a divorce and they completely ignored me and all their other dogs (they had about 5 other big dogs, plus me and my puppies). They penned us up in their backyard. It got so cold, all but one of my puppies froze to death. And one of the other dogs in the pen jumped off the doghouse and accidentally hanged himself with his leash - or maybe he committed suicide like some of the other dogs in the pen thought. After all, we had it pretty rough. No one fed us, they kept us outside in the freezing cold. We all thought we were going to die until some lady rescued us. She found homes for all the other dogs except me. Nobody wanted a little black dog that looked like a pig. But then Suzanne came over to this lady's house and when she found out I needed a home she convinced her husband to let me come live with her family. I didn't like Miko at first. I mean, look at him! He's HUGE! And he thought he was the boss of the house. I had to straighten him out about that. Now we get along great! He's my big brother and he pretty much does what I say.

Miko: I do not, Daisy! You're not the boss. You just think you are!

Gosh, that's quite a story, you guys. What's wrong with some people!

Tell us more about your mom, Suzanne. I hear she's completely obsessed with children's books? What's it like living with that kind of person?

Miko: Yeah, our human loves to read, write, and talk about children's books all the time. But it's kinda cool. She dedicated one of her books to me and she called me her "four-footed little writing buddy." That's because when I was a puppy I used to lie at her feet while she wrote her books on the computer. We'd take "sunshine breaks" during the writing day and go outside and sit in the sun together. We still do that now when the weather is good.

Daisy: Yeah, I love the sunshine breaks. Sometimes we get a special snack when we go outside. Yum! Is it time for a sunshine break now? I bet it is! Let's get a snack!

Miko: Pay attention, Daisy! It's not time for a break or a snack!

Did someone mention SNACKS?

Anyway, she's written like 25 books, hasn't she? Ha! I bet success has gone to her head!

Miko: She just likes to write. She doesn't always write books, though. Sometimes she writes articles or writing courses, and she writes a bunch of stuff for children's educational publishers - test questions, reading passages, and stuff like that. She really likes to write adaptations of fairy tales and other old stories for kids. Right now, she's working on a middle grade novel. Plus, she has a bunch of picture book manuscripts she's sending out to publishers, so she stays pretty busy.

Daisy: She always remembers to feed us, though. That's the main thing! Every morning, we get our breakfast first thing, before she starts to write. Then we go outside and play for a while. Then we take a nap. It's a dog's life and we love it!

Is it true she also mentors other writers? I hear she teaches online courses and has a club for children's authors.

Miko: Yeah, our "mom" is a former classroom teacher, so she seems to think she has to help everybody learn stuff. She started the Children's Writers' Coaching Club so she could help other people become published children's book authors. People can find out more about it at The club has weekly teleclasses about writing for children and people who are in the club can get their stories professionally critiqued each week - whatever that means. I don't read, so I'm not sure what a critique is. I just know Suzanne reads a bunch of stuff when she's doing critiques.

My mom is a member of the Children's Writers Coaching Club and can't stop raving about Suzanne. What's so darn special about her, anyway?

Daisy: Uh, I think she's special because she feeds us good stuff! you give snacks for these interviews?

Miko: Cut it out, Daisy. You don't need a snack. Back to the question - I think Suzanne is special because she likes to teach and help people as much as she likes to write. That's good for those other people. But sometimes it takes away from Suzanne's writing time. And I don't like to be around when that happens because she gets grouchy. I like it when she's working on a book because she takes us for walks during the day so she can figure out what happens next in the story.

Daisy: I don't like it when she can't write either. When she's grouchy we don't get snacks!

I bet she doesn't have anytime left for you too. Shameful!

Miko: Yeah, sometimes she gets so busy she forgets about our walks. But, like I said, if she's working on a story that's giving her trouble, we walk a LOT! I guess I shouldn't say this, but I like it when she has trouble with her stories cause we get to go to the park a bunch of times during the week and see all the other dogs and people there. Daisy and I LOVE that!

Daisy: Yeah, walks are really, really fun. But, really, all I need is my food. As long as she doesn't ever forget that, I don't have any complaints. I'm good. Are you sure we don't get a snack for doing this interview? Do I smell bacon?

So what's with that radio show, Book Bites for Kids? I don't like it. Every time my mom listens to one of those shows, it's 30 minutes she's not playing with me!

Miko: Yeah, we have to be quiet and not bark when she's doing that show. She talks to other children's book authors about their books and stuff like that.

Daisy: Yeah, but she does the show during our nap time, so it usually isn't a problem. Sniff! Sniff! I know I smell bacon!

What do you love most about Suzanne?

Miko: I like her hugs and tummy rubs. And the walks.

Daisy: The food! Definitely the meals and the snacks! And we LOVE bacon! Sniff! Sniff!

Thanks for stopping by this side of the woods, Miko and Daisy. You're so lucky you have Suzanne as a mom now. She sounds like a darn fine human!

Hey, readers, if you like this, why don't you share it on Twitter and Facebook... please, pretty please?