I finally bit the bullet and purchased a domain. http://ferrisrobinson.com so click to check it out!
I finally bit the bullet and purchased a domain. http://ferrisrobinson.com so click to check it out!
Rebeca Schiller just wrote the most amazing review of Dogs and Love on her website, http://www.alvahsbooks.com. I feel like I know her personally because I’ve been ‘following’ her on Twitter, and have been subscribed to her blog. One of the more helpful writing blogs, Alvahsbooks has a tons of info and resources that are FREE. There’s no trick to charge a fee as soon as you think you’re going to learn something important. She reveals everything from Scrivener (thank you!) to the Spanish Civil War, and reviews tons of books along the way.
Author Patricia Zick http://pittsburghwriter.wordpress.com asked if I’d participate in the Next Big Thing Blog Hop! Since I’m launching my Next Big Thing ebook (Dogs and Love – Stories of Fidelity) next week, (in time for Valentine’s Day) it seemed quite appropriate to participate in my first blog hop. This blog hop requires me to answer ten questions about my new work and then tag other authors to do the same. Not only does it give me the opportunity to promote my new book, but I have the opportunity to support and promote my fellow authors as well. It’s a winning combination.
Ten Questions about Dogs and Love:
Was Dogs and Love always the title of this book, even when it was a work in progress?
I played around with a few titles, but I knew I wanted dogs in the title. And love. My intentions are for the ebook to take the place of a greeting card for Valentine’s Day. It’s actually a little cheaper, and better for you than chocolate.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I’m a fool for my dogs, and the older I get, the more important they become. As a recent empty-nester, I find myself doting on them more and more. And the pleasure they bring is immense.
What genre is your book?
Dogs and Love is a collection of memoirs. Sixteen true stories about dogs. So non-fiction essays.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
The dogs would play themselves of course, although they are unruly and disobedient. I’m picturing Diane Keaton and Richard Gere. Or the dogs, me and Richard Gere. Sorry, honey.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Sixteen true stories about the meaning and importance of the relationships between dogs and their owners.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Dogs and Love is self-published. However, it’s gone through several beta readers and a professional editor before publication.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I wrote the first story ten years ago, when my oldest son turned 18 and wanted a puppy for his birthday. And finished the last one last summer, when the reality of the empty nest set in, and we took the dogs to the lake instead of our sons.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I was going to say “Tuesdays with Marley” but really Tuesdays with Morrie comes to mind as well as Marley and Me. The stories show a transition; some are funny, some are sad. But there is a range of emotion in the stories.
What inspired you to write this book?
My emotional relationships with my dogs mirror my relationships with my humans. And also these relationships with my little fur people are important to me. Exploring that bond between animals and people, and showing how special it is, just called out to me.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
My sister thought I was actually going to put braces on my dog. Not sure what that says about either one of us.
Here are five talented authors I’m tagging as the blog hop continues. Make sure you stop by their blogs and get to know these amazing individuals.
Wix site http://t.co/0G7bLz2o
LINKED IN http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=108319665&trk=hb_tab_pro_top
I’d like to thank the fabulous Patricia Zick, for tagging me and asking me to participate. Please take a moment to visit her sites.
Purchase link: http://www.amazon.com/Trails-in-the-Sand-ebook/dp/B00ANVD6DE
Website Website: www.pczick.com
A soft spot exists in my heart for dogs and the people who love them, especially those who learn life lessons from dogs. Enjoy the following interview and excerpt from author, Ferris Robinson, who recently released Dogs and Love–Stories of Fidelity.
What was your motivation?
I LOVE my dogs, and the older I am the more important they are to me. Especially with my boys growing up and leaving home, the dogs have taken on the roles of kids. They sure are easier! Dogs are so sensitive to humans, knowing innately when hearts are broken, or there is much to be celebrated. They love us humans better than we deserve. (I’m a real dog person.)
Who will love this book?
I think dog-lovers will love the book, but also maybe people who ‘don’t get dogs’ will have an ah-ha moment and realize what a void they have in their lives. That’s how I feel really – but know I shouldn’t impose that on everyone. But I try! Especially recently widowed or lonely people. I think people will see their own dogs in the stories, and remember how much they loved ‘so and so’ and how much that particular dog meant to them.
Already made me think of mine. You’re an accomplished author–why have you gone Indie rather than Traditional publishing?
I didn’t try to get an agent for my nonfiction b/c know what a long shot it is, with tons of waiting, rejection, etc. I’m trying to get one for my fiction but will probably self publish it as well if I don’t have any luck. I self-published a couple of cookbooks years ago that I’m actually re-releasing this spring. It’s fun to work it, and you are a huge help and support. Not sure I would have done it without your books and advice.
Thank you. How do you like being an Indie author? Pros and cons?
I like being hands on as an Indie author, writing the press releases, stalking people like you (haha) and working it! I actually published a book on log homes with a publisher but between you and me, not sure what they did to promote it. It makes sense to cut out the middle man in my case and so far, I’m having a ball. The people I’ve ‘met’ online and on your site are incredibly helpful and kind. They all seem to want to ‘pay it forward’ and help another indie out. Nothing cut-throat or competitive at all so far and I am so happy to be part of such a kind and giving community.
Happy to have you with us. The following is from Ferris Robinson’s book, Dogs and Love – Stories of Fidelity.
I am determined to house train my new puppy. I take him outside several times a day, my pocket heavy with treats. I say “Hurry up!” like my training manual suggests so that he will learn to relieve himself immediately upon hearing that phrase.
On a mission, I walk him down the path to my garden. So far he is in no hurry at all, despite my suggestions. Instead he sticks his nose in a clump of bee balm and sniffs. I pinch off a red fringed blossom and squeeze it in my hand, breathing in the sharp fragrance.
“Hurry up!” I coax as he meanders along the path, smelling the carmine-red spiraea and the tips of the lavender and the frothy yellow yarrow that spills over the path. Finally I give up and take a seat on the wooden bench my husband gave me a few years ago. It is the perfect accent piece for my garden, but to my knowledge, has never been used. I am glad to have a spot in the shade to wait. “Hurry up!” I say again as he wanders further down the path.
I have spent countless hours in this garden, but I am always working on a project. I weed constantly. I keep the bird feeder full and the hydrangeas watered and I spread pine straw on a regular basis. When I look at my backyard it is to see what needs replacing and what needs to be added.
This is the first time I have ever sat down and looked at my garden without criticism. I am still. Right beside me an oversized bumblebee trundles over a violet butterfly bush bloom. The bee clings, now upside down, to the conical blossom that has rolled over under the insect’s weight. Undeterred, he continues his mission, frantically eating pollen with what appears to be six hands.
There is a butterfly on another bloom, methodically opening and closing his brown and orange wings. I lean in closer and peer at his busy whirl of antennae as he vigorously sips up nectar. He seems completely unaware of me.
I am still. There is another bee so close to me I could touch him, but he looks different. His tiny body is a soft mossy green and he has a fan tail. Suddenly I realize it is not a bee at all, but a baby hummingbird. His whirring wings make no noise and I wonder if the motorized hum grown hummingbirds make comes with age. I don’t move as I watch him immerse most of his little torso in a single bloom of a vivid pink phlox. I listen hard to see if I can hear him. I can’t.
Instead, I hear the trill of a bird from the woods, then a repetitive chirp-chirp-chirp of another, and then a frenzied twitter of what must be a flock of the same bird. I cannot see any of these birds, but know I am hearing different ones.
A goldfinch glides in for a perfect landing on my full feeder. He is bright crayon yellow and pops out against the black sunflower seeds. I drink him in.
My puppy comes barreling down the path and jumps up on my lap, joyfully licking my chin. He has sniffed every flower and chased every bee and noticed every single thing in the garden. I glance at my watch and realize almost half an hour has passed and I have no idea if my mission was accomplished or not. Still, I do not tell him to hurry up.
I feel the vibration of the baby hummingbird just behind my ear, but I never hear a sound. The leaves rustle and there is a late summer breeze on my face and I think what a lovely spot I have in the world. I am thankful my little dog has not learned how to ‘hurry up’. I gaze out at the garden and think of all I would have missed if he had. I stroke my little dog’s ear and wonder if that was his mission all along.
I enjoyed this very much and know other readers will too. Read more about author Ferris Robinson at her blog.
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I close my eyes and listen to my mother’s voice. It’s as familiar to me as the sound of my own breath. She speaks softly, gently. But unwavering.
“She’s my girl,” my mother says quietly, yet adamantly. She’s stroking her dog’s head, and wondering if Anna hears her. The dog is 80% dehydrated after being stuck in a drainage pipe for 17 days, is necrotic, and on a ventilator. I have to turn my face away to breathe because of the stench from her rotting wounds. I, in turn, feebly pat my mother’s shoulder to offer comfort. I know the dog is going to die. They just brought her back to life on the operating table, and there is no way Anna can survive.
Anna is comatose, but she seems to recognize my mother’s kind, soothing voice. The dog’s nose twitches a little, and her heart rate changes on the monitor. Still, she just had a seizure so it could be another mild one.
“Even if she dies, she knows you were here,” I tell my mother. I brace her for the inevitable but my mother is constant in her vigil.
No matter that Anna is not what you’d call a “good” girl. Or an easy girl. She gives my parents a run for their money, and always has. Erratic, unpredictable and snappish, she was never the ideal companion. Terrified of people, she is still leery of humans, even family members if my parents aren’t around, and heads for cover under the bed during each and every social interaction at their home. When the animal first ran away, we couldn’t find a single picture of her. We realized at ever photo opportunity, the dog, as usual, had run for cover in terror, and hidden from the family members. Anna is rough around the edges, to put it mildly. The fact is, she’s more of a liability.
It doesn’t matter. She’s my mother’s. And so my mother has always just rolled her eyes when she cleans up Anna’s messes, and tries to placate her when the animal is a basket case over things she should be able to handle. Even when she was warned the feral animal they adopted would never make a good pet, my mother never wavered in her commitment to this stray dog. Ever.
And I thank my lucky stars that this is the woman who is my mother. I’m not that unlike Anna. I was difficult from day one. So terrified of strangers as a child I wouldn’t meet their eye. I hid under my bed when I was invited to play at someone’s house, a complete basket case over something I should be able to handle.
I was much more destructive than Anna ever thought about being. Sledding down the stairs on the lid to the toy chest and crashing though the original banister carved before the Civil War. Jumping so hard upstairs the ceiling caved in on the dining room table, just as it as being set for Japanese executives from Tennessee Coal Consolidated.
The worst was accidentally crashing the adjustable hospital table down on my mother’s stomach after her abdominal surgery. She knew I was so upset over causing her pain, and of course her main concern was me.
I was combative. Demanding. Snappish. And that was all before the teenaged years. I won’t go into detail over wrecked cars and damaged real estate.
I sit with my mother at the Mountain Hospital for Animals, and watch her petting Anna’s head and rubbing her ears, speaking gently and calmly to her. She sat by the dog’s side hour after hour, until days later, Anna miraculously lifted her head. And turned toward my mother.
I get it. I get how Anna, bewildered and blind and more dead than alive, would somehow will herself to come out of the grips of death toward the sound of my mother’s voice.
“She’s my girl,” my mother says, over and over, in her soft, sure voice.
And that’s all we need, Anna and me.