Monday, June 30, 2014

Mavis Duke Hinton Writes Like A Dog

Author Mavis Duke Hinton with her dachshund, Duke

About Dachshunds, and Why I Write from a Dachshund’s Viewpoint:

I've always thought that dachshunds were comical.  I've also closely watched other dogs, and many breeds do have a well-developed sense of play, enjoy interacting with humans, and love dog toys. 

However, none (in my humble estimation) even comes close to having as many comical facial expressions or actions as our beloved doxies do. I've often said that Duke manages to make me laugh at least once a day, and if I ever had my cell phone handy at the right time, I could capture enough comical pictures of him to fill a book.

That brings me to the point about why I have written my books from a dachshund’s viewpoint: Oh, I've been asked that question countless times . . . and I always give the same answer, basically something like this:  "It is a running joke in our family that we just know what a dachshund is thinking by its facial expression and body language.  My late father used to tell us what our dachshunds were thinking, and I believe I have inherited that 'gene' for doing so.  All of this is tongue in cheek, of course—and it makes for many a laugh around our house."

For the uninitiated, dachshunds can display a myriad of facial expressions and body language--and I proclaim that dogs can smile!  When unhappy, Duke's ears practically drag the floor, along with a somber face and sad eyes (and he knows what he is doing).  In regard to food, Duke would join the food on the plate if he could reach it.  He once snatched my piece of toast off my plate—and it was on the kitchen counter, so don't let those short dachshund legs fool you.  Chow hounds extraordinaire, dachshunds have one of the strongest senses of smell in the canine world, according to The American Kennel Club, so food is exceptionally enticing to their noses.  Therefore, I also write about food a lot:  how it smells, its consistency, and how it tastes, all in great detail, as I imagine that our doxies would do if they could write.

My other reasons (besides the “gene” thing) for writing from the dog's viewpoint are:
1) I enjoy imagining how day-to-day happenings must appear to the family dog;
2) I can shift reality to share with readers what dogs supposedly think about life situations;
3) I have a zany sense of humor (my family can attest to that), and can use such humor when incorporating it into the dog’s viewpoint;
4) I love and appreciate dogs as man's best friend--they show us unconditional love!   One of the characters in THE DACHSHUND ESCAPADES series, Papa Duke, so aptly states my feelings about dogs:

 "A dawg loves you no matter what. You can be ugly, old, even dumb--but a dawg don't care. All he wants is your love and some food now and then. I think dawgs represent the unconditional love God has for us--maybe that's why He created them, to show that to us." 

Papa Duke was my late father, who loved dogs tremendously—and they returned the favor.  He was always called “Papa” by his grandchildren, and in my books, he lives on, just like he does in our hearts.

For those of us who love our dogs, my doggie stories give us a glimpse into our dogs’ views on life.   Oh, they’re not Shakespeare, but they read just fine for us dog lovers.  Or so I'm told.

The Books:  

Available on Amazon and Kindle
  I am Sarge (The Dachshund Escapades Book 1)

 Sometimes a dachshund's "lowdown from the ground" perspective is just what human beings need. I was only eight weeks old when I was adopted into my new human family who knew immediately I was a super dog. They proudly gave me the name Sarge-after my Papa Duke, who was a sergeant in the Army. Quite a fitting name for a good-looking dachshund too, I might add. I just know someday I'll do great and mighty things, befitting a super dog. But in the meanwhile, I'll just steal your heart and make you laugh out loud with the antics of this "chow hound." And maybe, if you come over, Papa and I-two food lovers-might just share a snack or two with you, too. Fall in love with Sarge, the quintessential dachshund, and laugh along with his foibles and humorous escapades.

Available on Amazon and Kindle

 I am Dachshund (The Dachshund Escapades Book 2)
Sometimes a dog has to put up with a little silliness from humans. People have strange notions and do some of the craziest things, but I don't mind them. I get all the attention I want from Mama, Papa, and my sweet baby sister, Annika, who loves my kisses. But there's one thing lacking...people food. I love people food. After you've had it, dried-up dog food tastes like cardboard. That's why I count on my absolute favorite person in the world, Papa, who calls me his "Granddawg," and his best friend, Sellars. They've been known to slip me the good stuff now and then, when Mama and Grandma aren't looking.Most dogs just lie around, passively accepting what comes their way, watching the world go by. That sounds suspiciously like a cat to me. I want the world to know I AM DACHSHUND - the guardian, the sentinel, the keeper of everything my family holds dear.
About The Author:
Mavis with Shadow and Duke
MAVIS DUKE HINTON (B.A. in English and Secondary Education), taught all grades of high school English and related subjects, including AP British literature, creative writing, speech, and journalism in her twenty-three-year career. Other pursuits have included editor and writer for various publications, including Liberty University and the North Carolina State Budget, office administrator, and police officer. She has taught method workshops at education conferences, Bible classes ranging from first grade to adult women, and spoken to Christian women’s groups. 

Raised in a military family, Mavis has lived in France and Germany, visiting Spain, touring Belgium, Holland, and Luxembourg on camping trips with her family when her father was stationed in Europe. The family had the enjoyable experience of meeting and sharing meals with friendly Europeans along the way.

She has also traveled across the USA and Canada, calling several states home: Ohio, Florida, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, Georgia, North Carolina (where she was born)—with Alaska being her favorite of all. Living near Fairbanks and experiencing subzero weather, Northern lights, and snow-capped mountains, she loves cold weather and snow. She has incorporated these character-rich and varied experiences into her writing.

Married for forty-three years, Mavis is the mother of two married daughters and grandmother of three grandchildren.  She and her husband Clark adopted Duke when Shadow and his family moved out of state—thus creating the need for their own doxie to spoil. Duke was eight weeks old when he came home with them, and it took him only about a day to make himself at home in their house as well as in their hearts. (Duke is introduced in the novel I AM DACHSHUND, Book 2.)

Although classified as fiction, I AM SARGE is written from her real “granddog” Shadow’s viewpoint and based on her real-life family and friends. I AM DACHSHUND, the second novel in the trilogy THE DACHSHUND ESCAPADES, details more of Sarge’s family, shenanigans, and stories.  The final two books of the series are completed and currently with her publisher (Oaktara Publishing), awaiting publication:  DACHSHUNDS FOREVER, Book 3, and A DACHSHUND’S TRIBUTE, Book 4.

Mavis and her husband, Clark, a retired science teacher, make their home in the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia. Her hobbies include traveling, reading, writing, cooking, spending time with family and friends, and laughing. 

Links:  Blog   Author's Web   Author's FaceBook Page   

The Dachshund Escapades Blog   Twitter @writer4dawg  Author's Amazon Page

OakTara Publishers

 Duke's Birthday Bash


Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Writing Process Blog Hop Tour

Australian writer, children's author, and poet, Helen Ross has tagged me in a Writing Process Blog Tour Helen is also an educator and workshop presenter. Check out her site and learn more about this talented lady from down under. You can read her post, on which I was one of those tagged, on the blog tour here .

Helen's children's books were featured on Book Talk on June 20, 2012. You can read that post by clicking here . I met Helen in cyber space when I found her delightful blog Helen Ross Writes in 2010, right after The Unfaithful Widow was released. I asked  her to review my memoir and we have been cyber friends ever since. I'd love to meet her one day in person and chat over Margaritas. Thanks Helen for tagging me in this tour. I am honored to be included!

(Do you think Helen's sweet kitty looks a little nervous to be on a Writer With Dogs blog? We are pet friendly here and embrace cats and other author pets too.  Here kitty, kitty . . . you are purr-fectly charming. ) 

So what is this all about?

The Writing Process Blog Tour is simple. I answer four questions about my writing and then tag other authors to continue the tour and answer the same four questions on their blogs. Then they tag authors they know and it continues on . . . You can see who I've tagged at the end of the post. I am so pleased to bring this tour to the USA!

The questions!

1. What am I working on?

I am not moving as quickly with my writing as I usually do. I've become distracted like a pup with its head out a car window, smiling as the breeze blows across my face,  just enjoying myself, going nowhere in particular. Perhaps my excuse is it's summer. But then . . . other seasons have their own sirens. Maybe I am just a bit tired!

Writing my first novel was exhausting for a gal who is used to short essays. Danger In Her Words was released February 2014. I've completed a month long blog tour with WOW! Women On Writing to promote my book online.  It required different interviews and one-of-kind posts I had to write on topics such as; the healing power of dogs, girlfriends, how to make a book trailer.  I've just revamped the format for this blog. I've updated my website.  All of that is very exciting - but it is not pulling together the books I see ahead of me. Writing marketing material is not the same as completing a new book, but it is equally as important if you want anyone to see your work.

I still dream big. I believe your heart and mind should be full of possibilities - in doing so wonderful things are accomplished. My dreams include my dog memoir, a children's book, an odd little series on my Chihuahua Chloe,  and another novel with a sixty-five year old heroine designing her destiny. My goal is the dog memoir by mid fall. I have six dogs that are waiting for the moment of fame and I promised them their stories would be told. Perhaps I will stop sniffing the air out my window, as intoxicating and refreshing as it is, and get back to the business of my dreams . . . tomorrow. Today I want to be Scarlett, tomorrow I will want to be a writer again.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

The one thing I focus on  . . .  dogs. My personal essays are chock-full-of-dogs. I've written short stories that revolve around dogs. My novel had a very spunky little pup that helped save the day. Perhaps my work is overrun with canines more than most.

3. Why do I write what I do?

Non-fiction memoir - It's cheaper than therapy. It clears my head. It's a social process. I live alone with six dogs so writing is my way of communicating with the world. I started writing when my husband died and found that it gave me purpose. I think writing from the heart, be it about sorrow, or joy, or dogs, is a way to reach out to others and form friendships that would never have been made in my daily life. Nothing makes me happier than to have someone comment on what I've written or contact me directly. Those are the perks of writing I love. I live a fairly simple life - which sounds bigger than it is on paper - but I like to journal about it. As one who talks about everything - writing about everything - seems very natural. I write because I have to, it brings me pleasure and I hope my stories do the same for others. Fiction is a different critter for me and I am trying to get a leash on it.

4.  How does my writing process work?

I don't have a schedule - and I mean any schedule. I am retired from my career with the federal government and my time is my own - except for the doggie demands. In the morning after I run them into the yard - because they gang up on me about 7am for breakfast - and are relentless until I get up - I grab my coffee and sit at the computer. Most mornings I work on my blogs that promote other authors or do PR of some sort. My personal writing is more an evening thing - a late evening, early morning thing. I am up usually until 3am.

The most amusing aspect of my writing (to me and I recently discovered this about myself, although I knew it, just didn't acknowledge it) is that when I write my personal stories - I have to post them somewhere. That is why I have so many blogs - both public and private. I write on my blog, correct it until I am happy with it, and have to find graphics to go with the post. I was just part of a 24 Day Health Challenge  - where we were to keep a journal. I couldn't write until I set up a private blog, gave it a header, backdrop, and illustrations to go with each entry. That is when I realized I was blog crazy. The good part - my blogs are my online files - so when I need something - I know where to find it.

Writing fiction - short stories- or my first novel - is all done in Word and kept in files in my Dropbox.

Next - Tag you're it!

The authors, artists who write and illustrate, and more below - have been featured on my Writer With Dogs blog or will appear here soon with their favorite canines.

I am stealing the lovely words of Helen Ross to take the pressure off those I've tagged. As she so gently wrote when she tagged me : Please do not feel you have to participate – quietly ignore if you wish. And if you are happy to participate, just do when you can do.

Tag and Go:  Valerie Connors, Beth Rommel, Jayne Martin, Kerry Alan Denney, Barbara Techel, Elizabeth Cassidy .

Remember the rules - take the four questions above, answer them on your blog, and tag more writers to do the same!

Thanks again Helen for including me in the tour!


Friday, June 27, 2014

Author Kerry Alan Denney "The Reality Bender" and Holly Jolly

Holly Jolly, official mascot of the Atlanta Writers Club
My seven-year-old Golden Retriever Holly Jolly and I attended the AtlantaWriters Club annual 2014 picnic Saturday, June 21 at Holcomb Bridge Park, where Valerie Connors, President of the AWC, publicly announced that Holly is now the official mascot of the Atlanta Writers Club, woo-hoo! At the picnic, Holly was commended and complimented several times on her exemplary good behavior, as well as on her irresistible charm and gentle, affectionate nature.

Holly is a playful, energetic, joyful, and friendly dog who loves all people and dogs alike. My furry four-legged friend is the best companion I could ever hope or ask for. She is not only an excellent writer’s assistant—she keeps my head in the clouds but my feet on solid ground and my heart in each precious moment—she is also a faithful and loving friend without whom my world and life would be a little bit darker and a lot more lonesome. Holly knows how to fly better than Superman, how to make loneliness and ravenous monsters magically disappear in the way only a loving dog can, and how to make friends better than any of us humans ever will. If we can all learn only a small piece of that magic, what a wonderful world it will be.

Holly is a certified Canine Good Citizen—a prestigious award presented by the American Kennel Club for passing a rigorous behavioral and obedience test—and she is also a professional therapy dog with Therapy Dogs Incorporated.

Holly and I have been participating for over a year and a half now in a local library-sponsored R.E.A.D. program (Reading Education Assistance Dogs) in which we go to the library with other therapy dogs and their humans and sit in the children’s section. Kids pet the dogs, read to them, or show them picture books if they can’t read yet. The READ program’s intent is to promote an interest in reading and help kids develop better reading comprehension skills, as well as teach them the proper method of approaching and familiarizing themselves with strange dogs. Holly is a huge hit with the kids—they generally have no idea who I am; I’m just her human who tags along with her—but they know Holly and call her by name, and are always happy and excited to see her.

For those of you who have kids who love to read and love dogs and would like to come out and join us, Holly and I are at the
MountainPark Library for their Doggie Tales program from 1 to 2 p.m. on the first and third Saturday of every month. The library is located at 1210 Pounds Road SW on the corner of Five Forks Trickum Road and Pounds Road in Lilburn, Georgia. We also participate in the SueKellogg Library’s Read to Rover program in the heart of Stone Mountain Village at 952 Leon Street on the fourth Saturday of each month from 12 noon to 1 p.m. Children of ALL ages are invited—from 1 to 100!
With their effortless playful innocence, unconditional love, and unrestrained exuberance, our dogs show us vitally important things about ourselves that teach us much about honesty, integrity, love, loyalty, forgiveness, and compassion, and teach us how to share that special bond with our human friends and families. My former four-legged friend Sadie Milady, a beautiful American Eskimo (also called a Spitz), was well-loved by many. She brightened my life and brought me endless joy for sixteen canine-love-filled years, from 1990 to the Spring of 2006 when she finally tuckered out and took that final journey to Rainbow Bridge. I still remember the faithful look of trust in her eyes in her final moments when we said our goodbyes to each other, as if she just knew there was no way I would ever let any harm or loneliness come to her, either in this life or the next. For over a year after Sadie was gone, fool that I sometimes am, I let the heartbreak of losing an irreplaceable friend prevent me from searching for a new special furry friend. I forgot that I wasn’t supposed to be trying to replace her, which I could never do: I was merely searching for a unique new friend who would fill that empty space in my heart which only a dog can fill. When I finally found my Holly Jolly in December of 2006, a fluffy, loving, playful little ball of fur who looked like a stuffed teddy bear as a puppy, I knew I had been given a gift from God or whatever you choose to call the universal creative force, and that I had found a true friend for life.

It's no small wonder that “dog” is “God” spelled backwards. (Check out Wendy Francisco’s wonderful video and song “GoD and DoG” here or here!) Adopting a dog into your home, life, and heart is a solemn and dutiful responsibility and a lifetime commitment, and should never be undertaken lightly. Dogs need lots of love, playtime, attention, social interaction, and exercise, a miniscule sacrifice of my time and heart that I’m happily willing to give each and every day. Because of Sadie and Holly, I know that unique love will always be returned a hundredfold. It should come as no surprise to anyone that people who responsibly accept a dog into their lives have a happier, longer, and more rewarding and fulfilling life.
Although our furry friends are only with us for far too brief a time, they live a multitude of lifetimes in their unique ability to experience joy as if it gushed forth from an eternal fountain right here within our reach from which all may partake, never worrying about the past or fearing for the future. We can all stand to learn that priceless lesson from our dogs. To me, their motto is and should always be live with wind-in-fur.
Cheers and blessings to all you genuine dog lovers out there. May you always share that special love and joy that only our furry friends can bring, and may you live your lifetimes with wind-in-fur. 
 Holly Jolly sez “Woof!”
About Kerry Alan Denney:
 Kerry Alan Denny is The Reality Bender
Colleagues and readers alike have dubbed Kerry Alan Denney as The Reality Bender. A multiple award-winning author, Kerry incorporates genre-blending elements of the supernatural, paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy, and horror in his novels and short stories. With joy, malicious glee, and a touch of madness, he writes reality-bending thrillers... even when the voices don't compel him to. Kerry lives near Stone Mountain, Georgia with his Golden Retriever Holly Jolly, a professional therapy dog, where he is currently writing his next novel. His post-apocalyptic sci-fi novel JAGANNATH will be published by Permuted Press February 2015.

About The Book:
New York Times bestselling author James Rollins (THE EYE OF GOD, the SIGMA series) says: "Kerry Alan Denney's SOULSNATCHER grabs you by both the heart and the throat, as children with incredible powers are put in the path of villains with truly horrific ambitions. Here is a story rife with adventure, suspense, and a dash of humor, and it had me turning the pages deep into the night--and it will have you doing the same."
Go To Amazon and Peek Inside.
Children with extraordinary psychic powers are being used as pawns in a deadly supernatural war. Jasmine “Jazz” Tandy and her nine-year-old son Chaz, who can heal people with his touch, are fleeing from a ruthless organization that kidnaps these children. Children such as Kaylee Daley, who can control and manipulate plant life, and Mara Fleming, who can see into the future. Their only hope for salvation is a covert group called the Guardians, who protect these children from the organization’s merciless hunters.

Dr. Larssen Sössnacher, the organization’s leader—called “Soulsnatcher” by the remarkable children he abducts and exploits—believes Chaz is the miraculous prodigy who will grant him the immortality he craves... and he’ll stop at nothing to get Chaz.

Cody Jackson, a Guardian and martial arts and weapons expert, rescues Jazz and Chaz from Soulsnatcher’s hunters and takes them to Homestead, a safe haven where the children learn to use their powers to help others. But Soulsnatcher’s hunters raid Homestead and battle the Guardians in a surreal deadly showdown—with the souls of all the children as the ultimate prize.

Meet Kerry and author LyndaFitzgerald in their Author Booth at the 2014 Decatur Book Festival August 29-31.


GoodReads FaceBookTwitter @KerryDenney , Author's Website 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Author Constance Walker and Jake's Story

Standing next to me in line waiting to board the flight home the man behind me eyes the blue heart identification tag on my luggage: “I LOVE DOGS.” 
“So, what kind of dog do you have?” 
 I smile and think this man has no idea what is about to come:  I flip open my cell phone and begin scrolling through the hundred or so photos. “He’s a hound/shepherd.  He’s a shelter dog.  We fell in love with him as soon as we saw him on the internet and the next day we drove two and half hours to get him and it was love at first sight.  His name is Jake.  Isn’t he gorgeous?”  I show him a photo.

The man looks and nods politely.  “He is cute.”
“He’s more than cute – he’s perfect.  This is what he looked like when we first brought him home.  Isn’t this a break your heart photo?  He sat on the backseat of the car and we swore he was saying, ‘I’m going home. I’m going home.”    
“He’s charming and gentle and the best dog in the world.”  I pull up another photo. “This is Jake the first time he saw snow.  He gave me a kiss.”
I flip through the photos.  Jake with a toy:

“Here’s one of Jake watching the Westminster Dog Show.  I keep telling him he’s more beautiful and smarter and nicer than the competitors.” 

The man hands me back my phone. 
“Do you have a dog?” I ask.
“Go to the shelter,” I practically command, “and get a friend for life.  For real.  You’ll never live without a dog again. ”
 I pull up more photos… Jake on the bed… Jake taking me for a walk in the morning… Jake in my office…     Jake with my son and daughter-in-law. Jake in the fall blending with the leaves.

I tell him about how Jake, “Lucky Jake”, my friend calls him, plays with the deer in the back woods because he thinks they’re just other dogs.  (I check him for ticks when he comes in.)  And how he just watches the birds and the squirrels and sometimes plays his “I’m a hunter” stalking game – standing stiff, raising one leg and pointing, and then running and chasing them up the tree. 
 “Let me see Jake,” a woman down the line says.  I pass her the phone with the photos pulled up and she looks and passes it to the 30 or more people waiting to board with me. 
“He’s darling.  He’s so cute.  Look at his eyes.”  Everyone comments about my wonderful Jake.  And I nod because they agree with me.
I see other passengers fiddle with their phones and wallets.  “Here, this is my dog.”   Their photos are passed to each other.  Every dog is admired although I know my Jake is the best.   
Later, after we land, we dog-lovers, no longer strangers, shake hands and say goodbye and wish each other and our pets well.
An hour later I pull into my garage and I can hear Jake barking his greeting to me and I yell, “I’m home, Puppy (although he’s ten years old now, he is forever a puppy to me!) I’m home."
I open the door and he’s sitting there, waiting patiently for me and the treat I take from the bowl on the mantle.  And then I hug him and hold him and yes, kiss him, and he’s already forgiven me for having left him for a weekend. “I’m home, Jakeroo.. I’m home.”
And then he falls asleep and all is well… all is well.

 About Constance Walker:

Constance Walker

Constance Walker has had an extensive career that includes journalism, public relations, producing and directing documentary videos, and writing magazine articles. She hosted a writer’s group on AOL for thirteen years, and then finally pursued her dream of writing.

After having five novels published the traditional way, she decided to publish her own books. In 2013 she established Winter's Eve Books and re-issued WARM WINTER LOVE in both paperback and eBook form.

In addition to WARM WINTER LOVE, Constance will be reissuing:


Her newest novel, IN TIME, a time-travel paranormal romance spanning 1941 to present day, was released June, 2014.  

She lives in Maryland with her dog, Jake.
About IN TIME:
Buy On Amazon
Released June 17, 2014
It never occurred to Allie Winters that there was something different about Evermore—the small town that she was forced to spend five days in because her car had to be fixed. Yes, it was quaint and yes, it seemed maddeningly out of step with the current times, but it was nevertheless like all those other “remember when” towns she had visited—people in different era clothing, out-of-date music playing on the radio, roads that were only semi-standard and no modern conveniences to be seen or heard. In other words, just another tourist trap.

But was it? The clues were always there for Allie but in the beginning she misreads them and thinks she has come upon yet another “restored” town that Americans like to visit during summer vacations. When she finally understands that by some strange trick of fate she has actually entered a time warp – it’s only August, 1941, in Evermore – it’s too late for her to just leave for she has already fallen in love with the editor of the town’s weekly newspaper. Noah Wilson, in the course of only a few days, has won her heart in a thousand small ways – from his low-key acceptance of life to his extraordinarily old-fashioned ways of loving her.

IN TIME is a love story of two people who, through some “window in time” are able to meet, get to know each other, fall in love and then understand that that love—though they don’t know how—will be bound forever and ever throughout eternity.