Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I have been a professional business writer for about 25 years, working with companies ranging in size from multi-million dollar international businesses to start-ups and entrepreneurs. I spent many years working with non-fiction authors to publish and promote their books. I’m a devoted dog mom (German Shorthaired Pointers) living in NE Ohio and a member of the Dog Writers Association of America.
I have three books of my own out, one is a business book that was really written more as a “proof of concept,” and two that are my passion projects, the “Two Dogs’ Series.” The first of those is a book called “Dogs Know Best: Two Dogs’ Training Guide for Humans” and it’s a love letter to thank my (then) senior dogs for the lessons they taught me throughout their life. It’s a happy, feel-good book that struck a chord with dog lovers all around the world, becoming an Amazon #1 bestseller in 6 countries. I just released the follow-up called “Dogs Still Know Best: Two Angels Guide Their Human Through Grief, Learning & Love” This is a much more personal book, taking the reader along on my spiritual journey that was sparked when I lost my two beloved dogs 3 months apart. The third book in this series will be released in 2020 and is called, “D.O.G., PhD: A Year of Conversations With One Very Smart Dog.”
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book is “Dogs Still Know Best: Two Angels Guide Their Human Through Grief, Learning & Love,” and was inspired by the loss of my two beloved dogs. Through my grief, I began a spiritual journey that taught me invaluable lessons, all with the helpful guidance of my two newest angels. The journey is one of love, learning and renewal. Along the way a new puppy found her way to my life, and this book explores how she is also being guided and mentored.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I don’t have any unusual writing habits, although my writing style may be considered a little unconventional from what many authors have. When I have an idea, I open a blank doc and just start flushing it out. I “brain dump” everything that pops into my head, whether it’s an idea, quote, chapter title, fact, paragraph or experience. Then I start flushing out an actual outline and building a structure, fitting in the pieces where it makes the most sense for the story. Then I build the story. It may not happen in order, I might be struck to write a section somewhere in the middle then head back to the beginning. Eventually it all ends up making sense.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I am an avid reader, consuming many different genres of fiction and non-fiction. I don’t know that there is one author or book that has influenced me most, in my case I think it’s more of a combination of them all over the years. I take little bits from each book I read, filing away things I like and even things I don’t, to use later in my own work. I enjoy reading the popular, well-known writers, and also I love discovering self-published gems that I would never have found on my own, such as Reality Unveiled, by Ziad Masri. If a story (non-fiction or fiction) or characters sticks with me long after I’ve finished the book, that’s an author I’ll pay attention to.
What are you working on now?
Right now I’m working on the third book in the Two Dogs’ series, D.O.G., PhD: A Year of Conversations With One Very Smart Dog. I’m co-authoring it with Iris Matos, who is an animal communicator. We’re spending a full year having conversations with my very smart German Shorthaired Pointer, and getting her perspective on life and the world around her. So if you’ve ever wondered what a dog is thinking or how they see the world, this will be the book for you. So far I have not been disappointed, our conversations have revealed some amazing lessons and insights that will surely touch the hearts of dog lovers.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Social media is a huge factor these days, along with well-placed online advertising. I have a book website (www.TwoDogsBooks.com) that I drive traffic to, but using online ads and social media ads is a terrific way to reach potential readers.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Tell your story!!! Everyone has a story to tell, whether it’s your own or one that comes from your own creativity. It’s so easy now to access the resources needed to produce a top-notch book, so it’s the perfect opportunity to share your story with the world. And when you think you have nothing to say or get stuck? Just sit down, open your notebook or a new doc and start getting words on paper. Let a stream of consciousness flow, and eventually something will begin to take shape. Do it at a time when your mind is clear, free of clutter of your job, personal commitments and pressures, other issues and distractions. Go for a walk, meditate, take a long shower (some of the best ideas come about in the shower, when your mind is quiet). Allow your ideas to flow, then capture them in any way you can.
And above all else? Don’t give up, don’t second guess yourself!!!
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
You don’t have to do everything by yourself. Having a good team in place will allow each person to focus on what they do best, taking the pressure off you to do it all and do it all well. This doesn’t mean you have to pay a lot of money or hire employees – it means having a support network who can help, whether as a friend or family member or someone you outsource part of a project to.
What are you reading now?
Honestly, whatever book sparks my eye from the half dozen book email newsletters I get every day. Just yesterday I finished Her Bush, the latest romantic comedy by Penelope Bloom, part of the Objects of Attraction series (which I found to be hilarious!). Next up is Paulo Cohelo’s The Witch of Portobello.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I just had a spark of an idea for my next book after D.O.G., PhD that I have yet to flush out, but it’s one that I find myself getting more and more intrigued about. This is another dog book, which is where my head is right now. As the saying goes, “write about what you love,” so there you have it! I’ll continue to take inspiration from the world around me, and write when the moment strikes.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
Oh boy… that’s so tough!
Reality Unveiled by Ziad Masri
I’d probably find a good book on outdoor survival for practical reasons
Definitely one light-hearted comedy and a good romance