Saturday, March 9, 2013

My poor blog. It has been ignored for more than two months. I apologize. There's been lots going on and I suppose I have just been too busy to write. Life just gets in the way sometimes.

We had a photo shoot in February for Morgan and Izzy with the photographer, Hannah Stonehouse Hudson. What fun! If you haven't been living in a computer free zone, you know Hannah's work. Hannah Stonehouse Hudson gave the world a gift last year: a photo of friend John Unger lovingly cradling his elderly dog, Schoep, in the waters of Lake Superior.

Hannah's new-found international fame was tempered by the tragic loss of her husband, Jim, last month in a snow mobile accident on Lake Superior. Even with her tremendous sadness, she soldiered on with her scheduled shoot dates and came to Southwest Florida last weekend. I was so impressed with her - her talent and her strength.

The things I learned from this photo shoot: Izzy, who is very photogenic, generally at ease in front of a camera and has mastered the non-pose pose of cuteness, would not cooperate a bit. All she wanted to do was run behind anything that would take her just out of the shot. I really wanted to get a great shot of her that I can use for the next book cover. I have not seen the proofs yet, but suspect that we may not have completed my mission. Morgan, who I think feels that a camera might just steal her soul was the ham! She ran, posed, and generally gave it her best. I was totally surprised by that one.

Hannah spent a couple of hours trying to coax the best out of both of them and I can't wait to see what she captured. She has MAD photographic skills and I swear, can talk to animals. I will definitely share the pics once we decide which shots are going to work.

Other things of note this month is my month-long book tour with Beck Valley Books. Sharon has all of the tour dates posted here. There will be some fun things, many reviews, a couple of interviews and a some of my own guest blog posts. I hope you have a minute or two to check them out.

Thanks. As always you can find me on twitter, daily @barbarabrunner


Thursday, January 10, 2013

It's been a difficult week. My dad passed away on New Year's Eve - the same day our eldest dog, Morgan, was diagnosed with Lymphoma. On the flip side, Dog-Ma was listed on this week. I haven't had a second to do any promoting here, on Twitter or on Facebook. None the less we are selling books. I spent the day autographing a couple of cases to send out to the FAB warehouse. Check it out if you get a second and maybe share it with your friends! One lucky buyer will get a special message and gift from Izzy.

Hopefully the rest of 2013 will not be quite as eventful as the first few days have been!

Happy New Year To All!

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Next Big Thing is a Blog Hop. I didn't know what that was until recently. Basically, someone tags you as an author worth noting and you, in turn, tag five other authors. It's great for networking among authors and with our readers about what we're working on these days.

I recently had the pleasure of being tagged by Mary Metcalfe, a published author, editor, mentor and regular book reviewer. Thank you, Mary, for the privilege!

Here are my responses to The Next Big Thing questions. Enjoy!

What is the working title of your book?

Dog-Ma, the Zen Of Slobber

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I began writing this book in my head almost twenty years before I put pen to paper. The idea started to percolate after the loss of my first dog at the age of 17. After the loss of my seventh dog I decided to get my thoughts down on paper. An author friend read it, LOVED it and told me I had to get it published.

What genre does your book fall under?

It is a Memoir but could also be classified in Dog Books or Humor

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

This is such a personal question since it is choosing someone to play me! I have loved the work of Emma Stone for several years, first seeing her in the movie Superbad and the Easy A. I watched her on David Letterman that same year and found her to not only be a great actress, but also witty and smart. She's also got my sassy redhead attitude going on. I think she would be perfect to play the younger me. As for the older me... Perhaps Julianne Moore. What do you think?

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Wickedly funny story of life with nine crazy rescue dogs.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

This book was self published. A daunting task that taught me many things, mostly patience peppered with a few choice swear words.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

The first draft took three months. Then came a year of editing, finessing and formatting. I can honestly say that a good editor is worth their weight in GOLD! I had two and could not have finished the book without them.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

The obvious choice is Marley and Me. I seriously do believe one of my dogs, Madison (a Black Lab), was FAR worse than Marley. It must be in the Lab genes. She was incorrigible and earned the name Houdini In A Dog Suit.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My love of dogs and the need to share all of our outrageously funny stories before I get dementia and forget them! That could happen any day now...

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

You do not need to be a dog owner or dog lover to enjoy the book. The stories are all true and quite entertaining. Telling these stories, we were the headliner entertainment at every cocktail party we attended for many years. You just can't make up tales this crazy. The book follows us around the country, having moved seventeen times in thirty-two years. Some of the stories, especially our Nashville days contain a lot of regional humor. There are even a few celebrity tidbits from our years in Los Angeles. I have been told that the first chapter is a bit hard to read, containing some graphic violence of a fight between two dogs. Two of my reviewers were troubled by it. If that sort of thing bothers you, skip that chapter and start with Chapter Two.

I was tagged by my wonderful friend Mary Metcalfe.

Thank you Mary and best wishes to you on the new book Road To Tomorrow.

My five picks for authors to meet and follow (in no particular order):

Joe and Cathy Connolly

Joe and Cathy have become great friends through the magic of Twitter. They have spent a lifetime owning, training and caring for dogs. Cathy grew up with a Collie breeder, dog groomer and dog handler while attending many different dog shows and eventually went on to work with other breeders as she grew older. They live in beautiful Northern Michigan with their 3 furry four legged children, one large dog, one small dog and the entire family is supervised by one bossy calico cat.

Their book If I Should Die Before My Dog is a thought provoking check list for dog lovers, who unfortunately and with much sadness can no longer take care of their dog. This book will assist those who want to prepare for their dogs future in an easy to use format that will guide them through the process of telling the "story" of their dogs life, for their pets "Next Guardian". None of us can predict the future, but in the event situations arise such as death, health impairment or left with no other choice but to give them up, this book will be there to assist your beloved pet with the transition from one home to another.

Kathryne Arnold

Kathryne's latest thriller is The Fear Of Things To Come the second in a series, preceded by The Resurrection Of Hannah. The DSM. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. A voluminous, invaluable tool used by psychotherapists the world over to diagnose individuals with mental illness. Referenced by Samantha Clark countless times throughout her career, never suspecting that one day it would save her life.

Samantha receives a seemingly innocent but anonymous letter, and overnight her world changes forever. She becomes a victim in a frightening game of cat-and-mouse, a nightmare that begins when her boyfriend, Todd, fails to return to the wellness retreat they own in the woods of Florida. Working closely with police, Samantha and two trusted friends discover that Todd’s disappearance is linked to a series of murders occurring in a nearby county. They soon find themselves prey to a mentally ill patient from Samantha’s past, bent on revenge. With time bearing down, they must weave together the clues found in a succession of ominous letters and the DSM to save Todd. Their mission to unravel the mystery behind the kidnapping plunges them into a terrifying maze of danger, deception, and madness.

Chandler McGrew

I have been fortunate enough for Chandler to take pity on me as a fledgling author. He was the first one to let me know my book had hit #1 on Amazon. He has given me invaluable advice through the process of publishing my book. Although he is the author of four critically acclaimed supernatural/suspense thrillers, Chandler McGrew, lives in quiet seclusion in the mountains of Maine. He writes ten to twelve hours a day, fueled by liberal doses of coffee and Pepsi, with only an occasional dollop of single malt scotch to take the edge off.

Born in Texas he lived for almost a decade in Alaska where his first novel, Cold Heart, is set. I Love a Mystery called the book a 'tense and satisfying read.' While the Contra Costa Times said it was 'The best opening 10 pages I've read this year...reads like a good martini tastes: icy cold, with flecks of terror where the ice chips should be.

Not a bad start for a man who didn't begin to write professionally until he was in his forties.

His latest book The Remnant scared the bejesus out of me. I am just starting Crossroads and am looking forward to another captivating read.

Rebecca Graf

Rebecca was one of my earliest reviewers. Rebecca was born in Russellville, Kentucky but grew up in Dothan, Alabama. She graduated from the University of Montevallo with an accounting degree. Given the chance to try her hand at writing, she began writing online articles leading to her first published book, A Gift for a Mouse. From there she ventured into romance, mystery, comedy and drama. The passion of writing was discovered. She currently lives in Wisconsin with her husband and three children.

Her book is Deep Connections . Just as love appears, so does the darkness. With her heart reaching out for one man, Brenna finds herself the target of an unknown stalker. Who is he? What does he want? How far will he go for her? Death is an option. Brenna discovers more than she bargained for and learns that the stalker will kill for her. It all comes down to decisions, and no matter what she chooses it will demand sacrifice and someone's blood. A gripping and intense read.

James Kaufman

An attorney, businessman and former judge, James J. Kaufman has published several works of non-fiction. "The Collectibles," his debut novel, draws heavily from his experiences in law, his dealings in the business world, and his interactions with people from widely different backgrounds.

I do not know James, nor have I ever had a conversation with him. I was turned on to his book by a friend who is an avid reader. She stumbled upon it one day on Amazon. I LOVED the book. It is his first and hopefully not his last. There are too many great things about this book to mention. All I can say is please check it out. It is a great read. One of those books you cannot put down. The Collectibles

For those I’ve tagged – The Next Big Thing Rules:

Ø Use this format for your post

Ø Answer the 10 questions about your current WIP (work in progress)

Ø Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.

When you’ve written your post and have queued it up, send me the dedicated URL/permalink so that I have it for my post to link your upcoming one. There’s no need for you to give me the names of the people you’re inviting. Just go ahead and invite people to participate on the week after your post runs. You include their links and also include mine as the person who invited you.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

If I Should Die Before My Dog. A New Book.

Good morning Zen followers, I usually write about myself (BORING) or my furry kids (hilarious most of the time) but today I am writing about a new friend and her new book. Cathy and I met on Twitter and found out we have a tremendous amount in common. We are both animal lovers, we both wrote books about our dogs and published this summer! How crazy is that? Cathy Connolly (and her husband Joe - CAN'T forget Joe) has written a book that every dog owner should have. It addresses the needs of your precious pet if you should die unexpectedly, giving you a very easy to understand and complete checklist. Izzy and Morgan both have their books filled out and "Paw Parents" assigned.

Please take a look. She is on a Blog Tour this month. It is a book that would also make an awesome holiday gift or stocking stuffer for the dog lover in your life. It contains some beautiful illustrations, too. Here are the links to the Blog Tour and to her book on Amazon. If you follow the Blog Tour you can enter to win an autographed book!

Monday, November 26, 2012

What fun yesterday! A Book signing event for 30 local authors at our local outdoor mall, Fisherman's Village, more well known for it's breathtaking views of Charlotte Harbor and great selection of beer than for cerebral events. It proved to be a busy and fun day signing books, meeting lots of other dogs and their people. I love hearing that I do not have the only crazy dogs in the universe. Izzy did a little pawtographing and posed for photos while I signed copies of DOG-MA, THE ZEN OF SLOBBER.

Izzy got a little bored with her new-found celebrity, though.

She's going to need an entourage soon, I fear.

We both even made it to the front page of our hometown newspaper!

Ooops, I hear Izzy calling for her hair and makeup people...gotta run!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Dog-Ma makes an excellent holiday gift and a signed copy makes it more special! There are two additional book signing opportunities this month for Dog-Ma fans.

Saturday November 17 from 10 - 4

Turtle Creek Book Bazaar

16500 Burnt Store Road

Punta Gorda, FL



Sunday November 25 from 12 - 6

Peace River Center For Writers

Fisherman's Village Authors Market

1200 S. Retta Esplanade

Punta Gorda, FL


Izzy will be photo-oping at the November 25 event for one hour only 2 - 3pm! Stop by and shake her paw or get your photo snapped with her! She may even be open to a paw-tograph or two.

Hope to see you there

-Izzy xx

FYI - Autographed and gift-wrapped copies are also available on line at

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Acupuncture Rocks!

Acupuncture for a dog. Who Knew? It was not something I thought I would ever try. I understand Eastern Medicine and know it has its benefits over the long term. Izzy's issues have always been of the emergency variety, needing an immediate Western Medicine solution. Anaphylaxis from many, many food allergies are always our biggest concern. Then there is her blindness, skin infections, ear infections, her general terrier insanity that has her in constant trouble... its a long list of things we always seem to need a medicine for NOW!

A few weeks ago the sister of a neighbor suggested trying acupuncture. She works in a Veterinary office where there is a new doctor who recently received a degree in Eastern Veterinary Medicine and was looking for new patients. I am always game for a new treatment attempt. I figure that we will eventually find something that will work for Izzy. I scheduled an appointment not knowing what to expect but with great hope.

Since I don't like to use real people's names without permission, I will call her The Doc. The Doc was a very soft spoken Eastern European woman who ushered us into a quiet room. She wanted to let Izzy free to roam the room so she could observe her while we spoke. We discussed Izzy's medical history and her personality traits. Izzy has always had a very bad temper, especially if she does not get her way. She will hurl herself with full force at the door and howl like she is being murdered if we confine her to a room. If you have a small terrier, you know this noise well. Imagine the sound of someone being stabbed with a knife in the belly while eating a mouthful of jello; who's head is inside of a megaphone. Try to take a sock away from her? Good luck with that one. Don't plan on keeping all of your fingers. We talked about Izzy's aloofness when she first came to live with us. Balls were far superior to people. She would tolerate a hug for a millisecond and then race off to play.

The Doc continued to observe Izzy as she first investigated the room with her nose to the floor and then fixated on one point on the wall and froze. She sat down, with her nose brushing the wall and stared at that spot for the remainder of the visit, like a child who has been put in the corner for a time out. The Doc thought it was incredibly unusual. HA! That's our Izzy.

The Doc made a chart of the systems of the body and how they are all interconnected. The details of the chart are unimportant to this story, only that it was clear after the appointment that Eastern Medicine could possibly be the solution we have been looking for. Acupuncture and herbal tinctures.

We are three weeks into Izzy's acupuncture treatments. So far so good. Although, as I type this she has leaped from a chair onto Morgan's head trying to kill her again. Uh Oh. Gotta go.

Namaste (please?)