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So, I Read This Book Today

Editing, Proofreading, Reviewing and Other Stuff

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M. K. Clinton

Thank You, M.K. Clinton!

M. K. ClintonSunday, September 21, 2014

International Peace Day

War is not healthy for dogs or other living things.

“In the history of the world,

no dog has ever started a war.”
M. K. Clinton ~The Returns Series

International Peace Day

*Thanks to Sugar the Golden Retriever and Dachshund Nola

for hosting Black & White Sunday.

Stop by to say hello to them and these other B & W photo bloggers.

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Bookshelf Tag! Tag, You’re IT!

book kitty

I’ve been Tagged! Author Marcia Meara has tagged me in Bookshelf Tag Thanks for thinking of me, Marcia! I am having a fit of the “black funks” right now, so a break is just what I needed. I’ve never done one of these, so I intend to have fun. I hope you do to, when I tag you! Here are the rules for Bookshelf Tag:

“Answer the following questions about books on your bookshelf and then tag five other bloggers. You can answer the questions any way you want, whether it’s on your blog, in a video, or a combination of the two. Then remember to let whoever tagged you know when your post is up so they can read it.”

  1. Is there a book that you really want to read but haven’t because you know that it’ll make you cry?

I used to read the dark stuff. (Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago and Cancer Ward come to mind. The Gulag made me cry, and I was never brave enough to tackle Cancer Ward. Too depressing! Nowadays, I don’t read anything that I think will make me cry. I have had enough tears in my life. I can be scared, pissed off, horrified, or excited, but crying? Nah… Life’s too short, laugh while you can!

  1. Pick one book that helped introduce you to a new genre.

I first found Urban Fantasy back in the 80’s (yea, I’m old, get over it! ROFL) I was gifted a copy of Moonheart by Charles deLint and I feel in LOVE. Sara and Jamie and all their friends moved into my heart and built a home, and their joy has lived with me ever since.   Ellen Datlow, Emma Bull and Terri Windling soon added to my list and from then on, Urban Fantasy has been my first and abiding love.

  1. Name a book that you want to reread.
    Oh, Jeeze! I always reread the previous books in my favorite series right before a new one comes out. I have read the Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels series several times for this very reason. Now that I think about it, I think I will pull out Emma Bull’s War for the Oaks and give it another read . . .
  2. Is there a book series you’ve read but wish that you hadn’t?
    The Depths by Nick Thacker. The premise was so good – but the execution? Not so much. As I quoted in my review, Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort. – John Ruskin He has another book out that sounds so good, but I won’t read it because of the issues that disappointed me in this one. 1) Errors in logic 2) Errors in science 3) Continuity issues 4) Grammatical and word usage issues. In other words, sloppy. I had promised to read and review for the Publisher, or I would have stopped ten pages in…..
  3. If your house was burning down and all of your family and pets were safe, which book would you go back inside to save?
    My Charles deLint collection! I have a few signed firsts (the only signed firsts I have ever owned) because he brought me such joy so many times in my life. I can sink into one of his stories and live inside his world – especially Newford!
  4. Is there one book on your bookshelf that brings back fond memories?
    Wow. I have never thought of that. Hum… I suppose James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux series would qualify. Yes, I know, that is a series, not a book, but I used to travel, a lot, and plugging in a Burke and listening to Will Patton’s smooth, almost luxuriant delivery always make the miles pass by in a nearly magical way.
  5. Find a book that has inspired you the most.
    A bit over a year ago, M.K. Clinton took a big chance and hired me to edit her books, The Returns and The Returns II: Showstoppers. After my chemotherapy and two years of absolute misery, I had decided to never do anything with my life that didn’t make me happy. When she asked me to edit her books, my whole life turned around. THIS was my calling! Since then, I am proud to say, I have been gifted with other editing jobs, as well as my ‘read-for-review’ requests, and I have never been happier. I have found my calling!
  6. Do you have any autographed books?
    Yes! The Charles deLint books I mentioned.
  7. Find the book that you have owned the longest.
    The Gulag Archipelago. I believe that battered old tome is the first book I ever owned. My cousin had struggled through it in school, and was about to throw it out. To say I didn’t come from a family of readers is an understatement. That book opened me up to a whole new world!
  8. Is there a book by an author that you never imagined you would read or enjoy?
    Dirty little secret that is not really that much of a secret any more, given the book reviews on my site (Shh, don’t tell anyone!) I had never read a romance until a couple of years ago, when I picked up a Paranormal Romance. Now, when I want to relax and be assured of a HEA, complete with were-creatures, that is what I pull up on my reader. I like “kick-butt-take-names” Romantic Suspense also – just finished Exchange of Fire by P.A. DePaul – Awesome!

Now it’s time for me to pass it on to five bloggers whose blogs I enjoy:

If you haven’t found these wonderful bloggers and authors, you should visit them! And I look forward to reading their answers!

Best, Leiah

 

All About Bentley – An M.K. Clinton Post!

barking
Click to go to the Barking from the Bayou site!

My friend Melissa posted the chart, Bentley the Basset Hound Explained on her site, Barking from the Bayou and I had to share it with you. If you haven’t read her books yet, why NOT?! Click on the book covers to order from Amazon, and let me know how you like them!

The Basset Hound Explained

thereturns
The first volume
Pierre
The second volume!
bloodhound
And don’t forget to help feed a shelter pet today! Each answer to two simple trivia questions, one for dogs and one for cats, buys ten pieces of kibble for a homeless dog and a homeless cat! No animal should have to go hungry! Click the photo to go to Freekibble.com!

M.K. Clinton’s “Returns” Is a True “Showstopper”!

Royal Certificates

Let’s all congratulation M.K. Clinton on her Indie Book Of The Day Status! Click the link if you don’t already have a copy of “The Returns!

Barking on the Bayou With M.K. Clinton! An Author Interview

M.K. CLINTON AUTHOR INTERVIEW

melissaM.K. Clinton had a good year in 2013 and has a bright future in writing. She’s published two books, The Returns and The Returns 2 ~ Showstoppers. The Returns has already won a spot on the Authorsdb Top 50 and the Indie Book of the Day Award.bentleyandpierre

M.K.’s characters and stories have become overnight favorites for individuals who love a good story, but they are also vastly popular with group readers such as school classrooms, senior citizen groups, and even prison groups.  She has created characters which will, upon first reading, become instant favorites.  And they aren’t your everyday heroes and heroines: they are, instead, people who have been sent back from Heaven in order to fulfill their purposes on earth. Purposes which were cut off too suddenly – sending them straight to The Returns Department of Heaven.  Of course, they are all a bit surprised when, instead of human bodies, they are sent back in the bodies of dogs!

The Louisiana-based author writes with a rare mix of wisdom and effortlessness. Her characters are wonderfully funny, thoughtful, and insightful. Read on as she answers your questions about the amazing dogs she has based her characters on, becoming a writer, and some Returns back story.

Hi, Melissa! Thanks so much for joining me today. As a huge fan of your Returns series, I am thrilled to have you. Now, let’s get to some questions and answers!

I know that the dogs and cats that you write about are your own, either those still with you, like Bentley and Pierre, but also passed over the Rainbow Bridge, like Miss Gitty.  What gave you the idea to write The Returns with them as stars? 

My Basset Hound Bentley has a perfect number seven on his hip.  I knew that there must be a reason for him to have it besides him being our seventh dog.  I thought about writing a children’s book but the idea of making him an FBI Agent with that badge number just came to me one day.  The rest of The Returns just fell into their characters because of their personalities.  Writing about them is a joy because it brings the ones I’ve lost back to life.  I get to laugh, play, and enjoy them once again. 

Once you had decided that you were going to write, what particular challenges did you face?

I’ve always been a reader but had never thought seriously about writing as a career.  My husband urged me to sit down and put my stories into a book.  We have always made our pets “talk” and given them human characteristics.  The Returns is very easy for me to write because the dogs are very funny naturally.  My biggest challenges were diving into the business of self-publishing, self-promotion, and not knowing whom to trust for answers.  The publishing industry is a very vast ocean and there are some sharks swimming around looking for innocent victims.  Fortunately, there were some great people out there to throw me a lifeline.

Could you tell me a bit about your journey as a writer?  Were you that weird girl (like me) who was always with a book and constantly making up stories in your head?

I’ve always enjoyed making up stories in my head.  I used to read to my children and I’d ad-lib the lines in the books to make them laugh.  Once I became busy working and being a mom, I had little time to devote to pleasure reading.  I wrote newsletters, speeches, and that sort of thing but never attempted a book.  Most of my stories were just funny, off the top of my head tales to makes my children or the students I worked with giggle.  When the children graduated, I started reading books as though they were water and I’d been lost in the desert for years.  I had to catch up on several years of reading!

 One of my favorite things in your stories is the healthy, generous, respectful group friendship that your characters have.  What is your advice to those of us who wish to form supportive friendships like that? Hey, just because they are dogs doesn’t mean the advice wouldn’t work!

I think true friends are such a rare gift in life.  The Returns are such great friends because they respect each other, they accept one another as they are, support each other in everything, and they love to laugh.  If you can have a friend with those qualities, they are definitely worth hanging onto for a lifetime.  Of course, dogs are all born with those attributes, which is why they are considered man’s best friend!

What is the most encouraging thing anyone has ever told you about your writing? 

I have had some very encouraging responses from my writing.  My husband tells me all of the time that he knew I could do it.  I had a woman write to tell me she wanted me to become her personal storyteller and that I helped her through a dark time.  Seriously, I have been blessed with some amazing readers who have been incredibly encouraging to me.  It is difficult to narrow them down; I have had some reviews that were so touching, that they brought tears to my eyes.  When I wrote The Returns, I never expected such an outpouring of kindness.  It is very humbling.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination? 

Many of the funny things that happen to the characters are taken from real life experiences.  I could tell you what they are but I might have to go into a witness protection program!  Many of the sayings the gang use are common phrases here in the south.  I am sure that “Y’all” is one of the first words most southern babies say right after “Daddy” and “Mama.”  I have had several people read my books and say that it is just like talking to me.  I hope that is meant to be a compliment.

I was wondering if you could give some advice for writers who are just starting out. Whenever I see this question on my favorite authors FAQ page they always seem to give the same answer: Read, read, read. I was hoping if you could add more to this answer!

Reading is crucial to being able to write a book that you’ll enjoy.  I believe the key to writing a book that you’ll be proud of is to write about what you really love.  I know that next to my human family members, my dogs are whom I love most in the world.  They are my furry family so it’s like writing about my children.  I have loved dogs all of my life.  They are one topic on which I have a fair amount of knowledge.  It is important to know your subject, your characters, and to love the story.  If you don’t, it will be very apparent to the reader.

 What type of atmosphere do you write in? Do you lock yourself in a room alone, write at coffeehouses, or something in between? 

I like a quiet room with the blinds open and several cups of coffee.  The dogs are usually hanging around with me and occasionally bum a scratch but for the most part, I am in “the Zone” when I write.  It is not unusual for me to look up from my keyboard realizing that three hours have passed in a nanosecond.

Do you work with an outline, or just write? 

I never use an outline to write.  I will jot down pertinent facts, my timeline, and descriptions as I go along.  There are many times where I have to go back to re-read what I’ve written because I have no idea what I’ve typed.  This is how “the Zone” works with me.  I am usually as surprised by what The Returns do as my readers.  When I go back over a chapter, I can find myself laughing or crying just as if I’d never read it before, much less written it myself. I’ve read that writing is an acceptable form of schizophrenia because my characters definitely talk to me.  Once I start a book, they will pop in my head at the most awkward times.  I’ll stop on the grocery aisle and start typing on my cellphone so I don’t forget what they say.  They also like to chat amongst themselves just as I am almost asleep.  I think they do that on purpose!

Can you tell us about your upcoming book? 

I’m anxious to begin the gang’s new adventure.  I don’t want to give away too much for those who have not finished with The Returns 2 ~ Showstoppers but most of the new characters will be back.  The New Orleans FBI has been receiving bomb threats and the crew will certainly need to lend a paw to help catch the villain.  Faith will still be ruining perfectly good meals and as usual, Miss Gitty will be dishing out her “catty” advice.  It should be another great time in the Big Easy for dog and cat lovers or anyone who enjoys a fun imaginative book.

Finally, is there anything else you would like to talk about?  I know that you are a big supporter of animal rescues and animal rights causes.  What can we all do to help?

I have always had the desire to help the homeless and abused animals.  Like most people, I had no idea what I could do that would make a difference.  I have joined the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade that gives me an opportunity to voice my support for laws to protect animals.  My blog, “Barking from the Bayou” which I hope to establish as an informative and fun site for dog lovers to follow has ideas.  There are widgets on my sidebars that will provide a bowl of food for a pet, a petition for pet food safety laws, a pledge to not shop stores that sell dogs, a tab for ways to volunteer, and adoptable dogs.  There are so many ways that each of us can make a difference in our own communities.  I always thought it was so sad to see those little dogs in the shelter cages.  I finally realized it is sadder to see them in those cages when I was not doing anything to help.  One person can’t do everything, but every person can do one thing.

Thank you SO MUCH! It was, as always, such a pleasure to speak with you, and learn more about you. If my readers want to learn more about Melissa and her family of furry friends, check out www.mkclinton.com – it is a wonderful site!

Resolve to Move Your Mutt (and your BUTT!)

M. K. Clinton has entered the Move Your Mutt along with Bentley and Pierre. I need to do the same thing, if my Butt gets any bigger I am going to need my own zip code! So, here is a copy of today’s post from http://www.mkclinton.com to help you learn more about it and join!

Resolve to Move Your Mutt (and your BUTT!)

This is the big day Bentley and I declare our resolutions in the Move Your Mutt campaign.  It is an effort by petsmove.org to help band pet owners together supporting each other in keeping our resolutions to get off our butts and move our mutts.  I have filled out my registration and added Bentley’s current stats.  Pierre will be joining us but I am only keeping a diary for Bentley.  I will post both of their progress here so he won’t feel slighted.
I am not going to hold a sign but my resolutions to be a better pet parent are:
1.  Walk or exercise them each day for at least 30 minutes.
2.  No more junk food for us and no table food for them.  (Bentley already does not like this idea.)
3.  Use FURminator on Bentley every day.
Now, Bentley and Pierre’s resolutions:
 bentleypledge
 Pierre's pledge copyrighted
Bentley is excited to start his daily walking regiment, but he has serious doubts about pumping any iron.
 Bentley with weight copyright
Now, a little addition from Slimdoggy:
How to calculate necessary calories for your dogs!
This is a blog hop hosted by Slimdoggy and Keep the Tail Wagging.  Be sure to check out everyone’s resolutions, make some of your own, and join us.  Together, we can encourage one another to meet our goals.
 Resolve to move your mutt

This is a Blog Hop!


You are next… Click here to enter
This list will close in 23 hrs, 44 min (1/4/2014 11:59 PM North America – Pacific Standard Time)

Melissa’s Bag!

I made my friend Melissa one of my bags for Christmas! She loves elephants, and of course, puppies, so I had to give her both. And Loving bright colours like I do, I thought I would indulge myself also by giving her bright, bright, bright! Thank goodness she loves brights too! It is big enough for her laptop, and has TONS of pockets. She can put her new Kindle in a pocket, and there is a pocket on the outside that is sized for her cellphone.

I make these for sale too – Hint Hint! LOL

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The Returns Take A Tour of Dumaine Street!

thekidsinjeep
M. K. Clinton’s Stars Cruising Dumaine Street on Thanksgiving!

M. K. Clinton’s wonderful hubby, Skipper, took this shot of the stars of The Returns and Showstoppers cruising Dumaine Street today! The breeze, of course, has Bentleys ears blowing in the wind. 

How Cute are they???

CUTE!!!!! Bentley and Pierre read their books

Boys with booksCUTE!!!!!! Bentley (left with “The Returns”) and Pierre (right, with “The Returns 2 ~ Showstoppers”) are enjoying their own, personalized copies of their books! How cute is THAT?!?!

M. K.’s husband, Skipper, is the artist. I couldn’t resist sharing this with all of you – don’t we all need a dose of “cute and adorable” every day?!?! You ROCK, boys!

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