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Dig It! Gardening Tips for Dogs

Dig It! Gardening Tips for Dogs
a book for when your dog gardens too, too much!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Dig It! is Now the First Book!

Yes, it's true, "Dig It! Gardening Tips For Dogs" was initially just a single book, but it is now the first in the series, because the next book is in the middle of being made.

I have written a first draft and done a little editing of the next book in the series! I will need to put in some more words in a couple of the chapters but it's more or less done, in terms of the text part of it. I caught up with the illustrator of Dig It, Ally Hean, and gave her a copy of the manuscript of the next book, and she is happy, or even keen, to get going with the pictures.

This is exciting stuff! I've done quite well with Dig It! and I hope the world is going to love this next book too. It's written by Buster again, and it's on a different topic, again looking at a human thing that dogs get involved in too, and looking at it from the point of view of our canine companions, well, at least from Buster's point of view!

So what is this book, you ask? Well it's this - "Doggone It! Mindfulness from a Dog's Point of View". Earlier this year I had the opportunity to go to a Mindfulness program, put on by the MS Society of SA & NT. I've had a long standing interest in mindfulness and I loved these workshops. I also like watching my four dogs as they go about their day, and I've had some amusing ideas about whether dogs are mindful creatures. That's how I got started writing the book.

When I began working on this book, I had just begun my role as Writer-in-Residence at the Poetic Justice Cafe & Gallery in Gawler, South Australia. In that role, it was appropriate for me to talk to interested people there about what my current work in progress was, and how it was going. It was when I was talking with regulars there, that one of them came up with Doggone It! as a possible title. I loved it and so that is what the book is titled.

It's not just a joke book, it actually does look at the issue of mindfulness, looking at it seriously to some extent, but thinking about how it would be from the canine viewpoint. I look at our dogs a lot, I think about things a lot, and "Doggone It!" is the result. I hope this book will be finished and printed some time around the middle of next year, or if not the middle, then certainly before Christmas 2016.

Buster, Ally and I are going to have a lot of fun with this, and I hope other people will have fun with it too!

Do you have a mindful dog? Or even a cat that has mindful moments? I'd love to hear about it, feel free to leave a comment if you do!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Something Cool is Happening!

"Something cool? What do you think that could be? Lots of cool things happen, you're let outside to bark at stuff, sometimes you smell reptiles and other potential food items, and of course dinner, that's the coolest thing there is - energy free food, served up to you with no effort on your part! Cool.

But this cool thing is more cool to the humans. And sort of cool for me too, I suppose. This cool thing is that Carolyn Cordon has been taped reading part of our first book, 'Dig It! Gardening Tips for Dogs', and a copy of the recording is out there on the internet, whatever that is ... - this is where you can listen!" Buster.

Thank Buster, I had lots of fun with that recording, reading from the book, and trying to get my voice pitched so it sounded like Buster would sound if he was the one doing the reading. A slightly deep voice, with a bit of a bristle and quite gruff.

I haven't got it perfect yet, but I hope by the end of the book I'll have it right! This is my first podcast, and certainly not my last. So far we've only done the introduction and a chapter (maybe two? Not sure). Anyway, it was fun and I'm keen to get on with more of it. I hope I can encourage lots of people to have a listen too!

The website is a new one launched last night in Gawler  and apparently people were wanting to know more about the book, way. I really, really should have been there at the meeting. Gawler Broadcasting Association is slowly building up more and more podcasts, exciting times!

After Dig It! is done, it might be time to get to work on finishing off the next book in the series - Doggone It! This one will be all about Digger's ideas on what Mindfulness is all about for dogs. Fun stuff again, but more serious this time, as you might expect.

Talk again soon!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Blogs Created for Books

As a writer, particularly a self-published author, I am interested in the idea of making mega bucks from my books! Well to be honest, that's not true - I'm a realistic person, and don't expect to make mega bucks. The genres I'm interested in writing, and my views on life aren't the kind that would necessarily attract millions of readers.

What I hope to do with my writing is to amuse people, entertain them and perhaps give them interesting ideas to think further on. This book "Dig It! Gardening Tips for Dogs" was initially created with my friend Ally Hean, who likes to draw, and does it well. We were coffee and chat friends, our sons were friends at Mallala Primary School. I shared a little article I'd written about a dog that liked to garden, and things took off from there.

I'd never self-published a book before, but had been successful with Victorian School Reader Publisher with a book called "My Dog", and I was and still am a keen exponent of creative writing. Ally and I took this initial writing, with me doing more writing and Ally drawing relevant pictures of what was going on. The text and pics went together well, Ally worked at turning it into a book and we sent it to a local printer.

Grandeur Press, in Balaklava was the printer, and they did a fine job. We did a small print run, and set about selling copies of the book. That first print run sold out, and there was enough money left over from sales for another print run, and so it went on. There are copies of this book available in the National Library and in some libraries in South Australia. Ally has moved on, and I have shifted my literary focus to Gawler, and so my third print run was with a printer in Gawler - Bunyip Press. I'm happy with their work too, and will continue my connection with them for future printing needs.

There is more to creating books than just printing them though, and that's actually selling the books. This is the marketing side of things. The nuts and bolts gritting and sometimes grubby side! Haha! Not really - marketing can be as nice as having a chat with someone and showing them your book, accepting money or in kind payment if the person would like a signed copy. This is a way that connections and friendships can grow and strengthen.

But there are other ways too, having books in bookshops, or promoting them online. One of the online ways is to set up a blog for your book, and/or for yourself. My first 'book blog' was this one, set up with details about the book, and about how to buy a copy of the book. Blogs are something I have an off/on relationship. I became extremely keen on this blogging at one stage and created quite a few blogs, posting and commenting on them, and gaining readers.

Then the passion for it waned, and outside things rather than online ones became more important to me, as can happen. I've kept up some presence in the blogging world though, having created separate blogs for my next two books - "damaged children, Precious Gems" - a book about child sexual abuse, and abuse in general, and - "Mick Jane and Me - Living Well with MS" - a memoir about my life with Multiple Sclerosis, written soon after I was diagnosed with MS in 2010. This blog is the one that gets the most of my blogging attention.

I will continue blogging and I hope selling my books, and I with continue writing more books - I'm currently thinking and doing the initial stages of planning for two books to follow on from "Dig it!" - it's fun, and I'm hoping it all goes well, with one of the new books out at the end of this year and the other in 2016! Keep your eye out here for more news!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

It's a Dog's Life, and That's Great!

Poor Missy, sitting there trying to decide what to do next ... Go inside where the sofa is waiting for her, and the possibility of a snack from one of the human members of the pack, or stay outside and maybe find a critter to chase and eat. It sure is a hard life, being a dog.

Of course some dogs never get the option of going inside, let alone have their own sofa. Some dogs don't even have a house at all, they roam the streets, endangering their own life and causing havoc amongst stock in farming areas, or terrifying innocent people and pets.

The origin of the term "It's a dog's life", related to outside dogs, where these dogs had to work for the scraps of food that made up all of the food they received, and their accommodation was more likely to be damp hessian sacks and not much else. Times have changed, and now domestic pets are usually kept in luxurious accommodation that would never be seen by many people living in some parts of the world.

Should first world pet owners like me feel guilty about this? Is there anything they can do to help? The answer is 'Yes' to both of those questions. There are many good charities out there, doing their best to help people who through circumstances beyond their control are living in terrible situations. At the moment, the TV screens have footage of the devastation caused by earthquakes in Nepal.

World Vision is one such charity, but there are many others who are doing wonderful things to try to help others. Helping others is surely the most humane thing a person can ever do. Whether it's caring for you pets well, or donating to charity, it's a good thing to consider, always.

People weren't born to live in isolation. People, like dogs, are pack animals to some extent. Not much feels better than doing something nice for somebody else. This kind action releases hormones, that make a person feel good. These hormones are Endorphins, labelled the "feel good" hormones. So doing good things for people not only helps them, but it helps you too.

Dogs, I'm sure, get a buzz from being with people, loving them, being a part of their family. Petting a dog can release "feel good" hormones too, which could explain part of why dogs and humans get on so well together. From destruction of pests, to guarding from danger, and getting rid of excess food, through to these "feel good" hormones, it's a great partnership.

Do you have a dog who's got a great life? I know I do. I have four of them in fact!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Buster's Thoughts on Living a Good Life

Hi Friends,

Buster's been thinking about writing another book. His first book, "Dig It - Gardening Tips for Dogs", has gone down well with readers, and he can see there is a need for a book about finding better ways to live a good life. Boy does Buster know lots about that!

Buster's an expert at resting, eating well, and focusing on the positive things in his life. As a dog, Buster's main reason for living seems to be to have fun. Have a snack, Fun! Sit down and snooze, Fun! Go to bed, Fun! Go outside, Fun! Come back inside, Fun! Stay inside and do absolutely nothing, Fun!

I've been thinking a lot about Mindfulness lately, and will be learning about it in May, once a week, heading off to learn from someone who's made it her life's work. This program has been put on by the MS Society SA & NT, for people who have multiple sclerosis. Mindfulness and MS go together well, as far as I can see, and the other people there all seem committed to learning more about this. This is Fun!

I think the canine outlook on life, with it's Live Life in the Moment attitude fits in with the canine mind. I thing Buster's next book will be a look at Mindfulness and how he thinks about the whole thing, with pictures ... I'm not sure how these pictures might happen - my friend who did the illustrations for the last book has moved away, and she has an actual job, so may not be available...

We'll see what happens ... Some of the pictures from "Dig It" may be suitable for the new book, and there are always other opportunities. I may even learn how to be a wonderful illustrator, Ha ha - that would be fun!

Buster lives a good life, and always has fun! Fun is being with those you love, with others you're prepared to at least be friends with if not actually love. Fun is being involved in what's happening in your home, and fun is being involved in what's happening in the greater world out there over the fence and beyond!

This book is largely sitting inside my head (I am Buster's human and his alter ego, or he is my imaginary dog and my alter ego, not sure how that goes ...). I just looked it up on Wikipedia and it would work either way, I think.

Anyway, can't hang around, I'm off to a writing lock in, and I'll have a think about Buster's new book while I'm there, as well as working on putting together my new poetry collection. Life is Fun!