Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Next Big Thing!

What have my FiveSibes™ characters been up to?

Last week, I was so excited to learn from humor writer Carol E. Wyer, who is the author of Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines, Surfing in Stilletos, and the creatively funny force behind the Facing 50 With Laughter blog, that I was tagged for a feature entitled "The Next Big Thing." This weekly feature, where each author passes the torch on to five others for the following week's "The Next Big Thing," is all about writing and what "The Next Big Thing" writers are working on. What a great way to learn more about an author and discover some new reads. At the end of my session, I'll be tagging five other authors, so be sure to read along! So much fun! Many "woos" from the Sibe kids and a huge "Thank You" from this FiveSibesMom to Carol for selecting me! I shall carry the torch with pride. Here we go...

What is the working title of your book?

Getting Healthy With Harley

Where did the idea come from for the book?

 After I had written and published the first book of the FiveSibes™ Tales series, What's Wrong With Gibson? Learning About K-9 Epilepsy, I started thinking about the next book. Actually, I have several stories fighting to get out at one time...but, while at the vet's office with Harley for her annual check up, I was thinking about how healthy she looked and the idea blossomed from there with showing how there are healthy choices the Huskies...and children...can make for a better life.

What genre does your book fall under?

 It's an illustrated children's book.

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

That's such a fun question. I mean, wouldn't a full length animated movie of the FiveSibes™ be great?! (Ahem, Disney-Pixar, are you listening?!) For our pack's too-smart alpha queen, surrogate momma of The Pupsters, and soulmate of Gibson, Harley (hands-down) has to be Angelina Jolie. For my wooly boy with a big heart and lots of intuition, Gibson: (there's only one voice it could be, think "Eeyore" from Winnie the Pooh) Peter Cullen! Then there are the Three Pupsters (all littermates): For my silly boy Wolf, it would have to be Owen Wilson or Charlie Day. For sweet Chloe it would have to be Amy Adams. And for our resident speed queen Bandit, it would have to be the fast talking Oliva Munn or Jenna VanOÿ!

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
After her well check-up visit at the vet's, the pack's alpha queen Harley goes home to help the rest of the FiveSibes make some changes for a healthier lifestyle and show them how, together, they can all learn "...to have fun getting fit!"

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It is actually a little of both as it is published through my (very small independent) ArcticHouse Publishing company. I am an author, editor, and photojournalist by trade, with almost 20 years spent in the educational sector. I decided I wanted to produce it myself and be able to control the design and put out an excellent publication on a much quicker timetable than the traditional route. I also get to hand select my illustrator, editing team, design team, and printer. I am involved in every aspect of the book. I get to "mother" my books from the moment my words touch paper to the finished product. I am very proud of that. In addition, I choose a different Siberian Husky related non-profit to benefit from each book (after the design and publication costs) for the life of the book.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Writing, for me, takes different amounts of time for each project. As a practice, I actually write in my head for awhile before putting ink on paper (I still do it the old-fashioned way, in handwriting, for concepts and starting draft). Then I edit and expand once I move it over into a Word doc. The FiveSibes™ Tales are rhyming verses, so I fleshed it out for awhile in my mind to get the story down before I concentrate on the poetic aspects. I also had a few conversations with Harley to get her input, of course!  ;-)

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

I don't actually like to do comparisons because I feel each author's book is his or her own individual creation and should be appreciated as such. Plus, there so many wonderful illustrated stories out there in many different styles, that a comparison seems unfair. But, since it's the second book of my own FiveSibes™ Tales series, I'd have to say it's most in sync with my What's Wrong With Gibson? Learning About K-9 Epilepsy in style and it also falls under the sub-topic of health.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

The series itself was inspired my five Siberian Huskies. It began with the first book being inspired by my boy Gibson, who is an Epi-Husky (a canine epileptic) and our experiences during this journey. This second book was inspired again by one of our Sibes, Harley. Today, eating and living healthy is a top priority, and that has also rolled over into our pets' lives as well. Not only do we want to live the best, healthiest life possible, but we want the same for our furry companions. Topics that are so important such as healthy eating, doctor check-ups, and exercise applies to both the human and the canine world. Having an epileptic Husky, I am very conscious of what I feed him and do make a lot of homemade treats and substitute a lot of store bought dog treats with healthier choices not for just Gibson, but for all of the FiveSibes. And this is something that is an important message not just in the canine world, but in the human world as well.

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

First, the characters are all based on my real five Siberian Huskies known as the FiveSibes. They are Harley, Gibson, and (the three littermates known as "The Pupsters") Wolf, Chloe, and Bandit. The audience is children, and those young at heart can enjoy them too! 
 The FiveSibes™ Tales are written in a fun, rhyming format accompanied by adorable illustrations created by an amazing artist, Michelle Littler (littletoad on Etsy). As with my first book, there are also real tips embedded in the story that are helpful to both children and their dogs. I'd like to also point out that with each FiveSibes™ Tale I write, I will be donating a percentage of the proceeds (after the cost of production) to a non-profit organization that will somehow benefit Siberian Huskies in need.

* * * * *

Okay, that was fun. Now, it's my turn to pass the torch on and tag five authors, as is required in the rules of the game, and ask them to write up their own responses to the questions above for next week. Now, I did step outside of the rule box just a bit as I also consider some of these folks to be extremely creative both with the written word and verbally (remember, stories have been told since the beginning of time) within the artistic mediums they work in. Please be sure to check out their sites and then go visit them next week when it will be their turn to answer the above questions for what "The Next Big Thing" for them will be and, in turn, will be passing the torch on to five other writers. So, without further delay, I dub the following the holders of the creative torch (in random order):

Peggy Frezon - is an author, pet columnist, and blogger I enjoy reading and think you will too! She has a very comfortable "pull up a seat and join me for a cup of coffee" type of style that is warm and welcoming. She also teams up with her pretty canine partner, Kelly, for her Dieting With My Dog book. Check out her website and her blog, Peggy's Pet Place, and give her furkids, Kelly and Brooks, a wag! 

Jean Naggar - author, writer, editor, and literary agent, Jean is someone I have known and respected for more than 20 years. Her current book, Sipping From the Nile, My Exodus from Egypt is a memoir based on her childhood in Egypt and a 2012 International Book Award finalist. Read more about this multi-faceted woman at her Jean Naggar website and blog.

Kiersten Rowland - I really enjoy Kiersten's exciting nature, canine, bird, and mountaineering photography and writings about life in Lanjaron, Spain that she writes about in her blog Tails From the Pack on her Life and Times inthe Alpujarras website, and on Twitter and Facebook. Kiersten's is the place to go to climb a snow-capped mountain or soar with the eagles without ever leaving your chair! Plus, her beautiful Siberian Husky, Khumbu, has his own Twitter and tweets about their adventures and his furry partners, Kyra and Tappas!

Jessica "Snowdogs" Hatch - Jessica is synonymous with three names - Shelby, Shiloh, and Oakley of Gone to the Snow Dogs fame. They are three beautiful Siberian Huskies who are well known for their YouTube videos (with almost three million video views) and their episode on Animal Planet's "Bad Dog" TV show. And, if you purchased a Bissell vacuum cleaner this past year with a pretty Sibe on the box, that's Shelby! So how does this pertain to creative writing? It goes into the world of vlogging and Jessica and her Husky sidekicks know just how to do it!

Lynn Spiro - is another lady I have known for many years. She is a professional organizer and the owner of Lynn Spiro & Company, where she gives great suggestions, tips, and advice to folks - like authors, writers, and vloggers (!) - who don't have the time (or desire) to organize, but would love to be. In her blog and in posts to her new Facebook page - with her trusty canine partner, Hope, by her side - Lynn writes posts about "Organizing Your Office," and "Organizing to Travel," with some pics of neatly organized spaces that dreams are made of.

Please be sure to stop over and visit my nominator, Carol E. Wyer's blog to keep up on her books and that Amanda Wilson. Who's Amanda, you ask? Ah, you have to go visit her new website to find out! And don't forget to stop by her "The Next Big Thing" post over on Facing 50 With Humour that kicked this all off for me, and to see what's coming up for this author. I promise you, you won't be disappointed you visited! But I warn you, you ARE going to laugh!


  1. Wow! Congratulations - I really enjoyed reading your interview.


  2. That is pretty awesome! I loved reading the interview.

  3. I can't wait to read your work in progress. It's so cool that your dogs experiences are inspiring others and their pets. Thanks for passing along the torch to me!

  4. Great interview! What a wonderful way to share talented authors. :)

  5. Wow, I'll have to get my Mom to check these authors out...she loves to read!
    Grr and Woof,
    Sarge, COP

  6. That is so cool! Thanks for sharing the interview!

    RA, Isis & Nanük

  7. wow,that is sooo exciting!!
    this is a such a cool way to let the people know about your books.
    aaaand ,of course,we love every interview you give!
    have a grat,great special day tomorrow

  8. Congrats! Great interview, I had a lot of fun reading it, especially the who would play the Sibes bit!

  9. Wonderful! Congratulations on the interview. I love learning about writers, I'd like to be one when I grow up someday. Your Healthy with Harley sounds like a wonderful book.

  10. Great interview! And what a wonderful idea to have authors share their thoughts through a short interview. It is very interesting to read what writers are working on and how they get their inspiration, etc.

    I am very excited for your new book. I bet Harley is feeling very special, being the subject of her very own book! Congratulations, Harley! :-> Great topic, too. I love how your books are geared toward children. I think kids today really need positive information on how to care for pets, and especially pets that have medical issues. Can't wait to see the finished product. Good luck!

    The actors and actresses you picked for your FiveSibes were so fun! :->

    Suka and K

  11. Sounds like a super fun book, especially to help kids understand what's involved in keep a dog healthy - i.e., walking, not eating too many human cookies, etc!