Monday, June 11, 2012

AUTHORPALOOZA GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY - ELSA WATSON "DOGS AND CATS"

This giveaway is now closed!  Congratulations to Nichole Pottinger, the winner of Elsa Watson's novel, DOG DAYS!

Tracie, thank you so much for having me as part of Authorpalooza! 


I wanted to say a few words about dogs and cats.  We all know the stereotype—that cats and dogs hate each other enough to wage epic battles across generations and continents.  And for many dogs and cats, I suppose that’s almost true.  I say almost because I think what’s generally happening is that cats are afraid of dogs, and dogs like to chase anything that’s running.

But one of our jobs as writers is to look beyond stereotypes.  I thought, then, that I’d share some very different dog and cat relationships I’ve witnessed.  If you live with members of both furry species, I’m sure you’ve seen the subtleties of the relationships yourself. Here are some tales from my household.

If every member of our home were ranked according to their power and importance, the cat would be at the top.  Above the dogs.  Above the humans.  Our geriatric cat, Mooji, rules the whole darned roost.  She’s temperamental, loud, and wonderful.  One of our dogs, Lucky, is terrified of her.  He’ll do anything he can to stay away from her.  She knows this, and uses it to mess with him.  She’ll chase him off the couch, frighten him into closets and bathrooms, and make him hide in the kitchen because he’s too afraid to enter the living room.  Ironically, Lucky is our alpha dog.

Kota, our beta dog, thinks the cat is fabulous fun.  And, amazingly, the cat feels the same way about Kota.  These two spar constantly—and they both love it.  The cat sits on the table, where she can swat from a safe distance.  Kota stands in front of her, panting merrily, waiting to dodge the swat.  They can do this for hours.  Weirdly, they have a mutual love and respect.  Kota is the only one in the house that the kitty doesn’t treat like a vassal.

Then we have Sunny.  Sunny is a dog who used to visit our house often.  We even dog-sat him a few times, so he was quite familiar with our house and very relaxed with all of its rhythms.  But the cat was like crack to him.  No matter what he was doing, if the cat walked in, the rest of the world fell away.  Sunny would stare.  And stare.  And stare.  Then he would drool a little.  Seriously, I’ve seen him stare at Mooji for two hours straight.  Barely blinking.

To say Sunny was obsessed with the cat would be belittling the word obsession.  He was devoted to her—in a slightly deranged way.  When she was nearby, he couldn’t eat.  Couldn’t sleep.  Couldn’t enjoy belly rubs or the thought of going for a walk.  He was trapped, seemingly against his will, his glazed eyes stuck on our furry little princess.  It was bizarre to watch him.  And it was also an interesting reminder that dogs—for all we think we know them—are a completely alien species.

We might think we have dogs down.  Any dog owner knows that their canine friends spend a lot of time focused on food.  They care greatly about car rides, peeing in the perfect spot, and picking up all the great smells in the neighborhood.  But watching Sunny reminded me that there’s a lot more going on in the doggy world than just food, urine, and the smell of dropped hot dogs.  There are animal instincts and priorities we know nothing about.  There are the hardwired traits of breeding, the effects of thousands of years of domesticated life, and—let’s not forget—the lifetime experiences of that particular dog.  Maybe Sunny had a bizarre interaction with a cat once.  Or maybe he just wanted to eat her.  My point is, who knows?  And isn’t it great that we have no idea?  I love the mystery.  I love not knowing what they’re thinking about when they stare off into space.  But that never keeps me from trying to guess.  It’s one of my favorite hobbies.  I think anyone who lives with a dog tries putting words in their mouth from time to time.  It’s the way we make sense of them, the way we interpret their posture and expressions.  It’s part of the bonding experience. 

Frankly, I need to thank our cat for helping me see this different side of our dogs.  Without her, I’d never know that alpha-dog Lucky was afraid of anything.  Or that big, lumbering Kota could be so spry when she dodges an attack.  The dogs, too, have helped me understand Mooji—to see her fearlessness and grace.  They understand each other on a different level, the animal level, and they don’t need words to express it.  They just do.  And they just are.

Elsa Watson is the author of Dog Days, a fun summer read that includes a little romance, a little real-world drama, and a lot of dog goofiness.  In it, Zoë (a dog) and Jessica (a person) are struck by lightning and switch bodies, leaving Jessica trapped in a dog’s body—and giving Zoë thumbs and the chance to speak. 



Book blurb:
In Elsa Watson's Dog Days, struggling café owner Jessica Sheldon volunteered to be the chairperson of Woofinstock, Madrona’s annual dog festival, to overcome her reputation as “number one dog hater” in her dog crazy Northwestern town.  Determined to prove her dog-loving credentials, Jessica rescues Zoe, a stray white German shepherd— and in the process the two are struck by lightning.

Jessica wakes to discover paws where her feet should be, and watches in horror as her body staggers around the town square . . . Zoe and Jessica have switched bodies.  Learning to live as a dog is difficult enough, but Jessica’s real worry is saving her café from financial ruin.  To complicate matters, she’s falling hard for Max, the town veterinarian.

It’s clear that Zoe is thrilled to live life on “human terms,” thoroughly relishing all of the fun and food Woofinstock has to offer.  But Zoe is also anxious to use her new human skills to find her missing family—who may not want her back. And Jessica needs to confront a complicated figure from her past before she can move on with her life.

Jessica and Zoe will need to learn from each other to set things right, and possibly find acceptance and love in the bargain.



Leave a comment below telling me whether you're a dog or a cat person (or both!) and you'll be entered to win an e-book copy of Elsa Watson's Chick Lit novel DOG DAYS. Don't forget to leave your e-mail address so that I can contact you if you win!  Contest is open to US residents only!  Drawing will take place on Monday, June 18th, so get your comments in by midnight on Sunday, June 17th. 


Purchase DOG DAYS at:


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4 comments:

  1. Bridget O'NeillJune 11, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    I guess I'm both. We had a couple of cats, and we're thinking of getting a dog as soon as our daughter is old enough to help take care of it!

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    1. Bridget O'NeillJune 13, 2012 at 1:21 PM

      Please remove me from the drawing-I just won this book on another blog.

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  2. I grew up with dogs and have two of my own now, so I guess you'd say I am definitely a dog person!
    Email: nicholepottinger@yahoo.com

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