Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Today's featured author on Books by Banister is the lovely and talented Martha Reynolds. She and I connected on Twitter and Facebook, and we share a love of great books and cute dogs! When she told me that she wanted to write a guest post involving her adorable Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Bonnie, I, and my trio of Cocker Spaniels, thought that it was a fantastic idea! Read on to learn how Bonnie has helped Martha with her work.

What My Dog Has Taught Me About Writing
by Martha Reynolds

1) Be Curious - Bonnie never lets an opportunity pass if she has a chance to sniff. There might be something good there! Similarly, I am learning to explore new possibilities in reading. Although I write what is considered contemporary women’s fiction (romance, mystery, chick lit, it’s all there sometimes), I’m trying paranormal, young adult, adventure. A well-written story will grab me, no matter what genre it’s called.
2) Nap- Unlike me, Bonnie knows when to shut down. Sleep is vital to our well-being, and although not everyone needs eight hours, we need enough. Skimping on sleep will never be good for productivity. 

3) Get Outside and Play - When Bonnie hears the words “ride” and “park” in the same sentence, she races to the door, her tail wagging furiously. She knows how wonderful it is to be outside, off-leash, running through grass. For those of us who sit for hours in front of a computer, taking a break by going outside is important. Fresh air, sunshine, even a walk in the drizzle can clear away some of the junk that builds up in our heads. I always have a little notebook and pen in my pocket, just in case an idea forms while I’m outside walking.

4) Learn New Words - No, it’s never too late to teach a dog new words. Bonnie is almost four, but she can still learn something new. And so can I. One of the best ways? Read, read, read. I read both print books and digital versions, and if I come across a word I don’t know, I look it up!

5) More Wag, Less Bark - Yes, the barking is annoying. She wants more food, or she sees a squirrel out the window, or the blasted doorbell rings. Or I’m on the phone. No one wants to hear it. And no one wants to hear me whine, either. Instead of griping about the work involved in self-publishing, or the slower-than-I’d-like book sales, how about I make happy noises about all the blessings in my life?

6) Stick to a schedule - Bonnie gets up, she goes outside, she tinkles and poops. Every morning. Every afternoon. And another tinkle at night. She likes her routine. And so do I. Two cups of coffee and a light breakfast in the morning, then write for two to three hours. That’s my routine, my schedule. And when something throws that schedule off (and something always will), I’m out of sorts. It’s okay, life happens. I just get back on track as soon as it’s feasible.

7) Never give up - Bonnie has one of those toys with a hole in it for hiding a small treat. It’s her job to figure out how to get it. And she gets it every time! Sometimes it takes a long time, but she is persistent. Because she knows, she understands that there is a reward. Same with writing. Feel like you want to give up sometimes? Of course you do. But there is a reward to writing. You finish your manuscript and all its revisions, you publish, or you find an agent and get a publishing deal, but none of this happens overnight. We all know that some of the world’s best and most prolific writers went years before they found success. Some had to die first. Hopefully, that won’t be us! Never give up on your dream.

Thanks to Martha and Bonnie for dropping by Books by Banister and sharing their wisdom with us. Be sure to check out Martha's very popular and well-reviewed CHOCOLATE series. Details below!

Author Bio:
Martha Reynolds published her debut novel, CHOCOLATE FOR BREAKFAST, in 2012. It follows a young woman into adulthood during a year abroad in Switzerland. CHOCOLATE FOR BREAKFAST was voted the 2012 Book of the Year in the category of Women's Fiction by Turning the Pages Books.

Her second novel, CHOCOLATE FONDUE, is the sequel to CHOCOLATE FOR BREAKFAST. Both books are available in digital and print versions. If you haven't read the first book, you can still enjoy the second, but it's better to start with Breakfast!

She and her husband live in New England, never far from the ocean.

Book Blurb:

Young Bernie (Bernadette) Maguire is in for the journey of a lifetime when her junior year abroad takes her to Fribourg, Switzerland. Ripe for love and adventure, she is seduced by a handsome Swiss banker, but is horrified when she discovers she's pregnant. Protected and befriended by those who help to keep her secret for as long as possible, this moving rite-of-passage tale will warm the heart as a young woman struggles with an all-too-familiar dilemma. Yet after an unexpected death and the discovery of her pregnancy by a classmate, Bernie’s life takes some unexpected turns that will take decades to resolve.

Buy Chocolate for Breakfast:


Since CHOCOLATE FONDUE is a sequel, I'm not going to post a blurb because it would be spoilery!

Buy Chocolate Fondue:

Connect with Martha Reynolds:


  1. We can all learn a lot from Bonnie. She's not only adorable, but very wise. Martga, be sure to thank her for the insight. :)

  2. Bonnie and all of our four-legged muses are so wise! What a clever post. I just read it to Sassy and she kept looking at me with those "I told you eyes."

  3. I love it! I, too, could learn some lessons from our old dog Maudie. Thanks for the reminders! Great post.

  4. What a fun post!!! Bonnie is so adorable, I want to reach through my computer screen and scratch her behind the ears. And she's certainly a wise one. Seriously, this has got to one of my all-time favorite blog posts I've ever read. :-)

    1. Libby, she knows she's cute. And she uses it to get away with things all the time. Oh, the pretty ones....they're trouble!
      Thank you xxx

  5. OMD, Bonnie is SO cute! And so smart! Great post!!

  6. Jackie, she IS! She's really a sweetheart. And a big licker, too. :-)