Monday, November 26, 2012


Today starts my tour for Barbara Brunner. The title of her book alone really grabs your attention...Dog-Ma The Zen of Slobber. And what is Dog-Ma about? Let's see shall we...

When Barbara meets her future husband, Ray, it is love-and dog-at first sight. Over the course of thirty-two years, seventeen relocation's and nine dogs, their mutual love of dogs guides them on their unconventional path. The love that Barbara and Ray get in return is literally lifesaving, with one dog attacking a lethal intruder and another discovering Barbara’s cancer. Her own survival story underscores the story of how her dogs become survivors themselves.

Each new dog adds its own dynamic to the family, sometimes upending it. From Turbo (whose Spock-like ears may have provided super powers), Barbara learns about the will to live; Lexington demonstrates incredible patience and an inexplicable love of golf; Madison teaches that laughter is truly the best medicine and that the whole “nine lives thing” is not reserved just for cats; Morgan should be sainted for tolerating Izzy, who is as cute as she is bad. Barbara is certain that somewhere in doggie heaven there is a poster that says “If you are sick, injured or in need of really expensive medical care, FIND THESE HUMANS!”

As a dog lover and one who recently lost my boy, this just tugs at my heart and a story I definitely want to explore. Exemplifies the power and love of our pets.

And for a little fun and insight in to the world of publishing  Barbara wrote us a great posting that I am sure will stop and make you think...

Getting The Elusive Book Cover Blurb

When I got to the point in the life of my book  that I was starting to think about a cover I knew I needed blurbs to help make the sale. Blurbs provide enticement for the casual book browser to pick up the book and look at it more closely. Blurbs from celebrities are very helpful. When a prospective reader sees a name they recognize, they may think “I like this person, so I will probably like the book they are endorsing”. It can give the reader a sense of “celebrity six degrees of separation”.

I have a few minor celebrity friends and they were first on my hit lit for blurbs; a film producer, a marketing genius and a celebrity chef. All were dog lovers and I thought each would be a shoe in for a blurb.  How much time could it take, I thought? Read a couple of chapters, write something appropriately insightful and sign it. Simple?

Not so much. Although my book was very important to me, reading it was not even in the “top 100 things to do” on anyone else’s list. I imagine it came in somewhere below taking out the trash but above mowing the lawn. It took multiple follow ups and pleading to finally get a couple that I thought would be good to use. They took some editing and chopping up, but they would be ok, I thought. Then a fellow author shared a trick with me. Contact a few of my personal favorite authors and ask for a blurb. Authors are a generous group and everyone was a first time author once, so they could be willing to help.

I dug out my favorite dog-oriented books and searched the internet for contact information. Thank goodness for Google search. I sent out email after email, hoping one of them would answer me. To my surprise, one of these authors answered me almost immediately stating their willingness to offer a blurb. How nice! AND they were pretty famous! I was stoked and wanted more. Late one night and admittedly very tired, I sent out one final email to a writer I really respected and whose book was one of my favorites. I will not name the book or author to protect the innocent. My greatest piece of advice is to never send out email when you are tired (or perhaps have had a glass of wine or two).

I located the author’s web site and his Contact Me page. I wrote a very flattering request, telling him how much I enjoyed his book and as a newbie author how much I would appreciate his time if he could offer up a blurb for my cover. I no longer have that email but it went something like this:

Dear _________, I am a first time author seeking a blurb for my back cover. I am a huge fan of yours and especially loved ­­­­­__________. It touched me like no other book has. My book title is Dog-Ma, the Zen of Slobber. It is a humorous tale of my life with nine rowdy dogs. I would love to send you a copy for a blurb if you have the time to read it and are willing. Thank you.

I waited and waited and never got a response. My book went to print with several of the earlier blurbs I mentioned and I forgot about my request to “famous author”. Finally, several months later, I received this response:

Dear Barbara,
I'm actually Mr. _________.  Or (insert first name), more likely.  (Mr. ______ is my father.)  Mr. ___________ is my agent and doesn't do blurbs!
I'm afraid I'm not taking on any new books to blurb, either, at the moment.  Way too busy.  But thanks for thinking of me.

In my sleepy stupor, I had addressed my heartfelt letter to the author’s agent, not the author. Super, super, super bonehead error.

Lesson learned. Never send out such an important request when tired. On a brighter note, Mr. Author sent me a follow-up note a few weeks later, apologized for his terse tone in his initial response. And wished me luck with my book. He had actually noticed it was live on Amazon and said he will leave a review of the book sometime in the future. Very cool ending to my big ooops moment!

Barbara grew up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania with her parents, sister and always a dog, or two or three. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from a small women's college in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Meeting her husband in Washington, DC, they continued together on a journey as self-proclaimed dog addicts. In the ensuing years, she founded three successful businesses in the Pacific Northwest and is a prolific fundraiser for breast cancer research. She and her husband are retired and now reside in Southwest Florida with two dogs and copious amounts of dog fur.  

Goodreads | Amazon | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Barbara's tour is being hosted by Jitterbug Tours and goes from Nov 23 - Nov 30. Make sure you stop by all the sites for reviews, guest postings, and some great excerpts!

{ 1 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. I don't know if I should cry and smile or cry and point a finger at you for getting me all snotty nosed. I loved this, its very cute and sweet. I too wish Barbara on her success of this book. It's a add to my cart checkout for sure. Sometimes we need things like this, to bring us back into reality and away from fandom / fiction for a moment and just laugh and cry with other people about their everyday life and how we are just like them.

    thank you for sharing this hun!