Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the two hundred and ninety-seventh, is of humorous non-fiction author and interviewee Amy L Peterson. If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at author-spotlights.
Amy L. Peterson became a stepmother in 1994 after unwittingly falling for a guy with four great kids, ages three, five 13 and 15. Since many other stories about step motherhood were as uplifting as lead balloons, Amy wrote From Zero to Four Kids in Thirty Seconds, a humorous memoir filled with over 50 tips. Consider Tip #22: A teenager can say, “I love you, I hate you, you’re cool, you suck,” in one breath to the same person. And mean every word. And Tip #38: A woman’s desire to get rid of junk is directly proportional to a man wanting to hang onto it.
At the same time Amy was getting used to becoming a stepmother, her husband, Mark was bringing home one pet after another. Something Furry Underfoot is Amy’s humorous, heart-warming memoir about frogs, iguanas, hedgehogs, ferrets, hamsters, mice, gerbils, guinea pigs, dogs, mynah birds, and tropical fish Mark wanted, and, well, admittedly, Amy’s the one that brought home the cat, a domestic duck, and a rabbit, but only because Mark encouraged her. As with her first book, Something Furry Underfoot includes lots of tips. Consider Tip #25: Most pets bought for children end up being cared for by the most responsible adult in the family. And Tip #26: Sometimes the person you hope will be the most responsible adult isn’t.
Amy also created four animal photo e-books for kids, each of which rhyme and are told from the animal’s perspective. Goodnight, Big Wuzzy, is a ferret’s story about life with two dogs, a cat and three other ferrets. Purrkins, the Cat, is a cat’s perspective on a less than perfect life in a pampered house. Bumpkin Gets Big is about a domestic duck. And Dusty, the Angel Pup is about the very best guard dog in the world. Each photo e-book ends with a message to parents.
When Amy’s not tending to or writing about pets, she feeds dozens of birds and squirrels in her backyard, spends time outdoors, and photographs wildlife. She also enjoys traveling, especially if it involves fishing and having a go at catching more fish—or bigger fish—than Mark. Such adventures may be the making of her next book.
And now from the author herself:
I do most of my writing at the kitchen table surrounded by pets and with Wheel of Fortune, Top Gear and my retired husband, Mark, attempting to distract me in the background. My writing stints last about 30 minutes before my 15-year-old dog, Dusty, the Angel Pup, whines for his nightly ration of finely sliced baby carrots, Purrkins, my 8-year-old cat, meows for his Friskies Party Mix treats, or Mark tells me that I need to tuck our mynah birds, Little Buddy and BOGO, into their cages for the night, and gee, “While you’re at it, you could put some of the hamsters in their exercise balls.” I run around to tend to such important matters, and sit back down to write for another half hour before Dusty’s old bladder needs emptying and Mark and I debate who’s turn it is to help Dusty down the rickety steps we made for his arthritic legs. After Mark tends to Dusty and I return the hamsters to their cages, I try to immerse myself in a full hour of writing, during which Mark tries to engage me in important subjects such as the movie he’s programmed in for us, that we need to make a grocery list and “Did you see the new bass fishing jigs I bought? Which one’s your favorite?”
The good thing about writing in brief bursts is that I can make use of my half hour lunches at work, and I can write in coffee shops, airports and just about any other place that oozes chaos and has an electrical outlet for my old computer. I’ve gotten quite good at ignoring most distractions, and while Mark does ask me quite often if I ever listen to him, I really do stay tuned to his most important announcements, like, “The two panda hamsters got out of their cage.” That’s worth hitting the “SAVE” button, heading down to the hamster/bird room and moving things around until the beloved fuzzies are found, which last time, took twenty minutes.
Mark’s use of “pet store,” also usually gets my attention, as does “on sale,” and “I’ve always wanted one of those.” In fact, Mark’s use of “I’ve always wanted one” of this, that and the other pet, is why Something Furry Underfoot includes so many different critters. He always wanted a ferret, so we got four, and when they all died, we got four more. He always wanted a hamster, and I’ve lost track of how many hamsters have come and gone over the last 18 years. Some of the critters he always wanted I apparently agreed to during the very half-hours I was writing about becoming a stepmother or about the pets we already had. In fact, the original ending to Something Furry Underfoot was written before the first mynah bird, Little Buddy, showed up. And when the second mynah bird, BOGO, showed up in the mail accidently, I had to change the ending again.
While Something Furry Underfoot is mostly humorous, it has some touching moments prefaced by appropriate tips, such as Tip #24: Some animals don’t live as long as they should. Other tips are helpful for people shopping for pets, such as Tip #11: Some animals are on their best behavior when being inspected by a potential owner. And while most tips are focused on pets, some will enlighten readers about spouses, such as Tip #50: Big guys can get all mushy about small critters.
Some proceeds of Something Furry Underfoot and the four animal photo e-books described in the biography will be donated to animal rescue organizations. So, the more copies people buy and get their friends to buy, the more everyone is helping hapless animals. You can buy all of my books on Amazon and Smashwords and the easiest way to do that is to click here.
I will be blogging about my pets and providing more tips at Amylpeterson.com. And if you go to my web site between now and July 31, read my blog posting about Dusty’s 15th birthday and see how to get a free download of Dusty, the Angel Pup. I will also be including photos on my Pinterest Something Furry Underfoot board. And of course, you can always email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s what some absolutely brilliant people are saying about Something Furry Underfoot:
“Want to know what it’s like living with a houseful of pets while still holding onto your sanity? Then you’ve got to read Something Furry Underfoot, Amy Peterson’s warm and funny book about her experiences coping with and caring for all manner of animals. Not only will you get a lot of laughs but you’ll also pick up some valuable tips about co-existing with your own critters!” – Bob Tarte, author of Enslaved by Ducks, Kitty Cornered, and Fowl Weather.
“A charming story of Amy and Mark and the lucky critters that have passed through their lives over the years. Also a primer on animal care. All animals should be so lucky!” – Brenda Sayles
“I enjoyed Something Furry Underfoot a lot. It was a fun read–not only because of the animal antics–but because it showed how the humans had to adapt to the animals’ quirks and needs.” – Joy V. Smith.
“It’s a great little book and so much fun to see what happens to each of the little critters. If you have kids, they will love it!.” – Joyce Caples King.
“This book was fantastic and I didn’t want it to end. I truly enjoyed every part.” – Cindy Garvey.
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I welcome items for critique for the online writing groups listed below:
Morgen’s Online Non-Fiction Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Novel Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Poetry Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Script Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group
We look forward to reading your comments.