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9 March 2011

My Life As A Dog - Cynthia and Mike Arsuaga

 I have two (or is it three) very special guests on my Blog today.  Husband and wife team, Cynthia and Mike Arsuaga who have kindly agreed to talk about the book they co-authored, and the hero of their book ... well, I'll let you read the blurb but first I thought I'd ask Cynthia and Mike a bit about "My Life As A dog" and the inspiration for it.

HL: Thanks for guesting on my blog today, Cynthia and Mike.  Congratulations on the release of 'My Life As  A Dog. It's great to have you here. First of all, I have to know, Precious must be based on your own dog 'Thumper' isn't he?

M&L: Yes, that precious little face on the cover and within the pages is our Thumper! That little dude has such personality and the antics he gets into are priceless. Thumper was definitely the inspiration.

HL: Aw, he looks gorgeous. I'd better not let my own dog 'Bouncer' read this - he'll be getting ideas.  I'm not sure that he doesn't already shape shift from the dog hairs I find on my keyboard!

So where did the character of Kady come from - is she based on a real person or purely imaginary?

M&L: Kady is purely imaginary. Our six-year-old granddaughter had some influence on the younger Kady, but the grown-up Kady is totally fictional.

HL: I've often wondered what it's like to co-author a bookHow do you go about writing a book as a husband and wife team?  I assume you hammer out the gist of the plot together first, but then what happens?  Do you write alternate chapters, or write everything together - and do you ever argue over where the plot is going?

M&L: With My Life as a Dog, Mike and I were talking about different types of shape shifters and thinking what would be a unique one, something not seen before. Thumper came running in, barking. We looked at each other and as if a light bulb went on, the idea of a Yorkie shifter came to both of us. I wrote the prologue and Mike picked up from there. We worked the plot together, he totally created the world of the shifter packs in New Orleans and I did the love scenes with the editing/proofing. We only disagreed about one point, but quickly resolved the issue. We're very happy with the way the story turned out and wrote it in four weeks.

  It sounds like the ideal partnership. Tell the readers - what do you do for fun when not writing?

M&L: Mike - Raising tropical fish, Siamese Fighting Fish specifically.  
            Cynthia - making jewelry.

HL: Those are very interesting hobbies. You're obviously both animal lovers. But if you were an animal yourself, (not a shifter)  which one do you think you would be, and why?

M & L:
Mike - a show male Siamese Fighting Fish, because they get all the girls.
Cynthia - a horse, love them, used to ride and love their grace and strength.

HL: Ooh, that is certainly an -er- interesting and unusual idea, Mike - and Cynthia, you're a lady after my own heart.  I'm  a horselover too, and have two of them. Harri and T'pau.

Well, sadly it's nearly time to end the interview, so as a final question - what have you learned about writing since you started writing this book that surprised you the most?

M&L: How hard the after-sale of a manuscript is. The editing, more editing, and promotion.

*Grin* I think that is an answer nearly every author would agree with! Thank you both so much - and congratulations again on your release,  I wish you tons of sales.

Now let's read the blurb and an excerpt.
(I should just mention that  this book does contain Adult content although the following excerpt is suitable for ages 18 and under.)

Blurb for My Life as a Dog:
Drake Martin—private investigator, ladies’ man, shape-shifter—Yorkshire terrier, named Precious. Enter six-year-old Kady Hartley and life changes. Years later, they meet again. Still a PI, she's FBI. Follow them on an adventure tracking the Russian mob involving human trafficking through the streets of New Orleans and watch the fur fly.

Following Kady to New Orleans where she is on assignment he knows it will be easier to watch over her if he stays in the shadows, keeping his shifter abilities hidden. He hooks up with the local Sufi, head of the shifter family clan, but eventually engages in a bloody battle with the Russians. But, there is another enemy in their midst, one who won't rest until he destroys their chance at everlasting love...

Drake has fallen in love. Can Kady love him for who he really is, or will she leave him upon discovering the truth about him?
Oh boy!

“He’s a Yorkie, a Yorkshire terrier, according to our vet’s examination, a purebred and in perfect health. Clean him up and he will be beautiful.” Unhitching a leash from the wall, she lifted me from the cage to the floor. “Yorkies are a popular breed and live a long time. Your daughter will be able to grow up with him.”

Winking at me, because I had her eating out of my paws since Monday, the volunteer added, “See how he prances around. Yorkies are so full of spirit. I just love this one to pieces. I’d take him home myself, but we already have two cats and two dogs. My husband would leave me if I brought home another pet.”

Four feet tall, sandy hair, blue eyes, and a breath smelling of lemon drops nodded, making up her mind. “He’s the one I want.”

That’s how my life changed in a split second. I’m Drake Martin, part-time hit man, most of the time private eye, lover, and shape shifter. This is the story of my life as a dog and the little girl named Kady Hartley who changed it forever.

After botching my last gig, I cleared out in a hurry with the sheriff hot on my trail. A local drug king pin had hired me to assist one of his dealers from the burdens of this life and into the next. Another dealer, who knew of the plan, rolled on us to lighten a pretty big distribution charge hanging over his head. The king pin split to Colombia without telling me about the trap set by the local minions of the law. To get away, I morphed to animal form. In that kind of situation, nobody pays attention to a scruffy little dog skulking along a shadowy wall. While a passel of confused cops addressed their two-volt, one cylinder deductive powers to the problem of how I slipped their trap, I put as much distance between us as my five inch legs could cover.

A couple of blocks later, I felt good about my chances, only to turn a corner and damn if I didn’t run into the town’s dog catcher who immediately spotted the lack of collar and tags around my neck. In recent years my once lightning getaway had lost a step and no amount of terrier squirming or snarl could break his expert grip. Cooling my heels in the cage on the way to the shelter, I realized, with rising terror, that I was in my worst fix in over a century of life and regretted not morphing to human form to send this hyper-conscientious nimrod to his eternal reward.

While other shape shifters turn into formidable critters like wolves or bears, I become an eight pound Yorkie. It is a mixed blessing. I’m not worth shit against another shifter, but except for diligent public servants of the animal control department and women, I attract only casual attention. No one perceives me as dangerous or threatening, and the girls love me to pieces. At least it’s better than my friend Paco in Long Island who becomes a chipmunk.

The little girl named Kady and her family represented my best chance to escape. I knew the shelter’s rules. After a week as a guest of the city’s taxpayers, a sad little man euthanized the unfortunate creatures not adopted. As a last resort, I could return to human form, but not while in the suitcase-sized cage. The collar they fitted around my neck also presented a problem. The expansion of my neck as I turned to human couldn’t break it, and it’d nip off my head before I could slip out of it. When out of the cage, I was never alone, even in the dog run. If they removed the collar, imagine the staff’s shock at discovering a six foot naked male in the dog run. After recovering their senses, they’d cart me off to a psych ward, with little chance of escape. The drugs administered there mess up morphs. Once I teamed with other shifters to spring one of our own who came out unable to morph for months, as well as not knowing what year it was. That’s how I met Paco.

Clearly, adoption represented the better way out.

I ratcheted up my charm, best puppy eyes along with a surfeit of face licking. As usual, it worked.
On the drive home, held in the arms of an energetic if not hyperactive six-year-old, I thought about older females and their interestingly different embraces. Adult females, when I’m in human form, entice me to do naughty things to their bodies. Now, I sat on the lap of a considerably younger one. My stubby tail wagged in a blur while an alert face on the other end flirted outrageously with anyone who glanced my way. The gaze of blue eyes, like marbles, washed over me. In that moment, I felt the stirring of a connection with a human unlike any other. After a few minutes she hugged and kissed me with unabashed love the way little girls do with their prized dolls.

“Kady, don’t get so close until we clean him up,” Mom gently admonished from the front seat. “You don’t know where he’s been.”

“What are you going to name him, honey?” Dad asked.

Profiled by the windshield, his head was a tan blob with sandy hair plastered across it. I remember hoping she wouldn’t choose a stupid name like Fido or Charlie. No offense to any dudes with those names, but after all, I was a purebred and all male. I deserved a manly name befitting my proud and feisty, if diminutive stature, maybe Killer or Spike.

Kady held my face in a pair of small chubby hands. Her infectious smile, one I came to know well, melted me to slush. Gaps showed where two baby teeth had been. In another place the crown of a new tooth peeked above a gum. With a loving gaze, she looked deep into my eyes and softly said, “I think I’m calling you Precious.”


Cynthia Arsuaga

Cynthia resides in Orlando, Florida, the land of magic, surrounded by the treasured gems in her life, a caring, loving husband, dutiful and loyal daughter, and precious, delightful granddaughter. Oh and not to forget her mischievous Yorkshire Terrier, Thumper.
Cynthia was a “Navy Brat” calling a different port home every couple of years—from Southern California, to Boston, to Virginia, to Florida. She developed wandering feet and diverse interests and passionately incorporates those experiences into her stories, bringing characters to life, and eloquently sharing the vivid images of her mind with her audience.

Cynthia worked as a real estate broker for over twenty years before retiring to Florida. Until recently, then she turned to writing to stretch her creative muscle. Those ideas of faraway places and quirky characters lay dormant for years and finally demanded their story be told.
Cynthia plans on putting some mileage on those wandering feet and travel to exotic locations in the coming years. So look for the journeys to be expressed in Romantic Words by Cynthia in the future.

Mike Arsuaga :
Raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, Mike completed careers in the United States Navy Submarine Force and the Transportation Security Administration.  He lives in Orlando Florida with wife and Editor in Chief Cynthia, daughter Jennifer, six year old granddaughter Larrna and partner in crime Thumper, a Yorkshire terrier.
Mike’s extensive travels in the Navy took him throughout the US, Canada, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Middle East, providing accurate and vivid settings for his stories.

My Life as a Dog
Authors - Cynthia and Mike Arsuaga
Genre - Paranormal
Publisher - Secret Cravings Publishing

Buy Here - http://secretcravingspublishing.mybigcommerce.com/products/My-Life-As-A-Dog.html
Subspecies, Subspecies, Inc., Children of Subspecies, and Tenth Legion are scheduled for release in May, September, December 2011, and February 2012 from Muse It Hot Publishing.