It’s my pleasure to welcome Deena Marie Kaylee, author of Dog Park!
Thanks for visiting today. I really loved, Dog Park! Before we get to your blurb and excerpt, tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.
Originally, I wrote Dog Park over a decade ago as a novella that was included in an anthology called Tails of Love distributed by Barbour Books. The cover unfortunately was uninspiring and sales reflected that. Later the anthology was republished under the title Puppy Love with a new creative cover, and sales improved dramatically. When the rights of Dog Park reverted back to me, I loved the characters so much that I brought them into the present by reworking the original story and eventually published it through Kindle as an ebook.
Well, I love your cover now, it certainly reflects your charming story! How did you come up with the idea?
I used to have two Welsh Pembroke corgis; one was a feisty, yet humorous female named Bamboo, who I wrote the story around (RIP Boo!) and my other corgi is Maxwell Smart, a goofy, docile corgi with a big heart. I would enjoy taking my corgis to the dog park for fun and socialization. During that time I would listen to the pet owners talk and share stories while watching their pet intermingle, and there is where the idea for “Dog Park” formed.
What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?
I am a certified scuba diver. A few years ago, my husband who is a scuba diver, convinced my two daughters and I to go through a diving resort course in the Cayman Islands. Our dive masters were perfect teachers and took us to water depths of 35 feet. In our first outing, stingrays surrounded us as our dive masters held out an offering of squid bate. As they swam by, the stingrays would gently bump up against us allowing us to touch their buttery soft underbellies. After that experience, I was hooked on diving! My daughters and I took certification classes while in St. Kitts a year later, but it was far from pleasant. While being certified 60 ft underwater, our dive master took us off course. When we surfaced we were far from our boat and with a storm approaching, the water was choppy. It took all of my strength to swim back to the boat against the waves. I realized at that moment, I didn’t want to be a scuba diver. The next year, my husband twisted my arm to dive in Cozumel. I was absolutely frightened to dive again, but didn’t want to disappoint my family. The diving was simply amazing with water temps in the 80’s and visibility to a 100ft; it was like swimming in a bathtub. The array of fish, turtles and eels that we saw was utterly breathtaking. Some were purely so magnificent that I wanted to just swim alongside of them and others were so bizarre looking it made me laugh. Scuba diving made me appreciate God’s handiwork even more and I am simply in awe of the world He has given us to enjoy, above ground and in the water!
I think you’re very brave to go that deep under the water and not freak! LOL! So, what is your favorite childhood memory?
I would have to say working out in the garden with my mother. My mother did not have a typical garden with vegetables and flowers…what she called a “garden” was a yard filled with black and golden bamboo, coral trees, dragon trees, palm trees and all types of geraniums and succulents. Oddly enough this combination of plants and trees attracted all kinds of wildlife, birds and insects, from raccoons and skunks to blue jays and dragonflies. Many times we would be out working in the yard together and one of these creatures would wander or fly by. My mother who adores nature would say, “There goes the affirmation of life” God’s gift to us. Being able to share those moments with my mother was God’s gift to me!
I grew up gardening with my mother, as well. I agree those times with her were certainly one of God’s gifts to me. Speaking of childhood, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a Hollywood actress. Living in Southern California, less than an hour drive away from Hollywood, the bright lights and limelight called to me at an early age. I took acting and singing lessons, paid for headshots and even hired an agent. After that, I was able to get some extra work in commercials and movies, but soon realized that I wasn’t meant to be in front of the camera. After taking a creative writing course, I felt that God was steering me to write. I wrote for years, but never completed anything. I attended more writing classes, went to writer’s conferences and checked out every book I could to learn the craft of writing. Then, one night I had a dream, in that dream I saw myself writing a book and even saw the title, “A Gift from Above.” The next morning I started writing the story and finished it six months later. I sent the manuscript out to numerous publishers over the next few years, and endured receiving a dozen rejections. After each painful rejection I revised and re-edited the manuscript. I became so sick of reading the story that I could hardly revise it anymore! After the twelfth revision I sent it to Barbour Publishing and by a miracle from heaven I received my first book contract in the mail! It taught me a very valuable lesson, “If God gives you a dream to pursue, never, ever give up!”
That’s so interesting, because I had the same dream but ended up becoming an artist and a writer. It’s all connected, though. 🙂
Here’s Deena’s Book Blurb!
Matchmakers come in all sizes and shapes and in the case of this Christian romantic-comedy the little (and big) arbitrators come with tails. Brutus, a Great Dane could have gotten hurt most anywhere in the Dog Park, but his owner, Matt puts the blame on a peppy little Corgi and her feisty master Lynne, who happens to be very pretty. These two pet-owners do not get off to a good start. Can a Great Dane and a wild little Corgi join forces to convince their owners to be friends and to forgive and forget? Warning: this story contains a large amount of fur-flying fun! Beware, extra doses of love, laughter and inspiration were added for your enjoyment. Thank God for four-footed blessings!
Author Bio: Deena Marie and her husband, Craig have two beautiful daughters, Nicole and Madelyn and a corgi (who’s darned handsome) named Maxwell Smart. Living in Southern California by Disneyland, the Pacific Ocean and the famous O.C., Deena Marie finds no shortage of ideas for stories. Her Christian faith sets the foundation that cements her love stories together and the innate humor that God has so generously bestowed upon her adds the much-needed element of joy and laughter to her tales. Published books include: A Gift From Above, Priceless and Dog Park
“Excuse me,” a deep sounding voice said.
Lynne glanced up. A tall, attractive man with wavy, black hair stood before her. “Yes?”
“Is that your dog over there?” he asked, pointing to a dog in the distance.
It was Bamboo. “Yes. Why?”
He whistled. “Brutus, come.” A large white and black Great Dane came slowly limping over. “Look at what your dog did to Brutus.” The man pointed to the right back leg. It had a gash and was bleeding.
Aghast, Lynne shook her head. She swallowed hard. Her dog would never bite another dog. After an interminable silence, she spoke, “No, Bamboo couldn’t have done that. She wouldn’t hurt a flea let alone a Great Dane,” she responded, like a woman protective of her pet. Raising Bamboo from a puppy, Lynne had trained her to be mannerly and a loving dog.
“Ma’am, I beg to differ.” His dark, brown eyes bore into hers. “Your dog chased Brutus, then bit his leg. Isn’t your dog a welsh corgi?”
“Yes, and what of it,” she asked as she stood up. Lynne squelched back the words she really wanted to use. She felt like a midget standing next to him. He had to be well over six feet, easily dwarfing her 5’3″ frame.
“My neighbor had one of those dogs and it was belligerently aggressive. That breed of dog herds’ animals by nipping them at their heels,” he stated.
“That’s absurd! Just because other corgi’s herd doesn’t mean mine does.” She looked over at Bamboo who was sitting demurely under a tree; she was a picture of canine decorum. Lynne grimaced. Bamboo did have a tendency to herd her and Margo when they were playing Frisbee in their backyard, but that was information she wouldn’t share with this man.
“Vicious corgi,” he mumbled as he snapped the Great Dane’s leash back on.
Lynne glared at him. “Dare you insinuate that my dog is vicious?” Anger pulsated through her as her heart beat furiously against her chest.
“All right I won’t, but I suggest that you pay the vet bill and we’ll call a truce.”
“I think not,” she fumed. “Can I ask you something?”
He raised a brow. “What?”
“Did you actually see my corgi bite your dog in the leg?”
The man stared down at her with his penetrating brown eyes. “Well, ah, no, not exactly,” he admitted. “I heard Brutus yelp. I turned and saw your dog chasing him. I felt it quite safe to assume that the corgi was the guilty party since there weren’t any other dogs chasing him or remotely close to him.”
“I don’t know if it’s safe to assume anything,” she replied. “It’s either a yes or no. Did you see Bamboo bite Brutus?”
“No, but I…”
“Ah, hah, sorry,” she interrupted, “I’m not paying the vet bill.” Without another word, Lynne picked up her book from the bench, stuffed it into her tote bag and stomped off.
Deena, Thank you for taking the time to stop by, today. It was a pleasure having you! 🙂