Rabbit

This week, quite by accident, I fell down a job search rabbit hole that took me to strange lands and unfamiliar parking lots.

Egypt

Alas, I did not become entombed at the local Sphinx. But in an introductory exercise, I did learn about the pet rabbit that grew to be the size of a dog.

Since I naturally assume all dogs are chihuahua sized, this interesting bit of trivia failed to impress.

Until I realised what it really meant.

Meet the Flemish Giant Rabbit:

Alice_par_John_Tenniel_37GiantRabbit

The whole thing had me questioning my previously held beliefs about the nature of life and the universe! Who was I, where was I and what would become of me?

Anyway, I guess what I’m saying is, it’s been a crazy kind of week, so I am sorry if you haven’t seen me around much. That certainly was not the plan.

But it’s all good, and now that I’ve popped my head up out of that surreal wonderland, I remember what I was supposed to be doing.

Hello Pepi key rings!

Keys

Ms last night performed a community service by pulling names (not ears) out of a fancy hat kitchen bowl.

I put in some extras for those who read, followed, commented AND shared, but all of you have made the Hello Pepi launch so much more of a success than I imagined - so yay!

Pepi and Maxi are now out in the wild, getting up to all kinds of mischief, which is just as it should be.

So, woofs and drum rolls please, the WINNERS are…

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Vincent Mars, the one and only Boy with a Hat.

Rita Azar, the lovely Crafty Expat.

Susie Lindau, the Wild Rider.

Maria, the strong and mighty Brickhouse Chick.

Em, the gentle soul behind Words.pics.

I will be in touch with you to ascertain your mailing addresses, and just as soon as I get my act together, you can expect a Pepi (as opposed to a giant rabbit) sized package in the mail!

Thanks everyone who supported Pepi on his way to a new home. You’re all better than the best.

Have you seen or heard anything strange this week?


HPTakemehomeTAKE ME HOME!

Hello Pepi (Book 1) is FREE until Monday.

Grab it while you can!

 

Pepi Meets Maxi

Open your heart, I’ll make you love me…

(Today, I’m handing it over to Pepi – he’s got something to say!)

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Hey there beautifuls!

You’ve heard the real story. But fiction is so much better.

Grab a copy of my new books, Pepi Meets Maxi and Pepi Moves House :

PMM

PMH

FREE just for YOU until midnight Monday, 14 July (Pacific Standard Time).

But wait, there’s more!

When you leave a comment and become a loyal blog follower (kisses if you are already), you’ll go in the draw to win one of five Hello Pepi key rings:

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There will also be free days coming up for my first three books, so if you don’t have a copy already:

Watch out and listen up!

Of course, if you like my story, I’ll love you to bits if you’d consider sharing it. Or writing a review.

It’s a big world out there for one small dog.

And lonely, too.

We have to work hard to be seen.

And even harder to be loved.

But the thing about us is, if you just give us a chance…

(One word, one line, one look is all it takes)

…we’ll give back multitudes in love.

(Okay, some other things as well, but mostly love).

Please.

Prithee please

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I don’t really like to beg.

But you’re the one holding the key…

TAKE ME HOME!

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…One is such a lonely number.

Who’s your favourite fur friend?

A Tale of Two Besties

They were the best of friends, they were the worst of friends…

Last week, I introduced you to the happy never after of my old share house, where I lived with my school buddy and her Chihuahua, Chippy, his brother Pepi and Bobbin the cat (my two).

Second time round, it was the picture of domestic bliss, until we agreed that Pepi ought to have a new best friend.

Say hello to Maxi.

Maxi

Maxi

Maxi was rescued by the Save-a-Dog Scheme.

When I collected him from his foster home, he had been having fun beating up the other ten Chihuahuas the old lady was temporarily housing.

He was a mean little thing.

He wore his damage with such pride. Like a war veteran, returned.

You just knew he’d seen things that no Jack Russell-cross should ever see. But he’d survived, goddammit, by sheer force of his own iron will.

And no-one, but no-one, was gonna tell him what to do.

He scared the pants off me.

When I introduced him to Pepi, Pepi was all up in his business, totally naïve of Maxi’s bristling fur.

He wouldn’t warn you if he was going to bite. He’d just bite.

And bite he did.

There was no wound, except to Pepi’s pride, and so Pepi resorted to the only form of retaliation he felt sure about. He barked.

And barked. And BARKED.

He scolded Maxi from the safety of the couch, and Maxi, you could just tell, enjoyed sitting there, the untouchable focus of Pepi’s consternation.

It was love at first bite.

VetThere was just one problem, and that was Chippy.

Up until then, Chippy had been Pepi’s shadow, glued to his butt like an annoying younger sibling.

But Maxi, with his eye on pole position, was having none of that.

The day he drew blood from Chippy’s eyebrow, it was Game of Thrones Chihuahua style – and they matched the humans move for move.

Save-a-Dog Scheme didn’t want to take him back.

I was about to resort to begging when Maxi suddenly developed a mysterious back pain that required him to be crated for a week.

Round 3 goes to Maxi.

Once hypochondria dog asserted his right to stay, the lines of fracture in an already troubled kingdom began to split the house apart.

Which was obviously a good time to get Chippy a wife.

Enter Salsa, and before Bobbin could hiss, we had a house full of untrained yappy dogs.

Bobbin&Salsa

Bobbin with Salsa

Strangely, Bobbin refused to come home, and instead took his frustrations out on the next door neighbour’s cat.

Meanwhile, Maxi discovered the never-before-found holes in the fence, and our merry little gang escaped to terrorise the neighbour’s kids.

Overnight, our home had gone from peace-loving hippies to neighbourhood thugs. Tiny, ankle sized thugs. But still.

We both gave up on grandiose ideas of study and took full time jobs, which we needed just to pay the vet bills.

Every day we came home, Maxi had done a new Houdini underneath the potato vine, and they’d taken their reign of terror to the streets.

It was only a matter of time before council issued a warning.

And we locked the dogs inside.

And someone kicked a hole in our back door. The same someone, we presume, who left the nasty note inside our letterbox.

And my best friend announced she couldn’t stand to live with me there any more.

And our happy days in the house of dysfunction came to a close.

Key3

The key to that place sits now atop a pile of other unmarked keys, unlocking memories that are nothing if not bittersweet.

Maybe if we hadn’t been so preoccupied with all that petty human crap of who did what to whom and when, we might have seen what Maxi saw, and what took me years to finally recognise.

Pepi had the secret to another way.

Stranger than Fiction

Join me next week to celebrate Pepi’s alternate reality! Yayyyy, already…. :)

There’ll be freebies and giveaways and general bribery.

And just to get you in the mood, here’s one from Pepi’s playlist…

What’s your worst ever share house experience?

Känguru Hop

This week I was tagged in a blog hop by Rita, the crafty almost-Australian French Canadian writer and rose whisperer over at Crafty Expat. (Have you ever seen roses like these?).

I’m pretty impressed by Rita’s commitment to the path less travelled from criminal lawyer to tortured writer. Hop over here to learn more.

But for this week, here are my answers on all things writerly:

What am I working on?

HP Titles clusterGood question. Given my relative silence on the matter, you’d be forgiven for thinking I’m having you all on, that the first three books of Hello Pepi were just a ruse, a means of tricking you into believing Toy Dogs Are For Real.

But it’s no ruse – toy dogs demand to be taken seriously! All of last year until now I have been working with an illustrator to complete the final four books in the series – a fictionalised account of the real life Pepi, in verse.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I could tell you about the things it does and doesn’t have in common with Tales of Peter Rabbit. Or how the illustrations evoke the classic feel of Alice in Wonderland.

I could say this is not a children’s story, but rather a story for kids of all ages. And I could tell you how Pepi would object to being used as a device for a human centred tale.

Or, I could simply show you one of the songs in the Hello Pepi inspiration soundtrack. A song that tells about a day in the life of Schnappi the Krokodil.

(How could you Not fall in love with this creature?)

Why do I write what I do?

I wrote this series because Pepi taught me many things. He taught me how to love, how to listen, how to speak. His greatest gift was that he taught me how to live.

Most importantly, I wrote this series because small dogs, and by extension, small creatures, are so often misunderstood, misrepresented and overlooked in the greater human narrative.

But they have their own stories to tell. Stories that not only need to be told, but need to be heard.

How does my writing process work?

PepiDaneWriting is a mysterious thing. I hardly know how this came into being. Except that Pepi somehow linked his synapses with my brain waves and transmitted a story in lines and images that surprised us both.

I’d write solidly for half a day, a combination of scribbled lines that were then shaped and reworked on the digital page.

Sometimes it was linear. Sometimes the end came before the beginning. Possibly, there was a little bit of Rhymezone involved (ahem).

Always there was an animated sequence in my mind that somehow made it to the page.

When I was done, I would read it out aloud to Pepi. And he would jump up from his bed and dance for me.

Since this blog hop came to me from the land down under, I thought it only appropriate (in the spirit of Schnappi and his hopping Känguru friend) to extend the hop to another Australian writer.

Kath Unsworth is new to my blogging world, but I was immediately taken with her magical illustrations of miniscule moments (and other creatures), as her knack for making a story out of almost anything.

Here’s her bio:

manny2Kath Unsworth is an artist and writer who lives down the far south coast of Australia, her dream is to create, illustrate and write happy hopeful picture books for children. She takes her inspiration from the world around, remembering what it was like to be a child. She hopes to inspire others to follow their dreams.

Kath blogs weekly about the journey of a writer at Minuscule Moments, using her photos and art to give her readers a personal view on the journey. Learning the craft of writing and illustrating picture books, whilst balancing every day life as a mum with two children.

What’s the most child-like guilty pleasure you enjoy?

Small is Big

While many of you have been enjoying that last of summer’s sizzle, this past fortnight saw me huddled in my own bundle of mid-winter misery.

So here I was on Monday, fighting off my winter woes, when a precious little package arrived in the mail…

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Inside was a hand-painted wooden box…

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A gorgeous hand-crafted bracelet…

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A curious note…

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And a hand-written letter from a special faraway nephew

DSC01090It’s been almost a year since Pepi passed away, and his story was released into the digital landscape of endless ones and zeros.

Who knew he would capture the imagination of young men and colourful painters half a moon away, and come back to nudge me with his little button nose?

“So much personality in such a tiny package!” someone said about him, once.

And they were right. He was always so much bigger than I gave him credit for…

GiftofLove

Somehow, the writer boy reached through the fabric of reality and delivered an enormous Pepi-shaped hug – just when I needed it. I am deeply moved.

Who is Oliver Colors? Where will Pepi’s legend show up next? Only time will tell…

Thank you, Vincent Mars, for this rare and beautiful gift. YOU will never be forgotten.

Tell me about something small you feel is a BIG deal…

Hello, World!

This week, I’m introducing you to a little fella who’s been itching to guest post on my blog.  I wasn’t sure I should let him loose – you never know what he might say.  But in the interests of going with the flow…

Please say, “Hello, Pepi!”

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Hello, World!! Finally, she let me out of my pen!

She promised me fame and fortune, but seriously, this writer has been sleeping on the job.  I bet you don’t even know there are already three e-Books out about me…

ME, ME, ME!

Pepi

Me when I was still a pup! How cute am I?!

  • Name: Pepi.
  • Age: Forever Young.
  • Breed: Small dog. BIG personality. (If you must know…chi cross foxy).
  • Eyes: Chestnut.
  • Fur: Raven silk (with peppered milky paws!).
  • Star sign: Gemini.
  • Likes: Bouncy balls, squeaky toys, Mummy’s platform shoes, foreign languages, talking, sugar, spice and Mummy’s home cooked food, being the centre of attention, all creature comforts, MUSIC!
  • Dislikes: Being ignored.
  • Idol: Prince.
  • Theme song: Return of the Mack.

So. Where was I?

That’s right.  There comes a time in a dog’s life when he needs friends.

At least that’s what Mummy tells me.  Apparently I’ve been chewing on too many of her shoes…

Pepichew

Anyway, she’s in the process of finding me what she calls a ‘fur friend’. Can’t help feeling a little bit demoted – who said anything about fur friends?!

I want HUMAN friends! Like my mate, Andi.

She’s cute, adorable and (okay, a little bit naughty) – just like me! She loves dogs…

AndreaTweet

…and she totally gets my need for celebrity!

The other day she set me up with my very own Twitter account! She’s my bestest buddy in the whole wide world – I follow her everywhere!

I’m so excited! At the risk of sounding a little bit needy… :P

Pleeeeease follow me… I wanna play…!!

PepiParkies

I promise, if you do, we’ll have a blast…!!

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Phew! I’m glad he didn’t give away too many secrets…

Thanks for tuning in! We wish you a wonderful Easter break.

But before you go. Are there any Twitter tips you’d care to share with Pepi to keep him out of mischief?

The Origins of Friendship

This week I am very fortunate to be a guest on Coleen Patrick’s beautiful, inspirational blog, Read. Smile. Repeat.

coleen-photoColeen is a YA author from Virginia who has been with me on this blogging ride since I started back in May.

She is not only a great blogging friend, but also a woman who I very much admire for her ability to see the extraordinary in life’s everyday moments.

Please join us over there today, for an inside look into the origins of Pepi the Dog and the Million Little Things of Friendship

There was a little puppy…

…With a coat of raven silk,

A lightning splash upon his chest

And paws of peppered milk…


ANNOUNCING

the Release of

Hello Pepi: A Toy Dog is for Real

A series about the special friendship
between a toy dog and his most important person.

Based on a true story.

Books 1 to 3

Out Now for 99 cents on Amazon!

To my beloved followers:

In celebrating Pepi’s joie de vivre, and in appreciation of your support, the first book is Free for You until the next blog post is out.

Just leave your email address in the comments, and I’ll gift you the book from Amazon :) .

Alternatively, email to: alarnarosegray (at) gmail (dot) com.

If you’re new to this blog, it’s okay!  Subscribe now – as long as it’s before the next blog post, the offer stands.

Thank you for joining me in honouring the memory of the little Pepi being.  May his spirit be with you…