Village Voice trashes my book without reading even the back cover blurb.

Ah, Google Alerts. They let me know when people are talking about me, and this time, it’s a doozy.

James Hannaham, author of God Says No and apparently a professional angry person, put together a vitriolic little paragraph entitled “Dumb Dog Books” at the end of the May 25 book page in the Village Voice newspaper. Here’s what he had to say about mine:

Chihuahua of the Baskervilles claims to be the first novel in a moronic series about a ghost pup…

Um, no. That’s like saying Mark Twain wrote river-rafting stories. The Tripping Magazine series is about a cut-rate travel magazine that covers destinations of supposedly supernatural interest (I use that qualifier a lot in my promo text). The canine apparition appears in this one book only. The book’s title references a rather  well-known story where the ghost dog turns out not to be a real ghost. So, yeah… I’m thinking he got his idea strictly from the cover. (Isn’t there some kind of saying about that?)

Since he has a website with his contact info on it, I was able to send him an email, in which I noted,

Based on your cover, I’m guessing God Says No is about the wacky things someone finds in a U-Store-It unit, but I wouldn’t write that in a newspaper without making sure.

Here’s a link to the original Village Voice article (the pertinent paragraph is the last one, and the link takes you directly to page two).

Don’t go on any rampages on my behalf, but do make a mental note that you can’t believe everything you read. And hey, I got mentioned in the Village Voice!

Chihuahua of the Baskervilles excerpt

Simultaneous ebook release for Chihuahua of the Baskervilles!

This is exciting! I just got on and saw that Chihuahua of the Baskervilles will be released simultaneously in hardback and ebook versions (Kindle and Nook)! The price for both platforms is $10.99. If you’ve pre-ordered the hardback and would prefer the ebook version, I think you can log onto your online bookstore account and cancel the hardback order. The ebook version has a pre-order option as well. Don’t hesitate to buy the the lower-priced ebook on my account. I get a bigger percentage of those sales. 🙂

When Taxidermy and Pets Collide

[NOTE:  Clicking on the pictures in this post will take you to their source articles. Have fun!]

If it weren't for the plaque, I think this would fool anyone.

Welcome to the world of permanently preserved pets. First of all, I have a confession to make. When our beloved rabbit, Glory Roberta, died, I took her to a taxidermist and had him remove the pelt and cure it for me. Her fur was beautiful, and I wanted something to remember her by. Once the grief wore off, I stuck it in a drawer and mostly forgot about it, but it seemed like the thing to do at the time. Now I wonder how much more it would have cost to go the whole way and have her mounted in a lifelike pose — rolling in her litterbox, perhaps, or chewing a baseboard.

Taxidermists are interesting people. They love animals, and they love a challenge. When a heavily tattooed and heartbroken guy brought in his dead Chi puppy, this taxidermist embraced the difficulties of mounting a seven-inch long animal, and the results are both poignant and adorable.

Preserving pets has a long history, possibly starting with the Egyptians, and certainly achieving heights of weirdness with those wacky Victorians, who made entire tableaus of dressed-up cats, dogs, mice and monkeys. Their motto seemed to be, if it moves, make a pet of it. When it stops moving, turn it into decoration.

And of course, some people preserve pets somewhat less sensitively than others.

If this is a subject that interests you, you’re in luck. Animal Planet has an upcoming reality show which is described thusly.

The show, set in Romance, Ark., follows taxidermist Daniel Ross as he runs family business X-treme Taxidermy with his wife LaDawn and three sons. Together, the family and employees specialize in reassembling family pets, including a chihuahua, a goat and a poodle.

Because of the location, the working title is, “Romance is Dead.” <cue reluctantly admiring groan>

Tips for Skype Interviews

Thanks to an email from HARO (Help a Reporter Out), I’m going to be doing a Skype interview for the new website, How handy that the founder’s blog linked to this great article on improving the lighting for your webcam interview.

And as a bonus, here’s Lauren, the interviewer of WriterViews herself, talking about what she’s learned as an interviewer. It’ll help you, too.

New review of Chihuahua of the Baskervilles

Nikki of Obsessive Chihuahua Disorder wrote a review on the advance review copy I sent her. Gotta love a reviewer who includes photos.

Chihuahua of the Baskervilles kept my attention from the very beginning to the very end. I couldn’t wait to get back to reading each time I had to put down the book because it was time for dinner, time to go to work, time to go to class, etc. I couldn’t wait to find out who was behind all the strange activities going on in the Baskerville’s house.

Read full review here.

Help a Reporter Out

HARO is a website that puts reporters in touch with the sources they need. Their slogan is, Everyone’s an Expert at Something, and here’s how it works.

You sign up. They send you several daily digest emails of stories for which media people need interviewees. It could be a pet-insurance newsletter, InfoWorld magazine, CBS’s morning news show, Marie Claire magazine, or some dude’s blog. They might want to talk to people who have helped their arthritis through diet, or have a funny zoo experience, or have experience with cloud computing.

As an author, the best-case scenario is that I can help someone with an article or show that is directly related to my book. The worst-case scenario is that my zoo story is credited to “a reader.” Between those two ends of the spectrum is the chance that I’ll be credited as “Esri Allbritten, author of the upcoming mystery, Chihuahua of the Baskervilles,” and that it’ll happen in a forum that reaches bajillions of potential readers.

I also pass leads to friends and family, ’cause this both endears you to people and reminds them that you exist. Make sure your email signature line is in good shape.

Chihuahua News Round-Up

Dogs of Mexico: Chihuahua and Xoloitzcuintli

Humane society files charges against chihuahuas‘ owner

URBAN PUP CLOTHING IS THE FASHION CHOICE OF STARS (Note that this is a press release. I believe that anyone can submit a press release to this site, although this site appears to be aimed at Brits.)

Even Pets Suffer Recession as Health Declines

The Wise Articles » Basic Chihuahua Training Tips and hints

The Whole Enchihuahua (still offering free spays and neuters through the end of May)

Family’s Future Uncertain After Fire
(The Chihuahua woke them up)

VIDEO: Running of the Chihuahuas in Chattanooga

Small Dogs Packing Silicon Valley Shelters; Adoption Urged « CBS 

Adoption Fees Waived at Northern CA Shelter, During Month of May

LA councilman Koretz proposes regulation of commercially bred pets

Two Adopted Chihuahuas Doing Well (heartwarming)