Sit Stay Pray Named National Book Award Finalist

Dear Readers,

I feel guilty announcing this now because of the enormous crisis the world is going through, but, as my loyal followers, I thought you’d want to hear our good news.  We could all use a day brightener, could we not?

Momma and I just received word that my latest book, Sit Stay Pray, has been named a finalist in the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA)’s 32nd annual Benjamin Franklin Awards program!  We are one of three finalists in the humor category.

This year there were almost 1,700 entries and 164 finalists.  The ceremony to announce the winners, originally scheduled for April 3 in Redondo Beach, CA, was cancelled and now will be held online in early May.  One finalist in each of the fifty plus categories will be named a Gold winner and the remaining two will become Silver winners.  Momma and I could not be more grateful and excited to be among the finalists.

For more on the program, you can go to https://www.ibpa-online.org/news/494443/IBPA-Announces-Finalists-in-the-32nd-Annual-IBPA-Benjamin-Franklin-Award-Program.htm.

As many of you may remember (Momma’s made me write about it enough), we won a Foreword INDIES 2017 Book of the Year Award for Lina Unleashed, so we are actually two for two!  Speaking for both of us — which I’m going to take the liberty of doing — I think maybe we’ve got something good going on here!

All of this pales in comparison, of course, to what’s taking place right now in our country and the world.  I hope you, like Momma and me, are taking measures to stay healthy and help turn the corner on the corona virus crisis.  We are praying day and night over it.

Lina, Proud but Concerned Pup



Crisis and Update

Greetings Loyal Readers,

In light of all that’s going on with COVID-19, I want to give you a big woof-out to try stay safe and well, and let you know that Momma and I are just fine.  In fact, life for us has required only a few adjustments in this strange new world.  (I am often quarantined against my will anyway, but when I’m out and about, you can pet away — no social distancing necessary for doggies.  Momma has – amazingly – limited her activities and puts a healthy distance between herself and her fellow humans when she does.)

One thing about this phenomenon, however, is really puzzling for Momma.  What is the big deal with toilet paper?  She has even Googled it:  “Why are people buying so much toilet paper?”  Has she missed the boat on hoarding it and thus saving our lives?  Should she be lurking outside the door of Publix to grab a few rolls when it next opens?  And, by the same token, should she be stocking up on poop bags for me?  She thinks not — the world may be crazy, but she is not.

Moving right along, I thought I’d take your mind off the problems at paw with a little update of our pre-crisis activities.  Momma and I had a great book event with the Women’s Cultural Alliance in early March.  It was well attended, the audience was engaged, and we sold several books — both Unleashed and SSP.  Momma and her friend, Cathy, hosted the event (Cathy kinda filled in for me as Momma’s support person since the venue barred dogs from attending — even though we now know that I would probably have been the safest being in the room!).  I did get to meet several of the attendees at the door, however, and the women seemed excited to meet the real author.

Momma’s cousin, Janet, who I adore, helped out with setting up and minded me during the meeting.  Momma was pawrticularily thrilled when the chair of the group, Lenore, told her that she would try schedule a bigger event next year!  Here are a couple of photos of our little group.

The next day Janet, Momma and I made the familiar trek to Naples.  First, they dropped me off at Ruffgers so they could shop and dine and hobnob unencumbered.  After a little shopping on Fifth Ave., they lunched at Minnesota-based Campiello which was right next to Momma’s favorite shop — BRUNO!  Momma, never missing a marketing opportunity, stopped in to check on book sales and flirt with Bruno himself.  Here he is with some of the most popular items in his store!


From there Momma and Janet returned to Ruffgers so Janet could watch me train.  Although I was tired from all the socializing I did at day care that morning, I still managed to pull off a pretty good run with Gigi!

And so it goes.  Momma and I are taking this virus crisis seriously and one day at a time, and hoping you, dear readers, are taking the necessary precautions to stay healthy.  If you need any good reading material while hunkering down at home, I know of a couple good books you might like.

Lina, So Far Surviving and Thriving




My Training Continues

Dear Readers,

Just so you don’t think I’ve forgotten about you, I want to give you a little update on my training at Ruffgers University.

I continue to work hard on the jumps, tunnels, tire, weave poles, plank and am even learning the teeter totter (those of us in the know just call it “teeter,” however).  It’s a little scary, but, as Momma says, one should do something every day that scares oneself.  Momma is actually (semi) quoting my hero, Eleanor Roosevelt, but don’t tell her that or she won’t say it anymore.

Here are some photos taken by my trainers, Gigi and Ashley.  Prior to taking the photos, they announce that it’s  “Tongue Tuesday” or “Tongue Thursday” depending on what day we’re there.  (Momma snarkily:  “At least I bet they know what day it is,  Lina.”)   All I know they are both Super Tuesdays or Thursdays because I get a ton of treats!

And here I am running the course with Gigi last week (with a little pawse to fix my fur):

And resting up after another grueling session at Ruffgers.


No rest for the wicked, though, as they woof.  Momma has booked as many sessions as she could cram in before we leave Florida in early April.  I know she will stop at nothing to see her little Aussie “in the arena.” Can you woof stage mom?

Lina, In It to Win It!



Off to University

Dear Readers,

I am continuing to embark on a new chapter in my life (and maybe one for my next book)!  Momma has enrolled me in Ruffgers Dog University in Naples for agility training.  As many of you know, I had already done some awesome training with Sara of “Adventure is Barking” in Minni, but when Momma heard of Ruffgers (don’t you just love the name?), she couldn’t drive me up to Naples fast enough.  It seems she still has dreams of me with that blue ribbon — or at least on a stage somewhere.  Here I am on my first day.

IMG_3102We got off to a mind-blowing start at Ruffgers when, right after we walked in for the first time, another smallish Aussie who looked uncannily like me, came in right behind us.  It turns out the Aussie, whose name is Rye, is also from Blue Horizon Tiny Aussies Kennel in Sarasota and was also born in August of 2014, but two weeks earlier than me.  Momma, thinking this through — and I could see the wheels turning — realized that we couldn’t be full brother and sister (unless the mother had a very unusual pregnancy), but we could be half siblings.  Here we are posing with Rye and his momma, Mary.  What do you think?


No sooner had Momma gotten over the thrill of meeting one of my relatives than she started feeling a little resentful towards Rye.  He seemed to be the star of Ruffgers — not only was his picture prominently displayed on the wall and on the counter, but he was also featured in the school brochure.

Well, Momma would have to go to work on that, wouldn’t she?  Shouldn’t a dog with a blog and two books under her collar be featured here?  Perhaps she would just ask Ashley, the owner, where the Ruffger’s library is (“it is a school after all, Lina!”) and suggest that they stock it with Lina Unleashed and Sit Stay Pray.  I just hope we don’t end up in the principal’s office over this.

Somehow I managed to tamp down Momma’s expectations and redirect her attention to the training at paw.  I have now had several lessons with Ashley and Gigi and love my training — especially since I am constantly rewarded with treats!  Sometimes I throw in a “speak” just to get a little extra.

Here I am showing off my skills with Ashley at my session last Thursday.

Momma has predictably already asked where the nearest competitions are and how we can get involved.  I just keep my head down and train.  Actually, I wouldn’t mind seeing a blue ribbon either.

Lina, Future Competitor?  Go Ruffgers!




Book Doggie Does Well

Dear Readers,

On February 20, Momma and I held a pawdographing/reading at Sunshine Booksellers for my latest book, Sit Stay Pray, and I’d have to woof that it went very well.  We sold scads of books (including some of my award-winning Lina Unleashed) and had a nice crowd.  Frank Steiger, who did the photo shoot for SSP, even came and snapped a few photos (some are included below).  Thanks to all the folks at Sunshine and thanks to our friends and fans who came!  Special thanks to Momma’s friend, Cathy, who helped set up, and Donna, who minded me.

Here are some photos of our big day.  Donna (in the pink), wants everyone to know that the wine bottle is not hers.

Note that our signed poster was later added to Sunshine’s wall, along with such luminaries as Randy Wayne White, Sue Monk Kidd and Robin Cook!


Lina, Noted Book Doggie




Sunshine Booksellers Event Gets Boost from Marco Eagle

Dear Readers,

Momma has been in high gear preparing for our pawdographing and reading of Sit Stay Pray at Sunshine Booksellers this week.  Especially since we got the Marco *Eagle* (I can’t help it — that word scares me) yesterday, and it included a big splash about the event.

In fact, right after we picked up the paper from the mailroom, Momma scurried into her office and googled “How to do a book signing event.”  Never mind that she’s done them before, she forgets easily and still hasn’t gotten over the trauma of the Lina Unleashed pawdographing two years ago when she basically read a speech to the restless audience (see chapter 24 of SSP).

Plus, she’d really like to get to the bottom of what attendees actually want from a book signing function.  She’s thought about it a great deal, but the answer is about as elusive for her as figuring out the meaning of life.  Do they want to know our backgrounds?  If it’s really cold in Minnesota?  What the book is about?  Did Lina really write it?  Where did Momma get such a cute dog?   (Smiling emoji.)

As Momma continues to pawnder her presentation, let me remind you that our Sunshine appearance is at 3:00 tomorrow!  We hope you can make it.  Cookies, wine and face licks will be served.

Lina, The Really Cute Dog




Spreading the Word

Dear Readers,

What a fantastic week we’ve had!  First, my new book, Sit Stay Pray, was the pick of the litter . . . er, the month for Momma’s bookclub.  Also, I got to attend the meeting with Momma, and (per the building manager’s instructions) I stayed on leash the whole time.  There wasn’t always someone at the other end, but what happens in the social room at the Veracruz stays there.  And speaking of stay – the lovely ladies did just that – they sat, they stayed and they discussed!

What a nice group of women — they couldn’t have been more gracious to Momma and me.  Mary B., the facilitator, led a great meeting, and after getting a few housekeeping items out of the way, they turned to my book.  The group asked a wide variety of questions such as “What advice would you give someone who wants to be a writer?” (Momma wisely piped up with “write!”), and “What have you learned from Lina, Robin?” (that one stumped her – maybe she’s not trainable after all).  One lady, Val, gave several examples of passages from SSP that made her laugh out loud!

All in all, we had a tail-wagging good time and we want to thank The Ladies of the Club for including us!  Here are some photos from our fun event.  We also want to thank, Luis, (pictured with me by the sign) who served as our photographer.  Also, big time thanks to Mary B. for making such a professional sign!  Woof!

Coming Up – Sunshine Booksellers!

Momma and I are also looking forward to our (second) appearance at Sunshine Booksellers next Thursday at 3:00.  Here’s our sign — already up — and next to that of Randy Wayne White, a New York Times bestselling author!


Momma attended Randy’s signing yesterday, eager to study his every move and word.  Momma said he was fantastic – totally off the cuff, funny and brilliant.  She has decided to emulate him this time — she will just say whatever comes to mind.  God help us.  Once again, I’ll be doling out face licks to distract.

Yesterday we did our trek around Cape Marco again, urging building managers to put our posters on display.  Momma had been dreading it, and dragged me along as her foil.  Here I am getting some tummy rubs from our friend, Tim — the manager of Cape Marco.


Today she’s participating in a little golf tournament and will be littering the place with her SSP postcards.

If you are in the area, I hope you can make it to our pawdographing!  Remember, the proceeds go to help my animal friends and disabled veterans and first responders.

And just a quick woof about Sunshine Booksellers:  they are one of the few remaining independent booksellers in the area, and have been terrific to us.  A big woof-out to Manager Joan for all of her help.

Lina, Taking Care of (Book) Business





Report from the (Florida) Front

Greetings Dear Readers,

Momma and I have settled in for the winter in Florida and we have both been quite busy.  I have IMG_0743been getting re-acquainted with old friends like Gracie, Cruz, Halle, Yogi, Bentley, Jackie, Lucy (she’s a pistol!) and the newcomer, Jasper, when we go outside to do our business.  Gracie and I (see photo right) have also had a few fun playdates, and I’ve enjoyed several walks around the Cape with Momma and my sitters, Janice and Natalie.

Momma has been busy, too.  In addition to her countless outings for shopping, golf, happy hours and attending Republican events, she has been working feverishly on promoting my new book, Sit Stay Pray.  

And I have to paw it to her — Momma really is a pit bull when it comes to marketing.  She has already placed ten copies of SSP at BRUNO in Naples, and dropped one off for consideration at the Marco Island Historical Society — they already carry Lina Unleashed.  Both places have Unleashed prominently displayed on their front counters!

IMG_0699Momma also inserted herself into the Veracruz Book Club schedule, and Sit Stay Pray will be discussed at their meeting on February 4!  As you can see, the meeting will be held in our “social room.”  Momma is thrilled about the bookclub, especially after the building manager said I could attend, too — “provided I am on a leash.”  “Of course,” said Momma all business-like.   She has, however, no intention of complying.  (How am I supposed to divert attention from her almost certain gaffs if I’m not allowed to work the room?)   This from a member of the Rules Committee.

IMG_0734Momma also nailed down another book event at Sunshine Booksellers on February 20.  We have just received the flyers from the printer and our marketing is about to be kicked into overdrive.  I already dread going from building to building in our area, begging managers to put up signs, and passing out postcards to anyone we meet on our walks and in the elevators — or anywhere.  Here’s my pitch though — if you’re in the area, please come (and sit and stay)!

Also, Momma’s fun friend, Cathy Lone Dawson, has secured a spot for her to do a reading with the Women’s Cultural Alliance on March 9.  I know what you’re thinking and I’m thinking the same thing:  Momma presenting at a cultural event?  Truth be told, she herself is scared to death — she just hopes she can pull this off.  My book, after all,  is pup . . . er pop culture, is it not?

IMG_0682In the meantime, she’s moving full-steam ahead.  The other day she submitted my “tunnel” photo (taken by my trainer, Sara) with a little blurb about my writing, to the Marco Eagle.  Amazingly, it appeared on page two of the paper two days later!  Now, of course, she’s hounding them for an article about the book.

There is one thing that Momma has delved into that thankfully did not involve me.  She is now a proud board member of the Republican Club of South Collier County (RCSC).  The other night she came home from an event with a bunch of “Trump 2020” socks — or chew toys as I call them — which she intends to give away to friends (“I have to help him get re-elected, Lina!”)  If there is a god, I’ll get to them first.


Lina, Just Doing My Part




Hounded by the Puparazzi!

Dear Readers,

It seems you just can’t get away from them.  I have been constantly hounded lately by the media.

First, Momma’s hometown paper, the Gonvick Leader Record, published a nice puff piece about my new book in its supplement, the Tri County Canary.  It appeared on the front page — and above the fold!  (Once you are a media darling, it doesn’t take long to learn the lingo.)   I don’t have a link to the story, but here’s a photo of it in the paper.  I’m sure if you want a copy, I can dig one up.  (Smiley emoji.)


Then, in late November, the Burnsville Sun-This Week (our current home-town paper) once again ran a front page article on us.  Mr. John Gessner, the editor, did a great job, except that he let Momma ramble on a bit about politics, and she even managed to mention Rush Limbaugh and Fox News.  She should be put on a leash.

And what can I woof about Mr. Gessner’s writing – he “gets” us!  Who else would describe Sit Stay Pray, as 47 bite-size chapters about life?  He did such an outstanding job of reviewing the book, that if I hadn’t written it, I’d buy it!  Here’s a link in case you want to “read all about it!”


Then just before Christmas, the Bemidji Pioneer published an article on Sit Stay Pray, too.  I think the author, Matthew Liedke – who did a fantastic job — grasped my role in the whole thing (“Pup puts pen to paper — tells story in blog and books”).  I just wonder if there might be room for a little doggie statue next to Paul and Babe down by the lake.  Here’s a link to that story.


So, you can see, dear readers, this has been a very good year for Momma and me, and we couldn’t be more grateful.  We want to thank you for supporting the Animal Humane Society and Helping Paws Minnesota with the purchase of our books.

May you have a tail-waggingly good 2020.

Lina, Lucky Dog




My New Boots

Dear Readers,

Greetings from Minnesnota.  Yes, even though we have a perfectly good place in Florida (aka The Sunshine State), for some odd reason we are still in the frozen tundra and the term has never been more apt.

Winter arrived early and furociously this year.  We have had freezing rain, tons of snow, temperatures that hovered around zero with wind chill that would make the North Pole seem balmy.

It wouldn’t be so bad, but keep in mind I have to go outside to go potty.  You try that when the ground is icy and snow packed and you have Momma (who shuffles along at a “glacial” pace like Tim Conway) in tow.   And to make matters worse, we only have about six hours of daylight now, so we’re often going out when it’s pitch dark.  In fact, it’s so dicey that Momma has taken to bringing her cell phone along so if she falls and gets knocked out, she can call somebody.  I know, right?

Anyway, this brings me to my point.  My paws get cold.  Like frozen cold.  Momma was hoping I could make it through the season without buying me little booties (you may recall that she is on a budget where I am concerned), but when I started going potty while alternately lifting my legs, she realized she had to do something.

First, she scoured the cupboard where my stuff is kept to make sure there were no previously purchased but forgotten boots.  There she found some five-year old Musher cream designed to provide a barrier from the snow and ice, but it did not help even one little bit.  Then inspawration hit!  She would use the little socks that she got from the vet to keep my feet dry after the time I was bitten at doggie daycare.4A5CFC3C-608A-423F-9F55-E46B858D4E9B

The socks had been impossible to keep on then, even with tape, and unfortunately this time was no different.  Especially when she caught some of my fur in the tape and effectively attached my neck to my leg.  Not making this up.  After the furcut allowing me to stand on all fours again, Momma took me outside where the socks promptly fell off.  Here I am already knowing that this was going to be a disaster.

FC99C6F5-A735-4614-A6CF-26CBC7AC5071Realizing that she had no choice but to actually buy something for me (plus, she could call it my Christmas gift), Momma next swung into Pet Smart, where they had some cute — yet price sensitive — socks, but only in size large.  In case you haven’t noticed, my paws are the size of a rabbit’s.  The socks are quite the fashion statement, but fell off even faster that the vet socks.  Even when she taped them up.  I wonder if Uber goes to Florida from here.

Next, she found some cute little “Dog” boots online that look just like her very own Uggs (price no object there!).  Luckily Amazon delivered them just as we were clawing our way outside (me bare-pawed again) in the dark looking for a good place to go.

Excited, Momma dragged me back inside where she ripped open the package and quickly began pulling the little booties on me.  She tried to ignore the fact that they seemed tight, hoping that she hadn’t measured wrong.  Well, if nothing else, she thought, she could have my nails trimmed to make them fit better.  Not making this up either.  We already have an appointment with the groomer.

Anyway, by the time I stumbled outside with the new boots, I had already lost one, and most of my potty time was spent looking for the other three.  Momma was ready to cry –they weren’t cheap and she had paid for express delivery!

The next morning it hit her (and I’d like to).  She had forgotten that the boots came packed with cotton so they would keep their shape.  Is it any wonder she couldn’t stuff my little paws into them?   Guess what — when she finally removed the packing, they fit perfectly!  Here I am during the Uggs nightmare.

Now that our stay in Minnesota is almost over, I finally have appropriate pawwear.  And sometimes Momma even remembers to put a jacket on me.  Just in time, too — it’s 3 above as I sign off.


Lina, Not Digging these Minnesota Winters!