I am really really happy to have Leland and Angelo on my blog today! I just finished Angelo’s Journey yesterday and it was a really great read. My review for it will be up a little later but for now my blog is Leland’s and Angelo’s for the day! Enjoy
Leland Dirks (me): Hey Angelo! Misty at the Top Shelf has asked us to do a guest blog!
Angelo: Hey, isn’t she the one who lives with that adorable Maggie Moo?
Me: Yep, that’s the one!
Angelo: Well, tell her yes!
Me: I already did!
Angelo: Oh. Okay, well, get to writing!
Sigh. That’s what it’s like when your co-author is a Border Collie. He has all the ideas, and I get to do all the work. Shhh. Don’t tell him I said that.
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a little kid. I wrote lots of poetry, and a little fiction, and I was hooked. My teachers encouraged me, my oldest brother encouraged me, and family friends encouraged me. But alas, there was no money in it, so I did the next best thing. I became a corporate bureaucrat. That’s not entirely fair. I was a technical writer, editor, and process designer. So I still got to write, but not about the things I wanted to.
Fast forward a few years, and I’m laid off of my job. I wind up consulting for a while. I get to travel to fun places. And I get to do more technical writing, editing, and process design.
Finally, I’d had it. I bought a little piece of land in the middle of a beautiful nowhere in southern Colorado, and I decided I’d fulfill a different lifelong dream. I’d build my own house, and it would be as ecologically friendly as possible. So that’s where I live now. In a house that’s powered only by the sun, and heated only by passive solar and a little wood stove.
So how’d I get into writing to make a living? Well, last year, NPR’s Weekend All Things Considered had another round of their Three Minute Fiction contest (there’s one going on now, but hurry! It ends on the 25th!). I submitted 600 words. And it changed my life. It reminded me of how much I love writing. It helped me meet a few delightful folks who love writing as much as I do. We formed an online writing group.
I decided, what the heck, what if I write a novella and self-publish it? What if I just skip right on by the gatekeepers of the publishing industry? And I did just that. Six months later, my first book, Angelo’s Journey: A Border Collie’s Quest for home is at #1 or #2 on the Kindle best selling dog book list. It’s based on a 40-day period of my life that was just about the worst. My Border Collie co-author took off after something, and didn’t come back. Our wonderful UPS delivery driver found him about 25 miles away, and I imagined what had happened to him in all that time. Angelo told me as much as he could, and I filled in the gaps.
We also collaborated on a book of poetry, called Border Collie Haiku. It’s currently only available on Kindle (formatting poetry is hard!).
And our latest book, Seven Dogs in Heavenwas just released for both the Kindle and nook. It’ll be out in paperback around the first of October. It’s part memoir, part fable, and part fantasy. The narrator freezes to death, and wakes up in a strange place. The angels he meets don’t have halos or wings; they have tails and four legs. And they have a whole lot to teach him.
The new book also has a bonus short story called Christmas with a Collie, which would be a delightful thing to share with your favorite canine for Christmas.
And that brings us back to the present. Let me check with the head writer to see if he has anything more to say.
Angelo: We’d really like to thank Misty for all her support in helping get the word out about our books. And if Misty and Maggie Moo ever get to Colorado, we hope they’ll stop and visit.
Me: HEY! Those are MY notes!
Angelo: Yeah, but I sound more sincere.
Me: Sigh. Okay. Your baritone voice does sound good.
Angelo: Hey, shouldn’t you be writing or something?
Leland lives in the middle of a beautiful nowhere that is Colorado’s San Luis Valley. Angelo, the world famous Border Collie, and Maggie, his black Lab philosopher mix, allow him to share their off-grid home. All three tolerate The Cat who does a merely adequate job of rodent control.
Leland has built the majority of the 1800 square foot all-solar home over almost four years, but is grateful to friends and neighbors who have helped with some of the heavy lifting. His website is www.hermitblog.com.
Leland is offering up a signed paperback copy of Angelo’s Journey! All you have to do to enter is comment below. Winners will be picked by random.org on Wednesday 09/21 at 5PM Eastern. Good Luck!
Synopsis: Border Collie tries his paw at haiku, and his human adds pictures to illustrate each poem. More than 30 poems with a point of view about four feet lower than the average human’s. You’ll enjoy getting inside the world’s smartest dog’s head.
Buy it now at:
Synopsis: A Border Collie is brutally kidnapped. He escapes his captor and starts the long journey home, meeting a truck driver, a long-abused wife, a Marine, a cowboy and two grandmothers. Their lives will never be the same after meeting Angelo. Sometimes, all it takes to avert a disaster is the light touch of a canine paw.
A warning to friends who’ve enjoyed my other books: The Marine, the cowboy, and the truckdriver in this book use some language that may not be suitable for younger readers.
Synopsis: Part memoir, part fable, and part fantasy, this is the story of a man who dies unexpectedly and makes his way to Paradise with the help of the canine friends who shared his life.
What if you lived in the middle of a beautiful nowhere, with a dog who mysteriously appeared at your door? What if you were out hiking one winter day, you broke your leg, and you froze to death? And what if the angels who met you had four feet instead of wings? Would you listen to the lessons they wanted to teach you?
This edition also includes a bonus short story, Christmas with a Collie.