Guest Review of Who Wants Broccoli? by Sebastian the Rescue Dog

Clearly I’m not a cat, but I appreciate Sneaky inviting me to guest post. I’m Sebastian, a rescue dog who’s part Chihuahua and all spunk, as Mom says. My humans and I currently live in Austin, Texas, but I’ve also lived in Las Vegas (where my previous owner left me to fend for myself) and Victoria, British Columbia (where my humans adopted me). I should have frequent flyer status by now!

Anyway, Mom’s a writer and she decided to write a picture book imagining my life with the other rescue dogs. Before submitting her story to agents, she read me a bunch of other picture books about dogs (especially rescues like me) and we discovered “Who Wants Broccoli?” which is written and illustrated by Val Jones (HarperCollins, 2015).

The book features Broccoli, a large but lovable rescue dog living in Beezley’s Animal Shelter while he waits for a family to take him home. Mrs. Beezley likes to say “there’s a lid for every pot and a pot for every lid,” but Broccoli’s loud, messy ways get him into trouble. Anyone who’s ever been told they try too hard will relate to his plight.

A little boy and his mom move into the neighborhood and come to adopt a dog, but they almost miss Broccoli because Mr. Beezley has moved his cage into the storeroom. That part was so sad, I let out a little Chihuahua whimper (or maybe I was hungry, as I often am). But eventually Broccoli finds his lid and a new family that loves him, messes and all.

I think kids and pets will enjoy Jones’ simple, heartwarming story and playful illustrations that show a range of different pets. I only wish every rescue animal could find a good home like Broccoli and I did.

For more #doglit reviews and photos of my adventures, follow me on Twitter at @LittleRedRescue. My mom tweets about #kidlit and shares her own writing at @UrbanMuseWriter.

What animal picture books should we read next? Leave a comment and let us know!

Sneaky’s note: Thank you Sebastian for a doggone good post. Not bad for a dog. If any other pet has an animal book they would like to review, please have your person send it to my author at

Sneaky’s Interview of Author Marie Lavender’s Cat, Emma

Meow, there. As you all know if you’ve been reading this blog, I interview cat characters, but I also interview author’s cats. Today, I am honored to interview multi-genre author, Marie Lavender’s cat, Emma.

Hi, Emma. Please tell me and my readers a bit about yourself.

Emma spends her days in deep concentration plotting to rule the world.

I’m surprised you haven’t heard of me before! Well, you should know. I intend to rule the universe someday. My name is Emma A.K.A ‘the Munchkin’ Mulrooney. I have earned many pet names…ha ha…did you notice what I did there? My mom, or favored human slave, Marie Lavender likes to call me Emma Roo, because I bounce all over the house like a kangaroo. She also says, ‘Agent Em’ sometimes. Probably because I am so stealthy and dangerous!

You sound like quite an interesting cat, Emma, but most cats are multi-faceted.

Have you appeared in any of your owner/author’s books? Are you going to be a talking cat in your books or just a silent one like I am who just meows occasionally?

No, I have yet to appear in any of her books, and I am very upset about it! She claims she won’t include any of her own cats in them because she wants to gives us a good life here at home, a ‘private life’. Whatever that means! As if Grumpy Cat or Maru ever had a bad time being famous? Seriously, how could anyone resist adorable me?

To answer your other question, I am rarely silent in life! Except when I’m making my careful plans to take over the world. I always tell my owner what I think and what I want. Other people in the house believe I am too vocal, however. What else is a kitty supposed to do? Humans are too dumb to understand our language, so we have to be as loud as possible.

Ha, Ha. Talk about being loud. You have not heard my author’s cat, Oliver, at 4 a.m. when he wants his breakfast and to go out on Debbie’s enclosed patio for his morning romp – MOL (Meow Out Loud).

What advice would you give other cats?

Be yourself! Go for your goals. If you want to be a cat detective, just do it! For myself, of course, that kind of work is beneath me. I am a queen, the goddess of this domain, and I will rule the world soon enough.

I am sure quite a few of my feline readers have the same plan in mind. Just look at the number of them on Facebook.

Can you tell me something about your author, Marie’s other books? Can you share an excerpt from the latest?

Ah, I suppose I will, if I must. I mean, you were kind enough to ask. Marie is a multi-genre author in the fields of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, dramatic fiction, literary fiction and poetry. But, she loves to try new things as well. Heck, I even heard that she dabbled in horror recently! I guess that’s not so bad. I don’t mind a little violence now and then, especially when I’m proving a point. Oh, where was I? Right. Marie…ah, she has time travel and dystopian works in progress, and even published a kid’s fantasy in 2015. Maybe she’s all over the place for a reason. She can’t seem to pay enough attention to me when she’s writing! But I digress.

Her latest release came out on July 25th. The book is titled Directions of the Heart, and it’s a modern romantic drama collection. Each novella in the volume deals with trauma in some manner. There are dark parts, but it’s also quite emotional, and as Marie is prone to do, she assures me there are happy endings for the couples involved. Here is an excerpt:

When she abruptly drew away from him, he frowned. “What is it you’re afraid of, Sadie? Why do you avoid me when we get close?” It was true. The morning after he’d consoled her from her nightmare, she’d fled from him as if the thought of simple intimacy between them, just lying together, even if sex hadn’t happened, was too much. And she’d pulled away after the dance in the kitchen too.

She glanced at him and shook her head, a sad expression bleeding through her features. “I…it’s complicated. You know about my parents.”

“Yes.” He imagined she might be afraid of losing him if she got too close. Or getting hurt. Was that all? If she wasn’t attracted to him, he would never push, of course. But if she dodged him for another reason entirely, he had to know. “Are you hung up on someone?”

“No. I don’t do this. I haven’t dated in a long time. I told you.”

“Not even just going out?”

“No,” she whispered.

Hell, it had been a while for him too. He wet his lips. “Whoever the last guy was, he was a jerk. I can judge someone turned you off men for a while. Believe me, I’m a guy too, and I know they can be assholes sometimes. He didn’t appreciate you.”

She offered a small smile. “You’re right. He didn’t.”

“I wouldn’t hurt you like that. You believe me, don’t you?”

She looked away. When she met his gaze a moment later, she appeared to want to say something, and then shook her head. “It doesn’t matter. I’m your employer.”

He muttered a curse. “Is it really about that?”

“There are rules.”

Matt lifted a brow. “I didn’t see anything about a ‘no fraternization’ policy in the contract I signed, sweetheart.” He shrugged. “Besides, when you’re off the clock, does it matter?”

“It should.”

“Yeah? Or maybe it’s just a convenient excuse.”

She put her hands on her hips, a move which stirred the strawberry blonde tresses at her shoulders. Her blue-gray eyes flashed. The fire he loved about her. “What are you saying?”

At the risk of being accused of sexual harassment, he leaned forward, saw her gaze immediately drop to his mouth. And he knew, knew it in his gut just like he was aware this intense desire for her wouldn’t go away. “I think you feel something for me, just like I do for you. It’s not tidy, and it won’t be. Hell, it might be wild, even messy with complications. For some reason, you’re scared. I meant what I said. I won’t hurt you. I wish you’d trust that this – you and me – wouldn’t be a mistake. I get you, Sadie, and I know you see it. I understand you in ways that are bound to make you uncomfortable. And it’s pretty terrifying, sure. Caring about someone usually is at first. But this might be the best damned thing we’ve ever invested in.” He brushed his lips against hers as a tease, then stepped back. “I’ll meet you in the car.”

Wow, Meow! Your author is quite talented, Emma.  Do you know when her next book will be out?

I don’t, not really. She is currently editing Blood Instincts, a futuristic paranormal romance/urban fantasy and book two of the Blood at First Sight Series. Depending on how fast editing, beta reading and her publisher go, she hopes to see it out sometime this year or at least in early 2018. Additionally, she has a romantic comedy book and a paranormal romantic thriller collection lined up.
But, enough about her! I should write a book one day. I will title it Your Feline Goddess Has Spoken. What do you think?

Hmm. I can see quite a market for that. Every cat will be clamoring for a copy.

Are you and/or your author on social media? If so, please list your links.

Please…I am far too busy for such inferior human tasks. But, if you really want to see more of my work, I do visit Marie’s ‘MLB’ blog quite often. In the meantime, if you really need to know, here are my human slave’s author links:


Amazon author page:

Purrfect! I enjoyed cat chatting with you, Emma. Best whiskers to you on taking over the world, although you have quite a bit of competition with your fellow felines.

Sneaky Interviews Lucky, Adrienne’s cat from the Historical Romance, Upon Your Love, by Marie Lavender

Oh, my Whiskers. I have the pleasure of interviewing a Victorian cat character today. What is your name and your author’s name?

My name is Lucky. The author in question is Marie Lavender.

Mice to meet you. I believe your author is with my author’s publisher, Solstice Publishing.

That’s correct, Sneaky.

What book(s) have you appeared in? Please list them and their genre.

I appeared in Upon Your Love. This is a historical romance/family saga novel, which is set in 1894.

Boy, that’s a long time ago. Debbie wrote a short story romance taking place around that time called The Seashell and the Stone. It featured a Victorian cat named Seashell, unusual name for a cat if I say so myself.

Are you in a series? If so, please give information about it.

I’m not in the whole series, but Upon Your Love is part of a trilogy with a maritime theme. Plus, as I said before, I live in the Victorian era. According to the author, the Heiresses in Love Series is about the Hill family and it spans many generations. There sure are enough people at the Bellamont estate!

Certainly sounds pawsome.

Are you based on a real cat such as your author’s? If so, please give further details.

Loosely, yes. I am based on a cat named Gingerbread, whom she fostered briefly until another family took over. She took many of my sweet qualities from Gingerbread – renamed ‘Cheddar’ later…gah! – but my tendency to get into mischief is all me, I’m proud to admit.

Interesting. I like your cattitude.

Can you share an excerpt from one of your books that features you in an important scene? If so, please include it.

Two days later, Adrienne played on the floor with Lucky, in her boudoir, tossing about one of her Maman’s spare, blue balls of yarn. She heard a knock at the door, but the feline had nudged the ball beneath the bed and she had to fetch it. A much harder task than she imagined, for Lucky was getting stronger. She finally retrieved it but, upon rising, she heard a sound behind her. Turning, she spied Eric. Clearly, he’d only come in to see if she was all right. She knew he wouldn’t have intruded otherwise.

She glanced around to check her kitten’s whereabouts and winced as the animal playfully pounced on his black, leather boots.

As Eric stood there in the middle of the room, his brown gaze narrowed on the orange cat while his lips twitched a little. The amusement in his eyes gave him away as well.

“Your mother will thrash you when she finds him in here.”

            “Her,” she corrected.

            “Her. And she will not be pleased.”

            She shrugged. “Maman will come around; I have no doubt of it.”

            He waved a hand as if he hadn’t the energy for this situation. “So, you will make your gentleman wait this time.”

            His words sunk in. She stood up quickly, cursing. “Christian is here? But, why didn’t you say?”

            “I said you have a visitor.”

            “But, not who,” she accused. “It could have been anyone.” She rushed to the vanity and ran a brush through her dark hair. She smoothed the wrinkles in her forest green, satin day gown, which had long sleeves and a ruffled collar.

            “You look well enough, chére.”

            “Not a word,” she grumbled. “I wish you’d told me sooner.” Her heart began to race wildly. How did the man do this to her? He always brought out vain impulses that were so foreign to her. “Did he say what he wanted?”

            “No, just that he wished to see you.”

            The request was vague at best. Christian was rarely a gentleman of leisure so he must have a purpose in coming.

            “Are you certain you wish to entertain Du Plessis? Your father would be pleased enough to send him away, if that’s what you want.”

            “No, he knows that is rude.”

            Eric scowled. “I won’t describe the bounder’s previous actions then.”

            “Eric,” she scolded. “This is between me and Christian. I promise I will handle it, and do whatever necessary to make it clear how I feel. You know I can protect myself from threats.”

            He sighed. “Be careful, chére. I am only concerned about you.”

            “Of course,” she murmured. “Now, go torment someone else, please.”

            Eric’s masculine laugh echoed as he left the room.

            Adrienne drew a deep breath, and departed from her boudoir. She took the stairs, and peeked in a few rooms, until she found Christian standing in the library. As handsome as ever dressed in a gray day suit, he eyed her father’s collection of literature. His black, wavy hair was a bit longer now and had started to curl up over the collar of his coat.

            “This collection is quite extensive,” he commented, as if he’d known all along that she stood there.

            She murmured an agreement. “Papa is rather proud of it. Elena has spent a lot of time in here during her stay and, if I am not mistaken, Pierce would enjoy it as well.”

            “Yes, he would.” After a moment, he turned to face her. “I have come to find out your answer.”

            “Hmm… to what?”

            He blinked. “Why, to my marriage proposal.”

            “Oh. Well, I don’t remember you asking.”

He frowned and looked at her as if she’d lost her mind. She wanted to laugh as one dark eyebrow lifted in inquiry.

“Of course, I asked.”

            “No, you definitely did not ask. As I recall, it was little more than a demand.”

            Christian’s mouth opened, then closed and he only appeared to stare at her, confusion in his nearly black eyes.    “Is that why you object, because I didn’t ask formally?”

            “Oh, no, it’s just one reason to object. I have a number of them.”

            He scowled. “What the hell do you mean by that?”

You don’t appear much in that scene, but I like the human characters, and it must’ve been fun jumping on that guy’s boots.

What do you like most about your role in your authors’ books?

I like that Adrienne found someone she could love – me! – someone who reminded her of her own positive qualities.

I believe the love between human and cat and even human character and cat character can be quite rewarding for both parties.

Are you a talking cat in your books or just a silent one like I am who just meows occasionally?

I am silent for the most part, except when I want my pet human’s attention, and especially when I’m hungry.

Same here.

What advice would you give other cat characters?

20859891 – hair. beautiful brunette girl. sexy woman with wavy long hair isolated on a black background. beauty model. hairstyle

(Cocks her head.) Be yourself. Why would you be anyone else? Oh, and enjoy life! I started out in the barn because Mrs. Chastain refused to keep our stray litter. Therefore, Joseph was watching over us. But a miracle happened after that. Adrienne found me and brought me into the house. Have you seen all that hair she has? She rivals even me. Humans are such strange creatures…

My author’s cat, Oliver, on whom I was loosely based, enjoyed playing in Debbie’s daughter’s hair when they first got him.

Do you have any new books coming out? Please give dates and details.

I don’t, but Marie’s new release is Directions of the Heart, which came out on July 25th. It is a modern romantic drama collection. Also, Marie is currently editing Blood Instincts, a futuristic paranormal romance/urban fantasy novel and book two of the Blood at First Sight Series. She hopes to see that out sometime this year, or in the early months of 2018. (Shudders.) It’s not for me, though. Vampires are scary!

Vampires and cats don’t mix well, but those sound like appealing books to some humans who enjoy reading scary stuff.

Are you and/or your author on social media? If so, please list your links.

Please…I’m a cat. I am far too lazy for such menial human tasks. But, here are Marie’s links:


Amazon author page:

Your author is certainly well connected. It was a pleasure to chat with you, Lucky, and I know your author has some other cat characters as well as her real life cats who will be appearing on this blog for future interviews. In the meantime, best whiskers to you.