Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Another Bad Dog Book by Joni B. Cole

Another Bad-Dog Book: Tales of Life, Love, and Neurotic Human Behavior

About the Book:

Eli the Chihuahua, also known as “Eee-Pie-Pie,” is a very bad dog. At only nine pounds he has discovered how to defy a $900 invisible fence system. He pees on imported Italian silk fabric. He won’t let anyone pet the family cat in peace. And yet, his owner, Joni B. Cole, has accidently ranked him higher than her husband and kids on her “happy list” and imagined kidnapping scenarios when a paperwork mix-up threatened to relocate him after his adoption went through.

In answer to countless memoirs recently published about shiny-coated yellow labs, or similar loping breeds, Cole brings new energy to the “bad dog” genre with her pup, a tiny mutt with blackish, fuzzy fur and big, pointy ears. To the purebred breeders of the world, the closest Cole can guess is that Eli is a disheveled Chihuahua Bat.

Cole's talent for turning everyday moments into hilarious and meaningful episodes show that even the smallest occasions can mean a huge amount of laughter. The lessons Cole has learned from being a mother, wife and pet owner are more practical than heartwarming, and her charismatic voice is more honest than sentimental (“Unfortunately, my career as an author had not been going so well these past couple years, not since I’d discovered the ‘Watch Instantly’ option on NetFlix”). Another Heartwarming and Hilarious Dog Story offers a message of simple love through essays of everyday proportions.

About the Author:

Joni B. Cole

You can find Joni here:

Twitter: @JoniBCole

Author of Toxic Feedback: Helping Writers Survive and Thrive, Library Journal “strongly recommended” the book for writers, teachers, and workshops. Joni B. Cole is also founding creator of the acclaimed This Day in the Life series, a three-book collection of women’s daily lives.

 Her humor and human-interest essays have appeared in her monthly newspaper column as well as assorted literary journals. She is also a frequent contributor to The Writer  magazine. Co-founder of the Writer’s Center in White River Junction, Vermont, Cole has taught writing for over fifteen years, and is a popular speaker at writing conferences around the country. She lives in Hartford, Vermont with her husband and two daughters. 

Book Quotes:

            “Mommy,” my six-year-old asked, “Did you burn The Monstrosity down?”…I admitted I had no alibi.

            I am not the self-service type, having spent years perfecting the are of learned helplessness.

            “What kind of computer is it?” my computer guy asks. “A laptop,” I reply impatiently. Even I know that much.

            My computer guy is really nice, but sometimes I get the feeling he’s trying to avoid me…he insists I’d be better off calling the company’s technical support center. Then he hangs up…I’d rather phone my mother-in-law and listen to her retell the story of how she saved $1.25 on a box of fire logs by going to four different malls.

            Eleven-year-old hormones are to blame…radical mood swings…look on her face that spoke volumes – your existence horrifies me. Why can’t you spontaneously combust, or at least be normal like other moms?
            Tears glazed her eyes, as if I was Mommy Dearest and her father was social services.

            …but I did know that if I had recently died, and saw a bunch of my so-called friends using my face as a fan at my memorial service, I wouldn’t take it too kindly. In fact, those would be the first people I’d come back to haunt, just to scare the bejesus out of them.

            A lot of people had an arm draped across the shoulder of the person next to them or were holding hands, including two women sitting directly across from me. in fact, I suddenly noticed, several women in the nearby rows were clearly together. Was I standing in the lesbian seating section? You’d think I would have noticed this sooner, given all the mannish haircuts and clogs. But this is Vermont; who can tell?

My Review:

            I know that this is a short review, but what can I say except I loved this book. I could stop here and to me that would be enough. But, just so I can convince you that you need to read this book, I'll add a few additional points.

            First of all, don't you love the quotes. They are straight from any one of our lives. I loved Joni's short story format. It was like sitting down for a gossip session with a good friend. By the time, I closed the book (turned off the Kindle) I felt as if I had known Joni B. Cole for years.

            Through her stories, she takes us on a journey through her life and she leaves us laughing and crying at different times and sometimes at the same time. Some of the stories are heart breaking and others leave you wondering how she’s made it through life thus far with so little scrapes.

            I saw so much of myself in some of her stories that I felt we were kindred spirits. It is a definite must read. It will have you remembering all of those funny stories of your own life. And, as I said in the beginning, this is a short review, but this is all it took to say how much I truly enjoyed this book. You will too.

Author Interview:

Do you remember the first story you wrote? What was it like?

In elementary school I wrote a story about a girl sneaking inside a rocket ship (her dad was a famous rocket scientist) and suddenly it took off! I don’t remember the finer plot points, but it all turned out fine (then, as now, I never liked stories with unhappy endings). But here is something you just made me realize by answering this question. While the story was fictional (obviously!) in real life, I have always had this irrational fear of suddenly finding myself clueless at some control panel. No wonder I’m so intimidated by technology!
Anyway, I don’t recall writing much fiction after my rocket ship adventure until my mid-twenties when I collaborated on a farce with another copywriter at an ad agency where we both worked. The piece had no plot or future, but it did kindle my interest in humor writing. And, as a gossipy side-note, my collaborator went on to become a writer for the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

 Do you use paper and pen, old-fashioned typewriter, or computer/laptop? Is there a specific place that you like to write?

I use a laptop, unless it’s too big to lug around, in which case I write in my “lucky” notebook. It’s “lucky” because when I got the idea for what became my title essay in Another Bad-Dog Book, I was in Borders at the time (boo hoo, no more Borders!) and I didn’t have anything on which to jot down my thoughts. So I bought this notebook and starting writing in the cafĂ©. Three weeks later, I showed the opening of that essay to a publisher who had previously turned down my proposal for a collection of humor essays, and she said yes!

Every time I look at my lucky notebook (which I carry in my purse) I’m reminded of two things. 1.) I need to write down my ideas as soon as I have them, just in case they amount to something. And 2.) My first drafts are bad; as in really bad! But, that’s okay. Because, with revision they may turn out just fine!

What is the best part of writing for you?

Writing is hard, but it’s harder when I’m procrastinating, or over-thinking, or whining about writing, which makes it all seem so overwhelming. So, the best part of writing for me is when I am actually doing it, even if it feels like slogging. I also prefer rewriting to facing a blank page. Give me something—anything—to work with and I’m more in my element. I also love that feeling when I reread something I’ve written and realize, Yes! It actually communicates what I wanted to say.

Tell us something about your books.

I came up with my three-volume “This Day” series about a decade ago, when I was having a very bad day. My dad had recently had a stroke. My career was going nowhere. And, my four-year-old refused to put on socks on on a frigid Vermont morning. All of which caused me to wonder if anyone else was having such a lousy day. And, from that thought, I began to wonder what were other women actually doing and thinking and feeling on this very same day. And so a book series was born, in which I invited about five-hundred women across the country and from all walks of life to create a “day diary” on a single day…and share it with the reading public. The most recent title in the series is: Water Cooler Diaries: Women across America Share Their Day at Work (“both fascinating and eye-opening,” Publisher’s Weekly.”)

In addition, I wrote Toxic Feedback: Helping Writers Survive and Thrive. This book came from my experience as a struggling writer, and as a long-time writing teacher who has witnessed too many times the destructive power of feedback; when, in fact, feedback is one of the best resources we have as writers, if it is given and received with thoughtfulness and a positive attitude. Toxic Feedback is often lauded for its humor, but its message is serious. Library Journal “strongly recommends” Toxic Feedback as a resource for writers and teachers, and American Book Review writes, “I can’t imagine a better guide to [writing’s] rewards and perils than this fine book.” I’m really proud of this book.

And, then of course I more recently wrote Another Bad-Dog Book: Tales of Life, Love, and Neurotic Human Behavior. I love writing personal essays, though I have to say my family isn’t too crazy about the idea. Ha.

What is something that most people wouldn't necessarily know about you (that you would be willing to share here, of course!)?

Hmm? Given that I seem to talk all the time, this is a tough one. Plus, I am pretty much how I appear to be in Another Bad-Dog Book—neurotic, loving, wanting to be loved, petty, generous, a people person who is also a curmudgeon… Because I often write humor, people might not know that I am very serious about my work as a writer and writing instructor. 

Top 3 things on your bucket list. 

1.) To be less self absorbed and kinder on a daily basis.
2.) To say “yes” to more new experiences, even if they intimidate me.
3.) To learn how to salsa dance!

When you aren’t writing, what are you doing? 

Enjoying the company of my daughters (ages 14 and 12) when they’ll tolerate me; vegging out with Netflix; socializing with friends; teaching classes and running workshops; serving on a couple boards; talking baby-talk to my dog and cat; reading; examining my laugh lines in the mirror; avoiding cleaning….

Everyone loves to win a book.

Well, I have great news for everyone! Joni B. Cole has graciously
offered an e-book for one lucky commenter.

This is open INTERNATIONALLY, so everyone can have a chance! 
All you have to do is follow this blog publicly and give your comments down below! Please include a valid email address so I can contact you. The giveaway will close on August 22, 2011 and the winners will receive an email on August 23, 2011.

Tweets about this give away are greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance for Tweeting!

If you found this review helpful, please click the icon below and check yes on
my Amazon.com review. Thanks in advance for voting. 

You can find Another Bad Dog Book here:

Disclaimer / Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book with no obligation for a positive review.  No compensation - monetary or in kind - has been obtained for this post. 
Cover art and book description courtesy of the author, publisher, or PR firm.


  1. Thanks for this. As a fifty something single also keeper of the dogs, my babies, I found the description of the book delightful, definitely something I will pick up!

  2. Hi Janice, I always love to hear from other folks who see their dogs as "babies." I hope you like the book! (I suspect you'll relate.) Thanks for commenting. Joni

  3. Sounds like a fun read and yet another for the TBR list.

  4. This sounds like a fun read - please enter me in the draw!

    darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  5. It's a fun read all right (except for a few tearjerkers). Best of luck to all who enter the giveaway. And if you have any questions about the book, just email me or "like" my Facebook page and I'll be sure to get in touch.

  6. Thank you so much for leaving a wonderful comment on my blog i really appreciate, returning the love. I think i have to check out this book you reviewed, it sounds interesting and I'm a book lover. Looking forward connecting more with you. Have a great week.

  7. Even before I finished reading the post I went to my library's website to see if they have any of Joni's books and what a bummer, they do not. And then look, a giveaway! Thank you so much for such a fun interview and for offering the book, it sounds like a great read.
    bibliophilescorner [at] gmail.com

  8. Thanks for the review. I can relate to this book. I have two chihuahua mix puppies that were dumped onto my fifteen acres. We are in the middle of nowhere so I know they weren't lost. This was two seperate occasions. I have Labs mom is black, dad is yellow and puppy is choc. I don't need more dogs. I don't have a lot of choice as what to do with the chihuahuas. I have a silly story on my blog about the dad lab,Casper.

    Okay I need this book not more dogs ;-)

    plb1050 at gmail dot com

  9. I am following you on GFC.

    plb1050 at gmail dot com

  10. I twittered about the giveaway.


    plb1050 at gmail dot com

  11. I'm always up for a good read, When I have time :) Thanks for finding my Blog and allwoing me to come over and find you and this giveaway!

    lindsey dot SWSM at Gmail dot com

  12. Hi, your sight looks very fun and I started following it just now. I love dogs too of course, and we have two here plus a cat/dog (he's a main coon and he thinks hes a dog) I will enjoy reading about you and your books!

  13. Hey all, thanks for the comments. Clearly all us dog freaks are in good company!

  14. I follow you on twitter (@wfnren) and on my blog (http://wrensthoughts.blogspot.com)



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