Archives: #mustlovedogs

Amazing Author #1: TERI CASE

 

My friend, Teri Case

Picking up on an fun idea that I’ve seen on other websites, I decided to start a periodic column on my blog called the “Amazing Authors Series.” I didn’t even have to ponder who I would feature first—I knew. TERI CASE is a witty, smart, talented writer I met in an online Mastermind course in 2016. After chatting through that Slack group for awhile, we eventually became friends beyond the course. I’ve never met Teri in person, but not for a lack of trying. We planned to meet for a cup of coffee last year when I was visiting New York with my family (Teri lives a train ride away from where I was staying); alas, an unexpected blizzard prevented her from traveling to the Big Apple. Maybe next time!

Teri and I share texts, emails and the occasional phone call to bounce ideas off each other and discuss our various book projects. I’ve served as a beta reader on two of her novels; she has done the same for me. It’s invaluable to have a colleague who enjoys brainstorming (ad nauseam, lol) about the same topics that I like. I highly recommend you find a Teri Case ♡ if you don’t already have one! Read her interview below, and perhaps you’ll order a copy of her moving, raw, powerful, debut novel Tiger Drive. It’s a wonderful vacation read; I couldn’t put it down! It’s also recommended for book clubs, and Teri will Skype into your book club, schedules permitting.

Tiger Drive is available on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Q: What genre of books do you write?

  • Literary Fiction

Q: Do you write anything besides books?

I write a (mostly) weekly newsletter called Vitality Stories where I share a variety of stories, experiences, Dear Me letters, and updates on my current projects.

Q: What did you like to read as a child?

  • Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder;
  • My dad’s True Crime Magazines (I wish I were kidding);
  • I’m not sure if schools still do this, but when I was in elementary school, we’d get a Scholastic order form each month to order books (and kitten or puppy posters). I always got to buy a book to read. I wish I could remember all the titles;
  • I loved Choose Your Own Adventure books, too.

Q: What jobs have you had?

  • I was the youngest assistant manager ever at Round Table Pizza in high school;
  • I witnessed weddings for the Justice of the Peace in Carson City, Nevada, for four years, three Saturdays a month. I made $5 per wedding (and the judge always bought me lunch);
  • I worked as a cocktail waitress for one summer to catch up on bills—the hardest job I’ve ever had to be sure;
  • I held a variety of secretarial jobs at the University of Nevada, Reno, both as a student worker and as a full-time employee after I graduated;
  • I once assisted a CFO at a luggage and leather goods company. The owner was paranoid, so our office was in a warehouse with no windows because the owner was afraid of snipers and assassins;
  • I was a credit manager for an outdoor apparel company;
  • I was a c-level executive assistant in the biotech industry for decades;
  • And now, I’m an author!

Q: Is writing your full-time job or part-time passion? In other words, do you have a day job?

Writing has been a full-time job for the past four years (though I’m hard pressed to prove my productivity looking back on it—you’d think I’d have four books published by now. Egad!).

Q: How long have you been a writer?

I wrote my first book in the third grade. It was about a Native American boy named Andy who had a pear-shaped head. All the kids picked on him for the shape of his head. I wrote my second book thirty-two years ago. I was fifteen, and it was a teen romance. I entered it in a contest with Seventeen magazine. I punched three holes in the margin and bound it with light blue yarn. I didn’t win.

Q: Do you have an agent? Do you think it is important to have one?

I do not have an agent because it’s not important for me to have one. I think whether or not an author needs an agent is a highly subjective decision and influenced by the individual’s goals, capabilities, and resources, as well as the specific project.

Q: Did you publish through the traditional route or self-publish? Any thoughts you’d like to share about this?

I chose to self-publish Tiger Drive based on my goals, capabilities, and resources. I have no regrets. In fact, I am going to self-publish my second book, In the Doghouse, as well.

Tiger Drive comes in two different cover choices. So, I bought both! Decisions, decisions.

Q: What can you tell me about your most recent book or project?

Tiger Drive is about four members in a white trash family trying to break the mindset and habits of generations to change their futures and to prove they matter (February 2018 release). I’m super proud of the novel and some of the reviews have made me cry happy tears.

I’m currently editing my second novel, In the Doghouse, but I’m not ready to share the premise yet. I’m afraid someone will beat me to the idea (laughs out loud, maniacally). People usually respond to this fear with, “Only you can write the story your way.” But sometimes a story’s premise is different enough that it would be a challenge to have more than one book out at a time with the same premise, and that’s how I feel about my latest project. But I promise to share more as soon as possible.

Q: Now’s your chance to brag a little … anything you want to add?

Writing Tiger Drive inspired the Tiger Drive Scholarship for high school students who want to reach, learn, and grow beyond their familiar environment by pursuing a college education. So far, eight scholarships have been awarded and a few of the recipients made the Dean’s List their first year in college.  [Cathey’s Note: I love contributing to Teri’s scholarship program. Here’s some information about donating.]

Q: What advice do you have for other writers?

Dear Writers:

To break a writing rule and use a worn-out cliché, there is no time like the present. In fact, there is no time except the present. Sit your butt down, turn on a timer for twenty minutes each day, and write.

Love,

Teri

Q: Do you have any pets?

I currently don’t have any pets because my partner and I travel (and move) a lot, and I’d hate to leave them behind. Growing up, I had a dog, Marie, who lived to be thirteen; she died just six months after my father passed away. As an adult, I had a wonderful Labrador-mix, Kimo, for thirteen years. I lost him in a breakup, and in hindsight, losing him was the hardest part about the breakup. But it was the right choice and he lived four more very happy years without me.

Q: Would you mind giving us the LINKS to your social media? 

https://www.tericase.com

Instagram: @TeriLCase

Facebook: TeriCase_Author

Twitter: @tericase_author

Five Ways To Impress My Dog

I’m the seeing-eye person for my little blind dog. I tap my foot to indicate the spot where I’ve dropped Cricket’s treat. I gently tug her head up by the leash so she doesn’t bump her nose on the curb. I squeak her toy before the toss so she knows how to track it. I never rearrange our furniture.

Cricket wasn’t born blind, but juvenile cataracts took her eyesight at the young age of two. She’s eleven years old now, and, like most pet owners, we adore our fur-baby. As such, my husband and I spared no expense. Cataract surgery on both eyes; laser surgery to save one detaching retina; pricey drops to keep glaucoma under control. Cricket is high maintenance!

IMG_4632Perhaps you’ve heard the funny saying, “Be the person your dog thinks you are.” I have a ceramic dish that displays the quote, and it got me thinking. What kind of person does Cricket believe I am?

#1 – My dog thinks I’m a caretaker.  I provide for all of Cricket’s needs. I feed her, pet her, bathe her, walk her, and administer her medications. I make sure she doesn’t bump into things. I keep her safe. So, according to my ceramic dish, I need to BE this person, right? That means I should take care of myself. My husband, colleagues, friends and family will treat me the way I treat myself. I recently heard Elizabeth Gilbert, best-selling author of Eat, Pray, Love, explain her thoughts on this topic. She says that after years of self-work, she finally blossomed into a person who could attract positive results. She learned how to treat herself so well that she finally recognized what it felt like to be treated well by others. I need to take care of myself as well as I take care of sweet Cricket.

#2 – My dog thinks I’m the alpha.  Cricket knows I’m the boss. She can’t help it. It’s instinctive. She hangs her head if she thinks I’m upset with her. She rolls onto her back to get my attention. She stays in place when I tell her not to move. If I’m going to BE this person, I need to be the alpha of my own life. If I don’t take charge, someone else will. As William Ernest Henley wrote in his poem, Invictus, “I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.” Every day is a new opportunity to focus on my goals. I have to be my own alpha.

#3 – My dog thinks I’m active.  Twice a day, I lead Cricket on her walks. I toss toys to her. I brush her fur. I help her chase a soccer ball around the yard. To BE the person Cricket thinks I am, I need to stay active. I lost a smart, vibrant, beautiful college friend this year to cancer. I think if she were alive, she’d say, “Lethargy has no place in your life, Cathey. Go live!” I need to actively live until the day I die. Cricket cannot see the toys I toss, but she enjoys fetching them as if it were the most exciting event she has ever encountered. Just as Cricket adapted to her blindness with her frisky personality still intact, I, too, want to face each day’s challenges with active enthusiasm and energy.

#4 – My dog thinks I’m cuddly.  Cricket sleeps in the bed with my husband, Kevin, and me. She cuddles with us, especially during thunderstorms. I translate this to mean that I should be soft (cuddly!), not harsh. Karma means that there’s a law of attraction at play in my life. I want to be supportive and encouraging of the successes of my friends. I want to think positive thoughts; listen to my intuition; visualize how I want my life to be. That prickly old feeling of disappointment is the opposite of cuddly, so I strive to not wallow in discontent.

 #5 – My dog thinks I’m part of the pack.  Cricket does a pretty typical dog thing, or maybe it stems from her breed (Havanese!). No matter who walks in our door, she barks—even if she knows the person quite well. When our son, Will, comes home from school, Cricket barks. When Kevin gets home from work, she barks. When our older college kids visit, she barks. I guess she’s warning me that our other pack members have arrived. But, interestingly, whenever I enter the house, she doesn’t bark. I love that she’s silent upon my arrival, because it makes me feel that I belong here. I like being an integral part of the pack. I think in other areas of my life, I need to be a bigger slice of the pack. A member of the author pack. A member of the publishing pack. A member of my pack of awesome girlfriends. It’s a creative world, and I want to be part of it.

Please forgive the awkward photo of Cricket. Because she can’t see, she was confused about what I was doing with the dish!

© 2018 Cathey Graham Nickell