Tales from a Dog Catcher

Tales from a Dog Catcher

"In the tradition of James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small and John Grogan's Marley & Me, Tales from a Dog Catcher is a humorous and heartwarming collection about love, laughter, loss, acceptance, and fate, in the world of an animal control officer."
- Publishers Marketplace"

...Writing in a style reminiscent of James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small, she recalls her experiences in 22 vignettes that dispel and replace stereotypes with an image of a compassionate individual concerned with animals and people alike. Like Herriot, she is a gifted storyteller and an astute observer.... At times amusing and heart-wrenching, this memorable book deserves wide readership. Highly recommended for public libraries. "
- Library Journal (starred review)

... In Tales from a Dog Catcher, she brings together these experiences in a magical book that is funny, touching, and heartrending by turns." - Amazon.com

"This is a wonderful book. I had a hard time putting it down. I was laughing and tearing up, sometimes at the same time! I didn't want it to end..."-Nina Killham, Bestselling Author of Believe Me, How to Cook a Tart, and Mounting Desire

"Having good writing skills isn't a prerequisite for getting a job as a dog catcher, but the two certainly make a good combination for the author of Tales from a Dog Catcher...Some stories are funny - some may move you to tears. I may be barking up the wrong tree, but I think they will appeal to animal lover's and even those who don't care for pets will enjoy reading about the eccentric people involved in these tales from a dog catcher." ...Phyliss Davidson - INFO Metropolitan Library System Magazine. Oklahoma

"Summer reading! Enjoy tales about hero hounds, crazy cats. Great dog books just made for Summer Reading! ... Here's a list of some of our favorite books ... Tales from a Dog Catcher by Lisa Duffy-Korpics is a collection of real stories about people and the animals they encounter...this book is in the tradition of "All Creatures Great and Small" by James Herriot. The stories are funny, sad, uplifting and even silly." ...Laurie Denger - Dayton Daily News. Ohio

"...In Tales from a Dog Catcher," author Lisa Duffy-Korpics recounts her years as an animal control officer in a series of fascinating and engaging stories...the stories can be funny and heartbreaking, often simultaneously...However, there is no shortage of entertaining encounters. Animal lovers will appreciate the candid tales, and enjoy a new perspective on an often unexamined profession."...Dog Channel.com

"Lisa's numerous on-the-job adventures are compiled in this collection of sad, charming, delightful and humorous short stories. ...Animal lovers of all ages will appreciate Lisa’s recollections of her memorable encounters with domestic animals and injured wildlife in the beautiful Hudson Valley." ...Rachelle Nones - Tri County WOMAN magazine. New York

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Comparisons to James Herriot: An Overwhelming Honor

Thank you "Sam" for this wonderful Amazon Review. This brought tears to my eyes. Of course, five star reviews have a way of doing that and I'm incredibly appreciative of all my reviewers - but this one really captured my heart.

5.0 out of 5 stars On par with James Herriot!, December 31, 2009
I am a big fan of James Herriot, so when I read the review that suggested her book was similar I thought I would give it a try. Yes, I would say that she is a modern day James
Herriot. Love this book! Excellent stories and writing style...hope to see more works from her soon! I am going to buy this book as gifts for friends.

What some of you may not know, is that James Herriot (his real name was James Alfred Wight), was someone who, while I was growing up, provided a safe shelter in a sometimes stormy life. I discovered these books when my Mother gave me her copy of All Creatures Great and Small in the early 70's. What we didn't realize at the time was that she would soon face an illness that would change all of our lives. While she was hospitalized during the many times in the years to follow, we would share all of James Herriot's books.

These books were based on the life of Alfred James Wight, a Vet who practiced in the town of
Thirsk, Yorkshire in Northern England. Although he wanted to write a book for many years, working long hours as a country veterinarian, fighting in World War II, and raising a family gave him little time to do it. He took the pen name of James Herriot and wrote If Only They Could Talk which was published in the U.K. in 1970. St. Martin's Press eventually published his first two books in one volume in the U.S. The result was All Creatures Great and Small. It was an overnight success. James Wight was 50 years old. More information on his books and life can be found on his official website. His Vet practice is now a museum. James Herriot died in 1995 at the age of 78. The photo of the book on this blog is what my copy looked like in the 1970's, although it's gone through several changes since then. His books were even made into a BBC TV series that was very popular for some time.

As an only child, my mother's death in 2003 was incredibly difficult for me. Not content with just the stories I had published in anthologies, she had been encouraging me to write my own book for years. Taking care of two young children, working full-time, commuting, completing my graduate degree and trying to care for her as she became increasingly incapacitated was an exhausting blur of activity - with little time to even think of writing.

After her funeral, when everyone had left to move on with their lives, I sat alone on the living room floor, writing the thank you cards for the flowers and donations to the National Kidney Foundation. The room had become increasingly dark as the sun set, but I hadn't even noticed. All of the cards were spread out on the floor and I was trying to collect them all to put stamps on them. Realizing that I might have lost some of the cards under
the couch, I lied down on the floor and reached under to try and fish out some of the lost cards when I felt something thicker...like a paperback book. I pulled it out and saw it was a dusty mass market paperback copy of James Herriot's last book Dog Stories. I'd never read it...and what's more...I didn't remember buying it. It was in poor condition. Maybe I'd picked it up at a tag sale? I hadn't had time to read for enjoyment for a few years - maybe I'd bought it and put it aside? I couldn't remember.

I pushed the thank you cards aside and turned the light on. I climbed up on the sofa and opened it - thinking I would look at it a bit and get back to the cards. I didn't. I read instead.

Where did the book come from? Why did I find it in that exact place, in that exact moment when I probably needed it the most? Once again, almost 30 years later, James Herriot gave me a place to go when everything around me seemed impossible to deal with. Perhaps more importantly, it
gave me an idea. Maybe even a message.

It was time to start collecting all of those stories I'd written through the years, some published, others not completely written, and put them together into a plan.

There are some similarities and differences- I also ended up working with animals and I enjoyed writing, although he had 56 years of experiences to write about, and I only had 4. He was born in Glasgow, where my Grandparents were born and much of my family still live. He started writing when he was 50. I was 44 when Lyons Press bought Tales from a Dog Catcher. He really enjoyed the people and and animals he worked with -as did I.

He wrote 14 books. I've written 1. After the next 15 or so stories I have to move on to either fiction or if I continue with narrative non-fiction; my experiences as a teacher. There are only so many true stories you can harvest from 4 years.
So, thank you Sam, for calling me a "modern day James Herriot". I'm so very glad that you enjoyed Tales from a Dog Catcher.
To be compared to someone who has meant so much to me, is an amazing honor. I am humbled by it.

photo courtesy of jamesherriot.org

Tonight - A Guest Blogger on Tales from a Dog Catcher Blogspot

Tonights guest blogger is Emma Korpics. It was difficult booking Emma since her agent had her doing an interview on Ellen and then flying back to New York for a spot on the Today Show.

Q. How are you doing tonight Emma?
I'm tired

Q. So, is there anything you would like to tell the book blogging community?
Please let me go to sleep.

Q. Have you read your Mom's book yet?
No. I'm waiting for the movie.

Q. So, since you have tons of free time not being spent reading your mother's book, what are your interests?
I like sleeping. I like TV. I like singing, and I like Pugs and hanging out with my friends. I love my family.

Q. What do you think you want to be when you grow up?
A well rounded human being, with a big house and a room for my Pug.

Q, What kind of career do you think you would like to pursue?
I am going to be one of those people who somehow find a way to make money by sitting on their butts all day.

Q. Sort of like writers?
No, not like that. I'll be a one hit wonder, retire and then watch tv with my Pug...next to the pool...with my 76 inch plasma screen tv....no, I'm kidding. I would like to be a singer or an actor or a movie director/producer.

Q. Are you going to move to California to do this?
Yes, but I'll start in New York just to make sure I can do it.

Q, Will you bring me with you?
Yes, and I'll buy a big house next to me so we can always be together.

Q. Will you read my book then?
No. I won't have the time because I'll be avoiding the paparazzi.

Q. Thanks for chatting with us tonight Emma. It's good to see how grounded you are with realistic goals.
That's how I roll....can I go to bed now?

Yes, goodnight and thanks again.

Well, that brings us to the end of our interview. I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Thoughts from Tales from a Dog Catcher: Best Wishes for a Happy New Year to All

I spent yesterday racing around trying to finish Christmas shopping. I waited for help at one store where an overworked and overwhelmed teenager seemed to be the only employee handling the fifty or so customers shouting questions at him. They were shopping for the holidays, but they seemed to forget that this poor young man was part of what we should all be trying to remember during this season - to be kinder to people.

I left.

Was I totally altruistic? No, probably not. I didn't want to wait either. It was worth it to go online and order it there and pick it up later today. - but perhaps I was partially altruistic because I didn't have the heart to ask him to help me when I noticed him leaning against a display case taking a moment's breather. I watched a very purposeful couple march over to him when they noticed he was alone, like they'd caught the big one. That's when I left. Got in my car and out of the parking lot, only getting beeped at twice. Picked up my kids and took them to Olive Garden for lunch, where after a while I remembered how children are like dogs.

One is a pet. Two are a pack.

I remembered Christmas's with my Mom, when we had nothing, yet she managed somehow to put presents under the tree. Waking up Christmas morning when I was 7 and lived in Arizona, to find my father had flown in from New York in the middle of the night to be there in the morning. Midnight Mass and holding candles in the darkness of the church. Holidays with so many of my favorite people, so many of them gone too soon. I thought about those holidays when I had no tree and no plans and worked through the night to allow others to spend the time with their family. I remember a Christmas Eve working a police dispatch desk on a midnight shift with my 11 month old son in a car seat next to my feet...a part-time job I took when I left teaching for a year to raise my son. Or, even better - the Christmas's when my children were new - when wrapping paper and boxes were more fun than anything inside of them. The years when my cousin and I would walk through the streets singing Christmas Carols - no malls, no crowds, no presents, no need.

I'm not saying I'm self actualized or anything...I can be just as materialistic as the next person. I once spent a holiday in so much self pity that I didn't want to even put up a tree or hang any lights. I didn't care. It was my good friend Michele who told me: "Go home, put up some damn lights and a tree. Get over yourself and remember that this is not about you." Smart advice from a smart woman.

Happy Holidays to everyone out there. Whether you celebrate Christmas, or Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, or that made up Seinfeld holiday. Even if you don't celebrate anything at all - take a moment to appreciate all that you have. My friend Bud at work said it best. "No matter how bad you may feel, you're on this side of the dirt and breathing."

I have many wise friends!

I wish all of you the best. Thank you to all my readers for your support and friendship. Much happiness and good health for a wonderful New Year.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Adopt Two Purebred Beautiful Young Trained Siberian Huskies- Free to the Right Home!

Kodi and Mason are waiting for their new home- could it be yours?

Kodi and Mason are beautiful, smart, well trained and loving Siberian Huskies in need of a new home. Mason is a little over a year old and Kodi will be a year in January. Their owner took incredible care of them, but unfortunately due to an unexpected move and extended work hours, she is no longer able to provide them with the room and attention they are used to. Rather than taking the easier road of keeping them anyway and having them try to adapt to a more lonely and restricted lifestyle, this young woman has made the brave, unselfish decision to find them a home that will be the best for THEM - an incredibly difficult and heart breaking decision for her.

MASON: (Above) - Born June 6, 2008 Pure Bred Siberian Husky - ACA Registration Papers available - not
filed yet. House Broken and Crate Trained. Black and White with Blue Eyes. Approx 58 lbs.Up To Date Vaccinations. Neutered. Loves Everyone and Every Animal. Extremely Well Behaved. Ok on Leash but he is strong and also a husky so he knows how to pull

KODI: (Below on Right) - Born January 26, 2008
Pure Bred Siberian Husky - AKC Registered,
Black and White with Blue Eyes. Approx. 54 lbs. Up To Date Vaccinations. Home Again Micro Chip. Neutered. Does NOT do well with other dogs or small animals besides Mason. Very Gentle and Loving with all people. Ok on Leash but he is strong and also a husky so he knows how to pull. House Broken and Crate Trained
Kodi and Mason MUST be adopted together! *They are very dependant. They have only known having each other and will NOT do well on their own.*
Fenced in Yard or Pen necessary as they love to be outside and play.

If you have the room in your heart and in your home to adopt Kodi and Mason, please email me at lkorpics@gmail.com or add a comment on this site and I'll put you in contact with their owner. She wants only the best for these two exceptional dogs and I know there is a wonderful new home out there somewhere just waiting to add Kodi and Mason to their family!


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snow Days

Proof that I was once able to parallel park.

It was the 80's - big hair, and apparently, big cars. Yes...this was it. The famous Animal Patrol Wagon. At one time it had been the best car in the department. When it was new - it was the Chief''s car - driven only by those who held the highest rank.
Then the years went by... Watergate, the end of the Vietnam War, The Oil Crisis, Pet Rocks...the advent of Hamburger Helper. Yes, those were good times.

However, since those events are from the early 70's or so and... as you may have noticed... I mentioned that this photo was from the 80's - by the time it had been demoted to Animal Control, this car had seen better days.

Better years.

It was a car from another era. I think it even took regular leaded gas. It must have. Some of you reading this may be thinking "Leaded gas?" "There's such a thing as leaded gas?" If you are one of those people, you should probably be in bed by now - young people need their sleep.

That thing could fly though - 8 cylinders and a powerful engine, even if it was a little bit on the older side. Looking at it now makes me a little sad, nostalgic. Today there was no school - a snow day. Instead of doing the mountains of work that sit in not just one, but two bookbags, I looked through photo albums. I scanned some photos from years gone by - to give as gifts to some of those people from years gone by. Perhaps the memories I give them will make them smile. I hope they do. Today was that kind of day.

It was a day to remember how it felt to drive that old car with the windows open, wind blowing, the highway in front of me - and no traffic as far as I could see.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Cyber-Monday's Coming - Still time to get Tales from a Dog Catcher using only Standard Shipping!

I've been hearing about this Black Friday, and from the stories I'm hearing - it sounds a bit frightening. Besides, I'm pretty content sitting here eating leftover turkey - the humans who live at my house have been giving me snacks all day. So since I am warm and comfortable here sitting in front of the fireplace I'm planning on doing my Christmas shopping on Cyber-Monday. It's easy - I just get on the computer, (once that silly cat gets off of it - I think she has a facebook addiction), and click on Amazon.com and buy all my friends things I think they will enjoy. If I start now I can choose standard shipping and everything will get there on time for the holidays. A great holiday choice this year is a book called Tales from a Dog Catcher. I know - you're thinking; "A book about a dog catcher...what, are
you nuts?" No, I am most certainly not nuts - I am a dog who can update a blog so obviously I am incredibly intelligent - the point is, it's a good book and I think you'll like it. There's some funny stories, (mostly about silly humans -they're the ones you should be worrying about), and some sad ones too. Maybe giving this book as a gift will inspire someone you know to adopt one of us who isn't as lucky as I am. I guess you could adopt a cat too. They are pretty cute, but don't tell anyone I said that. I have a reputation to worry about.
photo courtesy of dog star daily.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving from a character in Tales From a Dog Catcher

Best wishes for a great holiday - enjoy your dinner, whether it be lasagna, baked ziti, roast beef, pork chops, soy burgers, and..um, chicken. Okay - you can have chicken but you didn't hear it from me.

If you have a copy of Tales from a Dog Catcher, check out the chapter "The Protest March". If not, pick one up or stop by the library - It will give you a laugh and show you what can happen when us turkeys band together!

Happy Holidays to all.
photo courtesty of wyoming news.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Welcome Portuguese Readers -Muito Bem Vindo!

Recently I have been receiving some email from Portugal - another place I've always dreamed of visiting but have never had the chance.

It's always fascinating to hear from people who enjoyed Tales from a Dog Catcher - especially from a place so many miles away from the Hudson Valley of New York State. I would like to think that these stories resonate with people on many levels not necessarily related to geographic region. I consider it a great privilege to know that there are readers in this beautiful part of the world, (currently a lot warmer, and less rainy than here), who are enjoying my tales of dogs, cats and other critters! I hope you enjoy the laughs and even perhaps a bit of the tears included within the book. Tudo de bom to my new friends! Find out more about visiting Portugal at www.visitportugal.com, Portugal's official tourism website. There's some great deals on vacation packages right now - especially for those of you not limited only to school holidays.
photo courtesy of visitportugal.com

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Tales from a Dog Catcher is Now Linked to Goodreads!

This may not seem to be the monumental event that it is in my mind - however - feedburners, widgets, atom-somethings, chiclet-ize, etc. These are not my strong points. Last I knew chiclets were gum, the kind you got on Halloween and what was left after you ate up all of the chocolate and twizzlers.

However, after an hour or so, (Okay...two hours then, if I'm going to honest about it), I was able to link this Tales from a Dog Catcher blog to Goodreads through an rss feed. After all of this I feel like I could really use a nap, but that's not in the cards because about 150 or so students need to have report card grades and I wouldn't want to dissapoint them. (Insert evil laugh here). No, not really - The truth is that all of my kids are the best and it's a privilege to see them each day. I'm sure some of them would rather be home lying on the couch watching re-runs of Spongebob...but who wouldn't?
Photo courtesy of Cadbury Co. Twizzlers manufactured by Hershey's Co.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Another Tales from a Dog Catcher Free Book Giveaway on Goodreads. Just in time for the Holidays!

Another Goodreads Giveaway - Tales from a Dog Catcher by Lisa Duffy-Korpics. Sign up is now until December 10th when two readers will be chosen for a free copy. Last time the copies went to readers in London and Michigan. The Giveaway is open to readers in the U.S., U.K. and Australia. I wanted to include Australia, (even though the postage will hurt a bit!), because of the overwhelming support from readers and libraries in that part of the world. I'm thinking that once I get some time, (and of course the finances), to plan a trip - New Zealand and Australia will be the place to visit, even if it involves going to every library in every part of the island(s) to say "Thank you, thank you, thank you!"

I thought December 10th was a good date to end the giveaway since the holidays are approaching and there's nothing that says holiday spirit like a book about lovable animals, (except the sociopathic dog - hmmm...interested? Pick up a copy and find out more!), and a flaky, and accident prone, but well meaning dog catcher. To be honest though, I thought that if people wanted to ship a book or two to relatives and friends that I should make sure to leave enough time for that.

I'm a bit distracted at the moment since my daughter is watching some movie where a woman dressed as a sexy pirate is singing "We've got scurvy- yes, we've got scurvy...we need a lemon tree!" Okay. Well first of all I suppose it's good information about the need for vitamin C on those long voyages during the Age of Exploration that will show up on her Global History Final Exam in about 2 years. Secondly, you have to admit - it caught my attention.

Have a great weekend. Finish up that Halloween Candy and if you're up to going out to dinner tonight and you live in the Hudson Valley and can't decide where to go, check out my friend Chris's blog "Burgers & Brews Reviews" for some suggestions on some of the best places to eat around the area. If you'd rather stay home and grill during these crisp but still lovely Fall days you can check out his recipe sight at Burgers & Brews Reviews Recipes blog.

Friday, November 6, 2009

An Evening at Temple Sinai - Great Evening and a Great Honor!

I had the great honor of speaking to the Temple Sinai Sisterhood in Middletown, NY last Monday. Organized by my good friend and retired colleague Arline Friedman, it was a night filled with amazing food, (delicious homemade minestrone soup - thank you Gerry!), an outstanding salad bar and so many lovely desserts to choose from. The ladies working in the kitchen truly outdid themselves.

I met a lot of wonderful people and everyone made me feel so comfortable that I was able to conquer one of my biggest fears - speaking to large groups, (unless they're 18 and under which I do every day), and using a microphone ...at a podium no less! I love Arline so much that I was able to do this. With such a warm and receptive group, I felt comfortable in no time at all. Much of the book talk was about my writing journey over the years that finally resulted in the publication of Tales from a Dog Catcher. There were several future authors in the group so some discussion was about writing and the process involved in getting a book published. I was able to catch up with some old friends like Pet Therapist Marian Zaritsky who will once again be bringing in Sasha the pet therapy dog to visit with the students in my Psychology Class. Sasha is now a professional, certified therapy dog - but I don't think it's gone to his head! It was also great to see Lucy Fox, another dear friend and retired colleague. It reminded me how much I miss seeing her at work each day. I met some great ladies, Sherry, Gerry, Lisa, Irma and especially Shirley who actually grew up in the City of Peekskill and won one of the copies of Tales from a Dog Catcher. I hope she enjoys the book - she will most definitely recognize most of the landmarks and perhaps even some of the characters in the book!

I also met a great lady named Aviva Schwab M.Ed. She runs a training program for Systematic Training for Effective Parenting, (STEP). Aviva has been featured on NBC's Live at Five and also on Eyewitness News. This program promises that it is possible to have happy cooperative kids without yelling, bribing or punishing. I think meeting up with Aviva was fate! She gave me some great advice - exactly when I needed it most. Check out her site at www.tiredofyelling.com. Incredible testimonials! The program is great for parents and teachers of children of all ages. She has free trial classes within the New York and New Jersey area, but if that's too out of the way for you, the training program is also available on tape and CD. If you would rather contact her by phone, drop me a comment and I'll pass along her number, although her number and tons of great information can be found on her website.

Thanks again to Arline and to everyone at Temple Sinai on Highland Avenue, in Middletown, New York for a wonderful evening and for letting me join in the sisterhood for the evening!
This is such a close knit and friendly place with so much to offer the local community.
Photo courtesy of Temple Sinai

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More Tales from the Dog Catcher? - a Few Teasers!

Here's a few teasers - These are some possible chapter titles for the sequel to Tales from a Dog Catcher, (I'm still trying to figure out what the title of the book should be? More Tales from a Dog Catcher?...don't know if I like that one - too predictable. Any suggestions are most welcome.)

Going Postal - An unseasonably hot April day brings multiple calls about neighborhood dogs getting pepper sprayed by mail carriers, even when they're just sitting in their yards, not bothering a soul. What's happening? Have the mailmen gone mad? Is there more to this then meets the red inflamed eye?

General Perceptions - The local cat lady is forced to move across town, but her loyal following of feral cats remain behind and conflict results when the landlord demands that I do something..NOW! A story of bloodshed (mine), drama, (the cat), a revelation and an unlikely twist that leads one to second guess original perceptions.

The Internship - a lovely young intern at the police department becomes my unwilling animal control assistant when it becomes obvious that her interest inside headquarters is mostly limited to Police MEN! A quiet morning soon becomes an escalating adventure that involves an incident at the nuclear power plant, a beagle with a weak stomach, and a realization that sometimes what we need most, is to be needed.

These are only a few - there are many more that I'm working on when I get a free moment. The biggest problem being that I've no shortage of ideas, but a serious shortage of free moments. I guess it's important to remember that art is not a substitute for life - my children won't be this age forever, so I try to enjoy them as much as I can.

That, and the amount of homework in this house is ridiculous. I'm a teacher and I even think it's too much, but then again I'm not a big fan of homework. Unless it's a project, research paper or studying for a test, (all of which should be not be assigned the night before), I don't feel it has much educational value. Maybe in Math - but even then, what you can do in 40 problems you can easily practice in 5. You will either get it right and that's great...or you will get it wrong and practice it the wrong way 40 times before you go back to school the next day and find out. Kids don't get enough sleep, quality family time, or enough of those unstructured moments to sit and ponder what could be. There's nothing wrong with a little daydreaming. Sometimes those kids grow up to write books!

That's enough of my soap box - Goodnight All!
Photo courtesy of flickr.com

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Winners of the Tales from a Dog Catcher Giveaway at Goodreads!

Congratulations to Derek from London, and Gail from Michigan - winners of the Goodreads Book Giveaway for a free copy of Tales from a Dog Catcher!
I sent the books out from Amazon, (I had a $25.00 gift certificate and it was way easier than dragging the box of media copies out of my closet and standing on line at the local post office). The books should get there within the week for Gail, and up to 18 days for Derek in London.
Thanks to my fellow Goodreads members for signing up for the giveaway. Over 600 people signed up to win a copy of the book. In November I may put up two more copies for a giveaway - they make nice Holiday gifts.

Congratulations once again to my Goodreads friends - I hope you enjoy the book :)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Book Give-Away on Goodreads.com ends October 15th, 2009!

Goodreads.com is an online community of people who love books. This description of Goodreads was taken from Wikipedia: Goodreads is a privately run social cataloging website started in December of 2006 by Otis Chandler, a software engineer and entrepreneur. The website permits individuals to sign up and register books to create their library catalogs and reading lists. As of December 2007, the had over 650,000 members and over 10,000,000 books added.

I have an author page on Goodreads here. If you would like to be involved with the contest to possibly win one of two copies of Tales from a Dog Catcher, you can sign up as a member of Goodreads and join. The give-away ends on October 15th and so far, there are 650 members signed up for the give-away. Because of this, I may offer books for another give-away next month.

If you are a Barnes & Noble shopper, remember that this is Educator's Appreciation Month, and in addition to your educator's discount, (easy to sign up - just show a school I.D., Union card, or other proof of your status at the cashier), and you receive an additional discount on books that results in 25% off your purchase. I recently bought A User's Guide to the Brain: Perception, Attention, and the Four Theaters of the Brain by John J. Ratey M.D.. A fascinating, yet accessible book that translates neuroscience into plain language. A study with a group of nuns from Mankato, Minnesota who are all older than ninety, showed that continued learning through life resulted in a much lower rate of Alzheimer's Disease and age associated dementia than the general population. Practice may make perfect - but learning entirely new skills is the key to a youthful brain. The brain's ability to regenerate and create new neural pathways can lead to a healthier brain regardless of your age.

Hope everyone enjoys the beautiful October weather - until next time I wish you all the best!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

African Readers Needed - Also, Memories of Cooper Union, McSorley's Ale House and Alexander McCall Smith

I am a huge fan of Alexander McCall Smith. In case you are not familiar with the No. #1 Ladies Detective Agency, then you must have been particularly busy for the last 8 or so years. I'll fill you in. This book, and the series that followed, is like literary Prozac...when you finish reading it, you actually feel better. About everything.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer description really sums it up best...they said:

"One of the best, most charming, honest, hilarious and life-affirming books to appear in years." -- The Plain Dealer

My friend and fellow author, Chris Forman, (The Maria Hart Mysteries), and I actually went to the East Village in NYC a few years back to listen to "Sandy", as his friends call him, speak at Cooper Union. I can call him that because he is my friend. He may not know this...but let's not waste time on that right now. Anyway, Chris and I found out that this man was not just an outstanding writer, but somewhat of a stand-up comic as well. We couldn't stop laughing. It was a great evening, and even though the proper N.P.R. crowd didn't seem to appreciate us simulating the lighter swaying chant "SANDY, SANDY" before he appeared, we didn't let that bother us. Actually, not much was bothering us because rather than waiting on line at the college before the doors opened, we accidentally discovered the oldest continually operating saloon in New York called McSorley's Old Ale House . Everyone from Lincoln to John Lennon has has an ale or two in this place. They asked me what I would like and I responded "Um, I don't know yet." to which I then received two pints of ale. I really don't know why they even ask this because in reference to drinks, that's pretty much all they'll give you.
It was a night to remember and quite an honor to see Alexander McCall Smith in person. I thought we behaved rather well considering how excited we were to be there. Besides, when the announcer mentioned National Public Radio, the previously irritated pearl wearing woman with the highlighted chin-length bob in front of us did utter a tiny "woo-hoo!"...I heard her and so did Chris.

I've been getting some great hits on this blog, and I have the ability to check and see where my readers are coming from. So far I've been able to track hits from North and South America, Canada, Western and Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean, Asia, and Oceania. (Big shout-outs to my New Zealand and Australian friends...your support is amazing...THANK YOU!)

What I've noticed is so far though, is no one from Africa has yet to visit talesfromadogcatcher.blogspot.com. Since I'm fascinated by all things African and wish to visit someday...I would love to have some visitors from that part of the world. My publisher, Lyons Press /Globe Pequot Press, has a great book out about that part of the world by Peter Allison called Don't Look Behind You! A Safari Guide's Encounters with Ravenous Lions, Stampeding Elephants, and Lovesick Rhinos that takes place in Botswana, parts of South Africa, Mozambique and Namibia. It's a follow up to his bestselling Whatever You Do, Don't Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide . Both books are absolutely hysterical.
Tales from a Dog Catcher is available in South Africa online at Kalahari.net and at http://www.loot.co.za/. Also, in parts of the Middle East at Mindreign.com. حكايات من الماسك الكلب (Isn't that cool!) I'm not sure if the book is in brick and mortar stores in that region yet...so if anyone sees a copy on a shelf in these regions of the world, please drop me a line and let me know. That would really make my day! Have to go now...please excuse any typos - had to rush this so I can drive my kids to their friend's houses because if I don't do that right now, they will turn into pumpkins.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Check Out Tales from a Dog Catcher at your Local Library

My daughter once told me that if she had to be stranded overnight anywhere, that she would like to be stuck at the mall. Actually, I think my son might have said the same thing when I posed that question to him a few years back as well. It makes sense. There's the food court, (no lines), the way overpriced mattress store, (comfy), a wide variety of flat screen televisions, video game consoles and DVD players, (no need to share)...and I think I may have even spotted a trampoline at Sears.

She's also in the process of trying to win an online contest at a website affiliated with the movie Night at the Museum 2. The winner gets to bring several of their friends to the Smithsonian for an over-night slumber party. It sounds like fun, although when none of the attractions come to life to entertain her, I can imagine that she might be a little disappointed.

If I had to be stranded somewhere for a night, I would definitely choose a library. It would be better if it were two nights...maybe three. I could handle three. Especially if I had a blanket and the availability of a vending machine. Being alone with all of those books and an uninterrupted period of time to read - well that even beats the trampoline.

With the current state of the economy, libraries are struggling to remain open and could use as much help as we can give them. Most of them accept donations and are in need of volunteers. Think about it...how many places can you go to and pick up items to take home and borrow for free without getting arrested? Public libraries are the true equal opportunity environment. There's no interest rate hikes on library cards, and no one is going to get a better deal than you because they have a platinum library card!

Libraries have been wonderful to me with this book. Tales from a Dog Catcher sits on the shelves of libraries throughout the country. You can also check it out in New Zealand, Canada, the U.K., Italy and other nations as well. A great site to find libraries located all over the world is Worldcat.org. You can find your closest library, search for a title to find out if it's checked out or available, and even reserve copies online to pick up later. You can find Tales from a Dog Catcher on Worldcat.org. by clicking the link or by going directly to the site and using the search option. Right now the book is only available in English, hopefully someday soon it will be available in other languages as well.

So if I'm missing for a few days and people are looking for me - please keep my secret. :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tales from a Dog Catcher Available for iPod, iPhone and Kindle

Like many new authors, I sometimes obsess over my Amazon sales rank. Even though it's a complicated algorithim that doesn't really give you concrete sales figures, it can still give a writer an idea of how their book is doing on Amazon. A few months ago Tales from a Dog Catcher was made available as an e-book on Kindle, and can also be downloaded through the Amazon wireless Whispernet service for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch.
It's been doing very well in this format which makes me very happy, (of course!), and I've also found that I really love downloading all sorts of books on my Ipod. It's easy, inexpensive and convenient. You can adjust the text for size and background so in some ways it's even easier reading than the traditional way.

Recently I was waiting at the Pediatrician's office for quite a while and the only reading material available were old copies of Westchester Magazine, which caters to the people who can buy a sofa for $10,000.00 dollars to put into the guest house on their $5,000,000.00 estate. Since I am most definitely not part of their intended demographic, I found myself searching for something, anything, else to read. Then, I realized that I had my iPod with me and pow! (Yes...I said "pow"... I know, but I don't care. The moment truly called for it), I had a new Elizabeth Berg novel to read.

Check it out if you haven't done so already. There are over 350,000 titles to choose from. Tales from a Dog Catcher is only $9.99 on Kindle, and it's also compatible with the text to speech option so you could listen to it on your drive to work as well. I don't know what it sounds like yet, since it's not a regular audio book but rather an automated device. Perhaps it sounds like a character from Star Wars is reading it...who knows? If anyone has a Kindle with the speech-to-text option, drop me an email or a comment here and let me know what you think. I'd really appreciate it!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tales from a Dog Catcher as a Television Show or Movie?

Lately, I've had the great pleasure of having people come up to me to tell me that they've read my book. It's such a great feeling, and thankfully, most of them say they really enjoyed it. However...it seems that there are certain comments I hear over and over. The first one is a bit odd, but I think it's pretty funny. It seems that my book is a very popular bathroom read. I can't even count how many people tell me that they read Tales from a Dog Catcher in the bathroom. If I think about it, it does make sense. Each chapter can be a story unto itself which is great for a busy reader who can't find the time to read a book in one sitting...hmmm...sitting. Sorry, I really couldn't help that.

I wonder if Stephen King gets that? "Hey Steve, loved Salem's Lot, read it on the potty. Yup, great story...enjoyed every minute of it!" Another frequent, and less personal, comment is that people could see this book as a movie or a television show. I hear that one a lot. Of course, that would be wonderful for many reasons so if you are reading this, (cough-cough), and you are from a network or film studio, I'd LOVE to hear from you. Hey, I can dream.

So, my faithful blog readers and also for those just popping in for a quick visit - I have a question for you . Who should play me? It would have to be someone who could play a bit of a clutz, with spunk, and young enough to play someone in their early 20's during the mid 1980's. Of course that makes me, um....29 now.
The most popular answers so far are Drew Barrymore and Sandra Bullock. I love both of those actresses, yet Drew is 34 and Sandra is my age. So, if you're up for some fun - let me know who you see playing the Dog Catcher. I'd love to hear from you!
Image courtesy of hashout.com

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I'll be on Shannon's Corner on WTBQ 1110 AM, 99.1FM Thursday at Noon

I will be on Shannon's Corner on WTBQ 1110 AM, 99.1 FM on Thursday August 20th at 12:05 pm. WTBQ is Orange County New York's, and Northern New Jersey's only independent radio station.Shannon's Corner airs every Thursday from 12:00 Noon til 12:30 PM. She is the author of the book "Parent's Guide to Hudson Valley Schools: Orange & Sullivan County" and is available at Amazon.com. She talks about our options and choices in all areas of our lives.

A graduate of the London School of Journalism, Shannon has lived most of her adult life in Manhattan where she earned a Certificate of Journalism from New York University and attended Columbia University.

Had so much fun chatting with Shannon - she's such a professional that she made me feel right at ease. I almost forgot I was on live! (ouch - maybe I shouldn't have reminded myself of that). Here is what she posted on her blog shannonscorner.com.

Thank you Shannon and to WTBQ for the opportunity to speak with your listeners.

- Lisa Duffy-Korpics is a local Orange County author and high school teacher who has written a delightful and compassionate book, Tales from a Dog Catcher (Lyons Press). Animal lovers and just those who love a good book will be entertained and charmed while reading this and learning about her days as a dog catcher and the surprising antics that she came upon. Lisa also wrote some of her delightful stories inChicken Soup for the Cat and Dog Lovers Soul. Listen in today to hear Lisa talk about her book and tell some of her lively tales and you will be glad you make good choices ~

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Walden Library

Chris and I had fun at the Village of Walden Farmer's Market today. We were too pathetic to sit out in the drizzle, so we sat inside the library where it was nice and dry. Too bad it rained, (I feel like I'm saying that a lot lately). Thanks to everyone for coming out, and of course to Ginny from the Josephine Louise Public Library who is such a great advocate for our books! Thanks go out to Haley for setting up too.
We'll be back in September at the Village of Walden Farmer's Market to try again - this time hopefully it will be nice out!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Book Review: Kansas K-9 Rescue Organization

Kansas K-9 Rescue is an organization based in Wichita, Kansas that provides and seeks foster homes for rescued dogs. They are an all volunteer organization and all donations are tax deductible. You can also adopt a dog from Kansas K-9 Rescue if you meet the necessary requirements. Below is a a review of Tales from a Dog Catcher from their August Newsletter. Thank you to Ruth Thompson and all of the people at Kansas K-9 Rescue, for a lovely review, but more importantly, for the incredible job you do everyday for the animals in your care. Click here for ways to get involved in helping today!

Book Review: Tales from a Dog Catcher

Author: Lisa Duffy-Korpics

The author of this book (Copyright 2009) worked her way through college as an animal control officer in a small town in upstate New York. The book is written in 22 chapters or vignettes that are independent of one another and could stand alone as short stories. In fact, some of the stories have been published in the "Chicken Soup" series of books. While the book is not entirely about dogs but also includes stories of cats, raccoons, turkeys and other creatures, it does seem to focus on dogs. It is an endearing collection that is touching, humorous, and uplifting, dispelling the "mean" dog catcher stereotype that some of us harbor.

The fact that each chapter is a complete tale makes the book appealing to those of us who don’t have time to stay involved in a book until the very last page in order to learn the outcome.

Two recommendations: Check this little book out at your local library (my copy was softbound), and keep your Kleenex handy when you read it! - Ruth Thompson - Kansas K-9 Rescue

Book Club Queen's Review & Interview with Nina Killham

Author Nina Killham's newest novel Believe Me is featured on the book blog Book Club Queen. You can also read an interview with Nina about Believe Me on the site. Nina is one of my favorite writers and I fell in love with her work a few years ago.
You can read Nina's interview and Book Club Queen's Review of Believe Me here... and while you're at it, you should definitely check out some of her other great books; How to Cook a Tart and Mounting Desire.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Grief and Loss - Sometimes Feeling Sad is the First Step to Feeling Better

There has been a lot of loss this summer. The news brings us more of it each day. My God daughter's four year old dog died suddenly a week ago from bloat. For those of you not familiar with that, if you've seen the movie Marley & Me, that was what sent Marley to the vet near death. He survived. Most dogs don't. The other day I was looking up something on the web about pet loss, and I found that my book was included in a suggested reading catalog on a Social Work site on the topic of grief. While that may seem odd for a book with a smiling dog on the cover, it really isn't. I was really thrilled to see that. Thrilled you say? Thrilled and grief in the same sentence? Let me explain.

I felt that whoever included it among the self help books for grieving must have really read every page, and understood exactly what I was trying to do. They got it! There is a lot of loss in the book. Some like that about it, while there are some readers who don't. I think that some weren't prepared for it, since many of the stories are humorous and heartwarming - yet they are true stories, and as such, reflect the realities of life's inconsistencies. Yes, there are many happy endings, but sometimes they aren't the happy endings we envision. Sometimes in life, we don't understand why things happen and often we become angry and disappointed and wonder why? While writing this book, there were chapters that were so difficult to write that I would have to take a break from them. I would be sitting at my computer with tears streaming down my face and my daughter would ask "Mommy, are you okay?" and my husband would tell her. "She's fine, don't worry, she's just writing."

A friend of mine who read the book prior to its official release date didn't understand why I was shifting from happy, to funny to heartbreaking within the chapters. He thought it was rather random, and thought that maybe putting them in categories would be better. I explained to him that it was the polar opposite of random, it was extremely deliberate. I wanted to run the emotional gamut. I wanted a happier chapter to follow a very sad one...as soon as someone felt that they were too sad to read anymore, they would laugh out loud at something else and continue on. As soon as all seemed futile, there was hope. This was all done on purpose because I wanted, more than anything else, for the reader to feel. There is sadness in truth, as well as laughter and joy - but most importantly - there is always hope. I am honored that this could be a book that may help someone who is grieving. Sometimes having a good cry is cleansing and makes us feel less alone. Sometimes even feeling sad is better then the numbness that can paralyze you when you are grieving. Grief is a topic I am very familiar with, and some of the most unlikely books have helped me through the toughest of times. I would be honored if mine can possibly do that for someone else someday.
photo courtesy of Psychology Today.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Book Marks: Times Herald Record Newspaper, NY

Bookmarks: Local authors

Lisa Duffy-Korpics of Walden,

Yanique Beliard Michel of Fishkill

Title: "Tales From a Dog Catcher"

Author: Lisa Duffy-Korpics of Walden

Author background: Duffy-Korpics is married to Jason Korpics and they have a son, Charles, 15, and daughter, Emily, 12. Formerly a dogcatcher for the City of Peekskill while attending college for four years, she is now a government and psychology teacher at Valley Central High School in Montgomery and a writer. Her stories have appeared in eight "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books.

Publisher: The Lyons Press of Guilford, Conn., an imprint of the Globe Pequot Press

Genre: Narrative nonfiction; some bookstores and Web sites place the book under "Memoirs."

Summary: The book is about Duffy-Korpics' adventures as a dogcatcher in Annesville (which is the original name of Peekskill, hence the Annesville [traffic] Circle). Unlike today where animal control falls under the town and/or village, Duffy-Korpics worked with the Police Department as a peace officer. She was in charge of a four-square-mile area, which actually gave her lots of material to write about. The names of the humans have been changed as well as some of the animals'. Duffy-Korpics said oddly enough she remembered all the names of the animals she tried to help. The humans were tougher to recall. "I think it was less about the animals and more about dealing with the people."

Best chapter and quote from the book: Duffy-Korpics is a softie when it comes to animals. In the chapter "Odd Blessings," she writes about frequently listing the animal's age as younger than they actually were so that they would be more adoptable. Also, if the adopters were poor, she didn't ask them for the $10 rescue fee. She would list the animal as a "stray" on all paperwork. As she says in the book, "too often I had found that this fee — or inability to pay it — got in the way of doing the right thing."

Maureen was a receptionist at the local shelter, processing all of the animals' paperwork and fees. Duffy-Korpics describes Maureen as "about 5 feet, 90 pounds of pure steel." Maureen always gave the author a hard time, saying things such as "ah, of course another 3- to 5-year-old terrier mix, who — at such a young age, mind you — already has cataracts and gray hair. It must be that rare accelerated aging disease again. Your city should really test its water ..."

However, Maureen never changed the paperwork and Duffy-Korpics observes, "Inside her tiny body was a great big heart; it may have been surrounded by several layers of igneous rock, but I knew it was there nonetheless."

First-time literary advice: "I think the mistake people make is they just send out the manuscript without sending it to a specific person and getting the spelling of that name right. The Writer's Market will tell you everything you need to know. It's a lot of work, but I try to enjoy that side of it. If you want to do it the traditional way, you have to have a (tough) skin and know that it's not personal (when they reject you)."

Availability: This book is available globally in English. Online at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, borders.com and target.com. It's also available in major bookstores, department stores and libraries.

Price: $16.95

Upcoming work: Duffy-Korpics is finishing more chapters for a sequel about her dogcatcher days. She would also like to write a young-adult book.

Upcoming events: Duffy-Korpics will be a guest on WTBQ's "Shannon's Corner" at 12:05 p.m. Aug. 20.

Visit her blog at www.talesfromadogcatcher.blogspot.com.

The Lyon Press, Guilford,Connecticut
The Lyons Press is an imprint of The Globe Pequot Press
Cover design by Georgiana Goodwin
Cover photographs © Shutterstock

Printed in the United States of America
US $16.95 / CAN $19.95
Tales from a Dog CatcherDuffy-Korpics © 2009
Dewey: 636.7
Dogs — New York (State) — New York — Anecdotes. Dog rescue — New York (State) — New York — Anecdotes. Duffy-Korpics, Lisa