22 November 2017

A Canine-Friendly Thanksgiving Feast





Thanksgiving is a most treasured holiday, a time when we gather with our family members and friends to celebrate, eat delicious foods and enjoy each others company. Every family has their own, unique way of celebrating Thanksgiving, and most pet parents like to include their furry children in those celebrations.

Many dog and cat owners enjoy sharing their home cooked foods with their pets, usually by way of sneaking a few bites off their plate underneath the table. It is, therefore, imperative to know which foods are safe and which are considered toxic to pets. Especially if your dog already enjoys the benefits of home-cooked food or even a raw food diet, then a few bites from your plate should be fine to share. However, if your furry companion is accustomed to a commercial kibble diet only, it is essential to know their level of stomach sensitivity to avoid an upset stomach. If you feel uncertain that the foods you'll be serving will be safe for your canine, you can always cook a special homemade meal for your furry child. Here's one of my favourite recipes:

Canine Thanksgiving Dinner

Ingredients:
2 Cups of ground or shredded turkey
1 Cup of sweet potato cubes
1 Cup of potato cubes
1/2 Cup of pumpkin puree 
1/2 Cup green beans
1/2 Cup peas
1/2 Cup chopped carrots
2 Tbsp Olive Oil

Directions:
- Heat olive oil in a pan and brown turkey meat. 
- Cut vegetables into chunks and boil them until soft. 
- Combine all ingredients and let meal cool until safe to eat. 

It is vital to be aware of the foods that are considered unsafe and even toxic for pets to consume. Do not feed your fur baby anything that contains onions, garlic, grapes or raisins, artificial sweeteners to include Xylitol, coffee, yeast or bread dough, macadamia nuts, chocolate or alcohol...just to mention a few. For more in-depth information, please contact your veterinarian. 

It is also important to keep in mind that those family gatherings can be rather loud, depending on how big your family is. Therefore, it is a good idea to provide a safe and quiet place for your dog to retreat to. The holidays can be very hectic and busy time for all of us, and unfortunately, some of our furry companions do not tolerate loud noise and large crowds very well. So, be aware of your dog's needs and everyone should be able to enjoy this special time of the year. 

Wishing you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!


                                                                   Piper

PS: Interested in more pet friendly recipes? You can find them in my book Living with Canine Epilepsy. 






Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added two historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her Majesty and The Country Girl Empress. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebookGoodreads and Google+.



15 November 2017

A Book Launch Celebration and a Giveaway!





Today I celebrate a significant milestone. I'm excited to announce the launch of my newest historical fiction novel The Country Girl Empress! I still can't believe it myself...the book hits virtual bookshelves today. And to help celebrate I'm giving away a copy of my book. To enter the giveaway just click the link below and follow the instructions.


The plot is centered around real historical figures of mid-19th century Austria such as the complex Princess Elisabeth in Bavaria, Emperor Franz Joseph I - the most powerful man of his time, Archduchess Sophie - the Emperor's mother and "the only man at the Hofburg Palace", and their large families. Naturally, I fictionalized the story and filled it not only with rich period details, imperial waltzes and the clanking of crystal champagne glasses, but also with cut-throat intrigues, revolutions, and an elaborate game of love and royal marriage politics. I sincerely hope that you will enjoy catching a glimpse of the House of Habsburg, one of the most fascinating royal families of their time, and the people tenuously associated with it.

If you enjoy the dazzling splendor of the Habsburg Empire and Austrian history, then I have no doubt that you will love The Country Girl Empress. However, even if this sort of book isn't your cup of tea, there might be someone in your life who does enjoy historical romance, and I love to encourage my readers to give it as a gift. With the upcoming holiday season in mind, we all know that books make excellent stocking stuffers.

To all my readers who have been following my writing journey: Thank you for all your support, encouragement, and enthusiasm! You make the hard work worthwhile, and I could not have done it without you. If I have not "met" you yet, make sure you head over to one of my social media outlets and introduce yourself. Thank you for celebrating this book launch with me!  =)

About the book:

It was THE romance of 19th century Europe! The young and dashingly handsome Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria needed an Empress by his side according to his mother, Archduchess Sophie. The House of Habsburg was the most powerful ruling family in Europe, and the line of succession had to be maintained. For centuries, marriages had been arranged based on dynastic considerations and served the expansion of the Empire’s power and it was not going to be any different this time.

Princess Elisabeth was born on the 24th of December 1837 at the Wittelsbach Palais in Munich. As a daughter of Duke Max in Bavaria and his wife Ludovika, Elisabeth called “Sisi”, grew up with her many siblings far away from all protocol at the small castle of Possenhofen on the shore of Lake Starnberg. More of a tomboy than a princess, she spent much of her childhood there.

Sisi and her cousin Franz Joseph first met when she was 11 years old, and the girl promptly fell in love with the Emperor’s younger brother Karl Ludwig. Franz Joseph, on the other hand, fell head over heels for Sisi’s cousin Anna, niece of the King of Prussia. The handsome young Emperor had no shortage of female admirers, all hoping to one day become his wife. A few years later, Franz Joseph traveled to Bad Ischl to meet Sisi’s older sister Helene who was predestined to be his wife. Little did he know that fate had other plans!

The years of Sisi’s youth took place in the background of an unsettled Europe. Revolts, revolutions, and political intrigue were part of daily life. However, when Duchess Ludovika, along with her daughters Néné and Sisi receive an invitation to join the imperial family in Bad Ischl for the Emperor’s birthday festivities, an elaborate game of love and royal marriage politics ensues and finds an entirely unforeseen end in the idyllic resort town.



Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added two historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her Majesty and The Country Girl Empress. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebookGoodreads and Google+.


11 November 2017

Happy Veterans Day!




I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all veterans for their service! It takes a very special person to make those sorts of sacrifices and I know from personal experience they are not easy to make. From the bottom of my heart “Thank You for serving our country and protecting our freedom!”

                                                                           Piper




Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added her debut historical fiction novel In the Shadow of Her Majesty to her ever-expanding collection of published writings. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebookGoodreads and Google+.

08 November 2017

Month in Review - October 2017





Yes, I know I'm behind the power curve by a week. However, celebrating a book birthday is a great excuse...at least in my book (pun intended!). 

But before I forget, I  just wanted to remind everyone that today is the last day of the Book Birthday Giveaway. Don't forget to enter the giveaway at https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/a2325a56dbc3a966  for a chance to win a copy of  Living with Canine Epilepsy

And now, before I get sidetracked once again by my Thanksgiving decorating ideas and pumpkin spice lattes, it's time to recap last month. And now, without further ado, here's the list of the most popular blog posts for October 2017, chosen by you, the readers:



Thank you for reading my blog! Please feel free to come by often to catch up on my latest endeavours and Happy Writing!




Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added her debut historical fiction novel In the Shadow of Her Majesty to her ever-expanding collection of published writings. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebookGoodreads and Google+.

01 November 2017

A Book Birthday and a Giveaway


November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month. So, I thought it appropriate to not only raise epilepsy awareness but also celebrate a book birthday - Living with Canine Epilepsy turns 2 today!  Can you believe it? Two years ago, my canine health book was published. And to help celebrate I'm giving away a copy of my book. To enter the giveaway just click the link below and follow the instructions.



To all my readers who have been following me over the years of my writing journey, thank you for all your support, encouragement, and enthusiasm! You make the hard work worthwhile, and I could not have done it without you. If I have not "met" you yet, make sure you head over to one of my social media outlets and introduce yourself. Thank you for celebrating with me!  =)

About the book:

November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month. Epilepsy, a condition that not only affects over 65 million people worldwide but also touches the lives of up to six percent of the global canine population and their human families. In fact, epilepsy is the most diagnosed neurological disorder. This is only a rough estimate since many cases of canine epilepsy remain undiscovered by the respective dog owners as their canine companions often experience their seizures when they are inactive, most often late at night or during the early morning hours.  

So, what are the odds that a newly-wed couple would adopt two unrelated dogs, and both develop epilepsy? In case you are wondering, based on some rough calculations, the odds were 3 in 1000. They never intended to adopt to handicapped canine companions, yet somehow they ended up with two dogs that out of nowhere began to convulse one day. First recognized in ancient times, Hippocrates referred to epilepsy as the sacred disease. However, nothing about it seems “sacred”! Watching a beloved pet suffer a seizure can be an extremely traumatic event. Learning to live with an animal with complex health issues is never easy; learning to live with two dogs with severe epilepsy can seem like an overwhelming task.

Epilepsy manifests in frightening ways, causing a dog to experience sudden, uncontrolled attacks. Living with canine epilepsy can be a daunting prospect, but with some help from a veterinarian and planning on part of the pet owner these dogs can lead a relatively normal life. Common sense combined with medicine can make this disorder manageable. If you are new to dealing with a pet with epilepsy, take a step back and don’t forget to breath! While no one can promise that everything will be alright, the author can tell you from personal experience that sticking with your pet(s) and getting them on a proper medication regimen can lead to many hours of happiness and beautiful memories. 

This book is not meant to be a diagnostic tool or replacement for proper veterinary care but recounts the author’s experiences with this disorder. It expresses personal views, opinions and beliefs of the author. A pet’s health care is an individual matter, and pet owners should consult a veterinary professional for guidance. Living with Canine Epilepsy (Paperback edition ISBN-13: 9781514263198, ISBN-10: 151426319X, Kindle Edition ASIN: B017GGWFM6) is available for purchase at amazon.com and other fine online retailers.

So, when you are ready to bring a furry companion into your home or your current fur baby develops this neurological disorder, don't automatically pass up the one with canine epilepsy or think that euthanasia is your only option. Just because a dog has health issues does not mean they cannot live a full life or won't be able to provide you with unconditional love every day. Give them a chance at a meaningful existence...canine epilepsy does not have to be a death sentence!





Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added her debut historical fiction novel In the Shadow of Her Majesty to her ever-expanding collection of published writings. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebookGoodreads and Google+.

25 October 2017

Howl-A-Ween Safety Tips for Pets




It is that time of year again! Halloween is right around the corner, and can be such a festive and fun time for all. However, let’s face it, for our furry companions it can be quite the nightmare. But it does not have to be this way! Here are a few easy to follow safety tips:

- Trick-or-treat candy may be yummy to us, but it is not made for pets! All forms of chocolate, but especially dark chocolate, can be dangerous, and even lethal, for dogs and cats. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and seizures. Foods that contain the artificial sweetener Xylitol can also be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of this substance can lead to a sudden drop in blood sugar and subsequent loss of coordination and seizures.

- You should also keep Halloween decorations such as pumpkins and corn stalks out of their reach. Although they are considered nontoxic, such plants can induce quite the gastrointestinal upset, should they be ingested in large quantities. An intestinal blockage is no laughing matter! Speaking of pumpkins…you really shouldn’t keep lit pumpkins around pets! If they get too close to an open flame, they may run the risk of burning themselves or knocking it over, causing a  house fire. If you must have some sort of flickering light, consider a flameless candle.

- If your furry children are not perfectly reliable, you should probably keep them away from the door. Not only will your door be continually opened, closed and opened again, but strangers will be dressed in bizarre costumes, yelling loudly for their sweets. This can be a very scary situation for some of our furry friends. If you feel that your pet may be a bit on the nervous side, it might be a good idea to put your dog or cat in a room away from the front door. This will also prevent them from darting out the door as soon as it opens. 

- Please ensure that your pet has proper ID! If your dog or cat should escape despite your best efforts, proper identification will increase their chances of returning safely. Up-to-date information is essential, even if your pet has not been microchipped.

- Unless you know for a fact that your dog or cat is comfortable getting dressed up, you should refrain from doing so. If you do decide that your furry child needs a costume, please ensure it is not a nuisance or unsafe, and that it does not constrict movement, hearing, or the ability to breathe. It is also a good idea to try on the costumes before the big night. If your furry friend seems distressed, allergic, or behaves in an out-of-character manner, perhaps you should consider a festive bandana instead.

Wishing everyone and their furry companions a Happy Howl-a-ween!


Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added her debut historical fiction novel In the Shadow of Her Majesty to her ever-expanding collection of published writings. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebookGoodreads and Google+.

18 October 2017

How to Review the Proof Copy of Your Book





When publishing a book, the moment of truth is simply inevitable. After all, it is the moment that you have anxiously awaited and probably even dreamed about. The printed proof copy of your book has finally arrived on your doorstep! That just happened to me…my newest historical fiction novel The Country Girl Empress showed up on my door step just a couple of weeks ago. I'm just giddy with excitement.

Up until then, my book had only existed in computer files, hard-copy printouts I’ve used for editing purposes, and as an online digital proof on my computer screen. But now I can see my book with my own eyes, and hold a physical copy of it in my hands. Moments like these definitely have the power to move people, and rightly so. When you are almost ready to publish, and you are anything like me or so many other writers, you now feel both excited and maybe even a little frightened at the same time. But don’t hit that “Publish” button just yet!

But why would you even want to bother reviewing a physical copy of your book, when digital review copies are readily available? Putting a book together is a complicated process. It involves writing a manuscript, adding photos, lots of editing, page design, cover creation, and many other things just to get to this point. The purpose of the proof copy is to ensure that you’ve done everything correctly. Errors that were invisible on your computer screen or even in printouts suddenly seem to jump out at you. All sorts of errors can creep into our files…misalignments, extra spaces where there were none before, typographical errors, etc. And this is when a hard copy of your book can make a huge difference.

How to Check Your Book:

This is the last stage in the publishing process before your book goes public, so spend some time on this step and to do it right. Books can last a very long time, and so do the errors contained within them. Take this your opportunity to make your book as error-free as possible. I like to apply the following three step process:

1. Read your book

- Read the entire book, and while doing so I like to check for inconsistencies and typographical errors.
- Is the text complete? Did a paragraph get left out somewhere?
- Or did part of a sentence get cut off at the bottom of a page?
- Are the fonts consistent throughout the book?
- Do you have paragraphs where the word spacing is much looser or much tighter than others?
- If possible, have someone else who also read through it. Two sets of eyes usually see more than just one set. It is quite surprising how many errors can be uncovered this way.

2. Take a close look at the book

I try to ignore the text and instead concentrate on everything else. I have a hard time with this step because I am automatically drawn to the writing. Here are the things I like to look for:

- Those pesky orphans/widows; the single lines at the bottom of a page or parts of lines at the top of a page. If I can get rid of them, I will do so.
- Running headers should be consistent and should show the proper information, such as the book title or chapter titles. Those sorts of mistakes can easily sneak up on you, so it pays to check for them thoroughly.
- Does each chapter start in the same spot on the page and contain the same elements in the same order?
- Blank pages should have nothing at all on them, not even a header.
- Page references can be another problem. If you referred to something “on page 213″ or “in Chapter 4″ is said reference still there or has it shifted somehow? Or perhaps it has disappeared altogether.
- Paragraph indents ought to be consistent throughout the book, no matter what style you used.

3. Double-check the cover

The front and the back of your book cover play a significant role when marketing your writing. People do judge a book by its cover, so make it the best you can. Here are elements I like to check on:

- Does the overall design meet your expectations?
- Are the book title and the name of the author clearly visible?
- Make sure that the ISBN on your copyright page matches the one on the back cover.
- Is the price reflected correctly?
- Proofread the text on the back cover!

Don’t be too surprised if you need to upload revised versions of your book interior and/or cover several times. That’s actually part of the normal process. Of course even after proofing your book mistakes can still sneak by (it can happen to the best of us), but there will definitely be a lot less of them. It pays to check your proof, and correcting your files before uploading the revised version. When it’s time to publish your book, you can be confident that you have done everything to bring the best product you can on the market.

Now I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that I won’t find too many errors in my proof copy!  =)

Do you review a printed copy of your book, before it is published? What do you like to double-check? Add your tips and tricks in the comments section below!





Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added her debut historical fiction novel In the Shadow of Her Majesty to her ever-expanding collection of published writings. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebookGoodreads and Google+.