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August 12, 2011

Four Rules For The Socialized Writer

My guest today is Carina Press author, Cathy Pegau. Cathy has both a new release and a cute new puppy. On the surface these two things might not have any thing in common, but read on and you might change your mind. Welcome, Cathy!

We recently adopted a six month old puppy. For a young dog, she is surprisingly well behaved and gets along with all of us. Including the cats. Dally is great, but she still needs to learn some social skills. It’s our job to make her an acceptable member of society and make interactions much more pleasant. There are certain rules to be followed, behaviors that are acceptable and those that are frowned upon. These same skills we teach our pup, I realized, can be applied to the social networking writer. So, sit. Stay. Read on.


1) Don’t bark at everything that moves.

A pup will sometimes bark at a dust bunny or the wind blowing. That gets old real fast. As an opinionated writer, I’ve learned which topics on blogs, loops and social media merit a response from me. Mostly not a lot. Consider just eavesdropping versus adding your opinion. Yes, we all know that if it’s out there you have every right to comment. But should you? Yes, getting your name out there and recognized is important, but have something to contribute. Don’t just bark for the sake of barking.

2) Wag your tail and make friends, but don’t jump on folks or slobber over them.

Puppies tend to love everyone they meet, and many people love them right back. But excessive exuberance overwhelms. I’ve told a favorite author I admire their work. It’s appreciated, but I leave it at that. Reply to their comments/posts (without gushing), but don’t follow them everywhere they go or delve into their personal lives. Stalkerish behavior creeps folks out.
The flipside of that is…

3) Don’t snap at people.

A dog, or a writer, that constantly snarls or snaps is not one folks want to be around. People will eventually stop coming near you, your blog, and your books. When you’re out and about on Twitter or loops or wherever, be respectful. Disagreement is fine, but rabid behavior can be dangerous—to your career.

4) Don’t poop in the house.

The writers’ groups, critique partners and professionals who offer advice or a helping hand (i.e.: your family) should be providing a clean, healthy environment from which you can be nurtured and grow into a strong individual. They’ve seen you through long bouts of rejections and self-doubt. Once you’ve come into your own, respect them and the “home” they made for you. Every so often, we need to go back home to recoup with the people who know us best. Don’t mess that up.

Any other advice for raising a socialized writer?

Rulebreaker, Cathy’s debut f/f science fiction romance, is out from Carina Press now.


Here’s the blurb:

Liv Braxton’s Felon Rule #1: Don’t get emotionally involved.

Smash-and-grab thieving doesn’t lend itself to getting chummy with the victims, and Liv hasn’t met anyone on the mining colony of Nevarro worth knowing, anyway. So it’s easy to follow her Rules.

Until her ex, Tonio, shows up with an invitation to join him on the job of a lifetime.

Until Zia Talbot, the woman she’s supposed to deceive, turns Liv’s expectations upside down in a way no woman ever has.

Until corporate secrets turn deadly.

But to make things work with Zia, Liv has to do more than break her Rules, and the stakes are higher than just a broken heart…

And a short excerpt:

As the elevator door closed, the door in front of me opened. Zia held a goblet of wine in one hand. The V-neck of her white lounging pajamas revealed the glint of a gold chain and less cleavage than most of her office attire. Her feet were bare, her toenails tinted blood-red. But what captured my attention was her hair. Released from its usual upsweep, it fell around her shoulders in loose chestnut waves. Relaxed. Sexy.
I swallowed hard and dug my fingernails into my palms.

“Hello, Liv.” An enigmatic smile curved her full mouth, and her eyes glinted with curiosity. “I’d ask how you knew where I lived, but you’re very good at figuring out things like that, aren’t you?”

I took a hesitant step forward. She hadn’t asked me in. Maybe she wouldn’t. Maybe she’d tell me it was too soon for us to be alone in her flat, that this wasn’t how she did things.

“Would you like to come in?” she asked.

My knees wobbled with relief and with the apprehension of what I was doing. “Yes. Thank you.”
Zia stepped back, giving me just enough space to ease past her. In my boots, I was several centis taller than she was, and this close I could smell her hair. Flowers and honey.

The white of the entry continued inside the flat, but it was by no means stark. Soft lighting accented the greens, black and gold in the furnishings, artwork and décor. The faint scent of jasmine made the room hers.
Zia closed the door, and I felt rather than heard her come up behind me. “Let me take your coat.”

I set the satchel down, out of the way, and unbelted my coat. Slowly I slid it off my shoulders, past my bare back.

As she lifted it from my hands she took in a sharp breath. “Oh, Liv.” Her voice was rich with desire. “What are you doing to me?”

Pick up Rulebreaker at Carina Press or Barnes & Noble

Thanks for having me, Shelley!


  1. Ciara Knight

    That is an adorable dog pic. :) I loved this post. We just adopted a dog with issues. I’ll be thinking about this post as I’m networking today. :) Nice to meet you, Cathy. Cool Cover.

    • Cathy Pegau

      Nice to meet you, Ciara. It’s great that you’re willing to work with a dog with issues. Sometimes they can be tough, but well worth it : )

  2. Marcelle Dubé

    Good post, Cathy; nice link between raising a good dog and a good author. And Shelley, nice site!

    • Shelley Munro

      Thanks, Marcelle! It looks even better now that nasty code has gone.

    • Cathy Pegau

      Thanks, Marcelle!

  3. Maria Zannini

    Perfect analogy and a great mascot.

    • Cathy Pegau

      You know how I am about dogs, Maria. Much like yourself :)

  4. Tia Nevitt

    Cute rules! Yes, there is much to be learned from a well-behaved dog. Wish my hubby wasn’t allergic!

    • Cathy Pegau

      Having allergies to furry critters is tough, Tia. But we can still learn a thing or two from friends’ pets ;)

  5. Angela Brown

    Well, swat me with a rolled up newspaper and call me a naughty girl. I really wouldn’t have put those two together, being petless and all. What a great analogy…and more importantely, very true.

    • Cathy Pegau

      Thanks, Angela. I had fun coming up with the comparison and was quite amazed how close they were :)

  6. Abby Niles

    Fantastic post!! Loved it, and soooo true!

    • Cathy Pegau

      Thanks, Abby!

  7. Lydia K

    Great tips. The slobberishness is never a good thing, LOL

    • Cathy Pegau

      Lydia, the slobbery thing is not cool as a writer, but sometimes worse as a dog. Dally is part mastiff–the slobber is everywhere!

  8. Mary Kirkland

    Even though I’m more of a rat girl at heart…that dog pic is too cute. The book sounds wonderful.

    • Cathy Pegau

      Thanks, Mary. I had a rat when I was a teen. They are great pets :)

  9. Elise Warner

    Different and most enjoyable post, Cathy. I guess my toy poodle and I were much more alike than I realized. Dally appears to be a dog to learn from.

    • Cathy Pegau

      Thanks, Elise. It is funny how we’re like our critters. Dally is certainly keeping us on our toes :)

  10. Shelley Munro

    Welcome, Cathy! Your post made me laugh. Hubby and I adopted a puppy at the beginning of the year. She’s attended puppy school and was a real star, but sometimes she gets so excited she forgets her manners.

    • Cathy Pegau

      Glad you enjoyed the post, Shelley. Congrats on your new pup! They do forget things once in a while, but they are so dang cute you have to forgive the occasional oops :)

      And thanks for having me over! Love your blog/site!

  11. sandra cox

    Well said, Cathy.
    Love your cover!
    The expression on puppy’s face is priceless, the ‘inquiring minds want to know’ look.

    • Cathy Pegau

      Thanks, Sandra. I’m a tad partial to the cover myself ; ) and to the pup. She’s pretty quick to pick up on things. Usually.

  12. Shannon Curtis

    Hm, authors as dogs, eh? Great post, and well timed, right in conference season! I’ve just come back from RWAus Conf, and RWANZ is about to start, and I think some authors could make a much better impression if they’d followed these oh-so-simple rules. I’ve bought books after meeting writers – and I’ve stopped buying books after meeting writers. Sometimes, though, you just make mistakes (oh, lordy, yes I have!), but admit, learn and move on! Very good post. Love the dog, and love your gorgeous cover!

    • Cathy Pegau

      Hi Shannon,
      I found that keeping things simple is the best way to train the dog and myself. I’ll also admit to stop buying a particular author’s work after certain incidents have colored my view of them. We have to remember that people *will* connect personal feelings to their purchasing power.
      Thanks for stopping by :)

  13. Heather

    This is a great post, for both humans and animals. ;)

    • Cathy Pegau

      Thanks, Heather :)