Wednesday, November 14, 2007

True Canine Tales...with Lisa Plumley

People often ask me if my books are based on real-life people or events. And my typical answer depends. Which is the truth. I mean, a few details can’t help but sneak in here and there. The tricky part is, I don’t always realize it until later. Which is what happened with my book, Let’s Misbehave.

According to the back cover copy, Let’s Misbehave is a contemporary romance about a fun-loving heiress who enters "shopaholic rehab" and as part of her therapy has to get a real a nanny/housekeeper for a macho single-dad NFL quarterback and his three rowdy kids. Fun, right? And it really was fun. I had a great time pairing up hoity-toity (but affectionate) heiress Marisol Winston with bossy (but gorgeous) jock Cash Connelly. ( can read the entire first chapter at my Web site,

Anyway, in many of my books, someone (usually the hero) has a dog (sorry, people who love their cats, but we’re allergic in this household, so I have no experience with felines—it’s nothing personal, I swear), and Let’s Misbehave is no exception. Cash’s lovable old German Shepherd, Dump, is getting up there in years. He’s a little creakier than he used to be. He can’t hear so well anymore. And he can’t eagle-eye the neighborhood cats as fast as he used to either. But Dump can still jump up on (Marisol’s) bed for a surprise snuggle. He can still “woof” and romp with the troublemaking Connelly triplets. And he can still run to greet Cash the minute he gets home after a tough, sweaty day at football training camp. I loved Dump! But it wasn’t until Let’s Misbehave was finished that I realized why.

Dump is the alter ego of my dog, Cidney (Cid for short). Cid was a Dalmatian/Greyhound mix, a dog we inherited fifteen years ago from my husband’s coworkers who were moving overseas. When we went to meet her (yes, her—the mysteries of naming a female dog “Cid” are beyond me), it was love at first sight. From the moment Cid came home, she unofficially adopted me, and I returned the sentiment wholeheartedly. We were inseparable. Cid went with me on long walks around the neighborhood—and on hikes in the mountains here in Arizona. She took car trips. She followed me around the house and barked protectively at the FedEx guy. She ran super fast and could catch a tennis ball in midair with true acrobatic finesse...but she could not comprehend “people talk” like “sit,” “stay,” or “stop shedding.”

When I typed “The End” on my first-ever manuscript, Cid was lying in my office next to me. When I made my first sale, she was perplexed by my hooting, hollering, and jumping around...but was plenty game to celebrate with a Milk Bone. When I finished Let’s Misbehave and mailed it to my editor, Cid tromped down to the neighborhood mailbox with me. But when the book hit the shelves, Cid was gone.

After a long and happy life filled with tail wagging, searching brown-eyed gazes, and patient waiting for the dropped scrap of T-bone that never came (I’m a vegetarian), Cid developed a neurological disease, became paralyzed, and died last year. It was a very difficult time. I still miss Cid. But I’m doubly glad that I paid tribute to her in Let’s Misbehave. So yes...sometimes fiction is based in reality. And sometimes it’s even better than reality. Dump, for instance, will always be waiting in the pages of Let’s Misbehave, ready to offer a big doggie snuffle at any time. And I’m pretty happy about that.

Have you hugged your dog or cat (or horse or turtle or parakeet or ferret or goldfish) today? Do it!

Thanks for letting me visit, and let’s chat!


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Bestselling author Lisa Plumley has written more than a dozen books for Zebra Books and Harlequin Historicals, including contemporary romances (Mad About Max), western historical romances (The Rascal), and stories in romance anthologies (Santa Baby, on sale now!). Her funny, warmhearted style has been likened to such reader favorites as Rachel Gibson, Jennifer Crusie, and LaVyrle Spencer, but her unique characterization is all her own. Her latest release, Let’s Misbehave, earned a 4½-star Top Pick! rating from Romantic Times BOOKclub magazine and was chosen as one of Booklist’s Top Ten Romances of 2007. Please visit Lisa at, be her friend on MySpace at, or drop by her blog at today.


Lois said...

Aww, that's so sad, but the book's a great reminder! :) Oh geez, I'm always bugging my cat. . . but she doesn't mind around feeding time. ;) Otherwise, leave her alone. LOL :)


Barbara Vey said...

I've never been much of an animal person, but it always touches me to hear tales of owners and their human pets. :)

I'm glad for the time you shared with Cid and the way you managed to immortalize her.

RachaelfromNJ said...

I dont have any pets to hug! LOL I used to have goldfish but I became too emotional when they died. Lisa your books sound great! Adding to my wishlist!

liz said...

Thats so bittersweet. Sad 'cause you have lost Cid but it was really sweet that you were able to shared Cid with us through your book.

And hello everyone. Havent been in here for a while and wanted to also wish everyone "Happy Holidays"


Estella said...

How sad.
I have 5 cats and a Yorkshire Terrier and I have hugged them today.

readingissomuchfun said...

Aww Lisa so sorry about Cid. Hugss to you. I don't have any pets to hug. I am a cat lover though. As I was growing all I had was cats and a few dogs but I love cats. I look forward ot reading your books. I have Let's Misbehave can't wait to read it :)


Bronwyn Jameson said...

Hi, Lisa! What a gorgeous post. I love that gave Cid a walk-on role in what sounds like such a fun book. I couldn't hug Dog today because he's feeling very fragile after a horrid fight with another dog yesterday. But he appreciated the gentle pat I just delivered and he is now sitting here by my feet looking at me with tragic eyes. I'm sure he's thinking, and where were you yesterday when I needed you?

deseng said...

Awww....Lisa, I am so sorry to hear you lost your beloved dog, Cid. What a neat name by the way! I absolutely love dogs! I have grown up with dogs all my life. I don't own one now but my mom has a little miniature dachsund that is all black with a little brown above his eyes. He is just adorable and very huggable! He loves to be held and is very loving. He looks up at me with his adoring eyes that just melts your heart!

I am allergic to cats also. I do like cats but I sneeze my head off whenever I pet one. I have had many friends who owned cats and they are just adorable also!

Your book sounds fantastic! I definitely will be buying it! I love your books Lisa!


Nathalie said...

I don't have any pets and it seemed they take an important part of your writing.

Diana Holquist said...

He was waiting for the scrap of meat that never came...I'm a vegetarian.

Oh. My. God.

That is TOO funny.

That image is going to be with me all day.

Thanks for the great post.


Lisa Plumley said...

Hi, everybody! Thanks for letting me visit and share a few memories of Cid. :)

Lois, that's funny! Your cat sounds like a real character.

Barbara, nice to see you! My family got its first dog (a cute cockapoo!) when I was five, and I've pretty much had an animal buddy with me ever since -- usually a dog, with occasional forays into the fish tank.

Rachelfromnj, I hear you! (See above.) We used to have several neon tetras, but it was unexpectedly upsetting when they died. I didn't know you could get attached to a fish. ;)

Happy holidays to you, Liz!

Aww, Estella! You're lucky to have cats and a Yorkshire terrier. Sounds cute!

Hi LindaH! How are you? Most of my friends love cats...which means we have most of our get togethers in a neutral (aka sneeze-free) zone!

Bronwyn, I'm so sorry about your dog's fight! I hope he's feeling much better today.

Michele, your mom's dachshund sounds totally cute! Thanks for the kind words about my books too. That's sweet of you. :)

Nathalie, you're right -- the pets in my books just seem to appear out of the blue for many of my characters. I don't plan them (even though I'm a major plotter)...they show up spontaneously when I'm writing a manuscript. It's kind of nice. :)

Diana, LOL! I doubt Cid knew what she was getting into when she joined a veg home. I have an adorable little Cocker Spaniel named Sadie Mae now, and she's adapted pretty well -- if a scrap of, say, carrot drops to the floor when I'm cutting up vegetables, Sadie happily pounces on it and chomps down. I don't think she realizes she's supposed to crave T-bones. ;)

readingissomuchfun said...

Hello Lisa I am good waiting for Thanksgiving so I can just pig out and not worry that day *G* Until the next day I find out I gain weight right heehee.

Happy Thanksgiving To You All.


Lily said...

I find it funny when a book is centered on that special pet! It gives more humor to a novel :)