Book Review And Give-Away:The Returns By M.K. Clinton

Brilliantly clever,  fast-paced, raucously funny,  sensitive and loving  are the first words that come to mind when  attempting to describe The Returns by M.K. Clinton.

the returns cover


It is rare that I read a 240-something page book in one sitting, but that is exactly what I did with The Returns. Ok, so an internet outage in our area  helped,  but if this book had not grabbed my attention with it’s many paws and NOT let go, I would have closed it, and found something else to do.

The Returns was influenced by M.K.’s dogs and cats that had come before, as well as some who she currently shares her life with.  As M.K. has mentioned, without the pets she had shared her life with and loved before, The Returns would not be possible.

Have you ever stopped and pondered:

What happens if you arrive at the Pearly Gates before your time?

F.B.I. Agent Bentley Clanton finds out the hard way as he is directed to a little-known area devoted to correcting glitches in the longevity system. The Returns Department specializes in finding appropriate bodies for “early arrivals” before sending them back to earth.  It seemed an acceptable solution until Bentley realizes his new body includes long velvety ears, four stubby legs with giant paws, and a tail. Helping him adjust to life as a Basset Hound is his rookie Guardian Angel, along with three other canine Returns.

Photo Courtesy of M.K. Clinton

Photo Courtesy of M.K. Clinton

The inspiration for Agent F.B.I. Agent Bentley Clanton came from Clinton’s own Basset Hound who just happens to also be named Bentley, the 4-legged Bentley even has a number seven that he was born with, emblazoned on his fur! (Agent Bentley Clanton, happens to have Badge #7).

You will have some great belly laughs as a delightful Golden Retriever with a penchant for saying prayers, and giving “high-fives” (Tucker), a feisty Chihuahua, (Jose Bones Juarez) who has “the short dog complex”, and a flamboyant Westie, (Pierre)  think Liberace !!  join Bentley to form an unlikely brotherhood of crime-fighting heroes. The Returns takes you on a fun-loving, junk food eating adventure through the exciting streets of New Orleans during Mardi Gras.

Photo Courtesy of M.K. Clinton

Photo Courtesy of M.K. Clinton



M.K. Clinton has a keen understanding of some of the unique traits of the different breeds of the canine characters featured in The Returns.  In most cases, the BEST of  these breeds are featured, and those characteristics that might not be that great, are woven into their personas in a side-splitting funny way! I LOVED how the personalities of each of the canine characters were depicted, they fit perfectly with my image of if dogs could talk, the way they are depicted in The Returns, is EXACTLY how I would expect them to speak in real-life!


The Guardian Angel’s name is, ready for this? Faith Fullilove (I told you this book is funny!) It is also sensitive, one of my favorite quotes came from Faith when Bentley was questioning why he was “returned” to Earth as a dog:

“We must never put a question mark where God puts a period, Bentley. Only a few souls are chosen to become dogs. It is the noblest of assignments. That is why dog is God spelled backwards.” she explained.”

While Bentley had Faith as his main Guardian Angel, there was also an unlikely feline Guardian Angel, Miss Gitty:

"Miss Gitty" Photo Courtesy of M.K. Clinton's facebook page, click the photo to like the page!

“Miss Gitty” Photo Courtesy of M.K. Clinton’s facebook page, click the photo to like the page!

“She was an original cast member of CATS on Broadway. Now, she just prefers being a feline.”

Anyone that knows M.K. Clinton knows that she is first and foremost a dog lover. I would have to say that   with her understanding and love for felines as is evident in The Returns, I prefer to think of her as an ANIMAL lover! Her depiction of Miss Gitty, everything from a cat’s thoughts, body language, etc., shows a deep understanding of the feline persuasion.  Want proof? Another of my favorite quotes comes directly from Miss Gitty herself:The Returns Chapter 2: “The slender grey tabby nodded her head. “There are two ways of doing things around here… my way and the wrong way.”


Last, and most assuredly not least, while there was so much that I loved about The Returns, I believe what I loved most is how M.K.’s love of the South, (her home and her roots), as well as her extensive knowledge of Louisiana, everything from the dialect, culture, food, historic haunts, and places of note,  are, along with her love of her furbabies current and past, the core of this marvelous book.  Now, if you will please excuse me, after reading The Returns I have  an incredible craving for a deliciously sinful Beignet!!! 

*Selected as an Indie Book of the Day award winner
**The Best of 2013 Great Weekly Reads
2014 Silver medal winner AUTHORSdb Cover Contest ~ Humor



Available on Amazon



ABOUT THE AUTHOR: M.K. CLINTON: By her own admission is  a GRITSGirl Raised In The South. She has been married to her best friend for over 31 years. She has two grown children. Her other “children” include a four-legged hairy child, Bentley, who is trapped in the body of a Bassett Hound.  For the time being, she has her  grand-dog Pierre, the Westie staying with her. Her family enjoys playing, making each other laugh, and spending time together. They are also HUGE LSU Football fans. M.K. has a blog:Barking from the Bayou where she shares  funny stories, important dog information, product reviews, and dog care tips.  An active and greatly loved and  admired member of the BlogPaws Community, M.K. is a BlogPaws Ambassador and Head of the BlogPaws Conference Newbies Group for the 2015 BlogPaws Conference which will be held in Nashville, Tennessee at the end of May.

GIVE-AWAY!!! M.K. has generously offered ONE of my readers the chance to win a copy of The Returns for themselves! (Either in paper back or as an e-book)This give-away is open WORLD-WIDE! It begins NOW and will end on Tuesday, March 10th. Entering is easy!  Just leave a comment telling me if you would like The Returns in traditional paperback form if you win, or as an e-book. GOOD LUCK!

In full disclosure: I was not compensated for this review/give-away. I was sent a copy of The Returns (which came packaged in a box overflowing with confetti! One of the nicest book presentations I have received thus far), in exchange for my honest review. I would like to thank M.K. for her patience and understanding because I had to postpone this review at least THREE times before finally posting it!


A Love That Defies Distance

Happy Valentine’s Day My Furiends!!

Ohhh romance is in the air for sure!

Today it is important to me to wish a special Sheltie girl, a most WONDERFUL Valentine’s Day:



Those of you who have been regularly reading my blog through the years, know that I share a special love with a certain Sheltie named “Eva”. She used to blog regularly, but now, with life being so busy, she hasn’t had a chance. That hasn’t affected the love I feel for her. I just don’t get to see her as often as I would like.

A couple of weeks ago Carol Bryant of Fidose of Reality, Pet360 and BlogPaws, asked for photos of Canine Couples.

I HAD to showcase my love for Eva!

I put my paws to the computer and contacted Eva’s human sister Rosie, the talented photographer behind Eva’s blog, and the human who created Phang Photos .

I needed a proper photo of Eva and I and I knew that Mom wasn’t capable enough to handle it! Rosie happily obliged!

I sent the photo to Carol and it was one of 13 other happy Canine Couples featured on the Pet360 website in an article called 13 Canine Couples Who Will Make Your Heart Melt.

Here is our story as it appeared under our photo, I told the story to Carol, who put it in her own words.

Long-Distance Love Affair

Two Shelties log onto a computer and….well, the rest is history. Dakota, an 8-year-old Shetland Sheepdog, has yet to meet his lady love, Eva, who lives in Malaysia. Dakota belongs to pet blogger, Caren Gittleman of Farmington Hills, Mich. Readers of her blog have seen or heard of this three-year love affair. Dakota is mesmerized by tricks Eva can do but he also loves her sensitive side. This pair proves that love can span the oceans. 


Mom went on my Facebook page and found this photo of Eva that her Mom took in December of 2012. Eva was photographed with all of the presents I had sent to her!!!

Photo courtesy of Eva's Mom

Photo courtesy of Eva’s Mom

Here is what it said on Facebook:this is Eva The Sheltie, she is Dakota’s Malaysian girlfriend….here she is with presents that Dakota sent to her!



MISHMASH MONDAY-I LOVE YOU EVA along with an OLD video that I had forgotten about! Check it out!

I know there were more posts, but Mom was too tired to help me look for them!!

Even though Eva and I are far apart and have never met in pawson, we have a love for each other that will live furever. My wish for all of you today, is that you are lucky enough to have the same! Whether it be cats, dogs, gerbils, humans, whatever, may you have some ONE or some FURRY, who will love you FUREVER AND EVER even if they are  OCEANS away!!

Barks and licks and love,







Please Vote for Molly the Fire Safety Dog 2014 Hero Dog Nominee! #BtC4A

As many of you know who have been reading Dakota’s blog, we are huge fans of the amazing work that Dayna Hilton and her dogs have done through the past few years, educating children about Fire Safety.

FROM THE TIMES RECORD ONLINE EDITION: “Molly is the fifth in a line of five fire safety dogs that have collectively helped save the lives of seven children and two adults. Molly, honorary fire marshal for the Little Rock Fire Department, follows behind the late Sparkles and Spanner and works with companion fire safety dogs Tango and Siren.”



I first met Dayna when she was a speaker at my FIRST BlogPaws Conference in 2011!!!

(See all the GREAT people you get to meet when you go to a BlogPaws Conference?)

I didn’t realize when I offered to feature her again, that I had featured her for the #BtC4A  Blog Hop last July! Well, the work she does is so important, and she has helped so many, that now it is time for US to help HER and her dog, Molly the Fire Safety Dog!

BlogtheChange (1)

Dayna put together this adorable video that showcases much of the incredible work that Molly the Fire Safety Dog does!




Molly is a nominee  in the “Emerging Hero Dogs” category. According to the American Humane Association, “Emerging heroes category, the category includes ordinary dogs who you think have made an extraordinary difference in your life.”

Molly, now almost two years old, has been helping teach fire safety to children and adults in the hopes of helping save lives, reduce injuries and fire losses. A spokesdog for the Keep Kids Fire Safe Foundation, Honorary Fire Marshal for the Little Rock Fire Department and fire service dog for Johnson County RFD #1 in Clarksville, Arkansas, Molly has been helping reduce fire related deaths and injuries among children and their families since she was 9 weeks old.

Molly works tirelessly to help educate children and adults through the work of the Keep Kids Fire Safe Foundation, a public charity founded in honor of her predecessor, Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog. In addition to making fire safety presentations and appearing at events across the United States, Molly Skypes weekly to children across the world and is the co-host of Sparkles’ Safety Spot, a live streamed children’s fire safety show. Molly also shares her adventures and fire safety tips on her Facebook page .

Voting for the Hero Dogs contest began March 7, 2014 and Molly’s profile and voting link may be viewed at



For more information about Molly the Fire Safety Dog or the work of the Keep Kids Fire Safe Foundation, contact Firefighter Dayna Hilton at


Photo courtesy of Molly's Facebook Fan Page, click on photo to visit!

Photo courtesy of Molly’s Facebook Fan Page, click on photo to visit!



To vote, please click HERE!


BlogPaws 2014:Speakers Galore! Meet the Rescues and more!

BlogPaws 2014 speakers

Hi All! Do you believe that it is just a matter of WEEKS until the BlogPaws Conference? I can’t believe it either! The time is flying by!


For the past few years, I have had the pleasure of being the main moderator of the BlogPaws Conference Newbies Group (your go-to source for answers to your pressing Conference questions!)

Click HERE to join the group!



There are a number of active discussions taking place now, and I would like to share those links with you:




















Hope this helps!! When you visit the Newbies Group, take a look at the discussions, don’t see the discussion you are looking for? Click on “View All” on the bottom right corner!


Hopefully this will clear up some confusion and feel free to ask questions in the group or email me your questions at cgittleman at mi dot rr dot com


You can also send me a message on Facebook!



You can get a 10% DISCOUNT by mentioning the code


Barking about BlogPaws! “What Do You Do at a BlogPaws Conference?”

Blogpaws conference collage

Did you happen to catch the terrific interview with Carol Bryant, (PR and Marketing Manager for BlogPaws) that was conducted by Kimberley of the great blog Confessions of a Rescue Mom?  It is chock full of information about:

  • Exactly WHAT BlogPaws is (including their Mission and Vision)
  • Conference Info
  • and MORE!

If you missed it, click HERE to check it out, it is a MUST READ

If you have been sitting on the fence, wondering if you should attend the conference, ACT FAST….last year was a sell-out and this year is sure to follow suit!!




You can get a 10% DISCOUNT by mentioning the code


blogpaws ambassador




“What happens at BlogPaws in Vegas,

STAYS at BlogPaws in Vegas!!

oh and on BLOG POSTS

when we blog about 





Book Review: Chez Stinky by Susan C. Daffron

One of the MANY wonderful parts about being a member of the BlogPaws Community is the interesting people from all walks of life that you meet there! BlogPaws isn’t just for bloggers, noooo…it’s for authors such as Susan C. Daffron who wrote what I like to call it “a chick book” that is a FUN often FUNNY and romantic read.  If it hadn’t been for BlogPaws, I might have never met Susan, or been afforded the opportunity of reviewing Chez Stinky.

If you live in a climate that is preparing for winter as I am, it is perfect for curling up with a warm, snuggly blanket, a dog and/or kitty (or both!) by your side, and your beverage of choice! If you don’t live in a cooler climate, no worries! Grab your chaise, sunglasses and this book which is perfect for poolside!


I have to admit when I read the title, that is what intrigued me. I just LOVE the title Chez Stinky and when you read this  delightful book you will find out why it is aptly named.

About the book from the publisher

Kat Stevens is a slightly insecure, mostly bored technical writer who likes her cat a lot more than her boss. She hasn’t laid eyes on her great-aunt Abigail since she was eight, so she’s stumped when she inherits Abigail’s house in the small hamlet of Alpine Grove.

Kat’s uncomplicated life gets decidedly less so when she discovers the inheritance comes with some hairy conditions: four dogs and five cats that her aunt wanted her to love as her own. Of course, the house smells like a barn — with a touch of antique skunk — and, naturally, has serious roof issues. And that’s before the three-legged cat gets stuck in the wall and the shower goes kablooey.

When Kat meets Joel, an unemployed techie type with no love lost for his sister, Kat looks past his obvious flaws, given his timely and desirable skill set: a talent for fixing things (and his own tools).

Despite out-of-control dogs, cat fights, dust dinosaurs, massive spiders and an old grizzled hippie passed out in the yard, Kat discovers the tranquility of the forests of Alpine Grove starting to seep into her soul.

And why she can’t she stop thinking about Joel?


MY THOUGHTS: Chez Stinky is the perfect example  of how your life can change with just a phone call. “Life is what happens to us while we are busy making other plans.”

While I enjoyed reading about Kat and Joel, my favorite character, Maria,  isn’t mentioned above.  It was care-free, personable, adorable, vibrant, bubbly Maria who is Kat’s best friend from the office, who I most related to.  Maria completely enjoys being single and wants to savor her time “sowing her wild oats”, as she says, whatever THAT means! Kat and Joel I had more trouble relating to because of their “techie” personas and quiet personalities, but Maria’s personality bounced off of the pages of Chez Stinky and I greatly enjoyed whenever she made an appearance.

Author Susan C. Daffron is obviously an animal lover. Her often hilarious descriptions of some of the dogs and her knowledge of the silent “language” of cats, is  evident.

If you are an animal lover, a romantic, a techie, a “tree hugger”, or someone who just enjoys a book that helps you to escape the daily grind, then pick up a copy of Chez Stinky, you won’t be disappointed.



  • One novel and 12 nonfiction books (with more in development). See the complete list on her Amazon page.
  • Contributor to 4 other books
  • More than 70 national magazine articles (and counting)
  • More than 200 print newspaper columns
  • Around 1,500 online articles
  • Several online training courses

Susan is the president of the non-profit Small Publishers Artists and Writers Network and was one of the organizers of the Self-Publishers Online Conference, the first online conference specifically for “indie” publishers.

Susan founded the National Association of Pet Rescue Professionals (NAPRP) an association that offers tools and information to help people working in humane organizations save more lives.

A frequent speaker at events and teleconferences related to both pets and publishing, Susan has been quoted as an expert source on publishing and humane issues in a wide range of media outlets ranging from Reuters toRedbook magazine.

  • Chez Stinky
    978-1-61038-019-5 (Paperback)
    978-1-61038-020-1 (EPUB)