Friday, October 21, 2011

Author Deborah Barnes: How Does One Become An Author

Deb-and-ComputerI am always amazed at the intriguing people you can meet while blogging. I have meet one such person in author Deborah Barnes, whom I meet through another wonderful friend, Ingrid King at The Conscious Cat.

Please join me in welcoming Deborah. She is the author of THE CHRONICLES OF ZEE & ZOEY - A JOURNEY OF THE EXTRAORDINARILY ORDINARY, a nonfiction book that combines a warm, humorous, and conversational style of writing with stunning photos and charming artwork. Readers are immediately immersed into the world of Zee, her lovable male Maine Coon cat, and Zoey, her high-spirited female Bengal cat, as they share their amazing relationship and bond that formed between the two of them. What makes this story so compelling, is that Deborah narrates the journey of the cats through the personal trials and tribulations of her own life and how they ultimately taught her to be a better person during a very difficult time in her life. Readers will easily be able to relate to the many moments she share with the cats – from moving, to divorce, to single parenting, to unemployment, as the story is wrapped into the general context of everyday life.

Deborah is here today to share her take on ‘How Does One Become An Author?

For as long as I can remember, I have been a writer. It was notLowRes until now, with the completion of my first book, THE CHRONICLES OF ZEE & ZOEY -- A JOURNEY OF THE EXTRAORDINARILY ORDINARY, that I could claim I was an author. My writing began in typical fashion – scribbling with lipstick on the bathroom mirror as a toddler that  elevated to a career as an Executive Assistant for over 25 years, whereby brilliant business letter after brilliant letter were crafted, only to have the credit taken by the manager in charge who signed his or her name to my words. I was also always assigned with the task in my family of writing the perfect verse for a greeting card or a signature for gifts and flowers. Granted, I was honored to be asked, but the task hardly had publishers knocking at my door.

Although I had always wanted to write a book and was encouraged many times throughout the years to do so, like so many others with dreams, I put it off thinking, “Yeah, maybe one day I’ll get to it,” without actually believing it. Well, completely unplanned, one day did come in the form of two major events – Zee, my lovable male Maine Coon cat, and Zoey, my high-spirited female Bengal cat fell madly in love and subsequentlyy had a litter of kittens together. The other event – I was unexpectedly laid off and had a lot more free time on my hands.

The birth of the Chronicles began unsuspectingly as a weekly series of emails that I sent to various family members and friends documenting the growth process of Zee and Zoey’s kittens with a humorous narrative that was complimented by photographs taken by my fiancé, Dan. These emails were sent out religiously every Friday morning and soon became a sensation, as many recipients clamored for a book. All seemed well and good, but literally seconds after I hit the “send” button on week 7, I was called into my supervisor’s office and life forevermore changed as I was out of a job. 

The process that followed was a long and difficult road, filled with many deep, dark holes, uncertainty, and severe depression. I knew I wanted to write a story about my cats, but emotionally, I was not capable of being an author with any authority or talent. Being unemployed in my late 40’s was a lesson in humility and I found it difficult to function. I had envisioned a cute and sweet story filled with adorable kittens and humorous antidotes – being that I couldn’t even muster the energy to smile, this was a task too large for me to tackle. As it turns out, my cats and kittens were far wiser than me and were about to teach me some invaluable life lessons.

It was through them, that I began to see life through their minds eye and the personal revelation was profound. Cats live without judgment and in the moment. They do not dwell on circumstances, and, as long as they are loved, fed, have clean litter and a lap to nap one, then life is good. It was then that I realized I had a story to tell anYou ask Momd a message to teach – I wanted to use my cats as more than a cute story about kittens climbing up a curtain. I wanted to use an honest, conversational, warm, and humorous style of writing to share a story that really explored the very real core of being a cat – how they express feelings and emotions, not just with one another, but with the world at large. I felt whether you were a “cat person” or not, that the journey of the chronicle itself, is something we all can relate to in one way or another and I became convinced I needed to share my positive feelings as they did, i.e., to “embrace the ordinary in life and dare to make it extraordinary.” 

Once I grasped that simple but profound concept, from that point on, I really truly understood how simple the message was and how rewarding, limitless, and fulfilling the possibility could be and I tried to look for those silver-lining moments all the time to help me appreciate my life all the more, despite how it seemed on the surface sometimes. If an explanation is in order – jZee-protecting-Zoeyust imagine a bug walks across the floor – for a cat, in a split second, life magically transforms from “ordinary to extraordinary” as they spend endless minutes in fascinated pursuit of this non-descript moment in their lives. It’s all in how you perceive the moment. As people – take a rainy day for example. Rather than find it to be a hindrance, perhaps it is a stolen moment for a much needed nap or a chance to snuggle on the couch to watch an old movie. 

The writing began to flow with abandon after that point and I knew I wanted to immerse my readers into that simple concept. I felt by creating a heartfelt and inspirational story that was narrated through everyday events that anyone could relate to, coupled with stunning photos and exquisite artwork, that the reader would eCats-Looking-at-Birdxperience the very concept of “from ordinary to extraordinary.” I wanted this book to be an experience for my readers and I truly think I have achieved that goal.

I cannot wait to share this story – I know it has made me a better person today and I hope it will give people a few laughs and inspire them to think in a different way about their lives as well.
Authors Note: I am thrilled to announce that November 1st, 2011, is the official launch date of the book release and the unveiling of my new website and book trailer. Please mark your calendars to stop by for a visit – I can guarantee you that I continue my vision of “from ordinary to extraordinary” as you are treated to a visual masterpiece from the moment you enter the site! I will also be on tour with “Pump Up Your Book Promotions” from November 14 to December 16, 2011 and you can find all the details at

Deborah, thanks so much for guest blogging today and sharing your journey to writing your book. It is truly awesome what our furry friends can teach us if we just take time to learn.

Now let me share a bit of background on Deborah. Born in Lansing, Michigan, and moving dozens of times in her life, Deborah currently resides in the tropical paradise of Coral Springs, Florida, with her fiancé Dan, and their seven beautiful cats that were the inspiration for THE CHRONICLES OF ZEE AND ZOEY. She has two sons - Chris, 26, and Joe, 21, - who have long since moved out on their own. She has worked as an executive/marketing administrator for over 25 years in various fields, but has always found writing to be her primary passion and true calling.

Have you learn lessons of life from your animals? If you’re a writer, do you include animals in your stories? If you’re a reader, do you enjoy stories that include pets? I hope you enjoy the photos of Zee, Zoey and their kittens. I couldn’t pick just one so I decided to share all.


  1. Deborah, thanks again for guest blogging. Wishing you much success with your writing. Give Zee and Zoey a hug for me.

  2. The pussycats are beautiful. What stunning photos.

  3. How nice to see you here on Thoughts in Progress, Deb! I have been fortunate enough to be one of the early reviewers of Deb's book, and I can promise you that it is absolutely wonderful. The photos in this post are only a very small taste of the photos in the book.

  4. Mason - Thanks for hosting Deb.

    Deb - Thanks for sharing your journey to becoming an author. I love it that you drew inspiration from your cats and even more, that you learned how to just let the writing happen :-). I wish you much success.

  5. We're cat people here and I love that you found your cats so inspiring. Best wishes for your release!

  6. Mason – Thank you so much for providing me with the opportunity to guest blog on your review site today. I really enjoyed writing the post and I am thrilled at the prospect of meeting new people. I appreciate all of the kind comments and well wishes and it gives me great comfort to see that others find cats as inspiring as I do!

  7. And out of a bad situation you created a book!

  8. What a lovely story and beautiful pictures. Thanks for posting.

  9. Deborah, it's a hard lesson for humans to grasp at times. Live in the moment, find contentment in the simple things.

    We're groomed from an early age to have plans for our future. Sometime we get lost in the *future* and forget to really live today. Enjoy today.

    Good job on finding and living the lesson!

    Sia McKye's Thoughts...OVER COFFEE

  10. I cannot begin to tell you how THRILLED I was to see Deb featured on your blog!

    Deb and I met a number of months ago on Twitter, where I was both smitten and intrigued by her photos on her website.

    We have since discovered we are, in many ways, kindred spirits. Both experienced job loss late in life, both share a love of cats and even the same astrological sign.

    We have become the closest of friends and I am blessed to have met her and have her as a part of her life.

    I, too was one of the lucky few who was given a copy of this book to Ingrid (whom I also adore) said above, the book is "wonderful" "wonderful" doesn't even BEGIN to describe it!

    We wish Deb nothing but the best!

  11. What a beautifully simple message, and the illustrations are wonderful. I've always said someday I'm going to mimic my cat's day: Stare out the window, nap, eat a bit of crunchy food, nap, bat a toy around, nap, drink a little water, nap, meow (just because), nap, stare out a different window, nap, cuddle with my human, nap, eat soft food, nap. :-) A lesson in tranquillity.

  12. My husband and I became "cat people" in January with the adoption of our brown tabby (Katrina) who turned out to be a special needs kitty with mega-esophagus. We've been learning a lot about love and patience, not to mention cat anatomy. The Chronicles of Zee and Zoey is going on my reading list right now.

  13. What a great post! Cats really do have so much to teach us, but they can only begin when we are ready to listen.

  14. Great post! We really enjoyed reading about our friend Deb, and the path she's traveled to get where she is. :)

  15. Aw, look at the kitties!!! I want to read this. I hope there are lots of photos.

  16. Hi there, it is so great to see Deb as a guest blogger on here.

    Deb, as you know I've been an avid follower of your blog for a while and love you and your menagerie and also very much admire your talent. I am so looking forward to reading your book and attempting a review very soon ;~}. May this book be the first of many beautiful projects. xox

  17. Mason – I wanted to thank you again for having me as a guest on your site today. I had so much fun and really enjoyed all the wonderful comments and feedback. I want to extend special thanks to all of my dear friends and followers who stopped by today to say hello and read my post and I also thank all of my new friends I have met today who have shown me such courtesy and respect. I am overjoyed that you all are looking forward to my book and truly understand how inspirational our feline companions can be. And for you, L. Diane Wolfe – I really loved your comment and would like to respond, that yes, there are LOTS of pictures – according to Dan who took them all, there are 216 in total!!

  18. What a pleasure to stop by and read this post. I have the good fortune of receiving an advance copy of Deb's book for review and can't wait to share its many charms.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.