Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Treasure Trove of DeForest Kelley Interviews to Download

Launching a New Book Is Hard Work!

Eegads.  Whenever I'm not writing copy for Elance clients, I'm emailing the SERVAL SON media release (and sometimes accompanying documents) to AZA accredited zoos, ASA accredited sanctuaries, high-profile animal welfare and advocacy groups, exotic animal sellers, pet forums, hometown newspapers (Northern Kittitas County Tribune, Tacoma News Tribune) and local daytime TV talk shows (New Day with Margaret Larson). 

In a word, I'm multi-tasking, typing my fingers to the bone hoping I get the word out to enough places and causing enough stir to raise SERVAL SON well up the flagpole at Amazon on Sept. 1st when it debuts. 

I've never worked so hard preparing the way for a book launch in my life. Sure hope it pays off.  I want to be sure FutureWord Publishing doesn't regret campaigning to get the book. That's my primary concern. 

I'm making money as a copywriter so if SERVAL SON doesn't fly high it won't be any skin off my teeth (how in the world did that idiom originate--"skin off my teeth"-- or am I misquoting an idiom?) but it will be a bummer for FutureWord because they're getting the editing and cover copy done at their expense, and the formatting, and all that; they only get paid back if enough books sell.  I've never had to worry about other people's financial investments in my books before--all the costs have been on me up until this one so I feel a serious compulsion to obsess over it until I'm sure I've done absolutely everything I can to ensure the success of the launch!

I have a very good feeling about this book, of course (thanks to the numerous "guinea pigs" I foisted it off on to proofread and critique it; all thought it was SUPER!!!). And both sides  of the great divide (pro-exotic pet and anti-exotic pet) should recommend it to their readers. But "should" doesn't mean "will". (Democrats and Republicans "should" recognize each other as fellow Americans and patriots, but you see how often that's occurring, don't you?)

The scary fact is that every book launch is a crap shoot unless you're JK Rowling or another great megastar. And my new title is definitely a niche title--I mean, how many people are going to want to find out what it's like to be owned by a wildcat? One in a hundred? A thousand? Ten thousand. No one knows!  I sure don't.  My publisher thinks SHE knows. I pray she's right!!!   

One thing I am sure of, though, it that there are a lot of animal lovers.  I've read dozens of books about different kinds of wild ones and their interactions with the humans who loved and cared for them--owls, raccoons, otters, wolves, tigers, lions, kinkajous, hawks, bears. The animal lovers I know have recommended them to me, and I've devoured each one. This may become a "word of mouth" book in that way.

One thing's for sure: we're going to find out in a little over a month!

NOW WOULD BE A GOOD TIME TO TELL YOUR ANIMAL-LOVING FRIENDS TO MARK THEIR CALENDARS FOR SEPT 1ST AND CONSIDER BUYING 'SERVAL SON' THAT DAY at AMAZON. Forward them the PR and Stephanie Ealy's review (both can be accessed from earlier blogs).  Those ought to do the job without too much of your time and trouble.


Saturday, July 16, 2011


Thank you for putting me in tears, woman!!!!!


I began sending out invitations to zoos, animal parks and wildlife sanctuaries announcing the upcoming release of SERVAL SON to see if they might like to carry it as a cautionary tale against wild animal ownership and, in doing so, I mentioned some of the folks who will be endorsing the book. (Two of the endorsements come from high-profile people who are ardently anti-exotic pet, as I am in most cases.)

It turns out their factions are giving them some flack for endorsing a book that is about a person who owned an exotic cat. Of course, the naysayers haven't read the book yet, or I truly believe they would see the method in my madness.

Their worry is that, even though the book is a cautionary tale, the people who read it may still want a wild cat after reading it. 

My response: I doubt it. Not the way I wrote it. That's why it took me so long to decide to write it in the first place--because I DIDN'T want to encourage anyone to adopt a wild cat. This book soundly discourages it.

Bottom Line: People committed to getting a wild cat will get one, no matter how many books they read about the dangers and costs, including mine. I can't reach them with this book. I can only caution them. No other book out there does that. The rest are rose-colored glasses versions of the ordeal, usually written by pro-exotic pet factions who want to sell more critters.

It's the fence-sitters I'm after, the folks who are hankering for a wild one like there's no tomorrow. The folks who want to do it right if they do it at all.  These folks can still be persuaded not to do it.

That's what my book is all about. 

And for this reason, BOTH sides (those with integrity) should be endorsing the book.  Because if a wild cat breeder can say, "Read SERVAL SON and then get back to me if you still want a wild cat [after you've read the unvarnished truth about taking care of one its entire life]" the book will screen out the impulse buyers, the "I want one and I want one NOW," uninitiated folks who end up relinquishing their charges like clockwork; the ones who burden wildlife sanctuaries with their cast-offs left and right.

But unfortunately, many--if not most--wild cat sellers are gonna HATE this book. They're gonna see that anyone who reads the book will have a whole new perspective on the matter and most (I believe) will decide against getting a wild cat and will instead help support sanctuaries (like Tippi's and others) that take in cast-off pets.  They'll turn their emotions from "must have one" to "must help the poor castoffs who are abandoned through no fault of their own."

A little controversy is good for a book.  I hope the book develops more of it.  I'm ready to take on the issue head on in the way any good animal advocate should.

Let the games begin!

Friday, July 15, 2011

C. Hope Clark Featured An Email I Sent to Her This Week!

Scroll down to the "Success of the Week" Section to see the email! 

More free publicity for SERVAL SON! WOO HOO!

Thanks, Hope!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Take a Look!

I've just added a SEARCH field to my blog. Now you can search for anything you're looking for that you remember reading before and want to re-visit. 

Let me know how you like the new feature!

Recommended searches: Tippi Hedren, Mother's Day, Trekker Treat, Kelley home, Laverne and Shirley (goats), serval, DeForest (De), Carolyn, books, reviews, writing, Writer's Edge, fans, Star Trek, movie, comedy, Elance... you get the idea.



If you plan to buy my book SERVAL SON: Spots & Stripes Forever please mark your calendars to buy it on September 1st at!  

Sept 1st is the day it debuts. If we all buy it on the same day, the number of buyers it gets that day will push it up the flagpole at Amazon so that other folks who have never heard about it will notice it and think, "Hmmmm!  Better check this one out!"

Let me know if you plan to do this.  If you do, you can also go to my Facebook page (Kristine M Smith, Tacoma WA) and befriend me (if we're not Facebook friends already) and then I can invite you officially to join the event on Facebook. 

You don't have to join the event at Facebook, but if you'd like to, I'd love to have you. 

Please tell your animal-loving friends and relatives about the book, too.  Tippi Hedren has written an AMAZING foreword for it and has given me a name so I can submit it to HSUS for possible inclusion on one of their animal advocacy websites. So keep the book in your prayers that it finds favor with those folks!

It's getting awfully exciting...

Catch the wave!

FutureWord Publishing Announces First Nonfiction Title

FutureWord Publishing Announces First Nonfiction Title

Please visit the PR and SHARE IT with every animal lover you know.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011



“SERVAL SON: Spots and Stripes Forever” will debut September 1st

Seattle WA (PRWeb) FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE        Today the President of FutureWord Publishing, Cheryl Haynes, announced the pending September 1st release of “SERVAL SON: Spots and Stripes Forever” a new book by author Kristine M. Smith, a lifelong animal advocate with decades of combined experience as a wildlife rehabilitator, captive wild animal caretaker, veterinary assistant, and humane educator.

Haynes’ announcement reads in part, “As I was looking [the manuscript] over, I thought how much the book is needed in zoos, wildlife parks, school and county libraries. The book is not just educational; it is packed with familiar flashbacks to the emotional attachments we all have with our own pets.”

Author Smith has raised and nurtured nearly every kind of small animal native to the Pacific Northwest and most species of domestic and farm animals. But it was raising Deaken—an African serval cat—from the age of five days old until his death at 17 which she considers the epitome of her animal-enriched life.

Smith says, “I wouldn’t have missed it for the world—and I would never do it again. It was, at once, the most heartwarming and the most traumatic 17 years of my existence. Raising a wild one isn’t an undertaking for half-hearted impulse buyers. Raising a happy, healthy wild animal—keeping it safe from people and people safe from it—requires complete attention, nerves of steel, and an insane amount of good luck. We are responsible for all we tame. Most who attempt fail miserably and end up abandoning the animals they pledged to love and care for. Animal sanctuaries are overburdened with the sad results: abandoned cast-offs, looking for owners they'll never see again.'"

The book—Smith’s sixth to date—does not advocate the keeping of wild pets, especially wild cats, wild dogs and simians. To the contrary, for the many reasons the author explains and has endured, Smith is opposed to wild animal ownership for most people. She forewarns, “The commitment is brutal, the risks enormous, the memories indelible—good and bad."

The book has been endorsed by several high-profile animal advocates and will be available at Amazon and on September 1st. Not long after, it will be available at all other online bookstore websites and on Kindle™. It measures 6 x 9 and will be perfect bound.


Futureword Publishing publishes award-worthy fiction, non-fiction and children’s books. Find out more at or Kristine M Smith is an animal advocate and a Top 10 copywriter at Elance. Reach her at or

DeForest Kelley's Favorite Wild Cat Finally Gets His Own Book!

When De was in the hospital those final few months and I was caring for him, he kept saying I should write a book about Deaken. I kept saying, "Maybe someday."  Then he said I should at least dedicate a book to Deaken--so I did that in the first book I wrote about De. He would have liked that, had he lived to read it...

De's "orders from headquarters" have haunted me all these years. "Yeah," I agreed, "I really should write a book about my 'serval son'...but how do I do that without making every other cat lover on the planet want one of their own?"

It took me more than a decade to figure it out. And the answer was as obvious as the nose on my face: TELL IT ALL!!! 

Not just the good stuff, but ALL of it: the bad, scary, stressful, painful, infuriating, off-putting stuff, too.  It was only in writing a well-rounded book that I could convince myself to write it at all.

There are people selling pet servals and serval cross breeds like the Savannah Cat. I researched some of them while writing this book.  Some are pretty honest when it comes to what it takes to honorably take care of a serval, their environment, and the people in it. 

But none of them (that I could find) stress the down side enough because...after all..they want people to buy their servals!  A serval goes for upwards of $3K and, in this economy, serval and serval hybrid selling may be all these folks have to live on. So they focus heavily on the up side of having a wild cat.  That's business. All businesses do that or very few would make any money.

That's why I wanted to write a precautionary book.  The illegal  wild animal trade  in this country is second only to the drug underworld when it comes to income. I learned this from Tippi Hedren who owns and operates The Shambala Preserve/ROAR Foundation in Acton, California. Add to that the legal trade in exotic cats, and what  you have are a helluva lot of people getting wild cats as pets, status symbols, bragging rights units, and what have you. Are they trained? Do they have a blue clue what they're getting into? Where did they go for their training?

It's not fair to the animal and it's not fair to the neophyte owner whose impulse buy creates havoc in his or her life.  Get an animal legally and pay through the nose for the privilege and responsibility. Get one illegally and pay the same amount while constantly looking over your shoulder to see if anyone has found you out.

I can't even imagine having kept Deaken illegally.  It was stressful enough having him legally! (Wait till you read the chapter 'Condo Floods, Deaken Discovered.' That's as close as I ever cared come to getting caught red-handed with an "illegal"--disallowed--cat! ) If I had to worry every day of his life that he could be confiscated, after losing my heart to him, it would have been an utterly miserable 17 years!

So I hope the book does what it's meant to do. I hope it informs and entertains the reader and that it encourages anyone even thinking about buying a wild pet to think it through thoroughly. Because it will be a life-changer, something akin to as life-changing as deciding to have a baby.  Only this baby never grows up; it just gets bigger, has fangs and claws, and can do a number on anyone or anything that crosses its path, usually for perfectly legitimate reasons to its way of thinking.

Owning a wild animal is not for amateurs or for anyone who wants any kind of a normal life.

Read the book.  You'll laugh, you'll sigh, you'll cry.  And you'll know why it's an important book, too. Nothing like it has been written with such naked honesty before.

It'll open eyes and touch hearts. My prayer is that it will touch the reasoning center of readers' minds as well as it touches the emotional center. If it does, I've done my job and I will be satisfied.

SERVAL SON: Spots & Stripes Forever will be released Sept. 1 by FutureWord Publishers and will be available at all online bookstores and at  Request that your local libraries get copies!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Living Life with "Christmas Tree Brain"--the Saga

Although I have never taken any kind of illegal drugs, I think I'm experiencing the same kind of weird ethereal sensation.

I have been saddled with what I'm calling "Christmas Tree Brain" ever since I got word that a boutique publisher wants to publish my newest manuscript SERVAL SON: Spots & Stripes Forever.

To all intents and purposes, I'm completely sane. I'm doing my copywriting job without a hitch, interacting as though nothing at all unusual is going on in my life. But every time I get a few minutes to myself--or as evening rolls around--I find my brain lit up like a Christmas tree, thinking about September 1st when I will hold my newest book in my hands.

A book I didn't self-publish. 

Hey, the five books I self-published were terrific enough. I loved holding them in my hands. I loved reading the reviews and getting the emails from readers about them. Don't get me wrong.

But they were all MY doing. I mean, no publisher was beating down my door seeking a piece of the action. Their publication was my doing--paid for entirely by me.  They looked good, they felt good. They were good!

This is even better. My brain won't stop lighting up like a blaring slot machine that's flashing some huge monetary number.

And (strangely enough) I'm not even thinking about what the success of this book could mean to my bank balance. That's so far down on the list, it's pathetic. (I really should put more stock in money than I do. But I never have, and I probably never will--which is why I usually have so little of it!) I didn't EXPECT to make much money on this book--I just needed to write it...for Deaken...because De said I should...and because I wanted to warn wild cat lovers about the kind of commitment they'll have to make if they get a wild cat (assuming they want to do it right.)

Try sleeping in a room with a loud, flashing slot machine ("Christmas Tree Brain") lighting up your cranium.  It's next to impossible. It feels so great I can't sleep!

This afternoon I read the manuscript again--for the first time in a month. It's GOOD!  It's FINE!  It's...everything I hoped it would be.

And it was all mine, just like the other ones. I wrote every word. But now someone else has come alongside me and negotiated a piece of the action, dived in to format it, paid for my copyright, and is doing everything else (money-wise) that I thought I'd have to do to bring the book to market. Somebody in the know, with a great sense of business, wants to take a hit monetarily for a chance to win big with my book!

It feels a little miraculous!

It's enough to make me wish I were a gecko so I could hang upside down on the ceiling and do a happy dance without giving myself a serious concussion--or worse!

It just blows me away!