Monday, December 27, 2010

In Memoriam: "Kolbe" the Awesome Australian Shepherd

Eight years ago today, my dog Kolbe left this world. She died in my arms, and the last thing I said to her was, "You changed the world." And she did.

Kolbe (pronounced "Colby") was my first dog, a beautiful bitch with attitude who was a prissy, pampered show dog.  Everyone who met her was taken by both her beauty and the force of her personality. She had charisma.  Over the years she developed a fan base, regularly received fan mail, and I had many requests from people for her photograph. She gave birth to four puppies, and those puppies changed the lives of the families who adopted them in magnificent ways.

Yes, Kolbe changed the world.

Kolbe was my heart dog, and when she left, the grief threatened to drown me. So, I did what most writers do when trying to process their emotions...I wrote about her. Since I'm a novelist, I created a character in my comic RED HOT series of novels that I based on her. I named the character Talisman and introduced her in RED HOT PROPERTY. It wasn't a huge role, but it was memorable, and it created a whole new fan base for Kolbe/aka/Talisman. Talisman now receives piles of fan mail and many requests for her pawtograph, but little do the fans know that it really is all for Kolbe, for her spirit is the soul of Talisman.

I never expected Talisman to become so popular. To meet reader demand, I have greatly expanded her role in the upcoming novel RED HOT LIBERTY. And I am working on a novella entirely from her perspective called SHOW DOG SINGS THE BLUES. The beauty of all this is that Kolbe is now immortal, and she continues to change the world.

"Kolbe" 4/18/91-12/27/02
"To everything there is a season. He has made everything beautiful in its time, and He has put eternity in their hearts." - Ecclesiastes

You changed my world, Kolbe.  I'll always love you.  xox

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

GLORY Receives Prestigious Nomination

My urban fantasy, GLORY, has been nominated for the 2011 Popular Paperback for Young Adults List, sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) of the American Library Association, in the "Zombies, Werewolves & Things With Wings" category!

YALSA publishes selected booklists each year which recommend great books for teens. Parents and caregivers can use these lists to find good books for their teens, and librarians and educators may find them useful for collection development. While these books have been selected for teens from 12 to 18 years of age, the titles on YALSA's selected lists span a broad range of reading and maturity levels.

In GLORY, seventeen-year-old Glory Templeton's blood holds the cure for a deadly pandemic-plague and she embarks on a quest to save humanity. When evil forces conspire to stop her, three supernatural beings are assigned to be her guardians. Forbidden love, ancient secret societies, mysterious astronomical monuments, vampires, witches, angels and demons all contribute to the high adventure that tests the character of this remarkable young woman.

A dystopian YA fantasy, GLORY has been labeled "Twilight meets The DaVinci Code." It is the first in a planned series about the adventures of Glory Templeton and her unique band of teenage rebels who fight the good fight against evil. It is now available in both print and eBook editions.

For more information please visit

"A fantasy on the shoulders of a strong willed girl, Glory is not to be missed."
- Midwest Book Review


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Midnight's Halloween

   My name is Midnight. Of course it is...I'm a black cat. Could my captors have any less imagination? Besides being dull and unimaginative people, they're cruel; I'm sure they were trained by the CIA - the Cat Intimidation Association.
   It is day 946 of my captivity.
   These humans castrated me. Then they imprisoned me in their home. They feed me the same thing every day; it is some form of hard kibble that tastes like flavored cardboard. They torture me by eating fresh fish and meat right in front me, but then get mad when I raid the goldfish bowl. What do they expect, for crissakes?
   My only pleasure comes from a catnip mouse that I'm certain they gave me by accident. At night, when they're asleep, I cavort with it and enjoy the buzz. This is what I'm doing when I hear a noise coming from the chimney. The sound isn't loud, but given the boring nature of my pitiful existence, it immediately captures my attention.
   Using my superpower of stealth, I pad to the far side of the room to investigate.
   That's when I see her - a beautiful platinum blond with bright blue eyes. When she sees me, she strikes a pose like those jazz dancers on TV. She flashes her jazz paws, and she's a singular Siamese sensation!
   Is it possible I'm feeling a tingle in my former tomcat parts?
   Brazenly, she struts up to me and rubs her scent all over my body. I'm too stunned to object.
   "I'm Jezebel, what's your name?"
   I've never had a cat chat, but our mental conversation seems as natural as could be. "Midnight."
   She bats her eyelashes. "I hope you don't mind me dropping in."
   I notice a smudge of black on her cheek. "Did you come down the chimney?"
   "A little trick my person taught me."
   I can't help myself; in a bold move I lick her cheek clean, my tongue rough and masculine. Purring, she presses herself into me, and I notice the smell of fresh, wonderful blood on her breath.
   Obviously, her person lets her eat real food.
   "Tell me about your person." I wonder if he might want another cat.
   "His name is Damien. He's a vampire and I'm his familiar."
   I've watched enough TV to understand, and my fur fluffs up with concern. "What do you want here?"
   "I've come for Anna."
   Little Anna? I hiss and leap backwards. Anna is the five-year-old human my captors also hold prisoner. I can't let this vixen hurt my innocent little cellmate.
   Jezebel gives me a crazy beautiful smile. "If you help me, I'll teach you how to escape."
   My bleak existence has never had much meaning, but now I must decide whether I'm selfish or noble. I think of sweet Anna, and the decision is easy.
   I arch my back and slash out with wicked claws. "Get out of here as fast as your pretty little paws can carry you, sister."
   Her gorgeous blue eyes widen, their pupils dilate, and I think we're about to begin rolling on the floor - and not in a good way - but she surprises me by backing off. With an exaggerated wiggle in her walk, she turns away and saunters to the fireplace. Before leaping up the chimney, she looks back over her shoulder and gives me a sassy wink.
   I grin at my victory. I am a tomcat after all; my captors might have stolen my balls, but they haven't captured my spirit.
   Satisfied, I celebrate my triumph by reclaiming my mouse and inhaling some catnip fumes. Eventually, I drift into a giddy slumber and dream about what might have been with Jezebel.

* * *

   When my captors awaken me, I stretch, clean my face, and wonder if my encounter with Jezebel was just a drug-induced dream. I leap from the couch and meander over to the fireplace. On the hearth, written in cleverly arranged bloody mouse tails, are the words, I'LL BE BACK.

Copyright © 2010 by Devin O'Branagan

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Steven Spielberg, Australian Shepherds, and Me

In 2009, I held a raffle to benefit Best Friends Animal Society, the largest sanctuary for homeless, abused, and abandoned animals. The prize was that the winner’s pet would become a character in one of my novels. The winner of the contest was a Labradoodle named Bocker.

The book I slated for Bocker was the third novel in my comic RED HOT chick-lit series, which is about the misadventures of a plucky rookie real estate agent named Molly O’Malley. The challenge was how to incorporate Bocker into my novel.

As it turns out, Bocker the Labradoodle is an actor who was in Steven Spielberg’s movie, War of the Worlds, and the Julia Roberts movie, Eat Pray Love. I must admit that I was rather taken by this aspect of Bocker’s celebrity, because if I weren’t a novelist, I would have been a movie star. (Well, that was the plan at one point in my life.) And I have been a devoted fan of Steven Spielberg ever since I learned he has Australian Shepherds. (The fact that he is an Oscar-winning director pales in comparison to the fact that he owns my favorite breed of dog. These are my priorities. What can I say?)

At the time that Bocker won, the only thing I knew about the planned third novel in the comic RED HOT series was that it was going to poke fun at all things supernatural. My vampire-themed young adult novel series, GLORY, was about to be launched, and I had spent so much time trying to save the world in the company of vampires, witches, and angels that I needed to lighten things up a bit. I came up with the title RED HOT VAMPYRE and waited for further inspiration.

Bocker the Labradoodle came to my rescue.

It occurred to me that—rather than have Bocker play a fictional character in the novel—I would have him play himself as an actor in a Steven Spielberg movie. A spooky, remote mansion that real estate agent Molly O’Malley has listed for sale is the location Spielberg chooses to shoot his new movie, RED HOT VAMPYRE. During filming, Bocker is kidnapped by “real vampires” who hold him for ransom until Spielberg agrees to use “real vampire actors” to play the “vampire characters.” (Are you following me here?) So, the novel RED HOT VAMPYRE will be real life imitating art imitating life imitating art. (Or something like that.)

Am I clever, or what?

In closing, I would like to post an open letter to Steven Spielberg:

Dear Mr. Spielberg,

My novel RED HOT VAMPYRE would make a great movie. I would be willing to write the screenplay. I could even star in it as Molly O’Malley…we look alike. (Well, except I’m a lot older, but being the brilliant director that you are, I’m sure you can figure out a way to compensate for that.) And I know Bocker would be willing to play himself. There’s also the role of Molly’s Australian Shepherd that one of your own Aussies could fill. (A little nepotism never hurts.) Please, Mr. Spielberg, consider the possibilities!

Thank you.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Broker's Best Biker Babes

In my comic novel RED HOT PROPERTY, rookie Realtor® Molly O'Malley works for a real estate company named Broker's Best in the fictional town of Blackstone, Colorado. For Halloween, Molly's fabulously gay colleague, Valentino DeMitiri, comes up with the idea of a group theme costume: The Broker's Best Biker Babes. Of course, Valentino ends up the most gorgeous of all the babes and becomes "queen" of the ball. Along the way Molly pushes through her insecurities and gets into the spirit, and the most unlikely fellow brokers reveal their secret wild sides.

I was once a rookie Realtor® who worked for Coldwell Banker in a real town in Colorado. One Halloween a local title company hosted a costume party and a group from my office went as The Coldwell Banker Biker Babes. For a respectable collection of conservative business-suit-wearing real estate professionals, we became one sexy bunch of biker babes. We were magnificent.

It was a Friday night and I remember as we parted ways that evening, one broker patted her temporary tattoo and said, "I like it. I'm leaving it on for the weekend. As a matter of fact, I think I'll hold my open houses this weekend in full costume." Amazingly, she did.

Although we didn't have a campy Queen Valentino, we did have a "Bob." He was very butch.

All of the characters in RED HOT PROPERTY are entirely fictional and not based on any of the real Coldwell Banker Biker Babes (or Bob). However, the pure hilarity of the experience is forever etched in my soul and made a damn good scene in a very funny novel.

They tell authors to write about what they know.

Autographed copies of RED HOT PROPERTY are available via my own online bookstore: Devin's Bookstore or it is often on sale at