Category Archives: Dogs

Author Interview: Danielle Wilkinson Steiner!


Now this is an interview I’m really excited about, although truth be told, I’m a little disappointed that I can’t interview the main character of the book. Nina Puppalina is real and has the best dog name ever, which is perfect because she is a dog. Her owner and the author of the story of Nina Puppalina and her erstwhile human companion Lizzy Lou, is Danielle Wilkinson Steiner.


TPF: Danielle, welcome to The Phil Factor and thank you for taking some time for my readers and dog lovers. Without giving away too much, could you tease my readers with a tantalizing synopsis of your book?

Danielle:  The Great Adventures of Nina Puppalina and Lizzy Lou: Nina Finds Her Home is a children’s picture book written and illustrated from the rescue puppy’s perspective about her adoption experience! Will she find the right home? Who will take care of her?

TPF: So how did the name Nina Puppalina come about?

Danielle: When we adopted Nina from our local SPCA, they had given her the name Nina. We loved the name and kept it! Our daughter Elizabeth’s babysitter, Sally coined the name of Nina Puppalina when she met our new pup for the first time and it stuck!

TPF: Your bio says that you worked in the publishing industry before choosing to write your first book. What did you do in the industry and did that experience help you when you decided to publish your own book?

Danielle:   I worked for three large publishers; Houghton Mifflin, Pearson and Wiley. I always worked in the College Division doing sales and marketing. College sales are very different from Trade book sales….I can’t really say my career encouraged my desire to self -publish. Writing a book one day was always on my “bucket list” and I did not think it would be a children’s picture book until we adopted Nina.  I decided to self-publish because the story is based on my family. I wanted to be able to share my story my way and own copyright.  Also, I knew going the traditional publishing route probably would have taken more time…….and I wanted Elizabeth to enjoy working on the process with me….not to mention  enjoy the book before she was too old to appreciate it!

TPF: How does your daughter Lizzy Lou feel about being immortalized in literature forever? Any concerns that she’ll grow up with a diva complex?

Danielle:  Well it’s funny, since Nina is telling the story, Elizabeth has decided “Nina’s famous”. So far no Diva complex, she’s just happy to be able to share our story and promote pet adoption!


TPF: Your cover art work is gorgeous. Can you tell us a little about the artist?

Danielle:  Sarah Ashmun is a local mixed media artist, I met through Linked In. She has a background in landscape architecture and my book is her first children’s picture book to illustrate. She was really keen with understanding my vision and capturing it so beautifully. We both read Alexandra Horowitz’s. NYT best seller, Inside of a Dog…..her current research was used to illustrate and write from the dog’s perspective. Sarah also had her first baby girl, Skylar born in January 2016!

TPF: The reviews for your book on Amazon are outstanding! Will Nina Puppalina readers have a sequel to look forward to in the near future?

Danielle:  Yes, stay tuned our next book is Nina Puppalina, Lizzy Lou and the Trainer, full of fun and antics.

 TPF: Danielle, thank you again for sharing The Great Adventures of Nina Puppalina and Lizzy Lou with us. We look forward to reading more in the future. You can follow Danielle (and Nina Puppalina and Lizzy Lou) on Facebook and you can order her books here on Amazon.

Throwback Thursdays!

(8/30/2014) Did someone die in your house? Would you want to know that?  If it’s happened since you started reading this you should probably call an ambulance as it may not be too late. If you’re planning for someone to die in your house please say so in the comments and I’ll send some people over who would probably like to discuss that with you at headquarters.

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As you can see from the picture, it’s very important to find out if there are ghosts in your house because it may disturb your pets. For the rest of us who take a ghoulish pleasure in creepy stuff or who may be in the market to buy a house there’s a website,, that exists solely to let you know if someone has ever actually died in any particular house. Unfortunately for my friends in other countries the kind folks at DiedInHouse only seem to care about the United States. If you do live outside the U.S. you can start your own site and grimly reap the profits!

The idea of the site is that if a death has occurred in a house it will negatively effect the value of the property, especially if it was a grisly death or a murder. Home shoppers are encouraged to negotiate for a lower price if there has been a death in the house. On the site it actually says, “a stigmatized home can be a bargain.” A bargain? are you kidding? If there are actual ghosts in the house I’d pay extra for that! It should be an advertised feature of the home: “This house has three bedrooms, two baths, a walkout patio and two lost souls.”

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What is the deal with ghosts photo-bombing peoples pet pictures? Now if a house came with a ghost dog I’d would definitely buy it. What could be better than a pet that doesn’t need to be fed or taken out? No vet bills either! (You can read some real ghost dog stories here)

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Picture credit:

On the site there is a page with stories about people who bought houses after consulting Here’s a good one: — The house in East Meadow, NY where serial killer Joel Rifkin murdered at least three of his female victims.The house was listed for $424,500 in May 2010 and sold eight months later for $322,000.The new owner said, “It’s a great house, and we got it for a great price,” Ask Your Agent for an Instant Report! I kid you not. I copied and pasted that right from the website. Another oddity is that a serial killer had a house that was originally listed at $424,500! If I’ve got the kind of money needed to have a house that nice I think I’d pick a hobby other than murder.

Actually, this situation did come up for me about nine years ago when I was shopping for my current house. There had been a murder that had been on our local news and my wife and I looked at the house. I was kind of excited about the prospect of getting a great deal on a nice house but Mrs. Phil wasn’t hearing it at all. I hope this doesn’t creep anyone out, but truth be told, there was a death at this blog about ten years ago but I bought it anyway. I hope that doesn’t stop you from reading.

As always, if you enjoy #ThePhilFactor I’d love it if you hit the Facebook, Twitter or re-blog buttons below. Have a great Thursday! ~Phil

Top Ten Tuesday! Ten Reasons Cats are Better Than Dogs

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to those that are Irish and those that are Irish just for today! Last week I gave dogs and the dog people their due in the worlds oldest debate.  This week it’s the cats turn. Don’t worry, I have no plans to continue comparing animals.


10. Cattitude: You’ve got to respect their aloofness. They’re not all needy like dogs. If you’re gone 5 minutes, a dog acts like you’ve returned from the Bataan Death March while your cat just checks his watch and goes back to sleep.

9. Pooping indoors: When it’s cold and snowy and my dog has got to go at 6 a.m. I have to take her out. My cat on the other hand is even more stealthy about his bowel movements than I am. Cats are the ultimate Poop at Home People.  Some cats can even poop on a toilet.

8.  Cats are never sick: My cat has been to the vet two times in three years. My dog? Dogs get ear infections as often as an 8 year old at summer camp.

7. Toonces: I don’t recall any Saturday Night Live skits about dogs, do you?


6. Cats are natural ghost hunters: If there’s a ghost in your house cats will always spot them and either run away or follow the invisible-to-you spectre.  Dogs don’t have that kind of attention span, leaving you completely vulnerable to ghost attacks. (Thank you to Rene of Mind Chatter for that one)

5. Cats poop in a box: With dogs it could be anywhere in your yard and you have to find it like you’re in a disgusting Easter egg hunt.

4. Has anyone ever made a Broadway play called Dogs?

3. Cats will run around the house at full speed at 3 a.m. just to make sure you’re not sleeping too soundly.

2. Cats will ignore you until you’re ready to go to work or out to dinner; then they’ll rub against to you ensure that your clothes look like you rolled around in a fur factory. That’s how they say I love you.


1. Cats are realists: If your plane goes down in the Andes mountains, your dog will either run down the mountain trying to find help, only to ultimately die of frostbite, or it will cuddle with you to leech away your body warmth so it could survive. A cat in that situation would start eating you before you were even dead.

That funny cat in the last picture looking like he’s surrendering to the authorities is my cat Brady. I’ve got a cat and dog, so I love both for different reasons and their interactions are always fun to watch. If you can think or any other funny reasons cats or dogs are better than the other feel free to add in the comments. Have a great St. Paddy’s Day! ~ Phil

Top Ten Tuesday! Ten Reasons Dogs are Better Than Cats

10. Dogs always warn you when there’s a house fire.

9. According to Cruella Deville, they make excellent coats.

8. Dogs are too stupid to lie.

8. The Grinch had a dog. (Who knows his name?)


7. Dogs often solve mysteries (see Doo, Scooby)

6. Dogs are capable of making noises you can hear more than three feet away.

5. When Timmy falls down a well dogs will always tell you.  Remember Baby Jessica? Yup, dog told them where she was.  (I hope she reads this. Hi Jessica!)


4. Brian Griffin (R.I.P.) fom Family Guy, funniest cartoon character ever, is a dog.


3. Dogs always act like whatever you’re saying is really interesting. Cats won’t even feign a little interest.

2. Dogs will always clean up food you drop on the floor. In fact, my dog is officially my housekeeper.


1. If my dog hadn’t followed me up to my writing room, like she does every night, I would still be trying to figure out my Top Ten list for today.

If you have any more reasons why dogs are better than cats feel free to share in the comments. Cat people, you get your day next week. Have a great Tuesday! ~Phil

Top Ten Tuesday! The Top Ten Things My Dog Thinks


There she is looking at me over my keyboard as I write this. She’s thinking too. I’m sure that dogs have little doggy thoughts in their little doggy language in their little doggy heads. Because, in addition to my writing superpower, I am also an animal psychic, here are the ten things my dog thinks most often.

10. If I had opposable thumbs I’d grab those car keys and head down to the dog park.

9. Where the hell does he go all day?  He’s probably out with his friends. Why does he spend more time with his friends than he does me?

8.  Do I smell like smoke? I hope he doesn’t notice.

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7.  The neighbors cat is an arsehole. He just prances around outdoors like he owns the place.

6. 26 across: what is a seven letter word for dog?

5.  Brian on Family Guy is a terrible actor. I could do a way better job.

4. If he puts that biscuit on my nose one more time I’m going to bite him.

3.  Oh my God! He’s in the driveway. Delete browsing history. C’mon shutdown already!


2.  Butts smell great! Why doesn’t he ever smell me back?

1. The Phil Factor! Bah! It’s more like The Fool Factor. Who reads this crap? I’m starting a blog on Tumblr.

As always, if you enjoy #ThePhilFactor feel free to share by the Facebook, Twitter or re-blog buttons below. Have a great Tuesday! ~Phil