Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Hospice Tails Blog Tour by the author Debra Stang and WOW! Women On Writing

Welcome to my stop at the Hospice Tails blog tour! This blog tour is organized by WOW! Women On Writing and by the author Debra Stang and it runs from 22nd of November until  23rd of December. My stop includes a review and interview together with information about the author.

Author: Debra Stang

Title: Hospice Tails
Release date: 31 of May 2011
Published by: Inc
Reading level: Non-Fiction – Adult: Stories, Animal
Pages: 101 pages in PDF
Source: Received from the author for reviewing for blog tour


Told from the perspective of a hospice social worker, Hospice Tails is a baker's dozen of stories about the animal companions of hospice patients and their families.

In these pages you will meet King, an abused pit bull fiercely loyal to his rescuer, Fizzle, a teacup poodle who guarded his human in death as well as life, Io and Oi, two cats who facilitated a beautiful conversation between their owners, and Lightning, a horse who helped a widower find the strength to go on.

Uplifting, matter-of-fact, sometimes funny and never sappy, Hospice Tails will change the way you think about the animals in your life.

My review:

I loved this book!

Hospice Tails was well written and compassionate book about animals’ influence to people. Author Debra Stang has created thirteen wonderful stories from her life and experience working as a hospice social worker how pets can comfort hospice patients and their families during the difficult path towards death.

Every chapter included a story about an animal influencing their owners prior or after the death of a family member. These stories were told with such a heartwarming passion, so it made me laugh, cry and think. I have both a cat and a dog and I know exactly how the act when I am either sad or happy or little out of space. Animals have a special capability to comfort people and that is so warmly described in Debra’s stories. Persons who are facing death and people who are left behind with emptiness get a great comfort from their pets. No wonder that animals are used for different type of therapy for people!

At Hospice Tails you meet very different animals: a snake, a horse, parrots, fish, dogs and cats but they all have one thing in common – their families need them more than ever. My favorite story was about The World’s Biggest Laptop which was about King - pit-bull and Rottweiler mixture, who loved to sit on the lap! The story was funny, quirky and sad. Like all the other stories in the Hospice Tails.

I would highly recommend reading Hospice Tails and it is very suitable also to holiday seasons! Wonderful reading!

5 Flowers!
5 stars.

I would like to thank Debra Stang for providing me the Hospice Tales for reading and reviewing!

About the Author:

In addition to her parents and two sister, Debra's family includes four cats. The current crew includes a grouchy nine-year-old named Achilles; and orange tabby and alpha male named, appropriately enough, Alexander; and a black and white long-haired cat with attitude named Leroux. Then there's the foster cat named Pumpkin. Of course, it all started with a three-month-old brown-and-gray tabby named Calypso who had strong feelings about most people. And not warm fuzzy feelings. Calypso even had the dubious honor of being banned by not one, but two vets.

When not caring for cats or writing, Debra spent many years as a social worker. She worked with AIDS patients, emergency room patients, and those with Alzheimer's. Her final years as a social worker were spent with hospice patients. Although some would view that as a depressing job, Debra chose to view herself as a catalyst helping people make their final hopes and dreams come true. Sometimes it was making up with a family member after a decades long feud or leaving behind the stress of the office to reconnect with another aspect of their personality.

Debra took a clue from her patients and recently decided her writing--for years a part-time career--couldn't wait any longer. Worried she would become one of those people who would one day say, "I wish I had..." she handed in her resignation and is now living her dream as a full time writer.

Author Website:
Author Blog:

Debra was nice and agreed to give an interview.
Interview is divided it into several sections. First section is about Debra, second section is about Debra's books, writing them, third part is about her favorites.

Part I

MAR: Please describe yourself with few sentences. Who are you?

DS: My name is Debra Stang. As of August this year, I’m a full-time freelance writer and editor. I am also a licensed social worker and have spent most of my career in the healthcare field. My most recent job was at a hospice, where the idea for Hospice Tails was born.

MAR: What inspired you to want to become writer?

DS: I was lucky enough to grow up in a family of people who loved books. My older sisters taught me to read before I was even in kindergarten. I always knew I wanted to express myself with words the way my favorite authors did.

MAR: Who did you want to become when you were a kid? What did you dream about?

DS: Oh, I always wanted to become a bestselling author. I also had images of myself as a nurse, taking care of others.

MAR: What brought you to writing? When did the idea of writing your first book formed?

DS: I think my first book was a total Disney rip off acted out by Barbie dolls in front of my endlessly patient mother. My first published book, Visiting Grandma, was a young adult novel about a gay teen battling sexual abuse. I got the idea from a few clients I worked with when I was an ER social worker as well as from a later social work job that involved caring for Alzheimer’s patients.

MAR: What do you do when you are not writing? Do you have any hobbies?

DS: I absolutely love to read. I have thee bookcases packed with books I plan to get around to “someday.” I also have a Kindle and I regularly check books out from the library. I also love to see live theater performances, especially dancing, Broadway shows, holiday spectaculars, that kind of thing. And of course, I adore playing with all of my kitties.

MAR: What is the most difficult aspect of being a writer for you?

DS: Marketing is not fun for me, and I also hate having to hassle non-paying clients.

MAR: If you wouldn’t be a writer, what would you be and do?

DS: I would be very happy to continue working as a social worker. I’d probably return to hospice work, which touched me deeply, or perhaps go into mental health.

MAR: Who or what is your Muse?

DS: I picture my muse as a brilliant, beautiful, but unreliable little fairy. She’ll ignore me for months at a time. Then, all of a sudden, she’ll get a bee in her bonnet and start shrieking into my ear about this fabulous new idea she has. Her ideas are good, I’ll give her that, but she always shows up at the most inconvenient times.

MAR: Did you ever experience writer’s block when the writing process just wasn’t moving ahead?

DS: Oh, yes, I’ve had writer’s block. I think every writer has, even the ones who claim they don’t think it exists! I usually get blocked when I know I have to start an assignment I don’t want to do, when I’ve painted myself into a corner with my fiction, or when I’m clinically depressed. Once I’m able to identify the problem, usually isn’t far behind.

Part II

Let’s talk about books and writing!

MAR: What went through your mind when the first book you wrote was published?

DS: As I’ve mentioned, my first book, Visiting Grandma, was a little controversial in that it dealt with a gay teenager and male sexual abuse. Although it got good reviews, I was very shy about promoting it, so it didn’t sell well back then. (Ironically, it’s doing better now.) But as for how I felt…I remember staring at the finished book in my hands and thinking, “This must be what it’s like to give birth!”

MAR: How do you write?

DS: I usually write sitting at my computer desk. Sometimes, if I get tired of staring at the walls, I’ll take my laptop and go to a coffee shop or the library, or I’ll actually curl up in an easy chair and do some hand-writing.

MAR: What do you think is the most important thing while writing?

DS: To me, the most important thing about writing is getting the words on the paper to start with. They can always be fine-tuned, revised, even cut entirely if they no longer serve a purpose, but before you can make them perfect, you must bring them into existence to start with. I tend to write my first drafts very fast and ignore any and all interruptions going on around me.

MAR: Where did you get the idea for your book? How was the book born?

DS: I keep a journal in which I describe what’s going on in my life. What’s making me sad? What’s making me smile? Did something wonderful or horrible happen? In going back over the journal, I identified quite a few entries I had made about hospice patients and their pets. I submitted a few stories to a chapbook competition, and got a very nice letter from the editor encouraging me to expand the stories into a full-sized book. I took her advice, and it has worked out beautifully.

MAR: Why did you name your book Hospice Tails?

DS: I was talking to a friend about my book idea. She loved it, but we were both stumped for a good title. We came up with things like Hospice Pets and Hospice Animals when she suddenly burst out laughing and said, “How about Hospice Tails? T-A-I-L-S. Get it?” I got it. I even threatened to hang up on her if she made any more puns like that, but somehow, the name just stuck. I decided to go with it, because the play on words conveyed the happy, hopeful attitude I wanted readers to find in this book.

MAR: What kind of books do you like to read during holidays?

DS: In addition to the old classics like “A Christmas Carol,” I like books of short story that have themes of holiday-related murder and mayhem. Hmmm…I suppose that indicates a rather mixed attitude towards Christmas.

MAR: Any plans for new books already?

DS: I’m currently ghostwriting a book about employee behavior in the work place.
I’m also working on two nonfiction books, one a series of time-management tips for freelance writers, the other a short eBook on surviving the suicide of a loved one. Any proceeds from that book, by the way, will be donated to the Alliance of Hope for Suicide Survivors.

Part III – Favorites

Who is your favorite author? No fair! I can’t possibly name just one author. Would you settle for my top five? Andrew Vachss, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Pat Conroy, Elaine Marie Alphin, Jennifer Roberson, Mary Renault, Jean Little…I should probably stop there, even though I could easily go on for pages!

What is your favorite book or series? I’ll have to go with Harry Potter on that one, though the “Burke” series by Andrew Vachss is also great (and could not be much more different from the Harry Potter series) and when I was a kid I loved the Chronicles of Narnia

What is your favorite book blog you follow?  :::Blush::: I’m afraid I don’t follow any. I have a subscription to Bookmarks Magazine and pick up other ideas from friends, family, entertainment magazines.

What is your favorite song? Defying Gravity from the musical Wicked. I’ve heard some great renditions, but as far as I’m concerned, Idina Menzel is still the best.

What is your favorite season? I love winter. There’s just something relaxing about dressing up in warm, cozy clothes, lighting a few candles, and sitting down for a long session of writing or reading.

What is your favorite food? Unfortunately, chocolate!

What is your favorite car? I love any kind of car that has automatic transmission and that starts when I put the key in the ignition.

What is your favorite color? My favorite color is blue. It matches my eyes.

What is your favorite movie? Hook, with Dustin Hoffman and Robin Williams. No matter how many times I watch it, I still feel the joy of reconnecting to a child-like sense wonder.

What is your favorite time of the day? I enjoy evenings when I can snuggle up with one (or more) cats, read, perhaps watch a little television, and basically just unwind.

What is your favorite weather? I know I’m in the minority here, but I say, “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!”

Debra, thank you so much for the interview, I truely enjoyed it!!!

Thanks for coming  by today! The next stop is Thursday, December 15 @ The Caregiver's Voice.

Happy reading!


  1. Hi Inga,

    I just wanted to thank you so much for your lovely review of my book. You have picked up on exactly the elements I hoped to capture as I wrote about the stories of my patients and their pets.

  2. Thank you, Debra!
    I really loved your book, it was so different and sweet!
    Thanks for giving me interview, too!

  3. I love the idea of your book and enjoyed reading the interview. I own a cat that used to be the companion for an elderly lady with dementia. Let's just say his duties haven't changed much. I love when he comes to get me when the oven or dryer buzzer is going off.

    Thanks for the post, Inga!