When Love Wags a Tail by Carmen Leal: Blog Tour & Giveaway

Monday, May 27, 2024

When Love Wags a Tail by Carmen Leal

We're excited to welcome back Carmen Leal who joins us for another blog tour. This tour is of her newest collection of true stories from people whose lives have been saved by their dog. When Love Wags a Tail is perfect for anyone who has ever loved a dog. Join us as we celebrate the launch of the blog tour by interviewing Carmen Leal and giving away a copy of the book.

But first, here's more about the book:

Our four-legged friends have huge hearts. Experience the joy of this collection of true-life stories of humans and the amazing dogs who saved them. Carmen Leal never dreamed tragedy could bring positive change. Suffering a traumatic brain injury after a car wreck, the marketing pro struggled to find her center and reclaim her life. But after finally caving in and adopting a rescue dog, her world changed forever.

Flourishing on her new furry friend’s unconditional love, she turned her talents to supporting canines still facing grim futures. Working tirelessly over the course of four years, she’s helped find homes for over 6,500 dogs and collected endless tales of wonderment and triumph.

Now, she’s here to share the real-life stories of how a deep connection with these incredible animals can bring fulfillment and joy. In this heartwarming compilation, author and storyteller Carmen Leal interweaves her personal journey with those who’ve experienced renewal at the paws of the dogs they adopted. Bringing together over sixty snapshots, Leal connects both dramatic and simply sweet accounts, including her own, while advocating for help and donating a portion of each sale to a foster-to-adoption group.

When Love Wags a Tail is part emotional memoir and part treasure trove of inspirational and humorous journeys. If you like protecting loyal friends who lack a voice, feel-good adventures, and giving back, then you’ll adore Carmen Leal’s touching read.

Publisher: ‎ EABooks Publishing
ISBN-10: 196361108X
ISBN-13: 978-1963611083
Print Length: 256 pages

Purchase a copy of When Love Wags a Tail on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Bookshop.org. You can also add it to your GoodReads reading list.

About the Author, Carmen Leal

Carmen Leal is a storyteller, Coconut's mom, and a reluctant gardener. She is the author of multiple books, articles, devotionals, and human-interest stories. Carmen relocated from Hawaii to Oshkosh, yes, there is a story behind the move, and has become an awesome dog mom. Carmen and her husband have become reluctant gardeners and, sadly, they know a crazy amount about Wisconsin weeds. She is the mother of Coconut, the best imperfectly perfect rescue dog in the world.

Carmen didn’t know enough about rescuing dogs; okay, she knew nothing, but despite her complete lack of research or knowledge, she ended up with Coconut, the rescue who was and continues to be perfect for her.

Carmen is an active member of the Oshkosh Southwest Rotary Club, part of her neighborhood association's leadership team, and is an adjunct professor for Fox Valley Technical College's award-winning E-Seed Entrepreneurship workshop. When she is not writing and speaking, Carmen reads, cooks, and is a major bargain hunter at consignment and antique shops.

A portion of every book sold is donated to Second Chance North, an area foster-to-adoption group that helps to rescue more dogs. Follow Carmen on Facebook at #rescuemoredogs.

Find Carmen online at:

Publishing company: https://wagawaypublishing.com 

--- Interview by Nicole Pyles

WOW: Congratulations on When Love Wags a Tail! I love your collection of essays, and I'm so excited to see another published following I Chose You. Why did you feel led to publish another collection?

Carmen: The Wag Away Tales series was always supposed to be more than one book. From a business perspective it’s much harder to sell a standalone title. It’s so much work starting a business, setting up websites, and doing social media, that multiple books helps make all the work worthwhile. Sales from book one drive books two and three and the other way around. My goal is to donate as much money as possible to rescue groups to help rescue more dogs. More books hopefully means more sales. 

The other reason I wanted write this book is that there are so many great stories! I had many submissions for I Chose You and I had to stick them in a file and tell the dog owners I’d hopefully be able to write book two. I am happy to say I was able to use many of those submissions in this book.

WOW: I completely agree! There are so many good stories to tell about owners and their much-loved pets. How did you approach compiling this collection this time around?

Carmen: I contacted people from the last book and asked them first. When Love Wags a Tail is focused on people fifty-five and older, so many of my first authors didn’t fit into that age group. I posted a call on my Facebook rescue dog page and on my personal page. I had writer’s groups post about in their newsletters and I had a postcard at book signings and got stories from local dog owners which has been fun. 

WOW: What a clever way to find contributors! What has changed for you since the publication of your last book?

Carmen: The best change for me is that I have been able to donate money to several rescue groups. Donations from I Chose You are just about at $5,000 which is so gratifying. I have done a ton of podcasts and book signings. 

WOW: How incredible! And I love that you started your own publishing company. Why did you decide to do that?

Carmen: I have always looked at my writing as a business, so an LLC was always the goal. Since I started this venture by writing dog books, it made sense to go with a doggy themed logo and name. I plan on applying for some grants and loans that are only available to business owners. I wasn’t ready for that in 2022 when I started the company, but I decided to start out with a business. There are also a ton of business deductions to help pay less federal state income taxes and that’s always a good thing.

WOW: Those are some good benefits. What do you hope people gain by reading your story collection?

Carmen: I want people to understand that most rescue dogs aren’t in a shelter because of bad behavior. The overwhelming majority of dogs are simply good dogs in a bad situation. I also want people to know that dogs are awesome and can change our lives in the best way. The caveat to this is that being a responsible dog owner is not without costs, so everyone needs to remember that before adopting. 

Lastly, I want people to understand that they need to adopt the right dog at the right time. Every author in this book is a senior or close to it. Maybe an eighty-pound shepherd might have worked when I was forty or even fifty, but at seventy a small dog is more manageable and safer for me. Living in a senior living community might mean having to get a dog under twenty-five pounds. Do you have neighbors who will be upset about dogs who bark a lot? When Love Wags a Tail is filled with stories that will hopefully teach these and other lessons to my readers. 

WOW: Those are great things for people to know! Are you working on another? Can people submit?

Carmen: I’m not accepting submissions yet. The last two books in the series are already set in my brain. One will use the same format as these two, but all the stories will be about getting a dog when you have young children at home. Just as seniors have challenges when it comes to welcoming dogs into their lives, so do young families. I think this will be a fun book to write. 

The last book will be a doggy devotional and I’m really excited to get back into faith-based writing. I’m applying for a loan to help with the cost of doing an illustrated, four-color, hard cover book so the timing will depend on if I get that loan for publishing costs. It’s a big investment to do a four-color. Once I decide which book comes first I’ll post it on my website and other places.

WOW: That sounds amazing! I can't wait! Can you tell me about the non-profit you are working with that will receive some of the proceeds?

Carmen: Second Chance Shelter is based in Boaz, Alabama. They rescue strays and also take in dogs when families can no longer care for them for many reasons. When Love Wags a Tail has a story with more details about how they started their shelter. In 2018 a group here in Wisconsin learned about them and the need to transport dogs outside of Alabama so that could find forever homes. That’s when Second Chance North was born. 

The shelter in Alabama is a 501c3 and can accept tax deductible donations. The adoption fee for a dog who is spayed or neutered and fully vaccinated is only $60.00 because of the overwhelming number of strays and the poverty level. That means that they lose money on every adopted dog and struggle to pay the costs of having a brick-and-mortar business with employees. 

One of the cool thing about this partnership is that Second Chance North in Wisconsin has an adoption fee of $375.00 which is still on the low side up here. 100% of the adoption fee goes back down to Alabama which allows them to rescue more dogs. 

WOW: I love what you are doing for these pet shelters. Why is having a dog such a beneficial addition to someone's life?

Carmen: There are so many benefits to sharing your life with a dog. When Love Wags a Tail is full of stories from seniors and how their lives are better because of the companionship of their dog, but people of all ages will benefit from having a dog. 

Most people feel that dogs are like family members. Our four-legged family members provide unconditional love and easy companionship. If you’re like me, you probably feel like your dog resonates with you emotionally. Because of that, we feel less lonely when surrounded by unconditional love. 

I adopted my dog after a traumatic brain injury that left me anxious, stressed, depressed, and suicidal. It was getting out of bed each day and finding a reason to keep living. Studies have shown, and I know this to be true based on my blood work, that being a dog mom has significantly lowered my heart and systolic blood pressure and has improved my cardiovascular health. Being forced to get out and walk my dog is a huge part of my improved physical health.

People who interact with their dogs have higher levels of serotonin and dopamine mainly due to the fact that dogs are calming and familiar companions. That leads to reduced stress and anxiety, which in turn leads to better mental health. 

Another benefit to owning a dog is that dogs are natural conversation starters which promotes social interaction. The more social interaction you have, the more likely you are to engage in fulfilling relationships with people that make you happy. 

WOW: Great points! Why is rescuing a better option?

Carmen: Whether you adopt a puppy or an older animal, you get just as much love (if not more) than if you purchased a dog from a breeder or a puppy mill. An adopted dog is every bit as loving, intelligent, and loyal as a purchased pet. By adopting a rescue dog, you are giving it a second chance, a home, and a family. That means that not only will you save a life, you’ll also open up shelter space for another animal that might desperately need it. 

Plus, most dogs that wind up in a shelter or rescue situation are there through no fault of their own. Problems such as divorce, illness, death, loss of jobs, or a change in a living situation are a few of the reasons why a dog needs a new home. In addition, the costs of spay/neuter surgery, up-to-date vaccinations, recent veterinarian care, and microchipping are often included in the adoption fee. 

Among countless others reasons!

WOW: So many good reasons to adopt a rescue dog! Can you tell me about your writing routines?

Carmen: When I published my first book in the Wag Away Tales series, I started a Facebook group for owners of rescue dogs. I am usually at the computer at 6:30 each morning writing content for that page. If I am working on a book I try and write 2,000 words a day. Before writing those words, I edit what I did the day before to get me ready to wrote the next section.

Once I submit the manuscript to the editor, I do lots of marketing tasks, It might be creating memes, writing informational articles for my doggy group, and the writing that goes with marketing. I try and do five marketing tasks every day, but usually end up doing more. 

When the book comes back from the editor I shift into a new mode. I print off the manuscript and leave the house to mark it up with corrections and the next day I make put those changes into the computer version. I am a pretty disciplined writer and I love deadlines. 

WOW: I love your routine. How has marketing your book been this time around? Have you done any new approaches?

Carmen: I have one huge event I created and Wag Away Publishing will be the lead sponsor. It doesn’t have a name yet, but we are doing a fundraising event for the therapy dog at our local homeless shelter. I am so excited to be able to create awareness about rescue dogs while helping those who are homeless for any number of reasons. I’ve gotten a location, food, and sponsors and now we start pulling together gift baskets and raffle items and we’re doing a mommy/doggy fashion show and dog-themed businesses to do a pop-up shop. All the proceeds will be going to the homeless shelter. The sponsors are really high-profile companies so we should get some great PR which I think will sell books. 

Because of the garden themes I am speaking at garden club meeting which is new for me.I am working on a music video! It will be on YouTube and TikTok and other places and the final screen will lead people to information on the books. It’s scary and exciting. 

WOW: I love how you engage in your community and onlnine! What else are you working on that you can tell us about?

Carmen: I have books that I have regained the rights to and so I am looking at getting them back into print. I have been asked to teach a course at Fox Valley Technical College on getting your book published so I am working on my course outline now. They are also partnering with me to write a book about the immigrant entrepreneurial experience. And I still have two more books to write in the Wag Away Tales series. I’m keeping busy and that’s a good thing. 

WOW: I can't wait to see what you come out with next! Best of luck on your blog tour!

When Love Wags a Tail by Carmen Leal Blog Tour

--- Blog Tour Calendar

May 27th @ The Muffin
Join us at our blog, The Muffin, for an interview with author Carmen Leal and a giveaway of her book When Love Wags a Tail. 

May 28th @ Just Katherine
Visit Katherine's blog for a guest post by Carmen Leal about the rule of 3-3-3 and other important things to know when you adopt a dog.

May 29th @ Candid Canine
Visit Chris' blog for a review of When Love Wags a Tail by Carmen Leal. You can also win a copy of the book!

May 30th @ A Storybook World
Join Deidra for a spotlight of When Love Wags a Tail by Carmen Leal. 

June 3rd @ Maddie Gudenkauf
Visit Maddie's blog for her review of When Love Wags a Tail by Carmen Leal. 

June 5th @ Create Write Now
Visit Mari's blog for a guest post by Carmen Leal about finding purpose in your life after retirement.

June 7th @ Candid Canine
Visit Chris' blog for a guest post by Carmen Leal about the benefits of adopting a dog as a senior.

June 10th @ The Faerie Review
Visit Lily's blog for a spotlight of When Love Wags a Tail by Carmen Leal. 

June 12th @ Barbara Barth's Art & Words
Visit Barbara's blog for her review of When Love Wags a Tail by Carmen Leal. 

June 13th @ Knotty Needle
Visit Judy's blog for her review of When Love Wags a Tail by Carmen Leal. 

June 15th @ The Forgotten Books
Join Heather for her review of When Love Wags a Tail by Carmen Leal. 

June 16th @ A Wonderful World of Books
Visit Joy's blog for a spotlight of When Love Wags a Tail by Carmen Leal. You can also win a copy of the book!

June 17th @ Frugal Freelancer
Visit Sara's blog for a spotlight of When Love Wags a Tail. You can also enter to win a copy of the book!

June 18th @ Words by Webb
Visit Jodi's blog for her review of When Love Wags a Tail.

June 20th @ Knotty Needle
Visit Judy's blog for a guest post by Carmen Leal about taming a wild garden when you don't know where to begin.

June 23rd @ The Shaggy Shepherd
Visit Isabelle's blog for a guest post by Carmen Leal about the value of planting a rain garden.

June 25th @ World of My Imagination
Join Nicole for a review of When Love Wags a Tail. You can also win a copy of the book.

June 27th @ Fiona Ingram's blog
Visit Fiona's blog for her review of When Love Wags a Tail.

June 30th @ Jill Sheet's blog
Visit Jill's blog for her interview with Carmen Leal about her book When Love Wags a Tail.

***** BOOK GIVEAWAY *****

Enter to win a copy of When Love Wags a Tail by Carmen Leal! Fill out the Rafflecopter form below for a chance to win. The giveaway ends June 9th at 11:59 pm CT. We will choose a winner the next day and announce in the Rafflecopter widget and follow up via email. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Carmen Leal said...

Thank you for such a great kick-off to my When Love Wags a Way book tour. I love being able to share beyond my community in such an easy and fun way. You are absolutely the best at what you do.

Your yours are so professional and organized! Thank you again and I hope lots of doggy lovers enjoy the tour.


Angela Mackintosh said...

Fantastic interview, Carmen and Nicole! :) Carmen, I love your book's mission - rescues do such important work and rescuers are angels. I admire you so much for bringing all these fantastic writers together to share their important stories, and with such inspiring themes! I know it's a lot of hard work to put together a book like this, and I'm sure it will touch so many reader's hearts. I have three rescue cats, and now we are finally adopting a rescue dog! A sweet Rottweiler. I'm so excited. Good luck on your tour! It looks like a great one. :)

Laurie said...

What a wonderful interview! As a senior who adopted a senior rescue dog one year ago, I'm very excited about this book! I really connected with your comment about finding the right dog. I lost my Darby four years ago when he was nearly 17 years old, and didn't think I'd ever be ready to adopt again, so I focused on supporting local rescues. Last year, one of those rescues posted a video of a little black and white dog being surrendered at a high intake/high kill shelter because "all he does is eat, sleep, and poop." It was heartbreaking to watch him walk over to his people and look up at them as they then walked away, while he was taken to a cage. The next morning, my husband said, "we have to get him." Without a second thought, we went to meet him, and it was love at first sight. It took six months to get him to his best weight and healthy, and now he's a twirling, cuddling, adorable bundle of joy. Our Snickers gave us new life, too, because since that first day, every moment is filled with so much love and happiness for all of us (well, except for our three-legged cat, Ruby (also a senior) who still isn't sure about our boy :-)).

Anonymous said...

I loved every word. As a senior it was very relatable.

Heather Swanson said...

love an inspiring story

Carmen Leal said...

I am so incredibly humbled by your comments. I loved writing this book and it makes me happy to hear how much people love their dogs. The best thing for me is being able to donate money to help rescue more dogs. The second best is interacting with rescue dog lovers!


kywave said...

I look forward to this book! Wonder how many cats would do the same lol

AshleyS said...

Looking forward to reading this. I'm all for anything with animals in it.

Andrea said...

I adopted my puppy from the SPCA. I love dogs and can't wait to read these stories.

Todd Snelgrove said...

Best of luck with the book!

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