Monday, May 1, 2017

Book Review/Giveaway: Whiskers & Bear by Giacomo Giammatteo

Whiskers and Bear
by Giacomo Giammatteo
on Tour May 1 – 14, 2017


Whiskers and Bear were two of the best dogs in the world. They didn’t always listen or even try to listen, but they were loyal to a fault, and they were the best of friends. They hunted all of their food, and they protected our animal sanctuary with no regard for their own safety.


Out of all the books I’ve written (almost thirty), this one is closest to my heart. For twenty-four years, my wife and I have run an animal sanctuary, providing homes for dogs, cats, pigs, horses, and even a wild boar. I don’t know how many animals we’ve had through the years in total, but at one time, we had as many as fifty-five.

I don’t often ask for help, but this is important. We have run this sanctuary for twenty-four years using our own money—no donations to speak of. The feed bill alone was more than a thousand dollars per month. And there are plenty of other bills, vets, fencing, shelter, medical supplies, and more.

In early 2015, I had two heart attacks followed by two strokes. The result was that it left me disabled. Now it is difficult to continue paying for everything.

I wrote this book in the hopes that it would sell enough to help with the funds, as all sales go to the animals. And I mean that—every penny goes to help support them—nothing for anyone else.

Book Details

Genre: Non-Fiction, Animals

Published by: Inferno Publishing Company

Publication Date: April 2017

Number of Pages: 150

Purchase Links: Whiskers and Bear on Amazon Whiskers and Bear on Barnes & Noble Whiskers and Bear on Kobo Whiskers and Bear on Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Another Grave

I climbed up onto the tractor, a Kubota 4630, with a six-foot bucket on the front. It was a powerful machine, and we’d put it through the hoops more than a few times. What I mean is that my wife Mikki and I had dug a lot of graves.

I tied an old cloth diaper around my forehead and draped the end of it over the top of my bald head. There wasn’t much better than a cotton cloth for keeping sweat out of your eyes, or the sun from burning your head. I turned the key and revved the engine. After letting it idle a moment, I lifted the bucket and drove toward the south side of the property where Mikki was waiting for me. She’d already gotten a few blankets and a clean sheet. For this one, she’d brought a pillow, too.

I reached up and wiped my eyes. I was getting damn tired of burying things.

An old white pickup crept down the gravel driveway, coming to a stop near the fence.

A neighbor leaned out and hollered. “What’s goin’ on?”

I wished he’d have kept going.

“Nothin’,” I said, but not loud enough for him to hear.

The door opened, and he stepped out and walked over to the fence, using his right hand to shield his eyes from the sun as he peered over the top rail.

“What are you doin’?”

I could see there was no getting away from it. I muttered my answer a few times so my voice wouldn’t crack when I yelled.

“Diggin’ a grave,” I hollered back.

“A grave? Which one died?”

Which one? That’s what it had come to for most of the neighbors and relatives and friends. Which one died. As if it didn’t matter. As if having forty-five animals made it easier to deal with when one of them died.

He came in through the side gate and headed in my direction. He walked slowly, which gave me time to compose myself. It’s never easy to bury a friend, but this one…this one was special.

Mikki walked over to me. “He’s just trying to help.”

I nodded.

I don’t need his help, I thought, but the fact of the matter was I could probably use it.

It hadn’t rained in weeks, and the damn Texas ground was as hard as concrete. Even if the tractor did cut through, it could only go so deep; we’d have hand work to do at the bottom.

Our neighbor was about twenty feet away. He took off his hat and swiped at his forehead. It was a scorcher today and had been for a month or so.

“Who was it?” he asked.

I couldn’t say, but I managed to gesture toward Mikki. She lifted the corner of the blanket so he could see.

“Oh shit!” he said. “I’m sorry.”

“Thanks,” I said.

He unbuttoned his shirt and grabbed a shovel I had leaning against a small oak tree. “Might as well get this done.”

I nodded again. He was right, of course, but I was in no hurry to put another friend in the ground. I cranked the engine up a little higher, shoved the tractor into low gear, and positioned the bucket for the first scoop of dirt. The bucket hit the ground with a metallic thud. It didn’t do much more than break the surface.

“Whew!” the neighbor said. “Going to be a long day.”

“That’s for sure.”

“How long have they been with you?” he asked.

They. I thought about what he said. I would have laughed if not for the circumstances. Everyone referred to the two of them as one. They or them. Bear and Whiskers. Whiskers and Bear. It was a cold day in July if anyone mentioned one without the other.

I handed him my bottle of water; he looked thirsty.

“They’ve been with us a long time. A damn long time.”


Excerpt from Whiskers and Bear by Giacomo Giammatteo. Copyright © 2017 by Giacomo Giammatteo. Reproduced with permission from Giacomo Giammatteo. All rights reserved.

This sweet book is the first installment of stories taking place at an animal sanctuary owned by the author and his wife. It begins with  chapter is titled "Another Grave," so as with pretty much all animal tales we know how the story ends. When a neighbor asks, "Which one died?" the response is...
Which one? That's what it had come to for most of the neighbors, and relatives, and friends. Which one died? As if it didn't matter. As if having 45 animals made it easier to deal with when one of them died.
From there readers are taken back 12 years to when the sanctuary property is purchased, and Giacomo and Mikki's first meeting with a dog named Bear. Bear lives in the nearby woods, owns the street they live on, and isn't afraid to let everyone know it. In order to safely pass the couple agrees to pay a "biscuit toll" and before long a lifelong friendship is born. Bear takes it upon himself to protect them from anything he deems to be a threat, from coyotes to wild boars to FedEx and UPS delivery truck drivers. When a puppy named Whiskers arrives in the neighborhood and ends up being abandoned by her owners, Bear adopts her as his own and they become an inseparable team. The adventures they share made me laugh, cry, and marvel at the loyalty Whiskers and Bear felt towards each other and their humans right up until their last days together.

All proceeds earned through the sales of this book are going right back to the sanctuary, and at the end of the story are pictures of all the other furry residents. I look forward to reading the adventures of the other animals at the sanctuary, and am very honored that tomorrow author Giacomo Giammatteo will be joining us with a guest post as he shares a special memory of life with dear Whiskers.

Giacomo Giammatteo
Giacomo Giammatteo is the author of gritty crime dramas about murder, mystery, and family. He also writes non-fiction books including the No Mistakes Careers series.

When Giacomo isn’t writing, he’s helping his wife take care of the animals on their sanctuary. At last count they had 45 animals—11 dogs, a horse, 6 cats, and 26 pigs.

Oh, and one crazy—and very large—wild boar, who takes walks with Giacomo every day and happens to also be his best buddy.

Visit Giacomo on his Website, Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads pages!

Tour Host Participants:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Providence Book Promotions for Giacomo Giammatteo. There will be 3 winners of 1 eBook copy of Whiskers and Bear by Giacomo Giammatteo. The giveaway begins on April 29th and runs through May 16th, 2017. This giveaway is for US residents only. Void where prohibited by law.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Get More Great Reads at Providence Book Promotions!


The Menagerie Mom said...

Oh, what a profound read this must be. And what wonderful work Giacomo and his wife Mikki do. Thank you so much for shedding light on their story, Mudpie and Melissa! said...

sounds like a wonderful book!! Would love to see someone walking a pig!

CMash said...

Like you, I hope to "meet" more of their animals. Loved this book!

Unknown said...

That sounds like a great book. Looking forward to the guest post tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

Ordered my copy and hope they sell lots more.

Unknown said...

Dennis used to walk me more than I walked him. You can go to YouTube, here to see one example from when he was about one year old.

Unknown said...

Thanks, Cheryl. I hope to have another one ready in a few more months. I think they are stories worth telling.

Unknown said...

Thanks, Patricia. I hope you enjoy it.

pilch92 said...

This sounds like a good book, I hope it sells a lot of copies.

Three Chatty Cats said...

This sounds like a great book.

Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat said...

What a beautiful story of one couple's love for animals. So many people talk about what they could or should do - but it's so very rare to find people who put those wishes into action!