Author: Elizabeth Burgess

Hey, I'm Elizabeth. I write. I love rain, Catahoula Curs, and all things Louisiana.

What I’m Working On

If you aren’t reading Sarah M. Cradit, you should be. Here’s what’s coming for her over the next several months.

...and then there was Sarah


From time to time, I like to check in and let readers know what I’m working on.

In somewhat random, somewhat relevant order:

  1. The Secrets Amongst the Cypress (House of Crimson & Clover Volume 8)– The first draft is complete, and I’m preparing to jump in for the next phase, which includes a lot of edits and rewrites. The cover reveal for the book is coming on July 31 (as well as the pre-order links), and it releases October 25th. The story involves Jacob and Amelia’s travel back to nineteenth century Louisiana.
  2. Text Message Serials– My co-writing murder mystery series/serial with Becket has one book complete (The Bee in the Golden Spiral) and a second in development. We will be announcing our publishing plans for this in the not-too-distant future, so stay tuned!
  3. The Last Dryad (The Complex)– A novella part of the broader multi-author sci-fi project…

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Interview with Dan Alatorre

A few weeks ago, I was able to snag an interview from the awesome and very interesting Dan Alatorre. Aside from having a really cool last name, Dan is the author of numerous bestsellers, host a YouTube show, Writers Off Task With Friends, and has helped several up and coming authors (myself included) learn the ropes of self-publishing.  Today’s a special day for Dan because his newest book, The Navigators released. I was privileged enough to get to read this book (review to come soon) and let me just say…thrilling. You don’t want to miss it!! But first, let’s read about Dan’s writing process. 
1. Tell us about yourself. May include links to Facebook, twitter, blogs, websites, Amazon author page)

My blog is


Twitter @SavvyStories

Facebook author page is

Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads… just search for my name. I can’t remember all that stuff.


2. How do you choose names for your characters?

I’m terrible at that. Terrible! I come up with the WORST character names. Look at The Navigators. Barry… Melissa… Yawn. I have a friend who comes up with great names. I’m going to have her name my characters from now on. In Poggibonsi, I had to change the wife’s name three times because everybody hated it. Each time I changed it, my critique partners said, “Thanks. I hated that other name.” Now I just use the names of the kids in my daughter’s kindergarten class, picking them at random. Honey, who’s that boy in your class with brown hair? Jimmy? Jimmy’s my next male character name. It’s still awful but at least it’s faster now.


3. Do you talk about your book/characters as though they are real?

I only talk about the nonfiction characters as if they are real. Um… nonfiction… yeah, that’s right. Because they’re real. The fictional characters – I totally get that they become your “friends” and all that, but no. Mine are in my head and on paper, and not, you know, running around coming to lunch. That’s not how I roll. Not judging authors who do that. Okay, a little, because it’s freaking crazy – all due respect to authors who do that. Get help. They’re pretend.


4. Do you listen to music when you write or edit? What kind?

No, no music. I know LOTS of authors who do that, and I kinda wish I did, because it’s cool. They are cool for doing that, getting all up in their Pandoras and everything. I can’t. When I started writing it was because my infant daughter needed a bottle and I couldn’t fall back to sleep after feeding her. I wrote in the near-dark, at 3am and 4am, and didn’t dare make a sound for fear of waking her back up and getting even less sleep. After a few years of that, you don’t need Pandora. I usually write in my office in silence except for occasional swearing at the computer. I occasionally drag my laptop to the kitchen table and write while watching TV, as in, I’m writing and a football game or news program may be on, so I can be aware of outside world events, but also because it helps me stay awake when I’m on a roll.


5. How long have you been writing?

Not long enough, according to some readers; way too long according to others. I started writing about five years ago and published my first book Savvy Stories, a collection of humorous anecdotes about babies and childhood, about two years ago. I was very lucky it did well, and I’ve been writing ever since, only now with fewer typos. My first novel, The Navigators comes out in June 2016. It’s awesome. You can quote me on that.


6. Tell us about when you realized you were ‘meant to be’ a writer.

I’m looking forward to that day. Actually, I was always a talented writer. That’s not mean as a brag; people always told me I was good at it, naturally making even work reports interesting. It’s a gift. When I started posting humorous anecdotes on Facebook about becoming a first time dad when most of my friends were sending their kids to college or posting their kids’ wedding pictures, they enjoyed vicariously re- living the baby years through me, and encouraged me to write a book. I kept saying no, and finally broke down and wrote a chapter to show them how bad it was. Instead, they loved it and support for a book grew, and the rest is history. 17 titles later (in 12 languages), somebody likes my stuff.


7. Do you have a muse?

Yes. For the Savvy Stories book series, it was a few of my female high school friends rolled into one composite person. For The Navigators it was a very specific person, and for the other books it’s basically that same muse. It sounds odd, but when you write to one person, or as narrow an audience as you can, you’ll do well. Write to your mom. Write to your wife. Find one person and write the book to that one person, because when you attempt to appeal to everyone, you appeal to no one. In some books, I am writing to my six-year-old daughter for when she gets to be the age of the main character, subtly suggesting lessons and guidance. Shh, don’t tell.


8. How do you improve as a writer? (Workshops, conferences, reading)

I connect with writers better than I am through a critique group and hound them mercilessly until they give in and help me. Honest. That probably won’t work for everyone but I have an honest face. I don’t read much, unless you count reading works by new authors, and then I read a LOT. I am also a critique partner for a few GREAT writers, including one New York Times bestselling author. I go to the Florida Writer’s Association conferences and will be doing a roundtable discussion at the FWA conference this fall in Orlando. If you’re in town, stop by. The EPCOT food and wine festival is going on the same time, so it’s a party.


9. Writing quirks or superstitions?

Nope. None.


10. Tell us about your current work-in-progress.

No, no, no. I never talk about WIPs! That’s bad luck. Okay, so I may have a few writing quirks and superstitions.


11. What book are you reading now?

I am reading two novels by friends, helping them edit. Both are very good friends so I’ll say both are very good books, but really only one is and now they have to guess which one. Actually, I am about to start editing the second book of a friend’s trilogy, and I’m in the middle of two other very good books I’m critiquing.


12. What genre do you write in? What about POV?

This is a fun one. I started in nonfiction humor and decided to write a story in each genre hoping to either find one I enjoyed or was good at. I’ve done romance, fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal, children’s books, cookbooks…If I had to only write one genre for the rest of my life, it’d be romantic comedy. I love making people laugh and we all tend to find the same universal things funny if presented properly. Plus, I’m really good at it. I’ve put people on the floor. Intentionally. My fans think I’m quite the romance writer, though.


13. Tell us about writing preparation. Character Profiles? Outlines?

None of that, really, but hear me out. Before I really start writing in earnest, I have a beginning, a middle, and an end to my story. We may not go where I think we will, because I allow myself to be completely creative when I’m writing, but we have a target and an ending. If I come up with something better, a different ending, I’ll change it and go with the better one, but at least I have one. I feel “pantsing” – the alleged art of writing by the seat of your pants – is the main reason for writer’s block and why so many books never get completed. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done; many great works are written without the use of an outline. Just not mine. Since I have the characters so deeply rooted in my head, no character profiles are needed, but I’m open to an author doing whatever they need to do to get the story out of their head and into the computer. You wanna make sure that if Barry’s nervous habit is biting his nails, he does it in chapter one, chapter 15, and chapter 36, and doesn’t stop somewhere along the way or start having an eye twitch. Unless the story is how he’s degenerating from some neurological disease. Then that’s different.


14. Do you know how your stories will end?

Yeah. Sorry, pantsers, I use a simple outline of beginning, middle, and end, so I know how the story ends before I start writing. I allow myself to have a better ending if I think of one, but I have at least one before I start out.


15. Do you books have a message or theme? Or are they purely for entertainment?

You know, no interviewer has ever asked me that. Good for you. Bonus points. The answer is YES. Several of my stories have messages on different levels, but you can read them just for the main story and never miss anything.


16. Do you have any favorite snacks or drinks that you eat/drink while writing?

No, but I drink Crystal Light peach green tea by the gallon, so maybe that counts. But it’s not part of writing, it’s part of living.


17. Tell us about your other passions.

I am totally and completely devoted to my amazing daughter, so I go to all the field trips and stuff. It’s amazing to be around lots of little kids. They so smart and curious and open to ideas. It will refresh your energy while simultaneously wearing you out. I’m also very invested in helping new authors get over the numerous hurdles they face in writing, so my critiquing and blog and marketing books series address that.


18. What’s something interesting about you?

Gosh, lots of things. I went to President’s Circle with two different Fortune 500 companies. As a manager I was able to help people make more money than they’d ever made before in their entire lives. I swam with sea turtles in Hawaii and sharks in the Bahamas, rode a dolphin and came face to face with a baby humpback whale. I cracked a tooth eating a frozen Chiclet on a glacier in British Columbia and gazed in absolute awe at the beauty of the Grand Canyon. I’ve been shot at (more than once) and I rescued two girls who were about to drown in the Gulf of Mexico. I was a drummer in a rock band. I took a single engine boat to Key West in six foot swells that could have easily sunk us. I created the largest social media group in the world for a rare heart condition, helping thousands of families in dozens of countries. I’ve helped a new writer launch a bestseller and opened the eyes of other new writers as to how to make their novels terrific. I’ve fallen head over heels in love, had my heart broken, and lived to tell about both.


19. Share a small sample (limit to one paragraph, please) of your writing… can be a WIP or already published.

We can be this far into an interview and you can still ask that? One paragraph, huh? Hmm. Well, how about a conversation from The Navigators?


“She cautioned me, though. She told me physical beauty does not last, and should not last. ‘A beautiful woman’s breasts will eventually sag and her hair will turn gray. What will you be married to then? If you choose wisely, you will be married to a beautiful personality and a curious mind, that loves your children and who would do anything for you.’ That is true beauty.”

“Hmmm.” Melissa closed her eyes, appearing to postulate on the idea.

“I know. Where’s the fun in that, right?”


20. Anything you’d like to say to your current and future readers?

If you’re a fan, thank you; if you’re not yet a fan, don’t worry, you will be – there’s still time. And if you’re a writer, I believe everyone has a great story in them that they can tell. Get it out of your head and into the computer. It has been my great fortune to be able to make readers laugh and cry, on purpose, sometimes on the same page; to hold their breath, swoon, and/or be afraid. I play my audience like a piano – and they love it.

Thanks so much, Dan. Good luck with The Navigators. 

So You Want to Self Publish

A wonderful post about the benefits and drawbacks of self-publishing.

...and then there was Sarah

being-a-good-writer.jpegI am often asked some variant of the question: “I’ve written a book. How do I self-publish it?” The question, as well as the answer, can feel overwhelming. Certainly whenever I’m asked, I often think, where do I start? What level of detail do I share? How much of my time can I give to assisting?
Time is unfortunately a commodity I have very little of nowadays, but I also love to help others, especially those serious about pursuing their creative endeavors. This article attempts to achieve that balance.
What This Is: The basics to get someone started in publishing, to get their feet wet. To literally get a book for sale and ready to market. Things you need to know before you publish, and the places you can go to do so.
What This Is Not: An all-inclusive guide to self-publishing. There’s no way I could cram 5+ years…

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Things You Don’t Know When You Decide to Self-publish Your Book-Part 2

Hey y’all! Hope it’s been a good week. I’ve been working on two short stories for a few summer contests that I’m entering. But I wanted to continue with my series about things I didn’t know when I self-published. Keep in mind, y’all, I’M STILL LEARNING. I just had a conversation with another author friend (Sarah M. Cradit) today about ways to improve sales. It is a never-ending process and if you are serious about self-publishing or even writing a book, you need to read this. 

In case you missed last week’s post about stepping out of your comfort zone, you can read it here

So #2 in Things You Don’t Know….

You will need an editor. You cannot under ANY circumstances rely on your personal editing skills, your bff who is a teacher, or any self-help book on editing. Those are great resources, but TRUST ME it doesn’t replace a professional getting their hands on your manuscript. Do not be duped into thinking your readers won’t notice the errors because of your awesome story. They will and when they call you out on it, they probably won’t be nice. Hire an editor. Now, there will be someone who doesn’t  heed my advice, publishes an unedited book, and hits the NYT bestsellers, but their story is the exception, not the rule. Besides, your book is basically an extension of you. Don’t you want to put your best self out there?

With my first book, The Waiting, I seriously was days away from self-publishing without any more than a few family and friends reading the book. The errors inside that book would have made me the laughing stock of the literary community or at least those who read it. And rightfully so! I’m not for being a troll, but I appreciate it when books are easy to read and error free. Believe me, people are going to pick apart what you write anyway. I’d rather them pick apart my style and content, rather than my inability to use a word correctly or my bad habit of placing prepositional phrases awkwardly.

But Elizabeth, it cost so much…

Yep. It’s not cheap. It doesn’t have to break the bank, but if someone wants to edit your 115k manuscript for $100, then they are looking for easy money. I tell Kathy all the time paying her is like buying tampons or laundry detergent. In other words: necessity

I’m sure you can get someone who’s ‘just good at English’ to look over it and that may work for you, but I feel pretty awesome to know someone who’s worked in the book business has looked at my manuscript several times. Research your editor. Ask for credentials. Ones who are serious will give them to you without asking. 

What does an editor do, you ask? Well, in the first issue of Witch Dance – which I admit, I was a little lazy with the self-edits – I used the word THAT over 600 times, not to mention several other grammatical issues. I am dsylexic and though I don’t believe it’s ever been a problem when I’ve sent a manuscript to Kathy, I’m really thankful for a set of eyes to make sure I don’t write grapped instead of grabbed

Below, I’d like to show you what editing looks like. Of course, all editors are different but if your editor isn’t teaching as she (or he) goes along, find someone else. Naturally, you should grow as a writer with each book, and your editor should be a huge part of that process. (You may need to enlarge my photos.) 

That’s the Prologue to my first book. Subtle differences, right? My voice hasn’t changed and I’m still conveying my message, but I’m doing it in a way that makes me and my story look good. 

After edits, here’s the final product: (italicized for emphasis)

Arianne Douglas stood over her son. Her dead son. Murder weapon in hand. Blood and tears running down her face. Helpless. Powerless. Paralyzed. Recalling his first steps, first words. There would be no more firsts. Her child was dead. Startled by the buzzing of her cell phone next to his body, she answered but did not speak.

“Ari?” her best friend said, “you called but didn’t leave a message. Andrew texted me about the fight between Reece and Nash. I’m on my way to you now.”



“Lesley, I need you.” Arianne sobbed into the phone. “He’s dead, he’s dead… my baby… my son… Les, he’s dead… God, please no… I’m so sorry, baby…” Her voice broke with every word.

“Arianne, I’m on my way. Are you still at the house?” Lesley Huff remembered her recurring dream, pangs of regret pelting her heart. A storm was coming.


“Have you called the police?” she asked, certain Arianne had not.

“No, only you,” she cried. “My… my son…”

“Dammit Ari, call the police. Now.”

Ending the call, Lesley pressed the accelerator, speeding down West Esplanade Avenue. Arianne hadn’t said which son she had found. Thinking of her own two little girls, she choked back tears for her dearest friend.

South Lake Drive was quiet except for Lake Pontchartrain’s choppy waters lapping over the levee rocks. Lesley wrapped one arm around her chest, her breathing stifled by the heavy Gulf wind. Sirens screeched in the distance and the night sky was filled with the blue and red glow of emergency vehicles. She was glad they were close. Parking next to Arianne’s Jeep, Lesley offered a silent prayer of thanks that Arianne’s thirteen-year-old son, Pike, was with his father and nowhere near this house tonight. So was it Nash? Or Reece. Both of their trucks were parked underneath the awning. Fearful, she opened the back door leading to a dark kitchen, and a bloody Arianne cradling the lifeless body of her son.


“Holy Mary

Mother of God,

Pray for us sinners 

Now and at the hour of our death.”

Man, I remember going through this book with Kathy and almost throwing in the towel, but I didn’t because I loved my story and I had a patient and long-suffering editor who was willing to go through the manuscript line after line, and help me make it the best it could be at that time. Of course, now both Kathy and me can see so much we’d do differently and that’s awesome. It means we’ve both grown in our craft. 

Editing is a grueling process. With The Waiting, I cut characters, passages, I even changed as few tertiary plot lines for the sake of the story. But if you have caring and patient editor, they’ll be right beside you in the trenches, helping you discern what’s best for your story. 

My editor – Kathy Lapeyre is a primarily a line editor. Here’s a bit what she does in her words: “I use a combination of line editing and copy editing on the first pass… then copy editing mixed with proofreading on the next one. If three readings are booked, I use a formula of line/copy, then copy, and finish up with a thorough proofread.” 

Every single one of my novels had something that I unconsciously picked as my error. As I said earlier with Witch Dance, it was the excessive use of THAT. Another one, it was starting too many sentences with And and But. Kathy helps me see a new way to write, correcting the problem and enhancing the final product. 

Your editor should be an encourager. The author/editor relationship is special. They should always elevate you and your work to higher standards. I consider my writing good before it goes to Kathy. When she gets done, it’s GREAT. So much so that I know if someone doesn’t like my work, it’s not because I’m a terrible writer but because they didn’t like the subject matter or my style, not because I broke every rule in the book. 

Give  your story the love and attention it deserves and hire an editor. 

Things You Don’t Know When You Decide to Self-publish Your Book

Hey y’all… I’m starting a new 5 part series about things I didn’t know when I set out on this writing journey three years ago. I’m making the assumption that unless you already know someone in the business or were born into a literary family – you don’t either. For my author friends, feel free to add in your experiences or elaborate in the comments. 

A bit about my experience: I.Had.None. Aside from being gifted with words and arranging them (i.e. a good writer) I knew NOTHING about writing a book. 

I seriously took three novels (I’ll elaborate more in future weeks) and highlighted dialogue tags and studied structure. It was totally uncharted territory, and I was more than scared about my ability to tell a tale. I’d tried before (not in earnest) and failed but this time, it was different. I was different. The day I wrote the opening lines for my first book The Waiting, I knew I had something special and worth fighting for. 

There’s no way to prepare yourself for all that comes along with self-publishing, but hopefully this will show you rookie mistakes to avoid and ways to get a step ahead. So without further adieu, here’s the first thing you don’t know when you decide to self-publish. 

1) You will step out of your comfort zone. 

I’m an introvert. Like, bad. Plus, most of the time, I’m socially awkward as hell. I feel things, express things that most normal people walking around don’t, and this can lead to them getting very overwhelmed by me and my personality. For the most part, becoming a nurse (and the natural extrovert qualities you MUST possess to do that job) helped me overcome this or rather, tone myself down, because let’s just be honest, no one wants a teary nurse who may or may not be crying because she’s 1) angry 2) sad or 3) happy. 

Kristen Bell (of Frozen fame for those of you who’ve lived in a box for the past three years) said if she’s not within a 3-7 on the emotional scale, she’s crying. Seriously, this is me. If I am even a half step past those numbers, I’m weeping – or trying not to. Btw, if you’ve never seen her sloth video, it’s a must watch! (Kristen Bell on Ellen)

All this to say, it’s not easy for me to step out of my cocoon and put myself and my books (essentially my children) out for the world to see and scrutinize. I’ll admit, I’ve received more praise and acceptance than critical comments, but even positive accolades take me to an uncomfortable place where I have to talk about myself and what I do. But I believe in order to grow as a person and as a writer, we have to be willing to put ourselves in situations where we are totally and completely uncomfortable. I liken it to fight or flight. Sinking or swimming. How do we hold up under pressure? Do we shy away? Or do we meet the challenge head on?

Yesterday, I took part in my very first video interview. I was asked the evening before by J.A. Allen of Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins as a prize for winning her weekly challenge (check them out on her blog under #SSC) and though I was hesitant, I said yes. Now that I think about it, having to decide in less than five minutes was probably for the best. I’m a planner with extremely sudden burst of impulsiveness and I’m glad (for once) my spontaneous side took over. 

J.A. is a co-host on a weekly show on YouTube (Writers off Task with Friends) along with Dan Alatorre and Allison Maruska. And even though, I was nervous, those three were a blast and made me feel comfortable from the start. That’s not to say I didn’t have my moments of super weird wandering eyes, over-exaggerated Southern accent, and general overall awkwardness, but that’s okay. Vulnerable is beautiful. It’s authentic and it stretches you to become a better version of yourself. So take the chance and get out of the comfort zone! You never know what’s on the other side.

Vulnerable is Beautiful artwork by my supremely talented Sister of the Moon, Sierrah. She is also Starling Hopewell. 

Release Day for A Band of Heather


“This is the beginning of something even bigger than we could have ever imagined,” she rejoined, resting her face against the warmth of his chest.”

★★A Band of Heather★★

Two worlds collide in the romantic Scottish Highlands.




My good friend, Sarah, released another one of her fantastic short stories. Here’s my review: 

Five Stars⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

If you’ve never read any of The House of Crimson and Clover Series, A Band of Heather is the perfect place to start. This new short features Colleen, my most favorite character in the entire series. For those of you familiar to the C&C world, you’ll remember that Colleen is the matriarch of the Deschanel family and current Magistrate of the Deschanel Magi Collective. This story follows her to Scotland where she falls in love with the most unlikely person, but as the threads of destiny unravel, Colleen and Noah realize they are bound by more than just their feelings. Beautiful prose. Rich, evocative scenery. A Band of Heather is everything you want in a short story. 


  • Had a great release of Witch Dance earlier in the week. I’m so happy to get that book out in the world. It’s the first time I’ve ever written anything other than The Waiting Series and I’m super proud of it. Several reviewers have mentioned to me that it has the same twist and turns they’ve come to expect from an Elizabeth Burgess novel, and I couldn’t be more pleased with that compliment.
  • If you’ve received an ARC or bought the book via pre-order or on/after release, there’s a pretty significant error where all the italics was accidentally removed. (Instances where Starling’s grandfather is speaking to her). My formatter is working to fix this as soon as possible. 
  • What’s next…I’m currently writing the second book in the Hopewell Coven–Queen of Angels. I estimate I’m about halfway done and hope to publish by the end of the year. 
  • The SEVENTH book in The Waiting Series (The Flood) is with my editor. I’m expecting a summer release. 
  • As soon as QoA is complete, I’ll finally return to the Douglases, Caissys, O’Malleys, and Adams. Y’all, I’ve missed these people like crazy. 

I think that’s pretty much it with me. Thank you all so much for reading these stories and giving your support. I really appreciate it. 😀

Witch Dance is here!!!


Witch Dance by Elizabeth Burgess

Series: Book 1 of The Hopewell Coven






Centuries ago, The Cailleach entrusted the Hopewell Coven with the honor of guiding the Apacik Indians, a Native American tribe hailing from the Mississippi Flatwoods. Natural-born Healers, the Apacik’s innate ability, to either restore the sick or inflict pain upon the healthy, made them vulnerable and desperate for clear direction about how to use their gift. The Hopewells could advise them, instruct them, even befriend them, but under no circumstances could they fall in love. Pure bloodlines were essential to power, and as the Supreme Order of Witches, The Cailleach demanded all their members marry within covens. 

Birthed out of the forbidden marriage between an Apacik man and a Celtic witch, fifteen-year-old Starling Hopewell is the only one of her kind. A half-breed. The Cailleach never allow her or her parents to forget it. Because of her mother’s position as leader of the Hopewells, Starling is allowed to train for Elementals, testing that will confirm if she is worthy to enter their Order, but evil lingers. Within The Cailleach—dark magick infiltrates its leader and its Elders—and will stop at nothing to bring the half-breed down.

Four trials. Four elements. Four weeks to master them all.

Embrace Destiny. Face the Fire.


For Elizabeth Burgess, writing is not only what she loves to do, it is freedom, salvation, and escape. It is life. Introduced to the art of words at a young age by Junior High English teacher, she poured herself into a self-study of all things poetry and prose throughout the entirety of her high school and college career—hoping to one day become a lyricist in Nashville. As the years went on, her dreams changed and morphed, but her love for words did not.

 A nurse by trade, Elizabeth loves incorporating the medical field in each book she writes. Her favorite characters are always flawed, and if you see her wearing any color besides black, you know she’s sick. Thanks to her maternal grandparents, she believes she can do anything if she sets her mind to it, and will always offer you a glass of sweet tea if you come over. When she’s not working on her next novel, she enjoys Saturday nights in Death Valley, listening to Fleetwood Mac on rainy days, and taking pictures of her beloved Louisiana.  

Elizabeth is the author of The Waiting Series and the upcoming novel, Witch Dance, Book 1 of The Hopewell Coven. She lives in Northeast Louisiana’s farming country with her partner Terri, two Catahoula Curs, Bowie and Pike, and host of spoiled cats.