Friday, November 12, 2010

Guest Post: Author, Ilie Ruby

Ilie Ruby was a student of mine when I taught the humor writing class for graduate students in the USC Professional Writing Program. Now she is an author. Bravo! Her magical debut novel, The Language of Trees, (Avon/Harper Collins) is in stores now. Join me in welcoming Ilie to the world of authors and to my blog.


On a blustery fall day nearly two years ago, weeks after my two daughters and one son were adopted from Ethiopia, our two wild furry springerdoodles escaped. This was the 5th escape in a month. I had caught them at several failed attempts, trying to escape in three ways: 1) by standing on the patio furniture and jumping over the fence, 2) by knocking down the slats of the fence, and 3) by burrowing under the fence.

We had a routine when one of these three things happened. My eldest daughter and I first called the dogs. Of course, they never came. Then we’d get in the car and I’d call the local police to see if anyone had called in with news of two wild wandering dogs that resembled hyperactive sheep. Finally, we’d drive around the neighborhood shouting the dogs' names and interrogating every jogger and friendly-looking dog person out for an innocent stroll.

In time, we always found the dogs. Once the police said they were weaving in and out of traffic on a main road near our house. Miraculously, they were never harmed. It seemed that as with Moses and his Red Sea, traffic parted for our dogs. My earnest husband, a self-confessed failed handyman, secured the fences after every escape. He did his best. He used a variety of interesting and exotic pieces of wiring, species of duct tape, and other various fence-related equipment that he bought from emergency trips to Home Depot. Still the dogs outwitted us and found their way out.

But on this day, when my daughter and I discovered them missing, something felt different. We shouted and shouted. We ran up and down our street. Then we jumped in the car and I picked up my phone, ready to call the police. My daughter put her hand on my arm and said, "No mom. Wait. Just stay here and the dogs will come. I know how to do it."

I decided to see what would happen. Somehow I believed her.

She closed her eyes and called the dogs one more time. Not loudly, but in the most calm and centered little voice. And then, somehow, from out of nowhere, the dogs came running. One from up the street. The other from out of the woods. They had never done this before. How could she, after only 7 weeks in America, have managed to call the dogs home?

"See?" teased my daughter, as we dragged the dogs inside, her eyes sparkling with pride.

We fed the dogs and sent them to bed in their crates. When I put her to sleep that night and she nuzzled into my neck, I asked my daughter how she knew she how to do it.

"My heart said stay here and call the dogs. My stomach said to go in the car. I listened to my heart."

I was awestruck. How many of us struggle to access our intuition and even more, to articulate it? My then 8-year old daughter knew to trust herself, and she was already more connected to her new home, our furry wanton pets, and to me, than I ever imagined possible in such a short period of time.

“I think you have a very smart heart,” I said.

“I know,” she said. “You, too. That is how you found me and I found you.”

The Language of Trees (Avon HarperCollins August 2010) is a story about healing, second chances, and how far we will go to protect the ones we love. Ruby lives near Boston and is at work on her second novel. Click the link to join Ilie on Facebook.


If you'd like to win an autographed copy of The Language of Trees, just leave a comment here for Ilie to be eligible to win. I am giving away one free copy. This contest is available world-wide. I will do a drawing on Monday, and post the winner on Trivia Tuesday.


  1. This book sounds like it has a great storyline and I would like to read it.

    cenya2 at hotmail dot com

  2. I would like to win this ..the story is kinda magical...and i would love to read it ..:)

    raluk.93 at gmail (dot) com

  3. Wow - that story was beautiful! I was expecting a bad fate for the glad it wasn't! Thanks for the awesome giveaway - your book sounds great!

  4. Loved it!!After reading I really want the book!Please enter me
    Thank you!!

  5. That's such a great story! It brought tears to my eyes - thanks for that.

    Now I need that book.


    apereiraorama @

  6. The story seems great, I'd like to win this!


  7. This book sounds great. Count me in please:)

  8. OMG as a dog lover I was so afraid to read the rest of your story as you prefaced it with it being different this time. I loved the story.
    Your dauughter sounds little a wise little soul.
    Love & Hugs,

  9. This sounds beautiful! I'd love a chance to win a copy!

    basicallyamazingbooks [at]

  10. This book sounds like a great read. I'm feeling lucky. Put my name in the hat! Doni

  11. This book sounds so unique! Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

    - Lauren

  12. I can't wait to read it... especially if I win!

  13. Sounds like a great book and I would love to read it.
    Thanks for the contest!

  14. I like the humour and would like to read more.

    Please enter me in the giveaway.

    Carol T

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

  15. I like the title. So pretty and lyrical. Thank you for the giveaway:).


  16. Hyperactive sheep is a great way to describe my dog too.
    Thanks for the giveaway.
    d.septer at

  17. This book looks great! I can't wait to read it.

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  18. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this book.

  19. This seems a sweet history. I want! :D

  20. This made me want to read the book even more! Thank you for the giveaway :)

    entrelibros_blog at

  21. This sounds like a terrific story.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  22. I agree, when you listen to your heart, things usually go the way they are supposed to. I would love to read the book.

  23. I loved the excerpt, and I have plenty of holidays coming up so it'd be great to win this. Thanks for this lovely giveaway and congratulations to Ilie on her debut novel! :)

    Kate1485 at

  24. Loved this excerpt ..I can identify with the heart wretching mission in searching for a missing beloved pet. Intuition is a special gift when we listen to it. Thank you!

  25. from me again...forgot to add my email for the contest...crossing my fingers to win!

  26. Elie, what a wonderful daughter you have and how awesome to be able to trust her heart and intuition so very young. The dogs? Well, I will save my decision on them. :) I'm anxious to read your book so thanks for the wonderful giveaway!

  27. Add me :]

  28. Awwww..... Count me in!


  29. Great giveaway! Please enter me

    chidoryx AT hotmail DOT com

  30. I would like to win and read this book! A smart heart...

  31. Please include me! Sounds like a wonderful read! thanks!

    dcf_beth at verizon dot net

  32. I am hooked...want to read this story...sound wonderful...please include me in your contest. pianolady_62 at yahoo

  33. The contest is over. The winner is Juliana Piovani. Congratulations, Juliana.