The Miracle of Small Things Book Tour stops here at Angels Bark!

Miracle tour banner purple

I’m so honored to have Guilie Castillo Oriard choose Angels Bark as a host for a stop on her book tour for her new book The Miracle of Small Things.

The Miracle of Small Things book cover

book cover

I’ve been reading her book and am totally captivated. The story is engaging, the setting is spectacular and the relationship that develops between the main character and a lost abandoned dog is a story you won’t want to miss.

Guilie is a very talented writer. Her descriptive style takes you into the story where you’ll find yourself enjoying scenic Curacao as if you were right there. Her easy flow makes it easy to relate to the characters. You’ll be invested in the story right from the first sentence.



Here’s Guilie, in her own words, about The Miracle of Small Things:


Why would anyone abandon an animal? Boggles the mind, doesn’t it? And yet it happens all the time. Right now, someone is walking into a shelter to surrender their cat. Someone is moving away and leaving their dog behind. Someone, maybe expecting a baby, maybe with a new boyfriend, is turning their companion of years out into the street.

Most of these animals won’t make it to 2016. dog_bnw02

Here in Curaçao, December is peak season for abandoning animals. We find them roaming the street, skinny and disoriented and terrified. Or in the mondi (the wild), tied to a tree. If they (and we) are lucky, we find them alive.

But the island is small, not many people will adopt homeless mutts, and shelters and rescue organizations are all scraping to stay above water.

That leaves the animal-lover diehards. The ones who cannot say no, who cannot turn the other way. I have seven dogs, which might seem like a lot. Within this diehard community, it’s not. I know people who have 18 dogs, or 26, or 38. No, they’re not hoarders; these dogs are up for adoption. And they all have miserable stories to tell, if they could.

In THE MIRACLE OF SMALL THINGS, I wanted to deal with the issue of abandonment but not in any maudlin, tear-jerker sort of way. Us rescuers often get a bad rep for manipulative tactics: the skeletal-dog pictures, the horror stories, the pleas for help.

I was going for a balance knotty to achieve. I wanted a story that animal advocates would enjoy and respect, one that put into realistic context the challenges (and joys) of rescuing. But I also wanted to reach the non-converts. The people who dump pets when they’ve become ‘inconvenient’. Who buy puppies at pet stores. Who give out chicks and bunnies at Easter.

The people who’d never pick up a book about a dog.

So I did this: I hid the dog story within a sort of legal-drama-slash-romance about Luis Villalobos, a man who comes to Curaçao for a fabulous career opportunity—and then ruins everything when he sleeps with his boss and falls in love with a client.

Also, accidentally, he rescues a dog.

This dog, named Al after J. Alfred Prufrock (Luis has a poetic vein), becomes a subtle symbol for the shift in focus Luis experiences throughout the story, all the way to the final test: Luis’s stay in Curaçao isn’t permanent, and relocating with a dog is out of the question. Luis will have to make a decision, and that decision will—quite literally—shape his life. (And Al’s.)

I don’t know if I achieved what I wanted. Will animal people love the story? Will harder hearts be softened by it? Will it make them think twice before abandoning an animal? Maybe even sway them into rescuing? I’ll probably never know. But I can hope.

And, on behalf of every homeless animal everywhere, please consider fostering or adopting from your local shelter before year-end. Home for the holidays never meant so much as it does to them.




Thank you so much, Michele, for opening the doors of Angels Bark to me (and Al) for this next-to-last post on the MIRACLE tour. It’s an honor to be a part of your wonderful animal-loving community.

Is animal abandonment frequent in your area? Are you an animal rescuer? How did you become involved in rescuing?


ABOUT THE MIRACLE OF SMALL THINGS (Truth Serum Press, Aug 2015): Mexican tax lawyer Luis Villalobos is lured to the tiny island of Curaçao anticipating a fast track to the cusp of an already stellar career. But the paradise we expect is so rarely the paradise we find.

Available as paperback and Kindle, ePub, iBook, Nook, and Kobo e-formats. Find it on Goodreads and Facebook.


author photo HR

ABOUT GUILIE: A Mexican writer and dog rescuer who moved to Curaçao “for six months”—and, twelve years later, has yet to find a reason to leave. Her work has been published online and in print anthologies. THE MIRACLE OF SMALL THINGS is her first book.

Find Guilie on Facebook and Twitter, at Quiet Laughter where she blogs about life and writing, and at Life in Dogs where she blogs about life and… well, dogs.



ABOUT THE TOUR: To celebrate the e-book release of THE MIRACLE OF SMALL THINGS, several blogs are hosting Guilie throughout November to talk about writing, the book, its island setting and its characters — including a 100-lb. monster dog rescued from the streets — and some of the issues MIRACLE touches on, such as the role of large and small things in the realignment of our values, and the power of place in our definition of self.


30 thoughts on “The Miracle of Small Things Book Tour stops here at Angels Bark!

  1. I never see strays where I am, but that’s Los Angeles and the shelter stays on top of picking up stray animals I guess. When I first moved to Tennessee back in the mid-60’s stray dogs were the norm in our neighborhood. I fed them and made friends with many of them, but they loved their freedom and lived according to their terms. Now I don’t see strays when I visit Tennessee. I guess the shelter is reigning them in as the city becomes more urbanized and probably more people are becoming more educated about the situation.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    Liked by 1 person

    • Leash laws have a lot to do with that. Back then people weren’t required to have their dogs on leashes and so many of them had a high ol time running the streets. I suspect that is a contributing factor, along with the fact that people are more inclined to keep their dogs indoors now, viewing them as valued family members and not “just a dog who should stay outside.”
      Thanks for stopping by Lee!


      • You make an excellent point, Lee… Some strays really do love their freedom, and it’s not impossible that they may live happy lives out there, especially if they’ve been born in the street and have survived so far. The issues with this are two: first, they need to be sterilized, not just to keep the population under control but also for their own health and safety; and second, they do need someone to provide basic care… food, certainly (as you did, for which I love you), but also vaccines and anti-flea and -tick treatments, regular deworming, stuff like that. There are places where organizations do that, especially where there aren’t enough shelters (or enough funds) to bring all strays in; here in Curaçao there are a couple of them; it’s hard, hard work, but very much worth it 🙂

        Thanks so much for the visit, Lee!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Great point Guilie. They can live happy lives if they’re free but they do still need at least basic care. Glad there are places in Curacao that do that kind of intervention.


  2. Loved the post. Michele and Guilie! 😀 Guilie, I think having Luis rescue Al was an intricate part of the story and agree, it made a huge difference in his life. We don’t have a stray dog problem here, thankfully and our local shelter has a “no kill” policy. It must be so heartbreaking to see those poor strays in Curaçao! 😦 We noticed a similar problem in Italy and Greece. Somehow, dogs are considered lesser beings by many. Shame on them!

    For those who haven’t read the book: “The Miracle of Small Things” is both entertaining and educational. You’ll want to book a trip to Curaçao by the end. 🙂 Sounds like a fabulous place to celebrate New Year’s Eve!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Ditto what Michele said… How wonderful to live in a place where strays are few and “no kill” is standard policy. I may not envy you Canada’s weather (though it’s gray and raining here today… I think I need a sweater, and maybe some socks!), but I definitely envy you the first-world treatment of animals. Indeed, so many people consider animal lives to be less important. Can’t wrap my mind around that. (Not that I’d want to, but… you know what I mean.)

        I’m so, so happy you enjoyed MIRACLE, Debbie. Yeah, Al really was Luis’s saving grace, wasn’t he? I’m glad you feel that way, too… It was important to me to make that relationship believable. I mean, how realistic is it that someone who’s never had dogs or cared about them will suddenly become so attached? But—as all us animal rescuers know—it does happen… And I wanted to open the possibility in a way that felt feasible (and hopefully inspiring) to people like Luis. So your comment really makes my day 🙂

        Thanks for coming by, Debbie!

        Liked by 2 people

      • My pleasure, Michele and Guilie. 🙂
        Guilie, you asked: “how realistic is it that someone who’s never had dogs or cared about them will suddenly become so attached?” I’ve seen it first hand! My husband is from Italy and didn’t think much about dogs one way or the other until he met me. We got our first dog together in 1975 and he now loves them as much as I do. The houseguests all think of him as their “Daddy”. 😀


      • Guilie & Debbie: I think it definitely happens often that people who hadn’t considered dogs and never been around them suddenly become dog-people. Once a person encounters the love and loyalty of a dog, something changes in one’s heart and psyche — and they are often forever changed, for the better. I’ve seen it. And it warms my heart every time I do!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, wow, Debbie… That’s another thing we have in common (this has stopped surprising me, haha)—my partner, Cor, never had dogs either, or any pets; he even thought he was allergic, which kept me from having dogs for a full three years (it felt like an eternity)… Until one of these rescue stories happened and we ended up with a dog by accident. It was meant as a temporary thing, but… well, you know how that goes. Like Michele says, there’s some sort of alchemy of the heart that happens only with animals, a kind of awakening of a part of the soul that’s unreachable otherwise. Yes, it happens—and I love that you both have the stories to prove it 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Michele, thank you so much (yes, again!) for this… I love what you did with the post and the layout and the images—and what you say about the book moved me to tears (no, seriously). Thank you! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the read! And I’m thrilled to be here at your place today… You have a lovely audience, and I already feel so welcomed. Thank you, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Guilie, you are so welcome! I’m glad you liked it! I am thrilled to be a part of your book tour. I do have fabulous followers. They’re few but they’re awesome!
      Thank YOU for inviting me to be a part of your endeavor. And I’m heading to bed in just a little while and am taking your book with me. Curled up under the warm blankets with Al and Luis make for a lovely night! XOXO


  4. Congratulations, Guilie! I’m a sucker for dog stories, and naming a dog for J. Alfred Prufrock gets a thumbs up from me. My dogs are usually named after authors or characters in books. The dog I adopted recently, Penelope, is name after Odysseus’s wife. I watched a movie recently in which the characters had a cat named Cat Steven. I used to have an F. Cat Fitzgerald.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Janie! You know, in the three months since the release of the book, you’re the first to comment on Al’s name… (Which, actually, doesn’t surprise me; you’re exactly that kind of cool.) I think most people are like Milena (Luis’s boss); she calls him “Pure Frock”, and thinks it’s an actual love song 😀 And I didn’t know Penelope was for that Penelope—I like her even more now 🙂 Oh, and I looooove F. Cat Fitzgerald!!!!

      I’m so glad you stopped by!


  5. Hi Guilie and Michele – that seems such a brilliant way of bringing to readers’ attention another aspect of life … we need to think about (at any time of the year). I’m not sure what are regulations are here … but we have lots of both – abandonment, people who shouldn’t be looking after a dog, and then the rescue centres and carers thankfully are there. This will definitely add to the enticement of the book and its story … cheers Hilary


    • I’m so sorry to hear about the abandonment and cruelty issues you have, Hilary… It’s easy for us to blame the whole thing on “third-world problems”, but the reality is that it happens everywhere, even in “first-world” countries. Who was it that said that a country’s development (or progress or something) is judged by how it treats the elderly and animals? And then you hear of the things that happen in “first-world” countries… *Sigh* We really need to change our perspective, don’t we?

      Thanks so much for coming by, Hilary!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Guilie, I use a quote in one of my email signatures by Ghandi: “The greatness of a nation and it’s moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Is that the one you’re talking about? Such a great quote!! And so very true.


    • Glad to hear you have lots of regulations there Hilary. We humans have to speak up for the animals as they can’t speak for themselves. Thanks for stopping by today! Good to see you here. 🙂


    • The book is really good Paula! You would probably recognize Curacao by Guilie’s descriptions. Great story. Thanks for coming by!


    • Thank you so much, Paula! It’s always so good to find someone who’s been to Curaçao… This is still a little-known part of the world, and many many people go, “Huh?” when I talk about where I live. (I myself had never heard of it before coming here…)

      Thanks for the visit!


  6. Such a beautiful story! I want a stray to wander into my yard so I can rescue it. My hubby does not like pets, and after my precious Patches passed away he told me that same day. No more. I was crushed then and still am. Please don’t think he’s cruel, he’s just never known that kind of love, even though he cared for Patches. I think that’s just the way it is with some folks – they don’t get it and never will. I think the only way to change that is while they’re children.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That makes me sad that your husband won’t get another dog. Maybe he really did love Patches and was heartbroken and doesn’t want to experience the heartbreak again?? That’s another big reason why people don’t get another dog.
      Maybe you’ll get lucky and a dog like Al will wander into your yard!
      Thanks so much for stopping by. Hope to see you again soon!


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