Author’s Love Letter to Unforgettable Bullmastiff Earns Literary Award

A new book by Kristan Shimpi has received the Dog Ear Publishing Award of Literary Excellence. It stars Smooch, a loveable bullmastiff who quickly worked her way into her family’s heart.

Chapel Hill, NC, November 07, 2019 --( Smooch was a bullmastiff, a breed that is supposed to be calm, not need a lot of exercise and be easy to train. To her family’s surprise, she was none of those things but quickly earned a place in their hearts. A new book about her life has earned the Dog Ear Publishing Award of Literary Excellence.

“Smooch’s World (We Just Lived in It)” includes anecdotes about Smooch’s life with her family. “It is my way of documenting our adventures and memories,” said author Kristan Shimpi. “Her life was not long, but she will be with us forever in spirit.”

Dog Ear Publishing’s editorial team determines Award of Literary Excellence. The managing editor, editorial services manager and the publisher review its recommendations. Only a small number of titles earn the award each year.

Dog Ear editor Reba Hilbert had high praise for the book. “Meet Smooch – an oversized goofball with an oversized tongue who loves to smooch all she meets,” she wrote.

“Kristan Shimpi documents her family's hilarious seven-year love affair with a bullmastiff named Smooch, and it's a story that will appeal to anyone who has ever fallen in love with a lovable, high-maintenance fur ball with a huge personality! This is a feel-good book that is also smart, funny, and touching.”

Shimpi said she was very surprised to learn her book had earned the literary award because it’s only her second book. Her first, “a totally different type of book than ‘Smooch’s World,’ was “Let’s TALK. A Problem-Solving Curriculum for Girls.”

“It was very technical, a how-to manual of sorts, so switching gears for this book was a bit tough,” Shimpi said. “The most helpful part was having so many stories and memories of Smooch. And writing about her life with our family was sort of like therapy for me.”

She was inspired to write the book after Smooch died unexpectedly while the family was on spring break out of town.

“ I remember sitting in the plane to come home waiting on the tarmac with a flight delay. I kept thinking about all the memories I had of Smooch, and so I pulled out my laptop and started writing,” she said. “The result was ‘Smooch’s World.’ I am proud that I channeled my sadness into something positive.”

Shimpi hopes people can learn from Smooch’s example. “I hope people see that love can be all accepting and unconditional,” she said. “Smooch was 100 percent love and 100 percent not a good listener. I had so many stories of her antics that I knew would make other people laugh.”

Although the family has not replaced Smooch with another dog, their cat Fireball has reportedly taken on dog-like qualities in the wake of Smooch’s absence. “He started sitting next to me while I was working, watching TV, knitting, sleeping with me, etc., just like Smooch did,” Shimpi said. “It was as if he knew I needed that kind of attention to heal.”

She has been promoting the book on social media and her blog, Life in Middle Age, which can be seen at “I have been surprised at how many friends of friends are interested in the book,” she said. “Also, I learned this week that ‘Smooch’s World’ is in a brick and mortar bookstore in the suburbs of Chicago!”

The author called Dog Ear Publishing’s staff amazing. “I can still remember my first conversation with Ray Robinson,” she said. “He said he normally just reads the first 15 to 20 pages of a manuscript, but he read the whole book that I submitted. At times he said he was laughing at Smooch and other times, well, he was laughing at me. That’s when I knew I had something people might want to read.”

Smooch’s World (We Just Lived in It)
Kristan Shimpi
Dog Ear Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-4575-7086-5 88 pages $12.99 US

Available at Ingram,, Barnes & Noble and fine bookstores everywhere.

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