Friday, March 9, 2012

Divatiel: Reflections of a bird’s companion, is the true story of life with a diva-tastic cockatiel, a story any bird & animal lover will enjoy. Author Cindi Maciolek, VBT Pit Stop Mar 9

Click on image to visit the Meet & Greet with Cindi at VBT Cafe

Cindi joins me today to chat about her new release:
Divatiel: Reflections of a bird’s companion will tug at your heart strings and bring a smile to any animal lover.

Louise: Cindi, welcome to my blog! I’m so excited you could join me for a chat. When did you first decide to submit your work to be published? Tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step.

Cindi: Hi Louise! Thanks for taking the time to interview me. I started working on my newest book about three years ago. I had so many stories to share about my roommate that everyone encouraged me to capture them and write a book. It started as just a collection of stories – about 18,000 words – and grew to be a complete memoir of about 53,000 words. 

Louise: Please tell us a little about your new release Divatiel: Reflections of a bird's companion without giving too much of a spoiler away.

Cindi: Divatiel is the story of what life is like when you let your bird rule the roost! In the 17 years Jaké and I lived together, so many things happened that I wanted to document it and share the story with others. I don’t think most people know what it’s like to live with a fine-feathered friend, especially one who flies around the house and chirps orders at you!

Can four ounces of feathers and personality change a person’s life?
She can if she’s the Divatiel!
Cindi was looking for a roommate, and finally settled on a fine-feathered friend who was a gift from a co-worker. What she got was a loving, intelligent, fun, free-spirited, demanding – Jaké.
After recovering from illness that put her near death’s door, Jaké healed and was let out of the cage so she could spread her wings. She lived her life with gusto. Jaké took risks, used her intelligence to her advantage and loved unconditionally. She took charge, not only over her surroundings but over her owner as well. Luckily, she had a cooperative Mommy in Cindi.
Not only was she demanding, Jaké did things some humans have never done. She flew on an airplane several times, went on numerous road trips and ate fresh vegetables daily.
Jaké lived a very long life and had many adventures along the way, most of which are captured in this book.
Jaké was first a gift to William, then a gift to Cindi, and now a gift to the world.
Louise: Do you plan all your characters out before you start a story or do they develop as you write?

Cindi: This particular book is non-fiction, so picking the characters was pretty easy. However, when I do write fiction, I know the main characters before I begin, but others seem to enter the story as needed, just like in life.

Louise: How much research do you do for your books? Have you found any cool tidbits in your research?

Cindi: The amount of research I do depends on what I’m writing at the time. I stay away from writing historical fiction, and if I include a particular location in a story, I tend to have first-hand knowledge of it, or a love of it that makes the research easier. 
Louise: What is your writing process? Do you outline, write by the seat of your pants (Pantser) or a combination of both?

Cindi: When I begin a book, I know the beginning, the end and a few of the twists and turns in between. However, I tend to enjoy having the characters tell me the story and allowing me to be a conduit for that. In the novel I’m currently writing, the characters led me to a situation that I had not thought of, but it totally works! So, trust your characters and tell their story.

Louise: Do you write full time? What did you do before you became a writer or still do?

Cindi: Wouldn’t that be wonderful to write full time! I’m a business consultant, which I thoroughly enjoy, but I write as much as I possibly can. I write a lot in business as well, everything from strategic plans to press releases to brochures.

Louise: Do you have a ritual when it comes to writing? Example….get coffee, blanket, paper, pen, laptop and a comfy place.

Cindi: I always write at my office desk, with a beverage handy – usually water. I’m good for about an hour at a shot. Then, I have to get up, stretch, walk around, refill my glass and get back down to business.

Louise: Describe a typical writing day for you.

Cindi: I really don’t have a typical day. My schedule varies due to my consulting work. At times, I jump out of bed in the morning and lay down a quick chapter. However, I tend to be a night owl, so you can find me writing at midnight or later. Writing can be anything from reviewing notes to rereading or editing chapters to planning out the next few chapters to actually composing something new.

Louise: Please give us a sneak peek at your future books. What’s on the horizon?

Cindi: I’m very excited about my upcoming books. One is a business book aimed at owners of small businesses or aspiring entrepreneurs. The other is a chick-lit novel that I love love love! I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to write something.

Louise: What is your favorite genre to read and who is your favorite author?

Cindi: Just as in music, I like a wide variety of genres. I prefer to either learn something or escape when I read. Sometimes I’m lucky and I get both in one book! The author I’ve most enjoyed in the last few years has been Sophie Kinsella. I read everything she writes because I know I’m going to enjoy it and have fun at the same time.

Louise: Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers we have not touched on?

Cindi: I’d like your readers to know that Divatiel is a book that any animal lover will enjoy. If someone is not familiar with birds, I hope they’ll learn just how smart some of those little creatures can be!

I’d also like to thank you for the chance to reach out to your readers and share just a little bit of myself. I look forward to learning from them as well.

Louise: Where can the readers learn more about you and find your books on the web? 

Cindi: E-books are available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Print copies can be purchased at
I also encourage readers to come back and visit the Divatiel site or to sign up for my mailing list so they can be the first to know when new merchandise is available. Tiaras will be arriving shortly, and more merchandise will be available throughout the year.

My personal website is, and readers can follow me on Twitter @cindimaciolek, or like my Facebook page: Cindi Maciolek – Writer.

Purchase Links:
Divatiel Shop
Divatiel Amazon Store

My Little Divatiel
“She’s the fattest cockatiel I’ve ever seen!”
Okay, that was the fourth vet to make the same comment. The average cockatiel weighs between 90 and 110 grams, and Jaké was generally 115-125. I didn’t see what the big deal was. What’s a few grams between friends…
“I don’t clip her wings,” I countered. “Those extra feathers must weigh something!”
I mean, we’re talking half an ounce here. The feathers must have accounted for a few of those extra grams.
The vet seemed unconvinced.
“I allow her to fly around the house. She has great cardio,” I added in her defense.
“So, now you’re telling me it’s muscle weight?” The vet nearly doubled over in laughter. “She’s fat! Get over it!”
I packed up my princess in her cage and took her back to the palace, where she could eat her healthy food (vet prescribed, by the way), have her run of the house, and nap at her desire.
Fattest cockatiel, indeed, I thought. She’s not fat. She’s just big boned.
I knew my life was in for a big change when, just three seconds after I put Jaké on my shoulder, she had unhooked my necklace.
I had heard birds were intelligent, but I really had no idea just how smart they are. Generally, when people think of talented birds, they think of the large ones – parrots, macaws, even mynahs. No one pays attention to the little ones that can infiltrate every aspect of our lives when given the opportunity.
Jaké was an absolute blessing. Sure, she had her moments, but I’m certain she felt the same way about me. I never had children, so Jaké became my child. She was spoiled as much as you could possibly spoil a fine feathered friend, and her hours of blissful companionship were my reward.
While many pet owners carry around their designer dogs in custom made totes, I’m certain they have no idea what joy a cockatiel could bring into their lives, if they only allowed it. Or, maybe I just had the “perfect storm” of bird and owner and I’m very grateful for that.
Like a dog, Jaké was my faithful and loyal companion from the very first day we met. Like a dog, Jaké sat on my leg while I typed on my computer, nipping at my elbow when I moved and disturbed her naps. Like a dog, she sometimes chased her tail, particularly when a feather was ready to come out and it got stuck in an upright position, like a rudder on a plane. And, just like a dog, Jaké liked to take naps with her owner, picking the time and the place regardless of my plans for the day.

Jaké had her quirks, and just like humans, they changed over time. One that always made me laugh was how she hated to hear the sound of a utensil scraping a dish. I don’t care where she was in the house – sometimes even sleeping in the bathroom – but as soon as she heard it, she started to yell!
She also found comfort in taking naps on the rungs of my office chair. Sometimes when I’d been out for the day, I’d go into my office to find her sound asleep, waiting for me to come home. You gotta love that.
It’s been said that cockatiels have the brain power of a two-year-old child, and their behavior is not much different. If I wanted Jaké to stop doing something, I’d tell her, “No!” She’d acknowledge my request with a little chirp, but proceed on, totally ignoring me. She knew I didn’t want her to do it, but she didn’t care. Sound like a two-year-old, parents?
Like a kid, she hated the toys I bought her, preferring to rip up the boxes they came in. And, instead of sticky fingerprints on those nice greeting cards that were ready to mail, Jaké left a bite mark in every one of mine.
Since birds in the wild fly all the time, I never gave it a thought that they have to improve their cardio when the need arises, just like humans. When I moved from my tiny condo to a house with a really long hallway, Jaké would follow me to my office only to be winded for about five minutes, until she built up her stamina.
Jaké was never really like a bird; she was always more like a spoiled Diva, from the first moment I let her out of her cage and welcomed her into my household. My Divatiel discovered a side of herself that would have remained buried if not for the freedom she was given, and the communication we developed.
Most people don’t realize just how much personality a little bundle of feathers can have, but I assure you, if you nurture the relationship, that personality will not only appear but will strengthen over time.
So few books have been written about pet birds, particularly from an owner’s perspective, that I felt it was time to change that. Here’s my account of life with the sweetest little thing to cross my path. Everything is to the best of my recollection although I’ve changed or omitted a few names. Jaké and I were together a long time, so I’m sure her version of some of the events would differ from mine, but I guess we’ll never know.
I’ll be giving away one signed copy to one lucky person who is new to my Facebook follow list between now and the end of the book tour on March 12th. I’ll post the winner to my Facebook page on March 17th.

Cindi R. Maciolek is a writer and business consultant, whose published works include Divatiel: Reflections of a bird’s companion; Java Jems: 5 Minute Inspirations for Busy People and The Basics of Buying Art. She’s also a contributing author to the books Life Choices: Pursuing Your Passion and Life Choices: It’s Never Too Late. Maciolek has written numerous articles for the luxury marketplace, including the Robb Report and Luxury Las Vegas. Maciolek lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.


  1. Isn't Cindi just GREAT?! Awesome interview and thank you for hosting Cindi today :)

  2. Hi Cindi, thanks for visiting with me today. My mom had a cockatiel named Peaches; she was a character!

  3. Hi Cindi!!

    Loved meeting and getting to know you here! :)