Saturday, December 18, 2010

Merry Christmas Week!

This year has passed so quickly, I can hardly believe it. I know this has been another difficult one for a lot of people and trust me, I’m very familiar with how that feels. Let’s hope that everyone has a better 2011 than 2010.

Between wrapping a few presents, cooking, and listening to all different kinds of holiday music, I’m also working on two projects. One is the sequel to Home by Morning and the other is something so different for me, I feel both a little scared and very exhilarated. I’ll have more to share on that in the coming months.

To all of you who bought one of my titles this year for your e-reader, my deep and humble thanks. If you haven’t, give one of my stories a spin. They sell for a fair price (about $3.00) and because they’re all historicals, I’ll carry you back in time with the characters to visit different places and events.

Have a wonderful holiday and hold your loved ones close to your heart, even if you can’t be with them this year.

Merry Christmas
Happy Holidays

and καλά Χριστούγεννα

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Heart Broken But Not Beyond Repair

After Chrissie's loss, I thought there would be a l-o-n-g period of grieving. She was so much a part of everyday life around here for years, such a presence, I couldn't imagine thinking about another dog so soon. And yet . . . a friend contacted me about the Great Pyrenees Rescue group in this area. I wasn't at all familiar with the breed, but I saw this photo and smiled. It turns out that--as I understand it--a lot of GPs are used in the southern US as livestock guards. The economy is still not what we'd like, people are losing their properties, and either just turn the dogs loose or surrender them to shelters where they are almost immediately euthanized. This is where the rescue groups come in. This girl named Lexus (more on that in a minute) showed up on, and though she was being fostered in the Houston area, she was due to be part of a shipment of GPs coming to the Pacific Northwest.
I jumped on this opportunity right away. That face--who could say no to that sweet face? The rescue group has made it their mission to place these dogs in adoptive "forever" homes where they will be cared for and loved. They do wonderful work. Becoming a rescue parent requires an application, a reference from a veterinarian who knows you, and other things like a yard with a good fence. That all worked out for me.
So last Thursday night, I was at the volunteer's house when a truck that had spent five days on the road with nine dogs pulled into the driveway. I'd first had the opportunity to meet her three GPs, beautiful massive creatures that are tall enough to look at an adult eye to eye while you're sitting down! Good dogs for Hagrid, if you're familiar with the Harry Potter series.

I chose Lexus, who I renamed Roxanne--yes, everyone sing along--because she's a mix and a little smaller, a little more shy. As for the name change, well, that wouldn't have worked out. I didn't want a dog named after a car, and I really didn't want one with name so similar to mine. The confusion over that on Thursday was enough to reinforce my decision.

I'm so glad she's here, and I think Chrissie would approve. As Temple Grandin, PhD, so aptly stated in the title of one of her books, Animals Make Us Human.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

2010: Good Year/Bad Year

We're getting down to the last days of 2010--it's hard to believe how quickly the year has gone. Yeah, I know, it's a cliche. But trust me, the older you get the faster time flies. Remember in grade school when summer vacation seemed to last forever? Then by high school, those two or two-and-a-half months passed more quickly, and I'd think, geez, do I have to go back again?

For me, 2010 was a great year for my writing career, thanks to a lot of factors. Great readers, both old and new, e-books, and upgraded, more affordable technology. Plus I got to take some fun trips, was an accidental redhead for two unfortunate weeks, and I'm looking forward to more great times in 2011.

But this year wasn't so good for my pets. I lost my sweet cat Lucy in June. This last Thanksgiving weekend, I lost Chrissie, the dog who made me into a dog lover. For people who think of their pets more as their children, you'll understand that how difficult this has been. Lucy had been ill for a long time and she was miserable by the time I made the decision to release her from that misery. Chrissie, though . . . she was sick for only about six weeks. Her downhill slide was alarming. On Thanksgiving, my mom came for dinner and in the four hours she was here, she noticed Chrissie's advancing decline over that short time period. The doctor thought it was liver cancer or at least liver failure. She was scheduled for an ultrasound this week, but she was having trouble breathing on Thursday, and by Friday she could barely walk.

Lucy and Chrissie were about the same age--12 and 13--and it was my great privilege to have them spend their lives with me. I miss them both every single day.

But now 2011 is coming and each year brings new opportunities and joys. I'm looking forward to that.