Monthly Archives: September 2016

The (not so) Glamorous World of Purebred Dogs #MFRWAuthor

Most of those who read my blog know I’m involved in dogs. I’m here to confess that


Fire Dragon, a Saluki

involvement is in a big way. A HUGE way. My first Saluki came to live with me in 1972, and most of the hounds decorating my house are in direct descent of that dog.


Yes, I am a dog breeder. I realize that’s an epithet to many people. I’ve been vilified by other writers for being such a greedy individual as to produce puppies for profit.

Excuse me, that guffaw was out of control. Yes, there is money in purebred dogs…not quite sure where it is but I know I’ve poured an obscene amount of my own money into my dogs over the past forty plus years. Don’t tell my brothers, they already think I’m one step from certifiable. Being responsible to my dogs, throughout their lives, means sometimes eating boxed mac’n’cheese while they eat premium food. During the really rough times we all ate eggs and  oatmeal. Fortunately those times are behind me but the memories are there.


Glamorous? Not so much

Purebred dogs might have you thinking of those televised shows with everyone in fancy dress, racing around on carpet while lights glint off their diamonds. The reality is more like serviceable shoes and clothes from a thrift store, the venue more likely a convention center or packed dirt arena, or a park pressed into service for the weekend. If a carpeted show is Broadway, most of us are in local theater productions. Which brings the same (or nearly the same) thrill.


I was thinking about the implied glamor recently. I’d planned to breed Boo to Navad. Both have passed health tests, both exhibit intelligence and personality, both typify, in my mind, their breed. Notice I didn’t say much about both being obedient. I know my dogs too well.

Given these decades of experience I should not have expected Boo to wait around for me to drop a leash on her when we were ready for the breeding. Instead she


Navad and Boo

dashed off into the dark and through the gate to the two acre field that I generally close at night. Due to the magnitude of the storm that had blown through I didn’t get that done before dark descended.


So. I’m slogging through the ankle high mud, waving around the flashlight that’s in dire need of new batteries, peering into the intense dark. Occasional flashes of lightning in the distance, then not so distant mountains. Other than that, no sound. Anywhere. Being a female of a certain age, I’m reminded I should visited the bathroom before setting out on this adventure.

Finally, a faint sound. I flash the light in that direction, and this time see a reflecting gleam. Naturally Boo will still not come but Navad is more than willing to transfer his attention to me. When she sees her play toy being led from the field, Boo follows right behind, far more graceful than I could ever manage.

Fortunately no one was around to fall down laughing as we squelched our way back to the house, me placing my feet ever so carefully to avoid the slick mud, Navad wanting to rub against me. No one’s posterior made it to the ground but it was a close thing.

Glamorous? Not hardly. But hopeful, so hopeful, that Boo now gestates another generation to please the people who have been wanting her puppies for way too long.

In the meantime I’m endeavoring to finish up the next Stormhaven installment while so many other stories clamor in my head. Patience, guys, you can all come out to play.


Just because I love where I live




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Nope, not me BABE #MFRWAuthor

I remember this song as being, well, kind of a downer. Sort of a melodic way to dump someone. Great song, but…

Then recently I LISTENED. And heard something far different from what I remembered. Hmmmmm.

Let’s take it from the other direction. Both times, a declaration that no, I am not going to be your identity. You will not be able to use me to prop you up. Nope, not happening.

How many times have we been asked to be the everything for someone? Their identity, their wall, no matter what. No matter how they act.

Check out the amazing lyrics by Bob Dylan:

It Ain’t Me Babe
Go ‘way from my window
Leave at your own chosen speed
I’m not the one you want, babe
I’m not the one you need
You say you’re lookin’ for someone
Who’s never weak but always strong
To protect you an’ defend you
Whether you are right or wrong
Someone to open each and every door
But it ain’t me, babe
No, no, no, it ain’t me babe
It ain’t me you’re lookin’ for, babe
Go lightly from the ledge, babe
Go lightly on the ground
I’m not the one you want, babe
I will only let you down
You say you’re lookin’ for someone
Who will promise never to part
Someone to close his eyes for you
Someone to close his heart
Someone who will die for you an’ more
But it ain’t me, babe
No, no, no, it ain’t me babe
It ain’t me you’re lookin’ for, babe
Go melt back in the night
Everything inside is made of stone
There’s nothing in here moving
An’ anyway I’m not alone
You say you’re looking for someone
Who’ll pick you up each time you fall
To gather flowers constantly
An’ to come each time you call
A lover for your life an’ nothing more
But it ain’t me, babe
No, no, no, it ain’t me, babe
It ain’t me you’re lookin’ for, babe
Who’ll pick you up each time you fall
To gather flowers constantly
An’ to come each time you call
A lover for your life an’ nothing more
No. No. No.
Far better:
Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead.
Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow.
Just walk beside me and be my friend.
Yes. Yes. Yes.

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Whose Job is it, Anyway? #MFRWAuthor

When I was young, really young, many many years ago…no we didn’t go to town in a covered wagon but our telephone number included a word, in this case Cherry 95700…I had two brothers, and a mother who believed in gender specific chores. Therefore I folded clothes and helped with dinner while my brothers got to mow the lawn.You read that right, I had ‘girl’ jobs while my brothers had ‘boy’ jobs. Given my propensity to high drama, you can imagine my expression when I placed their folded laundry on their beds while listening to the sound of lawn mowers and smelling the sweet green of new cut grass.

Fast forward several decades, and a phone call from my youngest brother, in his mid teens. He was the only one home, and he was hungry. Knowing the usual contents of that refrigerator, I suggested cooking up a hamburger. Great idea but…he didn’t know how. I don’t think I’d read Heinlein yet, or I would have quoted Lazarus Long:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

Instead, I talked him through cooking his own meal, and continued to wonder about gender specific jobs. Particularly since, by then I had worked in various kennels and stables, and learned whoever was handy did the job. If they didn’t know how to they better learn. Fast.

And fast forward to today, when I live much of my dream though without the person with whom I shared that dream. A person who though mowing lawns was just the greatest game ever. When he found out we could acquire a riding lawn mower along with our five acres, he was in bliss, and would take any opportunity to start it up.Not so much my passion, and the lawn tractor sits, unloved, under a protection of tarps.

But the rain produces green stuff, and after a while the weed whacker just was not getting 024the job done. So, a birthday present to myself:

All bright and shiny and clean. Not for long.

It took some time to read the set up instructions (I know, a markedly female tendency, not one I often utilize)

Soon I was chugging puffing and hauling and pushing that 008new toy around. Note: if possible do not start a lawn project after noon, especially in the high and dry. Eventually my pretty new toy will look even more used. I can’t wait!

However, this is only for the area around the house, where walkways are obscured by growth of unknown origin. The big field has planted itself in something lovely, and I won’t interfere there. All too soon, it will be chilly and deep with snow.005

I’ll leave you with a word of advice. If you want to do the best by your children, teach them to do everything. They’ll thank you in the end. Hugs


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Favorites Are A Bad Thing…Or Are They?#MFRWAuthor

We are told not to have favorites. Not favorite children, nor favorite pets. Treat everyone as equally as possibly. In particular we writers do not have favorite characters, lest we allow our favoritism to impede our writing. Characters must deal with conflict. They must suffer, to show us their mettle.

So. No favorites.

Except…I finished the final final final edits for A Question of Faith, a Stormhaven Love front cover finalStory. I hadn’t seen that story for a while. I’d been working on the next one in the series, and other stories after that. So when I met Roz again, she whammied me, saying things like this. Roz talking with Tyler Randolph:

***His gaze was uncomfortably intense as he set down the coffee cup. “You’ve never lost it all for a man?”
She tugged on her wrist. “Couldn’t see the reason to lose it all for a man. Could see wanting to share your life with someone, could see building something better than either side of the equation from combining two lives. Could never see forcing the issue. If it was meant to be, then it happened.”
He slowly relaxed his hold, but didn’t let go. “If it didn’t happen easily, it wasn’t meant?”
“Not really. If it’s worth happening, it’s definitely worth working toward and putting a lot of effort into. But if two pieces of a puzzle aren’t meant to fit together, getting out a hammer to force the issue isn’t the answer.”
“What about trimming the edges so the pieces fit?”
“Forcing the fit? Nope, could never see that either. Woman meets a man, he’s perfect except maybe he doesn’t go to the opera or would rather watch football than go for a walk with her. He’s not perfect, he’s not Mr. Right, he’s Mr. Right Now, Mr. Almost Good Enough, Mr. I Can Fix This if I Try. If he’s the right man, he’ll want to make her happy and if going to the opera makes her happy, presto bingo, they go to the opera. Not every weekend, sometimes she goes by herself. Sometimes she watches football with him and sometimes she goes for a walk on her own. Because they are, or should be, two complete people who are better for being together, not two disparate beings who can’t function without being joined at the hip.”
He frowned while his thumb rubbed along her skin and she told herself it had no effect on her.
“So not having found this ideal male who chooses to go to the opera with you, you’ve remained single?”
“Got it in one. Single, and not ragging on my husband or boyfriend or, heaven help me, ‘life partner,’ with my girlfriends every time his back is turned. You were married, you must have figured out some of this on your own.”***

And later, when they’ve resolved some of those ‘fit’ issues, and Roz is sharing her deeper thoughts:

***“When I watched a cowboy walk up a hill and wondered what his butt would feel like under my hands.” She closed the distance between them. Their mouths touched lightly, and she pulled back to look into his eyes, letting him know this was what she wanted. “When I watched him ride his stallion and suddenly understood what all my romance writing buddies were talking about. Wondering if your hips would move the same way in bed as they did on the horse. Watching the way your muscles flexed when you lifted a calf up out of trouble. Wondering if you would ever touch me the way you touched that scared filly.” She nestled her neck against his hand, looking directly into his face. “Ty, I realize, whatever your reasons, you don’t want to seduce me. So I am trying as best I can to seduce you.”***

Oh yeah, if I ever grow up, I want to be like Roz.

A Question of Faith comes out October 1, from  Black Opal Books


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Words of Wisdom from Seth #MFRWAuthor

I was trying to do the ‘share’ thing but it didn’t want to work for me. Since I’m cleaning (seriously, don’t pass out) as well as writing (I’ve got to get Lana and Adam back together) I’m going to give you the link Seth’s Great Advice, and also copy it below below. While you check out the link, you might want to subscribe. Seth makes so much sense! These are wonderful reminders of how not to make everyone around you roll their eyes.

Endless September (10 quick rules)

Every year, IT professionals at colleges have to deal with an influx of newbies, all of whom ask precisely the same questions as the newbies did last year. It’s Sisyphean.

Of course, every day on the internet is like September, because there are always newbies, or people who didn’t get the memo. The internet is a connection machine, a community. It has swimmers and lifeguards, givers and takers, the honest and the grifters…

Here are ten things to remember, feel free to share with those that are less experienced. Happy September:

  1. Don’t hit ‘reply all’ to an email unless you have a really good reason. And don’t write, “take me off this list” to a listserv, because everyone on the list will probably get your note. That’s been true for thirty years and it’s still true.
  2. You may think you can recall a sent email, but you probably can’t. Best to breathe three times before you hit send.
  3. Don’t type in all caps.
  4. Don’t buy anything on the phone (or by email) from a stranger, especially anything having to do with your small business, your computer, your Google listing or a charity. Just hang up.
  5. Everything you click on or surf on or do online is being recorded somewhere. Act accordingly.
  6. Backup your data, get tenant’s insurance and turn on ‘Find my iPhone’ on your Mac.
  7. When in doubt, restart your computer. If that doesn’t work, visit duckduckgo and type in your question. You’ll be amazed at how many people have had the problem you’re having.
  8. To become an expert in something, you’re going to need to read more than the first link that comes up in a search. And before you forward something you’re not an expert in, check Snopes.
  9. Offer help on something you’re good at to the community at least three times before you ask that community for help. Someone is always coming up behind you.
  10. Don’t believe everything you read online. In fact, don’t believe most of it.

Bonus #11: Be kind. Thanks.

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