Welcome to my first blog! I'm excited and nervous, with the hope that you will find it insightful and entertaining. I'm slowly figuring out how to use the tools that Weebly provides for my website, but I have to admit that I'm not technically oriented. This causes some (much?) frustration and frantic calls for help. Thank goodness for friends.
One of my sisters once asked me, "Where do you get your ideas from for your stories?" My answer - from observing life around me. These observations lead me like threads to new projects. In the case of my Molly McPherson - 1st Lady Book series, I lived with my dear friends, Deborah and Ray, and their dog Molly for one year back in 1998, after a personal crisis in my life. At that time, Molly was just an adorable 8-week-old ball of golden fur, and I had never lived with a dog. It proved to be a life-changing experience for me at a time when I needed the love and companionship of this amazing animal. Imagine my delight at Molly's graduation from obedience school on seeing how pet owners praised their animals, as if they were their own children. I couldn't believe it at first, but I became one of those "parents'". Molly is no longer with us, but her memory lives on in the stories I write. I hope you enjoy them!
THIS WRITING LIFE
I just finished Sandra Brown's Rainwater, which was a terrific read. Brown is one of my favorite authors alongside C.J. Box and William Kent Krueger. I'm always amazed at the storylines and how characterizations, detail and suspense are woven into an exciting, fast-paced page-turner. For me, I see a scene laid out before me, much like a movie, and take great pains to record each detail, bringing it to life for my young readers. That may sound a little over-the-top, but that's what happens in my writing world. It forces me to think creatively and pour every ounce of emotion into the work. Those days give me a high like no other.
LUNA & BIFF
Today I met Luna, the beautiful white dog that greets customers at Honker Flats Greenhouses, outside Middle River, MN. She appeared to have the long sloping body of a German shepherd, but with very thick fur about 3-4 inches long. She wandered about the property, making friends as she went, seemingly unfazed by the activity around her. I love big dogs. I don't know why, but I do. Luna reminded me of Biff, a white Burnese mountain dog that I met at Sunset Haven, the nursing home where my dad lived. He was a therapy dog, who brought much joy to the residents, especially my dad. Seated in his wheelchair, Dad's face would light up on seeing Biff approach. Biff's presence always seemed to change the atmosphere from a regular Sunday afternoon visit to a very memorable one for all concerned.
I'm sure you're wondering if I have a dog. No, I don't, unfortunately. Pets are not allowed in our apartment complex. So I make sure that, when I'm visiting my daughter, I get all my hugs in with Daisy, her one year old springer-doodle.
YOUR PETS & COVID-19
According to the CDC, here are a few tips about what to do if you own pets:
- treat pets as you would other human family members to protect them from possible infection
- do not let pets interact with people or other animals outside the household
- keep cats indoors when possible to prevent them from interacting with other animals or people
- walk dogs on a leash, maintaining at least 6 feet (2 meters) from other people and animals
- avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather
- be aware that children 5 years of age and younger, people with weakened immune systems, and people 65 years of age and older are more likely to get sick from germs some animals can carry.
If you are sick with COVID-19 (either suspected or confirmed by a test):
- restrict contact with your pets and other animals, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food or bedding
- when possible, have another member of your household care for your pets
- if you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wear a cloth face covering and wash your hands before and after you interact with them
- if your pet becomes sick, do not take your pet to the veterinary clinic yourself. Call your vet and let them know that you have been sick with COVID-19. Some vets may offer telemedicine consultations for seeing sick pets.
DOG JOKES FOR KIDS
Q: What do you get when you cross a sheepdog with a rose?
A: A collie-flower
Q: Why is a tree like a big dog?
A: They both have a lot of bark.
Q: How are a dog and a marine biologist alike?
A: One wags a tail and the other tags a whale.
Q: What's dog's favorite dessert?
Q: What do you do if a dog chews your dictionary?
A: Take the words right out of his mouth!
Q: What do you get when you cross a dog with a frog?
A: A croaker spaniel
Q: Why can't dogs work the TV remote?
A: Because they always hit the paws button!
Q: Why did the Dalmatian go to the eye doctor?
A: He kept seeing spots!
Q: What do you call it when a cat wins a dog show?
A: A CAT-tastrophy!
Q: Why aren't dog good dancers?
A: Because they have two left feet!
CHECKING THINGS OUT
I've been doing some reading about working dogs and came across the Military Working Dog Team National Monument, located at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX. The monument was spear-headed in 2013 by John C. Burnam, author and Vietnam Veteran and German Shepherd Scout Dog Handler. It is meant to honor Dog Handlers and their Military Dogs that have served in combat since WWII. I was amazed by all the different roles that these dogs play in the military, across all sectors of the service. It got me thinking about other roles that working dogs play, such as service dogs, therapy dogs, companions, search-and-rescue dogs, seeing-eye dogs, emotional support animals, and canine police units and all that entails. Gives me some ideas for another book.
I just finished reading my May/June issue of Writer's Digest which was chock-full of great information on the 22nd Annual 101 Best Websites for Writers, and articles on narrating audiobooks and how to promote your books (and yourself) as an independent author. As some of you may know from reading my Facebook posts, making an audiobook of my third book, Dogsled Molly, has been in the works for awhile, but sidelined due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I'm also interested in becoming a narrator of other people's books, which is something that would require setting up a home recording studio. All in due time.
The article on author Jenny Lawson certainly got this old brain churning with ideas for other writing projects. I've been writing most of my life in one form or another (journaling, newspaper reporting, newspaper column writing, freelancing), but life sometimes got in the way of being able to achieve as much as I wanted. Now, I'm feeling renewed and eager to get on with new opportunities. Stay tuned.
MINNEAPOLIS - HERE I COME!
At last, I'm headed to Minneapolis (actually Stillwater, just east of Minneapolis-St. Paul) on July 27 to record my audiobook of Dogsled Molly with Wild Horse Recording LLC. I am so looking forward to this new adventure. I'll certainly find out if I should also record my first 2 books and whether I have what it takes to become a narrator of other authors' books.
I feel the pressure of not being able to be out selling my books at various events this summer, but COVID-19 has changed whatever opportunities there might have been. Hopefully, by the end of September, the virus will have abated somewhat. I already have a few shows lined up for the fall, but there's no guarantee that they will happen. Stay tuned.
So much has happened since I last wrote here. The recording for my first audiobook went extremely well and will be posted on Amazon within a month. I also made a narration demo, composed of three types of writing (non-fiction, 1st person fiction, 3rd person fiction), to see if I can get hired as a narrator of other authors' books. I'm looking down the road for another source of income as I'd like to be able to retire from my current day job and become totally self-sufficient financially within a year.
In the works are plans to move back to Canada to Winnipeg, Manitoba, where my kids and grandkids are. As a Canadian citizen, I can return anytime; however, in order for my American husband to immigrate, I have to sponsor him for Permanent Residency in Canada status. With the slowdown of processing immigration applications due to COVID-19, I expect that it will take about a year.
In the meantime, I'll continue to write. Book 4 is on the back burner for now until I get a few things settled. Stay tuned.