Monday, December 24, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Today I’m interviewing Lynda J. Cox.  Her book, The Devil’s Own Desperado is a western historical romance and was released for Kindle through Amazon’s KDP program in September and will be available for all formats and in hard copy on January 11th, 2013.

Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.  
The book for Colt Evans and Amelia McCollister is a western historical.  Amelia is raising her two younger siblings, forced into being a parent when her parents were murdered.  She’s resigned herself to that role and to probably never marrying.  She’s not necessarily opposed to guns but she doesn’t carry a lot of love for the weapons or for those who live by the gun, so when a wounded gunslinger wanders onto her homestead, she’s very torn.  Part of her wants to turn him away but her conscience and upbringing won’t let her.  Colt Evans, though he’s deadly accurate and blazingly quick with a revolver, is a very reluctant shootist.  He wants to hang the hardware up, but he’s a realist.  He knows he has a past and that past is well armed.  He knows that most men who live by the gun stand very good odds of dying by the gun.  Add in a younger brother infatuated with gunmen and the lore of the shootist, a little sister so traumatized by being a witness to her parents’ murder that she won’t speak, and an over-protective marshal, and you’ve got The Devil’s Own Desperado.

Describe the genre of this particular title, and is the only genre you write in?  
Western historical romance is any romance set in the wide open spaces of the American West, usually any time after the American Civil War (or, depending on which side of the Mason-Dixon line you fell on, either geographically or politically—The War for  Southern Independence or The War of Northern Aggression) until about 1890.  Most often there are cowboys in this genre but the days of the cowboy that we know from Hollywood were very short because by the very early 1880s, barbed wire was already sectioning off the American West.  There are stock characters to be found in the genre: the drifter usually embittered by his experiences in the Civil War (as most of the cowboys were veterans of that war), the wall-flower school marm, the harlot with a heart of gold, the cattle baron, the gunslinger with a dead soul and a frozen heart…and you won’t find a one of those in this novel.  I prefer to write in the western historical romance genre because it’s a place that I’ve very comfortable. 

How did this story come to be?  
The Devil’s Own Desperado wasn’t supposed to be written when it was.  I was eyeball deep in writing the creative project for my master’s degree, and struggling to write a critical introduction (minimum of 25 pages with at least 15 sources) to the same.  If you think writing a synopsis and blurb is difficult, try writing a scholarly paper on the influences that shaped your work, where that work fits into other published works within the same genre, and what is new or unique about your work. At one point in the middle of that semester, Colt Evans walked into my subconscious—fully formed—and he was hand in hand with Amelia.  He demanded that I write their story and he wouldn’t take “no” for an answer.  So when I wasn’t pulling my hair out with that critical introduction or the creative project itself, I was writing Colt and Amelia’s story.

Did you have several manuscripts finished before you sold?
Actually, yes.  I had my creative project finished which is a fantasy romance and I have three other manuscripts in varying stages of completion—from one sitting on my editor’s desk to one in just rough draft form.  Other than my master’s project, those three manuscripts are all western historical romances and are set in the same small town where The Devil’s Own Desperado takes place.  Characters introduced in Colt and Amelia’s story have their own stories to tell.

What is your writing routine like?
I try to set aside at least three hours a day to write, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen.  I often find that I’m writing for hours on end when I can’t get those three hours in.  Before I start writing, I do a quick review of the manuscript, figure out where the characters are going in the next couple of scenes, decide who has the most to lose in that scene, and start writing.  I don’t write from an outline.  The one time I did, I discovered I had put so much creatively into the outline that the story itself was flat and lifeless.  Now, I just let the characters “tell” me where we’re going.

Having achieved your goal to be a published author, what is the most rewarding thing?    
Oh, my…I think it would just be seeing my name on the cover of a published book.  All those hours spent dreaming of seeing that, all the hours spent writing, and sending out queries, getting ever so close…to finally see my name on the cover of a book that is published by a real publisher, not self-published—and there is NOTHING wrong with being self-published, but I had set the goal of being published by a more traditional publisher.

Are you a member of any writing organizations and, if so, have they helped?
I’m a member of RWA.  While I’d like to join my local RWA chapter, I frankly don’t have the time.  Between teaching full time, raising our grand-daughter (she lives with us and is truly the light of my life), taking care of critters (two horses, chickens, cats and collies), and showing those collies, I really don’t have time.

What character is most like you or least like you?
I don’t think any of them are like me or not like me.  I try to let my characters be their own persons, but if you’re going to press me for an answer, I’d have to say that the marshal is the most like me.  I’m incredibly protective of those I love and care about.  For a while, there was a Facebook picture that pretty much summed me up.  It said, “I’m easy-going but mess with my dogs and I’ll break out a level of bad on you that will make your nightmares seem like a happy place.”  That would also go for my family and friends. 

What most inspires you in life?
Oh goodness.  I find inspiration everywhere: in stories of the underdogs, in nature, in watching my grand-daughter grow into a self-assured, beautiful young lady.

What’s next for you?
Right now, I’m working on an idea that I started for NaNaWriMo (and it’s not even close to being finished).  And, I’m looking forward to the upcoming show season with the collies.  I’ve got a young male who has really come into his own and we’re going to be campaigning him, hopefully into the top ten.

He's everything she fears…
Wounded gunfighter Colt Evans stumbles onto a remote homestead never expecting to find compassion. But beautiful Amelia McCollister is like no other woman. Suddenly, his dream of settling down with a wife and home is within reach—but only if his past never comes gunning for him.
She's everything he dreams of…
Amelia had to grow up fast after outlaws murdered her parents, leaving her to raise her siblings alone. With a young brother who idolizes shootists, she dreads having a notorious gunman in her home. But as Colt slowly recovers, he reveals a caring nature under his tough exterior that Amelia can't resist.
Just when Colt starts to believe he can leave the gunfighter life behind, his past returns, bringing danger to them all. Can a shootist ever hang up his hardware? Or will their dreams disappear in the smoke of a desperado's gun?

A little bit about the author
I earned both my B.A. in English and history and M.A. in English from Indiana State University.  I’m an adjunct instructor of English, teaching mainly freshman composition.  Growing up on a steady diet of John Wayne Westerns and the television series Lassie, I’ve incorporated those influences into my life.  My historical romance novels are set in the Wyoming Territory and when I’m not writing or teaching I can be found on the road to the next dog show.  I love to talk books and can be reached at

“Colt. My name is Colt,” he interrupted.
She froze for a moment near the stove. “I would feel very forward to address you by your given name, Mr. Evans.”
His laughter boomed through the room. Amelia whirled. His head was tilted back and the strong cording of his throat stood out in relief. “Amelia, you didn’t have a problem taking care of me while I was unconscious and naked as the day I was born, but you think it would be forward to use my given name. There is something that doesn’t add up there.”
She twisted her apron between her hands, staring at  the floor. A moment later, Colt caught her chin in his            palm and tilted her head to him. She hadn’t heard him cross the floor. Her breath caught in a mingling of fear and some nameless anticipation.
“My name is Colt. Try it, Amelia. Colt.”
Amelia’s skin burned with the light touch of his fingers and her heart hammered against her breastbone. She wet her parched lips.
“It’s a simple name, really. Four little letters. Colt.”
Her throat was frozen. She was falling into the depths of his gray eyes. The pad of his thumb brushed along her lower lip. The butterflies returned to her stomach and that curious ache renewed. She shook her head, freeing herself of his gentle hold. She staggered a step away and broke the spell.

How can my readers buy your book?  
Readers can go to the publisher’s home page after January 11, 2013 and find The Devil’s Own Desperado at or it is currently available on Amazon (for Kindle only) at:  After January 11th, it will be available in all formats.


You can find more information about Lynda J. Cox and my book, The Devil’s Own Desperado by visiting my Facebook page at or my blog at

Just a few fun questions to answer if you don’t mind.

1)    What’s your favorite movie?
You’re going to make me pick just one? 
2)    What is your favorite season?
They all have their good points and bad points, but I like fall the best.
3)    What is your favorite thing to eat?
A rib eye steak, medium rare, smothered in sautéed mushrooms and onions.
4)    Who is your favorite author to read?
J.K. Rowling.  I admit it, I am a Potter-head.
5)    What’s your favorite vacation spot?
Wyoming.  Anywhere in Wyoming.
6)    What’s the best piece of advice you have been given?
It’s not advice, but I have this on a sign hanging over my desk.  It’s a quote from John Wayne that says “Courage is being afraid but saddling up anyway.”
7)    Coke or Pepsi?

Saturday, December 1, 2012


On the planet Megasta, colonists live in an uneasy peace with native tribes until the advent of Terran fever threatens their tenuous coexistence.  Can the efforts of a medical technician from Old Earth and her love for a Megasti man avert bloodshed between their people?
This Christmas-themed novella, first available in DCL Publications’ anthology Season of Love, is now available as a stand-alone for only .99 at the following locations:

Saturday, November 24, 2012


It seems impossible that it was only last June when I was idly clicking through pictures of pups on a site that belongs to a friend who runs a rescue group.  I had already adopted a hound puppy from my friend and another from Lab Rescue, as well as two cats and a horse!  My ark was full--or so I thought.  And then when I accidentally clicked on one of the pictures it somehow magically linked me to Home Free Rescue in Red Bank, NJ and there was Tia.  Her name was Peta then, but no matter what you called her she was the spitting image of my first rescue dog, Dancer.  It was as if my pit bull/whippet cross Dancer had come back to life.  Call me a sentimental fool, but I knew I had to have this pup.

Fast forward to November.  This morning I was awakened by a warm little belly pressing against me while a little snout rooted in my face.  Like most pit bulls, Tia doesn't have a soft muzzle.  No, she has those folds of sandpaper skin the pitties have, and stubby whiskers, so it feels like being kissed by a shark.  Little Miss Shark wanted to go out even though it was only 5:30, so up I got and put her in the yard with a stuffed hedgehog I knew would be history in minutes.  It was, but she had fun and I saved his squeaker and batting to stitch later into a square of fake fur remnant from my local sewing shop.  Tia can't tell the difference between that and a toy, so we recycle to save money since she can shred the expensive ones to bits quicker than you can say, "Bob's yer uncle."

Then it was in to a breakfast of kibble and warm hamburger...oh, and a bite of my whole wheat waffle, of course.   Thank goodness she lets me have my own coffee.  Then out for a walk on a 20 foot training lead so she could check out every blade of grass, pounce in the leaves for anything that might be underneath and crane her neck at the wild geese flying overhead.  They scared her at first, but she's used to them now.  Next we'll go for a walk to the local garage where my car is being inspected.  She's still afraid of cars, I guess because every time she was in one she was taken and left somewhere...first at a kill shelter by her owner who said they had "too many dogs," then up I-95 from South Carolina to New Jersey and to a rescue, a foster home, a vet and finally to me.  Tia isn't too fond of cars, so after she has greeted her friends at the garage I'll take her to Arby's to share a roast beef sandwich.  I'm hoping maybe she'll eventually realize that the car always takes her to good places and then home again.

Home isn't much--a small Victorian cottage with well-worn floors and doors scratched by a number of dogs.  But it's warm and smells like food and her friends and she seems to realize this is her own forever place where she'll be cared for.  She had her first Thanksgiving turkey and I think today I'll get the Christmas tree and she can help me decorate.  She helps me do everything, from my first eye-crack of the day to the last puppy sigh at night as she curls up against me and dreams sweet dreams.  At least I hope they're sweet now, because she's home and she'll never leave again.

Won't you consider sharing your home?  There are so many rescue dogs and puppies, cats and kittens, all of them desperate for a warm place and a dish of food.  In return, they'll give you every ounce of joy and devotion in their little cuddly bodies.  Please think of them this holiday season and adopt, foster or donate--whatever you can do.  Call any local shelter or rescue group or consider a group like Home Free Rescue, Recycled Tails or Middlemutts/Last Chance Rescue.  Just check them out on Facebook.  Thank you and Happy Holidays.


Miriam and Tia     

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Today I’m interviewing Suzanne M. Sabol.  Her book, Pool of Crimson, is an Urban Fantasy and was released on July 11, 2012.  Midnight Ash, the next in The Blushing Death Series, will be out in November of 2012.

Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.    

Pool of Crimson is an Urban Fantasy set in Columbus, Ohio.  Urban Fantasy is a gritty genre based in an urban environment with a paranormal twist.  The undertones are darker, the sex and violence are more graphic and there isn’t always a happy ending.  I write in both Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance.

How did this story come to be?  
I tend to develop a character first, what his or her problems are and what their reactions would be in any given situation.   Dahlia came about after talking to one of my employees.  This particular woman was named after a flower and it seemed to fit her.  She was sweet and gentle.  I started thinking about a woman who was named after something delicate and beautiful like a flower but hard as nails who saw all the darker things in life.  Since I’m most comfortable in the paranormal genre, I started putting together a story to force her into the preternatural underworld and situations that would test her mettle.   

Did you have several manuscripts finished before you sold? If so, did you send them out yourself?
I had several manuscripts completed prior to Pool of Crimson selling to Soul Mate Publishing.  I had four for this particular series, The Blushing Death Series, completed as well as another dystopian paranormal romance.  I sent out manuscripts religiously.  I always had at least six queries out at a time.  I currently have Pool of Crimson in publication, Midnight Ash (#2) coming out in November, a contract for #3 and #4 in The Blushing Death Series, and requests from two publishing houses to view the dystopian paranormal romance. 

What is your writing routine like?
I write important dialogue and outlines out long hand.  I have notebooks for each novel with important plot points and conversations, as well as post-its on the wall, chalkboard walls filled with information.  I plot out characters, their likes/dislikes, their backstory, fears, and family histories prior to starting the hard work of starting chapter 1.   I also outline chapters so that I know what the conflict is and where the story’s going. 

What sort of promo do you do? Do you have help?
I am very active on facebook, twitter, goodreads, and pinterest.  I have ads running on facebook, romance divas, and    I’m also active on several listservs that help promote my work. 

Having achieved your goal to be a published author, what is the most rewarding thing?    
I think the most rewarding part for me is seeing my work out there, having people reading it and disappearing into the world I created.  I love seeing my name on my work.   Seeing my name on something that is published is a real sense of accomplishment. 

Are you a member of any writing organizations and, if so, have they helped?
I’m a member of Romance Writers of America and my local RWA chapter, Central Ohio Fiction Writers.  My local chapter helped me a great deal.  They have been incredibly supportive, providing moral support, critiques on my work and providing me with the ability to learn with workshops, wonderful guest speakers every month and conferences.  I have met some fantastic people in my local chapter.  I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

What’s next for you?
I’m always writing, editing, and revising.  I’m currently working on The Blushing Death series #5 and #6.  I am also working on my dystopian paranormal romance trilogy.  I started a master’s program at The Ohio State University in August.  This means a lot of course work but it’s very rewarding. 

Killing vampires is easy. Trusting one will be the hardest thing Dahlia Sabin has ever done.

Dahlia has lived a lonely existence as a killer of the undead. Known as The Blushing Death to those that fear her, Dahlia uncovers a plot by Columbus’s Master Vampire, Ethan. He intends to raise a demon from the depths of hell to destroy the city, cement his power, and take control.

In her pursuit to stop a demon from manifesting, Dahlia sinks deeper into the city’s supernatural underworld and discovers that vampires are not only deadly; one in particular could be dangerous to her very soul and her heart. Patrick, the Master vampire’s second-in-command with dark penetrating eyes and a cool, deadly sophistication, can’t stay away and Dahlia can’t tell him no. There’s something that neither of them knows; Ethan wants Dahlia’s unleashed power for himself and is willing to do anything to get it.

Dahlia is in a race against time to send the demon back to hell, at war with her better judgment, trusting a dark and intriguing vampire with his own agenda, while struggling to save her own neck. As the portal to hell opens, Dahlia has only herself to rely on in order to survive, if she can …

A little bit about the author
Suzanne M. Sabol began writing at a young age, completing her first full-length novel at the age of 17.  Her love of everything paranormal and romance began shortly thereafter.  She is an avid reader and writer, focusing mostly in the urban fantasy genre.    She loves reading anything from contemporary single title romance to detective noir as well as the classics.
Suzanne published her first novel Cursed in 2009, Pool of Crimson in 2012, and Midnight Ash will be available in November of 2012.  She is a graduate of The Ohio State University with majors in Criminology, International Studies, Russian and Political Science.  She is currently working on her Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Administration at the John Glenn School of Public Policy.  She works full time as a Human Resources Professional and Fiscal Officer.
Suzanne was born and raised in Eastern Ohio where she was more likely to see a deer on the road than a sports car.  She currently resides in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Ross.  When she’s not working, writing, or reading, she’s spending time traveling and looking for the next great story.  She is a member of Romance Writers of America and Central Ohio Fiction Writers.

How can my readers buy your book?  
Readers can go to the publisher’s home page at 

You can find more information about Suzanne M. Sabol and my book, Pool of Crimson by
visiting my website, or

Just a few fun questions to answer if you don’t mind.

1)    What’s your favorite movie?
a.     The Thin Man with William Powell and Myrna Loy
2)    What is your favorite TV show?
a.     Once Upon a Time
3)    What is your favorite thing to drink?
a.     Iced Tea
4)    Who is your favorite author to read?
a.     Jane Austen
5)    What’s your favorite vacation spot?
a.     Barcelona, Spain
6)    What’s the best piece of advice you have been given?
a.     It’s not brain surgery.  Everything else can be fixed.

Thank you for allowing me to interview you here. Good luck to you in your future!!!

Saturday, October 6, 2012


Today we're joined by author Cynthia Gail talking about her new book, Winter's Magic. This is Cynthia's first appearance at The Blue Rose and I hope you will make her welcome. So, Cynthia...take it away.

Thank you for inviting me to join you and your fans today. I’m so excited to finally reveal the cover to my debut novel, Winter’s Magic. It’s the first in a four-book series called Music City Hearts.

It’s kind of ironic that I decided to keep the cover under wraps until my contest launch, because I’m rarely able to keep secrets. When I was in grade school, I was the daughter who snooped around in closets before Christmas, trying to find out what my presents were, before Mom had time to get them wrapped. Maybe that’s why I love to read romance so much. I can enjoy the story – all the ups and downs, the tears and laughter, breakups and black moments – without anxiety, because I know the end is always happily-ever-after.

So, the wait is finally over.  I’m kicking off a month-long contest with the unveiling of Winter’s Magic:

Back Cover Blurb
Owner of La Bella Vita, a five-star day spa nestled in the affluent suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee, Beth Sergeant knows her elite clientele first hand. She attended their private schools. She was even engaged, although briefly, to one of their most recognized bachelors. But she never fit in to their social-elite world.
After losing his parents to a car accident at a young age, Nick Chester was raised by his grandfather, the wealthiest man in Nashville. When he chooses to socialize, he has a never-ending list of exclusive events and beautiful women vying for his attention. Yet he never lets himself forget that everyone has an agenda.
Beth can’t resist Nick’s charm and accepts an invitation to dinner, despite her deep-seated insecurities. She proves she’s nothing like other women Nick's dated and learns to trust him in return. But just as the last of their resistance crumbles and true love is within reach, challenges from Nick's past threaten to destroy everything and force Beth to reveal her most guarded secret.

Did you catch that? There’s a secret!
But I’m not going to tell you what it is.
I can’t.
I won’t.
No matter how hard it is to keep it inside, I have to make you wait until October 24th, when Winter’s Magic goes on-sale, so you can read the book, meet Beth and Nick, and experience their story first-hand.

In the mean time, I’m hosting a fantastic contest. All you have to do is follow my blog or like my Facebook page!/CynthiaGailRomance (you receive an entry for each) and you’re automatically entered in the drawing.

The prizes? I CAN tell you what those are: 5 copies of my ebook, a $25 Visa GC, and a $50 Visa GC. Oh, and of course lots of swag. (If your name is drawn and you’ve already purchased my ebook, I’ll give you one copy of any ebook from the Soul Mate Publishing website.)

But that’s not all. Join me at my launch party, November 2nd from 3pm – 6pm EST, on Facebook. We’ve got lots of games lined up – each with more great prizes. And at the end of the launch party, we’ll announce the winners of the October drawing.

So, tell me - Do you peek or wait?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

DEIRDRE - Paranormal by Miriam Newman

Born at a royal banquet for King Conor MacNessa of Ulster, Deirdre is predicted by Conor’s own druid to be blessed and cursed with a beauty that will make kingdoms contest over her. He names her “Deirdre of the Sorrows” and urges the king to slay her. But Conor, unwilling to murder a babe, takes her under his protection only to fall prey to the curse when she is nearly grown. Captivated by her youth and beauty, the aging king will go to any extreme to possess her.

When Deirdre innocently falls in love with one of Conor’s chief warriors, it sets in motion a tragedy that will involve kings and countries, famous fighting men and sages alike: Cuchulain, champion of the Cattle Raid of Cooley, King Fergus MacRi of Ulster, Queen Medb of Connaught, Catha the Druid and others. Join author Miriam Newman for her bardic-style version of a legend told countless times in Ireland over the centuries--a classic Irish tale of love, loyalty, betrayal, magic and revenge.


Smashwords 99 cents

Amazon 99 cents

Lulu (sells for $1.39)

Saturday, September 15, 2012


In just ten days I leave for Ireland to research the sequel to my book The Eagle's Woman, which was released on August 2.

During the last week of December, I will explore the rocky coast of Western Ireland, known as Eire in 856 A.D. when Ari Bjornsson raids a peaceful fishing village and monastery for booty and slaves he needs to sell at the thriving Viking market of Hedeby. Second son of a dying chieftain, Ari will have nothing but the ship he sails once his father dies. His older half-brother stands to inherit and they are murderous enemies. Ari plans to leave his home along with his mother, but hopes there is time for one last raid before his father dies. It never occurs to him to keep any of his captives, at least not until he sees Maeve, whose scornful temper somehow fires his blood.

Daughter of a simple fisherman, Maeve is about to be betrothed to the village blacksmith, a lusty giant whose advances frighten her almost as much as the Vikings. But after a lightning raid on her village, she finds herself aboard their ship with other captives, bound for Ari's home in Norway where he will offload cargo before sailing on to Hedeby. He fully intends to sell her. But will he?


“What?” Ari asked, reaching with his free hand to take her chin in it. His thumb caressed her bottom lip and she thought she was not out of danger with him, no matter how disheveled her appearance. This man wanted her, no doubt of it. Not enough to commit violence on her, apparently, but she thought gentleness held its own dangers. If she was not careful, it could weaken her will. He was not unattractive—with fair skin, strong angular features and striking eyes—though just then he looked like a drowned rat as all of them did. It did not obscure the strength of his body or the keen intelligence in those eyes. She turned her head to the side, dislodging his thumb.

“I have not seen tears from you before,” he said thoughtfully, “though many of the others are crying. What has finally broken you?”

“I am not broken,” she spat, “only mourning two good people who raised me. But I am sure you know nothing of such feelings.”

He sat back on his heels. “Do I not? Two good people raised me as well. One lies crippled in his sickbed and the other waits for me to bring coin to buy things a sick man needs.”

Maeve was silent, surprised and momentarily chastened. She had never seriously supposed he had motives other than greed.

“Do you think raiding is worthy of a fighting man?” he persisted. “I would rather face an army than hungry children.”

She stifled an impulse toward sympathy. “Ours are dead or captive. You seem to have no trouble facing that.”

Abruptly, he set both feet beneath himself and got up, undaunted by the motion of the ship which made such things impossible for Maeve. She had not noticed a wineskin hanging from the rigging, but she saw him reach for it then. “I cannot help your children.” He took a fulsome swig. “Just mine.” Wiping the neck with his wet tunic, he held the wineskin out to her.

It was decent wine, probably from their monastery, tasting of strength and summer. She needed strength to remember that summer would come again, so she drank.


Sunday, September 9, 2012


At the upper right hand corner of the blog, you can view a picture of Daisy, a little black pit bull saved by Home Free Rescue in Red Bank, NJ. She is now safely in a loving foster home where she is wonderfully affectionate and happy. Daisy had been stabbed in the face and shot in one leg, which she still may lose. The perpetrators were never found. This is the sort of cruelty case shelters and rescue groups see every day. Those are the kind of injuries they treat every day. Of course, that costs money.

Below Daisy's picture is the book cover for my Kindle novella, Dancer Dog. It's the true story of my own first rescue, that of my beloved pit bull, Dancer. It was through adopting this amazing dog that I developed an interest in animal rescue. And though it's often tragic and hard, it's the best thing I have done in my life.

If you'd like a copy of Dancer Dog, please click on the book cover to be taken to Amazon. The cost is $2.50 and all proceeds will go to Home Free Rescue. Pretty cheap to help save a life, don't you think?

Friday, July 27, 2012


At 5 a.m., Tia the puppy's wet spongy nose arrived in my face, soon to be followed by her entire wiggly little body. Reluctantly opening my eyes to the sight of her bare, speckled belly, I groaned my way out of bed and into the yard to let her pee. After investigating every bush, weed, leaf of grass and the odd blown-down bird's nest--particularly fascinating, that--she finally elected to pee and then dig up an old rawhide chew. The puppy who ordinarily cannot wait to escape from her yard settled down, contentedly gnawing on it.

"Fine," I muttered. "Be that way." I went back to bed, but took the precaution of leaving the back kitchen door open, since she is now a confirmed escape artist. Sure enough, just about the time I was settling in for my fifteen remaining minutes of sleep I heard the thud-thud of four eager paws and the expectant whine of a puppy looking for breakfast. Anyone's. After cruising all three food dishes in the kitchen, regardless of whether or not another dog had a nose in them, she fastened her leech-like gaze on my breakfast. Which I was devouring in haste, I might add. These days, food is eaten in a hurry.

It's off to the barn in few minutes, then back to the yard to hose off a muck-covered puppy. And then we will take the morning tour of the neighborhood, this time on a leash. She has outgrown her baby collar and maybe the baby leash, too. I'm thinking a ten-foot training lead would be a lot easier on my back. It worked on my last pit bull pup. Tia is smaller than that one...but I'm older now! Growing older by the minute...

Postscript - Tia did not wait for her walk. As I was typing this, I heard frenetic barking from my yard--not hers, but my other dog, Lilah the snitch. Lilah always barks frenetically when Tia has made an escape. Sure enough, there was my puppy, leaping all over another dog being walked up the road. His bemused owners were fending her off, laughing (fortunately). I was not laughing. I retrieved my puppy and also one of my favorite short boots which I found in my neighbor's yard. How did she get it? God only knows. Only He knows where the other one is. I have renamed her Satan's Child.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Like childhood, puppyhood is all too short even though you wonder at the time if you'll live through it. In the interest of sharing some of it without driving everyone bonkers, I'm offering a brief weekly tribute to the results of rescue work--in this case, one of the puppies finally "getting" me. Feel free to share your own insights and stories.

Meanwhile, Diary Entry for The Life of Tia the Terrible:

"All animals are sleeping. Do I dare say it is...quiet? As in...can I write? I had almost forgotten the joys of a puppy munching on the mattress, gnawing on my printer, cornering her eyes lovingly at me around the sole of my favorite sandal disappearing into her mouth. The flying-around-the-house-catch-me game. And the puppy sighs and no-legs collapse when she finally wears out. Can I really do this one more time? Oh, hell, why not?"

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


But...but...she seemed so demure. So needy. I mean, look at that poor thing trying to hide in a laundry basket. Look at those eyes! The people at the kill shelter where she was turned in by someone who had "too many animals" clearly understood how demure and needy she was. That obviously was why they sent her to a county rescue which in turn sent her to a rescue in New Jersey, which was too close for comfort. My comfort, that is. I'm only one state away. When the heroic woman who runs that rescue said she would drive the puppy here...well, obviously it was a sign. A sign of something, anyway.

There are also signs that say things like "Open Manhole" or "Pavement Ends Here."

Tia the Terrible has now been with me for ten days. She's utterly charming. Those eyes are just as cute as they look in the picture. Only...her expression has brightened up considerably. Why not? In ten days, she has carved out my house and my life exactly to her liking.

We now have morning walks. Obviously, Tia conferred with the doctor who told me this was a necessity. She's only looking out for my health. It's unfortunate that she has to do it at 6 a.m. to give me time to walk her a mile down the road and back again and still get to work on time, only slightly damp around the edges. There's never time to dry my hair because I'm usually fishing her out of the trash can the moment I get out of the shower.

We have morning coffee, too. Hers. It used to be mine, before she got her nose in it. She prefers it with half and half. Sugar is off list for both of us, thank God, because I don't think she needs more energy even if I do. After that, I cook her a hamburger. I get frozen waffles. If I'm lucky. I top them with blueberries because she doesn't like them and realize how fortunate I am that there is one item of human food she doesn't like. It's probably the only one.

She crates acceptably while I'm at work. Again, thank you, God--because I've realized why the shelter sent her on so speedily. I doubt they could contain her. The beautiful new half acre $2,000 dog-safe fence encasing my yard is a joke. She was under it before I could even get back to my own back door and she's still under it every time I put her in it. To her credit, she does come looking for me rather than running into traffic--I've learned to leave the back door open--but there's always that possibility. The first line of electric fence I ran around the bottom of the real fence did not deter her. I'm wearing bruises on my knees from her little pit bull skull smacking into them, so I suspect she has a high pain tolerance. If the UPS guy doesn't deliver a stronger charger tomorrow, I'm doomed. I was trying to go easy on her because she's just a child in a fur suit.

What's that song I'm hearing in the background? "Devil in a blue dress..."

It's another sign. I'm almost sure of it.

Friday, July 13, 2012


OK, I confess that one of the rescue puppies finally got to me! Meet Tia from Home Free Rescue in Red Bank, NJ. I think Tia is what you might call a "pocket pittie,"--pit bull mixed with a small hound breed like whippet or Italian greyhound. In any case, she has now taken over my house into which I swore I couldn't cram one more animal. (Cynical laughter.) You can always find room for one more and I hope those who can will. The need is endless, so long as people do not spay and neuter their pets. I'm glad Tia is here, but oh how I wish somebody had spayed her mommy and saved her from a wormy, underfed life which is all she had before rescue.

This weekend, why not consider taking a rescue animal or, if you can't keep one on a permanent basis, offering temporary foster care. There is a desperate need for foster families. Call any shelter or rescue to inquire.

Friday, June 29, 2012

THE EAGLE - BOOK ONE - The Eagle's Woman

On to writing-related things... My new book The Eagle's Woman, part one of a series about the Vikings in Ireland, will be out later this summer. In the meantime, here is a cover with the ever-photogenic Sam Bond created by Annie Marshall, for your Friday morning viewing pleasure. Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


I had promised an occasional dog rescue story and I hope you will enjoy these from time to time. They won't be the horror tales that people in animal rescue know all too well. These will be the dogs that were saved or we hope were saved, the ones that got an 11th hour reprieve, a rescue, an adoption...the lost and loving. To the right is Elise, a year and a half year old pit bull mix at Dillon, County, S.C. Animal Shelter. Folks in Dillon County don't have a lot of money, but they do have a lot of dogs and cats. The shelter is a building on the grounds of the local prison, and prisoners and volunteers from Middle Mutts rescue group (the transportation arm of Last Chance Rescue) are the ones who mainly take care of the dogs and cats there. It's like fighting an incoming tide, as animals flood through the entrance and seldom leave except by...well...gas chamber. But I said I promised no horror stories, so instead I'll tell you about the unflagging efforts of a 100% volunteer staff from Last Chance Rescue/Middle Mutts. One of those efforts today was for Elise. It had to be today, because this was her last day to live. She was scheduled for euthanasia. That hadn't been the plan. The original plan was for Elise to leave the shelter with her puppies, but somehow the rescue that took the pups thought Elise had a rescue elsewhere and they didn't take her. There are very few adopters who come into the shelter, so that didn't leave many options. And things only got worse when Elise's heart worm test came up positive. This meant no cash-strapped rescue was going to take her without the money to treat this treatable but very expensive condition ($400-$600 average). And that's why today was Elise's last day of life. Volunteers spent the night trying to find a rescue that would take her if the needed funds could be raised. Others spread the word on Facebook, begging for money. Yep, cold hard cash is what it comes down to. I sat at my computer, logged onto my Facebook page, watching the pleas. Watching the donations. (One of which was mine.) With minutes to spare, Elise's chip-in fund (the method Middle Mutts uses to raise funds for animals) was filled with an extra $50 to spare. Her life had been saved. Or had it? Things in a shelter are hectic, especially on "euth" day. It's an emotional pressure cooker. Sometimes it can be difficult for volunteers and staff to communicate, especially since many of the volunteers work day jobs. They have to, because they don't get paid for the work they do in animal rescue. And it was coming right down to the wire for Elise, a neck-and-neck race with death. So now at 8 p.m. I am again sitting at my computer, logged into my Facebook page, waiting for some word about her fate. She is or was a good mother, a sweet dog. Today's effort goes to show what people can do when they pull together. Was it enough? I don't know. I can only hope. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ (If you would like to make a donation to Last Chance Rescue, click on the picture of Elise. If you'd like to purchase my Kindle book Dancer Dog, the true story of my own pit bull rescue, click on the pretty purple cover! All royalties will be donated.) UPDATE: 11 p.m.--Notice just came through that Elise has been saved, will begin heart worm treatment next week and then is scheduled to move on to rescue. Through the efforts of people who do not know one another...who will never meet...a life is saved. Does it get any better than this? I don't think so.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


 In 406 BC, to seal a tenuous truce, the young Roman Caecilia is wedded to Vel Mastarna, an Etruscan nobleman from the city of Veii. The fledgling Republic lies only twelve miles across the Tiber from its neighbour, but the cities are from opposing worlds so different are their customs and beliefs. Leaving behind a righteous Rome, Caecilia is determined to remain true to Roman virtues while living among the sinful Etruscans. Instead she finds herself tempted by a mystical, hedonistic culture which offers pleasure and independence to women as well as a chance to persuade the Gods to delay her destiny. Yet Mastarna and his people also hold dark secrets and, as war looms, Caecilia discovers that Fate is not so easy to control and that she must finally choose where her allegiance lies.

Exploring themes of sexuality, destiny versus self-determination and tolerance versus prejudice, The Wedding Shroud vividly brings ancient Rome and Etruria to life while accenting the lives of women in ancient history.

~ ~ ~
I was attracted to this book because--well, let's face it--something about ancient Rome endorsed by Ursula LeGuin is going to get my attention.

That was at about 11 a.m.   I was leaving shortly because I had to get to the bank that closed at noon, so I would just download it to my Kindle for Mac and get back to it a little later.  Well, maybe I'd just read Chapter 1 first.  I mean, what could it hurt?  There was still time to make it to the bank.  But then there was Chapter 2 and many chapters did this book have, anyway?  I didn't care.  I could get to the bank Monday.  Ate lunch sitting at the computer.  I did stop for four o'clock tea--briefly.  Finished at about five.  It's a good chunk of a book.

I finished more or less pleading with my computer monitor for the sequel.  Tell me there's a sequel.  Please.  Preferably already written.  This is an astounding first book by Australian author Elisabeth Storrs--one which brings to life the ancient Roman and Etruscan civilizations in glorious, meticulously researched detail.   With a rich cast of characters and an equally rich writing style, I give it a high five and a whole lot of roses.  

Would I run right out and buy this book?

You betcha.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


I promised to keep people updated on the progress of "Jed," the cute little hound featured at the top right hand side of this blog.  She was my first attempt at a long-distance rescue of an animal in a kill shelter.  To be precise, she was in the deep South in a location where there is very little money to care for the animals, prison labor is used and people never take pets out--only dump them in.  The conditions are poor and gas is still used for euthanizing animals.  Volunteers from Middle Mutts work tirelessly to take as many of them out as they can save, delivering them up the East Coast as far as Long Island to private rescues and adopters.

In Jed's case, she was going directly to an approved adopter I'll just call Mary although that's not her real name.  Here's a little of what happened that day.

"Transport arrived on time - broke our hearts to see all the dogs stacked up in cages. Couldn't look too long or we'd have come home with more than one. Jed - now renamed Sophie - came to us somewhat tentatively, but she was okay right from the start. Got her home and let her off the leash in the yard, and minute by minute, she became more comfortable until she was positively jumping and leaping and running joyfully.
She follows us around, has found her own spots in the yard (and on the sofa in the kitchen) and no one would ever suspect that she only arrived yesterday. So far, she's been sweet and affectionate and very laid back.
That's the good news."

It wasn't all sunshine and roses, though.  :)

"The bad news is that our dog refused to look at her. She tries to play with him and he turns away. He is royally pissed. We're hoping that he comes around.
She's had a few accidents in the house but we expected that. She's drinking different water and eating different food. Our dogs eat strictly organic dog food - canned and dried - and treats, except for Milk Bones which our old guy is very partial to - so we're thinking it's not what she's used to. Plus there was the stress of being crated, shipped from Friday through Saturday morning and not knowing where she was going or what was going to happen to her.
The other bad news is that she got out of the yard yesterday afternoon - slunk under one of the gates and was standing in the driveway when I came home from an errand. We figured out how she got out and my husband immediately nailed railing across the bottom of all the gates.
Then this morning, I caught her trying to CLIMB THE FENCE!!!!
We have post and rail with wire fencing on the outside, but apparently we're going to have to put the railing on the inside as well. Which should keep her until she finds another way out."

Uh...oh, yeah...I forgot to tell Mary that hounds can climb.  Honest.  I just forgot.  I'm so used to mine trying to go up trees after birds that I'm starting to think it's normal.  But I know this lady and she will persevere regardless. 

Anyway, the hound that was almost killed in a gas chamber is instead sleeping on a couch in a nicely air conditioned kitchen, eating organic food and having play dates.  Whoo-eee!

The story of my own rescue dog, Dancer, is contained in a little ebook novella you'll see right up there under the picture of Jed-now-Sophie.  It's called Dancer Dog.  You can click on the picture of the pit bull and the ballerina to go to Amazon if you'd like to purchase my book for $2.50.  All royalties will be donated to Middle Mutts.

I will have some more rescue stories in the future, probably not as detailed as this.  This story was literally one for the books.  It came right down to the wire with having Mary step up at the last moment, emergencies with the transport, and miracles being wrought by overworked volunteers at Middle Mutts who do this every single week.    Oh, Heaven help me.  'Cause you know someday I'll probably write a book about all this...  Another one.  :)