#FurbabyFriday – Author Sharon Delarose

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Sierra and Dakota – In Sharon’s Words:
Meet two dogs that nobody wanted: Sierra, a Catahoula Leopard Dog, and Dakota, an Australian Cattle Dog/Husky mix. The Big Man Upstairs led us to them, and they now have a happy forever home. I’m not sure who is happier, us or them, because they are the best friends ever for their Humans.

I’ve got to give a lot of credit to the pet stores that host pet adoption days, because it works. We’d gone to buy dog food for our elderly dog, and the homeless dogs were positioned right outside the front door. One look at Dakota and we were hooked. She was gorgeous, calm, friendly, and did really well on the test walk that they allow you. Little did we know the havoc she was about to bring into our lives.

Her misdeeds were many, and we realized early on that this dog needed to run. Walking just wasn’t going to cut it for her breed, so we spent $4,000 to install a six-foot fence. The trouble was that the fence was only on three sides, because the fourth side was a pond.

It was her first day out in the yard, running free, and she was overjoyed. No dog could have been happier than Dakota that day. Then the neighbor came out, on the other side of the fence with his dogs, and that’s where the trouble started to brew.

His habit was to throw a tennis ball far out into the pond for his dogs to fetch. Dakota hadn’t paid any attention to the pond until she saw dogs swimming out there, and the light bulb of brilliance shined over her head.

“Hey, those are dogs out there! And I’m a dog… and they’re in the water… so… here goes nothin’!”

Before we could stop her, Dakota jumped into the water. Startled by the unexpected texture, she jumped immediately out again. We were relieved. Crisis averted. We reached out to grab her collar.

But no, once she realized that the water wasn’t half bad, and those other dogs were having FUN, she jumped backed in.

Dogs are a LOT faster than people, so if they aren’t on a leash and decide to take off, that’s it. Dog gone.

She went around the fence and up into the neighbor’s yard, where all hell broke loose. We heard dogs screeching and yowling like they were having a big dog fight. We couldn’t see through the six-foot wooden fence, and it was a long way around in the other direction. We ran as fast as we could, scared to death that we’d find her in a bloody heap on the other side.

Our neighbor had two big dogs, each of which outweighed her by double. I don’t know what happened, but when we got to her, all three dogs were okay, and the neighbor had put his dogs up in a pen. She’d had enough freedom for the day and we were able to get ahold of her easily.

That was a scary day for us. All we could think of was, “Oh no! She can’t go back to the dog pound! We promised her that she’d never see those terrifying walls again. We promised a forever home. If she takes off up the road and the dog catcher finds her before we do, she’ll think we lied. She’ll never trust us again. Or worse, they might put her down before we find her.”

So many thoughts go through your head, so quickly. Horrible thoughts, with miserable endings. We got her back safe and sound that day, but it was the first of many big scares where we feared for her life. Dakota was not an easy dog.

Four years later, the elderly dog had long since passed away and we went to the pet store for dog food. The bluest eyes looked up at us from the most serenely beautiful face, and Dakota got a sister that she didn’t want…

Sharon Delarose

SharonCurly

Dakota’s forever home is with Sharon Delarose, author of the coffee table and Kindle books An Acre of America Backyard Nature Series and Back Yard Nature Kids which highlight all the cool animals, bugs, and plants that live in your back yard with full color photos and stories.

Dakota’s first year in her forever home is also a book with photos. Sharon also writes about extraterrestrial aliens, in both fiction and non-fiction, including Alien Nightmares, Ancient Aliens and the Lost Islands, and Fomorian Earth: Star Borne: 1.
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Dakota’s book is Bad Dog to Best Friend and you can get it for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, audiobook, and even in paperback.

From bad dog to best friend, Dakota’s story takes you through her first year with us. From pottying all over the house, chewing and destruction, Dakota was transformed into a dog who could be trusted with full run of the house all day.

Don’t give up on your dog and abandon him to a shelter. You have the power to save your dog from a life of revolving doors and people who don’t want him. Locked inside of every bad dog is a good dog who just needs a bit of encouragement to come out.

You can find out more about Sharon at her website: http://www.sharondelarose.com

#WoofWednesday – It Takes Two . . . .

TANGO

Can a Story Be Too Tight?

“Avoid tangents,” “Eliminate everything that doesn’t advance the plot.” Current wisdom for fiction advises lean prose that races to an inevitable conclusion.

This reminds me of trips I took with my father, with all essential stops scheduled, the shortest route mapped. A month before my dad left on a road-trip, he could tell you his time of arrival within a 15 minute window.

Dad always had the end in sight. He had no room for deviation. “That looks cool,” I would say, and we would whip by without slowing. Forget back roads. There were no side trips. We were never late, even when being on time didn’t matter.

I think the current fashion for excluding everything ‘irrelevant’ is making for boring books. It sure takes the fun out of mysteries and thrillers when everything serves the plot.

Instead of matching wits with a killer, I am analyzing an author, looking for an apparently unnecessary character in the first two chapters. That’s the killer, no matter how unlikely. Period. Because everything has to wrap up nice and tight, so nothing is ever extraneous.

I enjoy diversions in a book. They break up the relentless drive to culmination. It’s in these spaces that we get a peek at our characters, beyond the central crisis of the story. We can kick back with them, spend a little quality time.  The interstate will still be there when we’re ready to move on.

#WoofWednesday – Dr. Zhivago Redux 2

YURI-YURI

 

My Writing Process – A Blog Hop

This post is part of the My Writing Process blog hop. If you’ve never seen a blog hop before, it’s like a chain letter where you get to talk about yourself. Weeks ago, someone tagged my friend, Anna J. McIntyre. She tagged me and two other mutual friends, and then I went on a mad scramble to tag some authors who were willing to tag other authors.

Every Monday, a new and growing set of authors blogs about My Writing Process. You can follow the chain backwards or forwards. You can veer off onto new branches of the chain (do chains have branches?) It’s a great way to discover your favorite new read.

What am I working on?

I’m writing Sneak Thief, my fourth Lia Anderson Dog Park Mystery (due out this summer). The title dog is Julia, a perfectly adorable Beagle with big brown eyes and a penchant for stealing. Her owner is Desiree Willis.

Those who read my first book, A Shot in the Bark, will recognize Desiree and her special connection to Lia, a connection neither she nor Lia is aware of. Desiree has a stalker. And then there’s murder, and . . . well, that would be telling, wouldn’t it?

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My Dog Park Mysteries focus on the community of oddball relationships established at the park, so they are primarily cozy mysteries. But they have more suspense, thrills and  heat than your typical cozy. While readers have classified my stories as clean romance, my characters do have sex. You might wind up inside a killer’s mind, or in a fight for your life. I’ll drop an F-bomb on rare occasions when it’s especially appropriate.

Lia is an ordinary person who starts the series well out of her depth. Murder changes her. You see her deal and you see her grow.  Peter is a great boyfriend, but he’s got a few faults. Their relationship is a work in progress. The dogs are clueless about murder though their doggie antics have been known to impact an investigation.

If a character uses an electronic gizmo, the gizmo exists and is readily available and affordable. DNA results take weeks to return. Peter may pay out-of-pocket for private lab results when an investigation isn’t official, but he’s not going to jet off to Central America before breakfast to follow a clue. He doesn’t have the vacation time, for one thing.

Why do I write what I do?

Because it’s fun and challenging to create entertaining stories that include relatable characters and plausible plots.

I want books that are warm and funny, sometimes sexy (but never graphic) and occasionally scary, with some smarts thrown in. I found bits in other authors but never the whole package, so that’s what I’m looking for when I write.

How does my writing process work?

I work best on my iMac desktop computer. I have an ancient, oak chair a friend rescued from somewhere, a stool with the legs removed for my feet, and a sliding keyboard tray.

I start with a premise and imagine how my characters will react to it. This stage also involves a lot of poking around on the internet. For my current story, that meant reviewing all kinds of surveillance gadgets and figuring out exactly how someone would use them.

A friend of mine has a shop where she overhauls flutes. I polish instruments for her. We’ll sit in the workroom and I’ll polish while she’s working on repairs and we pass the time discussing plot points.

When I have the initial scenes in mind, I sit down and start writing. I try to stay a few steps ahead of myself while I see where the story takes me. I have an idea where I want to end up, but I have to work out how to get there as I go along. I set up a calendar of events to ensure plot continuity.

I immerse in the story while I’m writing the first draft, neglecting friends, letting the laundry pile up and drinking lots of coffee. If I’m not sitting at my desk, I’m napping on the couch and letting the story percolate.

Once I finish the first draft, it sits for a few weeks before I do a read-through with a paper printout. I’ll scribble notes on it as I go through it. I stay off the computer at that point because I don’t want to be tempted to start re-writes before I’m done reading.

Once I’ve done the first set of revisions, I’ll hand it off to my first-stage beta readers. I’ll do the third draft using their feedback, then send it off to my second-stage betas. When I’ve incorporated the beta feedback, I’ll start chasing any remaining typos and tinkering. I’ll run it through a couple of editing programs. I’ll listen to it using text-to-speech while reviewing it word for word on the computer. I’ll read it again on my Kindle. Once I’ve done the best I can with it, I send it to my editor for the final polish. By the time I’m done, the book has had more than a dozen passes.

Keep on Hopping!

Be sure to check out author Anna J. McIntyre’s post from last week.

February 24th, look for new blog hop posts by authors Meghan Ciana Doidge, Jess Mountifield and Corrie Fischer

#WoofWednesday – Dr. Zhivago Redux

 

ZHIVAGO

#WoofWednesday – The Inner Life of Dogs

Red Baron