If you’ve shown up looking for the next stop in “The Next Big Thing” blog tour, you’re in the right place. I was too engrossed in last night’s nail-biter election returns to finish the post and put it up. I’ll have it up by Noon, I swear. I hope you’ll come back.
If you’ve seen my books, you’ll recognize this smiling face from the cover of “A Shot in the Bark.” This is Max, the oldest of my furry children. Max didn’t fit into that story, but the portrait I painted from this photo provided a ready-made cover for my first book.
Max stars in my third book, “Maximum Security.” In it, Max plays herself as an escape artist rescue with a penchant for returning with odd items. Park patrons find Max’s excursions amusing until Max returns with something that demands explanation.
Now all I have to do is figure out what that “something” was doing in the woods.
This morning I pushed the button on “Drool Baby” over at KDP, and the book went live on Amazon after a year of wrestling with it.
So what did I do after that? I took a nap. A long, glorious, don’t-have-to-do-anything-or-be-anywhere nap.
I’m looking forward to spending the next week catching up with all the things that I’ve neglected during this last, long push to publication.
I’m excited that it looks like I’ve won the race to finish the book before a cold snap kills all my basil and parsley. I may get to make pesto this year, after all. And a big batch of tabooli.
The dogs can look forward to getting a bath. Chewy is getting groomed one last time before winter.
My mechanic doesn’t know it yet, but he’s going to see me next week for an oil change.
I’m going to read books somebody else wrote.
I swear I’m going to call my mother. And my stepmother, and my sister . . .
I might even get my hair cut.
I’m going to relax and enjoy the little things. Like clearing the biology experiments out of my refrigerator.
Then, after I’ve had a chance to start feeling human again, I’m going to take a deep breath, look around me, and figure out who I can knock off next.
But the stars are aligned, so I’m taking time out to tell you that my Kindle book, A Shot in the Bark will be free Sunday, June 11. That’s tomorrow. It should be available Midnight to Midnight, Pacific Daylight Time. If the price doesn’t change in the dot, check back later, sometimes Amazon lags behind on getting the free promos started. Here’s a direct link to Amazon: A Shot in the Bark
Get your copy now, so you’ll be ready for the further adventures of Peter and Lia in “Drool Baby,” coming October 12th!
Most people start their day with a hot shower and a cup of coffee while they contemplate world events and what to wear.
I wake up to a cold nose, heavy breathing and three pairs of eyes giving me that “well, are you going to take us out or do we get to pee on the floor today” look.
I take my rowdy hooligans to the dog park every day. That means EVERY day. First thing. The only time we don’t go to the park is if there is a blinding snow storm or driving rain. Only the post office is more reliable. But hey, they get Sundays off.
When most people think of the dog park, they think of lofting tennis balls for a delirious retriever as the sun shines and gentle zephyrs waft.
Those of us who frequent the park just after sunrise think about survival. We are half-awake and slogging through wet grass, mud, snow, ice, and yes, dog poop.
We suffer extreme changes of temperature (this morning it went from 45 to 65 degrees while I was there). We get body slammed by exuberant Labs and slimed by affectionate Mastiffs. Four-legged buddies frequently autograph our clothes with muddy paws.
We may look like walking rag bins, but we’re just being practical. I’ve got my favorite sweats that I religiously wash once a week. Their sole purpose to to take abuse at the park. In cold weather we go in for two or three pairs of socks and numerous layers. Vests are great. Hoodies are popular. For freezing weather, I have a cowl I knitted just for the park.
And all of it is worn until it’s falling apart.
The last several months, John Cunningham has been telling everyone he meets at the park about “A Shot in the Bark.” Suddenly I’m an Author and I can’t get away with being anonymous. I feel this alien responsibility to not go around looking like a bag lady.
First thing to go were the shoes. I have to say that my suede LL Bean clogs were the best $29 I’ve ever spent. I wore them daily for more than six years and since they were the designated dog park shoes, they suffered indignities only exceeded in third world jungles. Shadda was also especially fond of them, you can see this by the “love bites” on the uppers. Even after she grew out of chewing on them, I would come home to find her curled up with one. They were reliable and uncomplaining and I took them for granted.
This spring, I took a good look at them and the seams were splitting and the soles were falling apart (what do you expect from something that’s been worn more than two thousand times?)
Wednesday, I got my new shoes in the mail. I now have classic Crocs in navy (I wanted purple, but they were out. This is perhaps a good thing) They are feather light and soft and waterproof, just the thing for slogging through dewy grass at dawn. They can be hosed off.
The success of the Crocs had me thinking of further improvements to my dog park uniform. I have a great, lined winter vest (thank you, Paul and Angie) but my summer vest is an old khaki jacket of my dad’s with the sleeves ripped away and half the buttons chewed off (courtesy Shadda, the high-concept designer).
I started looking for vests. Photographer’s vests, fisherman’s vests, tactical vests. Turns out, some of the most utilitarian vests are concealed carry vests. John Cunningham has one he wears to the park and he highly recommends it (along with the appropriate firearms).
I have settled on the Uncle Milty Travel Vest, which has 16 (or is it 17?) pockets. Perfect for keeping my cell phone, Kindle, wallet, the day’s crossword puzzle, and a supply of poo bags. Leaving me with another 11 pockets to confuse myself with.
My vest is due in next week. I can’t wait.
I’ve titled it “Drool Baby” and targeted September for the Kindle release. FYI, “Drool Baby” is the actual nickname of Lou’s dog, Kita, who is featured in the book. It is not a reference to any of my human characters, though after reading the book, you may wonder.
One thing that’s important to me is to keep everything in the realm of possibility. In considering ‘what happens next’, Lia is responding as any normal human being should after her experiences. She’s in therapy.
I am introducing a new character whom I expect to make regular appearances in future books. John Morgan is based on real life John Morgan, whom I’ve known for twenty years. John is a cat-loving computer tech of great skill who is also of a metaphysical bent. Everything I’ve written about John is within character for him, with the exception of any activities that are illegal. That is absolutely NOT John, and is entirely the product of my imagination.
As for Lia and Peter, They’ve got to figure out how a down-home boy from Kentucky and an urban artist can make it work.
Oh, and we have murder – but you’ll have to read the book to find out who.