Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Healthy And Good

Last night I made stir-fry.  While I love eating this when I'm out, I rarely cook it for some reason, even though I have an electric wok.  That may soon change, because this was delicious.  And easy.

First, I marinated 1 pound of chicken tenders in soy sauce, ginger, and garlic for 15 minutes.

While that was marinating in the fridge, next I chopped up broccoli, 4 green onions, 1 red bell pepper, and mushrooms.  Sprayed the wok with Pam, and cooked the veggies for 5 minutes.  Then I transferred that to a bowl and got the chicken.

Again I sprayed the wok and began cooking the chicken.  That took another 4 minutes.  When I was certain it was done, I poured the veggies back in and also the remainder of the marinade and added 1 tablespoon sesame seeds.  After 2-3 minutes, it was done.

I'd made two cups of brown rice to go with it. And this was delicious - and low cal

Monday, April 29, 2013

Monday Musings

I'm working away on my new book and - gasp - loving it so far.  This worries me, for a myrid of reasons.  But for now, I'm going to go with it.  I have the bonus of knowing these characters from my September 2013 book - they first appeared there, and now they get their own story. 

It's hot here - too hot - like 86.  But a cold front is coming and on Thursday - my birthday - it will only be 66 for a high.  Which is perfect weather, as far as I'm concerned. 

In 2004 on this day, we had to help our beloved Border Collie Sir Cody cross the Rainbow Bridge.  He was born June 9, 1988, so he was nearly 16.  He could barely stand and no amount of Rimadyl helped his arthritus pain.  He'd chewed through his elbow all the way to the bone twice.  We'd had it surgically repaired.  But it got to where he couldn't get up and couldn't stand or hardly walk.  It broke my heart seeing him like that.  He was the smartest dog I've ever had the priviledge to love, and full of energy.  He could leap into the air and catch a frisbee or a ball, and he got his CDX (Companion Dog Excellent) title six months after we started showing obedience.  His scores were high enough that we got invited to the Gaines Regional Semi-finals and I was the reason he didn't advance further, not him.  I made the mistake of petting him to congratulate him, too much of a novice to realize that was against the rules, so we were disqualified. 

I have an entire VCR tape of him showing - performing.  True to his Border Collie breed, he was happiest when he had a job to do.  When he was happy, his plume of a tail curved over his back.  He shed like a beast - no amount of brushing could stop it.  He had a penchant for mud and messes and a mischievious nature.  I miss him, even now, nearly ten years later. 

Here is my favorite saying about dogs - and it's true.  I've seen him a few times, in the shadowy darkness of the middle of the night, lurking outside my bedroom door. 

If you bury him in this spot, he will come to you when you call - come to
you over the grim, dim frontiers of death, and down well-remembered paths,
and to your side again. And though you call a dozen living dogs to heel they
shall not growl at him, nor resent his coming, for he belongs there. People
may scoff at you, who see no lightest blade of grass bent by his footfall,
who hear no whimper, people who may never really have had a dog. Smile at
them, for you shall know something that is hidden from them, and which is
well worth the knowing. The one best place to bury a dog is in the heart of
the master.

From the Portland Oregonian, Sept. 11, 1925.
By Ben Hur Lampman

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Today, I'm talking writing.  Ah, I can hear you saying.  About time. 

Yes, I am a writer.  A full-time, professional author.  I've just started a new book, telling the story of two minor characters from my September Nocturne The Lost Wolf's Destiny.  The minute I met Kane, I knew I had to tell his story. 

So I sent in the synopsis (haven't heard back yet) and now I've started.

I'm a very uncertain writer.  I used to rewrite my beginning, over and over and over, not quite certain where exactly I wanted to start.  Nowadays, I don't do that - it's counter-productive and I am always on deadline.  I just start, dive in, and then when I'm finished, I go back and tinker with the beginning.  So far, it seems to be working out. 

But at first, my writing is tentative.  I'm getting to know the characters, and learning about them.  I usually hit full stride about chapter 4 or 5. 

A long time ago, I used to have a problem with the so-called "sagging middle".  As in, the middle part of the story falters and... well, sags.  I don't have that problem any longer.  36 books, and I know how to keep things interesting. 

Nope, my problem is beginnings and endings.  I've mentioned before how the endings weigh on me - I need emotion, not too much, but enough.  Sometimes, I get it right (like the book I just turned in, Texas Lies, Lover's Secrets.)  I hope and pray with every book that the perfect ending will occur to me, and most times it does. 

Back to the beginning.  I've learned it's best to open with dialogue.  Reveal some of the backstory, but not too much - just enough to pique the reader's interest.  And that's where I am now.  Working on the beginning of what promises to be a very interesting - and romantic - story!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Monday Musings

I am new to the world of animal rescue.  I always knew there were so many of them - lost and scared and abandoned and mistreated, crying for help.  But now, I have an intimate look.  I see the ones the owners no longer wanted and dumped off in the shelter.  There is one right now whose owners dumped her in a shelter and she won't stop screaming.  Screaming.  They are about to put her to sleep if someone doesn't foster her soon.  The kind hearted shelter workers moved her to a bed in their office to stop the screaming, but she's so terrified...  They can't do this forever.  It absolutely breaks my heart.  I've heard a dog scream before, and it's the most awful sound.  They only do it when absolutely terrified or in great pain.  Poor girl.  What the hell did she do to deserve this?  Nothing. 

This one, I can't help.  And there have been others - far too many others.  At the last minute, somone (bless them) has stepped up and saved them.  But I'm worried about htis little girl.  I've been praying for her.  Praying someone will take her.  I can't - I already have my hands full with my three personal dogs and one foster. 

I promise I won't post all the time about this subject.  It's just right now weighing heavily on my mind. 

I'll update when I know what happens.  Hopefully, it will be good news.

UPDATE 4-23-13

Another rescue group stepped in and saved that girl.  I'm so happy.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Country Girl

At heart, I'm a country girl.  If I could, I'd live somewhere like Pennsylvania, in a rambling old farmhouse, with acres of fields and trees.  (or in Delaware, or Vermont, or Massachusettes, or... you get the idea) 

In the country.  Surrounded by trees and rolling hills. 

Every time I visit a new state, I look for places where I could live, where I feel at home.  In Oklahoma, there was an area near the northeast corner where there are bluffs and trees and rolling hills.  Even here in Texas, I've found little pockets of space where I think, hmmm, I could live there.  But mostly, the eastern US calls to me.  Maybe that's because it's where my ancestors settled, where I was born, where I spent my formative years.   As kids, we traveled the east coast with our camper trailer, visiting not only historic small towns, but amazingly beautiful spaces.  Something I long to do now, if only I could convince my husband this was a good idea.

Don't get me wrong.  I love mountains and the ocean too, but most of all, I love the land.  There's an island off Seattle where there was a house for sale.  It was oceanfront, so WAY out of my price range.  But it also had land.  Three acres, I think.  And even though I've never been there, that place called to me.  If I was rich, I would have flown out there immediately, toured the property, and probably purchased it.  Because there was everything.   Sea and mist and trees and.... land.  Beautiful, verdant, green land.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tuesday Musings

Well, today I'm taking a day off from writing (at least on fiction!)  I turned in the book, turned in the synopsis for my next Nocturne, and finished (yes!) the line edits on the book that I just turned in.  I'm one happy writer, full of joy!

To celebrate, my wonderful husband took me out to breakfast.  We went to Ole South Pancake House in Fort Worth.  As usual, it was delish!  I ate too much food, but Lonnie helped me finish - he ate over half my pancakes and part of my omelet in addition to his corned beef and hash and eggs!

My little foster dog Katniss is coming right along.  We're still working patiently and slowly on introducing her to my personal dogs.  She has some scars that might be from getting into fights with other dogs (or might be from abuse), but she clearly is terrified of my three.  When they try to sniff noses with her, she snarls.  Last night my two Boxers were sleeping on the couch and Mitchell was in Lonnie's recliner with him while we watched TV.  I went and got her and put her up in my recliner with me.  She couldn't stop shaking, she was so terrified.  I let her try to settle and kept her there for about 20 minutes, before putting her back behind the baby gate. 

It will take time and patience.  That's one of the lessons I need to learn in this lifetime, so the Creator is making sure to send me lots of situations where I must use it.

Other than that, life is humming along.  I'm cooking chicken cacciatore in the crockpot for dinner.  I might make a loaf of homemade bread to go with it. 

I'll probably start noodling around with the new story tomorrow.  We'll see.  But for today, it's a free day and I plan to enjoy it!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Back Again

So I turned in the book and my lovely editor read it at the speed of light, and now I'm doing the line edits.  Plus working on the synopsis proposal for my next Nocturne and the final book of my six book contract. 

Google alerts notified me of this gem - my April release The Wolf Prince was featured in USA Today as a new paranormal worthy of reading.  Check it out here.  USA Today .   I'm beyond thrilled with this!

I've been so crazy busy lately.  I went to Roses for Rescue, a plant sale that benefited Legacy Boxer Rescue.  I planted not only my flowers, but the ones my Dad bought as well.   I visited my mom who is pretty much housebound with terminal Pancreatic Cancer.  And I took my foster dog Katniss to a second vet appointment.

Foster dog?  What?  You may ask.

That's party why I've been so busy.  Recently, I became a volunteer for Legacy Boxer Rescue.  I have two personal Boxers of my own and love the breed.  They are the kind of dog that are adorable puppies, but can be a lot to handle, especially by inexperienced dog owners.  So a lot of them end up in shelters. 

When Legacy put out the call for an urgent foster needed, along with pictures of a dog so skeletal it was a miracle she was alive, I cried.  My heart clenched.  I put it off for a day.  After all, I was in the middle of deadline, and she was so sick.  And then, I just couldn't stand it, so I volunteered to take her in.  This was Tuesday, April 2. 

The process started rolling.  Legacy runs like a well-oiled machine.  A volunteer pulled her from the shelter and delivered her to one of Legacy's vets.  Another person put out a large metal crate, a 40 pound bag of dog food, a collar and leash, and a feeding bowl for me to pick up.    All on Tuesday.

Wednesday, I was informed I could pick her up at the vet that afternoon.  The vet, a caring man, told us her red blood cells were critically low.  12 when normal is 33 or 37 (can't remember which).  She had weighed 27 pounds at the vet (21 when the shelter found her living in filth and starving).  She should weigh around 50.  The vet said he'd treated her with a topical tick medication, but she was covered with ticks (ewww, gross). He also said she'd need to be crated 24/7, fed 4 small meals of one cup a day, taken out on a leash.  Any excitement or injury could kill her due to the low blood cells.  She couldn't even be bathed since she couldn't be stressed in any way.  She had erlichiosis, a tick borne disease, which could be transmitted by ticks to my other dogs or even humans.  (Luckily, I had the foresight to treat my personal dogs with Frontline plus the day before I picked her up AND constantly had my husband check me for ticks.)  She is also Heartworm positive, so she will need to be treated for that once she's well enough.

So we brought her home.  Scared and trembling and so thin I got tears in my eyes when I first saw her.  I'd put down towels in the back of my SUV and rode back there with her.    Despite that, she was trusting and wagged her little nub of a tail.   She was weak and hungry, of course.

For one week, I carried her up and down the stairs.  She wore one of my other dog's sweaters to keep her rail thin body warm (and I, who hate heat, turned up the heat for her.)  She ate her four meals a day with an intensity that spoke of her immense will to live.  She took her meds and in one week, she grew stronger.   We pulled over 100 ticks off her, most of them live. 

Wednesday at the vet, we learned she has gained 6 pounds.  In one week. She now weighs 33.  Even better, her red blood count was up to 27, so she is no longer in danger of dying from any movement or stress.  The vet said she can have a bath, she can climb the stairs, and begin to get some exercise. 
And she can begin the process of becoming socialized with my dogs.  (It has to be gradual and drawn out, so they will get along.)

I will post pictures below.  These are after she'd been here a few days. WARNING - THEY ARE HARD TO LOOK AT.  But she's on her road to recovery and eventually, little Katniss (named of course, after the heroine in the Hunger Games), will make some lucky family a wonderful pet.  And you can be darn sure I'll make sure they're a good family and will treat her like a princess.  After all she's been through, she deserves it!

I'll post more as she thrives and grows. 

Friday, April 5, 2013


Sorry again for my absence.  I had a book to revise.  And other stuff.

But I've turned the book in.  (YAY!)  and tonight I'm going to have a giant margarita to celebrate. 


Monday, April 1, 2013


Sometimes, revisions can seem insurmountable and impossible.  I finished my book on Wednesday and sent it to two of my friends (both published authors) to read.    They were AWESOME and worked their butts off, reading and advising and giving me pages of notes to make the story better.

I started revising on Thursday.  Worked Friday, spent all day Saturday working.  I had to take Easter off due to family matters, but I'm back at it this morning.  I had to email my editor to let her know I needed a few more days.  I haven't (as of this writing) heard back yet, but I'm sure it will be ok. 

I've had books like this before that needed a lot of work and they turned out to be some of my best books.  Fingers crossed this will be the same.

So in case you wonder where I've been, I haven't forgotten about you, my blog readers.  I'm just working.