My story, “The Heat,” is out now at Tough: Crime Stories! Read now for free on the website for a limited time or catch it in a copy of the print magazine later this spring!
(Click the image for link.)
Last poll I asked “How Do You Choose Which Book To Read Next”, and as usual, I’m in the minority and surprised by the results (below). I’m a sucker for ‘daily deal’ and ‘read next’ suggestions myself, but these options are geared more towards Kindle readers, which made me wonder . . .
There was a time I was a die hard paper book in hand kind of girl – the look, the feel, the smell – but times, they are a changing. There’s something about being able to bring hundreds of books with you, all in the palm of your hand. For this week’s poll, I’d like to know what book format you prefer:
The results of the last poll are as follows:
Most of the great loves of my life have been dogs.
Big, little, smooth, wiry, I’ve been blessed to have shared my life with a number of exceptional pups. I love cats, too, but they just can’t melt my heart like a smile from a dog can.
Ten and a half years ago, I was living by myself in an apartment in a new town, trolling the internet one night, when I saw the sweetest face. Her worried look broke my heart. I wanted to find this pup and fill her life with smiles. Was it kismet that she was in a shelter just half an hour from my parents? I think it was.
I got my arms around the little fireball and named her Tempest – an apt name for a pup whose eyes never seemed to shut.
I’m not going to lie – our time together wasn’t always perfect. We got off to a rather rocky start. I’d belonged to a couple of wire haired fox terriers growing up. I knew terriers had strong personalities and a ton of energy, I love that about them, but this wiry, tall Jack Russell was a handful. She was completely feral. We had to start from scratch, from sit to stay to please keep your over-sized fangs off my face.
I called my parents, locked in a bathroom, bleeding and crying, more than once. I Googled options for getting an exorcism performed on a dog a few times. But with time, effort, a ton of exercise and a tube of Neosporin, we grew to understand each other, and my little Tasmanian Devil became the most affectionate pup I’ve every met. She’d give kisses for hours if your skin could take it.
We adopted a brother for her, and later, a husband, who we shared (My name might be on the marriage license, but he proposed to her years before me. Not that I blame him. 😉 ).
I was incredibly lucky – I’ve never seen two dogs love each other more than she and Sullivan, and ‘our’ husband absolutely adored her and gladly accepted hours of kisses every night.
If you’ve noticed that my blog has been silent for a while, it’s because I was focusing my efforts on caring for her. She was the strongest, bravest, toughest dog I’ve ever known, living each day to the fullest, filling the hours with kisses and playing despite the tumor that had absorbed her cerebellum and continued to take over her brain.
I would have gladly cared for her forever. The time to say goodbye came much too soon. Every day I wonder if we should have waited longer, if I should have waited until there was a second bad day instead of making the decision the first one, but one morning she refused food, had no energy, didn’t want to move, showed signs of pain, didn’t smile and avoided eye contact.
I knew what the sudden, drastic change in behavior meant. There was no chance of her getting better. And as much as I second guess myself, I know that the best way I could show my love for her was to sacrifice the time I could have kept her going by setting her free instead of forcing her to endure pain, suffering, and an increasing lack of independence, torturing her for my own selfishness.
I’d like to think that, for the most part, we succeeded in giving her the life she deserved. She had the most beautiful smile. She was so full of life. She had endless love to give. She would laugh both at you and with you, she loved showing off, she liked being silly. She was sassy, demanding, difficult, and shed like nothing I’ve ever seen before – she was wonderful.
Missing her is hard, but loving her was so incredibly easy – and worth every second.
For this week’s poll, I’d like to know how you choose which book to read next.
The last poll asked which book cover grabs your interest the most. I have a confession – all the options were books that I chose to read because the cover grabbed my attention. What’s interesting, though, is that all the votes from you readers were split between only two covers. I love seeing the results from these polls, and hope you enjoy them too!
The results of the last poll:
Several years ago, my writing was going strong. I had a schedule. I wrote most days. I had a couple of completed novels, and was querying agents. I had a dozen requests for full manuscripts. I was so close to fulfilling my dream as a traditionally published author that I could taste it.
Then, I lost my momentum. I lost my energy. I lost my words. Literally.
I put on almost forty pounds with no explanation. No amount of diet or exercise managed to make the scale budge. I couldn’t keep my train of thought, and oftentimes, in conversation, I simply drew blanks. I couldn’t think of the words I was looking for. Not a great feeling for someone who wants to be a wordsmith.
I’m no stranger to health issues. I was hit by a drunk driver almost twenty years ago, and have a laundry lists of ailments that cause chronic pain. But this time was different. You can force your body to work to some degree. You can’t force your mind.
My acid reflux got so bad that I barely needed to chew my food – it practically dissolved in my mouth my saliva was so acidic. Obviously I was somehow related to that dinosaur in the first Jurassic Park – the one with a frilled collar that spit on the guy from Seinfeld, blinding him with his acid spit. As much as I love dinosaurs, I don’t really want to be one! 🦖🦖🦖
I’m going to take a very long story and make it short.
I was on twice the maximum daily dose of Prevacid. They thought it was Celiac, and although I initially got better on a gluten free diet, the relief was short lived. Multiple invasive, expensive tests revealed no answers.
Then my mom discovered a food sensitivity test you could order online from EverlyWell. I took the test. And while it turns out I do have a mild sensitivity to gluten, I have an extreme sensitivity to yeast – both bakers and brewers – which is still in many gluten free products.
Going yeast free meant saying no to almost all breads. No wine, beer, or alcohol other than vodka, which supposedly uses all the yeast added during the fermentation process. No fruit other than berries. No vinegar, nothing pickled, no fun.
I immediately avoided all foods and drinks with yeast, while still eating some of the ‘by-products’. (Even ranch dressing and mustard have vinegar.) And I dropped over 30 pounds in six weeks. My energy started coming back. My confidence. And then, finally, my words.
It’s been about four months now. I still slip sometimes. Mainly unintentionally, when I eat out. My stomach will blow out to about seven months pregnant, but it goes back down in a day or two. I get foggy, but it clears. I forget the word I’m looking for, but it comes eventually. When I sit down to write, the page no longer remains blank.
I’ve gone back and forth about writing this post, but sharing is caring, and I hope this helps someone else. Not to mention that I’m so grateful that I’m able to write it – look, words!!! And I wrote them! I feel so much better, and I truly hope this reaches at least one person who benefits from this post.
(I’m not getting any kickbacks for sharing the name of the company that quite literally changed my life. There’s usually coupon codes online if you do a Google search for them.)
(If you or someone you know has a yeast sensitivity, make sure to check vitamins and supplements for the nasty little addition – it’s everywhere!)
For this week’s poll, I want to know which of the following book covers grabs your interest and makes you want to want to learn more about the book!
The results from the last poll are as follows:
A plot whose outcome you care about. 0%