Sometimes, life just hits you hard. We’ve been traveling for 2 weeks, staying with family over the holidays, just so work could be done in our house and I could return into comfort in time for my book release (that’s Swordfall tomorrow, guys.) And work was done – but it didn’t go smoothly, and we’re behind schedule. We have walls and subfloors, and various engineering things have been done to the house. Progress! And then our dog died.
I can’t remember a time when I’ve felt less inclined to write anything fun. The cold. The dust. Camping stove and a water kettle kitchen. No sofa. No dog. Especially no dog.
So, even though I’m supposed to be promoting Swordfall, going over line edits in Landfall, and writing new words in a new boys’n’horses book, I think my best fall-back position is to go to the gym. Once my mind is reset by those happy chemicals my body generates, I can use the computers in the dust-free and warm library next doors and get some work done. Maybe.
In prior years, when something bad had happened, I’d go walk the dog. Now I can’t do that. Or I’d go clean the kitchen or dejunk the room. But I can’t do that either. Or I’d disappear into my writing and shut the real world out. That’s hard to do now, though, because whenever I let my mind roam loose, I think of the dog. I’d thought of writing about the dog, but I’m not ready to do that yet. Oh sure, she was awesome and loving in her Labrador way. She ran the woods while we foraged for mushrooms. When we found a patch of chanterelles, she danced around us in excitement, stepping on their fragrant orange caps, and then I’d say, “Caramel, hold!” and she’d freeze and look at me with an expectant eye. Once she settled down, I’d whisper a release command and she’d shoot off for the nearest muddy creek, rolling in what little water there was. Which is why our back seats are no longer beige – but I digress.
Caramel may have been the best, kindest, smartest dog I’ve ever had the pleasure to live with and train, but like most of us, she had her dark side. She was a bread hound. No baked item was safe, and many a baguette was cruelly dragged onto the carpet in the office and slain in the darkness of the night. The crumpled bag and a few tell-tale crumbs was all that was left. She used to go after the Christmas cookies we hang off the tree, too. When she learned that I was displeased by finding slimy ribbon and cookie crumbs under the tree, she learned to stand on her hind paws and balance so’s to stretch her head out and eat straight off the tree. Which is how I started to find slimy, crumbly ribbons in the tree instead.
No tall wine glass was safe from the wagging of her powerful tail – we switched to stemless glasses over the years. Once she attempted to decimate our glassware, she’d lie down between the sofa and the glass coffee table, equidistant between my armchair and my husband’s sofa spot. She had witnessed the writing and editing of many books and stories in just that position. And she still will, because someday a character of mine will acquire a chocolate labrador female and name her Caramel, and she will never die.
Now I have to stop being maudlin and do the business thing, though so here goes: Tomorrow, Book 2 of the Fall Trilogy is being released! Swordfall, the sequel to Breakfall, is ready to order at the links below. (There – business accomplished.)
And now, about that gym and library trip…