Archive for April 2013

Pink Moon and Whiny Oreo

April 28, 2013

Sometimes my cage is where I want to be...

Sometimes my cage is where I want to be…

Odd title today, isn’t it?

But in many ways it comprises the high and low of this last part of April.

I’m quite sure I’ve mentioned our little dog Oreo a time or two. She’s quite precious to us and serves a very important role for us. She brings humor to our sometimes difficult lives with actions that regularly produce chuckles and smiles—and not just from us who always delight in her—like our neighbors and others such as strangers who see her with us.

My book Better Than Dessert has a puppy on the cover. Oreo served as its inspiration. The book’s main character also has a puppy. This puppy has a purpose in the story—actually several—as that little black and white bundle of fur helps Katy start moving beyond her grief. That puppy also helps to bring two families together as one.

This flower helped calm me.

This flower helped calm me.

You’ve already guessed it. Of course, the puppy’s name is Oreo. And of course, Oreo was the inspiration for this puppy. She helped me write it because she never left my side during the whole time I wrote and rewrote and then revised this novel.

But Oreo is NOT perfect. We were reminded of that during our recent and lengthy thunderstorms and high winds. Lightning, thunder and loud unusual noises have always made her nervous. When they don’t stop, she becomes more and more frantic. Nothing consoles her. You look into her eyes and see immeasurable agony and total fear. Her heart races, her breathing becomes difficult. A few times we feared her little self couldn’t survive such fear. And this happened night after night for about a week.

Of course, after the second night we got her to the vet. We got some medication after being sure she was healthy enough for it (fortunately she is). We also learned about a ThunderShirt. I was skeptical but several people I respect used it and praised it. Our vet said to try it especially with the medication and explained why.

Our pink moon last week

Our pink moon last week

Armed with Oreo’s meds, a ThunderShirt, and a behavior modification program, we waited for the next storm. One might say we even prayed for it to happen soon. Mother Nature cooperated. And Oreo got through the storm with less whining and somewhat less fear. We’ve had a few storms since and each one sees her more relaxed.

We don’t expect Oreo to ever like storms, who does? However, we no longer fear for her life. I figure July 4th will be another major test for our puppy and for our new weapons to help her deal with her fears.

So where does the Pink Moon come in to this?

Well, last week on a clear and storm free night, the full moon rose over the lake. It was gorgeous! On the weather portion of our local news that night I learned the full moon in April is called the pink moon or the fish moon.

Well, that gorgeous moon didn’t look fishy to me at all as I watched it rise. But it surely did have a pinkish hue. You can decide. Because I did take a photo or two.

A labor of love...

A labor of love…

Finally, this last week, my final novella in my Soul String Saga is now available in all digital formats. This is my promotional card I put together. Doesn’t it make you want to start reading the series?

See you in May… 😉

Weeping Weather and Time Outs

April 21, 2013

My favorite palm tree

My favorite palm tree

I went AWOL last week. Some of my regulars here even noticed.

Let’s just say I needed a day off. Actually, I rarely take one of those. But I desperately needed a break.

But I finally heeded my own advice and took one. Good thing I did that as this past week was not very pleasant in the weather department here in Wisconsin. Frankly, disgusting would be a complimentary descriptive for the weather. If I’d been cranky and exhausted, the week would have really been tough to handle because the weather was enough to make a saint cranky as my mother used to say.

Let’s see Sunday and Monday were seasonably pleasant. I think it was Monday the temperature actually hit 60 degrees. Then Tuesday arrived. The temps dropped, the skies turned leaden, and it rained. And rained. And. Then. Rained. More. For. Days.

Closeup of Hana waterfall

Closeup of Hana waterfall

Then came the rising waters and flooding in many areas. People began to bail out basements or sandbag their homes as they watched streets disappear into riverbeds.

Friday it snowed. Then sleeted. Then snowed again. The winds were ferocious, and the weather forecasters were talking about wind chills again, not pollen counts.

Saturday the sun came out from behind the clouds. The winds died down. Temps scooched up a tiny bit. However, that much needed orb is showing its shy side again today. But rain isn’t predicted and slightly warmer temps are :-).

Welcome to Spring in Wisconsin.

I think the weather this past week was weeping for the victims of the Boston bombings. And their families. Most of us felt exactly like the weather, mourning yet another senseless act of violence. Some of us shed tears just like the clouds.

CRW Romantic Suspense FinalistMidst the sadness and chaos of the week, I did manage to get Book 5 of my Soul String Saga finished, and it’s now being prepared for publication.

More good news to life the sadness was learning my book, An Island No More has finaled in two readers’ choice contests. Those two notification phone calls definitely lifted my spirits.

This past week could have been a disaster for me—if I’d allowed it. I was very tired. I had many tasks that needed accomplishing. My husband and I were constantly solving one problem or issue only to be faced with two or three more popping up and demanding attention. Now…

Looking toward Diamond Head

Looking toward Diamond Head

Life can be like that. Then add to it weather which promotes moodiness, along with an onslaught of news and currents events which are depressing, well, let’s say, that’s a sure-fire provocation to increase stress and potentially give a person a reason to say “the heck with it all.”

I guess at heart I’m someone who prefers to be realistic but see life as a glass half full in difficult time, rather than describing it more pessimistically as “half empty.” In that sense I’m not only an author who determines the fates and issues my characters face within my books, but I can choose to do the same with my life.

Board sailing like butterflies on the ocean

Board sailing like butterflies on the ocean

So I do. It’s easier that way for me.

And it allows me to determine if I need a time-out. If I do, I figure out how to take one. Like last Sunday. It rejuvenates my psyche and my soul.

Do you need a time out this week? If so, you have my permission to take one.

See you next week…

Banyan tree Lahaina

Banyan tree Lahaina

Anniversary Trip Inspiration

April 7, 2013

Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise

On our eleventh anniversary, my husband and I celebrated the event by taking a three week trip to Hawaii.

Now you might ask…why we chose that particular year and not 5, 10 or 20? You wouldn’t be the first. We got asked that a lot from people we met on the trip who were celebrating those anniversaries. When we told them why, they smiled and understood.

Well, take heart. I’ll tell you now. This marriage was a second one for both of us. I was divorced after 10 years of misery, well except for the wonderful 3 sons. My husband was a widower. He’d been married 10 years when his wife died. So we decided since we both knew we could manage 10 years, we should celebrate 11.

It was a great trip. We spent time on all the major islands–Oahu, Maui, Hawaii, Kauai, Molokai. However, we spent a week in Maui. We left Wisconsin in a May snowstorm but spent the next 21 days in paradise. When we returned to Wisconsin, late spring had finally arrived.

Coastline

Coastline

That trip and that anniversary was very special for us. We’re still racking up numbers with the years but none of our anniversaries have been celebrated like our 11th.

Life and all its challenges have intervened.

So as I was writing the original draft of my Soul String Saga, that trip was much on my mind. As I’ve been going through edits with recently published Soul String: Passport and the last one in the series which I’m editing now. Both have several chapters set in Hawaii. Critical chapters.

Loved this view

Loved this view

So I pulled out my photo books to help me remember vividly ambiance and photographic flavor of Hawaii. They were very helpful. At time they inspired new bits and pieces of details. I think these photograph inspired details have enhanced my original book.

I thought I’d share some of them I took in Maui. After looking them over, maybe you’ll want to read the books. Or take a trip to Hawaii? 🙂

Have a great week…

Great waterfalls

Great waterfalls