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Ice Blocks and Electrical Goods

We’ve had another hot day here in New Zealand. The weather people keep saying it’s going to rain but it hasn’t happened yet. Bella has taken to sleeping on the tiles at the front door (which is generally open) or she sleeps upside down with all her legs sticking in the air.

Bella and her ice block

In the middle of the day we’ve been giving her an ice block to help her cool down. I blogged about ice blocks for dogs a few years ago. You can find the dog ice block post here.

My sister murders electrical appliances. It’s becoming a family joke. She’ll purchase a phone or a television or a computer and something goes wrong with it. The battery dies, it blows up or mysteriously stops working. She’s never rough with her gadgets, but for some reason they whimper and die after living at her house.

Last year my husband purchased a new iPad, and he gave his old one to my sister. She hadn’t used it until this week when her Android tablet stopped charging without warning.

She rang me up and said, “My tablet has stopped working. I’ve charged the ipad. That seems to be working, and I’ve turned it on but now I can’t turn it off. How do I turn it off?”

I said, “You push the off button.”,

“I’ve done that.”

“Oh,” I said, and I was thinking her electrical voodoo has struck again. “Well, you can let it turn off on its own.”

“All I want is a gadget to read my books on,” my sister said.

So I talked her through how to delete hubby’s books and get her books onto the iPad. The next problem was a wi-fi connection because that isn’t working either at my sister’s place. I tell you – she’s hell on anything related to a gadget or appliance. Their phone is very unpredictable too!

Today she rang me to let me know she’d managed to download all her books. The off button still wasn’t working but the ipad flicks off after five minutes. She’s a happy camper.

We’ve decided I need to write a character who suffers from the same malady as my sister, and I think I have just the heroine. I feel sorry for her now! Smile

Do you have problems like my sister with gadgets? Do you know anyone else with the same problem?

Thirteen Facts about Terriers

Thursday Thirteen

Bella, our dog is a Jack Russell, and our first dog Scotty was a fox terrier. Both came from the Humane Society and were of mixed parentage i.e. they both have a mystery element in their background. Hubby and I like terriers because they’re small and intelligent with big personalities.

Thirteen Facts About Terriers

1. Most breeds of terriers were developed in Great Britain.

2. They were bred to catch rats, rabbits, foxes and badgers (larger terriers). They hunted both above and under ground.

3. They’re excellent for vermin control. Scotty was a champion mouser, and if any came inside she sniffed them out. I was the one who stood on a chair.

4. Terriers range in size. Our fox terrier was fine boned while Bella is a sturdy wee thing. You know when she plops on your lap.

5. The term terrier is latin and it means earth.

6. 26 types of terriers are recognized in the US.

7. Terriers are brave and confident and make great watchdogs.

8. They’re also stubborn!

9. Sometimes their bravery gets them in trouble since they won’t back down, even if the other dog is much bigger.

10. Terriers are intelligent.

11. They like to keep very busy and get bored if left alone with some sort of activity. The boredom tips over into chewing and digging.

12. They might be small, but they need a lot of exercise. I always get tired before Bella starts lagging.

13. They’re personality plus.

Bella cooling off during mid-summer

Puppy Porn!

Are you a dog person? If so, what breed do you prefer?

For The Dogs

Hollywood Plastic Surgery for Dogs

I can’t decide if this is for real or not. But then anything is possible in LA.

What do you think?

A Doggy Tale: Greyfriars Bobby

Most visitors to Edinburgh, Scotland can’t resist this heart-warming tale of a loyal Skye terrier who guarded his master’s grave for fourteen years.

Bobby was the watch dog of John Gray, a police constable in Edinburgh. The pair often took walks to Greyfrairs Place, a coffee house owned by Mr. William Ramsey and were a well known sight. John “Jock” Gray developed tuberculosis and died in Feb 1858.

The funeral took place, and Bobby refused to leave the graveside. Dogs weren’t allowed in the Kirkyard, but Bobby stubbornly remained at his master’s side. Locals took pity on the loyal terrier and started to feed him. They continued looking after the tenacious terrier until he died 14 years later in 1872.

Greyfriars Bobby, Edinburgh, Scotland  Headstone, Greyfriars Bobby, Edinburgh

According to records, Bobby had a stumpy tail that constantly wagged and a courageous character. He didn’t like strangers, yet was devoted to family and his master. Disney made a movie about Greyfriars Bobby, which I remember watching as a child, so I was thrilled to visit his statue and headstone during our visit to Edinburgh.

A truly wonderful story.

Have you seen the Disney version of Greyfriars Bobby? Cartoons aside, what is your favorite Disney movie?

Four Rules For The Socialized Writer

My guest today is Carina Press author, Cathy Pegau. Cathy has both a new release and a cute new puppy. On the surface these two things might not have any thing in common, but read on and you might change your mind. Welcome, Cathy!

We recently adopted a six month old puppy. For a young dog, she is surprisingly well behaved and gets along with all of us. Including the cats. Dally is great, but she still needs to learn some social skills. It’s our job to make her an acceptable member of society and make interactions much more pleasant. There are certain rules to be followed, behaviors that are acceptable and those that are frowned upon. These same skills we teach our pup, I realized, can be applied to the social networking writer. So, sit. Stay. Read on.

Dally

1) Don’t bark at everything that moves.

A pup will sometimes bark at a dust bunny or the wind blowing. That gets old real fast. As an opinionated writer, I’ve learned which topics on blogs, loops and social media merit a response from me. Mostly not a lot. Consider just eavesdropping versus adding your opinion. Yes, we all know that if it’s out there you have every right to comment. But should you? Yes, getting your name out there and recognized is important, but have something to contribute. Don’t just bark for the sake of barking.

2) Wag your tail and make friends, but don’t jump on folks or slobber over them.

Puppies tend to love everyone they meet, and many people love them right back. But excessive exuberance overwhelms. I’ve told a favorite author I admire their work. It’s appreciated, but I leave it at that. Reply to their comments/posts (without gushing), but don’t follow them everywhere they go or delve into their personal lives. Stalkerish behavior creeps folks out.
The flipside of that is…

3) Don’t snap at people.

A dog, or a writer, that constantly snarls or snaps is not one folks want to be around. People will eventually stop coming near you, your blog, and your books. When you’re out and about on Twitter or loops or wherever, be respectful. Disagreement is fine, but rabid behavior can be dangerous—to your career.

4) Don’t poop in the house.

The writers’ groups, critique partners and professionals who offer advice or a helping hand (i.e.: your family) should be providing a clean, healthy environment from which you can be nurtured and grow into a strong individual. They’ve seen you through long bouts of rejections and self-doubt. Once you’ve come into your own, respect them and the “home” they made for you. Every so often, we need to go back home to recoup with the people who know us best. Don’t mess that up.

Any other advice for raising a socialized writer?

Rulebreaker, Cathy’s debut f/f science fiction romance, is out from Carina Press now.

Rulebreaker

Here’s the blurb:

Liv Braxton’s Felon Rule #1: Don’t get emotionally involved.

Smash-and-grab thieving doesn’t lend itself to getting chummy with the victims, and Liv hasn’t met anyone on the mining colony of Nevarro worth knowing, anyway. So it’s easy to follow her Rules.

Until her ex, Tonio, shows up with an invitation to join him on the job of a lifetime.

Until Zia Talbot, the woman she’s supposed to deceive, turns Liv’s expectations upside down in a way no woman ever has.

Until corporate secrets turn deadly.

But to make things work with Zia, Liv has to do more than break her Rules, and the stakes are higher than just a broken heart…

And a short excerpt:

As the elevator door closed, the door in front of me opened. Zia held a goblet of wine in one hand. The V-neck of her white lounging pajamas revealed the glint of a gold chain and less cleavage than most of her office attire. Her feet were bare, her toenails tinted blood-red. But what captured my attention was her hair. Released from its usual upsweep, it fell around her shoulders in loose chestnut waves. Relaxed. Sexy.
I swallowed hard and dug my fingernails into my palms.

“Hello, Liv.” An enigmatic smile curved her full mouth, and her eyes glinted with curiosity. “I’d ask how you knew where I lived, but you’re very good at figuring out things like that, aren’t you?”

I took a hesitant step forward. She hadn’t asked me in. Maybe she wouldn’t. Maybe she’d tell me it was too soon for us to be alone in her flat, that this wasn’t how she did things.

“Would you like to come in?” she asked.

My knees wobbled with relief and with the apprehension of what I was doing. “Yes. Thank you.”
Zia stepped back, giving me just enough space to ease past her. In my boots, I was several centis taller than she was, and this close I could smell her hair. Flowers and honey.

The white of the entry continued inside the flat, but it was by no means stark. Soft lighting accented the greens, black and gold in the furnishings, artwork and décor. The faint scent of jasmine made the room hers.
Zia closed the door, and I felt rather than heard her come up behind me. “Let me take your coat.”

I set the satchel down, out of the way, and unbelted my coat. Slowly I slid it off my shoulders, past my bare back.

As she lifted it from my hands she took in a sharp breath. “Oh, Liv.” Her voice was rich with desire. “What are you doing to me?”

Pick up Rulebreaker at Carina Press or Barnes & Noble

Thanks for having me, Shelley!

Bella Graduates From Puppy School

Last night was Bella’s final class at puppy school. The seven weeks have passed really quickly and have been good for all of us. On the run up to the final class we worked hard with training, practicing several times each day. Our training paid off big time last night when the instructor ran a competition. It was a bit like muscial chairs. The puppies walked in a circle and the instructor shouted out commands for them to sit or drop. The last puppy to complete the command each time was eliminated. Bella sat and dropped like a champ and beat out the last puppy to win bragging rights. She was a real little star and both hubby and I were very proud.

Bella received a certificate stating she’d completed basic training.

Bella

At the end of the class we watched a demonstration of obedience and agility training with some older dogs. I’d love to do agility training with Bella but she’s not old enough yet. She needs to be 18 months old but she’s not quite six months yet. That’s something to consider in the future.

Meantime, hubby and I feel like proud parents…

Adventures with Puppy, Bella

We’re having lots of fun with Bella. She’s behaving better with me now. Most days I sit in my chair working away while she creeps into my husband’s chair and has a snooze. I think she’s decided the chair belongs to her since Mr. Munro has to forcefully evict her most nights.

We’ve attended four puppy school classes and are halfway through the course. She’s usually very well behaved in class and learns quickly. At the last class we talked about tricks. We hadn’t tried teaching Bella any tricks and decided we’d attempt something basic first — a high five. She caught on really quickly and I had her high-fiving like a champ. When Mr. Munro arrived home from work we proudly demonstrated.

Here’s the process if you’d like to teach your dog to high five.

1. Hold a small treat on your right palm with your thumb covering it.
2. Hold another treat in your left hand out of sight of your dog. (I hide my left hand behind my back)
3. Get your dog to sit.
4. Hold out your right hand and say “High Five”. Your dog will sniff at first then automatically start to paw at your hand.
5. As soon as your dog slaps your hand with their paw give them the treat in your left hand and praise them.
6. Repeat process several times.

Bella

Since Bella is very good at coming when we call her name, we’ve started letting her off the lead in safe areas. Mostly she’s very good at returning, although tonight we met another dog without warning. The dog was three times Bella’s size but that didn’t deter her in the slightest. She wanted to play!

Can your dog do any tricks?

Guy Fawkes Day!

It’s Guy Fawkes day today in New Zealand. We spent the evening at my brother-in-laws and once it got dark, the men let off the fireworks. During the drive home the night sky was very busy with fireworks being let off on back lawns and grassy areas.

I was the sober driver tonight, and we gave one of our nephews a lift home. There’s a large park near his house and lots of people were letting off crackers. As I was driving past a little white dog shot in front of me. I wasn’t going fast and slammed on my brakes. Luckily no one was driving behind me and I missed the dog. Mr. Munro immediately shouted at me for slamming on the brakes. I know experts say you should keep driving, but I hate even killing ants or other insects. A cute fluffy dog…heck, I would have felt guilty for days…make that weeks.

As an aside, I’m a bit angry at the owner. Animals don’t like fire crackers and he should have been locked up in a safe place!

So, my question for you today – do you brake or serve to miss or, do you steer straight and hope for the best?

Foster Puppy: Update on Patch Adams

We’ve had Patch for just over two weeks now. He’s changed a lot in that time, putting on weight and growing in confidence. These days he wags his tail instead of tucking it between his legs. He limped for the first week after overdoing the running, but his rear leg seems to be much stronger now.

Photobucket

Today, I rescued an old golf club, the grate off the bottom of the compost bin, one of the blankets from his kennel, and another part of Mr. Munro’s irrigation system. There’s quite a collection of irrigation equipment on the top of the garden table now. In addition, our lawn looks like a graveyard. Patch has dragged all Scotty’s old bones from under the hedge. He races around the section with a bone in his mouth and loves to chew on them.

At first he didn’t like leaving the section but now he waits at the gate for his morning and evening walk. He sniffs everything and tries to eat just about everything that catches his attention. I have to watch him like a hawk because he eats plastic, cans, and paper. He tends to pull on the lead a bit, but he’s very good at road crossings, sitting as soon as we stop.

Patch is an affectionate dog and very intelligent. He was REALLY naughty today, but he made me laugh because a mischievous puppy is so normal.

Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow…

I’ve been working hard with my writing, starting quite early in the day. I can only sit for an hour or so and try to walk around a little in between. I’ll go and get a cup of tea and do a few stretches. I’m still going through my Country music phase and had the Country station playing. A lively song came on so I started dancing instead of stretching. After a while I sensed someone staring. I turned around and our little dog had woken up from her snooze. She was out of her basket, standing beside it, and staring at me in total disapproval. We stared at each other for a long moment, silently communicating.

“You look stupid,” her look said.
My look said, “Too bad. I’m having fun.”

And I ignored her and carried on. She kept staring until I stopped and went back to writing. I could practically see her thoughts as she settled back down in her basket. I’m so embarrassed. Of all the owners in the world, why did I have to get this one!

On the web, I came across this post by agent, Holly Root. It’s about the Seven Deadly Sins of Publishing. I thought it was rather good, especially the part about each writer’s career being different and you shouldn’t compare your path to another writers.

I also found this post about Kitchen Myths and Pretensions very interesting. There were a few things I knew and I learned some new things, too.