Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Man of His Word is Out! I Think!

I think A Man of His Word comes out today. Or maybe not. I can't tell. I thought it came out on Dec. 6th--but then Amazon lists the release date as today, Nov. 29th. But it won't 'deliver' the Kindle version until Dec. 1st.

In other words, my book is out! Or not! But maybe soon!! I'm excited!!

The blog tour is on-going. Yesterday I was at Nikki Brandyberry's blog, today Wendy the Super Librarian has posted an *awesome* review at The Good, The Bad, and the Unread, and tomorrow I'll be all over the map at Romance at Random, Musings from the Slush Pile, and Novel Thoughts.

Whew! I'm kind of tired just thinking about it!

Here's the rest of the remaining schedule--plenty of more chances to win a signed book and register for that necklace!

November 30: Musings from the Slush Pile 

November 30: Novel Thoughts

December 4: Romancing the Book 

December 5: Musings From the Peanut Gallery

December 6: Writing Playground 

December 8: Romance Novel News

December 8: Get Lost in a Story

December 8: Radio Interview, WTAD AM 930 at 9:15

December 11: Joyfully Reviewed: 

December 13: Sisterhood of the Jaunty Quills 

December 14: Harlequin Open House

December 15: Limecello: 

December 21: Romance Bandits 

December 30: Romance University

???? Kaki Warner’s Blog

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Blog Tour In Process

*Still* Available for Pre-Order!
Two blog stops down, a whole bunch more to go!

Today I'm being interviewed at the Book Pushers. And you know I'll be giving away a signed copy of A Man of His Word and entering people to win the Jewelry Grand Prize, just like I'm doing at all my blog stops. There'll be a little breather for the Thanksgiving Holiday, but then I'll be back in full force! December is going to be one FUN month!

The Remaining Schedule:

November 27 -30: Romance at Random 
You know you want to win this.
Heck, even I want to win it!

November 28: Ramblings of a Chaotic Mind 

November 30: Musings from the Slush Pile 

December 4: Romancing the Book 

December 6: Writing Playground 

December 8: Romance Novel News

December 8: Get Lost in a Story

*Just Added* December 10: Great Debates Bookstore, Quincy, IL
      Booksigning, 10 until 1 (free chocolate!)

*Just Added* December 11: Barnes and Noble Bookstore, Fenton, MO
      Booksigning, 2 until 4 (more free chocolate!)

December 13: Sisterhood of the Jaunty Quills 

December 15: Limecello: 

December 21: Romance Bandits 

December 30: Romance University

???? Joyfully Reviewed: 

*Just added* Kaki Warner's Blog

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Blog Tour Begins!

Today kicks off the A Man of His Word Blog Tour!

I'm at Michele Stegman's blog, Thoughts from a Writer's Block, giving plenty of advice to anyone writing a novel this month. I do have to make a last-minute road trip today, so I won't be able to respond to comments until this afternoon, but each comment counts for prizes!

At each stop along the way, any wonderful person who leaves a comment will not only have a chance to win an autographed copy of A Man of His Word (one per blog stop) but also this FABULOUS custom-made book locket from Artwear by Wanaree! It's worth $185, so be sure to comment at each of the blog stops--each comment is another chance to win!

Here's all the stops (for complete rules and regulations, click here):

November 8: Thoughts from a Writer’s Block

November 9: Emma Lai Writes 

November 17: Book Pushers 

November 27 -30: Romance at Random 

November 28: Ramblings of a Chaotic Mind 

November 30: Musings from the Slush Pile 

December 4: Romancing the Book 

December 6: Writing Playground 

December 8: Romance Novel News

December 8: Get Lost in a Story

December 13: Sisterhood of the Jaunty Quills 

December 15: Limecello: 

December 21: Romance Bandits 

December 30: Romance University

???? Joyfully Reviewed: 


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Jake the Three-Legged Wonder Wiener, 2002 to 2011

Jake the Three-Legged Wonder Wiener died this morning. He'd stopped eating some time ago, but fought the good fight as long as he could. We think he was 9 1/2.

I told Jake's story a few years ago, but I'm going to repost it here. He was a special dog who danced with death more than once and walked (hopped?) away, but it was his time. We gave him the best life we could, and his memory will always be with us. I added some pictures at the end.

So here's the story of Jake, and just remember that all dogs go to heaven. I know he's there now. Maybe with all four of his legs back, who knows.

The Three-Legged Wonder Wiener

So, I gathered from everyone's responses last week that the How I Met My Hubby story went over real well. Darn it all, I hate it when my sister Leah is so right all the time.

But I thought I'd keep the quirky story thing going this week by talking about my dog, Jake.

Jake the Three Legged Wonder Wiener.

That's right. Three legs.

This is Jake's story. Everyone has one, even the dog.

So Jason and I had gotten married and bought a house. And you know what that means for young professionals on the fence about starting a family right away - yup. A dog.

I grew up with wiener dogs and wanted to get one. Jason didn't care a whole lot one way or the other, but he wanted veto power. My mom's wieners were a handful back in the day (known as the terrorists from the family we adopted them from) and Jason didn't want to be sued by people who'd had their ankles broken by a tiny dog with an size complex. And being a frugal bleeding heart liberal, I didn't want to pay $500 for a purebred when there were plenty of perfectly good dogs in shelters.

Thus, the quest for a dog began. We lived in Chicago, which had a dedicated dachshund rescue organization. But for every wiener profile I brought home, Jason found problems. Not good with kids (pretty common for wieners). Antisocial. Kills bunnies in the yard. (Although, Jason fondly thinks of Red Fred, the dog who killed bunnies, when Jake sits 10 feet from a bunny and has no idea it's even there. What he wouldn't give for a bunny hunter these days.) Every dog was not right for our family.

So I broadened the scope of the search. Wisconsin wiener dogs. Indiana wiener dogs. Missouri wiener dogs. And Jason found problems with each and every one.

I kept searching. I enlisted the help of my sister Hannah. Hannah has the unique gift to find the most pitiful animal available and fall in love. So she started trolling Petfinder.com, where she'd gotten her high-strung cat, Dulcie (Love you, Dulc!). And I got an email from her. "He's so cute!" she gushed. So I clicked on the link, and saw a cute little red wiener dog.

With no left front leg.

"He's missing a leg!" I wrote back.

"But he's so cute!" she repeated.

So I printed Jake off and took him home to show Jason. And the man went, (and I quote), "Awww."

Problem was, Jake was in Tennessee, and this was December. So I contacted Jake's keepers, Jerry's Rescues, and they agreed to hold him until April (our vacation) if we paid $125 to cover the two for one cost of leg amputation and neutering. Oh, and we had to have a home visit to make sure we were appropriate people for a wiener dog.

Jason still rolls his eyes at that. We had to be interviewed by other wiener dog lovers to make sure we we're some sort of deviant wiener dog fanatics. Although he did make them cookies. . . I love that man.


Vacation time approached. We planned our vacation around a trip to Tennessee. A few days in Nashville, then on to Lewisburg where Jake was at. We ate pralines and saw Little Jimmy Dickens do his thing at the Grand Ole Opry. And then we left the touristy parts behind and headed for the hills.

Literally. Lewisburg is a small burg, famous only for the Tennessee Walking Horse Hall of Fame, which is an actual Hall between the lobby of the National Tennessee Walking Horse Association building and the secretary's office. A hallway with pictures.

And we had a few more hours to kill. We spent them in the Piggly Wiggly. And then we drove out to The Middle of Nowhere.

Cue freaky banjos playing ominously in the background.

Jerry's house was way out in the hills, several miles from paved roads. No one but about 100 dogs were home when we got there, and they were all barking. Jerry apparently subscribes to the never-throw-stuff-away philosophy, popularized during the Great Depression, because there was stuff everywhere.

The banjos got a little louder.

We waited for an hour in our little car, rain pouring (of course rain was pouring). Finally, Jerry showed up. Picture Grizzly Adams holding a chihuahua, because that's what he was.

"I'll go get that Jake for you," he said after we exchanged nervous pleasantries. "You don't wanna come in the house . . ."

Somehow, I figured. I didn't even want to imagine the carpet stains.

So he directed us to what looked like an outhouse with a shower curtain. "You stay here, out of the rain."

I swear to all that is holy, there was a chainsaw in there. I knew we were agonna die, all for a three legged wiener dog.

But we didn't. Jerry came out with a mildly nervous 12 pound wiener dog and told us the story.

A church secretary had found him tearing into the garbage behind the church, his leg dangling useless. He was on the verge of starving. She kept him for the day, but then took him to the city pound. Now, I'm not saying the pound people are heartless, but they have a job to do, and a mangled, half-starved wiener is not high on that to-do list. He was going to be put down that night because he was in bad shape.

Enter Jerry. "I stop by the pound every night to see if there's someone who needs savin'" he explained as I only mildly quaked in terror in the shed with the chainsaw. "And, boy, did this one need savin'. Figure he only had another 15 minutes on that clock." As you might have gathered, Jerry is one big softy beneath that Grizzly exterior.

Yup. 15 minutes. That close.

Jerry's vet took off the leg - "jes' a dangling by a tendon," Jerry explained as my stomach turned - and tossed in the neutering, and three days later, put Jake's picture on the web. Hannah found him two days after that.

It seems that Jerry had found Jake's original people, but they didn't want him back. I'm not sure if they dumped him at the side of the road, or if he ran off after the UPS truck (because let me tell you, he's got it out for the UPS guy, bigtime), but he'd been hit by a car.

I like to tell the kids who say, "Hey! Did you know your dog's missing a leg?" that he forgot to look both ways before he crossed the street. For the younger ones, I toss in how he forgot to hold his mommy's hand.

Jason likes to respond by gasping dramatically and saying, "He is?? OH NO! Where'd it GO!" But he's funny like that.

Every year, we send Jerry's Rescues a Christmas Card and a check for saving our dog. They're good people doing good work.

Now some of you might think I have a predilection for those who might be termed "special." But it's not just me. My sisters have dogs (and a cat) that all belong on a far shorter bus than Jake does, but we love them anyway. And just because he's special doesn't mean he doesn't get tortured. Just look at the things I have done to my poor dog.

He drives.

I love his ears. The toddler does, too.

His ears get cold in the winter. I tried to keep them warmer. He hates it.

And this is my favorite picture of my dog. 12 inches of snow can be pretty daunting for a pup who's only 8 inches tall.

We love Jake. My son calls him "Jakey Wiener Dog" and will stop mid-stride to hug and kiss him. Jake's pretty okay with the kid, too, if only as a primary food source.

But there was one time he almost didn't make it. And this just drove home the fact that Jake was lucky to have us.

Being purebreds, wiener dogs are suseptible to a variety of genetic flaws. They have a lot of back problems, what with being long and low. And we accepted that Jake's problems might be worse after the accident and missing leg thing.

And true to form, he slipped two disks. Couldn't walk, couldn't stand, couldn't even pee. I was 3 months pregnant and not exactly rational, but I refused to let them kill my dog. He'd come so far, I just couldn't do it.

So we plunked down the $3,000+ smackers to have that dog fixed. So much for vacation that year. And you know you're screwed when the surgical center has a 10,000 aquarium tank and marble countertops.

But they fixed my dog. And left him with another scar.

Jake's probably about six, maybe seven now. He's mellowed as he's aged, unless someone rings the doorbell or the UPS guy drives by. (Nothing beats the UPS guy ringing the doorbell, in Jake's opinion.) I don't know how much time he's got left. Maybe he'll live to be 10, maybe 13. But I knew that going in - his time was shorter than a puppy's might have been.

But that's okay. Because he will have spent that time with us.

First Place, Wiener Dog Races, 2010

The Yin and Yang of Dogs with his buddy, Gater.

His supermodel pose.

Jake the Three-Legged Wonder Wiener
2002 to 2011