Monday, December 30, 2013

Good riddance 2013, er, I mean, farewell year!

In many ways, I’m sorry to see 2013 go, only because I hate to grow older without accomplishing all of the things on my yearly to-do list. Mostly, though, I’m glad to be starting fresh again.

The past year certainly wasn’t all bad. 

I signed a contract with Harper Impulse and finished three books, which is a great accomplishment for this writer, let me tell you. I got to hang out with my friend and the rock band KISS for a day. This was the year I discovered Doctor Who, which has filled me with endless hours of smiles and entertainment. Dragoncon was fun; I got to hug and was spanked on the behind by John Barrowman! I saved a few animals from the euthanasia list at the local animal shelter. And…and…and that’s all I can really remember that ranked high on the awesome meter for 2013. 

Mostly I remember the challenges and chaos of 2013: 

Early in 2013 my beloved kitty cat had to have two surgeries, which was beyond stressful for this crazy cat lady and put a serious ache on my bank account, too. 

This was also the year my father experienced heart problems and had to have surgery and get a pacemaker. It’s always difficult, at best, to deal with an aging and sick parent, especially if you love them to pieces. When you’re busy accompanying your father to doctor visits on the same day your book releases, it makes publication bittersweet. Trust me, I learned that one the hard way. 

My good friend had some additional health problems, and so did her dog, Sunny, on whom Costello from my book series is largely based. I have friends who lost loved ones this year. These are not things that happened directly to me, but I still experienced sorrow and grief on their behalf. 

To make things worse, 2013 is determined to be a nuisance, even now. 

I’ve managed to come down with bronchitis right before New Year’s Eve, and my kitty cat is also sick. I consulted with a doctor today, and the kitty will be seeing the veterinarian tomorrow—yes, on New Year’s Eve. I seriously hope that’s not a sign that she’ll be sick or I’ll be at the vet all year in 2014. Fingers crossed. I don’t mind if I’m sick, but I hate it when anything is wrong with her, and I'm really worried about her this time. Spoiled? Yes. Yes, she is.

Dusti has been my sick buddy in recent days.
I’m looking forward to 2014 for a number of reasons, ignoring the fact I'm sick, the cat is sick, I have little money, my car needs brakes, and there's lots of iffy things going on with the day job right now. And also ignoring the fact I've fulfilled my contract with Harper Impulse and will again be diving into the murky waters of book publishing, trying to find someone willing to publish my next stories.

My third book through Harper Impulse will, hopefully, release early in the year, and now that a few weeks have separated me from finishing it, I really adore what I remember of it. I especially love my heroine in the third book. Is that weird? 

My niece and nephew are visiting at the end of this week, right before she leaves for New York City to do an internship at Dateline NBC. How cool is that?! I’m really hoping I can visit her in NYC at some point, too. We’ll see. I always look forward to spending time with those two, as rare as it is now that they're older.

What about you? Are you ready to put on your optimistic glasses and cheer on 2014 with me?

2014 is going to be a great year! Right? Right?!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

One sick writer, a neglected dog, and lots of DOGtv = One finished manuscript

Yesterday I shipped off the third book in my series to my lovely editor, Charlotte, at Harper Impulse. To be honest, I have no idea if it will pass muster, which is weird because I’ve created my most fun character to date, who I loved writing about. If you’ve read ON THE SCENT or SOMETHING WICKED, you probably (hopefully) know whom I’m talking about. Emma “Spider” Fisher is the heroine of book three, and I absolutely adore her, which I feel really weird saying since she’s a figment of my imagination and all. But still. The book also features Abbott and Costello and Charlie, the animals from ON THE SCENT, so having Abbott, Costello, Charlie, and Spider in the same story lent for some freaking hilarious scenes. 

Basically, Spider is housesitting for Zach and Hannah when she meets the hero, Noah, who is their hottie neighbor. Spider, being Spider, immediately assumes he's a serial kidnapper after she sees a woman in his bedroom window—after Noah adamantly denies anyone should have been there. It doesn't take long for her realize he's actually being haunted. You'll have to read the rest of the story to find out why.

Spider is a lot like me, except she actually says what she’s thinking out loud, which causes all kinds of ruckus. I also drew from a lot of personal experiences for her story—mainly, my housesitting exploits. I’ve housesat for so many friends in the past, because I LOVED animals and at the time didn’t have any of my own. The opening chapter of Spider’s story really happened to me, although a few details have been mixed and matched. I was not rescued when I got locked out of the house by a hottie neighbor, but an older man and woman with a cane. True story. 

What’s funny is that I always housesit for my brother when he goes out of town. It’s such a hardship, considering he has a big screen TV, tons and tons of movies, a hot tub, exercise equipment, and the cutest little doggie you’ve ever seen. My doggie niece is named Ginger, by the way. Point is, last Thursday I had forgotten I had to housesit for my brother AGAIN, and I was sneaking up to the deadline to have Spider’s book edited and sent to Charlotte. I packed up my stuff, kissed my kitty on the head and told her to be good for her grandpa while I was away, and off I went. 

When I got there, I noticed my brother’s neighbor had a FOR SALE sign in his yard. I know he and my brother are friends and he has dogs who play with Ginger through the fence, but I’ve never spoken to the guy. Well, I finally saw him, and hubba hubba. Total hottie! It was kind of surreal, actually, since I was writing about Spider and the hottie neighbor she meets while housesitting. Anyway, I went inside, set up my laptop, and set to work. It’s funny how any house can seemed haunted when you’re housesitting it, no matter how many times you’ve been there and know it isn’t. All of the scratching on the windows from trees outside and the
Ginger was not impressed by DOGtv, but I was! 
squeaking of the garage door as the wind hit it can be kind of spooky. And lends itself to great writing ambience. 

At some point, I ended up getting sick. Stomach bug, I think. But that’s not important, because I wrote through it. I realized at one point I had totally forgotten about my brother’s dog, which is totally something Spider would do. So I let her out and when she came back inside, I turned his big screen TV to some new channel that was on called DOGtv. It's supposed to keep dogs stimulated while you're out. And I forgot about her again. Actually, DOGtv is such a relaxing channel, I fell a sleep in my brother’s recliner a couple of times because of it. But Ginger was not at all impressed. I never saw her looking at the TV once. Not at all. But it worked on me. I got loads of writing and editing done despite being sick in the process. I even took a break Saturday night and went into my brother’s brand new home theater room (seriously, how does he afford this stuff?) and watched Henry Cavill in "Man of Steel" on his even bigger screen wall. When I told Ginger she was looking at her future uncle, she still wasn’t impressed. Or maybe she just thought I was crazy. Who knows? 

I also put on one of my favorite ghost-story movies called "Wind Chill" to help put me in the mind frame to edit Spider’s book. Yeah. I’m weird. You should know this by now, right? 

I’m pretty sure I neglected Ginger all weekend. I’m pretty sure I’ve neglected everyone and everything over the past few weeks. I mean, holy crackers! It’s almost Christmas! I suppose I should try to put up a tree now or something… 

Anyway. Book three is done and waiting edits, of which there might be many. I would love to write a book four, but I suppose sales and my publisher will dictate that. In any case, I’m super thrilled I was able to write Spider’s story. Fingers crossed you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Let's blog!

Today I kick off the official blog tour for my newest release, Something Wicked! I'm giving away a nice incentive to stop by and comment — you can win a $50 gift card to Amazon along with copies of On the Scent and Something Wicked.

Here's when/where you can enter:

November 18th
-Not Everyone’s Mama >>  Excerpt
November 19th
-Not Everyone’s Mama >>  Review
-Mythical Books >> Interview
-Why I Can’t Stop Reading >> Review
-Ebook Escapes >> Review
November 20th
-The Solitary Bookworm >> Review
-The Demon Librarian >> Excerpt
November 21st
-Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews >> Review
-fuonlyknew >> Excerpt
-Snarky Mom Reads… >>  Review
November 22nd
-Bookish Things & More ; Guest post
-Sassy Book Lovers ; Excerpt
Don't forget that if you leave a review anywhere, please stop back by here to enter for another prize — details are in the post below this one.

Thanks for stopping by, and good luck!

Friday, November 8, 2013

I'm impulsive = A Giveaway! (You can thank me later)

It has been an exciting week since Something Wicked released, and I have gotten a lot of great feedback from all over the place. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I know some of you really like the book, and some, not so much. That's okay! I want to know either way! Any writer who tells you they can't improve is lying, but it's hard to improve without feedback.

So, me and my not-so-genius mind concocted a way to encourage more feedback! Plus, I might have stolen the idea from one of my fabulous critique partners, Cynthia D'Alba, who also has a new release out now. And I might have also seen my friend and author Jax Garren doing a similar thing. Obviously, they're much smarter than me. Cynthia's book is Texas Tango, and it's a fantastic read if you love contemporary westerns. Trust me, I've read it. Loved it. Go check it out. And everything Jax writes has been good so far, so I have no doubt her new release, The Elf and The Ice Princess will be aaaa-mazing. Can't wait to read it myself...

Anywho, I'd love it if you leave a review so that others can see it too, so I'm giving away one $30 gift card to the online retailer of the winner's choice and selecting the winner at random from the entries submitted below. That's fair, right?

All you have to do is leave a review at a book reviewing website for either book in my new series — On the Scent or Something Wicked — and fill out the form below. Easy cheesy.

Thanks for participating, and may the force be with you good luck!

(if link above doesn't work)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Fun Friday Q&A: Shawna Reppert

As one of her Kickstarter backers, I'm very pleased to welcome author Shawna Reppert as my guest today. Her new urban fantasy book sounds terrific and I can't wait to get to reading it, and she kindly agreed to let me poke around in her thoughts with a few questions. Haven't heard of Ravensblood yet? Here's the cover copy:

In a life of impossible choices when sometimes death magic is the lesser of the evils, can a dark mage save the world and his own soul?
Corwyn Ravenscroft. Raven. The last heir of an ancient family of dark mages, he holds the secret to recreating the Ravensblood, a legendary magical artifact of immense power.

Cassandra Greensdowne is a Guardian. Magical law enforcement for the elected council— and Raven’s former apprentice and lover. She is trying to live down her past. And then her past comes to the door, asking for her help.

As a youth, Raven wanted to be a Guardian but was rejected because of his ancestry. In his pride and his anger, he had turned to William, the darkest and most powerful mage of their time. William wants a return to the old ways, where the most powerful mage was ruler absolute. But William would not be a True King from the fairy tales. He would reign in blood and terror and darkest magic.

Raven discovers that he does have a conscience. It’s rather inconvenient.

He becomes a spy for the council that William wants to overthrow, with Cassandra as his contact.

Cass and Raven have a plan to trap William outside his warded sanctuary. But William is one step ahead of the game, with Raven’s life, his soul, and the Ravensblood all in danger.
Angela: First of all, major congrats on getting Ravensblood funded through Kickstarter! Why did you decide to go that route with this particular book?

Ravensblood is a book I have always strongly believed in, and it’s gotten tremendous response from beta readers and from people who have seen the sample chapters. (One of my beta readers lives in France and flew out to the Pacific Northwest in part to do a Ravensblood tour of Portland and surrounding areas.) Unfortunately, it’s come as close as a book can get to being picked up by agents and traditional publishers without actually seeing a contract. In today’s hyper-cautious market, that’s all too common. Look at how long it took Harry Potter to get published, and how close it came to never happening. I was determined that Ravensblood would get out there somehow, some way, and I had a lot of people egging me on.

I’ve also had a couple of mentors, veterans of the publishing world, tell me that indie may be a better option for writers, especially writers at the beginning of their careers. So I thought this would be a good way to test the waters.

Not that I’m turning my back on traditional publishing entirely. I had a good experience with Carina Press, and wouldn’t mind working with them again. And I haven’t given up on pursuing a big New York contract with other projects. But the way the market is changing, with no one really knowing how things will end up, I think it’s smart to try all options.

Angela: Tell us a little bit about the book. Why should fans of urban fantasy pick up a copy?

Shawna Reppert
Shawna: Readers of urban fantasy (and I include myself in the category) are weird, hybrid creatures. We love the sense of wonder and magic of traditional fantasy, yet we long for something that feels real, that feels like it could happen here, now, right in our town. We like things dark, we like moral ambiguity and worlds with no easy answers, and yet deep inside we hope for those fairy-tale values of honor and valor.

In Ravensblood, you have Guardians having to worry about protecting the civilians in a Hawthorne Street bar even as they engage in a firefight with dark mages. (A literal firefight, magefire and spell lightning). After the firefight, they have to soothe the ruffled feathers of the mundane police to keep the peace between the communities. You have a dark mage seeking redemption forced to commit death magic in order to keep his cover as a spy for the Council. And yet you also have extraordinary moments of grace. You have a member of Council, Raven’s former mentor, willing to take a chance on a man who has been practicing dark magic for years, a man who seduced and betrayed and nearly destroyed her niece. In the end. . .oops, spoiler, can’t talk about that. You’ll just have to read the book.

Where did the idea for Ravensblood come from?

Shawna: I’m not going to use the line ‘it came to me in a dream.’ To me, that always sounds coy and disingenuous. The bare beginnings of a concept did come to me in the middle of the night, but I was wide awake at the time. Which was sort of the problem.

It was 2 AM or thereabouts, one of those quiet nights where you feel like you’re the only living thing in the world awake. I was in the midst of my own ‘dark night of the soul’, the details of which would take too long to explain. Let’s just say no-win situations and betrayals of trust were very much on my mind.

I poured myself a little Scotch to try to quiet my mind and sat down at the computer. I was in the middle of the first draft of The Stolen Luck, but for some reason, instead of pulling up the latest chapter I opened a brand-new document and started to write about this unrelated character that had just come into my head. I wrote what was to become, with very little editing, the third chapter of Ravensblood. Then I saved the file and went back to bed.

Eventually, I straightened out my Real World problems (well, at least that set) and finished The Stolen Luck. Looking around for a new project, I found the file I had saved all that while ago. At the time, I didn’t know too much about Raven’s situation. It took me a while to come up with his full name (Corwyn Ravenscroft, though he goes by Raven). He was a mass of contradictions. He very much wanted to live, but saw death as his only option. His act arose not out of suicidal depression or cowardice, but cold calculation. I knew that what drove him was a matter of conscience, but I also knew he would not describe himself as a good man. So I had to establish who he was, what he had done, and what was the final thing that pushed the situation beyond tolerance. I had to make it reasonable for him to believe that he had no other way out, which means I had to make William his master unbelievably dangerous. I also had to establish that he had tried at least one other means of escape first.

Which lead to the creation of Cassandra. Then I had to give Cass a reason to reject him, a personal reason beyond the hatred Guardians had for dark mages in general and Ravenscrofts in particular, because I knew she was going to be important to the story, and I wanted to like her. Thus the backstory of their relationship was born.

Then came working out the magical properties of the Ravensblood. I tied it to Raven’s ancestry to weigh its meaning, since so much of Raven’s arc is tied to his family history and his attempt to break free of it (and ultimately to come to terms with it, in a later book). To pull things together more, the Ravensblood had to relate to why Cass left Raven and to why Raven ultimately decided to seek redemption.

I also needed a reason why they didn’t just use it to take down William directly, as opposed to the cat-and-mouse game they play through most of the novel. That’s when I decided that the Ravensblood augments a mage’s strength in proportion to the mage’s natural power. With it, Raven is frightening powerful, but still not strong enough, he thinks, to take out William. But if William got his hands on it, he’d be invincible.

Angela: Raven sounds like an awesome protagonist. Here’s a challenge! Describe him for us in five words or less. Go… 

Shawna:  Brilliant, strong-willed, conflicted, elegant, powerful.

Angela: Will there be another book in this series, or is it a standalone novel?

Shawna: Yes. (ducks) Seriously, I hate the never-ending story type of series, where nothing is ever resolved and the readers are dragged through book after book in a vain attempt to bloody find out what happens already. I believe each novel should have a complete arc. That said, there’s so much more to this world and these characters than could ever fit in one book

Ravensblood stands on its own with complete, satisfying (I hope) story arc and character arcs. But yes, there are a few story questions that arise at the end that will be addressed in the next book, which I’ve outlined but not yet written. I think I’ll end up with a trilogy at least, plus possibly some less closely related books in the same ‘verse. I’ve had a few people clamoring for prequels, so we’ll see.

Angela: What are you working on next, and when can we read it?

Shawna: There’s a couple of books I’ve completed that are now in the marketing pipeline, looking for homes with traditional publishers. One is a parallel universe medieval fantasy set in a world similar to England a few generations after the Norman Conquest. (Two enemies discover that they share a father. Can they join together as brothers to save a nation from tyranny?)

Another book I have high hopes for is a steampunk/Victorian detective novel— with werewolves. (Think Sherlock Holmes if Holmes was a reluctantly-involved werewolf, Watson was a woman alchemist with attitude, and Lestrade wasn’t an idiot.) Of course, I’m hoping for a series of stand-alones in that ‘verse.

Meanwhile, by popular demand, I’m working on another original-world fantasy with male/male romance woven into the plotline. High fantasy with a strong plot arc and character arcs and has some fairly weighty themes regarding war and prejudice. Lots of twists and turns and things are seldom entirely as they seem. Having a bard as a protagonist in this one gives me an outlet for my love of music.

As to the ‘when’ for any of the above, that all depends on the wonderful world of publishing. Anywhere from one to five years, I’d say. If the traditional publishers don’t bite, I’ll go indie again.

To tide my readers over, I hope to have the sequels to Ravensblood out in a year(ish).

And because people have been asking for a sequel for The Stolen Luck and for more of Ashe, I have been mulling some ideas over for that book, but, as you can see, my writing plate is a little full. I can only promise ‘someday’.

Let’s get to know Shawna the person with these questions. Are you a diehard member of any TV show/film/book fandoms? (If so, which ones and why?)

I think most writers start out as fans. We have a capacity to be deeply, passionately involved in fictional characters and stories, and that spills over into a desire to create characters and stories that others will be passionate about.

Tolkien was my first fandom. I first read The Lord of the Rings when I was nine years old, and it captured my imagination with its magic and sense of wonder, along with its emphasis on honor, bravery, loyalty, and the feeling of grace and poetry that is seldom found in the real world.

I am also a die-hard fan of Doctor Who, both the old series and the new. Both have an emphasis on compassion, kindness and empathy, solving problems through intellect rather than violence, and moving through the universe with an open-hearted sense of adventure. The older series has a charming whimsy that the new series doesn’t quite capture. On the other hand, the new series has more complexity and depth. The writers have done what several of my mentors have taught me— find out what is the worst thing that can happen to your character, literally worse than death, and then make it happen. The new-series Doctor is haunted by what he had to do to end the Time Wars, and also faces situations where he has to let some people die to save the greater number of lives. The writers break the Doctor’s hearts again and again, and our hearts break with his.

I love Star Trek in all its permutations, in part for its willingness to take difficult issues head-on, often ahead of the curve of mainstream society. There’s also a strong emphasis on doing the right thing, along with the acknowledgement that sometimes the choice is not altogether clear-cut.

I love the original Sherlock Holmes for its celebration of intellect and especially for its protagonist, who defies societal conventions of civility yet has occasional moments of old-world chivalry and a surprising streak of compassion. The new BBC Sherlock is likewise complex and beautifully well-written.

Angela: What’s the last book you read? 

Shawna: The last book I read was The Art of Detection by Laurie R. King. Actually, it’s a re-read. I find that with her novels, I have to read them at least twice. The first time I’m racing through to find out what happens. Then I go back to admire her beautiful style and to look at the intricacy in which she has woven the story. This book in particular is a story-within-a-story-within-a-story, like a set of Russian nesting dolls. (Oh! I wonder if the Russian nesting dolls that get brief mention early in the novel were a metaphor for the story to come? You see what I mean. . .)

Angela: If you could spend one day as any fictional character, which one and why?

Shawna: I have to pick just one? You are tough!

After due consideration, I’d have to say Rose Tyler, companion to the tenth Doctor, since I’ve wanted to go off in the TARDIS since I was about nine years old. Plus the TARDIS could then take me anywhen in the universe I wanted to go. (Delicious thoughts of taking in the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes stage play with the Doctor, followed by champagne and an alien sunrise.)

I’ll be honest, Rose isn’t my favorite of the companions (though she’s far from my least favorite). But she does seem to be the one who gets closest to the Doctor, and it would be lovely to live that even for one day. (Yes, I am a fangirl.)

Angela: Celebrity crush?

Shawna: Richard Armitage (though Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston are also lovely.)

For me, it’s not just about looks, but how the actor come across in interviews. Is he intelligent and insightful? Does he seem like a decent human being?

Angela: Hobbies?

Shawna: I am an avid equestrian. I thought I wanted to breed and train dressage horses for a living, and in fact I did train professionally part-time for a few years, but it didn’t work out. I still have a Lipizzan stallion that I love dearly and I still ride about five days a week. Sometimes we play at warhorses with the Society for Creative Anachronism.

I’m crazy about live Irish music. I don’t play an instrument, but then somebody has to be audience. Often I take my laptop to a pub where friends are playing and write while I listen. And I really love ceili dance (Irish social dancing).

Angela: Thank you, Shawna, for being my guest today!

You can learn more about Shawna and her books at her website. Ravensblood is now available for purchase at Amazon.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

It's release day for "Something Wicked"!!

I'm passing out virtual candy and party favors today. What do you want? Snickers? Hershey bars? Gummy bears? Here, have some. Calorie-free, I promise!

Yes, I'm giving out candy because it's Halloween, a holiday I love, but also because it's release day for Something Wicked, the second book in my psychic detective series. I am so excited for people to read this book because I had so much fun writing it. This time Alexandra King gets her story, but don't worry, the same characters from book one make cameos, including my feline and canine sleuths Abbott and Costello (and I'm still donating proceeds to my local animal shelter, by the way).
Something wicked this way comes…
All homicide detective Dylan Collins wants is a few hours of pleasure to take his mind off of the case haunting him. A serial killer is stalking the streets of Charleston, SC – a killer who calls himself The Grim Reaper. When the woman he'd just spent the night with turns up and offers her services as a psychic consultant on the case, his ardor quickly cools. Last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a con artist.
It doesn't take long for Dylan to realize Alexandra King is the real deal – and the killer's next target. Dylan's protective instincts battle his reluctance to get too involved with a woman he isn't sure he can trust. As they get closer to finding the killer, they also grow closer to one another, but will Alexandra's secret agenda destroy their chance at happiness – if the killer doesn't strike first?
I have to admit, I never planned to write this book. Truth. It wasn't until I was more than halfway through writing On the Scent, and had written myself into a corner I couldn't figure out how to get out of, that I threw up my hands and backed away from it.

And turned on the TV.

It was a Friday night, and I channel surfed right past The Travel Channel, then backtracked to see what those crazy guys from Ghost Adventures were doing that night. A new-to-me show called The Dead Files came on next, and I immediately perked up. A psychic medium partnered with a NYC homicide detective to investigate a haunting? I was intrigued. Intrigued enough to realize that a spunky psychic medium would fix my plotting problem for On the Scent. And suddenly Alexandra King's character was born and that corner I'd written myself into became a nice, cozy writing nook where a sexy homicide detective named Dylan Collins (who favored Ian Somerhalder in my mind's eye) also came into being.

Alexandra's character was never planned. She just happened, and suddenly I enjoyed writing her scenes so much, I knew she had to have her own book. Honestly, it was as if so many plot points came together on their own to make that happen--it felt destined, as corny as that might sound. And Something Wicked is probably the easiest book Ive written yet because of it. I honestly have no idea if it's as good as I think it is, but the feedback so far has been encouraging.

The fact the story is being released on Halloween is only fitting, since I love the holiday so much and the story provides a great ghost story for the occasion. Please join me in celebrating Something Wicked's release today! Grab some punch, pull up a chair, and get ready for a fun, spooky read.

Amazon   |   Amazon UK  |   Amazon Canada   |   Barnes and Noble  |   iTunes  |  Google Play  |  Kobo  |  HarperImpulse   |   ebooks by Sainbury's

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

It's time for a cover reveal!

With the assistance of the lovely Giselle from Xpresso Book Tours, I'm having the cover reveal for Something Wicked today! An incredible number of book bloggers graciously signed up to help us with the reveal, and I'd like to thank them all  by directing you to their websites below. It's been a crazy busy couple of weeks for me, so I'm still working on updating my website. I'll have the cover up soon. Promise. In the meantime, I encourage you to stop by these wonderful websites to see the cover of my newest book, which releases Oct. 31! This is book 2 in my romantic suspense series, and if you like the cover, please leave a comment thanking the site for revealing it!

Personally, I think it's a wonderful, atmospheric cover. Alex at Harper Impulse always does a fantastic job with covers. Thank you, Alex! What do you think?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Checking in at the shelter

You might remember I’ve pledged to give proceeds from “On the Scent” to sponsor at-risk animals at Greenville County Animal Care Services. I’ve been meaning to post this for a while, but…yeah, life has kept me a little busy lately. But I feel it’s important to keep this out there, so here’s an update on my local shelter.

It’s actually been a rough summer for the staff at GCACS. In June, and again in July, GCACS rescued approximately 300 dogs from two separate puppy mills, putting a strain on the resources, staff, and space it had available. These two incidents happened before my book ever came out, so I can’t say I used any of my book’s royalties to make donations. But I did make donations. In fact, my friend and I put our funds together and bought a carload of pet food to donate to the shelter during its special time of need. Actually, we’ve done this kind of thing before and make regular pet food donations to them and other groups, but this particular load was quite large thanks to Cindy’s mad couponing skills and penchant for shopping clearance. I wish I had a photo I could post to show all of the pet food we donated, but my friend misunderstood me and rather than snapping a cell phone picture of it all in the buggy, she took several photos of it all laid out...on a camera I can't access. So, just imagine a buggy slammed full of pet food, and you'll get the idea. I mean that buggy was packed. Even the rack underneath it was full!

I’m happy to say the shelter held a huge adoption event and most of the animals taken in from the puppy mills have since gone to safe, loving homes. Unfortunately, there were lots of animals to take their place who still need homes.
The Greys (picture was pulled from email)

The truth is, I haven’t yet received my first royalty check from “On the Scent,” but I have sponsored three cats on the urgent list since the book released. They were called “The Greys” because of their color, and they had a rescue group willing to take them if someone could sponsor the fees. The e-mail I received read “Today is the last day for The Greys boys, located at GCACS…. They have rescue if I can get any anyone willing to donate towards their $35 rescue fee each!” I was immediately reminded of my beloved gray kitty. I thought, “What if no one had saved her from this list and I’d never been able to adopt her?” My life would be so much more void of love and laughter. So I dug out my purse and paid the sponsorship fees for these three gorgeous boys. I was reassured later they had been safely removed from the shelter and were in the care of a very kind lady. And I ate very little for about two weeks until I got paid again, but you know what? By doing so, I had saved three lives. Three!

I asked my aforementioned friend what she wanted to do on her birthday and she said she’d like for me to go to the shelter with her and volunteer. So I took the day off work, and away we went. Truth? I don’t actually go to the shelter and volunteer much because I am allergic to cats and dogs. The few times I’ve gone to the shelter and volunteered, I’ve spent the next few days in bed sick — which is exactly what happened again after Sept. 6. But you know what? I’m glad I did it. I met and helped clean cages for some adorable kitties, including a little gray one I really wanted to take home. Um, I might have a weakness for gray kitties, but how could I not after meeting my best-friend-in-fur, 
the most awesome cat ever, Dusti?
Me and the lil gray kitty I wanted to adopt.

So this will serve as my first update regarding the proceeds of my book, “On the Scent.” And before you think I write this to brag about the donations I’ve made, whoa, hold up, mister! No bragging intended. In fact, quite the opposite. I wish I could donate a heck of a lot more than I have. The email I mentioned above — the one about “The Greys”? I get emails like that almost every day, and I’m often not able to help. I fear too many animals do not make rescue and end up...I don't even want to think about it.

So the reason I’m writing this is to show you the need and beg you to help. Oh, you don’t have to buy “On the Scent” to make a difference, although it would be nice for me and my local shelter. Trust me. There are shelters in every town, in every state, in every country in desperate need of donations, volunteers, and prayers. It's not that hard. A few hours of your time once a week or month. Clip some coupons and buy a few extra cans of pet food on sale. It won't break your budget. Donate newspapers and old toys. Most shelters post a "needs" list on their websites. It's not hard to find out with a simple phone call either.

Won’t you consider doing something? Even a visit to the shelter to pet dogs or cats gives them some much-needed attention, and it might make you feel better too.

Surely you can at least do that. Can’t you?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Keeping up...or trying to.

I've been seriously slack in updating this blog because, as you can probably relate, life always has a funny way of throwing things at us that disrupt our routines. In my case, my father had heart surgery Sept. 16 that we've been preparing for and then recovering from. My father is 81, so my brothers and I have been very worried about how he'd handle the surgery. Thankfully he did great, although his recovery has been a little rougher than we'd expected. We've also had lots of visitors, including my niece and nephew who drove up from Florida for a few days to check on their Papa John. Everyone has been great at bringing us food and calling to check on him. We are very blessed to have such incredible friends, neighbors, and family.

I am also blessed to have a great father. When my mother passed away from cancer, I was 12, and my dad took an early retirement from the police force to finish raising me on his own. As the youngest, it was very hard for me, especially since I was the only girl. I'm in my late 30s now, still single, and while I'd much rather have my own place, my cat and I live in my childhood home with my father. I don't mind it so much, since I like being near him in case he needs anything. I figure I owe him for all that he's sacrificed for me, after all, and he's not very demanding.

I took the past week off to help look after my father as he recovered, and I intended to use any time while he was resting to write and stay updated with my friends on social media. That was the plan, anyway. The reality was that I was so busy, I hardly checked my email all week, let alone turned the computer on for something as time-consuming as writing! I'll be returning to the day job Monday and getting back into somewhat of a routine (I hope), and God willing, my dad will continue to get healthier with each passing day.

I also hope to soon be able to share news about the second book in my series from Harper Impulse. You know, I might even be able to do a cover reveal very soon if my editor lets me. Fingers crossed. In the meantime, it's back to finishing up book three whenever I can find spare time. I'm having a blast writing it, so I'm eager to return to the characters and universe I'm creating.

Wish me luck, but first, me and this pretty girl are gonna catch up on our beauty sleep. We're both pooped!

Dusti catches a cat nap.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

My Dragoncon 2013 diary

Tinkerbell and Superman cosplayers!
I’m baaaack!

Back from Dragoncon, incredibly exhausted and very, very poor now. Well, I was poor before, but how could I not go to Dragoncon?!?

First things first, because I know 90 percent of the people looking at Dragoncon posts just want to see pictures. You can view my gallery of pictures on my Facebook page, and here's a link to view them even if we're not friends!


This year was a lot of fun! As I said in my previous post, my niece and her boyfriend met me in Atlanta Thursday for this year’s convention. I reeled in the crazy and don’t think I embarrassed my niece in front of her boyfriend, whom I’d never met before. He actually turned out to be very nice — and seemed as excited as I was to be there. We both wanted to cosplay, but Brittney (the niece) was like uh-uh, no way! Shesh. I don't know where she gets it from.

We started our adventure by meeting for a late lunch at Atlanta’s Chow Baby restaurant, which is kind of a neat place. If you’re ever in Atlanta, check out this fun Asian fusion restaurant. Then we checked into the Sheraton, and whoa mama, what a crowd. I’ve never stayed overnight during Dragoncon — I always drive in one morning and drive home that same night — but my goodness, it was chaos parking and getting checked in due to the sheer crowd of people doing the same! Chaaaos! Our hotel room was very nice. I kind of didn’t want to leave it, it was so nice. But I did, getting in line to grab my Dragoncon badge since I had preregistered and bought a membership this year. I waited for about 30 minutes in between two guys who were debating whether or not Luke and Leia truly could have had an incestuous relationship in “Star Wars” (I’m not even kidding) and a couple of awesome-looking women already dressed as Harry Potter characters.

Welcome to Dragoncon.

After that me and "the kids"(they're 20-somethings and not really kids, but I prefer to call them "the kids") ventured out to a special showing of “Zombieland” at the famous Fox Theater in Atlanta. That theater is amazing! I can’t believe how huge and neat it was inside. Brittney and I decided it would make a great location to film a horror movie in. Just sayin’. If you’re ever in Atlanta, I highly recommend taking the theater’s tour. You won’t be sorry. 

Friday's "Torchwood" panel

Friday morning we got up insanely early — 6:45 a.m., which is unheard of for me — grabbed breakfast, the kids got their badges, and off we went! It was kind of fun
Friday's "Torchwood" panel
having two Dragoncon newbies in tow as it made me feel quite powerful directing them through crowds to the right places. I fear they would have been swallowed up by the crowds or ended up hostages in the hood if I hadn’t been there to lead the way. And Hotlanta earned its name last weekend, let me tell you. Hot. Humid. I roasted in the sun waiting for a few panels and my face is still sunburnt. (Mental note: Take sunscreen next year).

The kids agreed to accompany me to the “Torchwood” panel in our hotel Friday morning, because my niece is all about “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and both Jane Espenson and James Marsters (Buffy alums) were on that panel. Seriously. I think I was a bad (or good?...hmmm) influence, because I would have Buffy marathons with my niece when she was, like, 7, because no one else would watch it with me, and then she started having marathons on her own and she too became a lifelong Buffy/Joss Whedon fanatic. The "Torchwood" panel was great! Eve Myles is very entertaining to listen to in person, and can I just say that Gareth David-Lloyd is way hotter in person than on TV. I seriously had no idea he was so hot. John Barrowman wasn’t at this panel, but he was on my list to stalk later in the day, so it was all good.

Next, we rushed over to the Whedonverse Guest Panel, with Nicholas Brendan and Kristine Sutherland from “Buffy” and Miracle Laurie from “Dollhouse.” This is the panel that convinced my niece to try Dragoncon. It was a lot of fun. Nick was very entertaining and Kristine told some great stories I’d never heard before about the show. After this, we decided to head to the Walk of Fame (autograph area) so the niece could try and meet both of them. Holy cow, that area was packed and we got there right when it opened! My posse was excited by “The Walking Dead” actors in there and ended up meeting Scott Wilson (Hershel) and the actress who played Tonks in “Harry Potter” instead. Young people — they’re so easily distracted from their goals. Meanwhile, I had gone over to see Eve Myles because I needed her autograph for my “Doctor Who” collection. She was awesome. Turns out she’s a major Wonder Woman fan like me, so we bonded over that in the minute or two we chatted. Next, I went over and got in John Barrowman’s line because, of course, I needed his autograph for my “Doctor Who” collection as well. His line was loooooooong, and I mean looooooooooong. When I finally got up to him, he thanked me for my patience in waiting, signed a pic, and that was it. But I had fun chatting with the folks in line with me, which was a novelty because I don't know too many people who watch "Doctor Who" and enjoy it as much as I do. 

Brittney and her boyfriend with Nicholas and Kristine (Buffy)
Me and John Barrowman
After that, we left the Walk of Fame to find the celebrity photo opps, because Brittney and her boyfriend had decided to get a picture with Steven Yeun (Glenn) from “The Walking Dead” but Steven Yeun wasn’t there Friday. They decided to get a picture with Nick and Kristine instead, something that made my niece’s childhood dream come true. Seriously, she was so happy to have met anyone from Buffy. I should get the Coolest Aunt Award for making this happen. Just sayin.’ I got a picture with John Barrowman, which was an experience. He was grabbing people’s boobs, fake humping them, and tipping people back in pictures. I was nervous, but I think my height intimidated him, so he grabbed me for a very tight hug and said, “Quick cuddle!” Then he spanked my behind before the next person came up. Yep, Capt. Jack spanked my bottom. It. Was. Awesome.

We wandered around looking at cosplayers and found food before going to the Avengers Ball/party. This is where I should note that I am not a partier. I hate parties. I don’t drink. Don’t cuss. Don’t smoke. I don’t even dance. Generally, I don't even like to be around people who do these things. I really should wear a sign that reads WEIRD INTROVERTED WRITER. We staked out a spot in the balcony and took pictures of people in costume. We’re wild party animals, I tell ya.

Around midnight, we went back to our room despite the parties raging all over the place. We collapsed exhausted and...slept. 


"Smallville" panel
The next day was much of the same, except me and the kids went our separate ways. I caught the William Shatner panel and “Torchwood” panel with Barrowman and laughed so hard I almost wet my pants. I met Allison Mack of “Smallville,” which was an incredible experience. I know not everyone was a fan of "Smallville," but I LOVED it — especially the last two seasons when they finally started writing Lois correctly. Chloe Sullivan is one of my all-time favorite characters, ever. Allison was very kind and let me fangirl over her for a few minutes. Got her autograph. Then I went to the “True Blood” panel and was a little underwhelmed. Honestly, this panel usually has hot guys on it, but this year, not so much. Skarsgard? Manganiello? Kwanten? Nope, not this year. I actually left early and caught the “Smallville” panel, lucking out and getting a seat on the front row before the room filled up! Tried going to “The Walking Dead” panel Q&A with its cast, but it was full and no seats were left. I never get into this panel, no matter how hard I try! Ugh. Same with the "Supernatural" panel I had planned as a backup. So I went and grabbed something to eat and...then I left, sad that it was already over for me for another year.

It was a fun weekend. Like I said, I don’t party much, so I was all about stalking celebrities. Once again, I totally missed out on all of the writing panels this year, which sucks because Laurell K. Hamilton was there and Sherrilyn Kenyon, not to mention a ton of authors I’ve met on Twitter who I would have liked to have said hello to.

There's always next year.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dragoncon, here I come...

Steampunk is always a popular cosplay at Dragoncon.

I've always wanted to cosplay as Rogue! Maybe someday...
In two days I will be headed to Atlanta for my annual journey to Dragoncon, but this year will be different. For one, I'm staying multiple days rather than driving in for one day only; two, I'm staying in a host hotel (don't even ask how I pulled this off); and three, I'm not going alone. My niece Brittney and her boyfriend are meeting me there. Considering I've never met the boyfriend, it will be interesting for sure. I'll have to try very hard to rope in my geekiness so I don't totally embarrass the girl. At least I'm not cosplaying, because I'm sure she would die if she had to introduce him to her Aunt Angie dressed as Wonder Woman or Supergirl. I'm tempted to do it, just for humor's sake, but...not enough time, money, or dieting to pull it off at this point. Heh.

I've been looking forward to this trip all year, but I've had so much insanity happening in my personal life these past few weeks, my enthusiasm has waned a little. My father has been experiencing serious health problems, we went through another round of layoffs at the day job, and Sunny, the dog who inspired Costello, has been really sick and needs surgery. All very stressful things. I have no doubt that once I get to Atlanta Thursday afternoon and start seeing zombies roaming the streets alongside Captain Americas and Stormtroopers, my mood will lift considerably.

Don't worry. I plan to live tweet and blog all about my geeky fangirl experiences again this year and I'm taking my new camera to capture tons of pictures of cosplayers and celebrities. Thursday can't get here fast enough...

In the meantime, you can read my previous year's adventures at Dragoncon here:

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My day with KISS — that’s right, I said KISS!!

Me and KISS

It all started with a phone call from my friend.

“Are you sitting down?” she asked me. Of course I was. “They just called me, and I won the Ultimate KISS Experience from the radio station!”

Basically my reaction was, “Ha ha. Very funny.” Because I thought she was kidding.

But, no, she wasn’t! She actually won a VIP meet and greet with the members of KISS and tickets to the concert. I only believed her after I saw her name as the winner posted on the radio station’s Facebook page. Seriously. Things like that just don’t happen to her. She has the worst luck of anyone I know.

I should back up and note that we’d wanted badly to go see KISS in concert near our hometown, but a few weeks ago she’d ended up in the emergency room, her dog Sunny (the adorable critter who inspired Costello) ended up at the vet the same day with a serious back and neck injury, and I had to loan her some money to help pay for it. Hence, neither of us could really afford KISS tickets right now. That’s why she was trying to win them from the radio.
My friend as a kid

I should also note that she has been a diehard KISS fan since she was 3 years old and first saw them in concert. She even has a cute picture of herself as a kid in KISS makeup and everything. And several years ago we got hooked on A&E's Gene Simmons Family Jewels. Not even kidding, we LOVED that show.

The concert started at 7:30 p.m. We were told to be at the amphitheater no later than 4 p.m. When we got there, the radio station guy, Roy, hooked us up with the KISS roadie in charge of the VIPS. I’m not sure if his name was Davy or Robert or what, because Cindy and I both thought his name was something different. He turned out to be cool, and gave us two extra t-shirts in exchange for us giving him one the radio station had given me. And he kept coming over and chatting with us.

This is the KISS roadie who helped us out. Fun guy!
We got everything the KISS VIP fans pay $1,250 to receive — a limited edition KISS t-shirt, collectible guitar pic, tote bag, autographs, an intimate acoustic performance by the guys before they got into makeup, and professional pictures with the band in makeup along with gold circle seats to the actual concert. That’s right. Whoa, mama.

There were about 20 people there besides us, meaning those 20 or so people had popped out $1,250 for the same experience we were getting free. I can’t even.

Anyway. We were taken to a special VIP tent where we got our free stuff, and then we sat down to wait for the guys to come out. My friend asked me if I had any of my “author” business cards with me — ones I had made to promote “On the Scent.” She said “I’m gonna pimp out your book.”

“What?!?” Yes, I am your typical introverted author who sucks at self-promotion. I was a little horrified by the thought of this, but I gave her some cards anyway.
The back of my business card.

They got there around 5 o’clock or so and launched into a really cool acoustic set that included lots of joking and Gene tossing guitar pics at the ladies’ bosoms. Sadly, I was not dressed for that, plus I lingered near the back, being Ginormica and all. I can see over people’s heads a lot easier than they can see over mine.

After the mini acoustic concert, the guys went around to each of us and signed whatever we wanted them to sign. I got a tour program I bought at concessions signed by all four of them.

We didn’t say much to Paul — nerves, I guess — but when Tommy Thayer got to us, I bravely thanked him for coming to South Carolina and my friend asked him why on earth they’d chosen an amphitheater show in August in South Carolina. It was really hot and humid, and if I was sweltering, I figured they would be dying in their costumes. This broke the ice and we chatted with Tommy for a while. Eric Singer came over next and joined the conversation and signed stuff for us and then moved on while we were still talking to Tommy. Tommy was uber nice to chat with. Acted like we were all friends.
Me and Tommy Thayer

Next came Gene, and when my friend pulled out the Hello Kitty Gene Simmons vinyl figure AND The Demon POP figure AND a KISS CD AND…I don’t even know what else, he signed them all. While he was signing her stuff, she asked him about his dog, Snippy, who was often featured on Family Jewels. He told us Snippy was well, other than being 17 years old, and that his family now has six dogs.

I heard my friend say something along the lines of “I’m a bad mother because I left my dog at
Terrible pic of me and Gene, but it's proof I met him, so...
home to come meet you, and he’s got a bad back problem right now.” She whipped out my business card. “This is him.” She pointed at him on the card. I think she might have made a comment that if Gene liked hot blondes, he would love her dog.

If you imagine me red-faced and dying of embarrassment, you’d be right.

Amazing enough, Gene took the card, chuckled and showed it to his handler. “Look at that. It says, ‘Do you mind if I hump your leg? That’s great.’”

My friend, being the aggressive marketer she is, then explained I was giving my proceeds to our local animal shelter and asked if he would “help us out” by telling people about the book.

Gene nodded and said, “Sure. Of course.” And tucked the card in his shirt pocket.

I have no idea what he did with the card from that point on, but I was kind of shocked he’d taken it.


He moved on to the next person, but you don’t know my friend if you don’t think she gave up that easy. Oh no. She got to the back of the line to wait for him again. Then she whipped out the pictures of her as a kid in KISS makeup and told Gene she used to be scared of him when she was little.

“Well, you’re not scared of me now are you?” he said.

While she was talking, he reached over and took off her sunglasses. I think he was checking to see if she was on drugs or something. Poor guy. She was in that oh-my-gosh-Im-meeting-a-cool-celebrity-and-Im-both-nervous-and-excited-about-it-so-Im-talking-loud-and-fast phase. I know. I’ve been there. But I find this funny because neither my friend nor I drink alcohol. Drugs? Yeah, right. Not gonna happen.
My friend and Gene Simmons

After that, the guys were rushed off by their managers to get into makeup, and we had to go get our tickets. Very long story short, we eventually got back to our designated spot to have our pictures taken with the guys in full makeup right before they took the stage. I had no idea where to stand, and I felt like I was doing a weird kinda-bent-over pose. Heh. I think my picture turned out OK, even though I wish I’d moved to the middle for my solo picture. Whatever. It’s done.

We had pretty good seats close to the stage. Who forgot to put cotton in her ears and is kind of deaf today? This person. Me. I’m praying my hearing returns soon.

Basically, I’m too old now to rock and roll all night and then get up and go to work the next day.

But meeting KISS was awesome. Totally fun experience I’ll probably never have again. And who knows? Maybe Gene will spread the word about my book. That would be AWESOME. I only have my friend to thank for allowing me to share her one-in-a-lifetime experience.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Read a book, save a life? I hope so!

A meme I made, featuring my friend's rescue dog as Costello!
As seems to always be the case, I’ve been slammed with all kinds of personal stuff right around release day for my new book, ON THE SCENT, but I don’t want to let the opportunity slip by without relaying my plans for the proceeds for this book. I know I've had those plans outlined on my website for weeks, but it doesn't hurt to reinforce them, now does it?

Since the first book – ON THE SCENT – releases Thursday (mark your calendars people), I'd love to introduce you to two of the characters who pushed and wiggled their way into the forefront of my series. I'm talking about two furballs who kept sneaking onto the page when my attention should have been on the romance between my hero and heroine.

That's right. My romance is full of fluff. Fluff in the form of a snarky cat named Abbott and a goofy dog named Costello.

Perhaps my book's blurb will help explain things a little more:
Hannah Dawson has a big problem: she's just become the unexpected owner of a snarky cat, a lovable but not-so-bright dog… and their $10 million fortune!

Which would be awesome if it hadn't made her the target of every wacko in the metro Atlanta area. Now Hannah and her famous pets need protecting. And there's only one man who can help them…

Enter Zachary Collins: ex-TV star of 'The Psychic Detective' and street-wise private investigator - all 6 foot blue-eyed gorgeousness!

Only Zach's got secrets of his own… not least that he finds Hannah, his client, irresistibly hot. The more time he spends keeping her out of harm's way, the more he's tempted to give in to the attraction and break all his own rules.
Needless to say, I'm a huge animal lover. I loved Abbott and Costello's characters so much while writing them that I wanted a way for the reader to hear their thoughts. Enter my story's hero, a hunky psychic who doesn't realize he's psychic until he meets these two mischievous critters. Oh, there's plenty of romance between the humans in my book, but Abbott and Costello steal quite a few scenes. So I'll tell you straight up: if you don't like animals, this book probably isn't for you. If you love animals as much as I do (or just a little?), I hope you'll give it a try, especially because I'm hoping Abbott and Costello will help me save the lives of other lovable pets.

I’d decided long before I ever found a publisher for this book that I would donate my author proceeds to an animal rescue organization. I considered the Humane Society of the United States, ASCPA, Best Friends and local groups in my area. Honestly, I want to help as many animals as possible, but I think it’s best to start on my own turf where I've seen firsthand how strong the need is.

I’ll be donating half of my author royalties to my local animal shelter, Greenville County Animal Care. I've sponsored many animals on this shelter's urgent list in the past, but I'd love to sponsor a lot more with your help. Hopefully, you'll buy and enjoy the book, too, and keep reading the series. Abbott and Costello appear in all three books, by the way.

I’d already selected my charity organization prior to the news of the past month, but that news has verified that I made the right decision. What news? Two puppy mills on separate occasions were shut down in our area, and the animals were rescued by Greenville County Animal Care Services. Last week alone, in fact, GCACS took in 626 animals — that’s 1 animal every 4 minutes that its doors are open.

My cat, Dusti, who was rescued from a shelter. 
That is completely unacceptable, and I feel both angry and sad that people can be so irresponsible!

Many of these animals will end up on the urgent list, but the great thing about GCACS and what won my dedication, is that it has a rescue coordinator on staff. This person reaches out to hundreds of rescue groups in the region to help save at-risk animals before they are euthanized. Not every animal is saved because rescue groups can’t afford all of the discounted pull fees or don’t have space, but many do go to a safe home. Quite frankly, if only one life is saved, that's cause for celebration.

By sponsoring animals on this list, we’ll be helping numerous rescue groups afford the fees to accept these animals into their care, and out of harm’s way.We'll be saving a life, or two, or lots. I hope lots.

Granted, GCACS isn't a perfect organization, but I believe wholeheartedly that they try to make a difference. Based on my personal observations, they have a tough, thankless job but work hard because the staff and volunteers truly care.

I'm already anticipating questions about why I'm doing this. Why am I donating royalties? Don't I need the money? Yes, absolutely, I do. But I have a roof over my head. I can afford to eat and buy my kitty food. I don't take those things for granted. So what's my ulterior motive? It's quite simple. When I think that I might have never known my little furball, Dusti, I get very upset. She might not realize how lucky she was to have been put up for adoption, but I do. I do this in her honor, for the countless hours of joy she's brought me since we rescued each other. I do this in honor of my best friend's two rescue dogs, Sunny and Valentino, and for the joy they've brought my friend. I do this in honor of all the animals who have been adopted into loving homes, for the joy they've spread in those homes. Quite frankly, the odds were stacked against them all.

And, even if I don't raise thousands or even hundreds of dollars for this cause, hopefully I'll manage to raise a little awareness about the serious problem of homeless and abused or neglected animals in our society.

It's that simple.


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