Last night I watched an episode of ‘My Cat From Hell’ that was of particular interest to me. Teaching kids to treat their pets with respect.
The episode showed a family with two cats, one that was so laid back it didn’t seem to care what the kids did with it. It just flopped about in their arms and allowed them to tip it upside down and one kid ever tried to put it into the refrigerator. Basically, the child treated it like it was a stuffed toy. The other cat, understandably, was terrified of the kids, and scratched and spat whenever anyone reached out a hand toward it–or a foot as one of the children did, threatening to kick it.
My peeve is that some parents don’t seem to notice, as was the case with this family. I don’t imagine for one second that they would deliberately be unkind to animals. They’re just uninformed. The cats or dogs either submit to a life of hell, or rebel, and get sent to the shelter or euthanized because they are considered dangerous.
I commend the cat whisperer, Jackson, for his patience and consideration in this episode, in which he admitted he knew nothing about kids or how to get through to them, but he did, in fact, achieve this. He even took the time to visit the children’s school and teach their classmates how to treat animals–what to do and what not to do and how to pet them. By the end of the episode the problem cat had gone through a surprising transformation, and obviously realized the children were no longer going to hurt her.
Writers who do research on psychopaths will often include an episode in which their antagonist does something to hurt an animal, although it is not recommended that you go into any great detail. Readers find it easier to read about people being tortured than animals. Perhaps our empathy for animals comes from their innocence–and the same goes for children. No animal–or child–is born with a cruel and nasty temperament. If they become aggressive, it usually has something to do with the treatment they get from the humans around them.
If ever I visit a home in which children don’t seem to understand and have never been taught how to treat animals, I am quick to take them aside and explain to them that animals have feelings too. I hope you guys reading this will do the same.
(I am an incurable animals lover, and always try to include them in my stories. In the Redneck P.I. Series, Twila’s rescue dog, Scratch rides on the back of her Harley with her in a special metal basket fabricated by Twila’s Pops. In Aquarius Addiction, Arlette Xylander’s crazy black cat, Marbles seems to know what’s going on when the Voodoo queen performs a ceremony to find out what secrets the old mansion holds in its walls.)
This is the second story featuring detective Morgana (Morg) Mahoney, a captivating character who has an insouciant sense of humor and enjoys a Jameson whisky, (or two) on the rocks.
In this story, we go back in time to when she graduates from college and starts working as a private investigator. One of her cases is tied up with the Mexican Mafia—La Eme. She blames them when a special friend is murdered, but is unable to prove her suspicions.
Fast forward fifteen years and Morg’s past catches up with her. . . and maybe she’ll finally solve the mystery and bring the killer to justice.
A mystery that will keep you guessing all the way to the end. The characters are intriguing, quirky and disparate, and I particularly enjoyed Morg’s sidekick—a Border Collie named Sam.
I can’t believe I haven’t updated my blog for so long. My excuse is that I went to South Africa to celebrate my amazing mother-in-law’s 96th birthday, and then when I got home the ‘silly season’ was in full swing.
That’s all in the past now and 2016 looms on the horizon. I’m hoping it’ll be a great year for writers in general. My wish is that you all have something good to celebrate next year.
2015 was a good year for me as a writer. I had two books published and a short story. As always, they include delightful animal characters and romance, plus a message to educate people about the evils of our world.
Sheer Panic is a novella I published myself. It’s my first attempt at a psychological thriller. Breanna Barton has no love life until the guy she had a crush on at high school shows up unexpectedly on Facebook and wants to get together. After several strange and terrifying incidents, she comes to the realization that someone is stalking her. But it can’t be him. He lives in another state. Her eight-year-old niece, and Panda, the little black and white mutt who belongs to her elderly neighbor rescue Breanna in more ways than one. Sheer Panic on Amazon
Virgo’s Vice, the third in my Zodiac Series, was released by Soul Mate Publishing late in the year.
Camera operator Lexie King has a good reason to work out of her comfort zone in Allan Dockery’s new survival-style reality show in Africa. She is determined to overcome her PTSD and make something of herself, but she has no way of knowing he would be there. The monster who molested her repeatedly as a child. Jake, the producer’s chocolate lab, and sexy cowboy contestant Billy Murphy are her only hope, but can they do enough to save her? Virgo’s Vice on Amazon
Lexie’s Story is the prologue to Virgo’s Vice. I self-published this on Smashwords and it can be downloaded totally free in any format.
Lexie KIng’s childhood sucked. When she wasn’t lying in in her bed at night waiting for ‘the monster’, she was hiding from the bullies at school. It was like she had a sign on her forehead that said “Abuse Me.” Lexie’s parents died in a car crash when she was too young to remember, and Aunt Jess refuses to believe that her live-in lover, Phillip could be molesting Lexie. An ugly mutt named Candy — a cross between a boxer and a standard poodle — is Lexie’s only friend in the world.
Rhoda is a very talented author who usually writes sweet and entertaining romantic comedies. This book was written as a tribute to hospice and hospice workers all over the world.
Peter is the perfect husband, the husband we would all cherish. When his wife, Sally is in a coma as a result of a car crash on their wedding day, he visits her faithfully in the hospice, always hoping she might recover consciousness one day. Perhaps some of his devotion comes from guilt. He was the one driving. But he is also just a really good person who loves his wife.
Sally can hear him, while she lies there in a coma, but she can’t move or communicate. Until he becomes friendly with Grace, who is also a regular visitor to the hospice.
I thought I had a good idea of where the story was going, and then it went in a totally different direction. The title is brilliant, because each one of the three main characters is stuck in some way, and all of them find their own form of release in the end.
This is a beautiful, poignant love story, and a very successful divergence from the author’s usual romantic comedies, and she did a great job of illustrating life in a hospice, as she set out to do.
A little dark; a little sad, but happiness triumphs in the end.
It’s all about being stuck… I’m stuck because I don’t have enough time to write all the books stuck in my head just trying to come out. And if I could be stuck somewhere with someone who would it be??? That would depend upon where I was stuck.
Please Release Me
What if you could only watch as your bright future slipped away from you?
Sally Cummings has had it tougher than most but, if nothing else, it’s taught her to grab opportunity with both hands. And, when she stands looking into the eyes of her new husband Peter on her perfect wedding day, it seems her life is finally on the up.
That is until the car crash that puts her in a coma and throws her entire future into question.
In the following months, a small part of Sally’s consciousness begins to return, allowing her to listen in on the world around her – although she has no way to communicate.
But Sally was never going to let a little thing like a coma get in the way of her happily ever after …
I;m getting excited about my next novel in the Zodiac Series, Aquarius Addiction, now that the cover is done.
FBI psychic Arlette’s Xylander’s life changes dramatically when her mysterious Aunt Lucie, whom she has never met, dies, and bequeaths two things to Arlette–her country home on the banks of Bayou LeGue, and an ancient spell book. Then, on the same day she meets hunky Andre Rossouw, her doctor tells her she’s suffering from a terminal disease.
The house holds many mysteries, including the ghosts she hears meeting in her dining room in the dark hours of the night, and why is there a gris-gris — the talisman of a voodoo curse — outside in her yard? Could it be something to do with the mysterious, cloaked woman she sees at her aunt’s graveside? She displays all the character traits of her star sign, Aquarius, being feisty, eccentric, freedom-loving, flirtatious, rebellious and unpredictable, and she determines two things; to beat the odds of the disease, and to have wild and passionate sex with Andre. Then she finds out he’s engaged. Get the prologue, Arlette’s Story absolutely free here.
Amazon’s new Kindle Scout Program has effectively taken the power away from the publishers and placed it squarely in the hands of the readers.
Here’s a summary of how it works:
Authors are invited to submit a full length fiction manuscript plus book cover and blurbs. Amazon’s reviewers read the manuscript and if it meets their standards, they create a ‘campaign’ for the book. This is made up of the cover, a one-line description and a longer blurb about the story, plus the first 5,000 words.
Anyone with an Amazon account can login, read what has been posted, and nominate the book, assuming they like it.
Each reader can nominate only three books. If they have already nominated three and then find one they like better, they can drop one of their previously nominated books and nominate the new one instead.
At the end of the 30-day campaign, the book with the highest number of nominations wins a publishing contract with Amazon for it’s author, with a $1,500 royalty advance.
Readers who nominated a winning book get a free copy and are asked to provide a review.
Campaigns are ongoing and any author can submit their book (but only one book per author) any day of the year.
This program is brilliant because it puts the readers (who are the customers) in charge. They collectively and democratically choose the best stories, and help weed out the mediocre, the bad and the unfinished stories. The author has no way of knowing who has voted or canceled their vote, and readers cannot collaborate online.
It also takes the power away from the publishers. Twenty years ago, publishing houses and their editors were like Gods. Writers submitted their work and were told to expect rejection. A handful of professional ‘readers’ had the power to accept or reject every manuscript they reviewed.
Then came POD or Print On Demand, and the selection process became a lot less stringent.
When self-publishing became a reality, it brought out a lot of talented authors who would never have been published in the past, but it also brought a horde of books that should never have seen the light of day.
My hope is that Kindle Scout will even the playing field for authors and readers.
Here is my campaign:
VIRGO’S VARIANT is a romance thriller or suspense thriller with romantic elements.The first 5,000 words are on the site at Kindle Scout for people to read. (No Kindle is required). If you like what you see, you can nominate the book.