Saturday, February 6, 2016
Monday, December 14, 2015
In September, a pro handler I know was in a tragic accident. He wasn't traveling for a show, only he and his wife were in the car. His wife was killed and he was paralyzed, with only slight movement remaining in his hands.
He'll never be able to pursue his passion again. And believe me, handlers who are as successful and he, and who make it their life do so out of passion for dogs. He didn't get to say goodbye to his wife, and he can't hold his grandchildren. He's now in rehab and in the photos his family shares, he's smiling. He's off the respirator and is now setting goals. He doesn't want to be a burden to his friends and family. He wants to go places. (there's a Go Fund Me for a van for his family to transport him)
He wants to go to a coffee shop and order his own coffee, and he wants to go to dog shows again. There's footage of him with his new service dog...not a Golden Retriever (his breed) but a quiet, calm Saluki who is learning to negotiate the electric wheelchair with her new owner. He's posting on Facebook. He's moving forward into a new reality. My guess is we'll see him again in the ring, if not handling from his chair, then as a judge, and most certainly as a mentor to many. He'll be smiling because he's truly that kind of man.
Life tosses some truly awful stuff our way sometimes. I stress about writer's block and low sales and my messy house. I want to slam my computer shut every time I read of some new idiocy in the online world. But this year, Mom is still aging, but she's not hallucinating or in the ER constantly. My daughters are doing well and living good lives. While my day job keeps me tied to the house, I can write and create as I wish. Right now, I'm in a warm, quiet living room with five dogs sleeping soundly and all is good in my world.
It's not perfect and not what I envisioned it would be. I didn't think my life's journey would make me a caregiver instead of a history teacher. I also didn't believe I'd be a writer. Or have some of the amazing friends I have, or that I'd go to Hong Kong for a movie premiere or see the start of the Iditarod from inside the chute. Live can surprise you that way.
Learn what's important in life. Turn off the TV and close the computer. Talk to a stranger. Listen to the world around you. If someone needs help and you can do something, however small, give them a hand. Get out of your head and set aside the shit that's occupying your brain.
Today, amaze yourself.
Then tomorrow, do it again.
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Candle in the Dark Anthology Author: Various Price: $5.00 eBook / $10.00 Paperback Summary: In almost all traditions, winter has been a time to huddle around the fire and be thankful for those the fire is shared with. The holidays grew out of a need to celebrate that time, from Christmas to Chanukah to Solstice. The longest night of the year has always held some special mystery, and we’re proud to present you with several stories of how those mysteries bear fruit. In the first story, Patrick receives a mysterious invitation to dine at the most exclusive restaurant for men. His server, Gio, encourages him to Savor the experience... Buy Links:
A Christmas Cactus for the General Author: Angel Martinez Price: $3.99 eBook Summary: Exiled to Earth for perhaps the worst failure in Irasolan history, General Teer must assimilate or die. Earth is too warm, too wet, too foreign, but he does the best he can even though human males are loud, childish louts whom he can't imitate successfully. When a grieving seaplane pilot strikes up a strange and uneasy friendship with him, he finds he may have been too quick to judge human males. They are strange to look at, but perhaps not as unbearable as he thought. Buy Links:
The Darkest Midnight in December Author: Jana Denardo Price: $3.99 eBook Summary: The year is 1930, and something is hunting infants and young couples in Economy Village, PA. When a local priest begins to suspect a demon may be the culprit, the sheriff calls in a team of Soldiers of the Sun. Caleb, Agni, Temple, and Li specialize in demon hunting, but they can’t rule out an old religious sect as the true culprit. Prejudice, distraught parents, and angry townspeople don’t make the team’s job any easier. And if something goes wrong, their own their own, because by the time their backup arrives, it will be too late. Buy Links:
Fruitcakes Author: Renee George Price: $1.99 eBook Summary: Losing your boyfriend because you see monsters...not good. Getting locked up in the local mental hospital because you accused your boss of being an actual ogre…also not good. Falling for your crazy roommate, who thinks he’s one of Santa's elves…so not good! Or is it? Come along for a sexy ride as Donner and Bran try to escape the locked ward before Christmas Eve so Bran doesn't lose the only job important to him. USA Today Bestselling author Renee George pens a laugh-out-loud MM Fairytale Christmas…Nuts included! Buy Links:
Holiday Lights Author: Jana Denardo Price: Free Summary: Aaron asks Rhys for some help with putting up the tree and finalizing their holiday plans, even though he knows Rhys will have something to say about all of Aaron's geeky ornaments. Rhys puts his own special touches on the holiday decorating as only a fae could. Buy Links:
Ilya and the Wolf Author: Rory Ni Coileain Price: $1.99 eBook Summary: Ilya, the youngest son of a Moscow oligarch, is so deep in the closet he’d find Narnia if that weren’t a decadent Western story. On Christmas Eve, his brothers lure him into the forest, intending to murder him and erase the shame he inflicts on their family by existing. However, the attempt is interrupted by Volyk, a wolf who carries the blood of the ancient oboroten’ —shapeshifters. Ilya never imagined a Christmas gift like the handsome wolf, but accepting what Volyk offers will have consequences that change both of their lives forever. Buy Links:
Lion's Hero Author: Alexis Woods Price: $.99 eBook Summary: Eight nights to fall in love. Ari has a mission: meet and fall in love with a man chosen for him by God. The catch: he only has eight nights to complete it—the eight nights of Chanukah Gabriel has a test of faith. Reaching out to a young man, he finds himself confronted with the unbelievable. Believe, and the Festival of Lights may herald a miracle. Buy Links:
Loving Blitz Author: Charlie Cochet Price: $3.99 eBook Summary: From North Pole City to Winter Wonderland, preparations are underway after a royal announcement sweeps everyone into a frenzy of festivity. At the heart of the celebration are the city’s most beloved elf pilots, the Rein Dears. Once the Big Flight is behind them, the pilots prepare for the royal event. Assigned a special task of finding an Elska rose, Cupid and Blitzen are unaware of how their friendship is about to change forever. Yet not all that glitters is gold. The sweet, angelic Cupid hides a dark secret, one that threatens to destroy his Rein Dear status, his friends, and the elf who’s captured his heart. It’s up to Blitzen to help Cupid see the light in the darkness and show him that together they can mend broken hearts. Buy Links:
The Magic of Christmas Author: Pelaam Price: $2.99 eBook Summary: Jared joins his four best friends on an early Christmas holiday in a beautiful winter wonderland. He's been in love with the talented and extroverted Casey for years, but lacked the courage to say anything. Casey loves Jared, but despite his gregarious exterior, inside lurks someone shy and insecure and so he's never spoken up. Both men are about to experience real Christmas magic. Buy Links:
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Nicolas Author: Dianne Hartsock Price: $6.99 eBook / $14.99 Paperback Summary: Betrayed by a lover, Jamie rents an isolated cabin on Lake Huron, wanting only to be left alone. Instead, he is pulled from his solitary existence as an artist and tumbles headlong into the legend of Saint Nicolas. As a young man, Nicolas accidentally killed a man intent on murdering three children, only to have the man's malicious spirit rise up against him. Fleeing through the centuries from the Krampus, the evil troll-like creature that dogs his steps, Nico finds refuge with the young artist who takes him into his home and bed. But Jamie has questions. Who is Nicolas, and why does the Krampus want to destroy him? Buy Links:
No One to Greet the Season Author: Elizabeth Barrette Price: Free (poem) Summary: Victor Frankenstein and Igor have a queerplatonic relationship and a constructed son. Igor's deformed back causes him more trouble in cold weather, which makes Christmas more of a challenge. Victor helps him through it. Gothic fluff, holiday hurt/comfort. Buy Links:
Scrudge & Barley, Inc Author: John Inman Price: $6.99 eBook / $14.99 Paperback Summary: A classic tale takes off in sexy new directions! Poor Mr. Dickens must be twirling in his grave. When E.B. Scrudge, putz extraordinaire and all-around numbnuts, is visited by his dead ex on Christmas Eve, he can’t imagine how his life could sink any lower. But the three ghostly spirits that come along after are even worse! Good lord, a dyke, a drag queen, and rounding out the trio, a big, hunky bear with nipple rings and a butt plug! What’s next? What’s next is a good deal of soul-searching and some hard lessons learned with a dash of redemption thrown in for good measure. Buy Links:
Silver/Steel Author: Belinda McBride Price: $6.99 eBook Summary: When dream hunter Dylan Ryve spots a beautiful shapeshifter raising hell in a bar, he knows he wants the wild young man. But Travis Feris is more to Dylan than a few hot minutes outside in the snow; he's the assassin's ticket into the magical town of Arcada. He didn't plan to rescue the kid, but when he found the shifter being attacked, the opportunity to play hero was too good to pass up. Through the solitude of a long winter night, Dylan walks in Travis's fevered dreams, learning about Arcada and the pack, and showing the shifter the man he'd been so very long ago. Buy Links:
Spindrift Gifts Author: Aidee Ladnier Price: $3.99 Summary: Scars and a tattoo may be the only physical reminders from his years as a slave, but when Jimenez suffers a setback in his medical treatment, the only option is a therapy that will wipe away his all memories of the past including his time with Teo. Teo, torn between supporting his lover's decisions and the good intentions of his family, sets out to teach Jimenez about Spindrift Gifts and how memories are celebrated on Celos even when they are painful. Can Teo and Jimenez weather the storm to find their happily-ever-after on Celos? Buy Links:
Tempted from the Oak Author: Rory Ni Coileain Price: $5.60 eBook Summary: With his blue eyes and heart-melting smile, Gavin could have been made-to-order to entice Tearlach, a lonely tree spirit. But the human is the one who’s been enticed—stolen from snow-buried Minneapolis to the Scottish Highlands by Tearlach’s darag, the ancient oak tree of which he is the living spirit. Tearlach is trapped within the darag by the terrible memory of his own death—hundreds, maybe thousands of years ago, but as recent to him as his last heartbeat. And if desire for the handsome human fails to tempt him out, spirit and oak are both doomed. Buy Links: