Thursday, December 31, 2015

Boy, Am I Glad This Year is Over!

2015 wasn’t the best year I’ve ever lived through. For one thing, I was sick during most of it. For another, I lost a beloved dachshund, Bella, who was murdered by Jazzy and Cookie, two of my other hounds—or part-hounds, anyway. And lots of expensive house problems erupted during the year. Gah.

The wieners of UNSETTLED SPIRITS (paper copy) are Holly Huff, Flo Kojima, and Peggy Baker! I’ll send your copies as soon as the snow melts. Right now I’m snowed in. Besides, if I could drive anywhere, I might possibly be able to get to the post office, but none of the grocery stores have food in them. Roswell is 200 miles away from another, larger city. We haven’t had newspaper or mail deliveries since Saturday, December 26. It’s now the 31st, and the FedEx guy (who did manage to get through this morning) says even he’s going to pack it in because the streets are so treacherous. Roswell doesn’t have snowplows. Sigh.

Anyway, all is not horribly bad. In fact, I’m really happy that my daughter and son-in-law, Anni and Razmik Avanesian, are here, and they’re fixing up my house! Well, they will continue to do so if the snow melts enough for them to get to Home Depot. And if Home Depot has anything in it. They went to a grocery store yesterday, and there were no potatoes of any kind, no meat, and no green onions, which I wanted for a chicken dish I’m making today.

Piddle on the snow. My dogs have been piddling on the snow, for sure. At the moment, it’s kind of a block of ice out there. It’ll probably melt a bit and then freeze again. According to the weather gurus, the air is too cold for the snow to melt, and the air is cold because there’s so much snow on the ground. And there you have it!

Interesting story about Razmik (I don’t think he’ll mind my telling it). He’s an Armenian from Iran. Armenians are culturally Christian, and when Iran because a Muslim theocracy, it ceased being a good place for Christians to live. Therefore, Raz and his family had to learn how to do everything, from building buildings and repairing stuff to cooking over open flames. Eventually they all got out except for one of his sisters, who still lives there.

Personally, I don’t want to live in a Christian theocracy any more than I want to live in a Muslim theocracy. Our Founding Fathers knew what they were doing when they chose to separate the church from the state.

For the month of January, 2016, I’ll be giving away audio copies of THANKSGIVING ANGELS! Whee! If you’d like to win an audio copy of THANKSGIVING ANGELS, please send me an email at

And here, for your visual pleasure, are pictures of our snow! This is more snow than Roswell’s ever had in its life. Go figure.

This was taken from my front door. You can't see the walkway, the porch steps, the street, or the cross street. Still looks like that today.

And this was taken from my back porch. The doggies have trampled a piddle patch for themselves.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Mayhem and Magic, For Real

November was not a month of unmixed blessings. In fact, something truly horrible happened during November, so I’ll get to that first.

 No secret I rescue dachshunds. About four years ago I received a bonded pair from a puppy mill in Big Spring, Texas. Bella and Bam-Bam had spent their first couple of years in concrete crates and never learned how to interact with people or, really, be dogs. To this day Bam-Bam is terrified of men, and Bella was uber-shy around strangers. I realized after I’d fostered them for a while that they weren’t suitable candidates for adoption, so I kept them, and we loved each other. They both were fine with me, even though they were still unable to relate to strangers.

Well, on Friday the 13th, Jazzy and Cookie, who grew up on the streets and have absolutely no self-esteem issues, ganged up on Bella. I rushed her to the vet, where she was stitched up. When I picked her up on Saturday, she seemed to be doing well, but on Sunday evening Bella had a stroke or a seizure, and she died early Monday morning. My heart is still broken. My neighbor and fellow writer, Ann Wilmer-Lasky, wrote a Haiku for Bella, and here’s a picture of Bella taken by her husband Barry:


Treasured Friend: A Haiku
Innocence, truly,
Has no protection against
Pack mentality.

Okay, that’s the ugly stuff. My heart will probably never get over aching for Bella. I feel kind of like a murderer, in fact. Gah.

On to nicer things. Several people won copies of the audio edition of HUNGRY SPIRITS, narrated by Denice Stradling (who is now working away on GENTEEL SPIRITS, bless her). I’ll be getting in touch with each of the winners individually.

I also got the cover art for Daisy Gumm Majesty’s next adventure, BRUISED SPIRITS. I love it:

Also, Darlene Allen has finished narrating THANKSGIVING ANGELS for audio, so it will be available in December (I think). I’ll be giving away audio copies at the end of the month in my contest. If it’s somehow or other not available in December, I’ll give away copies in January.

And December is the month UNSETTLED SPIRITS, Daisy Gumm Majesty’s latest adventure, will be released! I’ll be giving away either e-copies or paper copies of UNSETTLED SPIRITS in my December contest.

Therefore, if you’d like to enter my December contest, for which Bam-Bam (who is coping much better with the loss of Bella than I am) will choose wieners at the end of the month, please send me your name and home address (if you want a paper copy of UNSETTLED SPIRITS) to


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