Sunday, January 29, 2012


On Friday, January 20th, my mother-in-law Freda Dale passed away, just a little less than 2 months after her 90th birthday.

This is what Freda looked like when she was probably a little past her 3rd birthday.

We miss her.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Novel excerpt 01 26 12


      After their breakfast in the morning, Emily called,“Time for walks!” The pack gathered in the dog room at the back door. Zackexplained to Hope and Proper that since their Emily was terribly slow, and wasso handicapped with her limited human senses, she was understandably frightenedabout getting lost. For that reason, whenever they were out of the yard, theirEmily tethered herself to each of the dogs, except Driver.
     The bad thing was that she put the tethers aroundthe dogs’ necks. The Elders – Queen Raine, Thelonious, Zack  – were thrilled at this whole tether notion.
     “You’ll get used to it,” said Zack. “We all wearthem, see?”
     Hope felt a little choky, but she mimicked her uncleby holding her head up and trying to ignore the thing around her throat. Properthrew himself on his back.
     “Gack!” he protested. “This thing is cutting off myair! How do I get it off of me?”
     Queen Raine stamped her feet.
     “Oh do get up, you little dweeb. We’re allwaiting for you.”  She looked up at herEmily.“You insist on bringing horrid puppies into our packand this is what we get.”

hug your hounds :-)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Novel excerpt 01 22 12

Emily ran out and grabbed Hope’s bedding from the van. It wasn’t acrate pad after all, but an old comforter from Emily and Emerson’s bed, foldedup. The end result was more like a cloud than crate bedding. Emily gathered itup in her arms and kicked the van door shut, and in that moment, with thecomforter clutched close to her chest and the faint smell of Hope in her grasp,her throat closed around her soul and she couldn’t breathe. She shook her head,angry with herself for being caught off guard, and tears flew as she did. Shewiped her face on the comforter, feeling anything but comfort.

hug your hounds

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Novel Excerpt 01-18-12

Illustration (c) William F. Renzulli, MD

There is a Facebook group called Fans of Mama Pajama Tells A Story - do feel free to join! I've started posting random excerpts of the Novel In Progress. One of the group's generous members wondered how she could share the excerpts, and I thought posting them here was as good a way as any.
I'm not taking the best piece of writing on any given day. Just the starting point of that day's writing/re-writing/editing. I figure every paragraph should be my best. Every paragraph should be engaging enough to stand alone with a brief intro into the scene.
That's the plan, Stan!
Here is a quick catch up for you. Hope is a 16 month old whippet puppy, owned by her breeder, Emily Hunt. Zack is Hope's maternal uncle. Martha is Emily's friend from obedience class, who has a bulldog named Babe. Babe and Martha are in the ring, doing the Heel Off Lead pattern.

p. 127 of re-write #3

The judge started barking her commands.

Forward. Halt. Forward, right turn, fast!

Babe and Martha marched in unison. Babe waddled along, her back rolling side to side with each step, and her lower canine tooth jutting jauntily over her puffy upper lip. Some of the humans watching around the ring chuckled during the “fast” part, as Babe bounced and waddled with her bowed legs beside her woman’s calf.

Normal, left turn, halt. Forward…

“Uh-oh,” said Emily.

Hope looked at her Emily to see what was wrong, and turned to look where her woman was looking. Babe was sitting in the corner of the ring in a patch of shade, where they had done the last halt. Martha was doing the heeling pattern by herself.

The judge’s eyes rolled.

The crowd chuckled.

Martha looked down for her dog and saw nothing but air and grass. She turned and looked behind her. Babe smiled at her from her nice spot in the shade.

“Babe, heel!”

The bulldog slowly got up and ambled over to her human, glancing from side to side at her adoring fans and wiggling her butt for effect.

“Oh, yes. I am Babe the bulldog. Feast your eyes on all this gloriousness!”

Folks in the crowd were holding their mouths in their hands, trying not to laugh out loud.

About turn, slow.

“Oh, my, if she goes any slower, she’ll be going backwards,” Hope heard her woman think.

Normal, right turn, halt. Forward, about turn, halt. Exercise finished.

Even the judge sounded relieved.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Skywatch Friday

Drive-by winter sky.............

For more skyviews from around the world, please click here.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

We've Broken the eBook iBook Barrier!

It is a bit magical, and I suppose frightening in a who-has-got-control-of-copyright sort of way, but I'll be daggone!

Mama Pajama Tells A Story is now available on Kindle and Nook. Who'd of ever thunk it? And it's selling!

So I'm sitting in my little computer/sewing room. (The room is newly spic and span and organized, I might add, due to the fact that my novel had been nudging me to work on it, so of course I spent days cleaning, instead). I log on to my Facebook page and spit my coffee on my screen. A friend from Norway wrote on my wall. That's not so unusual, but what she posted caused the coffee spewage. (I think that's not a word, but it should be.) She wrote:
OMG had to share, it had been a while since I checked to see if your book was on amazon in kindle form and it now is!!! Very excited, just downloaded it :) I have been wanting to read it for a while but trying to keep all my books in kindle version. Hug your whippets for me :)
And she included the link:
Mama Pajama Tells A Story: A Collection of Writings About Dogs and Their Servants [Kindle Edition]

I marched myself down in my Big Pink Thing to Bill's studio.

"Great, just blankety-blank great! Now my book is available on Kindle for $3.99."
"How did that happen?"
"Do I look like I know?"
"Guess you better call the publisher."
"Guess I better."

After hours on hold and being disconnected twice and speaking to two different departments, we ascertained that no, I hadn't signed the eBook clause, and yes, they could take it off Kindle right away. 


I've been reading every book I've read for at least a year (has it been two?) on the free Kindle app on my iPhone. I'm reading more than ever, and no waiting for the book to arrive, and wasn't I being just a bit hypocritical and ...

"Well, no, don't take it down just yet. Let me think about it."

I went to the Kindle store link that my Norwegian friend had provided. I scrolled down the page to find:
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #241,692 Paid in Kindle Store
That was humbling. Meaning that not counting the free books, mine ranked way down at the bottom of the barrel. But, I had no where to go but up, right? So I posted it on my Facebook page. And I posted it on the FANS OF MAMA PAJAMA TELLS A STORY Facebook page. My Facebook friends who have Nooks said they felt left out. I did a little search on Barnes & Noble and there it was. So I put up that link. My kind and generous Facebook friends shared the links. This was getting exciting.

I just now checked on the Kindle store page. 
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,096 Paid in Kindle Store 
Holy moly!!! [She does a little giggly dance, a kind of Staying Alive John Travolta meets the Michelin Man and Pillsbury Doughboy's illegitimate love child. She's grateful no one except her dogs can see her. Even they look askance, except the youngest two who join in the fun.] 

Amazon's Sellers Ranking formula is strange and incomprehensible, but that was a heck of a jump! I think it translates to somewhere around $20 to $30 in royalties for me, and that's if there is any way to hold Amazon accountable for eSales.

But. I need an agent for my novel. I believe in the story I'm trying to tell. I'm not so good in believing in myself, but oh I do so believe in this story. I'm on the third revision. The third rewrite. I want to get it right, as right as I possibly can, before I search for an agent. I wish I had an MFA in creathve writing after my name. I don't. I can't tell an agent that I am on the Faculty at some prestigious writing college. I've never even submitted to the New Yorker, much less been published there.

And this day? It might mean nothing to a 'real writer'. It does mean that there are 14,096 Kindle books which are selling more than mine today. But it has given this little writer the courage to dare to call myself a writer again.

Thanks, my friends.

Hug yourselves for me.

Monday, January 2, 2012

An excerpt from my book... yes, I'm writing again!

... in which ten week old puppies, Hope and Proper, meet Driver, an old yellow lab.

A spring breeze tickled Hope’s butt and she zoomedby her brother. “Whee! Proper catch me! What a fun place this is!” The two madea big loop, rounded a corner and headed back toward the house, as fast as theirpuppy legs could barrel them. Proper crashed into Hope when she brought herselfup short, eyes fairly popping out of her head.
“Proper,” she whispered. “What is that?
Ahead of them stood the largest dog they had everseen. The puppies dropped their ears and their tails. They poked forward withtheir noses, trying to smell some sense of the situation.  Hope inched closer to the giant.
“Hello, Sir.” 
She sniffed as she approached. “Oh,I’ve met your scent on my Emily! It’s an honor to meet you. I’m Hope, and thisis my brother, Proper. We’ve just arrived.”
The giant dog padded over to them. His head isbigger than all of me, thought Hope. He was golden. His big ears droopeddown the side of his face, his nose was fat, and that thick tail! Woosh! Hope ducked as it wagged.The puppiescircled around him, their own tails tucked tightly between their legs, wigglinglike caught fish.
“Puppies! I love puppies!” said the big dog. Hepoked his fat nose up Hope’s hoochie, and snuffled, “Girl.” Hope did a modestbody curl, air-licking and grinning. The giant flipped Proper right over,getting a snoot full of his winkie. “Boy,” he proclaimed. The big yellow dogflopped down on the ground and rolled onto his back.
Hope and Proper thought maybe, just maybe this hugedog might be in possession of a milk bar like their Mother’s. They bounced overto investigate.
“Oh, no, little ones! Sorry to disappoint! Here,check out my teeth; there may be a bit of leftover breakfast hanging around.You’re welcome to anything you find. I’m Driver, by the way. Most everyonecalls me Ol’ Uncle Driver. The humans started that. I’m not actually anyone’suncle. Silly humans.”
Hope and Proper licked Driver’s gums and stuck their skinnysnouts practically clear down his throat. It was fascinating in there. Like abig cave, with bits of sticks and a blade of grass or two. Hope even found alittle piece of biscuit way in the back.


hug your hounds and wish me luck