Never ending story the remake. Aka my to-do list.

Sometimes it feels like I run around in circles getting a lot and nothing done.
Today I took a mental break and actually sat down to watch the last 10 minutes of a TV show I’ve been streaming and listening to, while doing the chores. The dog kept looking at me like ‘for real? We’re staying in one place for a bit?’

I have read a couple books that I need to review for my blog.
I have read more of my CP’s story that I need to make notes and email her about.
I need to touch base with a couple of friends.
I have to call my parents.
I have to pick up my ‘packet’ for a 5k color run that I’m running (ha!) with my oldest this weekend.
I have to sort and put away the Ben Nevis of laundry.

I swear I’ve been busy getting things done, but I still have this unwieldy to-do list I’m too tired to even finish typing up!

To-do lists suck. I keep making them and scowling at them. But I love when I get through them.
I need the to-do list fairy to come pick up the slack.

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Dog Adoption and Black Dog Syndrome

I’m a dog person – sorry internet, I know you’re more of a cat person – for me, dog beats cat any day of the week.

Growing up I had a Yorkshire Terrier, and I always knew I wanted my kids to grow up with a dog too. But juggling three kids (and let’s face it, a husband too) doesn’t leave a lot of energy to take care of another baby.

We’re finally at the point where the kids are all big enough to be measurably helpful in the day to day business of life – and they’ve begged, pleaded, and groveled for a dog for the past 2683* days straight.

I did some online research and discovered that the local animal shelter was having an adoption day at a nearby pet store this past weekend. Early Saturday morning the kids all fell out of bed, anxious to go find their new best buddy.

We did meet some really sweet dogs, all deserving of their forever home, but none that really felt like the perfect match. Our next stop was the animal shelter, but I wasn’t sure we’d find a dog, because the shelter’s web site was page after page of pit bulls. I know there’s a lot of advocacy for pits and people do keep them as pets and swear they are sweet and loving, but I just can’t get one. They’re not for me.

At the shelter we told the lady at reception what we were looking for – a medium sized, short haired dog, must be good with kids, house trained if possible, not a puppy.

Immediately she suggested a particular dog and called for a volunteer to take us to see her.

I thought I was looking for a boy dog, but when I saw this sweet girl I couldn’t think of one good reason to stick to that idea.

We played and bonded with Nessie for close to half an hour. She was well behaved and engaged, as interested in the kids as they were in her. And she responded to me like she’d met me before. It was obvious that she was the one.

She’d been surrendered to another shelter when she became pregnant and transferred to this shelter soon after. She gave birth to 10 healthy puppies and had recently come out of the maternity ward to be placed on the ‘ready for adoption’ list.

After our play time we went straight to the office to fill out the adoption paperwork. Every employee and volunteer we talked to, cheered for Nessie for finding herself a new family.

Her adoption fee was noted as $75 but the office staff explained it was actually reduced to $0 – that’s right, zero – because she is a black dog, and the shelter is taking part in a nationwide promotion of black dogs, hoping to overcome Black Dog Syndrome (BDS).
I’d heard of BDS before, from a story on the local news a few months back. Apparently black cats and dogs spend longer in shelters and pounds because people just don’t want to adopt them at the same rates as their paler counterparts.

There doesn’t seem to be any solid reason for this, but the statistic back up the theory. BDS is a real thing.

As you can tell by my list of dog ‘must haves’ fur colour was not something I had considered.

Nessie is sweet, well behaved, and great fun. It will take some time for her to completely settle in to her new home and schedule but she’s off to a fantastic start.
No through-the-night accidents! Woo!

She’s a rescue dog, she’s a black dog and she’s perfect.

*number is fictional, but likely close to truth. I did not keep count.

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My entry for The Writer’s Voice: Limbo

I’m very excited because my entry for a very cool writing competition was randomly selected #TheWVoice !!

My Query:

Dear Writer’s Voice Judges,

I am currently seeking representation for my 20K supernatural MG novel, LIMBO. Thank you for this opportunity.

Lea

 

Waking up alone on an unfamiliar beach is distressing enough, realizing that you have no memory and don’t even know your own name, that is scary.

When her full scale crying fit fails to attract any attention 14 year old Riley realizes it’s up to her to find help and get herself out of this weird mess. The fact that none of the townspeople even acknowledge her existence proves to be a problem, and the only person to offer any help is a ghost.

The ghost girl says that Riley is dead too and that she’s stuck in this in-between state, because she needs to do something before her soul can be at peace, before she can move on to whatever comes next. When this task turns out to be asking the boy she loved if he loved her in return – in a dream – it’s the cheesiest thing Riley has ever heard!

As Riley soon finds out, the ghost girl hasn’t been entirely honest, she’s more interested in taking care of her own unfinished business and her deception could cost Riley everything.

When Riley’s memories return, she remembers all the reasons she had for giving up on her life – the death of her mom, the new start her dad was trying to make – and she realizes being stuck in limbo is her own fault, and it’s not what she really wants. Riley has been granted the opportunity to fix the mistakes she has made in her own life and she must overcome her fear and anger and accept the love that’s really important, or lose her second chance altogether.

 

First 250

There’s a salty tang to the air and my stomach flips like I’m falling. I know I’m not, I can feel the ground pressing against my body. I sit up slowly, wiping gritty sand from my face, trying to quell the sour threat of vomit. My whole body aches, but I don’t think I’m hurt.

Everything seems to be working properly.

Almost.

I blink, and try to get my bearings. Nothing I see helps me out. An empty moonlit beach should sound poetic. I’m trying really hard not to get creeped out. I swallow the lump in my throat, and my fear. What am I supposed to do? Think, think. I try to force coherent thoughts through my clouded brain.

Don’t panic, be smart. Look for clues.

There’s something close by, a dark shape. What is that, a dog? Or maybe driftwood? It’s not moving, is it? A shiver runs through me. Wait, it’s a backpack. I scramble over the sand and grab the bag in both hands like it’s a life preserver. There has to be something useful in here, something mine. Emptying the bag I find a hairbrush, a disposable camera, a granola bar and a book. I stare at the objects in front of me, the spike of hope plummeting. I must have missed something. I search through the pack again. No wallet? No money? No phone? I check everything for a name, initials. I don’t find any.

Pockets! I stumble to my feet, cramming my hands into even the smallest most useless pocket of my jeans. My fingers grasp nothing but lint.

 

Star stickers and calendars, oh my! (aka the BEST WRITING TRICK I KNOW)

Victoria Schwab is one of the writers that I follow on Twitter – she tweets her love for Scotland, so how could I not?

Victoria also writes really good books like ‘The Archived’ which is FABULOUS.

And if that’s not enough, she gives helpful writing tips like this little gem from September of last year.

Victoria (V.E.) Schwab

Hey lovelies!

I’ve been getting asked quite often to explain the “calendar trick” I’m always talking about in regards to writing/accountability/keeping track of work, so here you go! An elusive VLOG.

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