In two days, the final book to my Norman Invasion trilogy will be available, The Queen’s Kings. There have been a lot of good reviews and ratings for book 1(The Dead King) and book 2 (The Pretend King). I am very excited about the release, and of course nervous. Excited because I love to see people enjoying what I write. Nervous because with this being the final installment to a series, I have some readers anxiously awaiting the conclusion and I hope it does not disappoint.
For those who leave ratings and reviews on what you read, thank you so much for your time, good or bad. For those who do not think that it matters, it very much does. Even if you do not like it, I would like to hear from you. But please, if you do not like it or any book you read for that matter, provide more than just a low rating. Give a review to let the author know what was lacking, or email them. I have received good and bad feedback and the bad helps me improve my next project and the good gives me a pat on the back. Either way, let me know what you think.
Barnes & Noble…
Let me tell you the story of Jasmine. She came to me at the same time as her brother Sergeant. They were Christmas gifts after I lost my last riding partner, Sigmund (a German mix) who came to me after I lost my first german, Precious to cancer. My husband and I rescue a lot of animals, so these are not our only pets.
Bred for police/security work, they came from a kennel that was closing, and this brother and sister were the last pups from the last litter. They lived in their kennels, separated for the first year of their lives. The female had not been handled, the male, if handled, was not handled right. Though bought, I will always consider them rescues. They were so terrified for the first week with us, they would hide in our house. If I went to pet one, they would both flee. I allowed them their week, so they would learn we weren’t going to hurt them. Having them to support one another, it became extra difficult because unlike every other dog, they did not come to seek me out for companionship. I separated them occasionally, to try to win them over, but I was getting nowhere because every time we moved, they ran.
So, one day when I was cleaning the dishes, I tied Serg to my waist. He had no choice but to be with me as I moved and by default, Jasmine because she wouldn’t leave his side. After this, we were able to move around the house without them running to hide in the farthest corner. It took almost a year for them to start showing their personalities.
Serg is a huge baby. I see why he was culled from police work. I thought this would be my partner, but Jasmine would not have it. Serg will throw himself down in front of me, give me his belly, rub himself against me like a cat. He’s goofy and he grins. Though he doesn’t ride with me often, we are buddies. Serg looks at me with all the love and trust he possesses, which is a lot now.
Jasmine is the aggressive one. She holds herself back from everyone. Thunderstorms and guns terrify her. I think she would make a great police k9 if not for this fear. Her favorite thing to do is to bark at anything moving. The only thing she likes more than that is to be in my car and barking. She also likes to chase things. I have had a number of police officers just thrilled by her and how she puts her heart into her barking. I have been pulled over and they just stand in a position that they could watch her try to intimidate them through the glass. It is who she is. If she had had good handling and training as a pup, she would be unstoppable. She is the epitome of what she was bred for.
As I began training them, I met another roadblock, they couldn’t be bribed. It took two years before they started to take treats, and of course, they won’t play with humans. But I learned quickly they would obey simply to be called a “good boy” or “good girl.” If I tried to give them a treat, they would politely take it and go lay it down. Serg has come around and will eat almost any treat. Jasmine still thinks someone wants to poison her. Though she loves McNuggets and bacon.
From those two dogs, I thought I would choose my partner. But my partner chose me, and it seemed she talked it over with her brother. He is comfortable in cars but makes it clear he is more comfortable staying home. Jasmine, despite her hard-headedness, will joyfully choose to jump into my car over anything else that is going on. Serg is also developing hip issues, so our outdoor activities can become taxing for him. Jas, however, never stops. Last year, we learned she loves playing in water and chasing jet skis from shore.
She is the kind of dog that has to have a purpose. Serg is happy just being a dog, not my Jas. In my car, Jas has become my buddy and my protector. At home, she is my guardian, following me in and out. She would rather follow me than be with her brother most days. She has learned to open our front door, so I really have no choice. At the lake she will perch on the jet ski in front of me. Or she will chase jet skis from the shore.
I wanted to share that story of my Jasmine because in my videos you may hear her barking or me in the middle of a weird conversation with her. She is always the one you hear me question as to what is happening on the road ahead. I’m not sure why I ask. Mainly because she won’t answer. But secondly, because she is usually asleep. I sometimes ask her if we should turn around to find a better route if the road is blocked. Again, I don’t expect her to answer, but even if she did, I don’t think she would care because she has no schedule to keep. I will share videos of her chasing a jet ski or romping with her brother. I could go on all day about my germans and all our other pets. But Jasmine, I think you will get to know well here, because she insists I take her wherever I go.
I see a lot of bad driving examples. Unfortunately, some are those who call us down for our bad driving. Granted, this is a weird intersection. I did pause to let the police officer finish running his or her stop sign, which the officer ignored before ever coming into view of my camera. If the officer stopped at his sign, he would have seen me pulling out from mine. He or she finished this up without signaling a turn. (Special note: Ignore the weird conversation I am having with my dog. And use your blinkers!)
Writing can sometimes be quite the chore. Whether fiction or non-fiction, sometimes that focus to sit down and make the words come to mind is just missing. Nothing is more frustrating than having a newspaper deadline and you can’t even come up with the first line of the story.
I have leaned if I am having trouble getting started, I move beyond what I am struggling with. If working on news, I can move on to the quotes I want to use, sometimes that is enough to make the rest of it flow. Sometimes, it’s easier to start at the end and work backward. In fiction I can create a conversation, or a scene, that doesn’t really relate to the area I’m trying to concentrate on but can kick start my creativity.
I must be careful though, in fiction. One scene can lead to another, and I find myself way off track. In news writing, it is not as easy to get lost down a different road. There are parameters, an end to the interview or information. For fiction, those side roads can become endless.
What really works best for me is after a couple of minutes of typing nothing, I tell myself “something is better than nothing.” Then “really, you’re not going to type anything.” Which can lead to, “NOTHING? Really, that’s how you want to spend your time?” Then I tell myself with a great deal of frustration, “one word, that’s all you need.” After another amount of time, “So, you can’t even come up with one word.”
On the worst days I just think, “there’s laundry that needs done, a floor vacuumed.” I should lead with that. Nothing gets my mind back on track like the thought of housework.