Monday, December 31, 2007


I started this blog for one reason: to get discovered by a literary agent. Then I would sign a book deal for my novel in progress, and be a guest on Oprah. Ha!

I met some great new friends, and was delighted to see a bunch of my faithful past readers were here and I started writing like crazy. Oh it felt good. I gave up my custom collar business to give me more time to write. A bunch of people found my book here and bought it, which helped.

In September, on the first week of this blog's existence, it was visited 516 times, with 853 page views. Even though Bill and I probably accounted for at least 500 page views, it was still an exciting start. This week, we had 2336 visits, with 3205 page views. Come on Oprah! The average visit has stayed pretty constant at around two minutes. Visitors have come from sixty-seven countries. Only, India doesn't count, because the fifteen visitors from India averaged two seconds per visit. No, India doesn't count.

Thank you for giving me your most valuable two minutes! I know how crammed every one's day is.

Now, for the resolution. The blog has gotten me writing consistently, but not necessarily on my novel. So. What do you think of my posting more excerpts from the novel here as I go? Just little snippets. Do I run the risk of having my story line stolen? Or boring you all to death? Please tell me what you think, if you have a moment, or if you care. Either way, I do resolve to get at least the first draft of this book finished in 2008. There. I said it. In public.

There are three other excerpts of the novel on this blog. You can start with this one (scroll down to the large writing), the next is here, and then this one.

Here is the newest. The Woman has lost her dog, Hope.

The calls were starting to come in. The Woman and Laura and Gayle had made posters with photos of Hope and a large, legible “REWARD” and the Woman’s phone number and had posted them all over the community. They had hit every veterinarian’s office and shelter for miles. They had gotten permission to speak to postal workers, Fed Ex and UPS drivers and supplied all of them with the posters. They had canvassed every convenience store and gas station, and there wasn’t a telephone pole in the county that wasn’t decorated with Hope’s photo and the words “Reward, no questions asked.” And the phone was ringing.
After a few crank calls, one call made the Woman’s heart leap. ”I’m pretty sure I got your dog,” the man’s voice said on the other end. “It’s white and got a spot on its side, and it looks just like the dog on the poster I saw.”
“I’ll be right there, if you could give me directions to your place?” the Woman practically shouted. On the drive there, she called Laura. “Oh my God, Laura, I think I’ve found her. The guy says she looks just like the photo. But I don’t know how she could have gotten there; it’s clear on the other side of town. It’s got to be every bit of twelve or fifteen miles, and it’s kind of a creepy area.”
“Did they say if she were hurt or anything?” asked Laura.
“No, he didn’t say, and I didn’t think to ask. She’s got to be ok. I just can’t wait to hold her in my arms. Hello? Laura? Hello? Damn!” Her cell phone was dead as a smelt. She reached to plug it in to the charger, only to realize that she had left the charger in her husband’s car. Damn and damn.
She saw a rusty mailbox with the number on her directions and pulled into the lane, winding into some scraggly woods, which hid the house. As she rounded a corner in the pocked drive she saw that hiding the house was a good thing. It was a mess. Broken bikes and trash and a rusted tattered swing set decorated the front. The house itself was cinder block, painted white or gray. It was so covered in black and green mildew, she couldn’t tell what color it had once been. There were bushes and landscape plants, but they were obliterated by tall weeds. She fought off a big wave of fear; she would get her dog. She clutched her purse tightly under her arm, picturing the $500 cash reward in her wallet. She wished her cell phone worked.
She looked around for any glimpse of Little Hope, but instead saw a man coming out of the house. A large man. Good God, the guy was a whole mountain. He had to be six foot five, and had a belly that belligerently fought any attempts to cover it, be it by pants or shirt. Suspenders kept the belly from pushing the pants clear down around his knees, but they had to go the long way around, making them look like parentheses.
As the Woman walked from her car to the door, that blimp of a belly seemed to be its own life form. She kept her eyes focused up on the huge man’s eyes, and said, “Hi. You have my dog?”
The tall man forced a smile, but it was evident that smiling politely was not a part of his normal activities of daily living. His cheek muscles twitched with effort. “I’m sure it is. It looks just like that picture. I don’t want to, uh. I mean… I mean wasn’t there a mention of a reward?” The smile wasn’t even a memory when his face hardened. His eyes didn’t contain a speck of kindness and the woman couldn’t wait to get her dog and get out of there. As if to confirm her need to turn away, the man cleared his throat and spit a glob of something that made the woman suppress a gag.
“Yes, I have the reward, but please let me see my dog. I can’t thank you enough. I’ve been so worried. I can’t begin to imagine how she got so far from home. Where is she? I don’t see or hear any dogs at all?”
“I put it in the shed so it wouldn’t get lost again.”
“Oh, that was a good idea. May we go get her?” If the woman had to stand there for another minute talking to this man, she thought she was going to have to spit a glob of something herself.
She followed him around a footpath to the back of the house. She was afraid. She realized that she had placed herself in a ridiculously vulnerable position. She was on a remote property, with a strange man who could sit on her and crush her to death, she had $500 in her purse, and she hadn’t told a living soul where she was headed. She wondered what the hell was wrong with her, and she wondered if this guy had Hope. Certainly if Hope were here, she’d be screaming ah-woos at the sound of the woman’s voice, and there was no sound at all, other than the distant drone of traffic from the Interstate.
“Oh, my husband is coming here, too,” she lied. “He’s probably a couple of minutes behind me.” It sounded just as lame to her as she figured it did to the man-mountain. She saw a shed, outhouse width, but three times deeper, attached to the back of the house. It was weather beaten, and the bottom boards were green/gray with slime. The woman felt her fear morphing into anger and she wanted to get her Little Hope out of there. But she had a bad feeling about the whole deal. Bad.
The large man fiddled with a key in the padlock and then opened the door. He moved his bulk out of the way and grunted, pointing the woman towards the back of the shed. She peered in, letting her eyes adjust and called softly, the universal call of a loving breeder, “Pup, pup, pup!” Even her oldest could not resist that high happy invitation, imprinted as their earliest memory of food, affection, and fun. In the very back of the shed, curled in a corner, looking with wary eyes was a small terrier mix. A male.
“This isn’t my dog. This isn’t even close to my dog. It’s a male and it’s not a whippet.”
“Are you sure? It’s white with brown patches. It looks like your dog to me.”
“It’s a male. I’m missing a female.” She turned to the miserable creature in the corner. “Come here, buddy. It’s OK.” She threw him a little biscuit, which he sniffed and then quietly ate. “Come on, come here. You’re alright, come get another.” The dog crept over, its tail low and it’s body language conveying nothing but fear and submission. She held out another biscuit and he took it gently from her hand. She scratched the side of his neck and then got a hold of his collar.
“He’s got tags. His owner’s phone number is right here!” What a jerk, she thought. A quick look at the little guy convinced her that he was someone’s loved pet. His nails were trimmed, he was in great weight, and his coat, though superficially dirty, was in excellent condition. She was gently stroking him during this assessment and the dog was wagging his docked tail faster, and squirming with delight, pressing his body into her secure arms.
“I need to call his owners,” she said, immediately blushing with her mistake. She did not want this man to know that her cell phone was caput. “Let me put him in my van.”
“Hold on there. Just hold on. Here’s what I think. I think this is your dog. I think you are welching on the reward. You offered a reward, and I have your dog and you aren’t going nowhere with this damn dog until I get the reward.” The man’s eyes looked snaky; no mammalian feeling, just flicking for prey. He absently grabbed at his waistband and futilely tugged at it.
In a fit of absolute inappropriateness, the woman fought an overwhelming urge to giggle. She was reminded of an old Saturday Night Live skit. Chris Farley played a failed motivational speaker, a derisory loser who was constantly hiking up his pants. The effect was to diffuse her fear, and she realized she could outrun this guy with her legs tied together if need be.
“Come over to my van. Let me show you something.”
At her van, she put the little dog in a crate, giving him another biscuit, and grabbed one of her “lost” posters. She showed it to the man.
“See here? Female. See that dog? Male. See this picture? Long legs, pointy nose, stripy spot on the left side of the body, long skinny tail. See that dog? His tail is cut off. This is not my dog. OK?”
The man’s face was purple with anger and he made a rumbling noise.
“I tell you what I’ll do. I’ll take this dog and I’ll get him back to his family. I have your name and phone number and I will strongly suggest that the family thank you for keeping him safe. But, this isn’t your dog and it isn’t my dog and I need to get him home.”
The man said, “Yeah, whatever. Great.” He hefted his bulk back into his house without so much as a glance over his shoulder.
The woman called out, “So nice to meet you, Creephead. Thanks for your help.”


  1. Happy New Year!

    And my Jeannie said to tell you this is a good idea about putting bits of your book on here!

    She is going to read it up tomorrow, cos tonight here in Scotland, is a busy night, being Hogmany and all that!

    But yes, put bits of your book on, I will chew it over and Jeannie will read it!

    Jeannie loves to write as well but she is not as good as you. She has her writings and stuff on her own blog, the link is on my page. But she will never get published cos she rambles on too much, but she just loves to write!

    She promises to read you tomorrow, its a public holiday here in Scotland so she will have some good peaceful time!

    Happy New Year love from Marvin and lotsaluv from Jeannie tooooo xxxxxx

  2. Patience,

    Whatever your motivation for starting to blog, you have brought us warm tales of your whippets, intriguing insights into your life, and -- what is so rare today -- wonderful writing that is emotional and heartwarming without being too sugary.

    So please keep on!! Our two hairy dogs will read every bit of your writing and look forward to more.

    Happy New Year to you, your husband, and each of the whippets, especially Lady Maria!!

    Jake and Just Harry

  3. Sure its a great idea! We love to read your posts everyday!
    Happy New Year to you, your husband and the furkids!
    Kisses and hugs
    Lorenza and mom

  4. happy new year! your book is amazing, gruelling to read but beautifully written. good luck with it.

  5. You're a brilliant writer, Patience! We love reading all of your stories! We always leave your blog feeling just a little bit better! Thank you and happy new year!

    Love ya lots,
    Maggie and Mitch

  6. I still have a file folder that says "P's book" with information about the Author's Guild, agents, and what you need to do to prepare a detailed proposal.

    Resolve to make the proposal your priority in 2008 before you complete work! I'm here to help! r

  7. We love your writing!!!! Write on!!(tee hee a little 60's hunor) Happy New Years to everyone !! Love A+A

  8. Happy New Year Nanna Pee!!!



  9. We think putting the book bits here is a good idea, I don't imagine anyone would steal it! We love your writing and are glad to spend 2 minutes here!

    Happy New Year!

  10. Patience
    We will aways wead evewything you wite,cause we love youw witing, even though some of the stowies scawe us,
    the mowe people see some of youw wowk the mowe will want to wead mowe i think.but then I'm aweady a big fan!
    I got all upset when I wead in the book that my Sam got huwt, but now I know he's OK..I make Mommi wead it fiwst now and only tell me if it has a happy ending
    Asta with smoochie kisses

  11. Oh.. Goodie! :D I might have a fever and feel pretty miserable, but I still managed to enjoy another little preview of your novel! ;)


  12. the food blog is here,

    have a good day!

  13. Hi Patience,
    Mommys Indian so hopefully that means you have an Indian audience!!!She stays on longer than 2 secs !!!

  14. Patience,

    Is this to be continued? I can't wait to find out what happens next. Great story!

    I love reading your blog, but for some reason I cannot get to it from my blog. That is why I do not visit as often as I would like. I have to work on getting that fixed.

    Your blog is great and you are a wonderful writer!

    Love and Koobuss Kisses,

  15. What a good story. How nice to find a character named, Laura!
    Putting bits and pieces here is good for us, that's certain. And I think that it may actually provided some protection for you. The date on the entry will prove your ownership at that time. Write on, write on. I love visiting you and your pups, at your place or mine.

  16. As always.dear P-brilliant! esp "dead as a smelt" !!!-Martha and P-Doggy


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