Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Book Excerpt!!!

For you, dear readers.
I am finishing up the first rough draft of my novel. I believe giving birth to my son was easier and much less painful!
I hope you enjoy this little excerpt, in which puppy Hope goes with her Uncle Zack to her first Obedience Class with their Woman.
I am not too proud to ask for encouragement. At this point in the writing, I am so full of self doubt and oh, yikes.

When the Woman got the two whippets out of the van, Zack was a little excited, too, though he was staid compared to Hope. She was bouncing around on her lead, wagging her tail, and grinning at the Woman. Fun! This looked like fun! They walked on the grass outside a large building, and Hope could smell all sorts of different dogs.

“HOLY SCHMOLY what the heck is that hairy monster?” Little Hope felt every hair along her back prickle to full attention, and she heard herself sound the alarm. “Danger! Danger! Hairy MONSTER!” she barked. She had never in her young life seen such a big, hairy dog. The Woman told her it was all right, it was only a Malamute, whatever the heck that was, but good grief, what did the Woman know about danger?

“Get back! Get away from us! I’m a very important protector of my Human, who doesn’t have the sense to get us back in the van, obviously. Hey, Uncle, a little help here?” The terrified puppy glanced sideways at Zack, who was totally unfazed by the Hairy Monster. Maybe he hadn’t heard her.

“Look Out. Warning. Danger. Back OFF, Hairy Monster, you don’t want me to have to get physical!” Her little body bounced with each bark, legs stick straight, tail up, neck stretched taught as a high wire to make herself look as big and imposing as a nine month old, skinny little Whippet puppy could look. The Malamute, (a very large, husky/wolf looking breed developed to pull heavy loads on a sled) waved his huge tail over his back and acted friendly and non-threatening. Hope could not believe what she heard the Woman say next.

“Could my puppy meet your dog? She’s never seen a Malamute.”

“Are you completely wacko, Woman?” Hope gave a token woof, but got smaller as her Woman actually approached the Monster. Zack, on the other hand, had apparently taken total leave of his senses and seemed to be actually pleased to see this mutant beast. The two dogs wagged tails, and sniffed noses and privates, while Hope did her best to become invisible behind her insane Woman. She tried to sneak a sniff at all that hair, but darted back when the hair noticed her. After a while, as the humans rattled on in their inane spoken language, the Monster assured Hope that he was, after all, a Good and Honorable Dog, and she gambled a sniff, survived that, and met him properly. He didn’t eat her, and he smelled so interesting, and she was glad to make his honorable acquaintance. But she still kept a wary eye on him. Sort of like you might be friendly to a warty troll, but you wouldn’t turn your back on him.

After everyone was pottied they went into the building. So many dogs, and such a racket Hope had never heard indoors. But since she had been lure coursing, which had been even louder and oh so much fun, she wasn’t too scared. Although there were certainly stranger looking dogs here than there had been at the field trials. There were short, midget dogs, and big fat dogs and poor dogs whose faces were mashed in and lordy so many of them had way too much hair. There weren’t any other whippets in sight, although there was a Giant. She had seen them at the coursing events, and heard them called “greyhounds.” Hope felt a great deal of pain coming from this one, a Queen, who had suffered terribly, and not too long ago. She was surrounded by the sick yellow color of fear, with streaks of jagged red panic. Hope pulled toward the greyhound; she said to the Woman, “We need to help her.” And for once the Human seemed to hear her, and headed towards the greyhound.

“This sounds like the races. Are there shocks here? Are they taking me back? Don’t let them take me back. Oh don’t let them take me back!” The poor greyhound was panting and frantic.

“Back to what, Your Majesty?” asked Hope.

“The track, the track, the track,” panted the grey. She was just shy of hysterical and the whippet puppy couldn’t understand.

Zack said, “No, I don’t think they’ll take you back.” He stood tall and calm and kind. “It’s good here. A little silly, but it’s a great place for teaching the Humans. Do you have a good One now?”

“Back to the track, taking me back to the track, backtrack, oh!”

The poor grey’s eyes were wide and blind with terror.

“Do you have a good human NOW?” Zack licked the grey’s muzzle.

“What? Oh, yes, this one is very good. He doesn’t ignore me. I sleep in his bed, and he cares. There’s no shocking. No loneliness.” She looked up at her Human and her great, long tail wagged, even through her panic. “Yes, he’s a good Human and I love him. But I’ve loved other humans and they used cattle prods on me and I never slept in a bed and I hurt and they didn’t ever care. They just didn’t ever care. Am I back there? Is this the track? It’s loud. It’s so loud.”

“I don’t know a track,” said Zack calmly. “But this is not a bad place. Look at your Human and teach him. He can hear you better here than just about anywhere. You are safe here. It will quiet down. You are safe. You are safe. You are safe. Listen to my heart. You are the Queen of all dogs. You are safe.”

The greyhound relaxed, her panic passed. Hope wondered what misery such a thing as a “track” was, that could cause such horrid yellow fear even in the Royalty of dogs. She wagged a worshipful tail at the grey, and even gave a submissive lick, which was of course ignored.

The greyhound was busy telling her Human that she liked this Zack very much, and that she remembered that he was a good Human, and perhaps they should go home now.

(c) 2008 Patience C. Renzulli
all rights reserved

hug your hounds


  1. .... sigh... wonderful, just wonderful. I got teary-eyed when the grey was panicked and the other dogs helped to calm her....
    I can picture each image and scene as you write it!~
    Keep going! It's always a winner when you keep us wanting more, Patience!!

  2. Bravo Patience. I am very proud of you and can't wait to read more. How cool - a novel.


  3. As a mother of 1 fuzzy kid and a foster mom to countless others, I feel completely qualified to tell you that your excerpt is AWESOME! The fear of the greyhound was so real and akin to what I feel from most of the dogs I see in rescue. Great job!

  4. Your project manager says "keep on keeping on...fingers to the keyboard" (like "pedal to the metal" but for writers!)....r

  5. We've seen so many of those sad, scared greyhounds here in South Florida with its evil tracks. And a neighbor has a beautiful rescued greyhound who is sweet and quiet and lets us sniff her on our walks.

    We panicked with the greyhound in your story. If we spoke dog, that's what we'd hear her say!!

    Joan with Jake and Just Harry (we do speak dog, and we agree)

  6. Oh, Patience, as a greyhound helper and Human, that was so ...emotional. (A bit tough, too, but crying cleans out the tear ducts, so thanks - I'm better now.) Luckily most of the ones I've met and helped weren't that bad off, but there have been some who obviously had bad memories. If your story helps any grey or any rescued dog find a good home it will have been A Good Thing, which is somehing to be proud of. Good Luck, and I hope you don't mind my mentioning your blog to my friends in greyhound rescue.

  7. Dear P, no more self-doubts, it is absolutely WONDERFUL!!! I, and I'm sure many,many others cannot WAIT for the publication. It will be a big,big hit!!! Martha and P-Doggy

  8. Patience, it's FABULOUS!!!!! Congratulations!!! We're so proud of you! xooxoxmt

  9. Hi Patience! I just recently found your blog. Love it! Love it! Love it! Love the excerpt of your novel. Keep at it. I'm going to have to order Mama Pajama's book to keep me in your stories until the novel is published.

  10. Hey Patience,

    What can I say other than you've got the gift to put words together so that I can 'see' the story. Way to go girl...

    Basher's Dad

  11. You'd best keep writing or I suspect you'll turn back into the 4 legger you really are. How else could you know the inside of a doggie heart so well?

    I admire your determination. I am supposedly writing a book, mostly I'm filling a file folder in a drawer.

    You go, you go. We need more doggie stories.

  12. Teka says it is Wonderful! and she knows how Hope feels. You described exactly what Teka goes through every time we meet a dog on walkies.

    I am considering requesting a pair of earplugs.

    But we all loved the story.


  13. Oh Patience. I could feel the stress of the Whippy wanting to protect, the terror of the Grey. It all became alive in my mind.

    Can't wait to read it in its entirety.

    Linda (Daydream)

  14. Darn you. I was halfway through the excerpt and was sure that for ONCE you weren't gonna make me cry. But nooooooo.
    Anyway... encouragement? Come on! How great is this: "She tried to sneak a sniff at all that hair, but darted back when the hair noticed her." You rule.

  15. You have so much talent, P! Just write and get through this draft, then you can worry about editing and making it perfect. Don't look back, just GO! Make like a whippet on the coursing field and run the story down and pounce!

  16. Can't wait for the book Patience! Get-'er-done!

  17. Oh, Patience, I'm in tears! Keep writing, please!


  18. I could feel the panic, this was great. I liked the part of her bouncing with every bark. The Doofus does that!

    Thanks for thinking of me and having Joe make a stain in your book, I am totally honored and humbled.

  19. More, please, more! Mom couldn't see through the tears and gave me more cream cheese than usual.

    You know how to think like a whippet!

    My whippet friend, Nell, spent some time with a Malamute family and could she ever vocalize! She learned it from them and taught me too when I stayed at her place. Mom says that I can say "Out" like "Hooooouuuuuutttttt" sometimes and it makes her smile at me. Now, she's just crying. Humans are strange.

    With love and respect,
    Star the Wonder Dog

  20. Oh such a tease! I feel like this will be a book to read snuggled up in bed, spooning a whippet. Very good excerpt.

  21. You know, methinks perhaps you are writing the next "Black Beauty". The autobiography of a dog instead of a horse. Well done.


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