Introducing Champ!

In one of those great moments of weakness I decided we needed another dog.  We lost our greyhound, Ammo, back in November and our old girl, Jet, didn’t adjust to being an only pup.  Jet especially didn’t adjust to Cheekies finding Jet interesting.  Our veterinarian highly suggested we think about adding to our family.  In fact, Doc Morrow went as far as picking out a shelter for us to visit and a dog to look at.

A week ago we went out to Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary.  Safe Haven is a no-kill shelter in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  There we were greeted by Jeff, the sanctuary manager.  Jeff let us leave Jet in a spacious dog run the size of a yard while we walked through the kennels in search of our new companion.  Jeff took us to the kennel of a poor pup named Champ.  Champ has been at the sanctuary since last June.  His first family gave Champ up because of Champ’s size.

Champ is an Anatolian Shepherd.  If you have never seen an Anatolian Shepherd they are rather large dogs.  Large may not be the right word.  They are giants.  Anatolians were bred for one reason and one reason alone; to protect stock out in the middle of nowhere Turkey.  Anatolians are fast, clocking around 35 miles per hour in their glory days.  (Slightly less than a greyhound which clocks at 43 miles per hour.)  They are lean, but large.  Some are very furry, like Champ.  Others aren’t that hairy.  These wonderful creatures are very protective of their “flock” or “herd” but since they were bred to keep lions, bears and such away from the stock Anatolians aren’t exactly prone to attack.  Anatolians will act larger than they are in an attempt to get you to back down.  They have a stubborn streak a mile wide.  Anatolians are a bit headstrong.  It’s like dealing with a stubborn teenager.  But, Anatolians are really big lovable teddy bears with their people and stock.  (Anatolians have also been used by Jack Hanna to help cheetahs.  You can read about it in Frenemies for Life.)

Anywho, we decided that an Anatolian Shepherd would work for our family.  Jet seemed okay with Champ when we introduced her.  Jet does look small compared to Champ.  It was love at first sight for Cheekies and Champ.  (I’m pretty sure Champ thinks Cheekies is a little puppy.)  Lumpy made friends quickly.  Within about fifteen minutes we decided we were bringing Champ home with us.

And that is when the fun began.  Champ has always been an outside dog; until now.  This means housebreaking an adult dog.  (Which is surprisingly easy when you already have a dog that is housebroken.)  Champ has never been with a senior dog.  That has added a whole new set of things to teach him.  Champ couldn’t understand why Jet didn’t want to run around and play.  Poor boy doesn’t understand that someday he’ll be old and may have cancer, too.  Luckily, Champ is almost three so he isn’t as active as a puppy.  We are teaching Champ not to lick the baby to death, even if the baby giggles happily whenever Champ gives her a kiss.  And there is the big one: No growling at Jet!

Obviously, it is a bit harder than I thought.  So far we have come quite far.  Champ has stopped growling.  Well, most of the time he doesn’t growl.  He has begun understanding the rules for living with a senior dog.  In fact, for only being together a week life is going great.  The only thing that has really suffered is my writing.  Between the vacation and Champ I may not get a short story written this month.  Oh well, this will work itself into a story soon enough.

Our New Dog, Champ
Champ's First Day

Stacking Cups

It turns out that stacking cups can be very therapeutic.  That is until the household destroyer knocks them over.  Sometimes I don’t even get the cups stacked before Cheekies knocks them over.  Yet, I keep stacking the cups.  I’ve gotten pretty good at stacking the cups really fast, really tall and color coordinating.  Besides, it’s almost fun every time Cheekies knocks them down and I restack the cups.
I figure this is like writing.  Just when you think you are nearing your dream of becoming published something comes along and knocks you down a few pegs.  But, you keep writing, getting better with each draft, each story, each query or contest.

Back From Vacation and Now I Need a Vacation

It turns out technology can’t actually write a blog post.  Nor can technology write a short story.
I spent a little too much time hanging with my grandma, playing with my nieces, and enjoying being home.  Other than the trip up to Colorado, I got absolutely no writing done.  Sad, I know.
Oh well, we’re home now.  It’s only the thirteenth of the month.  That’s enough time to recover from the trip and finish the short story I started in the car.

The More Things Change…

We are on vacation at the moment.  Lumpy’s posting is around 900 miles from our family.  Saturday morning we loaded the baby, the dog, and a bunch of stuff in the car and headed north.
As I sat there typing on my phone it hit me.
Technology has changed writing.  When I was a kid I would listen to my Walkman as I wrote with a pen in my journal.  Shaky penstrokes I might not be able to decipher once I returned home filled lined page after lined page.  Old country tunes softly played in my ears where I could barely hear.  (If I played them where I could hear over Dad’s talk radio my Walkman would travel with Mom the rest of the trip.)  On those long trips the legends of the West became my friends.  William Bonny (aka Billy the Kid), Sam Houston, Jim Bowie, Kit Carson, and the fictitious Cartwright Clan and Barley Family danced through my imagination as Marty Robbins and Chris LeDoux sung lyrics that brought the country we drove through to life.
As a teenager I wrote ideas to type up when I got home while listening to CDs with my headphones.  The Cartwrights were replaced with The Magnificent Seven and Lonesome Dove.  Marty Robbins was replaced with Garth Brooks, dcTalk and Audio Adrenaline.  Yet legends in their long black coats, high top boots and six-shooters still filled my writing.  In writing – that depended on how well maintained the dirt road we were driving on to be readable – I used the renegades of old to work through the changes in my life.
In my twenties I typed and listened to Chris LeDoux via mp3s.  The road could be bumpy and rough, but the crack of John Wesley Horton’s pistol and the whipping of his jacket came through loud and clear.  Descriptions of the wagon ruts I just saw were easily deciphered at home.  My main character now knew more about life, though the gypsy blood of a cowgirl still flowed through her veins.
Now at thirty I’m on my phone writing stories, posting directly to my blog, listening to music or watching live TV and stopping at Starbucks.  Where the barista scans my phone for my payment.  As I drive down the road with Chris LeDoux helping pass the time, my main character is riding through the sage brush.  Her horse stops by the Rio Grande, a drink to quench their thirst beckoning them.  The wind whistles past, turning the arroys of Southern New Mexico cold.  The yucca and cacti hold the promise of summer in their flower buds.  The Organ Mountains are blue hills in the distance.  The land is hard and dusty, yet as my character rests for a moment she realizes there is no where else she would feel comfortable.  As she mounts and follows me further north on my trip she sings Desperado.
Life has changed a lot since I first picked up pen and paper.  But, I guess some things never change.  I will always write about the American West.  And my character will always ride through this hard land, even if she now has GPS and a cellphone to keep her company while working cattle.

Timeline, Facebook, and My Fan Page

Alright, who is excited about the new Timeline format for Brands on Facebook?  I know I am thrilled.  I mentioned Friday that I’ve been busy fixing everything so it will be just right.  Well, let me give you a little tour of the new Amanda Nicole Trisdale Fan Page.

You’ll notice a banner now, along with a picture of me.  Before you ask, no, the picture isn’t in public domain.  It is a copyrighted picture.  No, I’m not going to get in trouble because I took the picture.  Anywho, I thought that it sums up what this blog and my fan page are all about; a journey.

You will also notice that everything isn’t in a list format.  There are now two columns.  If there is a post I really like, it’ll be pinned to the top of the page.  Say, if I win a contest or if I finally land an agent.  The post will be on the top of the page where you can’t miss it.

You can easily see the big milestones along this journey.  They are all over in the timeline selection.  I am slowly filling in all the important dates.  Going forward, all the dates – like when I enter a contest and when I query agents – will be added to the timeline.

Are there any other features you see that you didn’t know about?  What are your thoughts on the new format?

I’ll keep you informed of more changes.  Right now, I’m on vacation and my husband says I should get back to playing with my family.

Timelines Are Coming

Have you heard that Brands on Facebook are getting the new Timeline format?  Did you know that my fan page on Facebook is considered a Brand?  Wonder what I’ve been doing the last couple of days?
Facebook rolled out Timelines for Brands on Wednesday.  Since then I have been busy trying to make sure my Facebook page is perfect before the new format goes live.  And I have been so involved I have forgotten almost anything not named Cheekies.
Monday morning I’m going to write a post on all the changes to the fan page.  This is gonna make the page a lot more exciting for wannabe writers like me.  My favorite new feature lets me add important dates to a Milestone feature.  It makes it easier to see what I’ve done on this journey.
I can’t wait to show you all the new things on the fan page.

Writing During the Week Again

I started a new short story yesterday.  A brand new story!  As in new characters, new setting, new plot line, and new problems.  It is starting nicely.  Well, the process has started nicely.  My stories always start off with some major issue.
Getting back into writing during the week is nice.  This short story is for Writer’s Digest’s Annual Short Story Contest that ends May 1.  If I can keep writing during the week I should make the deadline easily.
Now time to see if I can write around 1,000 words a day again.

New Time for Writing

The vet went well yesterday.  Jet has a new lump, but she’s healthy for an older dog.
When we got home Jet laid down and Cheekies began playing with her toys.  That’s when I realized something.  If I write on my phone I have more time to write.  I can write on the floor while playing.  After all, Cheekies is crawling to what toy she wants.  She can sit and entertain herself.  As long as I’m right beside her, Cheekies is fine.  I just can’t use my laptop because Cheekies is drawn to it like a moth to a flame.  Writing becomes gibberish when Cheekies helps.
This new found time to write is great.  I can’t wait to start a brand new short story.

Vet Visit Today

If you’ve been around a while you might recall we lost one of our two dogs last year.  It was a sudden loss due to a horrific drug reaction.  Obviously, we all took it hard.  Well, maybe not Cheekies, but she’s young.
Shortly after Ammo’s death our mutt, Jet, put herself on a diet.  Jet was upset and eating wasn’t really her thing.  She’s a bit pudgy, so the vet said we should let Jet just eat what she wanted.
And don’t you know that’s when it happened.  I was petting Jet one fine December day when I felt a lump the size of my fist.  Needless to say, I freaked.  I called the vet in minor terror that I had another dying dog.  The vet very calmly ordered me to come in right away.
This is when I learned about benign fatty tumors that can be fatal.  The tumor is behind her leg, pressing on her ribs and a joint.  But, due to her age – Jet is almost ten – removing the tumor is risky.
Instead we’re doing quarterly vet visits.  This morning Cheekies, Jet and I are headed to the vet.  A few tests should show that the tumor hasn’t gotten any bigger.  And I really think my dog hates me after these visits.  But, that is another story.

Sick Day

Lumpy brought home a cold from the office.  I got it last week.  Yesterday Cheekies woke up coughing and sneezing.  It will probably shock you to learn I only got a story idea down on paper.  I really didn’t think that would shock anyone.  I’m going to try flushing the story out more tomorrow.  Today?  I was up most of the night, so if Cheekies will sleep I’m going to nap.
Does anyone else have troubles working with a sick baby?