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Updated: Dec 10, 2021


A dinosaur gets a smooch

It's Been EIGHT Years? Really?

We just returned from a trip to San Francisco and I was shocked to realize that it had been EIGHT YEARS since I was last there. How is this possible?

Seriously, where has the time gone? I loved every minute of it, though. San Francisco is really a home away from home. My husband's parents live there and, until he came out to live here 18 years ago, my husband had lived in the Bay Area his entire life.

I spent a good part of my childhood, teens, and young adult years in the Bay Area as well. I'm completely lost, however, and driving around SF especially is a challenge since I only remember the streets from my view out of a Muni bus or light rail. And it's been nearly 25 years since I lived in San Jose - half a lifetime!


The weather was absolutely beautiful during our visit and in Noe Valley, where his parent's house is, it was fog-free. Someday we hope to retire there. I enjoyed seeing the changes in the city, and how much has also stayed the same.


I won't be staying away for so long after this. We are determined to make this an annual trek.


This is the demo version of the cover

Book 11 - G581: Earth is done!

My 11th book - and the 3rd in my Gliese 581g sci-fi series - has officially gone to my favorite proofreader extraordinaire. Seriously exciting!


But you know what's even more exciting? My favorite blurbist and book cover designer has given me the first draft of the blurb and the book to look over! It fits so well with the first two and I'm incredibly excited about it. I'll post the cover when we have all of the details worked out.


G581: Earth should be available for sale on September 1st. Yes, just a month away! You don't have long to wait. And I'm still accepting ARC readers for this book, so drop me a line at shuckchristine@gmail.com if you would like a complimentary ebook copy to review.


Next year you should see G581: Zarmina's World as well as the fifth and last book in the series, a collection of short stories centered in and around the entire G581 series.


I love being able to share the back stories of some of the bit characters, as well as the main characters. It fleshes out the series in a way that simply isn't possible with the main standalone books. I have to give credit to my eldest, Bill, for that. He suggested it in a review of one of my dystopian novels and I've been adding little short story ideas to a file folder ever since.


Book 12 Has Begun!

As soon as I pressed Send and listened to my email whoosh away to my proofreader, I pulled up Winter's Child, my next project, and got to work.


I'm genre-hopping again. I hope you will forgive me, I simply cannot help myself!


I would describe this work in progress as a paranormal thriller. Imagine the perfect child. Now imagine if her entire personality, her temperament, even her memories, changed with the seasons. When winter's child comes out to play, no one is safe.


I'm aiming for deliciously creepy and I do hope I can pull it off. I've read plenty of thrillers in the past few years. I think they have definitely been the inspiration for this.


Managing Expectations

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was going to try to write 1,500 words per day, every day. Want to know how it went?


Well, I managed 15 days in a row and then was stopped in my tracks due to the need to edit G581: Earth and then go on vacation to San Francisco. Aaaand then there was a few days after my return to recover.


I returned to writing on the 26th, and I managed another five days before falling off the wagon yesterday, and today I've gotten around 1,075 words. I'll likely make the 1,500 word minimum.


I guess you could say that I'm learning to give myself a little grace. Yes, I want to write 6 books a year with this method and yes, I do think it is possible that I might achieve that, or something very close.


But what I'm not going to do is let it become onerous, or a chore. Yes, this is my job (along with managing two Airbnb's, fostering, and running the house) but I really enjoy what I do, and I want that feeling to continue.


Recently, things heated up as our lone long-term renter decided not to pay rent on time for the 8th time in the past ten months. I had had enough of the excuses and gave him a 30 day notice to vacate the premises. Frankly, if you have trouble meeting your commitments that often, then you are living beyond your means. Housing is crucial, especially when you have children. I remember that when I was a single mom, rent came first. It was the biggest expense, but it was also the most important one.


Taking a week off of writing to deal with that emotional roller coaster and make time for some last minute to do's before we took a short weekend vacay and still have everything lined up for our girls to start school on Monday was a good decision.


Yesterday I had a good clip going in and around other things going on and I managed nearly 2,800 words. Today? Well, that's the story that comes next...


An Unexpected Call

In mid-fall 2014, I volunteered to foster a pregnant pit bull dog for Kansas City Pet Project. Pit bulls are much maligned, by the way, and my sweet babies are living proof of how wonderful pit bull dogs can be. Shortly before Thanksgiving, she gave birth to eight babies. I watched as each one was born and took its first breaths. Well, all except for the last one, which was delayed by a couple of hours. We returned and instead of seven puppies there were eight!

I had finally memorialized her along with our other deceased pets

Honey, the one I ended up adopting, was the first pup born. I couldn't tell you when Magellan, her brother that my husband ended up keeping was born, but the two of them were on the smaller end of the scale, surrounded by far bigger brothers and one sister.


I called Honey my min-pit. At 30 pounds, she was tiny, and she was as sweet as her name implies. She is quiet, not aggressive, not rambunctious at all. In the summer of 2019, we built the front fence, finally enclosing our property. The dogs already had a pretty large fenced yard of their own, but finally enclosing our yard was a nice treat. One thing remained, to fix the front gate so that it stayed closed. The spring needed adjusting, because it stayed slightly open and one a stormy day in late September 2019, Honey ran from a crack of thunder, straight out of the yard and away in a panic.

She met me at the door and covered me with kisses

I was alone in the house at the time and the parent aide said she had seen her running away as she was driving up with our foster daughter. Our little girl was hungry for dinner and so I had to wait, had to feed her dinner, and then I loaded her up in the van and began to drive the streets, searching for my dog. A few minutes in, my husband called. His truck had broken down and needed me to come get him. By the time we returned it was fully dark and the storm was in full force again. Poor Honey hates storms and is terrified of the thunder.


She was chipped, but not wearing a collar. It was a mistake I instantly rectified, ordering collars for my two dogs the very next day that had their names and our phone number printed on them.

All smiles!

I was beside myself. I reported her missing with the chip company, KCPP who we had adopted her from, and every lost dog Facebook page in the area that I could find. Nothing. For the next 22+ months I have looked at the images of found animals on the KCPP website, hoping to hear good news. We adopted another pittie mix a couple of months after her disappearance and Dunkin' is nothing like Honey, boisterous, toy-oriented, loud. I love him, but I missed her.


A year ago, we shut down our landline. We had our cell phones, after all, we didn't need it. But the microchips for all of my animals were tied to that number and a week ago I realized I needed to update them, so I did.


Last week. After months of having it directed to the wrong, now defunct number.

She's sticking close. Here she was still stressed. She's calmed down since then.

Today, as I was edging out of the gas station lot and heading toward the county seat to file eviction paperwork for the tenant, my phone rang. My GPS was talking, it was raining, and I could barely hear the woman. Initially I thought she was calling from KC Spay and Neuter who I was expecting a call back from to schedule the immunizations and neutering of a kitten we had adopted. But then I heard the words "found dog."


"Honey? You found Honey?" I screeched, "Oh my God, OH MY GOD!" I pulled over, off of the busy road and back into the gas station lot and threw the van into park. "Are you telling me you are calling from Kansas City Pet Project and you found my dog that has been missing for two years?"


"Actually, I'm calling you from Gladstone Animal Shelter, but yes, Honey was brought in as a stray. She was frightened by the storm this morning and a neighbor found her in his garage and brought her to us. The man who has been caring for her is on his way to pick her up, but we saw that you are the owner on record with her microchip, so..."


At that point, I pretty much lost my mind. Hyperventilating. Crying. Freaking out. And I'm still absolutely gobsmacked, I really am. My husband was able to retrieve her while I finished my landlord mission and headed back to Kansas City.


I'm not admitting guilt, mind you, but I may have broken multiple speeding laws getting back home. She met me at the door, crying, kissing my face, and being absolutely the sweet girl I loved since the day she was born.

We all have some adjusting to do. Dunkin' is being his rambunctious, curious self. Honey has no interest in the bigger dog sticking his nose up her butt or trying to mount her in a show of dominance (they're all neutered BTW). There have been snarls and a snapping of teeth on her side of things. I've cried my eyes out - partly from relief that she is alive, healthy and was obviously well loved while she was gone. A metric ton of those tears have been for the man who was told today that he couldn't take home the dog he has loved since some guy in the Northeast KC area offered her to him saying she was his dog and he didn't want her anymore. We've called him and spoken with him, exchanged pictures, and I've thanked him for loving her so much.


She's sticking close, but it's hard for her. She went from a home where she was loved and cherished, to a very frightening dog shelter, to back home with us and a strange dog that won't leave her alone. We are keeping them separated for now, and will reintroduce them slowly over the next week.


I've also decided to defer my dream of a collie pup for now. Four dogs is plenty and Lassie can wait. There will be time for a pup later. Our older dog is nearly ten years old after all, and for now, our home is more than full. So are our hearts.


To all of my fellow dog owners out there, take my advice and do the following:

#1 - chip your dogs

#2 - keep that chip info updated

#3 - Spend $15 and get a personalized dog collar with the dog's name and your phone #


If Honey had been wearing a personalized dog collar we probably wouldn't have had to wait two years to get her back. And if you find a dog? Always, always, ALWAYS have them checked for a microchip.


And that, as they say, is a wrap.


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Join my group General Malcontent's Grumbles and Scribbles on Facebook and get plenty of weird memes, the opportunity to read my newest releases for free, pics of the family, and other author news. I look forward to seeing you there!

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