Goodbye to Mindy

sign: "Guide Dogs for the Blind National Headquarters"Today was the day. I delivered Mindy to Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Mindy had done several kennel stays locally in the last two months, where I paid for extra playtime and stuffed Kongs and all the good things that would make her love staying in kennels, and indeed she was excited to enter the kennel lobby and trotted happily away with staff without ever looking back. This was important to me because I didn’t want her worrying about being left at GDB.

black Labrador Mindy smiling at camera

Just before turn-in.

It worked: today she sat for the GDB kennel worker to put on her leash, and then she went straight away with her, walking nicely, ears and tail up, sitting on cue. It was about as painless and stress-free as possible for her. (Me? I was doing fine until the GPS countdown hit single digits. Not gonna lie, I cried. But to be fair, I did more prep work for Mindy.) Continue reading

“I Can Only Do This Once”

Portrait of a male tabby cat

Portrait of a male tabby cat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I checked into my Winnemucca, NV motel last night, I asked if a service dog in training could stay for free like a working service dog, instead of me paying the pet fee. (She could.) Upon learning that I’m a professional trainer, the desk clerk realized that I obviously needed an education in what service animals do. (But if I’m a trainer there with a service dog in training, wouldn’t I probably already know what service animals…. Never mind.) It included this exchange:

Clerk: “And there are even service cats! And do you know what they do? When a person is dying, a service cat is trained to get up on their chest and die with them.”

Me: “Um. /awkward blinky moment/ But they can only do that once.”

Clerk: “Right. But it happens.”

Continue reading

Road Trip! the First Part

Would you get hip to this kindly tip And go ta...

Get your kicks… (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So I’m off on the Great American Road Trip.

The purpose is to return Mindy to Guide Dogs for the Blind, and as I couldn’t get anyone at any airline to confirm that she’d be able to fly in the cabin with me, I had to drive her across the country. Trying to make the best of it, I planned an iconic journey for the return, tracing old Route 66 for as much of the old pavement that remains. Continue reading

Stories in Upcoming Anthologies

I’m pleased to mention that I have two stories in upcoming sister anthologies, Corvidae and Scarecrow, both from World Weaver Press later this year. Both are edited by Rhonda Parrish, of Fae fame.

My stories are “Sanctuary” and “Judge and Jury,” and while each can stand alone they are really one longer tale. It starts when a wildlife rehabilitator stops to pick up a bird struck by a car, and it ends with strange death. Well, actually, no, it doesn’t end there, either….

You can see the full tables of contents here for Scarecrow and Corvidae.

 

Amtrak Cascades & The Empire Builder

Red road sign: "Warning: vultures may cause damage to vehicles."

This photo has nothing to do with this particular trip — it was taken on New Year’s Day at Lake Monroe, IN — but I couldn’t not share it.

My gift to myself for surviving December and January was to take the Empire Builder back home from Portland.

January was a crazy month: I taught workshops in Michigan and New Jersey. While in Michigan, I was rear-ended at a stop light during a hard snow, and my car had to be towed. (It’s fine now.) Then I flew to Portland to speak at Clicker Expo, a training and behavior conference (and one of my favorite times of year). There my brand-new computer decided to overturn its discouragingly predictable existence by freezing up and dying during my presentation. Twice.

So I was glad I’d planned ahead and booked the Empire Builder home. The Empire Builder is Amtrak’s premier passenger line, a run all the way to Chicago. I had a sleeping compartment, one of the small roomettes. Continue reading

Nominated! Starred!

FaeSo I can’t believe I forgot to mention this here, and I’ll just plead that I’ve been hyper-busy with work over the last month or so. But I really should have mentioned it.

My short story “And Only the Eyes of Children,” appearing in the 2014 World Weaver Press anthology Fae, was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. I’m most definitely pleased with that.

“And Only the Eyes of Children” also landed on Tangent Online’s 2014 Recommended Reading List, complete with a two-star mention (of 0-3 stars possible). I’m pretty pleased with that, too.

In other news, it looks like I’ll be signing at Robots & Rogues Bookstore in Lafayette, IN, during TippyCon, a pop culture convention meeting just across the street from the bookstore. That’ll be April 4, 2015, so mark your calendars!

Snow Ribbons & Other Winter Things

Winter brings us pretty things. While the north apparently got some good accumulation, the Great Winter Storm turned out for us to be largely rain and slush — actually, I would have much preferred the snow — the mild temperatures did at least create some fun snow effects.

Snow sliding down the windshield, but still cohesive, coiled and then formed ribbons!

Snow sliding down the windshield, but still cohesive, coiled and then formed ribbons!

Like on this windshield, where the snow melted just enough to slip and slide, but not enough to come apart, resulting in some pretty cool snow ribbons.

I kinda wanted some heavy snow, though, so I could feel totally justified in holing up at home by a fire and catching up on blog posts, accounting, and other gets-pushed-back tasks. But I guess clear roads are better for the majority…. But for anyone else missing snow, hop over to the Yuki-Onna photos to get a chill.

In other news, I sold two short stories in January and hope to be able to announce them soon. And in other news, the groundhog apparently says we’ll have six more weeks of winter, so stock up on hot chocolate and a few more books of your favorite variety. I’m still holding out for my snow day!

Catch Me in Chicago! Guesting at Anime World Expo

Anime World Expo in ChicagoSo today’s just a brief announcement: I’ll be the Author Guest at Anime World Expo in Chicago, August 2015.

AWX is a small but mighty con with an emphasis on Japanese culture, not just anime and manga fandom (although there’s certainly that too). Previous editions have included seminars and hands-on workshops on Noh theater, martial arts, and Japanese dance, so I’m very excited to be able to speak on traditional folklore.

I’ll also be speaking on general writing and the publishing industry, and then be sure to catch my reading of antique translations of classic Japanese fairy tales. It’ll be fun!

What You Did Last Week

So To Honor Him book cover, three riders on camels against a dramatic sky, with a brilliant star, and a super-imposed drum

So To Honor Him was released a day early to newsletter subscribers. Not only did they have the first look, but they had a different price: pay what you want, and all the profit would go to International Justice Mission.

(All direct sales profits last week went to IJM, but on official launch day, the price was a fixed $1.99.)

English: Amanda Palmer Live 2008

Amanda Palmer and I are very infrequently mistaken for one another. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I wasn’t sure about setting up a pay-what-you-want day. I mean, that kind of thing works for people like Amanda Palmer, but, well, I’m not Amanda Palmer. What if everyone just grabbed the story for free and nothing at all went to International Justice Mission? Continue reading