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Friday, July 18, 2014

Loss and Pets

I've been stalling on this post, due to sorrow and loss. Yes, terrible loss. The last two cats I had, gone now. Within the space of a few weeks, I lost both of them. They were companions to each other as well as to me. And maybe it was just as it should have been: neither had to live alone.

At the time, several weeks ago, I first noticed Bitty Kitty's hair was looking odd. But it is summer, she sheds terribly, so I didn't think too much of it. However, within a couple weeks, her hair began to knot (and she was a short-haired tabby). I took her to the vet, and she was already in kidney failure. At 12 years old, she had already been a picky eater but had just about stopped altogether.

For several months, my other cat, Slinky (age 16) had a small tumor on her neck. The vet had said it was probably related to her having FIV; so as long as it didn't bother her, I just let it go. She still ate her food, seemed okay. Once Bitty was gone though, she just went downhill. FIV can truly sneak up and lay a cat low.

At the time, I'd also occasionally allowed a cat, Mister Mr., to come onto their porch. Someone had obviously dropped him here; he was neutered. At any rate, I never planned to keep him and found someone who had a farm to take him. He was a beautiful, large cat -- but his nature was such that the feral streak made him terribly unpredictable. He would scratch for no apparent reason. (My skin is not what it once was, and scratches don't heal easily.)

Now, for the first time in 40 years, I do not have an indoor cat. I still provide a "kitty buffet" on my carport with dry food and fresh water. IF we had a feral program (trap/spay/neuter/release) I could definitely cut down on the neighborhood cat population. As it is, I cannot get my hands on these feral's, but at least they don't go hungry.

Otherwise, life goes on about the same. My brother-in-law is almost recuperated from heart valve replacement, but still weak on occasion.

My dogs are doing okay, though I had a scare with Oscar. He had some benign lumps on his chest, then developed one on his paw that started growing. The vet thought it wise to remove those, and while he was at it, he cleaned Oscar's teeth. Turned out he lost 3 teeth! But the little devil didn't seem to act as if he'd had anything done! Back to his same little peppy walk and sweet nature. However, I am waiting to hear from the biopsy report.

My other two dogs are well. Next up though, Rambo will get his teeth cleaned. He's 9 years old, so probably going to lose one or two teeth.

Ah, so it goes with the pets. I miss my cats terribly; every night they came inside, and perched on my lap or shoulder when I would lie on the sofa watching TV. And frankly, I just miss holding them, the quietness and beauty of a cat. Years ago I was diagnosed with an allergy to cats, but had several and vowed to take care of them till the end. I guess over the years I've had around 30 cats at various times. So it's a huge void in my life...

I'm going to take some time and decide whether to have another indoor cat. See if my allergy problems improve (so far can't tell any difference!). Of course, I have the dogs to care for too. Just wait & see, I guess.

As for my work, several of the novels I've promoted continue to sell. Nothing to brag about, but steady, regular sales every day. I'm outlining for a couple other novels, but still procrastinating. One of these days I'm going to "apply the seat of my pants to the chair" and delve into writing another novel. Hopefully soon! For now, I'm reading voraciously.

The weather has taken a strange turn: it has been in the 50s at night, 70s during the day. Unheard of in July here in the South. Wish it would stay this way the remainder of the summer.

With that, I'm closing for today.


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Award for my novel, "Quest for Destiny"

Just a few lines today to mention an award -- it's the Indie Book of the Day Award, for my novel, "Quest for Destiny." Featured on their home page for today, and then will be added to their database of winners. Here's a link: http://indiebookoftheday.com/quest-for-destiny-by-cara-swann/

I'm hoping this will bring more readers, since that is one of my favorite novels. Over the years I've visited Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains and it has been great inspiration for the setting of QFD. A mystery/romance with a theme of reincarnation, I enjoyed the research and delving into esoteric spiritual material about reincarnation. I hope there are others who love a "star-crossed lovers romance," mixed with suspense and flash-backs to the Civil War as it was experienced in Cades Cove.

Since it's Father's Day, and now that I have no father or grandfathers left alive, it's somewhat sad. I miss my grandfathers the most; and my step-dad. My own father was an alcoholic, not the best dad, and died in 1974 at the age of 42.

Sweltering hot days in Dixie. I took the dogs to the wooded park around 10:00, before the heat of the day. I have found a tick on Oscar twice after going there; even though he has good preventative, I still don't relish picking ticks off! Since there lots of pines, the ground littered with straw, I'm assuming that is a breeding place for ticks. And then too, it's damp with all the rain we've had of late. Argh.

And that's about it for today. I'll end with my certificate for the win today:


Sunday, June 01, 2014

Summer is upon us....

Ah, another June has tiptoed into the year. Summer is here in the South: hot, steamy days with only a bare breath of wind. Good for diving into the pool, or wading in a cool, shady creek. I used to love walking through the deep woods on my grandparents' 80 acres; the small creeks turned into rushing rivers with mossy banks and slippery logs you could sometimes cross carefully. Nowadays unless I go to a wooded park, I'm rarely able to enjoy that natural pleasure.

However, luckily there is a small wooded park about a mile from my house. I often take the dogs there, simply because it's cooler with graveled paths and even on a scorching day, there's a light breeze.



Wooded park path where I walk dogs almost daily

Week before last we had a terrible family situation. My brother-in-law was going in for mitral valve repair and/or replacement; he unexpectedly had an adverse/allergic reaction to something administered at the start of the procedure, had to have CPR to revive him. We were all shocked, since he's had several surgeries in the past, with nothing like that happening. The surgical team saved him, and of course, ran a series of tests to find out what caused the reaction. We're still not sure, as some of the tests should be back soon. In the meantime, the surgery has been re-scheduled for next Thursday, and we're all hoping for a good outcome. It's been stressful and worrisome to wait this length of time, because he does need this surgery -- since he's having problems related to the failed mitral valve. At any rate, I'm trying to keep my anxiety in control, and as usual, indulging in my greatest diversions: reading/writing.

Although I haven't made any progress on a rough draft for the YA novel, I'm still researching and daydreaming about it. I need a fairly long uninterrupted time when I first start -- at least to get the solid beginning underway. Since I plan to use the previous story as the basis, I've been going through it, snipping and cutting parts not needed.

Also I'm occasionally editing a novella I should have online sometimes this month: "The Walking Wounded." It's about crime victims, and how deeply they are changed by criminal action against them. Something I researched back when it was written (90s) and found interesting. If you've never been the victim of a crime, it's nearly impossible to understand the lasting effects of that life-altering experience.

Dogs & cats are thriving, although Oscar does have another benign tumor on his paw. The vet pointed it out the last time I had him groomed; she said it was not a problem at this point, but if it started growing, would need to be removed. It doesn't seem to be sore or tender; he still loves his walks in the park! Oscar has a couple small benign tumors on his chest too -- and the vet said it was not uncommon to find benign tumors on older dogs (Oscar is almost 11 years old).

Rambo & Muffin are doing great, still enjoy playing and chasing each other around. Oscar refuses to play, just watches and occasionally barks as if telling them to "behave themselves!" :-)

The cats are okay too; however, Slinky, the eldest at 16, seems to have developed a small benign tumor on her neck. Vet said the same thing as Oscar: let it be unless it grows.

I'm starting a free promotion of my novel, "The Secret of Crybaby Hollow" which will run from tomorrow through the end of the week.

And I also have two promotional runs for sales of "Quest for Destiny" which should cover a couple weeks. Hoping to find new readers, always!

I guess that's it for today. Not a lot to write about, but I do like to keep this blog updated occasionally.









Thursday, May 01, 2014

May Again

And so the seasons pass, moving faster and faster in a timeless dance as one gets older. Truly it does seem life goes faster as you age...

And again, we had a series of tornadoes in Alabama, several nearby. But thankfully, none in my city. The county rural areas had a tornado on the ground for 9 miles, and left quite a lot of destruction.

I never want to go through another tornado like in 2011, when most of my neighborhood was destroyed.

In fact, I made up my mind while living through the aftermath of that tornado that if another one like that happens here, I will pick up and move. Fortunately I'm in a financial position to do that, and I can't endure the turmoil, the loud, endless noise of trucks, heavy equipment and construction again. I will have my property either leveled, sell the lot, or repaired, then sell. Too old for that again.

At least there were no deaths or serious injuries here Monday night. But it was one day after the horrible tornadoes in 2011...weird conicidence that already had people unnerved.

Otherwise, I'm doing well. And my critters are thriving, still all healthy. Today is blustery, a bit cool for this early May day.

Family is mostly well, except for my brother-in-law who will soon have to have a heart valve replaced. He has mitral valve prolapse, and knew this might have to be done someday. Hoping it all goes well; and he will have excellent doctors, so we expect it to. On the other hand, there will be recovery time and all that goes along with heart surgery.

My nephew is graduating from Alabama Law School this Saturday, and I'll be going to the graduation with my other sister and brother-in-law. He already has a position with a law firm, and after the bar, should settle into his career.

What else? My novel, Season of the Serpent, continues to sell. I haven't really done any further promotion, but the sales continue. Not complaining; the sales are more than paying for my lawn care right now. Or at least, that's how I look at it, since it's good to know the extra income is helping in a practical way.

I also have several chapters written on a young adult novel, Star Child, and a vague outline for the series, Alien Hybrids. In another of those strange writer's happenings, I'd started this novel several years ago, and got to the stage where I wasn't sure what the protagonist, Ravena, had in her possession. I knew it was something important, an oracle, but whether it was magical, or supernatural, no clue. And then all of a sudden recently, I realized the oracle will be of alien design -- something she was given by an alien in the past. She is told she can only use it if she is in dire need. (As an aside, what she will see in it is the end of the first novel in the series.) Anyhow, I'm working on that when I have time.

And so this May goes....