Sunday, February 6, 2011

My Dog Named Dog

My Dog Named Dog 

When I was seventeen, I got my first dog of my own. Mind you, I grew up on a farm with a million animals. The dogs I grew up with were my dad’s, well-trained and disciplined. All my dad had to do was to whistle an order and immediately his dogs would obey. My dad had a way with animals, but I wasn’t allowed to have a dog of my own. Although surrounding our land from time to time dogs were dumped. I got Dog from an old mutt of a poor dog with three legs that someone had left out in the middle of nowhere (because that’s where our farm was). She had a litter of two puppies. I found them when I had gone for a walk. I couldn’t tell anyone what I had found because stray dogs caused problems around the farm, but I would sneak out at all hours to ensure they were fine.

The old dog was smart. She had chosen one of the abandoned run down houses that my grandfather had used to let hired hands live in when they worked for him. The whole of the dwelling had crumbled and overgrown with vines and weeds, perfect shelter for an animal though. As the puppies grew, I became scared something would happen to the one I claimed. So to the horror of my sister, I began to sneak in Dog into bed with me every night and return him in the morning to his Momma. He was adorable, but it didn’t stop my sister on tattling on me. I guess my little stunt softened my dad and he let me keep him except I couldn’t keep him in my room. So I had my Dog.

I loved that dog, still do. He followed me around everywhere, step for step. I named him after John Wayne’s dog in Big Jake. I’m giving away my age, but I loved John Wayne. And if his dog was named Dog, it was just fine with me. Dog was a spotted mutt. It wasn’t long before Dad kept on me to train Dog properly. I was too soft on him, ruining him with my technique. Okay, all Dog had to do was give me those puppy dog eyes and I let him do what he wanted. Then came a time when a boy rode his bike by the house and Dog nipped the kid for doing nothing but riding by at the wrong time. I couldn’t stop Dog no matter how many times I yelled at him to stop. For some reason, Dog thought he was protecting me, but instead he showed my Dad he was right. I hadn’t trained him properly. (Don’t worry the boy was fine. Tiny nip at best.)

I say this because I told myself I knew what I was doing. How hard could it be to have a dog? But as most things in life, things are never what they seem. Hard work has never bothered me. I know I’m obstinate and stubborn. I have always believed that those skills help me to achieve the goals I have sought over my life, but now I feel like I did when I was seventeen with my dad telling me he told me so.

Writing has always been a dream of mine. I know how that sounds. I watch American Idol and every contestant gives the same line. So I’m like those poor souls. But even given my age, I’m naïve. I learned how to write on my own. I read and read books in the genre I wanted to write. I took every criticism to heart. My first attempts…well, I don’t talk too much about them. The bottom line is that I spent ten years learning to do what I love to do. Granted some people are born to write. I wasn’t one of them. I had to be taught to put down the stories in my head on paper. It’s a lot harder than it looks, but I’m at a point now where I feel good about my writing.

I’m so excited to have signed The Sun Will Rise with Whiskey Creek Press. I’m also happy to have had Dream Walker and Patriot Secrets published. My problem now isn’t writing, but how to publicize my works. Being naïve I thought once it was published I would let nature take its course (so to speak). Writing the book is only the beginning. Why I had the hardest time getting a review for Patriot Secrets! With Dream Walker, Wild Child Publishing got my review. I never requested one. But with Patriot Secrets I was left on my own. Getting a review isn’t like submitting a manuscript where you can get feedback on your submission. And you aren’t supposed to ask why you didn't get a review.

Now with Patriot Secrets I did face a couple of issues. First Patriot Secrets is a historical fiction book. It’s not a straight romance, although there is romance in it. It’s called story driven with romantic elements. Getting a romance reviewed is easier than a historical fiction. Although I’m admitting now, I haven’t the foggiest idea what I’m doing asking for a review. The historical fiction sites I found wanted a book in print, refusing to look at an ebook. Then the sites I found that said they reviewed ebook historical fiction never returned my requests. So I turned to Romance reviews and got a couple of romance reviews. Honestly I was thrilled with the reviews from Coffee Time Romance and Icy Snow Musings Book Review. And I do realize that a true romance holds to a formula that I didn’t follow with Patriot Secrets. It doesn’t mean it’s not a good book. It just means it’s not a true romance. And I just want to add the reviews from readers have been great!

When I was writing Patriot Secrets, I was thinking John Jakes. I love the way he integrated history into a story line. He followed a family and definitely didn’t follow the romance formula. So I think that’s how I would compare Patriot Secrets I would say if you enjoy John Jakes and books on that line, I would hope you would enjoy Patriot Secrets.

Now with my new book, The Sun Will Rise, totally a different story- romantic suspense! Followed with Another Night Falls which follows the romance formula to the t.

But the reason for this blog- trying to get Patriot Secrets reviewed I went to one of the sites that allow you to submit your manuscript for review and it goes out to ten review sites at one time. Out of those ten only one took Patriot Secrets – an erotica review site! Now here I was praying someone would review my book and then to discover the only one that took it from this group is a site you have to click onto saying you’re over 18 before you can get in it. This isn’t a good sign for me considering I don’t write erotica! Never advertised it as an erotica!

Now I ask you should I be disappointed for not getting a good review at this site. They said I had one bland love scene (sex scene- it was one sex scene). There were plenty of love scenes. Fell right down their scale. Let me think what they said…too many characters…knew the history, but they seemed to me to be saying that it interfered with the story… My husband read it last night and laughed! Laughed! I wish I could take it so lightly, but I guess it is all I can do. I don’t think, though, you will be seeing me post it here for everyone to see.

So back to my dog named Dog. He never bit anyone after that incident. Dad saw to that. Good dog. He never changed being extremely protective of me. I learned I might not be the best dog trainer, but it didn’t stop my enjoyment of my pet. Nor is one not so good review going to stop me from what I enjoy-writing. Not everyone is everything.

So it goes with writing. I can’t be everything. I do need help and guidance sometimes on making the right moves. Getting a review from an erotica site when my book isn’t erotica wasn’t a good move. As it was when I was learning to write, I will make mistakes. How I wish it was so simple as to write a good book and all would fall into place. It's funny. Someone at work today asked me was I making any money off my books. It was like you have a couple of books published, why are you working! Boy, I wish it was that simple, but as all things I've faced in life nothing is as simple as it seems.

The bottom line, I loved Dog and hold only the fondest memories of him. I love writing and am proud of what I write. So lesson learned.

2 comments:

  1. Dog is a grea name for a dog. I loved that movie, Big Jake, also.
    I'm in the same spot as you. Promotion is so difficult and mysterious. Good luck.

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  2. Thanks for the thought. I was a big fan of John Wayne. Boy, it seems a lifetime ago now. Don't hear much about those old westerns except with True Grit being remade. I have to go see it. Thanks again.

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