Saturday, July 25, 2015

Rhobin’s Rambles – Pets or Other Animals in Your Stories # RR 07/25/2015

This month’s Topic: Have you used pets or other animals in your stories? What function do they perform in the story? Do they need to have a function? Can they be a character?

Since I am an animal lover and owner of a multitude of pets (exotic, barnyard, and typical suburban) at various times during my life, it only goes to reason that I will have them peppering my short stories, novellas, and novels.  My Rodeo Romance Series (understandably) incorporates a cast of horses, sheep, cattle, dogs, cats, etc.  Some of these animals only have Cameo roles, while others are characters in their own right.  My Sassy & Fun Fantasy Series also features a animal as a main character in each story line.  Gertie, a pet Teddy-Bear Hamster, is Zombie Meredith’s BF is “Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow”.  “Brede” Rodeo Romance, Book 2 features a horse and cattle dog.  “Lynx” Rodeo Romance, Book 1, features the hero’s horse named Texas. The next book in my series, “Rand” Rodeo Romance, Book 3 features a poodle who belongs to the heroine.  Rand’s interaction with this very unrodeo-like dog is priceless!

For realistic purposes I select animals/breeds that I either have owned, or have working personal knowledge (chickens, turkeys, quail, pheasant, pigs, sheep— bred for. . .well, dinner during my rural days).  My dogs: Greyhound (my favorite & a rescue) Poodle (AKC champion pedigree), Shepherds, Weimaraner and– my husband’s dog, a Chi-wienie (Chihuahua Dachshund mix). I also like to add my horses (Quarter horse, Arabian, and a Paint –a retired rodeo barrel racer) into the mix.  Due to my allergies to cats, my info comes mostly via friends and the Animal Channel.  Now the unconventional pet experiences, include:  pet mice, geckos, iguanas, horned toads, hamsters, parakeets, an Amazon parrot, and a runaway cockatiel--all have a way of finding a place in my life and my stories.

Future adventures with pets?  Probably.

I simply adore baby pygmy goats.  Mind you, I reside in the quirky suburbs of Southern California.  Therefore, as my husband reminds me, often. “You cannot raise a goat in our backyard, there are zoning laws.”

See why Connie loves baby pygmy goats!

Of course I know there are zoning laws :-).  I also know goats are herd animals.  “We will need to have two goats,” I say him.

“We?” He grunts and goes to his ‘man-cave’.

If look at a YouTube video and read an online article titled: Pigmy Goats.  With the opening hook: You should reconsider your choice in pets if you want an animal to stay indoors with you.
One fact was of particular interest, and brought back memories of living in an all-male household: ‘Goats are messy eaters too, pulling feed out of buckets and leaving it on the floor.  Once it’s trampled, they really don’t want to touch it.’

Ummm.  Obviously, I am not alone in my secret desire to own one of those adorable little goats.  However, since have zero desire to relocate or have two goats head-butting or chewing my maple dinning room set or my wood flooring, I guess I’ll settle for a petting zoo outing with my three-year old grandson.

While my characters do not always own a  pet, my characters have often had a pet during childhood, interact with an animal, or (YA stories) would like a pet, in the very near future.

Why, do I believe animals are important to a story line?

It is a way to show character, good and bad.

How people treat animals will give a reader insight into my main character, or my villain.  Treatment of animal hints at how he/she will treat a vulnerable person (child/spouse).  If the hero seems uncaring and selfish to outsiders, give the heroine a view into an unguarded moment he shares with an injured puppy, or his care of his horse.  His truck may be battered and dirty, but his horse is well groomed, fed, and sheltered each night.

However, my animals need to have a purpose.  Sometimes it may only be comic relief, or a confidant in a YA novel, but unless it is a Cameo role (or red herring), my animals have a personality and a place in the story line.

Who doesn’t remember reading, “Call of the Wild”, “Old Yeller”, “Misty of Chincoteague”? during her childhood.  Or "National Velvet"?

I believe pets teach children how to give and receive love on a level which exposes the to empathy.  There is love between siblings, but there is also rivalry.  There is love between parent and child, but there is also discipline.  The interaction with a pet gives them the experience of seeing how their actions manifest, immediately.

I believe pets, can enrich a story—my novels, as are (in my opinion) most genre novels, are about life and the human need for love and companionship.

Not every novel calls for an animal to part of the story.

Not every person wishes to be responsible for a pet.

I did a bit of research and discovered these stats (the info about fish surprised me).

*Stats: 2014, 83.2 million dogs live in U.S. households, 95.5 million freshwater fish live in U.S. household, and 85.8 million cats live in U.S. households.

So, what do you think?  How do you feel?

As a reader, do you enjoy pets in a storyline?  Do you look for authors who have a series you know will feature a heroine with a pet(s)?

Please add a comment with your opinion beneath this blog article.

Thank you, Rhobin for including me in this month’s Blog Hop.

I hope you have enjoyed this month’s topic
Remember to visit the other authors to see what they have to say about pets and other animals in their stories.

Happy Reading,

Beverley Bateman
Victoria Chatham
Margaret Fieland
Rachael Kosinski
Kay Sisk
Judith Copek
Marci Baun
Diane Bator
Anne Stenhouse
Rhobin Courtright
Shye Taylor

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow –Sunday Snippet #sundaysnip #07/12/15

Since the 1st story in my Fun & Sassy Fantasy Series, Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow  is on sale
this month (for only 99 cents), I’m am featuring the story in today’s blog post.

Meredith resisted the urge to finger comb her caramel-highlighted ‘surfer-girl’ hair.  Viktor had said she was his angel.  That was why she’d been blessed with her shining halo of golden hair, his reminder to keep on a heavenly, albeit rather boring, path.  She’d laughed, but she melted into his embrace, his deep slightly accented baritone a loving rumbled against her ear. The beginning in their relationship was magical.  Then everything seemed to change. . . 

 “You’ve got this marvelous career and money and everything that you could possibly want,” Pippa continued, jarring Meredith out of her thoughts, “and there's nobody in your life to share with."

"You mean I should have a couple of kids by now," Meredith responded.  That was so not going to happen.

"You need a man to have kids, little sister."

 She almost said: Zombies can’t reproduce, but stopped herself just in time.  Instead, she managed a convincing comeback. "Well, right now I'm not in the marriage in the market.  Believe it or not, I'm perfectly happy just the way I am."

Pippa’s expression shouted she seriously doubted that, but she allowed the topic to rest.  "If you say so,” she replied good-naturally.  "How about second cup of coffee to go with a slice of pecan pie?"

For additional buy links, go to my website home page:

Please stop and see what the other story snippets have be selected for your summer reading pleasure.

Happy Reading,


Blog Hop: Hill)

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Sitting in the Shade of My Mimosa Tree by Connie Vines, Sunday Snippets #sundaysnips

“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago”.  ~Warren Buffett
I find in the day-to-day living of our super-charged lives, we, speaking of Americans collectively, often neglect to give thanks for our multitude of blessings. I believe one of our greatest blessings—a blessing that many have lived, sacrificed, and died to uphold is celebrated this, and every, 4th of July.
We must remember those who planted the seeds of freedom, which grew into the abundance of our lives today. Like those who planted the shade trees sheltering us, we need to acknowledge that July 4th is much more than a time for picnics, fireworks, and relaxation.  We should verbalize the history with our children, young family members, and remind ourselves why freedom is important.  Why we must never that freedom as something to take for grant.  
We celebrate American Independence Day on the Fourth of July every year. We think of July 4, 1776, as a day that represents the Declaration of Independence and the birth of the United States of America as an independent nation.

So what exactly happened on the Fourth of July?
According to Constitution We think of July 4, 1776, as a day that represents the Declaration of Independence and the birth of the United States of America as an independent nation.
However, July 4, 1776 wasn't the day that the Continental Congress decided to declare independence (they did that on July 2, 1776).
It wasn’t the day we started the American Revolution either (that had happened back in April 1775).
Moreover, it wasn't the day Thomas Jefferson wrote the first draft of the Declaration of Independence (that was in June 1776). Or the date on which the Declaration was delivered to Great Britain (that didn't happen until November 1776). Or the date it was signed (that was August 2, 1776).

So what REALLY did happen on July 4, 1776?
The Continental Congress approved the final wording of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. They'd been working on it for a couple of days after the draft was submitted on July 2nd and finally agreed on all of the edits and changes.
July 4, 1776, became the date that was included on the Declaration of Independence, and the fancy handwritten copy that was signed in August (the copy now displayed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.) It’s also the date that was printed on the Dunlap Broadsides, the original printed copies of the Declaration that were circulated throughout the new nation. Therefore, when people thought of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776 was the date they remembered.
As I sit in the shade of my mimosa tree on this beautiful Southern California, I give thanks to those who founded our Nation, and I honor those who made so many sacrifices.
Happy Reading,
Please stop by and visit the other authors participating in today’s blog hop: