Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving Week Break

It's Thanksgiving week and I have much to be grateful for--my health, my family, my ongoing pursuit of my goals.

I'm taking this week off to finish writing my fourth Golden Heart entry, prepare for Thanksgiving feasting, and decorate for the Christmas holiday.

I'm planning lots of adventures during the month of December. Travel to fun places, another trip to a Tennessee winery, pampering myself after a hard two months of writing, writing and MORE writing. I'm so excited to start posting about these adventures next week.

The last Golden Heart entry must go out by the 30th--overnight mail. I'm not sure how good it will be, but it ups my chances for two of my other entries which I think are strong. I enter the Golden Heart because it is a great way to push out a new story and a great way to force myself to write a synopsis. Finaling is a bonus that I would love to happen -- who wouldn't want to be in that golden circle? But to be honest, I'm more interested in generating stories that will sell one day.

Everyone who finals deserves to be there. Everyone who doesn't final should not believe that they didn't deserve to be there. I've read a lot of wonderful entries as a judge and many did not final. So there you have it--one entry must have many kind judges who read the story without prejudice and malice and are receptive to the story.

This is subjective.

But I digress. I'm back in my writing dungeon and I'm working hard. See you all in December!!

Happy Thanksiving :-)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Retro Blog--Happy Birthday to My Dad

Yesterday was my dad's birthday. He passed away in 2002 after a battle against cholesterol disease which stripped his body of good veins and weakened his heart. He had a joie de vivre that I believe he passed on to my brother and me. I remember his attitude about life. Enjoy it!

Here is the blog I wrote about my dad on his birthday a year ago.

I hope you enjoy reading it again.

Cheers Dad!  May your glass always be full and may your paintings inspire the angels.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

BICHOK & Body Moving--I'm Just Not that Interesting

I've been in contest prep land for over a month. I entered two different contests with four different manuscripts in each contest. I am not sure if I'll final, but I always like to enter contests because they give me deadlines. And if I do final, I have a positive affirmation about my writing. If I final in the Golden Heart then I have a fun networking time to look forward to, but I'm not going to count on the Golden Heart. I am putting together kick a$$ partials and querying them long before those results are in. I want a contract. I want to draw attention to my name and prove to my favorite publishing house that while I am waiting to hear from them about my revise and resubmit, I have been busy writing new books for them.

So once the Golden Heart entries are out, I am putting together submission packages and query packages. I have lots and lots to do. This is my life. I know I'm supposed to be interesting in this blog and write about stuff that will draw in readers for my future publications, but the truth is my life is not so interesting right now. I'm BICHOK all the time and even my new kitten thinks I'm boring. She'll get used to it. I do take breaks and play with her.

But a writer can't be BICHOK all the time. BICHOK stands for BUTT IN CHAIR HANDS ON KEYS. This is usually the case. I'm a motivated and dedicated writer. I put in 3-4 hours or more per day  to this career that is currently rewarding me with my own quarters. For every hour I write, I get a quarter. I also get a quarter for every deadline met and for every contest entry sent out. I am busy busy busy. Made over $30 last week!! Woot.

But if I'm not BICHOK I am taking care of myself. I made a decision to take care of my body and lose weight despite the fact that my thyroid is acting up all the time. (I have lost the same poundage 3 times now and I had hormonal help gaining it--not fun but that's the way my cookie crumbles). I tried the 4 Hour Body diet. Fail. Epic fail. I had thyroid checked. It was wonko so went on better medication and tried another diet. Weight Watchers. Doing well on it. I have stopped counting points every day, but I have slowly lost 14 pounds since mid-July. I wish I could lose it without trying but that's not possible. In addition to dieting I have been going to the gym. A lot. I have worked out hard. I attend Zumba classes, I do a weight workout, and I do cardio machines. I also go for long walks. I even worked out with my friend when I went to DC. I ate what I wanted to eat, but I didn't gain any significant weight. What I did gain was lost as soon as I got home.

Right now I've hit another plateau, but I am determined to drop at least another 10 pounds. Wish me luck. It's Thanksgiving and cold weather season. A season where I'd rather eat and stay home and warm and cosy by my computer but I will prevail. I'm just like a lot of women who run households and empires. This is my life. Writing, working out, dieting, worrying, cooking, being a mom, being a kitty mom, being a wife.

I'm not that interesting. I just have a dream and a goal and hope that one day I will be published. Ask my kitten, Catadora Tonks. I'm just that lady who sits all day except when she takes a break to play with her kitty or go to the gym or buy groceries or cook a meal.

I'm an ordinary woman with a normal everyday life and my concerns are the same as other women in my age group. I have to diet and exercise. I have to go to the doctor and get all kinds of stupid tests that are not fun or pleasant because of my age, I have a graduating teen and she's great, but a lot of pressure is cooking. I'm an unpublished writer who wants to be published and believes one day it will happen about as often as she believes it won't happen. There are no guarantees.

I just write. That's what I love to do. I hope one day my books will be published and that they will interest my readers. In the meantime, I hope to stay relatively healthy and normal sized so I don't look weird at the book signings.

What's your life like?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Think You've Got No Time? Think Again.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard someone say "I'd write a book if only I had the time."

Hmmm. No time? Let me tell you something. If you have thirty minutes a day then you have time. What? You don't have thirty minutes? You're super busy? Hmmmmmmmmmm.... I bet you have a half an hour of time that is just wasted.

Think about it. Do you really use every minute of your day productively? Write down every meaningless task you do and how often you do it and for how long. Dillydallying on the computer? Internet Squirrels to chase? Answering emails first? Volunteering your time versus using your time to write? Answering the phone even if it isn't an emergency?

Okay, here's my story. A lot of people ask me how I do it all and keep it straight. My first answer is "I don't do it all." Check my bathrooms out as well as my floors. House is not spotless and it never will be spotless. I also don't work in what we writers call a Dreaded Day Job. Lots of published authors work DDJs or DNJ's and they have deadlines to meet. So not using my time during the day wisely is just wrong.

Oh, I could use it differently. I could have an immaculate house. I could have tons of social activities during the day to attend. I could volunteer ALL my hours away. I could shop and decorate on a dime. I could have other hobbies. I... well... I don't do it all. If I want to be a career writer, then I have to prioritize. So a perfect house which is perfectly decorated and pursuing all sorts of hobbies just aren't on my agenda.

Housework? I ask for help and if I don't get it, then the house goes to Defcom 102 and we all have to pitch in to clean because no one in my house likes it to get too dirty. Social life? Here I have virtually none--which is a problem because I am very social, BUT I digress. Here's the deal. I like to spend time with people who don't write, too. So I make sure that my evenings are clear. I don't write as much on the weekends, but then I don't have a pesky DDJ/DDN so I am lucky.

And here's another secret. I am scandalously unmoved by the ringing phone. Yes, it's true. I DON'T ANSWER THE PHONE. This is my biggest defense against time sucks. DON'T ANSWER THE PHONE UNLESS IT IS THE SCHOOL, THE HOSPITAL, THE DOCTOR--NOT FOR ANYONE DURING YOUR ALLOTTED WRITING TIME. That includes calls from neighbors who are wondering where you are or friends who want to gab and gab and gab. This doesn't mean that I never talk on the phone, I just plan my phone time around my writing schedule.

I don't answer the phone during my writing time unless it is my daughter's school calling, her, or my hubby. They are the important people. Well, hubby is often sent to voice mail and then I check it during my break (yup--MY BREAK) and see if it is important. Same goes for friends--unless it is a friend in another country--I will answer because of the time difference. But usually I just let the answering machine pick it up--in my case it's voice mail AND I have a phone voice announce out loud  WHO IS CALLING so I know when to let it go to voice mail. I don't even have to get out of my chair to check the caller ID.

Cool right?

I do volunteer, but very sporadically. I help with my daughter's theater group and do some things with my local writing chapters. But I have even backed off the writing volunteer stuff because my daughter is graduating in 2012 and I want to have time with her. Plus senior year is just insane and there are a lot of holes to plug before the big graduation day.

Time is precious. And I spend time with people who are precious to me. So here's another secret: I don't let things like other people's expectations or the phone or the Internet own me. I am in charge of those things. I own my response. I own my time. I own my writing time.


Okay. Want one more secret? Use "downtime" productively. For instance, today I had to color my hair (I don't go to the salon unless I'm getting a cut or highlights or both. And that's rare these days). Roots were rearing and I needed to get my blonde going on before I forced my minions AKA my daughter and husband to help me clean this behemoth of a house. No point in sparkling up the bathroom if I throw dye down the sink.

So what's a girl to do while she waits for her blonde to set? Thirty minutes is a long time. Here's what I did while my hair cooked to it's "natural" blonde again.

*tidied up the living room
*cleaned the guest bathroom (company coming tonight for dinner)
*cleaned the kitty litter (must talk to the minions about this--not my turn but it smelled bad)
*loaded the dishwasher
*checked my voicemail
*called my husband to ask for info for the school
*called the school and gave the person info asked for in the voicemail
*emptied the garbage
*played with Tonks
*wiped out my sink so Tonks wouldn't lick errant hair dye particles

That's what I accomplished during the time my hair was becoming blonde again. Thirty minutes is a lot of time. You can write half a page in thirty minutes. You can work on getting the synopsis for your Golden Heart ready for thirty minutes.

Or you can write a blog about time and prep it for the following week so you have time to keep moving forward on your Golden Heart entry--which is exactly what I just did.

How do you spend your free time? Do you own your time? Or does time own you?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Veteran's Day

We are able to write and blog and tweet and be because of those who serve. In honor of them I am posting these pictures taken during my visit to Washington, DC.

Washington Monument

Korean Memorial--real people's pictures.

Ghost like sculptures with a wreath from the Koreans.

Lincoln Memorial.

Petra at the Lincoln Memorial.

Vietnam Memorial. Very moving. The only one where there were too many names to hand carve.

WWII Memorial.

Gorgeous fountain and war eagles and states in the background.

Women who serve in the field and home side.

Many sacrifices made and losses incurred.

The White House.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Day in the Life of "Women"

I'm a woman. But there comes with the term "woman" certain expectations, health issues, life issues. As they do for men, but men are more "compartmentalized." And women are well... we're quilts of this and that of life.

I'm writing this like patchwork quilt pieces because that is how my life is and how many of my female friends' lives are as we move about our daily lives. We are mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, workers, writers, movers, shakers, widows, orphans, caregivers, volunteers. We are bold, brave, beautiful, beyond intelligent, beyond courageous, beyond stressed, beyond all that is sent to us.

I am one woman. One girl. One daughter. One sister. One mother. One wife. One experience.

I am one woman.

Today as one woman I had a mammogram. Today as one woman I heard my daughter freak about a test score that ultimately won't matter. Today as one woman I was one mother. Today as one woman I talked to another mother who made me feel good about my motherhood. Just words. Just reassurances. Just a "we're not alone" talk. Today as one woman I learned I was not alone.

I read about other mothers. Other sisters. Other girls. Other wives. Other experiences. You can read about them, too.

Mary Lenaburg  has a wonderful memoir about her life as a mom, wife, sister, friend. She's publishing her memoir about her life with her beautiful daughter in her blog Passionate Perseverance. It's real. It's honest. It's gritty. Read it. You'll be moved. Krista Phillips writes about One Woman's Dream. Her story will move you because she is also real, honest, gritty. Neither Mary nor Krista sugarcoat the truth with Pollyanna-isms. Read about these women. Read about their lives. Read about how they are "Women."

You, if you are a woman, are not alone. You don't have to pretend a strength all the time. You don't have to pretend a peace of all knowledge all the time. You don't have to be perfect and "on" all the time. You just have to be real.  Be honest. Be truthful. Be a woman.

Today I lived my life as a woman. I woke up my teen. I made lunch. I fed the kitties. I wrote. I drove to the Wellness Center. I saw pictures painted about Pink Ribbon runs. I had a mammogram. I bared my body to another woman. I drove around afterward and completed meaningless, yet vital, woman errands. You know the kind of errands I'm talking about if you're a woman.

Today I lived my life as a woman. I saw clouds float across the Alabama clear blue skies. I saw traffic slow to a crawl. I made dinner. I ate with my family. I was a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend, a sister, a woman.

I was a woman who knows how much and how little so much means dependent upon where I am as a woman.

Where were you today?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Break Out the Bubbly & Dark Chocolate--Celebrating Anne Gallagher's Debut Novel THE LADY'S FATE

I'm delighted to introduce you to a dear cyber world friend and debut author Anne Gallagher. I met her through her fantastic blog called THE PIEDMONT WRITER. She's a Regency and Women's Fiction writer.  I am thrilled to announce that she's taken her work and independently published her story. This is fast becoming a new way to achieve one's dreams and goals. I asked Anne to share her experiences as a writer and as an indie author with us today. I hope you enjoy meeting her and learning about her writing life and publishing experiences. *Pop* Heres' to Anne!

Welcome Anne, I'm so glad you could come visit the Veranda today. How did you end up becoming a writer?  
Truthfully, I’ve always written, since I was a teenager.  But it was always sporadic.  I’d find some time, scribble a few thousand words, and let it go again.  I was in the restaurant industry all my life, but after my daughter turned three and we moved down to North Carolina, the economy collapsed and I couldn’t find a job to save my soul.  I had to “do” something, so a serious writing career was born.
I remember dabbling in writing when I was a teenager. Funny how life brings us back to our dreams! What is your favorite genre to write?  
I love historicals, Regency in particular, but I also like dabbling in women’s fiction.  It lets my mind unwind after doing so much research.
I love reading historical and Regency novels, but writing them does take a lot of research. When you write are you a plotter or do you follow the muse?  
I outline in my pants, as it were.  I let the muse take me where he wants to go until around page 100.  Then I find I really need to detail chapters so I can find the end.
After all that hard work of plotting and meandering through the pages, how do you relax after a writing day?  
I don’t actually relax August through May – during the school months.  My daughter takes up a lot of time, naturally. My serious relaxation occurs over the summer.  I tend not to write as much, I read a lot more, I lay around the pool. 
I remember the lazy pool days with my daughter. Enjoy and treasure them. When you are reading, what are your favorite genres? Who are your favorite authors?  
Tough questions.  I’ll basically read anything as long as it’s not scary or gory.  Favorite authors: Barbara Kingsolver, Anita Shreve, Dan Brown, Lisa Kleypas, Jo Beverly, Peter Mayle, Dominic Dunne.  Oh yeah, and Jane Austen.
Classic authors and fabulous writers. What is your current project?  
I'm finishing up THE DUKE’S DIVORCE and THE LADY’S MASQUERADE.  I always have to work on two at the same time.
I admire you for working two at a time. I can revise and fix other books when I am writing, but writing two new books? Not capable. Do you have any new releases? 
I’m hoping to get the aforementioned out before Christmas.  At least one of them anyway.  And REMEMBERING YOU (contemporary women’s fiction) should be released within the next few weeks.
Yay! I'll be looking for them. Where do you get your ideas for your stories?  
The historical series started with a chat in an English garden and morphed from there.  My women’s fiction always comes from somewhere in my real life.
Yes, nothing is sacred in real life for me either. What is the most difficult part about writing for you?  
I would have to say revisions after my critique partners have had a go through the manuscript.  I tend to balk at their suggestions, but I usually realize after a time, they’re right.
Ah, revisions. They can be tough because they mean cutting our "little darlings." How long were you trying to get published before you decided to self-publish?  
Two and a half years.  Three books, lots of rejections, but quite a few requests as well.
Wow, that's tough. What were your greatest challenges in preparing the book for publication?
Formatting for sure, was the hardest.  I’m not computer literate and had no clue Word could do so much.  Up until about 3 years ago, I was still writing on a typewriter.  You can imagine what that was like.  And not wanting to “break” my computer, I just opened the document and typed.  I had no idea I could set my own margins, paragraph indents, line spacing, and so forth.  Talk about a Luddite.
Oh, the formatting would be tough for me, too. What advice would you give writers considering independent publishing? 
Think about the marketing.  I know most of us writers are introverts and shy away from publicity, but it needs to be done.  Even if you end up with a traditional publisher, there will always be marketing that you will need to do on your own.  Get a firm grip on that before you even upload.  It will make your life a lot easier to have a plan in place before you go “live”.
That's a wonderful tip for all writers and future published authors. Are you still querying agents and publishing houses?  
Not now.  I do have another women’s fiction that I will query when it’s finished.  Having an agent has always been a goal of mine, it’s just been set to the side for the nonce.
What advice would you give aspiring writers?  
Keep on writing.  Find partners, readers, exchange work.  Read writing manuals, write some more.  Learn how to take criticism, learn how to revise, learn how to edit.  Write some more.  Bad writing can only get better with practice.  You don’t write a bestseller right out of the gate.  It takes lots and lots of practice.
"Bad writing can only get better with practice" is a very good bit of advice. What encouragement can you give writers who face rejection? 
Don’t take it to heart.  This business is very subjective.  Agents, editors, and publishers know what they like, just like readers.  Just because they reject you, doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer.  It could mean one of a thousand other things that have nothing to do with your book.  And keep on writing.  Keep on trying. 

What encouragement can you give writers who wish to self-publish? 
Make sure the book is the absolute best it can possibly be.  Take advantage of your critique partners and beta readers.  Find others who don’t write in your genre to give it a look as well.  Copy edit, line edit, make sure it’s perfect before even attempting to publish independently You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Excellent advice. What is the most surprising thing you discovered after you began marketing your book?  
That people do really want you to succeed.  I’ve been so humbled in the last couple of weeks by all the warm well wishes.  It brings tears to my eyes.
Thank you Anne for sharing your story. I'm very excited about your future publications. Here is a blurb from THE LADY'S FATE which is available on Smashwords and Amazon
Gorgeous Cover!!

Lady Violet Flowers has only one Season to find a husband.  Raised in the Queen’s household, Violet is elevated in rank, yet overlooked by society for having no dowry.  Violet is petrified she’ll bring disgrace to her mother’s name in not making a good match, if any.

The widowed Marquess of Haverlane needs to find the perfect nanny for his beloved daughter, Jane.  Fortunate for Haverlane, when the very plump, but very pretty Lady Violet rescues Jane from almost drowning, the solution to his problem stands before him.  Ensconced at his country estate, Haverlane and Violet’s only means of communication is through correspondence, which leads to an amiable affection.

Also available by Anne Gallagher
Unwilling to think of Violet as more than a nanny, a surprising Christmas kiss compels Haverlane to look at her in a whole new light, and she at him.  However, Parliamentary demands made upon his time keep them both a safe distance from temptation.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Catadora Tonks and Her Purrfect Day

Cat in a Box 
Well, I wasn't going to get another fur baby, but famous last words. As many of my followers know, along with my friends, after two months of mourning the DFC,  I caved to the lure of a sweet baby who was bound for the pound. I couldn't say no to this kitten. And honestly? I am so glad I said yes. Catadora Tonks has brought life and laughter and love into our home.

She is a light, creamy orange kitten with no white. She is completely buff and and has perfect markings. She is tiny. Super tiny. The vet said she has a baby personality. She is "sweet & adorable all the time." That pretty much sums up Tonks. She is MY baby, but she plays with and purrs with and cuddles with anyone who wants to hold her and be with her.

She is beyond cute. And beyond funny. Here are some highlights of Catadora Tonks during her perfect day:

Tonks with her favorite toy.
*cat mommy wakes up. Tonks is ready to play. Tonks bounces all over the bed, like Tigger, bop bop bop from mound to moving hand under the blankets. Oh, what a fun and amazing toy is this bed with humans in it.

*time to eat. bop bop bop to the kitty litter and food bowls in the humans' master bedroom bathroom. Oh joy!!

*bounce to the kitchen, investigate the spigots, get some water sprayed on her fur to get off counter, bounce to another place, play with orange mouse-like toy

*cat mommy is boring. She is in front of the computer in her office, typing. Tonks must investigate. She chews the corner of the laptop, bounces to the cords. Shoot more water to dissuade. She plays under special cat toy, she bounces to the printer area and hides in the paper. Chews more cords. Gets squirted. She jumps on chair and sleeps.

*Whew, what a tough morning. Time to watch cat mommy exercise. Oh, nibbling her nose and chin and hair while cat mommy tries to do push ups is fun. Oh, reverse squats mean legs to chase. More FUN!

*eat, watch cat mommy take a shower, lick cat mommy's feet when she steps out of the shower (just in case she missed a spot), then try to jump on the bathroom counter to check out what cat mommy is doing while she gets ready for her day. Mommy helps. Check spigot. Lick the sink. Yuck. Jump into cat bed, groom self and watch cat mommy blow dry her hair and put on makeup. We are getting ready together.


*chase Mischief and ask her to play. Get hissed at. Run and hide. Try again.

*cat mommy boring again. More computer stuff. Lay on mommy's lap. Sleep and purr (really loud). Snuggle. Bring toy to play with during mommy's break. Ask for water. Ask for food. Sleep again.

*everyone's home. Chase Mischief again. Get hissed at. Run away. Do it all again. Act naughty. Get sprayed. Go lay with Cat Daddy on his recliner. Take a nap with him.

*chase Mischief, eat, play around, be silly. Meowyawn. Time for bed. Lay next to cat mommy. Sleep till  hungry. Start purring really loud. Nibble on mommy's nose. Mommy carries Tonks to the food and water. Eat. Drink. Go back to bed. Sleep. Nibble mommy's nose two more times. Mommy puts hands in front of her face. Alarm! Time to get up!! Time to get playing all over again.

Wouldn't you think you hit the jackpot if you were Tonks?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Endings Mirror Beginnings--The Dowager Feline Clancy's Last Lesson

I am finally able to write about my beloved Dowager Feline Clancy. I didn't think I could share how much she meant to me, but I can now that I have time and perspective. One thing I have learned about writing is that my books always have endings that mirror the beginnings. They end happily and they reflect the growth of the main characters.

As hard as it was to say goodbye to my DFC, I feel our goodbye did reflect the growth of our own characters over the past 19 years. She did grow up with me. She watched me become a mother, a writer, a fully actualized woman. I watched her become a loyal, sweet, feisty fighter who gave the best of herself to our family despite the many changes in our lives. Our ending mirrored our beginning. We started with love and we ended with love. And I believe in my heart that we will see each other again just across the Rainbow Bridge.

First of all, Clancy was a kitten. Sweet, loud, small, a bit of a pee pee cat, but always sweet. She was a true Tourtie and had a bit of a squeamish personality, but we all loved her. We got her when she was 7 weeks old. She was loud and she was feisty. My husband heard her first. So she was eager to be picked. And we did. After we picked her, she became quiet.

Oh, she was quietly naughty. She pee'd  in inappropriate places, she was silly, and she was inordinately jealous of my daughter after she was born. Eventually, DFC made her peace with my daughter and all her friends. She was also inordinately good at adjusting. Dowager Feline Clancy was my faithful companion. She was my comfort through 3 miscarriages--a constant purring reminder that life does go on despite my immense grief. She was my happy hour buddy--she got me every day at 5P and sat on my lap, and she was so much my writer cat. Every day Clancy would come to me and sit quietly while I worked. She'd watch my words cross the screen, her paws on the laptop and her eyes moving left to right with each new line being laid down. My sweet muse.

And she was silent. Never meowed unless hurt or hungry or thirsty. She just purred. A lot. This cat was very happy and content with us.

We moved 3 times with Clancy. She put up with TN, VA and AL. She tolerated my daughter. She grew to have a grudging respect for my daughter's cat Mischief. She played with Mischief even in her old age. Every night she'd come to bed and sleep on the pillow above my head. She was a shadow, a feline sister, a gentle spirit.

I loved her. And when she first came down with illness I was in denial. She was strong. Stalwart. And still quiet. But renal failure had hit her. Soon she was very noisy. First for me, second for food, third for water. Eventually her life ebbed away. Still, we hung on. Clancy was my baby. I wanted her to show me when she was ready, but I wanted to hold on to her for as long as possible. I couldn't bear the idea of her dying. And I think I cried myself through every other loss I'd had through the years again and again. I shed so many tears that my soul became a parched wasteland. Then she dropped to such a low weight and she was so sad and she had no desire to be with us because she hurt. But still she had her feisty self: she'd fool me into believing she had more time with the jump to the chair in the sun on the veranda, the purr in my arms, the sweet nature that made her mine.

And oh it was so hard.

Finally, she was unable to be herself. She was unable to be a cat with us. She was unable to be a part of our family. And I had to make the hard decision. The decision that still brings tears to my eyes. After years of silence, I had to hear her cry. Had to hear her beg. Had to hear her ask me to let her go. And my god it was the hardest plea to hear. I didn't want to hear it. I wanted to bring my Clancy back. My sweet DFC. But I couldn't.

So we three, The Physicist and the Teen and I went to the vet. We had to say our goodbye. I don't know how I could say it without my family with me. I don't know how I could have survived this goodbye without them by my side. My darling DFC, her paws on my shoulders and my head to her forehead. My words to her. For her faithful companionship. For her love. For her gift of being with me through the greatest years of my life. We had our sweet goodbye. A sad and yet proper goodbye for she was my good and faithful companion.

My darling DFC taught me how to love. She taught me how to live. She taught me how to say goodbye. She taught me how to love again.

For Clancy. My kitten, my cat, my DFC. May we meet again at the Rainbow Bridge. May you watch my words cross the screen again. And may your capacity to love help me in all my endeavors.