Monday, March 15, 2010

Double the Trouble....

I missed a blog today. It's the first one I've missed for a reason other than vacation in quite a while. I had a very eventful weekend which culminated in some rather unpleasant stomach bug/problem.

Nevertheless, the rest of the weekend is good. I have puppies. Not just one...but two. Sookie Stackhouse Monkeypants has a sister, Lorelie (Rory) Gilmore Monkeypants. I did just mean to get Sookie. It's just that when I went to pick Sookie up, I met her sister. I felt bad about tearing the girls apart but Sookie came home with me or, rather, she came to my parent's with me.

It became rather obvious from the time Sookie came into their house that she was used to playing with other dogs. She spent the whole of the first few hours trying desperately to make friends with my parent's three dogs: Dudley the Demented (a Yorkie), Odie the Decrepit (a Chihuahua) and Oscar the Brave (a mini Yorkie).

Well, let me just say those three boys were terrified of little Sookie, even Oscar who, until now, has been brave enough to stand up to two large, female German Shepherds who belong to my brother. In fact, he was brave enough to try to, uh, 'mount' them. If you want to see comical, it's seeing a mini Yorkie think he's got a chance with a German Shepherd. One kick, and Oscar lost that battle.

Yet Oscar was terrified of Sookie. All she wanted to do was play but none of the other dogs would play. I realized that she was used to playing with her sister and, in fact, having her sister around might make it easier on me to leave them alone while i was at work. At least they could keep each other company.

So I called the people from whom I adopted Sookie but, alas, the sister-dog had been promised to someone else. I was a little disappointed but I knew that even if it wasn't Sookie's sister, I was going to have to think about getting her a companion. While the lady from the rescue centre in Ohio had been a little weird, what had stuck with me is that Dachshunds need a companion.

So, I went to my Writer's Conference on Saturday. It was an interesting conference although, once again, it made me realize that I'm not sure where I fit in the world of writing. I realize how jaded I am when I'm in a group like that. The speakers, one fiction writer and two non-fiction writers, gave lectures on how to get published, giving the list of what you have to do to get an agent and get published.

And, as I listened, I got a little frustrated. I've heard that list over and over. I've read it in books. Every published writer who likes to give lectures makes it sound easy. Yet it isn't. Time and time again, I've tried almost every suggestion they've given. Nine novels later and I'm publishing myself because nothing works. Truth-be-told, what it takes to get an agent is either to meet the agent and persuade them in person that a book is worth considering or to know someone. The first method would be nice but I have to face facts, I'm not good at that type of thing. The easy answer is to get good at it. Yet, I'm in my mid-thirties and about fifty-times less shy than I was twenty-years ago but I know that I'll never find it easy to chat to strangers out of the blue. I'm ok if there's something to talk about but when it comes to selling myself...I stink. It's why I'm a lousy flirt- I have no idea how to do it and if I try, I get embarrassed and can't follow through. The second method, to know someone, would be nice. Yet I don't know anyone. Any leads I've ever had haven't followed through. So, I'm self-publishing.

Of course, we also got a lecture from a non-fiction author on the statistics of self-publishing and 'why you shouldn't do it.' Of course, she was talking about the type of self-publishing where you pay a ton of money upfront for a set number of books and it's up to you to sell them. My self-publishing is Print on Demand where I pay nothing, all costs come out of the sale of each copy. Also, while it sounds a little snobby, I wasn't wowed by the non-fiction author, anyway. Her claim to fame is publishing one of those books of photos you see in Barnes and Noble, Historic [insert name of city/town here]. While I think it's great she's getting her book published, writing non-fiction and fiction is like apples and oranges, just as getting it published is a completely different process. Many times with non-fiction, you just submit a proposal to an agent/publisher. You don't even need a book. You promise to write the book. Then they agree to take you on as a client provided you follow through. Fiction doesn't work like that. You have to write the most amazing query letter ever. Even if you do, you still get rejected. Then you send a partial manuscript. If they like it, they request the whole thing. If not, you get rejected. I've sent a couple of partials...that's as far as I've got.

So, when it came to self-publishing, I'm taking the plunge because I think I have a book worth reading and I want people to read it. I can't get an agent to give me the time of day because most of them say "we're not looking for this kind of material," even though it says quite clearly in their submission requirements that they are.

Anyway, what I took from the writer's conference is that while I still have a lot to learn, I'd like to learn something new from someone who's going to be honest and admit that even though they might be published now, you can't follow a checklist to do so: It's all about timing, connections and finding a way in.

However, it wasn't all bad. During the conference, I got a voice mail message from Sookie's former owner telling me that the people who'd claimed her sister hadn't picked her up. They really wanted the two girls to be together and so if I wanted her, I could have her.

Well, I was there as soon as humanly possible. I picked up little Rory and reunited her with her sister. Sookie was a changed puppy. The two of them are like peas in a pod. They look almost identical. Rory is a little shyer but also a little naughtier. Sookie is a little feistier but also a little less obedient.

I love them both. They're currently napping on my couch, watching House while I write this. Rory was crying for my attention but I let her cry. I'm trying not to go running every time she whines or it'll get out of hand. I do plan on sitting with them shortly though because there's nothing better than curling up on the settee with two sleepy dachshund puppies who just want to know you're there.

Today was hard though. I didn't leave my parent's until this morning since yesterday, I didn't much feel like driving home feeling rather cruddy. The puppies were very good during the trip with minimal crying. Yet I had to dash almost immediately off to work, only spending enough time with them so they could get to know the house a little before I shut them in the kitchen.

I spent the rest of the afternoon worrying about them. When I came in, they'd managed to break through my barricades and...they were missing. I searched everywhere, my calls more and more panicked. I finally found them cowering behind the couch, afraid they were in trouble.

They weren't. I was so relieved to find them and find the house completely undestroyed that I fussed over them. They are already mostly housebroken and as long as they have lots of toys to chew, they're pretty good about not chewing things they shouldn't.

It's already changing my routine. Tonight my boss told me I was crazy for getting two dogs and that I'd regret it because it's more than twice as much work. He's probably right but I can't tell you how nice it is to know that they'll never be alone because they have each other when I'm gone. It's nice to see them sleep together, sit on each other's heads, steal each others toys and, best yet, chase each other around the living room until they're so tired, they actually sleep at night.

It's going to be a long road until they're more mature. In the meantime, I'm trying to adjust to sharing my home with two new friends. It's nice to have the company even if I'm not fond of having to get up in the night to take them out.

And there's nothing nicer than being greeted when you get home from work with wagging tales, attempts to maul me to death by licking and a warm body sitting on my lap.

I think I can live with that.

Happy Monday!

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