Sep 042014
 
“Is there any way around the fact that our brains buzz from the inside, mostly engaged with sending out little worrying parties into the very near future?”

- David Shafer, author of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, in a beautiful essay about being present for the excellent things in your life.

Dobie

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Jun 112014
 
To start with, I didn't even want the dog. We already had a dog, and 'way too many cats, and taking on another pet just didn't make sense. But our neighbors wanted to find a new home for him, and Livia and the girls wanted to take him in, so I said, Sure, we can take him. He was a small, black-brown-and-tan dog, part Chihuahua, part Doberman, at least a year old because he was fully grown, and

Max

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Aug 202013
 
Max has been with us for about eight months now, and as you can see, has made himself well and truly at home. Once again, we lucked out, pet-wise - Max is a great pal and companion; just a terrifically good-natured mutt.

Meet Max

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Dec 222012
 
Meet Max (formerly known as Wags). This is how he rode home - quietly - from where we picked him up in from the Dog Transport folks in Kittery early this morning.

He's one exhausted pooch, fresh off two days crated up on a bus, now getting a lot of new stuff thrown at him all at once - new people, new house, new backyard... and two insane felines that aren't quite sure what to make of him, either.


It's going to be good having a dog around the house again.
Dec 112012
 
It's official. We've got a new dog. Everything went through okay, and we'll be driving down to meet him and bring him home on the 22nd. The folks from the shelter call him "Wags," but I suspect we'll be changing his name once we get to know him a little. He kinda looks more like a "Max" to me....
Dec 102012
 
So, let's see... what's been going on here at stately Mills Manor? One cool thing was that Brandi let me order the first three Dark Horse Flash Gordon hardcover collections as my holiday present. This series of volumes collect all of the Flash Gordon original comic book stories (omitting the newspaper strip reprints) published by Dell, King Comics, Charlton Comics, Gold Key and Whitman, from the late Forties through the early 80s. Can't wait for them to arrive - I've read most of the King Comics issues (in Vol. 2) by Al Williamson, but the early Dell issues (in Vol. 1) and the Charlton issues (in Vol. 3) are all new to me!

Now if I could just pick up a little freelance income (or holiday cash), I could get the remaining two volumes....


Along the same general theme: after ten years of distractions, detours and discouragements (almost entirely of my own doing), I'm finally finishing the third chapter of the first story arc of my own space adventure comic, Perils On Planet X, this week. You have no idea how pleased I am to actually be writing the concluding scenes of a story that has been in my head for so long... especially since the art for the damned thing has been more than half finished for, literally, years.

I'm so excited that I really hope POPX will be successful enough to warrant artist Gene Gonzales and I producing the two further story arcs that I have in mind (I've always planned it as a trilogy) - and that it doesn't take another decade (or two) to get around to telling them.

If all goes well, we'll begin serializing Perils On Planet X online, a page or two a week, sometime in 2013, and will probably try a Kickstarter or IndieGoGo campaign to finance an eventual print volume. Stay tuned for further updates, and I'll be sure to let people know when we're ready to launch the new webcomic version.

And, finally, it looks like we may have a new canine companion sooner than anticipated. After losing our girl China last November, we didn't want to rush into getting another dog. For one thing, the loss was so great that honestly, we're still grieving. But in the past few months we'd been talking more and more about adding another critter to the menagerie - we just figured we'd wait until Spring to start looking seriously.

But last week, Brandi was browsing Craig's List, and found an ad placed by an Arkansas shelter/rescue looking for a home for one of their dogs. There were pictures and a video. After checking them out, she showed the ad to me, and we agreed that the dog looked like a good fit for us.

Anyway, Brandi contacted them, then filled out an application, and then had a phone interview, all of which went well... and barring any last minute complications, it looks like we'll be adopting "Wags" (chances are we'll be renaming him) before the end of the month. We just need to finalize a few details - like getting him to Maine - and scrape up the adoption fees, but it all looks good. 

Here's hoping all goes smoothly. Wish us luck. This house needs a dog.
Jun 082012
 
by Meredith Cole

When I first started writing my mystery series set in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, my character did not have a pet. She didn't have a boyfriend either. She had friends, a rent stabilized apartment, and a very extensive clothing collection. But she shied away from commitment of any kind.

Once I got to know the mystery community and meet more mystery writers, I was introduced to the cozy cat phenomenon. Every cozy mystery had to have a cat it seemed. And if you didn't put an animal in your mystery, the publisher would sometimes put one on the cover anyway. Or a puppy. it was kind of like writing a chick lit book with a main character who wore berkenstocks--and then having a pair of stilettos on the front.  Animal ownership is a serious business.



I have cats (no dog) and I revel in their funny quirks. They are great companions for a writer. They're up at weird hours. They like to sit on your lap (or some do) and they're extremely independent and opinionated. So as a joke, I introduced a cat in my second book. A stray cat warns Lydia of danger and saves her life. She feels obliged to take him home to her apartment.

I thought it was incredibly funny to have a commitment-phobe have to deal with a new roommate. She buys him food and a litter box. I wasn't entirely sure she was going to keep the cat. She certainly doesn't think so. She tries to get him adopted. But the cat started to tug at her heart strings. People made her feel guilty for thinking that she might give it away. And she started to like her cat.

So in the end she decides to keep her cat. And commits to him by giving him a name. Fred. So now there's no going back. The only question is whether I'll have a cat on my next book cover or not.



Nap Time!

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Apr 182012
 
Ziggy. Photo by Brandi
Our latest addition to the household is settling in nicely. This is how Ziggy sleeps. Don't try and rub that belly though - I know, it looks so soft and inviting, but it's really a spring-loaded bear trap... with a hair trigger.

Introducing Ziggy

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Mar 142012
 
Ziggy. Photo by Brandi
We added a new member to our household over the weekend. Since China passed away last November, the house had been feeling a little empty over the past few months, and Brandi and I had started thinking it was time to adopt a new pet. We considered trying to find another dog, but it was just too soon. So we decided we'd probably like another cat, and on Saturday, we visited the Kennebec Valley Humane Society shelter in Augusta, to see what felines they might have available for adoption.

It didn't take us to long to zero in on the handsome devil pictured above; actually, he zeroed in on us. Most of the other cats in the place were sound asleep, but when he saw us coming he let out with a medley of miaows. We visited with him for a while, and then went home to think some more and be certain that we wanted to bring another cat into the house. Our cat Zoe isn't the most sociable of creatures, and we were concerned how she might handle the arrival of another kitty in her territory.

Anyway, we decided to risk it, and returned to the shelter on Sunday morning. We filled out the paperwork, paid the fee, and brought him home. His name was "Wiggy," but I re-christened him "Ziggy." It seemed slightly less wimpy... and actually suits him pretty well. He's remarkably affectionate, mild-mannered and quite comical.

For the first day, Zoe hissed at him every time she saw him (and at us, too, for bringing him home), but she's calmed down some. She still tries to bully him, but he doesn't let her cow him too much. Today they even shared the bed during nap time (at opposite sides, of course), so I'm hopeful that a mutual tolerance pact is in the offing.

I'm already quite attached to Ziggy, and I look forward to having him around for a long time to come.