Monday, June 25, 2012

What’s Your Animal Totem?

According to native Indians, everyone has an animal spirit guide. The question is typically what animal?

A couple years ago while I was in Whistler, British Columbia, my husband and I popped into a local artist’s studio. Her beautiful sculptures were exquisite and totally captivated my attention. There was a large grizzly she had carved out of stone. It looked so life-like it was actually frightening.

As I chatted with her I told her that I frequently have dreams about a white grizzly bear and sometimes that grizzly seems to be crossed with a wolf of sorts. The dream terrifies me, and I’m always running away from the chilling creature.

She looked at me and said, “Perhaps the Grizzly is your animal totem?” I was fascinated while she explained that each person has an animal totem. Eventually the animal will let you know who they are. Her elders explained this to her when she was young. Like myself she’d always been terrified of bears. One day she explained that a bear revealed itself to her as her spirit totem or guide. She’d been canoeing along the river when a grizzly wandered out onto the gravel bar. She said the bear stood up on his hind legs and locked eyes with her. She knew at that moment the grizzly was her totem. She now no longer fears bears.

Personally I would have been petrified. She told me I’d have to wait for my animal totem to show himself. I wonder if I can have two totems. All my life I’ve had encounters with wolves, so maybe a wolf is my spirit guide.

It’s no surprise why I write novels, which always have an animal in them. They play such an important part in our lives. Maybe I’m still waiting to encounter my animal Totem.

So my question today is do you know what your animal totem is? Please share your story with me I can’t wait to read them.

Monday, June 18, 2012

To Have...or... NOT to Have

When do I decide not to bring another pet into my life?

This is a question throughout my life that I have never contemplated. I can’t imagine not having an animal companion with me forever.

I certainly don’t consider myself old, but at what age would I say perhaps I shouldn’t have another dog or cat? Perhaps it’s not an age, but more about circumstance within one’s life.

Right now life with my babies is good. It’s my Alaskan Malamutes second birthday TODAY! His name is Dozer. 


I know we will have many happy years together, but when that horrible time comes, will my husband and I consider having another Malamute in our lives? I’m not sure and that’s a tough thought to swallow.

Maybe it’s a matter of owning smaller animals, ones that don’t require a ten-kilometer run everyday.

Daisy is my little Bichon Shih Tzu, who is eleven year’s old. She actually belonged to my mom and dad. When my mom was about 67 year’s old I thought it would be a good idea to get her a little pup for her anniversary. You see mom and dad have also had pets all their lives, and it seemed to me that a pup would give my mom something to focus on other than her aches and pains. I also knew she’d enjoy taking her new baby for little walks, which would be beneficial.

Mom and dad were happy to have her, and we agreed that it seemed to be the best gift they could have received, but after a couple years mom’s health deteriorated to the point where they needed to move to a senior’s lodge. Of course there wasn’t even a moment’s hesitation, Daisy would come live with us. At the same time I believed I’d made a horrible mistake. I’d given them this little baby that they loved to death, and now I had to take her away.

So at what point do you know when you shouldn’t have an animal? Perhaps mom and dad knew, but I interfered. All of that said everything turned out extremely well. Daisy loves our home and mom and dad get to see her all the time.

Have you contemplated the same thoughts? What did you decide and how are living with your decisions? I don’t think my stuffed animals are going to be able to fill the void.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Animal Inspiration ~ My New Blog Series

Committing to write a blog series was no easy decision for me. It was one more thing added to my schedule that is already full. None the less I've decided to go ahead with my plan.

My new blog series is called Animal Inspiration and will begin on Monday, June 11th. I knew if I had to commit to continuous blog posts weekly, I would need to blog about something important to me, important to others, and something that inspired my writing.

I don't believe it's a coincidence that I write fantasy and ended up dreaming about bizarre animal-like creatures. You'll see what I mean when my blog posts start. It's going to be an exciting journey, one I hope that everyone will share with me by participating in the stories.

So starting next Monday, grab a treat and beverage, find a nice spot to read, curl up with your critters and join in the fun!


When my brother and I were about six years old, my parents got us a little pup on my birthday. He was tiny with large black and white pieces of fur, thus the appropriate name of Panda. I can’t tell you how excited we were to have him.

My brother and I are only ten months apart and have always been very close, but Panda made things even better. We were too busy playing with him all the time to even think about picking on one another. Perhaps my parents planned this all along.

We loved him to pieces and I can’t imagine any pup getting more attention than he did. He was spunky with tons of attitude. In the photo I’ve included he is actually dancing around a large Alaskan Malamute named King. King was not ours, but belonged to a friend. Panda was fearless and of course King was a gentle giant.

Unfortunately, we did not have Panda in our lives for very long.

Jasper, Alberta is where both my brother and I were born and for a very long time most our father’s side of the family resided there. We moved a lot, but we also visited family a lot.

One sunny summer day in Jasper, we decided to pay a visit to our cousin’s house. Fun, fun and more fun is all we ever had while staying with them. This time was especially great because we had our new pup.

My three cousins were so excited to see Panda, and now if it were possible the little guy became consumed with even more love and attention.

While the parents visited inside we played outside in the yard. It was a great place because to our happiness there was a large park right across the street. On this particular day Panda joined in the fun while we did somersaults and cartwheels in the back yard. He chased our heels and pulled on our pant-legs. We’d fall to the ground and Panda would pounce his little body on top of us as if to say, “Ha, I won!” We laughed so hard my stomach hurt.

The boys then decided to head to the park. My cousin was a bit older and my brother tagged along with him leaving us girls in the yard. Panda was torn. When he saw that the boys were across the street he dashed out of the gate before we could catch him. I think you can imagine what happened. To this day I still remember the two-toned brown truck with a camper that ran over him. I also remember how sorry the couple was who drove the truck. They offered to do what every they could, but it was too late.

I still remember the pain even typing this today.

I struggled really hard to put a meaning to what happened and why. To this day I think it was my fault, I should have kept him on his leash.

The next morning we prepared to leave and my tears still ceased to fall. But this is the part I will always remember and has forever been embedded in my heart. When we came out the door and went to get into our vehicle I saw small little paw prints all over the hood, up the windshield, and I’m guessing the roof but I was too little to see any of that. My eyes widened and for whatever reason I believe they belonged to Panda. I was so happy. My mom gently bent down in front of me and said, “Yes, perhaps those are Panda’s paw prints. He jumped to the roof and flew to heaven with the angels.” I believed with all my heart that Panda had done just that. He’d gone to heaven. I remember riding home and staring up into the sky with a smile. To further my happiness I found a black and white cloud that to me looked just like Panda.

So now you might wonder how that relates to me today and to my writing? My novel Impossible to Hold has a critter who lives in the sky and dances around on the clouds. I owe that to Panda, who I believe looks down at me from the sky.

I'm sure some days I see him. He's pouncing around above me, just like he use to do down here.


As I myself seem to get older each year, I wonder about my pets. What happens to them and when do I decide...I shouldn't have another pet? Is there a magical age when that happens?

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Can't wait for August! That's when my new novel PERFECT MISFITS will be available.

In the mean time I thought I'd share a tiny excerpt with you.

Hope you enjoy!


Vigorous scratching, dull and muffled aroused Tempest from her unconscious slumber. Was she dreaming? Oh gods, were the Vemlers trying to get in? The filthy vial creatures could claw their way through anything in search of a meal. The demons were relentless and deadly. She fought them off on a regular basis. Alone in her cell she was a sitting duck with only a stick as her means of protection.

She tried to lift her head but ended up with another mouthful of snow. She gulped for air and the memory of her escape came flooding back. No, this wasn’t supposed to happen. It was worse than a dream. They must have found her and she remained buried under the snow with no way to flee.

The scratching continued in the snow above, bringing her demise closer by the second. She refused to go down without a fight and she’d end her life before Fedor ever laid his grotesque hands on her again. In all probability, his touch would kill her anyway.

She held her breath trying to cease her shivers. She had to lie perfectly still and wait…wait for the exact moment before they broke through the small barrier of snow that encased her frigid body–a body that could not, and would not, freeze to death.

She braced her hands down at her sides readying to push straight up. Please let the snow beneath me hold my weight. Her thigh muscles ached with tension as she contemplated the thought of moving.

Count to three, she told herself. They’d expect her to be in a slumber. One…her feet and calves tightened ready for action. Two…her fists clenched into tight balls prepared to strike. Her stomach rolled threatening to hurl, but she knew it was empty and had been for some time. This is it. Three! Tempest unleashed whatever strength she had left in her tired, battered body. She burst through the thin barrier of snow.

Two paws hit her square in the chest and a pair of large glowing red eyes met her stare. Startled and off balance Tempest stumbled backward. Her feet slid out from underneath her.

Rogue had found her, not the Vemlers or Fedor. She slid in a fast downward motion on her stomach with her arms desperately grasping at anything to stop her fall.

“Rogue.” She yelled. The beast pounced through the snow down the hill after her, trying to grasp a piece of her with his large fanged teeth. It was too late. Her body flew through the air. She reached out and snagged a tree branch. She swung in the forsaken snowstorm at the mercy of a small twig protruding from a tiny ledge. She turned her head looking down into a vast crevasse with no bottom in sight. Maybe she’d get what she wished for after all.

“No, I take it back, I don’t want to die. Creators help me please. Why do you hate me so?” Tempest squeaked looking up into the sky, which continued to dump endless amounts of snow. Her hands being next to frozen would never support her weight for long.

Above, Rogue perched on the small ledge preparing to jump after her. “Rogue no! Stay!” She desperately commanded. A single tear rolled down her cheek symbolizing her desperation and fear. The crazy beast would die with her she knew that. If she fell he would jump after her.

Rogue howled a mournful cry. His large grey and tan spotted body crouched low. Tempest knew he was angry; his pointed ears lay flat against his large square head. She felt his frustration through his piercing red eyes. Her hands slipped slightly as she swallowed the shriek.

Rogue moved even closer to the edge causing chunks of snow to fall in her direction. “Rogue, listen to me. Don’t do this. You don’t need to end your life because of me.” Even as those words tumbled out of her mouth Tempest knew the poor beast had no life worth living on the miserable mountain. They were both misfits not suitable to live with the regular folk on Levare. And there was no way to escape this miserable rock covered with ice and snow.

Tempest closed her eyes wishing she had the power or ability to remove them from this horrid situation. It was impossible she had no gifts only misfortune. Poor Rogue also shared in the bad luck. He was a Gargdog, half gargoyle and half dog, his problem were his wings. A spell gone wrong, they were barely large enough for a pixie to fly with. Useless wings on a grand creature. That’s what misfits were…rejects from Levare. Banished from the world as though they never existed.

Her body trembled with the last bit of strength oozing from her limbs.

“Rogue goes with Tempest! I will not stay here without you,” the Gargdog growled in the form of words. She smiled up at him, proud of his speech. “I see you’ve been practicing since they separated us.” It was her attempt to lighten the mood.

“I’m sorry Rogue.” Tempest squeaked as she slipped another half finger length.

“Rogue loves Tempest. Not want Tempest to die without him.” Rogue hung his head. She felt his sadness.

“Rogue, I don’t have much strength left.” Tempest said weakly. “I’m not afraid of death, you know I could never be Fedor’s bride. His touch would kill me anyway. This way is better. I won’t feel a thing,” she lied trying to sound brave.

“We will go together. Neither will I live under his control any longer.”

Her arms now shook uncontrollably. Her hands had no feeling, but her brain forced the signal to her fingers to grasp as tight as she could. She closed her eyes and said a quick silent prayer for all the other misfits who suffered like her and Rogue. We’ve endured so much pain in our lives; please Creators let us have a painless death. With her silent prayers complete Tempest opened her eyes, looked up and whispered, “I love you Rogue.” And let go.