• Rhodesian Ridgebacks,  Writing Ideas

    What is a Rhodesian Ridgeback?

    Anyone who has read one of my P.J. Benson Mysteries (THE CROWS, AS THE CROW FLIES, EYE OF THE CROW, and EAT CROW AND DIE) knows Baraka, a Rhodesian Ridgeback, plays an important part in each of the stories. No, P.J.’s dog doesn’t solve mysteries, doesn’t talk to her, and doesn’t always make her life easier, but he sometimes does—quite accidentally—help her. Baraka is 4 months old in THE CROWS and is all puppy, which means he chews things up and jumps on people. He’s 6 months old in AS THE CROW DIES, 8 months old in EAT CROW AND DIE, and 10 months old in my short story EYE…

  • Musings,  Promotion,  Rhodesian Ridgebacks,  Writing Ideas

    Face Masks to Make a Statement

    The coronavirus has made many changes in our lives. Writers are facing new challenges in ways to promote their books. Bookstores have been closed (some are reopening, but author talks and signings have been cancelled); physical author tours have been cancelled; conferences have been cancelled; libraries are still closed, which means talks at libraries have been cancelled; and the list goes on. Writers have had to resort to on-line promotions: contests, e-book sales, ads, blogs, podcasts, and so on. Recently, since many people stuck at home have taken up doing jigsaw puzzles, a group of writers I know have been talking about having their book covers turned into jigsaw puzzles.…

  • Blog Hops,  Rhodesian Ridgebacks

    R is for Rhodesian Ridgebacks

    I may now own a miniature poodle, but my heart still belongs to the Rhodesian Ridgeback. I fell in love with the breed back in 1969 when I first saw them at a dog show in Santa Barbara, California. By 1970 my husband and I owned one, along with a rescue dog of mixed heritage, and a German Shepherd. If you want a funny sight, think of me, my husband, and these three dogs driving across country to Michigan in a VW van, pulling a small trailer with all of our worldly possession. No wonder some of my relatives still call me the California Hippy. Brandy was our first Ridgeback,…

  • Blog Hops,  Rhodesian Ridgebacks,  Writing Ideas

    D is for Dog

    “Don’t kill the dog.” When I first started writing romances, I took a story I’d been working on to a writers’ meeting and read a portion. In that section, I had a dog die. Oh, my. The reaction was immediate and unanimous. “Don’t kill the dog.” I obviously changed that scene. Since then I’ve seen the same advice in many articles and heard it in talks. In a way, it’s sad. We can kill men, women, and children in our stories, but dogs are to come to no harm. That’s not to say all writers adhere to this admonishment. Occasionally a dog is killed in a story, but not often.…

  • Musings,  Rhodesian Ridgebacks

    9 Days in Ireland (aka: The Familymoon)

    The good news is the bride and groom are still talking to each other…and to us (her parents and aunt, my husband and me). In fact, we’re already talking about another trip. Maybe to Scotland. There’s no way to summarize a nine-day trip to such a beautiful and historic country as Ireland. I can understand why so many writers have come from Ireland, visit the country, and write about it. We drove through and by cosmopolitan cities, lush green countryside, and rugged shorelines. We stayed in a century-old farm house, a modernistic B&B, and castles that had been updated to the status of 4- and 5-star hotels. We visited and…

  • Rhodesian Ridgebacks,  Writing Ideas

    The Long and Short of it.

    “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” Mark Twain (and Zuri Soule) I’d like to start by thanking everyone who commented or sent e-mails regarding Zuri’s health. The pills and a change in diet (fresh liver to increase his red-blood count) have helped. We have no idea how long he’ll be with us, but we treasure each day. Now, about writing… I follow Janet Reid’s blogs. (http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com) . For several years she blogged as Ms Snark, and I loved her snarky responses. Then, a couple years ago I attended an agent/editors session during Bouchercon where she was on the panel. Again I was impressed by her wonderful sense of…

  • Musings,  Rhodesian Ridgebacks

    Saying Goodbye

    I spent most of this morning in the veterinarian’s office. Zuri stopped eating yesterday and then threw up in the afternoon. He’ll be twelve years old in 8 days. It doesn’t seem like that many years have gone by since the breeder notified me that the litter had been born and yes, there would be a puppy for me. For a big dog (and Zuri is even larger than the Rhodesian Ridgeback standard), 12 years is a good lifespan. For a friend and house-companion, it’s way too few. He was a rough and tumble youngster, and I often had to warn my husband that his game of “growlie” with Zuri…

  • Rhodesian Ridgebacks

    Bed & Breakfast for Zuri

    We’re leaving Zuri with our daughter and her husband over Thanksgiving. This morning I received a message from my son-in-law. Thought you’d like to see how my poor dog will be roughing it. *********************************************************************************** Hey kiddo. I know it’s late, but I was hoping I could get you to answer a few Zuri care related questions. I would like to make his stay as comfortable as possible.#1) Does he prefer Big macs, or Quarter pounder with cheese?#2) Is he amendible to the idea of “slumming it” and maybe getting Taco Bell one night?#3) We can’t provide fine china for his meals, will he be ok with stoneware?#4) Does he sleep…

  • Rhodesian Ridgebacks

    My Rhodesian Ridgeback

    Last week (June 6th) my dog turned eleven. Zuri has lived the longest of any of my Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and so far he seems to  be in pretty good health. He did start getting fatty tumors (non-cancerous) when he was around four. Now he has them all over his body. And he has trouble moving when he first gets up. Arthritis, I suppose because after he’s moved around a bit, he’s better. Ridgebacks normally live between 10 and 14 years. I’m hoping Zuri makes it to 14. He’s bigger than the breed standard by almost 4 inches (at the shoulders) and heavier by at least 50 pounds. He’s not fat, though he could probably lose 10 pounds.…

  • Rhodesian Ridgebacks

    My Rhodesian Ridgeback

    Today I’m feeling sorry for and worried about my dog, Zuri. Tomorrow morning he goes to vet’s for surgery. He’s had a growth on his right elbow for about four months, and it has one area that occasionally breaks open and bleeds. Not just a little, but a lot. Although he’s had calluses on his elbows for years, this is different, and the vet wants to have it sent to the lab for a biopsy. Zuri is ten years and three months old. A Rhodesian Ridgeback’s life span is between 10 and 14 years (although a few have lived  longer). Zuri is showing his age (aren’t we all), but he’s…