Struggling with Cover Concept

How is it that I can write a book, rewrite it and make it 30% longer and more in-depth, yet I can’t come to grips with my cover art. I want it to capture the essence of my book. I do not want it to look like a dog and pony story. I want it to look like what it is. A romantic comedy that happens to share the love of dogs and working with horses.

After three months of thinking, pondering, searching through pictures, I am no closer to deciding on my cover.  Is it always so hard? Was I just blessed with the concept for my first book so easily? It came to my mind and I knew exactly what I wanted to show on the cover. This time, not so much.

Oh! This struggle is real. It is almost painful. My brain hurts and it is making me unable to focus on the other two books I have in progress.

Any helpful tips from others that have faced a similar dilemma?

I need a gif of a person pulling out their hair right here.  Instead, I will simply post this along with a picture of my pups that might be on the cover if it didn’t make it look like it is just a dog story, when in my mind, it is so much more.

My goodness, aren’t they pretty! 

Now, I’ll bet, everyone can see why I ended up with such a bland cover on my first book before I reissued it. Help a girl out in the comments below, please?


July 1, 2016 Starts Camp NaNoWriMo


Today is the day to face the question I have been weighing in my mind. Did I want to make myself stop feeling sorry about losing my muse and get back to writing.  I think she would have wanted me to.  My little muse always liked to stand with her front feet on my right arm as I type away at the computer waiting for time to tell me to get to bed.  So this is my first NaNoWriMo with a broken heart, a missing muse and no timekeeper.

But I did it. I got up as soon as I realized it was officially July 1, 2016 and I opened the Camp NaNoWriMo page and wrote a message to my cabin mates about my expectations and plans. Then I progressed to my writing app and started writing. My mind free to write anything it wanted. No pressure to have a certain genre in mind or a set character in place.

I admit I am a pantser. I write for the moment and let it build around me. Sometimes I like where it goes, sometimes it is tripe. When it is tripe, I try to figure what made it such and plow on. That’s the fun part of Camp NaNoWriMo, you focus on your word count. You keep the bad and edit it, or trash it in August.

So here I sit at 3:34 am already  1392 words in, with a goal of 1613 per day to finish my 50,000 words on schedule.  The mantra going through my head, “I can do this, I can do this. I am going to have fun, I can do this!”

Beau is sleeping next to me. He only goes to bed when I do, so he is probably going to be droopy and red eyed this month. I am sure he will be silently wondering why I, “the grown up in the group” have to  be told when to go to bed.  He may have already been wondering that for a couple of weeks now. I am going to see if he steps up to the plate and becomes the timekeeper around here or if we just get to run amok with constant insomnia and not a sleeping pill in sight.

So today, I am off to the races with a little bit of a mean spirited story that allows me to say snarky things through my characters mouth.  It is just four pages long at this point. I will decide later if it is tripe or if it is worth finishing. right now it is just fun.

For now, I just need to focus on those extra 221 words I need before I can call it a day, and only 18 more hours left of the Camp NaNoWriMo word count day in which to do it.

“I can do this, I can do this. I am going to have fun, I can do this!”


Beau Adjusting


Beau is confused.  He has been waiting for his sister, Arrow, to come home from wherever it was that we went last Tuesday. He looks at me with distrusting eyes every time I lead him outside. He did witness me take her out of the house last week and return alone and sad.  He watches me unblinking as he performs his potty ritual outside then runs back to my leg and stands directly under my hand.  He raises his head so that I can touch him with my fingertips.  Only then does he relax and re-enter the house.

This has been a sad week for Beau and I . We have been graced with the presence of one of the cats that typically sleeps outside and alone. The large yellow cat,  Mufasa, has taken to sleeping in the bed with  me in the exact spot that Arrow always slept. Mufasa purrs until I fall asleep while Beau snuggles on the other side of me in his usual spot. The only change at night is that Beau who is not a snuggler, has decided that we must sleep back to back as long as possible. Not the usual quick nap on the bed before removing himself to the cooler floor and crate.

When I look into those deep brown eyes so deep that it is difficult to differentiate the pupil from the cornea.  His gaze is unwavering and he stays right beside me. That is until I pour out his cup of food.  Not the usual two cups that he always shared with Arrow, but half of the usual amount. Yet, Beau only eats half. He saves the other half for his missing sister.

He sits down  and waits. He waits there on the little rug giving her a chance to come eat her fill. He has been doing this for a month while she was unable to eat solid food.  He eventually goes back and finishes the food. He is logical after all.

The best information I can find online says that a dog usually only grieves for about two weeks.  I hope that is true. I can not stand the thought of my Beau being broken hearted for a long time.

There are three children that live here with Beau and I.  They have taken to playing with him more than usual. They are aware that he is missing the lively girl that even when sick would still play with her duck and with her much loved brother.

Arrow was the Alpha in this pack of ours. She made up all the game rules in the silly games she and Beau played. She made the rules in her fetch game which meant that she did not drop the duck, if you wanted her to fetch it, then you had to wrestle it away from her. Arrow announced when it was time to go outside and when it was time to come back inside.  She set the 10:00 bedtime for us all. Arrow was the one that came into the computer room later in the night to remind me that I was off schedule.  Yes, Arrow was the Alpha and now we are pack leaderless. It is truly a time for adjustment.

Her duck the most prized possession, sits untouched beside the crate. Beau will not even look at it. It is like a monument to our girl. All that we have left of her are the pictures and her duck. It has almost been a week, I am hoping for a happier less depressed Beau in the near future.  Not that we will stop missing her, she was too unique and important to be forgotten. All I can hope for is for it to be less painful to think and remember her, for both Beau and I in the near future.   I thought I would share Beau’s progress and perhaps it would ease this emptiness that still exists in my heart.

Sleeping (2)
Beau and Arrow as babies. Always together. Always best friends. 


Arrow the Clockwork Aussie & Her Trusty Sidekick Beau

Every morning I wake up to a forty five pound alarm clock named Arrow.  First comes the rumble, the groan that she makes to see if I open my eyes. Then she begins the pawing of my left arm. Not sure why it is always my left arm with her left paw, but it is. Just like clockwork.  If I peek open my eyes she moves in closer.   Arrow’s next step in the process is to nuzzle me with her nose and lick me on the cheek. If I tuck my head under the duvet I can escape those morning breath kisses.


Usually that is all it takes and I am awake and struggling to tug the covers up.  Then the black tri, Beau, moves in to make sure I am awake. He is a gentleman and always waits until Arrow has done her best.  Once Beau, the fifty pound fellow comes up to sit on me I am positively up.  So I announce “Let me up” They both spring off the bed and start heading towards the door.

They patiently wait while I put on my coat and my shoes. If patiently means running around me in circles jumping up on me and giving me kisses, then yes, they patiently wait on me.  I say the magic words, “do you need to go outside?” At that point they are off, racing and dancing towards the closed bedroom door.  They attempt to open the bedroom door in order to lead the way through the house to the back door off of the kitchen. Once they beat me there they jump up and down at the back  door until I meet them there with Arrow’s leash in hand.

Arrow must have a leash because she is a runaway. She will escape and only gives a wicked look back over her shoulder as I call her back to me as she darts around the house and out of sight. Therefore, Arrow has to stay on a leash.

Beau is happy to stay in the boundaries of the back yard. He will go no further than the imaginary property line. Somehow he has always known it is there and he respects it.  I do not know how he knows there is an invisible property line, we just accept that he knows it.

beau full face


Beau has only attempted to cross it once and that was when he was being teased by a neighborhood squirrel.  Who would be able to resist chasing a running squirrel?  He  did however stop chasing the squirrel as soon as I called to him to stop.  This one fact alone is why he is allowed out without anyone holding a leash.

Arrow has not noticed that invisible line. She has not looked for it and does not understand why Beau doesn’t run off down the street every time he goes outside.  Arrow has taken a short vacation from our home on one occasion. She ended up actually only one house away, but the house was a quarter of a mile down the busy road that runs between our house and that house.

Those were a terrible ten days for me.  She did not have it so well either. Seems that the little lady that took her in (The same little lady that did not want the flyer I was passing out about my lost dog) decided to keep Arrow for herself.  Until that is, Arrow got sick from the chicken and dumplings she was being fed by the neighbor lady. It seems that chicken and dumplings made Arrow a little nauseous.  By the time she had returned a weeks worth of chicken and dumplings to the porch of the kindhearted neighbor, the lady was ready to find a posted flyer and call me saying only  “Come get your dog”!

We went and retrieved Arrow that moment.  Arrow howled and yapped and whimpered for hours after we got her home because she was so glad to be back with her family.

Needless to say, we keep Arrow on a leash for her own good.  She doesn’t mind as she seems to enjoy pulling me around the yard willy nilly.

So out we go, everyone knows what they need to do next and the morning has begun. Now we can move on to breakfast, waking the rest of the family and tossing about the toy de jour.  Welcome to our morning schedule planned and executed by Arrow the Clockwork Aussie and her trusty sidekick Beau.