My sabbatical is a story of two spectacular dogs with strange names. It started with sad news when we lost our nearly 15-year-old dog, Grover. She was quite a character. Had she been human, she would have headed up a crime syndicate.
Grover had struggled with back problems for years, occasionally losing control of her hind legs. But she always bounced back—until she didn’t.
Our older dog, Jaya, was the one we had expected to go first—but just to spite his sister he hung on for another whole year. He was by my side through my whole sabbatical, but today it was time to say goodbye. He was almost seventeen years old—approximately 108 in dog years!—but he took a turn for the worse.
We had Jaya for 17 of our 19 years of marriage, and he truly made us a family. Both dogs helped “encourage” our move to the Philippines by getting in a wee tussle with a student in our dorm, but that move led to me writing romance—one of the greatest gifts anyone could have given me.
To quote the Gilded Age cowboy philosopher Will Rogers: “If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”
- You wake up at 6:30 but do not dress until noon…
- Your day is divided not in terms of three meals, but in terms of two courses: coffee and wine.
- Calendars and computers are more important than ever because you have no clue what day it is otherwise.
- Because you live in a house heated by wood, you share your husband’s excitement about his new chainsaw.
- And that’s when you realize you are a full-time writer married to a lumberjack—like a romance novel, and therefore awesome.
- You binge-watch Alaska: The Last Frontier with your lumberjack husband and think, “That’s not a chainsaw. I’ll show you a chainsaw!”
- You view your meal delivery service as a correspondence cooking course—and vegetable insurance.
- You cook for your 16-year-old dog because you can, and because he deserves it. He doesn’t always eat it, though, because he’s just that spoiled.
- You take longer to release books because you have time to make them the best they can be. And your lumberjack is a tough editor.
- You look forward to writing conferences and other appearances so that you have an excuse to wear big girl clothes and have human interaction beyond your aforementioned lumberjack.
Speaking of #10, I am off the New Jersey Romance Writers’ Put Your Heart in a Book Conference tomorrow (hence the early post). I’ll mostly be offline, so have a great weekend, everybody!