Sunday, March 01, 2015

The End of Skye's Saga

Some of you may have already heard, but for those who haven’t, Skye didn’t make it.

Last Monday, the bleeding from her mouth became much worse and didn’t ease up.

In spite of that, she and I had a lovely night. She stretched out on my lap Monday evening while I watched TV, kneading my legs. I woke up Tuesday morning to her soft purring as she slept on my feet. But I knew when I looked in her eyes…she was ready.

My vet’s office took us right away. I had some quiet time with her before my wonderful vet came in. He’d been with us from the start. It was fitting he was with us at the end.

She died peacefully in my arms.

Kensi and I had several rough days afterwards. Kensi kept looking for her big sister. I tried to give her extra TLC, but she was mad at me. I took Skye away and didn’t bring her home.

But we’re both doing better. I’m down to one good crying fit a day. In case you’re interested, today’s tears are falling right now…as I write this.

Sweet Skye, you were much loved and are much missed. But you’re at peace and pain-free after a long, brave fight. Rest in peace, baby.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Skye's Surgery

The good news is I thought this post was going to be a memorial to my Skye kitty. Instead, it’s a tale of one tough little furbaby.

Skye has been a Bartonella cat for as long as I’ve had her. For those who know nothing about this wicked disease, let me give a little background.

Bartonella is a bacterial infection spread by fleas. It has no cure and, in Skye’s case, manifests itself as severe periodontal disease and gingivitis. Over the years, Skye has dealt with sore, red, often bloody gums. I’ve treated her with round after round of antibiotics and too-frequent steroid shots.

But lately nothing has been giving her more than a week or two of relief. For the last year, I’ve had a sense that we were on borrowed time.

This last month has been the worst. Yet through it all, she continued to eat and to snuggle with me. I wasn’t ready to let go when she still had so much fight left in her.

Last Sunday morning I awoke to find her right upper lip/cheek swollen. Of course, the vet’s office is closed on Sunday, but I called first thing Monday morning. I didn’t know what to think. Had the infection spread into other soft tissues in her face? Did she have an abscessed tooth?

My vet told me he was leaving for two weeks, and Wednesday was his last day of surgery until his return. He also told me his surgery schedule was already filled. However, he didn’t want to leave her to one of the other vets, so he squeezed Skye into the schedule.

Tuesday evening was torture. I truly believed she either would not survive the anesthesia with her age and her other health issues, OR the doctor would get in there and find too much to deal with, in which case I was prepared to tell him to simply not allow her to wake up. I spend the evening snuggling with Skye, fearing it would be the last time.

Wednesday ranks as one of the longest days on record. I felt relieved when the time I was given to call and check on her was approaching and I hadn’t heard anything from them. No news was good news. But when I called, I was told he was just about to start the procedure.

More waiting. More worrying.

Over an hour passed and I called again as I’d been directed. I was told he was STILL working on her.

More waiting.

At last he called me. She’d survived the surgery and done well. But the rest of the news wasn’t as good. The swollen face had been caused by the cheek separating from the diseased gum tissue. He said he got in there, cleaned out the dead tissue and sutured the cheek back in place. He added he was concerned about the potential for healing, but we would know pretty quickly if it would or would not heal. If it didn’t, he said there wasn’t much left that he could do.

Also, he pulled most of her teeth, leaving only the canines (fangs) and a couple of the back teeth that still had healthy root attachments. He debrided all the dead and diseased gum tissues, and he said he was optimistic that once everything healed, she’d be like a new cat.

It’s that “once everything healed” part that I continue to fret over. Yes, I’m a worried kitty mom and my head knows I need to give her time. This was a huge procedure.

The one thing I neglected to ask in the flurry of information he was throwing at me was HOW would we know pretty quickly if the cheek would heal or not.

Skye was a sad little cat for a day or two. I’ve had gum grafts, so I know what a painful mouth is like. But she’s eating her prescription food. She’s drinking water, using the litter box, and otherwise acting fairly normal. For her.
 Skye on Thursday, less than one day post-op

Most of the swelling from the teeth being pulled has gone down. HOWEVER, that right cheek remains swollen and she continues to bleed from it.

Okay, yes, it’s only been a few days. And I don’t know what my vet’s definition of “pretty quickly” is.

Skye on Sunday, almost 3 days post-op, napping comfortably

Tomorrow (Monday), I will call him as directed to check in, at which time I will ask for specifics. In the meantime, I continue to love her and pamper her…even though she hates me right now for squirting yucky stuff (antibiotics) in her mouth twice a day. I only hope she improves and lives long enough to forgive me for the torture I’ve put her through.

Monday, February 09, 2015



I’ve had this wild fantasy of snagging an Agatha nomination since I started writing mysteries. Never, never NEVER thought it would actually happen. I’d imagined what it was like so many times, when the phone call actually came, I thought I was dreaming.

I’m one of five wonderful mystery authors in my category. I’ll be thrilled no matter which of us wins. Just being nominated truly is an honor.

In other news, after nearly ten years of running this blog, I’m going to move it to a new home. I recently took over the reins of my website, changed to a new web host, and redesigned the whole blasted thing. The new website has a tab for a blog of its own. I’m still learning the ropes, so until I get it running the way I want it, I’ll probably post here, too. But eventually, I’ll post only there. My Writing, etc archives will remain available, however.

So head over to my newly remodeled home. I look forward to keeping it up-to-date with fresh content every few weeks or so. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

No Clutter Campaign

In my continuing effort to reclaim my house, I have named the process the No Clutter Campaign. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

This week the No Clutter Campaign has moved into my office out of necessity. I have to get my tax stuff organized for my accountant. I’ve made good progress. Not enough to take any “after” photos, but enough that I have a clear table top for sorting receipts.

I’m drawing inspiration from several friends who have either recently moved or are in the process of moving. If I were moving, would I take this item with me? If the answer is “yes,” the item stays. If the answer is “no,” it gets tossed, put in the flea market/Craig’s List bin, or goes to Good Will.

For me, this mindset works better than the old “will I use it/do I love it” question. It’s too easy to think I might have a use for some gadget. I’m too sentimental about too many little inanimate objects. But the idea of packing and moving to a new home is daunting. Do I “love” that chipped coffee mug I use to hold pencils THAT much? Do I honestly believe I’ll EVER use that old 35mm film camera again?

Probably not.

So I’m letting go. Or trying to.

And as we all know, books are an entirely different category. Thank HEAVENS I’m not really moving, because we’d need fleet of U-Haul trucks just for my book collection.

Speaking of books, I’ll be at the Citizens Library in Washington PA this Saturday, January 17 at 2:00. If you're in the area and looking for something to do, I'd love to see you!

I apologize for my website being so out-of-date. My web guys’ mom has been in and out of the hospital, so he’s not been able to do the updates for a while. 

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

New Year's Odds and Ends

One of the things I hope to improve upon in this new year is decluttering. With the demands of deadlines, not to mention the great excuse “I don’t have time to clean. I have to write,” my house has become a series of what I affectionately call “hog holes.” Comfy, but messy. A little TOO lived in.

So I’m tackling one hog hole at a time. No, I will not be showing you the before photos. They might result in a film crew from some hoarding reality show appearing on my front porch. However, here is my first tidied corner of my house. Books and DVDs all neat and orderly. Small cabinet’s top cleared of “stuff.”

On to the next corner…which sad to say now contains some of the junk I cleared from THIS corner.


In other homefront news, Skye has developed a new quirk. She no longer wants her food in the kitchen. She now prefers to eat it in the bathtub!

If I set the bowl down elsewhere, she snubs it, goes to the bathroom door and looks at me until I follow her. Then she jumps into the tub and sits. Very clear communication. As long as I place the bowl where SHE wants it, she eats just fine.

Weird cat.

Also, it’s official. I’ve signed on with Henery Press for books 4, 5, and 6 of the Zoe Chamber series! Yay! I’m thrilled…especially since I’m 50+ pages into book #4 right now, and having a blast writing it.

Speaking of “blast”...okay, you’ll have to read Bridges Burned to get that little joke…I’ve created a Goodreads Giveaway for the third in the series. Click here to enter.

And one final note…a bit of blatant begging, which I despise, hence it’s placement late in this post. IF you’re registered for Malice Domestic and are filling out your nomination form for the Agatha Awards, Circle of Influence is eligible to be nominated for Best First Novel.

Just sayin’. Whether you think it’s worthy is totally up to you.

And now I must get back to work on book #4! 

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Looking Ahead 2015 Style

First, let me say I’ll be very glad when these year-in-review things go away! 2014 was a rough year for the nation and reliving all the horrific news stories is more than I can handle with my current low stock in tissues.

Goal #1: Go to the store and buy Kleenex.

Seriously, though, it’s time for my annual post about creating goals. If you don’t know the difference between goals and resolutions by now, go back into my archives and pull up a post from January 1 of any year.

Last year, my big goal concerned finding balance. I was more or less successful. I met all my deadlines (okay, I was one day late for ONE of them, but I had permission), so I must have done okay staying focused on writing. I did, however, go off the track where exercise is concerned. And family matters completely derailed me for a while.

Hey, life happens. You do your best, and you move on.

So for 2015, I’m shooting for a do-over on the finding balance goal. I need to continue to maintain momentum with my writing, but I also need to get my butt OUT of my chair to spend time on the treadmill, too.

For the moment, family stuff is under control, but there will be some rocky times ahead I’m sure. Hopefully I’ll be able to juggle everything without losing what’s left of my mind.

One thing I’ve enjoyed adding to my life is travel, and I hope to continue to bop around the country from time to time. As a bucket list item, I’m trying to add to the list of states I’ve visited. My plan for 2015 is to add Tennessee (Killer Nashville). I also have plans to revisit Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, and New Mexico.

Hubby gave me a new spinner carry-on bag for Christmas. I have to use it, right? I would be rude not to!

I feel like I’m slacking with nothing monumental to add to my list of goals for 2015. But sometimes maintaining an even keel is all we can hope for.

Wishing a Happy New Year…and an even keel…to you all! 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Looking back on 2014

It’s time once again for me to look back on the year as it comes to an end. One thing I can say about 2014: There’s never been a dull moment.

It started out frantic with revving up to release my first novel while finishing my second and starting my third. And in March, the day I feared might never happen came to fruition. My first launch party was a huge success.

I’d dreamed of someday signing the famous bathroom wall at Mystery Lovers Bookshop. It finally happened.

Then I spent a few months learning to be a published author, attending book signings and conferences.

Soon I was gearing up for the launch of my SECOND book! At the same time, I was finishing the third one.

The highs were tempered with lows, namely my mom’s health issues. My goal for 2014 was finding balance. I think the Universe wanted to make sure I kept things in perspective.

The second launch party was incredible, too.

And as if that weren’t enough, I hit the USA Today bestseller list!

Then there was the trip to the west coast and Bouchercon at the Beach. Long Beach, California, that is. I may have played hooky a little too much. But I couldn’t resist the sun and sand in November!

On my way home, I stopped in New Mexico for a vacation with my BFF, Leta.

As 2014 comes to a close, I have yet another book coming out…

…my first book is now available in audio

…and more adventures on the horizon. I think it may be a little hard to top this year, though!