I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for Akea: The Power of Destiny by Elizabeth Jade and organised by Rachel’s Random Resources. Here’s the book info….
A video clip from the San Diego zoo. I tried reblogging this from another site but it didn’t work for some reason. Anyway, I found it on YouTube..
Shadow is spending time in the Children’s Zoo nursery while he is completing his quarantine, he’ll then live at Wegeforth Bowl and be a wolf ambassador.
After what seems like non-stop rainy days and grey skies for the last I don’t know how long we have a proper winter morning. Cold, clear and frosty.
I haven’t been able to get on the local playing fields for the morning dog walk in an age, we’ve had to resort to pounding the pavements. The Finnster doesn’t do mud (just as well because he runs a mile when there’s even the hint of a forthcoming bath) and even manages to step daintily round puddles. But this morning the soggy grass and ankle-deep mud was completely frozen over and Finn enjoyed being off lead. Love watching him run…
I received my Friends of LurcherSOS newsletter today. LurcherSOS is a rescue dedicated to Saving Our Sighthounds and does a great job under sometimes very difficult circumstances. They don’t use kennels, the dogs are fostered by volunteers and so are looked after and assessed in a home environment until they go to the their forever homes.
My boy, Finn, was fostered by a lovely lady in Surrey when he was brought over from Ireland. And she makes great coats for those dogs that need a little extra warmth on wintry days Susu Ding’s Divine Designs
A lovely poem was included in the newsletter which I wanted to share…
LurcherSOS and Sighthound Rescue can also be found on Facebook
Barb Taub is…as am I. Please take a few minutes to read Barb’s holiday appeal and take her up on a great offer for some fantastic stories. My reviews for Barb’s stories can be found further down the post. Thank you in advance.As the villain of Don’t Touch, the Krampus is a monster who literally feasts on the fear and terror he inspires in children. The demon who threatens Stefan and Lette is a cornered beast, an anachronism whose ever-diminishing influence only makes him more desperately dangerous.
The other inspiration for this story is the image of Rapunzel. But in Don’t Touch, Lette isn’t the helpless girl awaiting rescue by her prince. Instead, I go back to the origins of the folk story in sources such as Giambattista Basile’s Tale of Tales from 1616, where she is actually the hero who rescues herself and her children, and then saves her lover. Like her earliest predecessors, Lette is a tough, self-reliant young woman who tells her would-be prince, “If I need rescuing, I’ll do it myself.”
My final message in Don’t Touch is that we build our own towers. They can provide safety; they can even be gorgeous and appealing, but if they keep us from truly living our lives or cut us off from others, they are still our prisons. I think that’s one of the things I love the most about the holiday season. No matter how often we hear them, those messages of peace and goodwill just keep reminding us of our connections to each other. More sophisticated folk can turn up noses at the consumerism and the crowds, but I believe the reason we all come back for more every year is that basic gift of hope and belief.
It’s that belief that inspires my holiday appeal to you. In most of my stories, an animal companion plays a prominent role—from George, the grumpy cat in Don’t Touch to Bygul, the bitchy feline goddess of Payback is a Witch. My own life has been immeasurably enriched by my dog Peri who came from a shelter in eastern Washington State, and by the friends (feline, canine, and the occasional rodent) rescued by the dedicated members of many shelters.
In thanks, therefore, I will donate all royalties on sales between now and January 1, 2015 from Don’t Touch as well as the newly released set (Payback is a Witch and Just For The Spell Of It) to the following wonderful organizations:
- USA: No Kill Advocacy Center. Headed up by Nathan Winograd, the No Kill Advocacy Center movement is revolutionizing shelters across America.
- United Kingdom: DogsTrust. Active since 1891, this no-kill shelter rehomed almost 15,000 dogs last year.
As a special incentive, both Don’t Touch and the brand new release set, Tales From Null City (containing Payback is a Witch and Just For The Spell Of It), will be listed at the sale price of $0.99 in the USA, and £0.77 in the UK.
Both make wonderful holiday reads, while at the same time supporting the work of the no-kill shelter movement. Please help ensure that animals are not left unsheltered during the very difficult winter months to come. To help, please order a book by selecting one of the following links:
Barb is offering a giveaway and a random tweet will be chosen which mentions any of the following – @barbtaub @CathyRy #NullCity #Don’tTouch #Payback #Spell
PayBack Is A Witch
Claire Danielson, the last Danielson witch, is facing a big problem. Actually, two problems. Not only has Director Jeffers from the Accords Agency given orders for a Warden to tail Claire, a man from her past who she walked away from six years ago. Now, after spending time together, she doesn’t think she’ll have the strength to resist Peter Oshiro again. But Jeffers doesn’t want to lose another of his top Wardens so Peter is on guard duty whether they like it or not.
Bygul, the goddess who Claire has been trained from birth to protect, and who was one of the giant cats who pulled the Goddess Freya’s chariot, has alerted Claire to the dangerous barghests in the woods outside her home. They have been trying endlessly to gain possession of Bygul’s power but without success. And to make matters worse there is demon who wants to acquire control over Claire’s mind.
Claire’s spells are not yet long-lasting and she’s unable to channel Bygul directly. She will need all her skills to outwit the demon.
Just For The Spell Of It
Eirie and Liam work for the Accords Agency and when they are charged with finding a missing football player, his girlfriend and baby daughter it gets too close to home for Eirie. The girlfriend looks just like her mother. But how can that be when Eirie has believed for years that her mother was killed? And does that make the missing child her sister and the second in line to the throne of Tír na nÓg?
One of the four ancient treasures, gifts of the goddess Danu to her people, the Tuatha Dé Danann, has also gone missing. If the child and the treasure are not returned the threat of an armed force is imminent. Liam and Eirie have a weeks grace before the attack begins.
Two wonderfully entertaining and imaginative additions to the Null City series and, as with all the stories, a fun look at distinct and unusual worlds people by great characters.
In halcyon days BC (before children), Barb Taub wrote a humor column for several Midwest newspapers. With the arrival of Child #4, she veered toward the dark side and an HR career. Following a daring daytime escape to England, she’s lived in a medieval castle and a hobbit house with her prince-of-a-guy and the World’s Most Spoiled AussieDog. Now all her days are Saturdays, and she spends them consulting with her daughter on Marvel heroes, Null City, and translating from British to American.
Excerpt: Payback is a Witch
As Claire boiled water and set out two teacups, she had plenty to say to herself. There was a lot about what a bad idea it was to remember his arms around her, the taste of his kiss, that heart-stomping smile. Hell, a little over ten years ago their families were still trying to kill each other. For the last six of those years, she’d done her best to remember what she owed Nana and Bygul. And she’d done her damnedest to forget the look on his face when she turned and walked away.
Through the screen door, she could see him staring at something near the porch swing, just outside her line of sight. She had a bad feeling she knew what that something was. “Do you still take your tea without sugar?”
“You remembered.” He didn’t turn around, but she felt his smile anyway. “You live here alone?”
“Yes, unless you’ve turned into a twisted psycho stalker. In that case, I have several large homicidal brothers. And the world’s meanest cat.”
“Witches don’t have brothers. But I see what you mean about the cat.”
A purr, definitely amused this time, rubbed against the back of her brain. Damn it, Bygul. You stay out of sight for a thousand years, but you can’t stay off the porch for one afternoon? Sighing, she filled a small dish with tuna and placed it on a low table at the end of the kitchen. Why can’t some goddesses mind their own business? With a twist of lemon for her own tea, she set both cups onto a tray. Sniffing an open package of cookies that had been around a while, she dumped them onto the tray with a shrug. Before she reached the door, he turned and held it open, took the tray from her, and put it onto the little table between the rocking chair and the old porch swing.
“You’re a witch, right? So is she your familiar?” He pointed to the porch swing and the silver-gray feline posed regally across its sofa-length cushion. “I never knew a cat could get that big.”
“She isn’t my cat. She goes with the house and especially the woods.” Claire understood his surprise. You just don’t see a lot of house cats the size of Labradors. “I suppose you might say I’m her staff.” She took a seat next to the cat, who stretched and sat up, wrapping a tail thicker than Claire’s arm around her front paws. “Best we can tell, she’s a Norwegian Forest Cat. They get pretty big, but yeah. She’s big even for that. We call her Bygul.”
“In Norse mythology, Bygul was one of the giant cats who pulled the Goddess Freya’s chariot. Some said they were goddesses in their own right.” Bygul yawned and her eyes closed halfway. “Minor goddesses, of course…” The giant cat’s eyes snapped open, and she jumped off the porch with a noticeable thump.
“Didn’t the Egyptians worship cats too?”
Claire laughed. “Bygul pulled a war chariot and fought alongside Valkyries. Those Egyptian pussies couldn’t fight their way across a coffee shop.” Tail held high, Bygul waited for Claire to open the kitchen door before stalking inside to the tuna offering. As Peter lifted his tea from the tray, he smiled again. She sat back too quickly and her own tea sloshed over the rim. Dear goddess, that smile.
Excerpt: Just For The Spell Of It
“And how does an ex-fairy princess end up an Agency operative and part-time radio host?” Liam might have been amused, but his face was, as always, impassive.
“Pretty much the same way an ex-world champion soccer star becomes a teetotaler card sharp who runs errands for a former priest.” She shrugged and turned back to Dr. Tom. “What aren’t you telling us?”
Dr. Tom hesitated then seemed to reach a decision. “I think your mother did die. But we’ve discovered that when she was trying to get pregnant with you, she visited a specialized clinic in California. A clinic that froze several of her fertilized eggs. Ten months ago the last three viable eggs were supposedly stolen from the clinic. Last week a young woman who served as professional surrogate was found dead. Autopsy suggests that she had recently given birth.”
Eirie looked at him blankly.
“I think the baby is your sister. And the real problem is that not only is the baby missing, but one of the four Treasures has also disappeared.”
“I’m not sure. Now your father’s advisors say if the infant and the Treasure aren’t returned to Tír na nÓg, the king will send an armed force to recover it.”
Liam sat up. “What Treasures?”
“There are four of them, the ancient gifts of the Goddess Danu to her people, the Tuatha Dé Danann.” She counted off on her fingers. “The Lia Fáil, a stone that supposedly names the King of Ireland. The Spear of Lug that guarantees you’ll win all battles, the Sword of Núadu that allows no escape once it’s been drawn, and the Cauldron of the Dagda, which is never empty.” She frowned. “But there’s not much demand these days for naming a King of Ireland, and even enchanted spears and swords aren’t going to be much use against automatic weapons.” The frown gave way to a snort. “And after the fae ‘warriors’ have been sitting on their fairy arses for a thousand years, I imagine our biggest danger is being forced to eat the prehistoric slop the Cauldron serves up.”
Dr. Tom looked at her. Folded his hands. Waited.
She sighed. “Right. Find Matias León and the baby. I’m on it. Liam?”
He nodded and picked up the folder. “I assume this has the info on the dead surrogate and the clinic?”
Dr. Tom nodded. “The Tuatha Dé gave us one week before their force arrives.” He stood and moved to the door. “Good luck.” As the door swung behind him, Eirie thought she saw him shaking his head.
Liam waited until the door closed. “Eirie?”
She stared at her teacup. “A sister.” With her hood again covering her bright hair and her “work-clothes”—strategically ripped gray hoodie, tulle-puffed skirt, bright striped leggings stuffed into chunky blue Doc Martens—she seemed little more than a child herself. Then she lifted exotically tilted lavender eyes to his, and something ancient, not-quite-human looked out. “She’ll need someone to tell her about our family…and make sure she has toys…and how to use her magic…and put on makeup…and hear about her first boyfriend who will, of course, be all wrong for her…and…someone to keep her safe.” Carefully, precisely, she placed both hands on the table in front of her. “Well, she has a sister for that.”
There were things he could have said. The teasing, mischievous Liam who found a way to call into her show each week could have said something to make her smile. The self-assured soccer-star Liam could have made a charming, romantic overture. The Liam who had been her partner for the past year said, “We should start with the clinic. Ready?”
This impressive, magnificent and slightly scary creature made an appearance at last year’s Christmas Fair in Exeter. The sheer size and the deadly looking talons make the reports of eagles like this attacking deer and other species of large animals entirely conceivable. And I have to say it’s fairly unnerving when those eyes bore into yours.
I stood by your bed last night, I came to have a peep.
I could see that you were crying, you found it hard to sleep.
I whined to you softly as you brushed away a tear,
“It’s me, I haven’t left you, I’m well, I’m fine, I’m here.”
I was close to you at breakfast, I watched you pour the tea,
You were thinking of the many times your hands reached down to me.
I was with you at the shops today, your arms were getting sore.
I longed to take your parcels, I wish I could do more.
I was with you at my grave today, you tend it with such care.
I want to re-assure you that I’m not lying there.
I walked with you towards the house as you fumbled for your key.
I gently put my paw on you, I smiled and said “it’s me.”
You looked so very tired and sank into a chair.
I tried so hard to let you know that I was standing there.
It’s possible for me to be so near you everyday.
To say to you with certainty, “I never went away.”
You sat there very quietly, then smiled, I think you knew…
In the stillness of that evening, I was very close to you.
The day is over… I smile and watch you yawning
and say “good-night, God bless, I’ll see you in the morning.”
And when the time is right for you to cross the brief divide,
I’ll rush across to greet you and we’ll stand, side by side.
I have so many things to show you, there is so much for you to see.
Be patient, live your journey out…then come home to be with me.
Author ~ Colleen Fitzsimmons
My newly adopted wolf! I’ve been meaning to do this since forever…
How beautiful is she? Stunning Tundra is three years old and lives at the UK Wolf Conservation Trust with her brother, Nuka, and sister, Tala. They are the Beenham Pack, which is one of several packs at the trust, and Tundra is the dominant female.
Photos courtesy of UKWCT
The aims of the Trust are to enhance public awareness of wild wolves and their place in our ecosystem. Also to provide opportunities for research, education programmes and fundraising to help conservation projects around the world.
How wolves can change an ecosystem – found on http://www.iflscience.com
Photo courtesy of All About Wolves
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life.
‘A fight is going on inside me,’ he said to the boy.
‘It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.’ He continued, ‘The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person too.’
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather ‘Which wolf will win?’
The old Cherokee simply replied ‘The one you feed.’
It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them, and every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog and I will become as generous and loving as they are.
A young Meg
Finn when he was brought into LurcherSOS
Finn and Jenna
Book blurb from Amazon
“In 2008, YouTube.com featured an extraordinary film clip that soon became an internet phenomenon. It showed the emotional reunion of two young men and their pet lion, Christian, after they had left him in Africa with Born Free’s George Adamson, who would introduce him into his rightful home in the wild. A Lion Called Christian relates how Anthony ‘Ace’ Bourke and John Rendall visited London from Australia in 1969 and bought a boisterous lion cub in Harrods. For a while, the three of them lived together as flatmates on the King’s Road, Chelsea, where Christian became a local celebrity. But he was growing up, fast, and even the church garden in which he exercised was becoming too small for him. How could Ace and John avoid incarcerating him in a zoo for the rest of his life? A chance meeting with Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers, stars of Born Free, led to Christian being flown to Kenya and placed under the expert care of Adamson. Ace and John did not return to see him for a year. Now, thanks to the internet age, their incredible reunion is again being enjoyed by millions. Originally published in 1971, A Lion Called Christian has been fully revised and updated, telling Christian’s remarkable story in words as well as stunning photographs. It is a unique and extraordinary tale of its time that resonates again today with a worldwide audience, and is destined to become one of the great classics of animal literature.”
This story appealed to me totally when I saw the YouTube clip. It was quite a few years ago now. I just had to get the books and the DVD. It’s such an incredibly heartwarming story and I’m a sucker for animal stories with happy endings. Obviously Christian is no longer, but it still brings tears to my eyes when I re-read it or watch the DVD.
Even now I find it astounding to think that a person could go into a department store and come out with a lion cub. There was a measure of credulity from John and Ace in not thinking things through but I’m not sure I wouldn’t have done the same. And, on reflection, I think Christian had the best of both worlds. Better by far than being bought for a zoo and the fact the two men with the help of George Adamson managed to get Christian back to Africa and rehabilitated into the life he was meant to live is nothing short of amazing.
The photo on the cover of the book is surreal and they actually drove round London just like that, with a lion in the back of the car!
The fact that Christian actually remembered them a year later and each time they subsequently visited him in Africa is very special and touching in the extreme.