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I am a romance writer. That's not easy to say. Most people have preconceived notions about romances, and the people who write them. Let me tell you! Writing isn't for sissies. I got my first rejection in April 2004. That makes me a professional. In what other field are you considered a "professional" when you don't get called back for a second interview?
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His and Hers Dalmatians
My Favorite Blogs and Websites
Bronwyn Parry, Author & Golden Heart Winner!
Crystal Jordan, Author
Kate Rothwell, Author
Laura Hamby, Author
Tori Scott, Author
Nell Dixon, Author
Denise Patrick, Author
Valerie Parv, Australia's Queen of Romance
Joanna Sandsmark, Dog and Kitty Author!!!
Elisa Adams, Author
Sharon Cullen, Author
Meg Allison, Author
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Becca, Writer and People Watcher
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Bronwyn Storm, Doggy Author!!!
Works in Progress
The Husband Checklist
Professor Kennedy's Ghost
The Baby Contract
Almost On My Own
The Stone City
Daddy's Little Girls
The Dog Next Door
New job, new attitude, new WIP
Finished at last!
Out of print, but not out of circulation!
Grace Tyler: Why I love animals
What I've Learned
Precious little angel
Kissed any frogs lately?
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Grace Tyler: Why I love animals
This is a list of animal facts that pertain to me--so if you want to enter the contest I'm running at Manic Readers, this is the place! If you read this any time before midnight 8/31, you can enter even if you don't play at Manic Readers. Pick two of my facts and email them to me at GraceTylerAuthor@aol.com. The lucky winner will get a free copy of HIS AND HERS DALMATIANS. Cool, huh?
For a second chance to win, look through my blog or my website and find the names of my two Dalmatians in the novella and include that on your email.
1. I attribute my love of animals to my parents bringing me up surrounded by animals. Mom had a gorgeous silver tiger cat named Scrapper for years. When I was very young, Dad raised rabbits--don't ask what he did with them if you're a rabbit lover--so I learned what it was like to breed and raise them. When I was in high school, Dad found an abandoned baby rabbit in a nest in the fields at work. He brought the little thing home, and I kept her and raised her. Mom took me to the pet store to get cat formula to feed her out of a bottle. We kept her in a laundry basket in my room until she got too wild, and then we had to set her free. That was quite a lesson in love and sacrifice. Wild animals aren't pets, but each life is precious. *I also remember the rabbit running around my room loose and leaving rabbit pellets in her wake after chewing her way free of the basket. Yep, my mom's a saint when it comes to letting us experience things for ourselves.*
2. Mom wanted to be a vet. Unfortunately, she's allergic to a lot of animals, so that didn't happen. Her sister is a zoologist, so the love runs in the family. Because Mom is a scientist at heart and an open lover of pets, she let my youngest brother do the craziest things. I remember getting out of the shower once and screaming because there was a huge praying mantis on the wall. Once the surprise faded, however, it was no biggie. Because Richard had bugs all over the house. Mantis were his favorite (and mine) and he used to keep them in potted plants in the house.
3. Richard got to have lizards too. He brought one home from a trip to the desert once, and that started it. We had crickets and other bugs to feed to them. Once while he was gone on a scout trip, I had to feed the lizards. It sounded simple enough, but those little bugs didn't want to go into the lizard enclosure! And to tell the truth, they kind of squeamed me out anyhow. I was good with the lizards and the mantis, but those little creepy bugs were not cool. It became a team effort with other sibs and mom helping me. Some of the bugs escaped, but we managed to keep his lizards alive until he got home.
4. We had lots of cats when I was in my early twenties. My cat Bandit was a prissy thing, and she was very possessive. I tried taking her with me to school, but she wouldn't let me sleep because she was so lonely during the day. She would sit by me and nibble my nose if I didn't respond to her mewing. I had to take her home in the end and let her be with her sisters.
5. Bandit's possessiveness manifested itself in spades when DH entered my life. While we were out on our first official date, she went around the house and knocked all the plants over, much to Mom's dismay. And when we were putting our wedding announcements together and left them unattended on the dining room table, she got up there and "marked" them! Like she knew what they were! That little wretch was the light of my life for years.
6. After we got married, we "inherited" several pets. The first was a cockatiel named Piper. He was just Bandit in a bird suit--prissy and mean as heck to me rather than the way Bandit was mean to DH. He was elderly when we got him, and he managed to stick around for eight more years to the ripe old age of 20. His last years, we had to keep him covered a lot or he would shriek. How an animal with a brain the size of a pea can have such a big personality is beyond me!
7. My mom's sister is a zoologist. Her main study has been zebra finches. She used to go to Australia and watch them in the outback every summer until she had a son. She put little hats on some of the males to see if they became more attractive to the females during breeding season. Guess what? The ones with beads or ribbons got more female attention. Finches like bling too!
8. We bought an aquarium, fish, and a little fiddler crab after we got married. One day we noticed the crab was missing. He simply was not in the tank! Another day, he was back. What's up with that? How does a crab disappear and reappear? This happened a couple more times before DH caught him going up the cord to the aquarium filter and back into the tank. Talk about a little brain doing big things! He'd been getting out, going for a stroll, then hiding back in the tank when he needed water.
9. My dachshund, Frank, was a cat at heart. He used to climb to the top of everything, including people, so that he could get a good visual. He would sit on the back of the couch and look over my shoulder. He also liked to dig up EVERYTHING--including every one of the $500 worth of bulbs I planted at our first home.
10. My current dogs are Britta, an English setter, and Sissy, a yellow lab mix. Sissy is actually my niece's dog, but we've had her for 4 years now. DH bought Britta 2 days before I had my eldest child. I told him, "That's YOUR baby. Mine's going to be here any day now." Our old lady is almost 13 now, and I'm dreading the day she crosses the Rainbow Bridge to be with Frank. After he died, she nearly starved herself to death until Sissy came to live with us. She's an absolute sweetie.
What I've Learned
After going through three major family events in the past month, I took a step back to consider what I've learned. My sister's baby was premature. He's doing great now but we had some scary times. My grandmother died after a long time being trapped in an immobile prison--her body. She had Parkinson's and I don't know what all, but couldn't move or talk for so long. And then my little nephew had to come and go in the blink of an eye, due to a constellation of birth defects that would prevent him from surviving.
So what came of all this? Of course losing loved ones makes you appreciate your family and friends more and prompts that feeling of reconnecting. But that doesn't necessarily last, and it's more of a reaction than a lesson. No, the lessons here for me are humbling and deeper than a knee-jerk reaction.
I'm a very spiritual person and very family-oriented. Or at least I thought I was. I discovered that while the family is the center of my life, I've gotten very accustomed to living in my own head in the midst of the family--not really connected. Lesson #1, Be present in the moment.
This is a hard one to keep up on a consistent basis, but I've resolved to make the effort. What are my kids' memories going to be of their mom? A lady who loves her computer. Because that's "who" I spend most of my time with. Not anymore. Writing and working and keeping in touch with my cyberfriends are important, but my kids need ME.
Lesson #2, Time equals attachment. Who am I most attached to in the world right now? My 2 almost 3yo. Why? Because I spend the most time with her, especially one on one time. I have three children and a husband and a lot of extended family. I know that the circumstances were exceptional during the last month so I'm beating myself up for this, but during the last family visits I was in my room or on the couch while others were spending time together. I did have a rotten headache for that week, so I'll let myself off the hook. But I'm resolving to change this as well.
Lesson #3, Service equals attachment. We had my brother's children spend the night a couple of days after the little one's funeral. Taking care of them that night and comforting their crying 2yo in the middle of the night gave me a new connection with them, and that is so precious.
I felt like an ungrateful wretch for a bit, but I'm not one to beat myself up at this point in my life. I'd rather take the lesson and live better.
Labels: author, balance, death, family life, grief, still birth, writing
Precious little angel
My brother's little baby Joshua came and went back to heaven today. He's just beautiful.