Category Archives: Whimsy

Interview with Scruffy

This appeared on the Creatively Green Write at Home Mom  blog on July 20, 2016 http://creativelygreen.blogspot.com/

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I’ve always wanted a West Highland Terrier. My husband is fond of large dogs, and I’ve fallen in love with the homeless pups we’ve adopted, but I’m hoping someday…  

Scruffy in kilt One of the great things about being a writer? You can give your characters the pets you’ve always wanted. That’s how Scruffy ended up in Highland Yearning. I made him a Westie mix, with a torn ear and bedraggled fur, but his personality more than makes up for what he lacks in grooming.

 Adding a dog as a character was a new experience for me as a writer. I always had to wonder, where was Scruffy while Caden was kissing Ariel? Then I had to consider who the dog liked, or didn’t. Animals are as particular as people, and you can always tell how they feel about a person. With this in mind, I thought it might be fun to “interview” Scruffy.

Today, I have Scruffy with me, one of the characters from my latest book.

Scruffy, you weren’t allowed to speak in Highland Yearning. (Barking doesn’t count.) So I thought I’d ask some questions about the story and get the answers from your point of view.

Scruffy’s whole body moved, even his backside followed his wagging tail. “Finally, I get to tell what really happened.”

And it was quite a story. Did you know you were going to be sent back in time with Ariel?

He settled down and stared at me. “No one ‘sent’ me back. I chose to go.  A few days before we ended up in Scotland I was visited by one of the Ring of Belief’switches. The witches are okay. This one, Elspeth, is beautiful by human standards and unlike most humans, she had no trouble understanding me.

The witch asked, very politely, if I wanted to go back to 1775 with Ariel, or stay in this time. I told her I wanted to go back, Ariel needed me.” Scruffy raised his bushy eyebrows. “Actually, we needed each other.”

I had the feeling you weren’t over-fond of Caden, the hero in the story.

In spite of what some readers may believe, I want to state, for the record, I am not jealous of the hero. Human women are always sighing over Caden, but I consider him an acquired taste. Oh, he’s big, and can hold his own in a fight with other humans, but his sense of smell is terrible. It’s a good thing he doesn’t lose Ariel on a regular basis. I’m used to the Mackay, and Ariel loves him, so I have to make allowances.

A little bird told me you found your own ‘lassie’ in Scotland.

Birds talk too much. But yes, I met Ellie there. You won’t come across a finer West Highland Terrier this side of the Dornoch Firth. She likes to think she’s ‘domesticated’ me, but that’s only because I let her believe I’ve been tamed.

She must love you.  I understand you have pups of your own.

“Aye.” Scruffy stuck out his chest. “They’re fine little lads and lassies. One of them, Scout, has huge paws for a little pup, but he’ll grow into them. No doubt, he’ll be bigger than his father.” He cocked his head. “My pups aren’t nearly as much trouble as Ariel and Caden’s. I don’t envy them their helpless offspring, they have to keep them around for years.

Is there anything else you’d like to say about Highland Yearningwhile you have the chance?

Scruffy’s eyebrows raised, and his liquid brown eyes twinkled. “I like what you did with our story. Now, will you write me back to the Highlands? My family’s waiting.

 

Excerpt From Highland Yearning:Highland Yearning _505x825

“Are we done, lassie?” Caden’s voice sounded tight. Almost as if he were speaking through his teeth.

“I guess so.” She turned and leaned back against the rough stone. “We’ve searched all the rooms in this part of the tower.”

“And thanks to you, every person we came across thinks I’m bedding you.”

“Would you rather I let them know we were searching for what they consider to be an imaginary ring?” She inclined her head. “I had to come up with some reason for us to be alone in the upstairs bedrooms.”

“They’ll never truly believe I’d bed a Sutherland.”

Ariel reined in her anger. “Yes, they will. After all, your brother is about to marry a Sutherland.”

He came to within a foot of her. “Nay, he will not.” His tone softened. “Don’t you ken what other men will think of you, lassie?”

“It doesn’t matter.”

“They’ll believe they can take liberties, and you’ve no one to protect you.”

“You’re worried about my safety?”

“Aye.”

When was the last time someone worried about her? Her heart did a little twist. “That’s sweet, but I can take care of myself.”

“But your reputation—”

“Isn’t a problem. After all, I’m not staying. If anything, you need to worry about your reputation.” She bit her lip to keep from laughing at the mixture of frustration and confusion on his face.

She shook her head. “We left some of those rooms in five or ten minutes. Word could get around that you are . . . shall we say, less than adequate.”

He smiled, amusement crinkling the corners of his eyes. “Then I’d have to prove otherwise to every lassie who questioned it.” His voice lowered and he studied her face. “Would you be wondering about my capabilities?”

 

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Christmas Traditions

H6Tradition is important in my family. Through our traditions come some of our best “stories.” For instance, my sisters and I ring the bell at church every Christmas morning. One of my sisters insists on adding a couple of minutes to the time each year.  We are now up to 22 minutes.  My husband took pity on us a few years ago and presented us with bell-ringing gloves. (Hemp is murder on your hands.)

Of course, that same sister is the chronicler in the family. The problem is, her candid shots – aren’t.  I put my foot down when she missed a shot of me opening an important gift. She wanted me to re-wrap it and look surprised when I opened it. I enjoy acting, but on Christmas morning?

Then there was the year that we went out to cut the tree (as we do every year) and our dog Nikki decided to roll in some animal droppings. It may have smelled good to her, but we were forced into a half-hour ride, in a closed vehicle, with a very smelly dog. Needless to say, she didn’t come with us the following year.

Speaking of dogs, I’m surprised Brandy (another of our well-behaved pets), made it through Christmas several years ago. One of my sisters was sick and couldn’t attend church. We left her on the sofa, and she had a pound of chocolates next to her on the coffee table. When we returned, each wrapper was in its place, but the entire box was empty. We unjustly accused my sister, but it turns out Brandy had a sweet tooth. 

And it’s not just the animals that have Christmas stories. We’ve had some Christmas Parties that would have made Mr. Fezziwig (A Christmas Carol) feel right at home, complete with pastry covered hams, unique games (It’s a Wonderful Life Trivial Pursuit) and my sisters and I lip sinking to “The Chipmunks.” (Yes, I lip sang “I still want a hula hoop.”)

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

The Twelve Days After Christmas

Okay, as a romance writer I hope it never comes to this, but the song is very amusing. 12 Days of Christmas

The Twelve Days After Christmas

The first day after Christmas
My true love and I had a fight
And so I chopped the pear tree down
And burnt it, just for spite
Then with a single cartridge
I shot that blasted partridge
My true love, my true love,
my true love gave to me.

The second day after Christmas
I pulled on the old rubber gloves
And very gently wrung the necks
Of both the turtle doves
My true love, my true love,
my true love gave to me.

The third day after Christmas
My mother caught the croup
I had to use the three French hens
To make some chicken soup

The four calling birds were a big mistake
For their language was obscene

The five golden rings were completely fake
and turned my fingers green.

The sixth day after Christmas
The six laying geese wouldn’t lay
So I sent the whole darn gaggle to the
A.S.P.C.A.

On the seventh day, what a mess I found
The seven swans-a-swimming all had drowned
My true love, my true love,
my true love gave to me.

The eighth day after Christmas
Before they could suspect
I bundled up the
Eight maids-a-milking
Nine ladies dancing
Ten lords-a-leaping
Eleven pipers piping
Twelve drummers drumming–well, actually, I kept one of the drummers
And sent them back collect
I wrote my true love
“We are through, love!”
And I said in so many words
“Furthermore your Christmas gifts were for the Birds!”

A “Ghostly” Memory

ghost 1 ”You have to take her with you.” Our mother uttered those horrifying words and my sister Gail and I looked at each other in terror. Not that our little sister, Sandy, was anyone to be afraid of, with her red-gold curls and big blue eyes, but she was only six and we were so much older at seven and eight.

We had been planning our outfits for weeks and now mom wanted Sandy to tag along while we went in search of Halloween candy? Sandy didn’t even have a costume. We’d have to explain “Trick or Treat” to her. Although, to be fair, we’d only had to do a trick once in our vast experience. As part of a pack of neighborhood kids, we’d built a human pyramid.

It was too late for a fancy costume. Everyone would be heading out in another half hour. I eyed our sister’s petite frame.

Gail walked around Sandy as if searching for inspiration. “We could paint her face and give her a blanket as a cape.”

“It would take too long.”

“I want to be a princess.” Sandy peered up at us hopefully.

“You can’t. You don’t have a dress.” There was only one solution. “We’ll make her a ghost.”

Gail shook her head. “Mom will never let us cut holes in a sheet.”Ghost

“Then we won’t. We’ll lead her around.”

“But I don’t want to be a ghost.” Sandy’s words were somewhat muffled as I’d grabbed a sheet and thrown it over her head.

My sister’s hands stretched out in front of her, making her look like a sleep-walking spirit. “I can’t see.”

“Don’t worry. We’ll make sure you don’t trip over anything.” Although, I was being a bit optimistic as the sheet already dragged on the ground.

We joined the neighborhood kids, our plastic bags clutched in one hand, while Sandy stumbled along between us, “ET” style. We had her bag and as we traveled the rows of well-lit homes, our sacks of candy were growing heavier.

Until it rained.

One, by one, the other kids left, not willing to brave the storm, but we continued, traipsing down the street, promising Sandy, “Just one more house.”

By then her sheet hung in wet folds and sniffles could be heard from under the dripping mess, along with mumbled words that sounded like, “I want to go home.”

Eventually, even our stamina came to an end and we went back to the house. In the living room we dumped the piles of candy on the floor and Sandy’s wet face brightened. However, to this day, her view of sheets is very different from most people.

Happy Halloween! pumpkin