Writing and Other Afflictions

"If it was easy, everyone would do it." –Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own"

Monthly Archives: September 2016

Book Publishing News!

Well, a teaser anyway. I have reached a handshake deal to publish my 1815 magic school series, the one I’ve been working on for six years now. Pretty excited about it! More details to come, but it looks like the first volume will come out next summer.

Dog Backstory

We got our dog through the German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California. He was found wandering the streets of Sacramento, so we have no idea what his history is. All we know is that he wasn’t fixed (he is now), he loves people, he knows tricks, and he gets nervous/excited around other dogs (poorly dog-socialized). So sometimes we make up backstories for him.


You lived with a family and loved them with all your dog’s heart. And they loved you, too. They let you sleep in bed with the kids until you got too big, and you climbed on the couch to watch TV with them at night. The kids gave you pizza and bread from the table as their mom scolded them. They would all pile into the car with you and you’d go out to a park with a pond where the kids would throw balls for you and you’d jump around in the water and they would give you bits of their soft pretzels and then fall asleep against you in the back seat on the way home. And then one day they were putting things into boxes and everyone was crying and you didn’t know why. You ran around the house, worried, but whenever someone stopped to pet you they just cried more. And then they put things in the car but you weren’t allowed out to see what they were doing. At the end, the house was empty but for the smells of them. They took you outside and got in the car, and you wanted to get in with them but they wouldn’t let you, and then the car drove away without you.

You came home with a man who lived alone, and you were his companion. Sometimes he’d talk to the little box in his hand, but more often he talked to you. He’d sit beside you on the couch and rest his hand between your ears, scratching as the TV flickered and made noise, and he’d take you out in his truck to play in the park. It was just you and him, every day as you grew from a puppy to an adult. And then one day he didn’t get out of bed, and you found out what death was. You stayed with him until the police broke into the house, days later. You were hungry and scared and you bolted out the door.

You were supposed to be a guard dog for a household that dealt drugs, but you were too sweet, so they kept you around as a companion and let you sit in the car and bark at people when they went out, to make you seem scarier. When the police came to arrest them, the cops¬†kept you on to be a drug-sniffing dog, because you were really good at sniffing. You were assigned to a female officer who grew to love you and take good care of you, only you couldn’t be a drug dog because you wouldn’t attack the criminals unless you thought the officer was in danger. They were taking you to an adoption facility, away from the officer, when the car was in an accident and you jumped free. You thought you’d try to make your way back to her, but you quickly got lost and had to fend for yourself.

You were implicated in a Ponzi scheme run by your brother and a standard poodle out of the San Francisco financial district. As the three of you fled across the Embarcadero pursued by the police, you scrambled onto a ferry and made your way to the East Bay, cursing that damn brother of yours and his get-rich-quick schemes. All you’d done was co-sign for a perfectly legal small business loan, and now you had to disappear or you’d go to prison. You made your way to Sacramento and lived on the street for a while until Animal Control picked you up and gave you a new identity, and now you growl at anyone in uniform just to be safe.

When your parents learned that their colleagues’ research was going to blow up your home planet, they put you in a small spacecraft and sent you to another planet with a yellow sun, where your kind are pampered and kept happy and fed all their lives. They didn’t quite understand the mechanism by which this works, so you crashed into the hills outside Sacramento and wandered into the city looking for a family.¬†


We don’t really know how your story started, but we’re going to be there for the rest of it and we’ll make it as happy as we can.