How to make an author nervous

We live in a small town in southern, central Massachusetts. There are lots of privately owned, cozy restaurants here. Which is great, because I would MUCH rather eat out than cook.

Especially when it’s 100 degrees, like it’s been the past few days.

So, we go for breakfast to one of these local icons last weekend. The owner is a sweetie. She always hangs my posters for local book signings, and has (she’s told me) read a number of my books.

Last weekend, when we walked into her establishment, she calls from the kitchen,

“I just finished your latest book!”

As an author–a not terribly self-confident one–I wondered if this was a good thing, or not.

“So? What did you think?” I asked, cringing as I waited for the answer. She’s an extremely honest person, and I knew if she hated it, I would hear about it. As well as everyone else in the restaurant that morning.

“I loved it! When’s the next one coming out?” she shouted over the busy restaurant’s din.

I cleared my throat. “I’m working on it.”

And then came the words that I will print out and post on my wall in 6 inch tall, neon letters:

“HURRY UP!”

It doesn’t get much better than this.

~~~

Claire Gem writes contemporary romance and supernatural suspense. Visit her at www.clairegem.com.

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Grandma, do dogs go to Heaven?

Oh, the responsibilities of Grandma. It’s hard enough to deal with the loss of a beloved pet, one who had become a member of our family. One who shared our lives, our home, our dinners (albeit through crumbs dropped on the floor) for over ten years. But with a six-year-old in the house, the task of Grandma became even more difficult.

We knew days before his time came that Chopper was leaving us. He was gracious and kind. He didn’t force us to make any difficult decisions. Chopper passed peacefully in his sleep the day after Memorial Day.

“No more dogs.”

This from my husband, through tears. Chopper was his baby. I knew better. I started searching for a new puppy just days after we put our boy to rest in our backyard.

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As it turns out, finding another Boston terrier puppy isn’t all that hard–unless you have specific requirements. I wanted one as close to Chopper as we could get. Small for the breed, around 15 pounds fully grown. Classic markings. Brindle in the black coat.

And that face . . .

As luck would have it, I found Bree’s Bostons and Buddies on Facebook. Every pup in her most recent litter was gorgeous, but one stood out. He was the runt and, since her litters carried the Game of Thrones theme, she called him Tyrion (I don’t watch the show, but I guess he’s a little person?).

Small problem: Grandpa isn’t a fan of Game of Thrones. Bigger problem: Bree lives in Louisiana, and we in Massachusetts. And flying a young pup–in cargo–is no longer a smart option.

What a saint this breeder is. She was willing to meet us halfway in Roanoke, VA. Ironically, in 2008, Chopper also came from Louisiana, although his breeder was no longer in the business. It was synchronicity. It was meant to be.

So we packed up the family and made the trip. “Rudy” (named after the movie by the same name–little guy, big heart) came home last Friday and oh, is he a doll. He is everything we’d hoped he would be and more.

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And so it came around (in an inquisitive, six-year-old’s mind) to the same question, as we watched our tiny, 8-week-old pup romp in the yard. Chopper’s yard. The one that used to be his domain. Where (in my grandson’s mind) his deceased buddy was watching from his shady corner under the flowering cherry tree.

“He looks just like Chopper, Grandma. Do you think it’s okay with Chopper that Rudy shares his yard? Do you think Chopper is in heaven?”

“I’m not sure, sweetie. But I do know this: sometimes really, really good dogs get to come back to Earth in a younger, healthier body. I think that’s what happened with Chopper and Rudy.”

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And so it will be.

~~~

Claire Gem writes supernatural suspense and really, truly believes in ghosts. Even doggie ghosts. Website