By Leah.Braemel On Apr 11 2012, 8:00 am
Last October my eldest son finally left the nest – I've still got my youngest home, but he's pretty self-sufficient these days, leaving me lots of time to write. So what on earth possessed me less than two months after I'd gained some measure of freedom to take on another responsibility? In this case, a nine week old Shih Tzu puppy we've called Seamus.
It's like being the parent of a newborn all over again. Instead of getting a regular night's sleep, we had to respond to a tiny puppy's nature's calls. Which meant getting dressed up in our winter coat and boats and take him into the cold at two in the morning. Not fun when you've just rolled out a nice warm bed and had your lovely deep sleep interrupted. And not fun to try to write when you have a puppy yapping for attention every time you turn your back to him. Or when you're yawning because … well, he's gotten you up at 2 a.m.
Oh sure, there have been the inevitable mistakes on the carpet. And on the brand new hardwood floor in my office. (They've eased up somewhat but I quickly learned that Shih Tzus can be notoriously challenging to housebreak. It's their natural stubborn nature more than anything, I suspect.) And the corners he's chewed off my printer stand while he was teething. Though he learned how to go up the stairs very quickly, going down took him another two months, and then only after a great deal of coaxing and bribery. (He'll do almost anything for a dried liver snack.)
When we adopted Seamus, my husband used all his high-powered testosterone and insisted I promise that I would never–ever–dress the dog in one of those silly costumes he'd seen people doing on television. Three weeks later, he bought a Santa outfit and made Seamus wear it. Poor Seamus. Little did he know that wearing that silly Santa hat was far better than what he's forced to wear this week.
Last week we stepped up as responsible pet owners and had him neutered. Which means he's now wearing the Cone-of-Shame. Or as we call it the Cone-of-Seamus. Poor little guy looks so pathetic. For the first few hours, he just lay down, refusing to move. We thought he was having problems shaking off the anesthetic so, figuring he was too doped up to lick his missing boyparts, we took pity on him and removed the cone. At which time he popped right up and started prancing around. Obviously it wasn't a reaction to the anesthetic but the cone. Which had to go right back on him as he plopped his little butt down and started worrying the stitches in that tender part of his anatomy.
Eventually he had to accept it and now wanders around providing unintentional moments of hilarity. Especially when the edge of the cone sticks in the ground when he's trying to sniff the grass and he ends up doing a faceplant into the lawn. Or when, going up the stairs, the cone gets stuck on the riser of the next stair and he can't move, but he doesn't have the sense to ease back.
All of which mean someone has to go rescue him.
Usually the one who works from home all day.
That would be me.
Do you think my editor will accept "but the dog ate my manuscript" to explain missing a deadline?
Like most authors, Leah's always had stories revolving around in her head, talking to her late at night. College, marriage and raising a family had her pushing them aside until a conversation with her eldest son about how he needed to follow his dreams was thrown back at her. One year later Leah was thrilled to get her first contract for her sizzling romance Private Property from Samhain Publishing. In January 2010, the reviewers at The Romance Studio nominated Private Property for a CAPA award for "Best Erotic Romance." Leah was also nominated in the "Best Erotic Romance Author" category. Reviewers have since awarded her books numerous Top Pick and Recommended Reads designations along with another CAPA nomination for Deliberate Deceptions as "Best Contemporary Romance of 2011." Look for her upcoming release, Hidden Heat, book 4 in the Hauberk Protection series, on May 1. You can find out more about Leah's books on her website, or you can follow her on Twitter or Facebook.