Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Missing the Manipulation

I'm such a dog person, always have been. I had a special bond with Nicky, a German Shepherd mix, who was my primary companion during my hermit years in Vermont. I've blogged about her several times over the years -- when she was alive (Dogs, Spot the Dog), after she died (A Year Later), and in my dreams (Detailed Dreams).Yesterday marked 3 years since I lost her, and I like to remember her with happy thoughts.

When I first got Nicky from a shelter (a corner of someone's barn) in very rural northeastern Vermont, she'd apparently been ripped off the teat a bit early. I could easily hold her in the palm of one hand. She was so tiny, despite my ongoing rule of no dogs on the furniture, I'd hold her in my lap in my easy chair while she slept. I couldn't resist. When she woke and started gnawing my fingers or climbing all over me, I'd set her on the floor. Nicky quickly learned to manipulate me.

She grew at the rate puppies who'll become large dogs grow, and in a few weeks, she demonstrated great cunning (and charm). She'd wait until I was comfortable in my easy chair, leap up into my lap, and immediately feign sleep. She'd learned I wouldn't put her down if she were asleep.

It was very funny. I could flip her over, hold her upside down, jiggle her little body, sing her name...Nicky would remain limp and "asleep." I recall laughing so hard my stomach hurt. She "slept" through that too. In the end, she established a tradition I loved, where every night, she'd curl up with me in my chair.

December 2005

Once she'd grown, I'd sit at my computer writing for hours and hours, while Nicky lay faithfully at my feet, waiting patiently. When her patience finally wore out, or her stomach growled, or her bladder filled, she knew how to get me out of that office chair. She'd circle behind me, jump up, put a paw on each shoulder from behind, and begin to clean my ears. A dog tongue in my ear is a certain way to get me on my feet. Then she could lure me outside with her energy, and we'd romp and play.

Nicky was a special part of my life for 13 years, and I still think of her often. I miss so much about her, even the way she manipulated me.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

HWH Newsletter Issue #6 is out!

All subscribers to my Horror With Heart Newsletter should now have a horror story and a half in their in-boxes. I hope you all enjoy "Finger Food" with the original and alternate Valentine endings.

I don't plan to post this issue online like I have other newsletters, but it's not too late to receive a copy. I'll forward Issue #6, Feeding the Spirit of Valentine, to everyone who subscribes to my newsletter through February 14th. To subscribe, enter your name and email address in the gold box to the right. 

And to those of you who've questioned whether it'll be hard to fall asleep with "Finger Food" on your mind, just keep your hands under the covers and ignore any skritching sounds coming from behind your bed. You'll be fine.

Thanks again to my subscribers for the encouragement and support. Sure means a lot to me.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Feeding the Valentine's Day spirit

I'm working on a seasonal surprise for the subscribers of my Horror with Heart Newsletter. It's a horror story, because if you're like me, nothing says Happy Valentine's Day like a horror story.

I think my story "Finger Food" is just about perfect for the season. It's about a compassionate loner who takes care of a strange and hungry pet. That's kind of touching, right? Warms the heart? That's what I thought. So early next week, to help get folks in the Valentine's Day spirit, I decided to send out a newsletter featuring "Finger Food".

Then I got to thinking. With the storms and snow and record cold temperatures lately, we all may have to work a little harder than usual to feel the Valentine glow this year. And because my newsletter subscribers are so special to me, I've decided to go one better than sharing "Finger Food." I'm including an alternate, Valentine's Day ending for those who like things really sweet.

If you already subscribe to my Horror with Heart Newsletter, I hope you'll enjoy my Valentine's Day offering, both the original and sweet versions. If you're not a subscriber and want to be, it takes about 10 seconds. Go to the gold box near the top right of this blog, fill in your email address and name, and click the submit button. That's it. I typically send out 3 or 4 newsletters a year, your email address isn't shared, and if you change your mind, unsubscribing is even simpler than subscribing. Each newsletter has an unsubscribe link at the bottom.

I look forward to visiting your inbox next week to tell you a story and a half.