Archive for the ‘In real life’ Category
I’m very happy to welcome fellow-Noodler (aka RWA Golden Heart® finalist, class of 2003) Lee McKenzie. Lee is a fellow Canadian and a truly strong and fascinating woman. She lives with her artist/teacher husband on an island in the Pacific Northwest, and writes smart, wonderful, heartwarming stories for Harlequin American. Lee has lots of pictures for us, so let’s get right to it!
Thank you, Norah, for hosting me on Workspace Wednesday, and welcome everyone to my office. Yes, I tidied up for you. I always tidy up before guests arrive, and you are no exception. When I’m on deadline or busy with other things, my space tends to get a bit disorganized. Okay, a lot. But every once in a while I need to spend a day getting reorganized because the mess drives me crazy.
My office hasn’t always looked like this, but I’m too embarrassed to show the “before” photos. Trust me, though, it was bad, because five years ago I had surgery for recurrent melanoma followed by a year of chemo. Pretty much everything, including writing, was put on hold. My office became a dumping ground for all the stuff I didn’t have time and energy to deal with, and that was made worse by towering floor-to-ceiling shelves, overstuffed filing cabinets, boxes of junk and…well, I’m sure you get the picture.
Last year it was still an overwhelming mess, so I bit the bullet and hired Chaos to Calm, a home organizing company owned by sisters Jess and Jen. And let me tell you, those two gals are worth their weight in gold.
And here’s what my office looks like now.
The too-tall shelves that overwhelmed the space…and me…have been replaced by nice low ones. It turns out that I’m a piler, not a filer, but I don’t like piles so I’ve opted for labelled storage boxes instead.
Organizing my office and trying to keep it tidy lets me enjoy the things that are really special to me. My two RWA chapters authors give a silk rose every time they sell a book, and I love my bouquet! Yes, those are dinosaurs on one of the shelves, and the red Vespa in the print on the wall is just like the one the heroine in The Wedding Bargain rode.
I don’t write at this desk but I do use the computer for email, printing manuscripts, etc. This is also a handy place to keep other special mementos, like the little (now empty!) bottle of bubbly on the top shelf. I bought it the day I got “the call.”
This desk is also home to my “inspiration shelf” where I keep copies of my books and other little odds and ends that tie in to the stories I’ve written. And of course there are polka dots. I love polka dots!
My office used to be a bedroom, so I have the luxury of a generously sized storage closet. A very handy place to store office supplies and bins of author copies.
My writing corner is my favorite part of the room, and as you can see by the scratching post, I share it with my two cats. All of my writing is done on my laptop, and the armchair makes a nice cozy writing space.
My inspiration was this green Harlequin Wing Chair from McKenzie-Childs.
Sadly, it didn’t fit in my budget…and trust me, I crunched the numbers!
So I created my own.
The old wingback chair was given to me and I slip-covered it in a nice, calming sage green. The ottoman and side table were thrift-store finds, and I made the cushions (McCall’s 4410) from fabric remnants. It can’t compete with my dream chair, but it works, and at a fraction of the cost.
On the wall next to my writing chair I’ve created my own little “wall of fame.” My book covers and posters from the three years when I was a Golden Heart finalist are block-mounted, and I’ve also added the “first sale” plaques presented to me by my two RWA chapters. Yes, I know this makes me look like a total egomaniac! But I’m usually the only person who sees it, and it inspires me.
Thank you so much for stopping by to visit my workspace, which, I’m happy to say, is now a lovely place to work. I’m not sure where my other cat is, but Lucy and I hope you enjoyed the tour.
Today I’m giving away a signed copy of the first book in my Seattle-set Ready Set Sold series about three women who run a real estate business that renovates, stages and sells homes. Samantha, the company’s carpenter and all-round handywoman, is the heroine in The Christmas Secret (Harlequin American Romance, November 2011).
The Daddy Project is Kristi’s story. She’s the company’s interior decorator, and this book is on shelves now!
Claire is the company’s Realtor and her story, Daddy, Unexpectedly, is a May 2013 release and now available for pre-order.
I’m thrilled that Maggie’s Way (Harlequin Heartwarming) will also be out in May 2013.
Leave a comment to be eligible for win a copy of The Christmas Secret, a secret baby story with a twist. And for a little extra incentive, if you go to my website and sign up for my monthly eNewsletter, your name will be entered twice!
Thank you, Norah! Merry Christmas to you all, and happy reading!
Thank you, Lee! That was an awesome tour. And as always, you are an inspiration!
If you’d like to read more about Lee, she’s actually interviewed today at Get Lost in a Story.
But before you go, don’t forget to leave a comment for your chance to win a signed copy of The Christmas Secret.
Some days, I can’t help but think I have the best job in the world, and not just because I get to make up stories! I also get to meet some very cool people. One of those awesome people is Vanessa Kelly. I got to know Vanessa when I was invited to join Rock*It Reads, of which she is a founding member. I can’t tell you how much respect and affection I have developed for her in the short time I’ve been with RIR. Take it away, Vanessa!
Hi, Norah! Thanks so much for having me on Workspace Wednesday. The first thing I did, naturally, was go on and look at some of the swell spaces you’ve highlighted. Gave me some great organizing ideas! For me, organization is critical because I work out of two offices. Most of the year I live in a condo in Ottawa with my hubby, but I’m lucky enough to spend the winter in Florida, in a bungalow on a small but very beautiful lake.
Not surprisingly, my Ottawa office is the best supplied and holds most of my books and writing resources, because that’s where I spend most of the year. Here’s a picture of the custom-designed bookcase for all my research books and materials.
The desk that you see in that photo, however, is not mine. It’s my husband Randy’s workspace. He’s my co-writer for my VK Sykes contemporary romance books. If you want to see how closely we work together, check out this picture.
That’s my desk chair on the right. Pretty darn close, I’d say! In fact, we bump into each other on a regular basis. Because we live in a condo with limited space, we had to put a lot of time into thinking about how the office would work. Now here’s a picture of my desk.
Notice the Obus form cushion on my chair—like many writers, my back can often give me problems, so a really good chair and good posture is essential. But on bad back days I usually move out to a big leather armchair in the living room. I plop my Alphasmart on my little lap desk and write away. It’s a good break from sitting at the desk and often seems to fuel my creativity. It’s amazing how changing one’s environment, even just a little bit, can help the muse break out of her box.
Here’s the final picture from my Ottawa office, showing more of our custom built cabinets and bookshelves. I’ve also got some awards posted on the wall, and you can also see that this corner is where I stack author copies, manuscripts, and other supplies I need within reach.
As you can see, my Ottawa office is pretty tight but I think it’s well designed and very functional. As much as I love spending winters in Florida, I do miss my office while we’re gone. But Florida has its compensations too, starting with this view out my back door.
The real advantage of my Florida office space is that I have more room to spread out, which is kind of funny because I don’t have nearly as much stuff here as I do in Ottawa. But it’s still a pleasure to have the extra space.
Notice the swell built-in drawers and cabinets from the previous owner of the house. That is a very handy feature for someone who has a lot of crap to organize!
Here’s a close up of my workspace.
See that white kitchen timer by my keyboard? I set that at fifteen minute intervals to remind myself to get up and walk around. Bad back, remember?
One of the things I also appreciate about my Florida office is where it’s located—the kitchen. I love being in the kitchen. It’s warm and cozy, and it only takes a second to get up and make myself a cup of tea and coffee. Of course, it also means I’m way too close to all the food and the fridge, so I have to exercise some much-needed restraint.
And, no, I’m not going to post a picture of my kitchen, because I still haven’t done the breakfast dishes!
Vanessa Kelly was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.” Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, Sex and The Single Earl, won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance. Vanessa also writes contemporary romance with her husband under the name of V.K. Sykes. You can find her on the web at www.vanessakellyauthor.com or at www.vksykes.com.
Thank you, Vanessa. That was awesome. And I’m so jealous! I’d like to try to write on that dock.
If you want to know more about Vanessa, visit her at one of these sites:
Check out her current books:
When Major Lucas Stanton inherited his earldom, he never dreamed his property would include the previous earl’s granddaughter. Phoebe Linville is a sparkling American beauty, yes, but with a talent for getting into trouble. Witness the compromising position that forced them into wedlock. Whisked away to Mistletoe Manor, his country estate, it isn’t long before she is challenging his rules—and surprising him in and out of bed…
Phoebe has no intention of bowing to Lucas’s stubbornness even though he offers all that she wants. His kisses and unexpected warmth are enticing, but Phoebe is determined to show the Earl of Merritt what real love is all about. And if that takes twelve nights of delicious seduction by a roaring fire, she’s more than willing to reveal her gifts very slowly…
Sports journalist Martha Winston loves her career, but her life goes sideways when she inherits a pro soccer team from her father. The team is almost bankrupt and on the skids, but Martha has vowed to save her beloved father’s legacy. But she needs to get a financial infusion fast, or else lose the team to the wolves baying at her door.
Former British soccer hero Tony Branch wants to add Martha’s team to his growing sports empire. But he wants it strictly on his terms—full control, not a partnership. When Martha turns him down flat, he’s determined to change her mind by any means necessary. If that includes using the sexual heat flaring between them, Tony is more than willing to play a game of seduction.
Okay, that brings us to the fun stuff – the giveaway! Leave a comment for Vanessa for a chance to win one of two prizes. She’ll be giving away a signed copy of His Mistletoe Bride to one winner, and an ebook copy of Bigger than Beckham to another.
I am so happy to have Diane Gaston as my guest today on Workspace Wednesday. Diane is a fellow Noodler, aka a member of the Wet Noodle Posse, aka the RWA Golden Heart® finalists of 2003. I met her in person for the first time in 2004 when I attended my first RWA National Conference in Dallas, Texas. The largest conference I’d attended prior to that was the New England chapter’s event. There were more romance writers in that Dallas hotel that week than live in the New Brunswick parish where I grew up. I’d just had my first novel published and met my editor for the first time. To say I was a little overwhelmed and feeling out of my depth is an understatement. Of course, Diane was incredibly kind and gracious. making me feel less conspicuously awkward. And in the intervening years since then, I’ve seen her do it countless times again, for all kinds of people, in person and in electronic forums. She is a truly lovely person. She is also an extremely talented, RITA-winning writer, and her historical romances are a very special treat.
With that introduction, I’ll turn you over to Diane.
DIANE GASTON: Before writing this, I looked back at previous Workspace Wednesday blogs. Oh dear….Just as I feared. Almost everybody showed these beautiful office spaces, perfectly organized, creatively decorated with lots of Feng Shui. This is so not my workspace.
The truth is, my workspace is wherever I want it to be.
I realized long ago that I enjoy writing the best when I am not shut away in an office. I like being in the thick of things so that I can see, hear, and respond to what is going on. It is the way I adapted so that writing did not take me away from my family, so I could always know when someone needed or wanted my attention.
Lately I’ve been writing in our den. My dh who works at home two days a week, works in the same room. That can be nice or distracting, depending on my powers of focus. The den is in the middle of everything. Anyone who comes in the house passes through the den.
I write on an MacBook Air, which I LOVE, and sit on a recliner loveseat using the foot rest as a desk sometimes. My research books sit next to me. Occasionally I also have a cat sitting next to me. Or on me. Behind me is a printer in a nook that is more “office” than den and deserves to be hidden from view.
I like writing in our den because it looks out onto our deck to the woods beyond. I live in the Washington, DC, suburbs, the epitome of suburbia, but the patch of woods behind my house gives the illusion of wilderness–except in late fall and winter when the townhouses behind peek through. There is a bird feeder on our deck that brings lots of visitors. Red cardinals. Blue Jays. Chickadees. Even woodpeckers, who peck on our chimney in the spring, sounding like machine guns. We also have squirrels, chipmunks, foxes, opossums, deer and raccoons. In suburbia.
From where I sit in the den, I also have in view my most valued writing awards. If that isn’t inspiration, I don’t know what is! From left to right is a RITA, a Golden Quill, a National Readers Choice Award. The crystal in front is my Washington Romance Writers Nancy Richards-Akers Mentoring Award, one I particularly treasure.
Hanging beneath the award shelf is an antique ink drawing I bought that I swear is Lord Byron, another treasure, another writing inspiration.
Sometimes I need a change of scenery when I write. So I move into the living room. This is perhaps my favorite room in the house. It has furniture and decor from my family and my husband’s and is filled with beautiful memories. Here’s the view from my writing chair in the living room. The figurines on each end belonged to my mother, the clock to my aunt, and the others were ones I purchased.
Besides my very comfortable working spaces in the den and living room, I also have a “Book Room.” I can’t call it an office because there is no place to work in there, but it is where I keep my ever growing collection of research books and other writing-related stuff. I have over 700 research books on the shelves and keep my backlist books in plastic bins. When I am in the throes of writing, this space looks like I belong on an episode of Hoarders.
Please believe me, the rest of my house looks adequately neat and clean. This room never gets as neat as other parts of the house, but it usually looks better. Like this.
At least you can see the carpet and I can reach my books without climbing over stuff.
The brown box on top of the plastic bins contains my latest book, Born To Scandal, in bookstores now and due to be released as an ebook December 1. Born to Scandal is my homage to Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. It is the story of a governess and a lord, complete with secrets and betrayal.
Lord Brentmore–half Irish peasant, half English aristocrat–grew up under a cloud of scandal. Even money and a title aren’t enough to stay the wagging tongues of the Ton. But he’s vowed that his children will never experience the same stigma.
After the death of their infamous mother they need a reputable governess. Anna Hill is too passionate, too alluring, but she fills Brentmore Hall with light and laughter again–and its master with feelings he’d forgotten.
But a lord marrying a governess would be the biggest scandal of all!
Learn more at my website.
To celebrate the release of Born to Scandal, I’m giving away a signed copy to one lucky commenter here. Just be sure to leave your email address.
Now it’s time to ‘fess up. Do you have a room or closet that sometimes looks like you belong on Hoarders? (Or am I the only one….?)
I haven’t known Nancy Naigle long; I met her when she became a fellow Montlake Romance author. But frankly, it didn’t take long, even though the “getting to know you” stuff was all electronic. She’s very warm, funny and interesting. Just like her books! Since I’ve mentioned the Montlake connection, here’s Nancy’s current Montlake title, Sweet Tea and Secrets, which is charting very nicely in Romance > Series and Romance > Contemporary. Go, Nancy!
With that intro, here’s Nancy!
NANCY NAIGLE: Hey y’all, when Norah invited me to drop in and share my writing space I was so excited. Then, as I fell in love with each space Wednesday after Wednesday, I realized everyone else is way more organized (and neater) than I am!
I live in southern Virginia on a goat farm with my husband and two labs, so it’s probably no surprise that I write love stories from the crossroad of small town and suspense.
My office is kind of like me – all over the place, and I learned a couple funny things about myself in looking at my office through these pictures. You’ll see what I mean here in a second.
For example, I never noticed until I took these pictures that it’s pretty darn clear that I’m right-handed. Notice the piles of stuff on the right end of my desk? Good thing I don’t work on a boat, I’d tip over for sure!
The dresser in the background is a white mahogany dresser that was my granddaddy’s. I couldn’t bear to part with it so I stained it to match my desk and cowboyed it up so it would fit in nicely with my décor. It’s filled with marketing stuff for my books. Giveaways, and tear sheets, you name it. And YES, that is goat hide on the bottom three drawers of that chest of drawers. I also used my dremel to carve brands into the sides of it. It was a really fun project.
I treated myself to the Pottery Barn desk six years ago and I love it today as much as the day I realized I had to have it. The huge desk top gives me lot of room for stuff, and I usually have lots of notes and lists all around me.
The funny thing is I never realized how close to the edge, even hanging off my desk, I work until I took these pictures. I guess maybe that desk isn’t quite as big as I’d really like it to be. And yes, the little stool under the desk is so my feet have somewhere to land. I’m a shorty-girl.
A cool tool: Earlier this year I discovered these adorable cherry bleachers at Levenger.com. It’s one of my favorite websites to window shop. As you can see, it gives me a chance to scribble notes on cards and pop them into the bleachers to help keep myself on track as I work on my book.
These Kathy Ireland bookshelves neatened up my act considerably earlier this year. It’s been great to have twelve running feet to store all my favorites (see Mary Alice Monroe’s book face out on the top left shelf) and craft books.
But there are some days when I really need to get down to work. When the words just aren’t coming, I swivel my office chair toward the window, kick it into recline position, and write with my laptop in my lap. Those always end up being super productive days. It must be a feng-shui thing because it doesn’t work unless I turn the chair toward the window.
The bottom line is as long as I have my laptop I can make it happen. I really like that flexibility.
I have two giveaways for readers. Just leave a comment below for a chance to win either:
- A $10 Amazon gift card; or
- A set of autographed Keeper Kase™ Cards. Don’t know what Keeper Kase™ cards are? Lordy goodness, check this out. http://www.nancynaigle.com/efans.htm
Thank you, Nancy, for that fun tour! I think you might win the prize for the most original piece of furniture with that “cowboyed up” dresser!
I also wanted to mention Nancy’s next Adams Grove Novel Out of Focus, coming in August 2013.
Okay, folks, you heard the lady. Let’s have some comments!
It’s happened before. I wake up to find my little bungalow occupied by 4-6 strangers. My 23-year-old daughter is a big music fan and supporter of local live music. Several years ago, she used to be active promoting all-age shows in our city. Back then, we found ourselves hosting touring bands with fair regularity. As she’s gotten older, she’s moved away from the all-ages shows, but still supports the music scene. Last night she supported it by inviting two bands home.
This is what the influx of that many extra adults in a house looks like:
So guess what I did this morning? Cooked. Two pots of coffee, a jug of OJ, 20 eggs (scrambled), a pound of bacon, some veggie bacon for the vegetarian (and my vegan daughter), and a loaf of bread. I wish I’d taken a picture of the ten of them in my tiny TV room watching spoofs of music videos and howling with laughter. It was actually nice having them. Brought back memories. And as a bonus, they carted away the remains of my Halloween candy so I won’t have to eat it. (Yes!)
I did take this picture of them just before they left. Well, most of them. One guy is missing (he’s sleeping in the van). My dog Chloe loves house guests, especially when they throw the Frisbee for her in the back yard. She’s in the picture too, getting a hug. And now she’s sleeping as soundly as dirt. The pretty blonde wearing the Cancer Bats t-shirt? That’s my daughter Lindsay.
Safe travels, guys.
I am very pleased and honored to have Cynthia Eden as my Workspace Wednesday guest. Cynthia is a USA Today best-selling author of sexy paranormal romance, dark romantic suspense and young adult paranormal. (I’m trying not to go all fan-girl here, but having just finished Bleed for Me, a novella in the Loved by Gods series, it’s kinda hard!)
Take it away, Cynthia.
CYNTHIA EDEN: Happy Wednesday, everyone! And a big thanks to the wonderful Norah for having me over—I’m excited to share my workspace with you.
Some authors have truly fabulous offices. They are so well organized. So clean and perfect. Yes, ahem, I am not one of those authors. Though I did try to clean up my nook a bit for the picture. Here you go:
This is my main writing area. A computer and a view—that’s all I truly need. When I’m working on a tough scene, I’ll pause and let my gaze drift out of the window. I can get lost staring out of that window, then, when the scene clicks, my gaze snaps back to that computer, and it’s time for me to get back to work.
Do you see the lovely green decorations (AKA sticky notes) on my computer? That’s my method for keeping track of things that I MUST do—like, yesterday. Scenes that I need to add, posts that I need to write, dental appointments that I shouldn’t miss. See, I told you that I wasn’t one of those uber organized authors.
But I have my methods.
I like to keep things close by that make me smile—like Snoopy and my gargoyles.
Snoopy is a writer, too, so he understands how easy it is to get stuck in a scene… “It was a dark and stormy night…” When I look at Snoopy, he makes me smile. My gargoyles (See no evil, Hear no evil, and Speak no evil) also inspire me during the day. It’s the little things that can truly make me happy—and these guys make me feel comforted as I write.
Of course, what writing space is complete without books? And I’ve got lots of books…lots and lots of them.
My shelves overflow, but I think that’s a good thing.
I have research books, pleasure reading books, books for contests—I have all kinds of books on my shelves. You never know when you’ll need to research vampires or serial killers, so I believe in being well-stocked.
I also believe in keeping some fun adornments on my shelves. Spooky decorations aren’t just for Halloween at my house—I write about paranormal monsters and killers, so yes, those spooky decorations are on display year round.
And that’s it. My space. Where the writing magic happens (or at least—where I want that writing magic to happen!). Thank you for taking a look at my space. I hope you enjoyed the photos.
And, as a thank you for coming by, I’d like to give one commenter a $10 Amazon.com gift card. Just tell me…what books are on *your* shelves? One random commenter will be selected as the winner.
Thank you, Cynthia! I love your space, and adore that it isn’t perfectly tidy. Predictably, I love the built-in bookcase. I always love the built-in bookcase. Actually, after having seen so many romance authors’ writing caves, I’m beginning to think that the built in bookcase – preferably in white or antique white – is astonishingly universal. (Note to self: Explore significance of the prevalence of white bookcases in a future blog…)
Okay, before turning it over to comments, I wanted to share some contact information for Cynthia.
Cynthia’s Official Fan Page on Facebook
For other social media, or to check Cynthia out more closely, visit her blog.
Cynthia has a brand new book out — her first young adult paranormal. The Better to Bite is available for Kindle for the awesome price of $2.99. (Got mine.)
Adult paranormal more your thing? The newest installment in her Kensington Brava The Fallen series Angel in Chains is due out 11/27/12. Watch for it!
I met Toni Anderson when I joined the Montlake Romance authors loop. It gave me a chuckle to learn that after a career in marine biology that took her all over the world, she settled in the Canadian prairies about as far from an ocean as you can get. (Of course, the topography of the prairie is about as flat as the ocean, and maybe when the winter wind carves “waves” into the frozen snow, it probably looks like one…)
Toni also got my attention for another reason. She writes in my favorite genre – romantic suspense, and her books look awesome. Several of them are on my Kindle, in fact, waiting for me to stop fooling with the Interwebs and start reading. Her Montlake title, DANGEROUS WATERS, comes out very soon – specifically, Tuesday, November 20.
With that intro, I’ll turn you over to Toni.
TONI ANDERSON: Until the beginning of September, I worked in a cupboard. It was a nice piece of furniture but there was no desk space and I had to raise my chair so high I couldn’t touch the floor—so I dangled my feet for 8 years. Nightmare. Finally I found a desk from Ikea that has adjustable legs and my hubby picked it up from Minneapolis when he drove to a conference down in the States. Ikea opens here on Nov 28th!! (Yes, I’m excited LOL). Suddenly I have all this space AND my feet are planted firmly on the floor.
My office is a weird little open-plan room that attaches to the kitchen and what used to be the playroom and is now the ‘piano’ room (mainly because the only thing in there is a piano J). When the kids were small, open-plan was great. Now I’m thinking ‘doors’!
I’ve surrounded myself with books (fiction, non-fiction), tools of the trade (computer and printers etc, and, yes, I need a proper monitor stand J), magazines and images of my heroes and heroines on corkboards because I’m a very visual person. There’s a picture of me and hubby kissing at a recent wedding, and the kids with the Eiffel Tower in the background. And there’s a poster of a couple of cowboys in the Alberta mountains, given to me by a friend, Rich Brown, back when we worked together at the University of Waterloo. And a teapot my in-laws gave us which DH broke. It’s too beautiful to throw out though.
The boxes are full of research material. Each story or linked group of stories get their own box. Some are almost empty and some are full to the gunnels. I store all my notes in the box so when I want to work on a specific story, the information I need is easy to find.
And here’s my little Merrythought bear that my mom sent me (we both used to work in the Merrythought shop in Shropshire, years ago), and my other companion, Holly, who’s a little mad because I’m taking photographs rather than walking her. She gets the spot closest to the radiator!
Thanks for having me today, Norah J. I’ll gift a copy of SEA OF SUSPICION from my backlist to one lucky commenter.
Thank you, Toni! That was an awesome tour. And LOL on your excitement to get an Ikea. I’m envious! I doubt we’ll ever have the critical mass down east to get one of our own.
Okay, let the commenting begin!
When we recently acquired a cat (a stray we’ve named Ruckus), I started feeding it dry kibble because I feed my dog dry kibble. Then it occurred to me to go online and research cat diets. As it turns out, dry kibble is NOT a great diet for cats. Generally, it’s too high in carbohydrate and contributes to obesity, but more importantly, cats don’t have a high thirst drive. On a dry diet, they really ought to be drinking a lot more than they probably are, which can lead to kidney and all manner of other problems. So I started buying commercial canned cat food for my cat.
While I was online researching cat diets, I checked out dog diets, expecting to find confirmation that I was doing the right thing, feeding my dog a high quality, meat-first dry kibble. Whoops. Turns out the only good argument for dry kibble is my convenience.
I actually used to cook for my beloved dog Bandicoot (below with my daughter) in his geriatric years, after he had most of his teeth extracted, so cooking for a dog is not a foreign concept.
But after we lost Bandy and acquired a youthful Rotti/Lab cross, I went back to feeding dry kibble. I had always heard dry food was better for your pet’s teeth. After all of Bandy’s tooth trouble, I wanted to do everything I could for Chloe. Um…turns out that that’s a complete myth. Dry dog food does nothing to clean their teeth anymore than eating biscotti is going to clean yours. Also, what I read suggested it often contains too much corn and wheat and soy and other filler, is cooked at high heat which destroys a lot of nutrient, and is jam-packed with preservatives. The collective wisdom seemed to be to either feed canned food (which doesn’t need all that preservative) or prepare my own. After pricing good quality commercial canned food for a 38 kg dog, making my own was a no brainer.
From what I gather, the recipe should be 50% meat, 30% carb (ie, rice, potato or pasta) and 20% vegetable. The vegetables have to be pretty much pureed to improve digestion. There are ways to supplement the food to ensure it meets all your dogs vitamin and mineral requirements (e.g., adding dulse powder, crushed egg shells, etc.), but I bought a liquid supplement that I just toss on Chloe’s morning meal. I also give her two capsules of fish oil with her nightly meal and sometimes toss on a few sardines. You can also give them a dollop of plain live-culture yogurt.
I make the dog food with either a whole chicken, stewed, de-boned and chopped up, or ground beef. I sometimes use whole wheat pasta for the carb just to change things up for Chloe, but I’m really not that keen on feeding wheat. Thus the carb source is almost always brown rice. The recipe pictured below uses ground beef, brown rice (I throw a clove or garlic into the rice for the last 20 minutes), sweet potato and broccoli.
Chloe loves her new diet. And I’m hoping it will help her shed a few pounds, by cutting out all that corn and soy and other stuff that’s not good for her.
I’m also making her walk longer. It helps that I feed her first. We used to walk before breakfast and supper, and I think that’s one of the reasons she always wanted to turn around and go home before the walk was done! Here’s Chloe dressed up for our ramble in the woods and fields. (Wardrobe by Remington.)
A caution: if you’re going to cook for your pet, I urge you to educate yourself. There are quite a few things you must NOT feed your dog (onions, grapes, fruit with pips or seeds still in them, raisins, excessive amounts of broccoli, walnuts, chocolate, etc.).
So, anyone else out there cooking for a pet? Got a favorite recipe you’d like to share? I’m all ears!
I’m especially delighted to have Trish Milburn as my guest today. Trish is a fellow member of the Wet Noodle Posse (or Noodlers, if you prefer), otherwise known as the RWA Golden Heart® finalling class of 2003. In fact, the WNP will be celebrating 10 years of noodly goodness when we all converge at the Romance Writers of America’s National Convention in Atlanta this year, and I cannot wait!
Trish is a gifted, prolific and versatile author. She writes emotional, heart-warming Harlequin Americans, as well as single title small town romances, romantic suspense, women’s fiction, and possibly my favorite – awesome YA. (Like this one below. Magick is the third book in Trish’s Coven trilogy from Bell Bridge Books.) She is also a huge Joss Whedon fan-girl and a Supernatural fanatic. In other words, she is made of sheer awesomeness.
Take it away, Trish.
TRISH MILBURN: Thanks for having me here today, Norah. I’m loving this series on workspaces because I enjoy seeing where other writers work, the things with which they surround themselves for inspiration. So here’s a peek at my office.
It’s one of the two bedrooms that face the street and gets a lot of afternoon sun. That means that it gets hot in the summer and I usually have a fan going in addition to the AC, but it’s nice in the winter because I’m such a cold-natured person and I need heat and sun. As you walk into the room from the hallway, you see my desk and main computer straight in front of you. I’ve added a small, secondary desk behind where I sit to hold file folders and my fax/copier.
But before you get to the desk, both walls as you enter the room are filled with maps. I love maps, and I collect ones from all of the National Park units that I visit. The long one on the left as you enter is of the Appalachian Trail. I have this dream of hiking the trail someday. Also on that wall is one of Yellowstone National Park, where my sister worked for a year. It’s such a surreal and gorgeous place, and I’ve only been able to visit a tiny fraction of all it has to offer. The final map on that wall is of all the National Park Service units. I have a goal of visiting all 300+ of them. The two framed photos are from my honeymoon almost 20 years ago. The waterfall is in Chimney Rock Park in North Carolina, where they filmed one of my favorite movies, Last of the Mohicans. The other is of Myrtle Beach at sunrise.
On the opposite wall are a map of the world and my giant map of the United States with all the counties in every state outlined. The ones highlighted in yellow are ones I’ve been in. Eventual goal is to visit them all. Yes, I’m a road trip kind of girl, how did you guess?
Also against this wall is my deadline schedule. This is for major deadlines for books and freelance articles.
My office is filled with things that make me happy. I think part of this is because I spend so much time in there, and partly because I never had my own room. I went from sharing with my sister to sharing a dorm room to getting married to the wonderful hubby. So my office is my space filled with my personality and interests. You can see that by the posters on the wall – Game of Thrones, Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings and Supernatural.
A closer look shows a stack of the books I’ve had published, my Firefly figurines, my Doctor Who sonic screwdriver (Are you getting the geek-girl theme yet?), and a photo of me with my editor, agent and another Harlequin employee at Walt Disney World. Just out of this shot are my bear figurines, a picture of me with my husband, and my baby shoes that I brought home last year after my father passed away.
Above my desk is the framed piece of artwork by Rebecca Sinz that my husband commissioned for me. It depicts Jax, the main character in my Coven young adult series. I did mention my hubby was awesome, didn’t I?
In the other front corner of the room are some of my huge collection of books, my little TV, DVD player and the TiVo I bought myself when I sold my first book. I’m a big TV and movie fan, but sometimes deadlines are pressing and I can’t stop to watch my favorites when they’re on. I’d love to kiss whoever invented TiVo.
And finally, this is where the magic happens. LOL. While I spend a lot of time at my desktop computer doing e-mail, social networking, freelance articles, and work for my part-time job, I actually write books on my laptop, a lot of that writing happening in this old but comfy piece of a section couch. The truth is that I tend to do a combo of writing and watching TV. For whatever reason, it works to help me actually produce more pages. I write X amount of pages, then I get to watch a segment of a recorded program in between commercials. Then I have to write X more pages before I get to watch more. It’s the reward-for-good-behavior method of writing. J You’ll might also notice my little Winnie the Pooh and Eeyore from Disney World sitting atop the filing cabinet. I love Disney World, and Pooh is one of my all-time favorite characters.
When it’s nice, I’ve been known to take my netbook out to a nearby park by the lake and write at a picnic table, and when it’s cold in the winter, I sometimes write in bed with my feet and legs under the covers because, quite frankly, I’m a total wimp when it comes to cold weather. I get cold in November and often don’t thaw until April.
Thanks again for having me here today. I look forward to reading more of your Workplace Wednesday posts.
Thank you for that tour, Trish! I’m blown away by your workspace. Love it! And omigosh, that map! You are one well-traveled gal.
Okay, folks, it’s giveaway time! All you have to do for a chance to win is to comment on this post. To be won is a complete set of Trish’s American Romance “Teagues of Texas” trilogy. Ain’t it purdy?