Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The New Bessie Mac Website

Hello readers,

I just wanted to let you know that not only have I moved my blog, but I now have an entire website! I'm very excited about it, and I hope you enjoy it.

Come on over and see the new!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Arizona Desert Dogs adoption event and fundraiser - This Saturday!

Arizona Desert Dogs is holding an adoption event and fundraiser this Saturday, June 25, from 8 am to 1 pm, at the Kosmo's Doghouse in Scottsdale. Click here for a map and to get directions.

They're graciously allowing me to hold another book signing during the event, and I look forward to seeing the AZ Desert Dogs crew again, and meeting lots of new folks who care about animals just like I do!

You can connect with Arizona Desert Dogs and Kosmo's Doghouse through the following links:

Arizona Desert Dogs Facebook page and website
Kosmo's Doghouse Facebook page and website

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"Holly's Story" giveaway winners!

I have tossed my magical dice and the numbers "8" and "2" came up!  That means that Shookie326 and Ellen win a free copy of Holly's Story!  I'll be contacting both of you shortly!

Thank you to all of those who entered.

If you missed your chance to enter, you can pick up a copy for yourself by clicking below:

Barnes & Noble (Nook only)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

AZ Desert Dogs Rescue Open House this Saturday

I just wanted to spread the word that Home Fur' Good will be holding an open house as a "thank you" to the AZ Desert Dog Rescue this Saturday from noon to 4 pm.

There will be refreshments, and I will be there holding a book signing! It will be my very first, and I'm so happy that it's at a rescue, since fostering dogs is what inspired me to write Holly's Story!  I will be donating $1.00 from every book that is sold to the AZ Desert Dog Rescue.

Click here to read about the event on Facebook.

Giveaway Update: It's almost Friday! If you haven't entered your name in the giveaway for a free copy of Holly's Story, you still have time!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Win a free copy of "Holly's Story"!

Well, with Holly's Story finally up on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions, and available on Barnes and Noble for the Nook, I wanted to give away a couple of copies to help get my book in the hands of pet and animal lovers!

How can you enter?  Just leave a comment below between now and June 10, and you're entered to win one of two free copies! 

Make sure you login when commenting so that I can notify you if you win!

Friday, May 20, 2011

"Holly's Story" is finally available for sale!

I got my 3rd and final proof in today, and everything looked perfect.

So, I hopped onto CreateSpace and approved it, and here we are!  I'm so excited!

You can purchase you very own copy of "Holly's Story" by me, Bessie Mac, from the CreateSpace store right now!  It isn't showing up on yet, but I'll post a link when it is.

The Kindle version will be coming soon for all of you eBook fans.  I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


A link was posted multiple times on my Facebook wall today to a story about a dog who was taken up by a tornado during the storms that devastated parts of Alabama back in April.  His family was close to giving up the search for their beloved pet, but all the while he was crawling his way home with two broken legs. 

I reposted the link on my on Facebook wall, but that’s not enough for this story.  It hit too close to home for me, and brought up memories from my childhood.  

My father was in the Army, and when I was five years old, he was stationed in Germany.  During our stay, I had only one playmate – my beloved dog Spoochie.   I loved her so much.

One day my older sister and her friend went running across the road to get to a large field by our house.  Being five, I immediately ran after them.  Spoochie then followed me, because that’s what dogs do, and sadly she was hit by a car.  I was beyond crushed.  Not only did my pet dog get run over, but my best friend in the whole world.  That’s a lot for anyone to handle – never mind a five year old.

My parents called a German vet who reported that poor Spoochie’s back was broken and that there wasn’t anything that could be done (this was at least a few decades ago).  My mom made her a comfortable place to rest in a box we had, and placed it in her bedroom so she could keep an eye on Spoochie overnight.  I went to bed in my room.

My mother tells me that after everyone was asleep, she heard crying and scratching out in the hall.  She got up out of bed and saw Spoochie dragging herself into my room.  She watched as Spoochie crawled up to my hand that was dangling from the bed and kissed it. Spoochie nuzzled up to my hand and then spent the rest of the night there on the floor beside me.  I didn't know she had even been there until morning.  She passed away sometime during the night.

So, you can see why that story brought the past back to life for me for a little while.  But I don't want to cloud what Mason endured to get back to his family. I'm so glad the vets are going to do all of the work for free -- good for you!

Monday, May 16, 2011

National Dog Bite Prevention Week

In case you hadn't heard, this week (May 15-21) is National Dog Bite Prevention Week.  I didn't realize, until recently, that nearly 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year.  I knew it was a problem, but that number surprised me.

There are a lot of great articles and posts about this subject already available (like this one over at Pets Weekly), so I won't try to write my own.  Instead I want to share an experience I had when I first started walking Sally, my boxer/pit bull mix.

Such a happy camper

Sally was a major puller, and would launch into an all out frenzy whenever we came near other humans, dogs, cats, or even as loud trucks passed by.  On one particular day, I noticed a man walking down the sidewalk, and he was coming straight at us.  Knowing that she would get extremely excited, we crossed to the other side of the street.  She's a pretty big dog, and I didn't want the passerby to feel threatened.

All was well, until the well-meaning, and obviously dog-loving gentleman decided to cross the street and walk directly towards us.  Sally flipped out.  Thankfully, I had enough physical strength to keep her back and get her to continue walking, or it's quite possible that man would have been bitten. 

In the past, I wondered how so many people were getting bitten every year when so much has been done to educate them on how to avoid dog bites.  The experience I had opened my eyes to at least one way so many bites are still happening -- they love dogs and just want to come over and pet them.  I understand that, but it's crucial to remember that no matter how much you want to go give that dog some love and attention, you don't know them.  As the Pets Weekly article mentions, you must get the permission of the owner before you approach.  How many dog bites could be prevented from learning this rule of thumb alone? 

What about you?  Have you had any similar experiences while walking your dog?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Win a year supply of dog food!

I've been pretty quiet for a week or so as I work on some (aggravating) typos in the book. I'll be putting up a couple of posts this week about two foster dogs currently in my care.
In the meantime, PetsWeekly and BuddyMeals are holding a giveaway from now through May 12.

Every day a winner is chosen to receive 5 free Buddy Meals, and the grand prize will be a year supply of Buddy Meals! That's huge!!

Entering is so EASY.  Visit the PetsWeekly website for directions!

Friday, April 22, 2011

We had another visitor this week

Last week I posted about the two black Lab mix puppies who needed a place to stay for a couple of days. Chuck caught the final puppy who was still running loose and asked if I could board him for 24 hours or so. You'll also be happy to know that he already has a home to go to when he's had all of his shots, neutering, chipping, etc.

Since I know so many of you were interested in the story of the previous two pups, I wanted to post an update with some photos of Rocky and Lindsey's brother.

"What are you doing?"

"You cannot overcome the power of my ear!"

"Where am I? In a jungle?"

Such a tall guy.

Such a handsome and sweet guy!  I love the one ear sticking straight up.  I kept thinking he reminded me of someone...

But I was having a hard time putting my finger on it...

Ah, yes!


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Doesn't that hurt?

When I was going through the pictures on my camera yesterday, I found a couple of gems. I took a moment to reminisce about when Sally, my boxer/pitbull mix, first came to my home. It was a bit of a culture shock because I wasn't used to large dogs. The photos below reminded me of those days and how sometimes I could do nothing but stare at her and think, "What in the world?"

How does one sleep with the corner of a hard piece of wood pressing into their skull?

Apparently quite well.  She slept through the flash of the camera and was snoring quite loudly.

I then turned and snapped this photo of Danny.  He has since forgiven me for bringing such an uncouth beast into his house.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I got my proof in!

If you're on my list of friends on Facebook (if you aren't on my friends list -- send me a request!), then you may have heard me announce that I got the proof for Holly's Story in the mail yesterday. I took a few minutes to snap some photos so that I could share my joy with all of you.

Here's the front cover. I am so thankful that Jennifer at Polestar Graphics went in this direction. It's so clean and fresh -- eye-catching.

Here's the back. When I first saw what Jennifer did with the back cover, I screamed a little scream of joy. The way she connected the front cover to the back cover went well beyond any expectations I had when it came to cover design.

Finally, the inside. It printed beautifully. The font isn't too small or too big.

Within 5 minutes of getting the proof I noticed a typo before I could finish the fiirst two pages.  It's okay, though, typos are easy to fix, and I won't need to order another proof once I fix them.

I'm really looking forward to being able to put up a "Such and such a date is the official release date!" post.

Tell me what you think!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Toby the Tenacious Foster Pup

Over the weekend I received a phone call from Valley Dogs about a little dog named Toby. Apparently Toby had been thrown out of a car on the freeway.  Amazingly, someone from the Arizona Pug Adoption and Rescue Network (APARN) saw him and immediately gathered him up.

She brought him to a vet, where they checked him out and gave him his immunizations. With a clean bill of health, he came to my house -- my house which is currently home to five other dogs.

Everyone has adjusted very quickly (as I type this, he and Danny are rabble-rousing). Toby is a cute, friendly, outgoing little guy.  I'm still trying to figure out what kind of mix he is. I definitely see some sort of terrier, but can't pinpoint anything...what do you think?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Tale of Two Pups - Be the Change for Animals

You would think that writing a novel, living with three Miniature Schnauzers, one 70lb. boxer/pitbull mix who thinks she’s a Miniature Schnauzer, two Siamese cats, another Miniature Schnauzer I’m currently fostering, and taking care of an elderly person 24 hours a day would be more than enough to keep me busy.  Believe me, it is.  But my busy schedule didn’t even enter my mind when the phone call from a man named Chuck came in on Wednesday, March 30.

Chuck is a truck driver who also works with rescue organizations to catch feral and homeless dogs and get them into no kill shelters and foster homes.  He got my name from Valley Dogs, and told me he had been contacted by a business in the Phoenix area about seven black lab mix puppies that were roaming around.  He asked me if I would be able to hold them for 24-48 hours.  Knowing I had the space and crates to house all seven if needed, I agreed.

The next day, Thursday, he brought in a terribly frightened and aggressive Rocky.  He was so handsome, and even at just 3 months of age, his paws were gigantic.  I placed his crate into the quiet guest bedroom where he proceeded to howl like a coyote all night long.  I knew he was scared and lonely, and I wanted to pet him and hold him, but he was still far too aggressive for me to get anywhere near him.   

On Friday his sister Lindsey came, and I was amazed at her behavior compared to Rocky’s.  She was nervous, for sure, but she wasn’t the least bit aggressive.  Once we got her transferred from the crate Chuck had her in to the crate I had ready for her, I put her in the same room with Rocky.  Rocky perked up when he saw his sister, but he didn’t like all the hub-bub going on just outside the bedroom door, and continued to growl.

Lindsey was picked up by Eddie Nichols from the Foothills Animal Rescue (FAR) in Scottsdale, Arizona on Saturday.  Rocky was going to have to wait, as they wanted to bring in another person who had the skills needed to make the transition from foster care back into a moving vehicle easier on little Rocky.  

Lindsey all settled in at FAR

Rocky had settled down quite a bit and was no longer growling at me when I came near or when I reached into his cage to give him fresh food and water.  He even ate some canned food off of my fingers.  I still couldn’t pat or touch him, but he was definitely improving.  I moved his crate into the family room, hoping to socialize him a little more and ease his loneliness.  All of my dogs greeted him politely, sniffing at him as they normally do when a new foster is brought in.  

He seemed most intrigued by Smoker, my black Miniature Schnauzer.   Sally, the boxer/pitbull mix was nice to him, but Rocky seemed to be intimidated by her size.  I had the television on for a few moments until Rocky made it very clear that did not like the TV at all.

Eddie Nichols came back on Sunday, this time with another FAR helper, Jeff Tye.  He gave Rocky what I call the “dog whisperer” treatment.  He sat with his back against Rocky’s crate, allowing Rocky to come up to him and sniff without feeling threatened.  Soon Jeff had him ready for transport, and off they went to the rescue.  I swear he grew 2 inches in the time he was at my home.

The very next day, I received an email from Jeff with an update on how the 2 pups were doing, including pictures.  They said that even Rocky had been given a bath, and in one photo, someone had their hand on his tummy.  He was looking straight at the camera, obviously unfazed by the fact that someone was touching him!  It did my heart good to see that.

Rocky, freshly bathed and letting someone touch him!

Even though Rocky and Lindsey only visited us briefly, I missed them when they left.  Whenever new fosters come in, I have a hard time watching them leave. I was so glad to see them being so well taken care of by the people at FAR.  I really appreciated the care and love that everyone involved in the rescue of Rocky and Lindsey gave them – Chuck, Eddie Nichols, Jeff Tye and everyone at Foothills Animal Rescue.  Thank you so much for all the work you do!

Both Rocky and Lindsey are available for adoption that the Foothills Animal Rescue! Click below to see their pages on the FAR website:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

When 3 weeks turns into 6

I posted at the beginning of March that I was just a little over 3 weeks out from releasing Holly's Story. Here we are, more than 4 weeks after that post, and it's still not available for sale. The opportunities to get frustrated have been abundant, but I refused to allow myself to worry about it.

After a couple weeks of dealing with some issues CreateSpace had with the PDFs the cover (thank you for all of your help and patience, Jen!) and interior, I am beyond excited to say -- I just ordered the proof! I should have it within 2 weeks, and I can't wait to see it the way my readers will see it. Just the thought of opening up the package and holding it in my hands makes me all giddy inside.

It's possible that the Kindle edition will be available before the print edition.  I'll keep you updated on the various release dates.

For now, if you would share the news about Holly's Story by passing along these links to your friends and family, I would truly appreciate it.

Blog post:  Just what is "Holly's Story"?

The Forever Home Series Facebook page

As a way of saying thank you, I leave you with this photo of Little Bear, Danny, and Smoker!

Just what is "Holly's Story"?

In case you were wondering what exactly Holly's Story is about, read below:

Holly’s Story is a heartwarming tale of love and survival based on the true adventures of a “mutt” abandoned by the family she trusted. If that’s not enough to get a dog down, she finds herself in a shelter hospital after being hit by a car. While she enjoys meeting several interesting and inspiring new friends, Holly questions where her life is headed – all the while dreading the possibility of becoming the next victim of the “big brown door.”

Just as fear threatens to overtake her, she is whisked away to a foster home. With the help of a service dog and a kind nurse, she learns about true companionship on the quest to find her forever home.

But, forever can be a long time in dog years…

If you want to stay updated on the release date of Holly's Story, click here to "like" The Forever Home Series.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Forever Home Series Facebook Page

I just wanted to take a moment to quickly announce that the Facebook page for The Forever Home Series is up and running.  Come on over and "like" us!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A little over 3 weeks out

After all of the edits, proofreading, more edits, cover designing, edits to the cover design, still more edits to the book itself, and going back and forth over how exactly to get this baby of mine into print, I’m finding it hard to believe that it will only be a little over 3 weeks until I can have a copy of it in my hands.  To say I’m excited would be an understatement.  I’m also looking forward to getting other books out of my head and onto the page.

I have learned a great deal about the publishing world since I began this journey, and I want to share some of those things with all of you.

·         Writing is not always fun.  The initial rush I experienced from getting Holly’s Story onto the written page was thrilling.  I think that took me through the first round of editing, but it definitely took determination and patience on my part to continue on past the frustrations of reading, rereading and still finding errors, etc.  Which brings me to #2.

·         You really need to have a professional editor look at your work.  I did, and I’m glad I didn’t get in a rush and avoid this step.  Working with a professional editor not only helped to point out flaws in grammar and plot, but helped me to look at my book with fresh eyes. 

·         At some point you have to stop making changes.  When I first began writing Holly’s Story I read an article that warned me of this common author’s issue before I even experienced it.  I can’t find it now, but it basically said that you will always be able to find something in your work that you can change.  We have to force ourselves to let go at some point.  If the plot is tight and you’ve worked through all of the grammar and spelling errors—get on with it!

·         Writing helped me grow as a person.  My grammar wasn’t where it used to be when I was fresh out of school, but boy did that change quickly.  I’m certainly not perfect at it, but I re-learned very quickly and learned some new stuff along the way.  I also discovered that I was being too hard on myself and I had a hard time accepting myself as an author.  I know that I am an author now, and I never want to stop learning and growing—both as a person and an author.

·         Traditional publishing isn’t always the way to go.  I spent months querying agents because I was sure that traditional publishing was the only way to get my books and my name out there.  Every rejection letter seemed to weaken my hope of finding an agent who would love my book and get behind it with everything they could muster.  In my research on the wide and varied world of publishing, I encountered many blog posts and articles that started to shake up my view that I just had to be traditionally published.  Instead of trying to go over all of the details here, I will just direct you to these posts:  You Should Self-Publish, and Time is Money by J.A. Konrath. 

·         There are good people out there.  I’ve had some past projects go very sour in the past.  Because of those experiences, I was very nervous about finding both an editor and a graphic designer that I could trust.  Thankfully, I was introduced to two great people who helped me put the final touches on Holly’s Story.  I couldn’t have asked for better people to help me along this road to my first published book.  I’m very thankful for their help, wisdom, expertise and patience!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Why I wrote Holly's Story

With the launch of my first novel so close (within the month), I thought now would be a good time to share what inspired me to write Holly's Story and give everyone a little bit of a "behind the scenes" look into my life as a canine foster mom.

Why I wrote Holly's Story

Most of us have had a four-legged friend in our lives at one time or another. Whether they were a dog, cat or some other type of critter, they brought joy, along with companionship, and unconditional love to us—the humans.

Throughout my life I have had mostly dogs or cats, and at the present time I have both.  My life with my pets is ninety-five percent of the time very harmonious.  The other five percent of discord time is usually due to human error—mine.  Two of my three Miniature Schnauzers are trained service dogs who have been invaluable in helping me take care of my ninety-three year old mother for the last ten years.  I frequently wonder how I managed before they came into my life.

I am abundantly blessed by my dogs’ devotion to my mother and me, and their jobs.  They bring peaceful, simplistic balance to my life.  It is such a joy to come home to find their adoring eyes and happy, wagging tails greeting me (that is if I didn’t take them with me as service dogs).  They are secure in knowing there will be good food, exercise, regular vet visits, grooming, plenty of love, pats, kind words, toys, and treats.  Therefore what I receive in return are happy, healthy dogs that bring me great pleasure.

I just naturally assumed that most pets lived the same way.  It wasn’t until I started fostering Miniature Schnauzers for the Arizona Schnauzer Rescue and other rescue organizations a few years ago that I discovered that this was not the case for far too many dogs and cats.  It quickly became apparent to me that my rescue dogs had experienced unbearable, heartbreaking traumas that resulted in emotional scarring no different than if they were human.

It was a rude awakening to discover the darker side of many dogs’ lives.  From my very first foster dog to the little foster dog that I have today, they have all come with varying degrees of heart-wrenching stories, ranging from sad to horrific.  Behind their sad eyes are looks of help.  Their tails wag—even if only just a little bit— in hope.  They have no other choice but to live in the moment and trust.  Day by day, little by little, their behaviors demonstrate the very traumas they were delivered from with emotions of fear, sadness, pain, shame, frustration, depression, anxiety and much more.

By my continuously speaking gentle words and showing loving kindness, the shy, cowering behaviors of abuse and neglect slowly decrease and the soft moans and sighs fade.   Dogs, like humans, are emotional creatures.  They feel deeply and are often put into (by no fault of their own) situations whereby they “feel” the same overwhelming sadness, grief and despair that we do.

These aren’t just mere words that we use to describe our own emotions, and the emotions we see in other humans.  They are the words we rarely associate with our pets and how they feel throughout their life’s journey.  These words are a reality for pets.  As a foster mother to rescued dogs, I have observed that each and every dog knew they had been thrown away.  I soon realized that I wasn’t just giving them shelter while they waited for their “forever” home, but that I was helping them through a very emotional time of healing from the trauma and the rejection in their lives.

Holly’s Story is based on a real dog that I had the pleasure of being Mommy to for over six months.  She came to me as a rescue in the spring of 2010.  Seeing the physical and emotional anguish she went through to heal, be loved and become a part of the pack so deeply touched my heart that it compelled me to share her story.  Even though this book is known fact mixed with fiction, it could only truly be told through Holly’s eyes and voice for the reader to fully understand the humanistic emotions we share with our four-legged friends with fur.