Friday, March 18, 2016

I put 3,000 people to sleep!

 The writer's goal is not to put readers to sleep.

But when I teach relaxation that is sometimes my student's goal.  I uploaded my Prelude to Sleep audio to Insight Timer's Free Guided Meditations. Over 3,000 people have tried it and the reviews are great!
(Not sure how a sleeper can review, but I am not complaining.)

Try Prelude to Sleep
Timer is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play. (free or with an optional $4.99 upgrade) 

 Prelude to Sleep is also available 
as audio download track 
and even an old-fashioned CD. 
Buy Links 

   Insight Timer – Meditation Timer

I love this app! The bell quality is excellent. The options to set presets of times and bells is amazing. I can set the time I want to meditate, the number of beginning and ending bells, and choose interval bells - random bells to call my mind back from random thinking. Seeing who in the world is meditating now is nice support if you need reminders that you are not alone.

There’s also a log or journal and statistics available for record-keeping meditators.

Some of the extras are a little odd. Like posting when you’re meditating on Twitter or sharing your milestones on Facebook.
Developers say 3/4 million meditators worldwide call Insight home and every day the community generates over 600 days of collective meditation.
 Insight Timer is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play (free or with an optional $4.99 upgrade)

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Coloring: a story from a long time ago

With all the  current coloring craze, my library writers' group had a Coloring for Grownups party and I added a cake to celebrate my birthday. (See below for the coloring I did that day.) Then I remembered a short short story I wrote about my early coloring days. 

The White Crayon

One rainy July afternoon, the summer I was four, my grandfather bought me three new coloring books and a box of 24 Crayolas.

My mother told him that one book and a 12 color box would have been enough to keep me quiet. “How many colors does she need to color Cinderella, The Three Pigs, and Puss in Boots?” she asked.

I began pulling crayons out of the box, gripping the waxy ends with chubby fingers: Forest Green, Magenta, Sky Blue, Light Violet, Crimson Red, and Pink. Delighted, I examined each one.

All went well until I pulled out the white crayon. I scrunched my nose. Grandpa watched as I snapped the crayon in two and threw the pieces across the floor.

“No good,” I said.

My mother said, “That’s a perfectly good crayon. You have to learn to take care of your things.”

I said, “No good.”

My grandfather said nothing, but his eyes twinkled and he went back out into the rain.

An hour later he returned with a giant 36 color box and waited for me to discover the white crayon.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Greyhound Picnic

Greyhounds of the Verde Valley

If you’ve never heard of a 40 mph couch potato, you haven’t met a greyhound lover.

Greyhounds of the Verde Valley is an all volunteer nonprofit organization dedicated to placing retired racing greyhounds in safe, loving, forever homes as pets, and provides foster and adoptive families and their dogs with continuing support, workshops, and camaraderie.

Since its beginning in 2007 over 300 dogs have been adopted through GVV. GVV greyhounds come from Tucson area racing kennels. GVV believes that everyone has their own opinion about dog racing. Their purpose is to ensure that these wonderful animals have a ‘Greyt’ retirement.

Greyhound owners claim their dogs are more intelligent, loving, and gentle - and more beautiful - plus less aggressive than most other dogs. A study by the University of Pennsylvania found that greyhounds are the least aggressive and most docile of canines. They are also quiet. Attend the GVV picnic and you will see a lot of dogs and hear little barking. The dogs are polite and friendly to people and other dogs.

Greyhound Picnic
GVV hosts an annual picnic for greyhounds and their families. Fun Run entries are clocked  by a radar speed gun. Other events included the “Diving for Dogs” contest  to see how many hot dog chunks a hound could fish out and eat in one minute, and the longest tail competition. The educational program was “Training Dogs to Avoid Rattlesnakes.” Add great food for humans and a wonderful day was enjoyed by all. 
Besides their annual picnic, and frequent presence at the Camp Verde Farmer’s Market they march in parades, and setup booths at adoption events, and art shows.
 Caring for a Greyhound
Monica Davis, GVV Founder and Adoption Coordinator, explains that greyhound pups spend longer with their mother and littermates than other dogs before beginning training at 18 months. They’re handled since birth, trained to walk on a leash, and to get along with other greyhounds. They start racing at two years and most dogs finish their racing career between 3 and 5 years of age.

A racing dog’s first introduction to the new world of being a pet is in a foster home. GVV places adoptable greyhounds in foster homes to give him or her love, care, and attention for a short period. Greyhounds need to be socialized to be ready to “meet ‘n greet” prospective adopters. Dogs straight off the track need to be acclimated to our confusing world: stairs, doors, strange noises, mirrors, children, cats, small animals, pools, even car rides, and much more. And they need to be introduced to the joys of treats and doggie toys. During foster time each dog is evaluated. GVV supports the foster caregiver and all veterinary care during this time to be certain each dog is healthy and ready for the right forever home. By the time a hound leaves for a forever home, GVV  has taken care of spay/neutering and the dog has been vet checked, teeth cleaned, wormed and is current on inoculations.

Greyhounds have been bred to sprint for short distances, not marathons, and do not require any more exercise than most dogs. Most do not jump and don’t require high fencing. They quickly adapt to house training and can live in apartments and small homes as long as they are walked, preferably on a schedule.

It is a tribute to their adaptability and intelligent nature, how quickly most make the transition to a completely new style of living. From the very start they are full of love and affection, eager to please, and sensitive to discipline. A simple "No!" will be more than enough encourage good behavior. 

Historically, greyhounds have been bred for racing and hunting and rarely suffer from health problems or genetic disorders. But they are different from other types of dogs when it comes to veterinary care and medicines. Due to their low body fat greyhounds' livers absorb most medicines directly and they can die from certain medicines and pesticides, including topical treatments for fleas and ticks. Their blood chemistry is different and greyhounds can be used as universal blood donors for other dogs.

Caring for a greyhound is much the same as caring for any dog, with some exceptions. They need soft places to rest, for they don’t have much fat to cushion their bodies. They need elevated food dishes, pedicures, and dental care. They appreciate wading pools in summer and warm winter clothes for cold days. Greyhounds chatter, called nattering, when they are excited and may even nip softly at your fingertips. Most overcome separation issues in a little time and GVV offers tips to speed up the process.

Adopting a Greyhound

The first steps in adopting a racer is to fill out an application (available online) and request a home visit. Next, both the prospective adopter and the dog will be evaluated for compatibility. GVV encourages all adopters, fosters, and supporters to read books about greyhounds. Each adopter signs a contract that requires the dog to be returned to GVV if the owner can no longer keep the dog - for any reason.

One recent adopter says, “We are happy with our decision and feel the research was worth it. The people at Greyhounds of the Verde Valley are sincere and helpful, the foster family has our gratitude, and our greyhound is well on her way to being a beloved family member. We just want to thank everyone who dedicates their time to these beautiful animals, and we’re glad to play a small part in giving a retired racing greyhound a home.”

Though many people call greyhound groups rescue organizations, President Tom Reese emphasizes that Greyhounds of the Verde Valley rehomes, not rescues:
“We turn professional athletes into
professional pets and companions.”

Excepted from the December - January 2015-2016 issue of the Flagstaff-Sedona Dog.


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Released - Kindle Edition Free!

Free January 14-18

 Love dogs and books and light shifter stories?

“Released” is free  on Kindle
"Retrieved" (bOOk 2)
only $.99
A great way to start the series
continuing with 
Recovered (#3)
Reprinted (#4)

The series Kirkus calls
 "A fanciful read that remains loyal to its noble principles."
"Ms. Polo has taken the old, tired mythology of shapeshifters
and created a wonderful new concept based on the intelligence of dogs..."

Deborah Riley-Magnus
Read an excerpt
  Watch the series trailer  

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

More Dog Mystery Book Reviews

Unleashed by  Eileen Brady (A Kate Turner DVM Mystery)

Poisoned Pen, 2015

Reviewed by Amber Polo

Kate Turner, working as a veterinarian in an small house-call practice, learns one of her clients has committed suicide. Dr. Kate refuses to believe her artist friend, with much to live for, would have killed herself leaving her Cairn Terrier Toto in the animal hospital with no instructions. Animal lovers just don' t do that.

Dr. Kate continues her house calls, nosing around and sniffing out information from the town gossips and uncovers a lot of suspects. When a gentle employee of her animal hospital is arrested for the murder, she refuses to butt out, although her sleuthing irritates police officer and friend Detective Luke Gianetti.  With some practical advice from her Gramps, a retired fire investigator, now residing in assisted living, she pushes on.

Colorful human characters and interesting animal clients, perhaps borrowed from the author's own experiences as a vet, make it fun to follow the clues Dr. Kate and her friends dig up.

Humor and a heartfelt love of animals combine in this well crafted cozy for animal lovers.

Eileen Brady is a veterinarian living in Scottsdale with six cats and two dogs of her own.

Hair of the Dog by Susan Slater(A Dan Mahoney Mystery) Poisoned Pen, 2015

Reviewed by Amber Polo

Life really heats up for insurance investigator Dan Mahoney and his PI-in-training fiancĂ©e when they arrive in Florida to look into the deaths of five valuable racing greyhounds. Of course, all is not what in seems with the fire, a dead body, and a gentle caretaker arrested and charged with arson and murder. As Dan and Eileen settle into temporarily cozy life near the beach, their Rottie Simon joins them, and Dan’s mother adopts a greyhound and prepares to purchase a house with her new boyfriend.

A well done mystery filled with as many surprises and subplots and a twisty racetrack. There’s lively banter and humor as Dan’s mother wants Eileen to investigate her mysterious fiancĂ© just as the plot picks speed up.

Greyhound adoption issues are handled well. providing a lot of information about racing dogs prepared for rehoming in prisons, a greyhound protection organization, and the transport of dogs getting their second time around. I was surprised that some dogs were trained for agility in prison. I’d love to see that.

Note: Hair of the Dog does not contain racing horror stories. Slater even includes a request to donate to a group that transports retired racing greyhounds.

Susan Slater is the author of the Ben Pecos Indian series and the Dan Mahoney Mystery series. A college writing instructor, she now lives west of Taos, New Mexico.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Flash and Dog Days by Donna Ball - Reviewed

Dog Days by Donna Ball (Raine Stockton Dog Mysteries) Blue Merle Publishing, 2105

Dog Days celebrates the tenth anniversary of The Raine Stockton Dog Mystery series. Filled with a a big dose of suspense, believable characters, and the beautiful Great Smokies, each mixes serious issues with page turning mysteries.

If you like to read series in order, begin with Smoky Mountain Tracks. If you don’t care a doggy rawhide, jump into Dog Days. Or try Home of the Brave. All ten feature Raine Stockton and her Golden Retriever Cisco. In the first book Cisco starts out as an incorrigible two year old pup and by book ten has grown into an incorrigible three year old dog. Besides keeping the reader up to date with Raine’s life, I believe Ball does this so she can write books where dogs never die.

Though Cisco still has his silly moments, by Dog Days he has become a reliable tracking dog and obtained his Level Two Wilderness Certification. Raine’s kept busier than ever with her Dog Daze Boarding kennel, grooming and dog training facility. Now divorced, she struggles with a new boyfriend in her life, a bond with his daughter, and wacky kennel help.

Raine and Cisco assist local police with search and rescue operations and, like all amateurs who star in mysteries, Raine gets into more suspenseful and often dangerous trouble than the average dog owner. Cisco shares the pages of Dog Days with a couple of Australian Shepherds and a beautiful English Cream Golden Retriever, lost in the mountains, and possibly a clue to a murder. If you like your mysteries with a dog on every page, you’ll love Raine and her friends.

Flash by Donna Ball (The Dogleg Island Mystery series) Blue Merle Publishing, 2105

Flash, the debut volume in the Dogleg Island Mystery series, features humans as interesting as the dog, which is saying a lot. Dogleg Island is not as cozy a read as the Raine Stockton mysteries, since heroine Aggie Malone is a small town police chief with murder as part of her job. Flash builds at thriller pace right up to the climax. Aggie, with a bullet lodged in her brain is both as delightful a heroine and as complex as Raine. Aggie and her island felt so real I was sure if I looked at a map, I’d find it right off the coast of Florida. And let’s not forget Ryan, Aggie’s lovable surfing cop boyfriend.

Flash, her black and white blue-eyed border collie is super smart. Border collie Flash's point of view was perfect, obviously written by a dog lover who knows border collies and how to keep readers turning pages. All Ball’s characters felt like real “characters” I’d meet on a Florida island. And by the end, Flash, Aggie, and Ryan felt like new friends I’ll look forward to meeting again.
Donna Ball is best known for her Raine Stockton Dog Mysteries, plus two heartwarming women’s fiction series: Ladybug Farm and The Hummingbird House. And for fans of fantasy she’s written The Devoncroix Dynasty series, featuring elegant werewolves who live among us. Ball lives in Georgia with her dogs, who have won numerous awards for agility, obedience, and canine musical freestyle. From time to time she offers donations of signed books to rescue groups and other charitable organizations.