Tess sat on the sofa watching and waiting. Jo and Christian, her people, had left her with Jo’s mum while they were on vacation. Jo’s mum was often referred to as The Treat Lady. “Don’t give so many treats to Tess and Fendi”, Christian would say, “It’s not good for them to eat so many treats.” Fendi, who was older than Tess, was staying with Christians’ parents for a couple of weeks. Tess didn’t know how long her people would be gone, so she was watching the driveway, hoping they’d be back soon.
Here I am all alone with this human who doesn’t speak dog! She’s always busy, she’s forgotten about me already.
The Treat Lady had a real name, it was Sandra. “Hey Tess, cheer up, we’re going to have fun together.”
Fun, I not having any fun, I’m bored.
“Oh dear, you don’t look very happy at all, let me finish sorting out my bank account and then we can go for a walk.” Did you say walk?
Tess leapt from the sofa, skidding on the wooden floor, and ran across to where Sandra was sitting.
Come on, walk, you said walk.
Sandra laughed as the champagne colored bundle of fluffiness pawed her leg. Tess’s turbo charged tail was wagging just as fast as it could and her little pink tongue hung out of her mouth. She was panting in anticipation.
Come on, you said walk, I heard you.
“I need to remember not to say that word. I needed a break anyway. Come on, we can walk for a while.”
And here I am, settled in my forever home. It looks like a fairy tale village doesn’t it. Yes I’m retired, and although it’s taken me a while, I’m settled. Changing a routine of a lifetime doesn’t happen overnight, but I’m getting there. Time to write! “Princess Tess and her Mess” is almost ready to publish. The book cover is getting its final tweak. Can’t wait to see what everyone thinks. Supernatural/Ghost Stories and Children’s books are very different, but variety keeps me youthful (I hope). In the meantime I’m going to combine my travel blog https://travelwithsandra.wordpress.com/ with this blog and re-name it. Not quite sure of the name yet, but I’ll let you know when I’ve decided. This is an exciting venture for me. I get to write about the things I love to do in one place.
Princess Tess is Two. She had a a party. I couldn’t be there, but I’m sure she had fun. Cute little thing isn’t she! My second Princess Tess children’s book is in the works. There are tales of her morning exercises, her adventures in the snow, as well as many other tidbits about Tess. Writing about animals is a blast. Lifts my spirits in these weird and wonderful times.
My first book “Princess Tess and her Mess” is being illustrated and will be released soon. I hope it brings fun to its young readers, and one or two older ones. Let’s face it, we all love reading about the goofy things animals do.
I hope you’re all staying safe and well and whether you have two legs or four, take care.
Yesterday I got my manuscript back from my editor. She has completed the first set of edits. For some reason I love reading through the stories again in edit mode. Not sure why. It gives me more pleasure with red lines and dots that it ever did when I read it prior to sending to her. Maybe I’m reading the story in a different way. Maybe subconsciously I’m happy it’s on its way to being finished. Or maybe I’m just a freak, yes, I think thats more likely. This book has been fun to write. I enjoy writing short stories, and this was surprisingly easy to pour from my brain onto the keyboard. Tess is a real living dog. She’s cute and funny, which coming from a “cat person” is a huge compliment. I hope to follow this first book with two more, and then what? Do I return to fantasy/thrillers? Or do I write another children’s series? It remains to be seen!
My first children’s book is finished. I didn’t think about it much, just wrote. Finally finished it and re-read it, then I edited it and re-read it again…you see a pattern here? Finally I decided to jump in with both feet and send it to my editor. She responded immediately with “What age group is this for?” “What?” I’d never given it a thought. I just wrote. What was I thinking writing a children’s book? What do I know about children’s books. I was hit with about twenty minutes of nail biting anxiety. Then I took a deep breath and asked myself some questions. 1. Did I enjoy writing the book? – YES 2. Am I expecting to sell a million copies? – NO 3. Why did I write the book? – Because I had a story in my head that needed to get out If nothing else, in years to come when I’m dead and gone, my daughter will be able to tell people I wrote a book about her cute little dog. Writing is an addiction, but not a bad one.
My move to Italy slowed down my writing a little. Settling into a new routine took a while. Finally I’m there. As many of you know, writing isn’t something you can force yourself to do. It has to flow. As I re-read my book I realize I’ve rambled a little to much, it needs to be trimmed to 10,000 words or less, I’m currently over 11,000. Short stories have to be just that, short! I’ve also changed the name. Originally it was “Queen Tess – a Short Shaggy Dog Story”, but after chatting to my daughter (Tess’s Human), I’ve decided the book will be called “Princess TessMess”. This is a much better title. Tess is a bit of a mess and “Princess TessMess” is perfect for a children’s book. Stay tuned, my work is progressing! Writing will never make me rich, but it does make me happy!
“Tess, where are. You?” You just shooed me away, now you are calling my name. I’m going back to bed. Sandra worried when she couldn’t see Tess anymore and finished her shower quickly. “Oh, there you are. Sleepy dog!” I’m not sleepy, I’m bored. “I need to get ready for work.” I’ve heard the work word before, I don’t like it. “OK time to make the bed and get the spare room ready for you, I really hope you’ll be alright on your own all day.” Once she’d covered the bed with Tess’s fluffy blanket, she threw toys around the room and made sure Tess’s bowls contained enough water and dried food to last the day. I know what’s going on now, you’re getting ready to leave me alone aren’t you. Just me, with no Fendi to keep my company, just me. All alone! “Oh dear, I don’t like doing this! Come on Tess, one more quick walk before I go.” Rabbits! Let’s find some rabbits! It was a very quick walk because Tess watered the grass as soon as they got outside. “Good Dog! Now I really need to leave for work.” I don’t want to go back inside. I want to play with rabbits. Tess had to be coaxed back through the front door. Sandra found one of the puppy toys you could hide treats in and put something in the shape of little chickens inside it. Tess picked up the scent immediately and followed her closely, until the got to the stairs, and then she had to be carried. “Oh Tess, I’m sorry I have to do this.” Sandra rolled the treat filled toy across the room. Tess ran after it immediately. Sandra shut the door and hurried downstairs. Silence! “Phew.” She got into her car and went to work!
This is my first children’s story. Inspired by Tess, a cute pup that belongs to my daughter and son in law. I looked after her for three weeks back in January 2020, before the world was turned upside down. It was an experience for me, never having taken care of a dog before. She won my heart and I found myself leaving work as early as possible because I worried about her. COVID/Trump/2020 sucked me dry. I had no imagination left. What spare time I had was spent getting my US house ready to sell. My heart ached because, although I really wanted to move to Italy, I was sad to leave my daughter and her pups behind. I was sad because I would be leaving my job and all of my friends, but it was time. Now I’m writing again and as I re-read Queen Tess – A short Shaggy Dog Tale, I realize I wasn’t capturing her character. She was a baby when she stayed with me. I had portrayed her as a much older dog. Now, as I re-write the story, I’m making her childlike, which of course she is. The re-write is fun. I laugh out loud sometimes as I remember the things she did. When my book is finished, what next? Who knows, maybe back to thrillers, or perhaps a travel story. Thanks for stopping by, I hope you’ll visit again! Stay safe.
“Tess, good girl, you peed. Good girl.” Oh Lordy, of course I peed, don’t make such a fuss. Does anyone make a fuss of you when you pee? They continued to walk. “I could get used to this, it’s nice having company while I walk. Wait, what are you doing now? Oh no, dog poop.” Tess squatted a little and did what all good dogs do at least once a day. She looked up guiltily, or was she smiling. Sandra put her hand in her pocket and pulled out the special green plastic bag that was used for this purpose. She gingerly scooped up the fresh poop, tied a knot in the bag and held it at arm’s length. “Oh no Tess, its warm, let’s get rid of this now, yuk, it smells.” Tess stood still and looked up at the dangling bag of poop. Lady, I just pooped, isn’t that why we came outside?