musings from Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington ... home of The Write Spot

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

animals of The Write Spot 3

This edition of The Write Spot is all about cats, dogs, raptors, chickens, and the memory of a very good horse.

"But wait," I hear you asking. "What's with all the critters? Isn't The Write Spot about the many and varied places where writers write?" 

Why, yes. Yes, it is. And I hope you've enjoyed meeting the twenty-four authors who've visited so far as much as I have. It's been great fun getting to know the talented women behind the books and I have more exciting guests lined up for the coming months. (Why not subscribe to stillpoint by email to be sure you'll never miss a post.)

Meanwhile, the cats, dogs, raptors, chickens, and horses are part of a celebration marking the first anniversary of The Write Spot. You see, beyond a mutual love of reading and writing, it soon became obvious that my author guests share with me a deep love and respect for animals. Some of us keep companion pets, others bring animals to life as story characters, while still others take inspiration from animal encounters in the wild. I invited everyone back to celebrate this common thread in our lives with a three-part series called Animals of The Write Spot. So far, we've met a Santa-loving Maine Coon cat, a Husky with one blue eye and one brown, a window-peeking mama duck, and many more! I've included links at the end of this post in case you missed them but first, please enjoy Animals of The Write Spot, Part Three:

This winsome lad with the gentle brown eyes is Nico, the nephew-dog of Canadian author Joanne Guidoccio.
Here's Nico's story as told by his Auntie Joanne:

"We’re getting a Rottweiler, part Shepherd." My heart sank at those words, but I couldn't say anything. It wasn't my house, and I wouldn't be taking care of the dog. Having spent most of my adult life in condos, I have lived the life of a pet owner vicariously through my brother Tony, who has owned dogs of different breeds. I especially liked Fanny, the beautiful poodle, who is no longer with us. As for the larger dogs, I tend to take distance.

I assumed that would be the case with Nico, who has grown to his full height and weight of 120 pounds. Definitely a force to be reckoned with and the best of guard dogs. I was pleasantly surprised...

Playtime with Zora, his Boston Terrier sister, can be loud and sometimes alarming to watch, but they are the best of friends and have lived amicably for almost ten years.

Nico has a gentle, respectful side. Often, I will find him at my side, watching and waiting to be acknowledged. When my mother was alive, he would position himself at the side of her wheelchair, quietly standing guard and appreciative of the food gifts she often bestowed. I marvel at his ability to plop himself down and rest, amid the bustling noise of a holiday get-together. A Zen dog? Visit Joanne Guidoccio's Write Spot.

Meet handsome Phil the palomino, out for a ride with a young Susan Fox – who hasn't changed a bit!

"I don't currently have a pet because our living and travel situation isn't appropriate for it. As a kid, I had a cat and then two great dogs, but the animals that have always held a special place in my heart are horses. Yes, I was the cliche horse-crazy girl. I took English riding lessons and also rode Western with my dad when we took family holidays. Here's one of the horses from back in those days – a gorgeous palomino gelding named Phil. I've been thrilled to use my love of horses in my Caribou Crossing Romances series from Kensington. It's amazing how childhood passions can linger into adulthood and have a significant impact." Visit Susan Fox's travelling Write Spot.

photo by Priscilla Iezzi
Author, falconer, and professional animal trainer Rebecca K. O'Connor says her office doubles as an animal overflow room. "If I'm raising a hawk, fostering a parrot, or have any other strays, they come join me in my office as my temporary muse. And of course, there are dog beds so that my Brittanny spaniels can stay close to the action." Check out Rebecca K. O'Connor's Write Spot.  

Meet Tiger Henry, the cat who adopted author Karen McCullough and her family. (This photo shows him snuggled up with Karen's youngest daughter.) Karen shared this touching story:

"A few years back (okay, quite a few), I noticed a cat hanging around our back yard. He was a rather average looking orange tabby except that he had a strange snaggle tooth that stuck out of the jaw. He was a quiet, gentle, sweet animal who loved cuddling up to people, and didn't seem to want to be anywhere else. My kids were already sneaking him dishes of milk behind my back, so I bowed to the inevitable. His timing was good. Our beloved dog had died a few months earlier at a venerable old age. We couldn't bear the thought of another dog so soon, but we were ripe for adoption by a sweet-natured cat.

"We learned a little later that Tiger Henry had belonged to a young man with serious disabilities. He'd gone into a home that didn't permit pets, so a neighbor several houses up the street had agreed to take him. They already had several cats, though, who didn't take kindly to the newcomer and ran him off. The neighbor was relieved and thrilled that we were willing to take care of Tiger Henry and had no problem with his previous owner coming to visit him occasionally." Lucky Tiger Henry! Visit Karen McCullough's Write Spot.

Banjo, Sydell Voeller's little boy tuxedo cat on the left and Nutmeg, the sleek female kitty on the right, are as different from each other as they can be – even though they came from the same cat shelter in Oregon. Banjo is a sweet little gentleman who likes to explore, but in a laid back way. Nutmeg loves to play and is as quick as a bolt of lightning.

While totally bonded to each other, they still have an occasional misunderstanding, especially over who gets to spend the most time with their human mom. While Sydell tries to keep things fair, the cats often have different ideas.  "This is almost like raising my two human kids all over again," Sydell says with a chuckle. Visit Sydell Voeller's Write Spot.

Author Tracey J. Lyons adores her chickens. "Now I know they are not the usual pet," she says, "but I take great comfort in listening to my hens clucking away in their coop. There's nothing more satisfying to me than collecting eggs from the hen house every day. What better pet can there be than one who actually gives you something in return for your love and affection?" (Very true, Tracey. I'm a chicken lover, too.) Visit Tracey J. Lyons' Write Spot.

Meet Gabby and Poppy, two appropriately named Labs who make their home with mystery author Cathy Ace. "Gabby has been with us for twelve and a half years, Poppy for ten and a half. When we got Gabby, we already had a yellow Lab named Howie and a black Lab named Winnie. Howie was a bit of a howler and Winnie a bit of a whiner. I should have known when I named Gabby that she'd turn out to be a very "talkative" dog who has many unique sounds (all of which I understand) and Poppy? Let's just say she's hardly ever still, never walks but runs or bounds... popping about the place like a bullet from a gun! It seems names matter whether for dogs, or characters in books." Visit Cathy Ace's Write Spot.

"Keesha and Mojo allow me to share a house with them, feed them, and cater to their every whim," says cozy mystery author Linda Wiken, aka Erika Chase. "If you live with a cat, you know what I mean. These two are the inspiration for Brie and Edam in A Killer Read; they have their own methods of 'editing' my work at the keyboard; and they offer unconditional approval." 

Linda also shared a photo of herself with her grand-dog, Khloe, taken at the ocean in Victoria, British Columbia – a spot Linda thinks is one of the most inspiring places in the world. (I agree!) Visit Linda Wiken's Write Spot.

Here with the last word (as usual), is my own mostly sweet but sometimes sarcastic Sam the Cat. He's been my faithful companion for fifteen years and, as you can see, he takes his job as my writing assistant very seriously. Did you know he named himself? Here's Sam's story.

Want more animals? Check out these lovelies!

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About The Write Spot:
I've always been fascinated by what goes on behind the scenes. Whether it's backstage photos from my favourite play, a peek into the kitchen where a chef is working her culinary magic, or simply a glimpse through an uncurtained window into a stranger's private world, there's an undeniable thrill of discovery, a sense of secrets shared. It's no surprise, then, that I'm immensely curious about where other writers do their work. I've blogged about it before in this post about my own 'write spot' and so enjoyed the comments, I was inspired to launch a regular feature here at stillpoint. Watch for The Write Spot every other Wednesday and join me as I discover the many and varied places where writers write.

stillpoint is the blog of Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington

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At 9:11 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cheryl, thanks for including me and Phil in this great blog about authors and their SAs (that's Significant Animals!). I loved reading everyone's stories. And LOL on me not having changed. Let's just say, well, the glasses have been replaced by contacts. And I'll leave it at that.

At 9:39 am, Blogger Joanne Guidoccio said...

Cheryl, Thanks for hosting Nico and me. Enjoyed reading about the other authors and their pets. Great series!

At 10:33 am, Blogger Sydell Voeller said...

Cheryl, my cats don't realize how lucky they are to be featured on your blog. Celebrities, for sure! Thanks for including us. I loved reading about the others as well.

At 10:39 am, Blogger Sandy Cody said...

Love this series, Cheryl. I think I've gotten to know my fellow writers better as a result of this than from anything they (or anyone) has ever posted. How we relate to animals really does reveal who we are. Thanks.

At 11:02 am, Blogger Cheryl said...

Thank you all so much! I agree, meeting the animals in our lives is a great way to get better acquainted. (And Susan - I love the term 'Significant Animal'!) Cheers, all!

At 11:48 am, Blogger Cathy Ace said...

Thanks for allowing Gabby and Poppy to wrap their paws around more hearts :-)

At 12:54 pm, Blogger Unknown said...

Loved seeing all the fur and feather babies! Great post!😃

At 2:13 pm, Anonymous Susan McNicoll said...

It has been such a joy to hear about other writers furbabies, those living with them and those that inspire them. Animals have so much to teach us, if only we would listen. Thanks for this series Cheryl. It has been a joy to read it and a great idea you had in doing it.


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