Tag Archives: puppies

Guess what happened yesterday afternoon!

Otto’s half siblings were born. The ultrasound predicted six puppies, but eight showed up. That is a C-Section scar, because those big heads are hard to pass.

We wanted two originally, but Otto’s litter was all spoken for. This time we’re first in line. We’d like to get a female to stack the deck that they’ll get along better when we aren’t home. The litter is four boys and four girls. We haven’t been told which are which yet, but they’re still fun to look at. I tend to go for the ones with the most white, because I like the contrast. It doesn’t appear any brindle showed up in this litter.

The breeder also sent us a short video that’s almost annoyingly cute with it’s nursing sounds and little whimpers. It’s hard to imagine Otto ever being able to fit in one hand like these guys can – for now.

We’re talking about a visit in about four or five weeks. It’s only a few hours from home, and I know the lady would love to see Otto again.

So it’s looking like another summer of sleepless nights and potty training for old Craig.

What the heck, here’s a shot of Otto for all the new followers. He’s a lunker, and his first birthday isn’t until the first of April.


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An Otto update

There were enough comments in the last post about how big Otto has gotten that I decided to start my day with a dog discussion. I've always been a dog guy, and at my age I've owned quite a few.

I've owned multiple breeds, and only one that was questionable as to his pure blood. That was the old pitbull who passed on earlier this year. My oldest son adopted him off the street, then abandoned him with Mom & Dad. He was my buddy for the next 13 years.

I've owned a lot of “bully” breeds, from the pitbull to several bull terriers. Otto is my first actual bulldog, and I have a hunch he isn't my last. I think they do better at home for a few hours when they have a friend. My wife would like to get a female bulldog the next time Otto's breeder produces a litter. I think this is a wonderful idea myself.

Dogs seem to grow for about a year. I'm talking about their framework here. They spend the next two years bulking up and maturing. At least that's my observation with bully breeds. My English setter didn't do much bulking up.

Otto was born, whelped if you like doggy terms, on April first. April Fools Day is kind of fitting for him, now that I think about it. We never got to meet him until Memorial Day Weekend. He looked like this:

That makes him about six months old right now. He will get larger until about April of 2017. Here is the image I took last night. (Again, so you don't have to click back.)

The breed standard is for dogs (males in doggy terms) to weigh about fifty pounds. I think he's going to exceed the breed standard, because he already weighs that much. Imagine him bulking up for two and a half more years.

I believe in feeding quality food, puppy variety the first year, and adult kibble after that. I also believe in letting a puppy eat as much as he wants. The only exception to that was my basset hound. She would eat until she exploded. After their first birthday, I measure what they get.

I have a trick with the short haired breeds. You should be able to tell they have ribs, but not be able to actually see them. This is the right weight for that animal. Otto could be a little chubby right now, but he's a growing boy and I'll address that after his birthday.

He seems to acquire toys at the same rate as the old pitbull did, but he doesn't destroy them at the same rate. This means he's amassed quite a collection. Apparently he needs them all, and I see them all getting played with.

His favorite one is pumpkin ball. When it showed up, it had a flashing light that came on when it moved, and it squeaked when he bit it. Time and usage have killed the light, and it has a hole now so the squeaker is dependent on how it fits in his mouth.

We've looked for a replacement, but there are no more around. It's a seasonal product, no doubt.

Dogs are important to me. Bad day at work, the dog still loves you. Wife's at def con two, dog still loves you. I really appreciate that, and that's why I'm a dog guy. Here's an example:

Otto has a strange habit of always bringing something when we get home. Lately this is pumpkin ball, but it has been any of his other toys, or possibly something from the laundry room. It's like he wants to share or something. When I came home from Coeur d'Alene, my wife let him into the garage to see me. He was embarrassed because he didn't have anything to share with me. He found an old leaf, and brought me that. He cares enough to want me to have something, even if it's an old leaf.

Now, even though this is more of a goofing off weekend, I still want to get some things done. I think I'll start with my markups from critique group… after another round of pumpkin ball.


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Time to set some boundaries???

Otto woke up at 5:00 this morning. My normal routine is to put him outside while I brush my teeth, make coffee, fill his food and water dishes, etc. As I left the bedroom I heard, “Psst, hey buddy?”


“Down here, under the bed.”

“Hey there, under-the-bed monster. Haven't heard from you for a while.”

“There's a reason for that. This place got scary months ago, most of us have been afraid to come out at night.”

“You mean there's something that even monsters are afraid of?”

“Yeah, the dog.”

“Really? I seem to remember something from the distant childhood about my old dog keeping the monsters away at night.”

“Well it's true. It's been true since humans and canines first struck their truce in a cave over in Europe. He nags me, day and night. I've had to retreat to the farthest corners and keep quiet for months now.” He rattled to the edge of the bed. “That thing watches me, day and night, it never ends.”

“That has to put a damper on your relationship with missing-sock monster.”

“You have no idea. Your stupid dog steals all the socks now. She went to visit her brother in Park City.”

“Yeah, maybe he is getting a tiny bit out of hand. It's hard to get some things done like I'm used to.”


That's my keyboard and hand you're eating there.

Hey, Dad. I like bath time too. Can I get in?

Aww, Dad. How come you shut the door when you use that toilet thing? I'm sure I can help.


“A tiny bit out of hand? I'm telling you, I've been trying to sleep when the dog does. That doesn't leave a lot of time to wander the house at night and misplace all your things.”

“I'll see what I can do. I've been trying to sleep when he does too. His hours leave something to be desired. You're going to have to adjust though. There's a long history between me and dogs. They're part of the natural fauna of a happy household.”

“Yeah, yeah. There are grizzly bears in the woods too, but I wouldn't want one in my neighborhood. I appreciate you looking into this. Maybe I can get missing-sock monster to come home again.”

I shuffled to the kitchen, went about my chores and let him back in. Otto shuffled right back to his bed and went to sleep. Yup 5:00 and I'm up for the day, while he sleeps in. Maybe it is time to set some boundaries.


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Writing today

I managed about 2000 words of short fiction today, but I really don’t know how I pulled it off.

Otto let me sleep in until about 4:20 AM today. Hey that’s about ten minutes longer than my alarm clock demands the rest of the week. I took him outside to potty, then insisted we go back to bed. To my surprise, he was okay with the idea. He woke me up again about 6:30, and that was all I got.

He went outside a few times, then came in all swollen up. All of the dogs have gone through this since we moved to Idaho. They decide bees or wasps are fun to catch. They’ve all learned after one, but I’m not so sure Otto will. He was pretty needy after that, insisting on getting in my lap.

It’s hard to see, but his left lip is much larger than his right. I felt them both and it was about a half inch thicker and very tight. You can’t tell from this photo, but this is in my lap. There isn’t much room for my keyboard. I actually waited for him to fall asleep and left him in my chair. Being portable allowed me to keep working.

Otto is at the stage where he’s all puppy in mind, but not a baby in body. I really don’t need a sixty pound lap poodle, so we have some work to do. Still, new words are new words, so yay.

I chose to work on short stuff because I knew there would be interruptions. It’s easier for me to work on short stuff than to keep all the story arc and character arc in order on a novel. I need to work on the novel, and will when the situation allows.

In other news, I have two new Lisa Burton posters to promote the second Experimental Notebook. She will share these on my blog and other blogs depending on the invitations she gets. I also have a professionally formatted book, thanks to the efforts of Jo Robinson.

What a pleasure to work with her. She’s affordable, fast, and easy to get along with. If you need some help with your book you really should click that link.

I’m shooting for release on the last day of August. This is when my book club visits on our blog tour, and I intend to take full advantage of the extra traffic. I really don’t know if I should do another pre-release type of sale. I made sales every time I’ve done it, but who wants to wait for a 99¢ book? I’m open to suggestions here. If I do it, it will probably be a short time period.

Now it’s time to check out the Rio Olympics. Otto is un-swelled now, and pizza just came out of the oven.


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Day #2 of my working vacation

Let's Play!

Guess who decided to wake up at 3:15 this morning. My wife heads for the hospital every day at that time, and he must have heard her leaving.

Otto needs to go outside when he wakes up, no matter what time that is. He's being very good about my carpets, but this involves me doing my part too. Potty time was followed by meal time, a big drink, and round of bite Dad's feet. Eventually he went back to bed.

My daughter is home from Sun Valley, and she likes to talk when she wakes up. I knew that would be many hours yet. What to do, what to do. The house is quiet, Otto doesn't need attention…

I whipped out another chapter of The Yak Guy Project. I set some wheels in motion for a larger event, and need to decide how much transition I need. It's important to get to the good part, but I don't want readers to get whiplash either. I didn't do word count again, but it's about ten pages of new material.

Otto stirred a few times, and I decided that short stories might be a better idea. I wrote one from start to finish. Hang on… Checking… 2204 words. This falls in a void for my personal descriptions. It's longer than a micro, but doesn't hit 5000 words to be a short story. It's kind of an ultra-micro-mini-short story.

Truth is, I'm very happy with it. With this story, I have enough material to put out another Experimental Notebook. I don't know about the total word count, and won't until I assemble it. I could have too many micros and not enough short stories.

Assembly is kind of a cool topic. I like to open with what I consider a good one. I like to end on a great story too. I'm of the mindset that if you write two stories, one will naturally be better than the other – even if they're both great.

The first story is important. It will likely be available for free in its entirety to anyone who reads the free sample. It needs to be good enough to make people risk 99¢ on the rest of the stories.

The last story is important too. It's the one they remember and could entice them to check out the novels.

Then there is the ending material, and maybe some of you have some input. In the first book, I included a section from Will O' the Wisp. This led to sales of that book, because I got comments that verified people bought it on that basis. All good stuff.

I am considering including a section from a yet-to-be-written book. The idea will be to whet someone's appetite for the next big thing. This could be a section from The Yak Guy Project, or it could be one more micro-ultra-whatever-story.

I'm thinking of including the short story called The Enhanced League as teaser material. I wrote this story for this book, and decided there were many stories in this environment. I pulled it and put it in a different file.

I don't have a mailing list, so this kind of enticement might not be that great. (I find mailing lists kind of spammy, and only sign up for close friends.) If someone can convince me otherwise, I might change my mind.

Would Amazon have a fit because this story is already published? I'm calling it a preview, but still???

Could I use one of the new stories for Macabre Macaroni in October on my blog? Amazon allows us to share excerpts. It would be an excerpt, but also an entire story. Thoughts? It would fit the Macabre Macaroni theme well, but also be a great enticement to check out the second Notebook.

To recap, I'm concerned about including one entire story as a teaser in the coming Notebook. I'm concerned about publishing a different one as an excerpt on my blog in October. Will Amazon have a cow when it's time to publish a whole book called The Enhanced League? Will they get torqued if I share one on my blog as an excerpt?

I could include a section from The Playground, but the first chapter is kind of dark. It doesn't reflect the entire book, it just spells out the stakes. (In a dark fashion, in case you missed that part.)

Alternately, I could include The Enhanced League, plus a section of the Yak Guy Project. I don't exactly know what Yak Guy is yet, but it's kind of got an alternate reality or alternate world going for it. What genre is that?

The day was broken up with bouts of Otto. Otto wound up on his back like a turtle. Otto found some socks to run around with. Otto pawed his outside water dish empty three times. I'm fine with that. I hit the novel while he was asleep and the short fiction while paying attention to the puppy.

Today was a good day. Ten pages of novel, a complete short story, and this blog update.

My poor wife has to work all weekend, so I'm going to try getting more done tomorrow. I have a Lisa Burton Radio post to assemble and schedule. I should start assembling Notebook #2 to get an idea of word count. I can write my intermission, which was well received in the last Notebook.

So what do you think about first stories, last stories, end material, Amazon policies, etc.?


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First day of my working vacation

I don't have to return to the office until Monday. That means I should get some writing done, in theory. Today wasn't the best for it though.

I had to take my truck in for service this morning. That took a couple of hours, but I took Wings of Mayhem along with me and spent my time reading. This is shaping up to be a fantastic book if you're looking for something to read.

Otto monopolized a bunch of my time when I got home. He's still in the “put things in my mouth and bite them phase.” The things are usually my feet or hands, but to change it up on occasion, my chest played a part too.

I'd type a few words and extract my foot from the puppy's mouth. Not too much productivity. I distracted him by putting a cup of ice in his outside water bowl. It didn't preserve any writing time, because I made a quick video and posted it to Facebook. Otto fans can check it out over there. There is a link thingie in my sidebar.

I managed to finish my short story about two dipshits chasing Chupacabra in the New Mexico desert. I think it needs some tuning, but I'm counting it as success.

As far as the short stories go, some of them I love, some of them feel like filler to me. Funny thing though, I felt the same way with my first Experimental Notebook, but the feedback didn't reflect that. Every story in that book was someone's favorite. I need to listen to my gut, and possibly the Raven of Doubt, but I need to move the next Notebook ahead. I have one more story I want to write, then I'll be content.

In other news, I managed to get the comments up on this blog with my last post. The likes didn't increase at all, but I managed to get people talking. Who knows, maybe my “liker” is defective.

And in still other news:

Lisa is still excited about what she calls “Mad sign shaker skills.” She's looking for more characters to host on her radio program.

These posts take a few rounds to piece together, so I'd like to get a couple more started. I've been sharing the posts on Flipboard, Stumbleupon, two Facebook sites, and Twitter multiple times on the day of the post. I've also taken to tweeting the old posts out on Fridays at random. It's a popular bit so please consider it if you're a fiction writer. It may be the only character interview slot out there.

Here is the link if you'd like to take part: Lisa Burton Radio

I don't know what the rest of the evening will bring. I want to read more Wings of Mayhem. I need to read the last few chapters of The Yak Guy Project to get ready for writing more of it. My wife will insist on Lip Sync Battle sometime tonight.

Tomorrow, I expect to write something. It could be Yak Guy, it could be the urban wildlife story. Depends upon how much danger my toes are in.


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Getting limited work done

My wife likes to do everything in the heat of the day. Me, not so much. I'd rather do things about 9:00 in the morning. I believe even shopping should put us at the stores when they unlock the door at 10:00.

We wanted to drain the antifreeze from the camper and get it ready for use today. We didn't even get a start until 11:30. This isn't real antifreeze, it's something else, for the sake of my sanity I call it antifreeze.

I put the hitch on my truck, and loaded the camper battery. We had to retrieve the camper from the storage facility, bring it home, and fill it with water. This allowed us to flush the lines until all the red stuff disappeared. The residue goes in the grey water tank, and in the case of the toilet – the septic tank.

This means we had to take it to a dumping facility, and the easiest one is in Emmett some 20+ miles away. We decided to take Otto with us. He does well in the car, and I have a great air conditioner. I left the AC on and a window down while I emptied out the tanks. It was about 99 degrees out there today.

Otto was a little tired when we got home, but wasn't deeply effected by the heat.

I managed to print two and a half of my critique reads out. That's when the printer refused to work because it wants a more ink. I will work up two critiques tomorrow, and will have to find someplace to print the final one.

I spent some time assembling the next radio interview, then sent out a rough draft of the one after that. These things are a blast to do, because I get to work with some incredible authors.

I'm always looking for someone to participate in Lisa Burton Radio, so let me know if you're interested. The character interviews have been well received and I don't think anyone else is doing them. I think it's a pretty good opportunity.

Otto decided he likes the laundry room and the kitchen. We have a cool smooth floor in there and he likes to lay on it. He tends to go like crazy, then crash hard. In a few hours he's ready to go again. I believe the yoga crowd refers to this one as “Resting Frog.”

Have a good evening everyone. I'm going back to my reading for now.


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