Snug as a Pug

13925300_1146083915449592_1487328829228610001_nAnybody who knows me knows I am pug mad. Yup, it’s true. Can’t get enough of those squishy little faces and velvet ears. I wasn’t always this way. Up until 4 years ago when Bentley came into our lives, I was set against them. Couldn’t fathom why anybody would want a snoutless dog that looked like…I can’t even finish the sentence and now feel guilty for having had those dastardly thoughts. My little guy has crawled inside my heart and I’m completely smitten. My hubby’s the same. If we go out and have to leave him behind, our conversation naturally gravitates to Bentley as if he’s our child. Which, of course, he is (just a hairier version of our two-legged one). That’s why it was so traumatic when he developed a growth recently that led to him having to undergo surgery. Poor little thing was in excruciating pain in the days leading up to the op, to the extent that he would cower in a corner and shiver, not even able to stand. If he moved too much he’d inevitably hurt himself all over again and would scream and scream and scream. I’d never known a dog could actually scream until I heard it for myself. Leaving him at the doggie hospital was heart-wrenching, but we knew he was in good hands and he’d finally get treated. As it turns out, he had some sort of “second kneecap” (or osteophyte if you want to be technical) that had grown onto the joint. Even the surgeon said he’d never seen anything quite like it before.

Three days later we finally brought him home! We’d been given strict instructions about post-op care which included keeping him confined to a small area akin to a toddler’s playpen…for up to four months. FOUR MONTHS. I don’t think they knew the naughty rascal they were dealing with. The moment he left the confines of the hospital our little guy’s feistiness was back. While we were desperately trying to treat him with great care and would delicately pick him up when he wanted to jump onto something…he was one step ahead and would LEAP like a graceful gazelle (okay, not so graceful) onto and off of couches, beds, tables and every other high surface. He’d gone from a helpless, quivering puppy heap to a raging ball of energy. (*sigh*)

Weeks of unbridled agony were forgotten. Post-operative care meant nothing. Twelve thousand rand in x-rays, medication, and surgery didn’t matter. Needless to say he quickly developed a massive BULGE directly over the suture site. Heaven to Betsy, were we worried. It looked like we’d stuffed an orange inside there! The vet was quick to remind us about the importance of “bed rest” (yeah, right) and essentially blamed us for the setback. (Apparently the bulge is called a seroma, in case you’re interested.) They had to keep him overnight – another night away from our baby! When we fetched him the next day they’d drained the fluid and wrapped a compression bandage around the leg, hoping that would prevent it from swelling again.

Today is six weeks since the op. The swelling is back, although not nearly as severely. Sure, sure, we’ll do our best to keep him “contained” but Bentley is Bentley and there’s not much we can do about it (or want to)!

Folks who say pugs are docile creatures that can’t handle even a ten minute walk without collapsing into a breathless heap, have not met Bentley. Just sayin’.

DREAM SNATCHER

I know what you’re thinking, and you’d be right. I’ve been MIA for way too long. Without meaning to make excuses, the past few months have been like a whirlwind. Besides having my mother-in-law come to live with us, my trusty assistant had a stroke in May and I was forced to pick up the pieces and keep things flowing seamlessly, while at the same time had to train up a temp assistant during our busy period. Oh, and while all this was happening my little pug developed a growth on his hind leg and had to go for surgery. (In case you don’t know yet, my puggie is my second son, so the whole Bentley saga was devastating for hubby and myself. I’ll reserve the details for a future post.)

So anyway (*…taking a deep breath…*), having said that, the GOOD NEWS is that my latest book, Dream Snatcher, has just been released! EXCITING TIMES!!! Book launches have a way of drawing you back to where you belong – getting into the swing of updating blogs and spreading the news to my faithful readers and friends.

Dream Snatcher is the first book in a family saga trilogy.

I’m so excited to share this book with you! Enjoy…

dreamsnatcher_500x750

BLURB…

Just when Dana thinks she has found true love, her mother drops a bombshell that turns her world upside down. Now she must find a way to quench a love that was never supposed to happen.

After twenty-five years, Lorraine finds her missing son—just not in the way she’d expected—and is forced to reveal the plethora of family secrets that has remained hidden for decades.

Dana delves into her grandfather’s past to uncover the story of this one man’s destructive lifestyle, and how it ultimately led to the unraveling of the entire family line. At the same time, she must piece together the mystery surrounding herself and her brother—two siblings deliberately kept apart so they would never find each other.

With three generations of women affected, will Dana get to meet the man responsible and solve the mystery?

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01B6KGYMA/ref=tsm_1_fb_lk

FRIDAY FUN

Stipula_fountain_penAah, it’s Friday again. There’s nothing better than winding down after a long week and letting the creative side kick in. Today, I thought we’d have a bit of FRIDAY FUN by chatting about CHARACTERS.

For me, character development is the most fun part of writing a story. I’m not happy until my characters are living, breathing people with unique personalities, habits, and quirks…until they’re so real I can almost touch them. It stings to remember I’m probably the only one to see them that way, and can only hope my readers love (or hate) them as much as I do. If you are like me and feel the characters you’ve created deserve some recognition, here’s your chance to brag a little. Tell us something about ONE character in a book you’ve written.

  • What makes that person stand out?
  • In what ways are they similar to you?
  • In what ways are they unlike you?
  • Were they inspired by you/someone you know?

Add the book title and one link.

FRIDAY FIRSTS

First_Place_PNG_ClipartIt’s always fun to remember how our writing journey started, who inspired us, and how much we’ve improved since those early days. Today’s Blog is all about those FIRSTS. Take a couple of minutes to type your answers in the “Comments” section below.

  1. Opening sentence of the first book you wrote.
  2. Opening sentence of your WIP.
  3. Your age when you wrote your first book.
  4. The person who inspired you to write your first book.
  5. Please give one link to your latest release.

this-side-up-1162312

Here’s something I thought would be fun to share. I’m not who came up with this, but it’s too interesting to not mention.

There’s a word in the English language that can be used as a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, or preposition. And the word is…

UP

This two-letter word in English has more meanings than any other two-letter word. It’s listed in the dictionary as an [adv.], [prep], [adj.], [n] or [v].

It’s easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP?

At a meeting, why does a topic come UP? Why do we speak UP, and why are the officers UP for election (if there is a tie, it is a toss UP) and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report? We call UP our friends, brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and fix UP the old car.

At other times, this little word has real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.

To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP is special.

And this UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is blocked UP.

We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night. We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP!

To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look UP the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4 of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions.

If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used.  It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don’t give UP, you may wind UP with (UP to) a hundred or more.

When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP. When the sun comes out, we say it is clearing UP. When it rains, it soaks UP the earth. When it does not rain for a while, things dry UP. One could go on and on, but I’ll wrap it UP, for now . . . My time is UP!

Did that crack you UP?

Now I’ll shut UP!

Yes, a lot of these examples are redundancies and can be omitted when polishing up a manuscript, but it’s still interesting that in each context, the word UP makes perfect sense!

It’s Out!!!

FINDING FREEDOM is a book that’s very close to my heart, so I’m very pleased to anFindingFreedom_1600x2400nounce that it’s finally available for purchase!

In a world that would rather turn a blind eye to the tragedy of human trafficking, I wanted to write something significant and meaningful and expose the unspeakable things that actually happen to millions of people every day. Finding Freedom is written in novel format, with realistic characters that most of us can relate to.

Here’s more info…

 

BLURB

Action, intrigue, and deception make up this intensely human story.

Naïve Emily Garrett discovers that her safe, secure upbringing has been a devastating lie. Snatched on the day she was born, apparently by the same people she calls her parents, she is forced to learn the reasons for their desperate actions.

Ifetayo Ayassou finally finds the courage to escape her hellish existence as a trafficking victim and, coupled with the difficult healing process, she begins a search for the child she was forced to give away eighteen years ago.

Two women plunged into the underworld of human trafficking, both in search of freedom and truth—and each other. But, will their paths collide?

 

EXCERPT

Her plan was set in motion. Lea would take her usual long walk to the market as if nothing was different. But then instead of returning to the house at the end of the day, she’d go in the opposite direction. Destination Togo—wherever that might be.

A wave of terrifying exhilaration washed over Lea as she stepped out of her mistress’s house for the last time. A collection of painful memories was contained under that roof, each room telling its own horrific story. The idea of living alone on the street was beyond frightening. She’d done the unthinkable, and while the idea made her panic she had a plan, up to a point.

But, she was free.

For the first time in her life she had a purpose—to find her mother and see for herself if the woman still remembered her or cared about her. Until then, Lea would have to watch her back and find a way to survive. She bit back tears, too afraid to let them fall. For now, the sweet taste of freedom would be her main concern, and it was more gratifying than she could ever have imagined.

The congested marketplace drew her in with its roadside bukas, each stall taunting her with its enticing smells of smoked fish and snacks sizzling in palm oil. Despite the comfort of the familiar surroundings, Lea felt unusually restless today, second-guessing her decision for the hundredth time. She was still in familiar territory and it wasn’t too late to turn back. She took comfort in the busyness of the jostling vendors and the colorful stalls, a sight she knew so well. It would be tempting to return to a life that was at least predictable, even if it was horrendous. No! She had made up her mind. Perhaps there was still a trace of the spirited girl she once was, after all.

The unforgiving Nigerian sun sliced through a thick, gray blanket of cloud, enveloping the village in a shroud of dreary smog. Lea made sure she’d sold about half her quota of loaves, before immersing herself in the crowd and taking her first steps of freedom. The sense of exhilaration mingled with pure terror, but she had to keep going. Freedom must be foremost in her mind. She tried to picture her mother’s face, even though the memory was hazy. Perhaps that would keep her calm and help her to press on. She thought of Mother’s arms around her and wondered if she’d ever see her again. Lea swatted away angry tears. This was no time for pipe dreams; she had to be strong.

Soon Lea was in unfamiliar territory. The crowds thinned and she was alone in a labyrinth of back streets with old, neglected buildings and overgrown gardens. Obeche trees drooped overhead, pinning her with dense overgrowth. She felt claustrophobic and trapped in this strange, lonely world. She kept going, the early stage of blisters searing her swollen feet. She rounded a corner and was thankful for the bustling activity up ahead. An elderly man buzzed past on a whining scooter and a pair of stray dogs chased each other across the street. A family of six sat on the side of the road sharing an afternoon meal. Lea had never been this far down the end of town and she started to panic. It was too late to turn back now. In a few hours it would be dark and Alina would know she wasn’t coming back. She determined in herself that she could not—would not—get caught.

As the crowds thickened, she clutched the baskets carrying the remaining loaves of bread. They were her only possessions, apart from the threadbare notebook wedged deep in her waistband. She kept checking to make sure it hadn’t fallen out along the way, and walked until her feet ached.

Before long, buildings cast elongated shadows across the narrow street and darkness wrapped its arms around her. Lea’s anxiety multiplied as her mind wandered to Auntie Alina. Did the woman know yet that she wasn’t coming back? The thought choked her with fear.

 

PRAISE FOR FINDING FREEDOM

  • As an avid reader of at least five books a week, this is the first time I felt compelled to write a review.
  • I highly recommend this book!
  • The story is well written and all the threads are woven together in the end — I thought the ending was wonderful!
  • Kudos to Sue Searles for taking the reader on a beautifully written roller coaster ride.
  • This author weaved these two parallel tales together seamlessly.
  • As one looking for my own birth mother I was able to feel the pain in this book.
  • I will never look at another working child the same after learning about child trafficking.
  • Be ready to have an emotional rollercoaster ride.
  • This is a story that I recommend everyone reads.
  • This story really makes me analyze and appreciate my own life.
  • Gives me some motivation to reach out and try to help others.
  • This is a book that is difficult if not impossible to put down!
  • This is one of those books I couldn’t put down and a book all should read.

 

AUTHOR’S SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

www.suesearlesbooks.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/Sue-Searles-Author-1505707636405524/

https://twitter.com/sue_searles

https://www.pinterest.com/searles0490/

Instagram – Sue Searles

 

BUY LINKS

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Finding-Freedom-Sue-Searles-ebook/dp/B01B6KGYMA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1454176897&sr=8-2&keywords=sue+searles

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/finding-freedom-sue-searles/1108817778?ean=2940157883904

Kobo Books: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/finding-freedom-6

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/611198

Finding Freedom

IT’S FINALLY HAPPENING…TODAY’S THE DAY!!…Drum roll…This is sooo exciting…It’s launch day for my new book!!

FindingFreedom_500x750

 

Here’s what it’s about:

Action, intrigue, and deception make up this intensely human story.

Naïve Emily Garrett discovers that her safe, secure upbringing has been a devastating lie. Snatched on the day she was born, apparently by the same people she calls her parents, she is forced to learn the reasons for their desperate actions.

Ifetayo Ayassou finally finds the courage to escape her hellish existence as a trafficking victim and, coupled with the difficult healing process, she begins a search for the child she was forced to give away eighteen years ago.

Two women plunged into the underworld of human trafficking, both in search of freedom and truth—and each other. But, will their paths collide?

 

Some reviews received so far:

  • As an avid reader of at least five books a week, this is the first time I felt compelled to write a review.
  • I highly recommend this book!
  • The story is well written and all the threads are woven together in the end — I thought the ending was wonderful!
  • Kudos to Sue Searles for taking the reader on a beautifully written roller coaster ride.
  • This author weaved these two parallel tales together seamlessly.
  • As one looking for my own birth mother I was able to feel the pain in this book.
  • I will never look at another working child the same after learning about child trafficking.
  • Be ready to have an emotional rollercoaster ride.
  • This is a story that I recommend everyone reads.
  • This story really makes me analyze and appreciate my own life.
  • Gives me some motivation to reach out and try to help others.
  • This is a book that is difficult if not impossible to put down!
  • This is one of those books I couldn’t put down and a book all should read.

 

Buy links to follow…