Friday, November 20, 2015

We Had Our Dog DNA Tested (Don't Judge!)

From the time little Shelby first came into our lives, we were puzzling over what breed she was. 

As a puppy, everyone seemed to compare her to a King Charles Spaniel... we went with that. King Charles Spaniel mixed with...something else. But over a dog's life, you'll be asked countless times, "What breed is your dog?" It's annoying when you don't have a good answer. Plus, the older she got, the less she had that smushy King Charles face. Her nose was way too long.

So finally, as she approached her eighth birthday, I decided to do something crazy. I got one of those DNA tests and swabbed her. The results?

Not a King Charles Spaniel in the entire chain! One parent was a Cocker Spaniel, which is this:

Her other parent was a Jack Russell Terrier mix mixed with a Chow Chow mix. The DNA test breaks it down with a handy-dandy lineage chart:

Basically, she's a whole bunch of breeds all in one. If you're thinking about DNA testing your pets, the process was super easy. The kit arrived in the mail, I swabbed the inside of her mouth, and then I sent the kit back. Within a couple of weeks, the results arrived via email. It was about $100...was it worth it? It could have identified health risks, if they'd shown up on her DNA markers, so yes.

Plus, if it gives me an answer to this question:

It's worth every penny!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

When Your Home Is Also Your Office

We spent most of April looking for a house. We looked at small houses...

...and big houses.

We looked at homes with big back yards...

...and homes with small back yards.

Ours was a unique situation. Both my husband and I work from home. That would normally merit two offices, which would be a huge challenge. But the good news is, I don't like to write at a desk. Probably because I spent 19 years in a cubicle farm.

Finally, after several weeks of looking, we found a house with a huge sunroom. I knew instantly that was where I was going to work. Then came the next challenge. How to create an office without a desk.

I started a search for a big, comfy chair for my writing room. It had to be big enough for my dog to share it with me, but small enough to fit in the corner. I finally found it...and guess what?

Shelby loves it!

If you had to work from home, what would your office be like?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Introducing Crimson Earth by Anna Soliveres

Through her blog, Anna Soliveres helps her fellow authors navigate the complicated waters of writing and publishing. So it's exciting to help her out by hosting the cover reveal for Crimson Earth, the sequel to Violet Storm. Here's her eye-catching new cover:

And here's all you need to know about it before you click over and pre-order your own copy!


Aeva Storm finally has the answers she’s been looking for since the night she was struck by lightning. She knows who she is—and more importantly, what she is. But her secret isn’t hers alone to keep, and some of those who know the truth will do anything to control her.

In the sequel to the acclaimed Violet Storm, Aeva must decide how far she’ll go to protect her identity and to find her missing sister in a world she hardly recognizes. She must embrace her new life—and her strange new body—if she hopes to save the only place she and her family have left to call home.

Filled with action, mystery, and heartbreak, Crimson Earth finds Aeva, Ruven, and Karth on opposing sides as the war between The False Alliance and the Monarchy draws near.

Can they band together to fight against the evil threatening the City? Or will they destroy each other before the war has even begun?


Anna Soliveres has always been a storyteller but it wasn't until her early twenties when she began writing novel length works. The result was an enthusiasm to get better at the craft until her work could be shared with the world. Released in March 2014, VIOLET STORM is her debut novel. Anna is currently working on another young adult fantasy series, titled SNOW DOLLS. To learn more, please visit her at

Sign up for her newsletter to get the first 3 chapters free:

Contact info:

Monday, November 16, 2015

There's No Excuse for Being a Perverted Old Man

A 17-year-old posts an Instagram picture of herself in a bikini with her two young nieces. At first the comments are innocent enough.


"You're my inspiration."

"Love is u."

Then come the inappropriate comments. I can't quote those here because they're filled with profanity and disgusting words about what these men want to do to this 17-year-old girl. But it isn't long before people speak up.

"You are almost 40."

"It's simply amazing to me the amount of sexual comments being directed at a 17-year-old girl from grown-a** men... That's someone's daughter!"

Soon after came the rebuttals. 

"She knew what she was doing by posting herself in a bikini."

"Calling a 17-year-old sexy isn't wrong, so please get off your high horses."

The picture that started the uproar?

Was that what you were expecting? Because as I was reading the comments, I was thinking, "Did people see the same photo I did? Because there's nothing really all that provocative about the 'bikini' she's wearing. In fact, it looks more like a two-piece bathing suit to me."

In response to the uproar, the actress in the photo, Ariel Winter, posted the below photo that defines a woman by her skirt length:

Of course, it's important to note that the comments on the original photo were largely supportive. Only a couple of the male commenters were inappropriate. But it appeared that the "she's asking for it" comments were largely a product of middle-aged men defending themselves because they see nothing wrong with making sexually explicit comments about a 17-year-old girl.

I used to work with a woman whose teenage daughter would come downtown and have lunch with us sometimes. She had serious chest action going on and wasn't afraid to show it. As we'd walk around downtown, the number of way-too-old men who ogled her was alarming, but only because she was underage. It's a tough one, because those men may not have known she was a minor...and it isn't illegal to look. Still, it provokes a reaction when you care about the teenager they're ogling.

The girls being ogled usually aren't paying attention. Unless the guy falls into the category of "hot," he may as well not even exist. But blaming the young girl isn't the answer. Saying the men are wrong for looking isn't the answer, either. However, there is a difference between looking at someone and saying extremely disgusting things to that person.

How do you feel about men who ogle underage women? Would that opinion change if it were your daughter/niece/granddaughter being ogled?