First Book Award for Dog at the Tinsel Tree!
I'm thrilled to share some exciting news with you! Dog at the Tinsel Tree: Susie's Story has won its first book award: Finalist in the 2024 Feathered Quill Book Awards: Animal-Adult category!
Rabbit at the Sliding Door: Chloe's Story also placed as a finalist in the same category last year. Even though I didn't place first, second or third, I am grateful and even more motivated to climb higher. (I am a Capricorn, after all. Once us goats climb one mountain, we're ready to climb the next!)
There's a quote in Henry Winkler's new memoir Being Henry that will always push me to keep going when it seems hopeless. He shares his actor's journey in a way that will inspire anyone chasing their dreams. He says, "If you stay at the table long enough..." whatever is meant for you will happen if you keep the faith.
Remember to Rest
I woke up this morning, after sending yesterday's newsletter, and remembered that I had a photo of my feline office assistants basking in the spring sun by my window. It was taken in April of 2022. My, how time flies!
I suppose because cat accessories are all around me, I didn't realize how much more luxury these three enjoy than just two cat caves and fluffy towels. See that two-tiered cat condo in the photo? Well, there are actually four in the house, situated in their favorite locations. Blankets on two beds and one sofa make for other cozy options. Cat scratching posts of various textures satisfy indoor cat needs (and save the furniture from destruction.)
In 2024, You Have the Power!
You may be wondering, why is Denise showing me a photo of a cat cave? She must still be tipsy from New Year's Eve celebrations.
I bought this pet bed for my feline office assistants. Actually, two caves for three cats to use, because there are two equally comfy spots on fluffy towels on wooden stands by my office window. That seemed to me like enough luxury accommodations for three cats, but you should see the look of disappointment in the eyes of the one who missed her chance to settle in a cat cave before the others and is forced to move to the towels by the window. Cat owners, you know. To them, it ain't the same.
This pristine feline cave with a plush, sherpa interior was the "purrfect" retreat for my three, furry office staff. That was my opinion. Turns out, it was not Mindy's.
Bronze in Memoir - Award #14!
Another Book Award? Yes, #14. I can't believe it either! Rabbit at the Sliding Door: Chloe's Story won bronze in the memoir category of the Northern California Publishers and Authors Book Awards (NCPA) contest. This book awards contest was the last one that I was eagerly awaiting results. You see, NCPA is where it all began.
Winner in the 2023 National Indie Excellence Book Awards!
The National Indie Excellence Book Awards presented Rabbit at the Sliding Door: Chloe's Story with Winner in the Gift Book category and Finalist in the Animals/Pets category. Maybe all I'm supposed to do today is show by example that what God has in store for you is waaaaayyyy greater than you can imagine!
Finalist in the 2023 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Contest (Gift Book Category)
Book award #12 for Rabbit at the Sliding Door: Chloe’s Story from Next Generation Indie Book Awards! I am continually both amazed and deeply grateful when another book award announcement arrives in my in-box.
Thank you for allowing me to share this honor with you. Reach for the stars, my friend. Rewards, like this, can happen for you!
Finalist in the 2023 Christian Indie Awards
Book award #11! First Place in the 2023 Christian Indie Awards (Gift Book Category.) I haven’t entirely figured out why God keeps blessing me with these awards, other than to say I believe He’s showing me that I’m right on track. Keep going! Keep improving. No matter how hard life can get at times, this is your purpose. You are destined to do great things.
Winner in the 2023 Book Excellence Awards Contest (Gift Book Category)
Book award #10! Winner in the 2023 Book Excellence Awards Contest – Gift Book Category. Are you as shocked as I am? I can’t believe it, and yet I feel validated. During the big gap (twelve years) between book number one and book number two, I worked hard at honing my craft. I attended countless writing and publishing conferences, meetings, and webinars. I read books on the subject, and I wrote…and wrote.
Distinguished Favorite - 2023 Independent Press Award
Rabbit at the Sliding Door: Chloe’s Story has won Distinguished Favorite in the 2023 Independent Press Awards: Animals/Pets category. I can’t believe that I’m hopping back by to let you know about book award number nine! I’m grateful for each award as the recognition can help me support animals all over the world.
Finalist - 2023 Feathered Quill Book Awards
Rabbit at the Sliding Door: Chloe’s Story has won Finalist in the 2023 Feathered Quill Book Awards: Animal-Adult category!
I am overjoyed to receive this eighth book award in Chloe’s honor and to share it with you. I want you to be inspired by each book award, because I hope it proves anything is possible when you take that first hop.
Thanks again for joining me on this journey and supporting my passion to help animals in need.
It's Rabbit Binky Time!
When a rabbit is very happy or excited, it will jump in the air while slightly twisting its body and head. That’s called a “binky”. I can still see Chloe jumping, twisting, and kicking her feet high in the air when she was super happy. She made me smile with glee and even chuckle at her exuberance. Her joy was contagious!
Rabbit at the Sliding Door: Chloe’s Story has won its seventh award! Judges in the 2022 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards Contest presented me with awards from three categories: Second Place in Coffee Table & Gift Books and Honorable Mention in Animals/Pets & Holiday! I share my awards with you, because I want to show you that with hard work, perseverance, and faith, anything is possible.
Freedom's Spirit Lives On
I can’t let a year pass without sharing this photo of Freedom in his Santa hat. It warms my heart every time. Not only does it make me smile (because he really didn’t want that floppy red cone with a white pompom on his head), it makes me wish I could hug the thick, winter-hair around his neck and thank him.
If it weren’t for you, Freedom, I wouldn’t have found the courage to write your story. If it weren’t for you, Freedom, I wouldn’t have been given this amazing writing gig that allows me to help animals all over the world. If it weren’t for you, Freedom, I wouldn’t have found my purpose.
Bronze Medal in the 2022 Moonbeam Children's Book Awards
Believe in you! Believe that no matter what anybody says, your dreams can be achieved. Believe in what your heart is telling you to do. Anything is possible. You must believe it, my friend.
I had no guarantee my dream of publishing Rabbit at the Sliding Door as a hardcover book with color photos would work. This venture would mean high print costs, higher list price, and deep wholesale discounts for third-party vendors, which could leave very little for animal rescue donations.
All I had was my vision and faith. I believed everything would work out. And you know what? That’s all you need.
Tips for Writing a Loving Tribute to Your Pet
Last month, I was asked by an author friend to write an article regarding pet tribute writing for the Atlantic Veterinary Hospital in Seattle, Washington. It was the first time that I ever wrote an article for someone else. I was nervous to say the least.
I almost turned down the gig, telling myself that I’m not a freelance writer. I write books and articles for my newsletter. That’s what I do. My friend had suggested, prior to this opportunity, that I write articles as a way to promote myself. I thanked her for her encouragement and faith in me, but thought to myself, I’m nowhere near the caliber of professional freelancer.
My dear friend persisted and helped me through the assignment. And when it was all completed, she said, “I think you may have a new career outlet as a guest blogger for pet and vet blogs!”
A Mother's Love for God's Creatures
How could the impossible happen? Pure luck with a bit of Divine guidance mixed in? Sounds good. That must be it.
Years pass and seasons change. It happens again. Twice? Five years later. How could that be? I’ll tell you how. It’s because God knows which of His animal guardians to call on when there’s an urgent need. That animal angel on Earth would be my mother. She has helped two lost cats find their way back home.
It's Book Release Day!
No more waiting. The day has come! Rabbit at the Sliding Door: Chloe’s Story in hardcover and e-book formats hits bookshelves today! The bunny above was first in line to purchase a copy and wants you to know that it’s a page-turner!
"Hoppy" New Year!
Divine timing. Those two words sum up why this year her story will finally be told. There’s no other explanation.
For those of you who haven’t seen the rabbit in this photo before, meet Chloe. She hopped up to my sliding door one summer morning and stole my heart. Chloe became quite the social media star back in the day, entertaining fans from her rabbit sanctuary.
I think the best miracles are those we hadn’t anticipated, much less imagined. It’s when we’re caught off guard, in a good way. God hands us something so mind-boggling, we can’t help but stop and marvel at His work.
I delved into genealogy research during the pandemic, curious to learn more about my roots. Though I wrote about those interesting discoveries in my upcoming memoir, I couldn’t wait to share our latest family miracle with you.
Twenty years ago, we vowed to never forget. We promised revenge on the evil that had killed or injured thousands of Americans on our soil and forever changed life as we knew it. We rose up, proudly waving our American flag and announcing, “United we Stand”. Fifty states, selfless and compassionate, ourned together. The whole world became Americans that day and grieved along with us.
I’d like to introduce you to a young writer named Natalie Munoz. She and her mom are dear friends of mine who I first met at a neighborhood event about six years ago after I had just moved to the area.
Natalie’s mom recently sent me a link to Natalie’s first essay My Two-House, Duffel-Bag Life which was published by the New York Times. I can’t even begin to tell you the pride I felt not only because she made the New York Times but in having an opportunity to read a young writer’s work, especially one I know and adore.