A special family member gets into a book

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Monday musings

By Toby Neal

Memory can be a powerful source of writing inspiration…

Her eyes are milky now, this old dog of ours, and her muzzle adrift in silver. She gets up in the mornings from her bed and walks like I feel some days, stiff and sorry that dawn has stolen comfort. She has never been a dog to make assumptions, boldly thrust her nose into my hand and demand petting like my young dog Liko, with his bold stares and entitlement. No, she’s respectful, and keeps her eyes down, and merely follows me from room to room to make sure I’m safe and okay. If I’m sad she will sense it, and come close, and sit with me, and it’s powerful because I know it costs her something.

She came to us fifteen years ago when the kids were young, a tiny pup the kids discovered on Kauai while we were camping.  A hippie girl had the litter in her tent, and the pups were adorable even if the hygiene wasn’t.

We’d had a trail of failed dogs thus far: the Dalmatian that was too hyper, the beagle mix that bit, and Shepherd that knocked the kids over and tracked dirt everywhere. We’d always had to give them away with accompanying heartache and tears, so I said no. And no again the next day. And finally, as the begging reached a crescendo, yes.

Nalu, named because of wave shapes in the markings on her cheeks, was so little that we carried her home to Maui in my purse.

Nalu protecting her people on a beach walk.

She patrols the grounds every day to protect the family, even now with her limp, and the hunch in her back since she fought a pit bull who dared to come too close to our home, and was shaken like a chew toy for her courage.

Nalu has always been a very big dog, for a Chihuahua.

Nalu loves going to bed, because we give the dogs a treat, and pets too, and she can lie down with that sigh she gives at the end of the day, knowing her work guarding us and keeping us company is done.

And Nalu, passed away now, was the model for Keiki, the fiercely loving and loyal Rottweiler who’s been Sergeant Lei Teixeira’s companion in 12 USA Today award-winning books, the Paradise Crime Mysteries. She will live forever, now.

See the books at https://tobyneal.net/ and meet Keiki yourself!

And if you like true stories, you might enjoy my memoir, Freckled. It’s a whole lot of memories strung together.

Toby Neal

Award-winning, USA Today bestselling social worker turned author Toby Neal grew up on the island of Kaua`i in Hawaii. Neal is a mental health therapist, a career that has informed the depth and complexity of the characters in her stories. Neal’s mysteries and thrillers explore the crimes and issues of Hawaii from the bottom of the ocean to the top of volcanoes. Fans call her stories, “Immersive, addicting, and the next best thing to being there.”

Neal also pens romance, romantic thrillers, and writes memoir/nonfiction under TW Neal.

 Visit her on her:

And follow her on Twitter @TobywNeal.

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Focus Friday: Monster, by Carmen Caine

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CarmenCaineBonesCover

 

My birth was a bloody event. Vampires are made, not born … except in my case. I wasn’t supposed to live. When a pregnant woman is converted into one of the Chosen—as they call themselves—the fetus dies.

Becoming a Vampire isn’t pretty business. The human body remains empty for a few days when—if the conversion is successful—the new Vampire is born. It’s a painful and dangerous process. Most Vampires fail at the retaking of the body. Only a few succeed. But when they do, they become one of the Chosen. And for most, the enhanced abilities make it worth the risk.

My mother—Abbey as she was called in the human world—was already pregnant with me when she began a torrid affair with an Italian businessman by the name of Emilio. It turns out he wasn’t really a businessman, though his name really was Emilio. Emilio was a Chosen One—a Vampire—and an ancient and dark-minded one at that. When my mother attempted to end the fling, he became angry. He was a Marchesi, a founding member of one of the most powerful Vampire clans to roam the Earth—apparently, there were a handful of those, and as such, he wasn’t used to rejection.

Emilio wasn’t the kind to forget, lick his wounds, and move on. He had my mother converted, exactly how and by whom I’ve yet to discover—hence my thirst for revenge. Because not only did Emilio succeed in having my mother converted … I was converted as well.

My mother—now named Blair—almost didn’t make it. It took her four days to re-inhabit her human body, and when she did, I was miraculously born.

I became the first known Vampire infant … but with a twist.

About Monster

Revenge.

It’s all I’d lived for.

Revenge against those who’d turned my mother into a vampire, causing her to give birth to me—the first of my kind. All I wanted was justice. I wanted to change the rules. I wanted to change their destiny. I wanted to make them suffer the same pain, hunger, and isolation they had forced upon me.

I didn’t know, then, that I was the one who would change.

And certainly, no one knew the threat I would become.

Who Am I?

My name is Cassidy. Cassidy Edwards.

I’m angry, and I want revenge. It’s all I live for now.

The cards were stacked against me from the start, but I’m going to change the deck.

I’m going to get even.

Find it on Amazon—99 cents for a limited time!

About the author

Like many of us on this planet, Bestselling and Award-Winning author Carmen Caine is from another world. She spends every moment she can scribbling stories on sticky notes that her kids find posted all over the car, house, and barn.amazon

When she is not working as a software engineer, she is busy ferrying her kids to various appointments, writing lyrics for her husband’s songs, taking care of the dog Tigger and his heart condition, attempting to tame her three insane cats, scratching her three Nigerian Dwarf Goats behind the horns or coddling her flock of thirty bizarre chickens from around the world.

Visit her

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