Happiness is a toy cockroach

Aside from the Kindle Fire, one of the most fun gifts in our family this year was the toy cockroach I gave my Mom. We lived in Florida when I was a kid, and I knew she’d appreciate its realism. (She said it gave her goosebumps all up the backs of her legs.)

We were at my parents’ house for Christmas, and I hoped their cat, Lily, would chase after it. But in the manner of most cats, she knew it wasn’t alive and ignored it entirely.

It was very realistic. I was once chased the length of our Florida kitchen by a palmetto bug flying at head height, so it was difficult to stand still when the toy first came buzzing toward me.

But by the end of the day, we became pretty inured to the ick factor.

Ew, Mom!

Rocky Mountain Puppy Rescue event

I did a search on Petfinder.com for Chihuahuas up for adoption in my area, and found two that looked promising, both from RMPR.




So I drove to the Northglenn Petsmart, where the adoption event was being held. There must have been 25, 30 people there. Amazing, because these dogs are not going for a song. That said, RMPR is clearly a first-class organization, and the members foster dogs until they are fine canine citizens. Still, I was surprised that many people are willing to pay extra for knowing a lot about a prospective pet. Here I thought the economy was bad. Not when it comes to furry friends.

The event was a well-oiled machine, even with that many people. You fill out paperwork (I had filled mine out in advance, then left it on the kitchen table). They have a fosterer interview you (usually the one who fostered the dog in which you have an interest), and then you have a timed visit with the dog in a pen. With some dogs they also require a visit to your home before they make a decision. Others were being taken home right then, to much cheering and applause. It was a little like winning a game show.

Olivia and Gidget were in the same pen. I looked down, Gidget looked back, and then she started barking like I had PISSED HER OFF. Maybe I should have broken eye contact to get her to stop, but I learned a long time ago not to break eye contact with pets – it’s a submissive gesture. While Gidget was barking up a storm, one of the volunteers explained that she doesn’t do that at home. Probably nervous aggression, or maybe she didn’t like my hair and was calling me a dirty hippie. Meanwhile, Olivia laid there, all mellow. When I leaned down to offer my hand, Olivia and Gidget both came over, but Gidget pushed Olivia out of the way a little and also kept barking. I marked Gidget off my list. Later I saw her with a man, having a grand old time and being perfectly adorable. Maybe she doesn’t like chicks.

They had a lot of people to process. While I waited, a very nice couple had their visit with Olivia. They cuddled up a storm with her and announced their intention of getting her if they could. Maybe they have small kids and will be disqualified, I thought. Maybe they live in a swamp. But I got better. If they’re good people for her, so be it.

I had my interview with Benedict, who was clearly a stellar dog fosterer and also had a fantastic ‘stache. Well done. Then I had my visit with Olivia. She was a darling, and that picture does NOT do her justice. I asked if she wanted to sit on my lap. She did. She also wanted to give me kisses and lick the inside of my nose (ah, Chihuahuas). I spoke softly in her ear, ruffled her neck fur, and told her what a good girl she was, and she rolled and offered me her belly to rub.

One of the volunteers came over and said that the woman who fostered Olivia had developed a special relationship with her, so any potential adopters needed to have their home checked out. But this volunteer thought we were a good match – such a good match that she was sad when she found out that other people wanted Olivia. I told her they clearly loved Olivia very much, and I’m not in a hurry. Olivia’s foster mom is gonna call me. I’m going to tell her that if the other couple doesn’t have any kids or pets, Olivia should go with them. If she has the chance to be someone’s only baby, or hang out with other Chihuahuas, then she should. She is clearly special, although you can argue that all dogs are.

RMPR will do a home visit with me anyway, so I’ll be set if the right dog comes along (and no one else wants it). They also don’t know how Olivia does with cats. There is a 7-day return policy, but you hate to put a dog through that.

It’s a difficult situation. I want a Chihuahua, but I don’t want Musette’s happiness to decrease. Ideally it would increase (she wants to be friends with other animals, if they want to be friends with her). Or they could ignore each other. That would be fine, too. She’s outside a lot of the time and there is plenty of love to go around. Anyway, I have connections in the Denver Chihuahua Meetup group now. They’ll probably find me some poor creature to foster that needs a person to build its confidence and a warm kitty to snuggle with.

When I got home, Musette greeted me with happy squeaks and rolled over so I could kiss her belly. Which I did.

My first Chihuahua Meetup

I recently received an invitation to attend the Denver Chihuahua Meetup. Thank you, Jessica! Jessica found me through FB as an author, or maybe I found her as a Chi owner. Regardless, she won my heart forever by buying six of my books to give to friends. Seriously, I want to adopt this woman.

Jessica and Oscar

So on the Sunday after we got back from our vacation, I got my act mostly together and drove to Brighton, which has a lot of houses, horses and land, and not much else. To be fair, the horses and houses are both beautiful. The land was flat and covered with snow, so I can’t speak for it.

The Meetup was at Dianne’s house and was a potluck. I brought two bags of Lindor chocolate balls, because Angel Joe was putting up the tin backsplash in the kitchen. Or maybe he was installing drawer glides. Anyway, no cooking was going to happen, because he was busy doing other things, haha.

I got to Dianne’s house 15 minutes early and was met at the door by a sizable pack of Chihuahuas.

“Gosh, everyone must be very punctual,” I thought. Oh, no. Those dogs represented just three people’s pets. The main event was still to come, and before we were through, there were 45 dogs in that house. I’m not sure if that included the puppies in the stroller. Let me digress to say that I’m still thinking fondly of tiny Duke, a long-haired white morsel with black ears and a black patch on his back, who although the size of a dollar bill (and worth about 400 of them), gave me a doggy kiss on my fingers and sat on my lap observing the room.

Cuddling puppies is apparently serious business.

You should marvel at my strength, ’cause I had a checkbook in my purse.

Speaking of licking, Chiahuahuas love to lick. They particularly love to lick your mouth and up your nose. Perhaps that’s why they’re reputed to be good for asthma. There’s no scientific evidence for that claim, but if you let them have their way, I’m pretty sure they’d rout out your sinuses. You can put on makeup for a Chihuahua Meetup, but you will leave with a pink, shiny nose.

Anyway, I made friends with every dog I could lay my eager hands on, and here are some of their names: Oscar (Jessica’s floofy boy), Tia (pure love), Moses (his hair color parted in the middle), Rhett Butler, Draco (a chubby, jolly redhead who is on a diet),

Draco's on the right.

Angela (naked belly), Bonnie, Charlie (a girl described as “viscious” by the shelter, who only wanted to be in your lap), Poncho, Paco, Paulo (I think there was a Paulo), Iffy (seemed plenty okay to me), Olive Ann, Cricket, Ajax or Alex, Daisy (mom of the pups), Hershey, Lola (“my Queen”), Bobo, Benny and Bob. Violet was beautiful but skittish, in the manner of supermodels. I never got close to her. Harley had one eye, an underbite and a heart condition. He looked like a junkyard bulldog that shrunk in the wash, and was impossibly sweet.

Harley's tongue sometimes stuck out, too, bless him. Prolly missing some teeth. He was so cheerful.

I believe there were people there, too. Someone must have brought the Chihuahuas. I’m kidding. There were lovely people there.

Nancy Williams, who gives the best hugs. That's Olive Ann she's holding up.

Many of them mentioned a Chihuahua named Zoie who died two months ago. She was clearly much loved.

One of many things that fascinate me about Chihuahuas is how varied their colors, shapes and sizes are.

Heart on the heiny!

There were Chihuahuas who were related but looked nothing like each other. Humped backs, straight backs, rounded, bony like greyhounds,

long-haired, short-haired, hair so short the dog looked pink, rounded heads, curly tails,

straight tails, bushy tails when the rest of the dog was short-haired and sleek, stubby snouts, and long snouts like little crocodiles.

There were mixes, too, and one Chinese Chin who thought he was a Chihuahua.

Another thing that impresses is how well Chihuahuas get along. You have to wonder if they schooled like fish when they were in a more wild state. Several of these dogs had never been to a Meetup, some were rescues who hadn’t had much socialization, and it was wonderful to see them start playing with the other dogs. There were a few posturing contests by macho dogs, swiftly quashed by their owners. I would be interested to know how many breed Meetups there are. I’m having difficulty picturing a room full of bull terriers playing together, for example.

So that was my first experience with Chihuahuas en masse, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. I’m determined to get my hands on Violet.

This pink coat was my contribution to the gift exchange.


Just a reminder that I have a free Christmas story available, ‘Twas the Chihuahua Before Christmas.

I’m gonna be on TV Wednesday!

I have a glorious five minutes on Colorado & Company tomorrow, to promote Chihuahua of the Baskervilles. Show starts at 10:00 am MST, KUSA, Channel 9, and they estimate my bit will be on at 10:45. It’s live, so if you’re lucky, maybe I’ll do something really embarrassing!

The show has a streaming video feed. There’s a commercial on first, just so you know.

I got the news from my publicist around noon today, which may mean that I’m replacing someone who had to cancel. Or it may not. What do I know? Anyway, I hit Sephora today, to replace some of my more pathetic makeup, and then Macy’s, where I bought a blouse and two non-essential pairs of shoes. (Although I might wear one pair of them tomorrow. Haven’t decided.) Stopped at the grocery store on the way home and when I got back out, the car wouldn’t start. Freaked out. Was within 10 minutes walk from home, so gathered up two shopping bags, purse, bag of groceries (with popsicles), and stepped out into the heat. Then I had a thought. Unlocked the car, looked inside, and sure enough, the floor mat was shoved up under the clutch. Problem solved. Whew!

Now it’s ten pm, and I have to make sure my black leggings are clean, find a white bra, and maybe test out the new foundation. Had chorus from 7:00 to 9:00 tonight, so I’m getting started on those things a little late.

In conclusion, I’d like to thank my publicist, Susan Schwartzman, for getting me the gig. If we’re lucky, this will show that I don’t stutter or belch uncontrollably, and other people will want me.

What from the Black Lagoon? What?!

I had two radio interviews today, one with Cathie Martin of WGRT-FM, serving Michigan’s towns of Port Huron and Sarnia (the latter is accessible by going out the back door of a sandwich shop [that joke is for the Brits]), and a second interview with Maggie Linton of SiriusXM satellite radio’s show, Book Radio. Way fun gals, both of them, and I was on my game. For early morning interviews, I get up at least an hour beforehand so I can eat, drink some tea or coffee, and be able to string two sentences together. “Yes, I am a writer! Thank you for talking with me today! Here is my website!” That’s three, but you get the idea. I’m actually a little more suave than that.

I forgot fellow writer Lynda Hilburn had rescheduled her visit today, so the house is clean, which is a nice bonus for the weekend.

I need to write two blog posts — one for Mystery Fanfare (one of my fave crime-fiction blogs) and one for Lois Winston, author of the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries.

And I’m still trying to find the perfect riff on Creature from the Black Lagoon for the third book in my Tripping Magazine mystery series. I’m willing to settle on Critter from the Black Lagoon, but I wish it were better.

I did find a more flexible online rhyming dictionary, Rhymer.com, and it suggested a few words that made me chuckle, although they have nothing to do with giant prehistoric pigs, which is what this book is about. Still, plug the following words into ” ____ from the Black Lagoon,” and see if you get a giggle.


…and my current unusable favorite, which I came up with all on my own, Nietzche from the Black Lagoon. Is that unusable? I’m not sure. For all I know, giant prehistoric pigs are all over “will to power” and perspectivism. Has anyone asked?




Giant Pigs and Bed Races

Today’s interview/review is at Chiseled in Rock, a blog that’s associated with the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. I belong to that group periodically, usually when I can attend their excellent Colorado Gold conference (I have a wedding and to attend and can’t go this year). I got my agent, Jennifer Unter, by winning Colorado Gold’s mainstream fiction category way back in…I’d have to look it up. Let’s say 2007. That sounds about right. Anyway, they’re a great group.

E.C. Stacey is a delightful interviewer, and I gave full rein to my comedic impulses in answering. There is some serious(ish) stuff there, too.

Oh, and in case you’ve lost track of the what blog I’m appearing at today, it’s here.

Denver Post article

Got a call from Bruce Wolk’s editor at the Denver Post. He is sending a photographer out tomorrow to take pix of me in my natural habitat (or as natural as I’m going to let them see it, i.e., minus dirty dishes and clumps of cat hair on the carpet). Was thinking of wearing a black sundress, then put on some clothes to wear today, looked in the mirror and thought, “That’s it.” So it’ll be gray jeans, gray spaghetti-strap top and orange and pink striped sports bra under it. C’est moi.

The article will come out on Sunday. I could not be more excited if I were hooked up to a car battery.

Win a free copy of Chihuahua of the Baskervilles

Lesa of Lesa’s Book Critiques sent me some great questions after reviewing Chihuahua of the Baskervilles, and today she posted our conversation on her site. She’ll pick one commenter to receive a hardback copy, signed by the author (that would be me). Remember, that’s commenters on her site, not mine. Here’s a bit of the interview.

We have two sweet-cherry trees, and when they’re full of ripe fruit, I like to go outside, turn the hose on high, and blast the robins that are busily taking one peck from each cherry. “Get out of here, you red-breasted bastards!” I yell. This both enhances the experience and keeps the neighbors from interrupting my workday with needless social calls.

Click here to read more.

Getting a new thumb/index finger ring.

$19 and free shipping is a screaming deal. You get your choice of three finishes, two typefaces, and your choice of words, inside and out. Mine will say, “Pull my finger” on the outside, and “Pfft…” on the inside, because I will do anything for a laugh. Well, not anything, but $19 is cheap for a good gag. Click the pic to go to his site.