When I published The Warrior Elf a little over a year ago, I lived with two old friends, a seventeen-year-old cat and a twelve-year-old dog. Shortly after publication, my cat was diagnosed with the first stages of kidney failure. With the help of treatments and a careful diet he lived nearly six more months, and was able to enjoy a relatively full life up until the last couple of weeks.
During that time, my dog and I took frequent walks in the woods, something we’d always enjoyed. Unfortunately, age was beginning to take its toll on him, too. Or maybe I should say a combination of size and age. He’s a big dog, ninety pounds big. We used to walk two or three miles several times a week. We were down to between half a mile and a mile, depending on the day and the terrain.
Then, shortly after my cat said goodbye, I realized how much of a struggle it had become for my dog to get in the car. I had steps for him, but even so it was just too much. So we said goodbye to the trails through the woods and started walking around the neighborhood, but we were still walking close to a mile a day. Then as spring faded into summer, our walks got shorter and shorter. And as the walks got shorter, we had to make adjustments around here. There’s a handicap ramp at the backdoor now so he doesn’t have to struggle with the steps, and I put runners and throw rugs down over the hardwood and linoleum to keep his feet from sliding around as he walks.
Over the past month, our walks have become even shorter. Now they’re limited to the backyard. But life’s not dull for either us. Our new friend sees to that.
A couple of months ago, a young cat came to live with us. He’s a little over a year old, and full of energy and mischief. Unfortunately he tested FIV positive, which means he has to stay inside and away from other cats. I’ve never had a cat who couldn’t go outside before, so for the first time ever, I’m buying cat toys. His favorite ones involve balls or yarns. I have to admit, his antics provide a lot of entertainment, for both my dog and me, but cleaning up after him is keeping me quite busy.
So, for those of you waiting for the next book, sorry it’s taking so long, but most of my time is tied up with my friends right now. The rough draft is close to being finished, but I’m finding less and less time to sit down and write. It’s coming, but it’ll be next year before I can get it published.