Sunday, January 30, 2011
Today's Special -- Karin Tabke
Today, we are very excited to have author Karin Tabke visiting with us. My (this is Buffie) love affair with Karin's writing began back in the summer of 2008 when I won a copy of Master of Surrender, the first book in the Blood Sword series. I was quickly gripped by Karin's gritty tale of a band of medieval knights and their journeys to a well-deserved HEA. Ever since, I have gobbled up every Karin Tabke book I could get my hands on. Her writing is super sexy and yet still has a way of stirring your soul. Let's just say ... the girl has got some talent! Karin was one of the authors that I couldn't wait to meet last year at the RWA National Conference. And she is just the same in person as she is online -- a no nonsense chick with a sense a humor. Please give a warm welcome to Karin Tabke.
Teaching a Young Dog Manners and an Old Dog Patience.
First of all, thank you Buffie for having me as your guest today!
So, what do dogs have to do with writing a good story? Not much at first glance but stay with me.
I’ve owned dogs all of my adult life. Big dogs, little dogs, purebred show dogs and the affable mutt. I currently have two Shih-Tzus, Coco and Zoe, 10 and 8, mother and daughter, respectively. And Bella. A seven-month-old Cane Corso who is to put it mildly, a hand full. Our last two big dogs were outside dogs. Why? Because the sad truth is, I was lazy. I never gave them the benefit of proper training, which would have required diligence, patience and consistency on my part. And just as much of a reason was, I had no clue how to train them (although if you had asked me then, I would have said, of course I know how to train a dog! It’s them, not me!) and as important, I didn’t understand the psychology of the canine (again, I would have told you I did, but they were not trainable. I realize now how trainable they were and how I failed them.).
After months and months of research, going to shows and interviewing breeders, and the decision was made to bring a corso into our home, hubby and I were adamant that our new pup would not be relegated to the back yard. Of course, we agreed on this before we picked Bella up at the airport. We had no idea what keeping that promise to ourselves and to our new puppy, would entail.
Corsi are a dominant breed. They are an ancient Italian mastiff breed that requires vigilant training, regular exercise and a loving family to protect. Without those three ingredients, a corso will own the house and every living creature in it. In our home we have two cats, two small dogs, three humans and a fourteen-month old granddaughter who is a frequent visitor. We have an active household. Lot’s of coming and going. Having 110 ten pounds of lean muscled corso hurling itself at guests as they come in the front door was not an option.
So, right from the get go, I began my education. I learned that I had to establish that I was the pack leader. It was not assumed. It was earned. I decided what Bella did, with whom and when. Bones and toys were mine. I allowed her to play with them. She was not allowed to take them away from the little girls (Coco and Zoe). She was not allowed to chase them or the cats. She was not allowed on the furniture, she was not allowed to jump up on us or anyone else. She was not allowed to eat until I told her it was ok. She would sit, stay and down when told. She would not take me for a walk or act aggressive toward other dogs or people. She would be a mannered young lady. Period.
Hah! Talk about the work and commitment involved laying a solid foundation, and then going back and forth until each step was accomplished. Talk about fatiguing, grueling, and wanting to throw your hands up in the air! Ah, but talk about rewarding!
To accomplish all of the above, there was an expectation from Bella of me as well. I would take her for daily walks. Play ball, take her to obedience class, work with her several times a day, socialize her, and show her in a calm, confident way that life was much better when we were all calm and confident.
I realized that in asking so much of Bella, I had to step up my game. Hugely. I had to learn how to be a calm, confident, educated trainer. And so, my training began and continues. And what I find so amazing is, that in spite of my mistakes, Bella gets it. She allows me to start over, to get it right so that we get it right together. She doesn’t hold a grudge and I have learned a good pack leader doesn’t hold a grudge either.
I have learned that I can’t just jump in feet first and expect immediate results. Just like writing. It’s what I did in the beginning, until I got that it wasn’t working. So, I stepped back and learned the craft of writing. I learned how to tell a story. It took patience, diligence and confidence to go to the next step. It was fatiguing, and frightening. But I knew if I didn’t do the heavy lifting and keep at it, I would fail.
Bella has taught me a precious lesson. She has taught me what it means and what is expected of a true pack leader. While I feel I have been on track with it naturally, she made me realize I hadn’t nailed it. Because of taking the time to understand and train Bella, I’m a better mother, wife, friend and writer. Along this journey, I realized that my sweet perfect little shih-tzus were not so sweet and perfect. Who knew? I do now, and with what I have learned with Bella, I have applied to the little girls. Our home is quieter and more harmonious. Why didn’t I know all of this when I was raising my kids!?
Bella and I graduate, at the top of our class, I’m proud to say, our first leg of obedience training this Sunday. We begin handling classes Monday night so that when she enters the show ring she will understand what is expected of her. We begin our second leg of obedience training Tuesday. We are learning to track people and objects. We have begun to settle down and enjoy the process and our time together. To be successful in all of our endeavors, we have learned to trust each other.
As with writing, I have to trust the skills that I have worked hard to learn. I have to be open, calm and confident in this ever-changing market. I need to be open to my readers, and do right by them.
This old dog is learning a few new tricks herself and much needed patience.
How about you?
What life lesson have you recently learned?
I have one of my backlist up for grabs to a randomly selected commenter!
Karin* aka Harlow
Blood Moon Trilogy #1
Berkley Heat (May 3, 2011)
Trade Paperback – Erotic Paranormal
ISBN-13: 978-0425240922 Pre-order your copy today!
Barnes & Noble
For all eternity, only one thing shall separate them—until the Blood Law is avenged…
The coming of the Blood Moon will lead two Lycan packs into war, spur two rival brothers into conflict, and spark an act of vengeance so evil that its effects will be felt for generations.
One woman stands at the center of it all…
As undisputed Alpha, Rafael must choose a life mate to preserve the dominance of his Lycan pack. He never suspected, his mate would be a human, the same wounded, girl-woman he seduces from the brink of death. Falon is a dangerous combination of Lycan and Slayer—beings bred to destroy his kind. Even more, she’s a mesmerizing beauty whose sensuality tempts the seasoned warrior to take unnecessary risks. The primal heat between them is irresistible, yet surrendering to it could destroy them both…for a vengeful foe stands ready in the shadows to fulfill what is rightfully his by Blood Law.
Bad To the Bone
Wicked Reads #1
(January 13, 2011)
Digital – Erotic Contemporary
ISBN-13: 978-1452418353 Download Now!
Barnes & Noble
Police officer Vaden Holbrook and widow Olivia Connor’s chemistry is off-the-charts hot, but incredible sex isn’t enough for Olivia. She wants it all. Will Vaden’s inability to commit push her into the arms of another man? Or can he overcome his past to become the man Olivia needs, the man he’d like to be?
Her mind wasn’t on the road. Or her driving. As usual, it was a million miles away, so when she took the wrong turn, it didn’t register. She followed the road a few miles before she carelessly ran a red light. A faint, Oh shit, I hope there wasn’t a cop hiding behind a bush, flashed through her mind. She made a quick left just in case, then gave her SUV some gas down the old country road.
It was late and it was dark. Hers was the only car on the rutted asphalt road. Her headlights blazed the way until she dunked into a pothole, the depth causing her to bounce and hit her head on the roof. As if to let the pothole know how she felt about that, she glanced angrily in her review mirror. That’s when she saw the headlights of another vehicle rapidly closing in on her.
She bit her bottom lip. Her nerves flared and her belly buzzed. When red and blue lights lit up behind her, her apprehension spiked.
The cop car pulled right up on her, lights blazing. She knew what to do. She looked right, making sure the shoulder was wide enough and not littered with the gaping holes left by the recent rain. She slowed, pulled over and came to a stop, then let out a long breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding.
In her side mirror, she watched the cop get out of his car and say something into his mic before he started toward her window; his tall broad form was silhouetted ominously against his headlights. As the strobes flickered over him, she could tell by his strut he was cocky. But then, most cops were. Nervously, she sat back, folded her hands in her lap and waited.
Anxiously, she bit her bottom lip and hit the window button just long enough for the window to come down a crack.
He stopped at the side of her car. All she could see was his duty belt and his narrow waist that flared into a wide chest. He tapped on the glass with the end of his flashlight.
“Open the window, ma’am,” he commanded.
Despite the nervous flutter in her belly, her immediate reaction to authority was to open the window more. Even if it weren’t, she’d open wider.
Tension sizzled along her nerve endings when he ducked down and they met face to face. Her instinct was to shy away from the dark green eyes shining brightly in the night. Instead, she swallowed hard as her gaze dropped to full firm lips before bouncing back up to the blistering gaze.
He wasn’t classically handsome. He had one of those etched character-filled faces. His angles were blunt, nothing refined about him, but they complemented his olive coloring and close-cropped jet-black hair. There was nothing soft or apologetic about this man. It was his eyes and those bad boy lips that transformed him from average to sinful.
Her nipples beaded when his gaze dropped below her chin. Her chest rose and fell in shallow puffs. Her shirt was classic Anne Klein office wear. Although her sleeves were rolled up to her elbows and the buttons didn’t quite make it to her neck, the way she was sitting made the shirt gape open, exposing her cleavage supported by a lacy demi-bra.
He looked back up at her face. Heat flickered behind his hooded lids. An insolent half smile quirked the right side of his mouth before he backed up. She huffed, sinking deeper into the leather seat. It wasn’t like she had intentionally given him a peek. She wasn’t like that. She bet half the women he pulled over took one look at him and did more than show a little skin. He was all smoldering sexy. His subtle snub pissed her off.
A woman scorned, regardless of the circumstances, was nothing to mess with. Frustrated by his assumption, she stiffened and stuck her head out of the window. “Why did you stop me?” she demanded.
He cocked a dark brow at her tone. “You ran the light back there. License and registration, please.” He held out a big hand. Thick fingers with smooth blunted ends, neat square fingernails. A working man’s hand. A single working man’s. No wedding ring.
His other hand rested casually on the butt of his gun.
“What are you going to do? Shoot me if I don’t do what you say?”
His lips quirked. “I’ll use whatever force is necessary.”
Shivers hopped along her spine. She wasn’t sure if she were afraid or intrigued. Either way, she didn’t resist. She took her driver’s license out of her wallet and slapped it into his waiting hand. His big fingers wrapped around hers before she could pull away. His touch was electric. A shock wave went straight to her nipples and banked south to the juncture at her thighs. She tried hard to remain impassive. She tugged her hand out of his grasp, then dug into the glove box for the registration. This time, caution prevailed; she sat back and handed it to him, keeping all but her fingertips inside the car.
He took it and looked at her license. “I’ll be right back, Ms. Olivia Connor. Don’t go anywhere.” There was a hint of amusement lacing his deep baritone.
Did he just laugh at her as he walked away? She stuck her head out the window, to tell him to go to hell, but he had already reached his cruiser. She sat back, her temper flaring. “Damn cops think they’re God’s gift.”
In her rearview mirror, she watched him watch her through his front windshield as he called in her info. After what seemed interminably long, he strode back to her door. He reached inside the car, released the door lock, quickly pulling the door open before she realized what he was doing.
“Step out of the car, ma’am,” he said thickly.
“Why? You can’t arrest me for blowing a red light!”
“Step out of the car, ma’am.”
Her pride screamed “no.” Her reason told her to just do as he said so she didn’t invite any more trouble than she already had. Ultimately, Olivia was good at following instructions.
She stuck her left foot out of the car, her four-inch heel digging into the soil of the shoulder. When she stood, she nearly snapped her ankle. The bad cop reached out to steady her. His long fingers wrapped possessively around her bicep. Her skin flared beneath his chaste touch. When her second heel stuck in the ground, she jerked away from him and had he not grabbed her with both hands, she would have tumbled backwards into the mud. The velocity of his actions brought her chest to chest with him.
The contact was electrifying.