Welcome! Kick off your shoes, get comfy and join in as we chat about books, romance and the ups and downs of everyday life.

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



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Blood Law
Blood Moon Trilogy #1
Berkley Heat (May 3, 2011)
Trade Paperback – Erotic Paranormal
ISBN-10: 0425240924
ISBN-13: 978-0425240922 Pre-order your copy today!
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-A-Million
Borders
Indie Bound


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.


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Bad To the Bone
Wicked Reads #1
(January 13, 2011)
Digital – Erotic Contemporary
ISBN-10: 1452418357
ISBN-13: 978-1452418353 Download Now!
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Smashwords


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?

Excerpt:

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.

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43 comments:

  1. Dogs are much more work than most people think. We have always had mutts. We did foster care for the local animal shelter for several years. We have a 15 year old lab mix from the first littler and a 10 year old terrier mix from the last litter.
    We have a pure blood pit bull that our son got from a friend when their dog had an unplanned large litter. She just turned one. We had planned on taking her to obedience training, but the class was postponed. Unfortunately, she got out of the yard and was hit by a car. Her back was broken and for a while she was paralyzed. She has made an incredible recovery. Even the vet doesn't believe it. Her back is still unstable, but she can out run our other two dogs and the neighbors on the other side of the fence. We left her ears and tail natural. That tail is like a whip. She behaves pretty well, but as you discovered when you did obedience class with your Bella, what we think of as well behaved leaves much room for improvement by comparison to a well trained dog. She gets along well with the other dogs and our 2 cats. She loves our grandson (who is 12) but is afraid of our daughter, who is a definite alpha. My husband has purloined her affections and she lands in his lap when he sits in his recliner. Actually they are all lap dogs. The house breaking I've never had much trouble with, but she is a stubborn one and won't come when called half the time. I think we really need to reschedule those obedience classes.

    My recently learned life lesson: The internet is addictive and can interfere with getting anything else done. There are so many good sites out there. I am even loosing reading time!

    Thanks for the interesting post. I wasn't familiar with the corso. Bella is a cutey.

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  2. Karin, thanks so much for joining us today!!

    Bella sure is a cutie! The hubby and I had a dog right after we got married (so many years ago). She was a shih tzu and her name was Coco. Funny that we both had shih tzus with the name Coco! She was such a fun, little dog. Her favorite toy was a pink plastic easter egg. I have so many pictures of her with that pink egg in her mouth. We have some great memories of her.

    The life lesson I have learned recently is to enjoy every single day. My job is very stressful. My department has been working overtime for the last 20 months. Yes, 20 months! Late nights and weekend work is now the norm. I'm tired of coming home and telling the hubby and the boys I'm tired. So this past week I decided no more. My family deserves more than my job. So even when I'm tired beyond belief or stressed out that all gets left at the door when I walk in the house. I play with my boys and talk with the hubby. We all enjoy family time more. It is a much better way to enjoy every day!

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  3. Wow, Pat, is sounds like that little pitt bull is a fighter! So glad she is doing okay.

    LOL @ your life lesson learned. Yep, the internet sure can be a time waster. I have to limit myself or I'll be on it all day playing games.

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  4. As I type this, my cat (ruler of this domain) has just jumped on my shoulder, attempted to drink out of my water glass, and walked all over freshly folded laundry. It's good to be a cat. I can't even imagine the rigors of training a dog. I have no intention of finding out.

    Your books look very exciting. Which is the one you suggest starting with?

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  5. I never had a dog, but this one is cute as a button.

    Something I learned (not recently but gradually over time) is that if you expect less, you're much happier with the little pleasures life gives you. I always had high hopes for everything and if my dreams did not come true I was hurt, sad or disappointed (or all combined).

    Now I'm trying not to imagine greatness to befall me and if a small simple thing comes my way I'm grateful. It's been a long journey and I have to remind myself of this daily, but it is worth it.

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  6. Thanks for stopping by Cail! It sure sounds like your cat is the ruler of the house :-) As far as which one of Karin's books to start with, well I guess it all depends on what you enjoy best -- historical or contemp. Personally, I love medievals so I would say MASTER OF SURRENDER.

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  7. Hey Kirsten! Thanks for stopping by. I so agree with you -- you really have to enjoy every little thing. Life is so much easier and happier if you go with the flow. I still think you should dream big and strive for it, but enjoy the journey too.

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  8. Dogs have always been an important part of our family as well although I confess to letting them walk all over me LOL I am not so good with the training thing.

    Karin your books sound fantastic and I have heard a lot a good things about them they are on my must have list.

    I have learned that I really need to find me time so as I can relax and catch up on reading.

    Thanks Buffie and Dishes for inviting Karin along today

    Have Fun
    Helen

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  9. Hi Karin,

    I had a dog that had severe "stranger danger". He would shy away from anyone that came into the house, or he would just go and hide in the bedroom. He isn't aggressive in any way, he just doesn't like new people. You would have to come over to the house several times before he felt comfortable enough to come to you. My heart always felt so badly for him, and I didn't know what to do to help him other than love him to pieces. I miss my Bubba. I "lost" him when my ex and I ended our relationship. It's been two years, and my heart still clenches whenever I think about him...

    As for my life lesson. I always try to appreciate the little things in life, and not dwell on things that I cannot change. My biggest lesson though, has been to believe and trust in myself and to NEVER again let someone else dictate what I do or think!!! I still have the feeling of: "I'M FREE!!!"

    Now, back to your books! After I checked out Buffie's review lastnight regarding "Bad to the Bone" I immediately went and downloaded it to my Kindle... Woah, that opening scene was HOTT!!! Lol! Hot cops are one of my weaknesses! LOL!!! I do belive I have found a new author! Thanks!

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  10. Hi Buffie!! Hi Karin!! *waves* We've always had English Mastiffs. They are easily the coolest dogs on the planet, and great if you have kids (except they're rather clumsy and let me tell you, when a 200 lb dog steps on your foot or any other body part, it's slightly uncomfortable! LOL) Our last gentle giant was named Buster and he was probably the smallest Mastiff we've ever had at 180 lbs. He was the runt of the litter. I used to volunteer with Mastiff rescue. A lot of people confuse English Mastiffs with Bullmastiffs - they are not the same. In some ways, yes, but Bullmasitffs are smaller and more active and not as gentle as their bigger cousins LOL Anyway, Buster died last February, he was just an old guy and it was his time - but we haven't had the heart to get another dog yet.
    Let's see - a life lesson recently learned...that I'm SUPER selfish and I need to be more concerned about my family than myself all the time.
    Don't enter me in the contest - thanks for visiting with us today Karin!! *hugs*

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  11. Aww, Helen, I guess you are a softy :-)

    Relaxing and reading sounds fabulous. That is what I am doing today.

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  12. After I checked out Buffie's review lastnight regarding "Bad to the Bone" I immediately went and downloaded it to my Kindle... Woah, that opening scene was HOTT!!!

    Hey there, MonicaM!!! Glad you bought BAD TO THE BONE! And that opening scene is something, ain't it?! ;-)

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  13. Hi Bonnie Jean! Wow, mastiffs! Those dogs are huge!

    I think we can all stand to be a little less selfish. Sometimes it is pretty hard to do it.

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  14. I'm still learning the life lesson of balance and letting things go, saying no etc. I want to do everything and do it right, which is pretty hard sometimes! Go you and Bella!!

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  15. Hey, ladies, sorry I'm late to the party but Coco had me up all night running back and forth to the backyard (her to the backyard me letting her out). when hubby got up, I told him, "I'm taking a nap!"

    Give me a few to catch up!

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  16. Hi, Karin. We're so glad you're dishing with us today!

    I have two dogs--a Golden Retriever mix and a Dachshund/Pit mix---and they are two of the sweetest dogs in the world. Wouldn't trade 'em for the world!

    As for lessons, I try to focus on not sweating the small stuff. Life is way too short, and in the long run most of the things we worry about are not so important.

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  17. Hi, Librarypat! Wow your pit bull sounds like a wonder dog! a renowned dog trainer, Ed Frawly, has made it his life's work to train his dogs and help owners train theirs He lost his beloved german shepard when it was hit and killed by a car because he had not taught it to come when called. obedience classes are fun. I highly recommend them!

    grrr, I hear you on the internet being a time suck! But, I was just think this morning how amazing email was!

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  18. Thanks again for having me, Buffie. I love the name Coco! aren't shih -tzus just the sweetest little dogs? My Coco was runt of 8! She only weighs about 7 and half pounds and is love bug.

    Your life lesson is one many many MANY people should learn. A day is only comprised of 24 hours. We have to make the time we have, mean the most with those we love.
    xo!

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  19. As for lessons, I try to focus on not sweating the small stuff.

    Gannon, years ago when I worked for a very stressed out government official he gave me a book entitled "Don't Sweat The Small Stuff". Man, there is so much truth to that statement and in that book. Good words to live by.

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  20. Thanks for stopping by today, Virna! Letting go can be a really difficult thing to master.

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  21. Cali, I love my cats! I have two, one is a Maine Coon. He's a brat but loves playing with Bella! I'm really torn when they play, it's a raucous game of chase. It is play, but I don't want Bella to think all cats are created equal and chasable, so I've been putting the kibosh on it. They have truly bonded, tho, they scrunch up together and sleep in the cat's bed. Hilarious.

    I'm glad my books intrigue you. Since BLOOD LAW won't be out until May, I suggest giving BAD TO THE BONE a shot! ;) Enjoy.

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  22. Hi, Kirsten, when that picture of Bella was taken she was 12 weeks old. She's 7 months and 70 lbs now! But still as cute as a button.

    I understand your concept on expecting less, per se. In that I used to tell myself I had to write 10 pages a day. Now I say, one chapter a day, which usually equates to more than 10 pages. That way I don't disappoint myself.

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  23. Helen, thank you for commenting. I'm with you on finding time to relax and read too! Oddly, my relaxation comes from training Bella. Yesterday, in the rain, while I should have been writing, I took Bella out for some track work, then, built a few low jumps and began to teach her to jump on command! I've gone to the dogs!

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  24. Oh, Monica, I'm so sorry about your Bubba (we had a Bubba too, a big old affable lug of a rottie/dobie mix). Dogs have a way of breaking our hearts. The stranger danger thing is common. The best way to wean a dog from it, it to socialize them. Take them everywhere and act calm and confident around new people and places. Dogs pick up on our energy. If we show them that we are cool with the situation they too will get it. It takes a lot of time and patience.

    I walk Bella down to the busy shopping center near our house three times a week. We repeatedly walk the cross walks. Initially she was very fearful of cars and trucks whizzing by. Now she calmly sits on the curb as the traffic screams by and waits for me to tell her its ok to cross.

    Enjoying the little things in life is so important. I have realized that so much since the birth of my granddaughter. nary a day goes by when I don't see her and give her a big hug and a kiss.

    I'm so happy you liked the opening scene of BAD TO THE BONE! I LOVED writing it!

    Thank you!

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  25. Bonnie, English Mastiffs 'are' such gentle giants. It's hard on the heart with the larger breeds because they don't usually live as long as the smaller dogs. :(

    Your life lesson should be you are too selfless and need to be more selfish!

    xoxoxoxo

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  26. Virna wanting to do everything and do it right is a helluva lot of pressure to put on yourself. So I guess it *is* pretty hard sometimes. I suck at a lot of things. I'm good at some things. The balance comes is finding which things it's ok to suck at and which are important to be good at.

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  27. Gannon I'm happy to be here! Your pups sound wonderful. I'd like to see what a doxi pit mix looks like! I like your life lesson. I mean at the end of the day so much that we thought was so damn important, just isn't.

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  28. I'd like to see what a doxi pit mix looks like!

    Our Frodo is one of a kind, I think. He's a rescue, so I'm not sure how those two breeds "hooked up." Scary thought, huh? ;-) He's a brindle, short and long like a doxi, but stocky like a pit. He also weighs about 35 pounds! Just like the hobbit he's named after, he's short, loves to eat and has hairy feet. LOL

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  29. Karin,thank you for sharing your experiences with your furry family with us. I was reading your post and couldn't help but smile as my 12yr old Golden Ret "Cody" is snoring beside me.

    One of lifes lessons I'm reminded of often is appreciating all the things I'm been given in life. Even the small things are special. Wealth isn't always measured in $.

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  30. Hi, Karin! Welcome to The Romance Dish! We're so glad to have you with us today. Congrats on the new release! Buffie and I have the same taste in books, so if she loves it, I'm sure to love it, too. ;-)

    As the mother of a very independent 6 year old girl, I have learned to pick my battles. She is so much like me at that age, it's scary! LOL

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  31. Wealth isn't always measured in $.

    Wise words, Christine! I think I'm going to have to steal this one and use it often. Thanks for stopping by today!

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  32. As the mother of a very independent 6 year old girl, I have learned to pick my battles. She is so much like me at that age, it's scary! LOL

    That sweet little girl is just as sweet as her Momma!!! :-)

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  33. Ladies, I forgot to mention .... you can check out my review of Karin's latest BAD TO THE BONE right here on The Romance Dish. The review is just below Karin's blog for today.

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  34. Hi Karin! So nice to have you here today. Loved your blog! Bella is beautiful. What's the timetable for getting her ready to show?

    As a "mom" to two dogs I can fully appreciate your training challenges. ;-) Mine (both rescues) are now fully trained and a joy to be around. They're my best buddies and make me laugh every single day.

    What I've learned through life's experiences is to greet each day with a smile, take every opportunity to tell the people close to me that I love them and focus on the positive. Life's too short to get riled by the small stuff.

    Buffie has been raving about your books for the past two years...and for good reason. Can't wait to read the new one.

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  35. I haven't been ignoring you, my day just turned crazy!

    brb

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  36. I've only had two dogs while growing up and both had affected us kids profoundly. The first one, who followed me home when I was about 5, would babysit us in the afternoons (he'd watch us but not play with us). He also saved me and my little sister when I was about six (we got lost and so I decided to follow him home when he got hungry for dinner). The second one, a too-smart-for-his-own-good Golden Retriever, lived indoors with the lot of us and was considered as just another child. Through him, we learned about behavior modification, how to distract him from whatever we didn't want him to do (hard to argue with a 85-pound dog). This lesson came in handy when dealing with small children.

    Actually, I'm still not sure if we modified his behavior or he modified ours. Hm...

    ironss[at]gmail.com

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  37. Gannon, I can just imagine Frodo!

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  38. Hi, Christine, I always love to talk about my critters! I hear you on the wealth is not measured by $. Your Cody is priceless. I mean really, how can you put a price on a beloved pet snoring at your feet?!

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  39. Thank oyu for the welcome, Andrea. I always love stopping by the romance dish! Wait until your six-year-old is 16!

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  40. Hi, PJ! Thank you for th welcome. Time table for getting Bella into the show ring? I'm hoping within the next few weeks. She's a great listener, but she still gets excitable around dogs she doesn't know. Last week the instructor/judge had her and she was fine, until a dog she didn't know came close. Then Bella growled. Instructor looked at me and said, "We'll have NONE of that!" I wanted to tell her the other dog started it...

    You're a good dog mommy. So many dog owners don't understand a trained dog is a happy dog. My mil came over earlier tonight and I thought Bella was going to knock her over she was so excited to see her. She went freakin' crazy. I quickly took care of the bad behavior and she settled down quick, but I just can't have that. Sigh. She is my most challenging wip to date!

    I tell my husband all of the time not to spark at the small stuff. Most all of it is stuff he has no control of anyway. I need to take him to obedience school!

    If you do read one of my books, I hope you enjoy it!

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  41. Sheree, my brother was highly allergic to dogs and cats, so no furry animals when I was kid. I've more than made up for it as an adult. Your childhood dogs sound wonderful. I truly believe dogs know when children are in need. How lucky for you and your sister. Your Golden sounds golden! As humans we can certainly learn a thing or two from a loyal loving pet.

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  42. Hi karen! I love the coverof your new book itis so hot...I lost my dog Juliet last April she had pancreatic cancer and was 15 1/2 and I know I must be realistic but thought we w/ grow old together and then in July we had to put Cookie down we still have Lady but life is not the same to me..My life lesson is love hurts altho I know per the poem they will be waiting for me at the rainbow bridge...love your books


    Donna

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  43. We recently lost our 17 year old cat so know we are considering adopting a cat from the base rescue society. Most are young and need "social" training. We've asked what our 7 year old (previously rescued) cat what he thinks ...

    ... life's lesson: I am never amazed at how awful readers can be to each other on the blogs but also how kind (different readers, different blogs).

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