December 29, 2012

A Happy Accident.

By Carlene Rae Dater
My husband came home from work one day a few years ago and said, “I’m going to a week-long seminar on Amelia Island off the coast of Florida, want to come alone?” Silly man – he had to ask? Little did I know that besides having a wonderful time on the island, I would wind up writing a book about the place and yes, there’s a dog in this book too. Here’s what happened:

While my poor husband was sitting inside attending the seminar, I walked to the local Chamber of Commerce and got all kinds of maps and brochures of fun things to do. The best find was a walking map of the city. Amelia Island is full of wonderful old Victorian homes and many of them have been turned into Bed & Breakfasts. I was so busy gawking and drooling (who wouldn’t love to have one of those houses?) when I realized, somehow, I’d gotten off the route. I looked up and saw a dilapidated old Victorian, sad and disheveled. Well, I’m a writer so the first thing that popped into my mind was….”What if….What if…”  The house was obviously empty and had been for some time. I knew I had to write a story about it and also knew that I would never remember all the details of that house, so I hurried back to the business district and bought a disposable camera. That’s a good tip for all you writers out there. NEVER think you’ll remember places – you won’t. Take photos to jar your memory.

The story began to jell on the plane trip home and once I got to my computer the book almost wrote itself. The title is: Stormy Love ( & and it’s in both e-book and paperback formats. Here’s a short blurb:

Jillian Bennett’s world falls apart when her fiancĂ© dumps her. Then unexpectedly a mysterious aunt dies and leaves her a Victorian House on Amelia Island off the coast of Florida. Jillian pulls up stakes, vows to start a new life and moves to Florida to open a bed and breakfast, only to discover she’s inherited a dump. Jobless, near penniless and out of options, she has no choice but to stay.

Seth Falconer, a local cop, thinks the house is the hub of drug activity and suspects Jillian of being involved. His beloved sister died of an overdose at the house and he will do anything to find out who supplied her with drugs. Once his investigations prove Jillian’s innocence, they join forces, solve a mystery, find an unexpected treasure, and fall hopelessly in love.

Did I mention there’s a dog in the story? Jillian moves into the house to start renovations. She keeps hearing a dog barking in the forest behind the house. She investigates and finds a white pit bull chained to a tree, without food or water. She manages to untangle and unchain the poor dog, takes him home and names him, Snowflake.

Stormy Love is a mystery with plenty of twists and turns and of course a bit of romance. Snowflake is one of the main characters and he winds up saving Jillian’s life.
I really love this book (do I say that about all my books?) and especially love the cover. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Doggy tip:
Is your poor dog always scratching, whining and nibbling at himself? You know it’s not fleas and figure he’s allergic to something but what do you do to relieve his stress? Try this: Go the any pet store and get a bag of Missing Link. It’s a fatty acid you sprinkle on the dog’s food. Missing Link will lubricate his skin and make his coat shine! I’ve used it with all my dogs for years and get raves about their beautiful coats.
If he’s still itching, try giving him some Benedryl. I get the generic brand at the drugstore, and it’s much cheaper. Of course check with your veterinarian first but….my vet is the one who told me about it. My poor girl, Tara, had terrible allergies as a young dog. I took her to a veterinarian dermatologist and the vet gave her a patch test – just like humans get (probably cost the same too). The doc determined that Tara was allergic to just about everything – but not food. I tried giving her injections but….neither of us like it. That’s when my wonderful house call vet, Dr. Alice recommended Benedryl. Tara was on it for about six years until I was finally able to wean her off of it completely.

The New Year is going to be a busy one for me, so this will be my last blog for Candid Canines. I have agreed to teach more writing classes at the local college, I will be doing intensive training with Duke so he can be a therapy dog, I have a website and three blogs of my own to keep up with and of course I have my own books to write.

I’ve enjoyed my time with you all and remember if you have questions or comments, you can always find me at: carlenedater@sbcglobal.
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