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.

December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! May you and your family be blessed, prosperous and may all your dreams come true!

December 24, 2012

An Original Miniatures Christmas Story - The Thief of Christmas Present by author Robert Walker

   To celebrate the Christmas season, I'm linking to the original Christmas story penned by fellow author Robert Walker and illustrated with dollhouse miniatures.

The story, The Thief of Christmas Present is in two parts, so be sure to come to follow the link to part 2 at the bottom of the story. Start below.

Merry Christmas!

               * See part 1 of The Thief of Christmas Present here **

Quote from the story:

"No, no mom! I don't let anyone reach into my dollhouse and take out anything, not the figurines, not the furniture, and certainly not the presents under the tree."

December 17, 2012

Story on Wisconsin Dog Rescuers and Fostering Nominated in 2012 Dog Writers' Association Competition


     A story on Wisconsin dog rescuers and fostering by freelance writer Christine A. Verstraete ("Foster Families for Pets," Jan/Feb. 2012 PRIME Magazine) has been nominated for a Maxwell Medallion in the Feature in Mainstream Magazines category of the 2012 Dog Writer's Association of America awards competition.
    Winners will be announced at the association's banquet on Feb. 10, 2013 in New York City.
* See images and story links at my website nonfiction page.    

** See awards announcement at

December 14, 2012

As Long As There's a Leg on Each Corner....

In previous blogs I’ve written about my love of big dogs, specifically Labrador retrievers and how I’ve included them in my books. Well, I confess – I added a little dog to one of my earlier novels. It had to be a small critter for the plot. The books is, Call Sign: Love and it was the number one best seller on Fictionwise in August of 2009.
My protagonist, Cyndia Simmons (she explains that her first name is pronounced just like Cynthia, but without the lisp) has a Chihuahua that she named Thor. She gave him a big dog’s name to give him confidence.

I got the idea for this book while working at the San Diego Sheriff’s Department as a volunteer. I was with the department for over two years, learned a lot and loved my “job.” I wrote a non-fiction book about my adventures, An Extra Pair of Eyes, and and had fun with that but, I felt I just HAD to write a romance too. Of course as with all my books, there’s a mystery and a bit of humor. In this case, the mystery revolves around a man running naked through the small town of Oakdale, with only a brown bag on his head. Here’s the synopsis:

     Cyndia Simmons is searching for a new career and the love of her life, but there’s a problem. She grew up in a family of law enforcement officers and swore never to marry a man with a badge. She refuses to even date men in law enforcement—which is rather difficult, considering that she’s a dispatcher at the Sheriff’s Department Communications Center and all the men she meets wear guns. Then she meets Todd Witlow. He’s handsome, kind, and generous—and he’s a deputy. Although Cyndia does everything she can to avoid him, destiny keeps throwing them together.  
     Todd is on the fast track through the ranks at the Sheriff’s Department; he knows that’s best done alone, but when night after night he is forced to listen to Cyndia’s husky voice over the radio, he becomes determined to meet her—and more.


Call Sign: Love is available at: and

Doggy tip for today.

                How to Remove Small Blood Stains from Carpet, Fast, Easy & Cheap

It’s happened to all of us. You cut the dog’s toenail to short and a few drops of blood fall on the family room carpet. Or your dog works on a raw hide chew too long and soon blood is dripping from her mouth. Sometimes the animals play too hard and you find the result, blood on your carpet. I’ve lived with dogs most of my life and have come to the conclusion that if you live with critters, you’re going to find spots of blood on your rug. Not to worry. There’s an easy, inexpensive way to remove blood stains from your carpet. I got this tip from my veterinarian and have found it works every time!
1.      Pour a little water on the stain – just enough to dampen the area.
2.      Take normal table salt and sprinkle it on the fresh stain to lightly coat it.
3.      Gently rub the salt into the stain with a clean, wet cloth.
4.      The salt will break down the protein in the blood.
5.      With a dry cloth blot up any remaining moisture from the area. The stain is gone!
6.      When the spot is dry, smooth the carpet area to blend the fibers with the rest of the carpet.  Using a coin really brings the fibers up and blends them. I’ve found quarters work best.
Hope you all have a wonderful holiday season, and a Happy, Healthy New Year!

12 Days of Christmas in Miniature and an original Christmas story

Seeing that I have so much up on the blog already, thought I'd again share the annual  12 Days of Christmas in Miniature links beginning today.
 (Image: Gingerbread house by Christine Verstraete)

Each day's post links to the next day, so be sure to come back to this post and follow the links starting from Day 1 below.

A link to the first day will also be in the left column of the blog until Christmas.

There is plenty here to keep you busy until Dec. 25 and put you in the Christmas Spirit!

                                              12 Days of Christmas in Miniature:  

                                                      2008 posts: Day 1 
                                          * Original Christmas story by Robert Walker,
                         "The Thief of Christmas Present" - also begins on Day 11 (in two parts)

                                                      2009 posts: Day 1

   BONUS!  An Original Christmas Story, "The Thief of Christmas Present" first shared here in 2008 (see above link also) by author Robert W. Walker, - with miniatures photo illustrations!
         ** See Miniatures Christmas Story

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! 

December 03, 2012

Miniatures Advent Calendars

Enjoy a feast of minis and how-to projects with the Mini Treasures Wiki and Artisans in Miniature (AIM) Advent Calendars... see links and open a door each day until Christmas.

* Artisans in Miniature (AIM) Advent Calendar - here
* Today  12/13 is my project page #13 - direct link

* Mini Treasures wiki Advent Calendar