Book Out, Book In and Goodbye to a Special Friend

Well. It's been a week or so of ups and downs. So let's get the downs out of the way. If you have been following my ramblings here you'll know I've lost a couple of furry friends this last several months. First Oreo, our old collie last November at 18, Dessie our beagle in March at 21 and then yesterday we said goodbye to our adorable Sprout who was 14 or more, (we can't be certain just how old).

Here she is in the snow ...

We named her Sprout because she suddenly appeared one day sitting at hubby's feet while he was sawing wood in the driveway. She demanded to be picked up and huggled, which became her choice du jour very quickly. Almost blind, with claws like a mandarin and matted fur hiding age-old sores we nursed her back to something like health. No one claimed her, so she became a fixture in my studio and in our hearts for the last three years..

We have always rescued dogs, but Sprout was very special, so it was extemely hard to say goodbye to her. Her health deteriorated last Fall and she had mammary tumours removed in November. She recovered, but when our old beagle died in March she really took it hard as they were the best of friends. Her blindness got worse, complicated by an enlarged eye, and this weekend, after multiple fits, her candle burned down. So rather than let her suffer and stuff her full of meds, we made that hard decision and the vet visit.

It never gets any easier, even after so many decisions over the year. I still have two other 'pups' to love, plus the snooty cat and our two horses, so don't feel too bad for me :-)

So this morning it is an empty studio. No morning cuddle in bed with her little puppy yawn, or the knowledge that she is curled up on the futon behind me, waiting for breakfast, or an out, or the little paw that would pester my leg for an afternoon huggle at about 3pm.. Lately I had been thinking I would take some photos of her for character studies for a future book. Never put it off eh? But maybe there is still a story here about Sprout, the little blind dog with a big heart who never gave up hope on being loved.

Now I will brush away the plopping tears and tell you my other news.

'Hidden New Jersey' is finito! I don't know the exact pub date yet, but will be sure to post it when I do. Here is the final spread:

Last time I blogged I was able to reveal that 'All Star Cheerleaders - Tick Tock, Taylor!' is almost at the bookstores. Two more pieces of good news - I got the m/s for the second book in the series yesterday, so can't wait to read it and decide how to illustrate it. And at next year's ALA conference (in Anaheim) I will be signing/drawing in Kane and Miller's booth. with Anastasia Suen. Now THAT'S exciting. My first ALA, and I get to sign!  Can't wait.

In between all this I got to go sailing on the Isaac H Evans ... which was a nice break from all the turmoil, a rest from computers and phones and fresh air. Here's a few photos ....

That's about it from The Wacky Brit this week. I am hoping for a peaceful few days in which to get on with projects in hand and find some time to work on my SCBWI summer conference portfolio ... groan ...



On the bedside table:
Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squag - David Soman and Jacky Davis
Me ... Jane - Patrick McDonnell
Press Here - Herve Tullet (LOVE IT)
Charlie the Ranch Dog - Ree Drummond and Dian deGroat

PS - have you joined my FB page yet?