This Wednesday Behind the Scenes, it’s total indulgent gratitude.
What the (insert word of your preferred emphasis here), you may wonder, is that?
Well, that’s when you wallow in gratitude for something you didn’t plan but find truly comforting.
It’s a coincidence that the first released Backlist Ebook was A Feral Darkness, which contains a dog who carries traits, physical and behavioral, from two of my dogs–the first and only time I’ve done that. (Contrary to what many people think, mostly authors just make this stuff up.) The dogs? Jag and Jean-Luc Picardigan.
Jag came to me as a pet and with behavioral rehab needs: a developing and inexplicable fear of…well, no one was quite sure what, only that it happened unpredictably and otherwise didn’t suit his personality. He was an incredibly sweet dog, and I had fallen for him on sight, some months earlier, during a cross-country visit with Cheysuli breeder Jennifer Roberson. (Sometimes you really can almost hear that *click*…). He arrived, fit instantly into the household, and was much adored. I began trying to understand what drove his problems.
Never actually had the chance. Six short weeks after his arrival, a neighbor child released him from my yard. He panicked straight into traffic.
I wanted to write him a better story than that. Eventually, I did.
By then, I had another Cheysuli dog. Jean-Luc’s special child issues were no mystery; he was injured at birth, made vulnerable by an open fontanel, and as a result developed into a deeply autistic dog in nature. Not to mention his subtly asymmetrical forehead!
So pieces of Jean-Luc Picardigan also helped inform Ch. Nuadha’s Silver Druid. Two special dogs, being shared in their own way.
As it happens, I chose A Feral Darkness as the first Backlist Ebook for many reasons. Then, when I couldn’t find a stock photo I liked for the cover, along came another unplanned development–Jean-Luc’s appearance there (there were no good ones of Jag, and Jean-Luc isn’t actually too far off in coloring).
It’s the total lack of intent behind it all that makes the situation all the more meaningful to me this week. To know I didn’t plan the timing, the cover…the circumstances…and yet I can still look at the book and smile.
So yup. Today I’m feeling grateful for such comforts. And the indulgence is talking about it, because some of this you’ve already heard, and none of it is probably truly meaningful to anyone but me.
And in that vein, here’s a totally indulgent snippet from A Feral Darkness! From a book about forgotten gods and rising powers and modern-day potential for plague and one woman trying to figure out exactly what she started with her childhood wish at an inadvertently anchored place of power…this time it’s all about the dog!
“He’s got a lot more white on him than I thought,” Elizabeth admitted, pausing in her own work.
Or than Brenna had thought. No way, under the mud, to see how broad his blaze was, how symmetrically it encompassed his muzzle, narrowed just enough to miss his eyes, and broadened again at his forehead. Or to see the dark freckles on the bridge of his nose, or how richly his brown cheek patches stood out against the black on the rest of his head. He had a white bib and undercarriage, and except for brown points, a white tail tip, and a jagged white collar, the rest of him was sleek black. Black, aside from his ears. The interior of one was stark white; the other light brown.
But it was the backs of those huge ears that were so beguiling, mostly white with thick brown freckles. Utterly unexpected, utterly charming.
And his eyes. Coming from a clean face, they looked softer, more open. Big love-me eyes that followed her every movement.
But he’s somebody else’s dog.