Know Actually Use I Learned from My Pets: A Fluff Piece
by Jessa Slade
This is only half a fluff piece, really. The other half is reptilian. The fluff half is Monster Girl, half black lab/half kelpie. The second, not so fluffy friend is Buddha Boy, the golden gecko.
Because I spend a lot of time in my head (or translating what’s in my head onto the blank page) I’ve found that having animal companions is a great way to stay grounded. And by “grounded,” I mean walking endless miles with Monster Girl and digging up garden grubs for Buddha Boy. If I didn’t have them, I might never leave my imagination.
Staying locked in my imagination sounds good—especially since I write urban fantasy, science fiction and paranormal romance—but in “reality,” my best ideas are usually sparked by something from the outside world. Which means getting up from the computer once and awhile!
Three Lessons from the Dog:
- Exercise is fun! She hasn’t entirely convinced me this is true (despite her use of exclamation points whenever a ball is involved) but I’m willing to concede I am happier and more productive when I’ve been taken for my walks.
- Don’t think too much. Monster Girl is half lab, and, trust me, labs are good at not thinking too much She thinks, but only about important things: “When is my next snack? Is it time for a nap? Do you want to play tug?” I try not to waste too much time fretting over unimportant issues either.
- The joy is in the chase. Balls, cats, squirrels—indeed, life itself—are apparently meant to be pursued, but not necessarily caught. Indeed, catching requires letting go so the joy can continue. Being a goal-focused human, it’s hard for me to appreciate that lesson, but I’m learning (slowly) to let go and run some more.
Two Lessons from the Gecko:
- Good things come to those who…lay in wait. The actual proverb is “those who wait,” but Buddha Boy knows better. He doesn’t sit around, wishing a moth might providentially fly by; no, he sets himself up in the moth flyways. Following his example, I try to put myself in the way of interesting possibilities.
- The impossible is possible if you focus on the little things. For a century, no one understood how geckos can cling to glass. Apparently, it’s Van der Waal’s forces acting between the surface and the tiny filaments on their feet allow these relatively large reptiles to stick wherever they please. I like to think that if I take care of the little things, I can do cool stuff too.
I haven’t yet found a way to fit Van der Waal’s forces into a story, but I’m working on it. As for the other lessons… Well, I’m working on those too, and I have good teachers.
I hope you’ll share lessons from your wise animal companions, and if you have links to pictures of your pets, please post them. Or just say hey for a chance to win a signed copy of Darkness Undone and a set of Marked Souls Romance Trading Cards. Thank you for reading!
And thank you, Limecello, for letting me post with you today. I’m at the RT Book Lovers’ Convention in Chicago this week; come find me if you are here. I hope to see everybody at Authors After Dark in August in New Orleans!
* * *
The war between good and evil has raged for millennia,
and as a powerful new enemy ascends,
the Marked Souls are pushed to the ragged edge…
Sidney Westerbrook has always studied darkness and damnation from a sensible distance. Now, to earn his place as a league Bookkeeper, he must discover why Chicago is such a battleground of soul-linked warriors. But the research becomes personal when he finds himself over his head and under attack — and at the mercy of a waif with demon-lit eyes and a deep yearning in her heart.
Alyce Carver has been alone longer than she can remember, battered by the living nightmares that haunt her city. Cornered by yet another gang of demons, she unwittingly joins forces with a handsome scholar who can salvage her past, and she in turn may be the key to his investigations. But she won’t let him go until he shows her everything she’s been missing.
What begins as an experiment in possession becomes a trial by desire so powerful it threatens both their lives, even as it binds their souls.
“Slade’s plot packs plenty of action…in a group of forceful personalities.”
– Publishers Weekly
“[A] fish-out-of-water story that keeps a rapid pace, delivering a strong plot, enjoyable characters and a stunning world.”
–RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars
Read the first chapters of all the Marked Souls novels here.