My mastiff Henry is my absolute best friend. No joke. I'm obsessed with him.
If you've known the love of a dog, you know there's just nothing like seeing that tail wagging when you get home from a long day or the feel of that paw on your shoulder when life's falling apart. The love of the dog is like no other.... and that's why I wanted to capture that emotion in a romance.
The Trail to You, releasing March 16th with Hot Tree Publishing, came from my desire to make Henry a major component of the plot. He always appears in every single one of my novels (even my thriller/horror), but I wanted a book that celebrated the power of the bond between humans and dogs. And thus, a book in which the protagonists come together because of the love of a dog was born.
I'm not going to lie... The Trail to You is my favorite romance I've written, probably because of the story it tells of a fictionalized Henry. This one is light at times but also heavy...it's got plenty of laughs, and plenty of tears, just like real life.
I've included an excerpt from the first page below. Even though this one doesn't come out until March, there are some pre-order links ready now. The Amazon links are coming soon.
Until then, take a peek at the cover which just revealed. Hit comment and let me know all about your furry friend. I'd love to feature some of you in upcoming newsletters....and, if I pick you to feature, you'll earn a FREE ebook ARC of this upcoming book.
A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
"Some dogs just want to be free to wander, because they don't have a boy who loves them."
Told in first-person point of view from a dog's perspective, this book is an emotional journey. It follows a dog through several lives as he tries to find his purpose. This book also chronicles the humans he lives with through a dog's perspective.
This book is such a powerful read. It makes you think about the priorities in your own life and your own relationship with your dog. I loved seeing the journey and growth of the people and the dog in this book. I finished it within a few days because I was so absorbed in the story.
While many dog books make me sad, this one was beautiful in the way it portrayed the unending connection between a boy and his dog. I loved this unique perspective and read. I will definitely be looking for the sequel.
This book is perfect for any animal lover who wants a new perspective on life, on dogs, and on the relationship we have with our pets.
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I held you in my arms last night as you struggled to breath, your body weakening as you prepared to let go. Tears were falling, but I tried not to spend our last few hours sobbing. Instead, we put in a movie and cuddled on the couch in your favorite throw, laughing at our favorite scenes. I held you like I’ve done so many evenings, just cuddled in on the couch for a quiet night.
I thought about all of our moments, good and bad. I remembered the first time I saw you at that animal rescue. I had spent hours looking for a new friend to replace my sweet black cat who had died too young. I pet cat after cat, my husband trying to selling me on a kitten. Then, you crawled out, all seventeen pounds of you, and I knew you were it.
My husband tried to convince me you were too old to adopt at thirteen, that you wouldn’t live long. He was looking out for my heart, knew I shouldn’t have to go through a loss again potentially soon. It was sealed, though. One look at you, and I knew you were meant to be mine. You’d recently lost your home because your elderly owner had been sent to a nursing home. We brought you home and settled you in.
It took you a while to trust us. You were scared and hid for weeks. I thought maybe I’d made a mistake, that you wouldn’t be the cat to soothe my already cracked heart. But slowly, the weeks passed by and you started coming around. Before too long, you were cuddling with me on the couch, watching Netflix. You were claiming a favorite spot in the kitchen on our coffee cup mat by the fridge. You were meowing every day I came home and trudging up the steps at bedtime to cuddle. You were through happy days and sad days, for holidays and parties. You were there waiting for cupcakes, your favorite snack—just like Henry. You were cuddling with our other kittens even though you preferred to sleep on the couch alone. You were sweet and loving, an innocent, unconditional love always in your eyes.
Last night, I thought about the not so great moments, too. The moments when I was so busy with the ins and outs of life that I didn’t stop to pet you, to give you a treat, or to spend time with you. I think about all the rushing around and the making plans when I should’ve been on the couch with you. I think about how in the last week I took so much for granted, thought you’d be here forever. Even in that regret, though, I see the beauty of you. I see how you reminded me how fragile life is, how we can never take a moment for granted. I will carry that lesson with me.
I put you in your cat bed last night and with tears streaming down my cheeks, I said good-bye. This morning, you were wheezing, barely breathing, so we had to make the worst decision ever. We had to help you along to the other side, had to take you to the vet for one final car ride. The whole way there, you just laid in my arms, breathing your final breaths. I thought about everything I’m going to miss about you. I thought about the huge hole in my heart from the seventeen-pounds of black fur that won’t be here to greet me anymore. I thought about all the memories we won’t make.
But I also thought about all the memories we did make. I thought about how for the past two and a half years, you helped us make our house a home, our group of random animals a family. I thought about how now, you’ll get to the other side, how maybe your previous owner is waiting for you. I thought about how lucky I was to get you for a small piece of your life and a small piece of mine.
I thought about how now you’re running free, eating cupcake after cupcake and chasing birds and sleeping on a kitchen rug just like ours. I thought about how hopefully, years and years from now, you’ll save a cupcake for me and we’ll get to do our favorite thing—just be together.
I will miss you forever, Bob. Thank you for reminding me that life isn’t about money or crazy social lives or fame. It’s about being content with what you have, about being grateful for those in your life, and for never taking for granted a simple night on a sofa with the ones who matter most.
*See this article on the Huffington Post**
I’m a cosmetic junkie, but I’m also an animal lover. When I realized a few years ago my 2 biggest passions were not supporting each other, I was devastated. I loved my makeup, but I couldn’t stand the fact that many cosmetic companies test products on animals.
Making the choice to go cruelty-free was initially hard, but I’m glad I did. In the past few years, a lot of companies have taken up the mission of offering cruelty-free products, making it easier to make the switch.
Here are 8 reasons I went cruelty-free and the benefits of my choice.
1. The Beagle Freedom Project
This organization’s video started it all for me. Seeing the look on those dogs’ faces when they touched grass for the first time after being rescued… I lost it. I made the decision to support companies who didn’t test on animals.
2. Laboratory Chimps Released to Sanctuary Video
The first video got me interested in cruelty-free. This video solidified my stance against animal testing in general. Whenever I think cruelty-free is too hard, I just think of how hard the lives of these animals were. Spending more time choosing my products is not a major hardship compared to the hardships faced because of animal testing.
3. Overall Justice For Animals
I have always been obsessed with animals. Using products that support cruel practices toward them is unethical and goes against who I am at the core.
Supporting a mission doesn’t always mean you have to devote bundles of money or time. Sometimes it’s just about being more conscientious in your day-to-day choices. Buying cruelty-free products is a small way I can help better the lives of animals.
4. Cruelty-Free Products Are Good For Your Skin
Many of the products I use now that are cruelty-free lack harsh chemicals. Many products are vegan, so sensitive skin sufferers can rejoice at the lack of harsh ingredients.I notice I suffer from less breakouts since making the switch.
5. Many Quality Brands Offer Cruelty-Free Products
The easiest way to find a cruelty-free product is to look for the leaping bunny symbol. Some companies use a different bunny symbol, but there are sometimes questions about the legitimacy of the claim.
Be sure to look for clear markings that the product is cruelty-free. Some products will spell it out for you.
Some organizations are trying to make it easier for consumers to know they are purchasing cruelty-free products. See this website for more information about the leaping bunny campaign.
Some of my favorite cruelty-free brands include: Urban Decay, It’s a 10 Hair Care, Paul Mitchell, and The Body Shop.
6. Beauty Subscription Box: Petit Vour
I love, love, love getting beauty boxes in the mail but had to stop my subscription when I realized I was getting products tested on animals. Enter Petit Vour. This beauty subscription service costs $15 a month. They send you a box with four beauty products that are cruelty-free and vegan.
7. Cruelty-free is Affordable
Initially, making the switch to cruelty-free was tough on the wallet, but many low-price products are now surfacing.
Sonia Kashuk, ELF, Pacifica, and NYX are my favorite bargain-priced product, butthis article discusses several other affordable cruelty-free products as well as items to avoid.
8. Cruelty-free Products Promote a Better Global Vision
Cruelty-free Products Promote a Better Global VisionOnce I opened my eyes to the realities of animal testing, I couldn’t put mascara on and pretend it was okay. I couldn’t keep buying brands that tortured animals while I was a self-proclaimed animal lover.
Buying cruelty-free products has helped me feel better about the way I’m living and about how I’m contributing to a better global vision. Isn’t this a big part of what the beauty industry should be about?
Making the Switch to Cruelty-Free
Making the Switch to Cruelty-Free Beauty
Going cruelty-free is a big decision, and it does mean you’ll have to leave some brands behind. It will also mean you will make mistakes. I’m not perfect in my mission to go cruelty-free. I’ve struggled with abandoning some favorite brands.
However, making a conscientious choice to support cruelty-free brands will ultimately lead to more ethical relationships between beauty products and animals, a win-win for both areas. If we beauty junkies unite with the common mission of ethical products, perhaps the industry will listen to our goals and help us achieve them.
Have you gone cruelty-free? What are your favorite products?
*As an Amazon Affiliate, I get a small fee for any books purchased through the links below.