I miss you
Two very different Before and Afters have happened in my life. One is very positive and the other unbearably sad. First, the good before and after. After seven months of work, I finally lost 75 pounds. I exercised and watched what I ate, but to be honest some of the weight loss was due to the stress of watching my husband of 26 years fade before my eyes. Posting about the weight loss feels a little bit bittersweet. I wanted to take steps to insure that I would be around for my kids and hopefully grandkids and to reduce my own chances of cancer after seeing what my hubby went through. Every morning I wake up and think “God I do not understand what you are doing here?” And so I share with you both the happy and the sorrowful.
Before, me just a shade under 200 lbs
after, me at 135 lbs
Honestly when the scale got over 200 lbs. I stopped paying attention to my weight. It was too depressing. So after a month of exercise and minor diet changes, I can only estimate what my weight loss is–somewhere between 10 and 13 lbs. And I reached my first goal–being able to fit into my size 18 jeans. Yeah!!! Victory!!! At my age and after 3 kids finding jeans that fit is a challenge. I wasn’t going to toss those jeans for anything.
How did all of this start. Having a hubby with stage 4 cancer isn’t easy. One day I decided to take a walk to work through some of the sorrow and anxiety I was feeling. I walked and walked and walked. I felt better when I got home. That lead to getting an I-pod. Walking was my chance to escape into the music. From there I got a gym membership and started seeing a personal trainer two days a week.
When I got a nice royalty check almost a year ago, I told my husband, I was going to spend $1000 on losing weight. He was very supportive of the idea. It took me this long to get the ball rolling.
The exercise helps with the depression and I have more energy. My mom died of cancer in her early fifties when I was in my twenties. I remember being grateful that I was in grad school at the time because college gave me something to focus on that I had control over.
I have a stronger motivation than I have ever had before. I am going to be the only parent my kids have. I want to be there to see them graduate, get married, find job have grandchildren.
I can do this.
Just found out that my November release from Love Inspired, Montana Standoff was a Romantic Times Top Pick. Yeah! This is a victory in more ways than one. I wrote that book while my husband was undergoing chemo. Part of it was written in cancer center waiting rooms. There was even one night when we had to go to the ER, not for an emergency but for a routine (if anything with cancer is routine) evening treatment. I propped my laptop up on the counter and just kept writing. With hubby not working it was important for me to make my deadlines. I couldn’t not write.
The last year was hard. The chemo almost killed my hubby and we decided to discontinue it. But Michael is still with me and the kids a year after being told the cancer had spread from his bladder to his lungs and kidney. All of that is such precious victory.
Here’s what the new book looks like–
Most Recent picture of me with Bart
Since my newest book Guard Duty is about a K-9 unit, I am feeling the freedom to share more about my own buddy Bart. Definitely not K-9 unit material (way too jumpy) but really beautiful and very loving to every member of the family. I loved writing about the special bond between dog and owner in Guard Duty. Something I totally understand.
My new book Guard Duty is part of a larger Love Inspired Suspense series called the Texas K-9 Unit. Each book features a separate police officer and their canine partner and of course has a romance element to it. My book had the only female officer in the series. Valerie’s K-9 partner is a Rottweiler named Lexi.
Though you can read any book separately and get a complete suspense and romance story, all the books are linked together by a big storyline which concerns a missing police dog and a crime syndicate that has taken over Sagebrush, Texas, the fictional town where the books take place.
This was my first time working on a series like this with five other authors. I had a ton of fun. Writing is by its nature a solitary activity so it was a nice change to be a part of a team.
Here are the books in the order of their release (one each month) starting in January 2013
#1, TRACKING JUSTICE by Shirlee McCoy
#2, DETECTION MISSION, by Margaret Daley
#3, GUARD DUTY by Sharon Dunn (that’s me)
#4, EXPLOSIVE SECRETS, by Valerie Hansen
#5, SCENT OF DANGER, by Terri Reed
#6, LONE STAR PROTECTOR, by Lenora Worth
His name is Bart and he is crazy…or maybe he just has lots of energy. When we got Bart at the shelter as a eight week old puppy, the man handling the adoption explained that border collies not only have lots of physical energy but they have to use their mental energy. Bart likes to run patrol around his sheep pen (aka our house) and keep track of his sheep, which is no easy task since his sheep keep leaving the house. He’s comes close to speaking English and knows lots of words and phrases like “Get in the house” and “Cheese”. He’s got the puppy dog eyes look down pat and knows that placing his chin on my leg and looking up at me is guarenteed to get my attention. We don’t know much about Bart. His mom and him were found abandoned in a house when he was a puppy. We don’t know if he had other brothers and sisters. Don’t know if he is purebred border collie though he certainly looks like it and acts like it. I did manage to teach him to stop nipping at my heels when I walked. Perhaps my favorite thing about him is how he seems to be tuned into the moods and emotions of everyone in the family. He knows when someone is sad or upset and he has lots of love to give and kisses to make us feel better. yes, it does take a lot of energy to keep up with him, but I can’t imagine my life without him.
Bart as a puppy with my son
My new book Broken Trust comes out on March 6, 2012. It takes place in one of the most interesting parts of the world, Eastern Montana. My husband is from Eastern Montana and I have always wanted to set book in this area. This part of the state is ideal for a suspense setting becasue of the remoteness ( a thousand places for a fugitive to hide) and there is this interesting blend of good down to earth people and people who live outside the law.
I used to be one sharp witted cookie. Honestly, I could keep the kids’ schedules and what I needed to get at the grocery store for a week’s worth of eating in my head. Didn’t need to write anything down, didn’t need to make lists.
Menopause hit and I became a space cadet. Can’t remember anything. I forget people’s names. Forget what word I’m going to say in the middle of a sentence.
Now when I go to the grocery store, I can’t remember what I have in spice cupboard. I become convinced that I am out of Thyme, so I buy some. The other day I was looking through my spices. I have like three dry mustards and three chili powders all purchased in the last six months. Nobody needs that much dry mustard. There is just not that many recipes in the world that require dry mustard.
Getting older is so much fun. Maybe it should be called Mental Pause instead of Menopause.
I’ve had my Kindle since before Christmas. I’m not a technophobe. At the same time, I’m not the person who stands in a long line to get the next generation of whatever.
Given that, here is what I love/ don’t love about my Kindle.
Love. That it is take care of some of the issue of shelf space for books in our house. We are a family of readers who have a hard time parting with books. We simply cannot buy another bookcase.
Love. All the cheap and free books I have downloaded. As if my second mystery series (Bargain Hunters mysteries) didn’t reveal it, I’m a coupon clipper and deal seeker to the core. Books at bargain prices makes my heart go pitter patter.
Love. As a writer I love that e-books are giving good writers the opportunity to bypass the gatekeeper publishers and get their books directly to the reader
Not love. Although I have downloaded fiction and non-fiction, I think for me the Kindle works best for fiction, something you read all the way through. Perhaps it is just my study style, but if I read a non-fiction book for the purpose of taking notes and tearing the book apart, it seems to work best if the whole book is visually in front of me and I can flip back and forth. The Kindle has a feature for highlighting and taking notes, but that doesn’t seem to help me digest the info in a non-fiction book.
not love. The explosion of e-books is a double edged sword. Yes, some good writers can reach the readers directly, but it also means there is that much more junk out there for readers to sort through
Would I recommend the Kindle to another reader. You betcha
Despite my best efforts, I have never been an organized person, not in my home not with my writing. To me, if I can’t see it in front of me, it doesn’t exist anymore. While I have friends who build whole notebooks or computer files filled with details about their story and characters, I can’t work that way. The information either has to be in front of me or in my head. The thing that has worked the best for me to keep the details of the story organized is Post It notes plastered all over my desk. As I write rough draft, I put up Post It notes about things that I know I have to go back and change. On the next draft I take down the Post It as I make the changes. When the Post Its are all gone, I have dealt with the things I knew would be a problem. I also put up notes about character descriptions that I need to remember both physical description and biographical details. The final thing I use the notes for is words that keep coming up in the novel that I seem to spell wrong over and over. For some reason, compound words mess me up. Also, made up place names need to be recorded or I will spell them different every time.
Don’t feel bad if you haven’t managed to build a whole notebook filled with story details. I have never done it that way. To me spending time cutting out pictures of my characters feels like a time waster. I know other writers thrive on that kind of prewriting exercise, so it’s all just about finding what works best for you and not feeling pressure to do things a certain way because another writer does.
Me at my "messy" desk, notice fav writing tool in background