Call ASAP. Bad news about Bruiser.
We’d caught WiFi during an excursion into a Spanish medieval city, the third day into our cruise. Just a snatch. Long enough to read our son’s frantic message.
Bruiser, our almost thirteen-year-old golden retriever, was staying at “the resort.” Twelve duplex cabins, sporting indoor sleeping quarters and a private outdoor patio for each of the twenty-four camper dogs, surrounded a lake blanketing acres of land. Fresh air and plenty of space for the dogs to move, drastically different from the typical cramped indoor kennels where Bruiser once chewed all the fur from his tail. The kennel workers adored him and he loved visiting, never came home with a naked tail, so we drove the four hour round trip for years without complaint.
On a sunny afternoon while napping on his outdoor patio, our beloved pet slipped into eternity. No warning signs. He still took mile-long walks. Still scarfed down his food as if he wouldn’t get another meal. Still trudged up the stairs every night for bed. Just a few months ago, the vet pronounced him in great health for his age.
He died in his happy place. But I wasn’t ready.
I expected to be there for him. To give him a hug and tell him what a good boy he was. To scratch his ears and rub his smooth belly, to tell him how much we loved him and how much joy and laughter he brought into our lives.
No more stink eye when his food dish wasn't filled on time. No more warning dinner guests not to leave their napkin on their lap because the sneak would circle the table in stealth mode, then swipe a napkin or snag food from a hand, lightning-quick. No more huffs of frustration when we told him to go back to sleep, that it wasn't time to wake up yet.
Bruiser grew up as a playmate to our two sons, then considered himself an only child when they moved on. He was my fierce protector, yet the big lug cowered in our walk-in shower during thunderstorms and fireworks. Wherever we went, he wanted to go too, and two-thirds of the back seat belonged to him, didn’t matter if someone was already sitting in that spot. And elevators? Forget it! The first time he rode in one, he landed, belly on the floor, all four legs stretched out, and we never enticed him into another one. Bruiser was full of personality.
One day I will be able to think about Bruiser with a smile. But not now. Not when I miss him so much and the pain from the loss still aches. When I dropped him off at the resort and called his name, he galloped back for another hug. If I’d have known that would be our last, I’d have held on tight, not let go. I’ll always remember and cherish that sweet, joyful doggie face.
Something, as writers, we’d like readers to do, right? To cherish our characters. To remember our stories long after they turn the last page. So how do we accomplish that?
Craft our characters with loads of personality. Just like our beloved Bruiser, our characters need traits that readers identify with, predicaments that they relate to, and a journey that they won’t be ready or willing to leave.
Make our characters laugh and cry and feel like real people, and those ornery characters who wrangled us away from the path we intended for them will tug ambivalent readers right into the pages of your book.
Hug your reader and don’t let go. You don’t know how long they’ll be with you, so give readers plenty of “aww” moments, scenes that’ll grip them and make them hang on tight for the entire ride. When the journey’s over, hopefully those characters you spent hours crafting, those stories you poured your whole heart into, that message you prayed over, will connect with a reader and remain with them long after the last page.
“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you.
Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.” Matthew 5:4 (The Message)
I’d love to know the last book that stayed with you and why?
Blurb for Christmas on Mistletoe Mountain:
A snow storm. A warm cozy fire. Two hearts that desperately need grace and healing and a Christmas miracle.
After college, Kane Kirkland returned home to Mistletoe Mountain a changed man, fifty pounds lighter and a new Christian. Six years later, with a successful real estate career and a fresh boost of confidence, all he wants for Christmas is a chance at love with longtime crush Sydney. Something happened to his friend while he was away. Something dark and life-altering ripped the joy from her spirit. And he intends to find out what…
After a disastrous relationship unraveled Sydney Camden’s life, broken and devastated, she gave up all hope for her happily-ever-after. Those silly fantasies belonged only in romance novels, not in real life. Besides, who has time for love? Her life is crazy busy caring for a disabled father and volunteering at Grace Nest, a home for pregnant teens. But then Kane turns up the heat. The gentle giant has always attracted her, but the idea of loving and losing her friend terrifies her. Because when he learns about her hidden sin, surely he’ll vanish from her life forever.
A snowstorm forces them together and unleashes their fears. Kane worries if Syd still sees him as the overweight kid from their past and questions whether a future together is God’s will or his most treasured dream. Syd wrestles the demon of lies as she relives horrendous memories.
Grace Nest…where broken hearts heal, chains are loosened, and hope is restored. Where love finds its way home during Christmas.
Purchase Link: http://amzn.to/2f01m9p
<<<>>>Bio: Dora believes that a person should love what they do or choose to do something else. She’s doing exactly what makes her heart sing, and considers every day a gift. When she takes a break from cranking out heart racing, God-gracing romances, Dora adores reading, chowing down on her hubby’s lip-smacking home-smoked ribs, and sipping coffee on a mountain cabin deck. Life’s too short to be stuck in traffic, to drink bad coffee, or to read books with a sad ending. Dora and her real life hero make their home in North Carolina, but with a world full of amazing places to explore, that’s only a landing point.