10 Life Lessons My Puppy Taught Me

I’m happy to welcome Soul Mate author Michelle Jean Marie to the Power of 10 series. Today, Michelle shares the the invaluable life lessons she learned from Juno, a purebred Akita.

Here’s Michelle!

We’ve all had people in our lives who inspire us. It might have been a teacher in grade school, a supervisor at work, or a wise grandparent. We take the lessons they taught us and apply them to our behavior going forward.

As a writer, I’ve had many mentors. They’ve helped me in my craft, my relationships and my work. The names are too numerous to list here. However, I would like to acknowledge one family member in particular. Her name is Juno. She is a purebred Akita. We took her in on July 23, 2017 at 3 1/2 months of age. She is a rescue from The Midwest Akita Rescue Society. She’s only been with us a short while, but the lessons she’s taught me have been invaluable.

1. Enjoy the simple things – As advertisers invade our world, we begin to believe that in order to be happy, we have to buy whatever they are selling. So that’s what consumers do – go out and buy the biggest of the big of the next best thing. It comes home to use for a few months until the next best thing comes out. Then it gets put to the side with all those other outdated gadgets. Watching Juno, I see the utter joy she has in playing with her toys. Some we bought. But others, like an empty plastic bottle, bring GREAT joy as she bats it around the room. The more noise it makes skidding across the floor, the better! Something so simple…

2. Having fun doesn’t have to be costly – Another brainwash we’ve heard from advertising is that we can’t have fun unless we spend money at their theme park or on their luxurious cruise ship. Who says we can’t have fun right in our own back yards? Have you ever played fetch with a puppy? Have you ever had a puppy run helter-skelter toward you in the yard, only to veer away at the last minute? The bigger they get, the harder they run. Tell me the joy on their face isn’t more valuable than riding the fake waves on a cruise ship.

3. Don’t let intimidation/fear rule you – Many of Juno’s experiences are new to her. As a puppy, she’d never seen a leaf blower or a senior citizen with a walker or a child on a skateboard. Whenever she sees something different and new, she stops dead in her tracks. She doesn’t run away. She stands and faces the new experience, walks slowly toward it and inspects it closely. Once she realizes it isn’t something that will hurt her, she either walks away content, or begins to play. How wonderful would our lives be if we didn’t run from anything unfamiliar? If we faced the unknown with courage, then embraced it?

4. Kindness goes farther than correction – When training a puppy, frustration sometimes overrides common sense. But the best trainers will tell you that puppies learn best with positive reinforcement. Treats and hugs go much further than yelling. Removing them from a situation, or better yet, preventing their access to a situation, is more effective than trying to correct them every time they do something wrong. Think about this the next time you are in your workplace and a co-worker or employee makes a mistake.

5. Sleep is overrated – Who needs eight hours of sleep a night when you can be up at 6am to start playing? And after napping all day, why not stay up until midnight, full of energy and ready to take on the world? Sure, we can’t nap all day like our dogs do, but if you had to lose 30 minutes of sleep to spend time playing with your kids or dogs, isn’t it worth losing that sleep?

6. Time is irrelevant – Dogs have no sense of time. You can be gone five minutes or five hours and they don’t know the difference. They are just as happy to see you when you come home from an 8-hour work day, as they are when you come back inside from picking up the mail at the end of the driveway. Think how happy your family would be if you greeted them with the same enthusiasm every time they came home.

7. It’s all in the journey – Have you ever been driving alongside a car where a dog has his head sticking out the window? They don’t care where they’re going. They’re living in the moment, enjoying the wind in their face, the sun in the sky and the wonderful smells of the world outside their home. When was the last time you took in the scenery as you drove, rather than getting annoyed at the way others drive? When have you noticed the fog hugging low to the ground? The sun rising pink on the horizon? The snow-covered earth turning the world white and silent?

8. Be loyal and dependable – Dogs trust us to take care of them. In return, they protect us, provide comfort and watch out for our safety. They alert us to intruders, stay by our side when strangers approach the door, and bark insistently when the doorbell rings. They will defend us against other humans and dogs. And they will stay close when we’re feeling blue. That’s exactly how they want to be treated, too. How do you treat the humans in your life?

9. Be Yourself – Dogs love just being themselves. They know what toys make them happy, when it’s time for a good scratch, and which animals need to be chased out of the yard. They don’t care what others think. They just go ahead and DO, even if it gets them into trouble because it’s so much fun! Pretending to be something you’re not will never make you happy. Be true to yourself and be who you are.

10. Love is unconditional – We’ve all been hurt in relationships at some point in our lives. It may have been in grade school – that first crush! It may have been a failed marriage. But relationships you’ll never be let down on, are those with your dogs. You can work all day, correct their bad manners, and board them when you go on vacation. And yet, they still love you. Nothing you do will make them stop loving you. How wonderful to know that there is someone who will love you, no matter what.

Unconditional love is the basis for my upcoming release, TEMPTING PASSION. Having been hurt in the past, Marcus Clayton, Earl of Norbourne, is reluctant to allow passion into his life again. It will take a special woman to love him unconditionally. That woman is Miss Christel Fitzwilliam. But in loving him, will she sacrifice her heart? Meet Marcus, Christel, and special guest Zeno, an English springer spaniel who teaches them about true love. TEMPTING PASSION will be released in 2018. Meanwhile, meet Marcus in TEMPTING FATE.

Blurb

A Woman Ruined
Scorned by society for past indiscretions, Lady Alanna Clayton instead dedicates her time to improving the lives of orphans at the workhouse. When Alanna realizes their futures are in danger, she vows to protect them, no matter the means.

A Man Wounded
Lieutenant-Colonel Kellen Harrington, Marquess of Aldwich and future Duke of Wilkesbury, abandoned his responsibility for a career in the cavalry. He fled a life of abuse for a life of war. A dire summons brings him back to London and the estate he swore to never set foot on again.

A Secret Shared
Childhood friends, Alanna and Kellen are bonded by an old secret and fate reunites them to keep another. But in trying to save others’ lives, have they put their own in danger? Deceit, blackmail, and revenge challenge their every step as they navigate the dark alleys of London. And traverse the corners of their hearts.

Can Alanna tempt fate and save Kellen from his biggest danger – himself?

buynow

Bio

After years of working in the Health Information Management field, Michelle became a stay-at-home mom to raise two adorable daughters and took advantage of her time at home to pursue a life-long passion—writing.

While attending a romance writing workshop at a local library, Michelle was hooked. She cracked open the research books, turned on the computer, and started cranking out historical romances. In her early efforts, she was an RWA Golden Heart finalist and winner/finalist in many RWA sponsored contests.

After ending one marriage, seeing her daughters through college, opening her own business, and finally happily marrying her soul mate, she opened those old computer files and did some serious editing. She signed her first publishing contract with Soul Mate Publishing more than twenty years after writing it. Perseverance does pay off!

Michelle lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, Steve, and their three insane pups. Their two-legged children have all moved on to their own homes and careers. By day, she runs a professional organizing business, a virtual assistant business, and a research web site. Her favorite clients are authors!

By night, she writes. She self-published Researching the British Historical: The Victorian Era, 101 Organizing Tips for Writers, I’m Moving!! Now What? and Nine Journeys: Stories of Women Who Found Their Own Paths to Success.

Where to find Michelle Jean Marie…

Website | Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | BookBub


A Writer’s Fate

I’m happy to welcome Soul Mate author Michelle Jean Marie. Today, Michelle shares her inspiring 20-year journey and new release, Tempting Fate.

Here’s Michelle!

I’ve never had trouble writing. Even in grammar school, my papers and stories were always longer than the teacher assigned. Perhaps I can attribute that to my dad, who used to read to me and my siblings at bedtime. Listening to Arabian Nights and Little Women, I lived in those stories and never wanted them to end. So I began to write my own.

In high school, my friends and I started writing fan fiction before there was such a thing. Does that date me? We had our favorite television shows, and would write our own episodes – usually with ourselves as the beautiful heroine or woman in peril. Then I picked up The Flame and the Flower and my life was never the same. I became hooked on romances – historical romances. It’s a good thing Barbara Cartland was such a prolific writer. I could finish one of her books in a day. And although her books were nothing like Kathleen Woodiwiss’s, they took me to places unknown and taught me history at the same time.

I was a columnist for my high school paper during this time and won awards for my writing. In senior year, I took a creative writing class, much to my mother’s chagrin. After all, that meant I couldn’t take Spanish III Honors. I knew my priorities as a teenager, didn’t I? But I was writing! That was much more fun than studying Spanish.

Unfortunately, creative writing fell by the wayside through college and the early years of my marriage. Again, those priorities! Then when my daughters were young, I attended a romance writer’s workshop at our local library. From there, I learned about Romance Writers of America. I joined the Chicago-North chapter and never looked back. I learned what serious romance writing was – not just silly fan fiction. Who knew I shouldn’t head hop? Or that every chapter ends with a hook? Or that the first few sentences would determine whether or not finicky readers kept reading to the end? I was reading it, but I never knew the craft.

My first completed novel was Destiny Defied, which after many critiques and rewrites, became Tempting Fate. I was thrilled when Tempting Fate finaled in the Golden Heart Contest of RWA in 1997. We made the family trip to Orlando and had a blast.

Although the book made the rounds in the publishing world, it wasn’t until 20 years, several more manuscripts and a writing hiatus later that Tempting Fate found a home at Soul Mate Publishing. To complete the circle, the RWA conference is in Orlando again this year. I won’t be attending with family in tow this time, but the timing must be FATE.

Blurb

A Woman Ruined
Scorned by society for past indiscretions, Lady Alanna Clayton instead dedicates her time to improving the lives of orphans at the workhouse. When Alanna realizes their futures are in danger, she vows to protect them, no matter the means.

A Man Wounded
Lieutenant-Colonel Kellen Harrington, Marquess of Aldwich and future Duke of Wilkesbury, abandoned his responsibility for a career in the cavalry. He fled a life of abuse for a life of war. A dire summons brings him back to London and the estate he swore to never set foot on again.

A Secret Shared
Childhood friends, Alanna and Kellen are bonded by an old secret and fate reunites them to keep another. But in trying to save others’ lives, have they put their own in danger? Deceit, blackmail, and revenge challenge their every step as they navigate the dark alleys of London. And traverse the corners of their hearts.

Can Alanna tempt fate and save Kellen from his biggest danger – himself?

Excerpt

“What in hell?” Lieutenant-Colonel Lord Aldwich mumbled as his body slammed against the tufted leather of the carriage. Pain fired up his leg and through his lower back. He gripped his left thigh, breathing deeply to relieve the pain. “Dash this London traffic!”

He had not missed the insanity these past ten and one half years. Regaining his posture, he snapped the window down. He leaned out, hearing his coachman shouting at the apparent cause of the disruption. It wasn’t traffic.

He peered into the haze, watching two slight figures rise unsteadily. A young woman stood first, answering the coachman’s admonition with a frigid stare. She seemed to be nineteen or twenty, and better outfitted than the scruffy lad with her. Bonnet askew, she quickly put it aright.

When his coachman ceased his tirade, she launched one of her own. “Are ya daft? Could ya no’ see us?” She switched her attention to the boy, brushing tears off his face with the corner of her cape. “Wha’ are ya doin’ goin’ so fast on a night like this ‘un?”

Aldwich winced at her dreadful cockney accent, an apparent, but poor, attempt to hide her upbringing. He squinted, trying to see her better. Not that he would recognize anyone after all these years.

He studied the young woman and her small companion. A more ill-matched pair, he’d rarely seen. Her wool cloak and velvet bonnet bespoke quality, yet the ragamuffin didn’t seem old or refined enough to act as her escort.

“Are you hurt?” Aldwich asked.

The girl’s head spun toward him. She shoved the boy behind her and inched backward. “No, guv’nor.”

Yet even as she said that, the lad cried out. “You’re bleeding!”

The colonel barely heard the words as the brougham pulled abreast of the near-victims. The vision in the street had engrossed him. A pair of clear blue eyes, framed in a heart-shaped face, stared back at him from the gloom. A flicker of a distant memory passed across his mind, and with it, the pain of the past. He forced the recollection down. “You might take more care in crossing the street next time,” he said as he handed her his handkerchief.

“As yah mi’ take care ta slow down,” she retorted as she touched the kerchief to her cheek. Then turning, she hastened her retreat.

The colonel bristled and sat back. The impudent chit disappeared into the shadows of the alley. As she vanished, a lock of silvery-blonde hair escaped her bonnet. Inhaling sharply, he connected that unmistakable hair with two cerulean eyes. And a lifetime ago. Starting, he signaled for the coachman to proceed. “Your imagination is running away with you, Aldwich,” he muttered to himself.

buynow

Bio

After years of working in the Health Information Management field, Michelle became a stay-at-home mom to raise two adorable daughters and took advantage of her time at home to pursue a life-long passion—writing.

While attending a romance writing workshop at a local library, Michelle was hooked. She cracked open the research books, turned on the computer, and started cranking out historical romances. In her early efforts, she was an RWA Golden Heart finalist and winner/finalist in many RWA sponsored contests.

After ending one marriage, seeing her daughters through college, opening her own business, and finally happily marrying her soul mate, she opened those old computer files and did some serious editing. She signed her first publishing contract with Soul Mate Publishing more than twenty years after writing it. Perseverance does pay off!

Michelle lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, Steve, and their three insane pups. Their two-legged children have all moved on to their own homes and careers. By day, she runs a professional organizing business, a virtual assistant business, and a research web site. Her favorite clients are authors!

By night, she writes. She self-published Researching the British Historical: The Victorian Era, 101 Organizing Tips for Writers, I’m Moving!! Now What? and Nine Journeys: Stories of Women Who Found Their Own Paths to Success.

For more information about Michelle and her endeavors, find her at:

Web Site | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads