Designer Dogs and Such

…Or, a failed July beach landing…

Okay, I am certain there have been numerous articles written in dog-world publications about the fad of creating designer dogs for the bored rich. I finally met both at the beach in Florida last week—the bored rich couple with their boutique dog. Properly trussed in a decorative harness with leash, the mutt was tethered to their Yeti cooler, which of course was well decorated with travel decals from around the US. To say the dog looked strange would be an understatement. On occasion, I’ve watched the grandkids with their little animal puzzles assemble such things: A unicorn head with a giraffe body and such, not that the dog had either, but the breeding process must have been similar. The dog’s head resembled something like a Brittany or a Cocker Spaniel, but its body was strangely tapered to very small hips which were covered with a wiry fur resembling that of a Schnauzer.

After studying the animal for a while, I decided to ask the obvious question: Why bring a dog to bake in the July sun at the beach? Just kidding. No, I didn’t, but I did ask what kind of dog it might be. The woman quickly donned a beach wrap upon my intrusion, which was actually a favor to the eyes of nearby beach-goers—not that I am a showpiece of human manhood myself, but just sayin’. The response from the dog was considerably less frosty as she furiously wagged her stubby little tail. The man answered my question with something that sounded like he was trying to say “Cockroach Cereal” with a mouth full of marbles.

After studying the dog for a moment I proceeded to put my foot in my mouth by saying, “Oh! She’s a mix.” And I suppose I could have offended them worse by kicking sand into their wine glasses, but calling the mutt a “mix” seemed to have done the trick. The woman’s lips parted and Mister Dog Owner’s cheeks grew noticeably flushed as his voice tightened to the tone of a blender trying to grind ice. “No! She’s a very popular breed in Souyuth Jawja (I think he meant to say South Georgia)…” but whatever he was saying was lost to my ears as I realized what an inept social klutz I had become.

The thought occurred to me to make amends and regain some social equilibrium by introducing a little humor. “Oh! I see. Yes, we have quite a few dogs like that where I am from. We call them full-blooded Mississippi Mutts.” Their faces solidified into something resembling crimson granite countertops as I tumbled miserably into the abyss of the totally gooberfied nerd world. “Nothing to see here, folks–move along, now.”  I wished them a good afternoon and continued scavenging for seashells.

Update July 2019: Hopefully, in a week or so, I will be announcing the publication of the second book in the Rawlins Trilogy, Rawlins, Into Montana. Rawlins into Montana book coverIn the meantime, I have begun work on the fifth book in the Vietnam War Series, tentatively titled The Birdhouse Man. There’ll be more to come on that later in the summer. As always, I humbly beseech you to write a review on Amazon for any of my books that you have read. It doesn’t have to be War and Peace. A single line is enough as long as it describes some facet of the story you particularly enjoyed.

 

Rick DeStefanis

What’s Next?

Another Western Novel or Another Novel in The Vietnam War Series?

 

In recent weeks I’ve heard from several readers asking “What’s next?” And the questions come from both the readers of my Vietnam War Series and readers of my newest novel, Rawlins, No Longer Young. The problem is I lack the talent to write two novels simultaneously. There are most certainly (God willing) two coming, one in each of the genres, but I beg your patience.

Rawlins, No Longer Young is available in Kindle, paperback and hardcover editions.

I am currently working on the second Rawlins book, Rawlins, Into Montana. It’s now up to four chapters and Rawlins has arrived in Virginia City, Montana. There’s more I could tell you about the story, but don’t want to ruin it for you, especially if you haven’t read the first one in the series. Optimistically, it may be out by late summer, after which I will begin on Book #5 in The Vietnam War series.
The next Vietnam Series book is already working in the back of my mind and will be a tip of the hat to several readers/friends who are former military officers. That is the most I will say about it right now.
In the meantime, I continue providing logistical assistance as assistant general manager to the madam queen in the form of “honey-dos.” And in an effort to help me remain in some vague semblance of passible physical condition, she’s joined me to the local YMCA. I also continue to do my own yardwork (to help with the physical conditioning) and of course, there are fish that must be caught. After those chores are attended to, I commit a great deal of the remaining time to writing. Therefore you will hopefully understand my inability to produce a book a month like some other authors.
I will be announcing a new cover for Tallahatchie in a few days. Stay tuned.

Rawlins, No Longer Young

Rawlins No Longer Young is now available…

Yes, this historical western novel, Rawlins No Longer Young, is now available on Amazon in three formats: the Kindle edition as well as both the paperback and hardcover editions. If you happen to be a wholesaler or bookstore, the Ingram wholesale pipeline is still about seven days from being ready for orders. For those interested in author-signed hardcovers, (yes, by yours truly), contact me via the website at Rick DeStefanis – The Word Hunter.   I will be able to provide those for a short time, on a limited basis at a flat rate of $32 dollars. Just don’t expect them overnight.

Rawlins, No Longer Young is available in Kindle, paperback and hardcover editions.

Here is the story summary: Virgil Rawlins is left without family or friends as he is swept into the maelstrom that encompasses the last years of the American Civil War. Lost in a world of brutality and inhumanity, the teenaged Rawlins matures—as did many of the Wild West’s first outlaws—with revenge and hatred as his only motivations. He heads westward before the war’s end, making his way to the town of Independence and the Oregon Trail, but along the way, he meets the remarkably beautiful Sarah McCaskey and learns that the rights and wrongs in his life cannot be defined simply as blue and gray.

When Sarah tells Rawlins of her loss to Confederate guerrilla Bloody Bill Anderson, Rawlins begins to question his own assumptions. Joining a wagon train as a hunter/scout, he heads westward into the raging Indian War of 1865. Along the way, he earns a reputation as a well-respected fighter and he must finally decide what kind of man he will be—outlaw, lawman or perhaps, neither.

Yes, as with all my protagonists, Rawlins has a woman who stands behind him, beside him and sometimes in front of him. Sarah McCaskey, like Lacey Coleridge in The Gomorrah Principle and Janie Jorgensen in Valley of The Purple Hearts, is my strong female secondary protagonist. Sorry, dear readers, I am an incurable romantic and a believer in the positive influence women have had on all men in history.

I end this blog post with one respectful request: If you like Rawlins No Longer Young, please post your review of the story on Amazon and Goodreads as soon as you read it. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy review, but the more you say about the story the better. I am posting an advertisement for the book in the November issue of True West Magazine, and it will be helpful if potential new readers see your reviews.

I would also like to receive your comments directly. Send them to me.

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