25 November 2020
18 November 2020
As most of my readers know by now, I've been diligently working on my next historical fiction piece, AT THE CASTLE OF DREAMS for some time, and the fifth book of The Country Girl Empress series is nearly ready to hit a bookshelf near you. I can also well imagine that many of you wouldn't mind a sneak peek. Well, you won't have to wait any longer. Here it is....Enjoy!
The Secret of Mayerling
The city of Vienna was filled with rumors and speculations. The newspapers published special editions, bordered with a black edge. Foreign papers were being confiscated left and right. But a few hundred issues almost always escaped the police’s grip. They were passed on in secret. The articles were read over and over, and their contents spread like wildfire.
In public houses, cafes, and plenty of cabs, such papers could be “rented” in exchange for a pretty penny. They were brought out from their secret hiding places and read in the backroom of public houses or in a closed carriage with the curtains half-way drawn, and then returned to their respective owners. Their contents were not necessarily the truth, but the stories were definitely sensational.
The mysterious and sudden death of Crown Prince Rudolph naturally heated the people’s temperaments. Had he become the victim of a hunting accident, or did he indeed have a heart attack? At least that’s what the newspapers had reported shortly after the Crown Prince’s death. However, those special editions received their information from the K. and K. Court Press Bureau. But the question staring in everyone’s face was this: Could the source be trusted?
Soon enough, people heard and read many different versions. Was the Crown Prince poisoned? Mr. Loschek, Rudolph’s valet, who had been one of the first people to discover the bodies, testified that there was more than likely cyanide in the water on the bedside table. So, what really happened at Mayerling? Did the Crown Prince shoot himself, or had he been knocked over the head with a champagne bottle? Those and similar theories were voiced by the people who had seen Rudi’s dead body with his head wrapped in gauze. Was it a love story gone horribly wrong, or did a killer commando of a foreign power assassinate the Crown Prince of the most powerful Empire in the world? What did the imperial court know, and what were they hiding?
Slowly but surely, the news leaked that a second body had been discovered at Mayerling, and rumor had it that it was the corpse of young Freiin Mary Vetsera. She was barely 17 years old and lived in the third Viennese city district. During the night, the poor girl’s body had been secretly removed and expediently buried at the cemetery of Heiligenkreuz. Her mother had gone half-mad over the loss, had been issued an imperial gag order and forced to leave the country.
What was so mysterious about those two dead bodies? How did the young woman get to Mayerling, and how did Mary Vetsera die? Had she become an unwilling witness to Rudi’s murder, and that’s why she had to perish as well? The conundrum weighed heavily on the grieving Empire during one unusually cold February day. Black flags of mourning were on display all throughout Vienna.
11 November 2020
I'd like to take this opportunity to share a little insight into living with canine epilepsy - a subject matter near and dear to my heart. As many of you probably know, the two dogs pictured above were my Epi-warriors, Lana and Darren. They both developed Idiopathic Epilepsy (Epilepsy with unknown cause) within two days of each other when Darren was two and Lana was four years of age. I did my best to provide them with everything they needed and the quality of life they deserved. But, in the end, Darren suffered a massive stroke, and Lana lost her battle with bladder cancer; they passed away within four days of each other. At which point, I decided to write a book about their journey called LIVING WITH CANINE EPILEPSY, to let everyone know that dogs with canine epilepsy can lead a happy and meaningful life. Prayers for all the Epi-Warriors out there...may they stay seizure free for a long time!
What is Canine Epilepsy?
Epilepsy manifests in terrifying ways, causing a dog to experience sudden, uncontrolled convulsions. First recognized in ancient times, Hippocrates referred to epilepsy as the “sacred” disease. However, nothing about it seems sacred! Watching a beloved companion suffer a seizure can be an extremely traumatic event. Learning to live with an animal with complex health issues is never easy. In general, we distinguish between two types of epilepsy - genetic and idiopathic.
Genetic epilepsy is passed down from one generation to the next, and certain dog breeds are more prone to this form of epilepsy than others.
Idiopathic Epilepsy is caused by unknown factors, and it is often difficult to predict what will trigger the next seizure or when.
Living with a dog that has epilepsy can be a daunting prospect, but with some help from a veterinarian and much planning, epileptic dogs can live a relatively normal, happy and meaningful life.
Whether your canine companion has been diagnosed with a seizure disorder or just experienced his/her first epileptic episode, it can be challenging to keep your wits about you during such a heartbreaking event.
I took care of my two epi-warriors, Lana and Darren, for over four years, and today I'd like to share my basic practices for protecting your furry friend from coming to harm and minimizing the effects of a seizure with you.
- Removing other pets and people
- Turning down/off the TV or radio
- Dimming the lights/closing the curtains
- Not touching the dog
- Remain calm
04 November 2020
Wow, it's already November, and we are, slowly but surely planning our family Thanksgiving. Amazing how quickly yet another month has passed, and it's now time to recap. So now, without further ado, here's the list of the most popular blog posts for October 2020, chosen by you, the readers:
You're a writer, and without a doubt, you keep a copy of every story you've written. I'm sure you have plenty of files filled with fantastic story ideas, outlines, and descriptions. More than likely you also maintain a collection of great punch lines and unique character names scribbled on sticky notes, along with folders overflowing with printed versions of stories in numerous stages of editing...
28 October 2020
...but it is not made for pets! All forms of chocolate, but especially dark chocolate, can be dangerous, and even lethal, for dogs and cats. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and seizures. Foods that contain the artificial sweetener Xylitol can also be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of this substance can lead to a sudden drop in blood sugar and subsequent loss of coordination and seizures.
You should also keep Halloween decorations such as pumpkins and corn stalks out of their reach. Although they are considered nontoxic, such plants can induce quite the gastrointestinal upset, should they be ingested in large quantities. An intestinal blockage is no laughing matter! Speaking of pumpkins…you really shouldn’t keep lit pumpkins around pets! If they get too close to an open flame, they may run the risk of burning themselves or knocking it over, causing a house fire. If you must have some sort of flickering light, consider a flameless candle or miniature flashlights.
If your furry children are not perfectly reliable, you should probably keep them away from the door. Not only will your door be continually opened, closed and opened again, but strangers will be dressed in bizarre costumes, yelling loudly for their sweets. This can be a very scary situation for some of our furry friends. If you feel that your pet may be a bit on the nervous side, it might be a good idea to put your dog or cat in a room away from the front door. This will also prevent them from darting out the door as soon as it opens.
If your dog or cat should escape despite your best efforts, proper identification will increase their chances of returning home safely. Up-to-date information is essential, even if your pet has not been micro-chipped.
...unless you know for a fact that your dog or cat is comfortable getting dressed up. If you do decide that your furry child needs a costume, please ensure it is not a nuisance or unsafe, and that it does not constrict movement, hearing, or the ability to breathe. It is also a good idea to try on the costumes before the big night. If your furry friend seems distressed, allergic, or behaves in an out-of-character manner, perhaps you should consider a festive bandana instead.