Sue-Ellen Welfonder Guest Post and Giveaway!

I love dogs.

Readers probably know this because a dog can always be found in my books. It’s also telling that I mention my Jack Russell in my acknowledgments. For proof, you can find him in the acknowledgment for my latest Scottish medieval, A Highlander’s Temptation (GCP, Oct. 2009). I believe it’s fitting to include him. He’s also the undisputed king of my world.

Did I say I’m a dog person?

Well, I am.

I believe dogs give so much to a book. But only if they are true characters and play a strong role in the story. They should have their own personality and charm, just like the dogs in our real lives. If they don’t, they’re just ink on the page and better left out of the book.
All the dogs in my books are real … or were.

And don’t worry – dogs never die in my books.

They’re champions, every one, and they all live forever. I’m sure they thrive even after the stories. I see them running across fields, lazing before the hearth fire, eating delicious meaty bones, being petted and loved.

Many of my story dogs are modeled after my own darling Em, the above-mentioned Jack Russell who rules my world. You can see him here, during one of our daily walks.

Once in a while, the dogs in my stories are fond remembrances of dogs I’ve loved and lost. And sometimes they’re based on a friend’s dog. Or they are dogs I’ve met in Scotland and who brightened my day with a tail wag or a sloppy wet kiss, always welcome when a dog lover travels and must leave our own best friend behind.

Below is a wonderful dog who lent me his companionship on an afternoon in Scotland’s far north. He was only my friend for a few hours, but he was so special that he became Boiny in one of my favorite Scottish medievals, Wedding For A Knight, (GCP/Sept. 2004).


A Highlander’s Temptation stars two canines. This was fun because I let them enjoy a romance of their own. Arabella MacKenzie, the book’s heroine, has a tiny dog named Mina who steals the heart of Frang, the shaggy brute who belongs to Darroc MacConacher, the hero.

I’m not sure my Em would like a romance. A second dog, even if female, would mean he’d have to share the affection I lavish on him. And, if you haven’t guessed yet, the little guy is quite pampered.

He does enjoy his walks.

I do, too, of course.

And even if our jaunts take me from my deadline, my mind is never far from work. I get my best ideas walking Em. Though, in all honesty, these gems of wisdom don’t always pertain to my work-in-progress.

But they do often give insights to writing. Here are ten such pearls, in no particular order:
Do it every day. It’s really true: use it or lose it. Just like a dog should be walked every day, it’s important to get in those daily pages.

Practice makes perfect. Similar to nr. 1, making the walks a habit is a good thing. In writing, this means that the more you write, the more you’ll learn and improve.

Weather, what weather? Don’t let rain keep you inside. Your dog looks forward to his walks and needs the fresh air and exercise. Writers, too, must work through all weathers. Deadlines don’t wait.

You should still be prepared. I always take along water and small bowl for Em. If it looks like rain, I’ll carry a jacket. There’s also a little towel in the bag I wear slung over my shoulder. Whatever comes, I’m ready. Writing well also needs preparation. Don’t write in a genre you don’t know or aren’t willing to research.

Expect the unexpected. I wish I had a dollar for each time the sprinklers burst to life just as Em and I stride by. We’ve been doused. And I do mean doused. Fellow writers know what I mean: those kicks-to-the-shin blows are wicked. And they always come out of nowhere. They’re a given in this business, so learn to shake them off and keep going. (or carry a little towel like I do, see nr. 4)

Take time to smell the roses. Or whatever other interesting things you encounter along the way. If you just concentrate on your destination, you’ll miss the fun of the journey. Writing is an adventure. Don’t lose sight of the joy that started you on this path.

Accept that dogs come in all sizes. There’s no doubt in my mind that my Em is the best dog in the world. But a reality check shows that, as a Jack Russell, he’s pretty darn small. The parallel to writing is obvious. No matter how great you think you are, someone bigger is always going to come prancing along. And when they do, barking at them isn’t going to help. It’s best to just swallow it and keep going.

Roll in the grass. Em loves to do this and he does so with total abandonment. For writers, this means celebrate the good times. This is a tough business that can bruise and maim if you let it. So live it up when you triumph. You deserve the reward.

Heed those I-want-a-walk looks. Dogs don’t live forever. Oh, how I wish they did! So when your four-legged friend gives you the look (dog lovers know what I mean) get up and take him out. In writing, this is your world outside writing. Don’t forget its existence. Deadlines are holy. But so are those you love. Be there for them.

When the walk is over, it’s veg time. Em is zonked after our walks. I am drained after deadline. Be sure to give yourself time to recover and refill the creative well between books. Your muse will thank you.

**Bonus point from Em’s pov: Wag your tail. When people smile at Em or stop to tell him he’s a handsome boy (he is), he always wags his tail and looks so happy. Remember to be gracious and always thank people who help you or take time to tell you how much they love your books. It’s good to be nice.

Blog question: Do any of the above resonate with you? Or do you have a similar gem-of-wisdom to add?

Dog loving readers might find more canine treats scattered throughout my website. For non-dog lovers, there are lots of Scotland photos, Celtic lore, and – of course – book news and goodies. Visit me at

***A HUGE thank you to Sue-Ellen Welfonder for her fantastic post! I have enjoyed reading this and I am sure you do too!

Also, with a HUGE thank you to Hatchette Book Group, we are able to give away 5 copies of Highlander's Temptation! YAY!!

Here's the rules:

US & Canada only, no PO Boxes.

To enter:
Answer Sue-Ellen Welfonder's Blog question: Do any of the above resonate with you? Or do you have a similar gem-of-wisdom to add?

That's it! Very simple!

I do not require you to follow my blog, however, I will NOT contact the winner. Winner will be notified right here on my blog and it will be up to the winner to contact ME within 48 hours of my posting the winner. This contest ends on October 30th. Winner will be chosen randomly by


  1. What a great piece--she seems like a great person and I'd love to win and read her new book. I do think a lot of what she says resonates with me, especially Stop and smell the roses--we have a beagle and walks are puncutuated with many stops to sniff and look around!
    Thanks for the chance to win!

  2. Not an entry ... I've sworn off entering giveaways for a while. :-) I just wanted to say I enjoyed the post. A good story is always enhanced by a great dog character. :-)

  3. What a great post. I love all the words of wisdom, especially smell the roses, and veg time. And since I am a BIG dog lover, please enter me for the giveaway. Nothing better than a book with dogs in it!

  4. Hi Jaime,

    Thank you so much for posting this. I appreciate it. This also brings tail wags and thanks from my little guy in the photo. He likes attention.

    Good luck in the drawing to anyone who looks in!

  5. Greta post - I just had to tell you I really really like your header! Nice job! Isnt it fun to decorate? :)

  6. What a fantastic post! I absolutely enjoyed reading the whole thing! Resonate? Wow...alot did, as a matter of fact.

    First, I loved how the writing points tied into life with dogs.

    Second, Walking...I have been reminded that I should make daily walks with my 3 year old a habit. With her while all the other children are in school. This would be a fabulous habit to have.

    Third, writing daily as the practice is what helps a writer to become better. Not only is this tip/thought helpful for me ( a humble and small blog writer) it is a good reminder for me to encourage my writing girls to continue forward with their gift/passion.

    Fourth, kind...rejoice.

    Again, I loved reading this post.
    I am insipred. Thanks.

  7. I loved your post. I also love dogs (and cats). I have a puppy that I took on a complete whim. Someone showed by a picture of him when he was 6 weeks old and I just popped up with "I want him!". I've never done that before. I just had a very strong feeling. He (SkippyJon Jones-named by me granddaughter) is a part chihuahua and part something else. His body and actions remind me of a Jack Russell Terrier, but his markings look like a brown german shepard. He is supposed to be half chihuahua and half "other" terrier. He is quite a brat sometimes, but I love him alot. We almost lost him when he was 2 months old, he became very sick overnight, but he's fine now and runs circles around my older dog and my grandchildren. When I'm tired and worn out feeling, he seems to give me a little lift. I'm very glad I have him in my life.

    Thanks for the "dog" post and your book sounds very interesting. I would love to read it.

  8. Morning, Ladies!

    Jaime - Thank you again for posting this. I'm delighted to see the dog-lovers chiming in here. Likewise cat-lovers or any animal lovers. Those who care for animals are my kind of people, for sure.

    So I'm happy to see you all in here.

    HoldenJ - You started my morning just right - I love looking in here and seeing a dog photo. Best way to start the day, in my view - being greeted by a four-legger. Your beagle looks like a sweetie.

    Thank you for your kind words. I'm so glad you enjoyed my post. We certainly learn so much from our pets. Ha ha .. I'm sure your beagle does do lots of investigating on your walks. My little guy and I usually average three steps before he stops to sniff something again. He has such fun doing so. That's all that matters.

    Stephanie - Thanks so much for looking in. I'm glad you agree about dogs making excellent book characters. Long as they don't get hurt or die. That's the kiss of death in a book or film for me. Bad things happen too often in real life. I can't bear to read about or see an animal suffer. So in my books, where I hold the pen, they all live forever. And happily!

    Sheila - Woo-hoo! Another dog lover and -oooh!- another beautiful dog to greet me. What a charmer, too. I'm so glad you enjoyed my essay. It's so true about smelling the roses and veg time, isn't it? Life speeds past so quickly. It's too easy to forget what really matters. Thank goodness for pets to keep us aware of the precious moments. I'm so glad you, too, love books with dogs.

    Sheila (bookjourney) - Thanks so much for your good words. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. And I agree, Jaime's header is adorable.

    Deanna/ibeeeg - Hello! I'm so glad you, too, enjoyed this post. I'm especially pleased that the dog walking/writing points resonated with you. It's amazing what can pop into your mind when walking a dog. But they do. Each point has flashed across my mind during some excursion with my little guy. So I thought I'd put them all into this blog piece. I'm so glad it worked.

    And, yes, you certainly should walk daily with your three year old. It'd be great for you both. Good exercise, fresh air, and quality time together. Go for it!

    Writing - ha ha. That really is true: writing daily is an absolute must. Regardless of what kind of writing you do. And bloggers are incredibly well-versed, clever, and prolific writers. Nothing 'small and humble' there at all. I admire all of you. It's no easy feat to maintain an attractive blog with always-fresh material and, as well, keep up a friendly rapport with visitors. Goodness, I couldn't do it. I need all my time and energy to concentrate on writing my books. But I admire the creativity and spirit of bloggers. Oh, yes. Be proud.

    Last point, yes -- perservere and do celebrate the good things. Always.

    Thanks again for your good words.

    Mardel - Thank you, too, for your good words. I'm really so touched that each of you enjoyed this piece so much. It shows me how many people out there have hearts for animals and I just love that.

    Cats ... we had some when I was growing up and they were wonderful. I love all animals. But dogs definitely hold my heart the most. SkippyJon Jones (LOVE the name) sounds like a real little darling. I am not surprised you felt such an immediate bond with him. I believe the pets meant to be ours find us, always. Somehow, some way, they find us and we know they're meant to be our best friend. You just know. My belief, anyway.

    I'm so glad your little guy is doing well now. Thank goodness! And, yes, nothing lifts the heart more than a dog's love. They sure know when we're feeling blue and never fail to comfort us, bless them all.

    Thanks, also for the good words and I hope you'll enjoy my book and meeting Frang and Mina.

    Ladies - It's been fun! Thank you so much for looking in here and sharing. I'll check back in again later today or this evening so I don't miss anyone.

    For now...

    Go pets!

  9. Mary D
    zenrei57 (at) hotmail (dot) com

    What a super interview!! I really enjoyed it, and of course, the doggie pet thing resonates with MOI :)
    I'm an animal lover from way back and always sprinkle my own posts, writing and such with pro-animal rights suggestions.
    My most beloved pooch was a gentle, loving cocker spaniel we had the blessing to love for 17 years. I still miss my little guy.

    Right now, a spoiled and also much beloved kitty is grooming herself in the chair with me (well, SHE'S the one grooming - I probably should get up and do the same instead of sitting here in my jammies entering book giveaways lol

    Please enter me, I follow and would love to win this

  10. Morning, Ladies!

    Mary D - Thank you so much for looking in here. I enjoyed your comments so much. Good for you, getting animal rights suggestions out there. That's so important! I used to work actively with a rescue organization, befriending and rescuing strays, but deadlines now keep me pretty much desk-bound. I do what I can in other supportive ways, though.

    You were truly blessed to have your beloved dog for 17 years. That's so wonderful. My Jack Russell is now ten and I hated seeing him hit double digits. It seems so unfair that they have such short lifespans.

    I'm glad you're spoiling your cat. Wouldn't it be lovely if all pets were well-loved, spoiled, and pampered!

    Thanks again for looking in here and good luck in the drawing! I loved hearing about your pets.


Thank you so much for saying hello! I love your comments.