Loree Lough

At last count, best-selling author Loree Lough had 74 books, 63 short stories, and over 2,500 articles in print. Dubbed “the writer whose stories touch hearts and change lives”, she has earned dozens of “Readers’ Choice” and industry awards. Her most recent release, Be Still…and Let Your Nail Polish Dry! will soon be joined by Prevailing Love, Tales of the Heart, and Beautiful Bandit (#1 in her “Lone Star Legends” series from Whitaker), and One Forsaken Man (#1 in her “First Responders” series from Abingdon). Loree and her husband split their time between a little house in the Baltimore suburbs and a really little cabin in the Allegheny Mountains, where they cater to a formerly-abused Pointer whose numerous vet visits inspired the nickname ‘Cash’. She loves to hear from her readers, so feel free to write her at loree [at] loreelough [dot]com. Visit her blog (www.theloughdown.blogspot.com) and web site (http://www.loreelough.com).

A Dog’s Life

(or Life with a Crazy Author)
by Cash Lough

This New Year’s Eve marks my tenth anniversary of living with Loree Lough.

I was nearly three when she and her husband adopted me from a German shorthaired pointer rescue agency. In addition to overall neglect that led to Lyme disease, a chronic ear infection, and heartworm, my former owner was an abusive beast who broke most of my toes, a couple ribs, a leg bone or three, and my jaw . . . and let the injuries heal on their own.

Aw, now, don’t feel too sorry for me; my sad past buys me lots of leeway around here. I’ve grown fat and lazy eating the best kibble money can buy and slumbering on big puffy dog beds (there’s one in every room, I’ll have you know). Oh, I inspire my share of grins and giggles, tossing the toys that fill a gigantic dual-handled Longaberger basket in the foyer, but (thankfully!) I’m not expected to perform tricks or wear silly hats or “speak” . . . unless I have something to say.

Now, lest you get the idea that my life is 100 percent hunky-dory, let me set you straight, toot-sweet: Loree writes for a living. All day, every day. Trust me when I say that alone inspires at least one negative item to balance every positive listed above.

Take for example the peculiar hours this crazy broad keeps. I mean really. Does she think she’s fooling anybody, tip-toeing through the dark on thick-soled socks? I’m a dog, for the luvva Pete, and my hearing is far more sensitive than hers. Besides, I’m as nosy as your old-maid Aunt Olive. Can’t take the chance she might be headed to the fridge for cheese and crackers or a slice of cold pizza! (Just between you and me? I have no idea how she survives on three-to-four hours of sleep at night. That ain’t nearly enough for a thirteen-year-old canine.)

And then there’s the confounded electric heater she keeps under her desk. It’s not bad enough the thing ratchets the temperature up to 75 degrees. It whirrs and clicks and pops, waking me from dreams of chasing rabbits and squirrels. When you’re my age, “the catch” only happens when you’re asleep, so you understand my frustration . . .

The constant clickity-clack of her computer keyboard drives me nuts, I tell you. And so does the rustle of quickly-turning dictionary and thesaurus pages. And that awful rasping her forefinger makes, sliding down the pages to find the “write” word for her work in progress? Like fingernails on a chalkboard!

She has no idea how embarrassing it is to watch her “act out” the scenes she’s trying to describe for her readers. All I can say is, thank GOD Maggie Beagle and Dino Blacklab can’t see her leap into the air a dozen times a day, because I’d be the laughingstock of the neighborhood.

If you tell her I shared this tidbit, I’ll deny it: She doesn’t sit on a desk chair like other writers. No-o-o . . . not my Loree! She balances on an exercise ball. An iridescent purple exercise ball, no less. It’s enough to make a grown dog blush, I tell you!

The woman is a neat freak, capital N, capital F. While puzzling out a plot point, she’ll alphabetize the spice rack and the pantry. Rearrange furniture. Change out all the closets so that everything hangs in order of length. And then she color codes it, chattering like a magpie the entire time. Do you think she’ll drop a cookie crumb or a corn flake while she’s snacking? Nope. Nosiree. Ain’t happenin’ under Mrs. Clean’s desk.

Once a week or so, she’ll get a phone call from a writer pal, and spend an hour doing something she calls “brainstorming.” She’ll pace back and forth like a caged circus tiger, saying things like “That’s brilliant!” or “I love it!” And she wonders why I moan and exhale long, frustrated sighs . . .

Ten years, people, ten years, and I haven’t been able to get it through her plot-riddled head that I have a terrible case of TB (tiny bladder). Does she think I like interrupting her keyboard pecking with a nose to the elbow every hour on the hour?

Oh, and get this . . . she can talk magazine and newspaper editors into “upping” their price-per-column-inch by promising to connect them with more writers who’ll meet every deadline, but she can’t convince the county to get rid of these dad-blasted coyotes that prowl around in my backyard. What’s up with that?

Some days, I’d trade my favorite squeaky bone to be able to speak People for just five minutes. You know what I’d tell her? “No matter how tightly you narrow your eyes and lower your voice, you do not sound like a cowboy!”

While we’re on the subject of “talking,” lemme tell you about the time I brought her a bird. I swear, I didn’t mean to break its neck, but, well, I’m a bird dog, y’know? And what did Loree say? The woman who makes her living with words? Who has a dictionary that’s six inches thick? “Ick.” Yep. Ick! Sheesh.

And you know how at parties there’s always that guy who laughs at his own jokes? You guessed it . . . when Loree types something she thinks is funny, she snickers like an ancient asthmatic. As if that’s not bad enough, she cries when she writes sad scenes, too. I’d trade my next five dog biscuits if I could holler, “It’s fiction, girl . . . fiction!

Oh great. Perfect. Just what I need after finally getting all that off my chest . . . a guilty conscience: She sneaked me the crust from her bologna sandwich. (Dad hates it when she does that.)

I know, I know . . . I shouldn’t complain. The vet predicted I’d be dead by now because of the injuries inflicted by my former owner. Yet except for a few creaking joints, I’m healthy as the proverbial horse because Loree feeds and waters me, files my claws, cleans my ears, and administers my meds, even when she’s on a tight two-book deadline, like she is right now.

If I had hands, I’d applaud her. If I had arms, I’d hug the stuffin’ outta her. But since I can’t do, either, she’ll just have to settle for the “I’m So Cute” moments when I tilt my head and look adoringly at her. ’Cause really, what dog wouldn’t adore a gal like that!

Now if you’ll excuse me, my paws are pooped from all this typing . . .

. . . and it’s TB time.

Happy writing, y’owl!

Be Still And Let Your Nail Polish DryLove Finds You In North Pole, Alaska