Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Please Help Those That Help Others

I would like to take a moment to step away from my normal blathering about myself and my writing and talk about a serious subject.

As I'm sure most people in America have heard (I'm not sure if the news has spread across the pond) there was a large number of exotic animals--including lions, tigers, bears and other beasts--released from a private animal preserve in Zanesville, OH.  The last report I heard is that the owner opened the enclosures before taking his own life.  I'm not going to speculate as to why or how this man died, or even how the enclosures were opened.  My deepest sympathy goes out to his family and the people of Zanesville who have had to brave this nightmare.  It is a miracle that there was no loss of human life other than the owner's.  And for that I am thankful.

In an effort to maintain safety many of the animals were unfortunately put down.  This is extremely sad to me.  I understand why and I'm not questioning the actions of the Zanesville authorities.  What I do question is this country's lax laws on owning and breeding exotic animals.  But that is for another time.

Not far from where I live, in the town of Center Point, IN, is a wonderful place called the Exotic Feline Rescue Center.  EFRC is a non-for-profit organization that is dedicated to taking in and housing exotic cats that have been mistreated and abused.

I have had the pleasure of visiting EFRC twice in the past few months and I am in love with this place.  The people there are kind and compassionate, working long hours for little to no pay, all for the purpose of giving these majestic cats back their dignity and giving them a place to live out their days.  Many of the cats' stories are heartbreaking, and it is a testament both to the cruelty of some and the unconditional love of others.

Michael Koryta is a wonderful writer making a great name for himself.  He and I are from the same town, and though we have never spoken, we actually have a close link (his sister and my wife are good friends from high school, and she was a bridesmaid in our wedding).  I have been following his career with great interest, and someday I'll work up the courage to give him a call and pick his brain.  But again, that is for later.  (See how easily I get distracted.)  I mention Michael Koryta because he is also a big, BIG supporter of EFRC.  I understand that his novel The Ridge was inspired by EFRC.

So, what does all of this have in common?

The last that I have heard, the EFRC is attempting to take some of the exotic cats from Zanesville that have survived.  Their nobility, it seems, knows no bounds.  But remember, they are non-for-profit.  They rely solely on the income they receive by giving tours and donations from other kind-hearted people.  If you are passing through Indiana, I encourage you to visit EFRC.  It is worthwhile and they can use the help.  If you are interested in donating, I'm sure they would appreciate anything you had to give.

Michael Koryta has made his book The Ridge available for sale in the EFRC gift shop with all the proceeds going to help the center.  I'm not sure if the proceeds still go to the EFRC if you buy the book from Amazon, but hey, you should be supporting a great author like him anyway.

If you have ever stood close to a majestic beast like Raja (above picture taken with my cell phone) then you'll understand the need to help.  I hope you will.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Never Too Late for a New Trick

So, I looked up a bit ago and realized we are 14 days into October and I haven't made a post.  I've been very busy with my WIP, and have had little time to read, blog, Facebook, self-promote or much anything else.  I'm shooting to be done with the first draft of Predatory Animals by the end of the month and I still have roughly another 20K words to add.

I should be fine as long as nothing derails me.  I've been sneaking much of the writing in at work (shhh, don't tell) and a bit more at night after the kids go to bed.  I'm excited to see this through, then it'll be time to concentrate on rewrites, beta readers, cover art . . . it never ends.  But that's okay.  I'm having fun.

On to the sequel news.

You all might remember a little novel written a few years back call The Shining.  No?  Well it was this nice little book about a family's wonderful adventures in a hotel one magical winter.  The author was some guy named King.  I don't think he really went on to do much after that.

Can you feel the sarcasm?  Good, cause I'm laying it on plenty thick.

Well, it seems an old dog can learn new tricks, and it's never too late to write a sequel.

The sequel, titled Dr. Sleep, catches up with a 40 year old Danny as he uses his Shine to help terminally ill patients pass into the afterlife.  Oh and there are Shine-sucking vampires.

I don't know about you, but I'm excited.  I loved The Shining and have long waited to hear what has come of Danny.  I hope Mr. King gives us glimpse of Danny sending messages back to himself as a child (in the guise of Tony, of course).

It just goes to show you how the characters we write about do not belong to us.  Sometimes we think that we are done with a story, but if the character isn't finished with us, they'll find a way to come back around.