A First Birthday and A Strange Dream
I almost found myself caught out at the end of February. My first book turned one year old on the 28th. Thankfully, I remembered a couple of days beforehand. The reason it nearly slipped my mind was I couldn't believe a year had passed.
So much has happened in that time. The book has won several awards, including a Page Turner Award from Tweetables.com very recently.
There's been a video call with school children and it's even been used as the text for a reading competition. There have been interviews, five-star reviews, and even a few sales along the way. It's certainly not been the journey I expected. The highlight has been the friends I've made. I feel as though I've known many of them forever. The help and support everyone gives is incredible. It turns what can be a lonely experience as an author into something quite special.
"It's A Stray Dog's Life" even has a younger sibling with, hopefully, a few more to follow.
Happy 1st Birthday to "It's A Stray Dog's Life". The book that changed my life.
A Strange Dream
I've been writing a few articles over recent weeks about grief and loss. It reminded me of one of the strangest experiences of my life. It's something I've never been able to explain. It could well be there is no explanation.
As a child I wasn't close to my extended family. In truth, I didn't know most of them existed. Finding them later in life has been wonderful. I was close to my paternal grandfather. To me he was an incredible person. Whether he really was or not could never have been judged by a four-year-old.
My grandfather only had one arm. He had a prosthetic from the elbow down on the other. I grew up with stories of how it had happened, including a dinosaur biting it off. In truth, it wouldn't surprise me.
Most importantly, to me he was wonderful. He used to take me for walks in the park and tell me stories. He was the reason I became a Saracens fan. We'd walk across Southgate Park to where the rugby pitches were. He told me it's where the Fez trained. Was it true? I don't care. I believed him.
I knew I could never be naughty as he'd take his arm off if I was. In hindsight, it could be construed as child cruelty. At the time it instilled a level of good behaviour the world has, sadly, lost. To me it gave a sense of right and wrong. At least some of the time.
The strange events started on a campsite in Germany. My parents had a caravan (no, that isn't the strange event!) and we were on our summer holiday. I can't remember exactly where, or even much about the holiday, except for one night.
I woke Mum and Dad up several times one night shouting something had happened to grandad. Every time I closed my eyes he was stood there smiling and waving. It felt so odd. Why, when we were on holiday, would I be dreaming of grandad?
The next morning there was a knock on the caravan door. It was the owners of the campsite. There was a phone call for Dad (we didn't have cell phones back then). We'd been tracked down by the wonders of the Caravan Club. Dad went to take the call. I have no idea how long he was gone. He came back to tell us grandad had died.
It was pointless dashing home as the funeral had taken place the day before.
Had those dreams been him saying goodbye at his funeral? After all, I'd had no way of knowing he'd died.
It's something that's lived with me for over 40 years. I don't know why I had that dream. I can still picture it to this day.
Life and death is strange. Maybe it's stranger than we thought.
I'm currently working on redesigning the website to accommodate my next book. It's not about the stray dogs, so is taking a bit of thinking about. I also want to add a few sections to add to the user experience. I can't tell you what just yet, as it's a work in progress, but it will be worth the wait.
I also realised I have hundreds of photos of the stray animals. It gave me the mad idea of putting them together in a book. Printing costs for a book of photographs are quite high, so the book will be a little more expensive to buy. Let me know if it's something you'd be interested in and I'll finish putting it together.
Stay safe my friends
MaxS and The Strays