In my latest manuscript, I’ve included passages on pets and snow skiing as something new. None of my five previous published books included material about dogs and my favorite sport, snow skiing.

I’m a “dog person.” I love them. Give me a puppy to play with and I’ll wilt and want to take him home. Dogs come up to me and want me to play with them. I guess they sense I’m an automatic friend.

Right now, we own three – two Standard Poodles and one Miniature. One of the Standards is thirteen and a half and the Miniature is fourteen plus. The other Standard turned two last March so he’s two and a half. In human years, he’s a teenager and acts like one.

We treat our dogs like children and Standard Poodles, one of the two smartest breeds (the other is a Border Collie) act like a fifteen to eighteen month human. You can talk to them, they understand and they have behaviors and sounds with which they communicate with their owners. Essentially it is, “human, I am doing this and you figure out what I want….” Usual choices are food, water, go out side to go to the bathroom but sometimes, there are other reasons.   I could bore you with stories but suffice it to say the sixteen pound Miniature is the alpha and won’t take any crap from his two larger, sixty pound brothers. When he snarls, barks or snaps at either one, they stop whatever they are doing.

Skiing. I love it and ski as much as I can. Way back in the days of my misspent youth and early years, I was a ski racer – my favorite event was downhill, the giant slalom. In a twisty-turny slalom course, I was a danger to myself and the slalom poles. I’m or at least was, a certified as a ski instructor on the U.S. and Canada. So, yes, I am a pretty good skier.

And yet, I’ve never included passages about either dogs or skiing until I wrote Flight of the Pawnee. In it, the hero owns four Standard Poodles and the heroine, one. Parallel to the love story between the humans is one between her female Poodle and one of the hero’s.

In the backstory, there’s a passage about the hero at a collegiate ski race running, guess what, a slalom. He’d finished fourth in the giant slalom the day before and was, surprise, surprise, in the top seed for the second slalom run after finishing fourth in the first. For those of you who don’t know, in slalom, each racer takes two runs on different courses and the winner is the one with the lowest combined time. To find out what happens to the hero, you’ll have to read the book.

Why did I write these scenes? They are a way to show another side of each character and make them deeper and more interesting. The skiing section was a way of suggesting to the reader the hero was a pretty good athlete without saying “he’s athletic.”

Dog lovers will want more dog scenes and to be honest, they were harder to write than the skiing one mostly before I was afraid I was going to go overboard and turn the dogs into major characters. In the latest version, I deleted about a third because I didn’t think they advanced the plot. Who knows, the publisher may want them back in.

Net net, I hope to finish the latest version of Flight of the Pawnee and look for a publisher sometime after Labor Day. With any luck, it should see the light of day sometime in 2018.

Marc Liebman

August 2017

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