Eight Weeks! How Time Flies!

Leda has started to enjoy her puppies much more now that they are pestering her so much less about nursing. Her favorite puppy seems to be Boy 1. Mothers do often seem to have favorites. In this case I think Leda may be influenced by the others, especially Boy 3, being more determined to nurse; Boy 1 is a lot less pestiferous about that. So is Boy 4, but he loves Boy 3 and follows him around and plays with him a lot. It’s quite delightful that Boy 3 lets Boy 4 beat him up. He’s 12 oz bigger and definitely being a nice playmate on purpose. Dogs do learn that — this is the exact time they learn that, just this way. They want to play and they learn that if they are nice, other puppies will play with them instead of running away. So then the stronger ones learn to be nice. Or that’s how it ought to work, and how it has plainly worked in this case. Cavaliers learn to be gentle easily, of course; one of the many nice things about this breed.

I vacuumed after this picture was taken, by the way. Blue is a stupid color for a carpet if you have white dogs, I know that, don’t bother pointing it out. I like blue. Also, it does look nice whenever I happen to have vacuumed less than an hour previously.

The puppies have come along tremendously in the past week. They are all exploring much farther and running around much more independently of the crowd. This is when it becomes very important to teach them to come when called. Otherwise you stand there in the yard at dusk calling Puppy Puppy Puppy! and wondering if one of them managed to squirm out under the fence or whether some other dire thing has happened. My fence is secure, but it’s foolish to take total security for granted, plus one or two episodes in the past have left me phobic about dogs getting lost — anyone who leaves the gate open at someone else’s house should be whipped through the streets, let me add — and the basic fact is that I’m phobic and I do not want to have to worry. Hence teaching them to come. You know who is most treat-focused?

Boy 2 is SO into treats, wow, he ZOOMS to me and then sits and looks just like this while the other puppies are bumbling around wondering if treats might fall from the sky. Boy 2 knows darn well where the treats are coming from. He is trying as hard as he can to figure out how to get me to give them to him, preferably all the treats all the time as fast as possible. He is going to be SO easy to train! Treat-focused dogs are wonderful that way.

Boy Four demonstrates how to crate train the easy way: put a crate in the living room, leave the door open, and there you go. A crate is not quite as attractive to a puppy is a box is to a cat, but it’s very attractive, that’s for sure. Every puppy will go into this crate and fall asleep. They like the enormous dog bed too. I keep having to collect sleeping puppies so I can tuck them into the puppy room and forget about them for a few hours as I get work done. They’re staying awake a LOT longer, I will add, so they’re pretty distracting. Even so, I’m sorry I’ll be losing most of them this week!

Oh, I will add, yes, I’m getting work done! So far Tasmakat is just as easy as every other Tuyo-world book. (Knock on wood!) I love it. It’s so much easier than forcing my way through what turned out to be the last third of Invictus, though I do like that one a lot and of course it did get easier right at the end. But everything in the Tuyo world is just a different level of fun for me, with intense flow that kicks on easily and is painful to interrupt. I took the adult dogs out for a run this morning because the weather was so nice, and it was so hard to turn off the laptop! Yay for today being a vacation so I can go back to Tasmakat in just a few minutes, after I post this!

I have a hundred seventy pages, by the way. I’d previously written the very beginning and about fifty pages onward, and then I leaped ahead and wrote a scene that occurs in, I don’t know, the middle part of the first third of the story, I guess, more or less. Plus a few scattered fragments here and there. I wrote the bit where Esau turns up. I think that will remain in the finished draft, but no promises. But I think so.

Anyway, now I’m going back and writing the part in between the very beginning and this other part that happens later.

My best estimate (it’s too early to make estimates, but whatever) is that it will take me 300 pages to get to the capital city of Avaras, then probably a hundred pages to have one or two intense scenes there — wow, Soretes is going to be SO upset with Aras, for many excellent reasons — and get out of Avaras and into the country with two Suns. Then the REAL problem will emerge and it will become clear why Tasmakat-an is so important to this story that she gets to be the title character. I hope you all find the REAL problem surprising — except Craig, who knows all about it because he helped me brainstorm about some of the things that are going to happen. The rest of the book will take place in the country of sand, the country of fire, the land of the Sun and the Son, the land of two Suns. Lots of names! The Lakasha-erra call it by a name that translates roughly to The Noble Land of Beautiful Gardens, which tells you a lot about it and something about them. Think of the Sahara, but with with many large oases strung through it.

Yes, we are also going to meet the rulers of the country of sand — the Ro-Antalet, the lions with the heads of men. They’re very impressive. Among other things, they’re capable of making an Ugaro warrior far more tolerant of heat than anything non-magical could possibly justify.

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