The Yearly Knuckle-Gnawing

Mother Nature has been taunting me this week.

You see, it’s weather-watching time, as TD Sunday approaches.  (Yup, I’m writing this on Saturday.  Sunday will be…busy.)

There are those of you out there who probably think this is some oblique reference to the Superbowl, which is not a recognized date in my house, other than the fact that the roads are blessedly clear of traffic during certain hours of that day.

No, TD = tracking dog.  Around here, it’s a test we have once a year.  And it’s the sort of test that’s so dependent on circumstances–weather, terrain, bunnies, judging decisions–that even if you and the dog are Ready, it can all still go very, very wrong.

One does not get cocky about a tracking test at any level.

I think that Dart is ready, if still very green.  He’s enthusiastic, driven, and he knows what his job is.

But that Mother Nature!

Over the course of the week, the forecast for Sunday has gone from calm with the slight potential of rain (not the worst thing that could happen) to calm (yay!) to cloudy (fine) and then, between Friday night and Saturday morning, to strong winds with wicked strong gusts.

(Not that I’ve been watching.)

As you may guess, even if you’ve never trained a tracking dog, this is not ideal tracking weather.  What we won’t know, until we get there, is whether it’s a decently consistent wind, or whether it’s suck-n-gust.

Well, by the time you read this, all will have been answered.  I may even add a little something here to indicate how it went…unless I’m out sulking and kicking at dust devils.  But meanwhile, here are images from Dart’s final training track before the test… (watch that tail wag…)

At the start

Already on the track, heading for the start article...



Sniffy sniffy sniffy--about to navigate Cactus Row

tracking fast!

And off we go! He's decided he's sure of himself and he's about to put our brush-navigating skills to the test


About Doranna

My books are SF/F, mystery, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense. My dogs are Beagles, my home is the Southwest, and the horse wants a cookie!
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4 Responses to The Yearly Knuckle-Gnawing

  1. Patty says:

    I know from FB that he did well! Go Dart!

  2. Doranna says:

    I’m not out sulking and kicking at dust devils–just exhausted and happy. One Awesome little Beagle Dog!

  3. Jenny Kemeny says:

    Dear Doranna,
    I want you to know how thoroughly you have disrupted my day!!
    I’m supposed to be finalizing/delivering a distant lecture for a new course I’m teaching (my first experience at university format instead of shorter seminars and webinars.) A great class, but somehow one week into the semester I’m more than a week behind (Huh??)
    Instead, on a break, I trolled Amazon for new free fantasy books. I can easily go through a book a day, and just can’t afford to pay for all of them. Most freebies are barely readable. The last book had a pleasant concept, but 4 well-written sentences would be followed by one with such horrible grammar, that it would throw me right out of the story. When I realized that while I was reading, I was subconsciously composing a remedial grammar tutorial for the author, I decided it was time to move on…
    A long backstory to finding “A Feral Darkness.”
    Hooray! Not only a fabulous writer – but a real, honest, actually knows animals and writes about them in her books – writer! Such a rare breed! I am slowly savoring the book as much as I am able. Since it’s 12:15 AM and I’ve clearly lost the “go to bed early to finish the lecture early” battle, the book may last until … morning. I’m stretching it out by reading your blog!
    Which is why I’m asking: Is there a way to find out which of your books involve animals? I’m a former rider, now horseless, but still passionate about horses. I’m a dog lover, living in a rural area, who won’t keep a dog because of leash laws. (I don’t know if you’re old enough, or have the same issues, but the best years of my youth were spent running free with my border collie cross. I can’t imagine her life if she couldn’t go out and play freely with me.) I’m a cat lover who’s lost too many cats to illness these last few years. And I’ve been dealing with my own crummy health issues for too long. So I’ve just purchased “The Heart of the Dog” both for me and for ConneryBeagle. And I would love to read more of your works. Happy to have met you! Jenny

    • Doranna says:


      Cannot tell you how pleased I am to have disrupted your day. This is the point at which I’m supposed to look remorseful but never do. I *like* it! *evil cackle*

      Most of my books have animals somewhere…most of my short stories, too. The Bombshells probably have the least animal influence, and various fantasies the most. Dun Lady’s Jess and the rest of those (OP or hard to get, though not impossible and I’ll be releasing the second two in the series as backlist books soon) are as horsie as it gets. Seer’s Blood is hounds, Barrenlands has the Boys (two geldings) but isn’t primarily about them, and Touched by Magic has Sky the rather neurotic racking gelding. More recently, the Reckoners series has Sklayne. I have two mysteries in production for reprint/ebook with Foxacre Press–Nose for Trouble will be out probably next month (I haven’t actually done a formal announcement because I don’t actually know for sure), and the sequel as soon as we can manage thereafter.

      The backlist is easiest to find at — although Nose for Trouble (Beagle, veterinarian, Flagstaff…) won’t be there because it’s a publisher effort and not my own project.

      I’m not actually sure I answered the question, but I cross enough genres that sometimes it’s hard to pick and choose. There are definitely details and excerpts and whatnot at my website (, and there’s a link up there to the right).

      In any event, I’m very pleased to have met you, too. I read your comment right before I went to bed and it was a very good way to end the day.

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