It is my extreme pleasure to share with you a dear friend of mine, Ane Mulligan. Over the years, Ane has been a constant source of encouragement and support. She is a stalwart of hope in an insane industry. I can’t count how many times she has encouraged and championed me or any number of writers. She’s a beautiful soul. So it’s with pleasure, I introduce you and her debut novel to you! Enjoy!
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During one dogless time in my life, behind my back—or more like behind closed doors—Hubs and Son were looking at internet pictures of dogs. They kept showing me these adorable puppy photos. I sneezed my resistance each time and held my ground. I’m no easy pushover … unless they call in reinforcements.
One Saturday morning, Hubs proposed an outing, a drive in the country. That should have been a clue. Hubs doesn’t do drives in the country, unless it’s on his motorcycle. But I was delighted over an outing over scrubbing toilets.
I went along, blissfully unaware of his hidden motives, until we crossed the border into Alabama. I turned to him with eyes squinted. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know. Don’t detectives always squint when they’re trying to see if the suspect is lying?
“Why are we in Alabama? There’s nothing here except Talladega, and you don’t follow NASCAR.”
His cheeky grin should have been my next clue.
We turned off the interstate and drove so far into the countryside, I started watching for boys with banjos. This was not the “Saturday drive” I anticipated. A few minutes later, we arrived at a kennel in the countryside. A kennel that raised mastiff puppies.
Now, I’d never seen a mastiff, let alone its puppies. The owner took us around to meet all her breeding dogs. Did you know that mastiffs are of Biblical proportion? I mean these things could actually be categorized as shorthaired wooly mammoths.
The one thing that stopped me from screaming and running for the nearest exit was how sweet natured they were. They’re gentle giants. But … but … when you and a dog stand face to face and are literally face-to-face, it’s a bit intimidating.
I breathed a sigh of relief when we got to the puppies. They were a size I could relate to. I claim temporary insanity. I knew puppies grow up, but that didn’t register while I looked at a twelve-pound fluffy ball of fur.
Then Hubs did the dirty deed. He told me to pick out the puppy. I should have known that would come back to haunt me. Whenever puppy-grown-into-behemoth does something I don’t like, Hubs and Son grin at each other and say, “You picked him out.” Like I had any defense. I was a helpless pawn in their game of Get-a-Dog.
Shadrach grew and grew…and grew. By the time he was nine months old, he was 125 pounds. Pretty soon, when I sat in a chair, we were eye-to-eye. It was a good thing he was gentle. In fact, he’s half marshmallow. This dog was afraid of his own shadow. By his second birthday, he was 200 pounds. By his third, he’d reached full growth and was 225 pounds and 31 inches at the shoulder.
One day, nearly two years ago, Hubs and Son began to talk about getting another English mastiff. This time, I put my foot down … hard.
“Absolutely not!” I declared.
Absolutely Not’s name is Oliver Twist. Hubs and Son drove to Ohio to get him. Son drove and Ollie sat in Hubs’s lap for the eight-hour trip home. Eight solid hours is a lot of bonding time. I’m certain Oliver tacked some hook-and-loop tape to Hubs’s ankles. Where Hubs goes, Oliver goes.
When they brought him into the house, Shadrach thought he was great, until dinnertime. Then he’d had enough. He kept hoping we’d let Ollie out the door to do his business and then lock it.
Ollie grew faster than Shadrach did. Ollie grew so fast, that by the time he reached fifteen months, he was taller than Shadrach, and I began to research farm loans to see if we could qualify for aid in feeding our livestock.
Needless to say, we haven’t been on a vacation in the past eight years. Hubs can’t leave his babies. He tried to buy a motorhome so we could take them along. That experience was a gigantic failure and another story for another day.
One funny difference I’ve noticed between Shad and Ollie (that always sounds like a comedy duo) is that Ollie isn’t afraid of anything. Thunder? Yawn. Fireworks, so what? Poor Shadrach has to have doggie Xanax.
The only thing that has Ollie on alert is when Hubs leaves the room. Me? When I walk out, it’s ho-hum. What am I, dry kibble?
While a large, floppy straw hat is her favorite, Ane Mulligan has worn many different ones: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that’s a fancy name for a lobbyist), drama director, multi-published playwright, humor columnist, and novelist. Her lifetime experience provides a plethora of fodder for her Southern-fried fiction (try saying that three times fast). She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. President of the award-winning literary site, Novel Rocket, Ane resides in Suwanee, GA, with her artist husband, their chef son, and two very large dogs that could qualify as ponies. Her debut book, Chapel Springs Revival releases Sept 8th, 2014.
Chapel Springs Revival
With a friend like Claire, you’ll need a gurney, a mop, and a guardian angel.
Everybody in the small town of Chapel Springs, Georgia, knows best friends Claire and Patsy. It’s impossible not to, what with Claire’s zany antics and Patsy’s self-appointed mission to keep her friend out of trouble. And trouble abounds. Chapel Springs has grown dilapidated and the tourist trade has slackened. With their livelihoods threatened, they join forces to revitalize the town. No one could have guessed the real issue needing restoration is personal.
With their marriages in as much disarray as the town, Claire and Patsy embark on a mission of mishaps and miscommunication, determined to restore warmth to Chapel Springs —and their lives. That is if they can convince their husbands and the town council, led by two curmudgeons who would prefer to see Chapel Springs left in the fifties and closed to traffic.