By Jan S. Gephardt and G. S. Norwood
Fair warning: This is not a blog post. G. and Jan are both dealing with health issues. This is beyond writing a blog post about taking a sick day (besides, Jan already did that). Neither one of us is feeling energetic enough to create a complete, well-rounded blog post this week. Since both of us have lifetimes of experience in deadline-driven careers, this is a hard thing to admit.
But sorry. This is not a blog post. We have been a lot more “on the ball” on past occasions, however. So instead of offering a new post, we thought we’d offer kind of a smorgasbord of some favorite past posts.
Not A Blog Post, but Several
First, how about spending some quality time with pets, through some of our favorite past blog posts from G? If you’re familiar with the work of G.S. Norwood, you know her dry wit and her keen observer’s eye.
She has brought those qualities to her ongoing urban fiction series, the Deep Ellum Stories. These, not incidentally, include a range of wonderful animals, including Tidbit and Morsel, Ms. Eddy’s feline siblings who are considerably more than they seem. Then there’s Ace, the reformed Hell Hound, and even Fred, the back-yard mosasaur.
Read more about them in G’s novelettes Deep Ellum Pawn and its follow-up, Deep Ellum Blues. And stay tuned for G’s upcoming story, Death in Deep Ellum (set to be finished after she gets well). Meanwhile, even while this is technically not a blog post, we hope you enjoy this trio of G’s blog post “pet-classics.”
Cats in Space?
G. S. Norwood examines the roles of dogs and cats in Weird Sisters Publishing’s fiction, and makes the case that there will be cats in space. We hope you’ll enjoy her post Cats in Space?
Because – can we talk? – if we humans actually do take to the stars, we won’t want to leave our companion animals behind. Science fiction is full of cats, dogs, and other critters who’ve voyaged with us in our fictional forays into the Final Frontier. If art mirrors life, there will be canine and feline spacefarers traveling with us.
Meanwhile, we think you’ll enjoy this post.
The Universe Gives Me a Cat
Urban fantasy writer G. S. Norwood, open to everyday magic in reality, says sometimes “the Universe gives me a cat,” when she heeds intuition. What do you do, when the Universe has decided to give you a cat? Here’s G’s story.
Dog trainer Cesar Millan is fond of saying “You don’t always get the dog you want, but you get the dog you need.” We think that definitely goes for cats, too! Did G. get the cat she (didn’t know she) needed? Decide for yourself.
The Texas Pack
The Norwood household not only includes cats. It has a full cast of canine characters, too. G.S. Norwood introduces readers to The Texas Pack, her four border collies who each have distinct personalities, and who have informed her fiction.
Do you recognize any of the personality types she profiles in her blog post? Perhaps you’ve known dogs or other companion animals with similar approaches to life. Whether they’re interacting with humans or with each other, their personalities shine through.
A Blog Post Series for Dog Lovers
Science fiction writer Jan S. Gephardt has done a different take on blog posts about pets – specifically dogs – and their unexpected capabilities. Even if this is not a blog post, if you’re in the mood for one, why not give these a try? Her series on canine cognition outlined some of the research she did for her science fictional universe. As veteran sf readers know, the “science” in science fiction means that writers ground their stories in actual, real-world scientific ideas.
Jan’s stories feature a pack of uplifted police dogs called XK9s. They help uphold the rule of law on Rana Station, their adopted space station home. Written as adventure mystery stories, they also offer glimpses of the sometimes-humorous ways in which truly sapient dogs might interact with the human world.
Hundreds of people have enjoyed her XK9 “Bones” Trilogy, a series of books which has earned some excellent niche rankings. The first two are available now from a variety of booksellers worldwide, as either ebooks or paperbacks. The third book in the Trilogy is set for release in 2023. Some may prefer to take a “test drive” with her prequel novella, The Other Side of Fear. It’s also available widely for sale as an ebook or paperback. Or get it FREE as an ebook if you sign up for Jan’s feature-packed monthly newsletter!
Dog Cognition: How Much Does Your Dog Understand?
How much does your dog understand? A lot, actually, and on a more sophisticated level than many people think. “The Artdog” begins a new series on the research that convinced her dogs could someday be uplifted to be sapient beings.
Dogs may even be likelier candidates for future uplift than primates or cetaceans, for several excellent reasons. And seriously! What pet-parent wouldn’t love to know what their companion is trying to communicate sometimes? If only they could tell us in words! Turns out, maybe someday they can.
Dogs: Verbal Virtuosos?
Dogs as verbal virtuosos? When it comes to canine cognition, researchers are finding that dogs are real verbal virtuosos who know word meanings and can combine meaningful phrases. Alert readers of Jan’s novels might also recognize where she got the names for a couple of XK9s, after reading this blog post!
Jan wasn’t just anthropomorphizing (well, some – but not entirely!) when she gave the XK9s the ability to read and compose verbal replies. Until they get prosthetic thumbs, the ability to physically write won’t be in their, um, grasp. But they wield words (sometimes in several languages) pretty doggone well. And here’s her justification for thinking they someday really could!
Could it be Love?
Could it be love? We’ve long worried that we’re anthropomorphizing when we say our dogs love us. But more and more studies reveal the answer to “could it be love?” is YES!
Unfortunately, the video at the end of the blog post Could it be Love seems to no longer be available, but we hope you have seen similar behaviors in dogs (sorry – Jan had no energy to spare looking up a new video, but if you have time to go down a YouTube rabbit hole, we bet you can have fun finding more!).
Do the XK9s love their human partners? Absolutely! Pack is Family for XK9s, and their humans – including a few “extended Pack members” – are included in that circle.
Not a Blog Post, but we Hope You’ve enjoyed it
We hope you have fun reading through this “not a blog post” full of blog posts. We’re hoping and planning for one of us to be back in the saddle with new content for next week.
We’ve pulled our images this week from the Weird Sisters Website and from the blog posts featured in this “not a blog post” article. Follow the links to the blog posts for full information on our image sources.