So where's the snow?

Muddling through in Austria; God, life and a small black dog

Guest Post Tracie Barton-Barrett

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Tracie is a fellow animal lover and in her book, Buried Deep in our hearts, she deals with the sadness and grief when we lose a pet.

Tracie Barton-Barrett has always been a life-long devotee to animals, from her first job working in a veterinarian’s office to pet-sitting, to a counsellor with a speciality in pet loss. As a speaker and former psychology instructor, she has created presentations and led groups on the human-animal bond, including staff of animal shelters. In her debut novel, BURIED DEEP IN OUR HEARTS features dog, cat, and horse story lines to celebrate the important bond with our animals and to honour their memory, and she hopes her novel will allow the reader to relate, reflect, and reminisce. She also has a YouTube series entitled “Psychology Snippets,” which discuss Psychology topics in small, bite-sized videos. Tracie, and her husband, Daniel, are owned by two cats, Rutherford B. Barrett, and Oliver Monkey.

In Woodhaven Run, Michigan, Nivie Emerson, Bryn Troxell and Jacqueline Stanton have animals who touch their lives in many ways. As important members of their families, these steadfast companions bring joy and compassion into their homes through the ebbs and flows of life. But, when a beloved animal dies, the painful inevitability triggers grief and soul-searching. In the process of memorializing the animals, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, children and friends are connected to one another. A community solution is then created to foster healing and celebrate their animals’ lives. Resources and reflective/discussion questions at the end of the book.

I always thought being an author was like being a rock star! But, the moment I knew I wanted to write a book about pet loss was in grad school. After learning about loss and bereavement in people, I realised that the experience is very similar after losing a beloved animal. Now more than ever our animals are valued family members, so their loss can be difficult and painful and yet, there is still a stigma about it being “just a cat/dog/horse.” Grief is a universal phenomenon, regardless of where you live in the world, and my hope was to try to normalise the experience.

For me, the characters always come first. It’s as though I’m meeting someone for the first time, and he or she reveals him or herself to me in his or her own time. I simply “check-in” to see if something I’ve read, heard, or felt belongs to their story. It’s comparable to opening a puzzle, spreading out the pieces, and seeing how they fit. The exhilaration when there is a match is almost indescribable.

Although it helps, I don’t think someone necessarily needs a background in English or writing to be an author. Some people might allow this fact to prevent them from writing. I say, do it anyway! Everyone has a unique point of view. My professional background/training is in education, psychology and counselling, which I bring to my writing. And, I’ve journaled every morning for almost 30 years which is as much a part of my morning as eating breakfast and has helped foster my devotion and interest in writing.

We authors usually have other stories coming down the pike, and I’m no different! My fiction books primarily focus on the human-animal bond. My current WIP is a coming-of-age novel about a horse-loving girl and the important role horses play in her life, despite the fact she can’t have one. I also hope to someday create an audiobook as well as a children’s book based on BURIED DEEP IN OUR HEARTS. And, I also have an idea for a book about a war dog handler, and another book that will be cat-centric. I’m also thinking of writing a non-fiction book based on an end-of-the-course handout I created for my students summarizing the semester/course.

I found success by hearing that my book touched the reader in some form or fashion. If we’re an animal lover, we will invariably experience the pain and loss of losing them. It’s one of life’s injustices: they simply don’t live as long as we’d like. My hope was to create a “go-to” book for a person after they lost a beloved animal.

Some authors think the writing is the hard part. Promotion, or PR, otherwise known as “The “P” Word,” is the most challenging for me. Speaking with other first-time authors, it’s an area in which most of us aren’t truly ready or loathe more than going to the dentist. I know that I’ve been “learning on the job” and it hasn’t been easy, nor a linear, climb. However, I also know that it’s an evil necessity, especially now.

I’m using a few different outlets: a website (www.AnimalsConnectUs.com), Facebook page, (www.facebook.com/animalsconnectus/) and Twitter account (@AnimalConnect). I’ve also participated in Goodreads giveaways (mixed success), Facebook boosts (no real effect), and Amazon Marketing Ads (more successful). In the past, I also hired a gal to do publicity and PR and reach out to book stores, participate in craft shows and animal events. I love connecting with new places and new people because I really enjoy meeting people, signing books, and hearing about peoples’ experiences with their animals. Once I purchased a Square to accept credit card payments I wished I had gotten it earlier because it’s so easy and convenient for the customer. The learning curve never stops! Really hoping it never does.

It’s always difficult to narrow down my all-time favourite book because it’s like saying which child you like better. (Don’t answer that if you, indeed, have an answer!) But one that I could read over and over and still glean new information and inspiration is TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee. Many of the themes she wrote about in 1960 still ring true today.

 

“Our lives are richer when we allow our animals’ short lives to transform our own.”

 

Social Media Links:

Email: AnimalsConnectUs@gmail.com

Website: www.AnimalsConnectUs.com

FaceBook: www.facebook.com/TBartonBarrett

Twitter: @AnimalsConnect

Instagram: traciebartonbarrett

Amazon (Please buy new copies. Used copies only benefit seller) Paperback & Kindle

https://goo.gl/eXERyq

YouTube,  Tracie Barton-Barrett “Psychology Snippets”   https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKU_hWMq5ix5DyN426kbetg?view_as=subscriber

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Author: annarashbrook

English Ex-pat living in Austria, Christian, blogger (of course) writer, photographer, dog owner!

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