Debra – Babysitting and free books !

No, not the kind that involves actual babies.  I call that torture.  Yes, I know.  I’m supposed to be genetically disposed to small helpless creatures.  But…not so much.  And I’ve passed that uneasiness with pale, pink squirming bundles of joy to my kid.  Who says that when he has one, he’s giving it to me until it’s twelve.  (My son is deluded, but I let him have his little fantasies. I figure the as-yet-unfound wife will actually want to have the baby around.)

The babysitting I’m talking about is the kind you have to do when your best friend’s mother moves to Florida and she has to leave the state for Christmas every year.  For a week.  When that happens, I’m in the dog house for about a week.  That happens starting tomorrow.

This is Teasel.  (I knitted his sweater.)  He’s a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and has to have his own pillow.  But not JUST his own pillow.  You have to scoot down in the bed so he can sleep on his pillow ABOVE your head and then slowly through the course of the night push you off your pillow and take them both over.  He’s housebroken but he doesn’t like the outdoors much so you have to make him get off the deck to go do his manly business.  For which he looks at you like you’ve just pulled all his toe nails out and called his momma a hussy.

He also likes something called “Teasel Time,” which is time set aside to cuddle in what we call the magic chair.  (chair and a half so all the dogs can pile on)  And he loves giving my 17 year old cat a little spit bath.  The cat doesn’t mind.

And then there is Andy.  Yet another Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.  Andy spends most of the time in the kitchen waiting for someone to drop something…anything.  He’s the perfect gentleman.  Doesn’t whine.  Doesn’t cry.  Goes out whenever you ask him.  And is probably smarter than most 9 year-olds.  Which makes sneaking any kind of food impossible.  The dog can hear the crunch of a cracker from 60 yards away.

And rounding out this year’s dog-a-thon, is Chime, who has almost finished her Championship.  She’s not yet two years old.  In Labrador years that’s still a puppy.  She’s winning every time she steps in the ring so I have to be sure she doesn’t do anything stupid like break a leg, injure a paw.  (There are shows in January!)

Sometimes I have to babysit covers too.  We tried an outside graphic artist but had a little problem with the final art.  The artist did some lovely mood lighting on the piece and some wonderfully moody color but the figures weren’t quite right.  So we “babysat” it and did a little extra manipulation.  Was it worth the effort?

Today we’re going to be giving away FOUR free books from the BelleBooks or Bell Bridge Books catalog.

So, tell me which is the cutest dog and which is the better elf-girl.  Do you like the intense stark elf or the softer, more vulnerable elf?

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59 Responses to Debra – Babysitting and free books !

  1. kris says:

    I’m going to go with the Lab, because I’m partial to the bigger breeds. Also, I pick the softer more vulnerable elf-girl.

    • debradixon says:

      Kriss–
      I think I was the only person who DIDN’T see the guy as “groping” the elf. In the full cover you see them with the bow and arrow so you can see that he’s helping her with the archery. But still, our ops manager said the same thing the moment she saw it. “Hey, why’s he grabbing her boob.”

  2. Michele says:

    Definitely like the soft elf! And glad you took out whatever was behind the guy’s shoulder and put her hair over his hand, because first look i wondered if he was groping her. 🙂 Fun stuff!
    I could never be a dog-sitter. Or a babysitter. But I’ll take a cat any day.

    • debradixon says:

      Michele– Yep. The groping is officially obscured now! LOL!

      And I know you’re a cat person but hardly anyone ever has to babysit cats unless you’re going over and feeding them. I’m not sure which is easier. Having the horde invade or having to go somewhere everyday.

  3. I think all the dogs are beautiful! but I’ll pick Andy since he’s so well behaved.

    I like the cover on the right. It does look like the guy is groping her breast in the picture on the left.

    • debradixon says:

      Okay, that’s one vote for Andy and one vote for Chime. I’m going to be interested to see which dog wins the day. LOL!

  4. I love the girl with all the lush hair. Can she come to my house Christmas Eve and meet the fairies Santa’s bringing?

    Any breed named “King” anything is bound to be demanding. Teasel is clearly proud of his sweater–looks as though he’s afraid someone is about to try to claim it. I wouldn’t dare. They’re lovely pups, but I’m partial to the Lab. Our mostly Lab is more than royal. She’s Superpup!

    Deb, your friend and her lovely canines are so lucky to have you.

  5. debradixon says:

    Kathy– Superpup makes you biased for sure! But your vote still counts.

    Now we’re at 2 for Chime and 1 for Andy.

  6. kylie brant says:

    I am going back to check out the elf grope! I missed it.

    Deb you are a far far better person than I to dog sit. We get three extra dogs for the holidays but it’s not something I do willingly. Nor are they well trained!

    • debradixon says:

      Kylie– Fortunately, now that my sister has little ones at Christmas time, we go there for the big Christmas Eve festivities so I’m not having to get the house ready for a big dinner party. That makes it easier.

  7. Deb says:

    I’m going to go with the lab and the softer-looking elf. Labs are beautiful, I think.

  8. I’m with Deb — the lab and the softer elf. Afraid spoiled dogs aren’t really my thing, no matter how adorable they are. (Actually, that’s true of all dogs — definitely a cat person.)

    • debradixon says:

      Nancy– As long as the owner is happy then the dog isn’t spoiled for THEM. It’s the rest of us who have differing tolerances. (g)

      Now it’s 4 for Chime and one for Andy. (I have to keep a running count so I’ll remember.)

  9. Michele says:

    I love that name Chime! I want to use it for a heroine’s name.

    • debradixon says:

      Michele- LOL! Only people who read and write romance/women’s fiction get the importance of the perfect character name. (g)

      5 for Chime. 1 for Andy.

  10. MaryC says:

    I vote for Chime (he reminds me of my brother’s dog) and the softer looking elf.

  11. Andrea I says:

    I like Andy. It’s always nice to have a well behaved dog. My daughter has a pit bull puppy who has some bad habits. I like the picture on the right, all that lovely hair.

    • debradixon says:

      Andrea–

      Hope they get those bad habits corrected for your dog-grandchild! Of course it depends what kind of bad habits. Constantly bringing you the ball isn’t in the same category as growling and guarding their food. LOL!

      Now it’s 6 for Chime and 2 for Andy. Poor high maintenance Teasel is bringing up the rear with ZERO votes.

  12. cindy gerard says:

    LOL Deb. I’m glad to hear we aren’t the only soft touches when it comes to pooches. Seems our house has gotten a rep (and well deserved) as a dog-sitting-haven and we often provide tender loving care for our friends and relatives who must leave Fido behind. We love it and most of the time Margaret (our Brittany) loves it, too. The cats ‘abide’ as only cats can do but it all works.

    As for the Elf girl – yes, I saw the groping :o). Glad that’s been clarified. I’m for the ‘bangs’ girl. She’s much more relatable – even if she does have pointy ears. :o)

    And don’t ask me to chose which dog is cuter. I can’t do it! They are all adorable.

  13. Janga says:

    All the dogs are gorgeous, but I have to go with Gentleman Andy. The grands, at least two of whom are here every day until Christmas break is over, would love him and his name. And I’m with the majority on the elf-girl. Definitely the softer looking one.

    • debradixon says:

      Janga–

      Andy loves children. 1) They usually have some sort of food stuck to them and 2) they get in the floor and pet him.

      Andy’s making a run. It’s now 3 votes to Chime’s 6.

  14. leannebanks says:

    I vote for Andy and the softer elf. My daughter has a king charles spaniel and that dog LOVES everyone!:)

    • debradixon says:

      Leanne– The CKS is just about the sweetest dog breed I’ve ever seen. Their entire world revolves around being quietly with their person. Just love them.

      Andy – 4
      Chime 6

  15. Laney4 says:

    Like Chime, probably because I’m a sucker for a bigger dog (probably because I only had small dogs growing up).
    Like soft elf-girl, but would prefer her hair length shorter like right picture but thicker like left picture.
    Also would prefer the arrow to be showing fully like in the right picture, as indeed there does appear at first glance to be a grope involved.

    • debradixon says:

      Laney– This is just a close up of the art. The full cover shows the full bow & arrow. So, yay! got that right. The character has really long hair and those authors get so cranky when the covers are completely wrong.

      I had an author friend who’s editor once called her and said, “You’re going to have to find a way to cut the hero’s hair off in the book. The cover just came back and it’s military short hair.” LOL! The character’s long hair suddenly became a plot point.

      Andy 4
      Chime 7

  16. Sandi Morris says:

    Not a dog person but I like Andy. and I like the4 cover on the right better.

  17. I’m a spaniel girl but not into spoiled dogs, so cast my vote for Andy. And softer elf girl because really, doesn’t she look more realistic? “G”

  18. debradixon says:

    Hiya, Pat !

    I absolutely agree that elves should look realistic. (g) What’s the point otherwise?

    Andy-6
    Chime- 7

  19. hjoanbr says:

    For someone who makes herself sound not so much a motherer, you sure do baby those dogs! lol I love King Charles Spaniels. Such a nice breed. If I were to go for smaller dog, I think they’d be one of the tops on my list.

    I like the long haired elf – really catches the eye with all that green hair!

  20. Linda Henderson says:

    My vote is for Andy and the softer elf girl. I like big dogs, but I love Andy’s look.

  21. Liz Selvig says:

    Oh Deb,
    I am going to be the absolute odd-woman out here. I adore Teasel. I love his funny name and I love that he’s a stealth pillow thief. My brother has a Cavalier King Charles who looks just like Teasel and I have a Border Collie who hogs the bed all night. My heart’s with the schnooky pup!!

    As for the covers, I love the elf’s long hair, but I think it makes her face look even sharper–her angular features need the openness around her face. I missed the groping–thought he held her shoulder. So I vote for half of each – lol. If forced I say the first one.

    That should skew your results a little. I loved the “contest.”

    • debradixon says:

      Liz– Teasel’s mommy is going to be so happy he finally got a vote. LOL!

      My sister has a Border Collie and when it’s a thunderstorm she has to sleep in a crate because otherwise she’d be on my sister’s head, trembling!

      Andy 7
      Chime 7
      Teasel 1

  22. Keri Ford says:

    cute dogs! and wow. I used to have a Lab and that behaved at 2yrs is impressive!

    I like the 2nd elf, the one with the long hair. it makes the cover more striking and gives her more of a girly’ness

  23. catslady says:

    Definitely the softer elf – I like her hair better too. Now as to the dogs, that’s a very hard question but I’m going to go with Andy because of the pic and your description 🙂

    • debradixon says:

      Catslady–

      His mommy said I stacked the deck. LOL! But, I honestly just told the truth about both dogs.

      Andy 8
      Chime 7
      Teasel 1

  24. Quilt Lady says:

    Teasel is my favorite dog, he is so cute in his sweater, and I will have to go with the softer elf girl.

  25. amy kennedy says:

    I’m going to do “that thing,” that thing I hate when other people do it. First, I like the poufier hair elf, second, all the dogs are cute — I can’t pick. Now “the thing” — I hate the way she’s grasping the arrow — all her fingers closed — I was taught to point my index finger and rest the shaft on the rest of the closed fist. Maybe that’s wrong, and you can do it closed fist…sorry.

    • debradixon says:

      Amy– I hate the thumb, too, but we’re stuck with this art and behind on deadline. The graphic artist was late delivering and we just have to mush on. Darn it!

  26. annie says:

    Andy for sure. Just adorable and sweet. We have a Maltese and a cute small mix. I love small dogs.

  27. elaing8 says:

    They are all cute but if I have to pick. I’d pick the labrador Chime.I love labs.

    For the covers I like the one with the longer hair.I think it makes her stand out more.

    • debradixon says:

      Elaing8– Thanks! We’re well pleased with the choice to put some extra post work into the cover now that we’re hearing the opinions.

      Andy 8
      Chime 8
      Teasel 2

  28. LSUReader says:

    In the easier of your two choices, I’ll opt for the softer elf with the flowing locks.

    The dogs are all great. The differences you point out remind me that just like us humans, each dog has some individual qualities that make him/her stand out as special. I’ll cast my vote for Chime, but I’d dogsit for any of them!

    • debradixon says:

      LSU– Oh, right! Dogs are so individual. It’s amazing to me that I treat them differently based on WHO they are. Seriously. It’s quite sad to see me having a fairly long conversation with some of them.

      Andy 8
      Chime 9
      Teasel 2

  29. Kanch says:

    My vote is for Andy and I like the cover on the right – the heroine’s look on that cover reminds me of Cate Blanchett

    • debradixon says:

      Kanch– Hey, I’ll take Cate Blanchett! She’s not traditionally beautiful but she’s always interesting and in certain profiles and lighting is just gorgeous. Yep. I like that.

      We’re back to a tie!

      Andy 9
      Chime 9
      Teasel 2

  30. Mariska says:

    i vote for Andy 🙂

    and for the elf i choose for the softer elf !

  31. debradixon says:

    Mariska! Now you’ve done it. You’ve broken the tie again.

    Andy 10
    Chime 9
    Teasel 2

  32. Pallavi says:

    Hi, sorry for coming in so late on this, but am I the only one who thinks the elf looks like she has no clue what to do with the bow and arrow. And the guy is supposed to be helping her aim, but he is not even looking where she’s looking. Kinda bummed me out. I apologize if I sound snarky, Debra; I don’t mean to. You write wonderful books and this cover doesn’t do justice to that. My two bits.

    Also, Andy FTW. 🙂

  33. Debra Dixon says:

    Pallavi– Thanks for caring! Wish we could change that aspect of the art but sometimes we just have to work around what we have. But maybe we can get them to fix his eyeline with highlights!

  34. Maribeth Curry says:

    I like Andy and the vulnerable elfgirl best- dogs in bed are the best 8~)

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