Life is Just a Bowl of Kibble

Funny beagle puppy eatingSome of you may remember that I developed knee problems last year. The cause of the injury only became clear to me after surgery when I started taking walks with Nemo, the family beagle.

If you’ve raised one of these critters you know that beagles are mostly nose, and that nose leads them into all kinds of trouble. Their keen sense of smell is also the reason they are, according to some professional trainers, only about 85% trainable. Once they get a whiff of something interesting, everything else goes out the window.

I realized as Nemo began to pull on his leash after my surgery, or alternatively as I began to pull on the leash to haul him back, that I felt the tension in my injured knee. The initial cause of the problem became perfectly clear.


I turned the dog walks over to my husband.

This week Michael was unable to do the walks, so it was my turn again. Since I have no desire for more surgery, I developed a plan. I would feed Nemo only two scoops of kibble and carry the third in my pocket. Then, any time he came back to my side when I said “with me,” he would get a piece of kibble.

As it turns out beagles are not all nose. They are also tummy. Two days into this Nemo trots along beside me like a Westminster show dog. He’s even stopped eating rocks and things too gross to print, glancing at me after he eyes them to see if I’ve noticed how good he is, so he can get his next kibble offering instead.

It’s nothing short of a miracle.

We are all trainable. We respond to the things we love with joy and a desire to have more of them.  Life really is just a bowl of kibble, whatever your kibble may be.

You, my terrific readers, consistently dole out treats to me.

  • You buy and review my books  online or in print.
  • You email to let me know a story touched you.
  • You follow me on Facebook or Twitter, read my blog and comment, or talk about my work on Goodreads.
  • You ask for sequels, most notably to the Shenandoah Album series.
  • You select my books for your neighborhood book clubs.
  • You share pieces of your life with me, an honor I always appreciate.
  • You even chastise me when you think I’ve made an error, which shows you’ve paid attention.

Did you think I didn’t notice? And what’s your reward for that kind of generosity? I listen and what you say affects me. While publishers determine some of what I do, you determine it, as well. You are the readers who most affect me, the ones who “get” my books and show your loyalty in myriad ways. In return I try to please you by giving me more of what you like. I have to write what I’m inspired to write, of course, but you are part of that inspiration.

To show my appreciation this month, and in honor of carnival season and Mardi Gras, which is right around the corner, I’ll be giving away one two-book set of my Louisiana duo, Iron Lace and Rising Tides, to a reader who comments on any blog post between now and the end of Mardi Gras day, February 12, 2013. The comment must be HERE and not on my Facebook page or at Goodreads so that I can keep track. As always will determine one winner from everyone who participates.

Laissez les bon temps rouler, and many thanks. You really are the best.


  1. Liz on February 5, 2013 at 6:55 am

    Hope your knee is all better now.

    Our beagles were great escape artists, particularly when a neighbor walked his Doberman past our yard.

    • Emilie Richards on February 5, 2013 at 9:26 am

      They’re famous for this. The beagle across the yard from us in NY is named Houdini. For obvious reasons. Gotta love ’em.

  2. Becky on February 5, 2013 at 9:23 am

    We are blessed that you’ve used your talent and craft to enrich our lives. We clamour for more Shenandoah Album books because those characters who have such 3 dimensional lives have rooted in our hearts.

    I can’t wait for Somewhere Between Luck and Trust because I love the new series as well (as well as many of the other books you have written).

    Good books are like an old quilt, warm and comforting, and as diverse as those who make them.

    • Emilie Richards on February 5, 2013 at 9:25 am

      Thank you, Becky. What a nice way to start my day.

  3. Kelley Dworaczyk on February 5, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Thank you for the chance at such a great prize!

  4. P Duncan on February 5, 2013 at 9:36 am

    I love the Lousiana duos. I read them both while visiting my uncle in New Orleans. I just found and starting reading “Prospect Street.” Love all your books.

  5. Cathy Cameron on February 5, 2013 at 9:48 am

    I love your books…especially the ones that wrap themselves in a quilt. I have been quilting for 25+yrs and have several of your books in my quilt library.

  6. Renie in MN on February 5, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Wonderful books! I first found your books when by chance I checked out Whiskey Island. This has been one of my all time favorites! I have really enjoyed all of your books I have read. I guess it is probably more fair for Iron Lave & Rising Tides to go to someone who hasn’t had the pleasure of reading them yet. You really are a gifted author!

    • Emilie Richards on February 5, 2013 at 10:14 am

      If you win, then you can give them to a friend and introduce her to my books. Sounds like a good thing, right?

  7. Lucy Golden on February 5, 2013 at 10:44 am

    Wow, Emilie. This really struck me. I have been on a journey to loose 20 pounds for several years. Up, down, up, down. I’m back on the downward journey & the sentence, “Life really is just a bowl of kibble, whatever your kibble may be.” struck me…I’ve been using the wrong kind of “kibble” as a reward. I’ve set new goals & have a new reward set for reaching my goal. Thank you, Emilie!

    • Emilie Richards on February 5, 2013 at 11:01 am

      I’m really delighted this resonated for you. But you’re right, it has to be the “right” kibble. Of course with a beagle, anything will do. 🙂

  8. Marna on February 5, 2013 at 11:05 am

    I’m so glad you’ve made a breakthrough with Nemo!

    • Emilie Richards on February 5, 2013 at 11:16 am

      And you would know how much one was needed, right? Will this work with children, do you think? M&M’s maybe? Or raisins? (Healthier.) Thinking, no.

  9. Evelyn Ferguson on February 5, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Have enjoyed all your books especially Iron Lace and Rising Tides and the Shenandoah Album series as I’m a quilter who enjoys the camraderie of other quilters in guild and smaller groups.

  10. amyc on February 5, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Nemo. What a cute name!
    I have not had a chance to read any of your books yet. Maybe this will be how I start! 🙂

  11. Shanna on February 5, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    I had a beagle named Angel she was the best dog I have ever owned. When she was young she was aloud to run free, bu circumstances changed. No matter what I used she could pull it off or get out of it. So we started keeping her in a cage.One day I was watching her out the window and saw her climb up the cage backwards and kick the latch with her back feet until it came open. There was no way to stop her from hunting. I miss her all the time!

    • Emilie Richards on February 5, 2013 at 2:32 pm

      Escape artist, huh? I bet you do miss her. These dogs go right straight to the heart.

  12. Becky Rabalais on February 5, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    Brillant! Must keep this hint in mind when I walk my dog. Throw me something, Mister!

  13. Anne Safrath on February 6, 2013 at 9:10 am

    My son adopted an older Boston Terrier last year. When I take him for walks, it is not very aerobic–he stops to sniff everything ( and mark it if he can). He is so funny. I thought it was because he was an apartment dog and we are a suburb, and he was checking out his new surroundings,but he still does it. He is so funny.

    ( You and I “spoke” be email in the past. I’m the aunt of Sarah Grace, the young girl the Sarah Grace Foundation for children with cancer was named in memory of. I was disappointed that my stores did not stock your book on the release date.)

    • Emilie Richards on February 7, 2013 at 9:04 am

      I’m surprised they didn’t, Anne. It had good distribution. Be sure you let them know you were disappointed. Sometimes that helps. I hope the foundation continues to thrive.

  14. Bonnie on February 6, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    After nearly giving up on being able to walk my dog, a spaniel & lab mix, I bought a walking harness. He turned into the best walking partner ever. He stopped pulling and walking with him was just a joy.

    I think I’ve read everything you’ve published. I only wish you could write as fast as I read!

    • Emilie Richards on February 7, 2013 at 9:03 am

      Good for you for solving your dog problem so well.

  15. Linne Lindquist on February 7, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Tried calling but… What can be said.

  16. Lorraine Thacker on February 8, 2013 at 10:16 am

    You have a Beagle, I’ve always had Schnauzers, but they do the same thing. With the last one, the only thing that would work for me was to stop when he reach the end of the leash. He would immediately come back to investigate the problem. Eventually, he learned to stop just shy of the end of the leash! I am amazed constantly at how smart our canine companions are.

    I’m one of those people that used email to communicate my response to “Wedding Ring”, the first in the Shenandoah series. We can tell that you are a student of human nature, and we thank you for sharing all of your knowledge with us, your readers.

    • Emilie Richards on February 11, 2013 at 3:21 pm

      Thank you, Lorraine. We were flanked by Schnauzers at our last house. Wonderful dogs, both of them.

  17. Debbie Giammaria on March 20, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Dear Emilie,

    When I read your books your characters become my friends .. I almost feel like I can pick up and phone and give the a call..

    they warm my heart and keep me reading well into the night . I look forward to each and every one .. I have a nice big shelf dedicated to your books.

    Thank you 🙂
    Debbie Giammaria

  18. SueAnn Beer on March 20, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    I have read all your books..every series…and have re-read several…most enjoyable reading…..and thought provoking too…very clever. I would LOVE to win the books! From my favorite author! I will be sending off for some book plates.

  19. Ilene Harris on June 25, 2013 at 11:34 am

    Hope I win, glad your knee is better, love your books and dogs.

  20. Pam Reed on September 26, 2013 at 9:46 am

    I first “met” Emily when I emailed her about a book that hit a little too close to home and I was getting upset as to how it would end. She emailed me right back – letting me know that her books WERE stories close to home and sometimes that would happen. I hung in there and finished the book, and have been a loyal fan ever since. Keep those stories coming – I will always read them!

  21. Nancy Lepri on September 26, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    I can commiserate on the knee thing. I don’t have a dog that I can blame though! Mine’s a good old case of arthritis and old age! LOL But I’m finding Cross Fit (modified so as not to do further damage) is helping.

    I think it’s a GREAT idea that you’re giving away some books. I have to admit I already have ALL of them, and as I told you many times before I LOVE your writing!

    Take care and get back to the keyboard!!! 🙂

  22. Annette on November 28, 2014 at 8:45 am

    I’m on my 2nd beagle and after a 2 mile walk I love to sit down and read your book with a cup of coffee . (or a glass of wine )

    • Emilie Richards on November 28, 2014 at 9:43 am

      Blessed is she who adopts a second beagle. Mine is snoozing in the armchair in my study as I write. Glad you’re enjoying my book.

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