Portrait by Tao Nguyen

Tuesday, March 7, 2017


After Vietnam Vet, John Carrows rescues an abandoned puppy he starts to emerge from decades of self-imposed isolation. Here are some excerpts from page 112 "Vanilla Grass":
“Look at your new bed,” he said laying it on the floor. “Here’s a Nylabone and how about these biscuits?” He opened the box and offered her one, but she backed away. “C’mon, these are doggie treats. You’re gonna get them every day. Try it.” He held it toward her to tempt her. He watched her hesitate at first. She sniffed and finally grabbed the biscuit between her teeth. She finished it off, whined, and begged for another. “Oh, so you decided you like these? Okay, one more now, but you’ll have to wait till after dinner for dessert.” He held out another biscuit and this time she snapped it so eagerly she grazed his fingers with her teeth. “Ouch! You’ve got to learn some manners,” he said, rubbing where she bit him. “Sit, Sage.”
“Tomorrow, after you have your check-up, I’d better get a phone. What do you think?”
Sage continued chewing and he laughed at himself for thinking she’d have an answer.
He fixed himself a fresh pot of hobo coffee and put on one of the old scratchy gramophone records. He watched Sage laying on her new bed gnawing on her Nylabone. The fire was roaring and he felt content for the first time in forty years.

It's known that dogs are able to calm people battling PTSD when other attempts at conventional therapy have failed. Dogs have  heightened senses and know when triggers such as loud noises are about to cause panic and upset. They are trained to react by licking and being vocal to distract their human, and restore calm. Service dogs and comfort dogs are both emotional healers. Service dogs are trained to perform specific tasks. Comfort dogs are pets. To learn more about both, visit http://www.therapydoginfo.net/petpartners.html

Writing "Vanilla Grass" was important to me. There are two military bases nearby, and I often see military personnel walking around town in their fatigues. For decades the trauma of PTSD wasn't talked about. Things have changed and it's no longer a taboo subject. Also, where therapy for battle induced PTSD was only available through the VA and Tricare, new laws now make therapy available to see any licensed therapist in private practice contracted with the military.

To find some organizations devoted to matching veterans with trained service dogs, and resources for PTSD, visit my website and click on the Links tab.   www.lesliebratspis.com

"Vanilla Grass is available for Kindle download and is always free on KENP. Also available in paperback.

Leslie Bratspis, Author

Sunday, March 5, 2017


As a preteen I had the whole collection of Nancy Drew books. I'd settle in with one of her mysteries and read for hours, fascinated by the way a young girl about my age pieced clues together. That's why I featured female Detective Viola Hendricks in "White Dunes." What begins as a case to bring down a corrupt judge leads to several murders. Detective Hendricks doesn't stop digging for evidence until she arrests double-crossing thugs in the small desert town of White Dunes, California. As secrets are revealed through a combination of dogged sleuthing, coincidence, and fate, unexpected events emerge. Lives are changed in ways persons living on both coasts never could have predicted.

Page 133 "White Dunes"
Detective Viola Hendricks stood outside with her partner, Manny Santos, and a search team.

“Hello, Mr. Fielder. Good to see you again,” Manny said and the men shook hands. “We’re here to do an evidence search. Here’s your copy of the warrant.” He handed it over.

Josh glanced at the warrant. “Everything looks in order. Come inside, boys.” Josh nodded to Viola. “And you, too, Miss? I didn’t get your name.”

“Hendricks. Detective Viola Hendricks. And for the record it’s Mrs., not Miss.” She walked past him.