Where Have All the Good Tales Gone?

By Jay Stoeckl, Chief Assistant to the Assistant, Assistant Breeder, Dec. 13, 2023
Candy looking beautiful in her furry white coat

Happy Christmas season to all of you!

As many of you know, I love fiction writing. It has been about two years since I have placed a novel in print and a few of you, at least, may be wanting to know the inner story.

I’ve been working on a rewrite of the second novel I had written back in 2016. I had learned so much about what goes into a novel since that time. And during these past two years, I’ve had a number of followers who ask me when my next dire wolf tale will be in print. Jennifer’s grandmother, now in her nineties, is one of them and it touches me greatly when people care to ask.

When I spoke to a famous (anonymous) author this past summer, we both agreed that a day without writing is an empty sound. My writing for the dire wolf project has carried with it the goal to enrich our cultural experience, ensuring that each of your lives have a deeper meaning to it simply because you share in our passion.

I’m a complex individual in that everything surrounding me has to be in their proper place for me to write. There has been the family drama, then the camp move, and now the winterizing the cabins project. I know, I know, these are poor excuses. It has something to do with my ADD, to be sure. My attention deficit prioritizes the well being of our animals ahead of my selfish desires.

That and I had to be driving motor coaches for a touring company in order to sustain our living. Time has been a bit in short supply.

In my novels, the American Dirus present in the story is always key to the story’s outcome. They aren’t there just to be a cute addition, but are real characters there to guide and aid in the battle against the antagonist. Often the dog characters represent philosophical approaches to life only in a way a dog can instruct. Unconditional love is one of these traits. Living only in the present moment is another. We humans have a very difficult time with both of these attributes, try as we may.

In my current novel writing, Curry is a dog who had gone ferrel from the previous family who had not treated him well. His story reflects greatly my experiences in New England when Cotton Candy underwent something similar when scared out of her wits by knuckle-headed teenagers. Candy’s story was ghostly, because, during my rescue mission, I encountered her only in the middle of the night. And she was all white like Yeti.

So I transfer that experience onto Curry, a dog seeking out new answers while finding a symbiotic relationship with his new master. And no, this is not a human interest story about relationships—stories like On Golden Pond. This one has still the aspect of adventure, a modern day tale of an archeologist onto the trail of an old artifact lost during the Crusades. But I like to add subtle facets that one may find in human interest stories or even in romance novels. And why not?

Even though the novels’ protagonist and antagonist is not dire wolf dog, the canine holds an imperative key role in the story. His deeper purpose is unrecognizable during most of the journey. Look closely and you might start to guess how his covert spirit projects a certain movement in the storytelling.

I love writing. I don’t know why, but I understand the craft even though I never received much education in that field. While teaching writing many years ago to school children, something had clicked. Good storytelling is like weaving mystery and intrigue like colors in a loom—everything has to unravel in exactly the right way.

For those of you who have been waiting for Abbot and the Stone to be finished, my sincere apologies. My story is at the climax so it shouldn’t be long now. I want to complete the cabin work and settle into the project while the snow is flying outside my window this coming month. Like in the Jacob Lake Trilogy, I give it my all, not just to entertain, but hoping the story enriches you in a positive way.

With the deeper purpose Curry represents in my current novel and Angelou in Pursuit of the Keepers, each of these dogs represent your dog as well. Their roles, their mission of stealth, is present in every American Dirus.

If you have never read my works and love to read, the trilogy is available on Amazon under pen name Gabriel Paulson. I hope you will take a look. And if you happen to like it, perhaps leave a review to enhance Amazon’s sales algorithm.


Oh, and if you should happen to acquire a puppy from the Giant’s litter or any of our adults, I just might be bringing you a free signed copy during the February Dire Wolf Express trip.

Jennifer Stoeckl is the co-founder of the Dire Wolf Project, founder of the DireWolf Guardians American Dirus Dog Training Program, and owner/operator of DireWolf Dogs of Vallecito. She lives in the beautiful inland northwest among the Ponderosa pine forests with her pack of American Dirus dogs.