Farewell, old man

As you may remember, we lost our sweet Nellie in January of this year. Shortly after her passing, our oldest dog, Buehrle suffered some sort of seizure or stroke where he lost his vision, hearing, and mobility for a brief time. We gave him meds, changed his diet, and hoped for the best. He got good, but not great, and we’ve known since then that it was only a matter of time. All considering…we were lucky to get this much time with him.

After a valiant fight and steady decline, Buerhle died last week. He was nearly fifteen. He was our first. He was the reason we started our corgi collection. Pembroke Welsh Corgis are a wonderful breed of intelligent, friendly, energetic, loving, and explosively shedding dogs and he was a shining example of just how amazing they are.

Since we knew we’d be losing him all too soon, I had been documenting his adventures. Even after he could no longer walk with us, we still took him on car rides to parks and forest preserves. He would rest in the shade while the other dogs were walked. We even brought him along paved trails in the wagon. I’d post the photos on Facebook and title them, “Old Man at the ____”.  Here is that collection of photos (and a couple of others).

It doesn’t matter that we’ve expected this day since February, you’re just never ready to lose a loved one. I know we were lucky to have such a great dog for such a long time, but that doesn’t make me miss him any less.

NOTE: Please, do yourself a favor and do not get your pets at the same time or close together. 😦 Ozzie is almost thirteen. What the hell were we thinking?!

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What I’m Working on Now

I am so excited to be in the middle of a new/old project.
As you may or may not know, November is National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo is a writing challenge where you try to hit a word count goal of 50,000 words in 30 days. Originally, I thought I would focus on the follow up to my Mary O’Reilly Paranormal Mysteries Kindle World story, Kinder Garden, but instead, I launched into a series of themed short stories, officially making me a NaNo Rebel.

Since the time I first joined the DeKalb Area Writers Group–gees, eight, nine years ago now?!–I have wanted to publish a collection of short stories. We would meet once a month and write a brief piece to a shared prompt. I really enjoyed the exercises and acquired a tidy collection of flash fiction (1000 words or less). Several of those stories have been published over the years online and in print.

When I left DAWGs and became a founding member of In Print Professional Writers Organization, I wanted to continue that monthly writing routine so I started The Prompt Club. TPC met for five years, and I collected even more stories.

I still haven’t put together a compilation.
But Chris Cacciatore, a member of The Prompt Club did! She recently published a collection of eight of her TPC stories in Weird, Wicked Tales: Creepy Stories for All Hollow’s Eve. 99 cents for 8 original shorts on Kindle! Download it now!

A while back, with DAWGs, one of the prompts was to write a story about a phobia. I ran with it. I wrote three or four shorts that month and decided I wanted to write more—13 to be exact, and publish them in a collection titled, Foe Be Us. Say it…yes, see? Word play! And it works because we are our own worst enemy, you know, nothing to fear but fear ourself. (I’m so clever, lol)

Chris’ launch got me thinking and that thinking coincided with NaNo. I’ve written seven new phobia stories since the month began. I’m having a lot of fun with these disturbing tales and since they are no longer limited to the thousand word count recommended for TPC, I get to flesh out the fears fully. My subjects range from the obscure Rasemaphobia to the much more common, Glossophobia, with a variety in between.

NaNo is a fast and furious technique with few rules and little editing, so once the month is complete, I will still have a lot of work to do before these stories are ready for public consumption.

But never fear (pah dum pum), Foe Be Us is coming…

Here is the link to Otis, one of the phobia stories I wrote for DAWGs about Cloutaphobia. It’s been published several times and will not be in the final collection. Because it doesn’t have to be! I have so many stories in progress, there may very well be two volumes.

And that’s what I’m working on NaNow.

Thank you folks, I’m here all week.
(I crack myself up.)

 

 

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Turtles All the Way Down – a book review

I recently completed reading the latest John Green novel, Turtles All the Way Down. I saw an ad for my local DeKalb Book World saying they had a limited amount of author signed copies. I had seen John speak several years ago in support of The Fault in our Stars and thought, hey, I saw him, he signed this book, it’s like he signed it for me, counts.

Since this purchase, the Book World franchise has announced the closing of all of it’s stores. Not only is it heartbreaking (they carried my novel, Pocket Money, at both the Freeport and DeKalb locations) but it’s also indicative of my feelings towards this book.

I loved The Fault in our Stars. I laughed, I cried, I devoured that story in a matter of days, which says a lot for me. I then read several other titles by John Green, none of which came even close to my adoration for TFIOS. Two titles I found so ludicrous in premise and/or inability to engage I didn’t even finish. That also says a lot for me.

I wasn’t completely surprised by the lack of plot in Turtles. His books are definitely character driven and Turtles has some interesting characters. I said to a friend, “I’m literally halfway through this book and I have no idea what it’s about.” Her response was, “It’s about a girl with OCD.” Exactly. All character, no plot.

And, duh, I knew that.

I am familiar with OCD and other anxiety disorders. I am sympathetic and even a little empathetic. John Green has been very open and forthcoming about his own illness. I think Aza Holmes (the main character) is very well written. Frighteningly so. I worry that her affliction will alienate some readers. I worry that her spiral will trigger others. I think his descriptions, comparisons, and metaphors regarding anxiety disorders are very well done. I was reading about Aza’s compulsions thinking, oh god, don’t do that at the same time I was understanding why she had to do that. That’s a reaction not every author could impel.

I didn’t like this book. It was a challenge to read because of what the main character experiences and her inability to just do things better or differently. It was kind of boring since nothing really happens and the stuff that does is kind of unbelievable…up till the last 20 pages or so where I found the ending to be quite satisfying. And overall, I believe the POINT of the book is to be confounding. I didn’t think The Fault in our Stars was a novel about kids with cancer, I thought it was about so much more. Turtles All the Way Down IS a novel about a kid with OCD, and although not my favorite read, it may be a more important one.

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NaNoWriteMore

It’s almost November! Can you feel the excitement carried on the brisk winds? The anticipation filling the air like so many golden leaves? The thrill of shorter days and longer hours tackling a wordy adventure while power-caffeinating?

November brings National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short.
I first joined in 2011. I have “won” several years. If you write 50,000 words (or more) in 30 days, you win NaNo. That’s only about 1700 words a day, easy-peasy, right?

 

 

 

 

 

FYI, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix tops 200,000 words.

I have started a new novel each year. Even when I finished NaNo successfully, I haven’t edited a project to completion. This year shall be different! I’m planning on working on my third Mary O’Reilly Kindle Paranormal Mysteries Kindle World story, Safe Harbour. And not only finishing it, but readying it for publication soon after!

My first novella in the series is Kinder Garden, my second is Baker’s Dozen, and this next one will be a sequel to the first. I’m very excited about this NaNo!

 

 

 

 

 

FYI, these novellas are 25k to 30k words.
I COULD WRITE TWO!

I probably won’t.
But I could…

I get more written in the month of November with the support and encouragement of my family, friends, and NINo Knights, than I do the rest of the months combined.
NaNoWriteMore!

If you are interested in sharing this aura of literary elation, register now for NaNo 2017!
Click here to go to the NaNo homepage. Be sure and join the Rockford Region so we can keep track of each other’s progress. Honestly, that’s probably the ONLY place you’ll bump into me in the next 30 days, lol.

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For your consideration…

In a time of transgender bathroom battles, 31 identity options (according to the state of NY), and the ever-growing alphabet of LGBTQIAetc, isn’t it a tiny bit ironic that GENDER REVEAL PARTIES are so trendy? Using only *gasp* two choices: pink and blue!

Do you find it counterproductive that we raise our babies with constant vehicular entertainment then freak out when they text and drive?! Think about it, in addition to the tech YOU provided to keep them occupied, entertained, and quiet–cell phones, game players, iPads, etc–DVD players now come standard in many “family” cars. They’ve NEVER not been electronically engaged while in an automobile, is it any wonder they’re checking their phones from the driver’s seat?

Riddle me this, dear readers, how is it possibly to have two completely opposite reactions to bullying and name-calling? If a teenager attacks a peer through messaging, Twitter, or Facebook, it’s cyberbullying. If a Hollywood darling does it, it’s hilarious and retweeted, oftentimes earning it’s own #hashtag. Regardless of context, if an average middle-aged white man uses a derogatory term, we hate him, that racist so-and-so, but if a late night talk show host does it, ratings skyrocket. One such host was sued for defamation due to “ruthless character assassination”. Say what? Those words may literally be listed in the job description of half a dozen of the most aggressive (and popular) “reality news” show hosts. Bullying is bad, right? Yet we’re all tuning into an insult-rapping show.

I’m confused.
https://giphy.com/embed/XrHc1gDORei1q

Feel free to add your own observations in the comments.
I’m sure there are PLENTY of ironies I’ve left off this brief list for your consideration.

 

 

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La-la-la L is for

In continuation of The Writer’s Alphabet, here’s the letter L:

La-la-la LIFE.

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Fifty One-derful

Last year, when a bunch of my friends and I all turned FIFTY, we freaked a little. Just a little, I mean, fifty is the new forty and all that. We’re a pretty defiant bunch, not gonna let age take us prematurely, we’ll go kicking and screaming into the elder abyss, but still…FIFTY.

Well, we all survived and lived to ignore it. Fifty plus one more is just no big deal.

Dave and I did the same things to celebrate that we’ve been doing for years…decades even. We ate and drank and went to a concert. We saw Kaleo, an icelandic group that you many not have heard of, but you’ve probably heard.

From their Wikipedia page: Their songs have been heard on many other television shows including Orange is the New BlackBlindspotSuitsVinylGrey’s AnatomyEmpireThe LeftoversFrequencySupergirlLucifer (TV series), “Longmire“, The Vampire Diaries, and Frontier. “Way Down We Go” was featured in the second trailer for the film Logan.

Beginning with Bunco, then Madison and the concert, then a gorgeous day of hanging out and enjoying the gorgeous day (have I mentioned October 8th, 2017 was gorgeous?! It’s been known to whip winds and spit snow, so it’s important to note the gorgeous-ness, lol) It was a fabulous weekend. I expect to stretch birthday celebrations through the coming week, as well.

I’m not saying I think the Bears will win in honor of my 51st birthday, but I’d like to at least see them in the game tonight.

Thank you to everyone who called, texted, and posted Happy Birthday wishes on Facebook. I fully expect this year to be fifty one-derful.

(It’s just a good song, no inferences implied by the title, lol)

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