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2016_NDW_Logo_Theme_epsIt’s been a hot summer here on the East Coast. But nothing beats the heat of Chandler, AZ, the place to which I travelled for the Blog Paws conference in June. BlogPaws is the world’s only organization comprised of pet bloggers and authors. Although it was extremely hot outside, I heard so many cool speakers inside it was well-balanced! A shout out for the top-rate facility and gracious staff of the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort.

For me, it was a whirlwind experience; I attended many workshops and events and also got to participate in a Speaking panel and lead a lunch-table discussion. I was inspired by many and hope I was able to do so for others.

Here it is now, the end of August and I spend my time working with my hardworking agent, Donna Eastman of the Parkeast Literary agency. We’ve got some interesting projects circulating and working as a team, we hope that the right editor will reward us and lend their expertise and experience to bring these books to fruition (that’s fancy-talk for grant us a book contract(s)). Who knows what fall will bring. I thank all of you who continue to be so supportive and encouraging.

There’s also  my work on behalf of National Dog Week and my promotion of Dog’s Best Friend: Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week and Dog World Publisher (McFarland& Co., 2014) – the only account of Judy’s life and work ever written. It is filled with and interesting account of one man’s influence on America’s love-affair with its canines achieved through Judy’s prolific publishing, writing and editing efforts over the course of five decades.

This year, we declare that National Dog Week begins on Sunday, September 18th. But, if you wish to begin on Monday, or keep on celebrating the following week…no one will fault you! This year’s theme? “Readers Unleashed: Promoting Literacy with K9s” where dog-lovers utilize the power of the paw to encourage literacy and strengthen the dog-human bond. Does your library welcome Therapy Dogs, or does your shelter allow young people to read to the dogs?

I will also be guest blogging for the dog-loving folks at Tito’s Vodka for Dog People during National Dog Week. This all-American company founded by “Tito” Beveridge  fifteen years ago is sharing its growth and success to benefit canine well-fare across the nation.

I am currently  preparing for the Seaside Park Art Show held on September 3rd in Ocean County, New Jersey, combining my “dog writing” and art as presented in the work below. I hope you enjoy this scene that captures the magic of a fleeting season. Happy “Dog-ust”.


“Boy, Dog and Sea” vintage postcard c. 1945, acrylic painting on mat board-8 x 10






According to John Kremer’s newsletter, today is American Painter Day.  Most writers know that John Kremer is somewhat of a book promotion guru, helping authors obtain publicity for their projects.  With each e-mailed newsletter comes a summary of some little known days of observation.  My favorites have been Bon Fires can be Dangerous to your Health Day, and Starting Over Day, which conveniently falls just around my birthday.

Today, as I prepare for the upcoming 35th Annual Christian Brothers Academy Art Show, I am truly pleased that it is American Painter Day (I think that this should include house painters, too). 

For local art lovers, the show (in Monmouth Co., NJ) is what makes this coming weekend extra “Super,” as many enjoy the art exhibition as a warm up to that other big event on Sunday.  The show, a major fundraiser for the school, begins Friday evening with a classy wine and casual dinner reception for patrons and artists, and is open to the public for a nominal fee through Sunday afternoon.  For my fellow artists, and I, it is the first show of the year, a way to reconnect with the public.

When I created my first antique postcard painting in 1989 I never thought I would be doing this for so long.  My work employs the use of vintage postcards, which after being matted, are embellished with an extension painting that continues onto the mat.  Postcards can be anywhere from 50 to 100 years old.  The finished piece can be viewed from the back, showing postmarks, stamps and messages, they are the equivalent of our modern day e-mails.  I am happy to say that my work hangs on walls around the world!

In my research for my National Dog Week book, I have taken to collecting old postcards that feature dogs circa 1905-1940.  Some are cute, some sweet and sad, others beautiful, but all show me that even back then, dogs ruled!  These cards have been a welcome addition to my growing collection.

In honor of American Painter Day, I would like to give a shout out to my sister-in-law, a Fashion Institute of Technology grad, turned “country girl” and  mother of four, Gigi Begin.  Gigi is a gifted painter who recently presented me with a portrait of our dog, Hooper, painted on old barn wood.  It is truly beautiful.  Gigi’s paintings are on display in several venues in and around Cambridge, and Saratogoa Springs, New York. 

And a shout out to my “top dog” and husband, Rich, who is celebrating a birthday tomorrow.  Shhh…he told me if I wrote about him on my “Blag” (ryhmes with Blab) he would sabbotage my posts!  But I can only say good things about a guy who is patient and supportive, always there, a true friend to all, always looking out for everyone, always unpredictable, refreshingly honest, and very funny.

These days when I tell people I am concentrating on my writing, they mostly ask if I will illustrate my books, and if I’ll keep up with the painting.

In answer to those questions about my future plans, I really can’t answer them for I’ve always made my plans up as I go along….I’ll just have to consult the cards (postcards, that is).

Dog Trivia Question:  Which very popular dog from the Terrier Group is not recognized by the AKC?

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"Is it dog week yet?"

"Is it dog week yet?"

Michelle Mongelli and Wheezey

Pike, at Geiger Key

Hooper in the Keys

Hooper in the Keys

“Two Culprits” by Steven Hall

Logan & Koda


DJ Goes to Westminster

Zac and Cooper

"Look daddy, I can fly!"

“Hooper” – Best in Snow

Pita in Matt’s Garden

Hooper with cousin Roxy, Summer 2009

Me and my “Hoop”