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Last Wednesday, the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) announced the nominees of their Regular Categories for their Annual Writing Competition. The DWAA, formed in 1935, continues to support and reward writers, bloggers and authors who capture the essence of the human-canine bond on so many levels.

This year, for the first time ever, winners of Regular Categories, and those of the Special Awards category, will be announced before the DWAA Banquet in New York City held this year on the evening of February 10th. So, many of my fellow nominees, and DWAA members, will be excitedly watching on Wednesday, December 13th, at 7:00pm (EST) on the DWAA Facebook and Twitter sites as the results roll in!

Yes, I said fellow-nominees, because for the third year in a row, I was thrilled to discover that my writing had garnered notice. In 2015, my biography of DWAA Co-Founder, Will Judy, was nominated in the Reference Book category and last year I was honored with three nominations, taking home a Maxwell in the Short Fiction category and The North Shore Animal League America Award for my blog post on the topic of Spay and Neuter.

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Teddy models the Maxwell: A very Sirius occasion!

This year, I’ve been nominated in the Short Fiction category for my short story On the Scent of Life about the personal struggle of a Cadaver dog handler, and for a guest blog post titled Fostering Ginger. Special Awards are “super secret” with no nominations, just that “And the winner is” moment! No matter the outcome, I’m honored to be nominated among such talented colleagues and wish all nominees the best.

Also last Wednesday, just after these announcements were made, I tuned into a webinar to reunite with fellow students and instructors from the Middle Grade Mastery course I’d enjoyed this past spring. The MGM course is one of many classes offered by Mira Reisberg of the Children’s Book Academy, and was co-taught by author Hillary Homzie. During the MGM course, I revised a Middle Grade novel with the personal input and one-on-one editorial guidance of Mira and enjoyed critique groups with fellow-writers from around the world, many who have remained in my Writing Universe.

During this hourlong gathering, those in attendance spoke about their journeys in securing agent representation and their submissions and subsequent review by editors. Mira and Hillary offered helpful insight to get us unstuck if we’re in a rut and suggested ways we can improve our chances of making 2018 a success for our projects.

Hillary reminded us to be mindful of our time by restricting time spent watching TV (sorry binge watchers) or on Social Media. She rightfully pointed out that even by writing one or two paragraphs a day, we are heading toward completion be it a Picture Book or a 45,000 word MG Novel. I also liked her reminder that when we’re unsure of where our character and plot are going, to stop and interview our characters to fully flush them out.

Mira encouraged us to mine our imaginations for all the possibilities and outcomes of a plot by asking the simple question, “So, what’s your premise?” It’s a deceivingly simple question, but one should be able to let an audience know the essence and purpose of your book in just a few sentences enticing readers to want to know more.

I’ve met many aspiring writers who feel that they don’t need writing instruction because they think all you need to do is think up a story and sit down at the keyboard. That’s a great start, but there’s so much more to it. Even with a gripping, well-executed manuscript, it isn’t easy to engage overworked literary agents and editors, or small presses and The Big Five publishers.

Part of the appeal of the MGM course, and others offered by the CBA, are that they include the involvement of some well-established agents and editors. Scholarships are also available and some students even receive a Golden Ticket from a participating agent, or editor, with an invaluable invitation to submit a Full Manuscript for serious consideration! The CBA courses use Facebook as their meeting base, so if you do take a course, be advised you’ll need to set up an account to participate.

My MGM project has endured many revisions, title changes and winding paths, but with each turn, it becomes a stronger story and I’m hopeful that it will find the right home in the coming year, embracing the mantra that it will land on “the right desk, at the right time”. While there is no course to find the exact moment of that winning combination, taking writing courses like those offered by CBA just might make that match a reality.

For the entire list of DWAA Writer’s Competition Nominees:

https://dogwriters.org/2017-nominees/

For more information on the Children’s Book Academy visit:

http://www.childrensbookacademy.com/

For a free webinar and Scholarship info: https://wj168-366180.pages.infusionsoft.net/

Work hard and practice Enlightened Persistence. To be continued!

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The Author presents Bud Buccone with the Captain Wm. Lewis Judy Special Award at DWWA Conference


     February is Spay and Neuter Awareness Month and Prevent a Litter Month, making Sunday, February 12, especially memorable for me, when I attended the Dog Writers Association of America’s Awards Banquet in New York City.

     Late last year, while filing entries for the DWAA’s Annual Writing Competition, I entered a blog post I had published in August  2016 to be considered for the North Shore Animal League America Special Award for a piece titled “Desert Paws” about a successful Spay and Neuter program in New Mexico.

(see Link below).

     Unlike entries in the Regular Categories, the names of those who receive a Special Award/Grant are not revealed until the day of the Awards Banquet. I knew, for instance, I had been nominated in the Art and Short Fiction Categories, and that alone was truly exciting.

     At the event, I was also fortunate to be part of a speakers panel featuring Carol Bryant of Blog Paws, Maggie Bradburn Marton, Amy Tokcic for a writing seminar offered by the DWAA. Topics included navigating the publishing industry, pet blogging and utilizing Social Media effectively. I was also thrilled to receive a Maxwell Medallion for my Short Story Second Chances and also presented the first-ever Captain Wm. Lewis Judy Award to Bud Buccone for his video, “My Buddy” honoring Military Dogs of WWII!

     I haven’t blogged much these days as I’ve been focusing on book length projects, however, if my posts can make a difference, I hope to do more of this in the coming year.

     Preventing unplanned and ultimately unwanted litters of cats and dogs is the truest rescue there is. There will always be displaced and unhomed companion animals, however, if the unplanned pet population is reduced through Spay and Neuter initiatives, those pets that find themselves without homes will be fewer in number and will benefit from healthier and happier shelter and foster experiences. Please support those who are working so hard to make the world a better place for humans and animals, like the folks at Desert Paws. 


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My Muse, Teddy!

To read the winning post for the North Shore Animal League America Award:

Desert Paws Offers a Regional Program as a Model for Nation-Wide Spay & Neuter Initiatives

To Read Second Chances (Maxwell Medallion Award for Short Fiction):

http://4theloveofanimals.com/blog/2016/07/20/second-chances/

 

 

 

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Teddy and I with Laura Pople

“Between the attitude toward the dog of those far past centuries and the attitude of today is a vast journey in the direction of kindness and a heart of sympathy.”    Will Judy, 1949

On Valentine’s Day, my husband Rich and I headed into New York City for the Dog Writers Association of America’s Awards banquet. Fittingly, my book, (a true labor of love),  Dog’s Best Friend: Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week, and Dog World Publisher, had received a Maxwell Medallion nomination in the Reference category. As Judy was highly influential in the establishment of the DWAA back in 1935, and Maxwell Riddle was his protégé, it was quite an honor. Alas, we did not bring home the Maxwell but some stellar connections were made and more books are in progress. One of them a collaboration with Laura Pople, founder of Seer Farms, will share the poignant stories of the people and pets of this special place.

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Teddy Meets a Seer Farms Resident

 

Located in a rural area of New Jersey, Seer Farms was founded in 2009 by Laura and her board, to embrace the mission that our pets are truly family members and no circumstance should ever separate them from us. Seer Farms is a facility that will take in the family cat(s) or dog(s) (and occasional “other” creature) of those in need and care for them until the situation permits pets and people to reunite under one roof.  These pets come to her as the result of military deployments, domestic violence, natural disasters and from pet owners who are going through challenging times and need a hand in caring for their pets until more fortunate circumstances prevail. By offering this unique opportunity, many pets are saved from abandonment and uncertain fates.

I had the opportunity to meet Laura recently when Rich, and dog, Teddy, helped me deliver a collection of donated supplies. During our visit, we met a woman who was there to spend time with two of her dogs that are being cared for by the facility. Deb told us that she had lost her home in Hurricane Sandy, and like many others, still had not fully recovered from that life-changing event of three and a half years ago. Her home is in the process of being raised and when that is complete, she and her dogs will enjoy their special Reunion Day when they hop into her car and take that much-awaited ride home. Deb appreciates these visits but notes that at the end of each, her dogs try to lead her to the car so that they can go home with her. As someone who personally witnessed the devastation of that storm, I can attest to how important this oasis has been for so many.

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A Happy Cat Greeting from a Resident Feline

 

I can’t think of a happier event than the occasion of something like Reunion Day  – having your beloved pet once again by your side,  – having come through the worst of times, and now, ready to provide comfort and support to each other as their journey continues.

In her actions and her life’s work, Laura and her staff and board, have made a major difference in the lives of animals, and the humans who love them. Their work and mission fully embrace what Will Judy wrote so many years ago, “Between the attitude toward the dog of those far past centuries and the attitude of today is a vast journey in the direction of kindness and a heart of sympathy.”

I thank all those who contributed to our Seer Farms supply drive: Maureen Johnson and the Sayer and Schoberg Families, Bonnie Werkmeister, Boy Scout Pack 16 of Pt. Pleasant, NJ, Skittles (the Bichon) Barros and the members of the Junior Auxiliary Unit of American Legion Post 348 in Brick, NJ.

Recovery, Reunion, Renewal….that is the goal of Seer Farms. To read more about this unique sheltering model, its staff and volunteers:http://seerfarms.org/

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A Sign of Hope

Come join in the fun and hear me speak about writing for the pet-industry and beyond at the Blog Paws Conference in Phoenix, AZ June 23-25. https://www.pinterest.com/blogpaws/blogpaws-conference-photos/

My apologies for not writing here in a week.  I’ve accepted a position as an Examiner (Newark Travels with Pets) at Examiner.com, and I’ve been busy learning the ropes. I learned of the position  while visiting the Dog Writers Association of America’s  (DWAA) site.  As an Examiner, I will be writing about pet-related subjects in New Jersey.  You can view the first two posts on my Facebook page.  I am listed as Lisa Begin Kruysman (no hyphen).  When an article is published, I will be sending it directly to my page. 

This Blog will continue to focus on the writing of my National Dog Week Project.  I’ve kept it on a short leash lately, trying to make progress each day.  I will also Blog about pet-related issues from other areas of the world, and include some information on the topics of art and writing.  I like writing the Examiner articles, with their tight focus and style, they are a good exercise in getting “write” to the point!

My next two Examiner pieces will cover some Fundraising events.  The Point Pleasant Animal Welfare Committee’s Spring Festival, and Babette Haggerty’s  “Bark this Way” walk for the American Cancer Society Bark for Life event (both taking place next weekend).  To sign up for that, or make a donation, visit Babette’s site at  www.haggertydog.com Babette is the daughter of the late, great Captain Arthur Haggerty, the legendary dog trainer who was also a big fan and supporter of National Dog Week.

In my “absence” I forgot to wish all of you pet lovers a happy Responsible Pet Owners Day on April 18.  Keep up the good work.

Hooper

"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

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”