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Earlier this month, I had the honor of presenting to the Medford-area (NJ) Branch of the American Association of University Women. Last fall they had contacted me after Tricia Reace, Vice-President of the chapter’s literary group read coverage of my book Around the World in 1909: Harriet White Fisher and Her Locomobile that had appeared in the Times of Trenton. http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2015/01/book_details_ewing_residents_1909_journey_around_t.html#incart_river
The AAUW’s mission is to advance equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research, breaking through educational and economic barriers so that all women have a fair chance.
When Cid Richards, Vice President of Programs, contacted me she explained that each year the group invites a woman author from New Jersey as their guest presenter at their annual Book & Author Champagne Brunch. The goal of this occasion is to raise money for their scholarship fund. As this book was authored by an author from New Jersey, about a New Jersey-based automotive pioneer, she thought the event’s attendees would appreciate this subject matter during Woman’s History Month.
At this gathering that over-looked the beautiful grounds of Medford Leas, I addressed a roomful of women (and a few men) that were fascinated by the life and travel of Trenton’s Harriet White Fisher and her intrepid band of traveling companions. Together, this team covered four continents during the course of thirteen months in a vehicle called a Locomobile.
During the event, I received several questions about Harriet’s trip as well as inquiries about how I came to tell her story and about my writing process and impressions of the publishing industry. What a great opportunity to share, and hopefully inspire, others.
At the conclusion of the address, I had the pleasure of signing copies of Around the World in 1909 as well as copies of Dog’s Best Friend and Something’s Lost and Must be Found. As an added bonus, I learned that a donation had been made in my name to the Alice Paul Institute. The Alice Paul Institute educates the public about the life and work of Alice Stokes Paul (1885-1977), author of the Equal Rights Amendment, and offers heritage and girls’ leadership development programs
I thank all of those of the AAUW involved in making the day so special including Elsie Behmer, Co-President, Treasurer Mary Ann Brookes, VP of Membership and Publicity coordinator June Ramondetta, Co-Vice President Literature Group Tricia Reace, AAUW NJ State Board Member Mary Switzer and of course, Cid Richards, Tri-Vice President of Programs; my point of contact throughout the planning process.
In turn, I will be contributing a percentage of book sales from this event to my “Be the Change” collection to benefit a local animal advocacy group.
Happy National Women’s History Month, Happy Spring. Watch for exciting news about National Dog Week 2016 in a subsequent post. Visit and LIKE the NDW Page:https://www.facebook.com/National-Dog-Week-218596591491974/?fref=ts
This summer, my thoughts are focused on dogs and travel. Having just returned from California, I had the privilege of signing copies of Around the World in 1909: Harriet White Fisher and Her Locomobile (American History Press) at the fabulous Bookshop Santa Cruz venue. This story begins in New Jersey and meanders through the NoCal region so it was especially fitting, and of course it features the incredible Boston bull terrier, Honkie, the first dog to be literally driven around the world. In keeping with this traveling theme, I introduce a pair of sisters who have published a book that has Captured: The Look of the Dog in their own unique manner. Welcome Fern and Gloria!
According to Fern and Gloria, dogs nationwide are begging their humans to read this book. Dog lovers and their best friends now have an evocative whimsical read. This collection of fictional short stories, poems, prose and faceted photographs expose the reader to a fanciful awareness of canines. It answers questions like, “Poo Diddy Poo?” – do dogs have bad hair days – including revealing details of puppy pee-mail.
One reviewer writes…
This book is essential for all dog lovers and pet parents! It captures the essence of dogs – the images itself are beautiful, and the copy is clever and very well-written. You can tell that the authors put their heart and soul (and paws) into this book – and it turned out wonderfully.
It is a good read and not too long and not too short. It is just the right amount of each dog and their little story. It makes you laugh, smile and in some case sad or makes you think. This book makes you want to read more and get to the next dog and the next story. It captures your mind and in some stories your heart!
Captured! is available via Amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com.
In keeping with our summer travel theme, Gloria and Fern offer these “Oddball Pointers” (their own words) for First Time Dog Travelers:
Before you go-go…
If you are staying at a pet friendly establishment for the first time, make sure to ask them if there are adequate outdoor accommodations. You would think since they are pet friendly, they would have thought of the excrement ramifications, but don’t assume. There is nothing worse than being surrounded by cement or stairs or on the fifth floor when your Labradoodle has to diddle in a hurry.
Speaking of the fifth floor. Be aware that all pet rooms/cabins are not created on the ground floor. Does your Border Collie know how to climb stairs? Is your Boxer afraid of being boxed in on an elevator? When that elevator door opens, my 90 pound hound mix charges inside, not caring if there is someone trying to get out of the elevator or if they are afraid of him. Find out what floor you’re on.
A word about packing, well two words…extra towels. This is in case of rain or beach excursions. Wet-dog smell is never an air freshener scent. And another three words…extra dog food. You can’t always find your brand if you run out.
And awaaay you go…
When our moms told us, “wear clean underwear in case you’re in an accident” I think she meant in case you have an accident. For years I stuffed a pair of clean underwear in my purse just in case.
Here’s a scenario. Dog travels in a car long distance for the first time, maybe excited, maybe nervous, maybe both. You have the dog in your lap or your dog leans over the front seat or you open the crate to let them pee and PLAHH. Your precious pup pukes on you and your clothes. Have a change of outfit handy is all I’m sayin’.
Examine the room/house where you will be staying. Dog-proof it to eliminate potential disaster. For instance, dead lizards and bugs in corners should be removed to avoid consumption. Floor vases, tail height glass objects, magazines on coffee tables could be transferred to higher elevations.
Out and about…
Be prepared for attention. Strangers may gawk at you like your clothes are on inside out. They’ll want to pet your pooch or feed ‘em while you’re dining. Hopefully they’ll ask permission first. Know what breed of dog you have. You’ll need to know this for curious minds. If you have answers ready you’ll me more relaxed. And isn’t that the goal of travel, to relax? Go for it.
Thank you Gloria and Fern for sharing with the fans of National Dog Week. Safe travels to all!
Author’s Note: I so loved speaking at my town’s library last week. Great reception and I met this ten-year old girl who was fascinated with the story of Harriet White Fisher, her journey, and of course Harriet’s incredible traveling pets!
One of the nice aspects of writing Non-fiction and Biographies is getting to know the living ancestors of your subject matter; such was the case with Will Judy and Harriet White Fisher.
In writing a Father’s Day Tribute to Captain Will Judy, I thought it would be fun to include his Great Nephew, Al Judy who introduced himself to me via my Facebook Page established for Dog’s Best Friend: Will Judy, Founder of National Week and Dog World Publisher.
Al Judy was pleased to learn that his accomplished relative, Great Uncle “Bill” (as he was called by family I’ve recently learned) had been given his “day” and his legacy had been shared with the world!
Will Judy married later in life and had no children. However, he was a father-figure to many dogs in his lifetime, his, and the thousands of dogs or more (and their humans) who benefited from his wisdom, experience and guidance offered through the pages of his Dog World Magazine and numerous dog books.
Long before it was fashionable, Will Judy extolled the value of dogs in building good character in our children. He believed that youngsters who cared for dogs developed traits of kindness and responsibility, and developed parenting skills. Over the years, celebrations of National Dog Week included writing contests for kids and events planned by scout troops. National Dog Week was meant to educate everyone, including the young, on dog breeds, dogs who needed good homes, and the physical as well as emotional needs of all dogs.
Keep in mind he wrote about this in the 1930s and 40s, and it may be argued that in our contemporary throw-away society, with its penchant for instant gratification, Judy’s ideas may be viewed as outmoded. I would like to think his views are still valid, however!
Recently, I saw that Al Judy had posted some photos of his adorable dog named Maya on his Facebook page. Maya (nicknamed Doodle Bug) is a seven-year old Standard Jack Russell terrier who came to the Judy household three years ago when a family friend had become too old and infirm to care for her and sought Al’s help . Judy and his family happily obliged and now Al calls Maya a gift. Al Judy’s entire family seems to have gone to the dogs, too, just as Judy had hoped all Americans would.
It warms my heart to see this generational progression of a dog-loving family. I know that somewhere in that “Dogdom in the Sky” Will Judy must be smiling down! Al’s mom, who lives in Will Judy’s hometown, has agreed to talk with me, and of course I will share with my good friends here on the NDW Blog. Always learning…the story continues.
Happy Father’s Day to my dad “Jackie Boy” aka Coach Begin, my husband Rich, a father and father-figure to many, and all those father-like “stand-ins” who guide their dogs and humans throughout the course of life.
Happy springtime! It was quite a long winter, just too cold to blog. Hopefully April will “thaw the paw” and I will be motivated by warmth and the promise of better days ahead.
The first quarter of 2015 has kept me busy with the promotion of Dog’s Best Friend: Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week and Dog World Publisher, and Around the World in 1909: Harriet White Fisher and Her Locomobile. Both titles tell the tales of some incredible people and their contributions to history. I am honored to tell their stories! I have also been working on a proposal for a children’s series of books based on the adorable world-traveling pets found in Around the World in 1909, something I am very excited about.
I am also happy to share that during the first two weeks of May, I will be the featured author on the DogRead site, the original cyber-book club established just for those who love to read about dogs. We will be discussing the short stories of Something’s Lost and Must be Found. If you’ve read this book, or wish to do so and join in the discussion, you can join the group by going to: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/DogRead/info
September seems a long way off, but it is never too early to think about National Dog Week. Its 87th Observance will take place the week of September 28th. This year, we celebrate the occasion with the theme, “At Your Service, All-Ways” a return to the theme of 1951 in which dogs were, and continue to be, honored by all the ways they serve humans. Will Judy, the founder of National Dog Week, never forgot the invaluable service of our Military Dogs even before they were an official part of our militia. Furthermore, he championed their therapeutic value to veterans of war suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder long before it was “fashionable”.
Dogs serve us in so many ways. Whether they are listening to a young person read out loud in “Read to the Dogs” programs, working as a Therapy Dog, or as a Service Dog (there are differences between the two), assisting our military on the war front or even detecting diseases like cancer, I think we are only beginning to realize their full potential.
If you wish to share a story that might suit the theme of “At Your Service-Allways” or plan to honor our dogs during National Dog Week, please send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on my books and bio, please visit www.lisabegin-kruysmanauthor.com
Amazon Link: http://tinyurl.com/obfhemv
I started blogging in January 2010 and I don’t know where those five years have gone. But when I look back, each post reminds me of my long journey to launch a career as a writer. I realize now I really had no idea of what I was getting into. But that’s a good thing because I might have reconsidered my choices. But I prevailed, and with the help of so many, saw several projects launched and completed; five books in all.
2014 was very busy with three of my books finding their way to the market. One, the first of the Collar and a Dream series was self-published. Dog’s Best Friend: Will Judy Founder of National Dog Week and Dog World Publisher was released by McFarland & Co in September, followed by my most recent, Around the World in 1909: Harriet White Fisher and Her Locomobile published by American History Press.
You might say I am driven to write (pun intended). But with so many fascinating events and people to write about, I see words and chapters as a literal path to adventure and self-discovery. I often find myself wondering if I could choose just one day to spend with Harriet’s traveling party, which would it be?
On the occasion of a visit to my hometown of Hackensack, NJ, during the holidays, I took a ride downtown to visit the street where Hackensack Middle School is located. As fate and coincidence would have it, the home of Alice Huyler Ramsey stands just a few houses down the road from my old school. Alice, if you don’t already know, is celebrated for being the first woman to drive an automobile from New York City to San Francisco in 1909, accompanied by three female companions. My “discovery” of her story would later inspire me to write the book about her equally famous contemporary and fellow-New Jerseyean, Harriet White Fisher.
When I pulled up to “Alice’s” house last month, I got out to take a few photos with my IPhone and noticed the house was being restored. I became aware I was being watched by neighbors and I shouted to one woman that I was just doing some research. Before long, I was aware of a person coming to the front door. A man emerged, “Can I help you he asked?” with a look of mild suspicion on his face. He explained the neighbors had alerted him of my presence.
I answered with a question, “Do you know the significance of this house?” to which he replied that he indeed did. “This is the house that belonged to the first woman to drive across America,” he stated. I was overjoyed. I quickly explained why I was there taking photos, and showed him a copy of Around the World in 1909 in case he thought I was a lunatic. I expressed that I was so glad to know the house would remain standing and he assured me in turn that it was being lovingly restored and served as offices for his law practice.
I always enjoy my visits back home and I’ve come to learn that roots go deep. Little did I know as a gangly tween attending Hackensack Middle School that I was less than a block away from my future. So I say, forget about The Snookie and her shore buddies, dismiss the Housewives of New Jersey, and embrace some True-Jersey treasures and the way they opened doors (cars and otherwise) for those to come. I hope that when I return to Hackensack to speak at the Johnson Public Library, or a hometown bookstore, I might stop by again and this time, be invited in to that historic home of Alice’s.
Well, that’s my “True Jersey” story, and this is where I exit.
For complete book and author information please visit: http://www.lisabegin-kruysmanauthor.com/
My friends who are authors know that unless you self-publish, you have to accept the fact that when published by others you will not retain the creative control over what your book may look like in its final incarnation. While this may sound discouraging, it can have its rewards and the wonderful process of what I call Universal Collaboration can blossom. Hear me out. Will Judy, founder of National Dog Week, often commissioned artists to create images to be used for NDW stamps and posters to promote the themes of annual Dog Weeks. You can see some displayed on my NDW Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974?fref=photo Of course I desired to use these images in my book, Dog’s Best Friend (McFarland & Co.) and although I, and others, presented information that Judy never called for this artwork to be copyrighted, my publisher chose the safe route and we were not able to include them in the book, and that was bad news for this author. Among my proposed book covers, I had envisioned a red, white and blue poster stamp of a military man posing with a German shepherd dog, promoting NDW’s theme of “In War and Peace” in 1945. As artists were not generally credited for the work they created for Judy, it was daunting to identify or credit them. My angst set in, how would we find the right cover without being able to obtain publishing rights? I have to admit, I recited the prayer to St. Anthony (Saint of all things lost) often, hoping the answer to my challenge would be found. But let’s back up a bit. At some point, I had contacted an author named Sharon Damkaer. Sharon is a huge fan of Will Judy’s and wrote a book about the renowned artist, Albert Staehle. http://www.americanartarchives.com/staehle.htm. Sharon understood my dilemma, and, when my publisher contacted her about obtaining the rights of one of Staehle’s works to serve as the cover for my book, she offered to help. She had at one time faced her own similar publishing challenges. During this process, independent of all of this, an older gentleman named Anthony had called my home and spoke to my husband. He told Rich that he did not own a computer, but someone had told him of my writing project about Judy and National Dog Week. He wanted to know if I would like to have an original poster from National Dog Week 1950. I returned his call and said indeed I would and within days, it arrived in the mail. You guessed it; it was the very same image that had been selected by McFarland & Co. to appear on the book’s cover. I sent him a thank you note with a copy of my book Something’s Lost and Must be Found. He responded in turn to thank me and said that this volume was now on his library shelf next to his volumes of Will Judy books. That image just put all doubt to rest. All things come full circle. By the way, did you note that his name is Anthony? And so, while the cover of Dog’s Best Friend is different from the one I envisioned, it shows me that sometimes, if we just chill out and let things happen in their own course, the results can be beautiful. These days I find myself repeating the mantra… Remain Focused, have Faith, be Confident that you’ve done your best work, and move on. Which reminds me, please watch for news on my next book due out shortly! Around the World in 1909: Harriet White Fisher and Her Locomobile (American History Press) the true account of an intrepid New Jersey woman who took the ultimate road trip with a dog on her lap at a time it was most unlikely. Happy National Dog Week to you all, may its spirit be with you year-round! Next year, we are embracing the way dogs serve humans with a revisited NDW theme of, “At Your Service – All Ways”. It is so good to find so many dog-enthusiasts Finding the spirit of a great American tradition that seemed to have been Lost for awhile! Thank you. Amazon book link: http://tinyurl.com/qbon8ty Please note that on October 31st, Dog’s Best Friend will be available in e-reader format. http://www.lisabegin-kruysmanauthor.com/
Last night, on the way to the Trenton City Museum, my husband and I sort of got lost. In doing so, we got a grand tour of Trenton and met some nice residents, gas station attendants and two helpful police officers. During our winding tour, I appreciated the historic homes and a Capital city that was looking pretty good on a beautiful June evening.
What struck me about this little detour was the fact that we were traveling to an exhibit of a notable Trentonian, a woman named Harriet White Fisher, who in 1909 hopped in a Locombobile with her butler, maid, driver and dog named Honkie. She drove to New York City where the car was packed and shipped to Paris and from there the real thirteen-month long adventure began.
So, here we were lost in an urban center with a million signs and arrows and a GPS device that was not cooperating and we almost did not arrive at our destination. Can you imagine driving through unchartered roads of India and Japan over one-hundred years ago with no maps, gas stations, convenience stores? Harriet was most likely rolling her eyes from heaven above.
I felt pretty humbled by this experience. Humbled, too, because through the twists and turns of fate, my interest in this fantastic story led me to a friendship with Becky Urban, the granddaughter of Harold Brooks, the young man who did most of the international driving and through his talent for photography, captured some beautiful images of this revolutionary road trip. Becky, and her family, have opened up their lives to me and have shared so much. Becky is a former educator and created a display that honors her family and the journey. As an added bonus, Triple A (AAA) is the sponsor for this event that runs through late September (Hey, that’s when National Dog Week is observed) Love it!
And isn’t it convenient that there are some terrific Companion Animals included in this story? Honk Honk, who is described as a Boston Terrier (looks part pittie to moi) was her mascot, Billikens, a funny little monkey acquired in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and a little Japanese Chin (Spaniel) the royal dog of Japan, all made a safe journey back to the States!
Next week, I will be sending my Will Judy biography off to its publisher. Its writing has been such a life-changing experience for me. The trouble with documenting persons relatively unknown is the crushing responsibility it brings for being the first to document someone’s life and legacy. So, I will just tell myself that I have done my best and move on. This summer I will work diligently on Harriet’s story and plan to deliver to my publisher, David Kane at American History Press, by February of 2014.
In the coming months, I will let you all know how we are progressing on the Will Judy/National Dog Week publication date and look for the launching of a Social Media platform that will begin on July 17 of this year, the date that Harriet and Company drove over the cobblestones of Trenton and away to explore the world off beaten paths. It will be sort of like a “virtual” worldwide journey with some fun guests joining in along the way.
When I tell people I am an author, they usually tell me that they, or someone they know, is planning to (or has) written a book and asks for advice. I tell them to subscribe to magazines like Writer’s Digest (that’s how I began writing short stories), join writing groups, take courses to work on your craft, attend workshops and seiminars. It is not easy. I can’t even begin to tell you how many rejections I have received. But even in those instances, I have had the privilege to get feedback from some very talented people in the industry. On my “expansion list” are courses in screen writing and documentary production!
Most importantly, enjoy the process and the journey of your writing experiences. When traveling off the neatened path, you will create roads on your own; but buckle up, sometimes the ride gets bumpy. A special heartfelt dose of gratitude to all who have come to help me on my own journey.