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It’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”.
As the Full Snow Moon rises in the February sky, today also marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens…so I lead with one of his quotes because it suits this post perfectly….
“An idea like a ghost, must be spoken to a little before it will explain itself.”
As some of you know, February is Spay and Neuter Awareness Month. My last post discussed the work of the group Project Pets – Spay , Neuter, Love. https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Project-Pets-Spay-Neuter-Love/160594203971240 I hope you will join them as they continue their humane work. It truly is the new face of Rescue.
I have so much to post about, among them, a “report” from a Peaceful Protest against a Puppy Retailer in my town (and coverage of the closing of the deplorable Puppies Galore in Brick, NJ), http://brick.patch.com/articles/officials-remove-sick-puppies-from-brick-pet-store?ncid=following_comment and one about the terrific work some young people are doing on behalf of homeless animals and more. Of the first, it is amazing how so many I talk to are so unaware of the scope of this problem. It is a bad situation that harms animals and humans, please take my word for it.
There have been many developments on the writing front and it has been difficult to keep up…but I will.
Last Friday evening, I experienced my first author appearance for my short story collection, Something’s Lost and Must be Found. http://www.amazon.com/Somethings-Lost-Must-Found-ebook/dp/B0051ZMYG2 This “little” book was Midwest Book Reviewed last November, was e-reader news today’s Book of the Day on December 5, 2011 and received a three-part review by Teddy Hilton Blogger, Dr. Patrick Mahaney. It was offered in a soft cover version in January. It would make a terrific and affordable Valentine’s Day Gift for any dog-lover, if I may suggest….
In June, I made a visit to Booktowne in Manasquan, NJ, to meet author Lisa Pliscou (Dude: Fun with Dude and Betty). While there, I got to talk to Maribeth Pelley, the shop’s marketing and public relations consultant. She asked me to contact them when Something’s Lost became a “real” book. I did, and they made good on their offer. We set a date and together publicized and prepared for the event.
Booktowne owner, Rita Maggio and the store’s manager, Janice, could not have been more helpful. The store is a beautiful place in the quaint downtown section of a historic Jersey Shore town. All three worked so well together to make me, and those who attended, feel very comfortable. It was a successful event all round.
I read an excerpt from the book’s longest (and my favorite) selection, THE HOUSE OF THE HAPPY DOG, talked about the evolution of the NDW Blog and discussed the writing process that led to the publishing of this book and the others to come. I know there are literally millions of blog sites out there and scads of new reading material presented each day on e-readers and in book shops; to be able to personally connect with an audience was a such a rewarding experience.
On Facebook, friends, whose distance made it impossible to attend, asked me two questions on-line. First, where do you get your story ideas and how did you start writing about dogs? To the first, I say that I am always “absorbing” material via radio, television, newspapers and conversations. I write these items down and eventually they fall into a “title” that I am in the process of developing. Sort of like a bird building a nest.
As for the second question, I have always loved animals, especially dogs. Each day, I see their value as helpmates for humans. They are therapists, service providers, companions, guardians and more. To me, they represent an enormous untapped potential for good, one that we have only begun to tap. To see so many of them abused, neglected and discarded, is truly sad and frankly, mind-boggling. I was inspired to begin writing about this subject when I began researching my book about Will Judy, the man who launched National Dog Week, at the start of the Great Depression, to address this topic. This biography, as yet untitled, will be released sometime in 2013 by McFarland and Company. I thank them for seeing its merit.
But, canines aren’t the only subject of my writing. My Young Adult Novel (or Young Adult at heart novel as I refer to it) FULL SNOW MOON (Bradley Publishing) will rise on February 28th. Like the previous book, it will be initially offered for e-readers. I am hoping for a soft cover version by the summer beach reading season. Although it is classified as a Contemporary Story, it is a paranormal mystery that covers a span of time ranging from 1803 to the present-day Jersey Shore. Rest assured, the book does not contain any characters that remotely resemble Snookie and the “Situation.”
It is my Valentine to the New Jersey Shore region and the state as a whole. I love the cover the publisher has designed for it, too (see above)! I hope you will be able to read it and review it on my Amazon Page. On March 11 my publisher and I will host a live event on Facebook as an official launch. I will let you all know the details. It should be a lot of fun. I truly hope you will join us!
May the force of the full moon be with you and congratulations to the NY/NJ Giants…It will be pure lunacy on the streets of New York City today…
“For it is by muteness that a dog becomes for one so utterly beyond value; with him one is at peace, where words play no torturing tricks.” John Galsworthy, English 1867-1933
NOTES FROM THE BLOG…it’s been a difficult time for dog-lovers…Nike has awarded Michael Vick a great big bone of an endorsement deal and James Lovell, the man who dragged the sweet “Little Brown Dog” showed up in court this week in Tennessee only to find he gets another seven months to roam free until a new court date in February despite the best efforts of some hardworking advocates… Let’s carry on anyway…
The 83rd Observance of National Dog Week will be honored the week of September 19th. Use it as a time to make a difference. For more information, please see ABOUT.
As promised, I am publishing the seventh story of my short story collection, SOMETHING’S LOST AND MUST BE FOUND. It is still only available as a Kindle version, but as requested, it will be available in softcover by August. http://www.amazon.com/Somethings-Lost-Must-Found-ebook/dp/B0051ZMYG2/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1310822775&sr=1-1Please remember that a portion of all proceeds will go to help some deserving animals (I’ve already chosen the first recipient and will share soon). Next time someones asks what book they should download …please keep this in mind!
I thank those who have been able to read it. Currently, it has received 26 Five-Star Reviews! Below, is Part One of STILL LIFE WITH DOG IN RED COLLAR, an updated version of a short story that was awarded an Honorable Mention in the 75th Annual Writer’s Digest Competition. I will print its conclusion in the next post.
Still Life with Dog in Red Collar
“What exactly have you been learning in that art room anyway, Kevin?” My father talked at me from across the breakfast table on this warm mid-September morning.
I chose not to answer.
“You have to start focusing on your S. A. T.s. In case you’ve forgotten you’ll be retaking them soon. Your last scores weren’t exactly spectacular.”
Exactly was a meaningful word for my father, a Certified Public Accountant. In his world, exactly was a word that fit. And as to his question, I couldn’t exactly explain what I was learning in that art room. But I was well aware that I wasn’t the conventional college-bound A-plus son he desired.
Despite my silence, he persisted. “By the way, how are we doing in our S. A. T. prep classes?”
We? Our? I wanted to say. But I just managed an “Okay.”
Lately, it seemed the inhabitants of my universe were so hung up on S. A. T. scores, grades and choosing the right colleges. It all seemed pointless to me because most of my classmates didn’t even have a clue as to what they wanted to do with their lives. At least I did.
I knew the real purpose of this conversation was to further discourage my career choice of becoming a fine artist. A fine lawyer or even a fine investment banker was more to his liking, something he deemed safe and sound. I knew he was only thinking of my welfare, but the subject was getting old.
“My art teacher, Mrs. Turner, said I have a good chance at an art scholarship if I turn in a strong senior project for my portfolio,” I said. “Or I can enlist in the military and go to Afghanistan.”
This strategy worked. My father stood up so fast he knocked over his chair. He slammed down his coffee mug, breaking off its handle.
“Damn hand-made pottery,” he muttered for my benefit. It had been purchased by me last June as a Father’s Day gift at a local arts and crafts fair.
He stormed out of the room, but hurried back to the kitchen, groping through a messy stack of papers and junk mail for his car keys. He seemed eager to escape to the sanctuary of his orderly office several safe miles away. “And since you brought it up, how are you doing on that senior art project of yours anyway?” He spoke to me over his shoulder, just before making his final exit.
“Good,” I answered, a little too quickly.
Mrs. Turner’s encouragement and praise throughout the past three years had fueled my desire to seriously pursue a career in art. But the truth was I had not found much creative inspiration during the long summer break. How could I, in this environment?
Later that day it became apparent that I was dealing with a serious creative block. The conversation begun earlier with my father had now followed me to the school’s art room. “Kevin, what’s going on with your scholarship project?” Mrs. Turner asked, sneaking up on me as silently as a cat.
I said nothing. How could I tell her I hadn’t even chosen a medium or subject yet?
“Focus on your strengths. You’re a talented painter,” she said as if reading my thoughts. “Just get started and stop hiding your light under a barrel.”
But what would I paint? I had grown tired of meaningless still life compositions, bowls brimming with boring green and red apples and pale yellow roses.
I poked half-heartedly at a glob of cerulean blue paint on a clean palette with a stiff new brush, staring at a white canvas. A rap at the window startled me. I looked up to see the face of my good friend, Tommy.
“Hi Kev,” he shouted. His blond head was partially concealed by a faded mural painted on the windowpane; a sappy mountain scene I had helped to create during my freshman year.
“Me and John are headed to the marina after school,” he spoke quickly. “Meet us there at three. We’re going fishing.”
From across the room, Mrs. Turner cleared her throat, continuing to advise me. “Guard against outside distractions,” she warned. But Tommy had already ducked out of sight and I returned to staring at my blank canvas.
After school, I wandered toward the marina. I knew I should have been heading for home to look at the college brochures my father had collected for me. But it was one of those late summer afternoons, just before the leaves began to turn. I knew these days were numbered.
I entered the park next to the marina and stood at the edge of the river, its murky brown water flowed like a stream of spilled flat cola. Pausing to admire the scene of a brilliant blue sky dotted with huge white clouds rimmed in gray, my eye caught the movement of a black dog darting among a wooded area. He looked like some kind of lab-mix.
“Hey Kev, over here,” Tommy yelled, distracting me. He was on board his father’s boat handing a fishing rod and bucket to John. Further down the dock, a group of young kids squealed with laughter. They struggled with a heavy crab trap, trying to yank it free from the shallow river bottom. Two tiny blue-clawed crabs had escaped and scattered off the dock. They plopped back into the river to temporary safety.
I started to walk over to the dock, but something else now had my full attention; in the center of a circular rock garden, just a few yards from where I stood, appeared the image of an angel. I recalled that this statue had been erected sometime during the summer, but I had never even taken the time to notice.
The angel was on her knees, hunched over a pedestal engraved with the names of local people who had perished a year earlier on September eleventh. The skilled hand of the sculptor had convincingly conveyed the angel’s pain through her slumped posture and folded wings. She had been caught off guard. Her head hung in sorrow over the etched image of the World Trade Center.
“Yo man, what are you doing? C’mon!” Tommy’s voice carried over to me from the dock. But inspiration had struck. I recalled Mrs. Turner’s warning about outside distractions. There was no time to explain to my friend; somehow I knew he wouldn’t understand.
“Got to go,” I answered, waving and running away from the dock and out of the park.
At home I gathered up my sketch pad, a handful of charcoal pencils and a tin of watercolors. I almost escaped out the back door unnoticed.
“Kevin, what about those applications?” my mom called from upstairs. “You promised your father.”
“I’ll look at them tonight. Gotta go, can’t lose the light.”
Back at the park, the dock was quiet; Tommy and John had gone fishing. I sketched quickly, using the watercolors to make color notes.
It was then that I again noticed the big black dog. This time, he came out of the woods and stood just yards away from where I worked, watching my every move. He wore no collar.
“Here, boy,” I spoke to him. But the skittish dog kept its distance, circling me a few times before disappearing into a stand of pine and pin oak. I wondered if he had a home…To be continued…
Copyright © 2011 by Lisa Begin-Kruysman
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used, reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage or retrieval system, without the written permission of the publisher, except where permitted by law, or in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome Dogasaur Fans and Facebook Friends! Thanks for visiting my Blog about my National Dog Week project. Yesterday, over 500 of you took the time to read! From all your posts and comments, it’s clear many of you feel that every week is dog week. But National Dog Week brings the opportunity not just to be better humans to our own dogs, but to make sure the lives of all American dogs are protected and respected.
What am I doing for dog week? I’ve approached a local school about adopting Nikki Moustaki’s Pet Postcard Project during National Dog Week. I also spoke to Jim Erskine, Commander of American Legion Post 348 about a way we can help some deserving military dogs. And of course, I continue to write about Will Judy and his National Dog Week movement. But I can’t do this without help, so get busy thinking of what you will do for dogs during those seven special days in September…..plan a party, a donation drive, get your bookstores and libraries to have a “dog day” devoted to our canines…adopt if you can, or volunteer your time at a shelter…..and then LET ME KNOW!
This came in today, 8/18, from the Dogasaur fan page…
My story is about a little nine pound fighter trying to survive during a time period that Atlanta w…as seeing some of the worst flooding in 100 years. How he got where he was, we haven’t a clue…but many neighbors were trying to rescue this fast and afraid little guy for three days. Finally the rain stopped and I was resuming my daily walks with my neighborhood children and my dear sweet dog Amos.
On our approach down the street we saw the little dog that was capturing the neighborhoods attention for days; eluding many attempts to rescue him, but this time Amos was the key and an innocent child of 5 as well. As we approached, Butters was lurred to Amos and his peaceful spirit; and as he was he was also drawn in by my little dog whisperer of a friend Marlissa; she bent down…extended her arms and he crawled in…and into all our hearts forever. The rest is history….
Our lives have been changed by this funny little dog who is Amos’s best friend forever. We always thought Amos was an only dog…but this nervous little blond haired boy taught us otherwise. He’s not nervous anymore; he is a very confident, funny companion that captured our hearts immediately and truly consider him a gift.
Thanks Melissa…Enjoy your special anniversary with Butters…Stay tuned for NDW news and some great interviews and reviews…and posts about issues concerning out dogs. Now back to our original posting…
My book project, Every Dog has its Week is now represented by the Parkeast Literary Agency. Every Dog has its Week documents a quirky, but meaningful slice of doggy Americana. Following the history of an 82-year old tradition, this book presents the current state of the dog in the states of the nation in a thought-provoking manner.
The book is centered on William Lewis Judy, founder of the National Dog Week Movement, who long before television, and the internet used a typewriter, a pedestal phone and the power of his words to make life better for the deserving dogs of America. Every Dog has its Week also credits the work of the late Captain Arthur Haggerty performed on behalf of dog week. Captain Haggerty, often referred to as the “Grandfather of American Dog Obedience,” was a huge fan of Captain Judy. The book’s Foreword is written by his daughter, Babette Haggerty.
As I’ve unleashed this story, CEO and founder of www.Dogasaur.com, Josh Abrams has been a great resource. Much like Will Judy, Josh has dedicated his life to the mission of “making our dogs’ lives better, even if only by a little each day.” Last week the Dogasaur Face Book Fan Page (www.facebook.com/dogasaur) achieved an incredible milestone announcing it now had over 100,000 fans, making Dogasaur the fastest growing dog-centric social networking site on the Internet. Congratulations to Josh and his devoted following.
With over 70 million dogs taking up residence in our nation, let’s honor man’s best friend by keeping the bark in National Dog Week. Rescuers, breeders, groomers, vets, obedience trainers…..anyone who cares about, or works with dogs, if you love them plan something to show them just how much for this National Dog Week (September 19-25).
Please send your dog week stories for Every Dog has its Week to Lisa Begin-Kruysman at email@example.com. Please put NDW Story in the subject line. Hooper, my Portuguese water dog, looks forward to reading them.
These certainly are the dog days of summer, and the heat goes on. I’ve just returned from New England where I had the pleasure of seeing some of my 42 first cousins, some I haven’t seen for years, and their families. We had a lot of catching up to do, and many joined in a celebration of family milestones, and fun announcements, and thanks to my sister (aka known as my press agent) the news that I had accepted representation from a literary agent was toasted.
A few years back, a book reviewer on NPR website declared, “A book about a dog has been at or near the top of Non-Fiction best-seller lists for a year now…” This is encouraging because although I am writing a book about something I truly love, and I believe has value to the dogs of the nation, it is nice to know that we Americans love to read about our dogs, and then some! I’ll bet many of those readers still do not know that for the past nine decades, dogs have even been honored with their very own seven days during the last full week of September. And it certainly has been interesting to document the ways we as a country have honored our dogs during this week for over 80 years.
When a writer isn’t writing, they are usually going about the business of querying agents and/or publishing houses. This is no easy task and along the way, we learn from the comments and feedback of those in the industry. During the course of the year, I have “met” many who were supportive, and even liked the idea of my book about National Dog Week, but a successful match wasn’t made…until now!
Last week, it became official, my book Every Dog has its Week is being represented by Donna Eastman and Gloria Koehler of Parkeast Literary Agency. When I first contacted Donna about my book she responded positively, and most interestingly, at one time she had worked in the publishing industry with the late great Captain Arthur Haggerty (one of the key players in the dog week story). She has high regard for the work he did for the dogs of America and understands the significance of his contributions. These exchanges about the book took place about a month ago, and now with rewrites, and a revised proposal, we are ready to go to the dogs! How appropriate is it then, that these are the dog days, my favorite time of the year?
A good literary agent is a partner, one whose enthusiasm matches your own for the project at hand (or in this case paw). In the weeks ahead, with the help of Donna and Gloria, I look forward to forging a bond with a book publisher who also feels the same way and knows how to present this book in the best manner.
Speaking about partnership, and bringing it back to the dogs, August 8 is National Assistance Dog Day, marking the beginning of Assistance Dog Week. To learn more about this topic, visit www.workinglikedogs.com to see what dogs do for humans 24/7, every week of the year. Everyday, so many heartbreaking pleas for rescues, and cries for shelter reform pass through my Facebook wall. Some encouraging legislation is taking place (more about that soon), but there is so much more to do. When we see what dogs can do for us, it is a true crime some of them are treated so horribly.
Tomorrow, August 7, is also Purple Heart Day. The Purple Heart is awarded to any member of the Armed Forces who has been wounded or has died as a result of a wound inflicted during battle or otherwise designated by the President of the United States. Although our military dogs do not receive Purple Hearts, we are starting to understand and reward our trained military canines for the sacrifices they’ve made for us over the years.
Against the backdrop of National Dog Week, many of these important issues are discussed. Dog Week is just a bone’s throw away. Got plans?? Please feel free to share. You just might be part of history! e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.