Monday, December 5, 2016

Quote 22

“Besides love and sympathy, animals exhibit other qualities connected with the social instincts which in us would be called moral.”
-Charles Darwin

When I ran into this quote, I started thinking about how animals give positive feelings. They’re all about the moment and the next activity. They don’t hold grudges or bad mouth you for forgetting their snack. They love and love and love.
I’ve seen it with my pets. If they find me hurt, they lean into me and lick my hand to sympathize. If I forget to open the gate or take out their blanket, they nudge me to remind me and then they get a belly rub. They don’t ask for much. 
Notice that I used the word ‘forget’ a couple of times. That’s because I’m a writer. And what do writers do but sit and write and read. I’m grateful for their understanding. 
That’s why this Holiday season, I want to make sure I return the myriad gestures that would make them happy.
So, don’t forget your pets. Return the love and be as patient as they are. =)

Monday, November 28, 2016

Pet News 23: Great Books for Dog Lovers

The Secret Language of Dogs: Unlocking the Canine Mind for a Happier Pet by Victoria Stilwell is a great source for info on dogs, such as info on their use of senses to their behavior, including quirky ones. The photographs are wonderful, too.

Stilwell asks that we never stop observing our dog’s behavior because it’s their language and we could build our relationship with them the more we understand the things they do.

Also recommended is to give them plenty of exercise and training. Training doesn’t have to stop after they’ve learned the basics as a puppy. keeping an agile mind is good. maybe show them a good trick, take them to training classes, take them on a hike or other.

Victoria Stilwell is CEO of Positively Dog Training (VSPDT), author of books and articles about dogs such as It’s Me or the Dog, has an Academy for Dog Training & Behavior, is editor-in-chief of, and so much more!

Monday, November 21, 2016

I would like to wish everyone a wonderful Holiday!

Hope you spend it with family and friends this Thanksgiving and if you don’t celebrate, it’s still a great time to spend with family and friends.

Feel free to look back on previous posts, Popular Posts, or any of the suggestions here:

2016’s Short Stories & Such: Career Day

Monday, November 14, 2016

Why I Write 12: Reminisce

The following is a writing prompt from Writer’s Digest from back in October 2012. See if you can answer it like I have done below.

Tell us the story of when you first realized that you needed to be a writer. Did it happen when you were young? Was it after you read a particular book? Etc.

I have written poetry for most of my life. Seldom did I write short stories, unless they were assigned by a teacher. However, I was told the stories had potential. At first, “potential” did not inspire me to be a writer. So I began reading about writing and after some coaxing, a good friend of mine suggested I write down the short story idea I’ve been sharing with her. She challenged me to get it down on paper. Thanks to her, I did, and the short story spiraled into my first novel.

Since then, I needed to be a writer. I joined a writing and poetry group, I’ve written drafts on the WD Daily prompts, I’ve finished some first drafts to novels, and I’ve kept writing ideas for future novels on file. Writing has become part of my life and I hope to one day take the title of “writer” and ingrain it on the wall so the doubts that cloud me disperse… well, I digress. I am querying agents at the moment and if all goes well, I hope to land a deal. If not, then, I can refine another novel and start again. Some authors have mentioned that most first novels never see the light of day. Though, I hope that won’t happen, I’m practical enough to keep going.  

Monday, November 7, 2016

Books I’m Reading 27

Pogue’s Basics: Life, Essential Tips and Shortcuts (that no one bothers to tell you) for Simplifying your Day by David Pogue. This book lists many tips from using a rubber band to grip open jars to removing garlic husks easier. There’s something for everyone to learn new.
Erratic Facts by Kay Ryan is a collection of poetry. It is a different form of poetry I found interesting.

Mother Poems by Hope Anita Smith is a collection of poetry about a child whose mother died and how she comes to terms with it. There’s one particular poem title: Give me an “M” that embodies the whole loss and how important it is to have a mother.

Poesía Completa by José Saramago is a collection of bilingual poetry in Portuguese and Spanish. A very interesting collection that is worth a read.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Quote 21

“Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem.”
-A.A. Milne

When I read this quote, I automatically thought of my pets. One of them has a habit of ‘knocking’ on the slide door to remind me to provide a blanket or two. Another, lifts his paw during a walk so I could check what’s underneath before moving on. The other, makes multiple circles letting me know a seizure is coming on. Yep, it’s important to ‘listen’ to our beloved pets. 

But the quote isn’t only about our pets, it’s about all animals. They might not have a voice, but they do show us with their body language so we could hear. That’s where we fall short. As humans, we don’t quite understand most of those movements. The least we could do is try.

Have a safe Halloween. Keep your pets indoors. And listen to them. =)

Monday, October 24, 2016

Short Stories & Such 26: Inside the Old Box

The following prompt was given by Writer’s Digest on May 7, 2013. I didn’t get a chance to share it online, but I’m posting it here, but don’t hesitate to use the prompt for your own version to the story.
When I first wrote it, I had only dialogue, then, I went back and added some more details. I hope you enjoy=)

You are at the neighborhood garage sale, looking for nothing in particular. Something inside an old, wooden box catches your eye. The old woman who is running the sale comes over to say something about the object. What is it? What did she say and why?

Inside the Old Box 

  “How many of these things are we going to go to?” Tony turned off the ignition and pulled the key out to fumble with the beads that were attached to its chain.

  “This one’s different, Tony.” Gretta grabbed the empty tote bag under her seat.

  “How’s this one different?”

  “For one, there aren’t a lot of customers and second, it’s a garage sale.”

  “Ho ho ho.” Tony pretended to be amused and, then, formed a lopsided grin. “A garage sale and a yard sale are the same thing, Gretta.”

  “You have no idea of the difference.” She shook her head and pinched his nose.

  “Fine, suit yourself, but I’m going to stay here with the windows down. You’ll find nothing to go with your antique shop. Trust me. All we’ve picked up is more junk to go in our garage! This hasn’t been a positive shopping spree.”

  “Oh, phew!”

  Tony shrugged his shoulders, but didn’t remove his seat belt.

  "I still love you when you're no fun." 

  Gretta stepped out of the car and crossed the street toward the garage sale. She looks through items as if eyeing nothing in particular. She rummaged through old clothes and old records. She turned to the car where Tony had propped the car seat back and sighed.

  Then, a spot opened up where the old books were. She picked up a children’s book on the Raggedy Doll Annie and browsed the pages. When she set it down, she caught a glimpse of the edge of a wooden box. She moved some books and placed both hands around it. She used her fingers to trace the impression on the top of the box. It looked like a shell used to be glued on it. The wood had faded and could use some polish. She knew exactly where she could get a flat shell to go with it.

  Right before she opened it, the old woman who ran the sale approached her and said, “I’ve been waiting for you.”

  Gretta raised her eyes. “Excuse me?”

  “The box has been lost for many years. It holds a secret about your great grandfather.”


  “He was a seaman.”

  “Y-yes, how do you know that?”

  “It’s written on your face.” The woman’s faded blue eyes twinkled. “You are Gretta.”

  “Yes, yes I am. Did you know my parents?”

  “Only in nightmares.”

  Gretta’s pulse quickened and she backed away from the old woman. She set the box down on the next table, but the old woman picked it up and opened it. She walked toward Gretta with an eerie pace, extending the box with her shrouded arm. Inside was a golden locket, an old pocket watch, a picture, and a note.

  The old woman handed the note to Gretta and gestured with her pointy chin to open it.

  Gretta unfolded it and straightened the paper. “I don’t understand?”

  “It is your destiny.”

  Gretta bit her lip and re-read the note. She surveyed the long hand, most probably written with a quill and black ink. Her eyes took in each word written. When she finished, the old woman was gone.

  She searched for her frantically, leaving the box and its contents on the table. No one seemed to see the woman and Gretta returned to the wooden box. She placed the note inside, left ten dollars with a young woman assisting other customers, and headed to the car.

  Tony yawned as Gretta climbed inside.

  “What did we get?”

  She handed the box to him with vacant eyes.

  He slowly reached for it with a raised eyebrow.

  “Read it.”

  Tony opened the box and picked up the blurry picture of a dark haired man with his arm wrapped around a young woman who looked like… Gretta. He set it down, dismissing it as her grandmother.

   He fancied the tarnished silver pocket watch, but the locket was very Victorian. He heard Gretta gulp and he set the items down. He then unfolded the note carefully. The paper was torn from the edges and the folded creases had a few holes.

“My dearest beloved Gretta,
I have reached the pier where we last met.
I await your arrival.
I’ve missed you with all my heart.
Love, James”

  Tony squint at the name on the greeting and turned to Gretta. “Say, what is this?”

  But Gretta had already put on the locket around her neck and was walking down the street in the direction toward the beach.