Thursday, December 10, 2015

How to Revise Your Novel


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Six Common Writing Mistakes by First Time Authors and How to Fix Them 
Six common writing mistakes by first time authors and how to fix them.
"The six most common writing mistakes identified by fiction editors, with simple fixes that can be done in the revision stage." by Lourdes Venard 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The China Shop

I think that I shall never see
Anyone as clumsy as me

And so I choose
Not to peruse

Anything round will be flat
Or go kersplat

So here I sat
And that, my fellow bulls, is that

Monday, June 8, 2015

chapter 4 mike and deke

“Do you want to go to Alice’s?” asked Mike. I danced around barking. Alice is Mike’s best friend. Mine too. I ran out to the Jeep, in an effort to encourage Mike to get a move on. I hope she’s making lasagna.
Alice greeted us at the door and let us in. I definitely caught the scent of lasagna along with freshly made dog biscuits. Store bought dog biscuits are fine but Alice’s are so much better. She offered me one. I didn’t turn it down.
“How did your meeting with Jim go?”
“OK but I had to do some fast talking after Deke jumped overboard. I really hope I’m going to be able to trust him to have my back when it counts. He knows everything he needs to know, he has the instincts and the skills to be an effective canine partner, and we certainly have a bond. But he just doesn’t seem to know when it’s time to play and when it’s time to work.”
Alice thought it over for a while. “Have you ever worked with him on the boat?”
“No, we’ve always used the dog trainer’s boat for water training.”
“So, Deke associates your boat with fun times. Did you use any signals or commands to let him know he needed to be in work mode?”
“Not until he jumped overboard. I put him in a down stay. He behaved himself after that.”
“Sounds like your answer then, doesn’t it?”

Mike slapped himself lightly across the forehead. “How could I have forgotten something so basic? Thanks, Alice.”

Saturday, June 6, 2015

chapter 3 mike and deke

Chapter 3
I can tell Mike is nervous about making a good impression on our new client so I am feeling on edge too.
I hope I won’t have to get a bath. I love water but hold the soap.
I watch Mike pile up the paraphernalia he would be packing into the Jeep. Hmm, it looks like we’re going boating. This day might not be so bad after all. I started to get excited and I even helped by carrying what I could in my mouth.
My first load out to the Jeep, I can see the boat is already hooked up. YES. This day just got a whole lot better.
We have the boat in the water with everything in place on board, when the client arrives. Mike throws him a lifejacket and we’re ready to go.
“I thought this was going to be about business. What’s with the dog?”
“His name is Deke and he’s my partner,” said Mike. If Mike had hackles, they’d be rising. “When we’re working, he goes wherever I go.”
The man sighed. “Very well.” He squatted in front of me, reached out a hand to pet my head, and said, “Hi Deke, I’m Jim.”
About a half hour later, Mike drops anchor, offers Jim refreshment and they start discussing the case and Mike’s terms. I’m starting to dose off when I hear a splash.
Whoa! A fish!!! Before I knew what had happened, I heard another splash and realized it was me. Oops, that can’t be good. The client’s eyes narrowed and his brows furrowed into a unibrow. “Just what does your dog think he’s doing out there?” he growled.
Mike turned to look at me like he was surprised to see me in the water and seriously considering how in the world I might have gotten in it. “I have no idea what he’s thinking, but I think he’s doing the dog paddle. Yes,” he added thoughtfully,” It’s definitely the dog paddle. It’s the only stroke he knows.”
After what seemed like several tense minutes, but was only seconds, the man guffawed and slapped Mike on the back. Mike calmly reached for the boat hook, snagged the handle in my life jacket and pulled me in.
“Looks like you’ve done that a few times before,” Jim laughed.
By the disappointed look on Mike’s face, I suspected I’d screwed up. He confirmed it, when he put me in a down stay. Softly, he said, “I need to know you’re safe. Please behave yourself.”
He couldn’t have made me feel worse. I was worried he might start questioning his ability to depend on me when he needed me the most on the job. I licked his hand in apology and he patted me on the head.

He seated himself beside Jim and described my water retrieval skills as if this scene had been planned. Jim seemed impressed and I finally realized the importance of working together and depending on each other.

Friday, June 5, 2015

chapter 2 Mike and Deke

Chapter 2
“DEKE! Get your tail out here NOW!”
Oops. Mike must have found his phone. I knew I should have taken the time to remove it from the pool. He would have just thought he forgot it outside.
Yup, he definitely found the phone.
Mike leaned over and fished the phone out of my pool. Holding the dripping phone, he yelled, “What is my phone doing in your pool?”
Does he really expect an answer? He doesn’t understand dog. This seems like a good time for appropriately contrite. I give him my best hangdog look.
“Aww, Deke,” he says, his voice softening. “How do I make you understand we need this thing, Bud? It’s how we get cases and without cases there is no roof over our heads and no food on the table. Does it hurt your ears, when it rings, Bud? Is that why you keep throwing it in water?”
He sat down beside me on the deck and rubbed me behind my ears. “I don’t think there is much chance of salvaging it this time. Well, let’s go get a new one. I could use one with some updated features, anyway.”
While we rode in the Jeep, Mike talked about all of the new stuff he could get on his new phone. He actually sounded excited. That’s what I love about Mike. He always sees the unseen benefits.
We left the cell phone store with a new phone and the retrieved information from the old phone. The downside is now we are on a boring stakeout for Mr. Cheapskate. Mike is struggling to stay awake with another mug of coffee from his largest thermos as I relax beside him. He seems pensive.
Finally, he says, “You know Deke, before you came along, my dad and I worked a lot of the big local cases. Then he retired and shortly afterward, I got you. I think we’re ready to take on some of the bigger cases together, don’t you?”
Finally! I was born ready, Mike. I sat up alertly, and gave him a big wet one on the nose.
He chuckled and said, “I guess that’s a yes. OK I’ll call Alice tomorrow and let her know we’ll work the case she found for us.”
Alice, I love that woman. I dozed off thinking of her belly rubs and lasagna.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

A rough draft of the first chapter of my next book
Chapter 1
Mike and I need to find a case that has some teeth in it. Oh, I freely confess that’s not Mike’s ambition. He’d be content to keep on finding missing people, catching people in divorceable acts, or retrieving lost items. How any sane person can enjoy the second one … well, what can I say, perhaps a clue to that answer lies in the question. My favorite naturally is retrieving anything, because it comes so naturally. As long as those types of cases keep coming in, Mike has little motivation to reach a bit higher for the Frisbee in the sky.
Mike’s getting stressed out since it has been a bit too long between any kind of case. OK, that might be my fault. More on that later. Right now, I need you to understand where I’m coming from. Mike wouldn’t need to work so hard at all these little jobs, if he could land one solid one to put us in gravy for awhile. We need a stockpile of dog biscuits to get us through the lean times. Besides, whatever I haven’t lost or chewed up of my chew toys, have been eaten by Mike’s lawn mower. Those things don’t come cheap, the lawn mower that is.
So back to the reason why we haven’t been getting much work of late. I accidentally dropped Mike’s cell phone in my inflatable wading pool when I recognized the phone number of one of our cheapest customers. Yes, I do know about the old rice in the bag trick to dry them out but there are just so many times you can teach an old cell phone an old trick. The phone has been in the filled pool for the last two days and it has been raining besides. It’s well saturated. I can only hope it doesn’t recover this time.
Maybe then, Mike will be motivated to find a big case that pays the big bones.


For autographed copies of Flickertail & Paint, Barnyard Sleuths you can buy directly from my website.

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