Lots of Thanks to Spread Around

I wanted to start this post by extending a great big THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to comment and email me about my LAST POST, where I was spiraling down into a wordless vacuum. I appreciate all of the insights, thoughts, and varying opinions – each of which was helpful in its own way. For those who mentioned self publishing, I am still determined to have my work published the traditional way, and I also believe that if a story idea is not interesting enough for my readers or an agent, it would be even harder for me to sell on my own. With that in mind, I have decided to leave my personal dog stories in the past, at least for now, while I work on something fresh in the fiction arena, where I am treading on familiar ground.

I’m still uncertain what my next novel will be about, but while I was trying to ignite some new ideas, I sparked one for another short story that I am going to start drafting right after I finish this post.

Before I get to work, I wanted to thank my blogging buddy Jodi Stone for passing on the Blog On Fire award to me a few weeks back.

For some reason I missed her post when it first went up, which is unusual since I’m a regular visitor to her blog, and I only learned of the award last week. But it was probably best that I did not see it right away, because Jodi had some wonderful things to say about my writing in her post, and it was so much better to read it when I was in the midst of a creative crisis. So, Thank You, Jodi, for the award – it came at a time when it was needed most.

Periodically, Jodi also shares her doubts about her own writing, (it goes hand in hand with the trade), and I wanted to point out that her blog is one of the first ones I go to when I’m looking for a blogging fix. Jodi is very creative in finding new ways to plug her blog – including creating WTF Wednesday and Follow Up Friday – and she is an exceptional and talented writer who can always make me laugh. Jodi is also a person who loves her two polar opposite Labs with every ounce of her being, which shines through in her posts about them, even when Delilah either of them misbehaves. If you haven’t checked out Jodi Stone’s BLOG about Sampson, Delilah, and all things DOG, I urge you to head on over there – I promise you won’t be disappointed.

According to Jodi, the rules that go along with this award are easy – link back to the person who awarded you, (see above), share five things about yourself, and pass it on. I just recently posted a bit about myself for my Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award, so I thought I’d bend the rules by sharing five things about my current four-leggers instead.

1. Leah is my soul dog. I fell in love with her from the moment our eyes met, and I returned to the shelter for her the very next day. Since that day she is constantly at my side, and her presence makes me feel safe when I’m home alone in the house. Additionally, we have similar personalities. We are both uncomfortable in large group environments, we’re both terrified of lightning, we are both uneasy around strange children, and neither of us craves exercise.

2. Toby is my teacher. Because of his odd mixture of obsessions, hardheadedness, craftiness, strange anxieties, yet eagerness to learn new things, I have read dozens of dog training books, tried countless training methods, and have gotten my feet wet in therapy work and dog sports. Despite all my hard work, his puzzling behaviors persist and continue to challenge me to this day.

3. Meadow is my inspiration. No matter how scary things get or how dark the night, she greets each morning like it is a new beginning, bounding from her crate in happiness, dancing throughout the house, and ready to face a new day. In the face of fear, she can always find something to wag about, and I hope to one day be as optimistic as my dog.

4. Cinder is my shadow. For a cat who was feral and we could not touch for two months, he is now always at my side, on my lap, or vying for my attention is some way…even if it means trying to imitate the dogs by swarming me at meal times, sitting and begging for treats, or fetching toys.

5. Mew is not mine. That cat loves Nick so much that she will jump on my lap just to get a better vantage point of him, and abandon me the moment he looks in her direction. Considering I took her in as a foster only, and it was Nick who insisted she stay, I guess I had it coming to me.

Last step – pass it along: I always pass my awards on to other dog blogs, so today I’m going to try something new. Since the topic of writing has been on my mind, I’m going to tell you about five great writing related blogs where I have found valuable information about honing my craft. If you are serious about your writing, the following blogs will help feed your fire:

Absolute Write – Everything from new writing books to conference announcements, this is a great place for an aspiring writer to keep up with writing related news. I also highly recommend visiting their FORUMS.

Behler Blog – This blog is written by fiction writer turned small publisher, and she shares a lot of helpful information from writing tips to submission tips with brutal honesty.

JM Tohline – A writer himself, Tohline goes out of his way to blog about topics that are helpful to other aspiring writers while plugging away at his own craft and marketing his novel, The Great Lenore.

Miss Snark – Although this blog is no longer active, the advice found here on how to successfully query agents is timeless.

Writer’s Digest Guide To Literary Agents – Written by Chuck Sambuchino, go here to learn about agents tastes, find out about new agent hires, and discover the best places to pitch your work.

But before you go check them out, I wanted to close this post by thanking everyone who networked for Mary – the dog who had been scheduled to be put down after sitting in the Brookhaven Animal Shelter for three years. You will be happy to know, in lieu of losing her life – she has finally FOUND A HOME.


Have you heard about Simon – a special dog who has also been searching for a home for years? No? Then check out THIS POST and THIS POST and THIS POST - and while you’re there, please give him a share.


18 Responses so far.

  1. Dogs N Pawz says:

    Congratulations on the award! We love to visit your blog…we think it is awesome!

    Have a great weekend!

  2. I find that when I am struggling with a particular story, sometimes I just have to walk away and start a new piece that really lights my fire. Someday down the road, I almost always go back to those abandoned stories and try again. Kol’s Notes was actually one of those projects that got shelved for close to 2 years until I found my inspiration to change up how I presented it and make it special to me. Good for you for knowing to tackle something new that excites you and for recognizing that doing that is likely only “for now” – and congrats on the awards!

    • Donna says:

      Thanks for the thoughts. I already walked away from the Toby book for about two years, but I guess I’m just not ready to revisit it yet. Maybe after my next novel. :-)

      The sad story about my dog Harley was one I’ve been toying with, but I don’t think anyone will want to read a tearjerker, and his story still makes me cry.

      Glad that you went back to Kol’s notes – I enjoy your blog, and you’re doing a great thing trying to find homes for all those puggles.

  3. Jodi says:

    What a lovely post Donna, thank you so very much for your kind words. I think the life of a writer is one of self-doubt. I am always second guessing my work and I do take rejections to heart.

    You will find an agent, I have no doubt in my mind, I think everything happens for a reason and maybe there is an agent that is a better fit for you, that you wouldn’t have found otherwise. We are learning to be positive at Stone Manor, which is not always an easy thing to do, but is so much better for your stress levels. :-)

    Just keep writing, I read a book on my kindle (do you have a kindle, if so I can loan it to you) called, “How I write, secrets of a best selling author” by Janet Evanovich. You may have heard of her, she had one of her books made into a movie this year. I’ve read her religiously for years and feel like I have a writing style similar to hers, which is what drew me to her book.

    Her advice, which I did pass on to you is finish your first book and start in right away on the next.

    Since my books has fallen off a bit (no motivation) I do try to hone my craft by at least writing on the blog every day. It isn’t much but does keep the creativity flowing.

    I loved your descriptions about your animals, I can certainly relate to your relationships with your three dogs. ‘-)

    I will leave you with a quote from one of my favorite movies, “All in good time my dear, all in good time.”

    • Donna says:

      I do hope you find your inspiration soon and get back to work on your novel – I am looking forward to reading it one day.

      “finish your first book and start in right away on the next.” this is where I’m struggling, as I’m not sure which that next book should be. I did, however, bang out a fresh short story last night – just wish there were more places to send fiction dog stories. Other than the AKC contest, I haven’t found any. :-( Guess it will be this year’s entry.

      Not all of the agents have responded, including my three favorites, so there is still hope. :-)

  4. haopee says:

    I finally found your site. It took me some while but I finally got through Dogs n Pawz. I’m not sure if it were because of the blogger thingy or something else.

    Anyway, I do hope you push through with your work. Speaking of which, did you know J.K. Rowling had to pass through a number of publishers before she finally succeeded because they thought her work was too fantasy-like. So don’t give up.

    Huggies and Cheese,


    • Donna says:

      Thanks Haopee – I just went back to your site, and it seems my comment does go nowhere. How weird. I’m technology challenged, so it was probably something I did. Or didn’t do. Anyway, thanks for stopping back again. I’ve heard that about Rowling, and several other great authors, but it still stinks. I do plan to keep plugging along though!

  5. Congratulations on your award! “Soul Dog”…that is what my kitty Bobo was, he was my “Soul Kitty”, I sooo understand!

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Caren! It’s amazing how we all find those special bonds with certain animals, isn’t it? Not that we love any of the others any less, but some just click right into place, as if they’ve always been there. I think you know what I mean.

  6. Hi Donna,

    Congrats on your award – I love your blog!! :)

    It made me chuckle to read about Mew! :)

    Thanks for the links for the writing blogs, Mum and I will have to check them out :)

    I hope you’re having a fun day,

    Your pal Snoopy :)

  7. hello donna its dennis the vizsla dog hay dada thawt yoo mite be intrested in his ekspeeryenses with self publishing now as yoo may or may not no dada has had too diffrent litteraree aydjents neither wun of hoom ever sold ennything wen he finaly did sell his first novels to too diffrent small press publishers it wuz on his own submitting direktly unfortchoonatly the first publisher went owt of bizness (wot dada herd is that the owner “got bored” with publishing) just shortly before dada herd from the prodooser of the eks-men mooveez that they wer intrested in the buk!!! dada is pritty shoor that the publisher shutting down helpd skuttel that possibel deel!!! then his sekund publisher wuz perchasd by a lardjer publisher and dada wayted siks munths or more for them to send him kontrakts for his third buk before he finaly told them he wuz pulling it and he publishd it himself and that buk went on to hit number wun in the fantasy and epic fantasy kindle store in the uk!!! wile that wuz going on dada wuz still on the mayling list for his publisher as they got farther and farther behind on publishing there akksepted titles and also on royalteez sum peepul went over a yeer withowt a singel royaltee payment!!! meenwile amazon wuz sending dada royalteez evry munth and he got to keep a mutch higher persentadj of the munny then he did with his tradishunally publishd buks!!! he sez this ekspeeryense is probly not tippikal but stil it is sumthing to konsider in the internet aydj wen awthors ar abel to dis … disinter … disintermed … well ennyway wen they kan cut owt the middelman and retayn a lot more kontrol over the prossess and the profitts!!! ennyway it is sumthing to konsider!!! ok bye

    • Donna says:

      Wow Dennis – it sounds like your dada had difficulties with agents and small publishers alike. How awful and disappointing about missing out on the producers, and how terrible for those writers that were waiting for their money for a year or more. Your dada is fortunate that self publishing worked out for him, and worked out for him so well. Tell him cograts on reaching the UK bestseller list – that’s quite an accomplishment! Since I only started submitting about a month ago, and I don’t have tremendous readership for my blog to push my books, I’m going to continue seeking rep for now – but it is definitely something to keep in mind for the future, as I am determined to make it as a writer. It is encouraging to hear a success story like this, and I appreciate you taking the time away from listening to tunes on your new headphones to write.

  8. Leslie says:

    Congratulations on your award. Well deserved as always. And I LOVE the idea of spotlighting writing blogs. But oh dear, now I have more blogs to read and admire. :o

    I’m behind on my reading already and haven’t gotten to your lost muse post but would you mind if I told you it is comforting to know that my favorite blog writers struggle with their muse as well? Sorry – I don’t mean to wish my frustration on you but since I respect you so much as a writer, it makes me feel like if even you can stymied, then maybe this little writer’s block I’m facing isn’t the end of the world after all. :\

  9. Congrats on your award. I enjoy your blog.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks 2 brown dawgs. Yours is great too…you do a great job explaining hunt training, and post awesome photos to go along with your posts!

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