Friday, October 30, 2015

Live, Learn and Have Some Fun!

Recently, very recently (this October!), I joined Writer’s Digest Platform Challenge (Writer's Digest).  I did so with some trepidation because I am in no way even close to becoming a seriously published writer, and I had no idea if I could put myself out there.  However, Robert Lee Brewer(on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer) has a way of making one feel like there is value to who they are and what they write so I took him up on it. 
Every day I print out the directions and staple them into my notebook and carry it around with me so I remember a few things.  One, that I am part of this group, and two, that this is a challenge I am going to step up to and complete.  I have been awful in posting to the challenge page every day, and engaging in the #platchal conversations on twitter.  I’ve considered going back to when I stopped and just posting “Done” for every day I missed, but I feel like that was just a part of the challenge I missed and if I get dinged, well, that’s my problem. 
I will tell you this – it was a really cool experience.  I’m glad I did it and I look forward to using some of the tools we gleaned from this exercise, but I will also step back and see what is working for me and what isn’t.  Being on social media takes a lot of time out of a person’s day!  And it takes twice as much time when you have personal and professional sites!  The fun part of this challenge was meeting so many different people and connecting to them through this craft that we all have in common.
I also joined Yeah Write! (Yeah Write!) for their weekly challenges.  Already I am learning that just submitting something you wrote isn’t good enough.  One needs to know the challenge fully before beginning and how to use correct punctuation to be considered for public judging.  Unfortunately for me, I raced through the challenge idea with my eye on finishing the challenge and submitting it on time.  As easy as that sounds, it was not easy at all.  And it was just plain dumb.  I’m a better reader than that, and I am a better writer. 
That said, I never realized my punctuation was wrong.  I’m still having trouble processing that and it worries me.  Will a good editor eventually take care of that for me?  At this point in the game, I’m a little bit set in my ways and I don’t want to worry about whether a quotation mark is in the right place.  Is this wrong of me?  If someone corrects it enough times will I finally get it?  I wish my aunt was still alive.  She would set me so straight! 
Even though I got shot down with my first submission I am going to try again next week.  This group at Yeah Write! seems like a pretty good group to be in, with a lot of feedback and folks interested in the same thing- writing.  They give good advice and take one’s questions seriously.  They post interesting things to think about and seem to genuinely want your opinion.
Another challenge that I came across with this submission was linking a link-back to their page.  I had never done one and even though the directions were clear on their part, and even though I have been blogging for over a year, I had no clue how to get the link to work!  After some help from my new on-line friends, I was able to get the link right!  I guess you could say I learned some new things this week that might not help me out on Jeopardy, but should help me in my writing and blogging.
It’s not like I didn’t know writing was a challenge.  I always knew my novel wouldn’t write itself.  But for now, I realize I’m not alone in it.  I have found community through the Writer’s Digest Platform Challenge and through the Yeah Write! group, and for that I am ever so thankful!
It's a journey I'm going to take.

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Twitter:  @jennifermcann06

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Concert

“I know I’m going to have to put out to get into the show”, she wailed.
“Why ever would you do that?” I asked.
“How else am I going to get in? With my good looks?”
“You can pay”, I said, smiling.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Puppy Mill Stupidity

Nothing gets my panties in a bunch more than stupidity.  Let me say this, once and for all – it is stupid to buy a puppy from a pet store, and here is why.  You are not getting a puppy from a responsible and certified breeder.  You are getting a puppy from a puppy mill. 
When you tell me that you went in to the pet store and all the puppies were clean, meaning they must not be from a puppy mill, do you realize how dumb you really sound?  Of course they’re clean.  Who wants to spend a thousand dollars on a dirty dog? 

Then you say that by buying one you are saving it from the puppy mill.  No you’re not.  You freed up a space for another puppy mill puppy.  You are the reason there are so many shelter animals.  You and the others that think the way you do.  If you go to a pet store that doesn’t try to re-home shelter dogs, then you are, in fact, contributing to the problem. 
Ever been to a puppy mill?  I haven’t, but I’ve seen the videos.  I’ve read the investigative articles.  I’ve seen the pictures.  Do you realize the moms are bred until they are broken?  They don’t get recovery time like a responsible breeder’s bitch would.  There isn’t any breeding of the finest with the finest, there is the mentality that we’ll breed what we have, without a care for the consequences. 

Designer dogs?  Yup, they have the mutts your looking for.  So do the shelters. 
If you saw the lives these puppies live before they get to the pet store you would want these places shut down.  They live in wire cages. They are taken from their mothers too soon, stunting their socialization skills. 
A lot of people will say that they got their puppies from a pet store and they were fine.  Good for them.  The practice is wrong and outdated.  If you want a purebred dog go to a responsible breeder.  Do your homework.  Check references.  Go to a breed specific rescue.  Spend some time there.  Let your next dog find you.  Go to your local shelter.  There are kennels full of love just waiting for you.  But for God’s sake, stay away from pet stores.  Let’s shut these places down.  There is no reason for them to exist except to sell supplies.  They should not be allowed to sell animals. 
So please, walk by that shop.  Don’t go in.  And if you do, please educate anyone that might be thinking of purchasing one of those cute fuzzballs that unless they came from a shelter, their mother is living in a cage somewhere with barely enough room to turn around, preparing for her next litter.
Let’s give puppy mills a reason to go out of business.

Please check out these links for more information:

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Being (A Little) Bad

     My friend, beastlybearfiction, turned me on to this writing challenge yesterday at YeahWrite.  It's pretty cool, you should check it out.  I would have participated had I read the guidelines sooner, but I did not.
     Here is what I would have submitted:

     Wolverine banged on their doors while I waited, amused.  Old ladies peered out their windows, cautious.  Children laughed seeing him standing there, swaying just a little.  I told him he was early, but no, he just had to go trick or treating.

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Monday, October 19, 2015

Sea Turtles

Sea turtles.  I love them.  They are these huge slow moving creatures (on land) that when you look in their eyes, one can see a wisdom that is seldom seen elsewhere.  They look like they are flying underwater and I could watch them all day.  Their population is also dependent on how we treat our planet and at this time sea turtles aren’t doing so well.
Someday, when I’m older and can afford it, I am going to become a turtle lady.  Some old ladies wear purple, and some take tea in red hats, but I am going to walk barefoot on the beach keeping a lookout for freshly laid turtle nests in the morning, and guarding the nests at night.  I will make a solemn vow to protect the beach and its inhabitants from trash and intruders.  I will check in rocky areas to make sure momma turtles are safe and not stuck on their backs in the hot sun after nesting.  I will help guide baby sea turtles to the ocean upon their hatch and boil.
Please be aware of the items you buy and the packaging you throw away.  If you buy your soda in plastic rings, be sure to cut them so no rings remain to get caught around a wild creature.  Try to use fabric bags instead of plastic bags, as the plastic bags look like jelly fish once they end up in the ocean.  And they will.
There is a sea turtle named nimbus at the Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium.  He is all white.  I saw him several years ago when I visited the aquarium.  My niece went this past summer and she says he is still there.  Because of his color he would never survive in the ocean.  I saw him when he was maybe four inches long.  I wonder how much he’s grown now.

I do love them, and at this point all I can do is bring awareness to their plight.  I envy and applaud all of the people who donate their time to these beautiful creatures.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

I Can Drink A Little Or A Latte

Tim’s.  I love Tim’s.  I don’t ever drink coffee, but if there’s a Tim’s nearby I will drink a latte.  I used to love cappuccino, but a latte is my newest love. 
And please don’t judge me for this, please.  I do not jump on the pumpkin bandwagon every year.  Pumpkin spice everything is not my secret sin.  However, upon trying Tim Horton’s Pumpkin Pie Latte, I have become a devoted fan.  And here’s the funny part.  When I first ordered it I thought I was getting an apple pie latte.  No, they don’t even serve one and that shows you just how connected I am to the real world – not very.  I found this out the next time I went in and asked for one.  That was three lattes ago.
It’s a good thing we don’t have a Tim’s in my tiny village and that I would have to drive twenty miles out of my way every day if I wanted one on my way to work.  Good for my purse and my waistline.  I’m sure if I was counting calories I would be counting for a while. 
It’s not just coffee – it is a processed whip cream (that is heavenly) and crumbles of what I believe is supposed to be a flavorful pie crust.  Whatever it is, it works.  To me, it is a paper cup full of warmth and goodness that makes my mind peaceful and forgiving.  It makes my sunny days sunnier and my rainy days a time for reflection.  It slows me down and helps me reflect on what I’m grateful for and what better time of the year to do that.
So thank you Tim Horton, for creating such a lovely product that makes my time seem worthwhile to me.  There is goodness in the world.  It’s at Tim Horton’s.

Check out the great customer service:
It’s like they give out smiles.

Monday, October 12, 2015


     I feel like the Walter Keane character in the movie “Big Eyes” when I sit in front of the computer and try to decide what to write.  I am a fraud.  I pretend to be a writer but I have no stories that pop into my mind at a moment’s notice.  I can’t look at a prompt and pull a story out of my thinking cap.  
     Why did I think I could continue this charade?  I get a story in my head from time to time, but nothing great,   nothing that will separate me from other writers except that it will show that I am an amateur.  I feel I had more stories in junior high and high school than I do now.  
     As Keane sat in the court room, looking at a blank canvas, so do I.  This is where I judge myself. Perhaps it is time to give up.  To put away my childish dreams of becoming an author and writing a book the world will want to read.
     Check out the movie trailer here:
I just watched it last night when I should have been writing.

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Twitter:  @jennifermcann06

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Free At Last!

The fear in her heart raced with itself.  The pounding wouldn’t subside as people in white masks, showing only their eyes reached for her, grasped her limbs with their gloved hands and pulled her towards them.  She could hear them murmuring but could not decipher the words although the tone was a mixture of sadness and hushed excitement. They took her from one receptacle and placed her in another, the first one hard and cold and bright, the second warm and soft.  As they closed it her heart continued to race.  Where was she going?  Who were these people?  Where was she going?  What would they do to her?  What hadn’t been done to her?  Was she in for more pain, more uncertainty?  She felt the earth move under her, and finally the soft hum and gentle rocking put her to sleep. 
Awake and alert as soon as the vehicle stopped she gazed in the darkness for some sort of sign that all would be good.  A door opened, then another.  Light spilled in to where she had been held, caged and alone.  At least she thought she had been alone.  Sounds and smells assaulted her senses, as if this were the first time she opened her eyes or took a breath.  There were others!  As they tried to communicate, her captors began unloading the receptacles, one by one. 
Out into the warm sunlight on a grassy yard, they were set down, one by one.  The openings to their cages were opened all at once by a personal attendant.  And that voice!  Oh, that soft voice!  It sounded so gentle!  Not harmful at all.  She looked around.  Then she looked down.  What was this?  She sniffed the air.  It smelled so good!  Not like chemicals or soap or metal!  As she stepped out, cautious but curious, she grew wondrous as to what was on the bottom of her feet.  Soft and cool, she laid down upon it and was still for just a moment.  She looked around.  The others were watching her.  All of  them.  No one else had ventured out yet.  She was the first, and danger be damned!  This soft floor felt marvelous and she rolled and squirmed and memories, distant though they were, pooled up from somewhere within.  She had done this before, as a young puppy, with her brothers and sisters!  She had forgotten, after years of torture that she was a dog, not a thing to be prodded and shaved and hooked up to machines.  She was a beagle, of proud heritage, with a nose that could smell amazing things that no other living being near her could.  She stopped wiggling for a minute and looked up.  Her tongue hanging out of her mouth, her eyes bright. 
“Woof!”  she exclaimed.  It came out as a whisper, as her vocal chords had been cut years ago to keep her quiet in the lab.  (No one wants to hear dogs bark and cry while they do experiments on them.)  But it was a woof nonetheless and the others heard her and so had their attendants and all of them, with their eyes bright, seemed to smile – human and canine.
“Good girl!” someone said, tears running down their face. 
Another beagle stepped out of a carrier, then another.  Freedom had come, although they had no idea that they were waiting for it.  All had lived to see the day when they could walk on the grass, sniff other dogs, and run and play.  At the moment most were shell shocked and it would take days, months, maybe even years for them to trust the hand attached to a human being, but with time anything is possible.  It was possible for these dogs to survive horrors that we wouldn’t want to inflict on our own.  Now we could give them the life, the love, and the care they so deserved.

She looked up and closed her eyes against the brightness and the warmth of the sun.  It was a good day to be alive.  It was a very good day.  Her heart was full and no longer racing.  With a wag of her tail she set off to make new friends.