"Your story is only as good as your antagonist.* *So make sure your story actually has one."---Victor LaValle
Too cute! :-)
I've never heard of curly coated retrievers. They are gorgeous.
That is so adorable I just melted. Exuberant puppy's inside-out ear is really indicative of the hijinks!What a fabulous picture!
Was this picture taken in b/w or color? Notice puppy's blue eyes? It looks like a b/w picture but with puppy's eye color retained. Very cool effect--even if unintended! :)So, how's everyone this Thursday? Are we all having a productive August so far?
Colin, HUGELY productive at work and around the house. Not so much with writing, sadly.Older dog's face is a beautiful study. Old dogs and young dogs together are wonderful to watch.
What an amazing picture. Beautiful dogs. Colin Productive August so far. Hoping for solid 1st draft of new book by end of month. But boy am I sleepy at Day Job. How is everyone else doing? Any spectacular new reads?
Ah I love the old dog/ young dog vibe. Even resting the baby looks like he's wishing he could plaaay!I have a morning off (woot) so I'm going to split it between writing and garage-cleaning. I've been procrastinating on the garage for a few years now, so it's gonna be a doozy.
Awwwww, such a fabulous pic. Colin-yes productive so far, compared to July. I hope I can keep it up. EM-Just finished Freya North's book, The Turning Point. I liked the story and the plot but the pov changes seemed erratic in a couple places. And now I've started Me and Darcy by Alexandra Potter. A friend found it humorous and I'm ready for some fluff on these hot muggy days.
I suppose I should answer my own question! I've taken a tip from John Frain and I'm trying to write a short story every month--at least I have been since May. I wrote one in May, June, and July, though I only finished July's on Saturday, so I've yet to proof it. I have notes for my August story, but I haven't started on it yet. And, as you might recall, we're house hunting, and wondering how we're going to afford a house we all like, or like a house we can afford. :)EM: I posted a review of ALEXANDER HAMILTON by Ron Chernow on my blog yesterday. I just finished reading it on Sunday. Certainly one of the best biographies I've ever read, maybe even one of the best historical works I've read. For an 800-page tome, it's very readable. I learned a lot, and it challenged some of my preconceptions about those early days of the US. I highly recommend it.
Love the pups! I didn't know retrievers could be curly either. Retrievers are the best!I stood in traffic court last night with my 17yo and made all kinds of mental character sketches. If you need fodder for writing, go hang out at a courthouse.
Sweet!Had a fun time taking advantage of back to school sales and stocking up on writing supplies. Good times!Am in the process of organizing all my projects and rounding up all my published work. Every time I think I'm done I find a new stash.
LOL Sherry! I completely agree with you. I'm in court pretty much every day and you are so right. It's a great place for character inspiration.These cute boys remind me of my previous dog Shadow, a black lab [not curly] who passed away about 6-7 years ago. He was absolutely the best dog ever, and he completely adored my #1 son. Now I miss that dog all over again =(My August has been crazy busy, but reasonably productive also. It hasn't been as hot as July [at least, not yet]. I'm not a summer person, I prefer November through March, when SoCal weather is at its best. I'm on vacation at the end of this month, and I'm really looking forward to that.
That's a gorgeous photo. I've met curly retrievers before. Not sure if it's a breed thing but the ones I met had the most beautiful temperament.My Thursday hasn't been productive enough which is why it is just shy of 11pm and I am still working (and have a few more hours left to go *sob*). But if I can get it all done than I should be able to squeeze in some writing time tomorrow.Only 10 days until I head off for my writing retreat and than conference. The count down has begun!
We've been bitten by the pet bug at our house (inevitable with a nine, six, and four-year-old-The toddler only likes dogs from a distance) and these pet pics aren't helping...EM: I recently read The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson, I think it's his first YA? I enjoyed it - I can see why he's famous for his magic systems. He manages to make chalk drawings creepy! Really, really, creepy. Definitely recommend it. I'm slowly inching towards the 100-books-in-my-genre goal, and the closer I get, the more I appreciate the advice. Colin - not very productive on my side. I've lined up a lot of help for WIP #2, I need to research a lot of technology, psychology, and parkour. On WIP #1, I've only recently managed to get back to it - I can see it getting better. The store is buried in there, somewhere. I feel like I'm back in my first college job, working in a dinosaur lab. When people asked me what I did I said, "destroy rock and dissolve glue," because that's basically how you prep fossils. Now I'm unearthing connections and revealing details hidden in the matrix of my first draft.
Wow, such a broad array of interesting tidbits all around from the comments this morning, what with productivity on WIP's, garage cleaning, reading, and pet adoration!These dogs remind me of Boykin Spaniel albeit a different color. A Boykin's coat can be curly all over. My old running buddy David (some of you might remember him - ALS), his family has one, named Abby. She's curly all over. David used to take her for runs on the beach at Bald Head Island. We went with them, and watching Abby go in and out of the ocean was something else.I've started on a new project. Have the title. Characters and story line are a bit slow coming. Mom is in Maine as well - until Aug 17, so I'm trying to utilize this time best as I can!
Oh, and I'm reading OLIVE KITTERIDGE and I'm enjoying it, but it's been EXTREMELY slow going. I barely get a page or two in at night, and that's it before I'm falling asleep.
One last thing! I don't know who the OP is, but based on voice, I'm guessing female. :)
Beautiful retrievers!Donna, I loved Olive Kitteridge.So far, August has been all about vacation. Well, except for writing one book review.
@Colin - I like the idea of one short story a month. I've been trying to be close to that lately, though my current one is fizzling half way through. I think we need a motivational support group to keep us all on track!
Teresa Gosh, I do too - only wish I could stay awake to read more! Her characters are so fully developed. (especially that Olive - what a hoot) It's definitely not the book!
Colin - Curse you with the sting of a thousand fire ants! I STILL have that song about Brandy running thru my head!
That is a beautiful photo. It reminds me of my kids and their 'sweet moments of tolerance.' Those moments are pretty rare these days but that makes it all the cuter when they do happen.Productivity is pretty low right now but at least it's kinda regular. We're in the middle of winter so I'm hoping that as we head towards summer and the sun rises earlier I'll get up with it and fit in some writing time before everyone else peaked up. I just can't drag myself out of bed when it's cold and dark. How does everyone else fit writing time into their day?
Dena: Awww... I'm sorry. But she's such a fine girl...Do you suppose she likes Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain? She's probably not into yoga, and maybe has half a brain... (click HERE for the song... if you dare!) ;)
Those are such beautiful dogs! Puppies can be exhausting, I know! I have a similar situation at home, only with cats! Kitten is all about the games, but our older cats is just not having it. This is the first week of my 'I'm gonna be awesome and productive' year. So I'm trying to write more and read more (1 book a week is my goal - and I'm a slow reader). So far, this week has been taken up with social outings and cleaning, so today and tomorrow are going to be busy!Dena - I'd only just gotten that song out of my head until you brought it up again. Fire ants all around!
Also, if any of ya'll are working on world building right now, there's this really interesting video about 'Shandification and building a world. It's about video games, but I think writers can learn a lot about building an engaging and realistic world.
Awesome picture. Reminds me of the snuggles after getting my second pup.My August is me transitioning back to work after being on maternity leave for the last year. First day in the office tomorrow (ack).
How to flush a lurker out of hiding? Post dog pics.I'm loving the August Pet-a-Palooza. Favorite name so far: Whiskey. Favorite accessory so far: tie between the yellow life jacket, and the retriever stole with attached head.Ferocity Award goes to Tinkerbell.
Oh my gosh, these puppies. I love seeing them snuggled up, the differences in their faces. As for productivity - what's that again? I'm admitedly in celebration mode and haven't quite recovered yet. This weekend I hope to start on my next round of drafting/fixing my WIP. There's a plot thread I need to go back and fix before I finish the last 20k. I'll also be starting revisions soon with my agent to get the last book ready for submission (a sentence both exciting, terrifying, and surreal to type).I'm finally reading Kushiel's Dart after many recommendations. It's very good so far. Incredible world building. Colin, we're Hamilton (the musical) obsessed at my house. Planning on starting the book soon!
I saw a number of curly-coated retrievers on a trip to the Eastern Shore of Maryland a few years ago. They're beautiful dogs. I love this photo. It's great to see b&w photography - details really stand out. The dog pile of old pup and new pup is really sweet! Movie night at our house usually means a dog pile in the middle of the couch with the humans scrunched up at either end. Last night it was "Trumbo" - a very good film. The dogs slept through the whole thing.And in no particular order, I love Olive Kitteridge, Hamilton, and (sorry folks) The Pina Colada Song. Give me high brow; give me low brow; give me everything in-between. I love it all!I'll be working on a picture book manuscript today and studying the huge stack of them I checked out of the library yesterday. I fear the amount of "how to" information I've consumed over the last few months is stuck inside me like a lump inside a boa constrictor. Working on digesting...
Happy to report I've received an Honorable Mention for my story "Thunder Egg" in Liberty Island's summer writing contest. The site is overseen by Adam Bellow, son of Saul Bellow. https://www.libertyislandmag.com/creator/DavidSwindle/content.html?ln=announcingthewinnersforthe2016summeroflovecontest
What a terrific photo... LOVE!
My productivity is low these past couple of weeks. I figure I'm having a hard time changing tracks from the finished book to the new one.Today I'm trying to get motivated by watching Brandon Sanderson's lectures.
Congrats Mark. Always cool to get recognized in any way.MA Hudson - I always do a double-take when I see your name, since I live in Hudson, MA :)Everyone else, thanks for talking about being productive. I'd been stalling, and seeing your productivity talk motivated me to bang out 1,000 words and counting this morning. (What? I'm at work? Phooey.) 950 are garbage, I'm sure, but still... Keep it up everyone!
Amazing photo! It really shows the personalities. Congrats, Mark!I want to put a push on to finish my first draft of my WIP in August. I may have to cut back on my blogging time, but I am loving the pet photos. Know that I'm appreciating them, even if I'm not commenting as often.
Woo, Colin, you joined the write a story a month club? It's fun, isn't it? (granted, some of those stories I consider "done" are "first draft done", meaning I need to edit/polish them more before they can go anywhere. But, four of them have circulated a bit)On the puppy picture topic, it is possible to take a photo in color, render it in black and white, and return color to only one object in the photo.
I love the cross-generational dog cuddle!Colin-productivity in August? Is that possible? I need to buckle down, that's for sure and not let life get in the way. I have been inputting, eavesdropping, and doing a little public lurking. (the legal, noncreepy kind) Do I hear a courtroom (thanks Sherry, and Dena) in my future soon?As for those dang songs! I went to a retirement party for someone I had worked with for many years, and it was such a weird walk down memory lane. It was held in a waterfront pub where we all used to go for 'fluid rounds' (medical speak for drinks) and there were all these people I used to work with it felt like old times. And yet it didn't. Some still worked at the same place (I had moved on about 4 years ago), and while I loved seeing everybody, it made me so nostalgic in a "those were the days my friends, I thought they'd never end" way. And I have found myself humming that song for the last week!I'll try mightily to supplant it with "Brandy" or if it gets hot enough today, "Summmmmertime, and the living is easssy"
link to Mark Ellis' short story announcement here
Yay! Congrats, Mark for the HM! Here's the link linkified:https://www.libertyislandmag.com/creator/DavidSwindle/content.html?ln=announcingthewinnersforthe2016summeroflovecontestJennifer: I would like to build a little collection of shorts that I can submit, or, perhaps, publish as a collection one day when I've got a few published novels under my belt. (Do you hear that confidence? It takes some work to suppress the Woodland Creature...)Rosanna: Okay, I'll try to stop planting subliminal songs in my comments... ;)
Such beautiful dogs! And the photo captures their personalities so sweetly!Productivity? Whassat? It's been very warm for the last few weeks, and I do not do heat well. I melt.I'm trying to get prepared for a conference the weekend after next. Not pitching this time. Last year, I pitched two editors and an agent, but since I haven't decided to actually submit to small Canadian presses yet, I decided to let it go this time. I'll be pitching at Surrey, though.Colin: You may want to stop with the ear worms, before someone rickrolls you...Congrats, Mark!
Lovely dogs. Looks like the puppy is finally exhausted enough to rest, but only for a moment. I'll bet the pup's a firecracker.Mark, congratulations!
BJ: Rickrolls?! I have no idea what you mean... ;)
Hey, a QOTKU flyby! Hello there.Claire "Give me high brow; give me low brow; give me everything in-between. I love it all!"Um. Bobrow? How about bobrow? :)Anyway. Congrats Mark!And speaking of ear worms...another writer on FB just posted a pic that had a sign with.....(wait for it)........"This is the awning for the cage of asparagus."Tell me you didn't sing to that. And now have it stuck in your head.
Productivity this month has been nil. I'm on a break from writing until Monday, then I dive back in to revise a book I wrote last year. I think this has been the longest break I've had since I started writing seriously 9 years ago, and it's been wonderful. But I'm ready to get back to work too.
Oh Donna! How could you do that to us? Should I reveal my age by telling you that I went to see the stage show when it traveled to Pittsburgh in the early 70's? And now I have "the cage of asparagus" racketing through my head.August has the same implactions for me that three day weekends have: None, whatsoever.But my painting show opens this weekend and the printmaking &sculpture show is also this weekend. I am having a lovely day off (mostly) and managed to sleep a whole hour later than I usually do. And I've already sold a painting! Yay! I'm loving the dogs of August Pictures, but Mehitabel wants to know when cats are going to get some screen time as well. Not that she likes other cats. But she really has no patience for dogs. It took her 12 years to acknowlwdge the existence of Mr. Badger, a whole 8 years after the sweet Celts (scottish terrier extraordinaire) departed this earth. Looking forward to getting back in gear on the graphic novel after this weekend of art shows is over. Only having one major project going (instead of three) will feel like a vacation, so I guess I am taking August "off."
Congratulations, Mark! So far in August I've looked a lot like the dogs in this wonderful picture. No productivity with anything, the day job or writing. But today I did finally get some work work done, so tomorrow I can get back to revisions.Donnaeve, "This is the awning for the cage of asparagus" is brilliant and evil. It will be in my head the rest of the day.
Ha ha. I do a double take too, whenever I google my name and Hudson, MA shows up. I'm like; Huh - why's it the wrong way around?!!It's way better than sharing a name with a porn star though. Hudson, MA looks like a respectable enough place for a middle grade novelist to be mistaken for!!
Donna - you crack me up! I, being clueless and/or coffee-deprived, didn't even notice the "brow" connection to my own name.
My first thought on seeing this pic was, My god, someone has Cerberus as a pet! I have a friend who has a Labradoodle, but I'd never heard of curly coated retrievers. They have such sweet expressions.Catherine V, your comment: "the retriever stole with attached head." I snorted tea on my laptop. Welcome out of lurkerdom. No going back now. :)Mark, congratulations! Intriguing title-- what's it about?Productivity? Does writing comments over here count? Actually, I have been relatively productive this summer. But that's compared to other summers, which are typically hideous in terms of writing because hot weather melts my brain and I can't think. I've been trying to ignore the fact that "outdoors" is a real thing and it seems to be working...
I mean, 'aspiring' middle grade novelist! :)
Beautiful dogs, and lovely photo.And congrats, Mark! What a great story title.
Thanks, Colin, for the linkification. Thunder Egg is about two boyhood pals, a serial rapist on the loose, and learning to trust your own instincts when you can't reconcile the difference between what you feel and what a revered and influential friend believes.
I do love the monotone doggie photo with the touch of blue. Congrats Mark.As for productivity - I am filling a single notebook with all my ideas from various 'idea' notebooks. These are those notebooks that are tucked around the house and studio to catch those errant, rampant, multitudinous and elusive ideas that if I don't write/draw them RIGHT NOW, I will forget. Yes, I could put them all in the computer but I couldn't add illustrations, diagrams and asides as fast as I can scribble. And there is no guarantee I could find them any better in the computer than in the notebooks.MA you ARE an middle grade novelist! A 'novelist' is a person who writes novels ... the definition doesn't say you have to be published or making loads of money – yet. As Dory the Fish says, "Just keep writing, just keep writing" or something like that ...
Thanks for that Kate. I know I should just own it, and maybe I will when I've finally actually finished my first novel (just letting it rest before editing). Of course it'll be easier to call myself a novelist when chatting to other writers but I'm sure any non-writer would just say, 'Oh, youre a novelist - how many books have you got published?' Transcribing your notes and ideas into the one notebook sounds like a monumental task - one that I've contemplated myself but have always shrugged it off as too time consuming. It would be so darned handy to have them all together though. And I'm with you about scribbling ideas on paper rather than typing them on computer. There's something creative about the very act of indenting paper with a pen nib.
Congrats, Mark! Well done!Congrats, Lucie! (I'm playing catch up).Tinkerbell says Thank You for the Ferocious Dog award. She's only about 4 pounds and loves to play growl with my hubby (while wagging her tail). She did go after a pygmy rattler in my mother-in-law's yard once and kept it cornered while staying just out of striking range so she does have a warrior heart for sure.
Absolutely beautiful. Any dog lover is a friend of mine. And while I'm here, how may dogs do you have??
I'm the one who sent in the photo of the two curly coated retrievers. Sorry I'm so late replying -- I've been off the internet for a week!Colin, the photo was taken in color. I used Photoshop to make it B&W and to retain the blue in River's eye. If the piture were larger, you could see the amber in Pax's eye as well.Sadly, I lost both of them this year. Pax was 14 and a half, a grand age. It was his time. River wasn't yet 6, and we lost him to bloat. It has been several months, and I still cry almost daily. He was my best friend.
Melissa, I'm so sorry. That's a lot of loss in such a short period of time. We lost our first lab to gastric torsion, which I think is the same as or very similar to bloat. Suddenly, in the middle of the night, no warning. It was awful. I hope your grief eases over time and your memories once again bring you happiness instead of pain.
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