Mutt Mosey 2017

Thank you, everyone who donated to our Mutt Mosey campaign! We raised $400. The event raised more than $35,000 total--enough for Young at Heart to save 35 senior pets.

Special thanks to Pam for walking with us and hanging out with us at the event. We had a lot of fun!  Duncan did surprisingly well. He wasn't intimidated by the other dogs (except for the German shepherd puppy who mistook him for a rabbit.) And we didn't finish last!

Here's Duncan before, during, and after the Mosey:


Short Story Contest Update

The results of Round 2 of the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge 2017 were announced last night/this morning and guess what? I FINISHED FIRST IN MY HEAT!

Here's the proof:

For this round of the contest, I had to write a horror story. It came very easily, thanks to a lifetime of reading Stephen King. In fact, this time I had the opposite problem from Round 1: I wrote too much. We had a 2,000 word limit, and I could have easily written 5,000 words if I hadn't put on the brakes.

I really like the story I wrote this time, and I think it has great potential. So I'm not posting it. I'm going to work on it and try to get it published somewhere, someday. If you would like to read it in its current form, I'm happy to send you a copy.

What does finishing first in my heat mean?

It means the judges like me, they really like me! (Okay, they like my story--and apologies to Sally Field for the blatant plagiarism.)

It also means that I've advanced to the finals--meaning I get to spend my weekend writing one more short story. I've been doing these NYC Midnight contests for years, and this is the first time I've made it this far. Depending on where I finish in the finals, there might actually be cash prizes involved. This is where the real stakes are.

If there's a word that means "a combination of nervousness and excitement," that's what I'm feeling.


A Little Help from Our Friends

On May 21st, Duncan and I will be walking in a Mutt Mosey, a one-mile walk to support a local animal rescue. This will be a first for us. We walk a mile or more most days, but this will be the first time Duncan walks in a crowd. I have no idea how he'll do. I suspect I will end up carrying him at least part of the way--especially if there are huskies present. (Huskies are his mortal enemy. No idea why.)

Duncan came into my life as a senior pet. Walking in the Mutt Mosey seemed an appropriate way to give back. The mosey, you see, is a fundraiser for Young at Heart Senior Pet Adoptions. They specialize in rescuing and finding homes for senior pets, who are often shortlisted for euthanasia in shelters for no other reason than their age.

Our participation includes a fundraiser. Any spare change you can donate would be greatly appreciated. To donate, click the orange Donate button on this website:

Thank you!

The Best Book I Read This Month: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare by James Shapiro

It was a slow reading month--I only made it through 2 1/2 books, far below my usual one book per week average. Fortunately, it was a good month for nonfiction. The best book I read--and completed--this month was something that's been sitting on my TBR shelf for ages: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599 by James Shapiro.

What I loved about this book was that it took an historical approach to Shakespeare's work--a stark contrast to the literary approach I'm used to. In school, we always read Shakespeare's plays in isolation, as works of literature. We analyzed his use of language, his development of characters and plot, his use of symbolism.

Shapiro does very little of that. Instead, he places Shakespeare's work in historical context. He walks us through the year 1599, when Shakespeare wrote and his troupe performed Julius Caesar, Henry V, As You Like It, and Hamlet. Shapiro organized the book so that we follow the seasons, and with each season there is a new play to explore. Each play is discussed in the context of what was happening in Elizabethan England at the time. This is not William Shakespeare, Literary Master; it's William Shakespeare, Political Commentator--and I find that approach far more interesting and convincing than the literary analysis I learned in school. Shapiro notes, for example, how England's Irish troubles influenced Henry V; how assassination attempts--real and rumored--on Elizabeth influenced Julius Caesar; how an act of plagiarism influenced As You Like It; and how England's recent religious history found its way into Hamlet.

Shapiro certainly doesn't ignore Shakespeare's use of language or exploration of character. He integrates discussion of both into his historical exploration of Shakespeare's work, which I think gives more credence to his interpretations because they are not presented in isolation. (As an aside, one of my gripes with the literary analysis I had to do in school was the question of how we were supposed to know what was in an author's mind when a particular scene was written. I mean, maybe the curtains are red because that's the author's favorite color, not because the author intended to create a symbol of blood!)

At any rate, Shapiro's book is definitely one that should be on any Shakespeare fan's shelf.

Note: Clicking on the book cover will take you to the book's Amazon page.