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Humans are curious creatures. It beats me how they walk on two legs without falling on their noses. And because they have no luxurious fur coats like us dogs, they have to wear extra skins to keep them warm. Every night, Mama and Papa shed their extra skins and put them in a big brown basket. On a laundry day, Mama takes it down the stairs into a small and narrow room crowded with two big white boxes. Although they look like a big white box in the kitchen where Mama hides all the food, upon a close sniff-around, I concluded that they harbored nothing edible. The boxes are pretty boring and sleep most of the time, just like Mimi the cat, but on a laundry day, they wake up and start shaking and grumbling and growling like hungry beasts. But if you think I am afraid of them, you are wrong. I am no stupid dog and I can put two and two together. These angry boxes sound like cars. When I was a puppy, I thought cars were big animals that growl, roar, and pass nasty smelling farts. It turned out you could get inside a car and have a nice ride to a dog park. So, I reckon these white boxes in the basement are cars for the extra skins, so they can go for a nice ride. Imagine hanging in a dark closet and then sleeping in a laundry basket all day long. Everyone needs a break once in a while, even those extra skins, pathetic though they are.


This was part of my weekly assignment for the GWW fiction writing course, the Point of View topic. I am not posting the first part where I was to observe a personal area in my home or office and write a few paragraphs describing my activity in my area from a third-person point of view. I struggled with this part of the assignment, and it came out boring and listless.

The second part was to put someone completely opposite from me (gender, age, education, culture, etc.) in that room of mine, and write from that character’s point of view in the first-person.  So I wrote the above piece from my dog’s POV. He is a complete opposite of me: a male, young enough to be my baby, home-schooled with no manners to speak of. The only deviation from my assignment is that he is not a person per se. 🙂

I’ve got lots of shots in my archive that start with an R. Learn more about Frizztext A-Z Archive Challenge.

Red Panda, Calgary Zoo, image by reflectionsinapuddle

Rainbow, Niagara Falls, image by reflectionsinapuddle

Ruins, Coba, image by reflectionsinapuddle

Roof covered with snow, (Rogers Pass, I think) image by reflectionsinapuddle

My entry for the WordPress weekly photo challenge: Together

image by reflectionsinapuddle

image by reflectionsinapuddle

I read this post by TBM To Self-Publish or Not to Self-Publish, and it got me thinking. As a mother of an aspiring writer and an aspiring writer myself, I will likely have to deal with this agonizing question in one form or another — sooner or later. Through my recent forays into creative writing I got a glimpse of what it’s like to be on the writer’s side of things. And though I am still light years away from any finished product that would require all that effort, I can still share my opinion of self-publishing as a reader.  And plenty of that I’ve got. I mean opinion, of course. And it’s not in favour of self-publishing. But let me tell you about my experience with self-published, or indie, books first.

Truth be told, I am not an adventurous reader — I prefer to stick to authors whose books I’ve already read. But it would be logical to assume that if that were really the case, I would have been stuck with Cinderella or Pinocchio stories for the rest of my life. So, whether I consider myself adventurous or not, I do discover new authors every once in a while, mostly by `hanging out` with book review blogs, through my local public library, the amazons, Kobo online store, and just browsing bookstore shelves and buying books with pretty covers.

My first indie book was In Her Name: Empire by Michael Hicks. And this time it found me for a change. It was free too. It happened in my early Twitter days, when I had 0 followers or something close to a 0. As soon as I announced to the world that I am a `bookworm,` with an eReader device, my following began to grow slowly, but steadily, consisting mostly of indie authors. Michael Hicks just happened to be among my first followers, an affable fellow, who enticed me with an offer of a free fantasy book. I had no idea it was self-published, nor did I care about the fact. I just downloaded it to my Kobo and ended up liking it so much, that I bought two more of his books. Those two turned out a little less exciting and I never finished them.

After that I tried reading several more indie authors only to discover that their books were ridden with typos and bad grammar. Needless to say, I lost my interest in them pretty quickly. There was another author whose books I was seeking out because I was intrigued by the hype on Twitter. But, guess what, the elusive writer didn’t seem to care whether his books could be easily downloaded. I just couldn’t find his books in the format compatible with my device ANYWHERE. Maybe I didn’t try hard enough. But really why should I?

So, for now I stay away from indie books, and it’s not because I don’t believe there are good or even great indie authors out there. I just don’t have the time to separate the wheat from the chaff; I’d rather have publishers do that for me.

But despite my not-so-positive experiences, I believe there is bright future for self-publishing. Maybe it’s already here, if only just for a handful indie writers who either have a great self-promotion strategy or an amazing product. Not so long ago I told my son to try and self-publish his book on Smashwords, and even offered to do the editing and the cover art. (now I kind of question the wisdom of this offer :-))

If you are an indie author who dreams of being published, self- or otherwise, I wish you good luck – because you are going to need it.

I don’t buy the treats mentioned in this post, nor do I buy any treats “made in China.” For dog food, I buy a Canadian brand, Orijen.

DogDaz Zoo

Ok everyone…THESE are among the chicken treats responsible for killing dogs or making them seriously ill. Vets everywhere are now warning everyone to stop giving your dogs these treats. They are slowly shutting down dog’s kidneys and it is because of something they have in them, still as yet UNKNOWN. The fact that they don’t know what the contaminant is, is why the FDA  has not pulled these treats from stores. Do not buy ANY treats made in China, as that is where these contaminated, poisonous products are coming from.The FDA has received over 600 complaints on these….other brands are Canyon Creek Ranch and DOGSWELL.  Anyone feeding their dog chicken treats needs to look at the package carefully as the words “Made in China” can be very small… do not be fooled by the phrase “An American Company” they are using in large print!

It’s a huge issue…

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My entry for the Frizztext P-letter challenge. A new pedestrian bridge called the Peace Bridge was recently added to our cityscape. It cost the City an arm and a leg and stirred up some controversy. Was it worth it? Only time will tell. I’ve only used the bridge twice since its opening in March.

image by reflectionsinapuddle

image by reflectionsinapuddle

image by reflectionsinapuddle

image by reflectionsinapuddle

I’ve been so busy with “stuff,” I almost forgot to post about the beginning of a new course that I am enrolled in. It’s Fiction Writing through Gotham Writing Workshop, led by the same instructor as my previous Creative Writing 101, Chip Livingston. It’s week two, in which we learn about CHARACTER. This week’s assignment is to list five personality flaws I see in myself, pick a flaw, then give this flaw to a fictional character, who may or may not be similar to myself and show the flaw in action in under 500 words. I don’t like the word “flaws.” I rather prefer “idiosyncrasies.” So, I picked one of my idiosyncrasies and gave it to one of the main characters in a story that I started last week. I exaggerated and tweaked it, of course, since it’s fiction writing. I would greatly appreciate if you, upon reading the scene, could tell me if I succeeded in showing the unnamed idiosyncrasy(ies). What do you think my character is struggling with?

Her phone rang. “Yes?.. At the toy store… No, I am not done yet… I don’t know. The freaking store is full of ’em and I’ve no idea what to buy… Why don’t you join me and we’ll be done and over with… Of course, you can’t! How could I forget: You never have time for such mundane things…Gotta go. Bye.” Grimacing as if she swallowed an entire lemon, Alys returned her cell phone in the pocket of her jacket and resumed her quest for the perfect toy. Toys, actually. Her sister, Lisa, had triplets: three adorable baby girls, three cute objects for doting by their parents, relatives and friends alike. What do you get for the babies who want for nothing?

She heaved a sigh and continued along the endless isles filled with dolls, transformers, Lego sets, small soldiers, cubes, stackers, puzzles, toy cars, toy trucks, ducks, teddy bears, winny the poohs, piglets, tigers, lions, kittens, musical boxes, books with pictures… With all the bright colours screaming at her and making her head spin, Alys slowed down in the baby section and froze at the sight of an enigmatic blue monster reminiscent of an octopus with a crazy eye attached to each of its eight tentacles and complete with an eerie toothless grin. Are you kidding me? Is this horror meant for babies? She grabbed the toy and squeezed it lightly.

The monster squealed.

Alys winced, threw the toy back on the shelf and spun on her heels. Maybe instead of trying to pick the most attractive toy… She smacked herself on the forehead. How could she possibly know what toys babies find most attractive? She kicked at the bottom shelf in frustration and glanced around surreptitiously: to her relief, toys were the only witnesses of her outburst.

Chewing on her lip, she pulled out her cell phone to check the time. Oh, crap! She had already spent two hours inside the store and was still empty-handed! Lisa would kill her if she were late tonight for the triplets’ birthday party. A hot wave of anger, anxiety and frustration washed over her. She tore her jacket off and was about to throw it angrily on the floor, then thought better of it, took several deep breaths and raised her face toward the top shelf so as tears welling in her eyes didn’t spill and ruin her makeup.

A middle-aged woman with a look of deep concentration on her face stepped into the narrow isle.

“Excuse me,” Alys said quickly, swallowing her tears and forcing the friendliest smile she could muster. “Do you happen to know what kind of toys are liked by babies?”

The woman broke off her concentration and smiled back at Alys. “How old is the baby?”

“One…I need three. Toys, I mean. They are triplets, my nieces. Today’s their birthday,” she said all in one breath.

“Oh! That’s a doozy!” the lady exclaimed shaking her head. She eyed Alys noting her dishevelled appearance. “But I am sure it can be helped.”

There was nothing special about the nice lady, but Alys could have sworn that for a brief moment she caught a glimpse of a halo above the lady’s head and heard angels sing.

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More subjects and more contrast

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