Agitations of a Writer: Grammar, Content, and Dog Stealing

All writers and editors live in a constant state of frustration. Each and every blog, social media post, newspaper article, etc. are filled to the brim with incorrect grammatical phrases, punctuation errors, and badly written content that make us shake our collective heads. We usually grit our teeth and walk away, but today is not that day. My writer and editor friends will surely feel my pain, and I hope the rest of you get a kick out of the frustration that lives in the mind of a writer. Disclaimer: For you PETA-type people out there, don’t get your dander up. This post is not about dogs. If the subject was purple Chevys, I would have written the same thing.

I read the following letter on a forum a while back. As a writer, I’m agitated by the grammar. The more I look at it, the more I’m frustrated by the content. I copied and pasted it exactly as it appeared, and I have wasted my entire morning ripping it to shreds writing a blog about it.


found_collar_black2__33877.1362773206.1280.1280_2“I have a community question, that needs to be anonymous.

There is a dog running around my street that is severely malnourished, to the point that you can see every single bone in ther body, and they have other dogs in small pens in their backyard. I have gotten the one wondering in my back yard with a bowl of food and water. Where can I call that isn’t a high kill shelter? I believe the dog is considered an aggressive breed, but he is the sweetest thing ever.” – Anonymous Liker


While this letter is probably written by a good-deed doer, and I am all for rescuing neglected and abused animals, the post has many issues one simply cannot overlook. Grammar is the least of its problems.

“I have a community question, that needs to be anonymous.” 

There’s no need for a comma in this sentence. Why would a question need to be anonymous? Oh, you meant the person asking the question wishes to remain anonymous. Oh.

“There is a dog running around my street that is severely malnourished, to the point that you can see every single bone in ther body, and they have other dogs in small pens in their backyard.”  

Where does one even start? This is a run-on sentence with two topics – the dog and ‘they.’ “You can see every single bone” is an exaggeration. It is not possible to see every single bone unless you’ve dissected the dog, in which case we have another problem. We understand the dog is skinny, but this exaggeration leads us to believe that nothing else you’ve written here is completely true either. I’m going to ignore the “their” typo, but who is “they” in the last part of the sentence? I’m thinking you mean your neighbors? Wait! If you know this is your neighbor’s dog, why don’t you take him home? Hang on to that thought for a moment.

I have gotten the one wondering in my back yard with a bowl of food and water.

1005-alternate-1-440x400Is this a different dog? Do you have THIS dog in your possession? This sentence has me wondering how you knew this dog was wondering. Was he sitting on your back porch in the pose of The Thinker? Oh, you meant wandering, as in roaming around. Why didn’t you say so? Was he carrying a bowl of food and water with him? (…which would probably be TWO bowls, but that’s neither here nor there.) Did you mean YOU had the bowl (singular) of food and water? I’m so confused.

(photo credit: Rodin’s Thinker, National Gallery of Art, exhibiting how I’m feeling at this moment.)

Let’s continue…

“Where can I call that isn’t a high kill shelter?”

I understand the question, really, I do, but I don’t understand how over thirty people responded to the original post with phone numbers and names of shelters, and not one person noticed that the writer had STOLEN her neighbor’s dog. The wish to remain anonymous now makes more sense.

I’ll mention the obvious here. This was posted on a forum, using the Internet, which has “The Google” as my elderly friend calls it. Just look up a number.

There should be a dash between high and kill as this two-word adjective (see what I did there?) is describing the shelter.

“I believe the dog is considered an aggressive breed, but he is the sweetest thing ever.” 

Finally, a sentence written correctly, but after the exaggeration and the fact that you’ve stolen your neighbor’s dog, I’m not inclined to trust your judgment. I may want to imagine you sitting next to a malnourished Rottweiler, but what I envision is a busybody old lady with a dirty poodle on her lap.





Rooms Adorned Etsy Shop Coming Soon

facebookprofileIf you haven’t noticed, I pretty much took the entire year off from blogging and writing in 2017. I moved into a new home December 2016 and spent the year working on the house and getting the garden going.

In the meantime, I’ve also been working on two books and started a new “day job” with a national manufacturing company. Even though I’ve been busy, I’m still always looking for the next “thing.”

So, here it is…

I’ve always created all the artwork for every house I’ve ever lived in. I’ve painted, sponged, stenciled, tiled, and grouted my way around two states. Since I’ve been working on this new house, I realized I’m making more than I have room for, and I really enjoy creating it, so I decided to start selling my work on Etsy. My new shop is called Rooms Adorned. Make room for HAPPY! Everything is handmade. Everything is one-of-a-kind.

The grand opening will be April 1st!  Rooms Adorned

Below are a couple items that will be in the shop at the grand opening. Mark it on your calendar, and please stop by. April 1st! Bookmark the store Rooms Adorned.

I’ll post another blog before the grand opening and show you the inside of my art studio and lots more cute stuff!


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Puppies Puppies Puppies

Are you a dog person? I AM!!! Every time I see a dog, I say, “Awwwww, I love that puppy!”

My husband responds sarcastically, “Really?” He’s a smart a**.

I grew up with dogs. Peppy, our black toy poodle, was my first dog. We then migrated to a blond Cocker Spaniel and a couple of German Shepherds, even taking in a retired police dog named Buddah. He was solid black and beautiful.

pippas-first-day-of-school-was-funOver the last few decades, we’ve opened our home to a West Highland Terrier, a Golden Retriever, an Australian Shepherd, a Bichon-Skye Terrier mix, and our latest baby, Pippa, a 10-month-old mini-schnauzer (photo – with Rudy the Bichon-mix in the background). I love each of them equally. Dogs are joy and unconditional love. Period.

I’ve also expanded my puppy kingdom by raising dog-loving children, and now I have grand-dogs – a Husky, a Sheltie, and a long-haired mini Chihuahua.

If you’re a dog person, you know all these breeds. If you’re not, you may need help picking out your first dog. Get one! You won’t regret it.

My new friends at PuppySpot put together this awesome flowchart to help in your search. Be warned, when you visit their “puppies for sale” page at “puppyspot,” you’ll lose your heart to one of these cutie pies! Let me know which one you pick! ♥

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Stop by their website and take a look at the babies. Tell everybody there “Pippa says hi!”

Synchronicity – the way you know you’re on the right path

There are many moments in my life where “The Twilight Zone” theme music should be playing in the background. I call those moments Synchronicity – the times I know I’m on the right path.

I’ve been so stinkin’ busy the last five months, I’ve not written any blogs, I’ve not worked on my book “Witch Dance” that I wanted to release September 21st (umm, what is the date today? crap.), I’ve not marketed, edited, or completed much. Of course, with the lack of progress on my book and the work-a-holic that I am, I’ve felt a bit of despair. I guess the feeling has been akin to failure, or loser, or slacker, or something.

Well, I had a moment of Synchronicity that changed my mind.

013The last few months I’ve been looking for a puppy. Our 10-year-old Bichon/Terrier mix, Rudy, has been lonely since we put our Aussie down last summer. Trophy husband and I are both gone to work all day (yes, I got a new job. more about that in a later blog), and Rudy sits alone by himself and pouts. He’s never been alone before – his whole life. His tail is droppy. His smile has faded. I needed to find him a friend.

I’ve had a few close calls in finding a puppy at some local county shelters and rescues, but nothing has panned out. Yet one failure after another. I found a couple puppies in the newspaper, but I never got responses to my emails.

Three weeks ago, I found a 10-week-old Miniature Schnauzer on Craigs List. I emailed the owner and within a few hours I was picking her up. The woman only had her for two weeks and thought raising a puppy was too time consuming, so she was looking for a new home for the little girl. She had named her Bella.

maxresdefaultOn the drive home with little Bella in my lap, trophy husband and I tossed out a hundred names. We didn’t think Bella really fit her. Piper. Pepper. Peanut. Etc. When Pippa came out of my mouth, I knew that was it! She looks like a Pippa. She acts like a Pippa. Trophy husband said, “You mean like the Princess’s sister?” First, I was surprised that he knew who the Princess was, much less her sister. Second, he said it with a mild disgust in his tone. I didn’t think he liked it, but I was determined this dog would be named Pippa.

Two weeks passed. I still hadn’t worked on my book, but now I had a new excuse. I have a puppy, which is a time consuming responsibility.

I figured this little girl was probably due for some vaccinations, so I pulled out the folder the woman gave us that had “Bella” written on the front. I hadn’t opened it since she gave it to us. I was busy. New puppy and all. So, I thumbed through the papers inside and found the breeder’s paperwork in the back. Written on the breeder’s paperwork was “salt & pepper” and in large capital letters at the top of the page, “PIPPA“!

Whoa! What?


pippaYes, her name is Pippa, apparently has been since the day she was born. Yes, she is meant to be with us. She is the dog we are supposed to have. The disappointments over getting a dog from a rescue were not failures, they were leading us down the path to Pippa. Rudy’s smile has returned. His tail is wagging again!


The book can wait. I have a new puppy.


Summer 2014 Newsletter

10312579_10152357221103326_361961938920997917_nIf you’re not signed up for my author newsletter, you don’t know what’s up with this donkey! CLICK HERE!! to find out.

My latest newsletter is filled with info about new books, recent awards, and coming stuff, including a giveaway of my new book STUCKEY’S LEGACY. I’m giving the book away this Saturday, before it is available to the public, so pop over and enter. CLICK HERE!!

If you want to sign up for my newsletter, you can do so at the top of the newsletter page. CLICK HERE!! I promise I will never give away or sell your email address, and you can unsubscribe at any time with one click of your mouse. Also, I won’t fill up your inbox with junk. I’m definitely unorganized when it comes to putting together newsletters, so I only send three or four a year, if I remember to do so. 🙂

If you don’t want to sign up but would like to see the latest newsletter and enter to win my new book, you can do that, too. See? We’re easy around here. Simply CLICK HERE!!

Farming, Winning, Unpacking, and Catching Up

Holy cow, the last month as been NUTZZZ!

IMG_20140507_075738760I moved from Michigan to Tennessee on May 1st. Whew, that was a lot of work! I felt kinda bad that I went to work on May 3rd for two weeks and left my trophy husband in Tennessee to deal with the movers, the dogs, and his new job, but I had to sit on a beach in St. Maarten and get paid. (I work for Norwegian Cruise Lines, if you don’t know.) So, trophy husband unpacked boxes as best he could and regularly emailed me pictures of the house. I was so happy to see all our stuff made it, but I must admit, my first thoughts were, “Hey, that doesn’t go there. Why would he put those things on that table? That other stuff should go there, and move those things to the other place.” LOL. Poor guy. Well, it was so cool to fly into Nashville on Saturday to come home. I’ve been home for two days and have most of our belongings sorted out. I’m still finding things we didn’t unpack when we moved three years ago, but it’s fun to go through it.

IMG_20140518_184641045In case you missed it, we now have a farm and poor trophy husband has a lot to do. While we were driving down from Michigan (eight hours in the car with two dogs panting and turning it into a smelly steam room), one of the six moo moos had a calf. I called her Peanut (standing on the left), which will be totally wrong when she weighs 900 pounds, but I don’t care. While I was away last week, we had the second calf. I named her Buttercup (laying down on the right). They are precious!!


While I was gone, Twister (the neurotic donkey) apparently went into the chicken enclosure and wouldn’t come out. He’s out now and back with his buddies, but he was a poor little loner for over a week. My house sits by the barn and the chickens, and I haven’t seen Twister since I’ve returned home. He may be a little freaked out by the whole experience. He’s hiding on the back of the property.

AOH%20cover_webAlso while I was gone, my book “An Orphan’s Heart,” was named as a finalist in the 2014 Eric Hoffer Awards. I’m tickled pink!








unnamedThe sequel to “Stuckey’s Bridge” is coming out in two weeks. “Stuckey’s Legacy” will hit the shelves on June 1st. While I was on the ship, I finished writing the third in the trilogy. “Stuckey’s Gold” is now in the pipeline and will be out in August. If you haven’t read “Stuckey’s Bridge” yet, get busy.


I think that’s all the news. I’m leaving Sunday for Bermuda for nine weeks, so I won’t be around until the end of July. Have a great summer and I’ll yack at y’all soon!

They loaded up the truck and they moved to Tennessee

Beverly Hillbillies in reverse. We live in Michigan and we’re moving to Tennessee…NEXT WEEK!

Last Thursday (April 10), my trophy husband said, “My company has a job opening in Tennessee.”

I said, “Well, what are we waiting for?”

We’ve been discussing moving South for quite a while. The snow in Michigan sucks! But since we were here, we’ve also been looking for a farm in Michigan for the last year, but everything we found, put an offer on, got an acceptance on, etc. has fallen through. Maybe we’re MEANT to move South. If you know me, you know my life is about SYNCHRONICITY! I completely believe things happen for a reason, and you will know you are on the right path by the crazy signs around you. Obviously, the difficulties we had trying to buy a farm in Michigan meant we were not on the right path. When things are right, they’re not difficult…they’re easy. Tell me if I’m on the right path when you read the following story…

10156091_10152321047728326_6600643372095374873_nThat night (April 10), I found a farmhouse online and emailed about it. We planned on going down Sunday (April 13) for a couple days for hubby to check out the job and me to check out the neighborhoods for houses. (In 2 weeks, I’ll be out of the country until August, so if this is going to happen, it has to happen quick quick quick.)

Early Sunday morning, I got a response to my email which was uber-strange, stating the owner worked for the UN and was being transferred to South Africa, and asking questions like ‘Can you attach a photo?’ ‘How much can you put down upfront?’ ‘What’s your birth date?’   It was more than a little weird, so you know me, I Googled it. Turns out it was a scam. It’s been running since 2009. They get your info, you send them a lot of money, and you don’t get the house. I searched online and found the REAL real estate agent and sent her an email, telling her there was some fraudulent activity going on with that property. In the car on the way to Nashville an hour later, I got an email from her asking me to call her. I did and we spoke about the email I had received, which I offered to forward to her. I also asked (since I had her on the phone) if I could set up an appointment with her (since she’s a real estate agent and I’m looking for a house).

10247300_10152318711128326_7398557137487060087_nMonday morning (April 14), I dropped hubby off at the new job and went driving around. Armed with coffee, my GPS, and a list of 20 houses, my plan was to look at all of them before meeting with the real estate agent at noon. All of the houses were in dinky neighborhoods with no yards. I hated them. I’m a country girl. Give me room. Give me grass. Finally, I ended up at the farmhouse I had originally emailed about. I was in LOVE. There were cows and a donkey next to the house…chickens and geese in the barn…and a beautiful 150-yr-old farmhouse.


1010207_10152321047538326_4270091319921640956_nWhile I was in the driveway, my trophy husband texted, “The job is a go! Find a house!”


I texted back, “Just did! Check your email.” I sent him pictures of the cows and the house, and I headed to the real estate office.

The agent showed me some houses on her laptop (some of which I had just driven by) and I told her the one I really loved was the old farmhouse. She told me all about the history of the house and the land. I asked her why she knew so much about the property.

She said, “Because I’m the owner.”



We signed the papers Thursday morning (Apr 17) before we left, and we’re now back in Michigan packing. The movers are coming Apr 29! I gotta go….