The Dog Days: It’s Getting Hot In Here

**This episode of The Dog Days is more about our Labor Day weekend adventures in the heat than it is about Annie, but Annie is always a part of our lives in every way.


This past weekend was Labor Day weekend which was a holiday for most people. At 5:00pm on Friday afternoon, I left work feeling jazzed about the long weekend. I couldn’t wait to get our apartment cleaned up and start relaxing. So many things were happening this particular weekend… it was the start of college football, it was a long weekend, and things were looking positive in life.

As Kyle and I cleaned every nook and cranny of our apartment, we ventured into the utility closet. When we opened the door, a cloud of dusk billowed up to greet us.

“This is disgusting,” Kyle remarked.

He proceeded to vacuum the dust bunnies that had collected on the floor and scrubbed the walls. I continued cleaning the kitchen and other areas of the apartment until I heard him say, “Oh no!”

I rushed over to him and asked him what was wrong. He pointed up towards the ceiling while holding his shirt over his nose and mouth. What I saw before me was mold. It was green mold all over the corner of the utility closet ceiling. This wouldn’t have been such a problem if it wasn’t for the fact that the utility closet houses our air conditioning unit and is the primary place from which the A/C unit pulls clean air. Clean, moldy air.

After consulting with Kyle’s parents (especially his father who designs and builds houses), we decided we needed to meet with our landlord. We took pictures, grabbed our filthy filters, and headed out to the main office. When we arrived, it looked vacant. There were no cars in the parking lot and no sign of movement inside. I approached the door and read the signed that was posted. It said:

“We will be closed on August 31st, September 1st, and September 2nd for the Labor Day holiday. Please leave your rent in the box by the door.”

Continue reading

Interview on “Meet The Author”

I had the pleasure of being interviewed for the “Meet The Author” blog by K.M. Francoeur. The interview is posted on the blog but I wanted to give you a preview here. Below are the first few questions of the interview. If you would like to read more, click HERE.


J. G. McNease Interview Preview from “Meet The Author”

J. G. McNease

Question:  How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing since I was just a little girl, but started writing novel-length fiction about a year ago.

Question:  What was the name of the first book you ever published, and when was it published?

The name of my first book is “The Last Navigator”. I published it in May of 2013.

Question:  Was this book published by a publisher; or did you self-publish?

I chose to go the self-publishing route with “The Last Navigator” using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) program.

Question:  Tell our readers about this very first book.  (For example:  What was the inspiration for writing it, and what was it about)?

My inspiration to write “The Last Navigator” came from experiences I had while participating in a graduate school course in Hawai’i several years ago. While visiting the School of Social Work at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, we learned of the Navigators, and of Nainoa Thompson, one of the few remaining true navigators. The Navigators are a group of people who use natural elements, such as the stars, the planets, the movement of the waves and clouds, to find their way in the ocean. The title, “The Last Navigator”, was inspired by the Polynesian Navigators and, although it is not about them, the Navigators in my book do use the stars to find their way. I pulled from elements of the Polynesian Navigator traditions to write “The Last Navigator” and develop my characters. The storyline and many of the characters were also shaped by my background as a social worker and my desire to learn about and understand the human condition.

In writing “The Last Navigator”, I wanted to create a story that pulled from my experiences in Hawai’i as well as from current societal and personal life themes. Themes such as the empowerment of women and the hardships of single parent households are evident in the book. The main character in “The Last Navigator”, Lani, is a young female whale who dreams of being more than average. She wants to make a difference—and she does. In developing her character, I wanted to empower young women to follow their dreams and not simply conform to the norms of this world. Lani is shaped by her life experiences and her relationships with other characters, such as, Mother, and Kilo, and even the zany character of Manny, the sea turtle. She learns through trials and overcoming obstacles that she can indeed reach for the stars and achieve great things. My hope is that in reading “The Last Navigator”, some part of Lani’s character will resonate with each reader. Whether that resonance is found in her search for life’s meaning, or her desire to go against the grain, I hope she will touch the hearts of readers young and old.

News and Other Nuggets of Knowledge

“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.” ― Kurt Vonnegut

My first short story, The Woman in the Zebra Hat, is now available to download on Smashwords.com. This was my first experience publishing through Smashwords and I have to say that I’m thoroughly satisfied. Their process is quick and easy if you follow their Style Guide. It took the guess work out of the publishing process and I got multiple formats for free. If you would like to check it out, just click on the book cover below to be directed to the Smashwords website. The story is free to download and it includes a preview of The Last Navigator at the end. It’s the perfect lunchtime read!

The Woman in the Zebra Hat: A Short Story

In other news, I’ve submitted the final version of The Last Navigator to Amazon’s CreateSpace for a proof to be printed. The proof has shipped and I’m waiting (im)patiently to get it in the mail. I can’t wait to hold the physical copy of my first book in my hands. What a thrill! Overall, my experience with CreateSpace has been satisfactory. The process is easy and, best of all, it’s free! The only thing you have to pay for is the proof and personal copies.

Sales of The Last Navigator for August have been pretty abysmal. I know that $2.99 is a stretch for someone to pay to get an ebook by an unknown author. In an attempt to make it a bit easier on the wallet, I’ve decreased the price of The Last Navigator to $0.99 in hopes that my sales will increase and more readers can experience a great story. If you want to download The Last Navigator at this discounted price, click HERE.

On Labor Day (September 2, 2013) I will be releasing The Last Navigator on Smashwords in multiple ebook formats. It’s a Labor Day special and you can pre-order your copy today!

Do you prefer to read your ebooks via your iPad or iPhone on the iBooks app? Or would you rather download a PDF version and read it on your computer? Do you have a Sony Reader or a Palm reading device?

The Last Navigator is available for pre-order in the following formats:

  • EPUB (for reading in Apple iPad/iBooks, Nook, Sony Reader, Kobo, and most e-reading apps including Stanza, Aldiko, Adobe Digital Editions, others)
  • Kindle (.MOBI file for Kindle devices and Kindle apps)
  • PDF (for reading on a PC and other e-reading devices or printing)
  • LRF (for older model Sony Readers that don’t support .epub)
  • Palm Doc (PDB) (for Palm reading devices)

Want to pre-order your copy? Click HERE.

One more topic I would like to address is the topic of reviews. I received a great review from Sherrey Meyer (Found Between the Covers) recently but haven’t seen any increase in reviews on Amazon. I hope that those of you who have read The Last Navigator and have liked it will think about writing a review on Amazon. It only takes a couple of seconds to write a quick review and I would truly appreciate it!

I hope to write up a post on my publishing experiences with CreateSpace and Smashwords soon so be on the lookout for that. School is back in full swing and I’m excited about things to come this fall!

Until next time…

J. G. McNease

The Dog Days: Eclipsing Heat

“The kind of heat that August brings eclipses hot in an odd way; the atmosphere radiates with such intensity that you know fall is on its way.”

This week’s episode of The Dog Days is going to be shift from the norm. My wonderful husband, Kyle, has written a guest post about summer heat, vacation, and thoughts on life and death. It’s a refreshing break from the stories about dogs and it gives us a little more to ponder as summer comes to a close.


If you have been following this blog lately, then you already know that Jamie has been writing about the dog days of summer.  Since she has been so courteous as to extend an invitation for me to write something this week, I will keep to that theme—though I will approach it a bit differently.  Bear with me.

In our master’s program, Jamie and I had a professor who taught us the power, process, and dynamics of group therapy.  In our process recordings we were forced to reflect on as many of the exchanges we could remember from each group session.  Our professor asked us if we noticed a trend.  No one spoke up with an answer and, as she was a pretty thorough Freudian, she informed us that the topic that kept coming up was death.  Like a gyre, the conversation spiraled from humdrum talk of classes and grades to the profundities of life.  You could set your watch by it; every session, the group would end up ending up with talk of the end.  What does that have to do with the dog days of summer though?

In the deep south, the August heat chases dogs to the coolness of shades, preferably ones under the porch or, better yet, IN the house.  The kind of heat that August brings eclipses hot in an odd way; the atmosphere radiates with such intensity that you know fall is on its way.  The burning gusts of August will eventually give way to a milder fall—continuing a cycle that began before us and will continue long after us.

The dog days of summer are my favorite days of the year, weather wise.  The heat signals something in my unconscious and creates a longing to return to places of my youth—places where happy memories and moments were shared with my family.  Just about every year of my life, we loaded up in a vehicle and traveled to the same vacation spot.  I am sitting there now, which, of course, makes it here-now.  I am here now, again.  This here is the last place I ever saw my grandfather draw a breath.  I am sitting a few feet away from the same spot that I perched upon so many years ago, as I strained to catch a few glimpses of my papa.  Continue reading

The Last Navigator Featured on PubSmart Author

The Last Navigator [Kindle Edition]

The Last Navigator is the featured book today on PubSmart Author! After a bit of link difficulty, I finally got everything worked out and am able to share the link with you (get excited!).

Here it is:

http://pubsmartauthor.com/the-last-navigator-by-j-g-mcnease/

It’s a great feeling when your debut novel gets featured on a website! Check it out and stop by Amazon.com to get your copy of The Last Navigator today. Read and enjoy!

“Reading makes immigrants of us all. It takes us away from home, but, most important, it finds homes for us everywhere.” ― Hazel Rochman

Until next time…

J. G. McNease