The Dog Days Are Back: This Author is in a Drought!

This is a quick post and is in no way representative of my writing abilities but I want share with you a brief update into my life right now. I’ve completed my Office Surgery Inspections contract (my first with the State of Florida) and now I’m just trying to get caught up on the daily duties of my job that have fallen behind due to writing a contract (which is very time consuming, might I add). Because of that and other life events, I haven’t had the time to even think about personal writing. On top of my work life, we are definitely back to the dog days of summer with Miss Annie.

A few weeks ago, Kyle and I went on a date (a rarity for us lately) and were only gone for two and a half hours. When we returned to our apartment, we were greeted at the door by Annie making her “Uh oh, I did wrong” face. We walked into the living room to find her bed covered in staples. Yes, staples. Like those sharp metal things that you use to bind paper together. Where did she get the staples? Your guess is as good as ours. Oh, but she got them, alright. She tore the box apart and tore the staples apart. They were chewed and gnarled and literally everywhere. After picking up each individual staple that we could see, we vacuumed the carpet and her bed and combed the area for any lingering staple. I called the emergency vet line to find out if we needed to take Annie to the vet immediately since she probably had ingested a few staples. The vet on-call said that it wasn’t necessary because of her size. She would probably pass the staples in a few days with no problem. The vet did warn that if she began vomiting or showing signs and symptoms of a more serious condition, we should bring her to her regular vet immediately. Annie was alright for the first day after eating the staples but, of course, on Monday morning, we awoke to her hurling her poor puppy guts up. She was sick. I called into work, took a day of hard earned sick leave, and called her regular vet for an appointment. The vet asked questions about the staple eating incident and then said that the only way they could tell if she was sick from staples was to do x-rays. Shortly after the x-rays were taken, the vet came in and said, “Well, she definitely ate staples. A lot of staples.” The x-rays were displayed on the computer screen and I could clearly see that the staples were in there. And the vet was correct, Annie had eaten A LOT of STAPLES!


 

anniestaples1

anniestaples2


 

My first question was, “What can we do?” The answer, of course, was surgery. She told me that she could take Annie into emergency exploratory abdominal surgery as soon as we were ready but she wanted to check another option first. Apparently, there was a new specialist in town who did doggy endoscopy and our vet said that she thought it might be a better option for Annie than surgery. Of course, the less invasive you can be, the better. The price, however, was extraordinarily invasive into our pocketbooks. The specialist did agree to take Annie as a case, so I drove her right on over to their office for a consultation. They didn’t waste any time in getting her evaluated and the specialist (an internal medicine specialist with a Scottish accent) said that he wanted to put her on IV fluids overnight, have her stay in the hospital, and then determine whether or not to do endoscopy in the morning after a new set of x-rays were taken. At this point, we didn’t have any other choices other than surgery so we agreed to leave her overnight. I had to pay a deposit to leave her which cost several hundred dollars and I also had to sign a waiver stating that I wanted her to be revived if she went into cardiac arrest. In the morning, the vet called and said he would have to do endoscopy to remove the mass of staples that was stuck in her pylorus. For those of you who do not know what the pylorus is, it is the part of the stomach that connects to the duodenum (or small intestine). The rest of the staples had moved out of her large intestines and into her colon so they would be coming out in her next bowel movement. The staples that were stuck weren’t going to go anywhere without help. The endoscopy was done fairly quickly. She was up and running by that evening, even though she was quite drowsy from the anesthesia. Annie is perfectly fine now–no more staples. Fifteen hundred dollars later and we have a happy healthy dog again. Oh, the joys of being a dog owner! We’ve now officially made it through our first year of having Annie in our lives and it may have been one of the most stressful, most expensive, and most fulfilling years of our lives.

That being said, thank you for your continued support and love! If you want to read more of my work, go buy my book! It’s 99 cents on Amazon Kindle or the free Amazon Kindle Reading App for almost all mobile devices and tablets! You can download the free Amazon Kindle Reading App from my Works page or by clicking on the image below. What a steal of a deal! It’s also in paperback as well if that is more to your liking. Check it out!

FREE Kindle Reading App

Magnifying Glass Clues

Descriptive Writing: 4 Ways to Give Readers a “Clue”

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”- Anton Chekhov

When I think of descriptive writing, the first thing that comes to mind is the popular board game, Clue. For those of you who have never had the pleasure of playing Clue, it is a murder-mystery, whodunit game where the players are tasked with figuring out the “who”, “where”, and “with what” of the crime.

Description, like Clue, is solving the mystery of a story by answering the questions of “who”, “where”, and “with what”.

Going further, descriptive writing should give the reader a clear picture of the scene, as though they were watching it happen in their minds. As Mary Jaksch of Write to Done says in her article, How To Show (Not Tell): A Writing Lesson from John LeCarre: “A skillful storyteller sets the scene by showing – not telling.”

1. Using Description to Show While You Tell

In order to show readers a scene, you have to give more clues than just who, where, and with what. If you were playing Clue, the answers to those three questions could be simply:

Who: Colonel Mustard

Where: The library

With what: The candlestick

With this information, you can visualize the crime scene to a certain degree. If your answers are correct, you win.

In contrast, if you were reading a murder-mystery novel, you may be slightly underwhelmed with an ending like:

“It was Colonel Mustard in the library with the candlestick.”

That sentence leaves the reader asking questions like:

  • What does Colonel Mustard look like?
  • Where is the library? Is it a public library or inside of a house?
  • What does the candlestick look and feel like and what is its significance?

These are “clues” that Clue leaves out but as a writer, it is important to cover all of the details down to the feel of something and even the smell.

2. Think Like a Reader

Literary agent, Mary Kole, discusses creating an experience for readers in What ”Show, Don’t Tell” Really Means, a Writer’s Digest guest column. She says that “by showing them a scene, showing them what’s going on in a person’s head, giving them information but embedding it below the surface, you’re inviting your reader to put their thinking cap on, to dive into your story and go deeper.”

Continue reading