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Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Year With New Opportunities

Here we are with a new year with new opportunities.  Why do we not all take a moment or two.  Okay, okay.  Let's take an hour or two to reflect on our accomplishments this past year. 

As for me as Jeanne Armonk, this has been a very rewarding year with my columns for The Wilkes Gazette.  My columns which are three per issue, cover a broad section of interest for those in Wilkes County and surrounding areas.

Jeanne's Travels which is written in conjunction with my dog Red, highlights many travel locations in the area.  These locations often are pet-friendly.  That is to say, places where the family pet may accompany its family.  Here in Wilkes County, we have a wonderful dog park named Hidden Oaks Dog Park.  This park provides year round fun and socializing for residents and canines to hang out together. 

The park is well-kept and provides ample room for dogs of all shapes and sizes.  Red and I stay either on the outside or in the over 25 lbs side.  We like to amble along a dirt path which follows Cub Creek.  We can cross a bridge and go over to a walking path through the wooded areas.  There are both benches and picnic tables for those wanting to spend some time there.

I also write Living on a Budget.  I have endeavored to cover many diverse topics where the community may find bargains and stretch their dollars.  From the library to the thrift shops to restaurants to department stores and home improvement stores, many bargains can be found.  If free items or samples or classes are offered, then I write about the ones I learn about for the column.  Bargains change continually.

On the subject of restaurants, I also write the Weekly Restaurant Review.  No I am not a bona fide critic, however, for nearly 50 years I have been eating out in restaurants from Cape Cod in Massachusetts to the San Francisco Bay down to Hollywood and many places in between.  I grew up just outside Manhattan and I had the privilege to eat in the city many times.  Now, I go to affordable places and critic for average folk looking for a good meal at a good value.

My editor has been very generous as to my freedom in choosing weekly topics, attractions and restaurants.  This opportunity has afforded me a flexible schedule as well as the chance to hone my writing skills.  I believe there is always room for improvements.  For the new year of 2011, I plan to finish that novel of mine.  Also, I plan to pay more attention to health and fitness.  I believe this new year will afford more opportunity for even greater accomplishments.  I plan to spend time on Saturday the 1st both reflecting on this past year's accomplishments and planning for new ones in 2011.  Let us all see what we can get accomplished this new year of opportunities.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Balkasar open for bears: Pakistan’s new WSPA-funded bear sanctuary

I wish to share this post from the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) website. I wish that many more people will fund the WSPA's efforts to assist animals around the world. In particular, the assisting and rescuing of the remaining 60-70 tortured bears being illegally used for bear baiting in Pakistan. The WSPA has opened a new sanctuary for rescued bears to live out the remainder of their lives in peace and security. Please read the following:

Balkasar open for bears: Pakistan’s new WSPA-funded bear sanctuary

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Your Novel's Plot - Review

After a number of weeks pass by, it is good to review your novel's plot. How is it holding your interest? Will the plot hold a reader's interest? As you type your draft copy, do you, yourself, find that you can hardly wait for the next chapter, page, paragraph or line? I have been typing several posts here recently as part of a rough draft to my long awaited novel. The plot is centered around my dog Red.

I find myself reviewing my notes and my posts to find a continuity and flow, or, the lack of. I know if the plot holds my attention, and I already know the story, then the plot just might hold the attention of readers. It has been a chance for a fresh look by revisiting Red's past. My memory is kicking into high gear. In addition, other memories are coming into focus of other pets that journeyed with us for a time.

Red has enriched my life as countless other pets have enriched the lives of those who knew them. No wonder there is no shortage of pet owners in the United States, and throughout the world. There are costs to being a pet owner as previously mentioned. However, in comparison to the unconditional love and loyalty of Red, few things in my life have compared.

Yes, I am simply Mama to those I have housed and cared for and loved. The return on my investment has been exponentially great! Both on my initial and subsequent investments, I have reaped many rewards. Red, my courageous half-grown stray, has taught me the most of any of my many pets. He has given just as much as he has taught. Even this morning, he waited for me to let him go outside. Well-behaved as ever, he did his business and came right back to me. His soulful eyes, wagging tail and whining greeting such as to say, "Mama, where have you been. I have been waiting for you. I have missed you. I love you."

Thus, I am stopping my posts for a couple of months in order to review my notes and due to the opening of a new shop in the works for me at Notes, and I might add references, that are essential to maintaining my novel's plot. The story may need tweaking in order to be more marketable. This expression I am fond of and learned it from the 1998 film, You've Got MailTom Hanks, the male lead in the film, uses this word in one scene where he is emailing to Meg Ryan, the female lead in the film.  So, our notes may need tweaking... 

However, despite any tweaking, the essence of my story remains the same. The dog is the same. I am the same. No, I am not the same either. This particular dog has and is changing my life each and every day. More in my next post...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Passing Another Test

The big moment had finally arrived for Red to meet his new brothers. Tyson who I refer to as Ty was a beautiful dog. To quote the famous New Jersey author, and a personal favorite of mine, Albert Payson Terhune, Tyson was "A Thoroughbred in Body and Soul." This in like manner to the famous heroic collie, Ch. Lad of Sunnybank.

Ty was just beautiful inside and outside. He had light russet markings against his thick, black Rottweiler coat. He was 24" at the shoulder, thus he was not a giant among his breed. However, he did weigh a formidable 141 pounds at that moment. He was my pound rescue in 2000. He was confiscated along with several other dogs from a "drug house" in town. He was said to cost $1000. My cost was $5. He was already neutered and up-to-date on his shots.

It had taken some time for Ty to trust me and when he did, my spirits soared. I was coached by other dog owners to make sure he recognized me as the alpha person in the house. One day he had thrown off his large and loose choke collar. He never left the property, rather he patroled along the hedges up to the garage. Then, he came over to me when I called him. The former owners must have invested in some obedience training for him. He was one of the most behaved dogs I ever had the privilege to own.

Now, I needed to know after nearly two years, that Ty would accept Red without incident. So, I brought the big red dog into my living room. I then brought Ty around to the same room. Red was probably not feeling too well yet with his double surgery the day before. I never knew Ty to back down from anyone and he went right up to the new dog. He sniffed him carefully. Then, unexpectedly, Red began to whine. I have often thought that Red's mother was the Rottweiler in his parentage. Perhaps, when he saw Ty, he reverted to his puppyhood. Anyway, Ty was accepting of the nearly grown puppy.

The bond forged that day was unbreakable. Ty took on a parent role and would often wash Red's face and ears for him. Red would sit or lie there by the larger dog and bask in the attention. To this day, Red will sit by anyone who will give him an ear rub. In fact, it happened with a stranger just the other day when I had my car serviced. I also was given the insight to Red that he was still an acquiescing puppy inside that large body.

Red passed the Tyson test that afternoon. This was to my great relief. I really wanted to keep that red dog. Next, I decided to bring in my shepherds. This would prove to be the first of many incidents between Red and them due to the highly jealous nature of both my shepherds. They were jealous of each other. Luc had even taken on Tyson when I first brought that big dog home. The exchange quickly decided who was my alpha dog. Hands down, Tyson had taken Luc by the back and lifted him off the ground. Luc had rushed at the unsuspecting Tyson and did not realize how strong Tyson would prove to be. Ty turned and grabbed up Luc and literally flung him aside.

Luc was my baby. I called him Puppy. He was almost always by my side. However, I did not want him to be an only dog. Luc would have preferred being an only dog. I prevailed, but through the years I incurred costs for that decision. I had rushed over to Luc, who was already up on his feet and literally slithered off. I did not see blood on him when I checked him over. Luc never openly challenged Tyson again. He did seize opportunities to steal his bones and toys when Ty wasn't looking.

Ty loved toys. He would leap into the air to catch base balls and frisbees. He rarely missed. I learned later that Rottweilers should not leap and jump as it is hard on their large frames. However, Ty loved to play! He would seek out people to bring a ball or toy over to and look so intently at his intended playmate that out of guilt we would all oblige him. His other past time, most likely due to his former owners, was to guard dog food bags as I would bring them in. I often found Ty in my kitchen, lying next to the bag, not opening it, rather waiting for me to do the honors. Oh yes, and by his side would be at least one toy. Sometimes, I would see three toys by him with two tucked under his front legs.

Red had this playful innocence to a point. However, catch was not a favorite past time for Red. If we threw him a Milkbone, then he did his best to catch it. So, now it was time for Red to meet his other brothers. More in my next post...

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Double Surgery

It was a very long week for Red and for me. Each day I half-expected to stop by the pound to see Red and find that his owner had claimed him. However, that was never the case. At the week's end, Red was going to be mine.

Linda Etienne, the animal control officer, offered to drop him at my veterinary hospital for the agreed upon neutering and vaccinations that Red was to receive upon adoption. That seemed a small price ($50) to pay to adopt him. The alternative was unthinkable. Unthinkable to me who was growing more fond of Red with each passing day.

I obtained my receipt for my 4th dog adopted from a shelter. At least, I was being consistent. I firmly believed and believe in spaying and neutering dogs (and cats.) There are far too many animals who, like Red, may not be wanted after they lose their cute puppy and kitten faces and bodies. I have been proud to speak about and to defend the position of neutering Red. Too many animals, unadopted and/or abandoned and/or abused have been put to sleep. Too many animals have starved to death or have thirsted to death due to no one caring for them. Too many animals have been victimized with no one to come to their rescue or to speak for them. At least now, a big mixed breed stray such as Red would be adopted. He would have a home and have someone to care for him. Plus, he would have three no-nonsense brothers. This seemed to fit Red's personality to a tee.

Linda took Red for his veterinary requirements. I was to pick him up the next afternoon. I called the veterinarian in the morning. Red was fine. However, the dog had dew claws on his hind legs. I had not noticed them. The vet was told by Linda to remove them. Apparently, this surgery is done by responsible breeders when dogs are very young. Red, of course, still had his dew claws. These appendages are likened to extra thumbs. The danger is that these dew claws can catch on things, tear, and cause an animal to bleed to death. The cost was an additional $80. Now, my big red dog had cost $130.

I went that afternoon to pick him up. He was alert. He had big ace bandages around his hind legs where the dew claws had been removed. Red seemed to be in good spirits. Now, this was the first time to put him in my van and be with him alone. He settled down in the back seat.
That was the first of I do not know how many rides we would take together through the Eastern states and through the years. We had a ten minute ride now to get to our house. After passing his tests of surgery and riding with me in the van, he still had to face the test of meeting his new brothers, especially 141 lb. Tyson.

When we arrived in the driveway, I made the decision to leave Red in the van until I put the two shepherds out in the back yard. I greeted my faithful trio inside and called to them to go outside. I then brought my German Rottweiler Tyson (Ty) back inside with me. This meeting would decide Red's undecided future with me. I was praying and hoping that my Tyson would accept the younger dog. I was banking on Tyson recognizing Red as one of his own breed. More in my next post...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Very Undecided Future

I kept my word to that big red dog who at that moment indeed had a very undecided future. I had been guessing as to his breeding for the past 3 weeks. At first, I thought he resembled that brave police dog Hooch. Hooch, the dogue de bordeaux, from the comedy film Turner and Hooch starring Tom Hanks, Mare Winningham and Craig T. Nelson. Then, I thought perhaps he was a Chesapeake Bay Retriever due to his coat. I did however, see a large Rottweiler head, despite the color being all wrong.

The animal control officer, Linda Etienne, informed me that Red was a chow rottweiler cross. That immediately made sense and I now finally saw the black patches on Red's tongue. Chow Chows and Shar-pei are the only dog breeds with black tongues. On source indicates that about 30 dog breeds can have spotted tongues. Actually, this dog really did resemble a large reddish bear.

So, with Red's undecided future swaying towards the dark side, I attempted to intervene in the outcome. I asked first how she caught him as he always walked away from me. She said he had also been going to another woman's house and eating there. The ac officer was able to use the pole and hook and catch him. Red evidently was quite frightened by his capture. He was still shaking in his kennel and I now asked Linda if I could see him. She cautioned me, but gave me the green light.

I believe that the dog with a keen sense of smell, after all, he located my food dish the first night, knew me as the person behind the dish. He was quiet. He did not growl. He sniffed my hand through the wire mesh. I asked, "What would happen to him now?" She said, " He'll probably be put down as he is part chow and no one will want him." I desperately asked her if I could have him? She said, "You already have Tyson." Now, Tyson was my German Rottweiler who I had adopted from the pound 2 years before. I said, "Yes, maybe I could bring Ty here to meet Red and see how it goes?" Linda then said, "It would be better for them to meet at my home with Ty on familiar ground." I said okay. She told me the dog would be posted in the local newspaper for one week to locate the owner. Then, the dog became the town's to either be put down or adopted out. She agreed to let me have him if the owner did not claim him.

I went to see Red every day to let him get to know me a little better. It was a long week waiting on the answer. I came to see that Red was truly a magnificent dog. He would sit outside most all the time. He went inside to eat and then he was back outside. He never growled or nor did he show aggressive behavior towards me. My hope was that he and Tyson would accept one another. I also had two shepherd huskies and they were of the jealous sort. Tyson was my alpha dog and assisted me with keeping a peaceful home. I also learned that Red was under a year and had beautiful white teeth. I often wonder why the owner did not claim him. Some thought when Red got too large, he was simply let go to fend for himself - in the city. More in my next post...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Your Novel's Plot

What will contribute greatly to whether or not your novel will be book store and online store friendly will be your novel's plot. The title and cover will initially reel in or cast off an onlooker's glance. I have spent many, many hours at both libraries and book stores. I have literally walked up and down aisles to see what bountiful fare is on the loaded shelves. If I can see a cover sideways, it may indeed catch my eye. I may indeed follow up with picking the book up and perusing the front and back covers along with a jacket or two. If the plot of the novel is interesting and causes me to want to read more, that is the book I will purchase and take home.

For my novel, I am really writing a non-fiction work about my wonderful dog Red. He has taught me many things as we have journeyed together these past 8 and 1/2 years together. We have both shown our respective ages. Nonetheless, we have had our share of tears and despair, and then, we have had our share of happiness and joy. His confidence seems to know no boundaries and he has been a great source of encouragement to me on many occasions!

Red showed me hope when I first met him on that snowy January afternoon crossing into my yard from my next door neighbor's yard. He didn't own a dog and I thought the dog belonged to someone in the neighborhood as he was quite large. He moved slowly and he wore a purple collar with no tag.

The dog moved on and I thought no more of him until I saw him in the yard behind mine later in the day. He was laying in the sun near a fire bush. I knew that neighbor didn't own a dog either. I walked back to my fence and leaned over to call to the big, red dog. He responded by quietly getting to his feet and walking in the opposite direction. I felt he was a recently lost pet. I already owned 3 large dogs and decided to share some of their food with him. I placed a dish out front along with a water dish.

The next morning the food was gone and the water dish had crumbs in it. This continued for a week. In the meantime, I called the police, the shelters and the newspaper to see if the dog had been reported missing. Nothing. Then, one Saturday morning I saw Red and tried to coax him to me with the food dish. He again quietly walked off a step or two ahead of me and went through yet another neighbor's yard. Then, one night while looking out my front window, Red came around the laurel bushes and headed for the dishes. This was about 11:30 pm.

One morning, after about 3 weeks, the food was still in the dish. My heart sank. What happened to the dog? I got in my car and drove around the streets for 2 hours. No sign of the dog. Then, I drove in to work, which, incidently was adjacent to the town pound. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a big, red dog in one of the kennels. I turned around and drove up there. There he was. With a large sign on the kennel that said, "Nasty." I couldn't believe it. The big dog was shaking. No telling how he was caught or how he had been treated. I was emotionally invested in him now and his future. I immediately spoke to him and said, "Don't worry Red about anything." I went to my job and on my lunch hour, I returned to the pound. More in my next post...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Long Hiatus

Hello to all JAE's readers! After several months of pursuing some personal endeavors, and with a clearer mind, I will finally be posting the steps to completing a novel. This will be in tandem to my own desire to publish a non-fiction work about my life these past 8 1/2 years with my dog Red.

Red has been there through life's good times and bad times. He has assisted me with learning how to survive loss. Loss. Loss. The beauty is that he has also assisted me with enjoying the gains. Gains. Gains.

There are many steps needed to initiate a novel beginning with the theme of your story. Then the outline, the table of contents, the chapters, the conclusion, etc. I have been considering writing for the past decade. It took a friend to lend me a car and $19 to apply for my D/B/A at the county deeds office. Then, he gave much needed support for me to take classes, go to the library and do research. That is how I became a freelance writer.

Now, JAE has been in business for over 1 year. I have enjoyed the privilege of writing for this blog in addition to 3 others. A personal highlight, I have been an ongoing contributing freelance writer for The Gazette in North Wilkesboro, NC. Finally, I am ready to join my father and my uncle as a published author.

If you have been considering to add your own name (or pen name) to the plethora of authors out there, then why not begin today? A novel begins with a story plot. We will stop right here at this initial step.

Why not jot down on a notepad, on your laptop, or desk computer, a few story line ideas? There is a wide range of topics to choose. I spent some time this past week at Barnes and Noble, both in Hickory, NC and in Poughkeepsie, NY. I walked through the aisles to peruse titles, subjects, authors, jacket sleeves, and book designs.

I had decided on a non-fiction plot several years ago. It is very exhilarating to now anticipate my ideas and thoughts will finally be put into a published book! In our cyberspace world today, my book can be either an e-book style or in print. For my initial book, I will be writing at This way I can edit as I go and save to a document. I like the feeling of writing where many other e-authors are expending their energies. There is a contagious feeling that helps to inspire me to keep the momentum going.

I need the momentum as so many daily events divide my attention. There are many days as proven by the long absence from this blog, that I have been distracted from posting to my 3 blogs. With summer well along now, I have resolved to complete my basic e-book by mid-September. This will give me a couple of months to write, write and then, write some more.

Why not join my endeavor by writing your own novel in the next couple of months. Or, if you have not been gathering data as I have been, why not at least put a dent in the process? Even a few minutes a day, can go a long way to completing several chapters in a couple of months.

For me, I am going to use this time to reconsider my book's title. Until my next post.....

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The ASPCA's Continuous Efforts to Eradicate Dog Fighting

It has been over a month since I have posted to this blog. My last post spoke out in defense of the thousands of poor dogs, specifically pitbulls, who are subjected to extreme cruelty. I happen to check out at a local grocer and saw one of the entertainment magazines with a horrific photo of two pitbulls. One did not even seem to have a left eye anymore. Both wore thick chain collars and weere held close together. They were seemingly forced and/or encouraged to fight in order for someone to make a profit causing these animals' senseless pain inflicted upon the dogs by their owners.

I have several friends who own pet pitbulls. The sweetest, friendliest dogs and what beautiful array of colors. My friends, like myself, are incensed at the cruel circumstances these beautiful dogs have to endure throughout the United States. As I cited in my last post, the Humane Society of the United States tv commercial depicting actress Wendie Malick, is heart-wrenching. Many people say they cannot even watch it because of the condition of the poor animals depicted. She mentions that 250000 pitbulls have to fight for their lives each year.

Okay, at the present time, I reside in Hickory, NC with a population of 360,000 people. 250,000 pitbulls are a lot of pitbulls. The dog fighting seemingly pervades all states. I can remember reading The Call of The Wild by Jack London as a child. Having loved dogs as long as I can remember starting with Lassie, I was reaching for kleenex when Buck was abducted from his happy family in California and shipped north. He had to endure being used for fighting and sledding. If Buck had been a real live dog, what a shock to his system that would have been.

The news currently seems to have bittersweet stories now of more dog fighting rings being discovered and stopped with arrests being made. Many of the canine combatants who survived the horrors of being in the arena are not able to enjoy the sweet smell of justice when rescued. Many are kept for observation and evidence for court trials, only to be euthanized later as being labeled too aggressive to be adoptable.

Again, I must wonder how so many people can keep quiet while knowing about fights. Evidence of arenas in woods and discoveries of pitbulls with battle scars only show that spectators are still rampant for this supposed sport. I have seen two loose pitbulls in the past few years and called animal control. My hope was they were someone's pets, however, more likely escapees. I remember when I adopted my shepherd mix Benny, all the other dogs at the local pound that day were pitbulls. I wonder if any of those pitbulls were adopted? That was in Connecticut. Many shelters will not even adopt out pitbulls.

I encourage dog lovers to watch The Pit Boss if able to receive the channel. They do tireless work taking in pitbulls and attempting to find new homes for them. When a dog is just a puppy, that dog will generally be very playful and loving. It is the human factor that takes that poor puppy and molds him to become a lethal animal. A side note, many pitbulls are trained by attacking small animals such as cats and small dogs. I remember another horrific account in New Haven, CT on A dog they called Norman was found tied to a wall and had over 50 bites. He was evidently used a target practice for fighting dogs. I called as many other people did to offer assistance. I offered to foster him. I was turned down due to other large dogs I had a the time. The shelter was going to take extra special care of Norman and see if they could find a good home for him in time. How awful. He was just one of so many animals used by pitbull owners to train their dogs to fight.

It is ever encouraging to see the ASPCA and other welfare groups make inroads by the many dog fighting tips that they receive. Let us all be alert to any leads that may assist another set of helpless dogs get free from this extremely cruel activity.

I also commend Rachel Ray for her commercial for her Nutrish dog food. She has a lovely red and white pitbull in the home depicted on the ad. How sweet and loving! Also, Sarah McLachlan's heartwrenching tv ad for the ASPCA. I am a member, yet have now been encouraged to sponsor a dog by giving monthly. Also, Pedigree has a commercial reminding the viewers not to just feel sad or sorry for shelter dogs, rather go adopt one. I have adopted 4 shelter dogs over the last few years. What loving dogs they have been. One was born in the shelter when his pregnant mother was dropped off by her owner. He became a very handsome shepherd/husky and one of the most intelligent dogs I have owned to date...

So, please let us all assist the pitbulls who are enduring such terrible circumstances in this country. Let us assist the ASPCA's tireless efforts to help along with other humane organizations. Remember, these dogs can not speak up for themselves or escape their circumstances unless we are alert to speak up for them.

Friday, February 19, 2010

ASPCA's Tireless Efforts to Stop Dog Fighting

Today, I wish to highlight the wonderful work of the ASPCA in its tireless efforts to stop dog fighting. This organization was started by one man who had kindly concern for the carriage horses in NY. This organization over the years has been a champion and voice for many animals, horses, dogs, cats and so many more.

I want to mention some of the ASPCA's very recent efforts in its ongoing and anguishing battle in stopping and rescuing dogs involved in dog fighting. This item was published by News Channel 6 WJBF-TV. "There has been an arrest in a dog fighting ring uncovered in Washington County, Georgia. Sheriff Thomas Smith tells NewsChannel 6 that 29 year old Jimmie Johnson of Wrightsville, will be facing cruelty to animal charges. Sheriff says they received a tip today and discovered 12 pitbulls at a home on Highway 24, in East Sandersville. This discovery coming just days after another major dog fighting dumping ground was discovered in Sandersville."

Just last week, dogs were found in South Carolina due to seemingly abandoned cars parked along a lonely, wooded road. Police investigated and found the wooden dog fighting arena that was bloodied from use. They went on to find a number of pitbulls all with varying degrees of scars and injuries. The Spartansburg and The Rock Hill Area News reported the following, "Three men accrued dog fighting charges in McConnells, South Carolina after authorities discovered what is believed to be a dog fighting pit in their backyard off West McConnells Highway. Deputies uncovered 13 Put Bull dogs at the residence. One of the dogs reportedly had injuries consistent with dog fighting. All the dogs were taken into custody."

Ironically, the 134th annual Westminster Kennel Club held its show in NYC last week. In the Terrier Group were beautiful and intelligent representatives of their breeds: the American Staffordshire Terrier, the Bull Terrier, the Miniature Bull Terrier and the Staffordshire Terrier.

These dogs in the ring were all champions and all very sweet with their handlers and well-behaved for the judge. What personalities with their tails wagging proudly! How strong! What color combinations on these dogs. Dogs allowed to be champions in a much more peaceful arena.

So, in another part of NYC, is the ASPCA and its tireless staff following up on leads and tips to assist many animals. Along with the many reports of abuse and cruelty cases, are the dog fighting leads. It is important for these wonderful animals to have voices to speak up when they cannot. I just recently started to watch Pit Boss on the Animal Planet network. What wonderful efforts they show to help place pitbulls with loving and responsible people.

I heard on a tv ad for the Humane Society of the United States with Wendie Malick that 250,000 pitbulls have to fight for their lives each year. One wonders how such cruelty and horror can continue in the US and not more cases be learned about and stopped??? It makes one wonder who are attending all these events? Who is funding these events? How is it that such display of blood and pain can allow people to watch and not feel a shred of empathy for the victims? Lets all keep our eyes and ears alert to speak up for these poor animals if we can and assist the ASPCA and other humane society organizations stop this violent sport once and for all.

Monday, January 25, 2010

New Columns for The Wilkes Gazette

I am delighted to mention that I have now been asked by my editor to add two new columns to The Wilkes Gazette. In addition to my first three columns: Living On a Budget, Jeanne's Travels and the Weekly Restaurant Review, I will now be writing both the Book Review and the Movie Review.

I had written the Movie Review back in May 2009 and then I had relocated to Catawba County. Now, I will once again be reviewing some of the movies that will be featured at the Liberty Twin Theatre located in North Wilkesboro, NC.

I reviewed the book Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson, M.D. last week. This book was well worth rereading due to some new changes in my life. I identified with Haw who hesitated and then finally went forth to find new cheese. In life, we can definitely get ourselves caught up in a routine and then find we need to adapt to new directions. This can be extremely difficult for many of us who are set in our ways. I must say the last few years have been instrumental in my change of attitude to become more like Sniff and Scurry. Often, we don't get advance notice of changes and then sometimes we miss subtle indications of change in the wind. The book does not take too long to read and is recommended by me and many others.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

At this time of year, many people make so-called New Year's Resolutions. It is a time when people are resolved to quit habits, lose weight, exercise more frequently, change their diet, etc. For myself, I also am making several resolutions for 2010. I want to put more energy and time in my long desired hope of completing a novel I have been working on for many months now.

One resolution for Jeanne Armonk this new year, is to get my novel ready for publication. I want to develop over my next few blog posts, the sequence of steps necessary to bring one's book from the idea stage on to publication. Various options are available to a budding author as to where to look for assistance in getting their writing into print. The internet has a plethora of sites where an author may receive encouragement and direction and constructive criticism.

So, please stay with me as we discuss these steps over the next few weeks. You will be learning right along with me as I endeavor to get my own work printed this year. Of course, I will continue to be available through my freelance writing service to assist others with writing needs.

I am also a contributing freelance writer for The Wilkes Gazette. This newspaper is published in North Wilkesboro, NC and is currently available both on the web and in print. Please read at where I write the Weekly Restaurant Review, Jeanne's Travels and more recently, Living On A Budget.

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Wilkesboro, NC, United States
My interest with writing began by composing poems about nature in my childhood. I also co-wrote a play in my 4th grade class when I lived in New Rochelle, NY. It generated enough positive feedback that my class put on the play in the school auditorium. I was fortunate to have a lead part. After my high school graduation, I entered the working world. For over 30 years I have been steadily gaining writing, editing and digital publishing skills. I began by composing letters and emails to company clients. I contributed to articles written for The Commuters Register based in Windsor, CT. Since 2009, I have added social media, digital publishing and blogging here in Wilkesboro, NC. Since 2010, I write ad copy for the listing descriptions for each of my 3 Internet shops open at In 2012, I entered a poem about my dog Red in the World Poetry Contest. The poem was chosen for publication. I have written articles for the Winston-Salem Frugal Living Examiner and Hub Pages. In 2012, I acquired The Wilkes Gazette digital newspaper that was renamed the Wilkes County Gazette in 2014. I write under both my own name and my pen name, Jeanne Armonk.

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