Death

365 Challenge: Day 310 – Ryder (LIST: Objects I adore)

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Ryder: my 10-year old shiba inu dog who unexpectedly passed away this week

Ryder

When I took this photo 3 months ago, I never realized its meaning…

Sundays are LIST days and today is no different. While I never expected to include Ryder as an object I love, it feels appropriate given his unexpected death this week. If you are new to my blog, you should first read this message, which explains what happened to him earlier this week. This post will be about celebrating his life and my love for him.

***

Ryder was born September 3, 2007. During the Thanksgiving holiday weekend that year, while visiting my parents in Pennsylvania, we took a trip to a pet store with the only intent being to visit with a few puppies. By the next day, I adopted Ryder, a red sesame shiba, who was about 13-weeks old. He was such a tiny little puppy, the runt of his litter, and looked more like a little bear.

puppy

Ryder first lived in Brooklyn, NY with me, as I had just moved back from California that month. We had a temporary garden apartment on the first floor of an old brownstone. It had lots of nooks and crannies, and he loved to play hide and seek. I think it was being in that apartment which caused him to be a bit of a little devil. He never liked to listen to commands, even when he went to doggie training, but he passed the weekend course and learned to sit, lay down and give someone his paw. After a few weeks, we enrolled him in a doggie daycare, so he would be socialized with other dogs, but also because there were times I had to stay late for events for my job. I didn’t want him home alone for 12 to 14 hours a day.

daycare.jpg

One of those days, the owner called me at work to tell me Ryder had an aggression problem. He would play with other dogs, but after a minute or two, he would intentionally start a fight. Seriously. He was being a little ass, and I went to watch him for an hour one day through the window. They were telling the truth. If another dog got too close, even after they happily played for ten minutes, he would growl and jump at the other dog. He would never harm or bite, just be aggressive. He’d thrown his ten-pound body against a thirty-pound dog and expect to knock it over. I vividly remember thinking…. Why me? I’m so quiet and non-confrontational, how did this happen! Needless to say, we were told Ryder couldn’t come to doggie daycare anymore. I found another reputable place and tried again. A week later, he was asked not to return. I was so ashamed! I tried a third one, and clearly told them upfront that Ryder needed training. They understood and were willing to try it by putting him in with the big dogs to let him get tossed around a few times, in the hopes it would control his behavior. They would watch him, and only do it for short periods of time… but even the big dogs didn’t scare him. He had the ever-famous Napoleon complex. So… Ryder was never enrolled in doggie day care again.

Shortly afterwards, Ryder had his first seizure around 6-months old. It was small, but I had another dog with horrendous seizures. I wanted him on the same medicine, a lower dosage, as it had worked for the other dog. The medicine controlled his seizures, and for the rest of his life, he would only have maybe 2 or 3 per year, if even that. We went for a year once without any. It breaks your heart to see it happen, but you can’t touch them during it, as you don’t want them to associate you with the feelings they get from the seizure.

favorite

But that fear is quickly ingrained in you… and every night, if he got out of bed, and I heard the tapping of his toe nails against the wooden floors, I got up to check on him. He was a good sleeper and rarely wandered. If he was out of bed, it meant something was wrong. A few weeks later, the weather started getting warmer and spring arrived. I’d let Ryder out on the enclosed patio we had on the apartment in Brooklyn. One day, I see him chasing something… assuming it’s a fly. When I go outside to check, I notice it was a bumble bee. Ryder is barking and screeching at it, almost to the point someone thought I was killing a cat. He runs through the screen door opening and into the living room… I follow him only to see him bite down on the bee. It didn’t end there. His screeching suddenly intensified and he fell back on the floor. The bee went flying out of his mouth and he yelped as if he was hit by a car. I grabbed hold, checked his mouth and saw the huge black mark on his tongue. He’d been stung by the bee, which he of course deserved. So… an hour back and forth with the vet, as I don’t know if he’s allergic to bees, or if that could trigger a seizure… needless to say, he went unharmed, but he had that black scar on his tongue for the rest of his life. He also still chased bees whenever he saw one. He didn’t get his intelligence from me, I’ll say that for sure!

Right after he turned one, I moved out of Brooklyn and bought a house with a large backyard. He had a doggie door and could go in/out all day long while I was at work. He screamed at birds, chased squirrels and ate everything he could. At least twice a week, he woke me up tapping on the bedroom floor, not because of a seizure, but because he was yakking up whatever he’d eaten that day. If I could tell you how much lack of sleep or worry this dog has caused me in ten-years, you wouldn’t believe me. But that’s where our bond began – as much as he drove me nuts, it made us closer. He ran to me for everything. He developed a need to be near me 24/7, and although I would force him to go play by himself from time to time, I missed not having him sitting on my feet or laying against my thigh.

patio

In time, my job became too intense and I was away from home too much. Commuting by train took an additional 3+ hours each day, which was time away from him. I had also just met W and wanted to live in the city to be closer to him and my job, so I sold my house and moved into Manhattan. Ryder was not happy. He was going to lose his outdoor space. And he did… my first apartment was a small box, even for someone his size. He whined and yelped all day. I could hear him from the elevators which were a good 40 feet from my apartment door. Speaking of elevators, Ryder’s first interaction with one was with W. I had pulled my car up in front of the building, unloading boxes. W took Ryder to the apartment and rode the elevator. He had no idea what to do with it. He was a very young puppy when we lived in the city last time, on the first floor, so he never used an elevator before. It’s one of W’s first memories with him, and I know it’s a happy one.

It was in that first Manhattan apartment that Ryder exacted his revenge on us. He wouldn’t adapt to walking for his bathroom breaks. Instead, my living room rug was his personal wee wee pad. I tried to cage him to avoid it, but that little rascal would purposely pee in the cage, roll in it and then expect me to clean him when I got home from work. After a week, I gave up and papered the floor with wee wee pads. Eventually, he learned to use them, but he’d have accidents in the wrong place 10% of the time. I call them accidents, but they were on purpose. He could be spiteful in a fun way, and we all knew it. But that was part of his charm. You played by his rules or you didn’t play at all. W and I moved in together for a short time in his apartment where the same things happened until Ryder adjusted. A friend referred to W’s rug as a bio-hazard for a few weeks. Neighbors asked if we had a cat living there, as they heard strange whines all day. They weren’t supposed to have dogs, so we said yes, it’s a cat… and that’s how Ryder came to have his own Facebook page: Ryder the Cat-Like Dog.

ice cream

Summertime meant the beach. We rented a house off the cost of Long Island with some friends every summer and would travel there at least 10 weekends. Ryder loved it. He had outdoor space again. He could chase wildlife, even had his first encounter with a deer! He was afraid and in love all at the same time. We let him off-leash one day, to see how he’d do – big mistake. He ran everywhere, and it took almost thirty minutes to catch him. W aged a few years that day, as it was his idea to test Ryder and was so afraid to lose him. We lured Ryder back with treats and various calls, but then he never went off leash again. He loved the place so much, prancing around, except when he realized there was water at the beach. We took photos of him surfing on a board one day, getting knocked around by waves. He hated it. He refused to speak with us for days. We kept torturing him on walks by walking close enough for the waves to get him. We tried to get him to adjust, but he never would. There needed to be 20 feet between him and water at all times! But hey, after what he put us through with the bio-hazard rugs, what’s a little water torture as revenge?

water.jpg

When it came time for W and I to buy our own apartment together, Ryder made the decision. We knew it had to have outdoor space. We wanted something big enough for Ryder to get in a few runs, but not ground level as it would be too easy for someone to break in. We got lucky when we found our current place… Ryder came over to test it out, and he went berserk running all throughout the apartment, in and out of the two different doors to get outside. We have a video of him seeing his new home for the first time, and he was absolutely in love. We called the outdoor terrace ‘Ryder’s Enchanted Garden,’ and W spent much of his free time cultivating a beautiful space for Ryder to have trees, bushes, flowers, play areas, and lounging area (he loved to lay in the sun). Finally, Ryder learned how to do his business outside again, as well as use pads if he was ever inside for too long while we were out.

snow

There is so much more I could say about this lovable little creature, but I will keep it brief with a few fun memories before I say goodbye to him. This is only 1% of 1% of the memories we have had together as a family…

  • Ryder loved beef brisket so much. The first time he had it, he wolfed down his plate, then had to immediately go to the bathroom. He couldn’t get out quick enough and while we were eating, just a few feet away, did his business on the floor. We called it the ‘brisket shits’ ever since that day, but luckily, he controlled it on a go-forward basis. As soon as he ate, he’d run to the glass door, tap on it furiously, we’d let him out while we were eating and within 5 minutes, he’d be back for more, furiously tapping on the door to be let inside. We got no rest or time to eat with his antics. His needs always came first. W and I would swap turns, so whomever let him out didn’t have to get up to let him back in. The last meal Ryder actually ate before he grew too sick last weekend was brisket — made by W that day to try to cheer Ryder up and get him to eat something. He actually enjoyed the meal and had a smile on his face for a few minutes.
  • Ryder caught his first bird on the terrace. I had already gone to work. W was in the shower and heard Ryder screeching. When he came out to check, Ryder had dropped a dead bird on the dining room floor, prancing all about – proud of his work. W was unable to process it (he can’t be near things like that) but had to. I was at work and he couldn’t leave with the bird on the floor. Poor Ryder, he never understood how scary his gift to W was!
  • Ryder was not fond of small children; whether it was height or age, anything under 10-years-old unnerved him. When W’s nephew and niece visited, Ryder barked incessantly. He tried to play, but he was just not sure how to interpret them, and they were well-behaved. He actually ran off to the guest bathroom and literally pushed the door closed so no one could get in. When they left, he wandered out, nervously, and then hid under the table for a day. He also dressed up for a few Halloweens to help give out candy for trick-o-treaters, but quite unwillingly. He’d answer the door, stare at the children in costume, lean towards them to smell them, and as soon as someone squealed ‘doggie,’ he barked and ran to the bedroom. W forced it on the poor pup, but I suspect Ryder secretly enjoyed it.
  • There was only one time when he ever willingly played with a child: Grace. She was a friend’s daughter, about 2-years-old, and chased him all over the apartment. He hated it at first, but then she sat down on the carpet with her bowl of cereal. Slowly, she won Ryder over… handing him cheerio by cheerio, until she stopped eating them and he ate the whole bowl. Grace became his new heroine that day, and he actually let her pet him, if she’d hand him a cheerio. He had intelligence that day, so I know he just liked to play W and I against one another to get what he wanted. He was quite astute when he wanted to be.
  • Ryder’s favorite thing to do besides eat, was to take your spot. Whether it was on the couch, or where you stood trying to cook dinner or unpack bags, the moment you left the spot, he went to it. He needed to be attached to one of us while sleeping. He would alternate nights staying up a bit later with W who watched a TV show while I went to bed to read for a bit. As soon as he was ready, Ryder would tap into the bedroom, paw at the bed, and I’d lean down to lift him into it. When we left the apartment, he would sleep in the front hall by the door until we came home. We left music playing for him and lights on so he didn’t feel too alone. And when we left the terrace door open, he’d stay outside the entire time keeping watch over all of nature.

costume

Ryder had a wonderful life. He was adored and loved by countless friends and family, everyone on the blog and all the people who took care of him over the years. Ryder passed away at 10-years old on January 18, 2018 at 12:43pm EST, in my arms with W sitting with us. Ryder will be missed more than any words this man can conjure or imagine. I don’t know how to move forward with his Monday Ryder Rants, but I probably will discontinue them tomorrow. I will always be grateful for the time we had together; you were part of my soul, Ryder… and someday, W and I will see you again. xoxo

sleeping.jpg

***

Sunday posts, the end of each week, have become a theme on This-Is-My-Truth-Now, often organized by groups of five (5) focused on interesting things about my life. I’m continuing the trend of the seventh day, ending the week on Sunday, as a list (we know I love them) that provides more in depth knowledge about me. Past weeks included:

  • Weeks 1 – 5: Primary ethnicity groups and nationalities
  • Weeks 6 – 10: A to Z Favorites
  • Weeks 11 – 15: Colors with an important meaning
  • Weeks 16 – 20: Cities I’ve lived
  • Weeks 21 – 25: Jobs I’ve held
  • Weeks 26 – 30: Top 10 entertainment options
  • Week 31: How to follow or contact me across all social media platforms
  • Week 32: How to help an artist with promotion
  • Week 33 – 37: Favorite Book Genres
  • Week 38 – 42: Holidays
  • Week 43 – 47: Objects I adore
  • Week 48 – 52: TBD

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks.

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Book Review: Outside In by Doug Cooper

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Why This Book 
In early 2017, I had drinks with a former colleague when we discussed my goal to publish a novel that year. She had grown up with someone who published a book and offered to introduce us. I said ‘sure’ and never actually contacted the guy. Months later, I signed a contract to publish my book, then realized I never followed through, so I sent a message, we chatted a bit, and I thought… I should read Doug Cooper‘s book: Outside In. I got hold of a copy, it sat on the shelves for a bit, but I decided I wasn’t allowed to buy/download another book in 2018 until I finished everything I already owned… hence how this one got picked for January!

outside.jpg
Plot, Characters & Setting 
Brad Shepherd is a middle school teacher whose student overdoses in class. As part of the Administration’s way to handle the student’s death, Brad’s out of a job. He heads to Put-in-Bay, Ohio to meet a friend and have a summer off, where he can party for a little bit and find his new life path. When he arrives, a life he never knew, or perhaps had forgotten, begins to surround him: he’s quick to fool around with a bunch of women, drink himself silly and experiment with a range of drugs. Over the course of the summer, he makes several mistakes and finds himself going off into a darker oblivion. His family re-surfaces, and a friend has an accident, which helps re-structure his course, but life is definitely going to be different in his future.

Key Thoughts 
For starters, I’ll say the book is a very realistic portrayal of what could happen in this environment. It’s not something I’m familiar with, but based on tons of movies, other books and conversations that touch on these subjects, I’d comfortable stating it is accurately written. That said, it is not an environment I would ever want to be in, nor did I like ANY of the characters in the book. They were a mess, indulgent, immature and frustrating. BUT — that’s the point and they belonged being that way for the story. Cooper brought out my inner ‘angry man’ attitude over people who behave like this, so major kudos to him for a brilliant portrayal of his character set.

The writing has quality and brings to life both the background and the tone you need to be successful in a book like this one. While there are some plot points, e.g. the death of the student, the move to the island for the summer and the results of some of the drug overdoses, it’s essentially a story about a group of experiences people have while drinking and taking various drugs. It’s of course larger than just that simple observation, but you have to be comfortable reading about this side of life to enjoy the book. It’s not going to be ideal for everyone, but it definitely has a large audience to work with. Once you get beyond drugs/drinking, you start questioning how we make choices, our fears, what makes us fall for another person, how does someone guilt you into doing things…

The dialogue and narration provide all the details readers need to know what’s going on in the main character’s head; you will hear his voice, see his actions, know the reasons (most of the time) and follow along on his journey. Sometimes you’ll think he’s stupid and full of fault, others you’ll know he’s suffering from a tragedy and just floating around without any anchor. For those reasons, it is pretty obvious that this has happened and continues to happen to people going through this stage of life. The sum of the parts equal the whole for me with this book. It’s a solid read, full of a wide range of situations and thought-provoking ideas. I think if I had gone through something like Brad did, I’d probably like the book even more. I ended up around 3.75 stars.

Summary 
I’m curious to read his other novel, The Investment Club, about a group of people in Las Vegas going through some life experiences at the Blackjack table. It seems this is the realm the author writes in… that space where the group of people interact in ways we can all relate to, but not nearly as far into the depths… and I’m confident when he hits on topics that are more pertinent to me, I’ll be really invested in the novel and have an entirely deeper connection to the author and his work. For now, I’m glad I read this one and look forward to reading more.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Watching Glass Shatter: Blog Tour Day 10 – Jessica Rachow

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It’s Day 10 on the Watching Glass Shatter Book Blog Tour and we have the amazing Jessica Rachow… thank you to her for a 5-star review and for the great feedback and friendship the last few months. She’s currently writing her own novel on Nano this month — you must check her out… She’s friendly, interactive, smart and funny. Click the link below to read her post on today’s tour and then spend more time on her awesome blog.

Don’t forget today’s 6pm EST RADIO SPOT where I will discuss the book launch for 1-hour on the internet @ http://www.artistfirst.com/

via Watching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney – Blog Tour

365 Challenge: Day 211 – Rip (RYDER RANT)

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Rip: to just let something release even faster than you expected

rip

 

Good Day! It’s Ryder and I’ve got control of the blog again today. Dad’s busy with some book cover launch; he had to let it rip this morning since the on-sale date is coming sooner than he expected. Kudos to him. I’m still angry he hasn’t put my picture in the book. As I searched for a word today, a picture of either dead people or human muscles appeared in the image section. I am not sure what that’s all about, as I meant the word ‘rip’ in terms of letting his book, or my little venting session, release this week.

They finally returned from their trip and it was great. I missed them. But at the same time, they are totally ripping up my routine now that we’re all back home. I am used to waking up leisurely in the morning, letting the sun dance on my fur. Instead, they are up early and I don’t get to sleep in like I did for a few weeks while they were gone. How rude! I suppose Dad gets more done this way, but still… I should come first. I am not happy when he nudges me out of the bed to re-make it, nor when he runs off to the gym first thing and makes a whole bunch of noise. And don’t get me started on the big fall clean-up they did outside this weekend on my NYC Enchanted Terrace. I had some birds and stuff I left for use in the future; now they’re all gone. I’ll have to find a few more before it gets too cold.

As for the whole word ‘rip’ — let me just say this… I don’t like this word. It doesn’t have a good connotation. Either you get ripped off, or you are dead (R.I.P.)… you’re ripping a band-aid off which always hurts. That expression about “ripping someone a new @#$%*&!” — I mean, seriously… how did we bastardize the English language in such a way? Speaking about that… I’ve read so many posts for Columbus Day about people saying he ripped off the Native Americans when he took over America. I suppose that counts for the meaning of the word, too. I just wish we could all live happily together supporting one another instead of being mean. But that makes me a Polly-Anna!

We’re back on a routine here, so I’ll be able to post again more regularly. Hope you all missed me. I will share a video of me on Instagram (in a few days) from when I was playing with my friend Zora while I was away. She’s fun, that’s us below. She’s three times the size of me, but we seem to find a way to get along even though I’m not usually very fond of other animals. She’s sort of related to me, only because she’s my Dad’s good friend’s dog. We both happened to be at the dog-sitter at the same time. They call her Zora the Destroyer, as she’s been at NY’s Comic Con 2017 this week! How fun. I miss her.

IMG_2849.JPG

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Book Review: The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse

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4 out of 5 stars to The Art of Hiding, a family drama novel published in July 2017 and written by Amanda Prowse. I adored this book and am so glad I read it; let’s get right into the review.

hiding

Why This Book
A few months ago, I’d finished reading ‘The Idea of You,’ by this author. I really enjoyed the book, and when ‘The Art of Hiding’ showed up on my NetGalley feed, I had to request it. I forgot that they approved my request until last week, when I went to select whatever was next to be published as my next book to start reading. I’d been so busy writing my own novel, I missed the publish date for this one. So I quickly read it in 2+ days to get caught up.

Plot, Characters & Setting
Nina McCarrick, a mid-30s mother of two boys, 10 and 14, lives a wonderful life on a beautiful Southampton, England estate. That is, until her husband unexpectedly dies and she learns all was not what he’d been telling her. Suddenly losing her life high up on the hill, she’s forced to turn to all her friends and family for assistance. One person takes her in, helping re-build a life for both Nina and the boys. Nina begins to learn the difference between losing your own identity and being part of a married couple. Sometimes, it isn’t a good idea to give up control of all aspects of your life, as when it comes crashing down, you’ll have no idea what to expect.

Approach & Style
I read this novel through Kindle Reader on my iPad over the course of two and a half days. It is about 300 pages long, divided into 15 chapters, all told from Nina’s perpsective in third person point of view. The language is simple but meaningful; it reads itself as you feel immersed in the world Prowse has created for her readers. You could probably read this all in one day over 4 to 5 hours if you kept focused, and it would definitely be an enjoyable read.

Strengths
Prowse tells intricate family stories full of complexity and drama; not so much with everyone around the main characters, but within their small family unit. I felt the same way about one of her other books, and I’ve now come to realize this is her style; this is who the author is and what she excels at.

Nina is easy to relate with, given she is a new widow and has young boys to care for. She has no job, her skills are mostly outdated according to anyone she runs into. You immediately feel a strong connection with the woman, wanting to see her succeed. She’s a wonderful mother. She doesn’t sugarcoat the truth either. She dances around it a bit, hoping not to devastate her children, but she also knows hiding their situation will do more harm than good.

It’s not a suspense story, yet I only put it down because it was midnight and had to wake up early the next morning. You feel as though the events unfold right in your own living room as you are reading, and simply do not want to miss a moment of the beauty and pain inside this family.

Concerns
Very little with this book. It wasn’t a huge and amazing story that captures a tremendous amount of ground. It’s simple and thought-provoking. I felt it could have used a little more clarity around the death of the father and the days leading up to it. At the same time, it all came as a shock to Nina, so why shouldn’t it come as a shock to readers, too. But in the end, I would have connected a bit more strongly if I had some current history. Just a smidge.

On occasion, the relationship Nina had with others felt a bit fake. I thought it was necessary to the plot in some places, but it was a little too much in other places. Sometimes the balance between her being a lonely and hidden wife versus a lonely and hidden widow losing everything wasn’t as clear as I’d have liked it to be. A few extra paragraphs explaining how she interacted with her ‘friends’ before she became a widow might have helped give it more substance and a range between the two people she needed to be during the course of the book. I also think her ‘lows’ weren’t low enough, meaning she needed to struggle more in finding a job, not being able to pay bills. There was some of this impact, but a few things were a little too hunky dory for my taste.

Final Thoughts
Amanda Prowse is quickly becoming 1 of my top 10 favorite authors. I actually marked five more of her books as ‘to-read’ today since I’ve read two and given then both 4’s. I’m going to search NetGalley after I post this review to see if I can get my greedy little hands on more. This woman can really write stories that straddle that line between heartbreak and the promise of a better day.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 106 – Opine

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Opine: to hold or view something’s worth, merit and value

Every so often, my mind is not focused enough to think of the best word for the 365 Daily Challenge. As I ran some errands, ate lunch and cleaned up the apartment, I still couldn’t decide what to blog about. My mood or demeanor have been somewhat quiet and removed the last few days, and I’d rather not post something with a negative or disillusioned tone. Instead, I thought, let’s get out of my own head and into yours…

I’ve cut and pasted below two small descriptions in the first chapter of the book I’ve written and am currently both searching for an agent and contemplating self-publishing. I offer them to you to opine on or weigh in, to see what others think. Feedback is important and it helps to have the thoughts of people who’ve seen your writing before. You’ve seen the 365 posts, and now you’ve got a sample of a few paragraphs from the book. Hit me with the negative, positive, or even in between! Both sections describe the scene and emotions of the main character shortly after burying her husband, who died in a car accident. The widow has not yet learned the secret he’s left in his will.

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The burial service ended thirty minutes earlier, and although everyone else had left, Olivia stayed behind for her own final goodbye while her memory focused on the somber tones serenading the lowering of Ben’s casket six feet into the ground. Once the skirl of the bagpipes blasted its sorrowful resonance, Olivia, standing a few feet from Ben’s fresh open grave, could no longer thwart the wrecking ball prepared to decimate any lasting strength within her mind. The slow, melodic sound sliced away at the newly loosened threads once tasked with keeping her heart intact and sheltered from acknowledging a widow’s pain. Her battered eyes betrayed any remaining fortitude she’d stored deep within her body and as the chords of “Amazing Grace” resounded from the chanter pipe, the cords of her soul, once intricately woven into Ben, ripped from Olivia’s chest. The flood of tears from her stinging red eyes trailed her cheeks as she walked to the car, leaving behind a single set of prints marking her unknown future.

As she stepped off the cemetery’s grassy path, Olivia pulled the black cashmere sweater closer towards her shivering skin to halt the biting frost that settled in her bones. Ben always told her she looked more beautiful when she wore black and gray, complimenting her on the elegant silhouette against her ivory skin and dark sable hair. She kept her shiny locks shoulder length, usually tied back with a clip, and although gray had appeared the last year, the varying shades were regal and striking on her patrician face. Olivia pressed her palm to her chest and lowered her head until she’d emptied a few layers of grief, a stream leveling off into the ocean.

She opened the car door and slid across the back seat next to Diane. All that remained before her impending post-Ben world began was for Olivia to tell her driver he could leave the cemetery, but uttering those words resembled an impossibility. As if Diane sensed the struggle within her sister, she leaned forward and motioned to the driver to start the car, allowing Olivia a few moments to accept the beginning of her new life. While the car served as a false protection from the reality waiting outside the doors to its passengers, it also evoked an atmosphere full of budding nostalgia.

Olivia recalled Ben’s marriage proposal, when he’d arranged a private afternoon lunch in the southern nursery of Connecticut’s finest botanical gardens. Dressed in a heather gray knee-length chiffon silk dress with sleek embroidered violet straps wrapping around her neck, Olivia meandered the slate stepping stones to a patio shrouded by voluminous twenty-foot cherry trees. Ben waited underneath their cascading flowering branches, shadowed by the umbrella sky of brilliant pink, red and white hues, holding a single sprig of cherry blossom. On the far corner of the patio, before the grafted trunks of the cherry trees met the pristine, freshly-mowed green lawn, a four-piece string orchestra crooned romantic melodies. When Olivia stepped inside the trellised gazebo, she smiled at the intensity of the fresh-cut lilies, reminiscent of the bouquet he’d brought her on their first official date. A waiter poured them each a glass of Dom Perignon, and as she reached for the champagne, Olivia felt the thick edges of the goblet press into her fingers, inhaled the scent of the sweet liquor and shivered at the sprinkles of the bubbly effervescence dancing on her face. The quartet played Roberta Flack’s “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.” Ben dropped to one knee. Olivia’s hands trembled until Ben took one into his own. As the strings of each instrument blended immaculate harmonies and the musician’s lyrics rumbled in the background, she felt the reverberation through the wooden floor of the gazebo.

Olivia could still hear Ben’s words flutter in her ears the way a butterfly glides with gentle wings… Will you do me the honor of becoming my wife… to complete the picture of the future I have wanted… ever since the day we met at the opera… even in the car moments after Ben’s burial, when realizing she wouldn’t ever again see his face.

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It’s an opinion. You can choose to share or keep it. Never any pressure. But since today I struggled with any other post topic, this is where we ended up. Thanks in advance.

opine

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 100 – Morbid

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Morbid: characterized by or appealing to an abnormal and unhealthy interest in disturbing and unpleasant subjects, especially death and disease.

morbid

Today, we are celebrating life and death on ThisIsMyTruthNow’s 365 Daily Challenge. And before you go any further, I mean no offense nor to cause any trouble with this post, as it’s intended with humor and jest; however, I acknowledge it also reveals a little bit about my sense of humor. This is going to be an interesting one, but I promise no GIFs with gore, although I do love them.

This is my 100th post in the 365 Daily Challenge. I thought about the number 100 for a few minutes, discovering what it really means to me:

  1. The perfectionist in me always strives to get a score of 100 on any tests or exams (assuming that’s the highest mark). What a nerd!
  2. I’m very in tune with history, time and genealogy, which makes the concept of 100 years, or a century, very important to my research and interests.
  3. I’d like to live until I’m at least 100 years old. I plan to be healthy, active, youthful and still have all my wits about me. The way I look at it… as a kid, I always acted at least 5 to 10 years older than I was, and that continued up until I was around 30 when acting like I was near retirement… I finally gave up and said… act your age. So now… as I start growing older, it’s time to regress a little. By that logic, when I’m 100, maybe it’ll be like I’m really 50. So this is all gonna work out quite well for me. Hope to see you all then, too!

To put a few points around these rambles… hitting the milestone 100 posts in the 365 Daily Challenge today made me feel kinda good. I will also have completed 500 book reviews by next week, which has been a lot of work. And I just made 600 followers on WordPress. A nice little celebration this week… Life on WordPress has been great!

So now you’re asking why is the title of this post “morbid?” Well… I have a slight fascination with death and horror. And life and death balance each other out… so I thought I’d combine the two into this 100th post. A bit morbid, right? Ever since I was a young kid, I’ve always wondered about death — in a very healthy way. Big curiosity over what happens when someone dies, where they really go, do you get a second chance, are there really past lives, can you haunt someone? That kinda stuff. And whenever there’s a book, film or TV show that covers these topics, I love it!

My favorite place to go by myself is a cemetery or a graveyard. I find them relaxing. I feel connected with things. To see all the history. The memories. The missing pieces. The lost. The pain. The hope. Sometimes a little scare or fear at night. It’s a place that feels real to me, which is quite odd, given that it’s the place things that are no longer “real” go after life. I’m odd. I know it. I accept it. But it’s the truth. And that’s what I say on this site.

I also love gore. When movies or films get right in there and show all the horrible, nasty and disgusting things happening to bodies or people who’ve been murdered, it keeps my attention. For almost everyone I know, they close their eyes or leave the room; some even get sick. Not me. I’m good with seeing it all. I have some strange ability to turn off the “scary & squeamish” part and look at it more subjectively. That said… I’ve never been injured myself, so I have no idea what might happen if it were my own body with the issues. I know I get this from my dad, as he’s the same way. Blood, gore, surgery… none of it bothers him. Apparently, we’ve got strong stomachs for that kinda stuff. The only way to describe it is “morbid.”

When I read books like Paradise Lost or Inferno (Dante), I wish I could be part of that exploration. It’s not that I want to see the pain in or on other people, but it’s to gain knowledge about the broad concepts of life and death. It’s more intellectual for me… not like I want to sit around and watch people be dismembered just for fun. OK, well that’s not true… I do love serial killer books and movies, especially when they come from nowhere and make me jump just a little. I root for the serial killer. In theory. Not in real life, of course. That would be wrong. I know that much. 😛

By now, you probably agree… I’m morbid. You may even think I’m quite peculiar and extraordinarily scary. But… as you know… I don’t hold back in these 365 daily posts. So no need to worry whether I’m a secret psycho. A psycho wouldn’t put all this out for the public to read. And it’s a good thing this stuff all makes me laugh and have fun. I could be morose about it; and most people think of morbid and morose together. I’m the opposite. I see morbid as a fascination and morose as doom-n-gloom. Aren’t you glad you read today’s post?

Who would have thought combining the 100th “365 Daily Challenge” post would lead to me talking about serial killers, whacking people’s heads off and wondering when I might die!?!?!! Anyone else out there like me? Or do you run for the hills when it comes to this kinda stuff?

To Be or Not To Be: That Is The Question

(morbid, that is… to be or not to be morbid?)

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.