shiba inu

Character Interview: Baxter the Shiba Inu Interviews Nana D from Academic Curveball (Braxton Campus Mysteries)

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Last week, Baxter interviewed Kellan Ayrwick, the protagonist amateur sleuth from the Braxton Campus Mystery series. This week, Baxter’s cornered Nana D, Kellan’s lovable grandmother and sidekick who is the queen of sarcasm in his world. If you’re unfamiliar with my latest book, Academic Curveball, it is currently available in electronic and physical format and officially launched on October 15th, 2018. You can buy or download it here. The second book in the series, Broken Heart Attack, will be available in December 2018. For now, let’s get on to the interview…

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***

Interviewer – Baxter

  • 7-month-old puppy who fancies himself a very smart canine
  • 22 lbs, black and tan, no job, rambunctious, acts like a frat boy
  • Likes
    • Biting, hiding under the couch, pouncing on you while you sleep, dominating other dogs, eating things he shouldn’t, running out the front door to escape, digging in flower beds
  • Dislikes
    • Vacuum cleaners, his harness and leash, bedtime, the cone after he was neutered, being neutered, the word ‘no’

***

Interviewee – Nana D (Seraphina Danby, Kellan’s Grandmother)

  • 74-year-old sarcastic widow running for mayor of Wharton County
  • 5-0, 100 lbs. wet mostly due to her long henna-rinsed hair, runs Danby Landing (organic farm), can be found baking all the time, wants to clean-up her hometown’s political situation
  • Likes
    • The old days, torturing her son-in-law, play-fighting with Eustacia Paddington, dating and dumping Lindsey Endicott, embarrassing Town Councilman Marcus Stanton, slapping people silly, setting up Kellan on blind dates, solving crimes, composting
  • Dislikes
    • Town Councilman Marcus Stanton, Sheriff Montague’s attitude, liars, red tape, being told ‘no’ for anything, people who are late, having her car taken away from her, rudeness, microwave ovens, anyone who copies her

***

  • Question 1: Kellan speaks highly of you. Why do you think people find you so funny and cool? You kinda look like a cross between that pyschic woman from Poltergiest and a hippie. Honestly, I’m not impressed. (Baxter)
    • I’m not sure I’ve ever talked to a dog before, especially one with a foul mouth like yours. Ever try some soap, puppy? I’ve got a good mind to wash that sarcastic tone right outta you. I’ll teach you this lesson once — I’m in charge. You do what I tell you to do. In return, I’ll bake you yummy treats, take you on walks without your leash if you promise not to run too far, and we can sneak attack Kellan while he’s sleeping. That boy’s one lazy grandson but I love ’em. As for why I’m so special, it’s the red hair. No one’s really able to get this shade of red anymore without those fancy salons. They think I’m pretty cool because I am cool. I see things as they really are and I’m not afraid to speak my mind.
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • I see. I do like treats. Maybe you ain’t so bad. We’ll give this a shot. Now how about you go make me some peanut butter biscuits with a hint of hickory and salmon?
  • Question 2: Why do you want to run for mayor of Wharton County? What makes you the best candidate? (Baxter)
    • I’ve lived here almost seventy-five years and saw this place through 11 mayors and 13 Braxton town councilmen. The two ramshackle bogeymen we’ve got in charge right now are as bad as that other hooligan representin’ himself as our country’s leader. You gotta stand up and fight for what you believe in. Set examples for the rest of this world. I’m an old-fashioned gal who believes in the golden rule. I’ll rule with an iron fist, be fair to all, ensure quality, stop fussin’ with people’s religion, preferences, human rights, etc. Everyone’s equal and should be able to do what they want as long as they don’t hurt someone else or break any of the laws. I want to focus on jobs, healthcare, community outreach, safety, the environment, etc. All the things government should be responsible for. Not deciding minor every day stuff that doesn’t fix the real problems.
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • While you sound genuine, I’ve never met a politician who actually did that. And by the way… “ruling with an iron fist” went the way of the pony express (as I’ve heard you say before) almost a century ago. That’s not how things are done anymore, Nana D. FYI – I’ll point out to the readers that Nana D yelled “pish” and held up a bar of soap when I said this. :O
  • Question 3: What’s this fight with Town Councilman Marcus Stanton all about? And is it true, did you really drop a load of manure on him during a barbecue? (Baxter)
    • That man is a fool! And would you quit asking two questions at the same time? You did that last time, too, puppy. I don’t like it when people sneak things in or out. Just be honest. That’s my problem with Councilman Silly Man, as I call him. That manure thing was simply an accident. My front loader malfunctioned and somehow it just happened to land on his head. Maybe it was fate. All I know is the dang machine started working properly right afterward. I guess it was a one-time glitch. Oops. As for our history, mind your manners. Didn’t your grandmother ever teach you not to pry into other people’s pasts?
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • It was at this point the old lady scooped me up off the floor and fed me some yummy apples from her orchard. They were pretty good, but I didn’t appreciate the woman-handling that’d just occurred. As for grandmothers, I never knew mine. They were both AKC show dogs who had their puppies and took off for greener pastures. I was raised by a loving woman in Kansas who shipped me to New York City of all places. Dads are both cool, but I need more space.
  • Question 4: What’s the deal with this Broken Heart Attack book, number two in the series all about Kellan’s life? (Baxter)
    • First of all, the series is all about me. Kellan’s just helping to balance out. It’s hard to take me 100% of the time, and I know it. I let the poor kid think this is his series. At 32, he still has some growing up to do. Broken Heart Attack nearly broke my heart. I lost a good friend in that one, she was a founding member of our Septuagenarian Club. But Kellan and I caught her killer and we will move forward in her honor. The King Lear play was a nice touch… it was a bit of a reflection on what was actually happening in the book. I wonder how much readers will pick up on the similarity of the plots.
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • Yeah, I don’t read. I’m a dog. I eat things. I lick things. I will watch the television. I like this show called Tanked where they build fish tanks. I get to watch fish swim around. Dad leaves it on when he goes to the gym so I have some noise and something to watch. I love it, but don’t tell him. He can’t know that I appreciate him a lot.
  • Question 5: Do you have any regrets in life? As you look back on it, I mean, knowing you only have a few years… (Baxter)
    • Shut your mouth, dog. I’m 74, not 174.  I’ve got at least another 26 years which is more than you. I don’t count that 7 to 1 dog year to human year ratio. So unless you want me to withhold your food for 2 weeks which is how I punish Kellan with desserts when he misbehaves, it’ll do you well, so CAN IT. That’s what the sheriff told me to do once, and well, she wasn’t happy with my response. As for regrets, I do… I wish I traveled a bit more. My daughter Deirdre is in England, a big fancy romance writer. I’m trying to get her to come home and visit us. She finally agreed, but apparently there’s some big news she wants to share. I have to wait until book 3 though… some author guy who thinks he knows better when he writes all about our lives has decided to keep that at bay. What a nutter!
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • I couldn’t agree more. That same guy does the typing for me on this interview since my paws can’t distinguish individual keys. You should see how many mistakes he makes. I have to edit everything he does! Well, this has been fun, but I have some birds to chase off the terrace. Thanks for being a worthy sparring partner unlike your grandson, Kellan. He couldn’t keep up with me last time.

 

*** LAST WEEK’S INTERVIEW ***

Interviewee – Kellan Ayrwick

  • 32-year-old single father who fancies himself an amateur sleuth
  • 5-9, fit, wavy dirty-blond hair, wears glasses, baby blue eyes, professor, TV show director, former frat boy
  • Likes
    • Desserts, daughter Emma, black and white films, the beach, sarcasm, Nana D, compliments, Top 40’s music, sleeping, puzzles, cozy college campus, solving cases before the sheriff
  • Dislikes
    • Fake people, Dr. Myriam Castle, Sheriff April Montague, bad weather, wearing ties, the supernatural or ghosts, shaving, weird Shakespearean quotes

***

  • Question 1: Who are you and why are you forcing me to interview you? (Baxter)
    • I’m Kellan, the main character in your owner’s latest mystery series. I had to leave LA for a quick trip to visit my small, secluded hometown in Pennsylvania for my father’s retirement from Braxton College. He was the president, and my parents forced me to come home. I left almost a decade ago because they can be very intrusive. Love ’em to pieces, but wow… talk about family drama!
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • Please do not refer to Jay as my OWNER. Jay is lucky I chose to come live with him. There are days when his helicopter parenting can be so bad, I want to lick him to death to get him to stop holding me back. And you don’t know family drama. My siblings were awful! They made me bite them all the time just to shut them up. I’m the quiet one. Grr…
  • Question 2: What can tell me about living in this Wharton County, Pennsylvania? I’m looking for more space as this box in the biggest urban center in the world is a little confining. (Baxter)
    • Wharton County is in north central PA near the NY border. It’s about 90 miles south of Buffalo and trapped between the Saddlebrooke National Forest and the Wharton Mountain range. It’s not a real place, but it is based on a bunch of different places Jay’s visited or lived in Pennsylvania. There are 4 major towns, and the one my family hails from is called Braxton. There’s a great college there, too, where many of my family members work, and it seems perhaps possibly me, too, in the near future. The best part of the campus is built across two different sections of the town and is connected by a really cool cable car system. Jay told me it’s based on where he went to college… do you know where that is?
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • Listen, Kellan… I didn’t want to do this interview, but since it’s been forced on me, remember I ASK the questions. You ANSWER them. Got that? From what I hear, everyone tells you what to do anyway, Kellan… between your boss Myriam, your grandmother Nana D, and that weirdo sheriff, you can barely breathe without someone torturing you. Stand up for yourself, man. Have a little bark and a little bite! WOOF!
  • Question 3: What happens in this first book? Should I plan to tell my friends about it? They do read in case you were wondering. We’re a smart breed. (Baxter)
    • I can honestly tell you this is the best book I’ve EVER been in. And I’m probably the funniest guy you’ll ever meet. It all starts off when I come home for what should’ve been a long weekend, but then there’s a murder. And my boss in LA makes me stay to cover it for our TV show. Then my family and a good friend are major suspects, so I’m forced to try to find the real killer. Nana D of course tries to set me up, but my wife has only been gone for two years, so I’m not quite ready. I had an awesome time at the baseball games learning all about the sport but when I thought someone on the team was changing their grades in order to play in the season opener, I knew I was on to something big. Little did I realize how much more complex it really was. Wanna know who the killer is?
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • One, this is the only book you’ve been in so far, Kellan. I know Jay wrote the second one, but he’s still editing it. It’s not real until he gives it to someone to read. I’ve had a look, and I can definitely tell you it’s AWESOME, but I might be biased. Although I was super annoyed with Jay for making me wear that cone of shame for two weeks after my surgery, having such a fantastic story with engaging characters helped pass the time quickly. GO BRAXTON CAMPUS MYSTERIES!!! RAH RAH! And two, no, don’t spoil it for me, you doofus. I think people should find out for themselves who killed someone. Duh!
  • Question 4: Do you know where Jay keeps the treats in this joint? (Baxter)
    • I’m not real, dog. How would I know that? I can’t see or hear anything outside of Braxton. You came here to visit me. You’re as bad as Nana D with these questions. Go take a nap, dog.
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • If you weren’t paying me to do this interview, I’d bite your face off. But I’m glad to see we’re both frat boys. Jay was one, too. I guess we have some things in common. Wait… now that I think about it, you’re awfully similar to Jay… what kinda sick twist of fate is this?
  • Question 5: Anything else you want to share before I go for a walk to get away from you and this tedious discussion? I’ve got some flowers to eat. (Baxter)
    • I’ve got tons of stories to share in the next few years. Jay’s helped me write lots of books and together, we’re planning at least 10 in the series. What I love the most is how he let me write them in 1st person, so the entire book is always from my perspective. I’ve got a really fun voice and way of talking about myself and others, so you’ll likely laugh a lot. I’m also a bit clumsy, like to complain, and am a really sweet but sexy guy. Sometimes I get a bit arrogant. Other times I behave a bit like a fool. But as I get older, things start to look pretty awesome from my position. I just can’t figure out what’s gonna happen in my love life, but you know there’s gotta be more than one woman after me based on what’s happened in that first book, right?
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • Kellan, your modesty knows no bounds. I’m sure any readers are already swooning rolling their eyes over it. Thanks for chatting today. I’ll leave you with a little surprise before I bounce.

***

Stay tuned for the next interview when Baxter takes on… NANA D. Here’s a quick snapshot of Nana D’s latest conversation with her grandson, Kellan, in book two set to be published in December 2018:

SCENE from BROKEN HEART ATTACK (Book 2 in Braxton Campus Mysteries)

As people filed out of the lobby and into the venue, the noise level grew more tolerable and I could freely move around without feeling every nook and cranny of every weirdo in the joint. First up was texting Nana D to find out who had my ticket and where I’d be sitting. If she put me next to some new Tinder date she blindly setup for me…

Me: Where are you? It’s like a blue-haired Neil Diamond concert in here today.

Nana D: More like a wannabe Lady Gaga gig. Don’t you know any current pop references?

Me: Given the number of septuagenarians, I assumed they wouldn’t know who she was.

Nana D: You know what happens when you ASS-U-ME, don’t you, Kellan?

Me: That was weak even for you. Epic FAIL! Where’s my ticket?

Nana D: Bite me. I left it at the Box Office. Wasn’t sure you’d show. Go get it. Now.

Me: Yes, Chief. On my way. You’re feisty today. Too much bran? Not enough veges?

Nana D: Pop a cork in it and get to your seat. You ain’t seen nothing yet, brilliant one. Just wait til I introduce you to…

***

Note from Baxter: In case you’re curious about the last introduction, Nana D has a habit of setting Kellan up with the weirdest women I’ve ever met. In the last book, we learned there was a two-time bigamist who Nana D thought might be Kellan’s future girlfriend. I’m kinda hoping to meet that crazy old woman one day. I hear she’s a real ball buster… hey wait… is she the one who took mine away when they neutered me three weeks ago!!! PAYBACK WILL BE MINE!

Academic-Curve-Ball-Promo-Hardback-Ereader

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and 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 –and multiple Readathons. 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.

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Character Interview: Baxter the Shiba Inu Interviews Kellan Ayrwick from Academic Curveball

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If you’ve been following my blog for the last two years, you probably know I like to try new things and have a little fun with my posts. As an author, I also want to find new avenues to share my books and writing. Although I love regular Q&A interviews where I can share who I am and what my books are about, I thought it was time to combine together a few disparate things. I’m not exactly sure how this is going to work, but me being a creative guy, and you being fun guinea pigs providing a safe place to make a fool of myself, here goes something quite different. How about if my 6-month old shiba inu puppy interviews the main character from my new Braxton Campus Mysteries series. The first book, Academic Curveball, is currently available in ARC (advanced reader copy) format and officially launches on October 15th, 2018. You can buy or download it here. For now, let’s get on to the interview…

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***

Interviewer – Baxter

  • 6-month-old puppy who fancies himself a very smart canine
  • 22 lbs, black and tan, no job, rambunctious, acts like a frat boy
  • Likes
    • Biting, hiding under the couch, pouncing on you while you sleep, dominating other dogs, eating things he shouldn’t, running out the front door to escape, digging in flower beds
  • Dislikes
    • Vacuum cleaners, his harness and leash, bedtime, the cone after he was neutered, being neutered, the word ‘no’

***

Interviewee – Kellan Ayrwick

  • 32-year-old single father who fancies himself an amateur sleuth
  • 5-9, fit, wavy dirty-blond hair, wears glasses, baby blue eyes, professor, TV show director, former frat boy
  • Likes
    • Desserts, daughter Emma, black and white films, the beach, sarcasm, Nana D, compliments, Top 40’s music, sleeping, puzzles, cozy college campus, solving cases before the sheriff
  • Dislikes
    • Fake people, Dr. Myriam Castle, Sheriff April Montague, bad weather, wearing ties, the supernatural or ghosts, shaving, weird Shakespearean quotes

***

  • Question 1: Who are you and why are you forcing me to interview you? (Baxter)
    • I’m Kellan, the main character in your owner’s latest mystery series. I had to leave LA for a quick trip to visit my small, secluded hometown in Pennsylvania for my father’s retirement from Braxton College. He was the president, and my parents forced me to come home. I left almost a decade ago because they can be very intrusive. Love ’em to pieces, but wow… talk about family drama!
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • Please do not refer to Jay as my OWNER. Jay is lucky I chose to come live with him. There are days when his helicopter parenting can be so bad, I want to lick him to death to get him to stop holding me back. And you don’t know family drama. My siblings were awful! They made me bite them all the time just to shut them up. I’m the quiet one. Grr…
  • Question 2: What can tell me about living in this Wharton County, Pennsylvania? I’m looking for more space as this box in the biggest urban center in the world is a little confining. (Baxter)
    • Wharton County is in north central PA near the NY border. It’s about 90 miles south of Buffalo and trapped between the Saddlebrooke National Forest and the Wharton Mountain range. It’s not a real place, but it is based on a bunch of different places Jay’s visited or lived in Pennsylvania. There are 4 major towns, and the one my family hails from is called Braxton. There’s a great college there, too, where many of my family members work, and it seems perhaps possibly me, too, in the near future. The best part of the campus is built across two different sections of the town and is connected by a really cool cable car system. Jay told me it’s based on where he went to college… do you know where that is?
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • Listen, Kellan… I didn’t want to do this interview, but since it’s been forced on me, remember I ASK the questions. You ANSWER them. Got that? From what I hear, everyone tells you what to do anyway, Kellan… between your boss Myriam, your grandmother Nana D, and that weirdo sheriff, you can barely breathe without someone torturing you. Stand up for yourself, man. Have a little bark and a little bite! WOOF!
  • Question 3: What happens in this first book? Should I plan to tell my friends about it? They do read in case you were wondering. We’re a smart breed. (Baxter)
    • I can honestly tell you this is the best book I’ve EVER been in. And I’m probably the funniest guy you’ll ever meet. It all starts off when I come home for what should’ve been a long weekend, but then there’s a murder. And my boss in LA makes me stay to cover it for our TV show. Then my family and a good friend are major suspects, so I’m forced to try to find the real killer. Nana D of course tries to set me up, but my wife has only been gone for two years, so I’m not quite ready. I had an awesome time at the baseball games learning all about the sport but when I thought someone on the team was changing their grades in order to play in the season opener, I knew I was on to something big. Little did I realize how much more complex it really was. Wanna know who the killer is?
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • One, this is the only book you’ve been in so far, Kellan. I know Jay wrote the second one, but he’s still editing it. It’s not real until he gives it to someone to read. I’ve had a look, and I can definitely tell you it’s AWESOME, but I might be biased. Although I was super annoyed with Jay for making me wear that cone of shame for two weeks after my surgery, having such a fantastic story with engaging characters helped pass the time quickly. GO BRAXTON CAMPUS MYSTERIES!!! RAH RAH! And two, no, don’t spoil it for me, you doofus. I think people should find out for themselves who killed someone. Duh!
  • Question 4: Do you know where Jay keeps the treats in this joint? (Baxter)
    • I’m not real, dog. How would I know that? I can’t see or hear anything outside of Braxton. You came here to visit me. You’re as bad as Nana D with these questions. Go take a nap, dog.
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • If you weren’t paying me to do this interview, I’d bite your face off. But I’m glad to see we’re both frat boys. Jay was one, too. I guess we have some things in common. Wait… now that I think about it, you’re awfully similar to Jay… what kinda sick twist of fate is this?
  • Question 5: Anything else you want to share before I go for a walk to get away from you and this tedious discussion? I’ve got some flowers to eat. (Baxter)
    • I’ve got tons of stories to share in the next few years. Jay’s helped me write lots of books and together, we’re planning at least 10 in the series. What I love the most is how he let me write them in 1st person, so the entire book is always from my perspective. I’ve got a really fun voice and way of talking about myself and others, so you’ll likely laugh a lot. I’m also a bit clumsy, like to complain, and am a really sweet but sexy guy. Sometimes I get a bit arrogant. Other times I behave a bit like a fool. But as I get older, things start to look pretty awesome from my position. I just can’t figure out what’s gonna happen in my love life, but you know there’s gotta be more than one woman after me based on what’s happened in that first book, right?
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • Kellan, your modesty knows no bounds. I’m sure any readers are already swooning rolling their eyes over it. Thanks for chatting today. I’ll leave you with a little surprise before I bounce.

***

Stay tuned for the next interview when Baxter takes on… NANA D. Here’s a quick snapshot of Nana D’s latest conversation with her grandson, Kellan, in book two set to be published in December 2018:

SCENE from BROKEN HEART ATTACK (Book 2 in Braxton Campus Mysteries)

As people filed out of the lobby and into the venue, the noise level grew more tolerable and I could freely move around without feeling every nook and cranny of every weirdo in the joint. First up was texting Nana D to find out who had my ticket and where I’d be sitting. If she put me next to some new Tinder date she blindly setup for me…

Me: Where are you? It’s like a blue-haired Neil Diamond concert in here today.

Nana D: More like a wannabe Lady Gaga gig. Don’t you know any current pop references?

Me: Given the number of septuagenarians, I assumed they wouldn’t know who she was.

Nana D: You know what happens when you ASS-U-ME, don’t you, Kellan?

Me: That was weak even for you. Epic FAIL! Where’s my ticket?

Nana D: Bite me. I left it at the Box Office. Wasn’t sure you’d show. Go get it. Now.

Me: Yes, Chief. On my way. You’re feisty today. Too much bran? Not enough veges?

Nana D: Pop a cork in it and get to your seat. You ain’t seen nothing yet, brilliant one. Just wait til I introduce you to…

***

Note from Baxter: In case you’re curious about the last introduction, Nana D has a habit of setting Kellan up with the weirdest women I’ve ever met. In the last book, we learned there was a two-time bigamist who Nana D thought might be Kellan’s future girlfriend. I’m kinda hoping to meet that crazy old woman one day. I hear she’s a real ball buster… hey wait… is she the one who took mine away when they neutered me three weeks ago!!! PAYBACK WILL BE MINE!

Academic-Curve-Ball-Promo-Hardback-Ereader

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and 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 –and multiple Readathons. 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.

The Terrace & Baxter

Posted on Updated on

Hello! It’s been a while since I’ve shared any personal posts on the blog. After returning from the trip to England and Italy in May, my schedule got busier than expected. I introduced everyone to Baxter in early June, planted all the flowers and bushes on the NYC terrace garden in mid June, kicked off the Children’s Book Readathon in late June, and mentioned I’d started writing my next book in early July. With all these priorities being the focus of my day, as well as a massive about of reading and book reviews, getting online has been happening less frequently. We start the actual children’s book reading segment of the readathon in ten days and I will announce this upcoming week which book I’ve focused on writing. For now, I thought I’d share some photos on Baxter and the NYC terrace garden.

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If you’re new to my blog, a brief introduction… I live on the top floor of a 12-floor building in the middle of New York City where there’s very little green. Without a backyard, nature, and grass, it felt too plain and dull… hence why we turned the terrace into a giant garden with potted trees, flower boxes, growing vines, outdoor furniture, and a new water feature. It runs the length of the whole apartment and then wraps around both sides part way. I’m quite lucky to have this outdoor space, and when I roll out the awning, it’s actually not too bad even on a particularly hot day given the wind this high up keeps it a bit cooler.

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Baxter, a black and tan shiba inu puppy, is officially 4 months old and proving to be quite the little devious one. He’s actually adapted quite well with the overnight sleeping and ‘doing his business’ side of things. He’s only about 15 lbs. but quite SOLID. It’s like a brick wall when he goes on a running race around the apartment and slams into me. He’s finally received all his shots and was allowed to go to the park last week. He’s learning how to walk on his leash and play with other dogs. I’m very happy with his progress to date, but he also started official training this week to fix a few small issues. He’s almost sitting on command, but next we’ll focus on come, stay, and leave it. The only real concern so far is he’s a biter! It’s totally play-biting, and he only does it to W and to me. He’s an absolute perfect angel whenever anyone else visits. I spend most of my day cleaning up dirt he’s eaten out of potted plants, stuffing from stuffed animals he’s ripped apart, and spraying bitter apple on things. Last night, as we’re watching a movie, the lights started to flicker. It was in the middle of a torrential rain and wind storm, so we assumed that was part of the issue. After a little research, we found that Baxter had actually started biting an electric cord we thought was well-hidden behind the couch. Thankfully that ended with only a harsh lecture and and early bedtime! Maybe he’s learned his lesson, too.

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More updates in a few weeks. Hope you enjoyed a little peek inside my life at home right now!

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. 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.

Introductions: Meet Puppy ‘Baxter’

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As many of you know, I lost my shiba inu, Ryder, earlier this year. It was unexpected and heartbreaking, and I have many moments still today where my eyes tear up or I feel a melancholy about everything he missed out on. He was only ten and had such energy and love, but he was too sick to stay strong and we had to let him go. W and I had always talked about adopting another dog, but Ryder was very much an only-child and preferred to be with just us. We didn’t want to make his days more difficult, so we postponed bringing another puppy into the house.

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Around March, we started discussing the best timing for adopting another dog, as we both missed having that lovable pet to play with at night or on the weekend. And perhaps with W and I suddenly by ourselves, we thought… hmmm… can we really only talk to ourselves and each other now at night? Ryder had been such a big piece of our lives together, we found ourselves with more free time and less conversations. The void needed to be filled but we knew it would take a while to find the right one. We love the breed and looked at a few rescue shelters, puppy stores, and breeders from the AKC website. It could take 9 to 12 months for the breeder to produce a puppy and reach us on the list.  We had some specific requirements as we wanted to get a different color than Ryder so the memory wasn’t too obvious. Ryder had a red coat, so we searched primarily for a red coat female or a black and tan male. I’ve had a cream colored before, and the red sesame is adorable but hard to come by.

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We registered online with a few lists. I went to a few puppy stores and found one the day before our 3-week vacation. Timing is everything, huh? I couldn’t get him, but I also didn’t want to let him go. My mom (she’s awesome) volunteered to keep him for the three weeks, but we knew the puppy would develop an attachment to her (or vice versa?) and we might never bond the same way with him, so we said thank you, but we shouldn’t. We’ll wait to see if he’s still there when we return from Italy. The day before we returned, the little rugrat was adopted… it wasn’t meant to be. We arrived home the next day, unpacked, took a nap, picked up some groceries and did laundry. By late afternoon, we’d received an email saying we were now third on a list for a black and tan puppy from Kansas — so much sooner than we’d expected. It was too hot to ship him to the location of the person who was first on the list, so the breeder was letting us know that if the second person said ‘no’ that he was ours. An hour later, we had an email that the second person preferred a female, so we were faced with the choice: Are we ready?

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We talked about it a bit and timing really is everything… It’s summer, we aren’t going anywhere for a few months, and I haven’t completely dived into writing my next book, so I’d have some free time. His pictures were adorable. We needed something to shake up our return from Italy (pictures and stories to come next week — this news took priority) as who wants to come back to normal life after such amazing vacation? So… we said yes, made the arrangements, and the little pup arrived in NYC on Thursday afternoon. He was born on March 16th, which is right in the middle of W’s and my birthdays. The other very coincidental connection is the timing on his birth. Shiba puppies are usually born about 60 days after they are conceived. Ryder passed away 60 days before this little one was born. I like to think maybe a little bit of Ryder’s spirit was passed into the new addition, so we have a bit of a connection already.

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We’ve had him for 48 hours so far and he is every bit of a puppy. He’s voracious about biting things, way more than any other dog or puppy I’ve had in the past. I’ve threatened war with him many times. He’s successfully ripped off my glasses both mornings, torn a toy into pieces, pulled my shorts down while I was walking from one room to the other, and decided the couch legs are evil and must be sawed off with his teeth. Let’s not even discuss the corners of the carpet or any electrical cords. I’ve pulled up everything I can to keep him away, but there are a few we can’t unplug… he is my shadow or W’s shadow 24/7. We were lucky and he slept 7 hours straight the first night. Last night, he only made it 4 hours before getting restless in his crate. I might be too old to sleep on a floor again. It’s a work in progress yet one we already love!

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More pictures to come, but I wanted to share a little bit of my news since returning from vacation and finishing up this week’s blog tour for Father Figure. Meet the new puppy: Baxter! I’m sure he’ll be all over the place on the blog in the coming months, but for now, he says hello and that he plans to torture us in these first few weeks.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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

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***

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.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Watching Glass Shatter: Blog Tour Day 9 – Diary of a Bookfiend

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The talented and amazing Noriko @ Diary of a Bookfiend pulled together a beautifully flowing interview over the launch of Watching Glass Shatter. She also shared some fun pics (see one below). You must check out her blog at the link below!

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via Blog Tour: Watching Glass Shatter By James J. Cudney (Author Interview)

365 Challenge: Day 218 – Holiday (RYDER RANT)

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Holiday: a special day where you send out a card to all your friends, family and acquaintances

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Hello, Furry Friends! I just assume you are all dogs like me, please don’t take offense. The world would really be better off if we were all dogs who just wanted to cuddle with one another. Too many bad things going on and I just hate reading about all of them. I do read a lot, in case you didn’t know that… Mostly stories with dogs in them, or the news to see if anything special is happening. Speaking of special, let’s chat a bit about holidays, as there are quite a few coming up in my world.

Halloween is always fun around here. The building has trick-or-treating for all the kids. Dad 2 calls it “Ryder’s Halloween Extravaganza” or something like that… I don’t always pay attention. We bought a bunch of candy for it, or rather my Grandma, Dad 1’s mom, bought a bunch of candy for it. She laughed when Dad 1 told her how much he paid last year for candy in the city, so she bought bags in the ‘burbs where I used to live and dropped it off for him. But he’s been eating several pieces of it lately. I’m worried I may not have any left. He keeps complaining his belly hurts from it, yet he still eats it. Now I know where I got it from; he can’t say anything bad about me anymore now that I’m on to him. Anyways… it’s coming up… and I’ll be ready to answer the door for all the trick-or-treaters even though there may be small children haunting me.

The other big news is Dad 2 created the Christmas card to send out this year. Last year, he took a photo of me sitting under the Christmas tree, claiming he would use it this year. He bought a new computer yesterday and decided to start working on the card. Apparently it’s all done, but he won’t let me see it. It’s off to the printer after he put his own finishing touches on it. It seems I’m the cover photo and will be sent out to everyone. How exciting! I will have to share a picture of it once I see it. Can you believe it’s almost Christmas season? I know we first have to get thru Halloween and Thanksgiving, but planning has started. I already know what I want for the holidays. And no, it’s not a brother or sister, so bite your tongues.

Time to go check on all the fall flowers… it’s a beautiful 55 degrees here in NYC, so everything is starting to really feel like autumn. Ah, it’s a good start to the week. What’s up for your holiday planning? Bye for now!

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. 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.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin