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Robin Huffman – Woman Reinvented and Reborn

Posted by on Sep 19, 2019 in Writing | 0 comments

Several weeks ago, I met an extraordinary woman. With an extraordinary story. Robin Huffman worked as an interior designer and project manager with a global firm in New York City. In 2017 after 29 years at the firm, she decided to take some time off to volunteer at an ape and monkey sanctuary in Cameroon. It was intended to be a break from the grind of corporate city life. Just a summer to re-set. But at the sanctuary, she was tasked with caring for a tiny, blue-faced monkey named Maasai.   Maasai (Moustached guernon – after a photo by Ian Bickerstaff; 20.5 x 28 Acrylic on paper) Robin told me that until then she had never felt any maternal instinct. “I didn’t even like to babysit,” she said. But when this fragile baby, who fit in the palm of her hand, looked up at her, Robin felt an overwhelming desire to protect, care for, and mother this infant. Two lives were changed. Maasai and Robin. And in the weeks that followed, the feeling grew, the little orphan clinging to her caregiver as much as she could. Primates like Maasai’s parents are killed by poachers for bushmeat or are unable to survive as their jungle habitat is cut down for timber or razed to cultivate...

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The Two Sorriest Dogs in America (Part 1)

Posted by on Aug 5, 2019 in Writing | 0 comments

I have never written a book or a story in which I didn’t know the end. Didn’t know the middle. Didn’t have an arc. Didn’t have an outline. I’ve never written a book or a story with anyone else (except my editor). Until now. I’m going to start a story not knowing where it’s going to take me. Always open to ideas from readers, friends, and interested parties. Just throw ‘em out there and I’ll weave them into the writing. This story (inspired by a headline I saw on Facebook) is about a woman who walks into a shelter and asks to adopt the two dogs who have been there the longest. Edna Marble twisted the rearview mirror down to check herself. The lines in her face were still there. So was the dull, gray hair she tied back in a ponytail. Even the filament was growing again – okay, the whisker – one black, wiry hair that poked out of her chin. Whenever it was long enough for the tweezers to grasp, Edna would pluck it out, but it always came back, a stubborn, heartless reminder that she was getting old. “How do I look?” she asked. No one responded as there was no one to hear or presumably care. But Edna cared....

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Fake News – Behind the BigAg Machine

Posted by on Jun 2, 2019 in Writing | 1 comment

In The Experiment, investigator Jude Brannock travels to a quiet farming community in rural Vermont to find her young protégé who has inexplicably vanished from his undercover job at a laboratory that is testing a new drug on animals. Although a fictional suspense novel, I have always tried to research the issues around which my stories revolve. In this newest book, genetically modified plants and the farmers who resist the chokehold of giant agribusinesses like Monsanto play a part....

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Thoughts on Animal Rescue Stories

Posted by on Mar 23, 2019 in Writing | 0 comments

I am trying to discipline myself when it comes to Facebook scrolling. But I admit that I get bogged down when it comes to animal rescue stories. I am compelled to watch the video or read the story to the end. And given the number of shares and likes they all get, I am not alone. Many psychologists say that because, as humans, we are aware of our ultimate death, we dream of being rescued ourselves. Beginning at birth,...

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Book Review – The Tusk That Did the Damage

Posted by on Nov 11, 2018 in Writing | 0 comments

  In my pursuit to find contemporary animal-themed fiction, I came across a remarkable novel called The Tusk That Did the Damage by Tania James. It is told in the alternative voices of an elephant, a poacher and a filmmaker – each of whom provide a different perspective on the state of conservation in India. The elephant is nicknamed The Gravedigger. Orphaned by poachers as a calf and sold into a life of labor, he has finally escaped the...

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Review of The Wildlands by Abby Geni

Posted by on Sep 30, 2018 in Writing | 0 comments

  I have long believed that a powerful way to reach people about the sentience of animals and our  shameful treatment of them is through fiction. Thus, I keep my eyes open for good novels with the courage to tackle that difficult topic. The most recent read is a remarkable literary thriller called The Wildlands, by Abby Geni. A couple of years ago, I had read Geni’s earlier book, The Lightkeepers, an atmospheric, slow-building suspense novel about a nature...

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For I will consider my dog Percy

Posted by on Jun 27, 2017 in Writing | 1 comment

For anyone who has ever loved an animal. By the poet Mary Oliver. For I will consider my dog Percy. For he was made small but brave of heart. For if he met another dog he would kiss her in kindness. For when he slept he snored only a little. For he could be silly and noble in the same moment. For when he spoke he remembered the trumpet and when he scratched he struck the floor like a drum....

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