Jordan Taylor

Seattle Kennel Club Dog Show 2017

Posted by on Mar 12 2017

At the Seattle Kennel Club Dog Show this weekend with a friend!

Here are some events and canine highlights:

Arrive early for plenty of open seating. :)

Main features include confirmation showing, obedience and rally, and agility.


There are also demos all weekend, such as canine freestyle (dancing dogs) and herding dogs from Ewe-Topia.


Then there are just all those dogs to meet in between events….

Prize for the best tricks goes to the Belgian Tervuren, one of my own favorite breeds.

And the prize for the longest tail in dogdom must go to the Irish Wolfhound.

A Denali look-alike from his younger days! There were dozens of Shiba Inus at the show, a far cry from when I first brought my Shiba home eighteen years ago and they were still considered a rare breed.

Points to the Basenji Club of America for allowing in native African dogs and not dwarfing your gene pool like almost all other purebred dogs.

My favorite hound (maybe tied with the Basenji), the Saluki.

Leonbergers.

Old English Sheepdog.

German Shepherd Dog. (Thanks, Kerry!)

Dachshund (wire and mini).

Berger Picard (or Picardy Shepherd).

Glen of Imaal Terriers.

Tibetan Mastiff.

Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever.

And goodbye with this handsome English Shepherd-ish? I was shocked since English Shepherds are not recognized by the AKC and are very rare in the U.S. One of my WWI novels in progress is about an English Shepherd, so I have a vested interest in the breed and had to ask when I saw him. His mom said they weren’t positive since he was a rescue dog. Maybe just a Rough Collie/Border Collie cross, or similar, but he looks so like my fictitious ES, it was a treat to see him!

An Abundance of Snow

Posted by on Feb 06 2017

Everything around home has come to at least a half-standstill today as we are engulfed in over six inches of snow. And still falling.

Firefly and I did our typical walk to the beach this morning, but it didn’t look all that typical today.

Someone was so sad and suffering, she had to be carried most of the time.

Until she was told we were going home. That made everything better.


Thank you for your beauty, snow. Even if I wouldn’t mind you sharing yourself with others instead.

Release Day!

Posted by on Feb 04 2017

Eagle’s Shadow, co-written with Aleksandr Voinov and part of his Witches of London series, is now available in ebook! Paperback later this year.

Want the next book of the Witches of London series free? Just be one of the first three people to leave an HONEST review of Eagle’s Shadow on Amazon.com! Doesn’t matter how long or how short, just tell us what you think. Then let me know (email here on this site, or get in touch on Twitter) and I will personally send you the next book on Kindle the day it comes out!

Happy reading!

On Writing: You Are Using Too Many Words

Posted by on Feb 01 2017

It’s a fact. You are. I am. We are all using too many words when we write.

Why not? Watching word counts climb as we type encourages us. Meeting word goals fulfills us. Commercialism in the book market, notably on Amazon.com, proves to us that more words equals more money—which means we are doing better as authors by typing more words. Even grammar tricks us into throwing in an unnecessary “that” or “and” because it is correct to do so.

Human beings are in love with words. We are addicted to language. Just try going without it for twenty-four hours. No speaking, no listening, no writing, texting, or reading. Not even the logo on your coffee cup.

Unless we live in isolation, most of us would find a single day without any exposure to human language impossible. Even in isolation, many of our brains (though not all) are wired to think in words. So it seems only natural that we are hooked.

I adore finding tips and ideas for creative writers; be they in the form of a new writing book, an author’s blog, or simply advice from a friend.

If I could give back only one thought in return, whether you’re working on short stories, poems, screenplays, essays, a memoir, your first novel or your fiftieth, this would be it:

We Are All Using Too Many Words.

Ways to Help

By your third or fourth draft, take your manuscript aside for a quiet read. Don’t worry about fixing the grammar. Don’t worry about the jerky plot, or if you still haven’t slipped in a description of a central character who was introduced on page three. Allow yourself to read with an eye toward excess.

Do you need five adverbs on one page, or will a single really punchy one suffice? Better yet, how about none?

Do you need to reiterate that your protagonist has lavender eyes sixty-eight times in your novel, or will one introduction and two or three reminders work?

Without even cutting a scene, you will be amazed how quickly your manuscript loses weight.

Is being grammatically correct making your prose hard to read?

Can you lose a word and maintain clarity and flow without confusing the meaning? For example, if you are finding it necessary to use “that” five times in one paragraph, consider dropping some. Is it “correct”? Possibly not. Does it read clearly and communicate your intended message more fluidly to your reader? Probably.

Is that conversation on page twelve longer than it needs to be?

Unless things like “Good morning!” and “How’s it going?” are shaping who your characters are for your reader, or advancing your story, we don’t need them in dialogue. Instead, consider telling us “They met for coffee” and only start your dialogue once someone is saying something that we need to know.

Does your writing ever stray toward “stage and screen”?

I do this often and have been slapped on the wrist for it by editors. Unless you are writing for the stage or screen, we don’t need every move spelled out.

Example:

Annabelle rolled onto her right side, gasping when she saw the time on the digital clock. She threw back the sheet, scrambled from bed, and dashed into the bathroom, where she slammed the door and turned on the shower.

Could be:

Annabelle rolled over and gasped at sight of the digital clock. She sprang from bed and dashed into the bathroom.

Are you telling something that you have already implied?

Example:

Mark had been bringing Annabelle roses each Tuesday morning for the past year. And, each Tuesday morning, Annabelle was up with the sparrows, glancing out the window as she dressed and fixed her hair. She would race to the front door with her heart in her throat the moment she saw Mark turn into the driveway. She couldn’t wait for Mark to bring those flowers every Tuesday.

Apparently, the impulse to add that last sentence is a powerful force.

This one is a tragedy for more than just too many words. Throwing in that last line tells your readers that you don’t suppose them to be a particularly bright bunch, so you’re adding that little cherry on top to make sure they understand the situation. When, as a matter of fact, most readers of both fiction and nonfiction are so intelligent they will soon become fed up with endless repetitions of situations like the one above and find another book to read.

Show it. Imply it. Show it more. Then also spell it out end the scene.

Be Inspired

If you are a creative writer of any kind who is looking to trim flab from your manuscript, you can do no better than looking to poetry for inspiration in clean wordage. I recommend Billy Collins and Shel Silverstein, but many poets have a deep understanding of brevity which many other authors lack.

Also, if you are a novelist, try reading a couple of screenplays. Note how much is shown to the reader while the words remain so sparse we see mostly white space.

“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” ~ Mark Twain

So go through that draft. Cut words like “very”, “suddenly”, “overall”, “quite”, and “actually”. If it ends with an “ly” consider a quick death. If it’s multiple words that could be one (example: “in regard to” can be “about”), make the cut.

No need to fret over too many words in your first draft. That’s what first drafts are for—getting all those words down. But, in revisions, give yourself merit badges not for how many words you write, but for how many you can cut.

Eagle’s Shadow

Posted by on Jan 12 2017

We’re revealing the cover today for the new book Eagle’s Shadow, co-written with Aleksandr Voinov (blog) and standalone novel in his Witches of London series (Goodreads). This fabulous series is set in modern day London but includes a few paranormal and magickal elements—and, in this case, a dash of history as well.

Our amazing cover artist, Tif, has actually animated the cover for us! It’s my first book trailer within a cover! Hope you enjoy!

Happy New Year

Posted by on Jan 01 2017

A new year looking forward to new ventures in fiction and in life. For starters, I have new website sliders and plans to keep the blog at least partway updated with normal things—like writing tips, book updates, food, and activities of my dog and myself—which I have managed regularly on my blogs at least now and then over the past eight years. More “then” over “now”, I’d must admit.

For now, some of the new art, and best wishes for all in 2017!

Thank you to the talented and generous photographers and artists of Pixabay.com for the base imagery behind these shareables.