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Here is an article about marketing sites for kids who write, and a new newsletter to keep you informed of markets. Hope Clark is the moderator of Funds for Writers and this new list. Bea Sheftel Kids moderator

FundsforWriters reaches out to the kids in the writing family with the creation of Writing Kid. Available by blank email to, the zine offers three levels of writing opportunities - 12 and under, teens, and college students. Each issue offers a short word of advice and six markets in each level.

Try it out for your children - or grandchildren - or your neighbors children - or your students. Then spread it around. As always, your support is appreciated.

Hope Clark

The Man and The Talking Dog

This is a draft of a story idea my husband gave me. I'm an looking for feedback. I will rewrite this with scenes and dialogue. For now, it is just in this narrative draft stage. Thank you, Bea Sheftel.

The Man and the talking dog Bruce and Bea Sheftel (Working title)

Harry is lonely. His wife died a year ago and heís been depressed. He has children but they are busy with their own lives and families. So most of the day he spends alone just him and his dog.

Harry goes out with a friend to a movie to cheer him up, and dinner afterwards at Friendlyís. He comes home, put the key in the door and thinks he hears the TV on. Iím sure I shut the TV off, he says to himself. Once inside the sound disappears and all he sees is his dog Lucky lying on the floor, tail wagging with happiness at seeing Harry. Lucky is a brown Lab mix.

Harry pats a spot next to him on the couch and the big dog joins him. He puts his arm around Luckyís neck and tells him about his day. He puts the TV on, but heís really not watching it. Then his dog barks, and Harry looks up at the screen. It is a movie about the Alaskan Iditoraid and there are a lot of dogs in it. Harry and the dog watch TV together. He feels comfortable to have his dog share in watching the show with him.

In the commercials he talks to the dog about his wife. He is very sad because he and his wife were married 50 years. He tells Harry how they rescued him from the pound and brought him home as a puppy. And how he and his wife loved taking walks in the woods with Lucky. His children felt they were too old to have a big dog and tried to get them to buy a small dog, but as soon as they saw Lucky they knew he was the one for them.

During this conversation, the dog puts his head on Harryís chest and seems to be listening. Afterwards they both have a snack. Dog biscuits for Lucky, and tea and cookies for Harry.

The memory of his wife is with Harry all the time and he cries a lot. He cries when he sees her photo, and when he goes to places they went to together. Sometimes he doesnít want to leave the house. He wants to curl up and die and join his wife. On those days the only comfort he has is Lucky who stays by his side. Lucky makes Harry get up and dressed because Lucky wants to walk and run. Harry canít help but smile at Luckyís antics as he runs through the woods, and jumps into the water and enjoys life. It restores Harryís love of life as he finds himself smiling more than crying and instead of being sad at his memories, heís happy he and his wife had such a long time together.

His children visit and they are very kind and loving. They try to think of things for Harry, like coming to dinner and playing with the grandchildren. That always makes Harry happy. They want their father to take a cruise or go on vacation and put Lucky in kennel while heís gone. He canít do it. I donít know there is something about that dog. Heís more than a dog to me, heís a friend. Lucky wags his tail happily. I canít put him in a kennel and leave. We need each other.

Fall Scene: Create a scene with Harry and the dog going fishing and Harry isnít having any luck. He leans back and takes a snooze, and wakes up to find a big fish on his line. How did that happen. He looks at the dog who is also snoozing. Scoops the fish up. As he does that, another fish catches the line. Harry could swear the dog was reeling him in, but he bends down and scoops up the next fish.

Heís just a dog his daughter tells him.

He shakes his head and pats Lucky on the head. No. Lucky misses mother also. We need each other.

And true to his word he and lucky spend more time together outside and nights he talks to the dog and shows him pictures of his wife and their happy days.

A few times he comes home and hears theTV again but when he goes into the house the TV is off so he thinks it must have been a neighbors TV he heard.

One night heís really feeling blue. He played music he and his wife loved, looked at photos with Lucky and said to his dog, if it wasnít for you I think Iíd take some pills and go to sleep to join my wife.

The dog puts his paw on the manís shoulder. Iím here for you Harry. Harry thinks heís hearing things. He looks at the dog and he looks normal, though there is deep compassion in the dogís eyes.

Now I know Iím losing it thinking youíre talking.

I am, the dog says.

Harry gets up and makes himself a cup of tea. He is shaky thinking heís losing his mind when the dog walks in. Youíre not crazy harry. Itís really me talking. Not in the way youíre used to.

But how?

Through our minds Harry. Lots of dogs can communicate with their families. How else do you know I need to go out, get a walk, or have something to eat.

Harry shakes his head. Iím going to bed. I do not believe your talking to me. He goes to sleep and Lucky joins him in bed, snuggling his warm big body next to Harry.

As Harry falls asleep he hears the words, I love you Harry. Youíre my best friend. Donít leave me.

Harry wakes up and decides he needs to get out of the house away from the dog and his imagination. He calls his daughter but she is busy with grad school and the kids are going with friends to the skating rink. He calls his son who is off to join friends on a skiing trip. So Harry doesnít know what to do with himself.

Take me, Lucky says.

Harry takes the dog and they go to the mountain and the dog romps and plays and chases stick and jumps into the icy waters. Harry laughs again at the dogs antics. He has a towel with him to dry the dog off.

This is why I love you Harry, Lucky says. Youíre so thoughtful bringing a towel for me.

Harry sighs and gives up. Okay, if Iím hearing my dog talk so be it.

Thatís right Harry. Weíre pals, best pals. Iím never be too busy for you.

They go the car and Harry wraps the dog in a nice warm blanket in the back seat and the dog falls asleep.

Later, he runs out for some milk and comes back and hears the TV on again. This time he creeps into the house without calling Luckyís name. He peeks into the living room and there is Lucky with the remote control next to his paw, and heís watching a dog movie.

So it was you all along

Lucky looks up and Harry swears he could see the dog smile. Itís lonely without you Harry so I watch a little TV. Now I know Iím crazy. Youíre not crazy Harry. Iím here to take care of you the way you take care of me. I told you we need each other.

I just wish there was more on TV to watch. Most of it is real junk. Harry laughs. Okay Lucky, Iíll rent movies youíll enjoy.

After that Harry rents movies he thinks the dog will like such as about the dog Bethoven, A dogís Life, and others.

Harry and the dog talk all the time and Harry even reads to the dog. I like those stories, Lucky says. Day by day Harry is starting to feel more like himself. He hasnít stopped loving his wife, but he is coming out of the depression.

He decides it is time to share this wonderful dog with his family. He invites them over for dinner and prepares a special meal. He gets Lucky groomed.

The family comes over they are happy to see the father is brightening up. Well, thereís a reason. Itís Lucky.

Dogs make good companions, his daughter says.

At least your not alone, his son says.

But no, itís more than that. Lucky is very smart and unusual. He watches TV with me. The son and daughter look at each other and smile. Thatís nice dad they say in unison.

No, for real. I even rent movies heíll like.

Dad, dogís canít see the TV screen. Their eyes canít keep up with the video waves.

But my TV is digital, the father says.

The daughter shakes here head. Dad please, next youíll be telling me Lucky talks to you.

He does, the father insists. He calls Lucky over. Come on boy, tell them about your favorite movie the one where the dog saves the little boy whose fallen down a well.

The dog puts his paw on Harryís arm and wags his tail but doesnít talk.

Okay, maybe heís shy. Itís not everyday a dog decides to reveal he can communicate Now the brother and sister look worriedly at each other.

Dad, please stop. Weíre getting worried. We know youíre grieving mother, we all do.

Lucky too. He loved her, you know.

Yes dad we know, but youíve got to stop saying the dog talks to you.

Lucky licks Harry and Harry hears the words Itís our secret Harry.

Harry nods. Of course kids youre right. Itís just an old lonely manís imagination but it is kind of fun isnít it to think a dog can talk.

He hears, thatís it Harry.

Weíve been negligent of you Dad, the son says. The daughter agrees. Listen dad, how about every Friday night you come over and have dinner with us and then we can go to a movie with the kids. Iíd like that, Harry says. Can I bring Lucky? He can come to the house. Our dog Chills and Lucky get along fine. They can be together while we go to the movies. Or rent a movie and stay home and have popcorn, Harry suggests. Yes, dad, that sounds good too. The kids will love it.

The son says, and dad how about you come with me for a ski weekend? I donít ski. No, but there are neat shops you can browse, and a bookstore. The lodge at the ski resort has a huge fireplace and a lot of people gather around there to sip hot chocolate and talk. Besides thereís a heated pool. I know you like to swim.

He looks at Lucky. Go with them, Iíll be okay, Lucky says. I donít want to put Lucky in a kennel for the weekend. He can come too. The chalet I rent has plenty of room. Lucky loves playing in the snow. Weíll all have a good time.

After the kids leave, Harry and Lucky are together on the touch. See Harry, I told you everything would be okay. Thanks to you lucky. Thanks to you saving my life Harry. If it wasnít for you and your wife Iíd have gone to the dog death chamber. Harry hugs his dog. Now we both can live. Right Harry.