You Ought to Be in Pictures: A Screenwriter Debuts Short Stories That Would Make Great Films

You may have read one of Linda Anderson’s Angel Animals series of books as she explores the deep bond between people and their pets. But did you know that Linda also writes fiction? She’s inviting you to read her book of short stories available in E-book format.
Linda, an award-winning writer, takes film buffs and readers into realistic and quirky worlds where unforgettable characters with compelling conflicts come alive on the screens of imaginations. Using loglines and genres to set the tone, she presents eight unique plots and a range of engaging characters. She encourages readers to become producers (at least, in their minds) and cast the stories as full-length films and short features.
“Feature Length Film” stories in this collection answer the question: What if?

What if a New Jersey rowhouse wall that separates two people, who are in need of mutual redemption, reveals them to each other? What if Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio were reunited with the help of a pliable young couple who impersonate the icons? What if an act of school violence destroyed everything a dedicated teacher believed in? What if making a list of qualities for an ideal man had unexpected consequences?
In the “Short Features” stories section of You Ought to Be in Pictures, a grandmother in the 1950s takes on Walter Cronkite and issues a prophetic warning about media influencing the outcome of news stories. A son seeks a unique kind of revenge before his father’s demise. And a teenage nun learns about love from a dying plumber.
You Ought to Be in Pictures: A Screenwriter Debuts Short Stories That Would Make Great Films challenges readers to envision themselves as filmmakers and to view the book’s short stories as movies they would love seeing on the big screen. Film rights to each of the stories are available. Hollywood, are you listening?
You can order from or from the Angel Animals Network Online Bookstore.
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Dogs and the Women Who Love Them by Allen and Linda Anderson


Dogs and the Women Who Love Them by Allen and Linda Anderson. Twenty true stories of dogs and women who changed each other’s lives. Endorsed by Betty White, Wendie Malick, Vanessa Williams, Linda Tellington-Jones, and American Humane Association, among others. Reviewed or mentioned in Modern Dog, Publisher’s Weekly, and Library Journal so far.

Rory Freeman, #1 New York Times best-selling co-author of Skinny Bitch, an Oprah and Ellen DeGeneres favorite book, says in the foreword, “This book will open your heart, warm your soul, and make you proud to be a dog-loving woman.” Visit the Angel Animals Online Bookstore at to pre-order now.

When has an animal lifted your spirits and eased your pain?


Leaf and I (Allen) enjoyed our guy time Saturday ritual at the dog park yesterday.  It’s our time away from daily responsibilities and duties with my writing deadlines, website updates, newsletter tasks, and preparations, and of course, the always looming need to cut the grass.

Being our rescued cocker spaniel, Leaf has decided he has jobs too. He mixes his days with watching for the mail carrier whom he has made into an uninvited monster. He always keeps an eye on the cats just in case they begin any movement toward his chew toys, food bowl, or anything he views as his procession.

He also takes many naps between looking out the front window at the world of squirrels in the trees, rabbits in the yard, cars and busses in the street, and people walking by on the sidewalks.

Yesterday, as we begun our mile-long walk down a wooded path to the dog park that expands a mile or two next to the Mississippi River, Leaf kicked his hind legs with gusto. He ran around with excitement and showed how much he loved being a dog.

He would see a dog he liked and run up to initiate play. Often, it would work, with a temporary pack being formed for playtime.

On our long walk down the wooded trail, we looked upward at crows making a lot of noise.  With both of our heads pointed up toward the treetops, we watched dozens of black crows yelling at each other. I got a quick image in my mind of one of the birds swooping down and clutching on to Leaf, trying to fly away with him. I quickly got rid of the thought. Without any arguments from him, Leaf and I moved on.

When we adopted Leaf, he was not a touchy-feely kind of dog. It took time for him to trust that people were not bad. Now, he relishes our touch but still, not all the time. Each night, Linda is the focus of his kissing campaigns, as he talks to her, kisses her nose, and confides in her about his day.

Leaf was in his element as he greeted other people and dogs at the park. He was the host, and they were all in his park for him. It was fun to see him so happy.

As we explored, a lady walked up, looked at Leaf, and asked him if he wanted to be petted.  He played coy at first, allowing only one pat on his head. Then he circled and returned for another pat on his head.

I could tell that the woman was in some sort of pain, and it seemed important for her to pet Leaf. She mentioned to me that she had lost her dog. She was enjoying the dog park and being around other dogs. I mentioned how hard that must have been to go through. She said it was and that her dog had died due to kidney failure.  She quietly walked past us.

Leaf and I continued up the path with the Mississippi river on one side and a heavily wooded forest on the other.  Men, women, and families with small children and their dogs were all having the time of their lives after a long workweek.

By this time I had given Leaf his bouncy ball to chase and retrieve. He is like a retriever in an odd sort of way, chasing the ball each time and bringing it back to be thrown again and again. He likes for me to throw it, because I send it far away, making a challenge for him to retrieve.  Very much guy stuff.

Leaf is picky about whom he gives his ball to throw. On other visits to the dog park, he soon decided that Linda throws like a girl, so he drops the ball at her feet once or twice. Then he returns the ball to me for the rest of the throws.

I sat on a large fallen tree yesterday that was lying on the sand near the river. Leaf trotted into the water, all the while, greeting people and dogs as they walked past.

The lady whose dog had died walked along the beach area. As she came near us, I asked her how long it had been since her dog passed. I quietly said, “Losing a dear friend is very hard.” Tears started to roll down her face.

She sat down on the log next to me and started talking about how much it hurt. I listened. Leaf looked up and was still for a moment, as he, too, listened.

Then he jumped up and sat next to the grieving woman on the log. He shook a little. I said that I was concerned he would get sand and dirt on her. But she laughed and said, “You’re supposed to get dirty when you go to the dog park.”

Leaf still had his ball in this mouth and dropped it next to her feet.  She bent over and picked up Leaf’s cherished procession and threw it.

Like Linda, she also threw like a girl, but it didn’t seem to matter to Leaf. He chased the ball with his floppy ears flying in the wind and brought it back to her to throw again.

She began talking more about her dog and how much she had meant to her. With each throw of the ball Leaf would return, sit very close to her, drop the ball at her feet, and jump again as she threw it for him.

Her mood had changed in those few minutes of remembering the love she shared with her dog and the special memories of their time together. She said her dog was in a better place, and one day they would be together again. I said, “Absolutely.”

I mentioned how it helped Linda and me to have a memorial service when our yellow lab, Taylor died of cancer.  It was important to us to remember the love. While we will always miss Taylor dearly, we had also celebrated her life and had closure.

As we finished our conversation, Leaf came over to the woman and sat next to her. This time, he didn’t carry the ball in his mouth to her. Instead, he sat very still for a few more minutes until she got up to continue her walk.

It was touching to see the two of them sitting with Leaf, the woman’s eyes growing brighter and less filled with pain.

I am often amazed at how far Leaf has come.  From an emotionally injured, fearful, scared, adopted dog to one who freely gives so much love to those, like the sad women, who need a boost from him.

When has an animal lifted your spirits and eased your pain?

Visit!/album.php?aid=164944&id=711934289 to
see Leaf playing at the dog park.
Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network – Where Pets Are Family!

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Has a rescued animal inspired you to care more deeply about other animals?

“A Valentine’s Day Dog” was first published in the Angel Animals Story of the Week on September 19, 2010.  Reprinted with Permission from the Angel Animals Network.

By Dannyelle Deerman

On Valentines Day, my husband and I decided that due to health issues, children were not an option for us.  We began looking for a dog who could fill the void of not having a child together.

We found Karma, formally Kama (Hindu for love), at a shelter. The cost of adopting her had been marked down, because she was at the shelter for over eight months. They were desperate to find a home for her.

As we walked between the cages of barking dogs, Karma was the only one not barking and wagging her tail.  We were warned when we adopted her that she had no socialization skills and had never been inside a home before.

They offered that if we decided she was more than we could handle, we had thirty days to return her to the shelter.  To be honest I was very concerned about our being up to the challenges this dog might be bringing into our lives.

When Karma first came home with us, she wouldn’t eat. We tried everything. We ended up finding out that she had been fed venison by the shelter because it was the only thing she had ever eaten prior to arriving there.

The people who had her before had several other dogs and left them on a small plot of land. They threw road kill or whatever they could get their hands on to the dogs. They never had dog food.

So for the first month Karma was with us, we fed her venison. A man my father works with hunts, but his wife won’t eat deer.  We were able to slowly wean Karma over to regular dog food until thankfully she would eat dog food alone.

But that was just the beginning of our baby girl’s issues.  She had never dealt with people.  She was terrified of all noises, and people scared her. I was not sure exactly why, but she didn’t want to be around anyone or anything.  She hid in her little corner of our house and ventured out only at meal times and when she needed to use the outdoors. She only had two accidents in the house.

My husband and I have learned more about unconditional love and patience from this animal than you can imagine.  A friend once told me that you don’t always get the dog you want but you always end up with the dog you need.

Due to Karma coming into our lives, we ended up rescuing another dog — a pit bull from a fighting ring.  She brought along seven little bundles of joy about a month after joining our family.

Casey was dog aggressive and not sure exactly how to act around people who weren’t pouring acid on her back to make her mean. She ended up going to my dad, since he was looking for a companion dog. Casey has so changed my dad.

I was slowly losing my dad to old age.  I had to watch as my grandmother slipped more and more each day, and my father was in the beginning stages of the same health problems.  Now Casey and my dad are only apart when he is at work, and she travels with him everywhere.

We never would have opened our home up to another dog if Karma hadn’t taught us that all pets are a blessing.  They bring so much happiness into your life and teach you things you never knew you needed to learn.

With each new accomplishment with Karma our belief in God is renewed. I personally think this beautiful girl came to us because we needed her as much as she needed us.  My grandmother always told me everything happens for a reason.  Karma made me understand that.

Karma has been with us for over six months now.  She is not the dog we brought home on Valentines Day.

The dog we brought home was a very scared animal who ran from the room if you dropped anything.  The dog who greats me every day when I walk through my front door, walks well on a leash, loves to hike trails with us on weekends, allows other animals to sniff her without issue, and has become an adopted mom to Casey’s pups. I marvel at how far she has come in so little time.

Karma has also motivated my husband and me to become activists in breed-specific legislation.  We now do our best to inform others how these laws can affect you even if you don’t think they do. We started our own website to inform people about what BSL happenings are going on their cities.

We also are doing our best to educate people about how pets aren’t just animals; they are family members.  Animals give us so much, and all they ask in return is love and a family they can call their own.

Visit to view images of Casey and Karma.
Dannyelle Deerman is a 43-year-old grandmother of five beautiful granddaughters.  She is a full time student at Devry University working toward her master degree in accounting.  She also runs an organization that rescues pit bulls called New Life Rescue. She fosters and finds foster homes for dogs and screens applicants for prospective homes.  Dannyelle lives on a farm in Chapmansboro, Tennessee.  She is married to a wonderful man, Isaac, who helps her with the dogs. She has three daughters 24, 22, and 17. The youngest is still at home but preparing to leave for college when she finishes her senior year 2011.


Has a rescued animal inspired you to care more deeply about other animals?
Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network – Where Pets Are Family!

Send a blank e-mail to to automatically receive your free Angel Animals Story of the Week Newsletter. Visit to read past editions of the Angel Animals newsletter.


“Adopted by a Prince” was first published in the Angel Animals Story of the Week on April 17, 2005. Reprinted with Permission from Angel Animals Network.


By Jo “Sky” Sawyer-Roof

When I was almost five years old and my siblings were in school for the day, my mom drove me to the SPCA to pick up a small puppy or tiny dog. When we got there, I could not stand the barking and yapping. I went straight to the cage of a large German shepherd dog.

The attendant said this dog had been picked up at a schoolyard after being called in because he was frightening the children. He did not bark. He sat across from me. Put his paw up and I touched it. His eyes and mine locked. We belonged together.

My mom dragged me away to look at the puppies. I told her “Mom, I don’t want a puppy. I want Prince”. NO way.

So, we left without any dog. When my siblings came home, they were angry with me. My mom said we would go back the next day to pick up a puppy.

I went back and as soon as our car stopped, and we were at the shelter, I ran to Prince’s cage. He was waiting for me. I would not leave his side. At last, my mother relented.

The attendant got a long-handled wooden pole and led Prince to the car. I sat in the backseat, and that huge shepherd was herded into the back seat with me. My mother was petrified. He put his head in my lap and went to sleep. We rode silently home.

A few months later we moved from the city to the country. My Prince and I went to the woods daily together to explore. He became my best friend.

A few years later my aunt and her family came to live with us. My aunt’s husband was losing his job. Prince became the family’s baby sitter. The children were allowed outdoors only with the dog watching them. He would grab the two-year-old by the seat of his pants and pull him back when he wandered too far. He guarded the baby with his life.

They would put the baby outdoors in her carriage. No one dared go near. One day a sales lady came. My mother heard the dog growling. She came out and told the lady the dog had a working job and not to go near the baby.

My mother invited the woman inside. She listened to her spiel and showed her out when they were done.

All of a sudden my mother heard the lady screaming. She had doubled back, after pretending to leave, and had tried to pick up the baby. This was the only time Prince bit anyone. The woman said she was going to sue us. My mother said if she did not leave the property immediately she would call the police on her for trespassing and for interfering with the dog when she had been told to stay away.

Prince was a working dog and was special. We all loved my Prince.

Jo “Sky” Sawyer-Roof has a BFA from the University of Arizona. She lives in Ore Valley Arizona, which means the Valley of Gold because of the gorgeous golden blooms that surround the area; turning it into a golden glow that makes it look like a place out of time. Jo was an assistant editor of the Stochastic Models, Communications in Statistics. She is a contributing author to FEATHERS BRUSH MY HEART, complied by Sinclair Browning (2002) about women who have had contact with their mothers since the mother has left the physical plane.


Was there a special “Prince” in your life? A companion animal who will stay in your heart forever.
Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network – Where Pets Are Family!

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First published ANGEL ANIMALS (NWL 2007). Reprinted with permission.

By Lorraine Lanzon, Garden City, Michigan

Excerpt from ANGEL ANIMALS BOOKS OF INSPIRATION: Divine Messengers of Wisdom and Compassion by Allen and Linda Anderson, published by New World Library, Copyright 2003. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.

An upside-down birdhouse with a twig-and-grass nest inside sits in a tall pine tree in our backyard. In it, I see four baby birds. “Chips, chips,” they chirp constantly, calling for their mother, who is out looking for worms to feed them.

Why is this birdhouse upside down?

In the beginning, the wooden birdhouse was positioned perfectly upright. I enjoyed watching small birds take up residence there, but I got irritated whenever I saw blue jays and blackbirds poking at the eggs inside.

Then one day a strong wind blew the birdhouse to the ground. There it lay until days later, when I asked my brother to throw it higher in the tree. He hurled the birdhouse back up into the branches, where it landed upside down with its entrance hole facing the trunk of the tree.

This position made the hole invisible to the bigger birds. The tiny space between the front of the birdhouse and the tree trunk, as well as the close branches protecting it on all sides, prevented the big birds from sticking their beaks into the hole.

Now the topsy-turvy birdhouse is in demand among the smaller birds in the neighborhood because it’s difficult for large predators to reach into. It has become a refuge, securing eggs and babies in its nest while mother birds are out looking for food nearby.

Nature, via a windy “unfortunate accident,” has provided the birds with a safe home. Our upside-down birdhouse serves as a reminder that, regardless of initial appearances, what seems to be a bad turn of events may be a good thing when we see the bigger picture.


What do pets or animals in nature tell you about why “upside-down” experiences or “unfortunate accidents” might have been exactly what you needed?
Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network – Where Pets Are Family!

Send a blank e-mail to to automatically receive your free Angel Animals Story of the Week Newsletter. Visit to read past editions of the Angel Animals newsletter.

Dogs & The Women Who Love Them

American Humane Association has recommended our new book DOGS AND THE WOMEN WHO LOVE THEM on its website. If you click through to pre-order, you will also, in effect, be making a donation to an  outstanding organization that is devoted to helping children AND animals. The book has been endorsed by Americane Humane Association as well as by Betty White, Wendie Malick, and Vanessa Williams, among others.

Review below of DOGS AND THE WOMEN WHO LOVE THEM in MODERN DOG Magazine, Fall 2010 issue.

Connie’s Book Club, Fall 10
Relax with a Good Book and a Good Dog

Dogs & The Women Who Love Them

“This compelling book of true stories about women and their dogs  underscores what many of us have experienced with our own pups, that a special dog can lead to a revelation or shift in perception, setting one on a path of adventure and self-discovery.

“In one story, the dog acted as a catalyst for a complete and much needed change in lifestyle and career, while in another, a dog’s personality so closely mirrored his human’s that she finally saw herself through her dog and realized her type-A personality kept her inflexible, overly busy, and grumpy. Her ‘Aha’ epiphany forced her to relax, slow down, and enjoy the moment, and, amazingly, once she did, so did her dog.

“Each of the inspirational stories is followed by a thought-provoking meditation that poses a question for reflection such as ‘What dog has been your loyal partner and spurred you to greatness?’ or ‘Has a special dog left a legacy for you and others to remember?

“Overall, this book is a wonderful reminder that the bond your forge with your dog is often the catalyst for positive change.”
Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network – Where Pets Are Family!

Send a blank e-mail to to automatically receive your free Angel Animals Story of the Week Newsletter. Visit to read past editions of the Angel Animals newsletter.


In Chuck Shepherd’s “News of the Weird” there was a column about a man in Wales who went to jail and trial because the police had placed hidden microphones in his home. The man had been talking out loud to his cats and supposedly made confessions to them about committing the crime. A later follow-up story reported that the man had not been convicted. The jury believed that his confessions were merely his laments over the fact that the crime had occurred, not admissions of guilt.

The story got us thinking about talking out loud to animals in your home. We do converse as if we think they understand our words. It’s our understanding that animals, especially dogs, do have quite a large vocabulary of human words that they understand.

That’s not why we talk to our pets, though. We do it because it feels natural to speak to family members who share our home. To outsiders it might seem bizarre, but it fits for us.

What about you? Do you talk with your pets? Do they answer?
Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network – Where Pets Are Family!

Send a blank e-mail to to automatically receive your free Angel Animals Story of the Week Newsletter. Visit to read past editions of the Angel Animals newsletter.

DOGS AND THE WOMEN WHO LOVE THEM — Join Us for Live Streaming of Radio Show

We did our FIRST interview for the new book that is coming out in mid-October, DOGS AND THE WOMEN WHO LOVE THEM. It was special, not only by being first, but also because we were on air with three of the amazing women who contributed stories to the book.

We invite you to listen to Sage Lewis, Jenny Pavlovic, Barb Techel and us on “The Pet Playground” hosted and produced by Sage Lewis on AM950-KTNF.

The interview will be aired on Sunday, September 5th at 6:00pm, Central Time. You can listen to the broadcast on AM950-KTNF on your radio if you live in the greater Twin Cities, Minnesota metro area or by live streaming anywhere at You can also download the show anytime after broadcast at

Pre-order our new book on,, and, and It is endorsed by Betty White, Wendie Malick, Vanessa Williams, American Humane Association, Sonya Fitzpatrick, Linda Tellington-Jones, June Cotner, and Patrick McDonnell (creator of MUTTS).
Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network — Where Pets Are Family


In her book, The Bonesetter’s Daughter, author Amy Tan writes, “I was like a turtle lying on its back, struggling to know why the world was upside down.”

How likely is it that much of the world is like that turtle, trying to view the complex animal-human relationship from a perspective that only yields false results?

In an enlightened world the veil would be lifted, and golden threads that connect all life would become visible.

In an enlightened world you would communicate easily with species that have lived on this earth longer than people, can move about it more freely, and view life in an entirely unique way. Animals would become a valued resource for decision-making, health, and happiness.

In an enlightened world there would be no doubt that the souls of animals survive death and move on into an afterlife. You would be comforted in the knowledge that you’ll be reunited with those who have placed their indelible paw prints upon your heart.

Even though you personally may be enlightened about your spiritual connection with animals, unfortunately we’re not living in an enlightened world — yet.

In our opinion future generations will look back on our modern-day era and ask, “Can you believe back then people actually didn’t know that animals are souls?”

Our cultures will seem as primitive as previous periods in history when one class, society, clan, or tribe looked down on, treated cruelly, or subjugated another and justified their actions with the viewpoint that the enslaved had no feelings, no ability to care for themselves or to make choices, no awareness, no souls. Today’s humans will appear to be arrogant people who confused the power to dominate with being superior to those who fell under their rule.

As always, a story says it best. What could life be like in an enlightened world? Please always share your stories, whenever and where you can, so that the day may come when we all live in an enlightened world.
Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network — Where Pets Are Family