Sunday, September 25, 2011

My Favorite Things For Dogs

I like to say I have three dogs, two real and one virtual. Pug is my virtual dog. Buddy and Lilly are my real dogs. They're poodles. Buddy is a mini and Lilly is a toy. These are a few of my favorite dog things.

We call this Buddy's "Happy Shirt" because it really does make him happy. What is it? Well, it's a combination of swaddling cloth and straight jacket. Buddy is terrified of thunder so this shirt works wonders. He settles down right away. It wraps around the dog's torso and closes with lots of velcro. The snug fit is comforting and the jersey knit is easy to clean. 
The small size of these balls are great for small dogs. They tough, bounce really well, and wash up easily. Both Buddy and Lilly love them.

Some people use those plastic bags you get at the grocery market but I prefer these. Less plastic and they're easy to use. Some bags are difficult to get open but not these. A white strip guides you to the opening and a quick rub between thumb and index finger opens the bag up quickly.

Pug is just as much fun as Buddy and Lilly but requires far less looking after. No poop! 

Enjoy your dog. Play with your dog every day. If you don't have a dog, volunteer at a shelter. My dogs are rescue dogs. If you live in South Florida visit my shelter of choice, Animal Aid in Boca Raton. If you can't get here please consider making a donation to them. Click on the link then look for the yellow Donate button on their website.
Animal Aid, Inc

Books about finding our peace at the beach.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Find Peace Wherever You Are

Cairn at Biddeford Pool, Maine.

Generally I like little latitude beaches with white sand and warm, really warm, water. So I wasn't sure how much I'd miss my southern beach when I traveled up to Maine this past summer.

My beach is a five minute bicycle ride from my house. The beach in Maine was 14 miles and 25 minutes away by car. That's really nothing considering I used to live 100 miles and a two hour drive away from the ocean. But for a person who uses the sea as a tool for meditation, self reflection, and just a moral boost in general, it seemed like, well, it seemed like an ocean away. So it came as a surprise to me when I sat by the sea at Maine's Biddeford Pool that I found the same kind of peace I was used to walking by the water's edge in South Florida.

Looking back I've come to realize that my inner being, my soul if you will, scanned the scenery for beauty regardless of temperature or water color. Beauty is beauty. And the soul craves beauty. I think it was John O'Donohue who said that (or some version of that) and he was right. There is beauty in everything.

This morning I counseled a young woman, fraught with anxiety, to stop every 30 minutes to examine her surroundings. I told her,

"Look for the small miracles surrounding you - the ones that are often overlooked because we just don't make the time to see them." 

Then I sent her a photo of a plant stripped of all its leaves because the caterpillars had eaten them all. What others might see as an ugly plant was, to me, beautiful especially since the plant was already at work making new leaves.

Some may see slimy algae and weird seaweed.
I see  six different shades of green and a multitude of textures.
Tidal pool in the rocks at Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Today I invite you to find beauty in everything you look at. It's there. You just have to look for it and when you do, you'll find a moment of peace. From this moment will arise another moment of peace and then another, and another until you find yourself being more at peace than in conflict. And that's a wonderful way to live.


Books about finding our peace at the beach. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

QR Code For Beach Lovers

You've seen these things around on packages, in print ads, and on the web. But what are they? They're a type of bar code that will, when scanned with your smartphone, redirect you. In this case, you'll be redirected to my Amazon Author Page.

Books about the beach.

Scanners are easy to use and free in most cases. I use i-nigma because it was highly recommended by someone. Try it. And while you're at my Amazon page check out my new book, More Adventures From The Beach.

Make it a beach day whatever that looks like for you!


Friday, June 24, 2011

The Great Debate - Is Pug A Children's Book?

Pug At The Beach. A small dog teaches us all how to live an abundant and authentic life.

A common perception of Pug At The Beach is that it's a children's book. It is not. Well, sort of. It's a book written for an adult audience but one that kids happen to enjoy as well. Everybody loves Pug and he is indeed a book for all ages, but children will need guidance in grasping the deeper concepts of the Pug philosophy as well as some of the language. And I've found that kids are eager to step into that role.

Yes, I have young readers as part of my audience, some as young as 6 years old, but they are reading Pug with their parents. In that respect Pug is a wonderful tool - opening up communication and discussion between parent and child on values and life philosophies. Once guided, kids can then look to Pug as a role model of sorts, and in difficult situations can ask themselves, What would Pug do? Adults do this too, combining their existing beliefs with Pug's creating a deeper dimension which serves to heal heart and mind.

I always say that Pug At The Beach is a book written for "big kids, like us"  (that is, adults) but kids like him too because they know a good thing when they see one. 

Benjamin Gline, was 13 years old when he read Pug. His mom, of a friend of mine, sent along this from Ben himself:

"I liked the life lessons Pug gave, because most of them were about embracing the simple things in life and how to have a good time."

The fact that Pug's reach extends beyond my targeted, adult audience is a testament to his power as a modern day icon for self-discovery through play.

Take a look at these pages from the Pug website and then decide for yourself - is Pug a children's book? (a free preview of the 2nd Pug book)

And lastly, just for fun, my other blog which chronicles life lessons learned while walking the beach everyday:


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Why Andre Kazanas Should Have Waited Before He Shot Himself

Havana, Cuba
"It was down a cobble stoned, palm lined street in Old Havana that Andre Kazanas last walked before his untimely and self inflicted death at the age of thirty-two.

He was a painter from childhood, at first making crude stick figures which seemed somehow more refined than those of the other children his age and then later, as he grew into adolescence and even later still, inevitably, manhood, he painted daily. Over the years he experimented not just with the various mediums or their applications, but with subject matter as well. The brushes were love in his hands, they felt like the comfort of warm milk and the erotic hold they had on his heart gave him no choice but to concede to the passion that, in all, consumed very nearly his entire life.

Under advisement from the inner voices that had haunted him for longer than he could, or would have cared to remember, Andre Kazanas had tended to his lingering unpaid bills with money squirreled away from the occasional painting sold on a nearby street corner to tourists from England or Morocco, or from a belt worn tighter and even on occasion from a bit of much denied thievery; the details of which would debase an otherwise worthy sense of pride and integrity should the particulars be made public. The entire matter, done over the span of three weeks, just twenty one short days, was handled with the ease and relief of an early afternoon summer swim in the warm emerald green waters of the Cuban Gulf Stream. And after the echoing sound of gunfire had subsided, no one was more shocked at his death than Andre Kazanas himself.

He had chased the dream woman for ten years before the unbearable pain completely and utterly consumed him. Left at the mercy of his muse, he was not to understand the meaning of his pain, his passion and indeed the meaning of his life until just after pulling the trigger of the small caliber pistol he had aimed with precision to his temple. It was there in the millisecond between the hammer slamming down and the hot metal piercing his flesh that it all became perfectly clear. An entire life and further reaching still, the entire universe and its meaning had come into focus with crystal clarity. But, by then it was too late.

The muse that had haunted him, indeed tortured him right over the brink, was the very identity of his existence. He never once considered the option of lying still long enough to absorb the ache that permeated his soul to process it into his being, his persona. He misunderstood this muse of his. Misinterpreted it as a forbearer of evil; purveyor of insanity. He was not aware that he was being offered a gift; one that under different circumstances would have found him envious of it’s bearer and begging for a turn at the brass ring of this merry go-round carnival ride of life - a life he had just seconds before ended.

The muse was a gift of the highest order but not having the necessary music in his heart - a music of the spheres - he was not able to see it as a good and hallowed thing. Tortured by the cacophonous confusion of an orchestra playing loudly, wildly and without a conductor, he chose to silence the band.

It was not until his landlord unlocked the door of Andre Kazanas’ cramped studio apartment high above the din of Parisian like streets that the world “discovered” him. His muses, their grip fastened tightly, commanded him to paint the angels he saw in his mind’s eye and when he ran out of canvas and could afford no more, he painted the walls. A celestine prophecy. Man’s eternal search for an earthly representation of the heavens was answered. Beyond the Bible, beyond Michelangelo, Andre Kazanas had been given a gift from a Divine Spirit and when the gift was fully appreciated in the way of physical completion Andre Kazanas..." 

~from the short story, "The Passage of Andre Kazanas" 

What happened to Andre Kazanas and how does his story teach us about how our lives impact others? Find out buy visiting my Amazon Author Page. Click on the Navigating By The Stars book and in 30 seconds you'll find out. ~ Amazon Author Page

We travel through our lives without much thought about how our actions, both positive or negative, influence the lives of others. The Passage Of Andre Kazanas is a moving testament to this power.

I'm always amazed when people tell me about a particular story or poem or Pug Adventure I'd written years ago changed their lives. Whether it's the man who started each day reading my poem "Morgan Dreams" to keep him motivated to chase his own tropical dream, or the paralyzed woman who read my essay on Salsa dancing before her daily physical therapy sessions because she was determined (and succeeded) to walk again after brain surgery, each story we share changes the lives of people near and far.

So, when you're getting a little melancholy about your life and how it doesn't seem to add up or seem to make any difference, remember that it really does. And if Andre Kazanas had waited a little longer before ending his life he may have realized that. ~ Navigating By The Stars
The Passage of Andre Kazanas ~ A Cuban painter, tortured by his muse, realizes too late the healing powers his paintings have teaching us that what we do has an impact on others, more than we may realize.

Navigating By The Stars, Five Very Short Stories From The Islands. While very short, shorter than traditional short stories, the five distinct and thought provoking stories in this collection will intrigue the reader to ask of themselves,
“What would I do?”

Photo credit:

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pug's Psychology Of The Second Interest, Or Why You Won't Get $1,200 Of Free Stuff When You Buy One Of My Books

Books by Jackson Dunes. 

A while back I wanted to buy a particular book online but it came with $1,200 of "free" downloads. Included in the sales pitch was a long list of secondary products along with a description of those products. But something just didn't feel right about this deal. It felt contrived. Later I found out about the philosophy behind the deal.

It's called the "psychology of the second interest" and it's a way to get you to buy something by offering you a bunch of free stuff. To increase sales, companies add incentives, the free stuff, to lure you in. People believe they're getting so much more for their dollar and are lured into buying a product.

My feeling is that none of us needs $1,200 of free downloads and quite frankly I personally don't want nor do I need $1,200 in freebie downloads clogging up my hard drive. To me that just diminishes the value of the original product. It's like saying, "my $20 widget has so little value, I'm going to trick you into thinking it does by giving you all this other stuff too."

So here's the thing. When you buy a Pug At The Beach book you won't get any free products, no free downloads that you may never open. That's a "gimme" mentality. I believe in keeping it simple, one book at a time. What you WILL get is peace of mind. Well, you'll have to actually work on that part yourself, but you'll get a fun, thought provoking tool (the book) to guide you into reclaiming your own power. Because even if you don't THINK you gave up your inherent power, if you're unsettled in any way, you did indeed give it up.

Now, there's nothing wrong with losing our power as long as we get it back and become aware of the process involved in losing and regaining it. It's all about becoming aware. It's through this awareness that we can truly learn how to make our lives more enriched and begin to chase our dreams.

Here's another thing. There are lots of good books out there to help us learn awareness and how to invite it into our lives and I suggest you look at them all and even buy them all. But when you do make sure you include Pug At The Beach book in there as well. Because while you make not get $1,200 in free stuff, the money you spend will be worth so much more than $1,200.

Take a look at what readers have said about Pug At The Beach:

Jackson Dunes
Top Dog
Pug At The Beach
Delray Beach, Florida
Making my dreams come true one book at a time.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

How Pug Was Created ~ The Introduction From The Book "More Adventures From The Beach"

This is the introduction from the second book in the Pug At The Beach book series,
More Adventures From The Beach.
Availability and purchasing info follows the introduction.


Long ago in a faraway land,
on a remote island at the end of a string of islands,
surrounded by warm, clear, turquoise green waters,
where pirates and carpenters with PhD’s live,
(each having reputedly escaped from a former life),
in a quaint little house on Petronia Street,
a small dog was born.

Through the imagination of a princess,
and a few quick strokes of a pen,
along with a pronouncement of his name,
~ “I think I’ll call him PUG!”~
a new life was created and a sage was born.

With the snout of a shark and a dorsal fin for an ear,
his collections of really nice surfing shorts was a natural accompaniment
to his striking and individualist manner.
And his Lama-like wisdom jived nicely with his Buffett style flair for play.

In the beginning he would lead her
into unknown worlds
where the paths to enlightenment
were rife with bramble bushes and one eyed giants.
Later, once she found her sea legs, it was she who led him
through the ABC’s of business books and spiritual leaders,
straight into the hands of you, dear reader.

In this book,
the second in the series of Pug books,
you will find magical worlds of
high flying hopes and dreams come true.
You will come to understand that
silk purses can be made from sow’s ears
and that the reality of windows and doors both open and close,
and close and open, usually when you least expect it
and certainly when you feel not at all prepared.
You will be encouraged to follow your dreams,
asked to consider the notion that you are good at more than just one thing,
and that perhaps your true calling lies just around the corner
just out of range of normal sight.

On a sandy white beach path lined with sea grapes,
where the scent of frangipani fills the air,
shaded from a little latitude sun,
sitting under a palm tree reading a book,
you’ll find your own escape.

At first, read Pug’s recipe for peace of mind and dreams come true.
Then, honor your individual needs by creating your own recipe
because that’s what Pug At The Beach is really about;
giving you hope and inspiration through the playful adventures
of a small island dog philosopher named Pug.

And always remember to…
Make it a beach day whatever that looks like for you.

Jackson Dunes
Delray Beach, Florida

More Adventures From The Beach is available at:
Barnes & Noble:
Four Adventures from the new book:

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Pug As The New Cure For Depression?

"The fact is your work has inspired me in my darkest of times, and that is such a GIFT to give to anyone! Gary and I are both still struggling to find jobs in this depressed economy, but you have given me such a boost with your "Pug At The Beach" book, that I do not find myself in a daily black hole, as I had been. Frankly, your book is WAY better than the antidepressants I have been on!!! Love and Blessings to you ever and always! ♥"
~ Candace McCabe

It brings me great joy to know that Pug is a healing tool for so many people.

Right from the beginning, with the very first drawings that were published, not in a book but in a little newspaper in North Carolina, people have told me how this small, wise dog has changed their lives. And from that early time I intended to create Pug books that address the issues we all face. This is the second book in the series. (Books 3 and 4 will be available by mid-summer.)

If you've got a loved one who could use a pick me up, consider Pug as a remedy because as Candace also said:

"It made me laugh, it made me cry, and it made me happy, all in one reading. PUG IS MY HERO!"


Friday, April 29, 2011

Live Each Day As If It Were Your Last

From the second in the series of Pug At The Beach books:
"More Adventures From The Beach"
available now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Many years ago I was MIS-diagnosed with a terminal liver cancer and given 6 months to live. It was a mistake. An error in the lab. And it was a very important lesson for me that included, among other things, to live each day to the fullest.

The truth is we may not be given advanced notice of our passing and as such, it's in our best interest to live in the present moment because the truth of it is, is that today, this moment now, was our yesterday's tomorrow.

On this day, live in the here and now. Focus on your joy in this moment. If you find that difficult or impossible, close your eyes and envision the things that once made you happy; that brought you joy. I've found that starting each day with joyful moments is the most important thing I can do to set the tone of the each day. And it really does influence what I contribute to the world around me.

For more info on how my health issue influenced my life visit this page on my Pug At The Beach website.


Monday, April 25, 2011

More Adventures From The Beach, The New Pug Book Is Here

The next in the series of Pug At The Beach books is now available on Amazon & Barnes & Noble.

Available now.

In this second in the Pug At The Beach book series, the island dog takes us on more adventures with a background of white beaches and turquoise blue water. He reveals to us the life lessons he learned while walking the beach everyday including: the importance of playing a little bit everyday, why we shouldn’t try to fit into the image other people have of us, honoring ourselves and our individuality through self reflection, how finding our voice through persistence leads us to our authentic selves, and that anything is possible. As Pug says, “Soar higher, farther, and freer than ever before” with this short, full color book of  tropical drawings combined with short verses of text. This innovative and thought provoking book is a whimsical yet philosophical look at life. Whether a kid or a kid at heart, readers of all ages have benefitted from Pug's simple wisdom and playful attitude.

Pug At The Beach. It's not about a breed. It's about a lifestyle. What do you get when you combine the mindful approach of the Dalai Lama, the playful attitude of Jimmy Buffett, and the turquoise blue waters of a tropical island? Why Pug At The Beach, of course! 
His name is Pug and he's a common dog with uncommon wisdom. He’s got a dorsal fin for an ear and a really nice collection of surfing shorts. His calm and wise insights combined with his playful attitude make for some very interesting adventures from his home at the beach.  

Nathalie Brault, Book Eternity
"I'm 45 years old and have been depressed most of my life. I've lost the ability to have fun and I read in your Pug At The Beach book that it's through having fun that we get to know ourselves and others. So, I got to thinking that I should try harder to get out of my bubble and have a little fun and I started to do that, and it does me good. Your book was a Godsend. It made me smile. Pug is sort of a new friend in my life. Thank you."

GeeGee Russell, Ocracoke Observer
"Pug isn't a breed of dog so much as a philosophy of life...he's also a little Zen and a beach aficionado. This is a cozy, quirky little book that has great thoughts on life and definite salt-air flair."
Ann Ronan, Authentic Life Institute
"These Pug At The Beach books are for anyone who needs a ‘pick me up’ or a reminder that they are alright just the way they are. Pug’s wisdom and philosophy are right in alignment with the cutting edge ideas of spirituality and science today. Pug is not a character you’ll ever forget."

More Adventures is available as an e-book.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Pug's Magic Bicycle

Bicycles in and of themselves are magical. Personalize them and they become that much more special. Pug, being about as individual as an island dog can get, rides a unicycle. In this Pug At The Beach adventure, he's tweaked his bike to make it a fantastic adventure machine. This adventure is from the new book: Pug At The Beach, More Adventures From The Beach.

Pug’s Bike
In a time almost forgotten, playing cards fastened to the spokes of a bicycle turned it into an engine driven magic carpet, its motor an aberration on tradition for sure, but by simple virtue of a puppy’s fertile imagination, a casual riding experience could be transformed into a fantastic adventure. To be transported, Pug had only to close his eyes for a solitary moment and dream of far away lands complete with damsels, and knights sailing majestic vessels on shimmering waters below star lit skies. In this ordinary way of daydreaming playfulness, Pug was able to explore the secret worlds of his heart, soul and mind, and from these journeys he found the answers to many of his seemingly ubiquitous questions.
Pug says: Find your joy and you’ll find your road to peace.
From the new book Pug At The Beach, More Adventures From The Beach available at:

© 2011 Jackson Dunes ♡ 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Group of plein air artists paints scenes at Delray Beach park

Group of plein air artists paints scenes at Delray Beach park    And Pug is one of them!

For people who think that inspiration follows rules, this one is for you.

I "paint" with a group of plein air artists on a monthly basis. The only thing is that I don't paint. At the meetings, which are held outdoors, I choose to either sketch Pug or something Pug related or I photograph interesting sites around town.

Step outside of your comfort zone today by stepping into something that's just outside of your norm.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Importance Of Play

I have a friend who is really, really busy at work right now. It's starting to catch up with her. I reminded her of what her pal, Pug, said about the importance of play. Take 15 minutes today to do something fun just for yourself. Here's a photo I posted on Facebook of the fun I engaged in one morning with a popular kid's toy.

For more of Pug's Adventures, visit my Amazon Author Page here:

Friday, April 08, 2011

Chase Your Dreams

At the end of a very long road, bumpy and laden with hazards too many to list and capable of disabling the most seafaring of vessels, I took a chance and hitched a ride traveling another route to a different destination. One sweet deal later, I headed south. 

I had, starting very early in life, for my entire life, lived deeply in a life that wasn’t really mine, immersed in an image of who I was, an image cultivated by others, by people who hadn’t a clue on how to direct their own lives much less mine. They said with alarming authority, “Diana you are this. Diana, you cannot do that. And good Lord child, you most certainly must not believe that.” Without effective tools, breaking free from that stranglehold was almost impossible. Almost.

I struggled with my lines, tangled as they were. I sailed in seeming circles until navigating by the stars came with relative ease. I questioned the necessity of brightwork. But in the end it all made sense.

Travel south on Ocean Boulevard (A1A) to this spot in Delray Beach.

And when it did, I took my life and ran. And while I’d like to say I didn’t look back, the truth of the matter is that I did – for a while, in the beginning. I don’t understand how, we as human beings, cannot look back even briefly.

Two years into my journey, I began to see a vision for my life that prompted me to look forward. Only forward. And all those old hurts and unfair judgments, they just slowly faded away, became invisible. Invisible. And I began to really chase my dreams as I'd never done before.

I'd given and given and then given some more. And while that may have been good for that time, back then, when life was different, it doesn’t flow smoothly anymore. Now my journey consists only of my adventures and how to create a life for myself that’s even better than it’s already been. And it’s a sweet life.
I live at the beach in a delightful cottage. My possessions are few, my friends are many. I’m on a spiritual journey now. I’m loving life, loving it deeply, for the first time in my life. I hang out at the beach and write my book. And I know deep within the fiber of my being that it’s only going to get better with each sunrise.

Sunrise at the beach is pure joy.

A while back, late into the night, I came upon a realization which had me questioning how much time I had left on this earth. As I contemplated whether to drive myself to the hospital or even I could even make it to the car, or the door to unlock it for an ambulance attendant, prudence got the better of me and I penned a quick note to my daughter.

In a telephone conversation earlier that day we’d been talking about our individual lives, our respective goals, and our dreams for our lives.  Feeling compelled to offer one last (or so I thought at the time) piece of advice I scribbled a few thoughts in the pad I keep on my nightstand.

I love you, you’re a good kid, I’m proud of you, were the first things that came to mine but the most important I saved for last. Profound yet simple, it consisted of three simple words:

Chase your dreams.

I invite you, too, to chase your dreams. Without them you have nothing but a dull life adrift with tangled lines. If you feel trapped with no escape at least write them down and tuck them someplace for safe keeping. You’ll be surprised at how much power lies within this one simple act. It just might be the catalyst needed to send you down a new path, on a new journey to a richer and more joyful life.


Spread the joy of Pug At The Beach. Mindfully forward this to those who might need or enjoy it.Reviews of Pug At The Beach

Rev. Dr. Ann Ronan, Authentic Life Institute reviewed the brand new, soon to be published Pug At The Beach book. Here's what she had to say:

“These Pug At The Beach books are for anyone who needs a ‘pick me up’ or a reminder that they are alright just the way they are. Pug’s wisdom and philosophy are right in alignment with the cutting edge ideas of spirituality and science today. Pug is a character you’ll never forget.”

Loretta Prescott of Kettle Boys Popcorn had this to say about Pug:

"Pug At The Beach is a long, rolling wave with a sweet curl, a lanky heron skimming the surface, an evening bonfire in the dunes, and that lazy, deep warmth you feel after absorbing the sun and salt air all day. Pug pushes us forward and leads us astray all at once, with purpose, dignity and big love."

Jennifer Thompson of Monkey C Media had this to say about Pug At The Beach:

"I have really enjoyed reading your book and meeting Pug too!!  I love the feel of your book, the paper, the stories, and the small pieces of quiet wisdom.  The thing about this book, is that it's not overbearing, it's a happy nudge about reflecting on what's good in life." 

NOTE: This piece was originally posted on Pug's News From The Beach.