Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Alternatives, Abstractions, and Being Thankful

Alternatives is a recurring post in which I give synonyms for an over used word. Click on the tab above for a "complete" list of over used words.

Today's word is: - Get codes for Facebook, Hi5, MySpace and more

I can't say that active/actively is one of my over used words, but I can see how that wave is active... erasing the words over and over again.

Depending on how you use it, this list may come in handy for finding another way to say the same thing.

agile, agog, airy, alert, alive, angrily animate/animated/animatedly, assiduous/assiduously, astir, at work, awake

boisterous/boisterously, bouncing, bright, brisk/briskly, brutally, bubbly, buoyant, bustling, busy

cheerful, chipper, chirpy, chirrupy, committed, cruelly

dapper, dashing, devoted, diligent/diligently, dynamic/dynamically

eager/eagerly, earnestly, ebullient, effective/effectual, effervescent, efficacious, employable/employed, energetic/energetically, engaged, enterprising/enterprisingly, enthusiastic, exuberant

ferociously, fiercely, flourishing, flowing, forcibly, frantically, frisky, frolicsome, functional/functioning, furiously

gay, going,

hard-working, hasty, heavily, high-spirited, high-strung, hopping, humming

impelling, impish, in action, in force, in operation, in play, in process, indefatigably, industrious/industriously, intensely, involved

jaunty, jazzy

keen/keenly, kinetic

laborious/laboriously, like fury, live/lively/living

maddeningly/madly, meanly, mettlesome, mobile, movable/moving

nervous, nimble

occupied, on, open-eyed, operable/operating/operational/operative

painfully, peppy, performing, perky, pert, pixieish, pizzazzy, playful, powerfully, producing/productive, progressive, pushing

racy, rapid, relentlessly, restless, rigorously, roaring, rolling, roughly, rowdily, running, rustling

savagely, sedulous, seriously, serving, severely, sharply, shifting, simmering, skittish, snappy, spanking, sparkly/sparky, speeding/speedy, spiffy, spirited/spiritedly, sporty, sprightly, springingly, spry, steaming, stormily, strongly, swarming

thriving, tied-up, tireless/tirelessly, traveling, tumultuously, turbulently, turning
up, upbeat, uproariously, urgently, usable/useful

viable, viciously, vigorous/vigorously, vital, vivacious/vivaciously

walking, wide-awake, wildly, workable/working


zealous, zippy

Seeing as how both the GOING and MOBILE are in this list I just HAD to include this song. 


An abstraction is a concept that acts as a super-categorical noun for all subordinate concepts, and connects any related concepts as a group, field, or category. (Clear?) An abstraction is a word like love, hate, joy, beauty, cunning, disgust. In this game we turn them into a kind of poetry or a piece of flash fiction.

The rules are simple. You can change them around.
 1: Abstraction plus verb plus place
 2: Describe what the abstraction is wearing
 3: Summarize the action


Loneliness, conceived in our brains,
hides behind the mask of longing
and refuses to show its true emptiness.

Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful for beaches. 
It's summer! Come join me for a seabath!

Caneel Bay, St. John

Hawksnest, St. John

 Big Maho, St. John

Reef Bay, St. John

And Trunk Bay, St. John, one of the ten most beautiful and most photographed beaches in the world.
It used to belong to my family, it's where I learned to swim. Now it belongs to everyone.
What are you thankful for? Care to try your hand at an Abstraction and leave it in the comments? Got a favorite alternative for active/actively? Is it even a word you over use?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Cover Reveal for HOT PINK IN THE CITY by Medeia Sharif

Cover Reveal

Author: Medeia Sharif
Release date: August 19, 2015

Asma Bashir wants two things: a summer fling and her favorite '80s songs. During a trip to New York City to stay with relatives, she messes up in her pursuit of both. She loses track of the hunk she met on her airplane ride, and she does the most terrible thing she could possibly do to her strict uncle…ruin his most prized possession, a rare cassette tape. A wild goose chase around Manhattan and Brooklyn to find a replacement tape yields many adventures—blackmail, theft, a chance to be a TV star, and so much more. Amid all this turmoil, Asma just might be able to find her crush in the busiest, most exciting city in the world.

Find Medeia – YA and MG Author

Blog   |   Twitter   |   Goodreads   |   Instagram   |   Amazon

Monday, July 20, 2015

Monday Muse, Guest Post, and Being Thankful
This week's Monday Muse is given over to a guest post from my friend A., who is dying. If your wondering if your prayers and healing good thoughts helped, they did. Last week she was in acute renal failure, but through something that can only be called a miracle, and with the help of a simple blood transfusion, her kidneys began working again! 

Last Christmas she wrote about giving which is posted HERE.

What follows is part an email I got from her on Saturday. 


A fellow patient (T.) passed away in his room. Of course, the Senior staff members and Medical Staff have seen this many times and dealt with it in a professional and dignified manner. L. (another patient) and I noticed that younger staff members (the 20 something year old kiddos) were quite upset about it, having never experienced something like this. We decided to do something for our fellow brothers and sisters. Comfort them. Lift them up. 

L. and I  explained to them that while we have a "terminal" prognosis, it really means nothing. Everything that has ever been born, will, at some point die. Physical shape and form do not define any of us. It's what we do with those precious days we are afforded that truly matters. Death is as much a part of life as birth. And, if you give it all you've got, even death can not take away Joy! 

While we are allowed this time on Earth, we each make a difference. We stumble and say and do dumb and insensitive things at times, it's ok. Fall down 7 times, get up 8. Life is a delicate balance of holding on and letting go of all things: Relationships, tangible belongings, habits good or bad, abilities we lose due to health issues, and death itself. People are what REALLY matter. The compassion and kinship that we display allows us to each BE THE CHANGE WE WANT TO SEE. Treasure WHO, not WHAT we have. And, most especially, gratitude. Being given a new day is a reason for each of us to rejoice. 

His Holiness, The Dalai Lama wrote that, "The next life or tomorrow... we are never certain which will come first." 

At the end of the evening, the youngsters were both smiling and seemed at ease, more calm. L. and I treated ourselves to a refreshing glass of melon water and decided we'd go at it again tomorrow, if the good Lord sees fit. 

We are now competing, to see which of us can hand out more kudos, compliments, smiles, **twinkles** and comfort to others. Funnest competition I've ever been in. Win or lose, we both win. As do all those we hope to touch along the way. 

L.  is carrying my stuffed Minion around now, so he's got instant smiles. Gotta turn up my own "hustle" to keep up with him. Awesome! 

Namaste and Blessings. 

And above all, may there be Peace on Earth, and Let It Begin With ME.

PS: When I was resting earlier, I wanted to read some good stuff, so I went to your blog. I cried beautiful tears of gratitude and humility when I saw your prayer request for me and all the beautiful responses from your friends.

Being Thankful

Today I'm thankful for my friend A. and for every day that she continues to be in this world. I'm thankful for all she is teaching me and the gift she is passing on, not just to me, but to all of you.

Please continue sending your prayers and healing thoughts. They are heard, received, and greatly appreciated. :)

Monday, July 13, 2015

52 LIKES, Titles to Write By, The Monday Muse and Being Thankful

Medeia Sharif's 52 LIKES is 99 cents on Amazon for a limited time. This edgy, paranormal YA title has been receiving rave reviews. Important issues such as rape, bullying, and social media abuse are tackled in this novel. You can connect with Medeia through her blog, Twitter account, Goodreads page, and Instagram to learn more about this book and her other titles.

52 LIKES, Evernight Teen, 2015: After a brutal rape and near-murder, Valerie wants to get past feelings of victimhood from both the assault and her history of being bullied. She’s plagued by not knowing the identity of her rapist and by the nasty rumors in school about that night. Valerie follows clues from ghostly entities, past victims of the rapist-murderer, contacting her through a social media site—why do all of their eerie photos have 52 likes under them? Their messages are leading her to the mystery man, although he’ll put up a fight to remain hidden.


Titles to Write By: In which we play with a single word and turn it into, what else, titles! Afterwards the object is to pick one of them and write a little something.

It was Ray Bradbury, in his book ZEN IN THE ART OF WRITING, who taught me about making lists of words and turning them into titles. If you haven't read it I highly recommend it.

For no particular reason today's word is: 

Stone Mountain
The Stony Road
House Made of Stone
How to Identify a Stone
Stoned Silence
How to Act Stoned So You Won't Be Bullied by Stoners
Eyes of Stone
Stone Cairn

This exercise leads write (right) into The Monday Muse


I gather stones
to build a cairn.
Certain ones call,
"Pick me! Pick me!"
Out of a nondescript pile
something is formed:
a guidepost to show the way,
a balancing act,
a fairy house under the elms,
each is as ephemeral
as life.

Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful for cairns and their ever changing variety. They remind me that nothing lasts forever and that it is useless/needless to stay attached to anything. For it is in the letting go that we truly live.

Cairn for my mother

Cairn for Gene

Buddhist Cairn

Coral cairns

 Woodland Elf Home

Ocean side cairn

Cairn with arch

None of these cairns still exists. Like life, they have a beginning, middle and end. Sometimes the stones are rearranged to form something new, sometimes the stones are never used again.

Please pray for  dear friend of mine, a young woman who is dying. Today she is having experimental/exploratory surgery. It will not save her life, but may prolong it. It may also shorten what time she has left. She is brave and ready for whatever is to come. My prayer for her is that she not suffer. No matter what, she has been and is, for me, a kind of cairn. She is a guidepost marking the way, she is balancing between life and death, she is, like each of us, as ephemeral as a sand castle, a baby's laugh, a mockingbird's song, the wind in our hair.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Alternatives, Six Impossible Things, and Being Thankful

Alternatives is a recurring post in which I give synonyms for an over used word. Click on the tab above for a "complete" list of over used words.

Today's word is: - Get codes for Facebook, Hi5, MySpace and more

"A few" is very similar to "a couple," both of which I bet all of us have used a few more times than necessary. Some of these synonyms didn't (and don't) make a whole lot of sense to me, like "manifold" and "marked." In fact, after I had snared these words in my net, I deleted a few from the list. It's probably of no consequence, a piddling matter to be sure. 

Depending on how you use it, this list may come in handy for finding another way to say the same thing.

a couple, a lot, abounding, abundant, any, atom


considerable, copious, countless, crumb

few and far between, fragment


handful, hardly any, heaps

imperceptible, inconsequential, inconsiderable indefinite, infinite, infrequent, innumerable, innumerous, insufficient, iota


lean, legion, less

manifold, many, marked, meager, middling, minor, minority, minute, modicum, molecule, multifarious, myriad

negligible, not many, not too many, numberless, numerous

occasional, one

paltry, particle, particular, petty, piddling, plural, populous, precise, profuse, proportionate

quite a few

rare, regular

scant/scanty, scarce, scarcely any, scattered/scatter/scattering, scrap, seldom, semi-occasional, separate, several, short, shred, single/singular, skimpy, slender, slight, slim, small number, smatter/smattering, some, sparse, special, specific, specified, sporadic, sprinkle/sprinkling, stingy, straggling, sundry

teeming, thin, tittle, trifling

uncommon, uncountable, uncounted, unfrequent, unnumbered, untold

various, voluminous

whit, widely spaced
It was the White Queen, from Through the Looking Glass, who said to Alice: "When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." 

When life gets you down think of, or believe, six impossible things before breakfast. Take a deep breath and close your eyes. If you are aren't smiling by the sixth thing, think of six more. Keep thinking of impossible things until you smile, or until you understand that life itself is impossible. Yet here we are.

Here, for your entertainment, are Six Impossible Things. You can believe them or not as you wish.

1. Flying monkeys on Mars (Maybe the first travelers to Mars will take The Wizard of Oz with them.)
2. Time travel (There are scientific hints that it might be possible.)
3. Having tea with Gandhi (Which is why I could have tea with Gandhi.)
4. Snakes with legs (When they are able to recreate dinosaurs from DNA, they will be able to make snakes with legs.)
5. Turning green and disappearing into the foliage (I could dye myself....)
6. Being a bolt of lightening (Well I suppose I could get struck by lightening which would probably be the same as becoming a bolt of lightening.)

See? Believing in six impossible things isn't so impossible after all!

Being Thankful

Today I'm thankful for dogs I've had in my life.


Bozo (brown) Anna (white)

 Atta Fohat 
(Atta for "Attagirl" and Fohat meaning spiritual energy in Hindi)

 And there are other dogs, like Tricksy, Lassie, Cheese, and Whitey, each of them with a unique personality who hold special places in my memories.

What are you thankful for? Have a favorite pet? Care to share an impossible thing? Got a preferred alternative for A FEW? 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Posting first Wednesday of every month YOU too can sign up HERE to find out more about the purpose of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh.

In an effort to keep these posts short and sweet, I'll be sharing an appropriate quote. 

Today's quote is from , Under the Wide and Starry Sky, by Nancy Horan, an historical novel about the extraordinary lives Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife, Fanny.

Stevenson Family with Kalakaua (PP-96-14-010)

 l to r: In Hawaii, Lloyd (Fanny's son) Fanny, RLS, King Kalakaua, and Stevenson's mother, Margaret. Around 1889.

I've always had a deep fondness for RLS. I knew a little about his life, but this novel opened my eyes to many things. Nancy Horan obviously did a great deal of research.

 Did you know he wrote Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde while near death's door? In fact, he wrote the first draft in three days. Then he decided he didn't like it, burned it, and wrote a second draft in the following three days. All this by hand, in pen and ink.

Despite battling chronic lung problems and other health issues his entire life, that often kept him bed-ridden for weeks, even months at a time, Stevenson had an incredibly optimistic and positive outlook on life.

The author, Ms. Horan, has Stevenson say this about writers who believe they need to write literary realism. "Obviously, I'm not afraid to write about cruelty or violence." (He's talking here about Dr. J and Mr. H.) "But for a writer to feed the reader great dank heaps of ugliness in the name of realism is dispiriting. And to foist such stuff on young minds? It's evil. Writers should find out where joy resides and give it a voice. Every bright word or picture is a piece of pleasure set afloat. The reader catches it, and he goes on his way rejoicing. It's the business of art to send him that way as often as possible. I have to believe that every heart that has beat strongly and cheerfully has left a hopeful impulse behind it in the world. If I cannot believe that, then why should I go on? Why should anyone go on?"

I love, love, LOVE this.

Are you familiar with the novel? Have you read any books by Stevenson? Got a favorite?

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Creative Blogger Award, Alternatives, and Being Thankful

On Friday, June 19th, I was taken by surprise when Spacerguy over at Star Trek - Sci Fi Blog
chose me, out of all the bloggers out there, for the Creative Blogger Award. What a nice warm fuzzy feeling. Thank you, Spacerguy!

The rules for this award are simple enough.

1. Thank and post the link to the person who nominated you.
2. Share 5 facts about yourself to your readers.
3. Nominate 5-10-20 blogs and notify them.
4. Pass on the rules.

Star Trek - Sci Fi Blog.
If you want to know ANYthing about Star Trek, Spacerguy's blog is THE place to hang out. Do hop over there and say hello.

Five facts about me.

1.) My hair reaches past my waist. I get three or four inches trimmed off it every six months or so. I dyed it strawberry blond, briefly when I was in my 20s. (Does that count as three facts? Can you guess what I'm doing?)

2.) This September I will have been married for 30 years, which is almost half my life! Where did the time go?

3.) I used to draw some pretty interesting abstract stuff, all in pencil. The one at right is inspired by a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke which reads:

I live my life in growing orbits
which move out over the things of the world.
Perhaps I can never achieve the last,
but that will be my attempt.

I am circling around God, around the ancient tower,
and I have been circling for a thousand years,
and I still don't know if I am a falcon, or a storm,
or a great song.

4.) I lived for a brief crazy time in Hollywood, California and used to walk up into Griffith Park on the week-ends in an effort to keep my sanity.

5.) Yesterday was my birthday.

My nominees are:
Farawayeyes at Far Away Series: Because she the's one who started The Battle of the Bands
Gary at Klahanie: Because I just know he and Penny will have something witty to say
Liza at Middle Passages: Because her posts are all so beautiful
Anne at Piedmont Writer: Because she needs to come out of the woodwork a bit more
Robyn Campbell: Because she's such a good friend
Rena Jones: Because she takes such great photos
Alternatives are synonyms for an over used word. Click on the tab above for a "complete" list of over used words.

Today's word is:

A couple of weeks ago... no seriously, upwards of two weeks ago, well, maybe it was a couplet of weeks ago... I came across an article posted on the Insecure Writer's Support Group Page. I wish now I'd taken notes about who wrote it with links and everything, but I didn't. Anyway, it was written by someone who does a lot of editing and she shared her list of over used words. I was pleased that find many of her words were already on my list. I was even more pleased to be able to add quite a few. More than a duet, perhaps even more than a smattering. This is the first of the latest additions.

Depending on how you use it, this list may come in handy for finding another way to say the same thing

a few, atom


couplet, crumb

defined, deuce, divers, doublet, duet, duo, dyad




handful, husband and wife

individual, iota, item


many, marked, match, minority, modicum, molecule

newlyweds, numerous


pair, particle, particular, precise


scatter/scattering, scrap, set, several, shred, singular, smatter/smattering, some, span, special, specific, specified, sprinkle/sprinkling, sundry

team, tittle, twain, twosome

upwards of




Being Thankful

Today I am thankful for whales.


Blue Whale

Sperm Whale
Any kind of whale.

My favorite Star Trek movie is The Voyage Home.

What are you thankful for today? Got a favorite Star Trek movie? Care to share something about yourself in the comments that I don't know about? Does one alternative appeal to you more than another?