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.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:  J.H. Moncrieff, Natalie Aguirre, Patsy Collins, and Chemist Ken!

This month's question is:  If you could use a wish to help you write just ONE scene/chapter of your book, which one would it be? (examples: fight scene / first kiss scene / death scene / chase scene / first chapter / middle chapter / end chapter, etc.)

I'm late to the party today. The first Wednesday snuck up on me unawares. At least, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. So... This post is a bit of a cop-out.

To answer the question, I would probably wish for help with a fight scene. I'm basically such a peaceful, non-violent person I have trouble writing arguments!
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Portrait of Washington Irving by John Wesley Jarvis in 1809

Today is Washington Irving's birthday. Who doesn't know about Rip Van Winkle or The Legend of Sleepy Hollow? Did you know he had a long and deep friendship with Sir Walter Scott, that he was born in New York City the week the British surrendered at York Town, and was named after George Washington?

To honor him and give him a little love, here are a few quotes.

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.

Jealous people poison their own banquet and then eat it.

One of the greatest and simplest tools for learning more and growing is doing more.

A kind heart is a fountain of gladness, making everything in its vicinity freshen into smiles.

Some minds seem almost to create themselves, springing up under every disadvantage and working their solitary but irresistible way through a thousand obstacles.

I have never found, in anything outside of the four walls of my study, an enjoyment equal to sitting at my writing desk with a clean page, a new theme, and a mind awake.

I am always at a loss at how much to believe of my own stories.

I can relate to this last one.
***
Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful for Spring which seems to have finally, and firmly, planted her feet in the soil and wrapped her arms around the trees causing them to celebrate by getting dressed in their beautiful new green gowns.

Here are a few pictures of the bees in our bluebonnets, their pollen sacs filled with red pollen.




What are you thankful for? Do any of Irving's quotes resonate with you? What scene or chapter would wish for help with? Is Spring showing up where you live?

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

IWSG, Titles to Write By, Being Thankful

Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:  Fundy Blue, Beverly Stowe McClure, Erika Beebe, and Lisa Buie-Collard!

This month's question is: Whose perspective do you like to write from best, the hero (protagonist) or the villain (antagonist)? And why?

I like writing from the hero's POV because I tend to be one of those hopeful, idealistic people who isn't all that comfortable writing about bad people. Besides, I don't think I'm all that good with villains and confess that my antagonists tend to be the environment/setting/weather or an internal conflict that the hero has to overcome or come to terms with within him/herself.

If you're interested, K. M. Weiland, a prolific author who produces tons of writing advice, has a nice simple explanation of the various antagonists that aren't human HERE.
***
"Titles to Write By" is an occasional blog post 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 that you do.

For no particular reason, today's word is:
Freedom


Here are a few possible titles:

Freedom on Wings
How I Learned the True Meaning of Freedom
Freedom Isn't What You Think
The Freedom Flood
The Road to Freedom is Filled With Potholes
Inner Freedom and Enlightenment
Freedom Within the Beehive

Now, think up some titles of your own and go forth and write!
***
Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful for food in my belly and dishes to wash.
So many are hungry and don't have dishes or hot running water.

What are you  thankful for? Do you like writing from the hero's or villain's POV? Do any of the titles spark an idea? Have a title suggestion of your own?

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

IWSG, Crafts and Being Thankful

Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:  Raimey Gallant,Natalie Aguirre, CV Grehan, and Michelle Wallace!

This month's question is: Besides writing what other creative outlets do you have?

Interesting question. I used to have a lot of other creative outlets, but not so much any more, and the reason is mostly because I don't have the time, space, or inclination.

I used to draw... a lot. 

 

 The World Turtle was drawn loooong before I ran across Terry Pratchett and his Disc World series.

 I still color from time to time.

I used to play the guitar and sing but my voice isn't what it used to be and arthritis makes it hard to play. I also sang for a short time in a jazz trio, for which I designed our logo that we put on t-shirts.


Then there were the crafts. Lots of different kinds of crafts. Had a shop called The Kit and Kaboodle where I sold stuff I made and things I bought from around the Caribbean. I made everything from seed and shell jewelry to macrame belts, guitar straps and purses. Even worked with ceramics and clay.

Then there was all the tatting I did. Pictures don't really do it justice.

While the crafts have come and gone, writing has remained the one thread that runs continuously through my life.
***
Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful for all things I've been able to do with my hands. I'm also thankful to my wonderful and most talented mother who had me using real scissors by the time I was about six, who taught me to read and who was the first to recognize I might be a writer at heart, even though I was (and am) a lousy speller.

What are you thankful for? Do you do any crafty things? Is there something you wish you had done or could do?

Monday, January 21, 2019

Cover Reveal of NEW THESAURUS! And some free education!

This is a special edition of my blog. I'm helping Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi promote the latest book in their thesaurus series. 



***
Have you ever held onto a secret you've been dying to share, and then finally...you can? For the last few weeks I've been helping Angela and Becca at Writers Helping Writers keep a BIG secret...what the next book in their thesaurus series will be. It might seem strange to not tell one's readers what book you're planning to release...unless you happen to write books on Show, Don't Tell like Angela and Becca do! They couldn't resist the opportunity to show, not tell, by waiting for the cover reveal. They even created a *REDACTED* cover for it, which you might have seen floating around.

We're revealing the cover at long last!

*drum roll*
The next book in the descriptive thesaurus series is The Emotion Thesaurus Second Edition! It's been 7 years since the original Emotion Thesaurus hit the shelves. Many writers have credited this unusual book with transforming their writing. This guide is packed with helpful lists of body language, thoughts, and visceral sensations for 75 different emotions, which makes it easier for writers to convey what characters feel. Since 2012, many have asked the authors if they would add more emotions, so that's what Angela & Becca have done. This new edition has added 55 more emotions, bringing the total to 130. There are other new additions to the book and in fact, it's almost doubled in size! I recommend checking out the full list of emotions (and some sample entries) HERE.
And more good news: this book is available for preorder! You can find it on AmazonKobo, and Indiebound.

One last thing: go grab some free education!

Angela & Becca are giving away a free webinar recording of one of their popular workshops on Emotion, so head over if this is an area of struggle for you. It might really help!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

IWSG - Books - Being Thankful

Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:  Patricia Lynne, Lisa Buie-Collard, Kim Lajevardi, and Fundy Blue!

This month's question is: What are your favorite and least favorite questions people ask you about your writing?

(Personally I'm glad the question isn't about goals and resolutions.)

Favorite question: Where/how did you get your idea? Those are stories in themselves and I'm always glad to share them.

Least Favorite question: Can you tell me how to publish/write/edit, etc.? My answer is always the same. I direct the person to IWSG, and to other writerly sites, and tell them that writing, to be good, is very hard work. 
***

Books Read in 2018
I read 31 of my usual 40 books in 2018 the reason being that quite a few of them were quite long and since I'm a slow reader they took longer to get through. I like going over my list and seeing what I read. Last year it included many books in the historical fiction and non-fiction genre.

Lost in Shagri-La - Michael Zuckoff - nonfic
The Royal Physician's Visit - Per Olov Enquist - historical fic
Some Very Messy Medieval Magic - C. Lee McKenzie - MG fantasy
Two Old Women - Velma Willis - Native American myth
Secrets of the Savanna - Mark and Delia Owens - nonfic
The Joy Luck Club - Amy Tan - fic
Hunger - Donna Jo Napoli - MG historical fic
The Inquisitor's Tale - Adam Gidwitsz - MG fantasy
The Wright Brothers - David McCullough - nonfic
Forty Years a Slave, Three Yeas in the White House - Elizabeth Hobbs Kechley - bio
Watership Down - Richard Adams - fic
Lilack Girls - Martha Hall Kelly - historical fic
The Green Song - Doris T. Plenn - MG
The Cow-Tail Switch and Other West African Stories - Harold Courlander - MG
News of the World - Paulette Jiles - historica fic - excellent
The Sparrow - Mary Doria Russell - scifi
Children of God - Mary Doria Russell - scifi
Caliban's Shore - Stephen Taylor - nonfic
Sing Down the Moon - Scott O'Dell - MG - historical fic
Water Buffalo Summer - Huyhn Quang Nhuong - MG bio
Dragon of the Lost Sea - Laurence Yep - MG
Sand Dollar Summer - Kimberly K. Jones - MG
Grass - Sheri S. Tepper - scifi
The Gate to Women's Country - Sheri S. Tepper - scifi
Freud's Mistress - Karen Mack - historical fic
The Queen's Captive - Barbara Kyle - historical fic
Diggers - Terry Pratchette - MG
The Chilbury Ladies Choir - Jennifer Ryan - fic with a little history thrown in
The House with Chicken Legs - Sophia Anderson - MG
The Boy, the Boat, and the Beast - Samantha M. Clark - MG
Blended - Sharon M. Draper - MG
***
Being Thankful
I'm thankful it's a new year and that there are more books to read and,
that I get to wear these cool socks my sweetie gave me for Christmas.



What are you thankful for? What's your favorite/least favorite question people ask you about your writing? Read any of the books I've read?

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

IWSG, Christmas, Being Thankful

Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:  J.H. Moncrieff, Tonja Drecker , Patsy Collins, and Chrys Fey!



This month's question is: What are five objects would we'd find in your writing space? 
Just five? 
1. Do books count as one? Because I have lots of books in my writing space. Children's books, various kinds of thesauruses (thesuari?), history books, books on Tibet, books on myths and fairy tales... books, books, books.
2. Lap top.
3. Paper: which would include post-it notes, loose leaf, spirals and three ring binders.
4. Pens and pencils.
5. Various quotes on post-it notes like: "All religions are the same and all of them are good for those who believe in them." 14th Dalai Lama  
"As long as space abides and as long as the world abides, so long may I abide, destroying the suffering of the world." Shantideva  
"Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair." Kahlil Gibran  
"Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle." Anon  
"One word frees us of all the wight and pain of life: That word is Love." Sophocles

***

I missed last month entirely. (Thanks for reminding me Margaret!) Apparently I was doing something very important (which I can't remember) and lost track of time and space.

***

Christmas is coming, so I thought I'd throw out a Christmas memory. 

Every year my sister Erva and I looked forward to the arrival of a very special tome: the Sears Wish Book. Most all of our presents came from the catalog. There were no Wal-Marts or K-Marts, no malls or stores where my parents could go shopping for things we might want. Sears was the ideal solution. They sold just about anything and shipped just about anywhere.

Erva and I would pour over the pages. We'd ooh and aah and sigh and giggle and dream and wish. Santa must have been listening most of the time because somehow those things we'd paused over the longest, or circled with a pencil, or out right asked for, miraculously appeared on Christmas Day.

We got our first Barbie dolls around 1957 or 58. Mom sewed each of our dolls separate wardrobes. All the dresses were made on a treadle sewing machine, either during the day while we were at school or at night after we were asleep.







One time I got a wonderful two-story aluminum doll house that looked very similar to this one.

When I was nine I saw a beautiful doll in the Wish Book. She was a bride doll with a gorgeous white dress and veil. I wanted her so badly.... This was during the era of our aluminum tree which, by the way, we put lights on.

And here I am on Christmas day, in my favorite dress, with the red net petticoat, a little Bolero jacket, my white patent leather shoes, and my doll.

You know, I hardly ever played with her. I was just too much of a tomboy.

Merry Christmas!!
Just






Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful I remembered to show up for IWSG!

What are you thankful for?  Did any of you every get a toy you desperately wanted only to never play with it?

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

IWSG, A Random Thought, Six Impossible Things, Being Thankful

Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:  Dolorah @ Book Lover,Christopher D. Votey, Tanya Miranda, and Chemist Ken

This month's question is: How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?


This is a good question for me as I haven't written a thing since Irma/Maria hit the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico in September of last year. So, to answer that question, in this case, writing hasn't helped me get through it. When I was younger, oh so much younger than today, my angst filled self wrote a lot more.

But there's good news. Inspired by the theme for the next Insecure Writers Anthology Contest, I've actually turned on my computer, opened a blank page, and written almost 2000 words. I have all of next month to fill out the story, polish and submit. It won't matter to me if I get included, what matters is that I've had a fresh, new idea, and am developing it.

As I'm not longer going to be post Hurricane Updates (unless something important needs to be said) I'm going to haul a few things out of my closet.

A Random Thought
A quote from Sophocles who, it appears, did quite a bit in innovating playwriting.
Sophocles pushkin
One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: that word is love.
***
ImageChef.comIt 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. Being carried away by a swarm of butterflies.

2. Living inside a giant Sequoya.
3. Having tea with Lao Tzu.
4. Discovering the Lost Continent of Mu.
5. Flying with Superman.
6. Being awarded the Nobel for Literature.


Being Thankful
American Snout
Today I'm thankful for the nice rain we've had, the cooler temperatures, and the swarms of mostly snout butterflies that these conditions have produced.

What are you thankful for? Have any impossible things to share? Has writing helped you through rough times?