Sunday, December 30, 2012

Writer's Digest Contest #47

Write a short story of 750 words or less based on this prompt:  A man who lives alone sees a set of footprints leading away from his house the morning after a heavy snowfall.

The 5.1 seismic tremor clapped him awake with a cold sweat. Instinctively, Stanley, a volcanologist, just knew.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Little Lord What You Gonna Do This Year

This is Little Lord What You Gonna Do This Year serenading Little Miss I Don't Know.  His song is a pleasant melodic blend of voice and lute, enticing  Little Miss to succumb to the creative flow whirling around her and throughout the world; to stay in tune, and keep her seat in life's harmonious symphony through 2013 and forever. 

"I will not rest on my laurels", Little Miss says. "But keep my eyes and heart open all year long, and beyond."

A laurel for my muse.  Bring it on 2013.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

COFFEE ROASTe STYLE - advertisement

picture by Karen Eland's coffee art

ROASTe is a one stop coffee shop.  

One rule in writing is you must have a beginning, a middle, and an end.  

Friday, December 21, 2012

Shortest Doomsday Ever

It's finally December 21st, the day the world is suppose to end because the 4,500 year old Mayan calendar ended on this day. It's also my brother's birthday. Happy birthday Terryl. And surprise, you are not going to die on the day you were born. That would have been novel, but not going to happen.  Sorry?
Today is also the winter solstice; the first day of winter, the shortest day of the year.  So that makes this the shortest doomsday ever.  We'll hardly have time to enjoy it. 
One fellow blogger, Kristen Lamb's Blog, has joined today's festivities with her post:  The End is Near and We Deserve It--The Top 12 Reasons Earth Deserves Annihilation

SOOOOO funny!  You go Kristen!  Ya really gotta check it out, then check out her book We Are Not Alone The Writer's Guide to Social Media Print, since social media has pretty much taken over the world this book is a must.  Kristen's book helps writer's to navigate through the fast-moving emergence of media technology, like blogging.  It's not going away people.  Nice to know "We Are Not Alone" to flounder through it by ourselves.  Thank you Kristen.

With that I bid you Happy Holidays, Happy Birthday (Terryl), Happy Non-Doomsday, and a Happy Winter Solstice.

Gonna curl up with a hard copy (while they still exist) of Little Women (my favorite Christmas book) and have me a long winter's night read.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


This is the 200th anniversary of the first edition of "Grimm's Fairy Tales", a childhood book friend of mine.  Two German linguist's just messing around writing fairytales in their free time.  I love their book, and I love their real life stories.  I was a kid reading those impressionable stories that were scary, wonderful, sad, enjoying every minute of fright, and glorious wonder as a ten year old girl reading Snow White.  Their works came from European folk tales and was first published in 1812 by the German brothers Jacob Ludwig Grimm and Wihelm Carl Grimm.  The Brothers Grimm.

I learned a new word today when I was reading about the brothers.  The word is philology, which means the study of language in historical texts, which the brothers studied.  Which I love!

They prove that storytellers impact the world, preserve cultures, and put kids to sleep.  A Grandma's must.

Another news worthy tidbit that I did not know, is that there is a "Grimm's law" that describes how consonants changed overtime to give rise to modern German.  One more tidbit, they were third only to Shakespeare and the Bible.

TO THE GRIMM'S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Amazing Dog Story

I thought I had the best dog in the world. We do that don't we. Then we are introduced to dogs like Skidboot.  I still love you Boo, but you've got to sit up and pay attention to this.  So, if you missed this amazing dog story, here is the story of Skidboot.
And here is my dog sitting up paying attention.

I found this treasure on one of the writer's blogs I follow, namely The Bookshelf Muse, authored by Angela Ackerman.  No wait, she posted it on google plus.  (I follow her everywhere I guess.  Or great minds keep finding themselves in the same room.) She authored The Emotion Thesarus, and has a lot of helpful writing advice, support, and entertainment at The Book Shelf Muse  

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Blogging Debacle

There is nothing you can say, write, or read that hasn't been said, written, or read. Trying to say something nobody has said before seems impossible. Coming up with a story that's never been told before seems impossible. Original angle?  Impossible!  This stymies me when I'm trying to write/blog.  HAVE YOU SEEN THE INCREDIBLE BLOGS OUT THERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How do I get past this? By realizing that I am an important part of Life's creative expression. I am the medium through which Life itself expresses color, harmony, form, beauty, resonating in Life's symphony of living art. I'll simply seek out and appreciate my innate place in Life's creative source.  Most importantly, quit trying to make a living as a proffessional writer when I'm not.

What blocked my creative abilities that resulted in today's post? Trying to write for money without any formal schooling, manuscripts, or the discipline to work the long hard hours it takes to consistently produce thousands of words a day.  Yes, I'm one of those dits who came up with the harebrain scheme to blog to make money before I even knew what a blog was.  Just heard people were doing it and thought, well by-golly, I can do it, too.

The most important things I've learned is that I enjoy trying to write, and enjoy reading about writing.  I am creative.  And admitting defeat in this means success on another level.  

I'm happy to be in a lower echelon of writing. I'm a happy hobby blogger.  So much easier, so I must be doing it right.  

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Delusional Infatuation - Or is it?

I locked myself in my room today in order to get some serious writing done.  I'm all revved up from yesterday's Writer's Digest webinar. Maybe I was in there (my room) a little too long because I started anthropomorphizing my virtual teddy bear like character on my wallpaper. She’s so cute.  Over the period of the day she moves through different normal daily activities.  She feeds the birds. Eats at her little table. I wondered if she’s enjoying her food. She cleans her house with her cute little broom. I had conversations with her. Then the realization that this might not be normal sank in. Or is it? People don’t like admitting any tendencies they might have outside the general flow of things. Why don’t I care? Artist’s see things differently.

I feel certain that I’m not alone in this delusional infatuation. 90% of all the people on earth interact with a computer; or some technical device. Odds are some people get even freakier with this sort of visual stimuli. Like buying stuff for their avatar or something. Or actually scheduling their lives to accommodate the scheduled dinner (mine always eats at the same time of day) with their virtual teddy bear like character on their wallpaper . I don’t buy it stuff for mine!

So I poked around on the internet and found this article in a matter of minutes: "Feeling remote? Try a $2,000 telepresence robot
For two grand, Double Robotics will sell you an iPad on wheels that delivers a physical presence at a distant location." by Stephen Shankland
December 5, 2012 5:58 AM PST, at$2000-telepresence-robot/

Wow! “ A physical presence”. I don’t feel so crazy now. People pay for what I felt. Besides, my android told me I'm virtually ok regarding this subject.  (I've really got to get out more.)

Poked around some more and learned what I knew, then forgot, the virtual pet fad that overtook my niece about five years ago. Dylan said it, and I'll say it again, "the times, they are a changing."

What about you?  Are you attached to your wall paper?  Leave a comment and tell me about your virtual infatuations.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


I took advantage of this free webinar that was offered by Writer's Digest University.  This is my first exposure to webinar's.  I am delighted with this venue.  Loved the whole experience.  And it was FREE.  To top off this little treasure I will be emailed a video copy of the entire thing.  

The speaker is (copy's will be made) James Scott Bell.  Very impressive copious author.  As soon as the webinar was over I was all over his webpage and blog. Subscribed.  Then I bought his book :  WRITE GREAT FICTION: PLOT AND STRUCTURE.  It's on sale for $9.34 this week at the Writer's Digest Shop.  I notice it's $16 something otherwise, when it's not on sale.  He indicated that 90% of the webinar is covered in the book, but so much more above and beyond the webinar is in the book.

If you haven't yet, and you really want to learn how to write, and write well, you need to visit:  and  

Hitchcock's axiom:
  "A great story is life with the dull parts taken out."

Sunday, December 2, 2012


It seems the use for this little writing tool, the comma, is changing.  In Strunk & White, THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE, the first chapter titled ELEMENTARY RULES OF USAGE has seven sections, five of them are about commas.  This being the granddaddy of rules in writing, is a good place to start when considering punctuation.  The attention this authoritative book gave to commas indicates their importance; has been the long established rules about how to use commas.  Do we need a new edition?

What was brought to my attention in a newspaper article, “The double life of commas”,written by Ruth Walker in her “verbal energy” column in the Christian Science Monitor (issue 36, pg47), is that we are now suppose to omit the comma after if, and, or, but, namely a conjunction, when used at the beginning of a sentence.  She sets forth that there are two kinds of commas.  1. Because of a rule (Strunk & White), or  2. Those that serve as a kind of stage direction.  One of her pet peeves is a comma after the conjunction that begins a sentence.

When I talk I pause every time after I say but.  It's my speech rhythm, tone, voice, my vernacular.  I'll be telling a story then say but and take a breath. I use but to say, “wait a minute, listen to this!”.  It's in my writing because that's the way I talk.  One writing rule is to write the way you talk.  ELEMENTS OF STYLE, page 63, "Write in a way that comes naturally." So when I start my sentences with the conjunction but, I will not be able to omit my comma directing you to pause then proceed.  I'm a stage director from the word go in this case.  Things are always changing.  That's a good thing.  We don't write or talk like Shakespeare anymore, but, for now, when I write it will have to remain the same when a certain conjunction begins a sentence.

Ernest Gowers wrote that the correct use of commas – “if there is such a thing as ‘correct’ use – can only be acquired by common sense, observation and taste”.

I would like to invite all the writers out there to write stories about the pictures (in any of my posts) and send them to  and I will post them.
Want more exposure, write a story about a picture.


I ran into a new word (for me) while reading PEOPLE OF THE NOATAK, by Claire Fejes, 'the new edition of the 1960's classic', first published in 1966, this "new"edition was published in 1994.  The word is landlubber.  At first I thought it was a typo.  Instead it was an adventure in etymology.  Normally I'd just use the dictionary on my computer dock , but there was an electrical storm going on outside at the time so I wasn't about to turn on my computer.  I actually had to use old hard copy dictionaries, ergo a flashback to how I was taught to study etymology forty years ago when I was in college.  One English professor told us to keep all our old dictionaries, and even acquire as many as we could if we were going to be serious students of etymology.

The first dictionary I grabbed was "Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary" (1979).  When I didn't find it  there I was thinking typo again.  Yea.  Where's my edit pen?

Then I grabbed "The Random House College Dictionary" (1968), and there it was.

          landlubber (n) - a landsman or raw seaman.

This is one of those words that makes me giggle, but when I read the adjectives I started laughing out loud.  There were three adjectives listed - landlubberish, landlubbing, and landlubberly.  I would love for a comedian to get hold of these words.

Had I been on the computer I would have known in two seconds that it wasn't a typo, and I would have missed the etymology flash from the past.

Macmillan Dictionary online even provides the audio pronunciation, and gives this definition:

          landlubber - someone who does not know much about boats or the sea.

Another tidbit I got from Macmillan was that 90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing.  That's out of the millions of words out there.  Macmillan calls these red words; words used most often.  Landlubber is not a red word.

WD Your Story Contest #46 (sentence), due Nov.26th

OK.  I pushed the submit button; officially entered the Writer's Digest Contest #46.

This contest is found in the November/December Issue, on page 51.

The challenge:  Write the opening sentence (25 words or fewer) to a story based on the prompt below.  You can be funny, poignant, witty, etc.; it is, after all, your story.  

Prompt:  Write the first line to a story incorporating these three words:  fresh, hair, and tangled.  (You can use the words in any order in the sentence).

My Entry:  What a tangled up mess Prue thought to herself as she had another hair of the dog and prayed a fresh lead would come to her before the hoodlums caught up to her.

It's not too late for you to enter this contest.  There is a Your Story contest in every issue of Writer's Digest.  

The winning entry for YOURSTORY #42 titled The Safe Zone, submitted by Patricia Cook totally blows me away.  If your interested in writing you really should check out her superb example of how to do it.  My jaw dropped when I read it.  

Whow!  Silly me.  Just counted the words in my sentence and there are 33.  Well.  Won't be winning this contest.  Live and learn.  I really like my sentence anyway.  I'm thinking I can turn that little 33 word bad boy sentence into a short story.  See how much fun writing can be.

(Later that same day).  I resubmitted my entry.  23 words this time.  It goes like this:  Prue's mind tangled as she had another hair of the dog, praying a fresh lead appeared before the hoodlums caught up to her.

This drives home the point in writing that less is more.  When I cut ten words from the original sentence it morphed into better writing I think.


Only one way to get 'er done, and that's to do 'er.

I'm a story teller from the word go. Yet, I learn, it's becoming apparent, now that my quest is to blog my stories, that cornering someone in the store and blabbing my head off is quite different from getting that same story down on paper (figuratively speaking now-a-days).  Drat!

Could I train my computer blog to corner people? Apple can't do this yet so I won't pursue it either, yet.  Steve Jobs, send me a sign, is this in my near future?  No?  I just have to bite the bullet and learn how to write it down on paper (figuratively speaking now-a-days)?  Double drat!!

I've stared at blank screens so long lately that when I'm reading books in my dreams their pages are blank screens.  Just titles appear; and chapter pages.  GONE WITH THE WIND, Chapter 1 - blank screen.

After hours of reading writer's blogs, Writer's Digest Community forums/critiques, studiously listing the rules of writing, I learn that the best writer's break the rules.  Oh!  I was made to break rules.  I'm still in.

I see a lot of vs. in articles about writing.  Today it was dialogue vs. description.  They were talking about moving the plot along, and dialogue wins this case for me.  Over description drags me down when I'm reading, but both are obviously necessary.  I don't care about every little crook and cranny in the room.  I care if the bad guys kill the good guys, and if there is a happy ending.

Another one was research vs. observation.  Research is required for an accurate description of people and places, and what you uniquely observe in the real world will make it all more real.  Simple rule is to always check the facts; that's a given.  

Another tidbit I picked up from the real writer's blogs is don't make your posts too long.  Learned it, like it.  Adios for now.