Monday, September 16, 2019

Have you ever been misled?


As a writer, have you ever been sorely mistaken? One thing I have learned is always be sure to read contributor's guidelines carefully, especially the fine print.

Once I submitted to a contest in which the prize was a free book. I followed the guidelines for word count and content, and I was hopeful I would win. I didn't. 

I had failed to read the small print that stated eligible contestants would be selected from a specific geographic area of the country, which I did not live in. I should have never even entered the contest.    

Last week the little dudes and I stopped for tomatoes at Stuckmeyer's Farm.

Charlie kicked and flailed with excitement, anticipating being placed in the pumpkin patch display. EWW! Once there, he wanted no part of the straw, and Alex wasn't that fond of it either.


 Before long Charlie was back in his preferred environment playing in his comfort zone.

It's that way with me, too. I'm soon over it and moving on to the next thing. How about you?

Sunday, September 8, 2019

When a bird eats from your hand


My facial expression looks just like Alex's when I receive an acceptance on my writing for publication. I have received four rejections out of 16 submissions last month. Part of the writing game. Yes it is painful, but I will continue to write and submit.

I took one-year-old Charlie and two-year-old Alex to Grant's Farm on a very hot day. But it was worth it to see their excitement and enjoyment as they interacted with the birds and animals and took a (choo-choo) tram ride through the acreage where large animals crossed the road and meandered. 
Alex loved feeding the birds inside the large birdcage. He giggled when the birds ate off his stick.

Charlie was so fascinated with the birds, especially when a blue one landed on my hand. He reached for it, and I said, "No-no." He drew his hand back and watched the bird fly to the ceiling.

Sometimes NO is the final answer, but that doesn't mean my work is sub par. It most likely means my work doesn't fit editorial needs at the moment. Don't let a rejection stop you.
After naps, I gave the boys a homemade game I devised with a cardboard, lunch box-type container. I made a slit in the top so they could deposit the chips. Charlie was so thrilled when Alex allowed him to play, too. He jabbered and babbled at him. He couldn't believe Alex wasn't shouting, "No! Mine!"
Arms and legs were kicking and flailing when I unlatched the clasp and dumped the entire container of chips all over the floor. Alex was so excited he let them rain down on his head, then he picked up a handful and tossed them at Paw paw Bill, who joined in the fun.

Young children have to experience all of something before they can part with some of it. Writers get possessive, too. They keep ideas or markets close at heart. But sharing is nice and makes you a winner, even if your friend gets an acceptance and you don't. That's life!

As you go about your week, remember to throw your hands up and shout thanks to someone (other  than me) who has provided you with a writer's tip, a kind word, or some other kind of inspiration. Smiles are contagious pass one on.

Here is a link for women who may be interested in writing a personal essay for Quiet Mountain.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

STUCK ON WRITING? ONE WAY OR THE OTHER...

Have you ever been stuck in a writing rut?

Two-year-old Alex frequently uses the word "stuck." He shouts it when he wants to get out of his car seat or his mealtime booster chair. Recently he yelled, "STUCK!"  at The Magic House Children's Museum. 

A family member sent him down the spiral slide from the second story. Half way between the two floors he spread eagle and refused to move. No matter how I coaxed him, he insisted he was STUCK. And he was, even though it was of his own volition. I had to go in for the rescue. It wasn't a pretty sight, and I was afraid I'd get STUCK too, for real!
I touched his foot and convinced him I had him. He turned loose and sped past me, almost knocking me off my feet. Relieved he laughed, and I hugged him.



Have you ever gotten stuck in your writing? Completely stuck? Every time I try to write short fiction, I get to a point where I cannot figure out what to write next. Happens all the time. So, I place my story in a folder labeled STUCK, and I wait. Sometimes a day, a week, a month, or longer.

Has anyone ever given you a helping hand? Liam and Alex wanted to join hands with the sculpture kids for a pretend game of Ring Around the Rosie. 

I'm grateful other writers have helped me, therefore I help others. Some times you might just need a new person to view your work. Somebody to point out the good, and then gently critique or offer a positive suggestion. Or to offer a suitable market for your work.

Ring around the Rosie... we ALL fall down at sometime in our writing life. Maybe you just need to rest, a time to recoup, but don't you QUIT.

Take a peek at old files and see if you can tweak them into something that makes you WANT to write today.  Click Here for a list of possible publishing opportunities.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Writers beware, or watch your hiney!

Hello my readers and writer friends. Here are a few tips.
Surprise your reader with something completely unexpected. Liam had fun at the pretend laundromat at the Magic House Children's Museum. He spun the washer and peered inside at all the green-hued clothing. He was surprised and laughed when he discovered a green pickle and cucumber inside.

Animal abuse in a book is a no-no, and likely to be rejected by an editor/agent according to an agent at a conference I attended. An animal in your manuscript can be a stinker, a rescuer, a link between two people.

Most people cannot resist puppies and kittens. Liam and Alex assumed the role of veterinarians. 



Babies soften the hardest heart.  Describe a baby: pudgy? Skinny? Lanky? Prune faced? Head shaped like a ....? 

Alex played doctor in the newborn nursery. He took temperatures with a nasal aspirator, weighed babies on an infant scale.... and then weighed himself and laughed. He took hats off and begged ME to get them back on.  Provide your reader facts or details about something unusual related to your topic. 
 

 When you pass on information, it can end up like a bad game of TELEPHONE. Do not gossip to or about other writers, and do not reveal too much, too soon in your manuscript. Let your reader make discoveries. Alex babbled into the pay phone (for kids to play with) and kept saying, "Hehwwo!" He finally shouted, "NO!" and hung up, disgusted with his one-way conversation.

Do not linger longer than need be. If you can say it with two sentences, don't write it in two paragraphs. You don't want the reader to hang up on you.



Reach for your goals and vow to attain them. Invest in you and your writing, even if you only have a  few minutes to jot down an idea. Be brave, go out on a limb, and climb high! 

Liam liked Jack's two story high bean stalk. Be as tenacious as Liam.

When you are tired, rest. Add a dash of humor to your stories.
Liam sat on the colorful steps. I rested on a colorful bench named Musical Chairs. The string instrumental music was driving me crazy. Another lady sat down and pounding drums added to my headache. Then another person sat on the four seat bench and percussion instruments added to the symphony of sounds. The fourth occupant activated the woodwinds. 

I got up and the strings stopped. The woman next to me stood and the drums silenced. Yes, our behinds were activating the symphony. We all had a good laugh.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Paranormal? Abnormal? This is not normal.

I would label myself a skeptic, but also a believer in things I cannot explain. My dearest prefers to ignore those things he cannot explain. He says I'm off the deep end trying to find a supernatural reason for things I should forget about. Or he comes up with his own preposterous explanations.

For many years we would hear something that sounded like a giant book thud to the floor in the kitchen, or a tinkling of pots and pans in a cabinet, or clanking in the hall closet. We finally quit getting up to see what it was, when there was nothing to see.

"That thud is a refrigerator noise," he exclaimed.

"The pots and pans?" I asked.

"Your imagination." (Then it was his, too because he heard it.)

The activity is becoming physical. The boys have an emergency vehicles (ambulance, firetruck, police car etc.) wooden puzzle with contacts that activate sounds when the pieces are put in. The other night I placed all of the pieces in the empty puzzle, turned off the light and closed the playroom door. The puzzle went crazy with siren sounds when I left the room. That was odd.

I waited outside the darkened room. Quietly I opened the door. Nothing! When I turned on the light, the sirens wailed.

I waited for them to stop. Then I turned OFF the light. They wailed again. I showed Bill.

He said, "Oh some of your hebbie-jeebie stuff? It's a puzzle. Nothing more."

The next day the boys were coming over. I went to get the puzzle. The firetruck was missing. GONE!

I showed Bill how turning the light on and off activated the puzzle noises. Which never happened before.

"Ahh, forget about it!"

"Where is the firetruck?" I asked.

"Who knows? Doesn't matter. Okay so maybe your ghoooost took it." He teased me.

That evening after the kids were gone, we were watching TV in the living room with the cat on a chair nearby, when the puzzle went off in the darkened playroom.

"Did you hear that?" I asked.

"I heard it. And it doesn't matter." He went to the kitchen, whipped around in the doorway and shouted, "That was not funny! Now you got me wet. Where is the squirt gun? I felt you do it."

I looked at him like HE was crazy. "I've been sitting here looking at my phone. I haven't moved! Look! I have nothing. It's my cell phone."

"Then the cat ran by with a wet tail and flicked me on the back of my leg!"

I stared at him. "The cat is still asleep in the chair right here."

He barked, "One of you is messing with me! I felt the squirt gun. I know it was you!"

I got up and walked over to him and  felt the bottom of his shorts. The right leg was WET! As though it had been squirted. Not dripping but wet!

Embarrassed as I am to admit it, I asked him to take off his shorts. "It's not urine. It's colorless, odorless, but wet. I think it IS water."

He looked at me and said, "Really? You think I pee backwards? Where is the squirt gun? I know you did it."

I DID NOT DO IT.

He refuses to discuss it. Paranormal? Abnormal?  Something is going on.




Monday, August 19, 2019

Another one bites the dust!

I was going to talk about how persistence pays off and how I've submitted fifteen pieces so far this month, but this takes the cake. So read all about it!


Entering kindergarten head first!
 Liam decided to jump off the top of the playground equipment and face planted. He's told us half a dozen stories about the meanest kid in kindergarten pushing him, to "Yeah, I might have jumped."  These are not stitches according to Liam. It's only a string holding his skin together.  His injury did not stop him from participating in wet and wild fun on Saturday.


Alex had a pool party for his 2nd birthday, so I made him a pool cake.


 He and Charlie had fun splashing in the pool with his over-sized car. Also a big pool with slide.

Alex loved the multi-function, battery operated Big Foot monster truck we got him. His mom is hoping the batteries wear out sooner than later.



 Charlie was happy eating anything and everything in sight, especially birthday cake.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

One of America's Distinctive Destinations



Autumn in the Ozarks is incredibly beautiful. 

Oct.10-12 would be a perfect time to take a trip to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, an amazing historic town about five hours drive from St. Louis, MO.

The Victorian homes are a sight to behold. The center of town with storefronts built into a mountainside, along wending streets (with no traffic lights) is not to be missed.

Lodging is affordable. Home cooking will fill your tummy, and you are sure to meet folks with southern charm and hospitality who will warm your heart.

I will be presenting two workshops at the Ozarks Creative Writer's Conference https://bit.ly/2GO2vS9

Laughter is the best medicine, is not just a cliche`. I will speak about writing humor on Friday, and on Saturday I will discuss how to write and publish inspirational materials. 

Click on https://bit.ly/2GO2vS9  then go to "Scheduled Speakers" to view the key note speakers, the facilitators, and their schedules and topics.

I am looking forward to meeting everyone and sharing my experiences.

The contest deadline is coming up soon, submit now.
Eureka Springs is a city in Carroll CountyArkansas, United States, and one of two county seats for the county.[4] It is located in the Ozarks of northwest Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 2,073.[2]
The entire city is on the National Register of Historic Places as the Eureka Springs Historic District. Eureka Springs has been selected as one of America's Distinctive Destinations by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Eureka Springs was originally called "The Magic City" and later the "Stair step Town" because of its mountainous terrain and the winding, up-and-down paths of its streets and walkways.
It is a tourist destination for its unique character as a Victorian resort village. The city has steep winding streets filled with Victorian-style cottages and manors. The historic commercial downtown of the city has an extensive streetscape of well-preserved Victorian buildings. The buildings are primarily constructed of local stone, built along streets that curve around the hills and rise and fall with the topography in a five-mile long loop. Some buildings have street-level entrances on more than one floor. The streets wind around the town, and no two intersect at a 90 degree angle; there are no traffic lights.
(Info courtesy of Wikipedia)
Readers, even if you do not plan to attend this writer's conference, do check out the amazing history of Eureka Springs.