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."


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

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  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.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Give yourself permission to make a word mess.

What do you do when what you've been doing isn't doing it for you? You try something new.

Charlie, who just turned one, has been teething and slobbering without much success. His two bottom teeth erupted a few weeks ago, but since then, no matter what teething ring or toy he chewed on, he could not cut those top teeth, and he's been miserable.

Sometimes the unconventional is the answer. I peeled a fat carrot, rubbed syrup (yes I did) on the end, and Charlie gnawed on that thing off and on all day, seeking that sweet taste. Today he has a new bottom tooth and a brand new top pearly white is shining.

If you are stuck on your writing, try a new approach. Use only key words and write an incomplete sentence. Add another sentence, and another and then read that paragraph, as is. Now take a look and see how you can develop it.  

Fat gnarly crunchy carrot gnaw gripe quit do it again.

Sometimes making a word mess can lead to success. 

Charlie is as chubby as the carrot he's been gnawing on. Generally he's as sweet as the syrup I just dipped it in. He griped when that hard veggie hit his sore gums, he yanked it out of his mouth and quit! But he put it back in and sucked, seeking that syrup. Many times he gave up and tossed that chunk onto the floor. Many times I lightly reloaded the tip. By nightfall, Charlie cut two new teeth, one top and one on the bottom. Success at last. 

Wishing you much success in your writing today and also in whatever you do.


Thursday, August 1, 2019

As we grow we learn

Introducing Beau, the most placid seven week old puppy ever. He is not a squirmer. He loves his chicken stuffed with crinkly material. He likes lazing around on the farm where he will be the official farm dog. Beau looks huge, but everything is relative.

Grandson Kyle and his fiance` Abby bought an 80 acre farm, their dream come true. They have cattle and horses and now a puppy. They both work an hour away, so commuting is tiresome, but they are as content as Beau. He loves Kyle, lays beside his booted feet, naps next to him on the porch, (even though he has a plush dog bed) and rides the four wheeler with Kyle. He does not like the cows, because one licked him with her giant tongue, but otherwise, this puppy is so low key. He trails Abby's heels and loves snuggles. He goes to work with Kyle (who owns his own business) each day, rides well in the truck and as we all know, Beau will be spoiled rotten.

If that wasn't enough cuteness for you, here is a recent snapshot of always happy and always hungry Charlie who turned one year old. This little guy is so done with baby food. He wants table food. He has two bottom teeth and is getting three more, two on top. He loves teething on pickles. At the rate he's going, he will soon be gnawing bones. 

As we grow, we learn. Are you hungry for something new in your writing life? Time to attempt a new writing genre? You might want to try prose poetry. Reduce one of your essays to a minimal word count. Instead of paragraphs, write in four or five stanzas. Poetry not your thing? I thought so, too until I gave it a try and received accolades and $. Why not give it a try, and keep it for your eyes only as you tinker with it? I'd be glad to take a look if you wish to share your work with me here, or privately. My email is listed on my header. 

Please come back! I will be sharing news about a fall writer's conference. I will be presenting two workshops, one on inspirational writing, and one on humor writing. I know I can tickle a funny bone, and I hope I have inspired you in some way. Have a great day.