Monday, November 30, 2009


It’s beginning to feel like winter here in Southwest Texas. The cold weather and drizzling rain outside makes it all the more cozy inside the house. As I sipped my morning coffee, I read some of the stories in the book, Christmas Through a Child’s Eyes. It is a collection of stories contributed by writers throughout the nation. Two of my writer friends' stories are in the book, which makes it all the more special.

I remember one Christmas when we were stationed in Okinawa and wondered if we’d have a Christmas tree that year. You see, the ship that was bringing in trees from the states for the military stationed there was delayed for some reason. It was almost Christmas and no sign of Christmas trees. Then only a few days before the big day, much to our delight, the ship came in. Being on an island where the weather was anything but cold, having a real Christmas tree in the house was like having a bit of home away from home.

“Surprise is what keeps readers turning the pages and writers filling them up.” – James Howe

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


A bit of good news. One of my poems is being published in the local paper next month. A few years back, I stumbled onto a poetry class at a Barnes & Noble by mistake. Once I realized it was poetry and not a writing class, I tried to inconspicuously leave the session. The instructor looked up and asked, "Why are you leaving?" I replied, "I'm not a poet. I made a mistake." To which he answered, "Why don't you stay for the rest of the period and see if you like it? If not, you don't have to return." I stayed. I came back for the next several weeks. Loved it. To date, I've had poetry published in anthologies. You just never know ...

The link here is for writing contests, which includes poetry as well.

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Nothing one ever experiences or feels is wasted." -- Lynne Reid Banks

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Book Festival for Children

Last weekend I had the pleasure of doing a reading/presentation at the Georgetown Hill Country Book Festival for Children & Youth. I saw author friends I hadn’t seen in a while and met new ones. The town of Georgetown is charming and the people from there are so hospitable. The public library where the event was held was bustling with activity that day. Numerous authors and illustrators were present for the event. There was face painting, crafts, music and even a clown who entertained the children with his amazing tricks – twisting balloons into all sorts of animals. Yes, I ran into a clown AGAIN! What is it with my running into clowns all the time? The kids really enjoyed his performance. Take a look at the octopus on my table. Neat, huh? This highly successful event was a great way to promote literacy!

Writing Tip: Use quotation marks for spoken dialogue. For a character's thoughts, some writers use quotation marks, some use italics, and some merely set them off with a comma and capitalized letter. -- Writer's Digest Weekly Planner

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Book titles

How important is a book title? Should it reflect what your story is about? How do you come up with a title that will grab a reader? Remember a title is the first clue to your story or book. In the online Writer’s Digest (Nov. 2009 issue), Jacob M. Appel’s article offers seven tips on just how to come up with a book title. Here is the link to coming up with a good title.

Never try to chase trends. Write what you love, and write the best book you can, and worry about publication later.” – Writing tip from Writer’s Digest Weekly Planner

Thursday, November 12, 2009


A local magazine, natural awakenings, has an interesting article on how journaling and health might go hand in hand. In their November 2009 issue, in the wisewords section, an article titled “Journal Writing Improves Well Being,” by Leia Francisco, a certified journal facilitator, offers insight into why journaling might just help improve your health. In her words,

“If you think journal writing only records daily activities, think again. Journal writing improves the immune system when a writer explores negative or traumatic events. Journal writing casts a personal story on blogs or in best-selling books. Journal writing transforms entire communities by sharing stories and common concerns.”

Another excerpt from her article: “As a journal facilitator, I guide journal writing in intentional ways and have witnessed extraordinary results for journalers of every background. Journaling is affordable, always accessible, and, like a good friend, always non-judging. Its benefits include decreasing stress, resolving issues, healing relationships, gaining insight, discovering patterns, and tapping to the power of the unconscious mind.”

She goes on to say that: “Journaling is enhanced when you reread your entries and make notations or circle key phrases. Pay attention to these signals of your inner world to help you make changes.”

She concludes with “… explore journaling as a tool for increasing health and well being. It is a tool for all reasons and all seasons.”

Happy journaling!

“If a writer isn’t a reader, he’s in the wrong profession.” – Marion Dane Bauer

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Just finished reading an interesting article “Read Like a Writer,” in a November 2009 issue of The Writer’s Digest Guide to Creativity magazine. In it, the author, Linda Busby Parker, mentions that “a true writer is always aware and perceptive when reading. Observant writing,” she notes, “shouldn’t be overlooked. Sometimes writers feel guilty when reading instead of writing, but both are integral parts of a successful scribe’s daily life.”

Then in a sidebar, she condenses five points, "Finer Points,” which lists what a writer should look for when reading. “(1) Observe scenes. A scene is one episode in the story line. A scene can be dialogue between characters or an event that happens in one particular location. (2) Study dialogue. How does the dialogue reveal the characters’ individual personalities and move the plot forward? (3) Locate passages that establish the setting. What techniques does the author use to place the reader in a particular locale? (4) Note the conflict. How has the author made the character’s life complex? How does the writer sustain and complicate the conflict throughout the novel? (5) Chart the novel’s resolution. When does the author begin to resolve the conflicts? How does the writer make resolutions natural and satisfying to the reader?”

I did not list all the comments of the five points, but the entire article is well worth reading. Have a productive reading and writing day.

A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.” – E.B. White