Thursday, December 30, 2010

Quote of the day

"We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.” --Edith Lovejoy
I wish all of you a happy New Year's and hope that 2011 is filled with love and joy and peace and success.

P.S. Don't forget to check out my contest on Buffy's World.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Awesome contest to check out

I wanted to let you know that I'm running a contest on my other blog, Buffy's World. Many of you will know the answer to my question immediately because it relates to my writing. Anyway, pop over, join in the fun and you'll have a chance to win a $25 Target gift card. Sweet:)

Writing advice

Don’t say you were a bit confused and sort of tired and a little depressed and somewhat annoyed. Be tired. Be confused. Be depressed. Be annoyed. Don’t hedge your prose with little timidities. Good writing is lean and confident.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A look at e-book trends

Check out this post on e-book trends. I think the potential for user interactivity will be huge. What do you think?

A minute list

Use one word to describe the following. Mine is in ()'s. Copy and paste list into comments and add yours. Should only take a minute. Can't wait to read your lists.
Shrimp (spicy)
Hat (tattered)
Desk (scratched)
Dog (fluffy)
Computer (slow)
Sauce (white)
Glasses (broken)
Record player (vintage)
Snowman (Calvin -ish) Not sure that this is even a word, but love the snowman series. (Smiles)
Candle (taper)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Writing advice

The hardest thing about writing, in a sense, is not writing. I mean, the sentence is not intended to show you off, you know. It is not supposed to be “look at me!” “Look, no hands!” It’s supposed to be a pipeline between the reader and you. Once condition of the sentence is to write so well that no one notices that you’re writing.

Times Square ball app

Found this totally cool Times Square Ball App (for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Android) that features a live video feed (commercial free) of the festivities from Times Square. There's a customizable countdown clock to 2011 that you can adjust for whatever time zone you're in.
You can link to your other social networking accounts, send a "kiss" to a loved one and upload your photo for a chance to appear on the giant video screen atop One Times Square.
The app also includes an awesome database of events, interactive maps, weather updates and more.
I can't begin to describe all the coolness this app packs, so here's a video to watch. Happy New Year all my peeps.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Words and trends and fun

This is totally sweet. Learned about this from a co-worker and had to share. Google used data obtained from 15 million scanned books to build Google Books Ngram Viewer. As most of you know, Google Books is a project to digitize as many tomes as possible. The viewer allows you to search for words and prints a graph showing how many times those words appear in the books it has digitized.

What's cool about this is that you're able to see trends over time. The datasets contain phrases of up to five words with counts of how often they occurred in each year. I searched for "zombie" between the years 1800 and 2000. I found the word mentioned in the early 1800s, increasingly found in books in the late 1920s and then spiking in usuage by 2000. Go ahead. Check it out and have fun.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas story told digitally

Imagine the birth of Jesus using today's technology.

Writing advice

Writing advice from ELIZABETH BOWEN

1.Dialogue should be brief.
2. It should add to the reader’s present knowledge.
3. It should eliminate the routine exchanges of ordinary conversation.
4. It should convey a sense of spontaneity but eliminate the repetitiveness of real talk.
5. It should keep the story moving forward.
6. It should be revelatory of the speaker’s character, both directly and indirectly.
7. It should show the relationships among people.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Quote of the day

"Don’t say it was 'delightful'; make us say 'delightful' when we’ve read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers 'Please will you do my job for me?'" --C.S. LEWIS

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Holiday emoticons

Some holiday emoticons for you to use.

Christmas tree *<<<<+

Angel O:-)

Santa Claus *<[:-)

Really Happy :-))

Do you have any to share?

My Christmas Tree

I thought some of my new followers would enjoy this column I wrote a couple years ago. 
The perfect Christmas tree. Is there such a thing?

I think so, and I think it’s mine. I think this every year. Some years our tree has been fat and full. Other years it’s been tall and skinny. But always it’s been perfect.

You see, what makes our Christmas tree perfect isn’t its size or shape or smell. It’s not how the needles feel or whether the trunk is straight. What makes it perfect are the ornaments that dangle from its branches.

My sons have made a good many of them. There’s the construction paper angel my 13-year-old made in second grade. And the picture ornament my 17-year-old crafted in preschool. Each year when we hang my sons’ homemade ornaments, my heart flutters and I am reminded of all that is good in this world. Time passes much too quickly, and the ornaments are treasures from yesteryears when the most pressing problem was a skinned knee.

Along with these homemade ornaments are those my mother bought me. Each year I’d find a new one in my stocking. One year it was Miss Piggy. Another year, Kermit. I looked forward to Christmas morning, eager to see what she had bought. When I hang these decorations, I nearly drown in memories. I want to hug my mother, tell her how much I love her and need her. But I can’t because she isn’t here. She died many years ago, but not before giving me some special ornaments.

They aren’t ornaments you’d find in a store or some exclusive catalog. She made them with her loving hands, one by one as her death drew near. Cancer made her weak and took away many of the things she enjoyed. But that deadly disease could not destroy her spirit or will to leave part of her behind.

And so she cross-stitched.

Hour after hour.

Day after day.

Month after month.

Until she could no more.

She’d sit in the corner chair with needle and thread creating tiny tapestries of love. Some for each of her five daughters and all of her grandchildren.

I remember thinking at the time how important cross-stitching seemed to her. I think it was her way of giving us something we could hold onto and cherish long after she was gone. Something to share with our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

And so, when I walk through the department stores and see all the “perfect” trees in coordinating colors and trendy themes, I smile. Don’t get me wrong. They’re beautiful. But not as beautiful as mine.

I don’t care that my Christmas tree is adorned with a mishmash of ornaments. I don’t care that some of them are chipped and that others are cracked or scratched.

What matters most is the love that has gone into each ornament that hangs on my tree. Riches that warm my heart and feed my soul.

Thank you Zach and Micah and mom for making our family Christmas tree perfect every year.

Books make great gifts

"Do give books - religious or otherwise - for Christmas. They're never fattening, seldom sinful, and permanently personal." --Lenore Hershey

Are you giving books for Christmas? Are there books on your wish list? Is there any writing book you recommend? I just finished Betsy Lerner's Forest for the Trees. I really enjoyed it.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Meet Terry Lynn Johnson

I'm so excited to share this news with all of you about my friend Terry Lynn Johnson. Her novel, DOGSLED DREAMS, is coming in January. I met Terry on Inkwell  when she posted the first page of her newest book, ICE DOGS, and I had a chance to edit it. She has since landed an agent, the wonderful Caryn Wiseman of  Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

Terry amazes me with her passion for the outdoors. For twelve summers she worked as a canoe ranger in  Quetico Provincial Park. One winter, she worked for a dogsledding company and, well, the rest is history. She was hooked and when she went home, she had eighteen huskies that followed her. In addition to her books, she has written for many outdoor magazines. This is one person to check out and keep and eye on. I think Terry is enormously talented and great things will come her way. 

Check out the Dogsled Dreams Facebook page.

Check out Terry's blog. 

Check out Terry's website.

Add Dogsled Dreams to your Goodreads list.

To order book, go to Barnes and Nobel.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Really cool video

Santa app to the rescue

So you're at a restaurant with the kiddos waiting for a table. They're fussy and you're fussy because they're fussy and you get fussier when you think about the wad of cash you'll spend on a dinner that no one will enjoy because, well, everyone's fussy. (Whew, long sentence!)
And you used that Santa's-watching threat so many times that as soon as you say "You better" the kids finish the sentence with "watch out" and proceed to tell you they don't care if Santa's watching because, well, they're sure he'll cut them some slack.
Apps to the rescue! (Hey, maybe this could be a new superhero.)
Read rest on Buffy's World 

Friday, December 17, 2010

My recent newspaper column

As social media coordinator for The York Daily Record/Sunday News, I write a monthly column. Here's the one that ran Sunday introducing me and my new blog. Enjoy.

Quote of the day

"Some editors will “get” what you write; others won’t. The key is to have patience to learn from the criticisms of the former, the strength to ignore the indifference of the latter, and the wisdom (and great luck) to know the difference between the two." --BRUCE FEIRSTEIN

Thursday, December 16, 2010

12 lines of good dialogue

'Tis the season to engage in good dialogue. So, in that spirit, I’d like you to share 12 lines of great dialogue from your work. The 12 lines do not have to be from the same piece of writing. Identify the work(s) from which the lines are taken. This should be FUN! Here are mine.
Snippets from FREAKY FRANK (MG)
(1 and 2) You’re one strange dude,” Piz said. “That thing you do happens a lot?”
(3)“What thing?”
(4) “That thing where you know what I’m thinking before I even say it and then you say it and then when I say it, it sounds like I’m only saying it because you said it.”
(5) “Do you know how stupid that sounds?”
(6, 7, 8) “Oh, Nate. Didn’t know that was you. Sounded like a girl.”
(9) “Are you saying I sound like a girl, you punk?”
(10) “Yeah. A little itsy-bitsy, teeny-tiny frilly lace girl.”
(11 and 12) “Why you Nerd Turd you. I’ll get you good.”

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A writerly gift

If I told you that money was no object and that you could give your writer friend anything you wanted to for Christmas, what would you give? Can’t wait to read your answers.

Last day for contest: Details here.

Monday, December 13, 2010

What the heck is tarragon?

OK, so did you ever wonder why they put all of those spices in a spice rack? Seriously. Someone gave me one of those carousel spice racks with 16 filled jars. It looked pretty. I kind of liked spinning it. It made me feel like a "real" cook, not the pull-from-the-freezer-and-nuke-in-a-microwave-mom that I am. But I couldn’t tell you what half of the spices are used for. I was familiar with cinnamon and chili powder and paprika. But tarragon? What the heck is that? I’ve never used that spice in my life.  
So how does this relate to writing? I have no idea. But I bet all of my writerly friends could come up with some great metaphors. Take a shot at it in comments. 

Don't forget about your chance to win $25 Target gift card.

Still time to win Target card

Please help spread the word about Buffy's World,  and get a shot at winning $25 Target Gift Card. Visit the site for details.

Advice for writers: Richard Rhodes

If you’re afraid you can’t write, the answer is to write. Every sentence you construct adds weight to the balance pan. If you’re afraid of what other people will think of your efforts, don’t show them until you write your way beyond your fear. If writing a book is impossible, write a chapter. If writing a chapter is impossible, write a page. If writing a page is impossible, write a paragraph. If writing a paragraph is impossible, write a sentence. If writing even a sentence is impossible, write a word and teach yourself everything there is to know about that word and then write another, connected word and see where their connection leads. A page a day is a book a year.
I love how Rhodes reduces the process to one word at a time. If you can't write a page, write a paragraph. If not a paragraph, then a sentence. And if a sentence is too much, well then write ONE word.
Kind of reminds me of the Christmas special Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Kris Kringle sings these lyrics to the Winter Warlock to help him change from nasty to nice.

Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking out the door

You never will get where you’re going
If you never get up on your feet
Come on, there’s a good tail wind blowing
A fast walking man is hard to beat

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Do you believe in Writer's Block?

"When I sit down in order to write, sometimes it’s there; sometimes it’s not. But that doesn’t bother me anymore. I tell my students there is such a thing as “writer’s block,” and they should respect it. You shouldn’t write through it. It’s blocked because it ought to be blocked, because you haven’t got it right now." --TONI MORRISON

I know that some people, unlike Morrison, don't believe in writer's block. What do you say? There are definitely times when I sit down to write and it just doesn't come. Is that writer's block? Or is it that the ideas and direction I'm heading aren't yet clear to me.

Stephen Spender says that, "The best thing is to write anything, anything at all that comes into your head, until gradually there is a calm and creative day."

Friday, December 10, 2010

Writing advice: Keep a diary

I think the following advice from John Berendt is great. Try it for a week and let me know how it works for you.

Keep a diary, but don't just list all the things you did during the day. Pick one incident and write it up as a brief vignette. Give it color, include quotes and dialogue, shape it like a story with a beginning, middle and end—as if it were a short story or an episode in a novel. It's great practice. Do this while figuring out what you want to write a book about. The book may even emerge from within this running diary.

Don't forget about your chance to win $25 Target gift card.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Chance to win $25 Target gift card

Pop over to my other blog, Buffy's World, to learn how you can get in a random drawing for a $25 Target gift card. And thanks in advance for your support.

BTW, what's your favorite form of social media?

Writing is discovery

"Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn't wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say." --Sharon O'Brien
 I so agree with this. Writing most definitely is a discovery. How about you? 
Visit me here, too.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thoughts on this MG query?

Dear Agent:

Mags’ middle name is trouble. She can’t seem to stay out of it. When she and her friends accept a dare to sleep in a haunted barn, they begin an adventure that involves a mystery and a secret someone’s willing to hurt to keep.

A good ghost wants them to deliver a message to her dying daughter. A bad ghost wants to prevent that. It’s up to Mags and her friends to piece together the clues that will lead them to the one person who needs their help the most.

In HIGH STREET DARES: THE GHOSTLY CONNECTION, the kids learn the power of love and that things aren’t always what they seem.

I am Assistant Managing Editor of Features and Niche Publications at the York Daily Record/Sunday News, in York, Pa. In addition to my extensive newspaper experience, both as a writer and as an editor, I have sold stories to a number of children’s publications.

I’d love to share my completed manuscript with you. I hope to hear from you at your earliest convenience.

Quote of the day

"And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt." — SYLVIA PLATH
Also, visit me here.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Quote of the day

"Remember that you should be able to identify each character by what he or she says. Each one must sound different from the others. And they should not all sound like you." --ANNE LAMOTT
In comments, feel free to share ONE line of dialogue that you feel is telling of your character. I can't wait to read your lines.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A minute list

We haven't done a minute list in some time. So, here goes. You peeps know the rules. You copy and paste the list into comments and describe each item using only one word. Mine are in ( )’s. Shouldn't take more than a minute. Have fun.

Bell (rusty)
Fireplace (flickering)
Tree (fresh)
Cookies (moist)
Ornament (hand-painted)
Eggnog (watery)
Beard (itchy)
Hymn (joyful)
Manger (peaceful)
Star (North)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Christmas stocking

On Christmas morning, I always saved my stocking for last. It was so much fun opening the wrapped gifts stuffed inside. There were some items I could count on seeing every year – like a Lifesavers Christmas Sweet Storybook and clear toy pops. And while I would have been disappointed had these items not been included, I always looked forward to seeing the cool things that my parents had bought.
One year, I wanted a pink Lindy Star Ring. I had opened all of my gifts and didn’t find the ring. I tried not to show my disappointment as I unwrapped the gifts in my stocking. I pulled out the last gift, stuck in the sock’s toe, and burst into tears. It was the Lindy Star Ring! I had gotten it after all.
I still have that ring and it is a reminder of all of the wonderful Christmases I was blessed to have with my parents. They died much too young (dad 58 and mom 61).
Like my parents, there are certain things I buy every year for my sons’ stockings, and I take special care in finding unexpected treasures to include. I think my sons would tell you that opening their stockings is the highlight of the morning. I continue to be amazed by how something so little can mean so much.
So, what’s the best thing you ever found in your stocking?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Allow yourself to write poorly

Today's writing advice comes from Larry Gelbart:
First, you get the idea. It may germinate for a long time or it just pops into your head. And then you work out a structure. And when you feel confident enough, you start to write. And you have to allow yourself the liberty of writing poorly. You have to get the bulk of it done, and then you start to refine it. You have to put down less than marvelous material just to keep going to whatever you think the end is going to be—which may be something else altogether by the time you get there.

Allowing myself to write poorly is very difficult. Too much of a perfectionist, I guess. What do you think?

Visit my other blog

Please, please, please (yeah, I'm not above begging) visit my other blog. Don't worry, this blog isn't going away. My other blog is something I maintain for work.
As social media coordinator for my media company, I'm responsible for creating public awareness of our efforts in social media, cross-promoting our various social media accounts, and helping to expand our digital footprint to meet the growing needs of our readers. And, if you know me, I'll have tons of fun along the way.
Please pop over to see what the new blog's about. I'd love to see you there as well. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

This quote made me laugh...

"Writing is like sex. You have to save your love for the love object. If you go around spouting about your idea, there’ll be no “charge” left. You can’t father children that way." --RAY BRADBURY

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Quote of the day

“The most essential factor is persistence - the determination never to allow your energy or enthusiasm to be dampened by the discouragement that must inevitably come.” --James Whitcomb Riley

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

J.K. Rowling's advice...

"Be ruthless about protecting writing days, i.e., do not cave in to endless requests to have 'essential' and 'long overdue' meetings on those days. The funny thing is that, although writing has been my actual job for several years now, I still seem to have to fight for time in which to do it. Some people do not seem to grasp that I still have to sit down in peace and write the books, apparently believing that they pop up like mushrooms without my connivance. I must therefore guard the time allotted to writing as a Hungarian Horntail guards its firstborn egg." --J.K. ROWLING

A much needed laugh

This totally cracked me up.

Monday, November 29, 2010

And the note said...

So I was at the YMCA on Saturday when I sat on a bike and found a folded piece of paper tucked in the monitor in front of me. Of course my imagination ran wild as it usually does, trying to guess what the note said. Could it be a suicide note? A treasure map? A grocery list or love poem? Was it left there on purpose for someone to find or just forgotten? Maybe it was a prayer. Or a dream. Or a child’s drawing. The possibilities are endless. What is it about writers that we see the world as a timeless tale, an endless journey of discovery, rich with textures and vibrant colors and infused with energy? I guess it’s just the way we’re wired.
So let’s have some fun with this. Here’s your creative challenge for today. Finish this:
I picked up the note and opened it. It said

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Adventures with Foursquare

So I went to Weis to pick up a few items. I get to checkout and tell the cashier that I don't need to pay for my cup of coffee because I'm the mayor. He looks at me like I'm some kind of weirdo. So I show him my Droid, which clearly states I'm the mayor via Foursquare and that as mayor I get coffee 24/7. Sweet. He had no idea what I was even talking about. Free stuff. That's why I love my mayorships.
When I get home, I tells hubs about the Weis mayorship deal because he thinks I'm crazy always checking in everywhere I go. But now that it's starting to pay off, he doesn't think I'm so crazy. Anyone else get any great perks from their mayorships?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Quote of the day

"What we call procrastination might well be incubation, and the importance of prewriting -- sorting things through, assimilating, making connections ..." --Henriette Anne Klauser

I definitely let things incubate. I think ideas through and work problems out so when I sit down to write it just pours out. How about you?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving prayers

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
-John Fitzgerald Kennedy
I would love to read your Thanksgiving prayers. I'm hoping you'll share them in comments.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Quote of the day

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." --Harold Whitman
What makes you come alive?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Writing challenge

Here's a fun writing challenge. Write a story, no more than 100 words, using these words:
Peanut Butter

Extra points if you can tell me where these words came from.  

Friday, November 19, 2010

What's your journey?

"It is clearly not the journey for everyone. People succeed in as many ways as there are people. Some can be completely fulfilled with destinations that are much closer to home and more comfortable. But if you long to keep going, then I hope you are able to follow my lead to the places I have gone. To within a whisper of your own personal perfection. To places that are sweeter because you worked so hard to arrive there. To places at the very edge of your dreams." -- Michael Johnson
Writing, like basketball, is not a journey for everyone. But like Johnson says, if you decide the journey that you're on is the one for you, stay the course. When you get to your destination -- whether it's completing your book, getting an agent, landing a publishing contract or seeing someone enjoy your book -- the victory will be so much sweeter because you worked so hard to achieve it. I hope you have a great weekend and that it brings you closer to your literary dreams.

Potter and pals are back!

In honor of HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS - PART 1, here is an earlier blog post about  my visit to Universal's Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: From A to Z

I'm planning on seeing the movie on Thanksgiving with my sons. It's become a tradition that we go to the movies on that day. When are you planning to see it?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Writing is...

"Writing is a job, a talent, but it's also the place to go in your head. It is the imaginary friend you drink your tea with in the afternoon." --Ann Patchett
Finish this sentence. Writing is:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Quote of the day

"Champions do not become champions when they win the event, but in the hours, weeks, months and years they spend preparing for it. The victorious performance itself is merely the demonstration of their championship character." --T. Alan Armstrong
I think of this quote often because I can relate it to so many areas of life, including writing. Whether it's writing or learning to play a musical instrument or a sport or excelling in school, it takes commitment, hours and hours of practicing and studying and learning. Sometimes, we forget that a champion becomes a champion through hard work and sacrifice. It's not easy and we give up a lot to pursue our dream. But when you cross that finish line, end that musical piece, receive your diploma or see the book you've written on the store shelves you know that it's because of your hard work. It wasn't handed to you. You and only you could make it happen through sheer determination and perseverance. A champion lives in each of you. Have the courage to embrace the challenge and the tenacity to stick with it at its most difficult times.    

Monday, November 15, 2010

A minute list

Use one word to describe the following. Mine is in ()'s. Copy and paste list into comments and add yours. Should only take a minute.
Hat (wool)
Purse (floral)
Nails (sparkly)
Beard (bushy)
Ears (pointy)
Mug (cracked)
Cookie (crumbly)
Car (scratched)
Dog (yappy)
Cat (sneaky)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Just have to smile

Calvin : You can't just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood.
Hobbes : What mood is that?
Calvin : Last-minute panic.

Gosh, I miss these two!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Quote of the day

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." --Winston Churchill
Have courage, my friends, to get up when you fall and try again when you fail.  Have a super weekend:)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Writing exercise

Describe something in your purse or backpack or whatever you carry your stuff in WITHOUT naming the item. Let's see if we can guess the item based on how well you describe it. I'll start.
Faces flutter by as I flip page after page, taking me back to a time of toothless grins and skinned knees. What am I?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Quote of the day

"Nothing you write, if you hope to be any good, will ever come out as you first hoped." --Lillian Helman

This quote always makes me smile. I'm revising the first book I ever wrote after digging it out and dusting it off. The characters won't leave me alone so I decided to hang out with them for awhile to see where they lead me. When I read what I wrote so many years ago, I feel foolish that I ever thought it was good enough to query. How about you? Do you feel this way when you read something you queried long ago and realize that it wasn't near where it needed to be? Honestly, I think I've made probably every mistake a writer can make: queried too soon, didn't research the market or the agents as well as I should have and the list goes on. Hopefully I've learned and grown a lot since then. What about you?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Quote of the day

"Failure? I never encountered it. All I ever met were temporary setbacks."
--Dottie Walters
See, this is what I'm talking about, peeps. It's a matter of perspective. Positive always kicks Negative's butt. (Smiles) Have a wonderful week full of wishes and wackiness.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

How beautiful ...

(For Shelly, with love)

Dear Ella,
I wish you would have been with me in church today. The choir sang “How Beautiful” and tears pooled in my eyes. My heart fluttered as if it were being carried to heaven by their joyful voices. I caught my breath and reached for your hand, and then I remembered you were working. I hope that when I’m gone, you will find beauty in death, joy in sorrow, hope in despair. That you love with all your heart, even when it’s been broken. And that when you fall, you get back up and when you fail, you try again. Life, Ella, is truly beautiful despite the ugliness that tries to choke it.
Love you bunches and bunches, Grandma

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Where the wired things are

So I’m sitting at my laptop and to the right of me is my Droid and to the left of me is my Ipad and I’m using all three simultaneously. My son comes into the room and comments on all of the gadgets I’m using and it’s then that I realize how wired I am. How wired are you?

Let’s have some fun. You know you’re wired when:
  • You return to a place you just left because you realize you forgot to check in on Foursquare and you totally want the points, not to mention another mayorship.
Now your turn.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Quote of the day

"Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning." --Gloria Steinem

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What is your Field of Dreams?

I love the movie Field of Dreams for so many reasons. I love that it's about a guy who hears a voice and listens to that voice despite the naysayers trying to drown it out. And there are so many great quotes. Here are a few of my favs.

Ray Kinsella: Fifty years ago, for five minutes you came within... y-you came this close. It would KILL some men to get so close to their dream and not touch it. God, they'd consider it a tragedy.
Dr. Archibald "Moonlight" Graham: Son, if I'd only gotten to be a doctor for five minutes... now that would have been a tragedy.

Dr. Archibald "Moonlight" Graham: You know we just don't recognize the most significant moments of our lives while they're happening. Back then I thought, well, there'll be other days. I didn't realize that that was the only day.

Ray Kinsella: I'm 36 years old, I love my family, I love baseball and I'm about to become a farmer. But until I heard the voice, I'd never done a crazy thing in my whole life.

So, do you hear a voice? Does it keep you going even when the dream to which it speaks seems distant and out of reach? Sometimes, in the quiet of the night, when I'm not quite asleep, I hear the voice and it cradles me and rocks me to sleep. It's that voice I remember when the daylight brings challenges and frustrations and the road to publication seems riddled with obstacles too many to overcome. How about you? Do you hear the voice? 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Contest alert

Here's an early heads-up on November's Secret Agent Contest.  This month's contest is for adult fiction, all genres (including SFF) and Literary YA. The contest will open Nov. 8. Details here.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Be hungry for life

Be hungry for life. I meet too many people who lack a hunger for life and I always think it’s so sad. They don’t live life. They don’t experience life. They just go on, day to day, getting up in the morning and going to bed at night and filling the hours in between with a nothingness that leaves their hearts empty. I met a guy recently and he was lost. Very lost.  He thought maybe he should do this or maybe he should do that and he ended up doing nothing at all. Maybe he feared failure. Or rejection. Maybe he didn’t have the confidence to try and so instead he stayed in the hole he had so carefully dug because there he felt safe and secure. But all it took was an outstretched hand to pull him out of the hole and be the light he needed to find his way. If you feel like the guy in the hole, my hand is reaching toward you. You are important. You do matter. People do care. Believe in yourself and allow others to believe in you, too.  Life is too precious to not live it with everything you’ve got. Life is good and bad and happy and sad and tough and easy. But when you have a hunger for life, when you live it and breathe it with every ounce of your soul, you will feel gloriously alive. And that, my friend, is a grand thing. As Grandma D always said: Live life. Don’t watch it from the sidelines. Get in the game and play your best. The winner is not always the brightest or the best but the one who, despite all the obstacles, doesn’t quit. Be hungry for life – always.    

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Quote of the day

"Sit down every day and DO IT. Writing is a self-taught craft; the more you work at it, the more skilled you become. And when you're not writing, READ." --Lois Duncan
What is one thing you wrote that you are really proud of?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Contest alert: YA

Here's a great opportunity for those of you who write YA. Serendipity Literary Agency, along with Sourcebooks and Gotham Writers' Workshop, is holding its second Young Adult Novel Discovery Competition. Get the skinny here. And good luck to all who enter.

The Forest for the Trees

"[I]t's the child writer who has figured out, early on, that writing is about saving your soul." — Betsy Lerner (Forest For The Trees)
I just bought Lerner's revised and updated book and can't wait to read it. Have you read it? If you have, did you like it?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Quote of the day

"Be of good cheer. Do not think of today's failures,
but of the success that may come tomorrow.
You have set yourselves a difficult task,
but you will succeed if you persevere;
and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles.
Remember, no effort that we make
to attain something beautiful is ever lost."
--Helen Keller
I couldn't have said it any better myself.

Monday, October 25, 2010

You make a difference

Pastor Greg had a great sermon Sunday. He asked if we had to write our life story, what would we say? Would we say that we led a good life? Helped people? Made a difference in this world?
Pastor talked about the apostle Paul and his difficult journey. This dude (my words, not his) went from persecuting Christians to becoming what many consider the most influential evangelist in history. So how did Paul deal with the result of his conversion? He was probably treated like crap by those he had been after, and yet he kept going.
I wanted to share with you a little bit about what Pastor Greg said because I think that we can apply it to our own lives. So, here’s my attempt at summarizing what I remember from his sermon.
1. Pastor said that people without a purpose are people without a destination. Whether your purpose is to be a mother or a teacher or a writer, a purpose gives you a reason to keep going because you know it’s the right thing to do. Paul clearly had a purpose. I think if you’re reading this blog, you do, too.
2. Pastor said that you can make a difference. Don’t listen to the naysayers of this world. Listen to your heart and listen to what God is telling you. You are a child of God. You have a purpose. You make a difference. You never know whose life you’re going to change or how they might change your life.
3. Accept your weaknesses. Where we can’t do, God picks up. Let God be your strength. Pastor Greg said to remember that “I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.” Let God be part of your life. You never know what will happen. You never know that when you’re saving someone’s life, they might be saving your’s. That’s the adventure of living the Gospel, he says.

So Sharon and Sheri and Nat and Candyland and Marissa and Martina and Marcy and Lanita and ALL of my other friends who bless me with your kind words and support, I think that each of you has a purpose. That you do make a difference. And that the world is a better place because you're in it. Have a terrific week and I hope it brings good things to everyone.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Have a terrific weekend

I've been thinking Hobbes --"
"On a weekend?"
"Well, it wasn't on purpose..."
--Calvin & Hobbes

Hope you have a happy weekend!

Charity auction update

And the great books from area authors keep coming.Just received from the awesome James McClure two autographed copies of In the Thick of the Fight and the entire local history series that includes: East of Gettysburg, Almost Forgotten, In the Thick of the Fight, Nine Months in York Town and Never to be Forgotten.Thanks Jim. Previous charity posts here and here.

You can also find posts from me:

Hey peeps, here are some of the other places you can find me. I would love to have you follow or become a fan of these Facebook pages and Twitter accounts.

FACEBOOK (included some posts below)



Two of my posts from Smartmama Facebook:
1. Hubs and I are going to renew our vows next year for our 25th anniversary (Yeah, I know. Can't believe he survived my quirkiness all those years!). We're considering doing it at Disney (which we love) at the Polynesian or the Grand Floridian. Or, maybe a cruise (which we also love). Our sons will be going, too. I want ...them to be a part of this. Hubs says it's up to me (great guy!) So, what would you choose? --Buffy
2. So I was at a meeting last night and they were talking about students dancing inappropriately at a school sponsored event. What is it with grinding anyway? Seriously, there's no place for this overtly sexual style of dancing at a school function. Do you agree? Or do you think it's the in trend, like jitterbug and disco... were? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Am I just too old-fashion? --Buffy

Two of my posts from Letseatpa Facebook:
1. So I come home after working out at the Y and it's almost 9 and all I can think about is sipping a Bud Light Lime. Something tells me that's not a good idea, though, so instead I eat a bowl of Cheerios and two pieces of 15-grain bread ... AND then I drink the beer. --Buffy
2. So the Oreos are calling my name. "Just one," they say. I'm like, "but I can't because if I eat one then I'll eat 2 and 3 and..." What I need are some low calorie snacks that taste good and are filling when the Oreos start partying in the bag and want me to join in. So tell me, what snacks do you have that are low in ...calories but satisfy my sweet tooth? --Buffy
Oh, forgot to mention, we run Twitter and Facebook contests with really cool prizes.

Contest alert

The seventh Dear Lucky Agent contest of the Guide to Literary Agents blog is for young adult. Woo-hoo! Here are the details and good luck to all who enter. Contest ends Nov. 3.

Quote of the day

"Read, read, read. Read everything—trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the most. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out the window." -William Faulkner

I'll end the week with this great quote. I hope you all have a fantastic weekend.  Oh, and in case you missed my Facebook post about getting an Ipad, here it is:

So, hubs got me an Ipad for Christmas. (Happy dance) Well, technically, I bought the Ipad. And Christmas seemed like a good excuse. And hubs was like, "Get one if you want one." And I'm like, "Oh, yeah, I will." Ordered it one day and it came the next. Then I called hubs and told him thanks and he says, "glad you like it." Gotta love that man. Anyway...--Buffy

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Quote of the day

"Be yourself. Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe, shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish.” --John Jakes

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

History books added to auction

 Two more great autographed books for charity auction from Scott Mingus: Human Interest Stories of the Gettysburg Campaign and Human Interest Stories of the Gettysburg Campaign Volume II. Awesome stuff!
To see what I've collected so far, check here.  If you'd like to donate an item, please e-mail me, Thanks everyone for all you're doing.

Baker's dozen agent auction

What can be more fun than agents bidding on contest entries. Get the skinny here.  
And good luck to all who enter. I hope you win!

Just for fun

This idea popped into my head and I thought it would be way fun to try. Here's the deal. I write a word and the next person (in comments) writes a new word that begins with the last letter of my word. Confused yet?
So, for example, let's say I write "sleep" (cause I'm so needing it *SMILES*), the first person to respond could write "pepper" in comments (p was the last letter in sleep). The next person could write "run" (r is  last letter in pepper) and the next could write "nonsense" and so on. Just remember to base your word on the last letter of the previous word, which if people join in, you'd find in the last comment posted. So, here goes. The word I'm starting with is:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A minute list

Write one adjective to describe the following. Mine is in ()'s. Copy and paste list in comments and add your answers.
1. Floor (creaky)
2. Book (tattered)
3. Pencil (dull)
4. Macaroni (cold)
5. Water (muddy)
6. Apple (bruised)
7. Lip (pierced)
8. Purse (stuffed) 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Quote of the day

"Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up." --Anne Lamott

I know that many of you have hope that if you keep writing and learning and honing your craft that the dawn will come. I also know that waiting for the dawn is difficult when the Monster of Rejection keeps poking its ugly head into your dreams. But don't give up.

I remember when my sons were training for their black belts the Master told them that very few students attain that level. He told them to remember the first day they started Tang Soo Do. White belts flooded the dojo. Over the years, many students who had started with them dropped out. Some made it to orange belt; others to green or another color. But only a couple stuck with the rigorous training schedule that would eventually lead them to the ultimate test.
After years of training, both of them earned their black belts. It wasn’t easy. It was probably the most challenging and difficult thing they have ever done. Yes, there were times when they were tired and felt like giving up. But they didn't. Yes, they failed belt tests, but they learned from their failures and trained harder. 
Only those who want the dream, who can taste it and feel it and pour their heart and soul and sweat into it, will succeed. You see, they have this intangible little something deep inside of them that whispers in the quiet of the night or seeps into the free minutes of their day and says: keep going, one step at a time, keep going. That next step might just be the one. The dawn is right around the corner, waiting to welcome you.
I hope that each of you has a great week filled with hope and promise and, most of all, love.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Charity auction update

My dear awesome friend Sharon Mayhew is donating some scrapbooking supplies. Woo hoo! Thanks so much Sharon.
Also, received nine autographed copies of Pearls Before Swine comic books from the awesome cartoonist Stephan Pastis.
Thanks so much for your contributions.
What I have now:
  • Autographed copy of "Spoken from the Heart" by Laura Bush.
  • Autographed copy of "How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack" by Chuck Sambuchino
  • Autographed copy of "Shifter" by Janice Hardy.
  • Autographed copy of "We Hear The Dead" from YA author Dianne Salerni.
If you would like to donate to this worthy event, please e-mail me ( And thanks peeps for all of the support.

    Friday, October 15, 2010

    Query Tracker contest

    Here's the skinny on the latest contest from the Query Tracker blog:
    Agent Joan Paquette from the Erin Murphy Literary Agency will judge the entries. Contest begins at 9 a.m. Oct. 27 and ends at 9 a.m. Oct. 28. It is for completed children's picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, or young adult novels.Good luck to everyone who enters.

    Blog tour: Janice Hardy

    I'm super excited to have YA author Janice Hardy here today. Janice is the author of THE SHIFTER and its newly released sequel, BLUE FIRE, part of the fantasy trilogy, THE HEALING WARS. I love, love, love Janice's blog and if you have never checked it out, you're missing something special. She's always giving great advice, often using her own work as examples. And she graciously allows me to repost her blog posts on (with links back to her blog, of course) in order that Inkwell members won't miss her great advice. Check out her website when you have a chance and don't miss these great reads. Oh, almost forgot. Janice lives in Georgia with her husband, three cats and one very nervous freshwater eel.

    And now, I give you author Janice Hardy. (APPLAUSE)
    Changing the World One Word at a Time. Kinda.
    Every event I do, someone usually asks me if I’m trying to say “something profound” with my books. The “something” changes per asker, but it’s always along the lines of a grand theme, political statement, or a commentary on the way the world works: Is the Healers’ League a metaphor for the health care crisis? Is the pynvium a symbol for oil and how our natural resources are drying up? Are the war orphans a statement on kids struggling with working or single parents?
    I always say no, and this seems to surprise folks.
    Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to be one of those writers with “something to say,” but my goal when I sit down to write a story is to tell a great story. I want to whisk a reader away and wrap my world and story around them and give them an opportunity to lose a few hours in literary bliss. The same things good books have always done for me.
    However, I know that inspiration comes from everywhere. I don’t think it’s possible to write a story without the reality of the outside world creeping in, even on a subconscious level. So while I don’t plan for a greater meaning, or for anything I make up in my troubled fantasy world to be more than me causing trouble for my characters, I’m not surprised that some readers read more into it. I draw from what’s around me, so naturally current events might influence me. Same as current events influence readers.
    And that tickles me to no end.
    Because we find meaning all around us, same as inspiration. A topic we’re thinking about or struggling with suddenly pops out from the most unlikely places and gets us thinking. Our minds are looking for these connections so we can make sense of things. And one great way to explore an idea is to read about it or something similar.
    By creating conflicts in stories, authors can give readers excuses to think about things in an abstract way. It’s a lot easier to debate a topic when it’s part of a fantasy world, or a made up town, or happening to pretend people. It’s safe. There’s no judgment. You can try on a strange idea and see how it fits. Some ideas will resonate with you, others will wig you out, but that’s okay. Stories open up a dialog—be it with yourself, your family, or your friends. And talking about stuff is good for the soul.
    Which is maybe why authors love delving into tough topics that make people think. Because we’re also trying to figure things out, and through our stories, we get to be part of those conversations. And if one of those people goes on to change the world, well, maybe something we wrote helped make that difference.
    Books are like that. Once they leave our imaginations they create imaginings of their own.

    About BLUE FIRE: Part fugitive, part hero, fifteen-year-old Nya is barely staying ahead of the Duke of Baseer’s trackers. Wanted for a crime she didn’t mean to commit, she risks capture to protect every Taker she can find, determined to prevent the Duke from using them in his fiendish experiments. But resolve isn’t enough to protect any of them, and Nya soon realizes that the only way to keep them all out of the Duke’s clutches is to flee Geveg. Unfortunately, the Duke’s best tracker has other ideas.
    Nya finds herself trapped in the last place she ever wanted to be, forced to trust the last people she ever thought she could. More is at stake than just the people of Geveg, and the closer she gets to uncovering the Duke’s plan, the more she discovers how critical she is to his victory. To save Geveg, she just might have to save Baseer—if she doesn’t destroy it first.
    Buy Blue Fire here.

    Wednesday, October 13, 2010

    Update on charity auction items

    I will be collecting items for my church charity auction to benefit the local food bank for the next couple of months. I want to thank all of these great authors for their donations and encourage others to prayerfully consider my request for help. 
    1.Autographed copy of "Spoken from the Heart" by Laura Bush
    2. Autographed copy of "How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack" by Chuck Sambuchino
    3. Autographed copy of "Shifter" by Janice Hardy. 
    4. Autographed copy of "We Hear The Dead" by Dianne Salerni. 
    Thank you for your generosity and blessings to each of you, Buffy 
    P.S. Contact me if you're willing to donate an item:) 

    Social media and you

    Anyone who knows me knows that I love social media. I juggle multiple Facebook accounts and probably about a dozen Twitter accounts in addition to my blog. And this is all in addition to my work as an editor leading a department that produces two glossy magazines, a daily newspaper features section, a weekly entertainment magazine, multiple websites, e-newsletters, and various other niche products. In my role as social media coordinator, I see the value of these various platforms and the need to expand our digital footprint.  We are no longer just a newspaper. We are a media company, and one of the things we happen to do is publish a daily newspaper. But, we are so much more.
    As the industry reinvents itself, we are finding more ways to connect with our readers and bring them the news and information they want in the way they want to receive it -- whether that's via mobile or website or the traditional core product. Not only are readers consuming news and information via a variety of platforms, journalists are using these same platforms to gather and report the news.
    As an author, social media plays an important role as well. Social media tools allow us to connect with our readers and publish our work in ways that authors 50 years ago could never have imagined. While I  might prefer the physical book, I understand and appreciate that a new generation of readers might prefer to receive and read this same book in a digital format. In today's constantly changing world, there is room for both.
    Don't run away from technology. Don't let it frighten you. Embrace it. Push its boundaries and learn how to effectively use social media tools. And, heck, have fun with these tools. Those who learn how to navigate this new media landscape, who understand it and run with it will be out in front. Let's run this marathon together!
    What social media tools do you use to connect with your readers, fellow writers etc.? Is there one you particularly like?

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010

    Quote of the day

    "We become what we think about all day long."

    --Ralph Waldo Emerson
    So what do you think about? What is your passion? What do you want to be doing five years from now and how are you going about achieving it? Tough questions, I know. But I don't think it's enough to have a goal in mind. You have to have a plan of action. How are you going to get from point A to point Z because you know all of those darn letters in between are going to raise hell and give you grief and pull you in every direction but the one you want to go in. So, how will you deal with these challenges and do you believe enough in yourself and your talent to persevere even when it would be way easier to give up? The thing about life is that it's never easy. Sometimes, most times, it's downright difficult. But it's what we think about all day long. It's what gets us up in the wee hours of the morning and keeps us up late at night that will be the driving force behind our success. Believe and it will be.

    Sunday, October 10, 2010

    Pieces of the past: Postcards

    I found these awesomely cool postcards that belonged to my hub’s grandmother while I was digging through some boxes in the basement. These postcards are more than 100 years old. Wow! They are absolutely beautiful. The ones I posted here are all Christmas postcards. I found some Easter ones, too. And get this. They are addressed to Jessie May Truman, Lucas, Iowa. That’s it. There is no street address. No route number. Just Jessie’s name and the town she lived in. I never even heard of Lucas, Iowa, but I’m guessing that in 1910, it was probably a pretty small place where everyone knew everyone else. The postcards have a one-cent stamp on them. Anyway, I just love when I find these pieces of the past. Jessie married my husband’s grandfather, Chester Gross, who was a U.S. congressman. They met in Washington, D.C., where Jessie worked for a congressman from Iowa. She was also the first female mayor of York, Pa. Grandma Jessie was a first class lady all the way. I'm blessed to have had the opportunity to know her.

    Another piece of the past: Check out this link for a picture of me when I was 2 ½. My mom and I were featured in the newspaper. Notice the glass milk bottle. At the time this picture was taken, milk was home delivered by the milkman to the tin milk box on the back porch.
    Do you have any old things that make you smile?

    Thursday, October 7, 2010

    Making a difference

    We go about living life doing what we do and not giving it much thought. It’s who we are. We might volunteer at church or at school. We might compliment the cashier when we buy our morning coffee or send a hand-written note to tell someone we’re thinking of them. We might hold open the door for the lady using the walker or help the young mom at the checkout who thought she had another five in her wallet.
    But I’ll tell you a secret. People are watching, we just don’t know it.
    True story. A friend of mine lost his job. Guess what? He was quickly offered a better job making more money. Turns out that my friend, who was active in the community, was being watched by the owner of a company. The owner saw the good things he was doing and thought, “There’s someone I’d like to have on my staff.” When the company owner called my friend and offered him a job, he was blown away. He had no idea that the owner had been watching him. He was living his life doing what he always did, not for accolades or because there was something in it for him, but because it was the right thing to do.

    Another true story. The other week I was at the YMCA. This young woman came up to me and told me that she had been watching me work out and how I had inspired her to lose weight. She said something like, “I see you working so hard. You don’t care what you look like (picture a wet dog). You are just doing your thing and I think, ‘Look at her go. I’m gonna try.” She thanked me. I had no idea that she had been watching me or that I had inspired her by my rather intense workouts and not-so-pretty appearance. (Smiles) So now when I go to the Y and she’s there, she runs up to tell me how many minutes she’s been able to walk on the treadmill. At first, it was 5 minutes. I encourage her to add another minute and not to give up. We talk about how she can make better food choices. And I’m so grateful that she said something to me because now I can encourage and support her in her efforts. One of the saddest things I ever heard someone say was that their goal was to lose enough weight so they could go to an amusement park and get on the rides with their kids. Wow. Just writing it brings tears to my eyes.
    So what’s the point of this post? I guess to remind all of us that our actions can make a difference. There are far too many people in this world who want to know what’s in it for them. And here’s the truth that they will never know because they are incapable of seeing beyond themselves: It’s not all about you or me. It’s about everyone.
    I want to live the kind of life that I can be proud of. That doesn’t mean I don’t make mistakes. I make them every day. That doesn’t me I make all the right choices. I’ve made plenty of bad ones. It means that I try to do the right thing. That I try to help others and give back to the community when I can. I hope that you do, too.
    If the spirit moves you, I'm looking for charity auction items. Details here.

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010

    Quote of the day

    "I don’t know if the optimists or the pessimists are right. But the optimists are going to get something done." --Craig Venter
    So which are you? An optimist or a pessimist? 

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010

    Charity auction donations

    So, I'm collecting items for a charity auction I'm involved with every year through my church. The proceeds benefit a local food bank. My friends and I have been doing this auction for more than 10 years, and we have raised thousands of dollars. If the spirit moves you, I'd love to have your help. So far, I have an autographed copy of "Spoken from the Heart" by Laura Bush (read about my dinner with her here) and "How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack" by the awesome Chuck Sambuchino. Many of you know Chuck from his role as editor of Guide to Literary Agents and the author of Formatting and Submitting Your Manuscript. He also maintains the Guide to Literary Agents blog. Anyway, if you'd like to donate an autographed copy of your book or an illustration or anything at all, I would love to have it. Just e-mail me ( and I can tell you where to send it. Also, please include your mailing address so we can send you a thank-you note. And thank you to everyone who considers this request. It's a great way to help others. Blessings, Buffy

    Stephen King quotes

    “Must you write complete sentences each time, every time? Perish the thought”
               “Books are a uniquely portable magic”
    "When asked, "How do you write?" I invariably answer, "one word at a time."
    "Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”

    Monday, October 4, 2010

    Contest alert

    Here's the skinny on the October Secret Agent Contest, which begins Oct. 11. This month's contest will
     include the following genres: Adult commercial fiction (NO SF/F) and young adult. Good luck to everyone who enters. Details here.

    A minute list

    List two things you wonder about. And if anyone knows the answer to what someone wonders, share in comments.
    I'll start, I wonder:
    --why dogs likes to stick their heads out of car windows when the cars are moving?
    --when I go to the movies, which arm rest is mine?
    Now, you’re turn.

    “Wondering's healthy. Broadens the mind. Opens you up to all sorts of stray thoughts and possibilities.” --
    Charles de Lint

    Sunday, October 3, 2010

    A mustard seed size faith

    In Pastor Greg’s sermon today, he talked about faith. He talked about how Jesus told his apostles, when they asked him to increase their faith, that they didn’t need a large amount of faith. A mustard seed size would do. What Jesus was trying to tell them in this parable is that it doesn’t take great faith to produce great results. That the results don’t depend on us; they depend on God. Have faith that God will give you what you need to move mountains and uproot trees.
    I’ve always loved this parable. It’s so simple and yet so profound. A mustard seed is a speck, one of the tiniest seeds in the whole world. And yet, look at what it can become if we only believe.

    Friday, October 1, 2010

    Quote of the day

    "Where the heart is willing, it will find a thousand ways. Where it is unwilling, it will find a thousand excuses." --Arlen Price
    Sooo true. I thought of this quote the other day when I was complaining (to myself) about not having enough time to write. I didn't find a thousand ways to get more time, but I did find a few. Does this quote speak to you? If so, in what way?

    Wednesday, September 29, 2010

    A minute list

    Copy and paste this list and write a descriptive word or phrase for each. Mine is in ()’s.
    Pumpkin (smooth)
    Apple (tart)
    Leaf (crimson red)
    Air (smoky)
    Parade (noisy)
    Bonfire (crackling)
    Football player (tattoo crown of thorns wraps around his bicep)
    Night (starry)
    Cheerleader (pigtail flopping)
    Bleacher (covered with red plaid blanket)

    Tuesday, September 28, 2010

    Dreams that speak to us

    I had the craziest dream the other night and I can’t seem to get it out of my head. I silently prayed while kneeling at the Communion rail. At the end of the church service, the pastor “found” a bundle of envelopes on the lectern. There was an envelope for each congregant. When I opened mine, I found the answer to my prayer. But how? I wondered. It’s not like the pastor heard my prayer (and everyone else’s) and scrambled to write these notes in the few minutes between Communion ending and the service concluding. Chatter erupted as each person opened their envelope and found just what they needed. One woman, tears streaming from her eyes, fell to her knees. A man clutched his heart and was visibly shaken. I scratched my head trying to make sense of it all but I couldn’t wrap my brain around it. So, there you have it. What do you think the dream meant?
    Don't forget to share your inspirational moment here.

    Monday, September 27, 2010

    Quote of the day

    "If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place." --Nora Roberts

    What is it that you want most in life? Share your top three answers.

    Sunday, September 26, 2010

    Some inspirational moments

    I had dinner with former First Lady Laura Bush on Thursday. She was in town to speak at a Junior League event. What a gracious lady. First class all the way. When I introduced myself, she said, “Oh, what a cute name.” After her speech, I shook her hand (and gave her a half hug after telling her “I’m a hugger”) and she said, “Oh, I remember you because of your cute name.” I really enjoyed her speech. Like her book, "Spoken from the Heart" (which I received an autographed copy of), her speech was from the heart. Hearing her talk about the days following 9/11 brought tears to my eyes. And listening as she shared wonderful family moments made me laugh at times. I was so inspired that evening by her graciousness and thankful for the opportunity to meet her in person. What a wonderful memory for me.
    I was golfing today with my husband when I realized that behind us were two guys. Nothing special about that, I know. But one of the men was missing an arm. And man could he hit that golf ball. I couldn’t help but be inspired by this man who didn’t let his disability keep him from doing something he so obviously loved.
    Do you have any inspirational moments you'd like to share? I'd love to read them.

    Friday, September 24, 2010

    Harry Potter trailer

    Can't wait!

    Finding just the right word

    "The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug." --Mark Twain
    Whenever I'm editing one of my reporter's stories, I start with a wide angle lens. I start by ask big picture questions. Are there any holes in the story? Did the writer raise any questions for the reader that he/she doesn't answer? Is the story fair? Balanced? Are all sides represented? Does the story structure work? Does the beginning hook the reader? What about the rhythm? Is there variation in sentence and paragraph lengths? And it goes on and on.
    Eventually, I look at each word. I'm looking for precision. Is the word the writer used the best word to convey the message or meaning? Using the right word at the right time helps determine how a story is interpreted. One of the things I always look at hard are verbs. Too often people use weak verbs figuring that adverbs will save them. But watch the adverbs and adjectives.
    What about you? Do you look for precision in your own writing? Do you circle all of your verbs and then go back and see if you can make them stronger?

    Thursday, September 23, 2010

    A minute list

    Copy and paste the list below into comments and write a word or phrase to describe each thing. My answers are in ()’s. Have fun. Should take no more than a minute.
    Eyebrows (bushy)
    Eyelid (saggy)
    Neck (thick)
    Fingernails (chewed)
    Fingers (stubby)
    Morning (foggy)
    Night (crisp)
    Child’s book (smeared with peanut butter and jelly)
    Pencil (metallic pink with gold specks)
    Cup of coffee (luke warm)

    Wednesday, September 22, 2010

    New contest alert

    Just what you've been waiting for: The Sixth "Dear Lucky Agent Contest" for paranormal romance and urban fantasy. Get all of the details  here.

    Quote of the day

    "Don't aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally." --David Frost
    A great story from someone who didn't give up.

    Have you done the show, don't tell exercise yet? If not, try a sentence now. Go here.

    Tuesday, September 21, 2010

    Another new agent alert

    From Dystel and Goderich Literary Management blog: John Rudolph is the newest agent at Dystel and Goderich Literary Management. Previously, John was Executive Editor at G. P. Putnam’s Son’s in their children’s and young adult imprints. Before that he was Associate Editor for Young Readers at Simon & Schuster. He graduated from Amherst College.
    John will begin agenting in the categories of children’s, middle grade and young adult—both fiction and non-fiction—since these are categories with which he is familiar. He is hoping, however, to branch out into men’s fiction, pop culture, music, sports and humor.
    Details here.
    Also, other post on new agents here.