Saturday, July 31, 2010

A great mashup

This is brilliant and fun! A mashup of "Toy Story" and "Inception"

Friday, July 30, 2010

From the silver screen

Just for fun:)

"I once asked this literary agent what kind of writing paid the best. He said, “Ransom notes.”" - Gene Hackman in Get Shorty

“You can't be a proper writer without a touch of madness, can you?” -- Kate Winslet as Madeleine in Quills

“Like anything worth writing, it came inexplicably and without method.” --Emma Thompson in Stranger Than Fiction

Which quote do you like the best?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Quote of the day

"Write your first draft with your heart. Re-write with your head." --From the movie Finding Forrester
Are you able to do this? Or are you one of those people who revise as you write, hating to move on to the next chapter until you feel the one you're working on is perfect? What works for you and why?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

When yesterday becomes today

“Growing up is never easy. You hold on to things that were. You wonder what's to come. But that night, I think we knew it was time to let go of what had been, and look ahead to what would be. Other days. New days. Days to come. The thing is, we didn't have to hate each other for getting older. We just had to forgive ourselves... for growing up.” The Wonder Years
Just yesterday, I was rocking my baby boy while singing a sweet lullaby.
Just yesterday, I was frantically searching for Thomas the Tank engines and Star Wars figurines.
Just yesterday, I was planning birthday parties and sleepovers and play dates in the park.
Somehow yesterday became today.
Today, we are choosing senior pictures and preparing for that final year of high school.
Today, we are preparing college applications, exploring where he will spend the next four years of his life.
Today, we are learning that letting go means looking ahead – even if it’s scary and uncertain.
And, well, tonight, tears pool in my eyes as I ache to cradle my baby in my arms and protect him from all that is bad in this world.
Letting go is never easy, even when we know it’s the right thing to do.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Quote of the day

"Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy." --Norman Vincent Peale,

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mockingjay trailer

Can't wait until Aug. 24 for Mockingjay to arrive in stores. What's going to happen to our beloved Katniss? Are you just as psyched for the finale in the Hunger Games trilogy?

Quote of the day

"No, it's not a very good story — its author was too busy listening to other voices to listen as closely as he should have to the one coming from inside." --Stephen King

I think this is a great quote. We shouldn't write what we think others want us to write. We should listen to the voice and write the story that only we can write. "Out, damned voices! out, I say!"

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Another chance meeting?

The day after I met the man from California on the bench watching the sailboats (read yesterday's post) I met another man from California at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. He was a park ranger, probably pushing 60. I learned that his wife, who couldn’t have any children, died years ago. He had remembered that as a boy, one of his dreams was to become a park ranger. So, about a year after his beloved passed away, he applied to the National Park Service. He was a successful businessman but this dream, which had been dormant for years, called to him. So off to Alaska he went on his first job as a park ranger. He loved Alaska. It was a piece of heaven. Breathtakingly beautiful. Wished he would have went back for a second year. After Alaska, he worked in Virginia and eventually ended up in Washington, where he has worked for the past five years. Listening to him describe his dream and his journey, you could see the passion and excitement in his eyes. He was living his dream. It had taken him many years to realize, and there were many twists and turns along the way. But he finally was doing something he had always wanted to do. And he was bursting with pride and happiness. (In case you’re wondering, he did talk to me about the monument, which is why he was there in the first place. I just happened to be the only person who was there to listen and like any good journalist, asked tons of questions. I can’t help myself, I guess.)

Our meeting was chance, or was it?

For the second day in a row I had met a man who shared a piece of his life with a complete stranger. As I walked away from both men, thanking them for sharing their stories, it occurred to me that each had a message. For the first man, it was about not quitting, not giving up. For the second man, it was about following your dreams. Two powerful, uplifting messages that gave me hope.

Have you had chance meetings like this? People you meet and afterward you think: “I was supposed to meet this person today.”

I think about all of the people I have met through this blog and other sites, and I feel blessed that we are able to help each other on our literary journeys. Yes, we get down. Yes, we feel like giving up some days. But we won’t because we can’t. Like the first man, quitting is not an option. And like the second man, we must follow our dreams.

I want to thank each of you who visit my blog every day and give me hope and encouragement.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A chance meeting?

I sat on a bench to watch some sailboats and chatted with a man sitting on a nearby bench. I learned that he was born in 1926 in California to a Chinese father (who came here to seek a medical education but was told that even if he completed the course work would not be awarded the degree because he was a foreigner) and American mother (who taught in a one-room schoolhouse in Minnesota). He told me how horrible it was growing up a “half-breed.” He said that he and his siblings were tormented and ridiculed. The wounds might have healed, but it was evident the scars had remained. He told me about his wife, who had died, and his children. He told me how he walks five miles in the morning and rides his scooter in the afternoon. How his grandkids spend most of their time in front of a computer playing games with people all over the world. He marveled at that. At one point he just stopped and looked at me and said: “Why am I telling you all of this.” I just smiled, and he kept going. He talked about the jobs he held and the businesses he owned. He told me how he failed over and over again but just kept going. “You don’t fail unless you quit,” he said. We talked some more and when he left I had to smile. Our meeting was chance, or was it?

I believe that people are put in our lives for a reason. I needed to hear his message: “You don’t fail unless you quit.” I’ve been feeling a little down lately, wondering if I should hang it up and concentrate on other things. I know that we all feel like this from time to time. Truth is, I don’t want to keep trying to get over the wall if there’s no way I’m going to be successful. Maybe there’s another wall for me. I read a book recently in which the author said that it’s all right to quit. That successful people are quitters. They quit what they are not good at to focus on what they are. For example, I might try playing the violin and learn that it’s just not the right instrument for me. So maybe I try the flute and find that I’m more successful playing the flute. I quit the violin to find something that I’m better at. And if it’s not playing the flute, maybe it’s playing a sport or writing. What do you think? Are people successful because they quit those things they were not good at? And when do you know that you aren’t good at something? Are rejections the yardstick by which we measure? I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of this. It’s been rolling around in my brain and I’m trying to make sense of it all.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

It's all about timing

“Life is all about timing... the unreachable becomes reachable, the unavailable become available, the unattainable... attainable. Have the patience, wait it out It's all about timing.” --Stacey Charter
I have very little patience so this quote speaks to me. Maybe it's the dreamer in me, but I believe that when the time is right, I will find an agent and an editor and a publisher who believes in me and my work. In the meantime, I need to keep writing and growing and learning and helping others. What about you. Do you agree with this quote? Does it speak to you?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Quote of the day

"The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon, but only to hold a man's foot long enough to enable him to put the other somewhat higher." --Thomas Henry Huxley
Someone at a recent Weight Watchers meeting said her goal was to be able to go to an amusement park and enjoy the rides with her kids. She is unable to fit in the seats. She feels embarrassed and ashamed. My heart hurt for her. What an awesome goal to have. I hope that by this time next year, she is riding the rides with her kids and having the time of her life. No matter what your goal is, don't give up. Don't rest on that bottom rung. Climb the ladder of your dreams one rung at a time. And when you get to the top, extend your hand and help another up. I'm a big believer in giving back to the community if you are able. When we give back, when we help others, we make the world better for all of us.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Incorporating symbolism

"There isn't any symbolism. The sea is the sea. The old man is an old man. The boy is a boy and the fish is a fish. The shark are all sharks no better and no worse. All the symbolism that people say is shit. What goes beyond is what you see beyond when you know." --Ernest Hemingway (Of The Old Man and the Sea)
I'm querying a novel that contains tons of symbolism. Does your work contain symbolism? Do you know that a work will contain symbolism from the outset? Is it something you incorporate as you go? Do you go back and add the symbolism when you're done? Or do you even think of this as you're writing? And, lastly, what do you think of Hemingway's quote?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Quote of the day

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand." --Albert Einstein
Do you think you have a good imagination? Share one thing that came about because of your imagination. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

Cool video

Enjoy the climb

"Love never fails; Character never quits; and with patience and persistence; Dreams do come true." --Pete Maravich

"Some men succeed because they are destined to, but most men succeed because they are determined to." --Greame Clegg

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Quote of the day

"Don't fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have." Louis E. Boone
In case you missed it, a column I wrote about failing.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Vintage English text book 1936

I love vintage books. A friend of mine (thanks Chris Otto) gave me this book published in 1936 by the American Book Company. The retail price was 59 cents. It was written by W. Wilbur Hatfield et al. This book is  packed with awesome black and white illustrations, exercises, activities and readings.

One activity is a courtesy test for boys and girls (What do you say when two of you come to a door at the same time? When you leave a party? When you have to cough or sneeze?).

There's a section on using the telephone, which includes learning what to say when Central answers. One child played the telephone operator (Central) and the other the caller. 
Mary (takes the receiver from the hook and listens)
Central. Number, please
Mary. Walnut 7642.
Mrs. Smith. This is Mrs. Smith speaking.
Mary. This is Mary Jones, Mrs. Smith. I am Jane's classmate. We are afraid she is ill.
Mrs. Smith. Jane has a slight cold, but I think she will be able to go to school tomorrow.
Mary. I am glad her cold isn't bad.
Mrs. Smith. Thank you for asking about Jane. I'll tell her you called.
Mary. Good-by, Mrs. Smith
 Mrs. Smith. Good-by, Mary.

Children learned How to use the encyclopedia (no Web then), how to write a letter and address an envelope, how to be a good citizen, how to make a moving-picture machine along with a ton of other stuff.

Do you remember your first school book. I remember Dick, Jane and Spot. Now that's one book I would love to have.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A bit of nostalgia

I’m often asked how I got my name. I was actually named after the character Buffy on the T.V. show “Family Affair.” I looked a lot like Buffy with my blond pigtails. The series, which ran from 1966 to 1971, was about a bachelor, Bill Davis, who lived in Manhattan with his butler Giles French. When Bill’s brother dies, he is left to care for his two nieces and nephew (twins Buffy and Jody, age 6, and Cissy, age 15).
    When I was little, I had a “Family Affair” metal lunch box (my first) and a Buffy doll. The doll talked when you pulled a string in her back. Oh, how I loved that lunch box and doll. 
    Do you have a favorite lunch box or doll or toy that you remember from your childhood? Oh, do share. 

Monday, July 12, 2010

"The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn, the bird waits in the egg, and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities." --James Allen

I hope that the seeds you plant flourish and enrich your life with with many blessings. Remember that seeds need both rain and sun to grow. Keep nourishing them and believing in them and they will grow to be the magnificent thing you imagined.     

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A bit of history: York Fair auction

I found this piece of yellowed paper in a box of things from my in-laws, the late Harold and Ethel Gross. The top reads: List of baby beeves to be sold at public auction at the York Fair Grounds, Friday, October. 7, 1932. Sale begins at 2:00 P.M.
From left, the columns are: Sale place, Club member, Address, Tag No. of calf, Weight, Price per Lb., Total value, Buyer.
Here are some of the club members listed: Harold Gross (my father-n-law), Nellie Gross (my husband's aunt), Dwight Kohr, Roy Rentzel, Clara Krone, Esther Brillhart, Linden Garber, Luther Garber, Clair Deisinger, Crist Musser, Paul Altland, Dorothy Martin, Verda Adams, George Shenberger, John King, Clair Stambaugh, Raymond Adams, Janet Kohr, Howard Shenberger, Crist Lamparter, Morgan Spahr, Ruth Lauer, Grayson Decker.

The price per pound and the buyer were written in pencil. Some of the buyers appear to be meat markets. They include: Fisher, L.M.M., Yost, Myers N.Y., Seachrist, M R Meat M, Winegar, May Brothers, H. Bros, etc.
I wonder if any of these club members are still living?

In October 1932,  gas cost 10 cents a gallon, a loaf of bread cost 7 cents and a pound of hamburger meat cost 10 cents.
Also in 1932:
  • In United States Presidential Election, Franklin D. Roosevelt (Democratic) Defeats Herbert Hoover (Republican) and Norman Thomas (Socialist)
  • New York Radio City Music Hall opens
  • Charles Lindbergh son is kidnapped
  • 13 million Americans are unemployed
  • World War I vets march to Washington D.C. demanding early payments of cash bonuses to help survive the Great Depression.
Another blast from the past, don't miss these two posts:   Autograph books part 1 and  Autograph books part 2

Friday, July 9, 2010

Imagination runs wild

OK. So. I was running last night when it occurred to me that I could drop over dead (it was extremely hot) and no one would know who I was. I don’t wear any identification. And then I thought about my poor kids and hubby who wouldn’t know I dropped over dead and might think I ran away because, of course, I would never return home to grab a bottle of water out of the refrigerator to drink while I walked the dog around the block and cooled down. But then maybe there would be a story in the newspaper about a Jane Doe being found along with a description of my black Nike running shorts with pink stripes, pink tank top and Saucony sneakers and my husband would recognize these clothes and realize that Jane Doe was actually me and that, of course, I would never run away because I love him and the boys too much and how could he even think that for a second and he should be ashamed of himself. But then he would have a heart attack because he was so upset and the kids would have one parent in the hospital and the other in the morgue and my husband would have to wait until he was out of the hospital to hold my funeral service in the church with all of the hymns that I wanted and... the stupid stuff I think about when I run sometimes. I’m exhausted just writing about it. Ugh! Next time, happy thoughts.

Does your imagination ever run wild? 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Stuck in the middle with WIP

    Do you ever get stuck while writing? You come to a point in your WIP and you’re not sure where to go next. What do you do? Brainstorm with another writer? Go for a long run? Read a favorite book or watch a favorite movie? What gets your creative juices flowing again?
   Always remember what Malcolm Forbes said: “Diamonds are nothing more than chunks of coal that stuck to their jobs.”
    Stick to it. Become that diamond.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Quote of the day

"The credit belongs to those who are actually in the arena, who strive valiantly; who know the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spend themselves in a worthy cause; who at the best, know the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if they fail, fail while daring greatly, so that their place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." -- Theodore Roosevelt

Monday, July 5, 2010

Contest alert

Miss Snark's Secret Agent Writing Contest just announced. The contest opens July 12 and is for Young Adult (all genres) and Contemporary Women's Fiction. Details here.

A minute list

 One thing I want to learn: sign language


One thing I want to do: vacation in Hawaii  


One thing I do that I never thought I would
  (I have very little patience): golf



        Now, your turn. 
    1. What is one thing you would like to learn?
    2. What is one thing you’d like to do?
    3. What is one thing you did that you never thought you’d do?

Saturday, July 3, 2010


I hope each of you has an awesome holiday weekend. Have fun and be safe.

Friday, July 2, 2010

My patriotic movie picks

Independence Day: One of my absolute favs because I adore Will Smith. This 1997 movie won an Oscar for best visual effects. Anytime we can whip some alien butt I'm psyched. In the movie, Smith plays Captain Steven Hiller who helps save Earth from aliens hell-bent on destroying the planet.

Born on the Fourth of July: This movie, based on the biography of Ron Kovic, won two Oscars (Best director, Oliver Stone; best film editing David Brenner and Joe Hutshing). Tom Cruise plays Kovic, a paralyzed Vietnam war vet who becomes an anti-war and pro-human rights political activist after feeling betrayed by the country he fought for.

John Adams mini series: Winner of 13 Emmy awards and four Golden Globes, this 2008 HBO mini series is about the life of John Adams and the first 50 years of the United States. Paul Giamatti portrays John Adams.

The Patriot: Peaceful farmer Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson) leads the Colonial Militia during the American Revolution after a British officer murders his son. Released in 2000.

Do you have any to add? Which is your favorite and why?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Harry Potter trailer

This is awesome. Harry Potter will end in two parts. The first comes out in November and the second next July. Can't wait.

Quote of the day

"Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope or confidence." --Helen Keller.

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being extremely confident, how would you rate your confidence as it pertains to  your writing? Share the rating and explain your choice. If the number is low, what would make it higher? Can't wait to read what you have to say.