Friday, April 30, 2010

Needed to get this off my chest

Sometimes, being in the news business is damn difficult. At least for me. And I’m not ashamed to say that the tears come, whether I want them to or not. Child abuse cases are the worst, and there seems to be a lot of them lately.
Just this past week, a judge granted a defense request to retain a forensic pathologist to review the medical files of a 3-week-old boy who authorities say was injured by his father.
And in another case, a forensic pathologist testified that a 7-year-old Russian-born boy was starved, beaten and possibly bound. His adoptive parents are accused in his death.
Those of you who read my blog regularly will remember the video I posted recently on 2-year-old Darisabel Baez who was beaten to death by her mother’s boyfriend. The weapons: a video game cord, one of the Darisabel’s hiking boots and his fists.
I can’t imagine how difficult it is for those who work in law enforcement, social services, health care and so many other careers who must deal with these horrors every day. I could never do it.
For me, being able to tell these stories gives me hope that good things will result. Maybe someone will read our story and alert authorities sooner if they suspect child abuse and a child will be saved. I suppose that’s one of the main reasons I became a journalist. I believe in telling the truth. Of holding a mirror up to the world. Not to judge, but to tell stories honestly and thoroughly and let you, our readers, decide.
Still, I cry. I cry for all of these children and so many others like them who were powerless and innocent, who never had a chance to grow up and have children of their own.
Sometimes, I get so angry that I want to punch something, anything.
I’ve considered if it would be better if I didn’t feel. If I didn’t get angry or cry. But I think not. I think that as journalists we tell the stories that need to be told. It’s who we are, what we’ve been called to do. We have no choice.
And in the reporting of these stories, I think it’s OK to cry, to be human. If we’re able to bring that human connection to our readers and have them feel too, well, then, we’ve done our job. And maybe, just maybe, it will be a story that will save a Darisabel.
Thanks for reading and allowing me to get this off my chest. Seemed like a good place to do it among followers and friends who at least get some of what I do and the person I am.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

This is the moment ...

On a roll with inspirational songs, I know.
"This is the moment. This is the time. When the momentum and the moment are in rhythm."
I hope each of you has your moment:)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

You're unstoppable

Another great song!
"Moment by moment. One step at a time. It's all within you for you to find. That you can be what you want to be. You're unstoppable. So unstoppable. Follow your heart. Believe in your dreams."

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Everyone lives for a dream...

Gotta love this song!
"You gotta want it from the bottom of your heart. You gotta give it everything you've got. You gotta live it and never let it go."
Oh yeah, baby!

Quote of the day

"The story is always better than your ability to write it. My belief about this is that if you ever get to the point that you think you’ve done a story justice, you’re in the wrong business."
Robin McKinley

Contest now open

The contest with Chris Richman of Upstart Crow Literary is now open. Mr. Richman is accepting entries (a 25-word-or-less pitch) in the Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction genres. The contest will remain open until 6:00 a.m. EST on April 28th. There is no cap on entries. To enter, you must be a follower of the QueryTracker blog. You will also need a free membership on to access the submission form. Read about contest.
And good luck to all who enter.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A minute list

You know how I like doing minute lists from time to time. These are lists that should take no more than a minute  to complete. For this list, I want you to SHOW the following. Example: Angry: clenched teeth 

Copy and paste the list into comments and give it your best shot. Remember, I want you to SHOW me, either through physical description or dialogue, a character being each of these things. Good luck! Can't wait to read what my awesome friends come up with.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

What voices are you listening to?

Pastor Greg talked about Phoebe Prince in his sermon today. Phoebe is the 15-year-old Massachusetts girl who killed herself after  months of being bullied. He talked about the voices we listen to and how we need to listen to the right voices.
My heart weeps for Phoebe and so many others like her who are listening to the wrong voices. Voices that tell them they are worthless or stupid or ugly or fat in an orchestrated campaign of hate.
As parents and educators and family and friends, we must speak out when we overhear these voices. We must do a better job of reaching people like Phoebe and tuning them into the right voices. Don't be fooled into thinking there is no pain because there are no physical scars. Emotional pain is sometimes difficult to detect but can be the most deadly of all.
I hope that each of you listens to the right voices and that when ugliness creeps into your life, you can drown it out and find those voices that truly matter.

For Phoebe...

Ella's Dance: A Grandma note

Note 261

My dearest Ella,
Make peace with your past.
When I was young, I didn’t always make the best decisions. I did things I shouldn’t have done and made mistakes I wish I wouldn’t have made. When I got older, I didn’t feel so great about the things I did or the mistakes I made. But I couldn’t let the past drag me down. You can’t either.
We all have to make peace with our past. Maybe you did something that you are ashamed of and you can’t stop obsessing about it. But here’s the thing, nothing you do now is going to change what you did then. You just have to make peace with in and go on.
Love you bunches and bunches, Grandma

Friday, April 23, 2010

Contest alert

The QueryTracker Blog is hosting another Agent-Judged Contest!
Who: Chris Richman of Upstart Crow Literary wants to read your one-sentence pitch.
When: The contest will open this coming Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 6:00
a.m. EST and will remain open for 24 hrs -- the brave Mr. Richman is
not capping entries!
Genres: Mr. Richman is looking for Middle Grade and Young Adult ONLY.
What to submit: 25 word (or less) one-sentence pitch.
* You must be a follower of the QTblog to enter.
* You must be a member of (membership is free)

Ella's Dance: A Grandma note

Note 181

My dearest Ella,
Attitude is everything.
Maddie took me to chemo today and I met this wonderful young girl (She couldn’t have been more than 27) who had a baby. She had such a great attitude. She was so positive. I felt better just sitting next to her.
She told me about her son, who has just started saying “Mum Mum,” and about her husband, who she had met in a college chemistry class because they were lab partners. We talked about many things, and I was amazed that a girl so young could be so wise. It reminded me that we all have bad stuff happen to us. It’s how we deal with this bad stuff that counts.
The older I get the more I see that attitude is everything. You might have talent and knowledge. Perhaps you’re even gifted. But it’s your attitude that will make the difference between winning and losing, between persevering and giving up.
I hope I see Sarah again. Her attitude was certainly contagious and just the reminder I needed on I day I was feeling particularly low.
Love you bunches and bunches, Grandma

You are all my heroes

You are all my heroes. Keep writing. Keep believing. Be all that you can be.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day

Please help take care of our planet. Share one thing you do that makes a difference.  

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The good and the bad in YOU

"One of the greatest moments in anybody's developing experience is when he no longer tries to hide from himself but determines to get acquainted with himself as he really is."
Norman Vincent Peale

So take a minute to reflect. What is one attribute that you feel helps you be a better writer and one that hinders you? And, if you feel like it, share how you are overcoming that which hinders you. Can't wait to see your comments.
I hope each of you has an awesome day and that it brings all that you want and need it to.    

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Quote of the day

"There's one thing your writing must have to be any good at all. It must have you. Your soul, your self, your heart, your guts, your voice -- you must be on that page. In the end, you can't make the magic happen for your reader. You can only allow the miracle of 'being one with' to take place. So dare to be yourself. Dare to reveal yourself. Be honest, be open, be true...If you are, everything else will fall into place."  
-- Elizabeth Ayres

Monday, April 19, 2010

Quote of the day

This one made me laugh.
"Don't let a single day go by without writing. Even if it's garbage, if garbage is all you can write, write it. Garbage eventually becomes compost with a little treatment."

Getting unstuck

I'm stuck. I'm at a crucial point in my WIP and can't figure out exactly how I want to wrestle this baby to the ground. I know what the ending will be, just not sure exactly how I'm going to handle the last part of getting there. I start down one path and then decide it's not exactly right. I'm frustrated. The writing isn't fun. In fact, it's damn difficult.
So, what do I do? Do I let WIP sit for awhile and hope it comes to me? Do I continue to write and push through, even if I'm not exactly sure where I'm going?
Does this ever happen to you? And if so, how do you handle it?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Little words that mean a lot

For some reason, I was thinking about little words that mean a lot. Can you help me with a list? I'll start:

Quote of the day

"True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, as those move easiest who have learned to dance. 'Tis not enough no harshness gives offence. The sound must seem an echo to the sense.'

Alexander Pope

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Some writing inspiration

At my wedding reception, my husband and I danced to Melissa Manchester’s “Through the Eyes of Love” (theme from the motion picture “Ice Castles”). The clip from the movie is below. I’ve always loved this song and the movie’s message. In this clip, Lexie is going to skate before a crowd who has no idea she is blind. And before she skates, she says, “Here’s for my mom.”
That’s how I feel about my YA novel, ELLA’S DANCE. If the novel is ever published, it will be for my mom.
This clip speaks to me in many ways, and I’m hoping it speaks to you. It’s about hope and achieving something great despite seemingly insurmountable odds. It’s about not giving up on your dreams even when others have. And it’s about love, not the superficial kind that leaves when your greatness fades, but the sincere kind that will never leave you no matter what.
So when you feel like writing is too tough. When you have doubts and question your ability. When you feel like you are blind in a world where everyone else can see his or her way to publication but you are unable to – fight hard like Lexie. Go out onto that ice and skate like you've never skated before. In the end, it doesn’t matter what others think. What matters are what you think and how you feel.
So, write your book. I will be in the crowd clapping and cheering. God bless each of you...

A minute list

Let’s do a minute list. What’s that? It’s when you take no more than one minute (can be less) to write a list. Today, I want you to make a list of words or phrases that describe a former teacher.
Here’s mine:
Long gray hair streaked with white
Rosy cheeks
Shiny forehead and nose
Skinny fingers
Dressed in polyester skirt and matching jacket
Black pumps
Lips bright as a cherry tomato
Walks with a slight limp

Can't wait to read yours in comments.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A video that's a must-see

My friends and colleagues produced this incredible video. They did an awesome job of telling this story. Darisabel, may you rest in peace my sweet child. And to my fellow writers and friends, share this video so that this never happens to another child ever again.

My wish for you...

These lyrics say it all.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Writing exercise

Let's do another show don't tell exercise. In an earlier post, I asked you to tell us something about a character by showing something in his or her home. If you haven't done this and want to, I would love to see what you come up with.
This time, I want you to tell us something about a character by describing either what's inside her purse or what's inside his wallet. Have fun.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Ella's Dance: A Grandma Note

Note 353
My dearest Ella,
Have courage.
Have the courage to step outside of your comfort zone and try something new. If you have courage, you’ll have the strength you need to take risks and succeed. Having courage doesn’t mean you’re not afraid; it means you’re able to overcome your fears.
Love you bunches and bunches, Grandma

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Writing exercise

Try to tell something about a person by showing something in their home. For example:
Tes opened her gleaming refrigerator. Cups of low-fat strawberry yogurt stood in five straight rows six deep on the top shelf, next to a full gallon of 2% milk. Apples and oranges crowded the one crisper drawer (apples to the left, oranges to the right) and lettuce, carrots, cucumbers and celery sat strategically in the other drawer so that no one food touched another. Mustard waited alone on a shelf on the inside of the door.  
    I could go on and on. But what have you learned about Tes? Anything? 
    Now you try.

Inkwell on Facebook

We're now on Facebook. Become a fan of Search for the page using your search bar on Facebook and join in the fun. Twitter

Hey gang, we now have an Inkwell Twitter account. Please follow this passionate group of writers and artists @Inkwellning. Also, if you haven't visited our Web site yet, check it out here. It's a great community of dedicated folks who are helping each other do amazing work. And tons of great information and resources are added daily. A shout-out to everyone who is part of this online growing community for their dedication and support.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Contest alert

Cheerios® New Author Contest
Just enter your original children's book story by July 15. See link for details: Spoonsfuls of stories contest

Fun writing exercise

Let’s try something for fun. Choose an inanimate object and give it human characteristics. Looking for a snippet. I’ll go first. My object is my cell phone.

Cell phone
Like you’re always bothering me, man. Shrieking when I’m not expecting and scaring the crap out of me or tapping me on the shoulder with some message that you couldn’t wait for me to get. I mean really. I do have other things to do other than poke your tiny belly, which by the way is beginning to hurt my thumb. If you don’t shut up I’m going to turn you off – for good. What a pest!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Quote of the day

"Nothing is as real as a dream. The world can change around you, but your dream will not.
Responsibilities need not erase it. Duties need not obscure it.
Because the dream is within you, no one can take it away."

- Unknown

Monday, April 5, 2010

Contest alert

Great news for those who write middle grade and young adult. This month's contest from Authoress is for you. Good luck to everyone who enters. Details:April Secret Agent Contest

Contest alert

Kathleen Temean talks about this contest for picture book writers on her blog today: Picture book contest
Make sure you check it out and good luck to all who enter.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

He is risen!

A blessed Easter to all.  

Friday, April 2, 2010

You can do it!

Don't any of you give up. Ever!

Quote of the day

"You got a dream, you gotta protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they wanna tell you, you can’t do it. If you want something, go get it. Period.”
--Will Smith in the Movie: Pursuit of Happyness

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Carolrhoda Lab open for YA submissions

It's April 1 and you know what that means. No, this is not an April Fool's Day joke. Promise. Andrew Karre is accepting unsolicited complete YA novels for Carolrhoda Lab beginning today and ending April 30. He is interested in YA novels only, including realistic, paranormal, dark fantasy, dystopian, etc. No high fantasy or graphic novel submmissions.
Get the skinny here: Carolrhoda Lab
And good luck to all who send.