Tag Archive | words

Another Nomination Has Come My Way!

liebster-awardThank you, Mary Morgan, for nominating me for  Liebster Blog Award! I am very touched you chose me.

You can find Mary’s blog at

www.davidanaturephotography.wordpress.com

For those of you who have not heard of this award, The Liebster Blog Award (Liebster means beloved). It is given to blogs with not more than 200 follows, although I qualified two of my nominees as simply “beloved”.

Rules for accepting the award:

1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog and link back to the blogger who presented this award to you.

2. List 11 random facts about yourself.

3. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator.

4. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 11 bloggers you feel deserved to be noticed.

5. Create 11 questions for your nominees.

6. Leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen.

7. Copy and paste the blog award on your blog.

Eleven Random Facts About Myself:

1. My first baby was a pug dog when I was 20 years old, and I have loved the breed ever since.

2. I am still friends with five people with whom I went to grade school.

3. I love white cars, even though studies show “successful” people drive black cars.

3. I am the eldest of five children–my parent’s guinea pig.

4.  I have lived my whole adult life on a dead end street.

5.  I love to drive with the radio OFF.

6. I have sung the Star Spangled Banner at a professional wrestling meet, standing in the center ring surrounding by burly men.

7. I love to paint sunsets.

8. I invite visitors over for dinner so I have an incentive to clean the house.

9. I like to dunk my cookies in my coffee.

10. I am a Leo.

11. I love to cook, especially for friends.

Answers to Mary’s Questions

1.  What is your favorite season?

My favorite season is spring; I love to watch my daffodils, tulips, and perennials wake from their winter slumber.

2.  What is a favorite childhood memory?

Going to Girl Scout camp for two weeks when I was 11 years old —swimming everyday, hiking, learning new songs, learning about the forest, sleeping under the stars, sleeping in a tent for the first time, cooking outside over an open fire, and making new friends.

3.  What is your favorite flower?

Daffodils – When my best friend died from Breast Cancer, her favorite flower became mine, too. We used to trade different bulbs so each of our flower gardens had several different variations of this first sign of spring.

4.  What was your favorite vacation ever?

Taking Ken on a Panama Canal cruise. Being an engineer, he was fascinated how the canal had been built and it was on his “bucket list” to see it. It was fun for me to help him realized one of his dreams, and I love cruising to anywhere. (I have a lot of dreams about cruising around the world.)

5.  In your family tree, are you related to a famous person?

Nope, but I hope to be that person!

6.  If you could change careers, what would you do?

I tried the career change thing once and that was enough. I went from marketing/communications work to becoming a licensed financial adviser. I was miserable and finally gave up after a six year quest. I have always been a writer and now that I can do it full time, I wouldn’t change a thing.

7.  Do you think your creativity comes naturally or do you have to work on it?

I’ve always had raw talent on my artistic side—singing, painting, and writing, but to be better than good at any of them, I work, work, work.

8.  What or who inspires you?

I’m inspired by people who strive to make their lives the best they can be.

9.  If you had the opportunity to publish one wildly guaranteed successful book, what would the book be about?

Of course, I would like ALL of my published novels to be best sellers, however, I have finally found the courage to begin a manuscript about my journey with Ken through Multiple Sclerosis. I plan to have it ready for publication by the end of the year.

10.  Have you ever considered deleting your blog and why?

No. My blog helps me understand myself, and sometimes inspire others. Plus, having the opportunity to “meet” other people from around the world is a gas! Where else would I get to do that? Except for a cruise, that is. 🙂

11. What are three things blogging has added to your life?

  • I become a better writer everyday.
  • I have formed unique relationships with great men and women through blogging.
  • It helps me stay sane knowing people actually read what I write; one of my best days is when another person subscribes to getting my posts everyday. Talking about everyday things keeps me sane.

My Nominees:

http://insearchofitall.wordpress.com/

http://successify.net/

http://candycoatedreality.com/

http://www.jasminekylesings.wordpress.com

http://www.crankycaregiver.wordpress.com

http://diannegray.wordpress.com

Questions for my Nominees:

  1. If you could have coffee with anybody in the world, who would you like to visit?
  2. What is your favorite food?
  3. What kind of music does you like and why?
  4. Have you ever watched soap operas? Which one? If not, what television show do you NEVER miss?
  5. What’s your favorite book and how many times have you read it?
  6. Who’s your favorite actor?
  7. What’s your favorite season and why?
  8. How would you describe yourself?
  9. How would a good friend describe you?
  10. What is your favorite hobby besides writing, and what do you get out of it?
  11. What’s your favorite summer activity?

Congratulations to my nominees!  I look forward to your responses.


When You Crash–Laugh!

Here we going a blogging among the world of words!

Here we going a blogging among the world of words!

The best part of blogging is knowing once in a while I have touched someone else in a way I never could if I didn’t blog. When a person takes time to comment on something I’ve written, I have a GREAT day. Feedback has always been something important to me.  I need personally to know that I’m not wasting time telling tales that don’t have meaning, and professionally as a writer to know people enjoy my writing. Comments are fuel to my fire, and I would imagine they are for most people who have entered this electronic way to spread thoughts and stories worldwide. So thank you all you responders–you make my day!

To come up with a new idea everyday is hard work. Most days, I read the blogs I to which I have subscribed because I need inspiration to spark a new topic. With that said, today was not one of those days.

Today, I woke to the thud of Ken falling. Multiple Sclerosis has made this a common event in our household, but to wake to a crash is worse than any alarm clock. This fall reminded me of the “sonic booms” I heard as a child when faster-than-the-speed-of-sound jets used to fly over our house. The windows would rattle and no matter what you were doing at the time, you stopped for a few seconds to make sure the sky wasn’t falling. Ken’s falls are kind of like that for me.

One of my favorite movies is called “Cool Runnings.” (I’m not changing the subject. I do have a point. Just keep reading.) It’s a Disney film about the Jamaican bob sled team. If you’re not familiar with the flick, it’s a story about four young men from Jamaica who want to go to the Olympics. They race a rickety “push cart,” in local competitions. Their push cart is basically a few wooden crates with four wheels and a steering mechanism they propel down winding hills.

push cart

 

When they practice, they often crash. And, after they come to a jarring stop, one of the fellows says to another, “Maurice, are you dead?” The answer is always, “Ya, mon.” It cracks me up every time.

So now when Ken crashes, I yell, “Kenneth, are you dead?”

This morning he played along and said, “Ya, mon!”

We both laughed hard and loud, checked nothing was damaged but his pride, and went to the kitchen for breakfast.

The morale to this story: When you crash–laugh! Let humor lighten the load. Laughter will heal your boo-boo faster than any other medicine.

Words of Wisdom From an Unlikely Source

dreams

 

I am a sucker for soap operas — true confession. I went into mourning when “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” went off the air after SO MANY YEARS in the television world. I had to say goodbye to characters I had been following since my children were little. I did take a 20-year “vacation” from my favorite stories when I worked. But when VCRs came along, I figured out how to tape my afternoon indulgence and watched them after work.

Since the networks nixed my favorites, I have become a fan of “General Hospital” and “The Young and the Restless.”  

Sometimes Often the plots are rather ridiculous, but sometimes, they are heartfelt and beautiful. Yesterday was one of those rare times.

The event was a wedding. (Yes, weddings are a big theme in these afternoon dramas– so are nasty divorces.) In the scheme of things, this wedding would have been a ho-hum affair. But what was said by the “priest”  resonated with me.

Here’s what was said:

The only thing constant in life is change.

Yesterday is but a dream.

Tomorrow is a vision.

But, today, well-lived makes yesterdays of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope.

Isn’t that simply beautiful? And true?

To say more about these lovely words would dissolve the effect. So, I will shut up.

But if you want to ponder something profound today, think about this quote, and tell me how it affected you.

Research and Yet Another Time Change

colorful libraryIn case you didn’t notice, I took the day off yesterday. Usually on Sunday, I post a short story. (I really hope you knew that.),  but I slept in and decided after changing ALL of the clocks, I was just too pooped to bother.

I hate time changes. (You probably remember my Soap Box tirade I did on the subject last time we did this nonsense.) Isn’t hard to fathom why a change of one hour can change such havoc? My equilibrium is completely thrown off. In the Spring, I’m always an hour late and in the Fall, I’m always an hour early. It drives me bonkers.

On top of that, the warm temperatures of 40+ degrees has brought RAIN and his buddy FOG with him. Yesterday, we had the lights on until about noon. Today will be the same; that is until later this afternoon. The weatherman on the television has just said it will cool off  later and bring snow showers –Yuck! I know, I know, I’m whining about weather again. Sorry. On top of the weather, it’s Monday. That’s a depressing combination, you have to admit.

So, what to do today? Write. What else?

I’ve gotten to a section of my novel  STEPHANIA COMES TO AMERICA where I have to go and research again,  so I’ll be reading, taking notes and collecting different accounts of California in 1915. Yes,, I did say California. I can’t tell you why because that would give the story away. The California connection comes toward the end of the story and then I can go back to the manuscript and take it to the finale.

Unfortunately traveling into the past isn’t as fun as traveling in the present. Life 100 years ago WAS VERY different than what goes on today, so jumping on a plane wouldn’t work. Instead of escaping this dreary weather, I’ll be basking in the dusty stacks at the library, or I’ll  let my fingers do the walking through the Internet. The trip isn’t exotic or even fun; it’s a necessary part of bringing my readers along with the trip my characters are taking.

So, wherever you are, I certainly hope you’re spending your Monday basking in the sunshine. It has to be visible somewhere on this planet. 🙂

Quotes From a Hero

The other day,  The Daily Posts  blog challenged people to write about their favorite quote. Like so many other things in life, I don’t have one quote that is my favorite–I have hundreds of them! Why? Well, it is for the same reason I have a half dozen pairs of black shoes. One quote doesn’t fit every occasion.

However, I was able to settle on the wisdom of one woman–Eleanore Roosevelt. She was amazing! Here are some of her words of wisdom to contemplate. Eleanor Roosevelt

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” 

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

“A woman is like a tea bag—you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“I think at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity.”

“Friendship with oneself is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.”

“Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.”

“A little simplification would be the first step toward rational living.”

Don’t you just wish you had one drop of her wisdom and way with words?  She was one of the most out-spoken first ladies of our country and was in the White House with her husband at some of the most dire times in history. She wrote a newspaper column entitled, My Day, which gave hope for the future when the country was experiencing some of its worst times.

It’s hard to imagine she was a shy child who had lost both of her parents by the time she was 10 years old. She was scurried off to Europe for her education after that and probably due to sheer survival, she came out of her shell. Lucky for all of us that she did!

After she married Franklin, they had 6 children together and during World War I she became active in the Red Cross. In 1921 when her husband suffered an attack of polio, she helped Franklin pursue his political career. She gave press conferences and stepped forward into the political scene.

When she became first lady in 1933, Eleanore was not content to stay in the background. Instead, she showed the world the potential value of a strong woman and became an important part of American politics. She even traveled abroad to visit U. S. troops during World War II. And this is just the beginning for this courageous trail blazer.

After President Roosevelt’s death, she served the United Nations General Assembly. She also became chair of the UN’s Human Rights Commission. As a member of the Human Rights Commission, she helped to write the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—an effort that she considered to be her greatest achievement. She also authored several books.

Her full life ended in 1962. She’s one of my heroes, and one of those people I’d love share a cup of tea with.

Do you have a famous quote? Or like me, a hero? Who are they and why do you revere them? Let me know. I can always use more heroes in my life.

 

Words, Words and More Words–What is Really Being Said?

Shut upOne of the young bloggers I follow is a college student named Amelia. She suffers from Cerebral Palsy, but the girl has it going on. Like so many other people I’ve met through the blogging world, she’s amazing.

This morning I read one of her posts and found it almost poetic. It was about words. Here’s the link if you want to give it a read. It truly is brilliant. Go ahead and read it: http://lifeintheblueridges.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/reflecting-on-words/#comment-4636.   I’ll be here when you’re done.

Oh good, you’re back . . .

Amelia’s post got me to thinking about how many times in my day I even think about words.  Okay, okay, I think plenty about words when the “right” word is on the tip of my tongue, and I can’t spit it out into my manuscript.  So, for all the writers out there who are struggling with finding the “right” word, you are exempt from thinking about words because I know you’re exhausted. For everybody else, ‘fess up! Do we even give the words we speak a second thought?

In our hurried world, I don’t think so. Consider the sports casters who fill air-time with constant gibberish. Or how they babble prophecy about things that haven’t happened yet.  Or how about reporters standing outside in nasty weather and are telling us how terrible it is?  Or Congressmen and Senators on Face the Nation  and other programs like it, who “talk over each other” and rarely say anything?

Do you see what I mean? I truly believe people have become so accustomed to this constant blathering, they don’t know how to shut-up and words have become white noise. We must stop. These essential communication tools shouldn’t suffer this fate. We can’t let words lose their punch because we use too many of them.

Think before speaking. Rewrite what is written. Maintain word integrity.  Words praise. Words compliment. Words express love. And they spew hate.  They’re soothing, but vicious They build up; they tear down. They hurt. They heal. They wound and destroy. They guide our head and hearts. We can’t let over use dilute them.

Think about what Shakespeare said: When words are scarce they are seldom spent in vain.

I’ll shut up now.

Being Nominated is the Best Award

beautiful-blogger-award1

This morning I got a real surprise. I was nominated for the “Beautiful Blogger” Award from http://frametale.wordpress.com THANK YOU!

Here are the rules I must accomplish to be considered (as I understand them):

1. Thank the person who nominated you and link them:

The thank you went out immediately. The link is: http://wynwords.wordpress.com

2. Paste the award on your blog (Done. See above?)

3. Nominate 7 bloggers and provide links to their sites :  My nominations include:

Amelia: http://lifeintheblueridges.wordpress.com/

Dianne Gray:  http://diannegray.wordpress.com/

Brad Stanton: http://bradstanton.com/

Sandra Miller:  http://writersandra.wordpress.com/

Mary Morgan: http://davidanaturephotography.wordpress.com/

Marlene: http://insearchofitall.wordpress.com/

BW:  http://bottledworder.wordpress.com/

4. Post 7 random things about you.

1. I hate winter, but live in Wisconsin.

2. I love pug dogs. Especially my faithful Ernie who accompanies me on my daily solitary journey into the written world.

3. I believe in the power of POSITIVE THINKING in an otherwise negative world.

4. My favorite channels on television are Smithsonian, The Science and History Channels.

5. I don’t have a favorite author – but hundreds I enjoy.

6. My circle of friends are closer than family. I can count on them.

7. I found happiness inside myself after I stopped searching for it.

That’s all folks. I just hope this isn’t an early April Fool’s Joke on this first day of 2013.

Tricks of the Trade, I Mean “Craft”

thinking writer

This morning is COLD.

Am I complaining? Or, am I stating a fact. And, how do you know the difference?

Unless I tell you more, you never will know,will you?  Unless I flesh it out for you with details, you will consider this simple sentence–well, simple. But if you saw me shivering, then you would definitely think I was complaining. Or, if you saw me looking out the window with a cup of hot chocolate in my hand, while I was smiling, then you would know I was merely stating a fact because I was happy because you saw me comfortable and warm.

That’s what we have to do for our readers, isn’t it? We have to let them “see” the character’s actions and surroundings ,so they can figure out how what the characters mean when they utter words.  It’s our job to let our characters express anger without saying, “She was very angry.”  We’re a guide so those feelings of  happiness, sarcasm, anger, joy, contentment, etc. etc. comes through without blatantly saying so.

So how do we do this?

I’ve been reading several accounts from other bloggers about the subject and came across a couple I thought were excellent. I hope you think so, too. One blogger discussed, ““The Trick of Particularity,” which is to be specific about the character’s surrounding. Was their room cozy or stark? Was it comfortable or cluttered? Did it send a message of “come in” or “stay out”?  The details are small, but significant; and the odder the detail, the more believable the character becomes.  After all, we have our quirks, don’t we?

Another tip came from, Diane Gray–one of my favorites bloggers (or as they would say in her native Australia, “favourites”).  She expressed when she’s creating characters, she asks her friends and writing buddies to interview her as if she was the character, preferably over a glass of wine. Their questions help her see things about the character she may have not considered or missed.  This sure beats simply writing a character sketch, doesn’t it?

With both of these tips in the foreground of my mind, I’m going back over the two novels I have “in the works” and scrutinize the details. I need to see if I’ve done a good enough job to add oddities that will help the characters become real.

And then I’m going to bribe my friends with a margarita and ask them to interview unlovable Stephania. Now that I have a few more tricks in my toolbox, this tough character better watch out!

Concerns About Blogging

Because I write about things that happen around my Midwestern American life, sometimes I become concerned whether others are really interested in reading my blog. Oh sure, I aspire to become a respected author, making my living by doing what I love, so I put myself “out there” so people reading my blog MIGHT want to read one of my novels. But other than that, I don’t have a future plan for my life. This way I can be pleasantly surprised by the good stuff and not overwhelmed by the bad stuff.  I’m not an expert on anything. Just a “Jack of all Trades” going about my life as it comes. Actually, I think I’m rather boring even though I try to keep my world open through the Science and Smithsonian television channels.

Today, I’m happy to tell you that I’m not going to concern myself with this petty worry any longer. You see, I got some great advice from Cristian Mihai, a fellow Woodpress blogger, who said all I need to do is write about my passion. He said it’s the writer’s words that make people want connect. Readers can feel the passion in the words.

Whew! What a relief! Cristian freed me to keep on keepin’ on. Yeah! I’ll continue to write about my characters who drive me nuts, my events surrounding my writing, things that happen, things that don’t happen, and all the other mundane stuff other people might miss.  I’ll continue to search for the “secret to life” in the little things, then I’ll write down my thoughts and share it with those of you who are kind enough to follow me.

With that said, here’s my promise. I’ll give you a short story once a week. (I’m planning on getting a collection of short stories published within the year, so you’ll get first crack at them.) I’ll talk about writing, along with the joys and frustration of teaching the craft. I’ll write about things I’ve seen that “speak” to me, and I’ll welcome your comments–or criticisms should you make them. I promise to post only once a day–sometimes taking the weekend off.

How does that sound?

The DP Challenge–A Picture of a 1000 words

I’ve often mentioned that I enjoy Dianne Gray’s blog. Well today, she put out a challenge that resonated with me. She presented writers with a photo, and in 1,000 words or so, we were to write an account about the picture below. Here’s my entry. Enjoy. Or better yet, give it a try yourself. http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/weekly-writing-challenge-a-picture-is-worth-1000-words/

I remember this day so clearly. This photo was taken by my mother. It was Easter morning. My father, brother and I are dressed up in our new Spring finery. We’re are standing outside the doors of  St. Rita’s Catholic Church. I guess my mother thought we were looking pretty spiffy. She took this photo right before we darkened the door before Easter’s celebration Mass.

I think you can tell from the expression on my face that I’m not looking forward to what would happen next.

You see, going to church on Sunday was required in my family. There was no excuse that was good enough to miss. Even a fever and a cold that would keep me out of school wasn’t good enough to skip church. The problem was, my mother “converted” to Catholicism when she married my father, and she took her conversion seriously. Like all devoted Catholics, she believed if we missed Mass on Sunday or a Holy Day, and she died before confessing her wrongdoing to the priest, she would surely go to hell. From what I understood at the time of this picture, HELL was the worst place in the world!

Clearly, I wasn’t happy on this particular day. I hated this pink girly coat and matching hat. I even had to endure the stinky process of my mother putting a “Toni” home permanent to make my straight locks become curly just for Easter. To make matters even worse, my mother insisted I carry an empty little purse that matched my shiny shoes. It didn’t matter there was nothing in the purse, but heaven forbid if I would lose the stupid thing. Then I would go to HELL.

In addition to having to wear “girly” Sunday clothes, I hated church because I had to sit still and stay quiet for a VERY LONG time. Sitting still was not one of my best virtues. I was an active child who liked to run, jump, and climb trees. I played with boys on my street and I got dirty enough to be one of them. I was more comfortable in corduroy pants and PF fliers than I was in this outfit.

To make matters even worse, I also a curious child. I wanted to learn about what was happening around me. So watching a pageant of men dressed in long, bright colored robes, carrying candles and reading words I didn’t understand from a big book,  brought a lot of questions into my little head. Unfortunately those questions would never be answered because I couldn’t ask them.

The best thing I could do to survive this time of penance was to pretend I was playing “Statues” like we did on the playground, knowing that only when my mother touched me, I would be released from my pose and could go home to find my Easter basket that the bunny left me. It was my best defense because I knew if I wiggled or spoke up,  I would get scolded at best, slapped for worst. God, I hated church.

As you can see from the photo, my brother was the complete opposite of me. He was the exceptional child. He looked forward to the blessed event every Sunday. He relished getting dressed up in a white shirt and red bow tie. Damn, he was a serious boy! You can see by his expression that he knew he was “the chosen one.” He knew he was considered a perfect child from the day he was born. You see, my parents saw him as a miracle because my brother almost died when he was a baby. See that sweet, innocent face? See that perfect posture? He even looks like a cherub. I never did understand him.

From my father’s expression, you can tell he wasn’t nuts about having to go to church, either. He worked all week in a factory, and Sunday was the one day of the week he had to dress in a white shirt, tie and suit. I know he didn’t like wearing “Sunday” clothes as much as I did. They just weren’t comfortable or even natural. I once heard my father complain to my mother that wearing a tie around his neck felt like a noose. He especially hated having to shine his shoes every Saturday night because my mother would yell at him for getting that black stuff all over the cupboard.

The only one who is not in the picture is my mother because she’s behind the camera. I can tell you that she always looked forward to Sundays and she especially got excited over days like Easter and Christmas because she said the church was so beautiful on those special occasions. And she was right about that part. The people who decorated the church did a really nice job. On Easter they always had angels with long trumpets flying above the altar. And even though I didn’t understand the words, the music was always prettier on the special days, too. On Easter the choir sang with not only the organ, but they had people playing trumpets, too. I guess Jesus  liked good music a couple of times per year.

So here we are—my father and I dreading having to sit through Mass in uncomfortable clothes; my brother chomping at the bit to started. My mother documented us for life. Everyone will know that we did our sacred Sunday duty. My mother wouldn’t have to confess a mortal sin. And Father O’Malley, who kept tabs on people who attended Mass and those who didn’t, would know that at the very least, my family wasn’t going to HELL any time soon.