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by Joy
Rated: 13+ · Book · Writing · #932976
Impromptu writing, whatever comes...on writing or whatever the question of the day is.
Free clipart from About.comKathleen-613's creation for my blogFree clipart from About.com

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Marci's gift sig
Thank you Marci Missing Everyone *Heart* for this lovely sig.

I've been blogging all through my days without knowing that it was blogging; although, this isn't necessarily the only thing I do without knowing what I'm doing.

Since I write on anything that's available around me, my life has been full of pieces of scribbled paper flying about like confetti. I'm so happy to finally have a permanent place to chew the fat. *Smile*

So far my chewing the fat is on and off. *Laugh* Maybe, I lack teeth.

Feel free to comment, if you wish. *Smile*

Given by Blainecindy, the mayor of Blog City
Thank you very much, Cindy, for this honor and the beautiful graphic.

*Pencil* This Blog Continues in "Everyday Canvas *Pencil*

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September 29, 2011 at 1:51pm
September 29, 2011 at 1:51pm
I am so proud of WdC writer-friends whose books I read because they have the best self-published books without any glaring flaws. It was, however, not so where other books were concerned.

Ever since I started reading self-published books on my Kindle, I began to appreciate more, a lot more, the value of good editors. Unless a writer has the eyes of an eagle, sees all awkward passages and errors, and can proofread for herself or himself, his or her work will lack credibility without a knowledgeable editor.

Example: The last novel I finished is written by a writer with a BA in English, an MA in Lit, and another degree in a related field. She also teaches writing privately. (Her bio is at the end of the book.)
Her novel was a long one of the literary genre, the genre I like reading the most. The first half of the book was flawless. But somewhere during the middle, typos, misspellings, slight grammatical errors began to sprout. At one point in one scene, I thought she wrote it while half-asleep and forgot to look it over.
Here is an exact quote with the characters’ names changed. It is a mother and daughter scene:
Clare said, “May I drive you home?”
Clare answered, “I don’t think so.”
She insisted. ‘It’s late. Please let me.’

Clare wasn’t talking to herself either. There are a couple more things like this in the second half of the same book. Never mind the fact that she has written the same scene in two different places and that she likes beating around the bush a lot.

I don’t mean to look down on any one author, but this one is a well-educated person on the very subject she is involved in. Imagine if she needed an editor, how would the rest of self-published writers fare?

Forget the grammar, typos, or an attention slip or two, an editor’s best medicine to an ailing manuscript is to point out the construction flaws, incorrect information, and organization of thought and sequence. A writer may have the best idea, great premise, well-developed characters, but if the scene sequences put readers to sleep and the novel is not presented as impressively as it can be, the writing loses from its positive impact.

Having said that, I checked the editorial services of a popular company for a 50K novel, since NANO is right around the corner and most editorial services charge by word count. Just to give an overall idea the price was $360.00 for only manuscript critique, $843.76 is for line-by-line editing, and $721.99 for proofreading. And, they won’t do the proofreading before the writer goes through the previous two. This company advertises itself as: Fast, Affordable, Professional Editing and Proofreading --Trusted with more than xxx million words

Now who can afford that! Even if we could, should we blindly accept what they say? I don’t think so. After all, the blame or the praise goes to the author.

What to do, what to do, if we can’t afford an editor and couldn’t get the attention of a serious publisher? What a catch-22 situation!

I think we should arm ourselves with information, and check, and recheck several times over with or without any editorial services before deciding to publish.

Even if we did all that, can we be sure our manuscript is at its best? Not really, but at some point, we have to go jump in the lake or rather into self-publishing. Otherwise, we’ll miss the flow of things. I don’t know what the remedy is in the long run, but I think we should be careful, very careful, with our manuscripts.
August 19, 2011 at 3:56pm
August 19, 2011 at 3:56pm
"The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires." William A. Ward

While I believe most teachers do inspire already, may all of them strive to do so.

Now that a school year has just started or is about to start, depending on where you live, all the burden of sharing and caring outside the home, or sometimes in spite of the home, will fall on the shoulders of teachers.

I am not going on and on with tributes to teachers. Since there is no way to measure how teachers impact lives and because the lure of trying to teach surpasses all logic, no amount of tributes will suffice. So, for all you out there giving so much from yourselves under trying conditions and little compensation, I wish I could put all the world’s apples on your desks.

There is one thing teachers of today can be happy about; that they are not teaching in the year 1872.

1872 Instructions to Teachers
Mason Street School
San Diego Co. Historical Days Association

1. Teachers will fill lamps, clean chimneys and trim wicks each day.
2. Each teacher will bring a scuttle of coal and a bucket of water for the day's use.
3. Make your pens carefully. You may whittle nibs for the individual tastes of children.
4. Men teachers may take one evening a week for courting purposes or two evenings a week if they go to church regularly.
5. After ten hours in the school the teacher should spend the remaining time reading the Bible and other good books.
6. Women teachers who marry or engage in other unseemly conduct will be dismissed.
7. Every teacher who smokes, uses liquor in any form, frequents pool or public halls, or gets shaved in a barber shop will give good reasons to suspect his worth, intentions, integrity and honesty.
8. The teacher who performs his labors faithfully without fault for five years will be give an increase of 25 cents a week in his pay - providing the Board of Education approves.

*Wink* *Laugh*

Have a happy and successful school year, everyone. *Smile*
August 15, 2011 at 7:01pm
August 15, 2011 at 7:01pm
No, I don’t think so. I think it is more alive than ever. Only it has taken different forms and different media and devices.

I just finished reading The Lost Art of Reading by David L. Ulin. In the beginning of the book, the author tries to motivate his son to read. The son rejects reading and when asked why, he says it is because literature is dead. The author wonders about that throughout the book.

While I found the book and the author’s ideas very interesting and some of them very close to my way of thinking, I think people do read today and a lot; maybe they do it differently, and not in the way the author reads or some people read or I read or Pat Conroy reads, as there are many references to Conroy’s My Reading Life.

On the other hand, one passage described exactly why I read and what literature does to people. ”This is what literature, at its best and most unrelenting, offers: a slicing through of all the noise and the ephemera, a cutting to the chase. There is something thrilling about it, this unburdening, the idea of getting at a truth so profound that, for a moment anyway, we become transcendent in the fullest sense.” The way the author expressed what I always felt was just beautiful.

The book also touches many different areas and different situations in our time from classics like Joyce to politics to daily living to electronic media. He is ambivalent about the electronic media, unlike me. I applaud the new media, e-books and everything in it. It opened doors for me I didn’t know existed.

This book also made me realize a few things about myself. One of them was Hermann Goering’s statement at Nuremberg. I have so hated the Nazis that I refused to read anything or listen to anything about them. Their victims and how they stood under cruelty, I would read, but not about the Nazis themselves. Maybe I should.

After stating that no matter what the regime is the people are under, Goering says the common people don’t want war. The way to incite them to war (in Goering’s exact words) is: “All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.”

OMG! History surely has repeated itself. I suppose inspecting the dark things and how and why they operate the way they do has some merit to it.

Leaving the nasty people’s comments, though applicable they may be to situations after their time, I’m going to jump to the author’s another profound comment on reading. “Reader becomes the book.”

How many times, after finishing a book we like, do we walk around carrying the book inside our heads and feel we are one with the characters and the situations in it!

While reading The Lost Art of Reading, I sometimes agreed with the author, sometimes not, but I thoroughly appreciated his opinions and the quotations—mostly literary—that he offered. The book is short only 149 pages, yet it deserves stopping here and there for reflection.

Rarely I read a worthwhile book that discusses the one thing I love doing the most: reading. This one was a very pleasant experience. *Smile*
August 10, 2011 at 1:03pm
August 10, 2011 at 1:03pm
Each time I start a new writing project, I feel like a first-time writer, no matter how many years I have lived and how many years I have written. So, since you asked for it, take what I am going to say with a grain of salt.

Here's a very rough list:

1. Learn to write clearly. If you think what you have written sounds vague to you, go back and write it in the basic subject+predicate+object formation. Then go on from there.

2. If you are not sure of your English or if it is your second, third, fourth or nth language, make sure you have learned it well. Read grammar books. As a matter of fact, read everything.

3. For prose pieces, essays, articles, etc., write down the list of ideas. Then write the piece using each idea or cluster of ideas as paragraphs. Make sure the passage from one paragraph to another is smooth.

4. Enjoy poetry whether you write it or not. It will add a specific dimension to your writing. I’m not going to tell you how to write poetry since I think it is so personal. For the same reason, formal poetry is out of my league, although I enjoy a well-written piece.

5. If you are a fiction writer, write the original idea in one sentence. This is called the premise, from which you’ll squeeze out the planning of protagonist, antagonist, story action, and setting. A great tip is before you write the first sentence and once you have a rough idea what the story will be, go ahead and write what the final revelation will be which will end the story. Believe me, this will make your story writing much, much easier.

6. Read a lot of the genre or of the style in which you wish to write. Read the contemporary writers as well as the real oldies.

7. Learn to take critiques for what they are worth. That is, who is telling you what. Did they understand the gist of what you wrote? Is their critique fueled by something other than to help you with your work, something like flattery, hate, or jealousy? If you think a certain critique is not going to help you, just disregard it as if it didn’t happen.

8. Don’t be afraid of rewriting, editing, and so to speak, fixing up your piece, something most of us--starting with me--just hate to do.

I think I’ll end this with a quote from a letter written by Ernest Hemingway to F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1925.
“I think you should learn about writing from everybody who has ever written that has anything to teach you.”
Hope this helps. *Smile*
August 4, 2011 at 5:02pm
August 4, 2011 at 5:02pm
No kidding! I should know. I’ve been here ten years, and I haven’t graduated yet. I hope I never will.

Anyhow, what brought all this on was a chance encounter at Barnes and Noble’s.

Yesterday, I was looking through the books near the dictionaries where the writing stuff is. Two young women, who surmised I knew something or other, probably just looking at my gray hair (yup, dappled gray hair has its virtues) asked me a question about choosing a book on character. We started talking and immediately I forgot about my husband waiting for me in the middle of the store at Starbucks. (Another virtue of gray hair!)

It turned out one of them attended a few writing courses, and the other went to but did not finish a creative writing degree program. They complained of teaching, in both places. They complained that what one teacher said clashed with what the other said, as did the books they read. And both women ended up being confused and feeling much less capable than when they started. I said that’s the beauty of writing. People have to stick to their guns and go after what fits them and their writing the best, while they try new things as they write. Then I told them about Writing.com.

They didn’t quite believe it--I think--since the site is online and the internet is a jungle. But they made me realize, one more time, how lucky we are to be writing here.

I didn’t get their names (another virtue of gray hair), but they seemed so nice and eager. I hope they check us out.

So the moral is: Creative Writing schools do not carry the weight they promise they do.

Anyone who is talented enough will do just as successfully here.

I know because I read people’s work here, as well as the books from highly noted, award-winning authors elsewhere. (IMHO) Sometimes, the difference doesn’t exist. *Smile*

Oh, as to my husband:
Being inured to my evaporating into thin air, he was happily enjoying a cream puff, but my Earl Grey had gotten cold.

July 27, 2011 at 11:39am
July 27, 2011 at 11:39am
For the email-charter, The Subversive Copy Editor (CSE) says: it's "noncommercial, nonfat and gluten-free."

I agree. After all, I have her book and follow her blog because what she says helps me greatly. And I do love E-Mail compared to what I used to struggle with--that is: snail mail--between the time I learned to write and the invention of the e-mail. But e-mail has a tendency to overflow and waste precious time, thanks to our commercialism and our lack of concise expression.

Can we do something about the hundreds of e-mails we each get every single day and try to answer or eliminate them? Maybe. At least two people came up with some rules as The E-Mail Charter.

I read about the charter in SCE's latest blog entry, titled An E-Mail Diet: EOM NNTR

And the email charter can be reached at:

According to SCE, the eighth rule is the best, and I can see why, since it is the most doable.

The eighth rules offers two short-cut alternatives in the form of acronyms:

EOM: Short for end of message to be put on the subject line if the message can be expressed on the subject line alone. For example, for us WdC members: Thank you for the gps. EOM.

NNTR: Short for No Need to Respond. This can be used inside, at the end of the message or on the subject line.

Can we stick to the Charter's Rules, or being human, are we going to mess this one up, too? Just look at what we did with our government in two and a half centuries. On the other hand, acronyms may lean more toward success than amendments.

In either case, it helps to be an optimist. If you're an optimist, you won't be able to avoid the bumpy roller-coaster ride, and at the end, you'll still throw up, but you'll think, At least, I went on the ride. *Smile*
July 19, 2011 at 1:58pm
July 19, 2011 at 1:58pm
I learned a lot from John Truby’s teaching. This morning, I came across one of his articles online, I thought would benefit us all, whether we want to sell to Hollywood or not.

The article’s title is 10 Story Techniques You Must Use to Sell Your Script.

His ten techniques are:
1. Know the 10 most popular genres (Action, Comedy, Crime, Detective, Horror, Fantasy, Love, Myth, Science Fiction and Thriller.)
2. Combine 2or 3 genres
3. Find the right genre for the story idea
4. Use Myth as one of your genres
5. Combine Myth with one or two other genres
6. Make one genre Primary
7. If you ‘re writing a screenplay for an indie film, write Horror, Thriller, or Love
8. Hit all the genre Beats
9. Be original, transcend the genre
10. Be honest with yourself, and specialize in the forms that are right for you.

If you want to read the details in the article, here’s the link:

He also has quite a few videos on Youtube, which might be useful to a writer.

Here is a video of John Truby explaining to an interviewer a thing or two about his book.

July 13, 2011 at 3:51pm
July 13, 2011 at 3:51pm
Last night, I finished reading The Writing of the Short Story by Lewis Worthington Smith, A.M, a teacher from Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa. The copyright date of the book was 1902. Can you believe!

I read the book on Kindle, which is also free online, because curiosity killed the kitten, and I wanted to see what people thought about writing more than a century ago. While this teacher came up with algebraic name calling, for example, using the different visuals as V1, V2, V3 and moods as M1, M2 etc. and lost me in the equations, he also made one thing perfectly clear: A strong character and a good story plot won. The rest was debatable.

Point of view seemed non-existent, except for the author’s. That is, he considered the author’s bias as “subjective,” which also meant that the author could butt in, a definite no-no in today’s understanding. If the author just told the story, it was “objective.”

But what made me feel so…so…lucky was the research. Internet and today’s technology should be worshipped, I thought. For research Prof. Worthington-Smith advised his students to study everything, everything that had to do with history, literature, even chemistry and sciences, giving long lists of books. One of those A Day in Ancient Rome by Edgar S. Shumway looked interesting to me. So I have it in my Kindle now.

Then, of course Shakespeare, too and lots of him, “but not for dialog,” the Prof. said, just for other stuff like characters and construction. IMHO, Worthington-Smith’s best teaching to his students was alerting the critical eye while reading a story or a novel.

To tell you the truth, I didn’t learn much of anything that seemed new or usable to me. Still, a lot felt interesting and different enough that I may read further on the subject of old thought on writing. What I took away from reading this is the realization of how so monumentally lucky we are with all that we are given. This was worth my few days of reading the book, and of course, reading lists at the end of the book has captured my attention big time. *Smile*

July 10, 2011 at 7:40pm
July 10, 2011 at 7:40pm
I love quotes. They are full of ideas, scenes, and situations. I also like answering the quotes as if they are directed at me. No, not a big-head syndrome, it's only an exercise. Here are a few:

"Change everything, except your loves." Voltaire

We change money, jobs, clothes, partners, where we live, who we talk to, or how we exercise and have fun. Then, mores change, as do the social classes, understanding, and our biases. We are all biased, mostly in a nice way. I used to like chocolate bars but now I'm more biased toward hard candy with cinnamon flavor, but I like the change. Chances are I'll change again and change many things about me. Change, I think, is the spice of life.

Yet, when Voltaire said to change everything except loves, the words rang true for me also. After all, I'm the one who lived with the same man for forty-five years, stayed with WdC for ten years, and always loved literature, writing, and fine arts, possibly since birth. I guess Voltaire knew a few things about Dodos like me. *Laugh*

"Writing is the hardest way of earning a living, with the possible exception of wrestling alligators." Olin Miller

Where I live, I could probably wrestle alligators since they're aplenty, and if I could get good at it, I could make money on it. That is, if I weren't eaten first.
As to making money by writing, I have no such goals, truth be told. I would like, however, to write better, much better, than what I'm doing.
On the other hand, I'm happy I didn't take up alligator wrestling. That would be the end of everything for me, especially my mediocre writing.

"Even while I am working on a book, I continue to research." Mary Higgins Clark

That is one of the downfalls while writing in November, I mean NaNoWriMo. I think back, way back, before Al Gore *Wink* discovered (!) the internet. Without the internet, NaNo would never have been possible.

Since I like to write--that is just spew out words as I am doing now—I enjoy NaNo, and Heaven forbid, a huge research should come up. During the years I participated, even with the everyday fiction that I put on the computer screen, tiny research projects came up. With the internet's help, I could make the 50K cut.

But yes, research is very important.

"You Have to Write"

This is the title of a book that teaches writing. Although the book explains its title well, I'm going to respond to the title and not to its explanation.

No one has to write. If I tell myself I have to write, I'd be doing me and my love of writing great disservice.

See for yourself. Say, I have to write and sit down to do it. You'll feel the resistance. The resistance against taking orders...even from yourself.

When I think I have to write, I am jamming the traffic in my brain and scaring my muse away. Instead, I try to think, "I get to write. I love to write. I'm glad I could squeeze this small amount of time for my writing from all the other things that I do."

At least, this way of thinking works for me. *Smile*
June 23, 2011 at 10:39am
June 23, 2011 at 10:39am
If this is not a revolution, I don't know what is.

Although I haven't read a HP book and neither finished watching any of the movies, I am excited, in my old age, about this because JK Rowling is making a popular reading phenomenon available for everyone and making it interactive.

Surely, the publishing business is changing its colors again. Yay!

Is it possible the books by bimbos will be thrown out the door, too? I hope so.

June 17, 2011 at 6:10pm
June 17, 2011 at 6:10pm
I just finished reading Moldavian Moon Book One: The Wolf's Torment by our very own StephB .
I found the novel to be absolutely spectacular. Steph made me care for all her characters, especially the antagonist who turned a villain through no fault of his own, and she introduced the many characters in the book without overwhelming the reader. As a result, I can remember every one of them, despite the novel's page-turner quality.

This is the review I left at the Amazon's Site:

Although Wolf’s Torment can be classified as a loosely historical paranormal-romance, the many underlying themes--such as the friendship dynamic, coming of age, family ties and troubles, and facing political realities, sickness, and death--give it a meaning deeper than an average genre book.

The story starts with the crown prince Mihai Sigmaringen’s return home to Moldavia after receiving an education in England. Accompanying him is his best friend, Viktor Bacau, who decides to settle as Mihai’s advisor in Constanta, Moldavia. Viktor falls in love with Mihai’s sister and they get married, as does Mihai to his intended Lady Theresa von Kracken. Mihai is a witch from his mother’s side, and when Viktor gets bitten by a werewolf, all troubles begin.

Through the course of the story, Mihai learns about himself and how to love and keep what and who he really wants in life.

The construction of the novel is superb, and Stephanie Burkhart weaves her intricate plot through every scene, every emotion, every perspective with passion and minute attention to particulars. Every character, even the secondary ones, are drawn with utmost care. After the first few introductory pages, the story never loses its suspense and tension.

This novel is not only a highly entertaining page-turner but also it boasts its author’s mastery of fiction. I loved it.

I am so happy to read our writers here at Writing.com especially when they produce work of such high quality. *Heart*

ASIN: 0000000000
Product Type:
Amazon's Price: Price N/A

June 15, 2011 at 4:41pm
June 15, 2011 at 4:41pm
I sometimes watch silly videos. This video is about how the people at the New Yorker process ideas. If you, like me, have a problem with choosing the many ideas that bombard our brains, watching the New Yorker staff sweat over the stuff may make it a bit more fun.


Then, there’s this one, from New York Times, not so silly though somewhat lightweight. Albert Brooks, the actor/director, has written a book and has some plausible ideas on the art of writing fiction. I always listen to ideas on writing fiction, then I go ahead and do whatever fits my mood. *Laugh*


*Since I only know how to put in videos from youtube, you'll just have to click on the links. I know I had to get the code but the codes, although available, were too long, and I wasn't sure WdC would support them.
June 11, 2011 at 11:07pm
June 11, 2011 at 11:07pm
Since I can't post a review for E-Books in Product Reviews of Writing.com, I am going to post my E-Book Reviews in my blog.
I won Sherri's book Surrender to Fear in a raffle, Lucky, Lucky, Lucky!
And Congrats, Sherri!
Here's the review I sent to a few article sites.
You have to read the book to find out what happens at the end of the three stories.
i just offered a taste from their beginnings.

Surrender to Fear is a compilation of three stories meaning to inflict fear in the reader and succeeding well. The tension and suspense keep up throughout with the reader not wanting to put the book down. The first two stories have demons as the evil forces while the last one employs a deranged man. All three stories use a somewhat gullible character as a catalyst to start the action.

The first story, Demon Lovers, is told in a straightforward style in clear, crisp language. It is an incubus and succubus story. The descriptions of changing scenery are beautiful and poetic, but not overly done to give the impression of a travel pamphlet. For this, kudos goes to the writer.

In the story, Landon who has just graduated from high school goes on a trip to White Mountains in a group of six for rafting and trekking. What Landon doesn't tell anyone are the strange, recurring dreams he's been having. Sherridan, Landon's sister who is in the group, has also been having similar dreams. On the road, without any reason even conceivable by himself, Landon feels like taking the SUV he's driving with his sister and their friends to Death Valley. Will they be able to fight the strange forces that will bother them and their friends? The answer to this question is inside the story.

In the second story, Does Mother Know Best, the action scenes are brilliant. This writer knows how to use the right words at the right time and how to elevate the tension.

This story starts with the first person point of view of Aubrey who is going to give birth to twins but for some unknown reason she feels terrified that her children will be evil. After some time the boys Brad and Brent are born, Aubrey and her husband Kevin notice Brent's strange, violent behavior. By the time he is nine years old, Brent's obnoxious ways make the parents to seek professional help but to no avail. In the following years, Aubrey is certain that Brad is terrified of Brent for some frightful reason neither twin is disclosing. What happens to this family when the final struggle takes place between the two brothers when good fights evil brings the story to its end. As to the characters, I found that the change in Kevin, the husband and father, needed foreshadowing a bit earlier. This, however, can be explained by the fact that the earlier part of the story was told in first person by the mother who was easily deceived by her husband.

The third story, Mr. Lamina, is so imaginative that I felt a good movie could come out of it, if the reasons for the deranged man's behavior could be explained further and with a stronger backstory. In Mr Lamina, Scott Winters of Lynchville, who studies animals in college and works part-time in a zoo, has planned a trip with his friends to Bear Mountain at the end of the school year, after their graduation. Scott's mentor is their teacher Mr. Arthur Lamina, the animal expert whose comes from the area near Bear Mountain. Scott's friends do not like Mr. Lamina, sensing the evil lurking in him.

Mr. Lamina invites Scott and his friends to his estate after their trip to Bear Mountain. After graduation, while Scott drives in the Winnebago with his girlfriend Bethany and other eleven classmates, Bethany has a premonition that, somehow, Scott will be taken from her. They stay on Bear Mountain for three weeks, then heading for Mr.Lamina's lavish estate. Will the individuals in the group be able to survive in his animal preserve will be told in the rest of the story.

Sherri L. Gibson, the author of this collection who writes in various genres, has four novels to her name: A Doorway To Hearts, Chasing Dreams, Two Worlds Apart, and Two Worlds Apart:The Saga Continues.

Whether the readers enjoy horror stories or not, they won't be able to put this book down since the author's mastery of suspense and her crisp, clear language won't let them.

June 10, 2011 at 5:58pm
June 10, 2011 at 5:58pm
I just finished reading Ben Langhinrichs book of stories.

First, Congrats Ben!

Since the WdC Product Reviews does not accept E-Book reviews, I am writing my tiny review here.

Name of the Book: Savage Fire

This is the review I left at the Amazon's website:

Savage Fire is a collection of sixteen short stories in different or mixed genres. Most of the stories are dark horror with mysteries and a fairy tale among them. The ideas behind the stories are brilliant. The language is direct with a good measure of quips thrown in. For example, in the 5th story, Double Cross, the detective thinks, “She has legs a guy could give up for Lent.”
Most stories end without a strict closure to keep the reader wondering about the characters and the story. I felt this showed great wit on the part of this writer.
To sum it up, for a first book this collection is a winner, and I can hardly wait for the next book by this writer.

For WdC readers:
The stories in the contents section of the book are:
1. Savage Fire
2. Awake in the Age of Lizards
3. An Island Never Cries
4. Worth Watching
5. Double Cross
6. Saving Grace
7. Unsettled Hearts
8. Got it?
9. So Pretty
10. Missing You
11. If Not Mistaken
12. The Sea Witch’s Daughter
13. Blood Feast
14. Unfinished Business
15. Last Stop
16. Without Remorse

Let me repeat again. I loved his witticisms and the open endings. By open endings I mean the stories finish all right, but in some way, an underlying thread continues to leave the reader wondering, such as a family curse continuing or if looks can kill.
The only thing is, the price was too cheap. No kidding! I purchased it for $2.99. When I finished the stories, I went to post a review, and the book was reduced to $.99.
Ben's writing is worth much more than that. Either Ben is too generous for his own good or Amazon/Kindle people do not understand what a good story is.
Anyway, if I am not mistaken, you don't have to have a Kindle to download Amazon's E-Books. You can probably download the free application to your computer and buy the books. *Smile*

ASIN: 0000000000
Product Type:
Amazon's Price: Price N/A

May 3, 2011 at 12:47pm
May 3, 2011 at 12:47pm
Yesss! We Got Him! We got the one with the intelligence of the devil, one of Satan’s handmaidens. He was one in human form, but I can’t call him animal or plant; it would be an insult to any biological group if I put him among them. I’m not going to refer to him by name either, since the name is one given to other humans as well.

Although I don’t like to rejoice over any death, this one gave me a breather, a small sense of revenge. I hate him even more because he brought the worst in me since 9/11/2001, and now, this feeling of elation over a death.

Let history weigh on him as it does on Hitler.

As to Pakistan, let’s not forget we still need them to pick up the varmints that gathered around the evil one. Instead of bad-mouthing and judging the whole nation, let’s try to make the best use of what we can get out of this, since there’s still a lot of work to be done.

Obviously, someone or some groups in the hierarchy of the Pakistani government or military knew where he was, but the result is we got him. Instead of blaming an entire country, we can make best use of what we got. I’d say, let’s let Pakistan blame itself, and we continue what we do best.

Thank you Mr. President, navy seals, the military, and anyone who had anything to do with this erasure.
April 7, 2011 at 1:25pm
April 7, 2011 at 1:25pm
We laugh at everything in our house, and the news is full of it. When I say full of it, I mean full of it in all its meanings. Here are a few:

*Bullet*April 5, 2011, news: Arizona proposes fee for the obese...
Hubby to me: Eat, eat! Why aren't you eating? We aren't moving to Arizona. *Laugh*

*Bullet* And now, a solution for the health-care crisis: TV serials!
From the news: Four very well known doctors, from the popular TV show "The Doctors", have shared great insight with us on the topic of the electronic cigarette. The electronic cigarette was featured as one of their top 10 key health trends for 2009.

*Bullet* The English language is getting ransacked by the likes of Donald Trump who thinks he owns "You're fired!" alongside the entire world. Now, another one has sprung up...
News: "Charlie Sheen moves to trademark 22 catchphrases
"Adonis DNA"
"A company with ties to the actor has moved to trademark 22 of Sheen's catchphrases, including "Duh, Winning," "Vatican Assassin," "Tiger Blood" and "Rock Star From Mars".
Much like their creator, the applications aim high, with trademark protection sought for everything from bras, drinks, electronic games, candy and even gambling machines. Records show the company, Hyro-gliff, filed trademark applications between March 19 and 22."

*Bullet* Next thing you know, we're all going to talk in code.
News: The Oxford English Dictionary has announced the latest batch of words and phrases deemed worthy of etymological conservation. From the encyclopedia's just-released 2011 edition, you'll see cream crackered, wag and tinfoil hat, as well as internet-era initialisms like LOL and OMG.

*Bullet* Well, not just us...The whole world has to adapt to teen quirks.
News: German mayor invents bench for teenagers
After residents of the southwestern city of Eppelheim complained teenagers always sat on the top of benches, rather than on the seat itself which they dirtied with their shoes, Mayor Dieter Moerlein came up with the idea of putting the seat on top.

I so love the news! *Laugh*
April 3, 2011 at 6:40pm
April 3, 2011 at 6:40pm
*Bullet* This tells something, doesn’t it!
My Top Words of 2010
Here are top words from my Facebook status messages!
1:Writing - used 98 times
2:Com - used 93 times
3:Wdc - used 88 times

*Bullet* I always wonder what the icons on the web sound like? For example, what is the sound for *Laugh*? Trouble is, once I hear them, I might not like them, and I might stop using them. So let’s leave the well enough alone.

NOTES to me:

*Bullet* Don’t think murderous thoughts about the accountant, just because he charged $500 and made a mountain chain of mistakes…several times over. Just think how lucky you are that you and hubby keep discovering them and keep driving back and forth between his office and the house. There is still time until the 15th.

*Bullet* Don’t sneer at Comcast just because they put their lobby locations and emergency numbers on the back of the part of the bill that you’ll send back to them with your payment.

*Bullet*Everything is perfect, but you’re stressed to no end, and you don’t lack energy either. After all, there are really serious things going on in the world to be stressed about.

*Bullet* You are stressed because you do it all, just much less perfectly than you’d like. Also, you don’t have to be self-reliant to a fault. Delegate!

*Bullet* Some compromises are bad compromises. Deal with it!

*Bullet* Think how young you feel, when you look in the mirror.

*Bullet* You love deadlines; you hate deadlines. You have to come to terms with this!

*Bullet* Work from home if you want to wear slippers.

*Bullet* Everybody is not going to like you or what you do; if not for anything but for the fact that they have issues with themselves.

*Bullet* Of all the characters in Sex and the City, you like Samantha the best. Isn’t that in direct conflict with who you are? Or who are you? *Laugh*

*Bullet* On the other hand, rationalize! *Wink* You have to think dirty to write fiction.

*Bullet* You don’t have to go to Starbucks in Barnes and Noble to write longhand.

*Bullet* If the house is noisy, write in the bathroom. Remember your children are grown up. Only little ones bug parents when they are using the bathroom.
March 31, 2011 at 12:50am
March 31, 2011 at 12:50am
Nope, I'm not going to talk about the "Odyssey Dawn," the weird title given to the military operation in Libya. What's in this name? Just bad PR. Obviously, no one in the Pentagon read the true Odyssey, or else, they wouldn't give such a name to a supposedly short-term operation. In the Odyssey, Odysseus -due to Poseidon's fury upon him- had a complicated journey and a very difficult time (20 years altogether with the Iliad adventures) to reach Ithaca, his destination.

Taking off from our present day follies, I want to mention a set of ten CDs I borrowed from our local library, The Odyssey by Homer read by John Lee, the actor, director, writer who has read more than eighty books for Random House.

It was such an enjoyable Odyssey for me to listen and appreciate not only the reader's voice and skill but also the writer's and the translator's talents. Homer has used most of the novel tools (foreshadowing, good scene composition, voice, proper pacing etc.) that we try to use in our craft. Sometimes, his language is colorful, sometimes straight. I enjoyed that he used the same phrase all through the Odyssey for when it became morning. Today, we may say, "the dawn broke" or "the dawn's first lights appeared in the horizon." Homer said, "Daughter of the morning, rosy-fingered dawn appeared." And he kept saying the same phrase for each morning.

In case some of us want to write stories of Ancient Greece of 3000 years ago, here are a few things from that culture I picked up:

In those times, last names being non-existent, everyone was called by their father's name, which has been the custom in Middle East until a short time ago. For example: "Odysseus Son of Laertes," even to his face when addressing him, and for another person, using the same style during an address.

It amazed me that they ate so much meat, which probably has nothing to do with today's Mediterranean Diet.

They served wine by mixing it with water.

No one went to wash their hands, but the slave-servants brought water and a basin to the dinner table and washed the diners' hands.

For bathing, people did not wash themselves but were washed by their servants and oiled afterwards. How the servants did those things for themselves, I have no idea, but it was common practice to kidnap people especially from the conquered lands and sell them as slave-servants.

If you can find it in your school's library or in the local library or want to purchase it, I recommend this version of The Odyssey highly. I had so much fun listening to it. Maybe the synopsis in Random House's website will give a better idea.

Synopsis from the Random House's website:

"Most translations of The Odyssey are in the kind of standard verse form believed typical of high-serious composition in the ancient world. Yet some scholars believe the epic was originally composed in a less formal, phrase-by-phrase prosody. Charles Stein employs the latter approach in this dramatic, and in some ways truer, version. Famous episodes such as the sirens, Scylla and Charybdis, and the Cyclops, are rendered with previously unseen energy and empathy. The poem’s second half—where Odysseus, returned home to take revenge on his wife’s suitors—has extraordinarily subtle, “novelistic” features that are made more transparent in this version. There is also a special feel for the archaic dimensions of Homer—the world of gods and their complex relations to Fate and Being that other translators tend to deemphasize in order to make the poem feel “modern.” Most versions exclude or minimize the magical aspects of the poem, but Stein gives these elements full play, so that the spirit of a universe predating the classical era shines through. This vibrant version of The Odyssey shows readers not only what the Greeks thought about their gods but the gods themselves. Summaries preceding each chapter and a list of recommended websites help expand the experience.”
March 26, 2011 at 12:16pm
March 26, 2011 at 12:16pm
I just finished reading Main Street by Sinclair Lewis, courtesy of Kindle and Gutenberg.org. The book was published in 1920 and the story takes place in a fictional Minnesota town, Gopher Prairie, through the time before the beginning of World War I to a couple of years after the end of it.

Funny thing about the awards for this book was that, at first, the book was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1921, but the Board of Trustees of Pulitzer overturned the Jury’s decision and the award went to Edith Wharton, possibly over the hullabaloo it created in Minnesota. Then, in 1931, Sinclair Lewis was awarded the Nobel prize, and of his works, Main Street was cited together with Arrowsmith.

The book’s language edges on the lyrical, and the writing style is excellent, although the descriptions, as beautiful as they may be, are overdone. The plot was okay, yet the main character rubbed me the wrong way. But then, I love the literary genre and am ready to accept most anything it offers.

The main character is a free-spirited, liberal woman, and although the literary circles tout her as a powerful female protagonist, I found her to be self-serving, brazen, ineffective, and just as annoying as the (entirely Republican) town she’s trying to beautify. In addition, her values remain on the exterior of the idea of beauty. She could have been a stronger, less whiny and impulsive, and more effective character, and she could have respected other human beings more. Plus, I just wonder why the author made her husband to be so tolerant, affectionate, and understanding although he didn’t care too much for his wife’s escapades. I felt the husband was the better person, a hard-to-come-by even in today’s world.

Anyhow, at the end of the novel, Carol, the main character, points to her second child’s head and part of what she says to her husband is sort of a prophecy for future. I thought it was satirical what the main character Carol predicted for the year 2000. Here it is:

“Do you see that object on the pillow? Do you know what it is? It’s a bomb to blow up smugness. If you Tories were wise, you wouldn’t arrest anarchists; you’d arrest all these children while they’re asleep in their cribs. Think what that baby will see and meddle with before she dies in the year 2000. She may see an industrial union of the whole world, she may see aeroplanes going to Mars.”

What an irony that almost the whole world now has unions, and probably due to fiscal crisis all over the place, the bargaining power is taken from the hands of workers, starting in Wisconsin and leaking to Minnesota, where Sinclair Lewis placed his fictional Gopher Prairie!

March 23, 2011 at 1:44pm
March 23, 2011 at 1:44pm
I took a peek at a blog’s link that was on WdC’s FB page. What I read was proof to what I have been convinced of all along. The writer says, “narrative structure and conflict lock and character plotting and so forth are just frameworks in which your story needs to work. They’re NOT your story.” True, the technical and the mechanical parts we are so keen on do not make the story. Surely, that knowledge should be soaked inside our minds as reference, but a writer’s stories can come only from that writer. No one else can really write them because no one has experienced her or his life.

The blog entry reiterates the positives of “plotting (planning), writing, rewriting and more plotting (planning), then rewriting some more.” Too much work, right?

Well, at least too much for me. Most of the time, I write something and I’m done. I may go back on it from time to time, fixing one thing or another, especially if I have had some helpful reviews on it, but I have never changed any story or (forget it!) a novel in a big way as to its structure, voice etc. This makes me a writer who may be called a writer only because she writes. Not a writer successful in writing anything full fledged. *Frown*

That must be why I enjoyed the two Nanoes I participated in because I just wrote. Funny thing is, I didn’t do any real prep work for either of them. Although I started with an idea or a character, some of the research came while the novel progressed. And planning a plot? Forget it! Not for me.

I know from experience too much planning and research will kill my motivation even before I start. Once upon a time, I planned a novel and only wrote six chapters on it. I just couldn’t finish it. That novel is still idling in my port. So much for planning…

I figure if I do that much work before writing, I am not going to write that novel in one month. But then, if I let go of NaNo and ate and drank writing a novel for as long as it takes, I would never do it. For sure, life, family, or I myself would hinder it. Catch 22, all over again.

The writer of the blog says, “Writing successfully takes an amount of work that few are willing to embrace.”

So true! And I know I am not among those few. *Sad*


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