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Rated: E · Book · News · #1505104
Useful information I think you will like to know, inspirations, comments, and more!
My goal for 2009 is to write in this blog at least once a week.

I'm planning to use it for logging:

*Bullet* bits and pieces of stories: writing exercises that turned out well, story ideas, ...;
*Bullet* links to other items I recommend reading on writing.com, and why I like them;
*Bullet* short articles, notes, and information about specific topics;
*Bullet* results of polls and surveys I created;
*Bullet* my goals for the year;
*Bullet* more about who I am, my values, my interests;
*Bullet* links to authors I like and why I like them;
*Bullet* anecdotes;
*Bullet* anything else that I think may interest other authors, my family, and my friends.

Feel free to give me your comments! I want this blog to be interactive as much as possible. Come visit often!
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August 28, 2020 at 7:11pm
August 28, 2020 at 7:11pm
Wow, I haven't been here or written anything in over five years. So much has happened since then. My children are all grown, I got a divorce, I'm doing a lot of backpacking and outdoor adventures, and I'm dating a fabulous man. My life is so very different than it was five years ago. I'm starting to write again with this short blog post. It's a little strange being writing again, but then again, 2020 has been very strange so far, might as well add to the strangeness. Let's see where this leads me! I think I'll start with some flash fiction stories.

See you around!
December 31, 2009 at 2:29pm
December 31, 2009 at 2:29pm
What are your goals for 2010?

Mine include:

1) work on my two novels (MG and YA)
2) write in my blog once a week
3) network using Twitter, Facebook, and Blogspot.

This is my last post on this blog. From 2010, I will focus on my new blog: http://dutchhillnews.blogspot.com/ Feel free to become one of my followers! And make sure you leave a comment once in a while.

Happy New Year, everyone! All the best for 2010!!
December 16, 2009 at 2:37pm
December 16, 2009 at 2:37pm
*Ornament3r* *Ornament3y* *Ornament3b* HAPPY HOLIDAYS! *Ornament3b* *Ornament3y* *Ornament3r*

I wish you all the best for this holiday season and the new year. Celebrate well and don't drink too much. *Wink*
(I personally don't drink at all but that's just me... I like to have my brain fully functional at all times.)

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November 25, 2009 at 1:58pm
November 25, 2009 at 1:58pm
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Today is my WDC anniversary. I'm one year old! As I look back at all the things that happened so far this year, I can't help being thankful. I've met so many great people here on this site. Here are a few I'd like to recognize:

Brooke-Dwayne Pride for putting together the greatest contest of all times, "TP's Carnival Midway - Notes Page where I gained confidence in reviewing and received countless reviews as well. It was the most entertaining contest I ever participated in. *Laugh*

Magoo , my first reviewer on this site. His review was simple but encouraging. I decided to stay a while, and I'm still here!

🌓 HuntersMoon who showed me appreciation with a merit badge at the time I needed it most. He's a poet, and I don't normally read poetry, but I reviewed some of his items to dunk a staff member on a contest, and I'm glad I did. He's a great author! My favorite piece on his port: "Pearls of Wisdom (An Anniversary Poem)

Arakun the Twisted Raccoon , my mentor when I was a WDC newborn. She's also running one of my favorite contests, "Daily Flash Fiction Challenge where all my flash fiction stories were born.

Hyperiongate , the Sci Fi Guy. I don't normally read sci-fi, but I enjoyed reading and reviewing his novel-in-progress: "Invalid Item. He also played a part in giving me confidence as a reviewer, and he rekindled my interest in writing novels.

Anastasia. V. Pergakis , my professor at "Invalid Item and my Queen of Clubs at "Invalid Item. Happy Thanksgiving, Your Majesty! *Wink*

reikidreamer, another ACE group member, who let me make three wishes on her port's guestbook. *Smile*

emerin-liseli whom I met at the ACE group, who introduced me to the "Invalid Item, a stepping stone that led me to join the "Invalid Item. I can’t thank you enough!

… Which brings me to talk about all the other wonderful writers I found on the "Invalid Item:

Emailman , my first reviewer on the forum. I talk about his review on my blog, http://dutchhillnews.blogspot.com/2009/10/simple-things.html. Not only is he a great reviewer, he’s also a very talented writer and a good friend.

dusktildawn, the moderator on the forum. She gives awesome, detailed, encouraging reviews.

opto, the founder of the forum, whom I’ve had a chance to meet in person. I talk about our literary meeting on my blog, http://dutchhillnews.blogspot.com/2009/10/literary-meeting.html

Airdale (Alex Lidell) , another great writer whom I’ve had the chance to meet in person. (see above link)

Dezi>>secret ninja who makes me laugh like no one else can. lol!

Reyah , a YA writer who writes non-YA stories. … if it makes sense. *Wink*

raeburk01, who ran a reviewing workshop when I first joined the forum. That helped tremendously! I had no clue what I was doing. *Smile*

Jay is studying , the only other male writer on the forum besides Emailman . LOL!

Taniuska , hailey and Vampyr14 who gave me countless useful reviews.

Tamara H , a soon-to-be-published writer! I wish I had joined the forum earlier to read her novel before publication, but now I’ll have to wait until 2010.

I also want to thank all my other reviewers throughout the site that gave me 316 reviews so far!! I can’t possibly name each one of you, but you know who you are.

Yep! I have a lot to be thankful for this year.

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November 23, 2009 at 8:46am
November 23, 2009 at 8:46am
Every November, I stop and look back at my goals for the year. Have I stayed on track? Did my goals change at some point during the year? Did I accomplish them? What should my new goals be for 2010?

2009 has been a very productive year for me. I had a set of clear writing goals, which I describe in a contest entry, "Dear Me (my goals for 2009) and I stayed generally on track until July, when my goals took a sharp turn. I revisit my goals and muse about my accomplishments in my most recent blog entry: http://dutchhillnews.blogspot.com/2009/11/writing-goals-2009.html

Have you reached your goals for 2009? There's only one month left!
November 5, 2009 at 3:24pm
November 5, 2009 at 3:24pm
This is my special place at Garrett Mountain where I go to write, meditate, pray, or when I just need a breather from the commotion of everyday life.
This is a place I go to write, meditate, and pray.
Whenever I drive around this place, I can spot at least five or six deer. The most I've seen in one day is twenty. The gazebo on the picture is where one of my novels-in-progress was born, which I later titled Meredith Mountain Miracle. There's a small lake in the background, which we can hardly see on this picture. My muse seems to like this place a lot. *Smile*

The site was under construction for a while and I was unable to visit. I stopped by today on my way back from the dentist. Such a peaceful place! I could have stayed there all day.

November is a great month to reflect on past achievements and just be grateful for what we already have, before making new goals for the year to come. With this in mind, I'm posting a series of entries on my blog about how I started writing. Stop by and say hello! I love getting comments. http://dutchhillnews.blogspot.com/
October 20, 2009 at 2:13pm
October 20, 2009 at 2:13pm
Just over a week ago, I had the opportunity to meet two wonderful writers I met on writing.com. *Delight*

Read about our literary meeting on my blog: http://dutchhillnews.blogspot.com/2009/10/literary-meeting.html

Don't forget to leave me a comment! I love getting comments. *Smile*
October 6, 2009 at 11:13pm
October 6, 2009 at 11:13pm
I printed all the reviews I received recently for the first chapter of my young adult novel, a total of about about 20 pages. *Delight* Most of them came from
 Invalid Item 
This item number is not valid.
#1199544 by Not Available.

I strongly recommend this group to anyone who has a YA novel in the works and needs detailed, helpful reviews. Other groups in the same style also exist for other types of novels (Romance, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, ...) but I didn't check them out.

Writers in the group post chapters on the review boards and must review one chapter per week to remain listed. The forum provides a review format to use. We even have a "review reviewer" to help newbies improve their reviewing skills. How great is that?

The support I received from everyone on the forum is priceless. Not only is my writing improving, but my reviewing skills are developing as well.
September 30, 2009 at 3:52pm
September 30, 2009 at 3:52pm
What's gotten into me, starting a new blog? Do I have time? I'm not even sure how that thing works!

Oh, well. Here it is, my new blog: http://dutchhillnews.blogspot.com

Let's see what happens! I'll keep this current writing.com blog only for writing.com stuff and will use my new blog for everything else. It's a great way to connect with other bloggers out there, and to keep in touch with people I already know.

Now I have to find something to write... Wait, I'm a writer, so it shouldn't be a problem. Besides, reality is often stranger than fiction. I already met a "real" vampire:


This blog post was written by opto which I "met" at the Novel Workshop. Hilarious!

Do you have a blog, other than on writing.com?
September 19, 2009 at 9:19am
September 19, 2009 at 9:19am
Yay! My handle is now yellow. *Delight*

*breathes deeply* It feels good to be appreciated. I'm starting to really like this site. *Smile*

I went back to one of my earlier posts where I had jotted down a list of things needed in order to be promoted to Preferred Author:

*Cool* positive involvement within Writing.Com and its community
*Cool* positive interaction with other members on Writing.Com
*Cool* quality of items in portfolio
*Cool* a minimum of 50 quality reviews
*Cool* reviews must be given to a mix of other members
*Cool* must be 13 years of age or older
*Cool* at least 5 rateable items in portfolio
*Cool* quantity and quality of their item ratings
*Cool* accuracy of content ratings in authors portfolio
*Cool* number of ratings given out to other authors
*Cool* number of other authors who have been rated by member
*Cool* amount of time author has been a member - at least two (2) months
*Cool* variety of items in portfolio
*Cool* accuracy of personal and demographic account information
*Cool* technical understanding of Writing.Com's site features

Wow, did I do all that? It seemed like an impossible task when I first started in November. The only thing I had back then was point # 6. *Wink*
September 14, 2009 at 3:33pm
September 14, 2009 at 3:33pm
Today, I sent two more stories to Spider magazine for children: "Goldilocks and the Three Pigs" and "The Adventures of Baby Raindrop." The editor must know me by now; I've been sending an average of one story per month since March. *Smile* No luck so far, but I'm not about to give up. The important is to keep trying.
September 11, 2009 at 12:12pm
September 11, 2009 at 12:12pm
I haven't lost any loved ones on 9/11, but I want to take the time to honor and support those who did.

(moment of silence)

Today is also my favorite short story writer's 147th birthday. Coincidentally, O. Henry (William Sydney Porter) lived in New York City for most of his short, but productive, writing career. In fact, many of his stories are set in NYC.

I came across some of his stories when I read an anthology of American short stories and I was hooked. Since then, I read about 200 of his short stories, as well as his biography and other books written about him. I developed a web page about his life and stories: http://www.squidoo.com/O-Henry and one featuring one of his short stories every month: http://www.squidoo.com/ohenrystories. His life was also the inspiration behind one of my short stories: "Gift from the Heart.

I don't know where my fascination for O. Henry comes from. Maybe it's the theme of his stories: self-sacrifice, unconditional love, ordinary people with an extraordinary story, going beyond appearances. Maybe it's his signature twist ending, which surprised me more than once. Maybe it's his whimsical word plays and puns. Maybe it's just who he was, a kind-hearted man with amazing writing skills, turning in one 2000-word story per week for a New York magazine at the beginning of his writing career.

His life is just as interesting as his stories, if not more. Within the same year, his wife died of tuberculosis and he was sent to jail, accused of embezzlement... From what I've read, he didn't exactly take money from the bank he was working for. The bank was clearly mismanaged and he happened to be at the wrong place, at the wrong time. Nevertheless, he spent three years at the Ohio penitentiary, and that's where he started his writing career. In jail, William Sydney Porter died and O. Henry was born. One would expect his writings to be dark and heavy after all that. Not at all! Surprisingly, his stories are usually light and inspiring, clever and funny.

There is more to the story, but it would be too long for a blog entry. I'll let you explore my web page instead. *Smile*

*Balloon1**Balloon2**Balloon3* Happy 147th Birthday, O. Henry! *Balloon4**Balloon5**Balloon6*
September 10, 2009 at 11:07am
September 10, 2009 at 11:07am
I just discovered a very interesting blog about query letters:


People send their query letters for critique by the Query Shark. The blog shows the letters and the Query Shark's brutally honest comments on them. People can then add their two cents at the end.

I learned a lot just by reading the first one. Now if I could only find a blog about cover letters... *Smile*

To be published, not only do we need a fantastic story, we also have to know how to sell it to a potential publisher or agent. That's something I need to learn. The cover letter or query accompanying the manuscript must be convincing enough for an editor to want to read the story in the first place.

I received a lot of reviews on my stories, but I never showed my cover letter to anyone yet. Maybe I should. I think I will.
September 4, 2009 at 6:19pm
September 4, 2009 at 6:19pm
I've been trying to print my blog with not much success. If I just click "print," it cuts some of the sentences. If I copy and paste it into Word, it creates all these tables and extra spaces. I finally figured out a simple way to print it.

I export my portfolio (Site Tools - Portfolio Export - Export as HTML / Export as .ZIP Archive file). Then I locate my blog by item # in the zipped file and print it. So simple! It prints from the oldest post to the newest, so next time, I can just print the most recent posts and add them to the end. The only thing is that it doesn't print the font colors. Oh, well!

Now if I could only find out a way to print all my reviews the same way...
August 24, 2009 at 10:24am
August 24, 2009 at 10:24am
I read something today that would make a great story prompt:

Fact of the Day: Stockholm Syndrome
Stockholm Syndrome is the phenomenon in which a hostage begins to identify and sympathize with his or her captor. The word was coined by Nils Bejerot after a botched bank robbery in Stockholm, Sweden in 1973, in which it emerged that the hostages were more afraid of the police than of their captors.

I'm not into detective fiction, but I think it would be a clever plot to have the hostages being more afraid of the police than their captors!

It reminds me of a O. Henry story, The Ransom of Red Chief, where the kidnapped boy ends up to be such a pest that the kidnappers can't wait to return him to his family!! *Laugh* If you haven't read it yet, you should: http://www.literaturecollection.com/a/o_henry/3/
August 19, 2009 at 11:24am
August 19, 2009 at 11:24am

I decided to focus on revising my existing stories for the next few weeks. I made a list of all my short stories (I have about 40!) and I'm revising many of them with the help of the reviews I recently received. Some stories only need slight corrections; for some others, I have to think of how to re-write certain parts to make them more believable or more interesting.

Once I revised a few flash fiction stories and I'm satisfied with them, I post them on my Squidoo page: http://www.squidoo.com/flashfictionforeveryone. I can't change them much though, being limited to 300 words.

As for longer stories (300 to 2000 words), my goal is to submit one story per month to a magazine. In fact, I sent one out: "Kelly's New Home* on Monday. Wish me luck! *Smile* With that goal in mind, I joined "Invalid Item"   by A Guest Visitor forum and posted three of my items for reviews. I've received valuable feedback so far.

* I restricted the view to Registered Authors while it's being submitted.


I have four longer stories I'm planning to develop into either chapter books or YA novels. I finally gathered up enough courage to post the first chapter of each story for reviews: "Invalid Item Two of them were written before I joined writing.com. I think my writing must have improved since then, with all the news stories I've written! The problem is, I'm so familiar with these stories, I don't know what to change to make them better. Or maybe they are good enough as they are? I trust that my reviewers will help me figure it out. *Wink*

One of them, a YA novel "Generation Peace - Chapter 1, needs a complete re-write (to my opinion), which I find harder to do than writing a brand new story. That's something I need to practice. There's no better time than right now to get started... and there's no better tool than a good, constructive review to get my muse activated. *Smile* I recently joined "Invalid Item"   by A Guest Visitor . I still have to post my first chapter, but I want to revise it one more time before posting it. I re-wrote the chapter entirely, but I'm still not happy with it. What do they say, practice makes perfect? I'll keep practicing, then. *Wink*


I've been doing a lot of reviewing recently, and I discovered how helpful it can be in improving my own writing! When I review someone else's story, I need to think about why I liked or didn't like a story. What makes a story great? What could be improved? By analyzing each aspect of the story (plot, setting, dialogue, characters, ...), I learn how to write better at the same time.

As a bonus, I find that people are generally very appreciative of my reviews. Sometimes they return the favor and review one of my stories. Sometimes they thank me with gift points or a thank you e-mail. There's nothing better than a thank you e-mail to keep me going!

I'm now using the Review Tool, which is extremely helpful. I saved a template that includes a summary of every aspect to review (plot, dialogue, etc.), and my signature. I just replace each description with my comments, preview it, and submit my review. I'm just wondering why I didn't start using it earlier...

I'm currently taking a reviewing workshop for the next two weeks. I want to learn to give good, detailed reviews. So far, I've learned on my own, just by doing it, but I feel there is room for improvement. In other words, I need someone to review my reviews!! *Laugh*
August 12, 2009 at 12:03am
August 12, 2009 at 12:03am
I posted the first chapters of four chapter books/YA novels in my port: "Invalid Item. I need to decide which one to concentrate on first. Some of them I wrote last year, and I'm sure my writing skills have improved since then. I thought I'd post them and get feedback before I start changing anything. *Smile*

Please help me decide which one I should work on first. I've been writing a lot of new short stories recently, but I really want to go back to my longer projects and finish them. I just don't know where to start! Any idea?
August 11, 2009 at 1:39pm
August 11, 2009 at 1:39pm
One more thing to add to my list of serendipities...

Every month, I participate in the book-in-a-week challenge. The first week of each month, each participant (about 50 people) makes a goal of how many pages they want to write during the week. At the end of the week, one name is randomly picked to win a book. I'm the winner this month!

I will be receiving 45 Master Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt. *Delight*

Here is a link, if you want to check out this challenge: http://www.book-in-a-week.com/moodle/
August 9, 2009 at 10:25pm
August 9, 2009 at 10:25pm
I’m trying to make sense of what happened to me in the last thirty days or so:

1) I was one of the featured authors for the "TP's Carnival Midway - Notes Page’s dunk tank review event. I received five encouraging reviews from 🌓 HuntersMoon .

2) I became the featured author for the "Invalid Item forum. I received many reviews from different authors, most of them detailed and encouraging. All together and mainly due to this forum, I received about 45 reviews in the last 30 days, and they are still coming in.

3) One of my stories was featured in the drama newsletter.

4) I’ve been chosen to be one of the moderators for the "Invalid Item, hand picked by Anastasia. V. Pergakis to be her assistant. Harley was my teacher when I attended classes at the Writer’s Academy on this site.

5) I learned a lot about reviewing during the "TP's Carnival Midway - Notes Page. I sent a message to Brooke-Dwayne Pride to thank her for giving me confidence in my reviewing skills. My e-mail apparently hit a spot – she temporarily changed her handle name to “Brooke – TY dutchhillgirl” in appreciation, and her handle showed a smiley face.

6) While reviewing, I stumbled upon Hyperiongate ’s novel. Even though I don’t usually read sci-fi, I started reading the novel and found six coincidences:

• Two dates are mentioned in the prologue – the first one is the day my writing.com membership expires; the second, my husband’s birthday.
• One of the characters has my middle name; another has my first name.
• The character with my first name is reading the same book I had started reading the previous week.
• The novel starts with the exact same sentence as my novel-in-progress.

Intriguing, isn’t it? Not only did I find myself reading a genre I don’t usually read, but I also gave a thorough review of each of the first eight chapters. The author gave me a merit badge in appreciation.

7) I reviewed several of 🌓 HuntersMoon ’s items recently. He also gave me a merit badge in appreciation. When I thanked him for the badge, he replied with a single sentence: “Just thought you ought to know that you're appreciated.”

This last e-mail summarized all that has been happened recently and blew my mind. I am usually very cheerful and positive, but I recently went through a difficult period in my life when I didn’t feel appreciated. How in the world did all these people know exactly what I needed, at the exact period in my life when I needed it most?

I received more gift points, merit badges, reviews, and thank you e-mails in the last thirty days or so than ever before. Up to a few weeks ago, nobody had ever personally given me a merit badge in appreciation for my reviews.

The only explanation I can find is that God works mysterious ways... That doesn't quite explain anything, but it's good enough for me. *Smile*
August 5, 2009 at 9:46am
August 5, 2009 at 9:46am
I recently reviewed many stories, and I came across a few gems. I thought I'd highlight them here, so that more people can enjoy them.

Not only are these stories beautifully written, but they also have a touch of spirituality I always like to see in stories I read. For a moment, they made me forget that the dishes need to be done and that I could use a bigger income, and I found myself reflecting on deeper values, on what really matters.

 Higher Calling  (13+)
Ellen is in a car crash. (Flash Fiction)
#1588109 by Hyperiongate

Flotsam  (E)
Some dreams haunt you, some come true.
#1550324 by 🌓 HuntersMoon

Path of Open Doors  (E)
A stranger changes Jane's life forever.
#1418381 by NickiD89

I hope you will enjoy reading them as much as I did.

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