Book Reviews and Writing Tips

Book Reviews and Writing Tips

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

Attribution By Cemg (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

A big thank you to all of you have followed me and read my blog posts over the last year.  I love all your comments and try to reciprocate by visiting your blogs as well.  As a result, I’ve met a lot of nice people out there and read some interesting posts.  I hope to do better about dropping by more often, but I always run out of time.

I’m not a big one for making new year’s resolutions because it’s hard to keep any resolution and I don’t like to commit to something I probably won’t do consistently, however, I will say that I’m trying to do better with that way of thinking.

I’m going to try to write more than I do now.  I’d like to finish the three books I have started and get one of them published this year.  It seems I’m always writing now, if you could hear my husband talk, but sometimes it’s just email and blog posts.

I wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.  Keep that positive attitude and be realistic about your goals.  It’s easier to find satisfaction that way and not disappoint yourself because you will get there eventually.

If you’re celebrating, be careful on the road and get a designated driver if you’re drinking.  Have fun and make merry with friends and family.  Tomorrow’s a brand new day.  Happy New Year everyone!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Becoming a more productive writer

This is definitely a new year’s resolution.  I was involved in a discussion a few days ago in a writing group on Linked In and this was the topic.

It got me to thinking how hard it is to actually sit down and write a book.  It takes a lot of tenacity and discipline, as well as using all the creativity you have down in there somewhere.

Non-writers probably don’t realize all the obstacles and challenges we face as writers.  There is always more to any endeavor you’re involved in than most people even contemplate, unless they’ve been there themselves.

I’m working on a mystery book that I hope I can finish this coming year.  I’ve been working on it since 2012, but not continually, or I would have it finished by now.  I’ve written two other books in between editing and rewriting this one.  My ultimate goal is to make this a mystery series.

My problem is I get involved in every writing competition or contest that comes around because I can’t resist entering.  In a way this is a good thing because it forces me to write something.  On the downside, it puts me behind on my current WIP.  But I look at it as a learning experience and I always feel like I get better at my craft because I participate in these things.  I guess there is always plenty of time to get all this work completed, or so I tell myself.

Susan Uttendorfsky started this discussion of being a productive writer and offered up a blog with help to keep you inspired and productive if you’re struggling, so I’m posting that link here for anyone who wants to read more.

What are your goals for 2015?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas Everyone

My cats - Koki - Tootie - Raven

Thank you for following me, reading my posts and leaving comments.  I enjoy hearing from all of you.

Wishes for a great holiday season with family and friends and a new year blessed with health and all you enjoy.  May your writing endeavors be many and you stay inspired so the well never runs dry.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

In Memory of the authors who died in 2014

We lost eight writers this year.  Do you have any of their books in your library?

Gabriel Garcia Marquez - Wikipedia

Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1927-2014) Nobel Prize winner, Columbian writer of magical realism.  He wrote six novels, four novellas, and several short story collections, as well as seven non-fiction books and one film.

 Nadine Gordimer - Wikipedia
Nadine Gordimer (1923-2014) Nobel Prize winner, South African writer and political activist wrote epic pieces dealing with moral and racial issues.  She wrote fifteen novels, twenty-one short story collections, as well as one play and several other works.

 Peter Matthiessen - Wikipedia

Peter Matthiessen (1927-2014) won the National Book Award three times.  He was a naturalist, wilderness writer and a CIA agent.  He was co-founder of the literary magazine, The Paris Review.  He wrote eleven fiction books and twenty-two non-fiction books.

 Farley Mowat - Wikipedia

Farley Mowat (1921-2014) A Canadian author and environmentalist who wrote forty-five books including novels, short stories and plays.

P.D. James - Wikipedia

P.D. James (1920-2014) Crime fiction pioneer born in England.  She won acclaim with her Adam Dalgliesh mysteries.  She wrote nineteen detective novels, most of them featuring her police commander Adam Dalgliesh.  She wrote nine other works.  Fifteen of her books were adapted for film or TV.  She was also a baroness.

Sue Townsend - Wikipedia

Sue Townsend (1960-2014), an English writer whose works include novels and screenplays.  She wrote fourteen novels, two non-fiction books and twelve plays.

 Daniel Keyes - Wikipedia
Daniel Keyes (1927-2014) Hugo Award winner who wrote mainly fiction, science fiction and fantasy.  He wrote nine novels and two collections of short stories.  Two of his works were adapted for film.

Mary Stewart - New York Times

Mary Stewart (1916-2014) was a romance/mystery writer born in England.  She wrote gothic romance and historical fiction novels.  Fifteen gothic romances, five King Arthur novels, two children’s novels and a poetry collection.  Her King Arthur tales are wonderful.

May they all rest in peace and readers continue to enjoy all the characters they brought to life through their books.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Gifts for Writers

We all know that there are many things we can give a writer on our Christmas list, but let me suggest a subscription to Writer’s Digest magazine.  Wow!  This magazine has everything you’d ever want to know about writing and then some. 

I received a subscription to this magazine last year and I love it.  I’m so impressed that I could write several pages on the merits of this trade publication.  I won’t do that here because none of you have the time to read that much, but the magazine covers everything.  Each issue is so jammed full of things concerning the writing craft that you won’t be disappointed.  Not only is story structure, plot, keeping the action moving, dialogue, etc. covered, but there are also articles on writing query letters, marketing, getting published, and interviews with seasoned authors and newbie’s.  In the back there are contests and writing meet ups.

I know I left some things out.  I’m always astounded how a small magazine can cover so much in each issue.  Any writer you know would be happy with this trade publication.  It’s a good refresher course, if nothing else.  I renewed my subscription and look forward to this little gem arriving about every six weeks (eight issues a year).  Start your 2015 off with a bang and pick this up now.  To find out more, click here.

Here’s something else for you writers to look over.  I know there will be something of interest in this long list.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

First things first

It’ll be a couple more weeks before I can get back to rewrites on mystery novel number one.  With Xmas coming, it’s time to think about gifts and get all that out of the way first because I have to mail stuff.  Sometimes I wish family lived closer and maybe someday I’ll live closer to them.  We’ll see.

Right now, I’m making my mom a family calendar, like I do every year.  Gathering pics is a real challenge, but I get a few new ones to work with every year.  It takes me a good two weeks to get this thing together.  I have a template for the calendar pages, but the dates have to be changed on it every year so it matches the actual calendar year coming up.  Then I always add family birthdays, anniversaries and holidays in all the appropriate places.  Once that’s done, it’s time to tackle the picture portion.

Actually, I enjoy this part because I get to use a different creative ability and work in Photoshop (in layers) to assemble the collage that will go on each page for each month.  Once it’s all finished, I can print it taking extra care I put the right calendar on the right picture page because it will be a flip calendar when finished in size 8 ½ X 11.

Back of 2014 Calendar

The back page takes the longest because I put a thumbnail pic of each month’s picture back there.  It looks really nice when completed, but is a detailed and time consuming job.

My next post will be about writing I hope.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The NaNo Challenge is coming to a close

This is the last day to slay 50K and win the NaNo Challenge.  How are you doing?

I hope you didn’t give up and throw in the towel.  Even if you are short of the 50K, you still have that much written toward what may become a masterpiece later.  And even if it doesn’t, the NaNo is a good writing exercise to keep your mind active.  I know firsthand it’s been a stressful month.

I attained my goal of hitting the 50K mark the day before Thanksgiving.  I set that date for myself from the get-go and I would do it no matter what.  This contest takes a lot of determination.  You can’t let anything stand in our way of writing daily or going on long marathons of writing at one time.

On the twenty-sixth, my husband asked me if I’d finished.  Yes, he discovered I was doing NaNo this year.  I told him no, but the day wasn’t over yet, at which he gave me a look that either said “are you crazy?  Or you mean you’ll continue writing until midnight if that’s what it takes?”  Of course he knew the answer to that already because he knows how tenacious I can be.

So at 11:30 PM on Thanksgiving eve, I checked my word count to verify my novel on the NaNo site and found I had 51,781 words and enough to win the competition even though my book isn’t finished.  Now I could breathe easier and have a more relaxed Thanksgiving.

I’ll set that manuscript aside for now with notes on how I intend to finish the story and go back to my first mystery novel, rewrite the next chapter, and get that to the girl who is kind enough to read it for me and make suggestions.

One day down the road, I’ll have a mystery series I can publish.  I’ve got three books written so far although the last one, which was my NaNo entry this year, isn’t finished and all three need to be edited and rewrites done. 

But I feel I’m making headway as a writer and learning a lot along the way.  I know I still have the stamina to finish 50K in a month and that feels good.  This was my third year at NaNoWriMo.

Does anybody else want to share how they did?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving, a day set aside to appreciate your blessings

Ah yes, turkey day and all the trimmings that go with it.  But stop sometime today and be thankful for all your blessings.  That includes family and friends and your devoted pets.  Be grateful that you have the day to spend with them and that they are safe and well.  Tragedies happen all too often and there’s chance you won’t get another opportunity to show your gratitude.

Be well and safe everyone and don’t get too much, especially those of you working on NaNo.  Don’t get too full to write a few words after the activities have died down and your guests have gone home.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Week Three NaNo Update

What a grueling process this can be.  You certainly have to have the right mindset to take this on every year.  But there is one thing for certain; NaNo forces you to write daily in order to keep up, unless you’re able to pound out 5,000 words in a day.

Fortunately, I’m able to type 5,000 words in one day, but this doesn’t happen often.  I love those days when my mind is filled to over flowing with brilliant ideas on where to go with my WIP.  It really makes up for the days when the well is dry and nothing at all comes to mind to get me going.

We are down to the last week so it’s most important to keep our butts glued to the chair and really buckle down.  I want that winner’s badge, don’t you?

Last night I finally got to the point where I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I reached 43,655 words before calling it a day.  A headache was bursting out all over from so much thinking.  I still hope to finish by Thanksgiving, but I haven’t written a word today so far.  However, the day is far from over.  I keep telling myself there are only 6,345 words to go.

How is everyone else doing?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Week Two NaNo Update

We’ve reached the halfway mark now and hopefully everyone who entered the NaNo this year has a good start on their book underway.

I know finding time to write is a big bridge to cross, especially when it comes to writing with the kind of intensity that NaNo demands.

There are also times when we reach a point and wonder which direction we’re headed in.  If a moment like this strikes me, I pick up a book and read a couple of chapters or look through my Writer’s Digest magazine and soon I’m inspired again.

The whole point is not to let yourself get down if you’re behind on your word count.  You can always catch up unless you’ve hardly started.  But the worst thing to do is to stop writing because you think you won’t finish the competition so why bother.  Throw that type of attitude out the window and sit your little butt down in front of your computer and write something everyday, even if it’s only a hundred words.  That’s still one hundred words closer to the finish line.

So here at week two, I have 31,555 words so far.  That leaves me on track to finish ahead of time, which I was counting on.  But in case something comes up and I can’t write at all for a day or to, it also takes the pressure off.  Life does get in the way sometimes and not everyone in the house may be as passionate about writing as we are.

Remember, in the end, we are all winners anyway because we started and have accomplished something, as shitty as it may be.  It’s a start and something we can work on and make perfect.  So don’t give up.  Keep writing.  I know you can do it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Up to my neck in NaNo

Sorry to all of you for my erratic posting of late.  My life has been hectic with keeping my house clean at all times, and weeding things out in preparation for a move once it sells. 

Now I’m up to my eyeballs in my NaNo project, so I don’t have a lot of spare time left over for anything.  If any of you are doing NaNo this year, how’s you’re project coming?  I’m hoping to make it to the halfway mark today, but it may be tomorrow before I reach that milestone.

If any of you are ready for a change, or perhaps are tired of shoveling snow and want out of the cold areas of the country, take a look at my other blog here.  I just posted my house over there.

Keep writing everyone.  Every little bit add ups.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Week One of NaNo is under our Belts

How many of you are tackling this competition this year?  Or do you have better sense than me?

This is my third year participating in NaNo.  I think I must be a glutton for punishment and stress because I always think I need to put myself through this since I discovered it in 2012.

If you’ve never done it, you won’t know what I’m talking about.  But if you have, you’ll know the writing frenzy we all undertake.

I’m the kind of person that thinks I can always accomplish something, even if I know the odds are against me from the get go.  Nevertheless, this doesn’t dissuade me from trying.  I’m not sure what a psychologist would say about the state of my mind, or where I get this trait from.  I simply can’t pass up a good challenge and have always been this way.

Week one hasn’t been easy, but I have persevered and slacked off in a few other areas.  Of course I knew this was rough going in because this is my third time.  I did finish the first two times and I intend to finish this time, even if it kills me.  I don’t enter anything without those expectations from myself.

My advice is to keep writing until you are spent daily.  Then write a bit more, if you can coax it out of your head from someplace.  DON’T EDIT anything.  This is a rough crappy first draft you’re writing.  Polishing and cutting can come later.  So can filling in any holes.

I’m not a plotter before I write, but I do an outline and character sketches before November for the NaNo.  I keep that in a separate file to refer to.  You should not have to waste your time looking things up and figuring all this stuff out once November first arrives.  Your purpose then is to write every chance you get.  If you get stumped on a name or description, put a question mark there and keep going.

Stock up on snacks and have ideas for quick meals to prepare if you don’t live alone, so you can get that out of the way as fast as possible and get back to writing.  No TV or social media during November -- not unless you are way ahead of schedule and want to reward your efforts by taking one day off.  That’s up to you.

I sit and write for hours without getting up.  I have a huge tumbler that holds four glasses of water by my side, along with a bag of trail mix, or crackers, or chocolate, and don’t even take a potty break unless I’m about to pee in my pants.  I’m obsessed when I’m on a deadline and I feel that the NaNo is a big deadline.

It feels so good to reach some of the pillars though, such as the 10,000 word mark, or the 25,000 when you know you’re halfway there.  I’m finishing week one with 14,199 words, so not bad.

If you’re one of the crazy ones doing this, keep writing and good luck!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Turning back the clocks again

I always hate this time of year because the days are too short.  There’s never enough time anyway, but an hour is such a drastic change.  Sometimes I wish they left the time alone.  Losing the daylight gradually doesn’t seem as bad as all at once.  To have the dark and the cold is too much for me.  Today is crummy anyway.  It’s windy, rainy and dark.  I had to move my tropical plants into the garage today, a full two weeks earlier than usual.  I about froze doing it too.  I want to cringe when I think that this is just the start of the whole mess.

I was trying to think of something positive I can post about this thing that we humans do when we play with the clocks and then it dawned on me.  We writers can seize the moment here and get an extra hour to write on our WIP today.  So let’s get crackin’.

Monday, October 27, 2014

NaNo is around the corner

From NaNo Website

So who out there is doing the NaNoWriMo this year?  You have five more days to sign up.  This will be my third year at it.  And yes, I am crazy for even attempting this at all this year with all the other stuff on my plate.  But we haven’t had an offer on the house yet, so if that doesn’t happen soon, we’ll have to face the fact we’re here another winter.

I always hibernate in the cold months anyway and I love a challenge that exercises my mind.  There’s no winning or losing in this contest and I can set the times I write.  The challenge is accomplishing 50,000 words during the month of November.  If you can manage this, you’ll come out with a nice first draft for the beginning of a new novel.  I say that because I always add to the story as it’s never finished.  Then I take on the task of polishing it out.

Anyone who hasn’t tried this should.  It’s a great discipline to write daily.  Of course most of it will probably be crap, but you’ll have something in there you can use to create an interesting story.

If you are participating this year, create character profiles now and jot down bits and pieces for your plot line.  This will make it a bit easier if you really get stumped along the way.  That’s all I do and then let my imagination take over.  At least in the end I’m somewhat on track and didn’t get too far off the path with the story I have in mind.

And remember, there are NO winners and losers.  Everyone is a winner because they wrote something during November.  If you fall behind, don’t give up!  Keep going because you’ll still have a good start to a novel at the end of November.

And resist the temptation to edit anything.  Don’t read what you’ve written, just keep going.  You can’t edit – ever - until you’ve reached the end of your novel. 

Find a quiet place and time to write daily when you won’t be distracted or disturbed.  Writing should be a reward you can’t wait to get to and not a chore you have to do.

To sign up go here: Write a novel in 30 days

All you need now is a working title and short synopsis.  All the writing doesn’t start until November first.  Good luck.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Book Review for The Moon Sisters by Therese Walsh

4 stars
Interesting story

This is a powerful family tale about two sisters as different as night and day.  Jazz is responsible and looking for a way to better her life while her younger sister Olivia is strong willed and more of a free spirit.  Olivia also suffers from synesthesia, which leaves her with the ability to see colors in sounds, taste words and smell sights.  Yes, this affliction really exists.  I had to look it up being the curious person I am.

After the alleged suicide of their mother, Olivia decides to venture to the place that was the setting for the book her mother was writing and never finished.  Much to her displeasure, Jazz is coaxed into going along to look after Olivia.  Her younger sister isn’t the most responsible person in the world and never thinks things through, going about life off-the-cuff, the total opposite of Jazz who has a job waiting for her.

Olivia packs some of her mother’s ashes into a suitcase and takes off to walk to her destination.  Jazz isn’t happy about Olivia’s quest and the insistence of her family that she goes along to look after her sister, but she can drive and has an old vehicle inherited from her grandmother.  Jazz is further aggravated when they run into all sorts of trouble along the way and it looks like she won’t be back in time to start her first job.

Jazz tries to talk Olivia out of going to the bogs, but she’s determined to get there by any means.  When Jazz is taking care of business, Olivia runs off to hop a train.  Jazz doesn’t realize she’s gone at first because the suitcase with the ashes is still there.  When Jazz finally catches up with Olivia, she’s taken up with a train hopper who tells her himself that he can’t be trusted, but she thinks he’s a nice person underneath, so is willing to take the chance because he can lead her to the cranberry bogs, which is where her dead mother’s story takes place.

When they meet face-to-face again, Jazz does everything she can to persuade Olivia to come home and give up on her quest.  She doesn’t trust the train hopper who Olivia is smitten by.  The reader can feel Jazz’s anger and resentment over the fact she has to mind her sister throughout the book.

Many secrets are revealed as this trip lingers on far longer than Jazz would like.  They are also camping in the woods, which bothers Jazz more than it does Olivia who claims she can sleep anywhere.

Each sister is hiding a secret from the other, and as the journey goes on they finally have to rely on each other and decide what’s really important.

This book is written in first person, alternating with each sister’s point of view.  There’s a lot of back story, but it seems to fit.  This didn’t bother me, but some readers may find there’s too much.  The thing that bothers me more is a couple of unanswered questions at the end.  I guess it’s the author’s intent to have the reader fill in the blanks.  Beyond that, this is a fascinating story and a quick read.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Cutting back-story is never easy

I’m back to working on my mystery novel after taking a few months off to get my act together around here so I’m ready to move.  There aren’t any bites on the house yet, but you never know when that will happen, and believe me, you can accumulate a lot of crap over the years.  This is especially true if you’re like me and have explored many art mediums in your life.  I have several “businesses” in my garage.

Anyway, back to the novel.  First, I’m ashamed of myself because I didn’t continuously work on this book, although I do realize I have more of a critical eye after letting it sit a while and then reading it again.  I can see some things to change, but it’s hard to be brutal and take out a lot.  I tend to let the back-story carry me away at times, I guess, probably much like the rest of you.  I think you do need some in there, but not too much.  Finding the happy middle ground is the hard part.

I’m thankful to have two gals reading this for me and helping me along the way with their perspective as they read the story.  I can’t tell you how much of a difference a new set of eyes can make.

I’m done with the second rewrite of my first chapter.  I was able to delete half of it, if you can imagine that.  I know the rest of it will be in as bad of shape too as the first chapter.  This book is sixty-one chapters long, but of course, that will probably end up considerably shorter once it’s finished.

My advice is to be brutal when you’re doing this.  Ask if the passages make your story better and if it advances the story.  Be honest with yourself.  Keep in the back of your mind that you have to keep the reader interested.  If you can’t part with all the hours of work you put in writing all that back-story in the first place, but you know you have to cut it out to better your story, remember you can paste it into a separate file if it makes you feel better about it.  That way it’s just separate and still saved on your computer somewhere.

I have no idea how long it will take to go through this whole story, but I look at everything as a learning experience. 

This first mystery book was my NaNo project for 2012.  I wrote the sequel as my NaNo project for 2013 and I’m intending on doing the next book in this trilogy series as my NaNo project for 2014 in November, unless I’m moving and can’t write my 1667 words a day.

Of course, none of this stuff is edited and ready to publish yet, but it will be one day.  I guess I have big plans for these books and I don’t give up, so eventually they’ll be out there, even if it’s only for me.

You writers should never give up either.  Write for yourself if nothing else, but write.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Author Marketing on Kindle Unlimited

In my opinion, this is a very good article for self-published authors about using the new kindle unlimited program to market their books.  This guy has done a detailed study of this new program Amazon put into effect in July of this year.  I think it’s well worth the read if you have your books available as kindles on Amazon.

This program allows readers to pay a monthly fee of $9.99 and read as many books as they like.  The catch here is that they have to read 10% of the book in order for the author to receive payment for that book.  This should concern any author a great deal, especially if you have long books enrolled in this program.  If the books are long, they had better be page-turners.  Of course, we all want to write books that keep the reader on the edge of his/her seat, but I feel all books ebb and flow with tension and slower areas.  I’ve read very few that are filled with apprehension from cover to cover.

It makes more sense, as this article suggests, to keep the books short, only enroll the first book in this program if you have a series, and to use it for the genres that attract the most readers.

Please click here to read the full article.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Review for My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni

An Interesting story
4 stars

Tracy Crosswhite becomes obsessed with finding out who really murdered her sister, Sarah.  She doesn’t believe Edmund House is the killer, even though there’s a trial and conviction.

Tracy becomes a Seattle homicide detective, making it her life’s work to get the bad guys because she blames herself for Sarah’s death.  As she works getting justice for victims over the next twenty years, she gathers facts about her sister’s case.

This book starts out slow, but midway through it picks up the pace and there are several surprises, many unknown facts are discovered, and there’s a great ending.  The beginning is about the childhood of the girls, their friends, and Sarah’s death as a teen.

When Sarah’s remains are finally found, it throws the small town of Cedar Grove back into chaos as everyone remembers the day she disappeared twenty years earlier and the ensuing trial.  Tracy reunites with some of her childhood friends at Sarah’s funeral.  One, Dan O’Leary, is a lawyer who takes all the files she’s collected over the years and, at her urging, goes over the facts.  Between the two of them and the facts, they decide the wrong man is in prison and start a process to get him released.  This opens up another assortment of problems and surprises that will change the way Tracy has seen things all her life.

This book has a little romance, a lot of suspense and is gruesome in places, but not more than you’d expect from a murder mystery.  There’s good character description and some devious citizens, which add to the story.  The reader will discover that things aren’t always as simple as they seem.

I could also picture the blizzard that takes over the town at the worst possible moment.  There are good depictions all through this book.

The only part that puzzled me about this story was a couple of chapters toward the end when the dead sister is talking.  Somehow, I think it would have seemed more natural if perhaps Tracy was thinking about what her sister would have done in the situation.  It just seemed strange to me that the sister who has been gone for twenty years would be stepping in to tell her part of the story.  That’s why I’m giving it four stars.

Nevertheless, this was still a good book and I’d like to read something else by this author.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

How to attract more clicks to your blog posts

Okay, I have to admit I was clearing my inbox and ran across this topic.  I won’t say who posted this, but I disagree with what this gal is trying to say.  I really think the way to get more blog clicks is simple, but takes commitment from you.

First, you must link all of your sites together.  I’m talking about your blog, Facebook, Twitter and any other social media site you’re on where you can do this.  You need to go in and set the settings so what you post to your blog will automatically posted to FB and Twitter and your Amazon page and who knows what else (this depends on the individual person).

Of course, you can figure out that this step alleviates the need for you to post your latest post to your social media sites.  It’s all done in one-step.

After this is set up, you can still post to FB and Twitter, if you have something to say that is unrelated to your latest blog post.

Next, when the A to Z Challenge rolls around each April, you need to PARTAKE in this event.  You can post about anything you desire, but the hard part is posting everyday in April (Sundays excluded).  YES, you can write your posts ahead of time and they can be short.

After you sign up for this, it’s your job to visit and comment on five blogs a day.  This may sound like a pain, but it’s FUN and you’ll meet many people out there you never knew existed and strike up a camaraderie with some of them.  They’ll visit your blog and, if they like what they read, they’ll be back to read more of your posts.

It’s so simple, and really this takes minimal work on your part.

Remember, you’ll have to disable the CAPTCHA on you blog before this challenge, if you still have it enabled.  I do have a post about how to do that if you have a blogger blog.  You can find that here

That’s all there is to it really.  Keep up the reading and commenting throughout the year and you’ll discover lifelong friends.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Okay, before I start in, I must thank Vashti for her latest blog on what authors are supposed to look like in the imagination of others.  You can find this excellent post here: Vashti Quiroz-Vega. 

On her post, she listed some authors to check out (author pictures versus the genres they write).  It was in this exploration of these people that I have never heard of that I got interested in a post on the blog by Mehitobel Wilson.  Cool name, huh?  Vashti is a cool name too.  I always like the unusual.

I scrolled down Mehitobel’s blog to read a blurb of a few posts.  Then the phrase “fictional character you probably would have actually dated in high school” caught my eye.  This set me to thinking about that, knowing the way I was in high school.  I decided I could make up the ideal fictional character I would have loved to run across back then.

I wonder if I should dare go on, as I was somewhat of a wild teenager, but I guess we all are at times or maybe in our inner soul.  Maybe we never act on the desires because we lack the courage to go forward and explore.  The teen years are hard when we try to find ourselves and many times this doesn’t happen until later, not in high school.  High school is for experimenting and tasting the future of our adult selves.

As many of you know, if you read my other blog, I grew up on a farm and was never in contact with anyone except my siblings until I started school.  Things didn’t really get exciting until I reached my teen years and started dating.  I had a rebellious side back then, and I guess it still resides in the shadows today if I want to be honest with myself.

In my junior and senior years in high school, I used to hang out with some questionable characters.  Of course, things were never questionable enough for me.  I wanted to do something wild.  I think this notion springs from my isolation while growing up.  I was up for almost anything someone suggested.  I wanted to experience life, probably feeling deep down that I missed a lot on the farm.  I eventually took up with some guys who rode motorcycles and am still friends with some of them today.

My rebellious streak included everything that was against school rules.  I made it a priority to break those rules as often as I could.  I wore my skirts too short, causing myself a trip to the principal’s office many times.  I would wear my shirttails out when the policy was to tuck them in.  The shirts had long tails, so my skirts disappeared underneath their hemlines.  I would pack a different outfit for school and change after I left the house, as my mother would never let us out of the house the way we wanted to dress.  My accomplice was one of my sisters, although I was more daring than she was.  But having an accomplice helped out in many ways.  We often skipped school together or missed the bus because we were too busy fussing with our makeup, hair and outfits.  We never ratted on each other because were in it together.

But back to the perfect man, he would be a surfer dude with a tan and long hair.  His daring nature and great smile would pull me in, not to mention his sleek body.  He would be my best friend, and an artist like me, we would talk for hours and dance to rock and roll music and share a joint or glasses of wine.  He would be passionate about the causes of the day because I was.  We would wile away the hours at a protest, if necessary, and hitchhike our way to Woodstock.  Perhaps from there we’d go to San Francisco and stay a while.  I loved that city back then and it was my dream to live in the Haight-Ashbury district.  Of course, some dreams stay dreams.  Maybe it’s better that way.

I never found his kind of guy, only people who were close.  And I never made it to San Francisco either until in my later years.  But I had plenty of adventures as a teen and lived to tell about it, not that I would share any of that.  Sometimes I think the fact that I survived the teens in the 60’s and 70’s is enough.