Friday, December 31, 2010

January Event-Schmooze in Florence

January is the month for new beginnings. One of my goals for this year is to get something published.
I hear non-fiction is a great way to break into print. If you are interested in this as well, please join me when Heather Montgomery comes to speak to us at the Florence-Lauderdale Public Library, Jan 8th from 12 noon to 3pm.
She will tell us how to research and target the nonfiction market.

To learn more about Heather visit her websites: and

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Snow Came and Went-What a Christmas

Couldn't wait to capture our first White Christmas. It was beautiful and reminded me of Christmases past where my sisters and I would don our heavy winter coats and boots and go outside to show off our Christmas loot.
We didn't have flashbulbs so we would have to go outside for the picture to take.
Now how crazy is that?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Exploring the Backyard

I love to explore and when I find a gem in my own backyard I get ecstatic.
This is Sweetwater Mansion. built in 1828 by 1812 war hero. You can visit the sites blog spot to learn more about this amazing place at:
Notice the water fountain and pond. It was said to represent a drop of blood symbolizing royal blood, but when the Civil War broke out it took on the meaning of a teardrop. The fountain cascades into the a pool in the the shape of a tear drop.

While there don't forget to visit the cemetery. It has some very unusual headstones.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Nonfiction blast!

Just got back from the Southern Breeze Conference and was a little nervous because they had so many good workshops to choose from-Thank you Lisa Stauffer. I was afraid I would miss something good and I probably did, but my good friends, Pat, Jana, Mary Ann and Irene promised to share (and they did).

Friday I chose to do Darcy Pattison workshop on voice and boy did I get my money's worth! Ever wonder how to make an old grouchy woman sound? Or make two boys the same age have a different voice. Or how about a dragon? This workshop taught us how to think consciously to make our characters have the voice we wanted them to have.

I did not get to attend her other workshops on Saturday because I wanted to concentrate on writing for magazines and nonfiction, but as a bonus, all attendees got a CD with her workshops on them. thank you Darcy!

Robyn Hood Black and Sharon Mitchell gave the class some good insights on writing for magazines and some Do's and Don't that you can check out on Robyn's website.
Sharon took us through how to write something you don't know, but may interest you and do the research. Great stuff!

Then I took Brad Strickland's History, Mystery and Research. He gave us a copy of his power point and if you weren't able to make the class he had extras on the freebie table. He also has a new book out: The Secret of the Sealed Room-A mystery of Young Benjamin Franklin- can't wait to read it (already have my signed copy).
Everyone knows how to write a mystery right? You start with the ending and work backwards. Duh! No wonder I was having such a hard time. I knew the ending of my story but I was trying to write towards the ending instead of backward. I'm going to give this a try. If any of you have tried it let me know how it works for you.

Heather Montgomery did an excellent job with : Real World: Work for Hire/Pay your Bills. We've all heard to study the markets, and I thought I was. Wrong! You have one week to check out Heather's power point on her website
Scroll down to "What's New" and find her SCBWI topic.

I now have a better understanding of how to slant my article towards a particular publication and can't wait to try it out.

Spring Mingle is right around the corner so get to writing and polishing.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Freebies at local libraries

Just got back from the Midsouth SCBWI conference and am jazzed.

I didn't get my first page read, :( but it was such a good exercise. I feel not only did I get a really good first page but a whole first chapter. Later that week the Florence-Lauderdale library had a free class on the Alabama Virtual Library (AVL). I thought I would learn about how to get books from other libraries ( I did) but it was so much more! For those that are writing non-fiction it is like paradise. All these research bases available to you not only from home, but if you are traveling you can still access the information (FREE!) In this economy when it is costly to travel it's good to know you can do a lot of the research without ever having to crank your vehicle.
Our library also has classes on digital photography,Microsoft power point, genealogy online, excel spreadsheet. The list goes on and on. Have you checked out your local library? What are some of the free things offered you have found useful?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Midsouth Preconference Jitters

Counting down: four more days to go, that is if I can get through this day.
Goals to complete before that magical day:
1.Finish assignment 7 and send it in- still working on the query letter and thought of one more thing to cut from ms.

2. Polish my first page, it's getting better but I want it perfect. Then I think-it may not get picked- then, what if does get picked and it's horrible. Yikes!

3. Two more stories to critique for Listserve Critters- they are so good but with a little tweak here and a little tweak there- then I think "Hey, I need to do that to mine too!" It's such a help critiquing and learning from other great writers-can't wait.

4. Got to pack-already sent a box full of books to donate to the alternative school. What a great idea ...

Got to get started hope to see you all there real soon.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Upcoming Contests!

I am in between assignments for the moment. I have seven incubating and am about to send it out. while I am waiting though, I wanted to share some upcoming contests.
Children's book Insider has an awesome contest. No limit to the stories you can submit and no fee. The prizes are $100, $75 and $50. Fiction and nonfiction. Check it out at their website:
Deadline is September 15, so hurry.

Then next up is Children's Writer wiring contest for Historical fiction. If you subscribe to the Children's Writer, then the fee is free. But get this, if you have to pay the fee, then you will get a years subscription to the Children's Writer and be eligible to submit to their other upcoming contests free.
Check it out at Deadline October 30.

Then just right around the corner is Highlights. the deadline for this is January 1-31, 2011.
the theme is "My Most Embarrassing Moment". You have time to write and rewrite for this one. Check it out at

Saturday, September 4, 2010

ICL Assignment 6

I have officially passed the halfway mark. I can tell I am getting better. I can see what my stories need by finding it either in other stories I am reading or by what is missing in others stories.In the critique group I am in I find the words of a description that works well or that is missing all together and point that out. I try to find the holes in my own stories. I think the hardest thing for me right now is getting through the revision. For lesson six I wrote a story about the character I developed in lesson five. Moving n to lesson seven, I have the choice of revising lesson two, four or six or making a new fiction or nonfiction piece.

I am choosing to revise lesson four, a nonfiction piece. I really hope to have something publishable by the end of the year.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Assignment 5-Character

Out of all the Institute of Children's Literature assignments, I think this one has helped me the most so far.
I've had a terrible time trying to create a character. With this lesson I was to observe a child and then describe this child to my instructor. I learned how to use strong descriptions. The second part of the lesson I was to create a personality for this character. It was easier to do this with a child I wasn't familiar with.

I went to a girl's basketball ball game and had several"characters" I could choose from. When it came to writing the personality part, I had free reign to have her do what I wanted her to do.

After this assignment I took my notebook where ever there was going to be a crowd. I have since picked up many other characters.

Then after I had my characters created I could put them into stories or just let them tell me their stories.

I had heard of authors saying they "talk" to their characters or their characters talked to them. This had never happened to me before this lesson. Now all those characters I have "picked up " are clamoring for attention.

Oh, Jaxon is calling to me and we haven't been able to talk to each other until now, so if you' excuse me...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Institute of Children's Literature #4

Lesson 4
Starts Part Two:
Taking a New Perspective.
I have received more books!
a market directory-Magazine Markets for Children Writers,and two textbooks:
Searching: A research Guide for Writers and
Essentials of English

Assignment 4 Is to write 500-1000 words of a nonfiction article. It can be on any topic.
This lesson focuses on the nonfiction and can be a How- To article, or science or history. The lesson leads you through the process of selecting your topic, researching it and narrowing the focus down.

I was doing some research for a speech for my son when I came across the name of a woman, Mary Edwards Walker. She is the only woman to have received the Medal of Honor. This intrigued me and I had to find out more about her.

When this lesson came along I had already done quite a bit of research on her and the times she lived. This lesson really helped me put together what I felt was a good article. The response from my instructor was also very encouraging.

I am still struggling with the research part though. I found lots of information on her, but they are primary sources. so if you write nonfiction and know the ropes of how to access primary sources, please leave comments.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Assignment 3

The assignment for lesson 3 was to write a 500 word memoir description targeted to a young reader.
Sounds easy, just 500 words. The problem is once I got started I couldn't stop. Getting start was hard alone. Which memory would I choose? The one about sister getting stuck in a tree? The one when I fractured my collarbone? Or the one when my baby sister was born? Would any of these interest anybody?
I finally chose to describe my grandparent's home. Even though we lived in the age of TV and electricity, my grandmother still chose to cook on her wood stove (even in the summer!) they had no TV! only a radio.
I found lots to describe and was told by my instructor that I "effectively hit all of the senses."
That was another tip they gave us which I have seen suggested in other writing books: To highlight a sense in a color.
So for sound I used green, feel-red,smell-blue, sight-hot pink, and so on. It really is helpful to see if you are using all of the senses or if you are using only one or two. It makes you think: What did grandma's house smell like?

Another tip the instructor gave was when describing something from the past that the young reader may not be familiar with. I had described the string hanging from a light bulb, but did not say what the string was for. That got me thinking of other things that are different now. Most phones don't have cords. I don't think any of my kids know what it is like to try to have a private phone conversation when the only phone you have is in the family room. They are not going to leave the room just so I could talk to my boyfriend.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I can't claim this organizational tip as my own, this came from my good friend Pat.

When I first started the Long Ridge writing course, she bought me a notebook and put pockets in them and instructed me to keep all my work in them. This has proved invaluable. As I proceed in the course, I am to refer back to previous assignments. Keeping it all organized is a big help.
I do have it organized on computer and backed up to a flash drive. Each folder is labeled by assignments. I keep what I sent and then I also keep an edited version (what the instructor sends back).
This photo shows the folder I keep my hard copies in. I also print out any "Talk Abouts" my instructor has suggested for further reading. Then if I need more help in another area like "weedy words" I can find it quickly. I can always find these on the student center for Institute of Children's Literature, but I still like to hold papers inmy hand and have them there at the computer when I am working on my assignments.

Do you have a unique way of organizing your work in progress?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Institiute of Children's Literature assignment 2

On Assignment two of the Institute of Children's Literature I learned how to cluster words and form them into ideas and then into a story. I studied the examples of stories in the "Best of the Children's Market"( I love this book and refer to it often.)

I was given a list of words to choose from and could use as many as five. Depending on the age I was writing for determined the length of my story.
I learned about beginning, middle and endings of stories and how to put it all together.

Since the maximum number of word counts to be used was 1000, I learned to narrow down the story and focus on one aspect.

On my feedback from my instructor I was told I needed more description. I have a hard time trying to add description in without making it sound forced.

The other thing I need to work on is conflict.I was referred to two "Talk About" which are very helpful and I have printed them out and refer to them often.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Part One Materials-ICL

In part one of the Institute of Children's Literature along with the course manual I received "Best of the Children's Market" and "From Inspiration to Publication".
The "Best Of the Children's Market" is invaluable as a study guide. This is a collection of stories that have been published. It tells the word count, magazine it appeared in, genre, and a personal note from the author.

When I read a story or nonfiction article in a magazine I often wonder "How many words is that, exactly?" This book tells you. It is also categorized by age and fiction and nonfiction.

The book: "From Inspiration to Publication" is also a good tool. It has articles to help you as a writer from beginning, characters, plotting and even researching. I have chapters assigned to read by the course work.

I have tabbed pages for quick reference and underlined and written notes in this book. It is well worn and I'm only halfway through the course.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

My ICL experience Assignment One

I belong to the Southern-Breeze region of Society of Children's book Writers and Illustrators and once in a while someone will ask about the Institute of Children's Literature correspondence course, so I thought I would blog about my experience.

First of all I was a skeptic, I saw these ads all the time and just thought it was a hoax. Then I talked to other writers who took the course and actually sold some of their stories they did as assignments.

Being my impulsive self, I sent off for the test for both the Long Writers course (writing for adults) and the ICL course. I got accepted by Long Ridge first and learned a lot, but so far nothing published. My friend Pat had already done the ICL course and learned a lot of things that were not covered under the Long Ridge and since writing for children is what I really wanted to do, I took the ICL course as soon as I finished the Long Ridge course.

I would recommend either course.

For the first assignment I was given three pictures to choose from and to write a story using the pictures as a jump start to a story idea.
I learned to have more than just an idea, to have a beginning, middle and end. I learned to use dialogue to give information, describe a setting and to stay with in a specified word count- something magazines will want me to do if they are going to publish my story.

One thing I learned during the Long Ridge course was that you can do this course entirely on line. I had started with mailing my assignments in and then learned that I could e-mail them. The turn around time is much faster too.

ICL and Long Ridge both will not just take your money and forget about you. If you do not turn your assignment in on time they will check up on you, offer encouragement and other aids.
If you need more time for an assignment you can go to the Student Center and request more time. So even if you are working, you can go at your own pace.
They also offer different ways to pay and offers that include discounts.

The feedback is phenomenal too. Specific to my writing ability and offers other helps called "Talk Abouts" to work on certain problems I am having.

If you are reading this and have taken the course please respond by telling me what worked for you and what didn't.

If you are considering taking the ICL course and have questions, please feel free to ask, if I can't answer I'm sure others will be able to.

Good luck on your writing venture.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th and Woes Me!

George Washington addressing his men in Williamsburg

Hope everyone has a Happy 4th of July and remember the folks that gave lives and limbs for this freedom.
Thank you to all of you in the services and May God Bless the USA!

Well I did the unthinkable, I lost the draft of the new story I was working on for assignment 6 of my ICL course. I don't for the life of know how I did that. I always save my drafts and I think this is the first time this has happened and I didn't even have a hard copy. I looked in all my storage devices. I have been working on procedure manuals and finished the last one Saturday night.
My good friend Pat Weaver said I needed to write it over anyway and I agreed. But I wanted to get the first draft down before I started editing.
So I guess you know where I will be starting tomorrow...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sping Park and Friends

Saturday was a busy day with friends and family and it is so good to get together.
Irene Latham had a book signing at Coldwater Bookstore in Tuscumbia, Al and it so nice there.
Just down the hill is Spring Park and the Helen Keller Festival was going on with live music and artisans.

Some things that are permanent fixtures are the man made waterfall.

The Indian carved out of the tree and Bronze statue portraying the removal of the Indians known as the "Trail of Tears"

There's lot to do and see in our area and a lot of history to write about.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Writing what you "think " you know

I wrote a short characterization of of a girl playing basketball. Now I played basketball in the the 70's and some how I got confused as to the number of players of on a team. There are 5 players on the girls team now but for some reason I put 6. Now where did I get that? I had to find out was I crazy was there ever 6 on a team? There was but it was when my MOTHER played basketball, not me. Funny how your mind plays tricks on you like that. So I learned a very valuable lesson: When you write you know, may sure you know what you are era you are writing in.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Time Flies

I can't believe it has been April when I last posted. Having four or five jobs couldn't be the problem. I just don't know how to slow down.
But I just got back from vacationing in Fairfield Glade, TN and that is a good place to learn to slow down. We made it there around midnight Wednesday night so we didn't see the beautiful hills until the next day. We just took it easy and looked around, then the next day we went horseback riding. Thanks to my good friend Pat and her horseback riding lessons, I didn't fall off my horse Tattoo. In fact it was all I could do and the horse behind me to get that animal to move.He would trot for like half a second. Even getting bit by the horse behind me didn't make him move any faster. But Pat knows that is about all I could handle anyway. Then Saturday we visited a water tower that was built in the 1930's during President Roosevelt's term. I've always heard of the New Deal and knew that my granpa helped build a school, but this was different. Two hundred fifty two homes were built close to Crossfield, TN. The families grew crops and made buttons and ornaments out of walnut shells. The guide told us that two thirds of the crops the families raised were given back to the government. They had special coins that were to be used in the general store. They had HS cut in them and could only be used at this particular store.
The tower is octagon shaped and if you are ever between Nashville and Knoxville go by and check out this unique nugget of history.
To learn more about the homesteads and visitor information check out the website:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My favorite phrase: It's complicated

My friend Pat Weaver wrote on her blog about the mystery genre and how she didn't like mysteries, but changed her mind.She stated that mysteries were just puzzles. That makes it sounds so much easier. I commented that puzzles can be complicated and that could be why I'm having so much trouble writing one. I read how one author starts at the end and works her way back to the beginning. That must be the way to do it. I started at the end, and then went to the beginning. The middle is giving me fits "It's complicated" So I guess I'll start over from "The End".

Since we are on mysteries and I'm hung up on "It's Complicated", I looked up in my very old dictionary on where "complicated" came from.

According to the Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language, College Edition, 1957, complicated comes from the Latin word complicatus, meaning to fold together.
plicare- to fold or weave
put them together and you have to make or or become intricate, difficult or involved.

Who would have guessed? I guess you could say: "It's Complicated!"

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Happy National Lab week

Many of you may not know that April 18-24, 2010 is National Lab week.
There are a variety of jobs to be had in the lab. Here are the one that I can think of:
MLT- Medical Laboratory Technician- takes a two year course at an accredited college and studies courses specific to the lab along with some basics courses like Math, English and History .

MT- Medical Technologist: four year program that studies in more detail Chemistry and Biology along with the basics and includes management.

Phlebotomist: fancy name for the person who collects blood. They are trained in anatomy of veins and reactions a person may from drawing blood like fainting. Also has to deal with difficult patients and children.



LIS- Lab Information System- this person takes care of the Information system for the lab, making sure all these new tests inputted into computer along with billing codes and test codes.

Laboratory Director- is usually an MT
Medical Director- Pathologist: Doctor who has studied disease and helps other doctors in diagnosing patients.

Histologist-prepares tissue samples for pathologist
Cytologist: reviews slides at cell level

Lab Personal must: MLT, MT, HT and others must be certified, some states requires a state license.

We are tested throughout the year to maintain competency and proficiency in our ever changing fields.
If you know someone that works in a medical laboratory wish them a Happy Week. They work hard to make sure you get the right diagnosis.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Oak Alley and other pictures

This is snapped from the second floor veranda, which goes completely around the house. We are facing the front of the house. There is a levy at the end of the trees and across the road. These Live Oaks are approximately 300 years old the trees in the back of the house are only about a 150 years old.(bottom photo)

The fountain is behind the house and as you can see flowers were blooming every where. April is a good month to visit Oak Alley. The azaleas were in full bloom.

More artwork by the wood carver believed to be Marlin Miller at Pass Christian Park.
Notice the trailer in the background is their public library.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Beauty Out Of "Natural Disaster

While visiting relatives in Biloxi,Ms, my sister-in-law, Evelyn Dawson, showed me and my family around the sites. One of them is this eagle that was carved from one of the trees that was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina.

This was taken at the park in Pass Christian, MS. She said it was done by wood sculptor Marlin Miller. He and another sculptor, Dayton Scoggins, donated time and effort to these. It is so nice to something beautiful along the Beach Road or Highway 90. Other things that are shaping up is some artwork in Ocean View, MS. I'm sorry to say that I don't know the artists name but if you get a chance to visit, it is a very nice town with lots of little shops to pique your interest and pocketbook.
It really gave me encouragement and made me think about my writing in a different way. Sure I may butcher my idea at first, like when they first started carving on the trees or putting the mosaic tiles together, but with time and fine tuning, cutting away what is not needed you end up with a beautiful work of art.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring has sprung

Spring is officially here and while I was looking for something inspiring for my desktop, I came across this picture of Pat and me. This was taken on our "girls trip" to Williamsburg in 2008.
The location is the Edgewood Bed and Breakfast.It was once part of the Berkeley Plantation. Pat and I are standing in front of the 1725 Benjamin Harrison Grist Mill. There is a beautiful garden in the backyard and we timed it just right. This was taken towards the end of April. The Berkley Plantation was home to two presidents: William Henry Harrison and Benjamin Harrison.
This plantation house is located right on the main road for more information, check out this website:

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Book Review: The Writer's Little Helper by James V. Smith, Jr.

Just bought this book yesterday written by James V. Smith, Jr. and it is awesome. Are you a writer who thrives on organization but can't seem to pull it all together? I have bits and pieces of my work scattered all over the house. I have learned from writing buddies; Jana and Irene, to get a notebook and dividers for my current work in progress. Still I am lost. I was in the bookstore looking for another book when I ran across this jewel.
Character cards for quick references. Scene cards. When editing, what is your goal? to write the tightest possible and have the words flow effortlessly, but how? It's in this book!
Pacing: are you having trouble pacing your manuscript? I was. I wrote everything in the first chapter and there was nothing left for the rest of book except the end.
This is not a book that you need to read from cover to cover but rather a reference book to help you focus on the area you need help with.
Plotting, dialogue, characters, scenes, passive verbs, POV, I could go on and on but you just need to pick up the book for yourself. It even has writing exercises for you.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Origins of Words and Used Bookstores

I love history and I could spend all my time researching. Today I went to the used book store to find a book on the origins of words. Just my luck there was a and Used Book S retired English major working in the book store and we looked through a lot of dictionaries before she found two that were what I was looking for. And all for the low price of two bucks! I have some newer dictionaries but they did not give where the word originated from.

For example the word inanimate comes from Late Latin- inanimatus.
animate=endowed, alive, spiritless.

The two dictionaries I found are:
Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language College Edition 1957
Webster's 7th New Collegiate Dictionary 1970
So if you have some old dictionaries, don't throw them out! They may come in handy.
Once you learn what prefixes, suffixes and root words mean you can pretty well figure out the meaning of other words.
Another thing I like to get at the Used Bookstore at our library is used magazines. these are really good if you are looking for a certain era. right now I am building a Southern Plantation in my head and am trying to equip it with the furniture they would have in that time period. I have old Southern Accent magazines that have what I need and all for twenty-five cents. I also help by donating my old books and magazines.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Now that's what I'm talking about

This day was like trying to cram a whole week into one day.

First I woke up at 6am and then got a load of clothes into wash and left for the grocery store by 7am.

I bought a notebook to get my WIP organized and visited my mother-in-law, (I haven't seen her in over a week and I miss her!)

Back home to speed clean house for 1 hour and 15 minutes then it's off to a basketball game and work on assignment 5 of my ICL ( observing a youth).

Then back home to fold load of clothes then off with my sister for a massage (absolutely wonderful) I even got some ideas going for a poem about writing.

Then we had a nice relaxing lunch at Cracker Barrel. then it was off to my horseback riding lesson and then we topped it off with a movie: Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief.

I had some great ideas while watching that movie. I could see how the problem was presented then the scenes, conflict and resolution of each scene. Seems like I just read that somewhere.

Now I'm pumped to get to writing myself.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Grooming Lesson

This is not Dixie but she looks similar to her. My first lesson with horses was yesterday and my good friend Pat was my trainer.

I was amazed Dixie didn't eat me up. She was gentle even when we were not. Pat showed me how to brush the mud out of her coat and then let me do it. When she tackled the tail , though I have to admit I was nervous. I know how I hate to have someone brush the tangles out of my hair but Dixie didn't seem to mind. Pat was behind her and just pulling that comb through her tail and pulling hair and all out. I learned where the withers are (is that spelled right?). I leaned how to clean the hoofs and to put a bridle on and to lead the horse, not the horse leading me. I didn't get on Dixie this time, maybe next time. I don't even know if I could get my leg up that high. My husband seems excited that I'm learning about horses, too. He helped out on his Grandpa's farm on the summers so he knows all about horses and wouldn't mind going on some horse trails.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

What a wonderful day! My husband got me just what I wanted for Valentine's Day. I wanted him to go to church with me this morning and he did. We were like all the other old married couples there and I loved it. Everyone was so glad to see him. I wish he would come more often. Maybe one day.

I had a good weekend with mother too. I read up on my writing craft and started plotting my middle grade novel (again). I guess I will continue until I finally get it right. Then yesterday I got my Institute for Children's Writer's assignment four back and got some really good feedback. My instructor, Michael Cooper helped me to distill my subject down even further until it is finely polished manuscript, or will be after the revisions.
I'm glad too because I am really passionate about this subject and would like for it to be a magazine article. I felt like I was trying to put everything I learned about my subject in it and it showed. Now I have a more focused article.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

What to do on a dreary day

What do you do on a dreary, cold day? I watched reruns of What Not to Wear until I am so fashioned educated I could dress as nice as anyone(if I just had that $5000 Bank of America gift card to go with it!). So instead I used my workout equipment, you guessed it, broom, mop and vacuum cleaner until my house is sparkling again. I think I'm on my 5th load of clothes (no they're not all mine).
But I did finally get online and check my 146 emails and while I was doing that I thought I should clean out some of my links. Didn't find any I could do without but I did find one I'd to share. Reading Writers website. This is for writers and readers alike and the nice thing about it is they offer so much help for writers (for a small fee) they will proofread and and they will even do the first 1200 words free. They also have a contest going that has no fee. Short story of 1000 words. Check it out at their website and good luck!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Book Review: Leaving Gee's Bend

I just finished Irene Latham's debut book: Leaving Gee's Bend. It is set in Gees Bend, AL and centers around a girl that quilts herself out of problems.
I've been to writing classes where they tell you to put your protagonist up in a tree and then throw rocks at them. This is just what Irene does to poor Ludelphia Bennett. When you think that things can't get much worse, they do.
I wonder if I hang around Irene enough that some of the writer's fairy dust will land on me. I'm sure going to try. My nest opportunity to learn from Irene and other great writers will be at the Midsouth historical fiction workshop.
Hope to see you there!

Monday, January 18, 2010


Starting a non-fiction article requires much research. Where do you go to do research? Start at your local library or university library if you live close enough to one. Google of course is a good way to see what is out there and I was able to find a book that was out of print but there was a new interest in the subject I was researching and found a book written by my subject! A primary resource and it was inexpensive! Another place I found and am still exploring is museums. Did you know you can go online and tap into museum collections? if you know the town the person was born in or you are researching a place, you can find out about possible museums to visit.

So far I have found several books that have information I can use besides some primary papers that are at a university. (I am still exploring how to get my hands on these and which ones I need).
State archives are another source of information and I quickly discovered how immersed I could get in this type of research. I find one thing that leads me to another and another... You get the picture.
I learned that it would be a good idea to jot down exactly what I was looking for and try to stick to the list. Like a grocery list, if you don't write down what you need you go over the whole store. Which would be nice if you had endless time to research but sooner or later you have to start writing that article. Which is where I am now. Pulling the pieces together and writing down the bones.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

What a Week...

How are you doing on your New Years Resolutions/Goals? Here, I have been devouring Frederick Douglass: A Voice for freedom in the 1800' Camilla J. Wilson. As a writer wanting to write a nonfiction article, I am learning to do more than devour. I look at sources and acknowledgements. I look at where the pictures came from. Are these some sources that might prove helpful in my own research? It is in the same time period so I feel I am getting close to understanding and learning more about research.

On another note, I am sad that I missed Irene Latham's book launch. I had to cancel at the last minute due to an emergency at work. I heard that I missed a great one and Pat couldn't wait to rub it in.
So on the way home last night while driving in the pouring rain I got to here what a good time I missed.
On a good note Pat did Irene to sign my book for me and I can't wait to read it. I made sure it was facing out when I went to our local bookstore.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Upcoming Events for 2010

Summer children's writer conference in Oceanside,Oregon Check their website here for details. It looks good but I have never been.

Also Highlights is having a fiction contest based on a true story from your family. No entry form or fee and we all know Highlights is awesome. Check it out at Entries must be postmarked Jan 1-31.

Springmingle registration is now open for the Southern -Breeze SCBWI in Atlanta, GA
Registration ends Feb 23,2010 so hurry!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Day Two of the New Year

It is day two of the new year and I am still contemplating my goals (resolutions). So here are some that I have come up with:
  1. Stay Focused: Do not get distracted by contests or otherwise meant well diversions to spice writing. This always backfires for me and then I have to get back with the program.
  2. Make goals that are realistic and plan for success. For instance, I have resigned my position as contact person and critique moderator so that I can focus more on my writing.
  3. Stay on track with my ICL course. I am on assignment #4 and will have it completed and sent in by the end of January.
  4. Exercise my soul, body and mind.
  5. Try new things
  6. Travel to new places. Any suggestions?
  7. Leave work on time!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Start the new year writing!

What better way to start the new year (and decade) than by writing? For those of you that are fearless and humorous, you'll be glad to know that the Erma Bombeck writing competition opens Monday Jan 4th and you have until Jan. 31st to submit either a humous or a human interest story and it is free! This is one of my favorite contest because the word count is minimal (450) and entry fee is $0.
Just follow this link for details on how to enter and good luck!