"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Apollo 11 Anniversary

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission and the first man on the moon. What was once an interesting federally funded space race followed by a coupe of decades of amazing explorations and discoveries seemed to lag the last generation. Federal funding minimized and American astronauts have been forced seek a ride with China or Russia to get into space. 

While NASA has never ceased its missions entirely, its focus has been with an eye towards the exploration of Mars. The Orion projects have been slated for crews in the 2020's. 

Privately funded missions to orbit our planet have become more frequent in this century. Great strides have been made both by scientists and businessmen to learn more about what lies beyond our orbit.

In February, Elon Musk launched a Tesla Roadster with a dummy payload for the Falcon Heavy test flight and became an artificial satellite of the sun. 

More recently, this spring a black hole was discovered at the center of Galaxy M87. Scientists and students worldwide are still reeling from the newest images and seeking to understand the resulting implications.

Yet, with all of these new discoveries, man has not forgotten the first steps to the moon. In fact, new missions to the new are being planned. Perhaps even as a precursor to manned missions to mars, and as a guide for any possible visitors from elsewhere, SpaceIL  Beresheet Lander carried an "Arch Lunar Library". This is the first in a planned series of lunar archives prepared and maintained by the Arch Mission Foundation, a non-profit organization that tasks itself with maintaining a billion-year history of Planet Earth.

The records include millions of images of pages of books. For more details, read the overview of the Lunar LibraryThe article is a bit long, but it’s a quick and interesting read.

In the meantime, you might consider visiting several areas this week in celebration of the 50th anniversary: a NASA location, a Smithsonian, or other history/science museum.

So, if you were going to include a book for the Lunar Library what would it be? Anything that you feel should NOT be included? Are you doing anything to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission?

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

IWSG: Writing Personal Traits

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs. You can also join us on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG, or on the Facebook page.

Now, IWSG hosts have changed up the format in an effort to make it more fun and interactive.Every month, they will announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Don’t forget to visit others that day to see their answers. Want to join, or learn more? Visit our - Sign-up List.

JULY QUESTION: What personal traits have you written into your character(s)?

MY ANSWER: I've included fears, dreams, desires, and struggles I was experiencing at the time. Writing is the best form of catharsis after all.

What personal traits have you included in your writing? 

Friday, June 28, 2019

June Scribbler Box

I just received my third box from Scribbler. You can learn about the April box, and why I subscribed here. Or you can learn about my May box here.

At first glance, I don't love it as much as the second box. Just as before, the first thing you see upon opening the box is a writing exercise postcard. Each month provides a new challenge for writers to practice.

The first item after that was a bag of coffee. As I mentioned in April I don't drink coffee, but I do enjoy the smell of it so I will be passing this bag (which smells wonderful) to my husband.

Some other goodies included a coaster that reads "Rise & Write," four different bookmarks with pictures/quotes, and a "Reading Guide" notepad.


This months new release novel is STORM AND FURY by Jennifer L. Armentrout. The description for this one sounds mildly interesting. As usual, there is also 
an autograph plate, a revision letter from an editor, an exclusive invitation to chat with a publishing professional, and a collectible "writing passport" from a bestselling author. 

This months theme was AUTHOR CAREER 
and the revision letter included was from a different novel by this author.

The monthly professional invitation is to chat with Natashya Wilson, executive editor for Inkyard Press. I absolutely love that this subscription service is connecting us to professionals in the field. I had to miss the last two months invitation to the live interaction due to work conflict, but have since caught the recording. I'll let you know how all three have gone soon.

I originally ordered a three month subscription, and I'm not sure about the long haul, but I will subscribe for a few more months to see what quality and variety they offer. To learn more about this service: https://www.goscribbler.com/

Do you subscribe to any boxing services? Have you heard of SCRIBBLER? Are you tempted to join?

Monday, June 17, 2019

The Haunted Book Shop

Every summer I make sure to include some kind of literary stop in my vacation. Last week I came across a truly enjoyable find.

The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama was a surprising delight. The original namesake was created in 1941 by Adelaide Marston (later Adelaide Trigg) and Cameron Plummer and named for their favorite book, The Haunted Book Shop, by Christopher Morley. 

The Haunted Bookshop is not a novel of  the supernatural. Rather, the name refers to the ghosts of the past that haunt all libraries and bookstores: "the ghosts of all great literature." - Christopher Morley

The current bookstore’s owner, Angela Trigg, is the granddaughter of Adelaide Trigg and knows that the store is “..haunted by the ghosts of all great literature.”

She’s also been moonlighting as a romance author, writing under the pen name Angela Quarles. She is a RWA RITA® award-winning and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary, time travel, and steampunk romance.



This charming store is full of interesting finds, tidbits, and more. Wall displays offer interesting breakdowns and ties between genre stories, authors, and timelines.




Sticky Notes can be found around the store pointing out interesting information about the plots, cover designs, and more.




Themed rugs adorn each genre section of the store. And a writer's room mimics a dream home office complete with shelves full of books on craft.








To learn more about Trigg and this delightful bookstore, you can visit:  https://thehauntedbookshopmobile.com/

For other ideas on fun Literary Travels:

17 New Orleans French Quarter Literary Hot Spots
26 Days of Literary Scotland
7 Austin, Texas Literary Locations
10 Italian Literary Hot Spots
10 Places You Can Drink Like Your Favorite Writer
10 Reading Venues Worth a Visit
7 Literary Locations to Visit With Kids
5 Writers Homes for Literary Vacations
Poe Museum


How about you? Have you found any great literary spots you would recommend while traveling?

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

IWSG: Favorite Genre

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs. You can also join us on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG, or on the Facebook page.

Now, IWSG hosts have changed up the format in an effort to make it more fun and interactive.Every month, they will announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Don’t forget to visit others that day to see their answers. Want to join, or learn more? Visit our - Sign-up List.

JUNE QUESTION: Of all the genres you read and write, which is your favorite to write in and why?

MY ANSWER: I genre hop quite a bit, but the most common element seems to be romance. Whether I'm reading, or writing, I enjoy elements of love. It's the most basic human need, and universal theme, so it makes sense that I would prefer a tale with elements of that emotion - even when it's not an outright romance novel.

For a sample, check out a few of my FREE short stories:

Thankful Every Day
Madame Tooshkas Spell
Masters in Love
Love's New Beginning


Which genre is your favorite to read and write in and why?

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

May Scribbler Box

I just received my second box from Scribbler, and so far I love it even more than the first box! You can learn about the April box, and why I subscribed here.

This months box was full of interesting, useful, and fun items. Just as before, the first thing you see upon opening the box is a fun writing exercise postcard. Each month provides a new challenge for writers to practice.

The first surprise was a package of old-fashioned hard candies called "Lemon Drops." I've never had them before, but I absolutely loved the flavor. My husband and I have been devouring them.

Some other goodies included a pin depicting a skull with a pencil in its mouth and the phrase "Write Your Wrongs," a red journal with a battery life symbol and the words "Loading Ideas," and a nonfiction book by Gail Carson Levine called Writer to Writer.

Then were the main reasons I joined this service: a new release novel, a revision letter from an editor, exclusive invitation to chat with a publishing professional, and a collectible "writing passport" from a bestselling author. 

This months theme was CONTEMPORARY, and the selected novel is The Secret of Clouds by Alyson Richman. This book sounds really good, and I'm anxious to dive in after I complete my current read. The author also included an autograph plate, a pretty blue pencil with the title of her book, and an envelope with a writing project from the books publisher. The revision letter she included was from a different novel which is interesting.

The most exciting item included in this box is the invitation to chat with an Associate Director of Marketing for Berkley at Penguin House. I absolutely love that this subscription service is connecting us to professionals in the field. I had to miss the previous months invitation to the live interaction due to a work conflict, but I plan to access the recording soon. I'll let you know how that goes.

This is only my second box, but I am truly excited about the posibilities offered so far. To learn more about this service: https://www.goscribbler.com/

Do you subscribe to any boxing services? Have you heard of SCRIBBLER? Are you tempted to join?

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Memorial and Graduation Reading and Writing

Image result for proud to be anthologyIt's soon to be Memorial weekend in the USA. It's also that time of year for high school and college graduations, as well as an opportunity to enjoy some extra time reading, or prepare a submission for a few anthology calls:

1) Southeast Missouri State University Press and the Warriors Arts Alliance have joined together once again to create the eighth volume in a series of anthologies about military experiences. I was fortunate enough to be included in the second volume with my interview of award winning author Tim O'Brien (The Things They Carried). For more information on supporting these great Americans or to learn more about the Proud to Be series: https://www.mohumanities.org/proud-to-be-anthology-series/ and http://www.semopress.com/events/proud-to-be-writing-by-american-warriors/

2) The "Faust Sonnet Contest" is now accepting submissions. There is no entry fee, and the sonnets may be written in Shakespearean, Petrarchan, Spenserian or non-traditional form. Only previously unpublished sonnets are eligible. Each entrant may submit one to three sonnets, maximum, with sonnets to be received no later than June 1, 2019. Cash prizes total $2,000. For more information, visit http://www.sonnetcontest.org/

Not sure how to write a sonnet? Try reviewing these guidelines, tips, and examples: http://examples.yourdictionary.com/sonnet-examples.html

3) Interested in a graduation flash fiction? Read mine here, or try writing your own. You can also see my list of 5 Books for Graduates.

4) Chicken Soup for the Soul has a call out for five different anthologies right now. To learn more, check out: https://www.chickensoup.com/story-submissions/possible-book-topics

5) Challenge: Compose a letter of thanks to a soldier you do not know or donate books to the troops. For more ideas on how you can help: http://www.give2thetroops.org/

Have you ever written a sonnet? Does this seem like something you might want to try?

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

IWSG Anthologies and Contest

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group Annual Anthology Contest is now open!

The genre is middle grade historical – adventure/ fantasy and the theme is voyagers.

See the site for full details
http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/

And the previous anthology is now on sale!

Masquerade: Oddly Suited – an IWSG Anthology is available now! Find it here - Barnes and Noble, Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, and Goodreads


Find love at the ball…


Can a fake dating game show lead to love? Will a missing key free a clock-bound prince? Can a softball pitcher and a baseball catcher work together? Is there a vampire living in Paradise, Newfoundland? What’s more important—a virtual Traveler or a virtual date to the ball?


Ten authors explore young love in all its facets, from heartbreak to budding passion. Featuring the talents of L.G. Keltner, Jennifer Lane, C.D. Gallant-King, Elizabeth Mueller, Angela Brown, Myles Christensen, Deborah Solice, Carrie-Anne Brownian, Anstice Brown, and Chelsea Marie Ballard.


Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will mystify and surprise even as they touch your heart. Don your mask and join the party…

Will you be submitting to the new contest?

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Festival and Faust Sonnet Contest

The "Faust Sonnet Contest" is now accepting submissions.

There is no entry fee, and the sonnets may be written in Shakespearean, Petrarchan, Spenserian, or non-traditional form. Only previously unpublished sonnets are eligible. 


Each entrant may submit one to three sonnets, maximum, with sonnets to be received no later than June 1, 2015. Cash prizes total $2,000. For more information, visit http://www.sonnetcontest.org/

Not sure how to write a sonnet? Try reviewing these guidelines, tips, and examples: http://examples.yourdictionary.com/sonnet-examples.html

Have you ever written a sonnet? Does this seem like something you might want to try?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

IWSG: Learning Language Has Power

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs. You can also join us on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG, or on the Facebook page.

Now, IWSG hosts have changed up the format in an effort to make it more fun and interactive.Every month, they will announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 


Don’t forget to visit others that day to see their answers. Want to join, or learn more? Visit our - Sign-up List.

MAY QUESTION: What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

MY ANSWER: I think on some level, I always knew. However, my most conscious recognition would have been in elementary school. I was an extremely shy girl. We moved a lot, family situations kept changing, and I felt an overwhelming sense of confusion and even worthlessness at times as a result. Music helped a lot. I can remember not just feeling and connecting to the songs on the radio, but to receiving cassette tapes (yes, I'm that old) and studying the lyrics included. I can remember connecting with individual artists after realizing they could give voice through their words to what I was feeling and experiencing. Some of my earliest writing includes poetry and short stories that I attempted after studying lyrical style.

Don't forget, the IWSG anthology contest begins today. This year the genre is – Middle Grade Historical – adventure or fantasy. To learn more about the theme , check out: http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/

Previous IWSG anthologies can be found: http://iwsganthologies.blogspot.com/

Saturday, April 27, 2019

My First Scribbler Box

In early March I wrote about my interest in a subscription box called Scribbler. You can read that post here.

After seeing invitations and videos for dozen of subscription services, this one really caught my attention. This month I decided to take the plunge and subscribe for three months to see if their claim was true.

The website asserts the box will help novelists do the three most important things: stay motivated, improve craft, and connect with writing professionals. Inside each box - curated "writerly" gifts, new release novel, a revision letter from an editor, exclusive invitation to chat with a publishing professional, and a collectible "writing passport" from a bestselling author.

I just received my first box and am already excited by the possibilities and the plethora of goodies inside!

The first thing you see upon opening the box is a fun writing exercise postcard. Each month provides a new challenge for writers to practice.

The first surprise, and the only item I didn't care for, was coffee flavored candy. While many writers love this beverage, I've never cared for the drink. I like the smell, probably since I grew up with it in the house, but I can't stand the flavor. So, I passed these on to my husband who claims they are "okay."

Some other surprises included cute pencils, each with a different day and mission emblazoned on it. One reads "On Mondays I Plot," one that reads "On Tuesdays I Write," one that reads "On Wednesdays I Drink," one that reads "On Thursdays I Edit," and  the final one reads, "On Fridays I Daydream." I also received an inkwell sticker, and a "Voice and POV Map."

Below that were the main reasons I joined this service: new release novel, a revision letter from an editor, exclusive invitation to chat with a publishing professional, and a collectible "writing passport" from a bestselling author.

This months theme was VOICE, and the selected novel is Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds. While this is not a book I would have chosen for myself from a shelf, I'm curious to see how this unique idea plays out, as well as what the author can teach about voice.

The most exciting item included in this box is the invitation to chat with an executive editor at Harper Collins Publishers. I absolutely love that this subscription is connecting us to professionals in the field. 

Although this is my first box, and I haven't taken time yet to examine each item, I am excited already about the next shipment. To learn more: https://www.goscribbler.com/

Do you subscribe to any boxing services? Have you heard of SCRIBBLER? Are you tempted to join?

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Shakespearean Fun

In case you haven't heard, today is "National Talk Like Shakespeare Day". It's observed on April 23, in honor of the author's birthday. To learn more about this celebration, check out the official site at: http://www.talklikeshakespeare.org/

About seven years ago, I shared my own interest in Shakespeare in an article at Southern Writer's Magazine. You can check that out here: For the Love of Shakespeare.


For other great reads, Shakespeare fans should check out:

25 Romances for Shakespeare Fans
English, Irish, and Scottish Poetry
All the World's a Stage: Great Drama

15 Shakespeare Quotes to Use in Everyday Situations

Are you a Shakespeare fan? Will you be celebrating today? 

Saturday, April 20, 2019

4 Easter Inspired Prompts

1. Imagine you have traveled back in time to witness the Crucifixion and/or the Resurrection. Describe your observations, experiences, and feelings.

2. In His life, Jesus taught many lessons through parables and by example.Thousands follow His example. Create a story in which your main character leads by either a similar or completely opposite approach.

3. Many religious tales include references to miracle. Write a story about a miracle.

4. Signs of Spring and new life are everywhere. Describe something in nature that reminds you of new life, a renewing of hope, or a return to complete happiness.

Do you celebrate Easter? How are you celebrating this season? Have you tried writing anything similar to the above prompts?

Sunday, April 14, 2019

National Library Week

We just wrapped up another "National Library Week" in America.
National Library Week (April 7- 13, 2019) is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation's libraries and library workers and to promote library use and support. From free access to books and online resources for families to library business centers that help support entrepreneurship and retraining, libraries offer opportunity to all. The theme for the 2019 National Library Week was "Libraries = Strong Communities," and  Gates Foundation Co-founder Melinda Gates served as 2019 National Library Week Honorary Chair. 
Gates  has dedicated her life to achieving transformational improvements in the health and prosperity of families, communities and societies. Now she will lend her support to advocate for our nation’s libraries as honorary chair of National Library Week. Over the last 20 years, Gates has invested more than $1 billion through her foundation’s Global Libraries initiative to enhance the power of libraries to improve lives. As co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, she sets the direction and priorities of the world’s largest philanthropy. She is also the founder of Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company working to drive social progress for women and families in the United States.
On April 23, Gates will debut “The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World,” a timely and necessary call to action for women’s empowerment. The candid and inspiring book traces Gates’ awakening to the link between women’s empowerment and the health of societies. It introduces us to Gates’ heroes in the movement toward equality, offers startling data and shares some of the moving conversations she’s had with women all over the world. Gates details the tremendous opportunities that exist right now to “turbo-charge” change, and she provides simple and effective methods that each of us can use to make a difference.
First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and observed in libraries across the country each April. All types of libraries - school, public, academic and special - participate.
Most writers and readers adore their local libraries, and it's often an included vacation locale. However, many don't realize the full range of services a good library offers. For great examples, check out this article at The Write Life.

Did you, or your local libraries, celebrate with any special events this year? What is your favorite aspect of libraries?

Monday, April 8, 2019

IWSG: 2019 Anthology Contest Announcement

IWSG is opening for entries sooner and extending the submission timeline this year. It now opens May 1 and closes September 4. 

This year the genre is – Middle Grade Historical – adventure or fantasy. 

They will announce the theme on May 1. 

To learn more, check out: http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/





Don't forget the Masquerade anthology is hitting the shelves on April 30!


Masquerade: Oddly Suited

An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology


Find love at the ball…


Can a fake dating game show lead to love? Will a missing key free a clock-bound prince? Can a softball pitcher and a baseball catcher work together? Is there a vampire living in Paradise, Newfoundland? What’s more important—a virtual Traveler or a virtual date to the ball?


Ten authors explore young love in all its facets, from heartbreak to budding passion. Featuring the talents of L.G. Keltner, Jennifer Lane, C.D. Gallant-King, Elizabeth Mueller, Angela Brown, Myles Christensen, Deborah Solice, Carrie-Anne Brownian, Anstice Brown, and Chelsea Marie Ballard.


Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will mystify and surprise even as they touch your heart. Don your mask and join the party…


Website - IWSG Anthologies

Young Adult Fiction: Romance - General/Paranormal/Contemporary

Print ISBN 9781939844644

eBook ISBN 9781939844651



Print and eBook:


Wednesday, April 3, 2019

IWSG: Writing Wishes

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs. You can also join us on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG, or on the Facebook page.

Now, IWSG hosts have changed up the format in an effort to make it more fun and interactive.Every month, they will announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Don’t forget to visit others that day to see their answers. Want to join, or learn more? Visit our - Sign-up List.

APRIL QUESTION: If you could use a wish to help you write just one scene/chapter of your book, which one would it be?

MY ANSWER: For most of my fiction pieces it would be the the scene or chapter just before the climax. I usually seem to have a lull or awkward scene just before the final showdown. I've heard a lot of writers say their weakest spot happens in the middle, but mine seems to happen maybe 2/3rds into the story. I do have one story that it seems to be the last chapter instead. Perhaps I just need to end this one sooner. I'm not sure what to do about the 2/3rds weak spot. Any suggestions?

If you could use a wish to help you write just one scene/chapter of your book, which one would it be? When reading, do you notice a particular area where you wish other authors had used a wish for help?