Sunday, February 28, 2010

New contest

Check Contests tab above for newest Lucky Agent Contest. And good luck to all who enter.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

What is your dream?

I love this movie clip. What is your dream and how are you achieving it? Please share in comments.

Friday, February 26, 2010

A minute list

What is the first word that pops into your head when you see the words below? Copy and paste this list in comments along with your answer. ie. Word: Peanut butter Answer: Jelly

Thursday, February 25, 2010

WIP: The Lion Awakens

The Lion Awakens (WIP)
Logline: Two teens battle enemies from alternate universe to save their own.
Opening: “Gabe, we talked about this. There’s no other way. Annie and David need to know. We’ve watched over them for thirteen years. We’ve done everything we promised Charlotte and Tom we would do. But we need their help now.”
Gabriel looked at his dying brother lying under a heap of wool blankets in the brownstone they had lived in since coming to this universe. He knew Peter was right. They would need Annie and David’s powers, powers the teens were not yet aware they had, to stop the destruction of their world.
“Are you sure they will find the messages?” Peter asked.
Gabriel had observed Annie and David since they were toddlers. He knew everything there was to know about them. Their favorite foods and movies and TV shows and books and whether they did their homework or lied to their parents or skipped school or failed a test.
“They’ll find them,” Gabriel said, “and the lion will awaken.”

Quote of the day

"Always dream and shoot higher than you know how to. Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.
William Faulkner

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Description exercise

Let's do another description exercise. This time, I'm looking for words to describe a person's hair. I'll start with two words. Please add in comments.
And if you didn't see our previous lists, check them out.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

When times are tough you...

I was at the gym last night for the first time in like forever. It was tough. I was tired, hungry and in pain. I thought about just packing it in and going home, but then I remembered the scale and my goal to lose weight. It wasn’t pretty but an hour and a half later, I was glad I didn’t give up.
For me, writing can be like this at times. I’m working and working and I’m tired and hungry and in pain and I begin to wonder if I’ll ever reach my goal. How do you keep yourself going in your writing when you’re feeling like this? Please share.
And here’s a quote from Olympian Bruce Jenner: I learned that the only way you are going to get anywhere in life is to work hard at it. Whether you're a musician, a writer, an athlete or a businessman, there is no getting around it. If you do, you'll win - if you don't you won't.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Quote of the day

"Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up."
--Jane Yolen

Friday, February 19, 2010

Ella's Dance: An Ella note

Ella’s note to Grandma (Years later)
Dear Grandma,
I can’t begin to tell you how much your notes have meant to me over the years. After you died, I didn’t think I’d ever be happy again. But little by little, I started to live again. Your notes helped guide me through some of the darkest days of my life.     
Trey never did go into the Marines. We were in an accident not long after you died and he was injured too badly and disqualified. Instead, he went to college and became an automotive engineer. I went to college, too, just like we always planned and became a journalist.
You’re never going to believe it, but Ben and Em ended up together. Maddie married this really awesome professor who she met at the coffee shop and Trey’s dad, Mike, married his childhood friend, Sam, who teaches at the high school.
It hasn’t all been happy, though. Trey’s brother, Tom, was killed during his third tour in Iraq. More than 100 people turned out for his funeral in Union Cemetery and he was laid to rest with full military honors. Sam insisted that white doves be released at the end of the ceremony and it was a beautiful sight. The doves circled several times and flew north.
You always told me to write about life, so I’m going to try. I’ve started writing this book, called Ella’s Dance, that begins with your funeral service. I want to include all of your notes at the end. Maybe they'll help someone like they’ve helped me.
Thank you, Grandma, for everything. For all the sacrifices you made over the years. For all your encouragement and patience and love.
But most of all, thank you for teaching me to dance -- even when the music stops.
Love you bunches and bunches, Ella

A minute list

Copy this list into a comments post and write the first adjective that pops into your head. Shouldn't take even a minute. Mine are in ( )'s.
Icicle (cold)
Sock (smelly)
Dog (loud)
Drink (tart)
Pork chop (grilled)
Car (red)
Cake (chocolate)
Bike (20-speed)
Shower (hot)
Dish (floral)
Cat (mean)
Knee (scarred)
Computer (slow)
Ear (long)
Pencil (chewed)
Nose (freckled)
Shoe (scuffed)
File (thick)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A minute list

If you had 60 seconds, one moment, to say something to a loved one, what would it be? Here are some from a column I wrote along with a link to the entire column if you want to read it. Add what you would say in comments.
Entire column

“I love you.”
“I’m glad you’re a part of my life.”
““I’m proud of the person you’ve become.”
“Sometimes I say things I don’t mean.”
“It’s crazy, I know, but I just had to call and say hello.”
“I’m sorry.”
“Just yesterday I was telling my friends how much you mean to me, and I realized I should be telling you.”
“Being your mom is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”
“I know I sometimes fail you as a parent, but I’m doing the best I can.”
“We can get through this — together.”
“When I learned I was going to be a dad, I was scared. But then you came and I was like, ‘I can do this.’"
“I won’t always be able to prevent you from falling, but I’ll be there to help you get up.”
My life is better because you are in it.”

The Victor

Another great inspirational poem.
The Victor
If you think you are beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don't.
If you like to win but think you can't,
It's almost a cinch you won't.
If you think you'll lose, you're lost.
For out in the world we find
Success begins with a fellow's will.
It's all in the state of mind.
If you think you are out classed, you are.
You've got to think high to rise.
You've got to be sure of your-self before
You can ever win the prize.
Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man.
But sooner or later, the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.
                  --C. W. Longenecker

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ella's Dance: A Grandma note

Note 365
My dearest Ella,
I can’t believe that I’m writing the last note you will ever receive from me. By the time you read this, a whole year will have passed since my death. I pray that my notes have helped you find your way. My hope is that you will read them over and over and that they provide a compass that will always lead you in the right direction.
I will leave you with one last thought. From the moment I saw you, Ella, I loved you. I was blessed to have you in my life and honored to be your grandmother. I pray that your life is filled with many blessings and that your triumphs, not your tragedies, define you. Be well, Ella, and dance, even when the music stops, I hope you dance my sweet child.
Love you bunches and bunches, Grandma

Some changes to site

Hey gang, just a quick note to let you know that I made a few tweaks to the site. You will find pages (Home, About Me, My Work, Resources) at the top underneath the header, and I started a weekly poll. I will continue to tweak as I am able. A shoutout to everyone who visits my site. Please spread the word. I'd love to get more followers.  You are all awesome. Have a great day!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Don't Quit

This is one of my fav poems. I've given it to both my sons. Keep it for those days when you're feeling like it's all up hill and you are getting nowhere.
Don't Quit
When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow--
You may succeed with another blow,
Success is failure turned inside out--
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit--
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.
- Edgar A. Guest

Monday, February 15, 2010

A minute list

Choose something ordinary (ie. kiss, book, snow) and make a list of things about it or related to it. Do it off the top of your head, taking no more than a minute. This should be fun because you get to pick the thing. I’ll start.
I’m looking at a dried rose that sits on my computer. It’s from a funeral of a dear friend who died several years ago at the age of 34. Dee left behind a loving husband, 4-year-old twins and a 9-year-old son. Here goes:
    Dried rose
    Lovely Dee
    Voice so sweet 
    Heart so big
    Contagious smile
    Hint of a scent

Ella's Dance: A Grandma note

Note 331

My dearest Ella,
You asked me once how I could give up my dream of being a professional ballerina. The truth is I found another dream I loved even more. You asked me if I ever regretted my decision. I never have. “Isn’t it a shame,” you said, “that you never became the dancer you wanted to become?” No, it was not a shame, Ella. What would have been a shame is not becoming your grandmother. Life deals us funny twists and turns and we aren’t always sure where we will end up. But this I know for certain, being a ballerina would never have compared in any way with being a mother and grandmother. And I am blessed to have been given the opportunity to be both.
Love you bunches and bunches, Grandma

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Quote of the day

"The average runner sprints until the breath in him is gone;
But the champion has the iron will that makes him carry on.
For rest, the average runner begs when limp his muscles grow
But the champion runs on leaden legs, his spirit makes him go.
The average man's complacent when he does his best to score,
But the champion does his best and then he does a little more."
--Author Unknown

Friday, February 12, 2010

Quote of the day

"Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer."

--Barbara Kingsolver

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A blizzard and a power outage

I’ve been missing in action for a couple of days because of a blizzard that hit my area. In case you didn’t know, I’m a newspaper editor. Journalists, like doctors and nurses and many other people, are expected to be at work no matter what. So when bad weather is headed our way, we make whatever arrangements we need to make to ensure that we are at work on time. A lot of us stayed at a nearby hotel so we could walk to work.
But what I really want to do in this post is thank my outstanding team of reporters and editors and copy editors who risked their lives to come to work and did a kick-ass job. I’m so proud of each of them.
On top of the awful weather, we had a massive power outage and we could not produce our newspaper. We set up a temporary newsroom at a nearby hotel and grabbed as many laptops as we could find. We were able to post reports from our photographers and reporters who were out in the field working the story on the web immediately. About 6 or 7 hours later, the power came back on and we moved back to the newsroom (carting all of those laptops and other gear) and we were able to get the newspaper out on time.
My staff was awesome. My colleagues were awesome. No one complained; everyone just went into action doing whatever it was that needed to be done. I’m honored to work with so many talented people who work tirelessly to serve our readers each and every day across multiple platforms.
What a great team of journalists we have at the YDR!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Share your logline

Let's share loglines, one-sentence description, of your work. I'll start. Please add yours in posts.
Ella's Dance: 17-year-old learns to live when her grandma, who dies, leaves her 365 notes, one for every day of the coming year.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Description exercise

Since snow is on my brain (we got like 2 feet yesterday) let's make a list of word(s) to describe snow. I'll start with two. Please add in comments. And if you missed our other description exercises check the links out below and add to them. 
Icy blanket

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Ella's Dance opening

Chapter 1
Ella stared at the white alabaster urn the funeral director had given her. It was hard to believe that Grandma had become nothing more than a pile of white ashes. She longed to feel her grandma’s thick arms around her and to smell her sweet perfume that hung in the air like an August fog. How does a cream-puff-of-a-lady become a bag of brittle bones? she wondered.
Cancer. That evil C word. The word she had lived with for almost a year. The evil thing that had devoured Grandma like a vulture devours a dead carcass, gorging itself until its crop bulges and leaving nothing but splintered bones behind.
It was so unfair, Ella thought. Grandma Dorothy was all she had. And now her beloved Dorothy was gone, off to an Emerald City from which she would never return. And Ella was left with nothing but the damn alabaster urn Grandma had picked out before she died. Picked out like everything else.
The hymns that would be sung.
The biblical passages that would be read.
Christ, even the flowers that would sit beside the urn on the pedestal table.
She picked everything out like it was some damn picnic, and Ella hated her for it.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Ella's Dance: A Grandma note

Note 322
My dearest Ella,
I know you are angry that I stopped the chemo. But please try to understand that I didn’t do it because I don’t love you. I did it because I do.
The truth is, Ella, that the chemo wasn’t working.  We knew that it was a long shot, and I prayed for a miracle. But it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. And I’d much rather spend the remaining time I have and be able to enjoy it with you than be sick until the end. I want to be able to go out to dinner or enjoy a movie. I want to have some fun.
What I’m trying to say in this note is that sometimes a little of something is better than a lot. I’d rather spend two great months with you than six too-sick-to-do-anything ones.
Please know that I love you and this decision was not easy for me to make. But I want to enjoy the time we have left. You are everything to me.
Love you bunches and bunches, Grandma

Quote of the day

"The difference between reality and fiction? Fiction has to make sense."
Tom Clancy

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Description exercise

OK. We made lists of words describing hands, feet, hair and eyes (see earlier posts). Let's try nose and teeth. I will start with two for each. Add your words in comments.
Flaring nostrils
White as an eggshell

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Quote of the day

"It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows great enthusiasms, great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
--Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Description exercise

We made lists of words that described eyes and hair (see earlier post). Now, let's try hands and feet.  You can do one or both. I'll start. Please add your lists in comments. You did so well with the other exercise I'm anxious to see what you come up with.
Rough like sandpaper
Smooth as silk
Slippery (from hand cream)
Smell like cherry blossoms
As large as a moose
As small as a mouse

Monday, February 1, 2010

Inspirational video

This song always gets me pumped up. What song inspires you? Share in comments.

Quote of the day

"I'm not telling you it is going to be easy - I'm telling you it's going to be worth it"
- Art Williams