Superstitions (cont.)


Superstitions (cont.)

By Adam Huddleston

Early that April, around the time the boys were in the middle of spring ball in New Mexico, we got word that this outfielder from California was heating up the Pacific league. Kid had a cannon for an arm and was hitting just south of .400. His team, the Sacramento Slugs (I kid you not), had won every game of their training season and this kid played a major role in every one of them.

I got the GM on the phone and practically bullied him into bringing the boy in for a look. It didn’t take long for him to acquiesce, and a week later, Jordan “Jordy” Bryant was sitting in the cushy chair across from me looking like he was born to wear our uniform.

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Words


Outtakes 250

Words

by Cait Collins

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about words these days. Just how do word choices affect those who read my writings? Will I encourage or discourage; reason or incite; honor or desecrate? Will I set a scene or leave the reader confused? With all the words out there, one would think word choice would be simple. In reality, it is not because the writer is not in control of the reader’s mood.

Let’s say you had a rough day at work. You get home, pick up a news magazine and begin reading. The writer is not a fan of your favorite politician, so you begin seeing insults in every sentence. A comment like, “the candidate was not well prepared for questions regarding a new trade agreement” sets you off. Immediately you assume the author considers the politician as stupid or lazy. Instead of reading the next paragraph where the gentleman receives accolades for his knowledge of education issues, you toss the publication aside and send out a tweet stating the writer is incompetent and should refrain from speaking publically about things of which he has no knowledge. Your insults create a chain reaction of responses calling you stupid or a slew of messages supporting your stand. But what if your day had gone well? Would you have been more open minded? Would you have read the article to the end and maybe agreed that trade was a weak topic for the candidate? It’s all in your view of the world on the day you read the article.

While I think it’s important to select words carefully, I realize each person reacts to a work in his own way. Using rose instead of pink to describe a sunrise will create a warm memory for one reader, make another feel as if the author is color blind, send another to a travel agent to arrange a cruise to the tropical island where the sun was rising. In reality, we will all have critics. Some will stone us, others will praise our work, and some can take the book or leave it. It’s best to develop a thick skin and let the negative roll off our backs. Someone will appreciate our writings; even if it is just our moms.

Reading and Writing


Reading and Writing

If you can read and write – YOU CAN DO ANYTHING!

A few things that can help you become a better writer and reader.

  1. Practice – Writing makes you a better writer and reading makes you a better reader.
  2. Read, think, read, write, ponder, write – and read some more.
  3. Learn a new word everyday.
  4. Read lots of books.
  5. And then write some more.
  6. Get the pen and fingers moving, or use a computer.
  7. Read what you have written aloud to anyone who will listen
  8. Keep a journal to keep the writing juices flowing.
  9. Read what you’ve written over and over, until you can’t find any more problems.
  10. Before you take a trip, read any information you can find and then write about your experience.

Writing quote


Books are masters who instruct us without rods or ferules, without words or anger, without bread or money. If you approach them, they are not asleep; if you seek them, they do not hide; if you blunder, they do not scold; if you are ignorant, they do not laugh at you.
— RICHARD DE BURY

The Dog And the Leash


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

The Dog And the Leash

By Nandy Ekle

I took part in a survey recently—one question, intended to make you think introspectively: name one thing you wish you could bring back from your childhood. This question definitely did get my brain cells working.

I started thinking about what kind of child I was. And then a story bubbled which gave me my answer.

Once upon a time, a girl had a dog. This dog was very energetic and very powerful, and the girl had to learn to control it. She clipped a leash to its collar and they went for a walk. The dog wanted to run and play, and he wanted the girl to run and play with him. But he was big and strong and the girl usually ended up huddled in a corner with a skinned elbow or a tear in her jeans.

But she couldn’t get rid of the dog because he was her constant companion. He went everywhere she went. He slept next to her at night, got up and went to school with her in the morning, came home and ate dinner with her, took baths with her, and then went to bed with her every single night.

And every day she took him for a walk on the leash. She learned to tell him no, that she didn’t want to run. She pulled on the leash to slow him down when he went too fast. And she yanked the leash if he tried to run after a bird or a rabbit.

But she also gave him treats. She bought tasty things for him to chew on. She gave him his favorite snacks. She scratched him behind the ears and made sure he had plenty of healthy food and water.

One day she took her dog out for a walk. She took hold of his collar with one hand and held the leash in the other. She rubbed the metal clip of the leash on the metal loop of his collar, but she didn’t really attach them. Instead she hung the leash around her neck, held her arm out as if she actually was holding the leash, and they began their walk. And an incredible thing happened. Her dog walked as if he really was attached to the leash. He didn’t run away from her, or drag her, or jump around. He walked calmly by her side and obeyed her when she talked to him.

After a while she remembered how much fun it was when he was running and jumping, and she wanted him to do that again. So she pretended to take the leash off his collar, but he still stayed calmly by her side. It wasn’t until she began to run that the dog started running as well.

So, I’ve gone through all this to say, I’m the girl and my imagination is the dog. I’ve spent so much time and energy learning to control it, and now when I want it to run wild, it looks at me as if I still have it leashed. If I could bring one thing back from my childhood, it would be my wild and free imagination.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

Superstitions


Superstitions

By  Adam Huddleston

First of all, you should know that for years the Centerville Knights were perennial losers. We finished at the bottom, or one standing up if Center City happened to have a bad season (which they rarely did), on an annual basis. By the time August rolled around last year, we were limping along twelve games behind first and the crowds were getting smaller on a nightly basis.

Rumors of a managerial change began to float around town. A few weeks later, some folks where suggesting the organization should be dissolved and the sports complex used for the local high school team. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t entertained the thought myself.

Then, at the beginning of this season, a miracle occurred.

Well, maybe that’s not the best word for it. You tell me after you’ve heard the rest of my story.

Weddings and Family


Outtakes 249

Weddings and Family

By Cait Collins

 

I’ve been to many weddings in my lifetime. I’ve photographed some, but soon learned I don’t have the patience for bridezillas, unorganized affairs, and brides and grooms who demand more than they paid for, and guests who think the photographer should stage the shots and then allow them to take their pictures before the professional gets his. One bride told me “This is all about me. Do what I tell you.” That was my last wedding shoot.

I have decided I’d rather be a guest. This past weekend, I watched a nephew as he played a song he wrote for his bride. This guy loves music. You see it in his stance and in his eyes. The joy and love whispered with each note from his violin. My eyes misted as he became one with the music.

This ritual was witnessed by friends and family with great joy and pride and love for the couple. Think back to all the weddings you have attended. We they true celebrations of vows given and received or was it a spectacle punctuated by shouts, verbal abuse, and threatening words and gestures? How do the characters behave? Is the bride marrying the groom or is she making her vows to his bank balance? Is the groom taking a wife with joy or is his devotion the upcoming payday? Are the moms and dads ready to let their children make their own home or will they build it for the couple?

Weddings have so many possibilities in the creation of a story. Good, bad or indifferent, we’ve been to weddings. times I can party on until midnight, but other times, I want to bask in the love. And sometimes I want to remember, to savor, and relive a precious moment. Our characters have the same feelings.

The good thing is we have hundreds of examples. Not just for romances, but great weddings in history and the events that played out and added to events in history are good information for creative non-fiction and biographies. Ain’t in grand to know that one common event is workable for so many genres?

So here is the challenge. Gentlemen, imagine you’re a bride who has planned the perfect wedding. At the last fitting, a bride’s maid walks out of the fitting room with the zipper pulled out of her flamingo pink dress. The lady has gained 10 pounds since the last fitting and no way is the dress going to be wedding worthy even if they can get the zipper repaired. You (a) burst into tears and storm out the room screeching about your ruined wedding; (b) have the dress repaired and find a pretty scarf to drape over the bride’s maid’s shoulder to hide the repair; or (c) cut the careless witch from the wedding party? Remember, the year is 2156.

Ladies, as a groom, you’re nervous you’ll fumble the vows; you hope your groom’s men arrive on time and sober. Unfortunately, your best man shows up smashed and without the rings. Put yourself in the groom’s place. You (a) send your cousin back to the house to get the rings and you order lots of hot black coffee to sober the guy up; (b) you punch his lights out and hide the best man in the party room; or (c) cut him out of the wedding party. Don’t forget. Your wedding is being celebrated in Edwardian London and your family is royalty.

Enjoy your writing exercise.

Amazon Author Page / Send Us Your Link!


Amazon Author Page / Send Us Your Link!

By Natalie Bright

 

Last week’s post was about Amazon Author Pages. I’m still surprised at how many authors have not utilized this social media tool. In case you haven’t done it yet, here’s another reminder: If you have books listed for sale on Amazon.com, you can set-up an Amazon Author Page.

Go to authorcentral.amazon.com to add content. Nothing fancy, just the basics will do. Enough to give you an official presence.

Sign in with your Amazon Account.

Under the Books tab, you can request that any books not listed be added. Search by ISBN, author or title.

Add a bio photo and write a bio.

Include a link to your blog, or write a new blog specific for your Amazon readers.

Add events to the handy calendar.

Post pictures of book signings, research trips, author friends, your pets, or anything that might be of interest to your fans.

Add a welcome video.

Read Author Central News. This section provides great information and ideas on promotional opportunities and specific marketing tools for authors.

Now go and be brilliant!

Include a link to your Amazon Author Page in the comment section. I’m looking forward to learning about you.

www.amazon.com/Natalie-Bright

 

Quoting the Masters


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Quoting the Masters

By Nandy Ekle

 

I like to read quotes by authors who know what they’re talking about. I find a lot of inspiration, instruction, wisdom, truth, and humor.

Here’s a few I’ve picked out from other sites on line to share with you.

  1. “I want to write because I have the urge to excel in one medium of translation and expression of life. I can’t be satisfied with the colossal job of merely living. Oh, no, I must order life in sonnets and sestinas and provide a verbal reflector for my 60-watt lighted head.” — Sylvia Plath
  1. “Writing is my way of expressing – and thereby eliminating – all the various ways we can e wrong-headed.” —Zadie Smith
  1. “When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, ‘I am going to produce a work of art.’ I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing.” — George Orwell
  1. “I don’t know why I started writing. I don’t know why anybody does it. Maybe they’re bored, or failures at something else.” — Cormac McCarthy
  1. “Why does one begin to write? Because she feels misunderstood, I guess. Because it never comes out clearly enough when she tries to speak. Because she wants to rephrase the world, to take it in and give it back again differently, so that everything is used and nothing is lost. Because it’s something to do to pass the time until she is old enough to experience the things she writes about.” — Nicole Krauss
  1. “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O’Connor
  1. “I started writing novels while an undergraduate student, in an attempt to make sense of the city of Edinburgh, using a detective as my protagonist. Each book hopefully adds another piece to the jigsaw that is modern Scotland, asking questions about the nation’s politics, economy, psyche and history . . . and perhaps pointing towards its possible future.” — Ian Rankin
  1. “Why am I compelled to write? . . . Because the world I create in the writing compensates for what the real world does not give me. By writing I put order in the world, give it a handle so I can grasp it. I write because life does not appease my appetites and anger . . . To become more intimate with myself and you. To discover myself, to preserve myself, to make myself, to achieve self-autonomy. To dispel the myths that aI am a mad prophet or a poor suffering soul. To convince myself that I am worthy and that what I have to say is not a pile of shit . . . Finally I write because I’m scared of writing, but I’m more scared of not writing.” — Gloria E. Anzuldua

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

Superstitions


Superstitions

By  Adam Huddleston

First of all, you should know that for years the Centerville Knights were perennial losers. We finished at the bottom, or one standing up if Center City happened to have a bad season (which they rarely did), on an annual basis. By the time August rolled around last year, we were limping along twelve games behind first and the crowds were getting smaller on a nightly basis.

Rumors of a managerial change began to float around town. A few weeks later, some folks where suggesting the organization should be dissolved and the sports complex used for the local high school team. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t entertained the thought myself.

Then, at the beginning of this season, a miracle occurred.

Well, maybe that’s not the best word for it. You tell me after you’ve heard the rest of my story.