April 30, 2008

Writing Prompt Sites to Nudge Your Muse ©

This Workshop Wednesday is going to look at writing prompts. I've found a few here and there so I thought I should put them up on the blog.

Writing prompts are suggestions to get you started writing. They are great for times that you just do not have a thing to put down. A writing prompt may help to jar your creativity or lead you to your next great work.

Writing prompt sites:

Creative Writing Prompts
Writer's Digest - Writing Prompts
Daily Writing Prompts
Imagination Prompt Generator

In the last link I was playing around with the next prompt feature. One prompt said, You have to give up one of your senses. Which one will it be?

I thought how cruel it would be to have to give up one of my senses. How can one choose? Each sense evokes its own bit of pleasure. All together they enhance the rich world we live in.

Without my taste buds, I could not relish the mixture of flavors in my favorite Italian sausage lasagna. I would never be able to delight in the sweet nectar from a honey suckle bud. I would be lost when I gulped my favorite mixed drink

Without the ability to feel, I would not be able to enjoy the soft texture of my baby's chubby cheeks. I could no longer enjoy the warmth of my cat's long fur as I pat him. I would not be able to feel my husband's gentle caress and the tingles that it brings.

Without my hearing, I could not listen to the sounds of the ocean. I would not be able to hear the squirrels barking at my cat as he climbs up their tree. I would miss the buzzing from a humming bird as it zips by my head.

Without my ability to smell, I could not enjoy the aroma of my sweet Wisteria when it blooms. I would not know when I brushed my tart Rosemary whilst walking in the garden.

Without my sight, I could not see the beauty in the world. The flowers as they emerge from the earth. The dew glistening on a blade of grass. The sun as it sets on the horizon.

How cruel could someone be to take a sense from me? They are all a part of me. They make me whole.

I do not know that I could choose. I would have to ask for more time. I would stall. I would stammer. I would run the other way.

Which would you choose?
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April 29, 2008

Squidoo Lenses are Up, Up, and Away...

I did not get a chance to post yesterday. Not only was I busy putting the house back together after the party, I had laundry to do--such is my life. I did manage to put together a couple of new lenses on Squidoo. They are getting so easy to do!

I like how I can get one started with my basics and go back to edit or add to them. As a matter of fact, I started two more this morning--those are still WIPs so they aren't showing yet.

I want to share the two I completed yesterday:

Of course I still have my other lenses up. I did a few updates and changes on those too:

The two I finished today are not live yet, but if you want to check them out tomorrow, or ever, you can see them on my Lensmaster Page. I also created a side bar link under the Join Squidoo button.

The lenses I completed today are Bettas: The Fish Full of Personality and Cypress Cove Community.

Some may think I'm going wild, or something, but that Squidoo is addicting. Especially since I'm actually getting readers out of it.

I'm going to try to keep the new lenses coming. I'm at 9 and I have more planned. Since I can edit them at will, I'm going to continue building the basic lens and go back to add on to them after they are published. Here's my list:

The two scene lenses are pretty much done except for a few photos I want to scan and add to them. Those I really want to keep as pictorial references and highlight the article links.

I think I'll be doing some major edits to the Betta lens. The photos on it did not fare to well through the Polaroid module I used. I think I'll have to direct link them from photobucket to get the quality a bit better. I'll see once it goes live if there is any difference in photo quality.

Now that I'm getting more used to Squidoo; I think I'll start sharing more links for making better lenses to the blog. I've found a bunch. Then I'll throw in my own two cents as usual.

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April 25, 2008

It's Friday! Fabulous Fun Friday

It's Friday! We've got another busy weekend ahead of us. We will be hosting a birthday party for my brother-in-law. I've got a lot of cooking and prep work to do today.

I wanted to mention Squidoo. I put together another lens on boats: How to Flip an Old Boat. That lens went together rather quickly; I was surprised. I found a funny you tube video to go with it pertaining to the joy of boats--there sure is a lot of funny stuff out there. I had seen some of this video on one of those funny home video shows. I love how they put the videos together with the theme from "Love Boat."

Speaking of Squidoo, I still think its a great venue for promotion. My next lens is probably going to be about fishing on the Guadalupe. I've got tons of pictures I could put on it--of the scenery not fish I've caught (fish avoid my line for some reason).

This week I managed to get myself in gear around the house, write a couple of articles and reviews, and keep up with my three posts on the blog. I'm proud of myself. I think I finally have this time management thing down

I better get to cooking. If I don't, there's going to be a mess of angry guests here tomorrow. I hope everyone has a superb weekend!

April 23, 2008

Dabbling the Muse in Poetry...©

In my last post I talked about the movie Amadeus. Mozart was an extremely talented musician composing 600 pieces throughout his short lifetime. His first composition was at about the young age of 6--incredible. He started playing at 4.

I love music. I wondered if I could write a song. Many times songs are formed from a piece of poetry.

A couple of weeks ago I started working on a poem. It's rough and it came from a dream I had about my deceased husband. He came to me in my dream and it was as if he had never passed.

The pain of his passing left me numb for a time. Had it not been for our friends, my family, and my daughter, I probably would have become some sort of a recluse. So deeply depressed that nothingness would have absorbed me.

My husband now was a touch stone for me. He was my deceased husband's best friend. He carried me through the roughest of emotional times then. Our friendship turned to love. Sometimes I feel as if we were somehow put together by a force from beyond.

The dreams I have about my past love are vivid, always. I feel as if he comes to me because I asked him to. When we found that he was terminal we discussed the afterward and what would be.

We were not morbid about it. We knew the facts. In the backs of our heads, we knew what was happening. We tried every thing that medicine, and alternative medicine, had to offer to belay the inevitable. At times I lived in denial just to get through it; I was young. Those times were the hardest I had ever had.

However hard it was, we still had our love to pull us through.

I could go on, but I want to get to my exercise for this week: Poetry. (I felt it necessary to give a little history so my poetry rambling could be understood.)

What got me started with this was my daughter's English class. They have been working on poetry during this 9 week section. If you are interested, you can see a little poem we put together for an assignment in Spring into Summer Mood-A Pattern Poem Assignment.

Lately, it seems that poetry has taken a front seat. I've been reading a lot of poetry in blogs, articles, and print.

This poem is a work in progress. It is only the beginning, I think. In my head I hear it with music.

Last night...
You joined me in my dream
Last night...
You really made me scream
Last night...
It was like we never parted
Last night...
My heart was restarted

Last night...
You were stronger than ever
Our hearts were never severed

This can't be a dream
Not all is as it seems
When I awaken
I find I was mistaken

What was all so real
Left me nothing to feel


I wonder, given my musical background, if I could...Forget that, I'm no Mozart. I can read music but I doubt I could write it.
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April 21, 2008

Watching Amadeus...

Last night the girls and I stayed up late to watch Amadeus. I have always liked that movie. I am a musician and played Mozart's Clarinet Concerto for Solo and Ensemble when I was in school. I don't play as often as I'd like. I really should play more for myself. I do help the teen quite a bit, but that's not the same as playing.

I started the teen on the clarinet when she was about 6. She's really becoming quite the musician. She started learning the keyboard and has been working on the guitar. She would like to pick up the oboe next.

In the movie, Mozart and Salieri are portrayed quite differently than what actually was--talk about turning life into fiction. Did you know that they really collaborated? Not how the movie portrayed it at the end of Mozart's life either. I told her, "When you watch something like that you have to take what you see with a grain of salt."

The teen continued to question me throughout the movie about this fact or that fact. I appreciated her inquisitiveness, but finally had to tell her that it's all theatrics. The movie is a rough representation but only bits and pieces of the relationship are true. It's done like that to draw more interest to the movie. Movie watchers are drawn to conflict, that's what sells tickets and sparks popularity.

Near 9:30 pm the little one gave up the ghost and went to bed. The teen and I continued on through the last hour. I should mention that they played this movie in two minute stretches with 5 minutes of commercials between. Way too many commercials if you ask me.

I'm glad I sat through the movie again. I enjoy the comedy that is interwoven throughout. I enjoyed the time I had bonding with my girls and laughing throughout the frustrating commercials--every time one came on at least one of us would sigh audibly.

I need to locate that Concerto for the teen. I have several pieces of sheet music by Mozart that she may enjoy playing. Perhaps I'll pull out a horn and tune it up so I can play too. I'll let you know if I still got it.
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April 18, 2008

Friday Roundup

Last night the sky lit up. We had thunder and lightening coupled with pounding rain. This was good. Rain has been avoiding us save some sparse drizzle and dew. We need more.

This week I've been cleaning out the file cabinet. A part of a yearly ritual that I skipped last year for various reasons. Why do I keep so many papers? Old paid bills, receipts from the grocery store, and manuals from long gone devices cluttered my cabinet.

I decided I'm not going to keep so much anymore. Financial items, medical, insurance, and house stuff will be the only things saved from now on. I want my files to breathe.

I rearranged those manuals too. After tossing the long gone stuff, I designated a separate box for that mountain of information. One for easier access, two for ease in weeding out junk.

I tend to be rather organized. It helps me keep on top of things. However, I've been lax with those files. I'm not going to let them get the better of me ever again.

My poor shredder was hot when I finished my clean sweep. I hope it works the next time I use it.

This weekend we'll be finishing up a project on the boat. We've been rewiring the electronics and lights. What a horrible mess the old wires were. The previous owners obviously did not know that lamp wire should not be used in a saltwater fishing boat.

That rewire project is something we have put off for several years. There were other pressing matters regarding the motor and power-head that took a front seat. Boats are true money pits. But when you love the water, you have to open the change purse.

Once the nav lights are up and running again, we will start taking little water camping trips on the lake. I should have some interesting tales to tell when that happens.

I changed up the blog yesterday. I added some pictures and rearranged my layout. Please let me know if the colors make for difficult reading or are annoying. With so many different browsers and monitors out there I don't want to discourage visits.

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!
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April 16, 2008

Challenging My Muse with a Flash ©

Last Wednesday I posted a 55 word flash fiction challenge for myself. I worked on it briefly and came up with this:

I entered the moonlit room. My heart skipped a beat when I heard her voice. I am guilty. I tried to explain, but it fell on deaf ears.

How different my life has become since. I am single now. I need not hide my obsessions or faults. I am free to live, as I will.


It rings familiar to the short story I have been working. Perhaps too familiar--call me a cheater, I had a busy weekend.

So it has a beginning, a middle, and an end. After that it seems a little sparse. I guess that's the point.

I read a little more about flash fiction and the point is to get to the point. The author is the framer and the reader is the filler. All at once, the story should be concise yet complete.

Within the flash fiction you should find a setting, character, conflict, and resolution. So did I meet the requirements?*

  • Setting: moonlit room

  • Character: speaker and partner

  • Conflict: guilty of unknown

  • Resolution: living single and free

Working on this was fun. Talk about exercising your edit/delete button. I want to branch out more on stuff like this for my Workshop Wednesday posts.

*From "Flashes of Brilliance" by S. Joan Popek

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April 14, 2008

Fear of Rejection? Not this Muse

A few weeks ago I submitted a couple of articles. I have been working on implementing some of the things I've been writing about here. I wrote the articles, put them in queue, and waited. They were rejected.

Supposedly the topics were too common. I would agree that one may have been common. However, it had a personal approach and the information was from the latest research. In the end, I'm canning that article.

The other is a topic that I could narrow a bit. I also think I could change the title to make it more SEO friendly. I was thinking if I changed my keywords and phrases, I could get the article accepted. I'll be taking that on today so I can submit it again in a couple of weeks.

I've been working hard on this quest. I'm not going to let a little rejection stand in my way. Rejection only makes me want to improve.

Rejection is such a negative word.

I refuse to take your rejection
Having hit the button "ejection"
I will take a moment of reflection
And resubmit my selection

Okay, I'm sorry, that is a sad attempt at poetry. I'm just trying to stretch those creative muscles. Perhaps I should save that for Wednesday...
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April 11, 2008

Stepping Outside of the Burger Box...

Today I'm going on a little different route (again, I know, two posts in a row). The other night I stepped out of my usual dining fare to make a recipe I found in another Content Producer's articles: Irene Lynn. Doesn't it look yummy?

I know what you're thinking, "Okay so you made hamburgers. Big deal!" These aren't just any old hamburgers. These are meatless hamburgers.

They are made with Portabella mushrooms. And let me tell you now, you would never know it if I had not told you.

My husband and youngest devoured theirs as if they were Top Sirloin burgers. These are a healthy alternative to your traditional burger. I've been on a health kick lately, so I'm taking my family along for the ride.

If you like mushrooms, and you like hamburgers, then you will love these! Read the article and grab the recipe: Health Benefits of Mushrooms that You May Not Be Aware Of by Irene Lynn.
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April 9, 2008

Flash the Muse with Flash Fiction...©

Playing around with this Workshop Wednesday thing, I've decide to make a hard left turn this week. I've been exploring different blogs, migrating out of my comfortable zone. A part of my broadening/promotion quest, I guess.

I came across a post by elizadashwood, "Craft of fiction: Example of 55 word fiction," that got my wheels turning. Now that challenge is tricky at best--to hone out a story in 55 words--that I'm going to try for next week.

Now for my left turn, I was reading though the comments and saw (S)wine's comment about Hemingway's famous bid of flash fiction: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." This I remembered from studying Hemingway--you know he frequented one of my favorite vacation destinations? (Off topic, I'll talk about that some other time...)

I just had to dive deeper to find more, since I've been working on this clarity, condense, and edit thing. I found the Short Stories Site and Siobhain M Cullen's post "Flash Fiction" that has several different 6 word flash fiction submissions by several authors, which is very entertaining you should check it out.

Here's my little attempt at the exercise:

Open lips, embracing, they fell asleep.

I also reversed "Open lips" to say:

Lips open, embracing, they fell asleep.

I don't know if that's how it's supposed to go. It's just my feeble attempt at dusting off my creative side. At any rate it's a fun little thing to do. Now to tackle the 55 word challenge for next week is really going to take a little effort on my part.
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April 7, 2008

Promotion Play...

Promotion is a daunting task. I've been working through a few different things, trying new stuff, and throwing out bits and pieces of what I'm learning. I have joined yet another site: BlogFlux.

Blog Flux is a blog directory. I learned about it when this blog was just an idea floating around in my head. I wanted to get a few posts under my belt before I joined. I had forgotten all about it until I was doing some spring cleaning and organizing on my favorites tab. When my memory came back to me, I decided to log my blog with them.

They offer different tools that you may find useful for your blog. Note my new Page Rank button down on the right side. Okay so I'm only a 2, but two is better than zero. They also have blog templates, mapping tools, and button makers. Everything is conveniently stationed on one site for you to use to enhance your blog.

Once you register your blog, you join the ranks of other blogs and hopefully gain more readers. Blogs are categorized by genre. You can sift through like-minded bloggers to find new blogs, different blogs, and maybe generate topic ideas.

Since promotion is what makes the Internet go 'round, I guess joining all these sites is what you have to do.

I signed on for something else, but I'm going to work on it for a bit before I post about it. So far it has given me some new inspiration. The Workshop Wednesday post this week will give you a little clue as to what I did.

I'll be playing with it some more this week. I'll write a detailed post about it on Friday or Monday.
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April 4, 2008

A Friday Frustration Fix

This morning I was doing some reading and I came across a post by Lisa's World about using air and water for fuel: "Cars that run on WATER and AIR." Now, wouldn't that be nice?

I am sick and tired of the cost of gas creeping up. When the gas prices go up so does everything else. Then when prices go down, it seems that things aren't so retroactive. I believe that whoever is in control of this discovered that we will open our pocketbooks and suck it up.

Now, I'm not one to stir things up. However, I know that I'm not the only one who feels this way.

Earlier this week we got a letter that our mortgage will increase because the taxes went up. So this morning I read a post by Jack Payne: "Legal Con-Man-Made Mortgage Crisis--Careful it does not Gobble You Up" It got me riled up and the post wasn't even really about my beef.

Yesterday my husband came home from work and informed me he got his yearly review. The reviews come with your annual raise. The review was glowing and extremely personal.

It said he is always willing to go the extra mile to get things done. How he actively takes newbies under his wing to help them along. He exceeds the company standards and always betters himself...Beautiful things about my man that I am extremely proud of--so don't mind my gloating.

Then the raise came. They only gave the standard amount they give every year, which is what they gave across the board, and does not account for the increase in cost of living.

I know for a fact that the company makes all of their money off the backs of men like my husband. He and his co-workers are the heart and soul of that place. They are also the most responsible parties if anything bad happened under their hands. However, they are the least paid.

The company is the epitome of top heavy. I think the phrase, too many chiefs and not enough Indians fits it to a tee. Many times the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. The big wigs are getting rich while the grunts do all the work. Then they wonder why company morale is at an all time low.

I think it is really sad how things are. We just have to take it I guess.

I'll do my thing today. Tomorrow I'll wake up and relish the fact that it's Saturday. No work for my husband. No work for me. We can just play with the kids and enjoy the life we have together.
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April 2, 2008

Rifling through Details and Edits.

Today I've made some more detail edits and added a bit to the story. Kathy's last post was about making edits and showing rather than telling. I think that's where I'm losing ground on my quest. So I'm going to continue working this through because I'm determined to get this.

I've been thinking about titles too. Remember the exercise was to come up with five titles. Thinking about the title has been a chore. On a side note, by the time I do the 5 times thing, I'm going to have 5 short stories to practice on or tie together into a novella, maybe?

Conda suggested the word "boundary." I like that word. I thought a bit and came up with these: Broken Boundaries, Out of Bounds, Betrayed Boundary in my comment back. How about Stretched Boundaries, Boundaries Broken, Breached Trust, Two Years Gone (Lost), Bleeding Boundaries?

This is supposed to be a short story. I don't want to have a heavy title. I want to keep it at two-three words. I'll edit more next week and see where I'm at then with title ideas.


"Two years!" A voice broke the dark silence. I threw my keys onto the sofa table, "Pam, you're awake?" I closed the door reaching for the lights. She gargled, "Don't turn them on!"

The room reeked of smoke. There was just enough moonlight peering in for me to see it hovering near her. I could taste it as if I were smoking myself. The dry, bitter remnants lingered in my mouth. I lifted the window and switched on the fan.

Moonlight streamed in. I glanced at the picture wall above her head. The pictures were cockeyed. I looked back at her. I could see her pale face, her green eyes were red, glowing, staring at me. She looked young for her 45 years. "You've been with her for two long years."

She took a long drag off her cigarette. The cherry lit up her face. She picked up an astray and smashed the butt in it. "You know..." She grabbed a cigarette pack from the side table and began slapping it against her palm. "I've known all along."

She unwrapped the cellophane, the crackle echoed through the room. Pam looked strait at me. One eyebrow shot up, "You thought the two of you were so smart--hiding the truck, meeting at bars, going to hotels--you must of thought I was stupid."

I waited to speak. A lump formed in my throat. I had to say something to sate her, to make things right, but what? She knows about Maura...

Maura is a bartender at my hangout. She's smart, petite, with a nice rack, and a bubbly personality. The complete package. She never complains. She's always happy to see me. She makes me feel good. I love her.

Pam is my wife. Pam is the mother of my children. Pam is my anchor. My obligations lie with her. I cannot believe she knows...

Pam lit another cigarette. I cleared my throat, "I--I just don't know what to say." I moved toward her. She put her hand up. I switched on the light.

She was huddled on the couch. Pictures of us lay smashed and torn on the floor before her. Blood pooled on the sofa beneath her feet. "Pam, you're hurt!"

I ran to the kitchen for a towel. The counters were cluttered with table scraps and dirty dishes. I searched the cabinets for a roll of paper towels. I grabbed the trash bin and returned to her.

I knelt down and wiped the blood from her feet. The shattered glass crunched underneath me. "Pam, why did you do this?" Her eyes met mine. She whispered, "I wanted to hurt you like you hurt me."

I threw the blood soaked towels in the trash. "I need to get some bandages for this." I walked down the hallway toward the closet. I paused before my oldest child's room. I could hear her crying.
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April 1, 2008

April Fools...

Happy April Fools Day!!!

I came across this top 100 April Fools pranks while I was playing around the Internet this morning. Some pretty funny stuff.

I've never really gotten anyone with a good one, except maybe my husband. I told him I was pregnant with twins on 4/1 when our little one was just a few months old. I just had an OBGYN postpartum check-up, so he believed me. He laid on the couch for hours in shock just shaking his head.

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