Monday, December 26, 2011

"A Literal History of the Word Processor"

Author Anne Rice, of the Vampire Chronicles fame, brought a New York Times article to my attention about the history of the word processor that intrigued me to go read it and share it here.  Ms. Rice also asked her fans a question that I wanted to repeat here: "Does anybody still use typewriters or write by hand?"

Here's my two responses:

1.  I have 3 different paper notebooks I'm writing in at the moment. One notebook is for one story I'm working on with research notes written in it, one notebook is for a story I'm going to be starting on soon has only character names and research notes written in it so far, and one I use for poetry only. I transfer anything I've written by hand into the computer later. I don't always have my laptop everywhere I go, so if a story idea comes up or a new poem gets thought of, I like having a notebook along with me to write in before I lose the idea which happens sometimes if I can't get to a computer right away.

2.When I was younger, I used to write short stories and do homework on a typewriter because my family was poor and couldn't afford a computer until I was in my teens.

For my fellow writers out there I'll ask again, "Does anybody still use typewriters or write by hand?  Why or why not?"

Saturday, December 24, 2011

What I'm Reading and Other Stuff

Now that I've written my Christmas blog entry, I can't stop thinking about what I want to do next.  Besides win a million dollars playing the lottery!  I'm pretty much done researching a couple of my stories, but I can't seem to bring myself to actually sitting down and writing some more in the book.  One book I've been researching, I haven't started writing yet.

In "The Shepherdess Princess," a little bit of a rewrite in the future to make the time period I'm writing about more historically accurate.  Turns out, the Hundred Years War was starting during my time frame and was against England, and France.  France wasn't united at the time, and England thought they had a claim to the French throne.  Thus, a war broke out.

I was just reading about the first part of the war that lasted from 1337-1360, and come to find out that Scotland's King at the time was allied with France.  It's interesting because most of my story is set in Scotland a couple years after this war historically started, so that'll put a new spin on things I haven't been able to process and put to paper yet.  I hope I figure something out soon.

I also came across a good quote for "Magic In Their Blood" I want to start the book with.  I actually came across it while watching "Eclipse" based on Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series.  The character Billy Black says in one scene, "We Quilleutes have always had magic in our blood."  When I heard that, lightning struck.  I may watch the movie again soon, so I could jot down the quote word for word.  Of course, I'll give credit to Stephenie Meyer when I use it.

The more I research "Magic In Their Blood," the more I can't wait to write it.  I'm having a hard time starting it off though.  I'll be starting a new document file for it soon, and start off with the quote I just shared, and some acknowledgments pertaining to the research that went into it.  After I do that, maybe I'll be able to produce the first sentence, and go on from there.

Now to get to what I'm reading right now.  I got from the library this week "Vampire Stories" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  From what I gleaned from the intro to the book, which is a collection of 9 short vampire-related stories, Sir Arthur wasn't too happy about being known for his great detective Sherlock Holmes because he had written several short stories and poetry before then that he barely got recognized for.

Anyway, I just finished reading the second short story called "The Captain of the Pole-Star," and what intrigued me about it was the "vampire" in the story resembled a mist to one character, and a lost love to the Captain.  Also, instead of a vampire that drank blood, this one consumed a person's energy, life force, and body heat simultaneously.

I also found out interesting facts I didn't know about Arthur Conan Doyle's life like he quit his practice as a doctor to write full-time when he became more well-known.  His main influence for his writing was Edgar Allen Poe, and he was friends with authors H. G. Wells, Bram Stoker, Rudyard Kipling, and Robert Louis Stevenson.  He took his inspiration for the story "The Captain of the Pole-Star" and an earlier mariner work called "The Hope" from a stint of working as a ship's surgeon on a whaling vessel.

Merry Christmas!

Sorry for those who may not like The Killers like I do, but when I saw the above music video I couldn't stop laughing.  'Tis the season for "The Cowboy's Christmas Ball."  Merry Christmas!  It won't let me embed a playing video from YouTube because of the video's provider, so you'll have to click on the link above to go to it.

Here's the lyrics if you want to sing along:

Way out in Old Nevada, where the Truckee's waters flow,Where the cattle are "a-browzin'," an' the Spanish ponies grow;Where the Northers "come a-whistlin'" from beyond the Neutral Strip;And the prairie dogs are sneezin', as if they had "The Grip";Where the cayotes come a-howlin' 'round the ranches after dark,And the bluebirds are a-singin' to the lovely "meadow lark";Where the bighorns are a-grazin' and the lonely plovers call—It was there that I attended "The Cowboys' Christmas Ball."(whoo!)
The boys had left the ranches and come to town in piles;The ladies—"kinda scatterin'"—had gathered in for miles..The room was togged out gorgeous-with mistletoe and shawls,And candles flickered frescoes, around the airy walls.The women folk looked lovely-the boys looked kinda treed,Till the leader got to yellin': "Hey! fellers, let's stampede,"And the music started sighin', an' awailin' through the hallAs a kind of introduction to "The Cowboys' Christmas Ball."
Their leader was a feller that came from Swenson's ranch,They called him "Windy Billy," from "little Deadman's Branch."His rig was "kinda careless," big spurs and high-heeled boots;
He had the reputation that come when "a fellers shoots."His voice was like a bugle upon a mountainous height;His feet were animated an' a mighty, movin' sight,When he commenced to hollerin', "Now, fellers stake your pen!"Lock horns with all them heifers, an' russle 'em like men."Saloot yer lovely critters; now swing an' let 'em go,"Climb the grape vine 'round 'em—all hands do-ce-do!"You Mavericks, join the round-up- Just skip her waterfall,"Huh! It was gettin' happy, The Cowboys' Christmas Ball
Don't tell me 'bout cotillions, or germans. No sire'ee!That whirl at Carson City just takes the cake with me.I'm sick of lazy shufflin's, of them I've had my fill,Just Give me a frontier break-down, backed up by Wild Ol' Bill.
McAllister ain't nowhere, when Windy leads the show,I've seen 'em both in harness, and so I sorta know—Oh, Bill, I sha'n't forget ya, and I'll oftentimes recall,That lively gaited sworray—"The Cowboys' Christmas Ball."
Oh, Bill, I sha'n't forget ya, and I'll oftentimes recall,That lively gaited sworray—"The Cowboys' Christmas Ball."

Thursday, December 8, 2011

John Lennon-Imagine

Apparently John Lennon was assassinated 31 years ago today.  RIP, man!  You are missed.

"Imagine" happens to be one of my favorite Beatles songs he wrote.  I especially like the line "you say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."

I was trying to successfully embed the above video in this blog with lyrics, but it wasn't cooperating so this is the alternative.



Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You, you may say 
I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world

You, you may say 
I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will live as one

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Day of Research and Writing...

I've been spending the last few hours listening to an audio book I checked out from the library called Black Elk Speaks by John G. Neihardt.  I'm currently listening to the fifth CD out of six, and each has been one hour long.  Black Elk (1863-1950, pictured below) was a Lakota Sioux medicine man/holy man who talks in Black Elk Speaks about a vision he had about the Little Big Horn battle right before it happened, and in Chapter 20 talks about his experience in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show among other stories.

I knew his name sounded familiar when I first heard it, so when I read on his Wikipedia page about him being part of Buffalo Bill's show, my reaction was "Oh, that's him.  That's where I know his name from." because I've been raised on stories of Buffalo Bill, Wild Bill, and used to fantasize as a child that I was in the show with Annie Oakley.

I'm interested in his story because he came from a long line of Shaman and the characters in my story titled "Magic In Their Blood" are supposed to be related to Shaman as well.  I have made a few notes while listening to Black Elk Speaks that include the description and meaning of a sacred ornament Holy Men in his tribe use, and the description and meaning of different elements to a peace pipe.  I've also noted a couple quotes from Black Elk that I might start the book with about the importance of keeping Native stories alive, and teaching the next generation through the stories that would survive after he's gone.  He also talks a lot about his second cousin, Crazy Horse, and shares that Crazy Horse was the first Chief they had in the family.

I also have another library book I have yet to crack open called The Secrets of Native American Herbal Remedies: A Comprehensive Guide to the Native American Tradition of Using Herbs and the Mind/Body/Spirit Connection for Improving Health and Well-Being I'll be reading to get an idea of the different herbs a Medicine Man would use for different ailments.  Again, solely for the purpose of writing "Magic In Their Blood."

I took some time out of my day earlier to write a couple more poems as well.  One poem is about Pearl Harbor, and written to commemorate the 70th anniversary of that day:

Pearl Harbor Day

In the midst of another war,
dawn breaks on a day like no other before.
Seventy years ago today
a bombing started our involvement on a familiar shore.

We were hit at home
while we peacefully slept.
Now there are tomes
talking about a morning we'll never forget.

It's always them versus us,
and the merry-go-round starts again
as one-time friends and neighbors
are questioned about terrorism.

Will the cycle ever stop?
As long as there is sin in the world, it will not.
So we go on with our lives,
and wage wars until the Earth dies.

And here's my second poem on a different subject:


I didn't want to do it,
but you left me no other choice
when you told me that you miss me,
and I felt like I no longer had a voice.

Why did you insist your previous message was a lie?
You told me you couldn't break up with her,
and left me wondering why I even try.
You played me for a fool, and my heart cried.

So much for giving you a second chance
that I thought you were happy about.
I should've thought about it a little longer,
and never agreed to go back out.

Now you are unfriended once again
for the situation you put me in.
I should have known you couldn't be faithful,
and for my freedom since I've been grateful.

I still have yet to put my new poems into a document file, and have my new manuscript started.  Until then, I'll have them stored here until I have the time to copy and paste them into Word finally.

I am still also working on "The Shepherdess Princess," but I'm taking a small break from it because I'm having a hard time putting my next thoughts onto paper for it.  I'll keep you posted on any progress when it's made.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A dream last night gave me a story idea...

I had this crazy-good dream last night that I didn't want to wake up from.  It had two Native American children in it, a brother-sister duo with special abilities.  The brother had super speed, and the sister had telekinesis.  Throughout the dream, they were fighting this kidnapper off and trying to get back home to their parents and other Tribal members.  The more and more they fought this person, the more super abilities came out.  The brother also ended up having super strength, and the sister could summon fish friends with a sonar ability.  By the end of the dream, they both could shape-shift.  The brother shifted into a bear, and the girl got away by turning into a small bird.

One thing I remember about the children is they were related to the Shaman of the tribe, and their mother was the newest Wise Woman of the Tribe.  I woke up thinking they had "Magic In Their Blood" which is what I want to title the story once I flesh out the idea, and get it into book form.

After I woke up, I went to the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indian website to see if I could find a book about some of their native stories since that was the reservation the children in my dream were associated with.  They do offer each member a book about the Tribe's history for new members, but I haven't been enrolled yet.  I'm still trying to prove my ancestry to join the Cherokee Nation.

I did find this page when I was browsing the site that I hope will provide me with some of my research.  At most, it will give me a background of the Siletz Indians to start from.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Change in Creative Direction...

The other night while I was writing some more scenes in "The Shepherdess Princess," I came to a stand still because it was an emotional night for me.  Anyway, I paused to switch notebooks, and picked up my poetry notebook I haven't written in since publishing "Second Thoughts: A Collection of Poetry."  What follows is what was produced that night:

The Roller Coaster

I hear a message from you,
and I wonder what to do.
Do I believe you
after what you put me through?

Do I get on this roller coaster
of emotions, or pull a gun from my holster?
I never wanted to have these thoughts again,
and yet here I am.

After not writing a poem in months,
I pick up a pen to haunt
this notebook once again
with words long unwritten.

I know you don't deserve another chance.
I've given you two already, and I glance
back into a past
I thought I had some closure for at last.

One Stormy Night

The stormy night without
matches my emotions within.
You should have no more clout
over my heart again.

You no longer reside there.
You gave up that right,
and yet you want to hide there
on this stormy night.

You know I can hold a grudge,
but still ask for another chance.
I've never been one to judge,
but I no longer want romance.

I give and you take
until there is no more.
There's no way to fake
what has left my heart sore.

This next poem was written last night in memory of my friend, Traci:

The Box

How can a box so small
carry the ashes of a tall,
big beautiful woman?
How could she leave behind a good man?

I know she didn't have a choice,
but sometimes I miss hearing her voice.
All of her friends
she considered sisters and brothers to the end.

Now all that is left is a box
that never needed a lock.
My memories churn
as I think of her reduced to an urn.

Traci is far away from me,
but I like to think she's happy and free.
We will be reunited someday,
but she was only thirty-one when she was taken away.
I love you, sis, to the very end.
Even into the great beyond, my friend.

In addition to the poems I just shared, there's two more I have titles for that I have yet to write.  I am still also working on "The Shepherdess Princess" which is now at 55 pages, and counting.  I have 3 1/2 written pages in my notebook yet to add to my manuscript, and hope to write some more before going to bed tonight.

I have yet to put my new poems into their own document, but I've had a title for my next poetry book in mind since beginning to write "Second Thoughts."  It's working title is "The Trifecta: A Collection of Poetry" simply for the reason that it will be my third poetry book.  I may change it to something different later, but that's what I'll call it for now.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Creative Train...Temporarily Derailed

I do not want a repeat of last night for the rest of my life.  As I was sitting in my computer chair playing games and surfing the web, I was fine.  As soon as I brought up my manuscript file to work on, I made a wrong move in my chair and my back went out  which resulted in a pinched nerve, and hours of vomiting.  It wasn't a pretty sight.  Normally, I don't take showers really late but I did take several in the wee hours of the morning to try to work the kinks out enough to pop my back into place again.  I woke up my brother and upstairs neighbors in the process of taking showers, one bath, and puking my guts out.  I got an hour and a half total sleep as a reprieve during all the mayhem.  My brother was instrumental in helping me work out the knot, and we made little bits of progress until I relaxed enough for the problem to work itself out.

After my back popped back into place, I was able to sleep some from 8 am-12:30 pm with only one interruption when my brother came home from our weekly weight loss group that I skipped because the chairs would've been too hard on my back, and I didn't want another episode anytime soon.  I've been taking it easy all day sitting in my recliner from the time I woke up with a pillow propped up behind me.  The same pillow I'm sitting on at the moment.

Anyway during one of my short stints away from the bathroom last night, I was able to close my file and shut down my computer because I knew there was no way I was going to get any work done with the pain I was in.

My back is still tender, and will take a couple days to feel completely better.  In the meantime, I'm going to try to add more to my manuscript and hope history doesn't repeat itself anytime soon.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Breaking Through Writer's Block

After a month of not being able to write a single word in my book, I've been able to make some progress tonight.  I was more stuck than anything because I wasn't sure where to add my new material into the existing story line.  That's all sorted out now, and the story is beginning to flow again.  I did end up deleting seven more pages from my manuscript that no longer fit, or was repetitive.
It seems like I made little progress, but I added seven pages of text by cutting and pasting my new document into the existing file for "The Shepherdess Princess."  I had a total of 42 pages when I did that, and now I have 35 pages in all so far.  I also updated my table of contents, fixed some punctuation and spelling, completely rewrote chapter two, and proofread chapter one to make sure everything was okay there.

National Novel Writing Month officially starts at Midnight tomorrow for some people, but I haven't decided yet if I want to participate again this year.  Even though I have a jump start with almost 9,000 words of the 50,000 I would need for the month.  It's hard for me to keep up with the daily word count of 1,667 words sometimes and I fall behind rather quickly.  There are some days I don't feel like writing at all, or I can't think of where to go next in the story no matter if I have an outline handy or not.  I may just sign in with my existing account tonight, and go from there.

Happy Halloween to all the ghoulies and ghosties out there!

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Beatles-Paperback Writer

I'm grooving to this song.  It's getting me in the mood to want to work on my book some more.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Love Thy Neighbor by Amanda Waley

Before I went to sleep, I wanted to share the story I want to submit in the next "Chicken Soup for the Soul" book.  Let me know what you think about it, and if it needs some improvement.  I can work on it until October 3rd when I have to submit it.  Thank you in advance for your critique.

Love Thy Neighbor

By Amanda Waley

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no other commandment greater than these.”
-Mark 12:31

“When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul.”
-The first verse of It is Well with my Soul,
written by Horatio G. Spafford
with music by Philip P. Bliss

            This is a story about my neighbor, Annette “Tobie” Hickcox who was like a sister to me.  She was forty-four years old when she died of pneumonia, and complications with diabetes.  My mother verbally adopted her into my family when her own mother passed away.  She took her mother’s death very hard because they were very close.  Her mother became friends with my mother, and Tobie switched from a downstairs apartment to one directly above her old apartment when her mother could no longer walk up the stairs.  My family stepped into the role of “adopted” siblings when Tobie needed us the most.
            For a while she came over to my apartment across the yard once a week to watch movies with my brother and I.  Before she passed away, she was over 2-3 times a week watching television, watching movies, and having the occasional pizza party.
            Tobie and I started calling each other “Twin” even though she was fifteen years older than me, and we weren’t related by blood at all because we were both accident-prone and would end up comparing ouches.  A lot of the time, we had bruises and cuts in the exact same places.  Most of her falls were the result of grand mal seizures, whereas mine would be sheer clumsiness.
            Whenever we saw each other in public, we would greet each other with “Hey, Twin,” followed by the E. T. phone home signal with our index fingers.  The E. T. thing is something I started doing with my mom when I wanted to “phone the mother ship,” but with Tobie I would say “sister ship.”
            Aside from having epilepsy and diabetes, Tobie was partially deaf.  When my brother and I were going to college together, we took an American Sign Language course.  Tobie would practice with us when we did our homework.  My mother is also hard of hearing, so the Sign Language course was supposed to help talk to her, too.  Even though a lot of what my mother learned in her Sign Language class wasn’t retained, it was like we were teaching her some of the signs again.
            Tobie also volunteered a couple times a week at the local Library in the Children’s department.  She always loved being around kids even though she never had any of her own.  Since her death, I’ve began volunteering at the same Library once a week with my brother to continue something in her memory.  She loved working at the library.
            A few months before Tobie passed away, my dad lost his battle with prostate cancer and the Lord called him home.  That’s one of the reasons Tobie ended up coming over so much before she died.  Because most of my brothers and sisters were very close to my dad, and my brother, Ray, and I would visit him several times a week.  My brother, Vern, and sister, Amee, ended up taking care of him a lot in his final months by taking him to several doctor’s appointments, going shopping for him, and making sure he didn’t skip any medications.  They were both at his bedside when he drew his last breath along with my nephew, Aaron, who was visiting his dad.
            Tobie got sick with what she thought was the flu, but she wasn’t getting any better.  She had her housekeeper make an unscheduled visit on one of her regular days off to take her to a doctor’s appointment.  Her housekeeper came over, and had a hard time getting my neighbor to open the door to let her in.  Tobie had been sleeping on the couch, and the door was locked.  My neighbor seemed confused, and delirious for five minutes.  Finally, the housekeeper got her to unlock the door and she called 9-1-1.  The housekeeper found out later the doctor’s appointment was actually set for the following week.
            The first night Tobie was in the hospital, she went into cardiac arrest and had a stroke that she never recovered from.  My mom and I visited her in the ICU, my brother and I got her apartment key to take care of her cats while she was in the hospital, and found her uncle’s phone number in her address book and called him to let him know what happened.  He lives in Colorado, and couldn’t make it to Oregon right away.  A few days after Tobie was admitted to the hospital, her uncle gave permission over the phone to “pull the plug.”  She died ten minutes later.
            One week before all this happened; I made Tobie promise to come over for a movie night the following week thinking she would get better.  A week after she died, I believe I got the visit I was promised.  I was sleeping in my bed the following Friday night, and I shot up out of bed when I heard the word “Twin” in her voice.  Then I heard giggling after I said “Twin” back.  I had been praying for a sign from God that Tobie was okay.  I knew when she was alive she attended church regularly, and believed in God.  However, she was never really sure if she was ever baptized, and that’s what had me worried the most.  The thought of never seeing her in the sweet by and by.  Ever since that night, I’ve been comforted knowing I’ll see her again someday, and she’s happy where she’s at because she’s reunited with her mother and Heavenly Father.

Soul Sisters[1]

I’m glad I had met
My soul sister, Annette,
Before we both were gone.
She was a great shoulder to lean on
After my dad died
Because she experienced something similar
When her mother died,
And she cried,
But got a new “family”
With me
In it, and a support system
She couldn’t beat.

Have you ever been so close
To someone that they become
A brother or sister
Even though you’re not related by blood?

I told her often she was my sister
From another mother,
And I don’t know what I would’ve done
Without her kindness and smiling face
To brighten up the place.

[1] Copyright June 2011 by Amanda Waley.  The poem is taken from pg. 87 of Second Thoughts: A Collection of Poetry by Amanda Waley.  Published by Lulu Press.

I also have a second story to submit to "Chicken Soup for the Soul" typed up, but I still need to add more to it. It's still a work in progress, but I don't have to submit that story until December 31st.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"Chicken Soup for the Soul" Submission Guidelines

I remember submitting a similar blog post on this subject, but I noticed some of the guidelines for submission have changed.  Instead of the 500 to 1,000 word submissions, it's now 1,200 words unless otherwise noted.  I'm just glad I double checked  the guidelines before I started writing my story.  Another change I noticed was the price they offer for submissions that are chosen to go into the books.  The price went from $100 to $200 in addition to the ten copies previously specified.  I've submitted three stories this year already, and all the books are due out in October.  So if my stories were chosen for all three submissions, that's $600 in my pocket.  The first book being released October 4th.  That would be an awesome birthday present!  Here's the guidelines if anyone else feels courageous enough to submit one of their own works:

Recipe for A Winning Chicken Soup for the Soul Story
A Chicken Soup for the Soul story is an inspirational, true story about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. It is a story that opens the heart and rekindles the spirit. It is a simple, inter-denominational, living art piece that touches the soul of the readers and helps them discover basic principles they can use in their own lives. They are personal and often filled with emotion and drama. They are filled with vivid images created by using the five senses. In some stories, the readers feel that they are actually in the scene with the people.
Chicken Soup for the Soul stories are written in the first person and have a beginning, middle and an ending that often closes with a punch, creating emotion rather than simply talking about it. Chicken Soup for the Soul stories have heart, but also something extra…an element that makes us all feel more hopeful, more connected, more thankful, more passionate and better about life in general. A story that causes tears, laughter, goosebumps or any combination of these. A good story covers the range of human emotions.
The most powerful stories are about people extending themselves, or performing an act of love, service or courage for another person.

Guidelines for a Chicken Soup for the Soul Story
1. Tell an exciting, sad or funny story about something that has happened to you or someone you know. Make sure that you introduce the character(s). Please know that your story should be written in the first person.
2. Tell your story in a way that will make the reader cry, laugh or get goose bumps (the good kind!) Don’t leave anything out — how did you feel?
3. The story should start with action; it should include a problem, issue or situation. It should include dialogue and the character should express their feelings though the conflict or situation. It should end in a result, such as a lesson learned, a positive change or pay-off.
4. Above all, let it come from your HEART! Your story is important!

What a Chicken Soup for the Soul story IS NOT:
1. A sermon, an essay or eulogy.
2. An "as told to" story written in the third person.
3. A term paper, thesis, letter or journal entry.
4. About politics or controversial issues.
5. A biography or testimonial.

Story Specifications
1. We are no longer able to accept or consider any submissions sent by fax or postal mail. Please know that the only way to submit your stories or poems to us is via our website: If you have any problems when trying to submit, please contact our webmaster
2. Stories and poems must be non-fiction and should be no longer than 1,200 words.
3. No anonymous, author unknown or "as told to" submissions, please.
4. We prefer that you submit your stories only once, but if you believe your story fits in more than one book topic, please indicate which other topics you have submitted it for in the Comments line on the submission form. Submitting the SAME story more than once to the SAME topic causes delays, so please resist the urge to submit your story multiple times to the same topic.
5. Be sure to keep a copy of the stories and/or poems that you submit to us. Please do not contact us and ask us to send you a copy of anything you have previously submitted. We are unable to do that.
6. Please submit only stories or poems that have not been previously published. The only exception to this is if your work has only been published in a small local publication with limited circulation.  
If the story or poem you wrote is published by us, you will be paid $200 upon publication of the book plus you will receive ten free copies of the book your story or poem appears in.
When you submit your story to us through our website, you will receive an immediate response that we have received it. It is the next screen that comes up after you hit the submit button and not a separate e-mail message from us. The message says, "Thank you! Your information has been received." This is the confirmation that your story has been delivered and accepted into our submission process. It is the only acknowledgment you will receive from us. If you receive an error message when trying to submit, please contact our webmaster for assistance. If you do not have Internet access at home, you can always visit a local library.
It can take up to three or four years for Chicken Soup for the Soul books to develop. Please be patient, as this is an important, yet time-consuming process. If your story is chosen for a future edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul or any other projects, you will be notified and your permission to print it will be requested. Please know that we never publish anything without written permission from the author.
Feel free to submit more than one story or poem to us to consider.
Please do not send us any book manuscripts, unless through a literary agent, as these will be automatically discarded.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Possible Writing Topics

I've been churning the gears all month since I checked the Chicken Soup for the Soul website for upcoming book titles to submit stories for.  This is the next one with a deadline:

Messages from Heaven 
When our loved ones leave this world, our connection with them does not end. Death takes away their physical presence, but not their spirit, and we often sense them after they have gone. Sometimes we see or hear from them after they've passed, giving us signs and messages from beyond. We want to hear from you if you have experienced the other side or received a sign or signal from a loved one who has passed. The deadline date for story and poem submissions is October 3, 2011

I've been thinking about a story to submit for it, and I have a pretty good idea what I want it to be about.  My life's been a little hectic this month with other things on my plate, but I want to spend time tomorrow writing my story.  It wouldn't take me long to write because normally the submissions are supposed to be anywhere from 500 to 1,000 words.  I can accomplish that within an hour or two.  I'm contemplating whether I want to write a poem as well, or just have the story.

There's also a couple other topics I was thinking about contributing to at a later date.  They are:

Breast Cancer Stories of Support 
We encourage women and men with breast cancer and their family members and friends to submit stories to this important book title. From the fear at the initial diagnosis to the hopefully, positive "cancer free" diagnosis at the end of treatment, the stories in this book will serve as a support group for patients and their loved ones. The deadline date for story and poem submissions is March 31, 2012.

Finding My Faith 
Whether we consider ourselves to be Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu or any other religion, our belief in a higher power directs our lives and our thoughts. Everyone's "faith story" is different. Some of us find faith late in life. Others lose their faith after a tragic event or spiritual dry spell, only to rediscover it through a divine nudge. Faith can appear quickly or build up over time. It can hit us like a sledgehammer or whisper in our ear. It can show up in a miracle or in an ordinary event. However faith arrives, it is life-changing and powerful. If you have an inspirational personal story of finding your faith, we want to hear from you! The deadline date for story and poem submissions is December 31, 2011.

I'm not sure yet what I'm going to write for them yet, but I have quite some time to think about it.  In the meantime, I'm still writing in "The Shepherdess Princess" as well.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Goodreads Author Program

Goodreads is a website I joined in June to share what books I'm currently reading, and it also lets you list books you've already read or want to read later using a virtual bookshelf.  According to the Goodreads link I shared on my Facebook page: "See what your friends are reading. Keep track of what you've read and organize your books into virtual bookshelves. Join a book club to discuss your favorite books. A better way to find good books to read!"  With some of the books I was looking up, I noticed next to the authors name was added Goodreads Author in parenthesis.  That eventually led me back to the homepage where I found a link that told about the program with instructions to encourage any authors on the site: "The Goodreads Author Program is a completely free feature designed to help authors reach their target audience — passionate readers. This is the perfect place for new and established authors to promote their books."

So anyway, that's what I've been busy doing over the past few days.  I like that Goodreads has a place on my author's page to add any upcoming events, and let my loyal readers know when a book is coming out, or when I'm going to be doing a signing.  Follow me there, and keep up to date.  My author's page also has links to all my books Facebook pages.  I'll be working on adding links to my bookstore there, too, so people can order the book if they want to have their own copy to read.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Writing again...

I'm glad I've finally blasted through my writer's block, and am making progress once again.  Over the past few days, I've been writing non-stop in one of my notebooks.  It's the notebook I've dedicated to my fairy tale-like story because it has a picture of Tinkerbell on the cover.  I started out writing in it any ideas for upcoming scenes in the book to actually writing some whole chapters in it to be added later to the manuscript on my computer.

I started this latest writing bout wanting to start my book from scratch, taking the time to re-write the whole thing entirely to make it flow the way I want it to.  Then, as I began writing more and more onto the notebook page, I realized what I was writing could be fit into the existing story line, and still work.

Now, though, I feel like I'm going off on tangent with the newest couple paragraphs because it's pertaining to how the shepherdess's parents met and I feel it's starting to take away from the rest of the story.  I want to work the parents story into the book somehow because I had this idea of making the shepherdess come from nobility, and that way she can marry the Prince in the end without being just a regular commoner.

One of the twist's is she won't know the truth about the nobility until the end if I have my way.  The back story: Her titled grandparents fled England for Scotland to escape having to fight a battle they were against in the first place.  A battle the grandfather thought could be avoided, but was wanted by all the other noblemen.  He sells his property, and moves his wife and child to Scotland.  When the older generation dies, the title gets passed down to their son (the Shepherdess's father) who ends up living pretty meagerly by choice.

They have no servants, own the land they live on, want for nothing, and work the farm they live on themselves.  The family's titles only show up on official paperwork, and business documents.  Some of the townspeople know of the family's nobility, but don't bring it up out of respect for the shepherdess's father who wants to tell his daughter when he's ready about her privileged heritage.

I know I'll figure things out eventually, and will be able to write the story the way I want it to be written.  It'll just take time, and me putting more thought into how I want to proceed from where I'm at now.

Friday, September 2, 2011



Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley

I have no idea why, but I woke up from a nap this evening with this poem stuck in my head.  Specifically the last two lines: "I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul."

It's been a while since I watched the movie "Invictus" with Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon about "Nelson Mandela, in his first term as the South African President, initiates a unique venture to unite the apartheid-torn land: enlist the national rugby team on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup." as stated on IMDB.

Those last two lines made me think of the book I'm working on titled "The Shepherdess Princess."  I ended up asking myself what if the main character doesn't know he's a prince until near the end?  What if the prince was raised by some kidnappers, and ends up getting a job later as a sea captain?  I have no idea if the story will progress this way, but it would mean totally wiping out everything and starting from scratch.  I don't know for sure if I want to do that, but that's where it might lead. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sacrifices Have Been Made...

I don't feel like I'm completely out of my writer's block, but I was able to take the time to add the new beginning to my story last night without having to do a major rewrite, so I'm happy about that. In the process of adding the new beginning, I ended up deleting seven pages of work because it no longer fit in with the story. Oh well, sacrifices always have to be made.

The story does seem to flow better to me now. The seven pages I deleted were mostly dialog, and I felt like the book was getting to wordy because it seemed like all the characters were doing was talking and I wasn't getting to where I wanted to be fast enough. Changes are normal in the life of an author.

On another note...

It was brought to my attention that there is one letter missing in the title of one of my poems in "Second Thoughts: A Collection of Poetry." I made the change to my manuscript, and will upload the new file to Lulu soon. I've already approved the book, but Lulu still allows me to revise my book after the fact if I find anything wrong with it.

I'm just glad there was only one mistake I missed after the hundreds of corrections I made initially. Here's to re-approving my book!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Like I Need Another Book to Read...

A couple weeks ago, I went book shopping at Wal-Mart and bought two new books to read: PC and Kristin Cast's Dragon's Oath: A House of Night Novella, and just up the shelf from it was Stephenie Meyer's The Twilight Saga: the Official Illustrated Guide. I had the Twilight Guide pre-ordered through Amazon, so it came as a shock to my system when I saw it on the store shelf. I've never received the book through Amazon, and as far as I knew, it hadn't came out yet.

Well I only meant to browse through the Twilight guide when I took it off my bookshelf earlier today. A couple hours later, I'm 135 pages into it! It sucked me into an unseen vortex like I've experienced with the rest of the Twilight Saga. I should've known better!

After the book's introduction, there is a section called "A Conversation with Shannon Hale." Kind of like an artist on artist interview with Stephenie Meyer, authoress of Twilight, and Shannon Hale, authoress of Enna Burning and several other sci-fi/fantasy novels.

During one section entitled "On Finding Story Ideas," Stephenie Meyers brings up the topic of writer's block. She says, "For me, it's time. I don't usually experience the kind of writer's block that people talk about. My kind of writer's block is when I know what needs to happen, and I just have a stumbling block--some transition that I can't get past (pg. 53)."
I was shocked when I read this because that is exactly what's happening with my own writing at the moment. I know what needs to happen, but I'm struggling to put it into a coherent sentence. I'm just so glad that I'm not alone in this world! I was beginning to wonder if it was some crazy happenstance that affected only me. Conceited, I know!

Near the end of the conversation, Stephenie Meyer brings up another point I experience in a section pertaining to "On Balancing Writing and Life." She's asked the question, "It's like having a newborn, writing a book, isn't it?" To which her response is, "It is. Well, because you like there in bed--and, oh, heaven help you if you start thinking about the plotline. If you start getting a little bit of dialogue in your head, you're doomed--you'll never get to sleep (pg. 61)."
Again, my response was "Yay, I'm not alone in this either." I've had many sleepless nights because even though I'm physically tired, my brain doesn't want to shut off. And I can't always drown out the voices in my head when I've been writing for hours, and the characters don't seem to want to let me sleep. They say, "Write this now, dammit!" To which I'm not given any peace to get some REM sleep until I've appeased everybody, and the voices die down.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Another August?

All month I've looked at the new post screen at Blogger with nothing to say really about writing, so I would just close the screen and go back to surfing the Internet. The only reason I've been going back and forth from Blogger is the Lawrence/Julie & Julia Project page. Lawrence Dai is a Northwestern student with too much time on his hands, and he's hilarious. He's spending his spare time watching the movie Julie & Julia everyday for a year and blogging about it. It's been fun to watch him slip deeper and deeper into insanity. Some days, I think I go there because I'm easily amused.

Aside from being sick with a cold one week this month and not being in the mood to write because of it, I've been suffering from writer's block. I've been working on a story, I have an idea how I want to progress the characters, but I'm not sure how to word the ideas that are whirling around in my head. I'm afraid this idea that's hatching may result in a total rewrite of the entire novel, and I'm pretty far ahead already. I'm not looking forward to that possibility, and I'm hoping it won't come to that.

I've been reading several library books, and some of my own lately. From the library I've read Ursula LeGuin's "The Left Hand of Darkness;" Beverly Lewis's "The Thorn", and "The Judgment;" George Orwell's "Animal Farm," and Richard Castle's "Heat Wave." From the books I own, I'm currently going between three books. I'm halfway through Richard Castle's "Naked Heat" (sequel to "Heat Wave"), Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility," and Phillip Pullman's "The Amber Spyglass."

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Happenings in July, Take Two

I tried to start this blog entry a few days ago, but Blogger kept messing up on me. So this is officially take two.

I got my test copy of Second Thoughts in the mail in the beginning of the week. Everything looked good, so it's approved for distribution. You can order it at my Lulu bookstore by clicking on this link: I also ordered an extra copy that I autographed, and presented to the Public Library to put into their collection. It'll take a while to be processed, but will be available there eventually as well. In 8 weeks, you'll be able to order it through also.

I started JulNoWriMo (July Novel Writing Month) at the beginning of the month, too. I'm working on the book I started in November's version of this contest last year. I stopped in November at 4,720 words out of the 50,000 words required to be a winner. I am now at 7,045 words since July 1st, and will be adding more as soon as I finish posting this. I'm behind in the word count department. By midnight tonight, I should be at a word count of 25,809 words to finish with 50,000 words on July 31st.