The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Saturday, August 19, 2017

2.5 Days of Wonderful, Outsmarting My Dog and Back-of-the-Book Blurb # 72

       Yes, this week included the first two and a half days of school.

       I was a bit nervous, because this year, instead of only working with the 6th-8th graders, I'm working with 4th-8th graders. However, no longer will I be teaching any sections of social studies. This year, instead, just literature (reading) and language arts (writing).

      That's a heavenly position, in my opinion.

      And for icing on the cake: the younger students are just as delightful as my older ones. They're quirky and willing to take a risk and have loads of writing potential. (We're working on six-word memoirs... and those kids came up with some wonderful ones. The first week!)

     As far as Radar... My 78-pound furball has a favorite ball. When I got out to play fetch, I take the green and the yellow one. I alternate throwing. Every other time, it becomes a game of keep-away. I toss his yellow one. He brings it back and drops it near my feet thirty feet away. I toss his favorite one (the green one) and he gallops around the yard showing it off, refusing to give it up. He bumps me in the leg with it--and then darts away with it.

     I'm so proud. I've outsmarted my golden retriever (and you know what they say about blondes and their intellect). Now I only toss his lesser-favorite one. Over and over. Radar keeps racing back, hurling the ball to me in his eagerness to get his prized green ball. Oh, rest assured: it's still not smooth sailing when it comes to those slob-covered balls. Radar jumps on me (often) trying to get the green one out of my hands. But I manage to evade til the last throw--and only then do I toss his prized green ball. (Then he prances around for a while with it, but by that time, I've gone in.)

    Now--book blurb time.

           Look at the photo below. That is the cover of your bookYou choose the genre. Is it a nonfiction piece? Is it a guide for nudists? You decide.

         Write an enticing blurb--150 words or less. (The title doesn't count in the word count.) Blurbs are those enticing bits that prod you into buying the book. Sometimes they're on the back cover of the book. Sometimes they're on the inside front cover. What they always try to do is lure you into purchasing the book. 

          Lisa Ricard Claro was the original creator of this writing challenge. She moved to Florida, and is too busy to host a weekly book blurb, so you're all stuck with me. (Big-time novelists have many important things to attend to. European book tours. The talk-show circuit. You know. Or maybe like me, you don't.) 


          Okay, back to book blurb stuff.
       
          Include your blurb in a blog post. Include a link to this post. Also, link your post to Mr. Linky. Mr. Linky is easy. If you've never done it, you'll be impressed with how simple he is. And then, check out the other blurb(s). It's interesting to see the different directions writers take, given the same photo.

        Here's the book cover, along with my blurb:





Old Yeller Marley
Old Yeller Marley. With a name like, the family was sure they’d have a marvelous life with their new puppy.
Oh, they hadn’t seen either of the movies—Marley and Me or Old Yeller—but they figured if a movie was made about a dog, it must have a happy ending.
And the puppy was free. Free to a good home.
Things started out great. Old Yeller Marley was a cuddler. He romped his roly-poly butt around the house. But soon, things went south.
The puppy chewed things up. He destroyed things. Marks from his tiny toenails were all over the place. He peed everywhere and pooped in some extremely inconvenient spots.
Will Old Yeller Marley outgrow his bad habits? Or will his owners start frothing at the mouth, go rabid with rage and tell the cute canine, “You are dead to me”? (141 words)
 

      For anyone who wants to play along, here is the book cover for next week:



     
     This Saturday (today) I will be Love a Golden's trivia event. Tomorrow (Sunday) I will be at the new Half-Price Books in St. Charles, Missouri (along with Radar). What are your plans this weekend? Curious minds want to know...

Monday, August 14, 2017

Sequels Are Sometimes...

        I loved the movie Fargo. With that movie's last scene (it was close to the very end), Fargo became not only a place but a verb.

      "I'm gonna Fargo you," meant my husband was getting dangerously close to getting put into the wood chipper.

       The series has been out for several years, and I resisted... until recently. The first season was okay (but had spectacular music). I loved the second season (also phenomenal music--Jethro Tull's "Aqualung" was featured on one episode).

        This coincides with me reading Barbara Robinette Moss' memoir Fierce. Her first one, Change Me Into Zeus's Daughter, is one of my favorite books. (It has the most compelling beginning. Seriously.)




       Initially, I got Fierce simply because of the author. I doubted it would be as good. However, this memoir picks up during her adult years and it's wonderful.

        So, do as I say, not as I do. Don't be so resistant of a sequel or a remake or a second novel/memoir that you miss out on something wonderful... 

        Some of them are great.

        And if you need to kill your inner critic, read my post on The Muffin.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Birth Certificates, Books, Viggo and Back-of-the-Book Blurb #71

         Something incredible is going to happen on January 2, 2018. I'm going to get my birth certificate.

        Oh, I know most of you are saying, "Big deal. Doesn't Sioux already have her birth certificate?"

        Well, yes I do, but I've never gotten my original birth certificate. I've never seen it. Never got to hold it.

         But on January 2, 2018 adoptees born after 1940 in Missouri will be presented their original birth certificate. This is happening because a bill was proposed and it battled its way into becoming a law. It will have my birth mother's name on it. (I know that information.) Perhaps it will include my biological father's name. (I'm clueless when it comes to that tidbit. I'm also not too hopeful.)

         I will sooo be there, with bells on...

         On August 29 (a little closer to today than January 2) Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Kind (of) America goes on sale. I'm proud of my story "My Ferguson" that appears in this collection because 1) it's about a community I taught in for 17 years and 2) I get to thumb my nose (at the end of the story) at someone who made a very incorrect comment about Ferguson. (Secret Service: I'll be waiting for your arrival.)

      My writing critique friend Linda O'Connell also has a story in the same anthology.

       And now onto book blurb stuff. This one came so easy. I saw the photo and immediately knew what I was going to write about. It usually doesn't go that way. Usually I choose a picture that I have no inspiration about, so I can avoid working on my manuscript even longer stretch a little as a writer.

 Look at the photo below. That is the cover of your bookYou choose the genre. Is it a nonfiction piece? Is it a guide for nudists? You decide.

         Write an enticing blurb--150 words or less. (The title doesn't count in the word count.) Blurbs are those enticing bits that prod you into buying the book. Sometimes they're on the back cover of the book. Sometimes they're on the inside front cover. What they always try to do is lure you into purchasing the book. 

          Lisa Ricard Claro was the original creator of this writing challenge. She moved to Florida, and is too busy to host a weekly book blurb, so you're all stuck with me. What is she busy doing? Here's what I found when trolling around on the 'net...



   
According to an article I read on the internet, Lisa Ricard Claro is working on ghostwriting Viggo Mortensen's biography. (Whoops. Since you're ghostwriting it, Lisa, perhaps I shouldn't have mentioned your name?) Apparently Lisa has a pond in her backyard and while the two of them were working on this book, Viggo decided to cool off with a dip. What a lucky lady Lisa is.

Swoon. Oh. Okay, back to book blurb stuff.
       
Include your blurb in a blog post. Include a link to this post. Also, link your post to Mr. Linky. Mr. Linky is easy. If you've never done it, you'll be impressed with how simple he is. And then, check out the other blurb(s). It's interesting to see the different directions writers take, given the same photo.

Here's the book cover, along with my blurb:





Mrs. T  Didn’t Pity the Fools


She was tired of it. Fed up. Finally, after 27 years of putting up with it, she decided, ‘Enough is enough.’
Surfing the internet, Mrs. T came up with a plan… and the next day she executed it.
“Mrs. T, my mom wants you to call her. Today. She wants to know why I’m getting a D in language arts. She’s really ticked off at you.”
‘Your mother wants to know why you’re not honor roll material? I want to know why you refuse to put a single word down on paper, day after day…’
Without saying a word, Mrs. T walked over to Brittney, her hand striking fast as a snake, a silver flash hinting at the horror that was happening.
It took a week, and more than thirty students, but finally word got around: Mrs. T loves statement jewelry pieces… (142 words)



What kind of writing success do you want to toot your horn about? And for those who are thinking about playing along, here is the photo for next week:





Monday, August 7, 2017

50%

         A couple of days ago a local thrift store chain (Savers) had a 50% off everything. I wandered around and got a stack of books for my students, thrilled with books that were a dollar or two apiece.



  

            By the time I finished perusing and was ready to get into the check-out line, I saw the line was long. Reeeeeally long. The line had formed a huge internal U, along three sides of the store.

             As we waited, people got to know each other. We chatted. A woman and her (probably) four-year old daughter was right behind me. Behind her was a woman my age (old as dirt). The three of us talked as we moved forward a foot or two at a time. We waited in line for an hour before we got to the cashier.

            Then it hit me: hundreds of people came for a decrease of 50%. What about an increase of 50%? When would that be a welcome thing?

             50% of the time I usually spend on writing every day--on a day when I don't think I have the time to write--could that be a good thing? There were a couple of days this week when I was too busy to write (or so I thought). Normally I spend at least an hour a day writing, so on those busy days, I squeezed in thirty minutes. 50% is better than 0%, right? 

              So how about you? How do you play the percentage game? And on another related note, do you shop at thrift stores? If so, what have been some of your favorite finds?

              And try it. On a day when you aren't planning on writing, try writing for just 15 minutes, or a half hour... and see how far you can get in that short time frame. 

Friday, August 4, 2017

Misconceptions and Back-of-the-Book Blurb #70

         



              I hate chihuahuas. I really do. They're small, they yap a lot, and they're ankle-biters. 

             However, I discovered I like chihuahua mixes. This is my half-sister's dog (Chloe) and she is a cutie. She's an odd-looking dog, which probably accounts for part of the reason why I'm so fond of her.

            Before I visited the Grand Canyon, I imagined there would be hundreds of people jostling at every viewing spot. In my mind, every time we stopped, there would be a crowd 10 or 12 people deep, all of them trying to see the canyon. The night before we went to the park, I even dreamed that someone pushed me (deliberately) so they could get a better look.

          We got to the park and to the canyon before the sun rose, and it was just us. No one to spoil the surreal quiet.  At various times during the day, there were one or two dozen people--at most--at each spot. At sunset, there were more people, but definitely less than I initially envisioned.

          And my final misconception for today: success can be measured only by how many books/articles/stories we've published. That's what some people want us to think, but it's so, so wrong.

         Not long ago, Angela Macintosh sent me a link to a story she'd gotten published. Not only is it raw and unflinching, she also used a clever way to organize it. (I am sooooo going to steal her organizational idea, along with teaching my students about it.) 

         No, it's not a book. Angela won't get rich off this publishing deal. It's a slice-of-life story. But this one story could help other people who are touched by someone's suicide. She's made a difference in the world. In my opinion, that means Angela's successful. (If you would like to read her story, go here. )

          And now onto book blurb stuff...
           
            Look at the photo below. That is the cover of your bookYou choose the genre. Is it a nonfiction piece? Is it a guide for nudists? You decide.

         Write an enticing blurb--150 words or less. (The title doesn't count in the word count.) Blurbs are those enticing bits that prod you into buying the book. Sometimes they're on the back cover of the book. Sometimes they're on the inside front cover. What they always try to do is lure you into purchasing the book. 

          Lisa Ricard Claro was the original creator of this writing challenge. She moved to Florida, has three different cabana boys at her beck and call, and writes while looking at a lovely landscape. What a life! Now, however, she's too busy to host a weekly book blurb, so you're all stuck with me.

           Include your blurb in a blog post. Include a link to this post. Also, link your post to Mr. Linky. Mr. Linky is easy. If you've never done it, you'll be impressed with how simple he is. And then, check out the other blurb(s). It's interesting to see the different directions writers take, given the same photo.

Here's the book cover, along with my blurb:


The Four-Dollar Mystery
          Andy couldn’t figure it out. People would stop, they’d smile while they handed him money, but every donation was $4. Folks didn’t hand him a dollar. Or some change. Or a five-dollar bill. Each and every time, they gave him four bucks.
Oh, Andy was grateful for everything he got as he stood on the street corner and begged. He was desperate. Two weeks earlier, his wife and kids had gotten snatched by masked ninjas dressed in black. Every night he’d sob himself to sleep, worried he’d never see them again.
But this four-dollar mystery now eclipsed his worries. What kind of crazy was this? Every person gave the same amount:  $ 4. It was truly bizarre.
Will Andy get his family back? Will he raise enough to get karate lessons? Most importantly, will he ever figure out why he’s getting help in four-dollar increments? (a gross; 144 words)


Speaking of ninjas, if you have somehow missed watching this video of the "literal" version of the song Total Eclipse of the Heart, you can go here to see it.

And for anyone who wants to play next week, here is the photo:









Monday, July 31, 2017

I Love My Job (She Whispered)

     Last week, I was in a car with five other women/girls. Two other adult women--all 3 of us on the verge of turning 60--and two 11-year olds.



This was the back of our rented minivan when we left.
We needed lots of "stuff" for the six of us for the week-long trip.

     One of the women was talking about how much she hated her job. The other one was talking about how she was looking forward to retiring. I kept my mouth shut (feeling a bit guilty?) and simply reflected on my job... 'cause I retired and then went back to work.


Here is a shot of five of us--one of us was
"missing" when the picture was taken.


     I love my job that much.

     Now, if you're thinking that I'm in some saccharine-sweet dreamland, you'd be wrong. I've had teaching jobs where I loved my students and colleagues, but would poke pins into principal voodoo dolls every night. I've had serious struggles with occasional students. I've been driven to drink (chocolate milk) because of a few parents. But the everyday work?

     That I adore.

      And I'm wondering how many other people love their job... Am I in the minority? I imagine I am. I imagine most people hate the work they do, or at least they dislike it for the most part.

     So my questions are:  Do you love your job or do you hate it? If you're retired, what is the best part, and do you miss any part of your former job? If you aren't crazy about your job, what would be your dream job?