The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Friday, January 20, 2017

A Bloody Good Time, A Bee Champ and Back-of-the-Book Blurb # 44

Two days ago my school had a blood drive. The other middle-school teacher and I were in charge. Usually I'm too low (iron-wise) to donate and if I make it over that hurtle, I have wily veins. Some really talented blood-suckers have surrendered (after digging around with their needling ways), so I was upfront. I told them, "I'm a tough stick. Who's the best one with needle?" The woman taking my vitals said she'd take care of me. (She whispered, "I'm the best.") Unfortunately, another nurse tried first, they switched to my other arm and the first woman, the one who claimed to be the best did indeed take care of me. She had to work at it, but she got a donation out of me.

As writers, it helps if we know what we need from our critique partners. Ask for it. Be honest. Everybody's a winner if we get to the finish line... even if we're crossing it next to someone else.

Yesterday my granddaughter won the Spelling Bee, and now heads off to the regional competition (in March, I think). The photo below was taken at their Christmas concert. She's sporting her 50's hairstyle, she loves Frank Sinatra songs and she's unfailingly kind and thoughtful. (I'm just a tad bit proud.)

Don't let yourself get boxed in. Try new things. Keep things interesting. Do something daring.



And now onto the book blurb--

Look at the photo below. That is the cover of your book. You choose the genre. A thriller? A study of mental illness? 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 project and has at least 3 published novels under her belt. Not only is she a novelist, she's also a professional editor. Check out her website. You'll find inspiring posts as well as information on her editorial services and rates. 

Include your blurb in a blog post. Include a link to this post. Also, ink your post to Mr. Linky. Mr. Linky is easy. You don't have to buy him a drink or anything. 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.

The purpose of this exercise is to delve into some fun writing. Perhaps if you took a break from your WIP and worked on something

Here's the book cover and the blurb:


photo by pexels.com
First Steps
Dennis viewed life in thin slices.
Living in his mother’s basement had its advantages, certainly. A full freezer of crab rangoon and corn dogs. A microwave next to his bed and a TV on the other side. Mom did his laundry, his shopping and made sure he never ran out of his favorite candy: Whoppers. Dennis had quite an easy life. He slept in til almost noon every day, watched Judge Judy every afternoon and worked delivering pizzas most evenings.
But lately, he wonders if there isn’t more to life. Maybe there’s an exciting world past his cement walls and cobweb-covered rafters. The things Dennis sees when he stares out his basement window makes him curious.

That next day, Dennis gets up early, grabs a bagel instead of his usual bowl of Count Chocula, and heads outside…
… to see what he’s been missing all these years. (147 words)


And if you're Val, and you need to work ahead because every week you write pun-filled book blurb "reviews," here's the photo for next week:

photo by pexels.com

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

I DO Hate These Dogs... A Submission... and What Information Can Spit Share With Us?



         I do. I hate chihuahuas. They're little. They're yappy. And I tend to trip over little dogs. 

       However, my sister's dog Chloe (a rescue) is part chihuahua and part terrier/mystery dog, and she's awfully cute and beguiling. She has longer legs (from the mystery DNA) than most chihuahuas, and is an odd-looking pooch, with all the wiry wisps sprouting up here and there.

       It's probably the quirky that gets me. I like things odd.

       A couple of days ago I sent off my "Listen to Your Mother" submission. Now it's out of my hands. The deed's been done. All I can do now is wait until late-February or whenever for the decision about who makes it to the audition phase.



      And on Saturday I got a DNA kit in the mail. You know, from Ancestry. That site that's advertising on the TV all the time. I've read the directions. All I have to do is spit into a tube and send it off.

      According to the story my biological mother told the adoption agency, my biological father was from Greece. Now, if you know what I look like, you might wonder if she said, "He was from Greece," or if she instead said, "He's from grease," which might have meant what? They loved fried chicken? They had french fries floating around in a deep fryer all the time? I'm not sure, but considering my skin's as white as notebook paper, I think I missed out on the Greek part.

      The Native American part, too. The biological family I was able to track down (my birth mom died when I was 9) claim there's a Native American branch in our family tree. The last name--Gann--makes me think of Scottish/Irish.



      I think it takes 6-8 weeks (or longer, because of all those commercials causing a flood of customers), but soon, I'll be able to say more than, "I don't know. I'm adopted," when someone asks, "Where is your family from?"

So, what have you disliked but later opened your mind up to?
Are you submitting to your local Listen to Your Mother show?
And have you done the DNA/ancestry testing thing? If so, what was the most surprising thing you found out?




Friday, January 13, 2017

What Does "Class" Mean? and Back-of-the-Book Blurb Friday # 43



What is classy behavior?

In my opinion, classy people are encouraging and inclusive, not denigrating and exclusive.

Classy people never make gutter-worthy comments. They keep their heads high and their standards just as lofty.

Classy people put "normal" first, and make sure their baby is home studying and getting to bed at a decent hour... even though her father is making an important speech.

It's been a long time since we've had such a classy, intelligent president. Thankfully, he left us hopeful. Hopeful that we are the instruments of change. Like classy people do, he gave us credit, saying it wasn't him--it was us who were responsible for the positive changes in our country.

And now, onto book blurb fun... 

Look at the photo below. That is the cover of your book. You choose the genre. A book on art techniques? An artist's biography? 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 project and has at least 3 published novels under her belt. Check out her website. You won't regret it. She is incredibly generous with her talent and her encouragement.

Include your blurb in a blog post. Include a link to this post. Also, ink your post to Mr. Linky. Mr. Linky is easy. You don't have to buy him a drink or anything. 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.

Above all, have fun with it. Think of it as a way to take a break from the truly important writing you do... like a bit of a warm-up.

Here's the book cover and the blurb:





Yo! Adrienne!


Adrienne loved her job. She loved having time to daydream in-between customers. She loved selling quirky earrings and bracelets from her little kiosk. She loved sitting on her butt.
But she dreamed of more. More time to herself… many times, Adrienne was traveling someplace exotic in her mind, customers would come, and her trip would come to a screeching halt. More money. She snagged a little over 50K a year, and this year, it looked like she’d double her profits. (Jewelry made out of cut-up soda cans was pure profit, and her stuff were selling like hotcakes. When Michelle Obama was photographed wearing Adrienne’s earrings, sales went through the roof.)
Wanting more, Adrienne shocked her customers, and closed up her booth. She enrolled in college. In four (or five) years, she’d be a teacher.
And then, she’d have lots of time to herself… and she’d be rollin’ in the dough. (150 words)



For those writers who like to work ahead, here's the photo for next week:

photo by pexels.com




Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Five Reasons Why You Should Listen to Sioux About the "Listen to Your Mother" Show

1. Sioux doesn't lie--at least not about this. Now, when I was pulled over last spring for going 78 in a 60, I did lie (by omission) and didn't open my mouth and say the truth, "It was a reeeeally good song on the radio. It was Uptown Funk," when the officer asked why I was going so fast. At least he was a nice guy and only wrote it for 70...

You should submit a piece to the Listen to Your Mother show. They're only taking submissions until February 17 in St. Louis.

2. They're open for submissions. Right now. Like, this minute. At least they're open in St. Louis. Writers around here--check it out. (Cathy and Lisa--check out the details for the Atlanta show.)




3. You're treated like you're royalty when you're in a Listen to Your Mother show. In St. Louis, the three producers-directors treated us to dips and chips and cookies (oh, my!) at the rehearsals. We guzzled mimosas the day of the show. We reunited in the summer for a BBQ when the videos hit YouTube. 


4. You might get some swag along with the notoriety. In St. Louis, we each got a new pair of designer shoes. The whole cast went to a shoe party and drank wine, nibbled on snacks, got massages, and tried on shoe after shoe after shoe. 

While at the shoe party, I held a shoe execution. My daughter and granddaughter (both quite stylish and both haters when it comes to my Crocs) came to the party and--as promised--witnessed me cutting up with scissors one of my favorite and well-loved ratty-looking pairs of Crocs.

I'm willing to do the same thing this year if I end up being part of the show. Which pair of Crocs might be heading toward the guillotine? Check out this beauty:



        And before you get to salivatin' over these stylish kicks, don't get too jealous. Yes, they're fancy Crocs knock-off Crocs, what with their swirly pattern. I know they're extra-special because they were purchased from the Five Below store (where everything is $5 and less). No, they don't have straps any more. Those were cut off a long time ago. And yes, these Crocs are sneaky as crocodiles. They look stylin' on top, but the soles have several holes. Hence my willingness to part from them... forever.

5. You don't have to have had a June Cleaver mother in order to tell your story. You could have had a good-for-nothin' mom. You could have been a rotten mom. Or dad. Google "Listen to Your Mother" videos on YouTube, and get inspired... 

      ... and then submit.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Yikes! A Day Late (and Always) a Dollar (Or More) Short and Back-of-the-Book Blurb Friday # 42

 Sorry. Things have been hoppin' around here. There are a few reasons why I am a day late with this. I'm late because:

  • Report cards were due on Thursday, which meant a new quarter was beginning. I always have great intentions of keeping on top of the grading at the beginning of each quarter, and those intentions keep the momentum going for... well, usually it takes about 3 days before I fizzle out. So last night, instead of working on the post, I stayed at school and got some grading (and inputting of the grades) done.
  • My son is getting married. In May. Thankfully, my husband and I are just responsible for the rehearsal dinner, but it will be a big one. I just hope I don't turn into a Mom-of-the-Groomzilla before we say our last toast at the wedding... (And I'm thinking our golden retriever will make a wonderful ring bearer. We can strap a pouch with the rings to his collar, and Radar can run up and down the aisle--multiple times. Don't you agree all weddings need a touch of class like that?) 
  •  I'm almost finished with the book The Round House by Louise Erdrich. When I should have been writing this post, I was reading.
And now that I'm finished whining, here's (finally) the book blurb... for those 1.5 people who actually read my blog:

Look at the photo below. That is the cover of your book. You choose the genre. A book on art techniques? An artist's biography? 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 project  and this past summer, her third novel Love to Win debuted. Check out her website.  You'll be glad you did. She writes. She edits. She inspires.

Include your blurb in a blog post. Include a link to this post. Also, ink your post to Mr. Linky. Mr. Linky is easy. You don't have to buy him a drink or anything. 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.

Above all, have fun with it. Think of it as a way to take a break from the truly important writing you do... like a bit of a warm-up.

Here's the book cover and the blurb:

     



A Life Transformed

He tried to find himself in his everyday existence for years. He tried finding his way along a traditional path. But it was all in vain. No matter what direction Brian turned, no peace was in sight.

Changing clothes, different hairstyles--wasn’t near enough.Tearful nights. Rage-filled mornings. Lonely weekends. Brian became so despondent, he thought of taking his life.

But then hope came, in the form of a paintbrush. Brian took an evening art class, and began painting the life he dreamed of.

He painted the ocean, with tiny beach houses dotting the rocky shoreline. People in colorful clothes dining at outdoor cafes appeared in his paintings. Finally, peace was seeping into Brian’s soul.

And then, he began to paint the person he--deep down--was.

Will Brian ever find his way? Will he ever find joy and fulfillment? Or will a canvas be the closest he ever gets to feeling whole? (150 words)



And for those who want to work ahead (unlike me, who tends to work behind, not on my behind), here is the photo for next week:







Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Hoping for Some Snow (Days) and Other Things

       Like just about every teacher I know, I'm dreaming of a white school day... a day when I get a phone call or see my school's name, trailing along the bottom of the TV screen... a day when the roads are snow-covered or icy.



      And before you start protesting about the danger of snow and ice, I'm not asking for the entire city to be blanketed with slick stuff... just certain parts of our town.

       Today it's supposed to get colder and snow is slated (so close to "sleeted") for this evening. This afternoon I'm having a mock interview with one of my students after school. He's hoping to get into a certain high school, and interviews are part of the application process. I'm walking him part of the way home, hopefully before any precipitation begins.

      Also, I have 40 or so more pages before I finish this novel by Louise Erdrich. It's an interesting plot. A Native American woman gets attacked by a white man. The family instantly starts to fray. As they try to piece together their family--as they knew it--they also try to get justice. However, since the details are slow in coming and the boundaries are blurred, getting justice might not be possible. And if it is possible, at what cost? How far will the 13-year old son go to get revenge? 



      I'm hoping the book's ending is as good as the rest of it.

      What are you hoping for these days? Optimistic (most of the time) minds want to know...