The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Friday, June 17, 2011

Short Story Contest

photo by CapricornOne Vintage

       Good Housekeeping magazine is about to begin accepting submissions for a short story contest. The window of opportunity is July 1-September 1. No longer than 3,500 words, the story must reflect an aspect of women's lives today. (That makes the subject matter limitless, I guess.) It must be original, not previously published nor should it have been a finalist for any other prize or award.

     The grand prize is $3,000. Two runners-up will each receive $750.

     For complete contest rules, go here.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

It's Book Blurb Friday Again! (And It's Still Thursday)

     Write a book jacket blurb, in 150 words or less, that is so irresistable, the reader will be compelled to read the book.  
    This is the invitation that Lisa Ricard Claro extends to us every week. She gives us a photo to use for inspiration. We have to squeeze out the imagination.
     Go to Lisa's blog to participate in this meme. After you write your blurb, link it to the rest of the blurbs, read the other ones, and comment on them.

Here is the photo and my take on the picture:

Chocolat Redux

It was not just chocolate. This was magical chocolate. She knew that if the spell’s words were correctly recited while tapping on the French chocolate bar three times, she’d be spirited back to Pau, a lovely city nestled at the foot of the Pyrenees. And, a delectable companion would simultaneously materialize…

“You’re banished, Binoche! You’re banished, Binoche! You’re banished, Binoche!” while she drummed three taps on the bar.

Suddenly, Johnny Depp appeared. He had his guitar, his hair was long but—thankfully—he’d lost the eyeliner of his pirate days, and he was beckoning her to the river…so they could take a trip together on his houseboat.

Will this cougar be able to keep Depp entranced? Will they have enough chocolate to sustain them during their voyage? And will Juliette Binoche chew through her restraints, spoiling the romantic romp these two have conjured up?

Immerse yourself in this delicious tale… (exactly 150 words)

(This movie, if you have not ever seen it, is charming. The scenery is breath-taking. And the countryside is not bad to look at, either!)

And welcome to my newest followers. I did not think I could break the "60" mark, but unbelievably, a few more pitying people fell into my web and are now trapped!

Thanks for joining, Matthewskl.  I am not sure if I welcomed you earlier--I apologize--and if you have a blog, please let me know and I will provide a link.

Heaven and Marinela Reka---thanks for checking out my blog. The same...if you have a blog, send the address my way, and I'll try to send new readers your way. 

Dorothy Evans is also a new follower. She lives in England (I already dislike her intensely) and has a wonderful blog (Dorothy's blog). If you'd like to read a clever post on whether writing is an "art" or a "craft," go here. Dorothy--thanks for becoming a follower.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Paint Me Green

photo by

            Meet the artist: Louis Jefferson III. He's a kid, just 25, but the above photo was taken in 2004, when the area behind his ears was really drenched.

        He creates amazing paintings. I found him when I was looking for a Wynton Marsalis poster for my son. (Marsalis is his favorite trumpeter, behind Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis.)

        I had a conversation with young Mr. Jefferson this evening. It's inspiring to speak to someone so young, so talented and so humble. His voice was alive with artistic energy. And he's so darned young. I hate admire him.

         Check out his work at his site.  You can click on his portfolio and see some of his paintings.

Anger as Fuel

Bottle It Up
photo by

       Sara Bareilles has had her 2nd hit which started with anger.

    The first song I heard of hers was "Love Song." Apparently her record company was clamoring for a love song and she refused. They kept prodding. She dug in her heels.

     But then she wrote a song about  her refusal to write a love song for them...and it was a hit on the radio waves.

     Now she has out "King of Anything." It has lines in it like, "Who made you the king of anything?" and "Hey, let me put a crown on you, baby" in a very tongue-in-cheek way.

     I am sure she had other things all over the airwaves before "Love Song" and between it and "King of Anything." However, my antennae was tuned in on those two.

     And I go back to when I was a teenager. Full of angst, poetry flowed out with little effort. It was as if my crazy anger fueled my writing. Thankfully Unfortunately, those poems were lost over the many years and the many moves.

     And I remember my favorite character from the no-longer-on television show "Designing Women"---the "Julia" character played by Dixie Carter. She would get mad, would go on automatic pilot and rant; the words would spew out like Mount Vesuvius.

      How does anger impact your writing?  When you are mad, does it help or hurt your writing process?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Magpie Tales #69

          If you want a weekly reason to write, go to Magpie Tales. The terrific Tess Kincaid provides a photo/illustration, and dozens of poems and vignettes come pouring out from all over the blogosphere.

       Write one, link it via Mr. Linky, and then read and comment on the other Magpie Tales.

too late for the phalarope
too late

a man destroyed,
a family slayed,
soil red-brown with blood
and damp from tears

too late to turn back
too late to wail in warning

a brick house crumbles,
turning to sand in an hourglass
that disappears

too late to avoid
the inky-black night

too late for the phalarope...
too late

Note: The seashell made me think of Too Late the Phalarope by Alan Paton. It's a book about a family in South Africa; they were destroyed because of apartheid. One single seashell took a man from his family forever... (The phalarope is a South African bird.) I won't say it's a feel-good read, because it certainly is not, but the rhythm of Paton's writing style, the fact that it is a window into what was life like then in South Africa---it makes for a worthy read.