Writing From The Heart

Some of you have asked for me to share about my experience last week. I will try to sum it up for you the best I can. I know not all of you are dreaming about being a writer, so I don’t want to bore you with too much detail.

In one word, it was “Amazing!” Think about a passion you have and then imagine having the privilege to learn from someone who is at the top of the field.

Writing Conferences are popular and held in various places around the US. Typically they are large gatherings of different agents and editors representing several publishers that you can meet. You also have a variety of classes you can choose from to help you with your writing.

The conference I attended last week was small and Karen Kingsbury, NY Times best selling novelist, was the only teacher. She shared with us her experience of writing and all that she has learned over her 20 plus years of writing.

It was intensive, for it was long days of hearing so much information. What made it so special though, was the way she taught it.

Karen Kingsbury is not only a best selling author but a wonderful woman. This wasn’t only an informative conference. She taught from the heart.

Her passion for writing was evident as well as  her sincerity in wanting us to succeed. She talked to you as if you were a good friend of hers.

In between her teaching she listened to each of the 120 attendees give a synopsis of their manuscript and she gave her feedback. That alone was a priceless part of the conference.

By attending the conference we have the opportunity to submit our manuscript to Simon&Schuster, her publisher. They do not typically take unsolicited manuscripts! It was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.

We were at tables of 10 and it was fun interacting with those who shared your passion.

There were people from all over the US, for she is so popular. At my table alone were people from California, Wisconsin, Michigan, Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky.

I will share a few examples that Karen gave of things writers typically do, which they shouldn’t do. Not that they can’t, but she showed a better way to get the same point across.

I will admit that I have done these things with the stories on my blog. Now that I am telling all of you I may be more quick to avoid them! I know what good eyes some of my readers have. 🙂

“He said”, “She said”, “He replied”, “She asked,” are all examples of phrases that are not needed. Which of the following examples sounds better to you.

Example A : “Sami rushed up to the table, breathless, “Arnie, I’m sorry,” she said.

“I was beginning to wonder,” he replied, “You’re never late.”

Example B : “Sami rushed up to the table, breathless. “Arnie, I’m sorry.” She kissed his cheek and took the chair across from him.

“I was beginning to wonder.” His eyes held a hint of disdain. “You’re never late.”

You could hear the groans from around the table as people did a quick word search for the word “said”, in their manuscript and realizing many times the word was used.

Don’t overuse details, the reader wants to get to the meat of your story. If your book isn’t a poetry book don’t use 4 paragraphs to describe the ripples in the water.

Don’t use adverbs too much. You want your reader to feel the emotion not just to tell them.

Which sentence makes you feel more?

“She ran quickly into the room.” or “She ran into the room, her steps keeping time with her heart.”

I could go on and on. Things that aren’t earth shattering but when seeing them pointed out you do realize the difference.

Most importantly use your own voice when writing. You want your writing to reflect your personality, don’t try to sound like someone else.

Whether Simon&Schuster accepts my manuscript or not I feel that the conference was beneficial!

I love to write and will always write, no matter what. Learning things that can help me excel at my passion is a plus, whether it helps me with my next blog post or with my next book.

Tuesday’s Thoughts!

Happy Tuesday! I am going to visit a close friend today, so the day is starting out well! Will definitely be the bright spot of my day, before I work another overnight shift tonight. We are going out for Mexican food for lunch. Never can go wrong with a Mexican restaurant. I hope your day can be filled with an extra bright spot to warm your heart. Enjoy! 

  1.  

2.

3.

4.

5.

6,

7.

8.

9.

10.

Forever Young

Image from Pinterest

“She couldn’t hear anything above the pounding of her heart. Curled up under the table, she gulped in fear at the large shadow on the wall!”

Mary Alice read with bated breath. Mystery books were one of her favorite things. Her children thought she was too old to be reading mysteries, but what did they know.

They also thought she should learn how to knit. Why? Why stay home and knit when she could be out line dancing, listening to Willie Nelson and Tanya Tucker.

“Her hands covered her face, pressed hard against her mouth to keep her from screaming. “

Pausing for a moment from reading, Mary Alice took a sip of her special homemade tea.

Then she grabbed her notebook from her nightstand and added Dates to her grocery list, before she forgot. Now back to her book.

“The shadow slinked along the wall. To her horror it was coming her way.”

Ring Ring! Mary Alice picked up the phone, but no one was there.

“Pinching her eyes shut, she waited for the inevitable to happen. She had nowhere to run. Surely he would spot her. He rounded the corner and bent down, piercing her with his cold, blue eyes….”

Mary Alice’s hands were sweaty and her pulse racing. Ding Dong!

Horace was here. She took a couple of deep breaths to calm herself.

Time for a change of pace. She had lost track of time while reading. Digging into her purse she found her cherry lipstick and ran it across her lips. Then she slipped on her dancing shoes and opened the door.

“Hi Horace! I am all ready, lets go have some fun.”

Horace put out his arm, “I am all yours, my fair lady.”

They got into his Mustang. Driving into the sunset, while Rod Stewart sang “Forever Young” on the radio.

Smiling Again

This is Part 2 to last night’s post, Leaving a Bitter Taste!

Sitting  in silence Mason waited for Parker to speak. His friend had shown up at his door looking crestfallen.

Mason had been expecting him, but he wasn’t prepared for him to be so upset. He had no idea what had happened.

Parker had called him a couple weeks ago saying how he would be traveling to Bittersweet Creek with a friend of his. His friend was planning to visit family and Parker thought he could visit Mason.

Long ago days of college had flashed through Mason’s mind. Memories of Parker being his roommate.

There was hardly any light from the moon the night that Mason and Parker had foolishly climbed up onto the roof of their dorm.

Mason chuckled remembering the shocked look of their friend’s face when they climbed in his window.

Oh, the memories, he had been looking forward to seeing Parker again. Reminiscing and laughing together, but laughter was the last thing on Parker’s mind right now.

“She ended it with no warning! Surprises me at the lake. One minute my heart leapt with joy at the sight of her and then….” Parker stopped, while taking a breath.

“We hadn’t been dating long but she had captured my heart. The birds sang sweeter and every day was brighter with her around. I don’t understand what happened, but I think “Fool” must be written on my forehead.”

THUNK! Mason could hear the sound of his friend’s heart hitting the floor.

Later that day Mason was relieved that Parker was finding his smile again. They were golfing and Parker was hitting the ball pretty hard. He had named his ball Sharon.

Halfway through the course they refreshed themselves with some cold drinks.

“Hey, Mason there is something I been wanting to ask you. Is there a strange creature swimming around in Serenity Lake?”

Mason almost spit out his drink. “Did you see her”

“Her? There really is a creature?” Parker’s eyes sparked with shock

“I didn’t see the creature, but it grabbed my leg and wouldn’t let go! What is it?”

“The rumors going around say that it is a mermaid!”

Mason jumped back as drink sprayed from Parker’s mouth.

“A mernaid! Wow! She sure was strong. Maybe I should go back there. Don’t seem to be having any luck with the ladies that I meet on land, perhaps my luck would change with a lady of the sea!”

Mason laughed, “Nah! Women on the land or in the sea are all trouble.” and he swung his club, hitting the ball, which sailed in the air, straight towards the water. SPLASH!

Leaving a Bitter Taste!

Image from Pinterest

Dark and crispy on the outside, gooey and sweet on the inside. That was a S’more, roasted to  perfection, thought Parker.

Savoring the taste in his mouth, Parker looked up at the stars. He thought of the girl that made his heart dance. He hadn’t seen her in awhile, she appeared to be busy all the time recently.

“Croak,Croak, Croak!”

The bullfrogs interrupted Parker’s thoughts with their serenade.

“Want to take a dip in the lake with the frogs?”

Jeremy’s widened in disbelief!

“Now? When I am warm by the fire? Besides, why would I want to swim in a lake? Especially one witb frogs!”

“Suit yourself.”

Parker shrugged, as he walked to the lake preparing to jump in. After a few minutes he stood up straight and tall and before he could chicken out he dove into the lake!

So this is how it felt to be a blueberry ice pop? What had he been thinking?

Suddenly Parker caught his breath. Something had grabbed his foot!

The harder he pulled against it and kicked , the tighter the thing wrapped around his foot. What was it that had such a tight hold on him?

Gathering up his strength he gave one last kick!

He did it! He broke free! Relief surged through him! Swimming to shore he was glad to know that he wouldn’t find himself in a watery grave today!

“There he is!” Parker looked around, “who”?

His heart felt like it was running a marathon when he looked at the shoreline. She was calling his name. Sharon was there, a golden hair vision.

In no time at all Parker got out of the water and embraced Sharon.

“What a wonderful surprise. You put the magical touch on this evening for sure!”

Sharon shifted uncomfortably when Parker kissed her.

“I….I…have to tell you something.” She couldn’t make eye contact.

” Goodbye Parker! Its over!”

He watched her run away. The words caught in his throat preventing him from screaming her name. Was he dreaming? What had happened? Why would she end it?

A heavy wait descended on him and he felt like he could identify with the name of this town that he was visiting. Bittersweet Creek!

The Problem with Books!

The problem is that they raise suspicion when you go through security at the airport! Yup, books is why they took my suitcase.

When your favorite author sells her books at a discount, you buy them! I had a small stack of books in my suitcase. Did you know that there are a lot of things that can be hidden in a stack of books?

Fortunately it didn’t take long for them to see I was innocent and nothing was in the books, except for words. Words that make a wonderful story!

Chickens, Music and More

Bringing you a few crazy facts to start your week off with a smile! I am smiling! Tomorrow I will be leaving on a jet plane so won’t be posting this week, but no worries, I will be back!

This is the adventure that I was hinting at last week. I am seizing the opportunity to go to a special Writer’s Conference in Franklin, Tennessee. Karen Kingsbury is an author that I have loved for years. Read all but 2 of her many NY Times bestselling books. She is leading the conference, teaching an intensive workshop on writing.

I am hoping my brain doesn’t explode, but eager to learn more. Plus there may be the possibility of magic happening too. One doesn’t know what can happen when Betsy rings her bell!

I guess he really loves his pet chicken. Hmm … I wonder if it talked to him.

One has to be careful when they challenge someone! They may have to eat humble pie!

The Charm of a Special Friend

This story is a continuation from last night’s post, The Thinking Tree

Spending time at Mr. Fuzzywhistle’s small farm was always a delight to Molly. They didn’t live in the same town, but Molly’s parents tried to visit pretty often.

Creampuff, the white lamb, Molly adored. She was also thrilled to get to know the 2 other sheep that Mr. Fuzzywhistle had acquired recently. One day they just happened to show up and to Mr. Fuzzywhistle’s pleasure they stayed.

Kimberly and Jacob watched Molly giving Creampuff a bottle. They loved how drawn she was to animals. She loved them so much.

They felt that the animals, especially one in particular, helped her to start talking again.

Kimberly’s heart melted while watching Molly with her favorite animal. She was sitting down on the grass in front of Betsy, the cow.

Mr. Fuzzywhistle was standing with Jacob and Kimberly, chatting.

. “Its the strangest thing. Molly and Betsy must have an extraordinary connection. Betsy disappears a lot. She can be gone for days at a time, but whenever Molly comes to visit Betsy shows up before she gets here.”

Noone said anything. They couldn’t describe it but they knew there was something special about Betsy and Molly’s friendship.

How Betsy loved Molly. She could chat for hours and Betsy would listen. She had known Molly before Molly even knew that Betsy existed.

Molly hadn’t seen her standing guard outside her Grammy’s house when her Grammy’s heart had given out in the middle of the night.

She didn’t know that Betsy had stopped the evil rabbit Jasper from taking Molly. The good bunnies had come to her rescue gathering around her.

Yes, Betsy loved Molly, and she wouldn’t share Molly’s secrets.

“Isn’t that so precious.” said Kimberly. Molly had stretched out on her belly in the grass, lying her head on Betsy’s stomach.

“You are a good friend Betsy! You listened to me even when I couldn’t talk. I remember those days. My words just wouldn’t come out. I was scared and confused. Remember me telling you that?”

“I had run away from Grammy’s house for she was sleeping sooo long. I wanted to get help but didn’t know where to go. I wandered down the road, got lost and started crying. Then several bunnies appeared all around me! Oh Betsy, they were such friendly, fuzzy wuzzy bunnies!”

“Then Kimberly came and I was so confused. I wanted my Grammy, but Kimberly seemed nice. And she really is Betsy! She loves me lots and I love her. She gives good hugs like Grammy did.”

Molly yawned and her eyes closed as she snuggled in close to Betsy’s neck. Betsy kissed her forehead.

Kimberly’s heart was full as they picked up sleeping Molly and carried her to the car.

It was so good to see Molly have a peaceful evening. She hoped she would sleep through the night. Typically after a visit to the farm she did! The past week she had been waking up crying in the middle of the night. All Kimberly or Jacob could do was rock her, until her crying subsided.

On the ride home Kimberly thought of how everyone talks about therapy dogs. They are wonderful, no doubt about it, but Kimberly knew of one very special therapy cow.

The Thinking Tree

Image from Pinterest

Molly loved this tree. It was her favorite spot to come to when she wanted to be alone. She called it her Thinking Tree.

Many days after school she would enjoy a snack of cheese sticks and fruit. Then she would climb up into her special tree with her stash of Reese’s peanut butter cups, and she would think.

Thinking of any school subjects was not allowed! Instead her mind would think on happy things. Her bunny Toffee often came to her mind, oh how she loved him.

On occasion she would think of the other bunnies too that she used to have. She wished that she knew what happened to them, but at least she still had Toffee! Molly would have been devastated if all her bunnies would have disappesred! After all, they had been with her when she needed them the most.

Memories of her past were starting to come back more and sometimes they made her sad. She hadn’t told Mommy Kimberly about them. Toffee and her special tree were the only ones who heard her talk about the flashbacks.

She remembered feeling so scared that day long ago when she walked along the road by herself. Molly had no idea where she was headed to, she only knew she had to get away!

Molly wiped her eyes as more memories rolled down her face.

Her Grammy had always made the best chocolate chip pancakes. Every morning Molly would wake up to Grammy’s smiling face, warm hugs and chocolate chip pancakes.

Then one morning Grammy wasn’t in the kitchen. Where did sbe go? Molly hadn’t known what to think Grammy had always been there. She waited in the kitchen for a little while and then went to Grammy’s bedroom.

Molly had been shocked, Was Grammy still sleeping? She was lying so still and didn’t move when Molly called for her.

Molly shivered a little as she remembered crawling into bed with her and falling asleep with her head on her chest. She couldn’t forget the shock of how cold her Grammy’s hand was when she picked it up.

Oh, her sweet Grammy. She loved Mommy Kimberly but she still really missed her Grammy. The tears kept falling as the flashbacks continued.

Molly had slept with her Grammy for awhile but then her stomach started hurting. She was hungry.

Why wouldn’t her Grammy wake up? What was wrong with her?

Later that day Molly emptied out the cookie jar. She kept running back to the bedroom to check on her Grammy but she was always sleeping!

When it got dark outside Molly had started to get scared. She grabbed her favorite book and took it to her Grammy. Grammy always read to her at night as they cuddled in Grammy’s big chair.

Grammy was good at making Molly feel better when she was scared. She would tickle her making Molly giggle and forget about being scared.

Molly remembered how badly she had wanted her Grammy to wake up and chase away the scaries, like she always had done.

Trying to feel better Molly had opened the book, but the words were too big. All she could do was look at the pictures. She remembers shaking because of strange noises.

How scary that night had been. Molly had no idea what to do, so she snuggled gainst her Grammy. She had wrapped Grammy’s arm around her and cried herself to sleep.

“Molly! Its time for supper. Come on down.”

Slowly her memories began to fade. Molly was brought back to the present as she heard her Mommy calling again.

“I’m coming! She called back. Tomorrow would be another day for thinking, now it was suppertime.

A smile came to her face when she remembered what they were going to do after supper! They were going to go visit her friend’s farm.

Molly scampered down the tree and into the house. She loved visiting the farm. She would eat as fast as she could. How she hoped that there wouldn’t be any green beans for supper!