Thursday, May 31, 2012

Adding to the Fleet

Many writers have multiple websites for multiple purposes. I’m no different, though some blogs are far more active than others. There is, of course, Calliope here, and Claudsy’s Blog over on Wordpress, and Trailing Inspirations on Wordpress.

Tomorrow another site will be added to the arsenal, albeit with a twist. I’ve entered into a joint venture with Meena Rose of “The Eyes of Meena Rose” fame. This new site is called “Two Voices, One Song” and will launch officially tomorrow.

Within that site’s framework will be many offerings; each unique and, hopefully, enticing. For the time being, I will continue to post here every few days, as well as on the other sites. It’s my hope that the cross pollination of content between sites will keep our readers (that includes all of you, my friends) contented and engaged.

We’re inviting our regular readers to take a short tour of “Two Voices, One Song” to get a feel of the new place and a brief understanding of our mission. From short memoir to Flash Fiction, articles to brainstorming sessions, philosophy discussions to poetry, and lots of other subjects in between, our new playground will have something for everyone.

I encourage all of you to go over there and nose around. Find the hidey holes, the nooks and crannies. See if you think it’s going to be a fun stop over each day for a different perspective. Then come here and tell me how you like what you see, whether you have a suggestion or not.

We’ll be adding more and more links to new engagement opportunities each week. This is a constantly evolutionary process for Meena and I. I hope you’ll find it as exciting as we do.

I’ll see you here tomorrow for the Official Grand Announcement of our launch of “Two Voices, One Song.” Be sure to tell all of your friends about this new venture, too. We welcome all who enter our front door.

Until then, stay tuned.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Turning Off Alarm Bells, Building Structure, and Fulfilling Dreams

When I left teaching, my life drifted for quite a while, not because I couldn't think of something for which to use my time. On the contrary, I could think of dozens of uses for time, but to what purpose. The idea of purpose kept nagging at me. I didn't seem to have any, and the realization ticked me off.

No longer stranded on a foggy, deserted beach, I took up writing again where I’d left off years before. Oh, there were no screenplays or commercials. There was no research for PBS documentaries on spec. I no longer did corporate writing. Instead, I began slowly by learning to write specifically for children.

What does this have to do with alarms, structured lives, and fulfilling one’s life dreams? Everything!

My first desire as a child was to write. I came to a place where my need to fulfill that purpose, held so long within a tiny corner of my being, refused to remain in the shadows. My life was worth more than early retirement, disability, or relaxation.

My writing brought me here, to this new cosmos of cyber energy and virtual reality, completely peopled and conveniently housed. I made an interesting personal discovery the other day; one which I intend to do something about.

I’ve watched my day skewered by bits of life’s battle with time. Errands, email, writing prompts, publication submissions, social media networks, you name it. This goes on each day as I run to catch up. I stopped running today. I took a nap when I was tired.

I got three poems out to, for me, a new market. I singled out a new submission to another market for tomorrow. I didn’t work any further my author’s page. That will happen some other time. I did get two other blog posts done. I didn’t complete a guest post that I need soon.

Yesterday these unfinished items would have nagged with the voice of guilt as I went to bed; today, not so much. I made a decision to stop battling with time. I can do what I can do. That reality is the only one that matters. I don’t have to apologize to anyone for not working 18 hours at my desk each day to complete goals I set for myself. I only have to move the goals to eliminate the guilt.

Each problem has both a solution and an opportunity; a solution to correct the problem or minimize it; an opportunity to take something unexpected from the problem and create a new project, attitude, viewpoint, or blessing.

So much of our day is taken up with the business of others. Some of us choose to take up the business of ourselves and what’s good for us. When we live at the behest of others, we only exist for ourselves. Existence isn’t the same as living. Living takes energy, gives energy, and creates beauty.

Restructuring life takes time and effort, but it pays for itself in the end. Lately, I've had little real time to write as I want to, dreamed about, and planned for. That situation is about to change.

I’ll still blog, but my blogging will have morphed into something new. I’ll be writing more poetry, more guest blogs for other sites, and working far harder on my own books. And I’m looking forward to this new avenue of endeavor.

The world is changing as am I. It’s my hope that each of you will be along for the ride, however long I stay in the saddle. Stay tuned for my announcement of things to come and places to go.

Until then,


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Approaching Daytime with Nighttime Thoughts

Courtesy of BJ Jones Photography
You’re wrenched from sleep by the nightmare rampaging behind your eyelids, leaving you drenched with sweat and gasping. After all you’ve just run for your life, pursued by a raging lunatic with delusions of godhood.  Why wouldn’t you be looking around to see where she is?

Has this ever happened to you? Don’t feel alone. This past week I’ve been through this scenario at least four times, once with shouted sound effects: mine. I chalk it up to my muse preparing me for a day at the keyboard.

I would welcome the experience if I was engaged in actively writing horror stories. Unfortunately, I’m not. Horror isn’t usually my cup of tea.

Thankfully, these weren’t memories either. I admit to having known a few with major emotional and mental problems, but none who went quite that far. So what it is that I’m supposed to get from this race against nightmare pursuit?

I get a kick-start in my day, first thing in the morning. These types of events almost always occur just before I need to get up in the morning. I don’t recommend them as a visual alarm clock. It’s too hard on the heart.

I also get an imagination that’s wide awake and looking for a place to happen. Just because I don’t write horror doesn’t mean that I can’t use this snatch of dream as an action scene for one of my fantasy stories. They always have to have villains, and those with delusions of godhood make some of the best; especially when you give them normal day jobs and pleasant demeanors.

The latest one gave me the answer to a sticky situation with my main character, the second lead, and several bits related to or involving the villain that I didn’t realize I had until now. That’s quite a bit of work for such a short bit of dream, but I’m grateful for it.

So, if you’re looking to broaden how you approach your daytime writing, look to your nighttime thoughts. They may well hold the key to those influential scenes with hero, villain, backstory, etc. Who knows what kind of gem mine you might find when you go on an active search.

I’m sure you’ve heard all the tips.

·       Keep a small notebook or index cards on the table beside the bed with a reliable pen to write down those bits you remember of dream, or thoughts that flash through your mind while it’s in twilight sleep.

·       Give yourself a moment to orient once you wake, to allow your mind to wander across its nighttime landscape and resolve any issues left tangled before waking.

·       Surprise your body with a full-body stretch; extend your limbs as far as they will go, straightening all the fingers and toes until they feel like they’ll fly off the ends of hands and feet. Get the spine elongated and all the long tendons of the body.  You’ll be grateful afterwards. (BTW, this is an old yoga exercise and practice for waking up the body.)

·       Regardless of what you dream, remember that your mind showed you these scenes for a reason; there were problems needing resolution, aspirations wanting acknowledgement, fears needing attention, ideas needing a place to show themselves off. Pay attention to them. They do have meaning.

Most of all, give them a job in your daily writing. Use them in whatever way you can, and enjoy the fact that you have them. Some people never remember their dreams, not even a snatch of one and they feel deprived.

Now, on a different thought train, I encourage everyone to pop over to Claudsy’s Blog today to see what my guest blogger, Meena Rose, brought to the forefront. She’s had her own little experiment that can be used by anyone, and is especially helpful to those who write in any capacity. You can find it at: 

I also guest blogged at Meena’s blog this morning. Find it at:

Enjoy your day, all. Until later,


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Biting, Chewing, Swallowing—Not the Same

Every month I look at projects that seem to have bred on my desk while I wasn’t looking. I’m sure every writer goes through this phenomenon once in a while. I always have big projects, small ones, and ones waiting to be given the light of day.

While trying to come up with a post here today, I took a good look at my eight-foot desk—a really good look. I may have taken on a bit much lately.

Among the piles of debris stacked along two thirds of the right side are the magazines and journals from the past two months that I have yet to read. Yes, I do keep that stapler in plain sight, so that I don’t have to rummage through those piles on a doomed search. I have a vague idea what’s contained in those piles; vague being the operative word. The dragons keep stray projects from deserting.

Really important prelim work for one of the novels I’m writing is piled prominently on the floor next to my chair so that I can grab it at a moment’s notice.

I know; chaos. Right?       

Sorting through everything doesn’t come easy for me; it’s a lot like chewing food. The reason is that I’m not sure what I’m going to need or how soon, which means I can’t quite put it aside yet. Living in Limbo is something that’s been necessary for quite a while. It’s not one of my favorite locales, but it beats living nowhere.

Swallowing digital bits and bytes is much easier. Believe it or not, my computer files are much more organized. I keep thinking about a piece from 60 Minutes done by Andy Rooney. He wanted to know if creative and productive people kept their offices neat and orderly, or if they looked like his—out of control on steroids.

I remember watching him wonder through the halls, taking an informal poll about  offices belonging to his colleagues. With camera dutifully following him, chronicling all that was to be seen, Rooney discovered that his domain was, in many aspects, more organized than several others on the staff. Because he knew how hard each of these men and women worked each day, and the types of schedules they kept, he concluded that people who were very productive and creative, were also messy and preferred it that way.

When I envision some of those offices, I can look at mine and smile. At least my books occupy a bookcase, I have no uneaten food lying around, I know where my extra checks are, and my computer is easy to get to. I have actual clear floor space.
Andy might be surprised at how disappointingly uncluttered my office area really is. Or, I could be kidding myself in a fit of guilt-ridden denial.

Must do something about this--I’ve ordered my actual work, now to tackle the physical side of things.

Until later, peeps. Let’s see, if I get all of that pile into the right-side file cabinet…


Friday, May 4, 2012

May Days to Submit Work

When the call to challenge rang out on May 1st, many of our PAD and MNINB group members paused, took a deep breath, and sighed. I think it would be fair to say that few could believe what they were reading. “Submit at least one piece of work each day for the entire month of May.”

Yep. You saw that right. Some of the group simply can’t comply due to more critical situations at home and at work, but for the rest of us, we’re gamely attempting what seemed like an impossible feat just a few short days ago.

This is day four of this last minute challenge that none had contemplated. We each post on the group sites what we subbed and to which publication, whether online or print, contest or blog, and watch to see who else took the plunge that day.

I have yet to hit the send button today. I have three possibles on the starting line, waiting for a shove into the chute. I have a children’s story that can go out any time. It’s been polished to within a paragraph of existence. I have poems coming out of my ears that can go in nearly any direction. And I have a couple of polished and professionally edited essays that can go out on their own.

There’s a coin I’ve been saving for just such an occasion as this. I’ll do a three-way toss to see which item goes out today. That gives me plenty for the next few days. Who knows? I might send more than on submission out per day and really scare myself.

For those that are timid about subbing and worry about those nasty rejection emails, don’t be. Take a page from my post today on Claudsy’s Blog. Make that rejection your best friend. Embrace it. Plaster your wall with it and its friends. Proudly show that wall to family and friends and declare “See how much work I’ve sent out!”

If you’ve chosen to accept such a challenge as this, comment here. Tell me about your personal submission challenge. If you don’t have one, but want to try it, feel free. Post a comment here each day you’ve braved the “SEND” button and sent out a piece of work. I’ll gladly help you show the world how much you’re working on the craft.

Until later, keep writing while you enjoy the process,


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Publishing, Management, and Living with Challenges

April’s challenges are now history. Poetic Asides semi-annual PAD challenge concluded with its take-away poem and MNINB (My Name Is Not Bob) Author’s Platform Challenge has wound its way to independence for those taking the plunge.
**BTW—MNINB is Robert Lee Brewer’s great writer’s blog here on Blogger. Check it out, if you haven’t already.

Now that those two challenges and the rest for Poetry Month are completed, others along with me have that let down feeling. As a result, one enterprising writer of my acquaintance decided to throw out a challenge of her own for those of us who schlepped around the obstacle course of the Author’s Platform task calendar.

De decided that we needed incentive to get more active with our work. She dared us to submit one piece of our work each day during the month of May. I guess her logic was that April’s challenge showers caused our Muses to create lots of blossoms that needed distribution.

Since I’d just come off two major challenges, with a third chiming in once a week, I was already primed for another ride on the carousel, leaning out for a brass ring.
Yep, I’m going for it, with both hands and my handy-dandy flash drive of material yearning for a new home. A few times a week throughout May, I’ll be here telling everyone about what I’ve sent out and to whom.

Please stop by and help me keep track of whatever success I might have in placing some of my poor orphans. Hope to see you about the place often. Take care all.

Until later,