Monday, March 28, 2011

Words of Wisdom for Writer's from: Spongebob Squarepants

Seated at his desk, Patrick Star was attempting to write a poem, but Patrick had writer's block. Patrick continued sitting at his desk, looking at his pencil and paper, drooling; “SpongeBob, this pencil is broken. Why won’t it make words?”

SpongeBob answered Patrick, “Patrick, you have to think of the words yourself.”

 "But I'm worried my poem isn’t going to be any good and you’re going to hit me with dodge balls."

Patrick speaks the following words to himself as self-motivation to write: "Come on you stupid brain, work.”

Immediately after this, smoke and steam begin to emanate from Patrick's head, accompanied by the sounds of machinery cranking away.

After all this commotion Squidward Tentacles exclaims,"What is that horrible smell? It sounds like something in your brain died!"

Patrick flatly replies: "That’s the creative process at work."

After Patrick's poem has been completed and put to music on an album, prior to playing the song Patrick asks SpongeBob, "Are you going to throw any dodge balls at me?"

SpongeBob, always a good and faithful friend, replies, "I don’t see any dodge balls here, buddy, just an artist and his work."


1. You have to think of the words yourself.
Your pencil (or keyboard) won't think of them for you.

2. In extreme cases of writer's block, you may wish to exhort yourself with the words
"Come on you stupid brain, work." (See # 3.)

(Disclaimer: Use extreme caution when engaging in this activity.
I take no responsibility for any resulting injury or damage
should you choose to speak those words.)

3. Be prepared to have your brain begin to smell,
make nasty sounds, or even die on occasion--
but then take heart and remember that such happenings
may be proof of the creative process at work!

4. Find a buddy or two who will not throw dodge balls at you
but will keep telling you all he sees is just an artist and his work.

Hey, you. Yes, you out there in cyberspace....
Uh, pardon me, but is that a dodge ball I see in that there hand of yours?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ghost Story Contest!

The “SCARE THE DICKENS OUT OF US” Short Story Contest 2011
Sponsored by the Friends of the Dr. Eugene Clark Library in Lockhart, Texas.
First prize, $1000.00 and a trophy.
Second prize, $500.00 and a ribbon.
Third prize, $250.00 and a ribbon.
Junior contest prize $250.00 and a trophy.

Download contest entry form here.
Download junior contest entry form here.
Entry fee $20.00 (check or money order).
Junior contest entry fee $5.00 (check or money order).

The Scare The Dickens Out of Us ghost story contest and the Junior Scare The Dickens Out of Us ghost story contest share identical rules except the entry fees and the following: Junior contest writers must be age 12-18. Winners will have to provide proof of age.

All publication rights remain with the author.

The contest is a Friends of the Dr. Eugene Clark Library fundraiser and is privately funded. All entry fees go to the Friends and are used for library projects.

The “Scare The Dickens Out of Us” Short Story Contest is in conjunction with the annual “A Dickens Christmas In Lockhart” which is held on the first weekend in December (Friday night, Saturday) in Lockhart, Texas.

We want ghost stories. Any genre, any tone, any subject, whatever type of ghost story you can come up with.

1. The contest is open to published and unpublished writers alike. All publication rights remain with the author.

2. The ghost story must be 5,000 words or less, in English, and typed double-spaced. Entries must be original and unpublished. There are no other restrictions.

3. Only one entry per writer.

4. The judging will be done in a blind format. Do not put your name or any other identifying information on the manuscript itself except for the name of the story. Download, print and submit our entry form or our junior contest entry form. The information will include the name of your story, the author’s name, address, phone number, and email address, where you heard of this contest, and your permission to have your story read out loud at a literary gathering if you are one of the winners.

5. Your manuscript and entry fee must be mailed to us at P.O. Box 821, Lockhart, TX 78644 and must be postmarked no later than October 1, 2011. We will accept entries beginning July 1, 2011.

Winners will be contacted at contest end. Winners also will be announced at the “A Dickens Christmas in Lockhart” festival in December, and will be posted at our web site

No manuscripts will be returned. Keep the original copy. At the end of the contest entries will be shredded.

See more by clicking here:

About My Mother Writing Competition Information

About My Mother Writing Competition

First Place

• Publication by Aberdeen Bay in Amazon Kindle format. First place story will be specially placed with those of 10 finalists.

• A flower bouquet and one $50 gift certificate to author’s designated mother who resides within continental US (both to be delivered on or before Mother’s Day). Author may choose gift certificate from one of the following stores: Lands' End, L.L.Bean, DSW, Eddie Bauer, JCPenny, Macy’s, or Kohl’s. Please note that Aberdeen Bay recognizes that some of the special moms in these stories may be deceased. If this is the case, author may designate an alternate recipient.

• Aberdeen Bay Digital Certificate recognizing author’s outstanding accomplishment.

Second through Tenth Place

• Publication by Aberdeen Bay in Amazon Kindle format along with winner’s story and those of other finalists.

• Aberdeen Bay Digital Certificate recognizing author’s outstanding accomplishment.


• Contest is open to United States residents only.

• Author must be at least 18 of age on February 1, 2011.

• Contest opens February 7 and ends at midnight on April 10, 2011. All submissions must be received by the end date. Publisher’s computer clock governs stamp time.

• Manuscripts are limited to 2,500 words maximum. Manuscripts exceeding this word count will be disqualified.

• Winner and finalists will be announced on May 3, 2011. Emails will be sent to winner and finalists. The contest results will be available at the Aberdeen Bay website.

Click here to learn more:

Friday, March 11, 2011

Writing Contest Entry for Aberdeen Bay

If you are building a platform, enter contests to help gain popularity with the writing world. It allows you to express yourself and practice the art of writing with each article you write. This is a story about my mother. The requirements for the contest were to submit a story about my mother in no more than 1600 words. Submission of the paper, my Bio and the cover sheet they provided was all I had to do. It only cost a stamp! Who of these submissions may get recognition and if that happens, it will boost up my "platform". Keep writing! You never know where it will take you:-).....I hope you enjoy my story.....

About My Mother
                                  Mom with my sister Nancy featured in photo

            She lay in the bed and cried. Not even 24 hours later and now the pillow beside her was empty. He was just there yesterday holding her hand. 52 years with the same man and now she was on her own. The love of her life was gone.
            “My mom is a real live superwoman!” At least that’s how I describe her. Mom is a much more appropriate name for her. The word “mother” makes me think of someone who does not have a relationship with their own mom. Friends of ours even called her mom. It just came natural. “Help yourselves because if you don’t you’ll starve.” That was a famous phrase Mom spoke around our house. Mom meant it in the best way of course with a little humor thrown in. Mom has her moments of being funny. I can picture some of the faces she would make. She always has a comeback so be prepared. Our house was warm. Mom never sat down when we had company. She would prepare these big meals for everyone and not think twice about it. There were many years of having to feed a house full of people so I think she just never stopped. There has always been plenty of food no matter how big the crowd.
            Dad was a meat and potatoes kind of guy.  It was always something affordable though. No steak dinners for us. There was never any money in our family but for some reason we were rich. We were not rich like most people picture. We were rich in love. We had some of the most loving parents in the world. The meal on the table was good because it was always made with love. To this day, I am not too much of a steak eater and I always try to duplicate many of Mom’s great recipes. I remember the stuffed peppers. I loved the insides but never ate the pepper. All that hard work Mom did but never said anything to me and Dad would always take my pepper and eat it himself. Dinner time was always a great memory. Mom would have us girls (there were 4 of us) set the table in a proper way. Fork on the left of the plate, knife and spoon on the right, with a folded napkin under the knife and spoon. Everyone had a designated seat also. Dinner was conversation. First we would say the Lord’s Prayer together. We had to excuse ourselves after we were done eating but Mom never got angry, just kind of peered at us in such a way that we knew not to tread on that one. We always obeyed although she may say differently.
            My dad was a police officer. I couldn’t imagine being married to a police officer, especially in Detroit during the riots. Mom went through quite a bit back then. He retired from the police department after 27 years and moved the family to Florida. Maybe my mom thought the pain and worry would be over. Maybe Florida was retirement where they could have time to enjoy and relax. The next turn of events was even more traumatic. They say losing a child is the worst possible pain. Well, Mom didn’t lose a child but I think it was just as bad because it dragged on and on for years. I remember Mom crying out of the blue. She would be thinking about my sister, Nancy.
            Mom went through quite a bit when we were teenagers. One of my sisters ran away when we moved to Florida. She wasn’t happy about the move since she was pulled from high school. That is a bad time for that age I guess. I didn’t act out from the move but went down the wrong path and became quite the party animal. My hours were late and the friends I kept were not exactly what Mom wanted and I can see why now. Then there was Nancy. She caused Mom more grief than anyone could ever want but no fault of her own. She went missing for over 7 years. Mom struggled through years of pain wondering where Nancy was. Doctor’s said she had only weeks to live when they found her. What a nightmare. Mom was relieved to have Nancy back but the pain remained. It was all over the news. Mom didn’t care about all the press. They avoided cameras and just wanted Nancy back. That is another story in itself. She was rehabilitated and moved down to Florida. Mom and Nancy have a strong bond and spend quite a bit of time together.
            Family gatherings were always entertaining. If we attended a wedding, Mom would be right in the middle of the action. She loves to dance so she would always be the first one on the dance floor, pulling on anyone’s arm to dance with her. Dad wasn’t much on dancing, bless his heart, but he loved watching mom dance. She sure could move too. She would be shaking her hips and moving her feet faster than I could keep up. Her smile would light up the room as she danced. She attends line dancing classes every Wednesday and has for quite a few years now.   
            Dad just recently passed in January and this is a very difficult time for her. She stays busy but I am afraid the moment still hasn’t hit her. They were inseparable. They volunteered together at Give Kids the World. Both were very heavily involved in the Catholic Church. Mom & Dad were Eucharistic ministers and ushers during church. In the Catholic religion, Eucharistic ministers help hand out communion to the congregation. I went to church a couple of times while I was visiting. I really enjoyed watching Mom and Dad working side by side. It was so heartwarming that it would bring tears to my eyes. Mom was also involved in many of the other activities after church too like the bake sale, the rummage sale and the angel tree program. Of course the activities were all set aside while Mom was caring for Dad when he was sick.
            Once again, Mom’s strength was to be tested. The last days were very difficult. We were all there. Mom would lay with Dad and hold his hand when he could no longer get out of bed. Mom would share Dad’s hand with us. She would say; “You girls can hold his hand during the day. I get to hold his hand all night” and she did…up until the very last breath he took at 4:01 in the morning. That is a moment we will all remember forever. Mom was lost. She was religious so she knew he was with God but it was still hard letting go. Her face did not lie.  Her life partner was gone. She smiled briefly at the thought of Dad passing on the date that he did. Dad was always one for noticing things like 1/11/11. We told Mom we were surprised he didn’t go at 1:11. It gave her a moment of Dad’s humor which seemed to comfort her in some way.
            I received a call from her just the other day. She sounded the best she has in a long time. The excitement in her voice was that of a teenager getting ready to go to a concert. Her best friend for years has been her next door neighbor, Lorraine. She called Mom to go out and dress up as if they were back in the fifties again. Mom said they all were pregnant back then and suggested they all dress up as pregnant women from the fifties! I couldn’t believe my mom suggested that, but she did and I thought that was great. She had it all planned out. There were four of them and one woman still had a husband. He was going to wear a sign that said “Expecting quads”…..The smile and laughter coming out of me puzzled my husband because he knew I was talking to my mom. This wasn’t a normal response. I loved hearing her laugh and talk it up like she used to do before everything hit her. After I hung up with her, she called back shortly after and said the event was cancelled. My heart was broken because I knew what it meant to her. The same as the teenager getting ready to go to the concert and finding out it got cancelled. Lorraine immediately asked her to join them for a trip to Lakeland for a whole day of fun which included lunch and dinner. Mom didn’t hesitate, she replied “I’m in!” and that is exactly how she told me.
            I realize Mom is keeping herself busy to keep her mind off the loss of her husband. I lost my husband several years ago in a car crash. I can feel some of what she is going through because of the loss of my husband. I did not have 52 years with him but the pain was very real. I can completely understand the schedule she is making for herself if she feels any of that pain. I was still there when the first card had to be filled out. It was my nephews’ birthday. He turned 21 the day after my dad’s funeral. She was leaning down to write in the card and stopped. She looked at me with a tear of sadness in her eyes and said; “I almost wrote Love Grandma and Grandpa”.
            If I had the opportunity to become a mother I would do things exactly the same as she did. I feel the way I was raised was the best example of how to raise your kids I have ever seen. We had ups, we had downs, we had sadness and we had joy. Most importantly, we had love.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Writing is an Outlet

Writing is an outlet. I enjoy getting lost in the words of the new world I am creating with The Deep Freeze. Don't get stuck on dialogue and grammar...just write. I spend many hours rewriting and editing what I have written but only because I plan on going all the way with my novel. It is a lot of work and I want my readers to enjoy what I write. Some of my writing is just free flowing also. I recently entered a contest and wrote a paper about my mother. If I win..great! If not, it was nice just to write like that and I can still share it with my mom:-)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Who I Use as a Writing Coach

Laura Pritchett is a writing coach and an author. She helped by coaching me in the right direction. Her soft, yet to the point recommendations made me understand my needs as a writer and helped me improve my work in progress. I recommend her coaching to anyone starting out.

Future Writer - Cute Video

Want to Publish? Build Your Platform

    We all think we have to impress our readers with the words we put down on paper. Not so....We want to impress and attract our reader's through our platform. What is a platform you say? Let's start with a simple Bio first. The bio is the "About me" section of a blog or the description given by someone who admires you a great deal. It is written as if someone else were writing it. This is where you tell all. This is what editors and publishers see first. After establishing a bio, you need to build an interested audience. I am starting by attending many writing conferences, joining writing groups and now hosting my own writing group. I learned that people buy "you"...not necessarily the book you are writing. Yes it is true that you will have a "target" market that sticks with the genre they are interested in, but you want them all right? Here is a sample book idea from Amazon to understand a platform.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Preview of David Groff's - Mastering the Road to Publishing

Untitled from Lisa M. Russell on Vimeo.

This was an awesome seminar and I hope to see many more like it. The preview is available to everyone so enjoy! The full version is only available to members of the Georgia Writer's Association. Click the link below for more details...

Georgia Writers Association