Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award

I was so generously given the Versatile Blogger Award from Suerae Cobbs Stein, The Artful Blogger. 
Thank you so much Suerae, it means a lot to me!

Suerae, owner and designer of Red Barn Artworks and The Artful Blogger, amazes me with her photographs.  She takes everyday ordinary items, and turns them into works of art.  Her passion for art and nature allows her to turn her fab photos into notecards and other
unique specialty items, such as porcelain ornaments, ceramic coasters and trivets, necklaces, sun catchers, counter savers, baskets, coat racks, and keyholders.
She even incorporated animal images into an interactive children's book Look Into My Eye  
As a writer and mother, I love the book.  Please check it out!

Now… to the Versatile Blogger Award!
As a recipient, I am asked to choose 15 of my recently discovered blogs to pass the award along to, and I must follow some rules. Therefore, if you receive this award from me and you choose to accept it, these rules are for you too…
1. Thank the person who awarded it to you, by linking back to them in your post.
2. Share 7 things about yourself in your blog post.
3. Pass this award along to 15 recently discovered blogs (contact the owners to let them know too!)

Here are my favorite recently found blogs in no particular order:
  1. Karmic Kappuccino by Steve Rice
  2. Joy Filled Days by Sarah Beals
  3. Stories Al a Mode by Barbara Bockman
  4. The Brain Fart Explosion by J. Aday Kennedy
  5. Grow with Stacy by Stacy Claflin
  6. 100 Smile Challenge Blog by Jodi Rosenberg
  7. Scouter Mom by a dedicated scouter mom
  8. Musings from a Stay at Home Mom by Erika Bragdon
  9. My Name is Not Bob by Robert Lee Brewer
  10. The Positivity Blog by Henrik Edberg
  11. Daily Blogging Ideas by Michelle Shaeffer
  12. Aha- NOW!  A Family Blog by Harleena Singh
  13. Dani McGrath. The Mompreneur by Dani McGrath
  14. Prowling Books in the Lair by Shana Johnson
  15. The Writing World by RaeBeth McGee
Now the 7 thrilling, exciting and jaw-dropping things about me (well maybe not that exciting)
  1. I am a published freelance writer.  My first article was to GRIT magazine.
  2. I work full time at a local hospital in NH as an MRI Technologist.  I have been in Diagnostic Imaging for 19 years!
  3. I have an 8 year-old smart, handsome, creative and active son.  He is the light of my life.  He is my inspiration and now critique of many of my stories.
  4. My husband and I met at a hospital in Florida.  I was his boss then, he says I am still his boss now.
  5. We live on 7.5 acres full of animals.  We have 2 dogs, 3 cats, 2 crested geckos, 2 red-eyed skinks, 2 red-eared slider turtles, 24 chickens and 20 guinea hens.  
  6. In our spare time, we own and operate Camp Wags Pet Resort, where your dog can be a dog in the comfort of our home.  Sometimes, we have 7 dogs to feed at once.  Talk about a feeding frenzy!
  7. I love watching animated movies with my son.  Rio is our new favorite.  Actually, I love reading chapter books with my son.  We are reading "Secrets of Droon", "Magic Treehouse,"   and just finished a family favorite, "Justin Case."  Sometimes I read the book by myself after my son goes to bed to find out what happens next.  Shhh, don't tell him.
I hope all the blogs above choose to accept the Versatile Blogger Award.  It was fun for me.  I was so hard picking just 15 blogs that I like.  I tried to pick a few of each type of blog I read.
Thanks again, Suerae!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday Mingle Blog Hop

Friday, August 26, 2011

READ THIS! Be Prepared!

Preparing for a hurricane

Here on the East Coast, preparations are under way for Hurricane Irene.  My husband spent yesterday battening down the hatches, filling water containers, starting the generator and gathering flashlights.  My mission, if I choose to accept it, is to come up with a checklist that we can use for any upcoming disaster.  After the ice storm that froze New England and rendered us powerless for days, we found out how ready we really were to deal with disaster.

A quick reminder to pick up outside toys, lawn furniture, planted pots, secure or store your BBQ grill and propane tank.  Remember to fill your car's gas tank and fill your propane tank.

Not only have I included a list of essential items, I have included information on dealing with your children and your pets.

What supplies do you need?
  • Water: 3 days supply, 1 gallon per day per person
  • Food: 3 day supply, non-perishable, easy to prepare, canned food is a good option
  • Flashlights
  • Extra batteries
  • Candles, lanterns and matches
  • Battery powered or hand-cranked radio
  • Cooler with extra ice (especially if your medications need to be refrigerated)
  • 7 day supply of medications, both prescription and over-the-counter
  • First aid kit or supplies
  • Personal hygiene products
  • Extra cash (the ATMs won't be functioning)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Battery back up power system or gas powered generator.  *these are recommended but not required
  • Rain gear
  • Insect repellent and sunscreen
  • Tools, lumber and hardware for securing your home
But what if you have to evacuate?  Do you know where is your local shelter?  Be sure to have a plan in place.    Get an Emergency Supply Kit, which includes items like non-perishable food, water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra flashlights and batteries. You may want to prepare a portable kit and keep it in your car in case you are told to evacuate.
 Your children will need extra activities to keep them busy.  My son and I found this information at FEMA for kids

Kids Activity Survival Kit
You may have to leave your house during a disaster and may sleep somewhere else for a while. It’s smart to put together your own Kid’s Activity Survival Kit so you will have things to do and share with other kids. These can all be stored in a backpack or duffel bag. Just make sure you can carry it easily. Some suggested items for your Activity Survival Kit:
  • A few  favorite books
  • Crayons, pencils or marking pens and plenty of paper
  • Scissors and glue
  • Two favorite toys such as a doll or action figure
  • One or two board games
  • A deck of cards
  • A puzzle (One with lots of pieces is good -- it takes a long time to do!) Teddy Bear
  • Small people figures and play vehicles that you can use to play out what is happening during a disaster -- such as ambulance, fire truck, helicopter, dump truck, police car, small boats.
  • Favorite stuffed animal or puppet
  • Favorite blanket or pillow
  • Pictures of the family and pet
  • A "keep safe" box with a few treasures that make you feel special.
  • Snacks, drinks or water bottle
  • Don't forget to charge your handheld games! 

Don't forget the dog!
Family pets can sometimes be overlooked in all the preparation and evacuation.  Dogs are very sensitive to storms, rain, thunder and wind.  Ask your vet if he or she recommends anti-anxiety medication.
  • Proper ID, tags, rabies vaccine current
  • Ample supply of food and water
  • carrier or cage
  • collar and leash
  • favorite toys and wag bag
  • Daily medications
For more information, please visit, your local weather station or the Red Cross.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Kiss and make up

 TODAY IS Kiss and Make Up Day!
Kiss and Make Up Day is a great way to end a spat. Everyone has an argument, a fight, or a tiff once in a while. Family, friends, lovers, no one escapes without an occasional fight. Today is a day to end the fight, kiss, and make up. Oh, what fun this day can be!

Today is a day to end the fight, be it a short spat, or a long standing feud. C'mon, get over the issues, and resolve your differences. Then, kiss and make up. After all, making up can be oh, so sweet. For lovers, it is the best part of the fight. Some might suggest that the kissing and the making up part makes fighting worthwhile.

Remember, our loved ones are the ones who do just that: love us.  What a better day to put aside our differences, show our partner a little "sugar" and let your imagination do the rest!  Remember not to take our loved ones for granted.  Sometimes we forget to fuss over the  little stuff.  I always try not to "sweat the small stuff," but when it comes to romantic gestures, not matter how small, make a fuss.  If your honey leaves you a love note, make sure you thank them, remind them for days how much it meant to you.  You never know, it could happen again!

So kiss, smooch, hug, snuggle, embrace the day...go ahead.  Today is the day!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Just Ask Justin: All About Club Penguin

Penguins, Puffles and Partying at Club Penguin 
P: Good morning, Justin.  In another post, we talked about your favorite animals.  You mentioned penguins.  Why do you like them so much?

J: Because they are so cute and they can live in the cold.  And they are in my favorite game, Club Penguin.

P:  What is Club Penguin?

J:  Club Penguin is an online game.  You get to play games with other penguins, you can chat and decorate your house.  You can also adopt puffles to play with and care for.

P:  What kind of games can you play?

J:  My favorite game to play is Card Jitsu.  There are different versions of Card Jitsu.  There is regular Card
Jitsu, Fire Card Jitsu, Water Card Jitsu and there will be a Snow Card Jitsu.

P:  How do you play Card Jitsu?

J:  In the regular Card Jitsu, you can only battle 1 penguin and you get to choose a card with an element on it.  It is snow, fire or water.  The cards also have numbers from 2 to 12.  Water beats fire, fire beats snow, snow beats water. 
In Fire Card Jitsu, you can battle up to 3 other penguins.  The cards are the same as the regular version. When it's your turn, you chose one of the little platforms, they have numbers under them, you click on them to see the number.  After the number flips over, there are 2 spaces shown on the board.  There are different types of spaces: Snow, fire, water or a space where you can choose.  The last space is where you choose one of the other penguins and you can battle them with any of your cards. 
In Water Card Jitsu, you can battle up to 4 penguins.  There are spaces in front of you.  You use your cards, if there is a fire space in front of you, you use your water card to move up onto that space.  The first one to get to the end of the waterfall wins. 

P:  Wow, those sound fun.  What is your favorite version?

J:  My favorite is Fire Card Jitsu. 

P:  What other games do you like on Club Penguin?

J:  I also like Jet pack adventure, Puffle Cannon, and lots of other games. 

P:  What is a puffle?

J:  A puffle is a type of animal you can adopt.  You have to feed them or the will run away.  They are little fur balls, they are very cute and adorable.  They come in different colors.  Each puffle comes with a toy then can play with.  Each color stands for a different personality.  You can brush them, give them a bath, make them take a nap and walk them to keep them happy. 

P:  Which puffle is your favorite?

J:  Some puffles can play games with you, but I wish a puffle for card Jitsu, but they don't.  My favorite puffle is the green puffle because you can play Jet Pack Adventure with him.  The green puffle really likes propeller hats.  He wears the propeller hat so he can fly, that's why he can play Jet Pack Adventure.  He is very athletic.  His personality is playful and funny.

P:  Club Penguin keeps you busy.  You said you can chat with other penguins.  Do you have friends in real life that play with you?

J:  Yes.  I do have a friend that plays with me.  We go to the same server so we can play Card Jitsu and Hide and Seek.

P.  Thanks for telling us all about Club Penguin.  Don't forget to feed your puffle!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Be an Angel Day

Today, August 22nd is Be an Angel Day

Do something good for someone today and make their life just a little life better.
But why limit your good deeds to one day? Make a daily “mitzvah”* and touch many.
*a mitzvah is a Jewish term used to describe acts of kindness, usually offered to a stranger.

Since 1993, when the Rev. Jayne Howard Feldman founded Be an Angel Day, people across the country have taken time to bless a loved one, friend, or stranger with acts of kindness. As Beliefnet reader "Angel Love" of Port Orange, FL. says, "Consider what you would like someone to do for you, and instead, do it for them."

At the heart of being someone's angel is to have an abundant amount of warmth, creative resourcefulness, and a determination to spread some heaven on earth.

One way to be an angel is to Lend an Ear:

The first duty of love is to listen.
--Paul Tillich

Remember to be patient and just listen when a friend needs you. Don't be eager to offer advice or be quick with your opinions. Instead, remember that sometimes listening can speak more than talking.

Another way to be an angel is to Save our Pets:

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
--Mahatma Gandhi
Homeless pets need love and help in finding food and shelter. Get involved with your local ASPCA or adopt a pet from an animal shelter or from a friend who can no longer take care of it. Sandra M. Williams of Swansboro, NC also suggests, "Feed your friends' animals while they are on vacation."

Pay it forward, kindness brings smiles.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Fun with Grammar

Here are some fun ways to learn about grammar, spelling and punctuation:
  1. Ten Words You Need to Stop Misspelling
  2. What it Means When you Say "literally"
  3. When to Use i.e. in a sentence
  4. How to use a Semicolon
  5. How to use an Apostrophe
  6. Grammarman :
  7. A Comic about Verbs:
    8.  Jack Krumb's Guide to Grammar:

Friday, August 19, 2011

Tickle your Funny Bone with Fun Friday

Friday laughs for you!  Have a great day.  Hope your Friday is as exciting as the Penguin's.

Yes, we can see Friday!  

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

5 Great Writing Exercises to Sharpen Your Brain

  1. Think of your favorite fairy tales and childhood stories.  Write a short story plotting two story book characters against each other.  For example, Little Red Riding Hood meets Batman.
  2.  Take a book off your bookshelf, open to the first line, write a story from there.
  3.  Write your first name.  Use each letter of your name to write a descriptive word using the five senses.  For example: 
  • P: Plush
  • A: Acrid
  • M: Mushy
  • E: Elongated
  • L: Liquid
  • A: Ardent
      4.   Use pictures to prompt your writing.  Try The Creativity Portal: 365 Pictures Daily Photo prompts generated for your creative inspiration.
Here is the example for today: 
   5.  Spend 15 minutes people-watching in the mall.  Write down dialogue, conversations and interesting people descriptions.  Then start writing a scene with dialogue only.  Can you incorporate all the descriptive elements using just dialogue?

Good luck and Happy Writing!

Friday, August 12, 2011

7 things I learned about writing from HGTV's House Hunters

Do you have a favorite television show that inspires you?  HGTV's House Hunters inspires me to be creative in my home, writing and work spaces.  House Hunters gives you a real life potential home buyer scenario..  We tour their current living situation, listen to their wish list and then examine 3 houses.  Which one will they pick?  House #1 with the big backyard, House #2 with the unfinished basement or House #3 with the 45 minute commute?  Then, after we all vote, they reveal their choice.  The best part is seeing how they put their touch on the place.  Sometimes, it's a total remodel, sometimes it's just a few changes.

House Hunters reminds me of my writing life.  Choosing a house is never easy.  It requires research, dedication and motivation. 

1:  You always have options.  Potential home buyers never buy the first house they look at.  They weigh the pros and cons of 3 different places they look at.  When I write, I always have a few scenes in mind, a few more characters to create and few more endings to pick from.  No one says you have to stick with your first draft.  That's what I like to call "Writer Freedoom."  It's my story, I'll change it if I want to!

2.  Be sure to pick the best fit.   When buying a house, be sure it is the best fit for you.  It might fit someone else's family, not yours.  When writing, keep in mind your story may fit one magazine, not another.  Although, like remodeling, it is easy to edit and rewrite a few sections of your work to get it to fit another type of publication.

3.  Don't go over budget.  Many times, the realtors on House Hunters show the buyers houses that are way over their budget. Unless you can offer a price that is within your budget, might as well not even look at the house.  It is important not to go "house poor."  Keep word count in mind when writing for certain publications.  Do not submit something that is over the word count.

4.  Put your touch on what you own.  The Reveal at the end of the show gives us an idea of how the homeowners changed it to fit their needs and style.  Writers need to put their style into their writing, find their voice.

5.  Don't forget to ask for help.  Young home buyers ask parents, siblings, or friends for help in their big decision.   Writers can ask their critique group, social media friends or editor, I like to read my story to my son and ask him if he likes what I wrote or how he could think of a different ending.

6.  Figure out what's most important before you start.  What are your priorities?  If you want a house with 3 bedrooms, don't settle for 1 bedroom just because it has a pool.  Writers need to set goals each week to figure out what is the most important projects to finish.  Prioritize them and finish the one that is most important first.  Don't fill up your day with tweets and emails when you really wanted to write 2,000 words in your WIP.

7.  Trust your instincts.  If it feels wrong when you walk in, don't buy it.  Maybe home buyers say: "It felt like home when we walked in."  Your writing should feel right and sound right.  The opening paragraph should be the best first impression.  Readers will keep reading if it feels right!

Please share your favorite show.  How does it inspire you?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Discover Gaggles of Writers on Google +

 New to Google + and need to find fellow writers?  As Google + becomes more popular and easier to use, many more writers are finding their way on board.  Check back often for more writers to add to your circle.

Children’s/YA Book Bloggers (by Kate Messner) 

Digital Publishing & eBooks (by Debbie Ohi): 

Fiction Writers on G+ (by Daniel Shortell):

Picture Book Writers (by Anastasia Suen) 

Kidlit/YA Authors (by Debbie Ohi): 

Kidlitosphere List (by Melissa Wiley): 

Middle Grade Writers (by Ruth Donnelly): 

Non-Fiction Writers (by Laura Grace Weldon): 

Picturebook Authors (by Anastasia Suen): 

Poets (by Susan Taylor Brown): 

Teachers of Reading & Writing (by Kate Messner): 

Writers and Their Facebook Pages (by Maia Appleby): 

Writer’s Circle (by Carolyn Burns Bass): 

Writers List (by Magie Jacobs): 

Writing Circle List (by John Kolsun):

Thanks to Curiosity Quills and many Google + authors for compiling these lists
Need help getting started with Google +?  Check out Curiosity Quill's Quick Start Guide:

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Truth about "What if" questions!

Kids question everything.  For example, I asked my son to help me think up some "what if" questions, he asked why? :0)  But, these questions make us think about the alternatives to every situation.  
For example, what if dogs could talk?  How would that change our world?  Would that mean that we would bark?  Write a story based on those few questions and see what you come up with!

Here are a few what if's from my creative son:
What if pizza was alive?
What if people could grow wings?
What if crayons could talk?
What if dogs knew karate?
What if the mailman barked at dogs?
What if boys were born with 3 arms?  What if girls were born with 3 legs?

Here are a few more what if's from my friends(thanks to everyone for helping):
What if our worlds moved in constant slow motion?
What if...Jesus opted to obey His flesh in Gethsemane?
What if God decided after the Flood to not bother try again?
What if our cat overlords were actually pets?
What if there were no what if's?
What if earth was just an experiment in some creatures terrarium?
What if God and Superman got in a fight?
What if the internet didn't exist?
What if life were only a dream?
What if the earth were really flat?
What if the sun stopped shining?
What if we never slept?
What if fat was the new thin?
What if you only had 15 minutes to save the world?
What if we were all cartoon characters?
What if Congress actually had to work and we collected all their benefits?
What if we never learned to walk?

What if you answered all these questions?  Would it lead to more questions?  Most likely.  These extra questions help to make the "what if" scenario all that more real, and bring you to a heightened sense of satisfaction with what you think to be true and for how your would react to that "what if" situation.  
All these questions can lead to a new scene in your story, a story starter, a characterization and much more.   Creative thinking leads to some inspirational writing!

Please leave me your "what ifs" in the comments.  Did you come up with any inspiration after reading all of these?  Please share!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Making Writing Fun!

Do you sometimes dread writing because you can't think of a thing to write about?  Are you stuck in your story and can't figure out what comes next?  Or, does your writing group need a fun game to play to get your creative juices going?  I found a great exercise to help!

At a recent Writers' Group meeting, we played a fun game called Exquisite Corpse: A Surrealist Writing Exercise for Groups.   This game was a great ice breaker and resulted in some highly original story starters or poems. 
To play:  Everyone has a blank piece of paper.  At each prompt, each person writes the word on their paper, folds it under.  Then they pass their paper on the the person on their left.  They write down the next prompt (adjective or noun or number, etc) and keep passing it on.  (To see all the prompts, go to the link) After the 8th prompt, unfold the paper you are holding and read your strange sentence out loud. 
Here are what we came up with:

The bubbly mink sees 5,000 interesting humming birds.
The stupendous rake sees 7 copious Yoshies.
A hot banana remembers 1,782,245 sweaty coyotes.
A soggy bench sees one zillion sweaty tables.
The happy book squirted 18 pretty chickens.

Try it with your group!  What can you come up with?

Tomorrow: how many What if? questions can you think of:

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