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Monday, August 29, 2011

Ludington Daily News Column- August 2011

Here's a hint. It's not a great idea to completely change your mind as to what you are going to write about twelve hours before it's due. Never fear... I lay awake re-writing it in my head and then finished this morning.

A couple of phone calls to check some facts, a fast hunt through the pictures on my SD card, and, whew! another column turned in on time.

This one is much more factual than some columns are, so don't be anticipating humor this time.

The title is "Aspiring to be Dayton?" Here's an excerpt:
Now, Dayton boasts an interconnected network of multi-use trails. In fact, Dayton was declared a bike-friendly city by the League of American Bicyclists in 2010, the only Ohio city to be so honored. This past week, I saw why this honor is deserved. A group of us biked, leisurely, from Eastside Park to Wegerzyn Gardens in about 30 minutes. A bus ride later between those locations took considerably longer.

These columns are not available on-line, unless you subscribe to the Ludington Daily News. One collection of columns is currently available as an e-book, called Get Off the Couch with Joan, at Smashwords. Use coupon code JX87H until December 30 to buy it for only 99 cents!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Short Story Contest Submission

OK, I did it. The short story submission in on its way. I can't say anything else about it, because I don't want to identify the contest in any way at this point.

I will say that I used a couple of adverbs... currently a big "no-no" in literary circles. Sigh. I'm not willing to throw all adverbs out of the English language. The story will be good enough, or not.

If anyone reading this would like to know more and possibly submit something, leave a comment and your email and I'll get you the info.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Chapter 14 of News from Dead Mule Swamp

Last night was the bi-monthly meeting of the West Side Gang writers' group. I missed the last one while I was away, so I hadn't shared a chapter of News from Dead Mule Swamp in a whole month. I also hadn't worked on it very much, also because of being gone.

Most members of the writing group really seem to like the story. Last night I got some good feedback to remind me to bring out more of what is going on with Ana's personal life. I did that well in the beginning, but kind of got away from it. So after I got home I re-read everything to date and put in a few thoughts Ana has that remind us of who she is besides a woman bent on finding out about a missing newspaper.

This chapter takes a breather from the action of the previous few. Ana has time to reflect on all the events to date, and makes another contact to try to find out more about the old newspaper that was stolen from her.

Here's an excerpt:
    “I’d love to spend some time with you. Tom drew me a map. I think I can follow it. It takes me down Schoolhouse Section Road to Butternut Valley, and then to Brown Trout Lane.”
   “That sounds right. Where do you have to come from, my dear?”
   There was another of those unaccustomed fondnesses intruding into my preferred no-nonsense life. I absolutely didn’t want to be anyone’s dear. Jolly Roger had taught me what happened to people got used to being cared for. I shut my eyes and chose to ignore the affectionate words; the woman could probably be my grandmother. “I’m on South River Road, at the edge of Dead Mule Swamp.”
   “Oh, the old Mosher farm! How nice for you.”

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Thousand Words, a Hundred Posts

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Just happened to notice that this is my hundredth post on this blog. It's just a nice complement to the real point.

If you write a lot, do you remember when writing 1000 words was a big deal? In high school I took an honors Literature class at Cornell. Every week we had to write an essay of 1000 words answering whatever question the professor thought we should be getting out of the short stories of the week. Sigh. I seldom agreed with the interpretation of the academics, and cranking out 1000 words seemed monumental.

Now, not so much. I just banged out a short story of that length to enter in a contest. I probably shouldn't give a sample or the name, just in case a judge happens to wander by. The contest is to be judged blind... always a good plan.

Now, if I would get busy and write some of the things I'm supposed to be writing.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Writing for Shared Reviews

I have written two new reviews and revised one older one.

My most recent new review is about a kind of cookie that I picked up at a markdown price, but OH, it was good. Grisbi Lemon and Ginseng Cookies- Exquisite

I also wrote about a pair of Dolfino Swim Goggles- You Get What You Pay For

The revision was more complicated. The required length of a review has changed off and on over the life of the site. For a while, it was a meager 200 words. Now, any reviews that short are being flagged as "thin," and opened for revision or they may be rolled into some kind of group review/article. I am struggling with how to fix these two reviews. (Note that most people had a lot more than that to fix.) But I managed to re-do one of them. It was a review of a unique art glass suncatcher... not a good choice of item to review anyway. I turned it into an article about tips for choosing art objects as gifts for people. It's now called Giving Art and Handcrafted Art Objects as Gifts

Use this link if you would like to sign up at Shared Reviews. There is a whole new structure and format coming to the site on Sept 1.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Booked another Program

I just booked another showing of "The North Country Trail and the Kitchen Sink," for Sept 20th in Traverse City. September is turning out to be a very busy month.

Ideally for me, the programs would be spread out a bit more, but one has to take them when people want them! No real complaints of course. Income is good.

This program will be for the Grand Traverse Hikers Club, at the DNR Nature Center on Cass Road- click on the Program Schedule tab to see all my upcoming programs.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Home Again- Lots to Do

I'm home again after being gone for a week, and my top writing priorities are three articles for the North Star, the quarterly publication of the North Country Trail Association. Unfortunately, I don't get any money from any of those. I had anticipated one article for this issue, but the editor is very sick, and they asked me to step in and cover a couple more things this time. I need to get my program schedule listings up to date ASAP too. Lots to keep me busy... more income from it all would be good.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

New Computer, No Time

It's real... I have my new laptop. But, I'm also getting ready to leave town for a week. It will be going along, but I'll be hiking and attending a conference. There will be some writing taking place, but it will all be pretty frantic.

I'm just glad that the computer is ready to go. I think I've got all the critical stuff loaded on it. And if I don't.... well, most critical things turn out to be not so critical if there is nothing you can do about them.

Friday, August 5, 2011

How Chained to the Keyboard?

My laptop computer (only 3 years old) died completely on Monday. Not good timing. Is there ever good timing for this?

Frankly, I haven't done any real writing all week. My desktop, that I used to think was speedy, feels like a tortoise, and I can't make myself sit there and wait for it.

I used to say that my brains flowed out the end of a pen onto paper, and I wasn't sure I could make the transition to using a computer keyboard. Although I was a good typist, a typewriter was never my preferred method to write. However, I quickly adapted to a keyboard-- a long time ago.

Now, this week, I can't make myself write by hand. A new laptop is ordered and I should have it today or tomorrow.