Monthly Archives: March 2013

Five Lessons Learned

Polishing one’s writing can be a lonely affair.

1. Enlist the aid of others–a writing critique group or even a good friend you trust. Sometimes simply reading aloud to yoruself helps, but when there is an audience, one’s own revision instincts sharpen.

2. Listen to comments on your specific piece., Evaluate, edit in light of those comments, but do not slavishly follow–trust your own creative instincts.

3. Listen to comments made to and by others. Yesterday comments made to another reminded me  that  the words “appear” and “seem” weaken everyone’s writing

4. Repeats are not necessary unless you have a distinct purpose for them. Mindlessly repeating words is redundancy and irritates readers. Repeating for emphasis awakens readers to your intent.

5. Write for your readers not just for yourself. Journals are for self-directed writing. All else should be selfless.

Easter Food Traditions

In our house, Easter is for lamb–symbolic and for taste. we all love lamb.

This Sunday Joe will be grilling American lamb (it’s the best!) from a local butcher. I’ll marinate it first in olive oil, wine, and Italian herbs.

Tho the traditional Italian way is to serve it over roasted potatoes, we will do mashed, peas and rosemary, and artichokes–stuffed if I can find nice ones, baked hearts if there are no nice ones.

Dessert will be simple since there are just two of us this year–sfogliatelle from a bakery and fruit.


Tuesday Potpourri

Today I’ll be working on a couple of book reivews–one on Voiceovers for this blog, and another three for the Sun News.

Am working on another reivew for this blog on cooking for diabetics. Will be using some of the recipes this week or next.

Eleven years ago this was our son’s last day of consciousness. He was hit by a car on March 26 around 9:30 in the evening on VA Tech campus by a girl goign home from her night class. He went to hospital where he died on March 30. This is a tough week for my husband, daughter and me. Please keep us in prayer. It’s even worse this year because allt eh days are the same day of the week and it is also Passover and Easter—as it was in 2002

Blessings to all of you


Check out this link!

Check out this link!

Sorry to have skipped

Migraine interference. Will not post again until Wednesday March 20

Sign of the Times? Tuesday special

An additional Post

Emblematic Poetry–I jsut discovered it today! It’s been around ince Victorian times. They were the first to use lettes and initials in writing–LOL! Yep 2cool!

In addition, the poems are like concrete poetry except that the shape must contribute to the sense of the poem: “When a poem is laid out in such a way as to create a visual image which coincides with the subject or thematic content of the poem” accordign to a definition. A fellow Desert Breeze author, Barri, has an emblematic poem on her blog today.

So, we see the short, writing, the shaped writing, as a sign of our times, but it is merely a revival of something old! Enjoy!

Monday–Time Well Spent

Many of your children are on spring break. Don’t hassle about what to do, how to keep them busy and all of that. Just try to spend more time with them even if it is simply making dinner together, reading together, watching a fave tv show or movie at home. Time together with your children is priceless–for both parent and child.

Ta Da!! Guest Blogger JoAnn Matthews shares her secrets–What to do after the book is written!

Writing the novel, polishing it, loving it–these are only the first steps along the road to getting your book into the hands of readers. Fellow writer, JoAnn Matthews shares today

JoAnn begins

Finishing a novel is a monumental task, but your work is only part-way done when you type “The End.” What are the steps AFTER finishing your book?


1)     Let the book rest one or two weeks before you reread it. You’ll see misspellings, run-ons and other grammatical mistakes that are a mere keystroke or two from correcting.


2)     Make notes on inconsistencies. Was your main character’s great aunt named Millie or Martha? Did your childhood friend die 20 years ago or 22 years ago? Find a way to make it easy for yourself to make these changes. I have a notebook handy, and do “word check” to find a name, date or event. I jot down the chapter/page where it’s first mentioned then continue the word check. You find inconsistencies right away. If major changes are necessary, write the situations down in your notebook for changes later. Always remember to include chapter and/or page.


3)     Once you’ve made all changes, reread your book without stopping. You still might find a few minor errors you can correct immediately.


4)     Ask one or two people you trust to be your beta readers. On two separate occasions with two different books, I asked relatives to read my books. BIG MISTAKE! Just because your close friends or relatives are avid readers does not mean they are capable of editing or recommending changes in your book. THEY AREN’T! Ask people who have experience writing, editing and/or publishing. Chose those who are honest without being cruel, knowledgeable without being pedantic and amenable without being ingratiating.


5)      Weigh with careful consideration the suggestions your beta readers make. Beta readers see errors and inconsistencies that never caught your eye. One reader asked me how a sunbather could get a tan when she was sitting in the shade. Another asked how a character could see the expression on the antagonist’s face when she had turned her back on him. This are minor but important changes. If a beta reader suggests a major change, e.g., go from third person to first person, only make the change that you believe will improve your novel. I rejected that suggestion.  Do NOT change anything you feel compromises the integrity of the story you are telling.  


6)     When you have made all the changes you believe are necessary, it’s time to head toward publication. I have always believed that an agent is the best course for me. Contacting a publisher is possible, but most take one or two years—yes, years—to get back to you. An agent takes one to three months. Even that’s a long time, but it’s worth it if the agent sells your book.


7)     How to choose an agent? Do your research. Professional magazines such as “Writer’s Digest” and “Romance Writers Report” publish articles about and by agents. has recommendations. Investigate any reference to an agent or agency and note which agents attend writers’ conferences. NEVER EVER pay an agent to sell your book. They work on commission and take their share once the book is sold.


8)     Don’t scream “Yes” if an agency calls and says it wants to buy your book. Thank them and say you want to read the contact first. Many writers contact a literary attorney to help them understand the contract and get the best deal.   


Good luck and publish in 2013!







Somehow yesterday got away from me without a blog, Was going to post my husband’s fab recipe for pasta with goat cheese and zucchini, but you will have to wait for that.

Instead, a bit on timing–getting the meal out all at once, with each dish at the correct temp is often difficult for beginning chefs or even experienced ones working with a new recipe or appliance. Planning is the key–look at the work required for each recipe. Get your ingredients out for all recipes and the cooking and serving dishes. Then you can move through the steps for each recipe with the grace and fluidity of a dance, working the stpes for each dish in the order that is logical for presentation of all, at same time, at the table.


Appetizers–separate prep. Take cheeses out (whether as dessert or app, early in afternoon of dinner party to bring to room temp) Set on serve plate.

Make cold apps and salads ahead. Do not dress salad until just before serving but mix your dressing ahead.

Read all the steps in all the articles. Be sure you have all ingredients.

Plan it out

Do it.

Good luck

Something old, Finding Treasure

Do you have an item that you treasued in childhood? A toy? A piece of jewelry? Give it to your child along with the story of why it was treasured–the good times you had with it, the person who gave it to you–all of these things will help your child see beyond the object per se to it’s real value – as a reminder of treasured times and people.

The times and people are the real treasure.