Friday, May 11, 2012

I've Moved!

Thanks for stopping by! Nobody's home here, because I've moved. But, consider yourself invited to my "new home!" If you like what you see, I'd love for you to follow me at:

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Resting Place #fridayflash #fridayfictioneers #100words

If you haven't found my new home yet, here's the link:

http://janmorrill.wordpress.com/2012/04/01/im-tardy-friday-fictioneers-resting-place/

I'd love for you to visit me there, and if you like it, follow me, too. But if you're not so inclined to hop on over, here's my Fictioneer Flash Fiction for this week:

# # #

I'm sorry to be so late in getting my flash fiction posted for the Fictioneers. Though this was one of my favorite photo prompts by Madison Woods, sometimes life gets in the way of our writing. Throughout the week, I hope to make my way through all of the stories prompted by this photo.

Resting Place

He wondered if he looked as worn as the old truck; sure felt as rusted. When he opened the door to get in, it groaned, just like he did when he got out of bed after a long, restless night.


“Morning, Sally.” Same words he’d whispered every morning of the fifty-five years he woke next to her. He took a deep breath and ran his crooked fingers over tattered upholstery. “We had us some good times in this here front seat, didn’t we?”


He watched the urn that rested where Sally used to sit, as if waiting for an answer.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Don't Forget! My Mashup and I Have Moved

If you're receiving this post by email, I'm grateful you have been a follower on this blog, and I'd be ever so happy if you'd hop on over to my new blog on WordPress, www.janmorrill.wordpress.com, and click on the "Follow Blog Via Email" button.



And, if you're not a follower, WHY NOT?? Just kidding. But, that too, would make me ever so happy, and we like Jan when she's happy.




Not so much when she's not.







Here's the link to my new mashup:

http://janmorrill.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/monday-morning-mashup-32612/

Thank you and have a happy Monday!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

I've Moved


Well, THE MOVE was so scary that I thought about it for months before taking the plunge. I was so scared of  THE MOVE that I convinced myself it wasn't possible. Soon, however, I began to see blog posts (such as Rachelle Gardner's post, "Five Most Common Author-Website Mistakes") that recommended WordPress over Blogger for better SEO (Search Engine Optimization.)

I decided I could no longer ignore the truth.

My next step was to research how to do it. Once I found a couple of websites/blogs that gave instructions step-by-step, it still took me a month to work up the courage. I was petrified of messing up my blog.

Today I bit the bullet. Here's the website I used, which provided easy-to-understand instructions:  Do It With WordPress:  Moving From Blogger to WordPress--Your Guide.

It was easier than I expected, and though I still have some tweaking to do, I'm pretty happy with the results.

Here's my new blog link:


I hope all of my dear follows will hop on over and follow me there. Better yet, I'd love for you to subscribe to my new blog, by clicking the "Follow Blog via Email" button. It was the hardest part about making the decision to move -- losing all my followers. :(

What do you think? Are you on Blogger or WordPress? Any thoughts about changing?

Friday, March 23, 2012

"Reaching" #FridayFictioneers #FlashFiction

I'm not sure how many times I've said this, but I thought this week's photo prompt by Madison Woods was her most challenging yet. Often, when I'm too challenged to write a story, I'll write haiku instead, which is what I did this week. And often, my haiku is a metaphor for life.

If you'd like to read other flash fiction tales about the photo, click here. As always, feel free to leave links to your blogs with your comments!

Reaching

Barren branches reach
toward heaven each winter
waiting for rebirth.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My Writerly Achilles Heel



My Facebook friend, Al Boudreau, posts daily questions to writers on Facebook. His question this morning was:






Writers/Authors: We all have strengths and weaknesses in our writing. What are you most deft at, in terms of winning readers over to make them fans? What are you striving to improve about your mad skills? 


Several authors have given their interesting, often self-deprecating answers. Reading them, it's good to know I'm not the only one out there. Here was my answer:


I think "voice" is my writing strength. My weakness is getting that shitty first draft on paper without being compulsive about getting every blasted sentence perfect. Most writers talk about over-editing their manuscripts. I over-edit my sentences.


I thought it was interesting that I had to think A LOT longer about my strengths than I did my weaknesses. Maybe that's because I'm experiencing one particular weakness full-on in the last few days. For over a week now, I have been stuck in the thick sludge of re-writing sentences over and over as I try to move forward with a story. I don't know if I should blame it on my obsessiveness with trying to get each sentence just right, or if I should blame it on my character's stubborn refusal to tell me her story.

In my Monday Mashup, I posted a link to an article by Jhumpa Lahiri called "My Life's Sentences." In the article, she states, "Constructing a sentence is the equivalent of taking a Polaroid snapshot: pressing the button, and watching something emerge." It is the same for me. I see mini stories within each sentence. Perhaps that's why I like to write haiku. (Click here to go to my haiku blog.)


I felt a little better after reading Ms. Lahiri's essay on her own struggle with sentences. She says:
My work accrues sentence by sentence. After an initial phase of sitting patiently, not so patiently, struggling to locate them, to pin them down, they begin arriving, fully formed in my brain. 
Still, it hasn't helped me to get more sentences down on paper. I suppose it's just one more aspect of waiting that tries the patience of a writer. Waiting for replies on queries. Waiting for a publisher or agent to call. Waiting for a character to tell her story. Waiting for a sentence to come.


So . . . back to Mr. Boudreau's question: What are your writerly strengths and weaknesses?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Telling Tuesdays 3/20/12 : "It was raining."

Welcome to Telling Tuesday, a day reminiscent of those in school when I looked forward to seeing what everyone brought for show and tell. This weekly feature was inspired by an article on WriteToDone.com, called "How to Show (Not Tell): A Writing Lesson from John LeCarre."


It is one of the best articles I've seen on the rule all writers know--show, don't tell--because it doesn't just tell us how not to tell, it shows us some of LeCarre's very own examples.


" . . . descriptions can set the scene, convey the inexpressible, and turn the reader into a witness, instead of remaining a mere bystander." -- Mary Jaksch, author of the article

Each week, I'll give a "telling" prompt, and invite you to show us, to make us a witness, not a mere bystander. Feel free to use the prompt, or the photo (if a photo is shown.) Of course, if you have a completely different "telling" prompt, you can "show" us that, too.


As always, I invite you to leave a link to your website or blog with your comments.


THIS WEEK'S PROMPT:


The following is my first attempt at writing romance. (We all have to step out of our comfort zones sometime.) I've already received some excellent critique from my writers' group, especially my friend,  Ruth Weeks, and I welcome whatever comments you might have.


It was raining. 




     It was raining that morning in Kyoto. Asako's kimono clung to her body, wet and cold as she ran across the street to find cover. Weaving her way through the crowds of people seeking shelter, she didn’t pay attention to where she stepped and the sole of her geta caught a pothole. She tripped and fell into the mud.
A young man ran to her and offered his hand. “Are you all right?” he asked as he helped her up.
She smoothed her kimono and bowed in gratitude. “Yes, I’m fine, thank you,” she replied, looking into his chestnut eyes.
When he smiled and nodded, said, "Good," in a velvety voice, when his keen gaze watched as she smoothed her kimono, something inside her warmed. In a flash, she knew her world would never be the same.
Though she could not break away from his gaze, she knew she she must be a terrible sight. Wet hair.  Smeared makeup. Her face surely had become a noh mask, a ghostly demon disguise. Embarrassed, she pushed away and stared down at the rain splashing in the puddles.
A loud clap of thunder startled her and snapped her back to reality.
Stupid girl. You are a maiko. Soon you will be a geisha. Stop your lovesick thoughts!
She ran for shelter from the rain, from him.
But he grabbed her arm and pulled her back so violently her geta fell off her foot. A second later, a rickshaw rumbled past and ran over her shoe, burying it in the mud.
When she turned to thank him, she was once again whisked away from the hectic, rainy world and the two stood alone in silence. She watched the gentle journey of water droplets as they fell from his black hair and trickled over high cheekbones before resting on firm lips.
She prayed the tingling she felt was only the raindrops upon her skin. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Morrill's Monday Morning Mashup - 3/19/12

MASH-UP
creative combination
or mixing of content
from different sources.

Writers are often bombarded with information on what we should and shouldn't be doing in our writerly lives, especially with all of the turmoil in the publishing industry today. The posts I've listed this week reminded me that right and wrong is not black and white. It's a big, foggy gray area, and it varies for each individual.


# # #

Jenna Blum writes "The Tortured Soul: Do You Need To Be One To Be A Writer?" in a post on Grub Street Daily. In this post, she muses about the caricature of the tortured soul, but the best part of the article is where she lists qualities you actually DO need to be a writer. http://grubdaily.org/?p=4944&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+GrubStreetDaily+%28Grub+Street+Daily%29


# # #


The post "How to Write Readable -- And Retweetable -- Tweets" by Dave Copeland on ReadWriteWeb.com includes some of the best advice I've seen on tweeting, including where to place your links within your tweet. Did you know it should not be placed at the end of your tweet? Read on! http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/how_to_write_readable_-_and_retweetable_-_tweets.php


# # #


I love the New York Times article, "My Life's Sentences," by Jhumpa Lahiri. In this post, Lahiri discusses her love of sentences, both in reading and writing them, saying, "The urge to convert experience into a group of words that are in a grammatical relation to one another is the most basic, ongoing impulse of my life." And though we're often taught that only after we complete our "shitty first draft" (Anne Lamott) should we then go through and perfect our sentences, Ms. Lahiri admits compulsion to analyze and perfect each sentence as she goes along. "All the revision I do — and this process begins immediately, accompanying the gestation — occurs on a sentence level." I felt better reading this article, because I admit, it's my natural way to write, also. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/17/my-lifes-sentences/?emc=eta1


# # #

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

Your assumptions are
your windows on the world.
Scrub them off every
once in a while,
or the light won't come in.
                            
                                         ~ Alan Alda 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Ignorant Shame

I was a member of the Armijo Super Band in Fairfield, California for all four of my high school years. And though we were called "band freaks" by the "popular" kids of the day, I was proud of my membership in the elite band. Our director, Mr. Lindsey always maintained the highest expectations with regard to our performance on and off the field.

For that reason, I encouraged both my daughter and son to be in their high school bands, though to my disappointment, they only stayed in their bands for two years. No more living vicariously.

I always regretted that I didn't get to attend college in the traditional way. Instead, I went to night school and worked. So, I never got to be in a college band. Even today, I can't think of too many things that would be more fun.

That's why, when I heard the story of the University of Southern Mississippi band chanting "Where's your green card?" to a Latino player on the Kansas State University basketball team, I cringed with disgust.

In my experience, being a band member was always positive, especially when it came to competition. I was taught to compete hard and be a good sport if we didn't win. What a great feeling to cheer and celebrate with my fellow band members. If any of us ever displayed such poor sportsmanship, Mr. Lindsey would have dragged us off the bleachers by our ears and stood us in the middle of the court while he scolded us with his megaphone.

Where was the band director, the drum major, while these chants occurred? Did anyone in the audience stand up and chastise the band?

Kudos to Angel Rodriguez, the basketball player who was the victim of the chanting. According to CNN:

Rodriguez did not change his expression during the chants and helped push Kansas State to victory by scoring 13 points.


"I heard it. I don't pay attention to that nonsense, especially because Puerto Rico is a commonwealth, so we don't need no type of papers," Rodriguez said Friday. "Their athletic director and personnel from their school came to apologize, and I accepted it."


Rodriguez said he realized that there are "ignorant people, and I know that is not how they want to represent their university. I've moved on already," he said. "I have a game to focus on."

I keep hoping we have "outgrown" such ugliness, but sadly, it appears not.

Friday, March 16, 2012

"Waiting for My Boy" #FridayFictioneers #FlashFiction

Madison Woods posted a bit of a different photo prompt today, and what a pretty dog. (According to the photo's file name, her name is "Bobbie Sue.") So much to write about her wise, watchful eyes. I'm excited to read the variety of flash that is sure to be written about her. Click here for links to all the stories.

Feel free to leave a link to your stories with your comments!


Waiting for My Boy

It’s the longest part of the day
Waiting while the sun that
shines overhead drops and hides
behind the oak across the street and cool
shade replaces warm sunshine on
my belly.

The yellow school bus engine revs
as it approaches.
Brakes squeal.
It stops in front of the oak.

My boy runs across the street, his
satchel bulging with homework that will take
him away from me for hours.

My tail wiggles, then
ripples through me
until
my whole body
shivers
with
one,
giant wag.

He flings the gate open,
kneels and wraps his arms around
me.

The-scent-of-him-the-taste-of-him.
My boy!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy 101st Birthday to Akira Yoshizawa - Origami Grand Master


Thank you to Google for its March 14, 2012 Google Doodle that reminded me of Akira Yoshizawa's 101st birthday. Though I've always enjoyed origami, before today, I never really thought about who inspired its popularity.

Happy birthday, Yoshizawa-san!


Thinking about origami reminded me of a trip my mother, sisters and daughter took to Japan a few years ago.







There, we visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial.

Of course I'd read the history of Hiroshima. But, even six decades later, the vision of what remains of the damage is startling. My first reaction was to deny to myself that our nation could have been responsible for such destruction. But of course, how could I deny it?

As we walked around the memorial site, a group of Japanese boys approached us, and asked if we would let them walk with us and answer any questions we might have about the memorial. It was a part of a school project they said.

At first, it was difficult to communicate, as they knew little English, and we knew even less Japanese. But as we walked around, I was surprised to find how much we were able to communicate with gestures and expresssions.


We came upon a beautiful memorial called the Children's Peace Monument, also known as Tower of a Thousand Cranes. We read the information and the boys further explained its story.

Sadako Sasaki was two years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Ten years later, she died of leukemia.  During her illness, she folded origami cranes in hopes they would help her recover from her illness. After her death, the Children’s Peace Monument was built. In the years since, thousands upon thousands of visitors from all over the world have  hung origami cranes, each a wish for peace.

Click here for more information on the Children’s Peace Monument  at Hiroshima.
Today, when I found these reminders of origami, I wondered why I hadn't included anything about origami in Broken Dolls

I guess that's one good thing about it not being published yet. It's not too late.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Telling Tuesdays 03/13/12 - "She'd never been so afraid."

Welcome to Telling Tuesday, a day reminiscent of those in school when I looked forward to seeing what everyone brought for show and tell. This weekly feature was inspired by an article on WriteToDone.com, called "How to Show (Not Tell): A Writing Lesson from John LeCarre."


It is one of the best articles I've seen on the rule all writers know--show, don't tell--because it doesn't just tell us how not to tell, it shows us some of LeCarre's very own examples.


" . . . descriptions can set the scene, convey the inexpressible, and turn the reader into a witness, instead of remaining a mere bystander." -- Mary Jaksch, author of the article

Each week, I'll give a "telling" prompt, and invite you to show us, to make us a witness, not a mere bystander. Feel free to use the prompt, or the photo (if a photo is shown.) Of course, if you have a completely different "telling" prompt, you can "show" us that, too.


As always, I invite you to leave a link to your website or blog with your comments.


THIS WEEK'S PROMPT:


She'd never been so afraid.




     She tiptoed, slowly, slowly, hoping he would not hear her. She'd even murmured a prayer, though she wasn't sure if she'd said it right. And if she said it wrong, would God hear her?
     She was afraid of the dark, but grateful for it, too.
     A leaf crunched--screamed--below her foot.
     He turned toward her.
     Did he see her?
     She froze. All except her heart. It pounded so hard and loud in ears it might have smothered the sound of his footsteps . . . if he wasn't getting closer.
     Closer.
     Should she scream?
     No. He'd hear her. Then find her.
     But, it was her only chance. Surely someone would hear, come to help.
     She opened her mouth, and prayed she could make a sound escape it.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Morrill's Monday Morning Mashup - 3/12/12

MASH-UP

creative combination
or mixing of content
from different sources.

Saturday was the premier of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pen, five women authors traveling together on the long and winding road to overnight success, starring Linda Apple, Ruth Burkett Weeks, Pamela Foster, Patty Stith (aka Claire Croxton) and me, Jan Morrill.


Come by and visit our new blog at:



Ruth, Pamela, Jan, Patty and Linda
We had a blast, sharing stories of our writerly journey complete with skipping and tripping through twists and turns on the way to the faraway land called Publication. The world has changed for writers, and I think we demonstrated it in an entertaining way. Much of the change we discussed involves the importance of a platform--even for fiction writers. And social media plays a huge role in building that platform.

Until you, too, can experience the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pen, I hope the links I share this week will help you maneuver your way through the challenges of this strange, new world.


Insatiable Booksluts has a great series called "Know Your Publisher," have provided information and links to a variety of small publishers, such as Red Lemonade and Coffee House Press.


# # #

Once again, Kristen Lamb posts a relevant blog to help writers maneuver their way through the foggy, gloppy world of social media. In her post, "The Modern Author - A New Breed of Writer for the Digital Age of Publishing," she states "We need to be stronger, faster and smarter. We must be better trained than any writer in human history."
Don't forget, Kristen is our guest speaker at the Ozarks Writers League meeting on August 18!


# # #

This week, through Twitter, I found a new blog, SEOmoz. Though it is an SEO (search engine optimization) software developer, they posted a helpful article titled "21 Tactics to increase Your Blog Traffic." Admittedly though some of these tactics are complicated and will require more study, (such as #5 and #7), most of the tactics are easy to implement.


# # #


QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

The real voyage of discovery
consists not in seeking new landscapes
but in having new eyes.

                                --- Marcel Proust

Thursday, March 8, 2012

If You Could Have an ATM for Anything, What Would It Be?

Yesterday CNN had a story on a new kind of ATM - a cupcake ATM! In her CNN article, "Cupcake ATM Vends Sweet Treats Around the Clock," Sonya Hamaski states the idea was inspired by the late night pregnancy craving of Sprinkles Cupcakes founder, Candace Nelson.
Now, 24-hours a day, seven days a week, you can satisfy your sweet tooth with a variety of yummy cupcake flavors. Though at a cost of $4.00 each, and currently only available in Beverly Hills, it does give us something to hope for.

Anyway, it got me thinking. If you could have a vending machine for anything, what would it be?

Here are some of the first things that came to my mind:

1) Fried rice
2) Ebooks - plug your Kindle, Nook or smartphone in.
3) Audiobooks - plug your iPhone, iPod or MP3 player in.
4) Makeup

And when I thought outside of the box, went wild, fantasized beyond reality, here are a couple of things I wanted vended:

1) Get your fortune told. Of course, you could have do-overs if you didn't like the first one.
2) Be granted three wishes. Caveat: As with all my thoughts on three wishes, the third wish would be for three more wishes.
3) Choose a date. (No, I don't need a date now that I'm married, but it seemed the natural course online dating might take in the future. Why not move on to selecting your date from a vending machine?)
4) Choose a job. That'd be great for the millions still unemployed. And just think, we wouldn't have to listen to all the political rhetoric about creating jobs.

Hey, come to think of it, maybe we should have an ATM for choosing government officials! But then, even in our wildest fantasies, we probably couldn't afford them.

What would YOU like to see dispensed in a vending machine?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Telling Tuesdays 2/7/12-"The food in the refrigerator looked gross."

Welcome to Telling Tuesday, a day reminiscent of those in school when I looked forward to seeing what everyone brought for show and tell. This weekly feature was inspired by an article on WriteToDone.com, called "How to Show (Not Tell): A Writing Lesson from John LeCarre."


It is one of the best articles I've seen on the rule all writers know--show, don't tell--because it doesn't just tell us how not to tell, it shows us some of LeCarre's very own examples.


" . . . descriptions can set the scene, convey the inexpressible, and turn the reader into a witness, instead of remaining a mere bystander." -- Mary Jaksch, author of the article

Each week, I'll give a "telling" prompt, and invite you to show us, to make us a witness, not a mere bystander. Feel free to use the prompt, or the photo (if a photo is shown.) Of course, if you have a completely different "telling" prompt, you can "show" us that, too.

As always, I invite you to leave a link to your website or blog with your comments.

THIS WEEK'S PROMPT:

The food in the refrigerator looked gross.


     Ms. Human Resources smiled and opened the break room refrigerator. "And this is where our employees keep their lunches."
     I had two simultaneous and inseparable urges. One, to turn away quickly, lest I breathe spores the strange life forms surely exhaled upon being exposed to light. At the same time, I couldn't turn away, overtaken by a curiosity almost as strange as that of a passerby at the scene of an accident. 
     I'd never seen cheese with such a thick five o'clock shadow. The pizza, apparently bored with Parmesan, had decided to grow its own blue cheese.
     But strangest of all was the tiny voice I heard coming from the tomatoes. "I'm melting. What a cruel world. I'm melting."
     I felt myself turn green as I feared the aliens inside the refrigerator had already infected me with their spores. I held my breath and ran out of the building as fast as my turning stomach would allow.
     "Wait! Wait!" cried Ms. Human Resources. "I'm not finished with my orientation yet. And you forgot your employee badge!"
     Bursting through the door and into fresh air, I bent over my knees and gulped deep breaths. When my lungs felt clear of contamination, I straightened again and stared at the entrance of the building. I couldn't help laughing at the sign I'd missed earlier:

ESPIAL LABS, Inc.
Bringing new life to those in need. 
     

Monday, March 5, 2012

Morrill's Monday Morning Mashup - "Gone to the Dogs" - 3/5/12

I know you're probably tired of hearing about my Internet woes, though not as tired as I am of experiencing them. But, thanks to the fantastic Windstream technician who arrived at my door this morning, I think the problem is fixed. Amazing the problems one little loose wire can cause.

Since I've obviously  missed my morning deadline for my mashup, this week I'm doing something a little different. Instead of writerly links, I've  posted a mashup of a few of my favorite dog YouTube videos.

A little fun for your viewing pleasure!

TWO DOGS EATING


TODDLER AND DOG PLAY THE BLUES


SOMETIMES WHEN YOU'RE FISHING
STRANGE THINGS HAPPEN



BEAR AND JUBIE ON GROUNDHOG DAY

If you have a favorite YouTube dog video, post the link and I'll add it.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

"Read an E-Book Week" Begins March 4


Beginning March 4 through March 10, to celebrate READ AN E-BOOK WEEK, download any of my Smashwords stories for FREE.


Click on the title links below to go to Smashwords for download.

Xs and Os

This Pushcart nominated story takes place in Arkansas during World War II. When Jubie Lee Franklin meets Sachiko Kimura, they find though their skin color is different, they have something in common.




 
 
 


The Red Kimono
 
Life is pretty dull at the internment camp in Rohwer, Arkansas. That is, until Sachiko meets Jubie Lee Franklin. Two girls couldn't be more different. That is, until something magical happens.




 
 
 



Sacrifice Rock
 
What happens when three brothers spend the day with frogs and war games? Nothing but trouble!








Captain Josie and The Whale


Josie knew her life would change when she left California for Alaska to study whales. But little did she know just how much. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

#FlashFriday #FridayFictioneers: "Glittering"

Strange that this week's photo prompt by Madison Woods screamed "HAIKU!" Maybe it's because it was so challenging I couldn't think of a full 100 word flash fiction. So, instead, I settled for seventeen syllables. Click here to take a look at what others wrote about the jewels in the photo.


Glittering jewels
pale in comparison to
the brilliance of love.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Telling Tuesdays 2/7/12-"She thought she'd explode."

Welcome to Telling Tuesday, a day reminiscent of those in school when I looked forward to seeing what everyone brought for show and tell. This weekly feature was inspired by an article on WriteToDone.com, called "How to Show (Not Tell): A Writing Lesson from John LeCarre."


It is one of the best articles I've seen on the rule all writers know--show, don't tell--because it doesn't just tell us how not to tell, it shows us some of LeCarre's very own examples.


" . . . descriptions can set the scene, convey the inexpressible, and turn the reader into a witness, instead of remaining a mere bystander." -- Mary Jaksch, author of the article

Each week, I'll give a "telling" prompt, and invite you to show us, to make us a witness, not a mere bystander. Feel free to use the prompt, or the photo (if a photo is shown.) Of course, if you have a completely different "telling" prompt, you can "show" us that, too.

As always, I invite you to leave a link to your website or blog with your comments.

THIS WEEK'S PROMPT:

She thought she'd explode.

     No. He couldn't have. He didn't really say it. Not again.
     Tension tightened in her shoulders. Her heart beat faster, pounding in her head, pulsing in her neck, billowing exasperation through her entire body until it fanned to rage that would surely burst through her mouth in fiery words she knew she'd regret in a day or two.
     "What did you say?" she asked, holding a leash on her temper as though it was a Rottweiler, frothing at the mouth.
     "Oh, my pet," her husband replied. "I only want to know if it's 'that time of month' again?"

Monday, February 27, 2012

Not a Sorry Samurai

For those of you following me on my path to publication--a journey fraught with sharp turns, obstacles to trip over and plenty of crossroads--here's a tale of one of my "creative" marketing attempts.

As a writer--one who is supposed to be creative--I am forever "thinking outside of the box" when it comes to getting word of my writing "out there"--something beyond the usual Facebook and Twitter promotion. So, when my friend and fellow author, M.G. Miller, informed me that George Takei, a former internee of Rohwer, (where my Broken Doll characters, Sachi and Nobu were internees) would be narrating with the Little Rock Symphony, I decided I had to attend. Later, another writer friend, Bud Hanks, sent me an email with additional information about George Takei's appearances in Arkansas.

It seemed the forces were with me. Oops. Wrong movie.

If I could only have the chance to talk to Mr. Takei . . .

I knew my chances were slim, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.


Once I purchased the tickets to the concert, my question then became, "How can I be gain the attention of George Takei in a bold (my friend, Ruth Weeks, calls me Samurai Jan), yet dignified manner? (I am half-Japanese, after all, and my misbehavior could potentially embarrass not only my mother, but many generations before her.)



  • Sit in the front row, flashing the Vulcan salute?
  • Wear a Trekkie outfit?
  • Paint my face like a geisha?
  • Tattoo "I need to talk to you" on my forehead?
  • All of the above?

Okay, those were bold ideas, but hardly dignified.

So, I here's what I decided to do:
  • Wear my evening jacket, cut from a genuine kimono, purchased in Japan.
  • Bring a copy of the Ramblings Yearbook, (1945) from Topaz War Relocation Center, where my mother and her family were internees.
  • Bring a synopsis of my book . . . just in case.
  • Bring business cards . . . just in case.
Ruth and I sat in the front row, center seats. When the time came, Mr. Takei walked onto the stage, and I turned to Jell-O, almost like when I watched Michael Bolton walked onto the stage many, many years ago.(However, I didn't scream uncontrollably with Mr. Takei. I might have, but that would be undignified.)

Unfortunately, we were sitting so close to the stage that Mr. Takei's placement for his narration was blocked by conductor Philip Mann's pant leg. I strained to move around that pant leg to see Mr. Takei, knowing that if I couldn't see him, he surely couldn't see me. But, too much straining would look . . . well, undignified.

When his beautiful and moving narration was complete, Mr. Takei left the stage. I slumped in my seat, no longer concerned about looking undignified.
Philip Mann and George Takei
Then, the orchestra began to play Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, Ode to Joy. It was as though the sun began to shine again. A full symphony and 400+ voices, all conducted by the passionate movement of conductor, Philip Mann.


For more than an hour I had chills over the beautiful sounds of the orchestra and choir, recalled my days as a flutist and sat on my hands to keep from mimicking the conductor. On the way home, Ruth and I stopped for dinner and talked about everything under the sun.

In the end, the glow of Mr. Takei's Japanese dignity, melted my boldness like the sun melts the snow. But my path to publication is also lined with many flowers, and yesterday was one of them.


How could I be a sorry Samurai?

Morrill's Monday Morning Mashup - 2/27/12

MASH-UP

creative combination
or mixing of content
from different sources.

I'm back with the Mashup after a couple of weeks of Internet challenges and being out of town. I hope this week's blogs of Twitterly information will help you over the hump of Twitterphobia. After you read these articles, my best advice is "just do it." Stop twittering your thumbs over Twitter and get started. Little by little, you'll learn this very foreign language.

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This post titled "44 Essential Twitter Hashtags" by Caitlin Muir on the blog, www.AuthorMedia.Com, explains what a hashtag is, and describes how to use them effectively. Says Ms. Muir:  "Used correctly, Twitter hashtags are one of the best ways to connect with industry experts, readers, and other authors. Used incorrectly, it’s just another way to waste your precious time."


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When it comes to effectively using social media, Madison Woods is one of the best I know. She has begun an excellent and comprehensive series on the Writerly Business Plan on her blog. One of the components of that series is "Twitter as a Tool." Madison says:  "Networking is way different from selling. Marketing is not directly selling. It’s the art of making someone want whatever you are offering."

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Insatiable Booksluts. With a name like that you know you want to visit this website. And it gives you some idea that these bloggers (Susie, Rob and Amy) post information in an entertaining and informative manner, for both writers and readers. Their post on "Using Twitter to Market the Books You Wrote" provides great information on what to do, and more importantly, what NOT to do when using Twitter for marketing:  "Even super famous people with a zillion followers don’t spend all their time sitting around saying 'buy my book/watch my show/etc!' They wouldn’t have a zillion followers if they did that."



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QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

A man should not
enter a house suddenly
without knocking.
               --- The Talmud