Don’t be a Bad Writer! Learn What Good Writers Know


This is an excellent post on the need for writers to be dedicated to their craft and disciplined in their approaches to writing.


14753911496_29be0d1081_mMany people talk about bad writing versus good writing. Often the label of “good” or “bad” extends past the writing to the writer. There are many possible reasons as to why one writer may be considered “bad,” while another is thought of as “good.” But what is the main difference between good and bad writers?


Good writers are persistent. They refuse to give up. Bad writers stop when they hit a roadblock.

Most often a writer’s first novel isn’t all that great. Writing takes work, and the more you write, and the more you learn to write, the better you become at it. Writing a novel, short story, etc. is a big feat. However, writing a piece of work is only the first part. Revising and editing a piece comes after. Many times revision takes longer than writing the piece.

A writer friend of mine can write a novel…

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Quotation of the Day — Day 3



“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (Edmund Burke)

Edmund Burke said this in the the 1700s, but the moral imperative for people to oppose evil is still applicable.

I was nominated for this challenge by Trish threehandsoneheart . She is a wonderful blogger who always gives useful information and evocative and imaginative writings on her site. So, a deep thank you to Trish!

The Rules follow:

* Post one quotation a day for three days (they can be from other sources or one of your own).

* Nominate 3 other bloggers to participate per post.

* Thank the blogger who nominated you.

Here are my nominations : Please visit their sites and give them a click!

Cindy Knock

Kritika Vashist

Jean M. Cogdell

A Quotation a Day Challenge — Day 2



“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

William Shakespeare Hamlet Act 1, Scene 5, Lines 166-167.


Life is always more complex and more wondrous than any of us can imagine.  Shakespeare’s quotation reminds us not to be satisfied with easy explanations.  The universe is very large and very mysterious.

This new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image presents the Arches Cluster, the densest known star cluster in the Milky Way. It is located about 25 000 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Sagittarius (The Archer), close to the heart of our galaxy, the Milky Way. It is, like its neighbour the Quintuplet Cluster, a fairly young astronomical object at between two and four million years old. The Arches cluster is so dense that in a region with a radius equal to the distance between the Sun and its nearest star there would be over 100 000 stars! At least 150 stars within the cluster are among the brightest ever discovered in the the Milky Way. These stars are so bright and massive, that they will burn their fuel within a short time, on a cosmological scale, just a few million years, and die in spectacular supernova explosions. Due to the short lifetime of the stars in the cluster, the gas between the stars contains an unusually high amount of heavier elements, which were produced by earlier generations of stars. Despite its brightness the Arches Cluster cannot be seen with the naked eye. The visible light from the cluster is completely obscured by gigantic clouds of dust in this region. To make the cluster visible astronomers have to use detectors which can collect light from the X-ray, infrared, and radio bands, as these wavelengths can pass through the dust clouds. This observation shows the Arches Cluster in the infrared and demonstrates the leap in Hubble’s performance since its 1999 image of same object.

Image credit: NASA/ESA

I was nominated for this challenge by Trish threehandsoneheart . She is a wonderful blogger who always gives useful information and evocative and imaginative writings on her site. So, a deep thank you to Trish!

The Rules follow:

* Post one quotation a day for three days (they can be from other sources or one of your own).

* Nominate 3 other bloggers to participate per post.

* Thank the blogger who nominated you.

Here are my nominations : Please visit their sites and give them a click!

Ana Franco

Mehak M. Khan

Adventures of a Dublin Bookworm




“You see things; and you say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not?’”
George Bernard Shaw


There is also a slightly different version of this quotation:

“Some people see things as they are and say why? I dream things that never were and say, why not?”
Robert Kennedy


Both quotations speak to the need to see the world differently than others, to maintain idealism, and to have hope for positive change.


I was nominated for this challenge by Trish threehandsoneheart . She is a wonderful blogger who always gives useful information and evocative and imaginative writings on her site. So, a deep thank you to Trish!

The Rules follow:

* Post one quotation a day for three days (they can be from other sources or one of your own).

* Nominate 3 other bloggers to participate per post.

* Thank the blogger who nominated you.

Here are my nominations: Please visit their sites and give them a click!

* Herminia Chow

* Kait King

* Zach Chopchinski

I hope you enjoy this challenge, and thank you again to Trish, threehandsoneheart for nominating me.

Helen Murray’s Peanut Butter Cookies




I have shared some recipes from the three gentlemen who make up the ghost hunting group in my horror novel Maledicus: Investigative Paranormal Society Book I. These are the main characters in my novel, but there are other very important people also, and they will also share recipes with you.   Today, I wanted to offer a baking recipe from Helen Murray.

Helen Murray, one of the main secondary characters, is a high school history teacher and the guardian of her niece Helena who was named for her.  Helen became the child’s guardian when her sister and brother-in-law were killed by a drunk driver.  The child was an infant when this tragedy occurred, so she has grown to the age of 5 thinking of Helen as her mother.  One of the tasks involved with caring for the little girl that Helen embraced was baking.  Previously, she had done very little of it, but after gaining the responsibility for taking care of this little girl, whom she loved, she found a passion for baking.



One of her simple recipes is also one of Helena’s favorite treats: Helen’s peanut butter cookies.

1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy)

1/2 cup butter–softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla (or 1 vanilla bean if adventurous)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1&1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Put peanut butter and butter into mixing bowl. Use medium speed, and beat until the mixture is smooth (about 1-2 minutes). Add sugar, egg and vanilla.  Use medium speed, and beat about another minute.  Scrape bowl and combine together.

Add all the other ingredients for about 1 more minute of beating.  Roll the dough into one inch balls.  Press flat with a fork into a criss-cross pattern.

Bake at 375 degrees until golden brown.  In Helen’s oven, that takes about 10 minutes.  It could vary by a few minutes.  Remove from baking sheets and let cool. This recipe will make about 33-37 cookies.



As an extra treat, Helen sometimes will dip half the cookie in melted chocolate and add rainbow sprinkles and let them cool.

Helena always loves these!

More recipes from characters to come in the future.

Reading Habits



I want to thank Sarah Higbee for nominating me to discuss my reading habits.  I love reading, and I am always willing to discuss my habits and thoughts about it.


You have 20,000 books on your TBR. How in the world do you decide what to read next?

Well, this just about sounds like an accurate situation for me.  I never have any loss of books to be read, whether for teaching, writing, or for pleasure.  So, given that I usually am reading 5-6 books at one time, I would probably choose 1-2 to fit each category and attack them.  And then, look at my piles of books on my bookshelves and wonder if I will ever get through them all.  No matter, I won’t run out of reading material.


You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it. Do you quit or commit?

This would depend on why I am reading the book.  If I am reading a book for pleasure, and I simply do not love it or, at least, enjoy it, after halfway, then I would probably put it aside.  But if there is anything good in it, I would finish it.

Now, if it were for teaching, then I would simply finish it.  In that case, there is a duty to understanding the text fully and not being concerned primarily with my emotional reaction to the book.  I hope, however, that most of the books I teach or read for teaching or writing I would enjoy.


The end of the year is coming and you’re so close yet so far away on your GoodReads challenge. Do you quit or commit?

This is an interesting question because I do not yet belong to GoodReads.  It can, however, be applied to my reading goals in general.  I do not set a specific number of books to be read in a given year, and since I love reading, I am never tempted to just go a week or two without reading.  I can estimate that I do read somewhere between 150-200 books every year, so even if I were on the lower end of that scale or past it, I would simply keep going.  There are always other books that are calling out to be read.

Shoes 2

The covers of a series you love DO. NOT. MATCH. How do you cope?

Ok, I will be brutally honest here.  I don’t care at all about the covers of the books.


Everyone and their mother loves a book you really don’t like. Who do you bond with over shared feelings?

I don’t worry about what other people feel about a book.   I feel no need to please anyone by liking a book that I don’t because of the opinions of others.  I think it is important for everyone have their own views and not be concerned if  they fit in with any crowd.


You’re reading a book and you’re about to start crying in public. How do you deal?

Well, as a man of my age, I do not cry easily–yes, I am of  that generation.  I admit it.  But if it were to happen while reading a book, I would just cry.  I do not embarrass easily, and it just might provoke interesting conversation or responses.  Hmmm….who is that man on the bus sobbing while he is reading?  Maybe we should just move a few seats away from him.


A sequel of a book you loved just came out, but you’ve forgotten a lot from the prior novel. Will you re-read the book? Skip the sequel? Try to find a summary on GoodReads? Cry in frustration?

If this sequel is a book I really want to read, then I would probably reread the first book and then immediately read the sequel.


You don’t want ANYONE borrowing your books. How do you politely tell people “nope” when they ask?

This is not an issue for me, because I am a lover and owner of books, but I am not a collector.  With the exceptions of books I need for teaching or work or a very few prized texts, I would allow most people to borrow from me.


You’ve picked up and put down five different books in the past month. How do you get over the reading slump?

I don’t have reading slumps.  I may not like a book enough to finish it, but I am always reading several books at the same time.

buying books

There are so many new books coming out that you are dying to read! How many do you actually buy?

This depends on our financial situation.  I never buy all of the books I want, because the rent and car payments need to be made.  Food is good also!  I wonder what would happen if I had an unlimited source of income–how many books would I buy?

Old Books on shelf

Old Books on shelf

After you’ve bought a new book you want to get to, how long do they sit on your shelf until you actually read them?

Typically if I have just purchased a new book, then I will read it quickly.  If, however, I am inundated with teaching and reading for work, then a new book might simply have to wait to be read.  “Have patience,” I say to it.  “I will get to you.  I haven’t forgotten about you.”


Nomination time

I hope that you will enjoy answering these questions about your reading habits, if you have the time:

Sheila Renee Parker

A Small Press Life

Susanna J. Sturgis

Karen B. Pearce


Paula Donnolo

Zach Chopchinski

Rebecca McLaughlin

Kat Kent

Esther Newton

Beverley Young

Herminia Chow

Russell J. Fellows


Victoria Iskak

Becky Due


Mitch Teemley

Kritika Vashist

Kayla Johnson


Cindy Knoke

GP Cox

Kate Colby

D. Wolfgang Miller

Wow, this is quite a long list, and if I have missed anyone, I apologize.  Please feel free to weigh in on this topic.

Happy reading to all!

A 3rd Draft Complete



It always feels wonderful to reach a goal!  I had hoped to have completed the third draft of my Young Adult novel by the middle of this month, and I finished it on Wednesday!


The next step in the process is to have it read by a few select readers and then return to the revision process.  I suspect the next draft will  take approximately 1-2 months, so accounting for reading times, I would like to have this draft (# 4) finished by the end of the summer.


I am taking just the weekend off from drafting, and then I will return to the cycle of beginning a new novel.  I have several competing in my head to be the next one begun, so I am not yet sure which will win.  I will, however, choose and begin a first draft on Monday.  My goal for that draft is to have it finished by the end of the year.


As a side note, I am working, albeit, very slowly on my academic book.  I am still trying to find a copy of the play I need, so more on that progress in the future.


Allergic To E Challenge



I received an unusual and very interesting writing challenge from Kritika Vashist , and I am happy and amused by it.  At first, it seemed to be very odd, but then again, I love the odd, weird, and unusual.


Here are the rules:

Here are the rules of the challenge:

  1. Write a whole paragraph (a paragraph sounds easy right?) without any word containing the letter “e” (still easy?)
  2. By reading this you are already signed up.
  3. Challenge at least five bloggers to do the challenge. They must do it within 24 hours or it is considered as failure.
  4. If you fail or pass, suffer in the Page of Lame.
  5. If you win, wallow in the Page of Fame.

Soooooooooooooooo, here is my effort.  Make of this “very odd” piece of writing what you will!

What a wondrous world Sam, a druid of old, walks into. Spinning around, Sam spots a brilliant sky, a group of birds flying without much work, and clouds billowing as if animals cavort in air. A dragon shows up, wings flapping away, and it shouts with an Irish lilt, “top o’ th’ morning.” Sam thinks it is a happy, and not angry, magical animal.

Here are my nominations to try this little exercise.  I hope you enjoy it and don’t hate it.

Victoria Iskak

Kate M. Colby

Next Step to Nirvana

Mitch Teemley

Sophie Kat

Zach Chopchinski

Good luck to all!!!!


Freestyle Writing Challenge



I was surprised and honored to have been nominated to perform a Freestyle Writing Challenge by Kayla Johnson .  Ms. Johnson is a writer whose blog I follow and whom I respect enormously.


I found this idea of doing a freestyle writing very engaging, because I use  a similar exercise with my students in my First Year Writing classes in college.  So, it is only fair that I, also, do this exercise.


Here are the rules that I should follow (and also for those who accept my challenge):

1. Open a blank Document

2. Set a stop watch or mobile phone timer to 5 or 10 minutes

3. Your topic is at the foot of this post – DO NOT SCROLL DOWN TO SEE IT UNTIL YOU ARE READY WITH YOUR TIMER!

4. Once you start writing do not stop until the alarm sounds!

5. Do not cheat by going back and correcting spelling and grammar using spell check (it is only meant for you to reflect on your own control of sensible thought flow and for you to reflect on your ability to write with correct spelling and grammar.)

6. You may or may not pay attention to punctuation or capitals

7. At the end of your post write down ‘No. of words = ____” to give an idea of how much you can write within the time frame

8. Copy and paste the entire passage on your blog post with a new topic for your nominees and copy/paste these rules along with your nomination (at least 5 bloggers)

My topic to write about was to describe a home you’ve lived in.

My freewrite — I gave myself ten minutes:

I grew up in what seemed to me to be a very large home on the south side of town. It was a half-double (twin or duplex, depending on what you are used to hearing), but it was truly a very large and mysterious home to me, at least when I was a child.

The front of the house sat up off the street, with a set of old, concrete stairs that went straight up for about 15 steps then turned onto a landing of about 10 feet, then another 10 steps. The front of the house had a porch that ran the width of the house.

This porch was one of the best features of the house when I was a child. My friends and I, especially my cousin, played there in all kinds of weather. Many board games, battles with toy soldiers, including create handkerchief paratroopers, and other adventures were done there.

The yard was also a deeply important part of the house when I was a child. It ran the length of the house and then curved onto the back. The yard was flat for about half of the distance, then had about a 2 foot slope leading to a longer hill up to the top or the yard. In the winter, this was an extraordinary place for the kids to ride their sleds. Because there was a large hedge at the bottom of the yard, we had no danger of flying into the streets.

A retaining wall ran part of the length of the house, and it had a depression in it, creating a long runway, or at least that’s what we called it. As a kid, I believed it had to have been created for use to run our toys cars on.

Today, many people would see an old, run-down house in a depressed area of that town, but for me, it was a wondrous building.

The inside of the home was also mysterious and full of wonder. The basement, which ran the length of the house, ended with stairs that led to nowhere. I was convinced they had to be magical, although I know now an addition covered the outside entrance they had led to.

Time!!! Ten minutes just elapsed, so I have to stop.

The word count is 371.

This was a very interesting experience, and I enjoyed thinking and writing about this home.  Once again, thank you to Kayla Johnson!

Here are my nominees, and a big drum roll please!



Kait King

Miss Andi


Russell J. Fellows


Herminia Chow

In My Cluttered Attic

Sarah Higbee

Karen Pearce

Rebecca McLaughlin

Kat Kent 2014


Please do not scroll down until you have decided to accept and begin the challenge!














If you could travel to any place in the world at another historical era, where would it be?