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Finding A New Normal

  Posted by Joe Stephens in My Train of Thought, 21 January 2017 · 5 views

Normal is just a dryer setting PIN or MAGNET - 1 inch normal pin, normal magnet, pinback button, celebrate being different, fridge magnetThe concept of normal is a tricky one. I don't mean normal vs. abnormal, as in psychology, etc. I mean normal as in normal routine. How long does something have to happen before it becomes normal? And how do we deal with it when our old normal is replaced with a new one. I guess when it comes to something large enough, it forces us to reevaluate our priorities.

For me, the old normal started changing when Mom started showing signs of Alzheimer's, though it was a gradual thing. I tried to be home more and started doing my own laundry (Mom had always insisted, against my protests, that the housework was her job.), and some cooking. But it completely changed twice when she had her stroke. Once when she went in the hospital and again when she got home. I knew the first change was going to be temporary in that she was, we hoped, going to come home sometime, which was when the real change to a new normal took place.
Mom and Dad

Now, instead of getting up and quietly having tea, doing my devotions, and mucking around on the Internet or writing every morning, I'm responsible for Lola, our dog. I get up, take her out, feed her her breakfast, have my breakfast, get in and out of the shower as quickly as I can, and get ready for work before they get up so Dad can have the bathroom for Mom. If they get up in time before I leave for work, I make them breakfast. After school is another big change. I used to take my time coming home or not come home for supper at all when I had things to do in the evening. Now, I go straight home so I can take Lola for a walk before making supper, followed by cleaning up the kitchen. If I have time and energy left, I work on school stuff or read. But most of the time, I just have time to watch a little TV before passing out.
Don's in the center.

The key word in all that is responsible. It isn't lost on me that, until recently, I've had it awfully good, with nearly no personal responsibilities around the house beyond what I volunteered for. Now, I guess I'm still volunteering, though my services are a lot more vital than before. I just hate to think of how hard, maybe impossible, Dad's task would be if he didn't have my siblings and me to help. I know there are many folks out there in that exact situation and my heart really goes out to them.

Barb helps constantly despite
the fact that she lives far out
in the country and has a farm to
tend to. 
So I've had to re-prioritize, cutting back on some things, like going to my students' sporting events and other performances, and stop others, at least temporarily, like writing for ClutchMOV. Oddly enough, I have found time to work on my book and somehow got a couple thousand words written this week. But there's no routine for that like there used to be either. I just have to write when I find a little time here and there and be okay with not having hours to sit at my keyboard at a time. I'm happy to accept the disruption when it means I still have my mom.

Mom's been home for a week and, though it doesn't feel like it yet, I guess this is the new normal. Or at least it will be until my brother Dave gets here this week. He'll be staying here to help as long as he can, which will mean yet another new normal. So maybe normal is a tricky concept because it just doesn't exist. Maybe I need to quit thinking about keeping things normal and just take each day as it comes. It would probably be less upsetting each time something changes.

I just want to say that I'm not writing all this to complain about anything or for recognition. I have nothing to complain about and deserve no admiration for doing what any adult child should be doing for his aging parents. I'm so completely blessed to have, at age 53, both my parents still living. And my mother has spent her whole life since her kids were born dedicated to doing for us, so it's a privilege to have a chance to pay even a little bit of that back. I just hope reading about these experiences can help someone who's going through the same situation with a loved one.

Dave and Barb
And I don't want anyone to think that I'm alone in this. My brother Don and my sister Barb are here an awful lot--pretty much daily--and they bring so much food that there are many days when I don't have to cook at all. But all of our efforts pale in comparison to the time and effort that Dad gives. Except for short little snippets when one of us stays with Mom so he can go get a haircut or go shopping, Dad is with Mom every minute of the day. He checks her blood sugar before every meal, makes sure she takes all her medicines on time (she takes pills or gets eye drops five times a day), takes her to her physical therapy, takes her to the bathroom--I could go on and on. All the rest of us help when we're not busy with something else. For him, there really is nothing else. And though I know it's got to be wearing on him, he never complains. I'm proud to be his son. There's no question about it: God gave us a double portion of love when He chose us to be Dave and Nancy's kids.



Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 in Writer, Writer Pants on Fire, 21 January 2017 · 17 views

Meet my Hatchet of Death (or, some other colorful description RC Lewis and I come up with at any given moment). This is how I edit myself, it is how I edit others. If you think you want to play with me and my hatchet, shoot us an email.

We all know the first line of a query is your "hook." I call the last line the "sinker." You want it to punch them in the face, in a nice, friendly kind of way that makes them unable to forget you after having read the 300 other queries in their inbox.

If you're looking for query advice, but are slightly intimidated by my claws, blade, or just my rolling googly-eyes, check out the query critique boards over at AgentQueryConnect. This is where I got my start, with advice from people smarter than me. Don't be afraid to ask for help with the most critical first step of your writing journey - the query. My comments appear in green.

Eleven-year-old Skye Schuster understands “Military Math.” It’s what happens when your father is killed in combat. And, just like that, you go from a family of three to a family of two. Ah, okay - maybe get the actual math in there just a touch sooner, possibly by combining these two sentences. Otherwise, good hook. And they say you’re a war orphan. Is this still a commonly used phrase? It gives this a touch of historical feel and you might not want that since so far there hasn't been much indication of genre. (Unless, of course, it is a historical in which case, carry on). And then… Hmm, I'd kill the ellipsis. It's an awkward transition into the next para, which I see is a theme for the query. I wouldn't do this unless it's ALSO a theme in the book or indicative of voice. Which, honestly an entire book full of quirky transitions might not work. I'd consider a smoother transition.

Your the transition from the hook POV of Skye to the "your" is only present here in the middle, then switches back out to Skye as 3rd in the last para. I'd keep it consistent throughout. mom decides to marry some guy who hardly talks to you at all. You call him “Dim Tim” and you wear your dad’s dog tags on a chain around your neck so he knows he won’t ever be as good as your real dad. It’s working pretty well until…

A car crash leaves your mom in a coma. Now, all those feelings of loss for your dad intensify as they swirl around inside your heart with the biggest fear of all: that your mom might never wake up.

And what does that dork Dim Tim do? He brings home a book called The Idiot’s Guide to Almost Anything to help deal with stuff. Wow. Did somebody write a book just for HIM? This reference makes it sound like a contemporary. We need a better feel for what the setting is here. An allusion to what war his dad was killed in is all it takes.

Skye’s struggle to cope with the death of a parent in a military conflict is not unique; it's experienced by kids in the aftermath of every war. Since September 11, 2001, more than 5,000 American children have lost a parent or loved one who was serving in the U.S. Military. Now you're addressing the agent about market, which is fine, but again there's been a massive shift here.

As a war orphan who understands Military Math, I wrote my 107-verse, middle-grade novel in verse, you mentioned twice here that this is verse. I think regardless of how many verses there are the book will still be judged lengthwise on word count. So use that as an indicator instead of number of verses. Skye Blue, for kids like Skye. My author’s note lists websites and resources, including Camp Hometown Heroes in Wisconsin, where war orphans from all over the country can meet one another and work through their journey of healing. Here again you are telling the prospective agent about who the market is for and how you will engage your audience, but not necessarily telling us much about the actual plot of the book.

I am a former children’s librarian and storyteller. My non-fiction chapter book, My Underpants are Made from Plants (Schoolwide, Inc.), was published in March, 2015. Ah-Choo!, a fiction picture book (Sterling Children’s Books) came out in March, 2016. I have written for magazines, anthologies, and the Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market (2016 and 2018.) I am currently under contract with Greenhaven Press as a compiling editor and am an active member of SCBWI.

Good bio - but the para above this one is partially biographic as well. Pull the fact of being a war orphan yourself and fold it into this para. Everything that speaks about author's notes is something that would come during a later conversation, not in a query letter.

Overall I would say that you've made it very clear here that you are in a great position to understand your audience and the market... but haven't really made it very clear what the plot of your book is. I understand that can be a little more challenging with a verse novel, but you have to get the plot front and center, not marketing ideas and audience interaction. 

Is this book funny? Is this book sad? I can't tell. Is it about Skye becoming closer to his stepfather and accepting him? Is it about Skye dealing with the mother's possible loss? Um... is Skye a boy or a girl? Get Skye and the plot front and center before you move to talking too much in depth about possible audience and outreach.



FIRED UP FRIDAY: A Publishing Journey with Joy McCullough

  Posted by Amy Trueblood in Amy Trueblood's Blog, 20 January 2017 · 16 views

    In a recent Monday Musings I talked about how too often we see negativity in the writing community. I’m tired of opening social media and seeing authors tear each other down when we should really be building one another up. Supporting each other.   With that idea in mind, I reached out to […]



Veils and Vows: A New Series Coming Soon!

  Posted by Jean Oram in The Love Bug Blog, 17 January 2017 · 24 views

An irresistible new series coming May 2017 from NY Times bestselling author Jean Oram…

More Blueberry Springs. More tantalizing sweet romances to sweep you away. More late nights reading, dreaming and laughing.

You’re going to love it.

Meet Devon Mattson. Yes, he’s Mandy’s older brother (the woman with the best brownies in the history of Blueberry Springs–you might remember her from Whiskey and Gumdrops!). Yes, he’s Nicola’s BFF (from Tequila and Candy Drops). He’s the man we’ve been waiting for. The man who was there for Nicola. The man with a woman hidden deep in his past. The man readers have been asking for.

Well, coming in May readers are going to get Devon. Twice.

You’ll learn about the woman from his past. There will be laughter. There will be tears. But will there be a happily ever after? (Spoiler alert: Of course there will be! But…it won’t come easy and you’re going to love the ride his stories take you on through late nights of laughter and tears.)

Plus, there’s more. So very much more.

Subscribe to Jean’s newsletter to receive your upcoming new freebie from the Veils and Vows series and to receive the latest news from Blueberry Springs.

More soon…

Happy reading,

Jean Oram

The post Veils and Vows: A New Series Coming Soon! appeared first on Jean Oram.



Habitually Almost Quitting

Posted by Brian in Montana in BrainBlog, 16 January 2017 · 36 views

Lots of smokers could probably be described as habitual almost quitters. I could say that about myself when it comes to writing. I don't have the same frustrations a lot of people do. I'm not trying to make a living at this (haven't quit my day job yet, although some day I hope to), so I don't worry too much about rejections and the sort. What makes me "almost" quit on a habitual basis are the people closest to me. I enjoy 3-day weekends, so generally my habit is to get up early - Friday through Sunday, go into the big walk-in closet with my laptop, and start working on whatever it is I've been writting, an article or a story or whatever. I find that what often happens is, I'm really starting to hit my stride when my three kids start crawling out of their beds. They're good, polite, intelligent little farts, but the first thing they want to do is come into the closet and sit and talk to me while I'm writing. I have a one-track mind and need to have quiet when I'm writing. So, I sit there and hope that my wife will get up and get them some breakfast started or something - that never happens. Then another kid comes in, then another, then its very crowded in the walk-in closet and they all start talking to each other as well as me. At that point it, I'm starting to snap at my kids, who really haven't done anything wrong, they're just being kids. Then it becomes clear my wife isn't getting up any time soon, so I shut down what I'm working on and go make them breakfast.

And I'm mad, and frustrated, and feel guilty for barking at my kids, and then I just want to throw up my hands and quit writing. I need to get up at 0400 in order to actually get anything significant done, and like most other red-blooded Americans, I'm generally too tired for that. I usually get up before 6:00, but that hardly cuts it a lot of weekends.

I'm not going to quite. This is part of who I am and I've had a little success at it, so I know better than to actually say I'm going to quit. It's just that being a writter and an introverted loner in a family of five comes with some minefields. I guess that's the point. Life is complicated and it can be hard to carve out time for our interests. "We" meaning "me" of course. If you don't seem to struggle with this, you have my envy. But I'd be lying if I said I would trade my family for anything. I wouldn't. It's just the juggling act can be tiring.


Rachael Thomas & Getting Past the Dreaded Block

  Posted by Jemi in Just Jemi, 09 January 2017 · 42 views

Please welcome Rachael Thomas back to the blog today!
Every writer, published or not, knows what it’s like to encounter that awful demon, writer’s block. That time when you are certain every word you write is utter rubbish or worse, where you can’t write a word. It begins with a little doubt monster and very soon can get out of control, preventing you from writing anything.
It’s happened to me, but thankfully not for any length of time. So here are a few of my go to solutions. 
Write A Different Way
Writing longhand can often free up your mind. So grab a pen or pencil and pad and continue your work from the point you became blocked or even start a new scene or chapter.
Find a new place. A change of scenery often helps. It could be as simple as another room at home or a local café.
If you can’t continue with your current work in progress, try some freewriting. For instance, it is January now, so where does that take your mind? Put your pen on the page and just let your mind wander, writing down every random thought which comes to your mind for the next ten minutes.
Don’t Write
You may be wondering what kind of advice this is, but sometimes it helps to step away from the keyboard and your work in progress. Take a break and clear your mind.
Take a walk. My dog gets extra-long walks when I need thinking time to unblock my creativity.
Relax and watch your favourite television show or even a movie.
Do whatever makes you happy, as happiness generates positivity and that keeps the monster of doubt at bay, stopping it from becoming a complete block.
If the block is really bad, give yourself the rest of the day off. Tomorrow is another day.
Reward Yourself
Give yourself a small incentive if you hit your session or daily target.
For those larger targets, like reaching the half way point or completing the book, reward yourself with a bigger treat. Perhaps a day out with friends.
And Finally
Don’t wait too long for your creativity to return. Force it to come back. Tell yourself you will write just one paragraph or for ten minutes only. Taking the pressure off might be enough to get past that block. Also, always believe in yourself and your writing. Don’t allow those doubt monsters in.

If you have any others to add, I’d love to know!
Rachael Thomas 

I love escaping to distant shores with my characters, entering their glamorous world and feeling all the emotions they experience as they discover their love for one another. A love so strong it will overcome all obstacles eventually, leading to that promised happy ever after.
Connect with Rachael Thomas on the web:
Website         Blog        Facebook                Twitter              Goodreads

A Child Claimed by Gold (One Night with Consequences)
A scandal of their own making 

Nikolai Cunningham has kept his family history secret for seventeen years. So when photographer Emma Sanders is granted exclusive access to his childhood home, he returns to Russia to ensure it stays hidden. 
Though she tries to keep her eye on the story, Nikolai's potent sexuality proves too much for Emma's untouched body to resist! But, convinced she only wanted a scoop, Nikolai casts Emma out, unaware she's pregnant! 
When the consequence of their recklessness is revealed, Nikolai will legitimize his heir—with a gold wedding ring!
Buy Links
M&B Aust       B&N     iBooks

Enter to win signed copies on Goodreads. 
Thanks Rachael!

I often get attacked by the Doubt Monster - but I'm learning techniques to quiet him down! Working on a different project often helps me.

What about you? How do you get the mojo back?



Knowing When To Move On

Posted by JordanTheNinja in JordanTheNinja's Blog, 07 January 2017 · 45 views

There comes a time in life when you have to realize whether you’re made to be something or not. I would not do well as a mathematician, because math is not my best subject. I would not thrive as an artist, because my artistic skills range between stick figures and terrible squares. Where I do feel is my passion—my heart and soul, my entire being—is writing.

Perhaps it’s me finally channeling my younger self when I come to terms with what I want to do in life—including how I plan on getting there—but I’ve come to realize this: I’m tired of sitting and waiting for something to happen, tired of trying to figure out if I was doing something wrong, whether I was really cut out for this area, my area of writing.

I’m tired of waiting. I want this thing bad enough to where I’m willing to get my work out there in the most quality, authentic way possible, which is why, in about a week and a half, my first YA Fantasy novel—the same one whose query I’ve been work-shopping on here—is going to be released via Amazon (and many other areas) in both paperback and Kindle format.

I’m not saying that pursuing traditional publishing is just waiting, because I know that that’s how traditional publishing works. But I’m just tired of waiting. I want to get my work out there, and promote it, and I want people to read it and enjoy it, like I enjoyed writing it.

I can’t thank you guys enough for the constant feedback and help you’ve given me. I might not be on here as often because I’ll be busy with writing, promoting, school, etc. I just wanted to get on here and make this statement. I love you all, and I wish you the best in your lives and writing endeavors.

Until I post again,

Jordan The Ninja


Roter Laserpointer kaufen shop

Posted by assiduous in Sehr Starker laserpointer, 06 January 2017 · 39 views
Laserpointer, Laserpointer kaufen and 2 more...

5 in 1 Leistungsstarke grun Laser Pointer mit 5 Sterne Caps, vier Kappen können vier Arten von Mustern und die fünfte eine Schutzkappe zu schaffen.
Kaleidoskopische Morphing Lichteffekte, Morphing der Sterne änderte sich durch die Sternkappe. Wunderbar und schön, einfach zu bedienen. Perfekt für Parties und kleine Shows.
Starker laser de Feature:
1. 5-in-1 200mW 532nm leistungsfähige grüne laserpointer
2. Rollen der Parttern, um den Laser-pointer zu ändern
3. Fünf Arten der parttern Köpfe, die erstaunliche Laser-pointer erzeugen
4. Dynamischer flüssiger Himmel, belebte bewegte Sterne
5. Deutlich sichtbar im Sonnenschein und in der Dunkelheit, zeigen Sternenlicht Spezialeffekte über 8000 Metern
6. Siegelkopfentwurf verhindert Stäube vom Eintreten

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7. Einfach zu bedienen, müssen nur die Taste drücken, dann können Sie sehen markante grüne Sterne Licht
8. Witterungsbeständig, aber nicht in Wasser tauchen
9. Kompakt und beweglicher Entwurf, geringes Gewicht, einfach zu tragen
Laserklasse 3b Spezifikation:
Produktname: 3in1 Laserpoinnter
Erster Knopf: roter Laser
Zweite Tastenklick: Weißes LED-Licht - Blaues UV-Licht
Kompakte Größe, mit einem Karabiner tragbar zu nehmen
Angetrieben durch 3 x LR44 Batterien (eingeschlossen)
Max. Leistung: 5mW
Gewicht: 16g
Farbe: Random


Cover Reveal! Black Dawn by Mallory McCartney

  Posted by Lora Palmer in Lora Palmer's Blog, 05 January 2017 · 36 views

Today I'd like to welcome fellow Clean Reads author Mallory McCartney with a cover reveal of her upcoming release, BLACK DAWN. Isn't the cover gorgeous? The book will be available 2.14.17!

Here's a brief blurb of the story: 

Emory Fae enjoys leading a quiet, normal life that is until two mysterious, and dare I say handsome soldiers show up at her apartment doorstep and the life she knew is instantly whisked away. Coming from the magical and ravaged world of Kiero, Emory is brought back not realizing that both men are darkly woven in her past. Discovering she is the long lost heir to the Royal Line Emory is thrown into Black Dawn Rebellion with a dynamic role to ignite the rebels and reclaim her throne.  With both lives clashing Emory uncovers hidden secrets from her past, a power held long dormant, and will soon realize there are worse things than supernatural humans, love, loss, betrayal, and a Mad King.
Some things are better left in the shadows.

Tag Line: “The end of an Empire, The rise of a Queen.”

Author Bio: Mallory McCartney currently lives in London, Ontario with her husband and their two dachshunds Link and Lola. Black Dawn is her debut novel, the first in a series. When she isn’t working on her next novel or reading, she can be found dog grooming, book shopping and hiking. Other favorite pastimes involve reorganizing perpetually overflowing bookshelves and seeking out new coffee and dessert shops.

Connect with Mallory on her Social Media links:

Twitter: @MalMcCartney 
Instagram: @authormalmccartney 



Cowboy Sanctuary - Kindle Scout Winner

Posted by Michelle Hughes in Michelle Hughes' Blog, 26 December 2016 · 68 views
Kindle Scout, Publishing and 1 more...

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What a great early Christmas present! My newest book, Cowboy Sanctuary, was chosen for a publishing contract with Kindle Scout! Thank you so much to every single person who voted for this book in the campaign!!! You'll be receiving this book for free when it's polished by the Kindle Press Team! I'm looking forward to working with their editors, promoters, and team and hope you're ready to share this journey with me! I was awarded a $1500 advance as well.

If you'd like to keep up with this journey and learn more about my book, please visit www.authormichellehughes.com a website dedicated to Cowboy Sanctuary! Thank you all so much and I look forward to sharing this experience as I discover what happens next! To find out more about the Kindle Scout Program, please visit here: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/

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  Posted by Michelle4Laughs in Michelle4Laughs: It's in the Details, 24 October 2016 · 66 views

Author: Natasha Farrant
Pub. Date: October 25, 2016
Publisher: The Chicken House
Pages: 336
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

A fresh, funny, and spirited reimagining of Jane Austen's beloved Pride and Prejudice, The Secret Diary of Lydia Bennet brings the voice of the wildest Bennet sister to life.
Lydia is the youngest of the five Bennet girls. She's stubborn, never listens, and can't seem to keep her mouth shut -- not that she would want to anyway. She wishes her older sisters would pay her attention, or that something would happen in her boring country life.
Luckily, that something is right around the corner, and it's the handsome Wickham, who arrives at Longbourn to sweep her off her feet. Lydia's not going to let him know THAT, of course, especially since he only seems to be interested in friendship. But when they both decide to summer in the fasionable seaside town of Brighton, their paths inevitably become entangled again.
At the seaside, Lydia also finds exciting new ways of life and a pair of friends who offer her a future she would have never dreamed possible. Lydia finally understands what she really wants. But can she get it?

About Martina:
I am one of those rarities, a Londoner born and bred.  And like most true Londoners, I’m not completely English, but three-quarters French with a little bit Dutch thrown in.  I can’t imagine living anywhere else, though I would like a horse, a big old house with a secret passage or two, a fig tree, a walnut tree, lots of dogs and a vista of rolling hills on one side and the sea on the other.  All of which are sadly incompatible with both life in the city and my income.

I write partly because in my stories I can live the lives I’m not…

I have two teenage daughters, Justine and Lily, who provide endless inspiration for my books.  I am pleased to say inspiration works both ways. One of them has dyed her hair pink, and the other has taken to hanging out on the roof in the middle of the night.

The “person” I talk to most is my tortoiseshell cat, Amber.  This is because as a writer you spend a lot of time alone, which makes you go slightly mad.  Amber repays me for my conversation by trashing my house.  Soon we are goig to buy a dachshund puppy called Blue, and presumably he will be equally destructive.

I get very grumpy if I don’t have a good book to read, if I’m not writing, if I’m hungry, tired or don’t get enough exercise.  Otherwise I am a generally cheerful person.

Click here for answers to Frequently Asked Questions about my life as a writer.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



My Telegraph (obit)

Posted by Terence Park in T.P. Archie's Blog, 01 September 2016 · 184 views
Writing Groups, My Telegraph and 1 more...

My Telegraph was a blogging and commenting platform hosted on the Daily Telegraph servers (the DT is a national UK paper published daily). It was a free service with an interface that used aspects of Wordpress and Disqus and was provided as is. There were some 20,000 + registered usernames. Many of these participated in the user groups and back in 2010 with my first draft to my first novel handy, I was ready to engage. I headed straight for Creative Writing. It quickly became apparent that the group was headed for oblivion — it's members needed organising so I re-jigged its competition. In 2012, the DT began promoting a new group, the Short Story Club. We had no idea what would happen when it was introduced — how it would run and whether it would replace Creative Writing... in the end, with the inputs of author Louise Doughty, it became a success. There was a back story, however. The DT promoted this new group but the landing page was hard to navigate and there was no supporting infrastructure, this left those wishing to take part not knowing what to do — and there were thousands of them. For several months it was chaos — hundreds of joiners each week, many of whom leaked over to the Creative Writers Group — we helped where we could — some stayed. It took a while to sort things out.


Late on in 2015, the Daily Telegraph began changing its main site. Commenting disappeared from some articles. By Easter 2016, virtually all of DT had moved to a new look and feel. The blogging platform, My Telegraph, remained untouched. It was legacy and obviously low priority, a system ready for the chop. This was a hidden community that could have been much more user groups such as Rugby, Finance, Book Club, Job and Careers, Expat, Corduroy Mansions, The Archers Messageboard, Politics,Travel, Technology... there was much potential but these groups just withered for lack of attention. The DT didn't respond to questions about the future of the platform. Users speculated and began to make plans. It was only a matter of time before the plug was pulled, which happened June 2016. Usernames, blogs, groups and platform all disappeared, lost in the final dark of: no servers, no data. History. Ah yes, I forgot History. The link is of course dead.


As a social site, users were prone to petty acts of spite – they had vendettas and ganged up on each other. Doubtless this helped convince DT of the wisdom of closing it. The community became a net diaspora and survives on Facebook and WordPress. There is a closed group at https://www.facebook...12280382310342/ and several WordPress presences.

For old time’s sake, here’s a memory:

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More info on DT's My Telegraph.


Once Upon a Typewriter

Posted by thebookworm in thebookworm's Blog, 15 August 2016 · 138 views
Preface, typewriter, preteen

Once Upon a Typewriter

Once Upon a Typewriter:

It was a lovely sunny day, on a quiet street tucked away from the world, where Delilah came across a shed, abandoned by time. She cautiously approached the shed and was surprised to find all of the trinkets and treasures before her eyes.

Page 1 (with illustrations)

As soon as Delilah placed her hand on the dusty old typewriter, she knew she had to have it. “Was it stealing?” she thought to herself or was it hers to keep? Delilah decided to that she couldn’t possibly part with her new found treasure. After exploring the run down structure for some other forgotten treasure, she headed home, typewriter in tow.

Page 2 (with illustrations)

Delilah darted through the living room, up the stairs to her room, slamming the door with excitement. She gently placed the typewriter on her desk, clearing space for the new toy. Some of the keys on the typewriter had faded over time, so Delilah would have to do some research on how to properly clean and repair this new gadget.

Page 3 (with illustrations)

As soon as the new typewriter was polished and good as new, Delilah was finally ready to write her very first story. Sitting quietly at her desk, gazing out the window of their old farmhouse, Delilah could see a shadow cast by the full moon that gently touched the trees, yet appeared to be a castle, it was such a lovely illusion. Snapping to it, Delilah knew the topic of the new book!

Page 4 (with illustrations)

“I know!” Delilah gleefully gasped as her fingers started to dance over the keys, as if the story was flowing out of her, with an unstoppable driving force. Starting on page 4, she was so enveloped in her writing that Delilah failed to notice her surroundings changing. She could not believe her eyes when she finally realized what happened. Delilah was IN her story!!

Page 5 (with illustrations)

“What is going on?” Delilah quietly thought to herself, “This MUST be a dream”, panic set in and she felt lost. “Ok, pull yourself together” she shouted to herself. This was all so real. Delilah slumped down on a rock, overlooking a beautiful valley full of flowers, just like in her story. It was just as Delilah had imagined it would be.

Page 6 (with illustrations)

After the initial shock of what just happened passed over her, like a fog lifting. Delilah had a plan but first she would need to find the typewriter that was responsible for this phenomenon. Walking through the tall grass over-shadowed by a massive castle that seemed to reach up past the clouds, Delilah could see something glistening in the warm summer sun, could it be? Was it the typewriter? Running through the field, Delilah eventually came upon the typewriter and typed herself home.

Page 7 (with illustrations)

Book 1 of many!


Summer Reading Prize Pack Giveaway

  Posted by MarcyKate in MarcyKate's Blog, 01 August 2016 · 122 views

Happy Summer! I have very fond memories of lazy summer days reading on the porch or under a tree. It was a favorite past-time for this introvert bookworm. So, since it’s summer and I just announced my next middle grade duology last week, how about a summer reading giveaway? And since my books have that creepy fairy […]



Internet Fixed

Posted by LWFlouisa in LWFlouisa's Blog, 26 July 2016 · 200 views

So now I can do research full time now. Sometimes the Internet is still a little slow.

Just finished Hemato Tomato: Bloodlust. Not sure how I feel about the finished product. I still feel like the story is only half way told, so I may end up writing 10,000 more words on this.

This was my first experiment in Historical Futurism, where historical characters play a role in science fiction setting with plots that cross over between science fiction, fantasy, horror, and romance in a very that makes you feel really strange.

It's like suddenly meeting Charlotte Corday at your local Star-bucks without any implication for time travel, and the reader is just suppose to take the plausibility of the romance for granted. They are stalked by magic wielding robot police, and the you have a grand ole adventure.

A bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea.


Just playin' with preview.

  Posted by Rick Pieters in Room to Wonder, 22 June 2016 · 216 views



9 Simple Ways to Get Outdoors as a Family

  Posted by Jean Oram in It's All Kid's Play Blog, 23 May 2016 · 132 views

Posted ImageSo many schools are reducing recess–outdoor play–due to budget cuts and hopes of boosting test scores. However, studies show that increased recess time results in better test scores compared to increasing time in the classroom. Yikes!
But here’s something you may not have heard about in the argument for keeping recess. Outdoor play–and specifically, recess–helps our kids eyesight. I know! Wow, right?
On the website All About Vision, they quote several studies that found all sorts of interesting results. Here are a few quotes I found particularly interesting:

The researchers calculated a 2 percent drop in the risk of developing myopia for each additional hour children spend outdoors per week. “This is equivalent to an 18 percent reduction for every additional hour of exposure per day,” they said.
Compared with children with normal eyesight or farsightedness, children with myopia spent an average of 3.7 fewer hours per week outside.

In other words, more time outside means you’re increasing your child’s chance they WON’T need glasses. Think of all the money you’ll save!
In favour of recess:

The study authors concluded that outdoor activities during recess in elementary school have a significant protective effect on myopia risk among children that are not yet nearsighted and reduce the progression of myopia among nearsighted schoolchildren.

The 12-year-old children who spent more time outdoors had less myopia at the end of the two-year study period than others in the study.

There you have it.
Let’s get outside and play! What do we do in the Oram household? Well, first of all we got a dog. Why? Because not only does it teach our kids empathy and responsibility for others, but our dog gets us outside daily. We walk the dog, the kids ride their bikes alongside or walk too. It’s great exercise for all of us!

The brain is better able to pay attention, hold things in memory, and show self-control after it has been outdoors.
–Gabrielle Principe, Your Brain on Childhood

Getting a dog isn’t your thing? It doesn’t have to be complicated or strenuous. How about these simple activities that will get you outdoors:
9 Ways To Get Outside as a Family

Watch the Sunrise / Sunset
Does the world seem different at this time of day? What colors do you see in the sky?
Find Cloud Animals
Lie on your back and look at the clouds—whoa! Is that a giraffe?
Draw on the Sidewalk with Chalk
Try and Catch Your Shadow
Can you catch it?
Water Fights
Ring Toss
Make your own rings out of plastic container lids. Then shove a stick into the ground to toss them onto!
Play CatchPosted Image
Eat Outside
Picnic, BBQ, simply taking your meal out on the deck–it’s still outdoors and you’ll still get the benefits of being out in nature. Both for your soul and your eyesight.

Thanks for playing! See you next time. And if you need more activity ideas don’t forget to check out my book, 1,001 Boredom Busting Play Ideas. It’s reasonably priced so everyone can play.



BOSTON KNIGHTS - A Story About A Little Gold And A Little Love

Posted by AK Paladin in AK Paladin's Blog, 29 April 2016 · 205 views
Love Gold Treasure

This story was inspired from two directions. The first was the discovery of two unusual keys at the Flinder's Market in Adelaide. The second was two ladies that I have known for many years that do everything together. And no, there is nothing of me in this story. Well, very little that I will admit to anyway.

This story practically wrote itself. The keys were discovered the first weekend in February, the story was finished and through the first critical editing by the second week in March.

The teaser for Boston Knights follows:


The discovery that some ancient stories handed down in the families had more truth to them than fiction sparks a hunt for the real truth of the stories. Told as bedtime stories, three individuals find themselves working together to find out more about their ancestors and where they might have hidden some gold, or if it was after all, nothing but a hoax.

The adventure begins with Steve, whose elder brothers work in construction. Having found an old desk amidst some demolition work of theirs, they call their brother to salvage it and see if perhaps he might want to restore it and some other bits and pieces.

As Steve is an antiquities restoration expert, he is definitely interested. Within the desk, behind some well locked drawers, he eventually finds hints that the stories he was told as a kid, may have been more than just stories. In his pursuit of answers, he finds members of two other families that heard the same stories when they were children.

This begins a delightful adventure that finds the three of them embroiled in more and more details that lead them further and further from their homes.

Eventually, the puzzle pieces begin to come together in Ayr, Scottland when they make the acquaintance of some more members of the extended families, only to find their hopes dashed when they discover any gold that may have existed was quickly squandered. Moreover, any additional clues seem to have been destroyed.


This is what I would call a light romance and adventure. At a somewhere over 63,000 words, it is a quick and easy read aimed at young adults and romantics looking for something a little different.

I will 'clean up' my teaser as I get this book through its final editing. It is, by the way, a finished manuscript ready for presentation to an agent/publisher.

I'm still looking.


Batman v. Superman A Movie review

  Posted by Utsav M in Pineapple Lightning, 16 April 2016 · 163 views

Wassup peeps. Last week has been a bit busy, so this is a little late. I meant to watch and review this movie earlier than this but even though I did manage to do the watching part, I did not feel like reviewing it. Why you ask? Because they messed up a potentially epic movie.

Starting off Batman as a seasoned crime-fighter is great. It gives us a perspective few super-hero movies do. However, even though they make him a grizzled veteran, they cannot but help show his origin story of parents dying and falling into a cave of bats. Make that the first scene and we are already into 15 minutes of logos (yeah, call out to cinema sins) and a story shown in a much better and detailed manner in Batman Begins a decade ago. Batman is portrayed decently by Ben Affleck, who has found his acting chops since the horror known as Daredevil- the movie. Thankfully both Affleck and Daredevil seem to have moved on to bigger and better things.

As far as Superman goes, I have never liked Henry Cavill as the Man of Steel and I did not like the movie either. I am glad they kept continuity from the movie and turned the mass destruction of Metropolis into a plot point but the story feels hollow even with the bone-structure of a great movie. Superman is conflicted but not conflicted enough to hang up his cape. Lois is ever present and irritating (I cannot believe I said that about Amy Adams) and is supposed to be his human anchor but again feels forced.

Luthor - well...sigh. While they alluded to the fact that this is Alexander Luthor not Lex Luthor, I wonder why they would not pull the trigger on one of the most iconic villains of all time. With the story backdrop, he would have been perfect as a foil to bring down Superman. Instead, we get a Joker ripoff trying to build Doomsday and kidnapping Superman's mother to goad him into a fight with Batman. Talk about lame and cliched.

As far as the fight is concerned, it is a good fight but the end of the fight is contrived and feels...you guessed it...forced. I mean, who in their right mind would say, "Save Martha", instead of  "Save my mother"? I want to slap the guy who came up with the cool realization that both Batman's and Superman's mother share a name and would be a cool plot point to use that to stop their fight.

The only breath of fresh air is Wonder Woman who is mysterious and understated and her reveal is very well done. She looks every bit Superman's equal in the fight against Doomsday. The fight was well done and Superman sacrificing himself was a good twist...except that it wasn't.

Everyone and their three next generations know a Justice League movie is coming and Justice League cannot not have a live and flying Supes. Ending the movie without showing his casket move would have been brave for the new Justice League. Let it be formed without Superman. Let him join in a dire hour. Make his return monumental. But nah...DC has no cojones.

And as far as the random teasers for the Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman sprinkled throughout the movie, they feel ...gah...yes ...forced and unnecessary. They could have just mentioned their names without having video trailers for each of them. Learn from Marvel, Thordamnit!!

Anyhow, I am disappointed even though I never had much hope to begin with, which shows how poor a job they have done. And I am forced to stop myself from ranting.

Signing off,



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