Category Archives: teaching

Thankful Thursday…And ebook winner!

Big Smiles!

First, ebook winner announcement:

 

Though over 120 visitors passed through and read Amira’s  interview,

Allison Gardner 

was the only one who was savvy enough to leave a comment – Congrats, Allison! You won a copy of Amira Aly’s ebook: Egypt: The Uprising. Please send me your email address and Amira will forward the ebook to you. (mjcwriter”at”comcast”dot”net)


“ Ninety percent of the population wish positive but think negative.                 

                      ~ Mark Sanbourn, Speaker


Today, I am thankful for…

A Week off from my day  job to teach some amazing, creative and energetic kids in my Young Writers’ Summer Studio (prompts & tips I used will be posted next week!)

AWESome list of helpful tips on setting goals for writers

The peace in my home since we banned all electronics until after dinnertime.

The beginnings of “clutter clear out” in my home – specifically my writing area.

Gorgeous cool weather and bright sunshine which added to a fun day lingering in Downtown Downers Grove with my two sons.

What/who are you thankful for today? Tap into the gratitude and see how it frees your mind for creativity. Share!

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I’m so thankful for my readers!! Please SUBSCRIBE and be part of my secret inner circle ; )

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Thankful Thursday

Big Smiles!

As writers, we need to step outside ourselves and connect with the positive energy around us. And give back.

 

“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.”

Cynthia Ozick
Writer



Today, I am thankful for…

Gearing up for week of writing glee with my students during Young Writers’ Summer Writing Studio!

I can get thru Turbo Jam without losing consciousness

Won a  book giveaway (Sara Zarr, How to Save a Life) courtesy of :  http://livinglittlewomen.blogspot.com/

Read a really great post about being mindful – living in the present :  http://zenhabits.net/ritual/

Lucky enough to spend a Saturday with my favorite cousins and uncles! Muah! 

What/who are you thankful for today? Tap into the gratitude and see how it frees your mind for creativity. Share!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’m so thankful for my readers!! Please SUBSCRIBE and be part of my secret inner circle ; )

Leave a comment

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Thankful Thursday

Big Smiles!

As writers, we need to step outside ourselves and connect with the positive energy around us. And give back.

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Today, I am thankful for…

Getting to meet Maggie Stiefvater in person and having her sign not only all 3 books in the Wolves of Mercy Falls series, but my canvas writing bag, as well!

Listening to the soundtrack from Into the Wild and dreaming of my future.

That my family respects and honors my time and space to workout daily.

Turbo Jam! Woot! Woot!

A flurry of young writers anxious to sign up for the Summer Writing Studio! (Hurry! Only a few spaces left!)

What/who are you thankful for today? Tap into the gratitude and see how it frees your mind for creativity. Share!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’m so thankful for my readers!! Please SUBSCRIBE and be part of my secret inner circle ; )

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Thankful Thursday

Big Smiles!

As writers, we need to step outside ourselves and connect with the positive energy around us. And give back.

  “When you are grateful fear disappears and abundance appears.” ~ Anthony Robbins

Today, I am thankful for…

Delicious cool breezes to break up the soupy hot weather we’ve been having.

Audio Books! Just finished an inspiring one by Lisa Nichols – NO MATTER WHAT. Now onto David Allen’s GETTING THINGS DONE.

Reading time with my 7-year-old, complete with cuddles, of course!

Hike in the woods with my husband over the weekend, and the much-needed conversation about our future goals and how to achieve them together. (hint: I have a NEW focus, more later!)

Inspiring my boys to be more active, as they watch me sweat to Jillian Michael’s DVD’s and my trainer’s list of resistance workoutss (ouch!)

What/who are you thankful for today? Tap into the gratitude and see how it frees your mind for creativity. Share!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’m so thankful for my readers!! Please SUBSCRIBE and be part of my secret inner circle ; )

Leave a comment

Filed under Believe, emotion, teaching, Thankful Thursday, writers, writing inspiration

Thankful Thursday

Big Smiles!

As writers, we need to step outside ourselves and connect with the positive energy around us. And give back.

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

~ Oprah Winfrey

Today, I am thankful for…

My AMAZING new personal fitness trainer, Dani, who is helping me not only reach my fitness goals, but my *life goals, as well. She’s FANTASTIC. Check her out!

*come back Monday to see how I’m doing this!

Deborah Halverson, author, editor & teacher who is offering FREE excerpts & PDF’s from her new book: Writing YA Fiction for Dummies  during her Virtual Book Launch Contest PLUS! a chance to win a first chapter critique.

A second chance to meet one of my fav YA authors, Maggie Stiefvater at Andersons Bookshop in Naperville next month! Her final book, FOREVER, in the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy comes out July 12. Squee!!!

The long weekend and gorgeous weather in the forecast : )

A connection with my new critique partner.

What/who are you thankful for today? Tap into the gratitude and see how it frees your mind for creativity. Share!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’m so thankful for my readers!! Please SUBSCRIBE and be part of my secret inner circle ; )

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Reader Wednesday: CONFLICT

To continue our series….

What I'm reading now

From Beginnings, Middles & Ends, by Nancy Kress, I’ll share the “four elements that make a first scene compelling,” along with how my novel stacks up. The four elements are: CHARACTER, CONFLICT, SPECIFICITY  and CREDIBILITY.

This week: CONFLICT

CONFLICT:  in real life, we avoid it, in fiction we live for it and so does your story and its readers.

CONFLICT doesn’t necessarily mean an argument or a fight scene.  In Beginnings, Middles & Ends author, Nancy Kress, uses Raymond Carver’s short story “Fat” as an example of CONFLICT. The overall theme of Carver’s story is based on a touchy subject. The writer and reader both know that in our society, weight is an emotional issue.

 

 In my novel,  I show CONFLICT in the following ways:

  • ABANDONMENT: Humans thrive on the need to be needed, loved, connected. We learn early on, page one to be exact, that Lily has been abandoned by her mother.
  • ALCOHOLISM: This disease has far-reaching affects, not only on the abuser, but their circle of family and friends. Lily’s mother’s disease effects Lily’s entire outlook on life: past, present and future. It is what drives her need to flee, yet grounds her at home, where she hopes her mom will return for her.
  • GRANDPARENT RAISING GRANDCHILD: As common as this situation is, it comes with its own set of problems. The age gap, the resentment on both the grandparent’s end and the child’s end, anger at the absent parent, yet a need to protect and defend them. Lily struggles with her Nonna’s prudish ways and strict work ethic on their lake resort. She depends on Nonna for being the only stable thing in her life, yet resents when Nonna bad-mouths her mother.
  • FAMILY SECRETS: anytime secrets are kept within a family, something is about to explode. Truth revealed and the reaction to that truth can cause a riptide in the gene pool.  As the new young guest, Frank, confides in Lily about the horrific secret his family is keeping, Lily discovers a buried box, filled with secrets her own family has been keeping from her.

Ask the Question: What is the CONFLICT and how early is it introduced?

Kress says the First line, or at least the first page,should promise CONFLICT and raise questions for the reader.

So, take the first page of your draft and see if  your CONFLICT  makes its grand entrance. Share your findings with us!

Next week we’ll discuss SPECIFICITY

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Thankful Thursday

Big Smiles!

“Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose.”

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross ~ 1926-2004, Psychiatrist and Author

Not just thankful, but watchful. Be aware of your surroundings, find the little things that make you smile inside. This can only deepen the power of your written words.

 

Here are my “little smiles”…

The loud and swirling rain, thunder and lightning of summer storms.

The way my car’s radio volume increases when I accelerate on the highway.

An email from the library stating “Your Materials Have Arrived” 🙂

The new paint colors in my kitchen! (deep purple & lime green on opposite walls)

Baby geese that waddle and stumble as they follow their Momma and Papa across the lawn

Summer Hours at work!

What/who are you thankful for today? Tap into the gratitude and see how it frees your mind for creativity. Share!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’m so thankful for my readers!! Please SUBSCRIBE and be part of my secret inner circle ; )

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Thankful Thursday

Big Smiles!

 

“Let’s start with what we can be thankful for, and get our mind into that vibration, and then watch the good that starts to come, because one thought leads to another thought.”

Bob Proctor ~ Author and Speaker

How fitting that this quote appeared in my inbox today! (For daily inspiring quotes, sign up here.)

Today, I am thankful for…

Finding a personal trainer to get me back on the road to a strong, fit, energized body!

A celebratory lunch at WildFire to signify my 5 yr anniversary with my company. (I had the Filet w/crusted Parmesan – YUM!!)

My readers and especially my SUBSCRIBERS. I’m honored that you invite my words into your email inbox : ) Thank you!!

I have to give another spot to >>>Books that make me think and renew my outlook on life. Right now, I’m reading Jillian Michaels’ UNLIMITED This book is opening my eyes and helping me on my journey.

After-dinner walks around my neighborhood. The breezes are cool, the surroundings peaceful and my mind can work out some plot issues with my novel.

What/who are you thankful for today? Tap into the gratitude and see how it frees your mind for creativity. Share!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’m so thankful for my readers!! Please SUBSCRIBE and be part of my secret inner circle ; )

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Thankful Thursday

Big Smiles!

If you’re new here, you may be wondering why a “gratitude” post on a writers’ blog? Because I believe when we stop to appreciate the good things in our lives, we are open to receiving inspiration for our work. Gratitude teaches us to acknowledge and accept the blessings we receive each day. This acknowledgment fills our well of self-confidence and general feeling of belonging. As writers, we need to step outside ourselves and connect with the energy around us. Give back.

Today, I am thankful for…

My husband getting home early enough to have dinner with us!

Free ebooks that get my creative juices flowing and mind workin’ overtime! One I just finished last night: http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/overnight-success/ I’m pretty psyched about some Big Ideas that emerged.

The young writers who are signing up for my Summer Studio – I thrive on their energy!

Books that make me think and renew my outlook on life. Right now, I’m reading Jillian Michaels’ UNLIMITED

Peapod!! Grocery delivery service, cause I HATE grocery shopping

Our new babysitter! She’s sweet, young and fun and the boys will be well taken care of.

What/who are you thankful for today? Tap into the gratitude and see how it frees your mind for creativity. Share!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’m so thankful for my readers!! Please SUBSCRIBE and be part of my secret inner circle ; )

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Reader Wednesday

This week, I picked another writing book – cause I have a slight problem. With books. And writing. And buying things ; )

What I'm reading now

From Beginnings, Middles & Ends, by Nancy Kress, I’ll share the “four elements that make a first scene compelling,” along with how my novel stacks up. The four elements are: CHARACTER, CONFLICT, SPECIFICITY  and CREDIBILITY.

This week: CHARACTER

CHARACTER:  described by her voice, internal and external dialogue, thoughts, clothing, surroundings and her reaction to them.

In my opening scene I show CHARACTER in the following ways:

  • IN HER ROOM: Piles of mismatched pillows that Lily swiped from the houses of her mom’s long list of “hook-up’s”
  • IN HER SETTING: Lily’s reaction and interaction with the lake, the air, the sun and the island
  • IN HER TASTES: Coffee – no sugar
  • IN HER PHYSICAL APPEARANCE: her complex with her large nose, the scar, her tanned skin, dry chapped feet, long windblown hair, cut-off jeans
  • IN HER DREAMS: culinary school brochures & applications

Ask the Question: What does this promise?

  1. Lily obviously has a problem with theft and possibly her mom’s promiscuity – how will this play into the story?
  2. The Setting of being on a lake and how Lily walks around in that world shows us her skills, her upbringing, her culture and lifestyle. Also may play into conflict later (with weather)
  3. Her tastes and family traditions surrounding coffee and all foods and cooking play a large role in the book
  4. Having a complex about the size of her nose makes her human, relatable. The details of her appearance and clothing pull the reader into Lily’s world – making her believable
  5. Lily’s goal of getting into culinary school is central in the theme of the book. When the Protagonist has a goal, the conflicts stacked up against her are that much more tense. Makes the reader Care!!

So, take the first scene of your draft and see how your CHARACTER stacks up. Share your findings with us!

Next week we’ll discuss CONFLICT

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Don’t want to forget to check in for new posts? No problem, let them come to you – SUBSCRIBE!

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Filed under Advice, books, characters, Education, Novels, Reader Wednesdays, teaching