What’s In a Book?

When you spend an entire day walking, cooking, eating and never putting the book down, you know there’s something amazing about it.

When you read the last word and hold it to your heart because you are sad to let it go, you know it’s a keeper.

I held the book as one of the characters, Charlie, once held a box.

What’s in a book? If it’s well written, there is much more than a story.

I highly recommend this.

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The Power to PowerPoint

I have the POWER, I have the POWER, I am POWERFUL.

Can I get an AMEN?


I’ve been listening to many different motivational speakers lately, both spiritual and otherwise. Why? Because I have really been unmotivated this summer. I have been doing a lot more of sitting around wasting time and less of writing and working.

Yeah, it’s summer, but it isn’t making me a better person.

Then , when I was struggling to come up with a way to present the speech I committed myself to give tomorrow night, I realized I was inspired to try something I have been telling myself I would someday learn how to do. I not only felt inspired to try it, I actually committed to do it and I got my computer out and did it.

Well, truthfully I am still working on it, but I know what I am doing.

You see, I couldn’t figure out how I would remember all my key points and my printer is out of ink, and it’s just too much work to try to go shopping, so I thought I would try the PowerPoint.

I have the Power to PowerPoint.

And you know what? I think it’s pretty good.

I have watched quite a few PowerPoint presentations in my time in classrooms and Toastmasters. I have formed opinions on the proper and improper uses and I will keep that in mind tomorrow.

I will not simply read the slides. I will not put too much information on the slides when it is better for me to demonstrate. I will not rush through the points. I will be in control.

I am excited. I have the POWER!


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Posted in character building, gratitude, Uncategorized

I Found My Way

I don’t really remember what song it was, but I found myself thinking the words of a Frank Sinatra song this morning. I was preparing to start rearranging things in my house and decided that I would find a Frank Sinatra album on my music app.

I have been listening to him all day. I was surprised to know most of the songs. The songs I don’t know still have me swaying as I move about the house. Even now, as I write, I am listening to his swooning. I can’t usually write with music because I get distracted, yet his songs simply calm me.

I have been thinking about my parents all day. I can imagine them dancing to these songs and that brings me joy. I keep thinking the only reason I know the songs is because my parents always sang when we took long trips in my youth. It’s nice to have the memories and even nicer to have been inspired to find this music so I can sway to the nostalgia.

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Showing up for Success

I saw Howie Mandel in an interview recently. He was asked to comment about judging for America’s Got Talent.

I can’t quote him exactly, but he said he was surprised by how many contestants say they don’t sing at home. In fact, many of their friends don’t even know they can sing.  He wanted to point out that the most successful people are the ones who show up.

That comment struck a chord with me. How can I be successful if I don’t show up?

If I don’t actually open my computer or at least take a pen and notebook off the shelf, I will never be finished with the sequel to my first book. I will never be able to call myself a success because I am not showing up in the first place.

That thought led my mind to the idea that showing up is half the battle.

It is. As soon as my computer is open and I start typing, the battle has begun and the victory is imminent. Well, imminent might be an optimistic exaggeration, but it is much more likely than it would be otherwise.

So, here’s to showing up and succeeding.

Have a nice day.

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Flamingos Reach New Heights

Well, well, well,

Our well is not well. In fact, it needs to be replaced. It is one of those events in life when one realizes just how much we underestimate our use of water.

As you might know, getting a new well is both complicated and expensive. It didn’t surprise me that in order to put in a new well, many limbs had to be cut from the trees in These Fair Woods. Fortunately, we were able to rent a machine to help  reach the tree limbs.

At one point in the process the youngest came to me and told me I should come out and see the progress of the tree trimming. It didn’t take me long to notice the mayhem.


It appears that one of the sweet darlings decided to take on new heights. I hear she can see the river quite well.

Here you can see just how high she is.


Before the day was done she had convinced another to join her.



I have decided to put them to good use as they perch in their new positions.

They are now flamingo surveillance officers. They do a very good job. I just wish they would stop waking me in the middle of the night because they see a raccoon.




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I Know Who Said it

My local writing group has been discontinued. This is very disappointing, but I must not let it stop me from writing.

In our last session, I shared a piece I had been having trouble with getting right. I was proud of how it turned out. One of the members told me he was confused because I had used dialogue without always saying, “He said,” or “She said.”

The main reason I did not use the obligatory said was because I did not want to let the reader know the gender of one of the characters. I also felt that, as long as I wrote “He said,” for the man’s dialogue, it would be clear who was speaking because there were only two characters in the scene.

My friend said he was taking an on-line course that taught the student to use said rather than all the other choices (exclaimed, yelled, remarked, etc.). He admonished me, “I just learned the rule and you broke the rule.” 🙂 Of course, he said it with a smile and a laugh.

That conversation has stuck with me since that day. I often ask, “Does the reader know who is speaking?” while I write.

Then I borrowed Robert B. Parker’s book, Chasing the Bear, in audio version. The story was good, but the dialogue consisted of very short statements and each statement was followed by “S/he said.”

I am not quoting from the book because I don’t have it in front of me, but the following is a good imitation….

My wife came home. “Hello,” she said.

“Hello,” I said.

“How was your day?” I said.

“Fine,” she said.

“Want to eat take-out?” I said.

“Sure,” she said.



You get the point. That is a lot of saids. Even more annoying, much of the time the word asked would have been more appropriate.

The audio was somewhere around three hours, if I remember correctly. I was really tired of the word said, but the story was really good. I don’t think it would have bothered me nearly as much had I been reading the book rather than listening.

At one point, I was driving the youngest home and we listened to it together. I had wanted another opinion as to how annoying the saids were. Of course, during the first five minutes, we listened to an action scene with no dialogue.

It wasn’t long after the dialogue started again that the youngest gave me an incredulous look. “Mom, why are you listening to this?”

I explained the story was really good. I paused the audio (thanks to modern technology in my car), and summarized the story.

The youngest agreed. The story sounded great, but the saids  did not seem to entice the youngest into hearing anymore.

I did like the story. I want to make that clear. I just did not like the way the dialogue was constructed.

I think it was a great story for me to listen to because it reaffirmed my belief that the reader should be able to understand dialogue without constantly pointing out who the speaker is.

What do you find most difficult about writing dialogue?

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Posted in Book Review

If Only

If Only I were



More agile, and


I just saw something, from the safety of my balcony, that I don’t remember ever seeing before. 

My human exclaimed, “Look at all the kites.”

Then, we looked closer. They were kite surfing.

This, incredibly talented, being rode all the way to the Edge of the sand, turned, rode the waves and literally flew through the air for an unbelievable period of time.

I could have watched for hours, but he headed north, out of sight.

Oh, if only I were able to play like that!

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