Saturday, November 22, 2008

This and That

November 22, 2008

Thursday was our local writer's group meeting at Hastings. About ten folks showed and we heard poetry, fiction, a memoir, an essay and a couple of jokes. I, who almost never write poems, updated my Thanksgiving poem and read it. Odd that I'm the only one who brought something that had to do with the holiday. Some our regulars, Anne, Gina and Cindie, weren't there and they were missed.

Had lots of free time on both Thursday and Friday so was able to move 'The Woman Between' forward. I'm walking the fine line between making Stephen look wimpy versus an emotionally wounded man who needs closure. I had my one-on-one with Dave and he says it's working. He still thinks my characters have believable depth and that he still likes Stephen, but he likes John better. That's okay.

Received a nice email from Portia Allen thanking me for being on her Lady Rerun show. She finished 'Hannah' and just raved about it. She said, "I have finished "Hannah" and I was very moved by the ending! The book is in your face, very well written, and have characters that you want to never leave!" She couldn't have said anything to please this character driver writer happier.

I'm receiving some comments on my blog from folks I don't know, but they sound interesting and they all mention writing in some genre or another. I'm going to try and communicate with them. I hear from a fellow on-line writer, Sandra. She's a great writer and frequently brings up topics that get a writer to thinking about why we write, the perils of submitting and other topics that writers need to ponder from time to time. So, I'm so glad she drops by from time to time.

No too much going on with my writer groups, both on-line and local. I reckon we are all busy prepping for the big bird dinner next Thursday. I'm spending a lot of time getting the house ready for my Thanksgiving Day guests. You know, I sure like writing a LOT better than dusting, vacuuming and washing windows!

Time to close. My thought for the day is from Samuel Johnson who said, 'I would rather be attacked than unnoticed. For the worst thing you can do to an author is to be silent as to his works.' Amen and Goodnight.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

November 19, 2008

Today was a busy day doing things in the community and the nice thing about that is that I get to visit with some really nice folks, but normally it takes away from my writing. Today, that didn't happen. I had all afternoon to myself and my writing. What could be better.

As to that rejection/acceptance I mentioned yesterday, still no word from the editor. Oh well, their loss if they truly did reject the piece, she said with false bravado. Sniff, sniff!

Worked on 'The Woman Between'. Poor Stephen just can't get any sympathy. I mean just because he wants to kill his brother is no reason for the family to go off on him. I'm giving him all the emotional baggage of a middle child and he is just now, at age 24, beginning to find his own self-value. Lord, it's fun making these characters dance to my drumbeat.

I found time to work with my FlashXer writer's group. Did about six critiques, then submitted a story that I had written awhile back and just updated it to fit today's prompt. It's an interesting story that I've never submitted anywhere, so I'm looking forward to the feedback. I've received one and she like it a lot.

I'm getting some feedback on my website and so far, it's all been positive. Oh, and Jim, a local author, answered my question of the month, so I have to come up with a new one. He mentioned 'Hop-Frog, a humorous Poe story that I hadn't heard of, so he gets a book. He already has an 'Oasis', so I'll get one of my 'Skive' anthologies. What fun!

Received an email from Denise who said she listened to the interview with Lady Rerun and was pleased with how it turned out. So was I. I hope Portia and I manage to stay in touch.

I received my weekly email copy of Virtual Tales Serial Scoop and there is an article about 'Hannah and it looks like this -

Hannah — Sharon Poppen
HANNAH (Expected Release — Winter 2008/2009) Genre: Westerns Author: Sharon Poppen Rated: R
Hannah and Caleb are young newlyweds on the plains of Texas in the late nineteenth century. They’ve staked their claim and have built a new home and a new life as cattle ranchers. But a cloud of dust in the...

And, it has a picture of the book. Looks good and I hope it means the print release is coming soon. People are asking when they can buy it, so that's a good sign!

Tomorrow is our monthly writer's group meeting at Hastings Book & Music Store. We gather there in the evening and each writer is given five minutes to read an original piece of their writing. Always a good time and always some great stories, not to mention the great coffee from their coffee bar.

Finally, our local newspaper ran a half-page article on my friend Shirley Wolford who passed away on Nov. 9th. Lots of good info on her life and a really good picture of her. I'm really going to miss her.

Time to sign off for now. Keep on writing, but if you don't write, then read, read, read!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It Was A Blast

November 18, 2008

The interview with Portia Allen, Lady Rerun, was a blast! She asked some great questions, played some of my favorite music and let me talk about my books and Colo. Free Univ. class. The two hours went by a lot faster than I had anticipated. I can only hope that some of the listeners were enticed to check out my books. Either way, I enjoyed the opportunity and send out a big thank you to her and to Denise for setting it up.

One of the nice things that Portia did was to actually read some of my work and she checked out my website. She raved about 'Hannah' and couldn't believe that it had originated as a prompt for one of my on-line writing groups and that it had been written as serial type episodes. She liked Hannah and her strong will. Also, she read my blog where I refer to the URL, University of Life. She was fascinated by how that term really said a lot about how I lived my life and how I got where I am and she is so right.

Had local commitments today that kept me away from my computer for most of the day, but I did get in my novel time and moved 'The Woman Between' ahead another 5oo words. I'll be getting feedback from Dave on Friday so I'll have an idea of whether my characters and plot are working.

On my local writer's forum, Gina left a comment about the value of Stunk and White's 'Elements of Style'. Amen! I don't know what I would do without it. She reminds all of us writers that 'Keep in mind that knowing the rules of grammar doesn't make a person a good writer, but a good writer will not get the recognition/respect that he or she deserves without knowing the basic rules of composition.' Thank you, Gina, for reminding us of this important aspect of writing.

Oh, an update to those two rejections I mentioned yesterday. I received a second email that said while I didn't win, I was chosen for the anthology and they were going to pay me five cents a word. So, I'm sending an email back asking if they are accepting or rejecting my work. I hope it's an acceptance!

All the feedback on my submission, 'The Collection', at my DD writing website as has come back as positive. It was the conclusion of a two part prompt where in part one we had to set up a cliffhanger, then stop. In part two, we gave our readers the conclusion. Glad it worked.

On my Flasher's Dozen workshop, I submitted 'Enough'. The feedback indicated the piece needs work. They had lots of questions, good questions about why the main character did what she did and what she picked that particular time to do it. Good crits that will help with my editing.

I went to bingo tonight and had a very lucrative time as well as a lot of fun. Won three games! The jackpots are small, still I more than tripled my entry fee, so Yahoo!

Time for Law & Order - Special Victims Unit. And, this addict must get my daily Law & Order Fix. Have a great day tomorrow!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lady Rerun Show Interview

November 17, 2008

I'm a nervous wreck tonight. At 9:30, I am going to be interviewed on Blog Talk internet radio on the Lady Rerun Show by Portia Allen. She has read my ebook 'Hannah' and is very enthused about it. It's a two hour show. I know I'm a talker, but I hope I can make sense for two hours. More to come tomorrow on this opportunity.

I'm getting lots of good feedback on my website and what's even better is that I'm hearing from friends and family I haven't heard from in ages.

Got two rejections in the last couple of days. Oh, well, you win some, you lose some. What's annoying about it as there was no remarks as to why my work didn't fit their need. It's nice that they get back to me, but in essence I learn nothing from the experience.

I had a great productive day. Moved 'The Woman Between' forward. Then I met my requirements for two of my on-line writer's groups. Already received feedback on one of my submissions. It was a challenge because it was only the resolution of a story I had posted awhile back. The feedback said that the genre, horror, wasn't her cup of tea, but she said, 'Boy, had this been on TV, two more commercials would have been shown before the end. And what an ending!' So, it was an interesting experiment from the moderator of the list to have us write our story, but end it with a cliffhanger. Now, with feedback on whether we did, indeed, accomplish a cliffhanger, we get feedback on the resolution. A great learning experience.

Well, it's almost time for the interview, so I'll sign off now. Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Blog Alerts and Writing Thoughts

What an exciting couple of weeks. My website is up and running and the feedback has been good. What at great job Denise Cassino did. Check her out at .

I found out about setting up Google and Yahoo alerts the other day and have already gotten one. So informative!

Sharon Poppen and Other Authors on Tour This Week!
By Working Writers Coach
All this week the National Writing for Children Center is hosting author Sharon Poppen on a virtual tour for her new book After the War, Before the Peace. Find out more about Sharon and her book at the National Writing for Children ...
Working Writer's Coach - Writing... -

The Lady Rerun Show ( Interview with Author Sharon Poppen) - Nov ...
Lady Rerun will be interviewing Author Sharon Poppen who has a down to earth writing style that shows you the world as it is. Lady Rerun will be asking about her books, "Hannah" and After the War, Before the Peace", her lifestyle, ...
Lady Rerun BlogTalkRadio Feed -

Meet the Author - Sharon Poppen
By Writing for Children
The National Writing for Children Center is proud to host author Sharon Poppen on this virtual tour for her new book, After the War, Before the Peace. For the next several days we’ll be presenting short posts to help you get to Poppen ...
The National Writing for Children Center -

Here’s What’s Going on This Weekend!
By Suzanne
First, all this week, the site is hosting author Sharon Poppen on a virtual tour for her new book, After the War, Before the Peace. Check back every day during the next week for a review of Sharon’s book, an interview with Sharon, ...
Suzanne Lieurance -

The elections are over, thank goodness. My gal didn't win, but as Americans we all need to pull together and try to make the next four years a period of economic and global peace. While I did not agree with President Bush on some of his economic and illegal immigrations policies, I did appreciate the peace of mind he gave me in keeping terrorism at bay, especially in this country. Enough said about that!

Shirley Wolford has died. What a great lady she was. So many books written and even a movie. She is one of my role models for her drive and love of the written word. You always knew where you stood with Shirley. I had gone to visit her a couple of times the week before she died and although I'm a strong believer in LIFE, she was suffering so much that it was almost a blessing when she passed. I will miss her!

Had another meeting with Dave for our one-on-one crit sessions. He's experiencing a writing block, but the good side is that he is focusing on his poetry, which is quite powerful. He gave me a very nice compliment. He said my characters are so real that he can 'see' me walking along with them, experiencing exactly what they feel and it makes them so very real. Thanks, Dave!

Had my book club meeting on the books of Tami Hoag. While I didn't care for her stories or characters, I had to admit that she is excellent in setting up scenes that draw the reader into the moment. Overall most of the club members would read her again.

Had our 4 Goddesses meeting at Denny's last Thursday, with only three godesses attending - Cindie had to work late. JOan had her cataracts removed and now no longer has to wear glasses. It is always an evening of friendship and good critiquing.

Saturday was the LHCWG meeting. Had a big crowd. The feedback on my story 'What Waits in the Willows' was a surprise. Many commented on the nasty old lady character and how well developed she was. As I wrote it, she was just a means to further my plot. Funny how a reader sees things a writer doesn't even consider when jotting down the story.

On a personal side, my Thanksgiving Day celebration is coming along nicely. My daughter and her family, my sister and her husband, my niece and her boyfriend, a writer friend and her husband will be there and just this morning, my son called to say he and his wife are coming. I am already sooooooooooo Thankful that all these folks are in my life and heart and that they are coming to share the day with me.

I'm going to work on 'The Woman Between' now, so will sign off. Have a great Sunday!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Prepositions, The End & Noah's Ark

I get a 'word-a-day' email every day. The other day I got this one and it made me chuckle. I hope you enjoy it too. "A.Word.A.Day with Anu Garg - Prepositions don't get much respect. Nouns, verbs, adjectives... those are the words we usually pay attention to. Who has ever looked up in a thesaurus to find a better preposition? Who has complimented an author on his choice of prepositions? They might as well be invisible.Yet prepositions are some of the most important parts of the sentence. They work to connect various parts. And if you have any doubt about the role or importance of these hard-working nuts and bolts of a language, ask anyone who has tried to learn a new language. Prepositions are among the hardest to master. Literally speaking, a preposition is something that is positioned before a noun. These are little words, such as in, to, of, up, for, etc., though they are not always a single syllable. There are some pretty long ones: amongst, concerning, notwithstanding. And there are some fancy prepositions (contra, cum, a la, and so on).'

The author goes on to say, 'One can find sentences ending with preps in the lines of some of the finest writers in history: Chaucer, Swift, Kipling, Shakespeare and so on. "We are such stuff as dreams are made on" -- Try rephrasing that line from The Tempest. See what inelegant glob results. This canard about no-prepositions-at-the-end belongs in the same dustbin as "Thou shalt not split an infinitive." So the next time people fault you for ending a sentence with a preposition, ask them: "What are you talking about?"'

Also, I was reading the August 2008 issue of The Writer and I came across the article 'Make Your Readers Stick Around' by John Edward Ames. He made some good points, but two really attracted my attention. One is a paragraph that states, 'Once the climax peaks, remember that all conflict is resolved. Thus, reader interest immediately plummets, so end the story fast. There's a special room in hell for writers who resist those all-important two words, The End.'

The second covers adjectives. 'Speaking of adjectives, avoid annoying your readers with the Noah's Ark syndrome - i.e. adjectives that march in two by two. "She was an apple-cheeked, cheery woman dressed in expensive, tasteful clothing." And be especially sparing with verb-adverb constructions, deleting all adverbs that weaken the verb by repeating it: bloomed loudly, bolted his food ravenously.'

I know I'm often guilty of both so I'd thought I'd share the info.

Today was a quiet day of writing and adding more to my novel, 'The Women Between'. I've been getting some nice reviews on my website at . I can thank Denise for that.

I visited my friend Shirley Wolford in the hospital today. She's my writer friend who is ninety-four and blind. She has authored many books, both by herself and with her husband. One, 'The Southern Blade' was made into a movie with Glen Ford called 'A Time for Killing'. It was one of Harrison Ford's first movies. In fact he is shown as 'uncredited'. Well, Shirley broke her leg awhile back, then had to have a hip replacement. None of it went well. Her husband passed away years ago and she had no children. She's very lonesome, even though she has some great friends who show her much love and compassion. I promised to go to see her on Wednesday and read to her. She loves history, so I'll find something on that order. I'm not a praying person, but I'm thinking good thoughts for her and hope you will, too.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


I've updated the 'links' on my blog. Added some and changed some, so they will be more enticing to any readers. Also, included some blogs of good friends. I'm trying to work on remembering to go to sites that will link back to mine. I listened to a radio interview that Denise gave to Lillian Cauldwell regarding branding oneself. It was very good and if you go to Denise's website , you can listen to it. It's well worth the listen. After listening, I made some changes to my site. I added 'tags' so that if someone uses a search word such as Civil War, Western, Strong women, brothers and such my book will come up. Never thought to do that before. Thank you, Denise.

Today was a lazy day, perfect for working on my novel, 'The Woman Between'. Always fun to spend some time with the Farrell's.

Had lunch with my fellow Pioneers. Gloria was there and she is still urging her daughter to get James Wood to comment on my novel. Gloria had her daughter give Woods a copy of my book last year. With the popularity of the new movie 'Appaloosa', we're hoping the movie westerns will make a comeback and Mr. Woods will think my book would make a good move. Oh, I can dream can't I!!!

Lots of discussions going on in my local writer's group about socializing after the meeting. A large group of us has always gone to Denny's. The waiters/waitresses let us sit and talk for hours, give us separate checks and occasionally sit down to listen in, or join in, on our discussions. Now some folks want to stay at the library and chat socially. While I do enjoy the company of many of the folks who don't go to Denny's now, I like leaving the 'work' area and going for a cup of java or a bite to eat while we discuss everything from men, to politics, to religion, to movies, to you name it. So, I think I'll continue with Denny's.

It's late and I've got a big day tomorrow with exercise and setting up for the elections on Tuesday. Gosh I hope McCain/Palin win. The whole idea of wealth distribution, making changes to our precious Constitution and having admitted anti-American folks have easy access to the White House seems absurd. I sure wish Condoleza Rice had run for president. I believe she's one smart lady and the time has certainly come for a female, a black, or both, U.S. Presidency. Oh well, it will be what it will be and Americans will make the best of it, as always.

So, let me sign off by reminding you to vote on Tuesday. And while I hope you vote for the right man, I just want you to get out there and vote! :-) Oh, and you might want to stop by my website,

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Lake Havasu City Writers Group Meeting Day

I did a Yahoo search today for Sharon Poppen and found so many links to my stories, as well as my novel 'After the War, Before the Peace.' And speaking of the book, Denise Cassino, who is doing a great job of promotion for my book, has put together a very informative package that includes a nice, actually very nice, review of the book. Check it out on my website .

Always a good day when the LHCWG gets together. Had almost twenty people there today! I had submitted my story 'A Helping Hand'. It got good reviews for the most part. It was our assignment week where the story can only have 250 words and the prompt was to use 'There was something about her/his eyes ...' as the first line. Most folks felt my story could have been fleshed out a little, which I agree, but overall it was the dialog that that got the best reviews. Crits are so very important. You don't have to use them all, but sometimes a big flaw will be identified and that's when the learning kicks in.

I found an article in the August 2008 issue of The Writer - 'In Writing, Persistence is Key' by Andre Dubus. I shared it verbally with my writers group today, because is is so on target with my philosophy on writing. I strongly suggest that if you're having problems staying focused, find the article. It's a great motivator and a good kick in the muse.

I didn't get to work on 'The Woman Between' today, too busy. It is the latest novel in my Farrell Family saga. They are such an interesting clan! What I'm focusing on is a romantic triangle between two brothers and the wife of one of them. I want the reader to like all three of them, despite their human flaws of weakness, pride and self-satisfaction. Another writer is acting as an editor. I've yet to get his feedback. He likes men who trade blow for blow, while I prefer to develop my characters with more subtlety. Let's see how that works out.

Our writer's group had its monthly reading at a member's home instead of Hastings Book Store. She decorated in the Halloween spirit and the stories were all great and very much on the macabre side in keeping with Halloween. A good time was had by all. Still, I prefer the public readings at Hastings. Can't say why, just the atmosphere and watching strangers sit with their coffee and listen to our offerings. It's all part of wanting to share what I write.

Towards the end of the week, I managed to get involved with my three on-line writers groups. Even penned a new story 'What Waits in the Willows'. Feedback has been good overall. Folks liked the two main characters who are cops. They are partners, but have totally different outlooks. I tried to show their characters (you know how I love working with characters) with dialog and a show vs tell. So far, the feedback is good.

Well, before I find myself rambling, I'll sign off. Gosh feels good to be blogging again.