Sunday, January 31, 2010


I can speak of my own criterion for judging whether or not a book is good or bad. I ask of it a single question, From how deep and true an impulse did it spring? Was it written merely to shock? Only to make money? Or was it written to create something. ~Lawrence Clark Powell

Your life story would not make a good book. Don't even try. ~Fran Lebowitz

Write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow . . . ~ Lawrence Clark Powell

A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us. ~Franz Kafka

The good writer, the great writer, has what I have called the three S’s: the power to see, to sense, and to say. That is, he is perceptive, he is feeling, and he has the power to express in language what he observes and reacts to. ~Lawrence Clark Powell

I write at eighty-five for the same reasons that impelled me to write at forty-five; I was born with a passionate desire to communicate, to organize experience, to tell tales that dramatize the adventures which readers might have had. I have been that ancient man who sat by the campfire at night and regaled the hunters with imaginative recitations about their prowess. The job of an apple tree is to bear apples. The job of a storyteller is to tell stories, and I have concentrated on that obligation. ~James Michner, The World is My Home

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Saturday Sillies

"Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia." ~Kurt Vonnegut

Don't you love that quote? It speaks to me. Of course, I'm so literal I have to apply it to blogging too. Who do I please? Myself ... or you?

I bought a book called The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging. I gave it to my husband for Christmas, knowing full well he wouldn't read it. He doesn't read how-to books anymore. Guess he figures he's old enough to do things his way. Anyway, on page 74 there's a list of The Top Ten Horrible Publicity Stunt Ideas. Crazy things. But I really like one of them: Threaten to hold your breath until your counter hits 10,000 page views.

We were going to take a bathroom mirror off the wall tonight. It's nine feet long. I was sure we could do it, but once I cleared the vanity away, the mirror looked incredibly long. Something deep down in my gut said, "Don't be ridiculous, be safe!" I could almost feel it breaking in the middle and slashing arms or legs. We decided to call a glass company on Monday.

It might be fun to have my very own writing blitz. Could I write a book in 24 hours. I did it once but I was in my 20s then. . . and it was a very mediocre book. Rather autobiographical. Or maybe the correct term is FACTION. The only way a writing blitz could happen is if I'm the only one in the house and can stay up and awake for 24 hours. I'm yawning just thinking about it.

I got a new follower today. That ups me to 27.
Isn't it silly to get so excited about followers? Twenty seven!
So here's what I'm gonna do:
I'm gonna hold my breath until I get 30.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Times Flies and Doesn't Come Back

I don't need anything to remind me that time is passing at breakneck speed. At least, it is in my household. But time may be standing still for you. . . or maybe you just think it is. If you need a reminder that time is valuable and can't be replaced, invest in this cute little clock. Hang it in your office, right over your desk, and then sit yourself down and finish that novel. You can price it/order it HERE.
Now share some of your time-management tips with me.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Motivation Monday

Being an author is having angels whisper in your ear - and devils, too. ~Graycie Harmon

i never think at all when i write
nobody can do two things at the same time
and do them both well
~Don Marquis, Archy's Life of Mehitabel, 1933

Keep a diary and one day it'll keep you. ~Mae West

A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author. ~G.K. Chesterton

I want to write books that unlock the traffic jam in everybody's head. ~John Updike

Friday, January 22, 2010

Louisiana Saturday Night with Chere' Coen

If you want to learn all about the life of a busy freelancer, then meet Chere' Coen. She co-authors, freelances, teaches classes, takes care of a family, and she loves speaking to writers' groups and at conferences. Hey, I'm queen of the time-wasters so I'm hanging my head in shame here! Make note: if you collect cookbooks or have an interest in Cajun cooking, be sure to take a look at her new book, Cooking in Cajun Country. Now read on:
1. Tell us about your path to publication. What’s your background and what did you study (if anything) to further your writing career?
I’ve always been a writer, since I was a kid, just insane from the get-go. But I studied journalism at LSU and took classes year after year in fiction, screenplay writing and playwriting. I’m still studying to be a better writer and am considering getting my MA in creative writing if I can find the time and money. I believe you can never stop learning when it comes to writing.
I started out wanting to be a screenwriter and had a screenplay optioned in Hollywood, although it never sold. I veered off into novel writing when my son was born because it was something I could do in the comfort of my home and there were no pitch sessions involved. That turned out to be successful for me and I sold five novels and a novella.
In the last three years I have sold two non-fiction titles.

2. You write nonfiction and fiction. Be a name-dropper. What are some of your writing credits. And tell us where your heart is—nonfiction or fiction?

My fictional books were all historical romances by Kensington under the pen name of Cherie Claire: “A Cajun Dream,” “Snow Angels” anthology and “The Acadians” historical series of “Emilie,” “Rose,” “Gabrielle” and “Delphine.”
My non-fiction titles are “Cooking in Cajun Country” cookbook (Gibbs Smith) that came out last year with “Cajun” Karl Breaux of Lafayette and a book coming out in the fall titled “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris and Sachets” with Jude Bradley by Llewellyn Publishing.
I adore writing fiction. It’s the most fun legally I can think of to have — well, one of them. Non-fiction is like writing a VERY long article, which is fun for me as well. The gris gris book coming out in the fall was a whole lot of fun to do, although an enormous amount of work. I make gris gris bags to give to friends and family and always wanted to know why certain herbs and stones mean certain things and why so many cultures use these bags and the book allowed me to dig deeper and find all that out. I’m very excited about that book and can’t wait to hold it in my hands.

3. Being a freelancer, a novelist and collaborating with other writers, how do you stay organized? Give us all your secrets because we need them!
Being organized is the key! One thing about freelancing is you have to diversify to stay alive because publications go in and out of business all the time. I teach, write articles and books and even work as an election commissioner when we have elections.
I use calendars, to-do lists and have separate places on my desk for all the things I work on, such as binders for the classes I teach and folders for all the handouts, separate bookshelves for the travel press folders for my travel writing, binders with all the business cards I gather,separated by subject. I review books, too, so I have separate bookshelves for different subjects, such as cookbooks, Katrina books and children’s. If I wasn’t so organized I would go crazy trying to find all the things I need to do a good job.

4. What does a typical day look like for you? Are you involved in any critique groups—why or why not?
A typical day means coffee and chicory first thing! LOL And I usually sit down at the computer after reading the paper and don’t get up until lunch, which means the UPS man sees me in my pajamas if he comes to the house before noon. But hey, it’s one of the perks of working at home.
I believe strongly in critique groups as long as you find the right one. You need honest, objective criticism but nothing harsh and hurtful to make you doubt yourself or lose motivation. It’s not easy finding the right people. I have been blessed in the past but don’t have one at present.

5. What is your best advice for promoting yourself and your books?
Web sites are a must and you can always link yours to mine, Booksignings are not fun for me but they are necessary for getting the word out. Even if you sell one book, the booksellers now know you, it’s likely you were in the paper and you build on that. Don’t forget libraries — they love hearing about local writers.
You have to grow a thick skin and be courageous. This part of writing has always been hard for me. I actually prefer making speeches — believe it or not — and selling books at workshops and conferences than doing booksignings. I love talking to people about writing.

6. What is the biggest challenge you face in writing and publishing?
What isn’t a challenge? LOL
If I had to pick, I would say getting an agent. I sold on my own, then when I lost my editor at Kensington decided to focus on getting an agent. That took three years and I had written two books by then and she picked up one of them. It took 18 months to get the book out and read and by then the market for my type of novel was saturated and she dumped me.
I’m back to trying to get an agent and in the meantime sold two non-fiction books. Can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong in this area, but like I said, it’s all challenging one way or another.

7. What are the biggest surprises you've encountered as a writer?
How some close friends will turn on you when you get published. And how some close friends — and not so close — will do the most amazing things. A good friend of my sister and mom bought a bunch of my cookbooks to give away to friends and his family, had me sign them! My own family didn’t do that, outside of my dear sweet mother, my biggest fan, who bought up the store in Lafayette and GAVE the rest of my family copies, and my sister who is always singing my praises. I even had to buy copies to give as Christmas presents to my in-laws, who didn’t get them on their own. So, being disappointed by the ones you love was probably the biggest surprise. I thought the support would have been greater.

8. How do you inspire yourself? What are your sources of creativity?
Coffee. Chocolate. I don’t have writer’s block, but I do love long drives by myself to work on things in my head.

9. What's the best advice you were given about writing?
You can’t work with something unless it’s on the page. Write, write, write and then go from there. Just write it!!

10. Who/what do you like to read and why?
I have lots of favorites, really couldn’t possibly list them all, plus I’m always busy reading books to review, and I don’t always like those. Southern writers tend to be on my personal lists to read. Tolkien and Jane Austen were the only two authors I read three times; I read To Kill a Mockingbird twice.

11. What are you currently working on?
Proposals for new non-fiction books. I’m considering writing a ghost book on Acadiana, a book about the sacredness of trees and possibly a culinary guide to Louisiana. For fiction, I would love to do a series with a travel writer as the main character.

12. What is your favorite writer resource, one that keeps informed?
Shelf Awareness.

13. What professional organizations do you belong to and how do they help in your writing career?
Since becoming a freelancer, I have had to bow out of most of my organizations, such as Romance Writers, because money is so tight. When you work for yourself, especially as a writer (we all know how well-paying that is), you have to make painful choices. I am a member of the Writers Guild of Acadiana, however, and their program chairperson.

Wrap it up: Tell us about any stories, articles, books, etc you have coming out that we can look forward to, and point readers to your blog, website, etc.
I write a weekly travel and food column for The Times of Acadiana in Lafayette:
And a weekly book column titled Louisiana Book News in The Daily Advertiser of Lafayette and the Monroe News-Star:

You can read samples of my work, find out what’s going on the book business of Louisiana and join the Louisiana Book News Yahoo newsletter through my Web site:

I’m teaching an online life-writing genealogy class at Lamar University in Texas on March 2, 9,15, 23, 30 and April 6. Call 409-880-2233 or visit .

I also teach novel writing at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Continuing Education; call (337) 851-6386 or visit

Waste the Day... with Me

I wrote a post in my head but never took the time to get it down on paper, so here I am taking the easy way out. I found this on Google Images and it said FREE so here it is. Hope the Google Images police don't come after me. In the mean time, if you want to kill a little time, have fun finding the U.S. authors that are listed below.

Dos Passos
Farrell Faulkner
O'Neill Poe

Copyright © 2002-2009 Free Online Word Search Puzzles

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Robert Brown Parker--A Sweet Memory

Robert Brown Parker
Born September 17, 1932 – died January 18, 2010.

Below you'll see a coffee cup with a picture of Robert B. Parker and our daughter, Chaney.
We met him in Houston at Murder By The Book when he was promoting Perchance to Dream.
Our daughter, age 9 at the time, scooted next to him and put her arm on his shoulder. He smiled and leaned close to her; I snapped their picture. I wish I'd plied him with questions about plotting and characterization, but I can't remember saying much of anything. I do remember his smile--as if it were yesterday. I remember being impressed by his kind expression, and that sweet, sweet smile. His warmth toward his fans was genuine. I liked him. I really liked him.

We were Robert B. Parker fans/readers long before we met him. We like nice guys and good writers.
And look--he loved us too. He signed the book to our daughter: Chaney, with love . . .

He's an author who will be missed.

My favorite ROBERT B. PARKER QUOTES because I think they show his heart:

I had achieved the most important things in my life when I married Joan and had the sons. Given the choice between Joan and the boys, and being a writer, I would give up being a writer without a blink. ~Robert B. Parker

For David Parker and Daniel Parker, with the respect and admiration of their father, who grew up with them.
~Robert B. Parker

Joan organizes our social life, and on weekends I follow her around. ~Robert B. Parker

Well, you give me too much credit for foresight and planning. I haven't got a clue what the hell I'm doing. ~Robert B. Parker

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Little more than a year ago last November, I popped over to to see what was happening. As is my custom, I searched the membership to see if there were any new members from Louisiana. That’s when I found D. B. Grady from Baton Rouge. I was in the middle of helping with our local conference and I wanted everyone within driving distance to come. Still… did I dare contact a strange man via the Internet? I stared at David’s unsmiling picture and decided to take the chance; I’m so glad I did. D. B. Grady is a multi-talented writer who (during the past year) has sold a novel, published in Boy’s Life, been a columnist and become a contributor for The Atlantic. Focused? Determined? I would say so. Read his answers to my questions and learn the who, what, where, how and why of author D. B. Grady.
1. Have you always wanted to write? What’s your background and what did you study to further your writing career?
I've wanted to write since the second grade, where I wrote a swords-and-sorcery epic that spanned two handwritten, loose leaf pages. Somewhere along the line, though, I was dragged into the corporate world, and writing became just as fantastic a notion as being an astronaut or movie star. I studied computer science in college. I wish I could say I took every English Literature elective I could find, but I didn't. I was a typical student, and exerted just enough effort to graduate.

Still, I did have a knack for the written word, and the notion of writing never left me. And I was (and am) a fanatical reader. So while I have no formal literary training, I can say that I've studied under Raymond Chandler and Cormac McCarthy and Margaret Atwood and Douglas Adams and Stephen King. Reaching further back, Voltaire and Victor Hugo. The Bronte sisters.

At some point, I read a really good book followed by a really bad book. "Nineteen Eighty Four" was the good one. (I won't name the bad one.) I became fixated on what made Orwell's book so emotionally resonant, and what made the other such a poor read. At that point, I think I decided to really give it a go, to write a book and see it through to the end. I figured if this other guy could do it, I could, too. The book I wrote is "Red Planet Noir."

So while I wish I had a Masters in English Literature, I do think the key to being a good writer is being a good reader.

2. Tell us about your path to publication.
Long. After deciding I wanted to write a book, I had to learn *how* to write a book. It meant learning about non-finite dependent clauses and subjunctive mood and everything else I forgot after I graduated. And little things like split infinitives and the Oxford comma. And it also meant learning how to discipline myself to write every day, to edit dispassionately, and to develop my style. Once the manuscript was finished -- it took two years from conception, but the bulk of the work was focused over six grueling months -- I got to the hard part: the publishing industry.

I've been to college. I've worked in the cutthroat corporate world. I've been in a war. Nothing could have prepared me for the publishing business. Everyone dreams of typing "THE END" and submitting a manuscript, and the phone ringing off the hook for the rest of the week with agents and editors begging to produce your masterpiece.

While that may happen to some, it didn't in my case. I've got a stack of rejection letters that could wallpaper my living room. Most of them were form letters. The nice rejections scratched out "Dear Writer" and wrote in "Dear David." After a couple of months, I refined my query -- this was key -- and inadvertently revised the entire manuscript. (I say inadvertently because I started out simply wanting to change a single sentence. Before I knew it, I'd burned through eighty thousand words.) Then I started getting hits. Lots of requests for partials and full manuscripts, and eventually a contract.

Getting from contract to a physical book is another horrifying struggle, but it's mostly psychological. You expect the worst at every turn, and live in fear of your baby being disfigured. I wish I could say for my next book I'll be a bit more relaxed after signing the contract, but the truth is that this is art -- this *is* your baby -- and nobody's going to defend it but you. (Or your agent. That's the other thing I learned -- get an agent.)

3. What are some of your writing credits? And we want to know all about your book.
Before my book was published, I had no publishing credentials. I had no experience. No education. I had no business being published whatsoever. So the book had to stand on its own -- it didn't have my reputation to fall back on. After signing the dotted line, I turned my attention to freelancing and short stories, having learned how important credits are to query letters. I attended writing conferences and workshops and groups, and eventually found work everywhere from Boys Life to The Atlantic. It is all about personal connections. Aspiring writers have got to go out there and meet people, because the personal connection trumps the cold query every single time.

As I mentioned, the title of my novel is "Red Planet Noir." It's a classic down-on-his-luck private eye novel set in an anachronistic future. (That is to say, it takes place a century from now, but is written as a 1930s pulp mystery, from dress to vernacular.) Our hero, Mike Sheppard, is hired for a high-profile murder on Mars -- quite a reach for a New Orleans detective who hates working cases out of town. His investigation reveals a larger conspiracy, and Mike is soon chased by everyone from the cops to the mob. And every time things can't possibly get any worse for poor Mike, they do.

4. What is your writing process? Do you outline or do you just sit down and start writing?
I am easily distracted, so I prefer to write in absolute silence, and alone. Stephen King once described the importance of closing a door, and he's right. When I'm holed up, it’s just me and my universe.

When I've got all cylinders firing on a manuscript, I write early in the mornings – 5 am at the latest, because when you're up that early, there's a real motivation not to waste time. And I never write as I edit. I just accept that my first draft will be terrible, even if, at the time, I think it's Shakespeare.

Before I edit, I take some time off in order to reread my manuscript with a fresh set of eyes. I'm never sure if what I've written is good, but I always know when I've written something badly. Those are the parts I cut out.

I do outline the major parts of the story. I write whodunit mysteries, so I like to have a timeline of events, and it helps to jot down where and when I'm going to drop a clue or throw a red herring at the reader. But the details, dialogue, the humor -- all of that stuff is written from thin air.

5. What does a typical day look like for you?
As I mentioned, I write in the mornings, then I try to get out my correspondence. Lately my volume of mail has increased exponentially, so I'm weeks late on some letters. But I do respond to everyone. Real life stuff aside, I spend about two hours a day (broken up, mind you, into five or ten minute intervals) on social networking sites to promote my book and meet new people. For a first-time novelist with a limited marketing budget, this is where the money is made. And of course, I read every day.
But I've also got a one-year-old, so she's the one who gets the final word in the matter.

6. What is your best self-marketing advice to first time novelists and since you’ve hired a publicist, can you tell new authors why they should consider hiring one too?
I'll get back with you on the publicist. I love mine, and she's been a huge help in educating me on the business, but I'm not sold on that expenditure yet for first time authors. (It can be substantial.) But it's early yet in the process. So far, I've found that all the real successes I've had have been of my own creativity, and drawing people from the other work I do. (That is, mentioning my book or website in the bio-line of my columns.)

Most serious readers get their book advice from word of mouth. And that's where social networking is invaluable. People enjoy John Grisham's books, but they don't know him personally, and probably can't call him up for a chat. When I sell a book through Twitter or Facebook or wherever, "knowing me," so to speak, is a selling point. And I'll talk to a reader all day, about my book, or film, or life. Self-marketing is just that -- marketing yourself. The book is secondary to the personal connection. And an added benefit to this is that I've made hundreds of very good friends around the world that I wouldn't have otherwise known. And when someone sees my book on their coffee table, that's a conversation point -- "Yeah, I know this guy. You should read this book." At least, I hope they say that.

7. What is the biggest challenge you face in writing and publishing?
Walk into Borders. There are hundreds of thousands of titles there. Most people can name five or six authors, and maybe three or four new releases. I can assure you that my name is not on their lips. So they're not going to find me in the ocean of literature. Add to that the problem that, being with an independent press, I'm not in Borders to begin with! So without question, the biggest challenge I face is obscurity. My most pressing job as an author is selling myself, and then my book.

8. What are the biggest surprises you've encountered as a writer?
Easily, the biggest surprise is how kind and generous and supportive other writers have been. Everyone who's set pen to paper knows what a challenge it is. Everyone who's had to sell that paper knows the challenge increases exponentially. But rather than build jealous walls of bitterness or resentment, every writer that I've met has reached his or her hand out and offered to help. Published, self-published, unpublished -- it's a unique and beautiful kinship.

9. How do you inspire yourself? What are your sources of creativity?
Good books always inspire me. Good movies, too. As for creativity, when I'm writing, I know that if I'm not having fun, the reader won't either. So I try not to let the roadblocks and headaches discourage me or seep into the prose. When I'm trapped in description, I try to cut loose and write madly, as though the rules of literature don't apply. When I'm trapped in plot, I follow Chandler's advice and have a guy walk through the door with a gun. Oftentimes, this produces my best work.

10. What's the best advice you were given about writing?
Every page of "On Writing," by Stephen King. It is a nuts-and-bolts instruction manual on how to write a book. It's inspiring. It's motivational. It's funny. Get a copy of the Strunk and White and the Merriam-Webster Collegiate 11, and you've got everything you need to write a book.

11. Who/what do you like to read and why?
I read everything. I cut my teeth on Tolkien and Douglas Adams and Michael Crichton, so science fiction and fantasy will always have an important place in my heart. Robert Heinlein and Philip K. Dick are both geniuses of the first order. These days, I read mostly literary fiction. Cormac McCarthy and Margaret Atwood are probably the two best living writers today. Both deserve Nobel Prizes for Literature. (Atwood, especially, given the daring breadth of her work.) I'd give one to Roddy Doyle, too, who wrote my favorite book, "Paula Spencer." (Though I'm pretty sure there's already a prize with his name engraved on it.) I love Stewart O'Nan. "Last Night at the Lobster" and "The Good Wife" are mind-blowingly good. Chris Bohjalian. Going back a few years, John Updike, of course. Vladimir Nabokov wrote the most perfect love letter to the English language with "Lolita." Raymond Chandler is the master of crime fiction, and always will be. And of course the classics -- I adore the Bronte sisters. Victor Hugo. Emily Dickinson. I could really do this all day. The popular writers of today: Stephen King, J.K. Rowling. I'll stop there.

I just love reading. I think any writer who is serious will, if not develop a love for reading, then develop a habit of reading. If you don't have time to read, you don't have time to write.

12. From reading reviews of Red Planet Noir, you have some followers who are hollering for a sequel. Is there one in the works and what are the chances that you’ll write many more Mike Sheppard novels?
I could spend the rest of my career writing about Mike Sheppard. The characters, the world -- it's like a playground, really. An absolute delight. I've got two more novels in my head ready to be poured onto the page, but for now, I'm expanding my horizons a bit. I'm currently writing a paranormal mystery, and I expect that to take most of 2010. I've got another idea I'm kicking around, too. Mike Sheppard will return, but it'll be long after the end of the Mayan calendar, assuming the world doesn't end.

13. What is your favorite writer resource, one that keeps you inspired and informed?
I'm subscribed to a daily email called Publisher's Lunch, which keeps me up to date on the happenings of the industry. And these days I read as much as I can on self promotion. (Though probably not enough.) I also love reading interviews with authors. But I try to stay away from most writing websites. They tend to depress me. It's a hard business, after all, and I don't need to be reminded of it.

14. You seem incredibly focused and methodical. Yes? No? And is that an inherited trait or have you trained yourself to be that way? How can we procrastinators become more like you?
Comparatively speaking, I'm thirty-one and working in the mailroom. So I really have no choice but to stay focused.

I'm trying to make a living of this. Writing is an art, but a writing career is a business, and I treat it no differently than I'd treat starting an auto repair shop or a bakery. Aspiring writers should also note that a lot of this initial grunt work is free, or stingy on the pay. Again, that's part of making contacts and getting a foot in the door. Mark Twain once said, "Write without pay until somebody offers pay. If nobody offers within three years, the candidate may look upon this circumstance with the most implicit confidence as the sign that sawing wood is what he was intended for."
But believe me, I know procrastination. And I'd love to kick my feet on the ottoman and play video games all day. I'm just not there yet, so I work hard.

15. Wrap it up: Tell us about any stories, articles, etc you have coming out that we can look forward to, and point readers to your blog, website, etc.
Jess, it's been an absolute honor and privilege to chat with you today.
For those interested, the name of my novel is Red Planet Noir. It can be found pretty much everywhere online, to include and

I'm at, where you can download the first chapter of the book, and get links to reviews and such. And of course, I'm always happy to meet new friends on Twitter. My username is @dbgrady. I hope to see you there!

I thank David for doing this interview with me and I just had to post this picture of a D.B. Grady fan!

Wordless Wednesday?

I'm not very good at this Wordless Wednesday posting. I find I NEED to comment. I'm probably one of these 'gotta have the last word' people too. :) So anyway...
Tell us about your career plan. Got one?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Motivation Monday - Interesting Quotes

Short Story writing requires an exquisite sense of balance. Novelists, frankly, can get away with more. A novel can have a dull spot or two, because the reader has made a different commitment. ~Lynn Abbey

Successful men are influenced by desire for pleasing results. Failures are influenced by desire for pleasing methods. ~Frank E. Brennan

I think I did pretty well, considering I started out with nothing but a bunch of blank paper. ~Steve Martin

Every writer I know has trouble writing. ~Joseph Heller

Writing saved me from the sin and inconvenience of violence. ~Alice Walker

However great a man's natural talent may be, the act of writing cannot be learned all at once. ~Jean Jacques Rousseau

Nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing. ~Sylvia Plath

If at first you don’t succeed, think how many people you’ve made happy. ~H. Duane Black

What's the first thing you do when you sit down to face the blank page?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The One Day Way by Chantel Hobbs

The one day at a time method of doing anything always works. That's how I quit smoking many years ago--I took it one day at a time. That's how I wrote my novel--several pages a day--one day at a time. That's how I tackle challenging projects, even rough times--one day at a time. If you need a little guidance to handle one day at a time weight loss, The One Day Way by Chantel Hobbs might be the book for you. It does take you back to the basics but it's a fast read.

The One Day Way by Chantel Hobbs
Did you make a resolution to lose weight and get healthy in 2010? Then let best-selling author Chantel Hobbs show you how.

Author Chantel Hobbs breaks the chains of past diet debacles and frees readers from unrealistic goals. She teaches daily fitness tasks that develop into lasting habits. By focusing energy and attention on doing the right things every day, she frees readers to achieve their weight-loss goals one day at a time.

I’ve got great news for you: You are about to feel better and look better beginning today! Today is truly a new opportunity for you to reach your weight loss goals. No, you won’t fit into your “skinny jeans” today, but I’m going to show you how each day will get you closer to that goal.

Yesterday’s mistakes are gone so let them go. You can’t control tomorrow, so stop worrying about it. Today is your opportunity to lose weight, get strong, and look great. It won’t happen overnight, but you can build a new life by changing your actions immediately and I’m here to show you how to make the changes that will create the new lifestyle you dream of: body, mind, and spirit. Best of all, you will start celebrating right away!

Come on, my friend. Let’s get started! By opening this book, I’ll show you how to unlock every tool you need to lose weight and get fit —and stay that way for the rest of your life. Success can be yours, what are you waiting for?


The One-Day Way produces lasting results by taking you back to basics. No more complicated weight-loss strategies. No more expensive diet plans that achieve only temporary results. Instead, you will lose weight and get fit with Chantel Hobbs’s simple, high-energy meal plans and her at-home program for cardio exercise and strength training. She will teach you how to change the way you think, which leads to new actions. Before you know it you will be strong, fit, and healthy. All it takes is doing things differently for twenty-four hours—and then repeating it.

The One-Day Way gives you everything you need to lose weight and get fit in body, mind, and spirit:

•Break free from past dieting defeats
•Learn a realistic, life-changing way to measure success
•Change the way you think so you can change your life
•Translate your dreams into goals, and your goals into lasting achievements
•Get strong with thirty-one simple exercises, no fancy equipment required
•Take advantage of ten ways to eat better while you lose weight
By focusing on food, faith, and fitness, Chantel shows you not only how to lose weight, but how to build the new life you were designed to live. You don’t have to wait any longer. The One-Day Way gives you all the tools for success, starting right now.

Author Bio:
The author of Never Say Diet and The Never Say Diet Personal Fitness Trainer, Chantel Hobbs is a motivational speaker, life coach, personal trainer, marathon runner, wife, and mother of four whose story has been featured on Oprah, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox & Friends, the 700 Club, and the covers of People and First magazines. She appears weekly on two fitness-themed radio programs and promotes her One-Day Way Learning System on television. Visit Chantel at for fitness updates and coaching tips.

[For more information about this book, visit the publisher's web site.]

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

My friend Erica suggested I have a Wordless Wednesday, using a picture and inviting readers to supply a caption. I'll take it another step and suggest it can also be Warm-Up Wednesday just in case you want to write a flash fiction, or practice some dialogue. I imagine this little guy has a lot to say.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Motivation Monday - Something to Think About

Today is Motivation Monday. I’ve been waiting for this day—the first Monday of 2010. I hope every Monday I can post a few quotes, a cartoon, something (anything) that will sort of energize us toward Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I’ve given thought to this blog and its purpose. It started out as a secret blog—just for me—almost four years ago. I think it’s time for it to ‘become’ something else, though I’m not quite sure what. Anyway, Motivation Monday might be a regular because I really like quotes. They make me think. Sometimes I post a favorite on my computer where I can see it while I write. So here we go with 10 quotes that speak to me. I hope they speak to you too.

Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That's what little girls are made of; the heck with sugar and spice . ~Bethany Hamilton

Without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value. ~Jim Rohn

Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, as long as ever you can. ~John Wesley

Ideas won't keep; something must be done about them. ~Alfred North Whitehead

Do more than belong: participate. Do more than care: help. Do more than believe: practice. Do more than be fair: be kind. Do more than forgive: forget. Do more than dream: work. ~William Arthur Ward

You were not born a winner, and you were not born a loser. You are what you make yourself be. ~Lou Holtz

An average person with average talent, ambition and education, can outstrip the most brilliant genius in our society, if that person has clear, focused goals. ~Brian Tracy

“If anything is worth trying at all, it’s worth trying at least 10 times.” ~Art Linkletter

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. ~Nelson Mandela

What we do today, right now, will have an accumulated effect on all our tomorrows. ~Alexandra Stoddard

Which one speaks to you and why?

Friday, January 1, 2010

James 3:13-18 - Something to Think About

The book of James is one of my favorite books of the Bible. This is the scripture my husband read to me yesterday morning and I think it's a great scripture to start out the new year.

James 3:13-18 (New International Version)
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

Sometimes our peace loving provokes controversy in others. If we're submissive we're considered weak, if we're merciful, sometimes we're made fun of. Sometimes it's hard to be impartial. We have to ask the Holy Spirit to guide us so that these harassments don't provoke us to act the same way. We have to continue to ask--over and over and over again. As cliched as it sounds, we're a work in progress, much like our novels. Even when they're finished, published, displayed on the bookstore shelves, we can go through and find things we wish we'd written differently, scenes we could have omitted completely. So it is with our good days. Often we lay in bed at night, think back on something we may have said or thought or felt...and feel regret.

How does James 3:13-18 speak to you? If it doesn't, then what's your favorite book of the Bible and why?