Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Signature of All Things

I have just completed reading the most wonderful book by a most wonderful author. The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert is truly an amazing story.

It is evident on every page that the author painstakingly researched and toiled for many years to write this sweeping, historically sound, epic novel of desire, ambition, and utmost need for knowledge. This novel is definitely in the category of literary fiction that ranks high on the list with such works as Bronte's Wuthering Heights and Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

Who would have thought that the subject matter of mosses would be so delightfully interesting and spectacularly entertaining? Apparently, quite a lot of readers (including me) do and are fully embracing this new novel from this amazing author.

Gilbert successfully makes the lead character, Alma Whittaker, moss-loving woman of the 19th century into someone the reader cannot help but like - I would even go as far as to say "adore".

From Alma's birth through the years right before her death, the author takes you on a world-wind tour of the Whittaker estate (White Acre) in Philadelphia across the oceans to Tahiti and finally to Holland - all the while narrating the sights, sounds, smells of animals and people that Alma encounters along the way.

Although the beginning of the book is very informative and provides much in regard to Alma's lineage and upbringing, the story becomes more interesting and fully unfolds at the midpoint of the book. Up to this point, Alma has dedicated her life to moss study and scientific reasoning, but then she encounters Ambrose Pike. Smitten with this new beau, one thing leads to another and the two wed shortly thereafter.

The events that take place after their exchange of vows are at times (psychologically) hard to read, but these events lead the story into the next phases of Alma's life. The first one being a phase of removing familiar surroundings one is accustomed to; then on to removing the "baggage" of life and finally to the last phase - one of discovery.

I whole-heartedly recommend this novel to anyone who appreciates literary, historical fiction. You will not be disappointed.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Gratitude Give-A-Way Winner is DEVORAH FOX                       

Visit Devorah at:

Facebook -

Website -

Thank you all for entering the contest and sharing it with others in your network.  

Monday, October 21, 2013

Gratitude Give-A-Way

As a writer, the past few weeks have been truly awesome.  So much so, that I wanted to thank all of  you for your continued support, comments, advice, blog readership, FB likes and everything else you have done to help me to continue on in my pursuit of writing.

As a token of my appreciation, I will be giving away a $10 Amazon e-card to ONE lucky winner on Monday, 10/28.  To enter, please go to the below link:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks and good luck to all of you. :-)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Regrouping and Preparing for NaNoWriMo

With all of the craziness surrounding my recently published short story a couple of weeks ago, along with supporting several other Indie authors through reading/reviewing/promoting their newly released novels and taking a much-needed, short vacation last weekend - now is the time for me to regroup and prepare.

Getting organized can be a daunting task, especially when trying to prepare for one's first ever NaNoWriMo  - which will commence on November 1st.

For NaNoWriMo, the writing must occur solely in the month of November.  It is okay to plan and outline your story before November, but any writing must be within the 30-day period from November 1 - 30.

Since I am already in the process of writing several more short stories for release in an e-book collection in March 2014,  my plan is to put those short story writings on hold and complete them after November 30th. 

So, where does one begin for NaNoWriMo?

For me, the very first (and easiest) thing to do is read everything I can from their website - NaNoWriMo. Once that is done, determining what will be written and naming the story are the next steps.  After that, I plan to prepare an outline of the chapters to be included along with details of the characters/plot/setting for the story.

As time goes on and I get more involved and closer to November 1st, I will get the hang of what this endeavor really entails. But, for now I will take baby steps and take one day at a time - learning as I go.

I hope to not get too wrapped up in the details of the process, but have fun with it and produce a good rough draft of the story for editing at a later time.

Wish me luck. :-)

And so it begins ... Preparation for NaNoWriMo.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Her Name was Half Calf - Award Winning Short Story

Winner’s Circle 

The winning story in the September 30 contest is “Her Name Was Half Calf” by S.A. Molteni. She has won a cash prize of $50 and is eligible for entry in a quarterly contest for a $100 cash prize. Congratulations!

In General

Our Contest Rules provide the winner is selected based on the combined placement in three categories:

1) The number of FB likes. This is the (only) quantitative or popular category.
2) The persuasiveness of high-quality comments. Unlike the FB likes, which is strictly quantitative, the judges look for persuasiveness in the high-quality comments following the stories in a contest. We are always very pleased when writers receive many comments and support from readers. In judging, however, we focus only on high-quality comments. Please see the FAQ page for this reference and examples of high-quality comments.
3) Opinions by visitors from the Closing Arguments page. To leave an opinion on the Closing Arguments page, a visitor must read all the stories in the contest and post comments to at least three stories in the contest. Visitors abiding by the terms of the Closing Arguments page become surrogate judges offering a top pick. A story cannot win first-place without at least one favorable opinion by a visitor from the Closing Arguments page.

No story in the September 30 contest placed first in all three categories.

September 30 Contest

Placement in Categories

At the closing time of the contest (noon PT October 6), “Her Name Was Half Calf” had 64 Facebook thumbs up (“likes”).  “Silver Linings” 26 and “The Winner” had 20. “I’m Approachable” and “Isn’t Half a Century Worth Something?” had single-digit FB likes.

In the second category, the judges look at the persuasiveness of the high-quality comments. (See the above explanation.) “Her Name Was Half Calf” and “The Winner” were in a virtual tie for first-place in this category. “I’m Approachable” took second place. “Silver Linings” and “Isn’t Half a Century Worth Something?” were tied for third place in this category.

In the third category, “Her Name Was Half Calf,” “The Winner” and “Isn’t Half a Century Worth Something?” were the only stories in the contest that received at least one favorable opinion from the Closing Arguments page. As mentioned above, a story must have at least one opinion by a visitor from the Closing Arguments page to win the contest.

“Isn’t Half a Century Worth Something?” received this one favorable opinion advocating the story for first-place:

[This story] should win because it is upbeat, well-written, and makes growing older actually sound like fun! I hope to get a shirt like the one the author described when I’m fifty — she made me see that there is humor in yet more birthdays!

The Judges determined that “Her Name Was Half Calf” and “The Winner” were in a virtual tie for first-place in the Closing Arguments category.

Here is one opinion for “The Winner” by a visitor favoring the story as the top pick in the contest:

[This] is a visual story. The author makes it visual from beginning to end. I laugh at “Glitter Eyes,” wondering if she’ll ever read it. It’s great when a writer can create funniness, and Robin has mastered at it. It takes all kinds to make the world go around. After reading Sterling’s story, “Glitter Eyes” had me off the earth and on another planet!

Here is one opinion for “Her Name Was Half Calf” by a visitor that favoring the story as the top pick in the contest:

[This story] is a powerful piece about the emotional connection between a human being and a calf. The author’s opening was very descriptive and caught my attention, immediately. Most people don’t write about a calf and how much it means to them, after all they are farm animals. Strong verbs moved the story along as we encountered the crisis as the animal became ill delivering its calf. I was very moved by the description. I could “see” the whole experience as tears fell down my own cheeks. The ending closed the story, allowing the reader to feel the pain the author is still feeling long after having had her pet put down. It was a difficult piece to read, but as we all know, some pieces really touch the emotions. This one sure touched me.


 The judges thought “Her Name Was Half Calf” and “The Winner” are both deserving of first-place. Both stories were in a virtual tie in two categories: high-quality comments and closing arguments. The FB likes category was decisive in choosing the first-place story because the placement of these two stories was otherwise so even.

“Her Name Was Half Calf” placed first in FB likes, and the story eked out a victory over “The Winner,” an equally worthy opponent, in the September 30 contest.

We hope all the writers in the contest are pleased with the many encouraging comments received by the readers. The stories are now on our Archives. Thank you to our visitors for their great comments.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Self Promotion and Lessons Learned

In case no one noticed, I have a short story being showcased this week on Midlife Collage. {{Sarcasm}}

I was so thrilled that it was selected to be one of five presented on their website this week that I neglected to think ahead to what this actually meant for me as a writer/author.

I am very thankful for the exposure and even more thankful that someone outside of my immediate circle of friends and family thought it was well-written enough to be given a chance to be read by many new and different people.

With that said,  I do not really know how much (or how little) I should promote this short story, as it is my very first one that has been published in a format such as this. I am learning the ropes as I go along on this journey - which has definitely been filled with peaks and valleys these past few days.

What I have learned so far this week -  in no specific order - is this:
  1. My friends and family really do care about me.  Or, at least, they put up with me fairly well.  :-)
  2. Facebook, Twitter and Blogger along with other social media tools are worth their weight in gold -  if used with care.
  3. My fellow writers/authors are a fountain of information and are a wonderful support system.
  4. Some people do not have nice things to say about my short story.  But I cannot judge them, since I do not know what is going on in their lives at the moment that the not-so-nice comments were made.
  5. Many new authors have faced exactly the same things that I have faced this week and have lived through them to write another story.
  6. Self-promotion exhausts me.
  7. I will continue to write, because that is something I truly enjoy and gives me a stronger sense of purpose.
The most important thing I have learned is that this short story has been nurtured, sheltered and protected by me long enough.  It is now time for me to release the grip I have had on it and let it fly on its own merit. 

Thank you all for the continuing support, the great comments and the wonderful words of encouragement this past week. I truly appreciate it and will cherish it for years to come.

In Remembrance of Half Calf
5/26/2010 - 2/15/2013