Friday, February 14, 2014

Love, Strange Love

You gotta love LOVE.

It’s the best thing going.

And there’s always a whole lot of it going around.

For instance, in Myrtle Beach Bubbles and Bella are inseparable.

And they don’t give a flip what the world thinks about a 9,000-pound elephant dating a 90-pound Labrador Retriever —

They’re in love, and they aren't afraid to show it.

Way down under, an Aussie dog rescue organization recently listed a beautiful Blue Heeler.

The only trouble — he was a package deal.

He would not go anywhere without his BFF —

A goat named Axle.

Apparently, the two found a home on a farm in Binnu where they play, sleep, and eat dog biscuits…

In Tennessee, two rescued circus elephants were reunited after 22 years apart.

Did they remember one another?

Let’s just say that even steel bars could not contain their love.

Now they walk the wilds of the sanctuary trunk in trunk.

And then there’s Alex, the African Grey Parrot who was studied by scientist Irene Pepperberg for thirty years.

Alex took the concept of "birdbrain" to a whole new level when he learned colors and counting, then began putting words together to form complete sentences that he had not been taught.

Sadly, he died prematurely.

But his last words to Irene?

“You be good…

Well, I’m not sure if love actually makes the world go ‘round…

But it does make it one hell of a wonderful ride.

PROMPT: It’s a beautiful day to celebrate love in all of its amazing forms. What’s your love story?  

Write on!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Serious Fun

Do you want to know the top three activities that are guaranteed to improve your writing?

1. Write every day

2. Write every day

3. Write every day


But that doesn't mean that you should write seriously.

In fact, the more you can make your daily writing discipline like some wild and crazy joyride, the faster you’ll get to where you want that writing to go.

So lighten up!

Enjoy the process.

After all, it’s not brain surgery. It’s not life or death…

unless, of course, you kill off a character or two — but still.

This is fun!

And to quote the master…

“Fun is good.”
~Dr. Seuss

PROMPT: Create a new folder. Label it SandboxJukebox, or Xbox(whatever kind of fun you kids are into these days). Then noodle around — catch one of the voices inside of your head and see where s/he goes, create a crazy recipe, or write about wacky neuro-geeks who do think brain surgery is fun. Throw these daily bits into the digital file. Give yourself a couple of months of this and you’ll see — something wonderful this way comes!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Bunyan “Birthers”

According to legend, the greatest Bunyan that ever lived was born on this day in Bangor, Maine way back in 1834.

But don’t say that out loud in Bemidji, Minnesota. They insist that the big guy sprouted from their colossal cabbage patch.

Then you have the Michiganders who staked their Bunyan claim in 1938.

So far, no one has been able to produce a birth certificate…

But clearly everybody wants a piece of the Paul Bunyan action.

And who wouldn't?

I mean, the guy had a blue ox.

He dug the Grand Canyon… with his ax!

He stomped all over Minnesota to make 10,000 lakes.

And Mount Hood was formed from one of his old campfires.

Well, Minnesota and Michigan, you can duke it out all you like, but you might want to consider that Maine residents are often referred to as Maniacs.

Oh, and one more thing…

There’s a current resident of Bangor, Maine who might have an opinion —

Stephen King.

And nobody messes with the King.

PROMPT: Celebrate the Bunyan by writing your own tall tale today. Need some inspiration? Check out this great site for some fabulous American folklore.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Make Scents

The same folks who brought you the rabies vaccine, oboe, and Etch A Sketch are at it again.

Yes, I am talking about the French…

Who are planning to have an oPhone in your hot little hands by the end of the year.

That’s o as in…


Yes, we're talking smell phone.

So, whether you are excited by the possibility of actually inhaling Teen Spirit while listening to Nirvana…

or dreading the skunky prank calls from the neighbor’s kids…

Let this serve as a friendly reminder to put some scents into your work.

PROMPT: Does your main character smell like cinnamon bread or New Jersey? What about the setting — à la salmon cannery or lemony fresh? Make your writing much more realistic by giving it some olfaction satisfaction today.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Knock Knock

Yep, that’s opportunity!

Do you like to write stories, poems, or nonfiction articles for children?

Well, here’s your chance to turn them into dough!

The Kansas Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation is looking for poetry and prose for grades 3 through 12.

Their plan is to use them on state reading assessments...

and they’ll pay you $250 for each piece they accept!


This certainly looks like a great way to break into the business of educational writing.

As many of you know, I've been doing this sort of thing for years, so here are a few tips —

1. Pick kid-friendly topics for the grade level you’re targeting. Yes, that zombie kill-fest might be sooooo much fun to write, but you won’t sell it for Grade 2 assessments. Sorry.

2. Use the Readability Statistics that are built into Microsoft Word’s Spelling and Grammar Check. The Flesch–Kincaid Grade Level will help you zone in on your target audience. This number will not be accurate for poetry, though, so see tip #3…

3. Search core vocabulary lists for each grade level online and don’t stray too far from them. Trust me, I know how badly you might want to use “discombobulate” in a kindergarten text, but alas, it will not sell. For more thorough lists, pick up a copy of the EDL Core Vocabulary: Student Workbook by Steck-Vaughn. It will only set you back 10 bucks, and trust me, it’s money well-spent. I’ve been using mine daily since 2005.

So, check out the details for this terrific opportunity here, and…

PROMPT: Write on!