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These are the thoughts of an aspiring writer. I hope to take every day life with all of it's feelings and emotions and put them into words.
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1. Finding Your Niche In All You Do



         We tell our kids the same thing all the time. Try, try again. Try until you get it right. Don't give up. Start again. Practice makes perfect. We have ingrained this mentality into our culture. We say the same thing to our friends, co-workers, parents, nieces, nephews, etc...

         Stop and think about this though. What happens when as hard as you try, you still fail? Let's be realistic here. Not everyone is going to make it to the top. Not everyone is going to be drafted to the NFL, or the NBA, or any other national sports league. Not everyone is going to make the team. Whether it is the middle school team, high school team, AAU League, or any other league.

         And lets face it, you might write that novel, edit it, edit it until you just run out of changes, query it and get rejected. Do you stop? No. You try again. Why? Because that is what makes us better writers. And you should. You get back on that horse. You take that master piece of yours and it edit it again. You send it to partners and you are thrilled when they rip it to shreds. Now we are getting somewhere. You edit again, and again and again. Now you tackle that query. You work on it night and day. You walk away, you send it out for critique. You edit again, and again. Until you just don't know what other changes you can make.

     You do your research on agents. You send your query out in small batches just to get more rejections. Finally you get a request for a full. You are on cloud nine. Nothing can upset you now. Months pass as you try not to think about your baby. You start to work on another manuscript, although that first baby is never far from your thoughts. Finally you hear news. The agent isn't interested. Suddenly you can't decide if you want to scream or cry.

     Seriously though, what happens when a manuscript just isn't working? How long do you play this game until you finally put it aside and say. Okay, I love you but I have to move on. And when you do look into yourself and see your work as other people see it? Maybe the style of writing isn't working, maybe it's the genre, maybe it is the demographic?  Try didn't styles of writing, different genre, play with YA, Adult, Picture Books. You might find you actually enjoy one more than other, or you at better at one over another.

     We all have gifts. The trick is not to dwell on our weakness, but to find our strengths and work on perfecting those. We are all good at different things. That is what makes us unique. Find what you are great at, work on that, and excel. That is goal for this year. What is yours?

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2. Body Image



This picture is perfect. Notice the caption. "The Perfect Body." Yet all of the women in this picture are different. Yup, diversity is perfect. No one is exactly the same. The same size clothes never fit the same on anyone. It is time clothing ads change to conform to the every day women. In fact I personally believe models for the run way as well should be all shapes as well.  Well it looks like we finally might be heading in that direction.

According to an article I read on the Today Show website, The U.S. Health Department says the United States should start to regulating the BMI (Body Mass Index) mass of models. This finding is coming out after France just started regulating it for models. They, in fact need a doctor's note stating they are healthy enough to work in the country.

Click on over and read the article.

I hope this regulation is put into effect. There are to many girls and women out the fighting anorexia. It is a horrible disease. I pray everyone fighting it, finds inner peace and health. I am so glad DOVE has taken the initiative and has changed their mission on body image. I know you have noticed their adds support everyday women of all shapes, sizes and color.

Girls need to know they are beautiful just the way they are.  I also hope the ballet industry has the same regulations.

On a side note. Notice this is about girls. Well I have boys and I worry about my boys because believe it or not young boys go through the same thing. I found this article over on the Today Show as well.



Now like the women in the article, my boys are healthy in their weight and in how they view themselves, but if you think you don't have to keep tabs on it, you are wrong. Check in on your kids, your nieces and nephews. Make sure they love themselves as much as you love them. Them and only then, will we be rid of negative body image.

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3. It's All In the Genes




This is an older post, but since I my numbers have changed, and after 3 years I'm back to changing my medicine, I thought now would be a good time to remind everyone how important it is the know your family history.

It is very rare that I post anything personal about myself.  I'm a private person and I see no need to involve my readers in my personal life, but once in a while, I feel a need to reach out and connect. By the time this post airs I'll be getting ready to go to my doctors for my six month annual visit to check my thyroid.

There are many women who have a thyroid condition.  Notice I said condition not disease.  I call it that because it is something we live with not die from, and trust me when I say I live with it every day.  Thyroid problems run in family like they do in many families.  My aunt has it (hyper) my mom's sister and my mom had it (hyper). I found out I have it as well last year it right after my sister found out she has it. Funny how we found out within weeks of each other and we are only a year apart.  My sister has hyper as well, so how in the world did I get hypo?  Sure, everyone else gets the one that makes you skinny, me, I get the one that makes you fat.  Like I haven't been struggling with my weight ever since I can remember.  Don't get me wrong, I am far from fat. At almost 5' tall and ranging between 109 and 110 I'm not complaining.  I'm smaller now that I was in high school. In college I gained the freshman 15 and then some so I know what it is like to be overweight. I worked my ass off to get my weight down so I'll be damned if some thyroid problem is going to change that now!  My point is thyroid conditions are not easy to deal with.  As soon as you think things are working out- your medicine is working and your gain your energy back- Bam the medicine isn't working like it should and your numbers are through the roof again.

It amazed me when I found out how much of the body the thyroid controls:

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism (An underactive thyroid)
fatigue, exhaustion
feeling run down and sluggish
depression
difficulty concentrating, brain fog
unexplained or excessive weight gain
dry, coarse and/or itchy skin
dry, coarse and/or thinning hair
feeling cold, especially in the extremities
constipation
muscle cramps
increased menstrual flow
more frequent periods
infertility/miscarriage

Symptoms of Hyperthryodisim (An overactive thyroid)
nervousness
irritability
increased perspiration
thinning of your skin
fine brittle hair
muscular weakness especially involving the upper arms and thighs
shaky hands
panic disorder
insomnia
racing heart
more frequent bowel movements
weight loss despite a good appetite
lighter flow, less frequent menstrual periods
(thanks to about.com)

Notice even monthly cycles are on the list.  I actually had to go off the pill because I couldn't stand the anxiety anymore.  I'll swear I'll never go back on.  I feel sane again.  And the monthly cycles? Trust me when I say I feel like a teenager again. You remember pimples right?  Yeah,  not fun. :-(

Anyway, I had my blood tested for my visit to see how I'm doing and I found out my numbers are up again. Not a good thing. I got the call on a Friday but missed it so I had to wait until  Monday to call back. So by now I have already spoken to my doctor, but I still have my appointment. I have to say my numbers being up are almost a relief, because it explains so much.  I knew something was off, but I thought it was just my monthly cycle, apparently I was wrong.  Now I know, so now with my doctor's help I can take action to fix the problem. 

Now that it's Thursday I've seen my doctor. So I have an update for you. My numbers show that I'm showing symptoms of Hyper Thyroidism.  This means I'm taking to much medicine, but since I stopped taking birth control (could not stand the anxiety anymore) my doctor said my body is still trying to get back to normal and the numbers can be "fantom."  Hey that's the word she used, not me.  Meaning?  When your body is working hard because it is under stress- fighting something (infection, sickness, other med's or lack of in my case, etc..) the numbers can and will change.  She has seen it many times and sometimes the numbers go back on their own some times they don't.  Solution?  None, it's a numbers and symptons game-always will be. I don't have any symptons just numbers so she is going to monitor me very closely for the next 6 months.  I have to get my blood work done again in 2-4 weeks, then again in another 2-4 weeks.  If she doesn't like something, she is going to call me, and I promise you she is very good with calling me.  So that's my update.  I'm okay, just under my doctor's strick watch, which is a good place to be.

So please now your numbers, know your family medical history. My mother made sure me and my sister knew ours and I'm going to make sure my boys know theirs.  It's our first defense in helping ourselves stay healthy!  Remember, talk to your family and find out your numbers, I know many of you have little ones to think of.  We need to stay healthy for them!  Now go and have that talk,  you'll feel better that you did.

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4. Lost in Your Own Back Yard




It's the simple things in life that are funny.  It's those unexpected adventures where everything goes wrong and all you want to do is cry and you laugh about it later that I love the most. Laughter is what keeps us going sometimes, and sometimes it keeps you sane.  How many times have you said, if I didn't laugh I'd be crying?  A lot I bet.  Now, my last adventure didn't make me want to cry, but my nerves were up a little since I was in a time crunch and alone with my two young boys. And what was  my adventure you ask?  Don't laugh but it was getting lost while driving my boys to their new in-home day care.  Okay, laugh if you want to, I know I did, later that is. 

Picture it:  It's a beautiful summer morning and I have to go to work.  It's the first day my boys are going to an in-home daycare, recommended by a close friend of mine.  I'll called the in-home day care provider Tiffany.  (No, that is no her real name).  Anyway I have been to Tiffany's house only once and my husband drove.  Now in order for me to remember how to go somewhere I need to drive it myself, but I didn't.  So I printed out directions and followed them to a T, well as least I thought I did. The worst part was, I wasn't even far from my own house.  You see Tiffany lives in the same town as I do.  The problem: I live in a BIG town, and I am not a native to my town, not even the state, so back road, and twists and turns in neighborhoods can get tricky.
Anyway, after spending too much time driving in circles and getting even later for work then I scheduled in, I caved and called Tiffany. At the time I was a little irritated because I knew I was right around the corner from her house, and I didn't want to show my boys that getting lost can be scary, and annoying.   My conversation went something like this.

Me: "Hi Tiffany it's Cynthia, where are you?" 
Tiffany:  " I'm home.  Where are you?"
Me: "I don't know.  I know I can throw a stone at your house, I just can't seem to get to it."
Tiffany:  giggle, giggle  "What street are you on?"
Me:  "I'm on the corner of Alice and Wood street." 
Tiffany:  I don't know where you are, Cynthia."
Me:  "Tiffany, you live around here and you don't know where I am?  That doesn't help me. "
Tiffany: "I'm sorry I don't know. What else can you tell me?"
Me: "I'm staring at woods."
Tiffany: "Anything else?." 
 Me: "I'm staring at woods, what else do you want me to tell you?  They are brown with green leaves." (I laugh)
Tiffany:  "I don't know what woods.  I can't think of any woods by me."
Me: "Well there are, I'm looking at them."
Tiffany: "What road did you take to get here?"
Me: "Black Rock Road." 
Tiffany: "That's the right road, but I don't know of any woods."
Me; "Okay I'm going to go back the way I came and give you a road. Okay I just drove by Dell Street.""
Tiffany: "Hmm."
Me:  "I see a house staring at me now.
Tiffany:  giggle, giggle
Me:  "The road ended with a house in front of me, I'm at the intersection of Alice and Pine."
Tiffany:  "Oh, how did you end up all the way over there?"
Me: "I don't know.  If I did, I wouldn't of done it."
Tiffany:  Giggle, giggle "You're right around the corner from me."
Me:  "I know.  That's what driving me nuts.  I'm right there but I can't get to you."
Tiffany:  Giggle, giggle. "Here's what you do."
Me:  "Oh no you don't, your staying on the line with me until I get to your house, I'm not calling you again when I go in another circle." (I laughed)
Tiffany:  Giggle, Giggle, "Your funny, you remind me of Kathy (another fake name).
Me:  "Oh, no I knew I've been hanging out with Kathy for too long."
Tiffany: Giggle, giggle. 

In the end I figured out how to get to Tiffany's house.  It was an adventure.  I called work and told my boss I'd be late and why.  We all got a hoot out it.  The moral?  Sometimes, you just have to laugh at yourself.

What have you done recently that made you want to laugh at yourself?  Share, I did.

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5. Interview with: Sheri Sanders, Author, Actress, Teacher!


This is an exciting day for me.  This is the day I get to post about a good friend of mine from high school. Under normal conditions posting about a friend is a usual occurrence in the blog world.  We talk all the time about our family life, our children, pets, and our friends.  Today though is different. It is different because I am here to help introduce a new talent to the word, Sheri Sanders.

Sheri is not only and author, but an actress.  She has performed on and off broadway and teaches acting classes in colleges and all over the country.  She has studied and perfected her art and she has decided to share her knowledge with the world.  Pretty gracious if you ask me.  Her new book is out now and it's called Rock the Audition: How to Prepare for and Get Cast in Rock Musicals.  I have to say I love the title of this book.  Mostly because when I read the title I can picture Sheri acting on stage and singing her heart out.  I think those who know Sheri personally will agree.  But, wait, you still don't know Sheri, well them it's time to meet her!

Ladies and Gentlemen: Sheri Sander, my interview:

1) Tell us a little bit about your back ground. Where did you study your craft?

  I studied acting with great teachers here in the city but I studied popular music by listening to the radio!

2) Tell us about your experience with auditions and what made you decide to write a book on the subject?
I wrote a book because there was no formal training in auditioning for rock musicals. And it's something that I was naturally good at so I was happy to help the performers  who grew up listening to show tunes.


3) What type of research did you do?

 I watched alot of you tube videos and listened to alot of records!


4) How did you tackle the process of getting published? Did you submit to agents or go straight to self publishing?

I cold called Hal Leonard they asked me to write a book proposal. I did an I got a book deal!

5) You travel all over the country teaching classes, where are you headed next and what are you excited about once you get there?

  I'm trying desperately to get to Australia! It looks-so beautiful there!

6) What is next for you?
I am looking to invite producers and theatrical organizations to my rock concert in October in the Nymf festival . I need someone to invest in me. It's too big for me to do on my own now!  (NyMf is the New York Musical Festival).

7) How can you be reached, and where can Rock the Audition be purchased?

 Www. Rock-the-audition.com

     My book is in every barnes and noble across the country!

So there you have it everyone, Sheri Sanders, Actress, Author, Teacher, and lover of the arts!  Click on the links to buy her book and check out her website. You can check out Sheri's whereabouts on Facebook and Twitter.

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6. The Farmers






(I'm am posting this a little late to give time for Contest over at Susanna Leonard Hill's website)

So A few weeks ago I posted a small sample from my Uncle's work in progress. Today I thought I would post a small sample of one of my own. This is the opening of my YA novel. The Guardian: Farmers  

Trinity and her brother David are inseparable twins, until David decides to leave the farm and join the military. Every birthday Trinity looks forward to when David returns for their birthday celebration, but this time David returns with this friend Michael and Trinity is anything but thrilled. When David starts evading Trinity on errands he claims he has in town Michael tries to calm her fears, but Trinity knows her brother, and she knows when something is up. Then when their whole unit turns up at the farm, all hell brakes lose. 

David isn't their to celebrate his birthday with this sister. He is there to recruit her. Trinity has a special ability they need, but joining the military was never something she wanted to do. Trinity doesn't want to leave the farm and her parents, they need her help, but her brother and her country need her too. Trinity needs to decide, does she stay so her parents won't lose the farm, or does she leave so her parents can keep the farm after the war is over?

I hope you enjoy. Oh, and don't forget to let me know what you think in the comments.
Chapter One#
“You’re sixteen, you have your whole life ahead of you, what the hell would you want to go into the army for?” I remember my father yelling at my brother, David.
“They lowered the age minimum. We need the men if we are going to win this war.”
“Yes, men. You are just a boy.”
“I’m old enough to enlist, I’m enlisting.”
“We need you here.” My father yelled.
“I’m needed there too.” David shouted back.
When I saw my father’s face a little piece of my heart broke that day. He was hurt; so broken. It killed me I couldn't fix his pain. I turned to David praying he would give in and change his mind. My mother stepped in ignoring my father’s shouts. She placed herself between the two of them.
“You will always be welcome in this house. You will always have a place to come home too.” My mother cupped David’s face in her hand  reached up and kissed him on the forehead, “Just make sure you come home.”
    I remember my father storming out of the house after that. If my brother's decision had come at any other time I really don’t think my father would have flipped out the way he did. It was as if the stress of being short on help, the government taking most of our crops, bills piling up, and the farm close to foreclosure, meant nothing to my brother.
My father didn't come home until late that night. I sat up waiting for him in my bedroom. I stared at the clock willing him to come home before morning. David had gone out with friends and had come back long before Dad came home.
   That was over two years ago. David was due home today.

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7. Swinging Around the Christmas Tree


Susanna Leonard Hill is having a contest.  You should check her out. I love her site. 

So I decided to enter her contest, so sit back, grab the lines and enjoy!

Swinging Around the Christmas Tree

Swinging around the Christmas tree
The squirrel swung from branch to branch.

No one saw him huddled inside
For outside was cold and damp.

He fell asleep on the warm ride home snuggled against the trunk
For when he opened up his eyes
His home was brightly funk.

He swung around the Christmas tree
A delight from branch to branch
As each ornament he past
They made a funny clank.

Until he made it to the top
The angel smiling down,
He felt a warmth like none before and hugged her
Home at last.

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8. Seasons



Cold
Icy
Solid Stone

These are the things which chill me to the bone.

Warm
Fragrant
Soft Sweet

These are the things which make November complete.

Pink
Blue
Purple
Rose

These are the colors which spring to say Hello

Sand
Water
Lotion
Toes

These scream summer, everybody knows.

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9. THE KID ( A Family's Story)






The Funeral   
     It was a clear sunny day. The type of day you knew everything was right with the world.  Anthony married Pauline and saw his two children brought into in the world on a day just like it. So yes, with all he had done, and all he had seen and experienced; it only seemed right that it would also be a good day die.
     When the local newspaper ran the obituary his wife received a notarized letter from the State Department requesting she postpone the funeral.  Not understanding the request, but seeing how the letter came from the State Pauline obliged and held off the arrangements. Only Ralph, her son understood what was happening, and Ralph decided it was too early to say anything so he bit his tongue; intent to see how things played out first. Something's were better left unsaid, at least for now.  
     When the local paper ran a list of  Dignitaries who where scheduled to attend the funeral the whole family was more then surprised. What could Anthony have done in his life to attract people of this nature? Why was the president of China,  a New York Senator, one of the Cardinals from the Vatican and entrepreneur Richard Logan publicly announcing they were attending the funeral when none of them address the family personally? Pauline couldn’t decide if she was honored or insulted although she was leaning towards insulted. The obituary stated only that he died at 82 years old, born in New York City and ran a small construction company. He left behind his wife Pauline of 57 years and twins, a son Ralph and a daughter Dr. Bella Conte and four grand children. There was nothing about his military service, but that was because as far as Pauline knew Anthony had never served in the military, and so she never added it in when she wrote the obituary.
     Throughout the week Pauline received phone calls from various high ranking officials stating they were glad to hear Anthony had indeed survived the war and had lived a full life; for they were under the impression he had died years ago in a Korean prison camp. Confused, Pauline insisted they must have the wrong man. Her husband was never in a Korean prison camp, he never even went to war. He had asthma and so he failed the physical at the time of the draft. Still every one of the callers insisted they had the right Anthony and deep down Pauline knew they did because they knew things about him they could not know. Which only made Pauline wondered about her husband. What other secretes did he hide and why did he feel he couldn’t tell her? Call after call was the same. Men and women insisting they knew Anthony during the war; thrilled he had somehow made it home and how they would be honored to come pay their respects to such a man and his family. 
(End of Section) By Ralph Di Filippo

I hope you enjoyed this first section of the first draft of my Uncle's Book. This is only the start of the first chapter. As well as working on my own manuscripts I am in the process of helping him edit his work. Please let us know what you think in the comments section. Thanks and Happy Monday- Cynthia


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10. Beaver's Home















Beaver’s Home


Day by day
night by night
the water flowed out of sight


Then one day a beaver came
With his family he took his claim


As a team they chopped down trees
And made some logs for their needs


With each log they pulled and pushed
They made their home
They made it lush


They made it safe
They made it sound
They made it strong
and that’s what counts.

 

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11. Home Once Sweet








  The house sat in the middle of the street. The tall maple in the front yard had already changed from its deep lush green to beautiful shades of yellow, rust and orange. The wide floor boards of the front porch were warped and in needed repair. Once painted a soft blue, they were now worn and gray. The wide planks of the houses façade once painted off white was now dingy and in need of a fresh coat of paint. The front door, painted a dull red with a large window collected the sun light on a sunny day. Now it sits dusty and dirty catching no light at all.

          The house had served the family well. The family is gone though and the house stands alone. The rooms are bare. The birthday parties gathered in here are mere memories, and one could almost hear the walls cry as the foundation settles in the ground. No one is here, and the house is cold, empty, void of life.

     If walls could talk, the stories this house could tell; the joy of childhood, the pains of teenagers; cries of broken toys and tears from broken hearts. All of this lived within these walls, but now only the memories remain. The house seems to sigh as the wind whips through her cracks around the windows. Winter is coming, and the house longs for its’ owners. The warmth of an active fireplace where logs once warmed the room and people once cuddled around it is replaced by a cold empty fireplace, void of heat or embers.

          In the kitchen the cupboards are bare. All that can be heard is the slam of the back screen door broken off its hinge. Upstairs the rooms are empty and silent. The fuss and arguments over the bathroom quieted. The phone has stopped ringing, and the echo of conversations resound all over the house.

     The laughter has gone. The owners have moved on, leaving the house to sit and morn the loss of a home.

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12. Critique Partners


Critique Partners. There was a time I had no idea what a critique partner was. Now I know all too well, and I know just how important they are. What amazes me is how hard a good one is to find. I have been through my share of partners. Some have lasted a few years some for only a few months.

I know what you are wondering why? What is going on that I have gone through so many partners? Well, to put it simply, life. Some partners have decide not to write anymore, others needed a break, or I needed a break. Life at times gets in the way, especially for those just starting out. We are still trying to balance it all, mom, wife, work, kids, pets, house work, sports, family, etc. It's a lot to figure out and it's not always easy to always find that balance.

Not to mention people evolve and needs change and as these needs change so do your partners. It is a frustrating cycle and I'm sure I'm not the only one who has gone through this process. 

If you have found that special critique partner you are lucky. You see a critique partner is a lot like marriage. You need to take the good with the bad, support, respect, and always be there for each other.

How many partner have you gone through and are you still looking?


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13. What I've learned about Poems






Children's poems has always been an interest of mine. I can't say I've had an interest in them as far back as high school, college maybe, but I'd say more recently to be honest. I think it started to really take root when I started having children of my own.

I always wanted my boys to have a strong love for reading, and having a son who isn't fond of reading, I though it would be fun to spice things up with poems. There are so many wonderful poems out there for kids. Let's face it Shel Silverstein is just the icing on the cake.

In my endeavor to learn as much as I can about poems and writing picture books in verse I stumbled on some really great authors and bloggers and thought I'd share some of their links with you.

http://poetryforchildren.blogspot.com/ is a great site
http://readwritepoem.org/ is another one
http://readwritepoem.org/
and then there is Susanna Leonard Hall who's link you can always find on my side board.
There are also so many more, and  don't worry in the next few weeks I plan on covering some other great sites.

let me know if there are sites that you frequent. I'd love to add them to the list.-


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14. The Great Pumpkin


Nothing says Halloween like Charles M. Schulz. I don't care how old you are. There is something about this story line that pulls at my heart strings. Poor Linus insists this is going to be the year he finally see The Great Pumpkin, only to realize once again he is wrong.

He doesn't see the Great Pumpkin. He goes to great lengths to make his wish come true. He totally dedicates his night to the pumpkin patch. When his friends try to persuade him otherwise he sticks to his guns. He is going to stay in the pumpkin patch. This is going to be his year.

He misses the Halloween party. He misses trick or treating. He even convinces Sally to join him in the pumpkin patch. But alas. The great pumpkin never shows.

This story reflects childhood wishes, dreams, and beliefs. As children we are taught to believe in things bigger than ourselves so it only seems right Linus would chose to believe in The Great Pumpkin. Don't children believe in Santa Clause, or the Easter Bunny? Just because we can't see it doesn't make it not real. (I won't even go into religion-That's not what this blog is about).

My point is, and don't I always have one? Children, heck, people need something to believe in. It keeps us going. It makes every day with all it's trials and errors worth it.  It gives us something to look forward too.

Take Christmas, remember the child who stayed up late at night just so they can get a glimpse of Santa, or that Easter Bunny? Don't tell me you didn't try it yourself. Well I have a theory with why Linus has never seen The Great Pumpkin. The Great Pumpkin like Santa and the Easter Bunny will not show up as long as you are up waiting for them. They know, they somehow always know what a child is waiting up for them, so they will wait until you fall asleep to come. That is why none one has ever seen or will see The Great Pumpkin.

What are your thoughts?

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15. There's Just Something About Those Ducks







Make Way For Ducklings, By Robert McCloskey. It is such a simple idea. Such a simple storyline. I think that is way people love it so much. Hey you know you have a great story when a whole city dedicates a memorial to it. I have to say Boston is great like that.

I've always loved Boston. It's a beautiful city. But the story isn't about Boston. It only takes place in Boston. Make Way For Ducklings is more than just about ducks though too. It is about people. People who make time during their busy day to realize what is important.

Many of us forget what is important. We rush around all day working, cleaning, running errands, cooking, etc.. doing all sorts of things that distract us from what is important. And what is important? You actually have to ask? It's people/animals taking the time to care of each other.

In the story the mother guides her family through the busy streets of Boston. Now most of us know as humans this is not an easy thing to do anywhere, but in a busy city it is even harder. So now imagine you are an animal, a duck, a cat, a rabbit any animal will do and try to image navigating your brood through a busy city street. Not fun, not easy, and very stressful. But when you have the help of others what may seem impossible becomes possible.

You know the term, :"it takes a village" well, when taking care of a family, when taking care of each other; it does take a village. How else does a village thrive? When we care for each other, we all thrive. It really is that simple and it really shouldn't be that hard to remember. But we are human and sometimes we need the innocence of animals (like the lovely ducklings) to remind us to stop, look around and take care of what is important. Each other. Thank you Mr. McCloskey for a wonderful, inspiring story we can happily hand down for generations to come.

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16. Columbus Day





It's Columbus Day. What exactly is Columbus Day? Well according to Scholastic it means, and I quote:

"The holiday honoring Christopher Columbus' sighting of America on October 12, 1492, is observed in the states of the United States and also in parts of Canada, in Puerto Rico, and in some cities in Italy and Spain."

This is a big day. It changed history. Funny thing about Columbus Day though is there is no big family get together, no big holiday meals. No fan fair. It's just a quiet day to observe. A day to relax if you so chose, and enjoy the weather. Or like me, a chance to get things done you normally don't have time to do.

It's a day which usually involves, baseball so you can usually find me either watching a ball game or walking around the field at my son's practice, a cross country meet or practice, cooking a nice fall meal (maybe homemade soup, or a gravy). I'm Italian so yes, gravy is red. Deal with it. (smiles), attending an art festival, or maybe even pumpkin picking. Yes, these are my relaxing activities. Hey, each their own right?

Then there is always the house hold chores. The raking of leaves, going through the winter clothes, and getting the house and yard ready for winter. Not my relaxing activities.

Either way I love Columbus Day weekend. I love the fresh fall air, the smell, the chill, the warmth of a fire at our cabin in the woods and a nice hot cup of apple cider. These are the things that are Columbus Day Weekend to me. The kids are out of school, my husband and I both have the day off and we can either play or work. Usually I do both. Hey it's a long weekend. I can get it all in.

What are your favorite activities on the beautiful fall holiday?





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17. What Do you Read To Write?



Everyone knows in order to be a good writer you need to read. More importantly you should read the types of book you want to write. I ask you though. Is that really true? I have to be honest. I don't necessarily read the type of books I write. For me it wouldn't be as fun. I want to go to different worlds just as much as the next person.

I write young adult and new adult books. I have also dabbled in picture books. I'm getting off subject. My point is. I love to read. So much so I majored in English Literature.

I love the printed word. I love digging into a book and getting lost not only in the story, but in the world that is created for me to explore. One of my favorite books is Jane Eyre. I have lost the number of times I have read it. I've done reports on it in college, and you know what amazes me? Each and every time I have read it, I find new information about the characters I missed the time before.

This is what a book should be to me. When I can re-read a book and always find something I missed before. Another story which does that for me is "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. This work is incredible. I can only wish to write the way these two women write.

So yes, these are the books I read. At the moment though I am reading something a bit different. I'm actually reading "Blood Song" by Anthony Ryan. I love this book. It's the first in the series. So yes, my taste is diverse. Don't judge me on Jane Eyre.

What type of books do you read? Do you read to write? Or do you read to read? Personally, I read to read. If it helps with my writing, then that is an added bonus.

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18. London Cloud Cover



I love this picture. So many things can come to your mind when viewing it. The early break of day, the clouds covering the city as it starts to wake. The quietness before the chaos.

For me is sense a story start to unfold. I look at this beautiful photo and I see in my mind out of shot of the picture a plane. A small two seated plane drifting through the cloud cover enjoying the morning sun rise when suddenly something goes wrong. The clouds are too thick, the air pressure is wrong, and the pilot starts to lose control of the plane.

The plane swerves then dives. The pilot holding onto the controls desperately. He shouts to his co-pilot he has lost control and he needs to adjust the pressure. The plane climbs missing the top of a building, but then climbs to high. The co-pilot fights with gauges and buttons, trying to gain control of the plane. The pilot pulls down on the controls and the plane starts to descend.

The plane levels out just in time before hitting the top of a building. The pilot circles back to the city as the sun rises higher on the horizon and the clouds start to lift. The city is just waking. It's time to go home. It has been a long night.

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19. Authors and Illustrators

Working on a book is hard work, we all know that. I have worked on my share of works in process; so far none of which has seen the light of day. Well, they have, but they haven't gotten past the the agent test. Don't worry, I'm still working on changing that.





What I find fascinating is not only the hard work that goes into these works, but the illustrations as well. For example, check out the picture above. I have this rough draft of the cover of Charlotte's Web. Ever wonder how many different covers were tried before they decided on one?

I've always loved looking at the pictures of the young reader chapter books where they have a small picture to help sum up the the chapter next to the title . Whoever thought of that idea? I love it.



 But what puzzles me more was how many hours and rewrites did it take to get the right title for the chapter and the right illustration? I'm guess a few dozen. It must have been so hard to decide.

Then there are picture books. There are so many authors out there who haven't even met the person who is working on the illustration for their books. Think about it, doesn't it boggle your mind to know that someone else is taking your baby and giving it a new life in pictures? As an author it must be so exciting to see your characters take on life like that? I'd love to know what that feels like.

Now authors who are illustrators as well are just too talented for me. I mean have you ever looked at the cover of a book to see that the author and illustrator are the same person? Next time look. Not as many as those with different author and illustrators on them. I say hat's off to them, now that is talent. One I will not ever posses, but I have great respect for. Thank you.

One of my favorites which incredible illustrations is:


MISS FIONA'S STUPENDOUS PUMPKIN PIES, by
  • AUTHOR: Mark Kimball Moulton
  • ILLUSTRATOR: Karen Hillard Crouch

If you have never read this book and looked at the illustrations why have to get yourself a copy.

Another of my favorites is: 

BUSTER, by
Author:  Denise Fleming
Illustrator: Denis Fleming

She is a perfect example of an author who writes as well has designs her own illustrations.  

Tell me some of your favorites so I can go check them out! 





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20. Much ado About Nothing

What is writers block and why do so many people say they get it? Writers block is when you stare at a black page, or the next sentence of your work and the words just won't come to you. Well I'm here to say, I have not been away for so long because of writers block, no I've been away, because like everyone I needed to recharge, be mom, wife, daughter and sister. In short live life.

When I decided to start up my blog again. it wasn't anything I thought about. I didn't say to myself, "I need to start writing again." Nope it actually happened more suddenly then that. I was sitting in the dentists office waiting for my son to get this palette expander taken off and the wires put on his braces, when I decided to check my blog. Why? I have no idea. I haven't checked it in so long. That was when I decided to write here again. I was ready. It was time.

What in the world do I write about though? I haven't written in so long? Writers block? Nope. I looked around my back yard and a million things came to mind. I realized that I don't need a subject to write about. Just write. The leaves on the trees, the flowers in the garden. What shape are they? Do they have curves or are they pointy? How about the colors, are they soft as pastels, or are they vibrant as primary colors? Then there is smell? Are they pungent, or do you barely get a whiff of them in the breeze? Taste? Okay, unless they are editable you probably don't want to taste them, but you get the point.

Which brings me to my point. Write. That's it. It doesn't have to be on your current master piece. It doesn't have to be editing someone's else's work. Nope, just write; for the fun of it.

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21. The Peacefulness of the Forest


     The forest is dense. It is lush with different shades of green. All is quite. Not one human has stepped into these woods for years. The creatures of the forest and the rustle of the leaves in the breeze are the only sounds to be heard. Now take the quiet a step further, if you are really quiet you can hear the branches and leaves as they drink up the damp morning dew. It's hard I know, but it is possible.

Nature at it's finest is quite and beautiful. The stories she hides close to her heart are not always easy to hear. Sit down and listen again. Watch the forest around you and she will tell you the stories if you stop to see long enough to see her wonder. Look and listen because she is telling them, you just have to stop long enough to hear them. Then and only then will her stories come alive for you. The scratch on a tree trunk from an ax from long ago, the fallen branch from a storm, and birds nest high in the branches which had taken months for the young bird to build, the scurry of a squirrel as he collects his nuts, the long slow slither of a the fox as he eyes his prey and the circling flight of the hawk as he searches for food.

These are the character of the forest. They are strong and vibrant. Stop, look and listen. Let them tell you of their adventure.

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22. AAU Baseball Fans!


 I love that dog up there. Why? Because that scruffy little dog represents my local town's AAU Baseball Team. Why else do I love that dog? Because of my son. I'm proud of him.  I'm getting ahead of myself though. Let me tell you a story. After all, that is why you are here.

My son loves baseball, but he didn't always. He was one of the kids out in the field during his T-Ball days picking daisy's, literally. Over the years his interest grew, yet he still didn't have the same drive most of his friends had. Once the weather got chilly they were still at it. They tried out for the river dogs and made it. Why, because even in the winter they would find the time to hit the indoor batting cages, my son, on the other hand, not so much. Oh trust me it wasn't for the lack of trying to get him out there.

Last spring though something changed. My son became taller, stronger and more determined. He suddenly had the drive that wasn't there before. He started asking to hit the batting cages, and wanted to try out for the river dogs. My husband and I were happy to oblige. We knew it was going to be rough for him though. He had a lot of catching up to do. In this age group there are a lot of boys who are really good. I mean kids get scared at bat good. Danny knows, most of them are his friends, good friends. Gives him an advantage though on the field. Still competition is competition.

Last August my son tried out for the River Dogs for this past spring's team (They train from January to April. Then the games start). We told him don't be surprised if you don't make it. He knew, he understood what he was up against, but he wasn't going to let that stop him. He didn't make the team. It crushed him, but that rejection only made him stronger. During the spring season he was a changed kid. He took baseball seriously, he worked, he lead his team, He hit 11 balls over the fence, he played his heart out, and everyone of the coaches noticed.

August came around and try outs for the River Dogs came again. My son wanted to try again. He wasn't going to give up. He said if he doesn't make it, he'll keep trying out until he does. That's my boy!

We'll we got the call on a Wednesday night after the first day of school. My son made the team. They decided this year since there were so many kids who tried out and only 12 slots they would have two teams. Still that is only 24 slots. Still hard to get on the team in my eyes. They have an A Team (the diamond team) and an open team. Now my son is aware he isn't on the Diamond Team but that's okay, it isn't the point. He is on the team, he is playing the sport he loves, and he didn't give up.

Isn't that what life is all about? Falling down and getting back up? I know my writer friends out there know what that is all about. Well, that is my story, perseverance  pays off. Always remember that and Happy Monday!


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23. Apple Season!


It's apple season! Know what that means? Of course you do. It means apple picking. Over the years my husband and I always got this wrong. We would wait until the first of October and say "Hey, boys let's go apple picking." We would drive to the local apple orchard and find most of the apples gone.

Apparently we were out of practice. October is pumpkin season, we knew that but we also thought it was apple season. Wrong! Apple season is in September. We got it right now.

There is something about fall apples. Sure you can go to the local super market and get apples all year round and I do, but you have to admit they just aren't the same. That first bite of a perfectly ripe fall apple is amazing. So light, so crisp and juicy. Then there is the smell, oh it's heavenly. Nothing else compares.

I usually spend my weekend morning during this season making my husbands favorite: Apple Cake. It is a recipe handed down from my Grandmother. Everyone in the family made sure they got a copy. We wanted to make use her recipes lived on after she past. I promise you Grandma Helen, I think of you every time I make the apple cake. What better way to honor a loved one?  I usually have to make more than one a season I can tell you that and I know Grandma Helen did too.

What are your favorite recipes made with fresh fall apples? Tell me, maybe we can share.
Happy Apple Picking!-

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24. An Author's Day






Day by Day I write I type
I cut, I paste
I cry, I gripe.

My fingers fly across the page
I grapple for words alive with rage

I make the old worlds new again
I rip
I tear
I paste, I dare
To create a world new and alive
For my characters to live and thrive.

I cut, I paste
And gripe once more
In hopes you will someday explore
The world I create in my heart of hearts
To share with the world
My work of art.




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25. Bullying: It Never Seems to Go Away



See that picture up there? I love that picture. Why? It's simple. Just look at it. The picture alone says it all. We will not tolerated bullying.

Bullying is all around us, at home, in school, at the work place. People concentrate on kids bullying other kids all the time, and with school now in session it is something that is at the top of the list for people to be aware of all the time. But does it really ever end? In my eyes, sadly no. It is always something we need to teach. Kids need to be aware of others people's feelings, young and old.

As we concentrate on stopping the bullying sometimes I feel one thing is being lost, forgotten, and not addressed and it should be. What about the bully. We need to stop and think about why these kids and adults are bullies in the first place. I promise you one thing. There is an underlying problem there. The solution? Get help. These bullies have emotional problems of their own. Get to the source of the problem and the bullying stops.

This is where my knowledge of writing and books come into play. Ever hear of The Berenstain Bears? Of course you have, we all have. The book is called The Berenstain Bears and the Bully. Read it again. The bully turns out has emotional problems of her own, which I'm happy to say are addressed in the book.

More recently a new book is out on the market. No I have not read it, but I like the idea and am interested in what the author has to say. The Book is called FLAWD by Emily-Anne Regal and she is the founder of WeStopHate. She is a 21 year old who was bullied herself and after changing schools became the bully. I have to say I'm interested in reading her story. How about you?

My point? Don't just stop the bullying, stop the cycle.


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