Tag Archives: creative writing

WPC: Blur


This week’s photo challenge is Blur.

I rarely keep a blurry photo, as I always go for the picture that has better quality. Usually my cell phone takes blurred images. Some are noticeable, while others aren’t as noticeable until after I’ve posted them on my FB or Instagram pages. However, this one is my favorite blurred image. It’s of my daughter, shopping for a comic book. She’s staring up at Hulk, her favorite superhero; there’s two different stacks of Hulk comic books so, she’s trying to decide which one she wants.

She loves superheroes and comic books. There’s a lot of girl’s who read comic books, they’re not just for boys. A few years ago she found my small stack of comic books; I had a huge stack of them, once upon a time, but they had gotten stolen while I was in the Navy. I found her thumbing through them carefully and mumbling intelligible words, which only had me believe that since she can’t read just yet, she’s making up her own story lines. Suddenly, I thought ‘maybe she would like to have them, if not help me pick some out that she would like’.

Now, when we go to Hastings, the only store nearby that has a large selection of comic books to chose from, she always asks if she can get one. Of course I say yes, it makes my little geek heart leap for joy.

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OWPC: Mauve part 2


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Sometimes, mini me doesn’t like the toys that she gets in her Happy Meal, so she hands them to me and tells me that they’re for her cousin, Hunter, whom she is really close to. There were two times that I had asked her if Mommy could have the toy she’s giving away and she agreed. Both of those toys were beanie babies, an octopus and a turtle. I thought they were cute and placed one above my rear-view mirror, and the other tucked between the roof and sun-visor. She loves my idea better than giving them away.

For other One Word Photo Challenges, click here.

PC: Ephemeral


This week’s photo challenge is ephemeral. Ephemeral means, to last for a short period of time.

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WPC: Fresh


For this week’s photo challenge, share a photo of something fresh.

My daughter and I spent the first day of Spring, visiting the alligator farm in Hot Springs. We followed that with a short stack of pancakes at IHOP, her request, then came home just in time for it to start raining.

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I love Spring. To me, it represents a fresh start in life; everything blooming and waking up. The vibrant colors popping out, adding color to the grey bleakness that represented Winter. Birds chirping, squirrels chattering and their newborns cry out for food. It’s a fresh, new life in another Spring season.

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DP: 32 Flavors


Naples Noodle Headbeer barCookieslicoriceRaw Fish AnyoneKoper Dinner

Daily Prompt for 32 Flavors; Vanilla, Chocolate, or something else entirely.

When I joined the Navy in 2000, I had unknowingly become an anthropologist. Little did I know, that 10 years later, I would set out to go to college to become one, an anthropologist. An anthropologist studies humans and their origins, race, culture, societies, development, and a list of other things. There are 4 fields in Anthropology – Cultural, Physical, Linguistic, Archaeology.

Most of those in the military, especially the Navy, are unaware of their involvement as an anthropologist or that they are in a way more than diplomatic ambassadors, but they are also anthropologist. They travel to foreign countries as part of their duties, eat food from another country, talk to someone in their home country, shop in another country, walk around on soil that is foreign to them; it is all about submerging themselves into another person’s culture or society. I’m like a sponge, I love to soak it all in.

Before we pulled into port, we would have an idea of the things that we could see and do. A group of people are sent out before we pulled into port to find things that would be entertaining. Plus, they would locate the areas that weren’t safe for us and let us know. They would have tours set up and ready for us, names of a few places we could visit, and names of the shopping plazas nearby, as well as passing out a few maps of the city we were pulling into, and most importantly, they would bring bankers on board so we could exchange our currency.

The first thing some of us would look for once we got on dry land is food. It isn’t unusual to find a McD’s in most of the places we pull into and since some personnel are accustomed and habited to eating there, that’s the first place, and sometimes the only place that they’ll head to for sustenance. I actually look for something local, as I’m not bothered in trying new food. I especially looked forward to touring Italy and eating oven baked pizza and home made pasta. I even had the pleasure of eating tiramisu while I was in Italy, to which I loved immensely. Next thing I had to try was Italian coffee, then gelato.

I believed I spoiled myself, that when I came back home to the states, it was something that I searched for. Olive Garden was as close as I could get to Italian food, but I had some trouble finding Greek food, unless I traveled out of my way.

There were a few things that I tried overseas that I didn’t like; camel meat is on the top of my list to never try again, Greek burgers aren’t anything like American burgers, and I’m not sure what kind of burger meat I ate in Portugal. I’ve heard that camel is an acquired taste, or that the person who served it didn’t cook it right. To put it in the daily prompt’s words, it was definitely “something else entirely”.

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DP: Bryant, Arkansas


Today’s Daily Prompt is: We Built This City. What do you love most about the city / town / place that you live in? What do you like the least about it? If you were mayor, what would be the most important problem you’d tackle? How would you tackle it?

The city that I live in, Bryant, is a fast growing city. It covers nine square miles and has every fast food chain you can think of. It also has a Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, Kirkland’s, two Starbucks, Lowe’s, and numerous other small and big businesses. I loved how people in our community was once generous, friendly, and hospitable. Now, you can look forward to sitting in a turn lane forever as no one is considerate to not block driveways to businesses. Or you’ll sit at a stop sign, forever waiting on someone to let you into the flow of traffic.

The problem with this city is that all the businesses are in one area, clustered, making traffic a nightmare to endure in the mornings and when school has let out for the day. Instead of clustering all businesses into one big area, why not spread them out? It makes it very difficult to get in and out of those businesses, as everyone is rushing to get some where and would not think twice to let you cut in front of them.

When I first left for the Navy in 2000, Bryant only had a Wendy’s, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, and a small grocery store, as well as three gas stations. The population was a little over 9,000. Bryant was better known as the ‘bedroom community’ due to it mostly being houses and not the huge booming town it is today. After I got out of the Navy, Pizza Hut was demolished and a gas station was put in it’s place. We still have Wendy’s and McDonald’s, but the grocery store went out of business due to Walmart moving in just down the street. The current population is over 16,000. Almost doubled from when I first left in 2000 for boot camp.

There’s construction going on presently, albeit they’re building another fast food restaurant…that we don’t need. There was a town meeting the other day for a millage tax, requesting money to build another middle school and elementary school, to upgrade the middle school’s cafeteria, to build more things that our ever growing town needs for its community, yet the millage tax didn’t pass. Guess the towns people don’t see the things we need here or they believe the new High School that was finished last summer was enough as far as educational buildings go.

This city literally has grown immensely within the last fifteen years, that someone like me would have a hard time recognizing it. When I had gotten out of the service, I moved to Colorado to attend college for aviation. I stayed there for almost 4 years, then moved to Oklahoma for a few years, then moved back here in late 2009. I had been gone for 9 years and was astonished as to how much my hometown had changed. The service roads weren’t even two way anymore. They had changed to one way service lanes…good thing my grandmother warned me about that or I may have made a huge error by going the wrong way.

With the current mayor we have, our city has built on a new Recreational Center with an indoor pool and more fast food buildings. What our city needs is less fast food and more buildings for the community. The new rec center was nice, though the indoor swimming pool is mostly for swim teams. I had taken my daughter swimming to the new indoor pool and there were five other parents, gathered in a five by ten area that was sectioned off for ‘free swimming’. Ten of us collided into one another in the tiny space, just to allow our kiddos some time to cool off from the hot summer heat.

The other swimming pool that we have here, is a tiny pool, yet it is overly crowded every summer. We do need a bigger pool that is open to the public and not used for swim teams. Yes, we have a splash pad, to which you have to pay for, but my daughter is terrified of it, due to her autism.

There aren’t enough things here for special needs children. Or I should say, there isn’t anything for special needs children at all, other than a couple of daycare centers. We could use more parks with playgrounds; we only have one playground. There is a park currently being built that is accessible for disabled children. It isn’t here in Bryant, but it’s a twenty minute drive, without traffic. It’s actually a first of its kind park, which is sad as we need more parks that are accessible for all walks of life, disabled or not. (Click here and here for details on that park)

I would love to see a park with outdoor exercise equipment. Gyms may have dropped their prices so that us poor people can go workout, but what about daycare services? There’s only one gym here with a small childcare service while mom works out, yet it’s pricey. Some parents may only have a few minutes to workout after work, yet that’s when they have their kiddos with them. So, why not have an ‘Adult Fitness Playground’ along with our kids playgrounds? Family’s would be more active, would they not? It’s free and open to the public, so there would be more people out there working out, getting healthy.

As a mayor, the community and environment should be the most important things to think about and not what goes in and out of our pockets.

DP: Ha Ha Ha


Today’s Daily Prompt is for us to share a joke, or a funny story.

I’ve shared this story before, but it’s still one of my many favorite memories of my grandpa, who has been gone from this world five years in September. It’s a story of a pair of red foxes that once lived in the small patch of woods, behind our house. My grandmother likes this story and has me tell it to close friends and family when they visit, or at family reunions.

Enjoy!

A Pair of Red Foxes

I was helping my grandmother clean one of the rooms one day and casually glance out the window at the clearing behind our house. I saw movement at the edge of the tree line. Suddenly whatever it was came out into the clearing, a red fox, and following behind it was its mate.

I was mesmerized, watching the pair of red foxes chase one another, playing. I told my grandmother, “Look, red foxes.”

She looks up to see what I was staring and smiling at. “They must have a den close by,” she says.

It was a few years ago when I first heard what I thought was a panther. I was in the backroom, rocking my daughter to sleep; she was about a month old. Laying her down in her crib I decided to check my email real quick before going to sleep myself, when I heard a loud screaming sound in the distance, behind our house. It got closer and closer and then it got quiet. Suddenly I heard it again, but even louder and it sounded like it was right in our backyard.

I had remembered what a panther scream sounded like as I heard one on our family’s homestead when I was a little girl, and I thought that was what I was hearing now. I quickly got up and woke my grandma, telling her there was a panther in our backyard.

“It isn’t a panther, go back to bed,” she said. Just then it screamed again.

“Call the police,” Grandpa hollered at me from his room.

“No, don’t call them, they’re only going to laugh at you and think you’re crazy,” Grandma said with a laugh.

“Well, what do I do then?” Panic flooded me, I was being serious and she was making a joke.

“Go back to bed. You can’t do anything, its outside.” It screamed again, but it sounded like it was a little further away this time.

“That isn’t a panther,” Grandma claimed.

“It sounds like it.” I peer through the window blinds of her bedroom, trying to catch a glimpse of this creature that has me petrified with fear.

“It’s that red fox calling for its mate.” She rolls back over, pulling the covers back up to her neck, a sign saying that this conversation was over.

I walked out of her room, pulling the door quietly behind me. “Did you hear that thing grandpa?” I asked, peeking into his room.

“Yeah, I did.”

“What do you make of it?”

“I don’t know.”

“I guess I’m going back to bed, night.”

“Night.”

I went back to the computer and quickly searched the internet for sounds a red fox makes and sounds a panther makes and I found both; they sound so much alike. I understood how I got confused. I’m sure anyone would make that same mistake.

I laughed at those little foxes, watching them as they play on the hillside behind our house. They made me think back to the first time I heard them. I will always remember that night and I think grandma will to. She always has me tell this story to others when they visit. I enjoy sharing the memories I’ve had with my grandpa. I think it helps to keep his memory alive.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Wall


For more of this week’s photo challenge, wall, check out The Daily Post.

Last month, I visited one of my favorite book stores, Gingles Books and Baubles. It had been awhile since I’ve been there and I had stopped to search for a few books for a couple of classes. When I arrived, I noticed a huge, beautiful wall mural, covering the entire wall of the building (old Bell building) across the street from the book store (South Street). I walked over towards it and noticed that it’s actually a painting of the history of Arkansas and quite possible, some of it depicted history in the town of Benton (Niloak pottery).

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Spanish conquistador, Hernando de Soto traveled through Arkansas in 1541-42, when he had encountered the Quapaws, in the city known today as Parkin. For more information on de Soto’s travels through Arkansas, click here.

*Please note, the tribe depicted in the mural is Caddo. In Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca’s book Castaways, he was the first Spaniard to encounter the Caddos. Hernando de Soto died in May 1942, having never met with the Caddos. It was his successor, Luis Moscoso de Alvarado, who after de Soto’s death, followed along the Red River, into Southwest Arkansas, where the Caddo tribe flourished. For more info on the remainder of the de Soto expedition, click here.

Arkansas is also known for it’s timbers and timber mills, as well as it’s diamonds in Murfreesboro, and bauxite ore found in Bauxite. Arkansas had a hand in helping the US military during both WWI and WWII. Aluminum comes from bauxite ore and the town of Bauxite has an abundance of it.

Arkansas was also known for its pottery called Niloak, which is kaolin spelled backwards. Kaolin is the type of find grade clay found here in Benton, Arkansas. It was popular in 1909 to 1946. Niloak had a hard time making it through the depression, but it was successful during WWII when they produced over a million clay pigeons for the military. After the war, the company hit another downfall and it sadly went out of business.

The mural artwork was done by Dianne Roberts, who was hired by the Gann Museum to paint the mural. You can check out their FB pages by clicking on their names and see pictures she used to help her create her beautiful mural.

Sadly, Books and Baubles will be closing it’s doors for good in April, unless a new owner can step forward and keep it open. Click here, for more information.

Redrafting a Query Letter


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I’m often asked, “You’re so busy, when do you find time to write?”

Of course I reply with, “I find the time.”

I do have a full schedule, or a full plate, whichever way it’s put, I am quite the busy person. Single mom, work, college, plus a huge list of other things to add that I wish not to discuss publicly. I’ve often stated when I fit in my writing. It’s usually scribbling ideas down onto paper whenever I have a free minute, such as standing in the grocery store check out lines. Then late at night, or right before class, I’ll type them up. Usually, it helps to have a printed manuscript for me to scribble on, but I always have a notebook where I keep all my notes.

Currently, I’ve been adding the last pieces to my manuscript. A sentence or two here, cut and paste that over there… As I type this, I’m 200 words shy of making 60,000 words. Wow! Well, isn’t that enough? Apparently not! It is a young adult novel, so there is a minimum and a maximum amount of words required for a publisher to actually look into publishing an author’s book…so I’ve been told…by a couple of actual publisher’s.

I didn’t come up with that entire word count over night…I wish…It took me five, long years to come up with that amount. So, you can see, I may seem to have accomplished a lot, it just took me a long time to get here. I don’t spend all of my time on the computer, writing…though some of my relatives may think otherwise.

Honestly, after hearing other authors tell me how long it’s taken them to come up with their first manuscript for a full novel, I don’t feel so bad on how long it took for me to get this far.

I’m now at the point to where I should prepare a query letter. I have written and rewritten a query letter for this manuscript, though it just hasn’t caught an agent’s attention. It’s taken me five years to write a novel with 60K words, why should it take me so long or be so hard to write up a short professional letter? Well, it is a hard market for us authors. So hard in fact, that a query letter has to have the essentials, yet catch an agents eye for them to pick you and your manuscript. It has to be perfect.

I’ve had a few ‘maybes’, but they weren’t a definite ‘yes’. So, it was back to the drawing board, so to speak. I couldn’t understand what my query letter lacked. It had all the important details; genre, word count, title, synopsis, a little bit about me…yet, no yes’s. I had a hard time coming up with my query letter. I honestly didn’t know how to write one. I had to research and research this on the internet, through the writer’s digest magazine, even thumbed through several books on ‘how to get published’.

Until one day, I had stumbled upon a blog that proved most helpful in every way. Jane Friedman, a publishing consultant, with many years of experience, had written a ‘Complete Guide To Query Letters…’ After scrolling through this post, I finally had the understanding of how my query letter should read. It clicked. The part about her ‘Hook Instruction’ was proved most helpful to me. After having a few people read my query letter, it seems that’s what it lacked, a hook.

Now it’s time for me to go re-type my query letter, though with motivation and determination that I will have the perfect one written and sent out to all those agents I’ve picked to query.

Be sure to check our Jane Friedman’s post about, ‘The Complete Guide To Query Letters That Get Manuscript Requests’. Also scroll through her other posts, you’ll find them all very helpful.

Happy writing!

Showing That Irish Pride Every March


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March is a month that I’ve always looked forward to every year. Parades, eating pot roast and potatoes, and donning the color green. I can remember one year, when I was in first or second grade, that I had gotten pinched for wearing too much green. I was covered in green from my shoes, socks, pants, and my tee. I never understood why a person would pinch someone for not wearing green or for wearing too much of it, but it was something that I can remember doing every year, supporting my Irish heritage.

It’s something I still do today, attend the local St. Pat’s parade, eat beef and potatoes, and wear as much green as I want without worrying about getting pinched.

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day originated in America by the Irish who immigrated to the States over two centuries ago. It became a tradition in celebrating their culture, heritage, music, and of course their patron saint, Patrick every March, that it took off with popularity, continuing on with their descendants and is now celebrated in every major city in the US and almost every city in Ireland, bringing in attendees from every cultural background, including Irish.

According to Ireland of the Welcomes magazine, “the first St. Patrick’s Day parade every record, was in 1737 in Boston, Massachusetts, hosted by the Irish Society of Boston.”

“Almost 25 percent of the population in Massachusetts is Irish, making it the most Irish state in the US. Boston is often called the capital of Irish America because of the thriving Irish community that dates back to colonial times.”

Here in Little Rock the Irish Cultural Society of Arkansas hosts a parade every year on the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day. It’s a mile long and seems to grow in attendance every year. This year marks their 16th annual parade and will be this Saturday, March 14th at 1PM. The parade will start in front of Dugan’s Pub at Third and Rock, then will travel east on Third, the North on Sherman, towards President Clinton Ave, running in front of the river market, making a right turn on Main St, crossing over the river bridge, ending at Sixth and Main.

I find that the best areas for viewing is right in front of the river market on President Clinton Ave. Though if you have kiddos with sensitive hearing like my daughter, bring ear protection as the several motorcycles, handful of fire engines, and that one guy with the train, can create such a loud echoing noise in between those big city buildings, startling those wee ones.

Please click here for more information on the parade, as the Irish Cultural Society usually host an organization benefit. Last year, they collected canned food for the Rice Depot…There was a sponsored truck in the parade procession collecting canned food from the attendees, I proudly donated a few cans to them as they passed us.

Oh, if you decide to attend, and I hope you do, don’t forget to bring a bag so that the kiddos can collect candy and beads thrown to them from the parade procession.