Buttons! Buttons! Everywhere!

Buttons! Buttons! Everywhere!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Remembering My Freedom

I’m leaving for Cincinnati tonight. Road Trip! I’m leaving a few pictures on the blog that say how I feel about the service of our soldiers, (mine included) to this nation. Take time to call a friend, neighbor or veteran to thank them for their service whether now or in the past.

I travelled one summer with my best friend to Europe shortly after graduating high school. It was during the Vietnam War. We were peace-niks, hippies at their best. No real knowledge about the war, just believing everything we saw on television. We wanted to be hip and cool and part of it all! We had a ball seeing new places, doing things, and meeting people to discuss the travesty of “our” war.

One conversation I will never forget was at the Haufbrau House in Munich, Germany. My best friend Ann and I were sitting at a long wooden table across from three old German men. The place was filled with oompah music, clinking beer mugs and the smell of sauerkraut and sausage.

When the old men heard we were from America, they started to speak in broken English. One man in particular took his hat off and placed it over his heart and said, “I can never repay the Americans who saved my families life.” We had to lean in to understand the old man’s words, but the tears on his face spoke volumes about his continuing passion for the American soldiers who had assisted the old man and his family during World War II. The other men nodded their heads and touched our hands in gratitude. At the end of the conversation we all hugged goodbye, tears streaming down every face. My attitude changed that day, about America, about our soldiers, about war.

I still believe that war is something none of us want to be part of. But so long as we are on this earth, there will be war. Our soldiers deserved to be honored for doing the right thing by the people they are helping. The gratitude and respect those old men had for our nations’ soldiers was ingrained in me that day. I returned home a few months later, landing in New York. When I got off the plane I kissed the ground. I realized just how proud I was to be an American.

I ended up marrying a good-looking soldier I met in Germany, at the same place I listened to the stories of those old men. He’s gone on to serve this nation as a Police Officer for over 30 years now. He’s also the greatest dad to our only son, Tate, a US Coast Guard soldier. So on this special weekend, honor those you’ve lost and those who serve remembering that we are one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Parallel..A Very Short Story


This short story was an entry for a 100 word or less contest. Results are not yet in, but I did expand it for future use as a longer story.


He did it for his father.

Rehab chokes the drugs from him. May help him go home again. His body writhes in pain. He fights to keep the needle from his arm. The love for his father battles the desire for the drugs.

His father, a cop, torn apart by the chasm the drugs creates between he and his only son, volunteers for the drug task force. One night, he takes a bullet in the chest from the whack-job dealer who’ll now be off the street for life. He doesn’t make it.

He did it for his son.

Monday, May 24, 2010

I got out of bed this morning and ran up to the writing loft just because I have created the habit over the past year-and-a-half. Papers are strewn across both desks. My trash can looks like a cyclone of paper hit it. Books, pens, paper clips and assorted items are strewn everywhere. I just pushed back my chair and smiled! MY writing place!

I have to brag just a hair as Michael and I have always lived in the tiniest places. My old writing space was in a slant roofed attic, just barely big enough to get a desk and  chair in. A nook, really. Since last June we moved into a condo in Pella. It’s huge to any standard we’ve ever had! We don’t own it, just rent, which is a marvelous thing at this point in our lives. Time is so valuable. Not having to mow or shovel snow is great! But the thing that sold us on this was that it has a terrific loft! I have two leather chairs, three bookcases and two desks. They are always full of my writings and book, but I am so blessed! Anyway, see the photos today!

For the next couple of days I’m taking my time to reorganize this space, setting it up for next semester’s challenge. I’ll have earned my Master’s Degree this June, but I’m moving on to the Master’s of Fine Art Program, a terminal degree. It’s one more year of intensity, but it will be worth the ride.
To all of those that have supported me along this journey, thank you! I have mentioned you in my acknowledgement page of my thesis. That means the family, and my great Des Moines reading group! We'll all be famous soon!:) (Think big!)

Oh! A thought! Another idea for the next book! Oh! I’ve got to write it down right now! Oh! See ya!

Also, I know this is a bit off the wall, but haveany of you ever wanted to do something really different? We subscribe to The Careaker Gazzette at http://www.caretaker.org/. We have a friend who is a caretaker for a well-to-do man. His job is to prepare the houses in different states for when the owner returns. There are jobs for houseeepers absentee owners, off-the-grid, etc., as well as hose swaps around the world. Thought someone might find this interesting!  Enjoy!

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Manuscipt has been mailed to Wilkes!!!

Yesterday was one of those days where you take a deep breath to finally relax….then ….WHAM!....here comes a feeling of terror!!

It happened just as I was placing my finished manuscript into the mailbox. It's on it's way to the outside professional reader. For the last several weeks, as you know, I’ve been writing and rewriting, so much so, that my husband asked, “Who are you?” when I came down from my writing loft one night.

My head has been down. I’ve been taking all of the great feedback I’ve gotten and moved pieces around, added, taken away until yesterday, at precisely 4:50 pm, I gave up and rushed the manuscript to the post office.

Right after I dropped it in, I heaved a sigh of relief. Then panic hit! I just sent off “my baby” to be kicked around again by yet another reader! What was I thinking? I stood there, jerking at the mailbox opening, sticking my arm down the mail chute, slapping my hand back and forth, back and forth until Mary, (the postal worker) shouted from clear across the room, “Ginger, stop that!”

“Mary, I need my manuscript back!”

“No, Ginger, let her go!” (I’d been keeping her up to speed on my adventure.)

“I can’t! She’s not ready! Maybe I missed something!

“She’s fine. Let her go!”

“I want her to be the best she can be, it’s baby, my manuscript!”

She walked to the mail bin and jerked it from the sack. She turned it over and over in her hands. As Roger, the postmaster walked by, she handed it to him. “Too late, Ginger, the baby’s gone.”

I sluffed out to the car and slid in.

“She wasn’t ready,” I thought. “She just wasn’t ready.”

I banged my head, over and over on the steering wheel until it looked like I had painted a red streak across the top of my face.

A minute later, Mary was banging on the window, my package in her hand.

“I couldn’t do it,” she said. “Maybe this baby does still needs you.”

I grabbed the package and hugged it to my chest, twisting back and forth with joy!

I looked back at Mary as she walked away. She had signs painted all over her back that read,

Missed opportunity

New challenge

Offer letter

Published author


Good book

“Mary!” I yelled, flying from the car and running to catch her. She turned.

“I’m done. She’s ready to go on her own.”

It’s true. You create something. You give it your best, but if you don’t let it go, you’ll never know if what you did was good enough. So friends, write it, then let it go, getting on to some new venture that will show…..you are a writer! The baby will be fine.

Here’s an upcoming contest from Hope Clark!

ENTRY FEE $15 (members), $20 (non-members)
Deadline May 28, 2010. Send 3 copies of an original, unpublished
story between 1,500-4,000 words (one per author)

First Prize Award: $500.
Second Prize Award: $200.
Third Prize Award: $100.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Short Break

Hey All!
I am in crunch time for my thesis so I'll not be bloging for a couple of more days. Hang in there! Lots of good things coming! I'll be working on the first newsletter foryou due in June! By Friday, I should be back! Have a good one!
Go visit  http://www.charmofhecarolines.com/ for fun updates!

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Great Day and a Little Encouragement

I had a great day. First,I'm home! Got  manuscript to Sarah for the last going over before I print it and send it to the professional reader. Many thanks to the Des Moines Reading Group for the assistance in helping me correct issues they noticed!

We had our employee retreat, where our company brought in Steve Young, author of the book "Micro-messaging". He gave some wonderful advice to us on "It's not just what you say, but how you say it and how others perceive what you say." If you haven't read it and don't work in a solitary room, you'll enjoy the comon sense approach to "reading" the real meaning of what others say to you and what you may be saying to them. A good read!  I'm lucky to work at a place that cares so much about its employees!

Now, on to writing issues. When I started this blog, my goal was to offer a little advice to first time writers or people who have a dream! Now and then I get wonderful notes from you that lets me know that's what I'm doing. Today I got the following note that really touched me.

Good Morning Ginger!
You have been an inspiration to me through your creative new venture of writing! I wrote a short short story about my daughter's dolls & playmates when she was a child....I know sounds a bit crazy...but the reason for my madness is that I am giving her a baby shower next weekend. 30 years ago, I had packed and put away many of her dolls, stuffed animals etc. I washed them up in the washing machine, spruced up their clothing etc. They look terrific now. Anyway, I decided to write a short story from the dolls  point of view,  talking about their time with her and how they will soon be her daughter's playmates. I had a lot of fun writing it.  Thanks for your Inspiration!

This blog is not about me. It's about you and what you can accomplish if you just put your pen to paper! So get out there and live your dream, taking time to encourage and  help each other. It doesn't have to be a best seller. It just has to be your best try!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

What is a Reverie?

I learned something from Sarah today,that writers should know. I feel embarressed that I didn't.  It's part of the craft of writing a good story.

Wha's a reverie!
According to the American Heritage Dictionary, a reverie is a state of abstracted musing; daydreaming. It's like your remembering something, thinking about the past or the future, outside of the context of the time you might be in.  Here's an example of a reverie from my manuscript! (The reverie is in Italics)

She knelt before the simple gray marker identifying John and Ellen Polk. Just a few steps away rested Aunt Amy, stink-eye at ready, Emily supposed, that memory causing Emily to loosen a smile. She saw herself at six once more.

She had been crouched on the wooden pew, the skirt of her wide-bottomed dress hiked up over her head, unladylike. Aunt Amy was situated two pews behind her, across the aisle. Maureen hadn’t yet arrived with Darren, allowing Emily to walk to church with her older sister. Aunt Carol perched in the front pew cradling Paul in her lap. Ronnie Clouds sat behind the girls poking Emily in the back with his finger and popping pink bubble gum in her ear over the back of the pew.

The girl’s uncle, Pastor George Timmons, tapped on the pulpit to draw everyone’s attention to the first hymn, a rousing rendition of When We All Get to Heaven. Mrs. Campbell punched the piano keys with a gusto reserved for dance halls, while the congregation tapped their feet and smiled.

Aunt Amy wouldn’t take her eyes off the girl, who by now was standing on the seat of the pew, swinging her dress back and forth, up and down, her frilly white underwear eye level to Mr. and Mrs. King, who roosted two pews back. Every now and then Emily would jet her hand into her panties and rub her crotch, her face pinching in pain.

Stephanie tugged on her little sister’s arm, trying to settle Emily down. Emily’s little off-key voice got louder and louder as the music played on without end.

Parishioners were giggling and pointing. Pater Timmons was rolling his eyes and looking for some way to end the joyful child’s outburst. Ronnie stood and hauled out a tiny frog he’d been keeping inside of his shirt, intent on dropping it on Emily just to watch her scream.

He swung his head to the right, making sure no one saw what he was bent on doing. He twisted to the left in time to catch the old woman’s face, all scrunched up with anger, pointing her finger at him and then at Emily and signaling for him to sit down. His eyes widened. He knew of the elderly woman’s quick temper and fast hand. He pointed his finger at himself, waiting for an acknowledgment from the wrinkled old thing.

She shook her head side to side in quick succession, narrowed her eyes and pointed her crooked finger at the dancing girl in front of him. Emily. Relief washed over him as he stretched toward the girl, pulling hard on her upswept dress, his eyes never leaving Amy’s. Emily spun around, slapping down hard on Ronnie’s hand. Ronnie stuck his arm straight to his left, the wiggling legs of the tiny frog apparent to everyone around him. He pointed at the restless woman waiting in the pew across the aisle.

Emily stopped dead, her stare locked on that of her great aunt. She recognized the squinting gray eyes, slits that narrowed, squeezing tight with an anger that would swallow the little girl up. Stink-eye, her mother called it. A look that made even the wildest child tremble.

Howdy Cowboy!

Howdy Cowboy!

If someone asked you to name one person you’ve always considered to be “the” best person to depict cowboys in the movies, you’d most probably name, John Wayne. Born Marion Robert Morrison in 1907, Wayne was the epitome of a real cowboy, a man’s man, good-looking, tall and a real American patriot. He had a swagger and a way with women. He was a gentleman and always won over the bad guy.

Well, I just had the chance to visit his boyhood home in Winterset, Iowa, yes, still the site of The Bridges of Madison County. It’s quite an honor to have so many wonderful iconic treasures in this state, this being one of them. John Wayne’s home sits without fanfare on a corner just a block off the main square of Winterset. It’s a tiny white clapboard house with four small rooms filled with memorabilia. A lovely woman gave us a ten minute tour, then allowed us to look through the house for another ten minutes, just barely enough time to soak up such rich items as personal photos and letters from friends like Lucille Ball and Bob Hope.

The town is preparing for the 50th anniversary of the movie, The Alamo. His daughter Aissa Wayne will be in attendance to dedicate the new bronze statue the family has donated to Winterset. It will be positioned in front of the new visitors center just a half a block from John Wayne’s House. Click here for more information. A tribute to a western icon!

Visit http://www.johnwaynebirthplace.org/

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sometimes You Just Need a Love Story

Today, I happen to be celebrating 38 years of loving the same man. It's our anniversary.  I spent the day travelling to Chattanooga, TN via Atlanta, GA. Michael spent the day driving to and from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Both of us are wondering why we are so far apart.

I met him in Munich, Germany on my 18th birthday. He was bent over a cigarette machine (yes he quit). He was a Green Beret and in a very nice fitting uniform. I grabbed the arm of my girlfriend and said, "Look at that rear end, THAT'S the man I'm going to marry!" Two days later he proposed. We were laying on the grass watching the stars, stars so bright you could pluck them from the sky. He was a perfect gentleman. I said yes before I even knew his real name. They called him "Ski". I've never stopped loving him.

So even though this day is a bit lonesome for both of us, the years it has taken us to get to this place, the ups and downs, the good and bad have all made ours such a rich love. God had a plan we couldn't see back then, but we now know how blessed we are to have each other. Happy Anniversary my Sweet!

And for those writers who might like to embark on a career of writing romance, head on over to the Romance Writers of America for some great tips on this genre! After all, everyone needs a little romance!


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Back by Popular Request

From Maine to California, I've had requests to post this picture just one more time! It will be gone by morning! Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Bridges of Madison County and Formatting a Manuscript

Nothing brings to mind a forbidden love quicker than the Book or Movie of "The Bridges of Madison County." I happen to live less than an hour away and have never had the chance to visit until this weekend. Nohng brings out the tourist in you quicker than company! The bridges were compelling and a beautiful piece of history I was happy to see preserved. One of the bridges sits in a city park. The others are oer small creeks or ravenes.

Winterset, Iowa is the home to the six remaining bridges, several of them used in the filming of the movie. Francesca's house its just outside of Winterset and can be viewed but not toured. The link to the bridges and the information of their history is listed below. Tour wth me, won't you?



I was quite surprised to realize how publishers and editors expect to receive manuscripts from authors! Here's a few quick tips to make your finished product look profesonal! This information came from th program at Wilkes University and verified by Writers Market.

Font:  12 pt. size in Courier or Times New Roman. For Titles and chapter hadings 14 pt. type in bold

Spacing: Text id double-spaed throughout; tabs are five spaces from left margin, all pages are left side justified

Special Conventions: chapters begin ne-third way down the pagewhere the title is centered on the pae ndext begions two double-spaces 4) below the chapter heaing. Standard formats require the use f quoation markes for dialouge and new pargraphs for each new speaker.

These are simple, but every editor and publisher expects the writer to adhere to these rules when submitting a manuscript

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tulip Time & A Contest for Children's Books

I'm back from San Antonio, just in time to catch the last end of Pella, Iowa's faous Tulip Time! Dutch costumes, food on a stick and great parades! My sister-in-law (well ex-sister-in-law, but wonderful friend) Sharon and her husband Dick, visited with Michael until I made it home. We dressed her up in a costume and made her do "street scrubbing" with me, a great past time before the local parades.

We have 6 parades, 2 each day. The evening parade has all of the floats lit up! It's quite pretty. This was the 75th celebration of the historic Tulip Time This year it was really "stem fest" as the tulips bloomed a bit early, but that didn't dampen anyone's spirits. Pella did set the Guiness World Record for most wooden shoe "dutch" dancing in the world. We had about 2,800 hundred dancers! A great time!

Had to do the last of my editing for my manuscript. The book club gave me great insites to what they liked and didn't like. I got it off to my mentor, now a few more days, a few more edits and we should be (hopefully) good to go!

Now, for some of you who were looking for a contest for children's books, why not try this one!
Don't forget to go to Hope lark's site,Funds for Writer's. She has a ton of things all of the time! Enjoy!





Limit 80,000 words. Deadline October 29, 2010. The winner will

be the entrant whose story, in the opinion of the judges,

demonstrates the greatest entertainment value, quality and

originality suitable for the children's age group. The prize

is the offer of a worldwide publishing contract with Chicken

House, with a royalty advance of £10,000. The entrant must not

have previously published any book in any country, whether

fiction or nonfiction. The entry should be suitable for a

children's audience aged between 9 and 16. Picture books and

graphic novels will not be accepted and illustrations will

not be considered.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Hot! Hot! Hot!

Nothing to complain about when the weather is a mere 90 degrees and the sun is shining!  My confeence is almost over. I've been on the floor about 8-10 hours a day, meeting people,smoozing and looking for business. The days are long, but I do enjoy the places I visit . Too bad this time I haven't stepped outside since I took the great photo of the Alamo! Room service every night and lots and lts of rewrites! I swear I could have a second book done by now!

Here's a short chapter from the book that some of you might recognize if you've ever been blessed with visiting northern Maine!

Potato Fields

In Victoria County, all work ceased in late September when the potato crop was ripe for picking. Self-employed men scheduled their work around the potato crop, as a good portion of a family’s income was made during the three weeks of harvest. Children were dismissed from school to aid the family with the yield. Rarely were babysitters needed. Mothers latched babies to their bodies in makeshift burlap bag slings, swinging the child forward and back as they bowed in the cool air of the September mornings.

The foreman would assign a length of row, known as a section, to each picker, staking the beginning and end of each row. Every man, woman, and child had a section of varying length. They’d pick the row clean to the end of their own stake, then move the stake to the next row where they would bend and begin again.

The plows moved across the rich, dark soil, two steel discs discharging the potatoes from their earthy lairs, exposing the fruit to the pickers and releasing the fragrance of rich, tilled soil. Large wooden barrels were placed at intervals between each picker’s rows. The workers began at one end of their line, hunched over, a huge woven basket placed between their open legs.

Searching the ground for the hidden crop, their hands sunk deep into the black dirt, they plucked the fruit and tossed it into the basket between their legs. Moving forward, they lurched the basket ahead with them like hop-scotching frogs. When the container was full, they rose, placed the basket on their hip, staggered to the barrel and dumped the heavy cargo into the waiting wooden cask.

The field dance went on all day, bobbing bodies raising and lowering; the thumping of rolling potatoes hitting wood echoing across the fields. The pickers were paid by the barrel, so they raced the rows like marathon runners gathering medals at a finish line.

Breaks were rare. A whistle announced a quick stop for water. Another for a half-hour lunch where men would gather to smoke cigarettes and women to gossip. The older children acted like circus clowns, sometimes tipping barrels, jumping inside as other children rolled them around the fields.

Laughter broke the monotony of the tractor’s hum. When the whistle signaled the end of the day, Emily watched the slow rise of her mother’s body from her bent position. Maureen rubbed her back and wiped her brow with her dirty hand. Her call gathered her children as though they had been a brood of wandering ducks. During harvest no one remembered anything more than the ache of muscles, long days and short nights where sleep was as instantaneous as death. Emily loved harvest time. The stairs never creaked during harvest time.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Remember the Alamo!

The photo today is from San Antonio, Texas! Just got here for work. I always take the time to visit this national monument. To me, this symbolizes the free thinking state of Texas. It's a powerful reminder of the freedoms we are so blessed with, freedoms we should not take for granted. God given.

Well, last night I had the distinct pleasure of visiting with the reading group that read my full manuscript. I was invited to join them as they shared their thoughts about the manuscript. For any writer this is a humbling experience, as it's the reader who decides the value of a book.

In my opinion, they were right on target for what I saw needed to be done. They were professional, courteous and told me to throw out the title! Now my new working title is "You'll Never be Dead Enough".  The readers felt that this title more significantly represents the dark mood of the book. I learned I have to beef up some of the character descriptions to make the reader understand the characters value. For instance, in the book, the main character is Emily Evans. She has two siblings, Stephanie, an older sister and Darren, a brother, five years her junior. The readers wanted to know more about the relationship between the siblings. I've been so focused on Emily and her mother Maureen, that I didn't realize I'd left her siblings so far out.

The readers also wanted to know more about Emily's father, Denny Douay and Emily's husband, Aaron.

To all of my readers, THANK YOU! You have been great! Now when I make the Best seller list:)......

So, with just a few days to complete the rewrites and get the manuscript to my wonderful mentor, the postings will be VERY, short for the next few days! Hang in there with me, we are about to be done!

Have a good one!

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Journal of Prose, Poetry and Art

First, note that I'm feeling like I need a little R & R, thus the Kauai photos!  This is yet another crazy week, but by Sunday, the FINAL manuscript will be in Sarah's ( my mentor) hands for her final edits. Wow! I'll be done with my Master's degree in June! Then on to the MFA. (One more year!) 

I've been parusing lately looking for web sites of interest  for those that love poetry and art as well as writing. I'd entered a contest with this site. They are very professional and it's a good read! Enjoy!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Where in the World is Ginger? and a contest to boot!

This last couple of weeks has been a world wind! I've been in Connecticut, Minneapolis,Hilton Head, South Carolina and Indianapolis!  I travel a lot but don't get to see too much! Now and again I dart from the hotel to somewhere interesting, but knowing how much still has to be written,  back to the hotel I go! I'm very fortunate though to meet wonderful people along the way. This morning on my way home I met an educational book publisher. We had a nice conversation on publishing for her field.  I learn something from everyone!

I'm home for a couple of days and hope to complete  my final edits by next weekend!

Here's a contest I've entered and had fun with. Hope Clark had the details on Funds for Writers! www.fundsforwriters.com

This is an excellent exercise for learning tight writing. Try it!





Deadline July 18, 2010. Entrants may be located anywhere on Earth.

Both contests require 100 words or fewer. Two categories:

A. Original:

100 words or fewer, on any subject whatsoever (excluding lewd).
B. New Contest:

Stories will revolve around either (a) "The Old Man" or (b) "Home."


Original - First Prize--$500. Second Prize--$100.

New - Subjects are "The Old Man" and "Home." From the pool of

these stories, one story will receive a First Prize of $150.

One story will receive a Second Prize of $50.