Thursday, December 18, 2014

30 Hilarious Kid Letters

Click the caption to read 30 hilarious letters written by children. These had me laughing so hard I was in tears!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

How to Avoid Creating the Same old Characters

I loved the above article (click the caption to go there).  My personal preference is to use the Meyers-Briggs personality types.  There are so many combinations!  You can read about them a little bit in the comment section of the above article.  But Meyers-Briggs will give you endless possibilites.  Do a google search to find out about these personality types that you can base your characters on.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Loved this!

And this is why we need humor too!  It's a healthy way to deal with the ups and downs of kids!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Thursday, December 11, 2014

My Favorite Meatball Soup


My family loves this fast to prepare Crockpot soup in winter.  Here's the recipe from the book: Taste of Home Slow Cooker Classics:

Meatball Soup (Serves 4)

3 cups beef broth
1 can diced tomatoes (I usually blend these up)
3 bay leaves
1 can green beans
16 frozen meatballs (We like Costco brand)
2 cups uncooked corkscrew noodles (Boil these and add them at the end of cooking time)

Add everything except noodles to the crockpot.  Cook on low 6-8 hrs. or high 3-4 hours.  Cook noodles separately and add at the end

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

More Christmas humor


I had to share what happened to my friend the other day, because it's so cute and funny.  When she walked in and found her son had broken a Christmas tree ornament, he looked up at her with tears in his eyes and said, "Mommy, PLEASE don't tell Santa!"

Monday, December 08, 2014

Christmas Humor


Ha ha ha!  I'm totally getting this stocking for my youngest son!

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Monday, December 01, 2014

My New NEW Favorite Series

Have you read these?  They are AWESOME.  I loved them.  Such a great example of what you can do with great characterization and a new setting to put a fresh spin on old stories!  Really great reading!

Friday, November 28, 2014

My Favorite Leftover Turkey Rice Soup


My favorite thing to make with Thanksgiving Leftovers is Turkey Rice Soup!  Below is the Recipe.  (I also love Turkey Pesto Sandwiches made with turkey, pesto, sourdough bread, and provolone cheese, all cooked like a toasted cheese sandwich!  Mmmmmmm.)  What are your favorites?

1 turkey carcass
Leftover turkey
Cooked rice
Grated carrots
1 thinly sliced onion

Boil one turkey carcass with the meat mostly removed along with an whole onion and a celery stick or two for 1-12 hours...however long you have time for.  Drain broth, and return the broth to the empty pot.  Add leftover turkey, onion, cooked rice, grated carrots, Sage, Pepper, and Salt to taste (You have to taste it because the amount of spice depends on how much broth you have.  Boil for 30 min.  Super easy and delicious!  (You can also make this in the crockpot, just put the finished broth, raw carrots (use sliced carrots for the crockpot), spices, and cooked turkey in on low for 4-8 hours, and add cooked rice at the end.)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Using Body Language in Dialogue


I loved this article on the difference in dialogue with and without body language.  It makes a big difference if you include body language and a sense of place when people are having conversations in your story.  It makes things sound less like cardboard and more like real life.  I hope your family has a happy and delicous Thanksgiving this week!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Beautiful Christmas Music!

My whole family loved this song by Pentatonix.  What a great way to start talking about Christmas with your family!

Here is another beautiful one!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving Break!


I love that baby face.  Babies are so cute with their funny faces.  Here is one of my favorite things about Thanksgiving break:  Cousin time.  I love watching them together.  It's one of the sweetest things about the holiday.  Here are my daughters with their cousins this past year.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Bad Hair Days


Ha ha!  If you have a child with curly hair, you know what I'm talking about!  My oldest daughter looks like this every morning.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday Pizza Night

We have a friday night tradition of pizza and a family movie. One way we make it healthier is making Pita Pizzas.  Here's the recipe:

Take one whole wheat pita round per person.  Top with spaghetti sauce, cheese, turkey pepperoni, or turkey sausage and veggies.  Bake at 400 for about 8-10 min. or until cheese is bubbly.

So easy and fun!

Monday, November 10, 2014

How to Write a Title that will Sell Books


I loved the above article.  Click here to read it.  But I'd also add some of my own advice.  A title is really an advertising decision.  And one thing I've learned from writing advertising for companies is that you need to think of your audience's "pain."  What "pain" does your book solve for them or speak to?  The only way they will buy something is if it will help them assuage some pain in their life.  

For instance my book is about motherhood, and it helps my audience laugh at the ups and downs that would otherwise make them cry.  So in the title I tried to reflect that.  They know that if they buy my book they will be able to laugh at things that give them grief.

If your book is a romance, you need think: why does my audience read romance?  Is it because they are lonely?  Do they like to escape into other people's lives?  Do they like to be entertained with an action-packed romance?  If so, you need to come up with a title that will help promise these things....and do it in a few words.  Not easy.  But you'll find it's really fun to brainstorm and ask everyone you know to give you suggestions.  Sometimes things other people say will trigger just the right idea.

Friday, November 07, 2014


Is this not so stinkin' easy and cute?  I'm totally doing this with my kids this year!

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Here, Kitty!

Ha ha!  I found out little skunks don't spray, but it stops your heart when you first look at it!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

More Humor

This is the funniest baby costume I've seen yet!  So cute!


Also, animal lovers don't hate me, but my whole family could not stop laughing at this cat video someone posted on youtube. (watch the toaster)

Hope you have a bunch of laughs in your day today! 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Friday, October 17, 2014

Unreliable Narrators

This was an awesome article.  It will give you some fantastic ideas!  Click on the caption to read it.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

My New Favorite Series

Have you read these books? They are so creative and fun: the most refreshing read I have had in a long time!! The "Finishing School" series by Gail Carriger.  I highly recommend them!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Kid Humor


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Funny Kid Quote of the Day


My friend's daughter said to her yesterday, "Mom, if you don't do this for me, you're fired."

Monday, October 13, 2014

Eliminate Grammar Mistakes!


 "If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy." – Dorothy Parker

Ha!  True enough, although I can attest that one can be a happy writer. The book though!  I read The Elements of Style from cover to cover before I started writing seriously, and it saved my life.  It virtually eliminated my problem with commas and taught me many grammar rules in a way that was easy to understand.  I recommend it to anyone who wants to become a better writer and avoid the grammar mistakes that may cost them a book contract.   

Friday, October 10, 2014

Plotting with Index Cards

This idea sounds like something that would really work for me!  I love it!  I'm totally going to try it.  Have you ever tried it?  (Click on the caption to read the article)

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Writing tips by Tolkien!

Loved this!!!  I couldn't get it quite clear enough, but you can click here for a copy that you can read better....

Monday, October 06, 2014

Saturday, October 04, 2014

20 Writing Tips from Published Authors


I loved these writing tips from   Here's the link.   My favorite?

TIP 5:  "Always carry a notebook.  And I mean always.  The short-term memory only retains information for three minutes;  unless it is committed to paper you can lose an idea forever." - Will Self

I have done this, and it is so effective.  Ideas and observations practically leak out of you when you have a notebook to catch them.  It's amazing how many more ideas you can capture this way.  Once I took my little notebook to the mall while I shopped with my teen. I watched people and scribbled away.  My daughter refused to admit that I was her mother, but I got so many interesting ideas for characters!  Caution:  Don't follow people around when you do this...that's just creepy.  Sit on a bench outside where your kids are shopping and write about the people who walk by.  It's a little more subtle and not as likely to get you arrested.  :-)

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Humor Picture

This is what happens when you turn your back for one second....


Monday, September 29, 2014

7 Crippling Parenting Behaviors that limit your Child's Success


I found this article from Forbes magazine who is also doing a good parenting series, called "7 Crippling Behaviors that Limit Our Child's Success".  Here is a link to it.  It was a really great article with good insights.

I have to add my own two cents in here too.  I think one more crippling behavior is that sometimes we "validate" our childrens' tendency to behave as "victims".  When kids are mean to them at school, we teach them that those kids are mean and they should be nicer.  We go to the principle, or talk to the teacher and behave as if it is others' responsibility to make our kids happy.  But I'm wondering if this isn't a little bit backwards.  We can't change the outside world...there will always be mean kids, or hard circumstances.  Maybe we have to change our kids, to be able to be stronger inside:  strong enough to handle hard times.  They have to know that true happiness comes from within, and that they can be happy in spite of kids who are mean, or circumstances that are hard.  We can strengthen our children and teach them coping skills.  We can teach them how to find happiness in developing their talents, strengthening family relationships, or reaching out to other kids who might need a friend.  That way they don't have to depend on others for happiness, and though they might feel bad  that life is not exactly the way they would like it, they can still be happy.

I just think that we do our children a disservice by trying to smooth the way for them.  Life will always be hard.  So maybe the answer is that they need strength within, so they will always be up to the challenges life throws at them.   And we need to teach them how to do it.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

How much money does a writer Make?


Well...not much.  Sorry to be a downer, but writers write because they love it, they don't do it for the money.  Basically you get like about a $1 a book, and sometimes less, so it's not a very lucrative career.  I know a writer who is pretty successful, and says she earns about $1 an hour for all of the effort she puts in, including promoting her book.

On the other hand, you could be the next Stephen King, or J.K. Rowling!  You never know.  But just expect that it's not going to make you rich.

That said, writing sure is rewarding and fun.  It's pretty addictive once you get started, so maybe that's why 80% of the people surveyed in America said they were working on writing a novel.  So go ahead, start on that novel you've always dreamed may not pay off in terms of money, but you'll find a lot of personal satisfaction in the work.  I sure do!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Describe This!

Wouldn't this be a cool room to describe in a novel?  I wonder what kind of character would have a living room like this?  Here are more crazy rooms that can inspire new characters...
How about this house?  I wonder who lives there?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Love these guys!

Does anyone love minions as much as I do?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Loved this Writing Quote

It's so true.  You always have to listen to your writing as if you were the reader, yet keep your creativity as a writer, and also be inside the head of your character.  You can do this all at once, but you can also take it one thing at a time.  That's what drafts are for.  You'll need maybe 10 drafts to get it all down...maybe more, but you'll get there.  Never give up.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Good Kid Project


I was so excited to see in Better Homes and Gardens they are doing a year-long series called the "Good Kid Project," where they explore the twelve qualities children need to develop to succeed.  This month they are talking about perseverance.  In previous months they've talked about civility, compassion, and self-reliance.  You can read about it here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Gray Characters

I loved this article about "gray" characters.  I hate it when I read a book with a "flat" villain which is all too common these days.  Read this article to avoid that type of mistake.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Amazing Voices!

My kids tell me this is an old video but, last night when I saw this I was in awe.  This is why I love children.  They are just so beautiful...and amazing!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Seven Ancient Story Archetypes


They say all stories can be divided into seven archetypes.  Have you analyzed which archetype your story is using?  It will help you to see if perhaps you are being too cliche in your writing.  It can also help you to decide if your characters are acting believably and in "character."  It can even help you create a new story.  Here are the seven archetypes.

1. Hero's Journey:  Example- Luke Skywalker.  A hero must save the world from certain disaster.

2. The Quest:  Similar to Hero's Journey.  A Protagonist travels and overcomes obstacles to obtain a desired object or treasure that will help mankind or his family.

3. Overcoming the Monster:  The hero must fight monsters to protect the innocent.  (David and Goliath)

4. Rags to Riches: Stories that tell of one character's struggle to overcome poverty or prejudice and achieve his dream.

5. Re-birth:  (Think Dr. Who)  1.. Hero threatened 2. Must fight 3. All is lost 4. Hero does an about face that saves the day.

6. Voyage and Return-  Going from innocence to wisdom. (Think Narnia)

7. Tragedy- A tragic flaw or moral flaw that causes disaster for the protagonist and his family.

8. Comedy- Characters thrown into bewilderment and having to resolve their issues in a comic way after it goes to the extreme.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

How to Query a Magazine

In addition to my humor books, I've gained a lot of experience writing for magazines over the years.  I enjoy the short format, and the challenge of changing dry information into a story.  One of the challenges of writing for magazines is that each one has its own voice.  So you have to change your writing to match whatever the style of each magazine is.  Before submitting an article you must write a query letter to see if they would be interested in your story.  Here are some tips I've gleaned over the years.

1. Read about ten of the magazines you want to write for before even attempting to think of what to write for them.

2.  Then go online on their website and look to see if they've issued a "call" for a certain type of article.

3.  Start small.  Sometimes in order to "break in" to a magazine you have to write for their smaller regular columns at the back of the magazine.

4.  Carefully look over the magazine and decide who their audience is, what kind of articles they like, and then see if you have a story or helpful tips that fit their customers.

5.  Write a short letter to ask if they are interested.  Find a "need" of their audience, and explain how your article will help solve their audience's "need."

6.  Look up statistics.  For some reason my queries always get accepted when I include statistics.

That's it!  Hope it helps.  Magazines are really marketing tools that are preaching to a certain audience, so if you keep their audience's needs in mind, and you write in their 'style', you'll probably have success.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Clean Family Comedy

It can be hard sometimes to find good clean comedy that the whole family can enjoy, so I'm going to share one of the shows we like to watch on Youtube as a family.

Have you seen Studio C?  It is really good, clean, funny, comedy that our family loves to watch when we have a few spare moments in the evening.  Having a good laugh together helps families bond with each other.  It also has been proven to reduce stress...and so can help your family in that way as well.  Just wanted to share in hopes that you enjoy it as much as we do!

Saturday, September 06, 2014

New Humor Story!

Thought I'd post another humor story written for my next book, but that I decided to take out so the book wouldn't be too long.  (Based on a true story...) Hope you enjoy!


Eels on Wheels

I try hard to be an example to others.  And sometimes, despite the fact that my library fines exceed the national debt and I re-gifted my best friend’s Christmas carrot cake last year, I’m even a good one.  This is why I decided to invite my mother to go with me when I signed up to take meals to the elderly.  I thought I might show her the great and marvelous things I do to help and lift people in need, and I also hoped it would erase the memory of the last time I tried to be an example by fixing her expensive venetian blinds so they no longer went up and down.

“Don’t worry,” I told my mother as I loaded all the meals in the car.  “It won’t take more than a half an hour.  I’ve done this hundreds of times.  I’m a pro by now.”

“Yeah.  And she’s not going to send any old ladies into diabetic comas either, by mixing up the desserts like she did last time,” said my teenage daughter, who had been recruited along with the other kids to help out.

My mother’s eyebrows shot up.

“She’s exaggerating,” I said.  “It wasn’t a coma, just a little bit of insulin shock that’s all, nothing that couldn’t be remedied with a piece of hard candy.” 

My mother cleared her throat nervously.

“Relax,” I said, shooting my daughter a warning look.  “Really…things are going to be just fine.  I know what I’m doing.”

My mother nodded, but sat stiffly in her chair.  She didn’t believe a word I said.  She had raised me and knew what kind of trouble I could be to society at large when I decided to be helpful.

I set out to prove her wrong.  

The first four deliveries went smoothly.  The kids fought over who got to carry what as we all stampeded toward the homes of the elderly.

“Just leave it on the porch,” said one lady, who took one look at the pandemonium coming toward her house with bowls of spaghetti and refused to open the door.

“Mind the flowers,” snapped another, fending my son away from her perennial beds with her cane.  

My mother chose to watch from the car.  She said she didn’t want to add to the confusion.

I tried to explain that there was no confusion when suddenly I got confused.  We were ready to deliver to the fifth house when I noticed we were out of wheat bread.  

“Oh no,” I moaned.  “This always happens.  I gave the last lady wheat when I was supposed to give her white.”

“Can white bread trigger diabetic comas?” my daughter asked my mother, tapping her on the shoulder.

“Hush,” I snapped, “I need to think for a minute.”

“Last time you just had the little kids take it to the door, so she would be distracted by their cuteness and not look at the color of the bread,” said my son.

“Oh, I did not,” I said.  “I’m sure I just explained the situation to her.”

“Yeah,” said my eight-year-old, explaining to her grandma.  “That’s because we believe in being honest, true, and chased by an elephant.”

My mother gave me a bewildered stare.

“She means chaste and benevolent, not chased by an elephant," I huffed. Okay, look,” I continued, chewing my nails, “Maybe she won’t care about the bread.  Let’s just take it to the door.”  I loaded everything but the bowl of spaghetti into the hands of my two youngest children.  

“Try to look as sweet and adorable as you can,” I whispered, shoving them down the sidewalk.  

My mother rolled her eyes and put her hand to her forehead.  

“It can’t hurt,” I said, shrugging.  Unfortunately my shrug was a little too enthusiastic, and I shrugged the bowl of spaghetti right into the juniper bushes.

I heard a groan from where my mother was sitting.

“No worries,” I called reaching down to grab it, “It’s still covered.  Oo. Ouch.  These bushes are prickly.” 

I smiled at my mother.   She sank lower into her seat.

“Aha! I’ve got it!” I cried lifting it from the place where it had become wedged.  But as I pulled it free it was knocked from my hand by another prickly branch.  It flew toward the street in what seemed like slow motion, and then landing on its side, it began rolling down the hill.

“Noooooooooo,” I yelled, running after it.

“On top of spaghetti…,” my children sang at the top of their voices, “all covered with cheese.”  They collapsed into giggles.

“A little help, please…” I hollered, scrambling after the wayward bowI.  No one came.  They were too incapacitated by laughter.   I saw someone peering out of the curtains of the front window of the house we were supposed to deliver to as I sprinted past.

“Tell her I’ll be right there with the spaghetti,” I yelled at my youngest children who were still edging toward the door.

I madly chased the bowl, yelling insults at it, as it tumbled down the steep hill until finally, it collided with the tire of a confused motorist who had slammed on his brakes to avoid running over the crazy lady who was hollering and chasing a bowl of spaghetti .

“Doesn’t look much like spaghetti anymore,” said my son, eyeing the remaining contents of the bowl, when I returned to the car.  “Looks like a pile of eels.”

“Eels,” I said, between wheezes, clutching my stomach.  “We could try to pass it off as Japanese cuisine.”

“Oh honestly,” snorted my mother.

“Yeah, except she might break her teeth on the rocks,” yelled my teenager from the back seat.  “And you can’t fix that with hard candy.”

I looked at the sweet elderly lady, giving me puzzled looks as she tried to keep my youngest son from playing with the rocks in her Zen garden with her cane.  

“You like turkey and swiss?” I called to the woman, showing my mother that if honesty doesn’t work, at least I could be benevolent.   “I know a great sandwich shop just down the street.”

“That’d be fine, dear” she said, “As long as it’s on wheat bread.” 

“Wheat bread,” I muttered to myself as I stumbled back into the car, “I’ll give you wheat bread.”   I looked over toward my mother who was chuckling to herself. 

“What?” I said.  “She says she likes turkey.”

My mother continued laughing as she maneuvered the rear view mirror in my direction.  “It’s not that.”  Then she pointed to my head.  “It’s just…you might want to comb your hair before you come back,” she said.  “You look like you’ve been chased by an elephant.”