Tuesday, July 25, 2017

CLOVER ME GREEN

Well, I'll Be! Clover Me Green! I Really AM a Good-Luck Machine!


Did you know that one of my super powers is finding 4-leaf clovers? I LOVE 4-leaf clovers! I collect them in little decorative boxes. Once, I found 17 4-leaf clovers in an hour! That averages to a mere 3.5 minutes per genetic mutation!



Plants I Love


I love 4-leaf clovers, the purple-bearded Iris, dandelions, sunflowers, wild roses, gardenias, daisies, and buttercups. But I hate the smell of a Lily. They give me a headache. What's your favorite and/or least favorite flower?

Clovers and Shells


When I was in 3rd grade at Candler Elementary School, my teacher was Mrs. Comer and her assistant was Ms. Allen. Ms. Allen collected 4-leaf clovers in a barrel of water on her front porch. Anytime someone found a 4-leaf clover, she'd trade a seashell for it. That's how I began my collection of seashells. Though I had never been to the beach before, I had collected dozens of shells. I was the best 4-leaf clover finder in the 3rd grade! And I finally got to visit the ocean when I was in high school.

Clover Me Green


Of course, there's a book I'm writing about 4-leaf clovers. It's called Clover Me Green. Maybe one day you can see it in print and read all about Molly and her clover hunting adventures.

What's your 4-leaf clover finding record? Share in the comments!

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

DO YOUR CHILDREN KNOW WHAT A COPPERHEAD SNAKE LOOKS LIKE?

Did You Know Copperheads Are Pit Vipers?


I'm writing a book about a boy who loves snakes. So, I have to become an expert too. My husband found this video in an article on USA Today, so I thought I'd share it with you. Even though most people would kill a copperhead in an instant (and I'm no different), they are also "good" snakes because they eat mice and voles.



Art Schaeffer's Nickname is Gleek


Did you know that "gleek" is a verb? It means: to use one's saliva glands to shoot saliva a credible distance, with the intention of hitting someone or something. Also known as "snake spitting." He learned to gleek at a young age, by accident.

Growing up, my brother could always gleek on demand. I never could get it right. Occasionally, I'll accidentally gleek when yawning. What about you? Can you gleek?

Gleek's Pet Snake


In my book, Gleek has a pet snake. I'm thinking of letting it be a common grass snake, either a rough green snake or a smooth green snake. They are smaller, 2-3 feet, and a more shy species that may not like to be handled as much as some other species. But Art likes to hold his snake a lot. Do you have a favorite species? A species suggestion you'd like to see Gleek own?

10 Snake Species That Make Good Pets


Of course, some of the following snakes make better pets than others. If you want a pet snake, do your research. Here's a great site to help you.
  1. Ball Python
  2. Boa Constrictor
  3. Common King Snake
  4. Corn Snake
  5. Garter Snake
  6. Gopher/Bull Snake
  7. Grey-banded King
  8. Hognose Snake
  9. Milk Snake
  10. Mountain King

Have you (or your children) ever owned a pet snake? How long did it live? What did you name it? What kind of snake was it? Share in the comments!

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

WRITERS WHO RUN 10K TRAIL RACE - 2018

Who Won the Wireless SoundWhiz Headphones?


One of this year's sponsor's, SoundWhiz, donated three pairs of wireless headphones. The top 3 winners overall were super excited to win them!!!

Writers Who Run 10k Trail Race || Top 3 Winners Overall Won Free Wireless SoundWhiz Headphones

Top Three


The top three winners of the race, overall, completed the 10k trail race in under an hour!

  1. Dave Essinger (57:58)
  2. Dave Harlow (58:19)
  3. Dylan Astrom (59:20)

And did you notice that they all have a name that begins with the letter "D"?

SoundWhiz


One of the racers, who sadly didn't win one of the SoundWhiz headphones, was ACHING to win one. It was what kept him going - the hope for such an awesome prize. He still won 3rd place in his age group, though. Thanks, SoundWhiz, for being the carrot to dangle in front of our racers!

Next Year


Next year's race will see a slight (or a not-so-slight) change. In order to more easily accommodate more runners of differing levels, there will be a 5k option added. And the course will change. It will be a flatter course, on the road, with a grand view at the base of the famous Fontana Dam, the second largest dam this side of the Mississippi. The name is changing too. Instead of the Writers Who Run 10k Trail Race, it will be called the Writers Who Run 10k and 5k Race for Literacy. Hope to see you there!

Question goes here? Share in the comments!

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Sunday, July 9, 2017

TOTAL ECLIPSE OF [MY] HEART

Are You an Astronomy Geek, Too?


This August 21, 2017 will the first time the United States will see a total solar eclipse across the contiguous states since 1918. I'm within 2 hours of the 100% band! I'm so excited! I even found a video about five ways to safely view a solar eclipse.



Making Memories


I don't know why I love celestial bodies so much, be it the sun, the moon, or the stars, but I do. I love the constellations and special occurrences such as solar (and lunar) eclipses. If you can, get with your children and make some memories with them. Maybe they'll turn into an astronomy geek too!

5 Ways to Safely View the Eclipse


In the video above, they list:

  1. solar shield
  2. eclipse glasses
  3. pinhole method
  4. pegboard
  5. lens solar filter

What have you used in the past? What's your favorite? It seems as though children most often use the pinhole method. It's probably the safest because it has the lowest risk of accidental exposure.

Storytelling


Lastly, I once wrote a picture book manuscript that will never see the light of day. It was about the constellations and the tooth fairy. Apparently, it was two different stories overlapping, much like the moon overlapping the sun. Can you write a story about the moon, the sun, or the stars? Who will be the star of your story?

Are you planning on watching the eclipse this August 21? If you had a chance to see it, what was it like? How will you (or did you) celebrate? Share in the comments!

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

HOW TO PERSONALIZE A QUERY LETTER:

3 Ways to Gain the Attention of an Editor or Agent


Before you send a query letter, hopefully you know how to look up the submission guidelines and that you need to actually follow them. Every editor is different, and every publisher is different. Sending Editor A a query letter according to Editor B's guidelines may get your query letter tossed in the trash. So, FOLLOW SUBMISSION GUIDELINES!!!

Once you have a list of editors to whom you'd like to submit your work, and you know their submission policy, you're ready to personalize your query letter. Whether you are polishing off your query by finally adding that personal touch, or you are just now beginning to write your query letter, it doesn't matter. Either way, it's the personal touch that may help the editor decide to actually read your query letter.

You want to make it clear that you're querying that person for a reason. If you follow one of these three ways to personalize a query letter, you'll definitely have a higher percentage of gaining the attention of an agent or an editor.

HOW TO PERSONALIZE A QUERY LETTER: 3 Ways to Gain the Attention of an Editor or Agent || writing, authors, submission process, submissions, how to submit a manuscript

Be Familiar With Their Interests


Yes, editors and agents are busy, but they have a personal life too. If you do any level of research at all, you're likely to find a few of their interests online. Whether it's their passion for all things elephant, or their interest in haunted houses, if you have a similar interest, you can use it to your advantage, especially if you've written something about that interest.

Query Example: I am writing to you because we share a similar fondness for elephants. I happen to have a manuscript about elephants that I think you might be interested in reading.

Follow Your Potential Agent or Editor to Conferences


Most editors and agents are always looking to grow their list. One way they do this is by speaking at writing conferences or retreats. If you follow your dream agent to a conference, you'll have an instant "in" to querying him or her. Often, you'll get an invitation to submit your work for a limited time. So if you want your book published with a certain publisher, follow where their editors go to speak and be sure to introduce yourself.

Query Example: I met you at the Writers Who Run Retreat last June and really enjoyed your workshop on great beginnings. I think you might enjoy reading my middle grade novel about magicians and love.

Know What Authors They Associate With


Every editor and agent has a list. They work with authors, both new and established. Be familiar with that list of authors. Know which authors you're fond of. When you mention an author or two in your query from their list specifically, they will know that you have done your research. They will be impressed with the fact that you like their work and the authors they associate with. So, do your research.

Query Example: I am querying you because you represent Author A, B, and C, all of whose work I greatly admire, especially Book 1, 2, and 3. I have a book with a similar feel to their work, though still uniquely mine. I think you might enjoy taking a look at it.

What's another way you can personalize your query letter? Share in the comments!

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Monday, June 5, 2017

THE PROS AND CONS OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF WEBINARS

The Internet is exploding with webinars these days. In almost every industry, you'll find webinars being offered. Knowing the different types of webinars out there will help you face them head on when you encounter them. If you want to host your own webinar, it will be helpful to know all the different types of webinars you can choose from.

Pros and Cons: Different Types of Webinars || writing, entrepreneur, writerpreneur, what to look for in a webinar

Webinars are one way in which we consume information. It's not the only thing out there. There are blog posts, podcasts, infographics, links within social media to other articles, videos, white papers, transcripts, and more. Webinars can be categorized in four basic ways, but the combination possibilities are many.

  1. long or short webinars
  2. paid or free webinars
  3. informational or sales webinars
  4. live or recorded webinars
  5. interactive or boring (just kidding, but nobody wants to listen to a boring presentation)

Different Types of Webinars


The Long vs. Short Webinar


The Long Webinar

This type of webinar is typically an hour or longer. There is generally a vast amount of information to convey, or a specific list of steps to cover. People who attend longer webinars are obviously

Monday, May 29, 2017

GETTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUED IS LIKE BUYING A NEW PAIR OF RUNNING SHOES

As a writer, you know it's important to revise your work until it shines. That's why you joined a critique group. That's why you look forward to your manuscript critiques. It's just like buying a new pair of running shoes. Let me explain.

How to Get Your Manuscript Critiqued || buying a new pair of running shoes, similarities between writing and running

An Outside Perspective


For big races, there's an expo. The race expo is where you go to pick up your swag bag, which includes your shirt and your bib. Then you get to walk around and look at all the vendors. There's food, drinks, coupons, shirts, hats, shorts, socks, headbands, jewelry, info about other races, massaging tools, insoles, and of course shoes.

At one such expo, the Brooks team was there with a big prize wheel, a little bus, and lots of shoes. "Step on a treadmill! Get a Brooks assessment. We'll find the right shoe for you." So you strip down to your tootsies and step on the treadmill. There's a camera aimed right at your naked feet, recording the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Within minutes, you have an outside perspective telling you where your strengths, and your weaknesses lie. Are you a supernator? An overpronator? Are your ankles in alignment with your legs and your feet? Sometimes, a look from the outside is what we need to tell us which pair of shoes to buy.

And with your writing? The person providing you with a critique is another outside perspective? Do you tend to be passive? Do you tend to tell more than show? Sometimes it's harder to know your own weaknesses, so invite someone to gently point them out to you!

Trying on the Recommendations


So now you know your running weaknesses. It's time to try on the recommended pair of shoes. Hop back on the treadmill and take them for a spin. You'll either go with pair A or pair B. Run a little here and run a little there. Recommendations are great, but you've still got to try them on and see which your feet like better.

Your story has been cut up with a microscopic razor. Things you never saw before. Things you never even thought of. But you can't wait to try out all the great advice. Well, minus killing off your main character's love interest. It doesn't matter; you're keeping it in. You might change the name though. But the rest of the critique seems to have some great recommendations! So far, so good.

Hope for Improvement


You chose pair A. They're bright and colorful, even though you'd prefer navy and grey. The good thing is that they are super comfortable. You're excited to have a new pair of running shoes. You were 200 miles overdue. Now all you can do is hope for improvement. Improved feel, comfort, and breathability. Improved times. Improved muscles. Less soreness. Fewer injuries. Yes, pair A will certainly improve your running. Now get out and run!

You sit at your computer and implement several of the changes suggested by your critique partners. You hope it makes your story better, that you've improved upon the last version. A few tweaks and you're ready for round two. "Hey, can you take a look at my story? Let me know if you like it, and what I can do to make it better. Let me know if any of it doesn't make sense." At this point, all we can do is hope for improvement. So run with it and keep writing!

How often do you buy new running shoes? Could you live without your critique group? Share in the comments!

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Monday, March 20, 2017

FICTION BOOKS FOR RUNNERS ABOUT RUNNING

If you like to read and run, or you know someone who likes to run and read, then this list of books is definitely for you! Even if you hate running, but you love to read, you might find one of these books intriguing.

Books About Running || runners | runner characters | books runners will love

Running Books For Adults


This list is quite long, so I only list the image and summary for a couple. The other running books listed for adults are quite popular and well-known in the world of runners.

Resolve by JJ Hensley


In the Pittsburgh Marathon, 18,000 people from all over the world will participate. Over 9,500 will run the half marathon, 4,000 will run in relays while others plan to run brief stretches. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn't their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment and one man is going to be murdered.

Running Out by Dave Essinger


After a plane crash in a remote Canadian wilderness, the athlete-hero faces the race of his life—to save his wife, his daughter, and himself. Dan’s past is fraught with sinuous turns and compelling complexity, but his present path is straight and clear: survival. We follow his every stride, sometimes as breathless as he is, as he runs toward rescue—or disaster.


MOSTLY FICTION


What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
Once A Runner by John L. Parker, Jr.
Again to Carthage by John L. Parker, Jr.
Running by Jean Echenoz
Marathon Man by William Goldman
Run by Ann Patchett
I Want to Show You More by Jamie Quatro
Preparation for the Next Life by Atticus Lish
Running The Rift by Naomi Benaron
The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen
A Gift of Dragons by Anne McCaffrey
Two Hours by Ed Caesar
The Runner by Cynthia Voigt
Flanagan's Run by Tom McNab
Run With the Champions by Marc Bloom
The Purple Runner by Paul Christman
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner by Alan Sillitoe

MOSTLY NONFICTION


Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
PRE: The Story of America's Greatest Running Legend by Tom Jordan
Swoosh: The Unauthorized Story of Nike and the Men Who Played There by Julie B. Strasser and Laurie Becklund
Out of Nowhere: The Inside Story of How Nike Marketed the Culture of Running by Geoff Hollister
Bowerman and the Men of Oregon by Kenny Moore
A Race Like No Other: 26.2 Miles Through the Streets of New York by Liz Robbins
Why We Run: A Natural History by Bernd Heinrich
Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness by Scott Jurek
The Accidental Athlete: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Middle Age by John "The Penguin" Bingham
Feet in the Clouds: The Classic Tale of Fell-Running and Obsession by Richard Askwith
The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It by Neal Bascomb
Running and Being: The Total Experience by Dr. George Sheehan
Running With the Buffaloes by Chris Lear
Running Through the Ages by Edward S. Sears

I'm sure there are more, but this will get you started.

Running Books For Teens

Run by Jolyn Brown


When Supermom joins Dad on his latest project, Morgan is left with her aunt. Instead of dating the cute boy from her high school track team, Morgan will spend the summer in a small town near Kanab, Utah, five hours from home and all of her friends. Her plan is to keep a sane distance between herself and her aunt's six boys. What Morgan does not expect is being attracted to the neighbor kid who hangs out with her cousins. How can she like two guys at the same time? Just when her life could not get more messed up, Morgan stumbles across an abandoned house and learns she lived there when she was small. The house and its secrets haunt her . . . it turns out she has been dreaming about the place for years. All she wants is to hold onto what she loves. But as the summer passes, she wonders if she is going to lose everything.

The Inside Track by Richard Tice


A college student who has started weight lifting and running to improve his love life meets a fascinating girl on the track who introduces him to the Mormon Church.

Running Books for Children


The Pumpkin Runner by Marsha Diane Arnold


"Nearly all the sheep ranchers in Blue Gum Valley rode horses or drove jeeps to check on their sheep. But Joshua Summer Hayes liked to run...with Yellow Dog trailing behind him." So it's no surprise when Joshua decides to enter a race from Melbourne to Sydney. People laugh when old Joshua shows up in his overalls and gumboots, calmly nibbling a slice of pumpkin for energy. But then he pulls into the lead, and folks are forced to sit up and take notice.


Marathon Mouse by Amy Dixon



The mice of New York City dread the day of the New York City Marathon more than any other—the crowds, the large shoes, the noise. All of them, that is, except for Preston. He and his family live underneath the starting line on the Verrazano Bridge and every year Preston has dreamed of joining all the other runners in the marathon. This year, Preston is determined to make his dream come true, even though his family tells him that mice are not fit to run marathons. He trains hard leading up to the big day and when the race starts, he successfully dodges sneakers and crosses the finish line, showing his family that mice can do much more than just scurry.


The Quickest Kid in Clarksville by Pat Zietlow Miller



It's the day before the big parade. Alta can only think about one thing: Wilma Rudolph, three-time Olympic gold medalist. She'll be riding on a float tomorrow. See, Alta is the quickest kid in Clarksville, Tennessee, just like Wilma once was. It doesn't matter that Alta's shoes have holes because Wilma came from hard times, too. But what happens when a new girl with shiny new shoes comes along and challenges Alta to a race? Will she still be the quickest kid? The Quickest Kid in Clarksville is a timeless story of dreams, determination, and the power of friendship.


Wilma Unlimited by Kathleen Krull



Before Wilma Rudolph was five years old, polio had paralyzed her left leg. Everyone said she would never walk again. But Wilma refused to believe it. Not only would she walk again, she vowed, she'd run. And she did run--all the way to the Olympics, where she became the first American woman to earn three gold medals in a single olympiad.


Have you read any of these? Which one will you add to your reading list? Share in the comments!

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