#SOL2019 Day22


Fragile yellow-green colors introduce showy plants

Bursting through moist soil.

Warm sunshine rays compete with the sharp air

Inviting chirping bird songs.

The euphony awakens the sleepiest souls

Proclaiming Spring has arrived!


#SliceofLife2019 Day 21

Another ah ha writing tip

Best plans often change, I planned to work today. I got up, felt terrible. It’s a good thing my schedule is flexible. I slept in the couch most of the morning. By noon, I was ready for coffee. I thought this time would be good for catching up on the writing lessons I missed when my father-in-law passed. So. I reviewed a few lessons I missed.

Yesterday I mentioned that you should focus on the main theme of your book when brainstorming ideas for a catchy title.

My ah ha moment today was when the presenter suggested to go through your manuscript with a highlighter to identify all the scenes that communicate your theme. Wow, that’s a smart idea! You can literally see how often your text communicates your book’s purpose. You can easily see where you might need to revise scenes by deleting unnecessary actions that don’t support the theme, or slow down the actions so the events are more natural outcome of your story.

Back to my manuscript…

#Slice of Life Day 20

My ah ha moment of the day

Developing a good title

I’ve been taking an online class to learn how to write picture books. One lesson I studied today focused on writing a creative title. Wow! Was I blown away. The process seemed so simple. And it worked. The editor/teacher had hundreds of relevant words to brainstorm the best combination for a title. I had no idea it could work so well.

I have done this before, in part. First you need to identify your main theme. Make a list of descriptive words related to that theme. Do a web search for synonyms of those words. Everything was standard to this point. The last couple of suggestions really put things together for me: actually combining the words that begin with the same letter to make an alliterative title; or looking for idioms using the descriptive words. I was impressed! Adding two steps to the process opened a world of possibilities for me! I hope this will save me from using boring titles for my stories!

#Slice of Life 2019 Day 19

A glimpse of my morning as part-time Psych Examiner

This is my first year working for this district. I’m a new face to them. All year the students and teachers have been so pleasant and welcoming to me, but I’m glad the testing part of this year is almost done.

Today I worked at school: picked up the latest testing memo, requested students’ schedules and birthdays, set up the testing room and made arrangements to administer individual achievement tests to 3 children.

Usually, when I visit the class to request the students, they are caught off guard. As we walk to my testing room, I try to make conversation and put them at ease. I ask if there are other children in the family. I ask if this is the only school he or she has attended. I try to relate to them in a non threatening way. I tell them a bit about the tasks on the test: spelling, reading, math and writing, just normal stuff. I tell them how much time it will require. All this conversation can happen because this school has lots of halls. It’s all indoor halls from Kindergarten to high school. At the end of a normal day spent testing, my watch might show that I have walked 3.5 miles. I love that I’m getting to walk as I work, but it can be a challenge when I walk one student back to class then need to be at the other end of the building to get another student. I’m usually running a bit behind my schedule.

The first testing session went smoothly, the class was close to my room. We worked almost an hour, until it was time for recess and we could hear when it began. She didn’t miss anything fun.

When I walked to collect the second student, the class was gone. The note posted on the wall said they were in Computer class. I didn’t know where that was so I walked to the office to check. The secretaries gave me the room number and I walked in that direction. When I knocked, students let me in because the teacher was reading. I told the teacher who I was and which student I needed. The teacher softly said she was in the office. I ask, ” Behavior?” She shook her head yes, so I headed back to the office.

A small girl had been crying. I ask the secretaries if this was xxxx. The secretaries said yes. I told xxxx I planned to have her do some work for me but this might not be a good time. She said, ” No, I can do it.” I hesitated but she seemed eager to get out of the office so I ask the secretaries if I could take her with me to begin testing and they agreed it would be ok. We left and headed to my room. I told xxxx we should tell her classroom teacher what happened. She agreed so we walked toward her classroom. She told her teacher she got sent to the office because another girl got her in trouble. The teacher calmly responded to her, That doesn’t explain your behavior. Mrs. Xxxx will talk with you later.” We then walked to my room. She appeared ready to work so we began with a listening task. I watched as she worked to complete each task. No problems were noted and we continued for 30 minutes. It was lunchtime so I walked her to the cafeteria, helped her get food and sit with her class, even though I was running a few minutes behind to start with the next student. She chose which table of children to sit with and I headed toward the high school classes.

My next student to test was an 11th grader. He was caught off guard. I hate that part and again I try to explain…

#SliceofLife 2019 Day 18

I just need a deadline!

I’m such a procrastinar. I know it’s bad. I can’t seem to acomplish much without deadlines. I know because retirement has few deadlines. And I’m not accomplishing what I hoped. I seemed to get more done when I was working full time. Anyway, I’m trying to adjust.

I’m taking classes to learn all about writing children’s picture books, something I started working on 7 years ago. I have lots of ideas. I can write a draft and share with my critique group. They give me great suggestions and support. But I don’t progress from there. I don’t get revisions done.

Yesterday I read about a contest to submit a finished and polished picture book manuscript at this website: http://www.michelle4laughs.com/2019/02/picture-book-party-2019.html

Ah, a deadline! Just what I need. So yesterday I started polishing one of my drafts. I went back through my notes from the critique group. Today I shared the story with my husband. I will be ready to submit it tomorrow, just in time to meet the deadline!

#Slice Of Life 2019 Day 17

Ode to Irish Ancestry

My grandpa always said we were Scotch- Irish.

A cousin questioned, What’s that mean?

I used my go-to information site, Wikipedia

The term is mostly used in the US, not England, Ireland, or Scotland

To describe not necessarily those with Scottish ancestry

To describe migrants who settled in the Appalachian region in the late 1700s

To distinguish from Irish who immigrated after the Great Irish Famine

That is crazy!

I used my go-to ancestry site, Ancestry

My ethnicity estimate is 37% Ireland, Scotland & Wales.

My ancestors did settle in the Appalachian area.

I’m fairly certain

My 9th great grandfather was born in Donegal, Ireland

My 8th great grandfather was born in Dundee, Scotland

My 7th great grandfather was born in Limavady, Northern Ireland

My 6th great grandfather was born in Derry, Ulster, Ireland

I am actually Scotch-Irish!

#SOL2019 Day 16 Bollinger Mill State Park

Inspired by a #picoftheweek2019 post, I decided to write about a pleasant memory of this place. This picture gives you a view of the mill and bridge. It’s serene and calming to me.

One Memorial Day our families headed there for a cookout. It’s about 1 1/2 hour drive. We prepared some food ahead, deserts and potato salad for sure. My father-in-law always barbecued pork steaks, hamburgers and hot dogs. I have a picture of about 24 of us just inside the covered bridge. The youngest played on a pallet under the shade trees while the food was cooking. The adults played wiffle ball or badminton with the younger children. We explored the area, just enjoying nature.

Now the site is a state park. You can tour the old mill and see how it actually operated. The small community has a couple antique shops. The park has tall oak trees to shade the picnic sites. It’s still an interesting place to visit.