5th Annual Valentiny Contest

Susanna Hill’s Valentiny Contest

The rules are: write a story that is 214 words or fewer (title not included). It must contain a character who is curious. They can be curious about anything. Here is my attempt.

The Case of Cupid’s Arrow

After class Sonja and Ari walk through the park. Ari nervously looked at the ground as they walked. He was going to ask Sonja to the Valentine’s Dance. Just as he stammered, “Sonja, will”…something shiny caught his eye. He picked up the oddly shaped rock.

Sonja asked, “What is that thing?”

“Why would anyone throw out a perfectly formed heart-shaped fossil?”asked Ari.

Together they shouted, “ Let’s take it to the lab and identify it.”

They raced back to the school lab. Dr. Sue was still there. “Can you help us identify this fossil?” asked Sonja.

Dr. Sue suggested. “Run a magnetism test on it.” Then she gave a closer look.  The heart shaped rock was glowing red. “Ieee! It’s a mystical object that was buried with the Etruscan chief. It’s been missing a long time. What are you doing with this sacred object?”

Ari began, “Well, ah, we were walking home…”

Sonja interjected, “ Ari spotted it on the path through the park.”

“Has anyone else touched it, Dr. Sue asked. It doesn’t matter, we must speak a prayer and ask the Gods to recognize you, the new owners.”

Sonja said, “What’s the hurry?”

“Yeah, will we die?” Ari added. 

“Legends say this stone will give the owner all of Cupid’s matchmaking power.

Do It Yourself

This morning I had plans to get so much accomplished. Then I decided to install this cool fitting on my dryer vent. The fitting keeps the dryer from crushing the vent. I found it online and quickly ordered it. My dryer is located in a tight space and often gets pushed farther back than it should. The last install was done by a professional but it wasn’t working.


When the vent arrived, I put it aside until I had time to install it. This morning I opened the fitting and found it was designed for a 90 degree hook up. I pulled out my dryer and looked at the configuration for my dryer. It is a straight connection. After spending a few minutes I finally decided I could not use the new type vent so instead, I spent the next 2 hours attempting to replace the old crushed vent with a new one just like the old one. Did I mention it’s in a tight spot? I was climbing over the washer, cutting the vent in a shorter piece, squatting to tighten the new clamps and dripping with sweat. The sharp edges of the vent cut my fingers so I was slightly bleeding and getting my hands really dirty. The only good thing I was thinking was that I burned off that donut I had for breakfast! I also was thinking that no one would pay me to do this.

#OLW 2020

Last Tuesday I read lots of SOL posts then decided I needed to write about my one little word for 2020. I didn’t have a word and was feeling left out as I read through the slices. So many were passionate about their chosen word. I thought that I didn’t have a fitting word. I began writing my SOL about what activities I had spent during the first days of 2020.

My husband asked me how I wanted to celebrate my birthday on the first day of the new decade. I mentioned it would be cool to find a nature spot to practice my photography. We headed out to explore a place we had not been before. It was quite an experience. We detoured off the two lane road onto a forest service road. The road was very rocky and narrow alongside a bluff.

We worried about having car trouble, there was no cell service. We worried about a tree falling on us. We continued in spite of our worries and were rewarded with a great view of the scenic Eleven Point River.

A couple days later we took another detour off the two lane road to explore another spot we had never been. It wasn’t as worrisome but it was remote. We found an interesting park along the Jacks Fork River named Blue Springs. It wasn’t too blue because it was an overcast day. I did not know there were caves along the bluff. Again we felt like explorers.

Anyway by now you may have an idea that my OLW for 2020 came to me while trying to write the SOL. I spent so much time trying to write the SOL that the draft got lost before it could be loaded and saved. So today I announce my #OWL2020 is explore!

Here's To Writing

I recently read an article I found on Medium, How to Be Successful At Writing by Kris Gage. https://medium.com/@krisgage/how-to-be-successful-at-writing-3561a55b081

Her blunt essay is just what I need to refocus my writing efforts. Write! She cites several great resouces to back up her directive.

I’ve wanted to write forever. I’ve written for educational purposes and want to learn to write more creatively. For a time I wrote on a word tracking site, 750 words a day. I loved using that site because along with word count, it tracked writing mood and writing time. I wrote about my childhood and printed my essays, but eventually I stopped using it daily. I only return on a rare occasion.

I joined a community for authors: Socitey of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. https://www.scbwi.org/ I joined writing communities. One community, Storyteller Academy offers valuable trainings, opportunities to write and a critique group. I love my critique group, however, I often compare myself to the others in my group and of course I come up short. They seem to write with such a depth of knowledge about what is required to write with resolve. Here’s to 2020, to noticing and writing about what is happening around me.

Gage mentioned that we must unlearn our fear of needing to be liked. I think a fear of what others will think has kept me from writing. So here is to 2020, to valuing myself, my unique voice and perspective.

Here’s to 2020, to doing my craft, to writing!

Wildflowers of Missouri Series

Monarda fistulosa Wild Bergamont or commonly known as Bee Balm

I’m spending time reviewing the wildflowers of Missouri. This week I plan to post pictures I’ve taken of wildflowers in their habitat.

Bee Balm is in Lamiaceae or mint family. Most stems in this family are hollow and square in shape. The leaves are opposite and usually aromatic. Leaves can be used in tea, seasoning, jelly and mint sauce. And bees love these plants! Plant these natives in your garden to attract pollinators.

This is a repost from Tara Lazar done to notify all of the PB awards: Picture Book Magic: Explained by Carle Honor Recipients (plus a giveaway) | Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

In one month, The Carle Museum of Picture Book art will hold its annual Carle Honors, awarding four people/entities who have made significant contributions to the art form. Also that evening, September 26th, final bids will be accepted on original artwork by picture book masters. Today, The Carle Honors are pleased to announce the artists…
— Read on taralazar.com/2019/08/26/2019-carle-honors/

Exciting opportunity!

I began participating in Storyteller Academy to learn the details of creating children’s picture books. It’s been an amazing journey. Some of the specifics I’ve learned include how to create a book dummy, how to submit a query letter to an agent, how to develop interesting characters, etc. One of the best perks for me has been working with a critique group. They help me with improving my writing by asking questions and providing options that might not occur to me. All that to say Storyteller Academy is offering an exciting free offer to participate in a writing challenge. You can follow the link to read more about it! If you are interested in writing books, you won’t regret your time spent with Storyteller Academy.

Storyteller Academy Picture Book Challenge