Smile. Be kind. Hug a tree . . . If you missed a previous post, visit my archive.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"Writing Updates" Purple Dog

Third 'Excerpt' Chapter III

Late in the night, a pale blue light flashed from the back of the cave. Lauren rubbed her eyes and turned over to face Jessie. She was about to doze off when the pale blue light flashed, again. This time it woke her from her sleep. What is that? She quietly uncoiled herself from Jessie and crawled towards the light. She looked around for Rula, but she was gone. The archway hung low, almost touching the cave floor. As she approached the light she heard a humming sound like a ceiling fan. She was almost there when suddenly her head hit a sharp rock, knocking her back. She struggled back up. The light had now shifted to the right and was fading. It shadowed some kind of inscription on the cave wall. She stooped to look closer, but still couldn’t make it out. She rubbed her glove back and forth, pushing the crusted small pebbles away. Slowly, something began to appear. She rubbed harder. Then, her breath caught in her throat. It was a polygon. A five star polygon, called a pentagram. She had studied them last year. The pentagram had been there for sometime, the five point star was barley visible. Below the pentagram were six circles. Carved inside the circles were letters. They were old and hard to read. Her eyes were an inch away, when she made out what the letters spelled. Lauren suddenly felt cold and weak.

Till next time,

Purple Dog

Saturday, December 4, 2010

"No Wheels In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia"

Here is an article I wrote for 'Women on Wheels' in 1994.

This adventure to Malaysia geared up for me a year and a half ago. My husband traveled to Malaysia on a temporary assignment for his company. His proficiency and technical skill, while in Malaysia, were nothing short of excellent. So, guess what---they lured him back for a longer term and your's truly got to tag along for a year long holiday.
We've been here since the first of July. Malaysia's weather patterns remain mild and constant. Remember, I'm in the tropics, surrounded by tall palms and swaying coconut trees. The equator sets about 100 miles south, just past Singapore. Malaysia is a peninsula, so Kuala Lumpur receives daily rain showers that push the thick haze out and cools the million-and-a-half people who live here. Malaysia is a young country, representing three nationalities: Malay, Chinese and Indian. On August 31, they will celebrate their thirty-eighth year of independence from the British. The economy is booming and struggling hard to speed up its technical knowledge. The people are gracious and most kind, especially to the visitors. So, dear
readers of "Women on Wheels' here are my observations of motorcycle riding, tactics, safety and attitudes for riding on the streets of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
First, there are few real bikes, as you and I know them. My husband and I have seen maybe three or four. Scooters run the streets. You know the ones, the two or three strokers, burning an oil stream a mile long behind them and adding to the environmental issue. Real bikes like Harley's and Honda's are priced so high the average working person can't afford them. I have a 500 Shadow in the states. My cost around $4,000. For the same bike here, a biker would think he has cashed in on a real bargain by dishing out $12,0000.
Safety rules. There are none. You sort of make up the rules as you ride down the streets. Police are around, somewhere, but usually dismiss these antics and look away. Splitting two inches between car mirrors seems the only way for bikers to keep on riding. To sit and wait on a red light is considered ridiculous. "No way man," they say. Unfastened helmet straps dangle in the wind. Flip Flops are the norm for a good riding boot and having headlights ---Are they an option? These scooters, which were designed for one, carry Dad, Mom and two babies. And sometimes a lawnmower. A Sari (a women's long dress) flops near the rear tire that could catch Mom's leg any moment. Statistics have proven motorcycle accidents and deaths run high for Malaysia. No wonder. Their safety rules have gotten stuck in their driver's manual and stayed there.
But, I have to tell you readers, I have to give these scooter bikers credit where credit is due. It's a fast-moving city and the bikers skills are quick. They lean from vertical to horizontal with a great skill. They hug the corners as though they don't exist. They weave their scooters in and out of traffic as smooth as honey on a biscuit. I do realized this type of riding and maneuvering is risky and dangerous, but I must admit it looks exciting. Their riding attitude is simple: "Let's move it, pal or get the hell out of the way."
We thought about bringing our bikes with us. However, our sources informed us we would have to pay 125% tax on the book value (which was refundable when you leave their country) plus an eight-month waiting period for our permits. Since our stay is only for one year, these regulations changed our minds.
We're missing our riding season back home in Kentucky. We especially miss our yearly Blue Ridge ride with family and friends. We hope to return to the Bluegrass state in early summer of 95' and make up for lost time on our 'real bikes' In the meantime, we're here in Malaysia with 'no wheels'

Wishing you gals good riding from the Far East

Sherry White

"Who's Speaking"

Dialogue is a total loss unless you know who's speaking. In a long dialogue with no attributives your reader will be lost or confused. They will have to back track and re-read to figure out who's been talking. Place your attributives where they would come naturally, or where the reader would take a breath. Read your long dialogue out loud. This will usually find where you need a 'said'

Happy writing,

Sunday, November 28, 2010

"On Science Fiction"

Every good writer knows that the more unusual the scenes and events of his/her story are, the slighter, the more ordinary, the more typical his/her persons should be. Hence Gulliver is a commonplace little man and Alice a commonplace little girl. If they had been more remarkable they would have wrecked their books. -C. S. Lewis

Happy Writing,

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"Writing Updates" Purple Dog

Second 'Excerpt' Chapter I

Lauren turned the volume down on her cell phone as she passed her Dad's bedroom. He was snoring. That's good, she thought. He was in a deep sleep. She tiptoed down ten steps to the kitchen. A kitchen that still smelled of homemade chili. She stood for a moment at the backdoor, daring not to look back. If she did, she might change her mind. She had to be brave. No turning back. Not now. She opened the door, hugged her backpack close to her breast and headed for the backyard. Then from the winter night, Jessie's football arms embraced her. "Let's go," she said.

Till next time,

Purple Dog

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"Writing Updates"

Good morning. I'm Purple Dog. Sherry has asked me to help her with a new project on her blog.

Our project is a YA novel. It's our first try at this genre. We usually write in the PB environment. We've read a ton of YA books (some good, others not so good). We've also researched the market and found that since Harry Potter and Twilight arrived, more young people are searching out new topics for their reading material. Our story is geared for the sixteen and up market.

We would like to invite you to visit our blog and meet our characters, Lauren and Jessie. As our story unfolds, Sherry and I will share 'excerpts' with you. Stop in. Read. Post.

First 'Excerpt" Chapter I "The Leaving"

Lauren unzipped her size two Lee Jeans, and let them drop to the bathroom floor. With spread legs she squatted over the toilet. On the sink, a white HPT box stared back at her like a present waiting to be opened. She took a deep breath and grabbed the white box, ripped it open and placed the tube between her legs. She was three weeks late. She couldn't pee. "Come on, come on." She turned the water on in the sink. It worked. A slow dribble of pee began to wet the tube. Lauren hung her head and stared at her purple toenails. I'm just stressed out, she thought. Done of this would be happening if her Dad hadn't lost his job. He said they would have to move for him to find work. Lauren's pee stopped. The HPT said to wait ten minutes. She wasn't about to leave her home. She was eighteen now, an adult. She could live wherever she wanted and with whoever she wanted. She and Jessie had their own plans. They were eloping, tonight. They had one chance to do this and tonight at twelve would be the night. She glanced down at her watch,
eleven-forty-five. Lauren grabbed the tube and walked back to her bed. She held the tube to the light. Positive. "Oh my, God."

So far, our ideas are there. But it's so hard gathering them up, sorting a logical order and placing them into a structured and interesting story.

Until next time,

Purple Dog & Sherry

Sunday, October 31, 2010


With so much to do these days, I feel overwhelmed. I'm looking forward to winter. At least, outside work is over and I have a little more time for my writing. Right? Wrong. Guess what's lurking around the corner? Holidays.

Sometimes, I wish we didn't have holidays. I know, I sound like Scrooge, don't I? Does anyone know what the word 'overkill' means? Holidays are out of control. Way to much money is spent. The money we spend on holidays could feed hundreds of hungry people, place computers in schools, or start IRA's. Maybe even help sponsor your local animal shelter. I could go on with more, but I won't. Back to my time issue.

I guess, how I manage my time is my responsibility. So with that, I will give more thought to these long winter days and see if I can manage my writing, my family, my work, my reading and my life into a more relaxed place, so I want be soooooooo overwhelmed.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"Fall Project"

Good morning to all,

If you guys remember, I posted in July that I would knit a small blanket with left over yarn. Well, I have sorted the colors down to tan & cream and donated the rest to the thrift shop at work. The blanket will measure 40 x 50, needle size 11. Each square will measure 6" x 6".

Cast on time, today. I'll keep you posted on how the blanket takes shape or not. I knitted a blanket years back and it ended up running side ways. It found a home in the trash. Hopefully, this time, I'll do better.

Till next time,

The Square Knitter,

Tuesday, October 12, 2010



Munchers with a bag-a-day habit may find carrot pigment accumulating in their skin. It's harmless and reversable, but if you're looking for something to munch on all day, you may want to switch to celery.

I guess this is good info for carrot lovers.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Build your sentences with strong self- standing verbs. Use stone hard nouns. These two make for a good marriage in storytelling. Building a house takes time and lots and lots of selecting the right tools for the job. Don't accept less of yourself in your writing.

Happy writing,


Sunday, October 3, 2010

"Been Away"

September was health month for my hubby and I. We had Dr. appointments and hospital stays. Wasn't able to post a lot. It was hard to keep up with everyday chores and my work at the senior center. We're better now, and are looking forward to Oct. Our grandson will spend a few days with us on his fall break. Looking forward to his visit. Baked a fudge cake today, rearranged furniture and bathe both of our puppies. The cooler weather feels good. I was tired of the hot days of sweat and staying inside. The grass is burnt and I really don't care. I grew tired of watering and paying the higher water bill. Have to run. Time for supper. And . . . time to eat homemade fudge cake with peppermint icing. With chocolate, life if always good. TWYL

Monday, September 20, 2010

A book should end with the unexpected-Jane Yolen.

I agree with Jane.

I suggest to new writers to labor hard on your endings. So many times as a reader, I've been disappointed at the end of a book. It left me with the "blahs" For me, as a reader, I love it when the author throws me a curve from left field right at the end. The unexpected is always an exciting way to leave your reader and coming back for more of your writing.

Happy Writing,


Monday, September 6, 2010


A perfectly healthy sentence, it is true, is extremely rare. For the most part we miss the hue and fragrance of the thought; as if we could be satisfied with the dews of the morning or evening without their color, or the heavens without their azure. (Henry David Thoreau)

Friday, August 27, 2010

"Eat chocolate daily . . .


Can you believe it! People are still using boxed mixes. Found a delicious homemade brownie recipe. Made the batch last night. "Wow," said my hubby. "Best brownies, ever." So here it is to share.

Preheat oven to 350'. Grease a 9 x9 pan. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of sugar, 1 & half sticks of melted unsalted butter ( I use Land O' Lakes always for my baking) and a pinch of kosher salt. Whisk in 3 eggs, 1 at a time. Stir in 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder and 1 cup of flour. Mix together, but don't over mix. Transfer the batter to the baking pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, just until it begins to set. Really a "good treat"


Friday, August 13, 2010

"Main Character's Job"

How can a writer know if their main character is really doing their job as the main character?
I would think your main character should carry the main load of your story.

No matter where your story goes, it should always focus on how your main character reacts to all obstacles.

Happy Writing,

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Not sure if I like the summer we are having. Most days I feel like a prisoner inside my house. I like to sit on my patio and read. And watch the birds and butterflies fly about. But this show isn't happening. The sun zooms its heat ray down on my patio with all its vigor. We have trees, but they are young and provide no shade, as yet. We don't usually have such heat here in my area, so it's been a real bitch of a summer to get interested in anything outside. Other then watering the plants to keep them alive and well.

So the patio sitting will have to be a fall activity. I'll watch the leaves fall and the flowers wilt and die. And dream of next summer with all the reading I'll do, and the bird and butterfly watching I'll see. Seems like the older I get the more I complain about the seasons. All four are not what they were when I was a small girl. Maybe it's all this global warming. Who knows? I just want to sit and enjoy my patio. Is that to much to ask?

Thursday, August 5, 2010


In the Middle Ages, when many people were unable to read or write, documents were often signed using an X. Kissing the X represented an oath to fulfill obligations specified in the document. The X and the kiss eventually became synonymous. Interesting bit of info. I thought so.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Many beginning writers think writing a picture book has to be simple. WRONG! The real truth is it's much . . .harder. With longer works the writer has more words to play with. With picture books the writer is limited to a certain word count. EVERY SINGLE WORD COUNTS!
There's no room to get decorate with you words. Make your work shine with the old rule of thumb: Less is better.

Happy Writing,

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"Oil Spill"

I have mixed feelings about this environmental disaster. It took way . . . way to long. I feel for the lifestyles of the gulfs peoples. What a massive economic loss. But, what about the wildlife? They also have suffered. I ask: With our technology why did it take almost three months to cap the oil? I'll tell you why. BP had its damn head up its butt with all its billions. It will take years for recovery to happen for the gulf shores. I wish them the best.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"Affect & Effect"

Perhaps the easiest way to sort out the confusion about these two words is to remember that the most common use of affect is a verb, and of effect is a noun.
"For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he or she has come upon the right word." Catherine Drinker Bowen

Happy Writing,

Saturday, July 17, 2010

"Fall Project"

I have a tub of yarn to use up. So, I've decided to knit a blanket. I have all the colors of the rainbow. Not sure of the size yet or what size needle to use. I found a pattern to follow, but will have to make some revisions. I'm not a great knitter, but I'm great with just square after square. So, I should be O.K. with my fall project. I'll keep you posted this fall as to how the blanket takes its shape.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

"Supporting Characters"

How many should you have? That depends on what you are writing. For a picture book, I would say no more then, two. Your main character needs someone or something to interact with. This pulls your story forward. For longer works, use them as you need them. Just remember: If there are too many characters to keep up with your reader may get very confused.

Happy Writing,

Sunday, July 4, 2010

"And & But"

Should you use 'and or but' at the beginning of a sentence? Some writers say, NO. Others say, it depends. I say, use them if they sound natural to your writing. Words like these have been taboo in the past. But, as time moves on things change. And writing styles and rules change.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"My Story"

Some say writing is lonely. For me, I'm not lonely. My story is my friend and my enemy as I write. My story gives me comfort, relieves my stress and is my escape from the real world. My story let's me be creative, let's me invent mean or loving characters. My story keeps me so focused, I sometimes forget to grab lunch or go to the bathroom. My story gives me grief, too. It refuses to flow, it gets stuck in the mud and looks at me like well . . . . what are you going to do now, dear writer. Pull me out of the mud, delete me or sit there and stare at me. When I write, I don't have time to be lonely. I'm to involved with my character's issues and pulling his/ her ass out of the mud.

I must have silence when I write. I can't have : T.V., radio (Unless it's New Age) crying babies, barking dogs, husband over shoulder, cell phones, facebook, blogger, twitter, kids, grandchildren or God wanting my time. I say NO! TAKE A NUMBER AND GET IN LINE.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Answer: This comes from the French word m'aidez-meaning 'help me'-and is pronounced


Friday, June 18, 2010

"Responsibility To Your Reader"

Your reader needs to believe in the world you have created for them. Smell, taste, color, weather, language, clothing, etc. Make your world a place your reader will be lost in.

Happy writing,


Saturday, June 12, 2010


Well, guys, how many have the right answer? This sea creature really amazed me when I did research on it.

It's the "Starfish"

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Use sparingly in your writing. Your best use of these !!!!!!!!! is in your dialogue.

Happy Writing,


Monday, May 31, 2010


Planted a new garden, today. Hydrangea and Hostas. To me, sitting around a beautiful garden with a book or my writing is the best. Birds come and go, a rabbit may hope by and my chimes sing a tune with each breeze. Spring and summer bring new life to our backyards and gardens. I had intended to plant a tomato plant, but decided to support the local farmers market and buy theirs.

A friendly reminder, don't forget the trees. Take a minute to appreciate what they do for our environment.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

"What's Your Style"

Take the old and make it new. Set your writing apart with a twist and give your reader a fresh new surprise. Your personal writing style should reflect what interest you. Let your reader know, it's you.

Happy Writing,

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Has anyone hugged, patted or even walked by a tree this week? Let me guess, you've been too busy.
Well, how about a stroll in your backyard. I'm sure there's a tree waiting for you to say "Hello, tree.
How are you today? Trees are so important to our environment. Please take the time today, tomorrow or this week to say "Hello, tree. How are you, today?

Remember, think "green"

Friday, May 21, 2010

Series Books

If you like series books, go to your library and look up the series," The Clan of the Cave Bear" by Jean M. Auel. They were published back in the early eighties. They are an excellent read.

Also, if you've never read Ken Follett's books you've miss a really good read. Start with his "Pillars of the Earth then his follow up "World Without End "They're an epic of fourteenth century England.

Happy Reading,


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Posting a link in a blog posting

This is my sons photography web site.

Check it out...


"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing."

Ben Franklin

Good advice for all who like the life of writing.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Authors!!! Authors!!!

A meet and mingle with local authors at the Beaumont Library, Sat. 5/22/10, 3-5. Harry Levine, Evelyn Christensen and Martha Bennett Stiles.

Come and join our celebration on writing.

Hope to see you there,


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A face for "Magdalena"

Magdalena's writing tip of the day is "EMPATHY"

Make your reader care about your hero. With empathy we begin to feel characters emotions. We begin to care and root for them. Choose strong nouns and verbs to push that hero forward, and let their drama unfold with each turn of the page. Remember: It's not the destination, but the journey.

All my best,

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

I hope everyone had a great Mother's Day!!!!!!! I know I did. It boils down to family and friends being together.


Friday, May 7, 2010

Health Tip of the Day:

I answered this wrong. I thought the pie would be the highest in fat, but it's not. Carrot Cake is the right answer. I guess it's the carrots. You have to be careful. These desserts are tricky.

Catch you later,


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Tip From My Muse: Magdalena

Not sure what a muse is? The Oxford English Dictionary says,

"In Greek and Roman mythology each of nine goddesses who preside over the arts and sciences. A woman, or source of inspiration for a creative artist."


For a interesting read, your antagonist needs to be as bad as your protagonist is good. . .

Happy writing,


Monday, May 3, 2010

Links on my Mac

Thanks for visiting today, Ben. I love this little machine. I do need some help. I would like to link my Facebook and blog with each other. Do you know how to do that?.

Sorry, I've not been to the meetings. I've been going to a lot of the Carnegie Centers workshops on most Sat. Hope I've not missed much.

Just had my first rejection from an agent. One of many to come, I'm sure. I wasn't to up set. I guess I know this is only a process. Just keep writing and sending the stories out.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

"What's the deal with all this rain. I know I said I liked rain on my Facebook the other day, but man this is way to much. People are dead in Tenn. Our new flower garden is about to be washed away.

Read something about author intrusion today. Pretty good stuff. If a writer intrudes on the reader
as he/she reads, the magical spell is broken. The relationship between the two disappears. Never address the reader, if you do you may loose them and your story is place back on the shelf.

Hang in there with this rain, folks,


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Bought a Mac today!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's great. I usually write with pen in hand then transfer over to the keys. My hubby has been after me to get one for sometime. It was the cost. But, boy, I'm so glad I did. Once I learn, Mr. Mac, and all his features, I'll be good to go.

On another subject, can anyone help me out? I'm looking for a horse book. Fiction or non-fiction. It doesn't matter.

Friday, April 30, 2010

I spent most of the afternoon working on my new blog. Somethings are easy others are not. I'll have to work each day on my blog to get better in tuned to how all this works. I think I'm going to like this.

"Wow!" I just created my blog. Now what?

I guess I need to talk about something. O. K., here I go. I'm a writer. I belong to a critique group. I'm querying a new picture book. I like total silence when I write or New Age playing quietly in the background. I would like to throw out to you bloggers a question.

What's the big deal about "WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE"

I read this book forty years ago. Read it to my kids. And now, I'm reading it again for research for writing. I don't get it, period. I'm must be missing something that everyone else is seeing.

As a writer of children's books, I think I'm suppose to think this book is the greatest thing since sliced bread.