Silence By Kathy Guthormsen A blanket of pristine snow glistens on the grass, while windows glow from warm fires inside Ice frosts peaked rooves, softening their lines The village waits in silence   A brightly lit Christmas tree sits in the square Streetlights glow under a darkening sky The village waits alone   There are no people singing carols No children laughing and building snowmen before going inside for cookies and milk The village waits alone in silence   Fretful silence Fearful silence Frantic silence   Pregnant silence Palpable silence Potent silence   Reflective silence Ruminating silence Resilient silence   Tacit silence Tactful silence Total silence   Silence between heartbeats Silence between breaths Silence between impulse and response   The villagers shelter cautiously behind closed doors, alone Some have been taken by an insidious virus And grieved for in silence   The villagers are gone But the village awaits their…

Book Reviews

Story Power

If you’re looking for a guide to the art of storytelling, look no further than Kate Farrell’s Story Power. Using examples and advice contributed by over twenty successful writers, Farrell shows us how and why they succeed at transforming life events into distilled, impactful stories. Each chapter provides tips, examples, prompts, and exercises to help you select significant events from your own life—early childhood to adult life, family secrets to family lore—and craft them into compelling oral or written narratives.  Story Power shows you how to find the layers of meaning in your stories as well as how to shape them using the basic elements of setting, character, conflict, narrative arc, and resolution. In addition to guiding the story creation process, Story Power dives into the age-old reasons for oral storytelling: self-discovery, connection, inspiration, influence, and passing on family or tribe traditions. In today’s social-media world, Story Power stands out as a resource to help us…

Guest Bloggers

Details Add Zing

Guest Blogger Lisa Alpine shares tips to spice up your writing. I encourage you to infuse your writing with detailed imagery, passionate feeling, poetic depth and evocative sensual description. Here are some writing suggestions I use when teaching Spice Up Your Writing at workshops globally. These writing tips will show you how to weave poetic description into your prose; cultivate the five senses in describing a place or experience; and develop emotional imagery. 1: Pick a scene from an event in your life that you know has a heart or seed of a story only you can write. Now blurt and spew! Messy is okay. You can clean it up later. Sometimes graceful, sometimes awkward, sometimes downright ugly. Tell the story. Understand what is really going on by exploring and uncovering the deeper currents of the river of life. 2: Set the scene. Describe the weather, doors & windows, environment, horizon. God…


Quotes for a rainy day

Are you a planner or a worrier? What is the difference? I’m a worrier, trying to be a planner. I imagine what could go wrong so I can plan for when that happens. I suppose I should say “if” it happens. My worries seldom happen. Instead, things happen that I could never have imagined. But, as Leo Buscaglia said, “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.” A therapist said to me, “Worry is modern man’s voo-doo.” I get that. “Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.”– Erma Bombeck Well, as I sit and rock, I could plan what I would do if my worries came true. “When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of…

Guest Bloggers

Innovative Technique for Creative Writing

Today’s guest blogger, Mary Mackey, is a gem in a treasure chest filled with innovative inspiration for writers. Mary shares her unique perspective on accessing creative writing. Your unconscious is packed with ideas, metaphors, visions, plots, dreams, colors, characters, emotions—in short, everything you need to write a great visionary novel. But how do you get to it? How do you step out of the social agreement we call “reality,” and dip into this incredibly rich resource? You could go to sleep and try to mine your dreams, but even if you dreamed an entire novel, the moment you woke up, you would forget most of it within seconds, because you hadn’t processed the ideas into your long-term memory. Worse yet, when you dream, you are not in control, so you can’t do specific things like talk to one of your characters or work out a specific plot problem. Granted, some…


Character Sketch . . . Prompt #556

Prompt #554, Character Idiosyncrasies, on The Write Spot Blog, suggests ideas to write about a fictional character, or someone you know. You can do all that for this prompt. Plus, you can fill out the answers for yourself, as if filling out a questionnaire. Character Sketch . . . fill in the details about your character. 5 positive traits 5 opposite traits 3 least favorite things 3 favorite things What does this person love? What is this person looking for? What is this person afraid of? What is most important to this person? What is this person’s secret? Prompt inspired by Stefanie Freele’s June 2012 Writers Forum talk, “Developing Character.” Please join us on February 10 and February 18 for Zoom Writers Forum talks about story telling by Kate Farrell, editor of Story Power.

Book Reviews

The Village of Bones

The Village of Bones by Mary Mackey reviewed by Jonelle Patrick: Built on meticulous research, this prequel to Mary Mackey’s “The Year The Horses Came” delivers a fascinating and believable glimpse into what life might have been like in long-ago Europe, in a society where the gods are female and women rule. It’s a page-turner of a journey, steeped in ancient beliefs and prophetic visions, given an all-too-human urgency as the priestess Sabalah faces an enemy whose fierce, unstoppable technology could destroy her society’s way of life. Jonelle Patrick, is the author of  The Last Tea Bowl Thief and the Only In Tokyo mystery series. The Village of Bones reviewed by Kate Farrell: Ever since I read Merlin Stone’s book, When God Was a Woman, I’ve been fascinated with goddess cultures and what became of them. So, when I discovered Mary Mackey’s Earthsong Series, I devoured every one of the four books and…


Photos Develop Characters . . . Prompt #555

You can use photos to develop ideas for creating characters. Turn your imaginary characters into believable characters. Use photos to establish physical characteristics Look at images in magazines or in photo albums or online. Choose an image for a character you want to develop. Write a character sketch, just as an artist would draw with charcoal. Flesh out what your character looks like. Add details that make your character unique and memorable: body shape, statuesque, angular, plump, scars, tattoos, piercings, lanky, a hulk, petite, piercing violet eyes, honey brown eyes, disarming smile, large ears, moles, hair style. Craft your character’s personality Analyze photos to build a personality for this character. Is your character touching anyone in the photos? Are they leaning towards anyone? Note how their looks imply character traits: stoic, friendly, menacing, open-minded, pleasant, formidable, playful, serious. A furrowed brow might indicate stress. Crow’s feet at the sides of…

Guest Bloggers

History Through The Lens of The Teller

Guest Blogger, Bev Scott, has an interesting perspective on bias of our history. She brings up provocative questions. The following is based on a session Bev attended at the Historical Novel Society Conference in June 2017 by James J. Cotter, titled “The Lone Ranger was Black: Reintegrating Minority Viewpoints into Historical Fiction.” “The title intrigued me,” wrote Bev. “Was the Lone Ranger modeled after Bass Reeves, the first black U.S. deputy marshal who worked thirty-two years in the Arkansas and Oklahoma territories in the late 1800’s?  He may have been.” History Is Biased The conference session addressed the issue of bias in our history. That bias impacts authors of historical fiction. Today we no longer view history as “the truth.” Rather, history is a story told through the lens of the teller. Did you love the Lone Ranger when you were growing up? I did. Audiences assumed he was a courageous (and white) lawman.  That’s…


Winter Solstice 2020

Winter Solstice 2020 By M.A. Dooley To re-build beauty we split the wood Don’t split the hairs, it does no good   To build more beauty, we light the flame The kindling catches, we say the names   Of those we love who went beyond They shaped our lives, they’re never gone   Reflection first, then put it away Forgive, don’t forget, make up one day   Let go the work, the world of greed The rules of day, the ego needs   Gathered in darkness wait for the light Beauty glows on faces this fire lit night   The circle round holds hearts and dreams, Tears fall for loves no longer seen   The year was wrought with judging and pain Hindsight 2020 the last refrain   Awake on the longest night, the fire Releases suffering and unmet desires   This invocation is for you, You represent your sisters…