Sarah’s Secret

Sarah’s Secret: A Western Tale of Betrayal and Forgivenes by Beverly Scott, reviewed by Maurice L. Monette If you enjoy being transported to another time in U.S. history, to an unfamiliar place and culture, with people who are different from yourself, then you may like Sarah’s Secret as much as I did.  Written with sensitivity from a mother and wife’s perspective, the story immerses the reader into the arduous life of women homesteading in the prairie and desert states at the turn of the last century. The details are so vivid that they could only emerge from the mind of an author who has intimately experienced motherhood and marriage, and has carefully researched history. Particularly delightful to this lover of history are the many detailed descriptions, such as living in a dugout with no windows, surviving winter snowstorms on the plains, driving cattle to market, scraping for food and water…

Today I celebrate . . . Prompt #500

Today I celebrate Prompt #500 on The Write Spot Blog. That’s a lot of prompts! I didn’t know what would happen when I started this blog September 24, 2003. That seems so long ago, and yet it’s only 17 years. A life-time for some, a blip for others. Since that first blog post, my daughter married, both my sons married, two granddaughters were born, we renovated our yard, bought tons of groceries, did umpteen loads of laundry, and so much happened locally, state-wide, nationally, and internationally. And I learned to Zoom. There are 1,252 posts on The Write Spot Blog: Places to submit your writing, book reviews, quotes, and guest bloggers sharing their thoughts about writing. Hopefully some of the posts have been inspirational to help you and your writing. Since 2003, five Write Spot anthologies have been published. I’ve given talks about freewrites, blogging, and how to write about…

Hayden’s Ferry Review

Hayden’s Ferry Review has it all: Fiction. Nonfiction. Poetry. Art. International/Translation Hayden’s Ferry Review  is a semi-annual & international literary journal edited by the Creative Writing program at Arizona State University. “While we also focus on tradition, our main purpose is to introduce the world to up and coming writers.” Hayden’s Ferry Review looks for well-crafted work that challenges readers, takes risks, and engages emotionally and artistically. SUBMISSIONS ARE OPEN Note: Hayden’s Ferry Review does not accept submissions via mail or email.   Submittable  is the only way for work to be considered for publication. Hayden’s Ferry Review looks for “cutting edge classics, experimental nuance, and that one thing about your cousin Gina. Don’t pretend you don’t know what we’re talking about . . . “

Rewrite Your Holiday Scene . . . Prompt #210

‘Twas the night before the party and all through the house, everyone was hurrying with too much to do, even the mouse! Sound familiar? I was frustrated with too much scurrying before I learned strategies about how to manage holiday stress. As I gathered ideas, I felt calm and at peace. Let’s create an enjoyable holiday season.  It does involve list making. So get some paper and a pen. These lists will help you focus on making your holidays less stressful and more enjoyable. The six key steps to reduce holiday stress are inventory, decide, accept, choose favorites, enlist and manage. Take inventory. Make a list of all the extra activities you do during the holidays. Be sure to include baking, making crafts, decorating, cleaning, helping at church, attending parties, shopping, wrapping, making travel plans, driving around to see decorations and meeting guests at the airport. Next: Go through your…

What does your character want? What gets in the way? Prompt #133

We’ve been working on character development on The Write Spot Blog. Your character could be fictional, based on a real person or someone in your memoir. Kurt Vonnegut says to “make your character want something.” There are several ways to go about this. Have your character do something unexpected . . . something that surprises everyone and weave in a problem. You can put your conservative character in an improv situation where he/she has to rap or act in a scene. Your male character might find himself on stage, learning how to hula or belly dance. Your female character might find herself in a lumberjack contest. Have your wild character volunteer to help with bingo in an assisted facility. Have your character do something unusual. Remember these are freewrites, where you write freely for 12 to 15 minutes. This doesn’t mean you have to use these character vignettes in your…

Space in the Heart by Rodney Walther

Rodney Walther is an accomplished author, but new to me. I thoroughly enjoyed Space in the Heart and didn’t want it to end. Perhaps there will be a follow-up. The characters are likable (important to me). The characters inhabiting this story feel real. I care about them. I’m interested in their lives. The plot is believable and intriguing. The dialogue is superb. A well-crafted story with some surprises. I love twists, hate predictability. This is the second Walther book I have read. He’s quickly becoming a favorite author!

Challenging situation. . . Prompt #118

Sometimes you don’t know how you will act when faced with a difficult or a life threatening situation . . . until you are in the throes of it.  Write about a time you were in a challenging situation.  Use sensory detail. OR:  Write about one of your fears. . . from a fictional character’s point of view. . . write about “the worst thing that can happen” . . . then, have your hero or heroine conquer the problem. Ready? Set? Okay. . . think about one of your fears that just won’t go away. Bring your character to life with those fearful thoughts and emotions. Now write. Just write! This is similar to Prompt #47. . . only this time, have your character kick butt.     

Never Change by Elizabeth Berg

Never Change by Elizabeth Berg, Reviewed by Marlene Cullen The magic of Elizabeth Berg’s writing is that she makes readers feel comfortable with her characters right away. In the first paragraph, she sets the tone, the scene, and introduces the main character, Myra, a person I like immediately. Berg’s writing style is friendly, warm and simple, yet oh-so-eloquent in conveying minute details, giving the reader a detailed vision of the scene. Her characters are so believable that while I’m reading her books (and for a little while after), I think they are living in the next town. . . when I’m sleeping, they’re sleeping. During the day, they go about their errands and work, just as I do. I might even walk by them while they’re eating a meal in a cafe. I might brush against them in a coffee shop. I admire Berg’s ability to create characters so different…