A Pen, a Sword, and a Great Blue Heron walked into a bar. Which was mightier?

I’ve been thinking about killing someone off, and it’s harder than I thought it would be. I am participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which is a campaign to write a novel (at least 50,000 words) in the month of November. I have reached the juncture in my story where someone must die. I knew death was inevitable, but I’ve been writing around it for the last three days. I can’t bring myself to do it.

I am pretty sure that it’s a good thing that this is hard for me. It should be hard. After all, my novel is based on real events and real people whom I closely know, so this is personal. Even though death is a part of life, I wasn’t prepared to do the deed with my own hand on the keyboard.

In 1839, novelist and playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton penned the words, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” That may be true unless you’re on the wrong end of the sword. Get my point?

Anyway, when I finish this post. I will open my Word document and try again. I hope I can finish the job this time. The rest of my characters are waiting to react to the event. Right now, they don’t know what’s going on.

Hopefully sometime next year I will have this book published. Hopefully you will read it and forgive me for this weak spoiler. If you’re anything like me, you will have forgotten about this by then, so I think we’re safe.

As of this morning, I have written 31,438 words.  If I add this to the 14,008 words that I wrote earlier this year, I am well on my way to completion of my first draft. In January, I will have massive editing to do, so there is that; but I am on pace to finish by the end of November. Thanksgiving may cause a problem, still I’ll press on and hope for the best without making my husband and myself crazy.

Last weekend, Bob and I took our local grandsons to the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive. We were excited to introduce them to this favorite place of ours and get me out from behind the computer for a while. A wildlife drive will offer idyllic scenes of beautiful birds flying about or perched high above and wading birds floating around the water surrounded by flowers.

 

Great Egret in the Burr Marigolds

It will also offer a decaying corpse of an alligator. The boys were fascinated. The gator was swollen and floating upside down in a pond. It was gross and we were thankful we were upwind of him. I did not capture a picture of him even though the boys requested one. You can’t give them everything they want. I don’t want to spoil them too much.

Bob, our grandsons, and an Anhinga (aka Water Turkey or Snake Bird)

In keeping with the death theme, which has been on my mind as I try to do in my character, we came across this lovely scene.

Great Blue Heron with a snack-sized American Alligator

I don’t think I gathered any ideas which I can use in my death-scene writing dilemma, but you never know. Would you be surprised to find out that one of my characters had been killed by a bird or an alligator? Maybe I’ll try to work that into the plot. Maybe not.

CREATIVITY WEARS BOOTS (a blog post and a give-away)

MobiriseI have a friend named Robert Alexander Swanson. Rob makes me think about things I don’t usually think about. He pushes me to do more in my craft. He is also the publisher of my book, Always Look for the Magic, as well as the leader of my writers’ group. His latest challenge to me is summed up in the following question:

Have you ever thought about what it means to be creative?

Let’s get more personal. Do you think of yourself as creative?

We can either think too highly of ourselves, or worse, not confess to our true talents. I think the latter is more of a problem. The right and proper answer to “do you think of yourself as creative” is revealed in Rob’s new book, CREATIVITY WEARS BOOTS. It’s a brain thing. “This book explains why you’re creative and how art is the birthright of every human being.”[1]

Twenty years ago, if you asked me if I was creative, my answer would have been much different than it is today. Here’s my current answer:

I am creative. I even call myself an artist, though that still feels a little strange coming out of my mouth after decades of denial. I am learning what it really means to be creative and how important it is to view oneself in that way. You can learn all about it in CREATIVITY WEARS BOOTS. Plus, Rob has sprinkled the book with profiles of several interesting artists throughout the book, including me! (I thought you should know!)

Learn more about this wonderful book by clicking here. You can also order directly from Amazon.

To celebrate Rob’s new book, I am giving away a copy of it. There will be one winner. Here’s how to enter to win:

  • Share this blog post on social media. One entry per share. Be sure to let me know in the comments that you are sharing.
  • Comment on this post either directly on the post or on Facebook – one entry per comment
  • Are you new to my blog? Follow me and receive a dose of Life on the Lighter Side in your email inbox every week. You get an entry for being a new follower. Please comment that you are doing so. That gets you even closer to winning!

The contest will end at midnight on Tuesday, August 27. I will reveal the winner in my blog next Thursday. Thanks for entering.

*Of course, it should go without saying that my family is not eligible to win, but since Bob let it slip that he was scheming to flood my blog with comments to win, I thought maybe I should say it. My family is not eligible to win. There you go!

 

[1] Quoted from the back cover of CREATIVITY WEARS BOOTS.

Now what? (Or, Could April Blogging bring May Jogging?)

This is it – the end of April and The Ultimate Blog Challenge. It has been fun and I’ve “met” some new and interesting people. Thanks for coming along for the ride. Remember, if you haven’t already, you can follow my blog and have it delivered right into your email. Look on the right column -it’s easy.

Now you may be asking – “What will May look like for you, Bonnie?”

Or you may be begging me to keep on posting daily as I have become habit-forming.

You’re too kind!

My plan is to resume posting once a week, but there is the possibility that I won’t be able to restrict myself to that. We’ll see. So, I’ll be around weekly, at least.

I also have other writing projects which are getting dusty inside of my computer. (Can that happen?)

My grandson liked it better than Wonder. I’m taking that as an unbiased critique.

Last year I published my first book. It is a middle-grade novel (aimed at 9-13 year-olds), but it has appeal to multiple generations. ALWAYS LOOK FOR THE MAGIC is based on my father’s life as he grew up in Baltimore during The Great Depression. Eleven-year-old Artie and his brother have to adapt to the changes that The Depression brings to their family. Will he be able to pursue his dream of being a magician? The book could be considered a coming-of-age story – it has heart and humor. You can order it from Amazon. There’s a link on the right column.

I have begun working on my next novel, which is for adults (not to be confused with an adult novel). I have a good start on it, but I need to dedicate some time to working on it before the next influx of family comes in July.

I published my first book through Prevail Press. You can check out their website here. I tried the traditional publishing route, but could not secure either an agent or a publisher. It is very difficult to publish traditionally in today’s world, especially if you don’t already have a platform. I believed that my book was worth publishing, and Prevail Press provided exactly what I needed to get it done. If you are in need of a great publisher, Prevail Press might fill the bill for you as well.

For the last 15 years, I have benefitted greatly from being in a writers’ group. The leader of our group, Rob Swanson, began Prevail Press. He also writes a wonderful blog on writing. Check it out here.

This blogging challenge has made me realize that I have a greater capacity to write than I had given myself credit for. I’m hoping to use that as motivation to not only blog but finish my next book.

Below you’ll find a YouTube from an interview of me talking about ALWAYS LOOK FOR THE MAGIC. You can tell I’m a little uncomfortable with that medium, but you can look at it to find out more about my book, which is available on Amazon.

So now that April is over, I think I need to get off my computer, go outside and walk a little, maybe even go for a jog. Just kidding. In case you don’t know it, that jogging comment was a joke. I only run if something is chasing me.

This is it! Post #30 in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post every day in April.

Mission accomplished! Woo-Hoo!

 

A Letter of Apology to My Adult Children

Time to write a letter

Over the last few weeks, I have heard a few rumblings from my kids about my current rate of blog postings. I explained, in case they missed it, that I am doing a challenge. Here are some of the comments, which have fueled me to write a letter to my kids.

“Mom, once a week was fine. I am happy to read your WEEKLY blog posts. Weekly. Around Day 6, I knew I was in trouble. How long will this thing go on?”

“You’re killing me!”

“My in-basket is overflowing.”

“You’re thinking about blogging about (fill in the blank). I can see it in your eyes.”

“You’re obsessed.”

Alright, that last one was my husband, but you get the point. So, here goes:

 

Dear Kids,

I know this past month has been difficult for you. How challenging it must be for you when every day there is something to read that your mother wrote. Your mother – the one who loved you before you were born. The one who carried you for nine long months, six of which involved a lot of puking. The one who helped you with your homework and drove you all over town. The one who watches your children so you can go out with your spouse. Sigh.

I am sorry for the pain and suffering which this Ultimate Blog Challenge has caused you and I want you to know that I understand. You want to support me, yet you feel overwhelmed.

There is also the matter of the monthly test about my blog content which I require you to take. I know there’s a lot of pressure to do well, so for this month, and this month only, I will make your test multiple choice instead of essay. I will also give you an extra week to turn it in to me for your grade.

Happy Reading!

Love,

Mom

 

And, to my regular readers who have been with me for a while, thanks for sticking with me. I appreciate you.

 

This is Post #23 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post every day in April.

Let’s talk about Spam – This Post is not Spam

Target in Honolulu, all the SPAM your heart could desire and then some

We live in an age where spam is everywhere. I’m not talking about the unappetizing-looking canned meat that is SPAM (SPiced hAM) and sold like crazy in Hawaii. I’m talking about the unsolicited messages that pop up on your phone, email, and for bloggers, the comment section of our blogs.

The word spam defined as above was first used in 1994. Since that time, it has exploded more than TV political ads, car sales people with dogs sitting on trucks, and junk mail combined.

I’ve been blogging for eight years, and it occurred to me that some of my spammers don’t even try to act like they are real commenters. That is very disappointing. Where is the quest for excellence? So, I’m sharing some of my recent gems with you, complete with grammar and structure problems. Remember, mine is a humor or lighter side of life blog. I don’t solve anybody’s problems. Sometimes I even make fun of them. Here goes:

  1. “Helped me a lot, just what I was looking for.” – This was in response to a post about horseback riding with my grandkids.
  2. “I have to voice my love for your generosity for those people that really want guidance on this question. Your very own commitment to getting the solution up and down became especially advantageous and has continuously permitted most people like me to achieve their targets. Your entire invaluable guidelines denotes this much a person like me and especially to my office workers. Thanks from everyone.”  – That’s quite a mouthful of nothing.
  3. “I conceive you have observed some very interesting details.”
  4. “As a website owner I conceive the written content here is real wonderful, thanks for your efforts.”  – Often I seem to be responsible for mental conceptions. I’m not sure how I feel about that.
  5. “You are my inspiration. I own few blogs and rarely run out from to brand.” – It’s hard to argue with this one, but still I know it was spam.

After going over these, I thought about how I respond to people, especially people I know and love. I need to be a good listener and a genuine encourager.  Romans 12:9 starts with, “Let love be genuine.” Let’s not throw spam at each other – either kind. Nobody needs that.

 

 

This is Post #9 in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post every day in April.

 

 

 

 

Whole 30 for Writing – Where you want to gain not lose

Every day is Blogging Day in April

I’ve been asked if I take the weekend off from blogging. In light of the current challenge, which I have dubbed the only Whole 30 (crazed writing, not crazed weight loss) I will ever do, I understand the question.

My kids will get particular enjoyment out of the question as they know I’ll take a day off with great ease. The real question is – take a day off from what? But I’ll cover that in future posts.

I know writing is what we’re focusing on here, but it’s only part of the – what’s that math thingy I’m trying to think of, oh yeah – equation. (Again, I’ll check in with my engineer later to make sure of this.)

I was geared up for this blogging challenge. I had several drafts in the works and ideas were flowing, which I greatly believe was God giving me the green light on this. Half of my April will involve having family in from out-of-town, so sneaking away to write may become a challenge, especially when my grandchildren from North Carolina arrive, but I’m also confident that where grandchildren are, blogging ideas flow.

Days 1 – 7 were relatively easy. Finding something like LEGO Jesus was the kind of thing that primes my writer’s pump. But my MO has been to finalize the day before I post. Yesterday was Sunday and I discovered I should have used Saturday better. After church Bob and I went to an usher’s meeting/game afternoon. Again, if you ask me to play a game, my writing will not even enter my mind. We were the last to leave, too, putting us home at 5:30, just in time for Bob to fix dinner.

I’m on a crazy diet right now, so if Bob doesn’t cook, he doesn’t eat anything interesting. He does this out of love for me and support for my weight loss endeavor. Thankfully, he likes to cook.

By the time dinner was over and I did the last of the dishes, I realized that due to circumstances, I hadn’t had any time with Bob for the last two days, so I took the night off from blogging. I even resisted using my devices except for a facetime with our granddaughter, Layna, who turned 7 on the 7th and was pretty pumped about her golden birthday.

Because I am driven to perfection regarding this Whole 30, it was surprising and delightful to me when I realized that I was okay with a quiet night with my husband instead of leaving him to himself while I wrote. And then this morning, our blog-meister Paul asked about taking a day off, so now you know the rest of my story. Sometimes you just have to let it go. When I return to my normal schedule of a once-a-week post, I won’t typically write on Sunday. But I have no hard and fast rules. If inspiration hits me, I’ll pull away and at least jot down a few notes, night or day.

I hope you had a restful Sunday and thanks for reading, especially during my Whole 30!

 

This is Post #8 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post every day in April.

Hello There!

Welcome to Day 2 of April, aka April 2. I am excited to be part of the Ultimate Blog Challenge during this month. That means 30 days, 30 posts. I’m hopeful to meet some new friends while continuing to put fresh content out to my regular folks. So, first off, thank you to my regular readers for keeping with me and encouraging me. It means a lot.

This is where I jumped ship (metaphorically, of course).

Secondly, I want to introduce myself to the Blogging Challenge people. I started blogging eight years ago, that was way back in 2011 (thought I’d do the math for you). The blog was basically the same type as it is now except it was named Ship Bound for Tarshish. It took me a couple of years to realize how weird that name was, not to mention how hard it was to spell, so I jumped ship and became Life on the Lighter Side.

I was motivated to write a humor blog because I was weary of the heaviness of the world getting all the attention. I wanted to offer something to lighten people’s load – a momentary laugh or encouragement, if you will, because there really are a lot of things out there that are funny, amusing, and uplifting. I wanted to keep looking up and encourage others to do the same.

Trying to remember to look up, even if it’s dark out

So, you can look at my blog as a bag full of feathers to tickle your funny bone with the occasional hot air balloon thrown in. (If you want to know more about me, you can click here.)

I had barely started blogging when this crazy thing called the Ultimate Blog Challenge was announced and my good friend and fellow blogger Debi Walter of The Romantic Vineyard fame encouraged me to do it. So, we both dove into the deep end of the pool and did it. We even accomplished all 30 posts and met some amazing people. Some of those folks we continue to be in contact with to this day.

I hope you’ll check back with me this month as I have a lot to share with you (I’ve been storing up). See you tomorrow.

 

 

This is Post #2 of the April Ultimate Blog Challenge.

The Crown, Alexa, and Marital Disagreement

We’ve been watching the Netflix series, The Crown, so I am typing this with a British accent. I also am drinking tea. When someone comes in the room, I give a royal wave; but I don’t speak with commoners while in the writing mode. This is all to put me in the proper state of  mind to tell my story.

This series has brought up a serious difference of opinion between Bob and me. After over four decades of marriage, you’d think this sort of thing would roll off of me. (more…)

Dear Marion Winik

I just returned from a weekend of laughter, inspiration, education, and a tad bit of humiliation at the 2018 Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop.

There were seven workshops spread over two days. Each time slot had multiple classes from which to choose. Narrowing down which to attend was like Sophie’s Choice. I made my choices though, several times. My decisions were based on what the workshop topic would be, as I’m not good at remembering the names of the speakers/authors.

Friday morning, I settled down in the Memoir Boot Camp, ready to take my personal essay skills to the next level. Our speaker introduced herself as Marion Winik and proceeded to captivate us by reading some of her own essays. For a brief moment we felt all warm and fuzzy, and then it was time to get down to business and do some writing of our own. (more…)

Stream It! – Part II of my Book Signing Fun

Wouldn’t you, like to buy a book, from me?

It was a beautiful day for my first book signing. Bob and I were joined by our friend and Prevail Press publisher as we set up in front of the Barrel of Books and Games in Mount Dora. I wasn’t nervous, I’ve sold things before, but this time it was like I was selling myself. (You know what I mean). For years I was a Tupperware lady. That is a lot like being a stand-up comedian who specializes in food freshness. You engage people and make them laugh until they realize that, not only do they like that bowl, but they must have it. It translates – yesterday a bowl, today a book.

We barely had my books on the table when an extremely friendly woman literally ran up to us saying that I had been chosen as one of two that she was going to stream live. She was using all the right wording to make me believe that she was a sweet Christian lady and probably worked for the Chamber of Commerce. We all looked at each other in that way you do when you can’t quite believe you’ve found such good fortune.

But, soon we realized that we had indeed found something, and it was a far cry from good fortune. (more…)