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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy . . safe . . . prosperous

Those are the things I wish for your New Year. I hope your holidaze have been happy and that 2012 will be all that you want it to be.

My New Year's resolutions are these: 1) Remember to blog at least every second or third day instead of every second or third month. 2) Lose those persistent 15 extra pounds as in doing whatever is necessary to re-set my set point. 3) Write some word or two EVERY DAY. 4) Delete the mahjong games from my Bookmarks list. 5) Read at least three on-line newspapers every day. 5) Don't light up one cigarette.

Okay, so the last one is a given because I don't smoke, but I thought I needed at least one resolution I was sure to keep.

Looking at the list, I see I need to be back here on January 2 or 3. Wanna bet?

Like Mahala, I am a friend of Nolan White, and his Christmas gift this year was a miserable one. Along with the bank's donation account, I believe the Baldwin Writers Group is also going to hold a benefit writing contest with proceeds earmarked for him. Watch for more info.

You all guys keep on keeping on, and I'll try to do the same.


P.S. I'm getting my writing jones on by re-reading "Jane Eyre" and discovering that I actually like its Victorian voice.

Helping A Writer

In looking over my resolution list for last year, I realized how poorly I did at meeting my goals. Life has a way of rearranging the pieces on the board without any warning, much like a four-year-old child who grows frustrated with losing a game and accidently tips the board so all the pieces are askew.

I started a new phase in my writing life just as I neared the big finish line with "final" revisions to AFDOC (my novel for you newbies to our site), and I went to work full time as a freelancer, mostly online. Lest you think I'm rolling in the dough, wait for it ---- I made less this year than any working year in my life. A sobering experience that created a new appreciation for the word freelancer. That is the impetus for a new series of blog posts over the next few months as I walk you through the agony and hopefully one-day ecstasy of freelancing.

Speaking of sobering, a good, writing friend of ours has been hit with a horrible situation, and I'm posting below the information that I hope all the writers who read this (and others as well) will take to heart and find it in your heart (and pocket) to help.

Nolan White, editor and writer for Great Days Outdoors magazine lost everything he owned (except his 40+ chickens and thankfully a family member in the house) when his house burned to the ground a few weeks ago. After sifting through the ruins, he found pages from a waterlogged manuscript, which he is still drying out to help him resurrect his novel trilogy. Nolan had no homeowners insurance at the time of the fire. His son, a woodworking artisan, lived with him and lost all of his stock and equipment.

Nolan is known throughout Baldwin County, AL as a friendly fellow who helps many, many people. Having escaped the big C with a great deal of difficulty only two years ago, Nolan could now use some assistance, so please remember him as you make your resolutions to reach out to others in need.

Nolan is the guy who shows up at writers’ meetings and critique groups with fresh eggs for everyone, bakes and brings the cake for refreshments, volunteers for numerous not-for-profits, and takes care of his family. He's the guy that keeps everybody up to date about literary happenings regionally and nationally. He’s the guy other writers should help. A $5.00 donation from a lot of people would be a big help to Nolan and his family.

United Bank in Baldwin County set up the House Fire fund in his name, J. Nolan White, for donations. The bank's address is 30500 Highway 181, Suite 100, Spanish Fort, Al 36527.

We appreciate your generosity. Mahala

Friday, December 16, 2011

16 Days To Win

Santa is just around the corner and by now you've either been having a great time or pulling your hair out. Either way, it would make a great piece of flash fiction.


Friday, December 9, 2011

23 Days and Counting

It seems like every where I look and every day I get asked to write for a blog or website with a list. Lists of best gifts, lists of best mattresses {you read it right}, lists of tips for iPads, mobile phones, and on and on it goes, so here is my seasonal contribution to get you to write your very short 100 word piece for my MAC contest - a countdown of sorts.

23. Find out what MAC stands for.

22. Decide if I have anything I want edited.

21. Admit I don't.

20. Leap on the brilliant idea that popped into my mind.

19. Convince myself it's a winner.

18. Talk myself out of it because it's a silly idea.

17. Revisit the idea which has a lot of potential.

16. Throw a few words on the back of a receipt while I stand in line at the post office.

15. Get out of bed with insomnia.

14. Dig through pocket or purse for the receipt with the brilliant ideas scribble on the back.

13. Fix hot tea and mull it over.

12. Explain to the dog why I'm up at 2am talking to myself.

11. Grab a crayon {all I can find at 2am and scribble some more notes.

10. Go back to bed with the idea safely tucked in my head.

9. Type up a draft while I wait for my boss to show up at work.

8. Smugly run a copy. Take it with me to midnight church & pray over it.

7. Take a break from all the stress and enjoy Christmas Day.

6. Fold it into a one inch square and hide it in my pocket.

5. Edit {basically rewrite}it at home.

4. Edit and proof carefully.

3. Procrastinate like crazy.

2. Convinced you are the winner, you don't have anything to be edited which is the prize {it's transferable.}

1. Upload my Dear Santa piece to Mahala while I celebrate the New Year!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Tracy Hurley Contest

Yesterday was bitter sweet as cj and I remembered out dear friend and writing buddy, Tracy. She went to the great library one year ago yesterday. We would like to thank the Mobile Writers Guild for sponsoring the first annual Tracy Hurley Writing Contest for middle school and high school students. Five bright, young people received awards last night and we congratulate every one of them. Their smiles of achievement {and I have no doubt about this at all} sent Tracy skidding across a rainbow in her beautiful glistening white raiment.

Tracy was a great educator and kept all of her writing friends in constant amazement as she shot us emails and industry updates continually. cj says she still starts to send Tracy some writing info and remembers she can't, and that makes her sad. The same happens to me, so I still talk to Tracy as I read something new and interesting. I'm currently putting together a book of linked short stories, and in the process, I've read six new books that Tracy told me about. They are all set in New Hampshire or very close by and that brings Tracy and her New England roots to the forefront of my mind.

We miss you, girlfriend, and no doubt we always will. Tracy loved Christmas and I wish I had done a better job of taking her picture with her "Grinch" hat on as she read her touching story about a widower whose wife left him a very special gift.