25 September 2017

Monday Morning Inspiration: A Creative Writing Prompt

Alright everyone, let's try something not-so-new. Some time ago I did a writing prompt for my blog! It was a great way to be creative for the week and flex creative muscles even when I wasn't really feeling it. Then I decided to step away from it because I just wasn't feeling like blogging anymore at all. Now I'm back again and trying to get active into the blogging community as well as with my own writing. And this is an excellent way to start.

So, this is my weekly writing prompt. You'll get one photo and five words. The only rule is that you must use all five words in your prompt response and you can use the photo provided in any way you think it applies to your story, poem, etc.

Okay you guys, here is the photo (Creative Commons License)

photo credit: Massimo Accarino via photopin (license)

And here's the five words to use (chosen at random thanks to this site)






I would love to see what you come up with if you decide to respond! I'll do what I did last time and give everyone a week. So by next Monday morning, everyone will get a new photo and new words. If you decide to respond to this prompt, come back here and post a link to your post. I'll come by and check it out!

Happy writing!

23 September 2017

The Books that Haunt Us

Image courtesy of Flickr 
I've been an avid reader all my life. I love libraries and bookstores. I'm guilty of folding down the corner of the page to save my place. I'm guilty of losing track of bookmarks. I leave stacks of books in closets and beside my bookshelves and underneath my desk at work that I keep meaning to give away or donate but can't quite bring myself to do it. I love genre fiction, literary fiction, poetry and the occasional non fiction book. I nosy into books people are reading and will shameless lean my head to catch a glimpse of the book title. I just love books.

Here's the thing though - I'm not good at all about remembering book titles. When I think of it, I try save the book onto Goodreads so I can keep track of things. The problem is though that I haven't done that for a good majority of my avid reading life. And lately I've gotten into finding the books I can't remember.

The first major one that haunts me is one I recall reading in my younger years. I remember the day we went to the library and I decided to check it out. It is a book with a lighthouse on the cover I believe and it's set in a stormy, beachy, islandy type of place. It's a series and I thought that the atmosphere was a little on the dark side. A family was the focus of the story I think and potentially this haunted island or haunted house they rented for the summer, the winter, or maybe the fall. I'm not sure. I've posted this book to forums and even wrote to the very library that I checked it out at to see if they could remember it. Not a single recommendation quite hit it. Nothing where I could say, "Ah! That's it!"

But you see? There's more. There's another book by this female writer who wrote novels with these incredible twists in the end. One was where you find out the daughter of this family was the killer and you had no idea. Or this other one where the neighbor was a killer and she was just a kindly woman most of the book.

Another book for you. The cover showed a unicorn with a blue horn in a white room. The book was about this guy with no memory and he wakes up trying to figure out who he is and what he's doing there.

Oh wait, there's more! I also recall a book I read where this main character worked as a tour guide for authors who came by his city for their book tour. He was a blocked writer himself and he detested the idea this college friend of his actually published a successful book. It's all about him getting unblocked and writing again.

These books haunt me and swirl around my head just waiting for me to figure out their titles. Does anyone else go through this? I'd love to say that it will make me more disciplined about writing down books I've read, but I don't always remember. I'm an enormous fan of purchasing books for this reason and if I ever find any of the above titles I plan on buying them.

18 September 2017

WOW! Women on Writing Presents Blog Tour for Evidence of Flossing by Jennifer A. Payne

I'm excited to announce that I'm joining the WOW! Women on Writing team. And I wanted to announce to you an incredible book by Jennifer A. Payne that is in need of some blog stops! So mark your calendars blogging and reading peeps, the tour starts on November 27th and ends December 1st.

What's the book about? Well, since you asked...

Part social commentary, part lament, the 73 poems in Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind are, at their heart, love poems to the something greater within all of us. Their investigation of the human condition and its folly — politics, religion, development, technology, consumerism — is juxtaposed to a series of poems about our natural world and the possibility of divine connection.

Poetry + Trash Ask Readers to Consider “What is our legacy in this vast and wondrous Universe?”
Would God floss? Do spiders sing? Can you see the Universe in your reflection? Explore the answers to these questions and more in Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind, a new book by Connecticut author/artist Jen Payne.

A timely publication given the state of our world, Evidence of Flossing is more than a simple poetry chapbook. Its pages are illustrated by a random, absurd, and heartbreaking assortment of original and vintage photographs, including a series of discarded dental flossers that inspired the title of the book. 
A take on traditional street photography, these images examine human nature from a different and thought-provoking perspective. Several of the photographs were featured in a recent Arts Council of Greater New Haven art exhibit entitled “Where the Whole Universe Dwells.” They are part of a collection of more than 100 photographs of used dental flossers found by Payne between 2014 - 2017, and speak to the subtitle of the book: What will we leave behind? 

Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind follows on the heels of Payne’s 2014 well-received book LOOK UP! Musings on the Nature of Mindfulness, and continues a dialogue about our innate connection with nature. Both books are published by Three Chairs Publishing, www.3chairspublishing.com.

Check out more information on Crystal Otto's blog post. Or go ahead and send me an email at nicole@wow-womenonwriting.com.

16 September 2017

Hey Writers, Would You Join a Blog Share?

photo credit: wuestenigel to do list via photopin (license)
For anyone still out there who used to know my blog from ages ago, I used to host a weekly writing prompt. Well, I've been away from blogging just a little bit but I'm ready to get back into it! The thing is? I don't have that same blogging community I used to have on my blog. So to get myself back on track, I was wondering...

Would you be interested in joining a weekly blog share?

I'm thinking it would be a great way for bloggers to come together to share what they've posted that week and just come by and visit each others blogs and comment. I know there are probably a ton of things out there like that, but I'm a DIY kind of lady, so that's why I thought to do this myself.

I guess the idea would be that if you leave your link, go by and check out the other links in the post, assuming it's not a huge list of blogs.

Maybe one day I'll bring back a writing prompt. So let's get started! I've included my own link below and go ahead and add yours. I'll come by and say hi!

14 September 2017

Book of the Month Subscription Deal Alert - FREE Stephen King Book

This post contains affiliate links for which I will receive small compensation if you purchase through my link.

Anyone really into Book of the Month clubs? I love the opportunity to try out a book I may not have picked for myself. I've tried Book of the Month before and I really love the program. First of all, you can pick from a few selections of books when the new month is coming along. Plus the book is usually chosen by a well known person or celebrity and you can get some cool insights into who they are.

Anyways, I wanted to share this deal with you happening with Book of the Month Club. If you become a member of the Book of the Month club, you get a FREE Stephen King book. How amazing is that? You will get a copy of the book, "Sleeping Beauties" by Stephen King. And it sounds like an incredible book. It answers the question - what happens if women disappeared off the face of the earth?

Get your subscription today and get a copy of the book by using the word KING coupon code. Purchase Now. You must order a subscription for two or three months in order to get the book free. 

10 September 2017

Real American: A Memoir by Julie Lythcott-Haim [Review & Giveaway]

I received a free copy of Real American: A Memoir in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Over the last few weeks of summer, I received the opportunity to read and review a book called Real American: A Memoir by Julie Lythcott-Haim. To be honest, I'm not usually one for non-fiction, but considering the times we are in, how racism and violent racist acts are becoming a norm and White Supremacy is a frightening trend, I figured it was important to expand my horizons and read something outside of my comfort zone. The subject of this book was perfect for what I was looking to find.

Author Julie Lythcott-Haim pens a book that describes her life growing up as the child of a black father and white mother. She talks in great, honest detail about the impact this had on her identity and self acceptance. She writes about her experiences in society and trying to became part of the black community surrounding her, despite how small it often was. Growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood, certainly didn't help. Despite the success of her father, who was an accomplished physician and even an Assistant Surgeon General of the United States in 1977, she dealt with racism regularly, even from those she thought of as friends. The struggle for her identity while accepting and loving herself began in her early childhood and remained a challenge throughout her adult years.

I wanted to do this book justice after reading it. I almost was nervous about my review. This book was an important read for me and inspired me with my own writing and personal journey. Despite how reluctant I am about reading non-fiction in general, this book caught me immediately. I feel like this book wasn't just insight into someone's life and journey to self acceptance, but this was a mirror as well. When I read insensitive comments that were judging this woman by the color of her skin or the way her hair looked, I asked myself along the way, "Have I ever done this?" I think that's why this book was important to me. It's one I'll go back to and share with others. The format of the book and how it was written was unique, which is probably why I enjoyed it so much. It was in essay format, and each essay was sometimes a paragraph and others a few pages. Yet, it still told a story, each section connecting with the other. I think it would be easy to pick it up right now and just flip it to a random page and still gain something from it.

I've heard time and time again change starts with yourself. If you want to change the world, change you. Learning about how you think of the world around you and understanding the journey of others is a way to start. I recommend you read this book and share it with your family and start a discussion. Find out more information about Real American: A Memoir by Julie Lythcott-Haim by visiting this Publishers Weekly page.

Best of all, I have a giveaway for you to enter! Enter to receive one of 10 copies of the book Real American. Giveaway ends on September 29th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

21 August 2017

The Solar Eclipse & New Writing Challenges

Did you see the solar eclipse today? I don't have the greatest camera but I thought I would share the half way decent photos that I managed to take a photo or two. You can tell how weird things got in the above photo because the street lights came on. One thing I noticed when you got really close to 10:19am Pacific Time (when the eclipse was actually happening for real) was that it got chilly. It definitely dropped in temperature! Also, I noticed I got a headache for some reason! All very strange. I'm kind of impressed with the people who managed to take brilliant looking photos.

On another note, I'm thinking about various writing projects and it's been hard not to venture down the road of trying to recreate stories I've attempted to write before. Unfinished stories tend to bother me a lot and especially when I start thinking about a character I've written about. One thing plaguing me lately is the setting of a story.

I feel very strongly though I am in need of a fresh start. And maybe even a different approach in stories I write in general. I'm really into looking over old news (hence my last post about the eclipse) so I may seek out those articles as a way of getting inspired. If anyone feels like I do about writing, check out this post I found on The Write Practice about How to Get Back Into Writing or this one written by Nathan Bransford about How to Return to Writing After a Long Break. 

What are you writing about lately? What was your eclipse experience? 

12 August 2017

News in History "Get Ready for the Solar Eclipse" January 22, 1925.

Anyone have plans to see the solar eclipse coming up next week? I actually am not, although I'm in driving distance to the path of totality. Sadly enough there's news coming out that it may be cloudy that day in some parts of the state of Oregon. However, it may be too soon to tell.

I couldn't resist looking into some old newspapers that talk about the solar eclipse. I caught this headline in the Lewiston Evening Journal of January 22, 1925.

The headline reads, "Get Ready for the Solar Eclipse."

I also can't help but notice that headline. "It all depends on the weather."  I can't help but think of the weather service tweet this morning:

That sure would disappoint a lot of people heading up to Oregon!

Curious how things turned out for the people of Lewiston?

Well, according to a headline on January 24, 1925, "Ideal Conditions for Watching Eclipse in Lewiston and Auburn."

This crowd got a real treat!

Read these articles here and here.

Are you doing anything on the day of the eclipse? 

05 August 2017

What I Regret About Ghostwriting

A couple of years ago, I did ghostwriting for a marketing firm. It was really easy writing and I made some pretty okay money. Then after a moment of realizing how overwhelmed I felt doing it, I stopped.

Today, I was looking over my email in search of something I've written before and I came across post after post that I sent to them to use. I realized how many articles I had written during that time.  My heart tugged with regret as I looked through all of those articles. I googled a few and spotted them online still, none with my name on them. Yet, it wasn't really just about my name getting on articles. There was more to it.

1) I was never writing for myself.

I recall vividly that I was not making it a point to write for myself. I think I maybe was blogging at the time, but I never made it a point to write - seriously write - for myself the way I was for them.

2) I gave up the good stuff.

I accidentally gave them an article to use that I meant to submit elsewhere. I always want to use my best whenever I write, whoever I write for, but now I wish I had taken caution and kept a few of those gems for my own portfolio.

3) I didn't build off of the work I was doing.

At the time, I wasn't thinking long term. I also wasn't seeking new writing opportunities as well. Not really. I was just churning out work to help make ends meet. It helped, sure, but I wasn't expanded and pushing myself outside of those bounds of that gig.

Now, I guess I'm in a bit better point.  I still do some freelance writing and even ghostwriting, but I also learned along the way to not put all my eggs in one gig's basket. I did and devoted way too much of myself and channeled way too much creativity towards one thing. I won't do that again.

I think also if I had tempered my pace a little with them, I wouldn't have felt so overwhelmed. Creativity is a well and you need to feed it as well as draw from it. The way to feed your creative well, in my opinion, is to spend time doing something creative that has no business strings attached. Write and creative for fun. For you. And that is the lesson I needed to learn. That feeds the well. 

20 July 2017

The Chalk Artist: A Book Review [And Giveaway!]

So, over the heatwave that hit Oregon with a blast a couple of weeks ago, I hibernated away into my air conditioned room with my newly arrived book, The Chalk Artist. Worked out great too because I didn't have great WiFi access.

The Chalk Artist is about a teacher who meets a guy, Collin, who works at a bar, who just so happens to be a brilliant chalk artist. And Nina isn't just any high school English teacher, she is also the daughter of a brilliant game designer and wants to introduce Collin to her father. Alongside this story is the character Aidan who is obsessed with this game and becomes addicted to this virtual world. Meanwhile his twin sister Diana is trying to find out who she really is, get into shape, and process all this craziness going on around her.

One incredible feature to the book is how vivid the setting of the game was as as the real world the characters lived in. I was so impressed by it. As Aidan plays, you get to see what he sees. In fact, I wish I could play a game like this - that's how vivid this is. 

Then you also get imagery of Collin's art. You can see it. And you realize how talented he is. So, you really cheer for him as he gets involved with the game Nina's father created. At first you are rooting for him to be successful in this company, but then after a while you think....is this really right for him? 

Oddly this wasn't a book I would have selected on my own, but it turned out to be a nice surprise. I enjoyed each of the characters. Nina, for her struggles as a teacher and wanting to make a difference in the world. I liked Collin for his desire to make good art and find his way in this intense, Google-like atmosphere of a game company. Then I like Aidan's intense, misguided passion for this virtual world. Then I liked Diana for her self-improvements and driven nature to get out of the old life she had and into a new one. Each character is complicated and has issues like regular people and that made them even more endearing. 

Overall I think this is a fantastic summer read. If you are going to the beach, you will not be disappointed. Again I may not have thought to seek this out on my own, so this was a book that was out of my usual selection. At times, I worried it would be a little aimless, but towards the end I was glad I read it.

You can purchase it now on Amazon both as an ebook and as hardback. Purchase now.

I am also excited to announce I get to giveaway two copies of this book to two lucky readers of this blog! Be sure to enter via Rafflecopter below. US Only please. Ends August 4th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received the above book in exchange for my honest review. 
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