Sunday, November 6, 2016

Blogging Along by Mary Lou Moran

Blogging Along

by Mary Lou Moran
In my quest to understand the blogging world, I find I have questions--serious questions. And I need your help. So please read this and answer the questions below.
  1. Do you write your own blog?
  2. If so, why do you blog?
  3. Do you read other peoples' blogs?
  4. What kind of blogs do you like to read? Example:  funny, informative, everyday happenings, specific topics etc.
  5. What kind of blog makes you groan painfully and click to another website?
  6. Do you enjoy discussions started on blogs?
  7. If you are an author, do you consider blogging a part of your platform?
  8. And finally, if you do not blog - why not? 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

We Prevail

The English language attempts to thwart writers' efforts; but, with determination, we overcome its challenges. We prevail!

to set (an object) downDEFINITIONto rest or recline
(with am/is/are)
(with has/have/had)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

L'Audible Authors!

Thanks to the writers who offered selections of their work to be read for L'Audible Art on May 9. The authors who will read and those who submitted work to be read by Carousel Theater volunteers should take rightful pride in sharing their creativity with the Hot Springs Village Community. Following is a list of the authors, their titles, and the genre of their work.

FirstLastTitle & Genre
Charles HeatelyAllenChapter 26 of Living Nightmares,
Excerpt from novel

SuzanneBratcherGuardians of the Canyon, Excerpt
from Chapter of romantic suspense novel

JerryDavisIt's for You, Humorous essay
NancyForisRegrets, Poetry
ElizabethFosterHusbands Are Handy, Essay
NealaGundersonChildren Are Gone, Poem written for

Charles "Chap"HarperJungle Jane & the Diamond Cave of the
Naked Pygmies, Action/adventure

MarleneKloackThe Old Pear Tree, Poetry
Mary LaughlinAn Ode to the Hot Springs Village Firemen,
Humrous essay
Mary LouMoranBack in Time, Personal story

CaroleOhlsenHamburg's Fish Market, Travelogue/memoir
MyraRushtinAll About Joy, Ruthless, Promises Kept,
and Be My Best Friend, Poetry

CaroleSjolanderTitle to be determined
JohnSwinburnTranslucent, Short fiction
JohnThorpeLeo and Louise on the Flying Trapeze,
Excerpt of novel 

JoannaWilliamsThe Street Car Ride, recollections
as a five year old

MadelynYoungHot Pink, personal essay

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

L'Audible Art

We hope you will join us on May 9, 2016 for L'Audible Art!

Friday, February 26, 2016


Serious about Blogging
When my agent said, “If you’re serious about publishing in the traditional market, you’ve got to get serious about social media,” I was uneasy. When he added “especially blogging,” I was dismayed. Then he told me “serious” meant blogging weekly. I panicked. I’d had a blog (Suzanne’s Scribbles) since 2008. In seven years I posted a total of thirteen entries. My silence must have cried “Help!” because Jim immediately gave me a list of articles to read about blogging. Oh my…

Value Added
I started reading. The consensus of the authors was that successful blogs can be summed up with the phrase “value added.” I was vaguely familiar with the term from discussions with my CPA daughter about the “value added” by her company’s products in foreign markets. As I puzzled through the connection, I began to understand that successful blogs offer content valuable to their readers. Travelers, for example, read blogs written by other travelers offering information about out-of-the-way restaurants, reasonable hotels, and little-known side trips. Quilters read blogs about fabrics and new tools. Cooks read blogs filled with recipes. Hmm…

Audience and Theme
I looked through Suzanne’s Scribbles and found entries ranging from anecdotes of my trip to Australia to reflections on Multiple Sclerosis fatigue to directions for making a batik scrap quilt. So who was my audience? I might assume my family and friends would be interested in these mildly entertaining ramblings, but the real truth was that I was my own audience. I wrote and posted on the topic I was interested in at that moment. Oops…

A Different Way to Blog
I began to consider the audience I wanted to attract to my blog. Because my fiction is romantic suspense for the Christian fiction market, my readers are primarily women and predominantly Christian. I needed a theme this audience would consider valuable, content I could offer from my life that connected with their lives. I puzzled for several weeks. Then one Sunday evening as I was preparing reflection questions for the verse-of-the-week Bible discussion I lead on Mondays an idea popped into my head. Maybe…

Could I blog on one Bible verse a week?  My daughter liked the idea, my online writing partner liked the idea, and, best of all, my agent liked the idea. But there was still that pesky issue of social media. What if I posted the verse to Twitter on Monday and the reflection questions Tuesday through Thursday? Friday my blog would appear. I breathed a prayer and launched TwitterBible.

By the way, this morning I posted the thirteenth blog entry—not in seven years, in thirteen weeks. Besides that, I the next three entries are ready to go. Imagine that…

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

February 22, 2016 Village Writers' Club Meeting

Click on each image to enlarge so you can more easily read it. Here are details of our February 22, 2016 meeting; please plan on attending, and pass the word!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Writing from Reality

Pay sufficient attention to the rhythm of each day and we're assured of noticing moments worthy of preservation, memories worth capturing for periodic return visits. Those memories do not necessarily involve close friends or family or even people we know, though they well might. But, regardless, they find ways of carving their initials in our soul, making permanent marks that want to find their way onto the page. The "sufficient attention" becomes second nature to many writers; we're always on the prowl for moments that connect us to broader humanity, along with its triumphs and failures.

We watch for and passionately engage with instances that bridge the span between people or, conversely, splinter relationships. Consider these real-world experiences that, with warmth and sensitivity, can become interesting stories evocative of our own recollections: a reassuring embrace that becomes an awkward but welcome kiss; a chance encounter with strangers who laugh at the same salty comments; an unexpectedly happy interchange between enemies; the rapid disintegration of relationships that took decades to build; the dissolution of friendships that, on close examination, are in fact unhealthy co-dependent relationships.

We've all been witness to the ups and downs of life around us. The daily rhythm of our lives provides ample fodder for stories, happy and sad, we want and need to capture.

During the drive home from our recent writing retreat at the Writers' Colony at Dairy Hollow, three of us chatted about writing from experience. In my view, we always write from experience. Even if we concoct fabulous stories of aliens in distant galaxies, the emotions and interactions we attribute to characters emerge from people and experiences familiar to us. One of the three of us passed on advice she had read about making characters real: Describe, in detail, every aspect of some of the people with whom you are closest and love or like very much; do the same for people you dislike, loathe, or downright hate. Mix and match attributes from those people to create living, breathing characters.

The same can be said for creating scenes, and even novel-length interactions between characters. Pay attention to the rhythm of life and record actual circumstances. Mix and match them, along with characters, to create a riveting story.

Every scene we write and every character we create is based on our experiences with the real world, in one form or another. The more attentive we are to the world around us, the more believable the worlds we create, or reflect about, will be.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Happy New Year Writers!

It has been a busy year for me.I finally finished the short-short stories I have been continually revising and editing. I could read, edit and change them for the rest of my life and never get anything else accomplished. But with Jerry Davis' encouragement and collaboration, I finished them and we combined our stories into one book titled She Writes, He's Wrong. Guess who came up with that title. I learned a lot from this whole process and I'm glad it's finished so I can move on to the next one. New projects, new territory, new ventures. That's what I see for me in 2016.

My goal this year is to write. I would like to get down to business and seriously write more often, finish what I write, and either put it to bed or attempt to publish.

I think a lot of writers like myself, put off the writing process to the point of apathy. The words are in there rolling around in our brain cells, but we just don't let them out. It comes down to habit. If we quit exercising, it's difficult to get started again. If we quit writing, it's just as difficult. The writing muscles seize and resist as we begin to use them and the excuses not to write are abundant. But if we persist, we enjoy the benefits. Writing gets easier as our writing muscles begin to remember the process and rewards.

So my wish for all of my fellow writers is that this year you make a pledge to get off your duffs and write. Write something. Write anything and share it with someone. Find a fellow writer you trust and venture into new territory. Take a risk. Toss out the excuses, sit in the chair and write.

See you all at the next meeting. Kai Coggin is our presenter. If you do not know Kai, you have not been paying attention. Kai is a very popular Hot Springs writer and teacher who knows how to reach inside and pull out what you didn't know you were capable of. The meeting is Monday, January  25 at the Coronado Community Center at 1pm. No reservations are necessary. Hope to see you there.

Mary Lou Moran, President Village Writers' Club