Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Books I’m Reading 4

Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles. This is a Young Adult story that deals with pregnancy and the lives of those teenagers involved. The author does a nice job of presenting the feelings involved for the different characters.

Clean-Up by Norah McClintock. This is a Rapid Reads series book from Orca Book Publishers. It’s about Connie, an ex-legal secretary, now a maid for a small cleaning service whose friend (an illegal immigrant) gets in trouble with the law and faces deportation after she’s accused of murdering the old rich man they provided services for.

The Land by Mildred D. Taylor is a great book that takes place after the Civil War. It’s about a boy named Paul Logan whose father is a respectable white man. However, Paul must learn many things about life through many experiences, but the one thing no one can take away from him is his determination to acquire some land of his own.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Short Stories & Such: I Know I'm Supposed to Keep this a Secret...

Keeping secrets ‘is not all fun and games’ as they say, but it does bring up interesting ideas for stories. Who knew that nice young man at the shop killed three people? Who knew that teenage girl lied about her teachers to get better grades? Who knew that grandma stole jewelry using her electric wheelchair as a getaway vehicle? Who knew Back in January 2012, Writer’s Digest had a writing prompt asking for short stories about keeping a secret? I did and many other writers. The following short is somewhat revised from its original. Enjoy! And go ahead, write one using the tag line:

“I Know I’m Supposed to Keep This a Secret, But…”

I’ve waited for this trip to Hawaii for a long time. Too bad my cousin was not available to go along with me. The beaches were supposed to be better than ours. The crystal clear water allowed people to swim along with many sea animals. The wonders of nature were expecting one happy tourist.

I relaxed my head on the travel pillow I blew up while I waited to board. My seatbelt was fastened and the plane lifted off the runway into a crowded white clouded sky. Though, I hated this part because it made my insides tumble, I was glad to be heading to my destination without complications.

As the plane steadied itself, and the flight attendants did their thing, I took a deep breath for a nice long nap when my neighbor tapped my shoulder.

“Excuse me.” The girl with peppermint glasses turned to me. She had been watching the stewardess the whole time we got on this plane.

I hoped for a quiet flight. “Yes?”

She leaned closer and whispered in my ear, “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone.”

Oh, God. She’d better not say I was her type.

“This plane is not heading for Hawaii.”

“What!?!” I sprang from my seat, but the seatbelt restrained me.

“Shhh, please, I don’t want to cause a scene.”

“I’m sorry. A minute there I thought you said this plane was not going to Hawaii.”

“That’s right.”

It seemed that the sentence she dispersed from her lips hadn’t sunk in my brain. Her tight round face looked satisfied as if her nuance halted her indigestion. However, she neglected to give a reason for the change. Why should I bother? She definitely seemed a little tipsy. Yet, what if she’s right? Did I accidentally board the wrong plane?

“Well?”  I asked.

“Well, what?”

“Where is this plane heading?”

“I’m not supposed to say. I could die.”

Heaven forbid this girl die!

“What are you trying to pull? You obviously are in need of medical attention-”

A voice blasted through the speakers and said, “Passengers of flight 007. Welcome aboard! Please buckle yourselves up and allow us to transport you to dimension Westcort. It was a lovely Earth, but it has outlived its usefulness. No need to become hostile. Just fasten those seatbelts and prepare for our stop in minus 30 seconds.” 30, 29, 28….

I looked back at the frantic passengers. The flight attendants put on gas masks. They held in their hands laser weapons the shape of torpedoes. After an explosion that shook the plane to the point where its vibrations remained in my teeth, the girl tapped me again.

“I told you so,” she scoffed. 

For the original version of this story, visit the following link and scroll down to “Chilo”: 


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Pet News 3: No Dog is Perfect

One thing I’ve learned about having a dog is never to reprimand after calling the dog by his/her name. They learn to fear you or worse, they just avoid you, which is not the intention. You want your dog to come to you when called. With a little patience and practice, they will.

However, I have found that there are certain situations my dog doesn’t come when called. Such as when the man with his toy poodle decides to let their dog get close to our fence to "see how cute" our dog is (Aagh!). I feel like a total failure after all that practice, but it’s important to understand that no dog is perfect, and we shouldn’t push them to be.

I wish I was perfect!

Here’s the secret, we’re not perfect. Be content to have a well-behaved dog for 90% of the time (okay, 85%). Dogs should be dogs. If we call them by their name every time we tell them “no” they will just learn to associate the negativity with their name. So make sure when you say "no" or "stop" that you don't use their name. Use their name to call them to you for good things. 
Let’s aim for a happy dog. A happy dog is less stressed.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013


“If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”

--Bruce Lee

This is one of the many quotes I read every time I find myself struggling through my writing or career (or anything else for that matter).

Sometimes, it’s hard to pick yourself up. I’ve been there time and time again. Not knowing where to turn or what to do, but I have to ask myself: is it something I’m doing? If I don’t find time to write, how can I make some time? If teaching is not part of my future, what is? If I have more than fifty poetry or short story rejections, do I stop querying? If my friend is too busy to hang out with me, should I limit my outings to the writing group?

The big idea here is not to give up; to find that “thing” that drives you to continue.

What I’ve mentioned so far might not even be the obstacle. It could be my point of view. Maybe what I need is to start seeing my life in a new angle before I make up my mind about it. A little each day goes a long way. Maybe it could be your's too.


You can find a ton of info on Bruce Lee at www.brucelee.com