Thursday, December 3, 2015

Holiday Season with HOPress-Shorehouse Books

Looking for a book to read or share this holiday season? Here are 10 books to get you started! A special thanks to Donna Cavanagh of HOPress-Shorehouse Books for the love of her authors and for sharing the following books with me, so that I can offer them to you. 
Each year, HOPress-Shorehouse Books highlights the titles published in the last year. Our authors are talented, creative, funny, scary, educational, and inspiring. Please support our authors who gave their all to make their writing dreams come true.  Please stop by HOPress-Shorehouse Books and see our full catalog of authors too. Our goal is and always has been to help writers get their work to book lovers everywhere, and that is why our mantra is Independent Publishing with a Traditional Flair.

More Scripture Scribbles: Cartoons from the Choir Loft is Phillip Dillman’s second book. The first book of cartoons clearly tickled the funny bone in people of all faiths. His drawings might at times be irreverent, but they always demonstrate that Dillman is above all a man of faith. Dillman sings in his church choir and sketches cartoons about the day’s sermon. His scripture scribbles, which are conceptualized and drawn in a span of about 15 minutes, add a humorous twist and perhaps a bit more appreciation to the traditional Bible stories.

Life offers us plenty of opportunities. We construct our life plan—our Plan A, but life is never so simple. It tests us with setbacks, dead ends, hellos, and good-byes. To put it simply: Sometimes, we get stuck. However, The Promise in Plan B confronts fears about these changes and obstacles and encourages readers to develop a new life path. This book is grounded in the reality that life tends to be a series of interruptions, and we each possess a wealth of resources to initiate, investigate, and recreate the way we travel through our shifting courses. Unlike predictable job skills, these resources emphasize resilience, courage, imagination, humor, curiosity, and more.

Author Mary Farr includes personal stories and profiles of people from all walks of life who have faced challenges, despair, and unforeseen obstacles, but in the midst of the turmoil recognized their Plan B. This book explores themes of grace and gratitude seasoned with a generous dose of wit. Each chapter includes a Consider This section which contains questions and observations designed to encourage readers to open their hearts to new ideas. Farr also added journaling pages at the end of the book for those who would rather explore their reflections solo.

Opera might be one of the greatest of the performing arts, but it is also inherently funny. Who is more qualified to find the humor in opera than someone who has sung it for many years? Kathy Minicozzi strips away the boring, stuffy dignity and false glamour that people have imposed on opera for centuries and, like someone poking innocent fun at a good friend, spews plenty of knee-slapping, eye-watering hilarity.  In between the laughs, the author manages to drop real information, not only about opera itself but about the lives of the singers who perform it.

It often happens in the middle of an otherwise pleasant day -- you’re shopping, or walking across a college campus, and you encounter them. They’re holding signs that claim Israel is an “apartheid state” and charge Israel with committing “genocide” against Palestinians. They’re calling for boycotts against Israeli products and divestment from companies that do business with Israel.

You know supporting Israel is the right thing to do. And you’re not alone. For decades, polls have shown a large plurality, usually a majority, of Americans back Israel. But here’s the problem: you don’t know how to respond – or if you even should – to these Israel haters.

That’s where this book comes in. Imagine some of the key points from Alan Dershowitz’s authoritative volume, The Case For Israel-- as it might be delivered by Bill Maher. All the information you need in this street fight of words, but delivered in a light and accessible way, with satirical humor. So the next time you encounter a group of Israel-hating extremists, you’ll be armed with the facts – and the techniques to apply them with skill and confidence. 

A grocery store can’t expect repeat business if its checkers unleash Armageddon. This truism governs Debbie Devil, dedicated supermarket checker and horny, estranged wife of Satan. Debbie sets her sights on Joe Thorvald, a God-fearing, Lutheran. If she can get him to eat a mushroom, his soul and his hunky body will be hers.

Debbie tells her sidekick, Bertram, a British cook, to change Joe’s memory, body, circumstances, era, and life, until the Lutheran becomes a man who will eat mushrooms. But there will be only so many attempts on Joe’s soul before she unleashes Armageddon out of spite.

God sends the angels General Lee and Pedro Erickson, a Mexican-Swedish chef, to protect Joe. They fight back with Heaven’s culinary weapons, tacos and Swedish meatballs.

Along the way, Joe changes into a fun-loving dinosaur and a Greek warrior with an ass harder than bronze before being sent to Hell for nonpayment of his hospital bill. Can Lee and Pedro Erickson save the soul of a Lutheran hunk and prevent Armageddon? Ja caramba. 

There are eight million stories at your local public library – and not all of them are in the books! Join humorist Roz Warren (“the world’s funniest librarian”) for a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at library life. What really goes on behind the circulation desk? And in the stacks? Roz, who writes for everyone from the New York Times to the Funny Times, tells all! What’s the single most stolen item in any public library? What’s the strangest bookmark ever left in a library book? What’s the lamest excuse ever given for not returning a DVD on time? And what does your favorite librarian REALLY think of you? In twenty entertaining essays, you’ll meet librarians fighting crime, partying with porn stars, coping with impossible patrons, locating hard-to-find books, and saving the world. The most closely guarded library secrets will be revealed. You‘ll never look at your local public library the same way again!

“Hilarious!“ Gina Barreca, author of They Used To Call Me Snow White, But I Drifted

Everything "Pittsburgh" has fries on it…salads, sandwiches whatever! This book is a culmination of silly, stupid and ign’ernt stories of jagoffery from the Pittsburgh blog, For those who are not familiar with term Jagoff, it refers to stupid politicians, awful sports officials, dumb criminals, bad drivers, ignorant people, and so on. However, it is not a swear word, and in fact, it is sometimes used as a term of endearment. Through this series of rants about “Jagoffs” from all walks of life, Chamberlin writes with passion about Pittsburgh and his love of “The Steel City,” and he has even developed a cadre of worldwide "YaJagoff Catchers" who submit their own rantings from wherever they live, which he posts on his site. If you live in Pittsburgh, lived in Pittsburgh, or just love anything Pittsburgh, this is the book for you!

Concha Alborg didn't think that anything could hurt her more than the death of her husband from cancer, but hours after his death she learned how wrong she was. Within days of being made a widow, this Spanish College Professor discovered that her marriage and her husband were not what she had envisioned. With a unique point of view, due to her bi-cultural background, and a self-deprecating humor, she takes us on a personal journey. Her strength and determination to build a new life led her down a path that allowed her to reject the veil of widowhood and instead embrace a life of happiness, love, and acceptance. 

What happens when a two–year-old and a 92-year-old join forces and conspire against their primary caregiver? The picture is at times not pretty, but it’s always heartwarming and witty. Elder care attorney Cathy Sikorski penned this memoir about her days as a stay-at-home mom whose life is turned upside down when her Nana moves in. In between the adventures and misadventures that ensue when the toddler and grandmother become allies, Sikorski learns about patience, the importance of humor, and the joy that results from a well-deserved nap.

There is no stronger tie than that which binds a father to his sons. Well, maybe the one that connects sons to their mother, but that’s different. The father-son relationship is one that hums to mystic chords of foolishness and bravado; a mother comes into the room and suddenly a strain in A minor is heard, and it’s time to take a bath and go to bed.

For men like me who grew up without brothers, sons are another chance at a boyhood we never knew; a chance to punch your sibling in the arm and not get double-crossed by a two-timing broad or the first time in your life as your sister yells “Mom—he hit me!” down the stairs after she told you to do it!

These stories are an account of my journey through my sons’ first childhood as I experience my second. I’ve changed my kids’ names to the all-purpose generic monickers “Scooter,” the older of the two, and “Skipper” his younger brother, to protect their innocence. The statute of limitations on what some would call arson is apparently quite long.

These tales of youthful hi-jinx under one dad’s semi-adult supervision will demonstrate for you the truth of the age-old adage:

You’re only young once, but you can remain immature—forever.

Want more? Visit HOPress-Shorehouse Books!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

No Small Potatoes – Greeting Card Message in a Bottle!

Back in the 70s I wrote about a hundred different greeting cards, some of which were unlike anything anybody had seen on card racks during those years. Cards back then were sweet and sentimental or mildly humorous. You wouldn’t have been able to find a sarcastic card no matter how hard you looked.

My ideas included more than just sarcasm, though. I created genres that never before existed – Pregnancy AnnouncementsCongratulations, Daddy cards – Grandparent AnnouncementsHappy Birthday Twin cards – all of which I sent to 100 different greeting card companies. 

Every single one of those greeting card companies rejected my ideas. Every single one.

The reason?

Well, most of them didn’t respond at all, but for those who sent more than the generic, “sorry, we can’t use your material at this time” note, I received, more than once, this comment, “We have no market for these kinds of cards.”

Not one of those companies recognized that I was creating the market. Ironically, at the same time I sent those messages, two women from New York, where I was living at the time, created a line of sarcastic greeting cards that eventually garnered a lot of attention. A couple of years after I moved back to Illinois, they appeared in People Magazine, which showcased their sarcastic line, Bittersweet, a company they had created a couple of years before the article came out. Oh, well.

Because I knew nothing about advertising (no Internet back then either), I tucked away my messages. In the 90s I decided that my messages might fare better inside bottles. But again, with no advertising expertise and no Internet knowledge, I floundered and reluctantly put them aside again.

Inspiration and prompts, however, sometimes come from very strange sources. Because when Mr. Potato man appeared on the Steve Harvey Show, he lit a flame inside me that incited and invigorated me to rethink my Message in a Bottle idea. You haven’t heard of Mr. Potato man? He puts messages on potatoes and sends them out anonymously for people willing to pay $10 + postage and handling to get their message read – on a potato! I know. I seem jealous. But in my defense, last month Mr. Potato Man made $20,000 – from potatoes! 

My first thought (after I shot upright and thought, HOW)? Where are my bottles and messages? 

So I rummaged through the garage, grabbed my bottles and corks, listed all my messages and made them easily accessible so that I can put them in a bottle when 2,000 people request my services (positive thoughts, please) this month.  

Want to visit my new business and read some of the messages? Just click the logo below!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

How to Use Commas for Three or More Words, Phrases, or Clauses

So often, I see a number of people omitting the last comma before a conjunction, because somebody somewhere changed the rules one day and said it was okay to omit it. The argument for omitting the final comma is that the word, “and,” is supposed to suffice for the omission, but as I note in examples posted below, that supposition doesn’t always work.

Most of the time, readers can easily understand sentences written without the added comma, but sometimes the sentences make no sense – or they are hilarious – so in a comedic sense, the omission of that last comma could, if intended, be humorous.

Some punctuation rules have to change to accommodate changing times. The comma usage rule, however, is not the same type of rule as the omission of the second space after a period. Arguments continue over whether or not to press the space bar once or twice after typing a period.

In the days before computers, when everyone used typewriters, the rule was to press the space bar twice. The reason was because it allowed for easy reading; the reader would temporarily pause before heading on to the next sentence. 

When computers were invented (YEARS ago) inventors factored in a reasonable space between sentences, allowing typists to press the space bar only once. 

So let’s end the argument right now about whether or not to press the space bar once or twice after a sentence. The answer is – if you still use a typewriter, press the space bar twice; if you use a computer, press the space bar only once (caveat – some fonts and font styles, including italics, cause letters to space unevenly, and in those cases, adding an extra space after a period might look better).

Now on to the question of whether or not to place one last comma in a series of three or more words, phrases, or clauses. I found a great example in the following sentence, showing why we need to use commas appropriately (found on in the Grammar Section on Commas):

Incorrect: The street was filled with angry protestors, shouting spectators and police. 

(Leaving out the last comma makes it look like the police were shouting, too.)

Correct: The street was filled with angry protestors, shouting spectators, and police. 

(Makes it clearer.) 

I found another more humorous example on Stack Exchange (also located on wikipedia):

Sentence: To my parents, Ayn Rand and God.

Correction: To my mother, Ayn Rand, and God.

If you wrote the first sentence, readers would deduce that God was one of your parents (yes, I’m fully aware of the argument that God is the father). By changing the word, “parents,” to the word, “mother,” your sentence makes even more sense.

However, separating three items with commas may not always provide enough clarification. From Stack Exchange, we find the following sentence: 

He currently lives with his wife, a ferret, and a cat who thinks she is a ferret. 

The implication is that “his wife” is a ferret. Also, as one commenter in the thread beneath the article noted, the word, “currently,” causes the reader to wonder if his wife is only temporary. So in addition to placing commas correctly, we need to also look at the structure of our sentences. Do our readers understand what we’re trying to convey?

Ambiguous writing jeopardizes our credibility as a writer. Some people argue that if the sentence or phrase can be clearly understood with or without the comma, we can choose to leave it out. But why force our readers to work so hard at understanding our work? If our goal in writing our blogs, articles, or books is to express ourselves eloquently, the best way to help our audience understand our words is by using them correctly. We need to follow the rules of grammar or learn how to restructure our sentences so they will make sense to our readers.  

In addition to writing coherently, I’m also a believer in continuity in writing.  If a writer posts a series of three words in one sentence and leaves out the comma, but then several paragraphs later leaves in the comma, readers may note the inconsistency. The saying, “when in doubt, leave it out,” doesn’t, in my mind, apply to commas.

For more on English and grammar rules, please visit

Friday, August 28, 2015

Is Your Blog Mobile-Friendly?

Most bloggers use either a computer or a laptop to compose their blogs, books, articles, and screenplays. Rare is the person who uses a mobile phone to write his or her blogs. So if all you ever use is a computer or laptop, do you have any idea how your blog looks on mobile devices?

And if somebody runs a Google search for something you’ve written on your blog, would anybody be able to find your blog?

If your blog is not phone-friendly, what people see when they visit your blog might not be what you want to present to them. If you’re racing to your phone to pull up your content right now and you’re not happy with the results, don’t worry. You can change the way your blog looks by following the instructions I’ve linked below.

Here most of my blogs and what they look like on mobile devices (fortunately, I’m happy with the results):

So are you ready to take the Mobile-Friendly Test? Just click the link and if your blog is not mobile-friendly, follow the instructions offered in the Mobile Guide, the Get Started section, or the Documentation section to fix the problem.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

What is Meant by High-Concept Stories?

You’ve been reading guidelines for story submissions and you come across one that asks for, “High Concept Stories.” How do you create one? Where do you begin?

Jeff Lyons, guest poster at Writer’s Digest’s The Writer’s Dig, hosted by Brian Klems, answers that question for you. Lyons is a story editor and story development consultant at Kensington Entertainment, Burbank, CA, who also teaches story structure and story development through Stanford University’s Online Writers Studio. His publishing resume is lengthy, so he is more than qualified to help us understand what editors mean when they ask for High Concept romances, mysteries, popular fiction, and more.

Here is a link to help us all understand what editors want when they request high-concept stories – 7 Qualities of High-Concept Stories

But wait! There's more, because in that blog, Lyons directs you to other helpful articles, one of which is 7 Ways to Create a Killer Opening Line For Your Novel (written by WD contributor, Jacob M. Appel).

So if you’re curious about what high-concept means and you want to improve your chances of getting published by incorporating a high-concept scheme into your writing, click 7 Qualities of High-Concept Stories. And click some of the other links in that blog.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Caitlyn Jenner, President Obama, Weird Illinois, National Crazy Day, Murder, and The Case of the Humanoid Alien

Over these past few weeks I've been busy resurrecting an old blog that I've neglected for quite a while. My original intention in creating Your Blog Connection was to promote other bloggers, but what happened as a result of promoting that blog was that I got enmeshed in a paid-to-blog site that provided links to web sites that sometimes appeared to be scams. I refused to write those types of blogs any longer. 

As a result, I lost out on a lot of paid blogging jobs, but the pay was dismal anyway, so parting ways was no big loss. 

Your Blog Connection, the blog that promotes your blog, has kept me busy lately – ever since I put out feelers to members of one Facebook group asking them if they wanted me to promote their blogs. What a great response I got! So I've been busy collecting questionnaires, writing blogs about their blogs, and promoting them on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.

But I've also managed this past month to squeeze in a few other blog posts on some of my other blogs. If any of the following titles interest you, please click the links to read them:

Illinois may have its weirdest governor yet!

Help for anyone who advertises on Craigslist!

That's the question media want Obama to answer! And I give my opinion!

July 21 - National Crazy DayThe Lighter Side of the Moon Child

Don't forget to visit Your Blog Connection for the latest showcased blogs. Also if you want me to showcase your blog, request the questionnaire from me at Please be patient though, because a lot of bloggers are ahead of you awaiting their turns to be promoted.

Thank you for visiting!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Writing Contests 2015

Every month several writing sites around the web post contests for writers. You may want to enter some of them. Whether you’re a wannabe, a newbie, or an established writer, writing contests can help you publicize your writing and establish your name. Though many writing contests require a fee, some are free. And because so many of them exist, prizes vary. 

Maybe you’re interested only in name recognition or maybe you just want to know if your writing is capable of winning a prize. Whatever your reason, entering a writing contest could result in a win. And while one win may not seem like much, as a contest winner, you can add your wins to your resume. And who knows – one win may lead to another and then to another. 

WARNING! Make sure you read the contest guidelines and follow the directions. Some people have lost simply because they didn’t follow the rules. If a poetry contest, for instance, requires you to write a poem with less than 24 lines and your poem exceeds 24 lines, even if the poem is Maya Angelou beautiful, you will lose, because you didn’t follow the rules.  So pay attention to what is asked of you in each contest.

Here are several contests broken down into various categories.








Hope you found the list helpful. 

Thank you for visiting!

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Guilt of an Online Writer

For just a moment, I want you to go back in time, to the days before the Internet. As a published writer, you laboriously sent query letters to publishers and agents and waited sometimes as long as six weeks – or longer – to hear from those agents and publishers. And you waited. And you waited.

Always, in the back of your mind or sitting in front of you – on paper – was that next book, that next article, or that next screenplay. As you finished one project, or even before you finished your current book, article, or screenplay, you directed your attention to a new one.

You frequented your local library or book store to purchase and read your favorite authors. Occasionally, you might even send a letter to your favorite authors. But never once did you expect those authors to read your material. You probably wouldn’t have even asked. Most writers back then wouldn’t have considered writing, “Enjoyed your work. Now read mine.”

And yet, as we fast forward to today, the message seems to be that if you write online, you must also read everyone who reads you. This task can become daunting and can cause a lot of guilt if we just want to write for a living. The number of people who call themselves writers has proliferated to the point where anyone who posts a comment considers him- or herself to be a writer. If thousands of people comment on your work, must you then comment on each of theirs? And if you don’t comment on theirs, does not commenting constitute a betrayal of sorts? By not commenting on their material, are you jeopardizing your own future?

I think of Stephen King and J. K. Rowling – just two examples of prolific writers who have fans that number in the millions. Can you imagine writing to them in Blog Land? Yeah. “Um, hi, Stephen King, I just read your book and now I want you to read mine” (multiply that comment by at least a million commenters). Who would expect Mr. King or any famous writer, for that matter, to comment on anything an unknown, fledgling writer wrote?

But that’s the problem. We aren’t famous. Nobody knows us - well, except maybe for a select group of other writers who want us to read their blog posts and articles and where the relationship is consensual. Even famous bloggers, like ProBlogger, Darren Rowse, can’t possibly comment on every blogger who posts a comment on his site.

So what do we unknown writers do – we write, we read, we comment – and we feel guilty if we can’t get to everyone who reads and comments on our work. I guess that’s the price we pay for not yet making it to the “Writers Readers Love To Read” level. But we’ve learned one Golden Rule – don’t beg people to read our work! We can, however, plaster our posts all over Facebook and Twitter and hope that somebody finds us amusing, delightful, informative, profound, or any of the other adjectives people use to compliment amazing writers.

For some of my latest posts, I’d like to direct you to the following:

Thank you for visiting!

Image by click on morgue file

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

When The People You Love Don’t Support Your Writing Career

Previously published last year on and then removed from Persona Paper.

From a very early age, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I didn’t know I could make a living by writing, because I was guided down a different path, but from the moment I could hold a pencil in my hand, the urge to write was overwhelming. And when I got a typewriter for Christmas one year (some of you are probably asking, “What’s a typewriter?”) I was elated. But Mom and Dad didn’t encourage me, because, according to my mom, writing wasn’t a secure profession. Secretarial work, on the other hand, was a worthwhile profession, so though she told me I could be anything I wanted to be, even president, she pushed me toward secretarial work, because it was more secure. 

I hated being a secretary.

Eventually I worked as a designer at a newspaper and I was given an opportunity to write my own column, but I still longed for some kind of acknowledgment from my mother. Dad never read anything I wrote. I never even thought to ask him to read my work, but my mom didn’t like anything I wrote. She preferred fiction and I wrote nonfiction. She always told me I should write children’s stories because of my vivid imagination. I should have been J.K. Rowling, I suppose, but I doubt she would have read those types of books, either.

Interestingly, she forwards nonfiction emails to all of her friends and family members; however, when I asked her to send my blogs to her friends, she refused, because she didn’t want to “bother” them. My fiction, however, didn’t work for her either.

My screenplays were fictional, so in the 1980s when I had written what I thought was a humorous screenplay, I let my mother and two of my friends read it. My friends laughed out loud in certain parts. My mother, on the oner hand, found not one sentence funny. She even said out loud, “I didn’t find it funny at all.” I found her comment weird considering that when I worked for several hours on my 4th grade homework assignment, after my mom read it, and while she was reading it, she laughed so hard she cried.

When I read that same assignment years later – 5 chapters of words scrunched into 5 paragraphs – I could see why. I was a child who took everything literally (I still do), so when my teacher instructed me to write one paragraph using every single word in the spelling chapter, and she had taught me that a paragraph was one central thought, I forced a relationship between words that were so different, I called upon every creative faculty in my brain to force them to connect. The results were hilarious, but not intentionally so. I found out later that the teacher meant to say “paragraphs” – plural.

Having no emotional support forced me to rely upon myself. But how can anyone accurately assess themselves by themselves? Friends would tell me I was creative and talented, but I found it hard to believe them. So I attended college in my late 30s – not to get a degree, though I got one – but to find out if anybody there thought I had any writing talent. 

When I received glowing comments on all of my assignments, I felt that maybe I really had some talent, and when my assignments were chosen by the instructors as examples for how the class should write them, I beamed. When I became a tutor in the English lab, I felt that maybe I was worthy of calling myself a writer after all.

But I still didn’t have the admiration of my mother. My sisters were more supportive. I don’t think my father ever knew I wrote anything, and unless I wrote encyclopedias, which were the only books I ever saw him read, he wouldn’t have been interested anyway, but I wanted, and never got, the support and encouragement I needed from my mother. I vowed that when I had my own kids I would encourage them to become whatever they wanted to be and I would help them in any way I could. 

So when I asked my oldest daughter what she wanted to be when she grew up, I was surprised when she responded, “A mom.” She got her wish – she had five children. My next oldest daughter wanted to be a fashion designer. She works for an engineering firm, but she still has her eyes set on fashion. My son had no idea what he wanted to be, so in March, 2001, he joined the Marines. My youngest daughter decided to open an upscale consignment boutique and is doing very well. I still think kids flourish when they get support and encouragement from the people who matter most to them. 

I’ll be 63 in 3 days (remember this was written last year). I have written hundreds of blogs and have received thousands of views. I’ve received numerous compliments on my writing ability, too. And I have received awards, so why is getting some encouragement from my mother so important? Why can’t I just let it go? 

I’ll tell you why. Because no matter how old we get, we still long for acceptance, specifically from our parents or maybe from a mentor. If you write and you don’t get the support and encouragement you need from the people who love you, where can you find motivation to continue writing?

For me personally, my need to write surpasses my need for acceptance, so I’ll continue to write and will probably die wishing I still had my mother’s support.

Afterword: Over the past year, on a couple of my blogs, my mother has commented. Above all other comments I receive, I value hers the most.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Want to write a movie or TV show, but can’t afford to take a class? Watch this one video and you might not need a class!

The basis of any movie or television show is the story. I think we can all agree on that. But what makes the story compelling are the characters in the story. We want our audiences to be able to identify with those characters and root for our protagonist. We want believable characters that audiences care about. We want an emotional response from our audience and we want to see physical manifestations of those emotions – from tears to laughter. Above all, though, we want audiences to walk away from our story with a sense of awe and a desire to share their thoughts and emotions about the movie or television show we wrote with their friends and family members and even with casual acquaintances. 

So how do we create characters and story lines that audiences love? 

We may have studied a lot of screenplay writing techniques and read a lot of information about how to make an outstanding movie or TV show, but what we’ve written so far can’t even win us a contest or a few minutes with a producer to explain our movie or television ideas. 

Well, here’s help for all fledgling television or film writers. 

When I watched the video I’m about to present, I felt as if I could have gone to school for four years and not learned as much as I learned in this one hour and sixteen minute presentation offered on Larry Brody’s TV Writer web site.  What the video on the page linked below explains are the most important basics of television and movie writing. In a condensed version of what could have been an entire semester’s worth of classes, you will learn how to capture an audience’s attention and create lovable and empathetic characters audiences will love. TV Writer, by the way, is packed with useful information about television writing.

Because I feel so strongly about this video, I could go on and on about it, but why not just send you right to the source? I think you’ll agree with me that this video is packed with important information any writer venturing into the television or movie industry would need to know. Have a pad of paper and a pen within reach! And ENJOY!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Dreams, Crafts, Death, Karma, Asthma, Honesty, Grudges, Television, Blogs, and More

The following links connect to blogs I’ve been writing lately – if any of the topics interest you, I hope you’ll read them. The titles should be self explanatory and I’ve placed them into as few categories as possible.






Day Care Providers BEWARE! (Of Accepting Payments from a Child Care Resource Service) 

The Grudge Wall (Holding Grudges

Monday, March 30, 2015

How to Make LOTS of Money

Previously published on Yahoo Contributor Network and then stolen by one of those plagiarized sites I mentioned in the following linked blog: WRITERS! This Site is Stealing Your Work! Rather than change the whole thing to past tense, I kept everything in the present and mentioned in various places certain changes that have taken place since I first wrote this article. 

Ah, money! Who doesn't love money? We are in love with the sound of it, the smell of it, the feel of it - and, oh, yes, the everything of money.

We even write songs about it, like Money by Pink Floyd, Can't Buy Me Love by The Beatles, Can't Always Get What You Want by the Rolling Stones, and For the Love of Money by the O'Jays.

Money, money, money, money - what a melodious word. And oh, what we do for the love of money. With all the romanticism surrounding money, though, you would think money was the answer to every problem. It's not. However, money can be problematic, though usually more because of its absence than because of its presence.

The biggest problem with money, as I see it, is our relationship with money. It's all so one-sided. We love money, but money doesn't love us back. And though we want money, some of us can't seem to find it. When we get money, some of us lose it.

Some of us save it for a rainy day; others lavishly spend it. Some of us give our money away, and some of us hoard it. But more often than not, many of us hunger for it. We need money and money seems to know it.

But money doesn't care, and money doesn't realize its worth. We realize its worth, though, because in our quest for money, some of us resort to illegal activities to obtain it. Money from drugs and gambling can build empires. The trade-off is the constant threat of losing every dollar (and more) we steal, or going to prison - not a risk I'm wiling to take.

The most common way to get money, other than to receive it as a gift, through inheritance, or through any of the methods mentioned above, is to work for it. For instance, right now, because I work as a writer, I make my living writing blogs and articles.

I use the term, "living" loosely. At $1.55 for every one thousand people who read my Associated Content/Yahoo Contributor Network articles, if I wanted to make $2,000 a month, I would have to snag at least 1,290,322.58 readers each and every month. I have been on AC/YCN since June of '08 and as of this posting have received less than 85,000 total reads. (UPDATE: AC/YCN has been kaput for a while now.)

Another way I make money is through Adsense and Amazon (no longer on Amazon). I also write for Xomba where they (used to) share their Adsense revenue with me.

But so far, I haven't even made the minimum $100 needed for a payout. Until I reach $100, I receive nothing, so I check my Adsense growth for some sign of income. So far, since March of 2009, my Adsense earnings from my blogs and, more recently from Xomba, have reached a staggering $43 (in 2010 when I wrote this post).

Writing is obviously not supporting me, so what if I were to change jobs?

If I were a star athlete for the Chicago Cubs in 2010, I could make $2,125,000. Not bad for a season's worth of work.

But with a bad back, a horrible history of asthma, breast cancer, absolutely no athletic skills whatsoever, and, did I mention how old I am (59)? - I can't count on making even a nickel playing sports.

So what about acting? If I were Mariska Hargitay or Christopher Meloni (of Law & Order: SVU), I could expect to make $395,000 per episode. I could live on that.

However, if I were Charlie Sheen (of Two and a Half Men), I could command $1.25 million PER EPISODE (less than the $2 million he supposedly made the year before). Hey! If I were Charlie Sheen, I could even be the philanthropist he is and help those poor prostitutes who have to work hard for a living.

I wonder, though, how Jon Cryer (of Two and a Half Men) feels. He makes less than half of his co-worker's salary, a mere $550,000 per episode (poor man), but I could hone my acting skills if I thought I could bring in half a million dollars.

I don't see myself as an actor though, nor would I ever wanted to be an actor.

Maybe I should report the news. Matt Lauer (of Today) makes more than $16 million a year. Or I could host my own reality show. Ryan Seacrest (of American Idol) makes $15 million a year.

Yes! That's it! I could gather all of my grandchildren together, start my own family show, and, like Kate Gosselin (of Kate Plus 8), bring in $250,000 per episode.

Oh, who am I kidding? I'd probably do better as a talk show host. Contrary to comments I've heard people say, such as, "I wouldn't know what to do with all that money," I would really like to try living on Oprah Winfrey's $315 million salary. I'd even settle for Chelsea Handler's (of Chelsea Lately) meager yearly income of $3.5 million.

Alas, I am only a writer. So what can I expect to make? Well, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Median annual wages for salaried writers and authors were $53,070 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $38,150 and $75,060. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $28,020, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $106,630."

I've decided I would like to be in the top 10 percent, and I would like to have a more fulfilling relationship with money.

So - I have a request to make of you, my readers: Please contact 69 million of your friends and relatives and ask them to read my articles. To help my Adsense growth, please read my blogs and invite your friends and relatives to read them as well. (For convenience sake, I have included links to all of my blogs and articles at the end of this article.)

Lesson to be gained from reading this article: if you want to make lots of money, prepare for yourself a career in the entertainment field.

By the way, if you are interested in learning the salaries of various sports teams and their stars, click THIS USA Today LINK! Pick a sport, choose a player's name or team, decide which year you would like to investigate, and discover what salary your favorite player made. The site goes back only so far though, so if you're expecting to find Michael Jordan's salary from the 1980s, you're out of luck.

If you've made it all the way to the end - to this paragraph, I want to personally thank you for taking the time to read the entire article. Don't forget to tell 69 million of your closest friends to read my blogs and articles each month - I'm aiming for that top earning status for writers!

So, how can we make LOTS of money? We have to become coveted actors, sports players, or talk show hosts!


What follows is a list of my blogs. If you see anything that appeals to you, I invite you to click the link and read some of the blogs. Thank you for visiting!



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