Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy from my POV in my living room at about 3:30PM today. I'm scared.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Peek versus peak and pique--how to recognize which one to use visually

I'm a good speller, but even I get some words confused. When is it "peek," rather than "peak," and vice versa?

I ran into this problem while editing Why My Love Life Sucks: The Legend of Gilbert the Fixer (book one). It's lucky that I noticed it, because it's not the kind of thing spell check picks up.

As a visual learner, I realized the best way to remember which one to use is with a drawing.

Peek has two Es, which are like two eyes peeking. If you can see the eyes peeking, you've spelled it right.

Peak, when spelled with a capital A, has a peak in the middle, like a mountain peak. Remember that the A in peak is a mountain peak, and you'll get that one right too.

Pique has a Q in it, and a lowercase q looks like a monocle. Think of someone wearing a monocle whose curiosity has been piqued. If it helps, think of the i in pique as an upside down question mark asking, "What is that? It piques my curiosity."

peek, peAk and pique: now you can tell which one to use when.

 I hope this helps you too.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

5 Reasons Why a Writer Needs a Blog

There are so many reasons why writers don't blog on a daily or even weekly basis. 

I often feel that if I have time to write and edit something, I should spend it writing and editing my next novel. Even as I'm writing this, I can hear Why My Love Life Sucks: The Legend of Gilbert the Fixer (book one) laying a heavy guilt trip on me, and it's not because I kill the main character off in the first few pages. It's because I really, really need to finish editing it, so people can finally read it. "So why," the story asks, "are you working on this blog post instead?"

But guilt trips aren't the only things keeping me from blogging. Sometimes I wonder if I have anything to say in a blog post, if anyone wants to hear it, and if blogging is really worth the time and effort. I know some bloggers have huge egos and think people will be fascinated by everything they do and think. I'm not one of those bloggers.

Perhaps you have similar issues.

Then I met Roxanne Porter, who told me every writer should have a blog. I asked her my favorite question: "Why?" 

Below you'll find her response. Thanks, Roxanne, for giving me a little food for thought. 

* * *

I started reading blogs long before I ever started writing my own. Despite being a writer, I was a little shy of putting my own personal thoughts and feelings out on the internet for anyone and everyone to read, and I had strong doubts that anyone would actually have any interest in what I had to say. When I finally caved and started my own blog I had no idea the impact that it would have on my life, and as my blogging has progressed I've been pleasantly surprised with the benefits that have come with blogging.

5 Reasons Why Every Writer Needs a Blog

1.       It allows you to network within the writing/blogging community. Blogging exposes you to a plethora of people, both with the same interests as your own and with differing ones, and it allows you to form friendships with people you would have never met otherwise. Some of my closest friends are people ’ve met through blogging, and being avid readers of other blogs and active with my own blog has allowed me to not only meet new people but also to find freelance jobs and to use my blog as a platform to publish freelance work. 

2.       It gives you a chance to write what YOU want to write daily. So often, as writers, we are confined to write a certain way of writing due to assignments or to the niche that we have found a career in. Writing your own blog gives you a chance to deviate from your normal writing routine and write solely for you. It allows you to stay in touch with the reason you began writing in the first place, and offers you a place where you can continually experiment with your writing. 

3.       It can serve as a portfolio for interested employers. Whenever I’ve applied for writing jobs I've included a link to my blog at the end of my signature, allowing prospective employers to read my work and get a feel for my writing skills and expertise. Your blog can function perfectly as a pseudo-portfolio when you’re trying to secure writing positions, and mine has helped me land several different writing jobs throughout the years. 

4.       It lets you fine tune your writing skills. The best way to sharpen your writing skills is through practice, and when you blog on a daily or weekly basis you are doing just that. You are constantly brainstorming ideas, writing posts, proof-reading and editing them, and publishing your work, which is a small scale version of any writing assignment you may have, whether it’s writing a freelance article or completing a book.

5.       It gives you the opportunity for constructive criticism. You can learn a lot about the way you write and where you can improve through the comments’ section of your blog, and being open to comments from readers around the blogosphere can give you some constructive criticism in how you can improve your writing. We all need critiquing from time to time and this is a great way to get some unbiased assessments of your writing.
Blogging has opened up a whole new world for me and helped me to become a much stronger writer. Whether I’m writing a daily quip for myself or polishing up a submission for an employer, I’m much more confident in my own skills because of all of the time I've spent blogging. It doesn't matter if you write technical pieces, fictional literature, or freelance articles for a living; no matter what type of writing you do blogging can help you enhance your writing style and further your career.


So what do you think? Is blogging worth the time, and if so, why? I hope you'll post your thoughts in the comments below.

Author Bio:
Roxanne Porter is a nanny, freelance blogger, and regular contributor to She writes about nanny services and the experience of being a nanny. You can email her at r.poter08 at

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Your Bully Doesn't Know You. Only You Can Define How You See Yourself.

When a viewer sent her an email calling her a poor role model because of her weight, TV news anchor Jennifer Livingston at first wanted to ignore it. After discussing it with her husband, however, she decided to go on the air to explain why the man who sent that email was wrong, and why this kind of behavior is never okay. 

She did it because she realized it was this man who was being a bad role model. What if a kid overheard him making fun of the "fat news lady" and then went to school and told the kids there that they weren't worthy because of their weight? How would it make those kids feel? 

Kids need to know that it's wrong to judge people based on physical appearance. Each person is so much more than he or she appears on the outside. And more importantly, we can't let the opinions of bullies--who don't really know us--determine how we feel about ourselves. 

This is the same message I hope to get across to kids with Dan Quixote: Boy of Nuevo Jersey, particularly with the lesson plan for that book. Kids need to understand that bullies don't really know who they are and can't define how they see themselves. Every person is special. We each have unique talents, and the world is a better place when we're free to express those talents and be ourselves. Bullies try to take that away from other kids, and it makes the world a sadder place. It's wrong, and we have to let kids know that it's wrong.

Bravo to Jennifer Livingston! For the record, I think you're smart, talented, beautiful and very brave for taking a stand.