Thursday, December 24, 2015

As the year ends

My final for English 372 was on December 10th.

Last day of work was December 18th, and I return on January 4th.

When the class arrived for the final we were missing two students. One student was given accommodations earlier and the other student was always late for class. Was wondering if he was going to show up or not.

So, our professor gave us a mock up of how to read the grades we got for the semester. We already knew what each component of class was worth, but he listed everything on one page. Our short story was worth half of the semster grade, which equaled 500 points. There were 4 other components that were worth 100 points each, and two worth 50 points each.

First we read over his critique of our short story and the grade we got for the short story. As always, I had problems with commas. They do not like me and I am beginning to take it personally. Then we got the semester grade sheet. Then he went over the final. After all of that, he announces, that if we are happy with our semester grade we did not have to take the final. If we were going that route, we were to signed the semester grade sheet acknowledging our semester grade, we are happy with it and we aren't taking the final. He also said, if we have a grade with the word "BORDERLINE" following it, he suggested we take the final. It may bump you up to the next grade depending on how well you did. It could not hurt you. He strongly suggested to take the final if you were borderline.

I was borderline. I had a B+, and I had worked very hard all semester long to earn an A in the class.

At the beginning of the semester, there were 20 students. We finally ended up with 16 students after the final drop day. One young man dropped after the first two days of class. The last one was a young lady on the very last day of dropping without receiving an F on your report card.

15/16 students showed up for the final. Seven of us decided to take the final. Just as we were getting starting, half an hour after the final started, the boy who was always late showed up. He too took the final. The final consisted of two parts. The first part was to write dialog. He gave us the picture of a couple, a head shot.  She was a blonde and he had medium brown hair. The requirements for the dialog was each person had to have three separate pieces of dialog, they were both attorneys and they were at a wedding reception. This was the minimum. If there were others in the piece that were talking, that's good too, but the two people in the picture, had to speak three separate times each. He said, of course if we wanted to, we could write more. He had also told us on the last day of class if we wanted to, we could bring our laptops to class for the final. I'm so glad I did.

I ended up writing a 1 1/2 page flash fiction. I would post it here, but I am going to submit it to a literary magazine, and they won't accept it, if it has been published somewhere else, including my blog. Once I get it accepted somewhere, and the rights revert back to me, I will publish it on my blog.

I received an email from my professor telling me that my dialog was the best in the class. I received an A+ on my final, and that I earned an A in the class. That just made my day, month, and year. I am so excited I did so well after being out of school for so long. I graduated December 14, 1991.

So, as the year ends, I look back on all of the things that have happened to me.  I started working for Southeastern Louisiana University. I have gone back to school to earn a second BA. And I have earned an A in my first class back. Now, if I can only continue to do so each semester, I will be in fantastic shape.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

BA in English with a Concentration in Creative Writing

This summer I decided to go back to school and earn another BA. This time, a BA in English with a concentration in creative writing. I applied to Southeastern Louisiana University, in Hammond, LA, and I was accepted. Due to finances, I can only take one or two classes per semester.  I took one this fall semester.

Because I started so late in the application process, I had to take whatever class was available.  What was available was English 372 Creative Writing.  Perfect!!!  Just what I wanted. A writing class. It has been a very good class.  I have learned a lot, read a lot and wrote a lot.

Fall classes ended last week, and this week is finals week.  My class final is tomorrow.  I'm praying I do well.  I am aiming for an A in the class.  One girl could care less.  She'll take whatever she gets, and if she has to redo the class, oh well.  No big deal.  No big deal? I don't believe it. I'm so glad I'm not only an adult, but a grown-up and know the difference.

I will, over the next month, write about the class and what I learned and what I did.

We read short stories and flash fictions out of The Story and Its Writer.  Some of the stories were really good such as A Rose for Miss Emily and others that were just awful (my opinion) such as Girl.  As we read how short stories are done and what can be done with a short story we learn what we can do.

There is plenty more to write and I will continue to tell you, I hope you enjoy it.

Please follow my post and follow my journey as I earn my BA.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I need more followers and names for characters

Hello Everyone,

Thank you for following and reading my blog over the last several years.  I know I don't blog as much as others do, but I don't want to overload you with information or clog up your email account.  With that said, I am looking for additional followers for my blog.  Right now I have only 24 followers and would love to have 100 or more.  One hundred followers is my goal, but would love more.

This is what I am going to do.  Once I hit 100 followers, I will be holding a raffle.  What kind of raffle you ask?  Is it for a book, or a bookmark or some other fancy thing you may loose?  Nope! None of that.

Once I reach 100 followers I will hold two raffles.  One for the men and one for the women.  For each person who wins, I will use their name in my current WIP [work in progress].  It will be your first and last name for a character, and you can decide if you wish to be a bad character or a good character.  If you have an unusual name, that is fine.  You will just need to give me the definition and pronunciation for it.  I may incorporate that piece of information into the story line.  I won't know until someone wins.

So please, ask your friends and family members to follow my blog.  I write only clean romance stories.  I am working on a Christmas themed anthology.  There will be four or five stories for the anthology.  The first one I am working on is a Regency Romance.

Please help me get more followers and then I can have the raffle.

Thank you again for reading my blog and following me.


Friday, October 10, 2014

How To Improve One's Writing

Hello everyone.  To improve one's writing, one must learn new things.  It's as easy as joining a writing group to as time consuming as going back to school.

If your friends say you tell wonderful stories of your adventures or everyday life then you should write them down.  They may not be in perfect form, but you have started.  Maybe you have always told stories but only in your head, write them down.  It can be as detailed as you want.  Maybe you wake up in the middle of the night from either a wonderful dream or a nightmare.  Keep paper and pencil by your bed and write the dream down.  This is how you start to become a writer.

But, how do you improve your writing?  Maybe you were a natural in English class in high school and always did a great job.  But, if you are like most of us, you did okay, and could really use some improvement in the writing department.

The first thing you should do is join a writing league or writing group.  It all depends on the area you live in for what is available to you.  I am a member of the League of Utah Writers, the Oquirrh Chapter.  They have a meeting once a month.  Each meeting is different and provides valuable information.  Most meetings will have a speaker who will come in and talk about the craft of writing.  S/he will talk about grammar, syntax (the arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences in a language), character study and development and anything else related to writing.  Always take a note pad and something to write with.  Some people like pens other people prefer pencils.  Just don't forget to bring them with you.

The second thing you should do is to take a class.  Although the presenters at our league meetings are usually published authors, they are not teachers.  They are just passing along what they have learned.  Take a class.  Your local community college may offer a night class for several  weeks.  It could be specific or generic.  Specific it could be a class to learn how to write poetry, film/TV scripts or novels.  Generic, it could be just how to improve your writing.

Your other option for taking a class is to actually go back to school.  And that is my plan.  My plan is to return to school and earn a BA in English with a Concentration in Creative Writing and a Minor in Publishing Studies.  Now, going back to school may not be ideal for you.  But you can still take a class here and there to help improve your writing.

As your writing improves so will your chances of publication.  Always take the opportunity to learn something new.  If you're already a published author, take the opportunity to give some of your writing wisdom/knowledge to those who are wanting to learn the craft.  It will be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Write From Your Everyday Experiences and Knowledge

What makes the best writers?  Is it perfect grammar? Is it having a way with words? Is it being highly educated in the English language or whatever language you write in?  All of these things help, but the answer is NO.  What makes the best writers?  It is people who write what they know and experience.

A good example would be Clive Cussler who writes adventure stories surrounding History and water.  He is an underwater archaeologist.  Another example would be Jane Austen.  Some people believe she wrote romance stories.  She did not.  What she actually wrote was the shenanigans of what went on in her everyday life.  There just so happened to be some romance involved in the nonsense that went on in her circle of friends and family.   Hemingway wrote of his experiences around the world.  That’s what makes his stories so compelling.  Another example is Zane Gray who wrote about cowboys and the West.

Of course there are exceptions to this rule.  One would be the genre of science fiction.  This is stuff made up from someone’s imagination.  And boy, do some people have an imagination.  A good example would be Frank Herbert who wrote the Dune Trilogy.  The other genre would be fantasy.  Again, people writing in this genre write about things they have made up.  A good example for a fantasy writer would be Hans Christian Anderson.

So, what am I telling you?  It’s simple.  If you are writing a medical novel then you should know something about the medical field and then use your experiences while working in medicine.  You want to write novels set in the West and you’ve never been, then go visit.  Phyllis A. Whitney did just that.  She wanted to set a book in a certain city or country she would go and live there for six months.  She would get the feel of the place, get maps, and walk everywhere.  Her daughter would go with her and be her secretary.  She wrote at least one book a year from 1947 to 1994, totally more than 60 novels.  Her last novel was published when she was in her 90s.

But on the other hand, if you want to write a novel that involves murder, DO NOT become a murderer.  Read a lot on local murders in your area, talk with a detective and read books by others who write murder novels.  This is one area where I will tell you, you do not need experience in, in order to write about it.

The next thing you need to do is to buy a small notebook with lined paper and an elastic band that keeps it closed.  That way the pages don’t get mangled.  Keep it in your purse or your backpack or in your pocket.  When you see something or hear something or experience something, you can write it down.  You don’t have to write it down exactly how it happened, just the gist of it.  Sometimes when writing, you’re not sure of what your character is to do next.  That is when you can open your notebook and start reading about what you've seen, heard and done.  You may find exactly what you need.

Also, along with a journal in your purse or pocket, you should keep a notebook and pen/pencil next to your bed.  That way, when you wake from a dream, you can write it down before it disappears.  Keep that paper handy.

So, you now have experiences or you have done your research, what should you do?  You write your book of course.  I like to write down my character names and a bio on them.  Almost all of my characters will get both a first and last name.  Not all of the last names will appear in my story, but having a last name sort of completes my character.  Some people like to sit and just write whatever comes into their head.  Some people like to outline everything before they write.  That is completely up to you.  But write what you know or what you have done a good research job on and use your daily experiences in your writing.

Monday, September 15, 2014

3 star review for Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop

Otto Penzler is a book publisher/editor who also runs a mystery book bookshop.  It is in New York City, although no longer at its original location.  From 1993 to 2009 he asked famous mystery writers to write a tale he could hand out to his customers at Christmas time.  There were just three requirements: must be set at Christmas time, must be a crime/mystery/suspense story and part of the action must take place in his bookshop.  These are very short stories and although the book said they were written by well known/famous mystery writers, I only recognize three of the names: Ed McBain, Anne Perry and Mary Higgins Clark.  With that said, I checked the book out of the library.  I know it's not Christmas and we haven't even had Halloween yet, but I was curious to see what these people wrote.

I did not read all of them.  They were okay, but really not impressive.  It was good light reading, but some of the stories have, what my mother would call, "salty" language.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

zero Star review for The Ghost and the Dead Deb

What?  A zero star you ask?  Correct.  A zero star.  I hate it when an author writes a wonderful and then dirties it up with vulgar words.

Cleo Coyle writing as Alice Kimberly wrote a great book.  The story was fantastic.  This is a second book in a series of six.  Unfortunately, this pair of writers decided the best thing to do was to drop the f-bomb when you were about 30 pages from the end.  How sad.  They completely made their story worthless. I did a Google search and found out this is a husband and wife writing team writing under two different fake names.  That doesn't make it any better.

Why do otherwise extremely talented people feel it necessary to add vulgarity to their stories?  I don't get it.  I don't use the f-bomb, I have never used the f-bomb and the same goes for using the Lord's name as a curse word.  It is only people who can't express themselves intelligently or want to go with the flow that use this kind of language.  What crap these two turned out to be.  Sad too, I wanted to read the other books.  Glad to know not to waste my time.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

One Star Review of Deadly Undertakings by Gregg Luke

I am not happy with this author.  I hate it when men have their lead female characters act stupid.  If he wanted a stupid character then he should have had the male MC be stupid.  Leave us women alone.

I liked the blurb on the back of the book.  It made the story sound great.  And it was great for the first 148 pages out of 288.  Then, his very smart character did a very stupid thing.  AT that point I didn't care if she survived or not.  Each choice has a consequence.

I read bits and pieces of the next few chapters and then jumped to the last ten pages.  I'm glad I didn't bother to read the whole thing.  I'm also glad I bought the book on a discount table.  That way I didn't waste too much money on it.  I won't be buying another one of his books.

The reason he got one star is because the first half of the book was really good.  But that's the only reason he got one star.

I can't suggest this book nor the author.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

New Indiegogo campaign

Hello Everyone.  I have a new indiegogo campaign.  It is shorter and the perks are better.  Stop by and help.  Thanks.


Brenda's Indiegogo campaign

Friday, June 27, 2014

Indiegogo campaign update

Hello everyone,

Today's update is I have 7% of what I am trying to raise and only 9 1/2 days left to get the other 93%.  I could really use some help from my followers and their friends.  Please stop by.  Every $5 or $10 will help me get closer to my goal.  Please repost on your blog to help get the word out.  I would really appreciate it.  You can donate from anywhere in the world; not just in the US.

Please go to Brenda's Indiegogo campaign .  There are share buttons for Facebook, Twitter and google share.  Also, if you are on LinkedIn you could post it there too.  Please help me get the word out there.

Your help is greatly appreciated.  Thank you very much.

An Aspiring Writer