Category Archives: life

A to Z Challenge

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2014]

The April A to Z Challenge starts in two days. Who is participating? I’m attempting yet again to do this challenge. I tried for the last two years to get to the letter Z but I never made it. I can’t promise this will be the year but I’m going to give it another shot. I love the A to Z challenge for numerous reasons.

1. It makes me think. I try really hard to come up with interesting topics and love to see what comes to mind.

2. It’s a great way to meet other writers. I have met some great writers through the A to Z challenge and still visit their blogs whenever I get a chance.

3. New readers find your blog.

4. It helps build discipline. (Anything that encourages you to write everyday is a good thing).

5. It’s interesting to see what others come up with.

6. It’s fun.

If you are participating in this challenge leave a comment letting me know. I will stop by your blog to see what you are writing about.

Have fun. Happy Writing!

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Filed under A to Z, life, writer's life, writers, Writing

10 THINGS NOVELIST DREAM ABOUT

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1. Seeing their name in Print

2. Signing their autograph

3. An offer from an agent

4. Selling their book

5. Their book cover

6. Making The New York Times Best Sellers List

7. Great Reviews

8. Writing full time

9. A book store filled with their books

10. Their Next Book

What did I miss?

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Filed under books, dreaming, life, novel, random, story telling, story writing, writer's life, writers

The Forgotten and Undiscovered-A Writer’s Fear

Last week I stumbled upon a few totes filled with my writings from years ago. Discovering my earlier work made me smile and delayed my cleaning (of course, I had to stop what I was doing and read through each and every piece). Most were short stories. There were a few poems (one which I entered into the SCBWI monthly writing contest. I was extremely excited when I got word I placed runner-up), a couple of assignments (back from when I took classes with the ICL), and some scribbled notes for my then incomplete but now complete middle-grade novel.
After reviewing and reflecting on my earlier writings, a realization punched me in the gut. Most of those writings will never see the outside of those totes. They have been sentenced to the world of forgotten and undiscovered.
Sure, one day when I’m wildly famous (it could happen right?) someone might steal those totes and sell the contents for a hefty sum (okay, maybe it’s more likely they will use them to start a fire) but chances are they will remain where they are.
The next day while driving, I thought about how many great pieces of works are out there that will never be read. The thought saddened me immensely. Someone right now can be writing a best seller but because of lack of time, fear, rejection or insecurity it will never become what it could be. Someone might have already wrote a timeless piece but for whatever reason it sits in a desk. If there is one thing that makes me panic, it is the possibility of leaving this world with totes filled of unpublished writings.
What’s your fear when it comes to writing?

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Filed under books, life, rejections, writer's life, writers, writing, Writing

Books at the Beach

When I was about eleven years old I went to Ocean City New Jersey with my family. We set our spots up and unpacked all of the beach essentials. As I was about to lay on my blanket and get some sun I noticed my aunt was reading. I recall looking around and becoming fascinated by so many people holding books. I wanted to be one of them. I begged my mother to take me to the boardwalk that night so I could select a book of my own. I wanted to read on the beach too.

My first beach read was Tigers Eye by Judy Blume. I, along with my aunt and the other beach readers stretched out a blanket, plopped down and read on the beach. I was part of a club and I couldn’t help but feel special.

Many years later, I am still part of the beach reading club. This past week as I sat with legs stretched along the sand reading my selection (Go Ask Alice), inspiration hit. There were so many people holding traditional books and kindles in front of their noses that I just had to know, what they were reading.

I started off by nonchalantly strolling past them sneaking a peak at the titles. When I couldn’t make out the titles, I had to muster up the courage to ask them what they were reading. No one seemed to think I was crazy which made me happy. Everyone I asked, was happy to tell me what they were reading.

Below is a list of the books I found being read on the beach.

  1. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – This book was the most popular book being read on the beach. At least three of the people I approached were reading the suspense novel. One lady advised me that she loved that the story fluctuated point of views, going from husband to wife. Prior to the beach, I was hearing a lot of buzz about this book. I think it might be one of my next reads.
  2. Velocity: Combining Lean, Six Sigma and The Theory of Constraints to Achieve Breakthrough Performance—A Business Novel
  3. Bared To You by Sylvia Day—Erotic Romance. Book reviews say that this book has an emotional feel similar to Fifty Shades of Grey.
  4. Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood Book 12) If you still are yearning for vampires this series of books might be a good beach read for you.
  5. Go Ask Alice-Anonymous–This book is a diary of a young fifteen year old girl who experiences drugs for the first time when giving a soda laced with LSD. She gets caught up in the drug scene and writes about her struggles in daily journal entries.
  6. Chain Reaction (Perfect Chemistry) by Simone Elkeles– Love, family secrets, gangs, this book has it all.

So, there we have it. Those are the books I spotted being read while vacationing. I know there are a few listed that I have already added to my TBR list. Did you vacation this year? What book did you bring along? Are any of these on your TBR list?

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Filed under books, Fiction, life, novel, random, reading, writers, writing, Writing, Young Adult

Perseverance

If you really want your writing to become something then you have no choice but to persevere. When I began writing, I thought, How hard can this be? Write a few stories, submit to some major publishing houses and instantly become discovered. Ten years later, I look back at my younger self and think, Wow are you naïve. Sure, a few things happened early on that made me think no sweat, but the prize I’m searching for has not yet been found.
I am proud of the recognitions I have received along the way but I still have hopes for more. The goal at this point in my life is to land an agent and see my manuscripts in print. Currently, I have possibilities which completely excite me but if for whatever reason they get denied, I plan on persevering.

For today’s a to z challenge I have decided to list a few of my favorite perseverance quotes. Which was one is your favorite? Do you have one you would like to share?

• “Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.” Walter Elliott

• “All great masters are chiefly distinguished by the power of adding a second, a third, and perhaps a fourth step in a continuous line. Many a man has taken the first step. With every additional step you enhance immensely the value of your first.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

• “Success seems to be connected with action. Successful men keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” Conrad Hilton

• “For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again.” [Proverbs 24:16] Bible

• “In order to get from what was to what will be, you must go through what is.” Anonymous

• “What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight – it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” General Dwight Eisenhower

• “Don’t let life discourage you; everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was.” Richard L. Evans

• “Perseverance is a positive, active characteristic. It is not idly, passively waiting and hoping for some good thing to happen. It gives us hope by helping us realize that the righteous suffer no failure except in giving up and no longer trying. We must never give up, regardless of temptations, frustrations, disappointments, or discouragements.” Joseph P. Wirthlin

• “Defeat is simply a signal to press onward.” Helen Keller

• You may not receive what you hope for today, but tomorrow may bring the reward you weren’t expecting. Keep writing for tomorrow because it will eventually come. Maribeth Graham (aka me)

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Filed under books, Inspirational, life, rejections, story writing, writer's life, writers, Writing

E.E. Cummings and My Father

This coming June will be four years that I have been living without my father. My father was such a wonderful man. He was everything I aspire to be. He treated all people the same. He was well respected, intelligent, wise, simple and extremely loving. During his illness, my family and I traveled to Philadelphia to support him while he underwent open heart surgery. The night before he went into surgery, I read him my favorite poem by E.E. Cummings I Carry Your Heart with Me. I will forever carry his heart. He was my biggest cheerleader when it came to writing. He was the first one to believe in me. I believe he is on the other side pulling as many strings as he can to help further my career.

I Carry Your Heart with Me by E.E. Cummings

I carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

Do you have a favorite poem? Who does it remind you of?

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Filed under emotions, life, writer's life, writers, Writing

ACT IT OUT

ACT IT OUT

This blog post has been walking around my thoughts for a while. I’m glad it coincides with the first letter of the blog writing challenge from A to Z.

Have you ever got to the point in your story that is begging for an action scene? You stare stupidly at the screen in front of you. Your imagination presents to you a clear picture but the words you type out are bland. All you want to do is get your main character up the stairs (insert whatever scenario you are writing about here) quickly and down the hallway to the back bedroom where there is another hidden room that she can hide from the baseball bat carrying stranger. You feel her anxiety rush through your bones but yet you can’t convey it on paper.

There are a million action scenes that can be acted out right in the confines of your own home that will help make your scene stronger. I am forever jumping over obstacles, banging into things, pretending to shoot darts, stirring a pot just so I can experience the moment of the scene. What happens when I bump into something? Does pain shoot through my body? Do I bounce back? Do I bruise?

Please don’t think I like self mutilation because I promise I do not. But, I like to get down and dirty with my writing so I can help my readers experience the scene as if they are part of it.

If I was trying to get my character up the stairs, I’d probably find a flight and start racing up them. I’d pay attention to my movements. Do I stumble? Do I catch my fall with the palms of my hands slamming against the step above? Do I trip over clutter on the stair, causing my knee to smash into the step? Once I reach the top what happens? Do I turn back to see if the stranger is right behind? Or do I race down the hallway to the secret room only I (aka the character) knows about?

If this is not something you have done before, I suggest you give it a shot. It could be something as simple as making a pot of coffee. Act out the action and see what you come up with.

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Filed under character, constructing, Fiction, life, writer's life, writers, Writing