For some reason I can add sidebars, but not new posts. Please check back later. I have been working on a variety of things including switching my blog soon from this one, which was set up with my now-defunct West Wisconsin Telcom account. I hope to have my new blog through Gmail up soon. I will provide a link and announcement when I've got everything straight. 7/2/11

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hitting the rails for Chicago

Carl and I are taking a brief break from our idyllic rural life in the rolling hills and ravines of Western Wisconsin and heading to Second City. We’re taking Amtrak’s Empire Builder train to Union Station in Chicago, where we’ll stay at the historic Palmer House Hotel (now part of the Hilton Hotel family). Our plans include spending much time with my cousin Jean Fulton and her husband, artist Steve Coates, eating, laughing, talking, seeing Evita, and roaming the Art Institute of Chicago. My blog will take a brief vacation, too. See you back here on Wednesday, April 1!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dancing and writing

Chances are if you live in the Dunn County area, you know Rebecca and Kenton Whitman. I first met them years ago when I started taking Beginning Belly Dancing from Rebecca. I have gotten to know them both well over the years. Kenton and I have shared our traumas and joys of being writers for a long time. With Rebecca’s horse-riding accident last fall, they realized—with their usual sunny dispositions—that they had an opportunity to increase their writing and design business. Check out the article I wrote for the Dunn County News at

Monday, March 23, 2009

Recently read: Joseph Wambaugh’s Hollywood Crows

Always a fun read, former LAPD member Wambaugh was one of the first of the contemporary real-life detectives who turned their sights on writing police procedurals. This one is a sequel to Hollywood Station, and continues the chronicle of the police pounding the beat in the surreal area where street people dress like cartoon characters and a full moon has an impact beyond anywhere else in the city. I love the two surfer cops in particular. A perfect travel read while waiting at airports and train depots.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring Equinox

Enjoy the first day of spring today. In Wisconsin, by using our imagination, we can feel a hint of the new season in the air. Of course, we have to overlook the overcast sky and the fact that Sharpie and Carl had light snow falling on them during their early morning walk!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Teacher Tube

I’m probably the only teacher in America who didn’t know about Teacher Tube—the academic version of You Tube. In case this is new to you, too, check it out at The videos are mainly for PK-12. Although I’ve subscribed to the College & University and the Career & Technology channels, the videos still seem to be for younger students.

They can be inspirational, though. I’m pondering spawning my own version of Mrs. Burk’s Parameter Rap

How’s this sound: Mizz Erica’s Grammar Rap. Perhaps some lyrics along the lines of "The subject and the verb must always agree CLAP If you write them wrong then fired you will be CLAP . . . " Hmmm, I think it will need more work!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Recently read: Rhys Bowen’s In Dublin’s Fair City

A new author to me, Bowen has a long list of books. This one is part of her Molly Murphy mysteries set at the turn of the century. The book starts in New York City, but the majority of the action takes place in Dublin. I’m not sure how much leeway to be a private investigator not to mention a sassy one would have been possible a century ago, but that doesn’t detract from the novel. Murphy is tracking a millionaire’s long lost baby sister and her troubles start before the ship even docks when she agrees to switch places with an actress. Sassiness apparently accompanies naivety in women detectives even back then! Still, this is a pleasant, light read and I intend to track down more of Bowen’s books.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Contests in April and May are rolling in

Image from Dover Publishing at

This promises to be a busy spring with all the writing contests on the horizon. There are still open in March. I've added a number to April as well as started a section for May. Scroll down to The Money Corner to check them out. Happy writing this spring!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Recently read: Michael Connelly’s Echo Park

One of my favorite writers in the thriller genre, Connelly’s hero Harry Bosch never disappoints. Bosch, a sensitive guy as always, is haunted by a case he didn’t solve. As a detective now in the LAPD Open-Unsolved Unit, he gets to try again to bring justice for the victim. An accused murderer is negotiating a deal to avoid the death penalty by confessing to several unsolved cases, one of which was Bosch’s. As Bosch scrutinizes the file, interviews the prisoner, and revisits the people involved in the 13-year-old case, it appears that he and his partner may have missed a clue. A good read with plenty of action and angst!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Selling Books

Several years ago I learned of Cathy Stucker, the IdeaLady. I’ve subscribed to her free newsletters and found them excellent. Her current one, Selling Books at is a good source of information for electronic publishing. I know at some point an e-book is in my future (WRITING them, that is—I’ve already READ a lot of them). Here’s a link to an article from a recent newsletter on marketing e-books as selling tools:

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Al Harris: musician, writer, and explorer

I first learned of musician and writer Al Harris through the Artella web site ( ), where I bought Harris’ Bach Flower Music CD. Based on the flower essence remedies, Harris developed music with similar properties. I was enchanted by both the concept and music. See for more information. Since then, I’ve run across interviews and other products by Harris and have been intrigued both by his insights and his creative techniques for self-exploration. I just finished the AlphaBetter Workshop by Marney Makridakis (my final Muse is Zany Zelda). Ready and eager to move onto the next journey, I’ve already begun Harris’ Musicmorphosis Workshop.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Recently read: Sherrie Mathieson’s Forever Cool

I’m a sucker for books on fashion, beauty, fitness and appearance in general. I am particularly obsessed with books dealing with, as the French say (only, of course, they would say it in French, not English) “women of a certain age.” This book is supposed to instruct Baby Boomers, both men and women, on how to fling off their old clothes and update their looks so that they never look frumpy again. I was looking for information on such things as how to decide what trend-of-the-moment to purchase and some tips on dressing to flatter middle-aged bodies. Instead, the book is a series of photos of people in ghastly clothes from the 1980s (there haven’t been any in my closet since 1992) on one page, and on the facing page is a photo of the same person smiling and wearing a “cool” outfit. The text says things like, “Never Cool: the wrong bag” and “Forever Cool: great accessories make the outfit.” To me, the handbags look about the same size and shape and I haven’t a clue what makes one never cool and the other forever cool. Basically, Mathieson’s advice seems to be to get rid of old clothes and buy new ones. I already do that. How does “forever” fit in? After reading the book, I’m still clueless as to what would make something forever cool—that phrase apparently is synonymous with “newly purchased.”

Friday, March 6, 2009

Today is . . .

Today is . . . faint stirrings of light green like dreams forgotten and buried under gray banks of old snow, with overtones of sepia tints and the scent of lilies. Time turns the seasons despite snow storms and world events and human moods; the earth ticks on.

See September 21, 2008 for the genesis of my “today is . . . ” postings.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Albedo One—contests and publishing

Albedo One , Ireland's Magazine of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror, sponsors contests throughout the year. The first one for this year, the Aeon Award 2009, is open through March 31. The grand prize is €1000, with other prizes of €200 and: €100. Then keep track (I will, too) of the opening of the remaining three throughout the year.

The magazine is in the market for authors of well-written stories that have not previously been published. The publication considers a broad range of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror in the 2,500 to 8,000 range. They want interviews with high profile authors, media personalities and for book reviews. If you are also an artist, they are looking for cover artwork on a commissioned basis.

There is also a publishing arm: Aeon Press, which specializes (not surprisingly!) in Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror novels.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Recently read; Joanne Harris’ Gentlemen and Players

I enjoyed Harris’ book, Five Quarters of the Orange, but liked this one even better. I’m a sucker for books that take us into the privileged world of British public schools (which are similiar to American “private” or “prep” schools). A crusty old Classics teacher, Roy Straitley, is fighting retirement and the blatant moves to force him out by the younger faculty. He has favorite students, maintains strict discipline, deals swiftly with attitude problems, and is totally NOT politically correct. He also doesn’t roll over and play dead for his adversaries. Soon students and teachers start to disappear, with Straitley suspecting one of the new teachers. Excellent plot, marvelous characters, vivid details—I was sorry when I reached the last page.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Chippewa Valley Business Report

I’ve added another cover story to my clip file! Check out the Winter issue of the CVBR at

And while you’re checking out publications, see the premiere of Kenton Whitman’s Nature Column in the Dunn County News at

Both these articles are proof of how important networking is for writers. A writer friend of mine, Kay Kruse-Stanton, put me and Mark Gunderman, the editor of the CVBR, in touch with each other when she took a job that prevented her from doing any more freelancing. And I put Kenton in touch with my friend, Barb Lyon, the editor of the Dunn County News. It’s not the Old Boys Network any longer, but it IS the Old Freelance Writers Network!