Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Hundred Gourds, December 2014

 Click here to view the current issue of A Hundred Gourds.

If you enjoy my haiku, you can read more on my home page, by checking the haiku label here on my blog, or by visiting my Instagram account.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Writing Journal, September 14th

A couple days ago, I decided that for the rest of the month of September I was going to take a bit of a social media break and limit my online time. I was hoping it would help me focus on my novel -- I have been SO distracted since the beginning of summer. Even the simple thought of sitting down to write made me feel constricted.

So, since Friday, I've only checked Instagram and email, and by this morning, I was feeling much more peaceful so decided to shut my computer down (Mac Freedom) -- I got in a really good brainstorming session which led to a light bulb moment!

Finally, a lot of the puzzle pieces fell into place. Really hoping this was what I needed to start moving forward again since at 60k, I'm so close to having a finished first draft. Would be wonderful to be able to finish it before the end of the year.

Granted, it will be a VERY messy first draft, but that's okay! That's what revisions are for, right?

Oh, I also wrote two haiku this morning, so I feel like I'm on my way again! A good reminder to always trust in the process, in the ebb and flow of creativity!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Happy September and Back to School, and I'm Back!

Well, after using the Weebly blog set-up for a few months, I've decided to come back to Blogger. I'm very happy overall with Weebly, but the image functions in Weebly blog pages really don't compare to Blogger and I find myself having to tinker a long time to get my posts to appear the way I want them to. Blogger is so much easier to use and has so many more options and customizable aspects. I think I've got my blog here seamlessly tied in though. You can't even tell it's not part of the same site.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm really happy with Weebly. I think my favourite function over there is the image slideshow. I've got a bunch of my haiku running through and it looks really cool! The site itself was very easy to set-up and I'm quite happy with it.

Other than that, I can't believe September is here. The writing, unfortunately, came to a grinding halt with the summer distractions but I'm hoping to get back to it now that school has started up again. I'm really looking forward to getting back to a regular routine.

Hope everyone out there is doing well and I hope you all have a fantastic fall!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy April!

I hope everyone is having a lovely Easter weekend, whether you celebrate it or not. Just wanted to pop in quickly and let everyone know that I will no longer be blogging here. I've officially moved over to my new website at

I'll still be blogging over there, but probably not often. Some posts may be closed to comments as well, depending on the nature of the post. I just can't keep up with it all, and I'd like to start limiting my online time.  

If you're also on Twitter, I'd love to connect with you there! It's where I spend most of my social media time. I'm at  Thank you! ❤

Monday, March 2, 2015

Allowing Yourself to be Bad

A Guest Post by Mona Leigh @readingfrk 

Some time ago, I jotted down a short piece about my early writing attempts, told myself I needed to let it chill before proofing it, then did a bit of traveling. The thing is, while I was enjoying my vacation, that short piece haunted me. Something was wrong with it and I couldn't put my finger on it, but I vowed to revisit it as soon as I got home.

So what did I do? I ignored it. And kept ignoring it. Just like my early writing attempts, ignoring the problem was easier than figuring it out and fixing it.

Then one morning, the truth hit me. I'd written the post determined to give an objective critique of my early work as compared to my current manuscript, but that's complete BS. No matter how much I've learned since those early days, I still have a soft spot for the first words I committed to paper despite how awful they are. We all do.

Those early works were my opportunity to use the most god-awful, stilted, flowery prose I could think of without feeling embarrassed. I was too under-informed at the time to draw a comparison between my poor writing and that of respected authors. Under-informed, you say? Yes, under-informed.

I knew the basics of writing, and despite my hillbilly accent and lazy vocabulary, I have a decent grasp on grammar thanks to some wonderful teachers. So what was the problem? I didn't know how to wring emotion from fewer, simpler words. I hadn't taken any writing classes, nor had I studied or dissected my favorite books to understand why I enjoyed them.

So I began taking online classes where my writing would be scrutinized by instructors and classmates. Although most of the feedback was polite, the blunt, critical responses were the ones that helped the most. They hurt my feelings, but pointed out problems that were obvious to the reader yet invisible to me. As I studied and listened to the feedback, it became easier to see the problems for myself. While the polite critiques were soothing to my ego and kept me from giving up, they did little to further my skills.

Now, when I read those early short stories or manuscripts, I cringe and wonder what the hell I was thinking. But then I let it go because those stories served their purpose. They allowed me to make mistakes and grow. I should probably take this time to apologize to my beta readers for subjecting them to such cruel and unusual punishment. They're still speaking to me, so I guess the scars weren't permanent.

If you write, allow yourself to write badly. Give yourself permission to use god-awful, stilted, flowery prose, but don't be satisfied with it. Take classes and seek out honest critiques without responding with "Yeah, but...." Develop a thick skin, accept criticism with grace, and whatever you do, write, write, write.

When you read your work (and that of others), do so with a critical eye. Look for the flaws, the misused words, the flood of commas (my personal failing), and the purple prose. Hack it to bits and rephrase it until it flows and sounds natural. Never allow yourself to think you've learned everything there is to know about writing.

My skills aren't where I would like them to be, but they're a lot closer than they were five years ago. I'm happier with my characters and plots, and I can actually sit down and write an outline now. Something I wouldn't have considered in the beginning.

So keep at it and try not to get discouraged. If you find yourself teetering on the brink, take time to read the most horribly written book you can find. Mentally work your magic on it, rephrase the sentences and turn it into a better your mind. Once you've done that with a couple of pages, toss it away. That bit of editing should give you a boost—knowing that you can make a published book better. And if you can do it to someone else's work, you can do it on your own manuscript.

Happy writing!

 Mona Leigh  The product of an unorthodox upbringing, Mona put the rebel in rebellious. A tomboy who played schoolyard baseball and hiked barefoot through the woods, she also played piano and read voraciously. Married at sixteen, she did unladylike jobs such as auto body repair and mechanic work, but after two kids and a divorce, she set out to change her life. With the feminist movement barely underway, she worked in various male dominated jobs where she met her current husband. Another daughter was soon added to the family.

Mona worked full time and went to college at night, studying everything from drafting to nursing before settling on accounting. She loves current rock/pop music, reading, writing YA and NA fiction, being outdoors, and fast cars. The greatest compliment she ever received was when she overheard her grandson's friend whisper, "Dude, your grandmother's cool." 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Weather, Word Counts and Other Stuff

Wow, Thursday already, and it's almost March. Spring can't get here fast enough, seriously. This is what it looks like at the office where my husband works.

This white window, yeah, it's all snow! And half of all the windows are like this right now. 

This is what side roads looked like a couple days ago. It's a little better now. But, how about that sunset, right?

And this is what my street looks like from my office window. Can you say crazy? 

And as bad as all this is, it's worse in Prince Edward Island. So yeah, spring could arrive anytime and you'd get no complaints from me. lol

But enough about the dang weather, what else is new? 


Well, I'm still working on my YA novel. I didn't have a huge writing week last week -- ended up with 1883 words, which is still a whole lot better than nothing! This week so far, I'm at 2,147 and for the entire month I'm at 9,136 words so I am REALLY happy about that. 

I've also decided to push myself a bit more and, if I can reach 700 words a day, for 5 days a week, I figure I should be able to finish this first draft by the end of April. Oh, and it will be a VERY messy draft, but that's okay; that's what editing is for, right? I'm at 47,458 words and I think at 70k, the entire story should be there, at least the bare bones of it.

Speaking of bare bones for a story, I bought the kindle edition of: The Plot Skeleton (Writing Lessons from the Front Book 1) by Angela Hunt. 

Now, I have to warn you, it's a tiny book--I got through it within a couple of hours--but that's partly the attraction for me. I find that so many structuring and plotting books overwhelm me, but this book is so streamlined and focused. I LOVE the simplicity of it and can see myself going through it over and over again. And, it was only 2.99 for the kindle version. You can't beat that!

Anyhow, will definitely be using it from now on when working on my stories.

On submissions, got a no from the haiku one I was waiting on -- but sent one to a different market this  morning. Still haven't heard back on two submissions I sent to two different markets. One a short story for children, and the other short poetry.

It's been 7 and 8 months, so I'm going to start shopping them around. Think I've waiting long enough--and neither market is answering status queries, so I figure it's time to move on.  

Movies and Books

On the movie front, last week we saw FIFTY SHADES OF GREY. For the record, I was not even able to get through the first book, but there wasn't a whole lot else we hadn't seen, and okay, I was curious. It was okay -- lots of humorous moments, which certainly did not come off as humorous in the book. But it was entertaining. :)

This week we saw STILL ALICE. And, wow, I can certainly see why Julianne Moore won an Oscar for her performance. It was a beautifully poignant film. Really well put together. Next one up will probably be FOCUS. It's not high on my list, but hubby is looking forward to seeing it.

As far as books go, I haven't read a whole lot. Just started THE GRASS IS GREENER, which is the final title in the BELLES trilogy, by Jen Calonita. That's about it!

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! Stay warm and safe!