Day 30: Cut (& Day 19:Notice; Day 22: Off) – 31 Days of Writing


Today is Day 30 of the 31 Days of Writing challenge. For 31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes, the theme is CUT.


Cut it out!
Make the cut. You didn’t make the cut.
Cut class.
Cut in.

We use the word cut in so many ways.
We can cut paper with scissors and cut people out of our lives. We cut in front of people in line and end a scene during filming with the word “Cut!”.
It seems so final – cut – and even a bit aggressive.
I use scissors a lot when I create a collage. The act of cutting is precise, gets the job done and is enjoyable as I create. I have the piece I need, in the size and shape I want, to place on my collage.
Too many do cutting in a more horrific way – to cut themselves, to ease the pain.
We can take a shortcut on our way home, but can we take shortcuts when trying to do a good job?


For Day 19 for the 31 Days of Writing challenge, the prompt was NOTICE.

To see (notice) a world in a grain of sand
And Heaven in a wild flower
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour

These words by the poet William Blake have always struck me as impossible – but so beautifully written.
When you look closely and really think about the words on a deeper level, we have the opportunity to see so much more if we only notice the world around us.
Each day there are miracles all around us – the beauty of a glorious sunrise, the blossoms in our gardens, the delicate wings of a colourful butterfly, the smile of a young child. We are witness to so much if we only take the time to see, to hear, to feel. We need to stop and smell the roses over and over again – to notice our world with new eyes each day.

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The prompt for Day 22 of the 31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes was OFF.

Off kilter
Off to the races
Feeling off

When I read the word for today, the phrases above came to me first.
Switch on, switch off. This makes me think of how easily some people are able to switch their feelings, their thoughts, even their beliefs. We seem to switch on when we are in company and then switch off when we’re alone.
Why does it take others to change our feelings, change how we act? Why can’t we just be consistent – whether alone or in a group?


Day 29: Date – 31 Days of Writing


Today is Day 29 of the 31 Days of Writing – with the prompt from 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes – DATE.

20-2-e1473705920896In early 2000, I met my present husband through ICQ. After several months of emails, separation and then phone calls, we finally arranged to meet for a first date in Lindsay. It was the half way point for the both of us and a neutral spot. I figured a big mall was a safe bet, especially at noon.

I was nervous, and a bit late, even tho we had gotten to know each other quite well by then. I believed he had been truthful and I know I was. We had shared pictures so I knew what he looked like.

As I walked through the mall, I saw him sitting on a bench, with his back to me. Yes? No? I hesitated briefly and then moved forward. We greeted each other and then went to the restaurant, where we ate and talked. All these years later I cannot remember our words, but I do remember feeling safe and appreciated.

I had to get home but had some grocery shopping to do. Bill went with me and at the checkout, he paid for my groceries. A thoughtful act indeed, for this single mom.

I returned home, thinking about the gentle, kind man I had finally met.

Though I had been firm to tell him I was not interested in marriage (and neither was he he said), here we are 16 years later, married for 14 years and still together, supporting and loving each other.


Day 28 – EAT: Five Minute Friday/ 31 Days of Writing


Today is Day 28 of 31 Days of Writing and the prompt for Five Minute Friday is EAT.


“Eat well – live well.”
Just as I was beginning to write, I heard this phrase on TC. Talk about synchronicity.
I hadn’t been sure what I would write about – food I enjoyed eating? Seemed kind of dull. For five minutes I could just write a list.
This phrase though made me aware of just how lucky I am – I don’t have to worry about where my next meal will come from or whether I will even have enough food for my family.
Hunger affects too many people. How soul destroying to have so little to eat, to always be hungry, to not have enough for your children.
We live in a world where too much wealth is concentrated in the hands of too few hands. There is absolutely no reason for there to be poverty or famine at all. Something really has to change.
Too many go to bed hungry. Too many rely on food banks.
As a teacher, I kept crackers, juice and fruit cups for those children who had little for lunch. Most schools have breakfast clubs so children can start school with food in their tummies. No children should go hungry – it does affect their learning.

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Day 27 – 31 Days of Writing : Bouquet, Study and Neighbour


Today is Day 27 of the 31 Days of Writing.

I was past the mid-point of the challenge when I stopped – I was writing a couple of reviews for WOW! and felt I needed to leave my blog open only to those. Trouble was, I stopped writing as well

I need to get back to the practice of daily writing as I am taking part in NANoWriMo. But I also want to finish this challenge – not just for the writing but for the art I create with each prompt. So, for the next few days, I plan to catch up, so that each day, there may be 2 or 3 or more prompts shared.

Today for the 31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes, the prompt is BOUQUET.


My first Valentine’s Day with Bill, he sent me a box of long-stemmed red roses to the school where I was teaching. Talk about exciting and embarrassing. I was called to the office and had to carry this long box back to my classroom where all my students oohed and ahhed. Yes, I did feel special.

I had never had such a bouquet of flowers before and had never had long-stemmed roses. I had no large vase for them and Bill wouldn’t be arriving til the weekend. Being practical, I cut the long stems so they would fit in the vase I had.

Bill noticed when he arrived Friday, but he never said anything about the cut stems til long after. In fact, it was his mother who was aghast that I had actually cut the roses.

We still joke about it – and Bill has never bought me long-stemmed roses again – at my request!



Day 17 of the challenge was STUDY. I had written to the prompt but had not posted it. Here it is:

I spent so many years in school and of course, time was spent studying. Tests and exams were regular occurrances, especially in high school and university. I did well on tests but I still needed to study. I often rewrote my notes to help consolidate information.

Forty years after graduating from university and I am still studying and taking courses. I still take notes and highlight facts in books.

I just finished a book on journaling and another on writing. I aqm taking 2 writing courses and doing a book study of a middle grade novel.

We are never too old to study, to learn, to grow.

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Day 18 of the challenge was NEIGHBOUR

Love your neighbour as you love yourself. We have been brought up on this biblical verse from Christ. Yet, the news today is filled with attacks on others who are different, wars over religious beliefs and an election in the US that is so divisive and ugly.

Respect and decency seem to be in short supply. Yet, no one is any better than anyone else. We all bleed red and our hearts beat the same. Colour, race, religion, sexual orientation should not divide us. Too often they do – unfortunately.


This should be how accepting we should be.

WOW! Blog Tour – Creative Visualization for Writers by Nina Amir

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I was fortunate indeed to have the opportunity to read and review Nina Amir’s wonderful workbook/guide Creative Visualization for Writers. The subtitle really does explain the book well: “An Interactive Guide for Bringing Your Book Ideas – and Writing Career – To Life.
In five detailed, practical sections, Nina leads us through a series of creative exercises to learn more about ourselves, our vision, our goals, creativity and focus. The book is filled with exercises that encourage us not only to answer questions but to draw and colour.

Nina encourages us to choose our own starting point – to choose what area of our writing life we need to focus on first.
It was interesting to see how both sides of our brain really will improve our writing and creativity.

Nina also encourages us to commit 40 days to the practice of creative visualization. I have started and already I am seeing the benefit in my writing. The Inner Critic is being tamed and I am allowing myself to dream bigger and harder.

I have a “Reviewer’s PDF” but I will definitely buy my own copy – to better delve into all the sections of the book in more detail and colour.

I highly recommend Nina Amir’s book Creative Visualization for Writers.


** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Some days creativity feels like a geyser that will never cease. Other days it feels like a tiny trickle of
creek after a long hot summer. Nina Amir has some ideas on how to keep your creative juices flowing.

Her latest writing craft book, Creative Visualization for Writers: An Interactive Guide for Bringing Your Book Ideas – and Writing Career – to Life, helps you nurture your creativity. Say goodbye to tedious assignments and say hello to fun activities–over 100–that will give your writing a boost.

This book also helps you develop Author Attitude by setting goals, increasing productivity, refusing negativity and more.Creative Visualization for Writers will help you take the steps needed to become a successful writer.

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Writer’s Digest Books (October 18, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1440347182
ISBN-13: 978-1440347184

Creative Visualization for Writers is available as a print book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.


Meet The Author: Nina Amir


Nina Amir started as a journalist. She has a BA in magazine journalism with a concentration in psychology. After working as an editor and writer for a variety of regional magazines, a national corporation in New York City, and a small consulting firm, she started my own freelance writing and design business.

Working on other writers’ manuscripts sparked her desire to write a book of on topics she felt passionate about: personal development and practical spirituality. More than publishing a book, she wanted to build a business around those books.

Setting out to learn all she could about the publishing industry she got involved with the San Francisco Writer’s Conference and started the Write Nonfiction in November Challenge (now known as National Nonfiction Writing Month). In April 2012, her first book How to Blog a Book was published, became an Amazon bestseller almost immediately, and has remained one ever since. The Author Training Manual was published by Writer’s Digest Books just two years later and was a bestseller before any books passed through the register on Amazon. In addition she’s self-published several more ebooks, all of which have made it onto the Amazon Top 100 right away. In fact, she’s had as many as four books on one Amazon Top 100 list at the same time!

Nina Amir’s website:

Nina Amir’s blog:



WWW: Sharing My Reading this Week


Each Wednesday at “Taking on a World of Words”, we are asked to answer the 3 Ws about our reading.
Here’s a glimpse of my current reading life:

What are you currently reading?
I am still reading:
GMC (Goal, Motivation and Conflict) by Debra Dixon
Kindred by Octavia Butler
Sixty: A Diary of my Sixty-First Year by Ian Brown
Too many other books seem to call to me – I went to the library’s book sale last week and bought a pile more books and read 2 of those.
I am also reading:
Old Friends from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir by Natalie Goldberg
How I Write by Janet Evanovich

What have I read this past week?
Sugarland by Martha Conway
The Art of Arranging Flowers by Lynne Branard
Creative Visualization for Writers by Nina Amir

2 historicals I bought at the library sale:
The Bride and the Beast by Teresa Medieros
To Desire a Highlander by Sue-Ellen Welfonder

What do you plan to read next?
One for the Money by Janet Evanovich (In her writing book that I am reading, she shares from this series – I’ve never read it, so thought I’d get started)
Midnight Crossroad by Charlene Harris (I loved her Sookie books so when I discovered this series, I had to read it)

I also read 3 picture books as part of my goal of reading over a hundred this year.

WOW! Blog Tour – “Sugarland”

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Once again, I am joining the WOW! Women on Writing blog tour – this time for Martha Conway’s Sugarland.


Martha Conway has crafted an intriguing historical mystery, based on the jazz scene during the Roaring Twenties.
The lives of three women, Eva, Lena and Chickie, intersect because of the death of Lena’s brother Rudy. As Eva and Lena seek to discover who killed Rudy, we get a glimpse of what life was like in the 1920’s, especially in the jazz clubs.
We learn about musicians and mobsters, and Prohibition and bribery. We also get a close look at how Eva, a jazz pianist, captured the feel of jazz and how she created her music.

Martha has done much research to give an authentic look at this troubling era in America’s past. It was a fascinating read, one I thoroughly enjoyed.


*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


 In 1921, two women, a black jazz pianist named Eve and a white nurse named Lena, join forces after a drive-by shooting nearly kills them. Eve is looking for her missing stepsister, and Lena wants to find out who murdered her brother, a petty bootlegger killed in the shooting.

Sugarland  recently received a Reader’s Favorite Book  Award.


Genre: Historical Fiction

Hardcover: 314 pages (also available in paperback and e-book)

Noontime Books: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0991618552


Meet the Author:     Martha Conway


Martha Conway’s debut novel 12 Bliss Street (St. Martin’s Minotaur) was nominated for an Edgar Award while Thieving Forest won an Independent Publishers Book Award, the Laramie Award, a Reader’s Choice Award and the 2014 North American Book Award in Historical Fiction. Her short fiction has appeared in The Iowa Review, The Mississippi Review, The Quarterly, Folio, Puerto del Sol, Carolina Quarterly, and other publications.

She graduated from Vassar College and received her master’s degree in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. She has reviewed fiction for the San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Review of Books, and The Iowa Review. The recipient of a California Arts Council fellowship in Creative Writing, she has taught at UC Berkeley Extension and Stanford University’s Online Writers’ Studio.


Other Books by Martha Conway

  • 12 Bliss Street
  • Thieving Forest

Find out more about Sugarland by visiting online:





This book is available at Amazon /?tag=wowwomenonwri-20

as well as at your local independent bookstore.



WWW Wednesday


Each Wednesday at”Taking on a World of Words”, we are asked to answer the 3 Ws about our reading.

Here’s a glimpse of my current reading life:

What are you currently reading?
I am still reading:
The Girls of Mischief Bay by Susan Mallery
Kindred by Octavia Butler
Sixty: A Diary of my Sixty-First Year by Ian Brown

The trouble is, I see a new book and I have to start that first – so my ongoing list grows.

I am also reading:

GMC  (Goal, Motivation and Conflict) by Debra Dixon

Sugarland by Martha Conway (for a review, due Friday for WOW!)


What have I read this past week?
A Girl’s Guide to Moving On by Debbie Macomber

A couple of ebooks (love the free ones from groups by Freebooksy – have found some amazing authors there)

The Gift by Lisa Mondello

A Heavenly Christmas by Patrice Wilton


What do you plan to read next?
Creative Visualization for Writers by Nina Amir (for a review for WOW! due next week)

The Art of Arranging Flowers by Lynne Branard

WOW! review of “Journaling Power”

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Once again, I am joining the WOW! Women on Writing blog tour – this time for Mari L. McCarthy’s Journaling Power.


As I read Mari L. McCarthy’s book Journaling Power, I was reminded over and over again of the power of journaling.
Several years ago I read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and on and off over the next few years I attempted Morning Papers. It felt good to unload negative thoughts but I was never consistent with the writing.
Mari makes a very strong case to journal daily and to bring our thoughts, feelings and ideas to the page. She offers scientific studies that prove the positive benefit of regular journaling.
Chapters 1 to 6 look at personal journaling – “seeing it very much as an individual journey towards health and wholeness.”
Each chapter begins with a personal story by Mari, detailing how she used therapeutic journaling to tackle her MS, help her with goals and move forward.
Then she offers “Journaling Power Tips” and several prompts and exercises.
Having read the book once, I have started to reread slowly and work through the exercise. I hope they will help with my own health issues, my weight and my writing. Using Journaling Power as my guide, I plan to set new goals and tame the Inner Critic once and for all and creating the “happy, healthy life that I want”.
I highly recommend Mari’s book.


Journaling Power: How to Create the Happy, Healthy Life You Want to Live


Mari L. McCarthy mari

About the Book:

Journaling Power teaches you how to put the ultimate self-healing tool right at your fingertips–journaling. Through Mari L. McCarthy’s moving personal story, you’ll discover how pen-to-paper journaling leads to self-growth and life-changing transformation. You’ll also learn that numerous medical studies prove journaling literally unleashes a healing agent that empowers your life in ways you’ve never imagined.

About the Author:

Mari L. McCarthy is The Journaling Power Guide and founder of Her blog ( provides journaling for personal transformation and healthy living ideas, information and inspiration for keeping a daily pen-to-page Journaling for the Health of It™ Practice. You can also download the FREE e-book, How to use Your Journal to Cure Writer’s Block Now( More life-changing e-books ( can be found in Mari’s Personal Transformation Journaling Library and in CreateWriteNow’s store(

Book Trailer:

Purchase Link:

Day 16: LITTLE – 31 Days of Writing


Today is Day 16 of the 31 Days of Writing Challenge. The theme for 31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes is LITTLE.


Little things add up. A little kindness every day can do as much for you as for the recipient. Buying someone a coffee, giving up a seat on the bus, letting someone in front of you in line – these are all little things yet really morph into bigger things.
The whole pay-it-forward movement started with a small act but look where it has grown now.
Yes, little things add up. As a writer I know that when I write every day the total adds up over time. That’s why NaNoWriMo is so effective. Writing just over 1600 words a day for 30 days adds up to a 50,000 word novel at the end of November.
Yet, we also need to take care of the little details. Little things have a way of piling up – for both good and bad.
When we join together, our little efforts can become huge. Look what Canadians did last year to oust Conservatives in the 2015 election. Sunny ways, kindness and respect won out. (Can we only hope it will happen in the U.S. election??)

I found several quotes and could only use a few for my journal page. Here is the list:

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. Helen Keller

Do your little bit of good where you are; its those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.    Desmond Tutu

Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.

Marcus Aurelius

It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen. John Wooden

A little thought and a little kindness are often worth more than a great deal of money.

John Ruskin

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