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#MondayBlogs 6 Tools to Improve Your Grammar

23 Nov


Every writer needs an editor, but before that, every writer needs to edit for themselves. It’s always best to make your manuscript the best manuscript you can before you hire someone else to help on top of that. Because of this need, I am excited to share today’s article with you. Sarah Whitson is here to help you help yourself with six tools for your grammar.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in guest articles are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect my own. To show authenticity of the featured writer, articles are posted as provided (a.k.a. I do not edit them). However, the format may have changed.

6 Tools to Improve Your Grammar by Sarah Whitson

Whether you’re a writer, a novelist, or simply a student who would like to revisit English language skills once in a while, your top concern will always be how well you’re doing when it comes to grammar. Grammar is undoubtedly the trickiest part of learning a language because there aren’t always concrete rules to determine why something is said the way it is said.

Excessive use of slang, colloquial language, idiomatic expressions, and verbally spoken incorrect grammar also distort grammar rules, making it even more difficult for linguists and writers to get the hang of the latest grammar rules and making sense of it all. A recent article published on the Business Insider reveals how a Harvard linguist debunked many grand grammar myths, transforming the way we think about words such as “like“ and “as”, along with many other terms and usages.

So, what should keep you up-to-date with grammar rules and areas where you may need improvement? Here are X tools that might help.

  • Grammarly: If you often use word processors to type up your writings, here is a tool that will help spot your grammar mistakes– andwork ten times better than the typical default grammar checker, of course. Grammarly can spot and fix 250+ mistakes that MS Words can’t find. You can also add Grammarly to your browser and double check mistakes even when you’re using Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, or using other websites where you may have to write.
  • New York Times-Grammar and Usage Section: The infamous NYT dedicates an entire section to “grammar and usage” that includes commentary on grammar and archival texts published related to the topic.Find out what professional linguists have to say about grammar rules in the latest articles.

PicMonkey Collage

  • Writing Forward: Writing Forward is a creative blog founded by Melissa Donovan, a creative writer qualified with a BA in English from Sonoma State University. Donovan aims to provide writers with tips and ideas along with posts about grammar, good writing habits and practices, and tons of exercises to keep your language in shape.
  • Grammar Blog: If bad grammar gives you the pet peeves (whether it’s someone else’s or your own) join the Grammar blog! This blogattempts to “mock poor grammar” (and they mean that literally). Grammar blog will (jokingly) point out places where people went against the sacredrules of grammar and point out how they could have been used properly. You can also directly ask the blog’s team anything you like related to grammar with a quick email.
  • White Smoke Anywhere: This tool is an all-in-one English correction tool. The complete and comprehensive software aims to perfect your English with advanced techniques. The tools will check your spelling, grammar, as well as sentence structures. This is a great tool to use while writing a dissertation papers through Dissertation mall. You can install the software on your desktop computer, smart phone, tablet, browser or anywhere where you write digitally! Translation capability enables text translation for over 45 different languages. Oh, and if that wasn’t already enough, there is also a plagiarism checker.
  • Paper Rater: Paper rater is a free online tool that will proofread your text and point out spelling and grammar mistakes. Unlike other software, you won’t have to signup, download, and install this tool for it to work. Apart from grammar checking, Paper Rater also double-checks plagiarism from over 10 billion documents. Paper rater also offers writing suggestions that will help improve your writing style. Simply hit the “Use Now For Free” button, copy paste the text, and get a report. A paid version will enable faster processing, file upload capability, and an enhanced plagiarism checker.

About Author: Sarah Whitson is a creative writer, mostly helping those students who lack English language skills.

Want to be a guest blogger? Now is the time to submit. I will be stopping guest blog posts in December, but before then, I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. Pictures, links, and a bio are encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at


#MondayBlogs Your Perfect Workplace at Home: How to Organize It

2 Nov


In a writing slump? I’m sure it’s happened before. In fact, it happens all the time to all kinds of writers, and there are many ways to tackle writer’s block. But what if it was as simple as changing up your workplace environment? Today, Emily Johnson from OmniPapers is showing how you can optimize your workplace environment.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in guest articles are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect my own. To show authenticity of the featured writer, articles are posted as provided (a.k.a. I do not edit them). However, the format may have changed.

Your Perfect Workplace at Home: How to Organize It by Emily Johnson

No matter who you are: whether a sophisticated writer or a newbie, you need to have a well-organized home workplace.

As soon as you have a firm grasp of home workplace organization, you’ll see its positive impact on your concentration, creativity, and cleverness. Obviously, you need to understand how to organize your perfect workplace.

The best interior designers are often expensive, but you can make efforts to learn the art of home workplace organization right now. Take a look at the infographic by OmniPapers to find out more details concerning what your perfect workplace should look.

First of all, it should:

  • be comfortable and cozy;
  • have up-to-date gadgets;
  • motivate and inspire you;
  • keep you productive;
  • boost spirits;
  • prevent health problems.

Ready to organize it?

Demark computer and non-computer zones

You need to have separate zones for work and relax. Don’t confuse these processes, as they can impact your productivity. Time management is your helper: set up small breaks to boost inspiration. You can take a cup of coffee/tea, read a blog post at this site, or take a nap for a while.

Keep your office clean

If you want to stay concentrated, you should get rid of the mess on your table. Take away all dirty cups, throw out rubbish, hide all extra stuff. However, be sure to have items you use daily next to you: a lamp, stickers, a computer, utensils, and a digital highlighter.

Add comfort

Your perfect workplace should help you stay healthy. You’d better have an ergonomic office chair, mini elliptical trainers, and a table for work standing. Take care of your health, as it helps you stay focused and productive.

Remember: a perfect workplace impacts your productivity growth, inspiration boost, and motivation.

If you are ready to start organizing your writing desk, save this infographic. There are many details to discover.


Bio: Emily Johnson is a blogger of OmniPapers and contributor to many websites about blogging, writing, and content marketing. She shares her writing experience with others, and you can always find more works of hers on FaceBook.

Want to be a guest blogger? Now is the time to submit. I will be stopping guest blog posts in December, but before then, I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. Pictures, links, and a bio are encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at


October’s Ketchup

31 Oct

October’s Ketchup

First of all, Happy Halloween! Second of all, have a piece of candy for me today. And finally, thanks for being part of my life this October. Between the paperback of Death Before Daylight releasing and the KC book signing, it’s safe to say that this month was wonderful, but as usual, the best part was talking to you all!

For those of you just now checking in this month, Ketchup actually means “catch up.” At the end of every month, I write these posts describing what goes on behind the scenes at Some of the topics I cover include my big moments, top blog posts, my top referrer, #1 SEO term, and more in order to show insights that will hopefully help fellow bloggers see what was popular. I also hope it entertains the readers who want “extras” for this website.

Thank you for being a part of my life this October!

Big Moments:

As I stated above, the paperback of Death Before Daylight finally arrived! I’m beyond thrilled that The Timely Death Trilogy is out in full. You can even purchase the entire trilogy all at once. (Pretty awesome!) To celebrate, Headrush Coffee and Tea Roasters in Kansas City, Missouri hosted a Halloween-themed book signing, and it was wonderful! We talked about the folklore in the trilogy as well as other spooky topics. I even sold out of my Halloween-themed box sets this month! I’m so glad you all are enjoying the paranormal tale, and I hope to bring you new stories in the future. In fact, I sent off my next manuscript to my publisher this month for review. Keep your fingers crossed for me please.

Stay Dark,


#1 Clicked Item was Minutes Before Sunset on Amazon

#1 Clicked Item was Minutes Before Sunset on Amazon

Top Three Blog Posts: 

#1 SEO Term

#1 SEO Term

1. How To Be The Perfect Writer: After listening to an inspiring TED Talk, I wrote this piece on the perception of perfection and the destruction of fearing to fail.

2. Bullies and Their Writers: October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and my publisher participates by having authors tell their stories and host giveaways. This was my story.

3. KC Event and Character Interviews: I had a book signing, but since many of you couldn’t make it—due to, you know, living all around the world—I posted two never-before-seen character interviews, one with Eric Welborn and one with Jessica Taylor, from The Timely Death Trilogy.


Other Blog Posts:

Saturday Update: The Intern, Salman Rushdie, Crimson Peak, and More: I saw a few movies, read a few books, and talked about more entertainment.

Replenishing Your Reserves by Journaling by B. Lynn Goodwin: Writing is fun, but it can also be good for your health!

#1 Referrer was WordPress' Reader

#1 Referrer was WordPress’ Reader

Changes: What I’m Doing: My life has gotten a bit crazier, so I explain why I changed Saturdays to fun days and how guest blogging will be affected it the near future.

Saturday Update: Crimson Peak, Submissions, Adele, M&Ms, and More: I’m enjoying these Saturday Updates. In this one, I talked about my latest submission to CTP, movies, and desserts.

Finding Your Author’s Voice by Ryan Attard: Finding your voice can be difficult, but this article explains just how you can do it.

Biggest Benefits of Reading by Dissertation Planet: Reading is more than just reading. This article explains how it also helps your life.

Saturday Update: Hannibal, The Jewel, Penny Dreadful, Chocolate, and More: I went on a trip to the hometown of Mark Twain, I read a few books, and I ate wonderful desserts.

Music as Writing Inspiration by Audrey Leaman: We could all use a little more music in our writing lives.

Website Wonders: A montly classic

At the end of the month, I also like to take a moment to thank all of the websites who supported me by posting reviews, interviews, and features. If you want to be one of these websites, feel free to join my newsletter or email me at I always love speaking with new bloggers, writers, and readers! I will also share your post on all of my websites.


Death Before Daylight: Black Words, White Pages

Calculated on October 28 at 19,878 followers

Calculated on October 28 at 19,878 followers


#MondayBlogs Music as Writing Inspiration

26 Oct


I never used to write with music. The lyrics would distract me or it simply wouldn’t work. Many years later, I found music I actually enjoyed using, and I’ve used it since while brainstorming. Today, our guest writer is talking about just that. Using music to inspire her, here is Audrey Leaman.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in guest articles are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect my own. To show authenticity of the featured writer, articles are posted as provided (a.k.a. I do not edit them). However, the format may have changed.

Music as Writing Inspiration by Aubrey Leaman

Ah, yes, that terrifying word: inspiration.  How do we find it? And if we find it, how do we turn it into something worthwhile?

For those of you like me who bump (or crash) into writer’s block, perhaps the muse may speak to you through music.  Here are some specific ways to help get those creative juices flowing:

1) Pop/Rock: Listen to your favorite song, shuffle a playlist, or find new music…there is always a story behind the song.

For example: “Someone Like You” by Adele: who is Adele’s character? Why did she and her lover separate? What prompted her to show up at his door in the first place?

For example: “Mr. Roboto” by Styx: Is the character an actual robot/cyborg? Or is this symbolism for something else? Why does he need to hide, and why is his life in danger?

Music as Writing Inspiration photo

Photo provided by Audrey

2) Classical: Reverse-engineer the story as though it were a movie soundtrack.  Who are the characters? What are they doing? What’s the genre (romantic comedy, drama, action/adventure, thriller)?

For example: To me, Maurice Ravel’s “Valley of the Bells” sounds like a man standing above a valley at the brink of a terrible fate.  ( Here’s the full story )

3) A song you don’t understand: I don’t know about you, but sometimes I will love a song at the same time that I have no idea what it’s actually about.  When you start stringing a bunch of obscure phrases together, while it may sound awesome, I’m not quite sure what the artist is trying to say anymore.  So challenge yourself to take those seemingly random phrases and imagine possible meanings for them.

For example: “Hypnotic” by Zella Day: I understand the chorus, but the verses are less clear: “white threads on my laces / stuck on the hinges, swinging the door to the backyard” could represent all kinds of things.  Maybe the character is a young girl at the time of being in love, or maybe she is just remembering past childhood days.  It could even be representative of how pure and fresh her lover makes her feel.

3) Playlist: shuffle your music library.  Each song is the next action or character in the story.

For example: A love song (One Direction’s What Makes You Beautiful) followed by an angry song (Bon Jovi’s You Give Love a Bad Name) could inspire the story of a relationship that starts out strong but then bitterly falls apart when the girl changes her mind.

Have you tried something like this before? Can you think of other ways music might inspire a story?

Bio: What if mermaids wore suspenders? What if the White Rabbit played an Olympic sport? What if music could take you on an adventure?  Aubrey Leaman loves pushing boundaries by mixing and matching both between and within genres because she believes that the resulting fresh perspective can be both fun and illuminating.  So she uses books and music (and more) as diving boards to plunge into the cosmic pool that encompasses anything and everything that can be imagined.  You know, in a light-hearted, casual way.

You can follow her blog here and on  tumblr.

Want to be a guest blogger? Now is the time to submit. I will be stopping guest blog posts in December, but before then, I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. Pictures, links, and a bio are encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at


SAT Update: Crimson Peak, Submissions, Adele, M&Ms, and More.

24 Oct

Here we are! I have so many exciting things to say, and I hope I get to say even more in my next Saturday post…which won’t be until November 7, since our monthly Ketchup post takes place next Saturday. (Was that easy to follow?) But first and foremost, the paperback of Death Before Daylight released this week, and I had a book signing at Headrush Coffee and Tea Roasters. I hope you also enjoy publishing updates, movies, music, dessert, and more.

What I’m Writing:

This is my real handwriting. I know. I know. Terrible.

This is my real handwriting. I know. I know. Terrible.

So, don’t hate me, but I’ve paused all work on Take Me Yesterday while I’ve worked on an extension of November Snow. So far, I’ve written short stories of the side characters—like a prequel for how the flocks came together—and outlined the first couple of chapters for the sequel, so it isn’t a standalone. I actually went back into all my old notes from when I was a kid and writing this series, and even though the language was embarrassing (so embarrassing), the story idea wasn’t bad. Needs some tweaking, but I think it just might work. I still cannot believe the ambition I had back then. A 12-book, 600-page series? That was adorable. At least I’m writing again, eh? As of right now, I have 11,000 words of the Northern Flock’s prequel written, which includes the origins of Adam, Michele, Maggie, and Ryne. (There are 12 kids in each flock.) Originally, I was going to write the Northern Flock and the Southern Flock separate, but I might combine them and make one novella out of it.

What I’m Publishing:

I submitted November Snow and all the above ideas to my publisher in the middle of the night (because I’m crazy) this past Thursday. (Or…technically Friday morning…at 2:15 a.m. to be exact). What can I say? I’m a vampire. I even had the wonderful opportunity to participate in #PitchSlam and #NoQS this week, which is a Twitter contest to work with agents on your manuscript. Plus, a client of mine wanted me to do it to give them feedback on the contests. (Definitely recommended by the way!) They are great for connecting, having fun, and learning about the current trends in the industry straight from the agents themselves. I actually got feedback on my 35-line pitch and my first 250 words, and I definitely used it in the new version! That was a delight. I’ll write a blog post about it so you can look forward to other competitions in the future. I’m still participating in #1lineWed too. This week’s theme was last line in a chapter, so here’s a sneak peek at November Snow: I ran like death waited with open arms.

Keep your fingers crossed for me! Please. :)

What I’m Reading:

 A History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz: I haven’t had a lot of reading time this week, not going to lie. I was so wrapped up in writing competitions, book signings, and preparing work for my publisher, that I was all write, write, write this week. That being said, this novel is badass. Definitely unique, bold, and willing to face the darkest parts of society. It’s my kind of book. I love the little notes it has in it too. The formatting is unbelievable.

What I’m Listening To:

Adele’s 21 album. Why? I haven’t a clue, but I’ve loved her music forever, and it had been too long since I binged on her music. It took me back to my college days, to be honest. I used to play this album so much my college roommates would yell at me over it, and complain about having the lyrics to music they didn’t like memorized. Perhaps I wanted to listen to it this week to remind me of those days. It was the three-year anniversary of my college roommate’s death, so…Well, there aren’t many words for a world with such loss, but Adele can at least bring the smile back for just a little while.

What I’m Watching:

I HAD to go to the theatre to see Guillermo Del Toro’s new film, Crimson Peak, and I must say, I LOVED it. That being said, it’s way too hard to talk about any part of the story without giving away major secrets. So, what can I say? The characters are awesome. The sets are unbelievable beautiful. I’d love to see a behind-the-scenes screening of the movie. And the story is flawless, haunting, creepy, and uncomfortably wonderful.


Then, since it’s the paranormal season, I watched The Ghost in the Pantry, a short documentary about some of the best ghost footage ever recorded. Now I don’t care if it’s “real” or not, so let’s not discuss that. The documentary is freakin’ awesome.

I followed that documentary up with another documentary. This one was Ghosts of the Underground, a long discussion on all the different ghosts that haunt London’s underground. Pretty interesting!

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

 12106742_927072510673264_4354659410432881927_nPepper jack, sausage, and tomato pasta: It wasn’t as spicy as I thought it would be, which is a good thing for me, because I lose control of my face when I eat anything spicy.

I couldn’t sleep the night before my book signing, so naturally, I baked a batch of M&M cookies. But that’s not all. I bought ice cream and slammed it in between them. I know. I know. I’m insatiable.

What I’m Wearing:

I bought a new jacket thing, but it’s more like a blanket than a jacket—a blanket with sleeves. I freakin’ love it. Thank you, Target.

What I’m Wanting:

 More time to write. Is that a thing? Can I buy that?

Actually, come to think of it, I would really like to get one of these banners for my book signing at Penned Con St. Louis in September of 2016, but boy, are those pricey. I’ll hopefully be able to save up enough to get one though. Fingers crossed!

Also, when writing this blog post, I realized Adele is releasing a new album! 25! I cannot believe it. FINALLY. Yep. I want.

What I’m Dreaming Of:

I was at a library to find my older brother’s research papers he wrote in middle school. (Don’t ask. I don’t know how this other world works either.) I found one on ghost mermaids. (Again. Don’t ask.) But I was having a hard time following the science behind it, so I decided to go to their break room, which had a billiard table. (Again. In a library.) So, I set my purse down to play and then I kicked my purse and I heard a thunk. I looked down and my purse went through a HOLE IN THE FLOOR. I went downstairs to tell them my purse went to their bottom floor, and everyone FREAKED out. Turns out there was a secret basement with super secret vaults with even more secret stuff inside. (I believe that is exactly how the manager worded it.) So they had me arrested but took me down there to fetch it in all these lasers and guards and craziness. Then, they returned my purse but threatened me to never tell a soul…Naturally, I came on here and recorded it on my blog.

My other noteworthy dream: There was some sort of Con in Wichita, Kansas going on, and I desperately wanted to go, but my friend kept saying it was an expensive way to celebrate my Pikachu hat. (Yes, my Pikachu hat made it into dreamland. Perhaps I’ve been wearing it too much.) But they had these awesome deals, and we decided to probably go. (Let me tell you, discussing money and travels is exciting in dreamland.)

Headrush Roasters Book Signing

Headrush Roasters Book Signing

What Else Is Going On:

As you read above, the paperback of Death Before Daylight released! I also had my book signing at Headrush Roasters Coffee & Tea, and it was an absolute blast! We talked about Halloween, the ghost films I mentioned above, the black-eyed children, and the inspiration behind The Timely Death Trilogy. My events manager and a beta reader of mine even came, and I haven’t seen them in person for almost a year, so I was ecstatic to see some familiar faces as well as some new ones. I look forward to future book signings and events! It was a great week. I’m hoping to bring even better news to you all next week!


I would post more announcements, but I basically just said all of them in this post…but you know, the paperback of Death Before Daylight is now out. The first book is free too!

Minutes Before Sunset: book 1

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylight: book 3

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

#WW KC Event and Character Interviews

21 Oct

Poster_Small_V - Book shop signingTonight I’ll be at Headrush Coffee and Tea Roasters in Kansas City, Missouri for a paranormal chat and book signing. We’ll be discussing local folklore that went into The Timely Death Trilogy, and having great coffee and tea while doing so. I’m even bringing some Halloween goodies for you to take home, so come on out and say hello.

Since I’m rather busy today, I thought I would do something fun on today’s blog post. Below, you’ll find two character interviews, one with Eric and one with Jessica, the protagonists of The Timely Death Trilogy. I’ve never posted something like this before, but I hope you’ll enjoy it!


Eric’s Character Interview

 Destined to fight to the death at age eighteen, you’d think Eric Welborn would be a jittery mess sitting in front of us, waiting for questions about his impending doom, but he’s as cool as can be. You wouldn’t even guess he has six months left before his final battle. In fact, you’d probably assume he was a regular high school kid, wearing just jeans, a white T-shirt, and…headphones, which he loves, dearly. We practically had to beg him to take off his headphones.

“The music I listen to varies—mainly because I’m generally using it to tune out the small noises I can hear no matter what form I’m in—but I do love it. Right now, I’m listening to Bohemian Rhapsody. If I had the time, I think I’d be a musician.

This last sentence sparks our interest. “If you had the time?” we press, only for him to nod and list off his daily activities. Early morning jog, half day of school, three hours of training with Urte (known as George Stone to some), dinner, and probably more training. It’s amazing he has time to sleep, so we had to ask, “If you had a choice, would you give up being a shade to have a normal, human life?”

“For me, that’s a tough question. If I already had a normal, shade life, it probably wouldn’t be tough.” We’re quickly reminded that Eric isn’t normal in either of his lives. “Not really being human is tough enough, but also being a descendant in my shade form?” He shakes his head. “It’s definitely been a lesson.”

He recalls the moment he found out he wasn’t just a shade, but a descendant, and how it shaped him among his peers as the odd one out, even if it did mean he was also worshipped. “That’s why I found peace in Jessica. She didn’t know who I was.”

We swoon at the reminder. “Where would you take Jessica on your next date?”

He laughs, but it doesn’t hide the fact that he has blushed. “Oh, I’d like to take her everywhere.” We even see a light in his eyes that wasn’t there when we started. “Anywhere we go together is an adventure.”

When we ask if we can tag along on their next adventure, he confesses to wishing for more alone time. So, before our hearts melt entirely, we shift away from his current love and ask him for others. “Who is your celebrity crush?” We also promise not to tell Jessica.

He takes a moment before answering, “Robert Duvall. The Judge is a movie everyone should see.” He elaborates and tells us films from the heart matter most. He wants to feel something when he’s done.

We agree to watch it and ask him for one last favor—to answer fan-submitted questions. He smiles, nods, and says, “I don’t mind at all.”


The first one is from Katie Harder-Schauer from Just Another Girl and Her Books. She wants to know. Chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin cookies? Eric prefers chocolate.

Melanie Newton from Nerd Girl asks, Favorite superhero? What super power do you wish you had? This one was difficult. Eric was on the fence between Gambit and Deadpool. As for powers, he thinks baking is a superpower, and he wishes he were better at it. Until then, he hangs out with his stepmom, Mindy.

Ojan Borot asks, Assuming that you could just pack a suitcase and leave town. Where in the world would you like to go for a vacation, and is there one thing specific there that you’d like to see? Eric explains that he doesn’t know if he can leave town or not—he’s never tried—but he would love to take Jessica to Paris or Spain so she could study her painting further…and to eat dessert.

When we ended the night with a huge thank you, he ended it by disappearing right in front of us, leaving only a plume of smoke and our hearts behind.


Jessica’s Character Interview

She once thought she was ordinary girl with an ordinary life, but that all changed when she moved back to her birthplace. Adopted and moved away from her hometown as an infant, Jessica Taylor didn’t expect anything when moving back to Hayworth, Kansas, but it certainly changed her life forever.

“Moving wasn’t hard. I’m used to moving. My family has moved a lot,” Jessica explains as she offers us tea with honey. We gladly accept, and she takes a moment to sip hers. “But I suppose this move was different. It was a move back, and my heart told me I had to find out what I could about my parents while I was here.” She laughs like it’s a silly thing, now that she knows what she does. “No one could’ve guessed this. No one.”

She surprises us by telling us she revels in surprise. In fact, she describes her last six months as an adventure, one she hopes hasn’t ended yet. “No true adventure ever ends,” she adds before saying it’s the artist’s heart in her that enjoys mischief, mystery, and magnificent madness. We applaud her on her alliteration, and she laughs at all the school subjects we ask her about.

“I’ve always loved English. I especially love reading,” she says, “but painting is my favorite pastime. One day, I hope to turn my passion into a career.” In the meantime, she’s fighting lights to the death, but we wonder what the world holds for her after the war (if it ever ends).

She leans back and stares at the ceiling at this, a small hint of a smile on her lips. It’s no wonder Eric crushes on her. “I think”—she pauses—“if I can help people find their passion, and I can help them follow it, a teacher of sorts, I’d be very happy.” She shoots us a smile. “It’s the teachers in my life who’ve helped me the most.”

We ask her about her teachers, Ms. Hinkel from homeroom and her friend Jonathon, a painting mentor, and Urte, Eric’s trainer who has surely helped her, but she focuses on Eric first. “He showed me how to fight first, but most of all, he allowed me to be fearless, to show myself how to fight on my own. Independence as the foundation of coexistence is a beautiful thing.”

When we ask her if this is the definition of love, she blushes. “Love isn’t a definable thing, but it’s lovely, nevertheless.”

We agree, asking her about other parts of her life she loves. She brings up tea, and puppies, and friends like Crystal, and the way sunlight comes through the trees. She wishes to study painting more, to see more exotic places in the world, and she hopes to build a house one day. You know, because buying one isn’t as fun. She has many dreams—silly dreams, serious dreams, and dreams in between—but most of all, she tells us her life’s philosophy. “We should always keep dreaming.”


Other announcements include the fact that the paperback of Death Before Daylight released! Finally! I sent out the news via my newsletter. In future newsletters, I’ll be looking for lucky readers to read my next publication early. If you’re interested in that, sign up here.


#MondayBlogs Replenishing Your Reserves by Journaling

12 Oct


I journal. In fact, I’ve written in my journal/s almost every day since I was seventeen or so, and I found some of my closest blogger friends on, back when I wrote in a journal online. I find writing in a journal to be freeing as well as important. So, when author B. Lynn Goodwin asked to write an article about the effects of journaling, I jumped at the opportunity. How about you? Do you journal? What do you think about journaling? Let’s welcome B. Lynn Goodwin today.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in guest articles are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect my own. To show authenticity of the featured writer, articles are posted as provided (a.k.a. I do not edit them). However, the format may have changed.

Replenishing Your Reserves by Journaling by B. Lynn Goodwin

Has life evolved to a place where everybody else’s needs come first? Do resentments expand like a swollen spring river? It’s a familiar predicament, and you are not alone.

When I was my mother’s caregiver, I often needed to put my personal needs on hold. I drowned my resentments in comfort foods. Entenmann’s chocolate chip cookies were a favorite. I’d pull one after another out of the box and stuff them in my mouth mindlessly as I drove to the pharmacy or the post office or even the grocery store.

I got back in touch with my physical needs, as well as my mental, emotional, and spiritual ones, through my journal. In there, I could vent, delve into issues, and untangle messes. My journal allowed me to finish a thought without interruption. It encouraged me to analyze, celebrate, and find the hope that had become elusive. After I processed my own issues, I had the energy and good will to reach out again.

Often I would start with one of these three simple sentence starters:

  • Today I feel…
  • Today I believe…
  • Today I want….

Any response was right, as long as it came from the heart.

Picture 1Here are three responses to “Today I feel…” :

Today I feel poverty stricken. I hate having no income. The money you give me doesn’t count. It feels like an unearned gift. I want to earn my own money, detached from you. I want to feel productive and independent. I don’t want to feel like a nine-year-old doing chores for an allowance.

Selfish? Maybe, but when do I get to do what I want to do? Don’t get me wrong. I love you. I know you need me, even when you toss your head and say, “I can do it myself.” But when do I get to leave the stale odors and draining drivel of this place and do what I want to do?

Today I feel sad. You didn’t want your breakfast. You didn’t want to talk. Neither do I. I want to stare at the dust motes floating in the sunshine that’s streaming through the screen door. So mindless. Like me. If I were a dust mote, I’d have no hands or feet or responsibilities.

Today I feel hopeful because Kristi is coming in while I go shopping and I’ll have an extra hour. I’ve been e-mailing this really nice sixty-year-old divorced man on Craigslist, and today we’re going to meet for coffee at Starbucks. I have a coffee date and I feel like a teenager sneaking away to meet some hottie.

How would you respond? Try it right now.

Journaling releases mental toxins and deepens awareness. It helps the strong, sane, safe, healthy, hopeful parts of you emerge. Do not underestimate its power.

I’d love to hear how you finished “Today I feel…”


Lynn Goodwin is the author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers and Talent, which is coming out this year. She’s the owner of Writer Advice,

Want to be a guest blogger? Now is the time to submit. I will be stopping guest blog posts in November, but before then, I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. Pictures, links, and a bio are encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at



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