One book leads to another...

Monday, March 20, 2017

Theme Reveal - April A to Z Challenge

Lines of Inspiration

“A word that’s soft and gentle makes it easier to bear…”

While contemplating the upcoming A to Z challenge, a myriad of inspirational sources came to mind; the heady smell of fresh-cut grass, the waving sigh of a windswept forest, the startling cold spray of white water rapids, or midnight tides that smooth a trampled beach. I didn’t know how I could choose… so I gave up and turned up the radio – and there it was. Music! Whether richly melodic or downright caustic, the sound of music does indeed inspire. And I’m a nut about lyrics! I actually cringe when someone gets the lyrics wrong, though even I can’t always tell what the singer is saying. But it seems there’s always that one line that tugs my mind off to where all good memoirs, books, poems, and blogs are born.  And because I feel the same way about memorable maxims, I may just throw in a few of those as well, as I participate in this year’s April – A to Z – Challenge!

Songwriter Spotlight:  Harry M. Woods

After a childhood piano recital, his sister once said “You’d think he had twenty fingers,” which was striking, considering Harry Woods was born with only five. Undeterred, Harry became adept at working harmony with his left wrist, as his perfectly good right hand strummed the melodies of his own agreeably upbeat compositions in recitals which supported him through college (Harvard). Harry cultivated his lyricist leanings while farming in Cape Cod before he was drafted during WWI. Not long after his return (New York City), he became a highly notable piano-playing songwriter on Tin Pan Alley, penning such enduring songs as “I’m Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover” and “When the Red, Red Robin…”, made all the more famous by the voice of Al Jolson.
In contrast to his cheerful songs, Harry was also known for a tendency to engage in barroom brawls. As police led him away after one such incident, a woman reportedly whispered “Who is that horrible man?” to which Harry’s friend replied “Oh, that’s Harry Woods. He wrote ‘Try a Little Tenderness’”.

Sometime in the mid-forties, Harry retired from Tin Pan Alley life and settled in Glendale, Arizona for a good thirty years before being struck by a car, right outside his home.

Are you easily inspired? What inspires you most? Had you heard of Harry Woods?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

IWSG - March - Those Dangling Modifiers!

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow ~ Helen Keller

March into Literacy Month presents the perfect opportunity to enter a writing contest, revisit or begin journaling, or write an article on one of our outstanding women in history. You could also sharpen your writing skills with any of the many great resources offered by the Insecure Writers Support Group, founded by Alex Cavanaugh, right here and right now on this first Wednesday of the month, when IWSG members convene through blogging, Facebook, and Twitter to talk about whatever is on our writing minds and agendas. See what we’re all talking about here.

An author’s use of initials, i.e., J.K. Rowling, holds a certain mystique for me. I always wonder why, even as I consider the undeniably compelling impact of doing so. Although initial users aren’t the only ones with surprises; I was astonished to discover that Carolyn Keene of Nancy Drew fame was not a real person at all – but a multitude of writers who sold all rights to their stories for $125 (back in the day)! Incidentally, today begins National Ghostwriters week ;-)

As for what I’m thinking about these days, it’s those pesky misplaced or dangling modifiers that show up whether or not I was in a hurry when I wrote the sentence. Trying to convince my editor that the worldwide “they” will know what I mean was ineffective, as the esteemed wielder of the dreaded red pen only laughed harder. Apparently, not everyone’s refrigerator runs in the kitchen late at night ;-)

I tend to ‘run right out of my shoes’ while on a writing binge, and hope to pick them up later. That is if I can find them. It occurred to me that if only mistakes looked like periwinkle high-tops, I could save my editor a lot of work – and laughter ;-) So I found what I believe to be the next best thing – a grammar app – which applies all the familiar red slashes that won’t go away until the problem does. I can’t wait to see my editor’s reaction the next time I submit!

And now for the optional question of the month:

Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?
Have I ever? Yes! It’s in the final refining stage. Did it work out? Fingers crossed!

Do your modifiers dangle? Do you use any apps for writers? Any thoughts on an author's use of initials? 

It's beginning to look a lot like Spring around here - Happy March!