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Showing posts from July, 2011

Flash Fiction Fridays Top Five: #1

Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


During the month of July, Flash Fiction Fridays has been counting down our Top Five flash pieces since Bibliophilic Blather began this feature in September 2010. These are the five stories that received the most hits over these ten months. We hope you have enjoyed reading this eclectic assortment again.

Coming in at number one from our December Holidays theme....Mission Santa Claus.


Mission Santa Claus
By Richard Bon

The boys hid their bikes and an empty duffel bag behind the bushes and knelt beside one another at the foot of the steep, grassy hill leading up to the old man’s house.

“Remember,” Nathan said to Billy, “if you see a light go on, run back and grab your bike and ride to the end of the road and wait for me by the Smithfield barn.”

Billy nodded and hoped Nathan didn’t notice his hands, trembling.

“You ready?”

Billy nodded again, eyes wide.

“Okay, then let’s go.  Follow me.”

Staggered, Nathan ahead of Billy and to his right, the boys trotted up th…

Talk to Me

Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER



Hello. Please sit down. May I offer you some tea? Iced or hot?

I need to discuss Flash Fiction Fridays with you. You see, I’m not quite sure what to do about this beloved feature for August. The lack of submissions for next month’s theme of Pets/The Dog Days of Summer (approximately one) makes me inclined to think it was not as clever of an idea as I had originally thought.

Hey, what can I say? This is my first year of doing this. They are not all going to be great.

It could be because it is summer, the kids are out and everyone needs a break. It could be because several of you are busy doing blog tours and PR for your recent releases. (And if you are, please drop me a note. I would love to feature your book here.) Or, it could be because the theme is rotten. I understand all of these completely.

Whatever the reason, what should we do about August? I will run the one story I received a week from Friday, but what after? 

Are you up for a writing prompt? Pe…

Editing for Grammarphobes: Vocabulary Building

Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


I am a word nerd. In high school, I would memorize the vocabulary lists, making sure to incorporate at least one of those words in my writing each week. This is how insipid, plethora and a myriad of other words entered by vocabulary, including myriad itself.

Have you ever read a dictionary? Whenever I edit, I often end up reading a few pages before or after my initial inquiry. It is fascinating.

For instance, do you know what the following five words mean?

Alacrity

Alacrity means "promptness in response, a cheerful readiness."

Didactic

Didactic is an adjective used to describe something that is "designed or intended to teach, or the intended to convey instruction and information, as well as pleasure and entertainment." It also can mean making moral observations.

Haboob

A haboob is a "massive dust storm," such as the ones that recently rolled through Phoenix, Arizona. The word comes from the Arabic, habub, which means "viole…

Flash Fiction Fridays Top Five: #2

Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


During the month of July, Flash Fiction Fridays is counting down our Top Five flash pieces since Bibliophilic Blather began this feature in September 2010. These are the five stories that received the most hits over these ten months. We hope you enjoy seeing this eclectic assortment again.

Coming in at number two from our June 2011 Escape theme....The Totem Pole Escape.



The Totem Pole Escape 
By Cleveland W. Gibson


I am a jungle Totem pole, so scared of the night, because bad things happen, things I can't put right.

I am scared of little things, things you might not see, but they all have long legs, and walk and walk on me.

I feel the lick of the spider, the patter of hairy feet, the snakes also keep coming. Ugh! Beetles never look neat.

It is because when it comes to walking, I feel I have the curse, I cannot escape or leave this jungle, for better or for worse. And I must.

Then I heard that sound, in the middle of the night, the devil striking matche…

Editing for Grammarphobes: Too Hot to Think

Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


Since most of the United States is under a severe heat warning today, with temperatures soaring in the upper 90s to over 100 and heat indexes around 115, I find myself wanting to stay in my lovely air conditioning and avoid anything that requires too much brain capacity. 


So, here is a grammar quickie courtesy of The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law.


who's, whose


Who's is a contraction for who is, not a possessive. Whose is the possessive. 


Examples


Who's there?
I do not know whose coat it is.


Coming Next...


Join us on Friday when we reveal who came in at number two for the Flash Fiction Fridays Top Five.



A Monday Morning Surprise

Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


Much to my dismay, I was awakened at 4:30 a.m. by a short downpour outside my window. It was like the Supreme Being turned on the faucet and let it run for five minutes. This is not a good sound for a woman of my age. You can guess the correlation.

Once I returned to bed, my mind took off. What was I going to write the blog about? How am I going to get more stories for Flash Fiction Fridays? Is “The Dog Days of Summer” a stupid theme?

It was useless. I got up and made some tea. Might as well get to work.

While checking my e-mail, I came upon a Google Alert for A Whisper to a Scream. Usually these show up a week or so after the fact and almost always are alerts for mentions I have written myself here on Bibliophilic Blather. Whoopee, right?

Not this morning.

It was a review from a site that I did not have to solicit or beg, as the case may be, to review my novel. How wonderful! And the reviewer liked it. All the better!

This lovely little review is on a sit…

Flash Fiction Fridays Top Five: #3

Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER



Before you read this fantastic story, I have to put in a little plug for my author interview over at The Writing Apprentice. I met Penny on She Writes, a great networking site for women writers.  Her blog, www.thewritingapprentice.com, is an all-encompassing writing tutorial. She has an MFA and teaches creative writing at the collegiate level.

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

During the month of July, Flash Fiction Fridays will be counting down our Top Five flash pieces since Bibliophilic Blather began this feature in September 2010. These are the five stories that received the most hits over these ten months. We hope you enjoy seeing this eclectic assortment again.

Coming in at number three from our May 2011 Parenthood theme...Three and a Half Minutes.



Three and a Half Minutes
By Jules Carey


Molly had run out of ideas. She kept smacking him, over and over, pounding her little son’s back. Was he turning blue? No, it hadn’t been that long.…

Editing for Grammarphobes: Revisiting Homophones

Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER



Do you remember what a homophone is? They are words that sound the same, but are spelled differently. Homophones can trip up even the most seasoned of writers. And what is worse, they are never picked up by 
Spell Check. 

hangar, hanger 

A hangar is a building, which usually houses airplanes.

People use hangers for their clothes. 


cannon, canon 

A cannon is a weapon.

Canon is a law or rule, usually of a church.


straight, strait 

Straight means something not crooked or curved.

A strait is a narrow passageway between two bodies of water.




Coming Up Friday...

Number three in the Flash Fiction Fridays Top Five. Who will it be?

Editing for Grammarphobes: Weird Words

Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER 


Do you remember that song by the Carpenters?

“Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.” 

Well, that is most certainly true today. A thunderstorm rolled in right when I was catching up on my Monday morning correspondence. I was about to start writing this post, when our power went out and did not return until three hours later. Needless to say, several explicatives were uttered, followed by a brief period of panic and wringing of the hands.

Ugh.

On this goofy morning, I present words that are not spelled the way one would think, for whatever the reason.

cancel

canceled (Makes sense.)

canceling (I can see that.)

cancellation (WHAT? Why the double “L” all of a sudden?)



bologna (Why is this the proper spelling for the lunch meat, and why is it pronounced bah-loan-ee?)

Phoebe (How can this name possibly be pronounced fee-bee?)



August Flash Fiction Fridays 

We are open for submissions for August 2011 and beyond. 
Next month’s theme is “The Dog Days of Summer.” Pieces …

Flash Fiction Fridays Top Five: #4

Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


During the month of July, Flash Fiction Fridays will be counting down our Top Five flash pieces since Bibliophilic Blather began this feature in September 2010. These are the five stories that received the most hits over these ten months. We hope you enjoy seeing this eclectic assortment again.

Coming in at number four from our February 2011 Romance theme...A Walk in the Woods.



A Walk in the Woods
By Margaret Lake


Mathias the Wizard strode through the forest, seeking the perfect subject for the most perfect spell ever invented.

He could feel the magic humming around him. Finally, he stood where the trees grew thickest and let the atmosphere of this dark place fill him body and soul. He spun slowly three times, eyes closed, then opened his eyes. A slender willow tree that he was sure hadn't been there before appeared in front of him.

This is the one, Mathias thought, tall, slender, soft, leaves drooping gracefully to the ground.

He pulled out his wand an…

A Writer's Life

Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


Yesterday, I had a lovely lunch with one of my kindergarten classmates. We have known each other for 2,500 years. Through the magic of Facebook, we reconnected. I was able to visit with her and her wonderful daughters while they were in town.

This friend is the very first person to purchase A Whisper to a Scream in paperback. She has been mentioning it in her Facebook status and PMing me to ensure I sign her copy before she heads home to Colorado.

It is very surreal, autographing one’s book, isn’t it? Those of you out there who have done proper book signings at various events are probably used to it by now, but I paused for a good long time, pen in hand, title page open at the ready, and continued the conversation at the lunch table until I could control the butterflies in my stomach and finally put pen to paper.

Upon my return home, my children greeted me, asking how it went. I walked past our powder room, where a plunger lie across the toilet. In my hast…

Happy Independence Day!

Image
Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER



Independence is a great thing, isn't it? Sometimes extremely difficult and downright frightening, but always liberating. So, on this 4th of July, Bibliophilic Blather is celebrating some great indie writers.

Feel free to add your favorites in the comments section. Some were picked up by major publishing companies after first self-publishing their novels and/or poems.

Here is my list of "old school" favorites.
Virginia Woolf Edgar Allan Poe Mark Twain Nathaniel Hawthorne Beatrix Potter
And the new indies...
Karen Cantwell Karen McQuestion Suzanne Tyrpak David McAfee
Who are some of yours?

By the way...

A Whisper to a Scream is featured in Cheap e-Reads today and throughout the week. It is a site dedicated to finding affordable books for Nook e-readers. Please stop by for some great deals.

Flash Fiction Fridays Top Five: #5

Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


During the month of July, Flash Fiction Fridays will be counting down our Top Five flash pieces since Bibliophilic Blather began this feature in September 2010. These are the five stories that received the most hits over these ten months. We hope you enjoy seeing this eclectic assortment again.

Coming in at number fivefrom our April 2011 Spring Fever theme...Pandemic.



Pandemic 
By Jason G. Anderson


Dr. John Andrews looked through the transparent wall in his office toward the hospital entrance below. Hundreds of people filled the normally clear area, all seeking medical help. He turned as another doctor entered his office.

“We’ve received another sixty-seven patients in the past two hours,” said Dr. Susan Hallow. “They’ve all tested positive for Xyalo’s Syndrome.”

“Damnit.” John turned back to the window. Xyalo’s Syndrome, or “Spring Fever” as the original colonists had nicknamed it due to the time of year it struck, was a disease that had once killed hundr…