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Showing posts from December, 2011

Holiday Wishes

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I have decided not to become all emotional and weepy while writing this post, like I did when I wrote the Bibliophilic Blather anniversary piece a few months ago. Thank goodness Blogger is not Skype.

This is wholeheartedly against type. You see, I am the one who cries at the end of every Christmas movie, be it Ebenezer Scrooge sending a goose to the Cratchit family, Clarence getting his wings, or the entire Peanuts gang yelling “Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!”

This predisposition to “leaking,” as Jim Carrey’s Grinch calls it, is a time-honored trait handed down to me from my mother, who, at around the same age as me, was known to cry at the proverbial drop of a hat. Even at Hallmark commercials.

By the way, have you seen the one with the soldier opening the Peanuts book and hearing his child read for the first time? That one took me awhile to get over.

So, I will simply wish you a very happy holiday season and focus on what I hope for you in the new year.

In 2012, I hope all of you …

There's Music in the Air

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Christmas has always been a time of music for me, having sung in choirs for most of first half of my life.

Concerts. Caroling. A Madrigal.

There was always singing in my house growing up, whether we were putting up the tree or baking cookies.

I still burst out in song periodically throughout the day. Depending on the music, it either calms me or psyches me up for what lies ahead.

What is your favorite Christmas carol?

Mine is "What Child is This?" It is based on the old English hymn of "Greensleeves," which I find soothing and lovely. Speaking of English Christmas classics, I also am partial to "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," which seems to be used in every version of A Christmas Carol I have ever watched. I also really love "The Holly and the Ivy."

"Silver Bells" reminds me of what December was like working in downtown Chicago early on in my magazine career. And "Angels We Have Heard on  High" is just really fun to sing.

As y…

Editing for Grammarphobes: A Public Service Announcement

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Note: I ran this last December, but seeing as it is still a widespread problem, it must be repeated.





I love the holidays, but one thing guaranteed to bring out my inner Grinch is the most common grammatical error of the season -- reindeers. That’s right, reindeers.

Ladies and gentlemen, reindeers do not exist. There are only reindeer. Reindeer is a singular and plural word referring to the large Arctic deer who pull Santa’s sleigh.

I have heard this error in songs and carols, as well as misspoken on city streets, and it jolts me every time like a sprig of holly through my heart.

So, please remember reindeer in your holiday writing and conversations. It will make the season a more pleasurable one, especially for all of the grammar grinches like me. Thank you.

Flash Fiction Fridays: Holiday Warmth

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Today, Sharon Cupp Pennington brings us a glimpse of a lovely moment between a husband and wife during the holidays. Enjoy.



Dancing with My Best Friend
By Sharon Cupp Pennington


My husband and I were alone in the den of our Texas home. I don't recall the program, but Christmas music emanated from the television: a familiar standard, slow and foolishly nostalgic. It seemed only a few years ago our house bustled with energetic teenagers — the three of them grown now and nurturing families of their own.

Years of healing had passed since my hit and run accident, but I still waddled like a duck. Or as my physical therapist used to laugh and say, a Weeble-Wobble.

I'd spent the afternoon puttering around the house, dusting shelves of family photographs and books, my collection of decorative boxes and knick-knacks. The grandkids' homemade stockings were hung above the fireplace, and "Mr. and Mrs. Snowman" positioned on the mantle. Like so many tasks I took for granted bef…

Happy (Almost) Birthday, Jane Austen

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December 16 is the most hallowed of all dates in literary history, for it was on that day in 1775 that the most wonderful Jane Austen was born. Since the 16th falls on a Flash Fiction Fridays this year, I've decided to pay homage a few days early.

I know a lot of you are like me and enjoy our dear Miss Austen's work in many forms, especially those starring Colin Firth (sigh).




Let's celebrate by sharing our favorite Jane Austen novel or adaptation. Which one do you like best?

I'll go first. Although I love them all, I cannot help but count Pride and Prejudice as my favorite novel. For adaptation, I have to go with the 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice with Jennifer Ehle and, of course, Colin Firth. However, Bridget Jones's Diary comes in a close second.

How about you? What is your favorite Austen novel or adaptation?



Love Unlisted Giveaway Winner


Congratulations to Janel G. for winning the Stephanie Haddad Day book giveaway and many thanks to Stephanie for …

It's Blog Tour Time

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My WOW! Women on Writing Blog Tour begins today. I am promoting the first novel in the Bibliophiles series, A Whisper to a Scream. From now until mid-January, I will be guest blogging on several awesome sites, discussing all kinds of Bibliophile things, such as "Writing backstories," "What I have learned about e-publishing," and "Channeling your inner man: how to create realistic male characters."

In typical Bibliophile fashion, there will be much talk of books. I wrote one post on why we should revisit the classics, and another on what we can learn from them. I even did a podcast interview that will air later on in December. 
It is all very exciting. 
Here is the schedule of appearances, if you would like to join me on any of the stops on the official A Whisper to a Scream (The Bibliophiles: Book One) blog tour. 
12/12: The Muffin (WOW! Women on Writing)12/14: Musings from the Slushpile12/15: Writer Inspired12/16: CMash Loves to Read12/19: Writing in Flow12/…

Flash Fiction Fridays: 'Tis the Season, Part Two

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Last week, we began the holiday season with a Poe Christmas tale of shopping woe. Now, a detective tries to solve the murder.





A Spillane Interpretation of a Dickens Christmas
By R. Doug Wicker

It was the best of times, Christmas. It was the worst of crimes, murder. She was a store clerk at the Old Curiosity Shoppe. Her name was Lenore, and she lay dead upon the floor, strangled with a ribbon of rain checks by an irate Christmas shopper. The suspect’s name was Ollie, and I knew then that this murder had a twist.

It was time for the “bad cop” routine so I slipped into the role, not that it required much acting on my part. “Okay, Ollie, what’s your last name?”

“Co . . . Co . . . Copperfield.”

“This your first offense, Copperfield? Murder goes down easier if it’s a first offense.  You’ll probably looking at two to ten.”

“Years?”

“Weeks. Probation. This is California, you know. Now spill it.”

“I’ve never been in trouble before today. Well . . . except for those two incidents, one in London …

It’s Stephanie Haddad Day on Bibliophilic Blather!

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You probably remember that Stephanie, a Flash Fiction Fridays contributor, has recently released her second novel, Love Unlisted. Here is your chance to win a copy. Just comment at the end of this post, and you will automatically be entered in the contest. It’s that easy. The winner will be announced on 12/14.

And now, I proudly present...Stephanie Haddad.



As the work-from-home mother of a toddler, poor organization can make my life implode. Staying “on top of my game” means good note-taking, a strong work ethic, and lots of discipline. I explored some of the finer points of organization through my heroine, Grace Shields, in my romance novel, Love Unlisted. In it, readers get to see inside the mind of a woman truly compelled by organization, as she makes lists for everything—including the pros and cons of her intended hero.

Grace is a bit compulsive. And while I admit that part of her neuroses is based on my own truth, I’m not that bad with my Type A tendencies. But staying organized …

A Nice Review

Many people think A Whisper to a Scream (The Bibliophiles: Book One) is a thriller or horror piece. It is understandable, given the title. However, it really comes from the Icicle Works song of the same name, especially the chorus lyrics.


"We are, we are,we are but your children,Finding our way around indecision,We are, we arewe are ever helpless,Take us forever,A whisper to a scream."

The title refers to something that starts as a spark, a mere trace of an idea, but eventually grows into something that makes you want to, well, scream. 
Here is a review Whisper received recently on Goodreads. 

A WHISPER TO A SCREAM by Karen Wojcik Berner
Published by CreateSpace
ISBN-10: 145659365X
ISBN-13: 978-1456593650
Genre: Women's Fiction
At the request of the author, Karen Wojcik Berner, and WOW Tours, a digital edition was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.

(I am omitting the synopsis here, since you probably already know the basic premise from reading the blog.)


My Thoug…

Flash Fiction Fridays: 'Tis the Season

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To start December off right, here is a clever piece by friend of the blog, R. Doug Wicker. Enjoy.







A Poe Christmas
By R. Doug Wicker


Once upon a snowstorm dreary, through which I trudged all weak and weary,

Past many a quaint and curious number of advertisement lore

I saw the ad, above some wrapping; on the door I started tapping

At first it was a gentle tapping, tapping at the storefront door

I must gain entry to this store, as there was nothing then I wanted more

Searching for this and nothing more

The toy was here for which I search, leaving me in quite a lurch
Having waited far too long to shop for “The Super Fly-A-Saur”

Eagerly I watched the clerk, beckoning me not to shirk
I quickly entered, nearly berserk; “I must have it,” I said with a smirk

“Where, oh where, be that damned flying dinosaur?”

Quoth the clerk, “The second floor”

Up the escalator I ran, fighting against its downward span
I cursed its descending stairs as I glanced to the ascending flight before
Casually the c…