Thursday, February 25, 2010


My family took me to the fair when I was four. It was hugely full of smells and colors and sounds. I wanted to see the horses, so I went, oblivious that my people had gone a different direction.
All I could see were shoes and legs.
Being lost is the end of everything when you're four.
Suddenly, a gangly person balanced on the tallest wooden legs I had ever seen was promising to help me find my people.


When you are suddenly lifted on stilts above the four year-old's view of feet and legs, everything feels better.

Perspective is my theme this week.

I was feeling a little lost after news of my novel submission -
several rejections so far, and more submissions and waiting.
I had a glorious pity party: threw cake and popped balloons,
"What makes you think you're cut out to be a writer anyway?"
and other cheerful motivational talks,
when I felt a little tug.

A reminder of November 2009.
Our daughter "Pip" had to have a bundle of tests to search for cancer.
This while also waiting to hear if cutbacks would be affecting my husband's job.

And after tense, heavy weeks of waiting, we had completely beautiful news:
a healthy daughter.
And Mr. Pray got to keep his job.

If I can be thankful for the good things and the great things
I will be lifted on stilts,

to see that even when times are rough,
there are sacred moments to hang on to.
That when the view seems narrow
or small or confusing or wretched,
there is a bigger picture at work.
Bigger hands that can lift us up. That's my hope.

And as far as the rejections go, I will try to remember that this is one tiny keyhole of the big picture.

Monday, February 22, 2010


For those of you who have been following The Writer Games,
today is the day to meet your medalists!

It has been an absolute hoot reading each and every entry.

(Drumroll please.)

Opening Lines:
Martha Brockenbrough

Lori Van Hoesen
Tricia O'Brien
(five-way tie)

Corey Schwartz


a dash from donna lyn

Heat 1: Soozi, BJW (tie)
Heat 2: BJW
Heat 3: Jan Morrison, jesse joshua watson (tie)
Heat 4: BJW
Heat 5: BJW
Heat 6: BJW, jesse joshua watson (tie)

Rhymes Revisited:
Julia Kelly


Jan Morrison

Amy Watson
(Charlotte's Web "Words save lives and bacon.")
jesse joshua watson
(three-way tie)

Bonus Round Word Find:
for those of you who even dared to dream that you'd win, I'm so sorry.
Martha Brockenbrough
blew everyone miles off the ice rink

Last Lines, or Best Tear-Jerk/ Knee-Jerk Reaction:
for having the uncanny ability to produce
emotional responses in nearly every event,

jesse joshua watson

competing at greatest distance,

Best Use of Potty Humour:
for consistently bringing it all back to the toilet,
and why he will be an incredible children's novelist,


Best All-Around:
for having the ability to compete wittily in all events,
Jan Morrison

I will be contacting each medalist to discuss prize delivery.
Think about whether you would like the Gold Doubloons sent together
with the diamond-encrusted lipstick case and the pet snow leopards,
or if you would rather have them couriered to your door in person.

Three cheers to The Writer Games olympians!

Friday, February 19, 2010

THE WRITER GAMES, Closing Ceremony

Welcome to final event of The Writer Games!
Like the real Winter Olympics, this contest spans two weeks and rewards winners with interviews, prizes and medals! But unlike the real Olympics you do not have to deal with cold temperatures, severe heights, or huffy prima donna competitors.
It's just you and the rest of us word nerds.

Here's the flag parade, representing writers from across the literary globe:

Today's event is The Closing Ceremony, or Last Lines.
Your challenge:
Write last words, or last lines, whatever suits your fancy, that include:


Here's my try:
"If it hadn't been for those snow angels," Meg reflected gratefully, "I would never have met Alsey or been kidnapped and seen my first iceberg. So as it turns out sometimes flailing on the ground like a lunatic is a good thing."

You have until midnight tonight to complete any of THE WRITER GAMES challenges from the last two weeks. If you're a great limericker, haiku genius, merry metaphor maker, or just happen to love a good toasty word game, check out the events to join in!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Here's a bonus game:

In two minutes, find as many words as you can from the following:

THE WRITER GAMES, Part 10: Downhill

Welcome to The Writer Games, a celebration of writing and wit in the spirit of the Winter Olympics! Like the real Olympics, this is a two-week contest and involves medals, interviews and prizes. Unlike the real Olympics, you do not have to worry about whether the Zamboni (or its generic equivalent) has left the ice looking more like a mogul course than a skating surface.
You have only two days left to compete!

Without further ado I bring you today's event,
Downhill Skiing, a.k.a. "It's All Downhill From Here,"
or One-Minute Classics.

Today we are competing in that writing trait beloved by editors: efficiency, sparsity of words, the complete opposite of verbosity (which I naturally tend to in spades).

So in honor of speed and efficiency and those Olympians who fly heedlessly downhill risking life and limb to beat the clock, I give you

Choose a favorite book and sum it up in less than fifty words.

The Writer Games is nearly done! Only two days left.
You fabulous word athletes have battled
Opening Lines
Rhymes revisited

and now Synopses.

The events are still open; Click the Links above to join in!
Anyone may enter. Give it a go! Your great brain is needed!
Judging will close at midnight on Friday.

My synopsis attempt:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Snake-whispering orphan misfit finds a niche at Wizard school. He breaks rules, makes friends and enemies, finds a stone of immortality, saves his school and discovers he is a natural at broom sports as well as the savior of the wizarding world.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

THE WRITER GAMES, Part 9: Ice Dancing

Welcome to The Writer Games, a.k.a. the word olympics.
Like the real Winter Olympics, this contest lasts two weeks, involves a different event each day, and rewards the winners with medals, interviews and prizes.
Unlike the real Olympics you do not have to get your knees replaced biannually to compete.

We've all heard them.
"To your health"
"To life"

That marvelous little pause before downing a beverage,
half-prayer that it'll be a good swig,
half-celebration of good things.

I realized my girls had lived four and a half years
without that little comfort food, cinnamon toast.
And yes, I did burn it.
But since they had nothing to compare it too,
and we don't see much sugar in these parts
it was a happy experience.

The Writer Games event today
is Ice Dancing, or
"Cheer Yourself":

Write your own toast.
Make up an original little toasting ditty.

You have until midnight on Friday to enter any of The Writer Games events. For those of you who are not math olympians, you have only three days left to play! So saddle your respective mental horses, giddy-up over to Last Week's action and join the stampede!

My toast:
May you never lose your love, your luck or your teeth!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

THE WRITER GAMES, Part 8-ish: Curling

Welcome to The Writer Games.
If you're just joining us, The Writer Games is a two-week contest in the spirit of the Winter Olympic Games. Just like the real Olympics, there will be medals, interviews and prizes. Unlike the real Olympics, you do not have to pray that the last donut you ate will mess up your chances of landing that triple lutz.

Today's Event is Curling, or What Can You Do With a Limerick?
I thought about describing a limerick to you here, but when you type it out,
"da da da da da da da DA,
da da da da da da da DA,
da da da da DA, da da da da da DA,
da da da da da da DA DA!"
it looks like a stuttering magician waiting for his wand to work.

Your challenge:
Write a limerick on the subject of winter, sports, or whatever suits your fancy.

You have until Friday at midnight to enter any of The Writer Games events. Check out last week's competitions to join in!
Winners will be announced Monday.

My limerick:
An athlete afflicted with fears
Of crashing too much on his rear
Would do well not to fall
Avoid sports of near all
Of the winter Olympian's gear.

Monday, February 15, 2010

THE WRITER GAMES, Part "8": Aerials

Welcome to the final week of The Writer Games, a.k.a. the Word Olympics. Like the real Olympic Games, this is a two-week contest featuring different events each day and includes medals, interviews and prizes.
Unlike the real Olympic Games, you do not have to barrel down a hundred-foot ramp on two skinny little strips of some composite material and pray you can manage a perfect whirligig miles above solid ground without landing on your head.

This is for those of you who want to keep head and body attached. Who think a little healthy fear is a good thing. Who write about adventure and feel proud of your fictional characters when they squeeze through danger unscathed.

And so, in honor of those incredible athletes we darn-near resemble,
today's event is
Aerials, or Rhymes Revisited.

What if Mother Goose wrote for a Middle Grade, Young Adult or New York Times crowd?
Your challenge today:
Rewrite a nursery rhyme, substituting synonyms for each word.

Here's my try:
American small-time artist journeyed to the city galloping on his young mare. He garnished his millinery with a plume and christened it after curvy pasta.
(hint: it rhymes with "shmankee shnoodle"

And one more, because it was so much fun:
Ahoy lollygaggers redundant!
The felinius violinist!
The Alderney vaulted the lunasphere!
The canine chortled at the variety of games and mirth
and the china eloped with the cutlery.
(hint: rhymes with "shmey, shmiddle shmiddle"

Remember, you have until midnight on Friday, February 19 to enter any of the competitions.
If you're newly on board, check out last week's events for details and join in!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

THE WRITER GAMES, Part 6: Hockey

Welcome to The Writer Games a.k.a. the Word Olympics!
Like the real Olympic Winter Games, this contest lasts two weeks and covers a different event each day. And just like the real Olympics there will be medals, interviews and prizes. Unlike the real Olympics, these games do not include being shoved onto ice by big guys in scary masks, getting clocked in the mouth or frequent black eyes.
No, not black eyes certainly, but I can't promise you won't have Boggle-y Eyes by the end of it. That's right, folks. This weekend's event is Hockey, better known as
"Boggle for Bloggers."
There are six heats to cover you over the next two days.
Give yourself two minutes per puzzle.
Find as many words as you can in each "heat", then list them in your comments,
"Heat One: frog, log,.. Heat Two: beachball, wall..."

"Boggle" rules:
Find words from the letters in the square; words (in English) at least three letters in length, not proper nouns. The letters in each word must touch or corner each other. You can't use the same letter twice in one word. The person with the most words remaining after common words have been cancelled out wins.







Oh, one teeny note on this - to play fair, it's probably best if you try not to check out the comments till after you've played your heats.
There could potentially be six winners on this event.
Good luck!

Remember, you have until midnight on Friday, February 19 to enter any of the events. If you're just newly on board, check out last week's action to join in!

Friday, February 12, 2010

THE WRITER GAMES, Part 5: Snowboarding

Welcome to The Writer Games, a series of contests inspired
by the Winter Olympics and set to hone your writing skills
and your sense of humor, hopefully.
Just like the real Olympics, there are different events each day,
and winners will receive medals, interviews and prizes.
However, unlike the real Olympic Games, you do not have to discreetly hide your scowl if you don't win gold.
Check out details in Monday's post.

Today's event: Snowboarding, or Mix Your Own Metaphors.

A metaphor compares two unlike things without using "like" or "as".
"That kid is a bulldozer."
[Speaking of bulldozers, I'm going to share
a little known fact with you. My dainty sobriquet
in middle school, given by my adoring peers
was "milk truck". Yep. Formative years.]

Your challenge:
Love and Olympics being in the air these days,
write a metaphor, or three
on the subject of Love, Winter or Sports.

You have until midnight on Friday, February 19 to enter any of The Writer Games events.
Good luck, and may the best words win!

My try at metaphors:

Her love was a sadly wrinkled dishtowel frozen on the clothesline.
But it didn't help that his love was all stray dog eagerly sniffing round the back alley for any vixen in heat.
If love is a piece of that cake, get me out of the bakery.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Heart Lessons

My novel is on submission with news expected from my agent soon.
I am a wobbly mess of nerves,
and am trying to keep my mind occupied and my heart light.
So yesterday I taught the girls how to cut out hearts.

I tried to let them help with the sewing and
ended up breaking a needle and losing it somewhere
into the depths of the machine.
But now we have more happy hearts to give away.

And a new prize to add to The Writer Games loot.

This is what it's all about. Having fun with the people you love.
And trying not to growl at them when they break your sewing machine.

THE WRITER GAMES, Part 4: Figure Skating

Welcome to The Writer Games,
a contest of writing and wit inspired by the Winter Olympic Games.
Just like the real Olympics, the games last for two weeks and present a different contest each day. And just like the real Olympics, there will be medals and prizes.
Unlike the real Olympics, you do not have to dress up in a sparkling silver bathing suit and show your derriere to the world when you smack onto ice.

You have until February 19 at midnight to enter any of the events. Check out past posts to see details and more events.

Today's Competition is Figure Skating: Pairs.
Your challenge is to figure out how to gracefully niche together the following words themed on winter and love in five lines or less:

My try:
A frigid shiver pierced my bones as I gaped at the cloistered vision. What of our longing glances, the tender touch of hands brushing against each other, the passionate kiss we shared only yesterday? How could she enter a nunnery not one day later like some icy harlot? And what had she done with my family heirlooms, passed down from King Edward himself and the sum and total of all I possessed?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

THE WRITER GAMES, Part 3: Short Skate

Welcome to The Writer Games.
If you're peeking in for the first time,
this is a competition in the spirit of the upcoming
Olympic Winter Games. Only, this competition is for writers
and does not include endorsements on a Wheaties box.
There are prizes, though, including blog interviews, medals, and something bright...

Today's competition is The Short Skate,
or Haiku.

In case you need a refresher, a Haiku is a poem of three lines.
The first and last line contain five syllables, the middle line has seven.

Haiku Event:
Write a Haiku about Winter, Love or Sports
(in honor of the upcoming Olympics, and St. V's day)

You have until February 19 at midnight to enter any of the competitions.
For more details, check out Monday's post.
I can't wait to see what you come up with! This is a fine batch of writers, and so far it has been a hoot reading your entries.

My try: "Winter Springs"
Come grow old with me
We'll laugh at the gray hairs and
Count the wrinkles there

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Welcome to The Writer Games!
If you are just joining us, I'm hosting a two-week series of Word Olympics in honor of the Olympic Winter Games in Canada.
Unlike the real Olympics, you don't have to wear spandex in order to compete in the ice events, but you do get to play for prizes, including blog interviews, medals
and a grand prize that's almost too colorful to believe.

To check out the rules, see yesterday's post:

Today's game is a simple nut to crack. No, wait, that's a metaphor.
I did think of making this "Mix Your Own Metaphors" but that will have to be a party to host another time - Mix your own drinks and metaphors. I have a feeling the writing games get better and better with each successive sampling.

Back to our Event: LUGE, or SIMILES. I'm not quite sure why it's related to sliding down an ice chute, but it is. So have at it!

Complete your own simile, starting with the following "winter" theme:

Don't Olympians get a few chances to best themselves? In the SIMILES event, Word Olympians can enter up to three times.
As mentioned yesterday, events close at midnight on Friday, February 19, with winners to be announced Monday, February 22.

My tries (I promise I won't give myself any prizes. I may peek at the last page of a novel before I get there, but I'm not bad-sported enough to treat myself to my own prizes!):
Cold as a morgue secretary.
Cold as a chilblain.
Cold as the permafrost "hairdo" she was sporting.

Monday, February 8, 2010

THE WRITER GAMES, Part 1: Opening Ceremony

Welcome to The Winter Word Olympics, a.k.a The Writer Games.
As I mentioned in my last post, I thought it would be good to celebrate the coming winter Olympics in true writer style - with word games!

The Writer Games is a contest that will run from February 8 through February 19. Just like the real Olympics coverage, The Writer Games will focus on a different competition in each post.
You have till February 19 to enter any or all of the events.
Awards will include blog interviews, medals and a giveaway. See my Crayons post.
I will announce the winners on February 22.

The rules are simple: Anyone can play.
Of course, if you follow my blog,
we'll have more fun bantering,
but this is open to all word athletes.

Today's event is OPENING LINES.

Come up with a great opening line that contains the word :

gla⋅cial  /ˈgleɪʃəl/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [gley-shuhl] –adjective
1. of or pertaining to glaciers or ice sheets.
2. resulting from or associated with the action of ice or glaciers: glacial terrain.
3. characterized by the presence of ice in extensive masses or glaciers.
4. bitterly cold; icy: a glacial winter wind.
5. happening or moving extremely slowly: The work proceeded at a glacial pace.
6. icily unsympathetic or immovable: a glacial stare; glacial indifference.
7. Chemistry. of, pertaining to, or tending to develop into icelike crystals: glacial phosphoric acid.

Here's my Opening Line:
It only took three and a half words to stun the dinner party into glacial silence: "THAT'S DOG FOOD!"

Friday, February 5, 2010

Crayons and Word Olympics

Part One: Crayons
My gang was sick yesterday. Since the girls were already hanging out on the couch I brought them their broken crayons and made them peel the skins.
We arranged broken bits in holders and popped them in the oven. Maybe I shouldn't have used a rubber ice cube tray because it melted.

But the melted tray was worth it:
we have happy hearts to give away.

Which brings me to
Part Two : The Writer Games

In celebration of the upcoming Olympic Winter Games, I am going to be hosting The Writer Games, a sort of blogger Word Olympics, if you will.
Just like real Olympics, it will include different competitions and will take place for two weeks. And just like the real Olympics, there will be prizes: I'm talking medals, blog interviews, and a giveaway I know you'll love. (Hint hint: It has to do with craftsy recycling, and may even include melted crayons).

So stay tuned, tell your pals, sharpen your wits, crack your writing knuckles and have standing by. It all starts Monday, February 8.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...