Tag Archives: Health

The long and short of it – Your sentences, that is — Rule #22 of 32 Simple Rules to the Writing the Best Novel Ever


I’m dissecting the article Hunting Down the Pleonasm, by Allen Guthrie, using it as a cattle prod to search for little nasties in my manuscript.  Yep, you can join in the fun, too.  Let’s take a looksee at topic #22

22: Vary your sentence lengths. I tend to write short, and it’s amazing what a difference combing a couple of sentences can make.

Remember to be careful with this when you are trying to create a mood.  For instance, a string of short, choppy sentences can create tension when needed.  Overall, though, a mix of lengths in your text will bring it alive.

And while we’re here – watch those overly long sentences.  If a line is over 20 words, you may want to consider breaking that puppy up a bit.



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Rule #3 of 32 Simple Rules to the Writing the Best Novel Ever


I’m dissecting the article Hunting Down the Pleonasm, by Allen Guthrie, using it as a cattle prod to search for little nasties in my manuscript.  Yep, you can join in the fun, too.  Let’s take a looksee at topic #3

3: Use strong verbs in preference to adverbs. I won’t say avoid adverbs, period, because about once every fifty pages they’re okay! What’s not okay is to use an adverb as an excuse for failing to find the correct verb. To ‘walk slowly’ is much less effective than to ‘plod’ or ‘trudge’. To ‘connect strongly’ is much less effective than to ‘forge a connection’.

This one is a bit easier to swallow.  Everyone knows about adverbs, right?  But using them is sometimes a hard habit to break.  If you find your work laden with adverbs, here is my suggestion:

1.      Make a copy of your work and save the original “just in case”

2.      Go through a chapter and delete all the adverbs.  Resist the desire to look at the sentence at this point.  Just delete.  Using the search feature and looking for “ly” will help with this. Look for “very” while you are at it, and just delete.

3.      Done?  Good! Now go back and read your chapter.  Most likely, if you’ve written a strong scene, you will not even notice they are gone.

Here’s a one sentance example from “Optimal Red”:

His heart beat rapidly in his chest as the doors opened.

His heart pulsed as the doors opened.

Go ahead!  Give it a try?  How did it go?  Were you able to strengthen your manuscript just by deleting?  Did you need to add a little more emphasis to replace the missing word?  Where did you decide to leave an adverb for flavor?


Pre- and Post-Surgery Pictures of Skin Cancer-Don’t be scared-these Pics might save your life

Okay well, you knew I would do this… because it’s me… and if I have to go through this EVERYONE else should too.

Seriously… I’m wired as a teacher, and I figure if I can teach a few people about skin cancer and help a few people to NOT go through what I am going through, then this is all worth while.

First of all, thanks so much for the well-wishes and prayers.  I felt them.  Really, I did.

I had to go through two rounds of surgery on Thursday, and it took almost four hours.  Thank goodness it was nowhere as bad as last time.  (I didn’t pass out on the table)  Thank you Doctor P. for letting me have my Kindle!  I played a high-speed word game to keep my mind off what was happening. It did the trick!

I am giving permission to everyone to Twit and Facebook the ever-living-stink out of this.  Email it to your friends.  This is no joke, and the more people who see this and understand, the better.  You OWE it to the people you love.

Heck, I dragged my 6, 9 and 11 year olds into the bathroom and showed them the stitches before I re-bandaged tonight.

Littlest Dude looked like he would faint.  Good.  I’ll remind him of it next time he complains about putting sunscreen on.

Okay.  Here’s the art.

Basal cell on Left thigh

This is what Basal Cell Carcinoma looks like pre-surgery. I made note of the cute little freckle for your amusement.  Remember where that little sucker is.  Please click on the picture to zoom in and take a good look.  If you have ANYTHING like this on your body GET TO YOUR DOCTOR.  Pressure Bandage

In fact, if you have any mark that pops up suddenly and does not go away in a week, show it to your doctor.  It’s just not worth the risk.

This is the pressure bandage before I changed it.

Stitches 30 hours after surgery

And here’s the big bad and ugly about thirty hours after surgery.  It’s eleven or twelve stitches, not including the internal stitches that you cannot see.  I’d guess it’s about 2.5 inches long.  And what happened to that freckle?  I think it’s where the arrow is pointed.  Yep, they had to cut that far around the cancer spot.  That’s a lot of flesh to lose for a little spot of nastiness, isn’t it? I really wish there was someone like me around to show me this when I was 16 and did this to myself. If I only knew…

Run… don’t walk to the drugstore.  Wear 30+ sunscreen year round.  I have a special one for my face that won’t give me acne that also doubles as a daily moisturizer.

Wear a hat! you can get a sunburn in that scalp, too where your hair parts.

Promise me you will protect yourself, and promise me you will send this to at least one person you love.  Hey, who knows… you might just save their life.

Lotion up, my friends, and be safe!


I’ll be going through another round of Cancer surgery today.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking… didn’t she already have skin cancer surgery?  Yes, I did. Twice. This is number three.

The first spot was on my ear.  I had a full body check and everything else was fine.  The next spot popped up less than a year later on my arm.  Same thing… the rest of my body was fine.  Last June, another odd little spot appeared on my leg, and here I am.

Are you ready for the rant to wear sunscreen?  Well here it is.  WEAR SUNSCREEN DERNIT!  Believe me.  It’s just not worth it.  Hey Australia – You guys should slather yourself with it all the time.  Here in the USA, most of us don’t even think of it in the winter, but the truth is, the sun is the sun no matter what time of year it is.  You can’t feel it because it is cold out, but believe me.  It’s still there, and it can still cause damage.

This mohs surgery will take between four to twelve hours.  Most take four to six hours.  My own dermatologist has already removed the visible cancer, but the scar is already showing signs of the original infection.  The surgeon will remove what he can see, test it, and if cancer shows up, he will come back and remove more… and test it.  This will go one for as long as it takes until they no longer find any traces of cancer… and Yes, unfortunately… I will be awake through the entire procedure.

Are you diving for your sunscreen yet?  I would be.

Slather on that SPF 30 or higher and be safe… and if you get a spare moment… pray that I caught this in time and I will only have to go through one round of this surgery.

Write a Story with Me Part 24 — Oh No! Mommy’s Gonna Have the Baby – By Vanessa Chapman

Yay!  Write a Story with Me is back!  We started back up again last week, so if you missed out, hop on back to fill in the blanks.  That battle is still brewing… Enjoy the ride!

Now remember, we’ve got a battle on the verge of rocking.  Marci is tied to a table in her father’s ship, her sister is flying out in space, and the very lives of the faeries are on the line.  But what about pregnant Mommy left home all alone?  Let’s see!

24 – Vanessa Chapman

The pain shook Natalia brutally from her sleep. She sat up and clutched her stomach.  “Yoran, wake up.” She turned and looked at the empty space next to her. Where could he be? She winced at the second wave of pain. “Yoran!” She called louder, “I think it’s starting!”. She wrapped both arms around her abdomen and dropped back onto the bed, doubled over . She knew the signs.  If her previous births were anything to go by, she didn’t have long. “Yoran!” Nothing.

Of course, Marci, he will be with Marci. She lowered her legs over the side of the bed and stood up. The pain had eased, and she scurried to Marci’s room. She pushed open the door. The glimmer of moonlight through the window was enough to show her that the room was empty. She steadied herself against the doorframe. Confusing thoughts wrestled with each other in her mind, and she was once again gripped by the contracting pain in her stomach. She staggered her way to Bethany’s room, instinctively knowing that this room too would be empty. “Yoran!” Her futile scream permeated through every room of the empty house.

Natalia desperately needed the doctor. Her previous births had not been smooth, and any complications this time could prove fatal for her or the baby. But how could she call the doctor? How would she explain where Yoran was when she didn’t know herself? If the Establishment found out that Yoran had gone out after the hours of shutdown, without permission, well, she daren’t even think of the consequences.

Write a Story with Me is a group endeavor just for the fun of it.  A different writer adds a new 250 words each week.  It is the ultimate Flash Fiction Challenge!

If you’d like to sign up, come on over.  There’s always room for more!

Part One – Jennifer M. Eaton

Part Two – J. Keller Ford

Part Three – Susan Roebuck

Part Four – Elin Gregory

Part Five – Eileen Snyder

Part Six – Mikaela Wire

Part Seven — Vanessa Chapman

Part Eight — Ravena Guron

Part Nine – Vikki Thompson

Part Ten — Susan Rocan mywithershins

Part Eleven — Kate Johnston  AKA 4AMWriter

Part Twelve — Julie Catherine

Part Thirteen — Kai Damian

Part Fourteen — Richard Leonard

Part Fifteen — Sharon Manship

Part Sixteen – Shannon Blue Christensen

Part Seventeen — Bryn Jones

Part Eighteen — Jennifer M. Eaton

Part Nineteen — Shannon Burton

Part Twenty — J.Keller Ford

Part Twenty-One — Susan Roebuck

Part Twenty-Two — Elin Gregory

Part Twenty-Three — Aparnauteur

Part Twenty-Four — Vanessa Chapman

Don’t forget to stop by next week to see what happens next.

 Ravena Guron —- TAG!  You are “It”

Write a Story with Me Part 20 – Throwing bethany under the bus with J.Keller Ford

Jenny Keller Ford kicks it back to the main storyline this week. So, What’s happening with Marci? What does Yoran have to do? Take it away, Jenny!

20 J. Keller Ford

Yoran left the cloaked air rider hovering as he retrieved Marci’s limp body from the house. Janosc was waiting in the sleep cabin when Yoran returned.

“Did you get the medicines I asked for?”

Yoran nodded while covering Marci with a blanket. “Yes. It’s all there. Every last drop of it. And the weapons, too. Now let’s go.” Yoran made his way forward to the cockpit.

“Not so fast, Yoran Sumner,” Janosc said. “There is but one more item we need before we depart.”

“I refuse to get you anything else” Yoran said, his temper bubbling beneath his skin.

“Then your daughter shall die.”

Yoran advanced. “Why you—”

Janosc thrust his arms before him, his palms facing Yoran. A bubble of green light pulsed forward, buffering the space between him and the commander. “Do not threaten me, human, or our deal is off. Understood?”

Marci moaned in her sleep, uttering nonsense.

“Delirium is setting in,” Janosc said. “We have little time. The choice is yours.”

Yoran clenched his fists, but his anger was pointless. He had to save Marci. He placed his hands on the overhead compartment. “What do you want me to do?”

The bubble of light vanished. Janosc flitted forward. “I want you to go inside and get Bethany. She’s coming with us.”

Yoran’s eyes widened. “What?” he shouted. “Why?”

“Because she is responsible for Marci’s illness, therefore she is necessary for her cure.”

“Responsible how? What are you talking about?”

“Why don’t you ask her?”

Write a Story with Me is a group endeavor just for the fun of it. A different writer adds a new 250 words each week. It is the ultimate Flash Fiction Challenge!

If you’d like to sign up, come on over. There’s always room for more!

Part One – Jennifer M. Eaton

Part Two – J. Keller Ford

Part Three – Susan Roebuck

Part Four – Elin Gregory

Part Five – Eileen Snyder

Part Six – Mikaela Wire

Part Seven — Vanessa Chapman

Part Eight — Ravena Guron

Part Nine – Vikki Thompson

Part Ten — Susan Rocan mywithershins

Part Eleven — Kate Johnston AKA 4AMWriter

Part Twelve — Julie Catherine

Part Thirteen — Kai Damian

Part Fourteen — Richard Leonard

Part Fifteen — Sharon Manship

Part Sixteen – Shannon Blue Christensen

Part Seventeen — Bryn Jones

Part Eighteen — Jennifer M. Eaton

Part Nineteen — Shannon Burton

Part Twenty — J.Keller Ford

Don’t forget to stop by next week to see what happens next.

Susan Roebuck —- TAG! You are “It”

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Oh No! I’m Fat! And, Umm, too skinny too? Huh?

My company recently acquired this nifty little machine that analyzes your body in a whole lot of different ways.

It sends an electrical pulse through your body on several different frequencies, and measures not only BMI, but the amount of water in your cells, outside your cells, how much muscle is in each leg, each arm, and oodles of other stuff.

After getting my report I slipped into the “Huh?” factor and needed to talk to the company health coach about it, because the report told me I need to lose 22.6 pounds.

Now, If you take a look at the pictures of me on my site, you will be in “huh” mode with me… those were taken earlier this year. Do I look like I need to lose 22 pounds?  A few maybe, but not 22.

What she explained to me is that my body is mis-proportioned.  My arms both only have about 85-86% of the muscle they should have to fall into the “normal range” and proportionally, I should only have between 18-23 percent body fat….. [**GACK**] I have 36.

Honestly, I totally believe this percentage part because let’s face it… writing is sedentary.  My thighs are a little thicker than they used to be… okay maybe 36 percent thicker… but I’m glad this little machine told me… because now I have a goal.

No, don’t worry, I am not going to try to lose 22.6 pounds… I’d have to starve myself for that.  What I am going to try to do is get down to my high-school weight… back when I was still a “babe”.  That’s losing sixteen pounds from where I am now.

Luckily for me, my husband in the last year or so has lost 65 pounds… and he’s offered to be my personal trainer.  I am going to try to lose as much fat in my legs and tummy as possible, while building muscle in my arms.

I need to get in the best shape I can in the next two weeks, and then I will jump on that nifty little machine again.

My goal is to push all my “underweight” areas into the “normal” zone by gaining muscle, and bring down that high fat percentage.

Hubbs said the chances of losing 16 pounds in two weeks is slim… but I probably consume that much in chocolate and ice cream alone in two week’s time.  I need to make healthier choices.

Diet and exercise.  Yep, I can do this…

What about my writing routing?  Yeah, I can’t possibly cut more time out of my sleep, so the writing and marketing time is going to suffer.  Social networking?  Erghhhh…. Might be a problem too… but this is something I need to do for my health.

Hubbs has been complaining we don’t spend time together… now we will.  And I WILL be a babe again, dernit!

Have you gained weight since you started writing?

If not, how do you make time for exercise, along with the laundry, dishes, taking kids to sports, dog training, and all the other normal things people do?

Six Sentence Sunday — Trail’s End By Denise Moncrief

Here’s Six Sentences from Trail’s End By Denise Moncrief

In this scene, Scarlette if nervous because her horse is missing. Libby has just motioned to her to sit on the couch.

I sat on one end, and she sat on the matching chair across from me.

“I’ve had the feeling someone has been watching me lately. And…I got that weird phone call.” I looked her in the eye. “Cade said the fence line had been cut on purpose. I’m afraid someone’s followed me here.”

Duh Duh Duh!  Sounds like it’s time to run!

Flash Fiction Friday on Wednesday: Trials of the Tooth Fairy- The Fairy Trap-A true story

What does the tooth fairy do when a little boy sets a trap for her?  Read on!

The tooth fairy peeked around the doorway, tip toeing into the little boy’s room, being careful not to make a sound, but when she made it to the bed, not only was there no tooth… there was no little boy!

Hmmm. She scratched her head and checked her notes.  Yes, there was definitely a tooth lost in this house today.  She tip-toed into the next room, and found the youngest little boy sleeping soundly.  Nope, he was too young to lose a tooth.

Across the hallway, the sounds of snoring rattled behind a closed door.  The tooth fairy carefully grasped the door handle and gently turned it, cringing as the door made a big “pop” sound.  She held her breath, and closed her eyes, not that closing her eyes would keep a little boy from seeing her, but it settled her nerves.

The snoring continued.  She tip toed in the room, smiling over the bed of the oldest child.  No, he hadn’t lost a tooth either.  A small rustle from the other side of room caught the tooth fairy’s attention.  She crept around the bed and put her hands on her hips.

Aha!  A little boy with a missing tooth!

The middle boy lay wedged in the two-foot space between the bed and the dresser.  He slept soundly on a thick fluffy pillow, covered with a full Spiderman comforter. She could feel the tug of the prize tooth nestled below his sweet little head, but how would she get to the pillow?

The tooth fairy scratched her head, wishing she hadn’t left her wings at home.  Is she had them, she could fly over the little boy to his pillow, and steal his tooth.  But alas, wingless, she needed to find a way to thwart this little boy’s plan to catch her in the act, and still run away with that prized tooth.

She took in a deep breath, and balanced one hand on the bed, and the other on the dresser.  Concentrating hard, she slipped her foot along the side of the frame, just beside the little boy.

OOPS!  She jumped as she stepped on something hard.  The little boy’s arm was under the comforter!  Frozen, one hand supporting her on either side, and one foot hovering in the air, the tooth fairy watched as the little boy groaned, and rolled over.

Oh No!  When he turned over, he bend his left his knee and pointed it in the air… just a few inches beneath her leg!

Balancing on one foot, she remained silent, waiting for his breathing to relax.  Certain he’d fallen back into a blissful slumber; she allowed her foot to touch the ground in the few blessed inches of open carpet beside his shoulder.  Using her fairy agility, she jumped over him, and crouched in the few inches of clear space by his pillow… a full grown fairy… in a six by twelve box.  Well, she’d had worse challenges.

Her heart pumped madly, dreaming of the prized tooth she would find beneath his pillow.   She slipped her hand under, only to find a long wire.  A wire?  The cable stretched from under the pillow to a nearby chair filled with toys.  Yup.  A booby trap… set up in the only possible place she would be able to slip her hand in.

Not to be thwarted, the tooth fairy contorted her body, twisting and mashing her large form in the little space provided, and slipped her other hand (upside down) beneath the pillow.  Tapping and feeling, being careful of the wire … she struck gold.  But was it gold?  No!  It was not the prized tooth… but a Nintento DS carefully hidden underneath his pillow.

Hmmmm, the tooth fairy thought.  She would have to leave a note for his mother letting her know he’d been playing games when she thought he was sleeping.

Having come too far to give up without her prize, the tooth fairy dug her fingers around the rest of the carpeting.  A marble, a toy soldier… Where was the stinking tooth!

Her hand touched plastic, and the wonderful sound of a Ziploc bag crinkling excited her ears.  She slipped the bag out from beneath the pillowcase.  The prize tooth!  Slipping her free hand under the pillow, the tooth fairy deposited the required fistful of jingly coins and stood.  Prize in hand.

But she could not yet celebrate her victory!  Her eyes adjusted to the light, the moon revealing the true intricacy of the booby trap.  How she hadn’t tripped it was a blessing in itself.  The older boy turned in his bed, covering the one point on his mattress that she’d used to support herself.

Dangit for forgetting my stinking wings!

She gritted her teeth, and placed one toe on the pillow, shifting the fabric beside the child’s head.  With a huge leap, she used her magical fairy powers to sail over the comforter and the booby traps, and landed solidly on the carpet at the edge of the bed.

THOMP. The flooring shook beneath her mass.

She froze.

A cricket chirped outside.

Both children reacted to the noise by turning in their sleep.

The tooth fairy waited, ever so patiently until they’d stopped moving. Whew! They remained asleep. Two steps took her from the room, and a now trembling hand eased the door shut.


The tooth fairy rubbed her temple, and smiled at her prize tooth.

I don’t get paid enough for this.


Writing time:  24 minutes.  Fresh in my mind since it was last night.  J

Yeah, I know there’s show verses tell and all.  It’s speed storytelling, remember? Give a girl a break.

Flash Fiction Friday on Wednesday – The Long Walk

First of all… If you haven’t signed up for Write a Story with me, hop on over and sign up.  Our authors are already plugging away.  What fun!  Sign up here.

Okay… now on to the important business of the day… Flash Fiction… Setting the timer for five minutes.  I have a bad headache, and I’m wondering what I can write with this kind of distraction.  Go…

I ease into the long hallway.  Whiteness blinds me.  Where does it go?  Should I really be here?

I turn back, but the door has closed.  No other path lies before me than the one straight ahead.  Lights swirl, voices of the past berate me.  Was I sad?  No.  But was I ever happy?  Did I do enough?

Three steps further.  The light is blinding.  How far must I go?  How far can I go?

The hallway ends.  The sounds stop.  All but a handle disappears.  I’m compelled to take it, to turn the handle and face what lies behind the door, but terror fills my soul.

I don’t know what lies on the other side.  I gasp for breath, but there is none.  The air disappears.  There is no longer a choice.  I must move on.  I grasp the handle, and turn.

A breeze hits my face.  Terror subsides.

I walk through.


(Time:  Four minutes … sans correcting typographical errors.)

Note:  No, I am not contemplating taking that “long walk”, but I did write this with a mild migraine, and the lights are hurting my brain.  That may be where that idea came from.