In Praise of Handwriting

For decades, I eschewed cursive handwriting in favor of keyboarding and printing. That’s right—printing. After several students had complained about my illegible board work, I switched to printing on the blackboard and inputted almost everything else onto digital devices. I did sign report cards, checks, and other legal documents, taking extra care with my penmanship.

Since retiring, I’ve rediscovered the benefits of expressing my ideas the old-fashioned way. I have Julia Cameron to thank for that epiphany. A fan of Julia’s books, among them The Artist’s Way and The Prosperous Heart, I found myself incorporating Morning Pages into my daily regimen. At first skeptical, it didn’t take me long to realize the wisdom of her logic: “When we write by hand, we go slowly enough to record out thoughts with accuracy. On a computer, we whiz along, dashing our thoughts to the page.”

Other benefits of handwriting include…

Better Cognitive Skills

Writing longhand stimulates the Reticular Activating System (RAS) in our brains. The RAS acts as a filter, giving more importance to the information being processed. Also, writing in cursive script enables us to use both parts of our brain. Writing in small letters boosts left brain (analytical) activity that improves attention to detail. Large writing and sweeping doodles stimulate the creative right brain and also provide stress-busting benefits.

Fewer Distractions

Unless we are super-disciplined, it’s almost impossible not to succumb to the many distractions that exist on the World Wide Web: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, video games…Each year, the list gets longer. Sitting with pen and paper allows us to write with more laser precision. It may appear slower, but we are able to identify more relationships between ideas and come up with creative solutions.

Improved Writing

Many famous writers prefer to write by hand. Novelist Truman Capote refused to use a typewriter while writing his first draft. In an interview, he commented: “I write my first version in longhand (pencil). Then I do a complete revision, also in longhand.

Susan Sontag, American writer, film-maker, teacher, and political activist, also preferred the analog method. In a 1995 interview with the Paris Review, she said: “I write with a felt-tip pen, or sometimes a pencil, on yellow or white legal pads, that fetish of American writers. I like the slowness of writing by hand.

A 2009 study from the University of Washington supported these preferences for longhand writing: “Elementary school students who wrote essays with a pen not only wrote more than their keyboard-tapping peers, but they also wrote faster and in more complete sentences.”

Where to find Joanne Guidoccio…

Website | Amazon | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Goodreads | Pinterest

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A Midnight Clear by Jeannie Hall

Little Birdie Who and Other Stories by Vicki Batman

Partners: Odyssey of the Phoenix by McKenna Sinclair

Second Act by Marsha R. West

Too Many Women in the Room by Joanne Guidoccio

Into the Sunrise by Kathryn Jane

Tempted by Mr. Wrong by Jacquie Biggar

Spirits of the Heart by Claire Gem

Sneak Off and Read: Lines about A VOW, PROMISE, OR COMMITMENT, #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines about A VOW, PROMISE, OR COMMITMENT for a great start to the week. Enjoy!


“Promise if anything like this ever happens again, you call the police first and then David and me.”

Marsha West


Until Nate freed his men, it was celibacy all the way. He’d taken a vow and everything.

Sharon Wray
Every Deep Desire 


“I was being polite—just like you taught me—and said hello back. That’s all. I promise. I didn’t hit him. I didn’t yell at him. Nothing.”

Vicki Batman


She lifted an elegant eyebrow over sleepy eyes. “I promise to be on good behavior for the duration of my stay. But if you don’t move your foot out of my way, I’m going to slam this door so hard you’re going to be walking with a limp for the next month.

Jacquie Biggar


Tears invoked from AJ’s vows glistened in Quin’s eyes. She held his hands tightly as she looked into his exuberant face.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair


Like the knight in shining armor that Jason aspired to be, he’d kissed the back of Zoe’s hand and promised to take care of her, honor and cherish her, if she would consent.

Claire Gem


“Jean suffered through her father’s remarriage and was determined to spare her son. While she had no intention of remarrying, she knew that Michael wouldn’t stay alone for too long.”

Joanne Guidoccio


“I don’t care about anything but loving you,” she said. “And living without you is not an option.”

Kathryn Jane


 I’d made a promise to my sister before she passed away to get out and see the world. Live dangerously. I certainly wouldn’t be breaking it now.

Stephanie Taylor
Follow Me (work in progress)


Sisterhood of Suspense

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Enter the Sisterhood of Suspense’s Rafflecopter #Giveaway for your chance at some page-turning reads!

A Midnight Clear by Jeannie Hall

Little Birdie Who and Other Stories by Vicki Batman

Partners: Odyssey of the Phoenix by McKenna Sinclair

Second Act by Marsha R. West

Too Many Women in the Room by Joanne Guidoccio

Into the Sunrise by Kathryn Jane

Tempted by Mr. Wrong by Jacquie Biggar

Spirits of the Heart by Claire Gem

 

 

 

 

Filling in The Blanks

One of the maladies—and joys—of being a “pantser” novelist is that the story’s not over until it’s over. The raw, clay model of a novel can be reshaped, added to, and trimmed at any point in the process. Just like a sculpture.

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There is no outline. No rubric. Nothing written in stone. Anything, and everything, can change at any point along the way.

I am a devout, committed pantser: can’t write by an outline if my life depended on it. It would be like feeding hemlock to my muse. But the novel I’m working on now has been giving me fits. Why? Because I veered off my path of “purist pantser.”

First, because unlike many of my previous works, I actually have a working synopsis. Did I work long and hard on this? No. It’s a pantser synopsis. It sort of came to me, all in a jumbled lump of 4000 or so words, right after a coaching session with my favorite writing coach of all time, Joanna D’Angelo. Before that, all I had was a premise, and a general idea of characters and plot line. Very general. That’s how most of my novels are born.

But after a lengthy Facebook discussion with Joanna, the smoke started to clear and the mirrors came into view: the magic with which I could create this masterpiece. The manuscript sat for few weeks, while summertime activities and medical issues and life in general got in the way. My muse spent a few weeks in Tahiti (wish I could have gone with her). In fact, once I guilted myself into getting back “at it,” for the first few sessions, I had to cajole myself into even opening the document that held my raw beginnings—about 10,000 words or so—and force the words onto the page.

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They weren’t good. They weren’t even mediocre. They personified that legendary “shitty first draft,” a la Stephen King.

Then suddenly, the magic began to happen. All on its own.

The problem is, my magic muse gets in a hurry sometimes. She frantically whips my fingers around on the keyboard, moving the story along at breakneck speed. Often leaving gaps. Omissions. Holes in the plot line. Skipping over the waves like a water skier. Like a stone across a peaceful stream. Like a restless dragonfly flitting across that stream to light briefly on a reed or a rock along the way.

I am not one of those people who can blast through an entire 80,000-word manuscript, call it the “shitty first draft,” and then go back to “lick my calf over” (can you tell my husband is an old cowboy?). No. These gaps and omissions and plot holes haunt me, waking me up in the wee hours of the morning, declaring their existence at screaming decibels. They insist—demand—that I go back, right now, and fill them in.

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Which is why, at 3:30 a.m. this morning, I climbed out of bed, my brain throbbing from their rants. Somehow, by some magic of the muse’s wisdom, the plot holes had made themselves known to me at some point in the night. And once I knew they were there, well . . . you know the rest of the story.

But now, 2000 words later, I am breathing a sigh of relief. Because I know, now that the omissions, the gaps, the plot holes are filled in (at least some of them), the writing of this novel will progress much more smoothly. Much more rapidly.

Until Ms. Muse again takes possession of my fingertips and races forward at warp speed. Only to pause some tens of thousands of words down the line, at which point she will find something else for which she feels it necessary to disturb my slumber.

~~~

Claire_200x300

Claire Gem is an award winning author of contemporary romance & supernatural suspense. You can find out more about her work at her website & on her Amazon Author Page.

 

Sneak Off and Read: Lines about A STATEMENT OR ANNOUNCEMENT, #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines about A STATEMENT OR ANNOUNCEMENT for a great start to the week. Enjoy!


I thought the terrible twos would be the hardest part of raising a child. Boy, was I wrong.

Stephanie Taylor
Sharp Blades (work in progress)


If you’d ever been half a father to me, maybe I wouldn’t have been so fucking lonely that nothing else mattered.”

Kathryn Jane


“At dinner, I’ll solemnly promise to come home more and up to Oklahoma City to visit you guys, too. I’ll redirect Mom. I promise.”

Marsha West


“Juliet,” Rafe’s voice was so broken she almost couldn’t hear the words, “No matter what the world says, and regardless of what you believe, you’ll always be my wife.”

Sharon Wray
Every Deep Desire 


“I am not sleeping with you,” she hissed, all but stamping her foot. Lapis-lazuli eyes snapped like fireflies and her fists clenched at her sides like she wanted to whop him one.

Jacquie Biggar


“AJ will go,” Mitch announced. “This is the type of thing he’s best at and we have no time to lose.”

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair


“I scheduled you in for nine thirty. Luke Morrison will be questioning you.”

Joanne Guidoccio


Sisterhood of Suspense

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Enter the Sisterhood of Suspense’s Rafflecopter #Giveaway for your chance at some page-turning reads!

A Midnight Clear by Jeannie Hall

Little Birdie Who and Other Stories by Vicki Batman

Partners: Odyssey of the Phoenix by McKenna Sinclair

Second Act by Marsha R. West

Too Many Women in the Room by Joanne Guidoccio

Into the Sunrise by Kathryn Jane

Tempted by Mr. Wrong by Jacquie Biggar

Spirits of the Heart by Claire Gem

 

 

 

 

Painted Rocks, Joy, and Childhood Revisited

I grew up spending my summers at the beach, and one of our favorite pastimes was collecting rocks and shells, and painting them.

Well, imagine my surprise when I recently discovered adults all around the world have taken to painting rocks, and tucking them in fun spots for other folk to find. Rocks with messages, or not. Rocks with great artwork on them…or not.  The point is to spread a bit of love.

So last Tuesday, my besties and I on our “girls playday,” painted rocks, and on the weekend I took them to the beach where the Sea Festival was happening, and I left them here and there, in plain view.

I could only imagine the childlike joy of finding such a special gift—something another human being had created with love.

Guess what we’re doing this Tuesday? Yep, painting more rocks, and this time I might leave a couple at the hospital, or in odd spots around town. My goal in life is to make people smile, and I’m tickled to find this new way that will hopefully bring a moment of joy to a total stranger.

 

 


Kat loves crisp sunny days, the warm breath of a horse, cats with a sense of humor, the smell of the ocean, and her very own charming prince—in no particular order.   http://kathrynjane.com


 

Soul destroying questions and equally stunning answers have Dusty digging deeper than she ever thought possible, and when she discovers her Self, in an entirely foreign landscape, she begins anew, more determined than ever to achieve her lifelong dream.


Sisterhood of Suspense

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Sneak Off and Read: Lines about A QUESTION, #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines about A QUESTION for a great start to the week. Enjoy!


“How many curses do you have?” Was I really having this conversation?

Joanne Guidoccio


“I’m coming in a little late, so forgive me if I ask a question you’ve already answered.” Lucas flipped to a new page in his notebook. “Has your husband had any dealings with AgriRolla?”

Stephanie Taylor
Shutter (work in progress)


Her voice faded to a whisper. “Why did you leave me?

Kathryn Jane


She put a hand in front of her mouth to block the questions, which fought to explode at her father like machine gun fire.

Marsha West


Pops spoke in French—the language of Rafe’s momma—and that meant no more questions unless you wanted to see the buckle end of his belt.

Sharon Wray
Every Deep Desire 


She tilted her head a tad to the right, a questioning expression passed across her face. “Perhaps, my darling, somehow you messed things up?” Moi?

Vicki Batman


“Where’s my dad?” How could he have let this… cowboy cart her off like one of his prize trophies?

Jacquie Biggar


Her question held a challenge. The answer was in his face, but he didn’t seem to want to admit it.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair


That set me back, a question hovering somewhere just under the surface of my consciousness ever since the first night I locked eyes with Tristan.

Claire Gem


Sisterhood of Suspense

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Enter the Sisterhood of Suspense’s Rafflecopter #Giveaway for your chance at some page-turning reads!

A Midnight Clear by Jeannie Hall

Little Birdie Who and Other Stories by Vicki Batman

Partners: Odyssey of the Phoenix by McKenna Sinclair

Second Act by Marsha R. West

Too Many Women in the Room by Joanne Guidoccio

Into the Sunrise by Kathryn Jane

Tempted by Mr. Wrong by Jacquie Biggar

Spirits of the Heart by Claire Gem

 

 

 

 

Readers Wanted

 

 

Welcome to our brand new  Sisterhood of Suspense Readers’ Forum on Facebook!

Join us for excerpts, cover reveals, and ARCs.

Meet and interact with a great group of writers. Ask about our books, our writing process, our pets, or even our favorite places for vacation. 😀

Help us out when we need a character name, a hero hometown, a kind of dog…

And did I mention giveaways?

Click here for the  Sisterhood of Suspense Readers’ Forum!

Sneak Off and Read: Lines with the topic JOY, #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines about JOY for a great start to the week. Enjoy!


Filled with a freeness, a joy Miller hadn’t felt in years—hell, maybe never—he reached out and wrapped both his big hands around Laura’s waist, stilling her. Time froze as their gazes locked.

Claire Gem


Everyone else had scattered and left with hungry stomachs, but Susan and I would enjoy the exquisitely prepared meal.

Joanne Guidoccio


“I lived for your daily posts, and I couldn’t wait to see what you’d been doing, where you’d been. Some days that’s the only thing that brought me joy after I’d lost faith in the world around me.”

Stephanie Taylor
Follow Me (work in progress)


She didn’t know what it was about this man who hadn’t cared for her when they first met—nor she for him—but she enjoyed being around him. He always made her believe he’d keep the bad stuff at bay.

Marsha West


Rafe’s words broke apart as if there wasn’t room in his voice for all the laughter and happiness. “There aren’t enough stars in the skies to match the I love yous in my heart.”

Sharon Wray
When Next We Meet (work in progress)


She wadded up a piece of paper and threw it, expertly hitting his pride and joy—his ball cap.

Jacquie Biggar


Quin felt sick. The joy of their new relationship was being derailed by AJ’s loyalty and concern for his best friend.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair


#SummerReads

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Keeping Cool…On a Budget!

At least once each summer, I treat myself to a Dairy Queen banana split. And each time, I try not to gasp at the “new” price . In 2017, a DQ banana split costs $7.00 (CDN). Like everything else, Dairy Queen treats have risen in price.

Glancing at the menu board, I mentally calculated the minimum and maximum amounts a family of four could easily spend on a Dairy Queen excursion. If they all selected banana splits, the cost would be $28.00 (CDN). Four small dipped cones would ring in at $12.60 (CDN). These expenses could add up if summer temperatures soar and humidity levels become unbearable.

While there aren’t too many substitutes for a DQ® Peanut Buster® Parfait, Buster® Bar or Blizzard®, it is possible to create reasonable facsimiles of DQ sundaes and banana splits at home.

 Here are ten of my favorite homemade sundaes:

Oranges ‘n’ Sherbet: Place two scoops of orange sherbet in a dish, cover with orange juice, and decorate with slices of mandarin oranges.

Vanilla Vamp: Place two scoops of vanilla ice cream in a dish, cover with chocolate syrup, sprinkle with chopped nuts, and top with a maraschino cherry.

Coco Delight: Place one scoop of vanilla and one scoop of chocolate ice cream in a dish, cover with whipped cream, and sprinkle with toasted shredded coconut.

Maple Delight: Place two scoops of vanilla ice cream in a dish, cover with maple syrup, sprinkle with granola, and decorate with shredded coconut.

Caffeine Boost: Place two scoops of vanilla ice cream in a dish, cover with strong black coffee, top with whipped cream, and decorate with grated chocolate.

Strawberry Dream: Place two scoops of strawberry ice cream in a dish, cover with strawberry sauce, and top with whole fresh strawberries.

Fruity Vanilla: Place two scoops of vanilla ice cream in a dish and cover with fruit cocktail in syrup. Add whipped cream and top with a maraschino cherry.

Hawaiian Delight: Place two scoops of frozen vanilla yogurt in a dish and surround with pineapple and kiwi slices. Top with coconut.

Superfood Sundae: Place two scoops of frozen chocolate yogurt in a dish, surround with blueberries or blackberries, and top with chopped almonds, and ground flax seed or chia seeds.

Banana Split: Cut a banana in half lengthwise and place in a dish. Cover with any of the above sundae recipes.

Note: If you have dietary concerns, substitute frozen yogurt, fresh fruits, and chopped nuts for the ice cream and toppings.

Any other suggestions for cool treats…Please share!

Where to find Joanne Guidoccio…

Website | Amazon | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Goodreads | Pinterest

 #SummerReads

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Sneak Off and Read: Lines with the topic EXCITEMENT, #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines about EXCITEMENT for a great start to the week. Enjoy!

 


For the first time Quin’s feeling of excitement was colored with a tinge of dread.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair


But Laura was shaking her head slowly from side to side, that glint of mischief piquing Miller’s excitement even more. “I want you here,” she whispered.

Claire Gem


I watched the changing expressions on her face as she tried to show sympathy for her husband. But all I could see was radiance and hidden excitement.

Joanne Guidoccio


You were both bareback, and looked like a couple of free spirits galloping through the snow, laughing as it flew up around you. I was certain I could see your eyes flashing with excitement.

Kathryn Jane


Mia excitement bubbled over into Jake.

Marian Lanouette


Andie smiled, trying to contain the excitement of her brother coming around to help. She was committed to the adventure without him, but what was the fun in that?

Stephanie Taylor
Shutter (work in progress)


“Oh, I’m so sorry. My excitement ran away with me and I haven’t let either of you get a word in.” She leaned back. “Your turn.”

Marsha West


When Samantha used Juliet’s silver combs to attach the veil trimmed with the same lace, she felt like a bride. Always and forever.

Sharon Wray
When Next We Meet (work in progress)


“S-swell.” I suppose I could show more excitement about this thrilling opportunity. After all, Trixie had performed way beyond the normal call of duty for a friend.

Vicki Batman


“The baby’s head is crowning,” he gasped, the mask sucking in and out with his words, eyes shining with fear and excitement.

Jacquie Biggar


#SummerReads

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