Friday, January 18, 2013

It’s That Men From Mars Thing Again.
Description and Dialogue...
Who Uses It Best?

This story, I believe, was written by a man, at least the author’s name suggests it was. However, with the use of pen names back then, it could have easily been written by woman. Who knows? Tell me what do you think?

By Berton Braley
The Munsey
September, 1911

“FUNNY, isn’t it, how all this fluffy stuff gets the men?” said David.               

“Does it?” Ella asked.

Ella was not at all fluffy. Her hair was a soft brown, with a coppery sheen, but it was straight and severely simple in its arrangement. Her gowns were severely plain, her features severely regular, her temperament severely intellectual. Her eyes, however, rather belied all this severity. They were very bright, and there was an impish little gleam in them.

“I should say it does!” David asseverated. “Put an ordinary man up against a pretty little thing with cuddlesome ways and beseeching brown eyes; and if she lets a stray lock of hair brush his face, or her hand linger in his, or if she looks up at him out of wondering and apparently adoring eyes, or waxes enthusiastic over his bigness and strength or cleverness — why, he forgets that she can’t cook, forgets that she, can’t run a house, can’t talk sensibly, can’t do anything worth while. He simply falls for the fluffy stuff, and there you are. I never could understand how a little powder and rouge and hair-dressing and kittenishness can make a grown man act like a silly child!”

“Yet the kittenish girls get a good time out of life, and seem to make men just as happy as the wiser ones. In fact, the wiser girls mostly stay single,” said Ella.

“That’s because most men are romantic nincompoops,” David growled. “They make marriage a matter of sentiment instead of sane choice, and they never learn any better.”

Ella gazed thoughtfully  out of the window. David gazed thoughtfully at Ella. She was a thoroughbred, he knew — a true, able, and noble woman, fit to be any good man’s mate, and just the sort of girl he should marry. He and Ella hadn’t any nonsense about them. They would certainly hit it off together.

Yet he didn’t propose. His mind approved and every consideration urged, but something seemed to hold him back. He could think of no one whom he liked and admired more; but though he had come tonight determined to ask her, he hesitated.

“David,” said Ella suddenly, “when you were a little kiddo, did your mother ever kiss a scratch on your hand and make it well?”

David nodded,

“Great imagination I had in those days,” he said. “All rot, of course!”

Ella made no direct answer. She continued looking out of the window.

“David,” she went on, after a little pause, “do you know that it’s three years since I went to a dance? — and I went with you the last time. That’s a long while ago, David.”

“Yes, but think of the real solid talking and reading and thinking we’ve done together in those three years,” said David. “That’s better than whirling around with feather-brained boys and fluffy girls who don’t know anything.”

Ella smiled.

“Then I sha’n’t see you at the dance tomorrow night?” she said. “You’d rather be reading a good book. I, however, am compelled to go with a young man who dances divinely, they tell me, and who rather prefers fluffiness. I shall have a perfectly horrid and dull time, of course, but I shall try to get through it.”

“Young Howard?” queried David.

“Yes,” said Ella.

“Light-weight, but not a bad sort. Hope you enjoy yourself.” David took his hat. “By the way,” he added casually, “it may be that I shall look in during the evening. Sister says I’ve got to go. Suppose you save the eleventh and twelfth for me?”

“All right,” Ella agreed.

David gasped with amazement and admiration. He wouldn’t have known Ella. He had been hovering about ever since the fifth dance, but he hadn’t been able to get a glimpse of her in the crowd. Now he had located her, in the midst of a group of young men. Her hair was put up in some shimmery, soft, new way; her lips were scarlet; her cheeks flushed pink; her shoulders looked 1ike marble.

David caught her eye for a second; she smiled brilliantly at him, then swiftly turned to her laughing group of admirers. David felt as if a door had been slammed in his face. He repaired to the smoking-room, where he sulked.

After interminable years his dance arrived. Ella, in an indescribable gown of filmy something or other, stood up as if ready to dance. David shook his head.

“No,” he said. “Let’s talk.”

“I’d rather dance,” said Ella. “It’s a sin to waste music like this, and the floor is wonderful!”

She took two or three graceful steps.

“But I don’t dance, you know,” David protested.

“You used to,” said Ella; “and I believe that you’ve forgotten how. Come on!”

His arm slipped about her waist, and they swung into the waltz.

“Why, it’s the old ‘Dream of Joy,’” said David; “the best waltz of all! Do you remember, we danced it three years ago, and you said you’d rather waltz with me than eat — and then you ate twenty-four olives at supper!”

“All fluff and frivol, David. I wonder you remember!”

“Remember! I remember every word you said that night. I remember—“

Ella chuckled.

“How many,” she asked, “of our serious and valuable talks in the three years since do you recall word for word?”

David grinned sheepishly.

“Not one,” he admitted.

Ella smiled again, a very wise and tender smile, but said nothing. When the music stopped, she looked up demurely at David and cooed:

“David, you’re just as perfect a dancer as ever! I had almost forgotten how big and strong you are, and how you used to plow through the line — and how you used to sail through the jam of dancers on hop nights.”

She lifted her eyes adoringly to his. David beamed, and led Ella out into the moonlight.

“How is it,” he asked, “that you are so radiant to-night? Your cheeks are so red—“

”Rouge!” said Ella.

“Your lips so brilliant—“


“Your hair so soft and shimmery and elusively fragrant—“


“And your gown—“

“Frivol and fluff !” said Ella. “You hate ‘em. You don’t see why men fall for them.”

She shot him a warm, sweet, shy glance that was half challenge and all lure. Her shoulder touched his, a wisp of her hair blew across his face. She sighed deeply, and in some magic way seemed to snuggle closer to him without really moving at all. David’s arm closed about her waist.

“Ella,” he tensely whispered, “you’re a witch! You’re a positive darling, and you’re driving me distracted. When are you going to marry me?”

“Marriage should be a matter of sane choice, not of sentiment,” quoted Ella, nevertheless settling comfortably back against that encircling arm. “David,” she went on, “you’re a fraud! I’ve been sane and sensible for three years, and you just wouldn’t propose. You’ve talked philosophy and politics and common sense — but you never talked marriage until to-night. And to-night you fell for the ‘frivol and fluff’ that they all fall for; and I’m glad of it, because it proves you’re a regular man!”

“Anyhow,” said David, “ I love you, frivol and fluff and all. This would probably be a poor world without it. Ouch!”

For he had scratched himself slightly on the queer bracelet which Ella wore.

“Oh, did it hurt?” Ella asked solicitously.

She examined the tiny scratch gravely. Then she bent over and kissed it.

“That makes it all well,” said David; “but I’ve got an awful scratch on my lip!”


Cute story, huh? Would you agree that it could have been written by a man? Did you notice the short choppy dialogue, quick description, and almost male-like humor? I especially enjoyed the first three paragraphs after the scene break where David watches Ella at the dance. It’s all in his view point. Did you notice how David described Ella’s gown? Quick, to the point and definitely male.

What I also liked about this 1911 story over most of the 1800s stories I’ve shared so far is that in Frivol and Fluff we have been given more character-driven dialogue and less author intrusion.

Yes, I know, the author still tends to tell the story but Berton Braley made use of a lot of vivid, active, picture-like words which helped me feel like I was actually there instead of being told a bedtime story. I kind of call this a Show-telling way of writing. It’s a lot like we see today in novels. For me, it works.

However there was one aspect of the author’s writing which didn’t work for me. It was the overuse of dialogue tags, especially with using the word ‘said’. After a while I wanted to say, “Enough, all ready, Mr. Braley. There’s only two of  them talking. I think I can follow along without all the extra help, thank you very much.”

Come to think of it, even in today’s stories, the overuse of dialogue tags, tends to make me it done by...ahem...a Mars...or a Venus romance writer.

Until next time...Happy Writing!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Excuse Me?

                “Grandmother, What Long Arms You Have.”
                   “Excuse Me? But...Who Are You?  Really?”

In 1916, author Charles Perrault may have a inadvertently given a writing lesson when he penned his fairy tale, Little Red Riding-Hood. Listen again as we hear the wolf’s answer to Little Red Riding-Hood’s statement of having long arms. “All the better to hug you with, my little girl.”

The wolf was no fool.

He knew, in order to get close to the girl, he would have to act and talk exactly like Grandmother. If not, Little Red Riding-Hood wouldn’t be tricked into undressing and climbing into bed with him.

Undressed? Climb into bed? Hmmm, do you suppose there’s the makings of a romance plot here? Granted, in Perraul’s story, the wolf's objective was to eat Little Red Riding-Hood, but still, the possibilities are—

Wait! I digress. This article is supposed to be on characterization, not on Little Red Riding-Hood and the wolf’s hungry cravings.

Okay, back to characterization. Normally in fiction, there are male and female protagonists. author’s gender is either male or female. So how can an author effectively portray a character’s gender opposite of their own?

Surprisingly the concept is not a contemporary one. Gender characterization was discussed in a 1898, New York periodical called The Munsey Magazine.

On a side note, publisher, Frank A. Munsey, prided himself as being a spokesperson of the arts. He actively searched both America and Europe for the best art and literature to go in his monthly magazine. In 1898, alone, he spent over $20,000 dollars in buying fiction, poetry, articles and art. Even his use of photographs were outstanding. Additionally, in less than four years, his newly, established, ten-cent magazine had grown to a readership of700,000. It more than doubled the combined American circulation of Harper’s, Scribner’s, and The Century, (all cost thirty-five cents to purchase at the time. )

* * * *

Here is what Munesy had to say in one of his monthly “Literary Chat” sections on gender characterization.

In Wolf’s Clothing

When women writers take to trousers and march through their novels as first person heroes — “I, George Wharton, a bachelor of thirty four” — it is amusing to see that every movement betrays the goddess. The more aggressively mannish the attitude, the more palpable the illusion. Their masculine valor, like that of a stage courtier, depends on the little outward signs, the swish of a stick, the crook of an elbow, or the angle of a knee. They smoke a cigarette and say “damn,” and think by that they have achieved masculinity.Yet the veriest hayseed in the top gallery grins at the masquerade.

It is the gait that betrays them. The average feminine mind trips lightly forward on pointed toes, with many little excursions and minute explorations to the right and left. The man, as a usual thing, stumps gravely along, leaving deep heel marks at wide intervals, and passing the details with blank indifference. Their respective ways of exchanging confidences show this better than anything. A woman tells what led up to an episode, just how it happened, and what he said, and what she had on, spinning a good hour of reminiscence out of a fifteen minute event. A man states the fact boldly, filling in the interstices with confidential silence and tobacco smoke. A genius can achieve this, rising superior to sex by the magic of intuition, but geniuses are rare among authors nowadays. The average woman rarely creates a man of men when she herself plays the title role.

** * *

What is it with these 1800's men? Why is it that a woman can rarely create a man of men? What about a man creating a woman of women? Wouldn’t he have the same problem?

Oh, never mind, I’m wandering again.

As far as for characterization. I do understand Munesy’s point. If an author is female and she endeavors to write in a male character’s viewpoint, she must be absolutely certain that she doesn’t color it with her own feminine logic. The same, therefore, must go for a male author writing a female viewpoint.

One of my best friends, Regina Emig Ronk, wrote in her how-to book, Literary Virtual Reality: Writing Fiction With the Breath of Life, that one of the hardest tasks in writing is to write from a gender’s viewpoint opposite their own.

And, get it right!

She recommended that once a scene has been written, an author would be wise to run his or her efforts by someone of the opposite gender. Ask if the character sounds like something a man (or woman) would say or do in that same situation. She also noted that it’s best to keep some important things in mind when developing gender characters.

Men tend to think in terms of hierarchies and women think in terms of groups. Men perceive a chain of command and the challenge for leadership.

Women have a communal view. Everybody works together and everyone’s opinions should count. She also recommended that an author read Dr. John Gray’s book, Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus for more differences.

Correct gender identification, however, isn’t the only type of character development an author needs to be aware of. Richard Cohen in his book, Writer’s Mind, says all fictional characters are human beings without a body – people made entirely of words. These characters live in a world of pure language or “pure spirit.” The trick is to make certain that “people made entirely of words” come to life as believable, complex, living, human beings.

To do that, an author must enter a character’s literary protoplasm skin and understand him completely. Realistic and memorable characters can be created if an author follows a three-step procedure. First, the character. Second, be defined. Third be mastered and finally created. Though the third step is considered to be the most difficult, the second step is the most crucial. Mastering creditable personalities, sometimes means an author must step beyond the boundaries of what they perceive as normal, or believe what is right or wrong, especially if a character’s persona does not fit within a writer’s comfort level.

Unfortunately, an author can’t just snap his or her fingers and switch genders in order to understand what the other sex thinks, nor can they wave a magic wand over themselves and become a homosexual dying of AIDS in one moment, and become a raving, psychopathic killer the next. To know either of those characters an author might have to, as they say, “walk the walk.”

Granted, not everyone can, or is willing to, interact with a deranged killer, just so they can comprehend how a murderer thinks, or live daily with the life choices of an AIDS victim. But what if you could? How far are you willing to go to understand your characters completely? Or, would it even be worth it?

It was for the wolf in Little Red Riding-Hood. And we all know how that story ended.

Happy writing.

* Illustration From:Steedman, Amy. Nursery Tales. Paul Woodroffe, illustrator.
London: TC & EC Jack, n.d.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas - Is it necessary?

In 2003, I wrote the following article for the Valley of the Sun RW's newsletter. del corAZon. Last night I was watching TV and Melissa Harris-Perry was the host on The Last Word. Melissa spoke about Christmas. The title of her topic? "The Santa Claus Test". I really enjoyed it and remembered how I had done a Christmas piece years ago. I decided to add my article to my Voyager blog this morning. Both Melissa and my article touches on Santa and the meaning of Christmas. Only Melissa's thoughts are so much better. Big Grin *(A link to her article is provided at the end of this article.)

Bah Humbug To You!
All I Want For Christmas Is The World.

“Christmas today is way too commercialized.”

“We’ve lost the meaning of Christmas.”

How often have you heard these statements? Or, have you said them yourself?

If you have, then you might be interested to know that if the Puritans and our founding fathers had been allowed to continue their preference, the subject wouldn’t be an issue today.

In fact, Christmas wouldn’t have existed at all.

Why? Because of religion and national pride.

Let’s look at religion first.

Yes, Jesus is the reason. Has been ever since the 4th century. However, since the Bible does not mention the exact date of Jesus’ birthday, Christmas has also been a bone of contention for the purist types. One of whom was England’s Oliver Cromwell. He and his early 17th—century Puritans decided to deny the legitimacy of any type of Christmas celebration. They especially disapproved of the December 25th date. They argued that the holiday had been established by the Catholic Church in the 4th century only so that Pope Julius I could incorporate a pagan Saturnalia festival into the Catholic theology. He did this so that that the masses who were bordering between Christianity and paganism would come into the church.

Now, here’s where it gets a bit interesting. As long as England was under Cromwell’s thumb, Christmas was not celebrated outright. Then King Charles II got himself restored to the crown in 1661. He reversed Cromwell’s dictate on Christmas and allowed the holiday to be celebrated in England again.

But not so for the English Separatists residing in America. You might know of them as our famous Pilgrims. By the 1660s, these hardy souls had settled in with a vengeance. They not only adhered to their strict religious beliefs, they continued to ban anything they considered as frivolous and wasteful festivities. Christmas customs were considered a mockery against the sacredness of Jesus.

In fact, the good and pious leaders living in Massachusetts were so dead set against Christmas that they made sure the holiday would remain forever forgotten. They enacted a law in 1659 that said: “Whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas or the like, either by forebearing of labor, feasting, or in any other way...shall be subject to a fine of five shillings.” (Here’s a side note: Captain John Smith and his Jamestown populace, which was located in what we now know as the state of Virginia, happily enjoyed the Christmas holidays without a protest.)

Then came along the American Revolutionary War and national pride took a hand. The colonists, flush with victory over England, had a disdain for anything English. That meant even all her customs and holidays fell out of favor. Since Christmas was a popular English holiday by then, our founding fathers emphatically scorned it. In fact, they went so far as to hold a session of Congress on December 25, 1789. They also encouraged all Americans to ignore the holiday as well.

The New England colonies, descendants of our Puritans, heeded the call. As far as they were concerned, Christmas was already a dead issue.

Guess who didn’t listen?

Yep! The southern states. Virginia in particular.

Christmas continued to be celebrated in the South with gifts being exchanged between family members and friends. Wealthy landowners even allowed their slaves to celebrate with... “the discharge of Chinese crackers,” and the slaves were “...given an holiday for as long as the great Yule log burned.”

The middle states of our emerging nation sort of straddled the fence, with the majority celebrating the holiday, but doing it quietly, depending on which religion one adhered to.

(Are you beginning to see a trend here between the North, the South and the states caught in between?)

By the opening of the 19th century, however, many Europeans hailed America as the land of opportunity. Thousands flocked to its shores looking for a new life. But with them, they also brought many of the old world prejudices and problems and introduced new ones. Conflicts between the various classes of people became an issue, high unemployment sent poverty to unacceptable levels, and gang violence ran rampant in the larger cities. Then the Civil War erupted with all of its grievances. The horror of the conflict shook the fledgling country to its roots and in the end shattered its southern states into impoverishment and resentful reconstruction.

But, as horrible as the war was, the country also learned something precious. It changed its views about human rights, dignity, and its obligation to its fellow men.

With these lessons in mind, the country tried to move from a wartime mentality to the stress of the fast-paced Industrial Age. How did a country approach human rights while its industry exploded and a handful of men were intent on controlling most of the country’s wealth? And, how could human rights be dealt with effectively when the specter of poverty was even greater with the large numbers of immigrants coming from all over the world?

Some of America’s more social-minded upper-class members decided that something had to be done to unify America into being a stable and peaceful country again. One small way they might do it was to reintroduce the idea of celebrating holidays.

Thanksgiving was one holiday suggested. (Spearheaded by Sarah Hale, editor to Godey’s Lady’s Magazine, it and declared by President Lincoln in 1863 as a holiday.) And, the second was to reinvent an English Christmas, or something like it. After all, wasn’t Christmas based on Jesus and unconditional love?

Eventually, the American people and government agreed. Congress declared Christmas as an American holiday on June 26, 1870. (Thanksgiving didn’t get officially approved until 1941.)

By the middle of the 1800s, there were plenty of Christmas traditions waiting to be reinvented. Charles Dickens’1843 famous tale of A Christmas Carol, a wonderful book about redemption, charity and goodwill toward others, was already being touted as a classic. Washington Irving’s sketches celebrating English Christmases were published everywhere. Ladies’ magazines, such as Godey’s, Munsey’s and Peterson’s Magazine, were avidly doing their part. They regularly published at least one Christmas story in their December issues. Peterson’s Magazine had already gotten into the act of promoting Christmas ten to fifteen years earlier. In 1858, they had written on how to go about celebrating Christmas. The article was titled, CHRISTMAS AND ITS CUSTOMS. In 1879, they published another article titled CHRISTMAS IN THE OLDEN TIME. In both articles, great drawings and detailed text touted just how an English Christmas used to be celebrated, right down to the Yule log, wassail and mistletoe.

Both newly arrived and already-established Americans started paying attention. By the 1880s, sending mass-produced Christmas cards (helped by a newly designed one-cent stamp) flourished so much that the U.S. Postmaster General had to warn everyone to post early in order for the cards to arrive on time. Americans also began to notice how others celebrated the holiday with their own old-world customs. For example, the Germans arriving in the early 1800s had brought their Christmas tree tradition. At first erecting pines trees was considered an oddity, but by the late 1800s the custom of decorating a tree rapidly spread throughout American homes, along with adding German Christmas ornaments.

The Dutch brought their Sinter Klaas, their name for Saint Nicholas (which eventually evolved into the name Santa Claus). The jolly, fat man we know of today was introduced to us by a New York Episcopalian minister. Reverend Clement Clarke Moore wrote a poem for his children in 1822 and titled it An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas (also known today as The Night Before Christmas.) It became a huge hit, not only with his children but with the populace at large. Reverend Moore’s image of Santa Claus was later enhanced by a political cartoonist by the name of Thomas Nast. Mr. Nast drew the jovial man with a bright red suit and hat and full white beard for the January 1, 1881 issue of Harper’s Weekly.

Another thing that moved Americans closer to accepting Christmas was that the family structure on discipline was relaxing. Upper- and middle-class parents were more sensitive to the emotional needs of their children and looked for additional ways to lavish attention without appearing to “spoil” them. Gift giving at Christmas time was the ideal answer and businesses recognized the opportunity. Advertising exploded, hawking the perfect gifts to give to family members and friends.

Which brings me back to my opening question. Has commercialism today ruined Christmas?

Not necessarily. It might just need tweaking again.

Consider back to the time when Christmas was reinvented in America. The country was emerging from the ashes of a war. Businesses were growing and new products appeared daily. Large department stores and mail-order catalogues were introduced across the country. With the railroads and rapid transportation opening the nation from coast to coast, anything and everything could be purchased by anyone who had the need. The emergence of Christmas and gift giving was like a dream come true. That dream not only helped the country become whole again. It also taught that love is all important and by it America could become one of the generous countries in the world.

Today we look upon the past as time of nostalgia, especially when it comes to Christmas. We say that we wish we could go back to a time when life was simpler, less hectic, less violent and less commercialized. Was it really that way or just going through a transition?

Maybe it isn’t that we need to go back. Maybe it’s just come to a point where we need to reinvent Christmas again.

Washington Irving did it with his sketches. Thomas Nast did it with his vision of a Santa Claus. Clement Clarke Moore did it with his poem, and Charles Dickens did it with his story. And, what about all those other wonderful Christmas stories published during the 1800s? They were a big part of bringing back the spirit of Christmas as well.

So, as authors, I challenge you to consider reinventing Christmas. At least, think about it, even if you don’t agree what Christmas stands for today. Who knows, maybe you’ll come up with a story of unconditional love that will make you the next Clement Clarke Moore or another Charles Dickens. With today’s world working through their own issues of human rights and human dignity, we certainly could use whatever you decide to write.

Here's the link to Melissa Harris-Perry's article in The Nation.
The Santa Claus Test

Until next time. Happy Writing!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Have I Got a Story for You

Here's a story some of you may have already heard. But I finally did today, and it struck a chord within me.

Several different ways. One...I couldn't help but admire the plucky little horse's strong will to live. That determination is a wonderful example for anyone who wants something bad enough they draw the very thing to themselves. Two...This would be a GREAT story line, wouldn't it? I mean think about it. Being Molly, as she is, she could bring two lonely people together...ahem...a sweet romance maybe? A hot one?

Take a second and read....

"Life isn't about surviving the storm, it's about learning to dance in the rain."

Meet Molly

She's a gray speckled pony who was abandoned by her owners when Hurricane Katrina hit Southern Louisiana. She spent weeks on her own before finally being rescued and taken to a farm where abandoned animals were stockpiled. While there, she was attacked by a dog and almost died. Her gnawed right front leg became infected, and her vet went to LSU for help, but LSU was overwhelmed, and this pony was a welfare case. You know how that goes.

But after surgeon Rustin Moore met Molly, he changed his mind. He saw how the pony was careful to lie down on different sides so she didn't seem to get sores, and how she allowed people to handle her.

She protected her injured leg.
She constantly shifted her weight and didn't overload her good leg.
She was a smart pony with a serious survival ethic.

Moore agreed to remove her leg below the knee, and a temporary artificial limb was built.

Molly walked out of the clinic and her story really begins there.

"This was the right horse and the right owner," Moore insists.
Molly happened to be a one-in-a-million patient.
She's tough as nails, but sweet, and she was willing to cope with pain.
She made it obvious she understood that she was in trouble.
The other important factor, according to Moore , is having a truly committed and compliant owner who is dedicated to providing the daily care required over the lifetime of the horse.

Molly's story turns into a parable for life in Post-Katrina Louisiana ...
The little pony gained weight, and her mane finally felt a comb.
A human prosthesis designer built her a leg.

The prosthetic has given Molly a whole new life, Allison Barca DVM, Molly's regular vet, reports.

And she asks for it. She will put her little limb out, and come to you and let you know that she wants you to put it on. Sometimes she wants you to take it off too. And sometimes, Molly gets away from Barca. “It can be pretty bad when you can't catch a three-legged horse,” she laughs.

Most important of all, Molly has a job now. Kay, the rescue farm owner, started taking Molly to shelters, hospitals, nursing homes, and rehabilitation centers. Anywhere she thought that people needed hope. Wherever Molly went, she showed people her pluck. She inspired people, and she had a good time doing it.

'It's obvious to me that Molly had a bigger role to play in life,’ Moore said. “She survived the hurricane. She survived a horrible injury, and now she is giving hope to others.”

Barca concluded, “She's not back to normal, but she's going to be better. To me, she could be a symbol for New Orleans itself.”

This is Molly's most recent prosthesis. The bottom photo shows the ground surface that she stands on, which has a smiley face embossed in it. Wherever Molly goes, she leaves a smiley hoof print behind.

God's creatures often reflect the character we aspire to.

How wonderful it is that nobody needs wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. Anne Frank


I don't know where this story originated from. I'm sure it's been passed around so many times, the ownership has been lost.

Now that you've read it, does it speak to you? Could you twist it a bit and make it a Suspense story or Mystery? Possibly a paranormal? Hmmm, a paranormal, now that GIVES me an idea. Where did I put my story idea notebook? I've got to write this one down.

Until next time, happy writing.
Kris Tia

Sunday, September 11, 2011

How Sweet The Story Or Gotta Grab ‘Em Right Away

She never really knew why.

He came into her life like some wonderful new perfume. Never before had any man awakened in her hear the tingling romance that his presence seemed to bring.
And yet his attentions were destined to last only one short evening.
They had met and danced. He had seemed quite interested. She was beautiful girl. And still he left her that night saying not a word about seeing her again.
She never saw or her from him and really never knew why.

Did he have a right to suspect her?
Dunbar was in a terrible state of mind. He was worried sick about this wife. He was madly in love with her and she had been acting very strangely during the past several months.
The thing that troubled him most was that she now responded very reluctantly to his affectionate advances. She wouldn’t even let him kiss her. The whole state of affairs was driving him mad. He suspected everything. And, yet, he alone was to blame.

Why had he changed so in his attentions?

The thing was simply beyond her. She couldn’t puzzle it out. And every moment it preyed up her mind and was almost breaking her heart.
He had been the most attentive lover and husband imaginable. But of late some strange something seemed to have come between them. Now he was so changed.
Was is some other woman? No, she told herself, – it couldn’t be! Yet why wasn’t he the way he used to be toward her?

Often a bridesmaid but never a bride.

Edna’s case was really a pathetic one. Like every woman, her primary ambition was to marry. Most of the girls of her set were married – or about to be. Yet not one possessed more grace or charm or loveliness than she.
And as birthdays crept gradually toward that tragic thirty-mark, marriage seemed farther from her life than ever.
She was often a bridesmaid but never a bride.

“Could I be happy with him in spite of that?”

She had announced her engagement to him. Her friends were beginning to be quite curious as to when the wedding would occur. And he, more insistent that nay of them, was pleading with her to set a definite time.
One thing seemed to stand in the way — something she didn’t have the courage to talk to him about — something she feared, might interfere with her happiness.
She simply didn’t know what to do.

Have I captured your attention, yet? What did you think of these five 1920s blurbs? After reading them all, did they make you want to find out more about each of the characters or possibly their significant other?
They did me. As I read these quick blurbs, I kept thinking, Wow, I wish I could come up with neat little ditties like these. They’ve got me hooked. I want to read more.
It’s been a while, since I actually wanted to write anything fiction. After I found these blurbs, I suddenly got the urge to start composing new stories, some being in the same time period of the pictures shown, others possibly being turned into time travel material, and others used with more of a modern-day theme.
That’s why, when it came time to write an article for this month’s newsletter, I decided to offer these blurbs up to you, in hopes that they’ll motivate you as well.
Take them, swirl them around in your creative brain for a while. See what comes up. I bet there’s some really great story material for you.
If you do come up with something, let me know. I’d love to hear all about your ideas.
Oh, and by the way, you’ll get a kick out this little bit of information. These five blurbs were actually 1920s advertisements promoting Lambert Pharmaceutical Company’s LISTERINE mouth wash.
You know what I really think is hilarious about all this? The one thing that’s keeping these lovers apart is halitosis. Just many romance authors do you suppose would actually dare use this as form of conflict between their characters?

Until next time. Happy Writing
(originally written for the March 2004 Valley of the Sun del CorAZon, newsletter)

My Dilemma

I have decision to make.

Originally, I had intended to use this blog for my writing, tying in the past with today. I wanted to use old stories to teach how writing had change. Share things that seem different from present.

I would dearly love to have a connection with people who walk in the card-making world while still connecting with the writing world.

I probably should use to different blogs. Trouble is coming up with a craft name to use, not to mention find a new blog title then let everyone know of the changes. Up till now I have always used Lady Editor as moniker, in everything I do.

Oh well, I did say I was stepping out of my comfort zone and doing things differently. Guess this will be one of the times. For those of you who would like to follow me in both of my worlds I'd be honored for you to do so. It will mean a lot.

Until then Happy Crafting and Happy Writing.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Looking for a mentor

I've decided to take another step and ask if anyone out there in the card-crafting world would be interested in mentoring a beginner.


Now, I know how to cut/trim and glue. I know how to color and always stay within the lines (sometimes a stroke will get away from me-sigh) but I'm hazy on the shading/selection of color pens, etc.

Embossing has me completely buffaloed. I mean, I know how it's done, but not exactly sure when to use it, or how to do it so it pops.

The long and short of it is I want to get better, feel comfortable uploading cards to some of the wonderful blogsites I've been visiting. Other people's card are simply amazing and I say that with awe in my voice...or rather with awe in my fingers while I'm typing.

Either way. Have a great weekend