Friday, July 25, 2014

Push the Box Open - Add Flavor To Your Writing

I just returned from a great vacation - 

rejuvenated and ready to work again...

We visited with great people and explored new places; so surely the past week will influence better writing and character development. 

We traveled to California for a week and enjoyed some remarkable sunshine and fun places.

Here is the point - we don't have to fly to far away lands to add flavor into our writing, we only need to watch and listen to our surroundings, but how great will our writing be when we do push the box open a bit.

Going to any place new will rejuvenate your mind and open up your creativity again. Break the routine.

Take a look and see some of the great places that truly inspired me.

More to come...
Keep reading - Keep writing!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Big Secret In Memphis - A hidden treasure at Davies Manor

Anyone who is a Civil War buff will enjoy exploring the Antebellum log home, filled with memories and ghosts.

Davies Manor Plantation circa 1803

Last week I was invited to visit a truly remarkable historical site in Shelby County Tennessee.

The Davies Manor Plantation located in  Bartlett Tennessee has a mission to preserve and enhance the old homestead as a portrayal of early Shelby County farm life for the education and enjoyment of all visitors.

The home is filled with authentic antiques and lends the imagination to meander into a window of the past and see first hand what the original homesteaders dealt with on a daily basis. There are also letters and accounts of the family life back when things were different. I hesitate to say harder, because many may envy the less complicated life back in the early 1800's. 

There are some who say ghosts still linger the old plantation home. I heard some of the stories and will definitely go back for more, but I have not seen evidence yet. 

Still there are many sad tales littering the family history. An interruption of the souls' lofty departure to the heavens is not unreasonable to imagine. The suggested lingering spirits about the place is not difficult to believe.

Here are some pictures I took while visiting.

Kitchen hearth
Lake house moved to Davies Manor

Old time kitchen & 1800's cookbook

I hope that if you ever come to Memphis 
you will take the time to stop at the Davies Manor Plantation as well as Graceland. Truly this exquisite historical home is worth your time - Everyone who visits the Davies Manor Plantation learns something unexpected.

Our past had more purpose, especially in the daily lives, and we can learn from their sacrifices and experiences.

Hope to see you there - until then....

Keep reading - Keep writing!

 Also Visit Memphis Heritage 
National Register of Historic Places 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Spring, Life Reinventing Itself

Another spring...

This is when we enliven our faith in humanity and look towards a brighter future.

The soul is a precise gift and makes the human experience different, transcending into a higher level from other living creatures.

The atrocities in this world, and the monsters that exist because they reject the moral cry of the soul, are heard about everyday. We are bombarded by the news - bad news, about how one person can hurt another human.

We  need to hear more often about the goodness that resides in human beings - that inner strength of moral character, our salvation - our promise and hope for a brighter future.

On this holiday season of Passover, Easter and spring -

I invite you to think about something good and make it a practice to do this each day. 

Let it become part of you.

We become what we aspire to - we are what we learn.

Our behavior can be improved each day with just the smallest of reminders, the tiniest thought can bloom into a great action of love.

Never underestimate the little things in life.


 Keep reading - Keep writing!



RIP - Thinking of you with a smile - Happy Easter

Dana R Labbee


Lisa Horzazuk

Thursday, February 27, 2014

FREE Courses To Help You Expand Your Knowledge Base

Writing is a continuous process, always leading in new directions and to new ideas. As we sit at our desks, characters sometimes blaze the way - at other times we need to coax them along, and end up with pages of prose that need our fervent hand to delete the 'little darlings' - those words we feel, yet they don't belong in the story.

Even the best of authors had their moments of rehashing, rewriting, rearranging of the words.... so as writers ourselves, we need to read the work on the previous pavement, study the methods, and hopefully it will add dimension to our own craft.

Walt Whitman, one of the most original of American writers, was no exception.  In fact, he viewed his work as a continuous work in progress. In that light, his most famous poem, Song to Myself  was published in various layouts at various times.  

It began as  I celebrate myself in the 1855 edition.  
In the 1856 edition, it is called Poem of Walt Whitman, an American. 
In 1860, it is simply, Walt Whitman. So it is in 1867 and 1871.

The original form was continuous, but the last and most updated version in 1881 was fixed into 52 parts.

Currently there is a course offered for FREE at The Writing University for a  MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) for creative writing through the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa

   Every Atom

In this course we are hearing analysis and participating in discussions about Walt Whitman's  
Song of Myself 
Please find a free copy from 
Leaves of Grass Distributed under a Creative Commons Licencse and edited by  Ed Folsom & Kenneth M. Price

Check out the many other MOOC's available. Expand your knowledge base. The more a person learns,  the more that person needs to know...  

A wise person realizes this insatiable thirst, yearns for more knowledge from within this world, and grasps at it with a curious hand.

There are a multitude of free courses available on-line and for many subjects: science, philosophy, writing, business

Challenge yourself and learn something NEW or just brush up on something you thought you knew...

You can check out these places for more Info:  
For those on the go - Pod casts and Audio books are the way to go. Check out these free resources too!


Keep reading - Keep writing!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Today - Some Virtual Places with Great Info

Education never ends, we learn new things each day, especially curious souls like us.

If you have been in the same job, lived in the same town, socialized with the same friends - for years now, you may need a lift.

There are a multitude of free courses available on-line

 I strongly recommend that you challenge yourself from time to time. You can check out these places for more Info:  

There are also events - on-line webinars, which can be fun.


Currently there are two events happening TODAY that may have some good information for you.

  • ONE - #ContentTECH


    In the #ContentTECH portal (virtual event) there is some helpful info about various ideas on Content Strategy, a topic I have been talking about lately.  Check out a free eBook given out from a sponsor of the event Act-On Software - it has some helpful ideas to help focus your message to your readers.
         8 Content Marketing Mistakes To Avoid

In the Indie Recon event - you can go back and watch what happened yesterday, and join in today's events too. It is never too late to join the conversation or learn something new. 
Here is the schedule.

Keep reading - Keep writing!



Thursday, January 30, 2014

An Author's Treasure - Kind Words And Feedback About Their Art George Hodan

 Making ART is one of the most challenging things to do in life.


So many of us make things - but what makes it ART?

It connects part of you to others when you share the art.  For example if you like to sew clothes and you make a dress for your daughter to wear to a party - I would consider that ART.  It was created and shared - and it was original.  If you write a poem or limerick about something dear to you, and you share it on Facebook - isn't that art too?  I think so.

Art is something that comes from the heart.

Art doesn't have to be a commodity that is sold.  It can be a drawing, a poem, song or dance, stage play or a story shared.  It can be anything you create that frees part of your soul What truly makes ART shine is the sharing of it.

There is nothing better than writing a story, sharing it, and hearing feedback, especially if someone has been moved by your work.  Sometimes words read in a book can alter your view of things, and open up your mind to new ideas and possibilities.  This was one of the things that happened when I read The Answer To Your Question by Paulette Alden.  You can read my review here.  Other stories are merely to entertain and take us to other worlds to live vicariously for a moment like The Taste Of Fear by Jeremy Bates.  You can read my review on that story here

A book takes us to places in the imagination and allows us see things in a different light.

To all authors out there - keep heart even when you don't get that feedback right off.  Eventually your voice will be heard when your words reach that special reader who needed your ART to touch their heart. George HodanFor all readers - please don't hesitate to give feedback to those who bare their souls on the pages.  Your support and kind words are treasure.  Anyone who creates ART and is brave enough to share it with others is truly my hero.  I look at the work of other authors and think 'how wonderful their mind works' and how lucky I am they shared their ART.  Make yourself happy today and read a book.  Make an author happy and write a review.


Keep reading - Keep writing!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Reinventing Yourself - Growing Better (Be a mentor - Share your experience)

You never thought about it before - it always looked so far away, then - S-M-A-CK-  you're there. One day you wake up, look in the mirror and realize, 'Hey I'm 50 - something!'

Some people are so comfortable in their routine they think there is nothing more to learn after they hit the 50's...  but for those who still want to figure out 'what they want to be when they grow up', and those who like change, and want to reinvent themselves, take heart.

Today, age is nothing more than a number.  Who cares if you're 50-something?  What matters most is growing - not old - but evolving into a better person.  We will never reach perfection, but that doesn't mean we can't keep reaching and learning new ideas.

Many baby boomers use their older years to do the things they always wanted to do in their bucket list.  That can be good - but I challenge anyone - no matter how young or old - to do something that will help someone else.  Bucket lists fill a personal need but doesn't reach out to others.

Next week Jan 17th - 19th join the 2nd Annual "Pay It Forward" event and do a random act of kindness.  See you there...   This is one challenge that will help you become a mentor instead of the 'main character', and share your talents for the benefit of another.  This can be an empowering moment for all.

In the meantime, don't worry about your age - Just be honest with yourself.  If you are not happy with your current situation don't be afraid to change - it is never too late to learn something new.  Make yourself useful, for yourself and others too.  Share your experiences and knowledge.

I started writing, not knowing exactly what I was searching for - a new career (at my age, really?) - a change - a channel to be creative.  During my journey I learned new things, added tools to my knowledge base, met new people with fresh ideas (and old ideas too) but mostly I challenged myself every day.

You can't help but grow when you are faced with a challenge.

So don't get depressed if you are like me, getting older - Remember you are still alive and kicking and it's a great big world out there.  Today we have so much information at our fingers, there is no excuse to find something new and invigorating, adding to your quality of life.

Don't be afraid to reinvent yourself - Grow into a better you.

Keep reading - Keep writing!