Sunday, July 21, 2013

Biff and Mary: Chapter Fifteen

Welcome to another installment of Biff and Mary!  

Today's episode is brought to you by alliteration, autonomous body parts, unnecessary descriptions and a few common phrases I seem to see in nearly every book I've read lately (if you know which ones I mean and find them in the chapter, let me know in the comments!)

Those of you who have read the previous chapters (just click the Biff and Mary tab, above, if you'd like to review) will recall that we last left our lovely couple in the doorway at Mary's house, with Mary embracing a strange man, leaving poor Biff stunned and stymied...

Chapter Fifteen: In Which Biff Becomes Excessively Envious

Biff stood silently behind Mary, in an uncomfortable quandary, wondering if he should interrupt her embrace of the unknown man or sustain his stoic nonchalant stance. As he frowned at the affectionate display in the doorway, a sparkle outside drew his attention and he gazed over Phillipe’s red Robert Graham garrison sport shirt-clad shoulder at the car parked at the end of the drive. It was a BMW 1 Series Sport Edition Convertible in Carbon Black metallic paint finish with 18” M light alloy V-spoke wheels, adaptive Xenon headlights, shiny chrome accents and tailpipe and polished black vertical bars in the distinctive kidney grille. The slowly setting sun caused the BMW’s shadow to hover ominously over Biff’s practical Prius, which – as he saw now – really needed to be washed, dried, and buffed to a proper shine, though it would likely never have the perfectly polished presence of Phillipe’s vehicle.

Biff sighed and his eyes moved away from the driveway drama, only to find that the Phillipe/Mary embrace disturbingly continued. Just as Biff was reaching out to poke a proprietary pinkie on Phillipe’s admirably clothed arm, Mary finally drew back and away, though her smile was wide and bright and not directed at Biff at all.

“Oh, Phillipe! I can’t believe you’re here!  How did you ever know where to find me?” Mary bubbled as she ignored Biff.

Phillipe flipped his medium-length brown-with-reddish-highlights hair back out of his chocolate brown eyes and flashed Mary a stunningly spectacular grin.
“I stopped by your parents’ place, and your mother was very accommodating with your address, so I jumped in the Beamer and headed straight for Loversville!”

“But, but I thought you were in Paris until fall!”

Phillipe’s eyes rolled heavenward with exhausted ennui. “Paris simply bored me, Mary. One can take only so many parties and fashion shows and yachts, after all. So, here I am! Back to see my lovely Mary!” Phillipe grasped Mary’s lightly tanned and toned arms and pulled her in for yet another enthusiastic embrace.

His “lovely Mary”??  Biff’s eyes widened and his fists clenched in an unfamiliar way as he was filled with a new, incomprehensible emotion.  He panicked as he felt his heartbeat increase to a disturbing cadence and the depth of his frown threatened to crease the Revlon Cover-me-Up in Fair Maiden Ivory concealer he’d applied to the stubborn behemoth of blemish on his forehead. His lungs filled and refilled with air at a much faster than normal pace and he began to feel rather faint as he stared ineffectually at his lovely Mary in this insolent intruder’s arms.  He felt beads of moisture on his brow, and after thinking about it for a moment he realized it must be sweat – something he’d heard of but never experienced, of course, as sweating was simply not done in his circles. A sense of shame as well as fear began to join the other unknown emotion that caused his rapid breathing and clenched fists as he surreptitiously swiped his sleeve across his seriously sweaty brow.
 Just when he felt he may explode in some inexplicable but likely meaningful way, Mary drew away from Phillipe once more.  As her mouth opened to speak, a shrill series of yelps echoed from beyond the kitchen.

“Oh! Poor Poopsie!” Mary exclaimed, running toward the back door. “I’m coming, sweetiekins!”

For a swift but seemingly interminable moment, Biff was left staring at Phillipe, begrudgingly admiring the Robert Graham shirt and the beige Cutter & Buck twill pants as well as the hickory shade of his Ferragamo Sabatino driving shoes and the Versace sunglasses that hung haphazardly out of his shirt pocket. As his breathing began to return to normal, he looked up only to find Phillipe’s gaze on his own shoes. 

The mutual assessment was interrupted by a rocketing ball of pink fur and tiny snapping maw, as Poopsie barreled into the room. Having been on the receiving end of Poopsie’s protective nature, Biff’s feet took an instinctive step backward.

Phillipe, meanwhile, stooped down and caught the ricocheting puffball in mid-bark.

“Hey! This can’t be little Poopsie, can it?” he said as he gathered the previously-problematic pup against his chest. “Last time I saw you, you had to be at least two ounces lighter and a lovely shade of lilac.” He turned to Mary. “You simply must tell me who her stylist is. They’ve done a wonderful job and I’ve been looking for a new one for my Lhasa, Lawrence.”

“Oh, I bring her to Penny at Paulette’s Pampered Pooch Emporium on the corner of Pearl and Pickwick. They let you pick from plenty of powdery pastels! Lawrence would look lovely in a light lilac, I’m sure!”

Momentarily ignoring the dog stylist discussion, Biff felt his mouth drop open in shock as Poopsie sniffed Phillipe delicately, and then her little pink tongue reached out and licked his hand, tail wagging in apparent friendly recognition. Biff looked down at his bandage-bearing thumb, which still throbbed slightly from Poopsie’s earlier attack, then felt his scowl deepen as he turned toward Mary.

Mary was smiling a blinding, larger than ever, dazzling Crest White Strips smile as she gazed adoringly at…at Phillipe!

“Oh Phillipe, it is SO wonderful to see you again!” she gushed, seeming to forget about Biff entirely.

Biff forced a polite but firm “ahem” from his throat, causing all three to turn their attention his way. Poopsie began growling menacingly.

“Oh good heavens!” Mary exclaimed. “How could I be so rude!”  She took a step toward Biff and grasped his arm. “Phillipe, I’d like you to meet my beau, Biff!”

Phillipe gave Biff another assessing look before he shifted Poopsie in his arms and his free hand reached out in a seemingly friendly way.  He grasped Biff’s hand firmly. “Good to meet you.”

“Same,” Biff said, unable to force himself to friendliness.

“Biff,” Mary addressed him – finally! “This is Phillipe Jean-Paul Boutonniere the Third, of the Boston Boutonnieres, so well-known for their baby bunting and bauble businesses in both Boston and Baltimore, of course. He and I were…er…good friends back home.”

Biff nodded, regaining enough composure to possessively place his hand over Mary’s as it rested on his arm. He smiled a smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes and released the breath he hadn’t realized he was holding.

Phillipe carefully placed Poopsie on the floor and she sauntered off to her pillow in the living area, pausing along the way to glare and growl at Biff.

“Well, now that all that is out of the way,” he announced cheerfully, “we can get to business.  Mary, I would love to take you to dinner this evening…what do you say?”

As Biff’s mouth dropped open once again at the audacity of the incessantly insolent interloper, wondering what he should do next as he’d never been in a position to purposely pound upon a person to possessively point out who, in fact, was in charge here, he felt Mary’s hand leave his arm as she walked toward Phillipe once more.

“Oh, Phillipe! That would be…”

Will Mary accept Phillipe’s offer?
Will Biff figure out how to confront Phillipe?
Will any boxes ever get unpacked?
Tune in next time!  J

Friday, July 19, 2013

Changes, Announcements and Biff & Mary!

Anyone there...?

Well. Can't say I blame you!
I've been absent for months...sorry!

The blog's been on a sort of unplanned hiatus while I've put my efforts into pursuing some writing-related jobs, and I'm happy to say that the time I invested has begun paying off. In addition to book reviews for ForeWord Reviews, I've been busy with several proofreading and copy editing projects for Skyhorse Publishing, a well-established and growing New York publisher. I've had a lot of fun working on a variety of titles for them, including a few cookbooks and memoirs as well as an anthology of really good horror stories.

I'm also happy to say that I've recently accepted a position as a Senior Editor for Entranced Publishing, and I'll be editing primarily for their Mesmerized and Thrills imprints. I'm very excited to become part of their editing team, and I'm impressed by their commitment to the success of the authors they represent.
(**And if you write romance and are ready to publish, check out the submission guidelines on their website, or feel free to contact me through this blog or email jeannine (at), and I'll be glad to put you in touch with the right person to get you started.)

Been a little bit busy! :)
That said, my old friends Biff and Mary have been clamoring for attention so I think I'll have to spend some time with them this weekend. For those still interested in Biff, Mary, Poopsie and friends, I am going to pick up where we left off, hopefully posting a new chapter by Sunday.
I'm also hoping to translate some of the things I've been learning to this blog, specifically with posts about muddling through the writing process, links to sites to help you enhance your skills, and maybe some more Biff and Mary type "projects" to keep things fun.  If you'd like to join in or just share some good links or books or whatever, please do!

Again, apologies for the long absence and I hope you'll stick with me while I try to set this blog on a more focused course!


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Biff and Mary: Chapter Fourteen

Welcome back for more Biff and Mary! Today’s episode will be filled with the vapid thought processes, extreme run-on sentences, excessive amount of detail and ridiculous shallowness that epitomize our Perfectly Perfect Pair! When we last left our lovebirds at Mary’s home in Loversville, they had just been attempting to unpack boxes and were finishing their lunch while Mary’s pampered Pomeranian, Poopsie, languished in the back yard. Buff, blemished Biff was about to reveal his deep, dark, secret… ;) Hope you enjoy!

** If you'd like to read previous chapters of Biff and Mary, my exercise in How Not to Write, just click on the "Biff and Mary" tab above, or click here. **

Chapter 14: Wherein Biff’s Secret is Revealed and True Love is Tested Once More…

Biff cleared his throat, flipped his well-styled sun-kissed blond hair with the 23 darker streaks mixed in (which she had still yet to determine were natural or the result of an expert colorist, but as she now knew that her love knew no bounds she had decided she didn’t mind which), and determinedly looked Mary in the eye as he prepared to divulge the secret of his moniker misfortune.

“Well, Mary…it is important that we always be honest with each other…even about the most, er….challenging things, right?” He looked at her hopefully.

Mary nodded and swallowed and tried to ignore the way her heartbeat had sped up because the way it was beating made her think back to watching cartoons on her grandmother’s old RCA  television, which had it’s own dark wood grain cabinet and metal rabbit ears on top which worked sometimes but didn’t work others, and once in a while they had to crumple up tin foil and wrap it on the ends of the antennas to make it work well enough for her to watch her Saturday morning Looney Tunes when she was visiting. Anyhoo, she thought about watching the cartoons and the way Pepe LePew’s heart would beat so hard that it would practically poke right out of his chest every time he saw his lady love, much like Mary’s heart was beating right now. She risked a quick glance down at her own chest, swathed in the once-lovely-but-now-hopelessly-wrinkled white cotton blouse with the delicate little cap sleeves, which had so nicely set off both her lightly tanned and toned arms as well as her plum-colored pedal-pusher pants, not to mention her amethyst accessories, and was relieved to find that her own frantic heartbeat wasn’t nearly so obvious as Pepe’s .


“Er…yes. Yes, Biff, of course. Please go on.”

Biff cleared his throat again. “Well…my parents told me that they thought a man of my social stature really needed to have more than one middle name, and since they wanted to be sure to honor both of my late grandfathers when I was born, they gave me both of their names. So…my middle names are... Ulysses and Reginald.”
He glanced at Mary expectantly, braced for her reaction. When she continued to stare at him vacantly, he took a deep breath and went on.
“So…my full name is... Bickford Ulysses Reginald Parker.”
Mary’s vacant look remained for a moment more, then her eyes widened and her mouth dropped open slightly in shock and dismay. “But Biff…if…if that’s the case, then that means that your initials are…”

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Books to Movies: Will it work for the Outlander books?

Apologies for such a long, unplanned hiatus from the blog.
For those of you who are still interested in their misadventures, Biff and Mary have been clamoring for attention and will likely make an appearance again in the very near future, so stay tuned!

There has been quite a lot of interesting stuff going on in the writing/reading world these days, but the one that caught my attention recently is an announcement about Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books being picked up by Starz for development as a drama series.

Am I the only Outlander fan who views this with at least a little bit of wariness?

Oh, I understand the author’s willingness to make the deal – really, if it were you, and you stood to make the kind of money such a movie/series could bring in, would you ever turn it down?  Of course not. You'd sign on and hope they did a good job.

But as a devoted reader of the series…
Please... just, no.

If there is any one novel I’ve read that I do *not* want to see on film, Outlander is it.

Is there any actress who could truly portray someone as complex as Claire? Any actor who could convincingly become Jamie? 
Just the thought of it gives me horrific visions of Keira Knightly wildly emoting while Tom Cruise flips back a mop of artificial red hair. Yikes.

And when it comes to the whole books-to-movies-or-television thing, I would venture to say that history supports my skepticism.

Consider all of the books you’ve truly enjoyed. Have any been turned into a movie?
Or a television mini-series?
 Can you think of any that have come even close to living up to the book(s) they are based on?

Take Stephen King, for example. He has a way of tapping into that little spark of fear or strangeness in humanity that might otherwise go unnoticed, and brilliantly twisting it into a nightmarish thing. Genius, really, and back in the day, I loved reading Carrie, The Shining, and many others. And while the movies based on those novels were entertaining, they certainly didn’t compare to the books themselves. How could that kind of singular nuance of human nature and evil that King captures so perfectly ever be sufficiently expressed by character actors (even good ones like Jack Nicholson and Sissy Spacek)? 

I haven’t read any of the Twilight books, and I don’t really think I ever will, but from what I understand many of the book's fans were very unhappy about the movie casting, and felt that the action in the book didn’t translate credibly to the big screen.
If a major movie studio can’t do something like the Twilight series justice on the movie screen, can we really have much faith in Starz being able to do a superior book series like Outlander justice?

Maybe I’m a “book snob” or maybe I’m a cynic, but I can’t find it in me to be excited by that announcement. I love Jamie and Claire as they exist on the pages, and in my mind, and I don’t want to see the Hollywood version of them. I really don't.

How do the rest of you Outlander fans feel about it?
Do you think there is any possibility that Starz can do something worthwhile with the book?
I'd welcome your opinions in the comments.

{* One more thing!  For those die-hard fans like me, I highly recommend Karen Henry’s Outlandish Observations site. There’s a lot of great info about the books and the history, such as the Friday Fun Facts, and lots of other fun and informative Outlander stuff. If you haven’t been there, it’s definitely worth a visit!}

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Biff and Mary: Chapters Twelve & Thirteen

Welcome back for more Biff and Mary! (previous chapters can be viewed here)

This chapter, we will continue the usual Biff-and-Mary shallow shenanigans accompanied by excessive description and utter silliness. Also, you will note an example of extremely unnatural, poorly punctuated and just-plain-bad dialogue in the beginning of Chapter 13. 

I stumbled upon a similar butchering of character conversation in a book I read recently, and the result -- specifically, my cringing in utter horror -- was something I thought best shared, so you are very welcome!  ;)

(Seriously, though -- please, please, I beg of you! -- don't ever write dialogue like this!)

Chapter 12: Wherein Biff Battles Boxes

Mary felt the soft pressure of Biff’s lips on hers and ran her hands up his shoulders and around his neck. The moment she inched her fingers up and into his hair, Biff pulled back suddenly.
“Biff? Is something wrong?”
“No, no, of course not,” Biff said, smiling as he patted down his hair, checking to be sure it was in place. 
Mary realized their moment had passed and decided that the best thing to do was change the subject.
“Do you think we should try to get started on these boxes, Biff?”  She gestured at the various piles of cardboard cartons that graced the room.
Biff smiled. “Of course!  In fact…” his voice trailed off as he walked back toward the front door to where The Poopsie Incident had occurred. He paused en route, checking his reflection in the mirror and combing his hand through his hair briefly before retrieving his leather satchel, which matched the belt he wore and was lying on the tile where he’d dropped it.  He brought it back to Mary.
“I discussed the box issue with Tony, our estate handyman, and he assured me that all I would need is…” Biff rummaged through the contents of the satchel, mumbling in frustration. “Now where is that….I know it’s in there…darn it!”  Finally, he gave up and kneeled on the floor, dumping the entire contents of the satchel onto the tiles. 
            As she viewed the contents of Biff’s satchel, Mary felt a moment of surprise as she realized that there were certainly some areas of grooming at which Biff excelled and, in fact, far surpassed her in terms of dedication.
            Spread out on the blue tiles was a brush, three different sized combs in blue, black and brown, a small bottle of Paul Mitchell Sculpting & Styling Glaze, a bottle of the same brand Unisex Flexible Hold Spray, and a small jar of Paul Mitchell for Men’s Medium-hold/Semi-Matte Styling Cream. Mary also spied a tube of dry shampoo and a travel-sized ceramic straightener. As she opened her mouth to ask the brand name of the straightener (she’d been looking for a new one herself), Biff swept aside the styling glaze and grabbed a small metal item. “Aha! There it is!”
“What is it, Biff?”
He quickly shoved all the hair products back into his satchel, rose from the floor and opened his hand. Nestled in his palm was a metal object, approximately four inches in length, with a sharp-looking blade protruding from one end.
“Tony gave it to me. It’s a box cutter!”
Biff used his other hand to push down a small screw on the side of the object, causing the sharp blade to extend further.
“See? The blade will open boxes quite easily, I understand.”
Mary reached out a hand toward the box cutter, but Biff drew it away with a small shake of his head.
“No, Mary. I think it best if I handle the box cutter myself. Tony showed me how to use it, and I wouldn’t want you to be harmed; it’s a Very Dangerous Tool.”
Mary nodded her head in solemn understanding.
“Well, where do you think we should start, Biff?”
The pair looked around the room and Biff knelt down by the nearest box. “Why not here?” he said, with one of those heart-stopping grins that always made Mary swoon.
With that, he reached out with the box cutter and sliced through the packing tape that sealed it. He then opened the flaps of the box and looked up at Mary triumphantly.
Mary clapped her hands together.  “Biff, you did it! How wonderful!”
She knelt beside him and together they began removing the contents of the box, which turned out to be mostly Mary’s copies of Vogue and People magazines, as well as her two favorite books: Fabulous Fashion for Refined Young Ladies, and Makeup Secrets of the Stars, 1955-2010.
Mary and Biff started making neat piles on the floor as they emptied the box, although both were soon distracted and Mary began flipping the pages of Makeup Secrets while Biff thumbed through a copy of Vogue.  However, Mary soon realized that at this rate, they would never accomplish what they intended, so she opened her mouth to interrupt Biff’s perusal of the article “Armani or Prada: How to Choose?, but the sound of the doorbell broke in at just that moment.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Book Review: The Malorie Phoenix by Janet Mullany

Title:  The Malorie Phoenix
Author: Janet Mullany
Publisher:  TKA Distribution
Pub Date:  April 24, 2012
ISBN:  9781937776299

I enjoyed Janet Mullany’s novel, Improper Relations, so I was thrilled to be able to read and review The Malorie Phoenix.
Because I am apparently too lazy to summarize today, I’ll begin with the marketing copy/blurb provided by the publisher:

She plays a deadly game, but nothing is as dangerous as love. Benedict de Malorie, Earl of Trevisan, can never forget the masked woman he met one night at a London pleasure garden. The clever pickpocket stole his heart and his family's prized jewel - the Malorie Phoenix. But the family treasure reappears in Benedict's darkest hour, returned by its thief, along with the unexpected gift of his infant daughter.Believing that she is dying, Jenny Smith leaves her daughter in the custody of the baby's blueblood father. Seven years later she finds herself in good health and alone, yearning for her only child. To raise enough money to support them both, she takes part in a daring escapade that requires her to impersonate a woman of quality. She fools the ton and Benedict himself.When Jenny finds herself entangled in a murderous plot against Benedict, the father of her child, her carefully laid plans begin to fall apart. All she wants is her daughter back, but she never thought she'd fall in love with Benedict. Revealing her part in the plot means she will almost certainly lose Benedict and their daughter forever. But continuing to play her role puts them all in terrible danger.

Jenny and Benedict couldn’t be more different. Benedict, raised to be Earl of Trevisan, could never know what life was like for Jenny, whose circumstances lead her to steal merely to survive. Their initial attraction is something that both of them act on without thinking, although they each fully believe their liaison will never go further than that one night in the gardens of Vauxhall.

Jenny Smith is a refreshingly unconventional Regency heroine. She has the guts to make her own decisions and stand by them, beginning with that choice to toss caution to the wind and act on her attraction to Benedict. She consistently trusts her instincts while doing whatever is necessary to ensure her future and her child's. She doesn't apologize for her past or the choices she makes, even when circumstances become challenging.

As for Benedict, he is equally likable. A good man who tries to always do the right thing, he is portrayed as an involved, exceptional father and his scenes with daughter Sarah are warm and touching. Mullany skillfully shows the depth of that father/daughter relationship as well as the progression of Jenny’s understanding of it; while she initially wants to get her daughter back no matter the cost, she quickly realizes how devoted Benedict and Sarah are to one another. Combined with her own evolving feelings, her choices are not quite so easy anymore.

The progression of the romance is realistic, although some aspects of the plot are less so.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Get the DIRT: June 7, 2012

It's another Do It Right Thursday!

I've been digging around for informative and fun sites and resources. Hope you find these links helpful! :)

Writer's community.  Articles and resources are available to all.
Exclusive to members ($40/year membership) is a discussion forum, critique section, short story contests, video library,

Another website I stumbled upon, this one run by writer Beth Mende Conny, which offers articles and resources for writers. Includes articles focusing on the writing process with practical tips as well as some articles categorized as "Inspiration," which might be just the thing to help you through a moment of writer's block. :)

Wake Up Writing
Daily writing prompts. Although the site hasn't been updated since April, archives go back to 2002, so there are bound to be prompts that inspire you.

Very popular, so you may already know this one. If not, definitely check it out for all kinds of info from the mechanics of writing to pitching your novel.

I haven't tested this one too thoroughly yet, but it seems a valid gateway to legitimate resources. Could be helpful when doing novel research.

"The Snowflake Method"
I've been looking into how to create effective outlines, since I haven't really tried using one since my college days.  Here, author Randy Ingermanson presents an interesting approach to organizing and outlining a novel.

"How to Outline (The Easy Way) Like Janet Evanovich"
From Writer's Knowledge Base, another approach: Writer's Digest explains author Evanovich's outline process, complete with storyboard example.

That's it for this week, but please feel free to add any helpful links you may have in the comments.

And be sure to stop by this weekend -- I'll have a new book review up as well as another installment of Biff and Mary.  :)

Image courtesy of

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Biff and Mary: Chapter Eleven

Welcome to the next chapter of Biff and Mary! 

(please click here for all previous chapters)

Today's installment will include our usual shallow-but-lovable characters, extraneous description, and unnecessary and unfortunate alliteration. It will also serve as an example of  an ill-advised authorial decision to build an entire chapter out of one very brief moment -- but hopefully with a bit of humor as well.  ;)

Hope you enjoy! 

Chapter Eleven:  In Which There Are Screams, Stumbles, and Stubbornly Stuck Posteriors

It occurred to Mary that she had never heard quite such an exceedingly high-pitched tone emanate from Biff’s roguishly handsome lips before. 

The sound that escaped her beloved as Poopsie’s perfectly white, perfectly sharp canines punctured the pad of his thumb reminded her briefly of the piercingly shrill sounds of the first grade playground at Mayfield Elementary, when she and the other six-year-old girls made a game of trying to shriek as loudly as they could. She’d won most of those squealing contests, she recalled, but hearing Biff now she wondered whether she’d overestimated her own elocutionary talents.

As the sound of Biff’s involuntary scream faded, Mary shook herself out of her shock and dismay enough to stumble two steps backward with her suddenly ferocious pup. Regrettably, one of her many unpacked boxes sat approximately one and one half steps behind her and thus the result of her movement caused her to fall unceremoniously backward, and her backside wedged firmly inside the now-broken top of the box, cushioned by the various sheets, towels and fripperies within. She had barely a moment to be grateful that she’d landed in the linens box, rather than the one containing her grandmother’s crystal, before Poopsie darted from her arms.  Mary let out her own startled scream, immediately realizing that it didn’t even come close to the high pitch and duration of Biff’s, but deciding that perhaps it didn’t matter, considering her precious pup’s peril and the precariously perched position of her posterior.

What did matter, she soon realized, was that the moment she tripped, Biff intuitively moved toward her to attempt to break her fall, and Poopsie elected to continue her proactive efforts to protect Mary from the intruder by charging toward Biff’s feet with a ferocious and determined little snarl, clamping onto the hem of his fashionably expensive relaxed vintage blue jeans from Banana Republic.  Much to Mary’s chagrin, Biff instinctively shook her off, and her little Poopsie took flight across the misty green ceramic tiled foyer floor, spinning around in a blur of pastel pink fluff until she came to a stop in the corner by the door, her landing cushioned by the small pile of newspapers Mary had placed there prior to taking them out to the recycling bin.

The brief, sudden silence that ensued was broken by all three of them simultaneously, with Poopsie’s yelp of surprise overshadowed at once by Biff’s horrified exclamation of “Good Heavens! Is she all right?” and Mary’s equally horrified shriek of “Poopsie! My baby!” 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Get the DIRT: May 31, 2012

Welcome to another Do It Right Thursday!

((**By the way, for those who are interested, a new Biff and Mary chapter will be up in the next couple of days, so stay tuned!**))

Today, I have a mix of both writing-related and just-for-fun links.

Please feel free to share your own links in the comments as well.
Enjoy! :)

  • Literary agent Rachelle Gardner's site has been bookmarked on my laptop for quite a while now. She offers tons of advice about publishing, finding an agent, marketing your book and much more. Frequent guest bloggers with great advice, too. 
  • What Should I Read Next? This is a fun site to try out. Just type in the name of a book or author you like and it generates suggestions for other books you may enjoy. 
  • I haven't looked over this one thoroughly yet, but it seems an interesting idea. Their tagline is: "Writing Community for Writers, Readers, Literary Agents. Submit Works, Read & Rate Writing."Webook, where writers submit pages for critique and ratings, and are subsequently elevated through "rounds." They have writing challenges and literary agent input. Does anyone have any experience with this?  If so, did you find it helpful?
  • Colleen Lindsay's site, The Swivet, offers lots of worthwhile stuff and though this particular post is a couple of years old, it still acts as a great guide to word counts for novels.
  • I always have a hard time finding photos or clipart that I can be sure of using freely, but I've found a good resource in You can purchase the photos, but for most purposes they allow you to use them in return for a same-page link wherever the pictures are posted. I've been using them here as well as on my Practical Pen site.
  • Regrettably, I have completely forgotten where I first saw this site recommended or I would credit accordingly, but do check out Sporcle for quick, often challenging trivia and word games. Each game is only a few minutes long, so you don't need to feel guilty about "wasting time." ;)
  • Maybe it's because it seems so rare these days, but I really love hearing about people and organizations who go out of their way to just do something nice, don't you? I know that this one has been linked to in many places, but if you missed it, be sure to check out this story:  "Blue Ear": Marvel Comics does a good thing...  
  • And I included the next one because...well, just because. Trust me - it's fun! :)

Happy Almost-Friday!
Be sure to drop by this weekend to check out a new chapter of Biff and Mary!

Photo courtesy of