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

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Get the DIRT

Welcome to D.I.R.T!

Thursday!  :)

In my never-ending search for information about writing, editing, publishing, etc., I come across many helpful sites, so I've decided to share a few links that might help all of us "Do It Right"....or at least, learn how to do all this writing stuff better. :)

Preditors & Editors and Absolute Write are among the most well-respected sources of information re: writing and publishing scams. Be sure to check in with these sites before proceeding with any independent publisher or writing-related service.  Both also provide many more helpful links.

Miss Snark's First Victim is a great site to visit for information about querying. The blog owner, "Authoress," also holds periodic "Secret Agent" contests, where manuscript samples can be submitted and often critiqued/viewed by agents.

Query Shark is another informative site focusing on writing your query.

Pick up some really useful tips with Grammar Girl: Quick and Dirty Tips

If, like me, you've found it a little challenging to pull together a resume that showcases your writing rather than your "day jobs," Creating a Freelance Writer's Resume is a nice article with some tips on putting together a resume with an emphasis on writing skills.

The EFA / Editorial Freelancers Association is a great resource to check out when you are looking for a proofreader or editor or, like me, are embarking on your own editorial venture.  A rate chart is provided which offers a range of rates for editorial work and can help you know what to expect when you search for your own proofreader or editor. Lots of other interesting and helpful info, too.

Writer's Digest  has lots of great articles and interviews. A "must visit" for any writer or aspiring writer.

Well, there are a few to get us started.  Hope these links are helpful to you!

Do you know of any great writing-related sites?  Feel free to share in the comment section.

Savvy Authors - thank you to nightsmusic for this addition to the list. A great writers-helping-writers site with  endless information. Definitely worth a look!

 Image courtesy of

Friday, May 18, 2012

Book Review: Getting Married and Other Mistakes

Title:  Getting Married and Other Mistakes
Author: Barbara Slate
Publisher:  Other Press
Pub Date:  June 12, 2012
ISBN:  9781590515358

It can be argued that those who can retain a sense of humor in the face of heartbreak and disillusionment get through it better than most, and Barbara Slate demonstrates just that in her graphic novel, Getting Married and Other Mistakes.

Slate’s book is filled with moments many women will be able to identify with. Her protagonist, Jo, is devastated when her marriage suddenly disintegrates, and somewhat surprised that her ensuing depression doesn’t seem to have anything to do with missing her soon-to-be ex-husband.  What follows is an affecting journey of self-discovery in which she tries to face herself honestly and find her true voice.

Casual Friday

To get a head start on a (hopefully!) relaxing weekend, here are some links and videos, just for fun. Enjoy!

~  Check out these crazy and unusual book designs. Amazingly creative ways to multi-purpose a book.

~ There is such a thing as a little too much go, girl! An Impossible Love

~ Now, here's something you don't see every day.  Puppies from Heaven...

~ Hysterical. I dare you not to laugh! :)    Best of Funny Talking Animals

~ Love this kid's voice. The original is a lot of fun, but this is so different it's amazing and I think I like it better!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Biff and Mary: Chapters 9 and 10

Welcome back for another installment of Biff and Mary!
Sorry for the delay in posting new chapters...
For those who want to start from the beginning, click the "Biff and Mary" tab above, or here: Biff and Mary
As usual, within this next chapter we will be treated to our beloved TSTL heroine’s every vapid thought, Biff’s general buff-ness, and excessive description of every little thing.  You may also notice some really poor transitioning, run-on sentences and unfortunate alliteration.
Enjoy! J

Chapter 9: In Which Brunch is Served and Boxes are Contemplated

When we last left our lovebirds, Biff was professing his affection for Mary over a table at Bart’s Bistro, leaning toward her with obvious intent…

A pale, freckled arm with four silver bracelets clanking at the wrist unceremoniously inserted itself between Biff and Mary, placing a basket of rolls and butter between them and causing Biff to settle back into his seat.
Mary swallowed back her disappointment as well as her annoyance at the timing of the wrist’s owner, their server Lorraine. She smiled at her politely instead.
“Your salads’ll be right up,” Lorraine announced, spinning quickly on her heel to head back toward the kitchen, the damage done.
Biff cleared his throat politely and reached for the basket, holding it out to Mary.  She declined and smiled at him winningly, wondering how to recapture that romantic moment so suddenly and sadly interrupted. She stole another glance at Biff, studiously setting her gaze below his blemished brow in order to fully appreciate the view, then sighed with resignation, unrolled her beige linen napkin and set it on her lap in preparation for her Caesar Salad.
The following morning, Mary woke early and went immediately to the shower to prepare for her unpacking day with her beloved beau, Biff.
She washed her hair with Paul Mitchell Extra Body Daily Shampoo, followed by Paul Mitchell Extra Body Daily Rinse, and sudsed up her loofah with Origins Fresh Waterlily Bodybar, then washed and shaved with her Daisy razor. 
Once finished in the shower, she was toweling off leisurely when she heard a tiny yelp from outside the bathroom door.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.”
~ Washington Irving

Happy Mother's Day!

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Another Adventure Begins...

I am very pleased and excited to announce that my proofreading service is up and running and ready to book assignments!

The Practical Pen
Proofreading Services for the Pragmatic Writer

I am offering proofreading services for everything from manuscripts to professional marketing materials and resumes. Rates are set at a very affordable level, and I am currently offering a 10% discount for all projects booked by May 31, 2012.

Thank you for indulging me in a little self-promotion here, and I hope you will take a moment to check out my new website at It's still evolving, but most information is there and any comments/feedback would be welcome!

Have a great weekend!  :)

Image courtesy of