Children’s poet Raven Howell is with us today!

  Thank you for joining Raven Howell's WOW! Women of Writing tour of Santa’s Slip Up about when Santa shows up on Halloween on accident.   In addition Ravel has written us a special essay on how to write rhyming poetry. As a poet who never writes in rhyme, this Choices author needs this lesson in rhyme very badly. Here's Raven:   Tricks of the Trade to Writing Rhyme By Raven Howell So how about that iambic tetrameter? Ha! Nothing like scaring off a prospective poet or young author who is trying to learn the ins and outs of rhyming. Writing rhyme should be fun and you don’t want to start off intimidated. There are many ways to accomplish good rhyme. I recited rhyme before I learned to write it, and remember being surrounded by word books and rhyming stories during my childhood years. When I learned to write, my favorite thing to do was to make up my own poems, stories, rhymes, and plays. I’ve been writing professionally full time for the … [Read more...]

Dr. Shoshanna discusses how to end loneliness

Choices is pleased to host Dr. Brenda  Shoshanna on her WOW! Women on Writing book tour of  The Unshakeable Road to Love (Value Centered Relationships). Dr. Shoshanna has also honored us with a guest post about how to end loneliness. Here's Dr. Shoshanna:                                           THE END OF LONELINESS                                                by Brenda Shoshanna, Ph.d. Living as Strangers to Ourselves and Others   So many of us live as strangers to ourselves and others, then we wonder why we feel so alone. Rather than communicate truly we hide our true thoughts, speak in riddles, give double messages and think we’ve had a conversation. But we haven’t. It is also rare to truly listen. Most of the time we pay most attention to our own thoughts and responses to what is being said. These kinds of conversations block out what is really being said. They create conflict, power struggles, disappointment,  and we end up seeing ourselves as separate and … [Read more...]

Do you get enough beauty rest?

If you're  like me you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep most nights. That's why i'm so glad to welcome Sheila Olson's very savvy piece about how to get a good night's sleep, aka Beauty Rest. I will surely take her advice seriously and follow her lead. I hope you will too. Here's Sheila:   Image via Pixabay 3 Tips for Getting Your Best Beauty Rest We’ve all heard that we need to get our beauty rest, but do we really take this seriously? According to Healthy Magazine, not getting enough sleep can make you appear older by causing wrinkles and under-eye bags to develop on your face. If you get a good night’s rest, your skin will be healthier because deep sleep allows you to create new skin cells. If your skin is constantly dry and dull, it might be because you’re skimping on your beauty rest. You should be shooting for around eight hours of quality sleep per night. Courtesy of Madeline Sharples, author of Leaving the Hall Light On and Papa’s Shoes, here are … [Read more...]

Listening to myself

Listening to Myself: Has there been a time in your life when you thought you knew what you needed to do, but an inner voice kept telling you to go a different direction? Did you wind up “trusting your gut”? And if so, did your hindsight later validate your decision? If you didn’t listen to your instinct, did you have regrets?  How were you changed by the experience? Sometimes, listening to ourselves means being able to discern which of our several inner voices to listen to. How do you know which to trust?’ My reliable intuition told me immediately not to marry the handsome guy who swept me off my feet during the summer of 1961. We had just met, and we were so, so different. And sure enough I ended up with huge regrets. Thankfully, I was able to put an early end to it, but that marriage decision changed my life forever. It was the summer between my junior and senior years of college. I was student at the University of Wisconsin, a well-established journalism student, a member of … [Read more...]

To live again

I've been a widow for almost three years and I have to say I'm not used to it yet. And I don't think I ever will be used to it. I miss my husband of almost fifty years very much. And I don't find a way to live a full life without him. However, I have found a way to keep busy and useful. I'm a writer - a published author and poet - and those skills help me a lot. With that said, I'd like to share an essay I recently wrote and read at my writing class: To Live Again by Madeline Sharples When my husband of over fifty years died, I had to give myself the opportunity to become completely new. I went through all our possessions in the house we lived in for forty-two years and divided them up into four categories: stuff to sell, stuff to give away, stuff to throw away, and the littlest pile of all – stuff to keep. Then I sold my house and found a new place to live. I didn’t buy anything new when I moved to the retirement community where I now live. I was able to furnish my new apartment … [Read more...]

More about my meditation story

Meditation and I have never really stretched into a lazy, warm silence. My brain doesn’t know how to be turned off by regular breathing. Instead, my mind pours out and doesn’t allow me to shut down. As much as I try and I try now more than ever, I cannot just listen to my regular breathing. I even try saying Ohm and counting my breaths, but I even lose the ability to concentrate on that. I say Ohm 1, Ohm 2, Ohm 3, and by then I’m thinking about the noises I hear outside and the chores I haven’t finished and the writing work I’ve either just finished or need to finish. And then I try counting my Ohms again.  And my brain of course interrupts again. But I never say no to a meditation session – even the sound bath technique has come into play. I want to be successful at it, so I don’t give up. No matter how many times I unsuccessfully try, I’m willing to try again. The only thing that scares me is going to a meditation retreat where people sit and meditate for hours in the … [Read more...]

Want to write a book? Read this!

Please welcome, Naomi Nakashima, our WOW! Women On Writing guest today. She is the author of Write Out Loud, a way to gain enough confidence in our writing to enable us to write a book. She has also written us a wonderful guest post on this same subject, ways to get over our writing fears, complete with some amazing writing prompts. Unleashing Your Inner Wordsmith: Unconventional Writing Hacks and Tips That Actually Work by Naomi Nakashima Writing a book is equal parts exciting and exhausting, creative and challenging. When the words are flowing, we live on cloud 9. But when the words stop, or when we start struggling to find the time to write, or feeling stuck in our creative process, writing a book becomes a source of anxiety and self-doubt. When you need that extra boost of inspiration to get you started, writing hacks and tips can help. These unconventional approaches can help you get past writer's block, ignite your creativity, and ultimately write the novel that’s … [Read more...]

A thriller author is with us today!!!

Author Ronald Chapman as written another thriller, The Dark Side of Grace, a sequel to his best seller, A Killer’s Grace. Please welcome Ron to Choices today and don't miss his guest post titled: Agnostic But Faithful. Now here's Ronald's guest post: Agnostic But Faithful by Ronald Chapman   Many years ago, very early in my recovery from alcoholism, one of my mentors was an enigma to me. While I had been raised and immersed in faith communities for much of my life, Patrick was an avowed agnostic, having no knowledge of a Higher Power. Yet he prayed, meditated and rigorously practiced contemplation. I asked Patrick one day how he reconciled that for himself. “Ron, I don’t have to believe in something in order to experience it.” That kind of clarity mystified me. Yet as I watched him and others being transformed in their recoveries through common practices, it became obvious that what we believe is far less important than the actions we take, which are based on … [Read more...]

My new poetry chapbook has been released

Cyberwit.net has published my second chapbook called Then and Now. Two years ago they published Moving On. What a great surprize when they offered to publish a second book. Amazon posted the following review of one of the poems: Not Out of the Woods This poem conveys a sense of worry, uncertainty, and emotional distress experienced by the narrator in relation to someone they care about. The language used is straightforward and direct, reflecting the narrator's immediate thoughts and concerns. The opening lines set the tone by quoting the doctor's assessment that the person in question is "not out of the woods yet." This phrase is commonly used to describe a critical or precarious situation, suggesting that the individual's condition remains serious. The narrator describes the person as still lying in bed, mostly sleeping and nonresponsive. The mention of the person's inability to remember their son's name or location indicates a decline in cognitive function, … [Read more...]

Introducing a delightful book for boys – I can’t wait to love you forever

I'm pleased to host Patricia Eckerman Ambas'  WOW! WOMEN ON WRITING tour of  I Can't Wait to Love You Forever. Patricia has also honored us by writing an essay about her self publishing successes. Here's Patricia: I'm Just Getting Started by Patricia Eckerman Ambas It was January of 2022, midway through my first year not teaching full-time in over a decade, when I wrote the story that would become my first published book, I Can’t Wait to Love You Forever: A Big Brother Book. It had taken a career shift, a new baby, and an online course on self-publishing, but I was determined to make my lifelong dream reality. When I sat down to refresh the story I had written seven years before when my oldest was a baby with hopes to publish it back then, I found myself opening a blank document and a different narrative came out. I absolutely loved it - a heart-warming tale about my son and the game he invented while anticipating the arrival of our new baby, but then I wrestled in self-doubt … [Read more...]

Let’s welcome Hugh Fritz

Hugh Fritz is pleased to introduce us to Anomaly Aftermath, the third novella in his Mystic Rampage series. He has also given us information about “Developing a Pitch for a Book-to-Film Adaptation," which we will all find very useful. Here's Hugh Fritz: “Developing a Pitch for a Book-to-Film Adaptation." by Hugh Fritz My books have been available publicly for a few years now and I’ve been considering future directions. It’s been described as a superhero novel so sometimes I investigate ways of adapting it into a comic book series or graphic novel. That hasn’t gained any traction because finding an artist has been challenging and even if I did find someone willing to collaborate, there would be red tape to go through with the publishing house. I still think it would be a fun idea, but it’s one that’s always on the back burner. Film adaptation is another option that’s been on my mind for a while. It started when I submitted Made to Be Broken to a contest called Book … [Read more...]

Learning more about meditation

I've never been a good meditator, but lately I've given it another try. Here are my thoughts about that: The meditation man said we should not try to fight our tiredness. That we should take advantage of it and rest. And even if we just rest for only ten minutes it will do a lot of good. Whereas, if we don’t rest, we will make ourselves feel worse. I experienced that today during our meditation practice and felt a wonderful sense of restfulness during the ten minutes he was speaking. Hooray. I was able to concentrate on my breathing and nothing else – a huge breakthrough for me. That can be the beginning of a new practice for me because up until now I have always been a poor and unsuccessful meditator. I could never stay focused on my breathing and getting rid of all the stuff in my brain. My mind would always wonder, my thoughts would stop and start, start and stop, stop and start all through the session. And when the session was over, I would be more unfocused than when … [Read more...]

14 books in 13 years! WOW!

Welcome to the Hope Always Rises blog tour, sponsored by WOW! Women on Writing! This book by Kathie Giorgio is perfect for anyone who has ever known someone who wanted to end their life, or anyone who has ever felt that way themselves. Kathie has also been generous enough to write her story of how to publish 14 books in 13 years. I'm sure you'll find it fascinating and will want to take her advice in publishing your own books. Here's Kathie: 14 BOOKS IN 13 YEARS By Kathie Giorgio I’m one of those writers, the ones who know from an early age what they want to do, and then they do it. I’m told I was telling stories before I could actually write, and then once I could write, that was all I wanted to do. I sold my first short story at the age of 15. I’d written out the story of Christ in 1970’s slang (it was 1975). The only place I could think of to send it to was the Catholic Herald Citizen, who promptly divided it into four pieces and published it as a serial. I was … [Read more...]

What might I change in my looks

It’s not about changing my looks. It’s about maintaining what I have. Like my weight. I can’t stand it even if I gain one pound. That makes me go out of my way to lose it. I weigh myself every morning, a habit I got into when I was a chubby little girl and the people in my family called me fatty and fatso. It was a horrible time with people watching what I ate and commenting that I ate too much. And even though that was so, they’d still tell me to clean my plate, don’t waste food, think of all the starving children in Europe. There was no easy way out of it. Luckily the pounds seemed to roll off when I entered puberty, but that didn’t end my weight fetish. Once I saw the pounds going down and the scale numbers reducing, I wanted to keep that happening: no more cookies, no more ice cream, no more desserts of any kind, no more bread, no more fried foods, no in between meal snacks – the restrictions just went on and on until there was no joy in eating anything anymore. Exercise … [Read more...]

Have you ever taken a sound bath?

I've been experiencing a new meditation technique lately - called a sound bath. And I love it. Here's why: The other day I spent forty-five minutes in a sound bath. I sat in a straight-backed chair in a small auditorium with my eyes closed while listening to the leader play eight frosted glass bowls of various sizes. She used long glass sticks on the inside and outside of the bowls to create a rhythmic and continuing sound while she sat on her knees on the floor. I know because I opened my eyes to see what she was doing for a minute or two. After she finished with the bowls, she played two kinds of drums. One made a quiet rattling sound like it was filled with small beads, the other sounded like low-keyed chimes. She walked around the room with each of the drums so the participants could get the full effects of the sounds they were making. We also were instructed to breathe deeply throughout the session. She said to take one deep breath and hold it in while taking a second … [Read more...]

A technical manual for magicians

Choices is excited to introduce you to Houdini's Fabulous Magic, written by Walter B. Gibson and Morris N. Young, and published by Vine Leaves Press. Instead of a review by Choices, here is everything you need to know about this fabulous book about magic - including a forward by Gabe Fajuri. "I've loved this book for sixty years," Teller of Penn & Teller. This is a technical manual for magicians, complete with illustrations and diagrams, but it is also an astute analysis of the best of Houdini's magic and a readable biography of a man who turned himself into a legend. It is a book for would-be conjurers, for professional necromancers, for those curious about the methods and means of one of the most enchanting men of the previous century. "I've loved this book for sixty years. My first copy was borrowed from the Philadelphia Public Library when I was fourteen, and I kept renewing the loan till I could afford to own my own copy. Houdini's Fabulous Magic has just the right … [Read more...]

Welcome Michael R. French

Today we welcome Michael R. French, author of Ghost with Two Hearts, on his third stop of his WOW! Women on Writing book tour. We also thank Michael for his guest post, "Helping or Hurting," about a young engineer's travels to Japan as he looks for a better life. Here's Michael: HELPING OR HURTING by Michael R. French, Author of Ghost with Two Hearts   A young software engineer travels to Japan on a personal mission to return a ceremonial sword his grandfather stole from a Japanese captain in a World War II.  Adrian knows little  of the circumstances of the theft but believes returning the sword to its rightful heir is the morally correct thing. The good deed, he hopes, will also make him feel better about his own life, which is emotionally and spiritually unfulfilling. In Japan, he is soon immersed in a seductive culture that is a welcome escape from the West.  Renting a house from a retired Shinto priest, he’s befriended by a female kami, a ghost named Emiko, … [Read more...]

You must read a modern day fairytale

Welcome to Marissa Bañez's WOW! WOMEN ON WRITING tour of Hope and Fortune, a modern day fairytale. Marissa has also honored us with a guest post  about whether self-publishing is worth it. Here's Marissa: first her colorful and playful book cover and her guest post. Is Self-Publishing Worth It?             For some, getting their story in a published book form is a cathartic exercise.  Self-publishing is worth it for them as a matter of self-fulfillment.  For others, they just want to be able to say to family and friends that they’ve published a book. The return on their investment of time, energy and resources in self-publishing is irrelevant because their purpose is not to sell the book but rather to simply give it as a gift or to leave a family legacy of sorts. For still others, they have a compelling need to spread their ideas to a broader audience.  Because they can’t find anyone to publish their work, they must consider self-publishing. Self-publishing is not free or … [Read more...]

Learning to listen

After reading this guest blog post, you'll wonder where the Blooms were when you needed them the most. They are experts on how couples can avoid arguing. And I am so pleased to host them on their WOW! Women  on Writing blog tour of their new book, An End to Arguing. They have also graciously created a  wonderful list of tips about listening - an essential tool when trying to avoid arguing. Hopefully you'll all still be able to benefit from their advice. Here are the Bloom's and their 16 tips.   The Art of Committed Listening: 16 Practical tips to become a champion listener-402 by Linda and Charlie Bloom   Relationships thrive when both partners practice committed listening. When we allow ourselves to be penetrated by each other’s words and feelings, it’s not simply a matter of receiving information, but of allowing ourselves to be informed by it. When we are able to hear and accept our partner’s feelings and needs our attention moves from concerns about ourselves to … [Read more...]

Living the life of an old crone

In my writing class this week, we were assigned a prompt to write about how to be a successful crone - you know the  little old lady who lives alone but can totally take control of her  life: her finances, her social life, her living situation, her everyday activities. I liked that prompt and wrote this: I came into my age of croneness when my husband of over fifty years became ill and died. It all happened very suddenly and hit me very hard. I had to make a million decisions without him almost right away: getting used to living without him, traveling without him, sleeping without him, not cooking for him, working without him. And I especially missed having our intellectual work-related conversations. That he couldn’t participate any more left me more than alone and lonely. It left me without the love of my life. I also had to learn to manage my financial life even though Bob called me innumerate. I formed relationships with our financial advisor and tax accountant, made the … [Read more...]