Friday, November 27, 2015

Art Appreciation

King Parrot
Acrylic on canvas by Elle Carter Neal
Click to enlarge
I enjoy drawing and painting as a hobby – which means I don’t take it seriously, I don’t bother with practicing to improve my skills, I don’t find time for it when I’m just too busy (like the past six years!). Making pictures is a nice way to relax after a long day dealing with words.

Artworks by Elle Carter Neal
(including Pelican incomplete since 2009)
Click to enlarge
I know enough about art to know that I’m not good enough at it to illustrate my own covers. So, I’ve now set out twice to commission artwork from professional artists. The first was very easy to find. Sandra Salsbury illustrated What Does It Mean to be Safe by Rana DiOrio and I followed the blog book tour via Dani’s involvement in Little Pickle Press. I fell in love with the artwork on Sandra’s website, and knew she would be my first enquiry when I was ready to design the cover for my first book, Madison Lane and the Wand of Rasputin. Sandra was available, and an absolute delight to work with from the very first thumbnail sketch she sent through to the lightning fast turn-around of the finished cover.

 

This year I was ready to publish my first picture book, I Own All the Blue. I was after a very particular style for this book and I searched through hundreds of portfolios and websites before I found Bess Harding on Pinterest. Bess was also lovely to work with, and translated my text and illustration notes into darling images that bring the story to life.




I love being able to give work to talented artists. And I really appreciate what I get for my investment.

Elsa Neal
Elle Carter Neal is the author of the picture book I Own All the Blue and teen science-fantasy novel Madison Lane and the Wand of Rasputin. She is based in Melbourne, Australia. Find her at ElleCarterNeal.com or HearWriteNow.com

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Gr-ATTITUDE




This is the time of year when we are “supposed” to be thankful. And I am. I’m thankful all year for the many, many blessings I’ve had throughout my entire life.

But having gone through a major loss within the past year and a half, I see a glimpse of why some may feel this season is an additional emotional burden. We are “supposed” to be happy. We are “supposed” to be grateful. Bah, humbug, right?

Well, maybe it’s attitude that either overrides or expresses gratitude. (And maybe this human emotional roller coaster can be good fodder for our writing, our character development!)

So, here’s what I’m grateful for:

  •         I’m healthy
  •         I live where the sun shines most days
  •        I can go hiking in 60-degree weather in November and even some days in December and January
  •         I have great friends
  •         My family
  •         My ability to write
  •         My editing clients who keep me as busy as I want to be
  •         Four published books—I’m living my dream!


So wherever you are—even if we’re spending Thanksgiving with strangers instead of family—have a wonderful day full of Gr-Attitude!

A native Montanan, Heidi M. Thomas now lives in North-central Arizona where she blogs, teaches writing, and edits. Her first novel, Cowgirl Dreamsis based on her grandmother, and the sequel, Follow the Dream, won the national WILLA Award. The next book in the series is Dare to Dream, and a non-fiction book Cowgirl Up! A History of Rodeo Women, is also available. Heidi has a degree in journalism and a certificate in fiction writing.

Monday, November 23, 2015

I'm An Author, But Almost Wasn't

Christmas hype often overshadows Thanksgiving, but it shouldn't. Around Thanksgiving, I can't help but be grateful for my many blessings, chief of which are the gift of life, the gift of love, and the gift of country.

I've also received another gift, one that sees me through hard times and give me joy. That is the gift of writing. My earliest recollections are of my father driving me and my brothers to the library, where we'd take out stacks of books to bring home and devour. 

As I grew older, I dreamed of being a writer, but that's all it was, just a dream. I had no idea how to follow through, or even if I could. That all changed one evening when I attended a presentation at my local library, There, various members of the Chicago-North Romance Writers of America chapter shared how and why they wrote. Though they came from various walks of life, and seemed like normal, everyday people, they'd managed to write books,and many of these women had actually gotten there books published. If they could do it, maybe I could.

Fascinated by the idea, I joined the chapter. It was wonderful being among people with the same interests. Not only did I enjoy the bonds of friendship, but also, when my first book, Two Wrongs, was published, I'd finally learned enough about the craft to finally realize my dream about becoming a published author.Since then, I've published eight more books, and have a few more in the works.

None of this would have happened, if not for that one presentation at my local library. I'm so very thankful I was there that night.

Would any of you like to share how you became a writer?


Experience the diversity and versatility of Morgan Mandel. Romantic Comedies: Her Handyman, its sequel, A Perfect Angelstandalone reality show romance; Girl of My Dreams.  Thriller: Forever Young: Blessing or Curse,its sequel: the Blessing or Curse CollectionRomantic suspense: Killer CareerMystery:Two Wrongs. Short  and Sweet   Romance: Christmas   Carol
Christian Women's Fiction: Hailey's Chance: Will Baby Make 3? Twitter:@MorganMandel Websites: Morgan Mandel.Com    Morgan Does Chick Lit.Com.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Adventures in Audio - Part 1: The Back Story

Image by Alan Levine, via Flickr
My husband is nothing if not diversified in the range of his creative enterprises. Board game enthusiasts, for example, will recognize the name Bob Harris as the creator of the classic fantasy board game Talisman.1 Following the world-wide success of Talisman, Bob a made the lateral move into writing Y/A fiction when our friend Jane Yolen invited him to be her co-author for Queen’s Own Fool, a tale of Mary Queen of Scots (Philomel Books, 2000), the first of eight successful collaborations. And thereby hangs the tale of how he made yet another lateral into script-writing.

Bob has always been a fan of vintage American radio comedies like the Jack Benny Show, Amos and Andy, and Duffy’s Tavern. In the wake of writing Queen’s Own Fool, it occurred to him that the life of Mary Queen of Scots, which affords so much serious dramatic material, might on a lighter note provide the basis for a uniquely Scottish sitcom.

In 2003 he mentioned this notion to his long-time friend Alan McFadzean, and the two of them set to work on a pilot for The Queen’s Heid, a comedy set partly in Mary’s palace of Holyrood and partly in a tavern across the street (the Queen’s Heid of the title), run by the scheming-but-lovable Lachie Marr. Originally conceived as a TV show, this concept was eventually developed as a one-off special for BBC Radio Scotland, first aired on St. Andrews Day (Nov 3) 2005. A sequel, The Knox Factor, was broadcast by the BBC in 2007.

Thereafter, contractual obligations compelled Bob to focus on his career as a children’s author. Alan, meanwhile, pursued his career as a science consultant, co-authoring the acclaimed book Engineering Animals. In their down-time, they continued to produce new comedy scripts - though finding a market for them proved difficult.

Then came new inspiration.

For several years, Bob had been involved in professional role-play work, both for businesses and for St. Andrews University’s medical department. He suddenly realized that from his various colleagues he could put together an excellent cast. With this prospect in mind, he and Alan went back to work on their flagship project Watch The Skies!, a comedy set in an observatory in the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland.

Watching from the sidelines, I was thrilled when the actors fell in love with the first script at first reading. Since then, rehearsals of this and follow-on scripts in the series have been pure joy. To bring the series to fulfillment, we’ve been very fortunate to be given the use of Sunnybrae studios, run by Bob’s cousin AJ Harris, who also added the music and sound effects.

This has been a fantastic collaborative project in which everyone has given their services for free. At the time of writing two episodes are available online along with a host of extra features. Over the next few weeks there will be another episode added plus a Christmas special, with more to follow in the New Year.

Watch The Skies! is available absolutely free at Quantum Fridge.

You can Like it on Facebook at the Watch The Skies Comedy page.

You can also follow on Twitter @QuantumFridge

In my next article I will explore with Bob the difficulties and delights of writing purely for audio.



1 Talisman was first published by the British-based company Games Workshop in 1983. The Fourth Edition is currently produced and marketed by the American-based company Fantasy Flight Games.


Debby Harris is an independent editor living in Scotland. Please visit her website for more information about her editing services and fees.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Giving Thanks in a Messy World

Being November, the possible blog themes this month were Gratitude, along with Autumn, National Novel Writing Month, and Thanksgiving Day. When I chose Gratitude, I realized what a paradox it was at this time in history. Yes, I’m grateful for a lot of things. I have a wonderful family, a nice house, work I love to do. I write books, which means I can live part of my life in a fantasy world, creating stories, mostly crime fiction and suspense. I thought more deeply about the subject, and I knew this blog post would be serious and sad and a reminder of how blessed I really am and how blessed many who will read this are.

There’s a whole messy world outside my little office in my warm house, where plenty of food fills the refrigerator. I grew up in a different time. An innocent time. My parents worked in the shoe factories in a city in Massachusetts famous for making shoes.
The public commons were shaped like the toe and heel of a shoe, factories were everywhere, and there was plenty of work. It was hard work. I spent the summer between my last year of high school and first year of college working in the factory, along with a few friends. It was enough to make me know that was not where I wanted to spend my life. I had new respect for those who worked there to put food on the table, my mother included.

I went to a state college to study art. My tuition was $200 A YEAR. I commuted thirty miles a day, so I didn’t have to pay for room and board. That amount adjusted for inflation would be $1625 today, but tuition plus art supplies and books at the same college in 2015 totals $14,000. That doesn’t include living expenses. And that’s a bargain these days. So I’m very grateful I could afford college back then, which I worked through school to pay for, by the way. Those who want to go to college now and can’t afford the tuition take out loans they pay back for years, or they don’t go. That means college has become something only the well-to-do can afford, and unless something changes, that doesn’t bode well for the country.

Then comes the messy world—the world with kids who can’t even dream of college because all they want is a roof over their heads and a regular meal. Maybe it’s this week in particular that has me writing about how grateful I really am when I read and see the tens of thousands fleeing their homelands under siege to find a safe haven, and risking their lives and the lives of their children to do so.
Or the hundreds more killed by bombs set off by madmen for the sake of―you know, I really don’t know why. Religion? Power? Hatred? Romance? Adventure?

I’m grateful I don’t live there and feel selfish for the thought and sick at heart for those who do. I feel grateful for what I have, yet it’s an empty feeling somehow knowing that others are living in such dire poverty and fear and need, with no hope of getting out of the vortex pulling them down.

I’ve never been a person who prayed much, but this Thanksgiving, I’ll make a point of saying a prayer to whatever gods might be listening for this messy world to become neater, and that no child, no vet, no person should go hungry anywhere. It so happens that what’s going on in a world far away is material for my current work in progress that has a Middle East theme. Now, I need to make it mean something in my story.

Painting by Norman Rockwell

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, or maybe I should say, Happy Give Thanks Day.


Polly Iyer is the author of seven novels: standalones Hooked, InSight, Murder Déjà Vu, Threads, and three books in the Diana Racine Psychic Suspense series, Mind Games, Goddess of the Moon, and Backlash. A Massachusetts native, she makes her home in the beautiful Piedmont region of South Carolina. You can visit her website for more on Polly and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Thanks to Lady Luck...

Image by Bill Selak, via Flickr
Lady Luck has waved her magic wand for me times without number. Without her aid, I would not have become a multi-(61 books and counting)-published author.

It was sheer chance that my first manuscript landed on the desk of an editor who not only liked it but had a space on her list for it. If it hadn’t sold, I would not have persevered, never having had a burning desire to be a writer. I wrote it to postpone having to go out and look for a “proper” job.

With my second publisher (after the first quit doing Regencies before buying my second effort), I had several different editors over the years. All were great to work with except one—and luckily she was only there long enough to drive me nuts over one book. When, years later, it became an e-book, I reversed many of the changes she had made, with the unfortunate result (okay, Lady Luck’s not always on my side) that a monkey never previously mentioned appeared on the stairs of a London mansion halfway through the book. Only one reader ever wrote to me in puzzlement...

At about the same time, my ex and I split up and I needed to start seriously making a living. Just then, luckily, Harlequin restarted their defunct Regency line; I met a senior editor at an RWA conference; she had heard my name from their new Regency editor, who was a fan of mine; and they were actively looking for manuscripts. For a while, just when I needed the work, I was writing four books a year, for two publishers.

The most surprising bit of luck I had was when I wrote Scandal’s Daughter. I sold it to Zebra on the basis of two short paragraphs: a sentence or two about the heroine, the same for the hero, and that they’d travel together from Istanbul to England.

As I was writing it, it turned into a sort of Regency Perils of Pauline. At the end of nearly every chapter, my hero and heroine were in dire peril. I rescued them at the beginning of the next chapter, from Greek bandits, Turkish soldiers, Barbary pirates, French troops, a snowstorm in the mountains, and many another deadly danger. Just before I finished it, my editor left the company and I had to send this very untrad Regency to a new editor who knew nothing about it and with whom I’d never worked. I was sure she’d hate it.

She not only loved it, she suggested a couple of scenes that I’d meant to write but somehow hadn’t fitted in! Talk about being on the same wavelength.

And talking about editors who come and go, I’ve seen the careers of friends derail because the editor who loved their work moved on and for one reason or another couldn’t take them along. The best luck of my career is having a mystery editor who has stayed. He bought my first mystery, Death at Wentwater Court in 1993, and 22 years later he’s still at the same publisher and still buying my work, the most recent being Superfluous Women, with a couple more on the way.


Thanks, Lady Luck.

Carola Dunn is author of the Daisy Dalrymple Mysteries, Cornish Mysteries, and multitudinous Regencies.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Dream Chaser: Defining Yourself


Friday the 13th? (It hurts to avoid the obvious and the easy, but I shall resist.)

The last few months have seen me writing a little less, and working on who I want to be as a writer a lot more. I know, writers write, or so they say. But writers are also CEOs of a business. My company is called Jason P. Henry and, for a period of time, my company seemed as though it lost its direction. So, it was time to develop a new business plan.

A business built on a writer… how could that lose direction? All a writer has to do is sit down, put fingers on the keyboard, take a breath, and spew out a best-seller. Then find an agent (most likely the first one we query will fall in love with our work), the agent finds a publisher within a couple of days, and a few weeks later we’re signing for thousands of people at a bookstore reading.

That about sums up the path to success, correct? Anyone who has considered taking this road knows it’s is not an easy one to travel. It’s definitely not a quick drive down the block.

My first novel, Hush-A-Bye, took me almost two years to complete.That was after two years of writing nearly thirty short stories that were placed into a file on my computer to collect digital dust. Now, I am six rejections in to publishing my book and I have four active WIPs. There’s, Don’t You Cry, the sequel to book one (a thriller). I have Reign Of Light (a biblical thriller) and The Devil Lived (a horror novel). And, yeah, there’s the romance novel Love On The Rocks. Wait, I forgot to mention that I began writing short stories and flash fiction again.

So what’s the problem? The problem is (was) that my brain didn’t know what to work on. I would sit down at my computer and stare at four different files, not sure which one to open. More often than not, I would just waste time by watching dust motes dance in the sunbeams pouring through my office window. I wasn’t writing, and remember, writers write. (Truth be told, I hate the phrase 'writers write'.)

This is when I stepped back. I questioned if maybe I was in over my head. Maybe I had lost sight of what I wanted and this writing thing wasn’t for me. Was that why I was playing genre roulette? I was imploding and it was the beginning of the end. It was time to consider that my efforts were futile and all the voices from my youth were correct. There’s no room in the world for dreamers.

Back to that business plan.

After writing the first book, I learned the value of even the most basic plot outline. So, I decided to apply that to myself, to my company. What did I want to accomplish? Where did I see myself going? At first, my outline looked more like a corn maze with no exit. Unacceptable. I played a little paper wad basketball and started over. It took a couple of weeks, but eventually I had an outline that began with ME. Then all the genres I was writing in plus some I aspire to write in. What I wanted to achieve in each genre. Then I built brands for each genre that would distinguish one from the other. I came up with pseudonyms. Then, staying true to myself, I made certain there was a way I could tie all those genres together.

The moral to the story is this, kids:

We can try to label ourselves but, ultimately, the words and the stories will dictate what we do. Don't fight it. Embrace it. Be thankful for the gift that you have no matter what form it takes on. When you find that you are overwhelmed, remember that you are a writer but also a business.

Build a business plan and have a clear understanding of where you want to go. Have a mission statement that inspires you. The dust motes will always be dancing in the sunbeams, but don't let them take you away from what matters. Sit down and write the story, or even stories, that want to be written.

And don't forget to enjoy every single minute!

When he's not working with the dedicated and passionate people of Pikes Peak Writers, Jason P. Henry is lost in a world of serial killers, psychopaths, and other unsavory folks. Ask him what he is thinking, but only at your own risk. More often than not he is plotting a murder, considering the next victim, or twisting seemingly innocent things into dark and demented ideas. A Suspense, Thriller and Horror writer with a dark, twisted sense of humor, Jason strives to make people squirm, cringe, and laugh. He loves to offer a smile, but is quick to leave you wondering what lies behind it. Jason P. Henry is best summed up by the great philosopher Eminem “I'm friends with the monsters beside of my bed, get along with the voices inside of my head.” Learn more about Jason at JasonPHenry.com.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Remember These 10 Writers

Take your fingers off the keyboard and put down your pens. Let’s have a moment of silence for these 10 brave writers...lost, but never forgotten.

Aldo Itmaselph - the writer who insisted on working alone. No editor. No beta-readers. Just him.

Althea Thoone - the writer who spent more time having coffee with writers’ groups than actually writing.

Candice P. Love - the writer so in love with her own work that she found it impossible to part with it.

Collette A Day - the writer who gave up.

Haile Improbable - the writer whose plots overflowed with timely coincidences.

Horace Cope - the writer who would only write if the ‘signs were right’.

Maura Applause - the writer who wrote only to get praise.

Barry D’Alive - a writer who took personal research that one step too far…

Bess Sellars - the writer crippled by the fear of Book Number Two.

Myra Gret - a writer who wanted to write, but never found the time.


Elspeth Futcher is an author and playwright. Thirteen of her murder mystery games and two audience-interactive plays are published by host-party.com. Her A Fatal Fairy Tale, Deadly Ever After and Curiouser and Curiouser are among the top-selling mystery games on the Internet.  Elspeth's newest game, The Great British Bump Off is now available from her UK publisher, Red Herring Games, as is her Once Upon a Murder. Elspeth's 'writing sheep' are a continuing feature in the European writers' magazine Elias and also appear on this blog from time to time. Connect with her on Twitter at @elspethwrites or on Facebook at Elspeth Futcher, Author.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Gratitude for the Creativity That Doesn't Die


Write every day.

The above statement is often given as advice to writers.

It’s good advice—for the right writer. I say this because every writer has his or her own way of getting the words on the page.

Some of us are daily writers. Some of us set specific days to write, and some of us write when the urge strikes. The problem with writing when the urge strikes, however, is that sometimes—for long moments of time—the urge is dead.

At least the writer affected thinks so.

Whether you call it writer’s block or a drought (or whatever name you come up with), most writers have moments when the urge to write just leaves. You wake up, and there’s a Dear John (or Johnetta) letter from writing ... to you.

It’s not you; it’s me, writing states.

You feel like a failure, you wonder if you will ever write again, you hear or read advice like “write every day,” and you think you can’t possibly be a writer if you can’t write every other day, let alone every day.

I’m sure you know this, deep down, but I just want to remind you—you are a writer, even during this dry time.

And you should be grateful for this time because honestly, your writing—the creativity—doesn’t die despite the droughts you come upon. You will write again because your writing—your creativity—is only refueling; it’s priming the pump so that when the time comes, your writing will function properly.

Let me tell you a story. Several years ago, I was in a writing drought. The problem with that was I had to submit a story for a fiction workshop in a day. Talk about pressure. For weeks, nothing inspired me, I didn’t feel called to the page. The day before my needed submission, I was on a bus heading home from school. At a stop light, I stared across the street at a park full of colorful necessities for kids—the monkey bars, a slide, and a swing.

And one of the empty swings moved back and forth. I know intellectually there must have been a breeze to cause the movement, but almost immediately, I grew solemn. I saw a mother who had lost her child to a horrible accident and had only those swings left as remembrance. For the duration of the ride, my brain burned with images and dialogue for a story I would write in a night, submit, and that would garner my best workshop critique.

But it started with an empty, moving swing.

And really, it started with my creativity, the creativity that never died.

Even in the midst of what looks like the driest writing season known to anyone, your creativity is alive and doing well.

And there will be that moment when a speech from someone on TV, a line from a song, a conversation heard at a cafe, or a swaying empty swing in a park will prime your writing valve with creativity and have your words flowing again.

And you will be grateful.

Creative Passionista Shon Bacon is an author, editor, and educator whose biggest joys are writing and helping others develop their craft. She has published both creatively and academically and interviews women writers on her popular blog ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING. You can learn more about Shon's writings at her author website, and you can get information about her editorial services at CLG Entertainment.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Five Easy Pieces


I teach various kinds of writing classes – how to write memoir, how to use historical detail in your writing, how to journal without self-judgment, and how to ghostwrite. I always start off any class with a five-step writing process, which works with any subject and any kind of project, from blog posts to books, memoir to self-help. I call it the Five Easy Pieces Process, partially because I love that movie. If Jack Nicholson were a writer, maybe he would follow these rules.

Here are the bare essentials:

Step One:
Write everything you know, or think you know; everything you feel, or think you feel; everything you've done, or wish you'd done (or wish you hadn't done), everything you imagine, everything that pops into your head —in short, write everything. Basically this means: do not censor as you write. Editing comes later.

Step Two:
Read what you wrote, and look for the recurring themes or threads. I promise they are there. Look until you find them.

Step Three:
Identify one major and one complimentary minor theme.

Step Four:
Remove everything and anything that does not fit or enhance either the major or minor theme. This is difficult. You may feel that your heart has been ripped from your body by a sadistic monkey and eaten by a pack of cold-eyed wolves. Be ruthless and do it anyway. (This is where content editors can help—let them be the sadistic monkeys.)

Step Five:
Organize and expand on whatever is left.

That’s it. Easy-peasy, right?

Self-promotional tidbit: My online class Learn to Ghost is really fun and useful for anyone who wants to make a living as a writer. Check it out: LearnToGhost.com.

Kim Pearson is an author, ghostwriter, and owner of Primary Sources, a writing service that helps others become authors of professional and compelling books and articles. She has authored 10 books of her own, and ghostwritten more than 40 non-fiction books and memoirs. To learn more about her books or services, visit kimpearson.me.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Thankful For My Friends

Every November we at the Blood-Red Pencil pause to consider thankfulness and what, or who, we are most thankful for. I don't have any one single person to put at the top of my list, but there have been many writers who inspired me, mentored me, taught me, and supported me in my creative journey, and I am thankful for them all, especially my friends at here at the BRP. In addition, I have had great support from writers in the Nebraska Writers Workshop. There are too many to name individually, but I learned so much from them when I lived in Omaha.

Courtesy of http://www.myquotesclub.com/
Before moving to Omaha, I was a founding member of the Greater Dallas Writers Association where I met many terrific writers including Laura Parker Castoro;  a friend for many years. We were also neighbors and close friends for all those years we lived in the same Dallas suburb, and I am happy to say that we still are good friends, even though more distance separates us now. Laura is the author of many historical and contemporary romances and also writes a K-9 Force romantic suspense series as D.D. Ayers. She has always cheered me on with my writing, and I may have given up long ago if not for her constant support.

Then there's Liz Carpenter, former press secretary to Lady Bird Johnson, who shared a bit of wisdom with me twenty-some years ago that I have never forgotten, "Never say 'no' to an opportunity. You can always backtrack from 'yes' but you can never get the 'no' back."

There are so many more writers that have influenced me, but, again, not enough room to list them all, so I will just mention one more by name, Erma Bombeck. I never had the pleasure of meeting her, but I took her writing classes via tapes and sending material back and forth using the postal system. (We didn't have the Internet then, but at least it wasn't Pony Express.)

What Erma taught me about humor writing helped when I started my column for the Plano Star Courier; It's Not All Gravy was patterned after Erma's long-running column about the foibles of family life. The main thing I remember from her course was utilizing the twist on the punchline. You send the reader in one direction with what you write, then give him or her something unexpected. I didn't know there was a name for doing that with a figure of speech, but there is. Erma never told us, but maybe that was because she couldn't pronounce "paraprosdokians" - figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected and is frequently humorous.

Another writer/artist friend, Georgia Lange Moore, sent me the following  paraprosdokians, so I thought we could enjoy them here:

1. Where there's a will, I want to be in it.

2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you ... but it's still on my list.

3. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

4. If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

5. We never really grow up -- we only learn how to act in public!

6. War does not determine who is right, only who is left.

7. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

8. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.

9. I didn't say it was your fault. I said I was blaming you.

10. In filling out an application, where it says, "In case of emergency, notify..." I answered "a doctor."

11. I used to be indecisive, but now I'm not so sure.

12. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.

13. You're never too old to learn something stupid.

14. I'm supposed to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder for me to find one. 

    Dorothy Parker: “If all the girls who attended the Yale prom were laid end to end, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised.”
    Winston Churchill: “You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing—after they have tried everything else”
    Albert Einstein: “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.
    Mario Andretti: “If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.”
    Zsa Zsa Gábor: “He taught me housekeeping; when I divorce I keep the house.”

 Which of the paraprosdokians did you relate to? Number 14 resonated with me. Want to try your hand at creating one? Please do.

Posted by Maryann Miller - novelist, editor and sometimes actress. Her most recent mystery, Doubletake, was named the 2015 Best Mystery by the Texas Association of Authors. She has a number of other books published, including the critically-acclaimed Season Series that debuted with Open Season. Information about her books and her editing rates is available on her website. When not writing, Maryann likes to take her dog for a walk and work outside on her little ranch in East Texas. 

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