Monday, October 3, 2016

World of Ink Author Spotlight with Mona Haynes

Join Host Virginia S Grenier on the World of Ink Network Mondays for the Author Spotlight show on October 3, 2016 at 8pm EST - 7pm CST - 6pm MST - 5pm PST.

The Author Spotlight show brings readers debut, best-selling, award-winning authors every Monday. Host Virginia S Grenier will not only talk to our guest author about their recently released books but also what the inspiration is behind the book and much more.

Our Guest This Week Will Be:
Mona Haynes who is a wife, mother and grandmother! She has over 25 years experience in early childhood development. Mona enjoys working in the ministry with her husband who is a pastor. She loves her family and friends three dots.

You can learn more about Mona Haynes at

10/03/2016 06:00 PM

Today's sponsor: Halo Publishing, Int. Learn more at

Be sure to follow us at our blog, Facebook and Twitter. Also, look for all our World of Ink Network hosts on Facebook and Twitter. The World Of Ink Network has endeavored to create radio shows geared toward excellence in the reading/publishing community. As our company has grown to a viral reach of nearly two million, we have decided to step into a new and exciting adventure. If you'd like to be on our network or need commercial advertising, marketing and writing help, please visit our website

As always you can listen to any of our shows live or on demand, at any time you'd like here on Blog Talk Radio, Facebook or iTunes. If you would like to chat with the host or our guests today, you can call in, the phone number is (714) 242-5259 or post your questions and comments in our live chatroom or on Facebook or Twitter using #WorldofInk.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Sunday Reads on the World of Ink Network

World of Ink Network is happy to announce their debut show Sunday Reads. It will air every Sunday at 8pm Eastern.

Join Host Virginia S Grenier on the World of Ink Network Sunday for the Sunday Reads show on October 2, 2016 at 8pm EST - 7pm CST - 6pm MST - 5pm PST.

Sunday Reads is a live book review show every Sunday with Host Virginia S Grenier. She will share her thoughts on the books she is currently reading, as well as, touch on literacy. Authors, publishers and experts in the field of literacy may guest on the show. Grenier will also share an information or tips to help build better readers in our homes and community.

10/02/2016 06:00 PM

Be sure to follow us on our blog, Facebook and Twitter. Also, look for all our World of Ink Network hosts on Facebook and Twitter. The World Of Ink Network has endeavored to create radio shows geared toward excellence in the reading/publishing community. As our company has grown to a viral reach of nearly two million, we have decided to step into a new and exciting adventure. If you'd like to be on our network or need commercial advertising, marketing and writing help, please visit our website

As always you can listen to any of our shows live or on demand, at any time you'd like here on Blog Talk Radio, Facebook or iTunes. If you would like to chat with the host or our guests today, you can call in, the phone number is (714) 242-5259 or post your questions and comments in our live chatroom or on Facebook or Twitter using #WorldofInk.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Going Back to the Basics

When I started this blog in 2010, it was a way for me to get myself back into writing after having my daughter and closing Stories for Children Magazine after a successful run. I did a lot of different type of blog posts and then I got busy with other things and didn't keep up with blogging the way I had when I first started out.

Fast forward to six years later and I'm coming back to the basics of what this blog is about with a few new twists.  Frist, I'm a mom. I love being a mom and I love doing things (even crazy things) with my kids. My two girls are starting to get into YouTube and are making videos, which I produce for them. So you may catch one of their videos on my blog from time to time.

Second, I'm an author. I love to write books for kids and teens. I may one day try my hand at adult novels, but for now, I'm writing what makes me happy. I'm working on a few different stories and it is tough to find the time to write, but I'm making that time. Because writing takes time and a lot of hard work and tears, I plan on sharing those trials right here with all of you through posts like this one or through a Vlog post. (For those wondering what a Vlog post is, it's a YouTube video of me talking instead of writing my thoughts.)

Third, I love to read and I love helping other authors reach their dreams, too. So I will from time to time share a review, interview or post about another author and their book. After all, if it wasn't for all those awesome authors out there, I woudn't be writing myself.

Fourth, I'm a World of Ink Radio Personality. So yeah, I'm gonna share about the shows I'm hosting and other hosts are doing at BTR's World of Ink Network.

Lastly, I love sharing about life and things I love outside of my awesome hubby, kids and writing life. So don't be surprised when I share something totally unrelated to all that. Hey, it's my blog, I can do what I like with it, and hopefully, you'll take something away with you, too.

Until next time!
VS Grenier

My honey bunny, Justin and I enjoying a movie at the park.

Friday, September 2, 2016

WOI Author Interview Special: Picture Book Author "K" Stone

Welcome to the Featured World of Ink Network here on BlogTalkRadio.

The World of Ink Network brings you shows each week on topics such as books, writing, author interviews, self-help and much more.

Join the discussion Friday, September 2nd when Host Virginia S Grenier chats with picture book author "K" Stone about family Christmas traditions and her latest picture book, "Santa's Secret Wish." The call in number is (714) 242-5259

You can listen to the show on September 2nd at 12 noon Eastern - 11 am Central - 10 am Mountain - 9am Pacific or on demand once the show airs live.

"K" Stone has a background in early elementary and middle school education and is a teacher of young minds. Stone was awarded 1996 Teach of the Year from Chesapeake Public Schools. She strives to strengthen families by sharing fun practices that will increase wonderful childhood memories.

Be sure to follow us at our blog, Facebook and Twitter. Also, look for all our World of Ink Network hosts on Facebook and Twitter. The World Of Ink Network has endeavored to create radio shows geared toward excellence in the reading/publishing community. As our company has grown to a viral reach of nearly two million, we have decided to step into a new and exciting adventure. If you'd like to be on our network or need commercial advertising, marketing and writing help, please visit our website

As always you can listen to any of our shows live or on demand, at any time you'd like here on Blog Talk Radio, Facebook or iTunes. If you would like to chat with the host or our guests today, you can call in, the phone number is (714) 242-5259 or post your questions and comments in our live chatroom or on Facebook or Twitter using #WorldofInk.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

“Intuitive” Reading

Serious readers routinely look up any words they do not know. But there are also “intuitive” readers, who figure out a word just by reading the context in which the word is used and look up its meaning to fully grasp the writer’s meaning. I've heard some call this wishful thinking and the recently posted on this exact topic. Here is what they shared.

The three examples below are sentences you might find in print or online. Each contains a possibly unfamiliar word which, if misinterpreted, sabotages the meaning of the sentence.

On a blistering August morning we came upon a 1960 Buick coruscating in the sun.

Understanding coruscating is the key to understanding the sentence. The Intuitive Reader ponders the word, with its echoes of corrosion and rust, and concludes that the car was falling apart. A reader’s first impressions matter, and this reader now is picturing a broken-down old wreck. But coruscating means “sparkling.” In fact, the car in the tale has been lovingly maintained by its owner. The reader now has a distorted view of the author’s main character, and may well go on to misread the intent of the story.

What we heard on the demo sounded like a bashful lad with a limpid voice.

The Intuitive Reader doesn’t have to look up limpid to know that the kid on the demo can forget about a singing career. You can’t make it in the music business with a “limpid” singing voice, for what else could limpid mean but “weak” or “lifeless”? But the reader has it wrong: a limpid voice is pure and crystal clear. The kid’s future looks bright. If he can sing in tune, and his material is strong, he could go places.

The man was in a parlous condition, and a lot of his friends headed for the exit.

Intuitive Readers know what parlez-vous fran├žais means, and they know that parlance is a style or manner of speaking. So to them, this sentence might appear to tell a cautionary tale about a “parlous” fellow who gets a proper comeuppance for hogging the conversation one time too many. But in reality the situation is far darker: parlous means “dire” or “precarious.” This man is in trouble. He deserves our compassion, and his fair-weather friends deserve our scorn.

Thanks to the internet, it has never been easier or less time-consuming to look words up. Those who refuse to do so are in constant danger of missing the point. 

What are you thoughts on looking words up or just using context to figure a word out? Do you think we need to teach this type of reading style to our children so they become better readers? 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Why I REALLY Love Writing and Reading Books

As an author, I'm asked a lot in interviews or when I meet someone, "Why did you start writing?" I've given a few different answers to this question over the years. The most common answer really is how I began my writing career, which is this: I used to work full-time in the fashion industry as a buyer. I moved from California to Utah as my husband, and I decided this gave us the opportunity for me to be home with our children, instead of gone, traveling or working long hours in an office while private schools and daycare became our kids lives. However, going from working to not working as a stay-at-home mom just isn't me, and so I took a writing course, loved it and so my writing career began. 

Yes, this is the how I started writing, but what really made me fall in love with writing and for that matter reading books, too, I have to get a little bit more personal for the first time ever.

As a kid, I was never a big reader. Sure I read the books assigned to me in classes over the years by my teachers, but I never had a bookcase in my bedroom loaded with books. I didn't travel to the library every week with my family to check books out either. My parents did read. My dad mostly read his flight manuals as he was an airline pilot and my mom loved romance novels by Daniel Steel and Dana Fuller Ross. At least this is my strongest memory of my parents and the books they read. I do remember my mom, not my dad so much (sorry dad) reading me a few kid's books like "The Monster at the End of the Page" (one of my all time favs), many of the Golden Books and A Little Critter Books, and of course, Dr. Seuss books. 

However, it wasn't until high school and college where I really found my love of books and a certain type of book. Realize I said type of book, not genre. See, I love a few different genres, as most readers do, but there is a running theme in the books that stick out in my mind as my favorites, and this is something I never really gave much thought to until last night when I found myself having a hard time sleeping after something that happened during the earlier part of the day.

See in my first year of high school, my English teacher assigned us to read a book called, "Lord of the Flies." The book blurb is this: Lord of the Flies is a dystopian novel by Nobel Prize-winning English author William Golding about a group of British boys stuck on an uninhabited island who try to govern themselves with disastrous results.

After reading "Lord of the Flies" I was more than happy to see what my teacher would assign next in class for us to read. She had us read, "Great Expectations." The book blurb is this: Great Expectations is Charles Dickens's thirteenth novel. It is his second novel, after David Copperfield, to be fully narrated in the first person. Great Expectations is a bildungsroman, or a coming-of-age novel, and it is a classic work of Victorian literature. It depicts the growth and personal development of an orphan named Pip. The novel contains some of Dickens most memorable scenes, including its opening, in a graveyard, when the young orphan Pip is accosted by the escaped convict, Abel Magwitch. Great Expectations is a graphic book, full of extreme imagery, poverty, prison ships ("the hulks"), barriers and chains, and fights to the death.

I loved these two books, and I still remember how I felt reading them. I'm sure my teacher assigned others, but these are the two I remember most clearly from that first year of high school and still love to this day. The following year of high school, my English class was assigned to read a few books, but the two that stand out in my mind still today are, "The Grapes of Wrath" and "Of Mice and Men," both written by John Steinbeck and amazing books. 

The Grapes of Wrath is set during the Great Depression, the novel focuses on the Joads, a poor family of tenant farmers driven from their Oklahoma home by drought, economic hardship, agricultural industry changes and bank foreclosures forcing tenant farmers out of work. Due to their nearly hopeless situation, and in part because they are trapped in the Dust Bowl, the Joads set out for California. Along with thousands of other "Okies", they seek jobs, land, dignity, and a future. (blurb from Wikipedia)

Of Mice and Men is a controversial tale of friendship and tragedy during the Great Depression. They are an unlikely pair: George is "small and quick and dark of face"; Lennie, a man of tremendous size, has the mind of a young child. Yet they have formed a "family," clinging together in the face of loneliness and alienation.

Laborers in California's dusty vegetable fields, they hustle work when they can, living a hand-to-mouth existence. For George and Lennie have a plan: to own an acre of land and a shack they can call their own. When they land jobs on a ranch in the Salinas Valley, the fulfillment of their dream seems to be within their grasp. But even George cannot guard Lennie from the provocations of a flirtatious woman, nor predict the consequences of Lennie's unswerving obedience to the things George taught him.

There were many other books throughout high school and college, and later in my 20's I feel in love with the Harry Potter series and a few others since. I can go on and on about the books that have stayed with me for years and are considered my most treasured reads, but if you noticed the type of books I love have themes about diversity, the human spirit and humanity as a whole, along with other things too, of course. Why do I love books that touch on diversity, the human spirit and humanity? I can personally relate to them and each of the books I consider a favorite, rings with truth about some very sensitive subjects we all face every day: Prejudice, Racism and Closed-mindedness.

I say we all face these every day because everyone does at some time and on some level. Yesterday was first-time my 12-year-old was faced with prejudice. Before I share what happened, I first want to share the definition of prejudice is:
preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.
As I mentioned before, I moved to Utah from California to have a family and be a stay-at-home mom. But like most families, we like to go on vacation, and of course, visit family back in our home state of California, where we just happen to be vacationing when this happened:
On a trip to the store to buy a few things so my girls could enjoy an afternoon of baking chocolate chip cookies with their Grandma Twinkie, my 12-year-old daughter was faced, along with me, with a group of young adults who have a very negative opinion of Latter-Day Saints or what many know as Mormons. Yep, they saw our Utah license plate (as they were parked next to us) and couldn't keep from making a few very rude comments about Mormons. My daughter first asked how did they know. I first had to explain how many people from other states, including California, assume everyone who lives in Utah is Mormon. Not true by the way and here is a fact: there are less Latter-day Saints in Utah than the State of Nevada the last time I checked. 

She then asked me why would someone hate us because of our religion. Now that was something I thought I would never have to explain to my own kids. Nieve? Yes! Why? Because I hadn't run into this in a very, very, very long time. Actually, I hadn't had anyone give me a hard time for my religion since I was in high school back in the earlier 90's. The thing is, my daughter, not understanding didn't have anything to do with her being born and growing up in Utah. It really didn't have anything to do with me not preparing her for something like this happening one day to her. She didn't understand because most, and I do mean about 50% of her family, isn't Mormon. We have Mormons, Catholics, Church of Christ, and I'm sure many other religions, in our family tree from grandparents, aunts, and uncles, and so on. She also has friends of many faiths back home in Utah, and it has never been an issue before. But, here I am, seeing this look on my daughter's face of complete sadness and hurt. It broke my heart.

Now, I didn't say anything to the young adults, and it would have been pointless anyway. I'm not 100% positive, but most likely from my own experiences they would have been closed-minded to what I would have said anyway or it would have just given them cause to continue to believe in what they did about Utah and Mormons. (Definition of closed-minded: having or showing rigid opinions or a narrow outlook.) Hopefully, one day they will be more open-minded and less prejudiced towards others.

Now, some reading this may think I am being a certain why, but remember, prejudice means having a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience. I've experienced this kind of thing more than once in my life. I've even experienced racism throughout my life so I'm not writing this light-heartedly, and I really hate being so open and personal, but I felt the need and drive to be in this post. 

Okay, so I'm sure some are now wondering how could a blonde, white girl, from a middle-class family (most likely) know about racism. Guess what? That was racist. Just because I'm blonde and white doesn't mean I don't understand racism or that someone or a group of people can put me into a stereotype. The definition of racism doesn't say if you are only in a minority class/race this can only happen to you. The actual definition of racism is:
the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races. (Keyword: ALL, this means all groups, races, etc. can be racist towards another race, group, etc. no matter if they are the majority or minority.)

I've been stereotyped because of my hair color and skin color for years. What many don't know is this. I didn't always live in the nicest of neighborhoods. At one time in my life, I even lived in low-income housing for some years in Los Angeles County because my mom was single (my parents were divorced) and she was the only one supporting us (myself and her) on a bank teller's wages. One year, she couldn’t afford to buy a Christmas tree or presents. (Sorry dad to paint you in any way. Please know I love you no matter what the past is.) I know what it is like to have people judge me because my skin was different and I didn't fit into the neighborhood I was living in as I was one of the few white girls in my school and apartment complex. I also have seen my friends of color and sexual orientation be treated with cruelty and lack of respect as well by others. I've cried because no one wanted to be my friend because I wasn't like them. I've had kids wanting to beat me up because I was white and not of their race. I've had people hate me because I didn't date white boys, was Mormon or I didn't want to hang with the popular white girls, and so on. But this is what I faced growing up. You wouldn’t know it by looking at me

Fun fact: my family was surprised I even married Justin, a blonde, white guy. Seriously! My son's biological father is mostly Phillipino and Italian, with some other races mixed in. My family (I’m totally guessing so I could be wrong) most likely thought I would marry someone from a different country because I tended to lean that way all my life growing in friends and boyfriends.

The fact is, you don't know me, and I don't know you. By judging you or you judging me by what you see or think you see is just wrong. The experiences I had as a kid, young adult, as a single mother (before my awesome husband) and the one I just had with my daughter yesterday make me who I am. Experiences make us all who we are, to be honest. 

These experiences are also why I love to read the books I do and why I fell in love with writing after I took my writing class back when my daughter was just a small baby in my womb. Reading and writing keeps me from being closed-minded. It keeps me honest, and it keeps me from judging others. Reading and writing helps me to fall in love with the world I live in, it helps me understand others who are different from me and it allows me to see things from a different perspective than my own. It also allows me to challenge my thoughts, views and experiences and gives me a broader range of life. 

This is why literacy is important and why I love doing what I do now. My life is enriched because of the books I read and through the stories and articles I write, which I couldn't do if I didn't surround myself with the world in which we all live in.

So the next time you find yourself thinking or saying something about another, stop and think for just a moment about being in that person's shoes. You may learn something new and different, instead of just being prejudiced, closed-minded and racist.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

WOI Speical - Global Diplomacy Through Student Exchange

Join Virginia S Grenier and World of Ink Network for a special show on Global Diplomacy on June 30, 2016 at 1pm EST - 12 noon CST - 11am MST - 10am PST.

Listen live or on demand at

Today's Show:
FLAG is a Not-for-Profit Tax Exempt Organization, established in 1989. FLAG is Granted as an Official Sponsor Designated by the United States Department of State since 1990. Accepted for Listing in C.S.I.E.T.'s Advisory List.

FLAG's vision is to promote global understanding and world peace by providing families and youngsters from across the globe with the best intercultural experience friendship can buy.

Our Guests Will Be:
Mazi Cunha, FLAG's founder and a former Brazilian exchange student, he founded FlAG along with his American host mother (since retired). Mazi, along with current Executive Director Marc Moralez, has a dedication and passion for student exchange that is evident in FLAG's ongoing evolution of programs, services and charitable missions.

Molly Wieber, National Director of Outreach & Placement, FLAGship and Sponsored Programs will also be joining the show.

You can learn more about FLAG at their website

Follow the World of Ink Network at, or on our blog, and you can find us on Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and Twitter.

As always you can listen to any of our shows live or on demand, at any time you'd like here on Blog Talk Radio, Facebook or iTunes. If you would like to chat with the host or our guests today, you can call in, the phone number is (714) 242-5259 or post your questions and comments in our live chatroom or on Facebook or Twitter using #WorldofInk.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Weekly Writing Prompts

I know I haven't been the best lately with sharing about my writing course with James Patterson and also my reading challenge for 2016. Life just seemed to get in the way, and I found myself off track and not writing like I've wanted to. So here I am trying to get myself back on a schedule of some kind and making time to write not only on my blog but also my books.

I am happy to say that I have completed one of my novel outlines. I'm in the final stages and ready to begin the writing process. I'm really happy with how the outline turned out and I feel it was a great way to begin as there were things I didn't even think about putting in the book and things I just didn't see or notice until I went back through the outline and saw how they did or didn't work.
Outlining is key I think for any writer and something all traditional publishers and agents ask to see before taking on a new author or when working with a new author after signing them.
Hopefully, the manuscript will turn out better than the outline, and the book will get published. One can only hope.

Okay, something I'm going to start doing is posting weekly writing prompts to help those who are struggling with writing. I use these myself, so I hope they help you as they have helped me.

Here are 5 prompts to try out this week. They're from Shery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ' book, WEEKLY WRITES: 52 Weeks of Writing Bliss!, which contains over 365 writing activities, prompts and ideas to fill up your journal.

1. List at least 5 situations you hope you never have to find yourself in. Then write the courses of action you would take if you do find yourself in those situations. (Week 14 - Indecision)

2. What are some of the things you expect from yourself? List ten to fifteen of these expectations, pick one and then write about it for ten minutes. (Week 40 - Expectations)

3. Build a story from this weird or absurd news: "In an attempt to get a date, a man in Turin, Italy arranges at least 500 bump-and-stop car accidents with young female drivers." (Week 22 - Absurdities)

4. Create a superstitious society. Invent omens and superstitions and make these the driving forces behind the actions of the people in your society. (Week 38 - Warnings)

5. Someone you have never gotten along with for years suddenly steps up and says hello to you while you are walking in the park, shopping or having coffee. She strikes up a conversation as if the two of you are the best of friends. How would you react? (Week 15 - Reactions)

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Guest Post: Listen to Begin Writing

Brenda Ueland, author of If You Want to Write, said, "Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. When people really listen to each other in a quiet, fascinated attention, the creative fountain inside each of us begins to spring and cast up new thoughts and unexpected wisdom."

The most meaningful works -- books, paintings, sculptures, songs, crafts, a garden, anything -- are created by those who have learned the art of listening: listening to their hearts and to the hearts of others.

It is when we listen that the most extraordinary seeds grow and become tangible. They become a motivating book, an awe-inspiring painting, a formidable sculpture, a most melodious song, a bouquet of breathtaking blooms.

It is when we listen that we create tangible expressions of our compassion, understanding, love. It is when we listen that stories, poems or books begin percolating inside us.

And it is when we listen that the unexpected wisdom and insights joyously leap in front of us, giving meaning in all that we do, spotlighting on what we do and can do for others.

Below are 5 sparks inviting you to *listen* closely within yourself:

1. Think of a song that holds great meaning to you. Who or what makes that song meaningful?

2. Describe the sound that dominates your surrounding at the moment.

3. Recall one of your conversations with a close friend and write about one of the things he/she said that made you sit up, take notice and become enlightened.

4. When was the last time you listened to someone with your heart?

5. Who is that person you can always rely on to listen to you? Write about how important it is that you have him/her ready to listen to you at all times.

Copyright 2004 Shery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ

Shery created WriteSparks! - a software that generates over 10 *million* Story Sparkers for Writers. Download WriteSparks! Lite for fr*e -

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Will You Host an Exchange Student?

I know it's been a whole month since my last post. Sorry about that everyone. I'm still working on my novel and also still need to complete my workshop with James Patterson. I plan on doing that very soon and will share what I've learned about my writing during those sessions and just on my own.

I also will share about some of the books I've been reading. I've finished a few more over the past month; I just need to see if they fall under my 2016 reading challenge.

But on a whole different note, I'm on a mission. Yes, a mission to help bring exchange students to my area in Southern Utah...namely Washington County, Utah. This past school year I signed up to be a local coordinator, and I have enjoyed. My two students have taught me a lot, and I hope they have learned from me, their host families and new American friends. (I think they have.)

As this school year comes to an end, I find myself looking forward to the new school year (2016/17). I'm going to miss my students I currently have now when the school year ends. I, of course, also need to find new host families for my future students. March is one of those crazy months for me, but one I enjoy as I get to meet so many people, families, and students.

This upcoming year, I have three students coming who are from the following countries: Germany, Georgia, and Kazakhstan.

If you, or someone you know, would like to be one of the wonderful host families to take one of my students in, or if you would like to host a student and live somewhere else, please contact me through my email

You can learn more about being a host family at

Monday, February 8, 2016

What Keeps You from Writing? Is It Writer's Block? Or Is It Something Else?

In my most recent class with James Patterson, he addressed writer's block and the things keeping those who want to write from writing. I find I don't get writer's block, and even Patterson made the comment he is immune to it. Those who tend to get writer's block in my opinion (which isn't too far from Patterson's) focus on getting one thing completed and, therefore, find themselves stressing about what isn't happening instead of moving on to something else. For example: focusing on writing an individual chapter, scene, character sketch, blog post, book blurb.

The problem is most writers don't move on and come back to whatever it was holding them up. Instead, they stare at the black screen, page or whatever hoping the words will come. If you can't relax the mind, how can your muse honestly come forward? It can't. So move on. Write something else, go for a walk, get some chores done around the house, call a friend, get something to eat or drink. The point is you need to get your mind off what you are stressing over, so it is able to relax and free itself to be creative. Patterson almost said the same thing, and he should know.

After the lesson, Patterson challenged us to spend no more than 30 minutes writing everything we did the day before and then look it over to see what was keeping us from writing. I found this exercise interesting because as I said...I don't get writer's block, but I do get distracted...a lot.

Here is my list I wrote out. I'll let you decided why finding time to write isn't always easy in my daily life and why it lead to me writing not only this blog post but starting this blog to begin with.

1. Woke at 7am, started a load of laundry
2. Woke kids up to get ready for school, made breakfast
3. Helped get the kids ready and out the door for school, read the news
4. Get 5-year-old daughter breakfast and social media posting for WOI (8am)
5. Spend an hour doing school review with 5-year-old and work (9am)
6. Read take home book with 5-year-old daughter
7. Get daughter in bath and help get her get ready for kindergarten (10am)
8. Have lunch before school (11am)
9. check emails and reply
10. Get showered to take daughter to school (11:30am)
11. Walk daughter to kindergarten (12 noon)
12. Put laundry away and return calls
13. Post media release for WOI and clients (1pm)
14. Review DSU writing class presentation (2pm)
15. Eat something for lunch
16. Social media posts for WOI
17. check emails and reply
18. fill out paperwork for Foreign Links Around the Globe (student exchange support)
19. Pick up kids from school (3:15 - 3:30pm)
20. Spend time with kids
21. write (4pm)
22. Exercise (5pm)
23. eat dinner with family (6pm)
24. Finish workout cool down, shower
25. spend time with family (7pm)
26. Finish up work for clients (8pm)
27. Put kids to bed (9pm)
28. read
29. plan next day To Do list
30. spend time with hubby (10pm)
31. go to bed (11pm)

I'm sure there were some little things I forgot or didn't add like using the restroom.

When I looked this list over, I thought was how can I really get more writing time in. Sure, I could let the housework go, but then I'd just stress about a messy house and get nothing done. I know that sounds funny, but my mood is dependent on how clean my house is. I'm nuts I know. I can't actually cut out time with my kids, family and hubby. I need to eat and workout to burn the calories from sitting and writing or whatever else I do while sitting at my desk. I have to work on my commitments so there you go; my day is full of busy work with little time for writing.

Patterson talked about waking up at 5am to get in those two hours to write every day before he was able to be home all day and write. And that my friends are the realities of being a writer. Until you can support yourself off your writing or your kids are in school full time, you have to learn how to carve out time to write. I use a timer for each thing I do so I make sure I get at least an hour a day to write.

Next year, I'll have more time as all my kids will be in school full time giving me six glorious hours to balance my writing with my life.

Okay, now it's your turn!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

2016 Reading Challenge: Week 4 - Finshed my 1st book on the list

I'm happy to say that I finally finished the one book holding me up from starting this challenge and "Honeymoon" by James Patterson as my first book from the list (suggested book to read by friends, spouse, etc).

Okay, so I guess I should give some feedback on the book I just finished reading...right? Well, this was an easy read, and if I had carved out some time one weekend, I might have been able to finish this novel in one day. It's a fast moving storyline and one I enjoyed reading not only as a reader but also with an author ear.

What do I mean by this? "Honeymoon" breaks the POV rule we are heard when it comes to writing as a first-time or even as a seasoned author. I was surprised to find both 1st person and 3rd person point of view alternately throughout the book. Kid you not. It was well done, and the transition between the two different POV's was smoothly done. A true master.

What I liked about the book was getting into the both the protagonist and antagonist's head. You felt for both characters and honestly felt they traded spots on who was evil and who was good throughout the story.

As always, Patterson delivers some twists and when you think you know how the book is going to end, he, of course, reverses direction and WHAM you get hit from the side with a totally different outcome.

Now, to pick my next book from the list. I'm going to choose a book I can read in one day. Not sure which one that will be yet, but I guess it will be in the middle grade or YA genre.

Leave a  comment and let me know how you are doing with your reading challenge.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Is Research Really Important in Fiction Writing?

In a lot of the writing groups and conferences I've been to the topic of research has come up from time to time. There are many different opinions on the subject, and many will tell you research is only necessary when you are writing about something you know very little to nothing about. But is this really the case and if it is, does your writing suffer from not doing research all the time?

After writing many short stories and picture books for young readers, my opinion on doing research might be very different from yours. I have always felt research is critical no matter how much I know or don't know about a certain subject. There is always something I learn each time, even on topics I know a lot about as things are always changing, and changing fast sometimes these days. However, I thought I was just one of the weird writers out there feeling this way until I took a research workshop with James Patterson, who had this to say about research.

"Research really helps your confidence." —James Patterson

He also talked about how it can enhance your writing, even on subjects you may know a lot about. I was surprised to find out Mr. Patterson never writes any of his books without doing research, long before sitting down to write, on everything from locations to types of characters (i.e. Police Officer, School Teacher, etc.)

I tend to do a lot of job shadows, character interviews and even have gone to high schools, shadowing the students and getting ideas of how my teen characters will behave. I find my characters are more authentic because I take the extra time to do this every time I set out to write a new story. Just doing research once with a police officer for one book doesn't mean you shouldn't interview an officer, sergeant or captain of a police department the next time. You should because interviewing a different person or someone who holds a different title will give you more insight to what you are writing about the second time around. Unless, you're writing book two of your series. In this case, you would want to interview the same perons again or get their feed back on what you are writing.

Research should also be done for locations as well. I"m working on a book currently based in my old hometown of AppleValley. I lived there for a number of years, but there are things I may not remember or may have changed since living there I might want to know about now for my book. Also, walking the streets and visiting old hang outs brings back memories and ideas I can use in my book, too.

The point is research is important no matter what you are writing about and should always be done before you start working on drafts of your manuscript if you want top notch writing. After leaving Jame Patterson's workshop I felt good about the path I was on as a writer and even better about now hving more imput and focus on how to keep moving in a postive way with my writing. Even though I was doing much of what he talked about, I also learned new ways or reevlauated how I was doing things. I feel my writing will benefit from his adavace and I find myself looking forward to sitting down and working on my book ideas with a better attitude and as he said with more confendance.

Still not sure you need to to research before you set out to write..then read this article

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

2016 Reading Challenge: Week 1 Still Not Started - Can I add one to the list?

Here is my weekly report on my 2016 Reading Challenge. I'd love to say I'm on track and reading up a storm, but this would only be sort of correct. I have been reading, but not the book I said I would be starting with...Honeymoon by James Patterson.

Currently, I'm trying to finish up a book I started in 2015 but don't read every chance I get. I wonder if I could somehow include this on my list of books to read in 2016? How about read a book you didn't finish in the pervious year (2015)? That works, right?

Anyway, I'm planning on finishing up this book and jumping into the reading challenge by this coming week. That's the goal and I'll be sure to update you this time next week on how I did.

Let me know how you're doing with this reading challenge or just share some great books you think I might enjoy reading. If they don't fit into my list of books to read for 2016, I'll see if I can come up with a new category for it on the list.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Special World Of Ink - Guest Gerard de Marigny is back!

Join Marsha Casper Cook  and Virginia Grenier on January 12 at 4 pm EST 3PM CST 2PM MT 1PM PST when they welcome back Gerard de Marigny. Gerard is the author of the best- selling thriller and adventure series about CRIS DE NIRO.  He has been on the rise since he began his writing career and continues to entertain his fans with new exciting work. He will be discussing writing, publishing and how he comes up with great ideas and terrific stories. If you haven't heard him talk about his career listen in for a fabulous show.

Live or on demand - to talk to Gerard  call - 714-242-5259

For more info about the show - and advertising on the show

For more info about Gerard

Listen to the show at BTR's World of Ink Network

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Raw Ideas

James Patterson said, "Once you have your original plot condensed, call a friend and share the pitch. Pause for a moment and see if they ask for more. If they do, you might be onto something."

Raw ideas may come to you all the time. I know I come across new ideas all the time and daily sometimes. However, not all those raw ideas are worth turning into stories and this is why it is important to take those ideas and work them into a plot or as James Patterson suggests, "Use your favorite raw idea and write a plot down in 3 to 5 concise sentences." This sounds a bit easier than it is and so I'm here to share two of my raw ideas written down into a 3 to 5 concise sentence plot. Let me know what you think and if you're brave, I'd love for you to share a raw idea written down into a 3 to 5 concise sentence plot.

Raw Idea #1
Coming of age, paranormal, mystery about a young girl, Kayla, who starts seeing things after the stabbing of her best friend during a house party in the high desert of California. At first, Kayla doesn't believe her best friend is indeed dead and later finds her close circle of friends know more about what happened then they want to let anyone else think. Kayla starts to feel she is losing her mind and her friends only help to push Kayla over the edge until she discovers the truth of how her best friend died and finds herself in danger with no one to trust but a new kid she hardly knows and who happens to be the son of local law enforcement.

Raw Idea #2
A young girl visits her grandmother who is on her deathbed. The grandmother gives the young girl a battered leather journal, which looks used and has some pages sealed or stuck together. Unsure why her grandmother gave her the journal, the young girl finds herself soon ripped from her life and in a Central California beach town. Feeling out of place, alone and depressed as the only person she ever really could talk to has passed away (her grandmother), the young girl starts to discover family secrets that put her life in danger.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

2016 Reading Challenge

Along with working on my manuscripts and my writing classes, I'm going to take on this reading challenge as reading more than you write is something my all time favorite author Stephen King talks about. So here is the list and I hope some of you join me in this challenge.

I can't say I'll do these in order, but I will post my progress every Wednesday. To start, I'll read a book chosen for me through my writing course with James Patterson. With that said, I'll be reading "Honeymoon" by James Patterson.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Where Do Ideas Really Come From?

There are many different methods to get and collect ideas. Every writer has their way of coming up with ideas, but where do these ideas come from? James Patterson says, "The more you know about, the more likely you are to combine things to make an idea that’s striking."

I found this to be a fascinating thought as many of my ideas come from my life as I have moved more times than my age. I have experienced many things for only being 40 years old. Yep, I just told you how old I am. However, my ideas don't only come from my experiences in life. I also talk to and ask questions of loved ones, family members, friends, etc.

For example, my first published short story was inspired by my dad's childhood. I took three different stories from his youth to write the short story "Flying Upside Down" for the former Fandangle Magazine (see below), which was later republished in Stories for Children Magazine.

Story ideas can come from other sources too like a writing prompt or a simple thought. The point is no one knows where ideas come from as they are all around us in many different forms. What a writer needs to understand and what I think James Patterson means is we need to view the world around us at all times. If we truly want to write then we need to keep the blinder off and expose ourselves to everything happening around us so we can let the great ideas truly find us.

Teresa M. Amabile, a creativity expert, argues that creativity is not a quality of a person. Rather, it is a quality of ideas, behaviors or products. I believe this is true and why it is important for us to walk around with our blinders off and our minds open to experience the wonders.

One of the best writing tips I have heard in a conference talk was directed at those who wanted to write picture books. I don't remember who the speaker was, but I do remember this one thought the speaker threw out to us. "When you sit down to write a picture book, get down on the floor like a small child and view the world from the ground up. Make sure to taste the paper and smell the pencil, too. Why? Becuase this is what a young child would do. Children (babies) experience life through touch, smell and taste. They also see and hear too."

Sometimes as writers (if you are not writing for young children) we forget the importance of our sense and the role they play in our lives and in our creativity. When I sit down to write I always keep what this speaker said in mind no matter what I'm writing  because it helps keep me self-aware. We should experience our lives the same way and be open to try something new, too.

It's also important to record your ideas and experiences. I use journals. Others use a crisp notebook, a Microsoft Word or Google Drive Document, or a 3x5 card file. In the course I'm taking by James Patterson, he uses a simple file folder. He says, "Having a dedicated place for your working ideas is crucial for collating and finding themes or plot lines to begin researching." I couldn't agree more.

Next week I'll share some of my Raw Ideas and I hope you'll share some of yours too.