Category Archives: Theresa Milstein

Theresa Milstein: Lessons from Lenny Lee

From: Theresa’s Tales of Teaching Tribulations and Typing Teen Texts
http://theresamilstein.blogspot.com/2012/10/lessons-from-lenny-lee.html
October 20, 2012 at 07:16AM

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“It is less painful to learn in youth
than to be ignorant in age”


Proverb
As a children’s writer, I believe youth have more to
teach me than I could ever hope to teach them. While I pull from past
experiences and feelings in my writing, my everyday life is consumed by adult
worries, joys, and obligations.
Most of my on-line writer friends are adults.  Lenny Lee was the first child to follow
my blog.  I’ve learned much from
the few years I’ve known him.

Lessons from Lenny Lee
1.    Don’t let age stop you.
I think back to my youth. It never would’ve occurred to me
to contact an author I admired, let alone start collaborations with other
writers.  And since the Internet
didn’t exist when I was his age (man, I’m old), writers weren’t as accessible
as we are now.  Lenny Lee not only
writes, but critiques other writers’ manuscripts. He’s part of the writing
community! 
2.    If you want to do it well, learn it.
While I breathed books and liked to write, when I was his
age, it also never occurred to me I could be a writer.  I thought people were just brilliant at
it. If not, then I had no right to pursue it.  Didn’t know there was a whole craft to learn for everyone.  See, he’s smarter than me.  He actually finds out how this whole
writing thing works. And does it!
3.    Use your knowledge to give advice to other
writers.
Clearly, I didn’t have a blog when I was his age (since the
Internet hadn’t even been invented). When I started a blog 3 years ago, I
didn’t think I had much writing advice to offer the world. Lenny not only
learns about the craft of writing, but also shares his wisdom with others. He
has written excellent posts on writing. I’ve learned from reading his
blog. 
4.    Be positive.
I don’t want to admit how often I feel sorry for myself.
Actually, read the archives, and you can find out.  I’m sure Lenny Lee has down days too, but his blog is all
advice and encouragement. 
5.    Have your own unique voice.
It took me YEARS to figure out how to find my voice as a
writer.  Read Lenny Lee’s blog and
it’s all VOICE.  His personality
shines on his blog.  I bet it’s the
same for his fiction.
I can no longer call Lenny Lee a child.  
He’s turning 13 TODAY!  
Please visit this teen’s  BLOG

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 and wish
him a very  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

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Happy Birthday, Lenny Lee!

May you have many, many more.
It’s great seeing you grow.
xo
Love,
Miss Theresa
“Through our great good fortune, in our youth our hearts
were touched with fire.  It was
given to us to learn at the outset that life is a profound and passionate
thing.”
– Oliver Wendell Holmes

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Theresa Milstein: Writer Wednesday

From: Theresa’s Tales of Teaching Tribulations and Typing Teen Texts
http://theresamilstein.blogspot.com/2012/10/writer-wednesday.html
October 17, 2012 at 06:11AM

I’m over at

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today.

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Theresa Milstein: Mental Stamina

From: Theresa’s Tales of Teaching Tribulations and Typing Teen Texts
http://theresamilstein.blogspot.com/2012/10/mental-stamina.html
October 08, 2012 at 08:06AM

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I’m on
talking about the mental stamina
it takes to be a writer. 

Theresa Milstein: Talking Toddlers and Tiaras

From: Theresa’s Tales of Teaching Tribulations and Typing Teen Texts
http://theresamilstein.blogspot.com/2012/10/talking-toddlers-and-tiaras.html
October 01, 2012 at 06:21AM

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talking Toddlers and Tiaras.

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Theresa Milstein: My Moment

From: Theresa’s Tales of Teaching Tribulations and Typing Teen Texts
http://theresamilstein.blogspot.com/2012/09/my-moment.html
September 28, 2012 at 07:52PM

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From
vaudeville to opera, piano bar and street corner, hotel suite and beauty
pageant, From Stage Door Shadows is a backstage pass to where dreams of fame,
fortune and fulfillment live and die in a heartbeat.
– Description of From Stage
Door Shadows
(My
piece “My Moment” is the one about beauty pageants gone wrong(er)!)
I’m proud to announce the release of From Stage Door Shadows.  Information about the writers’
parameters/inspiration for the stories is below:
Twenty-six authors trade Tiny Dancer’s California-blessed lyrics
for the shadowed recesses of stages large and small in From Stage Door Shadows,
a speculative fiction homage to the darkness just beyond the limelight of the
entertainment industry.
The
stories re-introduce the women Benny Taupin wrote about and Elton John sang
about: blue jean baby, LA lady, the band’s seamstress, the music man’s wife and
the girl dancing in the sand, along with a stellar cast of musicians, singers,
thespians, fans, managers, dancers, DJs, magicians, talent show contestants,
stars and has-beens.
My line from Tiny Dancer
was “Looking on she sings the songs”. 

But there’s more.  Free
stories for a limited time!
Click this link!
Beginning Saturday morning at 9am (in
Australia, which means it has already started in the US and UK!) we’ll roll out
all 25 stories for free, for 48 hours, as part of our continued commitment to
provide stories at multiple price points. If you stop in to read, please leave
the authors a comment.

Want to add it to
your list?
Purchase
info!
The anthology retails for $19.99, except at The
Book Depository, which is listing the book for $12.97
On the emergent site, the book is $19.99 and the ebook
formats are $4.95. 

Here’s information on
my mini-blog tour:
10/01 –  Chandara Writes Blog

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Inspiration Part I for
“My Moment”

The mental stamina of
the writer
10/17 –    JC Martin’s Blog
Interview!
Blog swap! 
I’ll interview about
her short story in
From Stage Door Shadows here, while I’ll tackle the question “What the heck is speculative
fiction?” on her blog.
Another Blog Swap!
Jessica Bell will  guest post on her blog regarding her
short story in
From Stage Door Shadows,
while I’ll guest post about Inspiration Part II for “My Moment” on her
blog.  Because it’s Halloween, I’ll
tackle the dark side of my story. 

Thanks for visiting!
xo

Theresa Milstein: Off Track

From: Theresa’s Tales of Teaching Tribulations and Typing Teen Texts
http://theresamilstein.blogspot.com/2012/09/off-track_22.html
September 22, 2012 at 09:30PM

View from a field near my new home.
“Even if you are on the right track—you will get run over if you just sit there.”
– Will Rogers

Happy Autumn.
       Lately, I’ve been feeling like my blog has been captured by promotion.  And that is because it has.  Part of the reason is that good friends have published books.  Another part is that more people are self-publishing, so more books are being published.  And the last part is I have a short story coming out in an anthology, so I’m even going to be promoting my own stuff.
My blog has gotten off track. 
       I began blogging 3 years ago with the mission to chronicle my living hell life as a substitute teacher.  Some of the posts were funny or some poor attempt thereof. Some were poignant.  If I really nailed it, the pieces were both. 

       But I didn’t write just about teaching, but also writing and sometimes snippets of my personal life.  Here and there, I might do a book review or promote someone’s work, but those were exceptions.  Then I began working full time in 2010, and blogged less.  Those once-a-week slots filled up with more and more “other”. 

       While my blog has changed, this summer was (mostly) typical. I spent it visiting family, enjoying my kids, taking my kids to camp, setting up our new house, exploring our new town, applying for jobs, and writing and submitting.  The biggest change, besides the new house, was getting the dog. 


Oh, and my husband and his dad parachuted from a plane:

       Nearly everyday these few months, I wrote nearly everyday.  I wanted to achieve more than I did, but I did pretty well.  I started a middle grade novel (I’m over 10k into it) and started overhauling on an old middle grade novel (I’m more than halfway through it).  I also edited my last YA a bunch of times.  It’s with a reader now, so I won’t do anything with it until I receive feedback.

My teaching life is kind of like my writing life: lots of stuff goes out, but they don’t lead to lots of “YES” replies.  But I did have a poem in the July issue of Vine Leaves and my vignette from their April issue, “Left Behind”, will be included in their Best of Vine Leaves paperback on December. 
      Now I’m back at work. My aide job this year is more challenging.  I’m working with an autistic child who has a hard time following the routine.  This student needs so much support just to switch tasks, which is a new experience for me.  While I’m fond of the student and am working hard to help the child thrive, it feels far removed from what I envisioned my role as an educator to be. 
       My kids are coping with switching schools in our new town.  My son went from a tiny school to a huge one.  After several scheduling problems, which added to feeling overwhelmed, he’s getting along better.  He’s also kept in touch with old friends, which helps.  My daughter had an easier start since this summer she made a neighborhood friend who’s in her class.  But it takes time to build friendships, so it’s still a transition for her too.  It’s hard to watch them struggle. 
       Even with work, the house, and the kid’s after school activities, I’m determined to keep writing manuscripts and submit short stories. A piece I wrote last summer,  “My Moment”, is coming out in the From Stage Door Shadows anthology on 09/29, so I’ve set up a mini blog tour.  I’ve gone through trouble to make sure when I link to guest posts, they’re not just there to say, “BUY MY BOOK.”  The crowd of publication-pushers has become so large, we’re all feeling fatigued.  But I’m proud of the story and if I have a piece in a book, I think I owe it to the publishers to get the word out. 
       I’m going to try to wrestle my blog back to its roots.  Not subbing which would kill me, but less promotion and more about my struggles and your struggles.  Like when I began this blog, I’m still trying to not get derailed by what’s not working in my life, but holding on to the small successes.  I think I can, I think I can.

 This is my cat when we were packing to move.

What were your challenges and successes this summer?




Theresa Milstein: Writing a Series

From: Theresa’s Tales of Teaching Tribulations and Typing Teen Texts
http://theresamilstein.blogspot.com/2012/09/writing-series.html
September 18, 2012 at 05:41AM

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Aubrie Dionne (author
of
Haven) has hijacked my blog to offer advice about writing a series.
What I
learned from writing a series.
1.        Have the series arc planned before you start. I didn’t. I
wrote Paradise 21 with reckless abandon and no idea if it would be a stand
alone, a novella, a short story, or a novel. When I finished it, I knew more of
the story had to be told, so I started writing other books. BUT, and this is a
big but, it would have saved me time if I knew where I wanted the series to go.
I spent countless hours thinking about this before writing Haven 6. I needed to
tie in all the books and make the series arc epic, and it was hard- let me tell
you. Next time, I’m writing the series arc BEFORE I start that first book. Even
if it’s just a general direction or idea.

2.         Don’t include species or characters that you don’t like
enough to keep around for two more books. I learned this the hard way,
too.  In Paradise 21, I hatched a whole new race of flying bird
creatures at the end thinking I’d never have to develop that thread. But, in
Haven 6, I’m using the same planet hundreds of years later, so I had to come up
with an evolved culture from those hatched on the planet in the first book.
They weren’t my favorite race-I wrote them mainly to contrast with the reckless
people on Old Earth-, so it took some thinking to figure out how to make them
interesting in the flesh. 

3.        Stay consistent. If they
refer to Earth as Old Earth in the first book, then it’s Old Earth for the next
300,000 words if you know what I mean. Make sure you know your word building
and keep to it. I was constantly going back to the first book to make sure
everything was called the same thing. Keep a list!

4.        Make sure the time
line works. One of my CP’s pointed out that the arrival of the last ship was
too early. They needed time for Aries to fly to Sahara 354, meet Striker, then
find the wormhole to Refuge (otherwise known as Haven 6 to the people of the Heritage.) This particular colony ship
set out at the same time as Aries’s ship, but it should take them longer to get
to Haven 6 because they didn’t have the same wormhole Striker had found. When I
think about it for too long, my head hurts.
Thanks again!
Aubrie Dionne
Romantic Science Fiction and Fantasy
Get Swept Away to Other Worlds…
http://www.authoraubrie.com
http://authoraubrie.blogspot.com
Want to win this cool prize?



  

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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book blurb:
A product of an illegal pairing, Eridani is the only woman
without a lifemate aboard the colonization ship, the Heritage, and she is
determined her less than perfect DNA will not get in the way of finding love.
As the ship nears it’s final destination of Haven 6 after five hundred years of
travel, images of the surface show evidence of intelligent life on a planet
that’s supposed to be uninhabited. Commander Grier assigns Eri to the
exploratory team to spy on the alien society and return with information on how
to defeat them.

When Eri’s team lands, tribes of humans attack and Eri is saved by Striver, the
descendant of a colonist and a pirate from Old Earth’s colonization efforts in
other parts of the galaxy. Striver helps Eri rescue her team and they are drawn
to each other despite their different allegiances. While Striver battles with
trusting Eri, Eri must decide whether to warn him and his people about the
commander’s intentions, or follow orders and complete her mission.

Theresa Milstein: Identity Crisis

From: Theresa’s Tales of Teaching Tribulations and Typing Teen Texts
http://theresamilstein.blogspot.com/2012/09/identity-crisis.html
September 15, 2012 at 07:40AM

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When Sophia L. Stone asked me to interview her about
her crisis of faith, I was curious about what she had to say. I had my own
questioning of religion.
  When I
was younger, I converted from Catholicism to Judaism.
 But my decision didn’t impact my
relationships with family members, friends, or writers.
  I knew that Ms. Stone’s experience was
more contentious.
 




Here’s a review of the book:
Brought up in a religious
home, Sophia believes the only way to have a forever family is by following
church leaders and obediently choosing the right. She goes to the right school,
marries the right man in the right place, and does the right thing by staying
home to raise her children. But when she starts asking questions about grace,
love, and the nature of God, she realizes her spiritual struggles could rip her
family apart. “This book is an incredibly honest portrayal of one person’s
struggle to find God.” ~Pastor John Bradford




How do you build relationships
with people who think you are broken?
Oh, man, I wish I knew. Honestly,
it depends on how important their Mormonism is to their identity. Those who are
capable of accepting my brokenness without trying to fix it are much easier to have
relationships with than those who work extra hard to fix me.

How has writing about your
struggles helped you?
There’s a saying that writing is
cheaper than therapy, and I can attest to that. There’s no time limit on how
long I can type away on my keyboard when I’m having a bad day. I don’t have to
worry about the paper judging me. Plus, it’s helped me to put things in
perspective. 
How did your falling away from
Mormonism affect your view of the religion?
Hmm, well, when I believed in
Mormonism with my whole heart, I rationalized away any issues I had by saying
members were human and made mistakes. I believed The Church was as close to
being a perfect institution as anyone was likely to find. God had made it. He
had ordered it. Who was I to question what He had formed?
Now I see all kinds of problems
with the institution. Not with the hearts of members or leaders (who I believe
are honest people acting on faith) but rather with group think. It shuts down a
lot of voices that threaten the status quo. There’s not much tolerance for free
speech where church policy and doctrine are concerned. Speaking against the
leadership is taboo, and there are lots of unwritten rules about not exposing
the flaws of the organization to the outside world. It’s a lot like a
dysfunctional family that way. Loyalty to the church trumps personal
spirituality.  
What kinds of reactions have you had from your
Mormon author friends?
This has been similar to my
family response—lots of condemnation, lots of avoidance, lots of judgment, and
lots of gratitude. Yes, I know, it seems odd that I’d hear gratitude from LDS
author friends who are faithful in the church. But apparently there are people
who struggle in silence, unable to tell a soul how they feel without losing those
most dear to them. That’s the reason the Disaffected Mormon Underground (DAMU)
exists. It fills a palpable need.





Who should read your book?
Anyone who wants to better
understand how religions indoctrinate children, how they can unite and separate
families, how they can bring peace and turmoil at the same time. Anyone who
wants a more personal understanding of how it feels to grow up in a legalistic
religion that values trust and obedience more highly than free thought, or
anyone who wants to understand Mormonism.
Please don’t misread that to mean
my book is factually perfect. It’s not. It is based on my experience, and
everyone’s reality is different. But I stand by my claim that people who leave
Mormonism are often in an isolating place. It’s hard for an orthodox believer
to understand why anyone would leave. It’s hard for those who’ve never been in
a fundamentalist religion to understand why leaving one is such a big deal. To
both these groups, I’d say, “Please read this!” Understanding is vital.


The book
is available as both an ebook and paperback:

Theresa Milstein: Generous Giveaway!

From: Theresa’s Tales of Teaching Tribulations and Typing Teen Texts
http://theresamilstein.blogspot.com/2012/09/generous-giveaway.html
September 10, 2012 at 07:44AM

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at 
has an agent. 
YaY!
To celebrate, she’s doing a generous giveaway!  There were so many donated prizes that
she set up 3 giveaway categories. 

As part of the giveaway, I’ve donated a copy of the
anthology From Stage Door Shadows,
which will feature a short story I wrote, “My Moment”.

Enter to win until 09/27 and spread the word.  Winners will be announced on
09/28. 

Good luck!  


Theresa Milstein: Recaptured Dreams

From: Theresa’s Tales of Teaching Tribulations and Typing Teen Texts
http://theresamilstein.blogspot.com/2012/09/recaptured-dreams.html
September 04, 2012 at 06:06AM

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Justine is releasing a book on September 18th.  She wants to get the word out early and
has great giveaway opportunities for a copy of her ebook and more.  Read on: 




Blurb:

Ten years, the Atlantic Ocean, and several rungs in society
have kept Xavier Cain from having Sophia Montel. Now twenty-seven, he’s spent
his entire adult life building a fashion empire that could finally prove his
worth to her family. When fate reunites him with Sophia at London’s premiere
fashion show, one problem lodges in Xavier’s path: Sophia doesn’t remember him.

The only obstacle that has kept Sophia from Xavier is a horrific car crash that
erased her memory at seventeen. She’s spent the last ten years fighting to
reclaim a sliver of her past that her mother refuses to help her remember. When
Sophia meets Xavier at the London show, however, all her fantasies come to life
in one night of passion. Discovering he is the missing link, she is determined
to find all the pieces to their love story and her memory.

Xavier wants forever. Sophia wants her memory. If they take this chance,
they’ll have to start over. How far are they willing to go get what they want?
And when the past catches up to them, can they handle the truths it has hidden?

The book is currently available for preorder on Barnes and
Noble, but you won’t find it on Amazon or Omnific until Sept. 18th.






Contact Justine by email: dell.justine@gmail.com

Recaptured Dreams on Goodreads.
Recaptured Dreams on Facebook.
Friend me on Facebook
Check out her Blog.
Find her on Twitter.
Find Recaptured Dreams on Goodreads Profile

And don’t forget to check out Omnific Publishing. Romance … without
the rules.

Here’s
the link to the trailer:



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Message
from Justine:


One thing all of you need to
remember is that I’m going to give a copy of the ebook at EACH blog stop! If
someone leaves a comment on your blog, they are entered. At the end of every
day I’ll do the random number generator thing and pick a winner from your blog.
I’ll need the winning blogger’s email address and all the prizes will be sent
out at the end of the month. On top of that, I’ll be hosting a contest on my
blog for the entire month (remember to link back to it!). I’m going to give
away a signed copy of the book, several other new releases, bookmarks, cool,
random stuff, and gift cards! ALL OF YOU can enter that contest. It will work
just like the others…all you have to do is a leave comment and the winner
will be choosen at the end of the month once all the blog stops have been made.
😉



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Link
to win more prizes:

http://justine-dell.blogspot.com/2012/09/epic-book-release-blog-tour-giveaway.html

Theresa Milstein: Susan and Superstitions

From: Theresa’s Tales of Teaching Tribulations and Typing Teen Texts
http://theresamilstein.blogspot.com/2012/08/susan-and-superstitions.html
August 29, 2012 at 08:31AM

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Susan Oloier is a mother of two children—one with special
needs.  Yet she found time to
critique my manuscript and help me with a school project.  And she writes. A lot.  Now Susan has published her third book—her
first YA.
Here’s the blurb:

Ellie’s mother walked out on her a few years
ago, and she refuses to believe her mom won’t come back. To make matters worse,
her dad is marrying another woman and her best friend Kyle dumped her for
cheerleader Tiffany Sheldon. But when Ellie meets quirky Alexander and learns
about his map, his quest, and his background, she finally discovers a way to
heal.
  

Sounds good, right?

Pretty.

Available in ebook at Amazon and Smashwords for $3.99

Also available in paperback through Create Space

Theresa Milstein: Olympics and Oracle

From: Theresa’s Tales of Teaching Tribulations and Typing Teen Texts
http://theresamilstein.blogspot.com/2012/08/olympics-and-oracle.html
August 24, 2012 at 07:08AM

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I’m excited for J.C.
Martin. We belong to the same on-line support group, and I watched her hustle
to find a publisher for this book, so it could be published in time for the
Olympics.  Then I cheered when she
received a contract from JT Publishing!


If you miss the Olympics
and like murder mysteries, read on:
Oracle
With
London gearing up to host the Olympics, the city doesn’t need a serial killer
stalking the streets, but they’ve got one anyway.

Leaving
a trail of brutal and bizarre murders, the police force is no closer to finding
the latest psychopath than Detective Inspector Kurt Lancer is in finding a
solution for his daughter’s disability.


Thrust
into the pressure cooker of a high profile case, the struggling single parent
is wound tight as he tries to balance care of his own family with the safety of
a growing population of potential victims.

One
of whom could be his own daughter.

Fingers
point in every direction as the public relations nightmare grows, and Lancer’s
only answer comes in the form of a single oak leaf left at each crime scene.



Purchase
Links: Amazon
US
| Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble
About
the Author



J.C.
Martin is a butt-kicking bookworm: when she isn’t reading or writing, she
teaches martial arts and self-defence to adults and children. 

After
working in pharmaceutical research, then in education as a schoolteacher, she
decided to put the following to good use: one, her 2nd degree black belt in
Wing Chun kung fu; and two, her overwhelming need to write dark mysteries and
gripping thrillers with a psychological slant. 
Her
short stories have won various prizes and have been published in several
anthologies. Oracle is her first novel.

Born
and raised in Malaysia, J.C. now lives in south London with her husband and
three dogs.


Contact:
Website
| Blog
| Twitter
| Facebook




Theresa Milstein: Fifty Shades of Grammar

From: Theresa’s Tales of Teaching Tribulations and Typing Teen Texts
http://theresamilstein.blogspot.com/2012/08/fifty-shades-of-grammar.html
August 17, 2012 at 10:13AM

Jenny Baranick has
great hair, 

and the best sense of humor.





Today, Jenny is here
to teach you a little about grammar:

Fifty Shades of
Grammar


I haven’t read Fifty
Shades of Grey
because why would I want to read about something that so
closely mirrors my own life? Gorgeous men buy me cars all the time. I just
signed like my fiftieth sex contract. And I am so sick of private helicopter
rides. But another reason I am boycotting the book is that I heard that upon
its release it was riddled with spelling and grammar errors. Apparently, the
publisher fixed them and re-released the book, but I hold grudges—especially
grammatical ones.


I scoured the Internet for examples of the errors, but I
couldn’t find any. So I decided to take quotes from Fifty Shades of Grey and make my own grammar errors. What’s wrong
with these excerpts?


1.    
You
have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your Prince.


A.     A lot should be one word.
B.     Prince should be lowercase, unless she
means that we can all find our own star of Purple
Rain
.
C.     Your should be you’re.

2.    
He
kisses me, forcing my lips a part with his tongue, taking no prisoners.


A.     A part should be apart.
B.     I
appreciate a passionate kiss, but a kiss that “tak[es] no prisoners” seems like
teeth would get chipped.
C.     The
first comma should be a semicolon.

3.    
 “The more you submit, the greater my joy
– its a very simple equation.”
“Okay, and what do I get out of this?”
He shrugs and looks almost apologetic.
“Me,” he says simply.


A.     Worst
deal ever!
B.    
Its should
be it’s.
C.    
The comma after me should be after the quotation marks.

4.    
My
subconscious is furious, medusa-like in her anger, hair flying, her hands
clenched around her face like Edvard Munchs Scream.


A.     The
titles of works of art are put in quotation marks, not italicized.
B.     Munchs needs an apostrophe.
C.     It’s
a bit much to include a Greek mythological character and Norwegian Symbolism
painter reference in the same sentence.
Good luck!



For
more fun, Missed Periods and Other Grammar Scares can be found at:








Visit
her BLOG

Theresa Milstein: Go for the Gold!

From: Theresa’s Tales of Teaching Tribulations and Typing Teen Texts
http://theresamilstein.blogspot.com/2012/08/go-for-gold.html
August 07, 2012 at 10:32PM

“We know that we’re competing in a dying sport.”
– Leshinda Demus
       I’ve been watching the Olympics nearly every night.  Sometimes I like the stories about
specific athletes, while other times I just want to see the events.  But one story made a light bulb go off
in my head.  I made a connection
between Olympic hopefuls and writers. While few of us writers can boast the
physical strength and killer-bodies of these athletes, we do have a few things
in common:


Inner-strength
Patience
No guarantees

         These athletes work most of their lives for the long shot of
winning gold—or at least a bronze medal. 
They put off normal jobs, salaries, and lives. 
        And what do they get if they win? How many wind up with
small compensation and a shiny medal to admire?  They know the odds. 
But many of them keep on going.
Isn’t that what’s in store for us? 
Competition is fierce.

We can toil for years and never “qualify” (unagented)*. 
We can qualify (agent), but not receive a medal (publishing
contract).
There might be rumors of steroid use (bad reviews) or false
starts (plagiarism).
We can receive a medal (publishing contract), but it’s only
bronze (small advance, which we don’t make back).
Receiving a silver medal (midlist author) isn’t too shabby.
But receiving GOLD (big advance, which we make back, and
appearing on the New York Times Bestseller List) is the ultimate achievement!
Then what?
Do they appear on CNN as commentators (radio/TV interviews)?
Do they get to be in commercials (film adaptation)?
Do their names get placed on products (character action
figures)?
Do they compete in the next Olympics (second book)?
Do they coach future Olympian-hopefuls (teach creative
writing at a local college)?
Bottom line: few talented people make a big living off their
talent.

Here’s my Olympian example for hard work with no guarantee
of payoff:

Leshinda Demus
This profile doesn’t tell you anything:
This is more revealing:
        When she was nine years old, she told her teacher she’d be
in the Olympics someday.  She still
holds the record for Hurdles at her high school.  She continued to run in college and won championships.
        Leshinda Demus qualified for the 2004 Olympics, but didn’t advance to
the final.
        She got pregnant.  She was upset she’d derailed her pregnancy and guilty she
felt derailed by her pregnancy. She had twins.  She
struggled to lose 50 lbs. She didn’t qualify for the 2008 Olympics. 
          She’s made a comeback since then, winning more
championships.  On 08/06, I watched
Leshinda as her four-year-old twin boys cheered her on in the stands.
Leshinda Demus qualified…
What drives her?
Will she succeed on 08/08?
What will she do next?
Writers, what keeps you writing against all odds? 
Keep going for the gold.


* And let’s acknowledge those families who sacrificed everything for the Olympic Hopeful (packaged mac ‘n cheese or takeout, dirty laundry…)

Theresa Milstein: Anticipation and Experience

From: Theresa’s Tales of Teaching Tribulations and Typing Teen Texts
http://theresamilstein.blogspot.com/2012/08/anticipation-and-experience.html
August 05, 2012 at 11:25PM

“A great source of calamity lies in regret and anticipation;
therefore a person is wise who thinks of the present alone, regardless of the
past or future.”
– Oliver Goldsmith
       My childhood was filled with negative dog experiences.  My maternal grandfather had a “crazy”
dog.  I remember hearing him,
sequestered in the basement, barking and scratching. My aunt had a French
poodle that jumped when people first came into the room.  Imagine 4-year-old me looking at a
large dog with its paws on my shoulders. 
When I was 6, a dog chased my friend and me down a driveway.  My friend was faster.  The dog bit my calf. 
But my paternal grandmother had a nice Beagle mix.
       My daughter LOVES dogs.  When she was 2-years-old and full of Shirley Temple curls,
she’d tell a giant golden retriever to sit in what she thought was a tough
voice.  It didn’t work.  If that same dog passed by and knocked
her down, she’d laugh.
Over the years, she begged for a dog. 
       I said, “I’d rather have another kid.  At least they’re potty trained after
2-3 years.”
       At some point my husband said, “Of course we’ll get a dog.”
I told him it would be harder than he thought and that my daughter would do
less than he believed. 
       The two of them broke me down. I agreed to get a dog once
we’d moved to a bigger place and she was 10.
We moved in June.
She turned 10 in July.
Damn…

I had a long dog wish
list:
Not too big
Not too energetic
Doesn’t drool
Doesn’t bark
Doesn’t lick
Doesn’t jump
Doesn’t shed
Needs little grooming
Has a BIG bladder

I knew dogs would be a mix of breed, temperament, and
training. 
But it’s hard for me to not control everything.
When I worried about owning an out-of control dog, my
husband reminded me that our kids weren’t out of control.  We’d have similar expectations.
I hoped he was right.
       We visited two shelters before we found a potentially right
dog for us.  He was a two-year-old
beagle that loved people.  We asked
to meet him.  We completed adoption
paperwork.  We were
interviewed.  Because of a
technicality we were told we couldn’t adopt him that day, so we might be better
off not meeting him.
My daughter still wanted to meet him.
I braced myself for her future tears. 
       He was sweet, scooting backwards to sit in laps.  We were told he was low on aggression (yay).  He’d also scored low on activity, which is rare for beagles.
We liked him.
But we couldn’t take him home.
       This was good for me. 
If I’d just been able to take him home, I would’ve had an anxiety
attack.  The situation made me (slightly)
regretful instead.
The employee saw how well we’d bonded that she was able to
figure out a solution.
       My daughter named him Milo, after the main character in The Phantom Tollbooth. We took the dog home.  My husband and I had the same
disembodied sensation we’d experienced when we took home our son from the
hospital after he was born. We’re in
charge now?!?  We don’t know what
we’re doing!
       The next few days were overwhelming for my husband and me,
but not because Milo was “bad”. Neither my husband nor I had ever owned a dog
before.  My daughter and I read
books to prepare. When I had a question, I’d scour the internet.  But it was an adjustment. 

       A week into owning Milo, we fell into a routine. My son had become a huge help. Our
poor cat was warming up. A little. I’d boasted how well things were going to a
group of people. They proceeded to explain to me how the dog was being good
because we were in a honeymoon stage. They warned there’d be exuberance and howling.
I freaked out inside.
It was like “veteran” mothers scaring pregnant women about
childbirth or how their kids won’t sleep through the night or behave in
restaurants.
       Afterwards, I told my husband we’d taken on too much, and
couldn’t back out now because our children would never forgive us and I wished
I could go back a year and say no to getting a dog and how this dog would be
our responsibility when the kids went to college and I missed my cat… 
We calmed down.
       The next week was our biggest challenge. My kids and I were
going away. My husband would be in charge of the dog all week.  He’d leave the dog all day while he
worked.
Would the dog destroy the house?
Would the dog hold his bladder?
Only time would
tell. 

I’m happy to report
nearly 3 weeks in, Milo is:
Not too big
Not too energetic
Doesn’t drool
Doesn’t bark
Doesn’t lick
Doesn’t Jumps rarely
Doesn’t shed
Needs little grooming
Has a BIG bladder
And the cat is back snuggling with us on the couch.

The dog has learned:
to sit
patience when the cat is eating
to stay off the couches… at least in our presence

I’ve learned a few
things too:
I need to relax to be a good pack leader.
When all four of us chip in, it’s not so much responsibility.
Walking dogs is good exercise.
Like with raising kids, keep expectations high.
And, as with almost everything, anticipation is worse than
experience.
Have you ever feared anything
that wasn’t as bad as you thought?

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