Category Archives: #WritingCommunity

SoCS – Hairpins

Linda G Hill at Life in Progress said, “Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “pin.” Use it as a noun, use it as a verb, use it any way you’d like. Have fun!”

Here are two of the seven rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing (typos can be fixed), and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

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I have medium-length hair most of my life except a few years when short hair was in style.

When I was in elementary school, my hair was at the shoulder length. I parted the hair on the left and pin up the front to the right. I looked at my childhood pictures and noticed the curled end because my hair has natural waves.

Some movies remind me of the hairstyles I once had. When I was a teenager, I looked like a young adult because of the hairdos. The following are the hairstyles I tried, not in a particular order.

I remember having the flicked-up style for my medium-length hair. I used large rollers to roll all around the end of the hair outward to create the flick-up. Since my hair has natural waves, I had the advantage to hold the flick-up all day.

I also had the beehive style. The beehive style is to make the hair have an exaggerated look, which involved scraping a small amount of hair at a time, then applied the hairspray all over before combing the outer layer to make it look like a beehive. Some ladies still wear that style if their hair is short and thin but want to make it look thick and full. With my medium-length thick hair, beehive style made me look like wearing a hat piece.

The bun hairstyle was fun to make, and I wore a single bun in the back near the top of my head. I first put up a ponytail, then divided up the hair into the top half and bottom half. For each half, I wrapped the hair around my finger and tugged the end inside toward the center, then pin the hair with hairpins to create a donut shape bun.

I liked the simple and clean look of the Pageboy style, but it had to maintain a certain length to keep the style.

I take pride in my thick, somewhat wavy, and long hair. The longest hair I had was at the midway between my shoulder and the waist. During the six months of chemotherapy for my cancer in 2009, I lost about 80% of the hair gradually. I know many people shave their heads, but I didn’t want to do that. When going out for a walk or go to meetings, I wore a hat. The hair was getting thinner and thinner, and I treasured every strand. At one point, my husband said I looked like a punk. There were a few strands longer than the rest. With great effort, I trimmed it to make the end look more even.

My daughter was coming from Portland, Oregon to visit me in the summer at the end of my chemo treatment. I didn’t want to shock her with my look. Every two months, I took the side view and the back view of my head showing the gradual loss of hair to prepare her visit.

It took two years for my hair to grow back to the length I wanted.

When I have my hair trimmed, usually I want to keep the length, but have it layered. Once I had a guy trimming my hair. Even after I described to him how I wanted it done, he kept trimming it and trimming it. When it was done, my hair was short. I was so mad. What made me more upset was when he said, “Short hair looks good for your age.” What a jerk!

I don’t want a guy to do my hair unless he also has long hair!

2019-2020 SoCS Badge by Shelley! https://www.quaintrevival.com/

Thank you for reading. Join us for fun by clicking this link.

Have a Wonderful Week!

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Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors 2021 – #Memoir D.G. Kaye, #Thriller Iain Kelly, #Poetry Miriam Hurdle

I’m over at Sally Cronin’s blog as she is updating the author’s details in her Cafe and Bookstore. Please head over to visit her and check out the fascinating features on her blog.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Over the summer I will be updating author’s details in the Cafe and Bookstore and also sharing their bios, books and recent reviews with you in this series…

Meet D.G. Kaye

Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.

D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.

When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily…

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Smorgasbord #Children’s Reading Room – Book #Review – Tina Lost in a Crowd by Miriam H. Hurdle

I’m excited that Sally Cronin features Tina Lost in a Crowd in her Children’s Reading Room with a fabulous review. Please head over to visit this post. While you’re there, browse around her other magazine features on nutrition, music, humor and a lot more.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Miriam Hurdlehas been on the shelves of the main Cafe and Bookstore for some years but now adds her new book Tina Lost in a Crowd to the shelves of the Children’s Reading Room.

About the book

Tina invited her friend Erica to attend a popular Tchaikovsky’s Spectacular concert on a summer evening with her parents. During the intermission, her dad left the seat to buy some snacks. Tina and Erica followed him wanting to use the restroom. The shoving crowd pushed them away, and they lost sight of him. It would be impossible to fight through the 18,000 people to find him or go back to Tina’s mom. What would the girls do?

This story tells about what happened to Tina and Erica after they got lost. Children can adapt to the learning from different situations they may observe or encounter. Adults could have discussions with the children…

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April Children’s Book Reviews @BookTrib

I became a member of the BookTrib Children’s Book Network beginning this year. Each month the members receive a “Booster Box” with several children’s books to read and share on the social media network. I received my first package of books in March, and read then posted reviews on Amazon and Twitter.

Where, Oh Where, Is Barnaby Bear? by Wendy Rouillard

This board book has beautiful and colorful illustrations. The bright and definite contrasting colors are appealing to the toddlers. The sentences are from three to ten words, easy for the little ones to follow along.

Barnaby’s friends were searching for him while he is on an adventure. They wonder if he is in a balloon or has flown to the moon, is he down by the sea, or has gone out to tea. At the end, they found him in his cozy bed with his sleepy head.

The toddlers would love the rhymes and would read along with the adults.

Amazon Twitter

The Colorless Chameleon | A Picture Book For Young Readers 4-8 | Can Chameleon Find Her Voice and Stand Up for What She Wants? | Kids Relate to Her Desire to be Heard and Understood by [Hayley Irvin, Rachel Bostick, Cassidy Reynolds, Samantha   Jo Phan]

The Colorless Chameleon by Hayley Irvin

Chameleon was a colorful lizard. She greeted her jungle friends with her vibrant colors. One day, the animals were preparing a party, her friends liked her colors and wanted to have them. The elephant took her blue before she agreed to it; the lemur took her red, and the crocodile took her yellow. Before long, she h.ad no colors left and no way to express herself. When her thoughtful friend flamingo asked how she was doing, she had no voice because her colors were gone with the colors. Flamingo asked if she were going to the party, she finally could shout, “No.” After they talked, Chameleon went to her friends who took her colors and asked them to return the colors to her. They were not happy about it but agreed to do so. Chameleon was her happy self again.

This hardcover book has beautiful illustrations with eye pleasing colors. It’s a delightful book for young children to read and learn to stand up for themselves.

Amazon Twitter

The Tale of Ferdinand Frog by [Mark Hughes]

The Tale of Ferdinand Frog by Mark Hughes

This book has three parts, The Problem, The Quest, and The Answer. The length and the word count of the book appear to be a chapter book.

The story is about Ferdinand Frog who was in love with Felicity Fogmore-Frog. Ferdinand’s friend, Wrinkleskin Rat, came to tell him that the evil snake, Samuel, wanted to win Felicity’s heart even though Felicity’s parents disliked Samuel the snake. Wrinkleskin Rat suggested seeing the wisdom and help from Osmiroid Owl. Two of them traveled miles deep into the wood and got frightened. They were rescued by Endroglen Eagle. They finally met Osmiroid Owl, who advised Ferdinand that with love, he could overcome the evil of the snake.

The text and the gorgeous illustrations are on the alternate pages. The lovely rhyming words read like poetry and song lyrics.

Amazon Twitter

Banana Fun Bread by [LEAR RIOJAS Illustrations by Chrissie Vales, Chrissie Vales]

Banana Fun Bread by LEAR RIOJAS Illustrations by Chrissie Vales

Banana Fun Bread is about a little boy, Fred chasing his imaginary banana bread everywhere. The rhyming words would appeal to little ones from baby to toddler. Sentences are easy for these kids to understand, such as:

“One loaf, two loaf, come back three, why do you run away from me?

Who, who, who are you? Don’t you know it’s too late for you?”

The illustrations are in pastel colors with cute expressions.

Amazon Twitter

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If you’re interested in receiving free children’s book, please check out the website BookTrib Children’s Book Network for more information.

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My First Children’s Book and Cover Reveal

I’m excited to announce that my debut children’s book Tina Lost in a Crowd will be published on April 15 and is available for preorder. The paperback will also be available. I’ll share with you the making of the book during the book release.

On Amazon, the eBook is $1.99 from preorder to the end of April. The paperback will be $6.95 from April 15th to the end of April.

The Hardcover and eBook will be available on Barns & Noble later.

I’m grateful for Bette A. Stevens, Pete Springer, Robbie Cheadle, and Denise Finn who were tremendously helpful in the process. They generously gave me detailed feedback and suggestions beyond my expectations.

The Book Release Tour will be from Monday, April 19 to Sunday, April 25. I’m thankful for the friends who will help to host the tour. I will post their links and invite you to visit the tour.

If you are interested in helping me to host a tour, please email me at mhurdle7@gmail.com, or comment below with your preferred date.

Here is the book cover of Tina Lost in a Crowd.

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Why I Write Children’s Book

My experience of writing the children’s books was when, at age 26, I worked in Hong Kong as the Director of Children’s Department at Asian Outreach, which was a Christian literature publication company. They recruited me to design and write children’s magazines for the third grade and higher students. I modeled after a well-established local children’s magazine and wrote stories with Christian values.

This was the process we went through to publish the children’s magazines:

  • I set the themes of each issue and wrote the stories, games, word puzzles, and riddles.
  • My boss, David who was the Director of Asian Outreach edited the contents.
  • I worked with the supervisor, Martin and the illustrator, Isaac in the Art Department on the illustration design. It was exciting to see the pages from sketches to the completed products. They were creative and artistic. On one story about the farm animals, they took the stuffed animals to a village area, used the village as the background to film the sequence of the story. I had fun going to the darkroom watching the photos being developed.
  • I worked with the typesetter who did the typesetting in Chinese.
  • Back in the late 1970s, there was no digital design. When the artists finished with the drawings, the typesetter would type according to dimension of space for the text and printed out the words. Isaac cut and pasted them to flow with the artworks. Then he took photograph of each page and sent the negatives to the print shop to ordered the “blueprint” which was the same size with multiple pages as the blue print for buildings.
  • When the blueprint came back, I proofread the text, the artists proofread the artworks, and the manager ordered the printing of the magazines.

It was exciting to see my first magazine in print coming back to our office. I published four children’s magazines before leaving the office to come to the US.

The experience of working at Asian Outreach was a great asset to my current publication of the children’s books.

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National Poetry Month 2021: I Am From – A Poem by Miriam Hurdle

April 2021 marks the 25th annual celebration of poets and poetry.

Launched by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996, National Poetry Month reminds the public that poets have an integral role to play in our culture and that poetry matters. Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world, with tens of millions of readers, students, K–12 teachers, librarians, booksellers, literary events curators, publishers, families, and, of course, poets, marking poetry’s important place in our lives.

Each April, the Academy offers activities, initiatives, and resources so that anyone can join in National Poetry Month online and at home. Please visit National Poetry Month for a list of activities.

In 2014, I joined the Poetry for Pleasure group, which is part of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute program for the retirees or age 50+ individuals.

The Poetry for Pleasure group meets once a week for two hours during the regular quarters and intersessions at the California State University, Fullerton. We study the lives of the poets, classic and contemporary, and their works. Members signed up to lead each session. The leader would share the introduction, then the members would take turned to share and read a poem by that poet. Besides studying the poets and their works, we study types or themes of poetry such as humorous poems, poems from a 4-legged point of view, or poetry about love, family, and seasons.

In the second hour of the meeting, members would read their own poems. One member had been in that group for many years prior to my attendance. She was 90 years old when I first met her. She still wrote new poems until early 2021 at 96+ years old when she died of Covid complication. I remember her citing poems she wrote at age 6. It was an inspiration to watch her coming to the poetry group every week reading poetry of her own and others.

The group publishes an Anthology once a year. Each member has a share of eight pages to publish their unpublished poems. The last section of the Anthology is a themed poetry contributed by anyone in the group. One year, the theme was I Am From. The poems could refer to an actual location or a mental, physical, and emotional state, or a family origin. Such as…

I am from Boston where…

I am from a family of seven…

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The following was my poem contributed to the anthology.

I Am From –

From a familiar land of Hong Kong, I came forty-some years ago –

to a land of the unknown in Portland, Oregon, following the rainbow.

From a dramatic scene of a skyscraper jungle crowded with people –

to a forest like of sky-reaching trees and behold the first snow.

From restaurants filled with muffled noises drowning my own voices –

to cafes so quiet I could hear the whispering and chewing of Époisses

From television, music, and chattering sounds saturated everywhere –

to air filled with crispy rubbing leaves and whooshing wind brushed my hair.

My surprising discovery was the intermittent tinnitus in my left ear –

which was masked by the environs from my discovery for many years.

The foreign land of the unknown now became my home.

Even when I traveled to places around the globe,

I long for coming back to my bed in my present home.

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I will post poetry related posts during this month including the poets and their works, selection of my published or new poems, and other poetry projects.

What would you write if you were writing a poem or a thought on I Am From…? I would love to hear from you!

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Meet Sue and Join The Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic

I’m happy to announce an exciting event in this blogging family. We gather around to cheer and support one of our own – Sue Vincent.

Sue is living in the south of England. She is a poet, a commissioned painter, an accomplished writer, and a director of the Silent Eye, a modern mystery School. She is a supper-supportive blogger at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo where she hosts the weekly #WritePhoto challenge and posts all the works from the participants, and writes #Midnighthaiku. She invites bloggers to guest post on her “Be My Guest.” Click any link to find more about Sue or participate in her #WritePhoto at https://scvincent.com/2021/01/28/thursday-photo-prompt-guarded-writephoto, or read her #midnighthaiku at https://scvincent.com/2021/01/29/gifts-midnighthaiku-5.

I love landscape painting and chose this as Sue’s sample paintings.

Oil on Canvas by Sue Vincent

Sue has been a caretaker of her son for 11+ years since he suffered from the traumatized attack. Besides the challenge, she was diagnosed with lung cancer. This is the time she would appreciate the support when she can’t run full speed because of the side effect and the exhaustion from the treatment, plus the impact from the Covid pandemic.

Carrot Rach has created a Rodeo Classic to orchestrate the support event. It calls for a 99-words flash fiction contest. To take part, you write a flash fiction story of 99 words or a poem of 99 syllables, using the photo prompt at Carrot Ranch to find the “Hidden” Inspiration, and enter the contest using a form on the post, then you’d be invited take part in a small donation to support Sue.

“Each story needs to have a beginning, middle and end. Poems must have distinctive theme, movement, and rhythm; no rhyme scheme is necessary, but neither will rhyme be punished…” – H.R.R.

There is a $100 grand prize and five runners up will each receive one paperback from Sue’s collection of published books (those who live in a region where the paperback is unavailable may receive an e-Book instead).

The contest will close at midnight on Friday, February 19, 2021. Winning entries will be announced and read at CarrotRanch.com/blog on March 22, 2021.

I hope you would participate and enjoy the fun!

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You may find Books by Sue Vincent and those written with Stuart France available in paperback and for Kindle via Amazon.

Sue Vincent – UK – USA – France – Germany – Japan – and India.

Stuart France: UKUSFranceGermanyJapan and India

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My Multitalented Muse

Fantasy, Fee, Flower, Meadow, Leaves, Wing, Magic
Images by Willgard at Pixabay

“You have a post to write for Diana’s prompt,” my muse said.

“I remember. I’ll do it when I get home from the walk,” me said.

“You can do both, walking and writing on your phone.”

“I know, it’s not the first time. I haven’t decided what to write, though. I took several days off from writing.”

“You’re supposed to write about your conversation with me. So just write what we’ve said so far and continue.”

“Okay… now I must slow down my walk. Good thing it hardly has any traffic in the neighborhood. I still ought to be careful. One eye on the phone, one eye on the road… alright, I’ve done this much. Then what?”

“Let me paint you a picture.”

“What are you talking about? I’m the in-house artist. Besides, we’re walking. How can you paint?”

“I’ll show you, just wait.”

“I see. There are words.”

“Exactly. Does it look like anything you know?”

“Well, half of it resembles something I remember and half of it looks disaster.”

“Remember now?”

“Remember what?”

“Of what it looks like…”

“The only thing I could think of is what I did for NaNoWriMo in 2017.”

“What happened?”

“Well, I didn’t write for days over the holidays but still wanted to reach the word count. I kept writing without the coherent plot.”

“What happened after that?”

“I put it in a folder, one of my many writing folders.”

“Are you going to do something about it?”

“I’m too busy to pick it up right now.”

“I know. You’re halfway through another project but kept going back to the beginning. Why?”

“I’m editing from the beginning.”

“Aren’t you supposed to finish the entire book before editing?”

“Well, I just need some satisfaction of polishing a few chapters and call them semi-done.”

“Don’t wait for too long before writing a new chapter.”

“I’ve been busy with another project as well.”

“I know. I’ve been helping you.”

“You have? What did you do?”

“Come on, be sensible. Didn’t I help you with the description of the book cover?”

“The last thing was the description of the children’s book cover for the illustrator. I thought I had given him a description.”

“You gave him a sketch of the book cover suggestion. He needed a description. You can’t assume what you see is the same as what he sees in the sketch.”

“Sorry for being absentminded. You helped to make some bullet points for him. Did he get the idea now?”

“I don’t know. You must wait for him to send you the sketch to see if your bullet points made sense to him. I can’t read his mind over the internet. I can’t talk to him either. He is in Ukraine.”

“Now what?”

“He would do unlimited revision, wouldn’t he? He did for many pages so far.”

“It took a year to find someone to work with. Three gigs failed me. The last one waited a month to tell me his grandfather died. I wonder how many times his grandfather died. This gig is busy, but at least he spends some time on my project.”

“I hope this gig’s grandfather won’t die too soon.”

“He put a lot of work into it. I don’t think he wants me to cancel the order, or he cancels on me at this point.”

“Fingers crossed.”

“Well, mate. We’re home.”

“Isn’t it a perfect timing? Now, just email the notes to yourself.”

“I can do that at the front porch. Until next time, my walking buddy.”

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For Diana W. Peach – My Multitalented Muse

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Fiction in a Flash Challenge Week #24 – The Odds

This is Weekly “Fiction in a Flash Challenge” Week #24. Each week Suzanne Burke will be featuring an image and inviting us to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing. Maximum word count: 750 words.

Here is the week #24 Image Prompt.

people-3120717_1920
Image by skalekar1992 from Pixabay

The Odds

“Christmas is around the corner. My parents are hosting the family gathering this year. My mom is sending out invitations to all our extended family. It will be 58 people if they all could come,” Margaret said.

“How often do your parents host the Christmas party?” Darin asked.

“Once every five years. My mom has four siblings married with children. My dad has one sister. They live all over the country. My grandparents live close by.”

“Most of you aunts and uncles are from the same family. It sounds cozy.”

“My mom wants you to come.”

“Of course, I’ll come. We have a small family. Just my parents, three sets of aunts and uncle, my grandparents, and me. I should spend Christmas morning with them. I’ll come in the early afternoon. Is it okay?”

“Sure, the party will be all day long.”

“I’ll be away for a few days after Christmas.”

“Where’re you going?”

“It’s a long story. Well, I have to tell you, eventually. My parents shared something with me a year ago. My dad said he couldn’t give children to my mom. He suggested having sperm donation at a fertility clinic. My mom agreed. In fact, he went with my mom for the insemination.  My dad waited for my mom’s procedure. I felt awkward that my dad is not my dad. I mean, I don’t have his genes. It doesn’t matter now. He’s my only dad. They said that having children through using donated eggs, sperm or embryos are common alternatives for couples who have infertility problem to have their biological children.”

“Oh, thank you for telling me. I got something to tell you. But tell me more.”

“My dad suggested I had a DNA test to locate the sperm donor because it was anonymous at the time of the process. Not that he wanted me to meet him, but just didn’t want to leave it as a mystery.”

“Did you do it? What did you find out?”

“I did the DNA test. Unfortunately, I found out something shocking and wished it wasn’t true.”

“What was it?”

“The DNA pointed to a doctor who used his own sperm to help around 600 women conceived. Someone started a website calling people to do DNA test to find out if this doctor was their sperm donor. The guy of the website says these 600 people were literally half-siblings. The purpose of the identification was that people who have this doctor as the sperm donor won’t end up getting married. The risk that two of the offspring may meet unknowingly and start a family of their own, which could cause serious genetic problems in their children.”

“Oh, no.”

“What’s the problem? What’s wrong?”

“My mom told me when I turned 18, that she had me from a sperm donor. She also asked me to take a DNA test to identify the donor.”

“Oh gosh, what were the odds we met?”

 “Why will you be away after Christmas?”

“Among the people responded, five of them, two men and three women, who live in the neighboring states would like to meet. After all, they are… we are half-siblings. We just want to meet and talk. Did you find out the name of the donor?”

“Yes, the last name is Vardags. He was an Oxford law student at that time, and he only made one donation. What’s the name of your donor?”

“It was Dr. Bertold Wiesner. Oh, gosh, I’m so relieved. I don’t want to call you my sister. I want you to be my wife.”

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Fiction in a Flash Challenge Week #24 – The Odds

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FICTION IN A FLASH CHALLENGE WEEK #22 – Secrets

This is Weekly “Fiction in a Flash Challenge” Week #22. Each week Suzanne Burke will be featuring an image and inviting us to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing. Maximum word count: 750 words.

Here is the week #22 Image Prompt.

marc-schaefer-J4bugcA2Vwg-unsplash
Photo by Marc Schaefer on Unsplash

Secrets

“Here, Liam, this is mother’s journal. Let’s collect all her personal items before the lady comes to clean the house,” Marcus said.

“I wonder what went on in mother’s mind.”

“Let’s read her last entry.”

September 17, 1969

You said you loved me. I moved in with you. I waited and waited for us to get married. You said it was love that mattered. I believed you.

We had two darling children, two cheerful and curious boys. You were proud of them. I thought you could settle down for a family and a committed life. You said it was love that mattered. I believed you.

Our boys grew into intelligent teenagers. They were outstanding students. The teacher complimented us for being responsible parents. I thought you were a proud father and family man. I mentioned about making the marriage legal. You said it was love that mattered.

I didn’t feel the love you claimed to have in our relationship. I wanted to be free from the agony, yet it’s too late. The boys needed a father for a few more years.

Our sons graduated from college. They supported themselves with scholarships and part-time jobs. We soon will have an empty nest. I asked for your commitment.

“I’m married,” you said. “It was an arranged marriage in China. The WWII separated us. I thought she was dead. I went to Hong Kong when the war was over. You and I met. It was love. Nothing confirmed her death, so I couldn’t make our relationship legal. Five years later, she went to Hong Kong and found me. It was my obligation to see her.”

You said I was your only love. I demanded your choice. You were still indecisive and said you had an obligation to her. I asked you to pack up and never come back again, and you just walked out.

I told our sons because they needed to know why their father didn’t come home.

“She told us, and it shocked me. Father seemed to be so nice to us for all those years.”

“There’s one more entry. Let’s read on.”

Words came from your wife as you passed away. So… you told her about me and your sons. I sent Liam and Marcus to the funeral service. They told me there were two children with your wife, one was seven years and the other was five years younger than Liam according to the eulogy.

Liar! Liar! Liar!

“Mother had a chest pain after this entry. We took her to the hospital and her heart shut down.”

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Fiction in a Flash Challenge Week #22 – Secrets

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