Sunday, December 30, 2007

Wisdom Gained from 2007 Failures

It's not every day that someone willingly admits their failures.
Better yet, it's even more rare when they are so humble as to find the positive gems from those failures and grow from them. Sharing them with the world... that tops the cake!

When I went to read Mridu Khullar's blog and realized that she'd highlighted a couple of her failures from 2007, adding lessons learned from each one, I was in awe. I greatly admire her as a fellow writer to begin with. I admire her even more for the humility she wears proudly.

At the end of her post, she asked, "Anyone else want to share their failures?" I've decided I will blog about a few of the mistakes I made this year and as I search my heart for the good in each one, I'm going to let the world know the lessons I've learned and how I plan on applying this new wisdom to my life in 2008.


Situation One: I don't want to get into specific details, but I was voted into a leadership position to start in January, 2007. I was told that I was the perfect choice, that I was young, inspiring, and would be just the motivation this group needed to go far. Although I really enjoyed my role, it was a disaster. I discovered quickly that I'd never please some members, who wanted me gone. The adversity became too great to deal with and was leading to my burnout, a huge step back for my health, and loss of sleep. I decided NOT to fight, and I respectfully stepped down and left the environment for good.

Finding the Silver Lining:

  1. The beauty of stepping down freed up my time and has allowed me to be more successful in all areas of my life.
  2. I've been able to write, sell, and learn far more this year than I would have had time for if I had remained in that stressful position.
  3. Although I can't please everyone, I don't have to lose sleep worrying about it. There is someone, somewhere, who will appreciate me--and what I can offer--in terms of inspiration, motivation, advice, and friendship.
  4. A LOT more sleep!
  5. This blog evolved shortly after this "situation."
  6. I do have the skills to lead, but I don't have to use them to help ungrateful people in stressful surroundings. I can apply my skills not only to benefit my writing and to help me reach my goals, but to help my readers reach theirs.

My Lesson:
Don't take on too much responsibility too soon. Never let anyone coax you into a situation you're unsure of in your gut. Accept the things you cannot change and move forward, regardless of how bad it hurts. Sometimes moving on is the blessing, and the lesson.


Situation Two: As I scrambled this year to sell my words to various publications, I made a vital mistake: I didn't focus on the whole picture. Instead, I sent out tons of queries and submissions--in haste. Of course, this led to a lot of rejection letters via snail mail and email. :'(
I didn't receive rejections because I didn't have good ideas, and according to the editors' feedback, it wasn't because I'm not talented. It was because I didn't take my time and focus. My ideas and thoughts were scattered. I've heard a few times from editors themselves that I'm trying to cram too much information into one piece, or that it's not pulled together and focused enough.

Finding the Silver Lining:

  1. I discovered I'm more persistent and dedicated than I imagined I could be.
  2. I received critiques from editors. Why is this good? Because they took the time out of their crazy busy day to point me in the right direction. I've heard when editors do this, it's because they see potential in you and that's why they stop what they're doing to say, "Instead of doing this, this, and this, do that, that, and that." I'm honored and overjoyed to be able to say I received several critiques from editors this year. Now, I know where my focus will be in 2008. And I know I'll have more success!
  3. I wrote more. And I found that I actually had two or three stories within the body of one. Once I separated and polished them, I actually sold some of them.
  4. I realized that writing is my greatest passion. Not that I never knew it before, but I had a light bulb moment--the "a ha" that I could do this for the rest of my life and still crave more books, more articles, and more knowledge so I can write, write, write--including my book(s).

My Lesson:
To slow down, focus, and choose quality over quantity.


Situation Three: I started this blog. In the beginning, I thought I'd focus mainly on sharing markets, books, and links to resources for writers. I've done a lot of that, but this blog quickly fell into a source of encouragement, inspiration, and a friendly "rest area" stop as you travel the cyber highway. I'm pleased with that, don't get me wrong. But somewhere along the way, I trailed off course. I added too many ads and cluttered it up 'till it looked like a flea market. I even lost a few readers because it took so long for my blog to load (which I'd been unaware of). And not all of my posts were as quality as I'd have liked them to be. I got lazy, I guess...

Finding the Silver Lining:

  1. I went from not knowing what a blog was to being a blogger. That, I'm proud of!
  2. I've made so many cyber friends via this blog--friends I cherish!
  3. Writing some of these blog posts actually inspired articles--that sold!
  4. I've learned "a little" html.
  5. I pointed my readers to markets they could submit their essays/articles to.
  6. According to the comments, I've managed to encourage and inspire my readers. That makes me smile and warms my heart.
My Lesson: I realized this blog isn't the best blog on the web but I also realized I don't need it to be. I learned what NOT to do (like bogging down my blog with a gazillion ads!). And I learned what I want to do better in the new year.


The most important thing to me is the friendly community environment that is transpiring here. I want to give a special, sincere thanks to all my loyal readers who have kept coming back, commenting, and encouraged me to keeping writing the cyber highway!

I will do my best to continue to sharing markets you can sell your words to, writing books I love, and links to great resources that will enhance your writing in some way.

And... I'll definitely remember to share my heart, writing the cyber highway!

So, as Mridu asked: Anyone else want to share their failures?

Have you failed and learned from events that transpired in 2007? Can you find the silver lining--the good that came from it as Mridu did? Do you know how you'll take the wisdom you gained from your failures and apply it to your life in 2008?

Friday, December 28, 2007

Reflecting on 2007, Thoughts for 2008

Well, I've celebrated a blessed holiday with my family and I hope each of you did the same. I've missed posting here the past few days, but have enjoyed the extra time to spend with those I love most. I also conversed with a few editors, worked on a manuscript or two, and received a gift from someone I admire greatly (I'll probably be sharing more about this gift in upcoming posts!).

But Christmas is over and with that comes the end of another year. Several blogs are quiet with messages saying they'll be back next year. Other bloggers like Rebecca Laffar-Smith, of The Writer's Round-About, urged us via her Christmas Eve post to Make Time To Write This Holiday. Her advice is awesome:

"There are so many wonderful elements of the holidays that should be captured on paper. It might not lead to a story or an article. But the compost of information you gather at this time of year will enrich your writing for years to come."

Melissa Donovan, of Writing FORWARD, who never missed a day of posts even though it was the holidays, recently reflected on 2007: Freelance Writers' Year in Review. It's nice to look back at what we've accomplished or what we'll do differently in the new year, isn't it? However, Melissa said it best:

"Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself

In the end, the annual review should be a priceless learning experience. After all, who wants to make the same mistakes next year? Don’t torture yourself over bad decisions or poor judgment. What’s done is done, so move forward knowing that you are one year wiser."

Looking back, looking forward, as my freelance writer friend, Renie Burghardt, suggests pretty much sums up my thoughts these last few days of 2007. She says: "Christmas 2007 was merry and bright and blessed with family and good friends... Christmas 2007 is over, and now I'm looking forward to 2008."

Aren't we all?! I have huge plans for the new year :-)

Meandering along I soaked up the latest post of Joanna Young, the Confident Writing coach, who delves into the 7 searching questions to ask your blog. In Joanna's words: "But there's an important learning benefit too as we look back at what we've written in 2007 - the chance to learn from our own words, thoughts and ideas."

Susan Johnston, at The Urban Muse, said:
"I get overwhelmed by long, multi-pronged resolutions, so next year I vow to...

Focus on the big picture.

Of course, what this really means is “don’t sweat the small stuff,” but I’d rather frame it in a more positive light, to concentrate on something actionable, rather than feeling guilty for being the detail-crazy person that I am."

Find out what "the big picture" is in her post: My Writing Resolution for 2008.

You'll learn something important from Katharine Swan, at Swan's Blog, as she tells us How to spot a micromanaging client. Make a note to follow this advice, especially if you're just getting started. It will make for a smoother, happier 2008.

Katharine's advice on this matter: "The beauty of being a freelancer is that you don't have to put up with micromanaging clients. If you feel a client is being unreasonable, finish out your contract and refuse further work as professionally as possible."

I've also reminisced about my journey of Writing the Cyber Highway this year, and pondered over the creation of this blog as well as where we will go in 2008. I'm already trying to decide if we'll move to WordPress or stay here. I'd love for this blog to grow either way. My main goal is to be an inspiration and encouragement to other writers, and to create a friendly community environment each of you will want to return to time and again.

There will be more requests for feedback in the new year so I can make Writing the Cyber Highway the best I possibly can. I'm not a technical genius (shh! don't tell anyone!) but I try :-)

I can't sign off without also giving a little link love to Jeanne Dininni, over at Writer's Notes. She discusses Inner Resources for Writing Success in 2008 and Beyond. You'll love how she shares her list of "inner resources" and then defines each one separately! After revealing the list, Jeanne says: "These are the inner resources that I believe would help me reach my writing goals in 2008 and beyond—resources that I believe would be just as beneficial to any writer."

Have you been reviewing this past year and maybe noticing things you could have done differently in your writing, submitting, queries, and/or blogging? If so, feel free to share in the comments or even write your own post. Just be sure to come back and leave a link!

I wish you much success while writing the cyber highway--in 2008, and always!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas from Writing the Cyber Highway!

Mary, at Mary's Writing Nook tagged me for the 12 Christmas Things About Me Hoopla meme. I didn't get to it last weekend like I thought I would so here it is, just in time for Christmas!

And they are:

1. I've never spent Christmas away from my family--not even once. I believe life is family and family is life, especially during the holidays! I'm very blessed to have a supportive, loving family and I wouldn't trade them for the world. And... I'd never make it without my Mother's old-fashioned cornbread dressing :-)

2. When I was a child, All I Want for Christmas Are My Two Front Teeth and O Christmas Tree were my favorite (non-religious) Christmas carols and Away in a Manger and Silent Night were my favorite (religious) Christmas songs. And... I sang them a lot!

3. We always went to church to see the Christmas play and then we visited in the auxiliary building afterward. Lots of homemade goodness filled the counters and tables. I remember the laughter and joy displayed across the faces of the church members. These are wonderful memories!

4. My Mom and Dad not only worked hard decorating our home and lawn for the holidays, but they always helped my Grandma with her decorating, too. From Christmas lights strewn all over the house and fence to the big, beautiful trees complete with icicles, there was so much Christmas spirit lighting up our homes. This is another of the many lessons my parents gave me in "going the extra mile."

5. Grandma lived next door to us, so it was only a hop, skip, and jump to her house. Mom and I would go over and the three of us would bake. I'd always help with smaller jobs. Grandma would always make her banana cream and pecan pies. Mom baked carrot cake and made banana pudding. All these delicious treats were made from scratch, with lots of love. The aroma was divine!

6. Every year instead of ham or turkey like other households were preparing, my Grandma insisted on chicken salad sandwiches instead. Yes, that's right. She'd pull out the ole grinder and Mom would help her fasten it to an old oak chair. She'd ask me to chop the celery and onions while she pulled the chicken from the bone. Lettuce was chopped, too. All this went through the grinder, turned manually. Once everything was ground together Grandma would add salt, pepper, and mayonnaise to taste and then it went on fresh white bread. Delish! Of course, I'm vegetarian now and Grandma passed away a few years ago, so Christmases just aren't quite the same.

7. I've never liked eggnog and I guess I never will. It just looks, sounds, and is so yuck to me!

8. When I was younger, I lived in a neighborhood full of elderly people. So, I was pretty much like their granddaughter. These little ladies would make special Christmas baskets for me with cookies they'd baked themselves, hard, old-fashioned candies, candy canes, and sometimes little breads/muffins. I'll never forget this and I guess it's why as an adult I now find myself baking bread and cookies and delivering Christmas baskets--especially to the elderly, who a lot of times are homebound.

9. Each year my family piles into a vehicle and drives around looking at Christmas lights. It's one of our traditions and my Mother says we're always going to go "light looking" each year. Usually, we sing Christmas carols, nibble on snacks, talk, laugh, and admire all the beautifully decorated homes. It's a great time!

10. Rudolph has always been my favorite Christmas character--other than Santa, of course! I love singing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and watching the annual cartoon :-)

11. Christmas is about giving, so my family has always given in one way or another. From donating groceries to needy families to helping someone pay their utility bill, we try to give gifts that are meaningful.

12. The most important thing about Christmas to me is that this is the day to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, so long ago. I love the thought that my Savior was born and I love taking time to honor that special day.

I hope you've enjoyed these 12 Christmas things about me. My prayer is that you'll have a warm, healthy, happy, and blessed Christmas!

I know you're all busy preparing for your own holiday traditions, so I won't tag anyone. If you want to jump in and participate in this meme, feel free to. Leave the link to yours in the comments if you do. Otherwise, Merry Christmas from Michele, at Writing the Cyber Highway!

Bonus Thoughts:
Remember how simple Christmas used to be? The Sunday School teacher would ask what we'd most like to have and answers varied from: world peace, food for hungry children, or to give clothes and blankets to those without a home and maybe that awesome toy at the top of our wish list. But now that we're grown, we'll first answer: a laptop, iPod, PDA, or some other tech gadget. The hungry, cold, and homeless folks--those trapped in the war zone-- many times fall to the bottoms of our lists, fade into the cobwebs of our mind... Isn't it something how time changes things and makes us forget what's most important?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Clichés: A - Z

Do you have a terrible time with clichés? I do. I don't even realize I'm using them but they sneak up in my writing all the time. Maybe it's because I really love all the old sayings--like phrases my grandma always said--such as: what goes around comes around, as honest as the day is long, what you see is what you get, or work your fingers to the bone.

I thought since so many of these expressions are stuck in my head, they might be stuck in yours, too. Sure, these words bring back nostalgic memories. Nostalgia may not be the word that pops into the editor's mind, though, when they see your pages filled with them. They could be annoyed and think it takes away from your story.

Writing mentors of mine have told me, "Michele, you've written a wonderful story, and I really love it, BUT... it's filled with too many clich
és. Take those out before you submit it anywhere." I'm glad I had someone with a fresh, seasoned eye to let me know!

This topic has been on my mind for a while now, so I decided to address it in this post. When I Googled the word clich
é, I discovered what Wikepedia had to say about it:

A cliché (from French,
klɪ'ʃe) is a phrase, expression, or idea that has been overused to the point of losing its intended force or novelty, especially when at some time it was considered distinctively forceful or novel. The term is generally used in a negative context.

I can't tell you how hard it has been to break myself from including so many of these "overused words" in my written work. I won't even mention how many times I say them out loud. Have I bypassed turning into my mother altogether and morphed into grandma status? Okay, we won't go there.

In those "clich
é" Google results a most interesting site surfaced: Cliché I love it! I noticed right away that phrases are listed starting with the letter a and continuing all the way to the letter z. You can literally find cliche's from A to Z, including from which country they originated. It's amazing... You'll definitely be busy for quite some time. Wait. There's more. Cliché of the Day provides a new overused term each day!

liché Finder is another source. There are over 3,000 of them filed here. Still not happy? Site owner, S. Morgan Friedman, even lists Other Cliché Links to further satisfy your thirst.

I hope these links help you keep clich
és out of your content, while writing the cyber highway!

Rebecca Laffar-Smith brought up an excellent point in her comment. She suggested that the Clich
é of the Day would probably do more harm than good by implanting these pesky little phrases deep into our heads only to flow through our fingers and onto the keyboard--exactly what we're trying to avoid. She shared her opinion: "Perhaps we need to tred with caution and become more conscious of the cliche terms we use." Right! Thanks for your thoughts, Rebecca! Exactly what I was trying to say, only you said it better :-)

Sunday, December 16, 2007


You may have noticed I recently added this button to the sidebar.


I placed it there because I decided to start Stumbling. We all know that a writer isn't merely a writer, but a salesperson. We have to sell our talent if we're ever going to have it featured in our dream markets! Multi-tasking is what we do, right?

Social networking is a huge part of what we do as well. Editors, clients, and/or lifelong friendships/relationships are found through networking. I'm reading more and more discussions on blogs and trails of comments about how amazingly productive blogging is (which really is networking) and what it can lead to. I feel the same way about tools like StumbleUpon. I'm convinced my decision to join is going to help this blog grow and who knows how it will help my freelance writing--or who I'll cross paths with.

Melissa Donovan at Writing FORWARD recently shared her newfound success with StumbleUpon. It's most interesting to find out how quickly her site experienced positive results. Melissa explains, "As I saw the numbers skyrocketing, I poked around to see what was happening and found several contributing factors..." Read her post, Stumbling November, to find out more. You'll really enjoy it!

The Writer's Round-About's Rebecca Laffar-Smith broke down the web statistics of her blog in her recent post, Hit Explosions - StumbleUpon More Traffic. Amazed at how Stumblers have improved her traffic flow, she talks about unique visitors : "This means that hundreds of people are discovering the site for the first time thanks to StumbleUpon." Her technical mind really adds a nice perspective. Not all writers consider the technical aspects like Rebecca does. Glean from her knowledge!

Of course, there are many ways to network. Some of the places I can be found are: MyBlogLog, Technorati, and don't forget StumbleUpon.

Melissa is showing her appreciation to anyone who links to her blog and/or leaves comments by Stumbling them. Rebecca asks us to help one another by Stumbling our favorite sites and blog entries. So, are you going to join us by Stumbling, hand-in-hand?

I have to share one more post for your weekend reading. It's not about Stumbling, but Susan Johnston, over at The Urban Muse, looks at networking from a different perspective. She talks about how social networking helps us find sources for interviews, stating: Being a child of the computer age, I do almost all of my source searches online at these sites... Find out which sites in her post, Finding Sources Through Social Networking. You just have to check it out! Hey, you can Stumble her, too!

Happy writing... no... Happy Stumbling the cyber highway!

Stumble Writing the Cyber Highway!

You never know... I may have already Stumbled you, or I might soon!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My Top Ten Goals for 2008

As someone who loves to pen words that inspire and encourage, I look forward to accomplishing the following goals in 2008.

My Top Ten Goals are to:

1. Touch the hearts of multitudes via the words that flow from my own. I desire to make a real difference in the lives of my readers--particularly those who are hurting. This is most important to me because as a survivor of domestic violence and someone who has battled obesity, been home bound and struggled through health issues such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and more, I want to give hope where there is none--or where it once was, but has faded. I want to be a shining inspiration to anyone having a difficult time and encourage them to follow their dreams... By persisting and breaking into bigger markets that reach more people, I'll achieve this goal.

2. Be published in a Chicken Soup for the Soul anthology... or two... or three!

3. Make the best first impression(s) I possibly can so I'll be the woman editors think of when they need a talented, dependable, prolific writer.

4. Finish the first draft of my first book in which I'm sharing my crazy journey of losing over 100 pounds.

5. Get published in Writer's Digest. What? A girl can dream... and work toward it!

6. Be fearless (never doubting myself or my writing capabilities) in my queries, submissions, and correspondence with editors.

7. Learn all I can from each of the amazing writers I come in contact with from across the globe. I love to glean from the knowledge of others...

8. Write about different, new and exciting topics--topics I've never even thought of before.

9. Focus on my poetry and pursue my dream of seeing my words printed on greeting cards. I want the card sharing my soul to be the one you buy to cheer up or celebrate your loved one. I've fantasized about this for a long time, but I know 2008 will be the year it will happen. Good-bye thoughts... hello reality!

10. Since I consider blogging an important aspect of my writing, I'd love to "go Pro."

By the end of 2008, I want be able to say:

I've been the best possible writer/blogger I could have been and accomplished all my goals. My words have touched lives and I've not only watched my dreams unfold before my eyes, but sparked enough inspiration in my readers for them to realize their dreams can come true, too!

These 10 goals are top priority as I strive each day to make all my writing dreams come true...

*Increasing my income never hurt either :-)

What goals do you wish to accomplish in 2008, while writing the cyber highway? Feel free to share in the comments or write your own post. Be sure to come back and leave a link to your goals so we can check them out!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Top 10 Blogs--Winners Announced!

Have you been wondering who made it to the Top 10 Blogs for Writers List? Michael Stelzner's amazing blog, Writing White Papers, has posted the results!

*Drum roll*

The winners are:

  1. Copyblogger, by Brian Clark
  2. Freelance Writing Jobs, by Deborah Ng
  3. The Renegade Writer, by Linda Formichelli and Dianna Burell
  4. Web Content Writer Tips, by James Chartrand and Harrison McLeod
  5. Web Writing Info, by Courtney Ramirez
  6. The Golden Pencil, by Anne Wayman
  7. Catalystblogger, by Jennifer Williamson
  8. Freelance Parent, by Lorna Doone Brewer and Tamara Berry
  9. Write from Home, by Amy Derby--Amy won my vote! I'm thrilled she's on this list :-)
  10. Copywriter Underground, by Tom Chandler

Incredible blogs maintained by awesome writers! Why are you still here reading? Hurry, check out these great blogs and be sure to leave sweet comments for the winners, and to Michael for such a great contest! And... don't forget to add your favorites, or even all 10 of these outstanding blogs to your link lists ;-)

Enjoy your blog surfing break from writing the cyber highway!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Writing News

Some of you have asked me to share links to my online clips and/or my "writing news." So, here goes...

Online News:
My latest article at MedHunters Magazine is about a medical experience I had in my twenties...

I could hardly believe my eyes! Blotchy red patches graced my plump cheeks, making one of the many side effects of my monthly hormone shot all too real. "I'm supposed to have a Christmas picture taken today! Great, just great! Now, what am I supposed to do?" Find out here.

You can also read about the handcrafted soaps I'm in love with at Her Natural Beauty...

Along with the warm, spicy scents and cheerful spirit of the holidays comes dry, cracking skin--skin that itches!
If you’re longing for a natural way to attain smooth, moisturized skin... Continue reading.

Print News:

Smokin' Ghost describes a true paranormal "event" I experienced. It can be found in FATE Magazine's December Issue. One copy is around $5.00. See their website to order a copy or subscribe. Hastings book store carries them, too. I know because I went there today.

Let me tell you, holding FATE in my hands and seeing my story, my words, printed on the pages along with my photo... Totally amazing! It is so "neat" to think I'm sitting on the shelves of bookstores. Gee, if I feel this way about a magazine, I can't imagine how I'll feel when it's my own book! Woo hoo! You'd think after being published numerous times the excitement would fade. In my case it's quite the opposite. The more often I see my work published, the more often I feel elated.

True Real Estate Stories!
My story, Psycho, is included in the amazing anthology: True Real Estate Stories.

Tom and Kerrie Everitt, of Vancouver, B.C., have "...scoured the globe to bring the most entertaining (true) real estate stories available..."

Renie Burghardt, Jenna Glatzer, C. Hope Clark and Jeanne Dininni also have stories published in this first volume--and many more prolific writers as well!

I have to say that this book is AMAZING! Seriously. The book is beautiful and very tastefully done. Want your own copy? The books are available at the Everitt's website, True Real Estate Stories.

Still not sure? Read my review: A Must-Have Page Turner to help you decide! Believe me, The Finale--the last story written by Tom himself-- is worth it all! Do you already have a copy? Write your own review telling others how much you've enjoyed it.

If you have writer's news, please share (with links) in the comments! Even better, post about it on your blog and leave a link to your post in the comments so I can share in your success, too!

That's enough for now... I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful weekend and I wish you a great and successful week writing the cyber highway!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Weekend Fun With the Alphabet

I'm way behind on doing this meme Grandy tagged me for. (Be sure to read her Re-do post).

The rules of the game: List a word that describes you for every letter of the alphabet. Offer as much or as little explanation as you wish. Please keep the words positive (for example, don’t use “fat” for F or “lame” for L), and feel free to get creative. Tag as many or as few people as you wish. Link back to your tagger and forward to your taggees.

So here goes....

A - Awesome - I say this word way too much!

B - Baking/Banana Bread - Everyone begs me to bake. Apparently I'm good at it :-)

C - Chocolate - Yum-O!

D - Divine - I love to say this word.

E - Eat - Love to!

F - Fried (Green Tomatoes) - Awesome movie! I love eating them, too!

G - Giggle - I sometimes do this too much :0)

H - Hilarious - I say this word... Wait. I am this word!

I - Inspirational - I love to inspire and encourage others.

J - Joy - Something I have and love to share with others.

K - Keep - I keep trying, I keep things, I keep writing, I keep persevering...

L - Ludicrous - Another word I use too much.

M - Me - Sometimes it's nice to be selfish :0)

N - Nirvana - Lovely...

O - Oblivious - Yes, I can be.

P - People watcher - Oh, don't even get me started!

Q - Queen... of drama!

R - Rest - I love rest :0)

S - Singer - Funny, I know, but it's true. I love to sing. Even more, I love to stir the hearts of others through the words that flow from my own.

T - Typing - I do this a lot :0)

U - Understanding - I try to be.

V - Vegetarian - Yes, I gave up meat! I never thought I'd be vegetarian, but I am and I love every single minute of it!

W - Write - This word says it all.

X - Xavier Roberts - As in... Cabbage Patch Dolls. What? They're cute!

Y - Yum-O - Gotta love Rachael Ray!

Z - Ziggy - That's right. No need to explain some things :-)

So, there it is. Me-all summed up from A - Z!

Sorry it took so long, Grandy. Hope you enjoyed my ABC's!

Hope you've had a great weekend break from writing the cyber highway!

*This is kind of a hard one and the holidays are upon us, so I'm not tagging anyone for this meme. If you have time and feel like tagging yourself, go right ahead. Be sure to leave a link to your post in the comments, so I can see your ABC's!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

PayPerPost: My Newest Adventure!

A while back, I was blog surfing and came across a post by Jeanne Dinninni, at Writer's Notes. She was talking about PayPerPost, and the opportunity for bringing in extra cash simply by writing blog ads.

I thought, hmmm... I could do this! I eventually decided to go ahead and sign up. It was very easy, and I anxiously waited for my blog to be approved. There was a little "wrinkle" to iron out, but the service I received was phenomenal! In an email, I was told in detail what I needed to do to be approved. The instructions were very easy to understand. I complied, and the next day my blog was approved--Woo hoo!

So, now's the time for me to tell you, my faithful readers, about my new adventure with PayPerPost. I'm very excited about this opportunity--extra cash is always a plus!

Anyone who has followed my blog for any amount of time, knows how very much I LOVE to chat, blog, write, communicate... so I feel this is yet one more chance for me to be creative and entertain my readers, while dancing around the writing theme--which, of course, my blog is about. I think it's a challenge to choose ads and find fun ways to integrate that site/service/product somehow with the writing life. So far, I hope you've enjoyed my rendezvous!

Oh yes, the green stuff! What do I plan to do with the extra money? Bills, bills, and more bills, of course! Other than that, books are nice! Lots of books... Magazines, organic coffee, maybe some chocolate (smile), and most importantly, with the extra cash I can help others!

I hope you decide to join PayPerPost and earn a little (or a lot) of the green stuff yourself. Come on, what are you waiting for?

A Market Switches Gears

I'm not quite sure how many of my readers are aware of Common Ties. It is an amazing story blog that publishes real stories from real people and I can't say enough good things about it. For quite a while now, I've enjoyed quality stories at this site--stories that evoke strong emotion and sometimes tears.

I was elated to discover not too long ago they were seeking stories for a new category--Quickies. What an excellent opportunity! A writer could either submit a longer piece, over 700 words, or a short "Quickie", under 300 words. The Editor is a dream to work with and payment is something to be proud of. And... I was honored when they published my Quickie, Moses or Man? (Story # 2).

There was more good news recently when I found a call for submissions to an even newer category titled, "20 Questions." I haven't had as much time lately to splurge on reading, but I had a few extra minutes today and thought I'd stop by to find a good story to enjoy. I found this first...

I'm astonished.

In a post titled, "Common Ties to Focus Exclusively on 20 Questions", Editor, Elizabeth Armstrong Moore writes:

"Dear readers:

Effective Monday, Dec. 10, 2007, Common Ties is only accepting submissions to our 20 Questions project and will no longer review stories and quickies. We will continue publishing stories, quickies, and our podcast through the end of January based on our current publishing commitments, and we will continue to review all submissions we have already received and purchase the best of those."

Click here to read more.

She goes on to explain why this change is taking place. I urge you to read the rest of her post. On a positive note, there is still a wonderful opportunity for writers who pursue this great market. The answers to the questions are only approximately 50 words.

Here are the payment details (as listed on their site):


We pay for:

1. Answers ($50 per accepted answer; to see answers we’ve bought but that still need artwork, go here)
2. Recordings ($50 per accepted recording; we will approach you if we want you to record your answer; recordings are optional)
3. Artwork (if you submit artwork with your answer, and we choose to publish it, you will receive additional compensation, to be determined per circumstance; artwork is optional)


What are you waiting for?

If you're interested, here are the 20 Questions guidelines.

Hope you had a great week writing the cyber highway! Enjoy your weekend.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Do You Write from Your Bed? See This Awesome Bedding!

Do you love lounging in your pajamas all day? Is snuggling up beneath your cozy bedding with your laptop like a dream come true? Isn't it amazing to pour out your heart and soul and share all those creative ideas with the world--without having to dress up and brave the winter weather?

If your bed is your office you must check out Vision Bedding! Not only do they offer comfort and quality, they even personalize the items at your request. You'll be able to customize your blanket, comforter, or pillow(s).

Okay, maybe you're not a materialistic person. Maybe it doesn't matter to you what design your comforter boasts. Well, I'm sure you must have a relative, or even a child who is crazy about fashionable bedding. And, I'm almost certain with the holidays coming up you still have some Christmas shopping to do...

Do you love polka dots, or know someone who does? This is the perfect time to speed the cyber highway and order your Polka dot Bedding so it will arrive in time to go under the tree (or on your own bed).

Be sure to browse the different styles. You may just find one you can't live without!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

June Cotner Seeks Stories

June Cotner has let me know she's seeking stories for the following two anthologies. If you're interested in inspirational writing--prayers, blessings, poems, prose--this may be the market for you to submit to!

I've pasted her instructions below:


Note: I have two new projects. The compensation for one-time rights is $25/selection + one complimentary copy of the book. Reprints are okay.

Send submissions to:

June Cotner
P.O. Box 2765
Poulsbo, WA 98370

Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE) with sufficient return postage. Please put all of your contact info on each submission. You are welcome to share this information with other writers and colleagues.


Prayers, Poems, and Prose Honoring the Earth.

Preliminary chapter titles for EARTH BLESSINGS include : Love (for humankind) & Kindness, Courage, Compassion, Faith, Simplicity, Unity in Diversity (commonality of all), Group Consciousness, Our Children, Spirituality, Prayer, Community & Worldly Concerns, Forgiveness & Tolerance, Activism, Purpose & Balance, Healing, Miracles, Gratitude, Wonder & Appreciation, Praise & Celebration, Hope for the Future, and Inspiration. For desired spiritual tone, refer to my book, Looking for God in All the Right Places or the previous version of this book, Heal Your Soul, Heal the World. “Green publishing” is popular right now and focuses primarily on the nuts and bolts of how to improve the environment. In contrast, EARTH BLESSINGS is a spiritual book that will reflect upon the beauty of the earth and remind all of us to cherish the earth. I believe that Chronicle Books will be the publisher. Submissions for EARTH BLESSINGS need to be postmarked no later than April 30, 2008.

* * * * *

Prayers, Poems & Prose to Soothe Your Soul

My agent is currently negotiating a contract with Andrews McMeel. SERENITY PRAYERS will offer serenity, encouragement, and inspiration as individuals navigate the challenges of everyday life. The overriding intention of SERENITY PRAYERS is to provide a timeless collection of prayers, poems, and prose that will leave the reader feeling more at peace, relaxed, hopeful, and encouraged after reading passages from the book. It will be packaged like my book, Comfort Prayers. Please refer to my books Comfort Prayers and Bless the Day for desired spiritual tone. Preliminary chapters include: Serenity, Faith, Courage, Hope, Healing, Relaxation, Reflections, Gratitude, and Inspiration. Submissions for SERENITY PRAYERS should be sent via USPS (with an SASE) and postmarked no later than Feb. 29, 2008.

* * * * *

On the lower left-hand corner of your envelope, please list the book’s title of the project for which you are submitting. You are welcome to include submissions for multiple projects in one envelope. If you want any rejected submissions returned, please include sufficient return postage on your SASE. It’s easiest for me if you list your poem titles on a cover letter and tell me to recycle any unwanted submissions. Thank you!


Good luck with your submissions!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A Time to Give...

It's that time.... Christmas is in the air. Everyone is rushing around buying gifts (mostly for people they don't even like!) while wearing holiday sweaters.

This season is about more than elaborate gifts and visiting Santa at the mall. It's a time for giving, for thinking of others less fortunate than yourselves, for reaching out to touch someone's life... to give hope and joy where it's needed. If you're ready to incorporate the true meaning of Christmas into your plans, you'll want to keep reading...

Amy Derby at Write-from-Home has asked us to "do a good turn for someone else" and consider linking to an auction to benefit children with AIDS. She asks that you encourage your readers to do the same on their own blogs. This is a topic near and dear to her heart, a topic she blogs about. I urge you to read her entire post and learn more about it.

Please share the following links, and be sure to check them out.

Link to the auction:
Link to the American Foundation for Children with AIDS website:
Link to their blog:

Sharing a post

I thought you might enjoy my latest post at Her Natural Beauty. Reading Hope for Your Thinning Hair will benefit you if you have thin hair and/or bald spots you're tired of trying to disguise. Or, maybe you know someone with this problem.

The shampoo and conditioner I talk about are products I've used myself and have experienced new hair growth as a result. My hair is also much healthier.

Be sure to explore Her Natural Beauty's archives if you can. There are many great reviews and awesome products to check out.

A few great articles to see:

If you haven't visited Her Natural Beauty yet, you don't know what you're missing :-)

I hope you make lots of sales today, writing the cyber highway!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Link Love for November

I've decided to share a little link love (((Cyber Hugs!))) in appreciation of everyone who commented here during the month of November. With the new year quickly approaching, I'm going to try to do this each month from now on to honor my faithful readers and to thank each of you for stopping by.

In no particular order, here they are:

Renie Burghardt, at Renie Burghardt's World

Grandy, at Functional Shmunctional

Joanna Young , at Confident Writing

Jessica Anne Elizabeth, at JM Writing and Editing Services

Mary, at Mary's Writing Nook

Susan Johnston, at The Urban Muse

June Walker, at
Tax & Financial Advisor to the Self-employed since 1979

Amy Derby
, at the following:

Write-from-Home blog

The Freelanceaholic Life

Amy Derby

Her Natural Beauty

And... there are others. I can't imagine HOW she keeps up!

Tina Coruth, at Tina's Odds & Ends

Rebecca Laffar-Smith, at The Writer's Round-About

And... Kids, Pets and Family

Julia Ward, at a BLINDING heart

Melissa A. Donovan, at Writing FORWARD

Jeanne Dininni (who inspired this very post!), at Writer's Notes

Deborah Wilson, at Corridors

Lillie Ammann, at A Writer's Words, An Editor's Eye

Lorna Doone, at Something Good

and... Freelance Parent

Natasha, at Web Stuff 4 Writers

Misti Sandefur, at Life of a Writer

Denise Kincy Grier, at Freelancing Journey

Sheila Cason, at Beauty... on the Weblog

Lisa Vella, at Getting it Write for You

Midlife Cycler, at Midlife Cycle

Becca, at Becca's Byline

Heather Strang, at Heather Strang, Writer

Leigh Russell, at CRIME FICTION

Katharine Swan, at Swan's Blog

And... a special, heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you! I adore all of your blogs :-) If only there were more hours in the day, I'd never miss a single post!

I urge you to check out all of these awesome blogs for yourselves--they are phenomenal!

Enjoy your blog surfing break from writing the cyber highway!

If you commented here in November, but I failed to include you just let me know and I'll add you to this post pronto! I've tried to include everyone :-)

In a Writer's Rut? There's Hope for Your Credit!

Have you ever fallen into the writer’s rut? You know, the kind where the editors aren’t calling and your inbox only has SPAM waiting for you? It's the worst! But even worse than checking for a dial tone and praying to see a legitimate email is the fact that the happy trips to the bank fade with your dream of being a successful writer. You don't have to give up on your dreams, though!

Hopefully you planned ahead for such times and put money back--just in case it happens. Or, maybe you already went through that dry spell and used all your financial resources until they ran out. In that case, you may be facing bad credit this very moment.

If you have a bad credit rating and are ready to improve your score, head over to the About page at and see for yourself why they may be just the folks to help you out. After all, it never hurts to take a peek if they could possibly help you in any way. Am I right?

You'll learn all about bad credit loans and much, much more. Enjoy learning how to improve your credit (and hold onto your writing dreams), while writing the cyber highway!

It's That Time!

The weekend is here (and almost gone -- I'm running late!) and here's another fun quiz. Enjoy!

Your Animal Personality

Your Power Animal: Eagle

Animal You Were in a Past Life: Whale

You are active, a challenger, and optimistic.
Hard-working, you are always working towards a set goal.

The Animal Personality Test

This pretty much sums me up ;0)

I hope you've enjoyed your weekend break from writing the cyber highway!