Tremor me timbers!


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Yep, I said ‘tremor’ instead of ‘shiver’. Today I had an adventure at the local health food store. I love going to that store.  (Can you say organic ‘chocolate covered almonds’?)  But the clientele can be a bit odd. I’m not picking on anyone. Heck, I’m odd. No discrimination intended.  Here’s the deal:

I was perusing the B12 vitamins for my vegetarian daughter. (I’m a carnivore. She’s a vegetarian. Go figure. I probably traumatized her with a medium rare steak.) The area where I was reading labels was right by the cash register. A very nicely dressed woman of my age was placing cans and packages of flour onto the counter. Her conversation with the clerk was sprinkled with bits of this and that. And then she suddenly started talking about ‘sink holes’….in great detail…in her own view of what was causing these horrible house-eaters.

“Something is coming out of the sink holes. Something from deep below,” she said. She was very dramatic about this.

The clerk nodded and replied, “Maybe gas. Like a giant belch?”


“No,” the woman stated. “And it’s not because of fracking…I’m talking ‘things'”

I am not making fun of the woman. She is entitled to her views, but….

What the heck? 


I began to think of the movie Tremors. I almost interrupted the conversation by adding my two cents that it had to be Graboids, but I didn’t. I stood there shaking. Images of Kevin Bacon whooping up on a giant nematode were racing through my thoughts. I couldn’t help it. Needless to say I had to exit the store fast before some of my favorite lines from Tremors escaped my lips.

Valentine McKee: Roger that Burt, and congratulations. Be advised, however, that there are two more, repeat, two more motherhumpers.

Valentine McKee: This valley is just one long smorgasbord.

Burt Gummer: Broke into the wrong goddamn rec room, didn’t ya you bastard!

I ran to my car and immediately called my oldest daughter who loves Tremors also. I do believe I became healthier from all the laughter.

(NOTE: I will be sporadically posting until mid-August…a bit here…a bit there…unless the Graboids get me. Then you won’t hear a thing from me. Scribbles.)


WORD CRIMES by Weird Al is a writer’s anthem


I had to reblog a reblog because this made me laugh so hard I nearly snorted coffee out of my nose. It’s a fitting start to a Monday. Excuse me….I need to dance some ‘mo to dis. (Go Wierd Al!)

Originally posted on The Red Pen of Doom:

Back in the day, Weird Al Yankovic was proudly, loudly weird. Today, he’s the master of parody videos, which keep getting better and better.

This one is a dream for writers and editors everywhere. He speaks the truth. Sing it, Al, and let the rumors that you’re retiring be false.

# # #

The Red Pen of Doom’s Greatest Hits Collection: 10 Epic Posts

  1. Epic Black Car deserves good owner; are you worthy?
  2. The Mother of All Query Letters
  3. Why every man MUST read a romance – and every woman a thriller
  4. The Red Pen of Doom impales FIFTY SHADES OF GREY
  5. The Twitter, it is NOT for selling books
  7. 30 achy breaky Twitter mistakeys
  8. Writing secret: Light as air, strong as whiskey, cheap as dirt
  9. The Red Pen of Doom murders THE FOUNTAINHEAD by Ayn Rand
  10. Quirks and legs matter more than talent and perfection


This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist…

View original 34 more words

How a Haircut Improves Mood


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Dame Friday has never had a bad hair day.
Her hair is forever in place courtesy of the oil brushed
upon the canvas. 

Hair follicles have incredible power.  Bad hair days exist. I’ve had many. Recently I took matters into my own hands….well…actually to a very nice stylist’s hands…and she cut my hair eye-hurting short. I love it. I have micro-bangs. I do not look like Mamie Eisenhower.

mamieMamie had short bangs, well-rolled.
The look worked for her especially with the pearls.

I’m more Peter Pan with a splash of fairy dust.


I know…why am I telling you about my hair? As my locks fell to the floor, I thought, “Hmmm….this is an object lesson.”

I am no longer chained to the hair dryer and the giant roller brush that raked across my forehead as I struggled to straighten my give’em-two-minutes-and-they-will-curl bangs. I will use only one hair product called Taffy. Naah…it’s not edible, but it ‘sticks’ my strands into position.

As I edit words, I’m ‘trimming the bangs’ on my book! It’s refreshing. Uplifting. A bit scary….like looking down and seeing a ton of hair on the floor by the stylist’s chair. Sometimes a good trim has to happen.  I feel better after a hair trim. I feel great after re-wording a sentence. The feeling of ‘it just seemed so right” pours over the soul. Sigh. Friday scribbles to you! helen








Moe Monday


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Look who has been making an appearance in my life lately….Moe D’Vation. What a guy!

To those unfamiliar with Moe, he is my Italian word mafioso/muse who kicks my derriere when I get slack and sloppy in my work habits. Needless to say he gave me quite a caboose kicking a couple of weeks ago.

“Sister, what the heck have you been doing? Picking your nose instead of writing? You should know better than to pull a Danny Devito and throw mama from the train. Here read these books and show up at the laptop. Capesh?”

When Moe talks, Helen listens. I read the books…a lot of books…more than the Italian Stallion handed me.  Here’s a recommendation from moi, the redhead: “Writing It Right! How Successful Children’s Authors Revise and Sell Their Stories” by Sandy Asher.

writing it right

Writing It Right! is a great view of the writing process. The author presents examples of published works and contrasts them with the initial rough drafts and later edits. It’s amazing to see how the story seeds grow into lovely big trees.  It gave me some ‘a-ha’ moments.

I don’t know…call me naive, but when I first started writing, I thought first drafts were the pinnacle. You know. The deed was done…no more drafting needed. How could perfection be improved? Yeah…right. Here’s the deed to the Brooklyn Bridge, redhead of limited understanding.

I’m a visual person. Seeing the rough drafts of others and their completed work gave me a great perspective. Nobody really buys the Brooklyn Bridge. No one has ever published a first draft. (Let me know if you know of an example).

BTW no one paid me to read this book. No one has paid me to do anything in a long time. Sigh. But that’s another struggling writer/unpublished story.

Check out Writing It Right! It’s an eye-opener, sugar. Scribbles!

(If you desire more Moe D’Vation, refer back to April 1. Moe was the main topic for a solid month. I really got sick of his ugly mug!)

Dame Friday and the Beatles


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Dear Dame Friday is here with her thistle dress and her lovely hair. 

Friday is good. Friday is fun. If there were no Fridays, there would only be six days in a week, and the Beatles would have had to rename their song to ‘Seven Days a Week”. It wouldn’t have been the same.



Those are my Friday thoughts…filled with a bit a of silliness which is what we all need to end the week with…as the weekend rolls in at midnight.  Scribbles!

Tiw’s Day


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Yep, old Tiw…Norse god…had a day  of the week named after him.
He was the mythical god of single combat, victory, and heroic glory.

Tiw’s day…Tuesday….I believe it does take a lot of heroic glory to make it from Monday to Tuesday especially if one has started a new exercise program that is kicking their proverbial you-know-what.

I would be the ‘one’ in the paragraph above. First off, I love to kick it, but this winter I hibernated from exercising and continued to hibernate until..uh…late June? Sad but true. I refused to move. I had ‘exercise block’ which translated to not even walking around the block. And eating pie…and nachos…and anything else that has a high fat content and gives my brain a nice rush of sugar and yum. (Helen shakes her head and sighs.)

But I’ve been reading a book on brain resistance which applies to writing and any other habit–good or bad. Neuroplasticity is fascinating.

Uh, what? 

Neuroplasticity: The brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. Neuroplasticity allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment. (definition from

Habits are neural pathways…nice little paved roads. The more you practice a habit whether it be good or bad the thicker the pavement and the faster the travel.

Have a bad habit?  Establish a new road of good thinking…a new habit…and soon you’ll be zooming along having broken the old habit’s hold because that’s what the brain does. It’s easy to think that you are forever doomed to travel down the same old roads, but it’s not true.

It’s all about replacing bad habits by adding new ones. My mama knew this to be true.  She always said, “Get into the habit of….” I ignored her when I was sixteen, but she was really wise for a round short Irish woman with a volatile temper.

Here are some books on neuroplasticity (and general brain stuff) which are great reads:

Around the Writer’s Block: Using Brain Science to Solve Writer’s Resistance by Rosanne Bane
The Woman with a Worm in Her Head: And Other True Stories of Infectious Disease Paperback by Pamela Nagami
The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science  by Norman Doidge, M.D.
Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School by John Medina
Mystically Wired: Exploring New Realms In Prayer by Ken Wilson (I haven’t read all of this yet….eager to though)

Have a brainy good day!

***After posting this, I wanted to add this disclaimer: “It ain’t easy, but it can be done. Practice makes permanent.” That’s what my old Tae Kwondo instructor would say when I had to learn a new form. Habits practiced become permanent.

Git’er done!


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Not many people know that I believe in flying pigs…yep…porcine pilots with snouts and no doubts. It’s true. I believe anything is possible. You just have to go for it. Trust that God is going to guide and provide…AND SOAR!

flying pig cookie jar

This flying pig cookie jar (from Pier 1) was given to me last Christmas. It’s my visual reminder to keep on going even when the going is tough. You know. Full of rocks and brain clouds. Unfinished sentences and ‘what-the-heck’ paragraphs. Computer glitches that suck the life out of you and require eight plus hours of repair. This should be the disclaimer on all birth certificates:


BTW I have one..ONE…flying pig collectible. I do not desire nor want more. This is aimed at my sister and kids. That same sister expressed an interest in black and white cow ‘things’….Lord have mercy! I inundated her with so much cow stuff that she moaned, ‘No more moo! No more!”

But back to the Flying Pigs. I’ve written two picture books about winged piggies. Yes. One has the title ‘Porcine Pilots with Snouts and No Doubts” and the other is called “Pig Will Fly!”

I love my pig stories, and I love the picture below.

flying pigs

 The aviator glasses are so cool on that pink piggy, but the message….ah…the message. The time is now! To write before the glitches hit. To hug a loved one just ‘because’. To savor the chocolate. To smell the coffee. TO GIT-ER DONE! (Whatever the ‘er’ is.) Why? Because you never know when the pigs will kiss the clouds.  You just gotta believe that they will.

I’m back!


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What a month! It was really only supposed to be  2 1/2 weeks of ‘no Helen’, but….well…it wasn’t. I was in the land of untoasted Pop Tarts and sippy cups for awhile followed by a stint of singing ‘Let’s Get Biblical’ to  Olivia Fig-Newton John’s ‘Let’s Get Physical’.  (The last part of the comment refers to vacation Bible school, and yes, I know that is not Olivia’s real name. Fig-Newton fits, doesn’t it?) Oh…and I had adult visitors.

THE END RESULT?  No Helen…and Helen no writtee nothing. Happy times with the visiting toddlers and VBS. Sad times because I lost all brain function and discipline.

I did do one thing. I discovered a cool way to storyboard. I’ve always kept an inspiration file of pictures, composed of newspaper clippings and a file labeled ‘Inspiration’ on my ‘puter. I’m a visual person.

Then I took the Sweeney Writing Coach class, and  I did not follow directions for one exercise. Instead of creating ‘art cards’ to answer questions about my WIP, I actually made art collages of the characters and locales in my book. Boy howdy….give me an inch, and I’ll make a collage.


I put them in a photo holder and carried them around.
I pulled it out and brainstormed whenever I had a break.


Here’s the deal with Pinterest. You can create a private board for your novel and load  it with inspiration pictures. It’s your own Private Idaho.

Yeah…I had to add the song…it’s a bit obnoxious, but who doesn’t want to sport a beehive.
It’s good for storage of ideas and sharp objects…

Make sure you designate your board as private. Therefore, no one can see your stuff and swipe your ideas. You will see people with public boards, and their novels in full bloom. Don’t understand that. Maybe they are using it as a pitch?

My next step was to take the pictures and print them out individually and make a hard-copy storyboard notebook because I need to hold it in my hands. Yes, trees died, and the ink cartridges dried up. I’m visual and tactile. Hadda…gotta.

Below is an example of a public novel board and some articles about storyboarding via Pinterest. Glad to be back. Must drink more java! Scribbles! Helen



Oh, Henry!


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I’m not referring to the candy bar.

Though I do wish I could relate that I have been knee-deep in  chocolate candy. It’s not been the case.

I’ve been having an O. Henry moment.

“Whatever she is meant for,” I answered. “Just now she is out of pocket. And I shall find her as soon as I can without aid of the colleges.”  O. Henry — Buried Treasure

I been mining buried treasure and nursing a flu. Please excuse my absence.  I will return in vigor and verbage in two weeks. Til then….keep your pockets clean of fuzz and eat chocolate!  Scribbles.


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