Wednesday, October 11, 2017


Someone said not to sweat the small stuff. But as a writer, I think we have an obligation to sweat the small stuff. I believe all the little things we do—from editing a chapter for the fifteenth time to standing at the kitchen sink and thinking to ourselves that a conversation we’ve already created won’t work for a particular character—is part of our desire to strive for excellence and perfection in our work. We owe it to our audience.
Hello October!

Everyone is aware the ease of self-publishing has caused an explosion of poorly written fiction being dumped into the marketplace. We’ve all downloaded a digital book to our Kindle, Nook, phone, or tablet that was filled with bad grammar, misspellings, incorrect punctuation, and was horrendously embarrassing and painful to read.  And we’ve all hit the “remove from device” link and sent these books to a junkyard in cyberspace far, far away.

But recently, I’ve been amazed with the amount of poorly written copy coming from not only fiction writers, but also writers in newspapers and magazines and (oh, my) writers on the internet. Put aside the fact that they are not checking facts, more and more people are just content to spit out their opinion or construct lazy gibberish on websites and in comment boxes with little regard to how they are shredding the English language.

“So what?” you ask. “Everyone makes mistakes, right?”
Do you want your accountant to make a mistake by a few decimal points or a few hundred dollars? How about if your doctor wrote (heaven forbid) a prescription for the wrong drug—or maybe the right drug, but the wrong dosage? Or what if your lawyer sent out a letter on your behalf filled with spelling errors? Even better yet, your plumber decided the joint he connected and sealed in one of your drain pipes is just good enough. Would you be pleased with any of these behaviors?

I believe writers have the same obligation as any other worker in any other occupation. It’s time we take the time to strive for excellence as we string words together for our readers. It’s time we take the time to find the correct word, use a thesaurus and dictionary, double check punctuation, remove wordy dialogue, rewrite poorly constructed descriptions, remove anything that doesn’t propel the plot forward, and enlist the help of beta readers and good editors. My list could go on and on, but you get the idea.

James Michener said, “I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.” And that’s the secret of good writing. So, I am going to sweat the small stuff. I’m going to take the time to do the best job I can even if it I have to write and rewrite, and rewrite again and again—even if it takes longer than I planned or hoped. 

Now tell me, what bugs you as a writer reading the written word in print or digital? 
 A new month- a new contest- and another chance to win a kindle fire  

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Richness of Autumn

When September rolls around with its misty mellow mornings and chilly nights, our thoughts turn to the richness of autumn. It's one of my favorite seasons in Central Pennsylvania. It’s the smell of curling smoke from chimneys, ripe apples fallen from the tree, foods laced with cinnamon and vanilla, and of course, the smell of earth with its drying leaves.

Goldenrod, Queen Anne’s lace, and russet sumac line our roadways. Maple leaves slowly change from luscious green to yellow and crimson and orange, while poplar and birch shiver in the crisp breezes, their leaves shimmering like gold coins.

Fields of grass, mown months ago in summer, are now fading to bronze and brown. In the gardens, tangerine pumpkins lay with withered leaves, ready to be picked, stored, or made into smiling October Jack-O-Lanterns.

If you pause and listen, there are crickets and night insects still hiding in the grass and chirping at dusk. Overhead, geese honk and search for a field to find food, knowing it’s too early to wing their way southward. Even though the joyful sweet chorus of the songbirds has faded, if you’re lucky—or not—a cardinal or bluebird will squawk out a complaint to let you know they are still nearby. In the tall pines, the annoying, relentless calls of the crows echo in the air.

Red apples, orange bittersweet, yellow sunflowers, blue skies, purple grapes, brown acorns, black nights and white frosted mornings are all part of the assortment of colors, sights and smells that shout autumn is near...get ready!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Twenty Minutes to Relax

In a workshop a long time ago when I worked with adult learners, a speaker once said that every individual, no matter what occupation, needs 20-30 minutes each day to devote to himself or herself. And you should use the twenty-minute allotment for whatever you deem important at the moment: meditation, daydreaming, reading, knitting, woodworking, fishing, sketching, tinkering, puzzles and mind games—whatever makes you feel happy. Anything, that is, besides using an electronic device to access social media. Why?

In a very hectic world, man needs time for peace, quiet, and reflection.  He needs time for observing the world around him, utilizing his senses--eyes, ears, nose, touch, and taste. There is something calming in being able to “zone out” in your favorite activity. To listen to the birds. To smell the petunias and phlox in blossom. To stare at the clouds in a cobalt blue sky. To taste the first blackberries of summer. Or to touch a fuzzy little kitten.

Let’s face it, vacations can be as hectic as everyday life as we scurry around to see and do everything before our time runs out, and we have to go back to the ol’ grind of daily life with our “selfies and hundred digital pictures” in hand to bore our friends.

When my children were little and bedtime rolled around, I always took time to sit down, grab a cup of coffee, and read. Why read? Because I could be transported away from the humdrum of here and now, and I could step off into another world. I could leave my problems behind and get a smile, laugh, or some good vibes, especially from a book with a happily-ever-after ending.

Lately, I’ve been at a standstill with my writing. I can’t decide whether it’s the heat of summer, the reality that summer is slowly slipping away, or just that I need to take a break, but something keeps me from the keyboard.

I do know twenty to thirty minutes sitting out on my patio on my wicker swing does wonders for my attitude. So come on over and rest awhile with me while we take some time to renew our energy and mindset. Or grab twenty minutes in your favorite spot and leave your troubles at bay for a short time.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

BON APPETITE - Zucchini Bread

It's that time of year when zucchini squash multiple faster than any vegetable known to man. Get ready to bake those loaves and freeze for winter. This is an old recipe my mother gave me.


3 cups grated squash (peel and all)
1 cup oil
3 cups sugar
3 tsp. vanilla
3 tsp. cinnamon
3 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
½ cup chopped nuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat eggs until light and fluffy and add to grated squash. Add the oil, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Then mix in the flour, soda, salt, baking powder and nuts. Mix well and bake in two greased loaf pans for one hour.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Welcome to the Clearfield County Fair - A Short History

The Clearfield County Fair dates back to 1852. Originally called the Clearfield County Fair and Industrial Exhibition, it began with the organization of the Clearfield Agricultural Society which was chartered in 1854. In 1860, Clearfield and Curwensville held a contest to determine who would host the Fair.  

Clearfield won the contest by raising more subscription money, and it was established as the site, except in 1895 and 1896, when Grampian was used so that a track would be available for harness racing. In 1870, the Clearfield Driving Park became the permanent fair grounds. In the early 1900's, the Fair was held irregularly. However, in 1925, two permanent buildings, the grandstand and the exposition hall were constructed.

Changes occured in the 1930s when the crash of the stock market in 1934 caused the 1935 fair to be briefly suspended. The Clearfield Volunteer Fire Department procured its management in 1938 and extended its length to a full week, adding a first fireman’s parade. The Clearfield Volunteer Department is made up from four fire companies, one from each ward of Clearfield Borough. They are Company Number One, Second Ward, Third Ward Hose Company, Elk hose Company. Each fire company elects three persons from their membership to form the Clearfield Volunteer Fire Department Fair and Park Board.

The James E. Strates Shows made their first appearance in 1937 and continued for over thirty years. When the railroad ran through Clearfield, it was tradition to watch them load their show on the train in downtown Clearfield after the Fair was over.

In 1944 and 1945, there were no fairs because of World War Two. Originally, the ownership of the fairgrounds belonged to bondholders, most of whom turned their bonds over to the firemen as a donation to see the Fair continue. The Grandstand Company owned the grandstand. Then later, the Clearfield Borough Park Authority paid off the remainder of the outstanding bonds.

In the late 1970's, the Fair Board entered a lease agreement with Clearfield Borough to take over the management of the fair grounds and buildings. Since then the Fair Board has been responsible for renovations and improvements into the fairgrounds, also known as the Clearfield Driving Park.

Each year, the fair draws large crowds of young and old from the surrounding areas and around the state for the sights, sounds and tastes unique to the gala. There is something for everyone—rides, games, good food, animal and trade exhibitions, harness racing, fair queen and her court, and great grandstand entertainment.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

LAST DAY - KEY TO LOVE - NOW $0.99 - Mystery and Romance

He was known as the bad boy around town. But now Lucas Fisher is all grown up and he knows what he wants. He wants his best friend's sister, talented architect Elise Springer. But he's on the East Coast and she's on the West. Will they find their KEY TO LOVE?

When architect Elise Springer's father is injured, she immediately leaves San Francisco to care for him. The last person she expects to encounter in her Pennsylvania hometown is her childhood friend Lucas Fisher. Lucas is investigating his brother's mysterious death, and Elise can't resist lending a hand.

Lucas longs for the close family ties he never had. He's back in Scranton to set up a classic car restoration business and build a future. The torch he carries for Elise burns brighter than ever, but before he can declare his love, he must obtain the legal rights to adopt his nephew--and prove his brother's death was no accident.

As they unearth clues to find the murderer and a missing stash of money, Elise faces a dilemma. Is her career on the West Coast the key to her happiness, or is it an animal-cracker-eating four-year-old and his handsome uncle instead?

Now only $0.99 for a short time. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

MEET THE AUTHOR - Beth Trissel - "Somewhere My Lady"

I'm pleased to have Shenandoah Valley Author Beth Trissel on my blog with her novel, "Somewhere My Lady." In her own words, Beth is going to tell you about herself, her writing,  and her passions.

I’m excited about getting back into writing time travels and set Somewhere My Lady in my home state of Virginia. I live on a farm in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley that’s been in my husband’s family for several generations, but the story unfolds in a manor house along the James River. A string of plantations were built along the James. The oldest and most impressive homes are from the seventeen hundreds. Harrison Hall, in Somewhere My Lady, is fashioned after Shirley Plantation, with elements of my father’s family home in the Shenandoah Valley, a beautiful brick house, circa 1816, called Chapel Hill.

I’m fascinated with the past and blend historical details with the time travel/fantasy elements of the story. I enjoy doing research and delving into different eras. Not only do I sometimes get plot ideas this way, but it helps me make the settings more believable. I want readers to feel as if they’ve stepped into another century. I feel that way when I’m writing. If I don’t have this sense, I go back and do more research. I also visit historic homes and sites, especially in Virginia and neighboring states. My favorite time period is colonial America. I’m also interested in the Civil War. My ancestors were here early on and fought in every war there was. One line goes back to Jamestown. Research into family genealogy is the original inspiration behind my writing.

Gardening is also a passion of mine. I love to grow herbs and heirlooms flowers with their rich connection to the past. I included a lovely garden in Somewhere My Lady, and incorporated herbs into the story. Can you smell the lavender and roses?

I must have the right music to write to, and can stall for hours finding it. I mostly choose instrumental movie/TV scores with poignant moving sounds. Music that transports me… Some haunting melodies are the sort that make you wonder ‘who else’ is in the house when no one’s there. I’m drawn to including ghosts in my stories, and cannot stay away from the paranormal. As I was writing Somewhere My Lady, ghostly figures appeared in the front hall for a dance. So yes, Somewhere My Lady is a ghostly, fantasy, time travel romance with a surprising mystery. The history is well researched. It’s what I do. I hope you will give the story a try.

"Somewhere My Lady is a fun supernatural romance that will have you 
slipping in and out of the past and future as if you were a spirit yourself.’’ 

Lorna Randolph is hired for the summer at Harrison Hall in Virginia, where Revolutionary-War reenactors provide guided tours of the elegant old home. She doesn't expect to receive a note and a kiss from the handsome young man who then vanishes into mist.

Harrison Hall itself has plans for Lorna – and for Hart Harrison, her momentary suitor and its 18th century heir. Past and present are bound by pledges of love, and modern science melds with old skills and history as Harrison Hall takes Lorna and Hart through time in a race to solve a mystery and save Hart's life before the Midsummer Ball.

Something about him held her spellbound…the tilt of his head, arch of his brow, glimpse of his profile… She followed his every move with the fixity of an owl.

He turned blue-gray eyes toward her and sensuous lips curved into a smile on his handsome face. Hands down. No contest. He was the hottest guy ever. Her heart beat a thrilling new rhythm.

He circled closer to where she stood rooted in the foyer, not moving a toe, scarcely drawing breath. Did he truly see her backed tremulously against the wall, or did it only feel that way?

Unlike the others in the ghostly assembly, his eyes didn’t skirt past her. He paused in the dance. Bending at the shoulders, he tipped his hand to her in a genteel flourish.

He’d freakin’ bowed. Her jaw dropped. He most definitely saw her. And she sure as heck saw him.

A sparking sizzle jumped between them, awakening her as she’d never been roused before. Even more than when the house charged through her at her arrival. It was as if she were plugged in—to him.

How that could be, she had no idea, but when he gazed into her eyes, time seemed to stop. She spiraled into moonless stars, and back again to this dizzying realm. To him. Even if she were dreaming, she’d never forget this moment.~  

Somewhere My Lady is available from all major online booksellers.
 In Kindle at:  
Author Bio: 
Married to my high school sweetheart, I live on a farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia surrounded by my human family and furbabies. An avid gardener, my love of herbs and heirloom plants figures into my work. The rich history of Virginia, the Native Americans, and the people who journeyed here from far beyond her borders are at the heart of my inspiration. I’m especially drawn to colonial America and the drama of the American Revolution. And I love a good ghost story. In addition to Young Adult and New Adult fantasy romance, I also write historical, time travel, and paranormal romance, plus nonfiction. 

Author Links:
One Writer’s Way:
Facebook Beth Trissel:
Author Beth Trissel:
My Amazon Author Page where all my books reside: