30 March 2015

My 2015 A - Z Challenge List

I've compiled my list of words which will make up my 2015 A-Z Challenge and I'm sharing it below. First, let me apologize in advance to my email subscribers who will (by default) receive emails on a daily basis due to this challenge requiring a post each day of the month. But, if you know me, it won't feel like spam, I promise! :)

All posts in April will be free flow, stream of consciousness writing exercises. The content will be unedited, because otherwise, what's the point? Stream of consciousness isn't fun if you hold back. In 2012, I restricted my challenge to topics of my own choosing. This time, you all gave me some really great words posted in comments, via email, or just by talking to me in person. Don't worry, I do not share my sources.

I would also challenge you to take these words each day, starting April 1st, and do your own stream of consciousness writing. Please feel free to share your results in the comment sections of the articles I post. I look forward to reading your streams.

Let's have some fun!

My List
Aging (and Apples)

Smiley faceIf you enjoyed this article and would like to receive future articles in your inbox --- Subscribe to our free newsletter

19 March 2015

Are You Dealing With Bad Reviews?

I had started a comment on a blogger friend's article and decided to create an article instead because it had grown larger and more complex than what I believe is appropriate for a comment. Thank you, Auden, for inspiring this post.

I'll quote the original question which prompted this response: 

There's a ton of advice out there on how to deal with bad reviews. They like to say "dwell on the good reviews." What if you don't have any glowing reviews to off-set the negative/indifferent ones?

I've had my two short stories on Amazon since 2012 and one of them has exactly one review and the other a whopping five reviews. I can tell you this much. I didn't ask for reviews, but when I got them, I was pleased. I'm far from inspired by the numbers, but I'm flattered by and appreciate the favorable responses by those who appreciated my work. However, I've not written or produced much these days and that makes me sad.

On the contrary, though a bad review has to hurt, it's not a lost cause, because bad reviews are those things that prompt you to explore and improve! Especially if you're passionate about storytelling.

Here are some questions to ask yourself if you feel you're not getting the feedback you desire. Do you attend a lot of writing conferences? I know they can be expensive, but the advice and information you walk away with is so wonderful! Have you joined a writing critique group? In-person group sessions can help your writing out quite a bit. Don't shrink away from advice and constructive criticism. It's out there. 

I've joined both, the Tallahassee Writers Association and the Florida Writers Association. Both organizations have welcomed me in such ways I can't even explain. You need to be around people who are driven and wired the same way you are in order to learn the lessons and solutions of the trade. These folks are willing to be there for you because their struggles are the same. 

Lethal Injection, The Seed is 7 pages, received almost 400 downloads, and I have 5 reviews, 1 from a relative. The story has no action but is described as powerful. How does that happen? Writing classes, conferences, critiques, and encouragement helped my confidence in putting the story out there. It's the readers who will figure out if it works or if it doesn't. If it doesn't work, I agree, it would be helpful if readers would provide better feedback. Unfortunately, they are not required to give anything of value. It's other writers who will fill that void.

So how do we improve as writers and storytellers? Stephen King advises that we read, read, and read some more. However, how do you take the time to read if you're pumping out novel after novel? After all, Dean Koontz does it! He has an excuse. He's famous and people buy his books because it's branded already. Come on! He's Dean Koontz. 

If you don't have the time to read much, do like I do. Audio books! They are great because I pop them in on my way to work, and they start up again when I'm driving home. 


Hope I've been helpful in some ways.

Smiley faceIf you enjoyed this article and would like to receive future articles in your inbox --- Subscribe to our free newsletter

08 March 2015

Get Yourself Some Sophie Kinsella

After the passing of my husband, I needed something to occupy my time and to take my mind off the deep sadness that comes from losing your best friend. I can't praise Sophie Kinsella enough for her stories, and I had no idea how entertained I would become just listening to these two audio books.

In Can You Keep a Secret, Emma Corrigan spills her deepest, darkest secrets to a complete stranger because she kind of gets nervous when her plane is getting ready to crash, and in her last moments of living, it's her way of confessing all her sins before the end. 

The thing is, the plane never crashes. And as it turns out, the complete stranger happens to be going to the same town as Emma because he's the CEO of the company which employs her. How funny is that? It's hilarious and had me entertained for hours.

The Undomestic Goddess is another Kinsella novel which kept my spirits high during some very trying evenings. The protagonist, Samantha Sweeting, is a perfectionist and an attorney trying to make partner in her law firm. When a simple mistake on her part impacts a client by costing them several million dollars, Samantha has a melt down, takes a train to the middle of nowhere, and gets lost. 

When she stops to ask for directions at a huge mansion, she is properly interviewed and accepts a job as a housekeeper. She does everything she can to not blow her cover. She even subcontracts out some of her duties to hide her incompetence.

These stories are hilarious and if you haven't heard of Sophie Kinsella, hopefully these brief summaries will get you out to the books stores exploring some.

Smiley faceIf you enjoyed this article and would like to receive future articles in your inbox --- Subscribe to our free newsletter

Making Room for Women with Effective Strategic Communication

You know me. I'm all about the progress. And now it's for the women out there. I'm sharing the presentation I put together in my first graduate level course in Strategic Communication. As we all know, women have been major contributors in the workforce for decades and we still manage to fly under the radar when it comes to being recognized for our talents and potential in leading others, especially in male dominated fields such as science and engineering.

Please feel free to share my work as a reminder to organizations that women have made tremendous progress, and we are ready for some recognition.

Thanks, and enjoy.

You "knocked it out of the park" with your slide design and your delivery. Very well done. One of the best. -- Dr. Chupp

My next class is Crisis Communication. That will be fun. Stay tuned!

Smiley faceIf you enjoyed this article and would like to receive future articles in your inbox --- Subscribe to our free newsletter

01 March 2015

50 Shades of Good Morning

I respect an education. I do. But, oh my GYAD, can we just sound normal regardless how smart we think we are? I never realized how hard we try to sound smart when producing work at school. If you thought an undergraduate course made you stressed with this sort of thing, imagine graduate level work...

Only 1 out of 20 students in my class sound like me: normal. Just say it!! “Good morning.” See how natural that sounds?

How do you say good morning?

Meet the grad student:

  • Might I temporarily engage you in conversation this morning?
  • I’d like to utilize a brief form of discourse in welcoming you this morning.
  • I would like to communicate my excitement in discovering your presence seven hours and thirty six minutes after the stroke of midnight.

Me? I would like to shoot myself before this semester is over. Thank you!

I’m exaggerating, of course. I’m just ashamed that the work I produce in academia sounds nothing like me! I’m actually pretty stoked to celebrate the end of my first graduate level course. Cheers!

Your challenge for today!

How would you say good morning in your most intellectual or creative use of language? Share in the comments below!

Smiley faceIf you enjoyed this article and would like to receive future articles in your inbox --- Subscribe to our free newsletter

Contact Diane


Email *

Message *