Mystery Monday

Today I'm bringing my love to my love of mystery. Last week, my daughter's English class took a trip to Newport, Rhode Island. And, because she's such a sweetie, she couldn't resist bringing me back a book that she found by John T. Brennan called Ghosts of Newport, Spirits, Scoundrels, Legends and Lore.

In Ghosts of Newport, Mr. Brennan gives us a detailed tour of some of Newport's most fascinating locations. His love for Newport and his background as a tour guide make this book a quick and interesting read and had me wanting to make the 4 hour trip to see the locations in person. In short, he wrote this book with the same kind of voice and passion that I've been trying to instill in my own non-fiction book. And it shows.

He covers the more well known locations of The Breakers, Beechwood, and The White Horse Tavern (The oldest in the U.S.). But he also covers some fascinating history of gravestone carving and the legend of the Palatine.

Like local legends and lore? Check out Ghosts of Newport... it's worth the read.

Friday Free-For-All

First, let me say... I know I should be writing. In fact, there are a lot of things I should be doing, such as laundry, paying bills, cleaning house... the list goes on and on. But I got sidetracked and now I'm having a hard time getting back to it. You see, I just found out some big news!

The Good News: Manchester United is playing some preseason games in the US!
The Bad News: There is no way I can afford the tickets or the trip to Philadelphia (closest local) to see them.

I confess that I'm such a new fan that I continue to ask so many questions that it really bugs him. But I can't help it. Of course, when you see pictures like this you can see some of the appeal :)

Thursday is...

a day for giving you all a little taste of heaven. Hope you enjoy my view of Maine...

Official... Whatever Wednesday

I've made it officially "Whatever Wednesday". This came out of the current misdirection I'm experiencing in my life. But something happened tonight. I went to my son's school presentation for their Civil War projects. I watched an auditorium filled with 11 and 12 year olds who were all struggling to present their projects in a way that would interest the audience for the evening... the parents.

For the most part they did a wonderful job with their presentations. Some where clearly very comfortable talking with the adults and communicating what they had learned, while others choose to let their projects stand for themselves and stand quietly by. It was easy to see which kids became passionate by what they learned and those that did it because they had to. I went around and asked the same question of all the students I talked with... "what did you learn from the project that surprised you?" Some where able to readily answer it and other struggled with it. My goal wasn't to embarrass anyone, but I was looking to see if there was a kid there that felt so strongly about their projects that they wanted to share it all.

So, here's what I picked up tonight:

1. A project worth doing is worth doing well. This isn't a new phrase in our house, but it's adaptable according to the subject. Usually, it's homework of any sort. Know your subject, be able to relate to the subject and be a present it in a way that doesn't overload, but does entice the audience.
2. Be passionate about something. There were kids there that covered the battles and there were kids that covered the life of soldiers during the war. There were representions of uniforms, food and even an incredible life-sized Gatlin Gun (non working, of course). But probably the most interesting was Henry, who presented his project on the medicines used to treat the wounded after the battles. He gave great detail about chloroform and a rousing rendition of "I Will Survive" that had been adapted to the point of view of an amputee soldier. He must have sung it 10 times while we were there. But there was definitely a passion behind his performance. Whether it was for the performing or the subject, I'm not sure.
3. Sometimes when you are lost you just need to muddle through until you can find your focus again. This little life lesson came from my own son who despite a deluge of interesting facts about Joshua Chamberlain and the 20th Maine at Gettysburg, still struggled to find something to be passionate on his own about the topic. Maybe he gets his focus from his mother, God help the boy. He's going to have to find his way to muddle through just as I did, and still do at times.

So, I've given you my tips for Whatever Wednesday on making things work when they just don't want to... Got any tips you'd like to share? I'd love to hear them.  

Twitter Tuesday

Twitter Tuesday

Follow me has become more than just a catch phrase for those who use Twitter as a marketing goldmine. Authors such as @ElizabethSCraig, @YasmineGalenorn and @lynneconnolly are adept at using this social network to it's greatest advantage. If you follow me at all you've heard me mention Elizabeth before. She continually lists blogposts that will benefit writers... several times a day. Yasmine uses Twitter to connect with readers and give them tidbits of her upcoming work to entice them. Lynne is passionate about sharing the latest books and industry information.

If you want some inspiration, I'd suggest you run on over to Twitter and follow their tweets... it's well worth the time and effort.

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Writing from the Dark Side

Heh! I started out calling this blog post "Blogging from the Darkside" and then went to "Writing from the Darkside" ...