Monday, May 31, 2010

God Bless America

Annapolis Maryland Statehouse
where our founding fathers worked


Memorial Day - May 31, 2010

When I was a kid, I always thought that Memorial Day was where you woofed down hamburgers and hot dogs, spent the day at a family cookout and enjoyed a three-day weekend.

As I grew, I realized it was a day to remember those who fought in wars, like a memorial for those who loved our country enough to die for it, or at least serve and struggle with the aftermaths of being here surviving and moving on in this society.

I have family that served. One uncle served in Vietnam and had a bad experience; wound up killing himself about thirteen years ago, and the other who is an uncle by fiance relations, he is a protector of animals, working diligently at an Animal Sanctuary. My dad was a Marine, and my brother was in the Air Force. I’m sure if I dug into it further, I’d find uncles and grandparents that all thought that this country was worth serving.

War causes grief on many levels. Families have to let their loved ones go over seas to fight for this country, mothers have to lay their children to rest; wives have to bury their husbands, and then there is this day, a Memorial Day.

When you pass by graveyards, a glance will show that the American flag is waving over the sites of many veterans who have lived, served and died. It is a breathtaking to see all those flags flapping in the wind, a heartbreaking sight to visually put a number on the hundreds of thousands who have literally, died for this country.

Last week, as I threw myself a pity party, I was God-slapped once again into a rude awakening. I was reminded of all that I have as an American citizen. I am free, where some countries are at war, in despair, in dire straits and as I sip my coffee thinking of all I have this day, like a wonderful fiancé, an awesome son, a nifty step-daughter, surrounded by a GREAT All American family, I am thankful that God loves me enough to take me by the shoulders, shake me a bit and then turn me around to look at all that I DO have to be grateful and thankful for.

Today I realize that this is a wonderful country. A country that gives every single human being an opportunity to become an American citizen; every American citizen a chance to be a part of a great nation. Every man and woman an opportunity to serve this country. Sure we have our messes to figure out but each and every one of us need to realize, that our God is a glorious God and this is our life. Love it, embrace it!

On this day... I arise to the beauty surrounding me in the lush fields of the central part of America, Nebraska. This is home, this is my life, this is a wonderful country. I thank all the men and women who see to it that my country is a safe place to live. I pray for all the men and women who have died defending what is now mine. I treasure the opportunity to raise my son in a land where he is free; free to live, express, pray and serve.

May we all have a God-slapped moment and realize just what we have, wherever we are.
God Bless........

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Poetry Sunday ~ Find Me ~

Find me...
(c) Joni Zipp
***
Tears, falling like raindrops
off my cheek into a pool
of poetic words that lie
on the floor gathering dust.

Drama is like an outlet
of emotional baggage
that I carry wherever I go,
never leaving the universe.

I free the onslaught of energy
that plays my heart like a fiddle
never bound to one care
I try and flee from the agony.

Pain drapes my being
like a silk linen cloth
dipped in water, clinging.
I peel away the layers of hurt.

I raise my eyes to the sky
as if a bird is going to
envelop me in his wings
and carry me away.

No such luck today;
I get something better,
the Lord wrapping His grace
around me, I AM FORGIVEN!

All rights reserved: copyright © Joni Zipp

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memorial Day

I would say God Bless America...but I think He already has. ~joni zipp

I sometimes think that the saving grace of America lies in the fact that the overwhelming majority of Americans are possessed of two great qualities- a sense of humor and a sense of proportion.
~Franklin D.Roosevelt (1882 - 1945)

The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way.
~Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862)

Ninety-eight percent of the adults in this country are decent, hard-working, honest Americans. It's the other lousy two percent that get all the publicity. But then--we elected them.
~Lily Tomlin  (1939 - )

An Englishman is a person who does things because they have been done before. An American is a person who does things because they haven't been done before.
~Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)

America's greatest strength, and its greatest weakness, is our belief in second chances, our belief that we can always start over, that things can be made better.
~Anthony Walton

America is the greatest, freest and most decent society in existence. It is an oasis of goodness in a desert of cynicism and barbarism. This country, once an experiment unique in the world, is now the last best hope for the world.
~Dinesh Souza

There is nothing wrong with America that the faith, love of freedom, intelligence and energy of her citizens cannot cure.
~Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890 - 1969)

I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in providence, for the illumination of the ignorant and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth.
~John Adams (1735 - 1826)

I see America, not in the setting sun of a black night of despair ahead of us, I see America in the crimson light of a rising sun fresh from the burning, creative hand of God. I see great days ahead, great days possible to men and women of will and vision.
~Carl Sandburg(1878 - 1967)

May you all have a safe Memorial Day Weekend. Thank you Veterans for serving and protecting my country, because of you...I can have a safe holiday. God Bless you all!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Psalm 30:5
Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
***
One day...

One day our lips will brush.
we’ll meet in the rain once more.
I’ll run into his waiting arms
we’ll long for love for sure.

One day our passion will feed
the flame that since has gone
finding mutual bonding ground
besides just being a pawn.

One day I’ll find the match is there
igniting the passion that fled
but lo and behold the water spoiled
the ember of light was bled.

One day he’ll wrap me in his arms
and hold me ever so tight.
Never forsaking or letting go
throughout the stormy night.

One day I might realize that
it was all just a dream.
Maybe He is the One,
who shines the radiant beam.

The Puzzle

The Puzzle
***

Pieces all scattered about
not formed, it’s incomplete.
Each one has a perfect place
I strive with vain conceit.

The box shows an image
of abundant life and glory;
raging seas all on top
a flower bed of fury.

Colors clash as vibrancy
shakes the solid ground.
The puzzle wreaks redundancy
boisterous without a sound.

The silent spot of  me begins
to see the object form
I see a scene setting in
the puzzle of a storm.

Whirlwinds just like life
the waterspout meets sky.
My pain in life is all washed up
I never know just why.

Clearer now the image
is all said and done.
I’ll stand here now and wonder.
what happened to the sun!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Note to followers:

Note to followers:

I hope you don’t mind my poetry week.
I’ve been a little out of sorts this week and my poetry really helps me find where I am in life.

I go on, day after day but really...sorting it out through my poetry is a healer in a way no other writing is for me.

Thanks for your patience and tolerance (especially if you’re not into poetry) :)

God Bless...

Pieces of Me

Pieces of Me
***
Pieces of me lay strewn around
always lost and never found.
A little here a tad bit there
I gave myself without a care.

Pieces of me I’ve handed out
I didn’t worry; I had no doubt.
Remnants I have left behind,
never retrieve, never find.

Pieces of me others have broken;
took my heart as a token.
spit it out and tossed it back
returned to me all they lack.

Pieces of me are here to use
often a slice, rarely a bruise.
My beating heart no worse for wear.
Gave it my all without a care.

Pieces of me I sweep off the floor,
returning the me I was before.
I can not hope for things not present,
I’ll fake a smile and seem real pleasant.

Pieces of me may forever be lost.
Sometimes this is what it cost.
I’ll  find the shards, use some glue
restore the me I always knew!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Fork in the Road

Fork in the Road

So many roads
only two choices
right or left
whisper the voices.

I took a right;
to my surprise
berries and sunlight
before my eyes.

The path unending
the forks are few
choose in life
which one you’ll do.

I took a left
a glorious sight
my angel waited
in the still of the night.

The moon it hovers
to carry me away.
Will I awake
just one more day?

Floating weightless
I’ve found my place
no more choices
a smile on my face.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Stranger

Stranger
***
A Rockwell moment unfolding
in the corner of my mind.
I peek into the window
and here is what I find.

A  loving family gathered
the table set with food,
plates, cups and napkins
all to set the mood.

Merriment streams throughout,
knees are slapped in joy,
I see the kids all running round
as they play with a new toy.

A bloodline runs through the veins
this family linked as one.
Like a warm woven blanket
it shall never be undone.

Standing in the pouring rain
just where do I begin?
I realize I’m a stranger,
on the outside looking in.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Quizá I' intento del ll algo nuevo… ya del retén en las partes negativas…

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Poetry Sunday ~ The Woman in Me

Ps. 54: 6 I will freely sacrifice unto thee: I will praise thy name, O LORD; for it is good.
***
The Woman in Me

(c) Joni Zipp
***
Insanity washes over my face,
broken shards there to replace
the inner me I cannot trace.
I love me all the more.

I lay the pieces on the floor
parts of me wash ashore
the me I was long before
I love the me I am.

Where is she, the fearful one
hiding out behind the sun
no longer in fear of coming undone
I love the woman who is.

Sadness calls, I cannot hear
through the window I tend to peer
at hallowed shadows coming near.
I love the woman inside.

On the cross He died for me
all my sins washed out to sea;
on the mend my soul is free.
I love me all the more.

All rights reserved: copyright © Joni Zipp

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Quotation Saturday

Ps. 18: 1 I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.


HOPE ~

“Hope is a renewable option: If you run out of it at the end of the day, you get to start over in the morning.” 
~Barbara Kingsolver

“Hope is a waking dream.” 
~Aristotle

“Optimism is essential to achievement and it is also the foundation of courage and true progress.” 
~Nicholas Murray Butler

“There is no hope of joy except in human relations.” —Antoine de Saint-Exupery

JOY ~

Do not judge men by mere appearances; for the light laughter that bubbles on the lip often mantles over the depths of sadness, and the serious look may be the sober veil that covers a divine peace and joy.
~ Edward Chapin

We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world.
~Helen Keller (1880 - 1968)


There is no greater joy nor greater reward than to make a fundamental difference in someone's life.
~Sister Mary Rose McGeady

LIGHT ~
 
Any one who has common sense will remember that the bewilderments of the eyes are of two kinds, and arise from two causes, either from coming out of the light or from going into the light, which is true of the mind's eye, quite as much as of the bodily eye; and he who remembers this when he sees any one whose vision is perplexed and weak, will not be too ready to laugh; he will first ask whether that soul of man has come out of the brighter light, and is unable to see because unaccustomed to the dark, or having turned from darkness to the day is dazzled by excess of light.
~Plato (427 BC - 347 BC), The Republic

LOVE ~
 
Clarity of mind means clarity of passion, too; this is why a great and clear mind loves ardently and sees distinctly what it loves.
~ Blaise Pascal (1623 - 1662)
 
Love is not blind - it sees more, not less. But because it sees more, it is willing to see less. ~Rabbi Julius Gordon
 
One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love. 
~ Sophocles(496 BC - 406 BC)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thought-filled Thursday

Rev. 12: 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
***
Drama! Drama! drama! I attract drama like a bee to honey, like a bird to a flower, like rain to the ground. It follows me, catches up to me, and splatters all over my face.

Yesterday, my room got a visit by the ‘principal’ at f2k. You see, the drama was so loud, it made the principal come down and reprimand us. I lowered my head in shame because I have higher standards than being relinquished to bitterness, and the drama brought out emotions I just as soon forget were ever brewed inside of me.

Anna assumed no one was watching. She peeked around the corner and like a child in a movie, she slung mud, throwing it at whoever walked by. She had said in one of her responses, “Oh, I’m evil today.” And sure enough, that is the only place that the dark crap of life can come from, you know who, the Dark One.

F2K is normally a quiet, writer filled, peace-has-washed-over me site. We never have drama, but occasionally we get a person who can not handle rules, feels left out, throws spitballs at the teacher, stomps her feet loud enough for everyone to hear, bullies a few people on her way OUT the door. And yes the principal will throw out anyone who disrupts the course of the smooth running waters.

I was hurt in the crossfire mind you, of  all the drama. How can you not get your sleeve ripped off when someone says, “You show poor leadership.” When anyone who knows me, knows otherwise. How can your jeans manage not to shred, when someone says, “You can’t spell, what kind of leader is that?” OUCH! Now I KNOW that one is not true because I am one of the BEST spellers I know. A typo is not bad spelling, it’s poor editing. :)

Then there was the appearance of the principal, standing in the doorway. His silhouette made him appear ten feet tall, and the shadow, the long sinuous shadow creeped along the floor like moss. I shivered, shuddered, blinked then gulped. He arrived.

That was the drama in the virtual world. There was drama in my reality too but I don’t have time for that. I have to move on, raise my chin, walk away proud knowing not one curse word left my mouth. My bitterness is only a taste that will dissipate, nothing more, nothing less. I go on...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wordy Wednesday

Acts 17: 30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
***
As writer’s, our words are our itinerary, our arsenal. Words can maim and hurt, make you laugh, cry, sigh, and fear. Words are weapons of elation, or mass destruction. One word can cut like a knife and leave you bleeding on the floor until another word can come and pick you up.

When we write, what we’re really doing is reaching out to touch a person. I know it sounds strange when you think of a word with arms outstretched, but really, this is what writers do. This is how we communicate, through the word stream.

Our word stream is full of fish waiting to leap out at you, maybe even get snagged on a hook, be reeled in, and later savored for a nice dinner. Yes siree, words are what we use to grab you, hook line and sinker!

Yesterday, a wannabe writer left a comment on my f2k board telling me I showed poor leadership in my room. Knife in, blood all over the place. Writers are sensitive people. I think as human beings we were made to be sensitive but the insensitive ones can always tread upon you, hit you where it hurts and rip out your gut.

I had to think back on my previous f2k sessions and this current one too. What would make someone say such a rude, ignorant, and thoughtless thing. Through a little research, I found that he didn’t, wasn’t or even going to try to read the tips that I, as a mentor posted. He missed ESSENTIAL postings and just thought in his egotistical way that he could coast through the course without any guidance from a mentor and in turn, realized, he was WRONG, and missed quite a bit of good, important stuff.

No he didn’t apologize for his bitter words, I think he stuck his tail between his legs and pouted off after I ‘gently explained’ to him that Mentors are here to guide you, not hold your hand and walk you through this course. I told him how we are volunteers and we respond only to lesson one, the rest is peer to peer feedback.

By week six, the rooms almost appear empty. It is up to YOU, the writer to mix and mingle, go from room to room and make friends. Comment on others and they’ll visit you and comment on your work. This is a tried and true course. It works! Many who sign up once, come back again and again. Why? Because they gain something from the course, and let me tell you, without the mentors to guide them, they would never return.

Two people in my class almost caused me to say, “Forget f2k, I’m done!” BUT, my family of writers, those whose words mean more to me than Pepsi or coffee, will see to it that those souls are just wandering souls who need prayer more than anything. Guidance from a mentor is the least of their writing problems.

Words cut like a knife, entering  deeply in, slurping out with your blood on the blade, shaken off with a grain of dignity left intact.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Talk-o Tuesday

First let me say that my Moody Monday turned into a Marvelous Monday! I worked out in the garden, planted flowers and had a wonderful time relishing the beauty that the color brought to the house.

Mom called and said, “I”m gonna bring Joni over a few flowers I had left over.” Okay, I was sitting at the window waiting her arrival. And there she was, yellows and orange, red and white. Marigolds, Petunias, and three Day lilies. With the proper spacing and arrangement, it filled the whole garden in front of my house!

Talk about gleeful? If anyone knows Joni, they know that she is a flower child. Not one from the sixties, one who was deprived of a garden in the ‘city life’ but always one with containers flourishing with beauty! As you can tell I’m still a wee bit excited and can’t wait to go check on my beautiful flowers and watch them grow. THANKS MOM!!!!

As I was working out in the garden I was thinking of what a nice thing it would be to have one of those MP3 players so I could listen to an audio book. (nice segue, eh?) Can you imaging just digging, planting, watering, pruning, mowing and tending all that stuff and listening to a great story the whole time? I can imagine how less back breaking the tasks might seem and how much more a person could get done.

Although I’m more of a “listen to nature” kinda gal, an audio book would be easy to carry around, volume set to high to get out all that bird chirping and mowing and I bet you could finish a book with one days chores.

New book reviews are popping up at Audio Book Heaven. So before I pop in a book, I might even check out this blog to see if there are any listed that I might be interested in reading. He gives good honest reviews. If he likes a book, or don’t like a book, he lets you know the pros and cons of the story and you can decide for yourself.

Sure you can go to the library and read the jacket cover, but I’m telling you, his reviews give you more than any cover. :) Okay enough talk, go click and enjoy your visit with the man behind, Audio Book Heaven!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Moody Monday

2 Sam. 22:3 The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.
***
Ever have one of those days where you just roll over in bed and don’t feel like waking up and facing the day? Have you ever had a Moody Monday? Well some might say that every day is a moody Monday for me, but I do digress.

I wake up in the still of the morning when the birds are all tucked away. As I sit here and await the sunrise, I drink my morning coffee and relish the quiet time I have. The birds begin stirring, chirping can be heard, then it happens, the orb in the sky peeks over the trees blanketing the farm with orange light.

Today ghostly shadows stood erect as the sun began its ascent. Fog covered the entire farm and out of the shadows came soldiers marching to war in silence. Ok, they were just barns, but when you’re only half awake, I’m telling you, they sure look like ominous men of war.

I’ve been feeling pretty good lately. No fears with driving. I made it into church yesterday with nary a tremble. It was raining and although at first I thought, “I don’t want to drive in the rain, I’m scared of the slippery roads.”  I was God slapped! He said, “Don’t you trust me?”

“Well, yes I do!” And all fears drifted off somewhere, I imagine to his shoulder so he could carry the fear for me, then off to church we went! :) There was no Pastor Mike this time and we had to settle for the youth minister because apparently, this weekend was graduation weekend. So the service was dedicated to the youth of society. Remind me to tell you about this wonderful church, someday.

My dad is feeling pretty good, and he is back to being his ol ornery self. Things should be feeling pretty good to me but something is missing. I have God in my life, a roof over my head, food to eat, a healthy son, a man whom I think loves me, what more could anyone want?

Oh, I know, passion. I’ve been writing, reading, critting, all good things right? But I feel passionless towards things. Today I woke up and just felt ‘blech’. I think I know what I need to do, June’s words are always reverberating in my head. “Prioritize,” she whispers, “Organize,” she rants, “Set goals,” she hails; a bombardment of voices I tell ya!

June might say, “That’s a good thing if I have that kind of impact.” Well June, you do dagnammit! lol So now today I need focus. If only the sun would stop looking so beautiful, the trees would just sit still and allow me to gaze at their beauty, if the birds, the glorious birds, new and old alike, would stop for a minute and let me get a picture of them at play.

If the weather, the mean, unknown weather would comply, I might just have a Marvelous Monday!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Poetry Sunday~ Tended

Job 14: 7 For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease.
***

Tended 
(c) Joni Zipp
***
Lavish land erupts with life.
fingers work the palette knife
lonely garden has no room
for the doubtful saddened bloom.

Bursting forth in a frenzied display
leaves struggle to come what may.
Seeds sail to the moistened soil,
pleasantly placed with little toil.

Grass it bleeds from the blade
burning beads for lack of shade.
bouncing back not missing a step,
safely sprayed alive with pep!

Nurtured now all newly grown
your life can reap all its sown.
The garden bows in bashful delight
the moon it blinks a warm goodnight.


All rights reserved: copyright © Joni Zipp

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Quotation Saturday

Matthew 11:28 - "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
***
GOALS

“Write a goal every single month to eliminate a mess from your life, and when you do abundance will come in.”
~Raymond Aaron

“There is a gold mine, in your goal mind!”
~Denis Waitley

“Goals. There’s no telling what you can do when you get inspired by them. There’s no telling what you can do when you believe in them. And there’s no telling what will happen when you act upon them.”
~Jim Rohn

“Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.”
~Tom Landry

GRATITUDE

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
~John F. Kennedy

"Feeling grateful or appreciative of someone or something in your life actually attracts more of the things that you appreciate and value into your life."
~Christiane Northrup

"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but the parent of all others."
~Marcus Cicero

"Gratitude is a two-fold love - love coming to visit us, and love running out to greet a welcome guest."
~Henry Van Dyke


OBSERVATION

Take advantage of the ambiguity in the world. Look at something and think about what else it might be.
~Roger von Oech

"Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely."
~Karen Kaiser Clark

"It is the Law that any difficulties that can come to you at any time, no matter what they are, must be exactly what you need most at the moment, to enable you to take the next step forward by overcoming them. The only real misfortune, the only real tragedy, comes when we suffer without learning the lesson."
~Emmet Fox

BE OPEN

The beautiful souls are they that are universal, open, and ready for all things.
~Michel de Montaigne

An open mind collects more riches than an open purse.
~Will Henry

When the door swings open and hits you in the butt, don’t let it bother you, walk right through, opportunity awaits!
~Joni Zipp

Friday, May 14, 2010

F2K ~ FREE Writing Course

Can you believe it, another (that makes two this year) F2K is winding down and a new one will begin. The new one begins on July 7th, 2010, so register now as the halls fill up.

Wait. What is f2k you ask? I thought you’d never ask.

F2k is a free (yes I said FREE) writing course offered by R.J. Hembree and Writers Village University. In this shrinking economy, pockets are emptying at a rapid pace and rarely do we get something for nothing. I’m here to assure you, that f2k is free, totally free.

No text books needed, but we suggest you order the Magic and the Mundane by P. June Diehl, but it is not a requirement and many students have completed the course without ever looking at a textbook.

The classrooms are made up of Mentors, who volunteer from WVU, and students, that would be you. It is a peer to peer feedback system which has been a tried and true method of success and this is the very reason that it remains free.

We have writers from all stages in their writing. Some are published hoping to hone in on a few skills to help them further their revisions. Some are beginners who want to learn the secret of writing a story. Then there are the hobbyist who love writing and join to refresh their memories of why they love writing in the first place.

The course is seven weeks long and many bail out due to extenuating circumstances, life is happening to them, or they just lose interest because they realize that writing is work!

The first week is Introduction week, where everyone meets everyone else. You have a week to get familiar with the site, roam the halls, and read ALL the guidelines. Then the following six weeks is work! Writing, sharing, giving and getting feedback.

The next six weeks are laid out as such: Character introduction, Activating the senses, POV, Conflict, and Characterization.

There is no hurry for you to get a lesson done. If you miss one, you post it anyway and hopefully your new friends will read and critique it for you. You have an entire week to post an assignment, give feedback to others and move all writers in the right direction.

A lot of people feel they have nothing to offer another writer, but believe me, even an, “I think this sentence is awkward,” is a step in the right direction of helping your fellow writers.

Now allow me to tell you this. This course is NOT set up for you to boast and brag about your website. In fact it is highly frowned upon and many have been let out of their commitment and removed for trying to self-promote their site. I hear/read people say, “But I just wanted to show the people what I’ve been writing.” Well good for you, tell them in your intro that you’ve written before, don’t promote your website to get a message across.

If you’re serious about learning. If you want to move forward with new skills. If you truly love writing and are looking for a totally free writing course, then f2k is the one for you.

p.s.
DO NOT TRY TO GAIN ENTRY UNTIL JULY 7!!!!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Characterization

Ps 1:3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. (NIV)
***
Wow, we’re on the fifth lesson at F2K (the free writing course at WVU.) These seven weeks go by so fast, we’re almost ready to start a new one. That’s a good thing because we get more and more people learning the craft of writing, whether for a living or for a hobby, writing and learning is what life is all about. Okay, not really but that’s what it seems like to me. :)

This week we’re hopping into Characterization and this is where we learn our characters minds. We dig deep within, pull out our best, and place it on the boards. Through dialog with someone, say a job interview, or doctor, or whoever you choose to interview your character, you will ask questions that will bring up emotions in your character, have it all bubble at the surface, and you will spray your reader with insight.

Now some people have many characters in their story, of course, and this is a good exercise to practice on all your characters. Take John and feed him to the psych ward, or maybe Jane, is trying out for the police Academy, or maybe, a mother is scolding her child and is questioning where the said child has been.

Through this dialog phase, our characters will take on new meaning for us. We’ll see them as living entity’s. These characters will then haunt our every step in our day until we write and get everything down on paper and we can see where they have come from and where they are going.

Sometimes, the interviewee becomes more a part of the story because he/she is more interesting. That is okay if this happens, we just just squeeze them in there but always remember the main character is going to need depth. With depth, you character will add living color to your palette of words.

While you’re molding and shaping your character, many different elements will surface and you’ll find yourself on a treadmill of writing. Words will come faster and faster, paragraphs will leap off the page and in the end you’ll have a story with a rainbow of colorful people on your page.

Through this lesson, you will surely have lightning flashing all over the place as you give your characters the sizzle that they need. What better way to get a story constructed than to have in depth, unique characters bouncing off your page?

The choice is yours. Cardboard cutouts of what other authors have already done, or a magical reprieve into the land of mystical destiny? I choose Mystical Destiny any old time. :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Talk-o Tuesday

Ps. 31: 2 Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me.
***
Any time I get a chance to do a little promotion of a fellow writer, I jump at the chance and tell you what great people they are. Writer’s are their own breed ya know. We’re family and we all  stick together.

So I once again will tell you about this awesome poet, besides myself mind you, that has just had her book Vines of Life put on the shelves! Published and on its way to becoming a must read. Julie Jennings is an inspirational poet that might just lift those spirits when they are down, or maybe give you something enjoyable to read as you sit on the park bench basking in the sun.

Then there is my blogger friends that I like to boost like Benning, June, Raven and Gran. She’s not my Gran, she is Deb, who is a gran and we can all relate to that. Even with her grannyitis she’s a cool cat!

Then there is the audio book blog that I would like to sell you on. It’s called Audio Book Heaven, and with reviews for all genres, he is the up and coming Siskel and Ebert of audio books! But there is something different about him, something that makes him and his blog extra special. He’s blind. All that means is that he can’t see, it doesn’t mean he can’t blog like crazy, and you know, sometimes in the wee hours of the morning, I hear him out here tapping on the keys like rain on a tin roof.  I’d call him a Madman but he is my beau, so I’ll spare the egg tossing. *wink* *wink* 

So there you have it, the audio book blog to end all audio book blogs. His style is unique, his charm to die for, his writing, excellent in depth reviews, and the pudding on the pie? Well it’s my pie, but he’s growing closer to God and who can’t relate to that? Diversity, adversity, and everything in between, he triumphs and I think it is only because of, his love for God. He’s also blogging about his trials/triumphs being blind so if you want a glimpse you’ll find him here at Drums in the Deep.

So why not give him a click? Lend him and all my friends support! They’d do the same for me, I just know it! They are my support when my legs feel wobbly, my rock when I feel like sand, my muscle when I shimmy like jelly, they are... my writing friends!

And the beat goes on...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Word Count!

Exodus 12:49 One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.
***
I think it is so cute as newcomers come into the writing world. They throw caution to the wind, toss guidelines and rules out the window and just plain well do what they want to do.

Here is a gentle reminder to the discussion of WORD COUNT! It is essential in the writing world that we remember to show the word count. No publisher will even glance at your work if you forget to place the word count on the top of the page.

Imagine a publisher asking for 2000 words. He opens his/her email to find there is no word count. Do you know what happens to your submission? It gets TOSSED IN THE TRASH! All that hard work! All the anticipation, all the excitedness tossed in the bin. Why? Because NO WORD COUNT?

You might not think it is important but to a time honored profession, it is! I only push for it in all of my rooms for one reason, if you don't do it in your writing forums/classes/courses then you'll get lazy and not remember to place the word count in when the REAL submission time comes!!!

Also is is essential that you ADHERE to the guidelines. If the publisher, writing group, whatever, asks for a 500 word essay. It is downright rude, clumsy and unprofessional of you to write 1600 words. Sorry, I will not read it at all no matter how good of a writer you are. Not meaning to hurt your feelings in any way, but you didn’t follow the rules.

So please, (I see that some have mistakenly forgotten the word count, then remembered,)  that is fine in a writing course, unacceptable to an editor.  To be honest, before I even attempt to read 5000, 2000, 500 words, I need to see just how many words there are before I dive in! So remember the word count!

Someone said to me, “At least they’re writing, right?” Wrong! I am so happy to see writers writing but to be purposefully disrespectful to a guideline is wrong. Just plain wrong. If you’re taking a class on learning ‘How’ to write, and it takes you seven hundred words to write a paragraph, then look it over, revise it, shine it up and offer something of beauty to your peers. A 500 word guideline is set so you CAN write it right.

Be on your toes! Remember to always respect the guidelines, always double check before submitting and clicking that send button! This will get you in the habit and when submission time comes, you'll actually get your work read!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Poetry Sunday~ A Bundle of Joy~

Gen 17: 16 And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.
***
 Happy Mother's Day!
***
A Bundle of Joy
(c) Joni Zipp
***
I was just a little baby,
Lying tightly in your arms.
Full of love and beauty,
not touched by worldly charms.

Slowly maturity settled in,
I learned from right and wrong.
I strive to be accepted,
to feel that I belong.

Mistakes were made along the way,
you helped me to stand tall.
Challenges were at my doorstep,
  and you were there, through it all.

My legs are now much stronger,
I stand on my own two feet.
My confidence not shattered,
through the struggles that I meet.

None can give love better,
not a sister nor a brother.
But strength and love are given,
through the love of a doting mother.

All rights reserved: copyright © Joni Zipp

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Quotation Saturday

Jer.6:27 I have set thee for a tower and a fortress among my people, that thou mayest know and try their way.
***
I think the first duty of all art, including fiction of any kind, is to entertain. That is to say, to hold interest. No matter how worthy the message of something, if it's dull, you're just not communicating.
~Poul Anderson

Have something to say, and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret.
~Matthew Arnold


I keep six honest serving men
They taught me all I knew;
Their names are What and Why and When
and How and Where and Who.
~Rudyard Kipling


Tell the readers a story! Because without a story, you are merely using words to prove you can string them together in logical sentences.
~Anne McCaffrey

There are some people who read too much: The bibliobibuli. I know some who are constantly drunk on books, as others are drunk on whiskey or religion. They wander through this most diverting and stimulating of worlds in a haze, seeing nothing and hearing nothing.
~H. L. Mencken

Usually, when people get to the end of a chapter, they close the book and go to sleep. I deliberately write my books so when the reader gets to the end of a chapter, he or she must turn one more page. When people tell me I've kept them up all night, I feel like I've succeeded!
~Sidney Sheldon

When one door of happiness closes another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.
~Helen Keller

"You must write every single day of your life…You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads….may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world."
~Ray Bradbury

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Words for Wednesday

Runs into thoughts for Thursday...

Psalm 9: 1 I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works.
***
Today I was going to write about my friend and her poetry book, The Vines of Life . Julie Jennings is quite the inspirational woman with inspirational poetry to back her up!

I met her through WVU, Writer’s Village University, she’s stopped by and visited me here a few times, and whenever someone from WVU needs a little support, I’m there for them! It’s what I do. I’m a true friend. I love all people! But most of all, I love helping people.

I keep telling my fiance’ that I could never be a rich person because I would give my money away to those in need before I ever helped myself, that’s just the way I am. :)

So today, I got sidetracked with thinking of my father. He was put in the hospital on Monday, bleeding internally and whenever someone calls me crying, especially my mother, my heart aches to be there for them, her in this case.

My mother and I, when I lived back home in Maryland, were extremely close. I lived next door to her for thirteen years and when I moved a mile away, she sold her house and moved right around the corner. We were inseparable.

My dad was always the loner type guy, but my mother and me, like two peas in a pod. Funny, caring, loving and would bend over backwards to see someone else happy, and forget about ourselves. This made leaving home the most difficult thing I had ever done in my life.

Once I moved, I realized it was the best thing for me spiritually and physically because I knew, I had never really grown up, I always had my mother taking care of me no matter what situation I got myself into. And believe you me, there were many situations. (long story, read my autobiography when it finally gets published.) *wink*

I’ve been away for seven years come May 18, only returning home once, when my mother had a stroke. My sister is not as supportive and close as I was with my mother and my brothers (I have four) are all in dysfunctional stages of their lives. And keep in mind, I’m the baby of six and my eldest brother is 54. I’ve been diving into writing for the past seven years and my world has taken on new shape and meaning. What can I say, now I help writers write right! I’ve been a writer all of my life but the past seven years, I’ve taken life and writing more seriously!

My dad is home now and I knew when the phone rang that it was my mother, going to tell me my dad was safe at home, and sure enough it was her. After fifty-six years of marriage, those two are inseparable. Maybe my leaving was intended for them to get closer, because I know that since I’ve left, they’ve knitted themselves together like never before.  Sickness and health, richer and poorer takes on new meaning.

With this Sunday being Mothers Day, I think of all the great mothers out there, hopefully myself included, and I think of the people whose mothers have passed on and are now alone without that best friend there to guide and care for them. In some way, I take on that roll and nurse all the kids, whether young or old into the path they were meant to be. I’m a shepherd and all of you are my sheep. :) What a wonderful gift.

On that note...I am rich beyond belief!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Conflict!

Phil. 1: 30 Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
***
What do you mean conflict? Like fist fights? Knock down, drag out, bar room brawl scenes?

No, no, no friends. Conflict in writing is essentially a stirring of emotions. Did you ever notice how picking out a dress or shirt to wear can cause you to look for a different dress and just forget about shoes, that’s a whole other conflict in and of itself!

Have you ever read a book that didn’t have conflict? Seriously, a book with no conflict is not even a book, okay it may be a text book or something but a story is not going to be carried along without the proper use of conflict.

Did you ever struggle with a spiritual decision? There you go, that is internal conflict. How about struggling with a school assignment? Conflict! Or how about trying to decide if you’re marrying the right man when a new one comes along. Oh yeah, that’s conflict.

What I’m getting at here is Lesson four, it's all about conflict. In f2k we hand you the essentials that is needed to build a story and you guessed it, after you use the senses, you need to get the gist of whose POV you’re going to use, then it is on to conflict and the struggle of what will carry your story (whether short story or novel, fiction or non-fiction) you basically have to have conflict for your reader to stay stuck on the book like a licked stamp! (Wait they don’t have those anymore, but you get what I mean, right?)

Conflict isn’t as simple as a car crash scene, or an argument, or war. More times than not the conflict in a story comes from inner turmoil. The point of indecision, the inability to make up your mind. This is all considered good story material and you can build around the conflict many paragraphs or chapters if you like. The idea here is not to be so full blown that it becomes over the top implausible to believe, you have to nurture the conflict like taking care of a wound. You don’t just hurry it up to heal, it takes time to heal, and then there is the scab, and then the full crux of the tale where we find completion, satisfaction. The healing of the sore so to speak.

So where is your conflict going to lead us, the reader? I like a good conflict in a story but I want subtlety. As in lesson three, you don’t need to go over the top, you just need to understand what conflict adds to a tale and you are well on your way to making the most out of your story.

Now what are you going to do? Give me some conflict and I’ll give you a brownie point!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Poetry Sunday ~ The Fullness Therof

Deut. 15: 13 And when thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let him go away empty:
***

The Fullness Therof
***

A part of me is missing
just where I do not know
I’m dangling from a branch,
I swing high and low..

A part of me feels empty;
cold and all alone
I’m lost amid the plenty
no place to call my own.

I hurt inside; my sanity frayed
Why do I feel this way?
Like a broken bottle
all parts have gone astray.

I’m caught between a fullness
and a barren empty cave.
life is on complete dismantle
with everything I gave.

Crowded in my mind is love
it fills my every nook.
loneliness has filtered in
a page from my own book.

Where to turn I do not know
I have my only source.
God will grant serenity
and set me on my course.

On my way with His hand
I’m heading to the hills
He leads me to a stairway
my soul he always fills.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Quotation Saturday

 Luke 12: 7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.
***
FOCUS  ~

“To do two things at once is to do neither.”
~Publilius Syrus

“Do not dwell in the past; do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
~Buddha

“What this power is I cannot say; all I know is that it exists and it becomes available only when a man is in that state of mind in which he knows exactly what he wants and is fully determined not to quit until he finds it.”
~Alexander Graham Bell

    
CREATIVITY ~

“Ineffective people live day after day with unused potential. They experience synergy only in small, peripheral ways in their lives. But creative experiences can be produced regularly, consistently, almost daily in people’s lives. It requires enormous personal security and openness and a spirit of adventure.”
 ~Stephen R. Covey

“It is wonderful to be in on the creation of something, see it used, and then walk away and smile at it.”
~Lady Bird Johnson

VALUES ~

Who you are, what your values are, what you stand for...they are your anchor, your north star. You won't find them in a book. You'll find them in your soul.
~Anne M. Mulcahy


Values are where the hard stuff and the soft stuff come together.
~Robert Haas

I value your friendship, I treasure you heart. My values are high standard, never to part! ~Joni Zipp

 
WORDS ~

Say all you have to say in the fewest possible words, or your reader will be sure to skip them; and in the plainest possible words or he will certainly misunderstand them.
~ John Rushkin  (1819 - 1900)

A serious writer is not to be confounded with a solemn writer. A serious writer may be a hawk or a buzzard or even a popinjay, but a solemn writer is always a bloody owl. ~Ernest Hemingway

Our truest responsibility to the irrationality of the world is to paint or sing or write, for only in such response do we find the truth.
~Madeleine L'Engle

Silent Protocol

Silent Protocol
Angel Always...godspeed

Sunshine Award

Sunshine award