How to Develop Your Writing Skills

Write What You Know and Love

This may seem trivial to some of you, but bear with me. I may not have all the answers, but this one I do know. If you do not have a passion for your subject matter, you will most likely fail. In a nutshell . . . write what you know and love. If you aren’t excited about your subject matter, how do you expect others to be?

If you do nothing else with your writing, follow the above words. They are not my invention, but I follow them religiously. After all, a writer’s lot in life (even part time) is difficult enough (especially if you are looking for fame and/or fortune), so follow your passion when writing, especially if you are a beginning student of the written word. You can branch out over time, but it’s best to start with the familiar.

Write the words that motivate you. Write as if the destiny of your soul depended on it. For many of us, it really does. Who is better qualified to write your book and share your experiences than you? No one else will bring your unique perspective to the story, the guide book, the memoirs, and the life lessons. Whether your genre be fiction, non-fiction, operating manuals, or life-transforming text books for the education of our youth, you carry a personal experience that tempers your perspective, your relationships, and your writing. Whatever excites you . . . get it in print!

Listen to that small voice within. I said it earlier, but I’ll say it again . . . follow your passion. Share the part of your life that makes you tick, that turns you on. It doesn’t have to be work related. Your passion could be your family or the foods that you love to cook (do the words “recipe book” come to mind?). What keeps you going may be a hobby like fishing, woodworking, gardening, biking, or bingo. Go with what gives you energy when you are sharing it with others. Stay away from the subjects that leave you feeling physically and emotionally drained. Follow your gut instinct, (do your research), and write your heart out. Your enthusiasm will automatically spill over into your written words.…

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Dear Father

Dear father
Why have you left us
Here without shelter
And filled with pain?


Dear father 
Why did you show us 
No love and no mercy 
And let our little hearts bleed in fear?

Here I am without you 
Standing all alone in the rain 
Blows beat against my back 
With no protection

You weren’t around 
When I needed you most 
If I needed you last 
You never showed your face

Who are you? Where are you? 
Why do I even care to know about you? 
Ever since you sent chills down my sister’s spine 
And hit my mother with a stick 
Your family you cared no less 
And brought us into this world with much disgrace. …

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Book Review: “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen

Water for Elephants, written by Sara Gruen, is a novel worth reading. It is an intriguing tale of life under the big top and a behind the scenes peek at the inner workings of a traveling circus train during the 1930’s. Whether you have experienced one of these traveling circus trains or have seen a modern day circus, “Water for Elephants” will sweep you right back to those days when you were awed by the lions, monkeys, elephants, clowns and lively music of the circus!


Gruen said in the forward that she did extensive research on the history of the traveling circus and it shows in the novel. Gruen has written a novel so compelling, vivid, and detailed it is hard to put down.

“Water for Elephants” is parlayed by Jacob Jankowski, who knows the workings of the traveling circus inside and out. Why? Because he was there, quite by accident as you will find out, but nevertheless he worked and traveled with the Benzini Bros Most Spectacular Show on Earth! Now 90 plus, Jacob is in a nursing facility, grumpy when awake, and reliving his circus days when asleep, thus sharing his memories with us the readers, through his dreams.

Jankowski’s life was a full one with the circus. You will learn about love, marriage, domestic cruelty, animal cruelty, love and respect for animals, camaraderie, trust, work ethic, drinking, carousing, along with faithfulness, enduring love, freaks, midgets, rubes, roustabouts, violence and murder all co-existing. Get ready for a fast and fascinating read.

Two dynamic tales told in one book, one of Jankowski’s existence as an aging nursing home patient and two, his life with the circus. History buffs will appreciate the novel and research done by the author. Gruen truly captures and reveals a lost world, emotional and full of dark secrets.

Characters such as Marlena, Jacob, Big Al, August, Camel, Kinko the midget, and Barbara behind the hooch- cooch tent, you will never forget after reading this novel. You will become entwined in their interesting lives and feel as though you have known them forever before you finish your read.

After you read this book, you will understand why “Water for Elephants” is a bestseller, for sure!


Author: Sara Gruen- “Water for Elephants” the book and soon to be movie

personal opinion…

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Indiana’s Education Reform Laws

The Governers Attempt at Public School Reform?

Why are a lot of Indiana teachers protesting in Indianapolis? Governor Mitch Daniels is trying to improve our education system, and by doing that more kids may be attending private schools and yes some teachers will be getting a pay cut. My thoughts are if the teachers are doing a good job as they should be there won’t be a problem. The new laws are designed to reward good teachers and take away from sub standard ones. Now if I was a teacher who does my job and does it well I wouldn’t be worried. On the other hand if I am just teaching to earn my paycheck then I would be worried. Should we fund people who want to send their children to private school? If their school district isn’t getting the job done, then YES we should. As parents we have a right to get the best education we can for our children. If that means upsetting a few teachers and school districts then so be it! I want, No I demand a good education system for my children and I should not have to feel guilty about asking for it. The State of Indiana has a responsibility to the education of the future generation and these teachers who want the process to stay the same can just get over themselves! I sincerely hope that the governor gets this law passed and the sub standard teachers in this state get what they deserve!…

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Why I Write the Articles that I Do

What Am I Aiming for when I Write My Articles

Often I just write what articles on whatever comes into my head, but sometimes I have a thought to write an article that I know will be controversial to some people, and I write about it in such a way as to hopefully generate a lot of detailed comments by visitors who both agree and disagree with what I have written.

I think that we can break down the reason to write articles into three main categories.

Firstly, the ones that we feel like writing, the ideas that leap into our heads, the ones that are fun to work on. These often include poetry, or stories from our past, but whatever the theme, it’s something that we are passionate about. This type of article however, usually attracts visits from our followers on AC, and some outside friends, but often doesn’t travel much further, unless it is on a popular topic.

Secondly, we have the articles that are on a newsworthy item, something that is maybe scandalous (eg: Tiger Woods), or about a recent tragedy (eg: Haiti). These are often high traffic articles, however they often disappear from view as quickly as they came and are short lived.

Finally, we come to the item or location reviews and the ever popular keyword topics, like food and recipes, fashion, travel etc. These might not be every author’s passion, and they may or may not generate masses of traffic, depending on the topic, but they are usually very durable articles and over time the traffic does make them worthwhile.

The other area to consider aside from Page Views is of course Up Front Payments, which can make a huge difference to the amount that an author earns. I haven’t personally managed to write an article yet that qualifies for up front payments, but it is my intention to do so as soon as I can find a topic.

As far as promoting articles, I find that blogging about them helps, especially when the blog posts act as links back to the original article, which can result in the article being listed higher in the search engines. Outside visibility to your articles is critical if you want to achieve a lot of traffic, but this again is determined by the popularity of the topics on which you are writing.

But going back to where this article started, one area that many authors don’t think about is the interaction with their visitors. If your article inspires visitors to leave comments, either in agreement with what you have written, or in disagreement, you can turn the article comments into a whole discussion thread that can go on for ages. This leads visitors to keep returning to see what new comments have been left, and the page views and popularity of your article go up exponentially.

This is one area that I try to explore, and a twist on this is to leave controversial comments on other articles too. Expressing your views, not in a negative way, but throwing a twist on the contents of the article, can lead to visitors looking at your profile and articles to learn more about you. If they like what they see and decide to follow you, then all the better.

Ultimately I think we are all looking for the article that will go viral. Can you imagine how it feels to write something that people distribute to their friends, and their friends of friends, and in just days it circles the world and you have thousands of visitors? That is what we all need to aim for I think, because being found will make a huge difference to our writing future.

If just 10,000 people were to visit one of your articles, and only 1 percent were to look at other articles that you have written, that could be worth hundreds more page views. Now if half of those were to follow you, that is potentially 50 more page views per article that you write in the future. Now 10,000 visitors is great, but something that truly goes viral could get a million visitors or more. At this point your …

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Do More with Eggs

Eggs are delicious to eat and in this economy, you cannot beat the egg’s price. Sure, all food prices have increased drastically and the price of a dozen eggs is no different. Eggs have soared in prices approximately 30 percent since 2007; however, when all is taken into consideration, the price of eggs cost approximately 16 cents each. If two eggs is considered to be a nutritious meal, where else can you possibly get breakfast for a measly 32 cents?


Everyone knows you can cook an egg in hundreds of different ways. You can fry, hard-boil, scramble, and devil eggs; you can cut up different vegetables and meats for an omelet; you can poach, casserole, make an egg salad or eggs benedict.

But did you know that there are several other wonderful uses for the common egg? Here are eight eggstraordinary eggsamples of what I am talking about:

Eggs to treat sunburn: This egg mixture provides immediate soothing relief to anyone who has spent too much time out in the sun and is ailing from the burns caused by the sun’s rays. You will first need to separate the whites from an egg and beat them into a froth mixture. Add two teaspoons of castor oil and two teaspoons of vinegar and stir together. Apply it to your burn and leave on for at least ten minutes. Rinse with warm water afterward. You can continue to apply this mixture daily and your burn will heal quicker.

Eat an egg raw: Raw eggs are loaded with protein and good fats for the body. Athletes and bodybuilders have been eating raw eggs for decades. A raw egg gets delivered to the bloodstream quicker than eating the egg cooked and it gives a swift boost to the immune system. In addition, eating an egg raw, provides several nutrients to the brain, nerves and glands allowing for a nutritionally balanced body overall. You can blend a raw egg with different fruits like bananas and avocado, for a wholesome smoothie or you can simply chug a raw egg seasoned with a little salt and pepper. Organic eggs are a great alternative to regular eggs in an effort to minimize the tainting concerns of eggs and salmonella. For those who are not used to consuming raw eggs on a regular basis, the recommendation is to eat a small portion of a raw egg daily and work up to a whole egg, possibly over the course of a week. After that, it’s smooth sailing.

Eggs used as glue: Junior’s project is due tomorrow and you just located a bottle of Elmer’s glue, completely empty. Don’t fret; no need to run to the craft store just for an adhesive. Use eggs! The whites are efficient enough to stick to paper, food creations, or even used as shellac on homemade oven pretzels or cookies.

Egg as hair conditioner: Put aside your favorite conditioner once a week and go with eggs. Crack open an egg, beat the egg with a fork, add one tablespoon of olive oil, and beat again. You may add one cup of lukewarm water to dilute it or not. If you like, you may also add your favorite scent like almond oil or lavender for a sweet fragrance. In addition, you may add a teaspoon of honey, mayonnaise or lemon juice for more shine. Wash your hair with your regular shampoo and apply the egg conditioner; run your fingertips through your hair so that the mixture can be applied evenly. Leave on for five minutes and then rinse with cool or lukewarm water.

Eggs as a facial mask: Making your own face mask mixed with eggs and a few other household items will leave your skin feeling refreshed and silky smooth in minutes. Create a mask by cracking an egg and beating well with a fork or a wire whisk. For dry skin, add in one teaspoon of honey and olive oil, mix until smooth. For normal/combination skin, add one teaspoon of olive oil and one half cup of cooked instant oatmeal and mix until smooth. For oily skin use the egg white only. Apply to face and leave on for fifteen minutes. Rinse with lukewarm …

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Fresh Start

The first half of your homeschooling season is now over. How does your report card look? Did you accomplish your goals? Did you even write down any goals? Did your kids learn less than you had hoped? Did your kids learn more than you ever realized they would? Did you keep good records? Did you engage your kids in lively lessons to hold their attention? Did you bury your head in lesson plans every night and stay up late grading papers? Did you include fun learning field trips into your lesson plans? Were your lessons boring and bland or riveting and contagious? Did you skip learning too many days in a row and then have problems getting your kids back into a school routine? Did you push your kids too hard, or were you too lax? No matter what happened last semester, you have a brand new opportunity to start fresh this semester. You can celebrate your past accomplishments and set even higher goals. You can atone for your mistakes and set off on a new homeschooling journey full of promise. Mistakes are simply great learning opportunities. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Start this new semester off by making a written list of your goals. Actually writing your goals down will help go farther in accomplishing them. Think about what your kids did and didn’t master last semester. Think about their learning styles and set new goals to meet those needs. Ask your kids for input about what they would like to learn, places they would like to visit, and activities they enjoy most. Examine your teaching style to see if it matches your kids learning styles. Make adjustments as needed. Take an honest look at your homeschool curriculum. Does it meet the needs of your children? If yes, great, see where you can supplement extra bonus lessons. If no, begin researching new homeschool curriculums. Read homeschool curriculum reviews, join Yahoo groups that discuss and review curriculum choices you are interested in, and talk to other homeschooling families. Dare to make a change. Contact potential companies and ask for samples or a trail membership so you can test drive their product.

Next, take a look at your learning environment. Do your kids benefit from a traditional style learning space, or are they more productive working at the kitchen table, on the couch, or outside? Don’t be afraid to be nontraditional. Even if your children are content with the way you school now, play around with new ideas. You will never know if a simple change can make a huge difference unless you experiment. Sometimes, “leave good enough alone” is not the best answer.

Now, take a close look at your daily schedule. Do you begin lessons too early in the morning, or perhaps too late? Do you try to cram in too many lessons in a row without taking a break? Do you school too many hours a day so that the kids get cranky and you are too tired to cook dinner? Do you forget to leave time for the unexpected learning opportunities that come your way? Remember, YOU are in charge and you have the freedom to teach your child they way you see best. Don’t try to be like the brick and mortar school; dare to be better! You know your kids best, you love your kids the most, and you want only the very best for them. They are not a ticket to more state funding. Learn to be flexible.

Finally, tell your kids that the best is yet to come. Get them excited about this coming semester. Share your enthusiasm with them, after it’s contagious. A fresh start just might be what the doctor ordered.…

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Beauty and Performance: My 1998 Cadillac Seville SLS

My 1998 Cadillac Seville SLS had less than 41,000 miles and was in near mint condition when I took it for a test drive in July of 2010. The vehicle had sat on the used car lot for weeks because its age was repelling customers. Consequently, I acquired this beautiful car for a bargain price.

The Seville surpasses all of my other vehicles because of its performance in the following categories: handling, fuel efficiency, comfort, and style.


The Seville is driven frequently on winding and hilly roads. This vehicle handles these roads agilely and smoothly, even in the rain. The 279 cubic inch Northstar V8 engine provides plenty of power for climbing hills, as well as for merging into high-speed traffic. Responsive steering and powerful acceleration makes evading danger easy when necessary.

Fuel efficiency:

The car attains an impressive 26 miles per gallon on the open road, a notable performance for a luxury car sporting a V8 engine. Although my four-cylinder, 1995 Honda Civic achieved 30 MPG on the highway, it obviously lacked the power and acceleration of the Seville. Losing 4 MPG was inconsequential.

One drawback is the requirement of mid-grade fuel in the Seville. Low octane fuels cause engine knocking in this vehicle, especially in cold weather.


The luxurious black leather seats are well padded, and they prevent fatigue even on long trips. Height, tilt, lumbar support, and headrest adjustments allow the seats to be customized for nearly any driver. Although my car does not feature the optional heated seats, this is no inconvenience in Texas.

The design of the vehicle maximizes cabin space. The back seat offers sufficient legroom for tall persons, even with the front seats moved back.


Modern Cadillac sedans are sporty, angular, and compact. This appearance belies Cadillac’s reputation for large, roomy sedans and coupes. The 1998 Sevilles predate this change in design. They are not compact, but they are not unwieldy either.

The 1998 models look classic, not old. Their moderate size, refined body, attractive grille, and sleek headlamps coordinate to create a car that is conservative, yet striking, in form. The black exterior further enhances the regal appearance.

My 1998 Seville is the finest car I have ever driven. In addition to the aforementioned attributes, it has been very reliable and has only required routine maintenance. This vehicle lives up to Cadillac’s reputation for luxury, power, comfort and quality.…

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Picture I Hold

This picture I hold

Close to my heart

No matter where I go

There you are

Through thick and Thin

Through everything

When I can’t sleep at night

On my mind,

You’re the only thing

Now I know it’s late

Been so long,

And I know you hate

it, But I can’t explain

Even to myself,

Why I love you

Need you close,

After all we went through

You are my Love

You are my Heart

And I’ll love you so

Till death do us apart.

Now, I know its wrong

But this is where we’ve come to

There is no turning back

No way to undo.

Promises broken,

Tears shed

Stiffled cries

I have wept

Its unfair

Why is it true?

After all this time,

I still love you……

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Silent Solitude

by Whyte Panther (Luigi Fiorino)

Sitting in the silent sadness of my solitude 
Amidst the agonizing ache of time apart from you 
I watch as a lone candle flickers. 
Dancing shadows cast upon the walls 
Serve only to remind me of a vision I long to see. 
A vision of myself 
Gazing lovingly at your candle lit visage 
As I embrace you my angel 
In these loving arms. 
So simple a vision 
Seems once more beyond my grasp. 
Cursed indecision, stealer of dreams 
Would that I could rid my life of this hideous beast. 
It seems but moments past when I stood here 
So certain of my direction 
So completely content 
Ready, as I’ve never been ready 
For anything in my life 
Ready to take those precious first few steps 
In planning a tomorrow 
In beginning to build a history 
With the one for which I was destined. 
The beast has once more raised his head 
Casting shadows of doubt and fear beneath it. 
In quiet desperation do I cling 
To images and feelings past… 
The magical release from the sound of your laughter 
The sweet contentment that comes only 
From a smile meant just for me 
From a simple touch or a gentle whisper 
Or the spark that comes 
From your eyes meeting mine. 
The beast has managed to grasp at my heart 
And take what was so sure 
And turn it into a mere dream once again. 
Patiently now must I sit 
Perfectly still in anticipation of the beast’s departure 
When I can once more dare to live my dream. 
Quietly, unobtrusively must I wait 
For that time when I can look beyond the abyss 
The chasm safely behind me 
Untouchable by the pain of the past 
With my life renewed 
My devotion redoubled 
And I can once again express my true love for you. 
Until that time sweet angel 
Here will I wait 
In my silent solitude 
Awaiting your tender embrace…

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