Get Some Inspiration from Jeannie in a Bottle

Jeannie in a Bottle writes posts with a unique slant:

How to Hunt for Ghosts at the Office During your Downtime

 How to Perform an Exorcism in your Spare Time

10 Signs you are Living in a Haunted House

A Bumbling Idiot’s Guide to Ghost Hunting

How to Battle the Closet Monster

Let’s Put an End to Zombie Prejudice

This is just a list of her posts with a paranormal slant. There are 270 posts, written in 16 months, on her HubPages account. That’s prolific!

Writing Should Not be Like Playing Bingo

What does BINGO have to do with writing?  I don’t know. But, I have it in my head today. BINGO!

The funny thing about playing Bingo is how much it’s like turning the handle on a Jack-in-the-Box. Any second, at any time, any moment… Bingo! I don’t like Jack-in-the-Box. I don’t like that kind of surprise. It’s the same reason I gradually built up a dislike for frogs and toads. They jump out at you. This is really too much of a surprise. Have you ever been out in the country, walking through long grass and feeling kind of happy and at peace with the world?


They make me scream every time. It’s embarrassing to be laughed at over a frog in the grass. So I don’t love frogs or toads. I live with them but keep apart – as much as I am able.

What if you had to write around a Bingo game? Or, what if you had to write like a Bingo game. At any moment the floor will fall out from under you. Or, the computer will automatically shut down, without notice. Or, your Mother is going to call and ask you to get something or do something for her and of course, it has to be right now. Drop everything. Bingo!

I don’t like writing and being interrupted, especially by people. I can try to understand house fires and other such things. I just feel annoyed and aggravated when people phone, knock at the door or ask to be driven to the hospital emergency room because the house fire caught them before they managed to get it under control.

Before you begin to write for the day, or the hours you have planned to write, turn off the phone and notify the people who are likely to interrupt you. Pin a notice on the door. If necessary draw threatening things like forest fires, sharks in a feeding frenzy, hurricanes, etc. Not everyone is polite enough to read notes, for them illustrations can be made available.

Thanks for reading today. I’m off to dig a bigger hole in the backyard. Never ask a writer where they bury the bodies… you might get a surprise answer.

If a Tree Falls on Your House, Stay Calm. It Will Grow Back

What would we do without comment spammers telling us how great our blogs are….

Anyway, today I read a Twitter post in the spirit of “stay calm”. I lost track of the original so I can’t post it here. (It was a promotion for a book with a title about sharks).

But, I thought of my own.

If a tree falls on your house, stay calm. It will grow back.

I like that kind of twisted humour. Can you think of at least one ironic “stay calm” line? The tree idea was easy for me. There really is a tree I’m worried about falling on this house.

If there are sharks in the water, stay calm. Usually, they only bite once.
If you get electrocuted, stay calm. You won’t be billed extra for it.
If your week starts out badly, stay calm. There are only 52 of them in a year.

Mini Interview with A Slip of a Girl

Writers who work at home like to be comfortable, yet pretty rather than sloppy.  So I decided to ask lingerie blogger, A Slip Of A Girl, “What would be nice, comfortable lingerie for working in front of the computer?”

Laura, I think my blogging name and blog name, A Slip Of A Girl, rather gives it away — I love wearing slips!

I primarily do most of my writing at night, while the whole house is asleep, and while I’ve nothing against the stereotype of bloggers sitting in front of their computers wearing their pajamas (and I certainly do wear slips to sleep in!), I find that full-slips have other advantages.

First, even if you opt not to wear a bra beneath them, full-slips offer breast support. This is quite practical, especially for the larger-busted among us. Sitting for long periods of time can be difficult enough, so why add poor breast support to the problem?

Second, there’s nothing quite like the feel of vintage nylon. It’s slinky, sexy, and most often is adorned with lace. Together the nylon and lace make me feel pretty. And it’s rather hard to remain in a funk or even writer’s block for long when you feel pretty!

Third, full-slips are very inexpensive. Even the vintage ones, which I so love, can be found in new or nearly new conditions so inexpensively at thrift stores that these lingerie pieces can be called “cheap.” Which means you can run out and get yourself one — or a dozen giggle — and not spend much money at all. Plus, nylon slips are very easy to care for. Nylon is incredibly stain resistant (coffee, tea, and wine just rolls off), and the fabric launders very well. You can even let slips drip-dry and save on your energy bill.

However, if you ladies work from home primarily during the daytime hours when someone could pop by or knock on the door at any time, and being spotted in your slip would prove too embarrassing, there are less revealing options. Loungewear — the true loungewear, vintage pieces which one often entertained in, are beautiful, comfortable, and modest in terms of coverage. If that look seems too glamorous, there are adorable cami sets out now which are cute, comfy, and presentable for company too. Of course, such attire could continue to perpetuate those thoughts others have that what you do “isn’t work”. heavy sigh But I opt to rise above those inaccurate thoughts and focus more on my comfort and maintaining the inspiration to blog.

Creative Writing Workshop

The ecourses are being removed from SuiteU. They had a lot of work put into them and were offered free. I think they are worth keeping online and available.

Creative Writing Workshop

By Wesley Sharpe



My interest in creativity springs from a university class I attended on Creative Teaching. Before I began my study, I believed the myth that only a few exceptionally bright and gifted individuals are creative. During the next few months I learned that creativity is an innate ability regardless of IQ.

Aware that creativity is an inborn gift, I studied the creative thinking skills of elementary school educationally handicapped children. In eight weeks of instruction these boys and girls made outstanding progress in their ability to think of more ideas and more original ideas, than children without special training.

Like many new ventures, several years passed before this idea evolved into a book that focused on helping parents understand and teach their children inventive thinking skills. Since then I have continued to study and write about creativity.

Read more

Broken Links and Microfiction Monday

I’m tidying up my links, using a plugin to check those which are broken. I like to find the site at a new link but most of them are just gone. Kind of sad to see someone’s project lost, forgotten or abandoned. Anyway, one project which I can’t find new or continued anywhere is Mircofiction Monday.

Microfiction Monday: The challenge is to write a 140-character long (or shorter) tale based on the photograph or illustration provided every week.

There won’t be any more photographs or illustrations from the original source. Why not pick something yourself and try to create a full story in just 140 characters? You can use Twitter to edit your characters to exactly 140, or a little less.

This illustration is from Brian Kesinger. A steampunk Valentine.

Edna’s faithful robot waits in the old ruins of a Victorian dream house. He holds the photo they took on a long forgotten Valentine’s Day.

Building the Character

Building the Character – Reprinted from the WordCraft newsletter on the BackWash site.

One of the keys to building a living, breathing character lies in the details. We are constantly reminded to use all our senses. Sometimes, we need to step back and build the back story for some of the main characters using all those senses. If we look at the stories we like to read, we will also find that all of these details are not revealed to us at one time.

A couple of lessons I used with my students are valuable for all of us to revisit once in a while:

1. Items from a wallet or purse give your character dimension. Personal items in a wallet or purse provide detectives with insights into a person. Besides the standard items of driver’s license and cash, items such as credit cards, business cards, lighters, notes, pictures or the lack of them all provide clues. They can also trigger a memory for your character.

2. Show your character dressing. What rituals are there in the daily robing? If you remember Lee Marvin in the 1965 movie Cat Ballou there is an incredible scene in which we see the transformation of Kid Shelleen from the drunk who cannot hit either side of the barn to the steel-eyed gunfighter. This is all accomplished in a dressing ritual. Have your character dress for a special event. Take time and space to use all senses. You might even end with a scene that you wish to include in your story.

3. Take time to show where and how your character lives. What books, magazines or items are scattered around the apartment or house? Is the room neat and tidy, like that of Adrienne Monk, or cluttered and messed up like the room of a teenager?

Once you have built a back story for your character, you will have a better feel for how and why s/he will act in certain ways in the story you are writing.

House Sitter

Would you take a job as a house sitter? It seems pretty glamorous to live somewhere else and get paid for it. But, there would be a lot of responsibility as well. Not the same as a property manager but still a good idea to have some of those same knowledge and skills. I thought it was a career worth looking up. If not for me, it could always be a career for a character I write, they can’t all be bookstore owners.

The Delights of Personal Grooming of the Feet

This is going to sound silly but I really like the feeling of having my toenails freshly cut. I don’t know why. It must be like a horse freshly trimmed by the blacksmith. I’m really glad I don’t have to wear iron shoes.

My family seem to have a bare foot thing. Most of them get in the door and take off their footwear before anything else. Then the socks just disappear. At my sister’s house, with four kids, you can find discarded socks in every room. They get in the oddest places at times. Of course, Zack is the most inventive sock remover.

Right now I am wearing slippers. I like them cause they literally just slip on. I’d guess that’s how they got the name, slippers. Last night, after a shower, I cut all my toenails, as short as I could get them. So now my toes are quite happy and cozy inside the slippers. When I get up to make coffee again I will feel my toes curl and squish around inside the slippers, unhindered by toenails that dig in or scrape against the sides of my slippers. That’s an icky feeling, like I’m some kind of creature with long claws or talons on my feet.

What would it be like to have claws and/ or talons? Imagine you were a gargoyle, a dragon, a huge bird or something else that has claws. Think of all the ways your life would be different. Not just the basic, people staring at you, but the simple everyday things that would be affected.

Dust Bunnies

What do you know about dust bunnies? Or do you think they don’t really exist, like pixies, fairies and the Loch Ness Monster? Dust bunnies are real, I’ve seen them. I’ve swept them up and cleaned up after them.

Downtown Dust Bunnies – Two sets of sisters on a mission to uncover the cause of the recent increase in dust bunnies.

Museum of Dust

Connie Hwang: Art Museum Dust Collection

From Wikipedia:

Dust bunnies (or dustbunnies), also called dust mice, are small clumps of dust that form under furniture and in corners that are not cleaned regularly. They are made of hair, lint, dead skin, spider web, dust, and sometimes light rubbish and debris, and are held together by static electricity and felt-like entanglement.[citation needed] They can house dust mites or other parasites, and can lower the efficiency of dust filters by clogging. The movement of a single large particle can start the formation of a dust bunny.

Dust bunnies are harmful to electronics, as they can obstruct air flow through heat sinks, severely raising temperatures and shortening the life of electronic components.

Dust bunnies have been used as an analogy for the accretion of cosmic matter in planetoids.

In Jude Deveroux series, dust-bunnies are small, but deadly, little creatures resembling fuzz and was described as looking like “something that rolled out from under the bed.”

The ‘Dust Bunny Facts’ and ‘The Evolution of the Dust Bunny’ (below) come from another site. Not updated in awhile but clever enough to be worth saving. So many clever things have disappeared online.

Dust Bunny Facts
Last updated 06/07/2006

Where to find them or ” The Natural Environment”

Dustbunnies have been around for centuries and are an untouched resource of easy-care pets for our busy life styles. They have lived quietly along side us and have already been domesticated.

You probably have one or two which have “adopted” you and you wouldn’t even know it.

The Dustbunny seeks out spaces that receive little traffic, and preferably dark – although some do become curious of the outside world.

Dust bunny Defenses

Dustbunnies have their own paratrooper squads that one must be on the look-out for. However, since the Dustbunnies do not have their own Air force they depend on fan blades to transport them, so invasions usually take plan during warm summer days

There are also small legions of foot soldiers that parade across the floor when the ventilation units are turned on.

When heavy objects are moved they will scurry for cover. This is the best time for capture.

Submitted by Robin and Anna: Did you know that Dustbunnies eat spiders and other things that crawl into there territory. Also, they like to use pencils as excise equipment. It may cost $100 per day to capture them if you live in a big city.

Dustbunny Social Life

Dust Bunnies are very prolific. There is no such thing as ONE Dust Bunny. Left to their own vices, dustbunnies will reproduce at alarming rates.

Dustbunnies like to use stereo-systems as their own personal Singles Clubs. Dancing usually takes place on the older models with a LP turntable, as the laser show of the CD drives have been linked to Fur Cancer in studies conducted at DBU.

Believe it or not DISCO is still their favorite music. If you find any dancing on the head of you needle, please remove gently and place off to the side so they can catch their breath.

There is now a new “Take your Dust Bunny to Work Day”.. If you do this, make sure you only bring back your home Dust Bunnies and not the ones from work. Although, the ones at work may like a nice holiday.
Dustbunny care:

Care for dustbunnies is very low maintenance.

Feeding: Dust Bunnies will find their own food. They have a tendency to turn vegetarian – if you do not wish them to eat your houseplants you may wish to gently wipe them off the leaves with a gentle but firm “no”.

Dustbunnies need a quiet, dark place to make a hutch or home, under beds and dressers are the ideal spots. If you wish them to find their own space, don’t be surprised if you catch them crawling the walls and hanging from the chandeliers.

Dust Bunnies prefer small hidden places where no on looks.

When giving you Dust Bunnies a bath, make sure that you have the safety net put on. This way your Dust Bunnies will not get sucked back into the wash or go down the drain. They enjoy congregating in pipes and Router Rooter may hurt them.

Now that the heating season in here, make sure that you have collected your Dustbunnies off of the heaters and registers. Burnt fur does not smell very good and it does spook your Dustbunnies.

When using a dehumidifiers, please pay special attention to the coils. Dustbunnies like to drink from these and may become too wet to move. Gently wipe them off and place in a dryer with cloths. They will collect on the lint screen and then can be released.

Health Care: Unlike many pets, Dustbunnies do not need inoculations or veterinary visits. If your Dustbunny begins to look peaked, build it a nest of laundry lint and in a few days your pet will be looking fine and frisky.

Making your home Dustbunny friendly:

If you are missing an item, check the Dust Bunny hutch. Unlike Raccoons who will actively look for goodies, Dustbunnies will only take what they can get easily especially anything left on the floor near their home.

Natural enemies of the Dust Bunny: Giant sucking machines (i.e. Hoovers, Kirbys, Dust Vacs, etc.) keep them as far away from your Dustbunny if you don’t want to scare them.

Glossary of terms

How to speak Dust Bunny

Underground Railroad: Air ducts

Express Lane: Using the air ducts while furnace or AC is in use

Caribbean Vacation: Dryer lint screen

The Evolution of the Dust Bunny

Dust bunnies are, of course, the harmless little bits of fluff that accumulate under furniture where ever people live. Seldom noticed, though often known about, these rather harmless little creatures exist in many places. There are, of course, those homes in which no self-respecting dust bunny would live. Overuse of cleaning products and or frequent violent cleaning seems to interrupt the breeding of the adorable dust bunny. This should be discouraged whenever people actually live as it would seem to indicate an unhealthy environment for humans or dust bunnies.

However, there are some residential places that rarely have dust bunnies. They go straight from “just cleaned the place” to “hibernating dust bears” with no small cuddly dust bunny stage in-between the two. Hibernating dust bears are fine, until you actually need to clean. Then, of course, you run up against the “do you really want to wake the dust bear” problem. Naturally, I recommend leaving the dust bears alone in their natural Habitat. Who knows what a dust bear will do once woken?

If the dust bear is allowed to complete its hibernation, it will again evolve to the final form. The final form is the dust devil. These are no longer harmless bits of fluff, nor are they sleepy. These are dangerous balls of accumulated flotsam that can threaten a household. Ever wonder if the monster under the bed is real? Well, it is and it is a dust devil. They have a taste for small innocuous children and harmless pets, they leave kindred spirits alone.

There is only one known cure for a household infected with dust devils. Dynamite is guaranteed to remove all traces of the dangerous beasts. Unfortunately, it will also require the rebuilding of all the furniture, if not the house itself, but is absolutely necessary if the house is infected.

The tricky part to all this is to know when the dust bear, harmless sleepy creatures that they are, need to be removed from a house. Timing is critical, you should not disturb dust bears until it is necessary. But wait that critical day and you may well be missing a small child or pet next time you take a head count around the house.

What can you write about dust, how creative can you get with something so simple and yet so legendary?