Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Writer Wednesday - Cool Writer-ly Links and Articles

There's a few really cool sites and articles I found recently on writing, and I'd like to share them with you.

50 Idioms About Legs, Feet, and Toes by Mark Nichol

34 Writing Tips That Will Make You A Better Writer by Daniel Scocco

Emergency Writing Motivation Techniques by Luc Redi

The 7 Rules of Picking Names For Fictional Characters by Brian A. Klems

So You Want to Write a Novel (This is Hilarious) by Brian A. Klems - this is a video and really is funny!

How to Open Without a Bang by Alex Keegan - an interesting take on the topic of novel openings

Seven Tips From Ernest Hemingway on How to Write Fiction by Mike Springer

I'm always on the lookout for interesting articles and sites on writing, whether it's motivational, inspirational, technical or just funny. Any good articles on writings you've read lately, or any cool sites you've discovered? Please share.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Quote of the Day

 Ziyi Zhang in Memoirs of a Geisha

Adversity is like a strong wind.  It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.  
~ Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha

Monday, July 29, 2013

Contests & Giveaways in the Writing World - Week of July 29th

Yep, that's how I feel. But since we have's to a great working week. And don't forget to check out these awesome giveaways and contests!

Rockstar romance? Now that's exciting! Book Whore is hosting a Rockstar Romance Giveaway with lots of prize packages of cool books!

Check out The Best of 2012 YA Giveaway from Anna Silver and win a Super Swag Pack!

DB Ayers, AKA Dakota Banks, AKA Shirley Kennett is blogging about pen names on the Supernatural Underground today, and giving away a $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card!

Paranormal and Urban Fantasy Reviews is reviewing Dragonwitch by Anne Elizabeth Stengl as part of the Dragonwitch Blog Tour hosted by I'm a Reader Not a Writer. Enter for a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash.

5 Days left to enter the 2013 Weta Nichols Writing Contest. Hurry to submit your Contemporary, Historical, Fantasy or Sci/fi or YA romance unpublished manuscript.

Get ready to submit your YA, NA and MG pitches in the August Pitch+250 contest! Authors, agents and editors will score your pitches+250 in three rounds of judging. Get all the details right here.

*As always, please contact me for the inclusion of your contests/giveaways into the Monday Contests and Giveaways in the Writing World posts.

Have fun and good luck! 

Also, don't forget to become a follower of this blog to make sure you catch giveaways coming soon!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Great Quotes about Writing

Here are a few great quotes on writing for your enjoyment on this lovely Wednesday.

“The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.”
~ Philip Roth

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
~ Ernest Hemingway

“We’re past the age of heroes and hero kings. … Most of our lives are basically mundane and dull, and it’s up to the writer to find ways to make them interesting.”
~ John Updike, WD

“There are no laws for the novel. There never have been, nor can there ever be.”
~ Doris Lessing

 "The first draft of anything is shit."
~ Ernest Hemingway

"Always be a poet, even in prose."
~ Charles Baudelaire

"Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five of six. Most people don't see any."
~ Orson Scott

What are your favorite quotes about writing?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Quote of the Day

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
~ Thomas A. Edison

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Quote of the Day

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. 
~ Thomas Merton

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Guest Post - poet Fida Islaih

Today, I'm glad to have writer and poet Fida Islaih on the blog to talk about her writing journey and her campaign to publish a collection of poetry. Fida, take it away.
Hello readers!

It makes me happy to reach out to you and thank you, Yelena, for having me on your blog. 

I've been writing for as long as I can remember, but I didn't get serious until I was in middle school. I have a drawer full of unedited stories. 

I was first into writing poetry. One day in class, we had a poetry project. I enjoyed it so much, I wrote extra poems for it. After that I continued writing .

When read Does My Head Look Big in This by Randa Abdel-Fattah, it inspired me to write a similar story. A few months later, I gave it a major rewrite. This inspired me to put all the good and bad experiences of my life into different stories I wanted to write. I could make the MC do what I couldn't do. It made me feel better in so many ways. 

I'm hoping to self publish my poetry in the next few months and years. I might self publish my novellas, too, or work on making them full novels that I'd be able to query to agents. I know a few are interested in the concepts, but like I said, I have to work on length. 

I've been writing poetry for awhile and I get easily inspired by everything, especially my own experiences and nature. I have more than enough for a collection. 

Recently I participated in the A to Z Challenge and saw that some of the previous participants self published their posts. I thought I should do the same. I also thought 26 poems isn't enough, so I decided to put in 100 poems, which I'm happy to say I did. Right now I'm crowdfunding the collection so that I could get help monetary and professionally for self publishing it. 

I hope you guys are willing to join in. You can find the synopsis, excerpt, and place to donate at

Fida is a multicultural Muslim poet and you can finding more about her as a writer, as well as her projects at

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Quote of the Day

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. 

~ Lao Tzu

Monday, July 15, 2013

Contests & Giveaways in the Writing World - Week of July 15th

It's a heatwave week here, and there's no better way to spend it than by the beach with a book. For the rest of us ;) here's to a great working week. And don't forget to check out these awesome giveaways and contests!

Check out the Cover Reveal of Wings by Elizabeth Richards (a gorgeous cover, I might add) on Good Choice Reading. This is a Black City #3 novel. Enter to win the first two books in the series.
Stop by Reader Girls as part of the By Referral Only Blog Tour. Win By Referral Only, a New Adult contemporary romance, and other books by Lyla Payne, as well as a $25 Gift Card to Amazon or B&N!

Jessabella Reads is running a July New Release Giveaway - enter to win one of the 12 new releases - and they all look great!

Read all about a new archaeological adventures from popular suspense Writer Don Hoesel on Sarah Ballance's blog and enter for your chance to win a $50 Gift Card to Amazon or Paypal Cash from Book Blasts and Blog Tours!

An exciting writing contest for writers of YA, NA and MG. Submission will be accepted from July 31 through August 3rd. To enter, you will need to send in a pitch of no more than 100 words, and the first 250 words of your completed manuscript. The top 10 submissions will receive a critique from one of the judges. All 50 entrants will receive scorecards from each round of judging they participate in. For more details, check out Adventures in YA and Children's Publishing!

Another great writing contest - the 2013 Weta Nichols Fiction Writing Contest! Hurry, only 18 more days left to enter! The following categories are accepted for submission: Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal/Sci-Fi, and Young Adult. You can find all the details here.

Writing Flash Fiction? There's one more day to enter the Literacy Center of West Michigan's Flash Ficiton Writing Contest. You can win up to $150. Submit an unpublished work of up to 500 words. Find the details here.

NA Alley is kicking off its NAmazing Adventure Blog Hop! This one is really an adventure - you have to go on Quests and complete Quizes. The winners will be chosen from those who answered the most questions correct.

*As always, please contact me for the inclusion of your contests/giveaways into the Monday Contests and Giveaways in the Writing World posts.

Have fun and good luck! 

Also, don't forget to become a follower of this blog to make sure you catch giveaways coming soon!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Friday Art & History Feature - My trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Yesterday, I made a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. I haven't been in a couple of years and it was time to make a visit. In all honesty, I'd live there, if I could! :) It was interesting to be there after visiting the Louvre in Paris last year and to compare the amazing collections. Every time I go to the MET, I discover something I haven't seen before, something that fascinates me and makes me want to go back time and time again.

Here are a few pictures from my trip yesterday of some of my favorites.

Ancient Greek and Roman Art

A Wounded Amazon (Greek)
Venus (Roman)
The Boxer (Greek, on special exhibit at the MET this summer)
Medieval Art

Virgin and Child, South Netherlandish, 1345
Virgin and Child by Claus de Werve (Netherlands, 1415-17)
The Angel Gabriel, circa 1493
Renaissance Art and Armor

Madonna and Child by Bachiacca (Italy, 1520s)
16th Century French Noble's Bedroom
Me in front of the suit of armor of Henry VIII
In front of Knights on horses in full armor

Psyche and Cupid at the MET

Psyche and Cupid at the Louvre

Western and Northern European Art

Self-portrait, Rembrandt Van Rijs (one of my favorite artists)
In front of the Family Portrait of Peter Paul Rubens by Rubens (1635, Flemish, another one of my favorite artists)
The Holy Family with Saints Anne and Catherine of Alexandria by Jusepe di Ribera (1648)
Winter or La Frileuse, by Jean-Antoine Houdon (1787). This is one of the works of art I discovered for myself on this particular trip. It's fantastic!
Detail of Winter by Jean-Antoine Houdon
Sapho by Comte Prosper D'Epinay (circa 1895)
In front of Latona And Her Children, Apollo and Diana by William Henry Rinehart (1874)

The Eternal Spring by Auguste Rodin (This is one of my favorite works by Rodin, I can look at it for hours!)

Reaching Jaguar (American)

Japanese Art and Armor

Jizo (Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha), Kamakura period (1185-1333)
Samurai Armor
In front of a Samarai on the horse armor exhibit
Have you ever been to the Metropolitan Museum of Art? What are you favorite pieces of art there?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Quote of the Day

Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory.
~ Mahatma Gandhi

Monday, July 8, 2013

Friday, July 5, 2013

Friday Art & History Feature - European Castles

I'm fascinated with ancient castles and palaces, and Western Europe is ripe with them. Here are some of my favorite castles (most of which I'm yet to visit).

Chateau de Chambord in Loire Valley

Chateau la Rochefoucauld

Chateau de Chenonceau in Loire Valley


Castello di Soave in Verona

Fenis Castle in Aosta Valley

Castel Sant'angelo in Rome, which I had the pleasure of seeing


Coca castle in Segovia

Alcazar Castle in Segovia

Castillo de Loarre


Bodiam Castle

Alnwick Castle

Herstmonceux Castle

Windsor Castle


Burnratty Castle

Blarney Castle

Dublin Castle

Kilkenny Castle

This is just a very small sampling of the unbelievable number of beautiful castles located in Western Europe.

Do you like castles? Which ones are your favorite?
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