Save Me From the Words

[This is a short story using both Word of the Day selections from and My goal for these stories is to get the story out by writing and editing it in one hour] 

galore – adjective, adverb

[guhlawr, –lohr]

always used after a noun informal

: in large numbers or amounts


logophobia – noun

[law-guhfoh-bee-uh, log-uh-]

an obsessive fear of words



Words shouted at Lucy.



Lucy wanted no part of them. Every time she misspelled a word, she was made fun of which was every day. Her wings were torn forcing her legs to carry her to the forest edge before the words had a chance to catch up.

“Whew! I think I lost them,” she said to the owl perched in the tree.

“Whooo?” was the owl’s reply.

“The words,” Lucy said. She trembled and shook. She peeked around the tree edge and was off again.

The words were relentless. They chased her through the woods.




Leaves crackled, twigs snapped. Lucy raced on, her legs burning. For a meadow fairy, she was quick and agile.




Lucy ignored the words. Her heart thumped against her chest bursting to get out.

Above, the owl followed along, cruising over the treetops always aware of the action below.

A tree root rose up out of the ground. Lucy’s foot snagged it sending her face first into the soft earth.

The owl swooped down, extended her wing which Lucy happily took. She swung up on the owl’s back. Together they flew out of the forest and headed towards town. Below them, the words gave up the chase.

“You suffer from logophobia,” Owl said.

Lucy scrunched her eyes.

“You are afraid of words; they terrify you.” Owl explained.

Lucy nodded.

“Only a few words were chasing you and they said they wanted to help. They seemed genuine.”

“I don’t think so. At school there were words galore. I’m not a good speller. The words became angry when I spelled most of them wrong.” Lucy’s bottom lip quivered.

“And so they chased you?” Owl asked.

“Not then. They threw the chalkboard eraser at me and made me write each word until I got it correct.”

“That’s not very nice.”

“You’re telling me. Fairy school is not all it’s cracked up to be. Every fairy culture is gifted in different forms. Meadow fairies are not good spellers. We don’t have to be because we are of the meadow and talk to the meadow creatures and care for them. We use no spells so we don’t write words, just speak them. Other fairies have to learn words to communicate to the other worlds, this is their job.”

“I see,” said Owl.

“When the last eraser hit my wing, tearing it, I stomped out of school, swearing I was never going back. Then one word apologized and then another, but it was too late for me. Once outside, I could not fly so I took off running.”

They glided through the air until Owl perched a top of a tall boxy building.

“We’re here,” Owl said.

Lucy stared at the sky. Stars twinkled. Meteors flew across it. She wished she could fly like them.

Bong! Bong! Bong! Bong!

“Tis four o’clock. I shall take you down now,” said Owl.

Lucy  held on tight, her wings tucked in neatly.

“Off you go. What you need is in here. Every culture and every law can be found here. You just have to look hard and research and you will find your answers.”

Lucy stepped toward the large building with the wise owl statues lining the stairway to it.

“Do not be alarmed when you enter. Words abound in every corner. These words are here to help you. Though you may be terrified of them, give them a chance. If it becomes too overwhelming, ask a librarian for help as help is always available in this magical place.”

Lucy was skeptical.  She stepped back toward Owl.

Owl nudged her forward. She took a deep breath and exhaled slowly.

“Thank you Owl for rescuing me. I shall take your advice.”

“Remember dear fairy, overcoming obstacles is not easy and takes time.”

Lucy nodded and waved goodbye.

Inside, the words waited patiently.

They had their work cut out for them.

As did Lucy. This was just the beginning.






SHOW DON’T TELL Isn’t Just for Writers

[photo credit:]
Are you confident in your abilities at work or in your personal life or do you need to tell the world what you are great at? Then this little blurb may explain what’s behind the SHOW DON’T TELL rule for life in general and well, if you are a writer, you may want to read this too.
Telling something can always be a lie but showing it proves the truth. Such as someone like Bob who tells the world ” I am always on time.” Is Bob really or just saying that to make others believe it. What do Bob’s actions show? Bob actually is often late to work rushing in fifteen to thirty minutes after the shift starts.running-late
However, what if Bob was actually quite punctual? Bob could say, “I punch in at 7:58 every morning, two minutes before the shift starts,” to show it and be truthful or he could say nothing and continue to be prompt for everything, confident in his ability to be punctual which people notice and remember.punctual
[photo credit:]
Telling shows a weakness in both proclamation and in writing. In both proclamations above, Bob feels the need to let everyone know he is punctual whether it is true or not. Only Bob knows why he has to broadcast this.
This works both ways. In this instance Mary tells everyone in the neighboring office, “I am the responsible one who plans everything and keeps everything flowing nice.” Mary is partially telling and partially showing, which is better. But…Mary is not responsible but relies on her co-workers to carry the weight of the work and follow through with orders. Her direct peers know this.
However, a different Mary tells the neighboring office this, “Bob has to carry the weight in our office. I’m not much help.” Mary is telling not showing. She is angry with Bob for being so lack in his skills and work ethics that she proclaims it is her hoping someone will disagree with her and tell her she is indeed a great help. By telling people she is not, it is contradictory to what her actions show.
When push comes to shove in work environments, for the most part, your actions speak volumes. But sometimes you do have to state your case to save your job, etc. and then you are best to show them with your words and not just tell. Showing your case with details gives the best choice for proving the truth. Telling offers nothing concrete.
[photo credit:]
In writing this is an example of weak writing versus strong writing or known as telling vs. showing:
The sun is shining.‘ or ‘Beams of sunlight lit up the field.
If I wrote, ‘The sun is shining,’ and later in the paragraph or scene I described a dreary day, the original sentence is a lie or a contradiction, thus showing weak plotting.
Point is, if you have to tell everyone how great you are something, it means you are trying to get others to believe something you yourself do not believe or feel inadequate about. Therefore, instead of touting to the world you are this or that, show them with your actions and let your actions speak for themselves; your actions are what everyone remembers.
‘SHOW DON’T TELL’ is a good rule to follow. Even if you are not a writer, you can apply the same rule to your life in both work and personal.
[photo credit:]
Want to know more about SHOW DON’T TELL? Check out these links:


[photo credit:]

Today’s story is under 100 words for Susanna Hill’s 6th Annual Halloweensie Contest that starts today and runs through Halloween night. The main rules are the story has to contain (in some form) these three words: ghost, moon and spider AND be 100 words or less.

In addition to these three words, I have incorporated both Learner’s Word of the Day and Word of the Day for today (Oct. 27, 2016) I also gave myself one hour to write it and edit it as per my usual Word of the Day guidelines.

delectation – noun

[dee-lek-tey-shuh n]

  1.   delight; enjoyment.

gourd – noun

  1.    any one of several types of fruits that have a hard shell and that are used for    decoration and not for eating
  2.  a gourd-shaped, small-necked bottle or flask.
  3.  a dried and excavated gourd shell used as a bottle, dipper, flask, etc.
  4.   Slang. out of one’s mind; crazy.



by Traci Bold

97 words

Moon cast light on the delectation below.

It saw animals, cowboys, ghosts, ghouls, knights, princesses, superheroes and witches running house to house for candy.

In the dark…

A huge sneaky spider spun its web fast which caught Moons’ attention.

The web grew large and wide enough to snare some tasty trick-or-treaters.

The spider was off its gourd! Moon was horrified.

It cast it’s light upon the spider for all to see.

The trick-or-treaters tricked the spider with their sticky candy, wrapping it in its own web.

They thanked Moon with a candy offering.

Which made Moon smile.



links to the contest:

And Now…The Moment You’ve All Been Waiting For…!

The 6th Annual Halloweensie Writing Contest – aahhhrrrooooOOOOO!!!

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

testudinal – adjective

[te-stood-n-l, –styood-]

  1. pertaining to or resembling a tortoise or tortoise shell.


crevice – noun


  1.   a narrow opening or crack in a hard surface and especially in rock


“I feel so naked without it,” Terrence said to his best friend Trent.

“You look fine without it,” said Trent.

“But I need it, it protects me. You wouldn’t go anywhere without yours and you know it.”

Trent kicked the ground, shuffling his feet. “You’re right, I wouldn’t.”

Terrence covered himself with large leaves he found.

Trent laughed. “You look better without the leaves.”

Terrence squinched his eyes and curled his mouth. “Fine.” He dropped the leaves.

“We need to retrace your footsteps,” Trent said. “Start from the beginning.”

Terrence led Trent back to his home under the mud bog. Trent scratched around the mud. Terrence breezed through the brush. “Not here,” he called out.

A shadow passed above them. Chills crept over Terrence.

They traipsed to the rock quarry next. Terrence kicked rocks out of his way while Trent noses around the big rock. “Not here,” he said.

Sweat dripped off of Terrence, his skin becoming pinkish.

“We have to find your shell fast. You’re going to fry right up and the buzzards will eat you all gone.”

Terrence trembled at the thought. He led Trent to the other side of the rock quarry where the sun was almost hiding.

A testudinal object poked out from the crevice in the quarry.

“Look Terrence!” Trent pointed.

CRAW! CRAW! A shadow circled above them, then disappeared.

“Run!” Trent called.

Terrence used all of his might pushing his stubby legs as fast as they could go.

The shadow became two.

Terrence pushed on.


Terrence ducked. “Almost there,” he chanted over and over.

Trent chucked a rock at the buzzards.


He ducked into his shell as the buzzards dove toward him.

Swooosh! Miss.

Trent peeked out from his shell, fearful for his friend.

Terrence lunged forward.

The testudinal object was indeed his shell. He pulled and prodded. Swoooosh! and pulled some more. The shell flew into the air…kerplunk… hit a buzzard and landed perfectly on Terrence, covering his body once more.

CRAW! CRAW! Screamed the buzzards, one rubbing it’s head.

Terrence ducked into his shell and hid in the crevice between a rock and a hard place, known as the quarry.

When the buzzards bagged out, Terrence ambled over to his friend.

“Good thing they’re gone, they almost had themselves fried tortoise for lunch.”

“And chicken soup if they had caught me,” Trent said as he shivered.

“You were brave Trent, not a chicken,” said Terrence.

“I guess so. But you’re the one who gave one buzzard a goose egg.”

Terrence laughed. “Yeah. Buzzards love to eat tortoise eggs so I bet they love goose eggs too!”

Together they laughed and laughed all the way to the mud bog where they filled up on leaves for lunch and nestled into the mud for a nap.




GOODBYE SUMMER: No More Hide and Seek

Caption for the Learner’s Word of the Day Photo above: This dog is sorely in need of a bath.

[It’s been too long since I have written a ‘Word of the Day’ story. Therefore here is a reminder: for these stories, I give my self 60 minutes to write it and edit it before I post it, that’s it. These are lessons in getting the story out so they are not perfect but done as eloquently as possible in a short amount of time.]

overweening – adjective


  1.   presumptuously conceited, overconfident, or proud
  2.   exaggerated, excessive, or arrogant


sorely – adverb

[sawr-lee, sohr-]

  1.   very much
  2.   in a painful manner


Barkin paused in the garden, his paws scratching the dirt unearthing an earthworm. He sniffed the air and closed his eyes.

“Whatcha doing Barkin? Want to play hide and seek?” Digger asked his furry friend.

Barkin plopped onto the dirt, late summer flowers surrounding him. “I’m sorely going to miss you Digger,” he said to the earthworm.

Digger arched his slender body. “Where am I going?”

“Winter’s coming and we won’t be able to play anymore. You and the rest of the diggers will be frozen in the ground.” Barkin hangs his head.

Miner pokes her head out. “Aww Barkin, autumn is just starting. We have plenty of time to play before winter.”

Barkin perks up. “Really?”

“Really,” says Miner.

“But what about Robin? She’s leaving soon. There will be no more tug o’ war games to watch.”

“Thank goodness for that,” Digger says. “We lose too many team members when Robin brings her friends.”

“True.” Barkin nudges Miner and Digger. They giggle.

“You’re nose is cold and wet, like we are” they say.

Barkin licks his nose and licks their head. “I’m not slimy though.”

Digger and Miner burrow down in the dirt. Barkin watches them disappear and waits, watching where they reappear. This is his favorite game: hide and seek.

Someone is tickling his tummy. Barkin jumps up and looks down. “Hey, you got me that time.” Digger smiles and burrows back down again. Barkin creeps over to the Asters whose overweening bushiness  rules over the corner of the garden giving Cottontail and Chip the best hiding place.

He noses around under the Asters. Cottontail and Chip jump out. “Found us!” Barkin wags but just once.

Digger pokes his head up near the Mums. “No one found me!”

“Look for Miner,” he tells Cottontail and Chip. “We don’t have many times left to play hide and seek with them before winter comes.” Barkin sniffles.

“Can’t find me,” says a familiar voice. Barkin sniffs the dirt. Tickle, tickle on his nose.

“Achoo! Found you Miner,” Barkin says sniffling some more.

“Why are you sad Barkin?” Miner asks.

“Chip’s going to hibernate and you diggers are going to freeze to death when winter comes. Cottontail and I are going to be lonely all winter.”

“We don’t die when the earth freezes, we burrow down deep and curl up waiting for spring. In a sense we freeze but as the earth warms, we revive slowly. Then the snow melts and when the moisture reaches us, we dig our way to the topsoil.” Digger explains.

Barkin looks at Cottontail, grinning. “In that case,” he said nudging Cottontail, “you’re it!” and bounds away.

The friends play hide and seek until Barkin is called inside for dinner.

“Let’s play again tomorrow!” and they agree to do so.


How Do Earthworms Survive Winter?

MAY WE NEVER FORGET (may we learn from history by staying strong and unified as a country)

As the 15th anniversary of that horrible day in 2001, we really should celebrate it as a holiday.

How can such a horrific event be a holiday? Holidays are meant for celebrations.

Many cultures believe that when a person dies, the living should celebrate the deceased persons life on earth and their passing on to a better place. This may be done with a gathering or feast where memories are shared, stories told and people unite. There are tears but those tears are not only for grief but also for joy in remembering.

9/11 should be the same but on a national scale: a noted holiday like D-Day.

This is how we can celebrate:

First, honor all who lost their lives that day by remembering how they died and giving a moment of silence to pay respect. Second, celebrate the memories of them by retelling their stories. And third, celebrate how our citizens came together to help one another and realize we are all humans, period. No ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or difference of appearance mattered then and should not matter now in how we treat each other. 911-quote-mayor-guiliani

We cititzens, we’re all the same, equal because of what we are: Americans. (As it should be.) Therefore, we celebrate each other’s uniqueness.

My hope is that this anniversary marks a new beginning; that we remember we are people, Americans. And by Americans I mean a melting pot [remember SchoolHouse Rock!] of    lady-liberty-school-house-rock great-american-melting-pot-recipe meltingpot-pic1  humans who care for one another as humans should. By American, I mean our differences (gender, looks, ethnicity, religion, skin color, sexual orientation, etc.) do not define us but are a part of what makes each of us American. Those characteristics individually help make each of us unique and special. What should define us as a person is how we treat each other and all other living beings. Period.



Remember the events that happened September 11, 2001. Pay respect to those who lost their lives. Honor them by not repeating such hateful disregard for human life and celebrate the unity shown that day and the days, months, years that followed by helping one another as ‘We the People’ of America can and should.

Bless you all. Together, we CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

#AmericaStrong #911Unity #DiversityRocks #WeThePeople #holiday




Cool Tools for Kidlit Writers and Illustrators

I started following ReFoReMo posts last year when it was featured on Carrie Charley Brown’s ‘Carrie On…Together’ website and this was the first post I saw:


I subscribed to the newsletter and from that point on, I read and studied every post and still do. @carriebrowntx

Starting over with a new career in late 2012, I knew I needed to start catching up on picture books and young adult books before I started writing books again. (I had written quite a few years ago but shelved them after they received so many rejections.) So from late 2012 through 2013 I read and read and read and wrote an occasional story just for fun.

In 2014 I got serious. I took a few online writing classes to hone some skills and then followed picture book author, Jamie A. Swenson’s advice to join SCBWI. Jamie is one of our children’s librarians at our public library which is how I met her. She also told me if I want to succeed in this business, I need to be aware of what’s out there and read, read, read. I had that part down. @JamieASwenson if you were a dog

So I joined SCBWI and went to my first SCBWI function in my home region of Wisconsin WI-SCBWI scbwiwilogo_400x400 and met so many wonderful people in the kidlit community. SCBWI is a must to be a part of if you are serious about writing kidlit.

Also in 2014, I discovered various writing groups on Facebook. I checked them out and in 2015 joined several including PiBoIdMo. piboidmo2015participant PiBoIdMo is writing down 30 picture book ideas in a month, one for every day of the month. This gives writers and illustrators opportunities to create ideas to work on throughout the year. I was all in coming up with not just 30 ideas but 36 total. Of those 36, I have eleven of them in various stages of revisions. PiBoIdMo offers so much more than just coming up with ideas so look into it. November is less than 2 months away.  @taralazar  normalnormancoverfinal

Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Picture Book Challenge  @JulieFHedlund was recommended to me by author Tara Lazar while I participated in PiBoIdMo. Tara is the founder of PiBoIdMo. She had sent me the link to 12 x 12 and ReFoReMo (the link from the beginning). 12x12_logo1 (1)

a troop is a group of monkeys

12×12 was the exact opportunity I was looking for to make my 36 ideas from PiBoIdMo shine. I started that in January and as March got closer I got excited for ReFoReMo which worked well with my 12 x 12 goals.

I found that just reading picture books wasn’t enough for writing good picture books. I needed to understand what secret to success each book held and not it’s selling success but what about the book made me like it or not. I measure a books success by readers enjoyment of the book. Yes, sales are great and necessary but the ultimate high is when a reader loves your book.

March 2016 brings me to ReFoReMo. I dove into the recommended reading list and the rest is history. What I gained from participating can be seen here:


The above article features me as a participant edited by Kirsti Call  @kirsticall  who is co-founder of ReFoReMo along with Carrie Charley Brown. the raindrop who couldn't fall

There are so many fantastic opportunities to be involved in your kidlit writing career if you choose to do so. These four are my top ones so far for getting me as far into my writing career as I am. I have confidence that I will have a long and rewarding career writing picture books and young adult books.

Oh, by the way, besides having talent, kidlit writers MUST HAVE PATIENCE! If you do not have patience then a career in writing any book is out of the question.

#justkeepwriting #justkeepwriting



#PiBoIdMo –

#12x12Challenge –

#ReFoReMo –

Laboring on Labor Day Weekend Unheard of (Not Really)

Featured  image above photo credit:

“3-day weekend! WOOT! WOOT!”

To many, the above is what Labor Day weekend means to them: no work, just playful fun times full of celebrations and relaxation. But many of the Millenial generations and younger have no idea why they are celebrating or why they may have off of work.

The United States Department of Labor defines this time as: ‘Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.’

WOW! The US government did that for the workers of America!

Not so fast. The US Government conceded into making it a national holiday to end strikes of National Unions that were fighting for workers rights and safety. In fact, thousands of union workers lost life and/or limb in those strikes and fights. Employers were keen to make as much money as they could by short changing their workers who worked long and tedious hours for next to little money while the owners and managers sat fat in money at the expense of their employees health and well being. Unions also fought for 40 hours a week work schedule instead of the 60+ work week that were so common in the factories.

the jungle

Upton Sinclair was a muckraker in the early 1900’s who exposed government and business corruption. THE JUNGLE is a vivid account of such actions that pushed Labor Day awareness into action.

John Steinbeck’s THE GRAPES OF WRATH is another great read showing workers struggles.

the grapes of wrath

A newer book written by Kate Alcott exposes the backbreaking conditions of the Mill Girls from the mid 1900’s is THE DARING LADIES OF LOWELL.

the daring ladies of lowell

Not everyone wants to read a book about though the above titles are engrossing. If you want to know more about this labor movement but don’t want to read, here are some great movies to watch and eat a bag popcorn while relaxing. (Of course some of these titles may be hard to come by)

at the river I stand

‘ (1993) – A film about the AFSCME Memphis Sanitation workers strike in 1968, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I have been to the mountaintop” speech. Dr. King was assassinated the following day. ‘*

bread & roses

‘(2000) – Two Latina sisters work as cleaners in a downtown office building, and fight for the right to unionize.’ *

norma rae

‘ (1979) – The story of Norma Rae (played by Sally Field), a southern textile worker employed in a factory with intolerable working conditions. This film won two Oscars and is considered a classic union film. ‘ *



‘SALT OF THE EARTH’  (1954) – The story of the New Mexico zinc miners strike that was taken over by the wives of the miners when they were prohibited from picketing. Most of the film crew was black listed in Hollywood in 1954 for producing this film.’ *


‘(1983) – The story of Karen Silkwood, a metallurgy worker at a plutonium processing plant who was purposefully contaminated, psychologically tortured and possibly murdered to prevent her from exposing blatant worker safety violations at the plant. Starring Meryl Streep, Cher & Kurt Russell.’*

the triangle factory fire

‘ (1979) – Real-life drama of the tragic sweatshop fire in New York as seen through the eyes of four women who worked there. ‘ *


There you have it. If you are about this weekend and go anyplace where there are people to wait on you or serve you (and there are an abundance) please be courteous, gracious and kind. Thank them and tip well (if tipping is appropriate).

What will I be doing this weekend? Working of course. The weeds and outdoor chores beckon.

Happy Labor Day weekend!

p.s. If you happen to be pregnant and in labor this weekend, bless you.Many years ago on Labor Day, I was in labor from early morning until I had my little girl in the wee hours two days later.






Letting Your Spirit Run Free Through Writing and Illustrating

As an author of picture books (and young adult) who is working on getting published, I take pride in reading what other authors and illustrators write. I do not illustrate my books as I leave that up to the professionals but I do imagine what the illustrations might look like as I write.


[As you can see above, I am best to leave the illustrating to the professionals and hone the story instead.]

Reading and researching are as much a part of writing as the writing itself.

how big could your pumpking grow

To be exceptional or even good at at writing, one must READ, READ, READ. To be exceptional at illustrating picture books one must STUDY, STUDY, STUDY AND READ, READ, READ picture books as well. Research is key!

the searcher and the old tree

Since 2012, I have read over 2,500 picture books to learn what’s out there in the marketplace and learn who’s writing  and illustrating them. (In 2014 I discovered Goodreads where I joined and started keeping track of all of the books I read which obviously does not have anything pre-October 2014)

But can I name the books, the authors, the illustrators, the publishers? Not off the top of my head. Too many to list and too many to remember. But if you are looking for specific authors, illustrators or publishers books, a good place to start is

Which brings me to the point of this post. Since I do not illustrate, I am in awe of illustrators. And if the illustrator also writes their own story then WHAM! I am starstruck. Therefore, I can however give you a sampling of the author/illustrators whose books I recently enjoyed for both the writing and the illustrating.

Without further ado, by photo and in no specific order, here are some of my favorite books by Author/Illustrators:


badgers fancy meal

who says woof

go away big green monster

grandpa green

roses garden

the big orange splot


one mornin in maine


the storm whale

the opposite

sea bones

the z was zapped

the mixed up chameleon

10 minutes till bedtime

bats at the beach


in the night kitchen


Below is the list of author/illustrators in order of above book appearance in this post starting with the header photo.

Denise Fleming – @DeniseKFleming

David McPhail –

Patrick McDonnell – @MUTTScomics

Steven Kellogg –

Mercer Mayer – @MercerMayer

David Ezra Stein –

Jeannie Baker –

Ashley Spires – @ashleyspires

Dav Pilkey –

Daniel Miyares – @danielmiyares

John Burningham – @john_burningham

Wendell Minor – @WendellMinor

Keiko Kasza –

John Butler –

Ed Embereley – @EdEmberley

Lane Smith –

Peter H. Reynolds – @peterhreynolds

Daniel Pinkwater – @DanielPinkwater

Hyewon Yum –

Robert McCloskey

Lois Ehlert –

Benji Davies – @Benji_Davies

Il Sung Na – @ilsungna

Bob Barner –

Chris Van Allsburg –

Eric Carle – @ericcarle @carlemuseum @WorldEricCarle

Peggy Rathmann –

Brian Lies – @BrianLiesbooks

Graeme Base –

Maurice Sendak –

Shennen Bersani – @ShennenBersani


May this list inspire you to do your creative best.

Happy reading!











No matter the writing, it's all about the words. This site is PG-rated and dedicated to #KIDLIT.

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