I've Got Writes!

Teacher, Writer, Proofreader

Archive for the month “July, 2014”

How I’m Learning to Blog

This summer, I have been studying up on how to create and manage a successful blog. I’m working slowly, but diligently to implement what I’ve learned.

Three books have been vitally helpful to me. The first one I read is Create Your Own Blog: 6 Easy Projects to Start Blogging Like a Pro (2nd edition) by Tris Hussey.  It’s a down-to-earth, easy read. (Although, some of the more techie talk is above my head right now, but hopefully, not forever). Trussey uses humor and explains his preferences and why he has those preferences. My general take away from this book so far is listed below:

  • Trussey’s preferred blogging platform is WordPress, though he did discuss the strong points of blogger and Tumblr.
  • WordPress offers a free blogging platform, with options to upgrade for a fee.
  • WordPress.com and WordPress.org are different, in that WordPress. org allows the more tech savvy users to have more ownership by self-hosting their sites.
  • For more professional use, purchasing a domain name is encouraged as soon as you know you’ll stick with it–like consistent posts for three or four months.
  • Visit other blogs in your niche and comment generously and sincerely. This helps build your blogging community and traffic to your blog.
  • Compelling content is key! (I’m very aware that I need work on this).

More information scratched in my notes will eventually be applied. For now, I need to keep writing and reading. I’ll address other parts of the book as I expand my techie skills!

For future reference, the other blogging books I’m reading are WordPress for Dummies and ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income by Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett.


New Home?

More story writing practice . . .

The Feldmans toured the two-story Cape Cod styled home, eyes wide with anticipation. The real estate agent, Frank, inconspicuously rushed them through the house and back out to the front lawn.

“We love it,” said Mr. Feldman, as his wife nodded in agreement. “Is there anything we should know about the house’s past?”

The agent looked down and stammered, “Uh, what do you mean?”

“Well, like, was there ever a termite problem? Or, is the electrical wiring up to standards or did Joe-Blow rig it up?”

Relieved, the agent replied with a forced smile, “Oh! No, no termites. And the wiring has been inspected thoroughly by a certified electrician. So, no problems there.”

The agent went back to flipping through his paperwork, hoping no more questions would be asked about the previous owners. He wanted to get this house sold quickly so he didn’t have to step foot in it again. Gave him the creeps.

Why does the house creep Frank out? Why don’t the Feldmans clue in to Frank’s unease? What’s the back story? Please give feedback!

Big Mouth Bully

This is one  I wrote for an assignment for a writing class I took a couple of years ago. Any suggestions? Any personal connections? Let me know!

“Today’s children should be taught to treat everyone with respect!” shouted the protestor. The swarm of frightened parents had formed in front of Layton Middle School the morning after three eighth graders had jumped a sixth grader.
Reyna half-listened to the news clip she found on Youtube while researching information for her bullying project. She chatted online with her friend back home and belted a Katy Perry song playing on her iPod.
She typed, it’s freezing here! I want my arizona sun! 2 girls talked 2 me 2day in social studies. Dulce is nice. Karla is loud! Miss you!
On day two at her new school, Reyna found Dulce smiling and waving on the front steps. Then, like a tornado siren, Karla sounded off from across the lawn, “O-M-G! What is that HUGE red knob on your nose, Dulce?!” Dulce stopped breathing for a split second and dipped her head to hide the zit, her lips forcing a smile. Before Karla made it to the steps, Dulce had time to whisper, “It’s no big deal. I’m used to it.” Karla broke into an obnoxious rendition of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” then cackled, “Just kidding!”
Reyna couldn’t figure it out. The only part of Karla that was huge and intimidating was her mouth, but she clearly had a knack for turning faces fire-red with embarrassment. Reyna thought, Why didn’t Dulce stand up for herself? What if Karla starts making fun of me, too?
As the trio clicked down the science hall in their heels, Karla suddenly did a double-take. Dread pressed down on Reyna’s chest when she realized who caught Karla’s attention. “Oh, no,” she mouthed. “Not him.”
“Hey! Who’s that kid? I’ve never seen him before,” quizzed Karla.
“He must be a sixth grader,” Dulce said softly, hoping Karla would just go to class.
“Why is he walking funny?” Karla persisted loudly.
“Um, I think he might have a fake leg,” said Dulce.
Reyna’s breathy voice emerged, “You mean prosthetic leg. It’s called a prosthesis.”
Karla’s eyes were tenacious. “Yeah, whatever . . . HEY, LIMPY!” Though the crowd of voices was squelched, the feet shuffling intensified. No one else wanted to risk being a target.
Cringing, Reyna said, “Karla, he has a name, don’t call him that.”

Karla’s momentum intensified. “You should go out for track! Maybe you could win a medal!” The boy never looked back at her.
Reyna had heard enough. Before Karla could spit out her next piercing comment, Reyna slammed her against the locker. “Shut. Your. Mouth. He’s my brother! He has a right to be here just like anyone else, and he should not have to listen to your ignorant, ugly comments!”
For once, Karla was speechless. Reyna walked away, having immediate clarity about how she would present her bullying project next week. With a deep breath of relief, Dulce followed.

Fleeting Dreams

SWOOSH! The tassels on the Egyptian carpet swirled as he felt his stomach jut to his throat, like it used to when he rode the Big Dipper roller coaster at Springer Fun Park. Sweat beaded and slid into his golf-ball eyes. He wiped it away, hoping to wipe away the entire scene. His opponent was “driving” the magic carpet, somehow controlling its dips and sudden turns. Sinister laughter growled from his rival. Where are we going? What’s going on? How did I get here?

Another sudden drop, his arms flew above his head involuntarily. Billows of cotton flew past them. Buildings. Downtown. An all-too-familiar scenario, but this time, no planes. Just a flying– carpet? A gleam of light reflected from the windows of the skyscraper, blinding him for a split second. The windows came closer, his face contorted, eyes clinched shut, hands armored his face. He screamed out, “NO!”

He didn’t feel the actual impact. He awoke to his wife’s wearied and calming voice. “Honey, it’s ok. Another nightmare. You’re at home, in bed.”

He tried to catch his breath. Stupid dream. Why do I keep having this dream? Does it mean something? Ridiculous. I’m just overworked, overwhelmed, overstressed. Need to relax.

Lily was already snoring again. She worried and consoled him the first two times, but after six repetitions of the crazy ride, it got old. She just didn’t have the energy. Four kids, all in activities, and her husband running for State Representative, took everything she had. He wasn’t home much anyway, which added to their lack of communication or quality time with each other. At first, she was hurt and angry, but now, it was just the reality of their relationship. She wasn’t really okay with it, but the daily schedule moved her along so much that she didn’t have the time to think about it. Maybe things would change after the election. Maybe they would go back to normal. Not that she didn’t think he would be a successful and efficient representative, but in her mind, he was still the regular small town boy she met when they were thirteen. She thought it great that he made it this far, but actually winning the election was still far-fetched to her. Her ambitions didn’t much go beyond, “What should I fix for dinner tonight?” or “How do I get Katie to her dance lesson and get Alex to soccer practice when both start at the same time and are on opposite sides of the city?” And, “Who will pick up Erika from yearbook?” And, “Nick needs new drum sticks for the band competition on Saturday.”

His breathing finally normalized. He got up to walk around, to think. Ok, if this flying carpet piloted by Lassiter really means something, what are the possible solutions to the riddle? Or, what the hell is the riddle in the first place? When your opponent with an evil laugh drives you around on a magic carpet, mimics one of the worst terrorist acts on American soil and you feel completely out of control . . .that means . . .

Another practice write. Any comments, suggestions? I’m open to feedback. (Disclaimer–any similarities between this story and your personal life are simply coincidental).


The Valentine’s Way

Oh, crap! I can’t believe after all this time I have to run into him on Valentine’s Day of all days. Great. Can’t a girl just schlep to the store in her sweats and t-shirt after a run on freakin’ Valentine’s Day without turning the corner from the feminine hygiene aisle and colliding into her ex? Lord. I could’ve at least put on some mascara. It would’ve made my blue eyes pop and make him wish he could gaze into . . .  Good grief, snap out of it! What do I say? I wasn’t prepared for this. Why is he at “my” Target, anyway? He has his own—unless he moved. Should I ask if he moved? No, making him think I’m remotely interested in his whereabouts is a dreadful idea.


Clearly, this is an unfinished piece of writing practice from a prompt. If you have ideas, suggestions, creative insight to leave in the comment section, please feel free to play along!

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