Friday, April 29, 2011

"Z" is for Zzz...Writing Sounds

A to Z Blogging Challenge: 
"Z" is for Zzz...Writing Sounds

Ohhhhh, I love to use sounds in my writing! But how do you spell the words correctly? I started a list of word sounds (at bottom) and then found this GREAT website that tells you how to spell them! Yippee!


Writing Exercise: Write a poem or story using sounds. Share in the Comments Section. My response is below.

The frisbee whizzed through the air. It thudded against the chalkboard. Ellie Mae put her hands on her hips and with a tsk-tsk-tsk proceeded to tell Bobby that he would be in big trouble if Ms. Cruz had been in the room. Just then the door clicked open and Bobby heard the familiar clack-clack-clack of shoes on the polished floor. He froze. It wasn't Ms. Cruz. It was Mr. Upperman, the principal, who merely pointed toward the office. 

As Bobby sat down in front of the big mahogany desk, Mr. Upperman began the usual drum-drum-drum of his fingers on the glass top. Soon the lecture would begin. Why didn't he learn? He always got caught.   

Fun Sound list:
Aw               vroom        tweet              zap            Tick-tick-tick
Grrrrr           gurgle           pop              Smack          Tic Toc
Ugh              tut-tut          sniff             smooch          tap-tap
Ugh              poof             BAM!            crack            snap
Kerplunk       grrrrowl        POW!            sputter         zooom
Whoosh        woof woof     ruff ruff         boom         Mmm-mmm
Err               Ummm          bzzzz            ding             Mmm
Ah hah!         Uh uh           Uh-huh          Uh-huh?       Mmm?
Uh-oh           Yuck             Yikes!           Aaahhh!       Yikes!
Burp             Eek!             Squeak          chhut           Whoops!
Ding              whizz            poof             flap            Oops!
Aargh!          Hooeee!        Hooah!          Hmm           Waaa!
Whoa!           Dink              drip              plop           boo hoo
scritch-scratch   eh?           splish-splosh   drum-drum  hoot 
Screech         Yoo hoo        Plunk             plonk           Hoo Hoo
Bleep            blip               swish            sigh             ooowww
Ha ha           grunt             sizzle            tsk, tsk           Yeow!
Ummph         humph          Oi!                Splat            slurp

Other writing sound source:    

Thursday, April 28, 2011

"Y" is for Yourself

A to Z Blogging Challenge - "Y" is for Yourself 

I've really enjoyed visiting different blogs and getting to know you a little bit through comments. I'd like to know more!

Writing Exercise: Write one paragraph that shares something about you. It can be about your favorite things, your personality, or about a specific childhood memory. Share in the Comments Section.  
My response is below.

I wanted to be just like Rachel with her long blond hair and her Jordash jeans with the comb sticking out the back pocket. I wanted to be cool, like Rachel. I was just an ugly duck, a military brat, trying to fit in, never having friends because we moved so often. My short permed hair and glasses were gross. I tried to imitate Rachel. The way she walked. The way she feathered her hair. If she did it, I did it. She often got mad at me for copy-catting her, but I just wanted her beauty to rub off on me. 

For another story about me see Double-Dutch.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"X" is for Xing into Podcasting!

TheWriteSoil Podcast - Episode 1 - Gardening is like Writing
Writing Exercise: Describe a Place
Story Reading: My Garden by Dawn M. Hamsher

A to Z Blogging Challenge - "X" is for Xing into Podcasting!

Wow! I am so excited! I made my first Podcast! More writing fun -- just in audio! Here is a little more information about it.

Podcast Title: TheWriteSoil
Slogan: "Dig in the Dirt!"
Podcast Purpose: To encourage and improve writing (yours and mine).
Format: Topic, Writing Exercise, My Response to the Writing Exercise

I would really like your feedback!
  1. What would you like to see in a writing podcast?
  2. What did you like or dislike about this podcast (you won't hurt my feelings)?
  3. What writing topics/skills would you be interested in?
  4. Would you enjoy hearing more of my stories, poems, and skits?

My Podcast Webpage:
Link to Episode 1 - Gardening is like Writing

Note: The Writing Exercise today is in the podcast!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"W" is for Writer's Block and Webbing

A to Z Blogging Challenge: 
"W" is for Writer's Block and Webbing

Webbing can help with writer's block!  
Kimberly Willis Holt's website Writing Tips has a cute web that shows what she's done in the throws of writer's block. 

Well, we are not going to take a bubble bath or bake cookies for today's exercise, but we are going to do some webbing!

Writing Exercise: Go with the big picture or go with a specific scene from your story and create a web. See the links below for webbing tips. Share your webbing thoughts in the Comments Section.  Webbing Tips -- 

My response to the exercise:
The Librarian Chronicles - Guardians of the Secret, Traboltia Kingdom (Created using PowerPoint)

Extra Post - 1st Writes

If you are a Christian Writer in need of encouragement 
(and who isn't?), I invite you to visit 1st Writes blog.  
This is my local writing group's blog. You may not be able to physically make it to PA to sit down with us, but the blog is the next best thing. Hope to see you there soon!

Contributors to 1st Writes Blog:
Dawn - The Write Soil

Monday, April 25, 2011

"V" is for Verbs

A to Z Blogging Challenge: 

"V" is for Verbs

I mentioned on my "S" is for Short Words post that I really like Audrey Owen's Writing Tips. With her permission, I'm going to quote the part of Tip #5 (Use strong verbs and nouns) that deals with verbs.

The verbs are the action words. They put things in motion. Make yours as strong as possible.

The verb to be (am, is, are, was, were) puddles on the floor. Eliminate it wherever possible. I spent a year in Ukraine and experienced Russian, where the verb to be exists, but almost never appears. People simply leave it out and I found the effect powerful. In English we can't leave verbs out of our sentences, but we can make those we use work hard for us. 

Writing Exercise: Re-work this postcard letter and get rid of all "to be" verbs. Share your results in the Comments Section. Is it more powerful?

(text version below)

Jambo (that means "How are you?"). I'm going on safari! The guide is a native to the land and is known for catching big game. We are going to stay at the Hotel Timbili, which was rated with five stars. We were fortunate to find such good accommodations in such a rural area.
Your Sis,

"U" is for Unidentified

A to Z Blogging Challenge: "U" is for Unidentified

Writing Exercise: Describe an item, without identifying it by name. Use enough details and facts so that the reader can guess what it is. Share in Comments Section.

My response is below. Can you guess?


My unidentified item is small, only 2.5 inches tall by 2 inches wide. It has a one inch tall circular base made of resin that is decorated with orange poppies. On top of the base is painted yellow brick road, on which a figurine of a cow stands. The cow is painted like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. The figurine and road are encased in a round, see-through glass sphere that is securely fixed to the item's base. The sphere is full of water and when the item is shaken, glitter swirls in the water around the cow figurine. My item is a ______________________.

Friday, April 22, 2011

"T" is for Title

A to Z Blogging Challenge: 

"T" is for Title


The title sets the tone for your book or story. It is the first impression. It has to grab attention and make the reader want to open the book.



Elizabeth Richards’ article How to Write a Great Book Title has these tips:

  • Keep Titles Short and Sweet (easy to remember)

  • Make Titles Descriptive

  • Use Keywords and Key Story Elements to Create Titles

Writing Exercise: Which titles below sound interesting? Which do not? Create some interesting titles of your own or share story titles that you've already written. Share them in the Comments Section.

Book and Story Titles:
Average Jones
Do and Dare: A Brave Boy's Fight for Fortune
Little Women
Sam's Chance and How He Improved It
The Tin Box
The Scouts of Stonewall
Walk to the Cross
Ten Nights in a Bar Room
The Master of Silence: A Romance
The Garden of Survival
Amelia Bedilia
The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard
The Guilty River
An Outcast of the Islands
Lois the Witch
Interview With a Pirate

New Grub Street
Autobiography of a Pocket-Hankerchief
Barnaby Rudge
The Pickwick Papers

Sister Carrie
Sticks and Stones

Mr. Meeson's Will
Held Fast for England
The Crayon Papers

P.S. I've thrown in a few of my own story titles above (sneaky, huh?).

Thursday, April 21, 2011

"S" is for Short Words

A to Z Blogging Challenge: "S" is for Short Words

You hear people say all the time, "I wish I wasn't short." Well, in writing, short is best! 

Audrey Owen has a fantastic website called Writer's Helper. In her article Writing Tips, she lists some great suggestions that I hope you will check out. For today, though, I'm only focusing on three short sentences from her Tip #5 -- Use strong verbs and nouns.  

They are:

"Short words are usually best. They have more punch. They hit the gut hard."

Notice that only one word has more that one syllable. Powerful!

Writing Exercise: Write for 10 minutes using short words. If you need a writing prompt, use "short". Do you have a powerful "short" sentence to share in Comment Section?  My response is below.

Short Sue
By Dawn M. Hamsher

Short Sue was so short that she sewed her own shirts. 

And sadly she hemmed even short mini skirts.
For shoes, she was glad with a child's pair, size three.
And little kid shorts -- they came down to her knee.

But on the inside, Short Sue was spunk that was pure.
No boy ever hit her  -- that's one thing for sure.
All fire, was Short Sue that she'd land 'em a punch.
The kid have no chance, he'd just lay in a bunch.

Short Sue was not sad to be listed as short. 
In fact, if called so, she would often retort,
"I might be small, but in lines I can zip.
I pay less for my food and less for a tip."

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"R" is for Rejection

A to Z Blogging Challenge: "R" is for Rejection

Writing Exercise: Write about how you feel when your submission gets rejected. Share in the Comments Section.

My response to rejection:
As you know, I'm still riding high from getting my first story published, but I have had several submissions get rejected (or rather never heard a peep back). It hasn't bothered me that much because I am mostly writing for the joy and challenge of it. I am always busy working on a new project, so I don't sit around waiting for a rejection. Now, having said that, I am working on a book that someday I DO want published. Ask me then, how I am dealing with rejection!  :0)

But, be encouraged! Most authors deal with rejection. Rejection: 3 Methods for Coping offers some good advice. It also lists some authors who were rejected.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – 14 rejections
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle – 29 rejections 
Carrie by Stephen King – over 30 rejections 
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – 38 rejections
A Time to Kill by John Grisham – 45 rejections 
Louis L’Amour, author of over 100 western novels – over 300 rejections before publishing his first book
Ray Bradbury, author of over 100 science fiction novels and stories – around 800 rejections before selling his first story
The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter – rejected so universally the author decided to self-publish the book 

So, don't give up! Can you imagine if these authors had?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"Q" is for Curly Q's

A to Z Blogging Challenge: "Q" is for Curly Q’s

Curly Q  [kur-lee kyoo] - adjective - Something that is annoying or difficult to follow, as pertaining to writing or blogs, that causes the reader to tune out.
Writing Exercise: What in writing or blogs causes you to tune out?  Share in the Comments Section.
My response is below.


I tune out when I see:

Curly Q #1-- Fancy-smancy language that is hard to understand. What does Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia mean anyway? If I have to look it up, I skip it! 

Curly Q #2-- Funky Fonts that are hard to read.
This is pretty, but it is hard to focus; I'm getting annoyed. I stop reading.

Curly Q #3-- Bragging, flaunting, "I'm better than you" attitude. Not every trip you've taken, not every piece of jewelry you've bought, not every accomplishment you've had needs to be broadcasted on Facebook (can anyone relate?). 

Ok, your turn. What causes you to tune out?

Monday, April 18, 2011

"P" is for Poke 'Em in the Eye - Blogs that Get Attention!

A to Z Blogging Challenge: 
"P" is for Poke 'Em in the Eye - Blogs that Get Attention!

Do I have your attention?
When I started blogging a few months ago, I was looking for advice on how to blog well. I found two articles that helped me tremendously.

Attention Grabbing Blogging by Darren Rowse

The 5 Immutable Laws of Persuasive Blogging by Brian Clark.

Here are my take-aways from these articles:

  • Use Good, Attention-Grabbing Titles
  • Ask a Question (I often leave a comment to a post that asks a question)
  • Use a Picture that Fits the Post
  • Post Interesting and Useful Things
  • Tell a Story
  • Use an Easy-to-Read format (use bullets when possible)
  • Shorter Posts are Usually Better
  • Use Humor
Note: Darren Rowse also suggests a blog post "Be Controversial" and "Make a Bold Claim", but neither of these fits my style.
Blog-Improvement Exercise: Jot down two things that you can improve on your blog. Share them in the Comments Section. Then go to work to make the changes on your future posts.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

"O" is for Out loud Editing

A to Z Blogging Challenge: "O" is for Out loud Editing

Writing Exercise: Read your writing out loud as a way to edit. Re-work any sentences that you stumble over.

For this exercise, I've chosen to read a passage from the book I'm working on. Feel free to offer your suggestions for this piece in the Comments Section!

Excerpt from The Library Chronicles - Guardians of the Secret, Chapter 22 - Estabel
By Dawn M. Hamsher

The cave wasn’t big, but it was was small and very cozy.  In the center was a stone fire ring. ring of stones, in which a warm, A small crackling fire was burning. It's, sending light dancinged on the stone room's walls.  A narrow crack in the ceiling sucked the rising smoke up and out. Crocks and wooden bowls sat on a A natural stone ledge held some crocks and wooden bowls. On a stump sat a and a pewter pitcher and basin. rested on an old stump in the corner. To the side lay a mat and bedding.

“If you still want to stay, you can sleep there,” the man said, motioning to the other side of the fire.  Then he pulled off his hood, folded his hands, and waited for his guests’ reactions.

There was utter silence as they stood staring at him in horror. He had expected that, but it still hurt. Every mouth dropped opened, eyes bulged, and Danya gasped. 

Tension and fear filled the cave.

The man’s skin looked as if it had been dusted in a fine volcanic ash.  In the shadows of the cave, it was hard to make out his features. he almost blended in like an apparition.  It was almost as if he wasn’t there. As their eyes adjusted to in the dim fire light, they could see that he had dark, gray brittle hair with lighter white streaks running from his brow. The man's eye sockets were sunken and dark, but his eyes were watchful and soft, -- a shuddering contrast.  The man’s leathery skin seemed to be was stretched so thin over his skull that his features were contorted/grotesque. It was almost like looking at a preserved mummy corpse -- something that should not be walking and talking.  

He The man had expected this response  that, but it still hurt. 
They stood staring at him, unable to speak. It was Mr. Hodge who broke the silence.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

"N" is for Name

A to Z Blogging Challenge: "N" is for Name

I enjoyed one of my previous posts, What’s in a Name?, so much that I’m going to do another exercise on names!

Writing Exercise:  Write down the name of someone in your family or your spouse’s family. Now, strip away all you know about the person and just focus on the name. Describe the person based solely on how the name sounds.  
Share the name with us in Comments Section!

 My response is below.

Real Name: ZELDA Z. GERHOLD KELLER (my Great-Great Grandmother)

Fiction Description: Zelda was a “no nonsense” type woman who read the Bible faithfully her whole life. Everyone knew her to be a God-fearing woman. She was a good mother to her eight children and believed in discipline. When it came to raising children, she followed Proverbs 13:24 "He who spareth the rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him correcteth him betimes".

Zelda was careful not to spoil her children and therefore did not hug them very often. On each child’s birthday, though, she would give that child all the hugs that had been building up in her over the year. In her steel embrace, that child had no doubt that he was loved; He could physically feel it.

Zelda had a tough life. The family barely made ends meet on the farm, but she grew strong from it. She was the rock of her family. They loved and respected her.  The children grew up knowing that they could always count on Mama’s solid countenance, for she was as unchanging as a mountain.  

Friday, April 15, 2011

Special Announcement - Published!

I just got word today that my first published story will be  in the Sept. edition of Pockets (Christian Children's Magazine)!
It's a true story about my daughter's campaign to help Haitian earthquake victims 
(she was age 10 at the time).

Thursday, April 14, 2011

"M" is for Monster

A to Z Blogging Challenge: "M" is for Monster

Writing Exercise: Write on the prompt “Monster” for 15 minutes. 

My response is below.

Monster Protection
By Dawn M. Hamsher

There’s a monster in my room,
But he won’t be my doom.

I imagine him 6’ 9”

With quite a dark hairy spine.
And evil eyes with green glow.
A flicking tail that hangs low.

Huge nostrils blow foul steam. 
Breathe like hot onioned sardines.
He hunkers and creeps in the dark.
He waits for my sleep to embark
On his quest to devour my soul.

But I have a plan to unroll.

I’ve hidden it under my cover.
Waiting for him to discover.
It’s something that’s sure to appease

A plate of bologna and cheese.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"L" is for Limerick

A to Z Blogging Challenge: "L" is for Limerick

Writing Exercise: Write a Limerick.

Follow these guidelines from Limerick - Lesson Plans by
"A limerick is a rhyming, humorous, and often nonsensical five-line poem. The first, second, and fifth lines rhyme (forming a triplet), and have the same number of syllables. The third and fourth lines rhyme (forming a couplet), and have the same number of syllables. Limericks often begin with the words: There once was. . . or There was a. ."

Also, lines 1-2-5 should have equal syllables and lines 3-4 should have equal syllables.

My example is below.

Strong Hair
By Dawn M. Hamsher

There once was a girl with strong hair     -8
Whose fibers like steel were so rare.       -8
Once a boy came too near                     -6
And the tendrils did rear.                      -6
He lays on the floor, so beware.             -8

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"K" is for Know

A to Z Blogging Challenge: "K" is for Know

Writing Exercise: Write what you "know". What are you passionate about? What are you an authority on? What are your memories? You know the interesting details! So, write!

I’m passionate about acting and using drama to share Jesus. Here is a skit I wrote for church. Two great guys at church acted it out at a dinner about friendship.

True Vine
by Dawn M. Hamsher

Scene Description: Gander Mountain Fishing Dept.  2 men, who know each other from church, run into one another.
Actor(s):  2 men, 1 scripture reader
Props/Set: Fishing gear, clothes rack with jackets
Scripture reference: John 15:1-8, Mark 2:1-12 (stay in Christ and forward His kingdom)

Mike: Hey Jeff!, Haven’t seen you in long time!  How’s it goin’?

Jeff: (shake hands) Things are good.  How are you doin’?

Mike: Great!  How’s the girlfriend?

Jeff: Sarah’s good.  We’ve been dating two years now.

Mike: Wow, has it been that long?  (Jeff nods)  Hey, I haven’t seen you at church lately.  You were coming every week.  What happened?

Jeff: Oh, I’m taking a break.  People started asking me to do things.

Mike: What things?

Jeff: Like be a greeter or asking me if I want to work with the youth.

Mike: Well, you’d be good at those things.  You’re friendly and with you being a soccer coach, you’re good with kids.

Jeff: Yeah, I know, but I just want to go to church and then go home.  That’s it.

Mike: But, you’re not going to church right now.

Jeff: Yeah, well they shouldn’t be so pushy…and Pastor Dick keeps preaching about serving and growing spiritually.  I think its enough to just go to church.  I don’t want to volunteer or be pressured.

Mike: Do you want to grow closer to Jesus?

Jeff: (offended) I believe in Jesus!  I know he died for my sins.  I’m saved.

Mike: You didn’t answer my question.

Jeff: What? Do I want to get closer to Jesus?  Yeah, I guess so.  But them asking me to do stuff is a big turn-off.

Mike: Ok, I hear ya, but I want you to consider something…from the Bible.  You know the part when Jesus says, “I am the vine, you’re the branches.  Those who remain in me will produce much fruit.”

Jeff: Yeah, I’ve heard that.

Mike: Well, it applies…to you and me.  It goes on to say, “Anyone who parts from me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers.”

Jeff: Mike, you don’t need to preach to me.  I believe.

Mike: Yeah, but you’re a good friend and I want you to have what I have.

Jeff: Have what?

Mike: It’s hard to put into words.  I used to just come to church with Carrie.  She wanted me to come, so I humored her.  She needed God, not me.  I went about a year like that…just going.  Then one Sunday, something the pastor said hit me like a ton of bricks.  He was talking about the story of the paralyzed man.  Jesus told the man, “Stand up, take your mat, and go home, because you are healed!”.  It’s like my eyes opened and I realized I was that man, going through life, not really living.  All of a sudden, I felt alive and I wanted more.  I started going to the Men’s Bible Study, the one at 6am on Wednesdays and I started reading the Bible.  I couldn’t believe how the Bible applied to my life.  Eventually I began helping with the ministry on Thursday Night, cooking food.  I didn’t just jump into serving God.

Jeff: I didn’t know all that about you.  I figured you had always been gung ho for church stuff.  You said you joined the Men’s Bible Study? (Mike nods)  I might like to try that.

Mike: That’d be great.  I think you’d like it.  I hope you consider coming to church too.  You don’t need to focus on serving right now.

Jeff: Yeah, I think I’d like to just learn more and hang out with the guys.  I’ve never really studied the Bible.  Maybe something will hit me, like it did you.

Mike: I’m sure God will speak to you when it’s time. 

Jeff: (notices his watch) Hey, I better get going.  Sarah’s going to wonder where I am.  I was just supposed to run and get my fishing license.

Mike: Yeah, I got to go too. See you Sunday?

Jeff: Yeah, I’ll be there.  (waves)

Scripture Reader: The Bible says, ”I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.  You have already been pruned for greater fruitfulness by the message I have given you.  Remain in me, and I will remain in you.  For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful apart from me.  For apart from me you can do nothing.  Anyone who parts from me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers.  Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.  But if you stay joined to me and my words remain in you, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted!  My true disciples produce much fruit.  This brings great glory to my Father.”

Are you stagnant and luke-warm like Jeff?  Jesus calls you to grow in him and allow him to mold you into His likeness, and to bear fruit.  If you would like to begin growing closer to Jesus, you can talk to the pastor, join Bible Studies, read the Bible, fellowship with other Christians, serve in different ministries and share Christ with others.  God calls you not only to believe, but to take it further.  Jesus is the vine, but you are the branches.  What are you going to do as His branches?  Produce fruit or wither away?   

Monday, April 11, 2011

"J" is for Jokes

A to Z Blogging Challenge: "J" is for Jokes


Writing Exercise:

Read How to Write a Joke by Etch Tabor. Pick a topic. Write 10 things you hate about it and 10 things you find strange about it. Then write a joke in the Comments Section. 
(Only family-friendly jokes, please.) My response is below.

I picked the topic "Writing" and tried to write a joke about it. It is a sad, sad attempt and I WILL be keeping my day job! I never could tell a joke...rats! I hoped this exercise would help. Oh well, it was fun to try.

10 things I hate about writing:      10 things I find strange about writing:
Time-consuming                          all the rules
writer's block                               in school, grades for subjective work
not hearing back from editors        the tricks publishers do to market books
all the rules                                 publishers want you to promote
writing that wanders                     learning ins and outs of blogging
punctuation                                 wording things just right
rejection                                     being frustrated
re-work                                      with blogging, being so public
not having a pencil                        reading some of the things on the net
not having my computer                advertising and publicity

My joke sad, sad attempt:

I love to write, but I hate not hearing back from publishers.

You pour your heart into a piece. You revise it 50 times. You take the time to research publishers. You follow the guidelines. You submit before the due date. You hear nothing. You check your e-mail everyday. You hear nothing. Why can't they just respond? Any response would do:

"Thank you for your submission. It stunk. Don't EVER submit to us again.  Respectfully, Mean Editor"

"We didn't even bother to read your submission. But, feel free to try, try again. Respectfully
, Too Busy Editor"

"We got it. Can't use it. r/Ed."



Sunday, April 10, 2011

"I" is for Interesting

A to Z Blogging Challenge: "I" is for Interesting

Definition of Interesting -- engaging, exciting, holding attention or curiosity
Synonyms of Interesting -- absorbing, entertaining, pleasing, gratifying, satisfying 

How do you write interesting things that people will want to read?  I ask these 5 questions when I write.

1. Is my topic something others would want to read about?
2. Is the title catchy?
3. Does my opening paragraph grab attention?
4. Does the body have organization and good flow? Is it clear and to the point?
5. What can I add to the writing that would help make it more interesting and make people want to read more? I consider these things:

dialog             humor                    twist               ask a question

conflict           unique angle           a mystery        real-life experience, details/facts

Writing Exercise: What is your favorite magazine? Write down 5 topics that readers of that magazine would be interested in.  Pick one of those topics and write a short article about it.

I like cooking magazines. My response is below.

A Cordial Recipe
by Dawn M. Hamsher

Do you like Cherry Cordials? Mmmmm...Chocolate and Cherries. My grandmother bought me a box of Cherry Cordials every Christmas. I'd carefully unwrap the box and take one from the tray. I'd smell the chocolate and then bite into the sweet gooey mess. I'd never pop the whole thing in. I liked biting it in half and sucking up the filling that wanted to spill down the sides. 

Since my grandmother passed away, I no longer get Cherry Cordials, but I've found a recipe that is brings back those memories.

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies                            Photo courtesy lisaiscooking        

Lisa's Choc Covered Cherry Cookie Link
·  1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
·  1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
·  1/4 tsp.  baking powder
·  1/4 tsp.  baking soda
·  1/4 tsp. salt
·  1/2 c. butter, softened
·  1 c. sugar
·  1 egg
·  1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
·  10 oz. jar of maraschino cherries, halved or whole
·  4 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
·  1/2 c. sweetened condensed milk

In a bowl stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, soda, and salt; set aside. 

In a separate mixing bowl, on medium, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, and beat well. Gradually add flour mixture to creamed mixture until well blended.

Shape mixture into 1-inch balls; place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Press down center of each ball with thumb. 

Drain maraschino cherries, reserving the juice. You can use whole cherries or cut them in half, depending on much cherry flavor you like. Place half or whole cherry into the dough depression.

For frosting -- In a small saucepan melt chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk over low heat, stirring often. Stir in 4 tsp. of the reserved cherry juice.

Spoon 1 tsp. of frosting over each cherry, spreading to cover cherry. If necessary, add additional cherry juice, 1 tsp. at a time, to thin frosting. 

Bake 350° for 10 min. Remove and cool on a wire rack.