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All posts for the month October, 2013

The Real Danger

Published October 27, 2013 by M E McMahon

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Guess Where Cranky’s Headed?

Published October 26, 2013 by M E McMahon

Beep..Beep. Watch out for Cranky!

Grandma Says..

elderly3Some of you might have noticed that Cranky’s been kinda quiet for the past week. Well, I’ve been pretty busy working on something that has been on my bucket list for a very, very, long time.

Need a hint? Okay, here it is!

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Yes, my friends, I’m going back to school! I have spent the last week going back and forth to Keiser University and jumping through the hoops necessary to enroll for my Associate of Arts Degree!

Whaaat?  Wondering how I’m going to take care of Danny, the house, and be a full-time student? Well, all of the classes are going to be Online and I only take one class per month. I’m sure that those 30 days are intensive, but since I’m sitting home twiddling my thumbs I decided to give it a shot.

My goal is to get my Associates Degree and, if I’m still alive and…

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Strike Up The Band!

Published October 26, 2013 by M E McMahon

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It’s celebration time!

The other evening, after a really hectic day, I decided to check my e-mail account one more time before going to bed.  I was tired, worn out and ready to hit the hay but I hate when my e-mail account overflows into the next day so I threw my p.j.’s on and sat down at the laptop.

I was delighted to find a message from Linda Barnett-Johnson, Assistant Editor of Long Story Short – Ezine For Writers informing me that they have accepted my short story “My Father, The Plagiarist” for publication in their November/December issue.

I am not only thrilled at having another story published, but I have been reading Long Story Short for quite some time and love what they do.  Their e-zine has been supporting new and emerging writers for the past ten years and Long Story Short has been on the Writer’s Digest List of 101 Best Websites for Writers…for 9 years straight!  I have no doubt they’ll make it on the list again for 2013!

Not only does the staff publish an e-zine, they also offer writing classes, updates on upcoming contests, free writing tips and so much more!  If you’re a new or emerging writer or poet, check out their site Here and see how much this website has to offer.

If short stories aren’t your thing but you’ve got a novel ready, check out Linda Barnett-Johnson’s website Here for editing and packaging services that are available!

One thing I should mention.  If you do submit your story to Long Story Short, because of the massive amount of stories submitted, the response time is two to three months.  My response took 87 days…but it was worth the wait to appear in this outstanding E-Zine for Writers!

Well, it’s been a big week!  I’m off to add this new milestone to my Milestones In My Journey page.  Keep writing and keep sending those stories out!

Yours In Writing,

M E

P. S.  If you want to know what my other half, Cranky has been up to just click Here or click on Mrs. Gulch’s picture and she’ll give you a ride over to Grandma Says.  I’ve got another exciting announcement, so come on over!

Reading Like A Writer

Published October 21, 2013 by M E McMahon

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I once read, I can’t remember where (although I want to say it was Stephen King) that writers should read a book twice.  The first time as a reader…the second time as a writer.

I have found that advice invaluable (whoever said it) and I use that technique with everything I read.  I will read a book and see if I like it.  If I do, I then reread it and find out what the writer did to lure me into their world so effectively.  Most of the time, I’ve enjoyed a book or story because of the characters…I love a good hero or a despicable villain.  The plot is important, of course, but if you don’t have great characters with lots of depth and layers, I find it hard to get into the story.

So, if the writer got my attention, I reread it to find out how they did it!  I have learned a lot from seeing how they develop the back-stories for their characters, and how they show their character’s strength and weaknesses…and most important…when they reveal them.  I also pay more attention to the rhythm of the piece…how do they keep the plot from dragging and losing my interest.

If I don’t like the book or the story, I still go back and reread it anyway.  Why? Because, I look for how the writer wandered off and went astray.  If their characters were shallow, dull or lacked the ability to make me love or hate them, I sit down and think about what I would do to fix the problems.

Sometimes, I go as far as to redevelop them on paper.  If the plot seemed to drag on, was predictable and boring or totally unbelievable, I again go back and briefly write down some things that I would have done to fix the problem.

Whether I loved the book or yawned through the whole thing, I use the writers successes and failures and learn..learn..learn from them.

So if you find a book that you love…go back and find out why!  If you don’t think the writer captured the reader’s attention, look for the reasons and think about what you would have done differently!  It’s a great exercise in writing.

But, one thing you must do if you ever hope to be successful in your writing is to read…read…read.  And, if you find yourself saying, “I could do better than that” then sit down and prove it.  I’m not recommending you rewrite the book or story (that’s plagiarism and most definitely frowned upon) but I am encouraging you to learn from other writers…both the good and the not so good.

Don’t just read the bestsellers.  Read some of the less successful books or stories and think about how the writer might have done this or added that to make it a better work. You’ll find it’s a great writing exercise and you’ll be able to develop your own plots or characters without falling into the same pitfalls as the unsuccessful writers.

So, when you pick up that  book, read it like a reader to see if it works for you.  Then, read it like a writer to find out why it does…or doesn’t!  But, whatever you do…READ!

Yours In Writing,

M E

MY BOOK WON! WHODDA THUNK!

Published October 19, 2013 by M E McMahon

Let’s put our hands together and applaud Marc’s great achievement!

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If there are ever any words or phrases posed next to my name, usually it’s something like, “Honorable Mention,” or “Also Ran,” or even, “Thanks for showing up!”  Not no more.  This week I got notice from the Literary Classics International Book Awards that my one children’s book, ABOUT A FARM, has won the 2013 Award for Best, First Chapter Book.  Yep, right there next to an illustration of my book and my name was the word, “BEST!”  As Katy Perry would say…HEAR ME ROOOOAAAAR!

So, with all due respect to you guys, my loyal blog followers, please allow me, for once, to brag about this achievement which, by the way, I share with ABOUT A FARM’S illustrator, Lynda Mangoro.  Lynda’s crafty artwork brings the characters to life and are a tremendous enhancement to the stories told in the book.

If you are interested, you can learn more about the…

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