Thursday, December 26, 2013

Fun with Words: The Daily Vocabula

I've been enjoying The Daily Vocabula, a free email newsletter to help build vocabulary and "learn you how" not to misuse words.  (Just a little joke.)
 
The publishers describe it thusly: "The Daily Vocabula" is a free Monday-through-Friday publication of Vocabula Communications Company. Unlike the many word-a-day emails, The Daily Vocabula offers sections on disagreeable English, elegant English, concise writing, scarcely used words, as well as other topics."
 
Sign up to receive The Daily Vocabula by sending your email address to TheDailyVocabula@vocabula.com.
 
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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Top Five Reasons Why I Blog

Click Here

1.    I have some ideas and opinions, I would talk everyone’s head off. With a blog, people can opt in if they want to hear it. (But I hope you opt in by following.) 

2.    Blogging helps me improve my writing skills. 

3.    It makes me think more deeply about things.  When I blog about TV shows, I have to think the issues through and that helps me to appreciate the show more. See Premium Cable Reviews 

4.     I learn a lot about a lot of different topics.  When I did the news Print Poetry 2012 project, I had to read the newspaper every day thoroughly and sometimes I did further research on a story because I got interested in the topic. 

5.    I can earn money from this if you support my advertisers  If you are planning to buy anything from amazon.com use my link and I get a small commission, even if it is a third party purchase.  It doesn’t cost you anything extra. Here’s a link you can use:  Click Here for Amazon.com.  You can also click on the shopping cart to the right or on any link embedded in the text. 

The holidays are coming.  If you plan to buy gifts fromamazon.com, please use my link. Anything you buy on your shopping trip after clicking my link, is credited to me as long as you don't leave the amazon site before placing your order. Thanks so much.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Florida Writers Conference Accolades

by Catherine Giordano
 
I’m back from the Florida Writer’s Conference and my brain is a buzz.  So many wonderful seminars, workshops, and people gave me so many new ideas. I think I’m ready to start on my novel now.

On Friday night, there was an open mic. I read some of my poems from News Print Poetry 2012: Best of 2012.  I chose short funny ones from last October. I got compliments all the rest of the weekend.

I also got lots of compliments on my story “The End of a Marriage” which took second place in the annual FWA anthology, It’s a Crime. There are so many great stories in that collection—everyone is a gem.  I’m so honored just to be included.

If you would like to read the poems I read on Friday, click the links below.

October   2, 2012      Love
                               
October   2, 2012      Reality                      

October 11, 2012      Romance           

October 27, 2012      Insight                                   

I finished my open mic performance with two poems from my first book, The Poetry Connection, both funny, but cynical, poems about love.   


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Monday, October 14, 2013

A New Twelve Chairs Program Starting

For about a year now, I have been part of the Twelve Chairs Project.  A new program is starting with seminar one scheduled to begin in November. Maybe you will want to take part also. 

Twelve Chairs is a comprehensive, practical, and innovative course for poets. The program is called the Twelve Chairs because only 12 hand-picked students/colleagues will be enrolled.
 
There will be 30 seminars in all. You will meet 15 times a year for six hours per session. Each session will be devoted to a single topic, such as sound, metaphor, rhetorical devices, technique, and more, including how to get published.
 
·        It is targeted for experienced poets seeking to broaden the scope, sound, and vision of their work; for poets who want to make use of all available resources in to advance their understanding and talents.
 
·         It is also targeted for writers of all kinds who want to improve their writing through an understanding of poetic techniques.
 
The Twelve Chairs seminars include lectures, lots of show-and-tell, freewheeling discussions, exercises, and elective at-home assignments to help you bring your writing to the next level. (I should say “next levels” because you will undoubtedly progress rapidly from level to level.)
 
Al Rocheleau, the author of on writing poetry: for poets made as well as born has developed the course and will be the instructor. He’s a charismatic teacher and  a widely published poet.

Twelve Chairs is like getting an MFA only it is a lot less expensive (you will be pleasantly surprised at how low the cost is), it gives you twice as much as you would get from university classes, and it is much more fun.  

There are a few chairs remaining.  Maybe one of them has your name on it.
If you want more information, contact Al Rocheleau via email at ARRO40@aol.com.
 
 
Click Here  to order a copy of Al's book


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

On Being a Parent: My Story Published

Order a copy for yourself or as a gift
 for a parent or parent-to-be
in your life.
It's in book stores now.  Not Your Mother's Book:  On Being a Parent.

It's an anthology of 60 or so great stories about parenting.  It includes my story "Figuring It Out."  The story is about how I figure out how to be a parent while my son figures out the truth about Santa.  It's heart-warming and laugh-out-loud funny. 

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Friday, September 13, 2013

How to Be Happy

Catherine Giordano speaks
 at the Maitland Public Library
I’m going to be speaking at the Maitland Library at 2pm on Sunday, September 22, 2013 on “How to Be Happy: The 15 Rules of Happiness.” 

It is open to the public.  It is free and there will be free refreshments. The address is 501 S. Maitland Avenue, Maitland Florida 32751. Please call 407-647-7700  to reserve a seat. (Reservations are suggested, but not absolutely necessary.)

I describe this talk on my website and book as: A review of philosophy, science, literature, and the wisdiom of famous people on the subject of happiness.

I wrote this speech about two years ago. An essay based on this speech is included in my book, What Ifs, If Onlys, and So Whats. I always customize my speeches for each audience and yesterday I finished preparing the speech for the Maitland Library.

Last night, I came across The New York Times’ Science Best Sellers list.  Number five on the list is: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. The blurb is: In a hunt for happiness, the author consulted science, ancient wisdom, and pop culture.”  The copyright date is 2011.

What a shock to see my idea in someone else’s book. I had never heard of this book before.  Now I will have to check it out. It will be like a "who-wore-it-better" contest.


Please come to my talk about on Sunday September 22, 2013. It’s a fun informative talk. The last time I gave a talk at the Maitland Library, I filled the room and everyone enjoyed my presentation a lot. It would make me very happy to fill the room again.  Bring friends.

Click Here to look inside at amazon,com


Saturday, September 7, 2013

A Beautiful Woman

by Catherine Giordano

A chance encounter in the supermarket with a gentleman who was a stranger to me reminded me that you are only as beautiful as you feel.

I wrote an essay about this and it has just been published in The Florida Writer Volume 7 Number 2.

Getting published makes me feel beautiful.

Plus, on Tuesday September 8th, the anthology Not Your Mother's Book: On Being a Parent will be released. It includes my story "Figuring It Out."  Being published and getting paid for it--it's a beautiful thing.

Also I'll never another story published in Not Your Mother's Book: On Being a Mom.  The book will be released November 2013. 

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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Funds for Writers

by Catherine Giordano  

Why do you write? For personal expression and satisfaction? For money?  Who says you can’t do both. Moreover, nothing says your work is good better than someone wanting to publish it and give you money for it.
Besides writing is hard work. Maybe not the first rush of creativity, but the editing and re-editing again and again. When we work, we like to be paid for it, do we not.

“Funds for Writers” is a free online newsletter delivered to your inbox twice a month. It is a great resource. Each issue includes information about publishers and contests for fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. It’s where I learned about Publishers Syndicate, and now they are publishing two of my stories, one in each of two of their anthologies.

But “Funds for Writers” is more than that. Each issue includes at least one inspirational and/or informative essay. You’ll get very good advice. Sometimes there’s a brief “success story”. You’ll be inspired by them also. There is also information about grants and agents.

It will take only about 10 minutes to read each issue and you will be glad you did.  Get more information and subscribe at www.fundsforwriters.com

The editor of “Funds for Writers” is C. Hope Clark. She is a writer herself so she understands writers. She is the author of two mystery novels—Low Country Bribe and Tidewater Murder.


You’ll like this newsletter even if you only write for personal expression and satisfaction.  You’ll like it even more if you write (or want to write) for money.

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

You Ain't Nothing but a Hound Dog

by Catherine Giordano

I searched all over the internet this morning to find up-to-date news about the Time Warner/Brighthouse v. CBS/Showtime standoff. It’s personal!  Not only do I like the series shows on Showtime a lot, but I review them on my blog.  I’m working really hard to expand the reach of my blog, and I will lose all momentum if I can’t review shows like Dexter, Homeland and Web Therapy.  (And all the other Showtime series that are fortunately on hiatus during this blackout.)

Finally, I discovered that the reason it was so hard to find news about this was because there is no news about this. Nothing is happening. They are not even negotiating. They are each just showing off about how little they are hurt by this blackout and vowing not to move an inch in compromise.  (Who do they think they are—Congress?)

And who is helplss caught in the middle of this battle. The innocent viewers who collectively put billions into the coffers of these companies.

I was reminded- of the old TV ad—“I want my MTV.” Well, I want my Showtime!

Then I thought of the old Elvis Presley song-“Blue Suede Shoes.”  You can do anything you wanna do, but don’t step on my blue suede shoes. You can do anything you wanna do, but don’t take away my Showtime.

From there I went to “You to you ain’t nothing but a hound dog.”  And I mean you Time Warner!  And I mean you Showtime!  I’d use strong words, but my advertisers say I can’t have obscene content.

And how about, “Don’t be cruel.” Bring back my Showtime!

Who knew Elvis Presley had so much to say about this dispute between Time Warner and CBS?
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Friday, August 2, 2013

Sales Tax Holiday in Florida

by Catherine Giordano

Who wants to save some money? Everyone.

Sales tax holiday in Florida starts midnight Friday, August 2nd, 2013 and ends midnight Sunday August 4th, 2013. In Orange County, Florida, we save 6.5%.  In other places in Florida it ranges from 6% to 7%.

The best news is now in addition to clothing under $75 and school supplies under $15, you can buy some electronics under $750 (laptops, tablets, e-readers) and pay no sales tax.sales tax

Who wants to make some money?  I, for one, do.

I've been faithfully blogging and people often tell me that they like my blogs. I put a lot of hours in and don't make money. The ads aren't doing it for me, so here is my last ditch attempt to earn at least a little something. Please click the amazon shopping cart picture on the left whenever you need to buy from amazon. I'll get a small commission from everything you buy on that shopping "trip", even if it is from a third party seller. 

Just make sure that you don't exit the site before you buy. I was so happy when a friend said he bought three things with my link, but he must have left the site and then returned to place his order, because I never got credit for it.

BTW, I do not get info on who is buying, but since I had only started shilling for amazon, I only had a few orders. I did not see any new orders so that is how I knew that there was a slip-up.  

So please use my link whenever you buy anything that amazon.com sells. It doesn't cost you anything extra and I earn a small commission.  amazon.com does not collect sales tax in Florida because there is no warehouse in the state, but buyers are suppose to keep track of their purchases and remit the appropriate sales tax to the state. 

This may change soon.  Online purchasers will be taxed the same as in-store purchases.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I Get Mail--Fan Mail

by Catherine Giordano

Over the past two years, I have had four essays printed in The Florida Writer, a magazine for members of the Florida Writers Association. I have submitted to only three issues—I only submit when the theme appeals to me—and I have been accepted three times. Every time I submit I am worried about breaking my winning streak.

I was proud to appear in the magazine, and a few friends congratulated me and that was that.  However, my last submission generated fan mail.  One person sent an  email and one person sent a tweet to tell me how much they liked my essay “Yellow Bird.”  Only two people, but still it is the first time I have gotten fan mail for anything.

(Sometimes I get comments on my blogs or facebook shout-outs about one of my blog posts, but I’m not going to count those as fan mail, although I do love it when some one writes a comment on the blog.  I t shows me that someone cared enough to take a minute to do a comment.)

Maybe, I’ll be getting more fan mail when the two anthologies that include my stories are released in the fall. Did I say two—make that three. This week I received notice that one of my stories will be appearing in a third anthology.   

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Winds of Change

by Catherine Giordano

I received the following in an email. I've received it before. I don't send these kind of emails to 20 people because people get enough email.  Instead, I decided to put it on the blog where thousands can see it. What the initiators of this post forget is that these things can't become law until Congress votes it into law. When pigs fly!

It's too bad we can't do a citizens referendum to add an ammendment to the constituition.
Congressional Reform Act of 2013

1.  No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they're out of office.

 2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

 4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

 5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

 6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective 12/31/13. The American people did not make this contract with Congress- men/women. Congressmen/women made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.
 *  *  * 
If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S.) to receive the message. Don't you think it's time?

P.S. I would amend to point 4 to say Congress gets the same increase as the Cost of Living increase that Social Security recipients get, but only once every six years.  They are already paid very well and that 3% a year will add up really fast. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Money Makes the World Go Round

by Catherine Giordano

Money makes the world go round.  Remember the song from Caberet.  I do, yet for two years I have been blogging my little heart out for no money.



Yesterday, I became an amazon.com associate.  I can earn a small percentage of the sales price of your purchases from amazon.com when you enter the amazon website by clicking on a link in my blog.  Just click on the shopping cart to the left, any photo of a book on the left side of this page) or any link of a book or dvd or merchandise in any post and then shop on amazon as you normally would. You don't have to buy the item you clicked on; I get credit for any purchase you make, even if you buy from a third party seller. Just make sure you don't leave the amazon site before placing your order.

It won’t cost you anything extra, and perhaps I can earn a little money.  So if you like what I write, then help me out by using the links on my blog to get you to amazon.com and soon it will be raining pennies from heaven. I love that clinking clanking sound.


Many thanks.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Mission Creep


By Catherine Giordano

I named this blog news print poetry because it was supposed to be a placeholder for the name “News Print Poetry.”  I had planned on a one year project—write a news print poem every day throughout 2012.  In retrospect, I should have just done one blog and called it “News Print Poetry.”
 
This blog was just supposed to be for commenting on the news print poetry 2012 project, but it evolved into more. It became a place to write about writing in general and a place to announce my growing list of credentials.
 
I can’t rename the blog, but I’ll change the intro at the top to reflect the new purpose of this blog.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Yellow Bird--Published Again

by Catherine Giordano

I received three acceptances in one month .  I've already posted about my acceptance into two anthologies: Not Your Mother's Book--On Parenting and "It's a Crime."  The books will be relased in September 2013 and October 2013, respectively. 

I also had an essay accepted last month by The Florida Writer, a magazine published by the Florida Writers Association.  The magazine came out last week.  My story is entitled Yellow- Bird. It a nice piece about a special moment I shared with my son on his 21st birthday and how the song "Yellow Bird" brought me back to my own youth.

There's an interesting story about this acceptance.  One evening I received an email from the editor of the magazine saying she could not accept my story because I quoted from the song.  Did you know you can not quote more than six words of a song? I didn't. I quoted two lines and that doomed my essay. I quickly rewrote replacing the quoted lines and resubmitted via email with a note saying I hoped that it wasn't too late to be considered for publication. It wasn't.

I've submitted to The Florida Writer three times and been accepted three times.  Dare I try for a fourth.  Yes, I must submit again because the theme for the next issue is a brief encounter with a stranger and I have at least a half dozen pieces to fit that theme.  

I have these pieces because I'm working on a book to be titled People I Have Almost Met.  It will be a collection of essays about brief encounters with strangers. I started doing it as a blog, but I discontinued the blog because some publishers will not accept previously published work.  And "previously published" sometimes includes blogs.

So I will dig out those essays and spiff them up.  The deadline is July 1st so I after to hurry.  My day job pays the bills, but it limits my time for writing.







Saturday, June 8, 2013

Top Ten

by Catherine Giordano

OMG! I got the news last night, and I am still jumping up and down and screaming for joy. 

About a week ago, I got the news that my submission to the Florida Writer’s Association annual anthology got accepted. Every year there is a theme; this year the theme was crime, hence the title of the collection, It’s a Crime.

My story is titled “The End of a Marriage.” Hint: It doesn’t end well.

Every year after the 60 stories are selected for inclusion in the anthology, an “author of renown”—this year Michael Wiley, author of award winning detective mysteries—makes his pick for the ten best stories. I made the top ten! Not just that, I was ranked #2!!

Maybe it is a good thing I wasn’t ranked #1. It gives me something to strive for next year. I just hope I am not a one-shot wonder.

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a writer.  Now I’m a senior citizen, and I’ve been doing creative writing for about two years. As I say in one of my speeches, it is never too late to follow your dreams. 

The book will be released in October 2013.  


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Galleys Humor

Galleys before the internet
by Catherine Giordano

I reviewed galleys for the first time this week because my story “Figuring it Out” will appear in the anthology Not Your Mother’s Book—On Parenting.  The release date for the book is September 10th 2013.

It was also my first time working with an editor from a publisher.  It was an interesting experience.  At first I may have been too much “I defer to your judgment”—I didn’t want to rock the apple cart—but later I realized I had to stand up for my work. 

In one case, an edit was made for space reasons—a couple of lines had to be cut to prevent the story from rolling over onto a new page. I thought the editor had cut lines crucial to the story. I explained my reasons and offered to cut different lines. The editor gladly accepted my suggestions, and I saved my story.

It took a lot of back and forth to get the story just right. It was so simple because I looked at a pdf of the pages instead of getting them on paper, and all the discussion was done by email. What a chore this must have been back in the days of paper and mimeographs. 

The editor had 60 stories to review for this anthology and she was simultaneously working on another anthology of 60 stories. Dealing with 120 authors all at once can’t be easy. I hope I made her job a little easier.


P.S. No humor in this post—I just couldn’t resist the pun in the title.

CLICK HERE
 


Friday, May 31, 2013

It's A Crime

by Catherine Giordano

Today I learned that the short story I submitted to the Florida Writers Association Anthology #5 It's a Crime was one of the 60 stories accepted.

Three acceptances in one month!  I'm beginning to feel like a real writer.

My story is titled "The End of a Marriage." 

I don't even read much crime fiction and I never tried to write a crime story before.  This story started out as a story about a married couple who wren't getting along and then in a flash I saw how to turn it into a crime story. 

Some of my friends are in this anthology too, and that makes it extra special.  I can't wait to read it.




Saturday, May 25, 2013

Reaching New Heights

by Catherine Giordano

I am going to have one of my stories published in a national anthology:  Not Your Mother’s Book—On Parenting. The story in titled “Figuring It Out” and it is about how my son learned that there is no Santa Claus. The story is both humorous and heartwarming. The book will be available in September 2013. Look for it where ever fine books are sold.

In addition to my independently published books (self-publishing print-on-demand books in now called “independent publishing”) I have a few other writing credits, all from smaller regional publications.

·         Three of my poems were included in a poetry anthology Love and Other Passions; Poets of Central Florida (2012).

·         I have had two stories published in The Florida Writer, a magazine for members of The Florida Writers Association.  The stories were “I Organize, Therefore I Am” (Volume 5, Number 4, 2011) and “Accidental Kidnapper” (Volume 6 Number 3, 2012). My third story, “Yellow Bird”, will appear in the next issue available in June 2013 (Volume 7, Number 1, 2012).  I’m proud to say that I have submitted stories three times and been accepted all three times.

·         I had poems and essays published in the LIFE at UCF newsletter (2011, 2012)

·         I had a couple of my news print poems published in an online journal, Poetry Breakfast.

·         I had a column and news print poem published in The Winter Park Observer, a local newspaper.

I decided to take up my childhood dream of being a writer in 2011, so I have now been writing for about two years. In addition to poetry, I write essays, short creative non-fiction (taking a true story, but writing it as if it were fiction) and the occasional piece of flash fiction (very short short-stories.)  

I have submitted my work for publication sporadically, but I feel encouraged now to submit on a more consistent basis.

And who knows, maybe I have a great novel in me.

So far I haven’t gotten paid, although I could have obtained royalties from Not Your Mothers Book. The amount of payment would have been very small because the royalty has to be split among 60 authors, so I opted for ten free copies of the book instead.


My next milestone—get paid.


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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Twisters Wrath


I wrote a poem about tornados last year, but I could have just as well written it yesterday.

Read the poem on my News Print Poetry 2012 blog:  Twisters' Wrath

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Violet


by Catherine Giordano

The Orlando Sentinel publishes “Ask Amy” and advice columnist.  This week “Rita in Burbank California sent a letter with this quote which she attributed to Mark Twain. ‘Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.’

I do public speaking and one of my talks is “All About Apologies … and Forgiveness.” I think that quote should get incorporated into the talk.

It’s such a beautiful statement—it is a wonderful image for a poem.


 

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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Snip-potry


I’m working on a better name.  Your suggestions are welcome.

The idea of Snip-Potry is to write little “poem-ettes” about small things that you observe each day.  It helps me overcome writers block—I only have to do about 25 words or fewer and maybe the “little poems’’ will spark an idea for a longer work.

In the mean time, I’ll do an “Everyday poem” as often as I can, hopefully every day.

 


  



Saturday, April 27, 2013

Girl Rising


I saw the movie, Girl Rising, last week.  It is a wonderful movie and I recommend it.

I thought it should be the topic for one of my poetry snippets. By the way, I am dropping the name snippets—far too common a word—and going with Snip-potry (pronounced Snip-Poe- Tree.) at least until I think up something better. 

I did a poem inspired by the movie.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Snippets

by Catherine Giordano

I attended the Florida Writers Conference on Saturday April 20.  I almost didn’t go, but I’m so glad that I decided to go.

When I first looked at the workshops it seemed so “been there, done that.”  Editing, ebooks, marketing—I’ve been to so many of those workshops.  In the end, I decided to go just because it is fun to meet other writers.

It turned out that these were the best workshops I have ever attended.  Every single one was so valuable and gave me so much more than I expected.  It was an amazing day.

There was a poetry workshop given by Peggy Miller.  She is always wonderful.  The whole workshop is like an hour long poem.  What I took away from this workshop was an idea to get me writing again.

She suggested that we take just a couple of minutes each day, look around us, look out the window, whatever and then just write what we see—just a couple of lines.  I did that right on the spot and I have been trying to remember to do that every day.

The results are what I am calling snippets.

The Anthill
The crow sees
the ant hill of life
moving
at something less than 24 frames per second.

The Vineyard
Creativity
grows in the vineyards
of the mind
but must be aged
to become
like a fine wine.

No Escape
A squall, a storm;
the wind rattles
within my chimney
like a banshee
banging on the walls.

These snippets can stand alone or they might be incorporated into a longer poem.

If you are having writers block, try writing snippets.


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