Saturday, October 25, 2014

The First Step--Glorious

by Catherine Giordano

The book is finally out. The First Step is an anthology of over 60 short stories and essays on the theme of new starts (big or small), taking the fist step, doing something new, going in a different direction, or beginning anew.

The back cover states that the stories may "pull at your heart strings, or make you laugh, but all will entertain you."

You'll probably tear up when you read my story on page 42, "Te Amo," not because it is sad but because it is a heart-warming story of love. I tear up every time I read it, and I wrote it.

The anthology is compiled by the Florida Writer's Association.  This is the sixth annual volume. Each year, an author of renown, is invited to read all the stories that have made the cut from the hundreds submitted and choose the top ten. This year the author was Mary Burton, the best selling author of mysteries.

I'm proud to say that I am included in the top ten. It is such an honor. Especially because (toot-toot) I made the top ten last year also.

If you happen to see me, I may have a copy for sale. If you already have the book, I'll be happy to sign my story for you. It makes a lovely gift.  You can click the link above to buy it on amazon and while you are there consider the five previous volumes.

I recommend the book because it has great stories. I don't make any money from the sale of these books. (All the profit goes to the Florida Writers association to help support the organization.) In fact, I don't even get any money for being in the book. It is all for glory.

And it is indeed glorious.

Enjoy!  Try one of Mary Burton's novels while you at amazon.The Seventh Victim is a good one. (At the time of this writing, it is only $1.99 for Kindle.)

A young woman is in jeopardy from a serial killer who attempted to kill her once before. Will he get a second chance? Not if a certain Texas Ranger has anything to say about it. Is romance brewing?  Absolutely.

Mary Burton is a prolific writer. If you like one book, there are dozens more.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Presidents Day

Abraham Lincoln Log Splitter
Painting by F. A, Schneider
by Catherine Giordano

I know Presidents Day is not until February, but I am having my own personal President’s Day.  I just wrote two posts about the presidents..

One was about the childhoods of the presidents and the other was about the jobs they had before they wee president.

I picked six presidents  George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, and Barack Obama. 

How did their childhoods and their careers shape them into the kind of men who became president?

The Jobs of U.S. Presidents (Before They Were President)  (This one was designated an "Editor's Choice.")



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Understanding Zombies: The Walking Dead Returns

The Walking Dead cast posterby Catherine Giordano

The Walking Dead returns to A&E on Sunday, February 8 for the second half of  Season 5.

The show is so much more than gore and violence and killing.  It is about the questions:”What does it mean to be human?”  “Who is family?” What is important in life?”  “How do we combat evil?  What is human nature? ” And a lot more. Deep philosophical stuff.

You’ll appreciate the show so much more if you have a better understanding of “the zombie question. ” Someone who read my post told me in a comment, “Now, I understand why I like this show so much.”
The creator of the original graphic novel that the show is based on, Robert Kirkman,   said, “The thing that excites me most about this show is that because these characters are growing and evolving and changing.”  I agree.  I can’t wait to see how the characters respond to the new challenges they will face in season 5.

The Walking Dead Novel
for the graphic novel
Rick Grimes and his band of survivors are usually pretty smart, but they walked right into a trap when they entered “Terminus.” Maybe they believed in Terminus because they were just so desperate for a safe haven. Or maybe, the characters have to do stupid things every now and then to keep the plot going. If it was me, I’d get on an island. The zombies can’t swim.
If my post gets you to thinking, please let me know in a comment.
The Walking Dead DVD

If you missed anything from the prior seasons, A&E has made reruns available on TV.  Or you can get the DVDs.

Here is an example of The Waking Dead confronting moral issues that are relevant in real life. I knew it was only a matter of time before someone advocated killing Ebola patients.Tom Kincannor, Republican operative from South Carolina infamous for racist, sexist, and generally obnoxious comments, proved my prediction correct in a tweet on October 4, 2014. Also, he recommends execution for anyone who might possibly been exposed.
It reminded me of The Walking Dead story arc in which Carol kills Karen and David, two young people who were part of the band of survivors. A virus was sickening and killing members of the group, and sick people could infect others. Also when they died they turned into walkers, and that was not a pretty sight. Carol said they had to be killed to save the rest of the group. Was she right to do what she did?

If Ebola does come to the United States will vigilantes be killing people?

Watch the video. The show-runners and actors give us a preview of what is in store for our band of survivors. 




Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Scoring with a High-Scoring Scrabble Word

by Catherine Giordano

I recently wrote an article about quetzals.  Someone pointed out that it would be a great word for Scrabble. It uses the two highest value letters in the game—the Q and the Z. The eight letters are worth 26 points, but the trick is to get the Q or Z on a triple letter square and to cover a triple word square also. Also it gives you the opportunity to play 7 letters for a bingo with 50 more points.

What other eight letter word gives you the opportunity to use both the Q and the Z?  I only found one: caziques is even better
than quetzals. It is worth 31 points without any triple letter, triple word, or bingo points.

A cazique is a tropical bird.  What is a quetzal?  Read my article to find out.  The Resplendent Quetzal  
P.S. Scrabble is a perennial favorite. Is your board worn and old? Are letters missing? Replace and upgrade with this board--the letters lock in place--no more accidental slippage of letters.

Thank you for sharing, liking, and tweeting.

10/15/14: This post was selected as "Hub of the Day   It is beautiful and well worth your time to take a look at it. This is the third time I have received that honor in the last 30 days.  I had Hub of the Day on 9/14 for my hub on collecting and again on 9/22 for my hub on writing poetry.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

My Hive Mentality: It's About Bees

by Catherine Giordano
A bee on a pink flower

A bee obtaining nectar from a flower 

I have never paid much attention to bees except to stay away from them so as not to get stung.  

Then I started writing for HubPages. I needed something to write about so I asked my friends who are beekeepers to give me the information they use when they do presentations. Now I am fascinated by bees.

These little creatures are absolutely amazing. So far I have done three posts about them  My most recent post is All About Honey Bees: 20 Questions … And Answers.  BTW, in that one, I explain what to do if you get stung by a bee. 

Here are the two other bee posts. 

Inside the Bee Hive: How Bees Make Honey This one was signaled out for special recognition. It was named “Editor’s Choice.”

Little Known Facts About Honey Bees, Plus Poems This one includes four poems about bees.

Let me know what you think of them or the bees.

Also, if you want to read an amazing book about bees, read The Secret Lives of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. The book is not exactly about bees, but beekeepers are some of the main characters.  It is a coming of age story of a young girl in the rural South in the 1960’s. It is a wonderful story and beautifully written.

The Secret Lives of Bees was also made into a movie.
The Secret Lives of Beesbook by Sue Monk Kidd

The Secret Lives of Bees DVD

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Butter–Side-Down: Of Glitches and Newsletters

by Catherine Giordano
bread falls butter-side down
It's Murphy's Law:
 What can go wrong, will go wrong.

Bobbie Christmas is the owner of Zebra Communications and very well-respected editor. I’ve met her several times because she frequently lectures on “How to Edit.”  Every writer knows that it is next to impossible to edit your own work—it takes a trained editor to find all those pesky typos and inadvertent grammatical errors.   

(You can probably tell that my blog posts are not professionally edited. No matter how many times I proofread, errors remain.) 

Bobbie has a free monthly newsletter, The Writer’s Network News, that every writer will find useful. It’s two or three pages a month chock-full of editing tips and other information. Recently Bobbie wrote about the misuse and over use of the word “awesome.” She also did a little blurb about a form of wordplay called “lipograms.” I write for HubPages and I was inspired by her comments to write two pieces: The Naughty Grammarian: Literally Awesome Hyperbole and Word Play: What is a Lipogram 

I emailed Bobbie to thank her for being an inspiration, and she emailed back to tell me that she liked my work and was going to link to it in her next newsletter. What a nice break for me. Lots of people would learn about my work. All month, I eagerly awaited the newsletter. Finally, it arrived in my in-box. I clicked on the links to my articles just for the pleasure of seeing my pages pop-up. The links didn’t work.   

I was beyond upset. I thought I had made an error. I hadn’t. It took a while, but I discovered that there was a glitch with the HubPages servers and some links wouldn’t work. Why does the bread always fall butter-side down? Why did the servers fail just on the same day the newsletter came out? Why were my links among the affected links? Murphy's Law. 

(By the way, the links work now. So if you tried to use them and got an error message, try again. The links above should work now. Also, Bobbie was nice enough to say she would reprint them next month.) 

You can learn more about Bobbie Christmas at or You can also follow her blogs, Rx from the Book Doctor and Write in Style 

I said a little prayer to Loki, the Norse god of mischief, and asked him not to mess with my links so I’m sure all the links work.

P.S: I have done a whole series of The Naughty Grammarian posts. Which of these issues do you need to brush up on?