Saturday, January 21, 2012

Trending on Google - Pope Joan

  I was ecstatic to see the character of one of my favorite, but little known movies featured in the Google Trends list today.   Pope Joan was recently featured on the Reelz Channel and is based on the book by Donna Woolfolk Cross.  I do not want to spoil the book (or movie) for those yet to experience the story, but I highly recommend both. 
  This a is a very compelling account of a woman who disguised as a man, rose through the ranks of the Catholic Church to become Pope.  It also highlights the place of women in society during that time frame and the hold of religion on mostly uneducated people.   Joan is born to a father who is a religious leader  in a village of uneducated citizens and a mother who still clings to her pagan roots. Both of these religions along with knowledge, help Joan become an understanding teacher and physician. 
    Her father  believes that Joan’s intellect is against God’s wishes.  A misfortune befalls the family and her father tells her that God caused the incident as a punishment because she had sinned.  The characters are superbly written and immediately capture the reader’ s emotions.
   The central theme of this book revolves around how the education of women begins to empower them, which of course is not what most men desired.  During this era it seems, that anything men did not deem appropriate, neither did God. Her perseverance, courage and devotion is not just to God but to the betterment of mankind.  This sweeping drama also tells a romantic tale of the love Joan must fully deny herself.  Click here to visit the website of this wonderful novel.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Update on ROW#80

Join me for Round of Words in 80 days!

Rounds of Words in 80 days. Blogs, Goals and Writing. What could be better?
  Click here to get the scoop on ROW80

I am finally getting around to updating my ROW blog page. I am happy to report that I am making progress with almost everything except my WIP. Roller Derby season begins next month and we are training pretty heavy for our first intra-league bout. I still have work to do to make my 25 laps in 5 minutes but I will make it before the bout in February, I  am sure.

I am taking two writing classes at the moment and participating in a WOW prompt group. I loved writing today's short piece for #WOW and you can read it here. I would love to hear feedback and appreciate any comments.  We are digging deeply into the emotions of our main characters in one of my classes. I love the workbook by Donald Maas. I also have 2 books on writing to get to this week and 2 books for the 2012 Genre Project to read sometime this weekend. They are both fairly small and I don't plan on sleeping much over the weekend!

I still have not gotten to the edits of chapter one of my WIP, but I am not letting that hold me back. The major scene prompts for Chapter 2 are written and I hope to spend a good portion of Saturday working on it.

I hope my fellow ROW80 participants are doing well. I have enjoyed dropping by some of the blogs this evening to catch up on their progress!

#WOW Writing Prompt – Trees and Magic

Write On Wednesdays

The matriarch of the centuries old family of trees has fallen and one lone human has come to pay his respect.  This human is among the few left who understand the magic and change that contributed to the demise of the way life that once thrived in this desolate place.

A thousand years ago, this was fertile earth with a small stream bubbling through the dark forest floor. What is left of this land and its family of trees is now divided by a gulf that became the sea. No longer is this the forest of enchantment.  Do you think trees get this big without a little help from a magical being?  The loving care and occasional sprinkle of sparkling fairy dust helped them reach towards the sun. To return the kindness, the trees offered shelter to all living beings.

When a tree had reached the end of its life, it fell to the earth amidst its brothers and sisters. They watched over it as its essence slowly returned to the earth from which it had sprung and each absorbed a part of it, helping them to grow taller and stronger.

The people arrived and began to multiply and intrude upon the forest.  They could the see the trees swaying in the gentle breeze and hear the leaves as they touched each other as if in greeting.  They could feel the rough bark under their fingertips.  Pungent mossy smells filled the forests. Most humans doubted the fairies, elves, gnomes and sprites. Soon, there were very few humans that believed and the kind and gentle fairy folk retreated deeper into the forests of the world. Look closely at the sand and you may occasionally find a dimming sparkle of fairy dust, all that remains to protect the earth and trees, its magic slowly dissipating.
The humans found the fallen trees could be used for light and heat. If the essence of a brother or sister could be helpful to the humans, the trees knew they could be of service, even if it shortened their own lives and growth.   Soon, the people began to take trees in the prime of their lives and still the trees knew their purpose would serve a great good by being transformed into an object of use. With the urge to make more space for themselves, the people removed the trees, leaving the fertile soil alone and barren.
With no trees to shelter, no grass to grow, and no pixie folk for protection, the small stream seized the opportunity and surged forth for its chance in the sunlight.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Time to check in on a Sunday evening and update my fellow ROW80 participants on my progress.
I finished Chapter 1 of my Piccallili, WIP and actually had it critiqued at my Writer's Group last week. This was a huge step for me, but I received extremely valuable feedback. The downside is I have yet to finish the edits on that chapter but I have the scene outlines ready for Chapter 2.

The remaining research material for the historical novel has arrived. I reading through it, marking passages and taking cursory notes. Once the research is done and all notes organized, I believe the outcome could result in two books on the same theme but based on different characters.

 I returned to Roller Derby training last week. Today I shopped and prepared to review my eating patterns this coming week. I am adding one day of endurance training on my own and I made contact with a coach from another team who is interested in attending a clinic with me next month. 

The biggest accomplishment of the week is the development of an editorial calendar for my blog. My blog is built on the Blogger platform and unfortunately, I have not found a plugin for this. I developed my own and placed it within Google calendar. 

I have participated in the workshop "Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook" workshop and am thoroughly enjoying the book and the class.  I am excited about the Historical Fiction class I will be taking next month. 

I hope my fellow ROW participants are enjoying success and I do hope you will leave hints and comments here that will help all of us reach our goals!

Heroic Qualities

What are the qualities readers appreciate in their favorite characters? 
This is a question I recently pondered as I participate in a writer’s workshop. The book used for this workshop is the highly rated, “Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook” by Donald Maass. If you have read his book by this title, I highly recommend purchasing the workbook and following the exercises. A lesson regarding heroic qualities inspired me to write this blog post.

All characters have heroic qualities as well as flaws. In my character Joey’s case, her qualities can also at times be a seen as a flaw or hindrance in her growth as a person, though fictional as she is.  Fortitude, resiliency, conviction, creativeness, patience, with a touch of vulnerability are the obvious qualities admired by most readers. Though this is a purely fictional character, in order to define her personality, I thought of two  women I admire and in the process learned facts about them I did not know.

Margaret Thatcher was originally denied entry into a chemistry program, but yet she was excepted when someone else dropped out and went on the graduate with a degree in not only chemistry but law as well.  The qualities I admire in her are her perseverance, the fact that she became the first woman prime minister, she was not born into a peerage but she earned her title.  

Ida Lupino was a talented actress who became the only female director in Hollywood in the late 1940’s. She addressed social issues in her films and took charge of her career by not only producing and directing but by determining the message of the screen play as well.

There are many more strong women who stood up for their convictions, ideals and social issues.  Some of those women are well known and have been immortalized in books and movies, but I am sure each of us knows someone who embodies heroic qualities and leads a quietly normal life. 

Though my grandmother has passed away, her sense of humor, confidence and concern for others will live on through the character of Joey Tallmadge. Please leave a comment with your favorite qualities!

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