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WritingAfterDark

Blogs of Writer, Artist, Photographer, & Caregiver Joanne D. Kiggins

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Joanne has published more than 2,500 articles and was award recipient of the 1990 Woman of the Year for Beaver County, Pennsylvania, for her accomplishments and excellence in journalism and to the community. Her co-authored book, “Unforgettable Journey,” won fifth place in the Grand Beginnings romance contest. An excerpt from her WIP, “Unearthed,” placed her fifth in the Absolute Write Idol contest. Most recently, her essay, “Perseverance,” is published in the Stories of Strength anthology in which 100% of the profits are donated to disaster relief charities. Her most recent articles were published in ByLine Magazine, Writer's Digest, AbsoluteWrite.com, and Moondance.org. She has a monthly freelance writing column at Absolutewrite.com. Currently, she is the sole caregiver for her 85-year-old mother.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Street Smart Writer Review in The Compulsive Reader

Back on January 29, I announced that I was asked to be a book reviewer for The Compulsive Reader. My review of The Pacific Between by Raymond K. Wong is published there. It’s also been syndicated to Cleveland.com, nola.com, nj.com, pennlive.com, mlive.com, masslive.com, Alabama Everything, and the Plain Dealer.

This evening, my review of The Street Smart Writer: Self-Defense Against Sharks and Scams in the Writing World by Jenna Glatzer and Daniel Steven, is published in The Compulsive Reader. The review is also on my blog, my website, and Blogcritics. It’s floating around to a few other publishers as well.

It’s been a busy week at home, but I still managed to submit a few articles for publication. I joined the Acceptance and Rejection Pledge threads at Absolute Write.

The motto for both pledges is: You can’t publish if you don’t submit.

I pledged to submit one piece a week. That’s only 52 submissions for the year. Presently I’ve submitted 25 pieces to publications. At this rate, I’ll not only pass up my pledge, but also possibly triple what I’d anticipated.

Submissions: 25
Acceptances: 8
Rejections: 4

Last week I accomplished nothing. This week has been one piece of good news after another. I’m looking forward to keeping my writing juices flowing and I can’t think of any better way than to continue reading and writing reviews. It’s exhilarating to read and find myself anxious to get to work on my own writing.

I'm getting closer to completing the edit on my novel Roadkill. Very soon I’ll be concentrating on writing a synopsis and submitting it to a publisher/agent. The research for both is still pending. There’s no doubt in my mind that Roadkill will be in the mail before the end of this year to either an agent, or a publisher, who accepts manuscripts without agent representation.

Seems I’m taking on the writing habits I had back in 1990--working until the wee hours of the morning, sleeping for a few hours, and waking up to write once again before I wake my Mom for the day. I’ve always believed I worked better under pressure and with short deadlines, and I’m finding out that is truer now more than ever.

For all my friends who continue to encourage me, thank you! To all those who continue to struggle with their writing, my advice is and always will be, keep writing, never give up, and always persevere.

Happy writing all!

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AW Monday Meme #9 -- The Blogiversary Meme

Dawno told us to time travel this week in Meme #9. We’re going back in time to the first post of our blog. My Blogiversary is this month, and I didn’t even know it!

Here’s the meme. Below it, I’ll tell you more.

Go to your archives and find your first post.
What was the date of that post?
Tell us (or excerpt from it) what it was about.
If you remember why you decided to start a blog and want to share that, please post that as well.
You might want to collect some blogiversary dates and wish folks Happy Blogiversary when it comes around. Folks who use the technorati tag make it easier for us to find them
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February 6, 2005 was my first blog post.
OMG, Dawno! Thank you! I hadn’t realized I’ve been blogging for a year until you posted this meme. Wow, and what a year!

I decided to start a blog to get my writing juices flowing again, talk about writing, my progress, and whatever really great things might be happening with my writing career. I had planned using my blog to post my daily writing prompts and the results of those prompts. Well, I did all that, just not in my first post.

My very first post was a reprint of my essay “Perseverance."

I wanted those who came to my blog to get a taste of my writing style and, at the same time, get to know me. My second post was another piece of my writing. I began my third post with a writing prompt. Then, I got into discussing what was going on with my writing at that time. After I read my first week of posts, I chuckled. It wasn’t so funny a year ago. :D Everything seemed to be falling apart. My writing partner and I weren’t seeing eye-to-eye when we were editing our manuscript. Just when we worked things out and I made time to get back into writing, my life and living arrangements changed.

A lot has happened and changed since that first post. I entered the Absolute Write Idol contest. I was a finalist and ended placing fifth. Writing each week in the contest kept me motivated. My writing partner and I have a much better understanding of each other, but unfortunately she’s still waiting for me to get my life back so we can get on with our book.

A few things have not changed since that post last year: Writing is still my life, and I continue to persevere.

Happy Blogiversary everyone.

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Saturday, February 11, 2006

Five Weird Habits – tagged by Jill

Jill tagged me for this five weird habits meme. Pretty cool idea, Jill. Thanks. I’ll play. Already did the superhero from Ray’s blog. The more I get to know you, the more I find we have in common. Sort of. ;)

Here's how this meme works (and if the candidates would rather tell us five weird habits rather than which superhero they are, that would be just fine):

The Rules: The first player of this game starts with the topic “five weird habits” and people who get tagged need to write an entry about their five weird habits as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose the next five people to be tagged and link to their web journals. Don’t forget to leave a comment in their blog or journal that says “You have been tagged” (assuming they take comments) and tell them to read yours.

I’ll follow your lead with some of the things you’ve listed, Jill.

1. Yes, I sleep with socks on, too. My feet are always cold. And I’ve slept with socks on for as long as I can remember. (Love the new fuzzy warm socks they sell at Wal-Mart).

2. I clip articles of interest from newspapers and magazines and stack them in a pile (I have stacks of everything, everywhere—but neat stacks) to file them by category in my file cabinet for reference and/or story ideas. At the end of the month, I file everything. Every three months, I go through the files to see what catches my attention the most. That attention grabber normally ends up being turned into a totally off-the-wall short story or gives me an idea to add a twist in my wip.

3. Continuing with the “stacks of everything, everywhere” theme, I must admit I am a pack rat. Years ago, my tax accountant told me I should save everything related to my tax returns for 10 years, just in case of an audit. That was back in 1980. I did keep everything. Last year, I was trying to clean out unneeded cluttered around the house. When I sifted through the “tax shelf” in my basement, I wasn’t surprised to find I still have all that junk. Who needs 26 years worth of tax information? I found, in all my sifting and cleaning that I’m over precautious. I could bring myself to through out only six years of clutter. There’s still 20 years of tax crap on those shelves. Do you realize how many memories can be stirred by going through tax receipts and what a waste of time and how tiring it can be to sift through one’s life? I do, now. Next time I get the chance to clean out unneeded clutter, I’m simply going to take the contents and shred it rather than sift through unneeded memories.

4. I never let the gas indicator in the car go below a quarter tank. Never! (Only because, the one time I did, (when I was in high school) I parked on a slope and the gas that was in the tank wouldn’t go to the carburetor, the car wouldn’t start, and I had to walk a mile to a gas station and carry a five-gallon can of gas back to the car. No cell phones and nothing but uninhabited country road back then. By the time I got back to the car, the gas can felt like it weighed more than I did. I never did make the job interview that day. Probably a good thing. I didn’t really want to be a pesky phone solicitor anyway. :)

5. I don’t know if this is considered a weird habit or not, but every morning when I wake, I peek out the window, look at the sky, and say “thank you” for another day.

What did I find out about myself with this meme: I’m a thankful over precautious pack rat with cold feet!


I choose to tag Frank, Jeff, Unique, Vanessa, and Esther, since she’s become addicted to memes.

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Superhero—me? I don’t think so!

My friends, Ray, Jill, and Mac, had this superhero test on his blog. I can’t resist these things. I get suckered in every time. :) As with all these tests: I think they lie. LOL And I wonder what the remaining 30% of me might be?

Your results:
You are
Supergirl 70%
Lean, muscular and feminine.
Honest and a defender of the innocent.



Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz



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Friday, February 10, 2006

AW Monday Meme #8 The Amazon.com Meme

Dawno posted this name/book search for this week’s meme.

(or Borders, or whatever book site you want to use)
1. Write down the names of 3 good friends (best friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, whatever) from High School or College - not current friends who (around here anyway) might be published authors. Oh, you don't write these down on your blog - jot them on a note pad or just keep them in your head.
2. Go to Amazon (or yadda yadda see above) and type their names (one first/last name set at a time) into the search bar. Maybe only the first name or last name 'hits' that's ok. Have you read any of the books that pop up? List it. (for example, my best friend senior year was Lynne Bxxx I typed it in and Lynne Truss, author of Eats, Shoots, and Leaves was the second book - I own it, that's the one I'd list first)
3. If none of the books are familiar - is there one you'd like to read? List it. (the second name I typed came up with a lot of exact matches - none I'd read, I'd pick one and post it)
4. Do that for the other two names.
5. Here's the voluntary part - if you use the tag, then people can go to Technorati and search on the tag to see that you've done the meme. If you own a book on someone's "I'd like to read" list, why not PM them (if you're willing to) and offer to lend them the book!

This was fun, Dawno. Thanks!
I wrote down three names, went to Amazon, typed in each name separately, and was totally shocked that all three names brought up three and only three book pop ups. This was really strange, all three names brought up the SAME three books. So I guess I'm really suppose to read at least one of them. LOL

The three books were: Ten Percent of Nothing by James Fisher, 2006 Writer’s Market and Freelance Writer by Moira Anderson Allen.
I own the 2006 Writer’s Market.
So between the other two books, I wouldn’t mind reading Freelance Writer.

The tag is ,

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AW Monday Meme # 7--Computers and You.

Time for me to catch up on AW Monday Memes again. I seem to be a few weeks behind.

Dawno posted this little quiz about computers for this week’s meme.

Today's little quiz is about computers and you.
1. Do you remember the first computer you ever used? If so, tell us what you remember and why you were using it.
2. Do you remember the first computer you ever bought for yourself? What was it - if you know details like how much memory it had or anything funny about it, share!
3. What kind of computer are you using right now? Any particular story about you and your computer experience you can share?
4. Is there one thing about having a computer that is particularly important in your personal history? Something you wouldn't have done or known unless you had a computer? Some big change having one made in your life? - for example, I met my SO 15 years ago because I bought a Commodore128 that had a floppy disk in it for an online service called Q-Link. We would never have met if I'd bought a different computer.

Joanne's answers:
1. The first computer I ever used was in 1977 at the office of The Maple Heights Press. I don’t remember what kind of computer it was, but it had a really wild word processing program called X-Writer. I think I still have a copy of it.
2. The first computer I ever bought for myself was an Apple IIe. I bought it brand new in 1983. It had 64K of memory. The big 5 ½” floppy disks were used. The monitor had no color. I can’t remember what word processing program was on it. I’d typed my first novel manuscript on an ancient typewriter and sat for hours typing it into this computer. My second PC was a much better computer; an IBM with printer and all. I used both to publish my newspaper from 1986 (yeah the Apple lived that long) through 1992. Then I moved up in the world and bought a Hewlett Packard with color monitor, laser printer, cd/cdrw and the HP All In One. (I still have the HP. Kept it because I didn’t want to have to retype everything again. And because I’m a pack rat. :))
3. My current computers are my desk top Dell Dimension with built in cd and cd/rw and floppy drive. I have my HP All in One connected to it along with the Page Pro Laser printer.
4. See answer # 2. Both working as a reporter and becoming editor of both weekly newspapers in Ohio were two particularly important things about my personal life and computers. Buying my own computers and publishing a hometown newspaper for 10 years is another. Writing has not only always been part of my life, it’s been part of my survival. Owning a computer has made it much easier to survive.
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Sunday, February 05, 2006

SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS!!!

STEELERS!!! STEELERS!!! STEELERS!!!

SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS !!!!

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Smoking, Drinking and Drugs. Habit, Disease, Addiction, or CHOICE?

The excessive use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs have been too easily labeled giving users an excuse to overindulge. When it comes to these labels I become a bit cynical, especially, when one is labeled a disease.

Before one jumps to the defense of alcoholics who have a “disease,” and drug users who have an “addiction,” let’s talk about smoking, drinking, drugs and choosing.

Yes, I smoke, and I “choose” to light those cigarettes. It’s no longer something I enjoy; it’s become a habit. I’m in the process of trying to quit this nasty “habit”. No, I do not drink, because I choose not to, and I do not use drugs, because I choose not to.

In my opinion, smoking is a choice—so is drinking and drug using. However, smoking is labeled as a “habit” and drinking is most often labeled as a “disease,” and drug using is labeled as an “addiction.” I believe all are choices! All can become habits! And all can become addictive.

If one never picks up a cigarette and smokes, he or she has made a choice. If someone continues to smoke, that is his or her choice. The same holds true with alcohol and drugs. If one chooses never to begin use, one will not obtain a habit or addiction.

The habit begins when one abuses and becomes dependent on the substance, whether it is nicotine, alcohol, or drugs. Drug users are labeled as addicts and are said to have an addiction. Yet, those who drink heavily are labeled as alcoholics and they are given an “excuse” because they supposedly have this “disease” called “alcoholism,” which is also an addiction. Why then is heavy use of tobacco not labeled as a “disease” and heavy smokers not labeled as “smokaholics? Why is the excessive use of drugs not labeled as a disease? What about the words workaholics or shopaholics? These are not diseases, either. They, as smoking, drinking, and drug using, are compulsive needs that can be dealt with by choosing not to partake.

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD)
has this article on its website. Here, my argument about the labels of “habit” and “disease” are substantiated with the first sentence. “The cost and consequences of alcoholism and drug dependence place an enormous burden on American society.”

The key word here is ‘dependence’. Again, to become dependent on something is by choice. You either choose to use or choose not to use. The second sentence, “Substance abuse crosses all societal boundaries, …” confirms my belief of choice. The key words here are ‘substance abuse’. Again, you either choose to use or choose not to use and abuse.

I’m sure many reading this will have their own opinions, objections, and arguments concerning my choice of words.

Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. This is mine: Smoking, drinking, and drug using are habits. If you choose to allow yourself to become dependent on the substance it becomes a habit. Even those who attend Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) know each day they “choose” to not drink. Drinking is a choice they live with and fight against each day—Having Alcoholics Anonymous and other groups available to help them choose is an added advantage to help fight a habit they have the choice to begin or end.

There is a major exception in my opinion. That exception is when infants are born dependent on alcohol or drugs because they had no choice; their parent made that choice for them by using while pregnant.

I admitted I choose to smoke and I admit it is a bad habit. It’s a habit that is hard to break. But I’ll be the first to admit that smoking is not a disease. It is a choice—so is the use of alcohol and/or drugs.

This opinion piece was also posted at BlogCritics.

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The Truth Does Matter—Part 2—Nasdijj Navajo Hoax

When I scanned the index of the February 6, 2006 issue of Time Magazine and saw the title, “When the Story Stolen is Your Own,” naturally, as a writer, I read the essay by Native American author Sherman Alexie.

It seems another memoir is in question. Worse yet, the identity of award-winning writer Nasdijj is in question.

Sherman Alexie, a Spokane/Coeur d’Alene Indian, states in his essay in Time that after he read Nasdijj’s book, “I suspected that he was a literary thief and a liar.” Alexie explained that his own story, “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona,” which was the basis for the film Smoke Signals, featured an autobiographical character named Thomas Builds-the-Fire, who suffers a brain injury at birth and experiences visionary seizures into his adulthood. Alexie thinks it’s more than coincidence that Nasdijj’s memoir, “The Blood runs like a River Through My Dreams,” speaks of a child named Tommy Nothing Fancy who suffers and dies of a seizure disorder.

In this AP article Hillel Italie reports that Alexis said, “When I first read his work, I almost thought it was some kind of parody by a famous white writer, because he takes so many things from me and other writers.”

According to Alexis’ essay in Time, he approached Nasdijj’s publishers and told them his book “not only was borderline plagiarism but also failed to mention specific tribal members, clans, ceremonies and locations, all of which are vital to the concept of Indian identity.”

Balantine Publishing soon found that their author Nasdijj not only isn’t a Navajo who was born on a Navajo reservation, at all, but also found that he is a white man named Timothy Barrus, who authored gay pornography. Barrus is from Michigan. After learning this, Balantine Publishing stated they will stop shipment on the memoir and offer refunds.

If you want an in-depth report of the Nasdijj/Tim Barrus fraud, you can read the LA Weekly’s 15-page story Navahoax by Matthew Fleischer.

I’m thankful that the publishing company stopped shipping this book. Not only did they show their credibility as a publisher, they also showed that the truth does matter!

If you’re interested in reading about Indian culture, look to one of the true Native American authors Sherman Alexie. He was born on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, WA and is a Native American. His latest book, Ten Little Indians, was published in 2003 and his novel, Indian Killer was published in 1996.

I also posted this opinion at BlogCritics.

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