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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Your name is mud

"Your name is mud"
Ever wonder what this phrase is all about? I did and went looking for an explanation.

Dr. Samuel Mudd is widely reviled for his part in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. He is the doctor who gave medical help to John Wilkes Booth's broken leg acquired in his escape after shooting Lincoln in 1865. Mudd was convicted of being Booth's conspirator, although the evidence against him was ambiguous and circumstantial, and many historians argue that he was innocent of any murderous intent.

However, 'your name is mud', was in general circulation long before Lincoln was assassinated. 

The word began to be used in a figurative sense as early as the 16th century to refer to things that were worthless or polluting. That usage was later extended to apply to people, as listed in the 1703 account of London's low life, Hell upon EarthMud, a Fool, or thick skull Fellow.

The combination of meanings of 'decaying and worthless' and 'extremely' was enough for the association of it with someone's name to become an insult - hence 'your name is mud'.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Why Comparing Apples and Oranges?

  I want to thank Facebook friend Richard Weatherly for this photo.

A reader asked what was the significance of my blog's title...Comparing Apples and Oranges. When I began to write this blog, I had no idea what I would choose to write about. I just knew I wanted it to be informative and entertaining. But, as they say, different folks need different strokes, so...

Comparing apples and oranges has to do with a long-standing difference between my husband and myself. He's a pessimist...his first answer is always "no" and first to point out the negative aspects of a discussion. I, on the other hand, have been called an optimist...usually willing to seek out the positive.

When a difference of opinion on a subject appears to come to a stand-off, our continued arguments fall on deaf ears because we are seeing the situation from two different perspective. Our only recourse when one or the other recognizes this, is to ease the tension by pointing out we are comparing apples with oranges. Over the years, we've come to an understanding...we basically agreed to disagree.

It's taken many years to come to this realization,but ever since we've started doing this, it's really ease the tension.

Thinking about this, I wondered how that aspect could be applicable to writing. How about developing those opposing viewpoints in two characters, each determined to convince the other of their rightness? And all the time they are really talking about two different aspects of the argument. Can't wait to find some place to try this out.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Something Bloggers Need To Remember

This blogging is something I'm still learning. So,whenever I come across articles that I find helpful, I'm happy to share. Some of them are obvious and others, like #5 and #7 were things I never considered. The following tips came from Reuters News Agency and I found them very informational for bloggers. 
  1. Be interesting.
  2. Be conversational — raise questions, invite contributions, discuss what’s happening on other blogs, leave some loose ends, and respond to comments made by readers.
  3. Link to external sites with relevant information.
  4. Monitor other bloggers in the same space and attempt to build reciprocal links with them.
  5. Tag posts so that they are easy for search engines to find.
  6. Inject some personality into posts, and include observation and anecdote.
  7. Credit the original source of all content embedded in posts.
  8. Make use of multimedia whenever possible and think about a post’s layout.
  9. Make sure posts are seen by a second pair of eyes before publication.
  10. Place a link to blog posts on relevant social media.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Let's Hear It For Writing Contests

How do you feel about  writing contests? Our local writers'group, North East Texas Writers Organization (NETWO for short), is holding a contest especially for writers who are teens...and it's free with prizes. You can find out more about it on our website:

We'll also be once again sponsoring a a short story contest in conjunction with our yearly conference held in April. Named to honor a member who gave so much to those of us following, the information about the Jory Sherman Short Story Contest is also on the website.

I'm a longtime subscriber to C. Hope Clark's excellent newsletter, Funds For Writers Here are a couple contest she reported in last week's issue. I think you can use Paypal to pay the entry fees.

ENTRY FEE £2 (OR FREE TO MEMBERS).1st Prize: £260. 2nd Prize: £195. Deadline February 10, 2015. You have just 65 words or less including the title to write a complete story. It's a tough one, but you can do it,and we look forward to receiving your submissions. You must use the photo published online.

£3 ENTRY FEE (FREE TO MEMBERS).1st Prize: £195. 2nd Prize: £150. 3rd Prize: £100. Deadline February 28, 2015. Using the photo for inspiration, you have just 1,000 words (including the title) to write a complete story that captures the imagination of the reader. To be in with a chance of winning this writing competition, you must include the park bench in your story.

If you've never been confident enough to enter a writing contest,let me encourage you to take that step. I find the undertaking stimulating and the endeavor to write something to enter challenging. It makes me stretch my writing muscles.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Memories Outlast Physical Reminders

The smokestack at Thurber, Texas
Thurber, Texas once claimed to be the largest town between Fort Worth and El Paso. Now only the towering smokestack remains of a once prosperous business and a thriving community.  It took life in 1886 with a coal mine begun by the Johnson brothers, Harvey and William. Workers who were recruited came from Italy, Poland, Britain, and Ireland among the eighteen nations represented. Manufacture of brick began in 1897 and eventually the plant was making 80,000 bricks daily.

During the first quarter of the twentieth century, railroads changed from coal to oil as fuel, diminishing  the markets for coal. When the company’s investors switched to developing oil leases, production of bricks decreased. The company’s move to its corporate location in Fort Worth in the early 30's brought the demise of Thurber and it became little more than a ghost town. Only a handful of buildings still exist where once 10,000 residents claimed Thurber ‘home.”

A smokestack, visible alongside Interstate 20 about seventy-five miles west of Fort Worth, is all that remains of a once-bustling town... a few buildings, some historical markers and memories planted deep in those who remember.

And yet, former inhabitants continue to gather on regular occasions because memories are more permanent monuments than anything subject to the erosion of time.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Social Media...Can One Keep Up?

Mentioned last week about having to replace my laptop. Here's an update on my progress in getting it up and running.

I'm a writer so I need a good Word program. My desktop is equipped with a Word 2010 and I was smart enough to make a note of the Product Code for the program I bought a few years back. No problem. I'll just go to Microsoft's website and download a copy. Nope! Seems that Microsoft no longer makes Word 2010 available; they now want you to use/buy Word 2013. After a bit of investigation, I settled for Apache Open Office...and it's free. I'll let you know how it works out later.

Although all my files were transferred from the old to the new computer, I had to rebuild my list of Favorites. There's Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, the site that hosts the serial of my novel Twist of Fate, and where I post a weekly blog about interesting cities in the US,

As a member of Authors Social Media Share Group (ASMSG), I'm active on Goodreads, Riffle, and Booklikes. Then I remembered I needed to find and add my personal and author websites. Once I found them, I took the time to post an update (don't do that near often enough.) So then it was on to Amazon where I located the address for my Amazon Author Page and Amazon Central so I could check on near-nonexistent book sales.

I'm sure there are other sites where I have a membership presence like Authors Den which I don't visit very much. But, by then my fingers were exhausted and most of the day had gone by. And I still had this blog to write for tomorrow.

Monday, January 19, 2015

When I'm Not Writing...

I'm pretty faithful to dedicating a portion of my day to writing projects of one sort or another. But, sometime there  a day comes along when I can't resist the call of the outdoors. Today was one of those days.

Here in Texas our winter this year has been one of gray, overcast skies and biting cold North winds that keep a person trapped indoors. When this day gave indication of something vastly different, I set aside the computer and research book and answered the call.

With temperatures in the high 60's and the soft, southerly wind a mild five to ten miles per hour, I couldn't pass up the chance to get some yard cleanup done. We've got a lot of trees  on our property resulting in a dead-leaves cover. I began with the flower bed alongside the drive, removing leaves and sticks with a rake and drawing them into a long piled row in the middle of the paved drive.

Used to be (when I was younger and more physically able) the raked-up leaves would be put through a shredding machine and returned as mulch on my garden beds. This will be the first year I'm not up to the chore and other demands don't allow the time to do so. A couple hours work and I had completed a major yearly task.

Since we live in the country outside of city limits and any restrictions about burning, I have no hesitation about disposing of the accumulated leaves in this manner. And that's just what I did.

Of course, reading this you will realize I didn't stay away from the writing very long. I should have taken a picture of my leaves burning but you'll have to be satisfied with one captured in Google Images.