Tag Archives: YouTube

Attention Writers: Flash Fiction Contest


I thought we could have some fun writing a Flash Fiction story of no more than 400 words around the topic of July 4th.  It can be any genre you wish, any topic, but keep it clean.  All entries must be submitted by June 30th to shirley_mclain@yahoo.com. The winner will be announced on July 3rd.  The prize is two ebooks of your choice from Amazon.

Please submit title and author of the books you would like as well as the address where you want them sent.  The story I posted called Angie’s Secret is for a flash fiction contest. You can read it and then try to do better.

Here is a YouTube video that explains flash fiction a little further. I hope you enjoy it. I look forward to reading what you come up with.  Happy writing.

My Pioneering Family



I ran across this wonderful YouTube video about life as a pioneer, and it added further  to the respect I have for the courage of my forefathers in settling the land.  In the latest book I’m writing, “The Dobyns Chronicles,” I follow one branch of my family starting in Virginia.  They migrate from Virginia in the 1700’s settling in Ohio and Indiana.  My Great-Great Grandfather then migrated with his family to Texas, living in the Sherman/Denison area on the Red River.

Everyone has stories of their family.  Have you ever stopped and thought about how they managed to accomplish what they did.  It is mind-boggling when you consider the obstacles they had to overcome in order to settle a new land.  The hardships they must have endured day after day. The things we take for granted today.

I was very fortunate having a mother who loved family history, and wanted to talk about it.  I grew up listening to the stories about how life was lived when her Grandfather was a boy, and living through the depression.  She taught my sister and I how to survive.  I have her Grandmother’s lye soap recipe.  I truly hope it never gets to a point I have to make my own soap, but I know how, if I need it.  I can live without electricity and running water if I have to.  I know how to plant a garden and preserve food.    This is where I am very grateful for the life today.  I don’t have to do what was common place to the pioneering families of yesteryear.

How many people today could make it across the miles and miles of plains, not seeing a soul, or cross a mountain range?  I know I couldn’t do it.  I use to live in Wyoming many years ago, and looked at the wagon ruts cutting across the country.  The canyons, wagons would have to be lowered into with ropes and then lifted up the other side.  The small cemeteries, containing loved one’s that could go no further.  Between Rawlins and Casper, there is a large granite rock.  The pioneers who traveled by this rock would chisel their name and the year into the rock.  They wanted it known, they were there.

For The Good Ol’ Days


Day 13:  I read a story this morning from a writer friend of mine  Living Words, on FanStory called Ah, For The Dumb Ol’ Days.  It struck me as marvelous because he reminded me of how really dumb I use to be, and how much I wish I were that way again.  I am sharing the story with you and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 

Being a child of the fifties’, I agree with him whole heartedly, about going back to the better times.  It is a shame as we age we have to really learn the truth about things that really shouldn’t matter to us.  Something changes in us when all of our illusions are taken away.  He reminded me what things use to be like when everything I saw seemed so real, and would really like them that way again. 

 Ah, For The Dumb Ol’ Days By LivingWords

If you saw “Jaws” when it was released to theaters in 1975, you must admit when you visited Universal Studios sometime after, you were surprised…and disappointed. Not only did the shark look like a blue-grey inner tube with plastic dentures, they named him “Bruce” for God sake. 

 When I first saw “African Queen”, I really believed I was (somehow) witnessing Bogart and Hepburn soaring down the rapids, hanging on for their lives, only to learn later ‘grips’ were tossing pails full of water at them as their “raft” rocked on the equivalent of a mechanical bull. It’s just not the same.

 Movies had a greater impact when I was (more) ignorant. I didn’t need to know Vivian Leigh was complaining about Clark Gable’s bad breath during their love scenes in Gone With The Wind. The comedy Pillow Talk, the perfect romantic coupling of Doris Day and Rock Hudson is no longer enjoyable. Jamie Lee Curtis has a penis? Pea soup in the Exorcist? Jello in The Ten Commandments? Chocolate syrup in Psycho? TMI!

 TV was better when I was naive as well. “I Love Lucy” is still the greatest, but it was better before I found out Desi was running around on Lucy and their real-life marriage was in the pits. Now the famous line, “Lucy, you got some ‘splainin to do” is more ironic than humorous. 

 Or that all of Johnny Carson’s wives names started with a ‘J’ because he didn’t want to pop for newly monogrammed towels? Dean Martin rarely drank? That’s not really Donald Trump’s boardroom? My whole world is turned upside down. 

 And music. Elvis didn’t make his first record for his mother (it was simply a demo). Lennon and McCartney never sat down and wrote a song together. MacArthur Park was about a park? I thought it was about a cake. Mike Jagger is considering suicide rather than being forced to sing “Satisfaction” again? 

 Then I found out Paul Anka wrote “My Way” which I always thought was Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” until Elvis recorded “My Way” his way and then a lot of other singers sang it their way, which was essentially the same way. I’m so confused. 

 I want to go back to when I wouldn’t have noticed the zipper on the back of The Creature From The Black Lagoon’s costume. When the bad guys would widen their eyes and cackle on the screen, followed by a full orchestra playing “Da-Da-Da-Dum!”  When I was content learning “Rose Bud” was Citizen Kane’s sleigh, without a clue that in real life Orson Welles was mocking William Randolph Hearst’s pet name for his girlfriend’s genitalia (true).   

 Speaking of sex, take me back to Sophia Loren coming out of the water in ‘Boy on a Dolphin’. Back to Annette’s first bra, Barbara Eden’s hidden navel, and Diana Rigg as Emma Peel. Better yet, take me back to the days when I had no reason not to believe the phrase “You’re so big!” 

 Life goes on, but progress should be measured in perspective. Let’s take a break. No more Learning or Discovery Channel, block publication of Entertainment Weekly, and redirect all Google searches to AOL. That alone will take us back a decade. 

 Then, write your Congressperson. Restore the Fairness Doctrine and shut down Fox, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Return to the principle of “Ignorance is Bliss” and we’ll all be happy…again.

The time has arrived for me to head out to play.  Enjoy and that is my two cents for today.


Get Yourself Branded


Day 7:    That sounds painful doesn’t it?  This branding has nothing to do with fire and pain, it is about selling your books.  As I blogged yesterday I read Kristine Lambs book on Social Media and I want to share more or her information.

The goal of being a writer after being published is to sell books.  In order to sell books you become a brand.  Brand your name, then your name can sell the books while you do the writing.  I can hear you saying, OK , how do you brand?  Use the name John Grisham for example.  His name is branded with being known for legal suspense books.

The name Levi is branded with pants made of denim material.  You know what you are going to be seeing just by the name alone.  You want to link your name with your content  Produce enough good content and eventually readers won’t need to read every review about your book before they buy.  They will know you provide content that is entertaining, interesting, or informative.

Before you sign up to a social media site, the very first thing you need to decide is your brand name.  According to Kristin,”the absolute only acceptable username (brand) is the name you desire to publish under.  This is essential you do this one thing right in order to 1) be effective 2) be able to link all of your platforms together to make social media simple and manageable. 3) begin building a solid platform.”

Tomorrow I will share with you want not to do concerning branding.