Tag Archives: New Jersey

Getting Published for a Good Cause

Oh Sandy! An Anthology of Humor for Serious Purpose is now available and I’m honored to be a part of it! Back in December, editors Leigh Beighley, AJ Fader, and Peter Barlow put out a call for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry on topics dealing with surviving disaster or being from New Jersey. The twist? Each submission was asked to take a humorous tone (can’t be too hard when asking for stories about New Jersey) to help raise spirits for those who survived (and are still surviving) Hurricane Sandy.

Like most residents of New York and New Jersey, I experienced Sandy in my own way, and it’s something I’ll never forget. I was one of the lucky ones though. Thousands of people lost their homes and possessions in the super storm.

When I heard about Oh Sandy! it seemed like a personal calling. I’m a writer. I lived through the hurricane. And I’m from New Jersey. Plus, I can be funny when I put my mind to it. And so it went. I composed a piece about a hilariously lame weekend my sister, our friend, and I spent down the shore in Belmar. I made sure to weave as many “Jersey” themes as I could–The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Springsteen, Parkway traffic, and more.

What’s great about this publication is that all proceeds go straight to those affected most by the storm.

If interested in supporting me (yay! I got published) the hurricane cause, or perusing a new read, see below:

Purchase the ebook here.

Purchase the print edition here.

Or,  simply visit the website here for more information or to check it out.

Thanks to all my readers for your continued support.

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Filed under Breaking Through, Inspiration

Old School Sundays: Shakespeare’s “King Lear”

I’ve decided that for the next five Sundays…or at least until the new year, I’m going to dedicate my Old School Sunday posts to The Bard, himself, William Shakespeare.

I debated this at first–wondered if my readers would even be interested in Shakespearean wisdom. But then I thought, well everyone ought to! So here it is…

“It’s good to be the King…” Jose → in Church & Cemetery

I read King Lear in college. Such a powerful story of hubris followed by a complete unraveling. After all, isn’t a mental breakdown usually an appropriate punishment for excessive pride? Doesn’t it always follow? At least in literature.

I’ve been amazed by Lear’s pomposity, and impressed by his lovely daughter Cordelia’s earnest answer of ‘Yes, father, I love you, but not anymore than I should.’ There’s nothing more drastic to the ears of the grandiose than the good old, honest truth.

There are many memorable lines I could pull from this play. But there was always something about this one that I could relate to my life on a number of different situations.

In Act 4 Scene 1, Edgar, Gloucester’s legitimate is disguised as Poor Tom. Right before the old man leads his recently blinded father onto the stage, Edgar reflects on the horrific nature of situation. He discovers, though, that it’s perhaps not as bad as it could be:

“And worse I may be yet: the worst/is not/So long as we can say ‘This is the worst'” (4.1 29-30).

Being from New Jersey, I can attest that the recent storm, Hurricane Sandy, was perhaps the ‘worst’ our state has ever seen. We lost our favorite vacation spots. Many of us lost heat and power. Some (too many) lost their homes. Some lost family members. Others lost pets. We waited on long lines for gasoline, something, we all learned, we’d taken for granted.

But we’re “Jersey Strong” and resilient. And we’re all aware of the fact that we’re damn lucky we can still say that Sandy was the worst storm in our history. Because if it was truly the worst…we might not be around to even suggest it.

See? We can all learn a thing or two from Shakespeare.

Stay tuned for more next week!

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Filed under Old School Sundays, Uncategorized

Ideas for Writing: Five plot-centered prompts to get started!

Be kind, please. I’ve never actually done something like this before. Well, OK, that’s not 100% accurate. Once in a grad class, a professor asked us each to create our own writing prompts. Then he read them (anonymously, thank goodness) out loud and we all picked one for a free writing exercise. He didn’t withhold his opinions, however, on which prompts were worthy and which ones were crappy. I remember when he read mine, he raised his eyebrows and blinked three times in row, a facial expression that could only be construed as: Whoa, this one’s out there. I still believe very much in my prompt! In fact, I included it below–see if you can figure out which one received the ‘look.’

Anyhow, these are some original writing prompt ideas. In this segment, they relate to the plot points of a novel, story, poem, etc. If you’ve seen any of them before, it’s pure coincidence. As far as I’m concerned, they all come from my intrinsic writing brain:

1. A woman is standing at her kitchen sink washing dishes, when she notices, from out the window, a solitary, red (or any color, really) balloon floating in the vast sky. This reminds her of a significant childhood experience. Write about it.  OR A solitary, red balloon is floating in the vast sky. Tell the story of how it got there.

2. Four teenage friends are trying to get into (any concert) back in (any year). Write about their adventure.
For example, it’s 1978, and four high school sophomores from New Jersey are just dying to get access into CBGB’s. How does the night unravel? This may or may not require some research.

3. An old man from the World War II era is taking a long train ride to visit his grandson. When a  strange woman takes a seat across the aisle from him, he is suddenly taken by a distant memory–the day he lost his virginity to a prostitute while in the service. This also may require research.

4. A little boy (or girl) gets separated from his mother at a carnival, and witnesses something that terrifies him. Tell the story from the child’s point-of-view.

5.  A young man sees a young woman in a movie theater, and swears he knows her from someplace. He barely watches the film, because he is trying in vain to figure out why she seems so familiar. After the credits, he follows her outside and approaches her. Who is she? What happens?

This is a fun exercise because it not only gives my readers potential ideas, but it gives me ideas too. Any of these prompts can twist and turn in directions a writer never expected. That’s really the beauty of it all, isn’t it?

Anyone else want to contribute? Pen your own writing prompt below!

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Filed under Characters, Inspiration, Plot & Structure, Prompts & Writing Ideas, The Setting, The Writing Life, Top Ten Lists, Writing Tips