Monday, June 13, 2011

Blogging Comeback

Wow, I can't believe that the last time I blogged my random thoughts was way back in April. Ah, yes, I remember April well; it was still snowing! Welcome June, thankfully it is not snowing, however I must admit I am a little tired of the rain and my accompanying puffy hair! Not much helping my hair at this point, two months of mostly rain makes Late Night Writer very cranky!

I have been somewhat busy creating a facebook profile page for my writing service. If you are on facebook, look me up at Proword Wizard Writing Services. I have also been practising my twittering skills, you can catch me on Twitter @latenitewriter. Yup, I realize that 'night' is spelled two different ways in my blog and my twitter name but someone else was using it already.

On the bookshelf, I just completed reading The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. I started it in the winter; yes, it took awhile but it had lots of pages and the print was small! I really enjoyed this book although I have to admit, I was glad once I had finally finished it. I always grow impatient when a book is taking a long time to read because I am eager to start a new book.

This week, I moved on to something a little easier and just finished reading Ten Degrees of Reackoning by Hester Rumberg. The book was based on the true story of Judith Sleavin and her tragic story of losing her family at sea whilst she floated alone in a rubber dingy. The family were avid sailors and were enroute to sail around the world. After reading her story of survival, I can honestly say that any ingling I might have had to sail around the world has been permanently silenced. A very sad and tragic story but her story of courage and survival story needed to be told.

I have a few more books nestled on my bookshelf awaiting my arrival before I will make my next journey to Chapters. What have you been reading lately..feel free to comment!

Until next time...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Twitter Here I Come!

Over the last few months, I have come to realize that if I want to stay in the game in the writing world, I need to develop some social skills - social media skills that is! Hence, my reasons for creating this blog that you are reading.

My new social venture is getting acquainted with Twitter. Like this blog, I am not quite certain what I will 'tweet' (boy, I hate that word!) but I am hopeful that it will come together at some point and I will discover a reason for all this blogging and tweeting. I have come a long way since last year when I could not remember the name of the website and kept referring to it as Tweeter instead of Twitter. Now, I have it all figured out, you create a twitter account and post daily tweets for your followers to read. Not sure why anyone would care what I am doing at any given moment; my life is not that interesting - quite boring actually!

So bear with me, as I muddle through the schematics of twitter, learn about hash tags, figure out how to post a tweet via my cell phone, learn how to entice people to follow me and discover that at some point, I will be rewarded for mastering Blogspot and Twitter.

In the meantime, follow my tweets at You can find me at: @latenitewriter.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Caught Napping!

With the Canadian election campaigns in full swing, I had a chance to catch some of the debate on TV the other night. Is it just me or does Mr. Ignatieff resemble a cross between the Grinch and the penguin from Batman? Not sure what it is, perhaps the over extension of the corners of his mouth but whatever the reason, I am very afraid!

I watched a clip on the news last night from Barak Obama's budget speech. When the camera person panned the audience, there were three indidivuals very obviously nodding off including U.S. Vice President Joe Biden! Now, if Mr. Biden were one of us common folk, he would definitely get a tongue lashing for sleeping on the job. Why is it ok for the vice president of the US to sleep on the job yet Torontonians were so outraged when the lonely ticket guy at the TTC was caught napping on the job? Just doesn't make much sense to me. Let's be realistic, we are only human and we get damn tired...and sometimes it happens at the most inappropriate times!

I am pretty sure that VP Biden has received alot of teasing today! For all those nappers out definitely don't want to get caught napping on the job unless of course, you are the Vice President of the United States.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Snowcabulary for the Winter Weary

I was pretty peeved to wake up to discover that Mother Nature was using the snow making machine in Ontario again. My poor tulips were just beginning to peek their heads out of the soil; hide my little lovelies or you will freeze! Even the promise of seven sunny days starting tomorrow couldn't shake my feelings of Snowbegone!

This year's never ending snowstorms has brought forth a succession of 'snow' terms to use that are sure to put a smile on your snowman's face despite this latest blast. Here's a compilation  of snow wordplay for your reading pleasure. The list is derived from a number of sources which don't pay tribute to the originator of each term. Enjoy!

Snowverkill - That pretty much says it all about today's weather. Enough is enough already!
Snowonder - When you look out the window, peer up at the sky and ask yourself, "is it ever going to stop snowing?"
Snowtorious B.I.G. - For fans of 90s Hip Hop or the height of the snowbanks about a month ago.
Snowmad - Two possible definitions here, Snowmad happens you have already shovelled your driveway for the umpteenth time and you have to do it again, or travellers who get stuck due to the bad weather and wander the airports, hotels, train and bus stations until the snow stops.
Snowbegone - Pretty self explanatory. 'Nuff said.

Snowhere - When you have to cancel your plans due to the snow;  you are going snowhere.
Snowmageddon - I would reserve this one for snowstorms that paralysis the city and the mayor calls in the National Guard. Hmmm...what year was that?

Snowpocalyse - Feels like the snow will never end and the end is near!

SnOMG - The feeling you have when you first wake up, look out the window and realize it snowed overnight and the 401 is going to be parking lot again.

Snover-reaction - When the Toronto School Board closes the schools and the snowstorm passes over Toronto.

Snowlicious - For all those winter sports fans.

Snorm - Popular short form for snowstorm. We've said it so many times this year, a short form is absolutely warranted and necessary

Snowralysis - The 400 series highways during a snowstorm.

Snownado - A wind whipping, hair-raising snowstorm.

To add to this list, I've created my own word:

Snow-titis: The pain felt in your hands and back after shovelling your driveway more than once in a single day. Oye!

Until next time...keep shovelling!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The eReader Confrontation

It was my birthday last week and the hubby asked me what I wanted for a birthday present. I always try and pick something that I normally would not buy myself. Once again, the acquisition of an eReader came to mind. I tossed the idea around for a couple of days and mentally made a pros and cons list of printed books vs downloaded books. This dilemma inside my head continued for the entire week right up until the day we ventured to the mall.

We looked around at some of the latest electronics; I was also pondering an IPod to replace my MP3 player. I looked at the newest IPod Nano and quickly determined it was way too small and that reading the teeny, tiny screen was going to be a problem. I also thought the size was perfect for getting lost within the confines of my purse, car or house. I looked at other IPod type devices but had no idea what specifications were most desirable.

The hubby and I continued our search which lead us to a trendy shop that carried purses, luggage and accessories. I walked around, and a designer looking purse and matching wallet caught my eye. If my two sons had been with us, they would have rolled their eyes and asked "how many purses does one person need?!

The hubby didn't seem to question it, he was just happy that there was light at the end of the shopping tunnel for him. After careful examination of the purse and the availability of space for my ever present cell phone, I decided that it was perfect and my husband was happy to pay for it and get out of the mall.

On the way out, we went through Best Buy and stopped to check out something. From the corner of my eye, I spotted a display of eReaders. They looked really nice. I made my way over and inspected each one for size, specifications and visual appeal. Yes, I admit, I was very intrigued. I thought about it for a minute and glanced down at the new purse and wallet in the bag I was carrying. My decision had already been made so the eReader would have to wait for another gift receiving occasion.

Later that weekend, I told my nephew, Nick, about the eReaders and my indecision as to whether to get one. He wanted to know why I wouldn't get one. I thought for a minute and then it all became crystal clear: if I had an eReader, I wouldn't have an excuse to hang out at my local Chapters store and spend some quality time looking through the books. I love new books, the crisp spine and new paper smell...can't beat it!

I am satisfied that I made the right choice for my birthday gift. My new purse and matching wallet look great with the new buccaneer knee high boots I bought last month.

Until next time...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Free Ebooks

Everyone loves a freebie! is offering a selection of  free books to download. All seven free downloadable novels were made into movies for the big screen. Yup...they may old but they are still worth the read.

The seven selections are:

A Passage to India by E.M. Forster,
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Red Alert by Peter George
Shoeless Joe by W.P.Kinsella
The Graduate by Charles Webb
Midnight Cowboy by James Leo Herlihy

Also, fifteen Harlequin Romance titles can be downloaded for free.

The site also offers a free download of Copia Desktop Reader or an app for IPod, Windows & Phone, or Copia Touch App.

I wasn't able to find out how long these free downloadable classics will be available so if any of these books have piqued your interest, it is advisable that you don't delay. 

Here is the link:


Happy Reading!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Penguin Classics

My painting instructor, Shannon, and other students in her class, share a great love of reading in addition to our interest in learning to paint. Shannon was excited to show us her new collection of classic literature by Penguin Books. As readers of my blog may remember, my goal in 2010 was to read all the great literary classics and although the year has passed, I am still on my quest to read them all.

The newest classics collection of great literary reads such as Great Expectations, Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, The Picture of Dorian Gray and many others have been reprinted with hardcover cloth bound covers designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith.

I was thrilled when I saw Shannon's growing collection of these cloth bound books; somehow the new covers make the books even more fitting of their title as 'classics'. I plucked one of Shannon's bookshelf but didn't open it because I didn't want to break the spine. Shannon urged me to flip through it, but I declined- she should have the honour of breaking the spine when she reads the book.

According to the Penguin website, "Penguin Classics presents seven more beautiful hardcover editions of the world's favorite books. Featuring gorgeous patterns stamped on linen cases, colored endpapers, and ribbon markers, these are rich and sumptuous volumes that continue what will be one of the most coveted sets of books ever produced."

The books are truly beautiful and any booklover would be proud to display these classics on their bookshelf or give them as gifts to the booklover on your birthday or Christmas list.

 Not all the classic literature titles are available at the moment but new ones are being produced. Selected titles are available online through Chapters Bookstore, Amazon Books, and directly from Penguin Books.

Shannon advised that it is easier to track down some of the titles with the ISBN number and suggested the following site for the ISBN numbers:

CB Smith

If you are interested in obtaining some of these cloth bound classic books, visit the following websites for more information.

Penguin Books (USA)

Amazon (US)

Amazon (Canada)

Chapters Bookstores (Canada)
(Search by ISBN number)

Thanks to Shannon for sharing her great book find.
Happy reading!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Mid-Winter Getaway to My Happy Place

I am back after taking a wee hiatus to spend some time warming up in sunny Florida. The weather was simply spectacular with full sun and temps in the low 80s. With the hubby and two teenage boys in tow, we headed south to regroup and rejuvenate from this never-ending winter.

Our first excursion was to St. Cloud where we embarked on an Ecosafari. It was a two hour ride in a covered wagon through a nature preserve. En route, we saw lots of alligators (big mama and her babies), native Floridian birds, deer, turtles and lots of small wildlife. Unfortunately, the infamous Florida panther that roams the preserve was a no show but it was still enjoyable. The place also offers two other options to explore the 1500 miles of wilderness: horseback or via zipline. The boys are planning on doing the zipline excursion next time we are back in the area.

Our next major outing was to Clearwater Beach, almost two hours away.  The day was misty and overcast so we decided to nix the suntanning and take a leisurely walk along the shore. I was surprised at how fine and white the sand is in Clearwater. In Cocoa Beach, on the  Atlanta side, the sand is dark and coarse. We walked along collecting more shells to add to my collection and proceeded to walk the wooden pier that spans across a couple hundred feet of the ocean from the shore. As we got to the end, much to our delight, a pair of dolphins jumped out of the water! With cameras ready to aim and shoot, we waited for the perfect shot. Although the dolphins did reappear numerous times, it was pretty much impossible to catch them mid-flight with a regular digital camera. The images of seeing these beautiful creatures in their natural surroundings will be one that will stay with me for a long time.

The last highlight of our trip was the launch of the Discovery shuttle. Although the shuttle was launched from Cape Canaveral, it could be seen from where we were in Kissimmee however, it was somewhat overcast and I couldn't get a glimpse of it through the clouds. The hubby and firstborn son had gone to the market to pick up some groceries and reported that they saw it whilst they were loading the groceries in the car. Lucky them!

Although we haven't been back home for a full week yet, I am wishing I was back in Clearwater Beach watching the dolphins jump out of the water.

Until next time...think spring!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Calling All Short Story Writers

Good Day Fellow Writers and Avid Readers!

If you reside in Ontario, Canada, The Toronto Star Newspaper has announced its annual 2011 Short Story Contest. This contest is open to all Ontario residents over the age of 16 years. There is no entry fee and the prize breakdown is:

1st Prize
 $5000 plus the tuition fee free for The Humber School for Writers Correspondence Porgram in Creative Writing

2nd Prize - $2000
3rd Prize - $1000

Entries must be received by February 27, 2011. Winners will be declared on April 15, 2011

Please visit the link for further information:
The Toronto Star Short Story Contest

 I found this good article on how to increase your chances of winning a short story competition. Before you enter any short story contest, gain some valuable tips to increase your chances of success:

Short Story Competitions: Increasing Your Chances of Wnning

Until next time...good luck!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Ultimate Non-Paying Writing Gig

As a freelance writer, I have seen alot of writing scams but I think I have seen the lowest of the low today. Whilst I was researching exercises that will help sciatica (been suffering lately with it), I was directed to a website for women`s fitness. As usual when I have stumbled across a new website, I checked their article submission guidelines. The article submission guidelines tried to entice the writer by stating that their submission will  "reach out to potential customers and change their life for better. You can now reach out to millions of women all over the world and help them make better choices through our paid article submission service."

Fair enough, some individuals have a passion and want to share it with others however, when I got to the bottom of the submission form, I noticed the payment button. This website wanted the writer to 'pay' to submit their article on their site. It was a nominal charge but still this is absolutely ridiculous! This goes back to my previous blog that explains when a writer provides free content to a site that will generate revenue from that said article, the writer is enabling the website owner to prosper and the writer gains very little other than some exposure if the article is linked back to the writer's personal website and the website visitor actually clicks on it.

On another note, I submitted an article query to a prospective market and I got excited when I received a quick response. The editor informed me that he had visited my website and blog and admitted that his publication did not pay contributors. He expressed interest in my article but could only offer me a bio and a link to my website. He acknowledged that I probably would not be interested in this type of compensation. Although he was correct in his assumption, I was thankfully that he was upfront with his compensation policies and let him know that if he changed his policies to contact me. Although his payment policies didn't match my expectations at the present time, things can change. No point in burning bridges when you may cross the same bridge at another time.

Until next time...happy writing.

Monday, February 7, 2011

What's On Your BookShelf?

I never really thought much about it until a friend noticed that I had a stack of books sitting on the end table in my family room.

"How many books do you read at one time?" She asked.

I replied that it depended on what I was reading. If I was tackling one of the great literary classics, I am usually reading two books at the same time for the reason being that time may not permit for a 'heavy' literary read but something light will suffice if I want to read a few pages before bed or I have a free moment or two. (Coincidentally my 2010 new year's resolution to read all the great literary classics has spilled over into 2011 and no doubt will continue into 2012).

Presently, I have 4 books on the go. I started reading Tatiana De Rosnay's, A Secret Kept, after reading her other novel, Sarah's Key. I enjoyed Sarah's Key immensely and was anxious to read another of the author's works. Unfortunately, A Secret Kept, reminded me so much of the first one with its infusion of French words and notable famous French landmarks, that I lost interest midway through. Next, I picked up a 'cheapy' read off the discount table at my local bookstore; The Letters by Luanne Rice and Joseph Monninger. Unfortunately, with the busyness of the holiday season, I only managed to read the first few chapters, however, this book shows some promise so I will get back to it at a later date. It is not a literary masterpiece by any means but I think it will be an enjoyable read.

On boxing day, I couldn't resist a visit to my local bookstore and got a deal on Richard B. White's, Mr. Shakespeare's Bastard. I had been eyeing this one for a couple of weeks and was happy to get a copy on sale. I have been reading this one steadily for a couple of weeks and enjoying it. Of course, as my usual style, I am eager to finish it and move on to another book; almost done and will cross the finish line by the weekend.

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered Google Books and a whole slew of free literary classics. On my lunch break at work, if time permits, I will engulf myself in the online version of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations. This is a quite a long book to tackle so I am somewhat happy to read it online where it is broken down into small pages of print.

What is your reading style? Do you read one book at a time, or have many books on the go?
Drop me a line and let me know what you are presently reading.
Until next time...happy reading!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Find Jobs on Twitter

The other day, I read an article about finding writing jobs via Twitter. The article stated that there were job opportunities for writers on the twitter network; jobs posted by other twitter subscribers. Personally, I do not have a twitter account nor am I too familiar with it so I cannot say whether the claims were true or not. Truthfully, I have been known to call it tweeter not twitter until I was politely corrected by my two teenaged sons.

I did some research and discovered how to look for jobs on twitter so I guess it is a start if you have been trying to access job postings on twitter. To view job postings, go to, in the search box enter one of the following :


A list of job tweets will appear. You can also use a variety of key words to search such as freelance writing jobs, writing jobs, etc. This will produce a whole slew of results which will direct you to other twitter postings.

While I was researching job hunting on twitter, I came across a few articles that I found somewhat informative:

The Beginner's Guide to a Job with Twitter

12 Tips to Finding a Job On Twitter

If you have a twitter account, and have mastered finding writing jobs, please drop me a line and let the rest of us in the secret to searching for writing jobs (or any kind of jobs) on twitter.

Until next time....keep writing

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Don't Write for Free

I saw a job posting for writers to write website content, and the ad stated that the gig was paying $5.00 for 500 words. I get myself worked up when I see ads like this. It would take at least an hour to write a 500 word article even if a half hearted attempt was put into the task considering the ridiculously low pay. You can find these ads all over the web on a variety of sites including some bidding sites.

I understand that some new writers will jump at the opportunity to write something and get paid for it regardless how pathetic the pay is, However, if you feel the need to write and publish for little or no pay, consider writing for a local community group or non profit organization instead. You will gain the experience you need to move forward in your writing career and be offering your services to a worthwhile cause at the same time. This is a win win situation for all involved.

Unfortunately, when you decide to write for $5.00 for 500 words, the end user (your customer) has paid alot less for your work than what it is worth and will be profiting from your content.  When your carefully created content is published on their website, your content will draw visitors to the site when a search engine picks up keywords in your article.  Your customer is hoping that once the site visitor is browsing through their web pages, somewhere down the line, they will profit by selling the visitor their products or service. So in the end, your customer has got some great marketing content for next to nothing and as long as it is on their site, being picked up by a search engine, your customer has a steady flow of potential visitors/customers to their site. Why write for practically free and let someone else earn money from your efforts?

If you really want to start earning revenue from your writing consider these options:
  • Learn to craft a quality query and submit it to paying print and online publications and websites. Refrain from submitting to those that pay less per hour than you are willing to work for.
  • Sites like attract buyers who are looking for content for their website. You write your article, set the price and post it at Constant Content. It may sit on the site for awhile but many writers contribute to this site and other similar sites and consider it 'passive revenue."
  • Have some business cards printed and hand them out everywhere. Also, consider placing a small classified ad online or in your local newspaper. You may be surprised to find yourself writing content for a local business or group in your area.
Until next time...write, rewrite, query and submit!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Effects of a Great Book

A friend dropped by for tea last night and we got on the topic of books. We are both avid readers and at some point always find ourselves on the topic of great books. Andrea was telling me how much she enjoyed reading but doesn't read before she goes to sleep because she becomes so involved in the book that it becomes part of her dreams. She said that she gets so absorbed with the characters and the setting that it is like she is actually there.

I can relate and Andrea can attest to it. Years ago, I purchased a copy of the novel Cane River By Lalita Tademy; one of Oprah's Picks. The book tells the tale of three generations of slaves on a Creole plantation in Cane River, Louisiana. It was quite a long, compelling story and I had been tackling it for over two months.

I brought the book along with me during a 'girls only' weekend trip to Niagara Falls, Ontario. On route, I settled comfortably in the back of the van and dozed off for a little awhile. I awoke to hear one of my fellow travellers inquiring as to what was going in the field running parallel to the highway we were on; there was a group of about 15 individuals in the middle of the field a short distance from the shoulder of the highway. Still groggy from my mid-morning slumber, I poked my head up, peered out the window and blurted, "Picking cotton of course."

There was dead silence in the van followed by a rumble of uncontrollable laughter. Amid the laughter, I heard a voice break through the racket and point out, that "we are in Ontario, not Louisiana! We don't even grow cotton here!" Feeling a bit sheepish, I explained that I had become so involved in the book, Cane River, that when I awoke from my little car nap, I was confused and actually thought the group of people in the field were cotton pickers.

To me, that is the sign of a great read! When the author engages the reader in such an amazing tale that the reader actually feels like a participant in the story, it is pure magic!

Have you read any books that made you feel that you have become a participant in the story or a bystander witnessing the action? Drop me comment and share your experience!

Until next time..enjoy a book today.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Aspire to Write?

Many individuals dream of writing whether it be a simple poem, the next great novel to be awarded a prestigious book award or to be featured on Oprah Winfrey's Book List. However, a common complaint amongst those who aspire to write is that they cannot find anything to write about.

Most experienced writers have learned that one must use various sources of inspiration to help them create their works of art. You may argue that you cannot find anything that will spark the creative spirit in your soul but think again. Inspiration can be derived from the simplest of pleasures:

Ø      A early morning walk around your neighborhood
Ø      A unexpected sunset or vibrant sunrise
Ø      A look from a stranger
Ø      A touch from your significant other
Ø      Rage over an injustice
Ø      The sound of a pounding rain
Ø      The quiet of the hour
Ø      The chatter of a toddler
Ø      The giggle of a group of school girls
Ø      The clickety clack of your keyboard
Ø      A longing, a love, a hope.
The possibilities for inspiration are abundant and readily available if you seek beyond the mundane of everyday life. The key to finding inspiration is to break down an event, experience or emotion and focus on that single aspect. If it is a great fiction story you are after, dig deep in your past, examine the present or look into the future. For poetry, let your emotions run high and embrace your tears, laughter, fears, happiness, grief and sorrows. Write it when the moods strikes - do not sit on it or the inspiration will fade.

The great writers, both past and present, knew this and wrote when the inspiration struck them regardless of the place or time. Follow in their footsteps; this is the stuff great literary works are made of.

Until next time..keep writing

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My Children's Picture Book: Church Mouse Poor

A quick note regarding yesterday's blog on Literary Classics - Not sure what happened but the spellcheck changes did not save properly and the online version contained a few typos, my apologies. Hmm, didn't I write a blog on proofreading??

In 2007, after seventeen rejections, my eighteenth query netted a traditional publisher for my children's picture book entitled, Church Mouse Poor. The story came to be after a friend announced that she was officially 'as poor as a church mouse." Perhaps it was the air that night, or someone slipped something in my drink, but I began to ponder what it meant to be 'as poor as a church mouse' if you were, in fact, a mouse that lived in a church. With my creative juices flowing, I quickly jotted down a short story about a mouse who lived in a church and sets out on a quest to find out what it means to be "as poor as a church mouse." The story sat under a pile of papers for a few months until I rediscovered it, rewrote it and then eventually sent it on its way to do the publisher rounds for the next year and a half.

I enjoyed some success with the book, and enjoyed the experience immensely. I had a great book launch at the local library, did quite a few author readings at local schools and hosted a book signing at my local chapters (see picture below). In addition, I attended some other book functions and signings and brought the hubby and the boys along in tow to experience the whole thing. Unfortunately, my traditional publisher ceased operation about a year after the book's release and I am now the sole, independent marketer of my book.

Friends will ask me if I plan to write another children's book and I have to admit that there is no explanation as to how Church Mouse Poor came to be. I am not a children's book writer in any sense of the word; I write non-fiction articles on an array of topics - basically I will write about any topic that someone is willing to pay me for!

So last weekend, as I watched the snow pile up outside, I pondered whether I had another children's picture book somewhere deep inside of me. I have some ideas but whether or not they will amount to anything, I am really not sure. If I decide to pursue that avenue, I will take what I learned from the publication of my first children's book and  use that information to my advantage.

Firstly, writing the book is the easy part. The hard part is trying to find a publisher who will see your vision and is willing to work with you and make it happen.

Secondly, I will seek out a publisher who is associated with a book distributor. Although I am all for the small publishers, it is difficult if not impossible, for the majority of them to break into the major bookstores in Canada and the U.S. If you aren't on a bookstore shelf, it is extremely difficult to sell your book especially a children's picture book in which the pictures say as much as the actual wording. Picture books don't sell so great over the Internet.

And lastly, I know as the author, I will have to do my part too including school book readings, book signings and book fairs as required.

So, until such time as a great idea for another children's picture book slaps me upside my head, I will just sit and wait and see what transpires over the cold, long winter.

Until next time....keep reading..

P.S. If you are interested in more information or wish to order your own autographed copy of my children's picture book, Church Mouse Poor, please visit my website at

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Literary Classics: Alive and Thriving in my Computer

It has been said that great readers make great writers; I would somewhat agree with this statement however, not all book lovers aspire to write. Unfortunately, in a world of digital electronics and advancing technology, the English language has been sacrificed. Transmission of the written word via email, texting and twitter has pretty much butchered the language into 4 letter words sans vowels, punctuation, and proper sentence structure.

Last year, I decided to take it upon myself to revisit the classics and read the great literary works of Leo Tolstoy, Charles Dickens, and Mark Twain.  Somewhere along the way, I missed reading them in high school; perhaps I found the smoking area more interesting!

So throughout 2010, I tackled Leo Tolstoy's, Anna Karenina - all 850 pages of it. Next I read, Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte and will soon immerse myself in D. H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover. Currently I am making my way through the free online version of Great Expectation by Charles Dickens. Many of the classics are available online for free because their copyright has expired. A copyright expires after 100 years and the content becomes public domain thus Google and a few other sites offer the classics for all to read. I am not exactly sure how it got there, but my online version of Great Expectation is stored nicely within the confines of my email account. When I visit my 'books', it comes up automatically to the last page that I read. How cool is that?!

Although I have somewhat veered off topic, the point I am trying to make is that the classics are beautifully written; the sentences are long, flowing, dramatic and descriptive. However, in this modern environmentally conscious and digital era, it is a distinct possibility that some of the classics would have been passed over by the traditional publishers for being too wordy, long and drawn out and too costly to produce. Likewise, if the book was written for exclusively for the web, the writing is too 'loose' and rambling and would not hold the reader's attention for long because writing for the web differs greatly than writing for print. Studies have proven that Internet surfers only read the first few paragraphs of a body of text that is posted online and do not read each word but rather scan down the screen picking up words and ideas.  Web writing is written in a very tight and concise manner to pack as much into a paragraph as possible to accommodate the Internet surfer's online reading behavior.

When my sister found out that I was ploughing through the classics, her first question was 'why'?  As I explained to her, for whatever reason, I missed reading the majority of them the first time around in high school and to be great writer, one must be a great reader of the literary giants. I wanted to absorb myself in the prose of previous eras and literary works that differ so greatly from the great authors of present day.

If you are interested in reading the classics, visit these sites:

Google Books

Project Gutenberg

*Note: Some sites offer the books in a variety of formats suitable for various portable readers.

Until next time...happy reading...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Test Your Proofreading Skills

No matter whether you write for pleasure or your job requires some sort of written material, proofreading is a big part of the process. Truthfully, I am a horrible proofreader when it comes to my own stuff, however if it is someone else's work - I can spot an error or typo from a mile away.

I haven't quite figured out why I cannot proofread my work to 100% accuracy; perhaps it is because I spent so much time creating the piece that I am not actually reading my work but have memorized it in its entirety. Unfortunately, I have been known to send off emails to my friends complete with typo and all because often I type my emails on the fly and don't give them a full proofread.

It really bugs me when I find a typo in the newspaper or on TV. One of the local TV stations has taken to showing the time as 10.00 instead of 10:00 - is this a new time format that I don't know about? Now I am confused! Is it 10 dollars or 10 o'clock!

If you are like me and want to improve your proofreading skills, try the proofreading link below and see how good you are. I did ok but missed a few. Post your score under the comments section of this blog if you dare.

The Proofreading Girl Proofreading Test

Until next time....keep on writing!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Elephant in the Room

I have been mulling over an idea for a writing project; it will be a fairly time-consuming undertaking. I have had the idea stuck in my mind for over a year goes..but it always comes back. The weather was going to pretty frigid here over the weekend so I decided I would tackle the first outline of the writing project because I knew I wouldn't want to be going outside or running errands.

So there I sat at my computer on Saturday morning complete with flannel bathrobe and slippers, determined to get the outline completed. It wasn't easy. I found myself wandering away from my computer more than once to tend some menial task like loading the dishwasher. At one point, I found myself heading upstairs to have a shower before it dawned on me that I was doing that 'thing' again. That 'thing' that I do so well is the fine art of procrastination.

After finding myself on the staircase, I turned around and headed back to my office and sat back down in front of my computer. I repeatedly told myself that I would reward myself with a nice, hot shower after I completed my outline. With a bit of encouragement from my boys (they let me read my outline to them), I had the inspiration that I needed to work through the first draft of my outline and be on my merry way.

I am excited that the first very rough draft of the outline is done and I am feeling energized to work on it more but I will let it rest for a few days. Procrastination is a horrible thing but if you set your mind to it, you can work through it. Unfortunately, for budding and established freelance writers, procrastination is like the elephant in the room; you know it is right there distracting you from your work but you can't seem to get around it. Sometimes, you just have to sit yourself down and work through it in order to get done what you set out to do.

How do you handle procrastination...drop me a line and let me know!

Until next time...ciao

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Expanding Your Writing Horizons

As a writer, it is easy to get stuck in a vacuum; playing it safe by writing what you know and are comfortable with. This psychology may work in the beginning but as your writing journey continues year after year, the market changes and you may need to develop writing skills in other areas to sustain your freelance writing activity.

A fiction writer may be horrified at the thought of writing non-fiction likewise a non-fiction writer may be lacking in skills to create a short story. However, it is necessary as a writer to try all different types of writing in order to keep the creative juices from becoming stagnant and to increase your money making abilities.

I am a non-fiction article writer for print and online markets and have written on numerous subjects but always return to my 'comfort' zone which is careers and health and wellness. As the recession lingers on, I have come to realize that I am trying hard to sell my ideas by pumping out more queries than before but unfortunately, I am selling less of my articles and at a lower rate.

An opportunity may present itself in the near future which involves some copywriting for a large organization. With my copywriting experience seriously lacking, I find myself scouring the net looking for self directed tutorials to help me along this new path. At some point I may find myself seeking more in-depth copywriting instruction and will consider taking an online copywriting course complete with an instructor to guide me and mark my progression. In the meantime, I am working through the site below which offers a self directed tutorial of sorts. I hope you will find the link helpful if you are looking to improve your business writing skills.

Quantum Copywriting

What is your writing genre? Feel free to comment!

Until next time...ciao

Friday, January 21, 2011

E-Reader Frenzy

I was in my local office supply store yesterday, and they had a display set up for a brand name e-reader. I started playing around with it somewhat intrigued with the new technology. A friend of mine received one for Christmas and she absolutely loves it. She has trouble seeing the print in books and loved the ability to enlarge the font on her new e-reader. She has read more books in the last month than she had read in over a year. The capability to alter the font size is a bonus for those of us who are suffering from middle aged farsightness.

As I tried out the different features of the e-reader, I asked myself if this is something I would use to read my favorite authors and newspapers, or would I just be purchasing it because it is a new gadget? I like the convenience of just carrying around a small, light weight computer tablet as opposed to a  heavy book especially if I am travelling and don't want the extra weight of a couple of books. Often, when I am travelling, if I am reading a thick book, I will leave it at home and opt for another smaller book to read whilst I am enjoying my vacation time. Large hardcover books complete with 600 pages or more just don't make good travelling companions.

As a writer, I like to see my work in print but I am not sure if I will get the same thrill out of it if my work is on a screen. However, I am not totally dismissing the functionality of an e-reader because I truly believe that economically and ecologically, the e-reader has its place in the literary arena.

With the cost of paper at an all time high, the e-reader will save many trees from being sacrificed to make books and newspapers. As a writer, I would definitely be saddened to witness the demise of the hardcover/paperback book but if technology rules, that scenario may be nearer than we think.

Until next time...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Late Night Writer Welcomes You....

Hello Aspiring Writers!

Welcome to the first official blog post of Late Night Writer. Ok, I confess, I had originally created Late Night Writer a few years ago on another blogging platform but the concept of blogging was fairly new and truthfully, I don't think I was ready to commit to it. A couple of years older now, and I have come to realize that if I am to increase my success as a freelance writer, I must develop my social media skills beyond Facebook.

I tried my hand at freelance writing years ago, before the onslaughter of the internet. It was a cumbersome process that required the writer to send away for submission guidelines for a prospective market via regular postal service. God forbid you did not include a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE)! The wait for those said guidelines could be anywhere between a couple of weeks to a couple of months. Once received, and query crafted and sent away once again with another SASE, the wait began.

A response, if any, was pretty unpredictable as to when it would show up if it at all. If the response was favorable, then the writer was instructed to send the finished manuscript complete with another SASE! This is where it got tricky, if you were sending your work outside your own country then you were required to include an International Reply Coupon (IRC) which enabled the recipient of your correspondence to purchase postage at their post office to send your stuff back to you. Needless to say, my very first attempt at freelance writing was a big flop. It was hard to keep up the momentum when you were waiting up to one year to hear back regarding your query or manuscript.

Years later, after I purchased a new computer and got online, the internet opened up the freelance writing world to me. Ten years later since that glorious day, I am an active freelance writer and have penned over 500 articles on various topics for markets throughout Canada and the U.S.

The journey towards financial freedom through my freelance writing efforts has been long but exciting. I still get a thrill when I sell an article especially if it is to a new market  that I had been trying to crack. My writing portfolio includes columnist, articles, web content, reviews, newsletters, news abstracts, press releases, resumes and everything inbetween. The road has been varied but the satisfaction that I derived from my writing is immeasurable.

What about you? What's your story?

Until next time, ciao!