Monday, January 30, 2023

Week 5 – A Visit from St. Nicholas by Clement Clarke Moore

Welcome to 2023!  On Mondays this year, let’s discuss and have fun with books. No I’m not writing book reviews. But this website is for writers, and writers like books right? So let’s have FUN with books!

Week 5 – A Visit from St. Nicholas by Clement Clarke Moore

A Visit from St. Nicholas, full title Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas – also called The Night Before Christmas or ’Twas the Night Before Christmas – was first published anonymously in the Troy (New York) Sentinel on December 23, 1823.

This poem is an account of the visit of St. Nicholas AKA Santa Claus to the narrator’s home on Christmas Eve.

Read it here

Here’s an analysis of the poem

It is commonly credited to Clement Clarke Moore but certain scholars believe it was actually written by Henry Livingston Jr.

This website has compiled 849 versions of the poem, ranging from innocent to obscene. The site clearly states to read at your own risk!

Here are the original names of the reindeer

"Now! Dasher, now! Dancer, now! Prancer, and Vixen,
"On! Comet, on! Cupid, on! Dunder and Blixem;

Read why Santa’s reindeer must be female

Santa Claus



North Pole

Unusual Christmas traditions around the world

One of my family's Christmas traditions is to read this poem on Christmas Eve, followed by the account of Jesus' birth from the Bible. Do you read this poem on Christmas Eve? What other traditions do you have? Tell us in the comments!

Friday, January 27, 2023

Query Friday: Pitch Contests- Are they worth it?

 Happy Friday!

It has been a crazy week and some of us are just coming off of the zaniness of two pitch contests back to back   #ISWGPit and #KidLitPit.



Not me, I don't have that kind of stamina, and ISWGPit kind of snuck up on me, but I did participate in #KidLitPit.

So are pitch contest worth it? 

Well... that depends on what you are trying to accomplish.

I think both of these pitch rally force you to refine you pitch into something short and saleable. Never a bad skill to have. #KidLitPit also allowed images so if you want to distract yourself for hours creating the perfect one.. this is a great excuse. These pitches are also a great way to connect with the writing community in general, always a 

And of course there are the likes from agents and editors, that have our mind not believing what our eyes are seeing

Free Amazed formal male looking at laptop screen Stock Photo

That is the dream. And when you get them, it is awesome, you've got some attention and may a nice wave to the agent in the query. But... you still have to

And if you don't get a like from an agent, you can still query. Regardless of pitch events the agent still needs to love your book.

So are they worth it? Yes! As long as you know that this is a piece of the puzzle and not an instant solution. Don't place your value or that of your story into on twitter. 

If you want to check out my pitches, I have one as my pinned tweet on twitter @midlifecreative.

Happy Writing!

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Dear O'Abby: Does anyone read anymore?

 Dear O'Abby,

I'm writing my first novel, but it occurs to me, what's the point when people just don't seem to read anymore?  Or am I mistaken?  I just know none of my friends read books, and I rarely see anyone around me reading books.  I asked a few people in my classes too, and they all said they don't read books.

So is there any point in writing a book if no one reads them?



Dear Readerless,

Firstly, there is always a point to writing a book.  If you have a book in you that's burning to come out, you need to write it, if only for you.  While it's important to write with a reader in mind, it's fine if that reader is you.

Secondly, people do still read.  You may not see many commuters on the bus with a paperback in their hands anymore, but that doesn't mean they're not reading.  That guy with the headphones over his beanie?  He could be listening to an audiobook.  That lady staring intently at her phone?  Reading an e-book.  And that boy hanging from the strap with his phone in one hand?  He's checking out the latest in the serial sci-fi story he's following.

Like everything else in the world, reading is changing.  You no longer have to sit down for a few hours to consume a book.  With audio, you can read a book while you drive to work, or clean the house.  Serialized fiction is also growing in population across a variety of apps and is perfect for people who don't have a whole lot of time to read because the story is delivered to them in bite-sized chunks.

But even paper books are still popular.  Lockdowns during the pandemic sent a whole bunch of people to bookshelves they'd probably never looked at before and people who would normally claim they never read books actually did.  And many of them enjoyed it so much they have continued to read.  Book sales are up, despite the increased cost of living.

So I think you're safe in writing your book.  There are always going to be readers out there.  You may just need to look a little more closely to see them.

X O'Abby

Monday, January 23, 2023

Week 4 – The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

Welcome to 2023!  On Mondays this year, let’s discuss and have fun with books. No I’m not writing book reviews. But this website is for writers, and writers like books right? So let’s have FUN with books!

Week 4 – The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

Read it here

This poem, for which Poe received a payment of $9, was published in 1845 by the New York Evening Mirror and then by The American Review. While the poem’s narrator is mourning the death of his beloved Lenore, a raven enters the room and perches on a bust of Pallas. The narrator asks the raven questions, but its only response is “nevermore”.

According to the inflation calculator, $9 in 1845 is the equivalent of $351.47 in 2023.

In 1845, men generally worked 12 hours a day for $1-1.50 per hour. Women and children earned less than that for the same hours. The 8-hour work day was established in the US in 1869. So Poe basically received a day's wage for writing The Raven.

A raven is a member of the corvid family of birds [including crows, jays, and magpies]. They are intelligent and can remember human faces. They can show empathy and also hold grudges.

Ravens and crows are omnivorous and eat seeds, nuts, fruits, grains, beetles, worms, mice, moles, mollusks, lizards, small snakes, frogs, salamanders, eggs, small fish. Their favorites are nuts, eggs, and dry dog and cat food.

Most people think of a raven as a “big crow”. A crow is approx the size of a pigeon and a raven is approx the size of a red-tailed hawk.

Crow – From beak to tail, 40–50 cm (16–20 in), weight 300 to 600 g (11-21 oz)
Raven – From beak to tail, 54-67 cm (21-26 in), weight 0.7-2.0 kg (1.5-4.5 pounds)

A gray squirrel is 16-21 inches and weighs 1-1.5 pounds [similar to a crow].

A Chihuahua is 9.5-15 inches long and weighs 2-6 pounds [similar to a raven’s body, not counting the tail].

Both a crow and a raven live 10-15 years in the wild and more than 20 years in captivity. In the US, it is not legal to keep a crow or a raven as a pet because they are protected by the Migratory Birds Act of 1918.

Crow season in California runs from approx December 6 through April 8. The daily bag limit is 24 crows per hunter. Ravens require a separate permit and are more protected.

Then there is the Baltimore Ravens.  Extra points if you know what team they are playing here!

Friday, January 20, 2023

Flash Fiction Friday


It's Flash Fiction Friday! For this week's contest, go to HuffPost's Weird News page and write a short piece based on a headline! 

Catching my eye this week is