Friday, May 25, 2012

What About The GIRLS?

The topic of puberty has always fascinated me.  It is one of the most important topics a parent will discuss with their preteen daughters. Puberty is a complex topic and this story can make it easier to discuss the topic whether you are a mother or father.

Girls grow up to be women but the journey is not easy.  Puberty is a passport to womanhood and the change is by no means seamless.   A few years ago, I had a conversation with a friend who was blessed with a daughter.  Her demeanor was carefree and she felt her daughter would remain a child forever. Her daughter was 11 at the time. The following year when her daughter turned 12, a mother’s comfort that was once wrapped in the veil of childhood unraveled.   Her daughter came to her and said, “Mom, my period came.” The look on her face was of someone who heard news they were not prepared to handle. She managed to remain calm and they discussed puberty. I have yet to meet a parent who truly enjoys explaining the changes their child will go through.


Times have changed, and girls are going through puberty as young as eight years old. Therefore, parents have to talk to their children at a younger age about a complex issue.  I tried to see the situation through the eyes of a mother and of a child. I hoped to provide a simpler way to begin the conversation about one of the most important journey in a girl’s life.  A story about a mother and her daughter's experience with puberty came to me.  As a result, the children’s book, In The Valley Of Mud And Worms was born.  It is a thought provoking segway into a discussion about puberty.

 Let us inform our girls and prepare them for the changes to come.   If we do not inform our girls, who will?

                        Take a little time to enjoy my movie trailer:

How would you discuss puberty with your child and was it seamless?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

When Editing Is Not Enough

Laura has received her manuscript from an editor, after spending about $0.016/word for a 10,000 + manuscript.  She feels confident; a proclaimed specialist in editing has gone over her manuscript with a fine toothcomb. Laura accepts and rejects suggestions in the manuscript and VOILA, the book is ready for the printing stage.  The book is available for purchase and the reviews start to come in.  Her eyes eagerly read a review for the book on, “It’s a good read, but it has too many errors.” Comments like this can knock the wind out of a writers sail. A writer has to have tough skin to survive in a world where everything written is critiqued.

          Still, authors are sensitive and their stories are like a beloved child.  I think many writers can relate to Laura’s experience.  I found that doing a visual edit was not enough. So, I tried using  the Natural Reader 10.0 software and it has become a crucial part of the editing process.  

          Arguably, the more mistakes a manuscript has the easier it is for the editor to overlook mistakes.  Natural Reader is a synchronized text to speech software that reads and highlights the words spoken.  When actively listening, you can hear when a word is missing, discover plot holes, and find out of sequence scenes.  The software is easy to use, and reads MS Word, PDF and emails. The only down side is getting use to listening to a mechanical voice, but the benefits are priceless. Disclaimer: This software does not take the place of an editor.  Once, you have gone over the text without hearing any errors, send it to an editor.  

          Now, it is up to you to test the software and experience the benefits.  I have included a link to a free Natural Reader 10.0 download. An upgraded version is available with realistic voices.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

WHAT IS YOUR FUEL? By Mila A. Ballentine

I first fell in love with the art of storytelling when I was a small child.  My mother often told us stories about her encounters with the unexplained facets of the complex world in which we live. Her stories were vivid, scary and left an impression on me, even to this day. The most unnerving part was that the stories were true.

Later on, I would fall in love with words and the sound they made when paired together.  My big sister wrote a poem and read it to me. I was smitten by her skillful use of words. I fell in love with poetry that day but it would take a decade and a half before I fell into writing stories.  I say fell because if anyone had said, I would write a short story or a novel I would say, no way! I wrote because it was my sanctuary, the only thing I enjoyed doing besides eating. Writing is my oxygen.

What motivates you?