Write an Essay, Win a House by Christine Duncan

Have you seen that meme on Facebook where they show you the cabin in an idyllic setting and ask you if you could spend 30 days there with no TV, no Wifi, no phone?
I, like many others, drool at the thought of it.
So I was excited when I saw the NY Times article telling how you could write a 200 word essay and possible win a house. There was a 149.00 entry fee but no problem, right? All I had to do was craft the perfect entry so I could tell the couple selling the house how winning this vacation cabin in the Catskills would change my life.
I had the essay half written in my head, when I read the rest of the NY times article and came down to earth. They included little details like property taxes of $11,000.00 a year (No wonder I live in Colorado. I can’t afford NY! Who knew all you folks were rich!) The article went on to talk about the income tax consequences of winning a house and I realized I couldn’t afford to be that lucky. Sigh.

But for a few minutes of dreaming, I was a full time writer. That’s exciting, isn’t it? Oh, and for those of you still dreaming, here’s the link to the Dream Home contest

Make Love to an Author

One of the things I love about writers is how supportive we are of each other. We share ideas, we proof read, we talk over plots, we give encouragement when it all seems hopeless.

One very good way to support an author you love is to leave a review. Amazon, Goodreads, Waterstones, whatever your chosen place. Good, bad or indifferent.

You see, those reviews, not just the praise but the number of them, show that the book is being read, and that’s what matters to the publishers. The more reviews a book has, the more popular it is, the more chance the author has of selling their next book.

I admit, I can be slow in leaving reviews. But if I love a book now I do make an effort to leave a review, because I know now what a difference it makes.

As the Twitter quote, so frequently shared, says ‘Make love to an author. Leave a review’

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street

Sent from my iPad

Writer’s Block? There’s a Quote for That by Christine Duncan

Often we writers act as though the act of writing is magic. We talk about writer’s block as though it is something we can’t help. This week, I came across some quotes that make it a little less mystical, so I thought I’d share.

“If I waited till I felt like writing, I’d never write at all.” Anne Tyler

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” Louis L’Amour

“Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts.” Larry L. King

And my favorite is “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” Jack London

I don’t know about you folks, but I’m going to go turn on the faucet or find a club or I don’t know… Read.


Thankfully? by Christine Duncan

I’m going off on a grammar rant. I know it. I also know that my own grammar is not always perfect. But lately I have seen the adverb thankfully being over-used and I think misused.
I keep seeing something like this, “Thankfully the store was closed.” My rewrite of that would be something like, “I was thankful the store was closed.” It only takes one more word folks! I understand trying to keep things short and sweet but let’s keep our clarity too. Okay, all of you who think I’m wrong have my permission to tell me so. But really, if thankfully modifies the verb was closed in that first example sentence, I can’t really see it.

Silent and Alone, Just How I Like It


Someone said to me today they knew I was a writer because I need to be alone to think most of the time. (They also said they knew I was a crime writer by the way I looked. I always thought I looked quite sweet and innocent)

It's true, though, isn't it? We can't be around other people all the time. We need to be alone. We need time to sit and listen to the voices in our head. We need to disappear into our own imagination without someone poking us and saying 'what are you thinking about and incidentally what do you want for dinner?'

I hate being asked what I'm thinking about as it is often a devious method of murder or the darkness in a character's mind and when I say this they give me a strange look and back away.

So maybe this is the sign of a writer. Not ink on our fingers or a massive amount of reference books or awareness of what an Oxford comma is. It's being known that we need to be alone to think.

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street

Sent from my iPad


I am appalled once again by hearing from another writer that she never reads. What??? I am not talking about someone who is afraid to read in the genre she is writing in because she doesn’t want to be influenced while she is mid-project. That one makes some sense to me, although I don’t know how to make that sacrifice. I NEED to read. But this writer told me she NEVER reads. She does not have the time. She is not the first writer to tell me this. Words fail.
Today, I finally got done the usual chores: cleaning, laundry, some bookkeeping, and I sat down to not one, but two wonderful reads. I am reading JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,  which I have been meaning to get to for a while.  I read somewhere that the original actors will play Harry, Hermione, and Ron when it comes to the movie theaters.  And I’m reading Lisa Jackson’s, Close to Home.  Don’t you just love Sundays?