Friday, January 29, 2010

Make Time for Your Writing this Weekend!

This Weekend I am encouraging everyone to pick up your pens and WRITE! We all say it. We are too busy to write, we don't have time, we have to work, we have to take care of the kids, the list goes on and on. But we CAN make time! Even if you can just set a side an hour of time this weekend, just do it. It might take you a little longer to finish that short story, or novel in progress, but at least you will be moving forward and not staying in the same place.

If you are finding that you are stuck, try a writing exercise to get you moving. At my residency we tried this amazing exercise, and I was actually really proud of the result of my mine (which is rare!). Try this:

In this exercise, you will write a total of 10 sentences. You start of with A sentence consisting of ten words. The next sentence you write will be 9 words, the next 8, and so forth until you end with a sentence of just one word. To help you out, I will use mine as an example:

Leila has never had her heart broken until last night. She buries her head in her pillow and cries. Every beat of her heart beats with pain. Often the pain can stop her breathing. She wonders what to do next. Could it ever be fixed? Her eyes are burning. She is exhausted. It's over. Finally.

Ok everyone get to it! This weekend I will finally start my novel! Look out for an excerpt during "Teaser Teusday!" Keep writing!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fashion Tip Thursday

Hello All,
Sorry that I haven't been blogging lately. I am working on my craft and form thesis for my MFA program, and to be quite honest, it's kicking my butt! Anyway, I am really committed to maintaining this blog, so here I am. For Today's Fashion Tip Thursday, I will shine the spotlight on a particular company.

Spotlight on:

Ann Taylor
We all know this classic company, famous for clothes that are suitable for the modern day woman (whether she is going to work, a party, or simply a mother). Ann Taylor has released A Wedding Collection! Though the collection doesn't feature many dresses for the actual ceremony (I only saw one), they do have options for the reception and the honeymoon. They also have bridesmaid dresses as well as accessories, including shoes and jewelry.

Receive Free Shipping on Orders of over $150 or more and receive 25% off Online orders only.

Also, if you're wondering what's hot now, I have been noticing that there is a lot of talk about the mini skirt. It seems to be a repeating trend in magazines, emails, stores, etc. If you are looking for a place to snag one, try New York & Company's the "Soho Mini" which is super short. Or, for a different look, try a high-waisted mini from Express. It's called, the "High-Waist Mini Bandage."

Happy Shopping! :)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

What to Do This Weekend in FL

Here is what's going on this weekend!


1. Club Party at Mirage ("This is part of the I Have a Dream Weekend")

2. Club Party at Full Moon Salon in Ybor (Ladies 21+ have free cover until 12am and for everyone there are 3 for 1 drinks all night)

3. Heritage “Street Festival”- Old School Saturday
Hosted by: Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival, Inc.
Al Lopez Park – 4810 Himes Avenue, Tampa, FL 33602
(In honor of Martin Luther King)


1. The International Ball at Club Mirage

And Since it is a long Weekend, don't forget about the MLK Parade on Monday!

21st Annual MLK Day Parade- “A Day On, Not a Day Off!”
Hosted by the City of Tampa
15th Street & MLK Boulevard, Tampa, FL

And I wouldn't be a good Soror if I didn't mention Spanish Fly Weekend in Tally! My Brothers of Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity, Inc. present Spanish Fly 21010!

Saturday: Comedy Zone: $10 (401 E. Tennessee St.)
After Party @ Potbelly's ( 459 College Ave.)

Sunday: BBQ at Tom Brown Park @ 1:00 pm
Purple Passion: $7 (Party at the Ramaada)

Go to for more info!

Have fun!

A Late Fashion Tip Thursday

Hello all! As you know I have been recovering from a cold, so until I am 100% my posts will be a little late. Here are some fashion tips for Thursday!

I took a look at what is going to be hot next month and I saw three major trends:

1. Sheer Items: We're not talking about clothes that are see through. Typically clothes that are sheer have some sort of solid fabric under the sheer piece. The sheer fabric can be lace, or silk, etc.

2. Tulle: Yes Tulle! In the past, Tulle has been used as more of an under piece for dresses to give them more body. Now, we're seeing that it can be the main fabric used to create dresses, skirts, and even tops.

3. Florals: I am especially excited about this. I absolutely LOVE florals! This is a look that comes and goes, but I am glad it is back. This look is very classic, but be careful of what you choose. Try to pair it with solid pieces, or risk looking like you are from the eighties!

As stated before in my first Fashion Tip Thursday blog, Nudes and natural colors are big this season. I noticed a lot of the aforementioned trends are found in neutral colors. So think, beige, tan, caramel, khaki, cream!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Opportunities in the Great Big Literary World

Here is another writing contest for you:

The Malahat Review Novella Prize:

The contest is a Canadian contest but is open to all writers around the world

This contest is for unpublished Novellas. The contest is biennial.

Feb 1st is the postmark deadline

First prize is $500 plus $40 per printed page, and publication!

I went to the link I got for this email, but it takes me to the Writer's Market website, and it says you have to pay to get the info. So, my suggestion is to go to Barnes and Noble, or Borders, and look it up in Writer's Market. Good Luck! :)

Teaser Tuesday

Here is a tid bit from one of my stories:

Uncle Ruben hadn’t always been this way. When he came to visit us one summer two years ago, he had decided that he loved Florida. Within a few months he, Aunt Mirah, and their son Riley had moved into an expensive house fifteen minutes away from us. Sometimes my mother would let me go to Uncle Ruben’s house on weekends. He was an upholsterer. He made his garage into his workshop, his sanctuary. The walls were painted gold and there were rolls of fabric propped up against all of them. It was like being in a fabric store. I would stay with him for hours, watching him work. He could make the ugly, old, dirty chairs look dazzling and new.

One Saturday he had received an order from one of his clients to upholster a couple arm chairs. They had to be the most awful chairs that I’d ever seen in his workshop. The fabric on the chairs was a mildew green color and one of them was stained with what appeared to be permanent wet spots. The other chair had tiny rips along the backrest.
“Can I help you with these, Uncle Ruben?” I asked him.

“Ok, you are going to have to listen very carefully. We have to be careful, we can’t make any mistakes.”

“Why?” I asked him.

Catching Up...Here was what I would have said Mon

Hello All! I'm back from England, but I have been sick! Spent the day in bed yesterday, and had to take the day off from work today! I tried writing my Monday post at the airport, but there was no wireless! So I am going to post all of my blogs today, starting from the one I worte on Monday. If you are reading, just pretend it's Monday, or :)

Here is what I would have said Monday:

Well, I have said farewell to England and I am now back in the States. As a matter of fact, I’m in Philly waiting on my plane to get back to home sweet Florida. It’s quite the bittersweet moment. I have had to part with my friends Pam and Marquita, who have become two of my best friends and then England in general. All things that I love. However, I am returning home to my family, my job, my LEDF, my life.

Anyway, it’s Monday and that means it’s time for writing topics. I thought, I would say a bit about a workshop we had at the residency at Wroxton. We talked about the transparent, the translucent and the opaque. If you aren’t familiar with these, they are different styles of writing. Transparent having the clearest language, opaque being the one filled with the most figurative language, and the translucent falling somewhere between the two.

It was an interesting topic that stirred up a pretty heated debate. At first it seemed like the panel of professors were leaning towards the opaque. When a student pointed out that she was only hearing negative things about the transparent, they clarified by saying that there is no better style. All styles are credible.

One student wanted to know how you would go about trying out a new style. Say for example, you wrote in the transparent and wanted to start doing more opaque writing. One of the poetry mentors, Rene Ashley declared, “The real world doesn’t give a shit if you write or not. Don’t worry about it.” Another mentor, Harvey Hicks, said that he wanted to make sure that when the particular student reads or writes that he doesn’t ask the question: “Is this good?” He said, in that way the student wouldn’t be the final artist. Someone else would. His point was stating that the student should stay true to what himself and not what society deems as “good.”

I have had this discussion time and time again with Marquita and Pam. We all feel that you should read and write what you want. Don’t let anyone tell you what’s good. You have to determine that for yourself. Stay true to yourself and your work. To attempt to write a certain way because you think it’s what is acceptable to others, is artificial. What style of writing does your writing fall under? Do you stay true to your form?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Well folks, today is going to be a pretty short one. I spent most of my time in London today sight seeing. It was freezing, and I am tired! This weekend, I have come up with an activity. Are you a pack rat? Is your living room so cluttered that you can barely make it to the kitchen? Why not take some time to do some spring cleaning and add some order to your life? It's a new year, leave the messy you in 2009. You will feel lighter, and it's also sending a mental wave into the universe: you are getting rid of what you don't need and opening a passageway for all the new and good things to enter. Here are a couple pointers to get you going in the right direction.

1. Start with the things you haven't used in 3 months or more. That includes everything! Are you really going to wear that sweater with the tag still on it that's been sitting in your closet since last Christmas?

2. Ask yourself if you really need to keep a particular item. Being a pack rat myself, I know how hard this can be. You don't need to keep every magazine you have bought for the last four years, or every liquor bottle you have ever opened. (Yes, people who collect bottles of alcohol do exist!)

3. Organize your things. Don't leave anything hanging around. Get plastic bins, place things in your draws, or on bookshelves. Put things away.

The key is to remember to put things in their proper places. The goal is to simplify. Clearing your space will have both physical and mental impacts on your life.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Fashion Alert Thursday!

This is my first fashion alert! I picked some trends that are going to be hot this season. Next week, I'll post couple of examples of how you can put some pieces together to achieve these looks. I will try to get some images so you can see how these trends actually look.

1. According to Lucky Magazine, one big trend will be a black and white graphic print. It is best
to pair this with some type of solid. Since, it is a print, you don't want to overdo it.

2. Lingerie that can be worn as outerwear is also big this season. This is a trend we have seen in
the past, but this season it's more of an updated look. Lucky Magazine describes that the
"hues are darker" and the silouhettes are "stronger and sexier."

3. Lucky Magazine also emphasizes that color blocking is also big. Use brighter, bolder colors to
highlight your best assets, and use darker colors (such as black) to hide the trouble areas.

4. Nude, colors will also be big this season. Pair nudes with pastels to successfully achieve this
spring 2010 look. For example, try wearing a beige cardigan with a light pink or baby blue
button down shirt under.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wednesday Writing Opportunities in the Great Big Literary World

Here are two contests that you can submit your work to. Even if your work isn't accepted, at least you will have the experience of knowing how to submit your work. It's always a good idea to get out there and get your feet wet. And you never know what could happen! Good Luck! :)

1. Winter 2010 Story Contest for Narrative Magazine-

The contest is open to all fiction and non- fiction writers. They accept different forms of writing from short stories, to short shorts, to essays, to memoirs. Check the website to be sure if they will accept your work.

First Prize pays $4,000
Second Prize Pays $1500
Third Prize Pays $500
Five finalists will also receive $100

All Submissions are considered for publication

There is an entry fee of $20

Deadline is March 31, 2010

To see the official rules and information about this contest, visit the Narrative Magazine

2. Narrative Magazine is also launching an application for itunes. They have created a new genre called the istory. They are looking for "short, dramatic narratives, fiction of non-fiction up to 150 words long."

The entry fee is $20

If they accept your story they will pay $250

Visit the Narrative Magazine Website for more details.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

Here I am again, blogging! I guess It's really working. As promised today is Teaser Tuesday. Here is just a little bit of what I am working on.

Nadia placed the empty cardboard box on the bed. She stood for a while, looking into it's emptiness, it's nothingness. She had put it off long enough. She knew that. Yet still, she found herself prolonging the simple act of putting the items in the box. Maybe she was waiting for one last minute change in direction. Maybe her phone would hum that familiar tune that she hadn't heard in so long, or maybe there would be a knock at the door to interrupt her private ceremony. Maybe there would be something to stop the finality.

That's it for today. It's just a tiny excerpt. I will post longer excerpts in the coming weeks.

Monday, January 4, 2010


I thought it fitting that Today's writing topic of the day be about Voice. I am doing my residency for my MFA program, and voice seems to be the theme. How do you handle voice in your writing? Do you actually sit and think about what kind of voice you will use in your writing? Or does it just come naturally? In one of our discussions we talked about how an author can have a clear and distinct voice. There are some writers that can write fifty books, and everytime you pick up their work, you instantly know it's them. They have a clear and distinct voice. Grace Paley is an author that came up in the discussion. She was used as an example of a writer who could write anything and be identified because of her clear and distinct voice. Does your writing have a clear and distinct voice?
The last time I posted anything was October 15, 2008. Well, it's a new year and a new me. It's time to chnge that. At the moment I am In England completing my second residency for my MFA program. At the last residency, I met two girls named Pam and Marquita who are now my very good friends. They have inspired me to get with the program and keep up with my blog. Pam had the brilliant idea to pick out a few topics, and designate a specific day of the week to each one. I have decided to follow in her footsteps, and I have chosen topics that I will cover daily. They are as follows:

Monday- Writing topic of the day (This will cover anything involving writing)

Tuesday-Teaser Tuesday (Where I will post a small piece of what I am working on)

Wednesday-Opportunities in the Great Big Literary World (Jobs, contests, etc. in the literary field)

Thursday- Fashion Alert of the Week (What's hot in fashion, splurges, must-haves, bargains, etc.)

Friday- Things to do this Week (Events or Activities to do in Tampa or Orlando, FL and/or general things you should do on the weekend)

Here goes Nothing!