Monday, October 27, 2014

Ugly Wallpaper or Good Writing

Mr. D, The Wallpaper Guy, makes quick work of stripping my ugly, ivy wallpaper.
(Photo by Carol Newman)

If you have ever thought the details of your life were about as interesting as watching Mr. D, The Wallpaper Guy, strip ugly wallpaper, take a look at this link  everyday life in old scrolls to an article about scrolls from the 1300s recently discovered in Russia.

The reader cannot help but want to know more about how things worked out for the father requesting items and the man planning to propose marriage.

Here is the important thing to note: in both scrolls there was something at stake for the writer. The father's need for the items seemed urgent. The man proposing was risking his future. Both men were longing for something.


Look back at your life. Make a list of times in your life when something was at stake. Maybe it was your happiness, maybe your view of your future, maybe it was your health or safety or home.

For example, when I was in college we still had curfews. Without my parents' permission, I had spent the weekend in another city with friends and waited until the last minute to begin the trip back to school. If I didn't make it back before curfew, my parents would find out I had been away.

But then the stakes suddenly got higher. I was driving the maximum legal speed of 70 MPH on the highway by an area of truck stops and diners. Because of all the lights, another driver did not see my car, left the diner driveway, drove across the median and directly in front of my car.

It isn't necessary to use the words "at stake" as I did in my example. Just tell the story and it will be apparent.


Oh for goodness sakes. Even I do not need a chocolate recipe this week -- Halloween week. Rip into some of that trick-or-treat candy and call it done.

Today's Writing Tip and others can be found on page 26 of Write Your Life Story Workbook available at

All rights reserved 2014 There's An Angel In Your Inkwell®

Monday, October 13, 2014

Does Standing On Your Head Help Your Writing?


Feel as if you have tried everything except standing on your head to make your story interesting, but the words are just sitting on the page like a big blob?

Trying to Write a Good Story
(Photo by Carol Newman)

Here is the reason why.

A list of events, no matter how artfully created, does not make a story. The list of events has to mean something. It has to mean something in your life; it has to mean something in the life of the reader.

That's it. That's all there is to it.

Great. How do I do that? Try the Launching Pad.


List  at least three important or life-changing events during the time of your life. You might think of these as turning points. Turning points may be large or small.

For each turning point tell how you were changed, what led up to this change, what life situation were you struggling with, what solutions had you tried that didn't work? What was at stake?

For example, a turning point in my life was when in college I changed my major from business to English. It changed how I thought of myself, how I saw my future, my friends, and my sense of happiness. Before, I hated my classes, hated college, hated the future I saw for myself, and couldn't relate to the other people in my classes. I tried studying harder, not studying at all, cutting class, and piling on my class load. Then one day I slipped into a large lecture hall where a famous play was being discussed. Oh now, this is what I want to study, what I want to read about and think about. But, I was still at an age where I did what my parents told me to do and my mother would be furious if I changed my major from the one she had picked for me. Still, I saw my future in a room with twenty typewriters teaching sixteen-year-olds how to type and I knew I could face my mother easier than I could face that.

Maybe your turning point was starting a business, loss of a loved one, an illness you suffered, or a crisis of faith or renewal of faith.

How did such events change you and the course of your life? How did your life change for the better. Even though the event may have been something like loss of a loved one or loss of a job, think about the people or groups who helped you through it. Think about how you grew in character as a result of your suffering. Write about those things.

HERE IS THE KEY TO MAKING THIS WORK: In your final draft, reverse the order of all the above. First, show the reader the problem, then let us see you struggle, trying one thing after another, then let us see your aha moment and finally, show how you were changed. And, maybe let us know what you learned -- but DO NOT say "This is what I learned."

Write with turning points in mind and you will have readers immersed in your story as they read to find out what happened next. 

You may even discover a few things about yourself and feel affirmed and strong.

Don't mess with me. I am strong enough to claw your eyes out. But I am also strong enough not to want to.
(Photo by Carol Newman)

Look how strong and confident you feel now. You felt all upside down and beaten by life events; but you honestly wrote through it and came out the other side.


Brownie Bowls

I am unsure if Dryer's brand of ice cream is available in the Kansas City area, (We have Bryer's - is that the same?) but since it is their recipe and their photos and it looks so good, I am including the brand names. If it is available where you live, give it a try.

Dreyer's Super Sundae Brownie Bowl

"Here's an easy way to push your already extraordinary Dreyer's ice cream sundae over the top – a fresh-baked brownie bowl. And the best part? You don't have to wash the bowl since you get to eat it!"

You will need:

DREYER'S GRAND NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Cookie Dough ice cream or SLOW CHURNED® Cookie Dough light ice cream

Brownie batter (made from your favorite recipe)
2 muffin tins
Cooking spray
Chocolate sauce

Follow the directions for your favorite brownie recipe to make the batter.
Spray cups of a muffin tin with cooking spray, and add brownie batter to each cup until they're about two-thirds full.
Spray the second muffin tin with cooking spray and place on top of the first tin of brownies.
Place in the oven and bake, following your brownie recipe's directions.
After the bowls are completely cool, add a scoop of ice cream, top with chocolate sauce and sprinkles, and enjoy!

Note: I am thinking about pumpkin ice cream for Thanksgiving or peppermint for Christmas. Or coffee ice cream for any old time.  How good would that be! 

Today's blog post is adapted from page 25 of Write Your Life Story in Eight Weeks Workbook - Second Edition.Write Your Life Story Workbook

All rights reserved 2014 There's An Angel In Your Inkwell®Write Your Life Story Workbook

Monday, October 6, 2014

What To Do If You Are In a Parade


What on earth is going on in this picture?
Photo by Carol Newman
Where are we? Who are the people? What are they doing? Where should we look first? How many people are in costume? Is that traffic light important? What about the child in the red shirt? And the woman in the Smokey the Bear hat? Is that a costume or a uniform? Why is she with this group?

This photo is like your life story. There are many elements. It is up to you, the writer, to explain, describe, and sort them out for the reader.

Who or what is most important to the story? Which elements cry out for more detail? What elements are distraction?

What is the meaning of this photo? Do you have an emotional or intellectual reaction to the photo? Why are these people doing whatever it is they are doing?

Ask the same questions of your story.Stand back. Examine the elements. Expand, eliminate, and make a story.


This Launching Pad reminds me of the picture puzzles in Scholastic magazine: hidden pictures in the picture.

From the above photo choose one element to be most important.

Choose two elements to remove.

Add two more elements of importance.

Now write a practice story.

I think I would keep the Native American woman dancer on the far left and the Native American woman on the right who is walking. I would also keep the child in the red shirt. I would write a story about past and present lives and dress of Native Americans and how they feel about parading in front of this child. I would tell about the dancer's tribe and her dress and that it was sewn by her grandmother.I would tell how she learned a traditional dance. The young woman in jeans on the right would be her sister who doesn't like the "old ways."  No need to include the fact that they ate lunch at Subway or walked through the intersection when the traffic light on the yellow was red.

See how that works.

Now do the same for your own story elements.

Chocolate Inkwell

This cake could not be easier, and it has the magic ingredient -- chocolate chips. I actually saved this from Facebook from a few weeks ago. The source for the recipe and photo is Today's Mama.

Lazy Cookie Cake Cookies:

1 box yellow or white cake mix 
2 eggs beaten 
5 T melted butter 
2 C mini chocolate chips

Mix together,  Put in a greased 9×13 pan or glass casserole and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. 

Note: Looks as if chocolate chips are sprinkled on top but the recipe doesn't mention that. Maybe they just arrange themselves that way. Another thing to love about chocolate chips -- they try to be helpful.

Click to buy  Write Your Life Story Workbook

ll rights reserved 2014 There's An Angel In Your Inkwell®

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

What To Do If You Were Married to Michael Jackson


The first day of fall is a perfect time to begin or continue your memoir project. After all, what is a life story but a series of changing seasons? Time passing.

Like the begonias and hamlin grass pictured above, you still have plenty of color and energy. You can use it to write about the passage of time.

How can you indicate the passage of time in your story? Here are a few ways:

1. As you read other memoirs, notice how the writer indicated time passing. Use that method in your memoir. However, don't limit yourself to observing memoirs. Perhaps even more useful are the techniques used in novels, poems or nonfiction pieces. For example, I just finished reading a novel whose chapters were named for dates and years in which the events occurred. You can do that too.

2. Use transition words and sentences. Here are some examples: Since moving to Cincinnati, I had felt a new exhilaration. OR - After my promotion, I felt more secure financially. OR - When my birthday came, I knew I was ready to make a change.

3. Describe your changing feelings or appearance or mode of transportation. Here is an example: Now that I had a car, I suddenly felt like a free woman. OR - With my husband's departure, I realized I was on my own -- and that I liked it. 

4. Within individual chapters, passage of time can be indicated by extra spaces between paragraphs or by extra space and three asterisks or some other symbol.

5.  Give your readers credit for their good reading ability. They will be able to follow your story even if you jump around in time and place.

In Ann Joyner's memoir, Not Worth Saving: How a Severely Handicapped Boy Transformed Lives, she begins with her pregnancy with Matthew. Chapter Two takes up the story when Matthew is fifteen. The chapter begins: "The funeral we planned in 1984 did not take place. Matthew lived."

Are we lost or confused in the story? No, we know exactly where we are and we are turning the pages as fast as we can read. We want to know what happens next and what happened in the intervening years. She has us hooked.

By the way, Ann's book is available in the bookstore at United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, 13720 Roe, Leawood, Kansas, 66224. It is published by Nazarene Publishing House.  To order -


Make a little mind map of the times of your life. Just list a few. This is just for practice. To make a mind map draw a circle in the middle of a page. Inside the circle, write the words Times of My Life. Then make other circles around the center circle in which you list life changes. Draw a line from the center circle to surrounding circles. Surrounding circles may have other circles shooting off from them.

For example, a simple mind map might have Daughter, Wife, Mother in surrounding circles. Or it might have Elementary School, High School, College. Another possibility is Secretary, Manager, Vice President.

Now, just for practice, write a paragraph in which you take us from one to the other of the times. For example you might write: "I was sick of always being Elvis Presley's daughter. I was ready to be Michael Jackson's wife. However, it was not what I expected. Later, I looked back and wished I had stuck to being Justin's mother. It was fun in many ways."

And there you go. You are Justin Beiber's mother and telling us about your life at that time.


And now for an extra simple chocolate recipe because you need to use your time for writing.

Chocolate Layered Cupcake Pudding Parfaits.

The version of this I saw in The Kansas City Star had multiple steps with multiple from-scratch components. Basically, just cut a cupcake in half horizontally. Save the top of the cupcake for the top of your parfait. Layer pudding, cupcake, and whipped cream in a clear straight sided glass instead of a parfait glass. Top layer is cupcake top.

The Star version did not include this but the parfait could be embelished with a small cookie or cherry stuck into the top.

Pretty enough to serve to your mother-in-law yet quick and easy enough that you won't feel you wasted your time when your husband or kids inhale it and it is gone in a flash.

To purchase your own copy of Write Your Life Story Workbook, visit

All rights reserved 2014 There's An Angel In Your Inkwell®

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

It's Not What You Think


A couple of weeks ago, I was in Estes Park, Colorado on vacation. While there, Gentleman Friend and I spent a couple of hours watching the Hunter Jumper Horse Show. The arena has a small grandstand which held a smattering of other riders, horse owners, and friends and family of the riders.

Riders and horses were of varying skills. Some proceeded around the course at a slow pace; a few didn't try some of the jumps; and some, like the horse and rider pictured here, managed the jumps pretty well.

Photo by Carol Newman

Then a horse and rider entered the arena at a more lively pace than previous entrants. They galloped around the course making the jumps quickly and easily. They looked like sure fire winners. Then they came to the last jump. Something spooked the horse; he stopped, turned from side to side, put his head down, backed up and reversed direction.

At first the rider held the reins, but then his right foot came out of the stirrup and he slid down the horses neck and side. Still he held that inelegant posture until finally, as the horse became more agitated, the rider fell. He tumbled and rolled away.

Now riderless and facing away from the jump, the horse calmed.

The rider gathered the reins as the announcer proclaimed how many points the rider had lost. There was silence among the small crowd.

Then the announcer said, "But there is good news, the rider is up."

At that, the spectators applauded briefly.

And that is what struck me. It was apparent that a rider who falls and is uninjured and able to get up is applauded.

There was no shame in trying and failing miserably. That the rider was able to stand and remount was, in itself, honorable. Was an accomplishment in itself.

Of course, it reminded me of writing. Sometimes the muse balks, even for an experienced writer. Then we have a spell where the writing just doesn't happen. Sometimes what we write is a miserable failure.

When those things happen,  writers sometimes beat themselves up, and sometimes even quit writing.

Don't do it.

There is no shame in failing. There is no shame in creating graceless writing. Keep trying and applaud yourself for the effort. Applaud each other for the effort. Tomorrow is there for you to try again.

It's more than just getting on the horse again. It is applauding yourself and each other for the effort.


Write something about horses in your life.Here are some examples:  horse books you have read, horse movies, a horse you had when you were a child. Horses you have seen in a parade. Did you like cowboy movies when you were a child? Who was your favorite cowboy? Write about his horse. Or her horse. What about Dale Evans? Do you watch the Kentucky Derby? Go to a Derby party and drink mint juleps? Write about that.


Today's recipe is Baking Bites Cherry Chocolate Chip Bread from a cooking blog that is full of really great ideas.

Now I don't know what to do. I had planned to take Judy's delicious strawberry bread to a meeting, but now I think I will try this recipe. After all, it has chocolate. Hmm, how about chocolate chips in strawberry bread?

Cherry Chocolate Chip Bread
Photo courtesy of  Baking Bites Cherry Chocolate Chip Bread
Cherry Chocolate Chip Bread
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
3/4 cup milk, any kind
2 tbsp Kirsch (optional)
2 cups whole or halved sweet cherries, fresh or frozen
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease and flour a 9×5-inch baking pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, vegetable oil and egg until smooth. Whisk in vanilla and almond extracts, as well as the Kirsch, if using.

Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the milk.

Stir in the remaining flour mixture, mixing just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. 

Stir in the cherries and chocolate chips until evenly distributed.
Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Allow loaf to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Read more:

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Celebrate Your Life


For the Fourth of July I had a longing for a dish I had not made in years -- New Orleans Corn Pudding. The recipe is in an old cookbook I used often. Just looking at the cover reminded me of happy times. But when I opened the cover, I saw something I had almost forgotten.

The cookbook was a Christmas gift from my mother. Gentleman Friend and I were living in West Des Moines, Iowa expecting a baby. For that reason, we did not risk traveling winter highways to our families in southwest Oklahoma. This Christmas gift gave me a feeling of home.

This Fourth of July when I read the inscription, my thoughts traveled back to the places we had lived and the fun and friends we had known and the celebrations we had shared. Open House parties at every one of our new homes, a surprise birthday party for Gentleman Friend, a "Tears in the Beer" 30th birthday party for me complete with an icy keg of beer outside in the snow, a summer swim party for the girl with a winter birthday, and more -- many more.

I could chronicle our lives in parties and happy memories.

Sometimes people tell me they don't want to write about their lives because they were too sad. You know I am no Pollyanna; as my mother used to say, "Everyone has their own bag of rocks." Instead of counting the rocks, perhaps writing about life's celebrations would be a way of recalling and recording happy times and happy memories.


Make a short (or long) list of parties, holidays or celebrations you have hosted or attended. Pick any one. Write a couple of sentences about it. Tomorrow do it again. Soon you may be anticipating the writing and you can add to it.

Okay, I can't resist a little sermon here. Your life is such a precious gift, don't let it go unrecorded. Write it down -- if only for yourself.

CHOCOLATE INKWELL - Double yummy. Chocolate chip cookies stuffed with chocolate ganache. This recipe is by none other than Jessica Sullivan, the pastry chef at Boulevard restaurant in San Francisco. And wouldn't these be nice for a party?
Photo courtesy of

Ganache-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

ganache stuffed chocolate chip cookies

Yields: 18 stuffed cookies


  • 1 cup(s) walnuts
  • 1 cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoon(s) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon(s) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1 stick(s) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup(s) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup(s) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup(s) bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 4 ounce(s) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 5 tablespoon(s) heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 tablespoon(s) light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoon(s) crème fraîche

  1. Make the cookies: Preheat the oven to 375°. Spread the nuts in a pie plate and toast for 8 minutes; let cool, then chop.
  2. In a bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle (or using a hand-held mixer), cream the butter with the sugars and vanilla at medium speed, about 1 minute. Beat in the egg. With the mixer at low speed, beat in the dry ingredients. Beat in the walnuts and chocolate chips. Spoon level tablespoons of the dough onto 2 ungreased baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, until firm.
  3. Make the ganache: Put the chocolate in a bowl. In a saucepan, bring the cream and corn syrup to a boil; pour over the chocolate and let stand for 1 minute. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in the crème fraîche. Refrigerate the ganache, stirring occasionally, until thick and spreadable, 1 hour.
  4. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes, until golden; let cool on the sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
  5. Sandwich the chocolate-chip cookies with the ganache and serve.

See the updated Resources Page.
See the new Helpful Books.

Photos by Carol Newman unless otherwise noted.

All rights reserved 2014 There's An Angel In Your Inkwell®

Monday, July 14, 2014

There You Are


Young adviser and I have a favorite saying: Wherever you go, there you are. 

Recently I visited a friend in Anacortes, Washington. 

You can imagine how we spent most of our time in such a beautiful place -- outside and talking. 

One day as I was telling about the events that led up to Gentleman Friend and I settling in Leawood, Kansas, she said, "You must really love him." 

Valentine Roses - the flower of love

I laughed. It's true, of course, but why had she said that?

Because the events I had been relating constituted a story.A life of ups and downs. Together with Gentleman Friend.  A story of where I had been and how I got there and where I am now.

What I was telling her was a very literal story of where I had been -- where I had lived: Albuquerque, Des Moines, Middletown, Ohio-- and others in between.

Here is what we can learn from this. There is a story in location. How has it formed you? What did you learn? How are you the person you are because of where you have lived? Jerry, a member of our writing group has lived in Germany and France, and other places, too. Louise grew up in Russia. Ronnie is from Brooklyn. Stella has always lived in Kansas City, Kansas  -- yet it was a time of a historic flood and the impact of the meat packing industry on immigrants, families, and the city. Each person has wonderful stories that could only be lived in those particular places. Each person has been shaped by the culture, religion,  food, beliefs and economic and political situations in those places.

I like to say I have lived up and down Interstate 35 -- not very interesting at first glance. Yet, my friend found a story that brought a tug at her emotions.


Make a list or a mind map (a non-linear list) of the cities, states, countries, houses or apartments where you have lived. Write about the details and how you were shaped by them. Farm girl? City girl? Where were you then? Where are you now? Because -- wherever you go, there you are.


Today's recipe, from Smitten Kitchen, is perfect for summer -- Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches. Of course, you can use plain vanilla, but the author uses a combination of flavors. On her blog, she also has great photo illustrations of the procedure. Besides liking this particular recipe, I like this blog.

brownie ice cream sandwiches
Photo and recipe from

For the brownies
3 ounces (85 grams) unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
1 stick (4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt or 1/4 teaspoon table salt (about 2 grams)
2/3 cup (85 grams) all-purpose flour

For the filling
2 to 3 cups ice cream

Heat oven to 350°F. Line two 8×8-inch square baking pans with parchment paper, extending it up two sides. Butter the parchment and exposed sides of the pan or spray them with a nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium heatproof bowl over gently simmering water, heat chocolate and butter together until about 3/4 of the way melted. Remove from heat and stir until smooth.

Stir in sugar until fully combined, then eggs, one at a time and vanilla. Stir in salt until combined, then flour, until it just disappears.

Divide batter between two prepared pans and spread it evenly — an offset spatula will make this easier.

Bake on different racks for 12 to 15 minutes, rotating once top to bottom and front to back, until a toothpick inserted into the center of each pan comes out batter-free.

Transfer hot pans directly to freezer (you can put down dish towels or a cooling rack to protect shelves). Chill until cold and firm, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove first pan from freezer, and, working quickly, cover with ice cream.  Use a spatula to smoosh it down and smooth the top.

Remove second brownie pan from freezer. Run a knife between edges of brownie and pan to make sure it’s not sticking anywhere and use parchment sling to life the brownie out of the pan, remove the parchment and place it on top of the ice cream.

Place the empty brownie pan on top of the brownie lid, to weight it, and press down a little.

Keeping the weighting pan on top, return brownie-ice cream stack to freezer until fully firm, another 30 minutes.

Run a knife around brownie stack again to make sure it’s not stuck, and use the parchment sling to transfer the ice cream sandwich block to a cutting board. Cut into squares —  cut it into 16 (4×4) or make 25 (5×5)

You can store the cut sandwiches in an airtight container or bag in the freezer as-is, or individually wrapped in squares of waxed paper. They should keep for at least two months in the freezer, but good luck with that.

More good stuff about memoir and life story writing can be found at Angel In Your Inkwell website.
(You are at the Angel In Your Inkwell blog right now.)

All rights reserved 2014 There's An Angel In Your Inkwell®

Monday, July 7, 2014

Land a Plane on an Aircraft Carrier

READING TIP - because reading, reading with awareness, is the best "how-to" available to a writer, occasionally I will be devoting a post to a particular book.  COMING SOON - The book posting will then be archived on the new Helpful Books page at (Webdiva Jane has not received all the information from me yet so the page is not up. I jumped the gun in telling you because I am so excited about it.)

Sometimes I read a book that is so exciting in some way that I want to tell you about it. To make that a better process, the sister website of this blog,, will soon have a page devoted entirely to book recommendations.

Don't dash out and buy these books. Most are available at a public library and you may want to read only a few pages in some of them. The books will be listed according to most recent posted.

The first book is one I found so exciting I actually read passages aloud to Gentleman Friend and then we talked about the great writing. The book is Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why by Laurence Gonzales.

This is a book you may not want to read in its entirety so in the description on the website, I have listed pages that give you a taste of the writing. Notice how the author creates powerful and vivid writing mainly by good reporting and strong word choice.


Just because we aren't writing about aircraft carrier pilots or mountain climbers, it doesn't mean we can't create strong writing. That doesn't mean over dramatizing; it means avoid cliches, avoid abstract terms, and avoid wordiness. Here's what makes this difficult. Choose meaningful details. Make your words do double duty; make them give additional information.

For example, a car might tell us something about you or your character. An over-70-year-old member of my writers group, drove a bright yellow Mustang convertible. I know another woman whose SUV has a dog kennel in back; she trains service dogs. Do you shop at Whole Foods, Aldi, or Price Chopper? Your choice tells us something about you.

Here is the Launching Pad -- Write a paragraph (or book or anything in between) about your everyday life. You might write about a trip to the grocery store or a trip to the dentist or baking a frozen pizza. Follow the example of Laurence Gonzales in his descriptions. What was your car like, what about the setting, what did you hear and feel? . Readers will go along with you and enjoy the trip.


Still feeling the effects of all the Fourth of July food? Let's keep it simple this week.

Fudgsicle<sup>®</sup> Low Fat Pops

Buy a box of Fudgsicles and call it done. Few calories or fat per serving and they are fun to eat.

Here is a question.  Our street has lots of children, five preschoolers in just the house next door and one across the street, so the street is definitely on the ice cream truck route.What do ice cream truck treats cost these days?

Learn more about making your writing interesting by looking in your Write Your Life Story in Eight Weeks Workbook, pp. 14-15. 

All rights reserved 2014 There's An Angel In Your Inkwell®

Monday, June 23, 2014

It is time to update

Time passes. Things change. Become outdated. It is past time for the Resources page on my website Angel In Your Inkwell website to be updated. (You are reading the blog.)

In fact, it is past past time. 

It is ten o'clock on a June morning as I write this. As you can see, my office clock did not "spring forward." 

It's time to update.
(Photo by Carol Newman)
Nevertheless, I have been updating the information that goes on the Angel Resources Page. I am removing non-working outdated links, adding new links, moving things around a bit. Next, I send the changes to Webdiva Jane, (and I mean diva in the best sense) who will "fix them up" (That is low-tech talk for whatever the magic is that Jane does to make the website wonderful for your use.)

So you won't have to wait until everything is all done, here are a couple of examples of things you can find at
Angel Resources Page. (Remember, the page itself is undergoing changes. That's why I am showing you some samples here.) A dictionary, thesaurus, and so much stuff about words, it's scary. Supermarket for the writer. Includes reference, quotations, verse, fiction, non-fiction, apples, oranges and the kitchen sink.  National Archives. Any historical information created or received by the Federal Government.

Aren't these great resources? Stand by for more.

Not to worry. The Writing Tip, Launching Pad, and Chocolate Inkwell will be back next time. 

If you have a copy of Write Your Life Story in Eight Weeks Workbook, most of these are listed in the back on the Resources Page there. 

You can share this post on Facebook or Pinterest by scrolling down and clicking on the icons.

All rights reserved 2014 There's An Angel In Your Inkwell®

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Fast, Fun, Better Writing


This week's writing tip combines relaxation and work. No, now that I think about it, it is all work.

What is the best thing any of us can do to improve our writing?

The answer is right here in this picture.

A week ago, chilly enough for a fire -- in June.

Drink tea?

No. The best way to improve writing is to read. Read the type of material you want to write, but read everything else, too. While you are reading, keep your analytic mind engaged. Be aware of the mechanical details -- not just of the words -- everything.

I was reminded of this when Gentleman Friend received a free copy of Western Horseman magazine.

 A horse has never been a part of my life; however, as I flipped through the magazine, I soon was engrossed in reading.

The articles are constructed like articles in most magazines, but because I know nothing about the subject, the structure of the article became apparent. Opening paragraph, reporting, background, flashback, vocabulary, quotes, setting, conclusion that tied back to the opening. It was all there, but it was easier to see.

Read. Learn. Write.

There you go. That's all there is to it.

Oh, and maybe think a little, but that is harder work -- for another day.


Go to the library. (This is fun already.) Find two magazines about subjects that are of absolutely no interest to you. Photocopy a story from each magazine.

(Here comes another fun part.) Get out your colored markers (If you don't have colored markers, buy some.) (More fun -- a trip to the office supply store.)

Now mark the opening paragraph. Where does it begin? Where does the writer let you know what the story is about? Mark that. Look at the quotes? What purpose do they serve? Where does the writer give background information -- flashback? Mark those places too. Unsure how to use quotation marks? Look at how they are done in the story. Where is setting described?

If you are writing a book -- novel, memoir, history, how-to, for example -- buy some used books that you can mark up. Look at the contents. Look at the overall organization.

Note the techniques you think would work for you -- as well as those you would not want to use.

You get the idea. Read. Learn. Write.


Chocolate Cherry Bomb Cookies
photo and recipe from


1 Pillsbury Devil's Food Cake Mix 
1 1/4 cups water 
1/2 cup vegetable oil
 3 eggs 1/4 cup - 
1 tub Pillsbury Classic White Frosting*
30-48 Maraschino Cherries with stems* 
16-22 oz. tempered semi-sweet chocolate (or   dark confectionery coating/candy melts)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cake pan/s by spraying with no-stick cooking spray. Blend cake mix, water, oil, and eggs in a large mixing bowl until moistened.  Using a hand held mixer , beat on medium speed for two minutes. Pour batter into prepared pan/s.  Bake for 29-35 minutes (see package for specific times for each pan size). Cool cake completely.

Crumble cooled cake into a large mixing bowl.  Add 1/4 cup frosting and mix until well combined. Add more if needed. Scoop mixture out by the tablespoonful.    Roll each scoop into a ball.

Drain maraschino cherries and pat dry with paper towels.  Press one cherry into the center of each cake ball.  Bring the cake mixture up and around the cherry.  Roll in between your two hands to form a nice ball. -

Melt and temper semi-sweet chocolate or melt confectionery coating/candy melts. Dip cake covered cherries in chocolate.  Set on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Refrigerate if using tempered semi-sweet chocolate until set, about 10 minutes.  If using dark candy melts, place your cherry bombs in the freezer until set, about 5 minutes.  Bring to room temperature before serving. –

Note: I do not know why the appearance of the recipe paragraphs is inconsistent. So sorry. But if you are truly dedicated to chocolate, you will be able to rise above my shortcomings. Enjoy!
To learn more about how to use reading to improve your writing and to see short examples, refer to the following pages in your  Write Your Life Story in Eight Weeks Workbook: pp. 7, 11, 14, 15, 16, 19, 20, 23.

All rights reserved 2014 There's An Angel In Your Inkwell®

Monday, June 9, 2014

Lesson Learned on a Layover


I had a couple of hours to wait for my connecting flight. So did everyone else. The airport gate waiting area was full. Beside me sat a woman dressed in chic California casual attire. Her dark hair was cut in a stylish bob and she wore designer eyeglasses.

I eyed her Italian leather sandals. Probably her biggest worry is her next pedicure appointment. It was obvious we had nothing in common.
Photo courtesy of Google
(So sorry the complete photo credits flew by before I captured them)

As the minutes dragged by, she began to talk to me. About both her mother and her mother-in-law coming to live with her and her son having a serious illness. Both the mother and mother-in-law had recently passed away and her son was well again. But earlier, her life had become so stressful to the woman that she had sought the help of a therapist.

Near the end of her therapy, the therapist had asked, "What is the gift in this situation?"

The woman said she had not known whether to find the question amusing or infuriating.

But then she thought about it. She was moving to a new city and starting a business. She felt stronger and more capable than she had ever felt before. Now she knew that when tough times came, she could dig deep and find the strength to do what she needed to do.

Well, folks, that set me back in my chair. Suddenly, I had great respect and admiration for her. This woman had a story and she was not afraid to tell it -- complete with all her fears, angst, tears, and anger.

How about you? Are you telling the real story? Are you letting your family and friends and other readers inside the real story?

What hard times have you survived?

And what was the gift from going through those times?

That's just another way of saying, how were you changed; what did you learn; what good came from the hardship?

And when you answer those questions, then you have told a story. And your reader will love you all the more for it.


Look back at a chapter or story in your memoir or life story. Was there a gift to that particular event or experience?

Did you have any insecurity?

Have you written about the insecurity? Have you written about the real problem? Did you overcome it? How were you changed?

Not every page or every chapter will have some big traumatic experience, but look at your book as a whole as well as look at the individual chapters and show the reader who you were then and who you are now.

You may need only a couple of sentences or a few words to express all that. We aren't asking you to sling mud at yourself and then wallow in it. Just give us a peek into your heart.


Aren't these cute? The recipe and photo step-by-step are from Corcoran Street Kitchen. Probably best to make the "tea cups" ahead because it won't work to rush while assembling these.

Photo courtesy of Corcoran Street Kitchen

Edible Teacups for Fun

12 sugar ice cream cones (plus extras in case some break)
12 peanut butter cups
1/2 cup melting chocolate (The recipe says "like Wiltons." Would melted chocolate chips work?)
12 white Oreos (or other cookies)
6 tiny twist pretzels (plus extra in case some break)
chocolate or vanilla pudding or yogurt (to fill the cups)
12 small plastic spoons

1. Use a serrated knife to cut off the bottoms of the ice cream cones. (Slowly, gently, deliberately.)
2. Make the handle: use serrated knife to cut off tops of pretzels
3. Melt the chocolate
4. Line up the cookies
5. Dot each cookie with some chocolate and place a peanut butter cup upside down on top
6. Dip the bottom of the cone into the chocolate and set it on top of the peanut butter cup
7. Hold the cone for a few seconds to harden in place
8. Check and repair any holes in your "teacups"
9. Attach the handles by dotting chocolate on both ends of the pretzel and holding it onto the side of the cone until it is set. 
10. Fill with chocolate when ready to serve. 

(Note: To see step-by-step photos, go to Edible Teacups.)

If you are struggling with how to write about difficult events, look at your Write Your Life Story in Eight Weeks Workbook. The following pages will help you: pp 15, 17, 24, 25, 26, 27. 

Remember, this workbook was written for those who are ready to start writing today, for people who want to write, not read a whole book about it first.

If you don't have the workbook, order your copy today at  Buy the Workbook.

All rights reserved 2014 There's An Angel In Your Inkwell®