Going for a Trip to Jolly Old England to Write

This is a re-post from my new blog site. All the same info and books, just a new platform.



The Mentor-Mentor(ee) Relationship & 7 Ways to Gauge Success

Mentor-TeacherEarly in my career, I met my own mentor, Michael Collins. He nurtured my writing and was key in the completion of my first novel. We worked together for two years and I feel that if I had not had his help, I would still be struggling through that first novel. Certainly, I would not have the personal, expert advice I received from Michael during that time. Right now, I’m working with one student who is a dream student–considerate, willing to try new things and to take advice.

So, how does the mentor-mentor(ee) relationship work? Well, for those published authors with the heart to help see other writers grow in their careers, all you need to do is mention that you wish to work with a mentor student and you’ll have several knocking at your email within hours.

Conversely, for emerging writers searching for mentors, it’s a little more difficult than just a mention but don’t fear. I’ve included this topic as part of my 7-part discussion on the mentor-mentoree relationship.

  1. Finding a mentor–It’s not all that difficult, really. If you attend writing workshops and conferences, all you have to do is go up to an author presenter, someone you feel you could learn from (this is key) and ask if they ever accept or are accepting mentor students. If they do not mentor, move on to someone else. Also, ask authors you may know via your social channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkeIn) but keep asking until you find someone to work with. Finding a mentor sometimes takes perseverance but it will be worth it to your writing career.
  2. Setting boundaries–Boundary-setting is as simple as stating how many times per month you will meet (or e-meet) with your student. As a published author you are busy not only writing but marketing your published work so the student will need to fit into your schedule and not the other way around. Next, decide how long each meeting will be and where–whether in a cafe, via email, the phone or on Skype. Stick to your scheduling as closely as possible. You do not want to send mixed signals about the meetings or their times. Although sometimes issues come up and you may have to postpone but try to stay on a fixed schedule.
  3. Goals for you as the mentor–Mentoring emergent writers is one of the greatest and most fulfilling activities I do as a career writer. My time spent with mentorees not only affords them information I have received from my many (many) years writing and working in the publishing industry, but it also tests my knowledge. I learn so much as we discuss writing and the industry as we work through our meetings.
  4. Goals for the student–The best mentor students come with set questions and goals for their writing. Of course, every writer wants to hurry up their careers and to become published but sometimes the hurry-up part isn’t the most important. Sometimes learning craft is or learning business issues (approaching a publisher or agent, writing the query letter or proposal). However, one thing I wish I had known, before venturing into this whole writing thing, was to be patient. I tripped and made many stupid mistakes along the way and have suffered for those mistakes. This is one lesson I try to instill in my mentor students who seem to suffer from impatience as I did. And then, of course, to answer their set of questions about publishing, marketing and writing.
  5. Tracking progress as the mentor–The mentor can either track progress on paper or simply by asking from time-to-time if the mentor student is still benefiting from the meetings. But make sure the student doesn’t feel like you’re trying to get out of the relationship unless, of course, it has become onerous or toxic, because every once in a while the mentor will get into a relationship where the student is refusing to apply concepts to their writing or is not doing the work you’re setting out for them. If you (as the mentor) are feeling anxious about each meeting then maybe it’s a tell that you should get out. Maybe you should move on and let the relationship end. If this happens, do it kindly but truthfully.
  6. Tracking progress as the student–Likewise to tracking progress as the mentor, the student should be the true beneficiary of the mentor’s knowledge. Sometimes, however, the student will be intimidated and not as upfront about how they feel sessions are going, or how much they are benefiting from the relationship. As a mentor student, you must tell the teacher what you need to learn but you must also tell her if she’s not fulfilling what you need from her. This is why goal-setting is such an important part of the mentor-mentoree relationship.
  7. Mentor relationship success–Progress checks with each other are critical to gauging success between the mentor and student. I find out by asking my students these questions: (1) is there is anything they are not getting from me that they want from me (aside from a publishing contract, that is); (2) if they are still feeling inspired and motivated to write; (3) if they are still happy with the relationship; and (4) if they are feeling stuck on a subject or in their writing. I guess one true way to calculate success comes after the relationship ends. Several of my mentor students have sent me emails letting me know that they have since become published. What great news! And what a wonderful way to gauge the success of our relationship.

Remember, discouraging critique causes confusion and dwindles the spirit. Whereas, motivation and encouragement will create in your mentor student a sense of achievement and the will to win.

Here are some links to help you find a mentor:

American Writing Programs: https://www.awpwriter.org/community_calendar/mentorship_program_mentee

Writer’s Relief: http://writersrelief.com/blog/2014/01/find-writing-mentor/

Goins Writer: http://goinswriter.com/find-mentor/

I write books and some of them are bestsellers. ~Susan.


10 Ways to Improve Your Writing Productivity

This post represents my beliefs as someone who has been writing full-time since 2004. First off, let me say that I don’t believe in writer’s block. I think writer’s block is an excuse to stumble. Productivity, or word count, must remain high on a writer’s list of most important things in their daily work. Why? Because with any business having a product to sell will determine whether or not you will succeed–not marketing, not social media. If you don’t have books to sell then you won’t sell any books. Pure. Simple. 02122015-IfOpportunityDoesntKnock-BerleQuote

So, how does a writer improve their word count? By improving their habits. And, as a side note, excuses irritate me. Don’t tell me why you can’t do something. Tell me how you can make it work for you.

I’ve developed the following list of 10 items to help improve your productivity and to add word count to your stories.

  1. Decide how many days a week you will write–Knowing your current schedule will limit your time to write. Some people rue over this, that all they can write is in the evening after the kids go to bed or only on the weekends, on Mondays and Thursdays, or on Sunday after Church. No need to rue when you have solid information that tells you, “Well, I can write between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evening.” Basically, you’re turning your negativity and your limited time into a huge positive. When people have limited time for an activity–whether cleaning the house, playing a round of golf or writing, they tend to fit in the time for that activity. It’s all about choice here. If you want to write and you prefer to write, you will find time to write.
  2. Set aside time to work on your writing–Setting aside a specific amount of time each day to write will not only help improve your craft but it will also add word count to your story.
  3. Write in Segments–Segment writing will cause you to focus on what’s important about your current story. Break your writing up into several 15-minute chunks. Set a timer and begin and end with your timer. If you are not currently writing to a story, segment writing can be a great way to find a new story to expand into a longer piece. Segment writing is what I like to call “free” writing in that you can play around with new ideas, techniques, ways to format, new genres, poetics, and any other idea you want to practice on such as deepening characterization through voice, setting through applying different sensory perceptions, and conflict by employing hooks, foreshadowing and cliff-hangers.
  4. Read books about writing–Reading books on how-to-write or how-to-edit your work will make you a better writer. Much the way watching golf instruction on TV has made me a better golfer (no lie), reading within your craft about how-to develop character, setting, and conflict will strengthen your writing. Books like Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print by Renni Browne & Dave King, will help you avoid common writing mistakes before a real editor gets hold of your manuscript. Titles like The War of Art, and Bird by Bird are other books that focus on craft and the writing life.
  5. Writing-MotivationTake defined breaks–Defining your writing between stints at work and stints during breaks is key to being able to get back to writing. Allowing yourself “coffee” breaks of 5- to 10-minutes each, allows your mind to settle on what you have accomplished during your time at writing. Taking a defined lunch break allows you time to refuel your brain (see my “healthy choices” post). Eat, relax, walk the dog, read a book. Hey! You can even fold laundry or clean the toilet. All these things will fuel your writing mind to create better scenes with more visceral imagery to strengthen your story.
  6. Make sure to edit–Editing your work at the end of your writing session and again at the beginning of your writing session is always a good practice. At the end of writing, is when I catch all of my major boo-boo’s. I run my spell-checker to catch spelling errors and then go to my “usual” problem children such as to and too, they’re and their, hear and here–those problem children. I use the find and replace function in Word and fix those problems. When I come back the next day, I re-read what I wrote yesterday (or last time) and I edit for word choice and sentence structure. By the end of my story, my manuscript is fairly clean when I hand it off to an editor… can you guess what item #7 is going to be?
  7. Hire an independent editor–Editing your own work is great and makes your independent editor happy that she doesn’t have to delete or correct silly spelling errors and typos. It allows them to line edit for structure and grammar, syntax and clarity. Never send out your manuscript or self-publish without using an independent editor. Your work and your sales will suffer. Believe me, I know. I learned the hard way. Editors like Emily’s Eagle Eye Editing, Jim Thomsen, Jodie Renner, Renni Browne will strengthen your work and make it look professional when it arrives at the agent’s or the publisher’s desk. Put your best foot forward by hiring an independent editor to go over your work before sending it out.
  8. Set deadlines–Self-imposed writing deadlines will keep you on track. Sometimes. However, when you tell someone outside of you that you will be completed with a writing project within 6 weeks, you subconsciously make yourself accountable to that person. This works too, sometimes. So, why not make yourself accountable to your editor? Tell them you will be done with a project by May 13th (or whatever) and you will get them your MS on or before that date. What happens when you work with an independent editor is that they will clear their schedule for you. And you had better get them your work on or before that deadline or else they will lose money. Being responsible for someone else’s financial losses is a huge motivator but it can also be key for you to complete another project and get that story to an agent or a publisher for consideration. I like to set up deadlines for myself because when I meet the deadline I get a great sense of accomplishment in that I’m doing something to further my career by staying on track, by getting another story finished and by clearing the slate for my next writing job.
  9. Join a writing group–By meeting up with other writers on a regular basis will focus you to get work done on time. You will clear your slate when one or more authors are relying on you to give constructive comments about their writing in exchange for their comments on yours. I have been involved with several groups and the most successful ones are those who allow 5- to 10- double-spaced pages of work. Also, join groups where the writing is of fiction or nonfiction. Mixing genres can lead to weird dissatisfaction among members. Don’t ask me why but I have found that either fiction or nonfiction groups work well–but not both intermingled.
  10. Find a mentor–I often mentor fiction writers. I write fiction so mentoring students who write in nonfiction doesn’t work for me. I had a mentor early on in my career. Michael Collins will remain a key figure in my writing career. He gave me expert advice when I was flailing. He motivated me to write and encouraged me to continue a career in writing. He was honest sometimes brutally but I grew from our mentor-mentoree relationship. It was a priceless experience.

There are many more methods on how to become a more productive writer, I’m sure, but this list will help you right away. Basically, buckling down and pressing ahead are the ways to succeed in this industry. Try not to be discouraged and if you do, drop me a note. I’ll be your encouragement and will try to talk you out of your frustration. We’re all in it together. So let’s help each other the best we can.

I write books about God. Amen. 😉 ~Susan.

The Deer Effect by Susan WingateB&N-Button-LgAmazonImage

5 Essentials For Writers While Travelling

Old_Alaska_Airlines_logo_on_a_DC-3_(6194350906)I’m travelling this weekend, 2,000 miles south from where I now live. It’s not what I would call a happy trip although I’ll be seeing people who will make me happy just by seeing them–my sister, a girlfriend from times past, and my aunt who I feel is like a second mother to me. We grew up with her sons who were like the brothers my parents didn’t have. I remember these times with fondness and ennui. One of my “brothers” died years ago and my aunt is ill and this may be the last time I see her. So it goes…

But this post isn’t about why I’m travelling, it’s about how to travel… as an author.

I cannot impress to you enough, and above all else over clothing, food, or funds, take something handy to write on. Whether your writing equipment is your peripheral (smartphone, iPad, or other) or simply a memo pad and that old-fashioned thing we used to call a pen, always make sure to bring something handy with you to write on. You will inevitably find yourself waiting in lines or sitting at a terminal. Whenever you can, take plenty of notes. Doing so will help you with the following elements in a future story.

Characterization–Watching people interact and how they do so is key to characterization. I once saw a man in front of me yell at the security person checking people through. He asked her why she couldn’t hurry up and chastised her for her job, that it was a ridiculous job and worthless. He was demeaning and nasty. I think he might’ve been an author! I’m making that up. I have no idea what he did for work but I can feel sorry for those people he had to work with. I added my two cents about him and felt sorry for the gal he was giving it to. Now, here’s the thing: I have no idea what he was going through personally. All I saw was his treatment of other people. As an author (and a human being), I should ask questions of my characters, of what they might be going through that the reader isn’t aware of presently. Questions like these can add great subtext to your story.

sstein-140-exp-Sol_photoScene-setting–Airports are great for scene-setting because they are usually so utilitarian. Airport settings make it difficult to use words other than loud, sterile, harsh. But these words are general terms. What if we used words and phrases like echo-chamber, surgical, bitter as descriptors? These are words that make readers sink their teeth into your writing. Sol Stein goes into great detail about word choice and scene-setting in his book “Stein on Writing.” Grow your scene-setting and you can build great, new worlds for your reader.sstein-140-exp-Sow_jacket

Tension–Tension is the thing that makes our heads turn and causes our skin to prickle. Tension makes our hearts beat faster and our palms become sweaty. Tension is a reaction to something that may or may not erupt in seconds–whether an actual bomb, a fight, or a sudden sorrow. Tension can lead to conflict but doesn’t necessarily have to. Sometimes tension is deflated. Sometimes it’s aggravated. Either way, tension makes us react physically to a situation that may become bad fast.

Taxis and airports are great for observing tense moments. In the taxi, and I don’t care how many times I use one, the taxi driver never fails my expectations of him–to drive like he’s the stunt man in the final scene of Thelma & Louise. Swerving the cab, back and forth, to the each side of the white lines as he tries to shimmy in-between two buses–both flying at sixty mph and so close to each other that they could be one bus. Or… the child on the airplane in the seat just behind you who will not stop chattering, crying and kicking your seat. Or… the man who has fallen asleep and is listing toward your soft shoulder as he breathes out last night’s garlic dinner into your air space.

The taxi ride becomes heart palpitations. The child becomes clenched fists. The man becomes nausea. Write that. Let things happen to you and write them down.

ClanoftheCaveBear-51eWZxrwarLConflict–Conflict is the thing that happens (and usually swiftly) after initial feelings of tension. Although sometimes conflict can happen quite suddenly and without forewarning. I remember reading CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR by Jean Auel. After the first page of scene-setting comes, in an instance, sudden, unexpected conflict. It’s awesome. If you have read this story, you know what I’m talking about. Auel leads the unsuspecting reader along by the nose and then, Boom! she drops the bomb. I love this story and use it often as an example in my writing workshops. For one, it’s a perfect way to start a story and two, her conflict is utter disaster. Utter. Disaster. The reader has no other choice but to continue reading to find out what happens.

Conflict is the thing that makes a character choose either the right path or the wrong one. In novel-writing, we must make the character fail at least two times until the final conflict choice is set–always against our hero’s foe–and one our character has no other choice to do but to choose–to end all of the trouble, whether to live–think of my latest story The Deer Effect. Or, to die–think of Thelma & Louise.

Voice–Voice is one of my favorite elements of writing. It distinguishes authors. It creates sound and sets theme and can even be metaphorical if used correctly. Voice will separate your writing like nothing else. Ernest Hemingway was what I call a “voice-y” author. But his voice was found in authorial voice, not necessarily in character voice although he employed character voice as well. No, his voice can be found in his writing style, his word choice, his sentence structure, his poetics. I love the first line in his great novel A Moveable Feast. It goes like this: Then there was the bad weather.

He begins the story as though the reader has just walked in on his conversation with someone else. The phrase doesn’t particularly make you want to know what’s going to happen. Not really. What this sentence does do is make you want to know what you missed! Brilliant. You feel like saying to Hemingway, “What were you talking about?” But you’ve already missed that part of the story so you have to sit down and hear the rest. That’s genius.

Hemingway’s authorial voice distinguished him from other lesser authors of the time. How do you distinguish yourself in your writing?

Anyway, writing while you’re travelling will also give you something to do during the down times. And, life, as we know, can be filled with dull moments between the conflicts and tension. And, aren’t we blessed for those dull times. They are what allow us for introspection and meditation, for prayers.

But also writing while travelling is a means for you, you lovely authors, to get away from your usual writing spot. Writing while travelling will focus your writing, in ways your usual environment will not. You won’t have the cat wanting in or the dogs barking. You won’t have to stop to prepare the kids’ lunches and you won’t have to clean up the kitchen. What you will have is free time. Time to observe your new environment and all the new bodies taking up space in that environment. An airport, a train, a taxi ride are author’s smorgasbords. So, enjoy the variety. Taste how good these new sights can be. When you do, your travel will fly by and, hey, you will be writing. Go figure.

I write books. ~Susan.


Writers! 18 Awards in Four Fiction Genres

Writers! Winning awards can launch your career. Below, I’ve listed four different fiction genres and a few awards within each genre. You might want to check these out.



Science Fiction/Fantasy

Christian fiction

Hoping you win a few of your own. And you can find my award-winning titles at: http://amzn.to/1CSGskS or simply click the image below! ~Susan.


10 Great Opening Lines from Novels I Love

Waking, my feet remained stuck under the covers, in a dream about a story, this morning. The story’s first line warbled into ether and left an inkling that colors my morning making me wish I could drag back details as the dream-film played against my eyelids.

The chill of the morning prickled my skin and shook the dream out. Reality began. Get the dogs out. Put the tea on. Feed the deer–who, by the way, were absent most definitely because of the chilly morning. The deer were too cold to eat? Now, I’ve seen everything.

But the dream is playing hide-n-seek with me in my subconscious. It has shifted from story to first lines of stories. My subconscious perhaps speaking to me? Whatever my subconscious intended, I decided to snag 10 books off the bookshelf and offer up to you the books’ 10 opening lines. The books are in no specific order they are simply listed for your reading pleasure. I’ve added a link for each book title and for each author.

  1. “Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board.” Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.
  2. “Later, I would look back and wonder what I was doing the exact moment Kelli died.” Heart Like Mine by Amy Hatvany.
  3. “of things–when is it exactly?” The Accidental by Ali Smith.
  4. “If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.” Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.
  5. “There was no hope for him this time: it was the third stroke.” Dubliners by James Joyce.
  6. “Then there was the bad weather.” A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway.
  7. “She did not intend to steal anything that day.” A Town of Empty Rooms by Karen E. Bender.
  8. “She gave a startled cry.” The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham.
  9. “We are at rest five miles behind the front.” All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque.
  10. “The year 1866 was signalized by a remarkable incident, a mysterious and puzzing phenomenon, which doubtless no one has yet forgotten.” Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne.

I think you’ll agree that the author gave great consideration to these first lines. No one line was left to chance. It makes me wonder when they wrote their lines. Did they write them at the very beginning of writing the novel or after the novel was written in order to apply a smidgen of hindsight?

What do you think?

I write books. ~Susan.


For Authors in the Know: News Sites for the Publishing Industry

News-TradeNewsSourcesMore help for authors who want to stay up on the business side of the publishing industry. I’ve compiled a list of “News in the Publishing Industry” sites for your convenience. Mind you, this is not all-inclusive but it’s pretty awesome nonetheless. I hope this is a useful tool for you and you find some interesting information.

List of Sites that List News in the Publishing Industry

10 Easy Tips to Help You Build a Wider Reading Audience

Over the last seventeen years (six years after the advent of the internet), I began my career as an author and launched a website.

As a non-technical person, I have learned a few things about running a digital book business that I would like to share with you. I’ve developed this short list from my personal experience. What I mean is that, I’m not just regurgitating information that is already out there. And, although it may already be out there, I’m including it on my list because it works and has been an integral part of my success as an author.

Here you go, 10 suggestions to Help You Build a Wider Reading Audience:

  1. Develop your social contacts. Nurture your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and on LinkedIn in order to build your friend count, your likes, comments/replies, and your retweets.
  2. Be present on your social sites a few times throughout the day. This doesn’t mean you have to stay online all day long. Please do not. I typically “pop” in to each site for a few minutes three or four times per day (morning, noon, evening, and before I go to sleep). I try not to stay on any site longer than 5 minutes at any given time. This equates to about 1 total hour of online socializing.
  3. Answer difficult questions. When you post to your social sites, answer truthfully those questions that other authors might be afraid to answer. Are eBooks going to make print books obsolete? If you know the trends, you can answer with authority. If you answer yes, brick-and-mortar bookstores might have an opinion. And you better be able to back up your answer. If you answer no, well, you still better be able to back up your answer. Knowing your industry will offer you a plethora of material to blog about.
  4. Blog regularly. I typically throw out a blog post two to three times per week. More often than that clutters people’s inbox and they start to delete your posts automatically. (Don’t yet have a blog? Get one. They can drive traffic to your social sites and link back to your blog and your books.)
  5. Blog about other authors, their books, and their brands. Sometimes our blogs can seem all about “me, me, me.” I’m guilty of it. I guess this is because time is limited and writing a blog post can take up to a good hour to write well. It’s easy to throw something out to the blogosphere about, say, the same book you’ve been talking about for weeks. But fresh is key, here. Your readers won’t leave you. They will be grateful for your well thought out take on someone else. And you might even help out another author.
  6. Join sites of common interest. Do you know other authors, agents, publishers, editors, book reviewers, bookstores, or librarians? Of course you do and they all have sites you can either join, sign up for their newsletter, or link to and from. I don’t know about you but whenever someone likes, comments or follows my blog, I become giddy. So, guess what I do? I follow them back! Doing so builds traffic between sites and traffic equates to book sales.
  7. Send out a press release for your book. When you have a new book release, make sure a wider audience gets a chance to view your news. With press release sites offering distribution services such as PRWeb.com, Free-Press-Releases.com, and PRLeap, writing a press release and having it broadcast to specific regions and demographics is made simple. You can even do a press release for no cost on some of these sites.
  8. List your books. Make sure you have a book page on your site. This may seem like a no-brainer but I’ve seen author pages with only their bio and contact pages. You need to establish credibility and sell your books, even it that means embedding code for an Amazon Author page that lists your books. But taking the time to build your book page, without making it look like a link to Amazon, will encourage your visitors to click-thru to the links and will not appear pushy. I don’t know about you but when I click on an author’s “Bookstore” and I’m zoomed over to Amazon, I feel sort of cheated. Embed your links by stating they are links. Your visitors can then choose to click-thru to your books online bookstore (such as Amazon.com) or not.
  9. Send out occasional newsletters. Lately, my newsletters have been published about twice a month. Monthly newsletters are great. You’ll notice, however, that the busier you are, the more you will want to push your books through your newsletter. I’ve seen authors send out weekly newsletters. But building a newsletter is more time-consuming than writing a blog post. So, use your time wisely here and only send your newsletter when you must. I use Constant Contact but there are many other great online newsletter building sites.
  10. Talk about your books. It’s okay to promote your work–to blog about it, to post about it on your social sites, to send out your newsletter about it. In fact, it’s crucial you do for your business which is to sell books. But when you do talk about your books, tell people why they should read your stories. Will they feel inspired? Will they come to understand an ongoing universal problem just a little bit better? Will they turn their attention to God? Will they want to be a better person? If you can instill in people a good reason to buy your books then they will.

There you have it. 10 easy to follow tips and tactics to build a wider reading audience for your books. I hope you implement some of the items on this list. But, mostly, I hope you sell more books.

Best wishes to you! Remember, you can click on the image to buy either of the following titles. And, you can visit me on Facebook and Twitter. ~Susan.

Mystery/thriller collaboration with the Prime 5 Authors http://amzn.to/1AAOU7u
Mystery/thriller collaboration with the Prime 5 Authors
#1 Amazon Bestseller Christian Fantasy Metaphysical  Visionary  http://amzn.to/1yptpYk
#1 Amazon Bestseller Christian Fantasy Metaphysical

Here We Go, 2015. It Had Better Be Good… Or Else!

Here We Go, 2015. It Had Better Be Good… Or Else!

Mother used to end all of her threats with, “Or else!” That’s how my sister and I grew up. “Clean your room!” Wait for it… then boom! “Or else!” Understand a little better now?

The problem was we never heard what might happen if or elseever came. Would we melt into a puddle of glue like the Bad Witch? Would we be made to dig 6-foot deep holes in the backyard? Would we have to stand for an…

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Here We Go, 2015. It Had Better Be Good… Or Else!

Mother used to end all of her threats with, “Or else!” That’s how my sister and I grew up. “Clean your room!” Wait for it… then boom! “Or else!” Understand a little better now?

The problem was we never heard what might happen if or else ever came to fruition. Would we melt into a puddle of glue like the Bad Witch? Would we be made to dig 6-foot deep holes in the backyard? Would we have to stand for an unendurable 15 minutes in a corner with pepper on our tongues? Okay. That one really happened but you get the gist.

Seriously, though, our mom never ended the phrase, “Or else, I’ll have your father hold your tongue on the end of a battery for three days or until you light up the sky!” She couldn’t really say this anyway because my dad was not what I would call a disciplinarian.

However, none of these concerns matter today. I was just waxing nostalgic. Maybe because another year has come and gone with another on its heels and so much hope bubbling through the internet, through the television set, on people’s faces, in their voices–that I just had to put up a poll. Because isn’t that what people do when they see a vision of hope… they put up a poll? Some even tie a little flag on it? Or, wait. Am I thinking pole. No matter. I’m not rewriting this post because of one little slip of the word.

So, answer these questions… OR ELSE!

I write books.

Me on Twitter: twitter.com/susanwingate

Me on Facebook: facebook.com/authorsusanwingate

My books on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1tDjYgu