Saturday, December 24, 2011

Digital Break December 24-31

We do hope you have a very Merry Christmas and/or some Happy Holidays regardless of your religious persuasion.  Beginning today,( December 24th), we will be on a digital break until December 31st.
We have some exciting plans for the new year, including a series of posts on goal setting, plotting, author interviews, and getting that book going. Please come back soon.
Thanks again, for being loyal to our blog.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Kimberly Packard Walton: I Saw Santa Claus

Kimberly Packard Walton is Vice-President for Greater Fort Worth Writers. She writes as Kimberly Packard, has completed two books and is in the submission process with agents.
In her day job, Kimberly is Vice President of Communications at North Texas Commission and specializes in media relations, branding and strategic planning, crisis communications, message development, program development and pretty much anything else that gets tossed her way.
Friend her on Facebook/Kimberly Packard Walton.

If you love Christmas, can you say why?

No matter what kind of stress I’m under at the holidays there is something magical that transports me back to my childhood when my only stress was over which Barbie Santa would bring me.

What’s one thing you’d like to get rid of during the holiday season?
The stress people place on themselves to give the perfect gift. Sometimes, the perfect gift is something small that means so much to the recipient.

What are your favorite childhood memories of Christmas?
I swear on a stack of Christmas Story DVDs that I saw Santa once in my family room when I was 6 or 7. I snuck in to see what was under the tree, saw his shadow and ran back to my room. Needless to say that sorta freaked my parents out by how emphatic I was that it really happened.

What’s your idea of a perfect Christmas meal?
One I don’t have to cook (two years ago my husband came down with the flu on Christmas Eve and I was stuck cooking dinner for his family and mine. Thank goodness for Bloody Marys on Christmas morning).

Do you have a dish that has become a tradition with your family?
I’ve adopted my husband’s family tradition of baked oysters for Christmas Eve.

What’s the best Christmas present you ever received?
I’m going to sound nerdy and domesticated, but curtains for the family room. The ones that came with the house were too short, terry-cloth and faded red, but we have so many windows that it was going to cost and arm and a leg to replace them. Our parents came together to get us curtains that I love.

What’s the best Christmas present you ever gave?
I love to give books at Christmas. Selfish, I know.

What are your favorite Christmas movies?
A Christmas Story and A Charlie Brown Christmas

What’s your favorite Christmas carol?
I always crank up the radio when The Waitresses’ “Christmas Wrapping” comes on. It must be me growing up in the MTV generation.

What’s your idea of a perfect holiday season?
No stress, the tree and decorations put up with minimal bickering, a fire, snow, no one coming down with the flu and a glass of frangelico in one hand.

Kimberly says she doesn't have the recipe for baked oysters, so we've offered some.

Scalloped Oysters

1 pint shucked oysters with 1/4 cup liquor from oysters reserved
2 cups cracker crumbs(use oyster crackers or saltines)
1/2 cup melted butter
3/4 C. half and half
1/4 tsp salt, mace or nutmeg
Pinch of pepper
Dash of tobasco (just a few drops)
1/4 tsp of Worcestershire sauce
 Drain oysters but keep 1/4 c liquor.  Mix all crumbs with melted butter. Spread 1/2 of this mix in a 8 x 1/2" pan or casserole. Cover with half of the oysters. Sprinkle with a dash of pepper, mace, or nutmeg. Combine half and half with remaining oysters, liquor, salt, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over first layer of oysters and top with cracker crumbs.   Bake 40 min in 375 degree oven. Serves 4-6.

Angels on Horseback
1 dozen oysters
1/2 c. dry white wine
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and ground black pepper
6 slices lean bacon, halved
Marinate oysters in garlic, wine, salt and pepper for about 15 minutes. Heat up your grill or turn on your oven to broil.Wrap each oyster with a piece of bacon and secure with a tooth pick. Grill about 6" from heat source. Turn once and cook until bacon is crispy.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Chrissy Szarek: A Time For Hope and Family

Chrissy Szarek

Chrissy Szarek is originally from Ohio but says she got here as fast as she could. She has a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice and went through the police academy in Ohio thinking she wanted to be a cop, but then changed her mind  and now works with kids. She does so in both of her jobs (City Municipal Court and an Emergency Shelter). She can't seem to get away from them..She has been writing since age 14. In April, she got serious about  getting published.Chrissy says her  first love is fantasy/romance  but she dabbles in several other genres and has projects in romantic suspense and paranormal, as well as one YA. She recently entered the South Louisiana Chapter of RWA  Dixie Kane Memorial Contest and placed second  for Sword’s Call. Not bad for a start. Chrissy is a member of the GFW Writers Group. You can contact  her at her blog:
If you love Christmas, can you say why?
I believe Christmas is a time for hope. A reminder of what God did for us, in the form of Jesus and what real, true, love is all about.

What’s one thing you’d like to get rid of during the holiday season?
Maybe Christmas Carols. Every since I used to work retail Loss Prevention, I can’t seem to stand them. And they start playing them in November, which really bugs me.

What are your favorite childhood memories of Christmas?
I don’t have one Christmas in particular. Just spending time with my family, which I still enjoy, and of course, presents.

What’s your idea of a perfect Christmas meal?
Ham, mashed potatoes, these special Italian green beans I make, corn, salad with Italian dressing, warm rolls, deviled eggs, apple pies and a yummy veggie tray. Oooo, I can’t wait!

Do you have a dish that has become a tradition with your family?
Yes. I have a super top secret green bean recipe that I make w/ Good Seasons Italian dressing, and that’s all I will say. I make it at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

What’s the best Christmas present you ever received?
Last year my husband  bought me all the Creative Memories scrapbooking stuff I asked for. That was exciting.

What’s the best Christmas present you ever gave?
According to my hubby, a  Streamlight flashlight  I bought him 2 years ago. No stinking light should cost that much.

What are your favorite Christmas movies?
Classically speaking, I like Christmas Vacation and recently I like The Nativity Story the best.

What’s your favorite Christmas carol?
“I want a hippomotous for Christmas.”

What’s your idea of a perfect holiday season?
Time with my family.
Chrissy's recipe is top-secret but we found  a similar one and adapted it from Menus4Moms.

done1.jpgSeasoned Green Beans
1 1/4 pound fresh green beans or frozen,
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2-3 teaspoons Good Seasonings Italian Dressing Mix
Wash and rinse the fresh green beans well.
Blanche the green beans by plunging them into boiling water for about 5 minutes or steam fresh or frozen beans til tender crisp..
Remove the beans, immediately run under very cold water, or dip them into very cold water and drain.
Heat olive oil and butter over medium heat.
Add cooled green beans and sprinkle 2 or 3 teaspoons of seasoning over the beans and toss.
Heat through and serve.  These will burn, so watch them carefully!!

If you like this post, tell us by leaving a comment.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Claire Hickey-You Don't Need A Lot To Make Christmas Special

Claire has loved to write since she was a child but found herself doing everything but; earned a Texas Cosmetology License in 1982, decorated cakes professionally, and graduated from Tarrant County Junior College in 1996 with a Certification in Surgical Technology. After several years of internal repair and reformation Claire realized that the above three occupations didn't work for her life anymore. Writing stirs both the passion and creativity within her. Once decided, she spent over a year seriously immersed in this non-verbal form of communication and loved every second of it. She was also pleasantly surprised to find that it fit perfectly into her life.
 While a dream, she had never entertained the idea of actually making a living doing what she loved. Then in November of ‘09, Claire took part in the National Novel Writing Month - or, NaNoWriMo. The goal of writing a 50,000 word novel between November 1 and November 30  seemed a  major feat. She's happy to report that she completed the task and now plans to get the novel published this year. She is a staff writer for the communities at the Washington Times.
Contact her published column:
personal blog: and professional blog:

If you love Christmas, can you say why?
The birth of Jesus is celebrated as a sign of God’s love for humanity. I tell my kids that Jesus is so nice that on His birthday we get presents to teach them about that love. I also love the magic of Christmas. From the decorations, expectations, watching my children’s excitement and anticipation, Christmas cards, friends, family gatherings, food, fun and celebrating.

What’s one thing you’d like to get rid of during the holiday season?
Commercialism. Greed. All the holidays are about giving, faith and becoming a better person - not getting.

What are your favorite childhood memories of Christmas?
We didn’t have much since there were five kids in my family but my parents always made it special. They were as excited as we kids were.
Also, after coming home from my paternal grandma’s house one Christmas Eve my parents, not surprisingly, had a hard time getting us to go to bed and sleep. At that moment, my dad happened to look out our bedroom window and saw a red light blinking as it flew across the sky. The rest of the airplane wasn’t visible so my dad said, “Look! There’s Rudolph! Santa’s coming! You know he won’t stop here if you are not asleep!” We were asleep in no time after that.

What’s your idea of a perfect Christmas meal?
Roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, browned potatoes, gravy, homemade crescent rolls, dessert; or
Homemade ravioli, homemade Italian sausage and meatballs, homemade Italian bread, arancini (fried Italian rice balls), cannoli.

Do you have a dish that has become a tradition with your family?

See above. Birthday cake for Jesus – we sing Happy Birthday. Also, Christmas cookies that my mom made when I was growing up. I now make them for my family.

What’s the best Christmas present you ever received?
Barbie stuff and a doll house I had wanted when I was little.

What’s the best Christmas present you ever gave?
I couldn’t say. You’d have to ask those I’ve given presents to. I do make a point to give something that will touch someone’s heart. Otherwise what’s the point?

What are your favorite Christmas movies?
It’s a Wonderful Life, Meet John Doe, A Christmas Story, all the old black and white Christmas movies.

What’s your favorite Christmas carol?
Oh Holy Night, The Little Drummer Boy, The Christmas Song

What’s your idea of a perfect holiday season?
Being with those you love, good food, good times, getting a kick out of watching the little ones enjoy Christmas as only they can.


Sea Horses

(Cookie press Christmas Trees)

1# butter

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 TBSP. almond extract

4 cups flour

green food coloring

Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl. Add coloring last, a bit at a time until you get the shade of green you want. Blend thoroughly. Fill cookie press and press out on to cookie sheets. This recipe works best if you do NOT refrigerate dough first. Bake @ 375 degrees for 10 minutes. My oven bakes fast so I start checking them at about 8 minutes.

My mom also made cookie press flower shaped cookies for Christmas using this recipe. For those do the same except do not add food coloring. When flowers are pressed out on cookie sheet put half of a candied cherry in the middle. I use red and green cherries. I'm not a big fan of candied fruit but these are very addicting along with the Christmas trees.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Steve Sanders: The Miracle Of Now

 Steve Sanders is an Attorney for the United States Department of Defense, and Past Judge Advocate for the US Army. He recently spent 6 months working in Iraq. When not working as a lawyer, he spends time in his side business Blackbead's Treasure Chest making and selling beaded jewelry, writing, publishing, as well as participating in Rennaissance Festivals as a Pirate.
He is the author of"Characters: The Buffalo Soldier and Other Solders", Editor of and Contributor to "Raising Black Flags: Original Poetry By and About Pirates", editor and contributor to "Echoes From Other Worlds", performer at The Texas Pirate Festival; Middlefaire; and The Magical, Medieval, Fantasy Faire.  He has been an invited guest at both The Texas Renaissance Festival and Scarborough Faire for book signings and poetry readings. He is the winner of the Grand Prize in the Poetry Division of the "Canis Latran" Writing Competition at Weatherford College, Texas, 2009. "Dad, You're My Favorite Cowboy",  was selected for publication in the 2009 "Voices Along the River", San Antonio Poetry Festival publication.

If you love Christmas, can you say why?
I do love Christmas; not only because it is the celebration of God’s greatest gift to the world but also because it is a time when most Christians actually start trying to live the life that God wants us to enjoy. When I was a kid, people tended to be nicer and actually spoke and shared their kinder sides. You still see that but not nearly as much as you used to; especially in the malls where if you get in the way of someone trying to buy that last present that they HAVE to buy they’ll take your head off!

What’s one thing you’d like to get rid of during the holiday season?

I’d like to get rid of the secular side of the holiday. In my world, only Christians would celebrate Christmas. I wouldn’t mind taking a day of annual leave to celebrate my holiday rather than a day that is allotted to everyone as a secular holiday. We no longer get Easter off so why should we get Christmas off except that it is a HUGE retail hog that keeps many businesses afloat. Did you know that “Black Friday” got its name because that ONE DAY keeps many businesses “in the black”?

If we eliminate the secular side of the holiday then Christians would be in the same boat as Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and all other faiths. There is no national holiday for Yom Kippur, Eid Al-Fitr, Samhain, or Holi. And should we force atheists to endure our religious customs? I believe that if you aren’t a Christian then you shouldn’t have to take Christian holidays off work, you shouldn’t have to endure all of those Christmas sales where you get 50% off the merchandise you want, you shouldn’t have to watch the television shows that feature Christmas messages, and you sure shouldn’t have to celebrate a holiday of peace on Earth and goodwill towards men that doesn’t include anything about Jesus, his birth, or what that means to the world.

What are your favorite childhood memories of Christmas?

Watching “Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol” and realizing that Christmas can be more “glorious than grand”, that there really is a “miracle of now”, and that a Christmas where a family shares their love is much more magical than a Christmas where they share their pocketbooks.

My dad taught me the true meaning of Christmas when he started letting me help him go out on Christmas Eve to a local low-income day care center, collect all of their tricycles, bicycles, and other big toys, bring them back to our house for repairs, maintenance, and a new coat of paint, and then have them back before the end of Christmas Day so that when the kids,  I never met or knew, came back on the day after Christmas, they would have like-new toys to play with. We weren’t rich so they couldn’t be really new but he did the best he could and he never asked anything in return, not even the thanks of the kids. My mom told me that the local newspaper had called Dad and wanted to do a story on him but he turned them down.

Of course, I also remember getting special toys that I specifically asked for – international G.I. Joes, a “remote control” robot that threw ping pong balls and shot a rocket out of its head, a HUGE gun that had about ten different weapons on it, and a Godzilla-type monster that turned itself off when you shot it in the tail with a sucker-topped arrow.

And Christmas music that made my mom cry.

What’s your idea of a perfect Christmas meal?
My mom’s paella or one of her chalupa “production lines” where you make your own plate of chalupas with guacamole and chips on the side!

What’s the best Christmas present you ever received?

When I was ten years old, my grandfather gave me a copy of a wargame entitled “Midway.” As a result of that present, and the countless hours I spent reliving history and imagining the different ways things might have turned out, I have enjoyed a very rich and meaningful relationship with the past and my imagination that shares my life to this day. No other present has ever had that kind of life-shaping effect on me and I still have that game tucked away in a box in storage.

What’s the best Christmas present you ever gave?

A book – I had a friend who was also an avid reader. She had read a book and loved it; loved the character, the world it was set in, the premise and the plot. One day, quite by accident, I found a copy of a sequel to the book that she didn’t even know existed. I still remember the look on her face when I gave it to her.

What are your favorite Christmas movies?
“Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol”, “Scrooged”, “Ben Hur”, “White Christmas”, and “It’s a Wonderful Life”.

What’s your favorite Christmas carol?

Either “Silent Night”, “Joy to the World” or “The Lord’s Bright Blessing”.

What’s your idea of a perfect holiday season?

Being surrounded by family and friends; sharing the miracle of the season with total strangers; refreshing my relationship with God; giving at least one present that takes the recipient by surprise and fills them with joy; seeing the faces of the grandchildren in the light of the Christmas tree; having some quiet moments around the tree with my beloved wife; watching my favorite Christmas movies and TV shows; and making my list and FINISHING it!

Big Smile Chalupas from
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Chalupa shells are like flat bread not crisp as taco shells or thin like tortillas.
Place Chalupa shells on cookie sheet and put in oven for 3-4 minutes til heated through.
The production line (adjust the recipe for a crowd)
8 chalupa shells
2 c. refried beans
2 c. shredded chicken
2c.  pulled pork
2 c. cooked ground beef
2 c. shredded lettuce
2 tomatoes
1/4 c. carrot peeled and shredded
1 onion sliced into rings
1 c. grated cheese (american or your choice)
3/4 c. sour cream
1 c. guacomole
Putting them together: Spread refried beans on shell, top with chicken,(or beef, pork), lettuce, tomatoes, garnish with onion, cheese, guacomole, and sour cream.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Writer's Reflection of the Year by Susie Sheehey

Member Spotlight
Susie Sheehey is the President of Greater Fort Worth Writers. She is a former Medical Distribution Sales Representative and now is a stay at home mom who writes contemporary romantic fiction full time. Please leave a comment.

Christmas lights are up both inside and outside my house, decorations surround me as I type, and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is playing the in background on iTunes. My son is asleep in his crib while my husband studies in his office. For once in our household, it’s quiet. And since it’s been so long since I’ve blogged (for several reasons), I thought this was the most opportune and rare moment to reflect.

It’s been a whirlwind year, to say the very least.

Great highs as we watch our son grow, a billion little challenges and a few big ones thrown in there. Same as my writing ‘career.’ Great highs as I improve my skills and learn new techniques, a billion little challenges (mostly just to find the time to write), and a few big road-bumps. Most of my writing goals I set at the beginning of the year I achieved, which I’m very proud with. I set a few stretch goals (NaNoWriMo), and didn’t quite complete those, but I was so close. Again, I’m proud I got that far.

I’ve helped my writers group expand its membership (nearly doubling in size) and learned so much from everyone, I’m so thankful for their help and support. I couldn’t have gotten through my writing goals this year without them. Well, maybe I could have, but it wouldn’t have been nearly as fun or interesting.

I’m hoping to pick my manuscripts back up in the next coming weeks, after I finish my Christmas shopping and overcome consistent sickness, and finally be in a position to query my 2nd one, and revise the 3rd. Along the way, I greatly hope not to stress out the loved ones around me.

I’ll post my goals for 2012 as soon as I have them created. I strongly advise every writer to have goals for the year, and non-writers as well. Gives you something to strive for every day, week, month.

In the meantime, keep writing forward. And reflecting in the rare quiet moments in between.

Contact Susie at

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ruby Johnson: Driving Home For Christmas

 Ruby Johnson is the blog coordinator for Greater Fort Worth Writers and is an active member of the GFW Writers critique group. As a nurse anesthetist she has won many awards including the Agatha Hodgins award, a coveted award for excellence in anesthesiology and leadership. She practiced anesthesia in several states and countries before finally settling in Texas. She said she has spent her career putting people to sleep with drugs, now she's trying to keep them awake with words. She is published in professional journals(including AANA Journal, and Hospital Topics) and has contributed to a book on Hospital Management. Friend her on P Johnson and follow her on

Every year since I left for College, I've been on the road during the holidays. At first, it was traveling home to my parent's home for Christmas. Then I got married and moved out of state. First we drove 12-15 hours to my inlaw's home for Christmas Eve. They always attended church, then had dinner. The next day after opening presents, we drove another two hours to my parents home for Christmas Dinner at two o'clock. Then we stopped at my sister's home for dinner at seven o'clock. Finally we got back to my inlaw's home and started our long trek home a day or two after christmas. Then we moved out of the country and for years spent time flying then driving after we got to the US. Nowadays, I either travel to my daughter's house in NC or they come here. More often I go there, either driving or flying. I once enjoyed traveling. Today, it isn't the fun it used to be with the long lines, security, cancelations, delays, screaming children, uncomfortable seats—you name it. Still we can't get to other places to be with family unless we are willing to travel be it car, train, or plane.
If you're driving somewhere the planning is almost the same with the addition of food . Where will you be for lunch and dinner? Will you eat one meal in a restuarant? By doing a little planning you can have a nutritious meal.

If you're traveling with children, it's important to remember that they can't handle sandwiches if the ingredients have a tendency to slide out or if it is thick. Forget things that are going to stain the seats and floors of the car/van. Drinks with a cherry color just seem to gravitate to the carpet. Juice boxes which don't leak are perfect.

When planning snacks and meals for adults and children, think of things that don't need refrigeration:
cherry tomatoes
fruit cups
canned fruit salad
tuna snacks
In ziplock bags: cheerios, granola, nuts, dried fruits, trail mix, oatmeal cookies.
peanut butter sandwich
salt, pepper

To a cooler add:
boiled eggs
chicken wings
pimento cheese sandwiches
luncheon meat sandwiches
tortilla-cream cheese sandwich. (Mix cream cheese with nuts and dried fruit like pineapple and roll up like an enchilada.)
cheese sticks
salads in containers
carrot sticks
celery sticks
ranch dressing
cream cheese dressing (add honey and cinnamon)
If you forget to get those little individual servings of mayo and ketchup. Add them.

Don't forget:
hand sanitizer
baby wipes
disposable plates, bowls, forks, spoons
napkins, paper towels
Toilet paper

Of course you may not need all of these things, but it will give you some ideas for food.  What do you take on a road trip?

If you travel a lot, you may find the following video meaningful as I do.
 I hope you enjoy it. Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Mary Morgan: Older Brothers Teach You How To Find Things

Today we asked Mary Morgan,, to share some holiday relections. You may remember Mary wrote a post for the blog on  believablity in research earlier in the year. She is a professional voice over with a love of writing fiction. She enjoys traveling, reading, Krav Maga, networking, photography, and video games. Every two months she contributes an article to Charisma + 2, a girl gaming e-zine and is the official blogger for the website. She is a member of GFW Writers  and participates regularly in the critique group.
If you love Christmas, can you say why?
I love Christmas for the spiritual meaning it represents.

What’s one thing you’d like to get rid of during the holiday season?
I despise the obsessive commercialization of it.

What are your favorite childhood memories of Christmas?
I remember how fascinated I was by the idea of a jolly man magically visiting homes at midnight to deliver gifts. But as I grew older my brother taught me how to find all the hidden spots my parents would hide presents.

What’s your idea of a perfect Christmas meal?
It varies per year because I don't believe in traditional meals. Mostly they include corn, soft rolls, salad, pecan pie

Do you have a dish that has become a tradition with your family?
My mother always makes a "pink stuff" pudding. I don't like it much because of the fruit chunks. I like my pudding creamy and smooth.

What’s the best Christmas present you ever received?
This is almost impossible to answer due to the fact that my parents go all out for Christmas with gifts. I don't ask for much anymore since the economy is a wreck and I'd much rather pay attention to the holiday as a private, spiritual time with the family. I will say that one of the best presents I ever received was financial support for a year spent in New Zealand during my early 20s.

What’s the best Christmas present you ever gave?
This is even more difficult than the question above. In fact, I really can't answer. I've never been good at selecting gifts. Being in my 30s I'm super, super selective about Hallmark cards as the message alone means a lot. When I first started giving gifts at Christmas I had no idea how to shop for presents. And they were ridiculous, cheap items. But because I wrapped them up and gave them to my family the act itself meant so much to them.

What are your favorite Christmas movies?
I've always enjoyed The Nutcracker Motion Picture from the 80s. The Nightmare Before Christmas is another. And an all-time favorite is The Grinch Who Christmas (cartoon version narrated by Boris Karloff. I like pretending the live-action adaptation with Jim Carrey doesn't exist). I adore the story of A Christmas Carol but few film versions have pleased me. I will say that the movie with George C. Scott playing Scrooge is one of the best.

What’s your favorite Christmas carol?
The upbeat songs drive me crazy. I like the ballads that are not so well known such as Breath of Heaven.

What’s your idea of a perfect holiday season?
Time with my parents, who are responsible for giving me the life I have now. I yearn to take them on some long vacation across the Pacific so they can experience the wonders that I've been fortunate to experience.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Grammar Etiquette from Bryan Grubbs: Similes

Bryan Grubbs is our in-house professor of the new Grammar Etiquette blog series, posted once a month. He is an English teacher in Denton, TX.

Anybody who has survived the public school system has been bombarded with these terms enough to know them by heart. The mere mention of any of them should have Webster’s dictionary definition scrolling through your head verbatim like an electronic ticker. So why should you keep reading this? I’ll tell you why: because like a box of Legos, just because you know what they are doesn’t mean you really know how to use them.

Beauty and the Gimp

Similes and metaphors are pretty similar by definition. The best way to compare to two is to say that similes are like the uglier of two siblings. You know the one – not as smart, athletic or charming. While both serve a purpose, similes hit with less impact. Does this make them less important? Not at all, there’s a time and place for everything.

The whole concept behind these literary devices is the realization that not everybody will experience the same things in life. Quite the contrary, most people will have exceptionally different experiences throughout life. The only thing that truly links humans to each other are their morals, beliefs and needs. Similes come into play when the author is looking to express a foreign activity or concept. This is also where most literary work and dialogue is loaded down with cliches. To say something is ‘like riding a bike’ suggests that, once learned, it is never forgotten. This concept is lost on anybody under the age of 6 who has never learned to ride a bicycle, but still manages to apply to a vast majority.

The Amateur Approach

On the other hand, saying that something is ‘like snorkeling in a bathtub filled with molasses’, will more than likely leave your audience more confused than they started out with. Which brings up an excellent point, know your audience. If you’re talking to an elderly community, it may be fun to compare things to wearing adult diapers, false teeth, losing hair or impotence, but these probably aren’t your most tactful options. There’s a time and place to be silly, but sometimes you need a more professional approach. Discussing a merger of two companies can be like a melting pot, but most people will just roll their eyes because it’s not true. Merging two companies is like combining families through marriage. Those getting married will be happy with the deal, but the others involved won’t be as willing to jump into it. There will be hard feelings, disappointment, resentment and the feeling of being overlooked.

That Lovin’ Feeling

Metaphors are a bit more powerful in my opinion. They’re also more intertwined with emotions, stream of conscious and poetry. These bad boys compare two unlike things by stating one is the other.

Example: “I am the sun. Freeze in my shadow or burn in my glory.”

With metaphors, you’re not so much comparing similar experiences as blatantly stating that a person, object, feeling or expression is something else based upon features. For instance, a porcupine is notorious for being a prick, a habanero pepper is known for being hot, and brown eyes are known for being “delicious.” Utilizing these features and some clever plays on words is the best way to use metaphors to spice up any dull Tupperware party or public address.

This finally brings us to our last entry.

What is a butphor?

For pooping, silly…


Bryan Grubbs is an English and Art teacher. He is also a member of Greater Ft Worth Writers and is an active member of the GFW Writers critique group. Members of the group will tell you he can pick out redundant words at forty feet and is quite willing to show what paragraphs or sentences are not compelling. He is a husband and father of three beautiful girls, enjoys writing science fiction/ urban fantasy/ horror, sketching, or playing video games in his free time.Have a question or comment? Let Bryan know by clicking on comments and leaving your question or comments.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Jeff Turner-My Grand Dad's Unexpected Present

We've been asking GFW Writers to share their fondest holiday memories.Today we asked Jeffery Turner. Jeff has published two books,  the story of a marriage before divorce and another after divorce, Notes To Stephanie: Middle Aged Love Letters and life Stories and  Notes To Stephanie, Days Remembered. His current WIP is titled Notes To My Kids: Little Stories About Grown Up Kids. When he is not writing he is involved in I-T Projects and loves cooking.

If you love Christmas, can you say why?
The family get-togethers around a nice big meal is the reason for me.

What’s one thing you’d like to get rid of during the holiday season?
Shopping and the media hype around pushing you to shop and center Christmas around mere presents and gifts. Plus pushing the Christmas season ever earlier in the year; something that is part of the ever more noticeable
commercialization of Christmas.

What are your favorite childhood memories of Christmas?
 On Christmas Eve in 1968 my Granddad Couch got a real unexpected present. A gas well he had invested in “blew out”. He, my dad, and I went to Sulphur Springs to see it. Since it was belching “sour gas” which will kill you we approached it from up wind. Once there the rig was totally destroyed and Red Adair’s famous oil well firefighting crew in their red overalls were there doing prep work to put it out. Merry Christmas Granddad……this will be in book #4 one day.
What’s your idea of a perfect Christmas meal?
Either smoked turkey and ham or a prime rib.

Do you have a dish that has become a tradition with your family?
Prime rib or doing something unexpected for Christmas like cooking Mexican food.

What’s the best Christmas present you ever received?
 Maybe my ten speed bicycle or my shotgun when I was a kid.

What’s the best Christmas present you ever gave?
There are too many to count since one always tries to give loved ones something that is special to them.

What are your favorite Christmas movies?
 None of them, except maybe something with Scrooge. “There’s no reason to be jolly” you see.

What’s your favorite Christmas carol?
Oh more than one. Silent Night, Winter Wonderland, O Christmas Tree, Little Town of Bethlehem, and more as well.

What’s your idea of a perfect holiday season.?
Take a week off from work , have a big meal with the extended family, open presents, have some drinks, and enjoy some cold weather.


 Simple Roast Beef


For prime rib beef (5-8 lbs), French trimmed, on the bone

olive oil


freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat the oven to its highest setting.

Rub the beef with the olive oil, salt and pepper all over.

Put a heavy-based roasting pan on the stove and when hot, add the beef.

Transfer the beef immediately to the oven and leave the oven on 450 F for 20 minutes.

Reduce the heat to 375F and roast for 15 minutes per lb. for rare, adding another ten minutes per lb. for medium rare, 20 minutes per lb. for medium, and 30 minutes per lb. for well done (though this is not ideal).

Remove the beef from the oven, transfer it to a carving board and cover with foil. Allow it to rest in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Serve with Yorkshire pudding, green peas, and potatoes.~~

Stuffed Cuttlefish In Wine Sauce
This is one of my very favorite things to cook. Very tasty. Do not think the cuttlefish taste weird. They are very mild and good.
• Two packs of frozen small cuttlefish thawed (some oriental or seafood markets have these), or use fresh small cuttlefish

• Italian style bread crumbs, one and one half cup.

• One can of diced tomatoes, Italian style.

• One cup dry white wine

• One cup of red onion finely diced.

• Olive oil

• Green and black olives chopped, one cup.

• Capers, two tablespoons chopped very finely.

• Salt

• Pepper

•  Dill weed,one tablespoon

• Red pepper flakes 1/8 tsp

• Garlic 2 tsp

• One lemon

1. Mix bread crumbs, onion, tomatoes, capers, spices (to taste), olives in a mixing bowl.
2. Stuff cuttlefish with mixture.
3. Heat olive oil over medium heat, one half cup.
4. Put cuttlefish in skillet seam side down, brown for three minutes.
5. Turn over.
6. Add wine, red pepper flakes (to taste) and lemon juice.
7. Adjust heat to simmer.
8. Add onions.
9. Simmer for 30 minutes or until tender..
Serve over white rice or couscous.

Contact Jeff at

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Vannetta Chapman: A Christmas Memory of Timothy

Vannetta Chapman
 About Vannetta Chapman....

Vannetta Chapman holds a BA and MA degree in English and has published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, receiving over two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. Her first Amish novel with Abingdon Press, A Simple Amish Christmas, quickly became a Christian Books Distributor bestseller. She's also the author of the bestselling Shipshewana Amish Mystery series (Zondervan) and will soon release the Pebble Creek Series (Harvest House). She has four grown children and lives with her husband and a very large herd of deer in the Texas Hill Country.  It's our pleasure to welcome her to our blog.

                                A Christmas Memory

I'm sure I'll never forget the Christmas my father invited a current inmate from the Connecticut state prison to spend the holiday with us. I was more than a little frightened of TIMOTHY. After all, I was 8, and he was well over 6 feet. To me, he looked like a giant.

My mother explained to me that my dad had started a behavior/reward program for prisoners. They could earn weekends at home. The catch? Many had no "home" to go to. So Timothy came to us. Honest! I couldn't make this up. When my father found out how frightened I was, he sat me down and talked to me. He asked me how I would feel if I had no where to go at Christmas. I was fairly certain that I would never end up in prison to begin with, but that answer didn't satisfy dad. He pulled out the "What would Jesus do..."

So I hushed up, hoped Santa hadn't heard my whining, prayed Jesus would forgive my ungrateful heart, and slept in the same room as my sister that holiday.

You know, I don't remember what happened to Timothy after we moved away. I know dad was always bringing home "orphans" on the weekends. Sometimes they were widows. Sometimes they were people with no family in town. Sometimes they were just folks who'd lost their way for a while. When I think of Christmas, I think of dad ... and every now and then, I think of Timothy.

 Vannetta says friendship is a central theme of her recent release Falling to Pieces. It might seem odd for a murder mystery or  maybe not.San Francisco Book Review recently said, “A sweet story of friendship, Falling to Pieces is a fun read and the perfect gift for fans of strong female characters, mysteries, quilting, or Amish culture.” 4 stars.

Her books may be purchased at:                                   

  Barnes &NobleZondervan      amazon and


This isn't really a recipe. I'm always in charge of the vegetable tray at holiday dinners. Maybe because no one trusts me to cook.

But truthfully, with all that heavy food, I love fresh veggies. I make sure to add radishes, black olives, and fresh cheese. Plus some celery, different colors of sweet peppers, broccoli, cucumber, and cauliflower ... it makes for a beautiful addition to the table!
Thank you for stopping by. Please share your comments here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Susie Sheehey: Christmas Is Family And Friends Sharing

Susan Sheehey

Susie Sheehey is president of GFW Writers. She is a full-time writer and has two completed novels of romantic suspense which she is shopping around.Her leadership reflects her previous background  in Medical Product Distribution. She lives in Keller, Texas with her husband and 3year old son.

 If you love Christmas, can you say why?

 The youthful spirit of the season. Everyone gets to be a kid again.

What’s one thing you’d like to get rid of during the holiday season?
 Black Friday commercials and long lines

What are your favorite childhood memories of Christmas?
Christmas Eve dinner with my entire extended family. Adults table vs Kids table.

What’s your idea of a perfect Christmas meal?
 The exact scenario described above, with my Mother’s turkey and Grandmother’s dining room ambience

Do you have a dish that has become a tradition with your family?
 My grandmother’s whisky sour punch. Christmas Eve party tradition

What are your favorite Christmas movies?
 Santa Clause with John Lithgow & Dudley Moore, Santa Clause Movie with Tim Allen, Rudolph (claymation)

What’s your favorite Christmas carol?
 Still, Still, Still, particularly performed by Manheim Steamrollers

What’s your idea of a perfect holiday season?
Peace, everyone home spending time with their loved ones, and remembering the real reason for the holiday (Christmas, Hanukah, whatever religion they are celebrating), it’s all about love, sharing, and family/friends.


courtesy of ayse_e  flickr
 Southern Comfort Punch

2 (2 quart) bottles 7-Up, chilled

1 large can frozen lemonade

1 large can frozen orange juice

6 oz. lemon concentrate

1 bottle Southern Comfort Whiskey

ice ring (made with orange juice or lemonade) optional

maraschino cherries

large punch bowl

Mix frozen lemonade, orange juice & lemon concentrate in bottom of a large punch bowl; may need to let it set a couple of minutes to soften.Add in the 7-Up; spike with Southern Comfort to taste.
Garnish with ice ring and maraschino cherries. I normally use half the ingredients to fill one punch bowl. When you add the 7-up, it normally foams quite a bit.

You can spike the punch just a little, and leave the bottle beside the bowl (for a casual party) for those who like a stronger. punch.


Contact Susie at


Link Within

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...