Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – Random Funnies and a joke!

Thank you very much for sharing your humor, your smiles and your blog post! I had tons of fun, Sally! ❤

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Watch out for ducks.

Three women die together in an accident and go to heaven. When they get there, St. Peter says, ‘We only have one rule here in heaven. Don’t step on the ducks!’

So they enter heaven, and sure enough, there are ducks all over the place. It is almost impossible not to step on a duck, and, although they try their best to avoid them, the first woman accidentally steps on one.

Along comes St. Peter with the ugliest man she ever saw. St Peter chains them together and says, ‘Your punishment for stepping on a duck is to spend eternity chained to this ugly man!’

The next day, the second woman steps accidentally on a duck and along comes St. Peter, who doesn’t miss a thing. With him is another extremely ugly man. He chains them together with the same admonishment as for the first woman.

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4th Halloween-Poem Contest


It is a great pleasure for me to announce the
4th Halloween-Poem Contest
on ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’.
************************************************

Every author and poet are invited to participate and deliver a “Halloween-Poem” to my email address: aurorajean.alexander@aol.com, together with their picture and a link to their blog/page.

There are a few rules to follow:

  1. Your poem needs a Halloween theme.
  2. Your poem needs a minimum of 99 words.
  3. Your poem has to be delivered to my email address between October 10 and Halloween, October 31, 2018, 9 pm Central Standard Time.
  4. Your poem has to be delivered together with your picture and a link to your blog/page.
  5. Please avoid violence, bad language, and sexual content within the poems. It would be disqualified.

 

Every poem that meets the rules and is delivered within the deadline will be published here on “Writer’s Treasure Chest” together with the provided picture.

End of this month I will introduce this years jury members to you. I am very proud that these authors agreed to be part of our contest.

The contest starts October 10, 2018 06.00 am and ends October 31, 2018 09.00 pm Central Standard Time!!

Please, deliver your poem and your picture to my email address within this time frame, neither earlier, nor later. Poems arriving outside these 3 weeks will be disqualified.

aurorajean.alexander@aol.com

We’re looking forward to your poems!

A. J. Alexander

Unaccustomed as I am…. – Guest Post By Merlin Fraser

Recently on social media, I’ve been shouted at, again, for being too serious…  ME ?

After the usual accusations of being the devil or anti-Christ I was told to Lighten Up and get a Life !!! That and to stop picking on the poor Christians who apparently are still traumatised, something to with Romans and Lions apparently.

Of course, I suppose they’re right, I can’t remember when last I did a light hearted Blog so perhaps now is as good a time as any to relate my efforts and experiences as a Public Speaker.

As writers, we all assume that one day we will be famous and rub shoulders with the social elite, to be admired by our peers and invited to all the best parties but like everything else in life you have to start at the bottom and work your way up… Right ?

We can’t all know Beyoncé or Simon Cowell for Heaven’s Sake !

Anyway, any event organisers that know their salt and expect to get the unwashed hordes to beat a path to their function know they need a top Name to Tweet about or plaster all over their Facebook Page.

They also know that anybody who is anybody is on what is known as the ‘A List.’ These are the celebrities that most people want to sleep with or just to take a ‘Selfie’ inches away from their hero, who has that ‘They don’t Pay me Enough to do This’ look in their eyes… but they manage a toothy grimace anyway.

Therefore, if you have an important event up and coming the greater the celebrity you get to attend then the better the publicity you can attract and the number of punters who will hand over the readies to get up close and personal with the celebrity.  This is of course irrespective of whatever you are promoting or trying to sell.

However, this takes money and bags of it, sure you can dumb down a bit and go for a ‘B Lister’ but you’re taking a huge PR gamble here. Any lower than‘B’and you’re really on shaky ground, I mean by the time you get down to the ‘C’s’ then you are highly likely to get a ‘Has been a Neverwas or a Neverwillbe’. You know the type, they’re the ones who will usually turn up for free to the opening of an envelope or a Kitchen Drawer !

So you can imagine my surprise to receive an invitation to speak.  What list am I on for Pity’s sake… Are there even enough letters in the alphabet I hear you ask?

‘Dear Mr. Fraser’, (Good start, at least they spelt my name right that and I saw no immediate demand for payment). It continued :

‘As a more or less famous local author would you consider coming to St. Catherine’s Day Centre for the Terminally Incontinent and Permanently Bewildered next Wednesday and give us a short talk on the subject of your local history book ?

We apologise for the extremely short notice but the woman who comes to cut their toenails is off sick and cannot make it that day.  Everyone so looks forward to her visits and we desperately need someone to step in and help avoid disappointing the inmates.

If you can come after their lunchtime nap you can entertain them before afternoon tea, Wednesday’s is Walnut cake supplied by the local Women’s Institute although we have asked them not to put walnuts in the cake because so many of our guests wear dentures, so it will probably be jam sponge’.

Of course, I could have said No!  Local celebrities such as myself… Busy Schedules you Know.  Meetings with Agents… Need much more Notice Etc. Etc. Etc…. But there again one never wants to disappoint ones public does one ?

Plus with such a warm invitation how could I turn it down.  That and the promise of cake …I mean how often does one get offered such reward in lieu of actual money ?

Anyway I, digress, as the appointed hour approached I made my way to St. Catherine’s,  having to wait for the ambulance, blue lights flashing to exit the  parking area was not a particularly good omen but we Fraser’s are made of sterner stuff…so in I marched.

I was shown into a room that had the sign DAY ROOM above the door. I must admit that it seemed a superfluous title since the whole place was a Day Centre… but Hey ! What do I know ?  

More confusion was to followed as the nurse who guide my path through the maze of Zimmer frames, wheelchairs and trolleys carrying oxygen bottles, announced that it was also the games room and TV lounge so I might have to speak up a bit to my audience.

“Are they hard of hearing ”?   I asked and immediately thought what a bloody stupid thing to say given the average age of my impending audience.

“No,” she replied, “but you will have to compete with the John Wayne War movie on the TV they don’t want it switched off”.

“They not interested in local history then ”?

“That lot over there ?  They were probably there and helped make it”! She smiled sweetly, like Day Care Nurses do, she wished me luck and disappeared.

So there I was alone, abandoned by the staff who in all probability had buggered off to put their feet up for half an hour while I held the fort.

I looked at them and they looked back…Tough Crowd, I thought. It’s times like this I wish I had a song and dance routine or could do magic tricks like making dumb author’s disappear in a puff of smoke !

Too late to back out now, here I was, I had an audience of ten hearty souls, well eight anyway, two had already nodded off, or at least I hope they were asleep, difficult to tell in places like that especially if you are not packing a mirror.

Anyway with John Wayne saving the world in one corner and me in the other things got off to a slow wobbly start, “Good afternoon… my name is Merlin Fraser and I…..”

“Who is it ”?

“Somebody called Madeline Frey something …”!

“Does she want to see our Feet”?

“She’s not seeing my feet she looks like a man…”

I coughed to trying to bring the focus back to me, “ I AM a man and I don’t want to see anybody’s feet…alright”?

“Is it Thursday..? Don’t we have Bingo on a Thursday ”!

“And Fish on Friday’s …”

“We had fish today…!”

“They told me that was Chicken”.

“Tasted like Fish…”

“Yeah always does… That was chicken… I think they put vinegar on it makes it taste like fish”.

“Ladies…” I tried to bring the room to order, “Actually it’s only Wednesday…”

“What is ”?

“Today Is…”

“So you  ‘Ave come to see our feet then….?”

Already I’m ready to give up, “Would you prefer to watch the John Wayne film ”?

“Who”?

“John Wayne ”!

“I thought you said ‘is name was Madeline something or other….”

I coughed for silence, deep breath one last supreme effort, “I’m here to talk about local History, I have written a book on the subject”.

“What ”?

“A Book…”

“What about it ”?

“Did he leave it here ”?

“Tuesday is book day…. That big Van comes…”

“Is that the one that smells of Pee ”?

“No…! That’s the Mini bus ”!

“Ladies , Ladies… I- W-R-O-T-E  T-H-E  B-O-O-K ”!

“What about ”?

“Local History …About our town.”

“What’s he sayin’ ”?

“He asking about local history….”

“OH That ! What does he want to know?  I can remember the German’s dropped a bomb what killed a Cow during the war… best stew we’d had in years…”!

My heart sank, if nothing else I know when to quit….“I’ll just pop out and see if the tea is coming!”

“Who was that ”?

“Said his name was John Wayne I think”.

“You sure ? Though John Wayne always wore a big hat… hope his horse isn’t crapping on our lawn”!

Ya know those dangling cords that you are supposed to pull only in an Emergency ?

Well I pulled it….Twice !!

But what the Hell ! I Don’t Care !   I’m still putting Public Speaker on my CV…. !

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Why Do Writers Make Such Great Listeners

Picture courtesy of http://www.success.com

Let’s start at the very beginning. What are the things a great listener is doing differently than “normal” listeners?

One of the things is the focus. It seems many people are concentrated on what they will say, they forget to listen to what the other person says. Thinking during listening isn’t very helpful. Writers know how to focus. They know how to concentrate on the most important things, and they recognize a story and its thread.

But what do great listeners differently? They keep their mouth shut, they listen without judging, their entire body language is turned to the speaker, their facial expression is interested and open, only to name a few. Of course, now the important part starts, listening and taking in. By asking questions in our own words, to make sure we are interpreting the speaker’s words correctly, we are showing we absorbed the given information. Additionally, there’s one more thing: consciously memorizing.

Let’s say: we are listening to someone who tells us a story and we’d like to repeat it at some other occasion, we will memorize it. If the speaker is our friend and entrusts us with a problem or secret and asks for help and support, we will memorize it to give it some thought and come back later with a solution.

“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.” Ernest Hemingway

I think it’s significant these words were spoken by a writer.

I’ve always been a very helpful person. It came naturally to me to listen to my friends’ problems, support them, help them. I was trained in memorizing what bugged them to be of the most effective help I could be. The best listener cares.

But being a writer taught me to listen to more. I’m taking in as much sound and noise as all the other people around me. But instead of blanking out some of the ‘noise’ I start concentrating on it. Occasionally I ‘threw a look’ over to the speaker who waved me over and included me into the story as an additional listener. And that’s what I do. I listen, I take in, I separate ‘nonsense’ from ‘maybe useful’ and I memorize.

I’m not only talking about ‘conversations,’ or ‘secrets’ I pick up. I’m as well listening to descriptions, of people, of landscapes, of personalities, even of cars. I never know when it comes in handy. Imagine one of my characters driving in some sports car; I might be using the description I heard of how the driving feels like.

I’m listening because I’m interested. I’m interested in people; I’m interested in helping. I will never use what I hear to expose someone. Not all experiences I hear are of interest to me. I’m writing fantasy and paranormal romance. Maybe an author of love stories or thrillers can use more of what he listens to. You might tell us below in the comments.

Sometimes Empaths can experience one of the ‘hard sides’ of listening. The emotional toll it takes on them. I was going through that before. Occasionally it still happens to me, even though with age I became more and more able to shield myself from that painful side effect of being helpful. So, good listeners might be aware that listening isn’t always about hearing secrets, problems, good stories or jokes. Sometimes listening needs guts!

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” Winston Churchill

picture courtesy of: http://www.google.com

Authors are not Gurus – Guest Post By Merlin Fraser

One of the problems of becoming a published writer is that people start to think that you have some sort of sage like wisdom that you can magically impart to all who ask.

If only, the Social Media world of Facebook and LinkedIn is littered with all sorts of would be Gurus and their disciples spouting the word and dispensing all sorts of wise words and advice to the uninitiated. Hey ! Don’t get me wrong there are some great people on LinkedIn that are indeed a great source of ‘Writing’ wisdom but most of the rest deal in encouragement and confidence boosting.

Like a lot of writers I get invites to talk to writers groups, of course they don’t want to hear me talk what they really want is for them to take it in turns to read something to me for an instant critique, which again is not something they really want to hear, especially the truth.

Therefore, what I do instead is set myself up as one of them, someone with perhaps more experience in where I’ve been, how I got where I am, the mistakes and pitfall to avoid and so on. What I prefer is a straight question and answer session, and the most popular questions are variations about story plotlines, or how to create characters and make them believable?

Of course, here I’m talking fictional stories, and depending upon the chosen genre it is essential to start the story with something that will hook the reader immediately and then flow in a believable way from there. This is where the creation of the of the characters who are going to bring your story to life comes in.

I have read many great stories that should have pulled my emotions every which way but failed because the characters were poorly created or unbelievable in the role. Whether you realise it or not reading a book is a flat 2D world and it is up to us as writers to turn our story into 3D in the mind and imagination of the reader.

We need the reader to get involved with the story and we achieve this through the characters we create. So decide early what emotions you want from the reader towards each of the main characters. Of course, here is also the place for creating deception in the story by making the reader dislike a character that may later turn out to be the hero or vice versa.

Our characters must, at all times, remain in character, unless in the story they temporarily step out of charter for a reason, but make that reason clear or you run the risk of the reader being side tracked into thinking “so and so wouldn’t do or say that”.

The emotions we create for our characters, in any situation, only come alive if we can also induce them into the reader, we want them to smile or laugh with the character, feel sorrow and pain and yes, even cry real tears with them.

So, where do we find the inspiration to create our characters ? Please do not be tempted to use real people, like family members, friends or acquaintances, remember they might one day read your work and may be less than flattered at your portrayal.

In my Inner Space, Nick Burton Murder Mystery stories I have been told that my characters feel genuinely real, and of course, in many ways they are and hopefully when you meet them they are people you want to know and take an interest in what happens to them. But No; I am not Nick Burton, although I have been told that he and I do share many annoying similarities and one or two better bits.

However, most of the key characters are created out of bits and pieces of real people from my past and of course, but I create their physical appearance to suit the part they have to play. In this instance, the most important piece you take from real people is knowing how they would react to any given situation.

We all know people who when faced with any new or difficult situation will stand well back saying, “Someone should do something” with no intention of ever being that someone.

Then again, I’m sure we also know someone who is first in, taking charge, dishing out instructions and so forth. So you get my drift, we all know a lot of people, from the very old, to the very young. From the very timid to the rash and bold, males as well as females, study them and use them all as required.

Of course, it also helps if you are someone like me, someone who in life has been around many blocks, had many opportunities to travel to far off places and mix with people outside your normal world. In addition, of course, you need to become a serious people watcher and something of a nosey bugger to boot.

Frequent busy places, train stations, airports, cafes and supermarkets are great places to people watch, sit there long enough and the whole world will pass before your eyes. Yet, listen as well as watch, some of my best character quotes, or misquotes have come from complete strangers passing though my life.

Next Question please.

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Author Spotlight – Jackie Goldman

Welcome!

1. When did you start writing?
I’ve always loved to write. People talk about the “runner’s high” and while I’m not a jogger, I understand what they mean. When I start to write and everything comes together, it feels like flying. I think it’s the closest thing to a supernatural experience I have ever had. It feels like magic.

For many years I wrote “secretly.” I don’t know why, but for some reason telling people that I wrote elicited a negative reaction, almost like a scoff. I often thought; if I told them I was into pottery or sewing they would probably express interest and say positive things. I don’t think all writers get this response but that has been my experience, so I just learned not to share this piece of information about myself.

2. What motivates you to write?
Writing for me goes in waves. I find the process of editing a written piece to be emotionally exhausting. Whereas the creative portion of writing an article or a story energizes me, editing drains me. I have to take a lot of breaks while I’m doing it, then a long break afterwards where I think I never want to go through that again. But then I start reading good books and just thinking and reflecting on the world and the people around me, and before I know it another idea is taking shape and the motivation to write it down is really more of a compulsion. I feel like I have to do it.

3. What genre do you write in and what made you chose this particular genre?
It’s funny because my favorite genre to read is young adult fiction. I find that YA fiction feels like it comes from the heart, whereas a lot of the adult general fiction I pick up seems to come from the mind. There is often a self-consciousness to it – a palpable effort to impress – that jars me and prevents me from enjoying the book. But I can’t write YA fiction! I’ve tried, but even I recognize that it’s forced and unnatural sounding. When I go to write, the story that is there is women’s fiction. But I like to think I do write from the heart, in the style of YA fiction. Just the story itself is women’s fiction.

4. What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you?
I recently discovered ghostwriting. I had a few health issues that necessitated working from home, and I knew writing was the only thing I could do, given my work history. I started my book “Beautiful Minds,” as a way of trying out this new form of writing and seeing if I could capture different people’s voices and perspectives. What I discovered is this whole new gorgeous creative world that I never really considered before. It was like discovering a hidden treasure. Real people’s stories, experiences and insights are just fascinating, and I enjoyed thinking about each person’s life journey and discovering the ‘hook’ in their characters and personalities that led them to the place they are in now. I think the experience of writing “Beautiful Minds” enriched me personally and professionally.

My goal for “Beautiful Minds” is to create successive volumes, which I would then like to submit to a publisher to create a hardcover coffee-table book. In terms of writing, I am in the process of editing a previously published book called “Flat Earth Theory.” The new book will be called “Betrayal,” and will be an expanded version of the original, with a graphic novel component. I also hope to continue ghostwriting, something I really love and feel I have a knack for.

5. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if yes, how do you deal with it?
I wouldn’t say so…I never “push” myself to write. If a story isn’t there, it isn’t there. In my experience, you can’t manifest one out of thin air. When I’m between projects I journal and read. Sometimes journaling is painful because I force myself to write about ALL my experiences, even the bad ones, and I don’t cut myself any slack. But it’s good. Journaling takes me into that deep down place that good writing comes from.

6. What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors?
In terms of learning the craft, I’d say you pick up a little something from everyone. Some teachers will really resonate with you, others less so. Read, write, take writing classes, and have an open heart. If you keep at it, eventually it will click. But check your ego at the door. In a metaphorical sense, make sure you are writing, not typing.

7. Please, tell us about your work.
“Beautiful Minds is a six chapter book. Each chapter reads like a short story written in the first person, from the subject’s perspective. I intended this book to be a bridge-building initiative for New York City, so all the subjects are New Yorkers. They tell their life stories and how living in New York shaped them and played into their journey. The book shows how diverse and interesting people’s lives are, and how all those different experiences imbued each of them with special insights and wisdom that they probably take for granted, but that the world would be enriched for, if we all understood. Writing the book was an effort to impart that understanding.

Thank you for being my guest. It was such a pleasure to have you here!!


Short Bio:

Jackie Goldman is a writer and ghostwriter living in Brooklyn, New York. Her previous works include “Flat Earth Theory,” and “El Pombero.”


Connect with Jackie:

Website: https://www.ghostwriterjackiegoldman.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JackieGoldman7

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/goldman1459/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jackie.johnson.10236

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jackie-goldman-432b36163/

Email: JackiegWrites4U@gmail.com


Jackie’s new book:

Beautiful Minds

An Unfortunate Change in Plans

A very sad announcement from Charles Yallowitz!

 

Legends of Windemere

So, this is a sticky because I want to make sure people see this.  Everything else is still below and I’m writing this with a heavy heart.

Due to financial issues and personal developments, this looks like it’s my last year of publishing.  I have to put my time and energy into something that brings in money with the hope that I can return.  Maybe I can release a book or two throughout the year, but I can’t guarantee it.  At best, I can do War of Nytefall: Lost in September and pray that I can get War of Nytefall: Rivalry out in December.  After that, I can’t make any promises.

My blogging is scheduled until end of October and I might not add much onto it.  I’ll do a Saturday update, try to keep up with a few friends, and make a post or two throughout the week once…

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