27 February 2013

Flash Fiction Photo Prompt - Are You Inspired?

Happy Wednesday, my friends! It's time for the next round of Writer Wednesday Blog Hop inspiration.

If you've been following along, we've been gathering the most wonderful stories from the photo prompts and our community is growing! Carrie, Nicole, Tena and I are so grateful to all of you for your participation and creativity in the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop. Thank you!

 If you haven't yet joined in, please know you are welcome to hop in anytime. All are welcome!

 Before we get to this week's photo, take a look at the stories that came in from last week. They are truly wonderful!

 1. Last Train Out by Randy Lindsay
 2. Journey to Huge Stone by Christopher Shawbell
 3. A Decision For Peter by Scott Taylor
 4. A Ghost of Herself Emily Jean Roche
 5. Fading Tracks by CK Sorensen
 6. Granddaddy's Pocket Watch by Leanne Sype
 7. This is Where the Nightmares Started by Nicole Pyles

 Be sure to take some time to read these and show some love to the author by commenting on their story. :) O
kay... a quick reminder of how all this works:

 1) Use the photo and the 5 words provided in your story
.2) Keep your word count 500 words or less.
3) You have until next Tuesday to link up your post.
4) Link up with your blog hostess when you’re done via the inLinkz linky below
5) Have fun, don’t stress, let those creative juices flow.

 Drum roll please.... badabadabadabada

Car and Mountain big

Photo courtesy of here.

26 February 2013

This is Where the Nightmares Started - A Bit of Short Fiction

Yay, I finally have managed to write a response to the writing prompt! Make sure to check out the link from last week and submit your own if you feel inspired!

This is where the nightmares had started and why they continued.

The train had long since driven on, and hadn't returned in years. Nothing but the ghost of its tracks remained behind. Janet walked down the side of the tracks, the gravel crunching underneath her feet. She hadn't known why she returned, except she remembered this was the place she saw them first.

She sighed deeply and shuddered. The kept her eyes forward on the city up ahead, refusing to look down.
A soft creak broke her thoughts. No, it couldn't be. He couldn't still be here
She turned her head and looked into the distance. It was an old house, the type you usually would see out by these old train tracks. It nearly blended in with the dust and the dirt. She felt hot underneath her wind breaker. He was waiting for her.

She stepped away from the tracks and walked towards the vision. It was her cosmic calling and time she faced him.

The wind picked up as she walked. A wind that seemed to urge her to go back. To turn away.

It was the same wind she felt when she was seven. Playing with her friends. A game of tag. A flash of something metal on the ground. A hidden pocket watch under the  old wooden train tracks that made her stop. The memory flashed before her eyes like a piercing needle in her mind. And when she knelt down...

...Janet tore herself back to the present. The house was closer now. Clearer. She could see him on the wide porch, rocking back and forth. He stopped. Stood. Ready to face her.

...at that time, when she knelt to pick up the watch, she screamed. A terrorizing scream that filled the air. Yet no one else saw. When her friends ran forward, they didn't see what she did....

The steps to the house were broken and torn up. The weeds from a dying vegetable garden clung to the sides of its walls. If she looked, she could see underneath, but she kept her eyes forward. When she got closer, she noticed his eyes. They were the same. Those eyes that had nothing inside them. The eyes of someone not even human. The hatred. The evil. He was the reason she saw those bodies under the tracks. 
And why no one else did.

At least, not until they searched the house at the end of the tracks. 

A Crunchy, Sweet Cookie, Perfect for Snacking

Almondina Cookies were born from a family recipe. Yuval Zaliouk, a symphony conductor, was inspired by the recipe created by his grandmother Dina. She created a wafer thin crispy cookie with a natural sweetness and the flavor of almonds. With her blessing, he created a business inspired by her recipe and seven years later, Almondina is now featured in grocery stores in all fifty states and in many foreign countries.

I had the opportunity to try these yummy cookies and wow, was I impressed!

First, I was shocked at how many flavors they came in - I received so many to choose from and they gave me the sweet variety like chocolate or chocolate cherry (to name just a few) to a saltier taste like sesame. 

Next, these are definitely cookies that remind me of crispy wafers. They are really crunchy and perfect for a quick snack. Some of the flavors that I was sent would taste perfect with a slab of peanut butter or some type of herb spread and have the crunchy strength to withstand the added topping. 

I also appreciated these these were low cholesterol, low fat, and low calorie. Each little cookie was only 30 calories. Who could beat that? 

While you aren't sure what to expect when you first try these, they quickly grow on you. If you are the type who likes a sweet treat on occasion, without that terrible guilt, these are something to try. 

And guess what? I get to giveaway a sampler pack to one of my lucky readers! But first, if you can't stand the idea of waiting for a giveaway to end, make sure you check out their website to find out where you can purchase Almondina Cookies in your area!

Required: Go to Almondina and let me know which cookie flavor you would like to try the most. Make sure to include your email address with your entry.


+ Like Almondina on Facebook
+ Like World of My Imagination on Facebook
+ Follow Almondina on Twitter
+ Subscribe to Almondina's newsletter
+ Subscribe to my blog via email or RSS.

This giveaway ends on March 8th. Please return to this blog post after that time to find out who the winner is. Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize.
*** Random Roll Chose Entrant # 2 - Irene as the winner! **

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary sample pack in exchange for my honest review.

21 February 2013

On Ghostwriting - Not as Bad as You Might Think

Today I am a guest writer over at one of my favorite writing blogs, "Men With Pens."

I am talking about ghost writing and it's benefits, so please come by and read the post, and share your thoughts!

The Way A Biscotti Should Taste

I remember as far back as the 4th grade enjoy Biscotti cookies. They are just a wonderful treat and they don't exactly feel as unhealthy for you as a regular cookie. Plus, they aren't too sweet. So, I was so excited to try this new type of Biscotti made by the Buffalo Gals Bakery, which claims they're Biscotti recipe is even better because its lighter and softer than the usual type of Biscotti.

The Buffalo Gals Bakery is a small business started by a lady living on a farm who was inspired by the inconvenience of the city and the memories of a recipe passed down from generation to generation. She decided to take a recipe that is about 100 years old and make it into a business. That is, of course, the simplified version of the story, but I am always inspired by people who make their passion into a career.

Anyways, back to the goods! I tried those four biscotti's pictured above - Toffee Biscotti, White Buffalo, Peanut-Butter Brownie and Cherry On Top. These were exactly what I love to find in a biscotti and even better - they were soft, sweet, and wonderful with coffee. My personal favorite was the Peanut Butter Brownie - so divine!

But these biscotti's just scratch the surface with what you can find at the Buffalo Gals Bakery.She sells cookies, breads, rolls, and other fun items that you can buy.

I am so excited to say that I will also be giving away some of these yummy biscotti treats to one lucky reader!

Here's what you do to enter -

Required: Go to the Buffalo Gals Bakery website and pick out which biscotti flavor you would like to try and let me know in the comments. Please provide an email address for me to contact you at in case you win!

+ Like Buffalo Gals Bakery on Facebook
+ Like World of My Imagination on Facebook
+ Follow Buffalo Gals Bakery on Twitter
+ Follow me on Twitter

The contest ends on February 28th at Midnight. For the winner announcement, please return to this blog post after the end date.  Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize.

Random Winner - Comment # 33 - Mommy4Five - has won! She will have 48 hours to claim her prize. ** Unfortunately, I never heard back from the previous winner, so I redrew the winner and comment entrant Sylvia Zajis won!

Disclaimer: I received four complimentary biscotti's to sample in exchange for this honest review.

20 February 2013

Flash Fiction Photo Prompt - Are You Inspired?

Goodness gracious, people! Who forgot to tell me it was Wednesday??

I'm not exactly a day late though (although I'm several dollars short, according to my bank account), because it isn't midnight yet.

So, first, let's do a quick shout out to my fabulous upon fabulous co-hosts, Carrie K. Sorensen, Tena Carr, and Leanne Sype.

Also, make sure to grab a blog hop button if you love us as much as we love you!

writing, writers, blogs

Click and copy this code

Now, let's check out the amazing stories from last week -

Thank You Again by Chris Shawbell

A Bitter Sun, A Hazy Sky by Scott Taylor

Abandoned by Heather

Cloaked by Leanne Sype

Good job everybody!!

Just as a reminder, here are the rules - 

1) Use the photo and the 5 words provided in your story.
2) Keep your word count 500 words or less.
3) You have until next Wednesday to link up your post.
4) Link up with your blog hostess when you're done via the inLinkz linky.
5) Have fun, don't stress, let those creative juices flow.

Now, here's the fun part. 

Here is the photo for this week (found here)

Houston Skyline, from Old MKT Railroad Trestle over White Oak Bayou, near Studemont & I-10, Houston, Texas 0330090947BW

And here are the five words -

Pocket Watch





When you are ready, submit your link below!

18 February 2013

Things Every Writer Should Have

I've been a writer a good chunk of my life. I've not published (yet), but there are things I've learned that I think every writer should have. Like everything else in life, though, these are things I've picked up the hard way. I thought I'd share these tonight, mostly for my own sake so I don't forget.

1) Every writer should own a printed copy of all their stories - finished or not.

If you live with a writer, you will know they are the eternal pack rat. I am a pack rat, because there are days, I find myself pouring over my laptop and papers to find a draft of a story I thought I had given up on. These are moments of bravery where I want to dust off that story and see if I can breathe life into it. 

Often times, though, I find myself disappointed because the story isn't anywhere to be found. While I can't encourage organization, as it is not something I can promise myself, I encourage you to keep everything. Because one day you will look for that one story that once seemed impossible and you will want to know you have it. 

2) Every writer should have a critique partner, who is also a writer of the same caliber.

There is something about how a writer will read a story from another writer. It is more honest and more specific than anyone else you may ask. Best of all, if you can find someone that you trust that can give you good feedback, without making you cry, you have found gold. I am lucky that I have found someone like that (thanks to blogging, actually). I am also a strong believer that both parties should have fairly equal success - otherwise it's more of a mentor - mentee relationship, which doesn't seem fair and equal to me.

3) Every writer should have a person who will always, without fail, tell them their story is good.

While not many people would agree with me, I think every writer needs that person who will coddle them. We need the person who will always tell us our story is good. It's wonderful for that fragile writer ego of ours. Some days it's not easy to put the pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, and we need to know that there is someone out there will help us rebuild our confidence, no matter what.

4)  On the other hand, we need someone who will tell it like it is.

Coddling aside, we also need that person who will always tell the truth. This is different than the critique partner relationship. This person probably isn't asking for something in return. I also have this person in my life and I have learned (the hard way) that I should only show them work at its very best - and that isn't a bad thing.

5) Knowledge (and acceptance) of our best writing times.

You could give me all day Saturday by myself with a beach front office for me to write and I probably will not get much work done. Yet, plant me on the couch with a glass of wine beside me (and yes, even the television on) at around 7 o'clock pm on, and I will come to life and the writing will get done. I have fought this for a while - I've always admired writers who can get up early or spend the day writing and that is just not me. I work better at night and that's just how it is. Which means I may also be part vampire, come to think of it.

6) The ability to quit comparing ourselves to other people.

I struggle with this one a lot. If I see someone on the blogs I read have fantastic success, and I realize that they aren't that much older or more experienced than me, I think - see? I should have that success. Yes, I know this isn't very kind, nor is it very mature. Yet, we cannot compare ourselves to other people. We only set ourselves up for failure and disappointment if we constantly think we aren't good enough.

7) The ability to write past the distractions.

We all have reasons not to write. But whether it's just writing one page or writing ten, we must learn to write past them. I also struggle with this. Don't let the distractions get to you. It's tough, but even if you can get a page of random thoughts down, it's better to fight past this than to let it bring you down.

8) A realistic writing dream (as well as the "out of this world" dream).

When I was ten, I dreamed about popping a cork of champagne and toasting my latest published book with my editor, agent, and publisher (okay, maybe the champagne came later).  I have also dreamed about being on the tonight show as well as accepting an academy award for my writing work on my book-turned-movie (oh yes, I went there). At the same time, more recently, I have also fascinated about self publishing my book and seeing sales go up on Amazon and good reviews across more than half of the blogs I approached. It's fun to have our idealistic dreams, but don't forget to bring yourself down to reality.

9) Your own special writing gift to give yourself.

Whenever I'm feeling down or inspired, I buy myself a new notebook. This is usually the colorfully designed ones you buy at the grocery store, but to me, it represents a new start. I love new notebooks and it's my favorite writing gift for myself. Have one for you.

10) Knowing when to just write.

We all know the importance of marketing, having a day job, having a platform, social networking, writing to pay the bills, writing to get your name out there...at the end of the day, make sure you don't forget to write what you were meant to write. Write for your creative outlet. Write for that unfinished novel you want to see published one day. Write for poetry. Write for short fiction. Write for flash fiction. Don't forget to just write.

What do you think every writer should have?

13 February 2013

Flash Fiction Photo Prompt - Are You Inspired?

Leanne has the reins for this week's post! Hope you are having a great week!
My turn! This week I have the pleasure of hosting this week's blog hop. I hope you all are enjoying the challenges as much as I am... the stories that birth from these photos are truly fun to read. And this past week was no different.
Check out the stories that sprung from last week's inspiration: Hunter's Moon by Randy Lindsay An Invitation from the SECONYC by Scott Taylor As a Polis Slumbers by Chris Shawbell Stormy Love by Leanne Sype Runaway Moon by Cindy Also, Chris Shawbell was this month's ad contest winner! Congrats Chris! For more about the contest part of the blog hop click here. Show him some love and fellow writer support with this button on your site:
graveyard button

You're invited to jump into the blog hop anytime! Certainly the pictures are thought provoking, but there's something to be said about writers inspiring other writers... Here’s a quick overview of how it works:

1) Use the photo and the 5 words provided in your story.
2) Keep your word count 500 words or less.
3) You have until next Tuesday at midnight to link up your post.
4) Link up with your blog hostess when you’re done via the inLinkz linky below.
5) Have fun, don’t stress, let those creative juices flow. Without further ado, here's this weeks picture and mandatory words:


Your words:
Yikes! Tough! We can do it though... ready? GO!

11 February 2013

The Real Writer's Muse - A Coffee Review

I couldn't believe my luck with this find. I personally love rich coffee, and I tend to get bored with all the usual blends I buy. I got to try Whittard Coffee, a London based coffee company who have been in business since 1886. Yes 1886. You have to know that they know their stuff if they've been in business that long.

Like I've said before, coffee is what can keep me going and inspire me morning and night to write and stay disciplined. And I think every writer should have a healthy stock of coffee at any given moment.

I received two blends of coffee - Guatemalan Elephant and Bourbon Espresso. Both coffees provided a rich flavor, and I love that about this coffee company. These blends were so rich and smelled so wonderful, by the way, that I fought the urge to lick the grains right out of the bag (okay, weird imagery I know). My personal favorite of the two that I tried was the Bourbon Espresso, which seemed especially rich to me and flavorful.

The cost of these two bags were very reasonable - about $6.00 to $6.25 for a 4.4 oz of coffee (which you can also purchase ground). 

Now, if you are not so much a coffee person, Whittard Coffee also sells tea, hot chocolate, as well as equipment for making coffee and tea, and beautiful china

If you still need to stock up your cabinet or pantry with coffee, do consider Whittard Coffee for your blends. 

Disclaimer: I received two complimentary packs of coffee in exchange for my honest review.

09 February 2013

Permission to Be Distracted from Writing

Weapons Of Mass Distraction
On occasion , I like to wander over to the New York Times' blogs and read about what the writing elite have to say about the world. Every now and then, I run across an article that sort of gets me and gets what I'm looking for at the time.
In an article entitled, "Upside of Distraction," the writer Benjamin Nugent describes how when he finally had the opportunity to immerse himself in writing and only writing...it grew stale. It wasn't until that he allowed for a variety in his life that his writing flourished and managed to grow and get better.
Last week I blogged about being n a rut, and I think after reading some of my comments and then reading this article, I realized I needed to give myself permission to get distracted. It isn't like I've immersed myself in writing lately (ha), but it isn't like I've been having the time of life these days either.
I think I just need to find a way to balance my writing self with everything else. I need to cut back on the have-to's in my life as much as I can, and add in more things I enjoy without feeling guilty for enjoying something other than writing. Because after all, it will only end up helping me in the long run.
Has distraction ever helped your writing? What is your favorite writing distraction?

07 February 2013

Flash Fiction Photo Prompt - Are You Inspired?

I can't believe I forgot yesterday! I'm still recovering and I'm just exhausted lately. But her is our "Wednesday" writing prompt!

This is my third week of having control of the writing prompts. :D Ha! I'm a control kind of girl, so this is fantastic for me.

Of course, I like sharing, too, so I don't fight the co-hostesses when it's their turn. Except for this week. This week is mine because I get to choose the winner of the monthly ad contest!

This month, that would be ....

Congratulations and thanks so much for your contributions to our blog hop writing prompt. We will be happy to take a button you already have, a photo for us to create a button for you, or we can make one from scratch. Just let us know. :-)

Now, on to the fabulous stories from last week.

Summertime Dreaming by Krystal Wade

Oh, Edward by Scott Taylor

Gray View by Randy Lindsay

Discovered by CK Sorensen

Something for Nothing by Heather

And last but not least, we move on to the prompt. It's a new month to get your name in for the contest - remember, one entry per story submission, with up to 4 entries total. Good luck!

The prompt rules are:

1) Use the photo and the 5 words provided in your story.

2) Keep your word count 500 words or less.

3) You have until next Wednesday to link up your post.

4) Link up with your blog hostess when you're done via the inLinkz linky.

5) Have fun, don't stress, let those creative juices flow.

The photo:

architecture,buildings,Chrysler Building,cities,cityscapes,Fotolia,full moons,landmarks,Manhattan,metropolitan,midtown,moons,New York City,nights,nyc,Photographs,skylines,skyscrapers,urban,views

The words:

flea - river - denim - creeper - catastrophe

If you love our hop and want to share, please grab a button for your blog.

writing, writers, blogs

Click and copy this code

05 February 2013

February Cash Giveaway

February Cash Bash
It's officially February and the Cash Bash is back with its biggest prize yet! I decided to take part this year to sort of brighten up everyone's day, especially considering most of us are struggling with this flu thing. Isn't it a total downer?
This giveaway is brought to you by Kara's Deals and Steals and dozens of amazing bloggers who make such an awesome prize possible. You can see the list of all bloggers who sponsored this event here.
One lucky winner will get the choice of $300 Paypal cash or $300 in Amazon gift codes. This could make for a pretty sweet gift for a loved one or yourself!
This giveaway will run from 2.4-2.25 and is open WORLDWIDE. Please enter on the Rafflecopter below. All entries will be verified and anyone with false entries will be disqualified. Good luck to all!

I was not compensated for this giveaway post. All opinions are 100% my own. This blog complies with FTC advertising guidelines. The World of My Imagination is not responsible for prize delivery.

04 February 2013

From the Palette of a Non-Wine Connoisseur - A Bottle from the Cellars of Barclay's Wine

I love when I find amazing finds purely by chance. I was just wandering around the internet, hoping to find a cheap alternative to my expensive wine purchasing habits when I found this amazing site called, "Barclay's Wine."

Like I said, I'm no connoisseur, but I do enjoy a nice bottle of wine on occasion. I especially like trying wines I'd never find in a grocery store. This is exactly what sites like Barclay's Wine are for. Just reading about them tells me they look for the unique bottle and wine

I tried a bottle of their Tremo wine -

First, Barclay's Wine site, tells me that this wine contains flavors of fruits like strawberry and cherry, as well as a violet flavoring and a licorice finish. I shared this with my family and we thoroughly enjoyed this bottle of wine. It had a rich flavor and I could strongly taste the fruits flavor that the taste notes suggested.

If you are looking for a place to buy quality wine at a decent price, you will want to give Barclay's Wine. First, take a look at their inexpensive wines, as low as $13.00 a bottle (yet you still get quality). If you are the type to spend a little bit more money on your wine, check out their Monthly Wine Club.

And best of all, I get to giveaway a six pack of the Tremo case -
Required: To enter, visit BarclaysWine.com and let me know which wine you would most consider purchasing.
Like Barclay's Wine on Facebook.
Sign up for their Newsletter.
Follow me on Twitter.
Follow me on Pinterest.
Follow me GFC.
Remember, for each entry method you choose, make sure to leave a comment. If you only leave one comment saying you've entered through all options, you will only receive one entry.
Contest ends on February 20th. At that time, this post will be updated with the winner. All entrants must be 21 or over to claim the prize (shipping will require a 21 or older adult with a valid ID to receive package).
Using random.org, with 88 valid entries, entry # 71 - user name tlbitone - is the winner.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary 4-case of wine in exchange for this honest review.


03 February 2013

Anyone Else Ever Been Stuck in Writing Rut?

It's official - I'm stuck in a writing rut.

I'm not sure how it happened, but I think the struggles of 2012 left me worn out for 2013. Lost a job (in fact, both my brother and I lost a job), lost my internet access, lost my computer, and then...I think somewhere along the way, I just lost my motivation.

Things have turned around  - I found a new job in August of last year, finally FINALLY received a working internet connection this past week, got a new computer for my birthday...and my brother has a lot of interviews lined up the next couple of weeks so it looks like that struggle might be over soon too.

...yet here I am...stuck. In a rut. It doesn't help that I've been sick all week.

I'm bored with my fantasy novel, I'm kind of bored with my blog, I'm just...restless and tired of the daily grind.

Without a doubt, there is a strong chance this is more like a "life" rut than a "writing" rut, but I figured I would just start there.

So, have you ever been in a writing rut? What did you do to get out of it?

01 February 2013

The Best Homemade Cookies You Can Buy

Let's be honest, I'm no cook. I really hate to bake. But I love goodies, especially ones homemade by someone. So when I discovered Country Cupboard Cookies, I knew I found my homemade cookie source.

It started out by Judy and Dan Wittig, who used some family recipes (and new recipes) to start the business, along with their daughters. They make their cookies and baked treats from scratch and make sure to add country charm to each delivery.

They were not kidding about charm.

The package -

This always matters to me. It shows a company cares when they deliver products with care and creative thought. Check out the photo of the delivery of cookies I received -

This immediately makes me feel special when receiving a delivery. I loved the blue ribbon and the little note card placed inside. This to me said "country charm," like I was receiving homemade cookies from a neighbor I really liked.
The Cookies -
As you can see, each cookie is individual wrapped to protect quality. My favorite by far is the snowman cookie. The icing was sweet and crunchy, yet the cookie itself was so soft. Next in line, is the peanut butter cookie. These cookies were so good with an icy cold glass of milk. This is the best midnight snack when you are in need of something sweet!
Overall Impression
Whether you are sending a care package to a friend, college student, or someone far away, or want to have your own monthly treat, you will want to check out the Country Cupboard Cookie company. They have the best homemade treats I've seen in a while and I was so happy to find them!
And best of all, I get to give one of my readers a box of cookies of their own to try!
How to Enter:
Required: Visit Country Cupboard Cookie's website and let me know which flavor you would like to try. Make sure to leave your email so I have a way of contacting you if you have won.
Optional Entries:
Follow Country Cupboard Cookie's via Facebook.

Follow Country Cupboard Cookie's via Twitter.
Follow me via Twitter.
Follow my blog via GFC.

Remember, for each entry method you use, make sure to add a comment. If you only make one comment saying you've entered the contest through all options, you will only receive entry.

Contest ends February 15th. I will announce the winner by updating this post around that time.

Using Random.org, with 43 valid entries, I have pulled entry # 36 - Aimee Fontenot is the winner!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary box of cookies in exchange for an honest review.
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