to find Patti Singleton these days.

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4 Helpful Sites to Improve Your Writing Groove

I’m learning how much it helps my own writing “groove” to spread the word on great sites to others who are trying to improve their own “groove.” It seems writers are big into helping eachother out, as the folks at the sites below have done for me. I won’t repeat that overused, but catchy saying, but I will hope that you pass it on!

I’ve been submitting a few stories, poems and such to a friendly site,  that has been great practice for me.. I’ve had a good number of readers, a few commenters, and a couple of favs from the writing community there. I’m still on the lookout for a way to get more readers and/or to find other sites that might work better for me.

Two days ago I got brave, I mean really brave, and joined the campers at National Novel Writing Month. You can find them here, The next writing starts in June, so I hope to have my act together enough to participate. They are very serious about getting writers to commit to a completed 50,000 word novel in one month. Yikes.

Good ole Robert Lee Brewer is the bane of my existence lately. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m following along his April challenge for writers to build their platform. He can be found here if you want some great step-by-step help in building your platform. I’m thinking I’ll just get a box to stand on and shout at people to buy my damn book. Now there’s a platform I could get behind. Seriously, he has links for his links to every useful site a writer could ever want.

Sue Mitchell at has me doing memoir work every few days that seems to be building into something…although one trusted critiquer in my local writing class thought my first stab sounded “clinical.”  I have even had counselors tell me that in the past. Come on people! Do you think I’d be walking upright if the horrors of life struck me full force like a rogue wave? Uh, nooo. Okay, I’m working on it.

My 3-week writing class is going well. We’re learning a lot and getting to know the other local writers that are at the class. We’re talking about doing some community work writing the stories of some of our local seniors, after this class is over. Here’s a link to the dog book that my instructor, Rex Paul Martin, co-produced with a friend,

Last but not least, I’m still working on biz cards as challenged by the leader of my monthly writer group at the local library. I’m looking for cool writerly clip art, if you know of any, please leave it in a comment.



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Monsters Happen

Dee startled awake from the dream, sat up in bed and looked around the room. The dream came back–hazy, yet clearer by the second. Dee had been warning the girl in her dream that he was a monster; that she shouldn’t talk to him, should stay far away from him.

Like most of her dreams, she had no idea who the girl was or who the monster was. She still felt the very real anxiety and fear tingle all her senses. Can you smell or taste fear? Dee was sure she could; it was metallic, like blood. The feeling on her skin was tingling, but almost electric. As for sight; her eyelids drooped, begging to be allowed to close, to escape what they might see. Her ears were simply hyper vigilant; waiting for the wrong sound.

There is was.  She heard the voices out on the shared deck. One was a monster’s voice.

Not sure how she could have translated her dream world to real life, Dee raced out of the patio doors and came screeching to a halt when she saw them. The monster stood looming over the young girl, yet she didn’t look afraid. The girl’s calm seemed to work magic on Dee’s fear as she slowly walked to the far end of the deck where the pair stood. Just before Dee reached them the monster looked up, shot Dee a wave, turned and strolled away.

Dee reached out and touched the girl’s shoulder, “Are you okay?”

“Sure, I’m fine. Why?”

Looking over the girl’s head toward the monster, Dee’s mouth fell open, she sputtered, “He, uh, how..?”

The girl turned and looked behind her in the direction that the monster had walked, “Oh, I don’t know how he does that, but he’s just my uncle, so I know he’s not going to hurt me.”

Dee could not believe her eyes. The dark, scary monster had turned into an average-looking man in his mid 30’s.

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The Bombs & Blood of Texas & Boston

Running into the fire, the smoke and the chaos;

selfless first responders, innocent bystanders,

and dedicated runners; all garner our deep pathos.

Their universe completely tilted by such grievous wrongs;

despicable company & inspectors too, despicable brothers–

blame pours down on their shoulders, where it surely belongs.

Pain and agony courses through innocent bodies and minds,

ripples through their families and friends,

then stranger’s arms open, where kindness unwinds.

This was no disease that seeped into bones & veins,

these deeds were done with thought and choice,

by people who belong in rusty locked chains.

That little town in Texas, that iconic marathon in Boston,

what you mean to your people, what you mean to the world;

your torture and suffering will not ever be forgotten.


© Patti Hall and, 2013.

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Blog schedule, Facebook, Twitter, Copyright & Creative Commons, Oh My!

What a learning weekend; blog schedule, joined facebook & twitter, added copyright & creative commons.

Good morning, Monday. I changed things around on the site–I got that rearranging-the-furniture bug from my mom. With all the damn social media there is to plug into, and all the researching and writing I need to do, I have decided to try and keep a schedule. Don’t laugh, I can TRY.

The plan is to write new posts here on Mondays and Thursdays. During the days in between, I will keep a draft going with daily doings, and I will (of course) answer comments as they come in. That may mean more than one post on those 2 days (like today). Maybe a poem or a story, plus my regular writer’s journal.

One more step complete; I now have a damn facebook page! Look for Patti Hall. Now Twitter @pattihallwrite.

As you see below, I learned how to add copyright notice to my writing here, and also creative commons notices. I found the info I needed in  wordpress.

Holy crow will I ever get to write again? Just kiddin’. I wrote a poem.

© Patti Hall and, 2013.

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1984 With a Twist; Corporations Not Government

Yes, 1984 with a twist: it is corporations, not government taking over our lives. Former Google chief, Eric Schmidt and Google Idea think tank member, Jared Cohen wrote the book on it and it comes out Tuesday. It’s no surprise to many of us that they predict a time that all of our online information will be merged into one big profile. Here’s a link to the AP story:

As part of a writer challenge that I’m taking from Robert Lee Brewer’s site, I have spent the weekend signing on to several social media sites.

Later I went to look something up on BING, and guess what? There’s my profile picture and mini profile info from Facebook. But it came up on top, asking if I want to tag myself, to be used across the board on other media.  Sheesh, I’m in deep now!

What do you think?




A Piece of Our Story in Poetry

This is a piece of our story; the man I knew. This was written 11 months before cancer entered our lives.

20 Aug 2007

Paul teased me about writing a book for him, instead I wrote this poem for his 60th birthday.

Book of Paul…

He is everything wonderful that I ever needed,

handsomely wrapped up in one big tender man.

His rolling laughter leads to coughing fits;

spitting up water and vitamins,

and then falling off the bed!

A prankster to his core,

full of special surprises for all.

A memory-maker, his camera always within reach,

he records the Kodak moments of our lives.

His cards & gifts & little notes come from the heart,

and always meet their target.

He loves easily and deeply…

his children, grandchildren, his friends & me!

He would love to be a millionaire,

but he lives well, and is generous with what he has.

His tastes and beliefs are “traditional”,

yet he has an open mind and can embrace the non-traditional,

except food, of course!

He loves Taco Time, Nascar, animal shows,

Funniest Videos, Cops and bad sci-fi movies.

Every day he says and does funny or special things for me,

he can calm me with only a look, or a touch.

He wants us together, no matter what,

and turns every errand into a “date”.

He acts crabby sometimes,

but just below the surface is a joke or a prank or a smile.

He notices the little things,

and always says “thank you”.

For a T-shirt and jeans guy,

he sure is a clothes horse!

He gives hugs and touches often,

he sings seriously and dances with a laugh.

Happy Birthday… With All My Love,


© Patti Hall and, 2013.

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Rex Paul Martin Writing Class

Tonight local author, Rex Paul Martin gave the first of a 3-course, 3-week writing class. Not only is the class free, but he generously donated a copy of both of his books to each participant.

This little fishing town only has about 2000 year-round residents, so the class was small, but full of talented and friendly writers.  We all learned something new about the many topics that were covered; publishing, the craft of writing, voice,  inspiration and goals. The class was led by Rex, but our own hints, tips, comments and questions were graciously welcomed. No one stole the floor, as I have seen in other writing groups.

Although I’ve been to many kinds of writing groups, classes and conventions, it was my first time with a round-robin exercise. Wow, that was fun. We each wrote a first paragraph of a story in the composition notebooks that Rex provided. Then we passed our book to the left and wrote a paragraph of the next story, until everyone had written in each of the notebooks. With just minutes per paragraph, it was tense, to say the least. This create-on-demand scenario turned out some interesting pieces, and it was such a relief to finish. It almost felt like an exhausting workout–well it was–a mental workout!

What I found interesting was that most of the stories took drastic turns from their beginnings, while others just moved the same story along in an expected flow. We did this exercise at the end of the class, so that we had a hint of the other participant’s personalities. It was not hard to hear the individual writing voices, however a few blended into the original writer’s voice without a hint of the new voice.  Both styles were enlightening and entertaining.

Next week we’ll bring a short story or poem that we write, do group critique, then rewrite for the final class. I’m looking forward to the next class.



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Writer’s Retreat, Conference & Family in Homer, Alaska

Author Dana Stabenow is attempting to establish a writer’s retreat for women in a town in Alaska where my sister lives. Dana writes the Aleut P.I., Kate Shugak mystery series that I have followed for years.

Homer already has a successful annual writer’s conference that I have been trying to make it to for the last 3 years. The Kachemak Bay conference will be held June 14-18 this year. Last year I came closest when I won half a scholarship. Still did not make it. Check it out:

My favorite thing about Homer, Alaska is my sis, Sharon, and her husband, Captain Honey (actually Tim). I have spent a few weeks with them each summer for the last several years. From their beautiful home with my sister’s real estate business below, to fishing from their boat, to their wonderful cabin across the bay, to flowers on my bedside table, it always feels like a glamorous vacation to me.

Please remember to click the “follow” and/or “like” buttons, and I’d love to hear your comments.

Thanks for stopping by,




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Writer’s Pitfalls & Quandaries

It has been a long day running my son and grandsons on various errands. I’m beat! When I get home I wake up the computer and roll along to check in with the blogs I follow, find new ones and research writing, contests, memoirs, and publishing. Somewhere in there I edit and rewrite a few projects in my writing files.

I’m in a quandary about the memoir. There are several family members who will be less than thrilled about me writing a memoir that is primarily focused on the relationship between my husband and I, and the last year of his life. Will that be the deciding factor in my publishing this memoir? It may be. I need to consult with someone who knows the ins and outs of this issue.

I’m also researching the facts about posting my stories, poetry, etc on this blog, and how that may affect my ability to sell them, or even enter them in contests. Some may consider posting on a blog as publishing, which would exclude the writing I do here from being marketable. Hmm.

These are only a few of the issues that I am trying to find answers to. There are many more along the way. I am trying to be as professional as I can, while steering clear of amateur mistakes that are detrimental to my writing career.




Good Grief, A Widow Writes A Memoir

Unfortunately there are way too many of us out here. Who has not been touched by cancer? Telling our stories is not only healing for us, but also healing and helpful for others. I know I have read many, many books and stories about other people’s struggles up, over, around and through this nightmare in the last 4 years. I just don’t think this genre can be saturated. We NEED to hear these stories, some of us NEED to write them.

It is so good to be back in touch with all the people and resources online. I have spent many hours researching the things I need to know about writing, publishing and author platforms. More specifically, I’m making online connections in the world of widows, writing memoirs and publishing. I have the material from our year of struggling to keep my late husband alive; my care pages updates, my personal journal, our medical journal, and my 3+ years of unofficial email grieving “blogs” to/from family and friends. I also have mounds of medical documents that tell that part of the story.

What my research is helping with is knowing the best way to tie this journey into a book that will be marketable. My late husband encouraged me to write this book in order to help others who are on this awful path. I am “meeting” so many others that have gone through similar struggles, that I know it will help me also.

Emotionally gearing up for this book journey is not easy. It is very painful; feels like I am opening a fresh wound. That is why I am working on other forms of writing. Poetry, short stories, and various writings for children helps me stay more balanced. I do have to be careful not to lose that balance and lean too far away from the pain of writing the book. Hey, I know me. I’m a chicken. I’ve spent the last 3 1/2 years hiding from the pain, which doesn’t work, by the way. All I can do is try. That’s the plan.




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Lost touch

Just completed a home move and finally have internet again. Today was writer group meeting, which was very productive. This was the 3rd meeting I have attended and it is a joy to learn what other writers in my area are doing. We shared what we are all learning about the business of writing, then each person shared their own writing. We have poetry, novels and short stories. A diverse group that is wonderful at feed-back. The group leader has us all helping to plan a local writer retreat.

I have been doing more reading lately, but look forward to getting the writing groove back. Many projects under way. The main project is a book. I have done some research and learned the difference between autobiography and memoir; one is from day one in your life, while a memoir is usually a particular period in your life. Also, decided the book is to be a memoir, instead of a self-help book. And memoirs sure seem to be hot right now.

Have been checking out and “following” several other writer blogs. Have been “invited” to join a writer site that allows us to give and receive feed-back. I am learning about the current trends in writing and publishing in leaps and bounds. Have pegged several writer’s conferences as possibilities in the near future.

My next writer challenge from our group is to make/buy an author business card. Will work on this over the next week.

See you soon,