Saturday, February 28, 2009

Politically Incorrect

This made me laugh~~~

Friday, February 27, 2009

Mother's Little Helper

Sorry about the missing Ledbetter Lunacy today, but I've been working on my manuscript, and helping out over at my parents'. I'm missing visiting your bloggy homes, but I promise I haven't forgotten about you! When things settle down, I'll be back on my regular rounds.

And in case you're worried about me not having much help with household chores from King Rufus, Queenie, Fresh Prince and Court Jester, my pup has been pitching in nicely. See him "folding clothes" with me today? Ahem.........

...after which he took a nice long the family sock basket and not in his cute little puppy bed! Ah, it's a dog's life for sure.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Submission & Retreat

Weird title on today's post, huh? The submission part refers to a great review of the words submission, acceptance and rejection as they apply to writers and poets sending their words around in the hopes of getting published. I won't even try to paraphrase the wise words of an editor/poet on this subject, so go read for yourself Tim Green's post "You Must Submit" at his blog!

Now, the retreat part has to do with author and good friend Deborah LeBlanc's upcoming Pen-to-Press Retreat you MUST check out if you are currently wrangling with a manuscript of your own and want to pitch it to top notch agents on site. As a participant in the first annual retreat, I cannot tout it enough. And who couldn't use a few days away in New Orleans? [Ooo, and maybe we can even meet in 3D, as I'm hoping to go again myself for at least part of the time!]

Here's the latest newsletter update:

About the 2010 Pen to Press Writers' Retreat
Announcing a one of a kind writers' retreat that you simply can't pass up! Come excited and leave inspired, ready to improve your writing and get that manuscript published!

Pen to Press Retreats are five intense, hands-on, inspiring days that teach participants how to shape and present a saleable manuscript. You'll learn in a variety of settings, from workshops to one-on-one mentoring sessions to seminars. To that end, you will write and revise, have your manuscript critiqued, and revise some more. This is a remarkable opportunity to transform your writing!

To top it off, throughout the last two days of each retreat, all of our participants are given exclusive, one-on-one time with agents and editors to whom they can pitch their work.

With this retreat under your belt, who can stop you?

Activities: Participants will be assigned to a class of 20 and a team instructor. (Our instructors are all successfully published authors, many New York Times and U.S.A. Today Best-sellers, award-winners, and all are excellent teachers.) With this group, you will spend five days working on specifics to improve your manuscript. During classes and panel discussions, you'll learn details about characterization, plot, dialogue, pacing, voice, marketing, pitching, contract negotiations, etc., all of it geared around your specific work.

Agents and editors will be on hand the last two days of the retreat, and they'll be there to spend one-on-one time with you, our participants . . . writers who now have a polished pitch for a promising work!

We've even established a payment plan to help participants who are accepted into the 2010 program stretch the cost of the retreat out over time.

Join Us: The dates for the 2010 Pen to Press Writers Retreat are May 25-29, 2010, and the location will be in beautiful downtown New Orleans, Louisiana.

Interested writers must submit a two page synopsis of a completed novel or novel in progress along with the first five pages of that novel. From those submissions, a maximum of 160 participants will be selected.

To find out more about the 2010 Pen to Press Writers' Retreat, visit our website at There you'll find in-action videos and testimonials from past participants. So jump on over to the website and have a look. And we hope to see YOU at the 2010 PPW Retreat!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wednesday Writings: Inside the Editor's Mind

I did a series of posts taken from interviews with editors of literary publications/ezines in 2008 for The Rose & Thorn Literary e-zine's blog, and thought you might enjoy taking a peek inside their mindset. Enjoy~~

What do you want to say to new writers/poets?

Name: Steven Seighman
Title: Editor/Founder
Publisher/Publication: Monkeybicycle

Just keep at it, and don't let rejection get you down. There are countless venues for your work, so you're bound to find a home for it if you keep at it. And if editors have suggestions for you, it's only because they've often been doing this for quite a while, and want to help you make your work better. At least consider what they say, even if you decide against it later on.

I've seen the literary community (especially online) blow up over the past few years, and it's really a wonderful thing. There are so many great writers out there looking to place their work, and the more options they have, the better. If you have an idea for a journal of some kind, and think you'll stick with it, please take the leap and create it. I've seen some really great journals pop up just in the last year, and I'm really happy they did. So are all those incredible authors.

Name: Timothy Green
Title: Editor
Publisher/Publication: RATTLE
Personal site/blog:

Read more. You don't have to read RATTLE, I don't care what you read. Just find something you like, and read it. For every poem you write, read 10. That should be the first lesson on anyone's list. I only realize this after sitting through workshops, but it becomes apparent in the submissions, too—a lot of people like to write more than they like to read. But you can't be a poet unless you love both. It's like trying to bake a cake without the ingredients. You've got the bowl, you've got the whisk, the oven is set to what? How can you make something edible if don't know what food is?If you enjoy reading and writing, nothing else matters. Especially editors. Don't let the name tags fool you.

Name: Beth Staples
Title: Managing Editor
Publisher/Publication: Hayden’s Ferry Review

Good question! On some level, I still consider myself to be a new writer. But myself-of-today would say to myself-a-few-years-ago: please put your (adorable) butt in the chair as much as possible. There are tons of excuses not to write. Ignore them. What makes a writer a writer is the actual writing. Not the philosophizing or the worrying or the thinking. Thinking is involved. More so: typing. The more you do it, the easier it gets, and the more amazing is the work you produce. When it comes down to it, the actual writing is a lot easier than the torture of worrying you’re not good enough, not prepared enough, not writing enough. The first year of my MFA would have gone a little differently if I’d realized this.

Again, I can’t speak for all editors, but I love when people write or stop in looking for ways to get involved with HFR. Going through the slush pile has helped my writing more than I can explain (and maybe more than I understand). If there’s a literary journal near you, go to them. HFR offers internships, and depends on volunteers to read submissions, organize events, stuff envelopes, whatever. When I meet someone who feels as passionate as I do, I’m thrilled, and I’m happy to make a place for them. Literary journals and literature in general need that passion. Get involved as much as you can. If you can’t get involved, at least support some journals by reading them. Did I already say that?

Name: Cooper Renner
Title: Editor
Publisher/Publication: elimae
Personal site/blog:

READ! Work, rework, and rework again. Get criticism from folks whose literary taste you trust. Cut, cut, cut. Don't worry about what you want the writing "to say"—worry about fresh words and language and approach. Cut weak writing even if it utterly changes the story/poem: the newly created "meaning" may be just the opening you need.

Name: Susan Burmeister-Brown
Title: Co-editor
Publisher/Publication: Glimmer Train Stories

Read good writing. The reading and writing life is a great one to live. Publishing can be elusive, but stay with it. It can, and usually does, take some time to get your work out there.

Name: Reb Livingston
Title: Poet, Editor & Publisher
Publisher/Publication: No Tell Motel & No Tell Books
URL: &
No Tell Books Personal site/blog: &

Remember that most editors are also writers and poets. Almost nobody makes money editing and publishing; in many cases one spends money doing it. It takes an incredible amount of time and work. Time and work taken away from one's own writing. Editors and publishers do it because it’s a labor of love. If you're spending more money on contests and submission fees than you do on buying contemporary poetry (or literature), know your priorities are totally whacked and whether you realize it or not, you're sending your work to the wrong places and it’s not being taken seriously. Editors and publishers who struggle to fund their publications because not enough writers buy and read books, have discovered they can make money (often more) off these hapless writers by running contests. Every year thousands upon thousands of manuscripts (along with entry fees) are sent to completely wrong and incompatible publishers where they don't have any shot at all. If the entrants knew anything about the publishers and publications they were sending to—this would be completely obvious and these writers could save themselves a lot of money and time.

Name: John Amen
Title: Editor
Publisher/Publication: The Pedestal Magazine
Personal site/blog:

Just write, and keep writing. Let publishing be the incidental outcome of the joy for writing. Fall in love with writing.

Name: Cesar Garza
Title: Senior Editor
Publisher/Publication: The Rose & Thorn Literary E-zine

For the love of God, READ and FOLLOW the submission guidelines carefully. Every journal has slightly different expectations for submissions, so I know it can be a pain if you're an active poet and sending out work by the dozen. But the guidelines are set in a way that works for your beloved, overworked, unpaid editors, so please, give them that at least. On a different note, I'd say write with a sense of conviction, not just about your work's focus, but about language itself. Poets, I think, are in a better position (compared to prose writers) to demonstrate the power of language since, in the body of a poem, they use so little of it. Less is more—a cliche, yet undeniably true. Here's a shameless plug: Submit to The Rose & Thorn! After reading the guidelines, of course:

Name: J.W. Wang
Title: Editor
Publisher/Publication: Juked

The best piece of advice I’ve heard is from Tony Earley, who told me the hard part for him wasn’t getting published; what he found hard was becoming a good writer. Once he became a good writer, he had no trouble getting published. Have fun, and be lucky.

Name: G.S. Evans
Title: Coeditor
Publisher/Publication: The Cafe Irreal

It's a long, hard slog. If you're really driven to find expression for what it is you’re feeling, it might be worth the long, hard slog, as the years of slogging do tend to make you a better writer, and able to express that thing you’re feeling better.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Happy Mardi Gras! and a Recipe

Hope your Fat Tuesday is a great one! And if you participate in the 40 days of deprivation or cutting back that is the Lenten Journey which follows today's celebration, may it bring you wisdom, grace and awareness.

Since Tuesdays are recipe days, here's a little something different for my good blogging pals~~

Recipe for Happiness

3 cups of fun
1 cup of kind words
2 1/2 cups C&U (compassion & understanding)
3 Tbsp. each thyme/time & sage (advice)
1 heaping scoop of generosity
As much humor as mixing bowl can hold

Measure out fun willy nilly and spontaneously, adding in kind words slowly as you mix. Add all other ingredients, and liberally season with your favorite spices of life (adventure, spontaneity, laughter, etc.) Mix well.

Pour into cake pan and cook until well done, keeping temperature low enough that it doesn't boil over. When set, sprinkle on a thick layer of hugs and kisses. Cut, serve and enjoy. Recipe feeds as many people as are available to share with love. And remember, happiness is a choice!
(c) 2009 Angie Ledbetter

{Images from}

Monday, February 23, 2009


Yep, you guessed it. The Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) greeted me this morning, and though it's actually a white fuzzy blank screen resembling a really bad Etch-A-Sketch, it nevertheless is holding my normal computer functions hostage. Thankfully, I have my cheap-o Acer laptop to turn to.

I've also got a handy dandy external hard drive hooked up, so my data's safe. Hopefully, the BSoD means I need a new monitor and not "the works." *sigh* It would be a Monday when I'm trying valiantly to work on my manuscript!

Has this ever happened to you?

My monitor looks like what my brain feels like today, so let's all hope both of those items get fixed, overhauled, resuscitated very very soon~~~

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Blonde Jokes Part II

Again, with apologies to my light headed friends. *grin*

But before we get to the jokes, don't forget to register for Barbara (who is neither dumb or blonde) at Serenity Gate's poetry book giveaway contest!

Sweet Blondes:

Q: Why do blondes hate M&Ms?
A: They're too hard too peel.

Q: How do you know when a blonde has been making chocolate chip cookies?
A: You find the M&M shells all over the kitchen floor.

Q: What job function does a blonde have in an M&M factory?
A: Proofreader.

Domestic Blondes:

Q: Why don't blondes double recipes?
A: The oven doesn't go to 700 degrees.

Q: How can you tell if a blonde is a good cook?
A She gets the pop tart out of the toaster in one piece.

Q: Why don't blondes eat jello?
A: They can't figure out how to get two cups of water into those little packages.

Q: What does a blonde make best for dinner?
A: Reservations.

Q: Why did the blonde bake a chicken for 3 and a half days?
A: It said cook it for half an hour per pound and she weighed 125 lbs.

Q: What is the difference between a blonde and a shopping cart?
A: The shopping cart has a mind of its own.

Romantic Blondes:

Q: What does a blonde say if you blow in her ear?
A: "Thanks for the refill."

Q: How do you get a blonde to marry you?
A: Tell her she's pregnant.
Q: What will she ask you?
A: "Is it mine?"

And finally, Spirited Blondes:

Q: What's the blonde's cheer?
A: "I'm blonde, I'm blonde, I'm B. L. O. N....ah, oh well..I'm blonde, I'm blonde, yea, yea, yea..."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Saturday Message

A short & sweet note ~~
Hope your Saturday is dreamy!

Friday, February 20, 2009


Hello, Blogland pals...............STOP
Down to wire on Feb. writing goals.........STOP
Will visit favorite blogs (yours) as time allows............STOP
And try hard to post daily, even if re-runs..........STOP
Not neglecting you. Will return to regular blogging route & posting schedule asap.........STOP
Don't forget me.........STOP
Send prayers, good thoughts & mojo that ms revisions complete by 2/28.............STOP
See you soon & plenty huggage!...............END

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Cha Cha Cha --- Score One for the Tech Challenged

Being stuck at the doctor's office with a bored teen can be dangerous unless you can think of something to distract or engage them with that makes the creeping hands of the clock move a little faster. Since that's exactly where I was recently with exactly that sort of "company," I quickly asked my son [aka Court Jester] to help me out with my new cell phone.

None of this will be news to most of you, but for a brain-fried mom approaching the big 5-Oh, everything he tried to teach me was excruciatingly slow for me to take in. First, CJ deleted the Blue Tooth option from the menu, since I'm never ever going to use that function, and it just drains the battery sooner, he said.

Next, he showed me how to put a question mark into text messages. (Yes, stop giggling. I DO know how to text.) I'd been scrolling between menus to get to the Insert option, which never went smoothly given my fading eyesight, large fingers hunting very small keys, etc. Now old Mom can zoom right up to the number 1 and find the question mark there! Makes texting Fresh Prince: "Did u know ur cleats r under the couch?" so much faster.

But the final lesson was one that blew my mind. My brilliant son informed me that one has only to text ChaCha (the letters corresponding with 242 242) to get answers to any question one can think of sent back within minutes. Whut? 'Course, I didn't believe him and asked lots and lots of questions. I tried it. I asked ChaCha, "Who is Blaize Pascal?" using my new ability to add the question mark quickly.

Within minutes three screen-loads of encyclopedic information scrolled across my cell's window! This old dawg was really amazed. I was also informed that ChaCha will scour FaceBook, etc. to look up information on people to send you. Wow, but sorta scary too.

Before I could ask young son how in the world this service is available, are people sitting at big computers using search engines, or if this was gonna cost a fortune from surfing the Net, he was called back to see the doc.

Upon further enquiry, he told me this cool service bypasses the Internet, so it's just a regular text. Hmmm, I guess we'll see when the next bill comes in. But in the meantime, I can see so many uses. ChaCha's like having your own GPS on hand. No wonder cell phones aren't allowed at school. You could theoretically get test answers lightning fast.

It's all terribly interesting...but makes my head swim. And in case you think I'm just pulling your leg, check out further proof at Geek Sugar. (Love the quote at the end.)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mo Maass

Wednesdays are dedicated to posts related to the craft of writing, so for your viewing enjoyment today, more quotes from the fabulous book pictured over there to the right:

Chapter 4 -- Time and Place

  • "How does your setting make people feel? That is the key, not how a place looks but its psychological effect on the characters..."
  • "You can deepen the psychology of place in your story by returning to a previously established setting and showing how your character's perception of it has changed."
  • [...for making place an active character, you can try:] "...marking your characters' growth (or decline) through their relationships to their various surroundings."
  • "...go inside your characters and allow them a moment to discover their feelings about the place into which you have delivered them...[this] demands that you be writing in a strong point of view..."
  • "As important in a story as a sense of place is a sense of time..."
  • "Setting can also be social context. Social trends and political ideas influence our real actions and thinking..."
  • "Your characters live in society, but in which strata? At what point is their social position most keenly felt? At what moment does it change?"
  • "A setting cannot live unless it is observed in its pieces and particulars."

So, how's the writing project(s) coming along?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Contest Winner, King Cake Recipe, Slow Cooked Poem & Bletiquette

...aaaand the winner is, with a guess of 883 and being closest to the number of beads in my head (LOL) of 935.....

Linda Crow of 2nd Cup of Coffee

Congratulations! Let me know your preferred flavor of King Cake so I can go order and ship it to ya! We'll expect full reportage on the glory of the yummy baked good after it arrives and is consumed. (Warning: A wee plastic baby may or may not be hidden inside the cake, so please do not chomp down unawares. I am not legally responsible for chipped teeth or broken crowns!) :)
Check out my fun poem over at The Found Poetry Project -- A Slow Cooker, and leave a comment if you're so inclined.
If you're interested in making your own King Cake for a Mardi Gras celebration, here's an easy recipe and a little history for ya:

Also known as Twelfth Night Cake, the brioche-style King Cake is made in Louisiana bakeries for the period between the Twelfth Night (January 6) and Ash Wednesday.

This delicious tradition is thought to have begun with French settlers, and dating back to 12th century France, when a similar cake was used to celebrate the coming of the three wise men bearing gifts twelve days after Christmas, calling it the feast of Epiphany, Twelfth Night, or King's Day.

The cakes are traditionally baked in the round shape to commemorate the circular route taken by the Kings, and usually contained a bean, pea, or a figurine symbolizing the baby Jesus. Around 1871 the tradition of choosing the Mardi Gras queen by who drew the prize-filled piece of cake began. Now the "winner" provides the next cake or hosts the next party.

Mardi Gras colors were chosen in 1872 to symbolize Justice (purple), Faith (green), and Power (gold).

King Cake

1 packet dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 Tbs. milk, scalded and cooled
4 1/2 - 5 cups flour
8 oz. butter
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
4 eggs
2 tsp. melted butter
very small plastic doll
light corn syrup for topping
Colored sugar sprinkles (or make your own with granulated sugar colored with food coloring -- green, purple, and yellow)

Prepare yeast in warm water. Add milk and about 1/2 cup of flour. In a large bowl, mix butter, sugar, salt and eggs. Add yeast mixture and mix well. Slowly add in 2 1/2 cups flour to make a medium dough. Place in a greased bowl and brush with melted butter. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise double in size (3-4 hours).

Use 1 cup or more flour to knead dough and roll into a 4 to 5-foot long rope. Form into a oval on a 14 x 17" greased baking sheet, connecting ends of the rope with a few drops of water, pinching to make a good seal.

Press the doll into the dough from bottom. Cover dough ring with a damp cloth and let rise about 1 hour. Bake at 325° for 35 to 45 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Brush top of cake with corn syrup and sprinkle with alternating bands of colored sugar. Cut, serve, enjoy!
Now, friend Bella (aka That Damn Expat) has an important Public Service Announcement on the subject of Bletiquette; something I've touched on in a post or two here. Bella's version, however, seemed to touch a lot of nerves with 83 comments, so be sure to read her no-holds-barred list. Parts of it made me laugh out loud. Thanks, you crazy blog owner, for giving me permission to link to this important PSA.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Didn't wanna get out of bed this morning. 'Specially didn't wanna go clean the puppy's room. Don't wanna face the week. Feel like the subject of this fantastic painting. Wish I was on some tropical beach alone without a care in the world.

Am I strange? Never mind, don't answer that -- I know I am, but do you share the same sentiments about Mondays sometimes? I think I'm just tired to the bone. But this too shall pass. I'm grateful to be alive and well and here to greet another day...even if it is a Monday. And even if I do have to take the second sick teenager to the doctor today. The upper respiratory funk is going around like wildfire, closing some schools and offices. Double ug.

You only have til midnight tomorrow to cast your vote on how many beads are in the stack of Mardi Gras strands pictured for a chance to win a delicious King Cake. {Original post here, under the lasagna recipe.}

I'll be talking about the traditions of Mardi Gras in the next few days, so stay tuned. Do any of you non-Louisiana folks know the catch phrase for parade day? Someone will put it in a comment, I'm sure. :)

Ever check your stat counter data? Fun info. awaits if you can decipher it! Some of the search phrases visitors plugged into an engine and then stumbled into Gumbo Writer last week made me smile:
  • right brain left brain
  • what i gonna be when i grow up
  • poop poetry
  • nest duck gumbo recipes
  • how to calm myself before going to the dentist
  • redneck time out

Hope all of you out there in BlogLand are doing swell and finding opportunities to let your talents shine (for they are many), and that your own Monday is any color but blue.

My mom has another MRI scheduled tomorrow, so all prayers lobbed would be greatly appreciated, as the progress of her glio blastoma is checked. For those blessedly unfamiliar with this mysterious brain tumor disease, it's the same kind Ted Kennedy has.

"See ya" again tomorrow. Now, I'm comin' to visit YOU.

{Image from}

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Love Hangover?

Had too much of the goosh and moosh of St. Valentine's Day love expressions -- flowers, candy, cards, a nice night out or lots of hugs and kisses? Conversely, did you overdo it celebrating S.A.D. (Singles Awareness Day) out with friends? Either way, maybe today will be a nice day for taking it slow, lying low, disappearing into a good book...all alone.

Seriously, I hope your day was everything you wanted it to be. Now, go get a *Cajun Bloody Mary and read your fat Sunday paper, and I'll "see" you again for the start of a new week tomorrow.

*Bloody Marys are supposedly a great hangover cure, or so local folklore says. If you need a great authentic recipe, check out this one---> YUMMY!

And if you've got a love hangover cure to share, please "trow it in da pot" for us all to enjoy.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ledbetter Lunacy - Episode 12 "Not the Momma!" (& Mardi Gras Contest Reminder)

Good & special Valentine's morning to y'all! Here's a little Love treat for all my dearly beloved blogger friends on this special day, which will replace the fuggly google-eyed fellow who usually announces Lunacy editions.

You'll be relieved to know my technical photo uploading issues have been resolved so Ledbetter Lunacy's newest episode can be seen below.

After this brief and entertaining interlude, don't forget to take a guess via the comment section giving your estimate of how many individual beads (not strands) are in the Mardi Gras contest photo. You could win your very own King Cake in your choice of flavors! Time's getting short, as the contest ends at midnight Tuesday, February 17.

Winner will need a street address for delivery, and will choose from these flavors: Cinnamon - Strawberry - Cream Cheese - Blueberry Lemon - Pecan Praline - Apple - Raspberry.

Laissez les bon temps roulez!!!!! (Let the good times roll!)

Now, without further yip-yap, here's this week's version of...


Note: Teen Court Jester, upon learning of this week's Ledbetter Lunacy subject matter, informed me the conversation in the boat with his father actually went like this:

King Rufus: "Well, dammit, son. I told you to be still and quit squirming around! Now you done hurt yerself!"

Court Jester: "Daddy, just take me back to Momma. You're useless in these situations!"

Friday, February 13, 2009

Blog Crawl Findings

Boy hidey, that was fun! Thanks to your suggestions and some good finds of my very own, I've got some blog recommendations to share~~

  • Thanks to SmallFootprints for pointing me to Connie Mishali's blog. She's new to the game but starting out well, holding a 4-book giveaway contest. Small also recommended Eazy Cheezy Brian's place, and like she said, anyone interested in doing a guest post over there is most welcome to apply.
  • Janna shared a fun place -- Mind Over Mullis, and I know I'll be going back there. Love the lady's snappy spirited style. Here's a blurb from her 50th birthday post just yesterday: "Some of my friends are slowing down for 50. Not me. I'm hitting the gas and leaving three feet of tire marks and twenty dollars worth of fumes behind me." Thanks for the heads up, Janna.
  • I enjoyed stopping by Amy's The Writer's Closet -- "Coming Out One Story at a Time." How 'bout giving her some blog love?
  • Thanks to Melissa for suggesting Cake Wrecks. I visited and laughed at some of the more, umm, inventive creations. Pics are priceless! And again, Ms. Marsh, I enjoyed Chickens in the Road -- the blog of author Suzanne McMinn. I'll be going back there in leisure time to scope around. If you love crafty, witty, animal-lovin' writer people, you'll love her blog.
  • Ask her anything at The Truth Teller!
  • Because I simply love the name: Nanny Goats in Panties.
  • t i m's other friend by the same name: Mz. Angie's blog

Note-Fridays are usually dedicated to some family saga hilarity in the form of:


...but due to some technical glitch beyond my control (failure of photos to upload!), a technician has been called in to rectify the problem, and hopefully, Episode 12 - "Not the Momma!" will air Saturday morning. ARGH!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Goin' Blog Crawling

Besides my regular pit stops, I'm gonna get out and see what's going on in other areas of Blogland. If you've got a swell and terrific place to recommend, please feel free to leave me a linky-loo in comments. As you can guess, I love humor, down to earth posts, interesting factoids and resources on the writing life and poetry, chit chat and brick-a-brack. :)

I'll report back on any new discoveries and fun findings from my adventures in faraway corners of the Blogosphere later. (If ya don't hear from me soon...send out a search party, okay?)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Mess of Good Writing Stuff

Barbara is running a contest to win a really good poetry book, so go enter to win.

If you write for literary zines, ever wonder how to go about choosing the right ones to submit to from the vast number of publications? Check out Nannette's post over at Zine Writer. It's full of good information on just that. While there, click on the link in Nan's sidebar for a new short story, Zuni the Pueblo Dog. (Congrats, Nan. Enjoyed!)

At The Blood-Red Pencil, a post series called The Big Edits gives nifty pointers on manuscript editing. If you're struggling with that chore, it's a good read. There's also information in another post about working on your WIP in MS Word that's helpful.

Working on your synopsis? Surf over to literary agent Jessica Faust's blog, BookEnds for a nice posting on the dreaded S word.

Late-breaking linkage addition:
Check out Kimmi's guest blogger today, poet William Haskins and his thoughts on the value of poetry in hard economic times. Writer in Waiting Kimmi has had some fun posts lately -- different takes on the art of love just in time for Valentine's Day.

And from me to you: have you ever considered updating your blog profile to include your email address so folks can get in touch with you outside of posting a comment? If you haven't done so for fear of spam, I haven't gotten a single bombardment since starting my blog back in September. Either there's minimal risk, or I've got durn good spam filters.

If you haven't already, come by and enter my newest contest. You could be the lucky recipient of a mouth-watering Mardi Gras King Cake! (Scroll down beneath the lasagna recipe.)

Happy Wednesday, and write on!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Meatless Lasagna & Mardi Gras Contest

Before we get to the vittles, I'd like to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY MOM! I wish she was well enough to be online like she used to love to be, but let's send up good thoughts and prayers for her special day.

Now here's a recipe for my vegetarian friends in the form of something yummiciously Italian (per Colby's request). It comes from my lady neighbor friend Vera, who wrote her own family tradition cookbook, one of which sits proudly on my cookbook shelf. I've had several cooking lessons at Vera's, and I can promise you this is the real deal. (Some of the best food I've ever had.)
So, let's git to it!

Vera's Meatless Lasagna

1 lb. lasagna noodles
1 lb. Fat Free Ricotta cheese
8 oz. Mozzarella cheese
1 qt. of your favorite spaghetti sauce (in a jar is fine)
Grated Romano cheese to taste
1 beaten egg
parsley, garlic powder, salt & pepper to taste
dash of nutmeg

To Ricotta, add egg, salt, garlic, pepper, parsley and nutmeg. Mix well and set aside. Boil noodles until tender, but do not overcook.

In a large pan, layer as follows: tomato sauce, noodles, Ricotta mix, Mozzarella, Romano and more sauce. Layer until you have the pan full, then top with more Mozzarella and sauce.

Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes, or until lasagna is heated through and cheese is melted and blended together.

NOTE: You may add cooked hamburger or sausage if desired. If you want to keep it meatless, you can also add cooked chopped spinach as well.


Now, for the First Annual Gumbo Writer's Mardi Gras Contest~~

The rules are simple. The contest will run for one week, from now until midnight, February 17.

If you want this ---> -- then leave a comment with your guess on how many individual beads (not strands) are in this picture --->
Winner will need a street address for delivery, and will choose from these flavors for their very own King Cake: Cinnamon - Strawberry - Cream Cheese - Blueberry Lemon - Pecan Praline - Apple - Raspberry.

Laissez les bon temps roulez!!!!!
(Let the good times roll!)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Let's Make a Virtual Gumbo

Before spring arrives here in the deep south, let's put some ingredients together and make a gumbo! As the purpose of a true gumbo is to feed lots of people using items on hand or easily obtained, I'd love for you to donate items to the pot! They don't have to be edible either. Who couldn't do with a little more kindness or tolerance?

Whut? Hunh? I hear you asking those questions with your eyebrows all squinched together like I'm nuts. Just leave a comment with a suggested item (edible or not), and if I can't use it to make a delicious cyber gumbo for us all to share, then I'll suggest a side dish for your ingredient.

Don't be shy...there's no right or wrong thing to give to the cook! (See that huge sugar kettle turned gumbo pot in the photo? It's bigger than my butt...and that's saying something! So we have lots of room and plenty of time to let it simmer and stew. Then we'll pass out the gumbo bowls, add a little rice and have a durned good meal we all helped make. Sorta like a Cajun "rock soup."

For dessert, we'll have King Cake Mardi Gras is coming up on the 24th! Hmmm, I just might have to organize a little blog contest so I can send the lucky winner a real live King Cake of their very own. [More on that later.]

So, what're you contributing to our gumbo?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

And They Call It...Puppy Loooove

Isn't my little Bandit adorable? He entertains me for hours, sometimes nipping at my heels to remind me to come outside and play with him or give him a good scratchin'. The new pup in the Ledbetter house is all about love. He loves me even when his puppy chow bowl runs dry, when I forget to play fetch with him, and when I have to be away from home. He makes me smile, even when he's "bad."

And that's how I feel about you (yeah...YOU).

I hope your Sunday is great and relaxing, or full of accomplishments and projects scratched off the to-do list, if that's what peels your apple. Take some time to appreciate and tell those who fill your life with unconditional love how much it means to you. And if there's any time before Monday morning rolls around again, grab a nap! :)

Oh, I almost forgot. Ran across this nifty contest mentioned on another blog. It's for a really gorgeous painting a talented artist made in honor of her bloggiversary, so go enter if you've a mind to.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


A few of my writer friends and I spent the year just past contemplating gratitude in our daily lives. It was such a great learning experience; one that taught me a lot about perspective.

Today's post was originally my very last entry at our Year of Gratitude (YOG) blog. If you enjoy this topic or ever need a boost, feel free to hop over there and browse round for further thoughts or a dose of inspiration.

By spending so much time writing/thinking about, and steeped in being grateful, I hope the attitude has become an ingrained habit that will rest on my shoulders like a soft beautiful shawl for life. No matter what comes (and especially if it's bad, hurtful or sad), I think the lessons I've learned will continue to take away some of the chill.

I'll leave you with these thoughts, as I once and for the last time publicly count blessings brought about by a year of focusing on being grateful:

  • Above all, I've realized life is all about how you choose to see things.
    Rain will inevitably spoil the parade now and then, but grateful, joyful thinking makes one heck of an umbrella.
  • Gratitude is contagious.
  • Gratefulness is not only a state of mind, but a way of living.
  • When things are at their worst, a dose of gratitude can change things around, or at least assure you that tomorrow is definitely a new day.
  • Gratitude begets more gratitude.
  • Focusing on the goodness of life increases joy and health.
  • Thankfulness can bring people who have nothing (or very little) in common together.
  • It is just as easy to be glad as sad.
  • Perspective is an awesome and powerful thing.

I will always remember 2008 as the Year of My Gratitude. Thank you, Barb, Kathryn, Patresa and Nannette, for sharing your company and thoughts with me.

May all we've learned by concentrating on gratitude never be far from our hearts and minds.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Ledbetter Lunacy - Episode 11: "Guess Who's a'Comin' to Dinner?"

It's that time again, y'all. So crank up the volume on that dusty John Philip Sousa record and alert the band. Marching onto the field is another episode of family insanity, aka...


Sidebar: In typical Castle Wench fashion, the camera is out of juice, so I had to borrow Rufus', which has the date stamp, and which I have no idea how to disable!

*Fresh Prince is saying (and the #$!#%% date stamp obliterates), "Incoming! Spitballs!" as he shoots napkin wads through a straw.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Revenge of the Blonde!

A trucker comes into a truck stop cafe and places his order. "I want three flat tires, a pair of headlights and a pair of running boards."

The brand new blonde waitress, not wanting to appear stupid, went to the kitchen and said to the cook, "This guy out there just ordered three flat tires, a pair of headlights and a pair of running Boards. What does he think this place is, an auto parts store?"

"No," the cook says. "Three flat tires mean three pancakes, a pair of headlights is two eggs sunny side up, and running boards are 2 slices of crisp bacon."

"Oh! Okay," she says, and thinks about it for a moment. The blonde then spoons up a bowl of beans and gives it to the customer.

"What are the beans for, Blondie?" the trucker asks.

"I thought while you were waiting for the flat tires, headlights and running boards, you might as well gas up!"


The OCEAN cover wasn't too clear yesterday, so Diane (the magazine's "momma") kindly sent a new one. Don't forget to check it out!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wednesday Writing Goodies

If you're looking for a beautiful little magazine to read, subscribe or submit to, be sure to "surf" (hehe) over to OCEAN Magazine. Publisher Diane Buccheri's mission for the publication is to celebrate and protect our oceanic environments. Lovely photography, poetry, prose and essays fill the pages between covers. The website says, "OCEAN is an eclectic blend of the informative and educational, personal, spiritual and sensual. OCEAN draws its inspiration from love, with beauty." There's a blog, a storefront, photos and lots of
good stuff to browse. You can also view the pub online for a nominal fee.

For those of you working on manuscripts, check out this blog post full of Word doc tips at The Blood-Red Pencil.

And for the poets amongst us, you'll enjoy some fine reading on the same topic at RATTLE.

A few more Donald Maass quotes from Writing the Breakout Novel, Chapter 3, "Stakes":
  • "If there is one single principle that is central to making any store more powerful, it is simply this: Raise the stakes."
  • "Can you point to the exact pages in which the stakes escalate, locking your protagonist into his course of action with less hope of success than before?"
  • "To put a principled person at risk is to raise the stakes in your story to a high degree. Better still is to test that individual's principles to the utmost."
  • "...a combination of high public stakes and deep personal stakes is the most powerful engine a breakout novel can have."
  • "Plot problems and the yearnings of your characters do not come from nowhere; they come from you."

What are you currently reading, and how is it?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Cajun Fire Crackers Recipe

Whut? No casserole or yummy comfort food smothered in melted cheese this week? That's right -- today you're getting a great snack food recipe that's really good for holiday giving or eating, and is a good thing just to have around when the munchies come calling.

You may even have had similar snackage before, but made with those little round oyster crackers. Well, here in the South, we do everything BIG, so here's an updated version of the old tiny snack of yore:

Cajun Fire Crackers
1 Box Saltine crackers
1 1/3 Cups Canola oil
1 Package Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing (dry)
1 1/2 tsp. dill weed
2 Tbsp. Crushed red pepper flakes

Place entire carton of crackers in a one gallon plastic zipper bag. Mix all other ingredients together and pour mixture over crackers. Turn bag frequently until dry (liquid is absorbed into crackers). After a few hours of turning, you are done! Couldn't be easier, right? And look how fast they go -- the tin was full only a few weeks ago!

PS to all you Laff-a-lots from yesterday's post ~~ y'all are welcome to post this Donkey Bling to your blogs! --->

my blaahggg!

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