Sociable

Monday, August 31, 2009

Your Blog Analytics


Graphic from statcounter.com



Do you have a site meter installed on your blog? If so, do you get weekly reports? Every now and then I go through my statcounter.com Monday morning report, and although I'm not sure what some of the features mean or do, I'm getting better at deciphering the techno-hieroglyphics.

Like those information overload junkies on the Bing.com commercials, I love all the data, stats and graphs and pie chart graphics whizzing around in my head. Like the pie chart above which shows how long visitors stayed at my blog last week (from less than five seconds to more than an hour), it's all fascinating to me.

I like gazing at the world atlas and seeing little flags representing visitors' countries, seeing what things visitors downloaded and through which points on the blog they entered and exited.

My favorite stat is probably the keyword analytics. This function shows what words were plugged into search engines to bring folks to Gumbo Writer. I guess if I was a more savvy blog owner, I'd put more effort into post tags and titles to get more visitors. (Isn't that what's known as SEO?) But since I just like to write what I write, I don't concentrate on it. Are these things considerations for you when you post to your blog?

Here are a few recent breadcrumbs that lined the GumboWriter trail:
  • tgif quotes
  • gumbo writer boudreaux and thibodaux jokes
  • best chicken recipe
  • boudreaux and thibodaux jokes
  • easy gumbo recipe
  • boudreaux tib jokes
  • best chicken recipes ever
  • Did Margaret Mitchell drink from mason jars
  • Beach Glass and other Things by Angie Ledbetter
  • best+chicken+recipe
  • "oh you dirty little devil"
  • unusual trivia about food or fruits
  • Boudreaux and Thibodaux
  • quote tgif - thank god it's friday- because they can do what they really want to
  • porch chops casserole
  • melissa marsh meteorologist
  • pasta for 40
  • boo no the go
  • mr wedding cakes king cakes
  • TGIF poem
Some of the keywords make me smile or laugh out loud. It's like a puzzle; trying to figure out how someone put in certain words and ended up here. Was it on purpose, or pure happenstance? Fun to ponder!

There are lots of technical aspects of statcounter I don't make use of, but browsing through the categories every now and then is fun. Here's a list of some of the other functions available, and which maybe I'll dig into more thoroughly some day:

  1. Statistics
  2. Summary
  3. Popular Pages
  4. Entry & Exit Pages
  5. Came From
  6. Recent Keyword Activity
  7. Search Engine Wars
  8. Downloads & Download Activity
  9. Returning Visits
  10. Recent Pageload Activity
  11. Recent Visitor Map
If you use these functions at your blog, what's your favorite? And what use do you get from them?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Dem Cajuns in Noo Yawk



Thanks to my dad for sending me another great Boudreaux & Thibodaux joke for your Sunday viewing pleasure!


Two businessmen in New York are sitting down for a break in their soon-to-be open new store. As yet, the store isn't ready, and only a few shelves are set up.

One says to the other, "I bet any minute now some tourist is going to walk by, put his face to the window and ask what we're selling."

No sooner are the words out of his mouth when, sure enough, Boudreaux, in town for some important "bidness" walks by the window, stops and peeks in. The store owners listen to his Cajun accent, trying to understand what he's saying:

"Mais sha (may shah -- hey, cher/friend), what y'all sellin' in dare (there)?"
The two men laugh, thinking Boudreaux is some dumb hick from the swamps. One elbows the other and replies, "Oh, we're selling a-holes in here!" and they just about kill themselves laughing.

Without skipping a beat, Boudreaux says, "Hoo-boy! Well, I see y'all doin' a durn good job; you only got two leff (left)!"


Moral? Don't mess wit (with) dem Cajuns!

by O. Taillon Photography

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Wish for YOU

photo by tomt6788


May your weekend be as beautiful and serene as this painting, or if not serene, then a time to recharge your batteries so that your creativity can flow freely.

Huggage!

Friday, August 28, 2009

TGIF Quotes

Photo by fran_soto

"Always strive to excel, but only on weekends.” ~ Richard Rorty

"Not for nothing is their motto TGIF - 'Thank God it's Friday.' They live for weekends when they can go do what they really want to do." ~~ Richard Nelson Bolles

"I think we're seeing in working mothers a change from 'Thank God it's Friday' to 'Thank God it's Monday.' If any working mother has not experienced that feeling, her children are not adolescent." ~ Ann Diehl

"Weekends don't count unless you spend them doing something completely pointless." ~ Bill Waterson

"I was in Kashmir last weekend. Went to visit one of my sweaters.” ~ Albert Brooks

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ribbitttttt!




I've missed visiting my blog friends' "pads" lately (see that hole in my middle?), so I'll be "swinging" by your "pads" today. Have the coffee and chat ready, k?


Have I "toad" ya lately that I love ya?


Photo by smellyknee

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Interview with Rebecca Woodhead, Haiku Hoedown Winner and Other Good Stuff!

Photo by Rob Enslin

Whooo boy -- our Wednesday Writings bag is chock full of good stuff today!

Ever wonder if your writing is infected with overused phrases or trite cliches? Check out Cliche' Cleaner where you can run sections of your work by the magic oracle and get that question answered.

Wanna know why writers should have websites? Read this blog post by a new Twitterville friend, Deborah Riley-Magnus, Writerholic. You'll get her "point."

And before we begin our interview with Rebecca Woodhead, it's time to announce the winner of Gumbo Writer's latest haiku contest. I agonized. I debated with my poet/editor friend over the finalists among some 36 entries. I sweated blood in this photo finish competition, but, yes Virginia, there is a winner...

Paul Carroll, the young lad from Ireland! Paul's haiku expressed both the writer's angst and the writer's dream -- hard to do in just a few lines and syllables. Congratulations! (Please get me your mailing address so I can send you the Cajun goody package.) In case you missed his entry, here it is again:

Voices in my head
Whisper of my fantasies,
Calling me away.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

REBECCA WOODHEAD ON THE WRITING LIFE


1.) What do you write?
I am writing a novel series called The Cotswold Chronicles are set in a place called The Cotswolds – an idyllic and largely rural part of England. It is also the area where I grew up and to which I have returned. From Shakespeare to JK Rowling, the area within an hour’s drive from where I sit has formed writers with ruthless efficiency for centuries. Natives of the area are sent down the literary mines from an early age. Newcomers are similarly implicated in the whole sordid literary business. There is something in the water. Resistance is futile. There is so much to write about for a start. Every quaint English cliché you can imagine plays out within its borders. You can’t swing a polo mallet without knocking out a member of the royal family or a major celebrity. All is not as it seems, however, and it’s that not-as-it-seems-ness that I like to play with in my novels.

2.) Do you have definite writing goals?
Absolutely! The deadline I set myself for my annual first draft is Valentine’s Day morning. The romance in my novels is important so Valentine’s Day seems appropriate. It also means that I go into Valentine’s Day with a sense of accomplishment, so my husband doesn’t have to try too hard to make me smile – a cheap card and a nice cup of tea and I am a happy woman. If nothing else, it is a useful budgetary exercise. The day before, or morning of, Valentine’s Day I finish my first draft, type ‘the end’ (just to confirm it for myself) and, before rushing off to hug my hubby, I sketch out the plan for the next book. It always buzzes the loudest at that point so I make sure to get that buzz on paper.

3.) What does Rebecca Woodhead's writing life look like?
It depends on the season. After Valentine’s Day I take some time off, have a birthday and chill out. My writing year starts in March. The spring and summer are about preparation, editing and ‘business.’ I focus on things like editing the first draft of the last novel; planning the next novel; researching agents and publishers and, of course, platform building. Over the last couple of months that has translated to a lot of time online! During this part of the writing process, little ‘brain elves’ are throwing ideas I came up with in February backwards and forwards. As summer moves into autumn, they invade my sleep and I start to dream about my characters. That is when I know the story is ripe enough to be written down.

The actual writing process for me is just letting the story out of my brain. I learnt the importance of this at University, where I studied English. One lecturer spoke to us about the gaps in our timetable and explained that we were given a lot of time between lectures and seminars for a reason. The reason, it turned out, was not so that we could go to parties but so that we could think. He said that literature needed to be mulled over and that as much of the comprehension of literature took place in the mulling over of it as happened in the reading and learning about it. Although my course was about the academic comprehension of literature that had already been created, I think the same is true when you are the one doing the creating. The oft-quoted ‘writing is re-writing’ is fair enough but I would take it one step further and say that much of writing is mulling.

When I write, however, I write like a thing possessed. I am at my desk – or at my computer in my bed if I am not well – by eight in the morning and I write for as long as I have energy to, every day. I take the odd Sunday off from the actual process of writing but the brain elves are still tapping away. Real life does not exist while I write. The world of my characters is my reality until the first draft is finished. Typically, I light a Yankee Candle – usually coffee or some take on the coffee idea – switch on my computer and disappear into the story. I load my MP3 player with all kinds of different music and play the music relevant to each part of the emotional arc. A couple of candles later I have a first draft.

4.) Your recent HUGE win as Ms. Twitter UK took a lot of concentrated work and effort. Can you tell us about that experience, and the platform(s) you incorporated to get votes?
It was exhausting! Ms Twitter UK is a contest to find the most popular female user of Twitter in the UK. In one of the guest blogs I did for
Booktrust (the people who administer the Orange Prize for Fiction) I described it as ‘X Factor with avatars.’ The trickiest thing about the competition is that you don’t merely compete against ‘normal’ people; you compete against celebrities with fan clubs and PR machines.

As I didn’t have celebrity credentials, and was a good decade older than most of the finalists, I played to my strengths and did ‘literary stand-up’ for votes. This involved writing haiku, six word stories etc – and translating medieval poetry – to demand and against the clock. I had no idea how taxing it would be but it was also great fun. Before long, I had a slogan -- ‘The pen is mightier than the pin-up’ and a large following of literary types - readers, authors, publishers, librarians etc – supporting my bid.

During all the chats we had about literature, a number of issues emerged and I decided to focus my campaign on these issues rather than me as a person. To cut a long story short, as I termed myself a ‘word nerd,’ the collective noun for my followers became the ‘Word Nerd Army.’ This ‘army’ was not only on Twitter. Some members were on Blogger, others were on FaceBook, others still were people who stumbled upon the Ms Twitter contest and liked what I stood for.

When I won, I set up WordNerdArmy f
or everyone who voted for me as a place for the issues on which they voted. It is also for anyone unconnected with the competition who agrees with the need to do something positive about issues such as: literacy, healthy self-image, and library funding.

5.) Tells us a few things about the importance of social networking.
Many years ago, I ran a networking club in the ‘real world.’ I was fed up with the networking clubs where you wore a badge and desperately launched attacks on people who might help you, so my club was about having fun. If you did business as a consequence that was great but if you didn’t then at least you met some interesting people. I was amazed at the amount of business that was achieved by people just having fun. It made much more sense to me than the endless, fruitless meetings I was forced to attend.

Social networking online works the same way. It works on the basis that people are just people. You end up speaking to people you ‘click’ with and after a while you forget their job title. Some of my best online friends are publishers or celebrities but I forget this. I think the best way to approach ‘social networking’ is to start out with an idea of who you’d like to meet (publishers etc); follow them and then forget who they are. Give yourself a good few months to become friends with people just because they interest you. Ignore the extent to which they may be able to help you.

After that, draw up a plan and go through your new chums, re-acquainting yourself with their job titles, to find out which of them actually could help. At that point you will know where it would be appropriate to ask and where it would not. Some of your new friends won’t be able to help or won’t be interested in helping at this time – just as in real life – but that doesn’t mean they are not friends. You can still have fun with them and swap stories. There is an agent online, for example, that rejected me last year but who still follows me and I send writers across to this agent because the agent is a great person. The fact that my work didn’t fit with their list is no reason for me to get all cross. The process of being turned down by them was actually quite pleasant, with lots of positive feedback and encouragement. We aspiring authors need more agents who turn down that well!

Taking this approach on Twitter was an odd experience at first, because I discovered a number of my ‘dream people’ – those I thought would be of most use to my career – annoyed me. I found them arrogant, boring, unprofessional and rude. I imagined a world in which they represented my work and I shuddered. Had I not attempted to get to know them I would never have discovered this. Of course, the opposite is also true. I now have lists of publishers, for example, with whose marketing departments I am already on great terms, and others who don’t publish my genre but are happy to give me advice on dealing with agents or publishers, or just general advice on writing. I have done the groundwork to make the job of whichever agent eventually takes me on much easier than would otherwise be the case.

6.) Advice for new writers?
My advice to new writers would be of limited use, as I’m not yet published, so I will borrow the advice of a good chum of mine – Jamie Ford. He is a New York Times best-selling author so I trust his judgement. When I interviewed him recently (interview is on my blog) he said:

“Enjoy the struggle. Don’t be discouraged––it’s part of the process of growing as a writer...”

I like that advice. As a coma survivor who had to learn to speak and write from scratch at age eleven, I understand the struggle to have your voice heard more than most. For me, the triumph is there in the words. The acknowledgement of my accomplishment comes from inside. Praise from the outside world is a bonus. Everyone who manages to struggle through a first draft and type the words ‘the end’ is already a triumphant writer and should take pride in that huge accomplishment.

The challenge for all of us beyond that point is to become the best writers that we can and to find a market for that writing. My advice would be to take Jamie’s words to heart and also to take your writing seriously enough to put in the other work – research and platform building for example – that improve your chances of getting that work seen. Mr Ford is already a New York Times best-selling author but does he close his door on the world with a smug grin and write or does he break his back promoting his work? What do you think? By the way, if anyone knows of a good chiropractor, I’m sure Jamie would appreciate their number.

In short: writers read; mull; write; re-write; promote, and enjoy the struggle. Some writers also get published but that’s the icing on the literary cake.

7.) How do you stay motivated to work on your ms and other projects?
It matters to me too much not to stay motivated. I think most fiction writers are good at staying motivated because we like a good story.

‘Coma survivor becomes poor and starves to death in misery without anyone seeing her work,’ doesn’t sound as good to me as: ‘Coma survivor laughs in face of poverty, becomes best-selling author, and inspires others to do likewise.’

I am motivated to make my own story as good as I can. I can handle ambiguity in fiction but I’m a sucker for a ‘happily ever after’ in real life.

8.) The biggest writing mistake you ever made?
Trying too hard to be clever. My first attempt at a novel had such a convoluted narrative structure that I had to plot it out on sheets of taped together A4 with different coloured pens and explanatory notes. I took it to an English professor who confirmed I may have invented a new genre – so it was a triumph for my cleverness – but one look at him and I knew he was holding back the words: “…that nobody will ever read.”

With the novels I have written over the last couple of years, I still put in little nuggets for English graduates to pick up if they feel so inclined but these are not crucial to understanding the plot. The most important thing for me with these books is that they tell great stories and that people love the characters.

9.) I know you're gonna thump me, but please tell us about your Pennies for Ink & Postage fund.
Grr! Well, I am currently utterly impoverished due to ill health and can’t afford ink and postage. In England, this is a problem. Agents only accept hard copy. After much badgering from followers, I set up a ‘Pennies for Ink and Postage’ fund so that I stand a better chance of being published. All pennies donated will go towards ink and postage and I will take the buttons down once I have enough. There is a button on my blog
and there is also one on the Word Nerd Army blog. I don’t have far to go now until I can send off my manuscript.

10.) What didn't I ask that you want blogging reader/writers to know?
The only thing I can think of is that The Word Nerd Army is brand new and a bit follower-poor at the moment, which is a shame as publishers and journalists are very excited by it. I would love a few more bloggers to follow the blog and get involved by picking one or more of the issues and blogging about them. I plan to send out letters to politicians about these issues so the more blog posts about them; the more comments on the Word Nerd Army blog, and the more followers there are the better chance of getting policy changed. At the moment I am looking for a new ‘Word Nerd Knight of the Month’ for next month – you can nominate yourself or a friend and either gender can become a knight. All the details are on the blog.

Thanks for taking time out to do the interview Rebecca!

Thanks for interviewing me Angie.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/rebeccawoodhead
Blogs and social networks:
http://rebeccawoodhead.com/

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Corny Goodness




Even if you can't say it (mock shoe), it tastes great and makes a nice side dish on any plate. I've made the shortcut version with canned and also frozen corn and it was almost as good as fresh, so this is a year round recipe. Serves six.

For all my carnivorous and vegetarian friends, this one's for you~~

Cajun Maque Choux


1 stick butter or equivalent healthy alternative
4 1/2 cups fresh cut corn
1 can Rotel tomatoes (regular, or spicy if you dare)**
1 cup fine chopped yellow onions
1/4 cup finely chopped bell pepper
2 cups heavy whipping cream (or fat free 1/2 & 1/2)
2 pods fine chopped garlic
1/4 cup fine chopped green onion
1 Tbsp sugar, or 1 packet sweetener
1 tsp Tabasco
Sea salt, black pepper and parsley to taste

**If you don't have Rotel, you can used canned or fresh diced tomatoes spruced up with Tabasco or cayenne for spice.

In heavy 4-quart pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add in corn and cook while stirring for about five minutes. Slowly add in can of Rotel, regular onions and peppers. Increase heat a bit and keep stirring. Add in garlic, seasonings, sugar/substitute and Tabasco.

After about 30 minutes, add in cream and cook about 10 more minutes. Keep stirring and make sure ingredients aren't sticking to bottom of pot. Add in green onions and parsley and stir. Cover with lid and turn heat off.
















Photo by Spamwise

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday Brain Food ~ Dominant Personality Quiz

Photo by Nawal_


You're pretty familiar with your personality, characteristics and quirks, right? Here's a quick and fun quiz about your DOMINANT PERSONALITY TRAITS which might not be quite as well known to you. According to the test, I'm Passion. {Let's not confirm that with King Rufus, okay?} :)

This might be a fun tool to put some of your novel's characters through also. Do you know how they'd react in certain situations?

Hope your week is a great and easy one, especially if you have kidlets transitioning from summer sloth back to school schedules.


~~~


I'm working my way through all the wonderful entries in the Haiku Hoedown last week, and will announce the winner Wednesday, the day we yap about all things writing and writerly.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Boudreaux & Thibodaux on Scuba Diving



In honor of the last days of summer vacation and the sports that fill these months, today we join "da boys" as they contemplate the prospect and science of scuba diving.

Thanks for sending me this one, Daddy!

~~~~

On a hot summer day, Boudreaux and Thibodaux, otherwise known as doze bess friends Boo & Thib (Tib), is down on da bayou fishin' in Thib's ol beat up pirough (aluminum boat) and drinkin' a few cold ones. After a few hours in da hot sun, dey ain't havin' no luck, dem, so Boo starts tinkin' 'bout something else dey might do for fun.

Boo, he ax (asks) Thib, " Mais, Tib, what you tink about us goin' to dem Florida Keys down dere and tryin' us some scuba divin' for a change? We can git down under dat cool water instead'a fryin' out in da sun!"

"Hmmm, I don't know, me. What you know 'bout scuba divin'? I ain't never been," Thib say.

Boudreaux, him tink for a minute or two, den he says, "Me? I don't know nuttin' 'bout it, but how hard can it be? You got your mask on to breath trew, and dem big flipper tings on ya feets, and a air tank for dat oxygen, right?"

Thib tinks on dat for a while, den says, "I guess you right. But I got one question. How come dem scuba divers, dey always fall off dere boats backwards, Boo?"

Boudreaux baits his hook, trows his line back in da water and answers Thibodaux, "Thib, you dumb a$$, you! What you tink'? If dey fell forwards, dem scuba divers would still be in da boat!"

Photo by bubblesandbugs

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Hey Buddy, Can Ya Spare a...

Photo by Marcin Wichary


...Tip?

What's the best piece of advice for writing (or life in general) you were ever read/heard, or learned through experience?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Best Chicken Recipe EVER!


I know it's not Tuesday, our normal recipe day, but I just had to pass this one on before I forgot it in my email inbox. {I'm asking self if there's such a thing as a politically incorrect recipe, but can't come up with an answer.}

Thanks to cousin, excellent chef, Vietnam veteran and all around nice guy JB for forwarding it to me! Hope this delicious dish and the nice bottle of smiley face wine add to your TGIF happiness.

Before the recipe unveiling, I'm sending a THANK YOU to Rebecca Woodhead for nominating the ol' Gumbo Writer blog in Maria Schneider's Editor Unleashed's 25 Favorite Writing Blogs contest. It's a great place to cruise for more writing related blogs!

Oh, and don't forget to enter the HAIKU HOEDOWN on Wednesday's post for a chance to win some Cajun goodies.
Now...the recipe...

LEMON CHICKEN BREASTS

1 whole chicken
1 large lemon cut into half
Sprig of rosemary
Tony's or other Cajun seasoning of preference
Garlic powder, Salt and pepper to taste
Butter or olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rub butter or oil over the skin of the chicken until it is completely coated. Take a knife and gently separate the skin from the breast meat, then slide lemon halves under the skin with the peel side up. This way the juice from the lemon will coat the breasts.

Season chicken to your preference, place sprig of rosemary into the chicken. Cover and place in oven for 30-45 minutes. Remove cover and continue to roast until juices run clear, basting every 15-20 minutes depending on the size of the bird. Bon Appetit!

If you've followed these steps correctly, your chicken should look like this:



Wine bottle photo by rick

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Change of Scenery

This is what I'm looking at right now. It's a scene that couldn't be more removed from my regular view of the world at home. There is perfect quiet except for the birds' morning chatter and the last few spurts of the coffee pot indicating a full container awaits my mug.

I don't get to escape here very often, but when I do, I feel a recharging of body, mind, soul and creativity. I've read a whole book and am halfway through Anne Rice's Called Out of Darkness. Now my manuscript is spread out on the table below this window view awaiting my full attention. (I've asked its forgiveness for the past many months' neglect.)

And you? Where do you go to flee your routine/rut? If you're a writer, how important do you think a change of scenery is to your writing? If there was a writer's retreat within an hour of your home and it offered short term sanctuary for little or no cost, would you avail yourself of it, and what would you want awaiting you there?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Haiku Hoedown!

Photo by cogdogblog


Howdy bloggy buckaroos, prose & poetry podnuhs and writin' wranglers -- it's time for another Haiku Hoedown at Gumbo Writer's Ranch. And, yes, there will be a prize awarded!
So round up your 5-7-5 syllable lines and let's do-si-do. Here's all ya gotta do:
  • Post your haiku in a comment. {Haiku skills rusty or untried? Go here to study up.}
  • If your email isn't connected to your blogging ID profile, make sure I have some way to get in touch with you.
  • Contest runs from now through Sunday midnight, so pass the word around via your blog, word of mouth, twitter, whatever.
  • Myself and another writerly/editor-ish person will judge the entries.
  • Winner will receive a Yeehawww Yummy Cajun Goodies package!
  • Feel free to enter as many times as you're inspired to.
  • Themes on the WRITING LIFE get bonus points.

So...whatcha waitin' fer? Git ta writin'!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Lemony Carrots & Potatoes



If you're looking for a nice side dish, I've got a great suggestion -- potatoes and carrots in a lemony butter sauce. And, yep, it meets Gumbo Writer requirements of easy, cheap and good! Serve with any entree and fresh asparagus to complete the meal.

Lemony Carrots & Potatoes

6 large baking potatoes
1 medium bag of fresh baby carrots
1 stick butter, or equivalent of Smart Balance spread
1 lemon
Sea salt and pepper

Bring large pot of water to boil. Peel and cube potatoes and add to pot along with carrots you've cut in half. Cook on medium-high until soft (but not mushy). Drain in colander.

While veggies are in colander, add butter to pot. When it's completely melted, add veggies back to pot. Season to taste. Cut lemon in half and squeeze juice over carrots and potatoes, being careful not to include lemon seeds. Stir until mixed well. Cover with lid and let sit 10 minutes, then stir again.

Zesty and yummy! Serves 8-10.



Monday, August 17, 2009

Swamped!

Graphic by mackenzienicole

Happy Monday to you, dear Blogorama friends. I've been swamped the last 3-4 days and haven't been able to Tweet or get around to visit your blogs and leave comments. But on the positive side, we're making lots of headway with changes to the newsletter, website and such over at Rose & Thorn!

That's what I've been up to (along with all the other real life stuff)...what about YOU?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Boo & Thib Go Fishin'





**For you non-Cajuns, it's Boo-droe & Tib-uh-doe.

Boudreaux goes an picks up his bon ami Thibodaux to go fishin' wit him down in da bayou. Dey fish all day an finally run outta dem night crawlers.

Boo, him's 'bout ready to leave when he spots a snake wit a big frog in his mout. Boudreaux, bein' one smart Cajun, knows dat dem big bass fish likes frogs, so he decides to steal dat froggie right out of dat snake's mout.

Thib looks over at his frien' an says, "Mais Boo, dat's a cotton mout water moccasin, yeah! You better be real careful or you gonna git bit!"

"Mais, you tink I'm some kinda cooyon {crazy/stupid person}, Thib? I know what I'm doin', but tanks."

So Boudreaux sneaks up behine dat snake and grabs him roun' da head. Dat ol snake, him don't like dat one bit. He squirm and wrap hisself all up around Boo's arm tryin' to git free. But Boudreaux, him has a tight grip on da snake's head, yeah, and pries dat snake's mout open to git da little frog for his bait can.

Now, Boudreaux know he cain't let go da snake or he's gonna git bit good, so he tinks up a plan. Boo reaches into da back pocket of his bib overhauls and pulls out a pint of his Uncle Fouchon's moonshine likker, and he pours a few drops into da snake's wide open mout.

Well, dat snake's eyeballs roll way back in his head and his body go limp all of a sudden. And wit dat, Boo trows it back in da bayou *splash* and goes back to fishin' wit Thib.

Juss a little while later, Boo feels sumptin tappin' on his barefoot big toe. He look down and dere's da cotton mout water moccasin again...wit two more frogs in his mout.

Dat life shore be good on da bayou, yeah!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

All the Little Birdies on Jaybird Street...

...Love to hear the robin go tweet, tweet, tweet!



If you're a Twit, how do you like it? Does it suck up all your free time, or can you only handle it in small doses? Do you love the chatting and connections? Fear learning yet another social networking device? If you are a citizen of the Twitterverse, what's your handle?

Has something wonderful or strange come your way through tweeting? Do tell!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Five Blondes & A Cowboy




For your TGIF viewing pleasure~~~

An old, blind cowboy wanders into an all-girl biker bar by mistake. He finds his way to a bar stool and orders some coffee. After sitting there for a while, he yells to the waiter, "Hey, you wanna hear a blonde joke?"

The bar immediately falls absolutely silent. In a very deep husky voice, the woman next to him says, "Before you tell that joke, cowboy, I think it's only fair, given that you're blind, that you should know five things:

  1. The bartender is a blonde girl with a baseball bat.
  2. The bouncer is a blonde girl.
  3. I'm a 6-foot tall, 175-pound blonde woman with a black belt in karate.
  4. The woman sitting next to me is blonde and a professional weightlifter.
  5. The lady to your right is blonde and a professional wrestler.

Now, think about it seriously, Mister. Do you still wanna tell that joke?"

The blind cowboy thinks for a second, shakes his head, and mutters, "Naw...not if I'm gonna have to explain it five times."

Ayiiiiieeeeee! (Cajun cowboy yell.)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Do Ya Ever Feel Like a...

Photo by idreamofdaylight


...bump on a log? (Or is that a regional saying? LOL)

I don't know if it's because I had a great few days away at the beach, and coming back into my routine is making me feel sluggish, if I'm just dragging lately, or just plain old.

Whatever the cause
, I just want to sit around and do nothing.
What do you do when you feel blah? Give in and wallow in it? Get a change of scenery if possible? What?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Please Take Out Your Notebooks, Class

Photo by Cellular Immunity


First, I've got Part 1 of the interview with Harvey Stanbrough posted at the Rose & Thorn's blog if you missed it featured here. (You ARE familiar with our wonderful little literary zine, right?) If you haven't had a chance to browse and/or follow the blog, consider yourself officially invited! We've been really busy renovating and redesigning for our Fall issue which will be out in mid-October. Kathryn Magendie of Tender Graces and I hope you will sign up to get the announcement newsletter too. {Follow the R&T link above and in the red sidebar on site, you'll find more links to the newsletter subscription, current issue, Twitter, etc.}

We're excited about the new crop of poems and prose we'll be showcasing. And, hey, maybe some of you will be inspired to submit your work in the future!


Second (and don't you hate people who start paragraphs like this?), please visit
Harvey's blog for a wonderful tutorial on the importance of getting your novel synopsis/query parts and pieces done right! You'll thank yourself after you read it. Lots more good stuff are housed at his website.

Third and lastly (is that a word?), Kimmi Richardson is having an awesome giveaway to celebrate her second blogiversary at Writer in Waiting! If you wanna "Get Lucky in Kentucky," check out the contest details. Kimmi is giving away "...TWO two-night, three day stays at (her)100-year-old cottage, Summer Shade."
~~~~
Coming Soon: Interview with the author of Tell No Lies, Julie Compton. Now, you have a great rest-o'-the-week, ya hear?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Temporarily Outta Recipes



Since I've been on vacation, I don't have any new food items or photos to share. BUT, before your taste buds shrivel up in disappointment, I'd like to direct you to fellow blogging Louisianian Marguerite over at Cajun Delights!

Just put "recipe" in the blog search box and you'll find a cornucopia of Cajun deliciousness. And if you have a request for certain types of dishes or recipes, let me know so I can work on that for future posts.

Now, what's your absolute favorite thing to cook and eat? (No, cereal does not count.) :)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sun Lover's Warning


Hello Blogworld friends! I had a great few days at the beach relaxing and soaking up some sun. As always, I took lots of pictures, so maybe I'll post a few more later on in the week.

In case you're heading out for a late summer vacation yourself, or squeezing in a long weekend before the school schedule routine takes over, or just plan on spending some time out in the sun, I've got a tip for you:

Make sure your sunscreen is evenly distributed or you may end up looking like this~~



Thankfully, my smart daughter brought Ocean Potion soothing gel with us, so I'm not hurting. I just look like the mottled muddled creature I am. :)

Sun photo by Alex Stoen

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Wonderful.ness


Have you ever seen a full moon hanging over the water? I have now, and it's something I won't forget.

Hope you see/hear/taste/read/smell/feel some similar wonderful.ness yourself before the weekend ends.



Photo by wendylin20

Friday, August 7, 2009

Wish You Were Here!

This is where I am sitting today, or at the nearby table, working on my neglected manuscript. In a place as nice as this, revisions don't seem so grueling. There is lots of good visiting going on and great food Trudy and I made to bring with us. I truly am blessed to have such a wonderful daughter, and generous caring friends. The laughter and fun comes over me in waves, and it's refreshing!

And if I get tired of working, I refill my coffee mug with Community Coffee's Cafe' Special, and look out at the gorgeous scenery. There isn't a big crowd here because it's the end of the season, so it's pretty tranquil. There is parasailing and dolphin watching tours going on right below us. I wish you all a Friday (and weekend) as beautiful as this:


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Kidnapped!

Dear Blog Friends:

Gumbo Writer has been temporarily kidnapped and taken to parts unknown. Please do not try to find her. She is in safe hands and no ransom will be asked.

If you need information about her well-being, please call her daughter "Queenie" who has stolen her for some mother/daughter bonding before school commences next week. {If you don't believe she's been kidnapped for her own good, see picture of her above.}

Someone will report on how things are going tomorrow, and maybe post a photo.

Thank you for your understanding, and remember, DO NOT notify the authorities. Gumbo Writer is fine and will probably be a little better and saner upon return!

Love,
XXX??

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Cure for "Writer's Block"

Photo by Vince Kusters


One of the best writerly resources I know of is Poets & Writers magazine. Are you familiar with it? Every issue is packed with links to contests, literary news, writer recommendations, how-to articles, classifieds and such. Bonus: the shorter online version is easy to read and navigate if you prefer getting your info fix at the computer.

The August 4th zine says P&W was "Founded in 1970, it is the nation's largest nonprofit literary organization for poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers." Each time I browse P&W or look over the contest listings, I'm inspired. I think, hey dummy, why don't you get a subscription?

So today I'm doing just that. If you're searching for something that will throw lighter fluid on your writing fire, look over P&W's newest contest submissions calendar and/or its tools for writers.

What's your favorite writer magazine, journal or zine? How do you jump start your writing motivation when a blank screen or notebook stares back at you?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Pasta Casserole...For 40!



I got laundry caught up yesterday, and in general just got stuff done that had been on the back burner too long. Aren't ya proud of me?
Thanks for all your sweet comments!

Now, as promised, here's the recipe I used last Friday when it was my turn to cook and serve supper at the men's shelter. It truly is one of my favorite things to do because I enjoy eating and talking with people from all over the US. They couldn't be more appreciative either. Some came back for thirds and fourths!

Several guys requested Italian last time I visited, so my friend, sister-in-law did an Italian smorgasbord -- pasta casserole, meatballs and Italian sausage in sauce, marinated vegetable salad, squash casserole, fresh green beans, sliced round bread loafs and Italian creme pie.

Besides the sheer deliciousness of this recipe, the total cost of Pasta-for-40 is only $27.00. Yay...it meets my credo for cooking (and life in general)~~~good, cheap and easy!

Pasta Casserole

6 lbs. lean ground chuck
5 26-oz. cans Hunt's spaghetti sauce (I use 4-cheese and garlic-herb)

3 16-oz. bags of small pasta shells
3 bags Italian shredded cheese
3 T. sugar or 3 packets sweetener
1 can Parmesan cheese
2 large aluminum pans


Spread one can of sauce in bottom of pans. Brown beef, drain off fat, then layer into pans.



















Brown rest of the beef, seasoning with sea salt, pepper and garlic powder. Let simmer, stirring well to mix.










Cook pasta according to instructions. Drain and add to pot with browned beef. Slowly add in other cans of Hunt's and mix well.









Divide contents of pot evenly into pans. Cover with Italian cheese. Sprinkle on entire contents of can of Parmesan.



















Cover pans tightly with their lids or aluminum foil. Cook on 350 for an hour. Remove covers and heat for 10 minutes on 400.











Let sit for 30 minutes or so, then cut, serve and enjoy!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Taking A Day Off

Happy Monday and have a great week. I'm going fishin'...or rather, just hanging out and getting caught up on a bunch of stuff I've let drag.

See ya tomorrow with a new recipe or two!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Boo & Thib (& Some Blingage)



Yesterday it was blondes, today it's our beloved Cajuns Boudreaux & Thibodaux!

Vacation Boo Style~~

Boudreaux an' his lovely bride Marie talk about it bein' way too long since dey been on vacation, so Boo, him decide to take dem down to dat Cajun Riviera, Holly Beach, Louisiana.

Dere, da couple, dey have some great time! Dere hotel room got a great view, da weather's nice, and it's juss da relaxation da couple needs.

One day, Marie bury Boudreaux in da sand on dat beach. Den Boo, he bury Marie in da sand. It was too much fun, yeah!

A year later Boudreaux is drinkin' at the Prop Stop Bar & Bait Shop wit his bess friend Thibodaux. "Thib, mais I wish you coulda been at da beach wit me and Marie lass year!"

Thib say, "Mais Boo, dat woulda been some fun. I ain't had a vacation in I don't know how long. Maybe we can go dis summer, juss us two?"

Boo tinks and tinks, den orders two more beer. "Hey, Thib mon amie, why don't we do dat? Me and you, we'll go back to dat Holly Beach. While we dere, you can help me dig up Marie!"

~~~



Thanks to Amanda Bonilla at The Keyboard, GumboWriter is sporting new blog badge blingage. The Humane Award (yeah, yeah, we're all aware of my distaste for furballs, {see Colby's video in the sidebar} but the badge, thankfully, features a dawg! And since Amanda passed on the honor to recipients who are supportive of her writing efforts vs. animal lover humanitarians, I shall do the same.

*Sidebar -- It's always hard to pick just a few recipients because I love all my "regulars!"*

Da Rules:

*Accept and post the award to your blog check
*Link to the person from whom you received it check
*Pass the award to 5 other blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgement check
*Let them know they've been chosen for this award check


"Humane" blogs (that might be new to some of you) that love writers and laughter in equal measures ~~

  1. Irish Gumbo - a writing lad if ever there was one
  2. Vodka Mom, who has happy hour 24/7
  3. Crazy Debbie's Suburb Sanity
  4. Lady Glamis, The Innocent Flower
  5. Harvey Stanbrough's informative Writing the World

These blogs are owned by lovely, funny, smart or downright crazy people who like to share and encourage, so go visit 'em!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Puzzled Blonde


I know it's been far too long since I posted a new Politically Incorrect joke, so let's remedy that today. Thanks goes to Kimmi, author of The Unbreakable Child (aka Writer in Waiting) for reminding me via Twitter that I've neglected this group. And we all know Gumbo Writer is an equal opportunity insulter!

As good luck would have it, a dear friend in God Bless Texas sent a great joke just the other day. May it kick your weekend off the right way -- with a laugh~~~




A blonde calls her boyfriend and says, "Please come over here and help me. I have a killer jigsaw puzzle, and I can't figure out how to get started."

Her boyfriend asks, "What's it supposed to be when it's finished?"

The blonde says, "According to the picture on the box, it's a rooster."

Her boyfriend decides to go over and help with the puzzle. She lets him in and shows him where she has the puzzle spread all over the table. He studies the pieces for a moment, then looks at the box, then turns to her and says, "First of all, no matter what we do, we're not going to be able to assemble these pieces into anything resembling a rooster."

*crickets chirp*

He takes her hand and says, "Second, I want you to relax. Let's have a nice cup of tea, and then ..." he lets out a deep sigh, .....................


(scroll down)



..........




"Let's put all the Corn Flakes back in the box."




Jigsaw photo by: donut

Corn Flakes photo by main.gov

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