Tag Archives: contest

And the winner is…

khaula mazhar!

Thanks Khaula for your entry.  Middle loved it.  Please include your mailing address in an email at catwoods (dot) writer (at) gmail (dot) com.  We will get your chocolates to you ASAP!

And the science fair winner was…

  • Not Water.  In its pure form, it froze the hardest and took longer to melt by almost an hour.
  • Not Coffee.  With no fat or sugar, coffee was still fairly pure.
  • Not Milk.  This was my pick due to the fat and sugar, but nope, it was only the fourth fastest to melt.
  • Not Hot Chocolate or Orange Juice.  Both of these melted at almost exactly the same rate.  Oj came out on top during one melt, while Swiss Miss ran a bit hotter the second time around.
  • Mello Yello.

Which made us curious, so we actually did a bit more testing.  It was the only carbonated drink and it had the highest sugar content.  A second set of tests “proved” that carbonation is the top contributor to quick melt times with sugar a close second.  In fact, sugar-water melted almost twice as fast as pure water.

So, science fair project complete and a newer appreciation for the things that we drink.

Thanks for playing and may the melt be with you!


Fresh Garlic, Fresh Writing and a Winner

While working on a major project for our church, I had the wonderful opportunity to strike up conversations with dozens upon dozens of people I had never conversed with before.  One of the hot topics became cooking.

Hands down, my favorite ingredient is fresh garlic.  A clove or three, minced and sauteed in a bit of extra virgin olive oil, can push  a tasty dish to the next level. 

One of the ladies (who is an amazing  cook with over 50 years experience in the kitchen) claimed she had NEVER used fresh garlic to cook with.  EVER.

That confession  was akin to blasphemy in my book. 

But it got me thinking.  Writing is like cooking.  We get stuck in a rut.  We cook the same dishes over and over again because we know our families will eat them.  We use the same ingredients and cook them in the same ways, never venturing too far out of the box for fear that our kids will turn their noses up and our spouses will no longer declare us Top Chef.

When we write, we tend to fall into the same patterns.  Our MC’s are of similar ages with the same fundamental personality traits.  We strike up boy/girl relationships, throw in a conflict or two and add a bully for good measure.

In essence, we cook up a story using the same ingredients.

Our job is to keep our writing fresh.  We need to strip our manuscripts of the canned phrases and salted story lines.  We need to give up on processed plots and go with the freshest ingredients available to us.

Instead of changing our fifteen year-old, female’s hair color from blonde to auburn and making her two inches taller, we need to infuse our MC with a flavor all her own.  She may pick her cuticles until they bleed when she’s nervous.  She might have a habit stepping over every crack in the sidewalk because she truly believes the old childhood ditty–even though she doesn’t believe in anything else.  She might have a touch of OCD.

Whatever the case, we need to write outside the box. 

What happens when the requisite love triange includes a same-sex friendship instead of two hot hunks?  What if the bully is the scrawny, smart kid instead of the lumbering idiot?  What happens when it’s the spouse who has committment issues instead of the detective?

These are small changes–a bit like adding fresh garlic instead of garlic powder–yet they can have a big impact on how our characters act and react.  In essence tiny details can change the entire flavor of a story. 

They can also make the difference between another formulaic storyline or the fresh manuscript that agents and editors are clammering to bite into. 

What do you have cookin’?  What are the most commonly used “ingredients” in your writing?  Can you tweak them in a fresh way to enhance your story as a whole? 

After writing this, I realized my bullies are so yesterday: the petite, cute cheerleader and the blundering idiot.  It is not until my NaNo YA that the bully is a braniac hottie with a penchant for misusing those around him. 

Why is it so hard to take your own advice?!?!?

And so, I shall heed the words of wisdom written by successful authors before me, including Rick Frishman and Robyn Freedman Spizman. 

I hope Lisa finds something useful too.  Lisa Gibson posted the winning comment for my Slumber Party Bash contest.  For her awesome entry and great party idea she will receive a copy of Author 101: Bestselling Secrets from Top Agents.

If you have never visited Lisa’s blog, you should do so today.  Her blog is one of peace and inspiration.  Thanks, Lisa!

MC Slumber Party Bash

Friend, fellow writer and reading fanatic, Lisa Gibson, gave me an idea.

Sometimes when we finish a book, we feel tied to the MC’s like besties.  We admire them for their awesome-possum personalities or near super human abilities.  We imagine what they will do after “the end” and would give just about anything to read one more page.  Just to keep our obsessions alive.

Well, now you get your chance.

I grant you unlimited funds, favorite MC’s as instant besties and a party to plan.  If you were to have a sleep over with your favorite literary characters, what would that party look like? 

  • Guest List (up to six)
  • Location/Time
  • Food
  • Games
  • Invitation Blurb

And to up the ante, I shall proclaim this a contest.  All you have to do is follow these simple steps by this Friday–April 9th:

  1. Comment about your party plans.
  2. Pass this contest along via your favorite social media preference, or…
  3. …blog about it.  Even a tiny snippet will do.  If you don’t have a blog, two seperate social media blurbs will suffice.  PS: don’t forget to include a link to this post.
  4. Shoot me an email at catwoods.writer@gmail.com listing the links to where you spread the joy about the amazing MC Slumber Party Bash Contest.
  5. Lastly, feel free to subscribe to my blog–at least long enough to find out if you won.

For your efforts, I will randomly draw a number from a hat and pronounce the commenter with a matching digit as Slumber Party Royalty.  In addition to your virtual crown and undying loyalty, said Royalty will receive a copy of Author 101: Bestselling Secrets from Top Agents by Rick Frishman and Robyn Freedman Spizman.

That’s it.  So get planning…

Oh wait, just one more rule.  All characters must have their own sleeping bags.  After all, I do write for kids!

Word Wars Contest

Nothing tickles my funny bone more when commenting on a blog than verifying that I am a real person.  Apparently nobody likes spam.  What makes me laugh are the nonsensical words I must retype to acknowledge that I am, indeed, commenting with a fully functioning brain inside my head.

Yet, they couldn’t be more wrong.

Because I easily see something that isn’t supposed to be there.  It’s a bit like cloud gazing where some kind of animal is waiting in the sky to be spotted by the more whimsical of the world.

So, inspired by my imagination and a plethora of uselessly hilarious words, I present Word Wars: the contest. 

If you feel inclined to participate, define any or all of the words listed below in a comment.  A panel of judges (check out my family if you’d like to see them) will vote on the ones that tickle their funny bones.  I’ll try not to let the dog vote, as she’s only interested in food. 

Winners will be posted for the cyber world to enjoy. 

For your efforts, I will atribute each “winning” definition with a link to the author’s blog, website or another cyber way-stop of their choice.  (That is appropriate for my eyes.)

Definitions will be accepted through 8:00pm Monday and will be posted on Tuesday.


  1. lesberri
  2. kannini
  3. tregic
  4. samels
  5. cowpari

As a bonus, please share your funniest word verification words along with your personal defintitions.  The one that tickles my tweeter the most will recieve a copy of Lynn Price’s The Writer’s Essential Tackle Box. 

Spread the word and it will spread the joy!