Monthly Archives: August 2011

What Happened at the Library

I got to the library around 1 PM, but by that time all the good books were gone. All the books I wanted to read, that is. The new fiction had been picked over, and even the murder mysteries had nothing I hadn’t read., which was how I ended up at the back of the stacks in the Medieval History section. Desperation, sheer desperation.

I stared at the book. The title read, “A short history of the middle ages.” The book measured about a foot across and weighed, I guess, close to the twenty pounds I’d put on since Brett and I broke on Valentine’s day. I picked it up, mostly because I wanted to throw it at Brett’s head. What a momser. I mean, seriously, who breaks up on Valentine’s day?

Don’t bother to answer that.

I picked up the book, and the whole bookcase swung back. A puff of foul air hit me in the face. Phew. Bad mold, lots of dust. I’m allergic to dust. Mold, too.

“Are you all right, dear?” the librarian called out. She stuck her head around the stack. “Oh, dear. They told me they’d sealed that up. Oh dear.” She was about my grandmother’s age, with white whispy hair and a round little body.

I didn’t answer. I was too busy sneezing. Maybe that’s why the trolls who tromped out of the passage grabbed her instead of me.

That’s how come I went and bought all those books. Really.

Chuck and Al

“Shut the door.”

“But, Chuck, what about the chicken?”

“Al, you dummy, kick the chicken out into the yard and shut the door.”

“What then?”

“Wait until it stops moving, then bring it in to me.”

“And after that?”

“After that you wash the damn floor.”

“Sure, Chuck, sure thing. What then?”

“Then you’re fired.”

Chuck’s Chicken

I rolled up to the takeout window at Chuck’s Chicken, Where The Chickens are Still Clucking and stuck my head out the open window, sucking in a large breath of the damp, heavy summer air.

“Waddle it be, sweetie?” The guy, bald, and at least 300 pounds, leered at me. His name tag read, “Chuck.”

“Two thighs, a side of corn, a side of mashed potatoes, and corn bread. No gravy on the potatoes. Oh, and a large lemonade.”

I waited for Chuck to repeat my order back to me. Instead he held up a hand, gesturing STOP, and turned away from me. I heard a voice yelling from inside the restaurant.

“Chuck, that chicken you wanted me to slaughter? I chopped off its head, but it’s running around the kitchen, and it’s dripping blood everywhere.”

“Al, you idiot, I told you to kill the damn bird out in the yard.”

I swallowed, started my car and drove away. And here I’d thought when Chuck said, Still Clucking, he’d been feeding me a line.

Guest post by Brinda Berry: Talent is Cheap

Talent Is Cheap

Stephen King said, “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” From a man who has published 49 books thus far, these words speak for a lot of writing experience combined with more hard work. You may or may not be a Stephen King fan, but the truth of his commercial success lies in the sales numbers, devoted fans, and bestseller list status. I believe what Stephen King says about talent being cheap. It’s abundant out in the world. There are countless writers who craft eloquent and mesmerizing stories…and they never make it. Here’s what I believe to be the magic formula for becoming a successful author: Talent + Hard Work + Opportunity = Success.

Writing is hard work. I’m not just talking about the act of putting words on paper. There is much more to the business than turning a blank page into a great story. Most of the writers I know study craft, write numerous drafts, critique for others, discuss techniques, attend writer meetings, and work a job that pays the bills.

Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book called Outliers, The Story of Success, where he talks about the 10,000 hour rule. One of my favorite lines in the book is, “Achievement is talent plus some preparation.” Then Gladwell begins to talk about how small the role of talent is in relation to the bigger role of preparation. In Chapter Two, he mentions the names that we all know: Bill Gates, the Beatles, and Mozart. Gladwell says that research shows us a common component to the success of these individuals. They all worked hard pre-success by practicing for many hours- 10,000 hours at the very least.

Although talent and hard work are necessary in the beginning, you must then find an outlet for the story and people who will travel on the journey with you. Query letter writing and the pursuit of an agent or publisher are a must. This is the best way for opportunity to “drop” into your lap.

I have talked with quite a few people who say, “I’ve written an unpublished book.” The problem is that no one else knows about it. A book stored on your computer is about as useful as singing in the shower. You only did it for the recreation. It fulfilled you in some way. There’s nothing wrong with that if that makes you happy.

If you didn’t write the story purely for the act of writing itself, then you must take the next step and find your opportunity. You can seek opportunity by networking and research. Engage in activities where work can be submitted. The internet makes it impossibly easy to find the people who can guide, advise, critique, and discover you. Believe me when I say that opportunity is out there. The difficult part will be selecting the best resources. You might find that some hard work helps someone discover your talent.

Summer Blog Tour Contest rules:

About the author: Brinda Berry has always loved reading about the
adventures of others. She also believes there’s a little romance in
every story ever told. Brinda lives in Arkansas with her family and a
couple of terribly spoiled cairn terriers.

Her debut YA novel, The Waiting Booth, released on July 15th, can be
found at various online bookstore links:


Barnes & Noble:

All Romance ebooks:

Etopia Press:

Blurb: A missing boy, government agents, an interdimensional portal…

Mia has one goal for her senior year at Whispering Woods High—find her
missing older brother. But when her science project reveals a portal
into another dimension, she learns that travelers are moving in and
out of her woods in the most alarming way and government agents
Regulus and Arizona are policing their immigration. Mia’s drawn to the
mysterious, aloof Regulus, but it’s no time for a crush. She needs to
find out what they know about her brother, while the agents fight to
save the world from viral contamination. But when Regulus reveals that
he knows Mia’s secrets, she begins to wonder if there’s more going on
than she thought…and if she was wrong to trust him…