Posted by: penpatience | March 1, 2021

WRITER GROUPS: Critique or Criticism – ARE YOU READY?

WRITERS WORDS: “Writing is like a sport, it’s like athletics.  If you don’t practice, you don’t get any better.” – Rick Riordan


WRITER GROUPS:   Critique or Criticism – Are you ready?


What is a Writer Group?  A Writer Group’s principal focus is writers helping other writers. The basic purpose is to provide encouragement and writing improvement for participants. Most writers welcome feedback on writing projects in the form of critique or assistance in choosing the right words on a page.  However, a writer group must have a specific format providing thoughtful critique and encouragement to ensure its success, or good and bad behaviors might emerge sabotaging the group.  And the group will flounder and die.

A successful group will choose members with a similar balance of skills. Will members focus on poetry, non-fiction or fiction in various genres: romance, mystery, thrillers, sci-fi or will it emphasize one or two specific genres?  Writers more advanced than emerging “newbies” might become bored while a newcomer might feel intimidated reading among published professionals. Each writer needs to evaluate the stage of their writing pursuits and expectations when choosing a group. Every member needs to feel equally challenged and this can be accomplished by individual friendliness, positive rapport and mutual respect.  ARE YOU READY?  Ask yourself this important question. Can I accept gentle appraisals or critical assessments of my work or would I feel offended? If you answered offended, I’d suggest you develop a “tougher hide” before joining a group😊.

The most important group element is member feedback.  Critique is usually an informative opinion by members on a writer’s project. Criticism can be a derogatory attack on the work, nit-picking or disparaging remarks made to a reader (all unacceptable responses).  And…. Who hasn’t heard these phrases, “Oh, I like it, I didn’t like it, it’s good, I guess, Nah, it didn’t get to me?”  These responses are not helpful. Feedback needs to be specific and offer suggestions and encouragement to improve the writing.

Avoidance of unpleasant or ineffective interactions can be achieved through Group Guidelines:

Place, time, and how often the group will meet: My personal preference is Face-to-Face interaction. However, pandemic aside, many groups meet virtually through various technologies (i.e., Zoom) and web-sites.

Group numbers: A manageable group allows all members the opportunity to present their work and numbers should be limited to achieve group goals.

Time Limits: Set time limits on reading and feedback. Eliminate reader rebuttals and defensive comments. A sincere thank you is sufficient.

Member interactions: Members should always practice kindness, respect and provide positive feedback together with constructive critique.

Networking: Interaction with peer writers is a valuable experience. Allow time after the meeting for members to share chit-chat, a few laughs, writer resources and helpful web-sites.

Alas…writer Groups are not static. They change and evolve over time. Some members leave allowing new members to join.  Others move on to other groups, depart due to time constraints, personal responsibilities, moving away, etc.  Writers may join and leave many critique groups throughout their careers.

Writers interested in joining a group can locate opportunities through online sites, local libraries or other writers.  A few well- known online group sites are,  and


Happy Writing!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

            “May your glass be ever full.

            May the roof over your head be always strong.

            And may you be in heaven a full half hour before the devil knows you’re

            dead.”    –Irish Saying     


Posted by: penpatience | January 31, 2021


WRITERS WORDS: “Animals are such agreeable friends, they ask no questions, pass no criticisms.”  George Eliot




     Americans throughout generations have love affairs with their pets. Over many, many years the care and feeding of pets have changed through improved knowledge, progressive veterinary care, better nutrition, advanced technology and diversified animal training. What has basically remained the same, most pet owners, especially in this 21st century, love their pets and include them as family.

I muse… and recall a childhood dog, a Mutt (mixed breed😊 named Duke. Duke was the proud owner of an insulated doghouse built by our father and was happily domiciled in the back yard. Winter months found him residing in the warmed back porch. Duke ran free, like most dogs in the neighborhoods (no leash laws or mandatory poop pick-ups) and, God forbid, we fed him table scraps with his dog food for supper. Duke loved pasta sauce. Despite being a formidable, mid-sized black dog, he was a happy, friendly dog. Alas, not all loose dogs were friendly and a violent street dog-fight while I was walking by left me afraid of dogs for too many years. (that story will be written in a Doggie Memoir.)

Fast forward to the present where many cats and dogs are now living in comfort inside owners’ homes. Pet supplies and toys abound. Pure-bred, AKC (American Kennel Club) registered dogs can be an expensive purchase. Dogs/cats, left at animal shelters for various reasons, are well-cared for and available for purchase or fostering on a temporary basis.  Most communities have leash laws and daily dog-walking has been hailed as good exercise for both family members and dogs. Thank goodness, there are now hefty fines if owners “forget” to pick up pet excrement ☹.  Dogs today have become helpmates. They are trained as K-9s sniffing out drugs, bombs, missing people and cadavers. They provide solace to injured military veterans suffering from PTSD and, almost always, bestow unconditional love to their Owners.

Going forward… Do you have a desire to write a short story or book-length Memoir of a special pet in your life? (“The Siberian Queen,” my non fiction story, was published in Zimbel House Publishing, LLCs “Puppy Love” Anthology-2015.) If so, there is an abundance of information on writing Memoir including self-help educational classes, books, workshops and internet programs available. And, not to be left out, a “Memoir Writing for Dummies” publication. A few basic tips:

·       Most folks do not want to read your pet’s life story from birth to graveyard.

·       Read and know the difference between an autobiography and memoir.

·       Choose a compelling event that affected or changed you or your pet’s life or both.

·       “Eye” versus “I.” Readers wants to visualize (show) the happenings versus telling, don’t tell the tale utilizing too many “I s. “

·        There have been a few successful and well-written memoirs narrated by talking pets, but most readers prefer not to read a memoir spoken from a pet’s tongue.

·       Check out some famous dogs and their stories: Lassie, Rin Tin -Tin, Toto, Buck and Bullet, The Wonder dog.

Many publications exist, but the following are a few magazines for Memoir consideration: Memoir Magazine, Modern Dog, My Cats Life My Dogs Life, Good Old Days, Readers Digest, All Creatures.

This grandma recalls a few special family pets:

Deceased: Bella: Black Labrador, Ruby: Yellow Labrador, Trojan: German Shepard, Desdemona, Mixed bread- Shepard, King Lear: Kitty-Cat.

Still barking/meowing: Daisy: Yellow Labrador-harrier mix, Bailey Joy: Black dachshund- papillon mix, Little Man: white/brown chihuahua, Smokey: gray chartreuse kitty-cat, and Sir Lancelot (Lance) Golden Retriever (pictured above).

Each pet has a unique story to tell.  What’s special about your doggie/kitty?


HAPPY GROUNDHOG DAY! Always a special day for the famous groundhog, Punxsutawney, forecast. Will it be more Winter days or an early Spring?

Posted by: penpatience | January 1, 2021


WRITERS WORDS:  Winter Lore: “The north wind doth blow, and we shall have snow.” “If snow begins at mid of day, expect a foot of it to lay.” – The Old Farmer’s Almanac




     It’s winter. It’s cold outside. Snow has already fallen in the hills and mountains of many northern and mid-western states including a recent three-footer Nor’easter to insure a white Christmas. Since the pandemic reared its ugly head, many people have become stay-at-home folks and what better way to begin the New Year 2021 with some humor, “old-wives’ tales, legends, myths and customs as expressed by specific groups of people generally known as FOLKLORE.

Merriam-Webster defines Folklore: “Traditional customs, tales, sayings, dances or art forms preserved among a people.”  Wikipedia defines Folklore: “the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people, encompasses the traditions common to culture, subculture or group. These include oral traditions such as tales, proverbs and jokes.” A couple of known examples: The coyote appears in much of Native American folklore and Paul Bunyan is a figure from folklore.

“Goldilocks and The Three Bears” – Goldilocks” made herself comfy, ate the tasty-aromatic porridge in the bear’s lair and managed to escape upon their return. “Little Red Riding Hood” almost became a canny wolf’s supper and kids of yesteryear loved these, sometimes scary, fairytales.  And, my mother-in-law, now deceased for many years, believed unfortunate events happened to you in threes and, always, there was a birth for a death. (“Edythe with a Y,” my non-fiction memoir of Edythe was published in the May 2012 issue of the former Storyteller Magazine.)

Here are some interesting sayings, old wives’ tales, proverbs: (from the 2020 Folklore, Old Farmer’s Almanac)

“If the old year goes out like a lion, the New Year will come in like a lamb.”

“When you move to a new house, always enter first with a loaf of bread and a new broom. Never bring an old broom into the house.”

“Wolves always howl more before a storm. When cattle lie down in the pasture, it indicates early rain.”

“According to folklore, babies born the day after the full moon enjoy success and endurance.”

Proverb: “A year of snow, crops will grow.” Explanation: A several inch layers of snow contain more air than ice. Trapped between the interlocking      snowflakes, the air serves to insulate the plants beneath it.  When the snow melts the water helps to keep the ground moist😊

Wedding Superstition: “Snow on your wedding day is a sign of fertility and prosperity.”

     “So, whether we resolve to return borrowed farm equipment (as did the Babylonians) or drop a few pounds, we’re tapping into an ancient and powerful longing for a fresh start.”

The forecast for the New Year 2021 although overshadowed by the Covid-19 pandemic will, hopefully, bring peace, prosperity and returned health (via vaccination) to the universe for all peoples.

Ah yes, my deceased mother-in-law, I still hear her voice advising me I left out her favorite remonstrance: “you must learn to take the bitter with the sweet.”

To all Readers & Writers:  Thank you for your unfailing support of Monthly Musings over the past nine years. This year, along with viewers and followers within the United States, the site enjoyed views from readers in nineteen other countries.  I continue to welcome your comments and “Likes.” Please note that comments are only read only by this Author.

May you all have a Safe, Healthy and Happy New Year 2021.




Posted by: penpatience | December 1, 2020


WRITERS WORDS: “When we recall Christmas past, we usually find the simplest things—not the great occasions— give off the greatest glow of happiness.” – Bob Hope





     Christmas is coming…the goose is getting fat—NO, it isn’t. The geese are downright skinny this year. And “Old Mother Hubbard went to her cupboard to get her poor doggie a bone. When she got there the cupboard was bare and so her poor doggie had none” YES, there are too many empty cupboards this holiday season.  “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall; Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the Kings horses and all the Kings men couldn’t put Humpty together again.” Well, many folks might feel like Humpty falling off a wall, perhaps because of the horrific Covid-19 pandemic, a fall especially distressing during a time that should be filled with peace, love and joy.

Nursery rhymes date back to earlier centuries and can be defined as “a short rhyme for children that often tells a story; a short poem or song for children.” (Merriam-Webster) Places of origins were many and varied but were recorded mostly in Scotland and England from the 16th century. The history of nursery rhymes’ original and dark meanings surfaced from happenstances in early tumultuous periods. However, today, for the most part, nursery rhymes have become a fun and early learning experience for children.

I muse.  “Pat-A-Cake, Pat-A-Cake baker’s man” is one of the oldest surviving nursery rhymes; an earlier recorded version appeared in 1698!  Many mothers, including myself, played
“Pat-A-Cake” with their young offspring. I recall, when I was a youngster, we joined hands with neighboring children and played, “Ring Around-A Rosie” falling down together in a heap of fun and laughter. And as Bob Hope said in his quotation, “it’s the simpler things that give off the greatest glow of happiness.”

So… what are a few simpler and safe things to enjoy this holiday season:

Family caroling- Grab the kiddos and go door to door in your neighborhood singing your favorite holiday songs. If stale Halloween candy is thrown out the front door…move on to the next house😊

Fortify yourself Christmas morning with a cup of coffee laced with your favorite liqueur while attempting to put that “blankety-blank” bike together.

Bake a batch of your favorite cookies and put them out for Santa. Guaranteed the cookies will be gone by morning.

Include a book of nursery rhymes under the tree and read them to your young children before bedtime.

Recall an early memory: Every Christmas, my Mom put large oranges in the toes of our stockings to munch on while opening Santa’s gifts.

Buy yourself a special or fun gift within your budget.

Donate to your favorite charities to share some holiday joy.

Dear Readers & Writers:  I share with you a Christmas Card poem received by my mother in 1991from a family award-winning poet, Margaret E. Weldon penned at age 85.


The pleasure of sending Christmas cards

I seemed to be denied because of arthritis

And some pills that I tried for a quick cure

Because I needed a rhyme;

To send to old friends at Christmas time.


I called Dr. who said, “for you those pills will not do

You are retaining fluid

Like soot in a flue.

I said to my friend, Stephanie,

“I don’t have the wit. I have passed 85 years:

So, this Christmas I quit.”

She said, “It’s true you are old; but you have grit

If you ask me? I bet you don’t quit.”

With pain of arthritis, from the tip of my toes,

to the top of my head

I threw down my pen and stalked off to bed.


Like a gusty wind I tossed to and fro

I couldn’t drift off, but at last I let go.

But the bells rang out, they seemed to say

Be happy, Be Happy it’s Christmas Day.

then came an anguished cry

Like a win’s sad wail

It was silenced and hushed, by a stronger gale

Then the Bells! The Bells! rang out again:

Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men-

Then in peaceful relaxation,

I awoke with a grin:

Oh! Gee! By Golly, It’s Christmas again.





Posted by: penpatience | November 1, 2020

November-Harvest Time for Thanks & Giving

WRITERS WORDS:” If you can’t see EYE to EYE, Try HEART to HEART” – Author Unknown



November, the month America and other countries celebrate Thanksgiving traditions with family, friends and others unable to enjoy the fruitful fall harvest on their own.

Many of us recall early historical education and documentation on how a small ship, the Mayflower, left England carrying over 100 passengers seeking religious freedom and lured with the promise of new lands and prosperity.  Pilgrims, as they were commonly known, began the arduous chores of establishing a village at Plymouth. As we know, many did not survive that first brutal winter and survivors met the Abenaki Native Americans in the spring. History credits another Native American, Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe, in assisting the new settlers in cultivation and other survival skills. Additionally, the settlers forged an alliance with the Wampanoag local tribe that endured for more than fifty years.

And here we are, generations later, knowing controversy existed then as it does today. I quote excerpts from HISTORY-Traditions, Origins & Meaning, “Historians have noted Native Americans had a rich tradition of commemorating the fall harvest with feasting and merrymaking long before Europeans set foot on their shores …Some Native Americans take issue with how the Thanksgiving story is presented to the American public and especially school children. In their view, the traditional narrative points a deceptively sunny portrait of relations between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people, masking the long and bloody history of conflict between Native Americans and European settlers that resulted in the death of tens of thousands.”

I muse. Today, in the 21st century, we continue to give Thanks for the fall harvest bounty and we continue to be a Giving society that shares our land’s bounty with others.  This year, 2020, despite losing thousands of Europeans and Americans to the invisible foe, Covid-19, history will document our disparities and lost lives, but also record the continuum of peoples’ spirits in sharing knowledge and bounty.

This writer is thankful for:

  • After millions of years, the earth keeps spinning on its axis and no green, one-eyed aliens stop by believing they found a huge new source of breakfast cereal😊
  • When I wake up in the mornings, if my name is not listed in the Obituaries, I know it’s going to be a great day😊
  • Sir Lancelot, my Grand-dog Golden Retriever, who happily provides unconditional love and sits and stays at my command😊
  • Our lands’ diverse and natural beauties: New England Fall Foliage, flower and vegetable gardens, and diverse National Parks preserved and, hopefully, protected for future generations😊

I share the words of Native American, Chief Dan George:

“May the stars carry your sadness away, may the flowers fill your heart with beauty, may hope forever wipe away your tears, and above all may silence make you strong.”


Posted by: penpatience | September 30, 2020


WRITERS WORDS: “Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and died that distinguish one man from another.” – Ernest Hemingway




Times, they-are-a changing. Actually, lives were dramatically and unexpectedly altered in this year- 2020 leaving many folks with different life challenges and predicaments brought about by, of all things, a nasty looking virus that looks like a round multi-legged ball rolling along hitting and missing folks along its path. How dare it affect our lifestyle and future plans!  Vacations and educational goals postponed, the long- awaited cruise to the Caribbean cancelled, future plans and dreams soaring high in the sky are falling down and hitting the ground with a hard THWACK!

Future plans have dissipated like a spilled bucket of hopes and dreams.  Yes, our “bucket lists” are in danger of being unceremoniously dumped. I muse. The term “bucket list” was actually introduced by the movie, “The Bucket List” released in January 2008. Two terminally ill guys portrayed by Morgan Freeman (one of my favorite actors) and Jack Nicholson (another favorite) meet in a hospital and set out to attempt to do everything on their lists before they “kick the bucket” – in other words-die. Well, Morgan and Jack did not have a pandemic viral disease to deal with, but serious health issues took a back seat while they happily and comedically emptied their buckets.

The assumption is a bucket list will include desires you wish to do before your final Swan Song. Buckets may contain vacation trips, personal goals, fun things you’ve never had an opportunity to try. Perhaps you already have a filled list with hopeful time frames scheduled for each dollop inside the bucket.  The question is: “Should bucket lists made before the onslaught of Covid-19 be revisited for change?” Let’s speak to the pros and cons of dumping existing, pre-stuffed pails and refilling them with ……What!   I’m okay with what’s in the bucket!


·       I’ve outgrown some items on the list. Maybe it’s time for some deletions and a few new additions.  Maybe a new hobby or study to stimulate old brain cells before it’s too late😊

·       Climbing state mountain peaks are now too difficult with an aching back. I’ll hike in my state’s beautiful Adirondack Mountains and Northeast parks instead.


·       Travel plans are not safely feasible in the immediate future, but I can wait until the Virus is conquered and go later. Not to worry…

·       I refuse to dump or reload the Bucket. I’m feeling positive about the future and this too shall pass.

My bucket list is half-empty. I’ve been fortunate in past years to scratch some items from the list.  My decision: I’ve decided to dump the remaining bucket and refill it after the Pandemic is tamed with a vaccine. However, one item is stuck and refuses to dump. It’s a long overdue visit to the Grand Olde Opry and Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. I’m an avid fan of classic, “old-time” country music.  Missing from current country music fare is the loving and the dying, the crooning and the crying, good old banjo and guitar pickin’ that many learned to play from scratch in the boonies, countryside and fields. That said, I enjoy all music genres, but The Grand Ole Opry is a historical site that will remain glued to the bottom.


Readers:  What’s in your bucket list? I hope safety and wellness will be stuck to your bucket bottom…

Gaye Buzzo Dunn





Posted by: penpatience | September 1, 2020


WRITERS WORDS: “The spoken word is ephemeral. The written word, eternal. A symphony, timeless.” – A.E. Samaan




     Words, Words, and more Words – the method we all, in one way or another, express and communicate with others. I believe it’s safe to say almost every household has writing materials. Notes tacked on the fridge, grocery lists, pads and pencils scattered everywhere, collecting in junk drawers and mislaid when you need them.

Today, despite technology, texting, typing, many folks continue to write the old-fashioned way—with pen or pencil in hand. I’ve lamented in a few earlier Musings about the value of legible penmanship, moaning and groaning how cursive writing has almost become an extinct dinosaur. BUT…why write when you can whip off an abbreviated text message with cutesy emojis, or type an E-mail, hunt and peck style (I learned to type on an IBM electric typewriter with unlettered keys😊) hoping the grammatical and red spelling error lines won’t appear within your message? Every communication technique has its purpose and hand writing a note of bereavement to friend or relation, or journal/diary entries allowing words to flow unchecked on a dated page indicates, to me, a noteworthy effort.

I recall, a former friend and business associate who every Christmas holiday mailed me a holiday greeting penned in Calligraphy.  Everything from the envelope address to the inside message was so beautifully written I couldn’t wait to open it.  A brief Calligraphy description: “Calligraphy (from Greek) is a visual art related to writing. It is the design and execution of lettering with a broad-tipped instrument, brush or other writing instrument. A contemporary calligraphic practice can be defined as “the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious, and skillful manner.” – Wikipedia-8-14-20 Today, Calligraphy flourishes in the forms of wedding invitations, hand-lettered logo design, art announcements, graphic design and commissioned calligraphic art and many other written works.  A quote by Sarah Miller: “Technology may be steadily growing, making the art of calligraphy a bit less common, but in the end, nothing beats the simplicity of the handwritten word.”

I believe the well-known adage, “the pen is mightier than the sword,” is true. We travel to assigned polling places to elect our U.S. President every four years and state officials as scheduled. Most important, we sign our names and cast our ballots. We write letters to local newspapers hoping they’ll post our reputable views on the Opinion Editor (Op-Ed Columns) pages. We sign petitions to keep perceived atrocities away from our towns and counties (Do we really need a Gentlemen’s Club or another Casino in town😊) There will always be occasions and requirements for people to physically sign important documents. It’s still a wonderful occurrence when you receive an unexpected check and have the pleasure to endorse it on the reverse side at your favorite bank.  Unfortunately, countries will continue to raise swords in defense of beliefs, etc., but deployed military personnel will always appreciate handwritten cards and letters from-friends, family and thoughtful strangers.

I muse. This writer and many others begin writing stories, columns, book drafts, etc. with pencil and pad letting the words flow knowing what was handwritten is often an early draft soon to be transformed and edited when typed on computer. Pens, pads, paper proliferate in my home, car and handbag. There are times when I wrestle to find the right, the best, the most appropriate word and it evades me. Whenever it finally comes to mind, I write it down wherever I am before it eludes me a second time.  Emerging, well-known and successful writers acknowledge the beauty and power of chosen and well-written words is an art form that enlightens, entertains, educates and informs readers.  And many begin with a pen and pad of paper!



Posted by: penpatience | July 31, 2020







WRITERS WORDS: “Oh a leopard can’t change his spots/and oil and water can’t mix/ but I recently heard an old dog learned new tricks.” – John Rox





     I’ve heard many times an old adage, “a leopard can’t change its spots.”  It’s true for a leopard, but for people making lifestyle or other changes in life for better and, hopefully, not for worse, it may not be easy. I muse, it’s a Yes or No answer for changing human spots.

NO– I can’t change. Why should I? I’m fine. Besides change costs too much, I tried to change before. I’m too busy right now. I’ll sleep on it. It’s too much trouble.  It’s a good thought, but impractical. If I think of anything, I’ll consider it…Yadda, Yadda, Yadda.

YES– Let’s do it! Okay with me. We all need to freshen our “psyche” once in a while. I’m all for change. I really can’t think of anything, but I’m open to listening…. Yadda, Yadda, Yadda.

            Can a con-artist, imposter, liar and thief change his spots?

     I was fortunate in May 1988 to attend a former employer’s Annual Meeting in Chicago where the company’s Keynote Speaker was Frank Abagnale, Jr.—- a con-artist, imposter, liar, with numerous other “spots” on his deceitful carcass.  I quote from the book, “Catch Me If You Can” written by Frank with Stan Redding, “Frank is the outrageously daring imposter who practiced law without a license, performed surgery with no medical training, flew a Pan Am jet, taught at college, passed himself off as an FBI agent, and became a millionaire before he was twenty one.”

     Frank, Jr.’s first-victim was his father, Frank, Sr. A sixteen-year-old just discovering girls, Frank’s dad gave him a truck with Frank finagling a credit card from him to fund his exploits with the opposite sex. Frank’s debt was discovered by his father only after a debt collector contacted him in person. His father was more concerned about Frank’s response than the accumulated debt when Frank, Jr. replied, “It’s the girls dad, they do funny things to me. I can’t explain it. This libido and greed-tainted response set the tone of his life until his imprisonment.” (Wikipedia-07/15/20) I won’t discuss Abagnale’s troubled childhood or the many fraudulent escapades as the information is available online, in his book, and of course the December 2002 movie, “Catch Me if You can,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, and Christopher Walken.

     Bad guys, eventually, are caught and Frank, Jr. was no exception. He spent 12 months incarcerated in a French prison, 6 months in a Swedish prison and sentenced to 12 years in a U.S. federal prison for multiple counts of forgery. After approximately five years in the American prison he was paroled on the condition he’d help federal authorities, without pay, against crimes committed by fraud and scam artists.

     After parole, while working a host of ex-con menial jobs in between, Frank began a legitimate life as a banking security consultant. Later, he founded Abagnale & Associates advising the business world on fraud and payed back everyone he scammed throughout his criminal career. I muse: a criminal who evaded capture posing as an FBI Agent earned a thirty- year relationship teaching at the FBI Academy and lecturing at FBI field offices throughout the country. It appears Frank Abagnale, Jr. a naughty leopard, changed a few spots while transitioning from the bad to the good side of the law.

     Food for thought: Perhaps we can emulate “the dog that learned new tricks and alter a spot or two on our human hides—for the better of course!


Dear Readers & Writers: Be Well! Stay Safe! Wear Your Mask!


Posted by: penpatience | July 1, 2020


WRITERS WORDS: “I love cooking with Wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.” – W.C. Fields



Human beings may never forget this summer of 2020. Never in our most horrific dreams did we foresee our generation would experience a horrific pandemic – a viral scourge with no remedy and spread like a wildfire that could not be contained. Everyday lives have been turned upside down. Folks hunker down inside abodes hoping and praying the Covid-19 blight will pass them by.  We’ve learned and employed new safety practices. We travel around with masks on our faces, wash our hands incessantly, spraying hand sanitizer whenever we touch anything and everything. However, we must persevere through this pandemic and yes, while entrenched at home attempting to adjust to altered routines, it’s okay to Whine and Wine.

It’s difficult not to whine to immediate friends and family via cell phone, texts, Zoom and other online technologies…and aren’t we lucky to have these opportunities this time around? Historically, and way before our time, worldwide in the years 1346-1353 there was the Black Death in Europe – the Bubonic plague. The Plague was the most fatal pandemic recorded in human history where it was estimated 75-200 million people died. Wikipedia states, “The plague created religious, social, and economic upheavals with profound effects on the course of European history.”  I also recall the Ebola and HIV contagions that again affected and killed individuals until vaccines, thankfully, were eventually developed. And, yet, the past cannot offer solace to countless people today who’ve lost loved ones, livelihoods, and customary freedoms to pursue events and hobbies as before.  What we do have are advanced scientific developments. Systems and professionals are filling necessary roles not available in previous generations combating this invisible disease assuring that vaccines will soon become available. However, sitting here waiting for solutions and writing this musing, I realize it’s five o’clock somewhere. It’s time to have a little fun with Wine.

I muse. Wine is a great beverage we may enjoy at home during preferred Happy Hours, dinner or sitting on the deck in late evening enjoying the moonlight and stars unaffected by the virus😊.Wine pronunciations sometimes can be intimidating to pronounce when ordering at restaurants and purchasing at retail outlets.  Listed below is a short, but fun pronunciation guide for some favorite wine types:

Johannisberg Reisling – Joe-hahn-iss-berg Reezling

Cabernet Sauvignon – Cab-er-nay Saw-vin-yawn

Chenin Blanc – Shen-in Blahnk

Pinot Noir – Pea-no Nwahr

Chablis – Chuh-blee

Merlot – Mer-low

Zinfandel – Zin-fun-dell

Chardonnay – Shar-duh-nay

Petite Sirah – Puh-teet Ser-ah

Fume Blanc – Foo-may Blahnk

Enjoying wine or other favorite beverage at home has advantages:

  • You’re not driving the car-Never drink and drive!
  • Time for indulgences in wine, cheese and other appetizers before dinner
  • Cost effective – Pre-tasting new wines at home versus ordering an untried bottle at a restaurant is less expensive
  • You get to do something that gives you camaraderie, relaxation and joy

Worldwide, we earthlings have a long way to go before life returns to what will be a new normal. Historically, we’ve experienced many advances over many generations. We’ve gone from the horse and buggy to the Moon and space with future technologies will be mindboggling for our children, grandchildren and future generations. My motto, “something good always comes from something bad.”

Going forward, I vote for Wine versus Whine.  To your good health, happiness and safety.


Posted by: penpatience | June 1, 2020

WRITERS! “Everybody is a Salesbody”

WRITERS WORDS:” Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation.” – Zig Ziglar



Many businesses, organizations employ salespeople, individuals who promote products and services to contractual or potential buyers.  Salesmanship is an occupation practiced by many, a learned craft often requiring different backgrounds, education and technical skills to meet client and customer requirements. It can be a demanding career where precise sales criteria must be met to be considered a successful “Salesbody.”  However, individuals don’t necessarily have to wear a salesmanship hat to sell and I believe Everybody IS a “Salesbody” — and so does Zig Ziglar!

One of my treasured self-help books published in the 1980’s, but remains current to this day is Zig Ziglar’s, “America’s #1 Bible of Persuasion, Secrets of Closing the Sale.”  I quote from the inside cover, “Not only is Zig Ziglar the world’s great motivational speaker, he’s a talented writer who sells the good old American principles of honesty, integrity, dependability and supreme effort to learn professional skills.”  A successful salesperson usually is career oriented, adaptable, looks and acts professional, should be a person of principle, a hard worker and, most important, keeps abreast of new policies, procedures and techniques.

Consider the “Everybody” — Coaches, dentists, builders, interior designers, ministers, retailers, doctors, lawyers, waiters/waitresses, insurance folks, bankers, writers and the list goes on and on…… Yes, writers are “Salesbodys.”

Perhaps emerging and experienced writers might be skeptical or unaware of this theory, but it is no longer enough to write the novel, book, memoir expecting readers will rush to the bookstore or e-site to purchase the manuscript that consumed two years of your time, sweat and tears to complete.

Years ago, I was fortunate to learn over many sales training courses a salesperson sells him/herself first. Preparation, call it grunt work, has to be done. A writer must methodically research Editors, Agents, Small and large presses including the Big Five. (who knows, you may get lucky) There are multiple self-helps books, writer magazines and online sites to assist you. One of my favorite books is, “Your Novel Proposal from Creation to Contract” written by Blythe Camenson and Marshall J. Cook. It’s a complete guide to writing Query letters, Synopses and Proposals for Agents and Editors. I equate this research and additional work to asking an Agent/Editor to dance knowing it’s not the time to step on a pending partner’s foot.  And you’re not through yet.

Rejection, a salesperson’s dreaded response. The customers are not buying.  Thank you, but no thank you. After all that work the rejections come rolling in and sometimes, no response at all.  You’re in a blue funk thinking you may as well put the story on Amazon for $.99. Maybe someone will read it. Writers often get discouraged, but usually they regroup, redo, reread, rewrite and try again.  It only takes one YES. Then, there’s the “what if.”  What if the YES doesn’t happen? Well, I muse about the late country singer, Kenny Rogers and his famous gambler tune, “you have to know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em.”  It’s a decision that should be made, perhaps temporarily, to put that particular project aside and work on something new and return to it at a later date with a refreshed approach.

Listed below are a few suggestions to add to your Salesmanship to-do list:

Communicate. Tell and sell on your preferred social platform: Facebook, Blog, Website, Newsletter, etc.

Follow informational and successful Author websites. One of my long-time favorites is Hope Clark’s Funds for Writers.

Enroll in continuing educational writing courses covering your specific genre interests. Re-polish your writing skills.

Learn how to accept rejection with a smile instead of a snarl. Sell yourself everyday to someone, somehow, somewhere, preferably on your chosen, professional platform.

Practice good salesmanship.

Write On!  Read on!  Stay well!  Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads!

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