My Rock from Bali

Today I feature a guest post from my brother, Eddy Ormond, from his recent trip to Indonesia. Eddy assisted me in writing my two books, and I’ve been encouraging him to write for the past few years. And he’s doing it! I hope you enjoy his story, and his storytelling ability. (Note: I posted this to my http://BelievingInHorses.com/blog, but the Comments feature is broken there, so re-posting here.)

My Rock from Bali

By Edward Ormond

One time I thought I was going to die was when I was bodysurfing in Bali. The water looked calm enough with just a few small breaking waves, so with each wave I tried to ride, I swam out further to find a wave with more power. Soon I was further out than I had planned.

Before starting out, the Balinese man who rented lounge chairs to us crossed his arms and pointed to two red flags in the water indicating I should not swim between them. I understood that. So, I left my non-swimming Chinese friend to lounge beneath the umbrella as I set out to swim near a man who was teaching his daughter how to surf. I figured if I stayed near them, I was safe.

Soon, I began to tire, as the current was really very strong. I dug my toes into the sand as I realized I had drifted dangerously close to the red flag area. I did not know what was in there – coral reefs, rocks or a rip tide, but I was struggling to swim in the opposite direction to get away from it. Soon, the water was above my head and my toes left the ground as I battled to swim against the current and away from the flags. I looked for my surfing buddies, but they were gone. I was alone.

I waved to my friend on the shore. He waved back. I remembered he couldn’t swim, so I waved again just to alarm him of my peril. He nonchalantly waved back again. I panicked. Didn’t he see I needed help? I weakly raised my arm and made a beckoning motion to tell him to come closer. He simply waved back again. NO! “Come closer,” I signaled again. Now I just needed the moral support as I might be going under the third time. He waved again! This time it might be goodbye.

I looked around and saw no lifeguard chairs, no one nearby, nor any sign of rescue. I saw only one choice. I had to risk the dangers that lurk between the red flags and let the current push me into the red zone and hopefully ashore. I relaxed into a dead-man float and indeed, the current brought me to where I could put my feet safely on the sand and tiredly walk ashore.

I dragged myself to the lounge chair and plopped down. “Didn’t you see me drowning out there?” I questioned my Chinese friend.

In a “Confucius say” way he answered calmly, “One should never go swimming alone.” Drat! He was right. I had been so carried away by being on the foreign beach that I neglected some basic safety rules. Not to mention, he could not swim! I tried to release my pent up feelings by silently chanting “xiqi (shee-chee), huqi (who-chee) ” or “inhale, exhale” in Chinese, while concentrating on a man nearby who was sweeping the beach clean of all debris, including shells and pebbles.

Sand was weighing down my shorts so I stopped my meditation, got “back on the horse” and went into the water again to rinse myself. I had wanted to pick up a shell for my friend, Linda, but as I mentioned they swept the beaches there to keep them pristine. Then it happened. A fist-sized rock rolled over my foot with the incoming wave. Tickling my ankle, it tumbled backwards with the undertow – my undertow. I had to have it! I scurried after it and quickly grabbed my prize. Holding it down to my side, I promptly brought my secret prize to the chairs and showed it to my scowling friend who asked, “Why do you do such a thing?”

“This is my rock from Bali!” I cried. “Whenever things get bad, I will look at this rock and remember life could have been worse because I could have drowned here today. And when I worry about things too much, it will remind me to drop the rock, so, like today I will not drown.”

Thank you, Eddy, for sharing your true story, and please keep writing!


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Are Writers’ Conferences Worthwhile?

I’ve found writers conferences to be very helpful, and I echo Ron’s recommendation to do your best to try to find the right group that works for you.

Painting With Light

climberWRITING CONFERENCES ARE NOT THIS HARD!

Going to a writing conference isn’t going to help you much with rock climbing (at least I don’t think it will … you never know), but a great reason to attend one … perhaps the best reason … is simply to meet other writers.

If you’re anything like me, the non-writers in your family look at you like you’re nuts when you simply stare at your computer screen because the right words just won’t come.

However, a fellow writer would understand a period of writer’s block and empathize with your lack of sleep while your characters won’t speak to you. They understand how difficult writing can be.

Besides gathering their empathy, it helps to hear about their successes … and their failures. Believe me, I know. If nothing else, it verifies you’re not alone.

If you don’t attend a regular critique or writers’…

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Authors in the Sun – Short Stories wanted.

An opportunity to share your stories, via #TSRA and Smorgasbord – Variety is the Spice of Life.

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

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Authors in the Sun – short stories..

A few years ago when working The Main Ingredient with Kelli Brett​ on Spanish radio we began a series of Authors in the Sun short stories and over the next few years produced four volumes. I also produced on English radio and now would like to revive for the blog.

Most of us have just come through the winter months and could use some sunshine and some of you are heading into winter. Either way it is time to bring some sunshine into our lives.. If you have a short story that has a sunny outlook then please contact me via the blog.  Here is an idea of what I am talking about.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/04/06/authors-in-the-sun-short-stories-blue-jay-cay-by-colin-peck/

The stories remain yours of course but you also get to promote your other works such as blogs and books etc.

I would ask that the stories be edited…

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Pictures from Read Across America Day

jackiemaeauthor

First and foremost, thank you to our State Senator, Senator Edward Reilly and his staff, for inviting Alison and I to join in the festivities at the State House. Arriving early in the morning, Alison and I were warmly greeted by Senator Reilly and The Cat in The Hat.

After introductions all around and group photos we were given a tour. Everywhere you looked there were impressive views. The stairs were magnificent for goodness sake; so I knew the rest of the tour would leave me awe struck. I think I stepped where General George Washington once walked. My hands were on the marble railing that many former senators lightly touched as they descended for an important meeting that would ultimately move our great state forward.

We were given the chance to sit in on a legislative session. During the session, Senator Reilly announced our names and we received a…

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When critique groups go bad…

I’m passing this along because it is the only article I’ve seen on this topic. Thank you, Shelley Koon, of SCBWI MD/DE/WV!

As the Eraser Burns

critique_groupsI talk quite a bit about the usefulness of critique groups and why both artists and writers need to seek them out.  From getting feedback to hone your craft, to forging strong relationships with your peers, the benefits of a good critique group are truly endless.

But what if you find yourself in a group that’s not assisting you in your growth? Or maybe you have a great group but have one member that, despite loving nurturing and support, continuously presents work with the same issues? How do you gracefully bow out? How do you let a member know they are not a good fit  while still remaining supportive and positive?

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To All Book Reviewers – A Thank You

Suffolk Scribblings

Thank you

Writing book reviews is tough. It doesn’t matter whether it is a couple of lines and a rating, or a well thought out essay, it takes effort for a reviewer to translate all the emotions and experiences they’ve just felt and translate it into something concise, considered and heartfelt. Many authors complain about how difficult it is to write a plot synopsis or promotional blurb, but it can be just as difficult for reviewers to condense everything they’ve experienced, complete with explanation and reasoning, into a few paragraphs. And then there is the worry about the reaction. Every author understands the anxiety of letting their work go, wondering if people will love or hate what they’ve written, but it is exactly the same for a reviewer, especially if they didn’t enjoy the work they are reviewing.

Some, lucky few, get paid to review books, but most book reviewers do it for free. And this is important for authors to remember…

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You READ – but do you leave REVIEWS?

Some more great thoughts from Chris The Story Reading Ape….

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

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If not, why not?

I don’t have time

The author probably spent a heck of a lot more time writing the story than you took to read it, no matter how slow you think you are, so why not take a few minutes to record your feelings about it.

I can’t write long fancy reviews like those I see on book review blogs

You don’t have to, Amazon, for example, only ask you to use a minimum of 25 non repeating words.

I can’t express myself very well

No-one is asking you to produce a literary masterpiece, start off with things you liked, didn’t like or a mix of both about the book, e.g.,

I liked this book because –

it reminded me of –

it made me think about –

it made me so scared I couldn’t sleep for –

it made me feel homesick for –

it made…

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