Quiz: Those “Cray-Cray” New Words!



New words are constantly slipping into our vocabulary. Let’s see how many of these you can define without looking them up. Give yourself 5 points for each correct answer and an additional 25 points for the bonus entry.  Answers are at the end of this post.

WORD NERDsnervous (adjective–5 points)

mansplain (verb–5 points)

Squatch (noun–5 points)

glamp (verb–5 points)

wordcray-cray (noun–5 points)

demonym (noun–5 points)

Chiweenie (noun–5 points)

subtweet (noun–5 points)

aquafaba (noun–5 points)

schneid (noun–5 points)

word2.jpgonboarding (noun–5 points)

ghost (verb–5 points)

noob (noun–5 points)

bitcoin (noun–5 points)

facepalm (verb–5 points)

word salad (noun–25 points)


snervous:  to be scared and nervous at the same time

mansplain: to explain something to a woman in a condescending way

Squatch: nickname for Sasquatch

glamp: to camp with with amenities not usually found in the wild

cray-cray: anything that seems crazy

demonym: a word used to denote a person who is from or inhabits a particular place (Sooner, Hoosier)

Chiweenie: cross between a Chihauhau and a dachshund

subtweet: term for a mocking or critical tweet that alludes to another Twitter user (often without directly mentioning the user’s name)

aquafaba: the liquid that results when beans are cooked in water

schneid: a losing streak

onboarding: the act of orienting and training a new employee

ghost: to abruptly cut off contact with someone by not accepting phone calls, instant messages, etc.

noob: a person who recently started a new activity

bitcoin: a digital currency created for use in peer-to-peer online transactions
(I admit, I still don’t “totally” understand how bitcoining works.)

facepalm: to cover one’s face with the hand as an expression of embarrassment, dismay, or exasperation

Word salad: a string of empty, incoherent, unintelligible, or nonsensical words or comments

How well did you do?


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Filed under Fun, fun with words, Quizzes, Uncategorized, unusual words, words

What Does It Take to Become an Author? Let Go and Hang On!

woman-writer-at-work-300x200Several years ago, I got a call from a mom who asked if I’d talk with her teenage daughter about writing. The girl, a recent high school graduate, wanted a career as a novelist. I told Mom to have her call me and we’d set a time to meet. Several days went by before the daughter left me a voice mail message. I returned her call with a message suggesting days and times we could get together. She avoided my calls, and our meeting never happened.

I wonder what she’s doing today. Is she writing her novel, or has she given up the dream?

Those passionate about a writing career share a heartfelt, barely controllable urge not only to write but also to learn.  They are eager to meet professional writers and discover what it takes to become one.

Had we met, I would have encouraged the young woman to write her novel. If she felt passionate about a writing career, I would have suggested she pursue a degree with which she could earn a living as a writer—a degree in journalism or creative writing, the pathway to a variety of writing jobs including:

Advertising copy writer
Website copy writer
Business/Public Relations writer
Grant writer
Broadcast media writer
Travel writer
Sports journalist
Newspaper journalist
Technical writer
Creative writing teacher
Video game content writer
Freelance writer
Greeting card writer
Script writer . . . .

Learn more about writing careers: HERE. 

Writer at workIf her desire was only to write novels, then I would have asked if she were willing to concede that she needed a “day job” to support herself. Was she also willing to learn the techniques of creative writing and the business of writing— working with agents and editors?

To be successful and realize the dream of becoming a published novelist, you have to LET GO of:

Any sense of entitlement. The competition is tough.
Any romantic view you have of what it means to be a novelist. It’s not an easy job.
The idea that you know how to write. You don’t. An author is never done learning.
The idea that networking isn’t important. It is!
Your pride. Agents, editors and readers will always criticize your work.
Your time. Authors spend many long hours not only writing but also learning.

and you have to HANG ON to:

Your passion to write.
Your desire to learn the craft and business of writing, and
Your dream of creating a great work of fiction.

Where are you on the path to becoming an author?
If you are a published author,
what advice would you give a would-be-novelist?


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Filed under Aspiring Writers, Uncategorized, Writing Tips

A Tour of 12 Famous Authors’ Homes

I’m back after an unexpected blogging hiatus. The holidays and a flurry of writing projects made me put the blog aside for a while. For one of those projects, I’ve been researching where famous authors lived and wrote. Here’s some of what I’ve found.

I love this quaint little house in Austin, Texas, don’t you? This is the place William Sidney Porter (O.Henry) called home. Can you imagine him penning “The Gift of the Magi” and “The Ransom of Red Chief” here? Find out more . . .


If you traveled from there up to Mansfield, Missouri, you could visit Rocky Ridge Farm where Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote the “Little House” books. If Laura’s daughter, Rose, hadn’t encouraged Laura to write those beloved stories, we might never have known about her.LauraIngalls

twainHeading over to the East Coast, in Hartford, Connecticut there’s Mark Twain’s estate. Personally, I find the exterior foreboding, but the inside is pure Victorian grandeur. Take a look . . .Mark_Rooms_Conservatory

In Massachusetts, you can tour the homes of Emily Dickinson and Louisa May Alcott.

emily-dickinson-homestead-amherst-massachusettsEmily’s home is in Amherst. She’s often described as being reclusive. Can you imagine her sitting all alone in that turret writing her melancholy poems?

Alcott’s home, in Concord, is where she wrote “Little Women.” The exterior of the house might look familiar. A replica of Orchard House was the setting for all the “Little Women” films. The 1949 film is my favorite. If you’ve never seen the movie, put it on your list. You won’t be disappointed.

Let’s make one last stop in the states before we head across the pond to Europe. Did you know that Edgar Allan Poe had a cottage in the Bronx, New York? This modest little house is where he wrote his poems “Annabel Lee”and “The Bells” and also the short story “The Cask of Amontillado”.

Now, on to Scotland.

You can’t think of George Orwell apart from his novel “1984”. Following the death of his wife, Orwell sought solitude. He found it in a farmhouse on the remote Scottish island, Jura. He arrived with only a cot, chairs, a table and a typewriter. This is where he finished “1984”.


A tour of England wouldn’t be complete without visiting these authors’ homes:

Agatha Christie’s home, Greenway, in Dartmouth, isn’t the sort of home I’d imagined for her. What do you think? The house is set on the banks of the River Dart. Her boathouse inspired the scene of the crime in “Dead Man’s Folly”.

Agatha Christiec3e80a879af7a6b354bd167a3f2554be

I love Dylan Thomas’ boathouse in Laugharne, Carmarthenshire. I want to write there!

Dylan Thomas

Frances Hodgson Burnett was the J.K. Rowling of her time. She lived in Kent in this huge house, Great Maytham Hall. Burnett described it “a charming place with a nicely finished park and a beautiful old walled kitchen garden. The house is excellent, paneled square hall, library, billiard room, morning room, smoking room, drawing and dining rooms, seventeen or eighteen bedrooms, stables, two entrance lodges to the park, and a square tower on the roof from which one can see the English Channel.” The gardens there inspired her classic book, “The Secret Garden”. Read more . . .


Thomas Hardy wrote “Under the Greenwood Tree” and “Far From the Madding Crowd” in this lovely thatched-roofed cottage in Dorset. It was also his childhood home. Take the tour!

Thomas Hardy

I wonder how many Easter baskets have held copies of Beatrix Potter’s books. Her Hill Top home , Near Sawrey, Ambleside, has a similar ambiance to Thomas Hardy’s, don’t you agree?

Do you wonder what goes on behind the scenes to maintain houses like hers? Click here.


If you haven’t already, click on the links in this post to see more and learn about the lives of these amazing writers.


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Filed under Famous Authors, Trivia, Uncategorized, Writing Spaces