Chrysalis: Emerging Women Writers

January 31, 2009

Tough Questions for Writers and a few Answers

Filed under: Writing — Barb @ 12:36 am
Tags: , ,

Okay Writer Gals,

You’re creating and composing and your brain glitches to a halt with the question:

What’s a way to indicate who’s talking without using “said” everytime? (And don’t use those “telling” adverbs: i.e. said angrily, happily, scornfully, stupidly,”

Or…maybe you wonder…how do you say raspberry beer in German?

Or…what’s another word for honor?

Or…do you underline or italicize the names of pieces of scupture?

Here are some of my favorite links to answer those questions, because I’m sure you don’t want me calling you all in the middle of the night looking for answers.

“Where editors, agents, writers, and readers get connected.
Thousands of articles on how to write,… interviews with bestselling authors and publishers.
Find a literary agent, find a book publisher, … and much more.”

One site for quick access to the best internet tools. Included are the following types of tools: Search, Language, Research, Financial, Map, Internet, and Finding People.


Type in a word and then choose one of the following to go with it to search for:
rhymes, synonyms, definitions, homophones, similar sounding words, match consonants only, related words, phrases, or check the spelling

Purdue University OWL offers over 200 free resources including:
Writing and Teaching Writing
Grammar and Mechanics
Style Guides

Some of these sites may help me make a real haiku to submit to HaikuVerymuch.

Next week we’ll see why Chuck Norris prefers the thesaurus over a dictionary.



January 25, 2009

Connecting With or Without a Thermos

Filed under: Sisterhood,Writing — Barb @ 12:31 pm
Tags: ,

At the end of every Chrysalis meeting, I’m struck by the connections. There are lots of connections going on at those sessions, but I’ll come back to that. I previously promised to talk about being hooted and whistled at by guys.

It’s been so long since it happened, I’ve was shocked when a group of construction guys pointed and yelled as I passed them. I was pretty embarrassed when I stopped at Fred Meyers, got out of the car, and discovered they’d been trying to tell me that I’d left my coffee thermos on top of my auto. Okay, as embarrassing as it was, it was still a connection. They were trying to help.

One afternoon last summer, on my way to Chrysalis, I passed a student who had what I call “Texas Beauty.” Somehow the Cowboy state yields young women with great hair, lavish contours, and long legs. I stopped and stared at her run-way saunter as she strolled down the college sidewalk.

I wasn’t the only one. Two women snagging a smoke next to the building stared after her, also.  “Did you see her skin,” I gasped. “It was absolutely perfect.”

“No,” one of the smokers gaped. “I was staring at her teeth. They were whiter than God’s.”

“She even looked like she had a brain,” the other smoker said.

We watched as the next Heidi Klum progressed down the sidewalk. Men and women turned in her wake, staring at her as she passed.

“I bet the three of us can take her,” one of the smokers smirked.

We all looked at each other. It took two seconds before we broke into hoots. I walked away; the other two went back to their afternoon break.

It lasted only an instant, but it was a connection. The three of us had formed a sisterhood over our lack of knock-your-socks-off beauty. For a moment we were willing to share that we were missing something and wished we had it.

The same types of little (or big) connections happen on Wednesdays.   Some are quick moments when we feel what another writer is saying because we’ve lived through a similar experience. Sometimes we can hear the anxiety in the reader’s voice and we connect back to the first time we read our sacred words to a group. We know that moment of nerves.

We connect through our willingness to expose to each other the simple or complex techniques that we don’t know. It took me a year (or more) to stop writing papers with comma explosions all over them, but I connected with people who were willing to help.

Sure there’s the social interaction, finding out and keeping up with others’ lives, celebrating birthdays, listening to each others’ fears or problems.

But mostly we are there to gently hold the words when a writer gives birth to a new creation. We take turns reading our crafted works, knowing that others will understand when we miss the mark; or when some of us don’t have a clue about poetry (how can you all reel off haikus without counting on your fingers?)

We hoot at the scenes that tickle the memory of embarrassing moments in our own lives. We cheer when a protagonist wins a victory. We push chocolate around the table and congratulate the person who just got published. We hug. We connect.

The image of the new being emerging from a cocoon is perfect.  Chrysalis. A safe place to make mistakes in the process of growing.

A place to be silly, serious, or searching.

A place to evolve.

A  good place to leave your thermos.

January 8, 2009

Hey! It’s Your Blog, Too

Filed under: Uncategorized — Susan Landis-Steward @ 5:55 pm

Please feel free to make suggestions to improve the blog.  What do YOU want to see here?

And Barb has offered to write a weekly post on Wednesdays. Anyone else want to have a regular day? Just let Susan or Lisa know.

January 7, 2009

Welcome to Chrysalis: The Blog

Filed under: Uncategorized — Susan Landis-Steward @ 9:39 pm

Hi ladies!  I just added another obvious page: Buy Our Books. While we are not going into the bookselling business, ie. not going to handle money or mailing or any of that stuff, feel free to put a description and links to Amazon, your own email, or whatever. If you put an Amazon link, let us know and we’ll sign up for Amazons associate program. May make a few buck for the chocolate fund!

Are there any chapbooks left? If so, we can list those as well if someone want to volunteer to handle orders. I doubt there will be much volume but there needs to be somebody to handle these requests.

I also changed the front page to be the blog because all the other pages are static (meaning not updated frequently or easily). Use the blog to discuss things of interest to other writers, group news, etc.

Lisa and I are co-administrators of this blog and hopefully Pat will agree to join us.  Administrators get to do things the rest of you can’t. But anyone who signs up for a free WordPress blog can become an author and write on the blog, add a bio, make a link to your book, etc. If you have trouble, you know who to ask for help.  Lisa.   Okay, or Susan.

Blog at