Calliope Writing

Super Exciting Announcements: Not Boring, I Swear

…well, maybe I don’t swear, but I’ll try to make the announcements as exciting as possible.

I Won a Competition!


I’m not one who’s known for winning things frequently (at least, not when you look at how many contests I enter). I won a riddle competition a few years ago, and about a year ago I won a book from a Book Riot giveaway (they have the best giveaways, right up there with Goodreads‘s). But that’s about it.

Until this week.

On February 20, Words Can’t Fathom announced the Blogoquent Competition. Here was the challenge:

How well can you describe LIFE? Can you describe it in just one sentence?

My entry:

Life is a journey in which nothing is permanent and everything is precious.

And I found out on Thursday that I got first place with eighteen votes. Woohoo!

Here’s my badge of honor:


Check out the other winners and their entries here.

Gift Certificates Are on Sale


My other announcement is that Calliope Writing & Editing gift certificates are now for sale over at A Writer’s Path. I have two gift certificates up for grabs:

  • $35 off a 50,000-word proofread valued at $350 being sold for half price
  • $75 off a 50,000-word full edit valued at $750 being sold for half price

If you’ve ever been interested in my editing services, now is the time to jump in and see if we’d be a good fit! You can contact me here if you’d like to chat.

Those are my announcements for the week. What’s going on in your world?


I Demand Your Invaluable Opinion…NOW!
February 2, 2017, 2:15 pm
Filed under: Being Awesome, Books, News, Updates | Tags: , , , , ,

I have some news! I’m going to write a series of eBooks, but I’m having a hard time settling on the topic of the first one.

Here’s where you come in.


What would you want to read about? What would you want to learn about in the writing, editing, publishing, etc., world?

Please leave any and all remarks. I aim to please, and I want to make sure that my first book is one you would want to read.

Check It: I’ve Been Featured on 3 Blogs in the Past 24 Hours

I always get a little (okay, a big) thrill when someone mentions me on their blog or *gasp* reblogs a post or features my work in some other way.

I get as many feels as this guy has.

I get as many feels as this guy has.

So imagine how flippin’ big the thrill was when I saw I had been featured/reblogged on three separate blogs within less than twelve hours.


Check them out here, and be sure to read some of the blogs’ other posts as well–they’re pretty awesome:

Now go have a kickass weekend and…

Write On!

Say it Ain’t So: Fast Typists Are Shitty Writers?!
January 26, 2016, 5:02 pm
Filed under: News, Writing Tips | Tags: , , ,

I’ve always been proud of my typing speed. In seventh and eighth grades, I took a typing class (technically, it was a “keyboarding” class, so I was initially a little miffed to find typewriters instead of electric piano keyboards on the desks) and realized that my childhood piano classes made me quite the proficient typist.

“I can write FAST!” I inwardly bragged. “I can type as quickly as my brain talks to me!”


typing on keyboard

Look at me go!

But Is Speedy Typing a Good Thing?

After reading about a University of Waterloo study‘s findings, however, I don’t know if being a fast typist is something to boast about…

Study participants were asked to type essays, either using one or both hands. After analyzing the completed essays with text-analysis software, the researchers discovered that the tortoise really does win the race–in this case, anyway.

“This is the first study to show that when you interfere with people’s typing, their writing can get better,” said Professor Evan F. Risko, Canada Research Chair in Embodied and Embedded Cognition and senior author of the study. “. . . [O]ur results show that going fast can have its drawbacks. This is important to consider as writing tools continue to emerge that let us get our thoughts onto the proverbial page faster and faster.”

Thanks a lot, typing class.

How Fast Are You?

Not sure how you stand on the fast-to-slow typing scale? Here’s a typing test that will determine how many words you can type per minute.


keyboard and mouseI took the one-minute Aesop’s Fables test and scored 89 wpm. Not my best score, but the test still deems it to be “Pro” status. So now I have to work on training my hands to type slowly . . . or I’ll stick to handwriting those drips and dribbles of poems and stories.

Interesting Stories Floating Around the Interwebs

  • One writer’s not-so-idyllic foray into writing in solitude is outlined in an article on The Guardian.
  • Some great advice I tripped over from Lisa Congdon, which can easily be applied to writing:

“Choose one thing you love to draw or paint (and feel comfortable drawing or painting) already: an animal, object, a person, whatever. For thirty days, draw or paint that thing thirty different ways, a different way every day. You can use different mediums, expressions, positions, colors, whatever. Each day, push yourself to do something much different than the day before, but keep the subject the same. See how keeping one element constant (in this case, the “thing” you love to draw or paint) can allow you to break out creatively in other ways.”

  • Copyblogger talks kaizen and gives some killer, yet easy-to-implement, tips on how to be a better, more productive writer. The bathtub marker idea is genius (I use a waterproof pad of paper from AquaNotes).
  • Becoming a Writer: How have I not read this book? Putting it on my Goodreads to-read list now.
  • I came across this great tool to analyze headlines. Perfect for bloggers and marketing writers. I used it for the headline of this blog post, “Say it Ain’t So: Fast Typists Are Shitty Writers?!,” and it was graded with an acceptable B+. I got some great insights, too. Here’s a taste:

headline analysis

Back to our top story: When you write, are you one to type crazy-fast? Or do you take your time, selecting each word as the perfect one comes to you? Or do you say “Screw typing” altogether and opt to write with pen and paper?

Obsessed with and Fascinated by Outer Space
October 6, 2015, 6:14 pm
Filed under: Books, Literature, News, Science Fiction | Tags: , , , , , ,

Warning: Slightly sentimental talk ahead.

When I was in high school, I would sit on the back patio to stare at the moon. (Okay, staring at the moon was a secondary reason…the main reason was to sneak cigarettes.)

moon in dark blue sky

And at some point, I realized something very serious about myself…

if i were all alone

(…except that’s just not the way NASA does things…)

In college, I fell in love with Elton John (his music and his sparkles). And guess what one of my favorite songs was and is?

And, of course, there are the movies–all the wonderful movies about space! Ah. I won’t get into it. Let’s skip to…

Outer Space in Literature

I haven’t read a ton of books involving space, other planets, and the like, outside of Ray Bradbury and astronomy textbooks. And then I read Andy Weir’s The MartianWhat a freaking completely amazing novel. I might be slightly obsessed.

If you liked physics in high school or college, you love sci-fi, and you haven’t read this book, what the hell are you waiting for? It’s seriously awesome. In the actual meaning of the word – it inspires awe.

And now there’s a movie:

I don’t have high hopes (okay, maybe I do), but I am looking forward to seeing it.

Space is neat.

Space is neat.

And now, with all the talk about water on Mars, outer space is at the forefront of my mind once again. I’m always looking to watch a sci-fi movie, and this quiz about Mars in literature made me realize I have a lot of reading to do.

How do you feel about science fiction? Building colonies on Mars? Total Recall (the original – always the original)? Share in the comments section below.

Extra Stuff for Shits and Giggles

Whatever you take away from this post, remember this:

And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time
‘Til touchdown brings me ’round again to find
I’m not the man they think I am at home
Oh, no, no, no
I’m a rocket man

Will Robots Be Better at Writing Literature Than Humans?
July 11, 2015, 2:54 pm
Filed under: Literature, News | Tags: , , , , ,

Update July 30, 2015

According to BuzzFeed, the robots will never successfully take over the world. Their supporting evidence? This:

I gotta be honest…I’m feeling a little bit better about the robot-caused dystopia I had figured out in my head.

Original Post

Of course they will. Because robots can do everything. And then they’ll take over the world.

Haven’t you seen one of the many movies or television shows or (God forbid) read a book about exactly this? If not, get on it and deal with the facts.

Robots want to destroy the world.

I kid, I kid. Now let’s try to be serious for a moment.

Dartmouth is in the beginning stages of an experiment with the hopes of discovering if robots can create pieces of literature, music, and/or art that are indiscernible from those created by a human being.

Let that sink in for a second.

Brace yourself. And they want to discover if individuals will actually prefer robot-made creative works to their man-made counterparts.

So, this week’s blog post question is:

robot skeleton

literature and glasses

banjo with soul

humor photo praying mantis

My heart tells me the answer is an emphatic “no.” No, robots cannot do any of these things because they’re made of metal and screws and bolts and circuit boards and other things I don’t know the terminology for.* They don’t have the stuff that makes humanity what it is.

So if computers, androids, robots, what have you – if they do create breathtaking art, in whatever form, that leads to a series of other, more serious (and existential) questions, including:

  • Can artificial intelligence possess all that makes an individual human?
  • Is humanity the equivalent of a soul?
  • Does this mean androids can have souls?

Holy cow. That’s a little deeper than I’m willing to go without a couple of drinks, a dimly lit room, and some heavy music playing in the background.

So let’s stay away from the above questions and focus on the one at hand:

Can a robot create literature with passion, music with soul, and art with humor? Sound off below.

*Yes, I know I ended this sentence with a preposition. But come on. Sometimes it sounds super pretentious to restructure the sentence, and this was one of those times.

Wearing Blue and White and Waving My Rainbow Flag–It’s a Big Day

“The courage of life is a magnificent mixture of triumph and tragedy” (JFK).

This month has seen its fair share of both tragedy and triumph.

A Racist Act of Terrorism

On June 17, a racist-terrorist attack occurred in my town of Charleston. If you’ve been away from all media and news outlets for the past week or so and don’t know anything about the Charleston Church Shooting, you can find out more on NBC News.

I won’t repeat the shooter’s heinous statements or even type his name. Instead, I’d like to take a moment and send love to the nine victims (pictured below) and their families.

Courtesy of NBC News

Courtesy of NBC News

There have been countless events, fundraising efforts, etc., to spread awareness about this horrific attack and the shooter’s motives (white supremacy–don’t even get me started), to raise funds for Mother Emanuel AME Church as well as for the victims’ families, and also simply to show support and love for our city and those who inhabit it. Today happens to be Blue and White Friday, and according to the Facebook event, tens of thousands of people are participating. The mission of the event is to “send a strong messages (sic) to the world. South Carolina is united. We are strong. We will not tolerate evil and we will not be afraid.”

All right, on to the celebration part of this post (because we have to stay positive, right?!)

Love Wins

Today, June 26, 2015, will forever go down in history as the day a momentous step was taken toward truly encompassing the Declaration of Independence’s proclamation that “all people are created equal.” (“People” being my modification.)

love wins

As the final ruling of Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court determined that same-sex couples now have the right to legally marry (it was a close one at 5-4).

In celebration of marriage equality, I researched some books that look awesome and have great reviews–unfortunately, I’ve only read a few of them (in bold) and those titles are indeed badass. Oh, yeah–and the books have a LGBTQ theme. Duh!

Bonus poem: Howl,” Allen Ginsberg

“Last of the Colour Coding” by Juhan Sonin (Flickr)

“Last of the Colour Coding” by Juhan Sonin (Flickr)

Also, something to consider before I wrap up: This is my site, so it’s run according to my rules. Name-calling (I know, it sounds like I’m talking to kindergartners, but this sort of thing often needs to be said), aggressive comments, threats, or anything else that I determine is downright nasty will be deleted. I’ll tell you why, of course. But I’m doing my best to keep this site positive and sprinkled with laughs. Let’s keep it that way.

Tragedy and triumph occurring within a week and a half of each other. Life is strange (and so are people, as I learned from Jim Morrison in high school). How do you feel about any of the aforementioned topics? And are there any books you think should be added to the LGBTQ list?

PS: I didn’t even get into the Confederate Flag controversy, although I wanted to, because my word count was hastily approaching what I try to set as my “ideal.” Want to get up to speed on the Rebel Flag debate? Read this, and then let me know your thoughts!

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