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It’s A ‘Short And Sweet’ Mother’s Day!

May 12, 2019 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby, Writing tagged as ,
Blog Post title graphic It's A Short and Sweet Mother's Day by Denise M. Colby

Today is Mother’s Day. I was very excited when I realized my monthly post fell on this special day. I knew immediately what I wanted to write about. So first, I want to wish everyone a Happy Mother’s Day, whether you are a mom or you have a mom (which we all do, even if they are no longer with us!)

This is my first Mother’s Day since my mom passed.

I have to admit, it’s really weird. But as a mom myself, I’m celebrating with my kids and my mother-in-law, and thinking about my mom in so many ways.

A quote for Mother's Day by Mitch Albom - Behind all your stories is always your mother's story. Because hers is where yours begin

I’ve actually written a lot about her this past year. Writing is therapeutic, so maybe writing about her has been part of my healing process. So given it’s Mother’s Day, I figured you wouldn’t mind if I wrote about her, again.

After all, she is my mom!

Book Cover for Short and Sweet's Family Album By Susan Cheeves King. Article #47 Thank You Mom by Denise M. Colby
A collection of stories with special emphasis on mothers, fathers, and grandparents.

Even though I miss my mom, I have much to be thankful for this Mother’s Day, including a new article published in the 6th edition of the Short and Sweet series, titled Short and Sweet’s Family Album. All of the articles and poems are written about family members and each article is in one word syllables.

My article is all about my mom, titled Thanks To Mom

I had originally wrote it as a poem a few years back (which I posted last July in the post Smile and Be Grateful In The Little Things when my mom passed away). 

Since it was not included when my first article was published in the 3rd edition, which I wrote about in this post, I was quite excited to be contacted for this issue.

The back cover of the book Short and Sweet's Family Album by Susan Cheeves King, Includes article by Denise M. Colby titled Thank You Mom
60 authors wrote each piece using only one-syllable words or words of fewer than six letters

The editor asked me to rewrite it in prose vs a poem, so it’s completely different than the poem, even though the underlying theme is the same. I was even able to include a picture of my mom and myself.

It’s special to me, that I’ve been able to write about her in such a permanent way.

And it’s special to me, that I have yet another publishing credit to my name! I love being a part of the Short and Sweet family.

And Mother’s Day is a perfect time to celebrate both my mom and my writing.

Have a blessed day!


A quote for Mother's Day by Abraham Lincoln - all that i am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother

Books by Denise Colby

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My First Audiobook Experience

January 12, 2019 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby, Writing tagged as , ,
My first audiobook experience Denise M. Colby blog post at Slice of Orange

I know I know. I ‘m late to the party. Audiobooks have been around for a while now and I know several people who prefer listening to reading, due to several reasons. And for just those reasons I’ve been wanting to try out an audiobook.  I just hadn’t had a moment to sit down and figure out which book, which app and what I would do while I listened.  

Some have asked me why I don’t just play a CD in my car, but our CD player has been broken for years, and most of the time the radio is off as I’m picking up and dropping off kids and having conversations with the family. Rarely am I in my vehicle long enough to get into a chapter or even a scene while driving.

So, I finally asked a friend who listens to books all the time to help me out. That accountability helped me to commit to trying out this new way of “reading”.

I decided to try the new Libby app from my library.

I was giddy with glee when I selected a book. I mean my house was a mess and I planned to listen while folding laundry and cleaning up things with the goal of wowing my husband while getting in a good story. All good plans, right?

With loads of excitement and anticipation, I opened the file and pushed play….and immediately picked up something to look at. 

My first audiobook experience blog post by Denise M. Colby on Slice of Orange

My eyes could not, not look at something. They felt lost. They were so used to being the medium with which I take in and process information, they didn’t know what to do with themselves.  

I found it actually quite weird. 

And funny.  

So it took me a bit to get going.  

And as I kept going, I kept picking things up to look at and it would take me out of the story. So I had to learn to not take in things with my eyes. At one point I thought this might be a good sense stretcher for me in not being so dependent on my eyes. I tend to need to see something in order to remember it.

Listening is harder for me.  And this exercise confirmed it.

And then my mind couldn’t get used to the voice. It sounded completely different than how I read in my head. I’ll admit, since it’s my first one, I didn’t know if they all sounded like this or not, but I do know when I read, I say phrases differently. 

So that took some getting used to as well.

My first audiobook experience blog post by Denise M. Colby on Slice of Orange

The whole experience was not what I was expecting.

Quite frequently, I would get focused on my task and not quite hear the phrase read, but then I had no idea how to rewind. By the time I figured it out, the story had moved forward quite a bit, and I didn’t know how far back to go. I found myself not remembering the story as well, either. 

When I come across brilliant writing, I love to read over the passage a few times. Savor it. Let it sink in. Slow. Fast. It varies based on how my brain absorbs it.

Again, with listening, I was past the section before I knew what to do about it. I finally figured out I could tap my app and back up 10 seconds, and I tried the rewind a few times, but it just didn’t have the same affect for me. Also, I still felt challenged as my hands were busy while I was listening, and I found I couldn’t get to my phone fast enough. By the time I did, the story had moved on. Again.

But I felt I missed something. Deeply.

The first day, I got a good way into the story (and caught up with my laundry) and looked forward to the next session. But I found out that when you don’t have a habit you have to be very purposeful to keep doing it. I needed my headset handy, my phone charged, no one in need of anything and all of it to come together for me to connect again. It seemed the times I had available to listen, I couldn’t get those things all to line up together. It made it a bit challenging, but I persevered.

There were several things I noticed:  

My First Audiobook Experience blog post by Denise M. Colby on Slice of Orange

1. Showing me how much time I had left to listen to the book made it feel more daunting.

Like a chore.

When I read and tell myself, “Just one more chapter”, I may take a long time but I’m not really keeping track. But the app? It told me right there — you have four more hours!

And I already spent four hours already. That’s like me pointing out to my boys when they watch videos. “You spent 25 minutes on that one video? That’s 15 minutes you could be working on your homework or cleaning your room.”

Yep, that voice! It was now yelling at me!

My First Audiobook Experience blog post by Denise M. Colby on slice of orange

2. I’m a fast reader, but when I sped up the voice, it felt rushed to me. 

Which made me laugh out loud.

The voice didn’t get higher pitched. It was still quite clear. Which made it sound like speed listening. And alas, I couldn’t process as well, which leads into…

3. I found it harder to process through my ears.

I can read a book with my eyes and tune something out but still be able to hear things. I couldn’t hear anything else when I was concentrating on the story in my ears. I guess I’m not a verbal learner. Also I like the voice I hear in my head. I envision a certain sound and what it sounds like. But with audio, you end up with the voice of the book in your head and I felt it took away for me. Not the fault of the voice actor, just it was so new and different for me to get used to.

My First Audiobook Experience blog post by Denise M. Colby on Slice of Orange

4. I felt like I was purposely tuning everyone out, not to enjoy my book, but so I wouldn’t hear them. 

It’s hard to have a moments peace in my house.

The dog wants out, the kids are asking a question. Unless I was home alone, I really couldn’t put my headphones in and just listen and absorb the book.

Also, I mostly read at night before I go to bed. It felt funny to me to put my headphones in with my husband in the room. It was like I was purposely tuning him out.  Shouldn’t be a big deal but it felt like it was.

I really didn’t want to read another book while listening to this one, but there were times it was just easier to pick up a book.

So I did. Then one day I went to listen and the book had gone back to the library.  It had been three weeks already! And I wasn’t even half way through.  I borrowed the book again and was able to keep plodding along to the end.

All in all, it took me much longer to get through this book than when I read. And the amount of time spent was there right in front of me.

I realize now, I prefer not knowing how much time I spend reading. To me, that’s part of the magic of reading. You get lost. Time gets lost. There’s no one keeping track.

My first audiobook experience blog post by Denise M. Colby on Slice of Orange

All in all I found the experience enlightening. I will do it again at some point, but my first choice is still picking up a book and reading it with my eyes.

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5 Tips for a Bewitching Halloween by Jina Bacarr

October 11, 2018 by in category Jina’s Book Chat, Writing tagged as , , , , , , ,

Read about my speed date with a vampire at Charmed Connection on FB coming this Halloween

Got your Halloween costume? Not yet?

Whether you’re going out with a gorgeous man or with your girlfriends, it’s a time to shine. Once you have your costume, here are 5 Halloween tips for the big night:

1 – Pick a costume that reveals enough of you, but not too much. As a famous stripper once said, “It’s not what you take off, it’s how you do it.” It’s all about the tease.

2 – If you enjoy a cocktail or two, any alcohol at all, this is a no brainer. Don’t drive. That’s what Uber is for.

3 – Eyelash glue – pack an extra tube. There’s nothing more humiliating than your date finding your soggy false eyelashes in his brew or stuck on his forehead after that big kiss. Bring a tiny bag with your makeup essentials that you can wear unnoticed on your costume or around your wrist.

4 – Carry a small amount of cash—in your bra, strapped to your thigh—along with a credit card even if you have a date (in case he turns out to be a ghoul).

5 — Shoes. Wear the stilettos, but somewhere have a pair of comfy but cute flats stashed. In your car, his car, a Halloween-decorated purse. Your feet will thank you at the witching hour.

I love Halloween and I’ve had my share of crazy dates. So when the Charmed Writers headed up by the fabulous Tari-Lynn Porter-Jewett decided to have a Facebook Halloween Event over at
The Charmed Connection Halloween Event 2018

Hosted by Tari Lynn Porter-Jewett

I signed up to write Flash Fiction. My story is called: My Speed Date with a Vampire.
We’re still finalizing the details, so I’ll update here as we get closer to Halloween!
Till then, Happy Halloween!

Special treat: here’s a video I made with a Halloween twist for my erotic romance Spice novel, “Naughty Paris.”

Amazon: Naughty Paris
by Jina Bacarr
Link: http://a.co/d/hB9zdBG

Music: “Duet Musette”
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

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What cocktail waitressing taught me about writing by Jina Bacarr

September 11, 2018 by in category Jina’s Book Chat, Writing tagged as , , , , ,

I once worked as a cocktail waitress…great research for stories

Back in my sassy cocktail waitress days, I dreamed about being a writer. I worked until 3 a.m. cleaning up, checking stock, etc., then I’d go home and write. On a charming PC with a black screen and alien green text.

Ah, yes, those were the days.

Dreaming, planning. Wishing and hoping. Always believing if I worked hard enough, I’d get published.

No one told me the road to Oz was a long and winding one. A road filled with curves and pit stops and wrong turns.

Which brings me back to my days as a cocktail waitress. I got the job because I fit into the skimpy costume. A black fringe short, short dress. High, skinny black heels and fishnet stockings. I looked the part, but I had no idea what I was doing. The cute bartender helped me make up a list of the drinks on a placemat (I kept it as a souvenir) and I had adorable pink tip trays.

I spilled drinks. More than once. Okay, I spilled a lot of drinks.

The competition among the waitresses was fierce. Like a beauty pageant. I got punked by another waitress when she set me up with a grabby, belligerent customer who almost got me fired.

I got asked out on dates by customers, but I kept my nose clean. The only date I had after work was with a bear claw at the 24-hour doughnut store.

I became a darned good waitress. I learned the drinks by heart, got my tray balancing on like a pro, knew when to steer the bouncer to a table of tipsy, unruly drinkers, navigated the jealousy of the other girls, made good friends, and enjoyed the job.

So, what does all this have to do with writing?

Cocktail waitressing taught me that like writing, it’s not one thing that makes you good at what you do. Sometimes it’s going outside your comfort zone to get the job done. Whether that’s learning new technology, expanding your social media network when you have no idea what works, taking criticism (I learned how to serve a drink by dipping and bending my knees) and writing is rewriting. It’s about learning your craft, persistence, and getting through the tough moments when you want to quit. Have your cry and get over it.

I have several book projects on submission….keep you posted!

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Charmed Connections

September 10, 2018 by in category Charmed Writer by Tari Lynn Jewett, Events tagged as , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Local Charmed Writer Write In

Stories are about connections, the connection between the author and their characters, the connection between the reader and the story, and then there’s the connection between the reader and the author. While the reader and author may never meet, they share a special bond, a creative bond, and an imaginative bond. They’ve share an experience. They’ve lived another life together.


Yes, we really give charms.

I’ve told you about our special writer group Charmed Writers, well we’ve decided that we want to connect with our readers in a direct way, and so we’ve created a new facebook group The Charmed Connection. More than 100 authors are available to our readers in this new facebook group that in it’s one week of existence already has nearly 600 members.


Our “Grand Opening Party begins today with three weeks of author introductions, prizes and fun.


Charmed Writers is a group with writers from NYT, USA Today and Amazon Best Selling authors, to award winning, debut and even authors completing their first manuscript. There are writers in all genre’s, thrillers, suspense, mystery, horror, sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal, all genre’s of romance, inspirational, literary fiction, women’s fiction, gay fiction, and all levels of heat from super clean and sweet to erotica.


Books by just a few of the Charmed Writers.

So if you would like to have a direct connection with the storytellers, this is you’re opportunity.

Come join the party and meet The Charmed Writers in The Charmed Connection. What do you like to read? We know an author that writes books for you.

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