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VINTAGE 1950s: Around the World in 80 Days

August 3, 2020 by in category Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger tagged as ,

         The movie was based on an adventure novel  by Jules Verne written in 1873.  The movie had an all star cast with David Niven, Cantinflas, Shriley MacLaine, and Robert Newton, with cameo appearances of many others. It was released October 17. 1956 in the US.

         To win a bet, a British inventor, his Chinese valet and an aspiring French artist, leave on a trip to explore the world where they experience adventures and danger as they travel around the world in exactly eighty days.

         The movie was nominated  for eight  Academy Awards and won five, beating out critically and publicly praised films like Friendly Persuasion, The Ten Commandments, Giant and The King and I.

         Many of the balloon scenes with Niven and Cantinflas were filmed using a 160-foot (49 m) crane. Even that height bothered Niven, who was afraid of heights. Tom Burges, who was shorter than Niven, was used as a stand-in for scenes where the balloon is seen from a distance.

Added note:

In 2017 Mark Beaumont, a British cyclist inspired by Verne, set out to cycle across the world in 80 days. He departed from Paris on July 2 and completed the trip in 78 days, 14 hours and 40 minutes.

For a waltz down memory lane, Here is the trailer to the movie. Enjoy!

Published authors Will Zeilinger and Janet Lynn had been writing individually until they got together and wrote the Skylar Drake Mystery Series. These hard-boiled tales are based in old Hollywood of 1955. Janet has published seven mystery novels, and Will has three plus a couple of short stories. Their world travels have sparked several ideas for murder and crime stories. This creative couple is married and lives in Southern California.

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July 15, 2019 by in category The Write Life by Rebecca Forster tagged as , , , , , ,

Want to know a secret? Volunteering can be your ticket to building a creative career platform.

Other professions have embraced the nonprofit strategy as personally fulfilling and professionally strategic. Lawyers work pro-bono, doctors cross borders to help those less fortunate, retired business people and teachers mentor those who need help starting their businesses or getting over a hump.

But nonprofits need more than counsel, they need the kind of exposure writers, filmmakers and artists can provide. Whether you’re looking for that first portfolio piece or expanding an already established career, aligning yourself with a nonprofit offers you a wealth of creative opportunities. Since you might know others in creative careers,  here are some suggestions for writers, filmmakers, artists and even chefs and gardeners because creativity is never limited.


Profile a volunteer

Interview the administrator

Chronicle the history of the nonprofit

Write the newsletter

Write content for their website/blog

Spotlight the success stories of clients



Paint a mural

Design a fundraising invitation

Photograph the clients

Hold art/photography classes

Design a nonprofit’s newsletter

Design a non-profit’s logo


Cook for a fundraiser

Landscape the building

Provide floral arrangements for benefits

There is no limit to the benefits you will receive by volunteering your creative services. You will build your portfolio, be introduced to businesses and clients that are ready to pay for your talent, and, above all, you will have made a difference with your words, your images and your creativity. There is no lack of drama at a nonprofit, all you have to do is seek it out.

Eric, my son and Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Albania, writes plays about his experiences. They are produced in Hollywood and the proceeds benefit the village in which he lives.

Sam, a well-known musician, teaches children stricken with cancer how to play the guitar. Because of his volunteer work, the local newspaper did a front-page article on his efforts.

Cheryl, an aspiring filmmaker interviews people in an assisted living facility and runs those interviews on her website calling attention not only to rich histories but also to her talent behind the camera.

Jackie painted a mural on the wall of a local library. She was credited for her work by the library and her work is seen every day of the year not only by those who visit the library but people who walk and drive by.

The next time you’re looking for a way to showcase your talent, look no further than your community. Your portfolio – and your heart – will benefit from your generosity.


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Seriously Creative with Laura Gates-Lupton OCC/RWA Online Class @A_SliceofOrange

September 23, 2018 by in category Online Classes, Writing tagged as , , , ,

OCC/RWA Online Class:

Seriously Creative: A Life Coach’s Approach to Productive Writing Success

October 15-November 9, 2018


Seriously Creative Class Graphic

About the Class:

Does your internal dialogue sound anything like this?

“I should be more disciplined. I need to be tougher on myself. I said I was going to really focus on my manuscript this week, and I haven’t even looked at it.  I need to get up early (or stay up late, or skip my lunch hour) and write.  (Insert famously productive writer’s name here) writes ten hours a day, cranks out five bestsellers a year, and still has time to tour.  I can’t even manage an hour.  I’m such a failure.”

If bullying yourself into submission (pun intended) isn’t working, then this four week course is for you.

Seriously Creative will incorporate the tools and techniques I use with my writer and illustrator clients to help them achieve higher levels of productivity and success without negative self-talk.  Using these methods, you will be able to:

-Figure out what’s really getting in your way (hint:  it isn’t a lack of discipline)

-Work effectively with the time you have, whether it’s too much or not enough

-Use two types of goals for increased motivation and keeping your work on track

-Create unique habits that work for you and your particular situation

-Understand the number one fear that holds people back from achievement, and how to dissolve it

-Conquer your inner bully, and shut down negative self-talk

By the conclusion of this course you will have a specific plan of action for getting and keeping your writing on track right now, as well as new strategies and techniques that will work for you in all the stages ahead.

About the Instructor:

Laura Gates-Lupton holds a master’s degree in clinical social work and is a Certified Professional Coach.  She has been helping people create healthier, happier, more productive lives for over 27 years.  She works with clients from all over the US and abroad, and loves seeing her writer clients get their work out into the world.  Laura is the mother of three amazing teens (whom she homeschooled, alongside her hardworking husband, until last year), and manages to do a bit of writing and freelance editing on the side.  Her mysteries have appeared in Woman’s World, Highlights and Rainbow Rumpus.  You can find Laura on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Enrollment Information:

This is a 4-week online course that uses email and Groupsio. The class is open to anyone wishing to participate. The cost is $30.00 per person or, if you are a member of OCCRWA, $20.00 per person.

To sign up or for more information, go to the class page at the OCC/RWA website: http://occrwa.org/classes/online-class-two/.

Linda McLaughlin
OCC/RWA Online Class Coordinator

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From Empty to Energized

May 20, 2018 by in category A Bit of Magic by Meriam Wilhelm tagged as ,

I knew that I needed to work on the next chapter of my book if there was any chance it would be completed by this July. But did I? Did I hit the keyboard, do a little more research on witchcraft in the 1600’s or even pick up my editing pencil to work on what I’d already written?


Instead, I sewed. I made my granddaughter bibs and blankets and stuffed bunnies. I made pot holders and hot mitts. I love to sew almost as much as I love to write and my two passions often collide with each other. Truthfully, I know I often turn to sewing when I’m stuck for an idea and I was good and stuck! I had a million directions that I wanted to take my story, but no clear path. It always seems that when I’m three quarters of the way through writing a new book, I lose speed, my focus waivers and I become fearful that my creativity is ebbing. A scary feeling indeed for any new writer like myself.

So what did I do?

I transferred all of my energy into my third passion – reading. But not just any reading. I was seeking something to jolt my spirits, inspire my creativity and get me motivated. So I want to share with you where I found it – in case you’re ever searching for something to inspire your own creativity.

Visiting Barnes and Noble with my sister, on a quest for a book about how to build a bird house, that’s creative right? – I stumbled upon WHERE WOMEN CREATE. It’s a great magazine, albeit a bit pricey, that shares the stories of truly creative modern day women. And what a great treat it turned out to be!

I savored the magazine like a fine wine. Okay, I savored it over a couple glasses of fine wine before deciding that I wouldn’t just speed read through the pages. I wanted to immerse myself in each woman’s story, take in her words of inspiration and enjoy the great photography that accompanied each story. I read an account or two each day over the next week. Of course, I soon realized that I had to replace the wine with cups of hot hazelnut coffee – my favorite – if I was going to get the full value out of this periodical.

The magazine focuses on women who express their creativity daily in a myriad of ways. It talks about what they do, where they do it and how many have been able to make a successful career using their innovative skills. They share their tricks of the trade, their frustrations and inspirations. Some seem to have realized success early on while others have worked for years to bring their dreams to fruition.

Anyway, I truly enjoyed the inspiration I found within the pages of WHERE WOMEN CREATE . These are artsy women who have created magic, many of them from their own kitchen table. The magazine is a relaxing trip through the lives of inventive, resourceful women. I can’t tell you for sure whether it was the wine, the words or the wonderful stories that inspired me to return to my writing. Whatever it was, it worked and I am back with a renewed spirit.

Oh, and guess what I else I found in the magazine? A sister series; a magazine (apron*ology). Now I can be inspired with both my writing and my sewing. Who knew?

Have a wonderful, inspired and magical day!

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The Mighty Pen vs The Purposeful Keyboard by Jenny Jensen

April 19, 2018 by in category On writing . . . by Jenny Jensen tagged as , ,


The Mighty Pen | Jenny Jensen | A Slice of Orange


When was the last time you wrote anything in longhand? Jotting a note, shopping and to-do lists don’t count.

Since writing, no matter what tool we use, is the expression of ideas does the tool you use affect those ideas? If you write out your novel in longhand would the creative process be the same as if you’d clicked it out on a keyboard? Would it be the same story?

Reams have been written (by hand or keyboard?) about the cognitive difference between the two methods. I’ve read articles by neuroscientists who point out the different mental skills each requires; a keyboard is automatic once you’ve learned where each key is and that makes it fast enough to capture a word the second it pops to mind, while handwriting is linked to the creative part of the brain, problem solving and critical thinking. And it takes a bit more time, time for your brain to make more sense of those rapid-fire thoughts.  But there’s no denying the ease of the keyboard.

Cursive isn’t taught in schools much anymore so it’s pretty clear we favor the keyboard over pen and paper. Cursive handwriting, where the pen is not raised between characters, has been replaced with learning to use a qwerty keyboard. Are there advanced classes covering the various methods of texting — thumbs versus one-fingered hunt and peck?  I could do with that.

A friend of mine died recently. It wasn’t quick or unexpected. I sat down to my keyboard and in 15 minutes clicked out a letter to her husband. There was a lot I wanted to say in as few words as possible and I hoped the words would bring him some comfort. It wasn’t right at all. By the third draft I realized the words might as well have come from Miss Mourning’s Official Book of Sympathy Letters. My words felt clinical.  That’s when I took up pen and paper.

I don’t know if it was the weight of the pen in my hand, the feel of the paper or the sight of the words mirroring my thoughts as they appeared beneath my hand. Maybe it was the time the act of writing allowed me to consider before the thoughts appeared as words, but the first handwritten attempt was exactly right. The words were genuine and personal and I knew they would touch my friend’s husband in a good way.

There have been thousands of wonderful writers since the advent of the typewriter — the first keyboard.  It’s obvious that the method hasn’t harmed creativity. I do wonder if the works of Louisa May Alcott or Dickens would have been different if they’d had Microsoft Word. (I suspect they’d have loved it for the revisions alone.) Of course there are those contemporary authors like Joyce Carol Oates, who only write in longhand. George R.R. Martin is another. He must have developed Olympian hand muscles by now. The pen trumps the keyboard for some mighty talented writers.

I’m sharing these wandering thoughts because I did learn a lesson with that letter. If you find yourself stuck over a scene, uncertain where to take a plot or floundering over some critical dialog, take up pencil and paper and write it out by hand. There’s a more direct, more personal connection to heart and mind that may well help the right words flow – provided you’ve been taught cursive.

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