Another Commercial

In June, I told you how the first TV commercial I wrote, directed, and produced was finally approved by The Florida Bar and had finally made it to the airwaves.  Since then, we’ve shot several more, and the second one was approved.

A cool thing about this one is that it’s based on reading.  Would you like to see it?  If so, please click on the following link:

I added the link rather than embedding the video so that you can click on it and go to our YouTube page… and hopefully, you’ll “Like” the video on YouTube so that my boss will keep me around(Hint, hint, and thank you very much!)

P.S. Once again, my Proud Mama Moment is that my son was the audio engineer for the music and the voiceover.

Time to talk:  Did you watch the video?  Do you prefer attorney commercials where the lawyer speaks?

‘Tis the Season

I bet from my title, you can already guess the theme of today’s Throwback Thursday.  However, you might still be wondering how I plan on incorporating that into something currently happening in my life.

When I was a kid, the best Christmases were of course the ones where I got the best presents.  The year I turned two was a great Christmas.  Three days after my birthday, Santa came and left me a purple tricycle, a green desk that was a chalkboard on the top and a flip-open magnetic board inside, and my favorite Raggedy Ann doll that I carried everywhere until about three years later when my dog ate her head.

Three days after I turned eight was also terrific, because that year, I got two baby dolls instead of just one!  I wasn’t much of a Barbie girl, but I loved playing babies.  However, I never kept their names that came on the boxes.  I don’t know if you can read these dolls’ boxes or not, but the big one’s name was Fran, and the little one’s name was Agatha!  YIKES!  Those sounded more like grandmother dolls than baby dolls.  Their names were immediately changed to Heidi (from the book by the sane name), and – get this – Phronsie (from the book Five Little Peppers and How They Grew)!  Yes, really!  What was I thinking?

These days, the best Christmases are the ones where I can afford to get my kids tons of gifts, get my friends something nice, actually pull off all the surprises I have planned, and have the rest of the day to do something relaxing.

So why did I choose to talk about Christmas today?  Because today, I’m actually busy directing and producing six commercials that I wrote for my boss, and one of them is a Christmas ad.  That means that despite the 90° that feels like 113° (UGH!), last weekend, I spent both days actually shopping for Christmas items to use (Yes, Hobby Lobby actually has a lot of their Christmas stuff out already!) and putting up two Christmas trees.

We’re also filming a Thanksgiving commercial, so my sister Michelle has been doing tons of holiday baking this week.  And we’re filming Veterans’ Day and Memorial Day commercials, so I got to make a “Memory Wall” which I can’t wait to photograph and share with you.  And the two remaining commercials are not for holidays.

So, tell me, how are you spending your day?  What’s the earliest you’ve ever cooked a Thanksgiving meal or put up and decorated a Christmas tree?  What’s the earliest you’ve ever shopped for holiday decorations?

Three Quotes, Three Days, Day Three

Last month, my blogging sister and good friend Merril Smith tagged me for the Three Quotes in Three Days challenge, and I’m actually a little sad that today is my last day.  For today’s quote, I at first wanted to share a quote about motherhood.  There are so many excellent quotes on this subject, but my absolute favorite comes from Rod Tidwell (who was Cuba Gooding Jr.’s character in the movie Jerry Maguire… which is odd because I didn’t like the movie, but that quote has stuck with me ever since).  The quote was simply, “A single mother — That’s a sacred thing, man.”  Isn’t that beautiful?

Some of my other favorites are as follows:

“It’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” -Frederick Douglass

“Your children need your presence more than your presents.” -Jesse Jackson

“The trouble with being a parent is that by the time you are experienced, you are unemployed.”  -Anonymous

“Whenever I held my newborn baby in my arms, I used to think that what I said and did to him could have an influence not only on him, but on all whom he met, not only for a day or a month or a year, but for all eternity – a very challenging and exciting thought for a mother.” -Rose Kennedy

“When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.” -Sophia Loren

“God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.” – Jewish Proverb

“If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands?” -Milton Berle

But because I couldn’t narrow my favorite motherhood quotes down to only one, I decided to go a different direction altogether, and go with something lighthearted, whimsical, and downright funny.  Therefore the perfect choice for the person who said my quote for today was obviously Mark Twain.  (He always had something humorous to say, didn’t he?)  So without further ado, here’s my last quote in this challenge:

“Clothes make the man; naked people have little or no influence in society.”
-Mark Twain

And for my last nomination of someone to participate, I’d like to recommend Phantom Writer.  Though I don’t know her name, every time her gravatar pops up in my comments, it makes me smile.  She always has something witty to blog about, and I know she’ll be a successful writer in her journey.  You can follow her at

Let’s talk:  Do YOU like being tagged in these blog challenges?  Is there a particular subject on which you have more than one favorite quote?  Do you think I cheated by adding more than one quote each day?

On Editing

A while back, I posted a call to all writers who wanted to share their editing tips, and Drew Conry-Murray stepped up to bat.  If you don’t already follow Drew’s blog, you’re missing a real treat.  So without further ado, here’s Drew:


Thanks to Rachel for offering her blog page to other writers. I’m looking forward to learning some useful editing tips from my fellow scribes. Here’s a few that work for me.

1. Walk Away
When I write, I often find a gap between what I meant to say, and what I actually wrote down. It’s as if there’s a narrator in my head who provides context or assumptions that don’t always make it onto the page.

You can’t stand over a reader’s shoulder and provide that internal narrative as they read, so the best way I’ve found to close this gap is to walk away from a piece for a time.

Then, when you come back to it with a cold eye, it’s easier to see the places where the words don’t match your intentions.

For short blogs, I find even a few minutes away from the screen helpful. For longer pieces and fiction, I put more distance between edits—days or even weeks if possible.

2. Read Aloud
When I read to my kids at night, I know I’m in the hands of a good writer when the words flow smoothly and gracefully out of my mouth, even if it’s the first time I’ve read the book.

I decided to try reading my own work aloud (just to myself). It was a useful exercise because I found a lot of rough patches and clunky language. Reading aloud also forces you to slow down and pay closer attention compared to silent reading. The slower, more attentive pace makes it easier to find passages that need more work.

3. Paper Edit
I like to do a paper edit for short stories and novels. Once I have a rough draft I’m satisfied with, I’ll print a copy of the work, and then sit somewhere comfortable with a pen and go at it.

Something happens when words on a screen become words on paper. There’s a freshness and clarity with paper—and perhaps an element of seriousness—that pixels lack. Mistakes that I missed dozens of times on the screen leap forward in print.

Biggest Repeated Mistake
I think my biggest mistake was believing that the main character had to be noble and upright, as if I were writing a book of moral instruction. Messy, complicated people are more interesting.

Weakest Point of Editing
I think my weakest point of editing is that I’ll speed through sections of the work because I’ve seen it so many times. Instead of reading carefully, I just skim.

Work in Progress
I’m currently querying agents for a novel called Atlantis Rising. Set in 1887, it’s a paranormal thriller about the search for the lost kingdom of Atlantis. I also posted a short story, Crypto, on the free story site Wattpad []. My novel Wasteland Blues [], a mad quest through a post-apocalyptic world, is available in print or as an ebook.

My blog is and you can follow me on Twitter at @DrewConryMurray

Thanks for the opportunity to contribute to your blog, Rachel!


Thank you, Drew, for such awesome tips!  Now, who’s up next?  If you’re game, please contact me at:

Three Quotes, Three Days, Day Two

Last month, my blogging sister and good friend Merril Smith tagged me for the Three Quotes in Three Days challenge.  Narrowing down my second quote was difficult.  I wanted something with a peaceful feeling to it.  One of my favorite idioms has always been, “Evil thrives when good men do nothing.”  But several years ago, I actually researched who said this for something I was writing, and I was shocked to discover that no one actually said it, at least not worded like that.  I was also surprised to learn that there have actually been several people who have said something with the same basic meaning.

For example, Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

But I think the closest such quote I’ve found over the years is by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he said, “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetuate it.”

At any rate, since I couldn’t  locate the exact author of that idiom, for my official quote today, I’m going to have to go with my second favorite peaceful quote (which, by the way, is also the epigraph for my book, The Worm Has Turned.)

“An eye for an eye will make us all blind.”
-Mahatma Gandhi

Tomorrow, I’ll be back with my last quote.  But as for today, I nominate  Leesha.  Leesha is an aspiring author who writes for the adults as well as for the kiddos since the arrival of her sweet nephew.  Be sure to visit her blog at for a fun time.

Time to talk:  Do you have a collection of favorite quotes?  If so, do you have them written down, or are they committed to memory?

Three Quotes, Three Days, Day One

Last month, my blogging sister and good friend Merril Smith tagged me for the Three Quotes in Three Days challenge.  (By the way, I love being tagged for these things, so if you ever need a guinea pig, I’m your victim.)  I’d been reading these on several other people’s blogs, and I was actually hoping someone would invite me to play.  The only thing that was difficult for me was to narrow my favorite quotes down to only three!

So today’s quote happens to be my favorite epigraph.  (If you don’t know what an epigraph is, I wrote about it here.)  The quote is by British author, Charles Lamb, and it is featured as the epigraph in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.  The odd thing is that even though this is my favorite epigraph quote, I actually have no idea who Charles Lamb is, and while I have enjoyed reading To Kill a Mockingbird more than once (as well as seeing the movie), it’s not exactly my favorite book of all times.  I guess I just like the quote because of its implied innocence versus corruption, and probably also the fact that I’ve worked for or with attorneys for most of my adult life has something to do with it as well.

Anyway, here’s my featured quote for today:

“Lawyers, I suppose, were children once.”
-Charles Lamb

So, tomorrow I’ll be back with a second quote, and today, I nominate  Rhonda Blackhurst.  Rhonda is a lovely author, and if you don’t already follow her blog, you’re in for a treat if you’ll visit her at

Let’s chat:  Did you already know what an epigraph was?   Do you read epigraphs at the beginning of books, or skip to the first chapter?