Archive for September, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday 9/25/2011

Sunday, September 25th, 2011
By , @Writing2Day

Being the type of man he was, Drake had learned early in life that almost everyone had some forbidden secret that could be used his advantage. His gut told him that he would find just what he needed in April’s husband. If he didn’t find what he needed there, he would go after his old friend Mitchell. Some friend he had turned out to be, coming to April’s defense so long ago. Yes, Mitchell had it coming to him too, but he could wait. It was just a matter of time before the detective brought him back the information he needed to set his plan in motion.

Destination Relaxation: Disney World & The Magic Kingdom

Saturday, September 24th, 2011
Click to visit the Disney World website for further information on attractions, resorts and reservations.

Children of all ages (and adults, too) will be enchanted, delighted and entertained when they enter the World of Walt Disney. Who among us doesn’t remember the anticipation we felt as a child while waiting for the Wonderful World of Disney movie to begin on many a Sunday evening? Times have changed, but the magic of Disney has not.

With all the different attractions, theme parks, restaurants and resorts, Disney has provided everything you need for a relaxing vacation. There are a wide range of places to stay to fit everyone’s budget and if you stay at a Disney Resort you won’t even need a rental car to visit all of the attractions.

Not Just for Kids!After a day spent at the parks, schedule a spa treatment to help soothe aching muscles and tired feet at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Enjoy a classic Swedish, Sports, customized Aromatherapy Massage or a nurturing Mother To Be Massage. Couples Massage, Reflexology and Shiatsu treatments are also available.Depending on your child’s age, you can hire an in room babysitter or schedule your child to participate in supervised activities while you relax and rejuvenate, or take in the fabulous nightlife and entertainment. Shopping, Entertainment & Fine DiningStep back in time to a 1940’s Atlantic coastal village and spend the day shopping on Disney’s Boardwalk, featuring the best in shopping, fine dining and entertainment.In addition to the fabulous entertainment you’ll find scattered throughout the theme parks, take in the nightlife at Pleasure Island. Spend an evening at the Pleasure Island Jazz Company, Comedy Warehouse or Mannequins Dance Palace, to name a few.
Disney World Theme Parks
With four unique and fascinating theme parks, you’ll want to spend at least a day at each. Below are some helpful tips to help you enjoy your visit. Please click the links above for details about each park and its attractions.The Magic Kingdom (Open 9:00AM-7:00, 8:00 or 9:00PM)Epcot (Open 9:00AM-7:00PM)Hollywood Studios (Open 9:00AM-7:00 or 7:30PM)

Disney’s Animal Kingdom (Open 9:00 AM-5:00PM)

Park hours can vary. Please check hours before visiting the park.

Helpful Tips for the Parks

  • Allow plenty of time for each park. You can easily spend a day at each, with a dip in the pool back at your resort before/after dinner. Keep in mind you are going to do a lot of walking and standing in line in the warm Florida sunshine. Small children can tire out easily and become cranky. Perhaps you should allow for two shorter days at the Magic Kingdom to keep everybody in a good mood.
  • Before you leave for your trip, purchase a book on the theme parks and familiarize yourself with ride locations, etc. The parks are big and having a general idea where you are going will cut down on wasted walking time.
  • Arriving at the park early and riding some of the main attractions, like Space Mountain, first will greatly reduce your “stand in line” time.
  • If you set aside two days for the Magic Kingdom, watch the parade on the first day and hit the popular rides during the parade on the following day to avoid long lines.
  • If you’re staying at a Disney Resort, take advantage of the Extra Magic Hour when some attractions are open to hotel guests only.
  • FASTPASS – Just pick up your designated ride time at the attraction and you can go enjoy the rest of the Park. When your ride time rolls around, come back to the FASTPASS entrance and have a great time.
Popular Ride Locations
TomorrowlandSpace MountainAstro OrbiterExtraTERRORestrial Alien EncounterFantasyland

Peter Pan’s Flight

Mad Tea Party

Dumbo the Flying Elephant

Liberty Square

The Haunted Mansion

The Hall of Presidents


Splash Mountain

Big Thunder Mountain

Country Bear Jamboree


Jungle Cruise

Pirates of the Caribbean

Swiss Family Treehouse

Magic Carpets of Aladdin

This is just a partial listing of some of the many rides and attractions at the Magic Kingdom. You’ll also want to check out the parade on Main Streeet during the day and the Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks and SpectroMagic Parade at night for a truly fantastic light show.Your favorite Disney characters can be found throughout the park at many different locations.

Where to Stay
Whether you’re looking for a luxurious hotel or a place to park the RV, you’ll find something to suit every budget and preference at the Disney World Resorts. For your convenience, we’ve listed them here according to budget. All resorts have pools, and on site restaurants starting with the Moderately Priced Resorts. Click the links for detailed resort descriptions, pricing and reservation information on the Walt Disney World website.

Value ResortsDisney’s
All-Star Movies Resort
All-Star Music Resort
All-Star Sports Resort
Deluxe ResortsDisney’s Animal Kingdom LodgeDisney’s
Beach Club Resort
Disney’s BoardWalk Inn

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Disney’s Polynesian Resort

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

Home Away from HomeDisney’s Beach Club VillasThe Villas at Disney’s Wilderness LodgeDisney’s BoardWalk Villas

Disney’s Old Key West Resort

Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground

Other Deluxe ResortsWalt Disney World DolphinWalt Disney World Swan

Travel Suggestions

Stay at a Disney Resort and take the monorail or shuttlebus to the various parks. Unless you plan on venturing outside of the theme parks, you’ll save the expense of a rental car.

Enjoy your stay!

See Related Posts: #Travel #DisneyWorld

Six Sentence Sunday 9/18/2011

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

By , @Writing2Day
From my work in progress: A stranger sails into the bay who leaves April thoroughly flustered.

April placed Cassie in Mimi’s waiting arms and took off running down the beach. As she neared the wharf, she slowed to a walk, not realizing that the stranger was watching her approach while he worked. She could see him clearly now, his sinewy body glistened with sweat in the remaining sunlight. The ocean winds had long since swept the sun streaked hair away from his face and the stubble from his beard completed the unkempt look. When she reached the dock, he stood up straight and looked at her through eyes of turquoise which were so intensified by his bronzed complexion that she had to stop the gasp of surprise before it left her lips. The hypnotic effect of his eyes left her speechless and she had no idea how long she stood there before his powerful voice broke through her gaze.

If you’d like to join in the fun, Twitter #sixsunday or go to the website at Six Sentence Sunday.

Taking the Plunge with Dramatica Pro

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

Writer at Work

By , @Writing2Day

I’m finally done retyping my work in progress, all 99,911 words of it, yeah! I still have about three more chapters to write before it’s time to work on the rewrite. I took out the climatic scene that I wrote while taking a correspondence class only to realize that I had expanded upon one of my earlier scenes for the climax. Since I definitely want to use this, that means I have to go back and rewrite/rework the original scene and maybe a good portion of that chapter.

I actually feel quite lucky that this is the one major mistake that I found along the way. I have definitely spotted other errors and inconsistencies that need to be dealt with. And, there is a chapter or two, lol, that feel pretty weak. Before I go any further in my novel, I need to recreate my outline. For those of you who haven’t been following, my outline was lost years ago. As much as I hate to admit it, it would seem this is an integral piece of information.

Call it karma, but just as I’m dreading having to recreate my outline, I received an email advertising the software program Outline 4D. I did click on it and it looks like a very useful program. But then my mind went back to two programs I wanted years ago, Movie Magic and Dramatica Pro. Since I’m writing a novel, I didn’t even look at Movie Magic (we’ll save that for my screenplay). I did some research on reviews of writing programs. The one that consistently came up towards the top of the reviews was Dramatica Pro – ding, ding, ding, ding, ding!

It seems the only drawback I could find was that some people feel it has a steep learning curve. I may not have a huge ego when it comes to my writing talent. I feel it is a raw talent and I definitely have a lot to learn to make it shine. What I do have confidence in is my ability to learn. Everything I have read about Dramatica Pro leads me to believe that, “No, it will not write the book for me.” But, if I go through the process of using the software, I feel I will end up with a better novel than if I just plodded along on my own.

So, I took the plunge and used my birthday money to purchase the downloadable version. I really don’t have the patience to wait for something to arrive in the mail when I’m this excited! I started using the program this morning before work. Started out on Level 3 (no sense bothering with Level 1) so I can dig into everything with the most intensity. I believe Level 1 asks about 50 questions about characters, plot, etc. while Level 3 asks about 300. I’m hoping that with work schedules and life in general, I can get through these questions in about a week. I’m very excited to see what all those reports have to say. Hopefully then I will be able to move forward with a solid outline in hand to finish things up and go back and start the rewrite.

I would really love to hear from others out there who use Dramatica Pro to see if you feel it has benefitted your writing. After I’ve used it for a while, I will post an update as to whether or not I’ve felt it was beneficial. If you don’t use this program, what do you use?

To your writing success!

Six Sentence Sunday 9/11/2011

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

By , @Writing2Day
From my work in progress: After years filled with frustration and lack of intimacy, Cory wrestles with the decision to leave his wife.

He could see the moonlight shining though the open door to his study and he went inside without consciously knowing where he was going. A pile of logs were waiting to be lit in the fireplace. He knelt down and struck a match to the kindling and stared absently into the fire, watching the flames flicker amongst the logs, trying to find a foothold. When the fire caught, he raised himself slowly to his feet and walked behind the desk to his favorite leather chair. He slumped into the chair heavily and rested his head in his hands, deep in thought. His mind was miles away wrestling with the decision he had to make when he felt another presence in the room with him.

If you’d like to join in the fun, Twitter #sixsunday or go to the website at Six Sentence Sunday.

Five Writing Rules to Remember

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Writer at Work

By , @Writing2Day

I just finished reading a post by author Dean Wesley Smith, one of my favorite blogs to follow. I thoroughly recommend reading the full post here.

Five Rules of Writing by Robert A. Heinlein
1. You must write.

2. You must finish what you start.

3. You must refrain from rewriting except to editorial order.

4. You must put it on the market.

5. You must keep it on the market until sold.

Just a short and simple post to remind myself of these rules. If you’re like me, you’ve had it drilled into your head that you should “Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite.” The perfectionist in me would have a hard time ever getting past the “rewrite” stage if I were to follow this rule. Write it, proof it, submit it, and start writing again!

Six Sentence Sunday 9/4/2011

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

By , @Writing2Day
From my work in progress: Drake sets his plan in motion to blackmail April’s husband, Pierce.

Heavy footsteps broke through his concentration and he lifted his head, rubbing the back of his neck which was already stiff with the tension of leaning over the nets. Pierce strained his eyes trying to make out the figure advancing towards him in the fog.  He hoped it was one of his crew members coming to aid in the clean up, but the slow sound of the footsteps carefully making their way down the dock told him it was someone unfamiliar with the wharf.  He stood up to his full height when the man’s swinging black cape met his eyes and waited cautiously to identify the face above the collar.  Every instinct in his body told him to be on guard as his muscles constricted in anticipation.  An unfamiliar face came into view and Pierce quickly summed up his adversary.

If you’d like to join in the fun, Twitter #sixsunday or go to the website at Six Sentence Sunday.

Destination Relaxation: Elk, California & The Mendocino Coast

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011
The Mendocino Coast

Approximately 144 miles North of San Francisco on California’s Highway 1, lies the quaint, seaside town of Elk. If you are looking for stunning ocean views and quiet serenity to get away from life’s everyday hustle and bustle, you’ve come to the right place. Redwood forests, lush green pastures, seaside cliffs and crashing surf make for one of California’s best kept secrets.

There is no quick way to get to Elk. Whether you take scenic Highway 1 up from San Francisco or come through wine country, you’ll be treated to winding roads along the Pacific Ocean’s cliffs and the Redwood Forests. Before you embark on your journey to Elk, spend a couple of days enjoying the highlights of San Francisco.

Golden Gate Bridge - San Francisco, California

With so much to see and do in San Francisco, park your car and stay on Fisherman’s Wharf. From here you can walk or catch a cable car to many attractions and not have to worry about navigating the city in traffic. From the Wharf, you can take a cruise on the bay for spectacular Golden Gate Bridge views or cruise out to Alcatraz for a very interesting tour of the prison and grounds. Be prepared, you will need a jacket when you get out on the bay!

Afterwards, enjoy a meal at one of many restaurants with Bay views. Whether you’re in the mood for a casual meal or a more elegant dining experience, you will find some of the best cuisine right here on the wharf. Visit Ghirardeli Square and the Cannery for famous Ghirardeli Chocolate, unique shops and Bay view restaurants. There is even a History Museum of the City of San Francisco located on the 3rd floor.

No visit to San Francisco would be complete without hopping a cable car from the Wharf and touring the city. Be sure to get off at Lombard Street and take in the beautiful views, flowers and shrubs on the “crookedest street in the world.” Hop back on the cable car and continue on to Chinatown and downtown San Francisco, both offering abundant shopping opportunities. When you’re through, you can catch the cable car back down to the wharf for another evening of fine dining.

After spending a couple of days amongst all of the people in San Francisco, you should be ready to head out to the sparsely populated, slower paced environment on the Mendocino Coast and the town of Elk.

The route we suggest is a scenic loop that will bring you back in to San Francisco through wine country at the end of your trip. Cross the Golden Gate Bridge into Sausilito, heading North on Highway 1. Travel time to Elk is approximately 3 hours but you should leave in the morning allowing for a leisurely day spent at scenic overlooks and other attractions.

A must stop along the way is the Muir Woods National Monument located in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The majestic Redwoods (shown below) tower above the forest floor in peaceful tranquility. An easy stroll through the park is the perfect opportunity to stretch your legs before your journey up the coast.

Map of the Elk, California Coastline
Muir Woods, California

With so many beautiful beaches on the way up to Elk, pack a picnic basket and plan to enjoy your lunch on the beach at Jenner.

Here the Russian River meets the Pacific Ocean along this beautiful stretch of the Sonoma Coast. Throw down a blanket, stroll in the surf and let the kids look for seashells.

This area is known for its seal that mate here and raise their young on the offshore islands. During the seal season, Park Rangers conduct seal-watching excursions.

Back on the road to Elk. If you’re wondering if you’re ever going to get there, don’t worry – you will. But where are you going to stay? There are many Bed & Breakfasts, Inns and vacation properties in and around Elk. We highly recommend the Sea Escape ocean front vacation home (7426 State Highway 1). Info & Reservations

Enjoy all of the comforts of home with a complimentary bottle of wine from a local vineyard waiting to greet you. The owners of this property have thought of everything from a fully stocked spice rack in the kitchen, hot cocoa and coffe, to local area history books on the coffee table.

Feaures of the property include an outdoor hottub on this gorgeous deck overlooking the Pacific Ocean. You’ll want to relax and unwind here every evening under the stars. The deck is also the perfect place for whale watching during season. Inside, enjoy a romantic evening by the fireplace after you’ve cooked up your fresh catch of the day on the grill.

For an extra special treat, why not pamper yourself with an in-house massage by The Body Works.

The Sea Escape at Elk, California

Things To Do in the Elk Area

Ocean Kayaking

Launch through the surf at Greenwood State Beach on your own personal kayak tour of the Mendocino Coast. Glide through sea caves and kelp forests, see starfish, sea lions, birds, hidden beaches, ruins of the old shipping operations and incredible panoramic views of the Mendocino Coast. A professional guide will pilot your boat, so no experience is necessary. The standard tour is approximately two hours on the water and the cost is $95 per person. Longer outings, picnics and nighttime full moon tours are available by arrangement.
Visit Force 10 Ocean Tours for more info.

Horseback Riding on the Beach

Horseback Riding

Go for a private ride on spectacular Manchester Beach’s miles of unspoiled sand and surf. Rocks, driftwood, creeks, birds and seastacks dot this vast expanse of beach. Look for sea lions poking their heads out of the surf to take a peek as you ride by…you may quite possibly have the beach all to yourself for your ride. Or, take a private guided horseback ride through a beautiful mountain redwood forest in the inland coastal mountains of Elk. Ride on the Ross Ranch down roads and trails among the tall coastal redwoods. The Ross Ranch is situated in the hills high above the coast with sweeping views of the valleys and forests below. The friendly guides are locals to the area.

Visit Ross Ranch Beach & Redwood Forest Horseback Tours for more info.

Mendocino & Fort Bragg

Spend the morning shopping in Mendocino then head up to Fort Bragg for an afternoon of deep-sea fishing or board the Skunk Train for a ride back in time through the Redwoods. Weather permitting, boats leave daily out of Noyo Harbor. Get your catch cleaned before you leave and take it back to the Sea Escape to cook up on the grill. Depending on the time of year, you can fish for salmon, halibut, rock cod, albacore or go crabbing. Whale watching excursions are also available November-March.

The town of Elk features several wonderful restaurants, but you’ll want to check ahead and find out what nights of the week they are open. You absolutely must have breakfast at Queenie’s Roadhouse Cafe. If omelettes are your thing, their’s are absolutely delicious and the fresh squeezed orange juice is like a sip of heaven.

With so many things to see and do, you will hate to leave this beautiful place. Take the time on your way back to San Francisco to go on a wine tasting tour or two as you drive through the Anderson and Napa Valley Wine Regions. May we suggest the Husch Vineyards, a small family winery located in the Anderson Valley appellation of Mendocino County.

Enjoy your stay on the Mendocino Coast! Come back refreshed and relaxed with many wonderful memories to savor for years to come.
See Related Posts: #Travel #Mendocino