Writing Exercise: Business Names

I have to admit that I haven’t always been crazy about writing exercises.  I’ve had times when I thought they were nothing but a waste of time.  (Then again, I thought that about prewriting for a long time, and I was so wrong.)  I’ve discovered lately that I’ve been doing all sorts of writing exercises even when I don’t really think about it, so I figured I might as well make it official.

Writing Exercise #1:  Come up with several different names for a business.  They can be fun, serious, rhyming, whatever.  Think of words that would be associated with that business and see where it takes you.

Today’s writing exercise is a short and fun one.  (No lengthy writing prompts here.)  I completed this particular drill while I was working on a ghostwriting project and I needed to name a flower shop.  I had a lot of fun coming up with business names.  I can’t say that all of them are something I would necessarily use, but here they are:

  • Bouquet Boutique
  • Bloom Room
  • Flower Power
  • What in Carnation
  • Stem Sell (This one cracked me up!)
  • Peony Place
  • Dahlia Depot
  • Dahlia Store (also amusing…it doesn’t take much for me)
  • Convenient Carnations
  • Discount Daisies
  • Daisy Maze

It turns out that I also needed to name a butcher shop.  I don’t have quite as many on this one:

  • Steak Out
  • Brisket Basket (my favorite)
  • Sir Loin’s
  • Sirloin Sam’s
  • Off the Hoof
  • The Poultry Pantry

I think this is a great writing exercise because it gives your mind a break from plot, structure, and dialog and let’s you focus on something a little more fun.  It also allows you to pay attention to word patterns and how different phrases sound together, which can only help with your writing.

What store names can you come up with?  Let me know in the comments.  And you don’t have to stick with just flower shops and butchers. 🙂

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Paradox, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

 

 

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Book Review – You Dear, Sweet Man by Thomas Neviaser

How much attention do you give to the advertisements that surround you every day?  They’re constantly there, and many of them barely even register.  But what if one of them insisted that you pay attention?  Such is the case in You Dear, Sweet Man.

Note:  I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.  I will always give you my honest opinion on something before linking to it.

You Dear, Sweet Man is the story of a burger joint that will go to any lengths needed to redesign its marketing campaign and keep up with the times.  It’s also the story of a burned out man in search of something new in his life.  There’s also the story of the two young-and-hungry men who are desperate to help make the ad happen, and the woman who is manipulating all of them.

What I Loved:  This story was so very different from anything I’ve read recently, and I mean that in a good way.  It wasn’t just your average genre fiction.  The characters were well-developed and described, making them easy to differentiate from each other and to envision as I read.  The story held my attention even when I really wasn’t certain what direction the story was heading.  I think this is in large part because the opening chapter was such a great hook, and it made me want to know more.  There’s also just a great sense of suspense.  Once I finished, I felt that You Dear, Sweet Man had an ending reminiscent of something out of the Twilight Zone.

What I Didn’t Love So Much:  Unfortunately, this book could really use some better editing.  There were repeated or missing words and redundant phrasing that needed to be taken care of.  Overall, the story was well-written, but I found these distracting.

I also felt that the ending could have used a little bit more explanation.  I don’t want to go into anything specific in order to avoid spoilers, but I wish there was a little bit more clarification.  Perhaps it was meant to be somewhat mysterious, and I can see how that works, but I’m one of those people who really likes to understand what’s going on.

Rating and Recommendations:  I hovered back and forth for the star rating on this one because I was slightly disappointed at the end.  Since it is so innovative and well-written, though, I’m giving it 4 stars.

I recommend this book for anyone who likes science fiction when it’s incorporated into our current way of life.

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside Detective.  Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Paradox, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

Interested in having your book reviewed?  Contact me.

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Happy Mother’s Day to Me!

My first of four iPenstore boxes came yesterday, courtesy of my hub-a-dub-dub and kiddos. The theme is purple, which is my favorite color! More details to come later!

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Dear Internet

Dear Internet,

Most of the time, I adore you. When my kids come home with common core math worksheets and I don’t know how to help them, I’m utterly grateful to you. When there’s one line of a song stuck in my head and I don’t know the rest (nor the title or artist) you come to my rescue. And Netflix! Do I need to say more, or just catch up on every single episode of Star Trek ever?

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But there are times I can’t help but despise you. You who brought my kids the opportunity to say, “Hey, Mom! Watch this YouTube video!” You, who wasn’t happy enough being on a computer, but who had to be a part of every phone, TV, and every other electronic device so that people can never just disconnect from the world. You, who makes life hard for old people even though they just want to make a call, dammit! You, who makes it impossible for a kid in junior high to fit in unless she has all the social media apps even though her mom is mean and horrible and won’t let her have them because there are Bad People out there.

eye roll

But you did bring me cat videos, so I guess that’s okay.

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Love and kisses,

Ashley

 

Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside Detective.  Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Paradox, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

 

Interested in having your book reviewed?  Contact me.

 

 

 

 

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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Blue/Black by Aurora – An Ink Review

I had received this ink as a sample in an iPenBox a while back and had never gotten around to using it.  I was missing out!

Note: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.  I will always give you my honest opinion on something when linking to it.

This is the first ink I’ve used from Aurora, and I think I’m in love!  Blue/Black is incredibly smooth.  I put it in my Charlie pen from Noodler’s, and I feel like I’m writing with a ball point.  It’s a shame I don’t have more writing to do by hand this month (since I’ve been pretty committed to the keyboard), but I could easily run through this ink if I had the chance.

The color’s name is pretty accurate.  It’s just slightly blue, and you can really only tell when you have it next to genuinely black ink.  I’ve used it on paper intended for fountain pens as well as just regular notebooks (and even a few Post-It notes) and I have no problems with it bleeding through or creating a mess.  I’m using a fine nib, and that does make a difference, but I’m still very happy with the versatility.  There’s a slightly longer drying time than I’ve found with Noodler’s, but it’s not enough to cause issues.  I also have to give this ink props for only having a very faint odor.

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Overall, I’m very happy with Aurora’s Blue/Black, and I would definitely purchase it.

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside Detective.  Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Paradox, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

Interested in having your book reviewed or doing a guest post?  Contact me.

 

 

 

 

 

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5 Small Things to Inspire Your Writing

We all get stuck sometimes when it comes to writing.  It doesn’t matter if you write every day or once a week, there are times when it just gets tough.  While I can’t say that I have a cure-all for writer’s block, I do find that these really help when I’m trying to get the creative juices flowing.  What makes these really great is that they’re small and don’t take up a lot of time, so they’re easy to work into your weekly schedule.  To sweeten the deal, they’re all basically free!

5 small things

Write It Down – Record random thoughts and phrases that appeal to you.  They don’t have to make sense or necessarily be a part of story.  It might just be a string of words that sound good together, and that’s okay. Phones are great for this these days, and I specifically bought a phone with a built in stylus just for this purpose, but I think a small notebook and a pen are also particularly helpful.  You may never use the little bits that you write down, but it will encourage your brain to come up with the right phrases when you need them.

Watch People – The people around you make great characters!  Or at least they are the great foundations of characters.  Your boss might not actually be hatching evil plots behind his desk, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take certain elements of his personality or appearance and use them in your next story.  Pay attention to how people talk and move.  Observe two people from across a crowded room, where you can’t hear them, and imagine what they might be saying to each other. 

Read – Everyone says this about writing, but I think there’s a reason for that.  Reading is inspiring, educational, and builds vocabulary.  If you’re actively reading (which means paying attention to plot and sentence structure, the development of characters, etc.) then you’re learning.  You may be discovering what you do or don’t want to do in your own work, but it’s still learning.

Watch Television – Wait, did I just say that?  Sure, why not?  How many movies are made from books?  Just because it’s on a screen doesn’t mean it can’t be helpful.  As with reading, pay attention to plots and dialogue.  If there’s a particular scene you like, think about how you would write it to convey the same images you see on the show.  Interested in writing in a particular genre?  Watch movies and TV that deal with that same subject matter and look for inspiration.

Go Someplace New – I always feel particularly inspired when I travel, even though that doesn’t happen very often.  (I’m very happy at home in my yoga pants, thank you.)  But you don’t have to take a trip across the country or around the world to get your writing mojo going.  Anyplace you haven’t been to before could give you the start of a new story.  It could be a park, a store, or even a back road.

What habits have you formed that help you feel inspired?  Let me know in the comments!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Paradox, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

 

Interested in having your book reviewed or doing a guest post?  Contact me.

 

 

 

 

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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Book Review – Outcasts by J.S. Frankel

It’s not easy to write a book that not only addresses current issues but also entertains.  J.S. Frankel, however, has done exactly that with Outcasts.

Note:  I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.  I will always give you my honest opinion on something before linking to it.

From the back cover:  Mitch Kessler, teenage high school dropout, jobless and mostly friendless, lives a life of solitude, but not by choice. Endowed with the ability to bring wings out of his body as well as claws, and transform himself into a fierce creature of the night, he’s picked up a nickname from the general public that he hates: gargoyle. However, that’s the least of his worries. His girlfriend, Callie, can’t keep her genders straight, his best friend is a spinning top, and his other acquaintance is made of rock. It’s obviously a government plot, but Mitch doesn’t know who’s behind it or why. Worse, various and sundry creations have now appeared out of the woodwork and are out to kill him. Aided by his friends, the four outcasts attempt to find out who’s running the show. They’re out to stop the forces of evil before they can do more damage. That is, if they survive.

outcasts

As teen mutants who have yet to figure out their place in the world, the main characters go through quite a bit.  They deal with typical teen issues, which are compounded by the fact that they have superpowers.  To make matters even more difficult, the main character finds himself falling for a person who constantly switches genders.  The gender issue is a big one these days, and I think this makes the book very relevant to today’s youth.  There is gender and sexuality confusion not only for the Callie, who is sometimes a boy and sometimes a girl, but also for Mitch, who has to figure out how he feels about him/her.

The book starts off with action, and we slowly learn more and more over time about Mitch and his friends.  The time frames switch back and forth between the present and the past, but these are clearly labeled to avoid confusion.  Outcasts has a casual tone that I think YA readers would really enjoy:

“Screw getting the football back. We trudged on home. Joe lived ten minutes away from me, very convenient for hanging out with each other. Fact was, we visited each other’s houses on an almost daily occurrence, either playing sports after school or fooling around with video games.”

While there are some sentence structure choices that are a little bit awkward and I feel the book could have been better edited, overall I think this is a great book.  I recommend it for anyone who enjoys modern fantasy and is looking for a fun read.

Rating:  4 stars

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Paradox, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

Interested in having your book reviewed?  Contact me.

 

 

 

 

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