Saturday, July 23, 2011

Love Letters By Cecelia Dowdy

by Cecelia Dowdy

Do you remember your very first love letter?

My last Writers' Rest blog post about my childhood pen pals made me think about other forms of written communication from my childhood, mainly, my first love letter.

The first time I received a love letter was when I was in the sixth grade and I was eleven years old. I sat at my assigned desk during math class. When I was about to leave, I looked down and saw a piece of notebook paper under my seat. I picked it up and was shocked to see the words from a secret secret admirer! I don't remember what the note said, BUT, I do remember that this person had taken a piece of masking tape and attached a nickel to the note as a gift for me!

Believe it or not, I never did find out who wrote me that letter! I recall being kind of upset that he'd only left me a was the seventies and there wasn't much that you could purchase at the store for five cents! I recall wishing he'd left me a dollar instead!

After that, I don't really recall writing love letters very much, but, I remember my female friends in high school and college writing letters and secret notes to guys that they had a crush on. The only time I remember exchanging love letters was with my husband and it was via email. We met through an online dating service and while we dated we sent several emails to each other. As a matter of fact, we still exchange emails! :-)

So do you remember writing or receiving your first love letter? Who was it from? To whom did you address your first love letter?

Leave your response in the comments!

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

What does True Grit & Country Strong have in common?

posted by Teresa Slack

In the last week I watched two movies—True Grit (the new, Jeff Bridges version for all the John Wayne purists out there) and Country Strong with Gwyneth Paltrow. What do these movies have in common? Absolutely nothing. The point is not to review either but to explain what I learned from both, as far as storytelling, and how I can apply it to my own writing.

In this post I won’t even tell you what the movies are about. All that matters here is what I learned about character development—or the lack thereof—pacing, tension, and the good old art of storytelling.

I don’t remember the John Wayne version of True Grit. So I won’t discuss the failures of Jeff Bridges in the role of Rooster Cogburn. The poor guy had mighty big boots to fill. The True Grit I watched was more about the girl who hired him. She had a goal, a mission, and an incredibly large, logical motivation set into motion in the first scene.

Each scene flowed logically into the next. Each obstacle thrust in front of the heroine became larger and more impossible to overcome. As the story unfolded more and more obstacles arose, even after she seemingly overcame her opposition. I wasn’t encumbered with memories or comparisons of the original True Grit so I was free to enjoy the unfolding of the story and wait with anticipation for its satisfying conclusion.

I don’t blame Country Strong for not living up to the character of True Grit. It wasn’t supposed to. The only reason I compare the two is 1) they’re the only movies I’ve seen recently, and 2) it failed in every way that True Grit succeeded.

The heroine in Country Strong had equally big, heart wrenching issues. Huge, tangible, logical obstacles rose up from the word GO. Unfortunately the story did not deliver. My biggest problem with this movie was I had no one to root for. I thought I did in the first few scenes. Then that character would do an about-face and make me think; “What a jerk. You’re mad at X for doing the same thing you’re doing.”

As the movie progressed I kept thinking of that old saying: “There’s a five dollar fine for whining.” Every character in that movie ended up owing me five dollars, except for the guy who started out as the antagonist. By the end of the movie, he’s the only character I liked.

I know, I know. Country Strong was about real people with real issues. I have nothing against flawed characters. I can’t abide characters who aren’t. The characters in True Grit were plenty flawed. But the viewer still wanted them to succeed. With Country Strong I didn’t even care after a while. I kept forgetting the movie was on and leaving the room. Then I’d have to rewind to see what I missed.

I knew what I was getting when I turned it on. But come on. Give me something. Give me some grit, some motivation I understand, and characters I can root for. Don’t tell me they’re strong. Show me in the way True Grit did.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Authors this month:
Stephen Bly and Molly Noble Bull

By Molly Noble Bull

                     Throw the Devil Off the Train by Stephen Bly

On the twenty-seventh of each month, I write an article for a blog for readers and writers of western fiction called Bustles and Spurs.
My articles were always published right before Stephen Bly published his monthly article, and he often left comments after my posts. However, author Stephen Bly recently relocated to Heaven.
I will miss his kindness. But his talent for storytelling will go on and on. 
Below is a brief summary of his newest western novel titled Throw the Devil Off the Train.
It's 1880. Catherine heads west to marry her fiancĂ©. She's desperate for escape and a change when she meets Race. He heads west determined to get justice for his dead brother, and Catherine and Race hate each other on sight. A holdup, hijack, kidnapping and gold mine swindle bring them together, and throwing the devil off the train is the only thing they agree on. Fiery, opinionated and quick to react, can they make peace long enough to get the job done?  

                         Brides and Blessings by Molly Noble Bull 

Brides and Blessings, my 1999 inspirational novels with a western setting, came out from Kindle on July 15, 2011, and the novel can be purchased as an ebook from Amazon for only $3.99. Click below. 

Brides and Blessings is set in the Texas hill country west of San Antonio and is about identical twin sisters separated at birth. One twin, Suzan, was born in California and is a movie star, and Suzan dreams of an ordinary life. Holly, the other twin, is a church librarian in a small Texas town, and she hopes to grow closer to her sister as well as help Suzan achieve her goal.
Suzan falls in love with a cowboy pastor by the name of Josh Gallagher, and he falls for her. But will he still love her once he learns her true identity? 
To buy Brides and Blessings as an ebook, go to and write Molly Noble Bull in the search slot. You might have to scroll down to see a photo of the cover of this novel. When you see it, click on the word Kindle. Or click on the paperback version and buy and read Brides and Blessings in a paperback format.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Pen Pals! :-) By Cecelia Dowdy

Photo courtesy of Free Digital Photos

by Cecelia Dowdy

Does the title of this blog post bring back memories? Have you ever had pen pals? If so, do you remember their names and where they were from? How long did the writing relationship last?

Pen pals is a somehwat "archaic" term. The reason I say this is because with the advancement of the internet, I don't think people write letters to one another anymore using pen, ink, envelope and stamp. When I was growing up, I believe my fascination with pen pals was one of the indications that I'd become a writer when I got older.

I recall reading the Archie Comic books and there was a list of people from which to choose pen pals listed in the book. Also, you could send in money to the comic book people and they'd mail you the address for a pen pal. I recall taping approximately 75 cents onto the order form and mailing it out to the comic book people. In return, I received pen pals.

I recall two of my pen pals quite well. One was named Karen G. (I won't reveal the last name, but I remember it.) and she lived in Jacksonville, Florida. The other one was named Tammy K. and she lived in...Maine, Montana, Massachusetts? I only recall that Tammy's home state started with a M. I exchanged pictures with both of them. Karen had short curly dark hair and Tammy had long brown straight hair. Sometimes, we'd exchange gifts. Tammy sent me a necklace once and it had a pendant in the shape of a chocolate ice cream cone! :-)

I wrote to these girls for about a year or so? Then, the relationship just tapered off to nothing. The letters stopped suddenly and when I wrote, I finally received no response from either of them. I wonder where these ladies are today and if they even remember writing to me back in the seventies.

So, have you ever had pen pals? If so, do you remember their names and where they were from? How long did the writing relationship last?

Don't forget to leave a comment!

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Independence Day Quotes

Since Fourth of July is my 2nd favorite holiday topped only by Christmas, and I'm always on the lookout for fun or inspirational quotes, I thought I'd combine the two in order to celebrate our nation's Independence. So enjoy these quotes and add a few of your own while nabbing another hot dog off the grill and enjoying your community's fireworks display.

"You have to love a nation that celebrates its Independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism."
Erma Bombeck

"Better to starve free than be a fat slave."

"I have always been among those who believed that the greatest freedom of speech was the greatest safety, because if a man is a fool, the best thing to do is to encourage him to advertise the fact by speaking."
Woodrow T. Wilson

"Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime."
Adlai Stevenson

"Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it."
George Bernard Shaw

“Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” ~John F. Kennedy

"A real patriot is the fellow who gets a parking ticket and rejoices that the system works."
Bill Vaughan

Those who won our independence believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty.
Louis D. Brandeis

Add your favorite quote to the list.

Friday, July 1, 2011


By Molly Noble Bull 

Strange is not a strong enough word to describe two unique videos I think you will find interesting.
The first shows a possible UFO over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Israel. When you have seen the first one, click on the second UFO video before you scroll down and click on the video below. The second UFO video is clearer than the first.   
Click to see the youtube video of the UFO.

The second video is of an otherworldly-like rider on a pale green horse, and apparently, the photo was taken in Egypt during the recent protests. This video is less than two minutes long, and the first minute and a half shows pretty much what is going on in the streets of Egypt that you've seen on your TV sets dozens of times. Then about one and a half minutes into the video, you'll see in the center of your screen a pale green guy on a pale green horse. The covering over the horse's body reminds me of what you might see at a sporting event in Ivanhoe's day.
The green horseman moves to the right of your screen, appears to go upward, disappearing into the sky completely.
Click to see the greenish horseman video via youtube and World Net Daily.

The Bible gives the following warning in Luke 21:11. 
And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famine, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.

All these photos are unusual to say the least, if not down right mysterious.
I can’t vouch for them. The UFO and the green horseman could have been staged, making it an outlandish hoax. 
In any case, it makes for interesting viewing.