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Phrases We Borrowed from Shakespeare That May Surprise You

Even if you’re not a Shakespeare fan, I bet you’ve used Shakespearean phrases that have slipped into our language. Check out this infographic from GrammarNet, then tell us in the comments if I’m right.

[Infographic provided by Grammar.net]

Have a Laugh about Language, Writers and Writing

Writers, It’s time to laugh at ourselves.
A visitor to a certain college paused to admire the new Hemingway Hall that had been built on campus.

“It’s a pleasure to see a building named for Ernest Hemingway,” he said.

“Actually,” said his guide, “it’s named for Joshua Hemingway. No relation.”

The visitor was astonished. “Was Joshua Hemingway a writer, also?”

“Yes, indeed,” said his guide. “He wrote a check.”


A linguistics professor was lecturing to his English class one day. “In English,” he said, “a double negative forms a positive. In some languages, though, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative. However, there is no language wherein a double positive can form a negative.”

A voice from the back of the room piped up, “Yeah, right.”


There was once a young man who, in his youth, professed his desire to become a great writer.

When asked to define great, he said, “I want to write stuff that the whole world will read, stuff that people will react to on a truly emotional level, stuff that will make them scream, cry, howl in pain and anger!”

He now works for Microsoft writing error messages.


A screenwriter comes home to a burned down house. His sobbing and slightly-singed wife is standing outside. “What happened, honey?” the man asks.

“Oh, John, it was terrible,” she weeps. “I was cooking, the phone rang. It was your agent. Because I was on the phone, I didn’t notice the stove was on fire. It went up in second. Everything is gone. I nearly didn’t make it out of the house. Poor Fluffy is–”

“Wait, wait. Back up a minute,” The man says. “My agent called?”


How many mystery writers does it take to change a light bulb? Two. One to screw the bulb almost all the way in, and one to give a surprising twist at the end.


From the pen of Paul Ogden

  • A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.
  • A backward poet writes inverse.
  • No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be stationery


From http://bit.ly/N4pjcW
A Spanish speaking bandit held up a bank in Tucson. The sheriff and his deputy chased him. When they captured him, and the sheriff, who couldn’t speak Spanish, asked him where he’d hidden the money. “No sé nada,” he replied.

The sheriff put a gun to the bandit’s head and said to his bi-lingual deputy: “Tell him that if he doesn’t tell us where the money is right now, I’ll blow his brains out.”

Upon receiving the translation, the bandit became very animated. “¡Ya me acuerdo! Tienen que caminar tres cuadras hasta ese gran arbol: allí está el dinero.”

The sheriff leaned forward. “Yeah? Well..?”

The deputy replied: “He says he wants to die like a man.”


Can you add a joke or funny thought about writers, writing or language to this pitiful collection?

Spice Up Your Book with a Recipe

When you set out to write your book, you have ideas, steps, encouragement and more that you want to share. The easier you make it for the reader to grasp your key points, the better. Try adding a recipe to spice up your book.

Almost any book can benefit from a recipe metaphor. All you need is a theme or objective, some ingredients and directions on how to mix them together. The beauty of recipes is that they are user friendly and we can understand them. Even a technical topic could benefit from being expressed as a recipe.

Your recipe could list general ingredients.

A book on happiness, for example, could list what researchers have discovered about the traits of happy people

  • gratitude
  • help others
  • believe in a higher power
  • practice being quiet and still from time to time
  • laugh
  • choose activities you enjoy
  • hang out with happy people
  • avoid toxic people

Your recipe could identify quantities of each ingredient.

A book on living a healthy life, for example, could list

  • 5 fruits and vegetables daily
  • 30 minutes of brisk exercise at least 4 times a week
  • 8 hours of sleep nightly
  • one ounce of water for every pound of weight

Your recipe can take on many forms. It’s important to remember that this is your recipe and therefore can be constructed whatever way you wish. Opinions vary on how much we need of anything, so you get to be the expert with your recipe.

You can construct your ingredients from the tips, steps and points you already share. Then be sure to discuss how those ingredients go together to yield the “dish” you are promoting.

Your recipe might be a metaphorical one or an actual kitchen-style one.

In Chapter 6 on Balancing Family and Work in my book, Color Your Life Happy: Create Success, Abundance and Inner Joy You Deserve, I stressed making family the highest priority.

In that section of the book I talked about our practice of cooking new recipes on Sunday afternoons when my children were growing up. One of those recipes became such a family favorite that to this day, decades later, every time I serve that recipe the guest always asks for the recipe. I had to include that recipe in my book, of course.

I won’t make you go over to buy the book in order to get that recipe. Over the years I’ve switched to ground turkey and fresh green chiles, but here is the original recipe as it appeared in the Los Angeles Times recipe section decades ago. Let me know how you like it.

California Zucchini Bake

1 pound lean ground beef
3 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
¼ cup sliced green onion with tops
2 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 (7 ounce) can green chiles, chopped
3 cups cooked rice
1 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded Jack cheese
1 large tomato, sliced
salt, pepper

Saute beef, zucchini, onion, salt, garlic powder and chili powder in a lightly greased skillet until meat is no longer pink and vegetables are tender crisp, Stir frequently. Add green chiles, rice , sour cream and 1 cup cheese. Turn into greased shallow 2 quart casserole. Arrange tomato slices on top, Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees 20 to 25 minutes

Do you want to talk about what recipe you can include in your book? I would love to be your partner in choosing a recipe that readers will find yummy. If you are ready to begin, pop me an email right now with “READY” in the subject line at flora@florabrown.com . Tell me about your book idea. Be sure to include your phone number and I’ll call you within 24 hours.

I’m going over to check for your email right now.



What Will You Write About?

Many writers wonder what to write about. One place to get started is to go back through your memories. Some are warm and fuzzy, while others are sharp and painful. Either way, they are great starters for your writing projects.

One way to recall those memories is to visit your old photos. Today while I was taking a break from my work, I picked a few photos from my past and recent history and made the following video using Animoto. They have a free version, stock photos and music and more advanced versions for longer videos.

Maybe creating a video like the one I created below will inspire your writing and give you content for your blog and social media accounts as well.