Desert Cottage Joins Autumn Basket Give-Away


Grace and elegance are the best words to describe The Desert Cottage, a home repurposed into a fashion plate for vintage and antique pieces. It was such a pleasure walking slowly through what seemed like endless shops in one. Each room and cozy niche was tastefully decorated in vintage style with different themes. With 20 vendors, the mix is a true adventure.

A little bit camera shy, Yvonne and Anna, share a silly moment while showing the holiday decor

A little bit camera shy, Yvonne and Anna, share a silly moment while showing the holiday decor


Too many wonderful things… so little time. I think that’s my motto.


Anna at Desert Cottage

Anna at Desert Cottage

The Desert Cottage has also joined High Desert Blogging’s “Autumn Blog Basket Give-Away.” Their donor basket is filling fast with yummy foods, collectibles, and more, added daily. The drawing is scheduled for Saturday, December 6th at noon. A winner will be drawn from those who have signed in at the shop. Stop by and enter. There’s no charge, no tickets. It’s just the way that High Desert Blogging is giving back to High Desert  communities for their support these past three years.

Flower Arrangements by Yvonne

Flower Arrangements by Yvonne


For your visit there, be sure to talk to Anna, the owner and her long-time friend, Yvonne. They love to greet new visitors and cater to the many requests they receive from hunters looking for gifts and collections. Yvonne specializes in flower arrangements while Anna has a creative eye for vintage goodies. Her creations are placed throughout the main section. Christmas décor is beginning to fill in, so most vendors will have something for everybody.


The Desert Cottage can be found on Facebook and Instagram with latest sale items listed. Their hours are 10-5 daily with Sundays and Mondays closed, located at 15451 Bear Valley Rd near 11th Street, (760) 948-7225.


Categories: Blogging, Give-Aways, Hesperia, High Desert People, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Basket Winners Announced for “Enchanted Treasures’ and “Salvaged & Tattered” Vintage Shops Held Nov 16

Surrounded by her Enchanted Treasures, Linda Marie gathered a basket full of goodies for the drawing.

Surrounded by her Enchanted Treasures, Linda Marie gathered a basket full of goodies for the drawing.


It was a beautiful day in the High Desert for a Autumn Basket Give-Away. The first vintage shop Angie and I traveled to, out in Oro Grande on National Trails Highway, was Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures. Old Town Oro Grande has several old whitewashed brick buildings that are receiving facelifts and new tenants. But Linda Marie’s has been an anchor store for many years, and the first to sponsor a basket in her shop.

If you haven’t made the trek out there, it’s filled with outdoor imagination. Wander through little mazes of amazing stuff. Booth owners make changes often so the inventory moves. Here, patio furniture and almost anything get a new upcycled life. At the front is an antiques and collectibles shop housed in an old adobe turned showcase. “It’s a solid building,” says Linda, “even when the trains go by, the glass items may ring and jingle, but nothing falls.”

Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures is just down the street from these new shops. In fact, she opened a second shop, Salvaged & Tattered, with Virginia Martinez as her manager. This shop is flaunting a white and cream, lacy vintage theme. It makes you want to stop and gaze  around at the many designs and sparkly jewels, lamps, and bric-a-brac that make vintage shops so charming.

                                                                                               Owner of Linda Marie's Enchanted Treasures

                                                                                  Owner of Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures

The drawing for the winner of the basket sponsored by Enchanted Treasures was held at 11 am. And the winner is Ceily Highburger from Colorado, who happened to be on vacation out West! What a surprise.

 Sponsored Basket Winner Announced

Sponsored Basket Winner Announced at Salvaged & Tattered

We walked down the street to see how Salvaged & Tattered was doing. In only a month, since their doors opened, manager “Vee”  agreed that the traffic into the shop has been very steady. And that’s understandable with the lure of many shops in one convenient location.

Victorian Cream and Lace
Victorian Cream and Lace


Our Autumn Blog Basket Give-Away was also planned for this Saturday drawing, so with a faux drum roll please …

Ruth Guffey from the High Desert was drawn as the winner of a beautiful wire basket full of vintage goodies, some food items, and little secrets stuffed inside. Congratulations, ladies!

 Vee Martinez greets shoppers at new store

Vee Martinez greets shoppers at Linda Marie’s newest store



Another door down is Silver Trails specializing in native Indian jewelry and antiques. Engaged couple Patrick Morton and Maddie enjoy collectibles and hunting for antiques that shoppers will love. Just open 30 days ago, traffic and sales are encouraging. It’s early yet, so vintage shoppers can find some new goodies at Silver Trails. They also offer lay-away. They are another one of our newest basket sponsor for our Bloggers Basket Give-Away. You’ll find them at 19248 National Trails Hwy. Their number is (760) 484-6300.

Young Couple, Maddie and Patrick, open Silver Trails antique shop
Young Couple, Maddie and Patrick, open Silver Trails antique shop
                 Shopping in Silver Trails  Shopping in Silver Trails

Besides the fact that Angie and I will be returning December 6th for our basket drawing at Silver Trails, another store opening in December promises to fill our sweet tooths. An old-fashioned candy store with sodas and other goodies is tempting us. Can’t wait to see what’s inside!

 Open! Open ! Open!

 Later, we’ll meet another newcomer to High Desert’s sudden bloom of vintage shops.



Categories: Blogging, Community, Give-Aways, High Desert People, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Autumn Give-away Baskets in the High Desert

Autumn Give-away Basket

A Close-up Look at The Desert Cottage’s Chosen Basket for the Give-away

If you’re reading this blog post, perhaps you are interested in our Autumn Give-away Baskets. There is a chance that you can win one. One way is to be in the Victor Valley area of southern California while certain designated antique/vintage shops are hosting these give-away baskets with our blog,

Baskets will be given away at five antique/vintage shops.  Three shops will host basket give-aways on Saturday, November 15, 2014. Include in your plans to stop by one of these shops between now and then to enter the drawing for a basket. The three shops hosting the basket give-away on November 15th are:

  1.  Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures, 19222 National Trails Highway, Oro Grande, CA 92368

    Autumn Basket Give-away

    Chosen Basket for Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures

  2. Salvaged & Tattered, 19248 National Trails Highway, Oro Grande, CA 92368

    Salvaged & Tattered Give-away

    Chosen Basket at Salvaged & Tattered

  3. The Desert Cottage, 15451 Bear Valley Road, Hesperia, CA

    Basket Give-away

    Help Fill a Basket

Two more antique/vintage shops (listed below) participating in the Autumn Basket Give-aways will be announcing their winners on Saturday, December 6, 2014:

  1. Find Your P’s and Q’s Antiques, 15080 7th Street, Suite 11, Victorville, CA
  2. Vintage Gypsies, 21880 Highway 18, Apple Valley, CA (Across from Molly’s Country Kitchen)

Help fill a basket if you want to give to the community. Go to one of the designated shops listed above, and fill it with one or more of the items listed below:

  • a gift item at the antique shop you are visiting
  • one or more of these canned goods (pumpkin, cranberry sauce, chicken broth, cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup, green beans, French Fried onions, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk)
  • a new journal
  • a new votive and votive candle holder
  • a new holiday home decor magazine

Local entrepreneurs and businesses may participate in donating to the baskets. Contact Rusty or Angie for more information at

Basket Give-away

Help Fill a Basket

The third way to win an Autumn Give-away basket is if you are not in High Desert’s Victor Valley area, but you are in the United States and want to enter to win a basket. If that description fits you, you may enter to win the one Autumn Give-away Basket being given only from To enter, email Rusty or Angie at and put “Autumn Give-away Basket” in the subject line. Then in the body of the email give us your name and the email for us to contact you.

You will enjoy shopping at these vintage shops hosting the basket give-aways. Already they have begun special holiday events. Saturday, November 8th, Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures hosted a western event with delicious chili and desserts. More about that in another post.









Categories: Give-Aways | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vintage Gypsies Join “Autumn Basket Give-away”


A stunning Oriental Cabinet displays shop's odds & ends

A stunning Oriental Cabinet displays shop’s odds & ends


Gypsies now carry their own line of handmade soaps and scented lotions

Gypsies now carry their own line of handmade soaps and scented lotions

Historically, gypsies have been known to travel, so when Vintage Gypsies moved into Old Town district of Apple Valley, the move was well worth it. Reopening last month, Vintage Gypsies displays antiques and collectibles, outdoor décor, and their own line of scented lotions and handmade soaps. Antiques above all else, shoppers stop and gaze up, around, and down to take it all in. “We really do like the extra attention we’re getting. Old Town location is great,” said Becky, during the Grand Opening. She and her partners, Kathy and Kevin, all seem so


much happier with their new digs.   Their shop is now in a row of antique shop storefronts facing across from Mollie’s Country Kitchen, on Happy Trails Highway, Hwy 18, Apple Valley at the east end of town. The shop hours are 10-5 Wednesday through Saturday, with Sunday through Tuesday closed. Find them on Facebook, too. Those extra days off  will help them buy, repair, and refresh their inventory of eclectic goodies each week.

Gypsies with basket give-away Dec. 6th    Gypsies with basket give-away Dec. 6th

We’re proud to announce that Vintage Gypsies is also sponsoring our High Desert Blogging’s, first-ever, “Autumn Basket Give-away.” Their basket is full of useable and collectible items, coffee gift card and mug, and samples of their house brand of scented soap and lotion — too many to list here. Stop by when you shop and sign-in to win. No purchase necessary. No tickets to buy. Overall, three baskets will be given-away Nov. 15th and two more on Dec. 6th.

And why is all this happening? Because High Desert and their network of guest bloggers, have grown and helped advance the word of blogging into our local High Desert communities for the past three years. We’re giving back to the communities that supported our efforts.

Just sign up at any of the five vintage businesses listed below, and you could win one of five baskets brimming with antiques and collectibles, comfort foods, and office supplies, and other personal lotions and potions from  many donors.

See Vintage Gypsies listed below, or call (760) 552-5851 or contact them on Facebook.

High Desert Blogging  “Autumn Basket Give-away” Victor Valley area sponsored shops:

  1.  Vintage Gypsies, 21880 Hwy. 18 (across from Molly’s Country Kitchen in Old Town), Apple Valley, CA
  2.  Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures, 19222 National Trails Hwy., Oro Grande, CA
  3. Salvaged & Tattered, 19248 National Trails Hwy., Oro Grande, CA
  4. Find Your Ps and Qs Antiques, 15080 7th Street, Suite 11, (near Gridiron Pizza) Victorville, CA
  5. The Desert Cottage, 15451 Bear Valley Road, Hesperia, CA

 Our first three baskets will be given away this Saturday, Nov. 15th between 10:30 and noon at stores #2, 3 & 5. Winners do not need to be present to win.


More news to come…


Categories: Blogging, Community, High Desert Living, High Desert Shopping | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Find Your Ps and Qs Antiques Latest Shop on 7th Street

At Find Your Ps and Qs Antiques Kelli, daughter of owners, admires the Green Room

At Find Your Ps and Qs Antiques Kelli, daughter of owners, admires the Green Room

Scott and Daughter Kelli greet shoppers on the weekends

Scott and daughter Kelli greet shoppers on the weekends

One of the newest antique and vintage shops is Find Your Ps and Qs Antiques. The odd name and the eclectic collections draw in curious vintage shoppers. There’s no disappointment at all. As you wander throughout, individual consignment rooms are filled by the whimsy of the booth renter, the collections become like night and day, antique and repurposed, tattered and loved, collectible and curious. 


Scott and Debra Pavone, and their daughters Kelli and Brandi, just hosted their Grand Opening of Find Your Ps and Qs Antiques to a crowd of eager shoppers last month. The owners’ daughters jumped right into the “up cycling” trend and crafts venture of their own, making personalized and themed coffee mugs and tile coasters.


Find Your Ps and Qs is also sponsoring our High Desert Blogging’s, first-ever, “Autumn Basket Give-away.” Their basket is full of useable and collectible items. Too many to list here. Stop by when you shop and sign-in to win. No purchase necessary. No tickets to buy. Three baskets will be given-away Nov. 15th and two more on Dec. 6th.


And why is all this happening? Because High Desert and their network of guest bloggers, have grown and helped advance the word of blogging into the communities for the past three years. We’re giving back to the communities that supported our efforts.Love pink? Step into the room that honors it.

Love pink? Step into the room that honors it.


Just sign up at any of the five vintage businesses listed below, and you could win one of five baskets brimming with antiques and collectibles, comfort foods and office supplies, and other personal lotions and potions from  many donors.

Scott and Debra’s shop is easy to find on downtown 7th street at the renovated Metropolitan Plaza in Victorville. Look for Gridiron Pizza, Find Your Ps and Qs Antiques is to the far right. The shop was formerly a doctor’s or dentist’s office many years ago, and now houses a variety of collections in small rooms and quaint alcoves managed by consignment booth renters or by the owners. Their shop is open 10-5 daily, except for Sundays, call (760) 951-2262 for more info or email

High Desert Blogging  “Autumn Basket Give-away” Victor Valley area sponsored shops:

1.      Vintage Gypsies, 21880 Hwy. 18 (across from Molly’s Country Kitchen in Old Town), Apple Valley, CA

2.      Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures, 19222 National Trails Hwy., Oro Grande,

3.      Salvaged & Tattered, 19248 National Trails Hwy., Oro Grande, CA

4.      Find Your Ps and Qs Antiques, 15080 7th Street, Suite 11, (near Gridiron Pizza) Victorville, CA

5.      The Desert Cottage, 15451 Bear Valley Road, Hesperia, CA


 More news coming…



Categories: Antiques, Blogging, Community, High Desert Living, So Cal, Vintage Shopping | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Table Top Tablet for Your Dining Ease

 It had to happen. The electronic age of handheld games, PDAs, a cell phone that will let you purchase as well as communicate, these are all transforming faster than we can afford to upgrade.

Table Tech

New electronic waitresses sit on your table


Now the newer trend is to have an automated cashier at your table. I don’t mean standing at your table; I mean a small e-cashier sitting on your table.

You may have seen these in the large franchise restaurants like Applebee’s, TGIF, Chili’s and Red Robin, among those in the High Desert. It sits unobtrusively at the rear of your table or right in your face, either way, you can even opt for a pre-paid game, the news, see the shop’s menu and specials, and more. You can even ignore it and pay the traditional ways of cash or card handed directly to the cashier as you leave.

I talked to several waitresses who will be anonymous, of course, and found that this trend creates mixed feelings. I figured the younger patrons would quickly grasp the ease of the unit and use it as masterfully as WarCraft. But not so. They’re concerned about someone losing their job.

The latest news is that Applebee’s started the trend and IHOP soon joined in.

From their web site:   For more than 30 years, Applebee’s has defined the casual dining experience in America, influencing food trends for more than 1 million guests every day and defining value and service for the industry. Today, Applebee’s steps into the future to redefine and enhance the guest experience through the installation of 100,000 E la Carte Presto tablets, powered by Intel, on every table and multiple bar positions at more than 1,800 Applebee’s® restaurants in the United States by the end of 2014.

DineEquity, franchisor of Applebee’s and IHOP® restaurants, announced the relationship with an aggressive schedule for installation throughout the Applebee’s system. The tablets, which enable guests to add to their orders, pay, and play games from their seats, will also be introduced at IHOP locations.

With the convenience of swiping your credit card down the edge of the screen, you have no need of talking to a cashier as you leave the restaurant. This topic alone, replacing some of the cashier staff, has caused patrons to bristle at the fact. The younger generation patrons under 50 feel pretty much the same as patrons over 50. They don’t like killing off another staff position. More unemployed or part-time staff. No good.

Some diners love the convenience but then wonder about its safety. Most franchises will have secure coding at the level of ATMs so the fear factor is reduced. Yet, if hackers can jump into The White House, Lowe’s, and Target, who is really safe? Others said that handing a credit card to a person can be just as dangerous when they duplicate the card behind closed doors.

Sometimes the restaurants with loud sports bars make it hard to hear a transaction at the table. Using a quick swipe of the table top tablet offers quiet, quick, and quality service. Units can offer their shop’s complete menu as well.

Discussion at our table centered on enjoying ambiance, conversation with real people, and the skill of a waitress knowing her menu and pricing much easier than scrolling through a menu on screen. One server stated with a grin, “You might as well get use to it. I think these are here to stay.”    

Missing the Arm of Casino Slots?

                                             Missing the Arm of Casino Slots?

 Is it the trend that we will just accept like the ATM, the smart phone, and slot machine with no arm? Perhaps.



Categories: Entrepreneurs, Uncategorized | Tags: | 5 Comments

Improv Garden Writing Salon

Improv Salons

Improv Garden Salon

Improv and writing

Open up the flow of words with improv garden writing games and exercises. Different than the typical writing salon, the improv garden version adds a comical twist and garden-related. An improv salon, encouraged at places like Berkeley Word Party Meetup group, is a “fun, loosely structured way to generate stories and ideas” and is quite popular.

Saturday, October 25th, a few members of the High Desert Branch of the California Writers Club (HDCWC) met in a lovely garden. John and Karen Kane, a husband and wife improv team from led the group in warm-up word games. Following the word games, I asked the group to write a sentence focused on any word from the games and somehow connected to a garden. Blogger and HDCWC member Rusty LaGrange refers to this one-sentence writing game as Chained Sentences.

What does improv have to do with writing? Plot, characters and dialogue of a game, scene or story are made up in the moment. Improvisation is a great tool for writers block. Learn more about improv in the book, Upright Citizens Brigade, a comedy manual.

Fran Sorin recommends tips like surrender, imagine, and work your creativity muscles. Fran says to let go of control. It’s a great opportunity to laugh at yourself. I love her imagine statement to create scenarios that are goofy, paradoxical, real. That’s what we did at last Saturday’s improv garden salon. Yes, the chained sentences were a mix of goofy, paradoxical, and real – and hilarious.

The word game that John and Karen taught the improv garden salon group required listening and staying in the moment. Focusing on what the other person was saying was the only way to get through the game.

Incidentally, Fran Sorin is a gardener and garden designer. I have a hunch that she would have loved participating in our Improv Garden Salon.

Garden inspired writing

A Pink and Yellow Rose in Autumn

Improv Garden Writing

Pink and Yellow Rose in Autumn


Walking through or sitting in a garden inspires a writer with ideas, color, sounds. Standing near tall rosebushes in Karen’s garden in front of her house, I closed my eyes to focus on sounds. First, I wrote down my thoughts. Then, I decided to capture the sound on video. You can hear the wind. Watch as the roses wave in the wind:

Ah. Fascinating. Beautiful.

We had fifteen minutes of quiet garden time to write down what inspired us. Afterwards, we met again at the picnic table on the back porch and share our inspiration.

Improv writing may be focused on any topic you choose. Gardening is what I chose because I love it. Gardening provided inspiration, and improv helped us to build some creativity muscles.


If you love pink in a garden, visit Pink Saturday. You’ll love visiting the pink beauties!


Categories: Writing Salons | 4 Comments

Women’s Escape to Catalina Writers’ Retreat

file0001149784476Several others have already weighed in with their opinion of the first women writers’ retreat.  What many of you may not know is the story of how this all came to fruition.  It started with a conversation between two members of the High Desert Branch of the California Writer’s Club.  They were discussing how other responsibilities often kept them from pursuing their true passion, writing.

“Wouldn’t it be great if we could go away to an island where we could write without all of the distractions?” one of the women mused.

Apparently, one of them realized that it is possible to go away to an island, and the Escape to Catalina was conceived.

This women-only weekend was a truly unique experience because it was planned for each of the participants to also be one of the presenters.  There were five women, and this translated to 5 sessions that ran from 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours long.  Each presenter was allowed to choose her own subject which, in retrospect, could have been a recipe for disaster with no one overseeing the overall plan.  Instead of a disaster, the instructional sessions, which included lots of writing, fit together nicely.  It came together so well, one would have thought much more time went into the overall organization.

The first evening was spent learning about the anatomy of a story and all of the components that need to be present in order for a story to come to life.  The second day’s first presentation was about character development and what was required to truly bring them to life on the page.  The instruction in creative non-fiction which followed helped us all realize that non-fiction writing didn’t have to be boring and technical as we learned how to write a recipe as creative non-fiction from the example of a grilled cheese sandwich recipe that was embedded in the description of the first time a future chef climbed onto a chair in her mother’s kitchen to make a sandwich.  A subsequent session spent on voice and style was time well spent because as writers, we need to find our own voice so that we will stand apart from other writers.  The conference closed with Blogging 101, which included excellent instruction about building and maketing your blog.

Between all of these sessions there was time to explore and/or write.    It’s been nearly a month since the return from our weekend retreat, and I am still carrying around the notebook full of notes and ideas that came together from that weekend.  In fact, I began the outline of my NaNoWriMo project during that weekend.  Perhaps it was the presence of  my local area’s NaNoWriMo coordinator that helped to propel me toward that goal.

I am very glad that I was able to escape with my fellow female writers to Santa Catalina Island.  It was time well spent, and I returned feeling refeshed and with my muse reawakened.  The real challenge will be to prevent it from slipping back into a coma now that we have returned to the demands and distractions of daily life.

**Patti  can also be found at where she tries to limit her blogging to stocking a pantry, budgeting, and recipes.  She isn’t always successful.

Categories: Blogging, High Desert People, High Desert Writers | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Take a Garden, Some Improv, Some Friends & Add a Duck

Improv garden Group sees Ducks Fly Over

Ducks Flew Over the Garden

While you’re gearing up for the National Novel Writing Month Contest — NaNoWriMo, as it’s lovingly called — you can challenge yourself with clever ways to manage your Muse. If you find it tough to get started in the mornings, and your coffee is letting you down, try a word prompt game. It’s easy and anyone can play.

Gather a collection of unrelated words — go easy and pick five words to start — then write a paragraph quickly using those words. This exercise gets the creativity pumping. Your Muse will beg for more but only try one more exercise and leave the Muse agitated. It might get distracted and leave you alone while you create a contest-winning masterpiece!

Improv is a great way to challenge yourself as you break any writer’s block. If you have a group of 5 to 8 friends who want to cheer you on, they can participate in another exercise. Recently, High Desert California Writers Club members joined  improv group leaders John and Karen Kane of I6 improv troupe at a Garden Improv Writers Salon, held at the Kane home.

Among several games, “Chained Sentences” seemed to be the favorite. Chained Sentences is a group game where you each improvise by writing one sentence on a clean sheet of paper. You only have a minute to think. Write it down and pass it to the person on your right. Our theme was — what else? — garden improv. When you receive the next sheet from the left, quickly read the prior sentence and create one of your own. Write it down and pass your sheet as the next one comes to you. If you have eight friends you will receive 8 sheets with 8 sentences. On your last sheet (it should have your first sentence at the top) write a nice “moral of the story”, even if it’s maniacally silly or morbidly gruesome. Then try to stop laughing … bet you can’t. The creative juices are flowing!

Here’s a sample of how Improv sentences created a bazaar story idea:

The duck flew over the garden at dawn looking for breakfast. All he could find was a garden of Cadillacs draped in banana leaves. The wind blew, the dust funnels were dancing in trees. “None of this even looks close to being duck food,” he muttered to himself — until he caught sight of a truck labeled “Hostess” driving slowly by on the road that led past the gardens. Shih Tzus and wiener dogs chased the ducks with peanut butter ice cream dripping from their mouths. “All I want is a Twinkie!” said the king duck. Alabaster was the King of the Mallards and was the largest duck. Mostly from eating Twinkies.

Our participants laughed and agreed that garden parties, improv, writing salons, and such are all good  ways to make friends and generate some new ideas.


If you like what you see here check with our High Desert Bloggers for more ideas to come.

Categories: Comedy, High Desert Living, Uncategorized | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Less than a week before we hit the trail through NaNo Land


Plot bunny

With only just six days to go, are you ready to hit the trail through NaNo Land?


As promised I’m back with more NaNoWriMo trivia, helps and hints.


NaNo Challenges are traditions that help the writer reach their 50,000 work count goal. At any point along the trail you may encounter one of the following:


  • The Traveling Shovel of Death – this is a challenge to include at some point a shovel into your story. More often than not the shovel will be used to bury or bludgeon someone – but not necessarily so.
  • NaNoWriMo Anagram – this challenge asks you to name a character using an anagram of letters in NaNoWriMo. For example, I named a character “Orwin Mano”.
  • Word-a-day Challenge – usually a thread on your regional forum where a new word is listed every day and you must work it into your story that day.  Many participants return to the forum thread and post the sentence.
  • Word Sprints – this challenge also known as “Word Wars” can be done at a Write-In (more on that later) or online (Via forums, Facebook, Twitter). A time limit is set, 15 minutes or more, and the challenge is to see who can produce the most words during that time period.
  • Guilt Monkeys – the Guilt Monkey comes to us thanks to the founder of NaNoWriMo, Chris Baty. Guilt Monkeys will nag you to finish your daily word counts. Here’s how it works – your ML gives out numbered envelopes at random that contain the Guilt Monkeys. To track the movement of the Guilt Monkeys there is thread to post on (Which Monkey was passed to who and why.)You can pass the Guilt Monkey off to another WriMo if you:
    • Reach your 50,000 word goal
    • Compete in Cauldron of Doom Challenge  (you do not need to win),
    • Win a Word Sprint,
    • Make a donation to NaNoWrimo.


If you don’t want to burden others with your Guilt Monkeys the MLs have a foster home for them until they can be adopted by someone in need of Guilt Monkey love.


  • The Cauldron of Doom – this is a difficult challenge that comes to us from Lansing MI. In this challenge the participants must complete 1250 words, in 20 minutes (I’ve seen various word counts for this challenge.)
  • Plot Bunnies – as John Steinbeck said, “Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.” Plot bunnies are really cute and cuddly but you have to be cautious with them. They can lead you to some really wonderful vista of ideas or into a box canyon of despair.

You’ve been working on your novel and now you are stuck – where do you get help? The following are great places to go:

  • Write-Ins – NaNo public gatherings. For a Write-in WriMos gather at public place such as restaurant or coffee house and write. It’s that simple. During the event challenges may be issued, prizes awarded and suggestions make.
  • NaNoWriMo Forums – there are lots of threads with wonderful suggestions
  • Adoption Society – one of my favorite forums.  On this forum you will find abandoned titles, characters and plots looking for a good home.
  • The Dare Machine – If you want add a twist to your story then mosey on over to the Young Writers Program home page ( and try out the Dare Machine. Push the button and do what it says, for example “have one of your characters go missing for a chapter”.
  • Inner Editor Containment Unit – This also come to us from the YWP. Draw a box with a big red button. Now imagine your inner editor – what does she/he/it look like? Sound like? Now push the button, you inner editor has now been removed from your head and into the IECU for the next 30 days and will be kept occupied proof reading the NaNo Website. December first they will be returned to you.


See you at the trail head on November 1st!


Categories: Books, Community, High Desert Writers, Writing | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments