DANCING WITH THE STARS, PRE-SEASON 25: August 29, 2017

DANCING WITH THE STARS, PRE-SEASON 25:  August 29, 2017   RUMORS (or CONFIRMATIONS?) from “People”: Nick and wife Vanessa Lachey are said to be sure things for the fall lineup of celebs.  Nick is the brother of Drew Lachey, who won an early season of DWTS with Cheryl Burke.  Drew and Cheryl ended their season memorably with an adorable, fun freestyle to “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy”—love it! Andrea Evans, from the soap “One Life to Live,” is rumored to be a possible celeb dancer this season.  We’ll find out for sure in a few weeks, starting September 18th!   PROS & TROUPE NEWS: Pro Val Chmerkovskiy has openly confirmed his romance with pro Jenna Johnson and appears to be very happy about it.  Keep your eyeballs peeled for those two.  When I met them, separately but at the same tour event, they seemed to be very nice.  Val looked a tad tired due to the demands of the tour, but he seemed to enjoy spinning me around for ten seconds. I did, too! Word on the street is that Jenna Johnson, Sasha Farber, Brandon Armstrong, Artur Adamski, Britt Stewart, and Hayley Erbert will be troupe members for Season 25. OTHER NEWS: Guess what!  Rashad Jennings doesn’t just play football, dance and win Mirrorball trophies on Dancing with the Stars.  He cooks, too!  He served up one of his favorite dishes on a recent episode of “The Chew.”  What a great guy!   Have you heard any DWTS news that I haven’t?  If so, please comment and share it with us.  We can’t wait to know!  News will keep trickling in day by day until the last week or so before the fall season premieres on September 18, so hang in here with us. KEEP YOUR DANCING SHOES ON AND KEEP WATCHING YOUR INBOX FOR MORE NEWS!  The Countdown to Season 25 of Dancing with the Stars continues! . . ....

WRITING: TO SPLIT OR TO FIX? August 29, 2017

WRITING:  TO SPLIT OR TO FIX?                                   August 29, 2017 Having house guests for two weeks was fun, but I got behind in my work and then I was sick last week.  Thank you for returning for more writing and grammar info!   Sometimes writing is very easy, and the sentences flow readily from our minds through our fingers onto the page.  At others, though, some phrases/sentences become like tongue twisters and don’t seem to come out right, no matter what we do.  Trying to force writing and rhyme can cause discomfort and dissonance for both writers and readers.  What to do?   The Problem When you’re experiencing too much difficulty and/or confusion in writing or editing a sentence, step back, slow down, and read it out loud.  Was it uncomfortable for you to say and hear?  If so, look at/listen to the parts, and figure out what and where the problems are.  Is logic/clarity the only problematic issue?  Does it sound clunky and odd, without a smooth flow?  Can you easily move or delete a word or two in order to achieve logic and a comfortable flow?  If not . . .   The Solution Consider reconstructing/rewriting the sentence or splitting it into two or three sentences, depending on its length.  Also, think about whether text would be clearer, easier to read and hear, and overall more effective if portions are relocated/switched.  You can even try both possibilities.  Think at the sixth-grade level (newspaper writing/broadcast news) instead of doctorate level.  Can you also get rid of any unnecessary or interfering words?  If you really get stuck, ask someone for help.  Then, reread to make sure that the flow of thought and logic have survived.  Will it make sense to your readers and be easy for them to read/say?  If so, you’re good to go. Don’t let a lack of flow and logic trip up or halt your writing, or even take half an hour to resolve.  Getting upset and sending the piece out in problematic form won’t help, either.  It should be easy enough to resolve; be objective and give it a reasonable second chance.  Always go with what’s best for your readers.   Many lessons and bits of advice in this writing/grammar series have been taken from Writestyle’s online campus.  Like this blog and find it helpful?  Watch your inbox for more!    ...

DANCING WITH THE STARS, PRE-SEASON 25: August 25, 2017

DANCING WITH THE STARS, PRE-SEASON 25: August 25, 2017 PRO WATCH: Yesterday I told you that promises were stated that the pros for Season 25 of Dancing with the Stars would be revealed to us this morning on GMA.  Turns out that they aren’t revealing quite all of them today.  We know that Mark Ballas and Cheryl Burke are back!  Mark took two seasons off to do Broadway.  He says he knows who his celeb partner is, but, of course, he isn’t allowed to tell who she is.  He adds that he’d love to have his wife, singer-songwriter Alexander “BC” Jean, as his official DWTS dance partner at some point.  “Never say never,” he says.  Cheryl has been running her dance studio, guesting on TV shows, touring, including in Japan, and whatever else.  These two seem to have missed the constant creativity and the family-style fun with friends and fans on Dancing With The Stars.  Welcome back, Mark and Cheryl!  Note that Mark was included in today’s confirmed list of pros but Cheryl was not; she was mentioned elsewhere.  Hmm … I wonder whether she’ll be the (or one) “surprise pro” they promise to reveal on September 6th.  So, according to what I was able to find, as of today the confirmed pros are:  Keo, Sharna, Artem, Emma, Maks, Lindsay, Val, Witney, Gleb, Peta, Alan Bersten (usually in the troupe, occasionally “pro”), Mark, and—ta dah!—Cheryl.  That’s a total of 13.  But that’s an uneven number.  Maybe they really will reveal a 14th pro on September 6th.  I’ll tell you as soon as I know. BTW, Alan is very talented, courteous, and sweet.  I had my photo taken with him, too, and he spent a few minutes talking with me, including about the biography I wrote (“Dancing in the Stars”) of my father’s life in showbiz as a pro ballroom dancer.  Although I’ve met just several of the cast members, I feel certain that the others are just as nice as the others. Keo is in!  I’m glad to see this lovely man included again.  Fingers crossed that he’ll have a worthy/worthwhile celeb partner this time! HOSTS:  Tom and Erin will return to co-host. JUDGES:  It looks Carrie Ann, Len, and Bruno will be back at the judges’ table.  Not sure yet whether Julianne will be a regular 4th judge.   WEDDING PLANS: Judge Carrie Ann Inaba says that she and fiancé, actor Robb Derringer, are planning their wedding together, which will be on a beach in her native Hawaii...

DANCING WITH THE STARS POST-SEASON 24 AND PRE-SEASON 25 NEWS

DANCING WITH THE STARS POST-SEASON 24 AND PRE-SEASON 25 NEWS   HOT SUMMER NIGHTS: The Dancing With The Stars “Hot Summer Nights” Live Tour began on June 16 in New Jersey, worked its way across the U.S., and finished on Aug. 13 in Fresno, California. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see this one.  But judging by their “Dance All Night” winter tour that I saw in Cincinnati in January of 2016 and by their performances during the regular DWTS seasons, it was as awesome and entertaining as ever. Congratulations to the team.  Word is that Season 24’s winner with Emma, NFL running back Rashad Jennings, held his own excellently alongside the pros while adding his own moves and flavors to the charming and funny personality that we came to love during his season on the show.  Wouldn’t you love to see his dance again? I would! Although Gleb had to leave the tour when his baby was coming a few weeks ago, I’m guessing that he’ll be a pro again this-coming season, starting on September 18. Any pros who just finished the tour but are being chosen for Season 25 will have to pop right into the studio to start training their respective celebrities. Can you imagine being so physically fit to do that?!  Hats off to the Dancing With The Stars pros! As a reminder, the pros and troupe members who just finished the tour are:  pros Sasha Farber (with Season 24 partner/U.S. Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, Emma Slater (Season 24 winner with Rashad Jennings), Sharna Burgess, Keo Motsepe, Lindsay Arnold, Artem Chigvintsev, and Gleb Savchenko,  along with troupe members Alan Bertsen, Hayley Erbert, and Britt Stewart–all under the creative genius and direction of award-winning choreographer Mandy Moore. To be fair, I must also remind you that the cast was subject to change based on variables such as illness/injuries, family situations, and babies such as Gleb’s arriving, but I don’t have names of other pros or troupe members who may have filled in. I hope they enjoyed themselves as much as my father did in some of those beautiful old theaters in the 1930s and 40s.  Life for a ballroom dancer back then was w-a-a-a-y more difficult than it is for the pros of today.  If you’d like to know more while also enjoying the aspects of romance, mystery, and celebrities of the era and while being inspired to overcome obstacles in life, I think you’d enjoy the biography I wrote: “Dancing in the Stars—Carroll Webster, International Dance...

WRITING: Got Writer’s Block? Pursuing Perfection? August 7, 2017

WRITING:  Got Writer’s Block? Pursuing Perfection?           August 7, 2017 Got writer’s block? Pursuing perfection?  Let’s get you out of those, pronto. Resolving the first can also relieve the second. Writer’s Block:  Ever heard of free writing and webbing? Free writing:  In the pre-writing phase, set a timer for, say, 20 or 30 minutes.  Write whatever and everything that comes to mind, whether to generate ideas or to create on a topic. Don’t pause/stop to read, consider, or edit for spelling, grammar, word choice, or anything else.  Just write!  When the timer goes off, read what you have and you’ll be amazed to see how many ideas came out and what they are leading to. Webbing: For the lack of another explanation, webbing is a method of visually connecting ideas and subject-related words in a written web toward the writing goal.  The writer can branch out and connect further as needed.  Using this fast, concise method, the writer can stay on course to see and keep track of possibilities. Creating in these ways, timed or not, also can help to curb your tendency to be a perfectionist. Read on. Pursuing Perfection Because I’m also an editor who wants everything created by me or by others to be as good as possible, I really had to work on putting my perfectionism to the side during the creative process. Pursuing perfection is okay to a point but becomes unreasonable; we have to cut ourselves some slack. Just create—get those ideas out where you can see them—so that nothing will get in the way and make you forget some of the great phrases that you really want to use. Then, reread and tweak where necessary. Remember: Rereading, reconsidering, and tweaking can also produce new ideas; so, get those new ideas down quickly, too. Once you have a rough draft you can reread, reconsider, and revise. You can do...

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