Archive for the ‘Writer Resources’ Category

Blogging in 2012

01/04/2012

Last year at this time I was committed to writing a blog a day. As you well know, I started out strong and fizzled out half way through. This year I am going to be much more realistic in my goals. I make no promises for a daily blog. I do hope to post weekly but if writing, teaching, and/or spending quality time with my family interfere, so be it. I will get back to posting as soon as possible.

At best this new plan will result in better blog content and more followers. At worst it will give me a little time to goof off and that’s not bad at all.

So, what can you expect to find here?

1. Installments of a fiction piece titled,  Girl in the Wind.

I’m not sure how long it will be or how it will end. It’s a story that is writing itself as I type it. Reading that last sentence will drive writers who have a clear outline in place before they begin a little crazy. I apologize for that. But, I’ve discovered that when a story starts telling itself it’s best to let it flow. I’m often delighted by how things work out in the process. In this case, I hope you will be too.

I repeat, the story is fiction. However, in places I will draw on my life for inspiration. If I write it well you will be left wondering what is true and what is pure imagination. When asked, I will smile an inscrutable smile and assure you I am innocent of all wrong doing. And please, don’t rely on whether or not I blush when saying so in order  to determine the truth of my assertion. Blushing  happens often to fair-skinned people like me and, at my age, it could be signaling the onset of a hot flash.

2. Guest bloggers. Authors, aspiring authors, bloggers and others with something of interest to writers and readers are invited to contact me about doing a guest blog.  Readers enjoy a change of pace from time to time and so do I.

3. Book reviews.  I will post my review on my blog, Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble.com. I also write a monthly book review column for About Families Publications with a circulation of 48,000 families. I prefer hard copies of books but I do have a Nook e-reader so I can accept electronic copies.

4. Odd comments and things of interest as they come to my attention.

Installment one of Girl in the Wind will be posted tomorrow with future installments appearing weekly after that. I look forward to your comments.

 

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Looking Forward – What’s Happening in October?

09/29/2011

A lot.

I leave for Dubois, PA in the morning to attend a Pennwriters board of directors meeting. In the past I was only able to attend one meeting a year. The one on the eve of the annual conference.  This one promises to be more detailed and much longer. I’m looking forward to it.

Next week Mike and I are taking the long weekend to go on vacation with friends. Tennessee here we come. I’m looking forward to it.

The week after that I’m scheduled to do a book signing at Trummer’s on Main in Clifton, VA. I’m looking forward to it.

The following weekend is a birthday celebration for Ava, our Granddaughter. She will be three.  It should be a lot of fun. and I am looking forward to it.

Closing out the month, I’m scheduled for a book signing at the Winchester Book Gallery in Winchester, VA. Of course, I’m looking forward to it.

Oh, and I almost forgot, on Halloween I’m scheduled to teach two REACH writing workshops in Fredericksburg, VA. This is an all day event followed by a drive home to pass out candy. I’m looking forward to it.

As for November, check back soon. Whatever it brings,I’m looking forward to it.

Prepping for NaNoWriMo

09/12/2011

PREPPING FOR NaNoWriMo with SUSAN MEIER: Online Course

INSTRUCTOR: Susan Meier
DATE: October 1 – October 31, 2011

REGISTER: http://tinyurl.com/PennwritersCourse201110
(LIMITED CLASS SIZE. Enroll now.)

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
Everybody believes NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, which runs every November at http://www.nanowrimo.org) is a race against the clock, a fight with procrastination and inertia. In some ways it is. But once you’re in the thick of things, you’ll discover NaNo is really all about ideas. Writers don’t stall because they’re lazy. Writers stall because they don’t know what to write next.

The month BEFORE NaNo, get proven tips from Susan Meier—the author of almost 50 books for Harlequin and Silhouette—and let her take you through several different ways to examine the story you want to write, to capture the natural scene possibilities within your idea, to generate new ideas, and to push yourself through the most grueling, but fun, month you will spend this year! Lessons include:

* The List of 20 (How to generate ideas quickly so you have little downtime when your natural ideas run out)
* Turning a “Want” into “Need” (How does knowing why you’re writing this book provide you with both energy to write and ideas for your story?)
* The One-Paragraph Story Summary (Say it succinctly…3 kinds of one-paragraph story summaries: back cover blurb, core story question, and growth paragraph)
* Could, Might, Must and Should List (How to capture ideas that spring up naturally)
* Storyboard Versus Synopsis (Breaking your idea down into manageable bites)
* The Psychology of Pushing through the Hard Times (What to do when you get stuck)
* The Psychology of a Draft (Push, push, push!)
* What Are You Doing in December? (Editing tips)

Discover how to get the most out of NaNo and write a publishable novel. LIMITED CLASS SIZE. Enroll now.

REGISTER: http://tinyurl.com/PennwritersCourse201110

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR:
Susan Meier is the author of over 45 books for Harlequin and Silhouette and one of Guideposts‘ Grace Chapel Inn series books, THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS. Her books have been finalists for Reviewers Choice Awards, National Reader’s Choice Awards and Cataromance.com Reviewer’s Choice Awards and nominated for Romantic Times awards. Her book, HER BABY’S FIRST CHRISTMAS won the traditional category in the 2009 More Than Magic contest. HER PREGNANCY SURPRISE, her first release for the Harlequin Romance line, made both Walden’s Bestseller List for Series Romance and Bookscan. MAID FOR THE MILLIONAIRE, MAID FOR THE SINGLE DAD, and COUNTRY TWIN CHRISTMAS are her 2010 releases. Susan loves to teach as much as she loves to write and is a popular speaker at RWA chapter conferences. Can This Manuscript Be Saved? and Journey Steps, Taking the Train to Somewhere! are her most requested workshops. Her article “How to Write a Category Romance” appeared in 2003 Writer’s Digest Novel and Short Story Markets. Susan also gives online workshops for various groups and her articles regularly appear in RWA chapter newsletters. For more information about Susan Meier, visit http://www.susanmeier.com.

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*****
* For more information on this course, contact Laura M. Campbell, Online Courses Coordinator.
To mail in your registration and payment, send payment at least one week before the course starts using the mail form at this link.

Novel in Six Words

08/22/2011

Handsome man. Killer smile. Graveyard’s full.

Driven to Love By Denise Meyers

08/08/2011

Driven to Love is more than the title of a book written by Denise Meyers, a Pennwriters Past President and friend to every writer she ever met. It is also a fitting description of how she lived.

Her family and friends know what I’m talking about. Her strength, tempered by a not-so- well- disguised vulnerability was equally matched by a quick wit and warmheart that drew people to her wherever she went.

It was with great sorrow that I learned of her death on August, 4, 2011.

Whenever I walk to the halls of a writer’s conference I will think of her. When I hear a group of people burst into laughter during a writing workshop I will hear her laugh ringing through the room. When an aspiring writer announces a first sale I know she will be celebrating along with him and, more than likely, nudging any nearby angels to join in the celebration.

When one of us hops online to announce a rejection letter or share a moment of doubt hers will be the voice we hear in our mind urging us to keep trying, reminding us that an acceptance letter or book contract can happen at any time, but only if you keep writing and continue to submit.

If we are lucky we are privileged to meet someone who truly inspires us on the road to publication. A mentor who doesn’t pretend it’s easy but does everything that can be done to help us find the tools we need to succeed. Through Pennwriters, I am blessed to know many people like that. Denise was the first and I will never forget her. Rest in Peace my friend.

Driven to Love by Denise Meyers is avaialble in ebook form on Kindle and Nook.

Summer Writing Camp for Kids – Some Results

08/01/2011

Kids pull no punches when asked for commentary and sometimes they volunteer their comments without being asked.

Three weeks ago I taught my first summer writing workshop for kids ages 7-12. It was a weeklong writing camp held at a local community center. For three hours each morning I tried my best to convince 19 kids that being inside with me was more interesting than playing outside with their friends or participating in the Minute-To-Win-It camp across the hall.

Sometime midday on the first day one of the kids asked my why I have a boy’s name. Whoever formatted the sign-in log each child and parent had to sign each morning had listed my name as Ms. Bobbi at the top of the page.

I’ve been asked that question by kids for as long as I can remember, starting with my grade school classmates. I explained as I alway have,  that some names, depending on the spelling, can be used by boys and girls. Bobbi with an “i” is a rare but not unheard of nickname for Barbara, my given name.  And besides, I look like a girl so it’s not a problem.

“Except for that hair,” one observant boy commented to the approval of the rest of the class. Clearly they had been wondering why my hair is so short. I was happy  to tell them about the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and how my husband and I participated in a fundraising event to raise money for research into a cure  for cancer in children. In support of the cause we had volunteered to have our heads shaved.

“I was completely bald then,” I said. “What’s up there now is a lot longer than it was a few weeks ago.”

“Cool,” seemed to be the consensus in the room after that.  And they seemed to settle into the rhythm of creative writing a lot easier when I brought in a photo of Bald Bobbi the next day and we talked about the stories we could write based on that picture.  They accepted me, funny name, weird hair, and all. And I accepted their comments no matter what.

When, at the end of camp, the time came to ask them and their parents to fill out a comment sheet, I trusted them to tell it like it is. They did.

You Are the BEST!  – by Enzo

It’s Good. – Rithvik

This was the BEST! She always gives new things to help us write. When I first got there I was a bit confused, but the next day it was great! Maybe I will sign up next year. –  Joe

I now know how to write a book with chapters. I also learned a lot of skills. – Simran

I wish my Grandma had signed me up for something else. – Nicholas  (Oh well, you can’t win them all and I did ask for the truth.)

Next week I meet a new group of kids for fice days of writing camp. I hope they are looking forward to it as much as I am.

Pennwriters Offers Another Great Online Course

07/18/2011

PROMOTIONAL BASICS: GETTING THE WORD OUT, WHEN YOUR WORDS COME OUT:

INSTRUCTOR: Babs Mountjoy
DATE: August 1 – September 2, 2011
LIMITED CLASS SIZE. Enroll now. Go to www.pennwriters.com

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
Congratulations! Your book or project has just been published. Now comes the real work: making sure your audience can find your book, purchase it, enjoy it and share it with others, bringing you fame and fortune! Most publishers want to hear about your platform, which includes a website, blog, or other publicity method to sell and promote your product or book across the world.

The internet and social media are great methods to share your news and can go a long way toward reaching your potential audience. This online course will teach you the basics of publicity and marketing, some old tricks and some new tricks, to make your new release a real success.

* 4 most important things to include when developing a website
* Discover a variety of ways to get your work noticed online and offline
* Blog tours: how to get one started and why they’re a great way to spread your name
* Freebies and giveaways to attract readers and followers
* Setting up personal appearances and book signings (Have a program in mind, not just a chair behind a table)

FREE BONUS: A list of 50 sites where writers can submit their books for review.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR:

Barbara “Babs” Mountjoy has been writing ever since she was a little girl, unable to control the urge of stories that wanted to percolate through her fingers into the keyboard. Or back then, onto the old Royal typewriter (before the TRS-80 even! Wow!). She’s been a published writer for over 35 years, spent seven years as a news reporter and editor in South  Florida, and has contributed stories to two CUP OF COMFORT volumes. Her non-fiction book 101 LITTLE INSTRUCTIONS FOR SURVIVING YOUR DIVORCE was published by Impact Publishers in 1999, and her first novel, THE ELF QUEEN (under the pen name Lyndi Alexander) came out in 2010. THE ELF QUEEN is the first of the Clan Elves of the Bitterroot series, with THE ELF CHILD coming out in 2011 and THE ELF MAGE to be released in 2012.  Her romantic suspense novel DELIVERANCE will be released by the Wild Rose Press in 2011, and her women’s fiction book SECOND CHANCES comes out from Zumaya Publications in 2012. She blogs about autism, writing and life at http://awalkabout.wordpress.com, and continues to write tech articles and TV reviews at Firefox News online. For more information on Babs Mountjoy or this course, email her at <a href=”mailto: <!– var prefix = ‘mailto:’; var suffix = ”; var attribs = ”; var path = ‘hr’ + ‘ef’ + ‘=’; var addy46632 = ‘bmountjoy’ + ‘@’; addy46632 = addy46632 + ‘zoominternet’ + ‘.’ + ‘net’; document.write( ‘‘ ); document.write( addy46632 ); document.write( ” ); //–> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it <!– document.write( ” ); //–> “>
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Two Paws Up and a Snap for Rewriting.

07/11/2011

I am very  excited to announce that my book, Storee Wryter Gets a Dog, is named A Best Dog Book for Young Readers in the latest issue of Cesar’s Way Magazine. Cesar being Cesar Milan, The Dog Whisperer, of TV fame.

In honor of the dog theme you may catch me  doing a  spontaneous Snoopy Happy Dance at any moment throughout the coming weeks.

The idea for the Storee Wryter series had been percolating in my creative mind for several years. In fact, the original version of Storee Wryter was very different from the one now available in print, e-book and audio book form.  It was intended as picture book suitable for kids in kindergarten to first grade. The illustrations were clip art and the cover was a self-portrait drawn on card stock. I printed a few copies on my office printer and stapled the pages together.  Then I approached local schools for an opportunity to present the story to a classroom full of kids.

Somehow I pulled it off. I remember being incredibly nervous the day I faced nineteen shining young faces. I was dressed in the same outfit Storee Wryter was wearing in the book.  In the current book Storee represents me at the age of eight. The age I was when I started writing. In the original version Storee was pictured as an adult. I thought it would be a great hook to have the character in the book come to life when doing a reading or book signing.

Most of the kids seemed to enjoy the simple story and I was very pleased when they realized that I was Storee Wryter. However, there was one little critic in the audience  who let me know he felt the story was lame. He rolled his eyes and yawned throughout the reading and when I asked the class if they liked the book he responded with an emphatic, “no.”  That one little voice stayed with me long after I left his school that day. Despite the fact that I knew I had a good concept, I had to agree that something wasn’t quite right and so it sat in my files and in the back of my mind waiting for me to figure out what the problem was.  Eventually I scrapped the orignal version.  Storee Wryter was conceived, in part, to inspire kids to write. I wanted to show them that creativity can be a lifelong passion and that they are natural story tellers now.

That’s when I realized that Storee should be their age. I wrote at eight-years-old. I used the things I knew in everyday life as inspiration. In this new version she would too. Excited by this new inspiration I crafted a completely new story including Crtitique, Storee’s cat, and Addie, a therapy dog in training, providing both Storee and the young readers with inspiration for their writing at the end of each chapter. I  also included writing prompts in the back of the book to encourage the kids to write about their own pets, real or imagined, and send them to Storee on her website or blog.  I was very pleased and thought I was done.  I wasn’t. It took many months and  another complete rewrite suggested by my editor, involving writing for an audience the same age as Storee and expanding the book into a sixty page chapter book,before it was ready to go into production.

Holding the first printed copy in my hands was a moment I will never forget. Receiving  a glowing comment in Cesar’s Way Magazine not only has me dancing in my kitchen, it reconfirmed my belief that the concept is a good one. There will be more Storee Wryter books with Critique as a continuing character.  It was also and excellent reminder that  good writing is, in reality, re-writing. I’m thankful that I listened to my young critic and my wise editor and didn’t stop writing until the book was truly finished.

My question of the week: Have you worked and reworked an idea to finally rewrite it into exactly what you hoped it would be? If so, please tell us what you did and how the story changed through the process.

Now for a short commercial break: Please help me inspire young writers by purchasing a  signed copy of Storee Wryter Gets a Dog for a young reader in your family or donate a copy to a library or charity promoting literacy in your community. To place and order go to: www.storeewryter.com

Welcome Back – To Me That Is

06/14/2011

I hope you’ve missed me. I haven’t written a blog  since I left to go to the Pennwriters Conference. I didn’t expect to be gone so long and I apologize for that.  I was not feeling well when I left. When I tried to speak my voice sounded more like a bull frog than me. I probably should have stayed home but I was scheduled to present a two-day workshop and be a panelist at a read and critique session and I didn’t want to leave the wonderful organizers in the lurch.

Each day I that passed I felt worse and as soon as the sessions were over for the day I want to room, took my medicine and went to bed. I missed socializing with all the people I look forward to seeing each year, including Jonathan Maberry.  I spent each night coughing and getting very little sleep and I want to thank those who attended my workshop for being so understanding and moving as close to the front of the room as possible in order to hear me.  Not only wa my voice nearly inaudible but I know the presentation itself was not as good as it should have been. Please give me another chance next year. I promise a more energetic event.

When I arrived home my wonderful husband greeted me with a big hug and told me to get into bed (he had already turned down the covers for me). Soon after I settled in he brought up a tray with another dose of medicine, a bowl of soup, a cup of tea, and just in case tea wasn’t what I wanted, a glass of wonderfully soothing ice water. Is it any wonder I love that man so much?

A simple throat infection doesn’t usually hit me so hard but I had been working almost nonstop for months and the combination of the bug and exhaustion did me in. It took me two weeks to begin to feel good again. During that time I sat on the couch completely unmotivated and letting everything go. When I finally looked at my email again there were over 1,400 messages waiting for me. Most of them writing contest entries from kids across the country that had to be read and sorted in time to announce the winners and launch the next contest. It made me tired again just looking at my in-box.

I’m trying hard to learn from that experience and not take on so much, but I have to tell you so far, it’s not working.  In about fifteen minutes I’ll head out to Bull Run Elementary School in Centreville, VA  for an author visit to two fourth grade classes. I will do the same thing tomorrow and Friday for a total of six classes in three days. There is no way I’ll ever pass up a chance to talk to 180 kids and share the magic of story telling.

I have given up on the goal of writing a blog  day for the rest of the year.  I’m going to try a weekly blog and see how that goes.  See, I’m taking on less work after all.

Saturday at the Conference –

05/14/2011

Where you’ll find me today during the Pennwriters Conference.

Drafting the Nonfiction Book Proposal with Deanna Adams Submitting an appealing book proposal is key to getting your nonfiction book published. Learn step-by-step how to put yours together so you can win over the agent or publisher of your choice.

Life Balance for Writers with Anne Grenville

Writing, learning, promoting — how to squeeze it all into your busy life? Many writers focus on what comes easily and ignore what’s outside their comfort zone, yet to be successful we must find time to do it all. This session will you define necessary elements of your writing life and balance your time for greater success.

Perfect Pitch with agent Rachel Coyne (Vater)

Being able to condense your story into a concise yet compelling statement is essential in promoting your book to agents, editors and readers. Come learn from this agent how to craft a single paragraph that packs a punch. Bring your pitch to share and be critiqued!

Creating a Low-Budget Book Trailer with Gwyn Cready

Like a preview to a movie, a book trailer can excite and audience and promote book sales. Find out how to make one without breaking the bank and utilize it effectively online.