Posts Tagged ‘Literature’

Blogging in 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, and Barnes& 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.



Prepping for NaNoWriMo


PREPPING FOR NaNoWriMo with SUSAN MEIER: Online Course

DATE: October 1 – October 31, 2011


Everybody believes NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, which runs every November at 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.


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 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

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Welcome Back – To Me That Is


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.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words – Workshop Part 1


Today I’m teaching part one of my two-part course for writers, A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words.

Learn how to evoke real emotion in memoir or personal essays. Participants are encouraged to bring an assortment of candid photos taken at significant moments in their life to use as inspiration in this interactive workshop. Part I will be mostly instructional/writing. In Part II (Sun @ 9:15), participants can share what they wrote in Part I and get helpful feedback

Checkout this link to see the other informative workshops available today.

What to Write About?


There are so many things that need my attention today that I am almost paralyzed.  I still have work to do on my upcoming workshop at the Pennwriters Conference next week.  Next week! OMG it’s next week. Yesterday I realized that what has been far on the horizon for so long is now imminent and I’m not quite ready. I’ll get there. I always do but in this moment all I can think is, How on earth can I get it all done?

The Young Voices Awards call for submissions honoring books that Inspire, Mentor, and/or Educate readers of all ages just closed. That means I have to mail the book to the judges for review and scoring. This is another near monumental task that should be done this week. Oh boy.

Today I absolutely must get to the post office to mail the April Book of the Month to the young reader whose name wa selected in the monthly drawing sponsored by the Young Voices Foundation. I’ve already put the information about the May drawing up on the website so that’s one thing I can cross off the to-do list.

I sent my book review column to About Families Publications yesterday afternoon. Not as early as the editor would like it but not late either. About the same time I was hitting the send button on my keyboard two more books for review arrived in the mail. The good news is, I have three weeks before I have to submit another column.

It’s almost eleven o’clock and I’m still in my pajamas and robe. My tea has grown cold and I really need to go to the bathroom. Before I log off to take care of that pressing need and head out to deliver posters announcing my upcoming book signings at Dog Day Afternoon in Leesburg and Borders Express at Dulles Town Center I want to explain why you, my readers, have been subjected to this rant.  It’s because with all of that going on and more I could not think of a single thing to write about this morning. Stop by tomorrow when I hope to have something better to entertain you with.

Raising Bookworms – Book Review


Buy the Book
By Bobbi Carducci

* Good
** Very Good
*** Recommended
**** Reviewer’s Choice

Raising Bookworms
Getting Kids Reading for Pleasure and Empowerment
By Emma Walton Hamilton
(Beech Tree Books)
Childcare and Development/Education $14.95
Rating: ****

As one who has loved books since first learning to read I am delighted to have found one written to encourage kids to read more. Written by Emma Wilton Hamilton, “daughter of legendary actress and author Julie Andrews, this book offers over 150 creative strategies, recommendations, resources and tactics to engage even the most reluctant reader.”

I firmly believe that the kids who don’t read are the ones who have yet to encounter the first one to capture their imagination. And they are out there. Every child has a fantasy, a skill or an interest about which they would love to learn more. The key is to find it. You will have a much better chance at doing so with the wonderful resource in hand. Employ a few of the techniques she mentions and let me know how it goes.

Young dog and cat lovers will enjoy my book for young readers: Storee Wryter Gets A Dog. Even reluctant readers are saying the like the Critique, the cat-with-attitude who helps teach a young puppy new tricks.






Get Ready to Write


In advance of my online course on memoir and creative nonfiction writing I offer you this chance to practice a bit:

Write about three people that you have lost contact with. Write first about your relationship with each. Continue the exercise by writing about why, or if, you would like to reconnect with that person again.

Here are a few memoirs to inspire you. Authors include Elie Wiesel, Amy Chua, Michael Oher, Diane Ackerman, Gretchen Rubin, Steven Tyler, Andrew Ferguson, Abby Johnson, Cindy Lambert, Bethany Hamilton, Keith R. Ablow, Glenn Beck, John Elder Robison.  Click on the book cover for more information.

 Night Crazy U: One Dad's Crash Course in Getting His Kid into CollegeThe Long Goodbye One Hundred Names for Love: A Stroke, a Marriage, and the Language of Healing I Beat the Odds: From Homelessness to the Blind Side and Beyond Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader's Eye-opening Journey Across the Lifeline Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's Battle Hymn of the Tiger MotherThe Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?: A Rock 'n' Roll Memoir

Raising Writers


Some people are born story tellers. They enter the world already attuned to the whispers and sighs of the wind. They stop to ponder the chatter of squirrels and the babble of infants. They not only hear voices in their head, they joyfully enter into silent conversation with them, eager to inhabit their world of possibility.

Others are nurtured into being by wise parents and excellent teachers. Introduced to books they become accustomed to the cadence of the written word, the magic of a story well told. Before long the brain begins to re-wire itself opening new pathways to expression. A writer is born.

At the Young Voices Foundation we are blessed to receive the early works of some very talented young writers (grades K-12). We are convinced many of them will go far. When they do, we will be the first to stand in line at a book signing and ask for an autograph. We will not hesitate to boast to our neighbors that we know them.

We understand that not all of them will grow up to become writers, just as every kid playing football or soccer today will not become a professional athlete. We do know that every child we encounter will use language the rest of his or her life. Our mission is to encourage them to discover the fun and enjoyment in a story well told no matter what form it takes.

Young Voices Foundation – Mentoring Young Writers is the sponsor of the Young Voices Awards honoring books that Inspire, Mentor, and/or Educate Readers of All Ages

Recommended Read: Raising Writers by Ruth Shagoury

Product Details

Not Really a Writer


Nothing I have ever published was written only once. While it’s true that some stories practically write themselves, coming to life in a stream of images and words that often leave me wondering where in God’s name that came from, they still need to be put away for a day or two so I don’t become so enthralled by my own words and ideas that I send them out before their time. 

Note: That second sentence is way too long and I’d rewrite if I had more time. Unfortunately I have a very busy schedule this morning so I’m leaving it as an example of what comes out unedited.  Now you know the truth. I’m not really a writer. I’m a rewriter.  Are you?


“Every book is different. Every writer is different. I’ve written some books straight through and never had to change plot or characters again, just had to tighten the language. Other books required more stops and starts. I love revising because it makes me look smarter. The reader doesn’t know that the best thing in the book didn’t come until the third pass, and that’s the way I like it.”  Denis Lehane, Author of Mystic River

Refugee Without Refuge – Book Review


Buy the Book
By Bobbi Carducci

* Good
** Very Good
*** Recommended
**** Reviewer’s Choice

**** for this excellent book by one of the most intelligent women I know.

Product Details

Author Dixiane Hallaj has done it again. In Refugee Without Refuge she continues the story of the Saleh family introduced in her first novel, Born a Refugee. It’s hard to imagine a more compelling story about the effects of politics and war on the lives of ordinary people.

I believe I’m correct in stating that most American’s don’t understand the dynamics of living in a region constantly in strife or how a simple act by a young girl can have such devastating consequences.

Politics are much more in the forefront of this book and that may be a plus for this vastly underappreciated author. If her books get into the hands of the right reviewer, one with an audience large enough and a voice loud enough, perhaps politicians will begin to see that “they” are no different than “us” and that the time has come for the insanity of war to come to an end.