Friday, May 29, 2009

Thsnks for all of the support I received yesterday concerning my son. You'll never know how much it means to me. Writers are the BEST bunch of folks I know for supporting each other. Just to know that you are thinking of us and praying for him, it makes me feel so good. I told him about it and he is beyond words. No words can say, how he feels about the wonderful messages y'all sent!:)

When you write, and we do. You must think OUT of the box and realize there are a host of other things to be done, after you sign the contract. One of those things is a little thing called marketing. There are all types of marketing. But what type of marketing does an author do? Should we prepubbed authors have to think about this? Many authors think that they don't have to do anything. They are under the belief that they did all the work writing the book. The publisher should take care of this. You can't just hand everything over to the publisher. This is a business. You must do everything possible to ensure that your book has every chance to be successful.

Your book is important to you. It's not AS important to your publisher as it is to you. Authors have been talking about building your brand. That is your public character. The identity you want the public to see in you. One of the great ways to do this is to blog. YAY. I'm doing this. Blogging gets people interested in you and in your book. It's the best way to state your brand.

You csn make or have made marketing materials that are inexpensive, think Vista print. Bookmarks are great for all writers. Business cards are another great tool. Get some made up and hand them out to everyone. Book store owners, Librarians, everyone you come in contact with.

Your mailing list. We all need to work on this. And we need to work on it now. Add your kids teachers, doctors and everyone in between. Then when your book comes out, voila, you have a lot of people to tell. More sales(hopefully) and not a lot of work. Doesn't take a lot of time to jot down a name and email or snail mail address. Of course the most important thing is to get the thing finished, Yikes, June is almost here. My goal is to be done by the end of June.

These are things we all need to be thinking of. Thanks for reading. Anyone else have anything to add? :)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I realize my blogging and commenting on your blogs has been a complete and total washout this week. Apologies passed out all around. Cookies too. Dark fudge and chunky chocolate chip. Mmmm. As you know my son is having tests done on his central nervous system with at least one more, probably many more scheduled. Please remember him, I will totally be in your debt! Now on to other things. I have been so absent minded lately, I can't remember if I announced the winner of my contest. Jessica Kennedy congratulations. Stay tuned, I'll be having another contest soon.

I know some of you are members of SCBWI and receive the Bulletin. The May/June issue has this Fantastic article in it called, Shut Up and Deal. It is written by David Goldschmidt. To summarize it is a Fantastic large scale revision technique. Why can't I ever think of this stuff? After your draft on your novel is completed, you step back and take a look at your work. Focus on flow,logic, continuity, relevance, and importance by chunking up your manuscript. A chunk is a group of chapters, a single chapter, a group of scenes, a single scene. Whatever you decide you want to go with. I'm doing single chapter. Look at these chunks as vital pieces of your story. Answer questions like,"What next?" "Why is it important?" Then you write one sentence that sums up the chunk. And it has to be a normal sentence. No run-ons, or semicolons are allowed. You write the sentence on an index card. Lay each card out and read them aloud. You will notice stuff you didn't notice before. Put a big red X on the cards where the sentence you read seems it doesn't belong in your story. You know that it has to come out. If it doesn't move your story, out it goes. I know it's hard to cut those lovely words you wrote, but it must be done. I always think every word I write is just so wonderful. But really, I hit the backspace key and then they are gone. The cards with the x are in the pile to be thrown out, for good. Read each card over and over, you can rewrite the sentences, too. By doing this, you notice the junk and you keep the story. The story you want to tell.

This is working for yours truly. Try it and see what you think. Anyone else have any great revision tricks, you'd like to share? Thanks for reading. :)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Let's go green!

Found a great link and some wonderful green ideas for book launches. Which we all know we're going to have, right? VH Melville, the author of Ecotastic, the Fabulously Free Green Guide has some great ideas on going green at your book launches and book signings. Like giving away packets of seeds as door prizes. I'm a believer in trying to do as much as we can to help our planet. It's the only one we have. Unless we find a way to live on Mars or something. We need to take it seriously. And this gives us some great ways to do it. Why can't I ever think of this stuff? I really love the idea of the story garden for those of us writing for children. Great stuff and you can read about it here.

And my son is just about ready to get my web site up. I have seen it and it looks GREAT! Can't wait for y'all to tell me what you think about it. Have a great Memorial day grilling out. It's raining here, AGAIN. :)

Friday, May 22, 2009

I just wanted to give a BIG round of applause and congratulate my blogging buddy, Tess Hilmo for snagging an agent. WOOHOO, way to go! Her writing spoke for itself and now she will get what she deserves. PUBLICATION. Great going Tess. Hope, I'm following close behind you girl! Celebrate! :0)

How do you critique?

What kind of critiques do you give? Do you give the same kind of critiques that you expect from others? Are you too general in your advice? Too vague? Do you use a fair amount of tact? Courtesy? Do you do a quick read-through and then dole out advice like it was candy on Halloween? Or do you seriously read the words entrusted to you? When someone gives me their prized manuscript to read, I try to point out as much good about it as I can. I sandwich my advice. Top layer-good stuff, middle layer-things they might need to look at and consider changing, bottom layer-good stuff again. I've found that if you use this sandwich method, it makes the writer feel better. They can see the things they might need to change clearly, because you put that in the middle, between the good stuff and it's easier to swallow.

I've had all kinds of critiques. Envious, too general,and plain mean, I just want to hurt you critiques. I've had some really great crits, too. I'm critiquing this morning, and that is why I thought of this post. The mean critiques that I've had, I threw them out. Never to think of them again. But let's face it, they hurt. One almost made me quit writing. It said something like; you couldn't write your way out of a paper bag. UGH, that was tough. But I grew as a writer that day. I judged that my story was better than that person knew, and I felt sorry for her, not me! The sandwich method is a great way to critique.

I learned about this from someone. I can't remember who. If you read this, feel free to speak up and I'll put your name with a link on this post.:) Anyone have other great ideas for critiquing out there? :)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Why am I writing?

I write because I live. If someone put me in a place where there were no computers, no pens, no pencils, I wonder if I could live like that. It's a hunger. If I couldn't write, where would I put all of these characters in my head? I'm talking about all of this, because I read somewhere that a writer claimed he wrote to make money and that was that. Say what? I know plenty of writers and that's not why they write. Oh sure, that's a plus, but if I never get published, I'll still write. The hard work, the endless hours, the passion we writers feel, of course we want rewarded. To see our work in print. To touch a book that we wrote. Ahh, it must be bliss. I must remember to ask P.J. how it feels.

Getting published would give me validation. It's something I want, something I need. Not too many people can say they've written a novel. Or any kind of book. This means that we are doing something rare. The rejections can't even stop us. Because we know one day we'll be sitting high atop the mountain. With the published authors. But even if it doesn't happen to me (which I know it will) I will still write. I write because I live. What say you ? :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Writing contest

I want to thank everyone for all of their support, prayers, and good thoughts for my son, me, and the family. We still don't know too much and there are a lot more trips scheduled in the next month. But you'll never know how good it made me feel to read all of the comments of love and support. Thanks so much. You guys are the BEST! :)

TRI Studio LLC invites you to submit your flash fiction story to their current writing contest, "Old Mold New Milieu," in The Fiction Flyer, their free ezine for writers. There are modest cash prizes, but you likely will survive without the ten dollars. More interesting, winning stories will be published in The Fiction Flyer, which has a subscriber list of about 1,000 at present. Okay, you can survive without the exposure, too, but wouldn't it be nice? And your story only needs to be 1,000 words or less. You can write that much before lunch! AND you get to showcase a couple characters in your own books or stories, which of course begs readers to investigate further, which is why links to winners' books and stories will be included. Details for the contest are here:
flash fiction contest

They have some interesting judges, too. Kevin Collier, who as you know is a well-known and mutli-published author and artist of youth fiction, and his wife, Kristen Collier, a talented author of critically acclaimed Christian literature, and Carolyn Howard-Johnson, promotional guru and multi-award winning author of numerous novels, books of poetry, and the best-selling how-to Frugal Book series on book promotion.

They will also give you a subscription to The Fiction Flyer, which is a quarterly ezine packed with up-to-date articles, information, and stories by and for writers. And yes, they love growing their subscription list!

Hop on over and check it out!

Monday, May 18, 2009

I'm at the hospital with my son

I'm at the hospital with my son. I will comment on your blogs later when I get a chance. Right now everything is pretty busy.

I did want to ask if any of you have an idea file. Kim Smith had given this idea at one of the Muse online workshops.Lea Schizas free online conference
Kim had this great idea. Muse Tweakers. Think of something that has happened in your life. Some highly emotional event. Remember it fully and then write one line about it. These muse tweakers are the first lines in your next piece of work. Open with emotion. If you were blocked, you're not anymore, because you now have something to say and it is personal and something you identify with on a personal level. For your idea file, if the memory is anger, write it on a red card. Sadness--blue. You can add to these sentences as you have more thoughts about the memory. You can do this on your computer, but it doesn't work as well, as actually holding the cards in your hands. You can keep the cards in those card files or in baggies.

Some people text themselves messages. Say you're somewhere and you see a broken pencil.Now you wouldn't just say,"Broken like a pencil." You may want to text yourself, "My arm hung limply, broken like a pencil."

I thought I would pass this along. It has been very helpful to me. :)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

An ode to my critique partner

I thought I was finished writing the chapters of my manuscript. Enter Beth at our last critique meeting. With a smile on her face (she always has one of those) she proceeded to tell me that I wasn't done. I need one last chapter and an epilogue. Fast forward to last night. Up until all hours writing that last chapter and the epilogue. Still need to revise it, but I realized that she was rrrr, um,ririri, um, right. It is better. There were some things I hadn't taken care of. Some ends that needed tying up. As I wrote and conversed with her, because C had the guys over, and she was trying to pull an all nighter. I couldn't remember if I had told Beth about her being, well, you know. So you were and I'm saying it to the world. It is better. Or it will be with some touching up. Boy am I glad I listen to you. Thanks for ALWAYS being there. :)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

8th grade exam in 1895

This blog is off the topic of writing, just for today.

Could you pass it? Remember hearing, "Ol' Joe only had an eighth grade education." Turns out, that was a tough year for tests! Could you pass? The following is the eighth grade final in Salina Kansas, USA. It was taken from the original document on file at the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina, and reprinted by the Salina Journal.

8th Grade Final Exam: Salina , KS - 1895 Grammar (Time, one hour)
1. Give nine rules for the use of capital letters.
2. Name the parts of speech and define those that have no modifications.
3. Define verse, stanza and paragraph
4. What are the principal parts of a verb? Give principal parts of 'lie,''play,' and 'run.'
5. Define case; illustrate each case.
6 What is punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of punctuation.
7 - 10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.
Arithmetic (Time,1 hour 15 minutes)
1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
2. A wagon box is 2 ft. Deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. Wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?
3. If a load of wheat weighs 3,942 lbs., what is it worth at 50cts/bushel, deducting 1,050 lbs. For tare?
4. District No 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?
5. Find the cost of 6,720 lbs. Coal at $6.00 per ton.
6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft.. Long at $20 per metre?
8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance of which is 640 rods?
10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt
U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)
1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided
2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus
3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
4. Show the territorial growth of the United States
5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas
6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton , Bell , Lincoln , Penn, and Howe?
8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, 1865.
Orthography (Time, one hour)
[Do we even know what this is??]
1. What is meant by the following: alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, syllabication
2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?
3. What are the following, and give examples of each: trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals
4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u.' (HUH?)
5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e.' Name two exceptions under each rule.
6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.
7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: bi, dis-mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, sup.
8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last.
9. Use the following correctly in sentences: cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane , vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.
10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.
Geography (Time, one hour)
1 What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas ?
3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?
4. Describe the mountains of North America
5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia , Odessa , Denver , Manitoba , Hecla , Yukon , St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspin wall and Orinoco
6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S. Name all the republics of Europe and give the capital of each.
8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.
10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give the inclination of the earth.

Could you pass the exam? :)

Friday, May 15, 2009


When we write dialogue, we want to copy the everyday. If we're writing a story about two teenage girls(which I am) we want to sound like teenage girls. We don't want to sound like a seventy year old man. The dialogue in my story has come easy for me. I try to listen to teen girls whenever I can.

Has anyone ever heard of David Mamet? He is a playwright who writes natural speech. He writes how we really speak. If you ever get the chance, you should watch some Mamet. Really watch. It helps me to understand how we talk. You wouldn't want to write your dialogue like this, but it helps us understand things better. The rhythm of our speech without the, "um" words and the "oh" words. You strip that part away, but listening to real speech helps you to understand it, and you get an ear for dialogue.

I learned about Mamet from Magical Words
Any other tricks out there on writing dialogue, y'all would like to share? :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I found a great site.

This was posted on our listserve by a previous crit partner of mine Joan Edwards. It is full of information from Ray Rhamey.
He's got a book out, entitled, Flogging the Quill. I'm going to buy the book. He critiques first pages for free and then other authors also respond as to whether they would read on or not.You give permission for him to post your first page in exchange for the crit. And we all know how critical that first page is. An agent is about to open your envelope with the first three or so chapters. He's/she's tired. They have read umpteen, dreadful first pages, throwing them in the rejection pile. It's late, he's reading your first page. You want it to impress the agent,you want him to request a FULL. This first page is crucial.

The site has some great info, even if you don't want to submit a first page. Check out, Story As River. There are helpful tips all over his site. Try it, you'll love it. :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Passive voice

I've been thinking about passive voice. First of all, what is it? It always avoids the first person. Passive voice can weaken your writing. But there are times when you NEED passive voice. When it's not important for the reader to know who, then it is a time to write in passive voice. Always try to be your reader to determine if you need active voice or passive voice. I have discovered that, sometimes writing in the passive voice can help the story to move like I want it to. A bit faster. If your readers don't need to know who or what is responsible for the action, then passive voice can help your story. Of course most of the time we need to write active.

I don't even worry about this on my first draft. Only in revisions do I decide, if a particular sentence would be better off in active or passive voice. Isn't it true that as we revise, that's when we look for clearness of expression? I always look for the word, by. If I see it, then I know the sentence is probably passive. Not always, but if I see that word, I really study that sentence to see if it needs turning around to make it active. Or if it is okay left alone. You have to be able to recognize when it's okay to leave a sentence in passive voice, and when it's not. :)

Monday, May 11, 2009

I hope everyone had a great Mother's Day. I know I did.

Have you heard about the problem with

It all stems from the age ol' issue of free speech. Authors have been giving reviews of other books and signing their reviews with the name of their book. Something like, "author of I Love Bananas." This has been a common practice for many years, from what I understand. Amazon has said that they are going to DELETE these reviews. All of them! If you add the book link (that they supply) and directed it to your own book title's Amazon page, it will be deleted. And from what I understand you could face suspension. Authors have always used this in their signature line. Their book title and a link. What is wrong with that? From what I understand, publishers tell you to do this. Amazon will not notify the author, they will simply delete the review.

Amazon only allows a signature with your name. No links to, or mention of your books whatsoever in the review or signature line. This rule also applies to any comments you leave on a book review.

What say you authors out there in blogosphere? Some of us are prepublished, but we'll be published and will have to deal with this. What happened to free speech? What is so wrong with signing with the title of your book? Isn't Amazon in the business of selling books? And the more books sold, the better for the entire industry? What do y'all think about this? :)

Oh, and if you see my pic next to a comment, and I'm off my horse, don't be frightened, it's me. I know I look scary, but it was the best picture I could take. Waaaaa

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The following is taken from Steph Sue Reads Here's the link to the contest Maggie's contest

Win an ARC of Shiver, signed Lament, other stuff from Maggie Stiefvater!
Maggie Stiefvater decided to do something slightly crazy (or crazily amazing) in a fit of spontaneity and has an ARC of her upcoming book, Shiver, as well as signed copies of her first book, Lament, up for grabs!

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

Now here's the contest part, taken from Maggie's blog:

The idea is to convince as many of your LJ or blogger or wordpress friends to post about SHIVER (you don't have to pay them, although it might help). Winner is whoever manages to get as many of their friends to post and comment back here by 8 p.m. EST on the 15th.

And the reward? Okay. Here it is. First of all, you have to get at least 5 friends to blog about it to be eligible. Winner gets:

- a signed ARC of SHIVER
- 4 signed copies of LAMENT
- and for each of the friends that you got to comment, a critique of the first 5 pages of any of their manuscripts

And if any single person manages to get over 50 friends to comment, I'll make it 3 ARCs of SHIVER and 8 copies of LAMENT.

Good luck all! :)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Six weeks

Has anyone read about YA author Rosemary Clement-Moore, who wrote her first draft in six weeks,revised it in six weeks, had an agent in six weeks, and then sold it to a publisher in six weeks? Can you believe it? The book is Prom Dates From Hell and it quickly turned into a series. Is it just me or is this CRAZY? How does that happen? I've heard writers say, "she's bragging." Well, I guess she has a right to brag. Is this what you call a fluke?

Rosemary says she doesn't tell her story at in person conferences, fearing her tires might get slashed. She says her query letter was rocking. I want her to write my query letter. Hmm,*she rubs head with fingers*

What do y'all think about this? A fluke? No dues were paid, but I say more power to her. Here's the link if you want to read it. Rosemary Clement-Moore

Oh, and don't forget to cast your vote, if you haven't already. Will it be Ivy, or Shamrock? :)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Uh, the poll to the right is for Ivy. She and Shamrock (her horse) are in the 4H show on May 30th. Shamrock is STUBBORN, and Ivy is worried that her horse will be unmannerly on the big day. You see, Ivy has trained this horse for the past year. She even had to make Shamrock want to wear a saddle, when they first began their training. We thought that we'd put the poll up and it might just bring her good luck. Thanks for voting.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I found a great link I want to share with you. It's called http:Marketing Tip Madness There are some innovative ideas here. Some I hadn't thought of. Having cups(inexpensive, they give you the link)made with your book cover on them, and asking folks on the floats at parades to throw them to the crowd.

The other night, I had this GREAT dream. A famous producer in Hollywood had purchased the rights to my book, Seventy Two Hours. For a movie. When I woke up, I wanted to go back to sleep to find out how it went over, but I decided I'd better get up and finish the book. This is a true story and it was a welcome relief to me. I laughed all day about it. Okay, time to fess up. Anyone had a similar dream?

I'm almost done. The end is in sight. And it feels wonderful. Soon I'll put down the pen and take a couple of weeks off from writing. Then it will be on to the next one! The time to query agents is June 30th. That is a date I have in my head. Thanks for reading! :)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Here is another writer helping Bridget Zinn. Corey Schwartz will be selling signed copies of her picture book Hop Plop for $15./each and giving all profits to Bridget. So click on over and buy a great picture book for a cute kid in your life and help out a fellow writer, too. corey schwartz

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Shelli over at Market My Words blogged about an aspiring author named Bridget Zinn. She has stage four colon cancer and A LOT of medical bills. She has had surgery and is now facing chemo. There is an auction going for Bridget Zinn

Hop on over and see if there is anything you'd like. Some authors have graciously donated their books and you can even get a critique done of your first pages. Shelli has donated her marketing skills. Let's help one of our own here. And don't forget to pray. Remember my son, too! And thanks y'all!

Friday, May 1, 2009

I am having a hard time concentrating on something to blog about. With my son having this health issue, it's hard to concentrate today. They think it could be his central nervous system. I'm praying it's not! I'm just going around and visiting my buds in blogosphere. Typing meaningful comments (hopefully) and haven't revised one word. I thought tomorrow I would get back to it. Thanks for all of your wonderful wishes, yesterday. They mean more than you'll ever know! :)