Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas and We Have a Winner!

YO! J Lenni Dorner is the winner of the critique from Sharon Mayhew. Congratulations, woman! Merry Christmas everyone. I hope you have a safe and happy celebration. I'll see you all in 2015.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Path To Publishing, Y'all!

Writers, today I am going to tell you about a venture that Jill Corcoran (boy howdy, it is THAT Jill Corcoran) and Martha Alderson (yep, The Plot Whisperer herself) are involved with. They have built a writing how-to. A how-to for novels and one for picture books. Take your pick.  I have rented the videos for both. So I am speaking as one who rented them and watched them.  My review is after the info on the videos. Read on, people!                                

I'm so excited to Host 2 amazing ladies on my blog today, along with the fabulous program they have put together to help authors get their book published and to learn how to revise their own novels in a manner that will make manuscripts shine!!

Let's Introduce you first to this program!


We offer writers two video series with more in production:

1) PlotWriMo: Revise Your Novel in a Month

8 videos, 5.5 hours + 3- hands-on exercises

Congratulations! You have written a draft of a novel. You’ve accomplished what many
writers merely talk about and dream of doing – you have written an entire story from
beginning to end. When you finish celebrating, it is time to revise: to re-envision and
rewrite what you’ve written into a novel that agents, editors and readers will devour.
Writing a great plot involves craft and skill and know-how. Before you undertake a major
rewrite, first consider your story from all angles with the help of step-by-step instruction
and daily exercises. You know you’re ready to rewrite when you’ve checked all the
essentials elements for creating an exciting story with compelling characters and a
meaningful plot.


2) How to Write and Sell a Picture Book with a Plot

7 videos explain how to plot, write and sell picture books + provide exercises how to
immediately integrate the concepts into your own unique story. Learn about all the
different kinds of picture books, examples of character-driven and action-driven picture
books, how to develop winning picture book concepts, what are the major turning points
in every great picture book with a plot, writing, voice, character goals and motivation,
how to revise, testing your theme and take-away, who to submit to and so much more…

Here’s How the Video Series Work

Each video includes an in-depth look at the specific elements promised and how to
consider these essential story principles as you write, revise, rewrite, sell your story.
Writing assignment(s) guide you with step-by-step instruction.
Whether you decide to watch all the videos in a row and then go back and do the
exercises or jump right in to the 1st video’s exercise, work at your own pace and take
more or less time on the step-by-step exercises. The series are designed to fit into even
the busiest of schedules. Sign-in and watch video lectures, complete homework
assignments, and ask questions in a public forum on a timetable that fits your needs.

Shout Outs:

**The 1st draft you let yourself write any old way. Now revise your story from every angle

**Can't seem to #finish your #novel? Ready to give up? Before you do, revise!

**I’m finding the revision process FUN! Did I actually say that? Loving this process, thank you!

**Friends don't let friends ‪#revise alone

Let's introduce you to Jill and Martha now!!

Jill Corcoran bio
Jill Corcoran is the founder of Jill Corcoran Literary Agency and co-founder of A Path A Publishing

Martha Alderson bio

Martha Alderson, author of The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master, is known as “The Plot Whisperer” for the help she offers writers worldwide. She is the founder of PlotWriMo: Revise Your Novel in a Month and the award-winning blog The Plot Whisperer

These ladies not only brought us these amazing author tools, but also offer another service with 2 levels of Participation (Participants and Observers):

Office Hours
2nd Thursday of every month
9:30-11:30am Pacific

Active Participants and Observers

ACTIVE PARTICIPANTS: 8 authors each have 15 minutes to work with The Plot
Whisperer Martha Alderson and Literary Agent Jill Corcoran on whatever you want help
with. Read part of your manuscript, query, discuss energetic markers, concept, brainstorm
plot, characters, etc and receive feedback you can immediately apply to your work.
Active participants must watch either Plotwrimo: Revise Your Novel in a Month or How
to Write & Sell a Picture Book Videos. This gives us a common language and baseline
understanding of underlying plot and story concepts for better communication.
Receive a critique of your First Pages, Query, Concept, or get help with your Characters,
Where to Start your Story, Crisis, Climax, etc. It is your time...your choice

***OBSERVERS: 15 observer spots. As an observer, you do not participate/read your
work, but listen and learn from others during these sessions.


Reviews of the series:

"The amount of time, heartache, frustration, and hell that these videos are saving me from
is immeasurable."

"Don't wait until you have a first draft to get the video series. If you have an inkling of a
concept, get the video series. The videos will show you how to define your energetic
markers. You'll learn the difference between crisis and climax. The 8 videos constitute a
'top to toe' writing course. 
Jill Corcoran & Martha Alderson, thank you for giving me
the opportunity to call myself a writer with pride." Dolly D Napal

"I have been writing, writing, writing, and reading about writing, but I knew I was still
missing the mark. How I write and rewrite books will be forever changed for the better. "
Wendy McLeon MacKnight

"I felt overwhelmed with my latest revision. I feel like a weight has been lifted and I'm
just on day one."

Last, but not least, these ladies offer a fantastic workshop to help people actively learn from the

A Path to Publishing Workshops:

We often tailor-make an advanced workshop for writers who have watched the series to
ask questions and receive feedback on your own individual story.
A Path to Publishing Facebook Group

Everyone is welcome to join A Path to Publishing Facebook group created by Literary
Agent Jill Corcoran and Plot Whisperer Martha Alderson as safe, smart, fun alcove for
writers and illustrators to share and learn about the craft of writing and the book biz. This
is NOT a place to sell your books, but a wonderful forum for us all to advance our skills,
our creativity, and our dreams plus learn about what Jill and Martha are up to at A PATH

My review:

The videos are well worth the cost. I have learned a lot with them. The thing that really cements all of this is the homework which is so comprehensive and thorough. It validates everything in the videos and then some. I never knew how to use the energetic markers. Now I do. I feel confident that even after my year with the videos, I'll be able to revise my novels on my own because of what I've learned. I am revising my MG using the information from the videos. It is much stronger and tighter.

You can watch all the videos and then go through the homework or watch them one at a time completing the homework for that particular video moving to the next one. Move along with your time schedule. You have them for a year.

Jill and Martha have a conversation with you. It's not like your typical instructor/class. Jill and Martha talk directly to you. Like it's just you and them. Of course, in a way it is. They do not talk down to you either. Which is very important. Another very important thing is the fact that Jill Corcoran is a powerhouse agent. I mean BRICK POWERHOUSE! Martha isn't chopped liver either (snort). Her Plot Whisperer books have sold like hotcakes and have helped many a writer become published.

The picture book videos are also very good. There's also a list of picture books for you to study. The thing I like about the picture book videos is that they help you learn how to study other picture books. SO IMPORTANT! I had never learned to do that before the videos. That's my biggest takeaway. It is the best thing about the picture book videos. If you can read published picture books and figure out why they worked then you can write books that will work too.

My take? Rent the videos. You'll be so glad you did.

Be sure to follow along and see what others are saying about these services and how they have helped them! Read individual reviews and more information about how this video series can help you!

December 1https://www.facebook.com/nordlinger
December 1http://writingclassesforkids.com
December 1http://inkandangst.com/
December 1taffyscandy.blogspot.com
December 1Rebeccalacko.wordpress.com
December 2http://deescribewriting.wordpress.com
December 2http://1st10pages.com
December 2http://thestorytellersscroll.blogspot.com
December 2www.katherine-hajer.com
December 3http://www.jordanrosenfeld.net
December 3http://robyn-campbell.blogspot.com/
December 3http://aditebanerjie.com
December 4lje1.wordpress.com
December 4http://writtenbymikey.blogspot.com/
December 4www.PenInHerHand.com
December 5www.ChristineSang.com
December 5Susan P
December 5www.ChristineSang.com


Thanks for reading, y'all. Are you interested in the videos? Write on!

Monday, December 1, 2014

How I Wrote 90,000 Words In Twenty (no, eighteen) Days For NaNoWriMo

I'll start out by saying that I intended to write the 50,000. I ended up with TWO novels and 90,000 words. I didn't outline. I'm a panster. But I did write a two sentence synopsis. WHEW. That was tough! So when Nov. 1st arrived, I already had a plan in my head.

Wake up early and write until my fingers were raw. NAH! I decided to write before homeschool. Early morning is when I'm my freshest. The MOST important secret to my madness? CONSISTENCY. Sticking with the early morning plan. There were two hospital days with Christopher in those 20 days too. I couldn't write on those days. So it was actually 18 days. I woke up every day with one early morning goal. WRITE. I timed myself the first day. That's when I discovered that I could write 5000 words each morning. COLOR ME SHOCKED.

So on it went. I wrote 5000 words every day. With 18 days of 5000 words and two novels finished, I'm asked how I did it. My answer? That wise adage, BIC. And consistency. No excuses made for why I couldn't write on a specific day. I woke up, poured coffee and typed. I didn't wake up, check email, visit FB, look in on twitter, etc, etc. Funny, I always thought that they were my writerly duties to be performed BEFORE writing. I learned during my NaNo write in that they are excuses. Go figure.

I am still relishing in my victory. But soon comes the cold hard reality of REVISIONS. So I will kick back and give myself the thumbs-up in the mirror every morning until January sets in.

Have you ever done NaNoWriMo? Ever thought you could write that many words in Nov? Or have you? Do tell it all.

Monday, November 24, 2014

YO! Could you visit my great buddy, please?

Lenny is blogging again. I figure some of you didn't see my FB. I know you didn't realize this because it has been awhile since he blogged. Now I know you want to pop over and see what he has to say. Go to Lenny's World, y'all!

Crystal Collier Tagged Me and She Said I Might Not Get Any Cheese If I Decide Not To Play Along. So I Answer That Tag! YEAH!

Is that the longest blog post title you've ever seen?

Crystal Collier tagged me in the Seven Deadly Sins. Pretty simple really. I answer the questions, I get some cheese and chocolate. I won't eat them together. That might make me sick. 

Here we go:

Greed – What is your most inexpensive book? Well, let me see. We don't have the best library around. A lot of older books. I try to buy books at lower prices. Not because I'm cheap, but because books cost a lot of money. So I buy a lot of Kindle books and I have Amazon Prime. So it's really hard to say. But it's probably a picture book I bought on Kindle titled Oh Dear Said the Deer. I did buy an anthology I'm in titled How I Found The Write Path. It was free. It's also EXCELLENT! Do you have your copy? WHAT A DEAL! I forgot about that.

Wrath – Who’s the author with whom you have a love/hate relationship? It would have to be Jay Asher. I love his writing. I loved and I hated his debut book Thirteen Reasons Why. It made me cry, it made me throw the book across the room. Yet I had to finish it. I couldn't let it just sit there all unread and stuff. After reading it, I thought a lot about the story. Day after day. 

Gluttony – What book have you devoured over and over again with no shame? I know a lot of folks know the answer to this. Black Beauty. I read it once every year. I have since I first read it as a child. It will always be my favorite book. Part of the reason is because it was the first novel I ever read. Another reason is because it's just such a DANG WELL WRITTEN STORY. I still cry when I read it. 

Sloth – Which book have you neglected reading due to laziness? Hmm. I'm not lazy. Nupe. But I have a ton of books on my TBR pile. It's kinda like Thanksgiving dinner. When you go back that fifth time and fill your plate again. Your eyes are bigger than your stomach. That's the book thing with me. 

Pride – What books do you talk about most in order to sound like an intellectual reader? Probably Shakespeare while trying to look like I know what I'm talking about in homeschool. 

Lust – What attributes do you find attractive in a male or female character? I love strength in a female character that shows young girls about being capable and independent. So very important. i would like to think I write strong female characters.

Envy – What book would you most like to receive as a gift? That's hard to answer. There are so many books. And so very little time. But I will narrow it down to picture books, poetry books, and novels. 

I can tag as many people as I want, so I tag any of you who want to carry on the Seven Deadly Sins tag. 

Thanks for reading. :-) This will be my last post before Thanksgiving. I just want to wish all my American friends a very happy Thanksgiving. And the rest of my friends a very happy end of November. Be safe.

Next Monday I am writing a post on how I wrote ninety thousand words in twenty days for NaNoWriMo. That's two novels, folks. 

December 3rd I'll be sharing literary agent Jill Corcoran and the Plot Whisperer Martha Alderson's new venture A Path To Publishing

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

YO, PEEPS! Listen Up! Loaded Kindle giveaway, y'all.

The Emblazon authors are giving away a Kindle loaded with over fifty of their books. They're celebrating their one year anniversary. Go on now. Good luck!! Go here.

Happy anniversary Emblazon. YEAH! Here's to 100 more. Woohoo!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Yeehaw Y'all. It's The Manuscript Maven. Uh-huh!

WOW. That has a wonderful ring to it, doesn't it? My long time critique partner and long time, dear friend, Sharon Mayhew has a new venture to share with you. But first, check out her pic. Isn't she beautiful? 

Okay, so. Back to the venture. In her own words:  I fell in love with editing when I was working with an agent for the first half of this year. I realized agenting wasn't for me, but editing and coaching were. It was an amazing feeling helping someone revitalize their manuscripts. So after a lot of thought and discussion, I decided to start my own freelance editing service. 

Isn't that great? I am so pleased to be able to tell you just how great her eyes on your manuscript can be. BODACIOUSLY incredible! Sharon is as honest as the day is long, she will make your MS what you knew it could be. She's that good. So guess what? There's a contest. You knew that, right? 

 Sharon is giving away one free critique. Just leave a comment. Your choice of the first 250 words of a picture book critique/line edits, the first seven pages of a novel critique/line edits or a query critique/line edits. So commence commenting. Good luck. Contest open until Dec 12th. 

The winner will be picked by old random.org. 

Want to check out her website? Go to The Manuscript Maven.

Thanks for reading. BTW, start thinking about what you're thankful for. Thanksgiving is almost here. :-) 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sup With Me? Why Zompoemz and Catherine Johnson, Of Course.

Everyone welcome Catherine Johnson, the kid’s poet extraordinaire. YEAH! WAHOO! Look at you! There she is. Wave to her everyone. She's pretty inside and out. :-)

Catherine has published THREE books of poetry for children. The latest is the wacky, wonderful Zompoemz. I highly recommend it, y’all. Have kidlets? Grandkidlets? Then you need these books. I will give links at the end of this post for you. Here she is. Isn't she pretty? And her personality matches her pretty. :-) Here's Zompoemz. It's pretty too. Check it out! :-) BTW, Zompoemz is FREE for Kindle until Halloween night. So go snag it. And tell your friends and even strangers to buy Zompoemz. 

       My review:
      We have Catherine's first two children's poetry books in our LIBRARY so it just stands to reason that we should have Zompoemz too. We LOVE, LOVE, LOVE her poetry. I think Catherine did a service to kids everywhere. She is getting them interested in poetry. What a great thing! Kids who normally wouldn't touch a poetry book are interested in more poetry after having read these books of hers. This is not your ordinary zombie poetry book (is there even one of those?). This is a funny and wacky and kooky and deliciously wonderful read. It starts out with a drawing of a zombied out Bruce the Moose. It says: Bruce the Moose can really dance. But not when he's in a zombie trance. Kids LOVE that stuff. The art is so kid-friendly. Just look at the cover, and you can see that. There's zombies playing baseball, and the head comes off and so they play catch the head instead. It's a tickle your funny bone book that all kids should have access to. It's a sweet, short (for those reluctant readers that you know), and too fun to put down book. I'm going to buy a copy for our library. I hope a lot of people do that. The kids are going to love you for it.

        So Catherine, tell us where you got the idea for Zompoemz.
It was probably a mix of my kids talking about them and being a regular reader of Jack Flacco’s blog. He writes zombie books for adults. They are also a lot easier to draw than normal human faces. ;-)

        Didn’t you use the new Kindle Kids' Book Creator Tool when you published Zompoemz? Was it hard to figure out?

             Nope. It was dead easy or should I say undead easy bwa ha ha! There is a fab new thing you can do where you type the text of the page into a box and it automatically shows the enlarged text on whatever device you are reading off. I only used it for pages with tiny text but next time I might do it all. You don’t have to worry about pixels or anything as long as your photos are of a decent quality you are sorted. I couldn’t believe how easy it was.

       What influenced your decision to pursue publication on your own, rather than submitting your poetry books for acquisition by traditional publishing houses using standard 'advance against royalty' contracts? (Although you’re lucky because you can illustrate.)

             For Weirdo Zoo a long time ago I did submit them to a couple of good publishers that I had researched to see if they would be interested. It is super difficult to get a whole book traditionally published if you are not an established poet. Out of a whole book full of publishers poetry really narrowed the field down. I have several poems traditionally published through the Poetry Institute of Canada’s yearly competition but I feel that for my quirky style I’ll have to stick to self-published. I realize many people look down on you for it and I probably used to be like that, but since I’m always wanting to be on with the next thing, I think it will suit me in the long run. I was also about to be sent out to get a proper job if I’d have still been just submitting poems. I don’t know how I would have fit in the blogging if I worked as well. Yikes! The pressure lol.

       What are the advantages of self-publishing in an economic and a creative sense?

             I think I need to get better at getting my work and my blog out there before I can make any money doing this. I don’t really know yet of I’ve broken even. Better get my accounts in order ;) I’m in awe at my friend Nata and her book launch she really nailed it. I hammered it lol.

          What new book idea do you have up that sleeve of yours? (Dare I ask?) *wink*

          Yes, you dare Robyn. I’m sketching some kids lighthouses and in November I’ll be taking Renee’s wonderful poetry course to try and write poems to go with the pictures. The next book will be more girly but hopefully still be fun for boys.

         It was so nice to have you here, my friend. I hope Zompoemz is a BEST SELLER! 
         Thanks so much Robyn. You are the best!
         When we moved from New Zealand to Canada, we initially didn’t know which part
we were moving to so we were very lucky to get to see Vancouver and climb Grouse mountain in a gondola. It was the first time Matthew had set foot in snow, and it was the first time we saw zombies.An innocent drive turned interesting when we took a wrong turn and encountered a scene from Shaun of the Dead. Let’s get out of here! There were zombies everywhere. Not costumes. Not cartoon zombies. Real ones.There was a little old lady hunched over looking in a window carrying a basket. Men hunched over sat on the sidewalk. At first I thought they were poor beggars. And then…. A zombie crossed the road right in front of our car and stopped in the middle and just shouted. Not at us. Oh no. At nobody, himself, who knows. We held our breath, hoping he would move on. He did, phew. Not because we were terrified, because I was creased up laughing. He could have gotten real angry. Tears streamed down my face. We’d only watched Shaun of the Dead a few weeks previous.
So please take a map everywhere. Be especially careful in Vancouver, and believe me 
zombies are real.

Linkage, y'all. 

Zompoemz Kindle Free until Halloween night

Catherine's Zombie house

Catherine's Goodreads

Zompoemz in paperback