Friday, August 29, 2008

A Cup of Comfort for Breast Cancer Survivors

A hearty congratulations to my writing buddy Alice. You go, girl! Alice garnered her first publication in A Cup of Comfort for Breast Cancer Survivors for her story "Hidden Treasures."

I am proud to say that Alice shared the story with me longry long before publication. It's a touching story about... Well, you'll just have to buy the book to find out. For each copy sold, fifty cents will be donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. I hope this one is a sell-out everytime it hits the store shelves.

The book contain fifty survior stories. Every one brings a unique voice of hope and courage. And a spirit of determination is evident throughout the book.

Congratulations to my friend Alice and all the authors whose stories lie within the pages. Not just because you were published, but because of your strength, candor and willingness to share your story with others.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Free Writer's Conference

Tired of spending gas money or staying in hotels with lumpy mattresses, try an online conference. Huh? Yep, you read it correctly. The Muse Online Writers Conference is absolutely free (though, they will glady take donations.)

Missouri Writers Guild's own Barri Bumgarner is a presenter along with a host of others.

The conference runs from October 13th - 19th on a computer in your home. Registration deadline is September 1st. So don't delay.

I'm looking forward to this one.

What's your favorite part about going to a conference? Besides happpy hour :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Attention Conference Goers

Agent Janet Reid from FinePrint Literary Management has some tips on her blog for conference planners on how to make an agent more productive and happier at your conference. And if they're happy, we know we'll be happier.

I've always felt bad for agents at the conferences I attend. Not because I am an agent stalker, but there are those of you out there who are. And you know who I'm talking about. I have yet to meet an agent at a conference (well, okay one) who wasn't willing to go above and beyond. The one was just plain rude and no, it wasn't Janet. But I'm not naming names. These poor men and women are on stage 24/7 when in conference mode, even if they aren't up on the stage. Some of them can barely get out of their rooms without people crowding around trying to monopolize the conversation.

If you want to get some good, alone time with an agent offer to be a shepard or drive them from the airport. Offer to take them to dinner (and pick up the tab.) Agents are human and some of them are damn funny when you let them talk about something other than YOUR novel. (Laurie, are you listening? I'll drive you and Lynn around Kentucky any day.)

If you let them talk about other stuff once in a while, most agents will even eventually ask about your novel. Then when they do, give them your pitch and give them an opportunity to ask questions. They know you want to, but don't track them down the hallway waving pages in their face, or scoot your synopsis across the table and under their water glass. Let them breath a little, eat a little and wait for the magic moment when they lean back and say, "Tell me about your novel." That's your cue.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Seven Hills Writing Contest Accepting Submissions

Increased prize money and altered categories are some of the changes made to the Seven Hills Contest for Writers this year.

First-place winners will receive $100; second-place, $75; and third-place, $50.

Essay and memoir categories have been combined and expanded under the heading, “creative nonfiction,” works of factual literary prose. Unlike other types of nonfiction, such as technical writing or journalism, the emphasis in creative nonfiction is on factually true yet elegant literary expression. Submissions in this genre could include, but are not limited to, memoir, food or travel writing, personal essays, new journalism, biography, nonfiction stories and nature writing.

Children’s literature this year is restricted to chapter books or short stories (ages 6-8 or 9-12). The following year we will accept only picture books. The change was made because it seemed as if the two types of children’s literature needed to be considered separately.

All contest entries have a word limit of 2,500 words.

The contest has grown so much they will no longer require detailed critiques from judges, although they will be free to make comments and suggestions to authors if they wish. Manuscripts must be postmarked by Sept. 30.

Please see the TWA Website for complete contest rules and entry fees.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Are Your Phrases Redundant?

When I worked for the phone company, redundancies were a good thing. Not in spoken or written communication, but in our central office switching equipment. One goes down, the redundant one kicks in and takes over. Kind of like a battery back-up. Okay, I was a trainer, not a switching guru, but you get the drift.

In writing, redundancies are a no-no. Was that redundant? I just finished editing Chapter 10 of my novel, and I ran into a couple of places where I repeated myself--completely engulfed in flames. Ummmm. If it's engulfed, then it is completely in flames. but I made a note to go back through my previous chapters and look for phrases where I repeated myself.

Then I found this article by Richard Nordquist on . He points out that sometimes it might be okay to be repetitious in order to clarify a point. For the most part, redundant phrases just bog down the story. And the best part--he included a list of common expressions. I love that. Usually you get one or two examples, but he has an alphabetized listing. I printed that sucker and taped it to my credenza.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Another Essay Opportunity for the Kiddos

Kretschmar Deli is sponsoring a Back to School Essay Contest for grades 5-12.

Write an essay 1000 words or less about "The Most Important Lesson I Learned in School." Check out The Rules and get writing.

The deadline is September 15, 2008.

Friday, August 15, 2008

An Essay Contest for Boomers

The National Association of Baby Boomer Women (who knew) and GRAND magazine are sponsoring a 500 word essay contest. It's call "Sharing Memories from the 70s with the Kids." Ohhhhh, isn't that a scary thought. Basically they want you to tell a story about a specific memory from the 70s you'd plan to share with the kids. Or maybe a memory you wouldn't dream of sharing. (Can you remember that far back?)The deadline is October 31, 2008. And you have a shot at $250 in prize money, free membership in NABBW and your story will be published. What more could you want (thinner thighs, less gray or no chin hairs?)This contest isn't limited to women, so you baby boomer men can submit too.Here's the submission information.Entries should be in the form of a WORD document and sent as an attachment to with "Memories from the 70s" in the subject line.But don't take my word for it. Check out their guidelines Memories from the 70s

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Want to Promote Your Book?

A writing friend, Julie Earhart sent the following information...

hey writers!

here's a great way to generate some interest in your book:

do a book giveaway at

go to the authors section and look for the book giveaway link---here are a few rules:

You agree to supply the indicated number of books on the date the giveaway ends.
Goodreads will list (for free) the giveaway book on the giveaways page.
Goodreads will collect interest in the book, and select winners at our discretion.
Our algorithm uses member data to match interested members with each book.
Goodreads will email you a list of winners, and you are responsible for shipment of the books. Failure to do so will result in us not inviting you over for cake ever again.
You agree to not store the winners' mailing addresses and to never mail anything to the winners except the indicated book.
Winning members are encouraged but not required to write a review of the book they receive.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Castle Rock Writers Conference 2008

Castle Rock Writers announce their 2008 Conference at the Philip S. Miller Library in Castle Rock, Colorado.

The event is scheduled for September 20th, 2008 from 8:30 am until 5 pm. If you register before August 20th, the cost is $60 per person and includes the keynote address, workshops, boxed lunch, water, snacks and workshop notebook.

Thanks to Alice Aldridge-Dennis for the heads-up.

Friday, August 8, 2008

A Big Political Face Slap Goes to...

John Edwards. I cannot even say how totally disappointed I am. John Edwards Admits Affair .

Shame on you Mr. Edwards. Not even because you had the affair, but because you lied to us about it. I know people are human and "stuff" happens, but come on... Did you think you could just sweep it under the carpet? Does the name Bill Clinton ring a bell?

I had so much hope pinned on you. But I can tell you one thing, if you are ever on a ballot that I am voting on, you can rest assured my vote will go to your opponent.

And to Mrs. Edwards. You, my dear lady are a saint. With everything you've been through and are going through to still be able to stand at his side and hold your head high. I salute you.

And to all you future politicians. TELL THE TRUTH!

Sorry for writer interruptus, but I just had to comment. Now back to regularly scheduled programming.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Contest for the Kids

Oh my gosh. Here's a contest for kids ages 7-12. It's sponsored by Mrs. Butterworth (the syrup lady) and Scholastic. The grand prize is a $5000 U.S. Saving Bond and books from Scholastic. Plus the winning story gets published. What an opportunity!

This is something I would have loved as a kid. The savings bond probably wouldn't have meant much to me (What, I can't spend it!) But the books. Wow! My favorite subject in school was reading. And I won the reading contest every year.

My first story was published when I was in fourth grade, thanks to an awesome teacher who saw my potential.

Check out the official rules, and then encourage the kiddies to participate. The theme is "Breakfast with Mrs. Butterworth."

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What's in your desk?

If a twelve-step program existed for office supply addicts, I would be the charter member. I can't walk into an office supply store without drooling over paperclips, sticky notes, staplers and all the paraphernalia associated with being a writer.

Yesterday I bought rubber bands. I haven't used a rubber band in two years, but these were multi-colored and on sale--cheap. And you never know when you might need one.

When the Sunday paper comes, I can't wait to pull out the ads and dream about what new product might be featured at my local office supply store. The heck with grocery ads and departments store coupons, give me a great deal on pens or pencils, and I'm in heaven.

My top desk drawer contains:
2 flash drives
a spindle of CD's
a spindle of DVD's
paperclips in 3 sizes ( and various colors)
too many pens to count
my new rubber bands
5 push pins (I don't even own a bulletin board)
3 lens cloths (are these office supplies? I clean my monitor with them, so I think they count.)
5 highlighters
3 pages of sticky notes
and a bread tie (don't ask)

One time when I was still working, I found a petrified orange in my desk. No, it wasn't scared. But it was hard as a rock. Who knew that oranges could petrify? I figured they just rotted. But it's a good thing for me it didn't.

What's the wierdest thing you've ever found in your desk drawer?

Friday, August 1, 2008

Chapter by Chapter....

slowly I edit. I made it to Chapter 9. It's amazing to me that I wrote the darn thing quicker than I am able to edit it. And my protagonist is plotting against me (pun intended.) She's finished with this portion of her life and ready to move on. So I'm having to rein her in. She might be in for a surprise if I throw a kink in her plans long about Chapter 15.

It kind of reminds me of the movie Stranger Than Fiction. Did you see it? It's about a guy who figures out he's the character in a novel. The writer is plotting to kill him off. I've never been a big Will Ferrell fan (sorry Will), but he is so funny in this movie. And Emma Thompson, as the author is, great.

If you haven't seen it, get thee to the nearest movie rental store and check it out. My BIL and SIL recommended it. After I saw it my BIL and I plotted about what would have happened if the character had tried to get even and kill the author. Well, if the author was writing it, then she would know the character was plotting and if the character was plotting and the author was having him do so, was she then plotting her own suicide.... Get the drift. Several emails ensued where we schemed what the character and writer would do. And honest, we weren't drinking.

Does your character's behavior surprise you?