Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Writers's Conference

photo courtesy of Ant Smith

Looking for a writers' conference. I found this one too late to attend (already had plans), but it's not too late for you. It's The Mad Anthony Writers' Conference in Hamilton, OH., April 17-19.

It features Lee Lofland, award winning crime and mystery, 30 multi-genre workshops, publisher and agent appointments, manuscript critiques and a Writers Police Academy (how cool is that???)

Jane Friedman, Publisher and Editorial Director of Writer's Digest will be there. I recently attended a workshop led by Jane, and she was fantastic. I learned so much about platform-building, social networking and what turns an editor off. Plus, she is so approachable.

The early bird price has expired (sorry, for not posting sooner), but if you postmark by April 15th, it's still as bargain at $125.

This one is definitely going on my calendar for next year. If anyone has attended this conference, please let us know details.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Short Story Contest--April 1st Deadline

photo courtesy of hint of plum

Hey all you hip mamas hop over to hip Mama and check out their contest. Top prize is $100. The theme is open but a mama must be in the story. So get on your computer and get those keys aclacking. You can churn out a story in 2500 words or less. Come on, you know you can.
Oh, there's an entry fee and a possiblity to get your story critiqued for an additional charge.

Sorry for the short notice, but the deadline is April 1st so hurry. You can pay by Paypal and submit online. so check out the guidelines.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Earth Hour

photo courtesy of rustybrick

Want to save some energy? Join a cause? Do something good for the planet? Tonight from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.(local time), you can participate in Earth Hour. Simply turn off your lights for an hour. You can join millions of participants in conserving energy for this third annual event. Read about it here.

Can you do it? Will you be able to shut off TV, turn off the computer, read by candlelight? The Gateway Arch in my home city of St. Louis will be dousing the lights along with other such notable landmarks as the Sydney Opera House, Las Vegas Strip, the Golden Gate Bridge.

And while we're on the subject did you know that many states are participating in an Energy Star Tax Holiday? If you live in Missouri, the Show-Me Green Sales Tax Holiday runs from April 19 -25. State sales tax will be lifted for qualified Energy Star appliances.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Wanna Write a Script?

Here's your chance? November has NaNoWriMo and April has Script Frenzy. What better way to get your feet wet writing a script than do to it with a group of fellow writers and a website to cheer you on. Check it out Script Frenzy.

The challenge, if you're up to it, write 100 pages of script in 30 days. Script Frenzy starts April 1st and ends April 30th.

I can already hear the coffee pots gurgling and the chocolate bags rustling.

If you're up for the challenge, let me know!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hear Ye Hear Ye

My writer friend David Kirkland has a new book hot off the presses.

Now Available!

God's Three Step Plan
A Celebration of Micah 6:8
by David Lee Kirkland

"I found God's Three Step Plan a wonderful read.... I have read a number of books that have tried to draw out the meaning from Micah and I have always found them wanting. This book wonderfully draws out the meaning to each part of God's message to us in Micah (act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with God). I loved how lots of different voices, many from outside the Christian tradition, helped illuminate God's three step plan. It is a very Christian book but refreshingly aware of the voices outside of our religious tradition who can help us see what Micah's words are saying to us."- (The Rev.) Kurt J. HuberRector, St. Peter's Episcopal Church

Intrigued? Read an excerpt at: davidleekirkland.com
Available at Amazon.com

For bulk purchases, contact Highhillpress@gmail.com

ISBN: 978-1-60653-004-7

Also by David Lee Kirkland—The Yesteryear Tales
Short stories of Appalachia and the Ozarks
Awarded First Place in the Ozark Writers League
2008 Book of the Year Competition

Friday, March 13, 2009

Book Giveaway

Image from Christina's website

Christina Katz has chosen Coffee and Critique as a stop on her blog tour celebrating the second anniversary of her book, Writer Mama: How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids.

Stop by the Tricia Grissom's blog Coffee and Critique Writers Group on Saturday (March 14th) and leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of Christina's book. The post will be up starting at 12:01 a.m. tonight. Christina is telling the story of how she got published and she has some great info in this installment on how to build a support system for your book. Writer Mama is an excellent resource for jump starting your freelance writing - whether you have youngins at home still or not.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

Image from Jamie Cat Callan's website

Well, maybe not. Sliced bread is pretty awesome. You can toast it, butter it, slather it with P,B and J. You can make a sandwich with it. The possibilities are endless. Endless, I tell you. You can cut a hole in the middle and bake an egg in it. (Why one would want to do that I don't know.) You can hide a pill in it and fool your dog. Ya get my drift.

So what does bread have to do with it. Nothing. My critique group, Scribes' Tribe, did an exercise tonight where we used The Writer's Toolbox by Jamie Cat Callan.

When our fearless leader announced "Creativity Night", I groaned. I hate spontaneous writing. My mood has to be just right. I have to be in my favorite writing chair with my writer's hat perched atop my head (literally). My iPod must be plugged into my ears, and I have to be free to roam about the room and ponder that on which I am writing. I NEED MY SPACE and copious amounts of tea and chocolate.

Everyone else in the group seemed to take to the idea like butter on bread (see I worked it in.) Rather than be the proverbial stick in the mud, I decided to play along. I even took my laptop. I hoped the center where we held critique had wifi just in case I was bored to tears. I could surf the net while the other suckers members toiled over their miserable excuses for stories. (I kid. I kid. I love you guys! Smooch, smooch.)

I won't give the whole premise of the toolbox away, but let me just say it gives you ideas for story starters, obstacles for your characters, unusual situations, surprise characters and on and on.

There is a timer involved and Popsicle sticks and short spurts of speed writing. We provided chocolate, cupcakes and cookies to feed the muse while we worked. (Jamie, you might want to think about that in future editions.) Our leaders hauled in real tools like hammers, levels, chisels, screwdrivers and blueprints to set the mood.

Each member drew a starting sentence stick and the exercise began. There were a few whimpers and a curse word or two, but everyone, and I do mean everyone started writing or typing (and no, the center did not have wifi). We wrote without pause for three minutes, then stopped and drew another stick (no, I'm not telling you what it was. Go check it out for yourself.) We wrote for another three minutes. It seemed like we had about eight writing triggers (I got so engrossed I lost count), each with a brief intermission while we stuffed our faces.

When we finished the exercise, we all had complete or almost complete stories, and we took turns reading them aloud. None of them will win awards, but most of us came away with something we could work on. (And the best part was Candace didn't hit anyone with the hammer. Personally, I think she brought it to use on me. She'll deny it, but I know how she thinks.)

I came away with my first ever flash fiction piece. It even drew a few laughs from the group. (Yes, it was supposed to be funny. Thank you very much.) It still needs a lot of work, but it's 700 more words than I had when I went tonight. And I certainly came away with a character I would have never dreamed up on my own.

If you're looking for something to add a little zing to your critique group or even your own writing, give it a try. It is definitely an activity I will try again.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Writer U.--Online Writing Workshop

photo courtesy of sgrace

April 3-30, 2009

"In & Out: Writing Believable Conflict"

by Sherry Lewis


This workshop focuses on the art and craft of creating realistic, believable conflict for your character, both internal and external, and on weaving those conflict together in ways that are fresh, exciting, and powerful enough to catch an editor's eye.

Topics include:

* Understanding how a character's core beliefs crate conflict

* How internal and external conflicts work together

* When to hang on to / let go of a character's past

* Keeping conflicts realistic

* Creating layers of conflict

* Why urgency matters in conflict

* Applying conflict to each scene you write

* Avoiding anticipated conflict

Sherry Lewis is a career writer with more than 30 published mystery, contemporary romance, and time travel romance novels to her credit. She loves sharing what she has learned since selling her first book fifteen years ago, and has given workshops all over the country. Sherry has also taught online workshops for several years.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Woman's Day Essay Contest

Library photo courtesy of OZinOH

Woman's Day magazine and the American Library Association are announcing a call for essays on using the library to help save money. Here's a link to their submission requirements. The contest is open to women 18 years and older and must be submitted no later than noon ET on May 18, 2009.

Good luck to all who enter.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Who's on Your Blog Roll?

photo courtesy of rustybrick

Aside from my blog, what blogs are you reading? Please check out my writer friends. Not only are they great writers, they're also smart people. If you check out their blogs and like them, tell them I sent you. If you don't like them, what can I say? Sorry! Likewise, if you came to my blog from one of theirs, let me know.

What do you look for in a blog? I like entertainment, for sure. But I'm also looking for industry news and writing advice. I'm especially anxious to check out the blogs of several agents every day. Some of the ones I follow are Janet Reid, Nathan Bransford, Jenny Rappaport, Colleen Lindsay, Kristin Nelson, Laurie McLean.

If you're submitting to agents and not reading their blogs, shame on you. It's a great way to get insider information (not in a stalker kind of way) about the agent's likes and dislikes. I don't stalk you guys, I promise. Well, maybe a little, but not in a scary way.

Here's a great post by Dustin Wax that lists 22 Blogs Every Writer Should Read.

So tell me, what are you favorite blogs and why? If you want to tout yours here, give me a shout and I'll swap links with you.