Monday, February 28, 2011

Blogging Elsewhere

I'm blogging on the imperfect hero at ACA this week.  Follow this link and come on over where we write by the seat of our pants:

Happy writing!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I Am Pleased To Announce

One of the wonderful ladies I was fortunate enough to meet in Orlando was Golden Heart nominee Jennifer Jakes (you can Google her and everything).  Now she is releasing that Golden Heart nominated book, Rafe's Redemption with The Wild Rose Press officially tomorrow (Friday, February 25).  So of course, I am happy to recommend buying her book. 

I will be purchasing an e-book and print version tomorrow at this link:

But it can also be purchased at this Amazon link:


We know how to do it right here in central Kentucky, and in the month of March, Kentucky Romance Writers will offer the following:

Third Annual Spring Into Writing Workshop

with Scott Eagan of Greyhaus Literary Agency on Saturday, March 19, 2011

9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Come pitch to an agent who specializes in women's fiction and romance. For more information about registration, follow this link:

For more information about Scott Eagan and Greyhaus Literary Agency, follow this link:

Happy writing!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Super Special Unforgettable List of Absolute Necessities for A Successful Writing Session

If the title didn't run you off yet, here is my list of the ultimate writing tools needed for any and all of my writing sessions.  Think security blanket kind of items.  Yes, I have written without one thing or another, but if I'm going to do it right, the following are ESSENTIAL:

1.  Laptop (duh ;o)).  Unfortunately (or fortunately if you're a habitual time waster on the web like me) my laptop is sans internet lately (something funky with the wireless), so I borrow my daughter's when she isn't looking just to do things like check e-mail; post on my blog; check out what my Tweeters are up to; get some face time on Facebook; check some author, agent, industry blogs; skim my yahoo groups.  On second thought, computer without internet may be the right way to go.  Nah!

2.  Handy-dandy notebook for all the insane, yet perfect ideas that occur to me while I'm typing (why is this notebook so empty?), or if I get a little stuck, it's a place I can brainstorm or write for awhile instead so that maybe the change up will unstick my ickle brainy-poo.  Of course, if that doesn't work, it's a place I can rant then make the pages disappear as if nothing ever happened (shreeed).

3.  Music!  I have two I-Pods and all my playlists organized (laughter in the background), well, at least I know how to quickly access the songs that are great for writing.  And my super-duper earphones that block out all unnecessary noise (who's on fire??).

4.  Sour, neon gummy worms and chocolate, chocolate, chocolate!  It is a well-known fact (at least in my mind) that sugar, cocoa, and caffeine are what make great writers.  If you don't believe me, just ask one.  Or just take my word for it and enjoy that yumminess as you write.

5.  Last, but certainly not least, distraction.  Not for me, silly, but for everybody else in the house.  Homework, television, video games, toys, boardgames, outside, DAD, each other, etc all work for the little bit of time I need to focus and meet my daily writing goal.  Don't worry, I'm available, name...well, those other people that live with me need some time and attention.

So, there you have it.  My personal list of the writing essentials.  What else do you need to have a fantabulous writing time?

Happy writing!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Good Info for You and You and You

I am so excited to be able to announce the following awesome opportunity in central Kentucky in the month of March.

Third Annual Spring Into Writing Workshop

with Scott Eagan of Greyhaus Literary Agency on Saturday, March 19, 2011

9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Come pitch to an agent who specializes in women's fiction and romance.  For more information about registration, follow this link:

For more information about Scott Eagan and Greyhaus Literary Agency, follow this link:

Happy writing!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Tuesday Tips

Progress Update:

I still have five submissions out right now, and I added one more to bring the total to six little pieces of me out into the world.  I've sent queries and synopses out to three online publishers for my short story Into the Fire.  I've also entered the same short story into the Stroke of Midnight Contest with Passionate Ink.  I've heard back from one editor who requested the manuscript.  I did a final edit and sent it out to her.

I've also entered a YA short story in a flash fiction contest with WOW Women on Writing.  I have no idea when I'll hear anything about that, but the contest closes February 28th, so there is still time to enter a short story (750 words) if you are interested.  The link can be found in one of my earlier posts.

Finally, I sent a personal essay to Sasee Magazine, a magazine geared toward women who live on the lower eastern coast of the U. S.  It is a long shot that they'll publish it, but it was worth a try.

So, how do I keep track of all these, especially when I plan to add another submission in March and still maintain the six that are out?  I have an Excel spreadsheet that helps me keep everything straight.  Now I am so not a spreadsheet kind of person, but I like this because all the information I need is in one document and whenever any news on a submission comes in, I can update it there.  Another reason for me to keep track came up recently--TAXES.  As a writer who has every intention of getting published and building a career, I need to keep track of my trials and (hopefully) successes.  I need to show that I am trying at least.  The Excel document helps me do that.

If you're interested in seeing my spreadsheet and how I use it, send me an e-mail and I'll send you my latest version.

So how do you keep track of what is going out and the messages you get back?  Have you tried different systems?  What works for you?

To end with a little fun, here is a very silly video all about using Excel:

Happy writing!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thursday Thoughts

Moving Forward!!!

I subscribe to many writing loops, and I follow several blogs regularly and occasionally I come across some pretty great information.  Forever now, I've been hearing that I should be building a platform and using social media to further my writing career, but I honestly had no idea what that really meant.  I mean, I have a Facebook account and I'm on Twitter.  Of course, there's the blog, and I contribute to another blog as well.  So, what more should I do?

Then, through one of the RWA loops, someone mentioned a writer's blog that covered how to build your platform.  I thought I might give it a looksee and was amazed to come across one of the most useful sites I've visited recently.  Kristen Lamb's blog is one that every writer should favorite and bookmark.

The information on using Twitter alone is valuable.  I have to admit that I am one of the twitterers who often can be self-centered, and not have meaningful content, and unfortunately, not use Twitter for the potential to reach other people with similar interests.  But in my defense, I didn't know any better, until now.  One of the first things I tried as suggested by Kristen was to retweet a message from an author that interested me and that I had checked out and liked (if there was a blogpost linked).  Then, she suggested interacting with someone by responding to something he or she said.  One of the best places to find someone with similar interests that you could respond to easily was to read the hashtag(#) columns such as #amwriting, #writegoal, #pubtip, etc.  Finally, if you have a blog to promote, send a message that will draw your followers but then add some hashtags to the end of the message, and it will go out to many, many more people.

I tried this yesterday and already have four new followers.  Now, I'm not saying this is all you need to become known because there are many (thousands, tens of thousands) who are doing the same thing, but it is moving forward.

Maybe you've already tried some of these things or maybe you just aren't ready, but I assure you, when you want to begin to make those necessary connections, you should visit and learn from Kristen Lamb.  You can find her at, and she has a book all about the topic too called We Are Not Alone--The Writer's Guide to Social Media.

How about it?  Any hints or tricks to reach out to the many people out there in cyberspace?

Happy writing,

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday Tips

Hey Ferb, I know what we're going to do today.  I would like to begin a regular post on Tuesdays giving tips and links of great writing or inspirational ideas.  Unfortunately, I haven't been wasting devoting time lately surfing the web, so I'll give my humble tips that have helped me out most lately.

I have an eensy-weensy tendency to procrastinate when it comes to writing.  But I am goal-oriented, and I know there are no magic writing wands, so I've had to figure out ways to motivate myself to meet my own set deadlines.  The following are a few ways I use to keep my fingers moving on the keyboard:

When I don't feel like getting started, like many writers, I set a timer for however long I feel I can write.  If it's 10 minutes, then that's all I commit to.  To be perfectly honest, though, I don't actually use a timer.  It's too, well, time consuming for me to locate one either real world or online.  So, I just set a time goal on the computer clock in the bottom right screen.  Usually, I keep on writing past the ten, but if I feel like I'm forcing myself to write, I can reward myself afterward for making it for my set time.

Another handy-dandy thing that has helped me at different times is a website I found called  It's a site that encourages people to write 750 words a day.  Using the site, I've twice met deadlines I didn't think I would ever meet.  I like to use it when I have a scene to write, but I'm not motivated to get going on it.  The 750 words gives me a goal, and I often push myself and am pleasantly surprised sometimes with what I write.

You may have tried one or both of these before, but if you haven't, it's worth a shot.

Happy writing!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

In Editing Mode

I am def in editing mode now.  I queried and received a request Friday for my short story manuscript.  I'm not going to give details because I don't want to jinx anything, but before I submit, I'm going through one more time and getting info back from one of my beta readers today or tomorrow, so fingers crossed all goes well.

Even if I don't have a fantastically witty, remarkably insightful blogpost this time though doesn't mean I don't have something important to share.  Take note of the following amazing opportunity coming up.  The registration isn't up yet, but will be soon.

"Third Annual Spring Into Writing Workshop with Scott Eagan of Greyhaus Literary Agency on Saturday, March 19, 2011
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Along with the session, Scott will listen to pitches from attendees."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My Step-by-step Plan for How I Will Get Published Before the World Ends

Maybe you've heard, but we only have about two more years to live life as we know it.  According to the Mayans, the Hopi, and several other of those "vague but true" prognosticators, this is it.  So what are you waiting for?  Get out there and "Party like it's 1999", people.  Or something like that.  Anyone?  Anyone?

Okay, so maybe I don't buy that stuff any more than you do, but it has started me thinking about my own goals and dreams.  I don't think it's any secret to anyone who has chanced to look at my blog that I like to write and hope to publish.  However, until I had a little scare with mortality last year, I maintained that it was something I would do someday.  But the reality is, someday may be too late.  For all I know, the world will end tomorrow (disclaimer: no one has predicted that, so don't panic).

Another interesting tidbit that I came across was Kresley Cole's plan to get published.  She is one of my all-time-fave authors, and I fret and whine until her next book comes out because I love her Immortals After Dark series so very much.  Her next installment comes out this month, and I. Can't. Wait.

Interesting factoid, her husband and she were competitive athletes before settling into their current lives and when it came to publishing, she honed her writing skills the same way she prepared for athletic competitions--she worked hard at them.  On her website, she gives the following advice to aspiring writers and outlines the publication plan she had for herself:

"If you're set on publishing, then don't dabble. Decide if you're in or you're out. Then do whatever it takes to achieve your goals. I had a “25” plan. At any given time, I would have my writing out in 25 myriad forms—either contests, critiques, agent queries, publisher queries, etc. I believe you have to jump in with both feet."

Right now I have my writing out to three online publishers, one critique, and one contest.  Five down and 20 to go to catch up to Ms. Cole.  Truth is, I don't forsee being able to get things out in quite the same way, so here is my own plan:

Write 750 words five days a week (any five).  I have to be realistic considering I have a day job, a counseling internship, a husband, and three children.  Right now I have the rule of "5" in place.  I think I will add one a month, so that by December, I will have 16 pieces out in various places.  Now that means that when one rejection or (fingers crossed) acceptance comes in, I have to buck up and send another out to replace it.  It also means, I have to keep writing.  I have to submit more than one article or story if I'm going to get published before the world ends.

So, what do you think?  Is it doable?  Is it even realistic?  I'll let you know how it goes.  If you have a plan  you'd like to share, post a comment here.  I love to hear about others' roads to publication.

Happy Writing!