Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Receiving Awards with Gratitude

I received an email last night that my novella, The Last Daughter, won second place in the 2014 International Digital Awards in the Suspense Short category. As happy as I was to win second, I was just as disappointed that it wasn't first place. Does that sound ungrateful? I'm not ungrateful. I treasure every good review and compliment and award I get when it comes to my writing. I NEED the kudos. Any negativity just throws me into a deep, dark mental hole.

I know my writing lacks a certain sophistication, and I can't help but think that's what the problem might be. Of course, I'm going back to an article I read that said publishers/editors/agents are looking for sophisticated writing. And then I remember the Amazon review that stated my book sounded as if it was written by a teenager.

What is sophisticated writing? One article I read stated to reach that level we need to increase our vocabulary. Another article stated sophisticated writing doesn't mean using big words. There are so many opinions and points of view.

I recognize sophisticated writing, I just can't figure out how I can achieve it. Maybe I do write like a teenager. If so, it's probably because I think and talk like one too.

Would love your take on sophisticated writing. Share.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

IWSG DAY! HAPPY ANNIVERSARY



Today is the one year anniversary of the IWSG website and their Facebook group. To celebrate, the IWSG Admins are putting together an anthology, The Insecure Writer’s Support Group Guide to Publishing and Beyond. From my understanding it will be a FREE help book. I'm sure this book will be fantastic; I'll keep you informed.

I'm writing a short post to encourage you, though I wonder if you really need encouragement. Sometimes I think I'm the only writer in the world who isn't writing. And it would be so simple to sit down, push everything and everyone out of my mind and write two pages a day. Two lousy pages. No one says they have to be good... they just have to BE. Except I can't get my mind in the right place.

I got an email from a friend the other day sharing news that an essay he wrote was published in an anthology. He thanked me for being an inspiration to him, for sharing info, offering advice and suggestions and in general, just encouraging him. He doesn't know how much his words mean to me. On that day, I needed encouragement too and his words offered it. They may not have seemed very important to him, but they told me I'm still on the right track with what I love, what I do and how I do it.


You know, this is what IWSG is all about. Encouraging each other. Don't you love it?

I want to encourage everyone who reads this to let those people who inspire you or help you in any way know how much you appreciate them. We're writers and writing notes of appreciation should be important to us. Besides, ignoring those who help us is almost akin to burning a bridge.

I told my friend, Stanley Klemetson, I'd mention the book here. It's a little pricey, but if you're interested, ask your library to get it and be sure to read Stan's essay, Following Dreams Put on Hold. Here's the press release. The anthology is called:


WRITING AFTER RETIREMENT
Tips for Successful Retired Writers


Unlike previous volumes which focus on how to earn a living while writing in very specific areas, this anthology accurately describes a wide range of different avenues an aspiring author can pursue, either for profit or for personal fulfillment. Speaking directly to retirees, this book opens doors to many other areas worth pursuing; its chapters vary from the inspirational (the importance of linking to a community with similar interests, reconnecting to one’s dreams, seeking inspirational sources) to the quotidian (everyday writing tips, and how to use one’s experience to find subjects to write about).

Writing after Retirement provides a variety of vantage points from published authors and paints a realistic portrayal of what it takes to get started in the industry. This book also includes preparation for the challenges that aspiring writers face, and practical guides for overcoming them.

A range of issues are addressed:
    Linking one’s writing to current activities
    The nuts and bolts of writing
    Planning one’s estate
    New career paths
    Writing opportunities
    Practical advice on how to take that first step

Whether writing for pleasure or for profit, the reader will find plenty to choose from in this collection.
Carol Smallwood co-edited Women on Poetry: Writing, Revising, Publishing and Teaching on the list of Best Books for Writers by Poets & Writers Magazine; Women Writing on Family: Tips on Writing, Teaching and Publishing (2012); Lily’s Odyssey (2010). Her library experience includes school, public, academic, special libraries, teaching, administration, and consulting

Christine Redman-Waldeyer launched Adanna, a print journal for women and about women, in January 2011. Redman-Waldeyer is a poet and assistant professor in the Department of English at Passaic County Community College in New Jersey. She has published three poetry collections.








Wednesday, September 17, 2014

There's Nothing Like A Wedding

Here it is September 17th. How time flies! I thought I'd be writing up a storm by now, but guess what: we're still involved in the hellacious home renovation. A hot water pipe burst in the slab, flooded our bedroom and the hallway so our new wood laminate floors have been pulled up. Four holes were cut in the walls trying to locate the source of the problem, then holes were cut at the bottom of our new kitchen cabinets so tubes attached to fans could blow the water dry.  My vow was to edit/revise my novel by early November. I'm trying but at a snail's pace. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Let's  focus on something more pleasant, and certainly more beautiful--our daughter's wedding. I'll share some photos with you. As some of you know, it was a "literary" wedding. Every table centerpiece was a stack of three books.

   Guests registered in a wonderful coffee table book called Books Do Decorate a Room. They just turned to their favorite page and signed. Below, you can see the delicious cake and the bride's fancy shoes. She was determined her feet would NOT hurt during the wedding reception! 

 

 
 Her dad shook hands with the groom. The groomsmen looked on. As you can see, daughter had some beautiful bridesmaids. Three of them are best friends from her LSU days--they met her freshman year (2001) and have been BFFs ever since.



And I pray they live happily ever after.

Friday, September 5, 2014

CFBA Introduces Driftwood Tides by Gina Holmes

After our daughter's wedding on August 23rd, I came home to find a book in my mailbox. I turned to the first page and didn't put it down until I'd finished it. Gina Holmes has written a fast paced story in Driftwood Tides. I didn't feel as though I was reading a book. I felt like I was in the middle of some really dysfunctional lives. Excellent storytelling.
This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Driftwood Tides
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (September 1, 2014)
by
Gina Holmes


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Gina Holmes is the founder of Novel Rocket, regularly named as one of Writers Digest’s best websites for writers. Her debut, Crossing Oceans, was a Christy and Gold Medallion finalist and winner of the Carol Award, INSPY, and RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice, as well as being a CBA, ECPA, Amazon and PW bestseller. Her sophomore novel, Dry as Rain was a Christy Award finalist. Her latest novel, Wings of Glass has been named as one of the best books of the year by Library Journal and was a SIBA Okra pick and a finalist for Romantic Times’ Reviewers Choice Award. She holds degrees in science and nursing and currently resides with her family in southern Virginia. She works too hard, laughs too loud, and longs to see others heal from their past and discover their God-given purpose.

ABOUT THE BOOK

He made himself an island until something unexpected washed ashore. When Holton lost his wife, Adele, in a freak accident, he shut himself off from the world, living a life of seclusion, making drifwood sculptures and drowning his pain in gin. Until twenty-three-year-old Libby knocks on his door, asking for a job and claiming to be a friend of his late wife. When he discovers Libby is actually his late wife’s illegitimate daughter, given up for adoption without his knowledge, his life is turned upside down as he struggles to accept that the wife he’d given saint status to was not the woman he thought he knew.

Together Holton and Libby form an unlikely bond as the two struggle to learn the identity of Libby’s father and the truth about Adele, themselves, and each other.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Driftwood Tides, go HERE.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

IWSG: THE FIRST DAY OF YOUR LIFE

Today is IWSG day-the first Wednesday of each month. IWSG stands for Insecure Writers Support Group and was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Our purpose is to share and encourage.  You can follow other IWSG members here or on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG. We also have a Facebook page.




Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Charles Dederich, a reformed alcoholic and a member of Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.), was said to have coined that phrase. I like it. I say it to myself a lot. I like the idea of being able to start anew whenever I feel the need. That’s fairly often these days.
Our son was married last October 5th. We traveled to Florida for a destination wedding.

On August 23rd daughter walked down the aisle on her daddy’s arm and pledged life and love to her groom. And so began the first day of the rest of her life as a wife.

We’re In-laws now. God help us be a good and considerate mother in law and father in law!
Hubby and I are sharing so many new experiences in our old age:
1)      Retirement.  We actually live together day in and day out. Because of his work in the construction industry, we’ve not lived together much. That’s taking some getting used to—probably for both of us but especially for me.
 
2)      Renovation. This has been a hellacious experience that neither of us want to repeat. It began March 3rd and it’s still happening. Need I say more?
 
3)      Church: Because I was raised Baptist, we’ve spent the first half of our marriage attending the Baptist church, but when we moved to Oklahoma, we gravitated toward Assembly of God and found a wonderful church with beautiful people. Back in Lake Charles, we chose to keep going to an AG church. It's been unusual and interesting. We should never forget that The Bible is the true word of God--no pastor, preacher, evangelist, priest or spiritual advisor. 'Nuff said.
Through all these experiences, I see the importance of starting over if the need arises. I see the importance of keeping the faith, and a positive attitude. I see the importance of truth, patience, love and loyalty, encouragement and friendships. New experiences come daily and affect our lives in one way or another. That means they affect our writing too. They stimulate new ideas to write about, or they stymie us so that we can’t write. I think it's our choice.
I have several unfinished and roughly finished manuscripts that nag at me constantly. I’ve felt like giving up out of frustration—just because I haven’t had the time or focus, and no comfortable workspace. I’m not good at grabbing time—writing a paragraph today, a page tomorrow. I like working in long, flowing hours. Right or wrong, I need to see progress in my word count.
Today, I woke up thinking, “Today is the first day of the rest of my life” and another thought popped into my head: What if it was the last day? The thought surprised me.
I want to write. I’ve always wanted to write and publish but I’ve always stood in my own way.
Today I set two specific goals. We have our annual Bayou Writers Conference on November 8th so I will have a completed novel to pitch to the agent on that day.  I just like one or two more chapters and a few scenes to add. Dedication and focus can get it done.
My second goal is to get back to blogging. I’ve missed it. I used to blog daily but today I pledge two or three posts a week.
Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Want to rededicate yourself to something dear? How do you want to start over? Any goals you need to stalk? Share with us.


Friday, August 15, 2014

Oklahoma Authors, Love and A Cursed Doll

Many of you know that hubby and I lived in Oklahoma for about eighteen months. I think Oklahoma must be one of the most interesting states in our country. It oozes creativity and authors. I loved it.

While there, I had the opportunity to participate in a series of novellas with the recurring theme of a cursed Scrimshaw doll. The curse began in the late seventeenth century when a father feared his daughter’s betrothed would betray her. A gypsy attempted to hex the girl with this spell: All those who betray you will suffer. Only true love can break the curse. Unfortunately, the curse went into the doll the daughter held, and has been passed on for centuries.

All our stories are written in various genres and all stand alone. They were published by The Wild Rose Press as individual releases, but we’re excited that they have been released in two boxed sets.

If you ever have an opportunity to write a series with a group of writers, go for it. It's a learning experience but loads of fun. We hope you enjoy our Scrimshaw Doll series!

Volume 1: Cursed includes:
Pirate’s Proposal – Diana Layne
The English Lily – Kae Elle Wheeler
Trail of Hope – Heidi Vanlandingham
Fading Rose – Tamrie Foxtail
The Last Daughter – Jessica Ferguson

 





Volume 2: Burdened includes:

The Color of Betrayal – Kathy L. Wheeler
Thicker Than Water – Alicia Dean
Skinbound – Anna Kittrell
Tessa’s Treasures – Callie Hutton
The Bone Bride – Tamrie Foxtail

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

IWSG: Rejection and Encouragement


Today is IWSG day-the first Wednesday of each month. IWSG stands for Insecure Writers Support Group and was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Our purpose is to share and encourage.  You can follow other IWSG members here or on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG. We also have a Facebook page.

I submitted a mini-mystery about three months ago to Woman's World magazine, and received the rejection a week or so ago. I felt so certain it might find a home with them. We never know, do we? But I think it's good to feel positive about our work. It makes it a little harder when the rejection comes but still ... maybe next time. Hope some of you are getting acceptances instead of rejections.

I can't think of a better way to encourage you than to share Cindi Myers' newsletter with you.

Every year Cindi attends the annual Romance Writers of America conference and comes home to share market info with her readers. As usual, she allows us to pass the info on to our blog readers too. I think that's incredibly generous of her so invite you to check out/subscribe to her blog HERE

This week Cindi is spotlighting St. Martin's Press.  Read on:

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The Spotlight on St. Martin’s Press was presented by Publisher Jennifer Enderlin, Associate Publisher Ann Marie Talberg, Associate Editor Rose Hilyard, Executive Editor Monique Patterson and Associate Editor Eileen Rothschild. St. Martin’s publishes all formats and all kinds of fiction. They produce three to four romances a month in hardcover, trade paperback or mass market formats. In addition to the editorial staff, they have an 11 person marketing team. All the St. Martin’s romance editors will accept queries from unagented authors.

Jennifer Enderlin began by talking about “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Publishers”:
1. They know their authors are a resource. They want the author’s feedback on covers, marketing, etc.
2. They are not slaves to trends. Once you identify a trend, it’s over.
3. They do not give up quickly.
4. They know they are working with an author. It is not a case of ‘us vs. them’ but ‘we.’
5. They understand we live in a global world, and take a global approach to marketing and publishing.
6. They listen to editorial passion. If an editor is passionate about a project, they will take a chance.
7. They have fun. They are readers and book lovers who are excited about their work.

Ann Marie Talberg is a former bookseller and romance buyer for Waldenbooks. She oversees the Heroes and Heartbreakers website and St. Martin’s ebook original program and welcomes romance submissions of both novels and novellas for the ebook program, and short stories for the website. Find out more details about Heroes and Heartbreakers here.

Monique Patterson is interested in all kinds of romance, except sweet and inspirational. She’d also like to see some high concept commercial women’s fiction, and she’s open to contemporary fantasy with strong romantic elements. She also edits some literary fiction. She loves paranormal romance and is still buying it. She prefers a snail mail submission of a query, synopsis and first three chapters of the book.

Ellen Rothschild is actively building her list of authors. She loves Alpha heroes, redemption stories and “quirky, sassy, interesting heroines.” She’d love to see a contemporary trilogy about brothers. She’s open to all sub-genres of romance except historical romance. She prefers an email query.

Rose Hilyard is open to submittions of all kinds of romance, including sweet romance, Young Adult, New Adult, women’s fiction, and erotic romance. Her favorite books are either really sexy or really sweet. She loves historical romance, and she’d love to see more Christmas books in all sub-genres. She accepts both email and snail mail queries.

The editors did not give out their email addresses at the workshop, however, the standard form for email there seems to be firstname.lastname@stmartins.com.
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Tor.com, the online short story magazine for science fiction stories, is closed to submissions until October 1. The magazine is separate from Tor Books, the publisher, which remains open to both agented and unagented submissions.
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Eldritch Press is seeking steampunk horror stories for an upcoming anthology, Lost Worlds. Stories may be up to 17,500 words and should focus on post-prophetic or end-times scenarios in which the world has been reconstructed with mechanized curiosities and steam power. Payment is 6 cents a word and the deadline for submissions is December 30, 2014. Find all the details here.

Thank you Cindi Myers. Readers, for more about Cindi and her books, check out her websites here and here. And good luck with your submissions!