Monday, March 23, 2015

A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal


Today is my mom's birthday. She lives in Texas and she's 91 years old. One of her very favorite things to do--when she was able--was home decoration and bargain shopping. And she could sew anything! I wish she was still capable of making curtains, shopping for just the right lamp or piece of furniture--arguing with contractors. I've really missed and needed her this past year.

In March 2014, hubby and I started renovating our home. Let me just say... I'd rather go through natural childbirth...AGAIN! Our renovation ended this month. Yep, one long, miserable, frustrating year later. I refer to it as the renovation from hell and can't help but wonder how my mother would have handled it. Obviously, I wasn't too good a taskmaster, and neither was my husband. So in honor of my mom, I plan to take you through our renovation experience, give you questions to ask and things to be aware of and consider, if and when you start your own home renovation. There's certainly no need for you to make the same mistakes I made. If there's a particular subject you want me to discuss, let me know. I may be able to share some info. I hope you'll join me every day during the month of April as I race through the alphabet and share my construction experience.

Mom, happy birthday, and I dedicate my 2015 A to Z Challenge to you.

Welcome to our renovated home.


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Markets that Pay

Just popping in to say ... I absolutely love Cindi Myers Market News. She's posted some interesting markets for you. Check out the Jack the Ripper story request, and the call out from Heroes and Heartbreakers. There's more, and these are paying markets, people! Always a good thing.

https://cindimyersmarketnews.wordpress.com/

Let me know if you send something. I'll cross my fingers for you.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

IWSG: Be Intentional


I haven't blogged in quite some time. In fact, last month I completely forgot about IWSG day. It came and went and I didn't even think of it. Very unusual for me since I've always looked forward to first Wednesdays. This month I made a mental reminder. So thanks Alex Cavanaugh for not kicking me out of the club! 
I've been trying to get a handle on exactly what I want for my writing. Seems like a ridiculous thing to say at this point in my life, but I guess that's just about it. Maybe a better way to put it is ... I'm trying to get serious about writing; become intentional. I feel like "become intentional" is the new catch phrase. Some years ago we were saying, "Just do it!" and I told myself to just do it constantly.
 
So, now I'm being intentional. I'm gaining clarity about what I really want and, as the life coach says, "choosing how I “show up” and contribute. Every week, I meet a friend at the library--the way I did in Oklahoma. As a result of these meetings, I've discarded one novel (it had extreme problems) and started the revision of another one--with less problems. I wrote a piece for one of the confession magazines only to decide it would make an interesting novella so I'm in the process of trying to outline it longer. I completed a short, short mystery that I sent off to Woman's World. The story just spewed out of me, and that's always a good sign, right? I'll let you know if and when a rejection comes in.
 
I'm also working on two nonfiction books. One is about a woman who was blind for a number of years, and then she was healed. It's a powerful story. I met the woman in Oklahoma and recorded about four hours of interview with her. My second book is, of course, a writing book. Doesn't every writer want to pen a writing book?
 
In additional to my "intentional writing" I'm hoping to get a website soon. Yeah, I'm taking this intentional stuff seriously. I've vowed that when I walk into my CPA's office next year, I will NOT be embarrassed! I will not! (Now, that's intentional.)
 
How about you? What have you written lately? What are you doing to further your writing career ... or your jewelry making business, or any other goal or dream you have? Whatever you're doing, be intentional. Share with us.
 
 



Wednesday, January 7, 2015

IWSG Day and Happy 2015!

Happy New Year, and Happy IWSG Day. The purpose of IWSG is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! (And that would be ME!) IWSG was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh and has hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of members. You can be one too. You can follow other IWSG members or meet them on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG. We also have a thriving Facebook page. Look us over. I think you'll like us.

Today we're supposed to introduce ourselves. My name is Jess, Jessy, Jessica--choose one--and I am an insecure writer. I've had a couple of books published, numerous magazine articles, and I'm a staff writer for Southern Writers Magazine. But guess what! I'm still insecure. No matter what I accomplish I'm never quite sure it's for real, that it isn't some crazy fluke thing that happens. How about you? Did God bless you with an enormous amount of self-confidence?

2014 was an interesting year for me. Hubby entered into his first full year of retirement which meant I had some adjusting to do. I'm still adjusting. Our daughter got married and we renovated our house. Retirement, wedding and the renovation from hell should have sent me into a deep, dark depression but I made it. Guess I'm stronger than I thought.

I didn't get much writing done in 2014, but I am proud of a few things. My novella, The Last Daughter, finaled in the Booksellers Best contest, a Published Authors’ Contest sponsored by Greater Detroit Romance Writers of America. I was also a finalist in the Ida contest--the International Digital Awards sponsored by Oklahoma RWA. 

I think the best award of all has been that my stepson actually read The Last Daughter and even recorded it in his book journal right beneath Stephen King!

I don't have any specific plans for 2015. For some reason my plans tend to fall by the wayside, so I'm just going to write, write, write whatever book, article, short story that pops into my heart. That seems to be when I accomplish the most.

What do you want to achieve in 2015? Share details!



Wednesday, December 3, 2014

IWSG DAY: PUBLISHING AND BEYOND


Today is IWSG Day! Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh founded this group and he does a great job of keeping it going and encouraging everyone. 

Check out our awesome hosts this month: Heather Gardner, T. Drecker from Kidbits, Eva E. Solar at Lilicasplace, and Patsy Collins! And don't forget that we have a Facebook page and also the IWSG Critique Circle. We are a thriving community!

I'm proud to say I've had a writing month. The first time in a long time. As many of you know, 2014 was filled with weddings and home renovation. Believe me when I say the wedding was easy-peasy compared to the renovation (you'll learn all about that during our A to Z Challenge!). Finally, everything is over (except the decorating) and I can finally write.

I've made a new friend, one who is willing to meet me at the library and crank out pages for about 4 hours each week. You can't imagine how this satisfies my writing soul. Heather and I are quite compatible. Neither one of us is a chatterbox so we're comfortable sitting quietly in our own little worlds. We may take a break and discuss marketing or plotting or something we have questions about, but otherwise, we're focused.

Leaving  the house to write has proven pretty successful for me in the past. I'm hoping this Calcasieu Parish Library is filled with good creative vibes just as the Mustang Library in Oklahoma was. It feels a little different, but I'm adjusting. Maybe I can get into a writing rhythm and complete some unfinished projects within the next few months. That's my goal.

If you're having trouble writing at home, keep jumping up to dust or get something to nibble on or talk to the (retired) hubby, consider leaving the house for at least one writing day. It really works.

Last week I finished a devotional story for a specific market. I get excited when I accomplish one of my goals, but then I remember the old saying, don't break your arm patting yourself on the back. Anyway, if you have an interest in writing inspirational stories, check out these guidelines.

On another note, if you need some instruction, please check out the 'latest greatest' how-to book by many of your IWSG friends.  And I will be patting myself on the back since I made my deadline and contributed. Read below for details:

Publishing and Beyond is available for downloading. Please help us spread the word about this awesome book.

Tapping into the expertise of over a hundred talented authors from around the globe, The IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond contains something for every writer. Whether you are starting out and need tips on the craft of writing, looking for encouragement as an already established author, taking the plunge into self-publishing, or seeking innovative ways to market and promote your work, this guide is a useful tool. Compiled into three key areas of writing, publishing, and marketing, this valuable resource offers inspirational articles, helpful anecdotes, and excellent advice on dos and don'ts that we all wish we knew when we first started out on this writing journey.

ISBN 9781939844088
235 pages, FREE
Find it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Goodreads.

At the time of this posting, Amazon has Publishing and Beyond for 99 cents. Hopefully, that will be changed but ... it's worth it!

Thanks to everyone who contributed – it's packed with information!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

IWSG DAY: Find the Magic

I look forward to the first Wednesday of each month because it's IWSG day. The purpose of IWSG is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! (And that would be ME!) IWSG was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh and has hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of members. You can be one too. You can follow other IWSG members or meet them on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG. We also have a thriving Facebook page. Look us over. I think you'll like us!

And speaking of offering assistance and guidance ... I’d like to share a book with you that’s helping me plot a new story. This author is one of my favorites. And she was my editor for The Last Daughter.


Award winning author and editor, Alicia Dean, shares her process of creating a story, along with bonus tips in her how to book, Find The Magic – How to Plot a Story in 10 Easy Steps. Through November 15th, it's on sale for only 99 cents.  I finished reading Find the Magic last week. What I liked best about the book was Alicia's honest voice. She made me trust her from page one. But why wouldn't I? I know that she knows what she's doing when it comes to writing, editing, critiquing and plotting.

Using specific examples from one of her own novels, Without Mercy (also 99 cents), Alicia shares how to plot a book and expand your outline into a well-developed draft. There is no one, perfect way to create a story, but there will be a method, or methods that work for you.
Find the Magic might hold the answers you need.

Kindle: http://amzn.com/B00OR0IY0W
Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/find-the-magic-how-to-plot-a-story-in-10-easy-steps-alicia-dean/1120638115?ean=2940150382169

  In addition to being an author of more than twenty published works, Alicia Dean is both a freelance editor and an editor for The Wild Rose Press, under the name, Ally Robertson, in their suspense line. I highly recommend you get too know Alicia through her books, or social media.

Alicia/Ally is one of the good guys and she knows what writing, publishing and marketing is all about.

Website: http://aliciadean.com/ Blog: http://aliciadean.com/alicias-blog/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008364070487 Twitter: https://twitter.com/Alicia_Dean_ Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/aliciamdean/ Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/468339.Alicia_Dean

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.