Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Call for Submissions - Entangled Publishing

I've found guidelines for some fun, challenging, creative and quirky stories that you might enjoy writing. The publisher is Entangled Publishing. Be sure to explore their website.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Zombie Fairy Tales (Ever Afters)

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: House of Horrors (Flirts)

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: When in Rome… (Ever Afters)

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: GuiltyPleasures (Flirts)

The Editors of Entangled Publishing have a Wish List too. Read it HERE.

I realize not everyone is interested in writing genre fiction, or even romance, but let me ask you this: Are you being published? Are you satisfied with what you're accomplishing or are you holding out for that ultimate goal or dream? I heard a speaker say that having a book published--even an ebook--builds credibility. She also said that we should be creating multiple income streams. I'd be thrilled with a couple of drips! She said, too, that publishing a book is important regardless of how we do it. Do you agree? Don't let "literary pride" get in the way of writing romance. Don't let being a guy keep you from writing romance. Just for fun, plot and write one of these fun stories. Just for fun. Then, determine what you want to do with it. And remember, if you decide to publish it, you can always use a pen name.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Self-Publishing Attack! A Do-Able Plan

Last Friday, I purchased the Kindle Edition of James Scott Bell’s book Self-Publishing Attack! The 5 Absolutely Unbreakable Laws for Creating Steady Income Publishing Your Own Books. I sat down and read it immediately and by the time I reached the end, I was inspired and feeling hyper. I always like that feeling even though on Friday, I didn’t do much with it.

Here’s the review I put on Amazon about Bell’s book:

In the past, I've discouraged many writers from taking the self-publishing route. The more I read, learn and investigate, the more I realize this is one of the best times to be a writer--BECAUSE of self-publishing and all the options available. The door is wide open. With James Scott Bell's guidance and encouragement, any writer can feel knowledgeable and certainly more confident in their attempt to self-publish. I may have been a wishy-washy believer yesterday but after reading Bell's Self-Publishing Attack!, I'm not today. I bought and read this book this morning, highlighting on every page, and can truthfully say the encouragement alone is worth the price. James Scott Bell is truly the voice of encouragement. Also, I thank him for a do-able plan of action.

That plan of action is strategic planning, prioritizing your daily/weekly tasks and setting goals and five laws that help you do it all. Sure we’ve heard most of this information before from other authors but not in the encouraging voice of James Scott Bell. Bell breaks it down for us - simplifies it. Shows us that it's do-able BY each and every one of us. Self-Publishing Attack! is the perfect title.

I have most of James Scott Bell's books on writing. I'm never disappointed in them. Check them out HERE.

Bell blogs at The Kill Zone. And for fun, take a look at his YouTubevideos.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Kreativ Blogger Award

Thanks to Sylvia at Writing in Wonderland for the Kreativ Blogger Award. I was trying to add a place to post my 'awards' and wiped out my pages. :) Grrrrrrrr! Blogging makes me tear my hair; most days I don't feel like a creative/Kreativ Blogger.


1. Thank and link back to the awarding blog(s).
2. Answer the ten questions
3. Provide ten random facts about yourself.
4. Last, but not at all least, hand this on to seven deserving others.

Ten Questions (that only scratch the surface):
1. What is my favorite song?  Just give me music and I'll be happy. I like listening to music when I'm alone.
2. What is my favorite dessert? Ice cream, hot fudge sundaes, Blizzards! Anything ice cream!
3. What ticks me off? Politicians and anyone else who tries to destroy our country and change our history.
4. What do I do when I'm upset? Gripe, gripe, gripe (and vote!)
5. What is or has been my favorite pet?  When I was little I loved lizards. They were all named Lizzie, I played with them until they died, then I buried them in a 'lizard graveyard' under the hedge behind our house.
6. Which do I prefer: white or wheat?  I prefer white but I force myself to eat wheat. Blah!
7. What is my biggest fear? You name it and I fear it: success, failure, pain, loss of a loved one, car wrecks, hurricanes, tornadoes ...
8. What is my attitude mostly? Up and down and all around. I've been accused of being combative. Sometimes I am. I've also been accused of being negative but I call it being realistic.
9. What is perfection? God creating nature. Is there anything more perfect than a nest full of baby birds? Have you ever watched a bird pick up a twig for her nest, then hop over to pick up another, then another, then another without dropping the previous twigs out of her beak. Fascinating and beautiful and perfect creation in action.Only God could make such perfection.
10. What is your guilty pleasure?  A package of powdered donuts. I don't share!
Ten Random Facts about me.....

1. I used to love watching commercials. Now I don't understand them.
2. I could live in the library. I always come home with such random books: basket weaving, jewelry making, the history of this, that or the other.
3. I love finding unknown cousins and family members through my genealogy.
4. I have a secret desire to invent something.
5. I don't like onions or cucumbers.
6. I'd love to start a business called Encouragement Incorporated where everyone could be handed positive strokes on a continuing basis. No cocky, self-assured, aggressive, mouthy people allowed.
7. I would love to find a lost child that was featured on John Walsh's missing children show.
8. I usually hate the bad guys, but I like J.R. Ewing.
9.  I despise shopping for clothes or shoes. Plop me down in an office supply store and I'm in hog heaven!
10. I'd love to write a screenplay.

I give the Kreativ Blogger Award to the following:
James Tate at Tate's Other Side
Kristi at Getting Lost in Louisiana
Kent Conwell at The Eyes of Texas
Debbie Gail Smith
Debra at DreamWeaver
Bossy Betty  Please pop over to this blog and look at Bossy Betty's home renovations. It will take your breath away and make your heart race. Seriously!
Amy de Trempe - she needs to get back to her blogging!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

For Your Information: Understanding the Amazon Sales Rank

I haven't had time to post. We've had company since the first of the week, but I wanted to share this link with you. Most of you probably know this but ... maybe not. HERE is the link to Understanding the Amazon Sales Rank with other interesting articles. Educate yourself. Writers, whether published or not, need to know the good, the bad and the ugly about being a writer.

I'll see you later!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Characterization and Charlaine Harris

Since my dream and my daughter’s reference to the Lily Bard books, I’ve read two in the series: Shakespeare’s Landlord and Shakespeare’s Champion. Now I know why daughter thought Lily Bard had inspired my dream. Lily Bard is a maid because it’s a mindless job she can do alone. She's always getting involved in dangerous cases, inspite of her desire to remain invisible.

Author Charlaine Harris is excellent at characterization. I like to imagine her sitting down at the kitchen table with pen and paper, writing the name Lily Bard at the top in bold letters, listing all the Lily traits. Lily is tough. No, she’s harder than tough. She can kill with her bare hands--even her feet. She seriously studies and practices martial arts.

The theme of Lily’s life is that she’s emotionally damaged and determined she will never be a victim again. She lives in small town Arkansas (chosen because it’s name is Shakespeare, and her last name is Bard) with the intentions of reinventing herself; and she has. Every action is weighed carefully, and is totally in character of one who wants to remain alone and socially unincumbered.

Landlord is first in the Lily Bard series, and though I’ve only read the first two books, Landlord is my favorite of the two. I like getting to know Lily, seeing her weaknesses and vulnerabilities. I like watching her struggle to protect herself emotionally. I like seeing her hesitantly let go, get involved in someone else’s life--always against her better judgment. 

In Lily Bard, Harris has created a strong female character that is independent, blunt, solitary and very intelligent. Admirable is the right word.

How did Harris do it? What questions did she ask herself? What came first--Lily Bard or the story? What came first--the name or the dark past? Lily Bard was perfectly constructed, and not too different from Lee Child’s Jack Reacher. If you ever want to study the growth of a series character, start with Charlaine Harris’ Lily Bard.

When you create a character, what comes first? How far do you plot a character's life? Do you create an elaborate backstory that explains why s/he's like s/he is? Do you examine how s/he will act/react to friends, family, threats, pets?  Do you believe taking characterization to the highest level will make your book a richer more satisfying read?
So many questions--looking for answers.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


I hope all the dad's out there have a special day. And I hope if your dad is still alive, you show him a special day.

Friday, June 15, 2012

A True Story in Text

Text from mom: I had the strangest dream about you.  You got involved with an unsavory character and when we warned you about him you said you’d go undercover to learn more about him. Then you showed me a book you’d bought on how to be an undercover maid.

Text from daughter: That’s weird. Are you reading those Lily Bard books?

Text from mom:  Not yet.
Text from daughter: I just wondered if they influenced your dream. I don’t want to be a maid and undercover work makes me nervous!
Text from mom: We were really worried about you.
Text from daughter: Nothing to worry about on this end.
Text from mom: Are you feeling okay?
Text from daughter: Why did you ask if I’m feeling ok? I’m actually not. Coffee withdrawal because I’m doing the Daniel Fast.
Text from mom: Your texting voice didn’t sound good.
Text from daughter: A mother’s intuition. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Not Your Mother's Library

Yesterday was a wild library day. My friend Janie says our meeting place has become the epitome of the “new library” where silence isn’t golden or necessary. One can sit with drinking containers of water or cola but they must have lids. Children are allowed to chase each other through stacks of books, shrieking and giggling. Yesterday one of them ran under our table, bumped his head and howled to high heaven. Worse, a mom fussed at her high school grad daughter for not knowing the details of an internship. Mom kept saying, “Don’t show me attitude, I’m just volunteering my time to help you.” I sympathized with the daughter and wished the mom had not volunteered her time. Since they sat across from me, I heard every word; must have missed the part where daughter showed attitude. Mom seemed to be the only one displaying attitude. I woke up this morning thinking about them.

To top off the escalating chaos, every now and then, believe it or not, someone yelled, “Go Thunder” and a few cheerful voices joined it.  I wondered if the moon was full. I think I must have bragged on my library writing too much. Payback time--at least for the summer.

Regardless of the noise, I was able to re-work the first four chapters. I’ll have to go over chapter four again, the louder the noise, the more distracted I became. And by ‘rework’ I mean I did some layering, revised some of my sentences, changed the how of my main character and sprinkled in a little attraction between the hero and heroine, as well as suspicion and hesitancy. Since things have to move faster in a novella, I’m wondering if it works.  We’ll see when I submit, won’t we? All in all, I felt satisfied with my accomplishment. Revising and editing doesn’t move as fast as writing from scratch. Maybe I’ll get more done today, but honestly, I keep getting distracted by my genealogy. Sigh. I have way too many interests!

Yesterday I received a nice surprise. Andrea Teagan from The Enchanged Writer nominated me for the Liebster Award.  How cool is that? She wrote: Jessica Roach Ferguson from Praise, Prayers, and Observations a southern writer with the sweetest heart. Don't miss her blog.

Wow, I’m thrilled and honored, Andrea. Thanks! I hope you all will check out The Enchanted Writer. Andrea has some interesting links to contests, critique groups and lots more.

Google told me that the origins of the Liebster Blog award are a little sketchy but the general consensus is that it originated in Germany, "Liebster" meaning favorite or dearest, to showcase bloggers with fewer than 200 followers. Upon accepting the award the recipient must then pass it on to five more blogs of note.

Here are the rules:
1- Choose FIVE up and coming blogs to which you award the Liebster. Blogs must have less than 200 followers.
2- Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
3-Post the award on your blog. List the bloggers you gave the award to with links to their sites
So, I’m passing the Liebster Blog Award to:

Linda  at The Incurable Itch of LF Todd. Linda is a fairly new blogger and she's doing great. We took a road trip together last year and headed to the Killer Nashville conference. Fun!
Jan  blogs at Beyond Acadia: Reading, Writing and Living Well. Jan is my coffee drinking buddy, my Swamp Lily partner and my encourager.
Beth hangs out at Creative Wordlenik. She signed up for my NF writing class. She's fun, brave and one of the best writing pediatric nurses around.
Pat tells all at Life’s Autumns. If you want to laugh, cry, and learn about emotions, this is the blog for you.
Lynn is one of my favorite bloggers. She's a letter writer and shares some heartfelt memories at Present Letters. She's multi-talented too as you'll find out if you visit.

Monday, June 11, 2012

How Much is A Comment Worth?

I realize no one has answers for a problem manuscript without reading it, but your comments helped. It makes a difference for me to know others have had or are going through some of the same writing scares. Those who said distance is a good thing are right. It always helps to come back to something with fresh eyes. That’s why I can’t understand how some writers whip out books, poems and stories and send them out into the world, immediately. Yes, there are authors who write five and six books a year! How do they do it? Without a doubt they have more smarts (and organizational skills) than I do.

Oddly enough, the moment Charles said, All I can tell you is that it is a sign something ain't quite right” I got a flash of where the problem was: At the very beginning--with my outline. I tried to complicate matters by having too many characters involved in the same goal which in turn caused a pivotal character’s actions to appear extremely contrived.  Make sense? Well… to me it does. As Audrey commented, I was trying to make things happen.

My point here is not that my problem is solved, but that comments really help. They encourage and cause us to think. Really doesn’t matter whether you’ve read my manuscript or not--you had a vague idea of what I was going through and what I needed.

Time is precious. It’s the one thing we can’t get back. Just want each of you to know I appreciate you giving your time to me. That's what you're doing when you take the time to comment.

Tomorrow I’m meeting my friend Janie at the library where we’ll write till we drop. I plan to fix this story and I’m looking forward to it. I’ll let you know what happens.
Mustang Library, Senior Citizen Center, Chamber of Commerce and a bunch of other things. Good vibes in this library!

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Case of the Gaping WHY

A night or two ago I had a nightmare. I dreamed I went through my manuscript line by line and asked WHY after each sentence. Some of my whys had no answers. Most did, but sometimes the answer was implied, or not immediately evident. I remember being very confused.

I know why I had such a dream.

When I got to the end of my novella, I found a big hole. There was a huge unanswered WHY WOULD HE DO THAT? I know that has more to do with motivation but it sure leaves a hole in my plot. WHY WOULD HE DO THAT?

Yep, I yelled it.

This very important character is not my MC yet the story couldn't be written without him. He's the stimulus, so to speak. The stimulus with the gaping WHY. This is one of those why didn't he just pick up the phone and call instead of manipulating. Manipulation makes him look like a bad guy so there has to be a really, really good reason for it.

I tried to put a band-aid over that gaping hole. Didn't work.  I tried to cover it by attributing the actions of another character to the one with the WHY.  Didn’t work.
To fill this plot hole sufficiently, I might have to add another character and another chapter or two. Or, maybe I do need to make my character wearing the WHY on his forehead a bad guy. 

No, no, I don’t want him to be bad. And this is a novella; I can't have a thousand characters.

I haven’t worked on my story for more than a week because of this gaping WHY. I'm stymied! Help!
Any suggestions how I might approach this problem?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Encouraged by Midnight In Peking

This is my first post for the Insecure Writers Support Group and I’d like to tell you about a book I just finished reading--a very depressing book. It took me three days to read, and it certainly wasn’t something I’d normally pick up. I’ll blame that on hubby. He’d read several reviews and bought it with his B&N gift card. Midnight in Peking by Paul French totally captured his attention and eventually, mine.   

I kept asking hubby why he thought the book was so good.  “It’s about an unsolved case,” he said. He knows I like books and movies about cold cases. This tale sounded right up my alley.
When I started reading the book, it yanked me in immediately but every now and then I’d look up and ask, “Now why were you so taken by this book?”
“It describes an era,” he said. “It’s the story of Peking.”   That made more sense. Hubby is into history-not maniacal murder.
Midnight in Peking is the story of the unsolved murder of 19 year old Pamela Werner, the daughter of a former British consul to China. The murder was horrific. I don’t dare describe it here or you’ll quit reading this post. Stay with me; I have a point.
Paul French is an expert on China and wow, he plopped us right down in the middle of Peking, 1937. We lived, breathed and tasted the setting. He went into fine detail.  
Midnight in Peking reads like a novel. The pacing is great. The corruption has readers on edge. The facts are well-documented, fascinating and heartbreaking.
Honestly, we don’t know who to root for in this book. There seemed to be no goodness. There are no bright spots. Even the young girl’s dad seemed questionable. I wasn’t sure about him. I had to put my reading aside now and then to catch my breath and look out the window, think of my own daughter and say a prayer for her safety. Midnight in Peking reminded me of the horrors all around us--yes, even today, in our own country.
By the time I reached the end of the story, I realized there were a couple of heroes after all: The father turned out to be a good guy. When all else failed, he dedicated his life to finding out who killed his daughter. And without a doubt, the author is a hero, because he shared their lost story with the world.
And there’s the encouragement today: words have power and writers are heroes. No matter what we write--fiction or nonfiction--we have the power to make someone laugh, cry, think, experience something new, see something in a different way, or actually feel something. We can’t ever take that privilege, that opportunity, lightly. We should pore over every word in our stories, make certain it’s the right word, the best word to evoke what we want our readers to experience. We can be--we are--heroes.

At Booktopia Blog, Paul French answers 10 Terrifying Questions: He offers this advice to new writers:
Never, ever, under any circumstances put pen to paper and start to write about anything that doesn’t completely obsess and fascinate you. Without a complete absorption in the subject you’re guaranteed that, at best, it’ll turn into a dreary and frustrating slog and, at worst, it’ll drive you mad and put you off writing anything else ever again.
What a responsibility we have! What a challenge! What a gift!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Real Simple - Annual Essay Writing Contest

I'm not familiar with this particular Essay contest but I do like the magazine. They have some great recipes. To search recipes using a particular ingredient, go HERE.  To check out the essay writing contest, click HERE and be sure to read the previous winners. Good luck!

Real Simple | Life Made Easier, Every Day
The Fifth Annual Life Lessons Essay Contest

Find out how to enter Real Simple’s yearly contest.

If you could change one decision that you made in the past, what would it be? No, you can't go back in time, but here's the next best thing. Think of a decision that you regret—anything from a ridiculous choice of prom date to a serious lapse in judgment—and tell us what the mistake taught you about yourself.
Enter Real Simple's fifth annual Life Lessons Essay Contest and you could:
  • Have your essay published in Real Simple
  • Receive a prize of $3,000
  • Win round-trip tickets for two to New York City, hotel accomodations for two nights, tickets to a Broadway play, and a lunch with Real Simple editors
To enter, send your typed, double-spaced submission (1,500 words maximum, preferably in a Microsoft Word document) to Contest begins at 12:01 a.m. EST on May 12, 2012, and runs through 11:50 p.m. EST on September 13, 2012. All submitted essays must be nonfiction. Open to legal residents of the United States age 19 or older at time of entry. Void where prohibited by law. (Entries will not be returned.) Click here to see complete contest rules.
Read the winning essay, Someone to Hold On To by Mara Eve Robbins, and the two runners up, The Embrace by Kenneth Krattenmaker and Knowing Sam by Molly Fessler, from last year's contest.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Markets for Weekend Writing

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Writers, 101 Motivational Stories for Writers, Budding or Bestselling, from Books to Blogs

The editors are looking for "your setbacks, mentors, breakthroughs, and successes."

Topics considered include:

How did you overcome writer's block?
Who kept you on the right path when you were ready to give up?
When did you realize that the story in your heart was ready to be shared with the world?

The editors are NOT looking for promotional pieces.

They want to know about "your journey to publication, including self-publishing and blogging. This is your opportunity to help other writers -- published and unpublished -- to draw inspiration and learn from your experiences."

Deadline: June 30, 2012

Payment: A check for $200 and 10 free copies of your book (worth more than $100).

Note: Author retains the copyright and the right to resell it.

For complete details and submission guidelines, visit 

Other titles are as follows: 

Angels Among Us
We are looking for stories from people who believe that they have encountered or been helped by angels. How did your angel manifest himself or herself? How did your angel help you or someone you know? Please do not send stories about people who are "angels" because they do nice things, and also please do not submit eulogies where you say that your loved one is now an angel. The deadline date for story and poem submissions is July 31, 2012.

Great Advice for Making Changes in Your Life
Have you ever read a Chicken Soup for the Soul story that had a wonderful nugget of advice in it that made a difference in your life? We are looking for stories that contain great pieces of advice, whether they are little things that improve our everyday lives, or major epiphanies that can change a life completely. Topics we will cover include advice related to work and personal relationships, marriage, parenting, health and fitness, finances, constructive criticism, taking chances, and following your passion. The deadline date for story and poem submissions is August 31, 2012.

Independent Woman
Whether you are single or married, widowed, or divorced, you are in charge of your life and the lives of many other people. Tell us your story about running your independent life, achieving independence, and being a complete person. We are referring to all kinds of independence, not just financial or emotional. Share your story of empowerment and independence to help women of all ages feel stronger, more capable, and more confident. The deadline date for story and poem submissions is July 31, 2012

They always say it's the best job and the worst job. But basically it's the best! We are looking for your stories about parenting - the hard work, the joy, the unconditional love, the funny times and the occasional sad ones too. Whether you're a new parent of one or an "experienced" parent of several, by birth, by marriage, by adoption, or by fostering, tell us your stories about parenthood. Funny stories, stories that will make us tear up, stories with nuggets of great advice - all your anecdotes are welcome. The deadline date for story and poem submissions is June 30, 2012.

Raising Kids on the Spectrum
If you are the parent of a child with autism or Asperger's, we invite you to share your story about raising your child - the ups and downs, the effect on your family, your child's special attributes and talents, and the lighter moments too. You may use a "pen name" on your story. These stories will
provide advice, comfort and insight to other parents in the same situation. The deadline date for story and poem submissions is September 30, 2012.