Showing posts from 2011

Are Some Goals Unattainable?

I'm wondering if I've given myself an unattainable goal for the month of December. I had the bright idea that because I didn't do NaNoWriMo, that I should try writing 50,000 words a month later just to see if I could. November was a really busy month for me, as it is for most people. Why I thought it would be easier to do in December is a mystery to me now.

This past weekend I didn't write a word...Not a word! I went to Orlando to spend time with family, watched Christmas movies, painted ornaments, went to see the Spectacle of Dancing Lights at MGM (I refuse to call it Hollywood Studios), and didn't get home until midnight last night. An entire weekend, and I didn't write. And yet I had so much fun getting into the spirit of the season.

There's the rub: to write or not to write? There wasn't a reason not to write, per se, but when I purposefully go somewhere to spend time with family, it's really hard for me to isolate myself to get some writing in…

Guest Blog For FWA: Leading a Critique Group

Blogmaster Chris Hamilton of the FWA blog asked me to contribute an article about leading a critique group. I was more than happy to provide my thoughts. I've had almost two years experience with leading a critique group, and I have a lot to say!

Check out the November 14th post here

If you are interested in joining a critique group or leading a critique group, I recommend you go for it and I hope you'll take a look at my advice. For people who want to get more serious about their writing and improve their craft, having an audience (not your Mom) can be extremely helpful.

FWA Conference Part III

Part III  The RPLA Banquet

The Royal Palm Literary Awards Banquet took place Saturday night. I had it in my mind to not think about winning, but to be grateful that I was a finalist. I could query agents and publishers with the line, "This manuscript was a finalist in the Royal Palm Literary Awards," and that would be great even if I didn't win.

I had no way of knowing how many entries were in my Unpublished Fantasy Novel category. Nor did I know how many others were finalists like me. The chances of winning were completely unknown to me, and still are, in fact.

I had the privilege of meeting Nicole Resciniti, an agent with the The Seymour Agency, just outside the banquet hall before the doors were opened. She and I had chatted about Sprinter at breakfast that morning, and she was willing to take a look at the manuscript. I planned to email her after the conference was over.

When I spotted her waiting to get into the banquet, I realized I hadn't even mentioned Livin…

FWA Conference Part II

Part II The sessions

Before I get into the results of the RPLA banquet, I want to mention more of the amazing sessions I attended. Each and every one was so helpful with fantastic and knowledgeable speakers.

My first session was on e-books led by Robert and Sharene Martin-Brown, publishers. I've had the privilege of hearing them speak at past conferences, and they continue to impress me with their insight. I learned a lot about how the e-book industry is in a frequent state of change and improvement, and that reaching a broader audience can be capable with e-books, especially when the author utilizes online marketing tools such as social networks and blogs. The Browns shared their insights into publishing contracts with e-books, variety in the technology available and specific ways one can self-publish their e-books if desired, and they provided information about royalty pay-outs to authors, which is often higher than print books. All in all, really good info to know.

A session l…

FWA Conference Part I

October 21-23, Orlando Marriott
I’ve decided to talk about the Florida Writers Association Conference in a series of blogs rather than overload a single post with 2,000 words, or whatever it will end up being.
As a writer who wants to be a published novelist someday, I’ve learned so much from the conference, and I would recommend it to anyone who is serious about their writing.
This is my fourth year in a row attending, and the quality continues to impress me, along with the variety of session topics and “wow!” value of speakers, such as NY Times Bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray.
In a joint session with her agent, Mary Sue Seymour, Shelley talked about her writing journey and how the hard work never ends for authors. Even an author with several published books still faces rejection. There was a period for Shelley where three years passed while her agent attempted to place a Christian historical romance novel, and Shelley began doubting herself, even struggled with depression. …

My New Running Blog

I created a blog the other day specifically for running. I talk to so many people about running, and I have so much to say about it, that I decided to devote an entire blog to it.

The Anti-Running Runner is surprisingly pro-running when you really take a look. At least, I hope it will come out that I really, passionately love running, even when I hate it.

I hope you'll check it out, and feel free to comment. I love talking about running, and I love to hear people's stories about how they got started or how they plan to do an ultra marathon someday (my cousin) or how they just turned 60 and plan to qualify for the Boston Marathon this year (my dad) or how they did their first marathon a week before their wedding (me).

A free contest: Your Life...The Reader's Digest Version

Can the writers of the world say, "Free?"  "FREE!"

Yes, this contest with a $25,000 winning cash prize is free.

Which means it's probably going to be difficult to win with all the submissions. But there are other cash prizes and chances for publication in Reader's Digest.

I've been notified that my 150 word submission to the Your Life...The Reader's Digest Version Contest is being considered for publication in an upcoming issue of Reader's Digest!

Let me know if you submitted a piece by pasting the link in the comments. I'll be happy to vote for you!

To read "Life Is A Blink" and vote for me, click

A Review of Cracks In the Sidewalk

I started reading Cracks In the Sidewalk by Bette Lee Crosby when she began posting chapters on her blog. The Christian women's fiction novel became available on Amazon Kindle for only $2.99. As soon as I found that out, I immediately purchased thee-book.

The heart-wrenching story is about Claire McDermott, who cares for her adult daughter, Liz, when doctors discover an incurable brain tumor. Liz's husband, the deplorable JT Caruthers, abandons her and wreaks further emotional havoc in Claire and Liz's life when he refuses to allow Liz's three children to see their mother. Claire and Charlie McDermott do all they can to support Liz while trying to coax JT into doing the right thing. Once, that includes knocking down his door with a sledgehammer. More often, it involves long-suffering for Claire and Charlie.

When I read the book, I felt so moved emotionally. Those who know me won't be surprised that I was crying at the end. Claire and Charlie (Liz's parents) su…

The Journey and The Prize

Sometimes I think about the prize (novel publication, writing as a career) more than the journey. I wonder, when will I get there? It's a question for God, and I think I've heard him answer, Not yet. Unless that's just the voice in my head. Time will tell.
Sometimes I think about the journey. Writing, rewriting. Editing, re-editing. Multiply that by 100. Then fashion a query, synopsis, and search for the appropriate agent/publisher for the book(s) and/or story(ies). Receive a rejection. Find the next market. Another rejection. Next market. PUSH (see previous post).
I can get disillusioned by the process, but then I remember...I am writing. I love this. I love writing. I'm not getting paid for it at the moment, but I really do love the process. Because writing is the process. Taking a story that started with a blank page and crafting it to the best it can be feeds my soul. I'm pretty sure God designed me to love creating stories, though that doesn't mean the prize…

Good News Sprinkles

In the midst of rejections, it's so nice to have good news sprinkled in.

I'm so grateful for the gift of writing, and I truly believe it comes from God. I have to praise him for these moments.

My short story, "Ma Says," was accepted into the FWA Collection #3 called Let's Talk coming out in October. This is my second short story ever to come out in print.

I'm a semi-finalist in the Able Muse Fiction Write Prize contest! I've never been a semi-finalist in a writing contest before, and I'm thrilled to have made it this far. I don't have any expectations, and I'm happy just to have that good news emailed to me today.

Praise Jesus for good news!

Technology, Friend Or Foe?

When an error message bubble appears on my computer, I don't usually panic right away. Something that says, The USB device has malfunctioned and Windows can no longer recognize the device, doesn't make me cry the moment I read it. No, it's usually hours later, when I've labeled myself the fool for repeatedly trying the same thing over and over while expecting different results.

Granted, today there are no tears. There is no major frustration. Not yet at least. I haven't spent hours and hours trying to fix the problem because I knew something like this would happen someday. And thank God I managed to obtain an external hard drive for just such an occassion.

If you're like me, you'd love to own a Mac, but you don't. You own a PC. And don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-PC. Noris (my laptop) has given me sooo much since 2005. And it's pretty amazing that he's lasted this long. I expected him to crash long ago, because he used to malfunction ev…

Taking The Time

"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9

It seems like everyone has been in a hurry for the past few decades, and I don’t think we’re slowing down. At least not as a society.

Yet slowing down is exactly what I need sometimes. It’s surprisingly difficult for me. I have so much to do, like most people. There is ALWAYS writing to do. There will never be a moment while I live that writing will not need to be done. Not because someone is breathing down my neck with a deadline, but because I have so many unfinished stories I’m dying to work on.

The verse above lets us know that God takes his time. He is a just God and will one day return (though not on Mr. Camping’s schedule). For those who long for it, he may seem slow. But this is for our sake, the sake of all his created, because he is merciful. For now, he allows the sun to rise every mor…

Sweep and Edit

My husband and I have pets, but everyone says they are preparing us for when we have children. I agree to an extent. Though I can't put a kid in a kennel while Brian and I are at work. And I really can't imagine a kid screaming louder than Lance's bark, but I'm probably speaking too soon.

I hope kids are not as dirty as the animals. The dog tracks in so much dirt from outside, I sometimes think we live in a dirt pit. If we don't sweep, it starts to look one. The cat has clumps of fur all over the house, and the Advantage is apparently no match for all the fleas this year. Whatever the medicine does kill, kitty leaves behind bits of dead fleas wherever he sits or lays. It's so gross. I've been using all the non-toxic treatments I can find to get rid of them.

In many ways, I don't think pet ownership and having kids should be compared. Apples and oranges, really. The time spent caring for something (or someone) other than yourself is the main comparison …

What Rejection Teaches Me

So far, I have five emails with form letter rejections on Sprinter, and one personalized email explaining why it was rejected. At this point, I anticipate the eight I’m waiting on will be rejections, and I’m okay with that.

The obvious lesson is the process. I’m a far cry from Edison’s thousands of attempts to create the incandescent light bulb (he succeeded on his 1,000th or 10,000th attempt depending on the source), or the best-selling authors with hundreds of rejections before their first publication. I’m learning from my mistakes. Though I’m receiving no specifics (except one which did help), I’m receiving excellent and specific feedback from my critique group.

Any writer who sends their query and opening manuscript chapters may feel like me. I’m making an electronic paper airplane that lands in the hands of someone I can’t see and don’t know personally, unless I met them at a conference. They may not like what they see for an infinite number of reasons. They might not be interest…

Why Write?

I continue to submit my novel, Sprinter, in hopes of receiving word that someone wants to help me publish it. In an earlier post, I talked about waiting. Yes, I’m still waiting.

While I wait, I wanted to clarify why I write.

Simply put, I write because I love it. I love the actual feel of pen to paper. Especially a really good pen and a new journal with a decorative cover. The cover helps me decide what type of story I will write. I have filled journal after journal, which are now stacked in my bookshelf. Granted, typing is faster, but I enjoy reverting to my pen.

I also write because I have a gift, though the gift doesn’t exclude all the hard work of attempting publication. My imagination gives me vivid pictures that beg to spill onto a blank page. Thank you, God, for that blessing.

I am a writer, therefore I write. I write as often as I can, and as much as I can produce at a time. I continue to pursue writing as a career, but the statistics have spoken, and many writers still have t…

Reading Aloud

Tonight, I read a segment from Sprinter, my inspirational women's fiction novel, at the Florida Writers Association meeting.  I heard a few very nice comments from listeners, and I look forward to more, whether nice or not.  I want it all!

For anyone who would like to comment on my reading, please do so here.

It's amazing how practice helps, even in something like reading my writing to an audience.  This is the second time I have stood up front at an FWA meeting, and it really does get easier.

We had a wonderful speaker tonight, Nancy, from Books At Park Place.  If you live in St. Pete, I hope you will visit the store in Disston Plaza on 38th Ave N & 49th St N.

I failed to follow my once-a-month pattern of blogging, but December was simply too crazy for me.  I'll make up for it by blogging twice for January.

One tip that I've found very helpful along the reading aloud lines: be sure to read your own writing aloud to yourself.  It's a great editing tool.