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Saturday, August 01, 2015


Book Club for Kids - Your Input is Needed!

Good Saturday Morning Ya'All!

Do you recall the great Saturday morning cartoons you watched as a child? If you're anything like me, you recall the sound effects much more vividly than what was on the screen. That's because I had my nose in a book. My daughter and her friends are quite the same. They can deal with a punishment of "no television for a week", but if you take away their books it's as if the world was coming to an end! In fact, I don't think I could possibly take away her books. She has several under her bed, between the mattress, under her pillow, in the laundry room, next to the couch, in the bathroom, in the back of the van, in the barn, and the list goes on and on. Her brothers are quickly picking up the same habits and I'm finding myself smiling as I think about the importance of books in our family.

I shouldn't have been at all surprised last evening, when my daughter and the eldest daughter of a dear friend devised a plan to create a book club for kids. The adults were wrapping up our book club meeting. We checked our calendars to schedule the next meeting, and the new books were distributed. This was just too much excitement for the young readers as they started talking about holding their own book club. They had plenty of ideas about how the meeting should be facilitated, what books should be considered, and who would be invited. What parent could say no when the girls politely asked if we might help them form their own book club for kids?

PBS has some great articles about how to start a book club, forming rules for the club, I'm not going to get into that. I would like to ask some questions and explore some ideas with you dear reader. What are your thoughts about book clubs for kids?

*Should the club be facilitated by a young member or by an adult?

*What type of rules are absolutely necessary?

*How often should the club meet?

*How do you chose the books? Is Harry Potter too long? Do you chose a book based on length?

*Are there any resources with questions like there are for adult clubs?

*If discussion questions are provided ahead of time, should an adult prepare them or one of the children?

*How many children should be included?

*Is this type of meeting best held in a library setting or a home?

*What question should be asked that I haven't thought of? What am I missing?

I really want this to be successful for the children. There are all sorts of ideas and questions running through my mind. I love having children who love reading and writing. Fostering their love is important as I know they will be heading up the adult book clubs in the future. A bad experience now may have a lasting impact. I sure would appreciate your thoughts and ideas. If you are a children's author and would like to provide book suggestions, feel free to leave those in the comments as well.

Thank you in advance for your assistance! You're the best!

Crystal is a church musician, business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger as well as a dairy
farmer. She lives in Reedsville, Wisconsin with her husband, four young children (Carmen 8, Andre 7, Breccan 1, Delphine 5 months), two dogs, two rabbits, four little piggies, and over 200 Holsteins. You can find Crystal and her children blogging and reviewing books and all sorts of other stuff at:

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Friday, July 31, 2015


Ex-Playboy Bunny’s Book Tops Best Seller List Through Social Media

By Scott Lorenz

In today’s world, social media is a dominating force that can make or break your career in almost every aspect. In this case, social media can help promote your work to a large and varied audience. To prove this theory, take a look at the rapid growth of popularity of Holly Madison’s book Down The Rabbit Hole, which is at the top of the New York Times Best Seller List.

Holly Madison, the ex-Playboy bunny, reality show star, mother, wife and ex-girlfriend of Hugh Hefner has made quite an image for herself and her book on social media with 1.38 million Twitter followers. On Twitter her hashtags are #downtherabbithole and #hollymadison. According to the hashtag #hollymadison has 2.42K potential views per hour. The hashtag #downtherabbithole has 3.78K potential views per hour.

So what is the intriguing factor for authors about social media? Social media allows direct communication to thousands or even millions of followers (all at no cost), and is credited in great part for making Down The Rabbit Hole an instant success. Using social media also allows authors to meet a whole new audience of readers and gain new ideas for books from the social community.

In an article by Chuck Sambuchino, of Writer’s Digest, Grammar Girl creator Mignon Fogarty said, “I think you really have to enjoy interacting on social networks or you won’t do it well or stay with it. You can’t force yourself to do it; you have to find the things you like and do those even if they aren’t the most popular. For one person it might be Twitter, for another LinkedIn, for another YouTube, for another podcasting, and another blogging.”

Estelle Maskame, Bestselling author of Did I Mention I Love You, (DIMILY) became an Internet sensation by using social media and gained 123K followers on Twitter @EstelleMaskame. With the help of her friends and Wattpad, Estelle’s book reached four million hits on Wattpad. “Using social media to promote my work means that I’ve got a close connection with my readers, especially now, because they’ve been with me since the early days. In a way, we’re all in this together, and ever since the start, I’ve always loved going on Twitter to interact with them,” said Maskame.

Other authors who have successfully used social media to gain recognition for their work include Paulo Coelho. Coelho used Facebook and Instagram to stay in touch with his readers and promote his work by sharing quotes and photos of his life and trips he has been on. The Alchemist spent 270 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List with the help and use of social media. According to a Wall Street Journal article, while doing research for his new book Adultery, Coelho’s fans shared over 1,000 emails with personal infidelity stories. Talk about intimate communications!

Margaret Atwood, a Man Booker prizewinner, has made extensive use of digital platforms. Atwood is an avid tweeter with her fans, and has a knack for posting creative insight about her latest work. She also used Wattpad to collaborate with another author to create a serialized zombie novel. For aspiring authors, Atwood ran a contest encouraging them to try fan fiction.

With social media, authors have a chance to succeed. Using social media for your work is important because of the vast attraction of readers you’ll get to engage with. There are quite a few social sites to post your work on and get feedback on your book before and after it is published.


Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it's their first book or their 15th book. He's handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman's World, & Howard Stern to name a few.

Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at or contact Lorenz at or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist.

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Thursday, July 30, 2015


Improve Your Writing by Reading Author Interviews

I love hearing writers talk about their writing process and craft. It inspires me not to copy their process but to reflect on my own. What has been working for me? What doesn’t? What else could I try to make myself a better writer?

I remember reading an interview with Philip Roth in the New York Times a few years ago. I don’t remember how or why it caught my attention because [insert embarrassed face here] I have never read any of his books. But some of the quotes from the interview made me feel better about my writing.

For example, he said, “Writing is frustration – it’s daily frustration, not to mention humiliation. It’s just like baseball: you fail two-thirds of the time.”

Clearly not an inspirational quote. However, it feels good to know that a well-acclaimed author also feels self-doubt, even humiliation, about his writing. Yet persisted and published.

It’s my love of discussing the writing process and craft that has inspired me to collect author interviews. I’m providing you with some author interview links below.

Of course, seek interviews with your favorite authors, but don’t be afraid to listen to or read an interview with an author outside of your preferred genre or an author you’ve never read. These are important, too, to provide additional perspectives to your ideas on the writing craft.

Have other author interview that inspired you? Share them in the comments below!

Links for Author Interviews:


Compiled by Anne Greenawalt – follow me for a fusion of creative writing and competitive sports with a twist of feminist intent

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Agents: Five tips on your next face-to-face

Face-to-face agent critiques give writers like us that chance to gather feedback from working agents.  To make the most of your next opportunity, remember that the conversation should start, but don’t stop, with your manuscript.  Keep the opportunities to learn coming with these five tips:

1.  Review the critique. Hopefully you had a chance to read her comments ahead of time. If not, quickly read over what she had to say.  This is not the time to defend your work; do that later with your critique group. Instead, take this opportunity to learn.  Ask for clarification.  Or bounce an idea off her on how to fix something.  Agents love it when you take their suggestions seriously.

2.  Discuss your work in general.  Let the agent know where your work has already appeared.  If you’re someone with a track record, let her know.  Discuss how this manuscript fits into your work in general.  That said, keep it brief unless she is asking you questions.  But also be ready with questions for her.  Is your work too diverse? Should you specialize?  What advice does she have for someone trying to break into x genre?

3. When is an author is ready for an agent?  Most of us look for agents because we hate marketing and we want the opportunity to publish at closed houses.  That’s a no brainer.  But find out what this agent looks for in a “ready writer.” Is it a specific number of sales?  Number of polished manuscripts ready to go?   

4. What recommendations does she have for new clients?  Some agents advise new clients to read certain how-tos or even certain titles in their genre.  What does this agent recommend?  If you ask her this even though she has no interest in acquiring you as a client, you are showing her that you are ready to learn. 

5. What other recommendations does she have for you?  This is a catch-all question but what piece of information does she have for you that she hasn’t had a chance to share?  It might be something about your manuscript, your body of work, or even the name of a fellow agent that you might consider approaching. 

A face-to-face critique is a great opportunity to learn, but you can’t learn if you do all of the talking or even most of the talking.  Ask open ended questions that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no. Once you get her talking, you have the opportunity to listen and learn.


Sue is the instructor for our course, Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults.  The next session begins on September 7, 2015.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015


Jeannie Waldridge, 2nd Place Winter 2015 Flash Fiction Winner

Congratulations to Jeannie Waldridge, who won 2nd place in the Winter 2015 Flash Fiction contest with her story, "The Church Meeting." If you haven't read this humorous short story yet, you can find it right here.

Jeannie  is originally from the small town of Harrodsburg, Kentucky but has lived in Louisville, Kentucky for the last 15 years. She is a certified alcohol and drug counselor who currently supervises substance abuse treatment programs for the Department of Corrections. Jeannie has had a lifelong passion for humorous story-telling and is beginning to translate that love into her written work. There is a love for strong Southern characters that originate from small towns and love to stir up controversy. Who doesn’t want the chance to use “ya’ll” or reference “sweet tea” when they write?
Jeannie is greatly supported by her writing group, Women Who Write, which is based in Louisville. The members readily offer their time, expertise and encouragement to all writers from the novice to the professional. Through the writing group, Jeannie has come to accept the fact that she is a writer as long as she continues to put pen to paper.
WOW: Congratulations on your 2nd place win for your fun story, "The Church Meeting." Where did you get the idea for this story?
Jeannie: I have been living in Crawford County, Kentucky for a few years -- in my head. I have written several short stories and these characters reveal themselves at different times. When I decided to enter the WOW contest, I first did a little research about the guest judge, Stacy Testa. She stated that she loved character-driven stories, an international setting, or a unique subculture. Immediately, Mrs. Abbigail Peters and Katherine came to mind. If you have ever been in a country church in Kentucky, then you know I had the unique subculture checked off the list.
Ms. Abbigail and Katherine have popped up in Christmas and holiday stories in the past but more as passing characters and at times without being named. I sat down and started writing about the first time the preacher’s fiancee with a dark past meets the church’s biggest critic. The story wrote itself after that; I just held the pencil and went along for the ride.  
WOW: In this piece, you chose to tell the story from two of the main characters' points of view. What made you decide to tell the story this way? Why switch in the middle? (Obviously it works well! We want to learn from you!)
Jeannie: As a storyteller, you have to have insider information from all the parties involved. I felt it was necessary to establish Mrs. Abbigail first; after all she is a founding member of Crawford County and the church. She held a position of prestige in the community, and I wanted the reader to understand her first before I introduced the outsider. The little tidbits of information from both of them gave the story the necessary flavor to make it interesting. Chili only becomes chili after you add the spices.
WOW: So true! How did you feel when you got the news that "The Church Meeting" won 2nd place?
Jeannie: I believed the story was something special, and that is why I requested a critique. If I was on the wrong track, I believed that was a good way for me to gauge my meter for “good writing.” When I found out I was through the first round of judging, I was already a winner. Then the critique came, and I called my mom and posted a happy post on social media. Needless to say, when the news came that I was in the top ten, I could not imagine that my story would be included with the other great stories on the WOW website. By the time 2nd place was announced, I was beyond grateful. My friends and family had given me a lot of positive feedback, and I was so proud that a G-rated story about a fictional place in Kentucky was recognized among all of the outstanding stories submitted.
I would be remiss to leave out the reality of the 2nd place win. I am a total amateur writer so I do not have a long list of published stories, a blog or a website. When I was notified that I would need to submit a picture and a short bio and I could include my website, it became quite challenging to make everything interesting and professional. Not to mention settling on a headshot, which is typically not a favorite task for many of us. 

WOW: We are so happy you won! We are sure this is the first of many successes for you. (smiles) Your day job has to be somewhat tough as a certified alcohol and drug counselor who currently supervises substance abuse treatment programs for the Department of Corrections. How do you write funny stories after a tough day job?
Jeannie: My job is rewarding and impactful, and I recognize that we are there to help people get better. Most people are not lucky enough to have a job where they get to witness change first hand, and the impact is not just for our participants but it changes their families, as well. When just one participant leaves the program, returns home, and then resumes their responsibilities as a parent, a son or daughter, a sibling and a productive member of society, then we have all won. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?
If you ask most of the folks I work with, they would tell you that my humor does not start at 5:00 pm. I have a tendency to be humorous, and I love a funny story. Laughter is good for the soul, and it is good for everyone around. I think my funny stories just come from years of telling stories and always looking for the sunny side of things.

WOW: What a great attitude! Tell us about your writing group.
Jeannie: I love my writing group! We are called Women Who Write, and we get together once a month. We are given the opportunity to bring in a piece we are working on, read it out loud and then we request what type of critique we would like from the group. We have published authors, professors, retired teachers, accomplished journalists, and every other profession you can imagine. The biggest thing we have in common is that we love to write. We write children’s books, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, articles, diaries, journals, and doodles. The group does not judge, and they always remind you that you are a writer, which is what a novice like me needs to hear from time to time. They offer their expertise and suggestions to every writer who shares. If I had one piece of advice: find a writing group. If the one you choose does not fit, find another group. Like attracts like; and if you want to be a writer, you have to surround yourself with writers.

WOW: What are you currently working on in your writing life?
Jeannie: I am working on more stories from Crawford County, of course. My strategy is to keep writing short stories that will eventually build into a whole novel. A childhood friend sent me a picture he photographed and asked me to write a story about the image. I just finished that story called “The Tent Revival,” which featured Mrs. Abbigail and Katherine joining forces to expose two evangelical swindlers that come to town. My next story should have some twists and turns as well. You know, every county in Kentucky has a county fair in the summer, and Crawford County is no different.

WOW: We hope that we get to read a collection of Crawford County stories in the future! Thanks, Jeannie, best of luck to you.


Monday, July 27, 2015


Lily Iona MacKenzie Launches her tour for Fling!

...and giveaway contest!

Lily Iona MacKenzie’s debut novel, Fling! is a wildly comic romp on mothers, daughters, art, and travel. While the main characters are middle-aged and older, their zest for life would draw readers of all ages, male or female, attracting the youthful adventurer in most people. The heart of the book is how they approach their aging selves and are open to new experiences.

About Fling!: When ninety-year-old Bubbles receives a letter from Mexico City asking her to pick up her mother’s ashes, lost there seventy years earlier and only now surfacing, she hatches a plan. A woman with a mission, Bubbles convinces her hippie daughter Feather to accompany her on the quest. Both women have recently shed husbands and have a secondary agenda: they’d like a little action. And they get it.

Alternating narratives weave together Feather and Bubbles’ odyssey. The two women travel south from Canada to Mexico where Bubbles’ long-dead mother, grandmother, and grandfather turn up, enlivening the narrative with their hilarious antics.

In Mexico, where reality and magic co-exist, Feather gets a new sense of her mother, and Bubbles’ quest for her mother’s ashes—and a new man—increases her zest for life. Unlike most women her age, fun-loving Bubbles takes risks, believing she’s immortal. She doesn’t hold back in any way, eating heartily and lusting after strangers, exulting in her youthful spirit.

Readers will believe they’ve found the fountain of youth themselves in this character. At ninety, Bubbles comes into her own, coming to age, proving it’s never too late to fulfill one’s dreams.

Paperback: 272 pages
Genre: Comedy and Family
Publisher: Pen-L Publishing (July 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1942428294
ISBN-13: 978-1942428299
Twitter hashtag: #FlingMac

Fling! is available as a paperback at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and your local independent bookstore.

Book Giveaway Contest:
To win a copy of Fling! please enter using the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this post. The giveaway contest closes this Friday, July 31st at 12:00 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day in the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!

About the Author:
A Canadian by birth, a high school dropout, and a mother at 17, in her early years, Lily Iona MacKenzie supported herself as a stock girl in the Hudson’s Bay Company, as a long distance operator for the former Alberta Government Telephones, and as a secretary (Bechtel Corp sponsored her into the States). She also was a cocktail waitress at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, briefly broke into the male-dominated world of the docks as a longshoreman (and almost got her legs broken), founded and managed a homeless shelter in Marin County, and eventually earned two Master’s degrees (one in Creative writing and one in the Humanities). She has published reviews, interviews, short fiction, poetry, travel pieces, essays, and memoir in over 140 American and Canadian venues. Fling, one of her novels, was be published in July 2015 by Pen-L Publishing. Bone Songs, another novel, will be published in 2016. Her poetry collection All This was published in 2011. She also teaches writing at the University of San Francisco, is vice-president of USF's part-time faculty union, paints, and travels widely with her husband.

Visit her blog at:

Find her on Facebook:

Follow her on Twitter @lilyionamac

----- Interview by Crystal J. Otto

WOW: Thank you for choosing WOW to help promote your book. We are looking forward to a great tour!

Lily, We are going to start with a really tough question: Who or what inspired you to write and how have you been instrumental in encouraging others?

Lily: I wish there was a simple answer to this question. No one inspired me to write. Something in me had to write. I was a high school drop out, and I didn’t have parents who understood there was such a thing as an artist’s or writer’s vocation. When I was in my mid-20s and working as a customer service representative for Olsten Services, I recall telling a co-worker that I wanted to be a writer. But I honestly didn’t know where those words came from. At that point in my life, all I had written were letters. English had been my strong subject in high school before I dropped out. But the only poem I recall having read at that point was Poe’s “The Raven,” and that had happened before I quit school.

But I did begin to keep a journal while going through a depression when I was 28, and that practice continues until today. I also went into therapy. That commitment helped me to discover myself as a writer and led me to major in creative writing as an undergraduate. Later, I also earned a Masters degree in creative writing and another in the humanities. The rest is history.

How have I been instrumental in encouraging others? I’ve taught expository and creative writing over the years, and that has exposed me to gifted students. It’s been a privilege to support their process.

WOW: Support is incredibly important for all of us. Have you found book clubs and writers groups to be a good place to find additional support and encouragement? What has your experience been?

Lily: I’ve been part of a small book club for many years. What I’ve loved about the group is discovering books that I otherwise wouldn’t have chosen on my own. It’s forced me out of my comfort zone into works that challenge and inspire. We’ve read works like The Constellation of Vital Phenomena, a masterfully constructed novel about Chechnya, and The Traveler of the Century, one of the best books of 2014.

I’ve also participated in an on-line writer’s group for a long time. I started it because I wanted to continue to receive the valuable feedback that fellow experienced writers can give one another. So I sent out a message to graduates of San Francisco State’s Masters’ in Creative Writing program and invited those who were interested to get in touch. The group members have changed over the years, but we continue to give each other important comments on our fiction. By the time each person has remarked on a submission, it adds up to one expert editor’s response. It’s been enormously helpful to have these readers’ views.

WOW: Sounds like it was time well spent. Speaking of time, how do you manage to get everything done, stay on task, and use your time to your fullest?

Lily: Before I had a book in pre-publication, I didn’t have too much trouble keeping to my one hour a day schedule. I usually can fit in that amount of time, and I’ve produced an amazing amount of material over the years as a result: three poetry collections, one of which is published; four+ novels, two of which are on their way to being published, and I’m sure the other ones will as well; a short story collection; travel articles; reviews; memoir; and much more. But at the moment, marketing responsibilities have made it difficult to be as faithful to this regime. I look forward to when I can resume it!

WOW: You certainly are focused and driven: such an inspiration for all the rest of us!

Who is your favorite author?

Lily: I really don’t have a favorite author. There are too many that I admire and regularly return to for inspiration. Gabriel Garcia Marquez is one such writer. His One Hundred Years of Solitude found me at a time when I needed a model for the magical realism approach that seems natural to me and inhabits much of my work. I’ve read nearly all of his books and return to them frequently. He’s a kind of muse.

WOW: Support (as well as inspiration) is incredibly important in any career, but especially as a writer. Who has been most supportive of your writing through the years?

Lily: My husband has been exceptional in not protesting when I need time to write. His field is the 19th and 20th Century novel, so as a reader, he’s perceptive and extremely thoughtful. In my acknowledgement in Fling!, I refer to him as my first and best reader.

WOW: Sounds like you two are a great team! How do the two of you celebrate your successes?

Lily: Success is relative. I’ve published many things, and it’s always satisfying to have one’s efforts recognized in this way. However, I’ve been writing for so many years now, that when one of my books finally is published, my response is “It’s about time!” But my husband always wants to do something special to acknowledge a new publication and will bring home champagne for us to share.

WOW: On the flip side of success, what about rejection? Not that we ever want to be rejected, but let’s face it…it’s all part of writing and being published. Do you have some words of wisdom for others?

Lily: Finding a responsive reader for one’s work is challenging. I’ve sent out many stories/poems/essays over the years that didn’t get picked up immediately. But if you believe in the piece and it’s worth being published, then it will eventually find a home. Persistence and doggedness is essential to succeed as a writer.

WOW: That’s a great way to explain it; thanks for sharing! What’s next for you Lily?

Lily: Bone Songs, another novel, will be published in 2016, so I’ll be spending some time in the next few months revising that book. I’m also two-thirds of the way through a collection of short pieces entitled The Sinner’s Club. Each character is part of the same church setting and has an intriguing story to tell. The various sections offer a kaleidoscopic view of this particular religious community and its characters’ foibles. Since I’ve written a total of four novels, I’m eager to focus at the moment on short fiction and poetry. I’ll be interested to see what will tempt me to tackle another longer work.

WOW: Thank you so much for choosing WOW! and for today’s wonderful interview. We look forward to your future books and hope to see you again in 2016 and beyond!

----------Blog Tour Dates

Monday, July 27 (today) @ The Muffin
Stop by for an interview and book giveaway!

Tuesday, July 28 @ Choices
"Poetry and Perception" is the topic today at Choices by Madeline Sharples. Read this insightful guest post by author Lily Iona MacKenzie and find out more about her latest novel Fling. One lucky reader will also win a copy of their own to enjoy!

Wednesday, July 29 @ Selling Books
Find out what Lily Iona MacKenzie has to say about writers groups as she stops by the blog of Cathy Stucker. MacKenzie's debut novel Fling! is quickly climbing the charts, you won't want to miss a moment of this exciting book blog tour!

Friday, July 31 @ Ava Louise
"Writing Memoir" is the topic at the blog of author Ava Louise. Thank you to fellow author Lily Iona MacKenzie for this fabulous guest post. Reader can stop by and learn more about this topic as well as MacKenzie's debut novel Fling!

Monday, August 3 @ Bring On Lemons
Linda Juul reviews Fling! by Lily Iona MacKenzie. Don't miss this review as well as a giveaway to win your own copy of this debut novel.

Tuesday, August 4 @ All Things Audry
Join fellow author Audry Fryer as she reviews Fling! by Lily Iona MacKenzie.

Wednesday, August 5 @ MC Simon
Lily Iona MacKenzie shares insight about "Writing Like an Architect" as she writes the guest post for Mc Simon Writes. Find out more about this topic as well as MacKenzie's debut novel Fling!

Thursday, August 6 @ Kathleen Pooler
Join Lily Iona MacKenzie as she writes about "Timing and the Creative Process" as the guest author at Kathleen Pooler's Memoir Writer's Journey today. Learn more about MacKenzie and her debut novel Fling!

Saturday, August 8 @ Hott Books
Today's guest author at Hott Books is Lily Iona MacKenzie with a guest post about revising your writing. Learn more about this topic as well as MacKenzie's debut novel Fling!

Monday, August 10 @ Create Write Now
Don't miss today's guest post at Mari McCarthy's Create Write Now. The topic is: "Writing as a Spiritual Path and an Exercise in Trust" written by Lily Iona MacKenzie as part of her book blog tour for her debut novel Fling!

Tuesday, August 11 @ Lisa Haselton
Lily Iona MacKenzie authors today's guest post at Lisa Hasleton's blog. Don't miss this topic of "Blogging" and find out more about MacKenzie's debut novel Fling!

Thursday, August 13 @ Linda Appleman Shapiro
Fellow author Linda Appleman Shapiro will be reviewing Fling! by Lily Iona MacKenzie. Don't miss this insightful blog stop.

Friday, August 14 @ Slay the Writer
Fellow author Trisha Slay reviews the debut novel Fling! by Lily Iona MacKenzie

Keep up with blog stops and giveaways in real time by following us on Twitter @WOWBlogTour.

Get Involved! If you have a website or blog and would like to host one of our touring authors or schedule a tour of your own, please email us at


Enter to win a copy of Fling! by Lily Iona MacKenzie! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. We will announce the winner in the Rafflecopter widget THIS Friday, July 31st!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Saturday, July 25, 2015


Build a Better Bio

©  | Dreamstime Stock Photos
What’s one thing freelance writers, bloggers, and authors all have in common? They all need a bio. A writer’s biography, or “bio,” for short, is important for several reasons. If you’re a freelance writer and/or blogger, it shows off your area(s) of expertise and entices editors and other potential clients to hire you. If you’re an author querying agents and publishing houses, your bio is the chance to let your personality shine through and convince a gatekeeper to read more of your work.

Trying to put together a bio for the first time can be overwhelming. The good news is that you can (and should!) have multiple bios on hand at all times depending on why you're using them. Here are a few things to consider when putting together your bio:

Write it in third person. Describe yourself as if you are an objective observer. “Renee Roberson is an award-winning freelance writer and editor . . .” Don’t be shy. Now is the time to brag on yourself and all your wonderful accomplishments.

Highlight your clips. Mention publications where your work has appeared, so readers can read examples of your work and get an idea of your style and voice.

Affiliations and achievements. Include memberships and organizations pertinent to your career, as well as achievements, such as writing awards.

Have a call to action. List your website, blog, and places others can find you on social media.

Put some personality in it. Keep the writing tight and fresh, and don’t be afraid to mention interesting facts and tidbits to keep the reader interested.

Here are a few examples of bios I’ve used in the past:

From my website: Renee Roberson is an award-winning professional freelance writer, editor and blogger with hundreds of print and online articles and columns to her name. Her experience includes a background in journalism and communications, public relations, writing for regional parenting and city magazines, a daily newspaper and websites and e-zines. In addition to writing, she offers editing and researching services to clients through a variety of mediums and helps authors publicize their books through blog tours.

From The Writer magazine: Renee Roberson, a freelance writer from Huntersville, N.C., has written for regional and online parenting markets since 2005.

From Renee Roberson has been writing professionally since 1998. Her work has appeared in Charlotte Parent, Carolina Parent, Lake Norman Currents, The Charlotte Observer, Today's Charlotte Woman, The Writer and Roberson has a Bachelor of Arts in mass communications from the University of North Carolina at Asheville.

From a literary agent query: Renee Roberson is an award-winning writer and editor and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. Based in Charlotte, N.C, she is also hard at work on her next book, a contemporary YA novel. Her flash-fiction piece, "In the Depths," placed in the top ten of the WOW! Women on Writing Fall Flash Fiction Contest in February 2013. You can view her online portfolio at

Now it’s your turn! Share one or more of your bios with us in the comments below.

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