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Thursday, May 31, 2007

 

Blancing Life & Writing

The other day Angela asked me to come up with some answers for the "Balancing Life & Writing" poll for the June issue. And while I've read the articles already, that's one of the perks of being an editor I still don't think I came up with anything helpful. In fact, my first thought was..."Balance, what's that?"

I hate to admit it but I'm not balanced. Not in my everyday life or my writing. In fact, my writing tends to consume me. I stagger half asleep to my computer first thing every morning and stay there most of the day. In the evenings I write, research or revise instead of watching television. Even when the computer is finally turned off right before bedtime, I still think about plot lines, characters or ideas for articles until I fall asleep. And of course, there are the many times I wake up in the middle of the night with just the right plot twist, witty line of dialogue or cool new idea that has to be written down right quick.

So, what's an obsessive writer to do? I'll definitely be reading the articles in the June issue several times and applying them where I can. But I'm also taking a bit of time off for myself and spending it with my family and our church friends. We are doing the "camping" thing this weekend so I really don't have much choice:-)

I plan to walk through some forests and listen to the sound of wildlife. I'll swim in the cool water and let the warm sand squish between my toes. When sitting around the campfire, I'll take a deep breath of the smoke, let it sting my eyes and enjoy the warmth of the flames. And before calling it a night, I'm going to sit in the dark under the stars and let the wind play with my hair. As I lay awake in the darkness I'll listen to the night sounds around me...my children whispering back and forth to each other, the occasional armadillo or possum and hopefully hear some coyotes.

Then when I come home...I'm going to use it all in a story:--)

For now though, I'm off to finish packing.

What about you? While waiting for the new issue of WOW! to be posted on the 5th, take a look at yourself. How balanced are you and if you have any suggestions to become a bit more balanced be sure to let us know.

Jean

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

 

Winter Contest Prize Update

VROOM, VROOM...

The prizes are being delivered through UPS - some of you may have received them already, and others should be getting them any day now. We hope you will be pleasantly surprised. :-)

This last contest didn't acquire as many donations as we thought, so we had to do a little (okay, well a lot) of shopping to make up for it. That's one of the things that caused the delay... again we apologize.

To make sure things run smoother next time around, we've hired a special person to pay great attention to detail, secure prizes, kick-up the pressure on manufacturers, and make certain that the prize-packs arrive in a timely manner. Up until now, Beryl and I have had the honor of hand packing your prizes and organizing everything (which we do love, btw), but it takes up a lot of time! Mix that with a dash of editorial, business management, graphic artwork, and meetings... Oy! Needless to say, things will be tidier around here now with our new hire.

Tommorrow is the last day of the Spring 2007 contest, so if you are still planning on sending in an entry last minute -- you know who you are ;-) -- you have until 12 midnight Pacific Time on the 31st of May.

Beryl and I will be in New York at Book Expo America, May 31 - June 3, so if you have pressing questions for us, please e-mail our contributing editors:

Jean: jean(at)wow-womenonwriting.com
Sue: sue(at)wow-womenonwriting.com

And if you're at BEA and happen to see us, please come up and say hello! We'd love to meet you.

Newsletters will for the June issue will be going out after we return, eta: Tuesday the 5th. We hope you enjoy the fabulous upcoming issue!

Warmest regards,
Angela & Beryl

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

 

Carrie Hulce, Runner Up



Today we visit with another of our runners up. Grab a glass of iced tea, pull up a chair and enjoy.

WOW: I've loved seeing how others react when they found out they had placed in the top ten. What about you. How did you react when you got the news?

CARRIE: Oh my gosh! I was so excited I ran into the kitchen and told my husband, he gave me a huge hug and praised me. Even though it was 7:00 am, I picked up the phone and began to call everyone to let them know. That made my day to receive the email, that I placed.

I have to admit, I had gotten discouraged about my writing for quite some time.

WOW: The car in your story reminded me of one I had long ago. What inspired your contest entry, The Sign?

CARRIE: My inspiration was actually multi faceted. My first inspiration came from my college days. I bought my first car, an Olsmobile Toronato. A big huge boat (Dad wanted me to be safe). I went to the bank to make my final payment on my car; it was if the car actually knew what was going on. Shortly after, I started having problems with it.

My next inspiration was my cute mother-in-law. I can’t say enough about her. She is just so fun to be with. Her name is Tina. Every time I spend time with her, I want to be around her more. She was my lead character for this story.

My final inspiration was a conversation that I had with my girlfriend; she and I were talking about what we would do if we were to take a trip some where. She came up with this crazy idea that she wanted to go to Montana someday. Blew my mind. I started to laugh. I finally asked her where she got a crazy idea like that. She laughed and said because she had never been there before.

WOW: That's a lot of inspiration for such a short word count. Do you enjoy writing Flash Fiction with the shorter word counts?

CARRIE: Yes, I have to say because I love the challenge. By nature I am the type to fill a page with words, as you have probably seen just with the first question. It makes me stop to think and help me to understand that in writing you can get a story across as long as you are descriptive enough and can make the story run smooth.

WOW: I noticed in your bio, you work in a homeless shelter. Have you ever used an incident from your volunteer work with the homeless as inspiration?

CARRIE: I am currently working on one story that did come from a woman from our shelter. Her story hit home for me. She was the mother of 3 small children, had been married to her husband for many years. Her husband and children were killed in a car accident, it was a DWI. After the funerals and everything, she found herself on the streets, she had never worked before and didn’t know what to do or where to go. She finally came here, where she was able to finally get some help. Today, she is working, has a new place to live, is even involved in a new relationship.

She looked at me one day, saw how stressed out I was, she grabbed my hand pulled me aside and said; “ What doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger.” She’s right. After contemplating what she had said to me. My stress level went down and I was able to focus on my day.

That evening I began to write a story about her.

WOW: Do you have a favorite genre you like to write and where do you get your ideas?

CARRIE: I am a very eclectic writer. I have come up with all sorts of stories. It can be from a dream that I have had, someone I’ve seen shopping, or even about a bird that just landed on my window sill.

WOW: I think all writers at one time or another get a bit discouraged with their writing. What one piece of advice would you give other them?

CARRIE: No matter what you do, continue to write. Even if you feel you are to busy or think you can’t come up with any ideas. They are there for you, you just have to grab them and hold on tight.

WOW: Great advice:-) What are you working on now?

CARRIE: I have to laugh. First off, I can finally admit, I am a published writer, thanks to WOW! If it weren’t for you guys, helping me when I was down. I probably would have never written again.

I am currently working on a mystery story for children, plus I am working on an adult science fiction story. I have to admit, editing is the hardest part when it comes to writing a book. I hope I can find someone interested in publishing my stories.

WOW: I have the feeling you won't have much to worry about when you are ready for that publisher:-) When not writing, do you have any favorite author you turn to?

CARRIE: I am a book worm all the way so I have a few.

For mysteries, I like to read the work of Lillian Jackson Braun. She has written a series of books that are all entitled The Cat Who……?

For romance, when I’m feeling on the mushy side, Jude Deaveraux and Johanna Linsey. They both are historical writers; you can tell they have done their research.

Finally, another great inspiration for me picking myself up and dusting myself off, a local author here that has done some small writing work shops, Natalie Goldberg. She has written a lot of poetry, but also has some great ways of helping writers look inside themselves. The first book, that I highly recommend to other writers is her book called “Writing down the Bones.”

WOW: Thanks so much for chatting with us and sharing your writing. You get the final word. Anything you'd like to add?

CARRIE: I just want to say THANK YOU! To everyone at WOW! for helping me find myself in writing and inspiring me once again. Everyone involved with Women On Writing, have been just absolutely wonderful. Words can’t always express how grateful I am for having all of you in my life!

For all of you writers out there. KEEP ON WRITING!!!! NEVER GIVE UP!!!!

Happy writing to everyone!

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Monday, May 28, 2007

 

East Coast Oomph

An enchanted traveler tickled my toes early on. I lived my first dozen years on the east coast, my second dozen in various cities on the west, and my third dozen-plus throughout other regions of the U.S.. (No, I’m not running from the law; I lack a crafty alias.)

My memory’s kaleidoscope rotates every place I've lived and, with age, embellishes certain cities more than others, shifting them into more vibrantly colored patterns, while dislocating others into shadow zones. Still others stay fixed in nostalgic wedges, neither colorful nor shaded, simply part of my distant past. The east coast nestles among my nostalgic ones.

The east coast always buzzes with energy and vivacious people; it houses major publishing houses as well as myriad small presses and others in between. New York, specifically, never sleeps. As our previous Blog reveals, The Big Apple hosts the Book Expo America at the end of this week.

In honor of my east coast heritage, aspiring writers, and a compassionate east coast editor, Jenine Killoran, I’m posting a workshop for Long Islanders or anyone traveling to the area soon. Although many of our readers can’t be in the area, you can check out Jenine's website, www.scbeginnings.com. You might find something you’ve been searching for, especially if you’re a new writer in need of a perk!

BEGINNINGS PUBLISHING, INC.
PRESENTS A FOUR WEEK FICTION WRITING WORKSHOP
$125.00 TWO HOUR CLASSES includes one year subscription to Beginnings Publishing, Inc.

"The magazine for the novice writer since 1999"

Bayport area, Date to be announced. Please call or write for details!

"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you."
-Maya Angelou

Jenine Killoran is the editor and publisher of Beginnings Publishing, a Writer's Digest award winning literary journal. Her fiction has been published numerous times in small presses, anthologies, and online writing sites. She has taught writing classes in many of the libraries here on Long Island, but her first love is her magazine, Beginnings, where she discovers and publishes new and talented writers three times a year.

jenineb@optonline.net
631-868-0120

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

 

Annette Fix Showcases "The Break-Up Diet" at BEA

One of WOW!'s contributing writers, Annette Fix, launches promotion of her forthcoming book The Break-Up Diet at Book Expo America (May 31 - June 3, 2007) at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York.

About:

"In this delectable memoir, Annette Fix serves up a fresh, funny, honest, and insightful dish of sex and the single mom." - Colleen Sell, editor of The Cup of Comfort series


The Break-Up Diet

a memoir
by Annette Fix


...if you've ever loved and lost
and eaten fudge topping out of the jar...


Annette Fix always believed in happily-ever-after and was busy working her Five Year Plan: marry her golf-pro boyfriend, homeschool her preteen son, become a famous writer, and retire to Fiji. When her live-in boyfriend calls it quits, Annette finds herself on the break-up diet, consuming vast amounts of chocolate and exercising poor judgment by diving blindly into the shallow end of the dating pool.

Working as an exotic dancer to bankroll her aspiring writing career and support her son alone, Annette uses her blue-collar instinct to survive in the plastic jungle of The OC.

Annette's adventures take her on a wild ride as she attempts to find the perfect balance between her dreams and her day-to-day life as Supermom.

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Annette's book will be available in stores October 20, 2007, so stay tuned for a unique WOW! interview with the author!

To find out more about The Break-Up Diet, visit Annette's profile on myspace: http://www.myspace.com/thebreakupdiet

Read Annette's articles on WOW:

How to Capture an Agent

Annette Fix Reviews Kathleen Gage's Marketing Mentoring Program

Inspiration is a Spoiled Brat

Annette Fix Interviews Radio Personality, Author, Barbara DeMarco-Barrett

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

 

WOW! Featured on Best Ezines

Ladies,

Happy Saturday! It's another time to celebrate! :-)

WOW! has been accepted to bestezines.com -- a site which highlights a wide variety of quality ezines.

Our contributing editor, Sue Donckels, has been working overtime promoting WOW!, and her hard work has paid off. So, as we round out this issue on self-promotion, you can see that all it takes is a bit of effort, some research, and perseverance. Sue has shown us that no matter what you're promoting, if believe in it, you can achieve great things! Thank you Sue, and to everyone who has contributed to WOW! because you are what makes us, as women writers, able to share our voice in unison.

bestezines.com allows readers to post ratings and reviews. If you'd like to share your opinion, we'd love your support. We strive to offer you the best resources, contests (when we grow, we want to offer you more!), and content for women writers.

As we actualize this issue, The Wings of Self-Promotion, we'd love to hear what you've accomplished, or how you've tried to promote yourself this month. No matter how big or small, if your work was accepted or not, whether it was word of mouth or a submission... we want to know:

What have you done to promote yourself this month?

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

 

Congrats to "our" Chynna!!!

One of the hardest things for a writer to do is hit that "send" button or drop their manuscript/query in the mail. We all battle those shoulder vultures that sit and whisper things like "no one wants to read your writing", "you're not a real writer" and "what makes you think you have something worth sharing". Yet, we keep on beating them back, pulling out their tail feathers and sending out our work.

And, eventually it pays off:--) Our own Chynna Laird tells us she had three articles accepted this week. WOW! Way to go girl, you rock!

Now it's time for the rest of us to hit the send button or put that query manuscript in the mail. Need someone to get you motivated? Then consider this your cyber challenge. Send out one query or manuscript before next Thursday and let everyone here know about it.

Or, need someone to hold you accountable? Then post in the comment section requesting a writing buddy. If you don't want to leave your email addy, then email me and I'll put you in contact with another willing writer.


Here's a bit of fun self-promotion and a unique twist to a writer's website.

And speaking of self-promotion...I want to invite you all to visit us over at StoryCrafters. We are a small little group of writers of all different craft levels and genres. We have a great forum board with lots of information, fellowship and encouragement.

Now...go dust off that piece you've been holding onto and send it out.

Jean

Oh, I sent out my query to Byline Mag not long ago so I'm waiting on you:--)

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

 

Red Hot Internet Publicity

Book Marketing for Authors

If you’re ready to make your foray into the 'Net, here are some easy ways you can access your success online.

1) Forget about getting a web site: get an online brochure that sells books. I think one of the biggest problems with web sites is that people think they need to be fancy and colorful and most of all: complicated. While color on a site is not a bad thing, don’t let the design of the web site mar its effectiveness. The best web sites are often the most drab. Let’s take a look at two very successful sites: Google and Craig’s List. Now we all know about the Google site, but have you looked at the Craig’s List site recently? It’s quite possibly one of the worst looking sites in history, but you know what? It does the job and it does it very well. That’s the key: a site needs to do the job and do it well, if that means having a chartreuse web page then that’s what it means.

2) Social networking: you may hate real-time networking, but don’t miss the boat with your online efforts. Sites like MySpace, Eons, Gather and Linkedin are all fantastic places to network *and* they’re additional portals to your book, product, or message. You can be on one or all of these sites, it just depends on how aggressive a marketer you want to be.

3) Craig’s List as a promotional tool: have you ever tried driving traffic to your site from Craig’s List? If you haven’t, you should. Craig’s List is a unique promotional tool and while it can have an impact on your promotion, you need to use it with care. Take a peek at the sight and start reading some of the other ads and blurbs that make the cut. Posting to this site requires a certain casual, maybe even campy language approach. And keep this in mind: Craig’s List is very anti-sale so whatever you do, offer help, a solution, or some other freebie, but don’t sell. Using a loss-leader to get people to your site is often a great idea when it comes to Craig’s List promotion.

4) Article syndication: Online article syndication is the way to go to maximize your online exposure. The thing is, a year ago we were telling you to load your articles onto as many syndication sites as you could - one hundred or more was even better. How has that changed? Well, now loading your articles on more than five sites could be the kiss of death and get your articles sent into oblivion instead of getting exposure.

5) Are you social bookmarking? Here’s how it works: Social bookmarking allows you to generate high quality backlinks to your sites and promote your web presence.

Some of the most popular social bookmarking sites are: Technorati, Del.icio.us, Flickr. In its simplest form, social bookmarking is the collective act of bookmarking (tagging) and sharing Internet links and resources. By sharing, of course we mean promoting. There are different types of social bookmarking services – you can upload, store, bookmark (tag) and share photos, news stories, links. So how does it work? Let’s say you have a book web site that you like, using one of the social bookmarking services like Del.icio.us you can assign that webpage a tag and put it up on your Del.icio.us page, which can be accessed by anyone. Your Del.icio.us page can be used for promotion or to create a resource page or customers. You can also share your page with other people and have them link to it, or put links to your new web sites on your Del.icio.us page to get inbound links.

6) Got a blog? Then try adding your blog to Blogburst. Access to this site could get your blog entries picked up by Reuters, the Associated Press, and USA Today online.

Getting on the 'Net doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does have to be effective. Using tools (most of them free) can really drive some traffic to your site and interest to your book. Remember that when it comes to Internet marketing, more isn’t always better, sometimes it’s just more. It's easy to get lost in the noise of the 'Net, but the simplest way to bypass the clutter is to stay on message and connect with sites that have good ranking. Why? Because their ranking is your ranking, if you’re getting listed on a high traffic site, guess what? Sooner or later that traffic could find its way to you.

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Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques. http://www.amarketingexpert.com

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

 

Donna Piazza, Runner Up!



WOW! had the priviledge of chatting with another of our top ten winners. Grab a cool drink, pull up a comfy chair and join us.

WOW: Donna, congratulations for placing in the top ten! What motivated you to write "Fate’s Hand"?

Donna: “Fate’s Hand” was motivated mainly by my desire to be a wholly inspired writer and by my longtime desire to visit Greece. I combined the two desires and the story evolved from there.

WOW: What a wonderful combination! With such big inspiration, did you find yourself making big changes to your story to stay inside the word limit?

Donna: Making big changes is an immense understatement, especially because I tend to be a very wordy writer. This story initially contained nearly 2000 words, so you see what I mean. One of my greatest motives for writing flash fiction is that it teaches me to tighten my writing; to choose every word for the truest meaning and impact and cut the waste.

WOW: Well, you did a fabulous job with editing, and you’ve shown that you can certainly tighten your writing! You obviously have some experience here, and in your bio you mention that you’ve published poetry in various eZines and websites, as well as an essay. How would you compare those experiences to writing your fiction story?

Donna: The experience is the same with each contest, or any submission: focus to the exclusion of all else, hard work, excitement, anticipation, and LOTS of anxiety awaiting the results. Every time I have seen my name posted or published along with something I have written it has been a significant point in my budding writing career. In the case of this contest, my first short story to be published, it has left me with a glorious, life long memory that will never diminish.

WOW: Yes, focus is the key to so many things in life! I wonder if you’ve found direction from any books? That is, have you read any helpful books you’d recommend for our audience of aspiring writers?

Donna: "The Elements Of Style" by Strunk and White, "On Writing" by Stephen King, "A Room of One’s Own" by Virginia Woolf, are all books that have imparted untold amounts of wisdom and inspiration to me. Websites like "Women on Writing" and "Funds For Writers", are also sources that I have found excellent information, truth, and community that keeps me going when times get rough, or when I am filled with self-doubt.

WOW: I’d agree with all of the above! They certainly help in all areas of writing. What do you find the most beneficial in the process of writing for contests?

Donna: What I have learned, mainly through not placing multiple times, then reading the winning entries, is to keep things simple, concise, and on point when writing for any contest. Reading guidelines carefully and early submission are also important factors to consider when submitting to a contest.

WOW: Yes, reading guidelines is a critical factor, along with patience and perseverance! Speaking of perseverance, you also mention in your bio that you’ve been married for twenty-three years and you have five children. I’d say that’s quite an accomplishment right there! Has your family sparked any story ideas or poetry?

Donna: Thank you, my family is my greatest accomplishment and they are at the center of all of my writing. They are in the spirit of the characters, in the essence of the meaning behind the words, and in the motivation behind everything I write.

WOW: That’s lovely and truly inspirational! Tell us, do you have long-term goals for your writing?

Donna: In the long term my goals are: to actually make a living with my writing, to complete my novel, to compile my poetry, and to have them both published. My greatest dream is to one day be deemed an author, and to know that I have made a mark, even a small one, in the literary world. Aside from that, I hope to put my love for words to good use amid the youth of my community.

WOW: You know what you want, and you’re well on your way! What final wisdom would you like to leave with our readers today?

Donna: Wow, it feels strange to be asked to offer wisdom while I am still a fledgling writer relying on the sage words of others to guide me. But what I would tell anyone that loves words and writing as I do, is to keep learning, to keep growing, to keep reading, and no matter what life throws at you...NEVER stop writing.

WOW: Yes, we can offer wisdom at any stage in life to our peers, and yours is sage advice right there! Thanks for your time and thoughtful answers!

Donna: Thank you, again, for your time and interest.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

 

How to Make Self–Promotion Wings

Ever since I entered the writers' world, I’ve reverted back to a teenage phase. No, not the finely-tuned, slim, and energized body that could eat any amount of food without weight gain. I’m talking about the acne. One rite of passage for writers involves the dreaded rejection letters. Each one feels like a new pimple on my face.

Like pimples, rejections always show up at the worst possible times. Some look smaller than others, but some are downright hideous. The biggest ones last the longest and affect my mood. Overall they me feel a little uglier on the outside as well as inside, on the face of my ego.

But this month’s WOW! issue shines a whole new light on my rejection acne.

Even though I’m not that far into my writing journey, I anticipate self-promotion flights in my future, and that means I need to grow or build wings. I’m not part of any avian-human DNA experiments, like one of my kids' favorite characters, Max Ride, so I’ll fashion wings from writers’ materials. I need only poster boards, scissors, glue, and my new attitude.

I’ll cut wing shapes from two poster boards, either formed for an angel, fairy, dragon, or bird, or whatever I feel like on that day. Each wing will be adult-sized for maximum mental impact. On each one, I’ll trim and glue my rejection letters, like feathers. The more feathers I “grow,” the higher my flight potential . . . someday. I’ll make sure to hang my wings on my desk wall, adjacent to my M.C. Escher poster, where all images blend into one another, and every object has its place.

I found a greater purpose for my rejection letters that means a lot more for me. It’s time I grow up in that sense anyway.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

 

ginosko E-Zine Seeking Submissions

Accepting short fiction & poetry for the 5th issue of the literary journal ginosko.

Editorial lead time 1-3 months; accept simultaneous submissions and reprints; receives email & postal submissions. Length flexible. Copyright reverts to author.

Publishing as semiannual ezine--summer & winter. Moving towards printed version to be distributed throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Selecting material for anthology.

Downloadable issues on website: http://www.ginoskoliteraryjournal.com/
ezine circulation 2200+.

Also looking for artwork, photography, CDs to post on website and links to exchange.

ginosko (ghin-oce-koe)

To perceive, understand, realize, come to know; knowledge that has an inception, a progress, an attainment. The recognition of truth by experience.

GINOSKO LITERARY JOURNAL
Robert Paul Cesaretti
PO Box 246
Fairfax CA 94978

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Friday, May 18, 2007

 

Shot Through the Heart

A post by our own Chynna Laird:--)

While being interviewed by Mary Rosenblum and fellow students at Long Ridge Writers' Group, one of the many questions I was asked was if I found it difficult to tell tales from the heart when the subject is so close. In other words, have I ever gotten flak from those in my narratives or stories who would rather I not share. I have.

What I told this person was if the story was one that needs to be told but it's too tender for the players in the story, she could simply write it as fictional or in third person so only those involved, if they read the piece, would know who and what the story was about. That way, the story can still be told but no real names are used. My opinion has always been if the story is one that needs to be told, and it's told in a tactful, respectful way, the raw truer version is usually best. People can relate to them better. They pierce the heart more directly. But...they can also open new wounds for those involved. Something I was reminded of this week.

One of the stories I have on my site in the Article Samples section ("He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother") sparked some emotion in my father. You see, my father missed out on our childhood after he and my mother divorced. He missed out not only because he was discouraged from being an active part of our lives but also by his own choice. When I wrote the story originally, I said he abandoned my brother, Cam, and I. He read the piece and was, understandably, I suppose, hurt by my choice of words. I felt so awful, I changed the graph to take out the word abandoned to spare his pain. Now I'm thinking....why did I do that?

There are different definitions of the word "abandoned". The version most of us think of immediately has my father packing up and shipping out leaving us to our own devices without even a goodbye. That's not what happened. I meant he gave up and surrendered his parental rights because the forces he fought against were too strong. He wasn't the only adult to have abandoned us - keeping the same definition I meant in mind - in one way or another. Still, in trying to explain this to him, he told me his side of what happened and ended it with "where the hell is the other side?". My stomach swirled as I edited every story to take out any such reference. But it left me feeling disloyal to my side of the story. I was changing my story to make other people who read it feel better. Would Ernest Hemmingway do that? Would John Grisham? Or any other good writer? I doubt it.

I left my stories edited. But I still think I can be true to my family, friends or other people and still be true to my story. It isn't my story if I change it to suit every person it may offend. I love my Dad. He and I have been able to bury the past and have become quite close. I have a lot of respect for him for being brave enough to share his side of the story with me - even the ugly stuff. And, I think, he respects me for being strong enough to use my gift of words to bring awareness to tough subjects. Perhaps I should just choose the "correct" version of the words I want to use.

So, to that wonderful girl who asked me about problems I've encountered telling inspirational stories, I say use the true, raw experience but select beautifully coordinated words to tell your tale. My father emailed me the next day to say he wasn't angry with me. I didn't know all his facts and he misunderstood my use of a word. But his ending advice meant more to me than he knows:

"You write well it provokes thought and that is a good thing. I am not miffed or upset please understand that. It is probably good for a writer to know how your work may affect others."

Thank you, Dad, for your beautifully coordinated words. And you are so right.


You can read Chynna's interview here.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

 

Don't let the Sharks Bite

Back several years ago before I knew better, I submitted a poem I'd written to a website. Not long after, I received a letter in the mail praising my poem. They wanted to publish it in their latest collection of fine poems. Needless to say, I was doing the happy dance. Talk about excited...I just knew I'd hit the jackpot. And it only would cost me $69 to see my poem published in their book.

About this same time, I'd started a writer's course and attended a forum of questions and answers. One thing that stuck in my mind was "Money flows to the writer, not away from." So I started researching. I discovered while not a scam, this "pay to be published" format wasn't the way things were really done in the writing world. It didn't take me long to go from happy dance to funeral dirge.

Here are a few things I've learned along the way.

Money does indeed flow to the writer. Writers work hard getting those words down on paper. We should get paid for them. There's a difference of opinion among writers about working for free. The truth is though, many times we have to write for free to start our portfolio of clips. And honestly, I don't think there's anything wrong with considering an unpaid for but published article or story as a stepping stone to bigger and better things.

The sharks are circling. They love to take advantage of novice writers. Our job doesn't end with just the writing. We have to sell that article, novel or story to someone. Before sending your work to just anyone...do your homework! Research is so easy to do these days with the internet. Google that agent or publisher and see what comes up. Check out their websites and remember the old saying..."If it seems too good to be true, it probably is".

There are many, many places online to gather information. Naturally WOW! is my favorite. :-) There's so much great info packed into each issue just waiting to be used. Another great place is Miss Snark's blog. She's become part of my morning wake up routine. If you are looking for an agent, then be sure to check out Writer Beware. The ladies there have made it their mission to inform writers about all the bad apples in the agent barrel. For information on publishers, stop by Preditors & Editors.

I've come a long way since that first "acceptance" letter and learned so much. Now, when I wade into the murky water searching for publication I can avoid the dangers lurking just under the surface.

I want to encourage everyone to learn as much as possible about the way the publishing world works. You won't regret it.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

 

Daily Life Creates Opportunities for Self-Promotion

When running daily errands, the people we connect with may have more impact than you think.

A recent example:

I went to the bank and met a new teller I hadn’t seen before. She motioned me to her window, jet-black hair and a grim look on her face, obviously unnerved by the day’s tediousness.
“Can I help you?” She didn’t even look at me as I set the check on the counter; I smiled awaiting her gaze. When I didn’t speak, she looked up. “I’d like to deposit this into the WOW! account,” I said.
“The... Wow?” She met my eyes and smiled, obviously intrigued.
“Yeah, my biz.” I pushed the deposit slip across the smooth tabletop.
Glancing down at the thin white flake, then up at me again, she asked, “What is it that you do?” A glimmer shot across the green flecks in her eyes.
“Oh, we have a website for women writers and readers—
“Really! I’m an avid reader,” she blurted. “You know what I like to read?” Her eyes darted from side to side, as if reading was taboo to her manager and job description. “Chick Lit...” she whispered.
“Oh, one of my favorite genres!” I went on to tell her about all the authors we’ve interviewed and slipped her a card. “If you’re ever online...”

Now she’s an avid fan and subscribes to our newsletter. It’s amazing how the people you meet in everyday life does wonders for promotion.

When you’re excited about what you do, it comes naturally. A trip to the local liquor store garnered a business proposition. The owner felt my excitement and wanted to invest in our company.

Now, of course, you shouldn’t take every offer, but you should feel some satisfaction in the fact that others are interested in what you are promoting. Simply gaining their interest means you have what it takes to make your product (or yourself) sell.

Let’s put this into a writer’s perspective. Throughout your day, how many places do you frequent? What relationships have you garnered in your day-to-day life? It doesn’t matter that these people are out of your idea of what book promotion should be. Everybody reads something, whether online, the news, a telephone book, or a candy wrapper... it doesn’t really matter because it’s all about human relations.

The more people you share yourself with in your daily life, the more prosperous you will become. It’s a simple fact that I can’t stress more.

Q: What are your daily errands?

Q: How many people in your daily life/errands do you actually share your writing career with?

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

 

Jennifer Daniels, Runner Up


When I scanned the titles of our Flash Fiction Contest, June Bugs N' Ice Cream stood out and practically begged me to read it. Naturally I did and enjoyed the story immensely. I had the chance to chat with Jennifer about her writing and just had to ask...

What inspired your contest entry, June Bugs N' Ice Cream?

Jennifer: I used to live in a duplex and the neighbors on the other side of us were the characters in my story. They were a broken family with much hardship and I always wanted to help them. We were just getting started out ourselves so I could only offer my time to the children when I'd see them outside. I always wanted to do something more. I just carried that with me as the years went by.

WOW: Tracy did a happy dance and embarrassed her kids when she got the good news. What was your reaction to placing in the top ten?

Jennifer: Well, I was waiting on the edge of my seat to see who the winners would be! I kept checking the WOW! website and this may sound silly, but when I saw my name I got a feeling inside that you just don't get too many times in this life. It really meant so much to me! I know I put my whole heart into that little piece so I felt really validated. There really is something to be said about writing from your heart.

WOW: Not silly at all! There's nothing like knowing your writing touched someone else. Do you find it easy to write flash fiction or do you prefer longer pieces?

Jennifer: I prefer both. But I like having a prompt on the flash fiction. I like the challenge. I was nearing 2000 words when I initially finished June Bugs N' Ice Cream. When it came down to whittling the piece to 500 words, I cringed. I didn't want to sacrifice the integrity of the story by taking out certain sentences. But in the end it actually helped. All the extra fluff was taken out and I can assure you that in the very end there wasn't an unneeded word in there! For me, a flash fiction assignment is like tough love. It takes discipline, but in the long run, a crisper story is told.

WOW! Wow! That was some editing. You did a great job. What do you like to read and do you have a favorite genre you like to write?

Jennifer: I read non-fiction mostly. Stories of survival. Biographies and memoirs. Even old cookbooks and Civil War diaries. But every now and then my sister will give me a book I absolutely must read. One time she lent me The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. But after that, I usually go back to a real life survival stories like Adrift, 76-Days Lost at Sea by Steven Callahan or Alive by Piers Paul Read.

I like to write true life funny quips that make people laugh. I like to be pretty candid with my writing without going overboard. I like to write so that it grabs the reader and makes them see exactly what I am trying to say.

WOW: That's an interesting mix of reading. Who would you say your favorite authors are?

Jennifer: I have always enjoyed John Updike. His writings are amazing. The way he writes, it just grabs you. My mother and sister are constantly gobbling up piles and piles books from recent best selling authors. But for some reason, I have a tendency to steer away from the mainstream. I venture off the beaten path and peck around for interesting non fiction. Right now I am reading Joy Hakim's book Freedom, A History of US. I also like Jon Krakauer's writings (Into Thin Air & Into the Wild). I do enjoy classics. Upton Sinclair is someone whose works I would like to read more of. And, Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie is my favorite book on the planet. If by some crazy chance you haven't read it, I'd strongly encourage you to go out and get it!

WOW: Sounds like a wonderful read. I'll have to go find it now. :-) What one piece of advice would you give other writers?

Jennifer: Write about things and experiences from your own life. Things that have struck a chord in your heart. Draw from those experiences. Because if it happened, it's truth and authentic. You never run out of reality so you'll have a hard time getting writers block that way. The old man you met when you were 7 years old can help paint a powerful paragraph.

WOW: Do you have someone to bounce ideas off of or brainstorm with?
Jennifer: My husband. Hands down, he is my biggest encourager. Thanks, Alex!

WOW: May is all about self-promotion at WOW! Tell us about your work in progress. If you have any:-)

Jennifer: Actually, I am finding tremendous satisfaction writing in my blog at the moment. To be able to share my writings, no matter how small in Cyberspace means there is a chance that somebody somewhere could possibly be touched by them. I would hope this, at least. As most writers can attest, I don't write out of boredom, I write because I have a need to write. It gives me joy and peace, such satisfaction. You could almost say it's selfish, but if you are giving of yourself in your writing, how can that be? Also, I am working on a memoir of the precious childhood my parents gave to me.

WOW: Thanks so much for sharing a bit of yourself with us. In your writing and here now. All of us at WOW! wish you the best with your writing. Anything you'd like to add?

Jennifer: Yes, of course. I would like to thank you, Jean for the opportunity to share my thoughts on such things. Great questions! And thank you to Angela and Beryl. I was surprised at how personable they are, especially through email. What very nice people! Lastly, a BIG thank you to Betsy Gallup, the guest judge for liking what I wrote. I'm just a girl who likes to write. To be interviewed by such pro's, well, all I can say is ..."WOW", no pun intended!

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Monday, May 14, 2007

 

A Magical Link to Writing

As I drove one of my best friends, Max, to his surgery appointment this morning, the theme song from the old TV series, The Six Million Dollar Man, played through my mind. “ . . . Gentlemen we can rebuild him, we have the technology . . . Better than he was before, better, stronger, faster.” Max isn’t an astronaut, and he didn’t endure a severe crash. He ripped his knee ligaments during an athletic romp outdoors, racing at top speed against a friend.

The surgeon told me that the tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO) requires restructuring the tibia bone below the knee and inserting a chrome pin where bones will rejoin. Fortunately, the surgery will also alleviate pain associated with his degenerative joint disease and arthritis. Max’s bones will heal fine, but it takes about three months for full recuperation with the first eight weeks being the most restrictive. Once his right knee heals, Max will endure a repeat operation on his left knee. Overall, he’ll return to an improved athletic state for the rest of his life.

I’m looking forward to being Max’s nurse. We share a magical bond. Max reminds me to take a walk and exercise when I’m frustrated, and he calms me when my fuse runs short. When our eyes lock onto each other, I feel comforted, almost like a déjà vu. He plays a large part in my writing atmosphere. With a pink-splotched-black tongue lolling out the side of his mouth, he lays by my side, occasionally turning onto his back for a belly rub. Sometimes he nudges his snout between my chair’s armrest and my elbow, telling me it’s time for him to eat, go outside, or get a back scratch.

Some people laugh when they hear how much I’m spending on my dog, but he’s a vital part in my tiny circle of life. In terms of writing he’s priceless. He soothes my surroundings, loves me just for breathing, and teaches my kids a calmness that only animals can convey. Writing wouldn’t be the same if I let him go before his time. In dog years he’s only 42.

How does you pet affect your writing life?

Sue

Sunday, May 13, 2007

 

My Daughter's Poem

In light of Mother's Day, I'm posting a poem my eleven-year-old daughter wrote for me:

I Love You

I know this isn’t much of a present
But it means a lot to me
You always make me feel so pleasant
You always make me laugh he, he, he
You sooth me when I cry
I love you just so much
You make me feel like I could fly
I love your gentle touch
Sometimes I feel sad
You’re there to help
Sometimes I feel mad
You’re always there to help
You taught me how to respect
You taught me lots of things
And when it’s really rough
You’re there to lead me through that stuff
So this is what I’m trying to tell you
Trying to tell you so bad
That I love you very much
And nothing will ever get between that

Love, K.

All my lowest moments in life washed away as her words hugged my soul. Happy Mother's Day to all parents . . .

Saturday, May 12, 2007

 

Anthology Seeking Submissions

Words & Images of Belonging

Foreword by Dr. Gretchen Legler, nonfiction author and professor, University of Maine at Farmington, Creative Writing.

Contributions that address legacies, generations (especially that of grandparents and grandchildren), family, a sense of home and identity ( i.e. the pull between home and work, leaving your childhood home to start your own home or a sense of place within oneself).

Reflections may be poems, short stories, songs, diary entries, essays, letters, creative nonfiction, or other forms as well as artwork. Combinations of forms are encouraged, up to approximately 4,000 words per contributor. If accepted, contributors will receive a complimentary copy upon publication and a contributor's discount on additional copies.

No previously published or simultaneously submitted material. Please send work in an attachment; use 12-point Courier. Include a 50-60 word bio to appear in contributor's notes section of BELONGING if your work is accepted. (Writing credits/current position/where you're from and personal highlights are invited.) Please e-mail by August 30, 2007 with BELONGING as the subject line.

For artwork, use BELONGING as the subject line; send in PDF by e-mail. If you would like to send artwork by regular mail, send B&W or color PHOTOCOPIES ONLY (ABSOLUTELY NO ORIGINALS) to:

Cynthia Brackett-Vincent,
P. O. Box 187,
Farmington, ME 04938

ATTN: BELONGING.

If your artwork is accepted AND ONCE WE HAVE SECURED A PUBLISHER, we will request originals if necessary. If you'd like photocopies returned, include an SASE. If you would like to know your photocopies have been received, include a self-addressed stamped postcard. Please include all your contact information (including e-mail address) in submissions.

Send e-mail to Cynthia at Cafpoet37@encirclepub.com or to Carol at smallwood@tm.net

Friday, May 11, 2007

 

Pamela Thibodeaux, Romance Writer

Pamela Thibodeaux writes romance that's been called "Inspirational with an edge". Not only do her characters deal with their faith but with the everyday situations of real life that test it.

WOW! had the opportunity to speak with Pamela about working with small presses and self-promotion.

WOW: You've gone the small press route with your books. What's it like to work with a small press and what are some benefits?

Pamela: For the most part working with a small press has been enjoyable. Since I haven't yet worked with a large conglomerate, it's hard to compare. That said one of the benefits in working with a small press is quicker turn around from submission to publication. For example, I submitted my novel The Inheritance to The Wild Rose Press in January. On April 27 the E-book became available and the print version will be available June 22. That's pretty quick compared to 18-24 months with a traditional publisher.

WOW: I've heard with small presses the author has much more input into their books. Working with the small presses you have, have you had much input on cover design?

Pamela: Yes. I have. Both publishers asked for input on the covers and I am very happy with all of them.

WOW: No matter which publisher you use, it's left up to the author to do the majority of their self-promotion. What are some things you are doing to get the word out?

Pamela: You name it and I've probably tried it LOL! Promotion is a huge part of publishing. Working with a small press usually means little or no advance, which leaves an author digging into their own pocket for promotion $$. Some things I have done and continue doing are…blogging, virtual book tours, interviews, setting up signings and speaking engagements, writing and posting articles at sites like Associated Content.

WOW: That must keep your busy. What's your favorite method of self-promotion?

Pamela: Book signings, speaking engagements and interviews like this one. I love meeting people and sharing my knowledge and experiences.

WOW: I know you have a new book coming out soon. Where can our readers find more information?

Pamela: Thank you for asking. My single title novel, The Inheritance is available in e-book format NOW through The Wild Rose Press. The print version will be available June 22. Tempered Joy, book 4 in the 5-part series will be out sometime later this year or early 2008. The best way to find information is by visiting my website, the publishers' websites: ComStar Media and The Wild Rose Press or checking out my blogs: Writing Up, Pamela's Ponderings @ Romance Readers Room, or MySpace. All of my books can be purchased through your local bookstore or online sources such as Amazon, Books a Million, & Barnes and Noble, The Wild Rose Press also has a LuLu Store as well as direct purchasing through their website.

Thanks Pamela! We wish you much success with your writing endeavors.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

 

The view from the other side of the desk...

Several years back, I put out my own ezine. During the little over a year I published it, I learned a great deal. Things that help me as a writer...and things I'm applying now as an Contributing Editor for WOW! Let me share a few with you.

Editors want to see you, the writer, succeed. We love to get a submission that is wonderfully written. We want to be able to publish it. Actually, when you get right down to it...we NEED your great writing. We can't do with out it.

No one likes rejection letters...either sending them or receiving them. They are just a part of the writing business process. One time I heard them described as Negative Marketing Statements. I kinda like that term. It takes a little of the personal feel out of them. My mentor says it's like going to the market with apples. You have great apples. But for some reason that day, oranges are the rage. Doesn't mean there's anything wrong with your apples, just they aren't what the buyer wants. That makes sense too.

I also learned there is a lot I can do as a writer to increase my chance of connecting with an editor and avoiding those rejection letters.

First...write well! Miss Snark says good writing trumps all and she is so right. If the writing is excellent, many editors will ask for minor changes to bring the article in line with the tone/voice of the publication.

Next, study the publication. Know as much about it as possible. Know the readers, the voice, and previous topics covered. The more you know, the better you can target your piece to the publication. The better targeted your piece is, the less chance of a rejection letter.

Most importantly...never give up. What might not work at one place will be loved at another. Even writers with many, many publishing credits get rejection letters. Never give up...just send your piece somewhere else. Again, my mentor says to have a list of at least five places my story/article will fit. If one rejects it, send it out to another on the list the very same day. Sure, I sulk but it goes back out:--)

Remember, you are a writer. Editors need you!

Now, get that rejected piece you've been hiding, give it a good going over and send it back out:-)


Jean

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

 

Two Great Ways to Gain Market Position and Expert Status

Summary:

Marketing is not only about getting word out about your product or service; in most cases you must also establish yourself as an expert. With competition for the consumer’s dollars at an all time high, there are some very simple strategies you can implement to gain better market position while increasing your expert status. A better position can equate to increased revenues.

Learn two strategies to quickly escalate your online position.


Two Great Ways to Gain Market Position and Expert Status
By Kathleen Gage

Marketing is not only about getting word out about your product or service; in most cases you must also establish yourself as an expert. With competition for the consumer’s dollars at an all time high, there are some very simple strategies you can implement to gain better market position while increasing your expert status. A better position can equate to increased revenues.

To gain expert status some will choose to put their knowledge into a book. The world of book publishing has changed so much that what was once out of the reach for many is now very doable. However, there is time, effort and costs involved in taking a book to market.

A more viable option for many would be as simple as writing reports and/or articles. If you have knowledge about a particular subject, turn that knowledge into a special report. A special report is a multi-page document packed with valuable “how-to” information that readers can use immediately.

Special Reports

A special report contains information on a specific topic. You can either write the report yourself, have a staff member write it, or hire a ghostwriter. There are plenty of freelance writers who can develop your information into an excellent report.

In some cases you will want to give your report away and in other cases you will sell the report. Primary reasons to give your report away is to drive traffic to your website, promotional opportunities, and as a thank you to premier clients.

Reports position you as an expert. The most common type of Special Report is a “How to” report. Your report should solve a problem such as making money, getting healthy, building a successful business, building a better team, etc.

Here are some quick tips to write an effective report:

  • Write on something specific to your knowledge base.
  • Outline your report so that there is a good flow to the information.
  • Virtually any topic can be written about if there is a market demand. What people are looking for are ways to increase income or revenue, increase productivity, improve the quality of their personal or professional life, or decrease costs in some way. It may be that you have something that covers all these points or it could be a report on one of these points.
  • Research your information as you develop your report. You will find people want more of your reports if the information is well researched and valuable.
  • Often the most difficult part of writing is starting. The best advice I can give is to just start and don’t worry about how it reads. Once you have written all the information, then read through it and rewrite as necessary.
  • Have someone else read the piece as well. It is recommended to have your report edited regardless of how good a writer you are. This will assure you are concise in your delivery of information.

Article Writing and Distribution

Another option for gaining market position and expert status is writing articles. With the world of online marketing, gaining visibility for your articles is as close as the press of a button. Additionally, you can make the articles available for download from your website.

Although most online article directories will not pay you for your articles, you do gain greater website position every time your article shows up in a directory or another companies Ezine (electronic newsletter). The potential for increased search engine optimization is excellent.

There are numerous advantages to writing and distributing articles online:

  • Establishes you as an expert
  • Credibility for you and your business
  • Increased visibility for your website
  • Greater ranking on search engines when articles are posted
  • Increased leads, more clients, greater sales
  • Opportunity for up selling

The process for writing your articles is similar to writing a report. For online purposes the length usually ranges from 400 – 800 words. Depending on the publication it may be more or less. In rare cases, once you submit an article to a specific publication they may request you not submit it anywhere else. Depending on how targeted their readership is would determine if this would be a good choice for you.

To learn how many places you can distribute your articles do a quick Google search with the words “my topic + newsletters.” Likely you will be amazed at how many locations would love to have your expert information. The returns can definitely be worth the time invested.

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Kathleen Gage is a bestselling author, keynote speaker and Internet Marketing mentor who works with individuals and organizations who want to increase their market position, sales and level of achievement. Access The Truth about Making Money on the Internet at http://www.streetsmartsmarketing.com/free-ebook.htm

This month on WOW! Annette Fix reviews Kathleen Gage's Fast Track Street Smarts Marketing Mentoring Program. Check it out!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

 

Rebecca Gray, Runner Up

WOW! talked to another of our Winter Flash Fiction Contest winners. Gather round and be inspired.


WOW: Rebecca, kudos to you for placing in the top ten! What encouraged you to write Nor Iron Bars a Cage?

Rebecca: When I read the prompt for this contest, I didn't think about where I would go, but instead, wished I had the freedom just to go. Like the main character, I have epilepsy and, after two years of driving, am no longer allowed to drive. I live in a small village and am reliant on friends and family to take me to nearby cities. I will always wish to drive, but writing Nor Iron Bars a Cage helped remind me that there are so many more important things in life.

WOW: I’d say you have a beautiful attitude! It’s so wonderful when our writing helps us gain wisdom in areas we might not expect it. I’d say that’s a major benefit from writing. Since the character shares a part of you, did you have to do a lot of editing to meet the word count limit?

Rebecca: Oh, yeah! I tend to think every little thing is important and find it hard to cut my work up.

WOW: You did a fine job, as we can tell from the final result. Did your friends or other writers provide feedback here? In your bio you mention spending time with friends and Inspirational Romance novels. Could you tell us a little about these get-togethers and how they influence your own writing?

Rebecca: Sorry to disappoint you, but my get-togethers with friends are simply that. While my friends are wonderfully honest and I can trust them to speak the truth when I bounce ideas off them, for the most part, our get-togethers are for ourselves as humans not myself as a writer.

WOW: You’re definitely not disappointing! Friends are crucial for that “human touch.” Many times I think our friends help us forget about our writing for a while, giving us that much needed mental break. Could you instead recommend any books for aspiring writers? Readers?

Rebecca: Not a book so much as an author: Dave Barry. As a reader, I find him refreshingly entertaining. As a writer, I desperately want to learn how throughout an article - or even one of his novels - he repeatedly leads the reader down one path until, with just a few carefully placed words, he spins the scenario backwards and upside down, catching the reader off guard with zany humour. (I'm sorry, that's the best description I could give. You'll have to read his work to really understand).

WOW: I’d say that’s a fine description. Humor is helpful in many ways as well as refreshing, and I believe we could all us more of it in our day to day dealings. What would you say is the most helpful part about writing for contests?

Rebecca: I love the challenge of word count limits. It helps me determine what's really important to the story. My first novel rambled on, but after several short fiction contests, I can already see a positive difference in my second novel.

WOW: You certainly have a great attitude! Speaking of novels, you also mention in your bio that you’re working on Romance novels. Could you tell us a little about your experience in this arena?

Rebecca: My parents own a Christian bookstore and, as a teen, I think I read every book on their romance shelves at least once. A couple years ago, I found myself wanting to read, but without a book. I began to write a story that I would want to read. Wisdom's Cry was finished last year. It now sits on the backburner as I hone my skills with various contests, challenges, and a second romance novel. I will be attending two writer's conferences this fall. I look forward to finding answers to questions I don't even know I'm supposed to ask.

WOW: That’s a huge accomplishment! I hope you find many answers at the conferences. On a totally different subject, here’s a purely fun question about your cat, Goose. Many writers have pets that inspire or play the part of companion. Does Goose keep you company or inspire you when you write?

Rebecca: Sometimes I talk to her when I'm stuck. She's an ok listener, but not so great at feedback. Although, sometimes that's a good thing.

WOW: A silent listener sometimes exceeds another person’s wisdom when a writer’s ideas are forming! Do you have any wise words for our readers?

Rebecca: Um, wise words usually come from wise people so, uh, nope. No wisdom here.

WOW: Well, I’ll have to disagree with you there. You definitely display wisdom through your writing, answers, and your positive attitude, to say the least. Keep on writing, and good luck in all your endeavors!

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Monday, May 07, 2007

 

Sailing

The SS WOW! launched not that long ago, although her faithful editors and long time contributors probably feel like they’ve been sailing out on the Internet Seas for a much longer time. As a new deck hand, I’m fortunate to be on board for this journey, and I’m shaking my head at the thought of writing something fresh at the moment; I’m still smiling at Tracy’s earlier post and jumping up and down like a ship’s monkey at the Web Award!

I think I’ll just add to the glory with a little more detail. In order to win the AAWM Award, websites must have “at least 10 pages of quality information.” This excludes award pages, guest-books, and feedback forms. Plus, websites undergo an evaluation and scoring process where they must earn at least 80 points from judges to receive the Silver award. WOW! met the criteria, even when the waters rose high and rough. I say it’s time to re-christen the ship with a bottle of bubbly! Everyone take out a virtual glass and toast. Hip, hip, hooray! Way to go, WOW!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

 

WOW! Wins a Web Award!

Here's what they sent us:

"Congratulations! Your site at: WOW! Women On Writing has been selected to receive The American Association Of Webmasters, "Silver" Award. We see all the hard work and dedication that you have put into constructing your web site and your efforts are well deserved. Your site displays: A nice clean Design and Layout of Website, with quality content and informative information for your visitors."

The American Association Of Webmasters Awards are primarily designed to supply formal recognition to webmasters and designers who have shown outstanding achievement in web design, content and creativity.

Congratulations goes out to each of our contributing editors, interns, and our webmaster. Thank you for all your hard work! It's nice to be recognized. :-)

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

 

Sandi Ault

Here's the WILD, Wonderful news for WILD INDIGO and the WILD Mystery Series this month:

WILD INFERNO: IN PRODUCTION NOW
The fast-paced, fiery, thriller
premieres in February, 2008
Author Sandi Ault:

GONE TO THE WILD WEST to research for the third in the WILD Mystery Series, WILD SORROW.

Once again, Sandi is hiking desert canyons to explore ruins of prehistoric cities, scrabbling over slick-rock ridges to find ancient, rock-cut stairways, riding down boiling rivers to see panels of exquisite rock art, rolling over rattle-board roads to isolated trading posts, and packing horseback into remote reservation areas to visit sacred sites.

For a story from her research adventure, check out Sandi's latest Amazon Author's blog,
Being in the WILD Place at the WILD Time
Just click here.

The WILD INDIGO tour winds up with a TV appearance and two WILDly Successful WILD Writers Workshops
To see the photos, click here and here.

Upcoming Author Events:
In September, join Sandi Ault at BOUCHERCON BEARLY ALIVE in Anchorage, Alaska September 27-30, 2007

And in November, Sandi serves on the Short Story Panel at TONY HILLERMAN'S MYSTERY WRITERS CONFERENCE in Albuquerque, NM, November 1-4, 2007

As always, Thank You for your support for WILD INDIGO and the WILD Mystery Series.
You've helped make this a WILDly successful beginning!
Please visit our website at http://www.sandiault.com/
Contact us at: contact@sandiault.com

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Friday, May 04, 2007

 

Artistic Sacrifice

By Tracy Horan

All writers know an artist must suffer for her work. Right now, I am driving to the bookstore to do some research for my first romance novel. Of course, on my list of favorite ways to spend an afternoon, lounging around Barnes and Noble is in the top one. Maybe suffering for my art is a teensy bit of an exaggeration.

The passage I am stuck on is the sex scene. My characters are ready to take things to the next level, but I'm struggling with how to get them there. I have found writing about sex to be more difficult than doing it. I need inspiration from some masters of the genre.

I walk into Barnes and Noble and head upstairs to the Romance/Erotic Fiction section. I usually hang out in the coffee shop with a stack of new hard covers on my lap, so this little side trip is a foray into uncharted waters for me. I pick up a pink paperback at random and flip to the middle of it. After scanning a few paragraphs I start to feel my cheeks burn. Holy buckets, this stuff is practically pornographic. I put that one back on the shelf and choose a more dignified looking hard cover. Wowza, this one contains more graphic sex than Penthouse Magazine. I feel a trickle of perspiration run down the back of my neck. It is awfully warm in here. I peruse a few more steamy sex-filled books until my nerves can't take it. I'm nervously glancing over my shoulder every few minutes to make sure no one is watching me. Why is it so frickin' hot in here?

I can't stand it. I put those naughty tomes back on the shelf and leave the store. I need to step out into the snowy parking lot to clear my head. I certainly found what I was looking for. And then some. I walk out to my car and throw my heavy coat into the back seat. Don't need that bad boy right now. I give myself a mental slap upside the head and mutter, "Grow up, would ya?" As a married woman with two children, I feel sure I can do this.

I go back in, and take the escalator upstairs. I stride straight to the dirty—er, romance section, and choose three likely looking candidates for my research project. My work will be conducted at home. Late tonight. In private. I almost make it to the check out counter before I chicken out. I duck behind the magazine rack and hyperventilate. What is wrong with me? Suddenly, I have an idea. I go over to the "Top Picks" table and grab a copy of Barbara Kingsolver's 'The Poisonwood Bible.' There, some serious literature to sit on top of my stack of smut. Much better.

At the check out counter I feel just like a fifteen-year-old teenaged boy trying to buy condoms at Walgreens. I can picture the scene; his purchases pile up on the counter while he stutters, "Yeah, I'll take this pack of gum, and uh, a toothbrush, um and this can of mandarin oranges, and oh what the heck, how 'bout these Trojan Ultra-thins while we're at it? That should do it."

I keep up a running commentary with the cashier about those fascinating pop-up greeting cards next to the cash register. I believe magicians call this technique 'misdirection.' I feel infinitely better once my purchases are tucked deep inside a nice shopping bag with handles. Now, I can relax and cruise the mall.

When the security alarm goes off as I exit the store, I realize the clerk must have forgotten to remove an anti-theft device from one of my books. My heart sinks as the burly, uniformed security guard walks toward me. Oh Gawd, please no, just shoot me. He says, "Ma'am, I am gonna have to ask you to step over here so I can look at your purchases. Please open your shopping bag."

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

 

Fear

"All of us are born with a set of instinctive fears--of falling, of the dark, of lobsters, of falling on lobsters in the dark, or speaking before a Rotary Club, and of the words "Some Assenbly Required." Dave Barry

Fear is the oldest and strongest emotion of mankind and according to H.P. Lovecraft "the oldest and stongest kind of fear is the unknown." Fear also keeps us safe. That fear of spiders and snakes keeps us from getting bitten. But fear can keep us from living life to the fullest.

As writers we have our own special set of fears. First we are afraid to send out our writing so we polish until we get to the point we are changing things which have been changed several times. We aren't making things better, we are just picking nits. Putting off the next step.

Once we finally do send our writing we count the days dreading the "rejection" letter. When I was a Long Ridge student I had do my assignments by snail mail. I remember getting the first one back. I sat on the bed for over an hour with the envelope afraid to open it. What if she didn't like it? What if I didn't have the ability to be a writer? Would she tell me to give it up and get a real job? Oh the thoughts that ran through my mind. When I finally gathered the courage to open her reply I found she enjoyed the piece, that she thought it publishable with some tweaks and she would be waiting for my next assignment. Turns out I'd wasted over an hour when I could have been celebrating good news.

And then there is the fear of failure. As the deadline for my next assignment loomed ever nearer, the doubts gathered like dark storm clouds. What if the first time was just a fluke and I couldn't write another decent sentence? Again, more unfounded fear.

One fear we don't often think of is fear of success. With success comes that unknown. If we have a novel accepted, the whole process is an unknown fear-producing event. A writer friend of mine has had a major publisher ask for a partial of her novel. However instead of being excited she has the queasy stomach, shaky hands and can't focus on the good stuff.

We all have fears but we can't let our fear rule our lives. We can't let fear rob us of the "good stuff".

Louis E. Boone says it well. "Don't fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have."

"Come to the edge," he said.
They said, "We are afraid."
"Come to the edge," he said.
They came.
He pushed them...
And they flew.*



This week, dare to fly!

Jean

* by Peter McWilliams

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

 

WOW chats with Tracy Horan - Runner Up in the WOW! Winter Contest


WOW got a chance to chat with another of the top ten runners up. Pull up a chair and join us:-)

WOW: Congratulations on placing in the top ten with our latest contest! What was your reaction to placing in the top ten?

Tracy: The minute I read the email telling
me I had placed in the top ten, I ran around the house yelling “Guess what? Guess what? I made the top ten in a contest!” I did a happy dance right there in the kitchen…a little shimmy with a pinch of the running man! I sang, “Oh yeah, stir the pot…I’m da bomb!” My kids were mortified and embarrassed at my shenanigans. (Which was an added bonus.)

WOW: Some writers don't enjoy the "structure" of contests with prompts and short word counts. Do you? And what inspired your contest entry, Whitewater Romance?

Tracy: I love contests because they are like school assignments. My mind starts formulating a plan the minute I read the requirements. The story prompt instructed us to come up with a tale about how we would celebrate paying off the car. The first thing that came to my mind was ‘take a vacation, of course,’ which, in turn, sparked the memory of the whitewater rafting trip from hell.

Sadly, my tale was more fact than fiction. You need to understand, I am not a girl who craves blood-curdling adventure. I am terrified of excessive speed and heights. I avoid roller coasters and drive my minivan like a granny. In retrospect, perhaps whitewater rafting was not a great vacation choice for a wuss like me! It makes for a funny story, though. Of course, they say … Comedy = Tragedy + Time. Sad, but true!

WOW: Do you find it easy to write flash fiction or do you prefer longer pieces?

Tracy: Flash fiction is my favorite type of writing. I tend to be long-winded, so flash is a challenge for me and a great tool to help me learn to cut back on excessive wordiness.
One of my college instructors is always saying, “Great story, but wayyyyyyyy too long.
Flash helps me learn to cut, cut, cut.

WOW: It's wonderful you are continuing to learn about the craft of writing. Are you enjoying your writing classes at the University of Wisconsin?

Tracy: Love it! The University of Wisconsin offers many writing classes online. It is a wonderful way to take college level courses from home. My main professor is Marshall Cook. He does a great job offering advice and criticism in constructive ways. I used to hate negative comments about my writing. I took every remark so personally! But Coach Cook showed me how an intense critique serves to improve your writing and make it better. Now I welcome all editing suggestions with an open mind.

WOW: Have you always wanted to write?

Tracy: I’ve played around with writing off and on my whole life. But, you know how it is…you get a job, get married, have kids. Pretty soon, the only thing you find yourself writing are grocery lists. Books have always been my real passion. I am a voracious reader and I devour books like Pac-Man eating those little dot thingies. I finally realized that writing a book of my own would be a dream come true.

WOW: Reading is another great way to learn what good writing is like. Who are your favorite authors?

Tracy: Lately, I have been reading Jodi Picoult—she is an amazing writer. I also love Jennifer Weiner—her humor is too delicious. Honestly, I read everything I can get my hands on. I like Janet Evanovich, Stephen King, Patterson, Grisham, Jeanette Walls, Kim Edwards. Oh, there are so many phenomenal authors out there, it is tough for me to pick a favorite!

WOW: If you could pass on one piece of advice to other writers, what would it be?

Tracy: The most valuable, gratifying thing for a writer is to share their work. What is the point of writing if no one reads your brilliant, gorgeous pieces of literary genius? Be honest, we are all a bunch of insecure creative types who need constant ego strokes. I found a website called Fanstory where I can post my work for other writers to read and review. It has been the single most wonderful, encouraging experience of my writing life. Face it, our friends and family want to be kind and loving. It takes a stranger to say, “Dude, you used ‘was’ eleven times in the last three paragraphs—fix it.”

WOW: Your contest bio mentions a work in progress. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Tracy: My main project is an anthology of humorous non-fiction essays I am in the process of writing. They tell the tale of when my family and I lived on a farm in rural Indiana. My two daughters were young, my husband traveled for work a great deal of the time, and I was absolutely the world’s most inept farm wife. I like to call it a tale of “Gilligan’s Island meets Green Acres.” The name of the book is “Never Tie a Horse to a Swing Set.” That pretty much sums it up.

WOW: What a great chat. Got any last thoughts?

Tracy: I would love to publish a book or two, and I would be thrilled if my books sold a few copies, but that is not the reason I write. Writing fulfills a need within my soul. It is a balm, a salve, and a great comfort. Writing is free therapy that fills up an empty place inside of me. Even if I never publish a single word, I will always introduce myself as Tracy Horan, the Writer.

Thanks Tracy. You're an inspiration to all writers. If you haven't had the chance to read Tracy's story, stop by the Winter 2007 Flash Fiction Contest Winners Page and check it out. I know you'll enjoy it.

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