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Thursday, September 30, 2010

 

Blanket Tour for Diana Raab


Tomorrow begins National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a month of education that began in 1985. We at WOW-Women on Writing hope you, and the women you love, are well educated about a disease that affects one in eight women over their lifetime. You can find info at the U.S. National Institute of Health but you can also learn about breast cancer from the experiences of others. Thirty one writers have agreed to write about breast cancer on various blogs this month as part of our first Blanket Tour.


This month’s WOW Blanket Tour promotes Diana M. Raab’s book Healing with Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey. Diana’s latest book reflects her experiences battling breast cancer at age 47 and then multiple myeloma, a type of bone marrow cancer, when she was 52. The book is part practical advice(she is a nurse, after all) and part inspiration, which takes the form of poems, journal entries, and friendly thoughts. To show readers the effect of healing writing, Diana also includes blank sections and writing prompts so the reader can contribute their own thoughts and writings. Diana describes her daily journal writing as “a daily vitamin-healing, detoxifying and essential for optimal health.”


We’ll be kicking off this month’s WOW Blanket Tour with a word from Diana Raab. Each time you post a comment at one of the blogs on this tour you enter to win a copy of Diana’s book. The list of blogs participating follows Diana’s poems.

To My Daughters

by Diana M. Raab, MFA, RN

You were the first I thought of
when diagnosed with what
strikes one in eight women.

It was too soon to leave you,
but I thought it a good sign
that none of us were born

under its pestilent zodiac.
I stared at the stars and wished upon
each one that you¹d never wake up

as I did this morning to one real breast
and one fake one; but that the memories
you carry will be only sweet ones,

and then I remembered you had your
early traumas of being born too soon,
and losing a beloved grandpa too young

and then I had this urge to show you
the scars on the same breast
you cuddled as babies, but then wondered

why you¹d want to see my imperfections
and perhaps your destiny.
I caved in and showed you anyway,

hoping you¹d learn to be careful, as
if it really mattered, because your grandpa
used to say when your time¹s up, it¹s up.

May he always watch over you.



The Blues

by Diana M. Raab, MFA, RN

You may think I
like the music or
the rhythm of the band,
but of what I speak
is the sadness which
engulfs my heart today
and the one of my lover¹s
who prays for my recovery,
as the world around me
lurks in gloomy isolation.

A dizzying sense of blackness
churns around me. I see
no wonders created here. My
tears rise like the cream
in a glass of brew or a cup of cappuccino
which opens my eyelids each morning when
I really don¹t want to wake up and face
another day of loneliness free from answers.

I hunt for a place to turn, blinded
by my pain, begging for a tomorrow
free from aches gnawing at my nerves, and
pinching my ventricles tight like a girdle
to a throbbing broken heart.
It¹s time to die.
There¹s no other choice.

Check out what writers have to say about breasts, cancer, surviving and a slew of other related topics. We hope you find information, inspiration and the occasional chuckle.

Oct. 1 – No Thanks, I’ll Work for Myself

Oct. 2 – Colloquium

Oct. 3 – My Thoughts On…

Oct. 4 – Meryl’s Notes

Oct. 5 – Mom Blog

Oct. 6 – The Eclectic Writer

Oct. 7 – Mother-Daughter Book Club

Oct. 8 – Caring for Our Blessings

Oct. 9 – The Write Time

Oct. 10 – Beverly’s Bookshelf

Oct. 11 – The Gift Blog

Oct. 12 – Musings by Lynn

Oct. 13 – Kristie Lorette

Oct. 14 – Four Rooms

Oct. 15 - Jacquelyn Mitchard

Oct. 16 – The Writing Vein

Oct. 17 – Writing in the Buff

Oct. 18 – Read These Books and Use Them

Oct. 19 – My Happily Ever After Again

Oct. 20 - Phantom Paragrapher

Oct. 21 – Words from the Heart

Oct. 22 – Readin’n Writin’

Oct. 23 – Life Unedited

Oct. 24 – Stephanie Barko, Literary Publicist

Oct. 25 – Adventure Salon

Oct. 26 – Zee Monodee Author’s Corner

Oct. 27 – Mom-e-centric

Oct. 28 - Words by Webb

Oct. 29 – Musings from the Slushpile

Oct. 30 - Swimming in Lines of Haiku

Oct. 31 – I’ll Have What She’s Having

Does our WOW Blanket Tour sound fun? The next one begins Nov. 1 with Chynna Laird, her book Not Just Spirited: A Mom’s Sensational Journey with Sensory Processing Disorder, and the topic of parenting (especially parenting children with special needs). For more information contact Jodi at jodi@wow-womenonwriting.com !

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

 

Time to Break for Gratitude

Gratitude. A word that needs to have a permanent place in my life. All too many times, the complaining button gets stuck, and on and on I go. Wah, wah, whine, whine. Sometimes, I make myself sick from hearing it!

In her Emerging Writers blog and The Prosperous Writer newsletter, author Christina Katz has been doing a series entitled, ’52 Qualities of Prosperous Writers’. The quality highlighted for September is number 37: gratitude. Christina encouraged readers to seek out little things to be grateful for, the ones we tend to disregard as insignificant or forget altogether, not worthy of our attention. Doing so allows you to see the blessings that exist in your life, including your writing.

I received the news that a dear friend’s mother suddenly passed Sunday. My heart aches for B and her family. We’ve been friends since college, and she’s seen me through so much since then, right through the present.

When it comes to my writing, B is only one of many supporters I’ve been blessed with. She’s provided ideas for blog posts and stories, and suggested resources for me to check out. She’s encouraged my budding interest in food writing and when time permits, accompanied me to various restaurants, in the name of research, of course. And she’s always ready to hear my latest conference experience.

Does it matter that B’s a counselor and works in clinical psychology? Nope. What matters is during times when I’ve been ready to dump the dream and walk away from writing, she’s there cheering me on. Thank you, B for making my life richer for knowing you!

Gratitude. In the writing life, there’s always something to be grateful for, someone to show some gratitude towards. All you have to do is look for it. It's a worthy break to take!

By Jill Earl

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

 

Interview with Spring 2010 Flash Fiction Runner-Up: Doris Wright

Doris’s Bio:
Doris first saw the light of day in Panama, was reared in Germany, France and various US locations, served (briefly) as a hand on a Chinese junk, gave birth on St. Croix, and, more recently, rode the back roads of West Africa in cobbled-together buses and vans. In between some of that activity, she received a bachelor’s degree from Spring Hill College, worked as a teacher, newspaper reporter, and in insurance, and reared three sons. She lives in Upstate New York with her husband and best pal, Don, traveling, writing, and pulling weeds.

In addition to writing poetry and short stories, Doris continues to refine her ecologically concerned yet humorous novel, Cabbagehead, about the fruitful relationship between an introverted man and his extroverted, bedding plant. A chapter of the novel can be seen at the Buffalo Street Books “Works in Progress” website. Her latest endeavors include writing a mystery story and dabbling at a memoir. In the last few years, Doris has taken graduate English courses, participated in the New York State Summer Writers Institute at Skidmore College, Colgate University’s novel and poetry workshops, and the Algonkian novel and pitch workshops.

If you haven't already done so, check out Doris's award-winning story "Natural Selection," and return here for a chat with the author.


WOW!: Congratulations on placing in the WOW! Spring Flash Fiction Contest! Can you tell us how you created and developed your story, “Natural Selection”?


Doris: This is a version of a longer piece I had written, based on an experience related to me years ago by a friend. He lived next door to a woman who, he said, paid more attention to her pet monkey than to her child. From that memory I imagined the circumstance of a neighbor becoming pathologically involved.

WOW!: I always find it so interesting how little bits of memory can evolve into a whole story. I read in your bio that you’re a world traveler. How have all of your world travels inspired your creativity?

Doris: I find travel stimulating. New sights—and even new sounds and smells—provoke new thoughts. The mind, I think, makes new connections conducive to the creative process.

WOW!: If you could have dinner with one published writer, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

Doris: Only one? Then, Tolstoy. He was not only a wonderful writer, but also a visionary who incorporated his views of selflessness, love and responsibility into his writing without seeming didactic. (I guess it would help to have a Russian translator present).

WOW!: Great choice. It’s hard to choose just one when there are so many great writers out there. What is your strategy for finding or making time to write with a busy schedule?

Doris: I’m fortunate in that I’m not otherwise working. So while I have the time, I don’t use that time for writing as often as I’d wish. I’m easily distracted and battle a fear of writing. When I actually sit down to it, I find the process enjoyable.

WOW!: Ah, the fear of writing. I know that feeling well, but it does, as you said, seem to dissolve when I just sit down and do it. What is the best piece of writing advice you have ever received?

Doris: To sit down to write at a set time every day for one hour, most days a week. (The idea of one hour is key—it seems manageable and not too daunting. Once I start, I often go beyond the hour). I wish I followed that advice more. When I do, it works. Also, not to feel that you must write beautifully, perfectly as you start—don’t be an editor at that point, just let it flow. You can edit later.

Great advice! Thanks so much for sharing it with us. Best of luck to you with your writing!

Interviewed by: Anne Greenawalt (http://www.annegreenawalt.com/)

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Monday, September 27, 2010

 

Reading and Writing: It's All Subjective, Isn't It?

When I write something, I like to do the best I can. When it is for a newspaper article, I try to keep a balance to the information I put together. When it is for a corporate client, I keep in mind the audience the client is trying to serve. When it is my fiction, I keep my reader in mind.
But while putting in my best efforts, I also need to keep in mind some of the elements that can impact the final product and often a reader's subjectivity is one of the major items that needs to be considered. How will the work be received by the reader?
I'm in a small reading group right now and we're getting ready to share our thoughts about an old British mystery to look at the writer's use of the language of the period. I checked out from the library a copy of this book--published in the 1930s--and it is an edition published in that era. Already, I'm slightly judging the book by its cover. (After all, if it were really popular and well written, shouldn't it have been kept in print and replaced by the library regularly?)
One of my reader friends is British and does not like the class distinctions portrayed within this novel from 80 years ago.
Another reader wants to chuck the book out the window because it is so overwritten--in comparison to many of the books today, which compete in our multimedia society. Something the mystery writer might never have imagined.
Although we are reading it to study the language patterns, we've already taken a novel and determined what we don't like about it based upon our own experiences.
While skilled at looking at a work objectively, if I'm not careful, I might read more subjectively. It's often the default reading standard we have.
So when you are starting your next piece of writing, do keep your audience in mind. But also understand that some will be thrilled with the end result, due to where the reader starts from.
And there are times when, you know, it's just hard to please everyone all the time, especially 80 years from now!

Elizabeth King Humphrey is a writer, editor, reviewer and (often subjective) reader who lives in North Carolina.

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

 

P.O.V.:The Magic of One, Two or Three



Three people. One event. Three points of view. All three vary because, face it, each person keys in on certain sensory details that stand out or appeal to them. Each person brings past experiences to the situation and formulates an opinion or perspective based on those elements.

The same principle surrounds point of view in storytelling. If you put insert-magical-number
characters in one scene, each views the action and reacts, based on individual instincts and quirks created by an author.

While some stories thrive from different points of view (and sometimes, alternating P.O.V. is a wonderfully successful plot device), many tales flounder because the writer hasn't investigated which perspective best fits or advances the storytelling.

Is there a magical formula that helps writers determine which point of view is best?

No.

But distinct advantages and disadvantages of first, second and third person storytelling do exist. Let's take a look at each viewpoint and weigh the pros and cons.

First Person: The I, me, my, we narrator. It's the participant viewpoint, although the narrative doesn't have to be from a major character.

Why It Works

  • It's natural. It's how we converse.
  • It focuses on the narrator's perspective.
  • It establishes a distinct internal voice, especially with main characters.

How It Causes Problems

  • It only tells one point of view.
  • It doesn't show what other characters think or feel.
  • It forces the narrator to always be present.

Second Person: The you narrator. Honestly, it seldom works. In my editing experience, I've never read a story told from this P.O.V. that didn't fall flat. That's not to say it won't work, but it's complicated.

Why It Works

  • It's different. When the storytelling is spot on, it builds rapport with the reader.

How It Causes Problems

  • It fails to establish a rhythm. And sometimes, it ends up sounding like a cluster of imperative sentences. Who wants to feel like they're being told what to do or believe?

Third Person: The she, he, they narrator. The most commonly used point of view, third person works so well because it feels like the reader and narrator share secrets. Readers become privy to information that the clueless characters don't understand. Now, you'll need to determine if an unlimited or limited presence works best.

Unlimited Omniscience uses any character to convey the story.

Why It Works

  • It lets multiple characters tell the story.
  • It keeps readers interested.
  • It (usually) hastens the pace of the story.

How It Causes Problems

  • It can be confusing to the reader, especially if too many characters are involved in telling the story.
  • It can reduce the rhythm of prose.

Limited Omniscience shows the thoughts of only a few characters, and most often, one character's thoughts equal a single scene or chapter.

Why It Works

  • It allows several characters to tell the story.
  • It keeps readers interested.
  • It picks up the pace.
  • It lets the writer focus on one or two characters and delve into their motivation.

How It Causes Problems

  • It eliminates problems of using unlimited omniscience for writers.

No matter what story a writer is telling, it's important that the point of view is consistent. Too many voices, too many shifts in thought, too many disadvantages = a piece of writing that's dead on paper.

P.O.V. is about the eye, not the I. And that's the magic of one, two or three.

by LuAnn Schindler. LuAnn is a freelance writer and columnist. Read more of her work at http://luannschindler.com/.


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Friday, September 24, 2010

 

Friday Speak Out!: Bookmaking--Commonplace!, Guest Post by Patricia Anne McGoldrick

Bookmaking--Commonplace!

by Patricia Anne McGoldrick

Earlier this year, I contributed a column for the Friday Speak Out: Bookmaking—For You, For Me!

Lately, I have read several posts by writers blogging about the challenges of writing on a full-time basis, staying up-to-date on the latest, being swept into a vortex of social media drains on their time. Overwhelmed, many of us are unable to process that barrage of information, to sift out the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.

I have found a strategy to retain some of the more important content from the frequent Tweets, blogging, Facebook interactions. Compile a commonplace book. Let me explain.

Recently, I read British writer Oliver Burkeman’s article, "This column will change your life: Make a Book of your own." He suggests that we can benefit from some “commonplacing,” whereby we get involved with "internalising that information: engaging deeply, processing it so that it becomes part of you…. If the web is a wild, furiously creative ecosystem–a rainforest, say–the commonplace book is a private vegetable patch. Different things grow best in each."

What a refreshing, manageable, metaphor to use for a commonplace book—a vegetable garden! Amateur gardener that I am (see my blog at PM_Poet Writer), I realize that I can make a commonplace book, a container garden for these “vegetables” of information, even one that is sustainable!

In the midst of this information age, we can re-invent the commonplace book concept of poets, politicians, and women of the past, by selecting and copying choice quotes, comments, to file for later consideration.

On a personal note, I have to say that I was unaware of commonplace books until I read this article. Afterwards, I realized that although I did not know the term, I had actually kept such a book in the 70s through senior high school year and university. I have included a few pictures of this small green book, measuring about 3” x 4” (7cm x 10cm). (Figures 1, 2, 3) It is filled with quotes from Thoreau and Shakespeare and Camus, lines from the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, even The Bible. I often flipped through this pocket-sized book when I needed a bit of inspiration.









Figure 1










Figure 2











Figure 3


Today, the thought of starting fresh, to make a commonplace book appeals to me. This time I will first draw on my bookmaking passion to make a book from reused materials. Fortunately, I have found the perfect item in a recycled notebook that I will use for recording observations, quotes, even some images as I wish. (Figure 4)










Figure 4

Formats vary from hard copy notebooks to online versions. Along with a paper copy, I have started to make a computer file in MS Word for Mac, using the Notebook Layout view. (Figure 5)










Figure 5

This 2010 Commonplace Book is a starting point for me to integrate bookmaking, social media, and writing in a creative and sustainable format. It is time to harvest some of the wheat in the whirlwind of social media.


* * *

Patricia Anne McGoldrick writes poetry, essays and reviews. Living in Kitchener, Ontario, Patricia has been published in the Christian Science Monitor, the Irish American Post plus several titles at http://www.chapterandverse.ca/.

W E B: P-A-McGoldrick BLOG: PM_Poet Writer


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Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

 

The Word Queen: Editing, Teaching, Coaching, and Publishing

The Word Queen is better known as Keidi Keating, who lives in the Malaga province of Spain. She moved there from London in 2004 and has enjoyed life in the sun ever since.

Keidi trained as a journalist in 1999. After a stint as a local newspaper reporter in the UK, Keidi stepped up the career ladder and became a corporate communications writer for a range of high-profile companies/associations, such as Powergen, Visa, The Dixons Group, McVities and Defra (The Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).

Six years later, she moved to Spain and started The Sentinella, a magazine aimed at the expat population. The magazine tripled in pagination within just two years, so Keidi launched a business opportunity to help people start their own magazines across the globe.

Keidi’s first book, Sol Searching, A Fun Filled Tale of a Modern Girl’s Move to the Costa del Sol, was published in October 2009. Critics have compared it to Bridget Jones’s Diary. She is now completing her second book, The Path, which is a fiction fantasy with a paranormal twist aimed at young adults.

Keidi set up The Word Queen in 2009 to help fellow writers fulfill their dreams of getting their books written and published. She enjoys her role with a passion and receives a huge amount of positive feedback from her clients.

WOW: Keidi, it is so great to have you with us today. Congratulations on all your writing and editing success. Tell us more about your business, The Word Queen. What manuscript editing services do you offer as The Word Queen?

Keidi: I offer writers an edit of their manuscript, which involves amending grammatical errors and restructuring sentences. The other option is an edit and a full critique, in which I delve deeper into the manuscript to evaluate aspects such as theme, plot, characterization, sense of place, dialogue and all the ingredients of a book, which can transform it into a bestseller.

WOW: How much do you charge for these services?

Keidi: For editing, I charge $200 per 20,000 words. For an edit and critique, I charge $250 per 20,000 words. My payment terms are half up-front and the rest on completion.

WOW: In your opinion, why is it a good idea for a writer to use a professional to edit and critique her work?

Keidi: As writers, we tend to become very attached to our work. It’s not uncommon to procrastinate editing, as we feel a deep sense of unwillingness to delete the words, phrases, metaphors and dialogues to which we have grown to love, even though they may not serve the novel. A professional editor knows exactly what publishers and agents want to see and can mold the story into a desirable shape.

WOW: You are right--it is so hard to edit and critique our own work! What are three or four common mistakes you see in authors' manuscripts?

Keidi: 1. The ‘point of view’ rule. Writers tend to flit between points of view throughout a scene, which leaves the reader feeling confused.

2. Writers use passive rather than active vocabulary, which fails to reach the point quickly and as such slows the reader. Generally speaking, the word ‘was’ should be avoided whenever possible, as should the words ‘to be’.

3. Limited or poor use of the ‘show don’t tell’ rule. Many novice writers tend to include too much narrative and not enough revealing action.

4. All dialogue, no matter what character is speaking, has the same ‘voice’, with very little differentiation.

WOW: Thanks for those tips. I am thinking about my own manuscript right now. . .You also provide book publishing services. Can you tell us a little about this?

Keidi: Certainly! If authors have written a book, which raises the vibration of the world in some way – either fiction or nonfiction–they’re welcome to submit the first three chapters and a synopsis to my publishing company, Pathway, by emailing info@thewordqueen (dot) com. [Replace the word "dot" with "."]

Other writers, who may prefer to self publish, can take advantage of my publishing services, whereby I sort out everything on their behalf for a set fee. I currently offer three different publishing packages, each containing different benefits: the Ruby package, the Emerald package and the Diamond package.

My basic package costs just $900, and it includes 20 books in with the price.

WOW: You are one busy lady! On your website, The Word Queen, you list several coaching and online class opportunities for writers. What do you offer as a writing coach?

Keidi: As a writing coach, I coach and mentor writers through the entire process of getting their books written and published, from the initial idea right through to having the finished book in their hands!

It’s a fairly unique service because along with elements of traditional coaching and mentoring, it involves energy clearances on a psychic level to release negative thoughts you may have about writing, success in general, and your book.

WOW: Sounds interesting and unique! What do you offer as a writing teacher?

Keidi: Right now, my writing workshops mainly take place in Spain where I am based. However, I have also developed a 26-week online writing course called, "The Write Your Book Now Masterclass." This is a great alternative to attending my physical classes, as it includes exercises and even weekly homework to complete! See www.writeyourbookmasterclass.com for more info.


WOW: I'm sure several readers will check that out. Many writers need some inspiration to actually sit down and write that book! Do you offer any other services to writers?

Keidi: Yes, I also offer various marketing options to self published authors, who may be struggling to meet their sales targets.

"My Book & A Business Plan" helps authors to achieve a great monthly passive income via the Internet, and my "Book Marketing Plans" for self published authors boost sales figures.

WOW: If anyone is interested in any of your services we've talked about today, where can they find out more information and/or contact you?

Keidi: They can visit my website www.thewordqueen.com, e-mail me at info@thewordqueen.com or call me at (0034) 952 968 096. Alternatively, my skype ID is keidik1.

WOW: Thank you, Keidi, for sharing with us today everything you have to offer writers from before publishing to after publishing. Writers, if you are in need of services, check out everything the Word Queen has to offer!

interview by Margo L. Dill, http://margodill.com/blog/

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

 

Con your way out of Negative Thinking with a Pros & Cons List

“I’m not good enough to be a writer.” “Why would anyone publish my work?” “This is such crap!”

Every writer goes through this at various points of his or her writing career. Negative thinking has a way of creeping up slowly until it all piles up on top of you and keeps you from your writing goals. How do I know this? Because I’m going through it right now.

I barely write anything these days because of various life stressors (single parenting, work, finances, etc). Not to mention that the stress of my day job has been keeping me up at night with crazy dreams.

All of these stressors get me thinking negatively about myself, my abilities, and my writing. I doubt myself in all sorts of ways, which is the trick to negative thinking. It starts with one mistake on your part and can snowball out of control with negative thoughts coming at you on all sides.

A trick I’ve come up with to combat negative thinking is a pros and cons list. Most of the time my list is a tool to help me make informed decisions. In the case of reducing negative thinking, the list can be used to find out what your strengths and weaknesses are.

Take one sheet of paper and write “Pros” at the top. Then take another sheet and write “Cons” at the top. Start with the Cons list first. Yes, put all those nasty, ugly downright dirty thoughts about why you shouldn’t be a writer. These should be easy for you to come up with if you have trouble with negative thinking.

By writing down all of the negative thoughts, you get the junk out of your brain and onto a piece of paper. Then the negativity doesn’t seem quite so big and you can truly evaluate everything that has been keeping you from writing.

After getting on paper every single thing you think is wrong with your writing down on paper, make a list of all of the pros. If you’re not sure of the reasons why you should be a writer, look up old papers, emails or anything else that compliments your writing.

It could have been from your high school English teacher or your co-worker (the one who gets excited when you tell him/her that you’ve written something) or even your own child who says that you write the best stories. Start with these and then add your own pros to the list. Pretty soon you’ll find that you have more reason to write than not to.

And if that doesn’t work, take the cons list and rip it to shreds. As a therapeutic way of getting rid of the negative junk in our own minds, ripping something up connects us to the act of shedding the negativity. And if your cons list keeps bugging you, write it again and burn it in a glass/metal bowl. You’ll be sending the message to yourself that you should be a writer AND get rid of all those negative thoughts! Happy Writing!

Heiddi Zalamar is a mom/writer/therapist living and working in NYC and is the founder of The Freshman Writer.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

 

Interview with Spring '10 Contest Runner-Up Eileen Granfors

Eileen’s Bio:

Eileen Granfors lives in Santa Clarita, California. A former army brat, Eileen is a proud UCLA alum. She joined the UCLA Writers’ Extension Program after retiring from thirty-four years of teaching high school English. She has completed two novels and is working on a historical novel, A Tale of Two Cities: The Prequel. She is currently seeking representation for her YA novel, Marisol’s Totally Epic Expectations. Her poetry anthology, White Sheets, is available on Lulu. She loves to spend time reading, writing, and playing with her dogs.
(Photo: Eileen with her cockerpoo, Nilla.)

Visit her website, Read, Write, Laugh, Rewrite with Eileen Granfors, for book reviews, grammar and usage, and poetry.

Check out Eileen's winning entry, Quality Time, then c'mon back to join our interview with her as she shares a bit of herself with us!

Interview by Jill Earl

WOW: Eileen, thank you for taking time out of your busy day to chat with us, and congratulations for placing in our contest. How does it all feel?

Eileen: I am thrilled to place in the WOW Flash Fiction Contest! Although we write because we love to write, recognition pumps the old adrenalin to keep on submitting.

WOW: Doesn’t it, though? You get so charged up, you feel you can write and submit anything! Love your response, Eileen! How about we begin by talking about your entry? What’s the story behind it?

Eileen: My story, Quality Time, came out of a visit to my grandkids. My grandson, Nate, and granddaughter, Neve, are so beloved and the center of their family. In my childhood, kids were as Lynda Barry noted, "We were children with the sound turned off," to be seen but not heard! I had great parents, but discipline was everything and self-esteem was not on the list.

WOW: I enjoyed the twist your story offered, not quite the ‘quality time’ we generally expect---or hope for in our relationships. I found myself hoping that your protagonist would crack, say something positive to his daughter. Well done!

Moving onto your writing history, can you tell us a bit about it?

Eileen: I have loved books and writing since childhood. When I was three, I wanted to write my middle name, which is Gladys. My mom thought I said “Lettuce.” For several weeks, I wrote my name as Eileen Lettuce Clemens. Later, my second and third grade teachers encouraged my writing of plays and stories. In high school, I wrote thousands of letters to friends when I moved to St. Louis, MO, as well as articles for the school newspaper.

It was only after retiring from thirty-four years of teaching senior high (grammar and college composition) that I thought about giving fiction a try. I enrolled in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and found a whole new life. My writing teachers and classmates energize me. I love getting lost in the world of books, whether it’s one that I am reading or one that I am writing. The Barry’s quote above was from an essay called "The Sanctuary of School," which is exactly what school was for me.

WOW: (Laughs) Okay, your “Lettuce” story is hilarious! It’s good that early on you had teachers on hand to help you along in your writing. Having a supportive community of writers makes the writing process worthwhile, and good you got so much out of your time at UCLA. You’re a perfect example that it’s never too late to pursue writing. Since we’re on the subject, are there specific themes you like to explore in your work?

Eileen: So far, my writing has centered on family relationships and communication (or lack thereof). I also like to write about finding joy in the everyday moments of life and the purest love, that of a family dog.

WOW: I think you succeed with that in your story. I have to agree with you on a family dog being the purest love (sorry, cat fanciers!) I’ll never forget the many memories and fun we had with our own dogs and regret that dogs aren’t allowed in my building.

Let’s turn to your daily writing. What's a typical day for you?

Eileen: I am a morning person. I try to write after walking the dogs. I gather ideas and envision scenes. I write from about 8 a.m. to noon. If I haven’t written by 10:30 in the morning, I’m not going to write on a given day.

WOW: Sounds like you’ve got a great routine going there. I admit there’s an advantage to an early start, better chance to get more work done. I salute all morning persons. I’m more of a ‘midday’ one, if there’s such a thing. (Smiles)

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Eileen: Writing gives me a voice. I can explore my feelings and work out some of the puzzles of my life. My mom died in April of 2001. I wrote some of my childhood memories that summer to begin to heal that grief. That experience was truly the watershed moment when I saw how powerfully writing changes my outlook on life’s events.

WOW: You make a good point, Eileen. I think many of our readers can relate to what you just said, myself included. Writing helps develop our voice; gives us liberty to explore new ideas, thoughts---even worlds; and cause us to see our own lives differently. Its power is amazing, isn’t it?

So, are you working on any writing projects?

Eileen: I am finalizing a novel, Some Rivers End on the Day of the Dead for an October release. It’s a coming-of-age novel about a Hispanic-American girl finding herself after devastating losses in her life. This is the middle book of a planned trilogy, so I’m thinking and writing ideas all the time.

WOW: Congratulations on the upcoming release, we’ll be on the lookout for it! Wrapping up things, what advice would you like to leave our readers with?

Eileen: Don’t ever believe your work is “not good enough.” We all have stories to tell, and it’s important to tell them. My mother left us a novel she had written but not published as well as folders of the emails we sent over a ten-year span. What a gift! I want to be sure I leave such a legacy for my kids and grandkids.

WOW: What encouraging advice! If what you’re written so far is any indication, your children and grandchildren will have a wonderful legacy to look forward to. Eileen, once again, thanks for chatting with us today. Best of luck with your future writing endevours.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

 

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

Recently at a meeting of my writer’s group some of the published writers were encouraging the unpublished writers to send their work out. One member described sending his work out like sending it to “the Big Bad Wolf”.

Like the furry, big toothed guy in the fairy tale, agents, publishers and editors(let’s call them the Big 3)have a lot of power. It may not be life and death. An agent hasn’t gobbled me up…yet. But it feels like life or death sometimes when they’re judging something that so much of your life, your time, your identity is tied up with. Power isn’t the only thing the Big 3 have in common with the Big Bad Wolf.

1. Mistakes—Sometimes the Big Bad Wolf was wrong. He thought he could blow down the little pigs brick house. Well, he huffed and he puffed…and that didn’t go the way he planned, did it? So if you get hit with a rejection(and you will)they could be wrong. Some of the best writers of our time were told at one time or another that they were unpublishable: J.K. Rowling, William Faulkner, John Grisham, Dr. Seuss, Ernest Hemingway.

2. Clues—When the Big Bad Wolf blew down his brothers’ two houses, Pig #3 tried to figure out a Plan B to keep his house from being destroyed. The Big Bad Wolf lets people know what he was thinking. “I’m going to huff and puff…” The Big 3 do too. They give you clues. “You have too many POVs. This is too short. You need to focus your idea.” Take those clues and use them so you(and your work)are better prepared next time you meet the Big 3.

3. Bad Endings—The Big Bad Wolf seems unconquerable at first. Who thought a little girl and her grandma could escape him? But he always comes to a bad end: being chased by a lumberjack, burning his tail in a roaring fireplace.(Please don’t try this with editors that reject you.) The Big 3 seem unconquerable too but if you stick with it long enough, learning, refusing to give up, you could come out on top too.

As someone who works with agents, editors and publishers let me tell you there is one way the Big 3 and the Big Bad Wolf differ. The Big 3, for the most part, are nice people who don’t enjoy gobbling up people’s dreams. They want you to succeed. Your success is good for them too. Make them your ally, not the enemy. The fourth little pig, maybe?

Do you think of the Big 3 as the Big Bad Wolf?

Today Jodi Webb is sending out her picture book Harry and the Team to the Big Bad Wolf, ummm, an agent. To learn more about her obsession with fairy tales visit Words by Webb.

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

 

Writing is Exhilarating



Mountain climbing, bungee jumping, skydiving and writing are challenging and exhilarating. It may seem strange to put writing in the same category as physically strenuous activities, but writing is strenuous, challenging and exhilarating.

Writing is challenging in several ways. It takes:
  • Thinking, planning and processing
  • Finding the right subject
  • Finding the right words
  • Deciding what would best benefit the reader
  • Constantly improving the craft of writing
Writing is strenuous. It takes:
  • Hours of research
  • Often getting up early or staying up late
  • Juggling other careers
  • Working around family obligations
  • Rejections deplete energy
Writing is exhilarating. It gives:
  • Confidence
  • Contentment
  • Self-satisfaction
  • Recognition
  • Advancement
Writing is like riding in a Hot Air Balloon. Butterflies flutter around in the stomach at the anticipation of putting thoughts on paper. The mind rises to new heights with each project. The view of the finished work is awesome.

What happens when the bungee stretches too far or when the heart doesn't always flutter with anticipation? Deadlines are overwhelming. The subject matter seems inaccessible. The mind and body have grown too tired or too stressed to press forward. The mountain appears too large to scale.
Help is within. Pull from the very things that are the heaviest. Turn weakness into strength.  Put on that parachute and jump.

Buck up to the writing challenge. Some ways are:
  1. Take a walk (leisurely or brisk)
  2. Do extra research
  3. Overwrite (and then pare it down)
  4. Use the biggest words you can find (and then simplify)
  5. Read some of your old projects (they're pretty good, yes?)
Each of us pumps up differently. For me, it would not be mountain climbing, bungee jumping nor skydiving; it would be a dancing, a bike ride or jamming music. Those activities relate directly to my writing. They relieve stress and free my mind to think about my writing challenge.

What are some ways that you buck up or pump up?

Photos:








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Saturday, September 18, 2010

 

Swingin’ Into September the ‘Write’ Way

The noticeably cooler air. Students heading back to school. Cozy fall sweaters paired with boots. Nature gearing up for its annual parade of color. For me, the arrival of September not only means the appearance of fall, my favorite season, but it also means hitting the homestretch when it comes to my writing. It’s when I turn my attention to my list of writing goals for a final check on my progress before year’s end.

Seeing an increase in writing income is always a welcome sight and is an ongoing goal for the serious writer. My account’s loving it and I’m looking forward to seeing what the final total will be.

Another goal was to try at least one other genre and my choice was script writing. I enjoyed writing and editing scripts for an online radio drama for a number of years and wanted to try another area. I participated in April’s annual script writing challenge, Script Frenzy, which was a great opportunity to work on a film script. I didn’t get to the 100 pages---only made it to 56---and I'm still working on it. My script writing goal coincides with my current work as a member of the production crew on a film with a local Christian arts nonprofit, and it’s been interesting to be an active part of the filmmaking process.

A dream goal fulfilled this year was doing a wonderful writing retreat; those experiences entitled ‘Writing, Resting & Reflecting’, appeared as a post here on the Muffin. An added bonus was expanding this post into an essay, 'To Retreat, Perchance to Dream', and having it featured in Catapult Magazine’s ‘Retreat’ issue back in July. I’m now a contributor for the online arts journal. To totally get off the grid to spend significant time writing was both rewarding and enriching, and I plan to make this particular goal a mainstay of my annual list.

Not doing too bad with my goals this time. I’m swingin’ into September the ‘write’ way and the rest of the year’s looking good. Can’t wait to see how it’s all going to end.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

 

Friday Speak Out!: THE A-B-C’s of W-R-I-T-I-N-G, Guest Post by Joanne DeMaio

THE A-B-C’s of W-R-I-T-I-N-G

by Joanne DeMaio

It’s that time again. September means we’re tossing notebooks and pens and paper into our shopping cart, keeping the kids well stocked for a new school year. I say, toss in a few for yourself, too. Your town’s annual adult-ed schedule, and the local college’s non-credit courses, are just waiting for your enrollment. I tried it, and let me assure you this: School is cool when you're attending as a writer. It’s surprising which fun classes help your craft to …

Strengthen Characterization
Is your novel’s protagonist a nervous chef, mulling life in a kitchen? Does your cozy mystery’s thief bury jewels in a garden? Live their lives! Prepare a five-course Italian dinner in the class Tuscan Cucina and won’t your words then be cooking up a storm, right along with your pan frying protagonist. Fall Bulbs: Spring Surprises plants ideas for your plot to blossom on an unaware gardener’s surprise jewel find. Experience is the best teacher, and enrolling in a relevant non-credit course helps you bring a world of experience to the lives of your characters.

Develop Story Structure
Who doesn’t love admiring a beautiful painting? The works of the masters stop many viewers in their tracks. Borrow their knowledge. Be a student of artistic structure in a basic watercolor class. Understand how an idea starts as a sketch delineating shape and form before the painting even begins. Or try a beginner photography class looking at composition, framing, focal points and depth, all parallel qualities to a good story. Study and learn from the similar process of creativity comprising other art forms, then use your words to start painting your picture-perfect plot.

Spark Inspiration
Treat yourself, and motivate your muse. One of my personal top writing rules is to indulge our very own passion. That way, we can not only write what we know, but write what we love too. If you’re a history buff, take Genealogy 101. And you know that seminar in Kitchen Design is just calling your name, inspiring you to spruce up your home. What about that Parisian trip you’ve always dreamt of? Beginning French will get you closer to your destination! Be sure to take class notes on the great ways your passion can show up in your next novel. So let’s go, it’s time to hit the books …


* * *

]Joanne DeMaio is a Connecticut writer and founder of the inspirational blog Whole Latte Life. Grab a coffee and stop by for a visit at www.joannedemaio.blogspot.com.

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Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

 

What is Your Writing Warm-Up?

As you are probably aware, there are many how-to novel writing books on the market. John Steinbeck's "Journal of a Novel" is one you may not have heard of. But it is one that deserves a space on your bookshelf of writing books.
Never intended for publication, the "Journal" is a compilation of Steinbeck's letters to his editor Paul Covici.Using the letters as a warm-up to each day's work on Steinbeck's "East of Eden," the journal is inspiring while simultaneously of a how-to. Watching the inner workings of someone as he formulates his creation of one of America's literary masterpieces.
As a writer in the midst of writing a novel, reading "Journal of a Novel" is amazing. Steinbeck let's you see under the hood.
Steinbeck's use of this journal raised many questions in my mind, one of them is: do you use some kind of writing to warm-up into your day's writing?
When I can, I journal and try to use my journal to express my gratitude for what is going on in my life and my writing. I'm not writing about a particular scene or element of my project, as Steinbeck does. I don't have a specific muse or person in mind when I write in my journal. Others I know will use a creative writing exercise to get in the writing mode. Others dive into the writing project, with little or any writing warm up.
What do you do?
The other question I had was: how much do you share with someone when you are in the actual writing process?
While these letters Steinbeck wrote went unsent, he wrote them to specific person. I wondered if others were as open to friends or editors about their progress or process. In making an attempt to explain himself throughout the writing of "East of Eden," Steinbeck lays bear the frailties and vulnerabilities of the writing process itself. As well as the strengths and the deft hand of a master writer.

Elizabeth King Humphrey is a writer, editor and coach.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

 

Bright Hub is Looking for Writers

We welcome Kelly Walborn, who is the director of training for the website, Bright Hub. They have several new writing opportunities they would like to share with WOW! readers. Kelly explains how to apply to Bright Hub, what types of writers they are looking for, and most important of all--how writers are compensated!

WOW: Welcome, Kelly, and thanks for talking to The Muffin readers today about Bright Hub. I know several of our readers are wondering all about your company and writing opportunities. What type of writers is Bright Hub looking for?

Kelly: We look for bright (!) subject matter experts who have a penchant for writing informative and engaging articles. Previous online writing is certainly a plus, as articles must appeal to both the prospective readers and the search engines. But we do train our writers to follow our particular SEO strategy.

WOW: You mentioned you need writers who are subject matter experts. So, what is the content that Bright Hub writers write about?

Kelly: Bright Hub writers focus on solving a problem or offering valuable and sought after information for the specific audience that is targeted by the article. Our team of editors thoroughly research appealing topics, and offer a continuous selection of writing opportunities for writers to choose from. This way, writers can truly focus on their areas of expertise. We just opened a whole bunch of new Health, Mental Health and Home Schooling channels, and we’re always opening more. Writers can see which channels are looking for writers at http://www2.brighthub.com/writers/hotopportunities.html.

WOW: Sounds great! So, if writers are interested in any of these opportunities, what is the application process like?

Kelly: Writers apply to a particular channel (like Diabetes or Heart Disease in the Health hub) by completing an application and submitting a writing sample. Often, writers will submit a previously published piece, so it’s important to indicate that during the application process. They can go directly to the applications here: http://www2.brighthub.com/writers/writerswanted.html. Once approved, they are welcomed to the community by their Managing Editor and are given access to orientation and training materials.

WOW: Thanks for explaining the process. It sounds simple. You mentioned that there are training materials. So, is there training available? How intense is the training process?

Kelly: We do make a point to offer continuous training to our writers, and we have a multi-tiered model for that. Bright Hub staff deliver webinars and written training on our policies, tools, and strategies. In addition the editors, who are community members just like writers, often mentor on best practices and quality improvement. We are continuously improving our training – both the content and the efficiency of how we deliver it to writers.

WOW: How are writers compensated for their work on Bright Hub? Are they given a byline also?

Kelly: Bright Hub writers always get a byline for their individual articles and can choose their own display name and set up a profile page for interested readers. We offer two different compensation models – one is entirely based on shared revenue and the other involves an up-front fee for each article plus a group revenue share. We offer a comparison of these models here: http://www2.brighthub.com/writers/comparison.html


WOW: Thanks for all the links and information! In your opinion, what are two reasons why writers should check out Bright Hub's opportunities?

Kelly: Just two? (smiles) Bright Hub is known for providing substantial community support to our writers. Unlike other sites, writers are not working in a vacuum or lacking in accessibility to resources. Another good reason is that Bright Hub is a credible site and can really help quality writers hone their craft and get noticed.

WOW: Thank you, Kelly, for taking the time to share with us all about Bright Hub. We appreciate it immensely!

interview by Margo L. Dill; http://margodill.com/blog/

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

 

Spring '10 Contest Interview with Angelica R Jackson, 3rd place winner

Muffin readers, you're in for a treat. Today, we're going to get to know more about our third place winner in the Spring 2010 Flash Fiction contest, Angelica R. Jackson of Shingle Springs, California. If you haven't had the opportunity to read Angelica's story, Ebb Tide, head over to WOW! and give it a perusal.

As a child, Angelica spent moving around southern California and attended nine different schools by the time she graduated from high school. Angelica eventually settled in the Sacramento area during the 1990s. Writing has been a constant in her life, and she reports she supplemented her writing with positions as a bookstore clerk, a photographer, and a storyteller.

Angelica has published articles on a variety of topics, including gardening, natural history, web design travel. hiking and local history. She also enjoys reading, green living, and cooking for food allergies. Ongoing projects include short fiction, poetry, a YA historical novel, art photography, and children's picture books.

WOW: Welcome, Angelica. Congratulations on earning third place honors in our Spring 2010 writing contest. I've won journalism awards but never won any fiction writing contests. So, tell me, how does it feel?

Angelica: I've entered contests before, but this is the first one where my story got any kind of recognition, so it's quite a thrill! I've been working on once novel, and just started another, so it was nice to know I hadn't lost my short fiction mojo.

WOW: That's great! Keeping a writer's rhythm is so important. The first element of your story, Ebb Tide, that stood out was the use of a diary entry. It seems like a natural fit for flash fiction.

Angelica: I genuinely didn't know it would work so well until I tried it, with a little nudge from a writer's prompt. The challenge was to write a letter or diary entry in 500 words or less.

This character popped into my head as a girl that was labeled autistic, mainly because that diagnosis was easier for others to accept than the real reason for her aversion to touch. I wanted to keep her voice just a little bit awkward, and a therapy diary seemed the perfect way to emphasize that. It's also interesting to me that because it's in the format of a therapy diary, I get mixed reactions on whether her powers are real or just a powerful delusion. I try to avoid giving a definitive answer when asked.

WOW: I wondered the same thing (and I'm glad I didn't ask)! :) Details play such an important role in flash fiction. As a photographer, do you find the craft has helped sharpen your storytelling skills, whether through the lens or on the page?

Angelica: Some of my favorite photos that I've taken are all about the details, or a different point of view, and that definitely carries over into my writing. I try to make my stories very sensory - there are lots of mentions of food and smells in my novels - and word pictures are just part of that.

I've also experienced, both in photography classes and writing classes, how a roomful of people can be given the exact same assignment and come up with such widely varied results. I think that's one of the insights that makes me feel more part of a writing community, rather than in competition with other writers. Ironic words, I know, coming in response to placing in a writing competition!

WOW: I think your view makes sense: writers share a common bond. Winning is just gold-foil lettering on the leather bound book. :) Your writing background is so varied. Do you find your approach different when you write non-fiction?

Angelica: Non-fiction comes a little easier to me than fiction, but that's not to say it's effortless. For both types of writing, I tend to do a ton of research. I'm one of those obsessive writers that actually finds it hard to stop researching a subject, because there are so many interesting tangents I want to indulge.

So even short articles will have pages of accompanying notes that may or may not make it into the finished piece but could be recycled into, or inspire, another article later.

WOW: Sounds like you and I share similar writing and researching philosophies. Writing is an ongoing process. What projects are you currently working on, Angelica?

Angelica: I just stared the sequel to my first novel; both are set in the 1850s and, like "Ebb Tide" they have a supernatural twist to them. I had no plans to do a sequel immediately, but a wonderful villain came to me, along with a great plot twist, and how could I just send him packing?

I also write poetry, so I plan to squeeze some poems in between picture book projects and more non-fiction pieces. One of my short stories, "Hornworms," was recently published in Hunger Mountain and has gotten such a good response that I may pick up with those sisters and do a collection of related short pieces.

WOW: Ambitious! It seems like you have plenty of writing projects to keep you busy. If readers want to learn more about you and your work, where can they locate you online?

Angelica: I try to post to my blog at http://angelicarjackson.blogspot.com regularly, and that's become another challenging writing venue, just to keep up with that.

WOW: Again, congratulations on placing in WOW!s contest. Readers, make sure to check out Ebb Tide.

Interview conducted by LuAnn Schindler. To read more of LuAnn's work, check out The Muffin or her website, http://luannschindler.com.

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Monday, September 13, 2010

 

Ruth Hartman, author of Pillow Talk, launches her blog tour!

& Book Giveaway Comments Contest!

Ruth Hartman started out as a dental hygienist but morphed into a romance writer. She has fun working the dental industry into her romances. While Pillow Talk features a dental hygienist/tooth fairy, her next romance Flossophy of Grace also follows the love life of a dental hygienist. Who knew the dental world was so romantic?

Ruth's first book, My Life in Mental Chains, is a memoir about her struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Ruth, her husband and two very spoiled cats live in rural Indiana where Ruth dreams up new and exciting romances. And flosses regularly. Really!

Find out more about Ruth by visiting her websites:
R.J. Writes blog: http://ruthjhartman.blogspot.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/RuthjHartman


Pillow Talk

By Ruth Hartman

Trixie Trident has a secret. Everyone knows she creates one-of-a-kind jewelry during the day. It's what she does on her night job no one would ever guess. She's a tooth fairy. Not the tooth fairy, just one of many. It would take her whole life just to combat the many misconceptions people have about TF's. Like how nobody wears tutus or uses a wand. Or stands three inches high. Nope, Trixie looks just like any other woman in her mid-twenties. And she'd tell people all of that stuff. If she was allowed to. But she'd sworn a sacred tooth fairy oath that she'd never tell a soul. And she hadn't. Except for her best friend, who would never breathe a word to anyone.

Graham Keebler meets Trixie when she comes to his dental office as a new patient. He's had lots of single women patients before, but no one has ever sparked his interest like Trixie. What is it about her that's so unique? He can't quite figure it out, but he's determined to try, even when she turns him down for a second date.

Trixie is attracted to Graham, like she's never been to any man before. He's what she always dreamed of in a man. And they even have the subject of teeth in common! But a relationship with the gorgeous dentist can never be. How could it? When she's a tooth fairy, and not only can't she tell him, he'd never believe her anyway.

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Class Act Books (August 2010)
ISBN: 9781935048688

Pillow Talk is available through Class Act Books in both print and as an ebook, and is available through Amazon as a Kindle edition.

Book Giveaway Comments Contest!
If you received our Events Newsletter, remember, we are holding a contest to win a copy of Ruth Hartman's novel, Pillow Talk, to those that comment. So, grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and enjoy the chat, and share your thoughts, and comments, at the end. We will randomly choose a winner from those who comment.

Interview by Jodi Webb

WOW: Welcome, Ruth! We're thrilled to be hosting your second blog tour with WOW! on The Muffin. Could you start by telling us how you got started in writing...is this something you've done since childhood?

Ruth: I've always loved to write. English Literature classes in high school were my favorite. When everyone else would moan because we had to write a term paper, I was excited! As opposed to math, which I always had trouble with, English and Literature came fairly easy to me. And I took a class in Writing for Children in my late twenties, but have never had a children's story published yet. I kind of got sidetracked with writing for adults.

WOW: With so many options, I think we writers are famous for getting "sidetracked." In 2008, you wrote My Life in Mental Chains: My Struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, a memoir about your struggle to manage your OCD. I've been told that memoir writing is like eating potato chips...you can't have just one. Do you agree?

Ruth: I imagine for many people memoirs are like potato chips. For me, though, my struggle with severe OCD was the deal-breaker. It took a lot out of me to write about that. I'm not sure I have another one in me. It was good for me to do it, though. And it means so much to me when someone tells me it's helped them or someone they love.

WOW: Of course, your new book is about as far from memoir as you can get. Unless you are the Tooth Fairy in disguise! What made you switch from the memoir genre to the romance genre?

Ruth: I love reading romances. I always have. I'm a romantic at heart. My husband has another word for it: sap. He says I'm sappy, and I guess I am. :) But that's okay. Maybe that's why I find that writing sweet romances comes fairly easy to me. When I wrote the memoir, I had to dig deep, and force myself to remember stuff I thought I'd buried forever. Everything was fact, or at least what my troubled mind at the time thought was fact. But with romances, I can make the story anything I want it to be. I can embellish, entertain, use my imagination.

WOW: Writing a romance does sound like fun. Who wouldn't want to create the perfect man, the perfect romance? I love to learn about everyone's creative process. How did you ever decide to write about the Tooth Fairy's romantic life? I imagine you must get plenty of questions about the Tooth Fairy from your young patients. Did those Tooth Fairy questions inspire you?

Ruth: I do get questions from time to time from kids in our dental office about the tooth fairy. Just the other day, I had to stifle a laugh when a little girl told me she saw the tooth fairy in her room. When I glanced at the girl's mom, she was holding back a giggle, too. Obviously, the little girl hadn't recognized her mom in her room that night.

WOW: Like Superman, jewelry maker Trixie has a secret identity. So which came first...did you create the lonely jewelry maker first or did you say, "I've got to write about the Tooth Fairy" and add the alter ego later?

Ruth: I wrote Flossophy of Grace (Midnight Showcase Fiction) about a dental hygienist falling in love with her patient. It will be out in February 2011. I wanted to write another dental themed romance. So I needed to come up with another dental angle. In Pillow Talk, Trixie, a tooth fairy, falls in love with Graham, her new dentist. I came up with Trixie being a jewelry designer in her "day job" later. I felt the story needed that balance.

WOW: I suppose a tooth fairy would need something to occupy her time in between tooth collections. (Laughs) There are so many different divisions in the romance genre. Something for everyone. Pillow Talk is a contemporary romance with a bit of fantasy thrown into the mix. You're writing another romance. Will it be another contemporary romance or will you try another division...historical, paranormal, erotica?

Ruth: The one I just finished is another contemporary, but it doesn't have any fantasy elements. I doubt I'll write historical, although I like reading them. And probably not erotica, simply because I enjoy reading and writing sweet ones more.

WOW: Tell us about the road to publication for Pillow Talk. Did having a memoir under your belt influence publishers? Is marketing different this time around?

Ruth: I honestly don't know if the memoir influenced them or not. Maybe the fact that I'd been published before did, but I'm not sure the fact that it was a memoir had much effect. They're such different genres, and Class Act Books deals mainly with romances. I'm hoping marketing will be a little easier, simply because I've done it before. Although, there's so much to learn, so much out there. I doubt any of us could ever learn it all. One piece of advice is, even though you have your books for sale online and in bookstores, have several copies always on hand for people you run into. With my first book, I sold several copies to people who wanted them at my church. I'd see someone, and they'd say, "I want one of your books, can you bring it next Sunday?"

WOW: Any advice for our budding romance writers? Any favorite romance authors?

Ruth: For budding romance writers, the good news is, there are lots and lots of publishers out there who are looking for all different types of romances. The three publishers I've gone with so far are all small. I like that. They treat their authors with respect, and the atmosphere seems a little more relaxed. Everyone I've been in contact with at these publishers have been very nice to deal with.

Personally, I love reading Debbie Macomber. Her characters are real, flawed, and likeable. And I know with her books, I'll always get that happy ending I love.

WOW: So what's next?

Ruth: I'm thinking I'll stay with writing romances. They're so much fun! The romance I just turned in to a new publisher is about a woman and her cat who find themselves stranded on a yacht for two weeks with a man they've never met. I'm really loving these contemporary stories. The one floating around my head now is another dental themed one. It's slowly taking shape.

WOW: It's amazing that you've carved out a memorable niche for yourself. Dental romance. Only you would put those two things together and make it work. You should be giving away toothbrush shaped bookmarks at your book signings!

Want to join Ruth Harman on her blog tour? Check out these dates and mark your calendar! You can also snag a copy of WOW's Events Calendar HERE.

Blog Tour Dates: Come and join the fun!

September 13, 2010 Monday
Ruth Hartman will be chatting with WOW! Women On Writing at The Muffin. One lucky commenter will win a signed copy of Ruth's new book!
http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

September 14, 2010 Tuesday
At "Because of a Book" today Ruth Hartman will be telling a tale about her connection to books. She'll also be giving away a copy of her latest book Pillow Talk!
http://www.writeforareader.blogspot.com/

September 15, 2010 Wednesday
Enjoy a fun post with author and dental hygienist Ruth Hartman on making dental floss jewelry! She's also giving away a copy of her latest book Pillow Talk. It's a tale of star (or is it tooth?) crossed lovers--a dentist and a tooth fairy.
http://www.dentalheroes.com/

September 17, 2010 Friday
Stop by for a fun visit from Ruth Hartman. When she isn't cleaning teeth as a dental hygienist she spends her time writing. She's just released her latest book, the romance Pillow Talk and is giving away a copy today.
http://www.momecentric.com/

September 20, 2010 Monday
Remember all those quarters you found under your pillow and those tales you heard from your parents? Well, stop by for the skinny on the Tooth Fairy from her unofficial biographer, Ruth Hartman. You can also win a copy of Pillow Talk!
http://www.loveromancepassion.com/

September 21, 2010 Tuesday
Ruth Hartman talks about splitting genres today and is giving away a copy of her latest romance, Pillow Talk.
http://writerinspired.wordpress.com/

September 22, 2010 Wednesday
Don't miss a visit from Ruth Hartman, a writer who just invented a new genre. Dental Romance! Stop by Romance Junkies and enter to win her latest book Pillow Talk.
http://www.romancejunkies.com/rjblog/

September 28, 2010 Tuesday
What should ever main character have? Romance writer Ruth Hartman tells us today and here's a hint...it starts with the letter P. Along with advice, Ruth is giving away a copy of her book Pillow Talk.
http://www.shelleymunro.com/blog/

September 29, 2010 Wednesday
Stop by for a roller coaster of an interview/podcast with a dental hygienist turned romance author as she talks about her two careers and her new book Pillow Talk. You'll also have the chance to win a copy of this fun romance!
http://niapromotions.podbean.com/

October 4, 2010 Monday
Today's your chance for a sneak peek at an exclusive excerpt of Pillow Talk--only at The Romance Reviews. In addition to a review, Ruth will also be stopping by to talk about being a romance author.
http://theromancereviews.blogspot.com/

October 7, 2010 Thursday
Kate the Book Buff is giving away an unusual gift today--dental floss jewelry made by a head-over-heels in love tooth fairy! Wait, the jewelry was made by author Ruth Hartman. It's the character in Ruth's latest romance Pillow Talk who is head-over-heels in love tooth fairy. Come learn how Ruth decided to write about a tooth fairy!
http://www.thebookbuff.blogspot.com/

To view all of our touring authors, check out our Events Calendar HERE.

Get involved!

If you have a blog or website and would like to host Ruth Hartman or schedule a tour of your own, please email Angela and Jodi at: blogtour@wow-womenonwriting.com

And be sure to comment on this post to enter in a drawing for a copy of Ruth Hartman's novel Pillow Talk! And check back in a couple of days in the comments section to see if you won!

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