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Saturday, January 18, 2020


How Being a Writer Has Ruined TV for Me

I’m going to start this post off by saying that I know I probably shouldn’t be watching as much TV as I do. Darn you, multiple streaming services that give me access to all my favorite procedural and true crime shows at the click of a button! But sometimes, at the end of a long day or week, you just want to veg out and take a break from all the stress and massaging your temples that writing and editing and trying to be creative can bring.

However, writers are likely more observant than most people. So, what should be a relaxing and passive exercise can be even more stimulating for the following reasons.

You are probably more apt to notice continuity errors in the show. I remember watching the TV series “Parenthood” when it first came out. The main character, Adam Braverman, owned a shoe factory. It was the family business and most episodes featured him interacting there with employees and customers. But when the second season started, he all of a sudden had a jerk boss that had never been there before. I realize this character was added to show tension, but to me I felt like there should have been some explanation, like Braverman shoe company being bought out by an investor or something. Either that little detail was left on the cutting room floor, or a new set of writers weren’t briefed on the first season details.

You notice when an actor shows up more than once on a TV show, but is playing completely different characters. While watching a re-run of “Law and Order: SVU” one day I realized the sleazy bad guy of the episode was actually the actor that now plays one of the regular detectives on the show. I scratched my head for a few minutes before putting together that the seasons were years apart and sometimes actors rotate in and out of shows as different characters. Or maybe I’ve seen too many episodes of the show, but in my defense, it has been on the air for 20+ years. It’s also exciting when you notice a now-famous actor was a guest star in a TV show when they were a young child or teenager. Everyone has to start somewhere, right?

You fail to suspend disbelief when plot holes happen. I’ve been re-watching the series “Crossing Jordan” lately, which focuses around the shenanigans of a medical examiner’s office in Boston. First of all, I’ve never seen worse security than in this morgue. In one episode, a man with a gun showed up and gunned down a woman there to identify a body. There are constantly random people showing up in autopsy rooms and bodies going missing, leaving me to wonder if just anyone is allowed to stroll into the building, get off the elevator and duck into whatever room of their choosing. I’ve also been having a blast watching old episodes of “The X-Files.” I’m still scratching my head over the episode “Native,” where Scully couldn’t seem to figure out a character she was hanging out with was about to turn into a werewolf (even when he disappeared into a bathroom, screamed as he transformed, and then burst through the bathroom door and attacked her). After the attack, she told Mulder she didn’t know where they guy who had turned into the werewolf was. Really?

You can logically explain why a character just simply vanished (otherwise known as “Death by Focus Groups.”) I always love it when a character disappears from one season to the next—especially if the previous season had an entire arc built around why that character was even there in the first place. It becomes obvious that a character either took a better offer on another TV show or the focus groups decided the character was pointless. As a writer, I can also usually tell that a show must have been cancelled and picked back up by another network (this happened to the country-music drama “Nashville”). You could tell when new writers took over because it took a much darker turn and a few key characters just sort of dropped off the face of the earth with no explanation.

Don’t even get me started on watching movies.

Do all these reasons make me want to quit watching my old favorite TV shows? Nah, not a chance.

I’m curious to know if being a writer has affected how you watch TV and films.

Renee Roberson is an award-winning freelance writer and editor who also blogs at

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Friday, January 17, 2020


Friday Speak Out!: Choosing Names

by Saralyn Richard

I’m often asked how I go about choosing names in my books, and the question always catches me by surprise. Choosing names for characters and specific places in books is a necessary task, one that, for me, happens organically as the stories unfold.

I might compare the process to naming a baby, except that I have many more naming opportunities for characters than for real-live people, so weeks and months of pondering doesn’t seem necessary. Still, once a character is named, I begin to think of him with that name, and I rarely feel inclined to change the name to something else, so it is somewhat important to get the name right from the start.

Detective Oliver Parrott, whose first appearance in Murder in the One Percent sets the stage for the series, is a perfect example. Parrott is strong, smart, and quite articulate—just like a parrot. He also has a pet cockatiel named Horace. More importantly, Parrott’s name is a nod to Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot.

Sometimes I name characters after friends or colleagues whom I admire and wish to honor. That can be dicey, though, particularly if the characters have traits or challenges that their namesakes might not relish reading about. If I anticipate such a problem, I will check with the person to make sure she’s okay with it. Since most of the people I know have good senses of humor, I’ve never had anyone object.

Of course, in fiction, all characters are derived from my creativity, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is coincidental. Once in a while, though, I have named a character after someone who is dear to me, but who has passed on. For me, this is a way to keep her memory alive, as it remains in my heart.

The Detective Parrott mysteries, Murder in the One Percent and A Palette for Love and Murder, take place in Brandywine Valley, Pennsylvania. That is a real place, and many of the names of restaurants, hospitals, museums, attractions, and even the police department, are represented by their actual names. The Hunt magazine, which appears in both books, is a phenomenal resource for me in creating the settings and situations. So many Brandywine Valley people have opened their minds and hearts to me, and I strive to do justice to them.

There is a common practice in Brandywine Valley to name mansions and to call them by name in conversation. That gives me more opportunities to create names. One of my homes is called Bucolia, a reference to the peaceful, bucolic nature of life there. Another is named Manderley, after the home in Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca.

As Rick Riordan said in The Lightning Thief, “Names have power.” It’s the job of an author to harness that power for the sake of the story. The creation of names is one of the privileges of being an author, and one of the most fun.

* * *
Mystery and children’s book author, Saralyn Richard, won the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Readers’ Choice Award 2019 for her first novel, MURDER IN THE ONE PERCENT. The book was also a Finalist for the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award for Best Procedural Novel 2019, and garnered other honors and kudos. A PALETTE FOR LOVE AND MURDER, out in February 2020, is the second title in the Detective Oliver Parrott series. Richard’s children’s picture book, NAUGHTY NANA, has reached thousands of children in five countries. A member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America, she has lived in New Orleans, St. Louis, and Chicago, and now lives in Galveston, Texas. Richard loves to connect with readers through book clubs, organization meetings, or on social media at the following links:,,,

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, January 16, 2020


The Reason We Fail

I fail a lot. Before 8am. Every day. I have failed at everything from diets to relationships and every dang thing in between. I've missed work, missed parent teacher events, and I nearly fell over attempting to stand still (but gosh those high heel boots looked good even though I couldn't walk or stand in them). You've failed too, right? Didn't win that writing contest? Didn't sell as many book copies as you'd planned? It's only mid-January and you gave up on your resolution or New Year goal?

This is a hot topic at our house. We have teens and tweens mixed with toddlers, and of course adults. We make a lot of mistakes, and we talk about how we can do better. We are a noisy group and most of us enjoy a loud conversation and we don't go to bed until we are satisfied. We also ask "WHY?" a "why did you do that?" "why didn't you do that?" "why are you treating your sister that way?" "why do you think your coach did that?" etc...

My son recently made a poor choice with a coach for a team sport he participates in. He felt like a failure. In the situation, he definitely failed to make good choices, yet he is an 11 year old boy and is in no way a failure.

Why did he fail? Why do I fail? Why do you fail?

Here's why:

You are going to fail. I am going to fail. It's not the fault of anyone except us. In my son's case, it's not his coaches fault by any means. We sometimes set our expectations too high. We don't always put in as much work as we should have. There's no magic pill going to make me thin and there's no guarantee the book you're working on is going to be on the top ten list. Every day is not going to be a win. Here's what we need to remember about failing:

We have a choice of failing. (period) or failing forward. It's ok to be upset and disappointed. It's okay to cry. We just have to put on our big girl (or big boy panties) and make the changes necessary to move forward. As for help when necessary. Evaluate the steps that led us here and do things differently next time around. Human nature leads us to blame someone instead of taking personal responsibility - but it's not your spouses fault, it doesn't matter that you went to XYZ college, and if we are talking about losing weight - there's no magic pill. When I eat the garbage and don't exercise I can't expect to lose the weight. The Oreo cookie is not to blame - my lack of willpower IS!

You are standing in your own way. I'm standing in my own way. I need to keep that mirror close by as a reminder. What are ways you've failed forward? How do you remind yourself to keep plugging away? What works for you?

Crystal is the office manager, council secretary, financial secretary, and musician at her church, birth mother, Auntie, babywearing mama, business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Press Corp teammate for the DairyGirl Network, Unicorn Mom Ambassador, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and their five youngest children, two dogs, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, horses Darlin' and Joker, and over 250 Holsteins.

You can find Crystal milking cows, riding horses, and riding unicorns (not at the same time), taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books here, and at her personal blog - Crystal is dedicated to turning life's lemons into lemonade and she has never (not once) been accused of being normal!

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Wednesday, January 15, 2020


Read to Assemble a Writer’s Toolbox

This is one of my favorite writing quotes, and Stephen King has the weight to carry it off. After all, he’s been selling his work since 1967 and has published something like 83 novels. Go ahead. Try to argue.

But when I saw this quote today, I realized something new. You also need to read widely. After all, a good toolbox contains a wide variety of tools.

Read poetry. Interested in winning the WOW Flash Fiction Contest?  Then read poetry to learn how to make every word count. Reading poetry will also enable you to study how to create powerful imagery and writing that resonates emotionally with the reader.

Read picture books. As in the 32 page books written for young children. Written for pre-readers, they are meant to be read aloud. Picture books will teach you how to make your words sing and how to engage in word-play. Want to do all of this and also learn to tell a story in 500 words or less? Picture books are the tool for you. Picture books contain a full plot, beginning, middle and end, as well as multiple attempts to solve the problem all in a limited word count.

Read horror. Horror will teach you to create suspense. You will also learn to select setting details that allow you to manipulate your reader’s emotions. Depending on what you describe and how you describe it, a sunny day can be uplifting or ominous, cheery or harsh.

Read speculative fiction such as fantasy or science fiction. In fantasy and science fiction, authors must build bridges that bring the reader into an unfamiliar landscape. Authors also use emotion and other familiar elements to help readers identify with character who are truly alien.

Read epic novels. Whether you choose fantasy, horror, or historic fiction, read sagas with huge casts of characters. You will learn how to introduce large numbers of characters to your readers and how to bring these characters forward when necessary and when to let them retreat into the background.

Read graphic novels. Sometimes I look at a page I’ve just written and realize my characters are talking an awful lot and saying very little. Characters in graphic novels have to get to the point in short order. Learn to make every word of dialogue count by studying this format.

Read mysteries. Even if you aren’t writing a who-done-it, mysteries will teach you how to dole out information a bit at a time. You will learn how to foreshadow coming events and revelations and how to create false leads.

If you want to stock your tool box, read. Read often and read widely unless you think you can fix every writing problem with a hammer.


To find out more about Sue Bradford Edwards' writing, visit her blog, One Writer's Journey.  Sue is also the instructor for  Research: Prepping to Write Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults. The next session begins  March 2nd, 2020. 

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Tuesday, January 14, 2020


Interview with E. Izabelle Cassandra Alexander, Summer 2019 Flash Fiction Contest Runner Up

E. Izabelle Cassandra Alexander was born and raised in a little village in Hungary. After immigrating to the US, she first lived in New York. There she graduated with honors from Monroe College with a Bachelor's in Information Systems before moving to Chicago, where she earned her MBA in Business from Webster University.

Izabelle wanted to write her first novel at age eight and wrote her first poem in fourth grade. In 2013, she refocused to pursue her life-long dream of writing and began taking writing classes at Oakton Community College and online. Since then, she’s a member of numerous writing and poetry groups, attending workshops and conferences, continuously updating her writing and editing skills.

Izabelle writes short stories, creative nonfiction essays, flash fiction, plays, and poetry. She’s currently working on a few novels and a series of children’s books along with illustrations.

Several of her short stories, creative nonfiction essays, and poetry have been published by Oakton Community College in 2016, 2018, and 2019 issues of their annual print literary journal, Spark, as well as by The International Library of Poetry in four of their print anthologies between 2004 and 2008. By The Scarlet Leaf Review on their website in 2018, and by the Illinois State Poetry Society (ISPS) on their website and in the ISPS print anthology, Distilled Lives, Volume 4, 2018. Also, in Yearning to Breathe, a print anthology by Moonstone Art Center in 2019.

Her nonfiction essays “Disciplined Discipline” (2017) and “My First Camel Ride” (2019), and her flash fiction “Invisible Love” (2018) each received an Honorable Mention in contests by WOW! Women on Writing while they chose many of her flash pieces as finalists. In The New York City Midnight Challenge Flash Fiction Contest, she won the first round within her tier with her flash fiction titled “What Eyes Can’t See” in 2018. Some of her poems, fiction, creative nonfiction essays, and plays had been selected by Oakton Community College as a finalist to represent them in the annual Skyway Competitions over the last six years.

You can find Izabelle at:

And on Patreon at:

Read Izabelle's unforgettable story here and then return to learn more about the writer.

----------Interview by Renee Roberson

WOW: Welcome, Izabelle, and congratulations! “Fragments of Bones” is a haunting and introspective story that unfolds at just the right pace. What are some of your favorite genres of writing to experiment with?

Izabelle: Last year, I experimented with fantasy, science-fiction, ghost stories, and some light horror. I want to do more of that in 2020. I’m reading Steven King’s “On Writing, a Memoir of the Craft,” and it inspires me to write a sci-fi/horror piece and see what happens. I’m also interested in supernatural and paranormal stories and planning to write in that genre, too, this year.

WOW: Those genres are right up my alley, and I know a lot of readers here enjoy them, too.  We can't wait to see what you come up with. Your work has been published in several literary journals. What tips would you offer writers offering to break into this medium?

Izabelle: Once I read that, “it’s a numbers game.” So my advice to any writer who’d like to see their work published in a literary journal or magazine is to submit, submit, and submit. The more you submit, the more chances there are that your story or poem will find a home and encounter the readers you intended to reach.

Also, although evaluating literary work is subjective, it helps to read what the journal usually publishes. So you can send your work more fitting to their “taste.” Always follow submission guidelines.

WOW: Very good advice, thank you. It is indeed a numbers game and tied to how appropriate your piece is to the tone of the journal and their themes. Writing flash fiction is an art form. How do you write and revise pieces when you have a limited amount of words?

Izabelle: I first write the story, which may be much less or more in terms of word-count than what is needed for a particular call for submission. If I need to cut it down to fit into the word-count requirement of flash fiction or micro-fiction, I need to evaluate if the story is right for this compression. Some of my stories land themselves for longer lengths, where I feel that if I try to distill them down to 500 or 750 words, they will lose a lot of substance. In a way, the stories do have their own life and form, and it’s a delicate balance to find which should be a flash piece and which should be a two to four thousand words short story or longer. Sometimes, I will write two versions of the same story, the longer work, of course, expanding on the flash piece’s ideas.

So, let’s say the limit is 1,000 words (which is for WOW’s creative nonfiction essay contests), and my story is 1,500. I will begin by cutting anything unnecessary or redundant. Then I go through the piece, again and again, replacing words of three or four with one or two to say the same thing with brevity. I cut anything that’s not essential for the story and not needed for clarity.

Usually, those last five or so words are the hardest to cut, but I always find the way, so I’m confident, it can be done. I find that my best short pieces are the ones where I had to painstakingly delete anything above a certain word-count. Having to do that forces you to examine each word. Each word must earn the right to be included.

WOW: You mention in your bio that you enjoy attending writing conferences and workshops. What has been your favorite so far, and why?

Izabelle: My favorite one to attend is the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference’s Writers Competition and Festival. Eight community colleges compete against each other in several genres, fiction, creative nonfiction, drama, and poetry.

I usually submit to this, and many of my stories and poems have been selected to represent Oakton Community College. I’m enrolled and have been taking classes at this college over the years. The event not only provides exposure with an open mic session, but also offers four different workshops (fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and drama) each year hosted by one of the eight participating colleges.

WOW: Oh, that does sound fun! Festivals are a great way to get your work out there. After earning an MBA, what made you decide to refocus on your writing career several years ago?

Izabelle: I wanted to write since I was about eight-years-old. I remember going to the library to do research on the jungle because, in my book, the plane would crash there, and I needed to be able to describe it. In fourth grade, I wrote my first poem (a translation from a Russian poem about the four seasons, a class assignment). I continued writing after that, especially in my teenage years. From an early age, I’ve been journaling. Writing seems to be something integral to me, and I always dreamed of one day writing my life story.

Several years ago, I’d read Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven Life.” Twice. It made me realize that writing is not an option for me. It’s something my experiences were preparing me for throughout all my life, but it never had the center stage. Always it was something I’d do later.

I began attending classes at Oakton Community College to attain a teacher’s certificate. My first love was to be a teacher one day. When I was five, that’s the answer I gave if anyone asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up. Also, I took a writing fiction class, which lead me to one of the writing groups I have attended for seven years now.

During the thirty observation hours required for one of the classes, I was also working on my first NaNoWriMo. I wrote a short story about a little bluebird, Millie (around four thousand words), and the teacher suggested that I share it with the children (3rd and 4th graders). They loved it and said, “Ms. Alexander, we want to see what happens to Millie and Cecilia, you need to make this a chapter book. We want to see it there on the shelf. You need to write a whole series about Millie.”

It was an honor to be asked by the children to continue the story and make it a book. I’d go and read to them after completing the first, second, and third books and invite them to come up with the chapter titles. I’d also read Millie’s stories to the 5th and 6th graders (my son’s class at that time). What an amazing experience! That is what got me to refocus on writing. Those children were and always will be an inspiration to me.

"The Amazing Adventures of Millie" will be a series of seven or eight books with my drawings as illustrations (also suggested by the children). They are books with heart and effortless learning and a little bit of magic.

WOW: What an incredible story! You know you are on to something if children are continuing to ask you how the story ends. It sounds like you are quite the multi-talented writer and artist. I love how you say you realized writing was not an option for you. We are glad you chose to follow your heart and pursue your dream with a fervent passion. Good luck in all your writing and publishing endeavors.

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Monday, January 13, 2020


Georgia Stories on My Mind Blog Tour And Giveaway

Come visit Georgia within these pages as you read heartwarming stories shaped by local traditions and legends. The characters live life to the fullest through joys and hardships. Inhale the essence of Georgia’s revitalized small town squares while eating hand- scooped ice cream on a park bench. Each town has its own magic. Sometimes the most real things in life are things we cannot see but those that deeply touch us, as the folks in these tales learn. Share smiles and shed tears as you travel the curving road of life with these Georgia characters. Are you ready for an unforgettable experience of hope, faith, trust, reconciliation, and love?

Print Length: 259 Pages
Genre: Short Story Anthologies
Publisher: Touch Not the Cat Books
ISBN-10: 0999597612
ISBN-13: 9780999597613

Georgia Stories on My Mind is available to purchase on

Book Giveaway Contest

To win a copy of the book Georgia Stories on My Mind by Jackie Rod, please enter using Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post. Giveaway ends on January 20th at 11:59 PM EST. We will announce the winner the next day on the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!

About the Author, Jackie Rod

“A good book transports me to another time and place. It lets me feel the sensation of heroes and heroines— dark loneliness, deep passion, a father’s pride and a mother’s grief.” Jackie Rod is a fiction writer, loving wife of a legal beagle, and mother of three children who has blessed her with seven fantastic grandchildren. After Jackie retired from teaching, her love of words and stories led her to begin writing fiction. Reading and traveling enrich her life and she jumps at the opportunity to teach a workshop or attend a writing conference. She belongs to five writing chapters/groups. Jackie’s work can be found in twelve published books on Amazon, in several Metro Atlanta libraries, and independent bookstores.

You can find Jackie at:

---- Interview by Nicole Pyles

WOW: Congratulations on your book! Tell us a little bit about Georgia Stories On My Mind. What can readers expect?

Jackie: Georgia Stories On My Mind highlights strong women living in small southern towns. In each heartwarming story a woman works through relationships with friends, family and lovers. Day-by-day she must deal with the realities of life that make her struggle through inner frailties to find her true self. We cheer for each heroine as she realizes her strengths. I invite you to take a short journey to Georgia and meet the people who live life to the fullest through joys and hardships. Share smiles and shed tears as you travel the road of life with them and experience the gamut of human emotions. Hope, faith, and love give each of us a purpose to move away from the doubts of yesterday and into the light of tomorrow.

WOW: I love it! And I know readers will too. What inspired you to write this book?

Jackie: I was born in Atlanta, Georgia and have lived here most of my life. We travel a lot, and my area of the world is hard to beat. We travel out of the country every year and love seeing the beauty of the people and the earth. There is a uniqueness about small towns across the land—especially the charming towns in Georgia. I wanted to share my part of the country with others: Stone Mountain, Gibbs Gardens, and Savannah. We are known for our southern hospitality. Come on down and have a cold glass of sweet tea or a slice of watermelon and sit a spell. Bottom line, there is no place like home.

WOW: You could invite me over for sweet tea anytime! I’m so impressed to find out that you taught for 31 years. How did teaching help you with your writing?

Jackie: Thirty-one years in the classroom immensely enriched my life. With a Master’s degree in more than one field, I taught thirteen subjects and in every department but math. Primarily I taught behavioral sciences and social sciences. History, Sociology, and Psychology gave me worlds of material to incorporate into my writing. The first thing I learned was how blessed I was to have three wonderful children at home. The second thing I learned was how much students appreciated a competent, caring instructor. Helping them grow intellectually and emotionally inspired me to be their best mentor. They filled my days with joy and made my job a walk in the park.

"You’ve got a book in you. Write it and change your life forever."

WOW: I am sure you have tons of material to draw from! For anyone who is struggling to write, what advice would you give them? 

Jackie: You’ve got a book in you. Write it and change your life forever. Be passionate about your work. Attend writing workshops to improve your craft. We can never learn too much about the writing industry. Make writing a habit and stick to a schedule. Create short term goals and long term goals. Join a critique group and learn from experienced, talented writers. Invest in a good editor for advice and ideas. Believe in yourself and your ability to touch others’ lives with your words. Don’t let anyone discourage you. Write on!

WOW: Fantastic advice! You have quite a lot of short stories published in anthologies! What draws you to short stories?

Jackie: I enjoy writing lengthy short stories, but I don’t write brief short stories. I don’t enter contests, because lots of the contests require short-short stories. The best thing about writing lengthy short stories for an anthology is working with 6-8 other authors who are friends. We plan the anthology and create a bible with a location, time frame, and theme. With a very busy life, I can write forty pages and keep it glued together. It’s more work to write a long book when I have to stop and start and stop again.

WOW: I totally agree about the appeal of short stories over writing a book. What's next for you? What are you working on right now?

Jackie: I have two books which will be finished in 2020. Driven is the story of a lonely truck driver who lost his only child in a hit-and-run accident. The death caused a breach in his marriage. The mother blamed herself for letting the little girl walk the puppy that ran into the street. He blames himself, because he gave his daughter the puppy for Christmas. Along the road, he identifies with needy families with children and becomes a beacon of hope for them. He asks for his wife’s aid, and she steps up to the plate. Their mission brings them closer and helps them overcome their guilt to feel alive and love each other again. The second book, Bittersweet, is about three writers who bond at a writing conference. They live near each other, become soul mates, and critique each other’s work. The youngest and most passionate writer is diagnosed with cancer. In a selfless act of caring, the other two women put their lives on hold and finish their friend’s book for her to hold in her hands. A blessing indeed.

Of course, I will continue to teach writing workshops, do readings and signings for libraries and bookshops, and attend writing conferences. My books are in several libraries and bookshops.

WOW: Those books sound amazing! I can't wait to read them. Best of luck on your books and on the blog tour!

--- Blog Tour Dates

Today @ The Muffin
What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Grab your coffee and join us as we celebrate the launch of Jackie Rod's blog tour of her book Georgia Stories on My Mind. You can read an interview with the author and win a copy of the book.

January 14th @ Lori's Reading Corner
Visit Lori's blog today and read author Jackie Rod's guest post about editing. You can also enter to win a copy of her book Georgia Stories on My Mind.

January 15th @ Cathy C. Hall's Blog
Visit Cathy C. Hall's blog today and read her review of Jackie Rod's book Georgia Stories on My Mind.

January 16th @ Caroline Clemmons Blog
Stop by Caroline's blog today and you can see a spotlight of the book and an interview with author Jackie Rod. Also win a copy of the book!

January 18th @ A Day in the Life of Mom
Visit Ashley's blog today and you can read Jackie Rod's guest post about how time is limited and precious. Plus, you can enter to win a copy of the book!

January 20th @ Memoir Writer's Journey
Make sure you stop by Kathleen's blog today and read her review of Jackie Rod's book Georgia Stories on My Mind. You can also win a copy of the book!

January 21st @ Amanda Diaries
Visit Amanda's blog today and you can read her review of Jackie Rod's book Georgia Stories on My Mind.

January 22nd @ Look to the Western Sky
Stop by Margo's blog where you can read Jackie Rod's guest post about being a cheerleader for others. You can also win a copy of the book Georgia Stories on My Mind. Don't miss it!

January 22nd @ Cathy C. Hall's Blog
Visit Cathy's blog today and reading Jackie Rod's guest post about being a homegrown Georgia peach.

January 23rd @ And So She Thinks
Visit Francesca's blog today where you can read Jackie Rod's guest post about the value of critique groups and writing groups.

January 24th @ Coffee with Lacey
Come by Lacey's blog today and read her review of Jackie Rod's book Georgia Stories on My Mind.

January 25th @ Bookworm Blog
Stop by Anjanette's blog today and you can read her review of Jackie Rod's book Georgia Stories on My Mind. Enter to win a copy of the book as well!

January 26th @ The Frugalista Mom
Visit Rozelyn's blog today and read Jackie Rod's guest post about precious moments.

January 27th @ 12 Books
Visit Louise's blog and read her review of Jackie Rod's book Georgia Stories on My Mind.

January 28th @ A Storybook World
Join Deirdra at her blog today where you can read Jackie Rod's guest post about the importance of conferences.

January 30th @ Author Anthony Avina's Blog
Visit Anthony's blog today where he will be spotlighting Jackie Rod's book Georgia Stories On My Mind.

January 31st @ Author Anthony Avina's Blog
Visit Anthony's blog again where you can read his review of the book Georgia Stories On My Mind and you can win a copy of the book!

February 1st @ Ali's Bookshelf Reviews
Come by Ali's blog today and you can read her review of Jackie Rod's book Georgia Stories on My Mind. Plus you can win a copy of the book!

February 3rd @ Author Anthony Avina's Blog
Visit Anthony's blog where you can read an interview with author Jackie Rod and read her guest post about family and friends.

February 4th @ Ali's Bookshelf Reviews
Visit Ali's blog today and read author Jackie Rod's guest post about how reading changes your life.

February 6th @ Memoir Writer's Journey
Stop by Kathleen's blog today and read Jackie Rod's guest post about the joys of life. Don't miss this one!

February 7th @ The Frugalista Mom
Stop by Rozelyn's blog today and you can read her review of Jackie Rod's book Georgia Stories on My Mind. You can also enter to win a copy of the book!

February 8th @ Bookworm Blog
Stop by Anjanette's blog again and you can read an interview with author Jackie Rod and read the author's guest post featuring writing tips. Don't miss!

February 9th @ Leonard Tillman's Blog
Visit Leonard's blog and read his review of Jackie Rod's book Georgia Stories on My Mind.

February 10th @ Madeline Sharples Blog
Visit Madeline's blog and read Jackie Rod's guest post about marketing on social media.

February 11th @ 12 Books
Visit Louise's blog again and you can read Jackie Rod's touching guest post about wisdom. Don't miss it!

February 12th @ It's Alanna Jean
Visit Alanna's blog where you can read a guest post by the author about faith, hope, and love.

February 16th @ Joyful Antidotes
Visit Joy's blog today and you can read her review of Jackie Rod's book Georgia Stories on My Mind.

Keep up with the latest tour dates on Twitter: @WOWBlogTour

***** BOOK GIVEAWAY *****

To win a copy of the book Georgia Stories on My Mind by Jackie Rod, please enter using Rafflecopter below. Giveaway ends on January 20th at 11:59 PM EST. We will announce the winner the next day on the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!

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Sunday, January 12, 2020


The Road to Success...

The road to success... Is it inevitably lined with failures?

On CBS Sunday Morning I recently saw a story on Tanya Tucker. She made a comment that struck me. Here it is:

"I feel like … those mistakes are part of my success. To be able to go through those things and come out on the other side, I think, is success. I don't think you could be successful unless you've had a lot of failures, and I've had some."

Her comment made me reflect on my own failures, along with reflecting on what lessons those failures have taught me.

image courtesy of Pixabay

Lesson # 1: Making things public makes a difference.
I had been floundering with a picture book. It was a project I was incredibly committed to, due to its subject matter (a stray dog). I sat on it and sat on it, but wasn't submitting it anywhere... until a writing friend, Donna Volkenannt, nudged me. I made it public, and declared a date when I would submit it.

Because it was out there for all the world my 3.5 readers to see, I made the deadline. The manuscript was sent... It was verbally gushed over and "accepted" by the publisher, only to be later rejected by a lesser editor. It's remained dusty ever since.

Lesson # 2: Having a thick skin is needed if you want to be a writer.
A few years ago I wrote a middle-grades manuscript that sang. It was shiny and perfect... or so I thought.

Then I sent it to be professionally edited by Margo Dill. I knew she would sing my praises, because my novel-wannabe was ready for immediate publication. It really was.

Margo did give me specific praise. However, she also gave me specific suggestions. Her detailed and thorough critique made me completely rewrite (mostly from scratch) my story... and now, it's being considered by three different presses.

(If I had sent out my original hot mess, there would be no nibbles. Publishers and editors would take a cursory glance, curse, and reject it hurl.)

Lesson # 3: Being held "accountable" makes an impact.
This is similar to lesson # 1. I had written a manuscript (the one from lesson # 2) and wasn't doing anything with it. I'd written a draft, had gotten to "the end," and took it out occassionally to dust it off and make it shiny again. Submit it anywhere? Fuhgeddabotit.

Then a group of writers and I started a writing accountability group--thanks to J Glenn. She suggested it, and two years later, it's still going strong. The other writers (not always me) post their short-term goals every week, along with reporting on their successes, their rejections and their struggles. Because it's an amazing group of writers, their encouragement, feedback and suggestions are priceless. We do it via Dropbox, so it's free and user-friendly.

Because of the Butt-Kickers (what we call ourselves), I've rewritten, revised and submitted my manuscript... and have gotten a few preliminary nibbles.

So. What failures have you experienced that taught you a lesson? Do you think we must face some failures in our pathway to success--if it ever comes when it comes? Stumbling minds want to know...

Last summer, Sioux Roslawski took a trip around Iceland. One day, she spent part of the morning at some mudpots--bubbling "creeks" of stinky, hot mud (thankfully this image is not a scratch and sniff one). She thinks of those mudpots when her writing smells... and when her WIP is a hot mess. You can check out Sioux's writing by checking out her blog.

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