Friday Speak Out!: How-To: 4 Tips on Being a Woman in Charge

Friday, November 30, 2018
by Seven Van Nort

In a small, private college in South Central, PA, there is a literary magazine called The York Review. For the past two years, I’ve been in a position of power – the print editor – for this literary magazine. From the call for submissions, leading the submission revision process, to the compilation of the yearly print issue, I am the sole leader of all things involving said print issue. I am also a woman. While being in a position of power has its own respective issues, it’s been my experience that being a woman in a position of power only adds to the struggles. So, how do you, as a woman, surpass the struggle of your team’s perception and potentially internalized sexism?

1. It’s likely that your team doesn’t even recognize their lack of willingness to work with you or accept your authority. They’ll find themselves wanting to question your decisions. In order to combat this, it requires a great deal of preparation on your part. For every one reason you have for making a decision as it pertains to your team or your position of power, you’ll need three more. Back it up with sources and publisher approval.

2. Don’t be afraid to assert yourself, however you need to as it pertains to your experience. For me, I try to keep a straight face and speak in a professional tone. I maintain a lot of spatial awareness, and make sure I’m always standing with my shoulders back, never hiding behind a podium, when I’m addressing the entire team.

3 Your attitude and how you treat your team and their opinions is everything. While you are maintaining that serious demeanor, it’s important to still have a positive attitude towards the process and your team as a whole. It’s also important to respect their individual opinions without letting them steamroll over your own. What I mean is that there may be loud voices on your team, and if that loud voice makes a good point, it’s important to note that. However, if that loud voice makes an irrelevant point, or participates in circular arguments with no foreseeable end, it is important to acknowledge said point without invalidating it, while also shutting it down. Simply, state that the discussion is going nowhere and encourage the team to move forward.

4. Take yourself and your position seriously, so that others do the same. This means timeliness: don’t be late to a meeting and don’t be late for a deadline. This means accountability: hold your team accountable for being on time for meetings and deadlines as well.

While it’s unfortunate that women still need a special how-to guide on being taken seriously in a position of power, throughout my two years of experience, these have been the most helpful tips in my survival guide. Keep your face forward and your ears covered to those who may criticize. You can do anything you set your mind to.

* * *
Seven Van Nort is a 24 year old writer from York, Pennsylvania. She is the current Print Editor for The York Review, a student-run literary magazine based out of York College.
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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A pie-chart epiphany

Thursday, November 29, 2018
When is a writing habit not a habit? When it's grounded in something more concrete and becomes part of you. Habits that support your self-concept and values can strengthen a foundation that ensures success.

Values come from beliefs about yourself and the world around you, and are influenced by your culture, experiences, peers, and family. Values can guide your thoughts, which, in turn, determine your behavior. When your values are clear, the definition of yourself becomes clear. This recognition of who you are can also help you set and meet your goals.

Spending time in support of your values feels right. Although they can be unpleasant to others, tasks like outlining and research can feel like heaven to a writer. Implementing my writing habits seem natural because it reinforces the idea of who I am.

Recently, a student gave me the gift of seeing life not as a line, but a space to establish and support our values. When I look at life as a circle (think pie chart), the focus is clear: The higher the value, the bigger the space.

Draw your own circle, and divide it into the important aspects of your life. These areas might include family, work, writing, exercise, spirituality, friends, and relaxation. The more important the item, the larger the space it should occupy.

When you look at the slices of the pie (division of time), your values become clear. If your values and time spent aren't equal, then adjust your schedule. Once you identify your values, then you can devote more time to activities and behaviors that support those values. Writers will be able to maximize their writing time, and minimize time spent doing the things that just don't matter. And it will feel right.

Mary Horner teaches communications at St. Louis and St. Charles Community Colleges. She recently had a pie-chart epiphany.
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Wonder Woman Is Still Innocent

Wednesday, November 28, 2018
I was sitting in my classroom today, talking to the girls who comprise our school’s NaNoWriMo club, when I asked them a question: What are you tired of seeing in fiction today?

Their response was immediate and visceral. The answer?  All female characters are the same.

When I asked them to elaborate, they didn’t hesitate to answer.

The first piece of feedback was that female protagonists are too strong. You read it right. They’re tired of heroines who are quintessential superheros. Authors have done a 180 in recent years, making female characters capable of moving mountains, but my students feel these characters have lost their human side as a result, becoming more of a statement or cliche than someone to whom they can relate. “They represent something,” one girl said of the new heroine, “but it’s not a real woman - at least not anymore.  They're missing crucial flaws."

Which brought them to their next point. If female characters are flawed, their failings are weak. In fiction, now, the heroine might like a boy or a girl who doesn’t like them back. Maybe they aren’t in shape or their parents work all the time instead of doting on them. To my NaNo kids, those flaws are superficial.

“Make them dark,” one student said.

“Yes!” said another. “Maybe she likes revenge. Or seriously contemplates murder!”

They want the flaws to be real. Harsh. Very, very dark.

By dark, they mean the opposite of innocent, which was their next complaint. As they moved the conversation to the virtuousness of heroines, their tone became bitter. They felt like while some high school students are innocent - and while some grown women may still retain that innocence - by the time one hits the age of eighteen, many of them aren’t. At least not the way they’re portrayed in books. My NaNo kids were tired of strong, bad-ass women being naive. “Even Wonder Woman was innocent,” one student lamented, "which is so disappointing. If she had a dark side - a real dark side - she would be much more interesting.”

By the end of our conversation, they decided that Wonder Woman would be much improved if she was an eighty-four year old grandmother, widowed, with six cats and a serious addiction to apple juice and listening to country rap.  But she would, of course, retain her bad-assery.

So I challenge you, as you craft your heroines, to think outside the box. Make my teenage NaNo students happy by creating vulnerable, interesting heroines with a dark side.  Make them complicated and original. But most of all, keep them as far from cookie-cutter as you can get.

Bethany Masone Harar is an author, teacher, and blogger, who does her best to turn reluctant readers into voracious, book-reading nerds. Check out her blog here and her website here.

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Making the Most of Memories

Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Last Christmas, my daughter presented me with a box full of movies. But these weren’t just any movies; they were home movies, from back in the day when people used video recorders instead of their cell phones to make memories last. She’d had them converted to digital because those memories weren’t lasting very well after all. The tapes were degrading at an alarming rate!

(And here is where I make my plea to you to gather up your old tapes of home movies and do the same. If you are a techno genius, you can do it yourself. But there are businesses that specialize in digitalizing your memories and honestly, it wasn’t too expensive and well worth every penny.)

So recently, when I had a bit of time, I pulled out one of my DVDs, expecting to see Christmas shenanigans because it was generally at Christmas when I’d say, “Oh! Get the video recorder!” and Mister Man would dutifully film the chaos. I did not expect to see my dad talking for nearly an hour about his life during the Great Depression but what a gift that was!

My daughter had a 5th grade school project, one where she was asked to interview a relative who had lived through the Great Depression. Both of my parents remembered the Depression but Dad, being a bit older, had more vivid memories. And so he talked about what Christmas was like during that time, where he lived, how his family celebrated. But he also talked about pets and best friends and school life.

What made the difference in this interview, I think, was that my daughter had very specific questions. So it wasn’t just Dad rambling about his life back in the day. He painted such a picture of his childhood, describing his home, what he ate for Sunday dinner, even the games he played.

I’m so thankful my daughter was given that assignment, and I’m glad that she made her father record it. (While she was recording, I was in the kitchen, talking on the phone, my attention elsewhere.) And I’m also very grateful for a quiet moment last week, just me and the movies, when I could savor every minute of those memories my dad shared.

Which brings me to my next plea: when your older-but-wiser loved ones gather soon, don’t just ask them to tell you about their life back in the good old days. Write up some specific questions like, “What kind of games did you play?” or “What was a typical school day for you?” or even “When was your first kiss?”

You can record the interview, but I’d also recommend writing down responses. And not just because I’m supposed to be talking about writing here. But because as wonderful as the digital world is, technology speeds along, and what’s new becomes old and sometimes lost. Words on a page, though...they can last forever.

Cathy C. Hall writes for children and adults. Look for her latest byline in Chicken Soup for the Soul's Miracles and More. And if you're in South Korea, you can find her recent leveled readers in bookstores and schools. But if you want to catch up with Cathy herself, look for her around SCBWI conferences or workshops or book signings where she's having fun, making new memories (Um...which she may or may not be able to share)!

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Karen Brown Tyson launches her blog tour of Time to Refresh

Monday, November 26, 2018
....and giveaway!

What happens when some part of your life comes to a screeching halt?

Time to Refresh: A 21- Day Devotional to Renew Your Mind After Being Laid Off, Fired or Sidelined, highlights Karen Brown Tyson's journey through the Bible following one of three layoffs in her life.

Watch how God leads one woman on a 21-day journey through the Bible and teaches her how to G.L.O.W.— gratitude, listen, observe and witness.

Print Length: 68 pages
Genre: Nonfiction, Self-Help
Publisher: Constant Communicators (August 2018)
ISBN-10: 0692170480
ISBN: 978-0692170489

Time to Refresh is available to purchase on AmazonBarnes and Noble, and IndieBound.

Book Giveaway Contest!
To win a copy of the book Time to Refresh by Karen Brown Tyson, please enter via Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post. Giveaway ends December 3rd at 12 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day on the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!

About the Author, Karen Brown Tyson

For the past 25 years, Karen Brown Tyson worked for Fortune 500 companies in the fast food, pharmaceutical, and telecommunication industries. Today, Karen is the founder of Constant Communicators, a lifestyle business that helps people improve their business writing skills. Time to Refresh:  A 21-Day Devotional to Renew Your Mind After Being Laid Off, Fired or Sidelined was released in August 2018.  Karen lives in North Carolina with her husband and son.

You can find Karen at:

Website -


Twitter: @KBTWrites



--- Interview by Nicole Pyles

WOW: First of all, congratulations on the launch of your book Time to Refresh! What led you to write this book?

Karen: On November 1, 2017, I found out I would be without a job in 60 days. Because I experienced layoffs two other times in my 25-year career, I was determined to be as productive, focused and positive as I could be during my time away from a traditional job. My motivation in writing the book came because I wanted to prove to myself and others that being laid off is not the end of the world. I also wanted to share my story with others sitting on the sidelines of life.

WOW: Being in that boat myself (of sitting on the sidelines) at the moment, I love your motivation to write this book! Between your successful public relations business, your writing career, your work within your church and raising a family, you handle so much! How do you handle all of this while still making time to write? 

Karen: Lots of organization and planning! Also, I am an early bird. I get up between 4 and 5 a.m. during the week. By 11 a.m., I have at least two hours of writing in, along with my morning workout, and a trip to the bus stop.

WOW: That's an impressive morning routine! That leads me to my next question - what advice do you have for writers who keep telling themselves they don’t write because they don’t have the time?

Karen: How we view and manage our time requires a shift in mindset. We all get the same number of minutes every day. One of our most valuable assets is time. Yet, we allow people and situations to steal our time. How we, as writers, see and use our time is up to us. If you dream of writing a book, you will need to manage your time.

WOW: I completely agree! Time is incredibly valuable and we must treat it that way. I couldn’t help but notice on your website you coach writers. How does coaching writers also help you with your own writing?

Karen: Coaching writers and aspiring authors is great because it allows me to understand what they want to accomplish with their writing projects. From there I research new ideas and recommend strategies for their books, which sometimes, works in promoting my book.

WOW: I love how you are able to work in promoting your book with your coaching. So, what was a lesson you learned along the way in writing this book that challenged you and changed you?

Karen: Writing a book takes time. The lesson I learned is that it’s my job to make time to write and see my books come to life.

WOW: Absolutely and that's an ongoing lesson for me too. What are you working on now? What is next for you?

Karen: I have two manuscripts in the pipeline. The first book is called, Change for His Glory, which explores how a Christian’s response to change can and should bring glory to God. The other book I’m working on focuses on how business writers can change their mindset and behaviors to improve their writing.

WOW: I'm looking forward to reading your next books! Thank you for chatting with us today and best of luck with Time to Refresh.  

----- Blog Tour Dates

November 26th @ The Muffin
What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Grab your coffee and stop by the Muffin blog where you can read an interview with author Karen Brown Tyson and enter to win a copy of her book Time to Refresh.

November 29th @ Bookworm Blog
Be sure to stop by Anjanette's blog where you can read Karen Brown Tyson's guest post on managing career, home, and ministry.

November 29th @ The Frugalista Mom
Visit Rozelyn's blog where you can read her review of Karen Brown Tyson's book Time to Refresh.

November 30th @ Amateur Twin Mom
Visit Jonelle's blog to read what she has to say about Karen Brown Tyson's book Time to Refresh.

December 3rd @ Beverley A Baird Blog
Visit Beverley's blog where Karen Brown Tyson talks about how to improve your writing life.

December 5th @ Break Even Books
Stop by Erik's blog where you can read Karen Brown Tyson's blog post about how to build your personal brand.

December 5th @  Jill Sheets Blog
Stop by Jill's blog today where you can read Karen Brown Tyson's blog post about how to improve your writing life.

December 6th @ Beverley A Baird Blog
Visit Beverley's blog again where she shares her thoughts about Karen Brown Tyson's book Time to Refresh.

December 7th @ Bookworm Blog
Visit Anjanette's blog again where she interviews author Karen Brown Tyson about her book Time to Refresh.

December 8th @ A Storybook World
Visit Deirdra's blog where you can read Karen Brown Tyson's blog post about fearless writing.

December 9th @ Reducing Overload
Stop by Peggy's blog to read author Karen Brown Tyson's post about journaling and stress management.

December 13th @ Memoir Writer's Journey
Visit Kathleen's blog where you can read Karen Brown Tyson's blog post about fearless writing.

December 13th @ M.C. Walker's Blog
Visit M.C. Walker's blog where she interviews author Karen Brown Tyson about her and her book Time to Refresh.

December 14th @ Strength 4 Spouses
Visit Wendi's blog where you can read Karen Brown Tyson's blog post about having faith during difficult times.

December 15th @ Jessica's Reading Room
Visit Jessica's blog where you can read her thoughts on Karen Brown Tyson's book Time to Refresh.

December 16th @ 12 Books
Visit Louise's blog where she shares her opinion on Karen Brown Tyson's book Time to Refresh.

December 18th @ Look to the Western Sky
Visit Margo's blog where you can read Karen Brown Tyson's blog post about parenting.

December 20th @ Strength 4 Spouses
Visit Wendi's blog again where you can read her opinion about Karen Brown Tyson's book Time to Refresh.

December 20th @ The Faerie Review
Visit Lily Shadowlyn's blog where you can read Karen Brown Tyson's blog post about journaling.

December 21st @ The World of My Imagination
Visit Nicole's blog where she shares her thoughts about Karen Brown Tyson's book Time to Refresh.

December 23rd @ Look to the Western Sky
Be sure to stop by Margo's blog again where you find out what she had to say about Karen Brown Tyson's book Time to Refresh.

December 23rd @ Coffee with Lacey
Visit Lacey's blog where you can read Karen Brown Tyson's blog post about journaling.

December 24th @ Coffee with Lacey
Stop by Lacey's blog again where she reviews Karen Brown Tyson's book Time to Refresh.

December 27th @ The Frugalista Mom
Be sure to visit Rozelyn's blog again where you can read Karen Brown Tyson's blog post about change management.

Keep up with the latest blog tours by following us on Twitter @WOWBlogTour.

*****BOOK REVIEW*****

To win a copy of the book Time to Refresh by Karen Brown Tyson, please enter the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway ends December 3rd at 12 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day on the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Meet Amy Bee, Runner Up in the Q4 2018 Creative Nonfiction Contest

Sunday, November 25, 2018
Amy Bee contributes to the Sacramento News & Review and Good Times Santa Cruz. Her work has appeared in Salon, The London Reader, and Indiana Voice Journal, as well as others. Her essays, “The Adult Section,” won the 2017 Sunlight Press Summer Creative Nonfiction Award, and “Into the System,” was a finalist in the 2018 Hunger Mountain Nonfiction contest. When she isn’t writing, Amy likes to backpack long distances and marinate in her constantly nagging existential worries. Find out about Amy’s current memoir project at or say hey at @hey_amybee.

----------interview by Renee Roberson

WOW: Your essay “Ugly Pumpkins” describes your relationship with your mother-in-law, and how you’ve been the recipient of some questionable arts and crafts projects (rejects) over the years. Do your family members ever read your writing and do you find yourself from holding back on writing about certain topics in creative nonfiction because of it?

Amy: Thank you, Renee, for taking the time to ask me such thoughtful questions.

I didn’t consider anybody’s feelings about the contents of the story until the piece was done, and once I decided I wanted to share it with the public, I read it with new eyes—Sue’s eyes. I impulsively sent her a text with the link, convinced letting her read it first was the right thing to do. I waited a terse 30 minutes before getting a single line of text back: “I didn’t know you thought the pumpkins were ugly.” Ouch.

The more I thought about my need to share it with her, the more rash it seemed to me. After all, our relationship is highly compartmentalized. If we shared too much with each other, it would get in the way of loving each other, which sounds sad, but it’s not. It’s a pragmatic way to deal with those drastically differing worldviews. I knew Sue would never stumble upon my writing on her own, so I ended up feeling like maybe forcing her to read this piece was unnecessarily hurting her and didn’t benefit anyone.

I will say, though, that Sue got over it so fast, and she believes me when I tell her I love those pumpkins (Because I do!). In fact, my husband has told me he’s overheard her referring to them as her “Ugly Pumpkins.” So maybe I overestimated the need to have someone “confront” my work, but then I also underestimated their ability to process it and be okay with whatever ramifications ensued.

So, yeah. There’s a lesson here, I’m sure. Lessons, but probably no rules. Don’t let other peoples’ feelings dictate the story that you believe to be yours, for sure. But once it’s in the world, you choose to deal with other peoples’ reactions (or potential reactions) will probably continue to be on a case by case basis.

WOW: That's such a good point, and something I know a lot of memoirists struggle with. I'm glad she has embraced the "ugly pumpkins" now after all is said and done! You are currently working on a memoir titled Angry Letters to My Mom (and other tales from a terrible daughter). Since there are so many ways to structure creative nonfiction, what devices are you using in this particular memoir? Is it all in the form of letters or do you go back and forth between letters and other types of narrative sections?

Amy: Currently, Angry Letters is a memoir told in interconnected essays, none of them actual letters. It’s a little tongue in cheek because my mom always accused me of painting her in a bad light, and in our later interactions, of being angry and willful when I wasn’t. So, the title is kind of a, “Here’s the angry dialogue you always expected of me,” claiming it because, in a way, by always accusing me, she was really controlling me, forcing me to never truly tell my version of our life together because if I did, I was hurting her. The stories in the memoir don’t really have a lot of anger, either. Probably because I spent my youth hurt, confused and lovesick for her in a way you can only be about your mom, you know?

WOW: Oh, yes I do know! Your writing has been published in places like and you’ve received several creative nonfiction awards. What do you think makes for a compelling piece of creative nonfiction? If you were to judge a contest like this one, what advice would you give contestants to make their work stand out from all the rest?

Amy: I would first say, go ask someone more practiced, experienced and successful than me. But if you continued to pester me, I’d probably overcompensate by taking your innocent question way too seriously, and elaborately dispense writerly advice in an over-excited tone until you regretted ever making eye contact with me.

Ha. I notice in some beta reading groups I belong to, a kind of unwillingness in writers to slow down. They are compelled to summarize. That first draft is for YOU, the writer, so…wallow in it. Get it out, every detail, sloooooow down. Ruminate on the pebble. Describe that guy’s petulant mustache. Digress. Navel gaze. Use adverbs. Follow every unconventional whim. I’m not even saying it needs to be shitty (my first drafts hardly ever are, *ahem*), you just need to allow yourself some freedom. And from freedom, often you’ll find clarity. Or bits of clarity, enough to get you to that second draft, third draft…ad infinitum.

WOW: I like that. Get all the flowery language and descriptions down first and then cut later. It's always easier to cut than add, I always say. Moving to our next question, backpacking is one of your passions and we’d love to hear a little about your favorite trips and how you were first drawn to it in the first place.

Amy: Here is a journal entry from hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail. Day 34: And Just Like That, The Heart Is Full Again:

“We spread out quickly along a faint path that cuts through a golden field, then along a road that leads us to a giant concrete canal filled with gorgeous blue water: The Aqueduct.

I can see far in every direction. There is a flutter in my heart. I love the view. I stop to let everyone pass me so that I can take it all in. I pull out my iPod. Music flows into my ears, and the coupling of cool weather, expansive views, and emotive melodies hits me perfectly.

I am transcended; impossibly happy. Here I am, in this world, experiencing this freedom, this beauty. I'm here! I'm alive! Look at those clouds. Just gorgeous. Look at those crazy hikers ahead of me. They’re so determined. They want to see something; feel something; know something. We all do.

I'm bursting with a rare joy, and I start to sing aloud and dance as I walk. I can be okay now, in these moments, for a little while. I'm connected to the earth, to these mountains, this desert. I am a small being meant to simply move within it, within each moment I can wring from this life.

The music demands I move faster, steadier, resolutely. I soon pass everyone, immersed in music and foot pain and the hint of a burgeoning storm to my right. There is the wind that wants to push me off the metal pipe caging precious California water. Then the hundred sheep that I think are boulders until they all turn and stare at me in unison. And the peace sign I flash at the farm workers. The music. The movement. The moments. All of it. Mine.

Camp is among the Joshua trees. The sky is alive with the impending storm, and the light paints the clouds wild, unworldly colors. It's going to rain tonight. It's going to get crazy windy. But I'm okay; here, now. I even fall asleep with a small smile. Sometimes these days happen. Even to me!”

WOW: I don't know about everyone else, but I'm ready for a good old-fashioned hike after reading that entry! Thank you.  For writers who are just getting started writing and submitting creative nonfiction, what are your recommendations for finding websites, literary journals and contests where they can test out their work?

Amy: The WOW! Women On Writing Creative Non-Fiction and Flash Fiction quarterly contests are great for everyone at all levels. Duotrope is a good place to get a general idea of where to submit. Once you follow one lit magazine on Twitter, like Brevity, they will keep you abreast of contests and submissions happening (and it’s easy to find tons of journals to follow on Twitter). It’s good to communicate with other writers, maybe form an online writing group or join a Facebook group where everyone beta reads for each other and shares links to submissions and contests.

WOW: Good tips! I find a lot of writing contest announcements on Facebook but I should probably get back on Twitter and take that advice. We wish you the luck in your current and future writing projects. Thank you for such heartfelt answers here. 
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Reconsider... and Revise

Saturday, November 24, 2018

How do I revise thee? Let me count the ways.

The first three words in one definition of "revise" is reconsider and alter. I love the idea of integrating reconsidering into the art of revision (because it is an art), since when a writer reconsiders, they weigh choices, they look at their writing with new eyes and they make decisions.

Some say I'm old-school. Many say I'm old. (They're all right.) However, imagine my surprise when I looked up an article on revision tips, and it turns out that what works for me are highly recommended strategies. Here are some of them:
  • Do a "find and replace." Do you worry you rely too often on "She raised one eyebrow" when adding gestures and facial expressions? If you look under "edit" (when it comes to Google docs) and choose "find a replace," you can type in "eyebrow" and it will highlight all the spots where that word appears. Recently Sue Bradford Edwards gave a tip about how we overuse the verb look. You know--"I looked at him," and "She looked down at the ground." Do a "find and replace" and change things up.
  • Print out the manuscript and read it aloud. I did this before I headed to a recent writing retreat because I knew I had hours and hours and hours of time to sit my butt in a chair and work on my NaNoWriMo mess from 2016 manuscript. Reading it aloud (quietly) to myself allowed me to hear what didn't work rhythmically. What words had I left out? Where were typos still hanging around?
  • Write in additional bits by hand. When I printed out my manuscript, I printed it with large side margins so there'd be plenty of room to make notes and write. I used a red pen so the notes and scratchings-out could be easily seen.
  • Keep a list of issues that need to be taken care of. I would type in notes and highlight them in yellow, so there was no way they could be ignored or forgotten. For example, I was reading Jodi Picoult's most recent novel. In it, one of her characters recalled some very specific memories about their father. I thought a bit of reminiscing--at a key spot--would be perfect in my manuscript, so I made a note: Include a string of memories about Dad, a la Jodi Picoult. Towards the end of my story, my characters leave with their red wagon. However, earlier, I didn't include what they'd done with their red wagon when they had arrived. I made myself a note: Make sure and do something with the wagon when they get there.
  • Beg a beta reader to read your manuscript. I have a few friends I'm going to entrust my manuscript to. The trust is not a component because it's such a valuable stack of papers. No. The trust is there because I am certain they will give me honest feedback. I don't need anything sugar-coated right now. I need constructive criticism.
  • Hire an editor.  I've already asked Margo Dill to edit my manuscript. Again. Her first go-around critique was disappointing  because I thought it was perfect and ready--right then--for publication. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Her first go-around feedback was spot-on because she pointed out major problems that, deep down in my heart I knew were there. Finally, her first go-around feedback pointed out the strengths of the manuscript and gave me specific suggestions on how to make those major much-need revisions.
  • Submit.  Oh. I'm supposed to send out my manuscript after I've revised it? Really? Actually, as I've been working on this story, I've compiled a list of prospective publishers. I made a separate document, and will begin submitting once the manuscript is ready. Otherwise, if I just let the stack of paper gather dust, I'll always wonder, What would have happened if...? Why put all that work into a manuscript, only to let it become a doorstop?
What are you revising these days? And do you have any secret revision strategies you'd care to share? Inquiring minds want to know...

Sioux Roslawski is a freelance writer who usually writes short slice-of-life pieces but has been working on a manuscript for the past two years... and hopes that someday, it'll get published. What does she do in her spare time (when she's not teaching middle school students)? Well, since she's a teacher, she has little spare time but she does manage to squeeze in dog rescue work and reading when she's not grading papers.

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Friday Speak Out!: Writing to Heal

Friday, November 23, 2018
by Michelle Whitt

As writers, we often think of the impact that our work has on our audience. Without question, we would say that's the very point of it all. In fact, many who truly love writing, like myself, experience pure joy from the thought of our words inspiring others and touching their core. So my next statement may seem selfish and uncommon, but I challenge you to give it some in depth thought.

The next time you write, write to heal. It does not matter what you are writing, whether for a magazine, a blog, a children's book, I challenge you to write to heal. What do I mean by this, our gift of writing should not only bring inspiration, motivation, laughter, self-reflection or a moment of escape for your audience but also for you as the writer. For women especially, every opportunity that can provide release and healing from life's journey is essential.

The first step is to choose a topic that resonates from deep within; something in your life that requires closure. Next, be ready to share the details, even the intimate ones, then out pour your words, one after another. As you write, let each sentence free you from the hurt, pains, disappointments, expectations and loss that has weighed on you. Of course, depending on the audience there will be some tailoring to be considered, however intentionally choose words to insert in the reading that speaks to your feelings during this time in your life.

The irony is that although you are writing to heal for yourself, you will accomplish the task of paying it forward. Someone else either presently going through or will go through a similar adversity and will need to read your story to help them get through their storm. Sharing your most life changing moment will deliver a message of hope to their heart. As the famous late Maya Angelou, author, poet and activist, stated, “People may forget what you said, people may forget what you did but they will always remember how you made them feel." So the next time you have an opportunity, write to heal for you and the stranger who will learn from you.

* * *
Michelle Whitt by occupation is in the field of healthcare operations for almost 15 years. She lives a humble and grateful life with her wonderful husband and son. Her writing projects were mainly in her field of healthcare for hospital certifications and projects, however she has always loved motivational writings. Within the past 2 years, she started freelance writing to inspire and empower others through her words. Whether it is healing from life experiences or just a season of change, sometimes we need help to have the faith to move forward. It is her hope to impact more lives, by writing her own book very soon.
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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Today I am Thankful: An Ode to Stan Lee

Thursday, November 22, 2018
For my Thanksgiving Day blog post, I was going to write about "things for which this writer is grateful." And there are many including this amazing community.

But I’ve decided to focus on a writer whose work I admired – Stan Lee. If you only know Lee for his cameos in the Marvel movies, you may not know that he was first and foremost a writer. Before there were graphic novels there were comic magazines. By the 1950s Lee was writing a variety of comics including romance, Westerns, humor, science fiction, medieval adventure, horror, and suspense.

How does this impact us? When he got the chance to premier a line of superheroes, he introduced something never before seen, flawed heroes who were just a human as they were heroic. We employ this technique whenever we create a heroine who has a flaw.

Three years ago, my husband and I took the MOOC “The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact on Pop Culture.” Led by the Smithsonian, it was offered through EdX and included guest lectures by Stan Lee. Yes, I saved every single one of those lectures. What impressed me most was his enthusiasm.

In Lee’s mind, comic magazines weren’t a lesser literary form. They reflected the values and sensibilities of the larger culture. They gave people a chance to explore the same themes found in novels and film. All that differed was the delivery. Writers who think they could whip up just anything for a comic magazine reader had another thing coming. “If you figure that ‘anything goes’ in a comic magazine, a study of any recent copy of Daredevil Comics or Bat Man will show you that a great deal of thought goes into every story; and there are plenty of gimmicks, sub-plots, human interest angles, and the other elements that go into the making of any type of good story, whether it be a comic strip or a novel.”

That quote comes from an article he wrote that appeared in Writer’s Digest in 1947. In “There’s Money in Comics!,” he gave a lot of writing advice that applies to all writers even today. Grab your reader from the start. Make sure your story has a logical flow from scene to scene. Your dialogue has to be solid and realistic. Don’t write down to your reader. Study your markets because what one finds exciting another will consider too fanciful.

Even today I’m grateful that I took the opportunity to study the evolution of the superhero. Have a written a superhero? Not yet but I am playing with an idea. Graphic novels fascinate me because I’ve seen how they pull young readers in as if by magic.

There are so many things that have influenced my writing. I hope that you too have the chance to learn from someone who makes you think about ways to improve your work and your world. To quote Stan Lee - Excelsior!*


*Ever upward.

To find out more about Sue Bradford Edwards' writing, visit her blog, One Writer's Journey.  Sue is also the instructor for Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults. The next session begins January 14th, 2019.
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How Searching for an Agent is Like Online Dating

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

I’m only a little over a month into my search for an agent, but I’m starting to remember why I have never followed through on the process before. Because now I’m realizing how much the agent search closely resembles online dating, especially in this day and age. Here are a few observations I’ve made so far:

You are looking for the perfect match. First, I’ve begun an “agent wish list.” I opened up an Excel spreadsheet, and started pulling agent names from current and back issues of writing trade magazines. I’ve looked for interviews with agents on social media, because those agents are often looking for new authors. In my spreadsheet, I put the agent name, the name of their agency, contact information, and what they are looking for. These profiles almost always include a smiling photo of an agent. I can’t help but wonder if these agents are also googling me when they receive my submission. Are they scrolling through my blog, checking out some of my published work online, looking at my images on Google? Maybe.

You shouldn’t try to pretend to be someone else. I try to be respectful of an agent’s time, much like I would try to be respectful to a potential suitor if I was venturing into the online dating world. If I came across a profile where a guy said he really preferred six-foot-tall blondes who enjoyed reading Tom Clancy, I probably wouldn’t reach out. I’m a five-foot tall brunette who isn’t much into spy novels (Gillian Flynn is more my speed) so why would I waste someone’s time? For example, if an agent says they are looking for great examples of world building and clever mythological characters, I leave them off my list. That’s not what I write, and I don’t want to waste anyone’s time sending them the opening pages of a book that features two teenaged ghosts who are trying to figure out how they became trapped in the “in between.”

You try to find common interests. I have a confession to make. There’s an agent on my wish list I haven’t queried yet. It’s because she is so much like me that I KNOW my current project isn’t going to be the one that catches her attention. She wants something that is going to pull her away from a Law and Order: Special Victims Unit marathon and she’s fascinated by child psychopaths and serial killers. I’m pretty much her girl, but I haven’t written *that* book yet. When I do, she will be the first person I query! In the meantime, I have to admit I’m drawn to agents who prefer the same types of authors I do, the ones who are obsessed with true crime podcasts, and the ones I can really connect with in an introductory letter.

Unfortunately, this time around, this whole searching for an agent process seems even more complicated. Every single agent or literary agency asks for something different, and because of this, each submission has to be completely personalized. So, forget just personalizing a query letter; you must read submission guidelines diligently. Query letter, one-page synopsis, first 2,000 words of the book? Check. Query letter, three-sentence synopsis, first 10 pages. Check. Submit through an online form that asks for all of the above as well as my social media accounts, well, okay.

So far, I’ve queried five agents and gotten a polite rejection from one. In the meantime, I’m trying to stay busy by writing new short stories, entering a few contests, and getting back to revising a suspense/thriller young adult novel I wrote a few years ago during National Novel Writing Month. Wish me luck!

What types of qualities would your dream agent possess?

Renee Roberson is an award-winning writer and editor who also works as a marketing director for a nonprofit theatre company. She’s not interested in online dating as she’s been married for 18 years, but she is looking for her perfect agent match! Visit her website at
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Writing Blurbs That Sizzle and Sell by Karen S. Wiesner (Book Review)

Tuesday, November 20, 2018
You need this book! If you're a novelist, you need this book. If you're a self-published author, you need this book. If you're a memoir writer, you...Well, you get the point.

Writing Blurbs That Sizzle and Sell by Karen S. Wiesner will help you write copy for your query letter and your website, for Amazon and a book's back cover, for press releases and marketing emails. The advice in this book will even improve your writing--how you tell your story, how you plot your book, and how you think about your reader. It has plenty of helpful examples and resources, exercises and checklists.

So let's start at the beginning. Karen explains the term blurb and where it came from; but for this book's purposes, she refers to "the very short summary of the story plot" as a blurb. She says there is a "two-fold truth" when it comes to blurbs, and those are:
a) a blurb shouldn't tell the story: it only tells the potential buyer about the story in hopes that he or she will part with hard-earned money to read what's inside, and b) the purpose of a blurb is to sell the book. 

Then she goes on to explain how to write a blurb for many different types of books, including genre books, literary fiction, an entire series (you can have a blurb for each book and then for the entire series--and according to Karen, you should!), nonfiction books such as self-help or humor, anthologies (Karen is very detailed!), and children's books. She ends the how-to section of her book (part one) with a chapter on blurb dos and don'ts, which gives great advice for writing the best blurb you can and practical applications of this advice.

Did I mention there were plenty of examples? I love examples! This book is like a workshop. The value you will receive for the price of this book feels like you have found a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I'm not exaggerating here! (smiles) The appendices (or part two) of the book start on page 211 and go to page 382, and it is packed full of evaluations of blurbs that are already published, exercises for blurb crafting and revision, and worksheets and checklists she mentions during part one of the book.

So I used Karen's advice to write a blurb for the novel I've been going on about on The Muffin and on Facebook. (Today, I hit over 75,000 words on my WIP!) Since I talk about   overshare, people are often asking me: what's your book about? I didn't have a good answer and tried poorly to describe it, and then I was worried that maybe I didn't know what the novel was about. Maybe it was horrible and rambling, and no one would ever want to read it.

But Karen's blurb book and her advice saved the day. She says a blurb is made up of two parts: Who and What. For example, here's one she uses for the movie, Spectre:  "A cryptic message from M16 spy James Bond's past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization." The who is James Bond and the what is he will follow a cryptic message and reveal this evil organization.

So here's the blurb I wrote for my WIP based on Karen's book. My main character's name is Gwen, but she's not well-known like James Bond, so I used descriptors instead of her name:

A 30-something single mom has no idea who she is after loving a narcissist and enabling her alcoholic sister since she was 18. Will she figure it out before she loses her career, her best friend, and--especially, the best guy ever? 

Then I didn't stop there--I wrote one for each of my already published books, which I plan to use on my website soon! Take this one for example for my historical fiction middle-grade, Finding My Place :
Before she's ready, a 13-year-old girl must take care of her younger brother and sister while living in a cave with a nosy, mean neighbor during the Siege of Vicksburg in 1863. 

I'm so lucky to have received this book in return for a review. I will be recommending this to all of my writer friends. So, check out Writing Blurbs That Sizzle and Sell! here. If you need a gift for a writer, this is perfect--or put it on your own holiday list!

Margo L. Dill is a writer, editor, and teacher, living in St. Louis, MO. She teaches a novel course for WOW! each month, which includes 4 critiques of your work-in-progress. To check out more about her, go to To check out her next class starting December 7, go to the WOW! classroom. 
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Why I Resisted the Pull of NaNoWriMo

Saturday, November 17, 2018
Photo via Pixabay
I was tempted. Very tempted. In fact, I have something to confess - for three days I tried it. What is it that I speak of?  NaNoWriMo. Fellow writers, it's not just the season of giving and expressing thankfulness, it's also the season where writer's bleed out 50,000 words during the month of November. And I almost couldn't help myself.

But why did I resist? Well, one weakness I must admit that I am still trying to conquer is my love affair with the first draft. Like a wild-eyed street artist, I can type, text, and handwrite with the best of them. Short stories get stuffed into notebooks. Drafts lay in wait on my computer and even on my phone. But when I'm done? Like a careless lover, I toss them to the side. I forget them. I don't call. I unfriend these stories and have even blocked one or two from contacting me again.

The temptation to NaNoWriMo pulled me in, but I stopped myself. My personal mission this year has been to conquer my weakness in rewriting. It's been a long battle and I've run into a lot of excuses along the way. Yet, I am proud to say, I have stuck with it. I'm not where I'd like to be, but I am almost there and I'm in a much better place than where I've been in the past.

So, on November 4th, I stopped my NaNo urge and continued rewriting one of two short stories that have run the gauntlet with me this year. My personal goal this November may not be 50,000 words but it's to end the month with two short stories I have edited and can *gasp* *scream* share with others.

For those who are NaNoWriMo'ing, my hat's off to you and maybe this time next year I can actually NaNoWriMo with a much healthier relationship with my stories. If you are in a similar boat as me, and using this month to edit and rewrite, the lull of the NaNo siren is a strong one and many lyrical sailors have been pulled toward its cries. So resist that urge as strongly as you can.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo this month? Or are you editing and rewriting like me?

Be sure to follow Nicole Pyles and her writing journey on Twitter @BeingTheWriter.
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Friday Speak Out!: Why Am I Writing This?!”

Friday, November 16, 2018
by Jane Petreycik

Why do we write? Really? Why? That might be one of the more compelling questions of the century, if you ask me. For every writer, the answer is different, but also possibly the same.

A little over a year ago, an individual walked right out of my life, and a gazillion other people’s lives, never to return. I was devastated. It was like he had died. Okay, so he did recently reappear for about an hour, ironically for a funeral he was obligated to attend, but now he’s gone for good. And I was heartbroken all over again.

I consider myself mostly a fantasy writer. However, I am driven to write a faith-based screenplay inspired by this. Naturally, the story is changed up, a lot, but not the emotion behind it. But why am I even writing it? Maybe because it’s cathartic in a way. Maybe I can take the sadness and pain and transform them into a beloved Oscar-winning screenplay (sorry, I diverted to fantasy writing here). Or maybe it’s to get ideas and stuff out of my head and on the page, where they belong. While my character’s story isn’t exactly my story, while what happens in my script won’t be exactly what happened to me, I can grab snippets from life to make the script “real”. And so this fantasy writer is venturing into this new territory.

Again I ask – Why do we write? Why do we do this to ourselves? I don’t have to write this piece. I could write a nice little fairy tale adaptation and be fine. But I wouldn’t be satisfied. I’ve had so many perfectly good ideas that I’ve ended up putting aside, because they weren’t doing anything for me at the time. But this idea just isn’t going away.

So, I think we write ultimately because we have a story to tell. I have a story to tell. Writing this might be stepping way outside of my comfort zone, but I’m still delving into these uncharted waters. Doubtless we’ve all been told by someone to “write what you know”. Amen to that. I still might write that fairy tale adaptation someday, but at the present moment, I’m sticking with what I know.

* * *
Jane Petreycik is currently a freelancer. Her first screenplay placed Runner Up in the Acclaim Scripts screenplay competition and was an Official Finalist in the New York Screenplay Contest. She is now working on another script.
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, November 15, 2018
I’m not sure if you’ve missed it, but Nina LaCour, author of We Are Okay and Hold Still, has started a podcast.

I had the pleasure of meeting her two years ago when she visited my school to talk about her latest novel and writing in general. She was lovely and intelligent and warm. My students – especially those who took the time to read one of her books and participate in a small group meeting – loved talking to her. I geeked out in typical Beth fashion because – duh – she’s a famous author of young adult fiction, so I hung on her every word and convinced myself we’d be friends forever. While the friendship wish didn’t pan out, I did get a Twitter follow, so I feel like that’s a win.

But I digress. Her podcast is called Keeping a Notebook, and I’m already hooked. Each episode is short – no longer than 12 minutes - but she focuses on different aspects of writing. Her first podcast discusses how she came up with the title, and why keeping a notebook is important. Another episode discusses what to do when you feel stuck in your writing. Her voice is inviting, she includes music and sound effects, and I’ve found inspiration in each of her episodes.

I’ve listened to John Green’s podcast Anthropocene as well, and while it’s not writing focused, hearing his words reminds me that even reviews of items like the Canada Goose, Diet Dr. Pepper and Super Mario Kart can be poetic.

And that’s the truth. While a podcast involves listening and not reading, these authors are still writing the podcasts. You can hear the description in their stories, their careful word choice, their style. I’d never thought about a podcast as a written work before, but these authors make me look at it in a new light.

I ultimately have three take-aways as I reflect on podcasts for writers.

One is that writing comes in so many forms, and we shouldn’t neglect to move forward or try a different vehicle to express our voice.

Another is that a podcast is an excellent promotional tool. The more I listen to Nina LaCour speak, the more I’m drawn to reading her books. And it’s lovely to hear her calm, rich voice, which helps me imagine how she might read her own novels.

Lastly, we can learn a lot as writers by listening to podcasts about writing, especially if they’re hosted by talented, successful writers. She’s sparked some new ideas for me and has, in fact, inspired me to go back to keeping a notebook.

No matter how you use an author's podcast, I urge you to consider them, either as a learning tool, a promotional tool, or as a way of trying something new as a writer.

Bethany Masone Harar is an author, teacher, and blogger, who does her best to turn reluctant readers into voracious, book-reading nerds. Check out her blog here and her website here.

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Kyle is a frat boy

Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Naming characters is difficult. For instance, after months of trying out names for a young female protagonist, I finally came up with Claire Randall, a name that flows off the tongue and sounds sophisticated enough for her to be interesting, curious and smart. Perfect, right? Yes, that's probably why Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series features 20th-century nurse Claire Randall. Oops!

Names are important, and can be used to explain part of a character's backstory, or establish a connection to a beloved relative or mysterious past. Nancy hates her name because she believes she was named for her father's former girlfriend. Stephen is happy to have a close connection to the other five Stephens in his family.

One effective strategy is to use unusual or unique names for two or three main characters, then more common names for minor characters. This method helps make the main characters memorable. But if it's too strange, and you're worried about readers pronouncing it incorrectly, then write a scene where someone mangles it, and is corrected with a phonetical pronunciation.

Names also may have a connotation of wealth, or class. Some dystopian and fantasy novels equate simple names with low status, while long names denote high status. In Victoria Aveyard's Red Queen series, Mare Barrow is a peasant, while the ruling class uses names like Elara Merandusm, Queen of Norta.

Names associated with someone's profession or hobby is called an aptronym. Marilyn Fish, the oceanographer, makes an appointment with her podiatrist Dr. Foote. Hunter has lots of deer heads on the walls of his man cave.

But this practice can go too far. When I wanted to name a geologist Dr. Rocky Rockstone, everyone in my writer's group said it reminded them of the Flintstones. OK, point taken. (But I still referred to him that way in my mind, because I ruled that universe!)

Regardless, names can spotlight characteristics like age, personality or stereotypes. For example:

Kyle is a frat boy.
Alyssa is Kyle's girlfriend.
Bob is a dad.
Rose is an older woman who goes to church.
Melba also goes to church, but comes directly from the casino.
Junior works in the family business.
Aurora is a princess.
Stanley is practical.

In the end, a name is what you want it to be. Last year, after spending too much time debating a character name, I asked my husband for advice. "I don't pay attention to them," he said. "I always skip over all the names in a book."

So, don't put too much pressure on yourself because writing the character is more important than naming one. And you may want to Google it first.

Mary Horner teaches communications at St. Louis and St. Charles Community College, and definitely needs to rename one of her characters in her unpublished novel.
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Forget the Sugarplums...

Tuesday, November 13, 2018
These days I ain't got sugarplums dancin' in my head. No, I'm daydreaming about a publishing contract.

Of course, I'm not quite there yet. My manuscript will be finished in the next two weeks (there's just a few places I need to rethread a tiny storyline and a little flashback I need to put in place), and then I'm sending it to my favorite editor-for-hire, Margo Dill, who's agreed to take a second stab at it. (What a glutton for punishment she is.)

Recently I had the pleasure of sitting next to Pat Wahler at an author event. Pat has three books out right now. (Children, can you say "overachiever"?) I had just finished reading her I am Mrs. Jesse James and picked her brain.

Pat makes the path to publishing look like a walk in the park on a flat, tree-lined trail. She's that talented and that much of a professional. However, if I'm really really lucky, I might be faced with choices in the next year or two. Will I bust my butt to get a traditional publishing deal? Or, will I form my own imprint?

I picked a bit more meat off Pat's brain, and these are some of the tidbits she offered up:

  • With traditional publishing, the publisher puts out the money for editing, the cover design and layout, the ISBN number, printing and so on.
  • When a writer forms their own imprint, the author needs to pay for an editor/proofreader, an artist to design the cover, and someone to do the interior design and layout. Of course, this also means the author has the final say when it comes to decisions. The title. The look of the cover. The printer.
  • By taking either path--traditional publisher or creating an imprint--a writer becomes rich  internationally famous exhausted, because the author has to do the marketing. Pat's set up book signings and written press releases. She's created book marks, business cards and advertisements. Multiply that times three (since she has three brand-new books out) and what do you have? You have a writer who's working on their next book, because according to Pat, the best way to sell a book is to publish a new one.
Pat left me with some final words that made publishing fairies dance in my head. She said that when a writer's book is finally published, "Savor the moment--worth all the time, trouble and money it took to get there--when you can officially say, 'It's true. I'm officially an author.'"

I look forward to that moment...

Sioux is a middle school teacher, a dog rescuer, a wife, mother and grammy... along with being a frustrated writer. She's in awe of her writer friends--some write poetic prose, some write historical fiction that's so authentic, it doesn't seem like fiction--and hopes to someday join them with her own book.

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Son of Saigon by David Myles Robinson - blog tour and giveaway

Monday, November 12, 2018
Hank and Norm were living the good life: two friends with plenty of money, homes in a lovely California retirement town, and no problems except for the boredom that felt almost fatal. Then Mai came into the picture, the love of Hank’s life during his CIA days in Saigon, desperately needing his help to save the son he’d never known he had. Boredom was over, as Hank and Norm hit the road, following the few clues Mai could give them in search of a man who desperately wants not to be found. What they find is a slew of lies and hidden truths, strange characters, improbable danger that has them fighting to survive, and the happy lesson that their lives are far from over.

Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Terra Nova Books (June 1, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1948749009
ISBN-13: 978-1948749008

Son of Saigon is now available to purchase on Amazon as an e-book and print, Barnes and Noble, and IndieBound.

Book Giveaway Contest!
To win a copy of the book Son of Saigon by David Myles Robinson, please enter via Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post. Giveaway ends on November 19th at 12 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day on the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!

About the Author:
David Myles Robinson grew up in Pasadena, CA. He holds degrees from San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco School of Law. After practicing law for thirty-eight years in Honolulu, Hawaii, he retired with his wife, former Honolulu judge Marcia Waldorf, to Taos, NM. Robinson is the author of three previous novels: legal thrillers Tropical Lies and Tropical Judgments, and Unplayable Lie, a golf-related suspense novel.

Find David Online:





Interview by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto

WOW: David, I have enjoyed so many of your books. Let me begin by thanking your for choosing WOW! to help promote and spread the word about Son of Saigon! It's a pleasure working with you. I'm sure I asked this same question about your other books as well - I always find myself wondering: What sparked you to write this particular story with such sensitive themes?

David: I’m getting up there in years. I had just become eligible for Medicare and like my protagonist, Hank, I had begun to think more and more about mortality. At the same time, living in Taos, NM, I regularly ski and golf with friends who are well into their 70s. I decided to write a book about a couple of old guys. Assuming you have your health, you can either drift from day to day, overly aware of your age, as Hank and Norm were doing at the start of the novel, or you can decide to kick ass and keep on living. That’s what Hank and Norm ultimately chose to do. Because Vietnam had been a part of everyone’s life who is my age, it was a natural fit to include it in the story line. Basically, I refer to SON OF SAIGON as my middle finger salute to getting old.

WOW: That's awesome! I'm hoping to be a healthy old lady someday and really laughed quite a bit at the dialogue between Hank and Norm. This was a very enjoyable read.

How does social media play info your author marketing plan?

David: I think social media is critical for an unknown author with an independent publisher. I do have people who help me with marketing as I’d prefer to spend my time writing or otherwise having fun, but at their urging I try to post new blogs on my website on a fairly regular basis. I have a separate Facebook page for my writing. Blogs like this are a big help.

WOW: I love that social media even played a part in Son of Saigon - I kept thinking how hip and smart Hank and Norm are! How is retirement? Where was your most recent trip and what spurred you to go there?

David: Retirement is even better than I’d ever envisioned it would be. My wife and I are lucky in that we have enough money to do the things we love to do. This last year we travelled to Botswana (our twelfth trip to Sub-Saharan Africa), did a road trip to the west coast, went to Hawaii where I played in an annual charity golf event on Maui, and then did a river cruise in Europe. After living 40 years in Hawaii, I love road trips, and the road trip Hank and Norm set out on in the Sprinter RV was me living vicariously through them.

WOW: I'm seriously living vicariously through YOU right now - I can't wait to be retired! Sounds like you are still finding time for one fun activity each day (or more than one apparently). Any recent new found hobbies or loves as a result of your daily fun?

David: Probably too much fun. Taos is a wonderful outdoor lifestyle. In the winter I try to ski every other day and the rest of the year I golf, play pickle ball, hike, or travel. That is, when writing doesn’t get in the way.

WOW: Did you do anything differently this time as far as writing or publishing goes? What advice can you pass along?

David: I write because I love to write, and I would do it even if I wasn’t getting published. But it’s nice to have an audience and to watch the readership grow, which is why I invest in marketing people. I tend to write in spurts. If I can get engrossed in my story I will write for hours at a time, to the exclusion of all the other fun stuff I do. The hardest part is when I have the basic story written and it is time to roll up my sleeves and begin the long and sometimes onerous process of rewriting. The best advice I can pass along is far from original with me: write for yourself, not for others. Hopefully at some point what you have written out of love of writing will resonate with others.

"Write for yourself, not for others. Hopefully at some point what you have written out of love of writing will resonate with others."

WOW: I can see how you get engrossed in writing - I get engrossed in reading your work. I appreciate all your writing and re-writing, your books have always been very polished which makes them a joy to read! I hope you're working on the next book?

David: I have two novels currently in progress, which is unusual for me. I think it’s because I haven’t yet fully committed to either one. After all the traveling I’ve done this year, I need to reread the drafts to decide which one I should focus on. I also have a completed book of travel stories I’m trying to sell. I may decide to self-publish it.

WOW: I'm looking forward to reading your next book - regardless of how it is published, so instead of saying good bye, how about we say so long...for now? I have a feeling we will be hearing from you in the new year (if not sooner - hint hint)! Thank you for your time and for sharing with us today.

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

Monday, November 12th (TODAY) @ The Muffin
Author Interview & Giveaway

Tuesday, November 13th @ Cathy Stucker’s Selling Books
Cathy Stucker interviews retired lawyer and successful author David Myles Robinson about his latest novel Son of Saigon.

Wednesday, November 14th @ Bring on Lemons with Crystal Otto
Crystal Otto shares her thoughts on the latest novel by David Myles Robinson – is it a lemon or sweet lemonade? Readers can’t wait to find out!

Tuesday, November 20th @ Coffee with Lacey
Lacey reviews Son of Saigon by David Myles Robinson and shares her thoughts with readers at Coffee with Lacey. Don’t miss an opportunity to learn more about this page turning novel!

Wednesday, November 21st @ Bring on Lemons with Cathy Hansen
Wisconsin educator, mother, and business owner Cathy Hansen collaborates with her teenage daughter as they review and discuss the latest novel by David Myles Robinson. See what these ladies have to say about Son of Saigon.

Thursday, November 22nd @ Lisa Haselton
Lisa Haselton interviews David Myles Robinson about his latest work – Son of Saigon.

Friday, November 23rd @ Author Anthony Avina
Fellow author Anthony Avina pens his fascinating review of David Myles Robinson’s latest novel Son of Saigon.

Tuesday, November 27th @ Beverley A. Baird
Beverley A Baird reviews Son of Saigon by David Myles Robinson. Readers won’t want to miss an opportunity to learn more about this interesting novel.

Tuesday, December 4th @ World of My Imagination
Nicole Pyles delights readers at World of My Imagination as she reviews the latest page turner by David Myles Robinson. You won't want to miss Nicole's thoughts about Son of Saigon.

Wednesday, December 5th @ Bella Donna’s Books with Dawn Thomas
Dawn Thomas reads and reviews the latest novel by David Myles Robinson - stop by Bella Donna's Books to learn more about Son of Saigon.

Thursday, December 6th @ Choices with Madeline Sharples
Fellow author Madeline Sharples reviews Son of Saigon by David Myles Robinson. Don’t miss her thoughts about this latest novel.

Thursday, December 6th @ A Day in the Life of Mom
Ashley Bass reviews David Myles Robinson's latest page turner, Son of Saigon.
Don't miss her insight and thoughts on this exciting new book!

Thursday, December 6th @ Cheekypee Reads and Reviews
Don't miss Cheekypee's review of David Myles Robinson's latest Son of Saigon.

Friday, December 7th @ To Write or Not to Write
Sreevarsha Sreejith reviews Son of Saigon. Don't miss this opportunity to hear from Sreevarsha and visit To Write or Not to Write.


To win a copy of the book Son of Saigon by David Myles Robinson, please enter via Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post. Giveaway ends on November 19th at 12 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day on the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!

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