April 26, 2009

Hanford Bookfest

Sunny Frazier did an outstanding job putting together the Hanford Bookfest. You never know how these book events will go. Some are okay, others are not good at all, and some turn out wonderfully well. This was in the wonderfully well category.

The venue was great--plenty of room for all the writers (nearly 40) and for people to roam without being crowded.

Though the walk-in crowd wasn't large, people did wander in on a rather steady basis. I have a feeling if this is repeated next year, there will be far more attending.

I had a great time. My spot was right between Sunny and Sue McGinty from Los Osos. Both are Sisters in Crime and members of PSWA. We got to meet two new members of PSWA while we were there.

Authors who so desired could get up and talk about whatever they wanted for 10 minutes. Of course it's the perfect time to give an elevator pitch about your book. I told a bit about what led me to writing about law enforcement subjects--both No Sanctuary and Kindred Spirits are about people in law enforcement. I ended by confessing I was a big liar when I was a kid, now I tell lies for money.

Two of my critique partners came along, Shirley Hickman, who has two published books and Lisa Duncan who isn't published yet but was inspired by her day among writers.

The good thing about bookfests is people expect to see authors with books displayed and offered for sale and they want to talk to you and find out about you and your work. Some of them may even want to buy.

It was fun to see what people had done to display their work and the enticements they had on their table to help people linger. Homemade cookies were offered as well as tangerines--and chocolate candy--always a good treat. Sunny had small boxes of raisins with labels with her book cover.

I never think to bring food, but I always have business cards and a guest book for people to put their email addresses if they'd like to receive my monthly newsletter.

Sometimes I give away one of my mass market paperbacks in the Tempe Crabtree series--but I didn't have room in my cart--nor did I bring my husband to help out.

Once again, thank you Sunny for a great day!

Marilyn a.k.a. F. M. Meredith

You can see what my table looks like in the above photo.

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April 19, 2009

The Never-Ending Novel

The K C Writers would like to welcome Guest Blogger Melissa Whittle. Thanks for joining us and sharing your own brand of insights into the writing world. Be sure to catch Melissa on her blog "Brain Clutter."

The Never-Ending Novel

This blog is for people who have “writer's block” or lost of motivation to keep writing. I'm confessing and spilling my secrets...

I recently signed up on the Romance Divas forum to participate in the Mentor Program. The purpose is to push your comfort zone and become a better writer. I'm all for that. Matter of fact I've craved it for the past year.

The downside? Le sigh. I'm still on chapter 2. Usually when I get an idea for a book and have the book mapped out in my head, I'm off to the races. The book is as good as finished. Now this usually happens around 20-30k of the novel. I'm 5k into this sucker and I know the purpose of this novel. I know what needs to happen. At this point there are no surprises.


Okay, I admit, I'm being a little dramatic, but the point is the same—this book has a long way to being finished. I haven't even hit the first turning point. I really want someone to come shoot me like ol' yeller and put me out of my misery.

So, I've made a list of ways to get me out of the slump * recommended for people who have yet to finish a novel *

Read a crappy book.
If you have thrown out the novel, go in search of it again. Re-read it, and bask in the glow of it's awfulness.
Play spider solitaire until your eyeballs start to go dry.
Clean the house. When I say clean, I mean getting an old toothbrush and attacking the baseboards.
Research the process of “how toenails grow” or better yet, “how grass grows”
Make it your goal to leave a comment on every blog that exists.
Volunteer to clean someone else's house since yours is now clean.
Feng Shui your clean house. This also involves research.

Now if you've reached number seven and still don't want to open that WIP and write, I can't help you. I gave up less than half-way through crappy book. Finishing my book wasn't as much work after getting to chapter five.

* okay, serious author hat on * Know you are not the only author struggling to get to The End. The finish line may seem miles away, but I can tell you it is worth it. Best advice I've ever received, and it's so simple, butt in chair, hands on keyboard.

I'm off to take my own advice.

What tips do you have for getting out of a writing slump?

~Melissa Blue and I'm out~


April 12, 2009

Leave The Gun, Take The Cannoli

Ever find yourself thinking, "Holy Crap! Is this #@$% really happening to me?"
Well, last Friday night that was my moment and I had no Dove Chocolate, just a Tuna Melt, a Cop, a Mobster and a Writing Group.

So, what would a stay-at-home mom have in common with the original Goodfella and a cop? We all believe- if you want something, you gotta go get it!

The desire I have to become a published author is intense. I want to be there...bad. So, I listen with both ears and absorb everything I hear. And that, my friends, is what has brought me to where I am today.

Where is that? You might ask. Well, let me enlighten you.....

I've started to carve out my own little corner in the Big 'Ole Writing Pond. Sure, I'm just a pebble, but that doesn't mean my tiny ripple can't make a wave.

Over the last month or so, I've dedicated a large amount of my writing time to networking. Yes, I've sacrificed progress on my book, BUT here's what I accomplished by 'going to the mattresses.'

I started lurking in romance writing Yahoo Groups. I spent a day or so just reading the posts, gleaning information and feeling the vibe before I jumped in, but once I did- I never looked back.

The YaHoo Groups, like Sweet and Sensual Romances, introduced me to a wide variety of writers from published to prepublished. By following their links, I found blogs full of interesting topics, but all geared toward the same thing: getting published! Then, I had an Ahh-Haa moment. Why not start my own blog? BUT dedicate the darn thing to helping other new writers by interviewing published authors! What better advice is there than straight from the horse's mouth? Enter The Lovestruck Novice.


Now, I've got authors lined up clear into June- all willing to 'pay it forward' and help the new kids. As a bonus, they get free promo space in return. Another quick project was my other blog, Passion and Patter. I pick books that interest me and give the blurbs a rewrite with my own quirky style. I include the book cover pic and a link to the publishers page for the book. And I do all of this without a book of my own to promote. But there is method to my madness.


When I get published, I will have a circle of friends who might be willing to plug my book. (Kind of channeling Don Corleone, eh?) It's all about laying a foundation.

But the biggest and I mean biggest coup from all of my networking is...(drum roll) I have a publisher interested in my WIP. Yes! You read that "write" my Work-In-Progress! How? Simple, I posted my Prologue in a Yahoo Group's WIP Folder. And the group? One I learned of from an author I interviewed for my blog. Who I met on a group!

Amazing how fate works. I would never have thought my getting into the mix would be placing me in the position I'm in now. Waiting and hoping. Sure, it could all be for nothing. BUT at least I know the proof is in the pudding.

Networking is Necessary. After all, my call to the library those months ago landed me suppin' with Denny Griffin and Henry HiLl. Not just pop icons but published authors too.

If you're on the fence about "getting out there" before you've got the book deal in hand, think back to Ole Blue Eyes and one of his great hits. Writing is 'Nice Work If You Can Get It and You Can Get It If You Try."

Author Denny Griffin

Goodfella Henry Hill

April 5, 2009

Web Ozone

Do you My Space? Do you Face Book? Do you Twitter?
Do you lurk? Are you hooked? Maybe you are addicted.

In our mad dash to get our name, face, or book out there, are we sacrificing our writing to the online world?

The journey our writing and our book takes has changed a lot over the last few years. Not only do we have to write a great novel and convince someone to publish it, we also have to be able to sell it. Even before we submit to a publisher we need to have a list of where we can be found. Just having an email address and a website is not enough.

These days you need a blog and a profile, a My Space and another profile or a Face Book and lots of friends, even if you have no idea who any of them are, except the friend who talked you into friending them in the first place.

Web crawler has a new voyeuristic meaning as you sit and read the latest comments on all the sites you follow but don’t have time to post to.
I have tried to keep up with the all the latest online fads but I lose time for my writing. I have no one to blame but myself. The temptation sits staring back at me. Like most people my computer is always on and only a little nudge of the mouse brings it to life.

A fellow writer has the perfect solution. She has two computers, one strictly for writing that is not connected to the outside world, and one for everything else. For her this works well.
I only have one computer to work with and it is a daily struggle to avoid the temptations of the Web. I have to choose carefully where to go and what sites to follow, keeping in mind how they can help me to become a better writer and pave the way to future publication. So I just say no to My Space and Twitter and I’m still putting off Face Book but I know I will give in soon.

Are you buried in the ozone of the Web?
How do you control the urge to lurk?

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