Meet Author Lynn Voedisch
WOW! had the chance to host Lynn on her Virtual Blog Tour today.
Relax, sit back and get to know Lynn.
WOW: First, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Lynn: I’m a life-long writer and take it pretty seriously. I knew what I wanted to do for a living since I was 10 years old. I used to hide under the covers with a flashlight and read Nancy Drew books late at night. To me, writing a book was the one thing I knew I could do well. But I was sidetracked by journalism to make a living.
Now, I’m freelancing, have written three novels, and working on a third. It’s a dream come true. When not writing I’m playing tennis.
WOW: What made you put that first story/poem down on paper?
Lynn: As I said, I’ve been a writer since I was 10. We had free writing exercises in fifth grade and my teacher took notice of my little stories and praised them to my parents. I wrote my first “book,” called “Laura’s Mysterious House” In his class. It didn’t have a very good ending, though. I was disappointed with that.
WOW: What do your family/friends think about your writing? Are they supportive?
Lynn: My family was all for my journalism, but seemed skeptical when I wrote my first novel, Excited Light. I think they were humoring me, as were most of my newspaper friends. I had an editor who really thought I was joking when I talked about fiction. Boy, did that ever make me mad!
But when Excited Light actually came out in book form, my family went nuts. Everyone who is possibly related to me has a copy. A cousin came up to me at a family party a couple weeks ago, and said “You’re the first person in our family to ever have completed and published a book.” He was thrilled.
My friends? Some are still skeptical, to tell you the truth. Most have bought my book, but I think I still need to convince them that I am a real novelist.
WOW: For you, what is most frustrating about writing? Most rewarding?
Lynn: I tend to repeat words, which drives me nuts. I also make certain typos that I read right over when I edit, so I have to give my drafts to my sister, who’s a professional and eagle-eyed editor. You wouldn’t believe how much she catches.
The most rewarding thing is seeing my stories touch someone. I’ve gotten many heartwarming reactions to Excited Light, and it makes me excited to know I can inspire someone that way.
WOW: Do you read much? What kinds of books inspire you to write – if any? Favorite authors?
Lynn: Oh gosh, I read like crazy. A book a week. I think any writer who doesn’t read is cutting him or herself off from new ideas, different ways to express themselves, even contemporary style. We don’t write the way D.H. Lawrence did, for instance. I think if a ms. came into an agent’s office in his style it would be rejected—rightly or wrongly. It’s just that style keeps on changing.
There’s another reason to read, too. We should be supporting other writers and keeping the market strong.
Inspirational books for me are anything by Alice Hoffman or Neil Gaiman. I also just went crazy for Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. That was a tour de force! Another favorite writer is Robertson Davies, who died about a decade ago, but I still return to him now and then because his writing is so delightful.
WOW: Do you take most of your ideas from life? Or your imagination? A mix? (Do you hate when people ask this?
Lynn: No, I don’t hate it; it’s a legitimate question. I think a little of both. People think that certain characters I write are based on them, but they aren’t. I made up everyone I’ve ever written about. The characters just pop fully formed into my head. The only character who was drawn from real life is the boy protagonist from Excited Light. He was based on my son and the conversations we used to have when he was 10.
The plots are totally my own imagination. Thank goodness none of these things happen in my real life or I’d be going bonkers. However, I do a lot of research to make situations and settings as realistic as possible. Right now I’m writing about ancient Egypt and I discussed my work with an Egyptologist at the University of Chicago.
WOW: Do you have days when the words won't flow? What do you do?
Lynn: Not really. Being trained as a journalist, there is no such thing as a day when you can just not feel like writing. I’m used to just pounding it out. But I do take time to think things through thoroughly. I consider that to be writing, too, even though it doesn’t look like I’m doing anything.
WOW: Do you have a "golden rule" of writing that almost always works for you?
Lynn: Sit your butt down and do it. Honestly. And don’t sit and perfect your first chapter or you’ll never get a complete novel done. Write a first draft, crummy or not. You can always revise it—and I guarantee you will. Remember, no one ever has to see your first draft.
WOW: What is the best piece of advice you've been given as a writer? What's the worst?
Lynn: The best piece was the part about moving forward on a first draft.
The worst was to write x-number of words a day. To me that’s just stupid. You need to write out a whole scene, something that means something. If it’s just 500 words, do or die, you’re apt to end up with 500 words of boring description. It just seems pointless to me.
WOW: Did we forget anything? What would you like to add? Any upcoming publications or links for our readers? Current projects we should watch for?
Lynn: Well, everyone should go over to my Web site, where I have a link to buy Excited Light. It’s also available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online bookstores. I must give this out for Chicago-area residents: It’s available at Women & Children First Book Store in the Andersonville neighborhood, and at Planet Earth in Evanston. I think it’s important to support local bookstores.
Also, my blog is here. I try to stick to writing topics, but sometimes anything goes over there. Xanga has a great writing community.
And my book trailer is a must:-)
Thanks for having me here!
You're very welcome. And we wish you the best of luck with your writing.
Labels: Excited Light, Lynn Voedisch
Finding Something Inspirational
Every have one of those days where not much goes right? Well, today has been one of them for me. Nothing serious, just little things going wrong. Then, in the midst of email gremlins, I remembered it was my day to blog here.
Now, for myself, I like to try to write something that will encourage others. Maybe challenge you in your writing or at least something to inspire you to plant self in front of the puter and get those words on paper. But today...I'm not feeling inspirational. In fact, so far, I've misspelled the word everytime I've tried to type it. Then I realized it's the same thing as those days I don't feel inspired to pull out that short story or novel in progress and work on it.
I'm sure everyone has had days where they'd rather sleep in, lay out by the pool or get lost in a great book someone else wrote. I know I sure have:-)
But...I'm a writer. I have stories to tell and ideas I want to share with others. Not only that, I have career goals I want to accomplish with my writing. And no amount of sleeping late, or poolside lounging is going to move me forward along the path I have set for myself. Writing is hard work. It takes discipline, sacrifice and chocolate. But no one is going to force me to spend time writing. I have to do it myself.
And so do you.
So today, I want to encourage everyone to recommit to their writing goal...whatever it may be. I challenge you to send out that piece you've been holding on to. Find an idea that inspires you and share it with the world. And remember, no chocolate until you do:--)
WOW! Spring 2007 Flash Fiction Contest Announcement
We know first hand how much focused sweat, stolen time, and salty tears many writers pour into any piece of work, especially one (or two) for a contest with a focused prompt, guidelines, and a deadline.
We’ve notified our spring contest winners, runners up and honorable mentions. If you haven’t heard from us, at least be assured that we enjoyed reading your work, and don’t give up. Endeavor to submit your work again. We wish you all the best with your writing dreams!
Last of all, please know that we do appreciate everyone’s writing efforts, and we do consider judging a bittersweet honor, since we can’t place every writer in the top 35.
Warmest regards to all contest entrants,
Sue & Team WOW!
Labels: WOW Spring 2007 Contest
Plant the Right Writer’s Reputation
We must take extra precaution over what, where, and how we write.
Reams of research exist on the reputations of small presses, literary agents, editors, and publishers, but only a few pages discuss the writer’s reputation. No one is born with a magnificent reputation. Each of us must build the right writer reputation to nourish our goals and dreams.
If we speak inappropriately face-to-face, then we apologize hoping that, over time, our poorly chosen words will fade away from the offended person’s memory. Conversely, on the Internet, our written words stay alive for years in ezines, Blogs, Blog commentaries, or emails, even if only in archives.
A writer’s reputation embraces immortal visibility across the Internet through search-engine access. If I want to investigate a writer’s background, I use Google, and if I feel the need, I further check along other search engines. Public information exists all around us, even in old forum posts, newsletters, and newspaper clips. They can display professional snippets, including the good, the bad, and the ugly.
I don’t generally check another writer’s work unless I think it seems familiar. As a former college instructor, I had the unfortunate need to verify many of my students’ works over the years. Nothing tugged at my heart’s chords more sharply than the moment I verified suspicions of plagiarism, followed by a confrontation and failing grade.
Ironically, it’s similar to my work today. As a contributing editor, if I think a manuscript submission sounds familiar, or if intuition taps me on the shoulder, I check the writer’s background and hunt for a rewritten work. My intuition works here, too, on writers who try to pass off reprints as first-time publications. Those writers’ names will stick in my mind and other editors’ minds as truly unworthy of future work. It’s too bad for them. Technology simplifies research!
My experience emphasizes the importance of planting our reputations with foresight. Solid reputations are vital to our long-term existence in the publishing industry.
We need to consider what we write as well as where we write to document our words for posterity. Just because publication A will print our first piece immediately, for example, doesn’t mean it’s the best career move. Sometimes waiting for publication B, a place with a great reputation in the industry, means the difference between no exposure and a buzzing network and paycheck later on.
How we write our words bears significance too. If profanity peppers someone’s writing, even if it’s only in a Blog commentary, then that writer might send the wrong message to a prospective client or editor, ending in a loss. Some of my past emails made me wonder, “Could I ask her to delete that?” Of course, simply asking the question told me I shouldn’t have written that particular email in the first place or I shouldn’t have clicked the send button!
Plan ahead and take precaution with your reputation. It makes sense, and you’ll be glad you did.
Labels: reputation, writer's reputation
Sharing With Writers
Our friend, Carolyn Howard-Johnson has a great newsletter for writers. It's packed full of great tips and a ton of information!
Sharing with Writers: A newsletter that is also a community. Share your ideas. Learn from theirs!
- To subscribe to 'Sharing with Writers' send an e-mail to HoJoNews@aol.com with 'subscribe' in the subject line.
Below are a few random bits & pieces from the SWW newsletter:
TIP: After I spoke to the Romance Writers of San Diego on Saturday, I was fortunate enough to hear Jill Limber, National President of RWA, speak on writing synopses. She says the three biggest mistakes writers make when writing synopses is that:
- They write stiltedly from chapter to chapter rather than aiming for a fluid story (This suggestion may apply less to nonfiction books other than memoirs.)
- They neglect voice. Voice is important in synopses, no matter how we may feel about writing them (This is an area often neglected by nonfiction writers. Nonfiction doesn't mean the voice must be textbooky.)
- They neglect characterization. The reader must be taken by characters or the purpose of the synopsis is lost. (Fiction or creative nonfiction only!)
From Elizabeth Lucas-Taylor
(Elizabeth contributes at least one valuable paying resource per SWWissue--either a great place to sell material or find writing craft or promotional idea--and sometimes throws in a resource for you.)
DREAMWALKER GROUP – a free opportunity for writers/authors artists and other creative people to promote themselves and their work at online bookstore http://dreamwalkergroup.com
Authors are indexed by their first names and a list of your works and active links to your work is provided. The website has a list of 3,000 participants, and growing. At the bookstore, each profile page gives a historical list of the artist’s works. Each work has a link so that a reader can buy the book immediately via Amazon.com. The profile also gives a list of the author’s favorite authors and books … and each of these links to a profile page for that author. This special kind of networking enables readers to find other authors recommended by the authors they already like. In addition, there are subject links to other authors. So if your author writes romance novels, her or his profile page will have a link to other romance novels or mysteries, etc.
To be listed, contact:
Michael Walker: firstname.lastname@example.org
To see my link:
Find Elizabeth at http://www.authorsden.com/elucastaylor or her new blog at http://www.elucas-taylor.blogspot.com/ or at MySpace http://www.myspace.com/elucastaylor where you will find a writers' community.
TIP: Children's authors should absolutely try The Reading Tub (www.thereadingtub.com) for reviews of their books. BTW, find lots of other resources for reviews on my site at www.howtodoitfrugally.com on the Resources for Writers page.
West Hollywood Fair Booth Space: Authors' Coalition is sponsoring a booth at the West Hollywood Fair. The cost is less that the LA Fair because it is a smaller fair. Smaller
means fewer attendees but it also means less competition for attention and West Hollywood also means it will be attended by some Hollywood types. (-: I will be moderating a panel there and that should help drive some traffic to our booth, too.
So, to learn more, e-mail me with "BOOK FAIR" in the subject line at email@example.com or go to the new blog on fairs (got a new one that works!) at www.authorscoalition.blogspot.com.
By the way, this is a cross-promotion effort. Participants need to plan to send out media
releases (with my guidance) and invitations. (-: Check out the fair at http://www.westhollywoodbookfair.org/
Something to Make Writers Smile
(Every year the Washington Post conducts a neologism contest. These are the winners, one at a time. You might have some favorite neologisms metaphors or similes that make you smile. If so, please contribute.)
"Inoculatte (v): To take coffee intravenously when you are running late."
These were just a few snippets from Carolyn Howard-Johnson's amazing SWW newsletter! Other things included are Carolyn's appearances and teachings, Author Success Stories, Opinion from SWW subscribers, Tips for e-promotion, and news from the Author's Coalition - an organization of writers who help writers!
To subscribe to 'Sharing with Writers' send an e-mail to HoJoNews@aol.com with 'subscribe' in the subject line.
Happy, happy writing and promoting!
Ask the Book Doctor: About Freelance Issues
By Bobbie ChristmasQ:
My office has asked me to write some PR pieces, and I have no idea what to charge. So far, the first piece is about 400 words, and I've spent about three hours on it. While my credits are limited to short story publications and a few things in the local newspaper, those items gave me no remuneration. What would you recommend I charge? I have given the first article to them today, and in case they ask my fee, I don't want to appear ridiculous.A:
Whoops! You have already broken the very first rule in freelance writing. Before you begin work—not after you turn it in—you must negotiate and set a price, a deadline, terms of payment, and guidelines, such as how many times the client can ask you to make changes without the price increasing. Without all this information set out before you begin, you and your client may have completely different expectations of the outcome. For example, you already work in that office, so your superiors may expect that your normal salary covers anything they ask you to do, and they may not plan to pay you anything above your normal salary.
Do not grieve, though. Every first-time freelancer who did not have a good mentor has made the same mistake, and most of us have learned at one time or another that we unintentionally worked for free or for peanuts. I did it myself, when I first started freelancing.
A friend asked me to edit his book of poetry back in the 1970s. After writing and editing business communications and company newsletters for years, it was my first foray into book editing, and I jumped at the chance. After I spent hours upon hours working on the manuscript, I told my friend it was ready, and he asked me to meet him for lunch. Visions of dollars danced in my head. I decided I would ask for $500, a low figure, because he was a friend and I was just learning to edit books, but I had already decided exactly how I would spend that money.
Over lunch my friend thanked me profusely for the work, but bemoaned the fact that he had almost no money. After he paid for lunch, he pulled out two $5 bills and asked if I would accept lunch and $5 as payment for my work, so he could keep the other $5 to pay for his dinner. The work was done; I had no recourse; and he was my friend. I said yes. The lesson was more valuable than payment would have been. From that day forward, I set out my fees, payment schedule, and desired results before I begin any job.
Basic Freelance Rule #1 aside, you still want to know how much to charge should someone ask, and that answer varies by region, experience, amount of work, type of work, and many other variables. For your first freelance job, ask slightly more than you get an hour at your current or past job, because you are also learning, and your client should not pay for your training. After you have established yourself and rely on freelance work as your only source of income, your fees have no cap; that is, the fee may depend upon the client's ability to pay.
For regional information on a range of prices charged by others, see www.salary.com
, but remember those rates are reported by the people themselves, and if asked by fellow writers, many startup freelancers claim higher fees than they actually receive. In the end, find a price that seems fair to both you and your client, and that's the bottom line in all freelance jobs.Q:
I read about a new magazine starting for single mothers, but did not see any contact information. As a long-term single father, I want to send a query about writing an article from the standpoint of a single father. How can I find the magazine?A:
Go to Google.com or any other strong search engine and type in the name of the magazine. Chances are good you will find a Web site with contact information, maybe even submission guidelines. If the title of the magazine does not bring you the information you want, use the publisher's name or editor’s name or any other information you can use in a search engine. Contact information for new magazines sometimes takes a few months to appear on the Internet. Be patient and check again in a month or two.
If you’re willing to pay a fee of about $20 a week to subscribe to LiteraryMarketplace.com, you can search its vast database for information on new publications, as well. WritersMarket.com also lists periodicals, and it costs much less, but its information is not always as thorough as LiteraryMarketplace.com.Send your questions to Book Doctor Bobbie Christmas for a personal answer. Contact her at Bobbie@zebraeditor.com. Read more “Ask the Book Doctor” questions and answers at www.zebraeditor.com.
Birds of a Feather...
The other day I was chatting with another writer about how women are social creatures. His thought was that women like to flock together while men tend to be loners, more independent and go it alone. And I think for the most part he is right.
One of the great things about attending a writer's conference is the chance to flock together with other women who enjoy the same interest in writing as we do. Several months ago I had the privilege to get together with some friends at a conference.
At a restaurant
that evening, we pulled several tables together. Laughter flowed along with great conversation. After dinner we "flocked" in the hotel lobby sitting area and talked and laughed together for several more hours. While the conference was great, one thing I'll always remember is the time spent together just chatting. I look forward to later in the year when we will get together at the next conference.
Writing for the most part is a solitary endeavor. But it doesn't have to be. There are lots of conferences within a couple hours driving from most of us. It's just a matter of playing detective
and finding them. Many are even "day" conferences that are inexpensive and no hotel is needed.
This week I challenge you to do some research. Find what conferences are in your area or close by. Then make plans to attend. Not only will you learn something about the writing world, you'll connect with other writers and possibly find your new best friend.
Seems our growing pains have become a real pain. We are getting so much traffic and email that our server can't handle it. We are working on correcting the problem as soon as possible.
However, in the mean time...
If you need to get in contact with Angela, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
For queries, submissions and blog pieces, send them to me at email@example.com
Again, if you sent us anything and aren't sure we received it, please send it again.
Thanks bunches for being patient.
Write for WOW!
Bits & Pieces:
Some of you may know the WOW! email has been acting up lately. So...if you have sent us anything in the past week and aren't sure we received it, please resend. Use my jeanlauzier@gmail
addy. Hopefully we can get the gremlins out of our email system and get things back to normal soon.
Aug. Putting on Your Writing Caps We'd like to see articles on different ways to make money with our writing such as travel writing, book packagers and that sort of thing. If you have a unique way to make money with your writing, let us know. We might share it with the world:--)
Sept. Is our Anniversary issue. Anything goes with this one. No theme here.
Oct. Writing for Children and Children Writers Who's your child's favorite author...how about doing an interview for us? Also articles on the craft of writing for children. For example...the differences between writing for Young Adult vs Middle Graders and chapter books.
Nov. All About Agents Query us with your ideas:--)
WOW! buys First World Electronic Rights and Unlimited Archival Rights.
You can send the article or query in the body of an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
We do have a "submissions" email addy but right now it's acting up too. Put the word Query, Submission or For WOW! in the subject line so I'll not delete accidentally.
We are getting better with response times and do our best to get back to you within two months. If you don't hear from us by then, please query for status.
I look forward to hearing from you:--)
Labels: guidelines, themes
Quashing Word Burn
Writer’s block rarely hits me, but I often fall prey to word burn. Has anyone heard of it? Maybe I just made it up, who knows. With all the fingers typing on the planet at any given moment, it’s more likely that many people thought about it, spoke it, or typed it, even though I’d like to think I coined it.
Word burn strikes when I overuse the same words as if I’m stuck on a basic vocabulary, boring myself through my writing, slumping over my desk. It comes when my balance topples under the weight of various negative influences, from overdoses of chocolate and ice cream (leaving me pudgy and sluggish) to too many To Do’s alongside my monthly happy hours of hormones (Oh, Goddess of Menopause, please find me early!).
I realize that word burn highlights the times I lack humor in my life, yet various things can quash it, such as neologisms. One of my favorites, from J.K. Rowling, is “muggle.” But I try to make my own. Sometimes I create them in frustration rather than creativity. Instead of calling our latest house a fixer-upper, I call it our “infixinity,” as it’s in a constant state of fix, all the way to infinity, and we’ll surely die long before it’s properly finished!
Luckily I don’t have to rely on my mind to create new words in desperate times. Many websites already exist with myriad possibilities for new words, although many are outdated. Some of the more recently updated ones I’ve found include Wit Words
. It’s a fictionary of words! If you have a word you’d like to submit, it’s easy to do. Just click and type. You can check out another site at Word Spy
. Maybe you can create the best of the bunch, who knows? Do you have kids? There’s a place for them to submit their latest word coinage at Word Central
. Just click on “Build Your Own Dictionary.” I really love the word they have there called “gloopers”; it’s one of the reason my kids take lunches.
For some unknown reason, my brain restarts after checking out new words, much like a computer restarting after a glitch. Of course, this may not make sense, but it doesn’t have to, as long as I can get out of word burn. I’m one of those strange people who use both sides of my brain equally; I’m neither dominant left-brained or right-brained, and where does that leave me? I’m an “ambibrain” just as I’m ambidextrous. Too bad there’s no money in it! Depending on the day or my mood, it could just mean that I’m doubly confused!
How do you break out of tough writing times and what new words do you have for us? Let us know…;-)
Labels: neologisms, word burn, writer's block
Women are like tea bags. They never know how strong they are until they get into hot water. - Eleanor Roosevelt “Get Into Hot Water” Friday, July 27 - Sunday, July 29
with Kathryn Jordan at Two Bunch Palms Resort
Desert Hot Springs, CA
Don't miss this rare opportunity to "live the fantasy"
right where the steamy novel takes place.
Readings / talks with the author in the famous Al Capone Suite. Fabulous spa treatments, early morning hike, yoga by the lake, wine tasting, barbeque & gourmet meals.Also Included:
Call early: 760-329-8791Take the Plunge—it’s one you’ll always remember.
- Two evenings in elegant accommodations
- A Welcome Gift, including a signed copy of “Hot Water,” “Hot Water” Mug, and “Hot Water” Music CD - first 10 to sign up will receive “Hot Water” Tank top
- Spa Treatment ($125 Credit)
- Friday Night Complimentary Wine Tasting & Appetizers
- Friday Dinner, Saturday lunch, and Saturday Barbeque (alcohol not included)
- Complimentary breakfast, Saturday and Sunday morning
$531 each, double occupancy; $715 single occupancy plus tax
Email Kathryn for complete schedule: email@example.com
Visit Kathryn's Web Site: www.kathrynjordan.com
for more details.
Those of you who read WOW!
, know that Kathryn Jordan is a favorite! Check out her previous articles and write-ups:Event Recap: TWO BUNCH PALMS GETAWAY WITH KATHRYN JORDANFeature: Marketing Madness!
Kathryn Jordan shares her secrets on book promotion!Review: Getting into Hot Water with Kathryn Jordan
by Diana J. EwingEvent Recap: Two Amazing Authors Speak at OC Writers' Meetup Group
Labels: Event, Hot Water, Kathryn Jordan, Two Bunch Palms, Writer's retreat
Another Book, Another Pound, Another Goal
By Margo Candela
I know motherhood can add a bit of pudge that’s hard to get rid of, but can publishing a book have a similar effect?
I’ve been seriously working on writing novels for three and a half of my son’s almost seven years. (See? I’m already trying to justify my pudge.) Since he started school, my weight has fluctuated five to eight pounds, even though I was at my pre-pregnancy weight on his first day of pre-school.
What happened? Getting published is what. I first got the news that my manuscript, Underneath It All (Kensington, January 2207), was going to be a book in September of 2005. How did I celebrate? By going out to eat, of course. This week I got some very good preliminary news concerning my third and fourth books and how did I choose to commemorate it? With a meal at favorite homey diner that hasn’t heard the bad news about trans-fats. Someone once told me it’s important to celebrate the little things in life and I totally agree. But even I know I’ve taken it too far when I used receiving a package of book flats of my new cover for my next book, Life Over Easy (Life Over Easy, October 2007), as an excuse to go out for a banana split. A big one.
No one, least of all my agent, editor or publisher, is forcing me to indulge or telling me to sleep in instead of getting up and working out. It’s all me. And it’s me who’s feeling the effects of living it up at the dinner table, hamburger booth or ice cream counter.
When I have to finish a manuscript I set a goal of so many words or pages I have to complete a day, week and month. And I do everything I can to make sure I meet that goal. At the end of this process I wind up with a draft of a book which I then polish and refine and turn into my editor or agent. If I can make myself write a novel this way, there’s no reason why I can’t apply this kind of focus on myself.
So this summer, along with my word count goal, I’ll be adding a workout to my to-do list. (And I plan cut out those banana splits. At least until I have a really good reason to enjoy one. )If I can’t make myself get up, get going and get my exercise out of the way first thing in the morning, then I’ll have to take time out of my writing day to do it then. As a mom and a wife, I have a limited amount of hours I can dedicate to being a writer and this is going to hurt. (It’ll hurt enough to get me out of bed at 6 AM so I don’t have to worry about stopping myself mid-sentence to ride my bike or do lunges.) But I know when the time comes to face down those jeans I’ve been avoiding; it’ll all be worth it. When all is said, done, typed and sweated, I’ll have a book and a butt I can be proud of.
Margo Candela is a wife, mother and writer who lives in Los Angeles. Her debut novel, Underneath It All
, was published this January by Kensington Books. Her second, Life Over Easy
, will be out this October. She’s currently hard at work on her third and her goal to do one armed push-ups (Demi Moore) style by the time her next birthday rolls around. For more news and updates, visit her website
Tribute to Grandparents
Here's a note from our own Chynna.
As some of you know, I’m writing my memoirs about my childhood with my mom. It is a very emotionally draining project because the subject matter is so raw. But it’s important to bring the subjects of undiagnosed mental illness and alcoholism into the open. If I can help one person with what I went through, it was worth it.
Anyhoo, I need a positive distraction so I’ve been working on another project. My grandparents were the most important people in my life. They literally gave me the glimmer of light I needed to rise above what was going on my house and helped save me from becoming a statistic. Without them, I wouldn’t be here. Period. In their memory, and in celebration of grandparents all over the world, I would like to hear quotes about why grandparents are important and a brief description of why.
This isn’t a Chicken Soup For The Soul project so I don’t need actual stories. Just brief quotes (maybe a paragraph or two) of how grandparents have sprinkled their stardust in your lives. I want to hear from parents, grandparents, kids and even experts (psychologists, counselors, social workers, etc) about this special relationship. I want to include as many of the quotes as possible in the first section of my upcoming book.
Please send your quips to firstname.lastname@example.org
. I will accept quotes until July 31, 2007. When sending your quote, please specify how you want to be quoted: full name, first name only or anonymous. Totally up to you. For kids, they can send their own statement or parents can write for them.
WOW! Flash Fiction Contest Testimonials
Our editors, Angela and Beryl, add a personal touch to each of the WOW! Quarterly Flash Fiction Contest
prizes. Read on for randomly selected winners’ notes from the Winter 2007 Contest.Donna Wilkins
earned 2nd Place for writing Nearly Rich and Famous
. When she received her package she wrote: “I have scanned the check you sent and enlarged it to fit in an 8x10 frame. I'm hanging it on the wall in the room where I write. Whenever I get discouraged, I will look at that check and remember that I can succeed. Thanks again for the prizes, the encouragement, and for simply being really nice people!”Jennifer Daniels
, a Runner Up for June Bugs n’Ice Cream
, wrote: “The candles, the wrapped little treats, the Wow hat, the manicure tool kit, the Upton Sinclair book The Jungle! I was especially touched by that personalized gesture as I had mentioned I really liked that book in my interview . . . I really did just want to cry as I touched my hand to my chest (I'm a writer as you know, so bear with my swooning over here). I opened it up and looked for your autographs (wink, wink) but alas, no. I know you put a lot of work into making these gifts very special and I could tell right away. You guys are somethin' else. I'll cherish these gifts always and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”Linda R. Cook
, Honorable Mention for Mama Rose and her Flower Children
, said, “The UPS man just brought the package from ya'll at WOW! I am so thrilled... this is better than Christmas. The tote, hat, manicure set, book (Alice Munro is a favorite author of mine) treats, candles, and more... all awesome. I love your site and receiving these gifts for my honorable mention is over the top. Once again, my thanks for the prize package, and the fine work and services you provide. WOW rocks!”Charity Tahmaseb’s TP-ing Casa de Clooney
earned an Honorable Mention and she wrote, “Thank you so much for such a generous prize. It was such a nice surprise, arriving as it did on a Monday after a long day at work. I'm thrilled. Thanks again, not just for the great prize, but also for such a well-run contest.”Jeanne Oravec
, Honorable Mention for Aloha, Elayna
, realized that our editors “obviously put much thought and effort into preparing the goodies. I will certainly use the hat and bag...and all the other little niceties...My poodle, Buddy, stood over me as I opened the box (he is very spoiled and thinks that every package that arrives has something in it for him) and when he smelled the little marshmallow cones, well, they were history. I thank you on his behalf. I am looking forward to the next contest.”
Their words prove the worth of writing contests. Currently our Summer Flash Fiction Contest
is in full swing. Read the Contest Terms and Conditions
and get going! Ready, set, write!
Labels: Contest, Flash Fiction Contest, writing prompts
Meet Vicki Taylor
WOW! is excited to introduce our readers to award winning author Vicki Taylor.
WOW!: How long have you been a writer? What made you put that firststory/poem down on paper?
Vicki: For as long as I can remember. Which sometimes isn't very long,considering menopause. Seriously, though, I think in some form or other,I've always written. Sometimes not for anyone's eyes but my own.Professionally, I was a technical writer for fifteen years then startedwriting fiction full time in 1999.I used to write a lot of poetry as a teenager. Probably nothing morethan teenage fantasies and angst, but it was an outlet for me. I wrotethe cutest little teddy bear story in high school. I got an 'A' on itand got to go to an elementary school and read it to children. Storiesjust come out when they're ready.
WOW!: What do your family/friends thing about your writing? Are they supportive?
Vicki: Everyone thinks it's great. My husband believes in me and supports my efforts. My friends like my work and clamor for more. I think my mom is my biggest fan.
WOW!: Having a supportive and understanding family makes it so much easier. What is most frustrating about writing for you? Most rewarding?
Vivki: For me, the frustration is sometimes searching for the perfect word to say exactly what I want to say. I keep my thesaurus close by. The most rewarding thing about writing is hearing someone tell me they've read my work and it touched them in some way. That beats anything else.
WOW!: Touching someone with our writing is very cool. Do you take most of your ideas from life? Or your imagination? A mix?
Vicki: I get a lot of my ideas for stories from real life. I use the newspapers, magazines, TV, etc. Some of my ideas have come from dreams. "Trust in the Wind" was from a dream I had. I dreamed the entire book and actually remembered it when I woke the next morning. I wish they all came that easy!
WOW!: How cool. Dreams are wonderful fodder at times. Do you have days when the words won't flow? What do you do?
Vivki: Sometimes. If that happens, I read or I watch a movie. It helps for me to see how others put a story together. Sometimes that stimulates me back to writing.
WOW!: That's good advice. What is the best piece of advice you've been given as a writer?What's the worst?
Vivki: Yeah, I get this question a lot. I don't mind answering it though, because it's important. The best piece of advice is 'put the butt in the chair and finish the book.' You can have all the ideas you want and start as many books as you want, but you have to finish it. No one else is going to do it for you.The worst advice I received was 'you don't need to promote your book.' Everyone needs to promote their book. Everyone. Whether you do it yourself or hire someone to do it for you. Promote. Promote. Promote.
WOW!: That's great advice for all of us. How about telling us what you have coming up, what you are working on and give us a link or two.
Currently, I'm working on a new book about a 39 year old mother of five who decides to adopt a pregnant 14 year old and the tragic results. Real life, just turned up a notch or two.
WOW!: Congrats on the short story and keep us informed on your latest project. Thanks for stopping by:--)
Labels: Trust in the Wind, Vicki Taylor
Lions and Tigers and Bears...
Yesterday I had to crush a writer's dream of being published. I didn't want to but better to have a little disappointment now than a lot later.
Here's the story...I hang out each day at lunch at the Long Ridge Chat room. It's so nice to be able to chat with other writers...no one knows what a writer goes though except another writer. There are a lot of novice writers there, some more experienced ones and of course some of us who have published. We have a lot of fun. Yesterday one of our novice writers shared the good news that an agent wants to see his manuscript. Naturally we all are happy for him. Then he goes on to say that it will only cost him $387 for an evaluation. This sent off warning bells, buzzers, sirens and the flashing lights.
Legitimate agents NEVER charge fees of any kind before taking you on as client. Not reading fees, evaluation fees or fees of any kind! Legitimate agents only get paid after they sell your book.
After asking a few questions, it turns out this agent is listed on the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer's of America Twenty Worst Agents List
. No, this isn't a list put together by a group of disgruntled writers. This is a list put together by professional writers based on complaints and backed up by documentation.
Friends...there are so many people out there just waiting for someone to take advantage of and novice writers are fair game for them. Thankfully there are places we can go for information before making a decision we might come to regret.
So, here's a couple places to get the info you need.Writer Beware
. This is the SFWA website that includes the Twenty Worst Agents list.Writer Beware Blog
This blog has a lot of great info on agents and how they work.Preditors & Editors
Here you'll find info on agents, editors, conventions and all sorts of useful stuff.Agent Query
is a searchable database for agents.AAR
is the Association of Authors' Representatives. They have a searchable database, great FAQs and also list the "Canon of Ethics" agents must follow to belong to AAR. No, not all legit agents belong to AAR but it's a nice place to start.
As new writers, we so want to be published. And when an agent tells us how great we are, we believe them. We'll pay almost anything to have that agent who loves our writing take us on as a client. The thing is, we have to step back, take a deep breath and do some research before taking that plunge. The water may be shallow and filled with sharks.
Oh...if you get the chance, stop by the Long Ridge Chat Room
. A group of us meet weekdays at noon central. You don't have to be a LR student to join us...all writers are welcome. We talk about writing, food, kids, critters and all sorts of stuff. You'll find me there as Speckledorf:--)
Labels: AAR, Agent Query, Writer Beware
Bits & Pieces
Happy Tuesday y'all! And happy June! Have you thought about just how much of this year has past? Are you on target with your goals or do you need to review and maybe change them? Take a look this week and see where you need to be and what you need to do to get there.Send us your Press Release...we'd love to brag for you!
Sold a story, placed in a contest, got a great review? Let us know and we'll be sure to spread the word.
* To be included in the Announcements Section of our Freelancer's Corner page, we need your submissions by the 15th of the month. Send to email@example.com
with the subject line: Announcements Section
* If you'd like your announcement posted on the Blog send to firstname.lastname@example.org
Naturally we can't promise to use every announcement we get but we'll do our best. Also, we may edit to fit as needed.On-Line Writing Course
Patricia Fry is offering a new concept in online classes: Courses-on Demand. You sign up when you want to take the course and you'll receive a lecture and an assignment via email every week throughout the duration of the course. Fry, a 30-year veteran freelance writer and the author of 25 books, including, "The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book
" is currently teaching, "Article Writing
," How to Write a Book Proposal
" and a "Self-Publishing
" Course. Learn more at http://www.matilijapress.com/courses.htm
Danette Haworth who received an Honorable Mention in our Winter Flash Fiction Contest. She sent the story out, won another Honorable Mention and publication on Whim's Place
. Congratulations girl!Check this market out...
When we returned home Saturday evening from our camping adventure, I hurried to my "puter" and checked my email. Among the "junk" was a very nice acceptance letter from Mysterical-e . My short story will either be in their fall or winter issue. It's a nice little ezine all mystery lovers will enjoy so check it out.
So, now you have your tasks for the week...assess your goals, send out a something and enjoy a little down time with a good story.
Labels: Danette Haworth, Mysterical-e, Press Releases, Whim's Place
With age I desire more than chocolate alone. I crave encouraging news casts and positive media reports. Yes, I want information about current events, but I don’t need the regularly rising rivers of negative facts about the war in Iraq, Middle East tensions, or bombings in other areas of the world, not to mention myriad sordid crimes across the U.S. and other countries. If I allow myself to swim in the media’s currents, my mindset suffers and I feel unbalanced, even sad. The media, in general, lack balance between upbeat and downbeat stories; it’s rare to read good news about people in my local paper or in major online publications unless I dig for buried columns and small snippets of good deeds. And forget about TV news casts. They depress me with visuals of violence.
In light of this month’s issue and my constant desire to maintain flexible balance, I hunt for online good news networks from time to time. My latest find, Gimundo: Good News Served Daily
, serves up true and positive stories about people everywhere. Gimundo’s newsletter delivers a daily dose of the good stuff. Plus, “its online community facilitates engagement via forums, chat rooms, blogs and video sharing.” The newsletter’s headline today reads: “World's Only Known Rabies Survivor Graduates High School.” A few days ago it read, “Family Brings Fallen Soldier’s Puppy Home from Iraq.”
Another source, Good News Network International
, delivers a weekly newsletter with similar inspiration from around the world.
Good news stories feed my mindset like chocolate feeds my soul. Both stabilize my perspective and build a strong platform for positive thinking, garnering an enlightened view for the world. Overall my mindset energizes my writing.
What do you do to keep your mindset positive and strong? Any suggestions?
Labels: balance, writing inspiration
"Get Into Hot Water" with Kathryn Jordan at Two Bunch Palms Resort
Friday, July 27 - Sunday, July 29
• Two evenings in elegant accommodations
• A Welcome Gift, including a signed copy of "Hot Water," "Hot Water" Mug, and "Hot Water" Music CD - first 10 to sign up will receive "Hot Water" Tank top
• Spa Treatment ($125 Credit)
• Friday Night Complimentary Wine Tasting & Appetizers
• Friday Dinner, Saturday lunch, and Saturday Barbeque (alcohol not included)
• Complimentary breakfast, Saturday and Sunday mornings
Join author Kathryn Jordan as she brings her erotic novel, "Hot Water,"
Find out all the very provocative details of how a Minnesota housewife,
trapped in an unhappy marriage, hires a gorgeous man through the
Internet, rents a red Lamborghini, splurges on some ultra-sexy
lingerie, and escapes on her clandestine adventure.
The story takes place at a luxurious spa—Two Bunch Palms—and recounts
how "Julia Reeves'" most intimate fantasies are realized over a long
At check-in you'll receive a signed copy of the novel, a "Hot Water"
mug and music CD. The first 10 to sign-up will receive a "Get Into Hot
Water" tank top.
Then begin your long weekend with a complimentary wine tasting and
appetizers, 5-6pm, followed by dinner at our Casino Restaurant.
Afterwards, everyone will meet in the famous (infamous?) "Al Capone
Suite" for a teaser reading and talk. Next relax in our lithium-rich,
naturally heated mineral springs Grotto, and then wander back to the
Capone Suite for a BYOB "spajama" nightcap.
Saturday start your morning with an early hike, a yoga class, and
breakfast. The rest of the day will be yours to enjoy restorative spa
treatments, delight in a leisurely lunch, read your book under a
poolside palapa, play a set of tennis, or soak in the Grotto. That
evening there will be a barbeque, more steamy readings—including the
famous tunnel scene—and girlfriend talk. And then…
Sunday morning get together for breakfast and slip into the Grotto to
muse on your sensual journey.
Take the Plunge—it's one you'll always remember.
$460 each, double occupancy; $640 single occupancyplus tax
Based on availability and double occupancy. Price does not include tax.
Alcohol is not included in price. Spa and restaurant gratuities not
included. Check-in is at 4pm Friday, check-out Sunday 11am.
Labels: Hot Water, Kathryn Jordan
The Balancing Act
It's difficult to balance everything we do on a daily basis, plus try to make sure we have time to write. There are many of us that can't be full time writers as we would like. We just have so many things going on, that it's impossible or so we think. I am at fault for not being able to balance my life and writing. For the longest time, I would put my writing on hold, thinking there wasn't time. I didn't realize how much precious writing time I missed out on, even when I had little ones running around the house. Oh wait, I still have little ones running around the house, they're just much bigger.
I won't sugar coat this for anyone. As you read this, I have just added a new challenge to my life. Not only have I been maintaining a full time job, taking care of children, keeping up with a home, getting into shape, I have now added small business owner to my life and also moving. Looking at my list it seems pretty small, but I didn't detail it completely. Every facet of my life is full. Yet, I still find time each day to write. Even if it's just for a few minutes before I go to bed, to write down something that may have happened during my day.
I admit there have been many times that I didn't sit and write when I had the time, I would find other things to do. But, no matter, I do find the time to squeeze in my writing with all that I do.
Every moment I can grab for my writing is precious time. Time I know I can use to create. Here are some examples of times I spend writing. Waiting for a doctor’s appointment, it may be five minutes, it may be forty-five minutes to an hour. Waiting while your car is being repaired, there can be an hour or more some times. While kids were at practice, I would either sit in my car or in my comfy lawn chair with a notebook, heck if the weather were just right even my laptop, I could get in a good hour or two of writing. Hey, I've even gotten some juicy story ideas while sitting around some of the other parents.
For those of you that have the time to be full time writers, I envy you. For those of you like me, just remember you aren't alone, there are many of us doing the same thing you are daily.
You can balance your life and writing, you just have to take the time when you can. It’s there staring at you, all you need to do is look.
By: Carrie Hulce
Labels: balance, Carrie Hulce