"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Requests: Constructing My Blog

I’ll be making a few changes and adding some new pages soon. Since most of these are based on previous suggestions, I wanted to offer you all a chance to make requests and contributions.

Pages I will be adding:
1.)         For Writers – Tips, References, Exercises etc. I recommend to aspiring as well as seasoned authors.
2.)         Reader Page – Photos, comments, questions, reviews by those reading my work.
3.) FAQ - What would you like to see here?
If you have any other suggestions or requests for this blog, or if you wish to share a photo, review etc. to appear on one of these pages, please leave a comment or email: writinginwonderland@gmail.com I have had requests for guest posts. Yes, I post guests on my blog and I write for other blogs as well. Please email me if you are interested in either of those options.
Also, there is still time to join in the giveaway fun. Simply click the “Wonderland Giveaway Blogfest” button on the right.
Happy Writing!

Friday, July 29, 2011

7 Inspiring Daily Rituals

Have you ever wondered how some of your favorite authors and famous thinkers spent their day? In my last post I shared a daily schedule for a writer. Something I might like to use when I no longer have the joy of two little ones at home with me every day. Since then, I came across a website full of fun facts about the daily routines of writers, artists and other great thinkers. Below is a list with a few of my favorites and a link to the website if you want to see more.
1. CS Lewis. Writer and thinker CS Lewis had a very clear schedule of his day, with activities such as work, walking, meals, tea, and socializing down to the very hour they should be done. He even describes when beer should be enjoyed (not at 11:00 for fear of running over the allotted 10 minutes for the break).
2. Fred Rogers. Don’t doubt that Fred Rogers was indeed a great thinker, despite the fact that he is best known as the familiar Mr. Rogers from the long-lasting PBS children’s show. His television show was a safe place for many young children, by his design, and he fought hard, in his quiet manner, for the show to stay on the air. The famous routine that started and ended his show was not the only routine in his life. Each day he would wake at 5:30 and begin his day with reading, writing, study, and prayer. He would take a swim most days of his life, take a late-afternoon nap, and go to bed at 9:30 each night. Perhaps the most idiosyncratic of his rituals was that he kept his weight at 143 pounds his entire adult life. He saw his weight one day and realized it aligned with the number of letters in "I love you" and vowed to maintain that weight, which he did.
3. Stephen King. This famed writer keeps to a strict routine each day, starting the morning with a cup of tea or water and his vitamin. King sits down to work between 8:00 and 8:30 in the same seat with his papers arranged on his desk in the same way. He claims that starting off with such consistency provides a signal to his mind in preparation for his work.
4. Benjamin Franklin. Franklin kept to a tight schedule, starting his day waking at 4:00 am. Until 8:00, he would wake, wash, eat breakfast, and think about what he would accomplish for the day. From 8:00 to 12:00, he worked. Lunch was from 12:00-1:00, where he ate, read, or looked over his accounts. He then worked until 5:00. The evening was filled with dinner, cleaning up, music or conversation, a look back over his day, and then bed at 10:00.
5. Aldous Huxley. This famous thinker and writer would start early each day sharing a breakfast with his wife. He would work uninterrupted until lunchtime. After lunch, he and his wife would go for a drive or a walk, then he would return to work again from 5:00 to 7:00, then have dinner. After dinner, his wife would read to him until almost midnight. Due to an eye illness early in life that left Huxley with very poor eyesight, he relied heavily on his wife to do many activities for him besides reading. She often typed his manuscripts and was even reported to have cut his steak for him at dinner.
6. Haruki Murakami. This popular Japanese novelist sticks to a specific daily schedule that begins at 4:00 when he awakes. He writes for five or six hours, then either runs 10k or swims 1500 meters (or sometimes, both). After his workout, he reads and listens to music until he goes to bed at 9:00. Murakami claims that writing a novel requires both the physical and mental strength that his routine provides.
7. Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway described his writing ritual as starting just as the sun began rising, then working straight through until whatever he had to say was said. He likens completing his morning of writing to making love to someone you love–being both empty and fulfilled at the same time. Upon completing that morning’s work, he would wait until the next morning to begin again, going over his ideas in his head and holding on to the anticipation of starting again the next day.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Writer's Dream Schedule

Writers often discuss their daily schedule. I must confess I am a bit envious since I don’t have one. Maybe I would not enjoy writing as much if I had more time to commit to it. Although, maybe I would take it more seriously and thus find even greater enjoyment in the craft. Hmm… a daily routine. What might that look like?
Well, I would want to leave time for my family. This is easy now as I am a stay at home mom of two girls not yet old enough for school. However, this will change one day. I would also need to leave an amount of time for social networking such as email, facebook, twitter, blogs etc. every day. Obviously, I want time for writing and if I’m smart and any good, I’ll need time for marketing.
That schedule might look something like this:

6:00 – 6:30   Prayer and Exercise
6:30 – 7:30   Get the girls ready and to school
7:30 – 8:30   Check email, blog, facebook, twitter
8:30 – 11:30  Writing, Revisions, Critiques
11:30 – 12:30 Lunch with friends or family
12:30 – 1:00  Check email, blog, facebook, twitter
1:00 – 3:00   Writing, Revisions, Critiques
3:00 – 8:00   Pick up girls from school, take them to ballet, baseball etc., supervise homework, prepare dinner, play
8:00 – 8:30   Get girls ready for bed
8:30 – 9:00   Check email, blog, facebook, twitter
9:00 – 10:00  Read

Of course this is only a loose idea of what my schedule could be like. Notice I have not factored in any time for marketing (or chores ;-). I suppose that would come from some of the writing or checking social media time.
What is your workday or dream workday like?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hitting the Stands Today

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just for Preteens hits the stands today. My story "Feeding the Soul" can be found inside along with some very powerful tales to help your young ones through tough times.
This anthology is a collection of 101 stories of inspiration and support for Tweens. Being a preteen can be difficult for the child, parent and anyone else living with them. School is more challenging, bodies are changing, relationships with parents are different, and new issues arise with friends.

But preteens (as well as family and friends) can find encouragement and inspiration in this collection of stories about the problems and issues they face every day. Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just for Preteens will help readers as they navigate those tough preteen years from ages 9 to 12 with its stories from others just like them, about the highs and lows of life as a preteen. It's a support group they can carry in their backpack!

For more information or to order, please click the link in the sidebar.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Adult Read Blogfest

July 24/25 is the "1st Adult Book Read" blogfest hosted by the Heroines with Hearts. All you have to do for this blogfest is fess up on the first adult book you picked up and read: whether a classic, a racy novel or that of unusual content. Then post your entry to your blog July 24th/25th.
If you're interested in joining in the fun, please click the "Heroines with Hearts" link above.

The earliest “adult” book I can remember reading is Connie Mason’s Tempt the Devil. I was about 12 years old and the book was given to me by a cousin. By then, I had already developed a love for TCM and the old pirate movies they often played. This book is reminiscent of many of the Maureen O’Hara pirate movies and I fell in love with the book, reading it many times.
"Ye cannot kill the devil," whispered the awestruck throng at the hanging of the notorious Diablo. And, indeed, moments later the pirate had not only escaped the noose, but also abducted the beautiful Lady Devon, whisking her aboard his ship, the Devil Dancer. Infuriated, Devon swore she would have nothing to do with her rakishly handsome captor. But long days at sea, and even longer nights beneath the tropical stars, brought Devon ever closer to surrender. Diablo was a master of seduction, an experienced lover who knew every imaginable way to please a woman -- and some that she had never imagined. Devon knew she would find ecstasy in his arms, but did she dare ... TEMPT THE DEVIL.

I still own a copy today, though it is no longer one of my favorites. I have discovered so many other wonderful stories over the years. This one will probably always have a place on my shelf for the sake of nostalgia.
Do you remember your first?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

1st Adult Book Blogfest

Heroines with Hearts is hosting the "1st Adult Book Read" blogfest on July 24/25.

All you have to do for this blogfest is fess up on the first adult book you picked up and read: whether a classic, a racy novel or that of unusual content, then post your entry to your blog July 24th/25th.
If you're interested in joining in the fun, please click the "Heroines with Hearts" link above.
If you're interested in giving and receiving freebies, please check out the "Wonderland Giveaway Blogfest". You can click on the button in the sidebar. Happy Writing!

Monday, July 18, 2011

12 Songs for Writers

Music often sparks creative genius in authors; just as writers have become inspiration for song lyrics. Whether you suffer from writer’s block, tacky grammar or are enjoying your word play, below is a list of 12 songs about the process of creation.

1. “The Book of My Life” - Sting
2. “Paperback Writer” – The Beatles
3. “I Love You Period” – Dan Baird
4. “I’ll be a Writer” - Soltero
5. “Losing It” - RUSH
6. “Writer’s Block – Just Jack
7. “There She Goes, My Beautiful World” – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
8. “Oxford Comma” – Vampire Weekend
9. “Mr. Writer” – Stereophonics
10. “Screenwriter’s Blues”- Soul Coughing
11. “Every Day I Write the Book” – Elvis Costello
12. “Autobiography” – Sloan

These melodic musings can be found on Youtube. Can you think of any other songs about writing?

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Art of War for Writers

I have yet to read this book, but a quote excerpted from it by author Katherine Neville caught my attention:

"Write. Remember people may keep you (or me) from being a published author, but no one can stop you from being a writer. All you have to do is write. And keep writing. While you're working at a career, while you're raising children, while you're trout fishing - keep writing! No one can stop you but you."

So very true. Has anyone read this book? If so, do you recommend it?

Well, I'm off for the weekend to celebrate my seventh wedding anniversary. Copper is the traditional gift. Really?

I hope everyone enjoys the weekend. Keep writing!

Sidenote: Mr. Linky has been fixed on the previous post if you would like to sign up for the blogfest. I'm sure it was a user error. ;-)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Wonderland Giveaway Blogfest 2011

I have more than 400 followers and I feel like celebrating! I have learned and been gifted with so much from my blogging friends. I want you to get something as well. This is why I have designed the Wonderland Giveaway blogfest.
So, get ready to give and receive. Anyone can participate as long as they keep it reading, writing or publishing related. So what can you give away?
1.      A copy of your book, short stories or poetry.
2.      Gently used books you no longer want.
3.      Free cover design (I don’t want to leave out my artist friends!)
4.      Gift card to Amazon, Barnes/Noble etc.
5.      Writing supplies such as journals, paper, pens, etc.
6.      Critique – writers are always looking for another free pair of eyes.
7.      Or award interview, book review or guest post space on your blog.
It’s all up to you. Please feel free to come up with other offers in this vein. You may come up with your own rules for your chosen giveaway.

To participate, simply follow the instructions below.

1.  If you aren't already a follower, click the button.  I can't wait to meet you!
2.  Sign up using Mr. Linky, then feel free to leave a comment..
3. Create a giveaway based on the suggestions above and post it to your blog on August 16.
4.  On August 16, we'll visit each other's blogs to win fun prizes and hopefully make new friends and followers.

Above is a badge you can add to your blog to help advertise to your readers. Happy Writing!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Author Interview: Karen Walker

Karen Walker is a writer with published essays in newspapers and magazines, as well as an anthology series. After a 30+ year career in marketing and public relations, she went back to college to complete a Bachelor's degree and graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2005 from the University of New Mexico's University Studies program with a major emphasis in Creative Writing. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with her husband, Gary, and their dog, Buddy. When she’s not writing, you can find her doing international folk dancing, singing at retirement communities with her trio, Sugartime, hiking, reading, or hanging out with friends.

1) How did you develop an interest in writing?

The short answer is ever since I read Little Women when I was around 8 and fantasized about being Jo. The long answer is that in 1978 I unexpectedly lost custody of my 3 1/2 year old son. To save my sanity, I began keeping a journal. Around the same time, I started a public relations firm with a friend and began writing press releases, op-ed pieces, and feature articles, all with someone else’s name on them. Fast-forward 30 years and my wonderful husband told me I could quit working and write-full time. That was in 1999 and I haven’t looked back since.

2) Tell me a little about your blog - address, how long you've been blogging etc.

I began my blog in May of 2009 after taking an online class on doing a blog book tour with Dani Greer http://blogbooktours.blogspot.com/. My book launched in February, 2009 and I had no clue how to market it. Dani’s class taught me so much about blogging, but I never got around to a blog book tour - until now. You can find me at: http://www.karenfollowingthewhispers.blogspot.com. The blog is a continuation of my spiritual journey towards healing.

3) I see you are working on a MS - please tell me a little about it.
My husband and I took a trip to Scotland and Ireland in the Fall of 2009. While in Scotland, a voice whispered, “Tell my story.” I ignored it, thinking I pretty much imagined it. But in Ireland, in a magical forest surrounding Blarney Castle, the
voice came back, stronger and more insistent. The working title for this foray into fiction-writing is “The Wishing Steps.”

4) What other styles do you write?
I wrote nonfiction for 30+ years and still occasionally write feature pieces for local newspapers and magazines. I still love personal essay as a form, which is why I love blogging so much--because posts really are short essays.

5) What authors do you admire?
I have very eclectic tastes in reading. If I want to totally escape for a few hours, I’ll read Jodi Piccoult or Nora Roberts. If I want deeper, I’ll go to the classics. I still read a lot of nonfiction: biographies, memoir, self-help, spirituality. I’m currently reading a book called “Awakening the Buddha Within” and loving it.

6) What music, places, people inspire you?
I sing in a trio called Sugartime. We perform at hospitals, retirement communities, nursing homes, etc. We sing music from the 30’s to the 60’s. I love the old standards, Broadway tunes, and my music from the 50’s and 60s. I don’t listen to music while writing, though. I’m one of those people who needs absolute silence to write.

7) How long did it take you to write your current MS?
My memoir took a total of 10 years to complete. After I’d written 700 pages and given it to an editor, I was told “Karen, you have a story in you, but it’s not on these pages. You just need to tell it.” Well, I didn’t know how to do that, so I went back to school to complete a college degree I’d begun in 1969. Four years later, I’d graduated Summa cum Laude and re-wrote my memoir. Two years after that I began the query process. Two years later I chose to self-publish. Sigh!

8) When working on your current MS did you complete an outline first or did you just start writing?
No, I don’t have an outline. I just have this darn voice that is very fickle, if you ask me. It’s been an amazing journey discovering who and what this voice is. I can’t really talk about it--it’s quite overwhelming. I’ll probably blog about it at time point.

9) What is your writing process like? Certain hours that you find more productive, a routine, a set amount of time or a number of pages you make yourself write every day.
I found that for me, setting a certain time constraint or word-count goal doesn’t work very well. I set myself up for failure that way. Instead, I set my intention to write every day and I park myself down at the computer and hope for the best.

10) Would you care to share your opening paragraph (hook) with us?

Chapter I
In the beginning…there was self-hatred.

My friend Chuck waltzed around the room, his then 11-year-old daughter, Sivan, snuggled in his right arm, her eight-year-old sister, Amali, nestled in his left. The two girls’ arms were wrapped around each other behind their dad’s neck, and their giggles could be heard from where I sat on the other side of the large dance studio, where our community of folk dancers gathers every Saturday night. Watching this man with his children, I couldn’t help thinking how lucky those two little girls are and how different their childhood is from mine

You can find “Following Whispers” at amazon and smashwords.

This Interview is the beginning of a Blog Book Tour for Karen.  You can find more information and fun facts about her by visiting:

7/11/11 - Spunk on a Stick http://circleoffriendsbooks.blogspot.com/: Managing Expectations
7/12/11 - Ann Best http://annbest-jen.blogspot.com/: Writing and White Hair
7/13/11 - Whole Latte Life http://joannedemaio.blogspot.com/: What I Love About Self-Publishing
7/14/11 - Pk Herzo http://pk-hrezo.blogspot.com/: My Journey to Publication
7/15/11 - KarenG http://karenjonesgowen.blogspot.com/: Making Good Choices: A Writer's Journey
7/16/11-The Alliterative Allomorph tp://thealliterativeallomorph.blogspot.com: The Liberating Effects of Writing a Memoir: 7/18/11 - Mystery Writing is Murder http://mysterywritingismurder.blogspot.com/: Finding Balance While Juggling Life
7/19/11 - Thoughts in Progress http://masoncanyon.blogspot.com/: Finding Success as a Writer
7/20/11 - Tossing it Out http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/: Do's and Don'ts When Writing Memoir
7/21/11 - StraightfromHel http://straightfromhel.blogspot.com/: Writing Memoir versus Writing Fiction - Is There a Difference?
7/22/11 - Alex J. Cavanaugh http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/: 10 Ways To Maintain Sanity While Writing

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Author Interview: Patti Corbello Archer

Patti Corbello Archer is a native of Lake Charles, Louisiana. She is a mother and grandmother as well as a Christian Inspirational Writer & Storyteller.

You can learn more about her by reading the interview below or visiting her blog: http://inspiredbylove.wordpress.com/

1) How did you develop an interest in writing?
I was always an avid reader, but didn't actually compile a personal writing project until I joined the high school newspaper group in 1975. Then it wasn't until 2002 that I began writing creative scripture fiction stories - after a particularly inspiring season with healing and deliverance.  That was the open door...after that I began writing for gifts, for church projects, or simply for the creative aspect of it.  Each year for Christmas I send out an inspirational Christmas story or letter to all that I know. It has replaced Christmas cards for me and everyone looks forward to "their story".

2) Tell me a little about your blog - address, how long you've been blogging etc.
I began actively blogging in April 2011 - with a specific subject strategy. My goal is for inspirational storytelling...to touch, inspire and encourage the Body of Christ. I plan to do a subject specific blog each month. I have a list of ideas I am excited about!

3) I see you are working on a MS. Please tell me a little about it.
My main writing project that I would like to publish is a teaching/inspirational devotional...extremely interactive of course with lots of stories to make it personal...as well as show that Jesus is not just accessible but personal. My second writing project will be a bible study that I plan to publish in an undetermined as of yet manner.

4) What other styles do you write - genre novels, poetry, articles, memoirs etc.
I would like to try using my writing gift for Christian screenplays and dramas - as well as possible gift items. I don't want to just write for the sake of writing, I want to SHOW them something with the words.

5) Is this a hobby or do you plan to make a career from writing?
I plan for writing to be my personal career...my mission.  God gave me the gift to write. I give it back to Him!

6) What authors do you admire?
Beth Moore, T.D. Jakes, Myles Munroe, Tommy Tenney for Christian issues. Mary Higgins Clark for mystery. Nicholas Sparks for drama.

7) What music, places, people inspire you?
Inspiration...hmmm...I would say Christian music, romantic music, the majestic mystery of nature, world disasters, stories of honor and integrity probably......really just things that touch my heart. I usually have a specific writing purpose and don't look for inspiration in things around me.

8) What do you do when you have writer's block?
Get up from the keyboard and meditate on the God-point of it all.

9) Have you submitted anything yet? Even a letter to an editor, written for high school publications, other blogs etc?
Yes, as shared earlier, I have written for my high school newspaper. I have also written and taught on a bible study that I wrote - no publication - but was used for public classes. 

10) How long did it take you to write your current MS?
It is a compilation of years of heart moments and God-moments.

11) Are you part of a critique group or writer's guild?
No, I am a member of the Bayou Writer's Group - my work hours don't allow for participation in the critique group. However, I have taken a fictional writing class that included critique discussion.

12) Have you ever attended a writer's conference?
Yes, I have! I attended the Bayou Writer's Group conference in 2010. I plan to attend many more! I was inspired to step out of my house with writing personally or for church only and go for my dreams.

13) When working on your current MS did you complete an outline first or did you just start writing?
As the devotional is a compilation of years of writing stories and teaching messages, I just started mapping out the plan of placing them in "strategic message" order. 

14) What is your writing process like? Certain hours that you find more productive, a routine, a set amount of time or a number of pages you make yourself write everyday etc.
I write around my work and family schedule. My blog postings are nightly through the end of each subject. It takes me approximately one hour per page for meditating and planning on the creative message aspect and the proofing. I normally do a 3 page post each night. So, I have to allow quite a bit of time after work - and stay structured to task.

15) Would you care to share your opening paragraph (hook) with us?
Since my first publication will be a compilation, you are all welcome to pull from my blog postings. http://inspiredbylove.wordpress.com/

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy Fourth of July!

Antique car shows, games, music, food, playing in the pool or at the lake, and fireworks at dusk are all typical Independence Day weekend activities for my family.
This year, however, there will be no fireworks for the Ney family. Our local county is under a burn (firework) ban due to drought conditions. We’ve just experienced one of the hottest June’s on record with barely a drop of rain. Thankfully, there are still plenty of ways to share some of this holiday fun.
If you are looking for some children's literature for 4th of July, check out some of these - ideas, activities, crafts, fun, and background about the holiday: http://www.apples4theteacher.com/holidays/fourth-of-july/kids-books/
Or try James Patterson’s Lindsay Boxer and the Women's Murder Club in his book 4th of July: http://www.jamespatterson.com/books_4thOfJuly.php
Happy Independence Day America!
If you are one of my blogging friends from another country, please feel free to share some special memories or exciting activities your country partakes in for national holidays.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Not Just Another Form Rejection

It’s the first day of the month and I find myself reviewing my writing goals for June.

Submissions: 5
Rejections: 1
Acceptances: 0

As every writer knows, most companies use a standard rejection form. When they have no time or nothing positive to say, the letter basically reads, "Thanks, but this isn't for us."
Editor Jenna Glatzer once wrote she had a difficult decision to make. “Do I tell this writer WHY I'm rejecting the submission, or not? You may wonder why that's a tough decision.  But when we do have a free moment and would like to be honest with the writer, some of us bite our tongues anyway.  The reason?  Not all writers know what it means to be a professional.  And not all of them can take criticism.”
She went on to explain whenever she sends constructive criticism with a rejection, she knows there is about a 75% chance she’d hear nothing back (which was fine), a 5% chance she'd get a quick "thanks for your consideration anyway" (which was nice), and a 20% chance she'd get an argument (which was not fine). If you’d like to read more about her feelings on rejections, visit here.
I wanted to share with you the rejection I recently received. This is the second rejection letter I have received from this company. Only a portion of it appears to be a standard rejection form. Pay attention to the second sentence:


Thank you for allowing us to consider your story,
Broken Angel. It's well done, and I enjoyed the outcome. However, it doesn’t look like a good fit for us. We’re going to pass on this and wish you luck in other markets.


Thank you for allowing us to consider your story, Dream Life.
It's very sweet, sad, and affecting. However, it doesn't look like a good fit for us. We're going to pass and wish you luck in other markets for this one.

Just one sentence difference, but it means a lot to me. I was left with the feeling she actually spent time with my story, and not just passed it along with the masses.
Some rejections leave me with the feeling: “Oh, yes, you WILL publish something of mine one day” – it’s like a challenge. However, this one line difference left me feeling I had a chance to learn and strive for something WORTHY of their publication.
Yes, I sent her a thank you. Have you ever thanked an editor for their rejection?