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

Monday, January 30, 2012

Country Woman Recipes Contests:

Perfect Pies Recipe Contest - Send us your most scrumptious pie recipes by Feb. 1, 2012, for a chance at $500.

Best Christmas Cookie Contest - Send us your most tempting Christmas cookie recipes by April 1, 2012 for your chance at $500.

Celebrating Citrus Contest - Send us your sun-kissed citrus recipes by June 1, 2012 for your chance at $500.

For more information or to submit: click here.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Interview Sylvia Ney

If you have time, you can swing by and see my interview on the Bayou Writer's Group blog.

Happy Writing!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Irresistibly Sweet

First, thank you Paula for this "Irresistibly Sweet Blog" award. Along with the strawberry goodness comes these rules:

1. Thank and link to the person who nominated me.
2. Share seven random facts about myself.

3. Pass the award to 10 blogging friends.
4. Contact the winners to congratulate them.

Seven Things About Myself:
Since I have received this award once before, and several like it, I'll let you check out these lists. or visit my "awards" and "about me" pages to see my answers.
Instead of passing this award to 15 specific bloggers (who may or may not have received it before), I invite any of my blogging friends to accept it by leaving a comment below. They can leave a link back to their own blog, webpage, twitter or facebook accounts.
Happy Writing!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Free Books for Writers

I don't know how long they will be free so grab them while you can. These are all available on Amazon.


Traditional Publishing Is My Bitch! (and other inflammatory remarks)


Writing On The Right Side Of The Brain Workbook

The PAC Method For Writers: How Prayer, Attitude & Confidence Can Lead You To A Successful Writing Career

100 Web Sites for Fiction Writers
Greatest Secrets of Successful Commercial Fiction Authors

Profit from the eBook Revolution: How YOU Can Sell A Million Books In A Year...Even if You Know Absolutely Nothing About Writing, Publishing or Marketing a Book

How To Make Quick and Easy Money With eBooks - Even If You Can't Write and Can't Spell


The Indie Journey: Secrets to Writing Success
Why Your Book Shouldn't Be Published
No More Rejections! How To Write and Publish Your Own Fiction Profitably, Quickly and Easily...and Become a Bestselling Author Almost Overnight (How To Make Money With eBooks)
Writing for change, journaling and reflecting through creative writing

How to Create Nonfiction Book Ideas That Sell


 Boost Book Sales With Social Media Networking: Foster Connections, Nurture Relationships, Shape Your Identity


Monday, January 16, 2012

The Empty Pages

“Your Life is in Your Hands. Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
I recently read “Tis Herself”, Maureen O’Hara’s autobiography. I’ve always been a fan of her acting, but had only a glimpse of her strength both on and off screen. This book reflects her pride, determination and sense of fairness. I believe she has offered an honest and candid review of her life, and her relationships with some of Hollywood’s greatest. This book is worth its price and your time.
In her last chapter The Empty Page O’Hara concludes her memoir by addressing the reader:
“How will you fill your empty pages? I pray that all you young people, middle-aged people, and old people like me live each day and enjoy each day, and when God calls you, that you answer Him and go willingly. But leave your mark on the world, on your children and on all the people that you leave behind so that they will be brave and leave brave memories.”
Our lives are filled with an endless stream of content and commentary. Our faith, family, friends, careers, hobbies, responsibilities and desires all pull us in different directions. Books, television, movies and the internet; facebook, twitter, blogs etc. are all vying for our attention.
An empty page can mean many things - a day so rich there was no time to write, a day so empty it seemed there was nothing worth saying, or perhaps the forward march of life simply outpaced the writer’s commitment to self-documentation.
“Life piles up so fast that I have no time to write out the equally fast rising mound of reflections.”
Virginia Woolf
What is the value of the glaringly blank page? Handwritten diaries are full of words on paper, but they’re often full of intriguing blank spaces as well. An intriguing pause, a physical marker of emotional passage—an empty space for reflection and remembrance. Are these blank pages a result of writers block/fear, of a decline in health or just a powerful void marking a full life? The empty page in the diary is equivalent to a moment of silence, which can sometimes resonate just as loudly as the best-chosen words.
How will your empty pages be filled? Will your life be too full to record?  Will you diligently work to pass on your stories to your children and grandchildren? There is no wrong answer. So go, be brave and fill those empty pages.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Isaac Asimov on The Golden Age of Science Fiction

I'm staying busy with new projects and trying to meet a few deadlines. It's shaping up to be an eventful 2012. I just hope I can keep pace with everything I'm taking on without sacrificing too much time with my family. I hope you are all enjoying some creative energy yourselves.

In the meantime, listen as one of the most well-known science fiction authors discusses the peak of science fiction writing.

Friday, January 6, 2012

5 Red Flags in Writing

No doubt, phrases such as “avoid passive voice,” “be concise,” “omit wordiness,” “write what you know” and “be original” went through your mind after reading the title. While those are all good advice, I’d like to mention five mistakes that can cost you an editor or readers – PERMANENTLY!
1)      Proper Nouns – A person’s name, company name, job/military titles, names of cities etc. should always be recorded accurately, spelled correctly and repeated consistently. Even in fiction writing, you must be careful to spell them the same way each time.
2)      Superlatives – The best, the first, the leading, the smallest, every, all, none etc. are all words that alert readers to absolutes. The writer must be sure they can back this statement up or at the very least, never hint at anything to the contrary. It’s probably best to avoid these altogether.
3)      Math and Numbers – A calculator can help a fact checker find errors when using large sums. However, small mistakes seem to be more common. If the story states a woman worked in the same company for 15 years before quitting at the age of 25, you have a problem. You have just indicated this person began working at the age of ten. For additional tips on mistakes made with numbers, check here.
4)      Time Sensitive Information – A story can go out of date waiting to be published. Phone numbers change, admission prices increase, people leave their jobs, a restaurant changes its menu or business services may no longer be available. Be sure to recheck facts as your publication date draws near.
5)      Tall Tales and Urban Legends – Sometimes an anecdote is simply too dramatic to be true. Tales told and re-told get embellished each time, until they’re no better than fiction. Chances are, somebody knows the real story – a historian, a local official, an eyewitness – and it’s shaky research to simply take someone else’s word. (For a fun example, watch the movie Shattered Glass).
These mistakes can cost you readers, even if they make it past your editor. What other tips do you recommend?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Author Interview: Melanie Rose

Melanie Rose calls herself a “Renaissance Girl”. In fact, the name of her blog is Musings of a Renaissance Girl:  http://www.roseandwren.blogspot.com/ She lives Chewelah, Washington, a small town with an underground artistic community.  "Chewelah" means "land of little water snakes". Her novel Ashford is now available.

1) How did you develop an interest in writing? It's been a life-long passion, dating from about the same time I learned to read. I loved watching people, and from that creating characters. I loved the way a good book made me feel, and wanted to make other people feel that way. As a little girl I used to write short stories for my sister on her birthday...usually involving unicorns or pegasi.

2) Please tell me about your blog. I've been keeping it for about a year. Everyone I talked to at writers' conferences, every article I read, kept reinforcing the fact that you really need an online platform to get anywhere in writing these days. As I didn't have a novel out at the time, it felt presumptuous to create a blog about my writing alone, so it's a little bit of everything. I love creating unique up-cycled clothing and ballet costumes and have an Etsy shop for that, I'm an amateur ballet dancer. I'm a cancer survivor, so that provides a different perspective on life. There were things to write about. Then, when I decided to go with indie publishing for my novel, Ashford, in October, the blog was already there. I also have a Facebook author page: www.facebook.com/MelanieRoseAuthor

3) Please tell me about your novel. Ashford is a historical novel about Anna, a young American woman traveling in Europe just before the outbreak of WWII. She flees to England with her chaperones, and that is where most of the story unfolds. I wrote the opening chapter (where Anna first meets Perry Bertram on the train) one day on a whim, not sure where it would go, just fascinated by the characters. I wrote the last lines of the novel shortly after (I never do that, I'm more comfortable writing chronologically, but it just happened that I knew what I wanted for the end before I knew what happened in the middle) and it went from there. I was very certain from the beginning that I did not want it to be a war story. I wanted it to be a very human story which just happened to take place during the war. I wanted to show the lives of the ordinary people who had to live their lives through it. I wrote it for a young adult to adult audience. My best reviews have come from a wide range of ages. One of my biggest fans is a sixteen-year-old girl. Another is a man in his fifties. It is pretty clean. Certainly appropriate for younger audiences.

4) What other styles do you write? I work mostly with novels, though Ashford is the first I have published. I've messed around with some short fiction, and have notes here and there for a memoir of my experiences as a sixteen-year-old cancer patient. There are always new ideas popping up.

5) Is this a hobby or do you plan to make a career from writing? I have always dreamed of a career as a novelist. I was twelve when I started submitting my first manuscript to editors and agents. Looking back on those early submissions always makes me cringe, but it was good practice and accustomed me to rejection (a must for any writer). For years I dreamed of landing a publishing contract, and I have an enormous stack of rejection letters to show for it. I had been having ongoing frustrations with the manuscript of Ashford last spring, receiving many form rejections, and never any explanation of why. I got bolder and shared the manuscript with a larger number of people, trying to figure out what was wrong. That was when I realized the only people who didn't love it were the editors and agents, who wouldn't tell me why, and I thought, I'm not writing it for them, I'm writing it for the readers. The world of indie publishing has changed drastically in the last few years. It no longer takes hundreds of dollars up front to publish your work. If you are willing do most of the work yourself you can make it available for next to nothing. You have to be very self-critical, and the more people you have edit it for you, the better. It can be done, and it can be done well.

6) What authors do you admire? I've always been a sucker for the classics. I have an aunt who is an English professor specializing in Victorian British Literature, and I always get the best recommendations from her. My first love was Shakespeare, but since then I've become an avid fan of Dickens, Eliot, the Brontes, Austen, Trollope, E.M. Forster, Anthony Hope, and Thomas Costain. I love the travel writing of Norman Lewis, and Norton Juster. But my favorite author of all time is Elizabeth Goudge.

7) What music, places, people inspire you? I love music of almost any sort, but as far as what I like to listen to when I'm writing...it depends on what sort of scene I'm working on. Of course, as a dancer, I love classical ballet music: Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Minkus, Drigo...and I love Grieg. I also enjoy certain kinds of jazz, rock and folk. I'm very keen on Fleet Foxes, Juliette Greco. While I was writing Ashford I listened to a lot of old jazz, especially Ken "Snakehips" Johnson, who gets mentioned in the novel. My husband is a singer/songwriter, so I like to write while he practices. I love watching people in any situation, and I must confess to being a serial eavesdropper in public. I find the conversations of the people around me thoroughly fascinating. Some of my inspiration has come from the British Isles. I love the UK more each time I visit. My husband and I spent our honeymoon in the tiny Welsh village of Llandygwydd.

8) What do you do when you have writer's block? I've found that the best cure is to pack up my laptop and go to a coffee shop. I find the change of scene helpful, and at the very least I'm drinking something delicious and soaking up a different atmosphere. When I'm blocked my mind goes in crazy circles, and the change of place pulls me out of that.

9) How long did it take you to write your novel? Three years, and then more for the editing.

10) Have you ever attended a writer's conference? I have attended the Pacific Northwest Writers' Conference for the past four years.

11) What is your writing process like? I like to get a fairly early start in the morning, but I can write at any time of day the muse decides to favor me. I have on occasion dragged myself out of bed in the middle of the night because an idea was pestering me so much I couldn't sleep.

Anyone interested in learning more can contact Melanie through her blog (mentioned above) or at melanierose.writes@gmail.com