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

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Writing Humor

Having a difficult week? Here's a little writing humor to get you through it...


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Honor our Veterans

In his Memorial Day message, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki quotes Civil War-era orator, Robert Green Ingersoll:

They died for liberty--they died for us. They are at rest.

They sleep in the land they made free, under the flag they rendered stainless ... Earth may run red with other wars, but they are at peace.

In the midst of battles, in the roar of conflict, they found the serenity of death.

Have you ever written a message to or for a Veteran? Do you know someone to whom you could write a letter of thanks?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Logo Contest

Are you an artist? Do you know someone who likes to design graphics?

There is only two weeks left to submit to the Texas Gulf Coast Writers Logo Contest. The submissions are due June 4, and will be voted on at the June 10 meeting. The winner will be paid $50 for their entry, and the logo will then be used on all official group communications.

For complete details: http://www.texasgulfcoastwriters.blogspot.com/p/logo-contest.html

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


NO ENTRY FEE NOTED. The Small Axe Literary Competition encourages the production and publication of Caribbean fiction and poetry. The competition focuses on poetry and short stories from emerging writers whose work centers on regional and diasporic Caribbean themes and concerns.

Deadline May 31, 2013. Submit unpublished short story (maximum 7,000 words), or an original selection of poetry (maximum ten poems, not exceeding ten manuscript pages).

Two winners are chosen from each category by a distinguished panel of judges.

First Prize: $750
Second Prize: $500

Winners of the 2012 competition will be published in Small Axe 42 - July 2013.

For more information: http://smallaxe.net/sxsalon/literarycompetition.php

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Liebster Award

WOW! I’ve been nominated for a Liebster Award by both Bonnie Gwyn and Alicia Bien. Thank you ladies! I truly appreciate the support and inspiration you have shared. So, let me see if I can live up to this honor.

Liebster Award Rules
1. List 11 facts about yourself.
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you.
3. Ask 11 new questions for the bloggers you nominate for the award.
4. Choose up to 11 up and coming blogs to nominate.
5. Go to each blogger’s page and let them know about the award.
6. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.

Eleven facts about myselfI’ll skip this one since I’m answering eleven questions from both ladies. If you want to know more, see the “About Me” page.

Eleven questions from Bonnie:

  1. If a movie was made about your life, what would the title and theme song be?  The title would be Invincible and the theme song would be Climb by No Doubt.
  2. Is there anything you'd willingly give your life for?  My children.
  3. Favorite quote?  This changes based on my mood, but I do like: “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson
  4. If you could invite four people to dinner (alive or dead, from now or way back), who would it be and why?  Hmm… Jesus, Abraham Lincoln, Margaret Thatcher and Shakespeare… These are the first four who came to mind, but there are many others.
  5. What's your least favorite color? Any particular reason? Peach. It’s like a half color…like it couldn’t commit. :-*
  6. What's your biggest pet peeve? People who always complain about others.
  7. What is the best decision you've ever made? To trust God.
  8. Are you afraid of spiders? No.
  9. What is your favorite book? Why? The Bible. I can find comfort and wisdom for any situation.
  10. Who is your favorite character from books or movies? Why?  It’s so hard to pick just one. I recently watched Avengers again and I really like Black Widow and Hawkeye. I wish someone would make a movie of their back story.
  11. What movie can you watch on repeat and not get bored with?  Anne of Green Gables Series.

Eleven questions from Alicia:

1. What book changed your life? Bible
2. When did you know you were a writer?  When I was in elementary, I was already writing every day – for fun. I couldn’t stop.
3. Who's funnier: Jerry Seinfeld or Louis C.K?  I’ve never listened to Louis C.K. and Seinfeld is not my favorite. I’m more of a Jeff Foxworthy kinda gal.
4. What's your favorite type of wine?  I don’t care for wine.
5. What book have you read over and over again?  Many, I get something new every time.
6. Who's funnier: Tina Fey or Amy Poehler?  Love Tina Fey.
7. Have you published a book? If yes, please name it: Haven’t tried to publish a book -  just published short stories, poetry, articles, and photography.
8. Do you read the news in its paper form or online? Both.
9. Who's funnier: Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert? I enjoy both in moderation.
10. Who's your favorite book character?  Atticus Finch, Elinor Dashwood, Edmond Dantes… oh, wait, I can only pick one?
11. What's funnier: Modern Family or The Big Bang Theory?  The Big Bang Theory!

My eleven questions for bloggers…

1. What do you hope to have accomplished five years from today?
2. What is the best trip or family vacation you have ever taken?
3. Name one children’s book that you think all adults ought to read and take to heart. 
4. What do you think is one of the worst movies or TV shows ever made?
5. What fairy tale character do you identify with the most?
6. What actor would you want to portray you in a movie about your life? 
7. What do you like the most about blogging?
8. What is your guilty pleasure?
9. If you had a super power what would it be?
10. When you were a kid, what age did you think was really old?
11. When was the last time you stopped and smelled the roses?

And the blogs I nominate:

10. Mama J 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Lamar University Press

Are you ready for the submission process? If so, consider university presses.

Lamar University Press will accept unsolicited submissions during the month of June only, beginning JUNE 1, 2013

They will consider:

Nonfiction: art, biography, books of regional interest for East Texas, business, cook books, creative nonfiction, economics, educational, health, histories, how-to, investing, juvenile, memoir, profiles, psychology, self help, travel, true crime, young adult.

Fiction: historical, juvenile, literary, mainstream short stories, young adult. We will consider high-quality genre fiction (mystery, science fiction, fantasy, romance, western).

Poetry: pay attention to craft, polish, sound, poetic devices, and use of imagery. While we will consider both traditional and free verse, we are not interested in seeing mere prose broken into lines.

Drama: plays for the stage. At this time we are not considering screen plays.

To learn more or submit your manuscript: http://www.lamaruniversitypress.org/

Friday, May 10, 2013

Sympathy for the Villain

I’ve been editing a manuscript and it hasn’t felt right. For several days now I’ve struggled with why and then it hit me. DUH! I haven’t created any sympathy for my villain(s).

Well, don’t I feel silly L Rookie mistake.

The great Donald Maass, in his book THE BREAKOUT NOVELIST describes the mostly used “Mwoo-ha-ha Villains” as the cardboard variety and who never work. He suggests making the antagonist multi-dimensional, so that the reader is swayed in unexpected directions and even accepts the antagonist’s point of view. 

Writer’s Digest posted an article 4 TECHNIQUES FORCREATING BELIEVABLE VILLAINS which uses strategies taken from James Scott Bell’s CONFLICT & SUSPENSE. These strategies also suggest giving the antagonist a sympathy factor in order to lend a powerful current of emotion to the experience. 

The “Villains” section of SCREENWRITING TRICKS FOR AUTHORS by Alexandra Sokoloff does a wonderful job describing the importance of villains. She suggests that villains make up half of an entire story’s theme. This makes perfect sense, since theme deals with subtle messages and all those hard choices between good and bad, or in a real tense novel, between bad and worse. 

So, I need to revisit the back story of my “villain”. The more I understand the reason for the antagonist’s bad behavior, that more I can “grow” the story and all its juicy conflicts. 

For my own tips on how to Love Your Villain.

Who are your favorite villains? Right now, two of my own favorites are Rumplestiltskin and the Evil Queen of Once Upon A Time on abc.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Never Give Up

“It seems important to me that beginning writers ponder this—that since 1964, I have never had a book, story or poem rejected that was not later published. If you know what you are doing, eventually you will run into an editor who knows what he/she is doing. It may take years, but never give up. Writing is a lonely business not just because you have to sit alone in a room with your machinery for hours and hours every day, month after month, year after year, but because after all the blood, sweat, toil and tears you still have to find somebody who respects what you have written enough to leave it alone and print it. And, believe me, this remains true, whether the book is your first novel or your thirty-first.”

Joseph Hansen memo, from Rotten Reviews

Monday, May 6, 2013

Just Us Girls...Sorry Guys!

Chicken Soup for the Soul is seeking submissions to a new title.

"The title was New Friends. Because of the nature of the many submissions we received we have changed the focus and the title to Just Us Girls. A woman's friends are the family she picks for herself. Whether it's about something funny or serious, our friends are the first ones we think to call. They are a constant source of support and encouragement. The stories for this book will celebrate all that is special about the bonds that women share with their friends. We are not looking for teen or preteen stories for this book, just stories from people over 18. If you submitted a story for the New Friends title in the past please know that we have your story and it will be considered for this book. Please do not submit it again. The deadline date for story and poem submissions is May 15, 2013."      

For more information or to submit: http://www.chickensoup.com/form.asp?cid=possible_books

Friday, May 3, 2013

To write, or not to write…

I quit. I’m tired of rejections. I must totally suck!

Ever feel this way? You’re not alone. I recently read this article: http://thewritersguidetoepublishing.com/i-quit about a talented author who quit and even went so far as to remove EVERYTHING she had ever written from public view. This article gives a glimpse into why she made this decision.
It’s so sad, so discouraging, so… normal to have these feelings. If you want to persevere instead of giving up, remember these three tips.

1. Anticipate rejection, failure, and low self-esteem - It happens. It’s part of the journey. It helps to find encouragement from spouses, friends, writers/critique groups or bloggers. Writing is a lonely occupation and any of these connections can help eliminate the type of solitary despair writers often experience. If you find yourself unable to find an immediate connection, keep a collection of quotes – encouraging words from people who mean a lot to you or whom you admire.
2. Stop comparing yourself to other writers - Unless that comparison gives you the courage to keep writing, don’t do it. You are not that writer. You never will be. Be you. That’s what you’re best at. You have no idea what that individual went through before finding the accomplishment you envy. The grass hasn’t always been greener.

3. Keep writing and submitting - Don’t let your fear debilitate you. Writing is hard, but not writing is harder. Anyone who truly loves to write can tell you it is a part of their soul. Allow yourself to keep writing and submitting. As a friend of mine likes to say, “If you throw enough mud at the wall, eventually some of it is going to stick.” The same is true with your work. You can’t control what agents and editors like, but you can control your work ethic.
So, let yourself keep going, keep improving, and keep living. Need a pick me up? Here is a fun list of ten reasons I’m thankful to be a writer: http://writinginwonderland.blogspot.com/2010/11/thankful-writer.html

How about you? Why do you write? What helps you to keep going?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

I Survived and Reflection

Thanks to art guru, Jeremy Hawkins from Retro-Zombie, for awarding this “I Survived” badge to all who finished this year's A to Z Challenge. Congratulations to everyone who finished. I had so much fun meeting all of you!

This challenge became the push I needed to write EVERY day. I haven't been doing that for a long time. While the challenge can be exhausting, the reward is so worth the price. This is the third year I've participated and it always serves to refuel my dedication and creativity. I'm already looking forward to next year.

A special thanks to the A to Z Team for 2013: The Madlab Post (Nicole Ayers), Tossing It Out (Arlee Bird), Amlokiblogs (Damyanti Biswas), Alex J. Cavanaugh (Alex J. Cavanaugh), Life is Good (Tina Downey), Cruising Altitude 2.0 (DL Hammons), Retro-Zombie (Jeremy Hawkins), The Warrior Muse (Shannon Lawrence), The QQQE (Matthew MacNish), Leave it to Livia (Livia Peterson), No Thought 2 Small (Konstanz Silverbow), Breakthrough Blogs (Stephen Tremp), and Spunk on a Stick (L. Diane Wolfe). They worked so hard to make this challenge a success.

You can read my posts for this challenge throughout the month of April. You can find the complete list of participants using the linky list here.

For more information on this April challenge, “The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge Reflections Post 2013”, or the upcoming “A to Z Road Trip” visit http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

What did you learn about yourself or others during this challenge? Why did you sign up to participate? Will you do it again next year?