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

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

8 Free Writing E-courses for 2017

Not all of us can afford the cost, or time, to attend classes, workshops, or conferences. Fortunately, there are a number of great alternatives. These eight FREE e-courses allow you to stay home and study at your own pace.
1. Start Writing Fiction (starts on 4/24/2017)
4. Adventures in Writing (anytime)
5. Writing for the Web (started on 3/19/2017 – more coming soon)

6. Secret Sauce of Great Writing (anytime)

7. Advanced Fiction Writing Techniques (anytime)

8. Introduction to Journalism (date tba)

I hope these help, and I hope you’ll join me this April for the “A to Z Challenge.”  As a thank-you to the blogging community, and to celebrate one year since its publication, I am offering FREE e-pub copies of my western short story “Broken Angel” from now through April 30. If you would like to receive a copy, simply email me at writinginwonderland(at)gmail(dot)com 

Friday, March 24, 2017

IWSG Twitter Pitch

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group
Twitter Pitch Party!


July 27, 2017

8:00 am to 8:00 pm Eastern Time

All writers and authors are invited to participate in our very first Twitter Pitch. 

Create a Twitter-length pitch for your completed and polished manuscript and leave room for genre, age, and the hashtag. On July 27, Tweet your pitch. If your pitch receives a favorite/heart from a publisher/agent check their submission guidelines and send your requested query. Sample Tweet from #PitMad:

Many writers have seen their books published from a Twitter pitch - it’s a quick and easy way to put your manuscript in front of publishers and agents. 


Writers may send out 1 Twitter pitch every 1 hour per manuscript. 

Publishers/Agents will favorite/heart pitches they are interested in. Publishers can either Tweet basic submission guidelines or direct writers to their submission guidelines. (Writers, please do not favorite/heart pitches.)

Pitches must include GENRE/AGE and the hashtag #IWSGPit. 

#C - children’s
#MG - middle grade
#YA - young adult
#NA - new adult
#A - adult
#AD - adventure
#CF - Christian fiction
#CO - contemporary
#F - fantasy
#H - horror
#HI - historical
#LF - literary fiction
#MCT - mystery/crime/thriller
#ME - memoir
#NF - non-fiction
#PB - picture book
#PN - paranormal
#R - romance
#SF - sci-fi
#WF - women's fiction

Participating Publishers and Agents: 

Acorn Publishing 
Bond Literary Agency 
Tiny Fox Press 
Dancing Lemur Press 
Dystel, Goderich & Bourret LLC 
Entangled Publishing 
Curiosity Quills Press 
Rainbow Nerds Literary 
Blaze Publishing 
Inklings Literary Agency LLC
Owl City Press 
Donald Maass Literary Agency 
Carina Press 
Anaiah Press 
Speilburg Agency 

With more soon to come!
*Authors, please check out the publishers and agents before #IWSGPit day and before submitting.*
**To keep up with the most recent information on this visit and check back frequently at: http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-twitter-pitch.html

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Great and Powerful A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal!

It’s officially “theme reveal” day! Every year since 2013, it has been a tradition for A to Z participants to reveal their Challenge themes ahead of time - on a day we lovingly titled The Great And Powerful Theme Reveal! With less than two weeks left before the Challenge begins, that day - IS TODAY!

One of the most burning questions participants ask themselves every year is: 
"Should I have a theme?" Themes are not mandatory, but definitely fun. They let your visitors know what to expect, create excitement and anticipation, and help you write posts that line neatly up from A to Z.

Not sure what the “A to Z Challenge” is all about? Check out this page: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/p/frequently-asked-question-faq.html

As you probably already know, this year we are doing the Challenge without a Linky list. This means that people will be posting the links to their posts each day on the official blog page, as well as on social media (see the details here!). 


Last May I traveled to Scotland for several weeks. As descendants of Scottish heritage, my mom, aunt, cousin, and I all decided to visit and travel the land of some of our ancestors. All through April I'll be sharing how that trip affected me. The research I’ve conducted, photos I’ve taken, my reading, and my writing since then have been greatly influenced by Scottish art, architecture, writers, design, films, history, music, and more.

I hope you’ll join me throughout the month as I share my love for this beautiful country!

Friday, March 17, 2017

He Gave Me Barn Cats

Inspired by true events...
Losses send a woman's soul into its darkest winter...
Maria has cared for her very ill mother for many years. Her burdens are heavy, causing a sadness bordering on darkness. When she discovers her historic barn is now home to a mother cat and kittens, she feels lighter than she has in years. As the kittens grow, they teach her as only animals can do.
Then tragedy strikes. As Maria loses her family, the darkness envelopes her like the heavy fog that blankets her Blue Ridge Mountain home each morning. She creates a scorecard: God: 9, Maria: 0. Her questions turn into anger at God. She searches to find answers as to why her loving God would take away so much in such a short time.
How will she learn to trust again? Can the kittens in her barn help her heal?

Congratulations to Maria Santomasso-Hyde on her book, He Gave Me Barn Cats, which released this week. It’s now available for purchase at Amazon-https://tinyurl.com/jep58lr, at B&N- https://tinyurl.com/hqqdduq, on iTunes- https://tinyurl.com/z66pu7r , or you could win a free copy by following her tour at - https://mcbooktours.wordpress.com/2017/01/25/sign-up-for-he-gave-me-barn-cats-by-maria-santomasso-hyde/ 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

IWSG Goodreads Book Club

Now open – the IWSG Goodreads Group! Dedicated to the writing craft, this group is made for writers.

Not on Goodreads? The IWSG book club is a good reason to join.
Don’t do much on Goodreads? This is an excellent way to dip your toes in a little more. 

Not enough time in your day? We read one book every two months.

OUR GOAL: The Insecure Writer's Support Group (Book Club) is for writers to read/learn about the writing craft. In this book club, we will swap back and forth between non-fiction writing books and fiction books that demonstrate how to do certain aspects of storytelling. No promo. No review or beta reader requests. Just writers reading books and discussing those books with other writers.

**The first book will be announced on April 1st.**
**The discussion will start on May 17th.**
For more details and to join: IWSG Goodreads Book Club

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

7 Ways to Get the Most Out of a Writing Conference

Writing conferences can be an invigorating experience where you learn new skills, network with industry professionals, and gain confidence in yourself as a writer.
I’ve left some great conferences flying high and ready to write. Then there were a few that I walked away from wishing I could get my money back. So, how do you ensure you have the first experience and not the second?
1)      Prepare – I won't spend a lot of time on this since I talked about it here:  http://writinginwonderland.blogspot.com/2017/02/preparing-for-writing-conference.html
2)      Read – when you check out the panelists in the preparation stage, continue by visiting their web pages, blogs, and maybe even their books. That way, you’ll already have context and questions ready for the speakers you are most interested in meeting. You’ll also be better acquainted with the style of books and industry professionals they like to work with which helps you find the people who may be the right fit for you and your work.
3)      Partner Up – in your preparation stage you should have studied the conference schedule to figure out which sessions you’ll want to attend, and which you’ll want to miss. Many times, conferences have multiple (sometimes even ten or more) sessions taking place at once. If you attend with friends and colleagues, it’s easier to divide and conquer. Plan out ahead of time which of you will attend which seminars so that you can share notes later.
4)      Pitch Perfect – when you sit down across from an agent or editor to talk about your work, nerves can set in making you tongue-tied, flustered, and in some cases downright incoherent. Instead of an impromptu conversation, practice beforehand what you want to say, how you will describe your work, and perfect your hook so that you can grab the audience attention and desire for more.
5)      Goals – go to the conference to seek specific skills. Whether you are polishing a manuscript, hoping to find a publisher, wanting to learn more about self-publishing, or looking for tips on marketing, you should have specific goals. That way, when listening to a speaker, you can ask appropriate questions, or be ready to apply what they share to your own project(s). Go into each part of the conference ready to attain some new skill, knowledge, or idea.
6)      Take Note – Don’t just attend, engage. Take a specific folder and bag (especially useful for bringing home all the books you won’t mean to buy, but always end up doing anyway) to keep up with conference lessons, materials, and news. Take notes, collect handouts, and organize business cards. Only keep the information you like and find useful or appropriate to your work since you may receive more information than you want at larger conferences.

7)      Network – the opportunity to connect with others is a large aspect of the conference. If you’re a natural wallflower, you’ll have to fight that urge. Plan to introduce yourself frequently, join in discussions, eat and drink with others, smile a lot, and generally chat with anyone around you in line, at the shop, or waiting in the lobby. Tell people about your writing, and then listen to what they are working to complete. The publishing world is much smaller than it at first appears. Getting to know others who work in the industry can open all sorts of doors for you.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Stories of Faith for Superheroes and Baseball Fans

I've had the privilege of enjoying two very wonderful books of faith this week.

First, for more than 75 years of comic book history and dozens of gigantic cinematic releases (and more to come), superheroes have found a place in our hearts and minds. Fans of this good vs. evil world will love The Superheroes Devotional—featuring 60 interesting, challenging, and encouraging readings.

This book was a surprising and delightful find. When I first chose this one, I thought it was targeted to middle school boys. I’m not sure why. Maybe the description, or cover, gave me that idea. However, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever enjoyed Marvel or DC comic books, movies, cartoons.

Jammed packed with the history of some of our favorite comics, how they’ve evolved, and how they relate to so many biblical teachings earned this book a permanent spot on my bookshelf.
Secondly, Baseball Faith will inspire and encourage readers in their faith journey, as 52 MLB players--past and present--share their stories and how they are chasing the success that only comes from being God's man and following His plan. Featuring personal stories from Hall of Famer John Smoltz, three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw, former MVP Albert Pujols, perennial All-Star Mariano Rivera, and many more.

The cover and photos inside are absolutely beautiful and of high quality. The one disappointment for me was that I was expecting more information on each player. Instead there are only a few paragraphs about each ones walk with God. However, descriptions of each players faith as well as highlights and stats from their career still make this an enjoyable book for any baseball fan.

I received a complimentary copy of each of these books from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

IWSG: Reworking an Old Story for Publication

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs. You can also join us on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG, or on the Facebook page.

Now, IWSG hosts have changed up the format in an effort to make it more fun and interactive.Every month, they will announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Don’t forget to visit others that day to see their answers. Want to join, or learn more? Visit our - Sign-up List.

Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

MY ANSWER: Yes, I've talked about this a few times. One of my earliest experiences was in 2010 when I pulled out a piece I wrote for an English class my freshman year of high school. You can read "Feeding the Soul" in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just for Preteens. Then, last year, my story "WIN" (originally written years ago) appeared in the IWSG anthology Parallels. I'm a big believer in never getting rid of ANYTHING you write. You never know when it will work for an editor!

Have you ever pulled out a really old story that you were able to rework for publication?