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

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

January Scribbler Box: Stakes

I received my tenth box from Scribbler this month. You can learn about previous boxes, and why I subscribed by clicking the "Scribbler" link in the labels below.

The theme this month is STAKES. As always, the first thing you see upon opening the box is a writing exercise/contest postcard. Each month provides a new challenge for writers to practice. The deadline for this month is 2/14.

The "Curated Writerly Gifts" this month include a combination blue key ring and bottle opener with "#PLOTTWIST" printed along the side, a set of three magnets depicting writing quips, a yellow I'M ALL WRITE notebook, a plastic zip pocket folder with dot grid index cards, an invitation to upload a book to INGRAMSPARK!, a bookmark advertising this months book, and a crunchy milk chocolate salted toffee bar.

As usual, this box also came with an inside look at the publishing process for this months author, and an exclusive invitation to chat with a publishing professional: Jessica Turner, Marketing Director and Associate Publisher for Entangled Publishing, as well as the collectible 'Writing Passport' with the authors discussing this months theme of STAKES.

This months new release novel is MALICE by Pintip Dunn which officialy hits stands on Tuesday, February 4:

What I know: a boy in my school will one day wipe out two-thirds of the population with a virus.
What I don’t know: who he is.
In a race against the clock, I not only have to figure out his identity, but I’ll have to outwit a voice from the future telling me to kill him. Because I’m starting to realize no one is telling the truth. But how can I play chess with someone who already knows the outcome of my every move? Someone so filled with malice they’ve lost all hope in humanity? Well, I’ll just have to find a way―because now they’ve drawn a target on the only boy I’ve ever loved...

To learn more about this monthly box service: https://www.goscribbler.com/

Do you subscribe to any boxing services? Have you heard of SCRIBBLER? Are you tempted to join?

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

National Polka Dot Day, Gender Bias, and Writers

Today is National Polka Dot Day!

It's also the day Minnie Mouse finally received her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame two years ago - a mere 40 years after her counterpart, Mickey. You can find out more about that here. I only mention this because the college class I teach is currently discussing gender bias. There are always polar opposites present on this issue, on whether this is still a concern today, and many students are somewhere in the middle or unwilling to take a side. However, the point of this class is research and persuasion. The Mickey versus Minnie tidbit has been brought up as a result of this research and discussion.

Many of my family members are Disney fans. As you can tell from the mention in this post, the cheesy picture here, and my social media accounts I'm a little obsessed with most of Disney myself. I've also passed the sickness along to my children. My husband has accepted, and loves us anyway ;-)

I'm from Southern California, and even though I live in Texas, we head back as often as possible to visit family and friends. I took my girls to Hollywood for the first time in July 2017. They loved it. Their favorite memories of the day there include lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe', seeing the famous Hollywood sign, and finding Daniel Radcliffe's star. You can see pictures here.

Another reason I mention all of this is because the original article I read announcing Minnie's big day led me down a rabbit hole of reading. I became curious about writers who have earned a star on that famous walkway. I knew of a few, but I was surprised at the number. Some of these authors I know have brought joy to many and will be immediately recognized: Raymond Chandler, Ray Bradbury, Stephen J. Cannell, Frank Capra, quite a few others I recognized, and a few I didn't. Here is a list the Los Angeles Times has comprised of all the writers who've earned that coveted star.

What are your feelings about gender bias - does it still exist? Have you been to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, or a Disney Park? Which authors are your favorites? Who would you like to see earn a star? Are you celebrating National Polka Dot Day?

Thursday, January 16, 2020

2020 Conferences, Workshops, and Literary Festivals

While this list mostly focuses on Texas and Louisiana (where I am) there are some others listed here for you. Please let me know if you would like to recommend any others to be added to the list.

1/18"Serious Writers, Inc." is sponsoring a one-day Writers Boot Camp in Tampa, Florida . You can learn more at https://www.seriouswriter.com/events/

2/15 - Southwest Louisiana Book Festival - https://www.swlabookfest.org/

3/5-7"Serious Writers, Inc." will be at the North Carolina Christian Writers Conference. You can learn more at https://www.seriouswriter.com/events/

3/14 - Jambalaya Writers Conference - http://mytpl.org/jwc/

3/13-22 - SXSW Film and writers festival in Austin - http://www.sxsw.com/

3/25-29 - New Orleans Literary Festival -  http://www.tennesseewilliams.net/

3/28 - Unconfirmed, so check back: Galveston Island Book Festival - http://galveston.bookfestival.network/index.php/component/users/?view=remind&Itemid=101

4/25 - Wimberley Book Festival - http://bookfestival.network/

5/2-3 - Austin Writer's and Illustrators Conference - https://austin.scbwi.org/events/austin-2018-writers-illustrators-working-conference/

5/30 - Lone Star Book Festival of Seguin, Texas - http://bookfestival.network/

6/13-14 - Dallas Writer's Conference - http://dfwcon.org/

6/17-20 "Serious Writers, Inc." will be at the Write-to-Publish Conference in Wheaton, Illinois. You can learn more at https://www.seriouswriter.com/events/

6/26-28 - Austin Agents and Editors Conference - http://www.writersleague.org/38/Conference

7/10-12"Serious Writers, Inc." will be at the Windsor International Writers Conference in Windsor, Ontarion. You can learn more at https://www.seriouswriter.com/events/

9/12-13 - Unconfirmed so check back - Houston Writer's Guild Conference - https://houston.scbwi.org/

10/15-18 - World Mystery Convention will be held in Sacramento, California - http://www.bouchercon.com/

10/24 - Unconfirmed, so check back - Louisiana: Bayou Writers Group Conferencehttps://bayouwritersgroup.com/

10/22-29 - Austin Film Festival -  https://austinfilmfestival.com/

11/7-8 - Austin Book Festival - https://www.texasbookfestival.org/

11/14-15 - Unconfirmed, so check back: New Orleans Book Festival - https://www.everfest.com/e/new-orleans-book-festival-new-orleans-la

Please feel free to comment with any you would like to see added to this list - even if it's not happening in the USA.  You never know when an opportunity will arise. Right? :-)

Monday, January 13, 2020

IWSG: Twitter Pitch

It's Coming!!
The next #IWSGPit  will be in January 15, 2020

8:00 am - 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time

Create a Twitter-length pitch for your completed and polished manuscript and leave room for genre, age, and the hashtag. On January 15, Tweet your pitch. If your pitch receives a favorite/heart from a publisher/agent check their submission guidelines and send your requested query.

If your new year's resolution is to see your book published, the IWSG is here to help! 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. 

For more information, check out the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Will you be pitching? Good luck!

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

IWSG: Starting the Writing Journey

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.

January QUESTION: What started you on your writing journey? Was it a particular book, movie, story, or series? Was it a teacher/coach/spouse/friend/parent? Did you just "know" suddenly you wanted to write?
MY ANSWER: My cousin and I were playing "school". She was the teacher, I was the student, and she gave me a creative writing assignment. I don't remember the actual "assignment", but I do remember thinking This is it...I love writing! I've been a scribe since then.
What about you? What started your own writing journey? 

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Vision Board

New Year Resolutions have long been a habit. Individuals make a list of the goals, dreams, and habits they want to include in their fresh start on life. However, this "checklist" practice may only be setting some up for failure. It implies a specific rate at which these objectives must be obtained - whether that be before the next new year, by the end of the month, or on a weekly basis. If that timeline is not reached, individuals frequently become discouraged and give up altogether.

Instead, I'd like to suggest you attempt a vision board. I will be doing these with my own children, as well as with the students I teach. 

Thanks to social media our society has increasingly become image sensitive. We scroll through and save meaningful images. If we apply this same methodology to our targets, instead of the checklist, we may be more likely to remain vigilant. 

A Vision Board is a collage of images and words representing a person's wishes or goals, intended to serve as inspiration or motivation for a compelling life. They are meant to be fun to create and can serve as an invaluable tool to motivate and inspire you towards concrete daily action in pursuit of your biggest and most important life goals.

Benefits of a Vision Board:

1) Creates an emotional connection that motivates you.
2) Makes real the dream in your mind so you begin to believe it’s possible.
3) Helps you clarify what you want out of your life because it forces you to put something down.

Possible Supplies Needed:

1). Something to attach images to such as cork or poster board, or large sheets of paper.
2). Glue, clips, or pins.

3). Markers, pens, pencils, paint.
4). Colorful or plain paper for adding personal flair.
5). Magazines/books that can be cut up.
6). Scissors
7). Calculator

Obviously, you can adapt the following to just focus on your specific goals. Your board can be a general "happy life" type scenario on which you include multiple aspirations, or you can make it all about one specific dream such as your new home, or job. Of course, if you are design efficient, you could do all of this on the computer and avoid any mess. However, there is something to be said for the tactile version of production.

Here are a few suggestions:

Step 1 - Find a picture of yourself that you like, or at least don’t mind others seeing. This will become the center of your vision board.
Step 2 - list at least 10 jobs you might like (these can be end game, or stepping stones) and the average salary for them.
Step 3 - find pictures (online or magazines) and create collage of your dream house - This means images of what the outside and individual rooms might look like for you. 
Step 4 - Go online and find out what it might cost (Zillow.com is a good source of research). Think about location, square footage, acreage, etc. Use a simple mortgage calculator to research about interest and calculate monthly payments.
Step 5 - Find pictures or images to represent your dream vacation(s). Go online and research the total cost of travel, lodging, food, attractions, and souvenirs.

Step 6 - Giving - watch this video: https://youtu.be/JDOro6Ru0b8. Then write charities that you might want to support. Find images to represent those charities or foundations. Try to pick at least three and list the possible donation plan – one lump sum versus monthly, or seasonal donations - either as a dollar amount or percentage, or ways you can help a charity without money (volunteering).
Step 7 - Find words, or images that appeal to you and your personal lifestyle, health, and hobbies. If you can’t find the words you want in a magazine, use your pens or markers to create them.

Step 8 – Take a picture of your completed board with your cell phone before you display it. This way, you will always have access to your “vision”. While you enjoy the images, think about the habits you must create to obtain your ultimate goals.

If you create one, please tag me on social media because I'd love to see it. I'm on facebook, twitter, Instagram, and pinterest.

For more on the benefits of creating a vision board, check out this post.