Sunday, February 28, 2010

Resources for Writers #7: C. Hope Clark's Newsletters

          My in-box fills up daily with newsletters and other writing information that I have, at sometime in the past, signed up to receive. I try, at the least, to glance at all of them, but many are the victim of the “delete” key. However, there are two newsletters which I never delete and always read completely: C. Hope Clark’s “Funds for Writers” and her “Small Markets” Both are free.

            Here is a breakdown on their content, using the most recent issues as an example:
“Funds for Writers”
  • Article: How to Start Your Platform
  • Workshop listing
  • Article: How to Make Your 8-to-5 Job Work for Your Writing
  • Competitions (brief description and link to submission guidelines for 3 contests)
  • Grants (brief description and link to site for 3 writing grants)
  • Freelance Markets (brief description and link to 3 periodical markets)
  • Jobs (3 writing job descriptions and links)
  • Publishers/Agents (3 links to publishers of various genres)
  • Information on 3 writing retreats

 “Small Markets”
  • Article: Rules for Writing from Serious Writers…and Me
  • Workshop listing
  • Grants/Awards/Contests (5 listings)
  • Jobs/Markets (5 listings)

Archived articles found at

            Hope’s website is another must-read. There you can subscribe FREE to “Funds for Writers”, “Small Markets”, and “Writing Kids”, which has listings for young writers from elementary school through college. You can also subscribe for $15/year to “Total Funds for Writers” which arrives as 26 biweekly issues containing 75+ grants, competitions, markets, jobs, publishers, and agents. After realizing how valuable the free newsletters were, I recently (and totally without grudging a cent!) forked over for the paid subscription.

            In addition, you will find a number of Ebooks by Hope available at extremely reasonable prices: Short Story Writer, Agent in Your Pocket, Get PAID to Write, Laughing Markets, Markets for the Young Writer, Grants for the Serious Writer, The No Fee Contest Book, Funds for the Essayist, Short & Sweet: Markets for Fillers, Cooking Up Recipes,  and Quick as a Flash. I have ordered and downloaded Ferocious Promotion for Timid Authors and The Shy Writer. I recommend both.

            If you’re looking for more specific information, try Hope’s “Tweetebooks” for $1.99 each. Samples include: 20 short story markets, 20 publishers for your romance novel, 20 flash fiction markets, 20 publishers who consider memoirs, 20 women’s markets, and MANY more—plus more on the way.

            If you’re looking for VALUE, you’ll find it here—in the free newsletters, the Ebooks, and the Tweetebooks. Visit Hope’s website and look around. Your only cost is time which, of course, is money to a writer—but it will be time well spent!

FTC Disclaimer: I have not received any remuneration for reviewing and promoting these newsletters and the website.

Sunday Reflections

It's been a long, sad week, and now we have the choice to extend that week or soldier on. Linda would make the second choice, so I must also. I'm not taking her blog link down, not yet. That would seem too final, but I did add her picture to the sidebar as a way of keeping her with us. 

Tomorrow, Resources for Writers will be back--a look at C. Hope Clark's several newsletters which I read weekly even if I don't read anything else that comes to my email. On Wednesday I'll be reviewing Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel by Hallie Ephron. I don't have a guest blogger lined up for Friday, so if anyone would like to reflect, promote, etc., shoot me an email. 

I've worked on several projects this week, received a rejection for a short story--it went into the shredder with a shrug, spent a lot of time listening to the wonderful Vera Lynn cds and reflecting on the project for which Linda shared my enthusiasm and for which she was already gathering ideas, ordered some resource books for another project, decided how I'll incorporate some of my crit partner's suggestions for the mystery novel--she always has good ideas, and chatted online several times with my long-distance writing friend Donna. 

It hasn't been 'business as usual', but it's helped. And, taking the title of another Vera Lynn song, "Tomorrow is a lovely day." Linda would smile and say, "Yes, it is."

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Welcome to The Word Place Author Lisa Lickel

Lisa Lickel's third novel is a dramatic romance that takes place in the Midwest. The plot makes you think about the people in your life. A Reader's discussion guide and the first chapter are available on the author's website. Lisa enjoys talking about her books, or writing in general. Feel free to e-mail her at

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~             After seven years with no clue as to the whereabouts of Ann Ballard’s missing husband, nearly everyone presumes him dead. Now forty-something, Ann is ready for her stagnant life to flow again. Then one day, a dark-haired younger man from her past shows up on her doorstep offering a river of hope in place of tears.
Former neighbor Mark Roth has secretly loved Ann for years. A respected attorney, he’s returned home to help Ann face down disapproving family members and the legal maneuvering of her likely deceased husband’s family—while quietly winning her heart.
When the hidden truth of Ann’s situation turns their lives on end and another tragedy strikes, the two must come to terms with family, faith and the depths to which true love can run.


Publishers' book store; the book will come up on retail sites soon.

Author: Lisa J. Lickel
ISBN: 978-1-934912-23-2
Price: $16.95 paperback
Price: $8.00 Ebook (PDF format)
Pages: 226

Sunday, February 21, 2010

In Memoriam


Linda Sherlock
February 21, 2010

A fine writer, a loyal friend, a lovely human being

"...but I know we'll meet again...some sunny day."  

Monday, February 15, 2010

Silence at The Word Place Today

It's called Mimi-Duty. I have been with the small person since 7:30 yesterday morning and am now waiting on her to wake up this morning so I can give her breakfast and take her to preschool. She is a very happy, most reasonable little girl, but she is 2 1/2---and there is a reason that God gives children to the young!

She insisted on watching her Dora video 3 times (while playing and doing other things) until I said no more Dora! Enough is enough! She is, btw, completely potty-trained now and so proud of wearing "big girl panties"! So--no problems there.

Lady had to go to board on Saturday, so she will be much aggrieved when I get her home. And I am exhausted!

We only had one mishap--last night when she was brushing her teeth, she took her toothbrush out of the drawer and kept trying to reach back in for the the new toothpaste when I had the current tube in my hand---and plunged in again just as I was closing the drawer, resulting in a mashed finger! (They are such tiny little fingers, too!) This event resulted in two big tears...though a few kisses seemed to help...and by the time we were cuddled in the chair reading her bedtime book, she'd forgotten which finger it was--and I couldn't see any signs of damage!

I'll drop her at preschool, then stay in town until I hear from the kids and know for sure they're on their way back. (They are supposed to pick her up at 5.) And, of course, Mimi wants to be handy just in case...

Anyway, tomorrow I'll try to post Resources for Writers.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Skhye's Valentines

        It's February, and we're surrounded by stylized hearts. Just what's in the symbolism of a heart? We can go back to the Ancient Greek legend of Prometheus to find a terracotta man with fire from the sun stuffed into his heart--the symbol of knowledge coming to man. Or we can stick with the later Roman-Catholic idea of flames shooting out of a heart--The Sacred Heart obviously the symbol carried over from the earlier Greek culture that evolved into Roman ideology [representing Jesus' love for us]. But all of the Catholics I know never mention the connection with the pre-Roman Greek idea. ??? Instead, we have Valentines Day. I'm not complaining. I get gifts. And it's my husband's birthday. We really celebrate! So, what's up with the apparently not-so-anatomically-correct symbol of a heart we promote like heck for a few weeks at the front end of every year?
        We are a culture set on romance, love, and marriage. Without the promotion of this fundamentally basic decision that affects everything in our lives, we wouldn't truly be individuals. And individualism is what the United States is all about. However, I have gone almost Forrest Gumpian in my Time Guardian tale, SACRIFICIAL HEARTS. What's inside a heart-shaped box of chocolates? Here are two excerpts...

Excerpt #1
Gerard had better things to do than stand around Ronat Castle waiting for an annoying suspicious woman to finally realize he was honorable. Aye, better things like wandering through the grocery store.
 Lines of rich cellophane-covered boxes glistened blood red, leading him back the way he had come.
 Sacrificial hearts.
 Truth echoed in the whisper of his boots crushing grit into the white-flecked-with-black linoleum floor.
 Sacrificed to Time. Just like every person he had ever befriended during his training. One after another, sent on to the unknown with only a soul mate for comfort. What a glorified box of chocolates. The Gods hadn’t gifted him that singular luxury. He would show her what kind of sacrifice lay in her future. Companionship. Friendship. Trust. Respect. Each tasty morsel was a prize worth savoring. She was a fool for thinking herself common along Time’s vast continuum.
 No one was simply common to the fairies. All souls were unique. Especially a time guardian’s soul—trained to deal with anything in stride. A time guardian wouldn’t let a Centurian woman’s cultural baggage irritate him. He was a fool for not seeing Truth before. He grabbed a heart-shaped box and strode toward the empty cashier’s counter.
 A Brother who couldn’t respect a woman like Twila didn’t deserve to have a wife. Had he walked away from a chance with a woman who could have married him? Chosen him. The candy would remind him to keep his wits about him; and if he got hungry, he could dine on the sweets. A symbol of compassion and a food reserve. Duty demanded a stiff price. Valentine’s chocolates undoubtedly couldn’t compare.

 Excerpt #2
Nice jeans. Nice waist. Nice. Nice. Good grief, Twila had to stop thinking like the man was a side of beef. But who could look at Gerard and not marvel at his strength and prowess? How did a man with his build mate with his destined love?
 Destined love? Dare she believe the madness? Well, move over world. There’s this thing called time travel. Here was her chance to buy a ticket on a train to any place. “Have you traveled through time?”
 His back was to her, and he didn’t turn away from the pot he placed upon the stovetop. “I’m not at liberty to discuss that with anyone except Order members or my spouse.”
 Nothing about him wavered. Was he trying to hide something or appear stoic? Did he fear she would accuse him of lying again? She couldn’t see his face. A person couldn’t hide his true feelings in his eyes. Just one look would declare his thoughts. She had to chance a glance. She strode toward him, around the end of his brown leather loveseat.
 Something red glistened on a sofa table behind the seat’s rounded back.
 A box of Valentine’s chocolates. For whom? Did he know she would be here? Could he know their future? He had journeyed to her house in the States. Not more lies. She stopped.
 Her heart sank.
 Maybe she was still wrong about that cult thing.
 “What’s wrong, Twila?”
 “You know our future, don’t you?” She turned to him.
 He watched her, drying his hands with a red dishtowel.
 “You knew I’d be here today. Didn’t you?”
 His brow furrowed. He tossed the towel at the gray countertop. “What I know is you’re overwhelmed with all this new information. I’m not going to take offense to your accusations.”
She grabbed the heart and thrust it at him. “Then who is this for?” Bad question, Twila. He will probably say another woman’s name.
 His combat boots squeaked as he crossed the space between them. But he skirted her only to sink onto the creaking loveseat where he raked his fingers through his tousled hair. “Please sit with me, Twila.”
Why not? She shoved the box of candy onto the table and claimed the space beside him.
 He almost smirked with a straight-lipped smile. Instead of scolding her, he reached for the red box. “I had forgotten this was here.”
 Likely story.
 He faced her squarely, wide-eyed, intently.
 A chill skittered down her spine.
 “This box reminded me of you.” He held it up like they were at Show and Tell. “Only you.”
 A Valentines’ box reminded him of me? Was that even remotely normal? Since when was anything about his world normal?
 He just looked at her.
 What was he waiting for? “What do you mean?”
 “Twila, it’s a symbol of what you are.”
 I’m a heart-shaped box of candy? “I don’t know what you mean.”
 “When I saw this in the store four days ago, I was struck by the blood-red packaging. The box looked wet, almost like a heart cut from your chest, packaged so beautifully that any Brother couldn’t refuse the boon of possessing you.”
 Lord, the morbidity...
 “But when looking deeper, there’s more. The different candies inside represent all the things about the self. Pride. Honor. Love. Respect. Do you understand, Twila? This box is you at the moment. This is your new reality. You feel betrayed, shanghaied into a new existence that goes against everything you believe. And you have every reason to fear the unknown. You have every reason to fear me. So, Twila, I’m giving this box to you.” He slid the box onto her knees without relinquishing her gaze.

        Well, they manage to work through her disgust in my Time Guardian Valentines tale. ;) Have you written a story with a stylistic symbol that does more than what a reader would expect? Or have you read something that sticks with you? Share it here today. I'm giving away a pdf of SACRIFICIAL HEARTS to one commentor who answers one of these questions by midnight CST, tonight. 

Thanks for having me over, Judy! ~Skhye
"Intense, original, suspenseful, and dramatic... an unpredictable topsy-turvy romance... the suspense builds with every page in SACRIFICIAL HEARTS. In a world where symbols mean everything, magic is the way..." ~Snapdragon; LASR

"Arthur is a masterpiece..." He of the Fiery Sword's King Arthur ~Diane Mason; The Romance Studio

"Talk about a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat and telling others to leave you alone until you're finished. Ms. Moncrief has created a story unlike any other. It's the best when it comes to spine-tingling suspense. Her words are so visually written. I didn't feel like I was reading at all, I felt like I was living the story myself. The story is dynamite; it explodes off the pages and leaves you breathless for more. In the future, I will be more than excited to see a new release from Skhye Moncrief, not including what I'm ordering from her backlist!" FORBIDDEN ETERNITY ~Tulip, LASR

“THE SPELL OF THE KILLING MOON offers the best of spine-tingling suspense. The setting is perfect... Moncrief’s ability to wield magic and emotion are without compare. Her words twist together emotions and visuals until you experience this tale as if the trap were set for you. Some lines blend a kind of poetic magic: “Moonlight wove a special kind of magic, a spell so vacillating that a person never knew if reality were anything other than a dream.” Darkness and premonitions and deadly intent fill these pages... a unique blend of mystic Medieval Gothic and romance…and a true blood-curdling thriller. 5 books" ~Snapdragon, LASR

Win prizes at Skhye's newsletter group:

"Be the change you want to see in the world." ~Ghandi

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Book Review #6: Novel Writing

Continued from last week: Review of Writer's Digest Yearbook: Novel Writing

"Putting Dialogue to Work" (James Scott Bell) deals with using conversation between characters not only to move a story along but also to support mood, control pace, and deepen the theme.

"12 Random (But Useful) Thoughts about Dialogue" (Michael Levin) continues the discussion of how to make the best use of dialogue in a story. He cautions against making dialogue sound like a "transcript", reminding the writer that "less is more" and that every word should count. Repetition, overuse of adverbs and expletives, and poor use of punctuation can all lessen the effect of dialogue.

"Bring Background to the Foreground" (Steve Almond) suggests that withholding information from the reader does not always serve the purpose of keeping him involved. Explain what he needs to know and go on from there.

"Understanding Third Person" (Susan Breen) discusses the varied uses and advantages for third person POV: third person limited, third person omniscient, and third person objective.

"Better Left Unsaid" (Nancy Kress) writes about knowing what to leave OUT of a story. The section on avoiding "Aesop Endings" is particularly interesting.

"The Viewpoint Intruder" (Kristen Johnson Ingram) gives excellent examples of making narrative sharper by taking out the character. "Noticed, looked, could see" are all words that take away from a sharp narrative. "I remember" is another.

"Pace Yourself" (Nancy Kress) is all about how fast (or slow) your story should unfold--and how to quicken as well as slow the pace.

"Novel Revision for the Faint of Heart" (Jordan E. Rosenfeld) gives 10 good hints for making the necessity for revising your ms less painful. Give it a rest, and then go in for the kill, considering plot, characters, scenes, sequence, and structure.

"Adapting a Short Story into a Novel" (Jordan E. Rosenfeld) helps you decide if your short story has the potential to develop into a full-length work and how to go about doing it.

"The M Word" (Scott Francis) deals with marketing and building an author's platform.

"Working for the Man" (Tim Waggoner) looks at writing in various genres as a work-for-hire novelist. The article also includes a short list of publishers that use work-for-hire writers.

"Status Seekers and Storytellers" (Donald Maas) is a must-read for everyone who puts pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. He explains the difference between simply wanting to be published and actually desiring to get one's story out.

"Embracing Book Clubs" (John Shors) tells the author's experience in successful selling by making himself available in person or by phone to book clubs around the country.

"Novelists Need Platforms, Too" (Jane Friedman) talks about why authors must promote themselves.

Monday, February 8, 2010

News and Views

Sneaking in an extra blog this week because I have NEWS. The Showboat Affair received a contract from TWRP today. I am smiling!

So, with that going into edits soon, The Face on Miss Fanny's Wall about 3/4 of the way through a total rewrite after three rejections, Dancing with Velvet screaming for revision before submission can even be considered, and Diamonds Are Deadly, Darling in revision with an eye to submission--I have come up with a new project. Sigh.

Sometimes I listen to Pandora Radio online, and a song, "The Homing Waltz" caught my ear and interest, so I looked up the artist. She is (now Dame) Vera Lynn, known as the "forces sweetheart" in the UK during WW II--and for good reason. She traveled anywhere and everywhere to entertain "her boys", even requesting some of the most forward battle areas with no thought of personal hardship or danger. According to a good friend in the UK, this grand lady is, at the age of 93, much beloved. And--get this--her re-released songs are topping the charts in the UK, beating out more contemporary music and artists! (Here is a plug, too, for her recently published autobiography, Some Sunny Day, which I've urgently requested the local library to purchase. (I, as the requestor, will get first dibs on it, too!)

I digress. Dame Vera's signature song has always been "We'll Meet Again", a poignant rendering of lovers parting and hoping to meet again "some sunny day". I ordered the CD, "The Very Best of Vera Lynn: We'll Meet Again" and have been indulging myself in these classics since it arrived three days ago. Then I thought of three books sent to me by Linda, my friend across the pond, about the Wirral Peninsula where she lives. When I was writing fan fiction, I had thought of using Wirral as a setting for a story but never did. Now I know why--

My poor brain is churning with ideas for a new novel set in Wirral during World War II, where my lovers will have a brush with the lovely forces sweetheart. And, of course, since titles are not copyrighted, I will call it We'll Meet Again.

I.Am.Excited. (Possibly a little crazy, too--but the story must be told--and I'm going to do it--some sunny day very soon!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Resources for Writers #6: Copyright, Fair Use, and Public Domain

Writers are also readers, and we stumble across so much good information that we would like to incorporate in our own stories and novels. The problem is, that poem or those song lyrics aren’t ours, and we may or may not be able to “borrow” them for our personal use, particularly if we may profit monetarily from their use. The “fair use” doctrine isn’t very specific, as far as I’m concerned, mainly because what is fair for one may not be fair for another. So, I try to be very careful to use only what is in the public domain.

According to Wikipedia, “the public domain is an intellectual designation for the range of content that is not owned or controlled by anyone.”  In addition, they “are public property and available for anyone to use freely for any purpose”.

It sounds simple enough, but then there is the problem of finding out of the song lyrics or the poem or the quote that would “just fit” your story or novel is or is not public property.

 Wikipedia gives a good overview of laws regarding copyright issues in the U.S. as well as other countries.

Wikipedia: Public Domain

Here are some charts and tables that may be helpful also:

When U.S. Works Pass into Public Domain

List of Public Domain Music

Copyright Term and Public Domain in the United States (Jan. 1, 2010)

Here are some links to information about the “fair use doctrine”:

The penalties for copyright infringement are stiff, so the wise author will adhere to the premise of “When in doubt—check it out”. Even then, there could be a problem—but at least you made a dedicated effort.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Welcome to The Word Place: Author Patty Krylach

Patty Kyrlach is a freelance writer and editor in Cincinnati, Ohio. She serves as a writer and design editor for Cookies & Milk, a children’s page in SW Ohio newspapers. She is webmaster for the Writing Academy, an international group of Christian writers.


The following two devotions were reprinted by permission from Daily Devotions for Writers, edited by Patricia Lorenz and published by the Writing Academy. Daily Devotions for Writers is the friend every writer needs: warm, real-life, how-to-write stories, prayers, and inspirational quotes to keep you writing every day of the year! To order this daily dose of encouragement for writers, visit


            My first grade teacher, Miss Glass, is an amazing woman. She plays the piano without looking at her hands, and she knows all her numbers up to a hundred at least. But this morning she amazes me even more when she tells the class, "Today I want you to write a story."
Write a story? I have barely learned to make my crooked little letters, and here is this madwoman telling me to write a story.
Still I pick up my thick black pencil and begin writing on the lined manilla paper. It's kind of scary--putting down words without knowing what happens next. It's like swinging upside down on the bicycle rack--you might get dizzy and forget how to breathe.
To my surprise, a story begins to form on the page--a heart-rending tale about a little girl who comes down to breakfast one morning and finds that her father is missing.
"Father has gone far, far away," says Mother.
I pause to read what I have written. "Far, far away. . . ."  What drama!  What melancholy!
Other children are sighing and fidgiting and making crumbs with their erasers, but I am having the time of my short life. I have just discovered creative writing.

Lord, we grown-ups over-complicate the creative process. Let us rediscover the joy of smearing words like finger paints on paper, just for fun.

Only the most mature of us are able to be childlike. --Madeleine L'Engle


      Mmmm, just one more cup of coffee. Hey, I’ll watch Good Morning America while I plan my day. As a writer, I need to keep up with current events. Like Barry Manilow’s reunion concert and--say, what’s this?--a woman who sells hand painted girdles on eBay? Amazing. . . .
     Whew! Got the groceries unloaded, and I need a short break. I’ll check my email and play a little Solitaire. Dang, why can’t you get a red ten when you need it? Just one more game—honest--and then I’ll outline my novel, if I can still remember the names of the characters. But no, I should probably alphabetize the spice rack. . . .
     Wait, is that my stomach growling? How about Bob Evans for lunch? It will get me out of the house, and maybe I can work on my novel. Or, you know, I could just read a novel instead. Yes, that would be relaxing. Solitaire made me kind of tense. . . .
     Home again. Got my toenails polished--Fuchsia Fluorescence. Time to fire up Word Perfect and start writing. Oh--hi, Sheryl. Glad you called. I was going to call you. . . .No, I couldn’t believe that dress she was wearing. And who ever told her she can sing? . . . Nah, nothing new here. Just can’t seem to find any time for writing. Busy, busy, busy. Well, gotta go fix dinner. . . .

Lord, help me to use the writing time you’ve given me.

Seize the day. --Horace

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Book Review #5: Novel Writing

Novel Writing, a Writer’s Digest Yearbook, is 72 jam-packed pages of great information.

“Questions and Quandaries” answers a couple of FAQ such as the typical word counts for short stories (1,500 – 30,000 words), novellas (30K-50K) and novels (55K – 300K); and the fact that writing fiction using historical characters is “safe” because defamation of character and invasion of privacy don’t apply to deceased persons—nor can their heirs sue you for either one. (Brian A. Klems)

“Plotting a Novel Group” describes how to get thorough critiques of characters, structure, dialogue, and POV in novel-length works without spending years in the process. (Marie Lamba)

“Write Like Your Literary Heroes” discusses pastiche—the miming of the content and mannerisms of well-known authors. (Mort Castle)

“What’s Hot in Popular Fiction?” discusses the genres of mystery/crime, romance, horror, thriller/suspense, and science fiction/fantasy. (Michael J. Vaughn)

“Where to Begin” considers how to start a novel: the obvious, at the beginning, and the not-so-obvious, a limited dramatic scene, the distant past, the distant future, and right in the middle. (Nancy Kress)

“Researching Your Historical Novel” lists resources for doing just that: chronologies, guides to everyday life, collections of slang and period words, sheet music collections, cookbooks, travel journals and guides, old magazines, and letters and diaries. (Rosemarie Ostler)

“The Novelist’s Survival Kit” talks about necessary tools for getting started on your book: believing that you have something to say and can say it; notebooks; a way of rewarding yourself for meeting goals; a schedule; formulating a plot and developing characters; refraining from self-doubt; dealing with the urge to procrastinate; not letting research become a form of procrastination as you verify facts; waiting to revise until the second draft; blocking/outlining scenes; and getting the words down—worry about how good they are later. (Jordan E. Rosenfeld)

“Getting Your Acts Together” works on understanding the structure of a novel: beginning/opening/decision to act; middle/development/action; end/conclusion/consequences of action. (Ridley Pearson)

To be continued next week: dialogue, POV, pacing, revision, turning a short story into a novel, making characters real, marketing/platform—and Donald Maas’s take on “Status Seekers and Storytellers”.

FTC disclaimer: I have received no remuneration for reviewing this collection.