Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Monthly Link List

It’s time for the monthly link list again. All these links have been previously posted to my Facebook author page and also on Twitter.
Hope you find something you can use.

               How to Improve Your Descriptive Writing
               How to Write Suspense Like Hitchcock
               What Your Author Website Is Likely Missing

Follow me on Twitter @BigChiefTablet

Like my Facebook Author Page: @vintageromance.romanticsuspense.cozymysteries

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Pennies in My Piggy Bank

StoryADay for May 2017 is almost over. Except for the one weekend I took off--which is permissible as participants set their own rules--I’ve cobbled together a story everyday. Are they finished pieces? By means! But they ARE a starting point for same. They’re horses in my stable. Pennies in my piggy bank. Cookies in the cookie jar. Bones in the trunk waiting to be strung together into a skeleton--and then fleshed out.
So what do I see as the big advantages of StoryADay?
·        Commitment to write daily. Even if I haven’t signed a vow in blood, I’ve promised myself to do it--and so I do.
·        A break from slogging though developing a novel with its numerous rewrites and edits. Several of the stories could spin into longer works, but the option for a finished work of 2,500+ words is motivating.
·        No word count limit. I’ve struggled with cutting stories down or fleshing out stories to satisfy a word count--and it’s always difficult to add to something viewed as complete--and especially to discard a scene or some dialogue.
·        A folder full of more than just ideas. All the stories have possibilities, some more than others. It’s like finding a package of ground beef in the freezer on a cold stormy day--the options are limitless.
What advice do I have for writers or those testing the writing waters if you decide to try this challenge next time around? (I think it will be back in September.)
·        Find your comfort level and set your own rules. If you need to take weekends off, twenty stories are better than none.
·        Make a firm commitment to yourself. I want to write. I will write. I won’t stress over how much I write or when.
·        If you don’t think you can write from a particular prompt, tweak it so that you can.
·        Keep a list of all the prompts for future reference.
·        Save your stories CAREFULLY in their own folder. Back them up!
·        Don’t get discouraged if “real life” interferes with your writing schedule. Life happens. Make it up, or let it go.
Meanwhile, watch “I’ll Tell You a Story” at my website for a new story coming June 1. Even though I didn’t get into the StoryADay Challenge in 2016, I still ended up with ten stories which I’m editing and sharing now.
And, above all…remember...

Check out these two “shorts” from Solstice Publishing
For quick summer reads by the pool or on a plane heading for your dream vacation!

Available at Amazon
Available at Amazon

Friday, May 26, 2017

Day tripping for writers

Some months ago I subscribed to a free email newsletter called Only in Arkansas. Several times a week I receive information and absolutely gorgeous pictures of places to go and things to do in the Natural State.
One of the best advantages of living in Arkansas (besides the fact it’s a beautiful state) is the minimal distances between points of interest. Under one hundred miles can equal a nice day trip with an early start, especially during Daylight Savings Time when it’s light until 8 PM. And day trips save big bucks on hotels and too many meals out.
Being located pretty much in the center of the state, only about 40+ miles from the capital of Little Rock, I’m in a position to go any direction with ease. If I don’t want to mess with interstates (and the conglomeration of same in LR isn’t fun), backroads are available. They’re not four lanes, of course, and sometimes they’re pretty winding, but they’ll get you where you’re going with less stress than an interstate. (And being retired, who’s in a hurry?)
You’re not from Arkansas? Go here and select your own state--or any other for that matter--to find the delights awaiting you.

I prefer to travel in the fall when the weather is nicer, but day trips in an air-conditioned car to see air-conditioned places or sit outside in the shade with a cool breeze blowing works for the hotter months.
My first day trip will be the 80+ mile drive to Mena, arriving mid-morning for a late breakfast, probably at the Skyline CafĂ© touted for its down-home cooking, and a trip to the Visitor Center (no website link available) which is, I understand, a must-do. Then a leisurely day of strolling around town, making sure to stop in the Mena Antique Mall and The Mercantile Before leaving, I’ll drive around to check out some fantastic B&Bs (Jansen Park Place, Johnson Manor , ABears Den, and Rainey Day Resort for possible writing retreats at a later date. I can’t leave without driving up to Queen Wilhelmina State Park for the view. Leaving as late as 6 PM will get me home by 8, but I’ll probably not cut it that close.
I love researching new locations to visit and find the smaller places much more interesting than the traditional tourist spots. Friendly folks always ready to chat about their town is the icing on the cake. There used to be some television advertisement that said, “getting there is half the fun”--and I find the planning to be the same. Planning makes sure I don’t miss the important things--and have time to see them!

Bon voyage!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Kick those bad (writing) habits!

Every writer, whether full-time or part-time, has her various routines. Sometimes they vary from one day to the next. Other times they’re set in stone. We all know the bad habits which creep in to disrupt our writing routines. But do we know how to kick them?

What works for me

Through trial and error, I’ve come up with a few habits which work for me. That’s the key--finding out what works for you. There’s a lot of sage advice and how-to articles out there, but if it doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t work.
·        Sketching out blog topics for a month at a time X 3 blogs per week = 12-14 blogs per month.
·        Writing the blogs on weekends.
·        Posting the blogs with labels, pictures, and links at The Word Place usually on Sunday night and scheduling them to go public on M-W-F.
·        Using Buffer to schedule Tweets about the blogs on the correct days.
·        Making a weekly calendar to keep track of “real life” and also work in times to write each day.
·        Finding a place to write (short story, novel, edits, rewrites) undistracted by the internet, whether it be a fast-food place, a park, or the back seat of my car at Sonic.
·        Doing what needs to be done with internet availability first and at home in the study before taking off on a mini-writing retreat.
·        Setting up the right “atmosphere”--blinds open, lights on as necessary, essential oil diffuser on, CD player going (classical music)--whether I’ve chosen to write at home or am just taking care of business on the computer
·        Checking off tasks completed--a great motivator.
·        Keeping personal business and writing business organized in separate notebooks and handy on my desk.
·        Leaving my desk clean and organized every night--a holdover habit from my teaching days. When I walked into the classroom every morning--other than distributing materials or writing instructions for students on the overhead projector, I was good to go--and it made for a productive and less stressful day.
·        Giving myself permission to deviate from my schedule so long as all the tasks are checked off by the end of the week.

What happens when routine/habits/plans are disrupted?

Well, it happens. I’ve had carefully-laid plans to write all day, for example, while multi-tasking with such mundane necessities as laundry or waiting on a service person to arrive. Then comes the early-morning phone call to say a grandchild needs to stay home sick from school--and could she hang out with Mimi? Yes, of course, she can. At that point, the writing just takes a back seat--although at times, when on a deadline with edits, I’ve explained to said munchkin that Mimi must have some time. They’re really pretty good about entertaining themselves with books, cartoon videos, or art work--although they always migrate to the study. Proximity to Mimi seems to be a necessary thing.
The point is, life happens. I don’t earn my living writing, so I have more leeway than a person who does. Also, I’m retired--and the day I closed my classroom door for the last time, I stopped hurrying. Life’s too short.

Kick the (bad) habits

·        Aimless internet browsing (not solid research for a writing project)
·        Unnecessary social media time--a kitchen timer set for 5-10-15 minutes is a good way to pull yourself back into reality.
·        Putting off ‘til tomorrow what you have time to do today--whether you want to do it or not isn’t negotiable.
·        Running between one non-writing task and what you’re trying to accomplish with writing. (Leaving long enough to transfer clothes from washer to dryer doesn’t count--anything more complicated is going to interfere with your word count!)

Don’t kick the (good) habits!

Routines get disrupted, yes, but not every day. Do first things first. Keep a separate list of the top three or four priorities for the week. If you get those done, even if something else has languished, you can claim success.

 And, of course, keep writing!!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Not my (current) cup of tea

Actually, the title is a little misleading because I have been to a few conferences and haven’t written off the idea of attending again.  As with anything, there’s the good, the bad, and the ugly--though I won’t even touch the latter.

Generically speaking…

There are, however, a few generic reasons why I haven’t turned up recently.
      After a while, there’s nothing new under the sun--that is, speakers tend to rehash the same topics with their own twist.
·        Some speakers approach advice with the “my way or no way” attitude.
·        Some (not all conferences) sponsor contests, and the same people tend to take home the prizes every year--which tends to discourage newbies who need some encouragement.
·        Conferences develop a “following” for various reasons and occasionally become cliquish.
·        Attendees can easily develop an “It’s all about me” attitude rather than “We’re all in this together”.

Specifically speaking…

·        Large conferences often have large prices, so one has to weigh the ultimate value of attendance against the monetary outlay. Expenses include transportation, lodging (usually at upscale hotels), apparel (for social events), and meals other than those provided by the conference fees.
·        Large conferences can be somewhat inaccessible for the ordinary run-of-the-mill author who writes more for pleasure than profit but who would enjoy mingling with others who write and learning from them.
·        Many people attend these big-name conferences to be “seen” rather than to learn.

Personal preferences

·        One-day conferences hosted by local writing groups are smaller with an opportunity to meet most of the people there. Three or four “keynote” speakers with time limits often offer surprisingly new insights into all facets of writing.
·        Local in-state conferences offer the advantage of being more easily accessible--i.e. by car rather than the necessity to fly. If you’re taking advantage of having a free or low-cost book table for sales exposure or networking, it’s difficult to lug one’s wares on a plane.
·        Well-attended but not over-crowded conferences make it easier to meet folks and establish supportive relationships.

Conferences to check out

·        18 Writer’s Conferences Every Writer Should Attend (dated 2016 but probably annual events)

Friday, May 19, 2017

For the eyes of real women only!

Graphic  Warning:  If you feel oppressed, discriminated against, mad at the world, in need of a "safe space", like men only for what they can do for you...DON'T read any further. You won't like it, and I don't want to hear about it! 


Today's Topic: Strong Women
Today’s younger women (most of them anyway) want to read about strong, independent women who take no nonsense from anyone, least of all the men in their lives. They’re fearless, opinionated, focused on themselves and their personal and professional success, and they’ll fight to the death for their rights (whatever they consider those to be at any given time). Strong. Immovable. Strong--or did I say that?
I jotted down on my blog calendar that my topic for today would be “Why it’s hard for me to write strong women”. I’ve had to rethink that, however, because my female protagonists are strong. They just don’t fit the mold of so many women today. But, I might suggest, if those women spent less time organizing, protesting, taking offense at the written/spoken word, and trying to be men, they might actually become those strong women they want to be.
What Women Are and Aren't
Now, this isn’t a treatise on women’s rights. Women’s rights are human rights. We all, I hope, espouse that cause. No, I’m talking about real, enduring strength--the kind that’s been around since God gave Eve to Adam. (Okay, so she messed up--but so did Adam--so do we all.)
I doubt any of this generation’s female members know the old proverb The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. I’ve heard it all my life. So what does it say? It says that, for those who choose motherhood, they’ve also chosen the most lasting influence (for good or ill) ever thought about.  Once upon a time, we used to hear “great” men bless their mothers for the influence these women had in their lives. Today it would be politically incorrect to evoke the memory of a mother--stay-at-home or working. Women aren’t just mothers--they’re, well, women, and all that stands for! But the proverb also, I believe, credits women in general as being strong and influential in this world, whether they bring home the bacon or cook it or have to do both!
Yesterday's Women--Not Outdated
I came from a generation when most mothers stayed at home. A family’s economic status rested on the earnings of the husband. Mothers, unpaid, would’ve been billionaires if remunerated for their individual services. Most, however, took joy in their homes and their children and managed to juggle all their responsibilities just fine. (I guess nobody told them they were repressed!)
Even as a little girl, I knew without being told that I could choose motherhood or a career or both. One didn’t exclude the other. No one told me I couldn’t be whatever I wanted to be. I wasn’t by any means repressed in that uncertain era after the end of World War II and the frightening “Cold War”. Who and what I was didn’t come into question. I wore dresses and dungarees, played with dolls in the house and cap pistols and little cars outside. And wonder of wonders, I knew who and what I was!
I attended a women’s college where we were held to strict standards of behavior and dress. We dressed like ladies, acted like ladies, and were treated like ladies. We knew we were privileged to be such. And never, ever were we told we couldn’t be or do whatever we chose!
Left on my own to raise two children after the death of my husband, I encountered my share of men who tried to take advantage of my status in business matters. Their problem became not only their misguided and outdated attitudes but their failure to understand I had as much or more business sense than they did. Irritated at the time, I look back now and laugh and wonder when (not if) they tangled with a female who wasn’t a well-mannered lady--and who dealt in revenge rather than dignity.
Who Are Today's Women?
Speaking of dignity--no, let’s put decency before that--recent so-called protests by “women” in the name of their “rights” leave me (and probably many others) feeling ashamed for them. They certainly have no shame for themselves. Knowing right and wrong, understanding decency and civility--these qualities are what make women strong--and men, too.
I see women in all walks of life--actresses, entertainers, journalists, and politicians who can out-nasty any of their male counterparts. They’re not strong women. They’re just vulgar, egotistical, and power-hungry people of the female gender. They don’t respect anyone, and it follows they can’t really respect themselves. When the chips are down, self-respect is the winning number. The possibility they might be role models for younger women--like my granddaughters-- leaves me cold.
The Women I Write
You’ll find villainous women in my books all right--losers to be pitied and maybe redeemed somehow. But first and foremost you’ll find real women--and real women are strong women in a way that “feminists” and “organizers” are not.
I am a woman created by God and grateful for it. I can’t write anything else.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

My friends...but are they me?

Do your characters resemble you?
There’s probably not an author out there who hasn’t heard, “So, how much of you is in this/that character?” I expect the standard answer is an enigmatic dropping of the eyes or turning of the head or perhaps a simple shrug. I mean, come on, how many of us are going to admit we’ve bared our hidden souls in a particular character? Not I, said the fly!
But if we told the truth--if we didn’t deflect such questions or even outright lie--we’d have to admit our characters is who we are--or who we were--or who we’d like to be.
Jean and Nick,
The Showboat Affair
Do my characters resemble me?
To be (partially) truthful…in The Showboat Affair (written as Gwyneth
Greer), perhaps I dreamed of starting over like Jean Kingston. Widowed early, I never remarried nor really entertained too many thoughts of doing so because I had children to raise. Now, of course, firmly settled into aging, I definitely don’t want anything of the two-legged (or four-legged) variety in my tidy empty nest!

Fascinated with the eras of The Great Depression and World War II (in which I was born), I would have reveled in being Celeste (Dancing with Velvet) or Ruthann (Ruthann’s War). Living their struggles, their
Penelope Pembroke
dreams, even their realities would’ve been very satisfying.
And, of course, we can’t forget Penelope Pembroke (The Penelope Pembroke Cozy Mystery Series--boxed set or sold separately) because, in truth, I actually wanted to be a lady detective. It must’ve been around the fifth grade when I received a handy-dandy detective kit for Christmas and decided there were mysteries everywhere. Wearing a tam and carrying a purse as well as the tools of my trace (fingerprint powder, tape, and a spy glass), I trotted off to school with a sense of purpose to do more than just get my lessons--I wanted to get the bad guy, too!

You’ll find bits and pieces of me in my short stories, too. Visit “I’ll Tell You a Story” at my website for a new free read every month, or check out Off the Shelf in which, if you look hard enough, you’ll definitely find me in some of the stories and all of the interspersed poems. (But shhhh! Don’t tell anyone!)

And in summation...
Writing has always been something I’ve done for fun and, later on, for a little profit. But it’s also become, as I’ve entered the final chapters of my life, cathartic, a legacy to leave behind for anyone to whom it matters.

Like any other hobby, avocation, or true vocation, writing has its ups and downs, but it should be, first and foremast, a joy at least 95% of the time--or, perhaps, we should be doing something else!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Do you really want to publish?

Why Publish?

An interesting article in the May 2017 issue of The Writer Magazine asks the question “Should getting published always be the ultimate goal?” (Joel Fishbane, p. 5) He points out Harper Lee’s 1960 best-seller To Kill a Mockingbird which stood alone in her list of literary credits until over 50 years later. I also seem to remember that Margaret Mitchell never published again after Gone with the Wind.
Authors, especially those new to the publishing game, hear the advice, “Start writing your next novel immediately”. Personally, I always have something going, but I don’t always have publication uppermost in my mind.
In the first flush of delight over having a novel accepted by publisher, I couldn’t wait to get that second contract. The third and fourth novels were only slightly less wondrous events. Then I waited probably four years before submitting a fifth. In the meantime, however, I was busy trying my hand at indie/self-publishing, which started out to be the main topic of this blog. So, I’ve digressed, and now it’s time to get back on track!

Traditional or Indie Pub?

Let’s jump ahead a few pages in the above-mentioned magazine and talk about “Going Rogue: Is self-publishing right for you?” by Kerrie Flanagan. She breaks down the traditional publishing model  and then the self-publishing model with factual as well as thoughtful insights into each one. I’d recommend this article for newbies especially, but it holds insights for those of us who have been around the block before.
My personal preference was being traditionally published before trying my hand at indie publishing. If nothing else, it gave me confidence that what I write is worth reading. And, with almost no marketing, The Penelope Pembroke Cozy Mystery Series (6 books) amazed me by selling at a phenomenal rate. I plunged ahead with a second three-book romantic suspense series, The Dreamland Series and several stand-alones which unfortunately did not mimic Penelope in sales. However, I learned a great deal about writing/publishing/marketing and continue to keep indie publishing as a viable option.
Not wanting to sever ties with my publisher, The Wild Rose Press, I submitted a fifth book, also a delight to hold in my hands, and two “shorts” to Solstice which had been recommended to me by a friend. The novel currently in edits, The Legacy of Diamond Springs is destined to go the indie publishing route, as is Keeping Promises which is in the hands of a beta reader.
The choice of traditional or indie is one which must be made by the individual writer, but it’s not a black or white thing. One can do both, and I think both models offer their own distinct advantages based on what the author wants/expects as an outcome for a particular piece.

Know what’s going on!

For newbies (as well as oldies) I’d offer the quite obvious sage advice of knowing everything about a publisher before you sign on the dotted line. Preditors and Editors is the go-to site for the skinny on such. Unfortunately, they’re on something of a sabbatical until they can find new leadership. However, following the link will lead you to more helpful links. Just remember--you wouldn’t hire someone to remodel your house without checking with the Better Business Bureau to see if they’re legit. The same goes for places where you submit your babies (written words)!
I’d also recommend learning everything you can before you start down the indie-publishing road. At the same time, if you become overwhelmed (especially with the technical aspects), don’t throw up your hands in despair and say, “I can’t do this.” You can. I did, an so did innumerable others.
After ten years, I’ve evolved from “I have to get this published” to “I’m enjoying writing this”. You have to decide why you want to write, and your reasons may change as mine did. Whatever you do, make sure it’s something which gives you pleasure and satisfaction--and remember, those are things you make for yourself. No one else can do it.

Related Articles

Friday, May 12, 2017

Summer Journaling Journey

This summer, as in past ones, I’ll have my granddaughters with me several days a week. We’ve done different versions of “Mimi School”, and this year will be yet another.
First of all, the Small Person is my author-in-training. She wants to write and does pound out stories in pencil and on the purple computer I bought for her use. Our lofty goal this summer is to complete something which can go to CreateSpace and become a printed copy for her to hold in her hands. There’s no greater inspiration for future endeavors!
Journaling will also be on the menu. The SP has journaled before. I’ve never read it because I told her it was private. Occasionally she wanted me to read something she’d written, but otherwise it’s remained closed to everyone but here. There’s room left, so I want her to complete it.
The Wee Bear Cub is finishing first grade and can now read and write well enough to participate in the activity. She’s not a writer in the same sense as her sister, but we’ll see what we can do.
My thought is to take them to the library once a week, put them at a table with their journals, and have them think or dream or people-watch, making notes of their thought processes for five minutes. (The kitchen timer will go with us.) Later, they can turn their notes into a brief narrative.
Perhaps we’ll go to the park with a topic in mind, and some brainstorming can take place. Maybe a trip to their favorite of favorites, Chik-Fil-a, will allow one or two minutes of jotting down ideas. Even listening to a story (and it’s way past time for the WBC to hear more from the 1939 Child Craft volumes) can paint a mental picture which can then be translated into words. Finally, I’ve been collecting a series of DVDs about America History geared to children, and we’ll be watching one a day. By the end of the summer, I’d like to progress to summarizing in the journals. That’s a lofty ambition, but it might happen.
In today’s world of electronics and television, children don’t do as much thinking as they should. I want two bright little minds to do more than stare at a screen. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Journals I Have Known..but not too well!

Monday’s topic was journaling, so today I thought I’d show you all the journals I’ve collected over the years. I’m a pushover for a blank page with a cute cover--but I’m not necessarily reliable about filling said blank pages.  But that doesn’t mean things can’t change…


This shabby little volume, however, found its way into my hands sometime around 1953. It is not blank. A Five-Year Diary was popular in those days. While I didn’t keep it for five years, I did make entries for two. You won’t find any scandals or even story ideas within its pages, but it’s a reminder to me of a kinder, gentler time, when children had time for such things.

Friday:  A Journey in Journaling for the Small Person and the Wee Bear Cub this summer.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Catching the Moonbeam

In The Writer Magazine, you’ll find a department/regular feature called Write Stuff. Gail Radley, author of 24 books for young people (follow the link to some great titles!) as well as many articles for adults, has written “Writing to Heal” in the May 2017 issue.  She takes on the idea of journaling as a way of creating healthier lives and also, for writers, richer characters.
Not only does she mention well-known writers who journaled and/or used writing as a therapeutic tool,, including C.S. Lewis, Sylvia Plath, and Ernest Hemingway, she also cites a scientific study done in 1990 which showed a group of college students who wrote about their most intense feeling about a traumatic event they’d experienced tested positively for a heightened immune system. (James W. Pennebaker, Opening Up, 1990. For these students, journaling became a way of self-caring, something Louise DeSalvo advises in her book Writing as a Way of Healing.
The two-page article is definitely a worthwhile read and will bring to mind several old adages such as “Don’t bottle it up-get it out”, and “Take care of yourself first”.
Several years ago, trolling my mind while trying to remember something I never actually forgot but didn’t recognize for what it was, I began to journal. Over time, bit by bit, I put the puzzle pieces together enough to understand much of how I developed from a child into an adult. Even when I thought I’d finished cobbling together these sketchy memories and making sense of them, I continued to go back and add to the temporary journal over the next several months.
I keep telling myself I need to hit the delete button while I still can. What I wrote isn’t for anyone else’s eyes. It’s not placing blame or holding a pity party but rather for self-understanding. Someday I’ll do just that, but for now I go back and re-read what I wrote and often come up with a new insight.
I’ve been asked how much of myself is in my characters and will confess to fudging a bit. But I’m there. My experiences are there, disguised to be sure, but who I am continues to influence how I write. We’re constantly advised to “write what you know”-and what do we know better than ourselves?
Several years ago, a speaker at a writing conference I attended suggested we look at our writing and try to discern an underlying theme. I literally felt like I’d been smacked in the face with what I saw between my lines. I needed to know more…to understand why…to take care of myself, finally, by bringing some things into the light and open air.
As a rule, I don’t journal, but occasionally I open a Word document and chronicle something I’m feeling deeply about. I may, however, give it a try again since reading Ms. Radley’s article. Journaling, for me at least, is much like trying to catch an elusive moonbeam. Idea, insight, or memory, the gentle ray of light illumines something inside of me.

May’s FREE READ is up at my website by clicking on I’ll Tell You a Story.
“Live Free and Be Happy” is good advice for us all!
And while you’re there, be sure to watch the trailer for my newest release
released in January by The Wild Rose Press

Here's one of the five-star reviews it's garnered!

I couldn't stop reading Ruthann's War, but I didn't want it to end either. This book is a clean, sweet and endearing story of true love. Interspersed in the book are some mysteries that also keep one guessing. This is not your typical predictable romance. Ruthann's War is truly a book to enjoy from beginning to end.  (P.McAndrew)

Friday, May 5, 2017

A once-a-year offer!

Although I no longer subscribe to Writer’s Digest, I make it a point every year to pick up a couple of their special issues, especially Writer’s Yearbook. It contains, among other things
·        Best 100 Book & Magazine Markets for Writers
Divided by category: book publishers, magazines (by subject matter)
·        The Top 10 Websites for Writers
The 2016 issue which is on my desk as I write, offers these must-read articles:
·        2015: The Year in Review (Jane Friedman)
Get an expert’s take on the latest developments in the book and magazine industries--and how those trends bode for your writing in the year ahead.
·        Top 10 Publishing Insiders (and Outsiders) to Follow Online (Jane Friedman)
(Quick note: I’ve followed Jane Friedman’s articles, tips, etc. . online for years and have found them very worthwhile reading--and credible.)

There are other articles, of course, aimed at those with particular writing needs Freelancers will want to read
·        Get Scam Savvy (Tiana Bodine)
·        Don’t Pitch--Write! (Susan Shapiro)
·        Pitch Perfect (Zachary Petit)
·        Small Scale, Big Rewards (Don Vaughan)
Writers looking at traditional or indie publishing should definitely look at
·        From Concept to Cover: Your Guide to Book Design (Grace Dobush)
·        Knights of the Debut Roundtable (Zachary Petit)
·        Top 10 Publishing Insiders (and Outsiders) to Follow Online (Jane Friedman)
For $6.99, Writer’s Yearbook 2016 offers top value. As I suggested yesterday, check out the periodical section of your local library if you don’t wish to purchase.

And check out the new FREE READ for May at my website:
“Live Free and Be Happy”
Just navigate to the tab I’ll Tell You a Story
and enjoy!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Reviewing "The Writer" magazine

Writing magazines--don’t dismiss them!

Magazine Review:  The Writer (May 2017)

Several years ago I subscribed to three or four writing magazines. One went belly-up.  I can’t even remember its name, only that a story I submitted to a contest won an honorable mention. Another was simply too literary for my tastes. Okay, so maybe I was just too dumb to appreciate it. Anyway, I ended up dropping all the subscriptions for one reason or another. Then, about a year ago, The Writer offered a deal I couldn’t pass up, so now I’m a subscriber again!

Indie publishers salvation

Since I’ve dipped a toe in indie publishing while still keeping my hand in the traditional route with several publishers, I found the latest issue, with a detailed feature article on self-publishing, a worthwhile read.  I’d have enjoyed it even more if it had cropped up at the time when I was having to learn everything about indie publishing on my own, spending hours formatting and re-formatting, and pulling my hair (figuratively) over the entire process. But for those of you new to the game, you might want to track down this issue and spend some time with it.

If you’re still just thinking about indie publishing, you’ll at least want to read “Going Rogue” (pp 16-19) which may help you decide if self-publishing is the right road for you to expend effort navigating.

Regular features to check out

In addition, the magazine has regular features including 3 or 4 pages (usually) of markets for your work. You’ll also see ads for and sometimes articles on various writing conferences around the country. And best of all, there’s an (illustrated) writing prompt to get your creative juices flowing.

All in all, I give it five stars for being a relevant, well put together monthly magazine. Obviously it’s cheaper to subscribe than to purchase the issues separately at a bookstore or newsstand. But even better is to check whether or not it’s on the periodical racks at your local library. If not, ask why and suggest it.

May’s FREE READ is up at my website.
Just click “I’ll Tell You a Story”
and enjoy a complete tale during a lunch hour or commute.
This month:
“Live Free and Be Happy”

(which was a product of the days I participated in StoryADay last September)