Monday, August 31, 2009

National Book Awards - Big News!

This is big news...for the first time in history The National Book Awards will open up voting to the general public for The Best of the National Book Awards Fiction. Voting commences on September 21st, and if you vote you can be entered into a contest to win two tickets to the 2009 National Book Awards event.

For more information check out the National Book Foundation's website.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Blog Change

I've been trying to keep up with updates every day of the week for the blog, but starting today I will be updating Monday through Friday only. This move is an attempt to open up even more time for my writing projects on the weekend, which is when I actually have larger chunks of time to devote to them. In addition, I find I get much fewer responses to blog posts on the weekend than I do during the week, so you all are probably doing the same thing too.

Of course, this doesn't mean I won't submit an occasional blog post on the weekend when I have some juicy news to share or when I get smacked on the head with a major writing epiphany.

So have a great weekend everyone - catch you on the other side.

My Poetry - Punctured and Porous, I Become

As I mentioned in yesterday's blog I've been working on some poetry as a source of catharsis during this difficult family time, and I wanted to post one of my poems today.

Thanks for the encouragement T. Anne!

Punctured and Porous, I Become

Death punctured a hole in my soul, not the first and not the last, and bequeathed as its gift a perpetual emptiness.

The longer I live, the more punctured and porous I become, growing ever more so with each loss.

I stand poised and proper, as dictated, yet left with little more than an aging shell and a fragmented spirit.

Elusive power - Change this life-death cycle! But alas that power belongs to mythic gods, of which I am not - I am only
skin, and bones, and fingernails, and hair.

Death must live, and life must die.

This is our legacy.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Back In The Swing of Things

I'm trying to get back in the swing of things. During this time, juggling my responsibilities with the emotional flux has been the biggest challenge. I've been having a hard time sleeping at night. Most of my energy is spent on keeping up a facade during the day at work, and at night for my son. But it has been hard. Yesterday I realized how much I needed to get back to writing. I've pulled out my notebook and started working on some poetry as an outlet for dealing with everything that's going on. The novel revisions have been pushed to the side yet again, but this time for a very good reason. Right now I need the quick emotional vent that poetry has always provided for me.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Blogging Hiatus for a Few Days

My apologies for disappearing for a couple days. I'll be taking a few days hiatus as I received news this weekend that my father-in-law passed away. It's a sad time. Please keep my family in your thoughts and prayers.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Book Giveaway Contest - 16 books & walmart giftcard

If you love to read, check out this cool contest for a motherload of free books. Check out Cindy's website for contest details: 16 books & a walmart giftcard. Books include: Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, Along For the Ride by Sarah Dessen, a preorder for Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins and many more.

Don't miss this opportunity.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Upcoming Events

There are two upcoming events that I wanted to mention in today's post. The first one I stumbled upon on a fellow writing blogger's website. Thanks Beth and Congrats on your nomination. Check out Book Blogger Appreciation Week, September 14-18, 2009. And the other event is this year's NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). The event itself begins November 1st, but now is the time to start some prep work like coming up with a solid story idea and drafting an outline. Some people just like to fly by the seat of their pants and create it all from scratch the first day, but I need ground work laid out. I've participated twice, but have yet to complete the challenge. This year my sights are set on finishing the 175 page, 50,000 word goal. Anyone else up for the challenge?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Business of Publishing - Book Publishing Glossary

I nearly missed this blog post by Nathan Bransford, Literary Agent with Curtis Brown Ltd., but I'm so glad I didn't. This is useful on so many levels. He's taken the time to compile a list of book publishing terms with quick definitions for each in his blog post entitled, Book Publishing Glossary. This is a must read for anyone still learning the ropes of the industry.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Contest Alert - Bellwether Prize for Fiction

And here's another contest, The Bellwether Prize for Fiction. This contest is for writers of "serious literary fiction that addresses issues of social justice and the impact of culture and politics on human relationships."

The top prize is $25,000 and guaranteed publication by a major U.S. publishing house.

Good luck!

Monday, August 17, 2009

My Cat is Taking Over the Keyboard

And today's guest blogger is my cat, Felix. And here's what he has to say: "=========================================================\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\="

Yep, Felix is at it again, helping me to write. It's actually lunch time and I sat down to write today's blog and here comes Felix. Anyway, back to business.

I got up this morning and resumed my morning stretches to Sunrise Earth (I blogged about this earlier, check out the link). It was a great start to the day. It was nice travelling to British Columbia even for just a few minutes. //(Sorry, Felix is at it again. Now he's covering half the keyboard with his body, while I'm fighting for the other half).

Anyway, A reminder popped-up on my Outlook Calendar this morning and I wanted to pass it on. The Emerging Writer Awards contest deadline is approaching on August 31st.

I think that's it for the post today as I'm slowly losing the battle for the keyboard. Talk to all tomorrow!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Inspiration - The First 30 Days

Inspiration seems to have been an unintentional trend this week. I don't know if you're like me but harnessing inspiration on a daily basis is a constant struggle. Many days I try to write even without inspiration, but of course it's easier to write with inspiration.

So to keep with the theme of "inspiration", I wanted to share a website/newsletter/book that I recently rediscovered. I had heard about this a few years ago on Oprah, and came across an old email newsletter from them again recently. It's called "The First 30 Days". It's great advice, motivation, and inspiration for the first 30 days of any new life-changing project.

For me, the most helpful section has been, Pursuing Your Dreams. So I just signed-up for the free newsletter so I can receive inspiration and tips in my email every morning. If you're in need of a little inspiration and advice, check out the The First 30 Days website.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Here's To A Spark of Inspiration

I'm sitting in a quiet apartment, husband away, son asleep, cat off to the other room, no tv, no radio-no distractions, and I'm perched at my laptop like a bird on a branch. I have a cup of ice beside me, and I'm revising. After a week of writing blahs, I'm inspired once again. I'm determined to make progress on this chapter tonight.

May you all have a spark of inspiration this weekend!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Character Inspiration

While waiting in the doctor's office last night, I was intrigued by an elderly lady who was also in the waiting room. Before we even starting speaking to each other, I was drawn to her. There was just something about her. And then we started talking. I learned a lot about in her in our short 10 minute conversation.

And then it hit me...she would make an excellent character for a story. So, after she left the waiting room, I jotted some notes down on my phone. I described her appearance, parts of our conversation, and what I learned about her in that short time.

Now I'll file it away until I have a story that needs an elderly lady as a character.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Writing Tools - Test Your Story Ideas

I get Writers Digest email updates quite frequently, and today I got an email about N.M. Kelby’s new book called The Constant Art of Being a Writer. I read through the synopsis and the book sounds like a great tool that offers writing strategies and techniques. If you want to learn more you can even read an excerpt of chapter 13 titled, "Test Your Story Ideas".

Here's a quick blurb about the excerpted chapter:
"In this excerpt from award-winning novelist and short story writer N.M. Kelby’s The Constant Art of Being a Writer, you’ll learn how to:
• Determine whether a story idea is sustainable
• Use conflict to make your idea stronger
• Evaluate your characters and their place in your story..."read more

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

2009 National Book Festival

I wish I lived closer to Washington DC so I could participate in the 2009 National Book Festival. Any event that celebrates books and reading is an event worth attending. This year's event is going to be held on September 26th, and the list of authors that are participating is a who's who from several genres including: childrens, teens, mysteries & thrillers, history & biography, fiction & fantasy, and poetry & prose. So if you're going to be in the area, check out the free event. In the meantime, check out past years' webcasts.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I'm Back and Ready to Talk BLOGS!

I'm back from a two day hiatus as I was dealing with family events and issues. But now I'm back and ready to tackle this week with enthusiasm.

I thought a good way to start the week might be to talk about blogs, marketing them in particular, as many of you have blogs just like me. Here's an article from SocialMedia Today that's all about that very subject: How To Market Your Blog.

I've been using LinkedIn and Facebook as my main sources for getting the word out. They have both proven useful. Have you guys found other useful methods of letting people know about your blogs? I'm always open to new avenues.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Quote of the Day - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Quote of the Day

"Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody."
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

About Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a beloved American poet of the 19th century, is best known for "The Song of Hiawatha" and "Evangeline." He was born in Maine in 1807. He knew Latin by the age of six, and when he taught at Bowdoin College, he wrote the textbooks himself. He courted his second wife while teaching at Harvard and frequently walked the several miles from Cambridge to Boston across the West Boston Bridge. The bridge that replaced it was named the Longfellow Bridge in his honor. He died in 1882.

(content from The Everyday Health Network's Daily Inspiration Newsletter)

Friday, August 07, 2009

Writers Resource - The Writers and Artists Yearbook

The Writers and Artists website relaunched this week, and I wasn't familiar with it until I saw a blurb about in on the Briefing Editor from It looks like a great resource...check it out.

Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook online
For over 100 years the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook has existed to help unpublished writers make it into print, assist established authors, journalists and others who want to develop their career, and give artists the encouragement and information they need to exhibit or publish their work.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Agent Submission - Update

Another rejection letter, and yet I'm doing a happy dance. Yes, I did just say that. The rejection letters won't daunt me, because I'm feeling more confident than ever about my novel. I've done so much revision work since submitting it that it's finally whipping into shape. And yet, I know that I still have more work to do to make it as polished as it needs to be. I don't just want a mediocre novel, I want a GREAT novel!

Plus, it fits in with my revised plan-of-action for this novel, which is revising until October (if needed), then submitting to the Delacorte Press Contest for a First Young Adult Novel. One of the stipulations of the contest is that manuscripts cannot be submitted to other publishers or literary agents while under consideration for the prize, so it works out perfectly. Notification is between January and April as submissions are evaluated by the editors, with final contest results announced around April 30, 2010. If I get notification before the end of January, then plan B is to submit the novel to the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Plan C will be to submit to a new round of literary agents after that. So it's just the beginning of the process.

And since my goal is to finish revisions by October, then I'll be ready for this year's NaNoWriMo November 1-30, and this year I'm determined to finish. National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

SCBWI Summer Conference

Of course we can't attend every conference or writing event that rolls around. So, lucky for us, there are lot's of ways to stay on top of what's happening at the events even without being there.

Case-in-point, the 38th Annual SCBWI Summer Conference is being held August 7-10th in Los Angeles. And for those of us not able to attend, follow the comings and goings on The Official SCBWI Conference Blog.

The SCBWI Summer Conference is the biggest-ever summer conference line-up of agents, editors, and art directors, plus keynote addresses and over 70 workshops from the most well-known authors & illustrators in children’s publishing, including specialized tracks on Non-Fiction, Young Adult novels, Illustration and Marketing.

SCBWI: Founded in 1971 by a group of Los Angeles-based children's writers, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is one of the largest existing organizations for writers and illustrators. It is the only professional organization specifically for those individuals working in the fields of children’s literature, magazines, film, television, and multimedia.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

How To Order A Copy of My Book

I've had quite a few requests lately about how to order my book. Keep those requests coming!

Here's the ordering information & take advantage of the summer sale I'm offering on my webstore.

Three ways to order

To order online: My webstore (summer sale - order here for savings)

To order from the publisher: XLibris

(tell me your choice of hardcover or softcover and how many copies you'd like to order...I'll email you an invoice.)

I can sign copies of the book upon request.

Thanks to everyone who has been supporting me. Hopefully soon I'll have my second book available too - keep watching for updates.

Do You? is a collection of original poems and photographs (76 pages, 36 full-color photographs). Click here to view excerpts from the book: Excerpts

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions."

– Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

Ooh, I love that one!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Balancing Social Networking and Writing Time

Building a platform in preparation, or in conjunction, with launching a writing career seems to be a hot topic these days. It's a selling point for any new writer trying to break into the industry, as a "platform" gives an outlet for immediate buzz to the world at large. So the key question then becomes, how do we balance the social networking aspect with actual writing time?

Good question, right? It's a question I've battled with, and one I continue to evaluate on a day-to-day basis. My feeling is that Social Networking should complement the writing, not distract from it, but that's easier said than done.

This article has some helpful tips on this very subject:
HOW TO: Deal With Social Networking Overload
July 30th, 2009 by Alexandra Levit
"As a career and workplace writer, I get asked all the time: I feel like I’m on social network overload"...(read more).