Tuesday, August 31, 2010

New Favorite Tool - Visual Thesaurus

I've found a new favorite tool. Have you seen this? It's the Visual Thesaurus. I've used the trial version and it has already been invaluable in my revision process. I am a fan of the Thesaurus, but this puts all the information in an easy to read format by shades of meaning. All I can say is this is a fantastic idea for any type of writer.

The following information is from the website.

1. The Center. The Visual Thesaurus displays words and meanings that are related to the item in the center of the display.

2. The Toolbar. Search for words, view word suggestions, see search history, and change preferences settings from the toolbar. Forward/Back buttons provide easy navigation. Help tips are always available.

3. Words. Click on a word to bring it to the center. Click on the speaker icon to hear the word spoken. Surrounding the word are words and meanings that are related to it.

4. Meanings. Roll your mouse over a meaning to learn more about it. Click on a meaning to bring it to the center.

5. Settings. Click on the Settings menu to personalize font size, types of relationships shown, content filtering, special keyboard shortcuts, and more.

6. Special Features. Printing, spell checking, Internet image and web page search are all available.

Monday, August 30, 2010

New from Sherrilyn Kenyon - No Mercy

I received a copy of this trailer in my inbox today and I wanted to share it with everyone.

Available September 7th from St. Martin's Press is #1 New York Times bestselling author, Sherrilyn Kenyon's latest release in her widely loved Dark-Hunter series, 'No Mercy'.

"Live fast, fight hard and if you have to die then take as many of your enemies with you as you can. That is the Amazon credo and it was one Samia lived and died by. Now in contemporary New Orleans, the immortal Amazon warrior is about to learn that there's a worse evil coming to slaughter mankind than she's ever faced before....."

Information on Sherrilyn Kenyon or her other books can be found at her website.

Is it on your list of must reads this fall?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Good Enough?

sigh - I'm feeling the doubts creeping up all over the place today. It's hard to keep working on a project and feel so unsure. Some days I read through the pages and want to jump out of my seat with excitement over the story in this manuscript. And then there are days like today when I wonder if it's good enough, good enough to be picked up by an agent, good enough to be published, good enough to sell on bookstore shelves, and good enough to be read and enjoyed by readers.

Today is a day that I just don't know.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

55 Contests to Check Out

I stumbled on this website today and found 55 writing contests with upcoming deadlines. If you're looking for places to enter your work, this is a great list to check out: Freelance Writing -Writing Contests.

Good luck!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Weather Changes Prompt Reevaluation

When I walked out of the apartment this morning, the temperature had dropped significantly from the last few days. It feels like fall is here already. And I like that; I like the season changes, because when it happens it's a reminder to implement change in myself too. It becomes a time to re-evaluate goals, clean clutter, rearrange schedules, and prepare for the next few weeks until the weather changes yet again.

My main writing goals right now include finishing revisions on the current manuscript before the end of October, preparing for the 2010 NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November, submitting my completed manuscript to agents, and starting work on the next manuscript.

What about you - what triggers your need to reevaluate the things in your life, including your writing?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Success in Writing - What is it for You?

Being successful in writing is much like success in life.

You need to set goals.

You need to define who you want to be/what kind of writer - what genre.

Attitude is important - complainers rarely win, and what agent or publisher would want to work with someone who complains about everything.

Skill is critical, but skill can be learned over time if you become a student of the craft, a student of others who have mastered writing, and if you keep learning and never give up.

And yes, success does require a bit of luck too, although I like to live by Thomas Jefferson's quote, "I'm a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it."

I hear a lot of people complaining about the publishing industry. And I hear others that say -  I wouldn't want to be so and so best seller because they have "sold-out" to the industry. But you know, if you're a writer and you believe in your book, then there are so many avenues available right now. If you truly want to be "successful", define what success in writing is for you and then make it happen. Not everyone will be accepted by the big publishing houses, but there have been many writers (through the span of time) who have found a way to be successful. Which reminds me about my post about rejection: All Writers Get Rejected. Even the most successful writers, have been turned down time and again. But they didn't give up. They stuck with it even if the doubts started to creep in. They stuck with it until it worked.

So don't give up. Define success for you. And write. Without writing, you are not a writer.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Wishing You Writing Success This Weekend

What a great way to end the week. I was able to finally clear a challenging transition that frankly was kicking my butt! And by making the transition strong, its now leading to a great world building opportunity which will be so critical to this manuscript.

So let's hope that this will open the door to lot's of revision progress over the weekend. Here's wishing you and me writing success over the next couple of days.

Good luck!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How to Write a Novel

Everything you need to know about writing a novel in one condensed blog post by literary agent Nathan Bransford. I read through it and did a mental check against my own current manuscript to ensure I hadn't missed anything (and found a couple areas I could probably improve on in the current revision). Here's the link, check it out: How to Write a Novel

I think maybe I'll print his post and use it as a checklist for my brainstorm in preparation for NaNoWriMo this year. Hmmm, not a bad idea.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Event Alert - Webinar: How to Sell More Books to Schools

For those of you already wearing a marketing hat for your books, or for those of you like me that are planning for the future, this webinar sounds very informative. And it's FREE!

How to Sell More Books to Schools

Thursday, August 19, 2010 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM EDT
Webinar Registration
Here's the description from the webinar registration page:
"The opportunities for selling books to schools are enormous and ideal for publishers. The academic market is divided into three general sub-segments: pre-school, elementary-high school (K-12) and secondary (colleges and universities). Further segmentation uncovers more opportunities to sell books for adult education, home schooling, distance learning and private, military and other schools. Each sector has its own procedures, policies and distribution partners. Brian Jud will show you how to work in each segment to sell more books in more ways than you ever thought possible."

Friday, August 13, 2010

Changed the Routine - Creativity Flowed

I changed up my routine this morning and the change paid off. Lately I've had some extra time in the morning since my son isn't in school over the summer. And I have been getting a lot done in the hours before my full time job, but in the last two weeks I've found my enthusiasm kind of blah in the morning, dragging, and uninspired. So this morning I decided to leave the apartment a bit early and head to the local Starbucks. I grabbed a Chai tea, a breakfast sandwich and a few pages of my manuscript and inspiration hit. The words started flowing like crazy, so much so I could barely keep up. And I even fixed a troublesome transition mid novel.

My only wish is that I had more time to keep the flow going! Because alas, I had to pack up and head to work.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Writing - Career or Hobby?

I used to say that I wrote during my free time. But honestly, who has free time? I juggle a full time job, freelance work, raising a child and being a wife. Each one of those is a full time job on its own. So I had to make a decision: is writing a hobby or a career? Is writing something I want to do for the rest of my life (whether I get published or not)? Yes and yes.

Last November, I dedicated myself to a full month of solid writing, 1700 words per day, during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The goal was to write a novel in 30 days. And guess what, I made time to do it. And that experience was a turning point in how I prioritized my writing. No longer is it something I do when I can find the time (once or twice every couple of weeks). No, I make time for my writing, even if it means that I stay up to midnight getting it done. It's that important to me.

How about you? Is writing a career or a hobby? Some people will say career, and some will say hobby, both are A-OK, but just make your answer fits in with how you devote your time it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My #1 Favorite Book - A Thousand Splendid Suns

This book has now launched into the #1 slot of all-time favorite book for me, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. The most powerful book I've ever read and I highly recommend reading this book (for an adult audience). The magic is in the words, in the author's ability to transport us to a world rife with struggle and survival. It's a combination of beautiful writing, an amazing story, no holds-barred storytelling, and history of a country torn apart by war - gripping, wrenching, and honest. This is the kind of book that can change people, and a piece of me is changed because of it.

A Thousand Splendid Suns

From the book jacket, here's what the story is about:
"A Thousand Splendid Suns is a breathtaking story set against the volatile events of Afghanistan's last thirty years - from the Soviet invasion to the reign of the Taliban to post-Taliban rebuilding - that puts the violence, fear, hope, and faith of this country in intimate, human terms. It is a tale of two generations of characters brought jarringly together by the tragic sweep of war, where personal lives - the struggle to survive, raise a family, find happiness - are inextricable from the history playing out around them."

To learn more about Khaled Hosseini, you can visit his website at: website. He also has a foundation,The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which provides humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan to help alleviate suffering and build healthy communities. You can visit the foundation's facebook page at: facebook.

And for those who have read or plan to read either A Thousand Splendid Suns or The Kite Runner,  you can help raise money by posting a picture of you reading either book. Click here for more details: Riverhead Books

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Writers and Money

I've been thinking a lot lately about how writers support themselves in this industry. It's one of my goals...to become a full time writer, but the flip side is making it work financially. So I thought it would be a good time to post information about that very topic.

Last year there was a good post that came out entitled, How Authors Get Paid. I blogged about it, and it's worth another read.

Laurie Purdie Salas does an annual post on How Much Does A Writer Make. Interesting to see how many different avenues she uses to make enough money to support herself.

Here's another good post How Much Does a Science Fiction or Fantasy Writer Make?

This one is a bit of a reality check for those that think writers are rolling in the dough: The Reality of a Times Bestseller

In the end, writing has to be a passion for sure. And if you follow your passion and put the work behind it, I believe a writer can make it work.

Monday, August 09, 2010

A Must Read Post on Publishing

If you haven't wandered over to the Editorial Ass lately, then now is the time to do it. There's a great post that came out on Wednesday titled, Moonrat's Rundown of Publishing Options and it's a good one. Moonrat prepares a comprehensive list of publishing avenues complete with pro's and con's of each.

Friday, August 06, 2010

The Votes Have Been Cast...And The Winner Is...

The votes have been cast...my next book to read is...Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Thanks for voting!
by Sarah Dessen Along for the Ride

Here were the final results:
Fire by Kristin Cashore (0%)

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin (25%)

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (25%)

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen (50%)

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Contest Alert - upcoming contests from Writers Digest

These deadlines are at the end of the year, but we all know how quickly time goes, so mark your calendars and start writing...Good luck!

Writer's Digest Popular Fiction Awards

Deadline: 11/1/2010
Writer's Digest is accepting entries in the Popular Fiction Awards. Compete and Win in All 5 Categories! The Grand Prize-Winner will receive a trip to the Writer's Digest Conference in New York City, $2,500 cash, $100 worth of Writer's Digest Books and the 2011 Novel & Short Story Writer's Market.

Writer's Digest Annual Short Short Story Writing Competition
Deadline: 12/1/2010
Writer's Digest is now accepting entries in the 11th Annual Short Short Story Competition. Winners will appear in our June 2011 issue. Click here for details and to enter online.

Writer's Digest Poetry Awards Competition
Deadline: 12/15/2010
The 6th Annual Writer’s Digest Poetry Awards is now accepting entries. Don't miss your chance to win cash, a trip to the Writer's Digest Conference and exposure in our August 2011 issue.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

And the winner is...

Drumroll please for the drawing of the winner for the 7/30 Book Giveaway.

And the winner is...dlhaley@hotmail.com

Send me your address and I'll get these books right off to you. Congratulations!

Monday, August 02, 2010

Which YA Book Should I Read Next?

Help me choose the next book I read. Cast your vote on the poll listed at the top of my blog. The poll will stay open on the blog until 8/5/10.

Choose from:
Fire by Kristin Cashore

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen