Sunday, December 27, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
As this debate continues, some so called experts have implied or concluded that our Founding Fathers and Patriots were not religious. These secular champions, in an effort to further their own causes, have even painted these great men and women from our history as being devoid of religious passions or even a belief in God. This is a part of their strategy to remove any discussion of God from the public forum.
These men and women were passionately religious and saw the hand of God all around them. To God they gave Thanks for His Hand in the founding of this great nation. To Him, according to their own testimony they turned for wisdom and strength when life and liberty hung in the balance. Certainly the debate on separation of church and state will continue. But no one can dispute how our Founding Fathers and Patriots felt about God. The record is clear!
'One Nation Under God' is Jon McNaughton's witness and reminder that those who went before us knew from whence their blessings came!
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Developing a Variety of Stories to Greaten Your Story
© Arthur Gulumian
Nov 22, 2009
By applying subplots along with the main story, you will effectively engage the reader in a tangible world where people can better relate to the characters or events.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Drudes: Dream-demons that cause nightmares so they can feed on the victim’s fear.
Eidolons: Guilt demons.
Harpies: Revenge demons. People sometimes pay sorcerers to conjure Harpies and send them against their enemies.
Nancy is also compiling these post at Deadtown 101 where she gives you a glimpse into Welsh Mythology: The Mabinogi
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Rants and Ramblings
On Life as a Literary Agent
Foreshadowing vs. Telegraphing
Today I thought I'd talk about an aspect of novel-crafting that I don't see addressed very often, even though I deal with it all the time when editing novels. It's the technique of foreshadowing and its black-sheep cousin, telegraphing.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Writer's Digest e-newsletter
Hooked unravels the mystery of bad beginnings.
It reveals the most common mistake writers make (not trusting the reader's intelligence) and the most effective way to begin a story (an inciting incident).
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Backstory usually refers to narrative that tells something about a character's past. It's given in an informational style without real-time action or dialogue. Notice I used the word "tells." This is a clue about why backstory in the start of your novel can be detrimental. Backstory doesn't show, it tells, thereby risking losing the reader's interest.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Living Inside the Story
Posted by mary ann rodman
From the time I taught myself to read, I have been an obsessive reader. My mother used to joke that the first time she saw me without a book was at my wedding. (Little did she know that one of the things that worried me the most that day was knowing that I didn't have a "good book" to take on my honeymoon!)
As a child, I was an undiscriminating reader. I read in the book aisle at E.J. Korvette's while my parents shopped. I borrowed books from friends, relatives, the neighbors. I read newspapers left in busses and cabs. Cereal boxes. Anything.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Okay, we talked last week about the book price war going on between Amazon, Wal-Mart and Target. This week we kick off with another viewpoint. This one from Marion Maneker, who writes for a website called The Big Money who provides articles for The Washington Post and other newspapers. Straight From Hel
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
This week I will be posting separate posts for Act One, Act Two, Act Two, Part 2, and Act Three which will detail the different elements of each act, but I thought that for those of you already doing index cards, it would be useful for you all to have just a basic list that you can use when you’re watching a film or doing the index cards for your own story, so here it is.
Alexandra Sokoloff: Elements of Act One
So, now that we’ve talked about the index card method of laying out your story, and basic filmic structure as it might be applied to novels, the natural next question is: what actually goes into a first act?
This is the magic of a well-written piece: for a few precious moments, you, as writer, hold the reader in the palm of your hand. Word choice, syntax, structure—all the elements of craft you spent so much time applying—fall away and your reader enters the world of story.
The Blood-Red Pencil: Crafting the Bones, Part II
Dr. Rudolph Flesch, a staunch advocate of writing with purpose, advised in his best-selling How to Write Better that “the main thing to consider is your purpose in writing: Why are you sitting down to write?” To which E.B. White tartly answered, “Because, sir, it is more comfortable than standing up.”
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
By Nancy Holzner
Click here for Nancy's Blog:
Amazon.com Editorial Review:
First in a brand new urban fantasy series that's "fresh and funny, with a great new take on zombies" (Karen Chance) and "full of dangerous magic and populated with characters so realistic, they almost jump off the page" (Ilona Andrews).
If you were undead, you'd be home by now...
They call it Deadtown: the city's quarantined section for its inhuman and undead residents. Most humans stay far from its borders-but Victory Vaughn, Boston's only professional demon slayer, isn't exactly human.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Don't miss this delightful author who will be visiting with Syliva. She has two new books out and more on the way.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Listen to Heather's first Ghost Walk Trailer "The Lalaurie" it’s not for the faint of heart.
This sounds so exciting.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Who is Larry Brooks?
My co-host for “Authors Articulating with Jo-Anne and Larry” is Larry Brooks.
Jo-Anne Vandermeulen Blog “Conquer All Obstacles”
The Blood-Red Pencil: Morgan Mandel's Basic Guide to Self-Publishing - Day Seven - Downloading, Proof, Acceptance, Publication
Shared via AddThis
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Morgan Mandel on her blog
The Blood-Red Pencil is graciously posting seven days worth of tips on self-publishing.
Monday - Why Self-Publish
Tuesday - How to Get Started: Legalities, Technicalities, References
Wednesday- Why Use An Editor
Thursday - Choosing a Printing House & Getting Familiar With It
Friday - Setting Up Cover Art & Logo
Saturday - Promo
Sunday - Downloading, Proof, Acceptance, Publication
Monday, August 24, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
By Nancy Holzner
Nancy is giving away five autographed copies of her book. Read Chapter 1 here:
To visit her blog click here.
Deadtown, the first novel in her urban fantasy series, will hit the shelves on December 29, 2009.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
There is a lot going on this week. First off, let’s take a look at Ravenne’s Blog The Raven’s Eye she is working on a project that she’s calling TAP.
TAP, from her description is a venture in to organizing your research, character exploration, plot lines, subplots, etc… of a first draft and making it a finished novel.
If you are interested, Ravenne invites anyone to join her. Don’t have the book? Check out this link for the worksheets you’ll need.“From First Draft to Finished Novel” by Karen S. Wiesner.
Karen Wiesner also has another book“First Draft in 30 Days.” If you want to start there fine.
Onto the next topic, which is incorporating imagery in your fiction? Sweet Hearts of the Rodeo’s co-leader Carol Malley has provided the group with several links on the subject that I would like to share with you.
Incorporating imagery in your fiction writing by Jennifer Roach
Ms. Roach says in her article, imagery is a very important aspect of fiction writing, one that many beginning writers tend to forgo in favor of heightened dialogue or plot. Imagery is sometimes viewed negatively due to its instant connotation to Shakespearean sonnets or classic novels. Let me assure you that imagery is still very much an essential component to any fiction writing. You just have to know how to use it.
Jennifer is a fiction writer, blogger, and freelance editor/proofreader. You can follow her on Twitter@jennifermroach or on MySpace .
How to critique fiction without crushing the author’s spirit.
Click on Jennifer’s name or the link above to read other articles by her.
Other good articles on the subject of imagery and symbolism can be found here:
“Weaving Symbolism and Imagery into Your Story” by Elsa Neal
“How to Use Imagery in Fiction” by Cynthia Scott
Fiction is about taking the reader and transporting them to the world where your character lives. The only way to get there, is through imagery.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Kim's Craft Blog--Fiction, Memoir, Creative Writing: Looking Ahead To Fall: Kim's Schedule; Ben Mezrich's Defense of "Narrative Nonfiction"
Friday, July 17, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Monday, July 6, 2009
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Friday, July 3, 2009
I’d like to introduce you to a new blog about writing that I have come across, and the blog is titled storyfix . Imagine storyfix, and imagine who out there that’s aspiring doesn’t need their story fixed?
You can read a marvelous interview by Jo-Anne Vandermeulen on her blog “Conquer All Obstacles,” about Larry Brooks and what his aspirations are, for the wanna-be author like you and me.
Larry shares such great tips on getting published in his post like this one, “ Reprise: What Are My Odds of Getting Published?
You can follow Larry on Twitter and FaceBook
I do hope you find his articles as intuitive and helpful as I do.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Submissions open year round. Send with category in subject line: poetry to Zinta Aistars; fiction/non-fiction and cigar reviews to J. Conrad Guest. Suggestions for "A Good Cause" to Lorena Audra Rutens, A Good Cause editor. For book reviews, please query first, attention to Skye Leslie, assistant editor.
For full submission guidelines and contact information, visit:
Fall 2009 Issue Deadline: August 31, 2009
Please send your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to reading your best work!
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
Pounds by the hour, you might say I gained, virtual or not, anyhoo Rachelle invited many mentors/consultants and listed their expertise as well as website, blog for your convenience.
One site that caught my attention more so than the others was Rebecca LuElla’s blog Rewrite, Reword, Rework ,she is a professional editor, as well as offering a page on self-editing tips.
Hope this helps.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Publisher's Weekly article sharing doesn't seem to be working properly, but you can review the above article here: http://www.publishersweekly.com/
BEYOND HER BOOK
Barbara Vey, Contributing Editor, Publishers Weekly
June 18, 2009
Book series are nothing new. Lo...
We're looking for fiction that's bold, brilliant...but brief.
Send us your best in 1,500 words or fewer. Enter the 10th Annual Short Short Story Competition for your chance to win BIG $$$$ - including the $3000 First Prize! Click here to enter or for additional information.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
I’ve been on sabbatical for the last month and a half, not a vacation in the sense of the luxurious beaches filled with enjoyment, but computer-less and in pain. It’s a two part scenario, first off my BFF (for the puter has become the aged and demented best friend), and not having one and borrowing airtime from family and friends is like standing outside the bathroom door waiting your turn, while you do the pee dance hoping beyond hope they will soon finish so you can have your turn.
Finally, I’ve purchased a new(BFF) best friend (puter), and hopefully it will last as long as its counterpart. Also, in the month of May, I took a leave from Sweet Hearts of the Rodeo due to arthritis, a constant bud that will not leave your side, but I am managing to keep his burst of pickiness (which is sort of like a prickly pear cactus stingy and sticky) under control.
Getting back into what I love, writing, learning the craft of writing, and reading about the subject of writing, I came across several good articles on the topic, and want to share with you the links.
Alexandra Sokoloff’s Blog article Story Breakdown – THE MIST (Act One)
Here is a link to Stephen King’s website where you can review the synopsis for his novella “The Mist”.
She talks about foreshadowing, now in literary terms that means the reader is tipped off as to what comes later.
What Ms. Sokoloff does is breakdown the ingredients of masterful story telling in several sequences.
Another good article I came across today on Rachelle Gardner’s Blog Rants & Ramblings, where she talks about Query Letters in “A Funny Thing Happened...On the Way to my Query Box” a must read for those wanting to get published.
Ms. Gardner Monday June 15, 2009 post about the dreaded need for an author platform.
The Dreaded Author Platform
Last week at the Write-To-Publish conference, the one topic that kept coming up in conversations, panels, and workshops was AUTHOR PLATFORM. Yes, the hated p-word!
Another good article I came upon this fine Monday morning is by Michael Hyatt titled “The Sovereignty of Readers” you can read.
This is a quote that Michael Hyatt shared of P.J. O’Rourke’s
"Usually, writers will do anything to avoid writing. For instance, the previous sentence was written at one o'clock this afternnon. It is now a quarter to
four. I have spent the past two hours and forty-five minutes sorting my neckties by width, looking up the word /paisly/ in three dictionaries,attempting to find the town of that name on /The New York Times Atlas of the World/ map of Scotland,sorting my reference books by width, trying to get the bookcase to stop wobbling by stuffing a matchbook cover under its corner,dialing the telephone number on the matchbook cover to see if I should take computer courses at night, looking at the computer ads in the newspaper and deciding to buy a computer because writing seems to be so difficult on my old Remington, reading an interesting article on sorghum farming in Uruguay that was in the newspaper next to the computer ads, cutting that and other interesting articles out of the newspaper, sorting -- by width -- all the interesting articles I've cut out of newspapers recently, fastening them neatly together with paper clips and making a very attractive paper clip necklace and bracelet set, which I will present to my girlfriend as soon as she comes home from the three-hour low-impact aerobic workout that I made her go to so I could have some time alone to write."[P.J. O'Rourke]
Janet Reid’s Blog article on Ineffective tactics a must read.
from Janet Reid, Literary Agent by Janet Reid
Publishing houses that accept manuscripts directly from authors have guidelines for how to send work to them. You'll find those guidelines on their websites.
If you choose to submit to them, read the guidelines. Then follow them.
Don't call an editor to say you represent yourself.
Much like a lawyer who represents himself, you'll have a fool for a client.
You don't need tricks to get attention.
You need good writing.
And after good writing, you need to present clear and compelling evidence you are not a yahoo.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Before I forget, Joan, I want to let your readers know about a new internet radio talk show called Murder, She Writes. I will be hosting the program every Monday evening from 5:00 to 5:30 p.m. Central time. The program is open to everyone.
The website address is at Blog Talk Radio:
Murder She Writes
Murder, She Writes focuses on women crime writers. Each week I will host a different, best-selling mystery/suspense/thriller author. We will be discussing her books, her life and her writing, and what makes her keep going in this competitive genre. I invite your readers to make our program a mainstay of your listening week. Our first guest, on May 4th, is Glynn Marsh Alam talking about her fabulous book Moon Water Madness, available at bookstores and online. I am reading it now and have fallen in love with her characters.
1) Are you anxious? Apprehensive maybe?
Are you kidding? Of course I’m anxious and more than a little apprehensive. I’m nervous as all get out! I have the gift of gab, inherited from my father. I can talk to practically anyone about practically anything—but on the air is another whole medium. I’m sure I’ll stutter and stammer for a while. But hopefully folks will be patient with me until I get my wings. My training and experience as a licensed professional counselor and marriage and family therapist should give me an edge and help me keep the conversation going—at least for a while! Also, I am open to receive requests to be a guest on the program from any published woman crime writer.
2) About your experience in Persist and Publish writers group? What advice do you give the aspiring author?
Persist & Publish! What a neat critique group, and that includes our hostess. I don’t know if I would have ever gotten my first book finished without them. They virtually held my hand and taught me how to write! I owe them so much. My advice to the aspiring author is to find such a group. Don’t settle for feedback that flatters. Keep looking until you find a group who tells you the difficult stuff. When that ‘stuff’ stings, don’t get defensive. Don’t defend, don’t explain, just receive. Then go home and consider their advice. If only one person dislikes something you write you can take it or leave it, but if more than one person says the same thing, REALLY pay attention. And by all means, find a strong supportive group that will help hold your feet to the proverbial fire. A good group is not there to make you feel good, but there to show tough love and let you know what works, and what doesn’t. Learn to trust them, but don’t throw away your own writing voice in the process.
3) What tips or pointers can you give us on revision of your work?
Well, for one thing, revise, revise and then revise again. One of the best tools I have is my own voice when I read my text out loud. When I do, the awkward parts really show up because I trip over them. If I find that I read it differently, changing a word here and there, words different than those on the page, then I know I need to revise that sentence. A great tool is Read Please, at www.readplease.com. This is simple to use, text to speech software that will read your text back to you. They have a free version of the program that you can download without obligation and use as long as you wish, or there is another one you can purchase. I use the free one and find it works just fine, doing all I want it to do.
I think one of the biggest mistakes a new writer can do is to not revise their manuscript well enough and frequently enough. Write your first draft, revise, present to your critique group, revise again, submit to another critique group or writing partner, revise again, and again. Then you might be ready to do the copyediting for punctuation and grammatical errors. Don’t settle until it is perfect.
4) Writing a sequel?
Planning to! Spending two or three months launching book three, DEAD WRECKONING, while doing a lot of thinking about book four. I am also running a cookbook contest, accepting recipes from Sidra Smart fans, which will be compiled in a cookbook later this year. The deadline for submission is July 3o, 2009. The first, second and third place winners will receive a free copy of the book. Recipes can be emailed to me at email@example.com. I hope to launch the cookbook along with the fourth in the series near the same time.
5) Do you have anyone read your manuscript before submission, now?
Absolutely! Lots of people. I am in three critique groups who read and give me
feedback. Plus, I paid to have this last book edited by a professional editor, and will
use her again for any and all I write. Mistakes in books drive me crazy, and I know
my editor/publisher can’t find them all. So this is what I do to make my work as
seamless as possible. Besides, commas and their proper usage drive me crazy! If a
sentence looks like it doesn’t have enough commas, I put some in. If it looks like it
has too many, I take out a few!
6) What advice and tips would you like to share with the aspiring author on marketing books?
Be prepared to market like crazy. If you are not willing to go the extra miles (and
expense) to do what it takes to make your book a success, hang it up—give it up—
don’t even bother. Go do something else. I love the whole marketing aspect of
writing. I find it great fun. I love talking to people, period. I especially love talking to
people who want to talk about my books!
New authors, always be on the lookout for new, creative ways to get your book out
there. I just came from events in east Texas where I dressed as a pirate (one is on the
cover of my third book), opened a treasure chest and threw out gold-wrapped
Snickers candy bars to the audience while brandishing a sword. I gave out door
prizes that I bought and wrapped in advance.
There are so many fun ways to market. And if it isn’t fun, turn it into fun!
Challenge yourself, watch and listen to ideas from others, brainstorm your own and
put them into action. Play with it.
Rule number one—have no shame! Put yourself out there (as long as it’s legal and
moral!) Ask for what you want—and you just might get it!
7) Does it get any easier writing a story after the first one?
It took me longer to write the third than it did the second. And if I am not careful, I
will still tell myself the whole thing is a fluke—that I really can’t write, can’t really
finish a book, can’t really get a book published! Often we are our own worst enemy. But I keep plugging away. Why? Because I can do no other!
8) Writing a mystery novel, do you outline? Would you recommend outlining?
No, I don’t outline. When I sit down to try my poor brain takes a vacation! I’ve had to accept the fact that my story wants to unfold for me just as it does for my reader. The disadvantage is I probably do a lot more rewrites than do those who outline. Then again, I’ve heard where some authors spend a year developing a 50 page outline. I don’t have that discipline. My advice is to do what works for you.
9) Do you prepare before you begin writing a novel?
I try to come up with at least an inspirational idea. In my first book, Dance On His
Grave, that story was inspired by true events. Book two, Deadly Sins Deadly Secrets,
was inspired by a true Civil War heroine I learned of while researching the first book.
10) Where do you get your ideas?
Everywhere! Our world is so full of stories we will never reach the end of the
resource. For instance, I got the idea for Dead Wreckoning from a tale my brother
told me over the phone one day. His father in law recounted how he had gone into
the swamp behind his house hunting squirrel and saw a resurrected brass-bowed
pirate schooner sticking up out of the water. Wa-la!
11) What inspired you to write? Does Sidra Smart remind you of yourself?
Yes, Sidra Smart reminds me of myself. For many years I felt like I had at least one
book inside me. When I sat to write, Sidra Smart came to life. Of course a lot of my
experiences and life lessons reflect hers. However, the characters in the books are
fictional composites of many people I have met, and some I’ve just heard about.
12) Have you thought of writing a literary novel or short story?
Actually I am now revising a literary—no, probably more mainstream historical novel set during WWII called A War of Her Own.
I have a non-fiction short story published in True Tales of Transformation: The Story That Must Be Told, by Loving Healing Press. My story in the anthology is Divorcing God.
Then , I have a short story published in the mystery anthology, A Death In Texas, published by L & L Dreamspell. My short story, Growing Up Dead, introduces Warren Chadwick, Sidra’s brother who willed her The Third Eye detective agency. The story occurs before his death and gives Sidra Smart fans a glimpse of her brother.
13) Am I still learning?
Oh my gosh yes! Every day. That is the exciting thing about this world of writing! Always something new to learn, to do, to try, to retry!
Thanks for letting me visit your blog. I invite any and all who might have a question or comment to ask it.
Thank you Syl for taking the time to comment and answer any question's the aspiring authors may have. I look forward to listening to you on Blog Talk Radio it really sounds exciting.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
My first question was to ask Margot to tell us about herself, and when she started writing? Here is Margot's Bio.
Margot Finke is an Aussie who writes mid grade adventure fiction and rhyming picture books. For many years, she has lived in Oregon with her husband and family.
Gardening, travel, and reading fill in the cracks between her writing. Her husband is supportive, though not interested in children's books. Their three children are now grown and doing very well. 4 grandchildren are the delight of Margot's life.
Early on, several writers in an online group mentored her. Margot now like to return the favor by offering free writing advice and help on her Website, her Blog, and in her "Musings" column. Her Manuscript Critique Service specializes in personal guidance - a shrewd professional critique can help writers avoid the pitfalls that cause rejections. "I am always thrilled when a client of mine has one of their books accepted."
Margot didn't begin serious writing until the day their youngest left for college. This late start drives her writing, and pushes her to work at it every day. Margot said, "I really envy those who began young, and managed to slip into writing mode between kid fights, diaper changes, household disasters, and outside jobs. You are my Heroes!"
- "Margot's latest rhyming book is "Rattlesnake Jam" - a fun frolic with Gran and Pa, plus Gran's determination to cook rattlesnake jam, instead of Pa's favorite, rattlesnake pie:
- "Coming soon - "Ruthie and the Hippo's Fat Behind" - Ruthie's parents move her far from the school and friends she knows. Ruthie doesn't understand why this happened, and becomes a horrible problem child. Then, something wonderful changes everything. Both Books: Autographed (paper) copies from my website, or Amazon, B&N, Borders, etc + Fictionwise for downloads.
- "7 Book Animal Series - Aussie and US : http://mysite.verizon.net/mfinke/Books.html#clues
(Autographed CDs my website - Downloads: Readers Eden and Fictionwise)
- "Website - Writing Help, Manuscript Critiques etc: http://www.margotfinke.com
- "Blog - Writing News, Trailers, Books: http://margotfinke.blogspot.com/
- "Musings" column - Lots of writing tips and advice: http://www.underdown.org/finke.htm
2) Have you ever thought of writing anything else but children's books?
If I could live to be 150 years old, I would definitely write for other genres. As it is, time is against me. My late start at serious writing demands I spend my time in the children's field of writing. And with the variety of ages to write for, it is quite enough for this late-start-Lizzy to cope with. I know many do cross the genre lines successfully, often using a pen name to differentiate between their books for children and those for adults.
Thank you. Mamma Grizzly is a favorite of mine. The whole series (7 books in all) is available on individual CDs, or as E-Book Downloads. I am very proud of the quality, layout, and illustrations in each of these books. Yet, the poor quality of some e-books still taints all of them. People forget that there are many paper book out there that would have been a lot better if the editor had blue penciled more paragraphs - famous names included!
Children today are computer savvy, and love reading fun and informational books on a screen. I find it is the adults who are reluctant to try this new and increasingly popular book medium. In time, Book Readers will drop down to a more reasonable price, and offer color viewing. Then
e-Books will really take off. There IS room for both paper and electronic books - a time and a place for both.
E-Books are environmentally GREEN, and in today's bad economy, far cheaper than buying hard cover books. "Buy Green e-Books and Save Trees!" is a great global warming slogan.
3) Your books are about animals, do you do a lot of research?
Yes, I did research the ones I was unfamiliar with. Each book in the series offers simple facts about a number of animals from the US and Australia. I devised the books as fun reads: a sneaky way for children to learn about wild and wonderful critters. Parents, teachers, and older readers, can go to my Books page and view illustrations and sample verses: http://mysite.verizon.net/mfinke/Books.html#clues -
Titles Are: Kangaroo Clues - *Don't Eat Platypus Stew - *Never Say Boo to a Frilly - Mama Grizzly Bear - Prairie Dog's Play Day - Humdinger Hummers -Squirrels Can't Help Being Nuts. NOTE: Titles with stars (*) have 3 shorter stories.
They can also hop over to the two pages listed below, for extra information about all these animals + links to sites that offer more in-depth details.
Wild US Critters: http://mysite.verizon.net/mfinke/US%20Critters.htm#US
Down-under Fun: http://mysite.verizon.net/mfinke/Down-Under.htm#you
4) Are children's books easier to market?
My marketing experience is with children's books, so I can only offer an opinion on promoting these. I suspect the same applies to any genre. Let me say first, that writing the darned thing is the easy part. Promoting your published book takes huge amounts time, effort, and planning. Unless you are Mick Jagger or Queen Elizabeth, the publisher leaves 97% of this in your nervous and unprepared hands. You have to learn how to write press releases and tee up newspaper and radio interviews for yourself. School visits, book signings and library visits, are a high priority. Designing business cards, postcards, bookmarks, and maybe even craft or writing projects for schools, all take chunks of your time. "Promote or Perish" is your daily mantra. Will you ever have time to write again? Some writers thrive in the hothouse scrimmages of book promotion. Others wilt, longing for the solitude of their computer, and a chance to follow the seductive scent of a new story idea. Bottom line - publishers want books that sell. So, if you want a happy publisher, who will accept your next masterpiece, PROMOTE and SELL!
5) Is it easier to find a find an agent or a publisher?
Aha. . . this is a classic catch 22 situation. Today, many publishers prefer writers who have an agent. Agents, on the other hand, like to represent writers who have already published a book. This often applies to the larger publishers and agencies. Luckily for writers, many editors who were downsized during past publishing house buy outs, have opened literary agencies of their own. They know the business, and they have excellent contacts. This is a good thing.
Look for an agent who has just opened for business: they are hungry for clients, and therefore more likely to take a good look at your manuscript. With publishers, begin by researching the smaller houses. They are newer, less set in their ways, and more likely to give a newcomer a chance. For both publishers and agents, make sure they are legitimate, and looking for books that feel like yours. Their online Submission Guidelines are where you will find exactly what they want from you. Finding the right agent or publisher often boils down to good research.
Beware of Agent and Publishing Scams: Check this link, for advice on how to make sure the publisher or agent you choose is legitimate: http://mysite.verizon.net/mfinke/Beware.htm
6) Tell us about your blog and your website, do you think it is essential for the aspiring author to create a blog or website early in their writing career?
Once you have a signed contract for your book, you do need a Blog or a Website. I have both. Making the general public aware of you as a children's author, + the titles of your books, is called "Branding." Someone says Jo Rowlings, and we instantly think of Harry Potter.
My Blog is a kind of "Stop Press" way of putting out instant news about my books and the writing services I offer. It is also a way of posting opinions, book trailers and covers + the writing and book news I want to share - fast! My Website is where I keep a permanent display of my books, covers, and the details about other services I offer. Always link the two together.
If you set it up just right, your Blog news will be posted all over the web. Learn how to Ping after every new post, add the right widgets and links, and connect to Feedburner, etc. A Blog that is not hooked up simply sits there - dead news! I know, it does sound scary at first, but it really is quite simple. I use Blogspot.com. Research the Blog you choose, and start hooking it up to various Blog Readers. Take your time. As you learn more - do more!
7) Share any thoughts you may have on creative writing?
Writing for children is not something you can rattle off over a weekend, and expect to get published, ASAP. It is a craft that must be learned. The idea is to paint word pictures that stick in a child's head. A few evocative and fresh adjectives, mixed in with active and powerful verbs, works wonderfully. Focus on what is important to the plot, and prune back those long and waffling sentences. This advice applies to all ages of children's books, but especially so for picture books. Keep your writing as tight as your Granny's new girdle!
If it's been a long time since you sat in Ms Learnit's English class, take a writing lesson or two. These days, you can do this online, in your jammies, if you choose. Join a good online children's writing list, and make notes of all the great advice and information that flows there. Go to writing conferences. You can network there with other writers, pick their brains, and listen to guest editors and their words of writing wisdom. Write! Write! Write! Join a critique group for guidance, support, and helpful writing feedback.
Only those who refuse to quit will become published. So, don't allow rejection letters to stop you writing. Many of today's famous authors received loads of rejections before that first acceptance.
Perseverance is as important as talent and hard work. Keep researching those publishers and sending out your manuscripts.
Remember, mates, editors do NOT make house calls!
Thank you Joan, for asking me these gritty questions. Working with you has been a huge pleasure.
Thank you too, for taking the time to answer all the questions, and the wonderful advice you have shared.