Tag Archives: authors

Do You Think Awards Are Important?


When I receive an award I perform a happy dance.

This past week I was awarded, not one, but three blog awards.

First, I was honored with the “Inspiring Blog Award” and the “One Lovely Blog Award” courtesy of Stephanie Nickels. She is an editor at Christian Editing Services. Thanks, Stephanie!

For these two awards I was asked to share seven facts about myself. So here they are:

7 Facts Everyone Is Dying To Know 🙂

  • Writes for children, tweens, and teens
  • Draws and paints whimsical works of art
  • Avid reader
  • Rare breed dog owner
  • Motorcycle mamma
  • Antique lover (rooster, pineapple, and sheep collector)
  • And wife of a supportive, hard-working husband 🙂

The third,–another Liebster Award presented by Kittyb78. Thanks, Kitty!
Kitty blogs about writing, marketing, and publishing.

Pursuant to the Liebster Blog Award rules, Kitty provided eleven questions designed to “get to know me” outside of my blog.

What prompted you to set up a blog?

I attended Write Canada 2011 and was encouraged to start a blog then. Let me tell you though, the idea of exposing my words to the world made me almost puke. As we know, fear can prevent us from moving forward. So instead of allowing fear to grab hold, I kicked it to the curb, and plunged into blog sphere. That was 15 months ago.

What are our favorite hobbies and why?

My hobbies change depending on where life has taken me.

Indoor Activities

My Nana taught me to knit at the age of five. I learned to needlepoint, cross-stitch, quilt, weave baskets, (don’t even go there,—I’m a basket case some days), draw, paint, play the piano, and sing in the shower.

Outdoor Activities

I enjoyed water skiing as a kid. I downhill ski, ride on the back of a motorcycle, attend car shows, and I love anything adventurous. I’ve even held a boa,—so warm and cuddly.

When did you discover you liked to write, and why?

As a teen I kept a dairy, that is, until my mom discovered it in my underwear drawer. Wonder how that happened? I didn’t pursue writing seriously,—oh my, has it been 3 years already?


Good question. I like a challenge. No seriously, it’s another creative outlet that was waiting to emerge.

What are your biggest passions, and why?

My first passion is for God. Without spiritual guidance, I’d be nowhere. My other passions are listed in the second question.

How would you describe yourself in five words or less?

Easy-peasy. I’m a perfectionist, love to procrastinate, driven, motivated, and a cheerleader (not the high-school kind). I love to cheer others on.

What aspects of writing and reading do you enjoy the most, and why?

On Writing

To study my craft, and then apply what I’ve learned to become the best possible writer.

On Reading

I love getting lost in imaginary worlds.

What is your idea of a perfect romantic moment?

You’ll have to ask my hubby. 🙂

What is your favorite genre to read/write, and why?

I enjoy a good mystery. I love reading picture and chapter books, and young adult novels (no fantasy or vampire stories). I suppose that’s why I tend to write stories aimed at those genres.

What do you consider the weakest part of your writing?

Ugh! Did you have to bring that up? Where to place commas and trying to remember a million writing rules.

Who is your favorite super hero and why?

I don’t have one.

Where do you see yourself ten years from now?

Lord willing,–a well-known, published author. Autographs anyone? 🙂

To pay-it-forward, my nominees go to the following writers and authors. They are in no particular order.

Clara Bowman-Jahn is a published author. Check out Stacy S. Jensen’s review for Clar’s new book. I purchased a PDF copy of Annie’s Special Day. Buy a copy. You won’t be disappointed.

Tina M. Cho is a prolific freelance writer and published author of 16 books.

Vivian Kirkfield is a teacher, and an author who writes picture book stories that help toddlers learn their colors, numbers and ABC’s. Buy a copy of her new book,–Show Me How!

Stacy S. Jensen is a published author and has a memoir-in-progress.

Susanna Leonard Hill is a published children’s author. She also provides fun and challenging writing contests.

Karen Lee is a fabulous artist, and a writer who attends my library writing group.

Belinda Burston is a gifted writer, and the fearless leader of my other writing group,– The Writer’s Nest

Laura Bennett is co-writing a book with her husband,—The Miracle of Us: Confessions of Two Online Daters.

Marcy Kennedy is a freelance editor and writing instructor. She writes fantasy, and is my mentor and editor. 🙂

Thank you for inspiring, encouraging, and motivating me to become a better writer, and a human being. Now it’s your turn to pay-it-forward.

Who inspires, encourages, and motivates you?

Enjoy the long weekend, everyone!


Week 7 – Summer Short & Sweet Challenge – A Birthday Present


Fall is in the air. Adios, hot and hazy summer days. But I’m thankful for photos to remind me of sweet memories spent with my hubby’s family. A perfect lead into Susanna Leonard Hill’s, Summer Short & Sweet Challenge.

Badge created by Loni at http://www.loniedwards.com

I’m in the home stretch. One more week before I say adios, Susanna. Sorry, still no sweets to munch on while you read Susanna’s rules.

“We’re taking a field trip! It can be anywhere you want – and anything that fits into what you’re already doing – no special outings necessary. Going out with your kids to the beach, the zoo, a museum, the playground, the library? Going shopping at the grocery store? Washing the car? You don’t even need to leave the house – the kitchen or the back porch will be just fine!

Your challenge today is to describe a setting – any setting that tickles your fancy. In 50-100 words (more or less if you like, that’s just a ball park) make us feel like we’re there. Take a careful look at your surroundings – whatever they are. What does it look like? sound like? smell like? feel like? taste like?

BUT – here’s the trick. You can’t use the actual word of the place! So if you’re describing the kitchen, you can’t use the word kitchen. We have to be able to guess!

For an extra challenge, describe it from a kid’s perspective – try to look at it through the eyes of the average five -year-old, the typical picture book age target. Places can look a lot different to a five-year-old than they do to an adult. Different features stand out, and kids’ react to things differently.

Although we don’t devote a lot of words to setting in picture books because that part of the job is done by the illustrator, it is helpful to you as a writer to envision your setting clearly. Certain select details will be necessary, depending on your story, and this is good practice in focusing on the details that really matter. If you write for older readers, setting description is very important to make your reader feel like they’re there – but you can’t ramble on indefinitely. MG and even YA readers are not going to have a lot of patience for long-winded descriptions. So this is a chance to practice picking out the part you really need to say.”

I hope you enjoy my entry.

Krystal peeked around the corner. A warm breeze flapped plastic tacked to two corners on the wooden window frame. She giggled at Poppa’s fake owl perched on the ledge.

A beam of sunlight poked through a hole in the plastic and shone down on yellow metal plastered with decals.

Krystal’s mouth formed a perfect ‘O’. “Poppa, is that really for me?” She slapped her cheeks.

Poppa beamed. “Yes, Krystal. You’re old enough.”

“I know. I’m five-years-old.”

Poppa cranked the key. Grey smoke billowed from the exhaust.

Krystal coughed and clamped her hands to her ears.

Poppa patted her back. “Hop on.”

Krystal grunted, swinging her left leg over the hard, black leather seat. She planted her running shoes on the sideboards and wiggled her backside. Her sweaty palms tingled, gripping rigid rubber.

She stared out at the open field. “Hurry, Poppa.”

Poppa strolled to her side and pointed out some very important instructions.

Krystal nodded, licking dust off parched lips. She hunched forward. Her tummy somersaulted, coaxing the noisy machine toward the overhead towering frame.

“Well?” Poppa asked. “What are you waiting for?”

The engine roared.

Her body jiggling, she bounced over hilly mounds. “Whee!” 

Poppa yelled, “Slow—” But his voice got lost in the wind.

She flew past giant sunflowers that smiled and waved.

Krystal threw back her head and belted out at the top of her lungs, “Happy Birthday to me!”

(225 words) Okay, I can’t stick to the word count.

Five-year-old Krystal driving her ATV

Krystal didn’t fly past sunflowers, but she did chug around the yard with Poppa gripping a rope to cut the engine should she dare takeoff.

And one last item. I’m sending love your way, my son. Happy 18th Birthday. I love you.

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Do You Pay It Forward?


During the past year, I’ve connected with many wonderful writers and authors in blog sphere who inspire and encourage me.

Today, I’d like to pay it forward and help Vivian Kirkfield, teacher and author, promote her new book.

Show Me How!

“Show Me How!” will appeal to home school mom’s. And of course to mom’s with children attending main stream schools.

I’m also reblogging Vivian’s post. Take it away Vivian.

The school bells are already ringing, announcing the start of a new school year.

Here at Positive Parental Participation, we are joining the celebration.

We believe that building self-esteem is of critical importance. Do you?

Studies show that children with a positive self-image:

Are more likely to take on new challenges
Have greater school success
Make friends more easily
Do not become bullies or the victims of bullies

Many children are in school for eight hours a day. Little ones in daycare facilities while their parents are working may be there for even longer periods of time.

Isn’t it important for teachers and other child-care providers to have the best resources available to succeed in this important task?




Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking

Not only an award-winning parenting resource…it’s also a wonderful addition to any classroom bookshelf.

“It will be an excellent resource for our Family Literacy Center’s programs” – Rhonda Cooper, Program Director, Literacy Volunteers of Leon County, FL

Many local teachers have purchased their own copy to place in their classrooms…there is even a copy on the shelves of the teacher-education department at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

“We will add it to our collection in support of our Educational Studies Program.” – Celia Rabinowitz, Director of the Library, St. Mary’s College of Maryland

Show Me How! is a book that every nursery school, preschool, kindergarten, first grade, KinderCare and other daycare facility needs to have for their teachers.

“It is a great tool to help our children become successful.” – Mary Newquist, Assistant Principal, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School, Selma, TX

“Show Me How!” is a framework of carefully crafted, multi-sensory lessons that will promote a willingness to try new experiences.” – Peggy Hicks, MA, Special Education Teacher, Pikes Peak Boces, CO.

What school would you like to see receive a copy of Show Me How?

If you’d like your favorite school to win a copy, just leave a comment on any blog post at Positive Parental Participation this month.

On September 8th, National Literacy Day, Vivian will announce the twelve lucky winners.

“This book is an incredible resource for fostering a child’s sense of self-worth.” – Jodi Harap, Ph.D., Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Chicago, IL


So hop over to Positive Parental Participation for more ideas on how to be a positive role model.

I’ll be back later to post my Week 5, Summer Short & Sweet challenge.

Do You Have A Nom De Plume?


Nom De Plume is just a fancy word for pseudonym, or in plain English, a pen name chosen by an author to hide his real identity.

Did you know the following genre fiction authors have a Nom De Plume?

Stephen King writes Horror. He also writes as Richard Bachman, Eleanor Druse, Steve King, and John Swithen.
Jack Higgins (his pseudonym) writes Mystery. He also writes as Martin Fallon, James Graham, and Hugh Marlowe.
Barbara Michaels (her pseudonym) writes gothic and supernatural Thrillers. She also writes as Elizabeth Peters.
Alistair MacLean writes Mystery. He also writes as Ian Stuart.
Eboni Snoe (her pseudonym) writes African-American Romance.

Is choosing a pen name right for you?

It’s important to know that writing under a pseudonym is a personal decision. Here are 7 reasons for doing so.

  • Your real name is difficult to pronounce or spell.
  • Your last name is near the bottom of the alphabet.
  • Your name is too common. (Hmm. There are a lot of Tracy Campbell’s).
  • You might write in different genres. If you are a woman and you want to reach a male audience, you might want to consider using a masculine name or just initials. Let’s take Romance novelist Nora Roberts, which is her real name, also writes futuristic suspense under the pen name, J.D. Robb. (I’ve thought of using T.C. Mac).
  • You might want to keep aggressive fans at bay.  (I should be so lucky).
  • Your sales weren’t great with your first book and you want to start fresh. (Hopefully, I won’t have that problem).

Before you decide on a Nom De Plume, get a second or a third opinion because the name you choose is your brand and it could haunt you the rest of your life.

Happy Writing

For now, I’ll stick to Tracy Campbell.

Leave a comment. I’d love to know what you think.


Multiple Submissions?


I interviewed Mark Arnold–Writer, Script Doctor, Consultant, Director and Producer, or rather, I picked his brilliant mind on what his thoughts were on multiple submissions.

Welcome to my blog, Mark.

What is your position on multiple submissions?

Ahem, well, you’ve touched on a tender subject with me there.

You’ve piqued my interest with that statement. How do you view your writing?

My writing is a business. The stories I write, until sold, belong exclusively to me and I may do anything I like with them


It is not good business to send a story out to one publisher, wait months for a reply, and in all fairness it is most likely going to be a rejection.

You sound a tad pessimistic?

That’s just the way the odds go, and then, once the rejection has arrived, send out the story again. Years can go by that way before a short story sells.

That’s ridiculous.

Hmm…that is rather ridiculous.

I don’t care what the publisher “prefers,” as far as sending out multiple submissions to other publishers.

Is there any other business that doesn’t want you to get as many potential customers as possible lined up for the product?

Not to my knowledge.

If I want to sell my car, for instance, I advertise in the newspaper. Thousands of people get to see it in one go. If I was to do it like I would for a short story the way the publishers want it, I would have to get a list of all the paper’s readers, go to their homes, one at a time, and ask them if they want to buy my car. I’m not going to do that. Who would?

No, I certainly wouldn’t. But Mark, what if two publishers want to buy your story at the same time?

I should have that kind of problem! I think the odds on that happening are in the neighborhood of winning the lottery – twice.

Doesn’t sound promising. Is there another way to look at multiple submissions?

Yes. Sometimes when a publisher says “No multiple submissions” they are not saying that they don’t want you to be sending the same story out to other publishers, they are actually saying, don’t send us more than one of your stories at a time. Let us reject one story at a time. Once we have rejected the first story, send us another. Make sure you understand what they mean by “Multiple Submissions.”

Good point. But doesn’t the publisher have the right to tell me what I can do?

Here’s the thing; the publishers have no right to tell me what I can do with MY story. They can let me know how they would prefer to do it, and that’s fine. Now publishers have preferences that are reasonable such as the format of your submission, contact information, etc. Most of this stuff is the same from publisher to publisher and I have no problem conforming to their needs – that is courtesy and professionalism, but I don’t work for them. I have a product that I want to sell and I’m going to do it in the most efficient way that I can.

Do you think we should be up front when submitting our work?

Some people feel that they should be up front when they submit their work and say that they are sending it out to other publishers at the same time. Well, that’s fine if they want to do that. I don’t do that. What I am doing with my story is my business and how I go about selling my work is not the publishers’ business.

With that attitude, I’m surprised you sell anything at all.

I can see your point, or at least, I would have seen your point when I first started out. Like most beginning writers I had the attitude “Please Mr. Great Publisher, who is God in my eyes, please stoop to look at my unworthy submission and have mercy on me, even though I am so low and unacceptable, please give me a chance. I will do anything to get published.” That comes from insecurity about your writing. And if that’s the way you feel about your writing, and that’s what you broadcast to the publishing world at large, expect to be treated as if you’re worthless. I’m not saying that I go to the other end of that scale with an attitude of, I am the God of writing, and I am willing to look kindly on your piece of crap periodical by allowing you to publish my work. I don’t think or feel that way. No, but I do expect, insist on, being treated with courtesy and respect. And decent business practices too, damn it.

Don’t you think you might be a little unreasonable in the way you attempt to sell your writing?

No. Publishers act as if they have all the power but that’s because writers hand them the power.

Oh. But I need a publisher to publish my work.

Fair enough. The publisher NEEDS a writer’s work so that he has something to publish. Think of it that way and you may realize that we’re actually on an equal footing.

Good point.

Now I realize that I am writing this message with heat. That’s certainly not the way I communicate myself to the publisher.

Thank you for clarifying that. But how do you communicate with a publisher? 

I attempt to be courteous and professional. I don’t give them my life’s story in my introduction.

What information do you provide?

I may mention that I am a published author with a list of credits, etc., just to show that I’m not some amateur beginner and that I should be taken seriously.

Can you give me an example?

I don’t explain why I wrote the story or what I was trying to accomplish. It’s “Hello, my name is Mark, please consider this work for publication in your periodical. Here are my credentials. Thank you for your time.”

That’s it? Aren’t publishers drooling to know how you came up with your story?

The publisher doesn’t want your letter of submission to be a novel in itself – and I find the more you write in the letter, the less interested or impressed the publisher, editor, reader, will be. In and out. Surgical.

Ouch. So how do you cultivate a relationship?

With time you may get to know the editor or publisher after many submissions and they may start sending you personal notes along with the rejection or acceptance letters, then you can start adding extra detail to the letters. And yes, cultivating a relationship with these people is a critical part of the process. They have to make the first move in this direction, however. If you are going to have a satisfactory relationship, if I want it to be satisfactory, then there has to be respect going both ways and not the relationship of patron and servant, master and slave.

Respect yourself before you can expect respect from others.

Sounds simple enough.

And stupid and obvious, but tell me, how did you feel when you were submitting your stories?

Gulp. Submissive?

That’s a joke.

I’m not laughing.

You have rights as a person, if you give up those rights, don’t complain when you are treated badly.

Yes, I do have rights. So I won’t grumble or complain any longer.

Thank you Mark for you candid response. I’m now in your corner.

Mark Arnold has been writing since he was about ten years old.  His first story was published when he was twelve.  Mark now works in the film industry as a script doctor, consultant, and has written, directed, produced, and animated short films for cable TV.  He also sells short stories to periodicals and is working on a novel.