Tag Archives: writers

Do You Think Awards Are Important?

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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?

Why?

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!

Do You Have An Alter Ego?

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Ask a psychologist what an alter ego is and he’ll say, “It’s a personality disorder in which a person exhibits multiple, distinct personalities.”

Ask a writer and he’ll refer you to The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Pose the question to a second grader and he might say, “It’s when you go to church and enter as one person, but when you leave you’re another.”

The ladies at my church will say, “Tracy’s Alter Ego emerged the night neon streaks of lightning flashed and thunder rumbled down the alley.”

They’re referring to Friday night. The night my French manicure and shoes glowed in the dark. The night my name and seventeen other names popped up on three overhead screens in the bowling alley.

I hadn’t bowled a game in four years. After five dismal frames, my Alter Ego’s cocky attitude emerged.

Blood surged through her veins. The next four frames, her bowling ball crashed into bottom heavy pins for a spare, a strike, and two more spares. Yeah!

One frame remained. She glanced up at the other two boards. She twisted around, squinted through the darkness, and zeroed in on her rival. “No no no! She’s four point ahead.” She scraped her teeth over a tongue that tasted like gritty sand. Then she tuned out claps of thunder, spit into her hands, threw back her shoulders, and dashed down the lane. Her hips swiveled and the shiny black object rumbled down the glassy surface.

Bam!

The Alter Ego’s lips split into a Cheshire grin. After all, with a marksman’s aim, she knocked down five pins for her second strike of the evening.

Her rubber soles squeaked, sliding across the floor. She elbowed her way through the rest of the contestants, gabbing, and cackling like a brood of hens. She sneered. Didn’t the game matter? She skidded to a stop and breathed down her opponent’s neck. Spying tiny hairs standing at attention, she egged her on. “You’re gonna choke.”

Her opponent chuckled and flipped her back. She swung back her right arm and lobbed…a gutter ball.

The Alter Ego rubbed her clammy hands. “I’m gonna win.”

Her rival tossed the ball in the air. It landed in her palm like it belonged.

The Alter Ego held her breath.

Her opponent’s ball bounced, knocking over a two pin.

“Phew!” The Alter Ego spewed out spit that dribbled down her chin. “Up by two points.” Still, she knew it was down to the wire.

Her rival glanced over her shoulder. A smirk danced across her face. She flattened the remaining pins and won by two points.

The Alter Ego dropped her head to her chest, shuffled back to her lane, and flopped down on the bench. She kicked off her shoes. A pungent odor rose to meet her flared nostrils. She wrinkled her nose.

The champion strutted over.

The Alter Ego jumped up and gripped her rival’s hand. “Just wait until our next match.”

I’d had enough of the Alter Ego’s nonsense. I stuffed her back into her shell, and then smiled at my friend. “See you at church on Sunday.”

“If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it.”

Tennessee Williams

Illustration courtesy of http://www.elisanet.fi.

Multiple Submissions?

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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

Anything?

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.

Would You Like To Review Books for Free?

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I’ve just subscribed to Book Crash – click here. They’ve shipped my “free” book as I write. Yes, I said free.

This site is for Christian writers to promote their books and for writers, and readers to offer a review. There is one catch. In exchange for free books, I love that word “free”, you must be candid, and follow the guidelines set out below.

Overview – In exchange for “free” books.
• To inform readers why you liked or didn’t like the book.
• Each review should be at least 200 words, but no longer than 500 words.
• Respect the author. In other words, don’t kill the messenger. The writers’ journey is arduous and long. I respect any author with the tenacity to finish what they’ve started.
• What is the theme, plot or subject matter?
• Who is the target audience?
• What is the purpose of the book?
• Was the book engaging, predictable, far-fetched, exciting, and/or   romantic?
• Did the plot hold together?
• Were the characters believable?
• Was the dialog realistic?
• Did the book provide a wholesome Christian viewpoint?
• Was the design appealing? (font, artwork, etc.)
• Was the book uplifting, inspiring?
• Were you challenged in your faith?
• Would you recommend this book? If so, to whom and why.

It appears I have my work cut-out for me. Not only will the reviews help authors to promote their books, it will also help me address those same questions in my writing.

Let me know if any of you sign up to review books. There are also Blogging for Books, click here. and Book Sneeze, click here. I’m sure there are others, but I’ll leave you to troll the web.

Happy Reading!