Saturday, December 5, 2015

'Writer's Market: Deluxe Edition' has arrived

The strangest thing happened today. My account froze because I forgot to add my updated debit card information online. So the automatic billing didn't go through. I went online to get that fixed, and my internet was suddenly dragging. Pages were taking an eternity to load, and I had to restart it twice.

Very frustrated, I gave up because my son was ready to head out to lunch. When we got back home, I saw a package on the front door welcome mat. I don't know about you, but anytime I receive a package in the mail, I get hyper like a kid opening presents on Christmas morning.

It was my copy of Writer's Market: Deluxe Edition 2016! I guess the Universe must have known I'd be wasting my time updating my payment information because with this book comes a one-year subscription. Yes! Isn't it funny how things happen sometimes?

This is also a first for me. I have had the online membership of $5.99/month for several years, but I've never ordered the print book. This year, I decided I just had to have it in my hands. Now I can make the most of having this plus the online membership for the next 365 days. As any writer knows, motivation often comes from the most unexpected places. Reading one long paragraph in a book, random encounters with strangers, a dream, or one click on a certain link can lead you down a road of opportunity you didn't know existed. That's precisely how I stumbled upon the call-out for submission from that lead to my essay being published a couple weeks ago in their latest e-book anthology. (If you're curious, check out my previous blog post titled "Double bling.")

Well, it's a beautiful Saturday in Southeast Texas, my house is clean, and I feel inspired to get some writing done.

*Cracking open my new book with a smile*

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Double bling

October and November have been busy months for this word nerd! Along with writing, I've added a new passion to my list of loves. Paper flowers. Who knew this was something I'd be good at. I've been quite busy growing the paper-flower hobby into a business. I've posted about my art and Etsy store before. I've spent the last month and a half perfecting my techniques, developing the business, and preparing for a craft fair that happened yesterday. It was my first, and hopefully the first of many. Want to see some of my paper blossoms? Check out my latest post at Closet Full of Crafts.

Six words that mean so much

Of course, nothing can replace my deep love for writing, so no matter how busy I get with other things, I'm still always writing and/or thinking about it. Earlier this month, I learned that I was included in a new book by Larry Smith (mastermind of [SWM], a component of Smith Magazine). I've been a contributing member on SWM for a year now. It's a fun site with lots of opportunities for writers. For example, I've been the memoir of the day, known as the MOTD, 11 times, had more than 30 six-word memoirs end up as editor's picks, I've been a contest winner twice, and now I can say that I have been included in their latest book called The Best Advice in Six Words. To be part of something so cool and so big is simply euphoric.

Freedom with writing 

Before I had a chance to come down from that high, I got another email of congratulations a week later. An essay I had submitted back in August was accepted for publication in an e-book anthology called The Paid & Published Writer: 13 Stories of Paid Publishing Success. I seem to have the best luck with essays, so I plan to keep working on those. I love you, fiction and journalism, but essays are my hot button right now.

Freedom With Writing is another excellent site. The editor Jacob Jans is great! He sends out lists of writing opportunities with detailed information about the best places to submit work, which publications pay the most, or pay at all, and the link to submission guidelines to publications you might not even know exist. I absolutely love this site and highly recommend it.

So there you have it, a couple months of high productivity and some great writing credits earned. I'm looking forward to more of that and to the glorious holiday season!

Wishing good times to all.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Knowledge is power(ful)

In my writing journey, I've noticed there are gobs of the same-old-same-old overdone advice posts and books. Sell a million stories by doing what's in this book. Ten ways to make it onto the NY Time's bestsellers list. Writing success guaranteed in five steps. Sure-fire ways to get a bazillion followers instantly. It's like the emphasis is on making money and getting famous, and not so much on the craft anymore.

I've grown weary of those headlines. Not saying they're all bogus. I'm sure some have merit, but I just want some real tried and true advice that isn't so uniform. I want to work for it, find my voice, my own style, my own way. As a newcomer to fiction writing, I crave rigid guidance. As a serious writer, I need advice that has substance, things I can put to use that will serve me for ages to come. I have patience. I want to do this the write right way. 

I used to offer book reviews on my blog Novellarella, but I started getting inundated with review requests from seemingly everyone who ever wrote a sentence. I had to stop because I couldn't keep up with answering all the emails, much less the actual reviews I accepted. I was lucky enough to meet some great writers who seemed like naturals at storytelling and whose verbiage was spotless. In the mix were also the ones who did zero proofreading, (even of the emails they'd send me) and didn't seem to grasp the simple concepts of writing like wiping out obvious typos, getting the grammar correct, plot building, character development, setting the scene, creating a good hook, avoiding cliches, an abundance of painful passive voice, and unnecessary details. (Of course, we all know there are books that make millions even though they aren't all that good, but that is too rare an occurrence to matter, IMO.) This opened my eyes a little wider. 

I believe strongly in the notion that knowledge is power. I take writing classes when possible at local colleges as well as online. I joined a writer's group at the local library, and I do a lot of reading and researching. After weeding through it all for several years, I've found that the places I tend to go back to are as follows:

At first, I felt too inexperienced to fit in there. So many experts talking about things I have yet to study or attempt. But intimidation aside, it's just a website, not a ritzy yacht club. I did some more site exploring, and I realized, novice to pro, everyone can get something from WD. Lots of free advice and helpful articles there, and their bookstore is a candy shop of sorts. The classes run a bit pricey for my budget right now, but I check in daily and always find sales on both books and classes. I got a stack of great reads on sci-fi and fantasy writing recently, which are my favorite flavors.

This was the first writing site that I found helpful as I was stumbling through the maze. Membership is about 5 bucks a month and very worth it. Sans membership, there is still lots of good take-away info on the site. I found lengthy lists of agents and publishers, and it allows me to use specific search preferences to find specifically what I need. I found good tips here about dos and don'ts for query letters, including samples. Good stuff. 

I can't tell you enough how much I love this site and Mignon Fogerty's work. I want to be her when I grow up! You can search any grammar/punctuation questions and find a witty and accurate answer. I use it all the time at work, editing anything from simple articles to highly technical/scientific material. There's always a weird rule that I can't find anywhere, and in those cases, Fogerty most likely has it. 

Another helping hand for writing. Search and find examples of sentence structure, confusing tenses, citation issues, the works. I love this site because I'm a visual learner, and examples are abundant.

Fun site to browse. So many good posts about every aspect of writing. I'm always there. 

So these are my top five writing boosters. I'm not too big on watching videos (unless they're about making paper flowers), so I tend to lean on sites that are loaded with readable content.

That is all for now.

Write on.

Friday, May 22, 2015

No rest for the wicked

That blog title is one of my favorite old sayings. It suits me perfectly. I've been quite the busy gal since my last post 100 years ago. I've completed 2 short stories and submitted them to several publications, one sci-fi, one not. I'm playing the waiting game now, hoping some of the good I've sent around comes back around. I'm still on the never-ending quest to break into the fiction writing world. I'll get that byline someday.

I've taken a writing break to focus on some other stuff. Starting from several months back, I made some wedding card boxes for a family member's big day, and I'll be working on another one soon for an August wedding. I finished reading The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, and I've been working on some art projects. I also read The Martian by Andy Weir (whom I met recently--will elaborate in the next post). I finished watching all 9 seasons of "The X-Files" and "Firefly" (sad that Netflix took "Serenity," the sort-of sequel off their instant-watch listing). And most recently, I finished this piece of art today. I guess this counts as something word related since it's made of magazine pages.

It's an 11x14 canvas covered with rolled up magazine pages that I tore out (8 magazines, to be exact), cut in half, folded and rolled. Lot's of hot glue and tape involved. Ten days and roughly 60 hours of work later, I have a pretty art piece for my Etsy store. Oh yea, that's yet another undertaking of late. Gotta have several avenues to release that creative energy. I'll talk about the store when there's more to talk about.

Now starts the weekend. Perhaps I'll complete another short story ... or another art piece. Or both. Let the productivity continue in whatever shape it decides to take on.