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Thursday Thoughts

  Posted by bigblackcat97 in Writer, Writer Pants on Fire, 26 February 2015 · 18 views

Thoughts lately...

1) I'm in a longterm relationship, but not married so I don't wear a ring. This causes some confusion for males when they try to make an approach. I have to wonder how much more confusing it would be for them if I didn't have a ring finger at all. I can make up a wood chipper story and leave it at that.

2) People are funny about statistics. When there's a very low probability for a positive thing to happen, they like to point out that it does in fact, happen. When it's a very low probability for a negative thing, they discount it out of hand.

Example: "People win the lottery. It happens."

Example: "Sometimes people get bit by sharks and hit by lightning at the same time, but it's just not going to happen to me."

3) If I suddenly see something moving in my peripheral I may attack. Just be aware, and don't take it personally.

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Getting the Call with Wade Albert White

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs in Michelle4Laughs: It's in the Details, 26 February 2015 · 16 views

Success stories for MG writers continues this week. Congrats to Wade! He was our MG Grand Champion from Query Kombat last year and I couldn't be happier to share his story! I won't hold you up. Get to reading this hilarious story from Wade! 




Once upon a time dinosaurs roamed the Earth. None of them wrote a novel for me, so I yet again found myself picking up their slack (don’t even get me started on the whole “a giant asteroid killed us and that’s why we can’t mow your lawn” excuse).

Although I made several attempts at writing a book over the years, and even sold a few short stories, it wasn’t until April of 2013 that I sat down to my computer with real purpose. That purpose was to defeat XCOM: Enemy Unknown. After finishing the game, I figured, hey, why not write a novel too. You know, since I was already sitting there.

About that same time, I came across a contest called “The Baker's Dozen Agent Auction,” run by the Authoress. The entry deadline was in November, over half a year away. I decided I was going to enter, because there’s nothing quite like setting a fire under your feet to make you type faster (SIDE NOTE: setting an actual fire under your feet does not make you type faster, but it does broaden your vocabulary considerably).

Long story slightly less long, I completed the novel (three drafts) and made the entry deadline (happy face). Even better, my entry was accepted into the contest (happy face with exclamation mark!). And on auction day it received multiple bids (exclamation point bonanza!!!).

Then all but one of the agents passed on it (sad face with ampersand). The one agent remained silent, so I began querying.

Five months and seventy plus query letters later…

In May of 2014 I came across another contest called Query Kombat. By this time I had received several requests for the full manuscript, but since I had no idea whether or not they would lead to anything (and since that one MSFV agent was still running silent), I decided to enter. Much to my surprise, I got in, won the Middle Grade category (!), and walked away with several more requests for material (happy face again!).

Shortly after the contest I also received an email from an agency I had queried through regular channels. They really liked the writing and the overall premise, but felt the manuscript needed more work. After a very pleasant phone call and several pages of revise and resubmit notes, I set to work.

Another eight weeks of gut-wrenching editing later...

I sat in the glaring brilliance of my revision (until I adjusted the brightness level on my monitor because, wow, was it ever high).

I sent the revision off to the agency and also to two QK agents who had requested the full manuscript in the meantime. A week later I had an offer of representation (from one of the QK agents). A few days later I had three more offers (including the other QK agent, the silent MSFV agent who requested the revision once I informed her of its existence, and the agency that had issued the R&R).

Holy revisions, Batman, I was on fire!

(please see the aforementioned remark regarding being on fire to appreciate the full implications)

At the risk of mixing both metaphors and comic book universes, my spider senses were definitely tingling (although I hear they have an ointment for that now).

This was the point where panic set in. Or nervousness. Or whatever. We set up phone calls. I may have rambled (= I definitely rambled). All of the agents were fantastic. More than fantastic. Each in their own way, and each with slightly different thoughts about how to proceed and what parts of the novel still needed tweaking, but I could easily envision myself working with any one of them.

So at this point I tried to figure out how I might be able to work with four agents at the same time. You’re allowed to do that, right? I mean, how could I possibly choose?

In the end though, for me it came down to this: everyone was super enthusiastic about the novel, but specifically about this revision. The revision that I had done based on notes. Notes I’d received from one of the four offering agencies. Revisions that had helped me take a book that was receiving interested but polite passes to one that was now in demand. All of the offers were tempting, no question, but in the end I just couldn’t pass on what in my mind had already proven itself to be a winning combination.

So in October of 2014 I officially signed with the Elizabeth Kaplan Literary Agency and couldn’t be happier (although the contract explicitly states that they won’t be mowing my lawn either *sigh*).

-----------------------

Wade hails from Nova Scotia, Canada, land of wild blueberries and Duck Tolling Retrievers. He teaches ancient Hebrew, dabbles in animation, and spends the rest of his time as a stay-at-home dad. It is also possible he has set a new record as the slowest 10K runner. Ever. He owns one pretend cat and one real one and they get along fabulously. He has been writing speculative fiction for over thirteen years and is now represented by Elizabeth Kaplan of the Elizabeth Kaplan Literary Agency.

If he could only bring three series to read on deserted island, it would be the three Hs: Harry Potter, Hellboy, and the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Oh, and just for the record, Firefly should have had a seven season run. No question.

You can follow Wade on twitter @wadealbertwhite or check out his website. 




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You're A Part of the Scene

  Posted by From The Write Angle in From The Write Angle Blog, 26 February 2015 · 27 views

by R.S. Mellette

I've been binge-watching the Foo Fighter's series, Sonic Highways, on HBO. It chronicles Dave Grohl's journey with the rest of the band to record a song, inspired by and recorded in a different city around the country. While in that city, they delve into the evolution of the music scene that is unique to that part of the world.  Jazz in New Orleans. Blues in Chicago. Go-Go & Funk in D.C. etc. Not only is the history fascinating, I found the series inspirational for artists of all kinds, including myself as a writer.

But nostalgia is useless if it doesn't teach us something about today, or guide us toward a better tomorrow.

I got to thinking about those music scenes. For a brief moment, I wished I had been involved in something as cool as grunge in Seattle, or Willie Nelson in Austin. Then I said to myself, "You idiot! You are. Right now. Right here at From The Write Angle."

Sure, our Moveable Feast may not be in Paris, but this isn't the 1920s. None of us may be as famous as Hemingway, Fitzgerald or Joyce, but neither were they at the time. If they were, or if we were, then it wouldn't be a scene would it? All great "you should have been there back when" scenes start before the artists become household names. For those involved, it's not necessary for their peers to make it big. They are mythic not for what they will do as famous artists, but what they did last Tuesday when they couldn't afford breakfast.

So whether this little band of writers is destined for greatness or not, I thought I would provide my portion of the yet-to-be-made (or never-to-be-made) documentary on our little scene. Those who are a part of it, as participants or audience, feel free to chime in with your own angle of the story in the comments.

For most of us, From The Write Angle started with AgentQuery Connect, which is a scene unto itself. The head of that little movement is the mysterious AQCrew. No one knows who AQCrew really is, but his or her guiding hand has been a big influence to writers, published or not. The mystery of AQCrew's real identity adds to the mythic aspect of AQC's tale.

For me, From The Write Angle started when Robert K. Lewis, aka Thrownbones, got an agent. This was around 2008 or '09 on the first incarnation of Agent Query Connect. Not only was I completely jealous, which is my highest compliment, but he wasn't around the boards as much and I missed his posts. Shortly after that, I got an agent and I missed his posts even more.

There are a whole new set of problems a writer encounters once they make it to the next level, but to complain about them to writers on the level below is kind of rude. I had never been the type to think I needed a support group, but Agent Query Connect had become that as sure as if it were held in the rec room of a local community center. Once I'd found an agent I felt like I'd lost my support, so I asked AQCrew if I could form a password protected group for writers who have agents.

When ACQ moved to the new site, this group became The Class of 2009. Most of us moderated (or still moderate) forums on that site. At some point, AQCrew mentioned that writers were forming blog groups and that we should consider doing something like that. From The Write Angle was born.

My biggest contribution after that was writing the statement of purpose:

We learn best, not from our bigger than life heroes, but our big brothers and sisters. We run fastest to catch the person just in front of us, not who has already finished the race. We seek The Write Angle to help you, not because we have reached the summit, but because we are in arm's length, and when you are arm's length ahead of us, we hope you'll remember how you got there.

In 2012, Matt Sinclair started publishing short stories via his Elephant's Bookshelf Press. As I say in the acknowledgements of Billy Bobble Makes A Magic Wand, he is our Sun Records. Thronebones went on to have his Mark Mallen noir series published. Mindy, R.C., Sophie, Cat, etc. have all done well and still blog here along with the rest of the team. Others, have moved on to emeritus status, but like any members of a scene, they are with us in our thoughts.

What scenes are you all currently a part of?  What are you doing now that will be a fond memory in a decade or so?

R.S. Mellette's new book is Billy Bobble Makes A Magic Wand. He is an experienced screenwriter, actor, director, and novelist. You can find him at the Dances With Films festival blog, and on Twitter, or read him in the anthologies Spring Fevers, The Fall: Tales of the Apocalypse, and Summer's Edge.

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Behind The Curtain: All About An Acquisitions Editor

  Posted by Amy Trueblood in Amy Trueblood's Blog, 25 February 2015 · 28 views

  Today, Vicki Merkiel is helping me “pull back the curtain” on an important role in the publishing world: Acquisitions Editor. In her own words, Vicki shares her role and responsibilities in looking for new talent and manuscripts for publisher, Curiosity Quills. As you will see, this is not work for the faint of heart. Not only must you […]

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Wednesday Words: A Handful of Dust

  Posted by DebsBlueRoses in The Writer Ambitious, 25 February 2015 · 26 views

Good morning!

Welcome back to Wednesday Words, where I use Random.org to share with you a piece of what I am currently reading!

Sometime today I will be starting Mindy McGinnis's A Handful of Dust, the sequel to Not A Drop to Drink, which was a very exciting thriller of a book, so I can't wait to dive into the next part (though I'm at work, so I have to).

There are 374 pages in my Kindle edition somehow (this must be because I have an old Kindle. It said there were 10 less pages in the last book I read), so Random has chosen..................page 142.

Oh great, I don't have to calculate that as a location! Thanks, Mindy! lol

There are approximately 20 lines on page 142, so Random has chosen........................line 3.

The steady clip-clop of their hooves hypnotized Lucy in the heat of the afternoons, causing her thoughts to stray.

I personally love that sound.

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Evolution Cover Reveal

  Posted by Stephanie Diaz in Stephanie Diaz, 23 February 2015 · 22 views

Hi guys!! The cover reveal for Evolution, the third and final book in the Extraction series, happened today over at YA Highway! Check it out below and let me know what you think!




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Planning on planning to plan...

  Posted by K McClelland in Teardrops On My Book, 23 February 2015 · 25 views

Well, here we are, toward the end of February, and how many weeks since I posted a blog? Ugh. I keep planning on having things happen and they don't. I'm not much of a planner so I guess maybe planning on doing better is making me unsuccessful. Or maybe like just really wants to be in the way of things lately. Or maybe I just need to use my time more wisely. Whatever it is, I want to do better.

We're just over a month away from the A to Z challenge and I really want to do it this year, but I keep telling myself I don't want to plan on another failure for myself. Then I get annoyed for thinking so negatively. So I guess I'll try to do it and hope for the best.

All of my lack of productivity is really getting to me. Even more now that Lent started because one of the things I wanted to do was write and edit more, be better with getting crits done, read more, and blog more...I haven't accomplished any of those things. Hell, I also planned on only having soda once a week during Lent (which would hopefully keep happening once Lent was over) but I've already had soda twice and it hasn't even been a week since Ash Wednesday.

I'm not even sure what the actual point of this blog is. I'm not intending to come off whiny or like I'm searching for more excuses for why my plans have all been failing. I'm not looking for someone to make me feel better about my lack of following through on things I keep saying. I guess what I'm doing is just writing something in attempt to have some sort of a post since I haven't had one in a while. I would've had an IWSG post, but I forgot about my post for February and so there that went.

I think I need to find the balance between the offline side of life I have now and the online side of life I had a couple years ago. Yeah, I'm going to go try to find that...Catch you all next time-sooner I hope. :)

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Must-Watch Scenes from the 2015 Oscars

  Posted by SC_Author in SC Write--Writing, Publishing, and Harry Potter, 23 February 2015 · 16 views

Surprisingly, the 2015 Academy Awards were the most empowering Oscars I've ever seen. Here are some of the highlights. Trust me when I say, watch them all. These speeches/performances saved the night. I'm excited. Please watch them all!











After Sean Penn (jokingly, but still) announced Alejandro G. Inarritu as the Best Picture winner by saying, "Who gave that son of a b*tch his Green Card?" this great acceptance speech happened:



And this,  because Eddie Redmayne was so excited to win :D


Things are a-changing :D I can't help but be excited. Hopefully I'll replace these videos with actual official YouTube Oscar videos but I can't find them yet. 

Did you watch the Oscars? How do you feel about it? Any videos you'd like to add?


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A Place to Write

  Posted by Joe Stephens in My Train of Thought, 21 February 2015 · 32 views


I've been thinking a lot of writing nooks lately. Most of my time on Pinterest has been spent searching for pictures of writing spaces that people have posted. It's been a lot of fun. 


The fun is that I get to dream as I look at all the different places that folks have created. I ask myself if I want it to be light and airy or dark and cozy. Sometimes I think I want it to be tiny and secluded, but other times I feel like that would have the potential to become claustrophobic. I know for sure I want it to be full of books and places to put pictures and posters and sticky notes covered with ideas and inspiring quotations. And I also know it has to have a really comfy chair. That's where what I know ends. I don't even know whether I want a desk in the traditional sense, which would be appropriate for grading papers, but isn't necessarily a requirement for writing. I mean, I'm writing this in a recliner with a lapdesk to hold my computer. And it's quite comfy.


bookshelf, shelves, books, albums, records, lps, speakers, equipment, toys, memorabilia, wood, desk, chair, figurinesIt's a bit overwhelming. So many things to consider. But then I realized what it is that every single picture I looked at had in common. And I mean literally every one. Each picture contained no people. Not one. The only person even associated with the place was the person taking the picture, and I assume in each case that this is the nook's resident. That's the element I love most about each and it's the element I most lack. As I write this, my ears are filled with the TV in the living room, some indeterminate sound coming from my father's computer somewhere else in the house, and the rather loud conversations that take place between my parents, who are both hard of hearing. Periodically, my mother comes in and talks to me or to my dog, Baili. So I'll be amazed if this post makes sense, let alone have any actual quality to it. 

So the key is not place so much as condition. Yes, there are things I want, but there's but one thing I actually need. It matters not a bit if my place to write contains dark woods or lots of windows or a recliner or tons of shelves lined with books I love. What matters is am I alone? Do I have time to hear myself think? Can I quietly contemplate? Is it possible to read out loud a passage I've just written without someone running in to ask what I'm saying? If not, the place could look like the picture every author has in his or her head of the ultimate writing retreat and would still be useless. 

So I guess all I'm asking for is a little peace and quiet. 


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Trope Awareness: Special Snowflake

  Posted by Mia K Rose in Mia K Rose | Forsaken Illusion, 19 February 2015 · 29 views

A Special Snowflake is a protagonist who seemingly has […]

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THE END(ings)

  Posted by mlebleek in Bleeker Street, 18 February 2015 · 44 views

My sister is one of those people who reads spoilers. She always takes a sneak peek at the end of the book or reads a blog about the whole plot of a TV series before deciding if she’ll watch it on Netflix. I am NOT one of those people. I want to guess at the ending of anything I’m reading/watching/obsessing about. I want to talk about possible outcomes and character choices. I want to dream out what I’d do with these characters if they were mine. Then, I love finding out what really happens in the story and say “AH HA!” if I was right or “duh!!” if I was wrong. Or, “I liked my ending better,” if disappointed.

This is what makes books FUN and what makes me reread the same book over and over and over again (which my husband still can’t understand).

Here is the thing with endings, I guess it goes for the whole book but I feel it most in endings. How you feel about them is very personal. Whether I close the book and sigh, “ah, that was awesome” or “NO! How did it end like that?!” to me it doesn’t matter. As long as a book makes me feel something more than– “Thank HEAVENS that is finally over,” then the author has done his/her job. Because, if I care enough to have any strong emotion then I’ve connected with the story and characters.

Take the end of Gone With the Wind. This is one of my favorite books ever. I first read it when I was twenty-years-old and other than a few slow spots in the beginning I couldn’t put the seriously thick novel down. It was also the first time I crazy-girl sobbed because of a book (Bonnie!!!!). I hated Scarlett with a passion and the end of the book REALLY bothered me. I mean I put 1,037 pages of my time and then…no pay off? For real?

I knew there was no sequel so I read up on Margaret Mitchell’s life, read one of her earlier works which was published posthumously and attempted to read and watch the “sequel” written many many years later by a modern author. None of these attempts quelled my frustration at that original ending.

Fast forward fourteen years. I’d read and reread my favorite parts of the book hundreds of times but I’d never sat down and reread the book from page 1 to 1,037. Every word. So I did. About a year ago I read Gone With the Wind as a real live grown-up and it was an interesting experience.

This is the same edition of GWTW I own from a 1937 reprinting. LOVE IT!

1. I still couldn’t put it down. I just wanted any reason to get back to reading even though I knew the whole story by heart.

2. Realized the book is kinda racist…probably pretty realistic of the viewpoints of the people from that time and place but also pretty stink’n racist.

3. I disliked Scarlett less this time around and Melanie a little more. I realized that Ashley is kind of a wussy jerk and Rhett is a totally flawed “hero.” But I LOVED how real these people were. Flawed, horrible and at times pretty racist/misogynistic, but real.

4. Still sobbed like a baby at…you know…that part…**sniff**

5. I loved the ending. Oh my gosh, it was PERFECT. If you haven’t read the book/watched the movie/been alive in the past 70 years then I don’t want to spoil it for you BUT I suddenly had this new perspective on the whole story. This ending, though depressing, was SO like real life. Scarlett realizing what she really wanted only to find out that it was too late to get it. Anyway…could write a whole paper on the stuff I realized when I closed the back cover of that book but suffice it to say, it was much more satisfying the second time around.

That experience showed me that feelings about books and characters and even endings change as we change. And not just a little, a whole lot! I’m excited to pull this book out again in a few years and reread it with fresh eyes. I wonder what new bit will strike me then.

This is why, in my opinion, books are more universal than movies. You cast the characters and you interpret the story through the lens of your own personal experiences. Also why you can go into a book club or classroom and discuss a good book for hours on end.

So maybe pick up a book you read ten or twenty years ago and give it a go. I bet you’ll have a whole new experience and maybe find a new favorite ending.

Which book has your favorite ending? Let me know in the comments :)




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Website Update

  Posted by LucidDreamer in LucidDreamer's Blog, 17 February 2015 · 39 views

So, I’ve been MIA for a while. Busy with some writing projects, among other things. But I promise to get back to blogging on a more regular basis soon. In the meantime, I updated my website. Striving for clarity and simplicity, rather than bells and whistles. I hope I’ve achieved that! You can take a … Continue reading Website Update

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Not all sunsets, rainbows and unicorns

  Posted by Deb Borys in Debra R. Borys, 17 February 2015 · 30 views

Sometimes I feel  like people don’t understand what I’m saying.  Or maybe that I’m not saying it right.  Then I find an article or hear a story about someone that hits it right on the nose. These are the people … Continue reading

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Sun Vs. Snow Critique Workshop Entry

  Posted by Lora Palmer in Lora Palmer's Blog, 17 February 2015 · 41 views

(Thanks to the amazing Michelle Hauck and Amy Trueblood for hosting this amazing workshop. Also, a huge thank you to everyone who takes their time to leave amazing feedback here. The link to join with a blog post of your own -- including your query and first 250 words -- is open until February 21st, so come check out this post to add your link, join in, and leave feedback for each other!)

Title: THE MIRRORMASTERS

Genre: YA fantasy

Word Count: 98,000


QUERY:


Dear Amazing Agent,


Leah Ellis never knew why she was found abandoned on the beach at two years old. Content with her adoptive family and small town life, she hadn't thought much about it over the years. That is, until her life takes a bizarre turn when she begins seeing images in mirrors she can’t explain--cloaked figures using powers that manifest like lightning bolts, or flash-frozen beaches on another world beneath a purple sky.

She practices mirror-gazing, driven to understand these images and their possible connection to her forgotten past, and discovers that it’s kind of addictive with its wild, boundless power coursing through her veins. Soon, she learns to control what the mirror shows her.

When new neighbors move in, Leah is shocked that they're dead ringers for the people in her visions. According to Brian, with the gorgeous ice-blue eyes, and his father, she is a MirrorMaster--an alien with a gift that lets her travel through mirrors, even to worlds light years away. Her birth parents sent them to take her from Earth back to her homeworld of Jantyr, a planet she doesn’t remember. They’ve searched for her ever since she disappeared.

But Leah’s long-lost birth sister, a sorceress, activated an ancient device to trigger a cataclysm on Jantyr as a bid to consolidate her own power. Leah must return to Jantyr, master her newfound ability in order to locate and wield crystals that will disable the device, and thwart her sister’s plans. Otherwise, the destruction will consume the entire galaxy, including Earth and everyone she loves.

THE MIRRORMASTERS is a 98,000-word fantasy for young adults. I have earned a graduate degree in Psychology from Widener University and work at a local residential facility serving autistic children and teens. My short story, "Unfinished," was published online on author Samantha Mabry's website, Flash Paranormal Fiction. My short science fiction/apocalyptic story, “Defying the Darkness,” is published through Novelty Fiction. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

Warmest Regards,


Lora Palmer




FIRST 250:

Chilling music, followed by strangled sobs and hitching breaths, sent a shiver down my spine. On the television screen, the killer claimed his next victim. Flinching, I covered my eyes too late to avoid the sight of a woman’s body sprawled on pavement, blood-soaked hands clutched around her throat. I wrinkled my nose and turned to my brother David and best friend Kara, who sat on the love seat engrossed in this cheesy old movie. The screen faded to black. As the end credits rolled, I grabbed the remote and changed the channel.

“Let’s watch something light when Jenny gets here,” I said.

“Leah, Leah, Leah.” David shook his head. “Don’t tell me you want to watch some lame comedy when we can have a slasher fest. Besides, it’s tradition.”

“Come on!” I shot him a pleading look. “I’m sure you breezed through finals, but I took three AP exams this week. I deserve a break from crazy.”

Every single year on this date, June 15th, strange things happened. Mysterious pulses of light flickered in the forest. Not-quite-solid figures appeared in the cemetery one second and disappeared the next. All day, I couldn’t shake the intuition that this year would bring something much worse than the usual weirdness, but it was easier to blame my anxiety on normal things like school.

By the basement’s dim recess lighting, I checked the grandfather clock. It read 10:50 pm. Oh, no. Oh, no. Jenny should have showed over an hour ago.


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Rachael Thomas - Critique Partners are Invaluable

  Posted by Jemi in Just Jemi, 16 February 2015 · 37 views

Please Welcome Rachael Thomas to the blog today!

***
One of the best decisions I made as I began my writing journey was to join The Romance Writers of Australia. Apart from the great competitions they organise, I discovered the Critique Partner scheme. It definitely helped my writing and made me look at my work through different eyes. Having another writer read and critique your work is so much more beneficial than simply asking a friend or family member to do the same. After all, who would be more honest?

Critique Partners are exactly the right person to go to if you hit a sticky patch and don’t know where your story should go, or to have chapters read and critiqued and best of all, to bounce ideas around with. Whatever it is, having another writer read you work and offer constructive advice is invaluable. Why? Because as the writer, you are too close to your work. Not only do you not see those silly mistakes we all make, you can be forcing your story in a direction it doesn’t need to go. Just having someone suggest an alternative can bring you back and set you off on a much better storyline.

CP’s can also be helpful if you have deadlines for competitions or submissions and can help to keep you motivated when the going gets tough. Together you can build a nice relationship, one that can span oceans, which is exactly what happened for me. I was lucky enough to be matched with three fabulous Australian writers, Joanne, Louise and Kathi and over the years we’ve built brilliant relationships. I really hope that one day I’ll get to a RWA conference and meet them in person. I’m also very fortunate that I have several writing friends here in the UK too. We often rent a small cottage in the middle of the Welsh countryside and spend the weekend reading through each other’s work as well as writing.

So, if you are writing romance and need someone to bounce ideas off, join RWA, it doesn't matter where you live and you can select who you'd like to be partnered with on the Critique Partner scheme. It's also really helpful to link up with other writers you meet and organize your own retreat weekends.
***
About Rachael: I grew up in the Midlands, but when I moved to Wales, over twenty years ago, I found a place to finally put down roots. I married into a farming family and embarked on a massive learning curve which also saw me learning Welsh when my two children were small. 

Writing is something I have always wanted to do and I can still remember the thrill of one of my short stories being held up as an example to the class when I was about nine. It wasn’t until my own children were in school that I seriously started to pursue my dream. I joined a local writing group which met every Monday afternoon and being with like-minded people was the boost I needed. 

Reading romance had always been my first love, and just about every short story I wrote was romance, so I decided to write my first book. During that process I also attended my first weekend writing course with Kate Walker and joined the RNA’s fabulous New Writers’ Scheme. A short time later I joined Romance Writers of Australia and learnt a lot from entering their competitions. I sought out courses and you can imagine my joy when I discovered Sharon Kendrick’s course in beautiful Tuscany. 

 Behind the Scandalous Façade, my So You Think You Can Write entry, is my thirteenth book and although only eight have those magic words ‘the end’ written on them the others are definitely part of the learning process I have enjoyed over the last six years. 

 I love escaping to distant shores with my characters, entering their glamorous world and feeling all the emotions they experience as they discover their love for one another. A love so strong it will overcome all obstacles eventually, leading to that promised happy ever after. 

Connect with Rachael Thomas on the web: 
Website         Blog        Facebook                Twitter              Goodreads


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Claimed by the Sheikh by Rachael Thomas

Claimed by the Sheikh

by Rachael Thomas

Giveaway ends March 02, 2015.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win
***
Thanks Rachael! I agree - CPs are amazing and impossible to live without. My 2 crit buddies (Jean & Cali) are amazing ladies and together we've become much stronger writers. Can't imagine doing this without them!

How about you? Want to give your CPs a shoutout in the comments? How did you meet up?

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2015 Tuscany Prize for Catholic Fiction Seeks Manuscripts

Posted by thevip in thevip's Blog, 13 February 2015 · 93 views
Literature, Prize, Money and 4 more...

The Tuscany Prize for Catholic Fiction is a literary prize to promote writers and great undiscovered stories of Catholic fiction. What is Catholic fiction? Stories that capture the imagination of the reader and are infused with the presence of God and faith — subtly, symbolically or deliberately.

Think of Flannery O’Connor, Graham Greene, J.R.R. Tolkien and G.K. Chesterton and many others whose writings reflected the thoughts of the great writer Gerard Manley Hopkins: “The world is charged with the grandeur of God.” This is the “stuff” of literature that wins the Tuscany Prize.

Do you have a manuscript? A Novel? A Young Adult Novel? A short story? Would you like it published? Does your story have themes of faith and struggle, of grace and nature, atonement, courage, redemption and hope? Whether it is fiction, historical fiction, mystery, fantasy or humor, the Tuscany Press is open to all genres. We seek original great stories of unpublished/self-published works of fiction. Are you the next great writer of Catholic fiction? We invite you to send in your manuscript.

Submission Deadline: June 30, 2015 - See more at: http://tuscanypress....h.7p36baCX.dpuf

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Win Champagne and Lemon Drops–The Audiobook

  Posted by Jean Oram in The Love Bug Blog, 13 February 2015 · 46 views

I have a new giveaway to tell you about! This one is simply massive!

Giveaway runs February 13 to February 20, 2015.

Author Marissa Dobson and over thirty other authors–myself included–have teamed up to present over 30 giveaway items to several lucky winners. Will one of them be you? (Marissa has even offered up a Kindle Fire for one lucky winner!)

Are you feeling lucky?

Champagne and Lemon Drops the audiobookEnter for a chance to win the funny and heartwarming tale of Champagne and Lemon Drops in audiobook format to keep you company while you drive, workout, or clean the house. With 9 hours of laughs, I think a road trip with the girls is in order!


Enter the Giveaway Here:


Giveaway includes over 25 ebook romances to be won, several audiobooks, gift cards, paperbacks, as well as swag and Marissa’s Kindle Fire. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway




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Did you know my newsletter subscribers just got a free book from me? Don’t miss out. Get in on it here: www.jeanoram.com/freebook.


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Psst. Want to tell your friends? You can tweet this post by clicking here: A chance to #win over 30 #romance prize items in this massive #giveaway via @jeanoram.


The post Win Champagne and Lemon Drops–The Audiobook appeared first on Jean Oram.


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The truth about how to be great at content marketing

Posted by carolkennemer in Carol Kennemer, 13 February 2015 · 42 views

There are a lot of cure-alls circling the web all claiming to be able to solve all your content marketing problems. This isn’t one of those articles. The truth is, the key to content marketing success depends a lot on the nature of your product and your target audience.

For some products, content marketing will be your marketing bread and butter. For others, it will be a side business but not your main revenue source. Here are some other truths about content marketing all marketing directors should know.

You don’t need a team of specialists to make content marketing work

Yes, big businesses tend to hire big teams to run their marketing and they’re able to see correspondingly large returns on their investment. But small businesses can have success too, even without teams of writers, researchers, and editors. Even marketing departments of one can find that content marketing is successful, but Business2Community.com warned that you shouldn’t compare yourself to businesses bigger than yours.

B2C also reported, “60% of B2C small business marketers plan to increase their content marketing budget over the next 12 months, knowing that it can be a very effective strategy for brand awareness and lead generation.”

You don’t have to go viral to be successful

Viral marketing can be very profitable and really good viral videos create great press for your brand. But you shouldn’t focus too much on the numbers. B2C said that some publishers, like The Verge, “discourage their writers from even looking at traffic numbers so they don’t get too caught up in the numbers and forget the goal they initially set out to achieve, which is to deliver great, original editorial content that speaks to the reader.”

Ignore numbers, focus on message

It’s tough to ignore the numbers when it seems hard to measure your success in any other way, but an important thing to remember about content marketing is that its success isn’t always quantifiable. Sometimes it’s just another exposure in a customer’s purchasing journey and they haven’t made up their minds to buy something yet. Sometimes it’s what introduces someone to your brand for the first time, but they’re far from loyal customer as of yet.

Set realistic goals

The more often you can create good, quality content the better, but if you have a small team of marketers, don’t force yourself to come up with 3 blog articles a week, a daily social media post, along with several marketing emails. Start small and don’t try to do more than you can maintain at a high level of quality.

Marketing News brought to you by ClickToCallMarket.com

Source: business2community.com/content-marketing/content-marketing-7-myths-uncovered-01142302

content marketing, marketing success, target audience

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Millennial marketing: start online

Posted by StephanieSmith91 in StephanieSmith91's Blog, 12 February 2015 · 55 views
millennial marketing, millennials and 3 more...

Millennials are unlike any group that has come before, and they are changing the way businesses run. Some businesses have tried to stay away from them and just stick with an older audience, but it has gotten to the point where Millennials are a huge part of the economy, and ignoring them means ignoring huge sales. That is why you need to work on Millennial marketing and trying to increase sales with a younger audience.


Go straight to the source


One of the best ways to advertise to Millennials is by actually working with them, according to Tech Radar. Many Millennials make their living by blogging and building rapport with an online audience. That means they can reach a lot more people than you and bring you a lot of new customers. Rather than messing around trying to build your own audience online, just let them do the work. One of the best ways to do this is through pay per call marketing. They do all the online advertising for you, and all you have to do is pay them every time a new customer calls in for more information. It is one of the best ways to use Millennials to reach each other on the internet without your business even having to get involved.


Legitimate businesses online


If a Millennial cannot find your business online, they will not even consider talking to you. This is because they believe that a legitimate business will be on the internet. It’s not even just being online though. You also have to have a really good website that shows who you are and what you are doing. The more information a Millennial can find out online about your business, the better. You might want to give your website a little makeover or spend some time fixing up your social media. Better yet, focus on getting better online reviews for your business.


Online reviews


One thing Millennials love is looking at reviews to figure out whether or not your business is good enough for them. It is easier than ever to simply Google a company or even just check with friends to find out whether or not a business is any good. People don’t feel the need to try new things without first having someone else recommend it. With better reviews, you’ll get more business. Legitimize your business by boosting your online presence, and you’ll find that Millennial marketing works for you.


Marketing News brought to you by paypercallmarket.com


Source: techradar.com/us/news/world-of-tech/why-the-future-of-content-marketing-lies-with-the-millennials-1281514

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What’s causing my roof leak?

Posted by susanbreedan in Susan Breedan, 10 February 2015 · 60 views

When most people think about a leaky roof, they imagine an old, worn down roof with cracked and missing shingles. It’s not hard to imagine how water is getting through a roof like that. But what if you have a newer roof and your shingles are in good condition? You may be surprised to see water dripping from your ceiling if you’ve been vigilant about keeping your roof in good condition. One of the most common causes of roofing leaks during the winter doesn’t actually have anything to do with your roof. Ice dams are the reason behind many roof leaks. Ice dams are the result of snow melting on your roof and refreezing when they get to your rain gutters. When the ice accumulates in the rain gutters, the melting snow has nowhere to go and it ends up being forced beneath the shingles. Keeping ice dams from forming in your rain gutters is crucial to avoiding roof leaks during the winter.

Tips for taking care of an ice dam

In almost all cases, ice dams are completely avoidable. The root cause of ice dams is almost always inadequate insulation in the attic space. By redoing your attic’s insulation you will keep the warm air inside your home from getting into your attic and melting the snow on your roof. The quickest way to check if your insulation is to blame is to take a look at the other homes in your neighborhood. If yours is one of the only ones with no snow on the roof, that tells you that it’s still too cold for the snow to melt and your insulation is to blame for the prematurely melting snow.

Though less common, ice dams can also be the result of drastically fluctuating temperatures. A warm spell can cause the snow to melt rapidly and a subsequent cold spell can refreeze that melting snow. Whatever the root cause, you will want to get rid of the ice dams before water finds its way into your home. Resist the urge to chip away at the ice dam as this can damage your shingles and rain gutter. Instead melt the dams using hot water. Avoid using ice melt products unless you’re absolutely sure that they won’t damage your roofing materials.

Home improvement news brought to you by bartonroof.com

Source: wkyc.com/story/news/local/2015/02/06/ice-build-ups-on-roof-cause-homeowner-concerns/23022315/



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