Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Insecure Writer's Support Group...Do You Put Up Walls?

Yay! It's the first Wednesday of the month and it's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group posts. If you haven't heard of the group, pop over to the blog and check it out, then check out the Facebook group. It's a great group full of supportive people including our leader Alex J. Cavanaugh. Who continues to motivate us even in his busy published life.

We've even put together an anthology packed full of helpful hints about the publishing industry. It's available on Amazon for the amazingly low price... of free! All you have to do is download it on your kindle app. (I'm in there, talking about editing.)

So..... on with my post!

Do you put up walls? 

How many people know you are a writer? For a long time I was a closet writer, until I discovered one of my friends was a closet writer too. We both came out of the closet and started telling people we were writers. It's really scary at first. You know why, right? They are going to ask you the dreaded question... "So what books have you written?" Gulp! But you shouldn't gulp. Whether you have published a book or not you have written more than one I would suspect.  So, answer fearlessly...."I have written 777 books (or however many you really have written) and now I'm working on editing, revising, and submitting them to agents and publishing houses."  Do you see how strong that sounds? It takes a little of the scary away, I hope.

Do you use walls to hide yourself? Would  you rather be hidden inside your house creating new worlds than being outside experiencing this world?

When you push yourself to get out of your comfort zone you will have more voice for your characters and more genuine experiences for them. Personally, I would have a hard time writing about a place unless I had been to it. Research is great, don't get me wrong. I research the places I write about, even if I have been there or know them well.  I used to push myself to do things out of my comfort zone (helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon) to show my daughter I was capable of pushing myself. Now I do it because I know it makes me a better person and writer. So, don't hide behind a wall to keep safe, get out there and experience life!

Sometimes walls are put up because you or your character have been hurt. Finding a way to open that wall and let people in with help both you or your character have a more full life.

Walls are often put up to mark a territory. They show ownership and often wealth. When you are locking yourself or your character in a bubble of life, you or your character are getting a limited vision of the world.

But they can be put up as a warning to other that danger is ahead if you continue on this path. Sadly, sometimes people ignore those warnings.

Nature often provides us with walls. You know when you get that feeling in your gut that something feels wrong in a situation? That's Nature putting up a wall for you. It's up to you (or your character) whether you pay attention to the wall.

Crumbling walls aren't always a bad thing. As things in your life or your character's life change you need to knock down some walls and experience new things. They could be good, they might not be, but the only way to grow is through moving forward.

 So be prepared...

 to make some changes...

 push through some old walls...

 in search of new challenges.

 And perhaps...

you'll walk down a public path, beside the wall of an old castle with the person you can let all your walls down with.

And you'll learn from his wisdom that you must take chances to succeed.

Thanks for stopping by today. My pictures are all from my trip to England last month. The gentleman at the end is my inspiration, my hero, and my grandfather. I'm more free to be me with him than with anyone else in the world. I hope every one of you have someone that you can have no walls with.

Have a wonderful and safe Fourth of July!

Monday, June 29, 2015

And the Winner of George Green's Book Out of the Spotlight is...and Journal Your Way Through Troubled Times

 Sorry, if you didn't win a copy of George's book OUT OF THE SPOTLIGHT, you can still purchase it in paperback or Kindle versions on Amazon.


Could you hop over to our (I'm speaking in a universal manner because everyone loves her) dear Robyn Campbell's blog and tell her she's a lovely woman, an amazing mother, an awesome writer, and a winner?
George's book is such an inspiration. Think about how your life has changed over the years. Have you had dramatic changes? Taking you from one extreme to another? How can you use that to make you or your writing stronger? How can that make you more compassionate? Or your character more compassionate? Your life experiences are things you can build on in your manuscripts. Yes, listening on other people's conversations is a great way to get dialogue and ideas, but your life is FULL of gems.

When I struggle with something I journal, to help me get through it. I'm struggling with something right now. I haven't been sleeping or eating well. I've been exercising a lot, but I think the only way I'm going to get through this is to write it out.

So please, pop over to Robyn's blog and then start journaling your life experiences so you have things for your characters to fall back on....and perhaps it will even help you through a tough spot.


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Attention All Baby Boomers! Out of the Spotlight by George Green Book Giveaway

I"m excited to share with you that one of my consulting clients, George Green, is going to kick off his, OUT OF THE SPOTLIGHT, book campaign on June 4th at 9 AM (Pacific Time) on Los Angeles radio station KRLA 870 AM.  He will be the guest of Dennis Prager. Almost every radio market has a Salem station in it. To find your local Salem Channel, Google Salem Radio Broadcasting.

George Green worked for KABC Radio starting in 1960. It was the first all talk format radio station. George worked his way up until he hit the top and became the President and General Manager. Under his leadership, KABC became one of the largest sales revenue stations of America’s seven-thousand properties, and a marketing machine that commanded an audience of over one-million listeners. In 1996 he left KABC and started his own media marketing company called George Green Enterprises.   

George believes   ‘You’re never too old to make things happen.’  Now, at age 84, he's setting his sights on being an author. You can pop over to his website to see all of his books. 

Have you ever wondered what happened to "stars" once their series ended or they were no longer in the limelight? 

Were you a Golden Girls fan? What about Different Strokes? Did you think the Sinatra family walked on the moon? What about the Reagan's? These are just a few of the fascinating people interviewed in George Green's book Out of the Spotlight. The interviews show how so many former stars have found a new spotlight in their lives.

Each interview includes a lovely drawing of the interview subject, a short bio, and then an interview focusing on where they are now. (Some of the people in the book have passed away.)

George has graciously offered to give away a copy of his book to one of my lucky readers, so make sure you leave a comment! will pick the winning comment on June 26th.  If you aren't the winner you can pop over to Amazon and purchase either the hardback copy or the paper back copy of OUT OF THE SPOTLIGHT.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Going Home

I'll be out of pocket for a few weeks. I'm going home... Any guesses???

Thursday, May 7, 2015

And The Winner of Learning to Read is a Ball is...

Thanks to the winner of expert Kim Scanlon's book is 

Anne Lee Rhoades!

Please email me your address and I will send it to Kim.  If you don't know Kim, please go back to my post about her and her qualifications. She is one brilliant writer, educator and mother!

(Thank you Kim for offering up a signed copy of your book for the giveaway on my blog.)

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Insecure Writer's Support Group

I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel pretty knowledgeable. People ask me questions. I know the answers or how to tell them to find the answers. But then you get this one person, they're intelligent and well connected and a lot older than you. They want your advice and help. You try for several months to help them. Then they don't take your advice or only take part of it. They do their own thing....Then they come back and want more advice and you don't know how to help them.

I think I was probably born a teacher. I've always liked helping people. But I'm at the point of frustration. I do want to help this person, I just don't know how.

(Light bulb moment) Maybe I tell him. I don't think I can help you with your current works. Perhaps if you write a new manuscript, I can help you with editing and your query letter, because that's what I do best.

Have you ever had a situation like this? It doesn't have to be a writing situation either...
What did you do?

Did you know you can get this kindle book free on Amazon? Guess what? I have an article in it.

If you didn't see my last post and would like to win a copy of Learning to Read is a Ball. Please hop over and make a comment.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Attention All Preschooler Moms, Grandmothers, and Teachers! (a book give-away)

Kim Scanlon is a certified and licensed pediatric speech language pathologist who lives and practices in New Jersey. Kim is the author of two books. MY TODDLER TALKS will help you help your child with language development. LEARNING TO READ IS A BALL is a rhyming picture book about balls with an excellent parent's guide to help you prepare your preschooler to be a lifelong reader.

Reading is the foundation for your child's future. Children who like to read do better in school. As a former teacher and as a parent, I put a lot of value on teaching reading skills to your children early in life. When my daughter was a preschooler almost everything in our house was labeled with index cards. We read to her daily and nightly. She memorized books when she was two and a half. She loved books then and still does today. (Sometimes I think she is the reason Barnes & Noble is still open.)

Kim's new book, LEARNING TO READ IS A BALL, is not only a cute rhyming picture book about all kinds of balls, but it has an amazing parent's guide in the back. You'll want to start on page one of the story, but don't! To get the most out of this book you should read the parent's guide first.

Kim gives specific techniques to help your emerging reader do more than memorize words. She gives you examples of ways to connect your child's reading and learning to their real life. Those connections increase the value of reading for your child. She shows you how to use synonyms and antonyms to improve your child's vocabulary. She even shares a lesson on how to use elaboration help your child develop his or her own stories. And if that's not enough...she guides you through phonological awareness, rhyme, alliteration and print awareness. These are all skills that will benefit your child as he or she becomes a skilled reader. LEARNING TO READ IS A BALL even has some activity pages. The parent guide  is versatile. Once you grasp the concepts, you'll be able to apply them to other books.

Learning to Read is a Ball is available on Amazon in print and a Kindle version. It is also available at Barnes and Noble. Kim has a wonderful website full of insight on speech and language.

Kim also has a website specifically for My Toddler Talks.  My Toddler Talks can be purchased on Amazon.

You can learn more about Kim, her books, and her services on Facebook and Twitter.

If you would like to be entered to win a copy of Learning to Read is a Ball please tell me if you are a mom, a grandmother, a teacher, a caregiver, an aunt or uncle of a preschooler who would benefit from Kim's book. ( will choose a winner on May 7th and Kim will send him or her a signed copy.)

Please show Kim some book love and tweet about her new book.

Friday, March 6, 2015

And The Winner Is...

Thanks so much to everyone who shared or read my last post. I can't stress how important it is to do your research on agents and publishing houses before you commit to them.

Drum roll....

The winner of the 2015 Guide To Literary Agents is (chosen by Carrie Charley Brown! Congratulations, Carrie and please email me your address.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Agent Research and Querying, plus an Awesome Giveaway...

Sometimes, you think a book is so valuable that you buy two copies....Which gives me the opportunity to either go through the hassle of trying to return it, or having an awesome giveaway. So you guessed it...

I'm giving away one copy of the 2015 Guide To Literary Agents.

If you know me, you know I a HUGE proponent of doing your research, no matter what it's for.  For the past month or so I've been researching agents. Before I began, I created a list of the places I would look at to research each potential agent. My checklist looked like this:

  • Agent’s name and agency website
  • @twitter
  • Writer’s Digest Blog information
  • GLA (Guide to Literary Agents)
  • Publisher’s Marketplace likes and dislikes
  • Blog accounts
  • Facebook 
  • Interview information
  • Editors and Predators, Writer Beware and Absolute Writer (the Water Cooler)
  • Do a Google Search
Feel free to copy and paste my list, so you have it for future reference...

I created a document with the above information. Once each agent checked out,  (and not all of them did) I personalized the query, based on my research, and copied their submission guidelines and email address into their query/document. Being organized is key here! Whether you do it on paper, in a spreadsheet or on a file folder. Keep track of who you query and when you query them (leave space for a response, too). 

Every agent has specific guidelines you have to follow. Don't fool yourself into thinking it won't matter if you send them the whole manuscript, when they ask for ten, fifteen or fifty pages... It does matter. The rules are there for a reason. Be sure to follow them to the very best of your ability. This is your introduction to them. Show them that you are paying attention to what they want.

I would suggest if you are querying a novel or a non-fiction work, that you make several submission packages, so that you can easily adapt to each agents requirements. Some agents accept attachments and some want your letter and your submission in the body of an email.  So pay attention to HOW they want to see your work. 

Putting your best foot forward is like having the perfect handshake. Not too soft. Not too strong. Not too sweaty. Just right...

If you would like to win a copy of the 2015 Guide to Literary Agents, please pop over to my website,  click on one of the social media links and say something about my services or my site and leave a comment on this post. 

For my non querying friends....Our babies are happy and loving the new house.

Please come back on March the 6th to see who won the copy of the 2015 Guide to Literary Agents and to join in on a discussion on rejections.

Friday, January 30, 2015

And The Winner Is...

Connie Arnold was chosen by to win a copy of Martha Ramirez's book BROKEN HEART. Congratulations, Connie!

If you didn't win a copy and would still like one you can go here to purchase a copy.