Monthly Archives: February 2010

Exciting Book News!

If you have not read Shadow of the Wind or Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon then add these books to your reading list.  Shadow of the Wind is my favorite and I recommend listening to it on audio for an even better experience.   Zafon’s stories have mystery, humor, romance, suspense, memorable characters and so much more.  Any writer will appreciate Zafon’s profound ability to tell an intricate, beautiful story.  Here’s a link to more information on The Shadow of the Wind, http://www.litlovers.com/guide_shadowind.html

The exciting news is that on May 4 of this year The Prince of Mist will go on sale, Zafon’s very first novel that was actually written for a young adult audience.  I’ve already pre-ordered my copy!

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Contest for unpublished writers

If you write middle grade or young adult fiction there’s a contest for you on the Guide to Literary Agents Editors Blog (use the link on my blogroll).  All you have to do is submit the first 150-200 words of your unpublished story to the contest!  Follow the link for complete details and good luck!


The Healthy Writer

Fellow writers I don’t know what gets blood flowing into your creative neurons but I’ve found that a good workout can clear my mind.  The storyline and characters for many of my stories (picture books and young adult fiction) have come to me while I was lifting weights or on the treadmill.  The interesting part is that my thoughts are most focused when I’m well into a workout.  At the pinnacle of fat bouncing through a step workout, or sudden bilateral knee pain on mile 4 of 5 I’m hit with endorphins that express themselves in productive ways.  Just yesterday when I came to the part of P90X when I must curse loudly to complete another rep I worked out the subplot for my next young adult novel.  So, the next time you think about skipping a workout think about the rewards, physical and mental, and go for it!


Great book for writers

I’ve read over 20 books with tips, techniques and rules/suggestions for good writing.  Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with the amount of valuable advice that I have to remember from those that have already won the golden ticket (a published novel).  I have a degree in the medical field and I often tell family and friends to be careful how much internet research they do on symptoms because they will soon discover that a headache might be a brain tumor and that nausea might be cancer somewhere in the digestive system.  What it really is is a case of information overload.  Medical professionals (physicians, PAs, NPs, etc) are trained to slim down that very long list of possible diagnoses based on the history the patient provides as well as their physical findings after examining the patient.  Early in my training I was often tormented by the thought of misdiagnosing a headache that really was a brain tumor.  After more training and interacting with more patients I quickly gained confidence to not fear calling a headache a headache (and leaving out the MRI).   Writing is like this, at this point (a member of the ‘unpublished’), I still feel like I may miss the dreaded brain tumor if I don’t read every book out there that’s written to inspire and teach me the writing skills necessary to create a great novel.  I’m currently drowning in information on how to achieve my goal but I’m slowly gaining confidence and learning how to use what applies to me.  A comrade in this journey to publication recommended a book to me recently that (surprise!) I didn’t already own and which has proven to be a refreshingly good book full of advice that works for me.  If you’ve read this entire post waiting for the title then ‘Thank you’, you’ve made it worth it, if you skipped to the last sentence to be rewarded with the title here is the answer to your obvious need for instant gratification…Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain.  I hope it proves to be a valuable addition to your writing reference library as well!


Joined an online critique group…

I recently joined an online critique group and like a good new member I went to fill out my profile.  I started by reading some of the existing members’ profiles to see what kinds of information was being included  and was shocked (as usual with internet content) to discover way too much information about some of the members.  Am I the only person that gets a not-so-nice feeling from people that include what many would classify as personal/private information on a member profile???  If you spend what appears to be several days filling out online member profiles does that make you a better writer or just someone with waaayyy too much time on his/her hands?  And what’s with the freaky profile photos?  I had to get up and turn on the house alarm after getting a glimpse of some of them!    I have to assume that their critiques are as good as any but are they?   I can’t help but wonder…

As usual the internet CAN BE such an awesome tool but so often is a land where all the creepies roam free….


Word count

My finished work of fiction is short on words….apparently a rare problem.  A quick internet search shows that too many words is a much more popular problem when writing fiction.  I’ve focused the last many years on writing picture books and have created a habit of writing and writing and then deleting, deleting, deleting…of course with a picture book you have the illustrations say volumes for you so now I get to add back the meat of the story that I no longer need to omit…I know it may seem that there’s no way to compare a picture book of 800 words or so to a novel of almost 50K words but they’re both stories just told in different formats with different audiences.  So they are different but they aren’t…

Off to write!  I feel inspired!  Too bad the army of children that I have been blessed with are out of school today.  I, for one, am sick of snow..


All I really want to do is write!

Fellow aspiring authors I feel your pain! 

I meticulously manage every hour of my day  so as to squeeze in what I feel as mandatory ‘me’ time to focus on my writing.  I have avoided facebook, myspace, twitter, blogging, etc because of the tendency to misplace hours of a day lost in a virtual world where time doesn’t matter.  Now that I stand ready to submit my first work of young adult fiction I find that a blog or facebook page is almost a mandatory step in the road to submission!   While I appreciate the vast knowledge and practicality of the internet and email communication I have to say I have been very disappointed to discover that the precious time that I’ve worked so hard to bank and manage must now be cashed in this way if I want to go forward. 

This is my first entry in this blog that I’ve set up only today (it’s taken over an hour so far…)to continue in my journey towards publication.  Wish me luck!  I think I’m going to need it.