Saturday, December 29, 2007

Ok, so it got to be too much...

You know, this blog has been a complete and total blast. I think I've learned more blogging than maybe some of my readers have...

But maintaining three separate blogs has been tough, especially when I'm getting more and more writing gigs. Something had to give...

BUT...don't fret! I'm not giving up on this blog. At least not the content. What I'm doing is integrating FountainPenInc into my personal blog, . In the time I've been absent here, I've been posting there. Slowly, I'm transferring all the good stuff from here to over there as well, so that it'll be sorta like a one-stop-writing shop. You can get all these great resources (updated daily), a posting or two on my progress (currently a work for hire book) (like everyone runs to that!) and all kinds of new stuff I'm interviews with my friends...many of whom happen to be your favorite authors.

There's lots going on, so come visit:
(or, if that's too much, visit me at & click on BLOG!)

Thanks for reading, hope to see you in the new digs soon...

Monday, June 18, 2007


Just so no one think I'm slacking (which I've been known to do on occasion), I'm headed out on vacation for the next week or so.

Keep writing & check back soon...more great stuff to come!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

More Character

Sorry for the lax in posting lately. The end of the school year always flies by in a whirl of folders to be cleaned and desks to be moved.

I'm still fleshing out some of my character traits for the next fictional WIP, and found another resource to give me questions to ponder in that vein:

Character Trait Chart and Personality Components by Sandy Tritt

Lotsa good stuff to consider....

Happy charactering,

Thursday, June 07, 2007

More on Character

Thought-provoking, wonderfully descriptive article on how to make your characters come to life in myriad ways from one of my fave writer's writers Tami Cowden:

Characterization (three separate articles) by Tami Cowden

Happy Character building,

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Another Great Contest....

Today's contest listing is terrific!

Romance Junkies is hosting their fourth annual contest for romance writers and the final editor judge is none other than Chris Keeslar of Dorchester. Aside from the fact that Chris is super-nice, Dorchester would be a great place to break in to.

Check it out now....

Entries are accepted through August 1st. Get yours in today!

happy writing,

Friday, June 01, 2007

Brava Novella Contest

Do you write a little spicy? Love the Brava line? Here's your chance to get noticed.

The 5th annual Brava Novella contest information is now posted at the Brava website-- Check out the sidebar of book covers of previous winners for inspiration.

Every year this contest is one of the most talked about contests in romance writing circles. The entry length is just 750 words--why not give it a try?

Happy Brava-novelling,

Writer's Resources

Because I'm truly trying to practice what I preach, I'm posting again--putting up good stuff as I find it.

Something in Timothy Hallinan's bio caught my eye (his educational background) from the last post (see below) so I checked out his site, only to find a wonderful collection of articles for writers on the writing process. Very good stuff.

Timothy Hallinan's Writers' Resources

Happy Writing,

Setting as Character

Short, thoughtful, succinct article on how to use setting as a character to enhance your story...

Setting as Character by Timothy Hallinan

Happy Writing,

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Short Deadlines for Contests

Today's post is courtesy of Donna Caubarreaux's Writing Tips emails. Donna is a true writer's writer and sends all kinds of amazing goodies to my inbox that no writer should be without.

This particular post is a compilation of rapid-approaching romance writing contest deadlines. Check 'em out if you've got something in a box you've not sent out in some time....

Labor of Love (U - P/5)
Heart of Louisiana Chapter
Postmarked by May 29, 2007
Synopsis, prologue, first chapter not to exceed 50 pages total.
First Prize is a complete read by Kristin Nelson, Agent (If you checked out Brenda Novak's Auction for Juvenile Diabetes, Ms. Nelson's Proposal Read is now at $600., and the first prize in this contest is a 'complete read'...)
Knock Our Socks Off (U - P/5 - EO)
Black Diamond RWA Chapter
Received by May 31, 2007
First five paragraphs not to exceed 150 words.
Opal's Erotic Romance Contest (U - P)
Opal Carew, Author (Contest is Free!)
Received by May 31, 2007
Beginning of your erotic romance book up to a maximum of 5000 words
The Maggies - Unpublished (U)
Georgia Romance Writers
Received by June 1, 2007
Synopsis + first chapter not to exceed 35 pgs total.
American Title (U)
Dorchester Publishing
Received by June 1, 2007
First three chapter of finished Paranormal + 2-7 pg synopsis.
Reveal Your Inner Vixen
Maryland Romance Writers
Postmark/E-Deadline by June 1, 2007
One scene that showcases the sexual tension between the hero and heroine, not to exceed twenty (20) pages.
Colorado Gold (U)
Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers
Postmarked by June 1, 2007
First twenty pages + synopsis up to eight pages.
Lone Star (U - PC/5)
Northwest Houston Chapter of RWA
Postmarked by June 4, 2007
First chapter up to 25 pages.
Happily Ever After (U - P/3 - E)
Mid-Michigan RWA
Received by June 6, 2007
Enter last chapter-epilogue up to 27 pages plus 1-3 pg synopsis.

Happy Contesting & winning, of course!


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Develop Your Author's Platform

Gonna try something new here.

I'm forever coming across really great resources to post here in everyday emails and by visiting other sites only to bookmark them for later use and forget what they are and why I thought they were great.

I'm going to *try* posting 'em from now on as soon as I come across 'em.

Here's a start: a good, short, succinct article on ways authors can get more press and publicity--essentially building an author's platform for your work & livelyhood. From Patrice-Anne Rutledge's The Web Savvy Writer's Blog--if you're not signed up for her free weekly emails, do yourself a favor and sign up when you visit.

15 Favorite Ways to Develop Your Author's Platform

Happy platforming...

Character Name Generator

Today's post is just plain goofy fun.

I don't write sci fi or wizards or dragons, but the character name generator on the Dungeons and Dragons website makes me want to do something a little paranormal. Just pull up the name generator, fill in a couple (as many or few as you like) of the boxes and see what you get. What's fun is not using the generator literally but as a springboard to other names that might fit better with the genre you're in.

Character Name Generator

Happy naming (who knew all those vowels and consonants worked together that way!)


Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Character By Any Other Name...

...or any name, for that matter....

If you're like me (or even if you aren't), you may have some story bones in your mind, a few plots floating around on the edge of your thoughts, some type of fictional writing in your cells every moment of the day, but until you find that perfect name for your character, you'll never get that first paragraph on paper to your satisfaction. (what can I say?!).

Looking for fun places to check out names for my heroine, I came across a wonderful page of naming websites. Really thorough and good personal fave was the ethnic tabs for names at the site.

If you can't find a character name you like after checking out all these sites...well, I can't help!'s Character Naming Resources

Happy Naming and writing!


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

More on plot

Just checked an email account I've not visited in some time to find a really wonderful note from a fellow writer whose work has impacted the way I think about plot...always nice to get those notes!

In August of last year, I reviewed Martha Alderson's Blockbuster Plots, Pure and Simple, for the ezine. (see the review here)I'm not so great at plot so I figured it couldn't hurt...what it did was expand my view of plot development and help me, the visual learner, internalize plot as something dynamic, not static.

Martha sent me a nice note thanking me for the review and reminding me of the other array of plot-related information on her site. Since it's been a while since I visited, I checked it out this evening and got lost in all the good stuff! She's got a blog on plot stuff, all kinds of articles, a newsletter to sign up for and additional resources to enhance your understanding of the book. I don't need any incentive whatsoever to send writers there--I have no doubt you'll find something you can put to immediate use there. What I'm most excited about is that Martha will be visiting my RWA group's conference this fall and presenting on plot...yay! Better study up :)

If you want plot help, you're bound to find something great...

Blockbuster Plots review

Blockbuster Plots blog

Blockbuster Plots articles

Blockbuster Plots website

Visit, read and just try to not learn something new. I dare you. (Impossible challenge!)

Happy, happy plotting....



I know, I know. Are you sick of my posts on goals yet?

I'm not!

What most people don't realize (but we, as smart writers, know implicitly) is that when you meet goals (or have tried repeatedly to meet goals and are hitting more obstacles than targets), you have to sit your behind in a chair and come up with more, greater, higher, loftier goals. (I know, grammatically incorrect...too bad).

It's hard to find the time to write down goals when all you really want to do is, well, write. But you'd never start a journey to Canada without a map (even if you live in Canada), so trying to start a new writing project, venture or dream without a goal is just as fruitless.

I'm at a goal-setting junction. Finished all the articles I've had slated for the first half of the year (with the exception of polishing an online lecture and following up on a possible research gig, but that's not til July), managed to sell more than I anticipated (namely, fiction) so it's time to retool the thought process. Good thing I found this excellent article from Holly Lisle on goal-setting....

How to Get There From Here: The Magic of Setting Goals by Holly Lisle.

My lunchtime reading...what's yours?

Happy goaling and re-goaling,

Monday, May 14, 2007

Website Advice for Pubbed Authors

Let's interrupt this character-building train of thought for a really great blog post my prolific and popular Serious Writing friend Rosemary Laurey shared with me. (Yes, a run-on sentence, and I don't care!)

Top 10 Peeves from Booksellers and Readers About Author Websites is posted on the Dear Author blog--chock full of good reading any day but really interesting today.

If you've ever wondered what readers and book sellers think of your website or how to make tiny changes toward a big difference, this is a good place to start.

Happy website improving,

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Characters. Again.

Yeah, again.

So I've decided to work with this lovely young lady character who's been haunting me for at least a year, on and off (mostly on when I decide to write fiction and off when I don't). I keep thinking I know her, only because I know the portion of her that will show up in my story (because it's scarily similar to myself in that respect), but this weekend I've been realizing new things about her: she just earned a degree (Masters? Ph.D?) in Russian (or some Eastern European language), she's had a rough go of it with her dad (along with her siblings) and has this immense crush on a real bad boy who's gonna, of course, be the hero.

Problem is, I know the story structure, just not how to get deep into her depths. In my search to solve my own character problems, I'll share with you a few links that have me thinking...

Four Methods for Interviewing Your Characters by Laurie Schnebly-Campbell (I can't believe I didn't have this one posted already--Laurie's stuff is priceless)

Seven Common Character Types
by Terry Ervin II

Create A Character: Bringing Personality to Your Characters by Leslie Oliver

Happy character creating,

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Themes, part 2

Found more interesting reading on themes in our works of fiction. Cool stuff...lots of thought-provoking ideas....

Romance Novel Themes compiled by Megan Campbell

Themes in Fiction

Thickening the Plot by Dr. Vicki Hinze

Get busy theming,


I'm just starting to flesh out a new fiction idea for a short story and realized, in reviewing my notes, that I had a ready-made theme from all the bits and pieces of plot action coming to me. I'm pretty damn lucky--that's never happened before.

We all know the importance of theme to our stories. If you have trouble finding your theme, Anne M. Marble has some good advice to consider in pursuit of theme.

Themes and the Romance Writer by Anne M. Marble
Happy Theme-ing,


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A Good Cause

Away from my usual references, today's post is one to support three causes I love most in the world: writers, editors and diabetes research.

Feel free to visit Brenda's site and feel free to pass this on to other interested folks...

----permission to forward---

Don't miss Brenda Novak's Third Annual On-Line Auction for Diabetes Research May 1 - May 31st at (Brenda's son has diabetes). There will be an amazing For Writers section that will include reads/critiques/lunches/teas/phone consultations with some of the biggest agents and editors in the business. There will also be plenty for published authors--publicity packages, lunch with Borders/Waldens bookbuyer Sue Grimshaw, Lunch with Levy Books, web site design, etc. The person who places the most bids over all will win a $1500 prize package that includes a brand new laptop computer and digital camera (even if that person doesn't actually win a single item)! For a preview of what will be available, there's a list posted at


Monday, April 30, 2007

Back Cover Blurbs

Ok, since we've mastered the author bio, here's another fun, short writing assignment--the back cover blurb.

If you need help, aside from actually reading blurbs to learn how to write them, check out this advice:

How To Write a Blurb (Back Cover Copy) by Marilynn Byerly

How to Write a Blurb by Helen Williams

Happy blurbing,

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Writing Your Author's Bio

I'm trying to put together my first serious bio as an author and am finding it harder to do than write a 55,000 word novel. Insane!

If you're stuck in the same boat, here are a few thoughts:

Writing Your Bio by Terje Johansen

Inventing The Author: Four Steps to a Compelling Bio by Julie Duffy

Writing an Author Bio That Will Knock The Editor's Socks Off! By Dorothy Thompson

Top Ten Tips for Writing A Professional Overview or Biography by Tara Kachaturoff

Ok, enough procrastination by posting links. Time to get writing...

Happy bio-ing!


Thursday, April 26, 2007

show, don't tell

Working on the first round of edits for my fiction short and have a few passages where the editor wants me to rewrite to show not tell...which translates to active, not passive. I'm usually pretty proud of that little stat that comes up on Word after spellchecking that says like 0% passive sentences.

So I'm learning that I'm not perfect at active v. passive. Yet. :)

Here are a few links to help if you find yourself needing to show, not tell and be active, not passive.

Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing--Passive vs. Active Voice

Writing: Actively Showing Instead of Passively Telling

Donna Sundblad's Craft Of Writing: Warning Flags: Words to Use With Caution

Happy Active Writing,

Writer's Conferences

While it does cost money, I do believe every writer should attend a writer's conference at least once (once a year if possible). The networking, the connecting and electric environment is almost an absolute guarantee to get the words flowing again.

It's hard to be able to find the perfect conference without attending first, but checking out the writer's conferences listed at ShawGuides is a good start in finding one that suits your needs (and budget).

Best of all, it's still early in the year and there are lots of conferences in the upcoming year. Get on the ball now and find a conference for you...

Happy Conferencing,

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

More Promo Ideas II

Here are more good ideas....just because they both showed up in my inbox today!

15 Favorite Ways to Develop Your Author Platform by Patrice-Anne Rutledge

Carolyn Howard-Johnson's Free Articles for Authors and Editors (lotsa links)

Keep up the promo work,

Writing With the Senses

No, not trying to parody "Dancing With the Stars" (who has time for television when there are words and stories to write?!). My friend and fellow SeriousWriter Katy just had a poem accepted for publication (woohoo...way to go girl!) and got me thinking about how similar poetry and fiction writing are...and how different they are.

I love imagery and senses in poetry. That's what drags me in and keeps me firmly riveted to the page, and often I find the same true for excellent fiction writers.

Here are some ideas on how imagery can work for your fiction...

Using Poetry to Improve Your Writing by Mika Teachout

Writing From the Senses by Judy Reeves

Writing From Your Senses by Glenn White

Happy sensory imaging!


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Book Signing Tips

Good news an email from the editor working with my short story and she says she's ready to work with me and that the contract for my story is forthcoming :)

This is a new arena for me--being published in fiction. While it's only a modest short story and not a novel (yet), I'm still in novice mode in looking for information on what new writers can expect, need to do, should consider, etc.

For you pubs out there, these links might not be much but for us newbies (despite the fact that I won't have a booksigning just yet) it's always good to get an idea ahead of the game to know what to expect.

Book Signing 101 by Elizabeth Harrin (courtesy of

40+ Ways to Make Your Next Booksigning An Event by Larry James

How to Have a Successful Booksigning by MaryJanice Davidson

Quick Tips for Hosting a Successful Booksigning by Martha Reed

That should be enough to get you (and me!) excited!

Happy booksigning,

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

More Promo Ideas

Because I'm still interested in promo ideas....

Online Press Releases: Attract Both the Media and Potential Readers by Patrice-Anne Rutledge

Heck, make it easy on yourself and visit's "Promoting Your Writing" section and just see if there are any areas left you have questions about...'s Promoting Your Writing

Happy Promoing,

Freelance Writing, Part 1

Actually, this might be a part 2 or part 3--can't remember if I've posted anything on freelancing lately...

At any rate, I'm working on the final draft of an online course I'll be teaching for the Hearts Through History RWA chapter in June on how to take the plunge from fiction to freelance writing and am at the point of searching out quality freelancing resources to include in my lectures (I sound so smart when I say that!).

One great site for writers--not just the freelancing aspect--has a treasure trove of articles on freelancing & that'll be today's resource. Whether you've never considered freelancing, have given it a passing though, are just starting out or want a bit of a new angle to pursue, check out the freelance articles at (where else?!)

Freelance Writing 101 Articles at

Happy, happy freelancing,


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Oh, and on the subject of writer's block...

Whether I believe in in WB or not, here's a thoughtful article on ways to get you back in the game if WB or something else has sidelined your creation of creative prose....

To Write or Not To Write, That Is The Question by Mayra Calvani (courtesy of Absolute

Good advice. Now what's stopping you?

Happy unWBing and writing,

Monday, April 16, 2007

Fun Double Duty

Back from vacation with a renewed sense of purpose, ambition and a host of new goals...(I think I need a nap)...just in time to share a neat site with you, for the heck of it!

When I first checked out the list of 500 fun things to do, I was mildly entertained. Some of these I already do on a somewhat regular basis, some looked, well, for breaking out of a rut or seeing things from a different perspective, or heck, just screwing around.

But I also thought--these might make some interesting "what-ifs" for short stories or scenes for your longer novels in progress. Imagine the character, the setting, the situation and backstory..use them as a prompt...or story-starter...however you choose.

Any way you do it, it's fun. C'mon, check it out...

List of 500 Fun Things to Do

Happy fun-discovering,

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Oh, my gosh...Writer's Block

Funny title, I know. But for those of you who know me in real life and those of you who've read my blog from the day of the Writer's Loft, you know I totally abhor the term "writer's block". THere is no such thing. Just because I don't know what to cook for dinner doesn't mean I have cooking block, right? I hate, hate, hate "writer's block", don't believe in it, don't ascribe to any solution.

The main reason is simple: We are writers. We are good with words. We can adequately name what's in the way of our writing and stopping progress...such as depression, sensory overload, description issues, lack of ideas...etc...writer's block is too blessed generic.

So, lately, I've been suffering from...writing doesn't matter block. Lots of little things in real life affecting my perception of the importance and love of my writing...hence few blog posts and almost no writing on the personal level, even toward the deadlines I've had. How to help get out of those funks? Read on:

Women's Writers (lots of stuff...)

To Beat Writer's Block, Personify It!

Writer's Block at Wikipedia (interesting overview and suggestions)

Breaking Through Writer's Block by John Warner

Top 10 Tips for Overcoming Writer's Block by Ginny Wiehardt (at

Happy unblocking (and it is...)


Monday, April 09, 2007

Author Interviews for Insight

When asked whether they became a writer or were born a writer, many authors say they've just had a natural love of writing, words and storytelling from a young age. Since I'm no different, I have always been fascinated by reading interviews with authors (even ones I've never heard of) because in these interviews, it seems I always discover a nugget of myself in their words (well, not always, but it's still a voyeuristic writing pleasure to get their thoughts).

I've been reading a lot of interviews lately for fun, so I'll share a few links where great interviews with authors can be found. No, not how-to on writing, but still..valuable insight in their own right.

The Paris Review Interview Archives

Exclusive Author Interviews at

Spike Magazine's Interviews

Happy reading..may something spark your interest!


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Show, Don't Tell

First, a note: apologies for not posting (almost) daily as I promise in the blog header. Sometimes, life gets in the way...

Today's resources are articles on one of our favorite writer mantras, one we've heard countless times regardless of our status as a beginner or a NYT Bestselling author: Show, Don't Tell.

I always thought I was good at least better than the average bear. I've been working with an editor on a short story she's considering, and, as it turns out, I am (toot, toot that horn)--but I've still got stuff to learn.

Since I'm learning, you might as well join me...

Tara Harper's Show, Don't Tell, The Story

Robert J. Sawyer's Show, Don't Tell

The Lifewriters Digest's Show, Don't Tell

Jessica Page Morrell's The Power of Description

Just try to make sure the details and showing you include in your work are necessary to the story...(oh, it sounds so easy!)

Happy showing not telling through details!


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Market: Chick Lit shorties

Yeah, I know...chick lit is dead, or so they say.

Maybe, but if you jumped on the bandwagon and whipped up any short chick lit stories in the brief time it graced our presences, here's a market to check out.

No, they don't pay bunches of money but it's better than letting that gem of a story get musty in your dresser drawer.

Besides, I happened to like chick lit.

The Chick Lit Review: Chick Lit in Bite-Sized Morsels

Guidelines for Chick Lit Review

happy chick-litting,

Friday, March 23, 2007

Writing for Trade Magazines I

In our rush to get published by the big names--whether by fiction publishing powerhouses or nonfiction glossy magazines, we often overlook a possible source of positive income who welcomes relationships with writers: trade magazines.

Because I've become interested in trades lately for a variety of reasons, and because this is my blog and I decide what gets posted (it's good to be selfish me sometimes), here are some links to background information on writing for trade magazines if you're new or curious. In upcoming posts I'll dig up some trade magazine markets and guidelines to share. So let's get started...

Writing for Trade Magazines by Mark Lamendola

Podcast: Writing for Technical and Trade Publications with Denise Rockhill, Jenny Kasza, and Rachael Zimmerman of NaSPA, the Network and Systems Professionals Association

Do You Really Want to Get Published? Write for Trade Magazines! By Mary Ann Hahn

Writing for Real Estate Trade Magazines by Dan Rafter

That should do it for now...

Happy trade writing,

Thursday, March 22, 2007


I've been slaving away at editor-requested edits on a short story this week and in a moment of respite started thinking. What are my publicity options if the editor offers me a contract? I mean, I know the basics--which is that authors really need to do most of their own publicity unless they've nailed a 6 figure deal (and even then don't rely on the publisher) or have a publicist to do the thinking & legwork.

Here are some thoughts on where to go for publicity once that book/story publication grows nearer:

Armed and Ready: A Guide to Publicity Materials by Kate Stine

Free Publicity for Your Book by Patrika Vaughn

Blog: The Publicity Hound

Free Publicity for Your Book at Midwest Book Review

And one last post from one of my favorite, most insightful writer's writer:

16 Ways to Get Free Publicity by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Get out there and spread the word!


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Flash Fiction

Another conversation amongst writing friends...this one regarding the value of learning to write short in order to write better long. If you've not heard of flash fiction, check it out and challenge yourself. 55 words. 100 words. What do you have to lose?

Flash What? A Quick Look at Flash Fiction by Jason Gurley

Red Inkworks Presents Flash Fiction

Smokelong Quarterly: Dedicated to flash fiction

Happy flashing (Oooohh..that didn't sound


Monday, March 19, 2007

Fiction Query Letters I

I'm numbering this post with a "I" not because I have enough stuff for a II but because I know there'll be a II sometime. Probably soon.

Of all the stuff fiction writers have to go through to get published, one of the most traumatizing events is cramming all your accomplishments plus a blurb of your story into a one (or at most two) page overview--the dreaded query letter.

Based on a conversation I had with Molly, one of the SeriousWriter girls, I've dug up some (hopefully) useful links on query letters. Now there's no excuse....(said specifically for Molly!). Get querying!

Writing the Perfect Query by Lee Masterson (be sure to check out Lee's great site for writers while you're there--Fiction Factor)

Advice from the Nelson Literary Agency (Scroll down a bit to get to the query letter stuff. Great sample letter, too).

The Complete Nobody's Guide to Query Letters by Lynn Flewelling

Query Letters for Children's Book Fiction by Margot Finke (don't let the title fool you--excellent example for all fictional subgenres)

Common Fiction Query Letter Mistakes by S. Thompson (although if you're writing--or thinking--these things in a query letter, you have a LOOOONG learning curve ahead of you...)

Query Letter: How to Write the Perfect Query Letter by Ali Lane (dissects parts of the query).

There you go. That should get you started. Query letters on a Monday morning...if you live through that, what's next? Sunday synopsis workshops?

Happy querying,

Monday, March 12, 2007


One of those great sites for writers where you can waste (spend) a lot of time reading (awaiting the muse) articles on every & anything to do with writing...easy to navigate and nicely laid out...

Happy Writing (or awaiting the muse)


Friday, March 09, 2007

Just Get It Out! Start Writing Your Novel

Another remnant memory from Monday's children's book conversation from my colleague was on how it'd taken her seven years to convince herself to sit down and write the book because she didn't really know where to begin.

Seven's like 49 years to a dog. But I digress...

If you've got an idea for a story and don't know quite where to start, here's a bit of reading to get you going. In all honesty, you don't need to read to know the simplest, best bit of advice on where to start writing.

Start now and start where you are.

Structure problems? Interesting concept here...

The Snowflake Method for Writing a Novel by Randy Ingermanson's advice on writing the novel (remember--lots of popups here..enable the popup blocker)'s How to Write a Novel

A more thoughtful approach on how to get things out on paper....

How to Write a Novel: A Simple Procedure to Follow by Paul Saevig

Happy getting-it-down-on-paper (and it is a happy feeling...)


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Fun! Language Is a Virus (Games for writers)

Not until I took myself seriously as a writer did I truthfully realize (and accept) that part of the writing process REQUIRES periods of time where rational, functional, working thought is absent (translated: free time).

Now that I've accepted the need and value of those long lulls of time spent daydreaming about how to combine my two favorite desserts into one and other equally useless things, I've also discovered the need for fun diversions involving ways to stretch and twist language into something fun that sparks more ideas (like I need more of those).

In that vein, here's a cool-fun writing place crammed full of activities for writers. Obviously I've not checked them all out but there's tons of way-fun stuff here for consideration...when you can't take another game of Klondike....

Language is a Virus

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Writing For Kids II

Because I'm just liking the trend of naming my posts in sequential order, here's another posting on some links for those of you in the crowd who like children's writing...or are at least interested in it.

A thoughtful essay on things to consider when writing for kids...

So You Want to Write A Children's Book by Tammy Yee

Have you considered nonfiction?

Five Reasons to Write Nonfiction For Children by Rita Milios

A checklist of things to consider to make your children's book the best it can be...
The Case of Missing Elements: What Makes a Children's Book Memorable by Lynne Remick

Happy kid-writing!


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Writing for the children's fiction market

A colleague at work (the day job) sparked this topic yesterday when she brought me two versions of a picture book she'd been working on for quite some time. She wanted advice, and I gave her some brief pointers but didn't give her nearly the amount of stuff she deserved because--simply--I don't know much about children's publishing.

I told her I'd bring her some reading, and here are a few of the resources I've found. More to come in the future, I'm sure:

Write For website

Children's Writing section at Writer's Digest

Colossal Directory of Children's Publishers

I think that's enough...for now :)

Happy writing for kids!


Monday, March 05, 2007

Goal Setting, Part II

Yeah, and you thought I was done preaching off the goal soapbox!

With almost 1/3 of the year gone, it's time to focus in on those writing goals we set with such fervor at the beginning of the year.

Today's articles are thought-provoking and hopefully motivational in getting you to revisit the goals you so loftily (my word, English teacher's prerogative) set in January or December.

First up is a refresher on the why, how and how-to of setting writing goals:

Setting Goals for Your Writing Career by Lee Masterson

The next is by one of my favorite writer's writers, Mridu Khullar, on whether the goals you set are meeting YOUR needs:

Are You Achieving Your Writing Goals? by Mridu Khullar

The third is probably the most fun and fascinating--if typical rewards for your goal-setting process don't do it for you, there's bound to be a suggestion here to capture your interest. Way cool ideas!

50 Strategies for Making Yourself Work by Jerry Oltion

Whatever you choose, the important thing is to get into the habit of setting and resetting those goals...the more you do it, the easier it gets...and the better your writing will become.

Happy re-goaling,


Friday, March 02, 2007

Market Database:

I'm continually amazed at a few things in the freelance world: the number of (growing) markets, the ability to find a market for just about every crazy idea I come up with and the number of free market databases you can access if you just know where to look.

Today's resource is one of those. I've been to's market database before but until I followed a link to get there again recently, I'd forgotten how great it is for being free. True, some guidelines are outdated, what with publishers closing up shop and things being moved, but at last count they had 671 links to guidelines listed--nothing small about that. And simple, too. Just type in your topic and see what pops up.

Give it a try:'s Database of Guidelines

Happy writing,

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Tighten Your Prose with help from the pros

An article idea floating around the back of my mind for some time is on how to cut, delete and otherwise chop out words you don't need from a manuscript. What started the thought? I hate the word "that". It's grossly overused and does nothing to advance story. (I admit it, I'm a word-a-holic).

So when I started researching, imagine my glee to find others had the same thoughts. Here are some of their hints on what to cut...

Ten Ways to Tighten Your Prose by Susan Ioannou

8 Ways to Tighten Your Prose by Michele Bardsley

Six Ways to Tighten Your Writing by Karen Hertzberg

How to Use Modifiers More Effectively by Ginny Wiehardt

I think that's enough for now...

Happy tightening,

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Plot v. Character, Round II

Because I'm not done thinking about this yet, here's another fun, insightful post on the differences in plot and character-based stories. Good stuff from Bob Mayer and Jenny Crusie (check out the rest of their blog for more entertaining stuff).

He Wrote: Situational Vs. Character Ideas by Bob Mayer (be sure to check out Jenny's replies--links on the top of Bob's page).

Happy writing..whatever you long as you're writing...


Friday, February 23, 2007

You Say Plot, I Say Character

From an innocent question from a non-romance fiction writing friend, I've started thinking about that elusive question I managed to snuff out when I gave up novel-length fiction writing for freelancing (but the question was never quite answered)

Plot or character? Which is more important? How do you write?

I'm going to go into thoughtful introspection with this on my other blog ( over the weekend sometime, but in the meantime, here are a few articles to make you think about which you consider most important, how it impacts your writing, etc.

And note--neither is better than the other as long as it results in you finishing the damn book!

Character Driven fiction by John Morgan Wilson

Character Driven or Action Driven? by Martha Alderson (who's penned a terrific book on plotting: Blockbuster Plots, Pure and Simple)

Creating Characters from Plot by Melanie Anne Phillips

That should be enough for now--get reading so you can get writing!

Happy Plotting (or Character-izing),

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Article: Seasonal Promo

Really insightful, thoughtful article--just the thing I've come to expect from Patricia Fry (a writer's writer, for sure!)

Patricia shares with us ideas on how to use the holidays year-round in your favor when it comes to promoting your work. I dare you to read it and not get excited by ideas that pop up!

Seasonal Promotion by Patricia Fry

And if you're interested, here are a few places you can find worldwide holidays listed to suit nearly every interest/fancy/topic:

Happy holiday-ing,

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Writer's Voice

We all hear it but few of us know how to truly discover it...our writer's voice.

Whether you believe it or not, you do have one. Now, whether you use it to its potential in creating mood and tone is another question altogether, but if you're curious how to strengthen or even discover your writer's voice, here are some excellent resources to guide you in the process:

Holly Lisle's Ten Steps to Finding Your Writing Voice

Stella Duffy's Develop Your Voice

Christopher Meeks' Finding Your Voice

Julie Elizabeth Leto's Ditching the Book of My Heart for The Book of My Voice

That should hold you over...

Happy voice discovering!


Monday, February 19, 2007

The Inevitable...

...and you thought this post would be about rejection letters, didn't you?

With the start of the new year always comes thoughts of everyone's favorite things...weight loss and making money...which leads us to taxes....

If you're not up on how you can benefit from being a writer come tax time, here are a few articles for insight on what you might be missing and how you can make the most of your writerly status when Mr. Tax Man comes knocking....

**Please also note that I'm no tax expert and there may be updates these articles don't address. Always consult an expert, not a blog, when you have questions :)**

Tax Tips for Writers by Teresa V.M. Stone

Authors and the Internal Revenue Code by Linda Lewis

Taxes and the Writer by Daniel Steven

Taxes for Freelancers: Don't Let Them Eat You Alive by Durant Imboden

I would end with "happy taxing"...but that's quite an oxymoron if I've ever heard one...


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Conferences & Workshops

Two perennial biggies in every writer's experience...conferences and workshops.

Donna Caubarreaux has created two helpful blogs in finding more about both.

Visit her conference blog: Writer's Conference Blog
and/or her workshop blog:

Happy Writing & conferencing,

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Charlotte Dillion's Resources for Romance Writers

Let's just say that if you haven't ever ventured down the 'net path to check out author Charlotte Dillon's amazing resources for romance writers, you truly are missing out.

I came across Charlotte's page when researching an article on online resources for writers and thoroughly enjoy losing myself there when I have time to burn (aka awaiting the muse, some say). Even though I write mainly contemporary or paranormal, she has links and info for every sub-genre and all kinds of research you probably never even thought you'd need.

From craft to characters to queries and promo, she's got it all. Get over and visit right now! If I had a "best of Fountain Pen, Inc" award, she'd surely get it for this site.

Charlotte Dillon's Resources for For Romance Writers

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

How to Write a Novel in 100 Days or Less

Today's post comes courtesy of John Coyne from the Peace Corps Writers website.

I wouldn't guarantee you'll have a polished, publishable manuscript in 100 days or less, but the nuggets and tidbits of info and advice are worth considering in your quest to get your book done and out there. Interesting, simple reading....

How to Write a Novel in 100 Days or Less by John Coyne

Happy Writing,


Monday, February 05, 2007

Online Workshop: He Wrote, She Wrote

If you're a fan of Jennifer Crusie & Bob Mayer (even if you aren't), here's some fun for 2007: a free, updated-twice-a-week workshop for fiction writers.

I had the pleasure of seeing Jenny & Bob at the COFW 2006 Conference in October and find their online workshop just an extension of their entertaining banter in real life. Always fun and insightful, check back often for updated lessons: 2007 Online Writing Workshop

Happy fiction crafting,

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Article: Writing Breaks Nurture Creativitiy

I subscribe to this notion though "vegetating in front of the television while watching endless reruns of the Simpsons" isn't quite on the list.

It's definitely of value to get away from writing sometimes and get fresh air. Who knows what ideas will pop up?

And not that I'm in the mindset of taking a writing break--far from it. I'm having the time of my life working on three articles simultaneously--but the real post I wanted to share is on my school PC, and I'm on the laptop. Anyone know an easy way to share bookmarks between two non-networked PCs? (besides emailing them)?

Writing Breaks Nurture Creativity at

Happy writing breaks,

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Question for Freelancers: To Share or Not?

Quick question for all you freelancers out in the audience (or just readers with an opinion and logical reason for believing so):

I'm working on a query which requires me to interview a source for background info (for the query and subsequent article). I've heard from a few (writers and non writers) that I should share my final draft of the article with the source before publication.

I've used lots of quotes in my other freelance articles but never share prior to publication--we all know how editors cut, rearrange and sometimes alter the writing before it hits print.

What do you think? Opinions welcomed.


Seth Godin's Advice for Authors

Came across this post indirectly but found it a quick read. Gives some thought to some important issues faced by authors. While I enjoy his style and insight, I don't *totally* agree with every single item...but I'll let you decide what to keep and what to pass by yourself (You don't believe everything you read on the web, do you?)

Seth Godin's Advice for Authors

And while you're there, his blog is just as entertaining...Seth Godin's Blog

Happy authoring,

Monday, January 29, 2007

Monday Market:

Sometimes you've just gotta have fun writing. And here's the perfect market... is a company that designs and creates wild and wacky buttons, stickers and magnets and ships them all over the world. Not your traditional slogans, either--we're talking laugh-out-loud funny here.

Besides the fact that we all need humor, they pay $50 for exclusive rights for every slogan they use. Not bad for a few minutes of thought.

Visit their writer's guidelines here:'s Writer's Guidelines and their main site here, just for

Happy (and funny) writing,

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Wednesday Bonus Post: Wylie-Merrick Literary Agency Blog

Good blog from the POV of the literary agent....excellent insight and things to consider...

Wylie-Merrick Literary Agency Blog

Happy writing (& follow the rules),

The Value of Networking

Let's face it--writing is a lonely job. Not necessarily in a bad way (though the stories of authors battling depression lie in the back of our consciousness), but what all that alone time with words does is help create nervousness, panic and sometimes fear in the heart of the author when it comes to speaking up on behalf of yourself and your work.

And nothing--nothing outside of not writing--can be more detrimental to your writing career. I actually got my start in freelancing (in a national magazine no less) the first time I publically admitted I was a writer, so the value of networking resonates deeply with me.

Whether you're published or up-and-coming, never underestimate networking. Interestingly enough, as I considered this topic, I read a new issue of one of my fave writing ezines, the Fabulist Flash, which happened to have the entire issue focused on networking. Gregory shares the best insight in his weekly newsletter. Sign up yourself for free while you're there.

The Fabulist Flash vol. 123: Networking

Happy, happy networking

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Article for Unpubbs: Be Your Own Editor blog

Ok, unpubbs. Listen up (myself included, though I already knew this stuff): this blog post, courtesy of the entertaining and informative Be Your Own Editor blog, is solid in its reasoning for why you can't live in a cave while writing to become published. Build yourself, your credibility, your readership and your experiences with words on the road to publication and you'll do yourself (and your editor/publisher) a great service.

Curious? Read more: Every Writer Needs a Website. Yes, Even You

Hang out at the Be Your Own Editor blog for other great writing topics.

Happy Platforming,

Monday, January 22, 2007

Blog: Dear Author

Great blog I came across by accident. This particular post was shared with us thanks to editor Cindy (Hwang's) mention (in the featured interview) of my friend Donna MacMeans' upcoming release from Berkeley (scroll to the last little bit about "The Education of Mrs. Brimley).

For those of you who think editors live in golden castles in the sky, read Cindy's interview here and get a dose of reality: Cindy Hwang interview

(not that you shouldn't TREAT them like royalty...)

But don't dismiss the entire blog for the sake of one post. Lots of good reading here--for readers and authors alike..the Dear Author Blog.

Happy Reading,

Friday, January 19, 2007

Market: Reader's Digest Humor

Have a short, funny story you think would be perfect for Reader's Digest? You know, something you've overheard, a joke that makes you laugh out loud or a work-related chuckle? Here are what they consider for their humor columns:

All in a Day's Work — Humorous happenings on the job
Humor in Uniform — Amusing stories about life in the armed forces
Laughter, the Best Medicine — Current jokes and one-liners
Life in These United States — Funny stories from everyday life
Quotable Quotes — Wit and wisdom from famous contemporary people

Keep it short, make 'em laugh and if you're chosen, payment ranges from $100-$300. Not bad for a few lines of funny.

Reader's Digest Humor Guidelines and Submission Form

Happy...or perhaps funny...writing,


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Bonus Post: Review of Bylines Calendar for Writers

Still procrastinating about setting writing goals? No time, no vision...blah blah? Here's your solution:

1. Read review of Bylines Calendar for Writers:

2. Visit and purchase calendar:

3. Plant butt in chair and don't get up til your goals are done!

Happy goal-ing,

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Ezine: The Motivated Writer

Came across this last week and set it aside to read at a later date--until today when it was forwarded to me again, making me take notice. Since us writers always want to know about other writers....

The Motivated Writer ezine (monthly, free subscriptions):

Happy writing (& reading up on other writers...)



I've somewhat slacked on the market postings here, but here's one for romance writers of stories between 7,500-10,000 words to check out:

A few details:
To work with us, your story should be in MS Word, pdf, HTML, or text format, and around 10,000 words long (no less than 7500, no more than 12500). We accept all range of romance subjects, whether suspense, historical, time travel, paranormal, contemporary, etc...

We offer $0.01 / word up to $100 for the non-exclusive rights to publish your story in any medium. We're solely web-based at the moment, but would like to eventually publish print anthologies of some of our favorite submissions, and possibly audio recordings as well. You may send us a story that has already been published, provided that your existing agreement with another publisher would not be violated by having it also published with us. If we decide to use your submission, we will schedule the release date on our site, and you will be required to sign our non-exclusive rights to publish agreement. We will mail you your payment one week before we use your story.

Worth checking out.

Happy romance writing,

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Workshop: Fiction to Freelance in 8.2 Seconds

Yeah, yeah. So I've missed a week or so. Happens to the best of us. After a short vacation away, getting in the groove of anything was almost too much energy to expend--writing included.

Lucky for you I've had my morning caffeine and I'm back. And with a way cool post, too. I know--shameless self-promotion, but I'm REALLY excited about this one. I've never taught an online course before and it's a topic several of my writing friends have been asking me about for some time. And a topic you'll hopefully be reading about from yours truly in an upcoming issue of RWR.

Fiction to Freelance in 8.2 Seconds is the course I'll be teaching this June via the Hearts through History RWA. There's a wealth of other monthly workshops there--check them out. I took one last year on incorporating more sensuality in writing and had a great time while learning valuable tips. (I hope someone says that about my workshop...!)

Here's their main workshop page:

And here's mine:

Come on, sign up...we'll have a great time!

Happy getting-back-into-the-groove,

Friday, January 05, 2007

Blogs: Grey Matter

Today I'll step down from the soapbox of resolutions and goals & share a blog sent to me by a writing friend. Normally, I'd just list blogs to the right =====> in the blog section, but this one's kinda neat: it features the writers of Grey's Anatomy.

A confession: I rarely, if ever, watch anything on tv aside from the Simpsons, a few sitcom reruns and sports (but a friend has me hooked on The Office as of late), but the blog is more about their being the writers behind the show, how the feel about certain things, how they interpret being creative for millions...and admit it, we're always curious about other writers. It's just our nature.

Just to note, the last post was in November but it's still enjoyable reading going back over the posts. Get a glimpse of life behind the camera (and really, behind the actors):

Happy reading,

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Thursday Bonus Post: Literary Agents

Just reading the latest issue of the Fabulist Flash ezine over lunch. Subscribe (for free, of course) and you won't be disappointed:

Editor Gregory Kompes does a fab job of bringing great, weekly writing articles and info your way, and this issue continues the tradition.

As of late, the writer's lament on my local RWA chapter loop has centered around literary agents. Two Fabulist Flash articles give writers insight into the arena of the literary agent: Why Literary Agents Are So Important To Your Success by Steve Manning and Query Letters: Ten Ways to Hook a Literary Agent by Lisa Silverman.

You'll need to scroll a wee bit to get to the good stuff. Like waiting for the center of a tootsie pop, however, it's well worth it.

The Fabulist Flash, Issue 121:

Happy agent-ing,

Article: Setting Goals for Your Writing Career by Lee Masterson

While I'm on the goal kick, here's another article to get you jump-started for 2007 and your career.

I haven't mentioned it because I have a deep-seated belief that writers are the most intelligent creatures on earth, but if you've already set goals for the new year, it never hurts to do an occassional reassessment and don't blow by these articles thinking they're not for you...

An excerpt...
Setting Goals for Your Writing Career
(c) Lee Masterson

By failing to plan, you are planning to fail" - Ben Franklin

True success - in every field - begins with a plan. I do not mean the plan to actually WRITE your book. That step forms only a portion of the total process required in creating publishing success. I mean the plan to get your book to the stage where you originally imagined you wanted it to reach.

Goals and plans are important for almost every aspect of your life. Your writing career should be no different.

The problem with goals is that many of the best plans fall by the wayside. People get distracted, better plans are made, easier plans are found or circumstances change.

The simple truth is, if you want to succeed, you should devise a plan that suits you and stick to it. You can always revise a plan as you go, or add to it or amend it, but as long as you stick to your basic plan, you will reach your goal.

Read the rest here....

Happy setting and resetting writing goals,


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Resource: Writers Website Planner

If one of your goals in the new year is to create an author's website, here's an interesting site with lots of things to think about in the planning stage of your site. Not a lot of hands-on activities toward creating your web presence, just some considerations to take into account when designing the site of your dreams:

Writers Website Planner

Happy Planning,


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Article: The Motivation Factor by Cheryl Wright

Today's posting comes courtesy of Cheryl Wright, author and editor of the website & ezine for writers.

On the theme of goal setting & knowing what you want to achieve in order to achieve what you want, her article on The Motivation Factor is perfectly timely at the beginning of this new year. Be sure to check out the setting goals worksheet at the end of her article.

Here's a quick excerpt:

The Motivation Factor
© Cheryl Wright – All rights reserved

I’ve never been one for resolutions, mainly because I never keep them.

But goals are a whole different ball game. Goals can be measured, they can be changed, but most of all, they can be extremely motivating.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve set goals for myself. You could even call them deadlines.
No matter the project or how big or small it is, I always set goals for myself. This not only gets me motivated and writing, it also gives me guidelines that allow me to plan even more projects. This is a great way to keep moving ahead.

Perhaps I should go back further…

Read all the advice and insight here:

Happy Motivating...


Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy, Happy....

...Writing, of course.

After taking a bit of time for myself, away from writing, school, teaching and basically life, I'm ready to go.

Ready to bring you some of the best resources on the web for writers to make your 2007 the most prolific, productive and positive as an author that it can be.

Sorry for the

I've got some cool ideas in the works for Fountain Pen, Inc in the upcoming year, but in the meantime, here's an awesome offering from Donna Caubarreaux, a true writer's writer. I intended today's link to be only to her Writer's Workbook, but for a treat, the link goes directly to her articles page where she offers a writing page generator (log for tracking your writing and setting goals), a realistic look at how much you can make as a romance author, an article about writing what you know and the mentioned Writer's Workbook--something great to check into at this early point of the year.

Donna Caubarreaux's Writing Articles

Donna's Writing Workbook

Get moving, get excited...this is your year!

Happy writing,