Check Out These Links For The Writers/Bloggers Tour

I wanted to post a couple of links today for those who are following the Writers/Bloggers World tour I’m on. Carol McAdams Moore is next up.

Check out the Pinterest Page Carol McAdams Moore has post so you can check out all the different writers on this tour. http://www.pinterest.com/cmcadamsmoore/writerblogger-world-tour/

Carol McAdams Moore_Author PhotoDon’t forget to stop at Carol’s blog, the next part of our tour.
http://carolmcadamsmoore.blogspot.com/2014/07/writerblogger-world-tour-this-is-how-i.html

Every writer on this tour answers those four questions differently. You’ll learn some interesting things about them and find some awesome books to purchase as well. If you’re in the mood to try something different. Follow my post backward starting with Gloria Doty and see who went before me.You’ll find some wonderful posts on a variety of subjects not all writing related.Your sure to find a new blog to follow along the way.

Post Your thoughts: What was something interesting you learned  while checking out the other author blogs and what books are now on your to read list?

 

 

Posted in Interview, teaching writing, Uncategorized, value writing, Writers/Bloggers Tour, writing tips | Leave a comment

Writer/Blogger World Tour: This is how I do it

 

When author Gloria Doty asked me to join this writers/blogger virtual world tour I hesitated for just a moment. Being part of such a great group is an honor. Jumping on this tour is a cool opportunity. Gloria authored the award winning book cIt shares her thirty year journey with her daughter Kalisha’s autism, Asperger’s and intellectual disabilities. Gloria shares her writing gift in a variety of publications.

Author Gloria Doty

Author Gloria Doty

Visit her blog, Montage Moments at: www.writingbygloria.com

Friend her on Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/gloria.doty.98

Or follow her on twitter: https://twitter.com/detour27

 

During this tour each Writer/blogger is asked to answer four questions about their writing journey. There are no right answers. (That’s a relief.) So, I chose to share insights from my non-fiction writing as well as my current novel. I promise to be brief.

What am I working on?

My WIP is a historical romance. Secrets and Charades takes place in 1873. And the plot has many secrets and some interesting charades. (Did you catch my cleverness… any who.) Envision a female doctor running from her past by agreeing to be a mail order bride. Add an unsuspecting rancher with his own secrets and life gets complicated. I am working with my editors to whip it into shape. I have a contemporary romance novel in bits and pieces on my computer working title New Duet dealing with emotional abuse and PTSD. I have some flash fiction, devotionals and articles in my writing cue. I love doing book reviews and interviewing other authors for my blog. Just finished being a Beta reader for an up and coming thriller. That’s fun.

How does my work differ from other genres?

That is a subjective question. I write a lot like others do. My characters speak to me and I listen. A scripture or a situation opens my heart to a devotional. Skits are often formulated based on the ability of the actors. I guess I write from the heart more than the head.

Why do I write what I do?

Is it lame to say—because I must? Stories don’t let go until they’re in print. Some ideas don’t make it past the gatekeepers of my mind. Others find their way to paper. Everything I write whether it’s a novel, a short story or an article I want to honor God by giving my best.

How does your writing process work?

An idea sparks in my mind. I let it ruminate. While in the shower I talk through scenes, interview my characters. (Hey, no on hears me in there.) Secrets and Charades was a seat of the pants story. New Duets has a little more planning. Both required research, research, research. I spent a few months reading all sorts of books on women in the 1800s, especially doctors and diaries of homesteaders and settlers for Secrets and Charades. I interviewed re-enactors, visited museums, and the library was my friend. You can find stuff on the internet but not the details a book can give you. Much of what I read never made it into my book. When I write articles I do research too. Often I outline, tape interviews and take lots of notes. Scripts and skits are based on themes and may evolve as they are performed.

 

Now that you’ve heard my answers check out my two writing friends. I love what they share about their writing life.

John Turney is a mild-manner engineer by day with a wonderful wife and two grown sons. When he slips on his writer’s cape he pens fiction full of action and intrigue. He loves writing flash fiction which has appeared in Splickety magazine. John will be releasing his award winning second book Whiskey Sunrise soon. His debut novel Innocent Blood: Equinox of Reckoning a page turning fantasy is available on Amazon and his website.

Author John Turney

Author John Turney

Follow John on his Arthur page: My Facebook author page is https://www.facebook.com/InnocentBloodEquinoxOfReckoning

Book links:

Innocent Blood Published by Oak Tara

Whiskey Sunrise Published by Lighthouse of the Carolinas

 

Carol McAdams Moore writes for children and youth in the Christian and general markets. Her debut tween devos – Dare U 2 Open This Book and Just Sayin’ - will be released by Zonderkidz in October 2014. Additional writing credits include work for David C. Cook; Urban Ministries, Inc.; Christian Education Warehouse; Clubhouse; Clubhouse, Jr.; LifeWay magazines; and The Christian Communicator.

Her desire is that every child will answer Jesus’ call and discover God’s purpose for his or her own life. Carol McAdams Moore prays that they will discover . . . Jesus more amazing than we can imagine! ! !

Carol McAdams Moore_Author Photo

Carol McAdams Moore

Get to know Carol better, visit her online.

Blog  http://carolmcadamsmoore.blogspot.com/

Facebook   https://www.facebook.com/Carol.McAdams.Moore
Website    www.carolmcadamsmoore.com

Twitter    @CMcAdamsMoore

Pinterest    http://www.pinterest.com/cmcadamsmoore/

Visit Carol and John’s blog posts next Monday, July 21st to learn their answers. Why not grab a book while you’re there. :)

 

 

 

Posted in Interview, teaching writing, value writing, writing tips | 7 Comments

Author’s Anonymous Great Example of A Bad Critique Group

people meeting around table

This past Sunday I rented the comedy Author Anonymous because the premise intrigued me. Here we have six wanna-be writers in a writers group. Each a stereo-type of the worst type of critique group participant. The movie is a tongue-in-cheek documentary with scenes ranging from funny to ridiculous.

Cast of characters

Alan, a dentist, started the group because his wife Colette has a passion to get published. He admits he isn’t really a writer, but rather an idea guy. He records ideas for plots and character names on his hand-held recorder as the thoughts come. He never finishes anything. As the founder he leads the group with no real ability of his own.

Colette, a full-time stay at home writer. She has no kids, no responsibilities and it appears no real writing talent. Writing flowery, ridiculous erotic love scenes that book publishers keep rejecting. These rejection letters give her a neuroses of self-abasement that leads her to do foolish things to get agents attention.

John, a retiree is very opinionated and self-absorbed. He considers himself the next Tom Clancy. He too knows nothing about writing.

Henry suffers from writer’s block. He is a gifted writer but is often distracted by life and the newest member of the group Hannah. Henry reads extensively and can quote lines from Hemingway and the like.

William keeps bringing the same three pages. He is unemployed and always borrowing money from the group. Sleazy best describes him.

Hannah is the newbie. She took writing classes but has no college degree and feels inferior to the others in the group. She also is not a reader.

Check out Author Anonymous trailer: http://www.aceshowbiz.com/video/download/00051273/

What these characters teach us

Other than William, who is truly the most undesirable member, we can learn from the other characters.

Let’s start with Alan. His heart is in the right place. He pursues writing because he loves his wife. Being supportive does not mean you have to join a group together. It takes a special grace to accept critiques from your spouse. Starting a group to benefit someone you love is honorable but not really helpful. Leaders need to have a passion for the craft that propels them to a higher level. This passion encourages those in the group to grow as well.

Wanna-be Colette thrives on compliments. She wants to be the first published. And she breaks all the rules of networking and meeting publishers and agents. The results of her actions hurt her marriage and her credibility. We all start out as wanna-bes. It’s how we follow the road to success that can make or break us. Follow the example of successful writers who have gone before you. Don’t worry about whether you are the first to be published in your group or the last. Enjoy the journey.

Henry decorated his walls with rejection letters. Because of his writers block he comes to meeting after meeting with no pages. The group feels cheated because of the one-sided participation of Henry. Once he gets his priorities straight the words flow, and he eventually gets a publishing contract. Rejections and writers block are part of a writer’s life. How we handle it is the key. Write no matter what. Even uninspired words get us moving in the right direction. Take those uninspired pages to your group. Their input can unlock inspiration. Rejection letters are better than no response at all. If you are lucky, there may even be helpful advice or edits included in one of those letters.

Hannah is the most unrealistic character of all. She writes but does not read. She gets an agent and a contract right out the gate. To add insult to injury for the rest of the group, she gets a movie rights contract and a best-selling author to mentor her. And still she does not read. Writers who do not read are not the best writers. Ask any best-selling author what he reads and his list is extensive and varied. Writers can glean so much reading others works. Whether it is old classics or the latest top ten.

Attitude is everything

The reaction of the group to Hannah’s success can sadly be true. The other group members put on fake smiles and celebrate her good fortune. But walls come up. Everyone becomes jealous of Hannah, refusing to critique her work. They no longer want to help her improve her writing. (Getting a contract is only one rung on the ladder to success. Don’t be small about helping with needed editing.)

John, the guy with the giant ego becomes so jealous he goes the vanity publication route. No way is he going to let the newbie get published first. His book is printed in China and is available in a few weeks. The back cover is written in Chinese and the front cover of his novel Roaring Lion features a barking Chuhuahua. Although vanity publishing isn’t quite this bad, it can be pretty awful. Full of typos and lacking professional editing with odd covers and incorrect back cover information. (Let me clarify, I am not referring to self-publishing which is becoming an accepted route if done properly, i.e., well-written and edited manuscripts.) John’s book is published prematurely with no real marketing plan or network leads. His home is full of boxes of unsold books. He becomes bitter.

Jealousy makes the group toxic and ends with its demise. Critique members need to guard their hearts and seek to encourage each other to do their best and reach their goals. Giving sincere praise and encouragement when others are successful.

Let’s summarize

Critique groups fail or succeed based on the attitude of the group. Leaders should have a passion about writing and helping other writers. Their feet should be doing a happy dance for every success in the group. Newbies should feel nurtured but challenged to improve their skills. Sleazy people should be ejected from the group. And those who are only playing around as writers will leave on their own as the group continues to challenge one another.

I have been part of a wonderful critique group Word Weavers for almost four years. Click here to learn more about them.

Tell me what you love about your critique group?

 

TADA! Time to  announce the winner for last weeks Give-away. An autograph copy of John Turney’s novel Innocent Blood: Equinox of Reckoning is: Mary Deborah Dornedon. Congratualtions! Innocent Blood

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Interview With Author John Turney And Book Giveaway

Author John Turney

Author John Turney

 

 

I am welcoming to my blog today my friend and awesome author John Turney. I mentioned him in a previous blog as an author who followed writer’s guidelines before pitching a story idea. He got his book contracts at Write-To-Publish so he seemed like someone we should get to know. When he’s not wearing his writer’s superhero cape he works as a CAD Technician for a pharmaceutical company in Ohio. Simply put he is an engineer. He’s had several articles published in e-zines as well as several flash fiction in Splickety Magazine. He attends Liberty Heights Church with his wife. They have two grown sons. Before we get started with this interview John has offered to send a copy of his book to one lucky winner who comments on my blog.

Cindy Huff: John is a delight to have you with us today. I just recently finished reading Innocent Blood and was drawn into the epic story. I felt like a movie playing before my eyes. Now, briefly tell us about your book for those who have not read it.

John Turney: My first novel is Innocent Blood: Reckoning of Equinox and was published by OakTara in 2013. Based on the Celtic legends of Halloween, it’s the tale of a young man—a college student—who has his life mapped out. When events force him to look at his plans, he has to decide if he’s going to pursue his dreams or make the sacrifice to do what’s right.

CH: Tell me, why did you choose to use Halloween as the place in time? That day is not very popular within Christian circles.

JT: First, I love the Fall. Foliage comes alive in multiple colors. Football. Warm days blend into cool nights. Football. Wearing jean jackets. Did I mention football?

CH:Okay, okay we got that you love football. You’ve even added a football player as the enemy of your hero, not to mention a pivotal scene taking place on the grid iron. Sorry, I am just so excited about your novel. Continue please.

JT: Second, when the church avoids something—whether it’s a style of music, a people group because they’re not like us, or a particular holiday—it creates a spiritual vacuum. Rather than ignore Halloween, we should embrace it without embracing its darker elements. Give out candy, and not the cheap stuff. You might even have something for the parents as well. Have a Harvest Party at church and invite the neighborhood to your church for the event. Have goodies for the kids, perhaps bouncy houses, face painting, puppet shows and so on. Have fun with it. Instead of being against something, be for something.

So I chose Halloween, introduced some of its Celtic elements and wrote a story where the protagonist stands against the darkness. For the last 2,000+ years, the church has stood against the darkness of its time. We need to do so today. As a writer, this is one way I can do that.

CH: Good point. I appreciate your candor. Now, I have to know. As a mild-mannered engineer where did you learn about karate, sword fighting, police procedure, dwarfs, elves and the walking dead. And let’s not forget believable fight scenes.

JT: One writing motto is “write what you know.” However, if you don’t know something, then you can learn. And we live at a time where learning—or research—can be done by anyone, anywhere at any time. The internet provides a rich source of materials to help learn. For example, the internet offers videos of men and women in armor fighting with various swords. And they give explanations of the various moves. So I spent several hours watching these videos. I may not be able to physically handle a sword, but I learned how it was done. I’m not a cop, but I attend a writer’s conference (Mad Anthony in Hamilton, Ohio) that one year took its conferees to a community college that trains cops. Another year, it had three women from the TV show Police Women of Cincinnati explaining the ins and outs of their jobs. Other years various police agencies have sent officers to explain their duties. I also attended Lee Lofland’s Writers Police Academy and read his blog “The Graveyard Shift.” This weekend, I will be touring the crime lab in Columbus, Ohio with a Sisters in Crime writers’ group. If you don’t know something, go forth and learn. As to the elves, dwarves and the undead, I signed a nondisclosure agreement not to divulge their locations or how to contact them. They’re very private, so I respect that.

 CH: Why base Innocent Blood in Ohio?

I based Innocent Blood in the southwest region of Ohio. At one time, Cincinnati had a large influx of both Irish and German peoples. So with, the Celtic culture comprised of western and northern Europe, it just seemed a good fit to start the series there. Plus I live there, and the cost for visiting potential sites for settings was much cheaper.

CH: The conclusion of Innocent Blood leads right into a sequel without missing a heartbeat. When is that coming out?

JT: I don’t have a date from Oak Tara the publishers of Innocent Blood regarding the sequel. But I will tell you this: Patrick and his friends go into the Celtic Otherworld

CH: You also write flash fiction and have had a few stories published. Why flash fiction?

JT: It’s fun. It’s short, so there is no long time commitment. You come up with an idea. You write it and it’s done. 1000 words makes you focus on using the right words. The plot and character development have to explode onto the story.

CH: What would you tell writers trying to break into publication?

JT: Pursue your dreams…unless your world is being invaded by monsters from the Celtic afterlife. Then do the right thing. Listen to the advice of those who’ve gone ahead of you—and tell them thanks—and help those coming behind you. And never give up. Also, take time to watch a football game.

CH: Wise words to ponder. Well, accept maybe the football. :)

Your next book Whiskey Sunrise is coming out in a few months and I plan to have you visit us again.

JT: Look forward to it. By the way Lighthouse Publications of the Carolinas will be having a giveaway in July for Whiskey Sunrise.

Book Giveaway to one lucky commenter.

Today I am offering an opportunity for all those who comment on this post to be entered in a drawing for an autographed copy of Innocent Blood:Equinox of Reckoning. Feel free to ask John any questions you may have on writing, Celtic lore or football. Be sure to leave your email in the comment section so we can contact the winner. ( type it using the word at for @ and the word dot for .) If you are reading this interview via Facebook be sure to go to my blog to comment if you want to be in the drawing.

Innocent BloodI will be drawing the winners name in a week. I have found  not all my comments post right away.

 

 

 

 

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Great reward for those who consistently attend writer’s conferences

My award. I am so blessed.

My award. I am so blessed.

For those of you who have never attended or no longer attend writer’s conferences I challenge you to rethink that. After attending writer’s conferences for six years, I have finally reaped an awesome reward. I was chosen as the recipient of the Editor’s Choice Award at the 2014 Write-To-Publish Conference. This award is for perseverance and potential. It entitles me to professional editing of my novel and mentoring and the opportunity to have my novel presented to the publication board of Lighthouse Publications of the Carolinas. Whether they actually decide to publish my book is another story. But it’s a win-win because my manuscript will be ready to present to any other interested party.

The truth about attending conferences

Often beginner writers approach a conference expecting to get a contract with the first editor they pitch their story to. They lug around their manuscript hoping someone will take it home with them. Those stories of instant contracts are few and far between, and if you get down to the real nitty-gritty of details, you will find most of these authors have paid their dues. They have attended conference after conference as true students of the craft of writing. Taking home all the information gleaned from the pros to apply to their own manuscript and marketing strategies. Networking with other writers to be encouraged as well as encourage.

Rowena Kuo presented me with my award. She is one of the wonderful editors full of enouragement for writers that I meet at Write-to-Publish.

Rowena Kuo presented me with my award. She is one of the wonderful editors full of enouragement for writers that I meet at Write-to-Publish.

Writers encouraging writers

For me, my first conference was a learning experience. I flew to Colorado Springs for the Writing for the Soul conference. On the plane I sat next to a published author. I don’t recall her name, only the blessing she was to me. During the flight she took the time to instruct me how to pitch my story ideas and who might be a good fit. She encourage me to enjoy the conference and have fun meeting others. At the conference one devotional editor took the time to mark up my devotional to show how it would best fit her needs. She gave me tips on the right attitude to bring to the editors I would pitch my novel idea to. The editors and agents were encouraging. I went home ready to write my novel.

Guess what, folks, I returned the next year to the same conference pitched my story, got interest. Went home and sent off my novel and got all rejections. :(

Learning from rejection

That is the nature of the beast. One publisher was brave enough to say the writing wasn’t to their standard. :( :( To his credit he was absolutely correct. I knew nothing about POV and many other fiction craft techniques. So, I took another class and read more craft books and continued submitting articles and writing skits and doing whatever writerly thing God brought my way while rewriting my novel.

Arthor Cynthia Ruchti not only was such a wonderful encouragement on my writng journey but she autographed her novel for me.

Arthor Cynthia Ruchti not only was such a wonderful encouragement on my writng journey but she autographed her novel for me.

Benefits of attending even if you don’t get a writing contract

The next four years I attended Write-To-Publish conference. Each time I went home and sent off my manuscript to those who requested it. Each time it was rejected. But I picked up other smaller writing assignments that gave me more publishing credits. I started this blog and a Facebook page. The third year I received excellent edits with my reject manuscript. I persevered through family tragedies and lots of life interrupting my rewrites and still wrote articles and short stories. Some getting rejected, others published.

This last year I reaped the blessing of my perseverance with this award. That is six years from my first conferences. Don’t wait until you have the perfect manuscript to attend. Don’t skip the opportunity because you have nothing to hawk. Come because you need to grow your craft, you need to network with writers, agents and editors. The secret ingredients at all conferences is the knowledge you can take home and the life-long friends you make. Both can grow your writing career at a faster pace than those who don’t attend.

 How has perserverance at a writer’s conference benefitted you?

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Making My Pro and Con List before Attending a Writer’s Conference

 

Image

Tammie Edington Shaw was a great encouragement to me at last year’s Write-To-publish conference.

Last month I had to make a hard decision. Would I attend a writer’s conference this year? I had happily anticipated attending every year for the past five. This year I had lots of negative things weighing me down. Some were of a writerly nature others were not but all demanded a place on my decision list.

On the con side

I hadn’t reached my writing goals this year. Yes, I published but the pay was small. The guest blogging I did paid nothing. I wanted to finish all the rewrites on my novel but still have some edits to do. I wanted to have a rough draft of my next novel finished rather than the few chapters and character sketches I managed to complete. The articles I planned on sending out based on appointments with publishers at last year’s conference are in various stages of completeness waiting in my computer. The short stories I sent got rejected and the devotionals have yet to be acknowledged. All of this is embarrassing and a little depressing.

After leaving the Army my oldest son and his family now live in my home. This makes it easier for him and his wife to attend college. Now I have grandchildren responsibilities. My elderly parents also live nearby. The days I don’t have to be at my part-time job have gotten filled with doctor visits and running errands for them. This time in my life is wonderful fodder for lots of articles on multi-generational family life but I haven’t had time to write them.

My brain has gotten fried by various dramas including the dryer breaking twice, the water heater being replaced, serious work done on our car and the AC on the fritz cutting deep into our finances. The death of my baby sister after a four year battle with liver cancer proved the most devastating. Now I am back on track with this nagging feeling it is too little too late.

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Losing my little sister Carol recently was the most devastating thing to happen me this year.

The pro side

The whole point of a writer’s conference is to sharpen my skills to be a better writer. They will only remain dull if I let the chaos of the past year put training on hold.

I need the input from the workshops, the inspiration from the speakers and the encouragement from my fellow-writers. Writing is a rocky path to follow and gets quite lonely and at times discouraging. I need the refueling the conference will give me. Perhaps all those unfinished articles will find a home and my experience with a too full house will find expression on paper because of a divine appointment or word of encouragement.

My decision

I registered for the Write To Publish conference anyway. Despite the odds weighing heavily on the do not attend side I choose to nourish the gifting God has given me. I found confirmation in Philippians 3:14 “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

What benefit have you gained from going to a conference even when it’s seems difficult?

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Three reminders for writing conference success

Debut novelist John Turney did all the right research before attending conferences. His novel Innocent Blood  found a publisher because he did his homework.

Debut novelist John Turney did all the right research before attending conferences. His novel Innocent Blood found a publisher because he did his homework.

I received a weird phone call at my day job this week. The caller wanted to set up a blood drive. As the receptionist for a blood collection facility in the Chicagoland area I can easily direct calls like this to a marketing person in their area. However, as I gathered more information it became apparent we were not going to be able to help this young lady. She was calling from Canada. Although our blood supply is low at the moment Canada was defintely out of our service area.

As I prepare for the Write To Publish conference next month this call sparked a reminder in the writer’s side of my brain, a matra that writers need to adher to. Read the guidelines before submitting your manuscript. The extra time you take to fill your tote bog or briefcase with the specifics an agent may request before an appointment makes you appear professional. Don’t hand over the whole manuscript if only the summary or first three chapters are needed. Do your homework before setting up an appointment with an agent or publisher at a conference.  Coming with a proposal or pitch for something they need gives you a better chance for success.

Don’t try to do something new and dramatic.

An agent friend told me he once had a writer drive to his home to present a manuscript in person. The guidelines on his website clearly stated electronic submissions only. He took the manuscript and wrote his rejection note on the cover and handed it back. Ouch! But the guidelines were clear. In the publishing business submitting out of the box gets rejections. The same applies to conferences. No colored paper or funny font sizes. Double spaced, 12 point Times New Roman is  the publishing standard.

Had a great appointment with Susan Baganz, Acquistion Editor for Prism Book Group at the 2013 Write To Poblish Conference.

Had a great appointment with Susan Baganz, Acquistion Editor for Prism Book Group at the 2013 Write To Poblish Conference.

Details, details, details

My young caller probably found my company in a google search but may not have gone to the company website. Had she checked out the website she would have not wasted time calling us based on geography. Click on the link for the agent, publisher or magazine to study the details. Your article on time-management may not fit the theme for magazine A’s upcoming edtions but magazine C is clamoring for it. If your Amish fiction has a scifi twist Publisher Q will be open to your pitch. However, Publisher X has all their Amish fiction slots full and you wasted one of your precious appointments because you missed that detail.

What are some other reminders you find important before attending a conference?

 

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