Archive | March, 2014

Writers Need Mentors

26 Mar

003Happy Wednesday to you all!  I believe this is the first day I have not had a fire in the woodstove since October.  Thank the heavens for spring and I know many of you will join me in giving those thanks.

My new manuscript has been sent to various writer friends for their review.  While they do that, I have another friend (love you Lizzy) who is doing some preliminary sketches for a book cover, and I am trying to craft the perfect synopsis and tagline.  After that I have query letters to write, videos to film, a website to construct and a re-write of the manuscript based on suggestions to do.  Then, and only then, it will be time to publish the ebook and start contacting agents about hard-copy publishing.

How long will it all take?  I’m hoping to have the ebook published by the end of April.  I think that’s realistic.

And just about the time that is published I’ll begin my month of writing classes at the community center. I am thrilled to be teaching those classes and I hope attendance is huge and spirited.

And then, of course, it will be time to begin my new novel.

So that’s it with my life.  How about you? What are you working on currently?  Let me know in your comment section if you don’t mind…..and don’t forget that you are always welcome to do a guest blog here on the subject of writing any old time you feel like it.  Just send your blog to and I’ll give it priority.


To be given the opportunity to help shape new artists’ careers and mentor them to see their dreams come to fruition is a task I welcome with open arms.

Christina Aguilera
And guess what we are talking about today?


Mentoring….it is a subject near and dear to my heart.  With eighteen years of classroom teaching, mentoring comes easy for me and I love every minute spent working with other writers and helping them when I can.

I’ll be writing an article about mentoring in the next week or so, but briefly let me say a few things about it.  Finding a mentor is like discovering gold in them thar hills.  Learning from the best….picking the brain of one who has already walked your path…that is invaluable for anyone in the arts….heck, in any walk of life.

For we writers, our mentors can be successful writers, former teachers, or just trusted friends.  Remember that the goal of finding a mentor is to help you grow in your craft, so choose wisely.  Remember also that they are doing you a favor by helping you.  Start out with small requests and build a working relationship based on trust and admiration.  Remember, also, that the mentor owes you nothing and may not be able to help you all the time….just be grateful for whatever mentoring they are able to give you.


summer of 2010 005

My mind has turned to nice weather and summertime events…so enjoy this picture and hope that one day soon your area looks like this.


Say hello to a dear friend of mine, Suzanne, or Suzie HQ on HubPages.  Suzie has carved out quite a niche for herself with a series of articles about homemade concoctions and remedies and herbal products….she really has done a marvelous job of establishing herself in this field.

Suzie lost her father several months ago, and then found herself in the hospital several weeks ago for a rare ailment, so she hasn’t been writing of late.  Go visit her site and see a perfect example of niche writing, and if you know her wish her well while you are there. She could use a little support right about now.


Welding Power Essay Contests are taking submissions for their current contest which ends May 4th.  This is a great opportunity for those of you who like to write political essays and there is no entry fee. Check them out here.


But I’ll see you again on Friday. Until then, I’ve got a ton to do and time stands still for no man, or so I’m told.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Are You A Writer Who Procrastinates?

24 Mar

003Happy Monday to you all.  I normally don’t do this blog on Monday but normal went out the window awhile back, so no worries. J

We got a new dog and that kept us busy this weekend. She is a ten-year old Australian Shepherd that we got from animal rescue and she is a doll.  That’s her in today’s prompt.

Well, let’s get this show on the road.  First our quote of the day.


Procrastination is like a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.

Christopher Parker

Well guess what we are going to talk about today.

To procrastinate is human, especially when self-doubts creep in.  I can only speak for myself, but even with my work ethic I will procrastinate if nervousness and fear enter my mind, and I think most writers are very familiar with that two-headed monster.

I have edited my current novel three times.  I was reading it to Bev today and found something I thought could use a re-write.  And I know for a fact if I read some more of it tomorrow I’ll find more that could be re-written, and if I read it six months from now the same will be true.

Maybe it isn’t ready yet?

The point is that we will never be perfect, and we will always find something to re-write…but…eventually we just have to put our work out there and go for it.  If we fail we keep writing.  We will get better, but the only way to get better is to write and then be willing to take a chance with what we have written.

I know other writers who love to write; who have a genuine passion for writing; but when it comes time to market their writing, to do readings and book signings or whatever, they freeze up and convince themselves that they are not ready yet.  But when will they be ready?  Ever?


Take a chance you have not taken yet with your writing. Whether it be a contest or contacting a publisher or whatever, stick your neck out there and find out what you are made of as a writer.



Yes, it is our new dog Holly.  Does she inspire you?


I issued you a challenge today. In fact, I issued myself a challenge as well.  Let’s give it some thought today and we will all meet that challenge….and feel better at the end of the day.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.” 

Thank You and a Call For Assistance

20 Mar

003Happy Thursday to you all.

I have a gift for you today….this is a very short message…or couple of messages.

First, to those of you who called me earlier this week as part of my challenge, thank you so much.  This was important to me.  Making meaningful connections with other writers is one of the reasons I have stayed at HubPages as long as I have. I love the community of writers I have met, and to talk to thirteen writers this week was a thrill for me. I hope some of you others take me up on the offer and call me.  It really is a thrill for me to know you better as human beings and not just some screen presence.

Next…..the working title for my novel is now “Resurrecting Tobias.”  This one works within the context of the story….so this might end up being the final.  It was that or “The Resurrection of Tobias King” but Bev and I liked the flow of the first option.  What do you think?

Lastly:  I’ll be needing readers to go over my manuscript starting next week.  This is my official call to you if you have the time.  Email me at if you are interested.  The book is about 240 Word pages, or about 127,000 words.

Here’s the thing: I need it done within a week or so, so if you can’t do it I will understand.  I don’t want flowery reviews based on friendship. I want honest appraisals with suggestions regarding glow, character development, scene development, dialogue, etc.

So let me know, and in advance, thanks to you all.

That’s it for this week. I’ll be back next Tuesday with some more Artistry With Words.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Stretch the Limits As A Writer

18 Mar

003Happy Tuesday to you all!  I’m on schedule this week so I’m pretty sure I got the day right.

I’m still toying around with a title for my novel.  What was once “A Long Walk Home” is now “Derailed.”  We’ll have to see what it is next week. LOL

I also received word that my class at the Community Center has been approved.  It will be called….are you ready….Artistry With Words….one night per week, four weeks in May….I’m very excited about teaching a class to creative writing enthusiasts.

Shall we begin?


Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’m not picking on anyone in particular, and I’m sure not pointing the finger of blame. This is simply an observation for those of you interested in becoming better writers.

I read a lot of articles during the week, and quite a few people who I follow write the same way in every article.  By that I mean there is no risk-taking going on.  If they are craft writers, every craft article that they write sounds the same. If they writer recipes, every recipe “sounds” the same.  If they write about the environment or real estate or whatever, the only thing that changes in each article are the keywords.

Growing as a writer requires taking risks.  It requires experimenting with new styles and new tools.

I have an article coming out this week on how to write an effective analogy.  Let me ask you this: when was the last time you wrote an analogy in one of your articles?  How about a metaphor?  A simile?  If you shook your head at all three then I would hope you consider trying them in the near future.

These are effective grammatical tools that every writer should have in their tool shed, and if you don’t use those tools they will become rusty.

Wait, was that a metaphor? J


Random drive on April 14, 2012 023

Use it, don’t use it, just have fun looking at it.  It’s free so do with it as you will.


For the month of May I’ll be teaching a Creative Writing Course at the local Eastside Community Center.  It’s a way for me to give to the community; it’s a way for me to build my platform as a local author; and it’s my way to make a little money.

How about you? Is there a local community center that might be in need of your talents as a writer?  Just askin’!


Say hello to my friend  breakfastpop from HubPages. I don’t know this young lady’s real name but that’s not terribly important for this posting.  I don’t agree with her politics for the most part but I do enjoy her writing abilities, and this site is all about writing.  You can find her here.

Update: I just talked to her on the phone.  She called as part of my challenge that people start making more contact with each other. What a thrill to talk to her.


I should finish my final draft this week or next and then I’ll need some of my fine friends to read my manuscript and give me suggestions.  If you are willing to do that for me then please mention it in the comments….be advised that it is about 140,000 words and I need it done fairly quickly….and in advance, thank you!


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Writers Need Persistence

13 Mar

003Welcome back on this Thursday.  I’m in a good mood. I finished my first re-write on the novel and only have one more to do which should go quickly.  It’s a good feeling and if you have written a novel you understand….if not then I hope you can experience it at some point.

I’ll do the last re-write next week and then it will be time to gather volunteers to read my novel and make suggestions.  After that stage is over it will be time to coordinate it all, seek out agents and publishers, and get it ready for ebook format. Sheez, when will it ever be done? Well, I’m guessing the end of April if all goes well.

I’m still searching for a final title. The working title, “The Long Walk Home” has been used before and I have no desire to fight that battle, so I’ll spend the next week or so deciding on a title I can live with that has not been used before.

In other words, this process seems endless but oh so rewarding.


Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacle s, discouragement s, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.

Thomas Carlyle
Well thank you Mr. Carlyle and I happen to agree, Sir!


I mentioned in a recent article that I didn’t know what I would do if this new novel wasn’t successful.  I have already stated that this is as good as I am capable of writing….so what if it isn’t good enough? What message does that send?

Well, the fact is that I am an infinitely better writer today than when I wrote my first novel, “The 12/59 Shuttle From Yesterday and Today,” and I will be infinitely better three years from now.  What will I do if this new novel is not successful?  I will keep writing.  Why?  Simply because I am a writer and that’s what writers do…they write.


I don’t know if my approach to novel writing is unique or not. I just know it works for me.  I write the entire story on my first write; what I end up with is the bare bones of the story, the plot, the subplots and the chronology.

On the first re-write I fill in character descriptions and scene descriptions.

On the second re-write I add the last bits of depth to the story.


Say hello to Graham Lee from sunny Lancashire, England. On HubPages his profile name is Old Albion and you can find him here.


Thank you as always for taking the time to read my random thoughts on writing. Hopefully you found something here that will help somewhere down the road.  Remember to pay it forward to other writers.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”




Do Not Reject Rejection….Learn From It!

11 Mar

003And a very Happy Tuesday to you all! I hope this past weekend was restful for you and you are attacking this week with a torrent of words.  Bev and I spent the weekend spring cleaning and doing assorted chores.  Not my favorite activity but one that had to be done.  We ended up taking tons of stuff to the Goodwill, and now we have some serious closet and cupboard space.

And I am feeling my oats and ready to go.  As you know, I am in the first re-write of my novel…working title “The Long Walk Home”….and I’ll be done with that in two weeks and then the final re-write before I ask some people to read it for me as a test market.  Sometime in April it will all be done, and then I’ll start looking for an agent/publisher and also start the ebook publishing process.  I’m about a month behind but I’m not concerned about it.  This book is too important to me to rush it.

Let’s start with a quote and then we’ll get to the message today.


There’s nothing like rejection to make you do an inventory of yourself.

James Lee Burke
From my favorite mystery writer. If you have never read any of Burke’s works then you really owe it to yourself to do so. The man is a genius at painting a scene and his dialogue is first-rate….and he ain’t a bad story-teller either.


Oh yes, rejection!  How we hate it as writers. Whether it be a rejection letter from a publisher or a negative comment from a reader, rejection settles into our bone marrow and makes us cold at night.

But the thing is….and the thing that Burke talks about….is the fact that if we really want to grow as writers then we need to take that inventory of ourselves.  What caused the rejection? Is there validity in the words of the one who rejected us?  What can I do differently based on the rejection? Is the rejection valid?

My first novel, “The 12/59 Shuttle From Yesterday To Today,” was summarily rejected by every agent/publisher who considered it.  Some rejections were nice; others’ rude in their brusqueness…..all of them hurt.  Happily none of the rejections told me to give up writing, but there was still pain associated to them.

Rather than give up, though, I started writing more.  Obviously, when over fifty professionals reject your work, there is something missing.  Either I did a poor job of selling the work to them, or my query letter sucked, or the book was no good.  One of those scenarios was necessary for there to be that many rejections.  It was left for me, then, to decide which one was true and to correct it.

I think I have corrected it with my new novel.  I am a better writer today than I was three years ago. I understand the framework of a good novel now, and I understand the key elements of a novel now….and it is because of the sting of rejection that today I can say that I am a better writer.


Have someone who is not a friend or relative read your manuscript before submitting it for publication.  You really need an unbiased opinion and too often friends and family are incapable of giving an unbiased opinion.



Hopefully this picture will get your creativity flowing.


The Idaho Poetry Prize is taking submissions for their poetry contest.  Entry fee is $25 and the winner takes home $1,000 and publication in their year-end review. Deadline is May 15th. For more information go to their site here.


A shout out to my friend Brian, a fellow writer on HubPages.  You can find his profile if you follow this link.  Brian is a pro: intelligent, well-read and very helpful in his comments and observations.  As an added bonus, he is a very good writer. Go pay him a visit.


I can’t promise but I think I’ll be back with another installment on Thursday. Until then have a great week and as always, thank you!


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Are Your Titles Dynamic?

6 Mar

003I’m all off-kilter this week, but if I’m not mistaken today is Thursday, so welcome.

I’ve been so busy with my first re-write of my novel “The Long Walk Home” that I’ve kind of ignored my blogging this week.  I’m pretty sure you have carried on nicely without my blogs, but just in case I will apologize.

Let’s see…why don’t we start with the Quote of the Day and then I’ll toss a few things at you.


If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.

Anita Roddick
Isn’t that a great quote? I’ve been laughing all day at that one…but it is true.


And today’s thought has to do with titles.  Talk about having an impact!  I’ve written often about the 10 Second Rule, the fact that you have about ten seconds to interest your readers enough so that they will continue reading your article, story or book…..well, you won’t even see the 10 Second Rule in play unless you have a title that can knock the socks off of your audience.

Now we are tiptoeing onto some thin ice.  When we are talking about the world of SEO, then we have to be very careful that we get keywords into that title….but….that does not mean the title has to be bland.  Even one word can make a difference.  You could have a title that looks like this…..Ten Ways To Make Money Online….which of course has been done to death…or you could change that title to read….Ten Innovative Ways To Make Money Online.  The first option is bland at best; the second option at least has a chance of interesting those who are into “new” and “innovative.”

When it comes to stories or books, the title is crucial.  Unlike an article where the topic is in the title, for a story or novel we have to give the reader a glimpse of the story line in a few words. This is not an easy thing to do.


Enlist the help of family and friends when titling your next book.  Brainstorm a whole list of titles and find a consensus for the best title.


Say hello to Liz.  Her title at HubPages is epbooks, and she is a lover of animals and a friend. Stop by and see her here.


July drive in Olympia 042

See if you can’t kickstart your creativity with this picture.


Feel free to do a guest blog on this site.  Get in touch with me at and we’ll chat about it.


Hopefully I’ll be a little more responsible next week with this blogging thing, but I make no promises.  My novel is my first priority until it is finished and ready for publication, so bear with me until it is finished.

Thank you and have a great rest of the week.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

A Guest Blog On Poetry

3 Mar

003And welcome to March!  I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for spring.  Our weather has actually been quite mild, but I’m getting anxious to start gardening.

I guess I’ll have to deal with my anxiety in the only way I know how…..writing.

Today we have a guest blogger….Sha is her name and she happens to be one of my best buddies in the writing community. In fact, this is the second time she has blogged for me, so we are all in for a bonus treat.  With that, let me turn this over to Sha….oh, and you can find her on HP if you click on this link.

Poetry: Let Your Soul Speak





Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.’”


William Wordsworth


My poetry is and always has been inspired by emotions – whether positive or negative. There’s never an in-between. As such, writing poetry has been a release for me, always reaching tranquility by the time I pen the final word. This is why the above quote speaks to me and conveys my message to you.




We all know there are various types of poetry that are depicted by the structures of each. There’s acrostic, haiku, free verse, limerick, tanka and the list goes on.


To this (part-time) poet, structure should be tossed to the wind when it comes to writing poetry. This is the one genre where only the rules of your heart apply. Where the spewing of emotions govern the pen.


Where you are free to fly.


Poetry is the only form of writing that I don’t have to research or take ‘think breaks’. An instance or an overpowering emotion will throw a line into my head. I grab my notebook and my purple pen and I write until I climax. (How’s that for poetic license?) I think you know what I mean.


I rarely edit my poetry. I write it as I feel it and don’t stop until it comes to a conclusion on its own.


However, I do space the lines in my own unique style. I don’t always follow the rules of grammar and have to spank spell check’s hand quite often.


I once had a fellow writer who was trying his hand at poetry ask me why I space my lines the way I do.  More specifically:


“I have a question: why do you start new lines after only one or two words sometimes, or rather, what was your thought process? It is very interesting.”


This was my response:


“Ben, I start new lines in order for the reader to read the way I intend. Breaks make you think and allow the words to be absorbed by the mind more easily. Poetry isn’t like writing prose; you don’t need to have complete sentences, nor do they need to be on one line. I space my words in order to create the rhythm with which the words sing in my head as I write the poem.”


You see, poetry comes from the heart. Our hearts have no rules. No grammar guidelines. They feel what they feel and oftentimes there’s no rhyme or reason to anyone but the holder of the emotions.


I write poetry the way I feel the emotions that spark the poet in me. When I share, I want the reader to be as close to my heart as when emotion triggered the thought and I took pen in hand. (By the way, I always write my poems on paper before giving them a permanent home in Word, which is completely opposite my routine for any other type of writing.)


At the risk of taking up too much space, here’s an example. In fact this particular poem was inspired by a picture prompt that Bill (our host) threw out there back in April 2013. I published it on HubPages, but their format always changes the way I intend for my poems to be read. Here’s the original:


My Reflections of Life



Gazing upon the river

With the trees reflected

In the crystal clear water

I see Life

I see my life

My life has flowed

Like a river

Twisting and turning,

Never knowing

What’s around the bend

Each turn holds a discovery

Each twist

A challenge

There are scars I’ve gained

Along the river of Life

But they don’t stop the flow

Rather they add texture to the

Beauty that is reflected

In each ripple,

As are the blue skies

And golden sunlight

The scars add substance

And strength of character

They offer a foundation

For beauty and fortitude

To hold onto

The river holds

Reflections of my Life

To be shared

And never forgotten

Shauna L Bowling

Copyright © April 2013

All Rights Reserved



Poetry is very personal. It comes from the soul when it chooses to speak. Your heart and soul have no rules; they have no boundaries. Let your poetry flow from within and don’t edit. Too much of life is constrained by rules. Let your spirit fly. When it speaks, write it down verbatim. Poetry is truth. Your truth. Feelings cannot be edited; they are what they are.


You have a beautiful soul. Let it speak its own language.



My apologies to Sha…I couldn’t download this picture for whatever reason…Mea Culpa (Bill)




I want to thank Bill for requesting a guest post from poets. I’ve been so busy with other types of writing that I haven’t been as active as I once was with my poetry.


I hope you gained something from my contribution to Artistry With Words.


Take Bill up on his offer for guest writers. It will broaden your horizons – and your smile!







This is where I hand the mike (or keyboard) back over to Bill…..


And I have nothing to add….thank you Sha!  Remember, all of you, this offer is always open. Just get in touch with me and tell me you would like to guest blog and it will happen.

Have a great week.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”