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Sorting Through Priorities

25 Oct


I’m late!

I have no excuse.

Shall we continue anyway, or would you like to hang me in effigy?

Actually, I have an excuse, but I don’t feel like sharing it, so there you go.

Or maybe I will, but I’ll do it in a roundabout way.

Pay attention and you might figure out my excuse.


“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” Stephen Covey

I readily admit that I can be a bit obsessive. That’s both a blessing and a curse, depending on the day.  Recently I have obsessed over finishing my latest novel “Shadows Over a Hangman’s Noose.”  I want to publish it sometimes in November and come hell or high water I’m going to do that . . . but I can’t lose sight of my daily priorities because of that obsession.

I recently acquired a freelance gig that pays pretty good, and I was in danger of missing that deadline because of my novel obsession.

So I had to step back and get my act together.

Long-term goals are wonderful, but don’t forget the daily goals in the process.

That’s a long-winded way of saying this blog almost didn’t happen because I wasn’t thinking clearly.

The novel can wait a day while I take care of my new customer and post this blog.

Problem solved!


I’m still trying to find an ad that appeared on NIUME regarding pay for travel.  A friend of mine on HP recently said she saw an ad stating that a company will pay writers the cost of travel if they write travel articles for them, and I can’t find the darned ad, but I’ll keep trying.  This is something I’m not aware of, but it’s interesting enough to keep looking.  Stay tuned!July 21, 2012 041


While visiting a forum on HP recently, I came across a writer who wanted to know what the secret was to making money faster while writing online.  My answer is simple: there is no fast way to make money as a freelance writer. There are no “get rich quick” schemes in freelance writing.  You have to build your platform, practice your craft, and market wisely.  It takes time. The successful freelance writers I know, and I’m including myself in that conversation, are the ones who have spent years building their professional platforms and who treat their writing like a business.

Yes, I said they spent YEARS!

If you want to get rich quick, play the Lotto.  The odds are horrible but you just might beat them in one week.


I’m on empty, so let’s wrap it up.  As always, I appreciate you stopping by.  I promise to have more interviews in the near future, just as soon as I get my act together and take care of some pressing priorities.

town_876And yes, Christmas is coming, and I mention that because a great gift for anyone buying for a reader is a book by an independent author.  Why give more money to James Patterson when some great writers who just started out could use a sale or two?  If you want some suggestions of great indie writers, I’ll be more than happy to give them to you…and I’ll include them, from time to time, on this site.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Don’t Be a Pain in the Butt

18 Oct


Sorry, but time was short, storms kept threatening the power, I had a birthday, and I never got around to interviewing any writers this week.  I’m afraid you’re just stuck with little old me, one year older and hopefully slightly wiser.

Thanks to all of you who took the time to wish me Happy Birthday last week.  I am humbled by the outpouring of love from my friends and peers.  It’s been a good life and it only gets better.

We are in the middle of 72 hours of some serious weather here in Olympia.  No, not on the scale of a hurricane, but the winds are hovering around the fifty-to-sixty mph level, and the rain is non-stop, and flooding is happening . . . in other words, it’s great weather to write.


“Never go to excess, but let moderation be your guide.” Marcus Tullius Cicero

I’m currently teaching myself Twitter.  I know, I know, I’m a little late to the show, but I can only do so much, folks, and Twitter has fallen by the wayside and that’s just the real of it, as one of my characters, Billy the Kid, is fond of saying.

Now the reason I mention that is because I realized there are a lot of social media sites available where writers can market their brand, and I mean A LOT!!!!!  Too many, in my humble opinion, so I concentrate on just a few, namely Facebook, Pinterest, my blog, sometimes Linkedin, and now Twitter.

Why too many?

This is just my subjective opinion, so if you do differently, don’t get all bent out of shape over it.  I’m more concerned with doing quality marketing rather than blizzard marketing.  I want to do select sites and do them extremely well, rather than belong to twenty different social media sites and do them poorly.

And my other concern is I never want to flood the market with my book marketing to the point of becoming an annoying pain-in-the-butt.


Be a real person first and a writer second.

I am betting the metaphorical farm on my personality and my writing abilities.  I am convinced, in the long run, that the quality of my writing and my personality will both be huge factors in whether I am successful or not.  In that light, it is very important to me that I let you know me as a real human being and not just some huckster who is trying to sell his books.  I want there to be a very real personal relationship between me and my followers, a connection of two human beings.

I may never be famous or rich because of writing, but the followers I do have will follow me into hell, and I can live with the smaller numbers knowing I’ve touched, deeply, a select few.

Be a real person first and a writer second!


I got my first payout, a grand total of ten bucks, but hey, it only took a month and hey, that was without me making much of an effort on that site.  In other words, I think NIUME has real possibilities for someone who really wants to become an active member of that community.


FanStory has a Lune Poetry Contest with a deadline of October 24th, a $100 prize for the best.  What is Lune?  It is 5 syllables in the first line, three in the second, and five in the third…it does not have to rhyme.  Check it out here.

Write a Halloween story for another $100 prize, also offered on FanStory. Check out story requirements by following this handy link.


A shout out to a new writer friend of mine, Sarah Potter, on her website SarahPotterWrites.  This is a talented and personable writer and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed by following her.


Someone recently asked me “what’s the difference between a short story and a novella?”

The answer is you!


Seriously, the difference is length.  A short story is in the neighborhood of 3,000-8,000 words, give or take a paragraph.  A novella is shorter than a novel, so figure 10,000-60,000 words.  Please note these designations are flimsy at best so, my best suggestion . . . don’t worry about it!


I thank you and I thank your parents for giving birth to you.

How’s that for a farewell?

Bill   #greatestunknownauthor #shadowskill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”




A Slight Change of Focus

6 Sep


I’m going to make every attempt possible to be a little more consistent with my postings here.  I do believe in consistency, but life has tossed me a few lemons of late, and that’s knocked me off my schedule and stride.

So I’m shooting for once a week from now on. Wish me luck.

I’m also going to attempt to be more helpful as we move forward, toss out some suggestions, see if I can’t help all of you as you travel along your writing path.

So let’s see how it goes!


“Have patience with all things, But, first of all with yourself.” Saint Francis de Sales

That quotation hits me right between the eyes.

I am my own worst enemy.  Always have been.  I am never satisfied with what I do.  I am always convinced I am falling just short of where I should be.  Let me tell you, it’s one hell of a burden, and for a writer, who should exercise patience above all other attributes, not being patient is not a great recipe for success.

Writing is a long-term undertaking.  Overnight success rarely happens in this business, and those who think that rule does not apply to them probably should not be writers.

I have to constantly remind myself of that fact.


Your ultimate goal probably will not, and should not, change, but the way you attain that goal can, and probably should, change.

If your approach is not working then for the love of the gods, try a different approach.  My dad used to say there is no sense in beating a dead horse.  The same philosophy applies to marketing.  If your marketing plan is failing then find a new one.  Never be afraid of trying new marketing approaches.  I recently tried selling my books at farmers markets.  That idea failed miserably when measured by the sales of books, and I probably won’t do it next summer, but that doesn’t mean it failed totally.  It helped to get my name out to the buying public.  It put a face to a name, and allowed me to discuss writing with real-life people.  All of these are good things and should never be minimized.

There are a thousand and one ways to market your writing, so if you’ve only tried five so far, you’ve got a few to go.


Well, not really new, but relatively new, a couple years, but I want you to check it out if you’re interested in making a little online money while doing what you love to do…writing.  It’s called NIUME and it is causing a stir, kind of like HP did six years ago.  I believe the corporate entity is out of the UK, and they advertise themselves as a blogging community.  They are getting well-established, or so the reports go, so it might be worth a look.  Let me know what you think.  I’m intrigued enough to consider it with some of my old Hubs that are gathering dust on HP.

If you are interested, use my personal referral link and I’ll receive money when you sign up.  You have nothing to lose.  It costs nothing to check it out.  You know I’m a staunch member of HubPages, so I must feel pretty good to even mention another site.

What I loved first about this site is the ease with which you sign up for revenue share.  You simply give your PayPal login email address and that’s it. No signing up for Google Adsense, no waiting to qualify with a certain amount of articles….ten seconds and you are in the payment system.

Anyway, check it out.  This is not a recommendation as much as it is a suggestion.


“Outlast the lucky, outwork the lazy.”  Jeff Goins


I’ve mentioned this site before but it bears repeating.  A friend of mine on HubPages, John, known as Jodah on HP, has started a new site specifically for creative writers and poets. That site is called The Creative Exiles.  Check them out if you are tired of the constrictions and restrictions that sites like HP put on you.

This is not a revenue-based site but it is a site where you can rub shoulders with a supportive community of writers, and it is a site where your creative writing will be showcased.

What do you have to lose?


In a perfect world, here’s what I would have happen: I would be left to just writing.  I would then turn my writing over to my own personal publicist.  At the same time I would hire a tech whiz who would handle the setting up of podcasts, videos and other tech gadgets so I didn’t have to sweat blood trying to learn it all.

But it’s not a perfect world, is it?  What we are left with is what we can do by ourselves.B.T.K.C. x5A

In other words, we do what we can.


Yes, I said Christmas!  Mea culpa, Mea culpa, Mea maxima culpa!

But let’s face it, it’s getting closer, so we might as well acknowledge that fact…and for most of us, Christmas will eventually mean Christmas shopping for those near and dear to us.

Might I suggest a couple ideas for gifts?  How about supporting your writing friends and give one of their books as a gift?  If we truly do belong to a writing community of friends, then let’s truly support those friends by buying their books as gifts for other friends….and the circle goes round and round…sing it with me!  James Patterson has sold enough books.  Let’s spread the wealth a little.

Need some ideas?  How about the following:

“The Carriage Driver” by Mike Friedman

“Versions of the Self” by Christy Birmingham


  • Make personal connections
  • Tell stories
  • Practice and when you are finished, practice again.



I’m busy doing some marketing research.  I’m interested in new ways of getting my name out there without shoving it down my friends’ throats and becoming tiresome to those who have already supported me….so I’m killing the rest of this afternoon scouring the billions of tons of information out there, looking for an idea that resonates with me.

I wish you a fantastic week of writing. Thank you so much for your support and friendship.

In the next few blogs I’ll be interviewing some fellow writers and picking their brains. Stay tuned for that.

And for those who inquired, the latest in the Shadow series is coming along nicely.  I’m at the 1/3rd mark and it is flowing better than I had hoped.  It will be titled “Shadows Over a Hangman’s Noose.”

Bill    #greatestunknownauthor

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

The Value of a Writing Coach

13 Jan

Why is it that weekends go by so quickly?  I don’t ever remember a Wednesday flying by, but Saturdays?  Gone in the blink of an eye!

I spent the weekend fixing our quail enclosure…our aviary…would that be a quailry???  Anyway, making any bird enclosure predator-proof is quite an undertaking, but I think we are done and ready to put the quail back in their outside home.  They’ve had it a bit easy for the past couple months in the garage, warm and safe from the elements and raccoons.   It’s time they get back outside as the gods intended.

Working on projects like that one is a hands-on job, but my mind is always tossing around writing ideas while I cut the wood and fit it into place.  Short story ideas, novel tweaking, new characters, they all visit me while I’m screwing and pounding. (I know that sounded dirty but it’s what I was doing)

The point is that my mind never rests, and I suspect it is true of most writers.  My muse will whisper sweet nothings in my ear at the strangest times, and I have to be receptive and willing to listen.  When she does, I write her ideas down in my ever-present pad, and then refer to them on Monday when my writing week continues.

I’m babbling now, but I’m sure you’ll find a couple worthwhile suggestions in that babbling if you look close enough.


In the end, it’s about the teaching, and what I always loved about coaching was the practices. Not the games, not the tournaments, not the alumni stuff. But teaching the players during practice was what coaching was all about to me.

John Wooden

I was recently contacted by a writer friend of mine who wants to hire me as her writing coach.  She needs some assistance as she prepares to write her first book, and I’m excited to be working with her.

A writing coach?  Yes, a writing coach.  People pay music teachers to help them play instruments, so why not a writing coach to help you as you learn this craft?

Everyone can write, but not everyone can write well, and that’s what a writing coach can do for you.  Let me ask you a question:  are you a good writer?  Most writers can’t answer that question.  We’ve all been told by friends and/or family that our stuff is good, but they are expected to say that.  How about an objective appraisal from an objective coach?  Would that be beneficial?


If you have doubts, or you feel you are stuck at a certain level and don’t know how to elevate your game, give some consideration to hiring a writing coach.  It just might be the best decision you can make.  When people hire me as a coach, they are taking on some tough love.  As a writer my job is to support and encourage.  As a coach, my job is to yank you out of your comfort level and give you the truth whether you want it or not….and you should expect that from any writing coach.


Let’s do something different today. As many of you know, I’m in the final edits of “Shadows Kill,” a psychological thriller that is a bit unsettling but never boring.  I still have time for a few additions, so I thought I would give you a chance to have a character named after you.  All you have to do is correctly answer the following question, and I’ll place your name in my book where it will remain forever.

Here’s the question:  What high school did I attend?  Here’s a clue: I attended high school in Tacoma, Washington.


I recently wrote an article and in that article I mentioned that making a couple hundred bucks a month is not a problem.  I had a reader mention that she disagreed with me and she hasn’t found that to be true for her.

I’m standing by my assertion.  Just writing for content mills can earn you that much, and there are a great many content mills out there.  You’ll be working for peanuts when you do write for a mill, but it’s entirely possible to make ten bucks per article and write twenty articles in a month.  I don’t suggest doing it, but desperate times call for desperate measures.  Add to that all the opportunities that await you in your own community, writing blogs for businesses, and all the online and hard copy magazines and newspapers….there are many, many ways to make money in this business.


It’s time for me to wrap this up so I can wrap up a couple more projects outside. Have a great week of writing.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

What’s Your Angle?

17 Sep

003Look at me, back on Wednesday, twice in one week. Will wonders never cease?

I’m actually getting comfortable with the new schedule, and that means more efficiency, and that means you are burdened with another blog post.  LOL

I received two more rejections for “Resurrecting Tobias” today.  Good thing because the kitty litter box needed cleaning.  Think about it…think about it….I knew you’d find the humor in that eventually.

Okay, let’s get this show started.


“Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared
believe that something inside of them was superior to circumstance.”
– Bruce Barton

So, let’s talk about naysayers and self-doubt.


I don’t really use my rejection letters for the kitty litter box. I print them out and hang them on the wall of my writing studio.  I need a reality check daily, and a little motivation never hurt me either.

Check out the quote by Mr. Barton, whoever the heck he is.  Do you believe there is something inside of you that is superior to your circumstance?  It’s an important question so give it some thought.

Writers live an isolated life at times.  We are sitting on a tiny island in a vast sea, and there are days it feels like the rescue ship will never arrive.  Those are the days you better believe in what you are doing.  Those are the days you need to take those self-doubts, and the negative words you have heard from others, and you need to either push them aside or use them as motivation…but whatever you do…don’t believe them.


Begin each morning by standing in front of a mirror and repeating these words:  I am a writer and a damned good one.

Then go out and prove it.


My dear friend Liz Davis (Radcliff on HP) agreed to do another post for me, so I’ll turn the rest of this blog over to her. I just love it when my friends do my work for me.


In an early episode of Seinfeld, Jerry and Elaine forged a plan before heading out to a party later that night. The plan was this: If either were to become stuck in dull conversation with a stranger at the party, Jerry or Elaine would signal one another by patting themselves on the head. The free one would swoop in to pull the other away, saving the victim from ongoing boredom.

But they weren’t prepared for the inevitable. Both ended up stuck with twits, and both ended up patting their heads with no one to relieve them. Jerry finally broke free and rescued Elaine.

“Where have you been?” She asks. “I’ve been beating myself senseless over here.”

Like so many other Seinfeld moments, it’s funny because we’ve all been there. Whether it’s the chatterbox at the supermarket or the egomaniac on the plane, your insides tingle as anxiety mounts. Your brain screams in agony while you sit and nod politely with glazed eyes.

Whether you’re writing an essay or having a conversation, no one wants to tell a dry story devoid of that gasp-factor. Yet we’ve all had amazing tales to tell that simply fell flat straight out of our mouths or onto the page.

So how can plain stories be saved? How do we avoid putting readers to sleep with humdrum writing?

The answer is in the angle.

An angle adds an element of surprise to your personal essay or memoir. Although the angle is called something different in fiction writing or advertising, the gist is still the same. It’s what makes your story interesting, even if it’s happened a million times before.

Once you find your angle, you have a roadmap. A clear angle keeps your story trimmed down to the essential elements, making sure you don’t drift down any dead-end alleys.

For example, say I wanted to write an article on my current hometown of Hudson, Florida. This is about as dull and drab a place as you’ll ever find, so creating an angle is crucial. I could base my article on the subject–Hudson is six-point-something square miles, it’s an hour north of Clearwater, it’s in the Tampa Bay area–cluttery data no one cares about. Another option? I could interview my high school teachers who still teach, asking them how students here have changed over the past 25 years. This creates an angle from the subject. It adds interest–and perhaps surprise elements– to the story.

So how do you find an angle?

  • Talk it through. Speaking out loud is a great way to pull the angle from your story, especially if you’re talking to an audience (spouse, parent, friend).
  • Look at what’s trending on Google. Why is this story so gripping? The answer is your angle.
  • Did you overhear someone say something that grabbed your attention? Did it make you angry/happy/worried? There’s your angle.

So if your story has you smacking yourself in frustration, remember: there’s an angle in there somewhere. Find it and your muse will rescue you from that crowded party of boring storytellers.

I invite you to come check out my new blog called Mellow Mother. The tagline/angle: enjoying simple moments amid the chaos. At Mellow Mother, I’ll talk about easy creative projects, simple stress management, and painless teaching techniques. I’m delving into the subjects of Montessori education and the Reggio Emilia approach to learning, so I’m sure I’ll soon be writing about those subjects as well.


Check out this new poet I found on HP…crissalina is her profile name and I think you’ll enjoy her.


My thanks, again, to Lizzy for that great post.  She hit the proverbial nail on the head with that one. I don’t think there are boring topics. I do, however, believe there are boring writers.

Please check out her new blog at


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”







Making An Impact With Writing

5 Nov

003Welcome to a new week of artistry.  Shall we begin?

Today I think we will talk about having an impact with your writing.


A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.
Jackie Robinson

So, what kind of impact do you want with your writing?  Are you looking for comments? Are you looking for book sales? Are you looking for acceptance from editors or the reading public?

Remember that negative responses can be considered an impact as well.  When I first started writing, I received a rather nasty comment one day on an article I had written for HubPages.  Now I admit, at first I was upset…angry….and discouraged.  I mean, nobody wants to hear that he is full of it or that he completely missed the mark, right?

Over time I have come to realize that even negative comments mean I have had an impact, and isn’t that why we all write in the first place? We want to make our mark in this world. We want to inspire or inform.  So whether the comments are negative or positive we are still making an impact, and I find that comforting.

The same can be said when you get rejected by a magazine editor or a book publisher.  There is one thing that is much worse than being rejected by an editor and that, my friends, is to never have tried and thus assured yourself of never having a chance.  Being rejected puts you in great company and it means that you made the effort and took the chance, which means you have big cajones. J

It’s all about perspective my friends.


If you don’t already follow Kelly’s blog then do so now.  Her blog is called The Real Housewife and you can find it here.



One of my newer pictures from my trip to Pe Ell this weekend.  Yes, the new travel series, Exploring The Back Roads, has its initial entry today and you can find that here.

As for this picture, see me, feel me, touch me, sing along with me. J  Use your senses and write a paragraph.


The White Pine Press Poetry Contest is taking submissions now until November 30th. Entry fee is $20 with a $1,000 first prize.  Here are those submission guidelines.


I’m currently writing an article about writing excellence.  Simply stated, I do not understand writing without trying to be excellent in writing….but then, I don’t understand parenting without trying to be excellent in parenting, or any other job or vocation or hobby or whatever.  We have limited time here on earth; we have incredible gifts and talents; why would we settle for mediocrity?

I just don’t get those who are willing to settle for 50%.cropped-summer-of-2010-015.jpg


Anything that I missed? Probably, but if so I’ll do it again on Thursday and try to plug the holes. Have a great week of writing and remember to drop me a line if I can do anything to help you and your writing career.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


Not Writing For Better Writing

20 May

003Welcome back!  I hope you had a restful weekend and that your mind is refreshed and bubbling over with ideas.  That leads me to the tip of the day.  Shall we begin?


Take a break!  This is one I recently began adopting.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am somewhat of a prolific writer. I churn out the words daily in an attempt to beat the clock and Father Time….but….

I have learned that I am much more refreshed and my writing is much better if I take weekends off.  I can’t say in truth that my mind shuts down because I am always coming up with ideas for articles, but I do not allow myself to write on weekends.

A good friend of mine, Cyndi, talked about this recently. She said she needs to get out in nature and feed her soul, and I believe that is crucial for a writer.  All work and no play makes for a very one-dimensional individual.  Give yourself permission to go have fun.  Your writing will be better because of it.


In Hollywood the woods are full of people that learned to write but evidently can’t read. If they could read their stuff, they’d stop writing.
Will Rogers
I’m laughing out loud at this quote. Why? Because it is so true in the world of writing.

I found great inspiration the other day when I came upon a novel in the library that was so poorly written as to be embarrassing.  The dialogue was dull….the plot juvenile….the phrasing stunted….and this guy was published!

What I deduced from that was that a lot of writing and being published is being in the right place at the right time.  There are many great writers who have never been published.  There are many mediocre writers who have been published.  Do not bother to try and make sense of it all.  Just hold out hope and keep writing.


Say hello to my dear friend Vicki.  You can find her here on HubPages.  She is a reflective sort with wonderful insights about life, and on top of that she is a fine human being.  Give her a shout out and in the process do yourself a favor. vicki


500 Words Writing Contest can be found here.  Write a short story of 500 words or less.  Due date in September.  Great contest for you flash fiction folks out there.


Practical tips on writing a book from 23 authors is here.  I ran across this blog a few days ago and found it interesting. There are some very good suggestions from some people who know what they are talking about.


I’m not much for religious writing, and I try to avoid preaching about God.  Having said that, years ago I came across Og Mandino and found his books so good that I devoured them all.

Mandino wrote in such a simple style that one could easily read an entire book in a day. He was a master storyteller and every single book had an important, inspirational message. I highly recommend his books.  If you ever want a kick in the butt motivational boost, try reading “The God Memorandum.”


odds and ends drive on Nov 11, 2012 002

Here is another picture from the beautiful Pacific Northwest.  If you have never been here then you owe yourself a visit. We really are surrounded by stunning natural beauty.


Enough for one day!  Have a great day of writing and I’ll toss some more tidbits at you tomorrow. Thanks, as always, for the visit.


Perseverance and Writing

15 May

003Welcome back my friends and I hope you are having a productive and happy May 15th.

How goes the writing?  Are you kicking out the words and feeling good about it? I hope so because you are one of the special people.  You are right there with all the other artists, writers and musicians who bring beauty into this world through your craft.  Take it seriously, be proud of what you do and never give up.


Persevere!  There is your tip for the day.  You must be made of the right stuff if you want to succeed in this writing business.  You cannot be discouraged when your writing is not recognized and immediately praised.  You need to persevere!


After being Turned Down by numerous Publishers, he had decided to write for Posterity.


George Ade (1866 – 1944)

Sound familiar?  There are two points worth talking about in that quote.  One has to do with being turned down by publishers.  This is a way of life for a writer, and those who succeed are not necessarily the best writers but rather they are the writers who did not give up.

I sold an article to a magazine yesterday.  It was the second article sold in two years of sending in submissions.  Now true, I do not submit articles every single day but still…two in two years?  Why keep trying, right?  Well, if you have to ask that question then you are not a writer. We keep trying because that is what we do, and that is the only way to get published. The odds are against us but we keep trying.

The other part of that quote I want to talk about is writing for posterity.  I can only speak for myself, but I find great comfort and joy knowing that what I write will live on long after I am gone.  My words will continue to float around the internet for years after I die, just as the words of all writers before me still live on.  I am writing a legacy and it will be a forever legacy. I love that thought and you should too.


I have spotlighted this book before but I want to do it again. This book is so important for those of you who plan on submitting work to agents, publishers or editors.  It is the Writer’s Market and you can find it here on Amazon.

What’s so special about this book? Well, it has all the information you will ever need to submit your work for publication.  It has hundreds of pages of magazine listings, agent listings and publisher listings. It has submission guidelines for each listing, and it has useful information about query letters and other tools you will need.

I buy this book every year because I consider it the Bible of Writers!  Check it out on ebay and you might find a year-old copy for cheap.


November 2012 around Olympia 012

Looking for a little inspiration? Maybe you will find it in this picture.


The Autumn House Contest can be found here.  The entry deadline is coming soon, so check it out and see how it feels to you.


Yes, parting is such sweet sorrow, but time is short and I have a few submissions to make.  When the writing stops the promotion starts, and when the promotion stops the writing starts again.  Welcome to the life of a writer.

Hopefully I will see you all tomorrow…same time, same place.


Be Your Own Writer

10 May

003Welcome back on this 10th day of May. I hope you are well and feeling your oats this morning.

Today let’s talk a bit about your writer’s voice.

Whether you realize it or not, you have a distinctive writer’s voice. I’m sure some of you are saying that you haven’t developed your voice yet, or you don’t know what it is yet, but the fact is that you are unique among writers and as such you have a unique voice.  Nobody writes exactly the way that you write.  I find that comforting and you should too.

Think about it!  There are seven billion people on this planet and nobody has your writer’s voice. Isn’t that remarkable?  Now true, you may not be pleased with your current voice, in which case start taking steps to change it.  What kind of voice do you want to have?  I faced this question about sixteen months ago, and one day it hit me that I wanted to develop a voice that was comfortable for my readers, as though we were sitting with each other having coffee….so I worked on that and I’m feeling pretty good about the results.


““Be yourself. Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe, shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish.””

John Jakes


Again, we are discussing the writer’s voice.  Be yourself. Find the voice you want and cultivate it. In the end, being you is much better than being a counterfeit of someone else.


So, how do you find your voice?  Consider these tips:

1)      Picture your audience and write to them. What does your audience look like? Who are they? What do they like? Now, how are you going to reach them? How do you need to present your information so they will understand?

2)      Experiment with different genres.  Give poetry a try.  Try personal essays and try narratives.  Who knows, you just might stumble upon something that works for you.


Meet my dear friend Eddy.  You can find her at HubPages by following this link.

If you want to read a distinct voice, read some of Eddy’s works. She makes her readers feel like they are sitting in the garden with her, sipping tea and speaking of beautiful things.  I promise you will enjoy her work.


Would you like to read a book about writer’s voice? Check out this one on Amazon.


Monarch Sculpture Park...Tenino July 2011 082

Try a little writing exercise with this picture.  Write one stanza in poetry about what you see here.  Then write one paragraph of a personal essay.  Just a little practice that might help you develop that voice.


I love this video of Quentin Tarantino discussing writer’s voice. You can see it here on YouTube.



I will be back on Monday with another installment of Artistry With Words. I hope this blog today helped to clarify a few things concerning your writer’s voice.  Without it we are nothing. J

Have a great weekend my friends and as always, thank you for visiting my humble site.


Perseverance Is A Writer’s Sustenance

29 Apr


“It is impossible to discourage the real writers – they don’t give a damn what you say, they’re going to write.”~Sinclair Lewis

Truer words were never written.  Discouragement is inevitable when writing.  How can it not be? We sit, by ourselves, for endless hours writing words in hopes that someone will read them. We face rejections slips, we hear negatives and days can go by without any positive feedback…..and still we write.  So although discouragement may be inevitable it is not crippling.  Read writers write!  Despite the setbacks and the seemingly insurmountable odds, real writers write.  It is as though we are driven to do so.  Some inner voice demands that we sit down and spill our hearts and open our souls for dissection.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. J


Develop your character.  Use these prompts in describing characters in your story or book.

  • Name
  • Age
  • Job
  • Ethnicity
  • Appearance
  • Residence
  • Pets
  • Religion
  • Hobbies
  • Single or married?
  • Children?
  • Temperament


Do not skimp on this.  Readers want to associate with a character. When I think back to some of my favorite characters in literature, I realize that they had some aspect of their character that I could relate to in some way, and the author is the one who made that happen.  It is your job to bring life to a character.


I use Brainy Quotes almost daily, either as a supporting quote in my articles or as inspiration.  You can find this great site here.  Just look under a topic heading and you will find several quotes that you can use in your next article.


Visit Deb, or aviannovice, on HubPages.  You can find her here.

She does a wonderful weekly article about Life at Boomer Lake where she does a photo essay of the birds who visit her favorite lake in Oklahoma.  However, it is her poetry that I really love.  No matter, get to know her.  She is a quality human being who, just like all of us, is just trying to make it in this business.


Free entry for this haiku contest with a cash prize of $100…entry deadline in July.  You can find it here.


July 21, 2012 041

This was taken around the Olympia area.  I’m not going to tell you what it is because that’s not the point of a writing prompt. What is important is what you think it is, or what you think of when you see it.  Have fun!


Yes, I will return on Tuesday with more tips, suggestions and recommendations.  Thanks for stopping by and have a great day writing.