Sunday, December 27, 2009

Daily tips to get organized for writing in 2010


The last week of the year and so much to do. Those of you interested in getting your writing careers off the ground need to take this last week of the year and get organized. Here are a few tips:

Go through your notes, mail or anything else that is cluttering your desk. Organize the papers or items into four piles

1. trash (pitch immediately )

2. idea file ( put in a folder to file )

3. needs action today ( Take whatever action needs to be done. If it is a bill, pay it. If it is something that needs a query, write it. If it needs correspondence, write it and email it now. Whatever action needs to be taken, do it and then move on.)

4. Other ( this may include putting away things that don't belong on your desk to begin with. It may include filing magazines away,stacking project notes, or taking the coffee cups back to the kitchen sink. Get rid of anything that will distract you from your writing. )

The point is to de-clutter the desk for a fresh start. Take the first day of this last week of December to de-clutter, file, and organize your desk for 2010. You will be glad you did.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Plan now... for 2010. Tips for the beginning writer.

The Holidays are fast approaching and so is the end to another year. Time flies and it can be all too easy to say NEXT year I will get published or NEXT year I will spend more time putting my words to the page.

  • How DO you feel about your writing for 2009?

WHAT do you want to do with your writing career for 2010?

NOW is the time to start planning for your successful 2010 freelance career. Here are a few tips for you to get your writing up and running.

1. Make a list of 4 things you want to accomplish next year regarding your freelance writing business. Breaking that into small steps allows three months for each goal for 2010.

2. Under each goal, list one action you can do daily to work towards that goal. List one action every week you will do to work towards that same goal.

3. Schedule writing time every day to reach those smaller goals, even if you only have 15 minutes a day. Fifteen minutes every day for one week is a total of 105 minutes a week. Carry that total for 4 weeks and you have a whopping 420 minutes to work on your writing career. Aren't you worth that.

4. Take advantage of all of the free writing advice and writing sites online, but schedule those into your work time and stick to the schedule. You can easily get distracted by all of the information and never get to the writing part of your goal.

I am beginning again by putting my writing career above anything else for 2010. I am serious about wanting to succeed at this and to get some things published. I will follow my own advice and make a goal list, schedule writing time, and continue to learn from other successful freelance writers.

But the most important part of the entire 2010 plan is this:


Good luck. Check back often for encouragement and tips. Visit for more writing tips and how to market your writing.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Randy Ingermanson...the snowflake guy

For all of you who are interested in writing fiction....check out the website of author Randy Ingermanson...better known as "The snowflake guy". He has a unique process for writing fiction and he shares some of that in his newsletter.

  • If you are really serious about learning to hone your craft, it is necessary to soak up any and all information about writing in all forms. There is a wealth of FREE information as well as affordable on-line courses to help you learn.

  • Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, "the Snowflake Guy," publishes the Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine, with more than 18,000 readers, every month. If you want to learn the craft and marketing of fiction, AND make your writing more valuable to editors, AND have FUN doing it, visit
    Download your free Special Report on Tiger Marketing and get a free 5-Day Course in How To Publish a Novel.

Check out Randy at to sign up for the informational newsletter and more on Randy.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Author Carole Gerber has a new book coming in 2010

The writing life is exciting especially when you are successful like author Carole Gerber. Carole has published numerous children's books, educational material, and poems.

  • She is also the winner of the 2008 John Burroghs Young Reader list award for her book WINTER TREES.

Please check out her website at for more information on this wonderful children's writer. You will be both inspired and encouraged to keep working towards your own writing dreams. Visit her site today and happy browsing. It is a treat.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving to all

Happy Thanksgiving to all. Let us be thankful for free speech, freedom of the press, and our God given talent to write and share with others.

  • May you all have a successful end of the year with your writing dreams.

Blessings to all of you as you follow your hearts into the world of words. See you on the page.



Friday, November 6, 2009

JEAN REAGAN...Always My Brother

Welcome Jean Reagan
Welcome to Jean Reagan, author of Always My Brother. Here is a post directly from her about grief and how writing became an important part of the healing. Please feel free to comment or share your own experiences with grief and writing.
  • When my 19-year old son John died of a drug overdose, I was emotionally paralyzed. All the layers of hope for his recovery instantly vanished, yet still lingered in my mind and heart. I knew I should journal, but the task seemed overwhelming. At the same time I worried I would forget critical thoughts and memories if I didn’t write them down.

I’m a list-maker by nature, so I came up with a strategy that worked for me. Initially, all I required of myself was to list headings on the top of journal pages. Then, when I had the emotional strength to write, I tackled the heading that seemed most manageable. I could dabble or dig deep. And, with these topics, I could always trigger memories I feared I would forget.

Here’re some of my topic headings:
Words and advice that haunt me.

The first time I held John.

Telling our daughter about John’s death.

Specific memories of his laughter, his gentleness.

Relief from worry—really?

Scanning crowds for his face.

Eventually many of these emotional truths made it into of my children’s book about sibling loss, ALWAYS MY BROTHER. (Tilbury House Publishers, June 2009)

One unexpected joy I experienced in writing this story was that I could “rewind” John’s life to a younger and healthy period before he was tortured by drug addiction. For more information about the story behind the book, visit

Thanks Jean for this valuable inspiration. The book is beautiful and your words will touch many._

Posted by terri.forehand at 8:54 PM
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Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Buzz... A Blog Tour is Coming.....

  • Writing is fun, hard work, and creative, but did you know that writing can be therapy as well?
Writing is a well known therapy for grief. Journals are the best way to write your way through grief.
Join me on November 7th as part of the blog book tour for Always My Brother by author Jean Reagan.
Jean has done journal writing, creative writing, and she has most recently written a book about the grief of loosing a sibling. Jean will be a guest here on November 7th and post on this blog about her own writing about grief. Follow here the rest of the week for tips and ideas about how to start your own journal.
Comment and let us know how you journal and how it has helped you through a difficult or sad time. Sharing with others will help all of us grow. See you then.... come back again....Friends.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Take a Look at the NeW WEBSITE of author Mayra Calvanis

Mayra Calvani's Official Children's Book website

can be found at

  • Visit the new and wonderful website of Mayra, a children's author, and take a peek at all the new stuff about books for kids, her newest release, and about her passion for Golden retrievers.

The site offers links for the beginning writer to explore... cruise through to see what other great children's authors have to say. The links will lead you to published authors Donna McDine, Suzanne Lieurance, Beverly McClure, and Kathy Stemke.

  • Look for information about the Children's Writer's Coaching Club and The Society of Children's book writers and illustrators.

Sign up for Mayra's newsletter and more

Check it out and let me know what you find. The more we share the more we grow as writers. And when you are done cruising through the links and new website....Go forth and WRITE.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A New Blog for those Interested in Human Resource Careers

Writing can be a solitary life or as a writer you can choose to network. I believe we all need to connect in some way no matter what our genre or writing interest is. You just never know who might know someone with a need for what you write.

I think writing also works best when we share what we know with other writers. Although the field is competitive, like in life, you do not grow and prosper with out first giving and sharing.

So my writing advice for today is to plug into the knowledge and advice of other writers in your field of interest and outside of your field of interest.

Together we will share, learn, and grow in our own writing.

With that being said, I will PLUG a new blog for those interested in the field of Human Resources. The blog can be found at This blog will not only give information on the topics related to human resources, it will offer tips to new and experienced writers in the field of Human Resources.

In this tough economy, many cannot find positions in the original fields that they have received a degree in but are making there own way. WRITING in the field that you are interested in can be just as lucrative as working in the field.

What other fields of interest can you discover where your writing talent can be put to use. Follow this new blog for a great example of the new age entrepreneur.

Check it out and let me know what you find.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Yes! You Can.....

Just a quick plug for Nancy L Sanders new book.
Scroll down for the first review, but I have to tell you as I progress through the book I am finding great inspiration for the new writer.
Her tips on how to approach the writing you are passionate about are different than her tips on how to approach the material you write for the pay check.
This book is worth the read for any beginning writer and I feel it has information that experienced writer's can benefit from as well.
Check it out and See what you think. I believe you will be hearing more and more from this writer and she will be a big influence on writing for this genre. The book is available at book stores now or online at

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Slow Burn- New Release

A Slow Burn by Mary De Muth is a newly released novel with rich characters that you will easily relate to. Mary writes with such passion and heartfelt emotion whether it is pain, sorrow, grief, jealousy, or pure joy Mary touches every reader.

  • Grab your copy today to find out what is happening in Defiance,Texas with the characters you learned to love from her first book in the Trilogy series. The Daisey Chain introduced us to the people of Defiance, and A Slow Burn will show you the hope that love brings as Emory Chance deals with her grief and anger at the death of her daughter, Daisy.

The story will grip you from the beginning so get a copy today and plan on reading it all the way to the end... skipping the laundry, the dust, and maybe even dinner. Let me know how you like it or better yet, visit Mary at and leave her a comment about the book. She is a wonderful author, an inspiration to new and experienced writers, and a great example of a successful author, speaker, mother, and wife. Check it out.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Yes, You Can.......

Read the last post for the book review.... and here are my thoughts on the subject.

  • I am on Chapter 4. This is what spoke to me first.


This is what spoke to me second.


WOW.... both of those statements are advice directly from Nancy Sanders book and they struck a cord with me immediately after I read them. I do compare myself and the inner critic compares me to others and I never come out on top. Translated that means.... I stop writing or I give up on a project because it isn't as good as the latest published author I have read...the excuses go on and on.

And I do get so focused on not being as good as the next writer, that I forget to have FUN.

Sooooooooooooo, My plan for October is first HAVE FUN WITH THE PROCESS OF WRITING

and to make a sincere effort to STOP COMPARING MYSELF TO OTHERS.

What is your plan for the rest of the month? How about next Month? Set a few goals now to begin the FUN journey to your writing dream.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Yes! You Can....Book Review

I am encouraging all of you who want to write for children to get your own copy of Nancy I. Sanders new book

Yes! You Can Learn to Write Children's Books, Get Them Published, and Build a $uccessful Writing Career

This book is encouraging from the first pages. It is giving you permission to write for children in a variety of ways while working on your craft and honing your writing skills. I have just read the first few chapters and I am sold .

  • Follow the tips along with all of the other things you have learned, and I believe we can all be successful.

  • Stay tuned for my progress. I will keep referring back to what I am learning from this book and others, my mentor and coach Suzanne Lieurance, and my own critique groups and let you know if it works for me. You do the same. Together we will become writers and not only that, we will be happy writers.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Donna McDine- Author of The Golden Pathway

As a new writer, often you look for books, authors, and website that offer inspiration and direction in your new found passion.

Award winning author, Donna McDine offers inspiration, information, and guidance on her website and blog.

Announcing a new book by this talented author: The Golden Pathway.

Visit for details about this great new children's book.

Visit her website at to sign up for her free newsletter. It offers so much for the writer in you regardless of your experience. Check it out.

Browse her site for information, other products, tips from published authors and for guidelines from Stories for Children Magazine. Check that online publication at

Take some time to browse the sites mentioned, have fun, and gain fantastic inspiration. Ready, set, go!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A great site for information for new writers

Check this out. This site has a lot of great information for the beginning writer .... especially those who want to become not only published but those of us who want to create a brand and get paid for what we write.
Check out and browse around the site for articles on reaching your writing goals, finding a focus, deciding on your brand or niche... there is an enormous amount of free information to indulge you.
Click on the past posts about Tweeting, social networking, and promoting your writing. Read articles on researching, selling, and promoting your work.
Sign up for the newsletter too. You will find so much information here and all of it is helpful. Let me know what you think.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Looking over my writing goals..... for 2009

As autumn approaches, I have looked over my writing goals for 2009 and again I am falling short of what I had planned for myself.

  • My mission statement is the same... to inspire, comfort, educate, or encourage with words.

My vision statement is the same... to improve what I write and to continue to hone my skills with a focus on developing my freelance writing as a full time career.

My original goals in January were to get one article published, to gain continuous writing assignments ( I have but few and far between ), and to produce an e-book to sell on my websites and blogs ( lack of confidence creeping in again.. telling me I have nothing to offer that others would pay money to read ).

So now what.

Back to the drawing board... the goals are the same but what I am doing to achieve them must change. I am moved to action as I read how short I have fallen from attaining those dreams so I will gear up for the last 4 months of 2009 and get my backside in the chair and WRITE.

I do write daily but I am going to outline and focus that daily writing to meet the first goal I have for getting an article published in 2009.

I will query once a week or at least twice a month for the ideas that twirl around in my head.

And I am outlining e-book ideas, but due to my full time job, this will take a back seat.

What are you doing to promote yourself and your writing the last 4 months of 2009. Email me and let me know your plans, your progress, and your ideas for sticking to it. I will highlight you in a future post and just maybe you may win a little surprise.... Happy Writing. And Blessings to you this autumn season.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Young Adult fiction....What it takes to write YA

Young adult fiction is a popular genre and one of the most difficult to get right.

Young adults cannot be fooled by flowery words. They want to read what is real. They want to connect to the characters in a way that makes them know the author understands the perils of being a young adult.

The plot must be more complex than that of books for the younger reader and the story must involve real life issues that young adults care about or have experienced.

To write young adult fiction you must first read young adult fiction. You must know how young adults think, feel, and act.

Shifty by Author Lynn E. Hazen is a must read if you are thinking about writing for young adults. Ms. Hazen has done a fabulous job of getting into the heart of the character and finding what is good and what is real. She takes the reader right into the mind of the main character who is dealing with being abandoned and she makes you care. The author not only makes you care, but after reading this story, you may change how you feel and react to others in a similar situation.

Tips for writing for YA:

1. Read everything you can for young adults and start with SHIFTY

2. Make a list of topics you are interested in that would be of interest to YA readers

3. Begin character descriptions and find the character in your heart that you are the most passionate about.

4. Begin the research of publishers for Young Adult readers and start thinking about where your story would fit.

5. Work on plot, characters, setting, and theme of your YA story

6. Write, write, and write.

When you feel you have the first draft ready, then the revision and editing process begins. It is a long journey but a rewarding one. Take your time with each step and make certain your story is real and speaks to the young adult reader.

7. Query publishers when you have an outline and a theme

8. Join a writers group or critique group to help you with the process

9. Prepare your manuscript in a professional way, adhering to the guidelines of the publisher you have chosen.

10. Submit your writing and begin again.

It is a process, and it is important to enjoy it along the way and to stay passionate about the project. The passion will show through in your writing and make it more marketable to young adult readers.

Blessings on this writing journey you are about to take; You can do it. In the mean time, check out Ms. Hazen's website at:

Thursday, August 13, 2009

New Book by Suzanne Lieurance

  • Look for the new book by author Suzanne Lieurance. Her newest book, The
  • Lucky Baseball: My Story in a Japanese American Internment Camp, a
  • historical novel for middle grade readers, will be released by Enslow
  • Publishers next month.You will not be disappointed.
  • Suzanne is the director of our Children's Writers

Coaching Club as well as numerous other websites and courses.

Reading level: Ages 9-12

Library Binding: 160 pages
Publisher: Enslow Publishers (September 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0766033112
ISBN-13: 978-0766033115

Visit your local book store or go to to pre-order for easy shipment.

Check out for more information about all the courses and

clubs that Suzanne directs. You are bound to find one that fits your needs as a new writer.

Suzanne has an exceptional talent for both writing and mentoring new or experienced writers.

She can help you find your focus, investigate your potential as a freelance writer, and help you to

build your career. Check it out.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Where do you find your characters?

Dreaming up a new character may be one of the easy parts of the writing process because we writers have great imaginations. Most of us day dream for a better part of any given day.

To bring a character to the three dimensional person or animal the reader can care about is another story and for some of us, a little more difficult to do.

What you picture in your mind about the character you are writing about must come out on paper in words for the reader. Those words must affect the reader in some way, and you help to decide how you want the reader to feel by your choice of description with words.

Those words may be specific descriptions of hair, eyes, body type, or clothing but those words need to do more to bring your character to life.

Here are some other ways to bring pep and zing to your character and to make the reader love them or not.
  • Use action to show who your character is and what he or she cares about. If your character is walking a little elderly lady across the street it may endear him to the reader. On the other hand, if your character pushes the same lady in his haste to get through the crowd with no regard to who he bumps, the reader may not like it. Either way they will want to read on to find out what happens with this character if you choose your words well.

  • Dialog is another great way to make your characters realistic and to show who and what the character stands for. Dialog can hint at culture, setting, date/time of a scene, and any number of other things like the age of the character or the type of education, home life, or financial situation a character lives with.

  • Character names will bring realism and detail to a story. Readers will imagine their own ideas about a character just by associating the name of the character to who or what they know related to a similar name. The carefully chosen name can make or break the relationship between the story and the reader.

  • Emotions show much about your story and your characters. The reader must feel something while reading about your characters or they will not turn the page. The writer must use words that elicit raw emotion so the reader will care about what happens to the character. Emotion is weaved into the plot of the story by using words to create conflict and tension for your character.

New writers will learn how to use all of these tips to create the kind of story that grabs the reader, makes the reader care, and gives the reader no other choice but to buy the book and to keep reading. In the end, the goal is not only for the characters to grow and change throughout your story, but to move the reader into taking some kind of action for personal growth and change as well. The reader should always feel something for the effort of reading your words.

Now go create a character or two. And check back soon to meet one of my new characters. Can you guess her name?

Happy writing.

Monday, August 3, 2009

What is keeping you from reaching your writing goals.....

What is it that keeps you from reaching your writing goals?

Just look at this smiling baby and tell yourself that he needs to read what you want to write....he and a thousand other little tike's who will learn about their world by listening to and reading the written word.......So what is stopping you?

  • Colors, animals, feelings, shapes, rhyme, siblings, nature, love, death, life, water, sun, rain, wind, and the list goes on and on and on. Words that are written by writers like yourself will mold the next generation. So.......

Sit down and get those words on paper. No more excuses. Write, write, and keep writing. Your first work won't be pretty, but it will be a start. Look at it this way, you can't learn to edit and revise if you first don't get something written to edit and revise.

Tips for getting started.

  1. Start here: Jot down a few topics you are interested in.
  2. Draw lines from each topic and make a list of 5 words or phrases that could be associated with the topic and write them underneath.
  3. Stop right there: now get up and do something else letting those ideas you just put on paper twirl around in your head. When you have so many ideas twirling that you simply can't do anything else until you write them down begin.
  4. Set a timer for say, 15-30 minutes. Now write everything that comes to mind under one of the topics you have listed. You may find that you have so many ideas, that you must write about more than one idea on your list.
  5. Stop writing while you still have a few ideas. Make a note about where you want to go for your next writing session.

Now look, you have something on paper. You have a plan for where to start the next time you have a few moments of writing time. And you have met your first goal..... writing. Enjoy! There is no limit to where you can go from here.

Happy Writing.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Inspiration for your writing and your spiritual life in one great author

  • New and seasoned writers will enjoy and be inspired by one of my favorite writing friends, Carma Dutra. She is a great critique partner and a member of The Childrens Writers Coaching Club where we both are working on honing our skills. Here is her story. Be sure to visit her websites and sign up for her informational newsletters. It is great information
    for both new and experienced writers. Her new site is an inspiration
  • for your spiritual life as well. Enjoy!
Carma's own words.......

Unlike many writers who have known all their lives they wanted to write, I did not discover my passion for writing until I was a grandmother. In addition, writing for children was not my first choice.

As an adult college student, my writing skills were developed and honed. Soon, my classmates wanted me to edit and help write their essays. This built my confidence as a writer, editor and wordsmith. As I look back this was all in preparation for what was to come.

I began writing a monthly column for the regional news paper and after a couple of years decided it would be nice to earn some money for my writing. So, I began researching how to find a job as a writer. About this time I came across Suzanne Lieurance’s website. Signing up for Suzanne Lieurance’s writing course was the best decision I made. Suzanne is the director of the Children's Writers Coaching Club and numerous other writing services.

Through numerous classes with Suzanne and her professional staff of writing instructors, I learned how to craft various types of children’s stories and writing techniques. But most of all I received encouragement and developed camaraderie with other writers.

In addition I learned about the business of writing and what publishers and editors look for. I also learned a variety of ways to market my skills through blogging and social networking.

My writing service Carma’s Word, offers help when you need a ghost writer or proof reading and editing for your novel. In addition, I can help with developing blog content, creating newsletters and article writing.

My children’s writing blog Carma’s Window, provides information and tips on a variety of writing and information from well known authors. In addition, I conduct interviews with established children’s authors and write book reviews.

My newest venture is a new blog titled “The Lord Willin’” I will be writing on a variety of spiritual issues and inspirational topics. Today’s world is hungry for comfort and love. Using relevant biblical teachings, my hope is to encourage, inform, inspire and comfort those in need, Lord Willin’. .

Carma Carma's WordCreative Writing Services

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Personal Writing Goals-

I promised you early on that I would share my own writing goals for two reasons:

1. To help me to find my writing focus.

2. To encourage you to set goals and find your own writing niche.

I am finding that if I don't set goals, it is like driving into an unknown area without the map. I set smaller goals on a weekly list which are helping me to work towards the larger and long term goals. This is what I have so far:

A. I want to write easy readers with a health or first aid focus. I have several ideas twirling in my head, one focusing on an eccentric nurse and her mascot who go around teaching elementary kids lessons on health, safety, and first aid but with a quirky and funny type twist. This idea could be a series of several books lending itself to worksheets, healthy eating kits, school programs, and any number of ideas to promote the topics. It would compliment the current health curriculum and state standards assisting teachers in a fun and active way.

B. I want to create a series of fictional characters that are based on realistic emotional and physical characteristics that show how kids react and deal with a serious illness. I vision my character as an elementary aged student who battles a disease and must also battle how the peers and family members handle what is happening. I want to introduce the character in a picture book and then offer easy readers or chapter books growing with the reader as the character grows. The purpose of this series is for the reader to empathize or for a child dealing with the same thing to have a vehicle where they can say Yeah, that is exactly how I feel... fear, pain, worry, whatever...

C. I want to write articles and informational products related to pediatric health, special needs kids, pediatric nursing, and how to products in the pediatric arena... just not sure where to go with it just yet. In the mean time I continue to write health articles and educational material from a nursing focus just for the payment and to acquire writing clips.

So, those are three goals I would like to focus on. Of course, I have other dreams as well, to write chick lit, romantic or suspense romance with medicine weaved throughout in a series of books created around common characters. And I would love to do more nonfiction children's books like biographies on people in history who have impacted our medicine today, so I am always making notes on a vast list of ideas.

I try to work on A,B, or C at least three times a week. The blog at offers resources and items for parents and kids who are dealing with an illness or special need, grief, or cancer. This new blog at will focus on writing information and tips for new writers offering links to all kinds of children's writers and courses.

From here, I will continue to be part of the Children's Writers Coaching Club under the direction of Suzanne Lieurance, . You can join me there by clicking on the icon on the right. It is a great place to get started when trying to find your focus.

Let me know how your goals are coming along. Send along any helpful tips on writing that you may have found useful so the rest of us can learn too. Assisting each other is part of writing to the heart of the matter. Together we will succeed.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Beverly Stowe McClure

I don't know about you, but sometimes I wonder if published and famous authors are real people... their success seems almost unattainable.

  • I am finding out that famous authors are REAL people and they network, offer tips to beginners, and have a great web presence that those of us learning can tap into.

Beverly Stowe McClure is one of those famous and published authors whose website is a wealth of information for the new writer. She is the author of Rebel in Blue Jeans and other great books for children and teens. Visit her website at and be prepared to discover tips on writing and other great information for writers and readers alike.

Check it out and let me know what you find. It changes often, so visit frequently to keep current on publishing trends and up to date writing tips. You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

New Author...Kathy Stemke

Congratulations to author Kathy Stemke on her newly published book about the days of the week. Kathy is a great example of an author who has found her niche, slant, of focus.

There are a number of authors who write fun educational books about everyday things like the days of the week but Kathy's focus is on movement, rhythm, and action.

Visit her website and blogs for more great tips and to study what she has been so successful at doing with her writing for children. This is how we learn from others and put into practice some of the things other writers do as we search to find our own niche or focus. You can also purchase her e-book directly from her site to share with the children you know.

Kathy Stemke's websites:

Check it out and leave her a comment and while you are there check out her post about her library visit where she read the book she is working on now. You may find a picture or two of kids having fun or even Smokey the Bear.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Goals for this Blog....

I love writing, and I love watching children get excited about reading and learning so I want to write what children will love to read. Now, how do I go about learning to do this.

First, I eluded in an earlier post that I would share the three main goals I have for this blog. Part of the plan for this site is to be transparent about the writing process that I am learning so we can learn and progress together.

  • I also encouraged you to list your own goals for your writing.

Goals are sometimes difficult because we set our goals way too high initially and then we get disappointed when we don't reach them, or at least that has been my experience.

So here is the plan: make the goals simple to start with and make your goals attainable. I think that I work best by setting two sets of goals, those that can be reached this week or this month, and those that I want to attain in 6 months to 1 year.

The key is to spend some time each and every day doing something that will help you reach your goals. Re-evaluate what you are doing on a weekly basis to see what is working and what isn't and then make a change if you are not on track. Sounds easy enough, but the hard part is saying NO to the tasks that do not help us reach our goals. I have a real problem doing this part. Laundry, cooking, cleaning, cell phones, television, and any number of other equally distracting things occur on a daily basis to mess with my plan to achieve my goals. But I want to be a writer so I refocus and start again everytime I get off track.

Now for the goals for this blog:

  1. I want to offer the best resources possible to the new writer by posting about great authors, books, websites, and courses that have been helpful to me. Right out of the gate let me say that the writing courses offered by published author Suzzane Lieurance have been the most helpful and most encouraging to me personally. Check out her website at or for a full array of her services. These courses have made me believe I can succeed as a children's author in time.
  2. I want to post short character pieces, story starters, and some short stories to get input from you, the reader. How will I ever know if I can really write if I don't expose myself to others and let them read something I have written. That goes for you as well. I will also encourage you to offer small samples of your work for the readers here to experience and comment on. How about it, anyone brave enough to share something?
  3. I would like this blog to be a place where I develop as a writer with a platform and something to say. I want to gain a following of readers that I can count on to be honest with me and I want this blog to be a place where new writers gain information, skills, and the confidence to give it a try so we can all be honest with them.

So, what do you say.... shall we give it a spin and start by writing for 30 minutes a day. If 30 minutes is too much, try breaking up into 10 minute snippets. Just get something on paper at least a couple of times a week. Let me know how you progress, and I will update you as well. Join in the fun and let's see what develops. In the mean time, please check out Suzanne and her services. She may be just what the writing doctor ordered to get you in high gear.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Check out this great source for writer Donna McDine..

I have found another great source for new writer information. And the great thing about finding new sites, is that they contain links to more sites and more sites after that. It is called networking and it is a great way to make new writing friends and to soak up as much information as you can to improve your own writing skills.

Check out published author Donna McDine. Donna is not only a published and accomplished author, she is the marketing manager of Stories for Children Magazine

Spend time at both her website and her blog and soak up all that she has to offer. There are writing tips, author interviews, publishing information and links, and her take on writing for children. You will not be disappointed at what you can find, so make plenty of time to take notes and read all that she has to offer. Take time to make a comment or two as well, sign up for her newsletter, and tell her I sent you her way. You will find more information than you can soak up in a day, so plan to visit her site often to keep current.

Check it out and let me know what you think... and don't forget to sign up for my newsletter as well. You can never have too much information when you have a passion for writing and want to learn more......Blessings and happy writing.

Margot Finke, author who will make you kids love to read

I have been blessed to be part of the Children's Writers Coaching Club under the guidance of Suzanne Lieurance, and it is here that I have met Margot Finke, author of books for reluctant readers.

Margot is a successful author, writing coach, and instructor for the members of the club as well as other writers who sign up with her for personal coaching and critique.

Just one visit to her blog will give you a tickle and you will not only learn something to help your writing, you will find great book ideas to share with your kids.
Check it out and be prepared to have some fun. Rattle snake jam, anyone?

Margot Finke * Critiques - Writing Help - Books: * Hook Kids on Reading - * Books for Kids + Writing News - BUY any Autographed Book from my website, and receive a FREE LINK to me READING that story! ========================================

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Beth Erickson, Editor, Publisher,Writer, and someone you should know.

I have found a very helpful site for new writers that offers many resources and advice. The site is at
Beth Erickson is the Editor and Publisher of WritingEtc found on the site and she authors a great newsletter with invaluable information for the new writer, regardless of genre.

Check it out and sign up for her free newsletter. In the mean time read an article she graciously allows other writers to post to their sites. It is a wonderful piece of advice about how to look at the scenes you want to create. Try the exercises suggested to improve on your own writing and let me know how it works for you.

Enjoy the article. And thank you Beth for your generosity.

Wide Angle Lens

Billie Williams

Excerpt from Writing Wide: Exercises in Creative Writing

“To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression.” -- Henri Cartier-Bresson, French Photographer & Artist

When you use a wide-angle lens on a camera, you do so to get a panoramic view of your subject. Why would you want to do that? Shouldn't you focus, center your picture, compose it of close-knit items? As with your writing, some times you need to see the broad picture in order to focus on the single most important element, be it story or picture.

If you were to take a panoramic view of an event in your life and write down everything you can see, feel, or hear in detail, you begin to see what makes up a scene, or the setting, in your writing. As you look at the big picture, you pick and chose details to tell your readers that may be pertinent to understanding your story people and the story itself. However, you need elements from the big picture, the panoramic view, to make the setting feel real. It is these subtle nuances that make a scene come to life.

I recommend that you try this as an exercise with at least five events from your life. Try to make the events as varied as you can; say a happy, sad, fun, loathsome, and perhaps interesting event. Ten would be even better, but you can always add to this list, and you should regularly. It will help you see details. It will help you become more aware of details that set the stage and make it believable. This will help you develop settings with a feel for time and place in your story.

After you have the broad view of your story, you decide where your focus will be. Use the same focus on your protagonist and your supporting characters. Go so far as to do a character sketch of each. By doing this it will help you focus to a single center of your picture. You will need to answer the questions, “What does my main character want?" that is the focal point. The rest of the picture composes itself as other characters decide their needs. Each character is deciding what s/he is willing to do to achieve his/her goal.

Think of an extended family portrait, each person is connected to the others some how. So to are your characters in your story. Each character’s life touches someone else in your story in a significant way or h/she would not be there. Like the panoramic photograph, all things are connected in some way. Every character some how depends on or needs one of the other characters to fulfill a need or goal of their own.

For instance, think of your protagonist as the main/father/mother figure of the family. S/He is responsible for his/her own actions. Whatever she does however affects the rest of the family/cast of characters.

If she robs a bank, the family is drawn into that. Perhaps the oldest child drives the get-away-car; maybe the aunt provides a hiding place, etc.
Fill out your story with things from your panoramic view of things you know to be true for your story.

You could begin with an outline – I know the dreaded word -- outline – but it could be what you need to take each item from the panoramic view of your story and connect them through scene and chapter via the outline. Think of it as a blueprint for the stage setting, or the map for the treasure hunt, what ever it takes to get you to pick apart your story and make an outline/tree of where the story is going to take you.

Put another way, we could say start your picture from a single portrait – it may be a very fine portrait indeed, but it tells us little of the story behind it. If you were to take that portrait and add his/her favorite chair, a small table, a book, perhaps a piano your character starts to become a person rather than just an image on a piece of canvas. If you start with your center and build a panoramic view – you will have fleshed out your character and in so doing your story.


1.) Take a picture of someone from your life, maybe an old school photo of just that person. Write out in detail all you see as you show us who that person is. You cannot add any background that is not in the picture. Would we know your friend or family member if we saw them on the street from the way you described him or her? Does this person have a story to tell based on physical appearance only?

2.) Look at a magazine photo or one of your own that has a panoramic view and tell in vivid detail what it contains so that if some one were blind they could see what you see in their minds eye.

New Blog and New Ideas.... writers and authors for children

So you want to be a writer.......

I have wanted that since 8th grade English when we read Hawaii and watched the movie version with Elvis Presley. I have wanted it before that when the Pokey Little Puppy wagged his way through one of my favorite Golden Books and I promised myself that someday I would write a story to be turned into those gold bound versions of a kids book.

I have taken courses including courses at The Institute of Children's Literature and my first online fiction writing class in 1984 which gave me my first computer included in the price of the course.

Like you, I have shelves lined with books on fiction and nonfiction writing, writing for children, and finding your niche. I have made tiny baby steps and I have submitted and been rejected to prove that the efforts are not quite where they should be. I continue to study and hone my skills, and most days ask myself if this is still what I want.

The answer is a definite YES. This is still what I want. But, like the picture here, it can be a long and dusty journey. So the question is what have I learned and where am I headed?

  • I know that writing is a skill that can be learned, but doing it well does not promise you a published book.
  • It takes small steps to learn and progress, it takes finding a focus or slant, and it takes learning more than the skill of writing.
  • It takes learning the business side of publishing, marketing, and building a platform.
  • It helps to have a mentor, a coach, and a few writing critique partners to keep you focused.
  • It takes discipline
  • It takes writing... that means making yourself put words on the page or the computer screen every day.

I will be sharing my progress here on this blog to encourage other writers like myself who have not experienced the rush of success but still answer YES. Hopefully we will find others who will share and guide us as we work towards the goals we set for our writing careers.

I would encourage you to check out the 6 week writing course offered by published author Suzanne Lieurance. It is affordable and it is filled with the basics to get your career jump started. I am taking the course myself, so come join me and let's see how far we come together.

Check out her website too for more great information.

I am going to start today with 3 things on my to do list.

1. Make a writing plan for this week

2. Set 3 goals for this blog

3. Set 3 goals to focus my writing.

I will let you know how it goes. What will you do today to forward your writing career? Feel free to email or make a comment so we can share in your progress. Happy writing.


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