Sunday, July 19, 2015

Packing Light

I am heading to the annual RWA (Romance Writer's of America) conference this week so my mind is on packing. I have my 'professional' outfits chosen, pressed, and ready to go. My casual outfits not so much.

I've planned my outfits around one of pair of shoes. GASP! I know! However, I have to pack to evening gowns and one pair of dress shoes so I don't want to add more weight to the suitcase in the form of shoes.

I've also chosen lightweight clothes, including my jackets which are lace and eyelet. They are lighter to pack and cooler to wear. The remaining clothes are made of lightweight almost wrinkle free fabric. I don't want to have to iron my clothes when I get there. Which leads me to a couple of questions for my readers.

First, do you try to pack light?

Second, does the 'rolled up' method of packing work for you? I've tried it a couple of time and will say the clothes do seem to come out better. However, I'm not going to try to roll the gowns!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Breaking News!

I received a call today! The Widow's Suitor is a finalist in the Orange County California RWA Chapter's Book Buyers Best Contest!!!!!!

What a great way to start the week!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Story Ideas Are Everywhere!

Last weekend I celebrated the 4th of July in a non-traditional way. I attended a small town parade. This was a first for me and it was wonderful!  Although I've read about many people going to 4th of July parades, I've never had the chance to attend one.

The town is only about an hour away from where I live. A friend of my husband's lives there and  invited us to come and watch the parade. Due to a change in our normal plans, we gladly accepted.

Of course, many things I saw triggered my writer's creativity. Here are a few story ideas I came up with while watching the parade.

Hero occupation: Restore antique tractors

Heroine occupation/hobby: Parade planner. Story line: Town wants to cancel the annual parade.

Hero or Heroine could be a 4H Leader and are trying to help a trouble teen.

Hero and Heroine are competitors in a BBQ contest.

Heroine is trying to raise money for a community memorial garden. The Hero plans to expand his company on the site.

The heroine plans an elaborate float and has to ask the hero, a local carpenter she doesn't get along with, for help.

The parade lasted one and gave many ideas to consider for a short story or a book. What is the last event you attended that gave you a story idea?

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Excuses

I have posted on my blog for two weeks. Want to hear my excuses? One weekend I was on grandma duty. The next, I was fighting a bout with a flu bug. Both of those are good reasons I didn't get my blog updated, right?

Maybe not. I knew in advance that I'd be on grandma duty and still I didn't work ahead to have a blog post up and ready to go. The flu bug, well, that one is unpredictable and left me tired for two days. There was no way I could have worked a head and by the time I felt good enough to write a post, it was almost time for this week's post.

So, I have one legitimate excuse and one no so legitimate. Both resulted in low productivity for my writing, no blog and no new writing. BUT I did work on my writing. I had three chapters to proof read and input the edits in the Microsoft Word document. Why? Because the only way to have results in your writing career is to work on your writing!

Take a look at the past two weeks of your life. Have you given your writing priority or was attending lunch with friends, cleaning house or watching a movie eat into your writing time? If so, what was your excuse to blow off your writing?

Remember you can't go back and recover your valuable writing time, if you want results you have to make your writing a priority and save your 'excuses' for other areas in your life.  

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Join!

There are professional organizations for almost every type of writing. Join one!

They provide support and valuable information. Many have monthly publications. Most have websites where authors offer courses or webinars (see my previous post). Some organizations print or post market guides for their members.

In addition they keep you up to date on your chosen genre, provide mentors or critique groups, and in some organizations can provide legal advice. Most of the organizations need volunteers and allow you to be as active as you want.

The draw back is some membership fees are pricey and many organizations assign you a chapter and you have chapter dues too. Research all organizations before you join. I've found the benefits of belonging to these organizations far outweigh the cons however I can't stress enough you need to join an organization that supports your chosen genre.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Learn!

Today's tip for developing a writing career is learn or study your craft. So if you instituted either of my last two tips, you've read a craft book. Perhaps you still have questions or you're having trouble knowing the difference between showing and telling then don't overlook a writing class or two.

In our online world taking a writing class is easier than ever. Writer's Digest magazine offers many courses/webinars, most Community Colleges offer writing course as well as the continuing education departments of universities, organizations in your chosen genre and don't forget to check your favorite author's website! Many author's offer online courses for a nominal fee.

With any career there is training involved. Writing is no different. Let me say that again. Writing requires training. No one can sit down and write a publishable manuscript in one setting. Trust me, if you want to succeed, take a writing course!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

And Read Some More!

This post is the second answer to the question of my best piece of writing advice. Last week I said to read craft books. Read craft books on the basics of writing and on your chosen genre. This week READ is the same answer only with a little variation.

Read books in the genre you are writing. Read books from the publisher you are targeting. Again, like last week if your budget doesn't allow you to purchase twenty books a month (wouldn't that be nice?), go to a book store or library for this research.

Again, the disclaimer, if you are at the library reading a mystery or romance written in the 1990's, you can' use that book as research. The books you read must have a current copyright dates. Why? Lines close, lines change, techniques change. Romance used to be in the heroine's view point only. Now they are roughly 50/50 of the hero/heroine's view point. Children's books now handle tough situations, like gangs and sexuality, subjects that were tabu in my youth.

So set aside an afternoon or two or three to read, read, read your chosen genre. This will help you plan YOUR book to meet what the publisher you are targeting wants to publish.