Need Some Inspiration?

20 03 2015

“Begin doing what you want now….We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand — and melting like a snowflake. Let us use it before it is too late.”
~Marie Beynon Ray





Realities of the Writing LIfe

16 03 2015

writingMost writers rack up rejection slips as they dream of the day that they’ll sign with an agent. Once they get the call and sign with their dream agent, most authors discover they’ll need additional edits on the manuscript they’ve already worked to death. And except for a lucky few, a long wait follows while the book goes out on sub. Then there’s the wait for the book to make it past the acquisitions committee.

Finally comes that glorious day of signing a book contract–one of the pinnacles of an author’s life. But wait…

You can’t tell anyone your fabulous news until it’s officially announced. So you spill the secret to a few trusted friends and family members and wait impatiently for the day you can shout it to the world. Then you bask in the congratulations and eagerly await the day your book heads to publication. Soon you’ll hold your baby in your hands! Yay! Um, no…

monkey reading

Although some days it may feel as though a team of monkeys is tearing apart your baby, in the end you’ll find the book has greatly improved.

It’s time for more waiting… For the editorial letter(s). And the REAL work begins. You thought your gem was finished? Sorry, the editor has plenty of requested changes. Then the copy editor. Then the proofreaders. And then is it ready yet?

Not yet. Next is waiting for the illustrator if it’s a children’s book. Then galleys, F&Gs, ARCs, final printing. Is it a book yet? Finally, yes. But there’s still waiting for release day.

And if you thought you were done working when you turned in your final draft, you’re discovering you’re working harder than ever — promoting your book, working on the next book, setting up school/library visits and bookstore signings…

But the upside of all this is that at least you can quit your day job and totally focus on your writing. Um, no…

Is This What Librarians Are Really Like?

Noooo!!!

Even if you got a six-figure advance (which most authors only dream of), you haven’t made much money yet. Don’t believe me? Check out agent Jennifer Laughran’s post about author advances, REAL TALK: $ix Figure Book Deal$, for the truth.

So you’ve gone through all of this and still need to keep your day job? Wouldn’t you have been better off working a second job for minimum wage? Probably. But why did you do this in the first place?  If it was for LOVE or to touch lives or to increase literacy, you’ll have the joy of seeing your book in reader’s hands. And nothing is more valuable than that.Children





Overcoming Fears

6 03 2015

“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” ~Van Gogh
http://www.full-confidence.com http://full-confidence.blogspot.com/





Climbing toward a Dream

26 01 2015

ladder to sky I always loved this picture of a ladder reaching to the sky. When I first decided I wanted to write, I drew a symbol like this as my logo. I pictured myself climbing that ladder to success, rung by rung, each rung representing a new skill, a new publication, a new height. And slowly, I started learning and climbing.

Some of the most important steps along the way were joining SCBWI, participating in critique groups, reading craft books, and taking classes. I even added an MFA to my goals. But the most important step was doing the writing itself. I’d read somewhere that to become an expert in any skill, you needed to put in 10,000 hours and write 1,000,000 words. So I did.

And the work began to pay off. First in small writing assignments and then in books. During the early writing years, I drew another picture in addition to that logo–a stack of books. A tall stack set up in a spiral shape. I was reminded of that recently when I decided to take a picture of the books I’ve written in the past five years. That drawing looked almost exactly like this:

7_BooksInterestingly enough, some of the titles I put on those books were related to the topics of these books. I’m a big believer in using visualization to achieve goals, but I was surprised at how much the two stacks resembled each other.

I’ve seen so many writing dreams come true  in 2014. This past year has been filled with book contracts and book releases and speaking engagements. All of it fun, although sometimes exhausting. Sometimes the sign hanging behind me at this reading was definitely a reality.

8_reading  One of my long-term goals was signing at BEA, and I not only got to do that, but I got to watch friends and a CP sign too. And that was one of the highlights of the year — seeing so many friends and acquaintances making their dreams come true.

And 2015 is promising more of the same. Several CPs have signed book deals, and I know more will follow. I’m looking forward to what this year will bring. And wishing all of you a move up to the next rungs of the ladder to your dreams.





Inspiring Words

5 01 2015

With everyone choosing a theme word for 2015, I’d love to hear what words inspire you. Words have such power to create our moods and to give us motivation that I’m thrilled that so many people are selecting a special word. Please add your words to this post to give others a much needed boost of inspiration as we begin this New Year.

And speaking of words, I’m a bit late posting this, but Mixed-Up Files blog did a nice holiday video about what words are special to each of us about the holidays. I’m on there, along with a bevy of wonderful middle-grade authors. Some people are serious, others inject humor, but everyone has a favorite memory or holiday. What words represent the winter holidays to you?





Increasing Your Creativity

20 12 2014

Albert Einstein HeadI’ve often heard the Albert Einstein quote, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” But just this week I received an email from Jean Houston, who actually met Einstein in person and was encouraged to read more fairy tales. I’m posting that story and her own inspiring comments (in red italics) here:

When I was eight years old, I attended a school in Manhattan where they felt it would be good for students to meet some of the great elders of the time.
 
One of those elders was Albert Einstein, and one day we were trotted across the river over to Princeton University to his house there. He had a lot of hair and was very sweet.
 
One of my smart-alecky classmates said to him: “Uh, Mr. Einstein, how can we get to be as smart as you?”
 
He said: “Read fairy tales,” which made no sense to us at all.
 
So another smart-alecky kid said: “Mr. Einstein, how can we get to be smarter than you?”
 
He said: “Read more fairy tales!”
 
We, of course, didn’t fully understand him at the time, but what he was actually encouraging us to do was to nurture and grow our imaginations.
 
He understood something that almost all highly creative and successful people do, that the imaginal realm is where the most potent ideas—the ones that can change your life or change the world—are held.
 
And the more you can nurture your imagination by diving into that imaginal realm, the more often that dive will inspire a stream of creativity when you resurface.

I wanted to post the Einstein story along with Jean’s words because at this magical time of year, it’s good to think about creativity. As the days grow darker and the weather gets colder (for many of us, anyway), many of us go into hibernation. Those hibernation periods, although they may seem unproductive, are actually a time for the ground to go fallow in preparation for spring growth.

This also holds true when you’re in a creative slump. Allow time for rest and rejuvenation. And remember that one of the most productive things you can do is to fill your mind with fairy tales.

Indulge yourself this winter by curling up with beautifully written books, soaking up inspiring music, and strolling through gorgeous art collections. Pamper yourself, and you’ll emerge on the other side more creative than ever before.

*Jean Houston‘s a wonderful teacher who inspires many people to reach their full potential, and she’s has upcoming classes for those who might want to challenge their preconceived notions of what’s possible.




Easy Revisions for Your NaNo Novel

4 12 2014

plot chart

Have you finished your NaNo novel or did you get stuck partway through? If your story needs revision, but you have no idea of how to get started, here’s the perfect solution.

Agent Jill Corcoran and “Plot Whisperer” Martha Alderson are offering a novel revision course packaged in video form, so you can watch each lesson at your convenience.Plot Whisperer

I first met Jill and Martha in their online course on editing picture books. A small group of us met each week to get feedback on our manuscripts. By the time the class ended, I’d received a valuable gift: Jill had identified a fatal flaw in my manuscripts, a flaw that no one in my critique groups had noticed. And Martha’s instruction showed me how to fix it.

So I’m indebted to both of them, and I’m happy to introduce a wonderful program they’ve put together to help authors revise their novels.

They’re both here to share about their new program. So take it away, Jill and Martha…

VIDEO SERIES

We offer writers two video series with more in production:
1) PlotWriMo: Revise Your Novel in a Month

8 videos, 5.5 hours + 3- hands-on exercises

Congratulations! You have written a draft of a novel. You’ve accomplished what many writers merely talk about and dream of doing – you have written an entire story from beginning to end. When you finish celebrating, it’s time to revise: to re-envision and rewrite what you’ve written into a novel that agents, editors and readers will devour.

Writing a great plot involves craft and skill and know-how. Before you undertake a major rewrite, first consider your story from all angles with the help of step-by-step instruction and daily exercises. You know you’re ready to rewrite when you’ve checked all the essentials elements for creating an exciting story with compelling characters and a meaningful plot.

—–//—–

2) How to Write and Sell a Picture Book with a Plot

7 videos explain how to plot, write and sell picture books + provide exercises how to immediately integrate the concepts into your own unique story. Learn about all the different kinds of picture books, examples of character-driven and action-driven picture books, how to develop winning picture book concepts, what the major turning points are in every great picture book plot, writing, voice, character goals and motivation, how to revise, testing your theme and take-away, who to submit to and so much more…

Here’s How the Video Series Work

Each video includes an in-depth look at the specific elements promised and how to consider these essential story principles as you write, revise, rewrite, sell your story.

Writing assignment(s) guide you with step-by-step instruction.

Whether you decide to watch all the videos in a row and then go back and do the exercises or jump right into the 1st video’s exercise, work at your own pace and take more or less time on the step-by-step exercises. The series are designed to fit into even the busiest of schedules. Sign-in and watch video lectures, complete homework assignments, and ask questions in a public forum on a timetable that fits your needs.

Shout Outs:

**The 1st draft you let yourself write any old way. Now revise your story from every angle.

**Can’t seem to #finish your #novel? Ready to give up? Before you do, revise.

**I’m finding the revision process FUN! Did I actually say that? Loving this process, thank you!

**Friends don’t let friends ‪#revise alone.

Let’s introduce you to Jill and Martha now:

Jill Corcoran bio

Jill Corcoran Jill Corcoran is the founder of Jill Corcoran Literary Agency and co-founder of A Path A Publishing.

 

 

Martha Alderson bio

MarthaMartha Alderson, author of The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master, is known as “The Plot Whisperer” for the help she offers writers worldwide. She is the founder of PlotWriMo: Revise Your Novel in a Month and the award-winning blog The Plot Whisperer.

Jill and Martha not only offer these amazing author tools, but also have another service with two levels of Participation (Participants and Observers):

Office Hours

2nd Thursday of every month

9:30-11:30am Pacific

online
Active Participants and Observers

ACTIVE PARTICIPANTS: 8 authors each have 15 minutes to work with the Plot Whisperer Martha Alderson and Literary Agent Jill Corcoran on whatever you want help with. Read part of your manuscript, query, discuss energetic markers, concept, brainstorm plot, characters, etc., and receive feedback you can immediately apply to your work.

Active participants must watch either Plotwrimo: Revise Your Novel in a Month or How to Write & Sell a Picture Book Videos. This gives us a common language and baseline understanding of underlying plot and story concepts for better communication.

Receive a critique of your First Pages, Query, Concept, or get help with your Characters, Where to Start your Story, Crisis, Climax, etc. It is your time…your choice

***OBSERVERS: 15 observer spots. As an observer, you do not participate/read your work, but listen and learn from others during these sessions.

HERE’S WHAT REVIEWERS ARE SAYING ABOUT THESE VIDEOS AND SERVICES:

Reviews of the series:

“Don’t wait until you have a first draft to get the video series. If you have an inkling of a concept, get the video series. The videos will show you how to define your energetic markers. You’ll learn the difference between crisis and climax. The 8 videos constitute a ‘top to toe’ writing course. 
Jill Corcoran & Martha Alderson, thank you for giving me the opportunity to call myself a writer with pride.” ~Dolly D. Napal

“I have been writing, writing, writing, and reading about writing, but I knew I was still missing the mark. How I write and rewrite books will be forever changed for the better. ” ~Wendy McLeon MacKnight
“I felt overwhelmed with my latest revision. I feel like a weight has been lifted and I’m just on day one.”
And after you’ve completed the videos, Jill and Martha also offer a follow-up workshop. They also have a free Facebook group that’s open to everyone, whether or not you’ve taken their courses.

A Path to Publishing Workshops:

We often tailor-make advanced workshops for writers who have watched the series to ask questions and receive feedback on your own individual story.

A Path to Publishing Facebook Group

Everyone is welcome to join A Path to Publishing Facebook group created by Literary Agent Jill Corcoran and Plot Whisperer Martha Alderson as safe, smart, fun alcove for writers and illustrators to share and learn about the craft of writing and the book biz. This is NOT a place to sell your books but a wonderful forum for us all to advance our skills, our creativity, and our dreams plus learn about what Jill and Martha are up to at A PATH TO PUBLISHING.

Be sure to follow along and see what others are saying about these services and how they have helped them! Read individual reviews and more information about how this video series can help you!

December 1 https://www.facebook.com/nordlinger
December 1 http://writingclassesforkids.com
December 1 http://inkandangst.com/
December 1 taffyscandy.blogspot.com
December 1 Rebeccalacko.wordpress.com
December 2 http://deescribewriting.wordpress.com
December 2 http://1st10pages.com
December 2 http://thestorytellersscroll.blogspot.com
December 2 www.katherine-hajer.com
December 3 http://www.jordanrosenfeld.net
December 3 http://robyn-campbell.blogspot.com/
December 3 http://aditebanerjie.com
December 4 lje1.wordpress.com
December 4 http://writtenbymikey.blogspot.com/
December 4 www.PenInHerHand.com
December 5 www.ChristineSang.com
December 5 Susan P
December 5 www.ChristineSang.com

AND NOW, JILL AND MARTHA ARE OFFERING SOME AMAZING PRIZES. SO BE SURE TO ENTER AND SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT THIS EVENT AND THEIR VIDEO SERIES.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

And you can stop at each blog to enter more than once. Hope you’re a winner!





Painting on the Canvas of Your Life

21 10 2014

I’ve been reading Panache Desai’s Discovering Your Soul Signature and wanted to share one of the meditations from the book:

Imagine that your life can be portrayed on a canvas….When you look at this canvas, you’ll see see everything that’s been placed there. And most of it doesn’t originate from you…. As you’ve moved on through life, external labels have been superimposed on the canvas…. People have told us who we are, and this fills the canvas too.

Now start pulling off those labels…. Peel away those limitations. Remove all of those different words that are getting in the way of being a blank canvas…. As you do this, experience the freedom (or perhaps the terror) of the blank canvas.

When an artist approaches a blank canvas, all that is possible is a single brushstroke at a time….
What splashes, splatters, or messes did you erase?

Now what will YOU choose to paint?
soul signature

(excerpt taken from p. 179-180, 182)





Domestic Violence Victim Speaks Out

9 10 2014

For more information:Advance Praise for Almost President, by Scott Farris
Jessica DeFranco
203/458-4646
jdefranco <at> rowman <dot> com

 

Domestic Violence Victim Speaks Out

Former abuse victim Alexis Moore helps abuse and cybercrime victims.
Now she shares her secrets in her book Cyber Self-Defense.

To tweet this news, copy and paste: http://bit.ly/1rjG05m to Twitter with #noexcuseforabuse

Everyone wonders why Janay Rice didn’t just leave. Alexis Moore, a former abuse and cyberstalking victim has the answer. “Deep inside many victims blame themselves for the violence, and leaving is no guarantee the abuser won’t track you down and kill you,” says Moore, who endured a nightmare life before founding Survivors in Action (SIA) to help other abuse victims who, like her, often found little help from domestic violence organizations.

Every day Moore is contacted by hundreds of people who need help, but many people are afraid to reach out for help. Concerned about these victims, Moore has written a book that she hopes will help people break free from the cycle of abuse.

Cyber Self-Defense, co-written with Laurie J. Edwards explains how to:

Cyber Self Defense book cover

Cyber Self-Defense

⦁    identify possible abusers before getting into relationships

⦁    safely leave bad relationships

⦁    effectively stop cyberbullying, cyberstalking, stalking and other forms of abuse that often occur after leaving

⦁    recover emotionally and financially after being attacked

⦁    combat embarrassing leaks of personal information

⦁    restore a damaged reputation

⦁    protect yourself online

Many abuse victims suffer from PTSD, low self-esteem, and suicidal thoughts. Moore herself even reached the point of suicide, so she understands the emotional pain people face. Cyber Self-Defense offers many techniques for healing the devastating psychological wounds of abuse.

All of the case studies in the book come from Moore’s years as a victim advocate with Survivors In Action. She has helped many victims escape from seemingly impossible situations. Those stories are recounted in Cyber Self-Defense to give people hope that they, too, can break free from even the worst forms of abuse.

Moore’s poignant story has been told on Stalked: Someone’s Watching, and she frequently appears on news programs to offer helpful advice to domestic abuse victims. Her advice has been packaged in an easy-to-read form in Cyber Self-Defense: Expert Advice to Avoid Online Predators, Identity Theft, and Cyberbullying, which she hopes will help the millions who are trapped in this cycle and see no way out.

The book’s publisher, Rowman & Littlefield/Lyon’s Press, released Cyber Self-Defense in October because the Department of Homeland Security has named this month National Cyber Security Awareness Month to increase the public’s understanding of basic cybersecurity practices.

Cyber Self-Defense is packed with information to help businesses, individuals, schools, and organizations who need up-to-date information on preventing cybercrime, cyberharassment, and cyberbullying.

REVIEW COPIES AND INTERVIEWS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

###


For review copies and interviews:
Jessica DeFranco
Rowman & Littlefield
203/458-4646

jdefranco <at> rowman <dot> com

About Alexis Moore

Alexis Moore is the founder and president of Survivors in Action and collaborator with state and federal legislators worldwide for Internet legislation. She is considered a lead pundit on cybercrime and has appeared on CNN, Fox, Headline News, and Good Morning America.

About Laurie J. Edwards

Laurie J. Edwards, a freelance author and editor for more than twenty years, has an MA and post-grad training in creative and emotional recovery techniques. She speaks at school, libraries, and conferences around the country.

About Survivors In Action

Survivors In Action (SIA) is a non-profit, all-volunteer victim-advocacy organization based in the United States.

Praise for Alexis Moore:

“Alexis you have singlehandedly changed the landscape for women (and men) survivors and I couldn’t be prouder!” ~Linda Lowen, writer, journalist, radio host, and 2009 Recipient of the EMMA award

“Ms. Moore is dedicated and works diligently to assist in changing legislation. Her commitment to helping victims of crime and her expertise in Internet crimes will be helpful as criminals are increasingly using electronics to monitor and stalk their victims.” ~Betsy Ramsey, author of Stop the Stalker: A Guide for Targets





Feeling Overwhelmed by Life?

2 10 2014

Sometimes when problems pile up, it’s easy to get discouraged. Here’s one family’s refreshing way of teaching their daughter to never quit, never say can’t. It’s amazing what someone with a “can-do” attitude is able to accomplish. After watching this, you’ll never look at your problems in the same way again. And often, life has even greater surprises in store.