Tag Archives: advice

Conference Season is Upon Us

Good Day, Scribe Followers,

PJ Sharon here. March is an exciting month for authors. Springtime is around the corner and this year’s conference circuit begins. Since I’ve been at this a few years, now…eight to be precise, I’ve come to learn the value of attending at least a few hands-on workshops and major conferences every year. There are so many great opportunities out there, how does one know which conference is worth the time, effort, and money?  I’ve narrowed down my favorite, and most productive conference experiences. I’d love to share my take on a few of them.

I’ll start with the CTRWA sponsored events. I may be biased since this is my home chapter, but the events planners for CTRWA manage to consistently offer fantastic programming at very reasonable prices. With a smaller, more intimate gathering of authors, you can enjoy getting to know other writers, networking, and learning from such greats as Michael Hague and Kristan Higgins. Michael Hague’s teaching on story structure and the heroes’ journey revolutionized my writing. I can’t wait to hear him speak again this coming weekend! CTRWA also puts on an incredible Fiction Fest conference in the fall. These two events are on my MUST attend list.

This will be the first year I’m attending the New England Conference April 24-26, so I’ll be anxious to see how that one is. I’ve heard good things, and I’m looking forward to presenting, as well as seeing some of my CTRWA pals giving workshops as well. If expenses are tight–which is the case for most of us writers–presenting workshops can be a great way to attend conferences at a discount and also get your name in front of a a good number of people.This will be my first time presenting to a crowd this size, but with a workshop on Ergonomics and Self Care for Writers (Subtitled: Is your writing killing you?), how can I go wrong?

One of the funnest parts of attending conferences is that you never know who you’re going to meet. I rode an elevator with Nora Roberts three times before realizing who she was…my bad. I also got some amazing and very sound advice from Bella Andre at the 2013 National conference. She was open, warm, and honest–just like her books.

RWA2013 me and Bella Andre

Me and Bella Andre at the 2013 National RWA conference, where she rightly told me to set aside the third book in my Lily Carmichael trilogy and go home and finish another contemporary YA romance. I did as she suggested and produced PIECES of LOVE last summer before finishing HEALING WATERS which released in December. In doing so, I was able to keep my contemporary readers happy, add a box set and novella to my bookshelf, and still finish up the trilogy before the end of 2014. I don’t think I would have written and recorded my PIECES of LOVE theme song if I hadn’t been pushed to write that book at that time. I needed that time away from writing the last book in the trilogy to regroup and get organized again before bringing the series to a close. Writing something totally different and using my music in a new way gave me the creative boost I needed and offered my contemporary readers new content.

I’ll always value the opinions of others who have done it before me and done it well. Conferences are rife with good advice from the pros!

When it came to deciding between RT Booklovers and the National RWA conference this year, it was a no brainer for me. I’ve been to RT twice, and both times found it to be a bit disorganized and chaotic. There were some good workshops and the schmoozing is always fun, but overall, I get much more bang for my buck at Nationals. One caveat, is that RT is a great place to meet readers.

R Fan pic- Marissa pic (2013_06_02 00_59_02 UTC)

The YARWA folks do an amazing job putting together a Day of YA, where hundreds of young readers show up to meet and chat with authors. I might have to go back again for just that event! I took this pic of me and one of my YA readers who actually recognized my name and had read my books! One of those perfect moments I’ll never forget.

Meeting awesome people and rooming with others is one of the greatest parts of conferences for me. I’ve had the best roomies and it saves me a bunch of money! That’s me and my Scribe’s pal Katy Lee at the 2013 National conference below. I’ve had the great pleasure of bunking with some top notch ladies who are always up for an impromptu brainstorming session or a late night cocktail. The hotel bar is a hot spot for agents and editors, so be ready with those elevator pitches and always be professional.

 Me and Katy Lee

Since my focus has shifted a bit this year toward creating visibility, opening myself up to educational opportunities, and writing my non-fiction book, I figured offering my workshop at the National RWA conference in July would be an excellent way to spread the word about my first passion–health and wellness. How much fun will it be for me to share my best life balance and self care tips with hundreds of authors–all of whom are suffering from the sedentary lifestyle syndrome that is sweeping the globe? (My story about how this idea came to be and my celebration of 10 years as an entrepreneur is up at my website, along with my three best exercises for improving posture.)

For those of you who spend hours a day at your desk or in your car, or find yourself imprisoned by your computers and perpetually attached to your cell phones, i-pads and e-readers, you know the pitfalls of the sedentary and chair-bound lifestyle all too well. Do you suffer neck and back pain, poor posture, symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, or even significant weight gain from all the sitting you do? With today’s fast paced, digitized world, we’re all finding ourselves in this predicament and there seems to be no end in sight to the perils of techno-overload and the inevitable decline of our health as a result. Having the experience and knowledge to help others navigate their way back into a health body is a privilege and I take the responsibility seriously. The more people I can reach with positive messages about proper ergonomics and self care, the better.

We won’t even talk about all those gorgeous (and non-ergonomic) shoes we’ll all be wearing! Conferences are a mecca for fashion and glitz…an opportunity to feel like a princess a few times a year.shoe pic

The last conference I’ll attend will be CT Fiction Fest in September. That should round out my year nicely with an affordable way to advance my writing, meet some new people, and hang out with my pals for another fun-filled weekend of replenishing the creative well. I had to skip all the conferences last year in lieu of finishing two books and a novella in 2014. This year, I’ll be making up for it!

Which conferences or workshops are on your MUST list? Any tips you’d like to share about making the most of your conference experience?

A Mom’s Prayers for Her Son Book Review

mom

Have you ever wondered what exactly you should be praying for when it comes to your children?  A Mom’s Prayers for Her Son will take the worry away.  In fact, when I received this book to review, I made the decision to not just pray the prayers alone, but I included my son in the process.  It’s wonderful to know someone is praying for you, but to know the details of those prayers brings a peace to that person.  Many of the topics covered included bits and pieces my son couldn’t even voice that he needed.  We would read and pray the prayers, and my son would say, “That’s it! That’s what I’ve been feeling.”

To help you know what some of these topics are in the book, here is a short list of some of my son’s favorite and most useful during this time in his life:

1) When he needs to stand up for what is right.

2) When he’s angry.

3) When he’s looking for God.

4) When he’s rejected.

5) When he’s bored.

6) When he’s holding a grudge.

7) When we need time together.

8) When he needs a good example.

9) When he feels pressure to succeed.

10)When I don’t know what to pray.

And about 70 more!

About the authors: Rob and Joanna Teigen are the authors of 88 Great Daddy-Daughter Dates and Dad’s Prayers for His Daughter.  They now bring you A Mom’s Prayers for Her Son and show you how to pray for every area of your son’s life. They will show you a strong foundation to build a lifelong habit of prayer for your son with a collection of specific prayers you can use to get started right now.

Remember: you may not always understand your son, but God does! Start asking for his guidance, protection, and blessings today.

A Rose By Any Other Name . . . Our Guest, Rebecca Rose

Happy Friday! Casey Wyatt here. Please join me in a big Scribes welcome for Rebecca Rose! Rebecca is a fellow member of CTRWA and a very talented, multipublished author. Also, she’s a lot of fun and fearlessly wears shoes that cause a mere mortals to weep!!

Tell us about your latest novel –Midnight Sunrise?

Gunnery Sergeant Jake Sanders may have survived the ambush, but he will need more than Marine strategies to escape the mental warfare he now lives in. When Sophia Agnés begins working for Jake, her stubborn and sometimes volatile qualities never picture038allude to her fight for self independence, or the passionate impact she will have on his recovery.

Being an ex-ballerina Sophia understands the words loyalty and hard work. When she falls for Jake with the force of a concussion grenade, she must decide if she has the courage, honor, and commitment, to make them a team that can defeat any enemy. Even an invisible one.

-A long time ago I read a story about a Gunnery Sergeant who came back from the war. He seemed perfectly fine, did normal things. Until one day he dressed in his military uniform, shined his shoes, and killed himself. This story stuck with me because of the many in my family who serve, and have served, in the armed forces. My grandfather never talked about his time in WWII, but I occasionally heard his screams in the night when I stayed with them.

This story took me two years to write and research. I needed to get all my information correct as to honor the men and woman who have served. My uncle Sergeant First Class Bernard Bolduc and my step-father First Sergeant Scott Ryer, assisted me with the scenes that were too emotional and too complicated for a civilian to understand. My step-father also helped me understand PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and Disassociation Disorder in the military. Being the man military personnel go to setup health appointments with, Sergeant Ryer’s input became vital to the authenticity of my story. (I was totally drained when I finished this novel and in bad need of a beer!)

Tell us about your previous publications –

 Divine Redemption is a story I selfishly wrote all for myself. It took two and half weeks and I didn’t change much of the original draft. I love a redemption story and believe everyone deserved a second chance. I’m just really glad my family gave me one at the end of this writing blitz. There was no food or clean clothes during that time.

BLURB: Sometimes Redemption Is The Only Salvation Needed To Forgive Yourself.

In his first ever selfless act Donald Write takes a bullet for a man he just met, Daniel Allen. Now he’s changed his name and moved across the country to live with Daniel’s family whose welcoming home reception wasn’t very warm.

Jacqueline is Daniel’s daughter. This soft spoken, well dressed lady soon teaches Donald that looks can be deceiving and her heart can be his if he’s willing to open up and except her gift of love.

Donald hadn’t counted on the intense and immediate attraction to Jacqueline. She’s the boss’s daughter and off limits; that is until he finds himself with an irresistible primal need to be with her. She shows him love in a way he’s never felt before and gives him the strength to become the better man he’s always wanted to be. But how can Donald touch and care for someone so pure of heart when their future can be destroyed by his past? A future built on redemption and second chances.

 Divine Turmoil is the first novel I ever wrote and it changed my life. I always knew I wanted to be a writer, even did small poems and stories for my local newspaper. However, this particular story cemented the storyteller in me. J

BLURB: Who Said Coming Home Was Easy?

Many people have felt the urge to get out.  It can affect even the most practical of people.  When one leaves and has to return, it can evoke feelings of failure.

Serena O’Neal is feeling just that.  Her resentful sister is now tossing their mother’s illness in her face. The blame needs to be placed somewhere, and Serena is the perfect scapegoat.

Brian Allen doesn’t believe in second chances.  He’s been down that road before, and thinks of himself as a failure when it comes to relationships.  However, Serena’s carefree personality and hidden fragility are too much for Brian to ignore.  He finds himself needing to take care of her, while his heart is falling deeply in love.

In life, unexpected surprises can be the most pleasant of astonishment’s. When Serena is faced with unconditional love, she runs once again. With a sudden revelation, she’s forced to go back home and face the mess she has created.  In doing so, she must not only convince the man she loves to forgive her, she must also forgive herself.

Please share your path to publication. I understand you started out with a digital e-publisher. What was that experience like? And why did you decide to go the traditional route?

I can’t say I really decided to go the e-pub route because I feel it picked me. After a hundred or so rejections from publishers and agents (some held Divine Turmoil up to ten months) I made a decision…if I didn’t land a contract in six months, I was going to self the career change. One day surfing the web I found Lyrical Press’s website. The minute I saw it, read about Renee Rocco, I knew it was my home. I sent my query, synopsis, and full manuscript (per their request) and a week later they offered me a contract. I loved being a Lyrical Press author; they all work together so well. But, I wanted a bigger press; somewhere I would be able to touch more readers with my divine redemption covertales.

Favorite pastime when not writing?

Totally messing with my children! LOL Really, we have the most fun. We’re a household of jokers. What’s really great is that as they’ve gotten older (17, 13, & 9) they still want to spend time with us. How crazy is that?

What advice do you have for newbie writers?

WRITE IT AND BE PROUD!! I didn’t tell anyone that I was writing until after receiving my first contract. I didn’t want to hear, “Oh, Becc thinks she’s going to be a writer. What is she thinking?” Actually, I did hear that one, but ignored them all. Believing in yourself is the key to any success. Now when people excuse my profession for writing fluff and eating Bon-bons it doesn’t hurt so much. I know the pain, tears, and sleepless nights they don’t realize are part of the job. I believe there is an illusion when it comes to a writers’ life and the reader really doesn’t want to know about. For instance; that I’m typing this (right now) with two cats curled up to me, I’m bone tired with eye strain from typing for hours, I don’t have high heeled feather slippers on but I do have pink flannel PJ’s and mismatched socks. See? I ruined it for ya, didn’t I? LOL

If you could travel back in time and forewarn your newbie writer self, what advice would you give her?

Oh Gosh! There are so many polar sides to me. I think I would tell her to be kinder to herself. While I don’t mind being late–most of the time, while I manage to let many things roll off of me, when I first started writing seriously I gave myself NO wiggle room. I’m still a stickler with perfection and reprimand myself for not knowing enough; however, I’m not losing sleep anymore from second guessing me. So, yes. I’d tell myself, “chill out!”

Do you have any other novels coming out soon? And can you give us a hint about them?

Yup, I have Midnight Sunrise and it’s follow up, which is yet to be titled. The follow up is fun. I really like torturing my characters.

Then I will be finishing up Noble Deception, which is an emotional mess for two people who clearly are supposed to be together except one of them is engaged!

Then I have the third installment to the Divine Series, Divine Valor, which will tell Gabe’s story.

Yikes, I better get cracking!

Now, you didn’t think you’d get away without answering a question about The Doubt Monster, did you? Does he or she plague you? And if so, how do you deal with him or her?

Oh, I didn’t think you would let me slide on that one! LOL That darn Doubt Monster is awful. J

My monster is conflict. I never feel I have enough of it, and adequate emotion to go with it. This is usually when my family suffers because I get upset about the scene not working out and I end up causing the conflict! LOL I tend to get the scene done after that. (In all fairness, I announce when this is happening and tell them that I’m looking for a fight. Everyone in the house is well trained now.)

Quiz time!

Favorite food?  Guacamole!! YUMMY (I do consider this a food)

Favorite place to visit? Our family vacation spot in Maine. It’s a little scary because we’re so far from civilization but, with no electricity all you can hear is your thoughts. The beavers and loons in the water are pretty cool, too.

Guilty pleasure? Really, really bad movies and TV. I’m so addicted to it. I drive everyone in the house nuts. Heeheehee

Sexiest man on earth? Sexiest woman?  Besides my husband? Hmm…Hugh Jackman. The man is incredible and I love him. The body, the talent, and–oh my–the accent!!! Guacamole and Hugh, now that’s a dream come true. J

Sexiest woman I would have to say Angelina Jolie. She beautiful inside and out. I like how she’s just a little crazy and believe that’s what makes her a great mom. Her volunteer work has touched millions and she’s ready to kick butt at any time. Truthfully, I think I might have a girl crush.

Stiletto heels or flats? Stilettos!! I’m a heel girl. Love, love, love them. Mark, my husband, gave me six inch stilettos for Christmas. Then there are these totally cool pink ones I just bought last month. I wasn’t wearing them for a while because moms can’t run after active kids in them. So, they were turned in for funny, ugly sneakers. The kids are glad I’m in heel mode, again.

On a guy – Tattoos or piercings? Oh, dear. The hubby has both! I’d have to say tattoos. For our eleventh anniversary we didn’t know what we were going to do without children.

He said, “Hey, wanna get tattoos?”

“Sure! Why not,” I said. And that’s how I got the phoenix on my hip. Mark has…umm…five, I think. Maybe more. I keep trying to convince him to get more. I giant one across his chest would be…WOW! *giggles*

BIO:

Once Rebecca Rose picked up her first romance novel she knew her destiny was typed on those pages. She lives to find romance in ordinary life doing everyday things, and believes we only need to be mindful enough to find it. While being slightly dyslexic creates some challenges, she feels compelled to write about the characters who reside in her head.

Now with multiple books published, she is a full-time writer with a nag for a muse who even talks obsessively in the car. That is, of course, when the voice can get a word in edgewise with her three children and husband of nineteen years along for the adventure.

Rebecca hopes her writing brings you to laugh, cry and rejoice with her characters. picture004Maybe even leave a lasting impression on your soul.

Buy link: http://lyricalpress.com/divine-redemption/

EXCERPT: When an intense attraction leads Donald into Jacqueline’s compassionate arms, he discovers redemption and second chances can be his–if he can stop his past
from destroying their future.

“Hey, Donald, I need that expense report. Where are you?”

“Under the desk.” Since Donald started working for the Allens, he’d learned a valuable lesson in patience. Not touching Jacqueline was the hardest thing he’d ever done.

“You know, Donald, there’s talk that you’re the most eligible bachelor in town.”

Donald craned his head to look at her. “That’s my chair you’re sitting in.”

“Yes, but I like the view of your behind.”

He wiggled it for her and she laughed.

“Donald, what are you looking for?”

“I dropped my paperclips.”

His dry response had another giggle coming from her.

“You’re too cute.”

“I’m not trying to be cute. This job really sucks sometimes, you know.”

“But you’re so good at it.” She rubbed her foot along his bottom, then attempted to go between his legs but Donald closed them.

“We talked about this, Jacqueline.” He turned and placed a hand on each of her knees.

“I’m only flirting with you.”

“You’re sexually harassing me, and I believe there’s a strict policy about that.”

“Donald,” she said, bringing her face close to his.

“Ya.” His eyes went to her lips and back to her eyes.

“I need that expense report.”

Thank you so much for having me I had a lot of fun.

Have a Sparkling Day!

Rebecca Rose

Thanks for being our guest today, Rebecca! Don’t be shy Scribes fans, if you have a question, ask away!.

Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

Happy Friday! Casey Wyatt here.

Meet the victim...er...hubby. He won't be smiling for long.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, now is a good time  to discuss the old adage – all things in moderation.

 A few weeks back, my family went to Mystic, CT and Stonington Point. This was so I could “research” the next book after Mystic Ink. At lunch time, my hubby decided to take on the Vodoo Curse Burger Challenge at the Voodoo Grill. Click here for the burger’s gory details.

In a nutshell, the challenge is a four patty bacon cheeseburger, loaded with all kinds of greasy stuff and a pound of gravy laden fries. Oh, yeah, and you have to eat it all in 30 minutes or less.

Seriously??

Of course none of these facts daunted my fearless man, who grunted, “Bring it on” to the catcalls of our teenage sons.

It wasn’t long before the monstrous burger arrived at our table. The owners took his picture (in case he won) and wished him luck. The boys proceeded to “jeer” their father on. I was skeptical, but curious to see if he could do it.

Nom...nom...nom.

He dug in with earnest. Men from the bar stopped by our table and clapped him on the back in manly camaraderie, “We’re rooting for you, buddy.”

About ten minutes into the challenge, half the burger was gone. Maybe he could defeat the Curse Burger.

A few more bites later and hubby was looking a bit . . .  full. One of my sons offered “to make a patty disappear”. Not by eating it, but by flinging in onto a nearby roof like a frisbee.

That idea was soundly rejected by both parents. No cheating.

So much left to chew....

Like a trooper hubby kept eating. And then he hit the wall….

The kids proclaimed him lame. The pound of gravy laden fries remained untouched.

He sighed and pushed the plate away and conceded, “I’m done.”

The Curse Burger had added another loser to the wall of shame.  But wait… is hubby really a loser in this scenario? Yes, we were out the <choke> twenty dollars it cost for the burger from Hell. And he failed to achieve burger glory. Yet…

Loser or winner?

Let’s see the situation differently. Rather than gorging himself sick (and then suffering the rest of the afternoon and through an hour drive back home), hubby chose to stop.

Sometimes, you have to recognize that you’ve taken on more than you can handle. There’s nothing wrong with holding up your hand and saying “no more” or “enough already.”

Tell me, what lessons have you learned about taking on too much? And do you have the wisdom to say “no” when you should?

Twitter-pated

Happy Friday! Casey Wyatt here.

I admit I was reluctant to take the plunge and join Twitter. My thought was –  Ugh, another thing I have to do on top of Facebook and the blogs.

And it is another thing to keep track of … except I like Twitter it.

Maybe too much. It appeals to my inpatient nature and is a great opportunity to spend time avoiding writing. I get instant feedback and someone, somewhere is always tweeting about something interesting. So what is Twitter? It’s a social media tool that allows you to speak to your “followers” or “tweeps” in 140 characters or less. People have to choose to follow you. And you choose to follow them. You can only read comments from those people or organizations you follow. And they in turn will only read your comments if they follow you. (Twitter allows you to directly message people if you know their user name). Our friend and marketing guru Jennifer Fusco likens Twitter to a cocktail party. I think that is a great analogy.  Except my problem is I like the party a little too much. So what’s a writer to do? Limit yourself – I re-tweet (a function that allows you to share tweets you like with your followers). And I publicize for the Scribes (@Secretsof7Scrib) and for Casey (@CaseyWyatt1). I try to read the “feeds” only a few times a day, rather than all day long. Connect – Many applications “talk” to each other. I allow Twitter, Facebook and WordPress access to each other. When I tweet or re-tweet, it appears on my Facebook wall and on my blog page. When this blog posts, it will appear in Twitter and on my Facebook wall. Kinda of neat, huh? Be Meaningful – Ask yourself before you tweet- does anyone care what you ate for lunch? My yardstick for a RT (re-tweet) is – would I like to share this with my followers? Is this an interesting tweet (example, it leads to cool blog post or a contest)? Be mindful of other’s time. Tweet with a purpose. And remember to be professional. Follow – Follow others and they will follow you back (for the most part). And don’t stick to just other writers. I’ve branched out and started following review sites, artists, even the Dalai Lama (he has very sage advice). And speaking of advice – embrace some form of social media. It’s not going away anytime soon. Pick something you like and can manage. Remember, writing should always come first. We can’t sell a blank page! p.s. follow me, I follow back! What is your favorite social media? Least favorite? And have you had to go on a social media diet?