Tuesday, January 31, 2012

OWFI Low Contest Entries

I looked on the OWFI facebook page today and noticed a post about categories in the annual contest that are low. Each category must have 10 entries to be judged. The category I entered is on this list!!!! If you have something written, please submit by tomorrow. Please!

Your entry could be the one that puts one of these categories over the 'hump'!!!

Go to www.owfi.org for entry rule! Below are the contests that need more entries:

#5, Western Novel

#6, SF/Fantasy/Horror Novel

#7, Nonfiction Book

#9, Middle-Grade Book

#22, Script

#23, Technical/How-To Article

#25, Western Article

#28, Confession Story

We need ten entries for each category to be judged. All these categories are close to the

minimum number. 


Saturday, January 28, 2012

New Photos

In looking to update photos of myself for my blog, website, and twitter accounts, I realized that I really don't have many good quality photos of just myself. I am usually the one behind the camera or when my husband pulls out the camera, my son is with me. When we have them done professionally, we only get family photos or individual photos of my son.

To remedy this, I asked my husband to take a couple of pictures of me to replace those fuzzy ones I was using. Though they aren't professional or enhanced with any sort of photoshop program, I like them. So I thought I'd share his efforts with my blog fans.

Thanks, babe. I love the pictures and you.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Conferences and Networking

With the approach of the annual Oklahoma writer's conference, I find myself remembering my first experience with it last year, how much I learned, and how much I've grown as a writer since then. 

Last year, it was about learning, meeting other writer friends, and becoming comfortable with thinking of myself as a 'real' writer. I didn't volunteer, I didn't try to stand out, and I wondered around big eyed when any well known author would speak to me casually. I hadn't started this blog, I didn't have a website, and the first draft of my book was only a quarter of the way written.

How things have changed!

This year, I am comfortable in my own 'writer-ness', *grin* I am the president of my writer's group, and my book will be ready to submit after a few more revisions. My blog is doing fabulous, my website is up and running, and I have an author profile on twitter as well as my profile on facebook. I want to be more involved. I want to pitch my book. I want to start promoting myself for my book. 

In thinking of ways I could help out at the conference, I decided to be a shepherd. Shepherding is one of the best opportunities for networking at a conference. Shepherds are assigned to conference speakers and help them with things such as taking them to lunch, making copies, verifying room set up, welcoming participants into their room, introducing the speaker for their presentation, assisting with handouts during presentation, and watching the  clock during presentation. 

Though not glamorous and including tons of work, it is the moments between events when a shepherd is alone with the speaker that the magic happens. That is the time when a shepherd can get to know the speaker, become friends, and hopefully have the speaker ask about the shepherd's work. 

And that, my friends, is worth being a chauffeur, gopher, and entertainer for a perfect stranger.

I found out today who I will be shepherding and I could not be more excited. Melissa Frain, Editor for Tor Books, the leading publisher of science fiction and fantasy. This is a dream come true for me as she works for the publisher responsible for publishing books by my favorite author, Brandon Sanderson. I can only thank God for putting such an opportunity before me. 

Though I am nervous about meeting her and actually talking about my book with her, I am excited and impatient for the conference to arrive. What an amazing opportunity. 

Are you networking to promote yourself? If not, I encourage you to begin attending conferences like the OWFI conference in Oklahoma. You never know if they person you meet will help take your writing to the next level. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Book, A Friend, and My Dreams

At my writer group meeting this last weekend, speaker and fellow member, Jean Stover, talked about christian writing. Several of our members did not come because they are not christian writers. Since I am not a christian writer either, I was certain Jean would not be speaking to me. I was so wrong. Jean did, in fact, speak to me when she asked the question, "What is your motivation for writing?" She then proceeded to give responses to this question from some big names in writing.

"No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money." -Samuel Johnson

"The only sensible ends of literature are, first, the pleasurable toil of writing; second, the gratification of one's family and friends; and lastly, the solid cash." -Nathaniel Hawthorne

Now, I realize that she was speaking about motivations for Christian writing, but this question and responses by these two well known authors, really made me think. Why do I write? Money? Pleasurable toil?(is there really such a thing?) Gratification of family and friends?

None of these reasons quite did it for me. My husband is blessed with a fabulous job that gives us plenty of money so that I can stay home with my son. My family and friends already think I am awesome. I love to write, but I have been keeping myself content by writing in my journal for years. So why, a year and a half ago, did I decide to try my hand at writing a novel? I pondered this question for a few days, before the answer came to me.  

A book, a friend, and my dreams. 

The combination of reading Sazed's revelation in The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson, meeting my friend, Angela, who showed me an 'average' person could write a book, and a desire to do something with the strange dreams I had on a nightly basis, all prompted in me a desire to start my first fantasy novel. 

No longer content with simply writing my thoughts out in my journal, I realized I wanted to create an entertaining, thought provoking, and complex story for others to enjoy. I want to entertain others as my favorite authors have entertained me. 

Now, a year and a half has passed and I am revising my 100,000 word manuscript so that I will soon be able to begin submitting it. And I am amazed. 

What is your motivation for writing? Have you thought about it? Please take a moment and share it with me. I would love to see other writer's motivations.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

OWFI Contest Deadline

Only 9 days remain to get those entries submitted for the OWFI contest, my friends.

Don't forget to DOUBLE space, remove the name from your header, and include your 9X12 SASE. These are all things that get many disqualified.

Good Luck!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Great Night To Be A Writer

2am and I am awake. In a few short hours, I will stand before my writing group as President for the first time. My mind is racing.

I am nervous.

Will they like the new ideas I have? Do they think I am too young for this position as the youngest ever President in the group's history? What if I forget something? What if I get up in front of them and just freeze?

The silence and shadows of the wee hours feed my fears, growing them into howling monsters inside my mind. The monsters chase me around in circles. Tossing and turning in my bed, I rise, looking for something to distract me. I need an escape. My feet pad across the cold tile floors with a soft swish. The office light switch flips on with a small fleck of my finger. My computer sits waiting on my desk. Its steady hum reassures me. I open the document for my current work in progress. 

My fears dissipate like smoke leaving a chimney stack. I have found solace. 

Soon an hour has passed, I have another revised scene, and my mind is now at rest. I remember now why I joined this group, why I agreed to take this position. My ideas are good, though not everyone will like them. Young is irrelevant with my experience. I have an agenda printed up on fresh white paper so that I will not forget anything. We all wear name tags so we can remember each others names, even when nerves have us forget. If I freeze, again, I have an agenda.

I yawn, stretch, and go back to bed. What a fabulous night to be a writer.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Praise the Lord!

In the year and four months since I began writing my first novel, I have learned much about the art of writing a novel, met fabulous writing friends and acquaintances, and learned a ton about myself. At some points, I felt as if I were climbing a sheer cliff without the appropriate climbing gear. At other points, I felt as if I were flying victoriously, all parts and parachutes perfectly in order and ready to go.

I don't want to forget to give credit where credit is due.

Though I have work still to do, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I feel like I might be getting the hang of this fabulous adventure that is writing a novel. The fine art of developing a character is becoming clearer, my story more defined, and my platform of confidence more solid under my feet.

Praise the Lord!

His Grace made me just hard headed enough to stick with this difficult adventure I have embarked on and I cannot thank my God enough. I cannot wait to see where He takes me as I finish revising and move onto beginning the submission process.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My First Newsletter As President

I mailed my 1st official newsletter as President today. It took a lot of tedious work, but I am proud to say it belongs to my writing group. I hope my members feel the same.

The picture to the right was taken by my husband while I sealed, stamped, and labeled the newsletter in our living room. If I had known how long it would take, I would have dragged my friend and fellow officer, Angela Archer, over to my house to help. *grin*

I owe Ang many thanks for all of her help. The newsletter would not be as great as it is without her invaluable help. We now have a basic format for what we want and our newsletter chair will have an easy job of putting it together each month.

I am really enjoying getting everything together for my first meeting on the 21st. If you are a writer and are not yet in a writing group, come join us. You won't regret it, I promise!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My 1st Newsletter Article as President of OCWI

I thought I would share what I wrote for my writing group's newsletter with my blog followers. If you are also a writer, then I am talking to you. Perhaps you would be interested in joining us at OCWI. Email me or check out our website for more details. http://www.okcwriters.org

January Newsletter-From The President

Cinderella’s blue ballgown shimmers in the sunlight as my family and I enter the gates of Disneyland. A glass slipper peaking from beneath her dress takes me back in time. I hear my mother’s voice introducing me to a world of fairy godmothers helping make dreams come true. The dashing Captain Jack Sparrow elicits recent adventures upon the decks of the Black Pearl with my 5 year old son, Aidan.

I have been to many theme parks across the United States, both in childhood and as an adult. Yet this first visit to a Disney theme park seemed so much more than my visits to Six Flags, Frontier City, or Sea World. Why? What is so special about Disneyland? Why did I feel as if this theme park really represented something magical for me? The answer, once realized, is simple.

The story.

Each of the rides and characters at the Disney theme park has stories associated with them. Each of these stories elicits fond memories from those that visit Disney. Without these stories this theme park chain would be just that, another theme park chain. But with the existence of these stories, magic happens. We are taken back to a time in our lives when anything was possible if we only believed. Innocence saw adults as heroes. Our parents could do no wrong. When disappointment was simply not getting everything we asked from Santa at Christmas.

All of this because of the stories created by a writer. Stories are important. As creators of stories, writers are even more important. Without the ability of writers to imagine such amazing characters and worlds, there would be no Frodo in Middle-Earth, no Aslan in Narnia, no Peter Pan in Neverland, no Dorothy in Oz, or no Alice in Wonderland to name a few.

Writers put together their civilization’s history, they create worse worlds than that of reality so readers can see how fortunate they are, they create utopias for their readers to escape to, and they educate others about the rest of the world. Writers share their knowledge, their imaginings, and themselves with the rest of the world.

What a sad, boring place this world would be without the writer.

When you become frustrated with slow progress or rejections, remember places like the magical Disneyland, whose writers didn’t let their frustrations stop them from doing the best thing in the world…writing stories.