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AgentModX

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  1. With the holiday season around the corner, a cozy Christmas read is just what we need to get into the spirit of the season! Author Barbara Barth has just released her novella A Wingman for Christmas and it's a must-read for Christmas! First, here's a bit about her novel: The annual Sweet Water, Georgia, Christmas parade is nearing but relationships are fractured on Wild Rose Lane. Antique dealer Cheryl Calloway's holiday spirit has tanked. It's been a horrible year with her divorce, her ex marrying younger and perkier Miriam across the street, and Mama moving into Cheryl's Victorian cottage with her Amazon parrot right before Thanksgiving. A party girl in her eighties, Mama smokes up a storm, likes her nightly vodka, has a hankering for men, and now a wingman named Nigel. If that isn't enough, the Historical Society wants Cheryl to clean up all the projects on her porch waiting to go to Spivey's Antique Mall for their Christmas Open House. Her desire to work her booth is as dead as her marriage. Miriam, President of the Historical Society, chastises her, "If it ain't pretty don't put it on the porch." Then there's Alice, her strange neighbor with the six-foot fluorescent light bulb cross nailed to the huge Magnolia tree in the middle of her rose garden. Alice watches all the neighbors too closely. Just when Cheryl thinks things can't get worse, an incident shakes her to the core, and a mystery follows revealing family secrets long forgotten. Cheryl wants to believe in miracles and love again, and Dr. James may just be the man of her dreams as he helps her and Mama sort things out. Filled with quirky characters, mystery, family secrets, and sweet love, all set in a hot Georgia small town. Publisher: Gilbert Street Press ISBN-10: 0983171599 ISBN-13: 978-0983171599 ASIN: B0BJ9CWHGT Print length: 198 pages Purchase a copy of the book on Amazon. You can also add it to your GoodReads reading list. About the Author, Barbara Barth Barbara Barth turned to writing and adopting dogs to heal after her husband died fourteen years ago. Known as ‘Writer With Dogs’, Barth currently lives with four Chihuahuas in a charming town forty miles outside of Atlanta. She is Literary Arts Chair at a small art center where she promotes writing activities, author events, book launches, and hosts an online group Walton Writers. Inspired by the wonderful artists around her, Barth started painting and has won several awards with her whimsical art. Her books are available on Amazon. Visit her Instagram page Barbara Barth Studio. You can also check out her website.---- Interview by Nicole Pyles WOW: First of all, congratulations on your book A Wingman for Christmas! I have to say that I love it and already finished it! What inspired this book? Barbara: I started this book back in 2016 after I lost my mother. A few memories of her and her exotic pets made it into my last memoir The Unfaithful Widow Ten Years Later. I felt magic writing about her. Every year since I pulled out my little novella and worked on it but just couldn’t get it completed for the holiday season. This year I made a vow to finish it. The story is fiction but the love between Mama and Cheryl is as real as can be. WOW: It really is! Their relationship felt so real to me. I'm so glad to have you back with us for another tour at WOW! It's been a few years since you last toured with us. How has everything been for you and how has writing been? Barbara: I think sometimes I border on crazy. Made two big moves in three years, uprooting, and selling two houses. And with my antiques, art, and dogs, it was no easy task. I live in a wonderful house in Monroe, Georgia, now (about 40 miles east of Atlanta). I’m on the Board of the Monroe-Walton Center for The Arts as their Literary Arts Chair and plan writing events. Everyone should check out their web page https://www.monroewaltonarts.org/. It is an amazing place to reach out to the local community with so many classes and programs, along with art exhibits. I am blessed to be a part of such an amazing group. My dog numbers have changed as I’ve lost several dear ones. I call myself Chihuahua Mama now as I’ve downsized to small dogs as big ones crossed the rainbow bridge. My six-pack has only four members now. But that is subject to change. And you’ll still find me as Writer With Dogs on many sites. WOW: I think a dog mom remains a dog mom forever! I love all the quirky characters in this book. How did manage to capture them so uniquely? Barbara: This sounds cliché, but the characters revealed themselves as I wrote about them. I had no idea where this story would take me. Inspired by two things, a southern phrase someone said to me some years ago, “If it ain’t pretty don’t put it on the porch” and a story about my mother and her Amazon parrot from her early days in St. Augustine. Mother’s parrot got off the balcony while mother was in her shop below her apartment. The bird was gone for several days and then reappeared strutting down Aviles Street. A grand reunion. I always loved that story. While I grew up in central Florida (and born in NY) I’m not exactly southern. But these characters came to me and we fell in love. WOW: What a charming story! You are quite the artist by the way! Does your artistic work inspire your writing at all? Barbara: Thanks for the compliment. Art has always been a passion. I used to sell Victorian and vintage art in the early days on eBay. My personal art collection is full of old oil paintings of women in the garden, holding flowers, and their pets. When I decided to paint, my subject matter was the same as the art I love. My paintings are full of whimsy, color, and are happy and fun. Sometimes I sell them but I am attached to many, especially if there is a face that I feel a kinship with. Needless to say there is never enough wall space for me. Art is stacked all around my house and I like that. A bit bohemian. I’m hoping my paintings will inspire a children’s book. I have a sweet little mouse I paint and she has a story to tell. WOW: I would LOVE to see you write a children's book! Why did you decide to self-publish? Barbara: My first experience was with a vanity press. The memoir design was lovely but I discovered a glitch. I used their free ISBN, so while the story was mine they owned the PDF. That was back in 2010 and self-publishing still had a stigma. My how times have changed. So many self-publish these days and it is a great platform to get your story out to the public. I’ve even read that The New York Times features a bestseller list for eBooks complied from sales reported by Amazon and other distributors. I love the control of self-publishing. I publish under my imprint Gilbert Street Press and we have a few authors under it, too. My ego would love to say a publishing house is tracking me down, but reality is I am happy doing my own thing. I do like to kid I’m not looking for a publisher, just a Hallmark movie. Nigel is ready to talk a deal. HaHa. One can always have a dream! WOW: That's so cool you started your own press! And you know, you never know about a publishing house trying to find you! The art on the cover was adorable! Who did the art and did you work with them on it? Barbara: The magic in all my books is created by my sister Pam. She formats the interiors, designs the cover art, and loads it up to Amazon and Kindle. She and I started working together with my second book. I pay her for her expertise, although I may get a tiny family discount. I want to keep it professional since she also has other clients. Her web is in the process of being redesigned but you can still visit it https://pdkingdesign.com/. It is a wonderful experience to work with her. I have complete trust in her talent. We discuss what I want, then she knows how to make it happen. She is a perfectionist. When I tell her I like something, she’ll say it’s not quite done, and then comes up with something awesome. The first cover draft was lovely, but she wasn’t happy with it. “I haven’t caputrued Nigel’s personality.” The next thing I knew, she brought Nigel to life in full color. He steals the cover just like in the novella. Pam has spoiled me. You can bet she’s stuck with me for life! And not just as my sister. WOW: What an amazing duo you both are together! I'm so glad that others will have the chance to read this wonderful book. Best of luck on your tour! ---- Blog Tour Calendar November 28th @ WOW! Women on WritingJoin us at our blog The Muffin to celebrate the launch of A Wingman for Christmas. We're interviewing the author and giving away a copy of her book to one lucky reader.https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com November 30th @ Author Anthony Avina's BlogJoin Anthony as he reviews A Wingman for Christmas. A perfect novella for the holiday season!http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com December 1st @ Deborah-Zenha AdamsVisit Deborah's blog where she shares a guest post by author Barbara Barth about how many editors you really need.http://www.deborah-adams.com/ December 3rd @ Pages and PawsKristine shares her review of the charming holiday novella A Wingman for Christmas.https://pagesandpaws.com/ December 5th @ One Writer's JourneyJoin Sue as she reviews A Wingman for Christmas by Barbara Barth.https://suebe.wordpress.com/ December 6th @ Michelle Cornish's BlogJoin Michelle as she reviews A Wingman for Christmas. A must-read novella for the holiday season!https://www.michellecornishauthor.com/blog December 7th @ The Frugalista MomRochie shares her review of A Wingman for Christmas and gives away a copy of the book to one lucky reader.https://thefrugalistamom.com December 8th @ Knotty NeedleVisit Judy's blog as she features a guest post by Barbara Barth about starting a writing group.http://knottyneedle.blogspot.com December 9th @ A Storybook WorldVisit Deirdra's blog for a spotlight on A Wingman for Christmas by Barbara Barth.http://www.astorybookworld.com/ December 10th @ Michelle Cornish's BlogVisit Michelle's site as she features author Barbara Barth's guest post on encouraging others to write.https://www.michellecornish.com/blog December 12th @ Storeybook ReviewLeslie shares her thoughts about this fun novella A Wingman for Christmas by Barbara Barth.https://storeybookreviews.com/ December 13th @ Bring on LemonsJoin Crystal as she shares this fun holiday novella A Wingman for Christmas. https://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/ December 14th @ Beverley A. Baird's BlogVisit Beverley's blog as she reviews A Wingman for Christmas by Barbara Barth.https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/ December 14th @ Avonna Loves GenresJoin Avonna as she reviews A Wingman for Christmas by Barbara Barth.https://avonnalovesgenres.com/ December 15th @ One Writer' JourneyVisit Sue's blog where she features a guest post by Barbara Barth about finding inspiration around you.https://suebe.wordpress.com/ December 15th @ Knotty NeedleVisit Judy's blog again as she shares her thoughts about Barbara Barth's fun holiday read A Wingman for Christmas.http://knottyneedle.blogspot.com December 16th @ Beverley A. Baird's BlogJoin Beverley as she features a guest post by author Barbara Barth about writing fiction versus memoir.https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/ December 18th @ Life According to JamieJamie will be reviewing a fun novella for the holiday season: A Wingman for Christmas. https://lifeaccordingtojamie.com/ December 19th @ Lisa Haselton's Reviews and InterviewsJoin Lisa as she interviews author Barbara Barth about her book A Wingman for Christmas.https://lisahaselton.com/blog/ December 20th @ Word MagicVisit Fiona's blog as she features a guest post by Barbara Barth about researching your topic as well as your time frame.https://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/ December 21st @ World of My ImaginationVisit Nicole's blog as she reviews A Wingman for Christmas.https://worldofmyimagination.com/ ***** BOOK GIVEAWAY ***** Enter to win a copy of A Wingman for Christmas by Barbara Barth! Fill out the Rafflecopter form below. The giveaway ends December 11th at 11:59pm CT. We will announce the winner in the Rafflecopter widget the next day and follow up via email. Good luck and happy holidays! a Rafflecopter giveaway(C) Copyright wow-womenonwriting.com Visit WOW! Women On Writing for lively interviews and how-tos. Check out WOW!'s Classroom and learn something new. Enter the Quarterly Writing Contests. Open Now![url={url}]View the full article[/url]
  2. Julie Lockhart spent most of her career in academics, publishing extensively in peer-reviewed journals, such as Critical Issues in Environmental Taxation, and Advances in Accounting Education. During the last years of her career, she led a grief support nonprofit, where she discovered the beauty and depth of personal stories, sharing her own experience as well as that of others to help grieving people feel less alone. Her essays have appeared in the Medford Mail Tribune, Ashland Daily Tidings, Women on Writing and the Journal of Wild Culture. Julie’s website is: www.julietales. interview by Marcia Peterson WOW: Congratulations on your top ten win in our Q3 2022 Creative Nonfiction essay competition! What inspired you to write your essay, “Lego Girl?” Julie: Thank you for these questions! Lego Girl came out of a writing class with Chelsey Clammer. She had an assignment choice to write about a special toy from childhood while weaving in some research. I pretty quickly came up with Legos since they enhanced my creativity as a child and occupied me for hours. When I write about the challenges I’ve faced in my life, I also strive to show how I’ve moved through them so the reader may be inspired to grow through their own stuck places. Lego Girl evolved into such an essay. WOW: That's great, and we love to hear of your successful experience with Chelsey's class. How did your essay develop, both in your initial thinking about it and in the revision process? Julie: Sometimes I know my story line right away, but for this one I had to work it out as I went along. The assignment required taking a different look at how to tell my story. I started out with researching some of the basic facts about Legos as I told the story of building Lego mansions as a kid. The writing then reminded me that my messiness around Legos followed me into adult life, which brought me to the relationship with my first husband where my messiness triggered his anger. I started to see how Legos could become a metaphor for the mold my parents and other relationships tried to put me in. I know I’m not alone in the challenge of breaking molds to become who we are, especially for women. Next, I looked to the research to see what benefits Legos have for Attention Deficit Disorder, which I was happy to find. I hoped to take the reader through my own understanding that ADD was actually a good thing; the way my brain works, once I was able to understand it, has allowed me to have a very successful career. Intuitively, I chose to write the essay in third person. This is the first time I’ve done this, and I really like how it came out. As I edited the piece, I worked to weave appropriate metaphors of Legos into the essay, such as “hard plastic hurts,” and “…they broke the mold…” I also found the writing process to be cathartic – where I came from, and where I am now. I didn’t know how I would construct the essay until I did; the different aspects of the essay and the ending surprised me, which is fun! WOW: Thank you for sharing your essay writing process. What are you reading right now, and why did you choose to read it? Julie: I’m often in the middle of several books at the same time, part of my ADD nature. Priest Daddy, by Patricia Lockwood, is a wonderful memoir that I recommend. I am also reading a lot of literary magazines online to get a feel for where my essays might be accepted. I have a lot of unpublished pieces, and a “stack” of rejection letters (part of the process), although I’ve had some recent successes. This comes from studying these magazines and persistence in continuing to submit! WOW: Are you working on any fun writing projects? What’s next for you? Julie: It’s all fun, especially since I’m retired and looking back at my life from a place of peace and contentedness. I’ve been focusing on learning and experimenting with the different forms of writing personal essays, such as collage and braiding. I recently revised a personal story by braiding in another story from my childhood. I watched the piece magically transform from a good story to one with so much more depth. And then there’s my memoir. I want to get back to it as winter sets in, but I’ve been having so much fun writing short essays where my ADD brain loves that the finish line is in sight. I’m starting to look at classes on writing a memoir so that I get an outside push to finish it! WOW: Thanks so much for chatting with us today, Julie. Before you go, can you share a favorite tip or piece of advice related to creative nonfiction writing? Julie: The best thing I’ve done for myself is to loosen up my writing and experiment with different forms of constructing essays. My professional career started in academics (accounting) where I stuck with all the rigid writing rules I learned in school. Creative nonfiction writing has given me the opportunity to explore and break out of rigid molds. I encourage it for everyone! **** For more information about our quarterly Flash Fiction and Creative Nonfiction Essay contests, visit our contest page here.(C) Copyright wow-womenonwriting.com Visit WOW! Women On Writing for lively interviews and how-tos. Check out WOW!'s Classroom and learn something new. Enter the Quarterly Writing Contests. Open Now![url={url}]View the full article[/url]
  3. In case you missed it, Twitter has had a hectic couple of weeks (or months, really). From Elon Musk's takeover to the layoffs and departure of many of its core employees to rumors of the platform's eventual demise, it begs the question: what will happen when Twitter is gone? Personally speaking, I use Twitter far more passively than I ever did in the past. There once was a time I was so active on the site, I considered myself an expert on building a community there, but with minimal effort. Now, I use the site to keep track of breaking news and apply for writing jobs. But even that limited use of the social media platform will be difficult to replace elsewhere. I don't find many editors on other sites asking for people to DM them to apply for jobs like I do on Twitter. Breaking news is hard to find on Facebook (stupid algorithm). I've seen people talk about Tribel, Tumblr, and the more mysterious, Mastodon. All of which I'm on, by the way. Just look for @BeingTheWriter on any of those three sites. But in less than 5 minutes of using those platforms, I realize they don't capture the same community feeling as Twitter. Then there's talk of people starting a Substack which reminds me of the burgeoning blogger days of yore. Even then, there are only so many newsletters I can follow before I mindlessly hit the delete button and never read them. And then there's the final factor that has made all of this more difficult as I think of Twitter's demise: me. I find it hard to imagine rebuilding a new community on a new social media site. The battle of thinking of something clever (or informative or helpful) to say, finding followers that are willing to follow me back, and being consistently active feels overwhelming to me. So, much like the musicians on the Titanic (which people who remain on Twitter have been compared to, strangely enough), on Twitter, I will quietly remain. Although not so much making music on the site as I am sitting on a deck chair watching the players play. Where will you convene if Twitter does, in fact, fall by the wayside? (C) Copyright wow-womenonwriting.com Visit WOW! Women On Writing for lively interviews and how-tos. Check out WOW!'s Classroom and learn something new. Enter the Quarterly Writing Contests. Open Now![url={url}]View the full article[/url]
  4. Post-it note revision wall I signed up for this year’s NaNoWriMo on the official website, although I knew going in this year would be different. Last year, I completed 60,000 words of a new suspense/thriller novel. It was the first time I had a general outline going in and focusing on the story beats was helpful throughout the process. I still need to revise that novel . . . but that’s on my calendar for next spring. This year I decided to focus on revising my young adult novel that is scheduled for publication early next year. I knew there would be some additional scenes added in, so I estimated writing 15,000 more words throughout the month of November. It’s currently November 22 and I’ve written approximately 1,000 words. But wait . . . it’s not as bad as it sounds, I hope! First, I wrote a new scene. I still don’t know where in the overall manuscript this new chapter will end up, but it introduces a new main thread into the book that I believe will add some depth to the topic of sexual abuse. After I wrote that scene, I started going through the manuscript, page by page. I’m using a Post-it note to document what each chapter features, usually in one sentence. I’m also using a separate stack of Post-it notes to write page numbers where I plan to either write new scenes or expand on current ones. I wrote the first draft of this book so long ago that a lot of ways teenagers communicate has changed—so I need to modernize the content in places. My book is a ghost story so I’ve been exploring “rules” that need to be in place. Can the ghosts touch physical objects? If they do, do they have to teach themselves how to do that? How many times will “the light” come for them before they remain Earth bound? I should be done with this overall exercise this week, and then I plan to start writing the new scenes. I’m not sure if I will end up having 15,000 new words by the time I’m done. And that’s okay. The manuscript currently has 56,000 words, and I think that’s a great base. In years’ past, I’ve pounded out manuscripts during NaNoWriMo with no structure or outline and those are all still on my hard drive, in dire need of revision. I won’t lie and say the fact that I’m not cranking out a ton of words each day isn’t giving me anxiety, but I think this is a more focused and productive approach for my manuscript’s current needs. I found an article on NaNoWriMo’s blog where the author suggested a few big questions a write should ask during the revision process, including: Is there enough at stake? (A novel should be about a character’s fight with some form of death—physical, professional, or psychological). Do the characters act like real people would in a similar situation? Are there parts where a busy editor or reader would be tempted to put the book down?Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? How is it going for you? Renee Roberson is an award-winning writer and true crime podcaster who has completed NaNoWriMo four different times. Maybe the fifth time will be the charm! (C) Copyright wow-womenonwriting.com Visit WOW! Women On Writing for lively interviews and how-tos. Check out WOW!'s Classroom and learn something new. Enter the Quarterly Writing Contests. Open Now![url={url}]View the full article[/url]
  5. I'm excited to announce our upcoming blog tour for Rebirth by Kate Brenton. She's one of the instructors for the Sit & Write course we shared with you a couple of months ago, and her book shares real life stories about what happens when you let go and let life lead. This book is perfect for someone who needs a little support in listening to their true voice and remembering what is possible when they have the courage to surrender. Join us as we interview Kate Brenton about her book, share more details about her inspiring book, and give away a copy to one lucky reader. First, here's a bit about her book: When life is calling, often we need only the space and the support to remember our way. Sometimes we lean into our expansion, and sometimes we bolt from our greatness. The biggest shock is that big change happens in small choices. In Rebirth you will find real-life stories of people who made courageous leaps, inspiring you to make your own. It’s time to step out of line and back into the spiral of life—that’s where the alchemy is. This book fits right into the side pocket of your bag + your life to inspire you as you read others’ stories of how they listened and learned to make embodied changes in their own lives. Publisher: Inspirebytes Omni Media (September 2022)ISBN-10: 1953445261ISBN-13: 978-1953445261ASIN: ‎B0B3V3JQT7Print length: 160 pages Purchase a copy of Rebirth on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Bookshop.org. You can also add this to your GoodReads reading list. About the Author, Kate Brenton Kate Brenton, Ed.M., educator, author, mama, and healer, used to climb trees in her childhood to sit in and read books. A lifelong teacher, from secondary English to spiritual development, Kate has the archetype for sharing wisdom to empower and elevate through online courses, inspirational speaking, and retreats. Come say hello or listen to the Rebirth podcast at www.katebrenton.com. You can also follow her on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Substack. --- Interview by Nicole Pyles WOW: First off, congratulations about your book! I have found it to be so inspiring. With this book being originally a podcast, what inspired you to start the podcast? And what eventually led to you writing this book? Kate: The 95 Interstate, on the outer rim of Philadelphia, can be a quagmire of traffic. When I was approached by a friend and manifestation coach, Joe Longo, about creating a podcast—I created an image of a woman, stuck in her car, and in her life and uncertain what to do. I wanted her to hear the Rebirth podcast, and gain either hope or an idea on how to create one small, positive action. I wanted the podcast to be both resourceful and inspirational. Somewhere in the second year of the podcast, the Founder of Inspirebytes Omni Media, reached out to me with a book contract, for a book that is still unwritten. A few months later, when I hosted my publisher on the podcast, I said nothing about my writer’s block; she called me the next day and said, “The podcast is the book.” I felt the rightness of that, and Rebirth the book was born. WOW: How amazing! Those five words made all the difference. I love all the courageous leaps that happen in this book. How did you meet or find the people you end up interviewing on your podcast and for your book? Kate: The people in the book were all first on the Rebirth podcast, either colleagues I knew or people that I cross-paths with and invited on to speak. The focus of the show was to talk to women about the intuitive moments of listening to themselves, against all odds, and in phases of great change. When it came time to turn the podcast into a book, I thought about the journey arc of the book and selected from three seasons of podcasts for interviews that would hit different tones and messages. So even though the book is a collection of stories—you can pop it open anywhere to read—it also has a coherent theme that runs through about how to surrender to the life that is calling you. I wanted to show that no matter how different the journeys from yoga to publishing, from skincare to Waldorf education, we can find the commonality and the inspiration from others and within to strive and surrender to life’s magic. That is the power of story. WOW: You are very right! I felt that there was a synergy within the book, even though they were separate stories. What was your revision process like? Kate: The revision process taught me a few things. First, with every iteration of the book, I uncovered something within myself, at least as a first-time author. A place that I didn’t see in structure or writing (because I was literally too close) or a gap that I missed because I was emotionally too far, revealed itself with each revision. It was fascinating to witness. Also, having an intention, a good set of beta readers, and thorough copy editors are all crucial to ensuring that what you intend to create is indeed transmitted through words and structure. You might spend more time pinpointing one word choice than you ever have, and it's amazing to create something that will live on in the hands of others. WOW: It is definitely a learning process to write a book that teaches you a lot about yourself. What do you hope readers take away from reading this book? Kate: That life is an up-and-down ride for everyone—even though sometimes we can feel that life is only happening in a hard way to us. In a world that focuses on appearances, it is how your life is sitting within you that makes all the difference. I think the power of story, both struggle and triumph, can do a lot to grow fortitude and bring us back to ourselves. I wrote this book to be a friend to the reader. WOW: I completely agree! How did the lessons you gained from your podcast and book weave into the class you have started? Kate: Thank you for this question because Sit & Write has been an amazing birth. This is a class for mission-led writers, addressing the spiritual and analytical sides of writing. Becoming an author really honed my gifts of supporting other writers. First, everything I mentioned above about climbing out of iterations of yourself, as well as doing the work to let your true voice come out, are the foundations of this class. Writing a book is a large and amazing undertaking and the fortitude to finish comes from being aligned with your voice and your intention for writing, whether that is a fiction piece, a memoir, or a cookbook. A book is created from nothing into something because of you, and Sit & Write is a space for that certainty to root. Now, once you have the thing you want to say, you need to find a way to let the world find your book, easily. That’s where my co-teacher Claudine Wolk comes in. She is doing for our students what she did for me: demystifying book marketing and teaching practical and personalized avenues for any writer’s budget to get your book Seen & Sold (which is her next book). Writing is so personal that you need a community; I had one and leaned on them heavily, as well as my own intuition, which helped my book land in #1 for New Thought on launch day, but that’s a story for another time. We are taking all those pieces and sharing it with other writers to help them get their books into the hands that need them. WOW: I love you are giving that community to writers. What advice do you have for writers (and other creatives) who feel like they are getting in their own way in terms of their success? Kate: Expect this to happen; it’s a part of your growth process. All creative processes expand and contract. What we need is a structure or practice to keep going and not get stuck in one phase. Same in the seasonal phases of nature; we are not always producing, and sometimes we are bursting through the shell in the dark. Let’s talk about the craft of writing, as an example of this expansion and contraction. There are times that you write, and there are non-writing times. Even when you are on a deadline, don’t force. Put down the pen, go for a walk, read another book, let the space around you organize your thoughts and allow new inspiration to come through. If you give it the space, and you are committed, it always comes through. I should also mention, pay attention to your patterns. If you are prone to forcing, relax. If you are prone to avoiding the page, sit & write. It’s a process at times, but perhaps you are being grown to evolve into the writer you were meant to be. WOW: That is so inspiring! Thank you so much for joining us today! Best of luck with your book, podcast, and class. --- Blog Tour Calendar November 21st @ The MuffinJoin as WOW's blog The Muffin as we interview author Kate Brenton about her inspiring book Rebirth and give away a copy to one lucky reader.https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com November 21st @ Rachael's ThoughtsJoin Rachael as she reviews Rebirth by Kate Brentonhttps://rachaelstray.com/ November 24th @ Deborah-Zenha Adams' BlogJoin Deborah as she features a guest post by Kate Brenton about writing where and when you can.http://www.deborah-adams.com/blog/ November 25th @ Freeing the ButterlyJoin Michelle as she reviews Rebirth by Kate Brenton.https://www.freeingthebutterfly.com/ November 27th @ Shoe's Seeds and StoriesVisit Linda's blog where she reviews the insightful book Rebirth by Kate Brenton.https://lschuelerca.wordpress.com/ November 29th @ Lisa Haselton's Reviews and InterviewsJoin Lisa as she interviews Kate Brenton about her inspirational book Rebirth.https://lisahaselton.com/blog/ November 30th @ Author Anthony Avina's BlogJoin Anthony as he reviews Kate Brenton's book Rebirth.https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/category/blog-tours/ December 1st @ Michelle Cornish's BlogRead Kate Brenton's guest post about story as medicine over at Michelle's blog.https://www.michellecornish.com/blog December 2nd @ The Frugalista MomJoin Rochie as she shares her thoughts about Rebirth by Kate Brenton. You can also win a copy of the book!https://thefrugalistamom.com/ December 3rd @ Beverley A. Baird's BlogJoin Beverley as features Kate Brenton's guest post about writers needing a high inspiration diet.https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/ December 5th @ Balance and JoyJoin Sheri as she reviews Rebirth by Kate Brenton.https://www.balanceandjoy.com/ December 6th @ Anthony Avina's BlogJoin Anthony as he features Kate Brenton's guest post about why what you love will get you through.https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/category/blog-tours/ December 7th @ Katherine Itacy's BlogCome by Katherine's blog and read her review of Rebirth by Kate Brenton.https://katherineitacy.com/ December 8th @ Beverley A. Baird's BlogJoin Beverley as she reviews Rebirth by Kate Brenton.https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/ December 9th @ Rebecca J Whitman's BlogJoin Rebecca as she features Kate Brenton's guest post about when to keep going on faith.https://rebeccajwhitman.com/ December 10th @ A Story Book WorldDeirdra showcases Rebirth by Kate Brenton, a must-read book for the new year!https://www.astorybookworld.com/ December 13th @ Word MagicVisit Fiona's blog and read Kate Brenton's guest post about the evolution of podcast to book and how it was a walk of faith.http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/ December 15th @ Create Write NowRead a guest post by Kate Brenton on Mari's blog today about the power of birth as a mother and as a creative.https://www.createwritenow.com/journal-writing-blog December 17th @ Boots, Shoes and FashionLinda interviews author Kate Brenton about her writing and her inspirational book Rebirth.https://bootsshoesandfashion.com/ December 18th @ ChoicesVisit Madeline's blog and read Kate Brenton's guest post about mothering, writing, and working in the modern world.http://www.madelinesharples.com/ December 19th @ Liberate and LatherJoin Angela as she reviews Rebirth by Kate Brenton. Don't miss this inspirational book!https://liberateandlather.com/blog December 20th @ World of My ImaginationVisit Nicole's blog to read her review of Rebirth by Kate Brenton.https://worldofmyimagination.com/ ***** BOOK GIVEAWAY ***** Enter to win a copy of Rebirth by Kate Brenton by filling out the Rafflecopter form below. The giveaway ends December 4th at 11:59pm CT. We will announce the winner in the Rafflecopter widget the next day and follow up via email. Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway(C) Copyright wow-womenonwriting.com Visit WOW! Women On Writing for lively interviews and how-tos. Check out WOW!'s Classroom and learn something new. Enter the Quarterly Writing Contests. Open Now![url={url}]View the full article[/url]
  6. Congratulations to all the contestants and winners in the Quarter 4 2022 WOW! Essay Contest! If you haven't already checked out the impressive list of authors, please head to the WOW! Blog and do so! And now, without further ado - I'd love to tell you more about Penelope Richards! In 2021, Penelope Richards graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Disorders. Though speech therapy is fulfilling in it’s own way, Penelope’s true passion is the Arts. Almost immediately after graduation, she decided to return to school to pursue her dream of being an actor. She is currently enrolled in KD Conservatory in Dallas, Texas. When not on the stage, at work, or at her desk writing, she loves reading and shopping. Penelope’s work has appeared in WOW-Women on Writing, Inscape Journal, and Wingless Dreamer. Penelope is currently working on a collection of essays about womanhood and feminism. You can find Penelope on Instagram as @Penelope_Richards_Actor. If you haven't done so already, check out Penelope's essay "Prey" and then return here for a chat with this talented author. WOW: Congratulations on placing in the Q4 2022 Creative Nonfiction Contest! I know all the emotions I felt after reading your submission, but what is the take-away you’d like readers to gain from Prey? Penelope: There are two big take-aways from Prey. First, be careful who you trust. Examine your relationships. Take an objective look at the people in your inner circle. Try to see them without the rose-colored glasses of affection or idealization. Second, be the best ally you can be. WOW: That's fantastic advice, though incredibly difficult. Thank you for your perspective. What advice would you give to others (specifically female authors) when it comes to self-care? Penelope: Self-care is not a luxury. Nor is it something you finally earn after killing yourself staying busy for weeks and weeks. Self-care is a necessity, and it takes many forms. Sometimes self-care is the stereotypical bubble bath and facial. Other times it’s quitting your job, going to therapy, or letting yourself be unproductive on a regular basis. I struggle a lot with that last one. If I’m not doing something lucrative with every spare minute of my time, an angry voice inside my brain shouts WORTHLESS! WORTHLESS! YOU ARE WORTHLESS! As hard as it is for me to accept, self-care is acknowledging that my worth doesn’t get lower when I make less money. Many women struggle with self-care. We, more than any other demographic, are taught to take care of everybody else first and by all means necessary, including by grinding nonstop. This is propaganda. The glorification of our suffering is meant to keep us from taking back the power that we deserve. That makes acts of self-care a kind of rebellion. Not just a necessity, but a duty. So, relish in it. Relish in all forms of self-care. For your sake and for women everywhere, take back your life, and make it for you. WOW: I needed to hear that - I promise I'll take my duty more seriously (or I'll at the very least try). You have an impressive bio- what can you tell us about what inspires you and keeps you so motivated? Penelope: I like to imagine the ghosts of famous women throughout history cheering me on. Usually it’s Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. Sometimes I picture all three of them in my writing space, reading over my shoulder. Other times they are squished together in the backseat of my car during my long morning commute. It’s kind of a weird trick, but it works. Whenever I face an obstacle, I try to imagine what they would tell me to do. More often than not, it gives me clarity. WOW: Speaking of some of these actresses - let's find out: Who is your favorite author and why? Penelope: At the moment, I’m obsessed with Riley Sager. His mystery novels are atmospheric and gripping. I’m not the kind of person who sees a picture in their head as they are reading. I usually just see the words. But when I read his novels, I see the words alongside colors and textures. Survive the Night was midnight blue and cashmere. The Last Time I Lied was hunter green and glassy. WOW: Thank you so much for your submission, your time, sharing your talents, and for all your insight and wisdom - it truly has been my pleasure. Interviewed by Crystal Otto who just keeps on keeping on!Check out the latest Contests:http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/contest.php(C) Copyright wow-womenonwriting.com Visit WOW! Women On Writing for lively interviews and how-tos. Check out WOW!'s Classroom and learn something new. Enter the Quarterly Writing Contests. Open Now![url={url}]View the full article[/url]
  7. I hate confrontation when it’s writing-related business. In fact, I’m stalling right now and it’s not even a face-to-face situation. It’s an email. But I’m agonizing over this email—and I’m annoyed at how much time this problem has ended up costing me in both hours away from other work and the space it’s taking up in my psyche. Years ago, I walked by our home office and Mister Man was on the phone to an associate. He was, as we say in the rural South, “giving him up the country.” In other words, he was speaking harshly to this gentleman. When I passed by ten minutes later, Mister Man was cheerily working away, not a sign of distress. I was amazed. “How,” I asked, “can you sit there so calmly after all that fussing? That poor guy! I’d be a wreck if someone lit into me like that!” My husband smiled. “He’s fine,” he said. “It wasn’t personal, Cathy. It was business.” And that, friends, in a nutshell, is why confrontation is so hard for me, at least when it comes to my professional writing side: I can’t help making it a whole personal thing. And I wonder if this is just me or if other writers struggle with this problem as well. Mostly, I wonder if it’s something inherent in a business like writing (or perhaps anything in the humanities). There are measurable elements to a writing business but there are just as many aspects that can’t be defined. Imagine something as simple as accurately calculating the hours put in to writing, say, a column: Coming up with the idea: 13 hours* *Includes the moment when I first thought up the idea and the eight hours or so I slept on it and the four more hours when I was running errands and thought up supporting ideas.) Writing the column: 4 hours** ** Includes when I first started writing and didn’t finish because I had to take a call and then came back and had to remember what I was writing about and then needed to eat lunch because who can think when they’re hungry and finally came back and finished writing the column. And then re-read it and realized the beginning had nothing to do with the ending and revised. Of course, sometimes an idea comes to me in a flash and within an hour or two, I’ve finished it. But when I send the invoice, I bill for an agreed upon fee whether I’ve spent an hour or three days. That’s fair, of course, but then how does one ask for a raise? I may feel that my work has more value (based on time involved and skill level) but confronting my employer (likely another professional writer/editor who, let’s face it, is in the same boat) feels a bit…pretentious. Am I worth more money? Am I that accomplished as a writer? Who do I think I am, the reincarnation of Erma Bombeck? Do people buy the magazine just to read ME? See? That feels a lot personal. Not so much business-y. Conversely, and what I’m dealing with presently, is confronting professionals in the publishing business who, in my opinion, are doing a less-than-stellar job after quite a few back-and-forth emails explaining what I need. Communications, I might add, that I have labored over in order to be as clear as possible. But—and here is where it gets personal—is it my lack in communicating or that I don’t understand the skills involved? I mean, is it really a badly done project or just me, the suddenly highfalutin art critic? I don’t want hurt feelings, but I also don’t want an expensive, crummy cover. It’s so hard to quantify writing and/or design when you are paying for…well, evoking feelings. So I am stuck in this space of confrontation related to my writing business that feels way too personal. What I wouldn’t give for Mister Man’s fast and pragmatic handling of the situation. But if anyone in the land of the living has thoughts, I still have a few hours of stalling left. ~Cathy C. Hall(C) Copyright wow-womenonwriting.com Visit WOW! Women On Writing for lively interviews and how-tos. Check out WOW!'s Classroom and learn something new. Enter the Quarterly Writing Contests. Open Now![url={url}]View the full article[/url]
  8. Last week, Nicole posted and encouraged us to nominate WOW! for Writer’s Digests 101 Best Websites for Writers. I immediately clicked through and filled out the nomination. Then I went to a Zoom meeting for another writing organization. When I left, I was shaking. I’m not going to go into the details but suffice it to say that the negative energy was palpable. I wished that I hadn’t already nominated WOW! for the Writer’s Digest award because now I had so much more to say about what a great place this is. If you are new to WOW! Women on Writing, you may not be familiar with everything the community has to offer. And first thing, realize that this is a community. We write a wide variety of things, we publish traditionally and independently, and live scattered across the globe. And yet we are a community of writers working together to strengthen each other’s work. Here are some of the ways that we do this. Blog If you’re reading this, you’ve discovered the Muffin, the community blog. Come back several times a week and read the posts and you’ll discover just how varied this community is. We are essayists, children’s book writers, magazine journalists, poets, and more. Because of this, the information is wide ranging. You'll find yourself challenged to learn more and try new things. Contests WOW! sponsors quarterly contests in flash fiction and creative essays. A variable entry fee allows participants to enter the contest or enter and receive a critique. Contest winners are interviewed on the blog. These interviews are a great way to find out what inspires other writers as well as how they hone their work. Many give tips on how to know if your work is ready for competition. Classes I’ve taken WOW! classes on school visits with Margo Dill, on narrative structure with Madeline Dyer, and on writing graphic novels with Melanie Faith. You will find classes on writing, rewriting, and marketing your work. There are classes on platform and on research. That last one, the class on research, is mine and you can find out about it here. If you want access to actionable information and feedback on your work and ideas, pick out a class. Tell me which one you’ve chosen because I’m having troubles picking out my next one! Newsletters With so much going on in one community, it can be hard to keep track of it all. It helps if you visit often and subscribe to the newsletters. Click on this link and fill out the form. Me? I checked it all! As I attempt to tell you which is my favorite, I waffle. Every newsletter about classes tempts me to sign up for something new. Markets newsletters send me to my files, looking for pieces that will allow me to take advantage of the many publishing opportunities WOW! has helped prepare me to try. I can’t say enough positive things about this community. Thank you to Angela and to my fellow bloggers and instructors. Thank you to all my fellow writers who make this the place that it is. Where many corners of the internet are filled with negative energy and toxic tongues, WOW! is a community of writers who excel at using their powers for good. --SueBE Sue Bradford Edwards' is the author of over 35 books for young readers. To find out more about her writing, visit her site and blog, One Writer's Journey. The next session of her new course, Pitching, Querying and Submitting Your Work will begin on December 4, 2022). Coping with rejection is one of the topics she will cover in this course. Sue is also the instructor for Research: Prepping to Write Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults (next session begins December 4, 2022) and Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults (next session begins December 4, 2022). (C) Copyright wow-womenonwriting.com Visit WOW! Women On Writing for lively interviews and how-tos. Check out WOW!'s Classroom and learn something new. Enter the Quarterly Writing Contests. Open Now![url={url}]View the full article[/url]
  9. Kay Bowman grew up in England, but has spent most of her adult life in New England. As a child she was disappointed by the lack of magical worlds behind wardrobe doors, so decided to create her own with words when she was nine-years-old. A “few” decades and many imagined worlds later, some of those words have been published in various online and print anthologies. Kay is currently working on a rewrite of a middle-grade novel she hopes her nine-year-old self would be proud of. This will be the first CNF piece Kay has written and shared publicly. She still lives in New England, a place that provides the perfect inspiration for the spooky stories she tends to write. ----------Interview by Renee Roberson WOW: “Defying Gravity” is complex, layered, and moving. What was the writing and revision process like to get to the final version? Kay: It took me a while to get it to this final version, but it always started with me packing the suitcase. When I started writing I kept getting stuck, it was clear I was too close and needed some separation. Once I switched to 2nd person POV, I found it easier to write about my feelings and emotions around going home for my mother’s funeral. I focused on the moments that really stuck with me; agonizing over what to pack, seeing the lights on the surface of the ocean, the Christmas tree at the airport, the empty vase, her perfume, among so many other things. It struck me that these were all things that, by themselves didn’t mean all that much, but putting them together brought all the memories of that time back to me. And writing it as one sentence felt right. WOW: Thank you for sharing that glimpse into your writing process with us! What was the first piece of writing you ever had published? Kay: When I was nine-years-old I entered a contest to write a story based on the movie “The Black Hole.” My entry placed and was published in a national newspaper. It was around Christmas and the prize was a trip to London to see the film with my family. I also got to light one of the advent candles during school assembly—all very exciting. Then in 2019, a ghost story I wrote, “Violet’s Blossoms,” was published in Devil’s Party Press - Halloween Party 2019 (thank you Dianne Pearce and David Yurkovich). That was just as exciting, even without the trip to London and the advent candle. WOW: That is such a fantastic prize and an amazing start your life as a writer. When is your favorite time of day to write and why? Kay: I love writing first thing in the morning. There’s something about the quiet before the rest of the house is up; something about the possibility of the day before it starts that inspires creativity. WOW: Can you share with us what the topic is for the middle-grade novel you’re currently working on? Kay: That’s a tough question! It’s a light fantasy novel with some adventure elements, featuring a 12-year-old girl and her dog getting into all kinds of shenanigans—it’s about a lot of things, but down to its bare bones it’s about a family learning how to navigate their way through grief. It’s about regret and how we long to change the past and often forget to live in the moment. WOW: We’d love to hear about some of these spooky places in New England that have inspired your writing! Kay: Our local cemeteries have some deliciously haunting stories and urban legends attached; there are abandoned buildings—even some currently occupied ones—with creepy histories; a road not too far from where I live is supposedly haunted by a mysterious creature and ghostly children; and let’s not forget Ed and Lorraine Warren’s Occult Museum in Monroe, CT. Also, if you happen to venture beneath the New Haven Green you’ll run into an ancient burial ground. Even hiking in Connecticut will bring you up close and personal to the paranormal. And who doesn’t love a fog-enshrouded beach? WOW: Me! That's a great endorsement on why one should visit New England if given the chance. Thank you so much for joining us today and we look forward to reading more of your work in the future.(C) Copyright wow-womenonwriting.com Visit WOW! Women On Writing for lively interviews and how-tos. Check out WOW!'s Classroom and learn something new. Enter the Quarterly Writing Contests. Open Now![url={url}]View the full article[/url]
  10. By Bobbie Christmas Q: I want to write articles for magazines. I’m especially interested in travel writing and hope a periodical will pay for my travel. I don’t know where to start, though. I need a step-by-step process. A: The process isn’t simple enough to cover in brief, although I’ll give you a few tips. In addition to my information, please read and follow the instructions in a book about how to write for magazines and other periodicals. Warning: resources, payments, periodicals, and methods have changed over the years, so choose one of the most recent books on the subject. Editors need to see proof that you are a qualified writer, so before you can get hired to write for periodicals, you must create a portfolio of your published works. To get clips, many people start by volunteering as a writer for a nonprofit or other organization. One writer I knew created imaginary articles crafted for imaginary publications. Once you have a portfolio of clips, you are ready to query periodicals who may ask to see those clips. Yes, you usually have to query with your own subject ideas until and unless you become one of the stable of writers that editors then assign articles. With the advent of the internet, travel writers today don’t necessarily have to travel to a location to write about it, so I’m not sure if periodicals pay for travel anymore, but don’t give up on the idea, if you like to travel. Most of the travel articles I’ve sold were based on travels I took for fun. While I didn’t get paid for the travel, I did get paid for the articles, which helped pay for the trips I would have taken regardless. I used frequent flier miles for at least one of my longer trips, yet based on that tour I sold three different articles to three separate periodicals, which recouped most of my expenses for food and land transportation. Result: Inexpensive eighteen-day vacation. Here’s an insider’s tip: Once you determine the magazines that publish your types of articles, ask for their editorial calendars. Editorial calendars outline the focus of upcoming issues. For example, the focus of the May issue might be Florida. In advance of that issue, the sales staff sells advertising to companies that have products and services of interest to people traveling to Florida. Although the editorial calendar is created to help the advertising sales staff, it can help writers as well. With the editorial calendar in hand, you’ll know that the May issue is going to focus on Florida. If your interest is hiking, as an example, you can query six months in advance of May and propose an article about hiking trails in Florida. In addition to studying the editorial calendar, you must scrutinize a magazine to learn of its focus, style, and preferences before you develop a query. If you’re not already a subscriber to the periodical, get sample issues and study them before you query the editor. In short, you first need a portfolio. Next you need to uncover potential periodicals and get their editors’ names and preferred methods for querying or submitting. You might start with periodicals that pay little or nothing and gradually move up to periodicals that pay a decent rate—more than a few cents a word. You must formulate and send a relevant query. Last of all, you must be patient, because responses may be slow. Payment may be slow as well, because most periodicals pay on publication. You may send your story in June, but if the story doesn’t appear until the February issue, you won’t get paid until then. Oh, wait! That’s not all. You must also set your ego aside. Chances are strong that your articles will be revised to fit the space or comply with the style of the periodical. Do not complain, or you may not be assigned any more articles. It won’t matter that you are right; the editor has the last word. Take a deep breath, exhale, cash your payment check, and ask for more assignments. * Book Doctor Bobbie Christmas, author of Write In Style: How to Use Your Computer to Improve Your Writing and owner of Zebra Communications will answer your questions too. Send them to Bobbie@zebraeditor.com or BZebra@aol.com. Read Bobbie’s blog at https://www.zebraeditor.com/blog/. (C) Copyright wow-womenonwriting.com Visit WOW! Women On Writing for lively interviews and how-tos. Check out WOW!'s Classroom and learn something new. Enter the Quarterly Writing Contests. Open Now![url={url}]View the full article[/url]
  11. I couldn't resist when I saw the request from Writer's Digest to nominate your favorite websites for writers. The first website I thought of? WOW! Women on Writing, of course! I joined the WOW team in 2017 and I've loved all the parts I've played. From blog tours to blog posts, this website keeps me inspired. And with as stressful as this year has been for me, I appreciate anything that has inspired me. But maybe you love WOW for a different reason! Maybe it's the classes, the newsletters, the writing contests, the giveaways, or the chance to read some amazing books. Whatever it is, we hope you nominate us as one of the Writer's Digest Best Websites for Writers. Right now, you can submit your request up until December 6, so take advantage now before you forget later. Submit here: https://www.writersdigest.com/be-inspired/call-for-nominations-best-websites-for-writers-25th-edition (C) Copyright wow-womenonwriting.com Visit WOW! Women On Writing for lively interviews and how-tos. Check out WOW!'s Classroom and learn something new. Enter the Quarterly Writing Contests. Open Now![url={url}]View the full article[/url]
  12. I was looking up a list of writing prompts and found one that I thought was timely for autumn, as the leaves have been changing and summer fading away. The prompt suggested I reflect on the changes I have undergone in the past year. Well, that resonated with me. What hasn’t changed? This time last year I was anxiously helping my daughter with her college admissions essays. This year she’s tucked away at a large southern university more than seven hours from home and I’ve shifted my writing assistance to my 16-year-old. This time last year I was still hard at work with a contract job editing for a magazine and facing the reality that a lot of freelance writers don’t take assignments during the last two weeks of November, leaving the December issue in a lurch. This year, I’ve left that job and am devoting my month to revising a young adult novel and writing and producing weekly episodes of my podcast. This time last year I was overwhelmed with my day job, producing bi-weekly podcast episodes, and committed to writing 60,000 words of a brand-new thriller novel for NaNoWriMo, which I completed and have not picked back up since. How have things changed? Here are the pros. Without the day job, I have more time to research and write true crime focused on the North and South Carolina regions and tackle these YA revisions. I look forward to polishing up last year’s NaNoWriMo project early next year. I also have time to have lunch and coffee with my friends, which I have done so much more of the past two months. I hadn’t realized how much I had been chained to my desk before and I’m enjoying this new, slower pace. I’m sleeping better, cooking a lot more and the house is tidier, which is beneficial to my mental health. Here are the cons of this life transition. I still worry about my oldest child—I’m convinced that will never change. But thanks to technology we keep in constant communication and in ten days, we’ll get to see her for several days during her Thanksgiving break! I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I miss the freelance salary I was bringing in. But I have the time now to work with other clients and I’ve never had trouble selling articles and finding publications to pitch if I really put my mind to it. My goal is to monetize my podcast to replace that editing income so keeping my fingers crossed I can make that happen. How has the past year been for you? Are you in a different phase of your writing life? I’d love to hear about it! Renee Roberson is an award-winning writer who also produces the true crime podcast, Missing in the Carolinas.(C) Copyright wow-womenonwriting.com Visit WOW! Women On Writing for lively interviews and how-tos. Check out WOW!'s Classroom and learn something new. Enter the Quarterly Writing Contests. Open Now![url={url}]View the full article[/url]
  13. There’s a scientific connection between a child’s cry and an adult’s response. That is, there is something in a distress cry that, once detected by the human ear, causes said human to react. It’s all part of the great survival plan of the human species. For animals, too, when you think of how many animals vocalize distress. I mention it because very early this morning I proved how well this science works. In a deep sleep, I heard a child crying outside my bedroom window. I told my brain that it was just a kid waiting for the bus, probably annoyed with a sibling. But then my brain argued back, “Get up and go check.” (I did. The kid was fine.) My thoughts wandered to a writing project I’m working on and how a particular element is so distressing me that it’s practically wailing. “Fix me!” it shouts and I cannot ignore it. I began to consider what kind of distress calls in a writing career get my attention every time... Let’s start with grammatical errors. Just a few days ago, I heard a salesperson—a grown professional adult—use the word “brung” and it was a fingernails-on-chalkboard moment. At least, for me. (I’m much too polite to say anything but imagine if she were a speaker at a writer’s conference. Would I take her seriously?) I read articles of favorite teams almost daily; they are literally teeming with misspelled words, missing punctuation, or mixed-up tenses. Ugh. (I keep reading, though.) Online readers may tune out grammar missteps, but for writers hoping to be published it’s a different story. If grammar mistakes show up regularly in your work, whether it’s a manuscript you’re sending to an agent or a story or essay you’re submitting to a contest, or even a proposal as a speaker, you can be sure that the agent (or judge or conference coordinator) will react. One error can be overlooked, the same way a mother will hear a slight whimper and wait before responding. But once the howling starts—or the errors pile up—something must be done. Unfortunately for a writer, that something is generally rejection. What can you do if grammar is your Achilles’ heel? Read! Reading well-written prose and essays and such will fine tune your ear to mistakes. Use a grammar program that will check for errors, or rely on a trusted critique partner for help. Strive to get the wailing down to an occasional muffled cry. And speaking of the muffled cry, there are other writing problems that don’t exactly bawl for attention but my instincts will tell me that something’s just not right. Take, for example, the writing at the beginning, whether it’s a blog post or a 60,000 word manuscript. I often don’t start at the right place, or I go on too long on the front end. I know that I’ll get a familiar, annoying tug when I re-read if I need to fix that beginning. Leaving the work for a longer period is always helpful for finding those whiny, whimpering problems like the boring info dump or the fall-in-love-with scenes that turn out to be indulgent. When that old uncomfortable feeling hits during the revision, I know: the story’s not moving. Do you hear that whimpering, friends? That’s me, taking out favorite bits to make the writing tighter. So how about you, dear writer? What’s the wailing or the whimpering in your writing? And how have you learned to fix it? Tired writers want to know. (Yawn.) ~Cathy C. Hall Photo by Yan Krukov(C) Copyright wow-womenonwriting.com Visit WOW! Women On Writing for lively interviews and how-tos. Check out WOW!'s Classroom and learn something new. Enter the Quarterly Writing Contests. Open Now![url={url}]View the full article[/url]
  14. Catherine Forster, author of Chasing Tarzan, took me back to my childhood. As I read her memoir, I journeyed back to my own youth. I'm in my 60s, so I think I am close in age to Forster. The small details of her day-to-day life were details I remembered. The uncertainty... the constant concern over clothing choices or what others thought. I had to laugh when Catherine was reading the comments in her yearbook at the end of 9th grade. So many peers wrote she was "nice" or "sweet," and it made her determined to not be thought of in such boring terms ever again. Every teen wants to stand out (in a positive way) and make their mark. Every teen wants to be remembered forever because of their talent or their attractive appearance, or their charismatic personality. I too remember looking at the comments that my classmates wrote, and was upset that most of them were probably things that they wrote in everybody's yearbook. Stay as sweet as you are. (I didn't think I was ever sweet. I was sarcastic.) Stay in touch. (Anybody who wrote that was not anyone I was interested in staying in contact, and the feeling was mutual.) 2 good + 2 be = 4 gotten (how idiotic). Catherine had to deal with bullying. Certainly bullying is different these days--what with group chats and texts and messages that can be sent to a whole school in an instant--but as a teacher, I think this memoir is a valuable book to have on classroom shelves. It's proof that the road to survival and self-worth is not a straight one and it's not without its obstacles. It also encourages teens to become risk takers. Broadening one's horizon can have an incredible impact. The author lived in New Zealand through AFS. In my senior year, we hosted a French girl for a year (also through AFS). It was life-changing, and led to many trips to France (for me) and back to America (for my French sister Virginie). Catherine's time in New Zealand was life-changing as well... Check out Chasing Tarzan. You'll laugh at spots, and you'll tear up at others. But throughout the whole book, you'll nod your head as you remember your own awkward teen years... Catherine Forster Sioux Roslawski is a middle school teacher, a dog rescuer and the author of Greenwood Gone: Henry's Story. In her spare time she rescues golden retrievers from places as far away as Turkey and China. You can read more of her writing by going to her blog. (By the way... AFS is the best exchange program around. They do the most screening, they have the best support and they don't just air-drop kids into foreign countries and say, "You're on your own now.") Book Summary In the 1960s, a relentless school bully makes Catherine’s life a living hell. She retreats inward, relying on a rich fantasy life––swinging through the jungle wrapped in Tarzan’s protective arms––and fervent prayers to a God she does not trust. She fasts until she feels faint, she ties a rough rope around her waist as penance, hoping God will see her worthy of His help. As the second of eight children, Catherine is Mommy’s little helper, and like Mommy, Catherine is overwhelmed. The bullying and the adult responsibilities together foment her anger. She starts smacking her siblings, and becomes her younger sister’s nemesis. Spooked by who she is becoming, Catherine vows to escape for real, before she hurts someone—or herself. Catherine finds salvation in a high school exchange program: new town, new school, new family, new persona. A passport celebrity. In New Zealand, nobody knows her history or her fears. Except for her Kiwi “mum,” who sees through Catherine’s façade and pulls her out from her inner safe-house. Exposed, her sense of self implodes. Catherine must finally rethink who she is. Publisher: WiDo Publishing (July 2022) ISBN-10: 1947966618 ISBN-13: 978-1947966611 ASIN: ‎B0B6GFLXWC Print length: 278 pages Purchase a copy of Chasing Tarzan on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. You can also add this to your Good Reads reading list. About the Author Catherine Forster honed her powers of observation early on, and later applied them to artistic endeavors. Although it didn’t happen overnight, she discovered that seeing and hearing a bit more than the average person can be beneficial. As an artist, her work has exhibited in museums and galleries across the United States and abroad. Her experimental films have won accolades and awards in more than thirty international film festivals, from Sao Paulo to Berlin, Los Angeles to Rome, London to Romania. Through her work, she explores the dynamics of girlhood, notions of identity, and the role technology plays in our relationship with nature. In her capacity as an independent curator, she founded LiveBox, an eight-year project that introduced new media arts to communities at a time when few new what media arts was. For the past four years she has been a member of the curatorial team for the Experiments In Cinema Film Festival held annually in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She received a Masters of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a Masters of Business from the London Business School, and a fellowship in writing from the Vermont Studio Center. She is also included in the Brooklyn Art Museum’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art. You can follow her on her website as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. (C) Copyright wow-womenonwriting.com Visit WOW! Women On Writing for lively interviews and how-tos. Check out WOW!'s Classroom and learn something new. Enter the Quarterly Writing Contests. Open Now![url={url}]View the full article[/url]
  15. Audrey’s Bio: Audrey grew up on two continents hopscotching between Europe and the United States from an early age as part of a foreign service officer’s family. She continued to move her body through space for decades while pursuing a career in television, before finally settling in California. With a suitcase full of stories about her adventures in the far corners of the globe, she decided one day, not too long ago, to sit down and write. The writing was a way to process the questions because there are always questions. She sometimes writes poetry but finds creative non-fiction the best way to connect to herself and the world around her. Sometimes her creativity makes her draw, sew, and even dabble in producing short animated films. She enjoys bicycle touring with her husband, walks with her two dogs, sailing on a 50-year-old boat, forest bathing, and exploring the small forgotten towns across America. When she is not writing, she works as a television news producer for a German network, still traveling and still looking for that elusive thing called the truth. She has just finished a memoir about looking at the hard truths about yourself while on an epic coast-to-coast bicycle ride across the United States. Come visit her at her website audreystimson.com, or better yet sample some of her other writing on her Medium page. If you haven't done so already, check out Audrey's award-winning story "Unpopped Popcorn" and then return here for a chat with the author. WOW: Congratulations on placing third in the Q4 2022 Creative Nonfiction Contest! How did you begin writing your essay and how did it and your writing processes evolve as you wrote? Audrey: I began this essay as an experiment. It was a way that I could learn how to get into the mindset of someone writing a memoir. I wanted to go way back and embody a moment in time that was long ago and very far away from where I am now in my life. To do this, I used a trick I learned in a writing class that taught me how to use a muse to go back in time. I became that child or young college student in this case, and I let her guide me with her story. I left everything I know now about myself today disappear so that I could be that girl I was at that moment. I started the processes by pacing around the room for a few minutes to transform myself. I let myself become her before I even get to the blank page. Then after she enters me, I write and let whatever comes out come out. I usually don't edit my writing for at least a few days or weeks. I let it sit, then come back to it to find the gems that tell her story and delete the rest. WOW: What a marvelous drafting technique! I imagine it could be difficult to get in the right mindset to become a different person or a different version of the self, but the results can be stunning. What did you learn about yourself or your writing by creating this essay? Audrey: I learned that it's best to trust the process. Writing becomes a magical event that comes from a deeper place inside me. To let the magic happen, you have to release it by putting down words that tell the truth of who you are in order to get closer to the story of your life. The authenticity of experience is what I am looking for in my writing. How does it really feel to live your life? The words jump out when I have the courage to write the truth. It feels like a release of something I have been holding back. Because I have always played it safe in my life, I am now pushing the hard edges of me. Writing has freed me to laugh and dance and cry on the page when in real life I live behind a wall of professionalism that silences all of that. My writing experience is more about the heart than the mind. The mind comes later when I edit. WOW: Thank you for sharing so much insight into your creative process. You wrote a memoir about your "epic coast-to-coast bicycle ride across the United States." That sounds amazing! Can you tell us a bit about your process writing on this topic? Audrey: The book became a vehicle I used to give myself permission to be a writer. I silenced myself for most of my life because of the strange circumstances of my upbringing. My father was a CIA officer, and all of my family had to live in his lie. My mother was a survivor of the bombing raids in Berlin at the end of World War II. In the book, I worked through many layers of inherited trauma as well as my own lived trauma working as a television news journalist. All of these worlds collide on the pages of the book Across the American Dream. The book not only documents the adventures of the bicycle ride and places the reader right there on the bike with me, it is also an unraveling my past in order to make sense of who I am, or who I thought I was. It is strange like a coming-of-age story but for a middle-aged woman. The book is also a guide through many of the broken, forgotten small towns of America that nobody sees, and those broken bits become tools that help me see myself while doing the hard things like riding a bicycle 3700 miles. The process was cathartic and freeing. By finally going deep I am revealed on the page and that’s pretty cool. WOW: Wow, what amazing adventures, both the trip across country and being able to write about it. Which creative nonfiction essays or writers have inspired you most, and in what ways did they inspire you? Audrey: Reading poetry, literary fiction, and nonfiction has been enormously helpful to me. I read slowly and cherish a well-formed sentence. One of the nonfiction writers who recently inspired me is Cynthia Cruz and her essay “Steady Diet of Nothing.” The essay moved me as it touches on a certain nihilism of youth that many Gen Xers like myself felt while growing up. She describes an innocence wrapped inside harsh circumstances of poverty and aimlessness with a poetic passion that places you there. I also enjoy the poetry of Annie Dillard's lines and recently enjoyed reading An American Childhood. Her ability to place the reader deep inside time and place is something that moves me. Annie’s lines are like taking a slow river cruise as it snakes through her childhood in that book. She uses our natural surrounding as characters in her work to bring us into place with such vivid details it becomes three dimensional. Just pick up her Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and read the magic. I enjoy reading works about the existential angst of moving through life. What does it really feel like? Take me there. The flow of words needs to move me and hold me on to page while describing the ordinary in extraordinary ways. I just read Annie Ernaux's A Woman's Life, a wonderful memoir about how a daughter reflects on her mother's life after she dies. The book spells out the writer's pain of loss so well. It is both distant in the objectivity of someone grieving and at the same time is incredibly intimate. I really enjoyed her skillful use of truncated sentences which really makes you feel her grief at the start of the book. By using factual, almost list like descriptions of what happened when her mother died, she places us in that somber denial of the first stages of grieving. WOW: Excellent list of literature. Thanks for those recommendations! If you could tell your younger self anything about writing, what would it be? Audrey: That's simple. I would say write, write, write, and don't be afraid to get your words out there. The silencing, whether it is self-imposed or societal, is something we all need to overcome. Doing the hard stuff is well worth it. For me, the hard stuff was pushing through the membrane of the cone of silence I lived in. I wish I had started writing and publishing earlier. But it's never too late. Everybody has a story to tell, so write it down. WOW: I love that advice. Thank you! Anything else you'd like to add? Audrey: This essay is the first piece of work I have ever submitted to anyone in my life. I hope this will inspire other people to have the courage to do the same, no matter how old you are. WOW: That is amazing! Thank you for sharing your writing with us and for your thoughtful responses. Happy writing! Interviewed by Anne Greenawalt, founder and editor-in-chief of Sport Stories Press, which publishes sports books by, for, and about sportswomen and amateur athletes and offers developmental editing and ghostwriting services to partially fund the press. Engage on Twitter or Instagram @GreenMachine459. (C) Copyright wow-womenonwriting.com Visit WOW! Women On Writing for lively interviews and how-tos. Check out WOW!'s Classroom and learn something new. Enter the Quarterly Writing Contests. Open Now![url={url}]View the full article[/url]
  16. By Pam Webber Novelists who write from multiple points of view (POV) amaze me. Having worked with a writing group for two years under the tutelage of a New York Times bestselling author, I know writing one story from multiple perspectives can be demanding creatively and organizationally. However, after reading several wonderful books by authors skilled in the use of multiple POVs, I felt driven to try it. Consequently, after many starts, stops, oops, and revisions, my third book, Life Dust, was written using two points of view. As a long-time nurse educator and family practitioner, I wanted to weave a story that included the good and bad elements of nursing as well as my husband’s funny and heart-breaking experiences in Vietnam. Consequently, for the two POVs, I chose Nettie, a student nurse who found herself in a heap of unearned trouble while interning in a busy emergency room, and Andy, a young Army lieutenant who is leading a jungle reconnaissance squad in Vietnam. While crafting the story, I learned the devil does indeed live in the details. Keeping the relationship between the two characters progressing while advancing their individual and collective storylines required careful integration of numerous details. To help keep the scenes, events, and sequencing organized, I developed a color-coded, intersecting timeline for the POVs that resembled the double strands of DNA. The timeline allowed me to visualize what was happening with each character at every point in the story. It also aided in the development of a good story arc. Of course, the timeline had to be adjusted every time I added or deleted a scene or event, but it still proved invaluable in helping to maintain interrelatedness and progression of the storylines. It also helped with the transitions from one POV to the other. In Life Dust, I used letters from Andy to mark time and help synchronize Nettie’s life as a nurse in the Emergency Room with Andy’s life in Vietnam. When using a timeline to guide two POVs, I’d suggest the following: Identify the common beginning point and ending goal of both POVs, which is essential when planning the arc of the overall story. Determine the arc for each character/POV. While character arcs do not have to match, they should be close enough to ensure stability of the arc for the overall story. Decide which character provides the best platform for anchoring the story and lead with that character. Decide if the characters/POVs will have their own chapters or separated scenes within chapters. If you divide POVs by chapters, it is helpful to title the chapters. You can even use the characters’ names as titles, which eases the reader’s transition between POVs. Keep your characters/POV intermittently connected in a progressive and meaningful way. In Life Dust, this was done with letters and phone calls. Since it took two weeks or longer for letters to travel to and from Vietnam, I could move the story forward faster. I also connected the POVs through the characters’ old habits, phrases, and activities. For example, my two characters grew up together and used to lie on a hill and watch the stars at night. In Vietnam, Andy could see the stars above the treetops, and in Northern Virginia, Nettie could see them after leaving work late at night. The phrase, “Meet me in the stars. I love you,” became the last sentence in each of their letters. When your manuscript is complete, check and recheck the sequencing and integration of the storylines against your timeline. Although I’d edited Life Dust dozens of times, I still found a sequencing error on my last readthrough. I was reading the manuscript aloud and heard the mistake instead seeing it. Happy writing and best wishes! * * * Pam Webber is the Amazon bestselling author of a coming of age trilogy. Last month, She Writes Press published Pam’s most recent novel, Life Dust. Pam lives in Virginia near where her novels are set. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (C) Copyright wow-womenonwriting.com Visit WOW! Women On Writing for lively interviews and how-tos. Check out WOW!'s Classroom and learn something new. Enter the Quarterly Writing Contests. Open Now![url={url}]View the full article[/url]
  17. Every Saturday, I read Jane Friedman’s Electric Speed newsletter. One recent newsletter featured a piece on generating a favicon for your website. It explained that favicons are those tiny icons that appear on browser tabs. Below is the favicon for WOW! Women on Writing. Not only does it appear on your browser tab, you can also find it in your search history and in search results. It makes WOW! and the Muffin easy to find amid all the other tabs, sites, and searches that we writers visit on a regular basis. As I read the piece in Electric Speed, I was a little envious. I’ve always wanted a favicon although I didn’t know what it was called until that very moment. But did I want it badly enough to take the time to figure it out? The answer was yes and it was helped by the fact that it was wildly easy to do. I started with Friedman's newsletter and the link she provided to Real Favicon Generator. This site will help you see if your blog or site can support a favicon. It will also help you generate the JPG file of the image. The Saturday that I was reading this, my site had the WordPress logo. That's fine for WordPress but not so fine for me. There are a lot of WordPress blogs and blending into the pack wasn’t going to do me any good. But what to use? This is the step that is going to take a bit of time. Yes, you can just choose a piece of clip art, but you don’t want to use something random. You want to use something that will immediately make people think of you. If you write mysteries that are solved by a Sherlock Holmes-style sleuth, you might use a magnifying glass. If you write romance novels, you might use a heart. Fortunately, I have a logo. It is my nickname set against an oblong background (see below). You might not realize it by looking at the favicons in your browser, but the image is square. My image was rectangular, longer than it is tall. Real Favicon Generator will fix that for you, expanding the image. I fixed it using Photoshop by expanding the canvas size. I wasn’t altogether certain how to add this to my site once I had it, so I did a quick Google search. That led me to “How to Add a Favicon to Your WordPress Blog.” Honestly, let other people do the heavy lifting by figuring things out whenever you can. If you have a WordPress site, click through. If not? Google is your friend. In less than 20 minutes, I had sized my image and uploaded my favicon. My site and my blog will now stand out among the WordPress blogs that don’t have a unique image. It isn’t something that you have to do but it is something you might seriously consider. It adds just a bit more professionalism to your site and makes you just a bit easier to find. It’s small but it can help make you and your work more visible, which isn’t a bad thing in a crowded marketplace. --SueBE Sue Bradford Edwards' is the author of over 35 books for young readers. To find out more about her writing, visit her site and blog, One Writer's Journey. The next session of her new course, Pitching, Querying and Submitting Your Work will begin on November 6, 2022). Coping with rejection is one of the topics she will cover in this course. Sue is also the instructor for Research: Prepping to Write Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults (next session begins November 6, 2022) and Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults (next session begins November 6, 2022). (C) Copyright wow-womenonwriting.com Visit WOW! Women On Writing for lively interviews and how-tos. Check out WOW!'s Classroom and learn something new. Enter the Quarterly Writing Contests. Open Now![url={url}]View the full article[/url]
  18. I'm excited to interview Taria Karillion, one of the runners-up in our Spring 2022 Flash Fiction contest. Before I share our interview, be sure you read her story, A Glimmer of Long-Necked Hope and then come on back. First, here's a bit about Taria: As the daughter of an antiquarian book dealer, Taria grew up surrounded by far more books than is probably healthy for one person. A Literature degree, a journalism course and some gratuitous vocabulary overuse later, her stories have appeared in a Hagrid-sized handful of anthologies and have somehow won enough literary prizes to fill his other hand. Despite this, she has no need as yet for larger millinery. --- Interview by Nicole Pyles WOW: First of all, congratulations on winning runner up! I was so intrigued by your story, and I love how it blended a nostalgic, joyful past with a difficult present day. What inspired it? Taria: Partly an enduring childhood fascination with other countries and a resulting slew of foreign penfriends (air mail stationery still gives me a frisson of delight (sad but true)), and partly a recurring dream about searching for something amongst ruins. WOW: That inspirational blend of reality and dream really shines through in this story in a wonderful way. When you first started this story, did you know how it would end? Taria: I’m more of a plotter than a ‘pantster’, so an opening and ending will often occur to me first, usually leaving me to strain my brain cell to tie the two together! WOW: I think that's a great approach! You still leave a great deal of surprise for yourself by not knowing what's in between. What is your rewriting and revising technique after you've written the first draft? Taria: For me, reading a manuscript aloud helps, or - better still - getting someone else to read it aloud – it can be easier to hear parts that don’t work or ‘flow’. Jackanory fandom (an iconic children's storytelling TV show here in the UK) may also have a part to play in that! WOW: I've heard many people find success with reading work aloud! I'm impressed with the number of publications and awards under your belt! What have you learned in the process of submitting your stories? Taria: One gem of writers’ wisdom I like is this: You wouldn’t build a window without first measuring the space it’s for. Now, that’s fa-a-a-r more easily said than done, I know, but learning the preferred style or 'flavour' of the publication or competition you’re subbing to is really important, so reading previous winners’ work, or featured stories can be key. After a while you’ll also get to know which markets like *your* style. WOW: That's true! It's important to know about a publication before you submit. What advice do you have for writers who feel defeated about getting rejected? Taria: ‘Keep on swimming’, ie. persevere! You’re not going to succeed if you’re not sending stories out. If, as time goes on, your acceptance rate improves, even a little, you’re probably on the right track. With magazine subs, it’s usually just a yes or no, but competition shortlistings will reassure you that you’re meeting a standard (but don't bankrupt yourself in the process - some entry fees are crazily expensive, BUT there are several free or low-cost online contest databases that list affordable ones.) Don’t take it personally - all art forms are subjective; among visitors to an art gallery there will be vastly differing reactions to the same painting; it’s a matter of taste. You have to find publishers whose tastes match your own.Keep working on your craft; grammar, plot, characterisation, theme, setting, dialogue, etc. Pinterest is a great free resource for this, plus there are countless free courses online too.Keep your motivation up by writing what you’re passionate about; the drive that gives you will make it more enjoyable and less like hard work. The ideas and emotions will flow more naturally and authentically, and will resonate with readers more engagingly. WOW: Great advice! Not taking it personally is huge. What are you currently working on that you can tell us a bit about? Taria: In recent weeks I’ve been hugely chuffed* to be included in a fundraising anthology by a fuel poverty charity. It’s hugely rewarding to be a part of making a difference to current issues. To that end, I’m also pulling together my first collection of flash and short stories. It’s likely to be mostly Sci-Fi and/or Cli-fi (speculative, climate-themed fiction) as I enjoy writing stories that weigh up solutions to impending global challenges. (* ‘chuffed’ – British slang for a high level of satisfaction that makes you grin, but stops just short of being slap-worthily smug.) WOW: It must be such an honor to be part of something so wonderful! I can't wait to see what you come out with next. Thank you for your time today! (C) Copyright wow-womenonwriting.com Visit WOW! Women On Writing for lively interviews and how-tos. Check out WOW!'s Classroom and learn something new. Enter the Quarterly Writing Contests. Open Now![url={url}]View the full article[/url]
  19. In an age where the push for side hustle turned into a no-hustle movement, which then morphed into this necessity to take on more work to make ends meet despite what "movement" is happening, it seems impossible to balance things. As a writer, I struggle with saying no to projects and freelance opportunities. However, I know I need to remember: everyone has a stress limit. The last thing you want to experience is burnout. So, as we embark on another NaNoWriMo, and a push to meet our yearly goals by the end of the year, alongside the financial stress that comes with the holiday season, I thought I'd share a few ways for you to avoid burnout: Put off accepting new projects.As someone who finds it very hard to accept new projects, try and say no anyways. For example, a few weeks ago, someone wanted me to contribute a chapter to a writing advice book on marketing. As tempting as it was to contribute, I had to say no. The biggest reason? It wasn't a paying opportunity. If it doesn't feel right to say no to something, take a look at what's on your plate. Does anything you are working on have a deadline that will end soon? If so, tell whoever offered you the opportunity you don't want to decline if you can check in with them at a later time when things are quieter. I did that recently and got a positive response. It's not saying no, but it's not saying yes right now. That helped my stress levels a lot. Push out deadlines.If at all possible, delay your deadlines. This isn't always possible without putting a job at risk, but where deadlines are flexible, ask for them. Especially if you are already nearing your overwhelmed point. I've done this recently for a writing job since the editor had mentioned I can let her know if my deadline needs an extension. And I'm glad I did. Take regular mental breaks.The best thing you do for your stress levels is to take regular breaks. No one can work nonstop without a break, so don't expect that of yourself. Whether you discipline yourself to end your workday at a certain time, play a mobile game for a few minutes between projects, read a book you love, journal, listen to music, or whatever it is, let your mind play for a while. Break things up into manageable chunks.This is one of the ways I'm able to successfully handle doing a lot of tours at once alongside doing other writing jobs (and balancing a full-time day job). I break things up into easy-to-manage chunks. Those are small tasks, easy for me to conquer in one sitting. Do that for your projects too. Ask for help.It's not always easy to speak up when you need help, but it's important. Let those around you know when you are feeling really stressed. If someone can't help you with your workload (or you don't have the budget to hire for help), get help with other aspects of your life like grocery shopping, laundry, etc. It's surprisingly easy to lose sight of your stress limit and hit burnout. So, make sure you know your own signs of feeling overwhelmed too. For me, it's hitting a wall of not being able to focus on work alongside feeling really emotional. For you, it may be another sign. Stay in touch with yourself and don't be afraid to limit what you are able to take on. Nicole Pyles is a writer living in Portland, Oregon. When she's not hunting down the right word, she's talking to God, reviewing books on her writing blog, watching movies, hanging out with family, and daydreaming. Her work has been featured in Ripley's Believe it or Not, WOW! Women on Writing, The Voices Project, and Sky Island Journal. Read her musings at WorldofMyImagination.com. (C) Copyright wow-womenonwriting.com Visit WOW! Women On Writing for lively interviews and how-tos. Check out WOW!'s Classroom and learn something new. Enter the Quarterly Writing Contests. Open Now![url={url}]View the full article[/url]
  20. I'm thrilled to chat with Liz Ramirez about her award-winning essay, "first lesson." Liz shares the inspiration behind her piece, craft choices and POV, her literary influences, and so much more. Liz Ramirez recently completed an M.A. in English at Texas A&M University, where she now works full-time as a project manager in Technology Services. Her poem “et tu,” published in Volume IV of OyeDrum Magazine, was nominated for the 2021 Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. “first lesson” is taken from her master’s capstone project, “Latinish: Mixed Identity in Three Essays,” where she writes about family, racial hybridity, and liminality in Mexican identity. Find her on Twitter and Instagram @trapezoidette. Interview by Angela Miyuki Mackintosh WOW: Welcome, Liz! Congratulations on winning second place in the Q4 2022 Creative Nonfiction Contest. I love your essay, "first lesson" and all of our judges thought it was well written and powerful. What inspired you to write this piece? Liz: Thank you, and thanks to everyone at WoW for this opportunity. I'd been searching for a way to articulate this experience of the first time that I felt that social judgment of racialization for a really long time, and once I learned what the flash form was, and the way it’s supposed to zoom in and amplify a single moment, it fit perfectly. More than almost any other moment in my life, that memory most clearly demanded a specific form in writing. It began with this central metaphor in my head, that ended up in one of the last sentences of the piece, this image of a judge on the bench who passes down these social evaluations in that split-second moment of imposed gaze. Something I learned in grad school through Stephanie Fetta’s work on racialization is that what transpires in those glances that “other” and isolate you is actually shame, and the gaze is the primary vehicle of that shame. WOW: Your ending has got to be my favorite part, and I can totally see that metaphor. I never thought of "othering" as shame, but Fetta is so right! Wow, I'm going to have to drill that down in my own work. I love that you wrote the piece in second person. Was this how you wrote it initially or did the POV change in later drafts? Why was second person necessary to this piece? Liz: I did write it in second person initially; I do a lot of writing like that, and I think that it was necessary for me in “first lesson” because this piece represents a kind of talking back through the years to myself and remembering that self who knew what it was like to feel free of this social judgment. As I got older, I felt more and more constrained by those instant on-sight evaluations that place you in those categories that impose marginalization, and I wanted to make those more visible through my writing, because so often I think we let them go without saying. WOW: It takes courage to not let it go and shine a light on it, and I love that you wrote it to your younger self. I also found the use of "you" put the reader in the narrator's shoes, feeling the weight of her marginalization as well. Your bio says "first lesson" is part of your master’s capstone project, which explores mixed identity in three essays. What did you learn about yourself or your writing process from crafting these essays? Liz: Well, the first thing I learned is how very difficult it is to write in a pandemic! During lockdown in 2020, I was spending a lot of time alone in my apartment, attending grad school remotely, zoning out in Zoom meetings, and procrastinating my assignments. With all that free time, I ended up opening Ancestry.com, and fell down a rabbit hole with everything I found (and didn’t find) there. My mother is white, and my searches for her family turned up thousands of records going back generations, some dating back to the 1600s. By contrast, my search for my father’s family, immigrants from Mexico, hit a dead end with my paternal grandfather Sotero; I couldn’t even find where he was buried, because I don’t know what year he died. I was so struck by that contrast, and confronted for the first time with what it actually means identity-wise to be half-white, mixed. Whiteness always seemed to be metaphorically empty and neutral, giving the illusion of subtracting from ethnicity rather than adding anything of its own; I could never imagine myself as connected to or descending from my white ancestors. The experience of actually finding out who they were, what their names were, what their handwriting looked like, where they lived–it really hammered home that I really am just as much a product of my mother’s heritage as my father’s, and got me thinking about the nature of hybridity and my own racial identity. This was the place of reflection from which that series of essays sprang. WOW: That contrast is stark, and I can relate being a hapa, mixed. That absence of your father's heritage and the realization of claiming your mother's heritage as your own is a great subject for your series. I'd love to read it sometime! You also write poetry, and your poem, "et tu," was published in OyeDrum Magazine, which they nominated for a 2021 Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net - congratulations! I always admire writers who craft both poetry and prose. Currently, who are your biggest influences or favorite authors in poetry and creative nonfiction? Liz: The biggest writing influence in my adult life by far has been Carmen María Machado and her memoir In the Dream House. I read this for the first time in grad school in 2019 and absolutely fell in love with it for its lyricality, inventive form, and second-person perspective, where the author writes back to her past self to talk through the end of a painful relationship. More than anything else, though, it was how she wrote about something that was incredibly difficult to write about, to the extent that it felt almost unspeakable when it happened to me: the way that the fact of abuse or mistreatment from a person who is marginalized in the same way as you feels like a betrayal, and like a confirmation of everything bad the mainstream establishment says about your group. This was heavily on my mind when I wrote “et tu,” which is about the same thing: how admitting the way I was treated in my first same-sex relationship when I was nineteen felt like it would affirm every bad thing my mother and my friends have ever believed about LGBTQ people. I let that keep me silent about it for years. WOW: Machado's In the Dream House is one of my favorites as well! That line about your mother and friends in your poem is unforgettable, and your ending with the turtle is such a brilliant metaphor to close the piece with. What are you working on right now? Liz: Right now, in addition to fiddling around with some flashes I wrote in a workshop by the wonderful Kathy Fish, I’m preparing for NaNoWriMo in a few days (this will be my first time participating since I was a teenager), and trying to put together a writing sample for MFA application season this fall. And I’m still editing the series of essays “first lesson” came from, in the hopes that some of the short vignettes will soon be ready to send out. WOW: Small literary world! WOW just interviewed Kathy Fish, and she's an amazing flash teacher. I'm also participating in NaNoWriMo this year, and I can't wait. It's so much fun. What's your favorite piece of writing advice or a tip you'd like to share with our readers/writers? Liz: Don’t underestimate writing, journaling, and talking to yourself as tools for healing and self-integration. Write in the second person. Journal in the second person. Write your to-do list like it’s for a child you take care of and love dearly. Reread your old journals, and write letters to the person you were then; write letters and save them for your future self. I did this when I was fourteen, and a couple of years ago when I turned twenty-four, I got to open the letter I’d saved for myself ten years prior. It was a sweet, poignant reminder of the idealist that I was at fourteen, and a vital connecting thread to just how strongly I already knew who I was and what I wanted back then; I just wanted to write and for people to read it, and I’ve made it further than I ever actually imagined I would. WOW: Aw, I feel that way when I read my old diaries. Your writing has touched all of our hearts, Liz! You've definitely made it, and thank you for those fantastic tips. They're some of the most creative we've gotten! I simply love writing in second person, and wish you much success in your writing career. We can't wait to see what you write next. I'll be cheering you on during NaNo! * Angela Miyuki Mackintosh is a writer and editor at WOW! Women on Writing. Like Liz, she also loves to write in second person. Her essay about a childhood friendship, sobriety and grief, written in second person, "Happy Sobriety Birthday" was published by Eastern Iowa Review. Her most recent CNF piece written in second person, "Waiting for the End," a hybrid collage written during the height of the pandemic, published in Permafrost Magazine, September 2022. (C) Copyright wow-womenonwriting.com Visit WOW! Women On Writing for lively interviews and how-tos. Check out WOW!'s Classroom and learn something new. Enter the Quarterly Writing Contests. Open Now![url={url}]View the full article[/url]
  21. By Dawn Colclasure Self-publishing is not new for me. I have self-published poetry books and children’s books since 2012. My experience with self-publishing took an interesting turn this year, when I self-pubbed horror! An independent publisher who showed interest in publishing my collection of YA horror stories ended up turning it down. “Too dark,” they said. However, one issue about these stories stood out: The teen characters committing murder. My publisher was worried the stories would have too much influence over teen readers, encouraging them to seek bloodthirsty revenge on bullies and abusers. It was such a pressing issue that they wouldn’t be so worried about my releasing these stories into the world should I do something a little bit different with the book: Offer a teaser for a novel I haven’t yet written at the end! They shared with me their idea. Why not write a series about an amateur sleuth who attempts to help these girls who have committed their crimes? After all, they would eventually end up getting caught, wouldn’t they? When I responded to their proposed idea, I had a bit of a surprise: “It's funny you should mention that. I actually had a story idea tickling my brain the last couple of days but I couldn't figure out how to make it work.” Their suggestion made it work. All of the pieces fell into place. Now all I needed was a title! First, however, they wanted a chapter. This gave me pause. What they were asking me to write was a genre I had never written in for novels! I did write one P.I. short story, but I was not familiar enough with the genre to write a novel. Then I remembered a book I’d read earlier this year called How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author by Janet Evanovich with Ina Yalof. In this book, Janet Evanovich shares how she went from writing romance to mysteries: She spent a year studying the genre before taking the leap into writing her popular Stephanie Plum novels. Perhaps this is what I should do as well, in order to write the series my publisher has proposed. I will spend a year studying and learning how to write the amateur sleuth genre. For now, I had to start with a first chapter. I spent the evening writing that first chapter and the next day polishing it before I sent it to my publisher. They liked it and now it looks like I have to write the rest of the book! That first book will get written and submitted eventually. For now, I have the first chapter of it for readers to enjoy – right at the end of my YA horror story collection that I just self-published! I have one chapter of that novel written and I do plan to write the rest of it. But first I need to spend a year studying the genre! * * * When she’s not writing pet-focused Dawn Colclasure is a writer who lives in Oregon with her husband and children. She is the author and co-author of over two dozen books, among them 365 Tips for Writers: Inspiration, Writing Prompts and Beat the Block Tips to Turbo Charge Your Creativity. She is also a content writer, freelance writer, book reviewer and ghostwriter. She is also a self-publisher. Her stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies. She publishes the SPARREW Newsletter each month. Her websites are at https://dawnsbooks.com/ and https://www.dmcwriter.com/. She’s on Twitter @dawncolclasure. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (C) Copyright wow-womenonwriting.com Visit WOW! Women On Writing for lively interviews and how-tos. Check out WOW!'s Classroom and learn something new. Enter the Quarterly Writing Contests. Open Now![url={url}]View the full article[/url]
  22. If you are contemplating taking a writing class in 2023, you may want to consider Emotional Truth: Making Character Emotions Real, Powerful, and Immediate to Readers. Starting in January 4 of next year, this four-week course instructor Scott H. Andrews will delve into different techniques to convey character emotions realistically and powerfully on the page. He'll share strategies for developing situations and stories with strong potential for emotional resonance, and offer methods to execute those approaches to make your readers actually feel those emotions. About the Instructor, Scott H. Andrews Scott H. Andrews lives in Virginia with his wife, two cats, twelve guitars, a dozen overflowing bookcases, and hundreds of beer bottles from all over the world. He writes, teaches college chemistry, and is Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of the nine-time Hugo Award finalist and World Fantasy Award-winning online fantasy magazine Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Scott is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop; his literary short fiction has won a $1000 prize from the Briar Cliff Review, and his genre short fiction has appeared in Space & Time, Crossed Genres, and Ann VanderMeer’s Weird Tales. Scott has taught writing at the Odyssey Workshop, Writefest, and online for Odyssey Online Classes, Clarion West, and Cat Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers. He has lectured on short fiction, secondary-world fantasy, editing, magazine publishing, audio podcasting, and beer on dozens of convention panels at multiple Worldcons, World Fantasy conventions, and regional conventions in the Northeast and Midwest. He is an eight-time finalist and 2019 winner of the World Fantasy Award, and he celebrates International Stout Day at least once a year. Today we're talking with him about this course and his experience as an instructor. Don't hesitate to enroll now! You have until November 21 to apply. --- Interview by Nicole Pyles WOW: Thank you Scott for taking the time to chat with us today! The class you are teaching with Odyssey is about characters' emotions and making them real for readers. Why is this so important to focus on as a writer? Scott: Making character emotions real for readers is for me the single most important thing that fiction needs to do, because character emotion is what makes readers care. Readers read for lots of different reasons--intellectual engagement, like to learn something or to solve a puzzle; escapism or wish fulfillment; suspense or thrill--and different types of stories engage in those ways and give a satisfying read. But what makes readers really care about a story, and invest themselves so deeply that they'll read a book over and over or read every book an author publishes, is character and being emotionally engaged by it. There's a reason why Stephen King's horror novels and George R.R. Martin's epic fantasy are read by millions more readers than most horror or epic fantasy--their characters make the reader feel. WOW: Absolutely! If we don't connect with the characters, we won't connect with the story at all. What pitfalls do you usually see writers stumble over when displaying character emotions? Scott: Two common pitfalls I see when a story isn't evoking emotion from the characters are the prose being too sparse or opaque about the emotion and the prose presenting the emotion but not making the reader feel it. I often see writers trying to be subtle or seeming afraid that being clear will read like dumbing it down, but in my experience, readers need a lot more indication and clarity about emotion than most writers think they do. In the Emotional Truth class, I tell writers to add in more than you think you need, because that's actually how much the reader needs. Err on the side of too much rather than too little. And I see prose that displays emotion, being clear about what emotion is intended, but which doesn't complete the process and make the reader feel the emotion along with the character. The reader needs not only to understand what the emotion is but also to feel it themself. WOW: Yes! I completely agree - the reader must also feel that emotion. Somehow the advice, "show, don't tell," seems significant with emotions. How do you capture showing a feeling rather than telling it in writing? Scott: "Show Don't Tell" for me is bad advice. :) Especially about portraying character emotion. Perhaps because many writers seem to take Show Don't Tell to extremes or to use it all the time rather than only when it's the best approach. I see lots of writing that attempts to portray character emotion from a purely external perspective, which reads to me like watching the character from afar or like the prose is trying to depict a movie. It gives description and actions and dialog but no internals, as though aiming to Show and never Tell, but that approach ends up reading distant and cold because it's not accessing the character's internals, which is the place where emotions originate and live. The great advantage prose fiction has over TV and movies is that the narrative can go inside a character's head, in many different ways. Showing, and being visual and external, is a tool like any other--it has its uses but it's not the best approach for everything, and it has big drawbacks when applied to portraying and evoking character emotion. WOW: So true! Probably the most over-used advice in the writing world actually. Why do you love teaching with Odyssey Writing Workshop? Scott: The Odyssey Writing Workshop, and the Odyssey Online Classes, always draw applicants that are interested in approaches to writing and driven to break down or redesign their approaches in order to improve their writing. My class is intense, with unusual material and exercises that push writers to dig down to a new level in their writing. I love teaching students who are so engaged in this narrow topic and so excited to put work into it. WOW: That's awesome! What do students gain from courses like yours and others? Scott: Single-topic advanced classes like Emotional Truth and the other Odyssey Online Classes go into deeper detail on that topic than a general class or workshop can, and they pare away other elements of writing so that students can focus on learning and writing that specific topic. In Emotional Truth, we do writing exercises and new writing, so that students can put the ideas and techniques into practice, and the students critique each other's work, so they can learn from reading how other students are applying the same techniques. It's a different type of writing class, but for writers who have experience but are looking to level-up their writing to a professional level, it can be exactly what their writing needs. WOW: That is so true! Sometimes it's the specific stuff that needs the most help. What do you hope students will leave your class with? Scott: I hope students leave the Emotional Truth class with a series of tools and mindset approaches they can use for portraying character emotion, in different situations--like tools for different types of point-of-view or stories with different tone or voice--and with an understanding that portraying character emotion is a unique challenge in fiction writing, different from elements like dialog or description. Learning how to command it can require reinventing your process and your mindset, and the class lays out ways for writers to do that. WOW: How powerful that is! Why is it so valuable for writers to take courses in a specific area that they may be struggling with in their writing? Scott: General workshops or critique groups, in my twenty years of experience with them, can help writers develop in general and can be great help with individual stories, but I think that leveling-up in a specific area of writing requires specific study and work on that skill. Portraying character emotion is such a crucial skill in fiction writing, to make readers care and keep reading, that to me it's an ideal topic for a narrow-focus class that goes deep into its topic. WOW: It really is. How do you know, as a writer, if your character's emotions are falling flat? Scott: Some tip-offs in my experience are that beta readers find a story solid but it's not leaping off the page for them. The characters are interesting, but they're not captivating. The story feels like just a story; readers read it and enjoy it fine, but it doesn't stick with them; they don't wonder what happened to the character after that story or wish they could read more or find themself still thinking about the story days later. Other tip-offs can be a scene that is clearly intended to have emotional resonance, like a funeral or a declaration of love, but it reads flat; the prose seems merely words on a page, and the characters seem like they aren't feeling anything or like the things they're feeling are plain and dull. Often, writers can't see that for themselves, in their own work, because rendering emotion is such a complex thing to pull off and it's difficult to read your own words the way a reader does. Another tip-off can be if your writing is getting lots of high-level rejections, like if your stories are being passed up by first readers to the editors of a magazine, but it isn't selling. In my experience, that can mean that the writer's work is solid or fine but isn't leaping off the page and making readers care. WOW: What amazing insight. What advice do you have for writers uncertain if it's worth investing in themselves through a class? Scott: Honestly, if you're not certain an intensive class is right for you or for your writing where it is now, then it might not be. It's a big commitment, not just in money but time and work. But if you think an intensive class with a narrow focus that will go deeper than any generalist class is what your writing needs, and you're ready to put in the time and work, a class like Emotional Truth can revolutionize your writing. WOW: Thank you so much for talking with us today! Remember, don't hesitate to enroll in the Emotional Truth course now. Or check out some of the other online courses coming up this January with Odyssey Writing Workshop.(C) Copyright wow-womenonwriting.com Visit WOW! Women On Writing for lively interviews and how-tos. Check out WOW!'s Classroom and learn something new. Enter the Quarterly Writing Contests. Open Now![url={url}]View the full article[/url]
  23. November is National Novel Writing Month, and I usually like to plan a project since I’m a writer who needs accountability. I saw a graphic created by NaNoWriMo on Instagram with a challenge for the month of October and decided to participate. Each day during October writers are given a prompt and encouraged to share a photo inspired by the prompt, along with the hashtag #instawrimo2022. While there have been some days I had no idea what the prompt meant or what I should share by way of a graphic, I came to the realization that the challenge has helped me as I’m working on revisions for my young novel adult novel that will tentatively be released early next year. One of the prompts had us share a writing playlist. This made me remember I had created one specific to the novel several years back, so I dug it out and created a graphic with five of the songs. This put me in the right frame of mind when looking at the opening chapters, and I knew I had to do something to slow down the story in the beginning. The prompt asking us to share our story’s villain made me realize my villain is not a person, but rather, the concept of time. Another prompt had us write a dream blurb for our book, and this helped me come up with a tight logline. Yesterday’s prompt asked us “what’s in your main character’s pocket?” My main character is a young man who is a senior in high school, so what else would he have in his pocket but a phone? But wait . . . I first began writing this novel more than 10 years ago, well before the explosion of social media as it stands today. I knew then that there was a void throughout the book in terms of social media use. I scribbled down notes on how to weave in social media reactions to the inciting incident of the novel. Besides sharing cute photos of our “writing pets and plants” and favorite writing quotes, I believe these prompts are helping me make connections and additions to my novel I wouldn’t have considered before. For example, I recently watched a very harrowing documentary about a celebrity who has been accused of sexually abusing several children. The accusations have divided the public on whether or not the celebrity is guilty, mostly because the victims did not admit the abuse until they were grown adults. It took me several days to process what I had learned, but then it hit me as I was working on this Instagram challenge. My main character is a victim of sexual abuse, and the documentary I watched laid out the grooming process of an abuser step by step. Now I’m considering adding in a fictitious documentary into my story, because it can be something the main characters watch and learn from (and discuss on social media, divided opinions and all). It also ties in the grooming process with the shame victims often feel. There are only a few days left of this social media challenge, and I’m happy with the way it’s helped me brainstorm, navigate revisions, and prep for November. Happy Writing! Renee Roberson is an award-winning writer who also produces the true crime podcast, Missing in the Carolinas.(C) Copyright wow-womenonwriting.com Visit WOW! Women On Writing for lively interviews and how-tos. Check out WOW!'s Classroom and learn something new. Enter the Quarterly Writing Contests. Open Now![url={url}]View the full article[/url]
  24. Deborah’s Bio: Deborah Ritchie is the co-author of Judas Kisses: A True Story of Betrayal and Survival, the best-selling memoir of burns survivor, Donna Carson, first published by Hardie Grant Books in 2007. Deborah also writes short fiction and poetry; her work has been published in various magazines and journals. Deborah holds an MA in Creative Writing from Macquarie University and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Wollongong. She lives in Australia, in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. Follow her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/deborahritchieauthor/ If you haven’t read “The Peacekeeper,” please take the time to do so and then pop back here for Deborah’s interview. -----interview with Sue Bradford Edwards----- WOW: There is so much turmoil in “Peacekeeper.” What was your inspiration for this story? Deborah: My inspiration for “Peacekeeper” was the death of my mother. Like the peacekeeper in my story, she was a woman who found it difficult to be assertive, largely because of her upbringing, the society in which she grew up and the domineering men she chose as partners. Unable to fill her own space in life, her main power lay in a quiet stubbornness. She held a lot of unexpressed anger. Mum died alone in dreadful circumstances. People who know the full, complex story tell me there’s nothing I could have done. But I will feel guilty for the rest of my life. She was a beautiful human being. WOW: How sad! But how brave of you to write about it and discuss it. How did this story evolve from start to finish? Deborah: “Peacekeeper” was originally written as part of an assignment for my MA. It was the first micro-story in a set of four linked stories which all take place on a particular Valentine’s Day. Each story is from a different point of view. In the final piece, daughter Diana saves her mother. Make of that what you will! Unlike most of my creative writing, “Peacekeeper” evolved easily. I think I’d carried the image of Mum’s dying in my head for so long, a solid first draft rolled out quickly on the page. I’d often wondered what her final thoughts had been. I’d heard years ago that when someone is passing, their life flashes before them in reverse. This gave me the overarching structure. WOW: This piece is so full of vivid imagery. It makes sense that a vivid image was part of its beginning. Despite the brief word count available in flash fiction, there is so much detail in this piece. How did you decide which details to include and which to leave out? Deborah: Mum had been born into wealth but ended up in squalor, and it seemed her lifelong script of ‘peace at any price’ had been largely to blame. This theme provided the breadcrumb trail for the story and also the title. (I think this is an example of an imposed limitation being of great help.) I imagined a series of key relationships and a series of key incidents connected to the theme. Although the scaffolding for “Peacemaker” is based on a real incident, many of the details are products of my imagination. This is where the writer must take over in order to stretch and fictionalise the work. Trying to stick to the truth is often a cage. As usual, walking, swimming and daydreaming freed my mind. Possible details arose unbidden. Which to choose? A writer just knows, I think. WOW: In addition to short fiction, you also write poetry. How does your poetry influence your other writing? Deborah: Poetic techniques are wonderful tools for my prose writing. For example, fresh metaphors and similes allow a reader to see the familiar in a new way. But poetry also trains the ear to the musicality of language. Words can chime together through alliteration, assonance and rhyme. Sentences can be serpentine or jumpy or lush or spare, depending on the choice and arrangement of the words within. WOW: What advice do you have for our readers who may never have tried writing flash? Deborah: Read plenty of quality flash fiction. The WOW! Women on Writing website is a great place to start. Write about one thing that lends itself to being compressed. Burn out a first draft without censoring yourself, then remove any unnecessary words. You’ll be surprised how many words are dispensable. Use strong verbs rather than adjectives and adverbs. Read and reread each draft aloud. Edit awkward-sounding prose. It’s common advice but worth repeating: Write from your scars, not your wounds. Well…most of the time anyway! WOW: Thank you for trusting us enough to share the truth behind this story. I know I speak for our community when I say that I would love to read the four stories together! (C) Copyright wow-womenonwriting.com Visit WOW! Women On Writing for lively interviews and how-tos. Check out WOW!'s Classroom and learn something new. Enter the Quarterly Writing Contests. Open Now![url={url}]View the full article[/url]
  25. I'm excited to announce the blog tour launch for Chasing Tarzan by Catherine Forster. Join us as we share more about this novel, interview the author, and give away a copy of the book to one lucky reader. This book is perfect for teens who dealing with bullying (or an adult who formerly dealt with bullying), parents of teens dealing with bullying, and young women rethinking their own story. First, here's a bit about the book: In the 1960s, a relentless school bully makes Catherine’s life a living hell. She retreats inward, relying on a rich fantasy life—swinging through the jungle wrapped in Tarzan’s protective arms—and fervent prayers to a God she does not trust. She fasts until she feels faint, she ties a rough rope around her waist as penance, hoping God will see her worthy of His help. As the second of eight children, Catherine is Mommy’s little helper, and like Mommy, Catherine is overwhelmed. The bullying and the adult responsibilities together foment her anger. She starts smacking her siblings, and becomes her younger sister’s nemesis. Spooked by who she is becoming, Catherine vows to escape for real, before she hurts someone—or herself. Catherine finds salvation in a high school exchange program: new town, new school, new family, new persona. A passport celebrity. In New Zealand, nobody knows her history or her fears. Except for her Kiwi “mum,” who sees through Catherine’s façade and pulls her out from her inner safe-house. Exposed, her sense of self implodes. Catherine must finally rethink who she is. Publisher: WiDo Publishing (July 2022)ISBN-10: 1947966618ISBN-13: 978-1947966611ASIN: ‎B0B6GFLXWCPrint length: 278 pages Purchase a copy of Chasing Tarzan on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. You can also add this to your GoodReads reading list. About the Author, Catherine Forster Catherine Forster honed her powers of observation early on, and later applied them to artistic endeavors. Although it didn’t happen overnight, she discovered that seeing and hearing a bit more than the average person can be beneficial. As an artist, her work has exhibited in museums and galleries across the United States and abroad. Her experimental films have won accolades and awards in more than thirty international film festivals, from Sao Paulo to Berlin, Los Angeles to Rome, London to Romania. Through her work, she explores the dynamics of girlhood, notions of identity, and the role technology plays in our relationship with nature. In her capacity as an independent curator, she founded LiveBox, an eight-year project that introduced new media arts to communities at a time when few new what media arts was. For the past four years she has been a member of the curatorial team for the Experiments In Cinema Film Festival held annually in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She received a Masters of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a Masters of Business from the London Business School, and a fellowship in writing from the Vermont Studio Center. She is also included in the Brooklyn Art Museum’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art. You can follow her on her website as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. ---- Interview by Nicole Pyles WOW: First of all, congratulations on your memoir Chasing Tarzan. How did your memoir change from first draft to final draft? Catherine: My first draft was a 700-page memory dump. I thought it was a book, but my first beta reader informed me it was at least five: a coming of age story, a parenting book, a travel book, an exposé on relationships, and a cookbook! Through her kindhearted counsel I discovered that the first draft was actually research. I started over. The second draft was three-hundred pages and radically stripped down, at least I thought it was. After another round of beta readers, I wrote draft three and sent it to a professional editor. Her response was devastating, “It’s not a memoir, or even a book; it’s three books: coming of age, parenting, and relationship book.” Apparently, I’d only removed two of the five books. When my daughter was born, I vowed she would not suffer at the hands of bullies––I would prevent it––but the bullying prevailed despite my efforts. During her twelfth year, we spent three weeks on safari in Africa. Africa awakened memories of my childhood confident and protector, Tarzan, and the bully who made my life unbearable. The manuscript shifted between Africa and my childhood memories and struggles with relationships caused by bullying. I thought draft three was a book on the long-term effects of bullying, but the editor found it to be a motley collection of experiences; well written, with a strong voice, but still not a book. Feeling I’d embarked on a foolish journey, I put the book away, but it would not leave me alone. I re-read all the notes from beta readers and the editor, and began again. One comment by a reader stuck with me, “Why not take one storyline and dive deep, tell all of it. Don’t try and merge stories, just take one theme. When you’re done, then decide if linking the piece with another storyline is needed or if it stands alone.” I followed her advice. I chose the coming of age story, for the sole reason that reader after reader said they missed the child and the teenaged girl when she wasn’t the focus of the story. And I dove deeper than I ever thought possible, exposing incidents I’d long ago banished, tucked away in an impenetrable vault in my head. Only five chapters survived from the previous draft, but I’d found Chasing Tarzan. A further three drafts would follow, each sharpening but not altering the story. WOW: That's profound how this story evolved and how much of yourself you put into capturing the right story. I can relate to how you developed a rich fantasy life to escape reality around you. How did that influence your pursuit of creative arts? Catherine: Creative pursuits were natural to me from the first day I was given a crayon and told not to color outside the lines. I continued to color outside the lines, but only in my head. Growing up , I was drawn to the beauty I saw in objects, prompting me to experiment with: painting, stained glass, knitting, crocheting, macramé, beadwork, printmaking, you name it I tried it. I made stuff, however, the most creative enterprise took place in my head. My inner world was quixotic, a place where there were no boundaries, no rules, no it’s-done-like-this. Despite a rich demonstration of artistic interests––our home was flush with my art projects––my parents did not support a career in the arts. Art was viewed as a hobby. My first degree was in Microbiology. After seven years working in hospital labs, I earned an MBA at the London Business School. This would lead to a fulfilling period in business, one replete with travel, but I wondered whether I had something to offer in the arts. I left and entered art school, earning a Masters in Fine Arts. This is the career I was always meant to have, yet there is a synergy with my earlier endeavors. I used a lens at the beginning and still do, exchanging a microscope for a camera. Moreover, every undertaking has been about solving puzzles, discovering what lies beneath the surface. My writing, my visual art projects, and my films are all a search for answers, discover the facets of cause and effect. "One comment by a reader stuck with me, 'Why not take one storyline and dive deep, tell all of it. Don’t try and merge stories, just take one theme. When you’re done, then decide if linking the piece with another storyline is needed or if it stands alone.' I followed her advice." WOW: I'm so glad you found your way to back to the arts! This memoir of yours is truly a story about overcoming obstacles. What do you hope readers take away from reading it? Catherine: In the beginning, I wrote the book so that my daughter would not feel alone in her struggle with bullying. I wanted her to know what she was experiencing was abuse, treatment she did not deserve. My writing group helped me recognize the universal themes of the book. Through them, I decided to write for a broader audience. Like many children, perhaps you too, I was told that bullying was a fact of life, part of growing up, that one would be stronger for it. Studies show this is not the case. Individuals who were the target of severe bullying (whether physical or verbal) are more likely to struggle with their relationships, suffer from depression, addiction, and suicide during adulthood. Moreover, the abuse doesn’t stop when the tormentor stops. In the process of writing Chasing Tarzan, I learned that I became my own bully. Once I moved to another school and left my bully behind, his shadow followed me. He had trained me well. The sound of his voice echoed even in his absence. I did not want this for my daughter, or anyone’s child. I know through personal experience and recent studies agree, that the abuse need not define an individual if they know they are loved and are undeserving of the abuse. It is my hope that young readers will know that there are positive options available to them, and that they do not have to resort to self-medication or other dire actions. As I wrote Chasing Tarzan, I discovered that despite being left to my own defenses, I was not entirely alone. A champion can ebb the long-term effects of bullying. Someone who believes in you, stands up for you, validates you’re worthy of love––deserving of nothing less––can make all the difference. My adult readers have given me hope that the book will create advocates I call angels. Several readers who are teachers have requested this book for their school, and their school counselors. The book resonates with mothers raising children, and with women rethinking their own childhood story. I am humbled by the discoveries they’ve shared with me. WOW: I am so glad that this has reached so many others and helped them. What was your writing process like when working on your memoir? Catherine: I am an early morning writer. I start at 6AM, sometimes earlier, before the world intrudes. I begin by reading. I like to start my writing sessions with good sentences and vibrant words in my head. So as not to be overly influenced by one writers voice, I read at least three books and am conscious in doing so, studying choices the author is making. Next, I read my own work, starting with the previous chapter. This usually requires a bit of editing, which further immerses me in my own characters and their universe. I do not write in a coffee shop or public space. I need absolute silence. No music. No overheard talking. I can stand a leaf blower outside, but not for long. I have a room in my house that is quiet, the surroundings calm––no clutter. I write in a guest bedroom not my studio, that’s for art making. As I read, I sit in a comfortable chair and use a lap desk to write on my MacBook. I write until it’s 11:30 or noon, have lunch, then go for a walk. It is in nature that I resolve writing issues, or arrest fresh ideas. I return to the book, but only briefly, jotting down ideas or fixing perplexing problems. I have learned that this is not the time to write, my brain has had it by then. For me, it’s time to reflect. I’ll take notes on my iPhone, but nothing else. Not until I’m back in my writing chair the following morning. "A champion can ebb the long-term effects of bullying. Someone who believes in you, stands up for you, validates you’re worthy of love––deserving of nothing less––can make all the difference." WOW: I am a bit similar to you in that noise can distract me! What are you working on now that you can tell us about? Catherine: I’m writing a work of fiction, Sorry Cakes for Supper. The story alternates between the main character Judyth’s week with her granddaughter and to flashbacks of Judyth’s childhood, beginning in 1914 and ending in 1920 when she meets her future husband Ed. The journey takes her from a joyful child to a reticent adult, yet it is the course of one week spent with her granddaughter that is most life-changing. Approaching her fiftieth birthday, time is playing tricks on Judyth’s mind. Most days, she suppresses the memories of a secret daughter and the death of a subsequent child she had with her Ed. She is content with the life she has created, where emotions are kept at arm’s length, until her son shows up on her doorstep and deposits his six-year old daughter. The child has stopped talking for no apparent reason. Her distress and ghost-like presence shatter Judyth’s carefully crafted world. Writing fiction is a new world to me. I am on my fourth draft, and have weathered bewildering and hard-hitting critiques from my editor. Thanks to writing Chasing Tarzan, I am accustomed to tough criticism. I am learning the nuts and bolts of fiction from the ground up. It’s exasperating and exhilarating. Writing is rewriting! WOW: It absolutely is! Thank you so much for talking with us today. I can't wait to read your next book too. ---- Blog Tour Calendar October 24th @ The MuffinJoin us as we celebrate the launch of Chasing Tarzan by Catherine Forster. We'll be interviewing the author, sharing information about the book, and hosting a giveaway. https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/ October 25th @ Pages and PawsJoin the Pages and Paws blog and read the review of Chasing Tarzan by Catherine Forster.https://pagesandpaws.com/ October 25th @ Lisa Haselton's Reviews & InterviewsJoin Lisa as she interviews author Catherine Forster about her book Chasing Tarzan.https://lisahaselton.com/blog/ October 26th @ Author Anthony Avina's BlogVisit Anthony's page and read his review of Chasing Tarzan by Catherine Forster.https://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com/ October 27th @ Chapter BreakJoin Julie as she shares a guest post by Catherine Forster about the role of imagination when children suffer torment.https://chapterbreak.net/ October 30th @ Rockin Book ReviewsJoin Lu Ann as she reviews Chasing Tarzan by Catherine Forster.https://rockinbookreviews.com/ November 2nd @ The Mommies ReviewJoin Glenda as she reviews Chasing Tarzan by Catherine Forster and hosts a giveaway on her blog.https://themommiesreviews.com/ November 3rd @ Sioux's PageVisit Sioux's blog as she reads and reviews Chasing Tarzan by Catherine Forster.http://siouxspage.blogspot.com/ November 4th @ The Faerie ReviewJoin Lily as she reviews Chasing Tarzan by Catherine Forster.https://www.thefaeriereview.com/ November 5th @ Jill Sheets BlogJill interviews Catherine Forster about her memoir Chasing Tarzan.http://jillsheets.blogspot.com/ November 7th @ Clueless GentJoin Michael as he reviews Chasing Tarzan by Catherine Forster.https://www.cluelessgent.com/ November 10th @ Word MagicCome by Fiona's blog and read a guest post about the mother-daughter relationship in all its complexities.http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/ November 12th @ Just KatherineJamie shares her thoughts about Chasing Tarzan by Catherine Forster.https://justkatherineblog.wordpress.com/ November 13th @ Writer AdviceCatherine Forster shares a guest post about how her idea for her memoir came to be and how she turned it into a novel.https://writeradvice.com/ November 15th @ ChoicesMadeline shares a guest post by Catherine Forster about the long-term effects of bullying.http://madelinesharples.com/ November 17th @ All the Ups and DownsJoin Heather as she features a guest post by Catherine Forster about the role of adults and how they can be the potential savior for the wounded child.https://alltheupsandowns.blogspot.com/ November 19th @ Boots, Shoes and FashionJoin Linda as she interviews author Catherine Forster about her book Chasing Tarzan.https://bootsshoesandfashion.com/ November 19th @ Life According to JamieJamie shares her thoughts about Chasing Tarzan by Catherine Forster.https://lifeaccordingtojamie.com/ ***** BOOK GIVEAWAY ***** Enter to win a copy of Chasing Tarzan by Catherine Forster by filling out the Rafflecopter form below. The giveaway ends November 6th at 11:59pm CT. We will announce the winner in the Rafflecopter widget the next day and follow up via email. Good Luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway(C) Copyright wow-womenonwriting.com Visit WOW! Women On Writing for lively interviews and how-tos. Check out WOW!'s Classroom and learn something new. Enter the Quarterly Writing Contests. Open Now![url={url}]View the full article[/url]
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