A Writer’s Journey

Looking back over this past year, I see so much progress in my writing. The first signpost is my attitude. When someone asks me what I do, I tell them that I’m a teacher and a writer. Previously, I thought of myself as a woman who enjoyed writing stories.

Believing in myself is huge, and it happened gradually as I immersed myself in the writing world. I credit my new self-confidence to the people in my writing groups. Like me, they aspire to fulfill the promise of an entertaining read for everyone who buys their book.

Each of us… Continue reading

Writing Conferences — Worth the Money?

Every time I’m about to hit the “Send Payment” button for a conference, the same mantra runs through my head. Should I go? Will this really help my writing? Is it worth the money?

NECRWA

NECRWA

First, let me admit that I don’t do a whole lot of conferences. I’m a regular at the Sisters in Crime (SinC) conference in November and the New England chapter of Romance Writers of America (NECRWA) conference in May. Both are in… Continue reading

ThrillerFest 14 Part Two– A Neophyte’s Do’s and Don’ts

I went to ThrillerFest this past July and posted about my experience last month. As I said then, it was the first conference I’ve attended and, predictably, I racked up plenty of boo-boos. There were some good things as well so I’ve distilled both ends of the experience into a short list of takeaways that, hopefully, will help other neophyte conference attendees.

#1       Know your purpose and goal in attending the event. I knew that my purpose was to assess whether I wanted to engage an agent for my second book, having self-published the first. I wanted to see… Continue reading

November Equals NaNoWriMo

When I first heard about NaNoWriMo , I thought it was some crazy contest. All I could think of was Robin William’s alien greeting on Mork and Mindy, Na-Nu, Na-Nu.

I soon learned that NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) was a unique opportunity to get the bones of a finished novel written in the space of one month. Not even a thirty-one day month! http://nanowrimo.org/Shield-Nano-Blue-Brown-RGB-HiRes

Four years ago, in the midst of a writing dry spell, I decided to put my half-finished cozy aside and take the… Continue reading

What Can Jim Henson Teach Writers?

It might be hard to figure out what Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy might have to offer us as mystery writers. And that’s just what I thought as I was listening to Brian Jay Jones, author of the new Jim Henson biography at the 12th annual James River Writers Conference on October 18, 2014. But if you think about it, what other characters are so memorable and immediately recognizable? Jim Henson board v2

That related to the first point. Practice. This type of character takes a long time to find… Continue reading

Thrillerfest 2014 – My Experience

official photoLast January, I decided to attend Thrillerfest, of all the mystery conferences, this being the one that intrigued me most.

Steve Berry spoke to a packed house.

Steve Berry spoke to a packed house.

There was a great CraftFest segment with top authors.  A big luncheon and cocktail party where I could mingle with interesting folks in the mystery community. And there was the jewel, PitchFest, a singular opportunity to meet agents and put my second book —… Continue reading

October Writing and Writers Events

There are quite a number of great writing and writers events happening in Virginia, D.C. and Maryland this month!

What: Creatures, Crimes, and Creativity Conference

When: October 10-12

Where: Hunt Valley Inn, Baltimore, MD

Who:   Readers and writers of mystery, suspense, thriller, horror, sci-fi, fantasy and paranormal.

Why: The 2nd year of this conference promises the same great opportunity for local writers and readers to mix, mingle, hear great speakers, and attending interesting and informative workshops.

More Info: creaturescrimesandcreativity.com

What: Chesapeake Crimes “Homicidal Holidays” Book Launch

When: October 11, 12:00… Continue reading

VWC’s Conference – and Subplots

Virginia Writers Club’s annual conference “Navigating the Writing Life”  took place on August 2, 2014.  This year, in response to comments from last year, the conference included a number of morning panels for genre fiction and then afternoon workshops.

For the morning, I attended the short fiction panel.  This was a discussion between Clifford Garstang and Jody Hobbs Hesler on their experiences as editor and writer.  They included some basic things like writing a great story, choosing your markets carefully, and that rejection is not personal.  Clifford talked about the… Continue reading

Make a Fun Goal Your Deadline

Which One?

Which One?

How do you get your manuscript from page one to THE END? Do you plod all the way through to the finish to get the whole thing down on paper? After you’re finished with the first draft, do you take a break and turn your sights to a different story? Or do you stay with your original manuscript? Are you able to work back and forth between more than one piece at a time?

Right now, I have two finished manuscripts. I wrote… Continue reading

Mystery, Murder and Merlot – A Promotional Idea

Molon Lave VineyardI’ve read the twitter posts and yahoo group postings recently about what authors are doing for promotional ideas.  There are lots of different approaches.  One route my critique group partner, Lane Stone, has recently taken was collaborating with two other authors for an evening at the Molon Lave Vineyards in Warrenton, Virginia, an event which was co-sponsored by Bell Bridge Books.  

When I asked Lane how this evening came about, she said, “In 2013 the host of a local TV show asked me for… Continue reading