i know it's not my day to post but figured if some of the readers out there are in the Greenville area of South Carolina or even any place in North or South Carolina that would like to meet an agent and make a pitch, here is your chance.  The meeting is scheduled for February 7 at a local eatery but Ellis Vidler does need notification so we can make sure there is enough seating for everyone, even if you don't eat dinner with us.  Please see the website for more information on contacting Ellis with a special ordering menu on the side bar (in case  you would like to join us for dinner).  E :)

Sisters in Crime of Upstate SC: NINA BRUHNS TO SPEAK FEBRUARY 7, TAKE PITCHES FOR ...: Nina Bruhns, best-selling author of nearly 30 novels and editorial director for Entangled Publishing’s Suspense line, will be the guest spe...

Two Ways to Hook and Keep Your Reader

Little did I know that last year when I attended the Highlights Foundation workshop, "Books that Rise Above," it would change my life. There were five reasons for this, no six, not counting the comfy cabin, delicious food, helpful and friendly staff, ambience of "The Barn" where we congregated, and rural, woodsy surroundings. Linda Sue Park, Patti Gauch, Deb Heiligman, Leonard Marcus, and Betsy Bird; oh my, what an admirable and astute group of five to gather under one roof. The sixth was the distinct pleasure of meeting the attendees, successful writers in their own right, which included Carolyn Yoder, Senior Editor, History, of Highlights magazine and Senior Editor of Calkins Creek Books, and Andy Boyles, Science Editor of the magazine.

This series covers the highlights of what I learned, broken up into a few posts for each presenter. I begin with Linda Sue Park's sage advice on capturing your reader from page one, or in her words: Sticky Bubbles.

The Bubble

Character drives plot. The character is faced with challenges. Illuminate the character and what happens next. Reader will care about her and what she wants and want to see what happens to her. Reader is hooked and can't put the book down until she finds out what happened.

How does Writer create the Bubble? By use of the best words in the right order.

Linda used examples from other books. My example is an excerpt that comes from the first page of her Newbery award-winner, A Single Shard.

"Eh, Tree-ear! Have you hungered well today?" Crane-man called out as Tree-ear drew near the bridge.

The well-fed of the village greeted each other politely by saying, "Have you eaten well today?" Tree-ear and his friend turned the greeting inside out for their own little joke.

Tree-ear squeezed the bulging pouch at his waist. He held the bag high. Tree-ear was delighted when Crane-man's eyes widened in surprise. He knew that Crane-man would guess at once--not carrot-tops or chicken bones, which protruded in odd lumps. No, the bag was filled with rice.

Crane-man raised his walking crutch in a salute.

Without turning the page, we have learned that:

  • Tree-ear and Crane-man are friends
  • They are poor, must scrounge for food, unlike the richer village community
  • Tree-ear has brought Crane-man a special treat, more substantial than typical meals
  • Tree-ear is likely the "bread-winner," the one of the pair who forages for food for their meals
  • Tree-ear's name and enthusiasm hint that he's a young boy
  • Crane-man must be an old man because he walks with a crutch
  • The bridge has some significance in the story

Try to stop me from turning the page. I'm hooked, I'm in the Bubble. I want to learn more about these characters, what they want and what's going to happen to them.

The Sticky Part
The sticky part is making the story stay with your reader for a long time. It is making the story matter.

What sticks? Questions stick best, not answers. Questions are guideposts in the exploration of life. Questions stick long after the end.

In every scene the character faces a choice, makes a decision and takes action. While this is taking place, Reader is immersed in the Bubble, which is a safe place to practice at life. While the character is confronting the problems and getting ready to make a choice, Reader is busy making his own choices.

Stuff to take with you: In Linda's words: Reader asks of every book: What's in it for me? A writer's most powerful tool is Reader's expectation. Writer must be fair. Whatever happens in his book must be justified. In my words: A Single Shard made me laugh out loud and bow my head and cry . I loved it so much I carried it around with me until I had read every last word.

Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, has published over 40 articles for children and adults, six stories for children, and is in the final editing stages of her first book, a mystery story for 7-10 year olds. Follow Linda on Facebook.

Small Fish in a Big Pond

Leaving Discouragement Behind

The year 2012 was significant for me. It was the first time in the last 7 years I didn't give up on a freelance writing career. I had a couple of reasons to be discouraged. Here are few examples of why a writer would slow down and eventually give up:
  • lack of support
  • distractions
  • pessimism
  • illness
  • impatience
  • rejection letters
  • sensitivity
At some point, there came a change in my thinking. It was the realization and acceptance: this thing is going to take some time. Last year, I learned so much here at Writers on the Move and through interacting with other writers. If there is a bottom line, I've discovered mental attitude is everything.

If you're new at freelance writing or you're in a slump, here are two questions to ask yourself: What do you think of yourself? Do you believe you have something to offer people? The answers bring us back to the basics and help us focus.

A writers' group is valuable for many reasons. Giving and receiving encouragement is almost a given. If there isn't a group in your locality, you can join an online group. No one needs to be a loner.  

Yet, sometimes you are alone. And it's during those times when I've discovered encouragement comes in interesting ways.

Recently, I went snowshoeing on our property. The snow was dazzling! I was just plodding along, enjoying the fresh air until I came upon a small pine tree. I stared at it for several seconds and lifted my eyes beyond it to see all of the other pine trees which were larger and fuller.

The message couldn't have been clearer.

Reality: I am a small fish in a big pond amidst thousands of freelance writers who are published, successful, and earning a living. But that doesn't mean I won't be someday. Look how straight and tall that little tree is. A bit distanced from the other mature trees, definitely an up-and-comer, but nevertheless, thriving. Despite the wind, snow, and ice which buried that tree deeper a few days later, it reaches for the sky with resolute. It was a reminder to stay strong and keep growing. I made a decision not to let discouragement influence me.

Because I didn't give up last year, I am pleased to say, I had my very first published article in a national high school magazine. And I received a check in the mail! 

What hindrances are making you discouraged? 

Can you maneuver around those obstacles with a different outlook? 

Please share your thoughts with us!


Kathleen Moulton is a wife, mother of 8 children, and a freelance writer. You can find her passion to bring encouragement and hope to people of all ages at When It Hurts -

Writing Monologues

A number of years ago I attended a workshop given by David Page. It was one of the most inspiring workshops I have ever attended. I realize now how important that workshop was to the improvement of my writing, and I highly recommend all new writers (actually all writers new and experienced) to practice writing monologues. The following is just a list of points he gave in that workshop. As I read over them, it occurred to me that they can apply to all writings in the fiction genre. I thought I would share them with you. The list is not long. I hope everyone can find at least one point that will help them.
             1.  If you don’t develop a good character, you cannot have a good monologue.
             2.  Don’t sit in the easy seat when you want to write monologue. Write about
                 something you don’t know about.
                 Note: This is certainly different from what I’ve been told, but you have to
                 admit it would challenge you, and I love a challenge.)

             3.  Learn to do interviews.

             4.  Go to where people tell you not to go -- Taboo Land.

             5.  Find your hook.

             6.  In order to be somebody, you have to see/be everybody.

             7.  Got to feel your character’s heartbeat in their monologue. Should have attitude.
             8.  Monologue does not have to have just one emotion.

             9.  If you write something phony, it brings your work to a standstill.

            10.  Do not write about something you do not have feelings about.
            11.  To make it real-- it has to have connections to other things:  place, personalities
                    that are insinuated, etc.

            12.  Need a tone to your dialogue. Needs to sound individual. Imbed the tone into
                   the monologue.

            13.  When writing a monologue, remember what it is-- don’t make it its own novel
                    within your novel.

            14.  You have to know who you are in order to write good dialogue.

            A monologue has one main character, and the monologue is written from that character’s POV. You can use either or both exterior dialogue or interior dialogue. The monologue must be more creative and more personal than a manuscript that has more than one character.

            Everyone is different, and we all have our own methods, but I like to sit down and write a monologue just for the practice. I have found that it can also help me when I get a bad case of writer’s block. It seems to stimulate my creativity. At any rate, it is good practice for improving your writing skills, especially if you are a young writer.

Faye M. Tollison
Author of:  To Tell the Truth
Upcoming books:  The Bible Murders
                              Sarah’s Secret
Member of:  Sisters In Crime
                     Writers on the Move


Reading Books

It has been one year since I started writing monthly posts for this blog! It’s been fun, rewarding and educational. A big thank you to my readers! I hope you continue reading my posts every month.

In December, I made a list of writing goals for 2013. One of those goals is to get through the stack of books I have sitting in my home office. (Anyone else have that problem? J) Recently, I saw something online concerning reading goals. I have decided to read one book per week for 52 weeks. Many of the books I own are about writing and occasionally I will be talking about some of them here. Hopefully, I will finally get through the backlog!

Some of the books I have were recommended by various writers and other people in the field. I look for recommendations in magazines and on websites, email lists, blogs, etc. Some of these books were published long ago and others are more recent. I continue to add to my collection, with both hard copy and eBooks.

What books about writing have you read, whether it was recently or years ago? Do you have any recommendations? What do you plan to read this year?

I attended a conference last year and a literary agent asked the attendees the following questions:

How many have an eReader?
How many read physical books?
How many go to libraries?
How many buy at book stores?
How many buy books online?

Many raised their hands in response to all the questions. I think this is a good thing. How about you?

May we all get through those stacks of books this year and continue to add to them!

Debbie A. Byrne has a B.S. in Mass Communication with a minor in History. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and is working on her first children’s book.

Increase Your Writing Productivity

As a life coach, when working with writers who are looking to be more productive one of the first areas, I focus on is their writing routine and structure.  During this process one question that often receives a lot of surprise and resistance is the following:

“When you sit down to write, what is the first thing you do?”

Can you guess the number one answer I receive?  If you said, ‘check emails and facebook’, you are right.  Many writers sit down at their computer to work on a manuscript, but the first program they open is their email or facebook.  Maybe it’s a quick 5 minutes, but often 20+ minutes have passed before they begin writing.  

If you are someone who has the luxury to write full-time, it’s not a big deal.  But for many writers who are trying to squeeze their writing into their already full life, they just gave away twenty valuable writing minutes.

What I encourage writers to do is protect their writing time.  That means when they you are ready to write, focus only on writing. Once your writing session is over, then you can check emails or facebook, if you have time. 

This simple change in how you approach your writing will help you keep your attention on your intent to write.  Try this and you might just have your most productive writing year yet. 

Mary Jo Guglielmo is writer and intuitive life strategist who has helped writers move their writing careers forward. Combining intuitive insights with practical know-how, Mary Jo has helped clients discover how to chart their course of action and live their authentic path—their True North.   Mary Jo offers Artist Breakthrough Sessions at reduced rates. (Gift certificates are available.)

For more information check out
or folllow her at:http://theadvantagepoint.wordpress.comhttp://www.helpingchidrencope.blogspot.com  

The Most Important Word

Do you want to know what the most important word is that you can use in your blog? Well to give you a hint, I've used it five times so far. Once in the title, once in the sub-title, and three times so far in the article.

You've guessed it. It's the word YOU.

Some time back, I did an interesting search on Google Adwords. I was looking for the words that would draw most traffic to my--and your-- blog. Out of the 20 words I searched for, the most important word was - YOU. The word YOU was billions - that's right--billions ahead of all the other possibilities I looked at. Would you believe that, during any given month, people search for the word YOU on Google 1,680,000,000 times.

Now is this fascinating or what? And what does it mean? Most important, what does it mean for us as bloggers?

Well, I look at it this way. If a word is that important we need to pay it attention. Let me rephrase that. You (and I) really need to pay attention to a word that is so important. Why is the latter sentence a better way of puting it? Because it's addressed to you. It's using that all-important word.

So let's look at this in more depth.

Why is the word YOU so important?

  • Your readers are the most important purpose of your blog. No readers--no point in the blog. Therefore you need to address them in whatever you have to say.
  • Your topic needs to be one they want to read about. Otherwise they won't continue reading.
  • Your title, tweets, FaceBook entries, need to address their needs.
  • As you address their needs, you in turn will benefit.

John Maxwell says,
"People don't care how much you know, until they know you much you care."

We all care about "I", "Me", "#1".

If "I" get nothing out of your blog, I'm not going to come back. (Sorreee.) So if you want me to come back, you need to make your blog of interest to me. In other words, we need to make our blogs of interest to them. You (and I) need to write for them and their needs.

In other words, you need to address you.

You may notice that I've used YOUR quite a few times in the above section too. That scored 226,000,000 Google monthly searches. Okay, that's nothing like 1,680,000,000 but it's still quite a few hits! And in case you're wondering, "I" scores 618,000,000 and ME 277,000,000.

How can you use YOU more often in our blog without becoming preachy?

  • Don't write for yourself. Write with your reader in mind. Address the YOU that you write for. Who is in your audience? Write to them. Speak about things that matter to them. Encourage them.
  • Take another look. When you're finished the post, go back and check. How often have you used words like YOU, YOUR, YOURSELF? If it's not often, look to see how you can rephrase to make the article of greater interest to your reader. (Don't overload your post, now. That will only drag your rankings with Google right down. You're not trying to see how often you can use the word. You're trying to appeal to your readers.)
  • Check your title: See if you can use these words in your title or at least your subtitle. This isn't meant to be a gimmick. It's meant to remind you how important your reader is.
It all goes to show how important YOU are. 

Over to you. How often do you use "you" in your writing? Do you find it easy? Or is it a new concept for YOU? Hit comment below and share with us.

SHIRLEY CORDER lives a short walk from the seaside in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, with her husband Rob. She is author of Strength Renewed: Meditations for your Journey through Breast Cancer. Shirley is also contributing author to ten other books and has published hundreds of devotions and articles internationally. 

Visit Shirley on her website to inspire and encourage writers, or on Rise and Soar, her website for encouraging those on the cancer journey. Follow her on Twitter or "like" her Author's page on Facebook. 

Write on... don't give up the dream!

Do you dream of being a writer?

If you want to be a writer, the only thing required is to put your butt in a chair, place your hands on a keyboard, pen, pencil or whatever you use to write, and write, write, write.

Consider writing as your job. If your dream is to publish, remember writing is a business, and treat it as if you’re an entrepreneur, because you are.

It doesn’t make any difference if you are young, old, or in between.

Don’t let anyone; including yourself talk you out of your dream of writing. Just write what subject you want to write about.

It doesn’t make any difference who you are, what sex you are, or anything else. Determination and persistence is will make you a writer.

Every writer can come up with myriad excuses not to write. The writer doesn’t use them, but writes in spite of them.

One major excuse is not having the time. This is a cop-out  If you want to be a writer, you’ll make time by going to bed later, get up earlier, or turn the Television off instead of watching some inane program. If a movie or some show is important to you, record it for a later time.

For the novice writer, the internal editor is a major problem. Overcome this by just writing, and then edit it.
It’s simple, writers write and that’s it, period.

If you want to be a writer, sit down and write the darn book; it won’t write itself.

Now is the time to organize your thoughts, notes, research, or outline and begin telling your story as only you can.

Today is the day you become a writer.

Robert Medak
Freelance Writer, Blogger, Editor, Proofreader, Reviewer, and Marketer
Find me on the Web

Life is a first draft: FRIDAY FIRSTS with Margaret Fieland

Life is a first draft: FRIDAY FIRSTS with Margaret Fieland: The first five lines of... RELOCATED  “What do you mean I must undergo a psi exam? The Terran Federation legislates against any use of p...

Goals and Writing Plans for 2013-Mandatory for Success

It is 18 days into the New Year and as a writer I have a map to follow. Three major goals have been placed on my year long plan and now it is my responsibility to take the action steps to make those goals come true.

My plan is different from last year and the year before and it should be. Yours should be different too. As writers we should be taking what worked for us the past year and making it part of the map for the New Year. We must also delete anything that didn't work well from last year and make a list of new things to try this year.

This is the most difficult part of a new map because to grow and make changes we have to step out of our comfort zone and for me that is just plain hard. It is facing up to the failures and admitting that I need to make changes. Failures become the lessons that promote change.

Here are a few tips to follow when working on this plan.

1. Remember nothing is written in stone, changes can be made every week, every month, every 2 months or whenever you realize that what your doing is not working. But the other side of that thought is to give your plan a chance to work and to see the results before making major changes.
2. Seek advice from experts but follow your heart. Advice is a wonderful thing but it doesn't mean you have to recreate who you are or who you were meant to be. It does mean that sometimes expert advice can be beneficial to what it is you are writing and trying to publish. Seek it and make it work with your goals.
3. Make your goals attainable and measurable so you are not flapping in the breeze and getting no where. Set dates, page limits, word counts, financial aspirations and any other way to measure your actions to meet your goals.
4. Failures are really not failures at all but life lessons that spur us on to be better writers, artists, etc. Don't dwell on them, rather use them to your advantage to move forward and be better.
5. Take classes, find a mentor, learn more marketing strategies, but the key is to keep writing and creating. Don't let the classes distract you from the main part of the plan which is to write.

If you don't have your plan ironed out  quite yet, no worries. Take time to review and make some notes so you can get a productive start to the New Year.

Taking Time Out!

By "time out," I mean taking time "out" and perhaps even outside.

This weekend I have taken myself "out," for a private writers retreat.
For most of us, writing is a passion, it's what keeps us happy,
but it's a full time or part time job that keeps us in a home with food on the table.

Juggling writing with family and work is always a challenge,
and at a certain point you may find that taking time out might benefit you. 

I find retreating really helpful when I've completed a manuscript and need some time for heavy duty revision. I may also retreat  when I'm feeling blocked and need to force my seat in the chair for a period of time.

Here are some guidelines to getting the most from your writers retreat:

Finding the spot for your writers retreat.

I generally find that cabins in the woods or on lakes work really well for me. 

1. You will most times bring in your own food, which means that you will not be distracted by where to eat. 

2.  I find these places quiet, which also helps with limiting distractions. 

3. A walk along the shore or on a deserted path creates a great "head" writing opportunity. 

Cabins are not the only places that writers may find to retreat to. Many authors use hotels or motels as places to disappear to and work. 

Where doesn't work? I find it challenging to use my home, even when the rest of the family is gone, because there is always something that can be and should be done. Remember distraction is your enemy.

All work and no play?

You may find, like myself, that you accomplish so much that taking the time for a walk only makes you more creative. I find my fingers fairly flying across the keyboard when I return from a stroll. 

1. Plan your writing/editing/revising time.
2. Plan your creative building time - otherwise known as walks, and/or hot baths.

So this year, plan your own retreat and get "out."


Currently, D. Jean is retreating to work on her latest women's fiction novel about reincarnation.

She is a writer of Women's Fiction and a co-author of a Young Adult Science Fiction Series. Her latest book, Flight from the Water Planet, Book 1 of The Exodus Series was written with coauthor, Austine Etcheverry.

D. Jean loves to tell stories of personal growth – where success has nothing to do with money or fame, but of living life to the fullest. She is also the author of the novels: Rocky's Mountains, Fire in the Hole and, Perception. 

The Mermaid, her award winning short story was published in the anthology, Tales from a Sweltering City.  

She is a wife, mother, grandmother and business coach. In her free time . . . ha! ha! ha! Anyway, you can find more about D. Jean Quarles, her writing and her books at her website at

You can also follower her at or on Facebook

As a Writer You Should Have Paid Attention in Math

I'm new to this blog and am tonight staring down one heck of a rabbit-hole-disguised-as-deadline. Thanks for allowing me to disengage myself from my non-fiction work and return to a technique I use in fiction writing.

Certainly time is always pressing and I don’t read nearly as much as I’d like to, but I always use reading as a writing tool.

The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion talked about how John Gregory Dunne would often read a novel several times “to see how it worked.” When I was working on my novel, I turned to my favorite in the middle grade-YA genre, Missing May by Cynthia Rylant, and charted the book out on a graph.

Along the y axis was the word count by chapter; the x axis noted where the various plot points occurred, when characters were introduced….the whole arc of the plot. It served as an invaluable road map because I was, and still am, a novice at plot development for anything other than a short story. I have a greater appreciation for Rylant’s craft and a graph of Missing May that is real purdy.

But, seriously, read the 'good ones.' Do this for a recent adult novel like Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and learn how
and when a real pro inserts plot points.

Mary-Margaret Simpson writes for gardening and outdoor magazines as well as for higher education. And if you can make any sense of that, please let her know.

Self-publishing on Smashwords

Self-publishing on Smashwords

Guest Post by J.Q. Rose

With the advent of this new age of e-book technology, you can publish your writing easily and quickly at Founder Mark Coker describes Smashwords as a distributor because the e-book you publish on Smashwords will be distributed to the world’s largest retailers. It costs you nothing to produce the e-book or to have it distributed. You do give up a percentage of the e-book sales for the privilege of having the book available for purchase on Smashwords.

I chose to self-publish my non-fiction e-book for middle grade girls, Girls Succeed: Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women, with Smashwords because the e-book is published on-line in many different formats and available to readers all over the world. I also wanted this e-book about careers to include hyperlinks so readers can immediately access information about the woman I interviewed and about her career.

Once the formatting meets the standard for Smashwords, the title becomes available for sale on Smashwords. I chose to wrestle with formatting my e-book, but Smashwords maintains a list of providers who will format your book for forty or fifty dollars. If you want to have wider distribution to other online booksellers such as Kobo, Apple, B & N, and Sony, your book will have to pass strict guidelines in order to deliver the best product to online booksellers. I have heard some authors say not to use Smashwords because they are too particular. I can only ask, “Don’t you want to deliver the sharpest book you can to your readers?” I do.

Before publishing, I suggest you download the Free copy of founder Mark Coker’s Smashwords Style Guide.( Everything you need to get your book through the “meatgrinder” is included in the book. The meatgrinder is the lovable name Coker calls the process of turning your finished manuscript uploaded as a Word file into the many formats necessary for the various e-reading devices now available to readers.

I studied Mark Coker's extensive Style Guide and followed each step carefully in my manuscript.  When I was ready to upload the file, his constant warnings about remembering to do this and don't forget that rattled in my brain. Taking a deep breath after filling out the form for Smashwords, I clicked on "upload the file" and crossed my fingers. I was told I was #16 in the queue.  I checked email and Facebook and surfed the Internet to get my mind off the fact that I had dumped my pure and perfect word file into the Smashword meat grinder.

When I returned to the screen on my Smashwords dashboard, a list of problems appeared that needed to be "fixed" before they could okay the e-book for sale. Actually they were easy fixes--more than four returns on the title page, using a table which is a no-no for this publisher, and a few stray tabs I'd missed. I re-submitted the file and jumped for joy when I saw conversion complete. It was available for sale on Smashwords.

I have to admit I had a difficult time passing the review to get into the premium catalog because I could not get the Table of Contents to link correctly. A linked Table of Contents, a helpful addition in non-fiction works, is a plus only available in e-books. Readers can click on a link and jump to the chapter they want to read.  I finally discovered the error after I downloaded the Adobe Digital Reader and checked the e-pub version.

After publishing, Smashwords allows authors to assign coupon codes to be used toward discounts or giveaways of your e-book to reviewers, fans, and for promotions.

When you’re ready to share your writing with the world, Smashwords is a good way to go to dip your toe into this vast and wonderful world of self-publishing.

BIO: After writing feature articles in magazines, newspapers, and online magazines for over fifteen years, J.Q. Rose entered the world of fiction writing with her first published novella, Sunshine Boulevard, released by Muse It Up Publishing in 2011. With Girls Succeed: Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women she returns to her first love, writing about real people.  Blogging, photography, Pegs and Jokers board games, and travel are the things that keep her out of trouble. Spending winters in Florida with her husband allows Janet the opportunity to enjoy the life of a snowbird. Summer finds her camping and hunting toads, frogs, and salamanders with her four grandsons and

Connect with J.Q. Rose online at
Girls Succeed blog
J.Q. Rose blog

Author Beware – ‘Custom Cover Design’ Does Not Mean ‘Original Cover Art’
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Using Personality Typologies to Build Your Characters

  Contributed by Margot Conor People often have asked me how I build such varied and interesting character profiles. I’m fond of going into ...