Patti Lee Gauch's Concluding Thoughts: Have Your Own Standard of Excellence

During Patti Lee Gauch’s talk at the Highlights Foundation workshop, “Books that Rise Above,” Patti reminds us that we’re educating children’s taste. To be successful, we must first develop our own.
Read the Most Excellent Works
To illustrate her point, Patti scattered on a big, round table some of her favorite books. That is, as many as she could carry from her home, to her car, to the workshop. Mind you, these aren’t brand new books. They are dog-eared and worn from being cherished and loved. She doesn’t bring all of her favorites. That would take up a library. But what she does do is name as many of the books that rise above all others as she could squeeze in during our short time together. The other presenters listed as many of their favorites as they could, too. I jotted down most of the titles and/or authors that they mentioned. The list holds few surprises. The authors who are listed are indeed treasured and some of the best loved. And of course, not every “book that rises above” could be mentioned in the space of one week end. So many of our favorites are left out; perhaps because they are givens, such as Dr. Seuss books or books by Lois Lowry, two of my personal favorites. In the book list that I compiled, I have cross-checked the proper spellings, titles, and author’s names, mostly through; and I included small tidbits of information the presenters mentioned about the books. For a copy of the book list, please leave a comment and I will look up your contact information and send it to you.
Our Taste Makes Us                                                                
Patti explains that taste grows exponentially from everything we touch, see, read and hear. We draw from our taste:

      ©   Scenes that take reader to an emotional place

©      Powerful language
©      Profound snatches of narration
©   Turn of phrase that is critical
©    Slant that is critical
      ©      A climax that catches your breath

What Moves Patti

A peek inside Patti's heart, which she so openly shared with us, reveals a deep-seated love of literature and what it has done for her. Patti's emotions are confirmed by great literature. Who isn't blown away by the splendid characters in Dickens' Great Expectations, who are wrought with feeling.

Patti believes in the discovery of wisdom in a book. In learning something new. Why write if our work doesn’t contain wisdom? Killer Angels by Ken Sherer is a good book to read with problem kids. Splendid characterization. Action goes right to a battle in the beginning. A book with this kind of power can make kids readers. A book that has a great deal of meaning for her, Robert Cormier's The Chocolate War, was the first book from the list that I read when I got home from the workshop. Patti summarized that Chocolate War is about a school with a wicked undercurrent; the power of the book is that it unleashes shock. Reader is left with Jerry's sick feeling that he knew what he had become. That he allowed Archie to influence him enough to lower his standards. Another life-changer is Ursala Gwinan's The Wizard of Earthsea. It helped give Patti permission to see her shadow. A book must go far enough; the example Patti gives is The Nigger of the 'Narcissus': A Tale of the Sea (1897) by Joseph Conrad. Author must go to the well and write from the inside out, not the outside in. Author must be all you are. Author must be transcendent.

Patti's final thoughts to take to heart: Dare to disturb the universe. Don't be a writer who leaves the genuine idea behind.

For past posts in this series, please visit:

Part One: Two Ways to Hook and Keep Your Reader
Part Two: Nouns Need to be Concrete and Appear More than Once
Part Three: Tent Pole Structure
Part Four: Leonard Marcus: Maurice Sendak, Storyteller and Artist
Part Five: Leonard Marcus: Let the Wild Rumpus Start
Part Six: Behind the Scenes with Deborah Heiligman
Part Seven: Deborah Heiligman's Casual Scream
Part Eight: On the Same Page with Betsy Bird

Thanks for reading this series.

Next month: Cluttered Desk Leads Writer Astray

Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, has published over 40 articles for children and adults, six short stories for children, and is in the final editing stages of her first book, a mystery story for 7-9 year olds. Publishing credits include seven biosketches for the library journal, Biography Today, which include Troy Aikman, Stephen King, and William Shatner; Pockets; Hopscotch; and true stories told to her by police officers about children in distress receiving teddy bears, which she fictionalized for her column, "Teddy Bear Corner," for the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office Crime Prevention Newsletter, Dayton, Ohio. Follow Linda on Facebook. 

Labels: Highlights Foundation, children's writing workshop

Writing Scents

The Northeast is gearing up for a spectacular show of rich, autumn colors. The morning chill, picking fresh apples, and the wonderful earthy smell of fallen leaves gives me the second wind I need to finish my writing goals for this year. Autumn energizes me!

Kathleen Moulton

Writers are observant and very in tune to their surroundings - positively and negatively. Sights, sounds, and smells spark creativity and find expression in the written word. But sometimes, we have to create an environment to spur us on.

One valuable tip that has worked for me is aromatherapy. Essential oils are extracted from the roots, seeds, leaves, or blossoms of plants. While I have not delved into all their uses, I have been pleased with using them for their aroma.

According to the article "9 Aromatherapy Health Cures" (Sarah Mahoney, Prevention Magazine, December 2012):
In a study at Wheeling Jesuit University, peppermint vapors gave college basketball players more motivation, energy, speed, and confidence.  
In an Austrian study, researchers wafted the smell of oranges before some participants and lavender before others. The two groups felt less anxious, more positive, and calmer, compared with participants who were exposed to no fragrance at all.

There is lots of information on the internet about aromatherapy and what scents produce. Here are a few I've used:
  • lavender - calming and relaxing
  • citrus (oranges, lemons, grapefruit) - energizes, promotes alertness and concentration
  • peppermint - invigorating, energy booster
  • eucalyptus - mental exhaustion, lethargy, stress 
  • tea tree - stimulates the brain and provides blood flow
  • rosemary - headaches, fatigue, tired eyes, focus, memory
  • basil - wakes up the mind
Are you feeling stressed with deadlines? Do you need some fresh energy or soothing tranquility? Try aromatherapy. A diffuser on your desk or in your living space may help give you the boost you need!


Kathy Moulton is a published freelance writer. You can find her passion to bring encouragement and hope to people of all ages at When It Hurts -

Do You Use Readers?

            It used to be that an author created and wrote his story and then sent it to his editor, after which he did his rewrites and published his book. But there is one tool I use to help give me input about my story. This tool is my readers. They have become an important part of my editing and rewriting process.

            More and more authors are turning to readers to give their thoughts and opinions on the authors’ stories. This is a good idea since most people who buy and read books are ordinary everyday people and are not writers or editors.

            Editors are looking at the structure of your plot, character development, and yes, grammar and spelling among other things. But readers are looking at it for its intrest and appeal. To use both readers and an editor gives you a more rounded viewpoint of your story.

            Readers give you a perspective from a different angle. Now don’t go firing your editor. On the contrary. I prefer to get my readers’ input before I send my book to my editor. Readers view your story from a reader’s viewpoint where your editor look at your story from a writer’s viewpoint, and it is my opinion that a writer needs both.

            I do ask my readers to look for spelling/grammar errors and typos. They do a grand job of finding them, too. But I also like to get their opinion on specific parts/chapters of my story. Because they are not as picky as editors are, they can really give you a fresh and honest opinion. Once you get your readers input, then you can concentrate on the things your editor finds.

            How many readers should you have? As many as you want but definitely more than one. The difference in opinion from one reader to another can create a dilemma. A third reader’s opinion can give you the solution to that dilemma.

            So do you have a reader/s? If not, you’re missing out on a more well-rounded editing information.

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


Prepping for NaNoWriMo

Fall is off to a busy start!

I’m getting ready for November, which is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), I signed up for NaNoWriMo Camp this past July. I didn’t finish but I was able to develop some new ideas for my novel. Several months ago, I purchased Scrivener, a software program for writers. I worked with it during the camp, but wanted to learn more about the program. Currently, I’m taking a class, taught by Gwen Hernandez, author of Scrivener for Dummies. The book was published in 2012. The class is offered a few times a year. It’s giving me a better understanding of all the things Scrivener can do.You can learn more about the class and the book at Gwen’s website,

Last December, I decided I was going to read one book each week of 2013. For the most part, I have been doing this. I have only missed a few weeks. Two of these books (I’ve read one and am reading the second) concern novel writing. No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days was written by Chris Baty, the founder of NaNoWriMo. Ready, Set, Novel!: A Workbook, by Lindsey Grant, Tavia stewart-Streit, and Chris Baty, will help you plan and plot your novel. I recommend both of these books.

Next month is the annual free online writing conference, The Muse. The conference dates are Oct 7 – 13 and registration ends October 1. There are many workshops, taught by authors, agents and others in the industry. I highly recommend “attending” this event. It’s great for any writer, no matter what the genre.

An FYI -- A new website for The Muse went live earlier this month. If you registered prior to the new website going up, I suggest logging in to make sure your account was transferred to the new database. Glitches sometimes happen. I discovered that my account, which I created a few years ago, and my conference registration, had disappeared.You must have an account and register for the conference before the deadline, in order to attend. If you don't register, you won't get access to the conference. My advice is to double check your account and registration if you originally created that account and/or registered for the conference on the old site.

I’m looking forward to The Muse and NaNoWriMo and I hope to see you there!

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.

Follow that Writing Trail!

We all know the story of Hansel and Gretel, right? No? Well, basically this is a well-known German fairy tale originally published by the Brothers Grimm in 1812. When a young brother and sister, Hansel and Gretel, wander into the woods, they take a slice of bread and leave a trail of crumbs to follow home. Brilliant idea, however, the birds eat the crumbs, and they are lost in the woods. We'll leave the story at that point.

Recently, I spent time following crumbs left by other writers. Thankfully they weren't eaten by the birds. (The crumbs that is, not the writers--they're fine.) The crumbs I followed were actually links tucked into posts on blogs and even in comments. 

This leads me to the question, How often do you follow links (URLs) in articles?

Certainly, if you followed all the links in some articles, you would never reach the end. I make it a practice to always read the complete piece, then if a link interests me, I go back and follow it. Even then, I am careful to right click and "open link in new window". That way I don't lose the referring article until I know I'm finished with it.

The post I was reading was on the this Writers on the Move blog and was titled, Why Write a Memoir? Wait! Remember what I said? Read to the end before following those links! The writer, Heidi M. Thomas, speaks about how to capture short snippets of life. I opened the comment section to add a response and read the other comments. A fellow writer, Mary Jo Guglielmo, had this to say, "I like doing short memoirs or Flash memoirs." And she added a link. 

Hmm. Flash memoirs? I read to the end of the comments and added my own. Then I returned to Mary Jo's comment and followed her link. This took me to a guest post on the same blog by yet another writer, Jane Hertenstein. In the second paragraph, Jane wrote,  "Six Minute Magazine is looking for quality fiction that can be read in under six minutes." And she gave a link.

I finished reading then returned to that URL. I'd never heard of the Six Minute Magazine. It sounded fun. I had a look around their landing page, and then spotted an invitation to "visit our partner website, FLASH FICTION FORUMS." And you've guessed it. Another link!

Intrigued, I right clicked on that one too, and it took me to a series of forums. I was about to close the window when I spotted a topic that caught my attention: Word Games: Got a word game? Have a short writing game? Share it here with members of the site!

This sounded intriguing, so off I went to a page full of fun-sounding games. I noticed the topic Three Word Story had 7 pages of comments. 

How could you write a story in three words? I decided to investigate. This link took me to a post that introduced a new idea like this -- Each poster copy/pastes the previous post then adds three new words to develop the story. The writer then gave the command, "Start!" and then the words, As he was . . .

Those were the initial three words of the story. I glanced ahead and saw the next seven pages were loaded with a gradually unfolding story. What fun! Time to stop following links. I had work to do.

I opened my mail program and commenced an email to my on-line writers group for South African Christian Writers. I explained how the exercise worked and then issued the command, "Start!" I gave them the words, "The elephant lowered . . . " and hit send. I can't wait to see how it turns out. Should be fun. 

This got me thinking. How often do we miss some real treasures because we don't follow the trails laid down for us by other writers? Now I'm not for one second suggesting we click on every link, but maybe we need to glance back at the article when we finish reading it, and see if there are any trails worth investigating. After all, if you're not a South African Christian Writer, you probably don't want to follow those crumbs. But sometimes following an almost hidden path could lead to some fascinating on-line destination.

Just don't forget to right click and open in a new tab or window so you can find your way home, otherwise the birds might get there first, and you could be lost on-line. Forever. 

Let's have some fun. Click on comments, copy/paste the previous comment, and progress the sentence by a further three words.

 The sun is . . . 

 Other posts about writing exercises: 

Wanted: One Writing Buddy

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, and provided you leave a link, she'may even follow you back.

When Life Gets in the Way

It is never a question of when life gets in the way regarding my writing but the question is what to do about it? Here are a few tips to keep the writing front and center of your real life.

1. Remember that writing IS your life. Treat it like a scheduled appointment if you have to but write something everyday.
2. Use self imposed deadlines, goal lists, outlines, or colorful pads to keep you inspired. Do what it takes to write, revise, polish, submit, and research your next project. The alternative is to say writing is your hobby and delegate it to the backseat of life. Less guilt over being unproductive and the admission helps you to declare your real life intentions to your inner self. You decide.
3. Make a list of actions that you need to take to put your writing career on the next level. Writing these actions down in concrete terms helps you to be accountable and makes your writing real.
4. Even when life gets in the way....( happened to me this week making this post late) make yourself write something, anything, even in the midst of chaos. After all you are a writer. Remind yourself of this and go forth and write.

This week......wrote a book review, a post here, a blog post for my quilt shop blog, and submitted a PB manuscript all during a week when I traveled for business, had a death on the in-law side of the family, worked a12hour night shift, and did a job interview. Where there is a will to succeed as a writer, there truly is a way.

Writing and Marketing – Doing Business Online and Email Privacy

I belong to a number of environmental and health related groups. One of those groups is

Care2 sent an alert about Google’s Gmail and your privacy. It seems Google reads “every word of every single email you send or receive every single day,” including those involving “personal relationships, your health information, your finances, and more.”


Google’s response to a lawsuit against them for this invasion of privacy is that their users have “no legitimate expectation of privacy” in regard to their email.

Again, YIKES!

Interestingly, it’s a federal offense to read another person’s traditional mail. Why isn’t email held up to the same privacy expectations, especially when Google uses the information in our emails to target you with ads.

As part of your online writing and marketing endeavors, it's certain you're using email. And, it almost as certain that your emailing family and possibly health and financial professionals. This email information should be private.

I signed the petition Care2 has in place to tell Google I expect email privacy. If you feel inclined to do the same, the link to the online petition is:

Please take action and share this alert.


More on Writing and Marketing

Email Marketing – Your Opt-in Landing Page
Authors Need Discoverability More Than Findability
Create an Infographic

P.S. To keep up with writing and marketing information, along with Free webinars, join us in The Writing World (top right top sidebar).

Karen Cioffi
Award-Winning Author, Freelancer/Ghostwriter
Author/Writer Online Platform Instructor
Build an Online Platform That Works

Karen Cioffi Professional Writing Services

The Write Verb

To tighten your writing and take it to the next level, evaluate and upgrade your use of verbs. 

Choosing the right verbs signals strength in your writing and creates a sense of urgency for your readers. 

When writing the first draft our focus, as writers, is getting words on the page, when the time comes for revision, step up your game and create a clear and concise visual picture. That means looking at your verb usage. 
Some things to keep in mind:

1. When you rely on "to be" and its other forms, your writing will be static. When you can upgrade to more dynamic verbs your writing will soar. Search your writing for the following words: to be, was, were, are, and is. Then work to remove them. Sometimes an easy substitution works, sometimes it means reorganizing your sentence structure, but whatever it takes, remove weak verbs.

2. When you rely on "to be" and its other forms, you may tend to also rely on the use of adverbs. You've probably heard before how the use of adverbs should be used only when you absolutely must. Let's try that sentence again: You've heard, don't use adverbs they are a crutch. Peruse your work and search for all words ending in "ly."

3. Work to remove gerunds. Gerunds are verbs that end in "ing" and act as nouns. An example: In writing, only choosing strong verbs is best. Which can be reworked to read: In writing, choose strong verbs. 

Now get out their and pump up your writing.


D. Jean Quarles 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, an 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

Self-Imposed Deadlines and Other Tricks for Getting Your Writing Done

by Suzanne Lieurance

If you’re a freelance writer, you probably have editors and clients who set deadlines for you.

time is running out

But if you’re a writer who is trying to write a novel or just get some articles posted to your blog on a regular basis, or submit queries to magazine markets every week, you probably need some tricks to help you stay on track.

Here are a few that work for me and other writers I coach:

1. Set Self-Imposed Deadlines.
If you set deadlines for everything you want to do, chances are you’ll be more likely to finish each of these tasks. That’s because anything we choose to do tends to take as much time to complete as we allow it. That means if you don’t set a deadline for finishing that next chapter of your novel, you could be working on that chapter for weeks, months, or even (gulp) years! Set a tight deadline for that next chapter instead. Then make a point to meet that deadline.

2. Find a writing buddy or accountability partner.
You’ll be more likely to meet your self-imposed deadlines if you have someone to be accountable to for these deadlines. A writing buddy or accountability partner is perfect for this. Tell this person the date of your next deadline, then check in with him when that deadline rolls around and report your progress. After doing this a few times, you’ll start to feel like a real slug if you aren’t meeting your deadlines, especially if your partner is always meeting his.

3. Set up short chunks of time for each project.
Generally, you’ll get more writing done when you don’t have all day to write. If you have all day, you’ll waste time because, well, you’ve got all day, so what’s the rush? But if you set aside specific chunks of time to get your writing done, you’ll know you don’t have all day and you’ll be more likely to get right to work and get something done.

4. Pare Down Your Daily To-Do List
When your to-do list for the day is too long, you’ll feel so stressed and overwhelmed, you may decide, “I can’t possibly get all this stuff done today” and, guess what? You’ll probably just sit there and do nothing! Sounds weird, I know. But I’ve seen it happen. Heck. I’ve even been guilty of this myself.

5. Write in a Relaxed State
Before you sit down to write, take a few moments to just sit and relax. Close your eyes, take deep breaths. Let go of thoughts of everything else in your life, so you can just concentrate on the writing you need to do. If you've followed Tip 3 – by setting up short chunks of time for each project – you should be able to relax and focus once you sit down to write because there isn't anything else you should be doing at this time.

Following these tips should help you get and stay focused on your writing so you get some work done each week. But first, DECIDE that you will be a productive writer. Whether you realize it or not, when you waste time or allow yourself to lose focus on your writing, you're DECIDING to let this happen. Now simply choose to be a focused, productive writer instead.

Try it!

suzanne-cover 016-2Suzanne Lieurance is an author, freelance writer, certified professional life coach and writing coach, speaker and workshop presenter. She is a former classroom teacher and was an instructor for the Institute of Children's Literature for over 8 years.

Lieurance has written over two dozen published books and hundreds of articles for newspapers, magazines, and other publications. She lives and writes by the sea in Jensen Beach, Florida. Visit her blog at or find out about her coaching for writers at

Marketing with Online Press Releases - eReleases September Special

If you're doing any kind of business online, you most likely regularly or occasionally find the need to write and distribute an online press release. I know I do. But, if you haven't thought about using press releases, let's go over what they're good for:

Online press releases, through distribution services, are an excellent marketing tool to increase your visibility and bring traffic to your site. And, they bring major attention to what you want to promote, such as a new product, a special you’re offering, a workshop, a new or revised book, new services, and so on.

Press releases also broaden your reach. There are tons of subscribers, including businesses and journalists, who look for relevant information they can use. In addition, press releases boost your chances of being picked up and featured on industry websites and even news stations.

If you have something new, or upgraded something, or revised something, or are offering a special, you NEED to get that information in a press release.

Being an affiliate for, an online press release distributor, I get updates on all the specials they have AND they're currently having a September Special, right through the 30th.

Get $25 Off on Any Service from by using Coupon Code: SEP8-Z25.

That’s a really great offer. If you have something to shout about, do it now.

Just CLICK THE LINK BELOW to get started. And, don’t forget to use the Special Coupon Code: SEP8-Z25.

Tell the World about Your Company, Your Services, and Your Products with eReleases! Get $25 Off on Any Service from by using Coupon Code: SEP8-Z25.

P.S. Want more writing and marketing tips and special opportunities? Then subscriber to The Writing World (top right sidebar). You'll get weekly information plus updates on free instructional webinars.

Six Degrees of Separation

What do you do when you are at a loss of what to post about or even at a loss in your life? Write something. Anything. Yesterday was the 12th Anniversary of the bombing of the Trade Center Towers and the Pentagon, which affected many people, not only in the United States but around the world. Everyone who can remember that fateful day will probably be able to tell you exactly where they were and what they were doing when the news came about. This writer wasn't even a writer at the time of the bombings. She was working on the computer when her mother called asking if she had seen the news. It was early morning because the kids had gone to school and I was gearing up my computer to get my work done. I think my oldest is probably the one that remembers it the most considering my other two children were 8 and 6 at the time. The oldest was in high school and they probably pulled the TVs in the homerooms to run the news of this tragedy. This was a major loss to everyone. If you don't believe in the 6 degrees of separation just think about the events that occurred on 9-11 (2001). The bombers/terrorists were from another country; the workers in the Trade Center hailed from all parts of the country as well as some foreign countries and everyone, including folks in foreign countries, sat glued to their TV sets for hours, dumbfounded at the unfolding events. I had another incident that came to mind about the 6 degrees of separation; unfortunately, it has been a long week with loss of several things and remembrances of those whose lives were taken from us that it has slipped my mind. Please remember all those who survived, who lost their lives and those who willingly gave of themselves to help out. We are all in this together and only separated by 6 degrees. - E :) -------------------- Elysabeth Eldering Author of FINALLY HOME, a Kelly Watson, YA paranormal mystery

From the Mundane to the Sublime: How to Make your Work Extraordinary

As a writer, I've always been intrigued by the mundane. By mundane, I'm thinking, not of dull or tedious, but rather of its alternative meaning of being 'of this earthly world', secular, temporal.  These are the details of our lives - those things that other readers will recognise - the day to day world that surrounds us. Most of the time we're too busy to stop the endless doing and observe and perceive.  But this is a writer's job. To look closely at those moments and allow them to morph into something extraordinary.  Morph? What is that? Are we talking magic realism or sci fi here?  No, this is real life, such as the observation of a common beetle or bird in the garden - something utterly ordinary.  In that moment where we turn our gaze deeply  into the thing, we suddenly transcend the limits of our human condition and see things with a certain transformative eye where the detail contains the whole.In Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg puts it this way: "Go so deep into something that you understand its interpenetration with all things. Then automatically the detail is imbued with the cosmic; they are interchangeable."  That all sounds grand and esoteric, so how, specifically, as writers, do we create this kind of transcendence, without making the work so dense that it loses its connection to the everyday?  Here are a few tips:

Use of point of view.   We all come to each situation we find ourselves in with a welter of memories, issues we're currently grappling with, and desires.  In short, at any moment we're all in the 'midst of life'.  If you take that 'midst', in other words the situation of your characters, and filter it into those things that surround them - the butterfly landing on their hand, the rain that just won't stop, or even the dishes that are being done, the mundane suddenly is infused with the whole of your character perspective.  In the early twentieth century, this tended to sit with stream of consciousness writing, where the inner thoughts of characters become apparent to the reader, but it doesn't have to be a random stream.  Those thoughts can be anchored in the moment, and reasonably logical, while still coasting across all those desires that make up any character.

Step out of the stream. Stop for a moment and let your characters see the bigger picture.  You can do this with a third person narrator, or just allow the characters a momentary glimpse at the bigger picture.  For example, a young girl may be struggling with bullying, but just for a moment in the midst of the highest conflict, give her a glimpse of the future or even of the broader context of her life and let her see the pain she's struggling with for what it is - momentary and transient.  Those kinds of epiphanies are the stuff of character transformation and will progress the story perfectly.

Use symbols.  Symbols do exactly what we're talking about here. They turn the mundane into the sublime, by referring to something else.  An office cubicle or conference room might symbolise oppression.  A tourist visit to the Statue of Liberty might symbolise freedom.  A bird song or plot of dirt might symbolise freedom or getting back to roots or even shaking off a depression that has become overwhelming. 
All of these things are subtle, and have to be dealt with carefully, with poetic skill.  But being able to use the everyday to hint at a deeper meaning; a secret sub-story below the surface, is what makes art.  As readers, we instinctively look for it in the books we read.  As writers, we're always aiming to create it.

 For more about Magdalena visit:

Why Write a Memoir?

If you’re like me, you’ve probably have said to yourself, over and over, “I’d really like to write, but…” OR “Someday, I’m going to write…”

I think that writing down your family history is one of the most important things you could ever do. We all know friends or even family members who have always told such fascinating stories, but nobody ever wrote them down, so when they pass on, the stories are gone forever. Sometimes it’s just because, when you’re young, you think “Oh, there goes Grandpa, telling that old story again…” And you fail to realize the importance of it.

Many times I looked at the old photo albums my dad had that my grandmother had put together, but never thought about how important that era was, or how important it might be to me, and how I turned out as a human being. But one little tidbit did stick in my mind all those years—and that was the fact that back in the 1920s in Montana, my tiny grandma—about 5’2 and maybe all of 102 pounds—had ridden steers in rodeos. I couldn’t get it out of my head. That certainly was not something I ever aspired to do—even as big as I am!

So, I started to delve into her life story. And I have found it utterly fascinating. I chose to write it as a novel, but there is so much fact in it, so much from my grandparents’ and my dad’s life. This has resulted in three novels and a non-fiction book about old-time cowgirls in Montana. And in the process, my dad started writing down some of his memories of growing up.

You must have some of those stories floating around. Whether you write them down—just notes or a timeline or a regular story—or if you tell them to another person or into a recorder, I encourage you to do it. Don’t let your family history be lost.

A memoir puts a frame onto life by limiting what is included. It may be a particular period in your life, for example, your childhood, your adolescence, or your fabulous fifties.

An autobiography covers an entire life from birth to the present.


A native Montanan, Heidi M. Thomas now lives in North-central Arizona. Her first novel, Cowgirl Dreams, is based on her grandmother, and the sequel, Follow the Dream, won the national WILLA Award. Heidi has a degree in journalism, a certificate in fiction writing, and is a member of Northwest Independent Editors Guild. She teaches writing and edits, blogs, and is working on the next books in her “Dare to Dream” series.

To Increase Your Chances for Publication, Submit Your Manuscript

Guest Post by Joan Y. Edwards

You finished writing your story or article. You revised it 3 times.

How many manuscripts did you send off for critique this year?

You say you’ve done that once a month. I’m proud that you did that. You sent it off for critique. You revised it 4 more times, making a total of 7 revisions. Now that your work is in quality condition, it’s time to market your work. Let's talk submissions.

How many quality manuscripts did you submit this year to a publisher, agent, or contest?

What? You tell me that you have three quality manuscripts at the marketing stage and you only submitted once this year. On the bright side, that’s better than not submitting at all. It probably was the best you could do. However, I want to inspire and motivate you to make at least 4 more submissions this year. That's one for each month: September, October, November, and December.

Do you want to increase your odds and have a better chance at publication? 

Here are three ways to increase your odds:
1.    Submit one quality manuscript to 3 well-matched publishers. (3/12-25% )
2.    Submit three different quality manuscripts to 3 different publishers. (6/12-50%)
3.    Submit one quality manuscript to 6 different agents. (6/12-50%)

If you don’t submit to editors, agents, or contests, perhaps you are not convinced that your story is good enough for publication. You need encouragement. You need confidence. You need a plan. You need Pub Subbers.

Perhaps you’re like Dr. Seuss or Colonel Sanders, you’ve been rejected so many times you’re about to give up. I’m sure there were days when both Dr. Seuss and Colonel Sanders said to themselves, “Nobody is interested in my ideas.”

But somewhere from deep inside, came a little voice that said to them, “It’s a great idea. You have great ideas. You just haven’t met the right person to buy it yet. Keep on trying. Don’t give up.” Dr. Seuss got published after 27 rejections. After 1009 rejections and 2 years of traipsing across America, Colonel Sanders got the first restaurant to purchase a license to use his Kentucky Fried Chicken recipe.

Even if you submit 100 times, I can’t guarantee that a publisher will give you a contract and publish your work. But, I can guarantee that if the rejections you receive stop you in your tracks and if you never submit again, you will never get published.

Keep submitting. If you receive a rejection, hit the reset button on the “Bowling Alley of Submissions.” Brainstorm enthusiasm and change your inner goals. Make changes in your manuscript to make it better and better. Keep submitting no matter how many rejections you get. The more you submit, the better chance you will have to be published.

A publisher is looking for you while you are looking for a publisher. Do not give up. Keep submitting on a regular basis. Submitting is action that shows your faith in yourself and your writing. Believe in yourself and your writing, be a Pub Subber. Submit your quality work often.

Are you a Pub Subber? Pub Subbers have three stages: The Writing Stage; The Revising Stage; The Marketing Stage.

I invite you to follow the Pub Subber plan for writing, revising, and submitting to an editor, agent, or contest.

Here is a short explanation of Pub Subber stages for four weeks of the month.

Pub Subbers believe that submitting quality work on a regular basis leads to publication.

•    Writing Stage - Pub Subbers write new drafts - new stories, poems, songs, etc..
•    Revising Stage - Pub Subbers send their draft manuscripts to a critique person or group 1-3 times and revise manuscripts at least 7 times before submitting to an agent, editor, or contest. This revision process takes a manuscript from a draft in the writing stage to a quality manuscript in the Marketing Stage.
•    Marketing Stage - Pub Subbers submit a quality manuscript at least once a month to an editor, agent, or contest.

Writing Stage and Revising Stage

Live, Read, Write, Revise, Get Critiques, Educate and Motivate the Muse within You. This could be a week, a month, or a year or even longer.

Week 4

Marketing Stage

Begins on a new month after your manuscript is in quality condition and has been critiqued 1-3 times and revised at least 7 times.

Week 1

Find Three Possible Publishers, Agents, or Contests. Choose one. Send manuscript for one last critique.

Week 2

Write draft query, cover letter, and/or proposal. Follow the guidelines of the editor, agent, or contest.

Week 3

Final Edit, Print, Proof. Pub Sub Friday It’s time to submit to an agent, editor, contest of your choice.

Submit your manuscript! You’ll be glad you did.

Pub Subbers Yahoo Group has automated weekly reminders each month to help you get published and won’t let you give up on yourself or your writing goals. To join Pub Subbers, send a blank email to

Joan Y. Edwards
Blog: Never Give Up blog  
Website: Joan Y. Edwards

Flip Flap Floodle, a happy little duck who Never Gives Up
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Joan's Elder Care Guide 4RV Publishing Coming in June 2014.



Why Marketing Should Not Be a Second-Class Profession Among Authors

The argument that marketing is just too, too crass for authors doesn't seem to go away, does it? 

It feels as if more is a work here than rational argument. Do the literary minded feel threatened? Do those who market their books feel both deprived of writing time or feel they are being discriminated against by the literary world? Do we in the publishing industry really want to behave like politicians?

Here's the thing. Marketing as always been part of publishing. It's just that these days publishing houses' budgets are smaller and many authors' marketing skills (by necessity or preference) have blossomed. A book simply is unlikely to sell unless someone is doing the marketing. So what about a nice balance of writing and marketing for any author.

Publishing is a partnership and authors have always been partners--even if not full partners--in the marketing of books. It takes the author to do book tours, to sit on panels, to sign books, to be interviewed on the Today Show. Always has. Always will. So if authors extend those skills to benefit their books while balancing that time against writing or taking a reasonable amount of time away from writing to get their book on the right track...well, isn't that what is best for book, author, publisher—and the reader who can't read a book unless he or she knows about it.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson is a frequent contributor to Writers On The Move. She is a multi award-winning novelist, poet and author of the HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers including the highly acclaimed Frugal Book Promoter ( Learn more and sign up for her SharingwithWriters newsletter at

Call For Guest Posts

This is a mid-summer call for guest posts from our readers. 

Taking advantage of guest blogging is a great marketing move - it's part of article marketing. You make connections and you increase your visibility . . . and authority.

Why not share with us your experiences, your knowledge, and your thoughts on writing and marketing. While we'd love original content, we do accept reprints. So, take the plunge and guest post on Writers on the Move.

If you're interested, please check the Guidelines Page (we do not accept third-party links).

Hope to see you up on this page soon!


P.S. While you're here, if you're not already a subscriber, please sign up for The Writing World (top right sidebar).

Book Marketing and Beyond Book Sales: Marketing and Diversification

I love the internet . . . you can find almost anything and learn just about anything by doing a search. In a webinar provided by Steve Harrison of Quantum Leap, the guest speaker was Jack Canfield. For those of you who haven’t yet hear of him (this would be amazing if you are in the writing field), Canfield is the co-creator of Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen had a dream. They would have a New York Times best selling book. But, the road to success wasn’t easy . . . they received 144 rejections from publishers. This did not stop them—they moved forward with visualization and positive projection techniques. Chicken Soup for the Soul came out in 1993. Since they didn’t have enough money for a publicist so they did their own marketing. By 1995, they won the Abby Award and the Southern California Publicist Award.

This was the second teleseminar I had the privilege of attending featuring Canfield. The information offered was geared toward the strategies needed to make money publishing books through marketing and diversification. This concept is very similar to a video clip I watched of Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, which was also presented by Steve Harrison.

So, what exactly are the concepts of book marketing and diversification?

8 Book Marketing and Diversification Tips to Make Money

1. Build a platform.

Start your platform when you are thinking of writing a book—don’t wait until you are published. Creating connections, contacts, and readers, and buzz, takes time.

2. Realize you will most probably not get rich writing books.

Yes, that’s right. You will not automatically become wealthy from book publication. But, while you won’t get rich, it will open doors that will not otherwise be open. This is the opportunity for diversification—don’t just look straight ahead—use your peripheral vision.

3. Learn how to market and sell YOU and your books.

Never stop learning about writing and book marketing. Read about the subjects; attend conferences and teleseminars; join writing and marketing groups; and follow blogs that provide valuable and up-to-date information. But, remember, you don’t want to just sell your books, you want to sell what you have to offer along with your books.

4. Research areas you can diversify in.

If you are published there are a number of doors that will magically open. You can create ebooks; you can present teleseminars, webinars, or workshops; you can offer classes or coaching; you can even write a book about your experiences and successes.

Tip: Before you start charging for your expertise, offer some free services. This will help establish you as an expert in your field.

5. Never stop selling.

Find new avenues to sell your books and services. Utilize some of the suggestions in #4 above.

6. Build your subscriber list.

According to pro marketer Jim Edwards, if you don't have a list that's continually growing, you're sunk.

You'll need to develop a trusting relationship with your readers by providing quality information on a regular basis, along with quality products.

7. Believe you can do it.

This is probably the most important tip for success. Canfield is a firm believer in the power of tweaking your subconscious and projection. I am too!

8. Pay it forward.

As the Bible tells us, “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” New World Translation, Acts 20:35.

Aside from being good for you as a writer and marketer, giving back is good for the universe.

Image copyrighted 2013 Karen Cioffi


Use Images Carefully – They May be Copyrighted
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WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT BOOK MARKETING, ONLINE MARKETING AND WRITING? You'll get information, plus free instructional webinars! Sign up for The Writers World (top right sidebar). 

Karen Cioffi is an author, freelance/ghostwriter, and author/writer online platform instructor. Need help optimizing your website and platform? Visit:


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