Fun Fact Friday!!! Post # 3

Authors and their WEIRD habits:

Some of our most famous authors have weird and wonderful habits when it comes to their writing.

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James Joyce wrote lying on his stomach in bed, with a large blue pencil, wearing a white coat. His eyesight became increasingly poor and the white coat was thought to help reflect light and make it easier for him to see.

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Anthony Trollope began his day promptly at 5:30 am every morning, and habitually wrote 250 words every 15 minutes, timing himself with a watch.

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Lewis Carroll preferred to write in purple ink.

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Alexandre Dumas was even more particular; he penned all of his fiction on a certain shade of blue paper, poetry on yellow, and articles on pink.

Kinda cool when you think about all the different little quirks each writer has. I don’t think I’ve developed that many as of yet. I do seem to do my best writing either at the bookstore or in my bed. Nowhere else seems to work. LOL!

Do you have any weird writing habits? If you do I would love to hear about them! Send me a comment or reply!

Agent-Conference Opportunites for 2015

???????????????????????????????I can definitely say without a doubt that if you can in anyway possible go to a writing conference do it. Don’t hesitate at ALL. They are one of the best things I have ever found for writers in all stages of their writing.

I was fortunate enough to experience the Writer’s Digest Conference in New York this last August and there are not enough words to describe how awesome it truly was. I learned so much. Beyond what I could have even imagined.

And the best part was not only the Pitch Slam with like 50 agents but all the fantastic people I met. I can’t tell you how exciting it is to not only have three days to be surrounded by nothing but writing, but to be surrounded by fellow writers. All with the same dream and passion you have but with wonderful stories of their own.

A few of the girls and I even still stay in touch which is wonderful when I need some writing encouragement or whatever it may be. I truly believe they will be friends forever.

Don’t let this experience pass you by. Conferences and the benefits that come with them are priceless. BELIEVE ME.

I found this article and compiled list on the Writer’s Digest website for any that are interested. Hope you can find one near you!

There are plenty of opportunities for writers to meet agents face to face at writers’ conferences and pitch their work in 2015. Remember: Meeting agents in person is a great way to get past the slush pile. If an agent is interested in your work and requests a sample or book proposal, you can write “Requested Material” on your submission, making sure it gets a fair read and consideration.

Know that there are two types of conferences. There are general writers’ conferences, that address a variety of subjects, and then there are specialized conferences, which usually tend to focus on a single genre-such as western, romance, or mystery. You will find both kinds in this list below.

The Kentucky Writers Conference, Feb. 6, 2015, Louisville, KY Attending agents: Victoria Lea (Aponte Literary); Natalia Aponte (Aponte Literary); Brent Taylor (Triada US Literary); and Alice Speilburg (Speilburg Literary).

Tennessee Writers Conference, Feb. 7, 2015, Nashville, TN Attending agents: Greg Daniel (Daniel Literary); Lauren MacLeod (Strothman Agency); Brent Taylor (Triada US Literary); Julie Gwinn (The Seymour Agency); Alice Speilburg (Speilburg Literary); and Cate Hart (Corvisiero Literary).

San Francisco Writers Conference, Feb. 12-15, 2015, San Francisco, CA Attending agents: There are already about 20 agents confirmed. You can see them all on the conference faculty page on the site.

Portland Writers Workshop, Feb. 20, 2015, Portland, OR Attending agents: Sandra Bishop (Transatlantic Agency); Adam O’Connor Rodriguez (editor, Hawthorne Books); Natasha Kern (Natasha Kern Literary); Mary C. Moore (Kimberley Cameron & Associates); Scott Eagan (Greyhaus Literary); Cait Spivey (Corvisiero Literary); and Jodi Dahlke (Fuse Literary).

The Writing Workshop of Seattle, Feb. 21, 2015, Seattle, WA Attending agents: Kathleen Ortiz (New Leaf Literary); Kristin Vincent (D4EO Literary); Genevieve Nine (Andrea Hurst & Associates); Adria Olson (Martin Literary Management); Scott Eagan (Greyhaus Literary); Fleetwood Robbins (Waxman Leavell Literary); and Adam O’Connor Rodriguez (editor, Hawthorne Books).

The Chesapeake Writing Conferences, Baltimore (March 27) and Washington DC (March 28) Attending agents: Jeff Kleinman (Folio Literary); Ella Kennen (Corvisiero Literary); Jamie Bodnar Drowley (Inklings Literary); Laura Strachan (The Strachan Literary Agency); Marisa Corvisiero (Corvisiero Literary); Jordy Albert (Booker Albert Literary); Lauren Sharp (Kuhn Projects); Cynthia Kane (Capital Talent Agency); and Leon Husick (L. Perkins Associates).

Carolina Writing Conferences, Columbia, SC (April 17) and Charlotte, NC (April 18) Attending agents: Sam Morgan (Jabberwocky Literary); Melissa Jeglinski (The Knight Agency); Diana Flegal (Hartline Literary); Cherry Weiner (Cherry Weiner Literary); and Robin Mizell (Robin Mizell Literary Representation).

Northeast Texas Writers Conference, April 24-25, 2015, Mt. Pleasant, TX Attending agents: Cherry Weiner (Cherry Weiner Literary).

Milwaukee Writing Conference, May 15, 2015, Milwaukee, WI Attending agents: Jennie Goloboy (Red Sofa Literary); Laura Crockett (Triada US Literary); Abby Saul (Browne & Miller Literary); Elizabeth Evans (Jean V. Naggar Literary); Jodell Sadler (Sadler Children’s Literary); and Dawn Frederick (Red Sofa Literary).

Chicago Writing Workshop, May 16, 2015, Chicago, IL Attending agents: Marcy Posner (Folio Literary); Jen Karsbaek (Fuse Literary); Jennifer Mattson (Andrea Brown Literary); Tina Schwartz (The Purcell Agency); Dan Balow (Steve Laube Literary); Jodell Sadler (The Sadler Agency); and Laura Crockett (Triada US Literary).

Jackson Hole Writers Conference, June 25-27, 2015, Jackson Hole, WY Attending agents: Sarah Levitt (Zoë Pagnamenta Agency); Elizabeth Winick Rubinstein (McIntosh & Otis); and more to be announced.

Writer’s Digest Conference East, July 31 – Aug. 2, 2015, New York, NY The website will be updated/live soon, but this conference usually happens somewhere in late July or early August over the course of one weekend. The conference’s Pitch Slam features more than 50 literary agents to pitch.

Be Brave! Go On! Get out there!

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You would be surprised at the number one reason people don’t ever get past that first page of their manuscript. Or even pick up a pen at all for that matter to start. Sure, you can excuse it as the publishing industry is too hard or too demanding. I mean, what chance do you really have with hundreds of manuscripts from others parading around? Better yet, how on earth would you find time when you have kids, a spouse, a full time job?

Then there are those who almost make it to the finish line but not quite. The excuses can range from overwhelmed to not knowing what to do next. But the matter-of-fact truth is…are you ready for it? FEAR.

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THAT is the nastly little bully that has been prowling around you like a lion. Fear of judgment. Fear of failure. Maybe even fear of success and the responsibilities it holds. I feel like the closer you get to completion, the more you realize that your writing is about to be devoured to the mercy of the world. Trailing behind that realization…is FEAR.

So what do we do to conquer the culprit that will steal our writing endeavor? I’ve got a few ideas. Don’t worry though, if “conquer” is too much for you to commit to, never fear, you can learn to at least “manage” it as many authors have before you. So here’s some suggestions on how exactly to do that:

Write for one person.

    Don’t get overwhelmed by immediately thinking of an audience of thousands. Break it down to one. For example, focus on that one person you saw thumbing through a book at the bookstore the other day. A book is like a conversation. If you approached that person what would you say? Or better yet, it doesn’t have to be a stranger. The single person you write for could be you, a friend, or family member.

Begin with a small audience.

    When you’ve managed your fear over writing for a single person, grow your audience out slowly. No one said you had to have a hundred people right away following your blog. Starting out slow in your readership can help you become more confident in your writing and build your skills quietly. As your audience grows, confidence will replace fear.

Be motivated by learning.

          Yes, there are tons and tons of things to learn when it comes to writing and the industry. Probably, more that you could know in a lifetime. But don’t let that get to you. Take what knowledge you have and build on it. If you have none, that’s okay too. Just start. There are books, websites, classes, etc. on anything and everything you might want to know. Just be prepared to make mistakes and know that it’s really okay. Really. Learn from them. Improve. Move on. Everyone has been where you are at one time or the other.

    Forget about perfection.

    In another post of mine I stated that perfection is just an illusion. If you’re waiting for your writing to be perfect it will never happen. You change. People change. Be open to that and embrace what you have created in your writing as a footprint of where you were during that time. You don’t have to hit a homerun with every swing.

    Realize you’re helping and let that motivate you.

      If you know that what you’re writing can truly help someone, it’s riskier to NOT publish. In just your own experience alone, think of how many books you’ve read that truly gave you life changing experiences. What if those authors would have been too fearful to move into the next step? What if they never allowed their writing out into the world?

    Obviously, there are other things you can do to help with FEAR, but the point is to not get ahead of yourself. Keep in mind why you had the inspiration to begin writing in the first place. Keep hold of that no matter what failures or successes come your way and you’ll be just fine.

    Mix it up Monday Post #2 – Movies Anyone?

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    Did everyone survive Monday? I barely did it seems…LOL! Anyway, I don’t know about ya’ll but I love movies! Love them! I would go see one three times a week if I could. My husband, on the other hand, would rather wait for it to come out on DVD and watch it in the comfort of his own couch.

    Not me though, going to the movies is more than just the movie. It’s an experience. You have to have popcorn, candy, and in my case a large Mr. Pibb. 🙂

    So in celebration of the movie experience. I compiled a list of some upcoming movies hitting the theatre. I’M SO EXCITED!!! Are you!?!

    The Avengers: Age of Ultron – WooHOO! I’m ready! This Marvel movie is said to be released May 1, 2015. I’ll be there!

    Pitch Perfect 2: We’re back Pitches – I loved the first movie so much that a friend and I actually were extras in this second one. Wonder if you’ll be able to see us? I mean, it can’t get any better than Anna Kendrick and Fat Amy. LOL! May 15, 2015 get your singing on!

    Insurgent: This ones coming up pretty soon. March 20, 2015 to be exact. Are you ready? I read the books and love the characters. I don’t think we’ll be disappointed.

    Pan: This movie looks pretty interesting. Hugh Jackman plays Blackbeard so that’s gotta be cool. It’s release date is July 24, 2015.

    Tomorrowland: A Disney movie coming out May 22, 2015. George Clooney is in this which was a bit surprising to me. It looked cool though.

    Minions: Yes, call me a nerd if you like, but who doesn’t love these yellow guys! I mean seriously! You can’t tell me you don’t wish some lived at your house. Anyway, this is coming out July 26, 2015. My whole family will be there…even my husband. 🙂

    The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 – Release date November 20, 2015. I don’t think there’s a trailer out for it yet though.

    Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens – OMG…no other words required. Release date December 18, 2015. I’ll be there the day before. LOL. Again, I don’t think there’s a trailer out for this one yet. Sorry guys.

    Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials – Release date September 18, 2015. Can’t wait to see this. In the mean time, I might pick up the books to read.

    AND for a little more icing on the cake. Here’s a few more movies set out for 2016. I can’t wait!

    Star Trek 3 (untitled) – July 2016

    X-men Apocalypse – May 2016

    Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice – March 2016 Yay Henry Cavill! Boo Ben Affleck!

    Finding Dory (Pixar) – June 2016

    Ice Age 5 – July 2016

    Captian America: A Civil War – May 2016

    The Huntsman – April 2016

    Warcraft – March 2016

    Now You See Me: The Second Act – June 2016

    So there you have it folks. Just a little tid bit to keep you motivated on these horrible Mondays. There’s some pretty freaking good movies coming are way so get ready! Happy Writing AND Watching!

    Fun Fact Friday!!! Post #2

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    John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. (February 27, 1902 – December 20, 1968) was an American author of twenty-seven books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books, and five collections of short stories. He is widely known for the comic novels Tortilla Flat (1935) and Cannery Row (1945), the multi-generation epic East of Eden (1952), and the novellas Of Mice and Men (1937) and The Red Pony (1937). The Pulitzer Prize-winning The Grapes of Wrath (1939), widely attributed to be part of the American literary canon, is considered Steinbeck’s masterpiece. In the first 75 years since it was published, it sold 14 million copies.

    The winner of the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature, Steinbeck has been called “a giant of American letters”.

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    But did you know that this famous author wrote screenplays that had nothing to do with his books? One of his movie scripts was for Alfred Hitchcock’s “Lifeboat” (1944), and another for Elia Kazan’s “Viva Zapata!” (1952) starring Marlon Brando. Kazan also directed “East of Eden” (1955), the film version of the 1952 Steinbeck novel that many consider his second best book after “The Grapes of Wrath.” Kazan earned the wrath of many principled people when he “named names” during the McCarthy era, and Steinbeck exited his progressive mental Eden late in life to support the Vietnam War.

    WOW! It seems John Steinbeck was a jack of all trades!

    You finished yet?

    It’s hopefully a given for most, that the scribbled first draft of your manuscript is not finished. Not by a long shot. However, as the process continues and your book develops; almost similar to the way your child grows from a baby to a toddler and then onto an adolescent and an adult, things can get a tad fuzzy on when you’re ACTUALLY finished.

    At one time or another, every writer will ask themselves that question. Am I finished? Really? So how do you, in fact, determine that? There’s no real exact answer unfortunately. Yes, you want to make your manuscript as polished as possible with rewrites, edits (professional editing if you can), checking out plot structure for strengths and weaknesses, etc. But then after you’ve done all that, when do you call it quits?

    The first thing to understand is that we are forever changing. I know, I know, I’m sure you’re skeptical at what I just said, but hear me out. Isn’t there things that you thought were fantastic as a teenager but wouldn’t be caught dead with now that you’re an adult? Anyone have any tattoo regrets? The same thing goes for our writing. We need to get away from the delusion that even when our manuscript is professionally edited and published, it will never be permanent perfection in our minds.

    Go ahead, let out that big sigh. If you have to, just rest your face in your hands for a moment. Okay, better? It’s inevitable, that even ten years down the road, you might wake up in the middle of the night saying, “Why didn’t I think about that? How could I have missed it? That would have been perfect!”

    Yes, and maybe it would have been, but if you’re published, there’s no going back. Find comfort in the fact, that it’s really okay. What would you have done differently anyways? Waited ten years to publish your novel when you got that awesome revelation? Uh…no. By that time it might have changed anyways. Is vicious cycle going through your head right now?

    There comes a time when you must stop. Halt. Cease. Desist. You need to know when that moment comes and when you’ve reached the point that “good enough” is really good enough.

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    Again, every author must answer this question for themselves. There is no right or wrong answer. Your writing develops as you do, bending and changing as you have new life experiences. As I said your tastes will change in some things.

    It’s not common for some published authors to almost be embarrassed by a book they wrote even a few years earlier. But here’s what’s magical about that. It’s a footprint. Your footprint. That book, in addition to its contents, is a record of where you were at in your own development as an author. Pretty cool, huh? In order to know how far you’ve traveled, you’ve got to put down some mile markers (in the form of…published writing).

    So here are a few questions that you must ask yourself if it’s time to let your baby bird fly or fall from the nest:

    1. Is this something I would be proud to release into the wild RIGHT NOW? (Don’t be that smothering parent.) Yes, I know there’s a voice in your head thinking, “I could maybe tweak it a few more times if I just hold onto it a bit longer.” I will repeat your tastes and style will change. Accept it and move on. Don’t let that browbeating emotion keep you from having writing and publishing success.
    2. Did I make sure that I completed all the necessary story points that I had in my outline? Or better yet like me, all the sticky notes I had stuffed everywhere from random fleeting thoughts as I drove, laid in bed, or was at work.
    3. Does the beginning of my novel feel like something that will invite or compel people to keep reading? THIS IS IMPORTANT. Those first few pages may make it or break it for a reader. Whether they choose your book from dozens of others in the bookstore to buy or leave it to collect dust on the shelf. Make it count.
    4. Did I take out any part of my book, any dialogue, or descriptions that might not have fit or caused me to cringe? Not every moment in your book has to be spectacularly compelling, but you do want to get rid of wordiness or parts that the reader is going to skip.
    5. Do my characters have believable motivations? Is there a point to why Sally can cast a blazing inferno from her hands? Or is that something you just threw out in one scene and never revisited again causing the reader to go, “Whatever happened with that?”
    6. Did I make sure that there are no continuity problems or logical missteps? Especially, if you’re a writer with a 200,000 word manuscript (I suggest you shave off a bit if that’s the first book your trying to get published. Another topic altogether.), it can be hard to keep everything tightly in line. Perhaps, you changed a city’s name or you decided to write out a character that you had in your second or third draft of chapter two. Did you make sure you followed through with the name change throughout? Is the demise of the character taken out of all the chapters?
    7. Have I enlisted beta readers, a writing group, a workshop, or a developmental editor to help me trim the fat and enhance the strengths of my novel? Sometimes the best thing to do is remove yourself from your manuscript. Get another pair of fresh eyes who might notice something that you didn’t after the dozen rewrites you trudged through. (Small tip: Don’t just pick any eyes. It’s okay to get a friend or relative to read your manuscript during rewrites as long as they’re honest.) In this stage of the game, however, you can only benefit from experienced eyes who know what to look for. After all, the next step is finding an agent and publisher. You KNOW they have experienced eyes so it’s important to make a good impression up front.

    If you answered yes to those seven questions, you just might in fact be ready to embark on the next stage of agents and publishing. The best thing I can say, is just don’t overthink it. You got this!

    Getting back to the basics

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    So, I’m not gonna lie. I took a little writing break during the holidays. I told myself, “January 1st, I’ll get back with it.” But I have to say, it’s been a bit of a struggle. You start worrying about why you hadn’t heard back about your manuscript from that agent. I mean the holidays are over and that was the number one agent I dreamed of!

    Or you start sweating because now you’re out of practice from your normal writing routine and you can’t blame it on being too busy anymore. It’s time to start with the editing again and you feel as if you might die if you have to reread or rewrite one more word of your manuscript. Sigh.

    Somehow, after all that, you realize it was really just an illusion as you busted out of the gates with your pencil in hand after the writing gods blew their trumpets.

    January 1st right? Buuutttttt….that’s not exactly what happened for me. I’m still trying to get my saddle on, much less, stomping my foot in anticipation of the trumpet sounds. I mean, I’m excited, don’t get me wrong. I think about my plot all day long it seems. I’m even in the car scribbling down notes and scenes while I drive. Yes, I know that’s not safe. But, if you’re a writer, you know you’ve done it before too.

    I guess it’s that initial fear of punching that key on my keyboard and my manuscript brightly staring back at me. I’m ready, it says. Mold me and shape me to your will. And you know what I do? I just stare back at it.

    It’s okay though cause I think I’ve figured out what I need to do. Just close my eyes and let it all go. Let the chirpings of publishing, agents, editing, and rewriting all go out the window. I feel like each of us started writing because we loved it. It was something that we cherished, something that allowed us to be free no matter our surrounding circumstances, and something that is deeply embedded in our soul to do.

    So this is what I say, “GET BACK TO THAT!” Write it on your mirror and read it while you brush your teeth. Put it on a sticky note to see in your car or at your job. You got this!

    It’s okay to reboot yourself and write just for you. There will be plenty of time for all the other stuff so for now just, get back to the basics…