HaPpY 2017!

newyear

~ WeLcOmE 2017 ~

The clock has struck midnight and a new year has begun. I like the beginning of the year. You get a fresh start. A new chapter. Another chance.

As most of you know I’m against making resolutions. *heehee* I don’t like to  set myself up for disaster. Instead, I like to reflect on the year that’s just passed and focus on the positive. To build upon that and to lift my spirits in a positive movement.

So here’s my challenge to you all for 2017…

Make a list of FIVE things that were positive for you this year and one dream you would like to see happen. ONLY five? Yeppers, that’s it. Five. Seems easy, right? For some it will be. For others, it will be a stretch. Let’s face it, 2016 was a pretty rough year for most. Honestly, I’m glad it over. BUT I know there were some memorable moments hidden in there. Let’s go find them! Here’s mine:

  1. My ear surgery was more than successful! Not only was the doctor able relieve the pain and pressure, but I can hear now. It’s the first time in my life I’ve ever been able to hear properly out of my right ear.
  2. I signed with an agent! I’m still amazed and smiling. It’s wonderful to know you have someone in your corner. Rooting you on. Making you better. Wanting you to succeed as much as you want to.
  3. I debuted as illustrator! Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum was my first picture book where I was an author AND illustrator!!!
  4. I  kicked off my Marketing Business in 2016! I have three clients right now. This year I plan to take on a few more. I also was hired at a local business part-time. I really am enjoying it too. My boss and I get along (which is important… some of you know my horror story), I get to meet new people, and I’m constantly learning.  🙂
  5. I’m writing my first YA. While it doesn’t seem like a milestone to some. It is a mountain for this picture book writer! I’m really learning how to delve deeper and try different approaches to my writing. And guess what!???! It is helping my pb writing too! Imagine that!!!  🙂

Now my dream…

I have two really.

  1. Personally, I want to be medically better by the end of the year. I’ve already started on that road this past year, but there are some other things on the horizon that need to be cleared up.
  2. Business-wise, Make a sale. Of course, I know there are so many variables with this one, but I can produce the best work I can and give it my best shot. 😀

Okay, whew, yes, that last five-one was harder than I wanted it to be. hahahhaha. So what are your five things? It doesn’t have to be huge, just what is important to you. What is your dream? Let’s bring 2017 in on a positive note. Here’s to a wonderful year full of love, laughter, peace, & books!

Until next time…
Happy Writing!
~t

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Tuesday Tip: 91 Weedy Weak Words to YANK from Your Story

weedyweakwords (1)

91 Weedy Weak Words to
YANK from Your Story

We’ve all heard the advice to SHOW not TELL with our writing.  BUT… How can you do it? What do you look for? Why does it really matter?

I like to use the example of  SHOWING to that of GARDENING.

weed.01WHY DOES IT REALLY MATTER?weed.01

Have you ever started gardening. You stake out a space and prepare the earth. You make sure everything is just so. We do this with our writing too. We have our laptops/notepads handy. We have read books, taken classes, attended conferences, joined critique groups… everything to get our space ready to write.

Then we plant. But do you stop there? NO. You water. You fertilize. You talk to your budding little sprouts. Same for our writing. We continue to learn and write and grow. And yes, I talk to my characters too. :p

Do you stop there though? I hope not. The grass will grow up. Weeds will also pop through the soil. If you’re not careful, it will begin to choke out the plants you have so tenderly grown. With our writing we can become lazy too. We can fall on words that say what mean, but don’t convey what we want to our readers. These are our weedy, weak words. They will choke out our story line, making our reader’s minds wander and potentially leave the story.

We do all this to have a beautiful flower bed. Or delicious fruits and veggies. OR to have a great story that one day will be published.

weed.02WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR?weed.02

Weeds can be tricky. Vines will creep and wind around a plant. Stickers will blend in with a plant’s leaf shape. SHOOT! Some weeds are actually pretty. You have to keep a sharp eye out, move some leaves around, and look in between spaces. With our writing those weedy words can be tricky too. They can hide behind well thought out sentences and characters. They can act like they are helping a verb, but they are really dragging down the text, giving your readers a vague description of what is really happening.

HINT:   A lot of weedy words end in “-ly”. You know… quickly, softly, hardly.   😉

weed.04HOW CAN YOU DO IT?weed.04

So what to do? What to do? If you have a garden, mow the grass. Get on your hands and knees and pull those dang weeds. Yes, get down in the dirt. Get dirty. Get sweaty. Yank and pull those over-grown nuisances out! Same with our writing. Really dissect your story, every paragraph, each sentence. Once again, we have to get down and dirty. Really dig into our writing and wrestle those buggers out!

But never fear. You CAN do this! Think of really wanting your reader to see how your character is acting. Here’s a great example:

He slowly walked to the door.
vs
He trudged to the door.
He crept to the door.

He quickly ran to the door.
vs
He zipped to the door.
He flew to the door.

See? The bottom two sentences give clear, crisp details of what your character is doing. Whereas the first sentences… well, who knows? To help you out, I’m attaching a word doc you can download that has 91 weedy words/phrases that you can almost always eliminate from your story and make it more vibrant for your readers minds.

WEEDY WEAK WORDS LIST

Here’s to no more weedy words!

:::LEAVE ME A COMMENT:::
What do you do to help improve your writing?
Do you know of any more weedy words to add to the list?

Until next time…

Happy Writing!
~t

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April 2016 Contest Roundup via @subitclub

There’s a great round up of writing contest over on the Sub It Club blog…

 

“Pitching can be tough! It can take a lot of time, effort, and skill to put together a short, tight pitch that really sells your work. McIntosh & Otis agent, Shira Hoffman, recently posted some …”

Source: April 2016 Contest Roundup

Marketing Monday – NEW Writing Contest… #FicFest

#FicFest

Marketing Monday –
NEW Writing Contest…
#FicFest

There’s a NEW Writing Contest on the horizon. AND this one is for everyone. When I say everyone, I mean… E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E!

Picture Books… check_mark.svg.med

Mid Grade…        check_mark.svg.med

Young Adult…   check_mark.svg.med

Adult…                check_mark.svg.med

It’s called #FicFest. It’s getting some shout outs across social media.

What is #FicFest?

#FicFest is an online writer’s contest which helps put manuscripts in front of literary agents. This contest, unlike most, is open to manuscripts in ALL genres (including those usually excluded such as Paranormal Romance or Erotica) in the categories of Picture Book, Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult.

#FicFest mentors are structured into fifteen (15) teams. Each category that I listed has three teams. Each team is comprised of a team leader, and two (2) team members. Once the submissions open, each team will choose three (3) finalist manuscripts and one (1) alternate manuscript to advance to the agent round. This means that an equal number of manuscripts for each category will move to the agent round, guaranteeing that one category does NOT overpower another when it comes time for the agents.

45 manuscripts total move to the agent round, with 15 manuscripts being held as alternates in case one of the main finalists drops out of the contest for any reason. This is one of the things we stress in promoting #FicFest because most contests are overrun with Young Adult. In many contests, they may advance 40 manuscripts to the agent round, but the problem lies in the fact that 30 of that 40 are all Young Adult. That won’t happen with #FicFest.

Nine manuscripts from each category will make their appearance in the agent round. No more, no less. NINE each. Let me stress this one more time. In the agent round, you will have 9 Picture Books, 9 Middle Grade, 9 Young Adult, 9 New Adult, and 9 Adult. Everyone gets a fair chance.

IMPORTANT DATES:

Have I got your attention now???

Tiffany Hoffmann is the brains behind this contest. All I can say is… WOW! She is a great leader and I can’t wait to see the entries.  😀  Did I mention I’m a #FicFest PB Mentor!!!!

Keep a look out on her website  and blog  for updates, the AGENT ANNOUNCEMENT, and so much more!

Here are some SAVE THE DATE dates to be on the look out for:

  • March 20, 2016 @ 12:00 PM EST
    Guidelines & Theme Reveal
    (Host Blog)
  • March 27, 2016 @ 7:00 PM EST
    Meet the Team Leads & Their Members!
    (Team Lead Blogs & Host Blog)
  • April 3, 2016 @ 6:00 PM EST
    Agent List Announced
    (Host Blog)
  • April 17, 2016 @ 7:00 PM EST – 10:00 PM EST
    Q & A with Team Leads & Host
    (Twitter – Using #FicFest)
  • April 24, 2016 @ 12:00 AM EST – April 25, 2016 @ 11:59 PM EST
    SUBMISSION
  • April 26, 2016 – May 3, 2016
    Teams will chose their finalists/alternate
  • May 4, 2016 @ 10:00 AM EST
    Finalists/Alternate Reveal
    (Team Leads Blogs)
  • May 5, 2016 – June 30, 2016
    Revisions
  • July 8, 2016 @ 12:00 AM EST – July 14, 2014 @ 11:59 PM EST
    Agent Round

:::LEAVE ME A COMMENT:::
What do you think about #FicFest?
Are YOU planning to enter?
If you are, which category will yours be?

Until next time…

Happy Writing!
~t

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– 2016 –


2016 New Year

MultiColored_Sparkle.svg.medHappyMultiColored_Sparkle.svg.med
~ 2016 ~

Let’s ring in 2016 on a high note!

As the new year begins to unfold, I like to focus on things that I did well and build upon that. Here are some thing I feel I did right in 2015:

  • Writing – While I didn’t meet my goal of 12 new stories, I did write EIGHT new manuscripts. 🙂
  • Blogging – I was regularly blogging all year!
  • Marketing – I’ve continued to learn and incorporate different marketing skills
  • Involvement – I expanded my volunteering in my local SCBWI chapter (Southern Breeze), went to a conference, held my first workshop for adults (GULP!), and got out into my local community and involved many businesses in a marketing campaign.

Now to look forward to 2016…

A writing friend of mine, Lori Grusin Degman, posted on Facebook that she likes to come up with a word to motivate her through the new year. I had done this a few years ago, but hadn’t thought of doing it again until she brought it up. What a great way to keep your spirits up and give you an extra push when you feel let down by something. The thing you need to do is choose a word and decide what it will mean for you in the new year. My word for 2016 will be

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~ ACCOMPLISH ~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For me, I plan to accomplish several things in the new year.

… To go through old manuscripts. Decide which ones are worth dusting off and revise, revise, revise.

… To find an agent. I rec’d a lot of positive responses in 2015. I’m close. I know I am.

… To finish getting my house in order. *sigh* Yes, sometimes my writing has to wait. The struggle is real folks!

… To continue writing new manuscripts. 12 new picture books manuscripts. 🙂

… To continue blogging!!! I want to keep my picture book vlog up this year too!!!

… To do better marketing on myself and the programs I support. There’s always room for improvement.  😉

… To be a better person. Take breaths, pauses, before I react. Be better mentally and physically. Got to keep everything in shape. Afterall, if you want the world to be a better place, the best place to start is with what you see in the mirror.

So that’s a lot to accomplish. *heehee* But if I take it one day at a time, and work on it daily, I think it is a can do.
So here’s to 2016!

May it bring you good tidings.

:::LEAVE ME A COMMENT:::
What did you accomplish this year?
Do you have a word to inspire you into and through 2016?
If you do, what is it and what does it mean to you?

 

Until next time,

Happy Writing!
~t

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Holiday Contest! – Zipping Around on Christmas Eve by Tracey M. Cox

Hi everyone.

Most writers have heard about the world famous Susanna L. Hill’s Holiday Writing Contest. WHAT? You haven’t heard??? Well go HERE to read about the contest. I’ll wait…

Okay, now that you’re all caught up, I have to say I {{{LOVED}}} listening and dancing to this song growing up. I immediately thought of a spin off and started to work. Would you like to read it? You would? Yay!

But wait! Where ARE my manners. Susanna would be so embarrassed about my hostessing duties. Let me offer you some goodies. Smell that? Yes, fresh out of the oven COOKIES! Peanut Butter Cookies w/ M&M Minis.
image

Didn’t think I would forget the chocolate, did you Susanna?  🙂 And don’t forget to grab a cup of cocoa to wash it down.

Now that I’ve made sure you’ve been properly welcomed, here’s my story for Susanna’s contest.

Are you sure you don’t want another cookie? Or need your cocoa refilled?
No?

Okay, here we go…

Zipping Around on Christmas Eve
 
Zipping around on Christmas Eve
All over the town square.
People are out, busy bees
In the frosty, cool, crisp air.

People shopping for their gifts
Tied with a pretty bow.
Others are talking merrily.
Children sledding through the snow.

We can grab some cocoa and join
Right on in.
Skaters spinning. Carolers singing.
Charity bells ring-a-linging.

Christmas trees and twinkling lights
Can be seen all down the street.
Snow falling all around,
Crunching under feet.

We can grab some cocoa and join
Right on in.
Skaters spinning. Carolers singing.
Charity bells ring-a-linging.

Zipping around on Christmas Eve
We have to be on our way.
Everyone now dashes off
To beat Santa and his sleigh.

Want to read more stories? Visit THIS POST on Susanna’s blog to see the list to everyone’s holiday posts!

:::LEAVE ME A COMMENT:::
Let me know what you think of my story.
Did it get you in the holly, jolly spirit?
Remind you to enjoy all the winter activities?

Until next time,

Happy Writing!
~t

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#PiBoIdMo Dau 28-30

image

PiBoIdMo Day 28-30

I huffed and puffed and sprinted across Tara Lazar‘s blog’s finish line!

Here’s what I’ve done over the last three days…

DAY 28
Paula Yoo encourages us to explore non-fiction and amazing people who we know.
*NF is no longer stiff, stuffy, encyclopedia material. Have fun and entrance your readers.*

DAY 29
Arree Chung encourages us not to give up on an idea.
*If something doesn’t work, look at it from another angle.*

DAY 30
Kim Norman encourages to go mad with our writing.
*Wonky, bonky writers! Make your words, descriptions, & stories sing!*

How did I do?
I’ve added _2_ more idea over the last three days. Giving me a total of _33_. Our 30 day marathon is over! While we’ve crossed the finish line the real.work begins. Now is the time to sort through those ideas and see which ones shine.

:::LEAVE ME A COMMENT:::
How did you do ?
Do you have a few nuggets?
Don’t forget, even those stinkers can turn out smelling sweet!

Until next time,

Happy Writing!
~t

* Don’t miss one post! Email sign ups are over here —>
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* Sign up for my N E W S L E T T E R ! I will be sharing writing challenges and other tidbits related to the kidlit industry. Click ~HERE~ to be directed to my Newsletter sign up page.