February's Inspirational Quote

"One Hour at a Time"
~ Laurie Wallmark.

Dear Laurie,
You might not recall saying this and perhaps I won't remember the specifics but you are our inspiration for the rest of February and maybe even March.

You and I were on the phone and talking about how hard it is to write a novel and as usual I was whining and feeling sorry for my long-a$$ journey. And you told me about how you were working and how busy you were so you wrote your novel one hour at a time. Astounded I said, "You wrote your novel one hour at a time?" And you said, "Yup." And I thought, "Wow... ... ..."

Often times we think we need - or I think I need - huge chunks of time set aside so I can write. Do you do that too? What if we gave ourselves one hour of each day? If it turns into two, well then fine, but if not, at least you still had your One Hour at a Time. So that is the motto of the month, thanks to ours truly, Laurie Wallmark.

We love you, Laurie!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Calling all Illustrators


Just to fill all members who have a passion for illustrating children's books, there are two events coming up you might be interested in:

1. HCCWiG's first Illustrator meeting to be held on Monday August 18, 2008 at the Llbrary from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. (In the main meeting room). Here is a chance to meet and greet with fellow illustrator members, talk about the industry and share portfolios and/or book dummies. Don't miss our special surprise guest that evening. E-mail me to RSVP. leeza(at)newjerseyscbwi(dot)com.

2. The First Annual New Jersey SCBWI Illustrator's Day! Sunday, November 9, 2008. Sign up early to spend the day with some industry professionals including an art director from a leading publishing house (TBA soon). The day will include portfolio critiques, discussion of work and a possible advance assignment for critique. Numbers are limited, so reserve your spot now! Details will be posted on the NJSCBWI Web site as they are confirmed — I will keep you posted! if you want to be added to the mailing list for the official announcement, just e-mail me as per my e-mail address above.(Or leave me a comment here).

Make it a great Tuesday everyone!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Writing Buddy Goals Week Four and The Winners Are...

Today was the big day that Jason announced all the winners for his flash fiction contest. I am so sad to say I did not win... not a place anyway. Philosophically speaking, I won in other ways. I met lots of new writer-bloggy friends, I tried something new, I came up with a new idea for my next novel, and I read over 40 positive comments for my contest entry (well, some were my replies...). Thank you so much for all of your supportive comments. They meant so much to me.

So the winners are...
1st Place--SARAH HINA, And Miles to Go Before She Sleeps (#27) Prize: $25 Amazon gift certificate, 8 x 10 print of the "Running Wind" photograph (inscribed by Jason Evans)

2nd Place--SEAN FERRELL, Reversal (#56) Prize: $20 Amazon gift certificate

3rd Place--JOSH VOGT, Time is a Road (#49) Prize: $15 Amazon gift certificate

4th Place--PAUL LIADIS, Ar'n Man (#39) Prize: $10 Amazon gift certificate

5th Place--JEFF B, You Can't Get There from Here (#61) Prize: $5 Amazon gift certificate

Honorable Mention--CHARLES GRAMLICH, Precious Cargo (#1)

Honorable Mention--SCOTT SIMPSON, Blurred Vision (#6)

Honorable Mention--POSOLXSTVO, Anywhere But Here (#19)

Honorable Mention--SCOTT ELLIS, Freebird (#32)

Honorable Mention--AERIN, Dreamland Eyes (#62)

READERS' CHOICE AWARD:Readers' Choice...
CHARLES GRAMLICH, Precious Cargo (#1) Prize: $15 Amazon gift certificate, 8 x 10 print of the "Running Wind" photograph (inscribed by Jason Evans)

1st Runner-Up--SARAH HINA, And Miles to Go Before She Sleeps (#27)

2nd Runner-Up--JOSH VOGT, Time is a Road (#49)

Congratulations everyone! This was an awesome adventure with lots of talented writers.

Last Week's Writing Buddy Goals...
Last week, one of my goals was to write an outline from page 85 to the end. I am happy to say all I have left is the second half of the last chapter to complete and I feel fan-tas-tic! I really do. Who knew an outline could be such a freeing experience? Not me! I am always, down with outlines, let your story come organically. Well, not that I tell others what their process should be, but I feel most of the time, that is the best process for me... up until a certain point, that is.

What I learned is, I can do that for the first draft up until about the second half of the middle. I can throw out all the foreshadowing and seeding and laying the ground work in an organic, free, no-outline, kind of way. But, then I hit a point in the story where all of that needs to be tied up in a neat little bow and resolved. It is at this point that an outline needs to be written. In fact, it was downright mandatory. And now that I've written one, I really do feel unclouded.

What was Learned During my Writing Buddy Discussion...
Today, Cathy and I conferred... (sorry, just had to use that word - don't know why...) and I would say the unifying theme for both of us was all about something I recently read in Eckhart Tolle's book, The Power of Now. (I actually posted more about this subject here.) I think we both discovered that we are using the thinking brain while we both need to use what Tolle calls the unthinking brain.

Cathy and I were talking about, how right now, in our careers as writers, we don't feel, or at least I don't feel I have any control over this process. We likened it to exercising. When you don't exercise for a while, you are rusty and out of shape and it takes a while to get "into" it. So ,we both are on a mission on how to be able to control slipping out of the thinking brain and into what I would like to call instead, the artist brain (you know - that trance-like state you get into during a really good writing session).

I would like to open a discussion here... How do you get into that trance-like state where the writing just flows and you are not intentionally thinking, or analyzing what you are writing? The words just pour out of you and you are more like a passenger on a ride. Have you been able to master going between these two states when you need to? How do you engage that artist brain and tell the thinking brain it is time to quiet down?

Goals for this Week...

  1. complete outline (I am on the last chapter)
  2. go through all my notes of things I had seeded and foreshadowed and make sure they are all resolved in my outline notes.
  3. WRITE
  4. WRITE
  5. WRITE
  6. (unrelated to writing) I am in the process of refinishing my daughter's old dresser. My dad and step mom just gave one of my daughters all this great furniture for her bedroom. But now her old dresser sticks out like a sore thumb. So far I have sanded it down to the natural wood. Next, I have to paint it black, then apply a thin coat of crackle, then white paint, then pink accents, then new knobs.

Those are my goals for this week. Wish me luck! And happy writing to all of you!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Jason Evan's Running Wind Short Fiction Contest

Hey Everyone,

If you've never joined in on a short fiction contest, I highly recommend it. This was my first one and it has been a blast! 45 entries in all, flooded the pages of Jason Evan's blog Clarity of Night .

Tomorrow is the last day for submitting. You have until July 16th at 11 PM. (I don't recall if that is eastern standard...) Click here for details on rules...

At some point Jason will pick a winner and a few runners up. But there will also be an award given to reader's choice. So here are a few links to my favorite stories, in no particular order...

Entry #32 Freebird by J. Scott Ellis
Entry #27 And Miles To Go Before She Sleeps by Sarah Hina
Entry #22 Crisscrossing Over by James R. Tomlinson
Entry #21 Riding to Extinction by Linda Courtland
Entry #16 Winnie Rides Again by Amy T.
Entry #13 Visiting You In Ward B by K. Lawson Gilbert
Entry #1 Precious Cargo by Charles Gramlich

Luckily, it is not up to me to pick a winner, but if I was forced to choose only one, I think it would have to be K. Lawson Gilbert because hers was written in such an interesting and unique style that was both powerful and emotive. She vacillated between what the MC was thinking (written in italics) and what the MC actually said out loud. I thought it was brilliant mixed with moments of just beautiful writing.

My favorite stanza would have to be...

Are your eyes looking at my face?
Are you really seeing me?
Your lips are as soft as rose petals.
They taste like 1963.
Oh and here's my entry...
So , wish me luck everyone. The winner, I think, is announced maybe July 17th. Oh and I believe anyone can vote for the Reader's Choice Award, so even if you don't enter, you can participate by reading the entries and voting for your fav.
Happy Writing!