Saturday, April 30, 2016

“Z” Zuni, Navajo, and Inventing History

By Carol Van Atta

K:\Personal\Graphics\Pixabay\indian-art-467709_1920.jpgYou may have learned in school that St. Augustine is the oldest living city in the U.S., founded by the Spanish conquistadors in the late 1560s. When the Spanish sent scouts out to explore the west, they ran into Native Americans who’d been there for thousands of years, with cities of their own. The Zuni Pueblo, which is still alive and well, was built 1,000 years ago, which makes it considerably older. History, however, is written by the conquerors.

Consider that a prologue for a moment while I tell you about a Kindle Worlds project. Amazon created the Kindle Worlds platform to license works from established authors and invite others to essentially write fan fiction in that universe. Best-selling author S.E. Smith invited me and eight others to be a “seed authors” in the rollout of her Kindle Worlds project for her lighthearted Magic, New Mexico paranormal romance series. Even though I’ve never written a PNR, as it’s called in the romance industry, I happily joined Susan’s merry band. It’s not as much of a stretch as you might think to go from a sprawling space opera series to the invented world of magical creatures, because they both involve world building, and they both involve people having people feelings.

Friday, April 29, 2016

"Y" You Are Not "Slush"

By Joe Siple

The first twelve years of my writing career could be described with one word: garbage. Partially because it accurately describes the quality of my writing for the vast majority of that time. It also describes how I felt about my lack of success—no published books, no agent, no anything to show for my time and effort. But most of all, it describes where my query letters spent their days awaiting inevitable rejection.

That place is, of course, the infamous slush pile.

Now, agented at last, I can look back at those days, at all the failure and rejection, and see some things more clearly.  Things like how those two simple words—slush pile—can have an enormous impact on the psyche of an aspiring author.  I can see just how disrespectful, how insulting, how downright humiliating that phrase is. 

What I can’t see is why it’s still in use.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

"X" X-nay on the GoEway—3 Biggest Tricks the Ego uses on Writers

by Tracee Sioux

I am a spiritual business and life coach who helps people figure out which of those inner voices is their Soul and which is their Ego. I wrote a book about it, Soul vs. Ego Smackdown: How to say YES! to your Soul and tell your Ego to Suck IT! 

You might say I'm a Soul Whisperer or an Ego Slayer. Or you might not.

I want to tell you what three of the biggest tricks of the Ego are if you're a writer. Knowing what they are will help you bypass them so that you can get your write on.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

"W"hy I Can't NOT Write

By J.C. Lynne
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I recently heard Jody Rein speak at a Denver Women's Press gathering about the state of publishing in 2016. She quoted Samuel Johnson, "No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money."

She also quoted Dickens, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

Publishing aside, I think those two statements sum up writing.

Each time I meet new writers, we all have the same quirk. We must write. It doesn't matter the genre. Word count, schmurd count. Published, unpublished. 

Writers must write.

The first question I field as a writer is, "When did you become a writer?" Uh, birth. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

"V" Vegas, Baby!

by Rich "Lucky Sevens" Keller

I am not here right now. I am on a brief sabbatical in the picturesque desert city known as Las Vegas. I'm doing research for an upcoming book series as well as taking it easy. The last few months have been crazy, and the next look just as exciting. 

Some believe Vegas is nothing but a hedonistic oasis in the sand filled with scantily-clad women, overpriced drinks, and representatives of most of the Seven Deadly Sins. Well, of course it is! It's Vegas! However, to a writer it is more. Like other metropolitan areas, Las Vegas is a microcosm of the world. And, to use a gambling term, it's a jackpot for story ideas.

Monday, April 25, 2016

"U" Up with Uniqueness

By Jennifer Goble

I sometimes think uniqueness is impossible. What can we do that is different, original, and not embarrassing to us and those we love?

Great question, right?

I walk into the Tattered Cover, where, by the way, my books are shelved, and feel this overwhelming awe. It usually stops me at the front door. I see thousands of beautiful book covers, clever titles, and topics too numerous to honor. How in the h_ _ _ do we, meaning me, compete, or survive? I am just a tiny half peanut on the floor. If someone chooses my book over all the options, it is a miracle - or a mistake.

I feel the same about my web page and FB author page. How in the world do we (I) create original sites with content worthy of being followed or liked? I’m asking because I don’t have a clue. I spend tons more time and money than I budget, and still I am not feeling the love.

I could quit, but I’m not a quitter by preference. I could shift to plan ‘B’ or ‘C’, and I do that too - fighting. I find those efforts also flat.

The old saying, “Work smarter, not harder,” is great advice, but I need a semester or two on social media to work smarter. I keep looking for a thirteen-year-old to hire, but they are too busy. My accountant tells me my writing is a hobby, and deductions are in the nebulous grey area. Oops!

I look at other websites and say, “Wow!” that is cool. Why didn’t I think of that? 

So, I concede.  Uncle! I am one of few who knows or cares I am not followed or liked or purchased. But, I push toward my passion and what I know. I am a unique thinker, maybe plainly weird. Not enough to fly above the radar, but I try to stay true to my mission of inspiring, teaching the power of stories, and helping those who are ready. 

I have seven grandchildren, and I want them to say, with a sparkle in their eye, “She’s my Gramma!”

So, I’m Up with Uniqueness, even if it isn’t viral. It is all that matters. If I live my uniqueness, I am a winner, one who follows and likes myself. 

 How does uniqueness show up in your mirror?

Until the next time: Live while you live!

Website/Blog/Rural Women’s Stories Project 
Author: My Clients…My Teachers: The Noble Process of Psychotherapy

Columnist: South Platte Sentinel

Friday, April 22, 2016

"S" is for . . .

by Deborah Nielsen

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, of course. If you were thinking “s” stood for a much shorter word, well, get your mind out from between the sheets. This post, fortunately or unfortunately, isn’t a primer on how to write sex scenes. You’ll have to go elsewhere for that, I’m afraid.

Movies like “Mary Poppins”, where this word originated, have added words to our vocabulary that are extraordinarily good and wonderful (the meaning of this made-up word). It’s such a silly word but there’s just something about it that makes you happy when you hear it, or say it [soo-per-kal-uh-fraj-uh-lis-tik-ek-spee-al-i-doh-shuh s]. Go ahead, sound it out if you’re not familiar with it. Let it trip off your tongue. Keep practicing until you can say it without hesitation. You’ll develop a certain lilt. Doesn’t it make you feel better now?

Some other things that make us writers feel better are:

Sleep Mode. This isn’t just for your computer. Sometimes you just hit the wall. The fingers won’t cooperate, your vision is blurry and your mind has turned to mush. When this happens, it’s best to just get up, leave the computer to fend for itself for awhile and go do something. Anything. Take the dog for a walk and breathe some fresh air, do the dishes, maybe even take a nap yourself. Taking a break for awhile will do wonders.

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