The New(ish) Medium for Sharing Ideas … is Medium

“Welcome to Medium, a place where great ideas come from anywhere, and quality is what matters.”

If you haven't heard of Medium (that's http://medium.com) , you might want to check it out just because it's there. The site is more than just a collection of diverse blog posts and essays, but I won't go into a lot of detail here because it's very easy to cruise through the "About" section of this site and get all the information you need to build a reading list and to post  your own essays on almost any topic you can imagine...if you decide it's worth your time and effort.

First you sign up.

Then you identify your interests.

Pick a few familiar names to follow.

And wait while Medium builds your reading list.

This can take a long time if you click on as many interests as I did, so you might want to start with a tiny sampling. You can follow more authors as you  read recommended posts. You can also unfollow authors and topic tags as you become more familiar with the site. Most of the people whose posts I read were unknown to me, but that didn't make them any less interesting.

Once you figure out how it all works, including the responses, cross-linking with followers, and highlighting (to recommend), you might decide to write your own story. Click on the "Write a Story" link at the top of the Medium page you're on, and go. But remember, this is not a closed venue where you're just chatting with a few folks. When you post here, you're posting to the whole wide world.

“Medium is a free and open platform where anyone can come to express themselves. We’ve built a world-class editor up to the task: simple, clean and beautiful. Writing has never been this fun.

Medium is the easiest, fastest way to create a beautiful story with seamless integration of photos, audio, and video. You can share from anywhere.”

I will caution you to be selective in who you follow and the topics you choose. Like any other social network, there are participants who have more fun trolling for victims to insult and shame than engaging in intelligent discussions. But as with other venues, there are rules. I'll hang around Medium for a while just to read articles and responses. I'm not sure I'll ever use the venue for publishing essays or articles. We'll see how it goes.

Please note: This is not a recommendation for you to sign up and jump into the Medium pool. I haven't been exploring the site long enough to do that. Exploring the site, however, has been fun so far, and I did post my photo and a short bio. As I wandered through the recommended articles, I found  Ted Talks, the Washington Post, and PBS NewsHour. There were some good humor articles, including a tongue-in-cheek post on the snarky article one must write upon leaving Medium. I got the impression leaving Medium is relatively common. And I discovered a lot of folks had signed up on Medium but rarely or never posted articles. I even found a couple of folks who are RMFW members, so I hope they'll leave a comment with their own impression of the site and whether it serves any useful purpose to us writers.

We can't jump willy-nilly onto every new social or info-sharing site that pops up on the Web, but it's good for us to know what's there, what's working, and what has been a dismal failure for those who tried the site out. I don't know which of these applies to Medium yet, but if anyone else knows, please share in the comments below.

The RMFW Spotlight is on Wendy Terrien, Secretary

2016_Wendy Terrien1. Welcome to the blog, Wendy. Tell us what you do for RMFW and why you are involved.

First and foremost, I am the bag lady!  I don’t push a shopping cart around town, but I do coordinate the swag bags for Colorado Gold. I also serve on the workshop committee (which is a tough job—we get so many great workshop proposals!), and I recently became the new Secretary for RMFW.

Being involved with RMFW beyond membership is an excellent way to give back to an organization that has given me so much, not least of which is the strong network of writing mentors and friends. The support system is genuine and solid, and it’s made a huge difference in my writing journey. I’m happy to do what I can for the organization, and for fellow writing friends, old and new.

2016_Terrien_Rampart Guards2. What is your current WIP or most recent publication, and where can we buy a book, if available?

My debut novel, The Rampart Guards, launched on February 26, 2016. I’m thrilled with how it’s done so far. The novel received a starred review from Kirkus (AAAHHH!) and the editors at Kirkus Reviews chose it to be an Indie Book of the Month in April. It’s been an amazing ride.

The Rampart Guards is available at Amazon, as well as Tattered Cover and BookBar. And it can be ordered through any bookstore.

I’m also part of Wicked Ink Books, which consists of me and fellow RMFW members Becky Taylor, Corinne O’Flynn, Sue Duff aka Sue Loeffler, Aimee Henley, Shawn McGuire, and Kristi Helvig. We just published our first anthology, Tick Tock: Seven Tales of Time. It’s available at Amazon, and we just signed a contract to have it published in Turkey—very exciting!

3. We've all heard of bucket lists -- you know, those life-wish lists of experiences, dreams or goals we want to accomplish-- what's one of yours?

Publishing The Rampart Guards was one of those and I’m proud of that achievement. Now I’d love to see it, and the rest of the series, build on the initial success and take it to the next level. I envision seeing it made into a movie—wouldn’t that be fun? And I’d of course invite all RMFW members to the premiere.

4. Most writers have an Achilles heel with their writing. Confess, what's yours?

Procrastination. Am I the only writer in RMFW who suffers from that? I read about all these diligent writers we have, who do things like get up at 4AM every day and write for several hours without fail. That’s so not me. I find chunks of time when I can write (not a set schedule), but then I’ll pay bills or do laundry first, telling myself I won’t be able to focus if those other things aren’t finished. There may be some truth to that, but it drives me crazy sometimes because I do want to be writing. I guess that’s my tortured artist bit—LOL.

5. What do you love most about the writing life?

The magic. I love how the characters come to life and direct the story themselves, so much so that it feels like I’m merely the typist. And I love how a scene I’ve written can still get to me like I’m reading it for the first time. And it all makes my mind function and think in a different, exhilarating way. It’s fantastic.

6. Now that you have a little writing experience, what advice would you go back and give yourself as a beginning writer?

Stay focused and know you’re on the right track. There is much to learn, and much work to be done, but keep going, keep learning, believe you can do this. We all suffer from that inner voice that tries to pull us down--don’t give into the negative thoughts. Embrace and leverage the excellent resources around you.

2016_Terrien_Office7. What does your desk look like? What item must be on your desk? Do you have any personal, fun items you keep on it?

I have a sit-stand desk that I love, and I always have at least one pup nearby (we have three dogs—all rescues), which I also love.

I have the word Dream on my desk, followed by a quote from Walt Disney: All dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them. I remember when I first put that on my desk, the idea of writing a novel was so far away I could barely imagine it. But here I am.

I also have a trophy I won in 8th grade for first place in an essay-writing contest. It makes me smile, and it reminds me that I can be successful if I work hard (and I did work hard on that essay, with much thanks to my English teacher at the time, Mr. Williams). It also reminds me how important it is to ask for and accept feedback on your writing.

And I always have a glass of water—I drink plenty-o-water, and I hope everyone else out there does as well.

8. What book are you currently reading (or what was the last one you read)?

I’m reading The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert and I’m really enjoying it, though I wish I had more time to spend with it. I need to put reading at the top of my list when the procrastination-bug strikes. That’d be way more fun that paying bills.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You can learn more about Wendy and her work at her website. She can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Tweetleedee, Tweetleedum: Give Us Your Twitter Link

Twitter logoHere's the chance for all you Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers to share the link to your Twitter ID (and we'll hope everyone who visits this blog post follows the link to your page and follows you on Twitter).

First share your name and @ ID -- as in:

Patricia Stoltey  @PStoltey

Then sign in to Twitter, go to your profile page, and give us the real url to your Twitter page -- as in:

https://twitter.com/PStoltey

That's all there is to it!

Tweet, tweet!!

It’s All About the Blog, ’bout the Blog…

The Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Blog is a labor of love for those volunteers who spend a year or two here as regular monthly contributors and those who write guestposts  from time to time. The goal is to provide an extra source of information about programs; to educate, motivate, and inspire; and to offer opportunities for RMFW members to share their specialized knowledge.

The blog would also be a good way to introduce more of our members to each other. The organization is growing every year, and there are way too many new members we don't get a chance to meet unless we run into them at a workshop or at Colorado Gold.

Co-editor Julie Kazimer and I have discussed doing a monthly (or twice monthly when we have enough open spots) RMFW member Q&A series, similar to what we do now with our Spotlight series on board members. At the most, however, we would only introduce 24 members in a year. That's not a huge percentage of our membership. Still, there are ways to increase member participation. Perhaps a "Three Members, Three Questions" series? Other ideas are welcome.

I'm going to get things rolling with a simpler series inviting members to share the link to one of their social media sites.

Today it's all about the blog.

Your blog, that is. Do you have one?

If yes, please leave your name and/or pseudonym and your blog's url in the comments below. Also tell us what you write about on your blog (your writing life, writing tips, writing instruction, book reviews, guest authors, etc.).

And then I encourage all readers to drop by and visit your fellow members' blogs. Read a post (or two, if you have time). If possible, leave a comment. Comments make a blogger's day so much better.

 

The RMFW Spotlight: Janet Fogg, Vice-President

Our monthly feature, The RMFW Spotlight, is intended to provide members of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers with more information about our board members as well as featured volunteers. This month we're pleased to present our new vice-president, Janet Fogg. First comes the Q&A, but you'll find Janet's bio below with links to her social media sites.

2016_Janet Fogg1. Tell us what you do for RMFW and why you are involved.

I'm currently Vice-President and in 2010 I was the Published Author Liaison. I'm on both the WOTY and I-WOTY nominating committees and am chairing a committee that's researching a possible Mentoring Program for RMFW. Over the years I've volunteered at the conference registration desk, with agent-editor appointments, taught a few panels, and moderated workshops.

Why am I involved? It's simple.

Back in the dark ages I attended a Life Long Learning class on how to get published, taught by Carol Caverly. In addition to teaching the ins and outs of the publishing world, Carol strongly suggested joining a critique group and also mentioned RMFW's writing contest.

I entered the contest, won 3rd place, and (nervously) attended my first conference. Everyone was so kind and welcoming that I joined, continued to learn (and learn, and learn!), made new friends, and landed my first agent at a much later conference.

RMFW is an all-volunteer organization, which I like, and we're fortunate that there are members who donate an extraordinary amount of time and talent to keep it strong and growing. Smart, committed writers. Who better to spend my time with?

2. What is your current WIP or most recent publication, and where can we buy a book, if available?

2016_Fogg_AnnieI have two current WIPs rarin' to go: a YA novella with an April release date, and a BIG non-fiction that I hope will be published next year.

In Misfortune Annie and the Locomotive Reaper, co-written with Dave Jackson, you'll meet 16 year-old Annabelle Fortune, the fastest gunslinger in the wild west. She's called Misfortune Annie because of her knack for winding up in unlucky predicaments, and when she inadvertently stops a stranger from attacking a train—and he wears a suit that enables him to fly!—the government catches wind of it and believes she’s the only one to have witnessed the Locomotive Reaper and lived to tell the tale.

A Manifest Spirit, co-written with Charlotte Baldridge and Richard Fogg, is a 400+photo, 165,000 word military history about the 359th Fighter Group during World War II. Go on, ask me about P-51s.

3. We've all heard of bucket lists -- you know, those life-wish lists of experiences, dreams or goals we want to accomplish-- what's one of yours?

Of course I want to write more books, but to be specific, I'm excited to finish a SF manuscript that I started a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. It always seems to end up on the back burner, though lately I have been day-dreaming about the sagging, middle-of-the-book plot line, so perhaps this fall...

And then there's dreaming of flying a helicopter.

4. Most writers have an Achilles heel with their writing. Confess, what's yours?

I always work on multiple projects at the same time, so I'm slower than The Blob.

5. What do you love most about the writing life?

My alone time, when I can simply stare at the lake and think. The friends I've made, brainstorming plots, reading and (gasp!) editing. Yes, editing!

6. Now that you have a little writing experience, what advice would you go back and give yourself as a beginning writer?

Don't put so much pressure on yourself to get published. Enjoy writing your manuscript. Enjoy editing. Enjoy the research. Enjoy learning.

2016_Fogg_Worktable dragon7. What does your desk look like? What item must be on your desk? Do you have any personal, fun items you keep on it?

My worktable often has piles of paper or folders on it, though I prefer it to be completely empty, save for my computer, a small dragon, and the giant crystal she's guarding. Periodically, she'll turn her head and all the folders go up in flames, so the surface is clear for a few days.

8. What book are you currently reading (or what was the last one you read)?

I just finished Beacon 23 by Hugh Howey, and thoroughly enjoyed it. That man is a master of throwing rocks at his characters.

I'm currently reading sample chapters for RMFW's WOTY and I-WOTY nominees, and have been blown away by their stories and talent. So much fun! Many of these will go on my wish list.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ye olde bio by Janet Fogg:

My focus on writing began when I was CFO and Managing Principal of OZ Architecture, one of Colorado’s largest architectural firms. I now serve as an adviser to KGA Studio Architects, P.C., and on the Board of Directors of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.

Perhaps closer to my heart, fifteen writing awards after attending my first writing conference I resigned from OZ to follow the yellow brick road, and ten months after that signed a contract for Soliloquy, a HOLT Medallion Award of Merit winner.

My next book, Fogg in the Cockpit, a military history co-written with husband Richard, earned a coveted nomination by the Air Force Historical Society for best WWII book reviewed in Air Power History. Last year I was honored to be invited by Fighting High Publications to submit three of ten stories needed for a new Failed to Return anthology about USAAF fighter pilots during WWII, to be published in 2017 or 2018.

On a more rambunctious note, I once participated in a successful rattlesnake hunt, climbed two dozen of Colorado’s Fourteeners, was alternate on a winning trap-shooting team, and several years ago received my motorcycle license. Which reminds me, I've always wanted to learn to fly helicopters. Hmmm.

Social media:
Website: http://janetfogg.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/janet.fogg
359th Fighter Group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/359th-Fighter-Group-1943-1945-120987634620533/
Sisters of the Quill blog: http://sistersofthequill.blogspot.com/
Fogg in the Cockpit blog: http://fogginthecockpit.blogspot.com/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in//janet-fogg-1926ab15?trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile/
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCr_VsnUy2kCSZJwUeYli5Sw

The RMFW Spotlight: Mario Acevedo, Anthology Editor

1. Welcome, Mario! Tell us what you do for RMFW and why you are involved.

Currently, I am the anthology editor. I volunteered because I felt it was time for me to give back (again) to RMFW, the one organization above all others that helped me get published.

2. What is your current WIP or most recent publication, and where can we buy a book, if available?

My WIP is book 7 in my Felix Gomez detective-vampire series. My most recent publication is book 6 of the series, Rescue From Planet Pleasure. Though the book was available pretty much everywhere online, WordFire Press has temporarily pulled it for reissue in the spring with added content. Stay tuned.

3. We've all heard of bucket lists -- you know, those life-wish lists of experiences, dreams or goals we want to accomplish-- what's one of yours?

To be a filthy rich scoundrel like my writer hero Harold Robbins.

4. Most writers have an Achilles heel with their writing. Confess, what's yours?

Every time I read a list of Best Books, Most Influential Titles, etc., and none of my books are mentioned, I rip off my clothes, throw myself to the ground, and chew the carpet in jealous rage. I break anything within reach. I used to try and throw the dog out the window but he bites back. I curse and scream until the neighbors turn a water hose on me.

5. What do you love most about the writing life?

That there is always homework.

6. Now that you have a little writing experience, what advice would you go back and give yourself as a beginning writer?

Your personal demons might in fact be allies.

7. What does your desk look like? What item must be on your desk? Do you have any personal, fun items you keep on it?

Personal and fun items? I have an electric cattle prod that I use on the Muse when she’s not pulling her weight.

2016_Acevedo_WritingSpaceScout

8. What book are you currently reading (or what was the last one you read)?

The Promise by my favorite mystery writer, Robert Crais.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As you can see, Mario is a man of few words. However, you can find out lots more about him and his novels on his websites, Mario Acevedo and Adelante Arts. He can also be found on Facebook and Goodreads.

Anthology, Workshops, the Blog

Don't Forget the RMFW Anthology

Theme: FOUND. Sometimes things are better off lost. And sometimes they were never meant to disappear. Either way, when they're found, everything changes.

Submissions opened January 1st at midnight and close February 29th at 11:59 PM. Contact Mario Acevedo, Anthology Editor at anthology@rmfw.org with questions. Or go directly to the RMFW website Anthology page for more information.

January Denver Workshop

Exploring YA: Trends, High Concept and You

ColleenOakesPresented by Colleen Oakes
Saturday, January 9, 1:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M.
Anythink Wright Farms Library
5877 E. 120th Ave., Thornton, CO 80602
MEMBERS & NON-MEMBERS WELCOME
No RSVP Required

January Western Slope Program

Published Author Panel (Self/Indie/Traditional/Hybrid):
Saturday, January 16, 2016
More information at the RMFW website Western Slope program page.

In this interactive panel of published authors from all types of publishing (James VanPelt, Jan Weeks and Cindy Myers), the panelist will answer a set of specific questions that will provide information on how each type of publishing works. The audience will also have the opportunity to ask questions of their own about the types of publishing and based on their particular situation.

And Don't Forget About Those Conference Proposals.

You'll read more about that on Monday here at the RMFW blog. In the meantime, visit the member section of the website for the proposal submission form.

The Blog

Are you visiting the RMFW blog on a regular basis? Our team of contributors and guest authors work hard to produce educational and humorous posts about writing and the writing life to add to the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers member experience. We feature spotlight interviews with board members so you know who's who. The two most recent past presidents, Mark Stevens and Pam Nowak, are regular contributors along with Mary Gillgannon, Kevin Tracy, Julie Kazimer, Jeffe Kennedy, Jeanne Stein, Robin Owens, Kerry Schafer, Susan Spann, Liesa Malik, Janet Lane, Terri Benson, and Aaron Ritchey.

And we have openings for guest posts from members, published and unpublished. You can contact co-editors Pat Stoltey and Julie Kazimer using the blog@rmfw.org email address if you're interested.

Multi-Tasking or Single-Tasking: What Works Best for You?

I always have a lot going on at any one time, in my writing life and in real life. Yes, I do see a distinct separation between the two lives, even though one tends to muddy up the other from time to time.

When I'm writing, I'm a writer. I put on my writerly cloak and think writerly thoughts. That's my plan for today. Except for the laundry, of course, but it’s Monday. I always do the laundry on Monday.

When I'm doing real life stuff, I forget all about the writing part and get crazy. Yesterday, for instance, I read the paper and then a few chapters of The Lion’s Game by Nelson DeMille, rode the exercise bike twice, talked to my mom on the phone, and watched the Broncos beat the Chargers on television. And I paid a lot of attention to Katie Cat because she's very demanding.

Katie Cat waiting for me to move the laptop so she can claim my lap

When I'm being a writer, I'm also being a blogger and social media junkie. My husband often comments on the number of tabs I usually have open when I'm at my computer. There's email, this blog, my personal blog, a Google calendar, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and sometimes Goodreads and amazon.com.

And I subscribe to a number of blogs that I follow regularly.

So....when I read Leo Babauta's post several weeks ago on Zen Habits, I felt he might be talking directly to me. The post is called "I'm Returning to Single-Tasking." In the first of six excellent points, Leo says he's going to have only one tab open at a time. Multi-tasking is out the window. Single-tasking is in.

For me, this is an amazing new concept. How about you?

In the past, when I’ve gone into busy writer mode, the one thing that always got sacrificed was reading time. Or I try to read at the same time I’m watching television shows that don’t require a lot of concentration. If I move to that single-tasking philosophy, which I’ve been trying and kind of like, I’ll keep at least 30 minutes free in the morning for pleasure reading. It almost gives me a chill of pleasure to think about it. What a wonderful way to start the day.

Anyway, back to my plan for today. A little bit of time outside to enjoy the balmy 40+ degree day, do that laundry, quickly finish my morning computer tasks online, and then spend many hours on manuscript revisions. Taking Leo Babauta's advice to heart, I will close all my browser tabs and focus on the book during that revision time I’ve set aside.

Tell me something about your writing habits. Do you muddle about with more than one project at a time? Or do you focus on just one and get it finished before you move on to another? What are your browser tab habits? Do you have any new plans for tackling your projects in 2016 so you're more productive?

We’re Not AWOL

But we're taking a mini-break today and tomorrow for Christmas and will do the same next week for New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

Join us Monday for Janet Lane's post, Tuesday to see what Aaron Ritchey has up his sleeve this month, and Wednesday when Liesa Malik wraps up 2015 for the RMFW blog.

Hard to believe 2015 is almost over, isn't it? Start thinking about your new goals and plans for 2016 because I'll be asking you all about your hopes and dreams on Monday, January 4th.

We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy long weekend!