Perspective Lost and Found

Sometimes, if you take a break from your current WIP for an extended period of time, you lose focus on it. The next time you sit down it becomes hard to recapture the tone, the pace, the perspective on the work that you had when you started it. This can sometimes be especially true for those who write series, between books. This is what I'm struggling with now.

The first book in the series was so much fun to write, and I had all the time in the world to play with it, make it fun and exciting and frankly just wing it. That one was a phenomenal success. Now, faced with the daunting task of writing the second, having taken a few months off to write two other books (one a part of another series, the other a stand alone) I find myself struggling to make this one meet and, to some degree, exceed the first.

The problem is tone and perspective. There is a particular mix of chaos and complexity to the first thriller that made it so popular, the sense of not knowing what was going to happen next. But also a sort of Romancing The Stone pseudorealism to the action, things a little too fantastical or whimsical to ever happen in real life, but still fun to read. That's what I want to recapture in the sequel, while upping the stakes.

Here is how I got past the block.

First, I reread the first book, taking notes on things that I might revisit in the second book. Not just big things but little things that might make the reader chuckle to see reprised. Then I outlined the second book. While I've sometimes done this in the past, I usually just wing it. In this case it was absolutely essential that I outline the book, to help me with pacing. Lastly I watched several of my favorite pseudorealist action movies; the aforementioned Romancing The Stone, The Man With One Red Shoe, Knight and Day, the Indiana Jones flicks, etc.

When it's time to write, I set my Pandora to music conducive to the mood I want to cultivate, certainly not brooding or mellow, but not hard and driving rock either. Something strong, but also quick and exciting. For me, often, soundtracks to other movies help.

Lastly, I sit and before I touch the keyboard, I take a brief moment of meditation, wiping my mind of any ancillary concerns or stresses, concentrate on the feelings I want to put on paper. Then I write. I don't stop, I don't take breaks, I don't go back and edit myself. I write. I push away any other thoughts that may stray in, and I keep writing, building a momentum that will hopefully stay with me when I do walk away from it for a meal or whatever.

I know I'm doing it right if I find it hard to walk away, if even when eating or running errands or watching TV, I keep thinking about my book and feeling excited about what I'm writing, eager to get back to it.

So that's what works for me. Let me know if this helps you, too.

Speaking of Podcasts…

Mark Stevens, RMFW's podcast guru, published a post yesterday that mentioned his broken podcast microphone, and that reminded me we haven't mentioned those podcasts here on the blog for quite a while.

You do listen to the podcasts, right?

I mean, you are aware that RMFW has a series of excellent podcasts for your education and amusement, right? Seventy-eight of them so far!

Ahem!

Number #78 is a must-listen for any member who wants to submit to the new short story anthology:  Angie Hodapp & Warren Hammond - New RMFW Anthology False Faces

Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers is getting ready to publish a new short story anthology in 2018: False Faces: Tales of Fakes, Frauds, and Facades.

This time on the podcast co-editors Angie Hodapp and Warren Hammond walk us through the process they have developed for selecting and editing stories between now and the anticipated publication in September of 2018.

Angie Hodapp holds a BA in English and secondary education and an MA in English and communication development, and she is a graduate of the Denver Publishing Institute at the University of Denver. She has worked in publishing and professional writing and editing, in one form or another, for sixteen years. She currently works at Nelson Literary Agency as the Director of Literary Development.

Warren Hammond is known for his gritty, futuristic KOP series. The third book in the series, KOP Killer, won the Colorado Book Award. Warren's latest novel, Tides of Maritinia, is a spy novel set in a science-fictional world.

First up on this episode is another episode of Writer’s Rehab from Natasha Watts. Natasha goes after what she calls an issue of attitude. If your writing role model is Harper Lee or if you are treating your first novel like a passion project, these few minutes of commentary are for you.

Head on over to the podcast page to scroll through the whole list and read the descriptions.

Everything Is Broken

I hate it when things aren’t working right.

Last week was a doozy.

First, it was the microphone I use to record podcasts. (Yes, RMFW, the microphone you purchased to help start the podcasts– all $50 worth. It worked for two years & 77 podcasts and then pfffft.)

It looked the same as always. Nothing rattled. But, busted. Gone.

I spent 3.5 hours online with a tech service trying to see what was wrong with my computer.

Turns out, it was the microphone.

Then, our refrigerator started making an annoying rattle.

$850 later, we had a new compressor.  (I can’t show it to you; it’s tucked inside the refrigerator now, doing its job).

These guys came to my house twice in one week!

The next day, one of the flaps in the dryer’s tumbler thing came loose. Whump-whump-whump.

The credit card took another $208 hit.

No joke.

(Bob Dylan was ringing in my ear …. Broken lines, broken strings, Broken threads, broken springs…)

What else breaks?

Sometimes, it’s our words.

A word. A sentence. A paragraph.

George Saunders (Lincoln in The Bardo; many, many killer short stories) has a terrific piece in The Guardian about writing. It's called 'What writers really do when they write.'

He talks about evaluating the words he has written “without hope and without despair.”

George Saunders says he imagines a meter mounted on his forehead as he reads his own stuff, with “P” on one side for positive and “N” on the other for negative.

“Accept the result without whining,” he suggests.

Then edit, he writes, “so as to move the needle into the ‘P’ zone.”

There’s a lot of good stuff in this piece.

It’s long but entirely worth absorbing.

I won’t come right out and say a sentence is “broken” or a paragraph is “broken."

I mean, you’ve got something work with--that's a huge accomplishment.

Those words on the page. You can’t edit thin air.

But there might be a way to make those words work better.

To make them, well, work.

There’s P, there’s N.

Fix them!

No whining.

Final thought from George Saunders: “Any work of art quickly reveals itself to be a linked system of problems.”

Five Reasons to Submit Your Work to Anthologies

I'm sure by now you've heard that Found: Short Stories by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, is a finalist in the 2017 Colorado Book Awards from Colorado Humanities.

And hopefully  you've also heard that I have an essay in a new anthology called Still Me ... After All These Years: 24 Writers Reflect on Aging.

Those two facts triggered this blog post designed to encourage all writers to think seriously about submitting your work to every legitimate anthology opportunity that comes your way. I came up with five good reasons to take on these extra projects even if you generally write only novel-length fiction.

1. Increases name recognition

The more often readers see your name, the more likely they are to remember and recognize it when they're browsing bookstores, online, and at the library

2. More people see your bio

That bio can include your most recent publications, the urls for your website and social media, and some tidbit of information to remember you by. For ebooks, the links are often clickable for speedy friending and following.

3. Many anthologies are entered into book award competitions

Found is a good example. Submissions were solicited from RMFW members only.

A second anthology on the finalist list, Sunrise Summits: A Poetry Anthology, was edited by Dean K. Miller and contains poetry by member of Northern Colorado Writers. The call for submissions went out to NCW members via the website, newsletter, and Facebook page.

4. Submitting to anthologies is good practice

If you have any hope of getting your work accepted for publication, it's important to learn to follow all submission rules and requirements. That includes tie-in to theme or topic, sticking to the correct genre, quality writing with no grammar errors or typos, proper formatting and style according to instructions, submitting only if you qualify (for member-only publications, submit only if you're a member).

5. New individual or group promotion opportunities lead back to that number one reason: increase name recognition.

With the release of anthologies, you may participate in book signings, blog book tours, social media promotions on Facebook or Twitter, book giveaways as part of the tours or separately on Goodreads.

Examples include the signing and book sale at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Writers Conference in Denver in September for the authors of the RMFW anthology Found; the book sale and signing opportunities at the Northern Colorado Writers Conference May 5-6 for the poets in Sunrise Summits.

MC Book Tours handled the blog book tour for Still Me ... After All These Years which included this post on my own blog: "What? Me Aging?" And I'm giving away three copies of this anthology of personal essays on Goodreads as part of the promotion. The giveaway ends April 5th, so if you're interested, click here to get to the widget on my blog.

Anthologies That Want Your Submissions

Rocky Mountain Fictions Writers is seeking submissions from RMFW members only for the 2018 anthology: False Faces: Tales of Fakes, Frauds, and Facades. Find more information and the guidelines on the RMFW website. Submissions are open now and close on June 30th, 2017.

Tulip Tree Publishing has issued a call for submissions for the next Stories That Need to be Told. The 2016 issue of this anthology series is also a finalist in the anthology category of the Colorado Book Awards. The submission guidelines and award information are available on the Tulip Tree Publishing website. The deadline is September 6, 2017.

The top publisher of personal essays is, of course, Chicken Soup for the Soul. That publisher always has a list of potential and planned projects so periodically checking their list is a great idea. Here's that link.

And one more for good measure: Ploughshares Emerging Writer's Contest recognizes work by an emerging writer (no published work, traditional or indie) in each of three genres: fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. One winner in each genre per year will receive $1,000 and publication in the literary journal. More information can be found at the Ploughshares at Emerson College site. This competition closes on May 15, 2017.

Pay attention to the bloggers you follow, the writerly folks on Facebook and Twitter, and the organizations you've joined. Any of those places can be a source of information for anthology editors seeking submission.

Now it's up to you. Will you polish a short story and submit to False Faces, find the perfect topic at Chicken Soup for the Soul, or perhaps submit  a story to the Tulip Tree anthology? Do you know of another great anthology that is open to submissions? Have you recently had a piece published in an anthology? Let us know in the comments below.

How to Use LinkedIn & Twitter to Find an Agent

So, you’ve been to the Gold Conference. Took classes on how to write. Went to RMFW Saturday talks and bought several books on the craft of writing. You then went to work on your novel. That story that’s been bugging you since your sophomore year of high school. That novel. You wrote it! Congrats.

Now what?

You could self-publish. Nothing wrong with that. But something in your heart says you want to go traditional route. OK. It’ll be hard, but your game. You came this far, right?

The next step is to find an agent. An agent who will use their contacts in the publishing world and fight for your book. An agent that will love your novel. How do you find that agent? How do you contact them without sending money to unscrupulous people promising to deliver you to hungry agents?

This is where technology and our awesome modern world can help you find that agent.

Now I do have to warn you that just because you’ll have the technology on your side doesn’t mean the process I lay out will be simple or fast. It will still take work on your end. Here’s what you’ll need:

  •             Internet access
  •             Spreadsheet software
  •             A Twitter account
  •             A Linkedin account

They are very easy to use. Linkedin will take some time to put together a polished profile, but Twitter is really fast.

What you are going to do is use the search function of Linkedin and Twitter to compile a list of literary agents to put in your database. You are also going to read the agency profiles to determine if it will be a good fit for you. You’ll then comb through the individual agents, determine which ones accept the kind of novel’s you’ve written, and begin compiling their information in a spreadsheet you will create. While you research agents to query too, some of their sites will mention their twitter handle.

Many agents have Twitter accounts. If you find an agent you want to query, then follow them! Read their posts and figure out what they like! Remember, a query letter is like a resume for a book. Today you’re supposed to tailor your resume for every business you apply too. The same is true for a query letter. (Why query an agent who loves women’s lit when you’ve wrote an epic fantasy with traditional gender tropes? Do your research!)

You could try to friend them on Linkedin, but you’ll probably get a lot of rejections. Also, NEVER query someone through Linkedin. Linkedin is a way to make professional business contacts, NOT sell yourself. (Which is what a query is supposed to do.) If they decide to friend you, great. But don’t make it a priority.

Have you made your Linkedin & Twitter accounts? Good. Now, start a spreadsheet with columns for the following:

  •             Last Name
  •             First Name
  •             Agency
  •             Agency website
  •             Agent Contact info (or, simply an email address)
  •             Submit guidelines (Optional)
  •             Phone number (Optional)
  •             Twitter handle (Optional)
  •             Submit window (Optional)

OK, we there yet? Awesome! Now have three tabs of your favorite web browser open, along with your spreadsheet. Go to Linkedin and type in “literary agent.” You should get 3000+ hits. This is where it gets monotonous and hard. You have to go through every profile that comes up, find that agents company webpage and visit it. (Hence the second browser tab.) Most agency websites will have bios of their agents with their past sells, a little back story and what they like to represent. Read that part carefully. If you believe working with this person will help you, put their info in the spreadsheet. If not, move on. Many of these agents will share their Twitter handle there, too.

Don’t think this can be done in one day. Also, think big. Compile a list of at least twenty agents to query. You can put that agencies submit guidelines in your spreadsheet, or when you’re ready to query, visit the site again and follow the instructions at the time you send it.

Remember, this will not get done in one day. Take it slow and make sure your query is top notch. (Look for Query blogs on this site, or websites that explain it.) I wouldn’t query more than 1-2 agents a day.

Most agency websites say expect 3-6 weeks before you get a reply. Every agency is different, however, so read their guidelines carefully.

Finally, be a professional. Don’t nag, or complain to people. If you get a rejection letter (or no letter at all,) please do not take it personally. There will be plenty of other agents willing to read your manuscript and one of them is bound to love it. It might just take time.

Don’t harangue agents on twitter or Linkedin. Create business relationships with these social sites. Agents get thousands of queries a year. Many of them don’t even bother to follow the guidelines the agency or the agent have set up. If the agent doesn’t get back to you quickly, they are probably working through the hundreds of queries before yours. Be patient. Be polite. Even if you don’t get your dream agent, be kind to them. You will be surprised how supportive the writing community can be if you have the right attitude.

 

You can read Jason’s blog at Jason-evans.net

You can follow Jason on Twitter @evans_writer

Or like his Author Webpage on Facebook at Jason Henry Evans

 

Rocky Mountain Writer #78

Angie Hodapp & Warren Hammond - New RMFW Anthology False Faces

Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers is getting ready to publish a new short story anthology in 2018: False Faces: Tales of Fakes, Frauds, and Facades.

This time on the podcast co-editors Angie Hodapp and Warren Hammond walk us through the process they have developed for selecting and editing stories between now and the anticipated publication in September of 2018.

Angie Hodapp holds a BA in English and secondary education and an MA in English and communication development, and she is a graduate of the Denver Publishing Institute at the University of Denver. She has worked in publishing and professional writing and editing, in one form or another, for sixteen years. She currently works at Nelson Literary Agency as the Director of Literary Development.

Warren Hammond is known for his gritty, futuristic KOP series. The third book in the series, KOP Killer, won the Colorado Book Award. Warren's latest novel, Tides of Maritinia, is a spy novel set in a science-fictional world.

First up on this episode is another episode of Writer’s Rehab from Natasha Watts. Natasha goes after what she calls an issue of attitude. If your writing role model is Harper Lee or if you are treating your first novel like a passion project, these few minutes of commentary are for you.

False Faces Anthology Guidelines

Intro music by Moby Gratis

Outro music by Dan-o-Songs

For suggestions about content or to comment on the show, email Mark Stevens. Also feel free to leave a comment about the podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcast provider.

Host Mark Stevens: http://www.writermarkstevens.com

Getting to Know You: The RMFW Q&A Project #10

The Getting to Know You Project was intended to introduce RMFW members with short responses to three questions, a photo, and a few social media links. This will be the last post in the series for now.

Mike Houtz

Website: http://mikehoutz.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/author.mikehoutz/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/michaelhoutz/

1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

I spent 15 years practicing medicine before deciding that raising my own children and pursuing a passion for fiction writing was a better life lived than 90+ hour weeks at the hospital ignoring those closest to me. After working on my first project, a medical thriller (naturally), I’m now currently seeking representation on my second novel, DARK SPIRAL DOWN, an international thriller. I just received a call that DARK SPIRAL DOWN is a 2017 Zebulon Award winner. The only thing better would be a 2017 Colorado Gold! I write when my two young sons are at elementary school. My office overlooks the front range just a mile away, the beauty never ceases to amaze. I’m still discovering my ideal writing method. I see the chapters in my head like a movie and type out what my mind’s eye captures. I’ve found careful plot outlining keeps me from getting "too" off course. I’m trying a slightly different tactic writing by the synopsis of my medical thriller, revisited, for my next effort (or, is that the first? I’m confused.).

2. What is one fun thing few RMFW members know about you?

I spent thirteen glorious years performing all over the country as the lead guitarist for a cajun/zydeco band, Mojo and the Bayou Gypsies. I think my fellow classmates were stunned that I could balance intense medical studies with performing. Proof that if you love something, you will find a way.

3. What is your most favorite non-writing activity, the one that gives you the greatest joy?

I absolutely love watching my boys compete in their respective sports. One in fencing and one in lacrosse. We’re constantly on the road all over the country with their competitions. Unfortunately, it will all be over in the blink of an eye, and I know I’ll cherish those times for the rest of my days.

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

Diane R. Jewkes

Website: http://dianerjewkes.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DianeRJewkes
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/DianeRJewkes/

1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

Hi! I write historical romance primarily. I grew up loving history and reading romance so it was a natural progression when I decided to start writing. My first book, The Heart You Own, was published in 2012. I started writing it before the invention of Word (it took a long time)! My second book, The Heart You Need, was published this year. I live up in Conifer and have an office in my house where my two assistants, Albert and Rizzi, keep me company and remind me to take them out so I don't sit at my desk all day. I'm a pantster, so I get an idea, sketch out a rough plot and research my time period and place. I keep composition books for each idea with all my scribbles, questions and scenes. I like to write first, type later.

2. What is one fun thing few RMFW members know about you?

I have a degree in journalism and worked on a small newspaper in New Mexico. In the short time I was there I covered 4 murders, got to submit reports on the Santa Fe Prison riot to the Associated Press and helped come up with the Deming Duck Race. I also had an entry in the first duck race. He was fitted out with a satin cape and little satin spats for his feet!

3. What is your most favorite non-writing activity, the one that gives you the greatest joy?

I love spending time with my children and grand-children and traveling.

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

Patricia (Pat) Stoltey

Website/blog: http://patriciastolteybooks.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/patricia.stoltey
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PStoltey
Google+: https://plus.google.com/115494264819086899639
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1105939.Patricia_Stoltey

1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

I write primarily crime fiction, including a historical mystery called Wishing Caswell Dead to be published in Five Star's Frontier Fiction line this November. Previous books were The Prairie Grass Murders, The Desert Hedge Murders, and Dead Wrong (a thriller finalist for the 2015 Colorado Book Awards).

I write because it's the only way to quiet my busy brain which is always thinking about stories and characters and settings...probably the result of all the reading I've done over the years. I'm a binge writer, so I create in bursts over a period of days...then slip back into periods of goofing off. I mostly write in my own little office at a desktop...a room cold in winter, hot in summer, and placed just beside and above the neighbor's garage where one of the grown kids practices on his drums. I write at the computer and usually have nearby a cup of coffee in winter or a glass of iced tea in summer.

2. What is one fun thing few RMFW members know about you?

I spend at least one hour every morning reading for fun/learning while I get myself fully caffeinated and take care of Katie Cat's morning demand for lap time. Soon after, I spend at least twenty minutes with Sassy Dog in my lap at my computer while we watch cat and dog and other critters on You Tube videos. My husband and I are downright silly about our pets!

3. What is your most favorite non-writing activity, the one that gives you the greatest joy?

This is hard because so many things that used to bring me joy, like travel (especially flying anywhere) or cooking (especially since I'm always trying to diet), are no longer appealing. I think my happiest moments these days are those I spend at home, dressed in sloppy and comfy clothes, gardening or playing with watercolors or daydreaming in the sun, and just being. And I do love a good nap on the couch with Sassy Dog sacked out on my stomach to keep me warm.

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

Thanks to Mike, Diane, and Pat for participating in the Getting to Know You Project.

Getting to Know You: The RMFW Q&A Project #9

The Getting to Know You Project was intended to introduce RMFW members with short responses to three questions, a photo, and a few social media links. The last post in the series will appear tomorrow.

J. A. Kazimer

Website: http://jakazimer.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JulieAKazimer
Another Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jakazimer/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/jakazimer

1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

I’ve always wanted to answer with the ‘If I tell you, I’ll have to kill you’ line. But that doesn’t really help when getting to know me as I haven’t killed anyone in a really long time.

So instead, here goes, I write in a few genres. Mainly mysteries and romance. But I’m best known for my F***ed-Up Fairy Tales. I started writing in 2001, found an agent finally in 2006, and sold my first series in 2010 at a RMFW conference. Since then I’ve published over 15 books both traditionally and indie. Currently I’ve been working with a film studio on film adaptations and a mystery series of novellas based on a YouTube personality’s life.

As for when I write, it’s in spurts. I’ll write a couple of thousand words one day, and not write for weeks. The where is usually on my couch, with a puppy on one side and a cat on the other. I write on a computer as I can’t read my own handwriting. Had this been fifty years ago, I would’ve become a doctor.

2. What is one fun thing few RMFW members know about you?

I worked as a PI in Denver for a few years. The least fun part of that is, on a stakeout, you have to pee into a bottle. Being a girl made this career choice not the best.

3. What is your most favorite non-writing activity, the one that gives you the greatest joy?

My dogs. I love those spoiled things to pieces.

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

Jim Van Pelt

Website: http://www.jamesvanpelt.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/james.vanpelt.14

1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

When I was teaching high school English full time up to 2015, I mostly wrote in my classroom from 3:00 to 4:30 in the afternoon, and then from 9:00 to 10:00 in the evening at home, but now that I only teach in the morning, I write from noon until 3:00 or so. After three hours my brain feels melty and I have to take a break. I do almost all my writing now in a comfortable recliner in my living room where I've decorated the wall with science fiction and fantasy art that sets the mood for me; and in the middle afternoon, I'm the only one home, which means I'm also uninterrupted and control the music. It's practically ideal.

Although I've written several novels, about 90% of my output is science fiction, fantasy and horror short stories. I must have a short attention span. Growing up in a house with an aeronautical engineer father who loved science fiction, and a mother who loved to read pretty much steered me toward a love of those genres. Dad took me to the movies when I was little, and Mom bought me books. When I started selling work in the early 90s, they became my biggest fans. They'd buy copies of everything I published to send to friends and relatives.

I started my writing career because I loved what reading did for me. There's a subset of kids who spent much of their free time reading, and I was one of them. To be able to do for someone else what a good story did for me seemed like the best goal imaginable. I still write partly with that motivation in mind, but I've also grown more interested in writing as a challenge in shaping a story and using language. Some stories come out of setting a barrier for myself: Can I write a first person narrative that never uses the word "I"? Can I break the "rule" that a story shouldn't start with the weather? Can I structure a story like a well-done song? Etc. But mostly I try to make a story come out as compelling on the page as it sounded in my mind while taking a shower.

2. What is one fun thing few RMFW members know about you?

Most of my RMFW friends know the writer side of me, but most don't know how much I've enjoyed my teaching life. There's a magic in the classroom when the students are excited and I'm jazzed about the lesson. The hardest part of thinking about retiring from teaching is walking away from that. I love writing and being an author, but I don't know if anything I've ever written has changed a life. I'm pretty sure, though, that I made a difference for a few kids in high school.

3. What is your most favorite non-writing activity, the one that gives you the greatest joy?

Fortunately, I married my best friend. I think my greatest joy besides writing and teaching is spending time with her. We both like to run and bike. She's working on getting me to do triathlons, which will probably happen. There's a lot of the world we haven't seen yet that I'm looking forward to seeing with her. Everybody should be so lucky.

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

K. B. (Katy) Wagers

Website: http://www.kbwagers.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/kbwagers
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/midwaybrawler/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorkbwagers

1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

*waves* Hi all! I currently write holed up in a cave, kidding though I kind of wish that were true. Right now I either write in my office at home or in Starbucks just depending on the mood and time of day. Most of my writing gets accomplished after working hours on the week days and early mornings on the weekends. I write science fiction on my laptop or Surface and carry around a notebook that’s primarily used for plotting and story essentials (character bios, geography, and the like).

2. What is one fun thing few RMFW members know about you?

I’m a Colorado native and grew up on a farm on the eastern plains. We had pigs when I was a kid and I wanted to be a writer from a very young age, with a brief break in my teenage years when I was going to be a rock star.

3. What is your most favorite non-writing activity, the one that gives you the greatest joy?

My most favorite non-writing activity has to be lifting weights. I discovered the joy of fighting gravity a few years ago and there is little else like the feeling of winning against that beast—even if only for a few seconds!

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

Thanks to Julie, James, and Katy for participating in the Getting to Know You Project.

PubCon 2017, Early Bird Pricing Ends March 31st

PubCon 2017

Saturday, April 29, 2017, 8:30 am - 4:00 pm
Table Mountain Inn
1310 Washington Avenue
Golden, CO 80401

REGISTER NOW

Schedule

Morning Session | 9:00 am - 12:00 pm | Traditional Publishing

Our panel of experts will discuss the process writers who want to be traditionally published will likely follow. This includes finding and submitting to the right agent, editing, how the agent determines the best houses to submit work to, what the editors look for when they receive a submission, how the process of contracting for a book works, basic information on royalties, who has the responsibility for different parts of the process, time frames, the non-writing parts authors will deal with, marketing, and many other aspects of being traditionally published. During the workshop, attendees will be able to place questions in a box and they will be drawn and answered randomly, as time allows at the end of the workshop. Speakers include Gina Panettieri, Linda Hull, and Ben LeRoy.

Lunch Keynote | 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm | Susan Brooks

Each author's path to publishing is as unique as they are. Susan Brooks will discuss the differences and similarities between self-publishing, indie publishing, and the big 5 publishers to help authors decide which path to publishing might be the best fit.

Afternoon Session | 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm | Self-Publishing

Our panel of self-publishing experts will discuss the process of self-publishing your book, including how to know if/when your manuscript is ready, front and back matter, cover art/fonts/copyrighted images, determining keywords and placement for your genre, what self-publishing platforms are available, potential costs and revenue, being a “publisher,” where to look for help, various types of marketing, budgeting, timelines pre-and-post release, and much, much more. Speakers include Lisa Manifold, Bernadette Marie, and Nick Zelinger.

Pricing

Early-bird registration through March 31
Full Day | Members $70.00, Non-members $80.00
Half Day* | Members $40.00, Non-members $45.00

Regular registration April 1 - April 21
Full Day | Members $80.00, Non-members $90.00
Half Day* | Members $45.00, Non-members $50.00

*Half-day registration includes either breakfast with the morning session or lunch with the afternoon session.

Speakers

Gina PanettieriGina Panettieri | President and Editor, Talcott Notch Literary

Being an agent is all Gina can imagine doing. Books, and the amazing people who write them, have been the focus of her life for more than two decades. It makes her feel like her inbox is Santa's magical Christmas bag. It's always full, always overflowing, but brimming with the potential of something spectacular. All I've got to do is pull the little ribbon... With fiction, I love quirky, edgy characters, women's fiction, paranormal, urban fantasy, horror, science fiction, historical, mystery, thrillers and suspense.

Linda HullLinda Hull | Author of the Mrs. Frugalicious mystery series, freelance editor

Linda is a native of Saint Louis, Missouri, but currently resides in Denver, Colorado. She is a longtime member and former president of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and is currently on the board of Mystery Writers of America. She was also honored to be named the 2013 Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Writer of the Year. Her debut novel, The Big Bang, was published by Tyrus Books in 2013. Frog Kisses, her romantic comedy, was published by Literary Wanderlust in 2015. Linda is also the author of Eternally 21, Black Thursday, and Sweetheart Deal, the first three titles in the Mrs. Frugalicious mystery series.

Ben LeRoyBen LeRoy | Editor with Tyrus Books

 

 

 

 

SusanSusan Brooks Brooks | Editor-in-Chief, Literary Wanderlust

Susan has been on the board for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers since 2009. She holds a master’s degree in publishing from George Washington University and has many years of editorial experience, including working as a developmental editor, acquisition editor, proofreader, managing editor, and production manager. You can follow her at @oosuzieq on Twitter and read her syndicated blog on writing craft at susanbrooks.wordpress.com.

 

Lisa ManifoldLisa Manifold | Multi-Self-Published Author

Lisa is the RMFW 2016 Independent Writer of the Year. She is the author of the Sisters of the Curse series, based on the Grimm Brothers fairy tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Her new series, The Heart of the Djinn, is a trilogy that shows what happens when a free-lancing djinn does his own thing. Three Wishes, the first book in The Heart of the Djinn series, is out now. Book two, Forgotten Wishes, will be out soon! Her new Realm trilogy will feature Brennan, the Goblin King, making his debut.

Bernadette MarieBernadette Marie | Bestselling Author, Owner of 5-Prince Publishing

Bestselling Author Bernadette Marie is known for building families readers want to be part of. Her series The Keller Family has graced bestseller charts since its release in 2011, along with her other series and single title books. The married mother of five sons promises Happily Ever After always…and says she can write it, because she lives it. A chronic entrepreneur, Bernadette Marie opened her own publishing house in 2011, 5 Prince Publishing, so that she could publish the books she liked to write and help make the dreams of other aspiring authors come true too. Bernadette Marie is also the CEO of Illumination Author Events.

Nick ZelingerNick Zelinger | NZ Graphics

A book designer for over 25 years, Nick has worked for ad agencies and printing companies; been an art director for an aviation magazine; designed product packaging for sports and fitness manufacturers; created large signage for store fronts, company vehicles and Rapid Transit; designed promotional material for the Denver Broncos, Colorado Rockies, KOA Radio and Clear Channel. His cover and book designs have earned his clients more than 100 national and international awards, such as Best Cover Design by USA Book News, the Indie Excellence Book Award, Foreword Reviews Book of the Year, Next Generation Finalist Awards, Global eBook Awards, CIPA’s EVVY Awards, The San Francisco Book Festival Awards, and many more. Nick is also the co-author of Another Nightmare Gig from Hell: Musicians Tales of Wonder and Woe. He has been a recording and performing musician since the age of 16. He currently serves on the board of AuthorU.org, and is an Associate Member of the Colorado Independent Publishers Association (CIPA).

Go to it! (Pursue what makes you come alive!)

I read the most touching article last week. Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, a well known children’s author and filmmaker. It was titled, “You May Want to Marry My Husband.” It was written along the lines of a match.com profile, and it described the charms, kindnesses, and deep expressions of love her husband had shown her over their 26-year marriage.

Eight days later, Amy, 51, would pass away from ovarian cancer.

Tragic, yes, but what I discovered about Amy after reading the article made me think of my RMFW friends, and the joys and challenges inherent with the creative path we’ve all chosen.

One of Amy’s tenets was included in her obituary. “I tend to believe whatever you decide to look for you will find, whatever you beckon will eventually beckon you," she said during a 2012 TED talk.

I watched that TED talk and her message inspired me, so I am sharing it with you.

Amy begins by talking about coincidences such as the proliferation of “7” in our lives—seven days in the week, seven colors in the rainbow, seven wonders of the world. Seven music notes. Her TED talk is called “Seven Notes on Life.”

She mentioned walking the beach with her mother-in-law, when she discovered a heart-shaped pebble. Once she had seen that first one, she looked for another, and found many heart-shaped pebbles. Her mother-in-law was astonished, but Amy was not. She had observed many times that we find that which we seek out. “When our eyes are open, there is a subtle shifting of awareness.”

To demonstrate, she told the TED audience that she would imagine that she was speaking to a totally red audience, and once she focused on that, she would see instantly all the red clothing there.

She went through the seven musical notes. “F” stood for, “Figure it out as you go.” We don’t have to have it all mapped out before we embark on something new. Get a good idea, invest in it, and learn and adjust as we go.

These thoughts and others inspired me, but what left the lasting impression—the one that made me feel connected to you, my RMFW friends, was this: All the cell phones, iPads, laptops, and other technical devices create a huge amount of technical “noise” in our lives. All that modern noise demands something from us—a reaction.  Once we turn off the cell phones and all the technical “noise” in our lives, we become disconnected from the chatter, and are left with empty space. And what do we find in that newly empty space?

It is no coincidence, she pointed out, that with the individual letters rearranged, another important word emerges from “reaction.”

REACTION {changes to} ….. CREATION.

She ended the talk with a quote from Howard Thurman:

            Ask not what the world needs.

            Ask what makes you come alive.

            And go to it.

What we need is people who have come alive. What, Amy asked, makes you come alive?

Go to it. Move toward what makes you come alive.

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A Chicago native and longtime resident, Rosenthal completed more than 30 books, including journals, memoirs and the best-selling picture stories "Uni the Unicorn" and "Duck! Rabbit!" She made short films and YouTube videos, gave TED talks and provided radio commentary for NPR, among others. Her loving optimism will be missed.

Read more: http://www.haaretz.com/us-news/1.777097

The TED talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxWgIccldh4