Tag Archive | writing

1st Anniversary of LLC and Milestone Party!

Wine and chocolates

Welcome to LLC’s Milestone and 1st Anniversary party!

On May 27, 2011, I stumbled on Jess Witkins’,  Happiness Project. Her post was “The List” which laid out her goals for the next year when she would turn 26 yrs old.  She was inspired by Emily Jane’s “26 before 26” list.

I loved her and her list immediately! This was my comment:

“Hi Jess! I love the list. It’s no more boring than anyone else’s would be. What would you think about starting a community of writers who keep a list like this to work on over a 12 month period? Let me know what you think.”

And Jess’ response:Jess Witkins' Happiness Project

“I’m for a support network of writers making goals and holding each other accountable and realistic as we go out to achieve them. Shoot me an e-mail with ideas on how you think we could organize it.”

And  so, The Life List Club was born.

Our first posts published on July 1, 2011. My post, Welcome to the The Life List Club Kickoff! and Jess’ post, New Writer’s Network: The Life List Club introduced the LLC to all of our readers. Our first 3 writers joined us in writing posts over the course of that month: Jennie Bennett, Sonia Medeiros and Gene Lempp.

So many more amazing writers followed and helped build the LLC to what it is today. Jess and I appreciate their contributions and value the friendships we’ve grown over the past year.

 I’m ready to have a go at another year of the Life List Club. I know Jess and our contributing writers will stand with me.

Are you with us?

Good! Now it’s time to grab a beverage of your choice (I’m having a Martini) and something chocolate. Get comfy on the couch while I fill you in on the progress I’ve made in one year. Feel free to open a window to the Life List I wrote last July 1st to compare.

I’ll keep this part short:

Thanks to sticking with ROW80 for 3 1/2 rounds, I’ve completed the first draft of my novella. I’ve learned so much about writing, social media, marketing and publishing from reading excellent blogs, taking several online classes (currently taking a Holly Lisle class!) and being part of a few amazing groups of the most generous, supportive and knowledgeable men and women.

I have not been able to attend a writer’s conference yet, nor have I attempted making a podcast or book trailer. They will be moved to my 2012/2013 Life List.

In the past 12 months, I’ve read a total of 51 books. By July 1st, the total will be 53. Woohoo!

The household chores are more evenly split between hubs and I. We spend a generous amount of time together daily talking, laughing and dining. Everyday is a gift and I’m so grateful to spend it with him.

In the realm of fitness, I’ve lost a few pounds, refined my meal plans and finally figured out a workout routine that actually works for me!

C. S. Lewis' quote on setting goals

My 2012/2013 Life List:

1. No more cheater-readers. I can tell my eyes have finally reached the point where I need REAL glasses because I’m leaning closer to the laptop screen than ever before.

2. Get my novella, The Sins of Eve,  published by the end of August, 2012.

3. Write and publish the sequel, The Salvation of Eve, by the end of December, 2012.

4. Plot and write my series, Harleigh McAllister, Book 1, by January 31, 2013.

5. Learn how to do a podcast and book trailer for Eve and Harleigh books.

6. Take a mini-vacation during the Fall of 2012.

7. Clean basement and attic, gathering and selling household items and furniture we won’t need, in preparation for moving (hopefully) in 2013.

8. Paint my dozen chairs and other assorted glass and wood decorator pieces and sell them.

9. Continue my resolve to live in the moment, notice and appreciate the little things, play, and show my husband how much he’s appreciated every single day.

10. Continue to get fit…exercising twice a day most days and eating healthy, with a goal of dropping 50 pounds by my 60th birthday, 12/12/12. Continue the fitness quest in 2013.

I have a teaser for you…a hint as to what my Harleigh series will be about. I spent the first 6 years of my adult life riding with a motorcycle club (not a gang). This was my theme song back in the early 1970s.

*Could someone pour me another Cosmo?*

To our LLC readers/members:

We have a special prize for one lucky commenter on the Life List Club Blog’s Milestone Party/Anniversary Post


The other writers may have a prize for one lucky commenter on his/her own blog, as well.

One more time you’ll have the pleasure of blog hopping the Life List Club to look for more prizes!

If you leave a comment on this blog, the LLC Blog and the other writer’s blogs, you would be entered to win several different prizes!

Win Prizes
The winner at my Sexy, Smart and Strong Women Blog will be awarded

a $10 eGift Card

from Amazon or Barnes & Noble, winner’s choice

The comments must be received between 6 AM (EST) June 29th and midnight (EST) July 5th.

All of the the winners will be announced on Friday, July 6th at LLC and the writers’ blogs.

LLC Writers’ blogs:

Jess Witkins

Sonia Medeiros

Gary Gauthier

Lara Schiffbauer

Sherry Isaac

When did you begin your Life List? Where are you on your progress meter? Please share. We love hearing from you!


6 Super Awesome Links, Pimp or Promote Friday and THE END

Do you ever read the ending of a book first? It’s a kind of quirky fun to see how it ends and try to surmise how the characters got there.

Then when you read through the story, you can rate yourself on how well you guessed.


Speaking of endings…I JUST WROTE ONE! Yes! I wrote THE END!

I finished my first book!

I’ve spent a year and a half learning, reading everything I could get my hands on, starting and stopping a few different projects. But now, I’ve actually done it! Okay, so I’m not the first person to ever finish writing a book. I’m just incredibly excited. I wasn’t sure throughout this entire process that I really would ever finish.

I told you a few weeks ago I would finish by the end of May…and I did!

I have an actual title, too…SINS OF EVE.

It’s 1918 and Eighteen year-old Eve Carrington has danced around her father’s sexual advances, his lies and betrayal for too long. It’s time to go.

 Her savings are hidden deep in the lining of her carpetbag, her belongings are packed, her train ticket is tucked in her pocket.

 The letter is her salvation. She’s on her way to carve out her real life. She’ll dance. She’ll live. She’ll give birth to the Eve she knows lies deep inside.

 New York City — that’s where her dreams lie, her freedom lives and hopefully her heart will heal.

 He may chase her. He may even find her, but she’d rather die than go back.

I welcome critiques on my synopsis. This was my first attempt in writing one, so feel free to tear it apart or make suggestions.

Now begins the techy part that makes me nervous. Self-Publishing. There are so many things to do. I needed a checklist. I decided to tap into my go-to coach, Shelley Hitz. Here’s the checklist she offers FREE.

First, I’ll self-edit for a 2nd draft…then send it to beta readers, then a proofreader, then pro editors…THEN I can begin the self-pub phase. Deep breath! Ready, set, GO!


A major factor in finishing this book has been my amazing network of writer friends. I would have been so alone and so much ‘in the dark’ about a million little things, if it were not for all of you amazingly supportive and generous people.

I want to thank you all today by giving you free rein to pimp your own blog and books or promote those of someone else, or both.

Please take as much space as you need in the comments section to do just that.


On to the Links!

I’m so focused on what happens AFTER you write THE END that the majority of this week’s links are related to self-publishing and marketing. I hope you find them useful.

If you’re planing to self-publish your book and you don’t follow Shelley Hitz, Self-Publishing Coach,think about it. Shelley offers tons of information to writers on social media, marketing, blogging, self-publishing, and a lot of free resources. This link will take you to her recent post about marketing in your own neighborhood.

The brilliant Jane Friedman offers 4 Ways to Immediately Improve Your Book Marketing Efforts. A must-read!

I recently discovered Catherine, caffeinated. Catherine Ryan Howard is a riot. More than that, her blog is everything self-publishing/marketing. Read her post, Selling Self-Published Books: The Amazing Amazon.

Thinking about broadening your marketing by creating an audio version of your book? Check out what NYTBS author, Bob Mayer learned by doing in his post, SOP for Authors Using Audible ACX.

Joanna Penn plays host to Ben Galley with his post, How Self-Publishing Can Give You Options For Your Author Career.

Now, the last link is about writing your first chapter, not self-publishing or marketing. That’s because I will be writing another 1st chapter in a couple of weeks I just LOVE Chuck Wendig and everything he writes! I hope you feel the same.

25 Things to Know About Writing The First Chapter

Have a fantabulous weekend! I expect to see all of you clicking your big hearts out as you go  tripping through the pimped and promoted links in the comments! I’m right behind you!

Don’t forget today is Life List Club Friday! Please go visit Sonia Medeiros at the Life List Club Blog now!

12 Rules of Writing from Famous Authors and 6 Writing Links

The following respected and popular authors used these ‘rules’ to craft their own best-selling careers. The quotes showcase the authors’ voices and put a new spin on an enduring writing lesson.

Mark Twain

Mark Twain

1.  Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very”. Your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.  Mark Twain – The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

2. Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.  Anton Chekhov – The Three Sisters

3. The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof shit detector.  This is the writer’s radar and all great writers have had it.  Ernest Hemingway – The Sun Also Rises

4. Write in the third person unless a ­really distinctive first-person voice ­offers itself irresistibly. Jonathan Franzen – The Corrections

5. Description must work for its place. It can’t be simply ornamental. It ­usually works best if it has a human element; it is more effective if it comes from an implied viewpoint, rather than from the eye of God. If description is coloured by the viewpoint of the character who is doing the noticing, it becomes, in effect, part of character definition and part of the action. Hilary Mantel – A Place of Greater Safety

6. Don’t sit down in the middle of the woods. If you’re lost in the plot or blocked, retrace your steps to where you went wrong. Then take the other road. And/or change the person. Change the tense. Change the opening page. Margaret Atwood – The Year of The Flood

7. Carrot and stick – have protagonists pursued (by an obsession or a villain) and pursuing (idea, object, person, mystery). Michael Moorcock – The Coming of the Terraphiles

8. Pace is crucial. Fine writing isn’t enough. Writing students can be great at producing a single page of well-crafted prose; what they sometimes lack is the ability to take the reader on a journey, with all the changes of terrain, speed and mood that a long journey involves. Again, I find that looking at films can help. Most novels will want to move close, linger, move back, move on, in pretty cinematic ways. Sarah Waters – Tipping the Velvet

9. Respect the way characters may change once they’ve got 50 pages of life in them. Revisit your plan at this stage and see whether certain things have to be altered to take account of these changes. Rose Tremain – The Road Home

10. Learn from cinema. Be economic with descriptions. Sort out the telling detail from the lifeless one. Write dialogue that people would actually speak. Rose Tremain

11. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent. George Orwell – Animal Farm

12. Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue. The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose in. Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said” . . . he admonished gravely. To use an adverb this way (or almost any way) is a mortal sin. Keep your exclamation points ­under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. Elmore Leonard – Raylan


6 Juicy Links

On Writing:

From Writer Unboxed, Going Deeper: A Process Rather Than a Technique  and Flip the Scrip: What to Do With Your Darlings.

From Mystery Writing is Murder, Constructing and Weaving in Subplots.

On Publishing:

From The Creative Penn, Traditional and Self-Publishing Are Not Mutually Exclusive.

From The Book Designer, Publishing Strategies  for the Savvy Self-Publisher.

On Marketing:

From The Book Designer, Finding People to Read, Review and Recommend Your Book.

From The Creative Penn, Secrets of Amazon MetaData From #1 Amazon Best Seller Mark Edwards.

I hope you found something helpful among the quotes and links. If so, please fill me in on your thoughts!

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Tips to Make Great Writing like Great Sex

I’ll try to put this delicately. Some days sex is like vanilla ice cream, some days it’s like mint-chocolate chip with a little chocolate syrup drizzled over the top.

And then there are those days when it’s a giant banana split with five scoops all different flavors, chocolate syrup, strawberries, pineapple and cherries, whipped cream and nuts!

It’s pretty much the same in writing. We have days when we struggle to keep our butts in the chair. We have days when it’s easier but still have trouble getting a respectable number of words on a page.

And then there are those days when you feel like a superhero-nothing can stop you, it’s effortless! The words flow like water over a dam, the descriptions are as beautiful as a Monet painting. Your brain is bursting with ideas. Your fingers fly over the keyboard.

Well, we would all love to have THOSE days as often as possible, right?

I came a cross an excellent post on Write To Done by Barrie Davenport of Live Bold and Bloom that offers tips to help you in that quest.  I’m offering you an excerpt here:

How Writing Can Be Like Great Sex: 17 Hot Tips

Great writing is like great sex

Don’t you wish you could bottle whatever it is that stimulates the mind to open so beautifully and spontaneously? A mental door has been flung wide, and amazing ideas and words come spilling out, just begging to be arranged into a story or poem or article.

Neurons are ablaze, firing left and right. You can write and write, pouring forth words in great gushes, only to finish feeling completely spent. My, oh my.

“One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper patterns at the right moment.” ~Hart Crane

And just as spontaneously, that door will slam shut again, and your brain snaps closed like a mental chastity belt. Every sentence is a struggle. Ideas and words evade you like a coy mistress.

Have you ever spent hours with your fingers poised on your keypad, staring at the screen like it might tell you what to write? It is so frustrating. You might as well be under water or in a slow-motion movie. Where did all of those darling words and ideas run off to?

If you have to produce something today, and your creativity has rebuffed you, here are some ideas to get the mental juices flowing:

  1. Set the stage. You know where you like to write. Clear all of the mess off the desk or table. Put it out of your sight. Be sure you aren’t hungry or thirsty, in pain, or otherwise distracted. If you can write to music, play music that sets the mood for your topic.
  2. Walk outside for a few minutes. Get a change of scenery and some fresh air to distract you from your mental sluggishness.
  3. Re-frame your thinking. When you aren’t in the mood to write, you begin to think you are a bad writer. Don’t focus on the end product or your lack of inspiration. Just have fun in the process. Write without constraints and clean up the messy parts later.
  4. Relax and detach for a few minutes. Close your eyes, breathe deeply and try to empty your mind. Meditate for ten or fifteen minutes if you have the time.
  5. Send your subconscious a message. While your eyes are closed, ask for inspiration. Invite the ideas to come forth and the words to flow.
  6. Visualize your reader. Think about the people who will be reading your words. What can you say that will inform, uplift, inspire, confound, or humor them? If inspiration doesn’t produce the words, use your intellect and refine later.
  7. Do a warm-up. Get your fingers and mind ready for writing by writing mindlessly. Answer some emails. Revise a previous article. Type favorite quotes or paragraphs from other writers. Ease your brain and muscles into readiness.

That’s just a teaser. To get 10 more hot tips and more of Barrie’s advice, you just have to read the whole post: How Writing Can Be Like Great Sex: 17 Hot Tips

Barrie also suggests:

“If you’d like to read more about how the spoken word can impact your writing and your life, read this article.”

This link will take you to Barrie Davenport’s website and you can follow her on Twitter @CoachBarrie.

Davenport’s a life coach writing  inspirational and motivational posts on diverse topics with a theme of personal development.

It will be time well spent to check her out and you might like this article, too: Your Hidden Abilities and Why You Need To Find Them.

Of course, we all know how amazing Write To Done is and here are links to some of my favorite posts by their writers:

201 Ways to Arouse Your Creativity

How an Editor Hammered Me and My Guest Post into Shape

Hiring a Freelance Editor: A Step-by-Step Guide

Thanks for joining me today! Let me know if any of these links and posts turn out to be helpful!

Before you go I want to remind you that Lara Schiffbauer is posting today at the Life List Club Blog today! Please go visit her and offer up some blog luv. Thanks!

Marital Infidelity – What Would You do?

Cheating is considered one of the worst affronts to a relationship. It’s right up there with physical/emotional abuse and substance addictions. It causes a massive rift between partners and shoots holes in the trust the couple thought would get them through all of life’s trials.

You thought you were  knee-deep in love, that your relationship was bullet proof.

We all know in the backs of our minds that anyone is capable of making such poor choices, but admitting out loud that your relationship is seriously flawed is as painful as smashing your own finger with a hammer, on purpose.

Infidelity is a threat to marriage, but is it an insurmountable issue?

Can a good marriage survive infidelity? Continue reading

ROW80 – 4/29/12 – Syonara/Au Revoir/Arrivederci/Cheerio!

Hello, fellow ROWers!

As my title suggests, this will be my last ROW80 update…for now.

I need to grab every moment available and shut the door on every possible distraction in order to get my writing done. I have a few short stories and the first book in a series to finish.

I’ve been feeling, lately, that I might be incapable of finishing anything. I have to prove myself wrong.

My plan to complete the first drafts of 3 short stories and a novella: Continue reading

10 Story Prompts and Research Links

Today’s list is contained in one short video.

We can find ideas for stories everywhere and we can find settings for our ideas with research. This short video showcases 10 abandoned places. Many are considered haunted and all were abandoned for different reasons.

This video provides ideas to research and the links below offer a research resource. Continue reading