Saturday, June 28, 2014

Five Things to Do This Summer to Keep Your Writing Fresh

The month of June is almost over and looking at my schedule for the rest of the summer, it won’t be long until school starts. So, I thought of some things to do to keep my writing fresh with all the activities.

Read. I like to sit out on my balcony in the warmer weather and read, and sometimes before I know it, I dose off for a while thinking about what I just read. I have some fiction and nonfiction books I want to tackle for personal growth and books on craft.

Journal. This is one way to write, even though you may not have an article or assignment to work on. Get a new journal for the summer and maybe a special pen to use. I always love excuses to buy a new journal!

Clean. I read it, again, somewhere this week, to spend your time writing, not looking for your files and reference materials. Try to go through some old files you have been putting off. Removing and or discarding a stack of papers from my desk gives me such a feeling of accomplishment.

Learn. As you clean your office, insert a CD in your computer and listen to a class from a conference you attended.

Take a Nap. Yes. This is important. Rest and Refresh.

What are you doing to keep your writing fresh this summer?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Shadowed by Grace, A Review

Shadowed by Grace is an historical novel set against the backdrop of World War II, written by Cara Putman and published by B&H Publishing Group. It is a story inspired by the Monuments Men effort to save great works of art from the Third Reich.

You may have also heard of the movie, The Monuments Men, starring George Clooney, released earlier this year, which is the story of this group of art rescuers. I am anxious to see this film, now that I have read Putman’s book.

Being a fan of historical novels, it was easy for me to be drawn into the setting of Italy and the scenes of the destruction left after the wake of World War II. The main characters, Rachel and Scott, meet in the aftermath of war, where their love and Rachel’s quest for faith grow. Desperate to save her dying mother, Rachel accepts her newspaper’s assignment to travel to Italy where she takes photographs dangerously close to the front lines during World War II. But Rachel’s real motive in this journey is to find the father she never knew.

Putman’s research has to be applauded as she brings in not only the devastation of the great cities of Italy, but also the history of the artists and their work saved by the group.

I will admit I was a little disappointed when about three-quarters into the book, a solution to one of the mysteries was revealed. I thought it was a little premature and I admit at that point I put the book aside and stopped reading for a few days. But Putman's great description of the war and how she weaves a story brought me back. I read on to the end with satisfaction.  

I received a review copy of Shadowed by Grace from the publisher for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed here are my own.    

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Three Things That Can Contribute to Conference Success

I attended the Write-to-Publish Conference last week as many of your probably know from the many interviews I had on this blog. I came away with three things to remember that I think can contribute to a successful writers conference.


Although we spend many hours prior to a conference preparing our work to present to a prospective editor, or to be critiqued, one of the most important things to remember is to connect with that person sitting next to you in classes, at meals or in the hallway. It could be another conferee, an editor or agent. Relationships are not built in one day or at one conference, but they can begin there. They can then be built upon through emails, phone calls and attendance at future conferences.

Many of the people I saw at this conference I had met before. Spending a little more time together added to the relationship and we seemed to pick up where we left off and our friendship grew.

Publishing Takes Time

When we attend a conference, we may have expectations to get instant feedback on whether or not they are publishable for a certain market. We hope an editor tells us they love our article and they want to use it in their next issue.

The reality is, publishing takes time. Publishing house representatives who attend conferences do not work alone. They are responsible to their company. If interest is shown in someone’s work, it will still need to go to committees consisting of marketing and other editors. If accepted at that point, then there is the waiting game before something is published, which could take weeks, but more like months or longer.

Teachable Spirit

Whether you are a first-time conferee, a veteran of many conferences or an editor, we all have something to share that we have learned from our past experiences.

I attended classes taught by editors which were very informative. I also met many conferees attending their first conference. They taught me new perspectives and asked questions that I had not considered.

How about you? What has helped you when 
attending a conference?