...the illustrator. Bong Redila created the pictures for Maggie's Christmas Ride and they are FANTASTIC! He really brought the characters to life. Take a look at Bong's website for a closer look at his work: http://www.bongredila.com/
My first interview will be posted tomorrow, February 4th, on the Land of 10,000 Words Blog. If you want to read it, here's a link:
I'll be at the Bloomington Writers Festival and Book Fair at the Bloomington Art Center from 10 to 5 on Saturday, March 23rd. Stop by my table to see a free demo of the eBook, grab some candy, or just stop by to chat. I won't be staffing the table for the entire day, but my gregarious husband and stepdaughters will be filling in when I'm not there.
Do you live near Chanhassen, Minnesota? I'll have a table at the Carver County Writer's Fair on Saturday, April 6th. It takes place at the Chanhassen Library. Several of my fellow Chanhassen Library Writers Group members will also be there selling some of their published works. There's no pressure to buy. Just stop by and see what everyone is up to. Is there a future author in you?
One of my fellow writers, Dan O'Brien, does a FANTASTIC job of scheduling public readings by local authors. Several of us will be doing short readings on Friday, February 22nd, starting at 6 p.m. at Dunn Brothers in Chaska. Come and see what it's all about.
If you're interested in having me speak at your
I am in the process of starting my own publishing company, Floating Raft Press, LLC. By the end of next week I should be registered with the state and ready to go. Here's the plan: Maggie's Christmas Ride is currently available as an eBook only ($2.99 through http://www.meegenius.com ). I'm taking the same illustrations and duplicating the layout to create a print edition. It will be published through my label, Floating Raft Press, LLC. I am using Create Space for the actual printing and also for their awesome expanded distribution services. This book will be POD (or print on demand) so that I don't have to come up with a bundle of money up front to print a bunch of books. The POD thing is also great because there are no warehousing costs. They literally print a book every time one is ordered. Through Create Space's expanded distribution, the book will be available through Amazon and through major book sellers in case your local bookstore or Barnes and Noble wants to stock it.
Why offer it in print?
If it's selling well digitally, why offer it in print? It's a good question. A lot of authors are now offering eBooks only because of the lower production costs and low barriers to entry. Since my book is Christmas-themed, it will probably only sell at Christmas time. While I'm sure some parents will buy the book for their children, I also expect gifts to make up a large portion of sales. But you can't "gift" an eBook. At least, not yet. And I have such a short selling window (October through December) that I'd like to boost visibility of the title in every way possible. So that means having physical copies of the book around. I'm hoping it will be an impulse purchase for Christmas shoppers with young children on their list.
A few more details.
I would LOVE to print a hardcover edition of the book, but unfortunately, that is not an option at this time. If it looks like I am building a large demand, then I may be able to justify the costs and not lose money with a hardcover. Until then, it will be a softcover print edition with a laminated cover. I'm still working out all the details, like trim size and bleed, etc. But it's pretty exciting stuff. Also, I have to thank MeeGenius for being okay with my doing this. You will see their cute owl logo on the back cover with info about the eBook. Can't wait to get it all rolling!
If you'd like an email alerting you when the book is ready to purchase, just send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org
My first book, Maggie's Christmas Ride, has recently been published by MeeGenius, a digital publishing company based in New York. (The book was illustrated by Bong Redila.) The book is available as a digital download only. You can read it on your laptop, ipad, iphone, android device or on Google TV. Check out the link: http://tinyurl.com/d8mrovx for a free sample or the $2.99 download.
MeeGenius will also be publishing my next two Christmas stories in time for Christmas 2013.
Okay, it's still two months away, but that's a good thing. My first children's picture book, MAGGIE'S CHRISTMAS RIDE, is expected to be published at the end of November 2012. I'm so excited! I will be doing a public reading of that book and a few others this Thursday, October 25th, at 7:00 p.m. in Victoria, MN at the School of the Wise.
I don’t have a degree in writing. But I have taken some writing courses and I highly recommend this to others trying to master the craft of writing.
The first writing course I took was a novel-writing course through a community college. The course was fantastic and I learned a ton! But the best part was the opportunity to read my work aloud each week and get feedback on it. My favorite moments were hearing people laugh at the parts that were supposed to be funny. Whew! This was very affirming for me.
Since then I have taken courses through community education, online, and through local literary groups. Sometimes the best part about a course is the chance to hear other people’s work so that you can compare it to your own. I especially liked the instructors who were so well-prepared that they gave out outlines of their lecture to take home. How nice to not be stuck note-taking so you can concentrate on the discussion. Some of the classes I have taken were on magazine writing, copywriting, and manuscript editing. No matter what the focus, I learn something new every time. Taking writing classes forced me to write and to think about writing.
If you are looking for an online writing course, the following resources may be helpful:
Gotham Writers’ Workshop--
Free University Writing Courses--
Writer’s Digest Writing Courses--
Creative Writing Now--
Don’t forget that another great way to learn more about the art of writing is to read books about it. The great thing about books on writing is that you can find very specific topics, like picture book dummies or how to start writing non-fiction articles for children’s magazines, etc. You can also find eBooks about writing at little or no cost. You can do a search for “free eBook writing skills” and you will find lots of free resources for writers.
As a member of several critique groups, I wholeheartedly encourage any fellow aspiring writers to join one. Below is a brief overview of many basic writing problems that critique group members have helped me find and fix.
POV- Do you jump from one character’s point of view to another’s? Are you inconsistent in use of point of view?
Verb Tense- Do you change from past to present or back? “We wanted to sneak into the theater. Do we dare?”
Not Using All the Senses- Are sound and sight the only senses you use in your writing? Smell is a very evocative sense that carries strong associations. What does baby powder make you think of? Mosquito spray? Chlorine? What about sound? Are the creaks from an old washing machine helping set the scene of a dilapidated house? What about the hum of street market sounds? Can you use sense of touch to make the paper-thin hands of an old man seem real?
Telling Instead of Showing- Do you say “she panicked” instead of “her hands became slick as the realization of her true situation set in”? Okay, that’s not a great example, but the idea is to describe the situation so that the reader can infer the emotion—not to explain the emotion directly to them. You don’t have to say “she was scared” when you can show it by saying “her hands shook so badly she dropped the phone.”
Starting Each Scene with a Weather Report- You want to set the scene, but you do not have to describe every detail before getting to the action. You can start with the action, and then say “the deafening sound of the rain only added to Bart’s uneasiness” or “he shivered from the cool evening breeze.”
Other issues my writer friends have helped me identify are: spending too much time making a point when a shorter version would be adequate; logic-checking in a sequence of events; identifying unrealistic timelines; keeping characters consistent in their manner of speaking or voice; keeping the story moving; making sure not to depend too much on narrative; changing the tone from one section to another, i.e., melodramatic in one chapter with wry humor in another; and lots of other things. ;)
If you are trying to improve your writing skills, getting feedback is essential. Whether you hire a writing tutor, enter contests, take a class or decide to join a group of fellow writers, I hope it helps you hone your skills. Best of luck in your continued development and success as a writer!
I just discovered this free humor poetry contest. It's called Wergle Flomp. Check it out: