Winner Announcement!

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We have a winner!

We have a winner!

Before I announce the winner of Thursday’s contest, I want to share some good news with all of you.

My goal was to have 300 followers by February. Not only did I make my goal, I surpassed it two months earlier than anticipated. Additionally, I hit a record of 143 views, 82 likes and 62 comments. Wow!

What is my secret for achieving these amazing stats? No secret. I just have wonderful followers. That’s right, this was all because of your shares and support, which I think is really appropriate considering one of the topics of Thursday’s post was about supporting others. If you missed that post, feel free to check it out here.

17 people entered the contest, which was more than I anticipated. I enjoyed reading all of your responses to the survey. You all gave such wonderful feedback. I’d love to give you all an Amazon gift card, but that would cost $170, which is out of my budget at the moment. Don’t worry, I’m planning on having several more contest in the near future with the release of my sister’s novel, “The Quest for the Holy Something or Rather.” To learn more about her and her awesome novel, follow this link.

So without further delay, I’d like to announce the winner of the $10 Amazon gift card.

Cue the drum role! Or just smack your hands on your desk: That makes a drum-like sound.

The Winner of the survey is Allie Potts, a writer, mother, and fellow geek. She blogs about parenthood, entrepreneurship, inspiration, and writing. Check her out here.

Congratulations, Allie! And once again thank you all for visiting my blog, for sharing, and participating in the contest.

Tuesday Tip

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tip#1

We have no control over the delineation of time in real life. An hour-long meeting on a Monday morning can feel like an entire day; however, an entire day can seem like only an hour when we’re having fun. The only time we can control how fast or slow time goes is in our novels. This is called pacing.

How to Pick up the Pace

For some scenes, you’ll want to step on the gas: cliffhangers, action scenes, fight scenes, arguments, climaxes. To make sure your reader keeps turning the page, eliminate all but the following

  • immediate action
  • exposition
  • descriptions
  • immediate dialogue
  • internal dialogue
  • sensory details

You’ll want to keep description brief. Likewise, only describe sensory details your character would notice at that moment. Perhaps he taste blood in his mouth during a fight or hears a gun shot.

Summarizing

Some scenes just drag. Travel scenes are infamous for this. Describing every detail of every day of a long journey can be exhausting and pace-killing. Summarize slower scenes so you can get back to the action. Think of it as the literary version of a montage. Tolkien does this quite a bit in “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit.” For instance, the dwarves stay in Rivendell for 14 days. During this time they rested, studied their map, and learned the origins of their weapons. What could have taken several chapters is condensed into one paragraph.

Eliminate Unnecessary Dialogue

Dialogue can be used to hasten or slow the pace of your writing. To speed things up, cut out all boring or unnecessary dialogue.

Example: “Hi, Bob. How’re you doing?”

“I’m good, Ted. How about yourself?”

“Fine.”

“Did you hear about Jim?”

“Yeah, his wife told me he died Saturday.”

“Well, she should know; she killed him.”

Instead

Example: They exchanged greetings.

“Did you here about Jim?”

Shorten Sentence Length

Long, detailed sentences take longer to read than short, choppy sentences. To quicken the pace, use short sentences or sentence fragments–that’s right, you can get away with these, but don’t overdo it.

You can also eliminate adjectives and adverbs.

There’s a lot of hate for adjectives and adverbs. I never understood why until I read Karen Miller’s “The Falcon Throne.”

Let’s look at Chapter one.

“Brassy-sweet, a single wavering trumpet blast rent the cold air. The destiers reared, ears flattened, nostrils flaring, then charged each other with the ferocity of war.

“Huzzah!” the joust’s excite onlookers shouted, throwing handfuls of barley and rye into the pale blue sky. The dry seeds fell to strike their heads and shoulders and the trampled, snow-burned grass beneath their feet,. Blackbirds bold as pirates, shrieked and squabled over the feast as children released from the working day’s drudgery shook rattles, clanged handbells, blew whistles and laughed.

Karen Miller does to her books with adjectives what my sister once did to my soup with paprika–ruined it!

These sentences are heavy and cumbersome. She uses description in excess during the joust as well: every noise, every sound, the light shining off of armor, exposition, the character’s thoughts,etc. All this description makes the scene drag. Even though these are very pretty sentences, they make you tired reading them. The excess of adjectives and adverbs can blur a sentences’ meaning, while tripping the readers eyes. I know I had to go back and re-read several of them.

Describe only what Your Character would Notice

When writing an action sequence, like a battle, fight, or chase scene, don’t use as much detail, inner dialogue, or description.

Describe only what your character would see. For instance, in a chase scene, everything blurs as you run. Are they looking for a place to hide? They won’t notice the trees are beautiful, only that they are too skinny to hide behind. This is not the time to stop and describe the roses.

I read a book that began with a chase scene. The main character is running for her life when suddenly she falls. As the character is laying exhausted on her back, the narrator went into a detailed description of her clothes, hair, the scenery, and exposition.

So many problems with this scene. Where to start.

Firstly, she would not notice anything serene or pretty, like how the light shines through the trees. She is running for her life. She is focusing on survival, not the scenery.

Secondly, the exposition in this scene slows the action. The reader might want to know why she is running, but this is a horrible time to bring up all the events and politics that lead to her escape. It also kills the suspense. If the character had this much time to reflect, she didn’t need to run now did she? What probably was only supposed to be a brief moment in the story felt like an hour.

Lastly, the description of her clothes was pace-killing, and jarring. Description needs to fit into the narrative smoothly without disrupting the flow.

For example:

She ran, not caring that her new boots were ruined.

Her velvet dress hindered her in the brier patch.

She could hide, but her red hair made it impossible to blend in with her surroundings.

Create Rapid-Fire Dialogue 

Minimize dialogue tags, reactions, and attributions so your dialogue is short and snappy. This will give the impression that your characters are talking quickly in rapid-fire succession. This is great for arguments. Some authors believe readers rely heavily on dialogue tags to know who is talking, but as long as you make it clear who is speaking to start with, and as long as there aren’t too many characters in one scene, it will be understood.

How to Slow Pacing

Have you ever heard the expression, don’t rush the good things. Maybe it’s a Tina Turner song and not an expression at all. Anyway, sometimes it’s better to slow the pace. This is good for slower scenes, character development, or romantic scenes.

There is a difference between slowing the pace and killing it. Let’s look at some tricks for slowing pace. You might assume you can take the tips from above and flip them. You’d be correct. It really is as simple as that.

To slow pacing include:

  • descriptions
  • inner dialogue
  • exposition
  • all those things we crossed out from the list above

Avoid

  • info dumps
  • redundancies
  • being over descriptive
  • too much inner dialogue or dialogue that rambles

Be Descriptive

Just like the fast scenes, focus on what your character would notice. In a slower scene they might have more time to reflect on their past, focus on setting, or stop and smell the roses.

Dialogue

In a slower scene, you can use more dialogue tags, actions, reactions, and inner thoughts than you could in an action scene. This does not mean you should have wasted dialogue. Whether the pacing is fast or slow, dialogue should start with the introduction of the important information and end when the characters conclude the main point. Don’t let them meander too long. Leave out lengthy introductions, greetings, and small talk. Let’s return to that first example. For starters, you would still leave out the “Hi, Bob.”

They exchanged greetings.

“Did you hear about Jim?” Bob spoke into his coffee cup as he took a drink, his voice suddenly lower as if there was someone else in the break room who might overhear.

Ted rubbed the back of his neck. He almost wished someone would interrupt. “Yeah, his wife told me he died Saturday.”

Bob slammed his mug down. “Well, she should know; she killed him.”

So there you have it, just a little advice on pacing your narrative. Hope you found that helpful!

 

 

Authors, be Featured on Write of Passage

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photo provided by flickr

photo provided by flickr

Attention all writers, I would like to promote you and your books.

Via Twitter and WordPress, I’ve met many wonderful writers. I tend to follow people who are engaged and offer writing and publishing advice. I’ve learned so much, and I’d like for you to share your writing wisdom with my readers. So I’m starting a new feature called, Ask an Author. Some of you may have already received a personal request in your email to take part in this feature. If you haven’t, don’t worry, it’s not that I don’t want to interview you, I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. Keeping track of over a thousand people can be challenging, if you know what I mean. I thought it might be easier to send a shout out.

What is Ask an Author, and Who can be Featured?

I am looking for published authors (Indie or traditional) who are interested in being interviewed. Ask an Author will be a monthly feature. It’s sort of like an author interview, only instead of a list of questions, you only answer one, which will be tailored to your particular strengths or interest as a writer. The goal of the question is for you to discuss something that you are an expert, or semi-expert, in order to help other writers. For example, if you’re social media savvy, your question would probably be social media related.

What will the Feature Include

  • a brief bio
  • the question
  • photos and/or videos
  • links to author websites, social media platforms, amazon and other sites where your book can be purchased, etc.

How to be Featured

  • email me at tbetzner@outlook.com
  • include your name, genre you write, titles of books you’ve written, a brief bio, and links to your blog, social media platforms, author site, and where your books can be purchased.

I will try to get back with you within 24 hours. From there, we’ll communicate via email unless you have a preferred means. Once I have all the information I need, I’ll let you know what month you will be featured.

Who is the better Writer?

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untitledI love Pub-talk; it’s my favorite part of the bar experience. Usually I’m the DD, so I spend more time talking than drinking.

Saturday, I had a great literary conversation while sharing a drink with my sister. I only had one drink, mind you; I would hate to get a DUI while dressed as an elf. After the con, there was an after party at Cook McDoogles, which is an Irish pub in my city’s downtown. My sister and I were talking with two brothers, attendees of the con, when one of them asked an interesting question. Who is the better writer: J.R.R Tolkien or George R. R. Martin?

My initial instinct was to blurt out Tolkien. His books are classics and he’s practically the father of fantasy; however, this does not make him a perfect writer. His writing suffers from info dumping, plot holes, and plot-stopping scenes and characters. That doesn’t mean I’m naming George the winner. He has his fair share of faults as well: A first chapter that doesn’t establish the main conflict, no clear main protagonist, and the overuse of dream sequences. I think I’ll save my opinions for a later post. I want to hear from you. Who do you prefer?

Rising with the Moon For the Sake of Writing Research

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Not one of my pictures, though I took a lot.

Not one of my pictures, though I took a lot.

There are very few things I’m willing to get up early for: McDonald’s breakfast, garage sales, and Black Friday, to name a few. This morning (even though 4 a.m. feels like night), I got up early to see the second and final total eclipse of 2014.

For those of you who follow me on twitter, you’re probably thinking “Shut up about the blood moon already!”

After today, I promise I will, but getting to watch the lunar eclipse (from start to finish) was an important moment for me for several reasons.

A lunar eclipse is a rare phenomenon on its own (2 a year on average), but several total eclipses in a six-month period is even rarer. This was one of four total eclipses in what’s known as a tetrad. The last will be in Sept 2015. Red moons occur every 2-4 years or so, and there have been at least a dozen tetrads in the last 500 years (which still makes them pretty rare). Whenever a triad occurs, it’s interesting to note, it is usually followed by a religious movement–possibly because they are mistaken for a Biblical sign or a warning of doom. I guess we’ll have to wait until September to find out if this tetrad will cause any religious upheaval or “the end.” To be continued . . .

The last red moon I tried to witness was in April. I really wanted to see it. I set an alarm, got up early, went outside in the cold, looked up at the sky, and saw nothing but clouds. I was so disappointed. I had to wait five months to see the next one. Last night, or morning I should say, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, so I was able to see this rare event before 2015.

The main reason I wanted to see it was because I have a blood moon in my book, although I don’t call it a blood moon. This isn’t the scientific name. I’m not really sure when people started calling it that–could be a Twilight thing for all I know. Without giving away too much of the story (spoiler alert), one of my protagonist is born under a red moon, which is unfortunate for him because his culture views red moons as an unfavorable sign. All of the societies that I’ve created view celestial events from a different cultural standpoint, whether it be a falling star or a lunar eclipse. Some of them view it as a natural occurrence, while others see it as being a bad omen. As a result, this character is considered ill-fated because of a red moon.

For those of you who didn’t see it, it was spectacular. The moon during a total eclipse looks red because the way the light from the sun bounces off the earth. So technically I saw the light of sunrise and sunset at once. How cool is that? I took pictures and notes, naturally. It was worth losing sleep for.

You might call me crazy; you might call me dedicated. I woke up at 4:00 a.m., stood outside in the cold for two hours, and got weird looks from the neighbors, all for the sake of writing research.

What’s the funnest, oddest, or even most dangerous thing you’ve done to connect with your story? Did you travel somewhere your character has been? Try a new or exotic food? Stare at a moon?

Tuesday Tip

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tip#1When you start writing, you begin with an outline. When you start editing, you begin with a checklist.

Writers are often warned about the many mistakes they can and will make in their first drafts, but what about the mistakes they can make editing? During this stage, you can miss errors or introduce entirely new ones. You won’t catch all your mistakes in one pass and you shouldn’t try. Like painting a wall, editing requires several layers.

Layers. You know, like an onion–or ogres. Ogres have layers. Onions have layers. You get it, they both have layers. The editing process is less overwhelming when broken into layers or steps. As a former copy editor, I was taught to make three passes. The first pass was for content and structure alone (except for any glaring, obvious punctuation), saving the final two passes for grammar and punctuation.

There are several types of editing. I’ve broken it down into two.

Substantive: Also called content editing or developmental editing. This is where you edit your manuscript for organization, content, and presentation to tighten and polish the writing. This includes reorganizing and restructuring so that everything fits into the big picture.

Mechanical: This is where you edit for accuracy, consistency, and conformity to style, grammar, and punctuation.

With so much to look for, how can you be sure you leave no stones unturned? This is where creating an editing checklist comes into play.

First Stage: Readability and Content

The biggest  mistake I think self-editors make is trying to fix everything at once, especially grammar. This is the LAST thing you should tackle, because you will waste so much time fixing the punctuation of a sentence only to change it or even cut it later. You don’t sew the buttons on a shirt before you’ve attached the sleeves. Think of your commas as buttons, and put them in last

If you think about it, we’re going to scrutinize your manuscript as you would admire a painting. Start with the big picture and then look for the minute details.

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What to Look For

  • Plot
    • structure: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, denouement 
    • call to action/adventure
    • scenes in a cohesive order
    • themes support the plot
    • test, allies, enemies
    • plot holes
    • do subplots aid or detract from main plot
  • Setting:
    • when
    • where
  •  Style
    • sentence variety
    • clear, concise words
    • remove vague or overused words
    • replace passive voice for active voice
    • Remove unnecessary words, sentences, and paragraphs
    • remove redundant words, sentences, scenes, characters
    • link beginnings of chapters to the ends of preceding chapters. likewise, link the end of the book to the beginning.
  •  Conflict
    • main conflict
    • are there too many, not enough
    • is each conflict worse than the one before
  • Pacing
  • Tension/Suspense
  •  POV
    • are the POV’s distinct?
    • consistent
    • is each scene told in the right POV?
    • too many?
  •  Characters
    • consistency of physical appearance, personality, attributes
    • motivation
    • name spelled consistently
    • too many/not enough side characters
    • side characters enhance or distract from main protagonist
  •  Dialogue
    • purposeful
    • natural or contrived?

Second Stage: Mechanics and Grammar

After your first pass, you’re probably pretty tired–but you’re not done. To be honest, the first stage of editing might take two or more passes. Now that your ducks are in a row, it’s time for everyone’s favorite editing stage: grammar and punctuation.

What to Look For

  • Capital letters
    • first word in the sentence
    • proper nouns
    • names
  • Spelling
    • names of places, characters, things
    • check commonly confused words it’s/its, effect/affect, etc
  • Grammar
    • punctuation
      • commas
      • semi colons
      • colons
      • periods
  • Sentence fragments
  • Subject verb agreement
  • Verb tense
  • Hyphenation
  • Numbers
  • Quotations

The editing checklist might seem longer than your manuscript, but think of it as your polishing guide. Remember, you don’t have to do this alone. Beta readers can help spot plot holes and other content issues. Likewise, you can relieve the burden of editing altogether with an editor, though I highly recommend going through once yourself to remove obvious errors. This will save your editor time, which will save you money.

How many of you use an editing checklist? Did you find this helpful?

While I’m editing my sister’s manuscript, most of my Tuesday Tips will be about editing. In the next couple of weeks, I’ll be working my way down the list to discuss each part in more detail. Join me next week when I discuss plot.

Free Fuel Day!

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No, not that kind of fuel–writing fuel. You know, coffee!!! You’ll still have to pay today to fill up your car’s tank, but you’ll pay little or nothing to fill up your writer’s tank, because it’s National Coffee Day!

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For an entire week, in honor of National Coffee Day, McDonald’s has been giving away free coffee. Today is the last day. Anyone who has had McDonald’s coffee knows it’s not the best. Hell, it might even be the worst. Some days it’s good, some days it’s bad, but hey, it’s free. I’m sure Starbucks will be giving out samples as well, so I’ll be bouncing all over town to get specials–not to mention bouncing off the walls.

Why celebrate coffee? Same reason we celebrate Mother’s day or Administrative Professionals’ Day, to thank this awesome beverage for all it does 365 days a year. It keeps us awake, alert, and ready to write. Thank you, coffee for giving me that kick in the brain I need every morning and every evening.

Right now, I’m enjoying a dollar latte from Coffee Junkeez. Check out your local businesses to see if they are offering free or discounted coffee.

Tuesday Tip

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tip#1It’s Tuesday again–time for another tip. I’m going to apologize, because I started writing this today, which is a big mistake, but also a great learning experience. Many of my Tuesday tips actually come from writing them.

Long story short, I had been working on a draft for two days; however, there was no way I was going to get it polished in time to be a Tuesday tip (Wednesday perhaps, but that isn’t the name of this post). So I had to think of a new topic last minute, which got me thinking. How many of you post the same day you write the draft? How many of you like to put a full night’s sleep between you and your draft before posting so you can go back and look at it with a fresh mind?

I’m taking my own advice today by creating this post using a 5 step method that I normally utilize. Although I recommend taking two to three days to write a post (one day to research and outline, one to finish the draft, and the next to edit and revise), this method will allow you to write a well-structured post in a couple of days or in a last-minute pinch.

Step 1 Outline

It’s important to outline. If you don’t know what needs to be said and when, putting your draft together might look something like this:

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  1. choose a subject
    1. something you are passionate about.
    2. something you know a lot about
    3. something you’ve recently talked about with other people
    4. a current trend
  2. decide tone and style
    1. formal/informal
    2. serious, playful, professional, etc
    3. consider audience
    4. consider prior post
    5. consider your topic
  3. research
    1. what you don’t know
    2. what others have said on the topic
    3. sources (keep a list and links)

This last part can take an hour or more, which is why I suggest researching and outlining the first day, and drafting the next.

Step 2 Create the structure

This is where you take those bare bones and put them together to form a skeleton. Create your headings and subheadings. This will help you keep your thoughts organized when you go to write. For instance, let’s say you were writing a post about auto insurance for beginners. Your structural outline might look like this:

  1. Introduction
  2. Why you need auto insurance
  3. Coverages
    1. liability
      1. property damage
      2. bodily injury
    2. comprehensive and collision
      1. deductibles
      2. exclusions
    3. uninsured underinsured
    4. medical
    5. towing and rental reimbursement
  4. How to save money on auto insurance
    1. discounts
    2. compare rates
    3. combine policies
    4. safe driving
  5. Conclusion

Step 3 Write

Just write off-the cuff. I do recommend writing in order. Start with your introduction. Try to hook your reader as well as clearly state what you will be writing about. Fill in the headings and subheadings. Because there’s already an outline, it’s like filling in the blanks of a multiple choice quiz. Lastly, write your conclusion. Re-emphasizes main points and tie it back to your introduction. This is also a great place to call your readers to action, even if it is just to encourage them to comment and share.

Do not edit as you write. Your writing will be more natural and sound less robotic or contrived if you just write what you think as you think. Write quickly, fast enough to keep up wth your thoughts. What you write may be rough, nonsensical, even off topic, but just get the words down. Get all your thoughts out. Trust me, some of them will be good.

Step 4 Edit

You’ve spent all that time prepping, and now it’s time for surgery. Go back and tweak, chop, hack, burn, add and remove words until you are left with something that gets your message across. You are looking for the same things you would if you were editing your novel or a research paper.

  1. sentence flow
  2. redundancies
  3. spelling and grammar errors
  4. readability
  5. structure
  6. relevancy (make sure everything contributes to the big picture)

Step 5 The final touches

This is like adding jewelry and accessories to your wardrobe.

  1. choose images (it’s google time!)
  2. assign a  category
  3. don’t forget tags
  4. create links if you need them

Now you are ready to click publish. Don’t forget to share your post on twitter, Facebook, and other writing platforms that you have. Hopefully you found this helpful, and you don’t find yourself in a bind like I did. Follow the 5-step method and you’ll have a perfectly polished post by the day you need to publish it.

The Versatile Blogger Award

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This has been a good month for my blog. I reached my one-year anniversary; I’ve surpassed personal records for views, likes, and comments; and I’ve been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award.

I was nominated by Lori Maclaughlin, a fellow writer and Tolkien/fantasy fan. I’ve enjoyed reading her post, and so will you. Please check her out.versatile-blogger

http://lorilmaclaughlin.com/

The requirements are to list seven random facts about myself and nominate 15 other bloggers I’ve recently started following. Here goes . . .

Random Facts:

  1. I have a twin sister who also writes.  I get “twin senses” or fancy panic attacks whenever my sister is in danger. I consider myself a little psychic, or at least when it comes to my twin.  Check out her blog at http://litchicblog.wordpress.com/
  2. I love owls, Frozen, and The Hobbit. By “love” I mean obsess, really. If I see Frozen, Hobbit, or owl stuff, I have to buy it. Needless to say, my bathroom and bedroom are decorated in owls, and owls are invading the family room and the kitchen. Also, I know all of the songs from Frozen, even the bad ones.
  3. Aside from writing, I’m very good at drawing–or at least I used to be. It’s been awhile. About a year ago I sketched some concept art for my WIP. Since then, my only artistic endeavor has been on my son’s magnet doodle board.
  4. I was born with cataracts. No, I’m not blind, and yes, I can see. I know what you’re imagining, and I am not squinting two inches from my computer screen. There’s a healthy foot of distance between me and the technology.
  5. I love to sing, which my son loves and my sister hates. Maybe it’s my voice or the genre of music I favor. What’s so random about this fact? Well, I can sing in a deep man voice despite the fact that I have the body of a 12-year old boy. I think I fall between a man’s tenor and baritone, like Josh Groban. lol My favorite songs to sing are from The Phantom and Les Mis, which are my son’s favorite bedtime songs.
  6. Halloween is my favorite holiday. If you’ve ever watched Roseanne you’ll get a glimpse of what my family is like. This month, I’ve spent a paycheck on Halloween decorations. I’m also planning an elaborate costume that will match my sister’s.
  7. I don’t wear any makeup. I feel like that is a rare thing these days, because it seems like most women wear at least a little. With no statistics or percentages to back it up, I’m sure It’s still pretty safe to say I’m an oddity. My morning face matches my evening face: How many people can say that? I thought the older I got, the more I’d be tempted to wear it, but I’ve noticed the reverse. From one who has been all over the spectrum of ugly and beautiful, I’m just comfortable and accepting of how I look.

And my Nominees are . . .

  1. James D. Roberts offers his thoughts on writing, as well as advice. I really enjoy his writing style and his wit–and so will you.
  2. Nicholas Rossis writes children’s stories, sci-fi, and fantasy. I also follow him on Twitter, which is how I found out he had a blog.
  3. Roger Colby is a teacher and a writer. You’ll enjoy his blog. The title says it all “Writing Is Hard Work.”
  4. Ryan Lanz has a great blog for writing tips and information. I visit his blog for inspiration. That word pops up a lot in his post, so if you need some, you’ll know where to go.
  5. Christine Campbell is a published author, and I learn a lot about marketing, blogging, and self publishing from her post.
  6. the writerscafe247 is a very creative and fun blog that reminds me that writing doesn’t have to be a solitary act.
  7. Therin Knite  This is where I go to find awesome Indie books to purchase. Check it out.
  8. Tara Sparling is very knowledgeable about writing trends. Her post are fun and informative. If you aren’t following her, you should be.
  9. James writes for fans of Tolkien. If you want sneak peeks of the Hobbit movie, this is where to go to see the latest trailer, posters, rumors, etc.
  10. Dylan Hearn  is another talented author I follow on Twitter. Check out his blog.
  11. Chris The Story Reading Ape’s Blog is all about author connection and promotion. This is a great blog to find writing and editing advice.
  12. Roy Jacobsen writes great post about writing and editing. This is probably one of the best blogs for grammar advice.
  13. Steph Snow Her picture says it all. She offers unfiltered thoughts on writing and other topics.
  14. Kev Cooper is a fellow writer–and cat lover. He is a great writer to connect with.
  15. Chris McMullen is an experienced writer. Her blog is perfect if you want good advice and inspiration.

If you are nominated or would like to nominate someone for this award please visit:

http://versatilebloggeraward.wordpress.com/vba-rules/

Where Did the Time Go?

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So, I did something that would be taboo in a marriage: I forgot my one-year anniversary. I started my blog a year ago on September 5, 2013. It is now the 13th, so I’m roughly eight days late. My anniversary fell on a Friday, so I know why I missed it. It was a busy day at work, I was figuring out a new visitation schedule for my son, and, as I’ve mentioned in another post, my family has been dealing with a serious illness. So between doctor appointments and flip-flopping schedules, it’s no wonder my anniversary fell under my radar. (And yet I remember when McDonald’s will be giving away free coffee and when GoT season 4 will be on DVD.)

My motto this month has been celebrate the small stuff, like baking banana bread with my mom, getting my office organized, etc. So I’m going to have a little belated one-year anniversary celebration.

imagesWhat did I accomplish this year, and what’s in store for next year? My very first blog post was about a write-in I had with my sister and her friend from college. I really enjoyed connecting with Sarah Wright, and getting to discuss writing and blogging. Sarah was actually the one who convinced me and my sister that blogging is essential to a writer’s platform. Please check out her blog at http://smwright.wordpress.com/

 I wrote my first post during the write-in; since then, I’ve written over 60 post and connected with over 200 writers, readers, and bloggers with WordPress. It’s been a great experience. I feel like I’m part of a writing community.

Since that first post, I’ve talked about writing: the ups and downs, challenges and accomplishments, and what to do and what not to do. In July, I started my first weekly feature: Tuesday Tips. I’ve had a lot of good response to these, so I will keep doing them until I run out of advice. Aside from helping other writers, I’d also like to support and promote them as well. I want to start a feature where I ask authors a question. Kind of like an author interview, but with one question that focuses on a particular strength I feel the writer has. This will be a great opportunity for them to help other writers by sharing their strengths as well as promote themselves, their writing, and gain exposure.

I’d also like to feature a poet a month. I’ve read some great poetry on WordPress, and I’d like to give poets a chance to spotlight a poem of their choice.

The third feature is a collaboration with my sister called “Twin Talk.” We are super excited about this feature, which would appear on both our blogs. We realize we aren’t using our twin gimmick enough. I mean, how awesome is it that I have an identical twin who also likes to write and blog and talk about writing! We’d like to pick one topic a month and discuss it and post our discussion on our blogs. The only reason we haven’t started this yet is because we need web cams or something to record our chats so we can upload the videos. Any advice on this would be welcome.

What do you like about my blog? What would you change? Any thoughts? Also, if you are interested in being featured on my blog, please let me know either in the comments below, via twitter, or the contact section I will be updating shortly.

Thank you all for making this a wonderful blogging year.