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Monday, October 3, 2016

Quit Whining Start Writing - October 2016 Writer's Conference

Hey Writers! Sorry for the last minute notice, but I just came across a writer's conference happening in Michigan this week. Take a day and head over to Grand Rapids for the Quit Whining Start Writing Writer's Conference which features keynote speakers, writing workshops and more.

For more information:

Monday, July 25, 2016

Writing Through It

Lately I have felt paralyzed by the darkness in our world. Each time I get inspired to write, I open my laptop and make the mistake of tuning into Facebook or browsing the news feeds and suddenly I am not writing. I am reading about a mass shooting or a political scandal and the inspired me is shriveling and shrinking and crawling back inside so that I don't have to think about it. You see, good writing comes from that deeper self that is connected to it all. The self that feels huge love and compassion and fear and gratitude and hope and apathy and rage. The self that is a reflection of my truth and that cannot look upon these horrors and remain unaffected. Instead, I look and recoil and then try to back away. Rather than feeling inspired to write something positive to balance the energies of all that negative, I feel scared.

I am a new mother. I am a daughter, a wife (sort of), a sister, a grand-daughter, an aunt, a cousin, a friend. Like most of the world, I love. When I read about the death of a child, it reaches into the depths of my being and squeezes until I have to rip my attention away and put it somewhere else. Tragedy is hard, but when it is intentional, when it is committed by a person or persons with malice, it becomes this horrifying enigma. Now I am looking - not only at the injustice for the victim and the grief for the family - but also the motivation of the person who acted out their cruelty. Why did they do it? This is the cycle that cripples me. It is here in this tornado of shock, sadness and ultimately questioning, that writing becomes less than secondary. I can barely think of writing. I wonder what's the point? I might pen something that inspires hope, but will it merely be buried beneath the onslaught of another day's darkness?

Yes, it probably will. But still I do it. Not always, sometimes I just watch a movie and snuggle my baby and pray that love wins. But writing is my way out of that confusion. It is also this hugely powerful tool to influence the world in a positive way. Just as my heart breaks when I read about tragedy, it soars when I read a beautiful poem or laugh at a funny story. The pen is mightier than the sword. We can see that when we are broken by the stories of these tragedies. We were not shot, attacked or abused, but collectively we feel beaten when we're constantly steeped in the stories of those who were. It is our job - and by our I mean the whole of humanity - to cast our awareness onto all that is good and beautiful. We have to write about the love in those moments when we feel lost.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Marketing and Sales Opportunity for Michigan Authors

Hello Michigan writers! Read below for an opportunity to sell and showcase your work at Arts and Greens, the Huron Valley Council for the Arts: Annual Holiday Fair: 
     The Huron Valley Council for the Arts is currently looking for talented authors of books for children and teens for our annual holiday fair, Arts & Greens. We would like to invite you to apply to be a part of this unique show; applications are now up on the HVCA website,, under Artist Opportunities. Arts & Greens Holiday Market is held inside the gorgeous Bogie Lake Greenhouses. Guests can shop the artist and author booths nestled between festive displays of poinsettias and other holiday greens. The unique setting makes this holiday show a must for many Oakland County residents. In addition , visitors can also enjoy live music ranging from the Huron Valley Community Chorus to the ever popular Tuba Christmas performance. The talented staff of Bogie Lake Greenhouses will be conducting free holiday greens-arranging classes throughout the weekend, where they will be teaching visitors the fine art of creating that perfect table centerpiece or festive holiday decoration. Arts & Greens will be celebrating its 12th anniversary this year; come and be part of the unique holiday show! If you have any questions please contact the Arts & Greens team at Kind regards, Sybil Phelps, Authors Coordinator Arts @ Greens

Friday, March 11, 2016

Don't Miss A Rally of Writers: Michigan Writer's Conference

Whether you're a novice writer beginning to explore writing professionally or a seasoned wordsmith, A Rally of Writers is a conference worth checking out. The 2016 writer's conference takes place on April 9th in Lansing, Michigan. The Rally offers sixteen sessions from Building and Selling a Fantasy Series to Post Publication Pitfalls geared toward helping you navigate the murky waters of writing for publication. A variety of speakers, an opportunity to network with other writers and even a chance to have your manuscript reviewed are all available at the 2016 Rally for Writers

What: A Rally of Writers: Michigan Writer's Conference

When: April 9th, 2016 from 8:30 AM - 5 PM

Where: Lansing Community College West Campus Conference Center

Cost: $85 for Advance Tickets - $100 At the Door

For more information visit A Rally of Writer's Website

Monday, February 15, 2016

Beta Readers for Your Unpublished Manuscript

Somewhere along your book writing journey, you're going to have to stop slamming your laptop when people peer over your shoulder, and actually share your work. To non-writers this is a piece of cake; however, after you've spent years meticulously crafting your narrative, releasing it to potentially critical eyes can be pretty unnerving. Which is why it's especially important for those writer's who are the most terrified at the prospect of revealing their work. One of our greatest obstacles as writers, is coming out of the comfort of our writing room and interacting with other human beings. It's also a huge part of successful book marketing these days - even more so if you're choosing to self publish.

Beta readers come in all shapes and sizes. You might begin with friends and family, but keep in mind that they love you and don't want to hurt your feelings so getting truly honest feedback from them may be hard, if not impossible. Moving beyond that sphere, are you part of a book club or writer's organization? Ideally, your beta readers will not only be readers, but readers within your genre. Another option is to reach out via social media, especially if you have created a platform that communicates to an audience of people who like the kinds of books that you write. You might also consider seeking beta readers on websites such as or another of thousands of websites that help connect writers with beta readers. One of the benefits of this final option is that you can get reviews that are not biased by a personal relationship with you.

When you find your readers, do your best to make the reading process easy for them. Make sure that your final draft has already been revised, spell-checked and organized into chapters. For friends and family, I send my manuscript in GoogleDocs with editing enabled so that they can put feedback in the body of the text. Make sure that the copy is clean and easy to read.

And then wait. A lot of our writing life is a waiting game, but begin another project in the meantime. When the feedback comes back, consider it carefully, but don't immediately start red penning your manuscript. Look for trends in criticism to see where multiple readers are noticing the same issue (i.e. a character who lacks depth). Everyone reads from their unique perception and not every piece of feedback will be good or even useful to you. When it's all said and done - thank your beta readers profusely - and if you have other books maybe even offer them a freebie to increase the chances that they will read and critique your next manuscript as well.