Friday, December 20, 2013

Times They Were A-Changing

I am pleased to welcome to my blog Kate Farrell, here to introduce a wonderful, exciting women's anthology, just in time for the holidays. 

Linda Joy Myers, Kate Farrell and Amber Lea Starfire launch 
Times They Were A-Changing: Women Remember the '60s and '70s. The book is the perfect gift for opening discussions with friends and family members and illustrating what a powerful time the '60s and '70s truly were.

Forty-eight powerful stories and poems etch in vivid detail breakthrough moments experienced by women during the life-changing era that was the ’60s and ’70s. These women rode the sexual revolution with newfound freedom, struggled for identity in divorce courts and boardrooms, and took political action in street marches. They pushed through the boundaries, trampled the taboos, and felt the pain and joy of new experiences. And finally, here, they tell it like it was.Through this collection of women’s stories, we celebrate the women of the ’60s and ’70s and the importance of their legacy.

Kate Farrell shares a little more insight into this amazing anthology.

They say the planets were aligned just so in the ’60s, that the Earth was bombarded with cosmic influences, that we were witnesses to the dawning of a new age. Who can really explain the explosion of social change that did seem to come “out of the blue” and affect us all, no matter if we lived in small towns or urban centers?

When the three of us editors put our heads together to spin the stories of our memories from those times, it was surprising how much passion they still held. In some ways, our tales were the coming of age stories of any generation. But for a young woman coming of age in the ‘60s and ‘70s, the sky was the limit. There were so many ways to experiment. 

The fact that young women did participate in the counterculture or as political activists could be shocking, and it took courage and willingness to risk. That edge, that passion was still alive in how we shared our daring do with one another. To share the passion of the times and what that meant for women became our motivation as editors.

Often that meant sharing secrets. Later decades became more conventional; some ‘60s experiences were best left in the past. What was exciting about editing this anthology was remembering those wilder times, reading other women’s stories that stirred our hidden memories, cheering our authors on when they bared difficult, taboo, or unspoken experiences—ones that had shaped their lives. 

How the ‘60s & ‘70s came about, we’ll never really know. But if cosmic vibrations created them, those vibes linger and move us still. With our anthology and its authentic stories and poems, we hope to share an exciting legacy with our readers, and its spirited passion for change.

Kate Farrell earned a M.A. from UC Berkeley; taught language arts in high schools, colleges, and universities; founded the Word Weaving storytelling project in collaboration with the California Department of Education with a grant from the Zellerbach Family Fund, and published numerous educational materials. She is founder of Wisdom Has a Voice memoir project and edited Wisdom Has a Voice: Every Daughter’s Memories of Mother (2011). Farrell is president of Women’s National Book Association, San Francisco Chapter, a board member of Redwood Branch of the California Writers Club, member of Story Circle Network and National Association of Memoir Writers.

Find out more about the book online:
at Amazon 
Times They Were A-Changing blog:
Twitter: @womensmemoir60s

Thanks for visiting my blog today, Kate.

As always feel free to comment.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Buffy the Blog Slayer

Meet my colleague Buffy Andrews. 
She is an author, blogger, journalist and social media maven. 

By day, she’s a journalist, leading an award-winning staff at the York Daily Record/Sunday News (York, Pennsylvania, USA), where she is Assistant Managing Editor of Features and Niche Publications and social media coordinator.

By night, she’s an author, writing women’s fiction, young adult and middle grade.

For this interview Buffy has agreed to give us some writerly Humor, Inspiration, Camaraderie. 

Humor: Funny Buffy Story

One time I dropped a penny while at the drive-thru window. I couldn’t open my door to get the penny, so I backed up and… CRASH! I destroyed my side car mirror when it hit the drive-through window jutting out. I thought Hubs was going to kill me. At first, I didn’t tell him how much change I actually dropped. I just said I'd dropped some coins.

“How much?” he asked.

I couldn’t lie. "A penny."

So my attempt to get that single dang penny resulted in hundreds of dollars in damage to my car. Lesson learned. Let the little things in life (like a penny) go.   

Inspiration: Buffy Quote:

“Three words of advice for any writer: Make me care”

Here is a link to a whole Pinterest board of more of Buffy's inspirational sayings:


Keep writing. Don’t give up. Believe in yourself, believe in your dream. And when you fall, get back up and try again.

Buffy's newest release: The Christmas Violin

Can there ever be an encore to true love?

It used to be that the only woman he could think about was Camilla. When he closed his eyes it was her that he saw. But now, he saw Willow. And it scared him and made him feel guilty. And yet he couldn’t help himself, couldn’t help feeling what he was feeling…

The last thing grief-stricken widower Peter St John expects to find at the cemetery is love. But one evening, as he lays flowers on Camilla’s grave, he is drawn to the haunting melody of a solitary violin player.

And so he encounters beautiful concert violinist Willow Channing, who has her own grief.

A second, chance meeting fuels the fire. And Peter knows as one song ended, so another begins.

Interesting note about this book: It was written like a violin concerto in three movements.

Other Books by Buffy
          The Yearbook Series: Sue and Tom

In addition to her writing blog, Buffy’s Write Zone, she maintains a social media blog, Buffy's World and check out  her author page. 

Feel Free to comment or ask Buffy a question.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Humor, Inspiration and Camaraderie with Hemingway

What's not to love...tight, sparse, wise writing--one of America's best--Ernest Hemingway.

Here's some Ernest Hemingway inspired Humor:

A visitor to a certain college paused to admire the new Hemingway Hall that had been built on campus.
"It's a pleasure to see a building named for Ernest Hemingway," he said.
"Actually," said his guide, "it's named for Joshua Hemingway. No relation."
The visitor was astonished. "Was Joshua Hemingway a writer, also?"
"Yes, indeed," said his guide. "He wrote a check."
Images of Key West--a place Hemingway called home

Can't forget Key Lime Pie

Hemingway Shares a word or two on the joys of writing:

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at the typewriter and bleed.” Ernest Hemingway

“There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it’s like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.” Ernest Hemingway

“Writing and travel broaden your ass if not your mind and I like to write standing up.”
Ernest Hemingway

“There is no friend as loyal as a book.” Ernest Hemingway


I’ve mentioned on this blog before about my favorite movie (the main character, played by Owen Wilson, is a writer) Midnight in Paris.  Owen Wilson, gets to shmooze with Hemingway.  A must-see.

And while researching Hemingway quotes I found this gem. Not on writing, but still genius.

“Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.” Ernest Hemingway

As always feel free to comment, or share your favorite Hemingway book.

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Hit of Inspiration, Camaraderie and Humor

Writer's Inspiration:

“We have not wings, we cannot soar, but we have feet to scale and climb, by slow degrees, by more and more, the cloudy summits of our time.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.” Helen Keller

photo courtesy of Chris Marin

And so you won't feel so alone while trying to soar, a touch of camaraderie
Success as defined by a writer:

Success consists of going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm. (I have this on a magnet to remind me not to lose enthusiasm)

And if that didn't inspire you maybe a little humor will help.
There was once a young man who professed his desire to become a great writer.
When asked to define great, he said, "I want to write stuff that the whole world will read, stuff that people will react to on a truly emotional level, stuff that will make them scream, stuff that will make them cry and howl in pain and anger! 
He now works for Microsoft writing error messages. :)

And as you soar remember these wise words...

“Eagles may soar, but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines.” John Benfleld
As alway feel free to comment or add your own hit of humor.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Humor and Inspire Me, Buddy!

Back to the Blog

I follow many writer’s blogs, and lately I’ve been unsure what I could possibly add to the writing/author blog-o-sphere. Hence, my longer than usual absence. (Okay, in the spirit of honesty, that may be my brain making excuses.)

But my brain kept saying things blog post needs to be interesting, enticing, entertaining, new, knowledgeable, perky, pretty--STOP--too much pressure. (I feel a migraine coming on.)

So... I asked myself. What do I enjoy in the zillion blogs I read? (Okay, might be an exaggeration or a form of procrastination, take your pick.)

What I like best in blog posts:

Humor. Inspiration. Camaraderie. 

Plus, I like the post to be short, less than a minute read time. (can we say ADHD)

Oh, and visuals--love me a pretty photo.

So... in the spirit of a short, humorous, inspiring, buddy-to-buddy blog post, I give you


A writer died and was given the option of going to heaven or hell.

She decided to check out each place first. As the writer descended into the fiery pits, she saw row upon row of writers chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they were repeatedly whipped with thorny lashes.
"Oh my," said the writer. "Let me see heaven now."
A few moments later, as she ascended into heaven, she saw rows of writers, chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they, too, were whipped with thorny lashes.
"Wait a minute," said the writer. "This is just as bad as hell!"
"Oh no, it's not," replied an unseen voice. "Here, your work gets published."


“It is perfectly okay to write garbage--as long as you edit brilliantly.”
C.J. Cherryh


There’s no instant feedback for writer’s. Instant happens in the time it takes for something like this to occur.

(Photos of New Zealand, Courtesy of Chris Marin)

As always feel free to comment and/or offer what you like to see in the blogs you read.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Ode to Revision

A Royally Rotten Red Day, a children's story I conceived and first wrote ten years ago and has been revised, and revised and revised, is now published in Spread Your Wings by knowonder!  I've always loved this story about a mother and daughter both having one of those days!

- a collection of 
Princess and Dragon stories -

Spread Your Wings, written by professional children’s authors from around the world, is a collection of original Princess and Dragon stories that will inspire and delight both you and your child. Adventures, love, mysteries, magic, and more wait for you in this exciting collection of timeless treasures.

Designed to be read aloud to children of all ages, these stories teach and instill a love of reading - the most important aspect in developing literacy - as well as create many magical moments spent together in each other’s arms.

Here's the Blurb:

A Royally Rotten Red Day: a stressed out Princess is having a royally rotten day, and so is her mother, the Queen, causing the sun in the kingdom to turn from a sunny yellow to a deep dark red.  At the launching of the Royal Navy's newest ship, a soaking catastrophe alerts the Queen and Princess to the problem and together they wiggle, snort and stomp away the red. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

One Writer's "Blind Faith"

Once again, I'm pleased to host my fellow writer and good friend Sandra Tilley to my blog.

Sandra Tilley has a new novellla released this month and serendipitously the title of her new release is "BLIND FAITH".

I say serendipitously because once I read Sandra's answers to my interview questions I realized the title of her release also describes her writerly journey for this story. And I'm all about the writerly journey.

Read how Sandra's "blind faith" produced "Blind Faith".

Here's Sandra:

Thank you, thank you, thank you for having me back on your blog, Suzanne. I love reading it, and it’s a special treat to be on it.

Tell us about writing in this new genre. What genre would you classify “Blind Faith?” and your
target audience?

My new release “Blind Faith” was an experiment. At every level.  Even though it’s being marketed as romantic suspense, “Blind Faith” is a supernatural story about a young college couple faced with a serious dilemma, thus targeting the young twenty-something readers called New Adults. 

I know for a fact you used a different process to write this story.  Tell us about it.

Some of my best friends ( Suzanne included) are pantsters. But the idea of writing pantster-style, without the safety net of my exhaustive outlines filling page after page in my legal pad, made this hard-line plotter hyperventilate. And I can’t count the number of eye rolls and head shakes my friends endured when they would tell me that they just “wrote,” and the story came to them. Until I wrote “Blind Faith.” 

My pantster friends were right. I started writing, and my characters took over. I wanted to write a science fiction story about a GPS, but Emelyn and Daniel wanted to use the errant GPS for their own journey. The story took twists and turns I never expected, dipping my toe into a genre I never expected. 

I apologize to my pantster friends for the eye rolls, but I’m not ready for a membership card. Yet. While I love the spontaneity and surprises I encountered writing “Blind Faith,” I don’t know if I could maintain the level of stress of not knowing what was going to happen for a full-length novel.  
But now that I’ve tasted the pantster wine, I can’t go back to dull, lifeless outlines.  I will have to develop my own process to keep me on track yet still allow room for creative surprises!

Tell us the difference, for you, between writing novel length and novella length.

I love writing novellas. Not only for the obvious reason that it takes less time, but also because it means less meandering and staying focused and to the point. When you write a short story, novella, or novel, all the same concepts are at play: plot, dialogue, conflict, etc.  Think of our writing tools as shiny, round balls that we toss into the air and juggle until the project is finished. Writing a short story or novella compared to writing a novel cuts the juggling time and reduces the stress level. I still see writing novels in my future, but I can also see a series of novellas.

What did you learn after writing, submitting, and publishing this short story?

From my first word on the page to the published word on the e-book, I learned one valuable lesson: nothing in this business moves fast.  More like molasses on a cold morning.  
The only way to endure it is start another project. And another. And another.

Thanks so much for joining me on my blog, Sandra.  
Here's the cover and link to Sandra's new release.
A real bargain at only $0.99 on Amazon. And here's the link to Sandra's website. 

As always feel free to comment or ask Sandra any questions.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

How to Deal with Falling Rocks Landing on the Writer's Road to Publication

I recently read an interesting article by Jack Canfield on Positively Positives’s blog about overcoming obstacles, and right away I thought about how this applies to the writer’s journey.

Are there obstacles standing between you and your finished published manuscript
Lack of time to write? 
Lack of money for conferences, workshops, babysitters? 
Not enough support from your family? 

The obstacles to getting published can seem so numerous, so obvious, and so tough to get past. And the way we deal with obstacles can take a lot of time, and energy away from our creative writing selves. Often the way we deal can keep the focus on the obstacle and not on our forward journey. Two of the most common negative responses to a rock thrown in our path is to explain the rock or to resist the rock.

Here’s Jack Canfield’s analogy of obstacles we may come across.

Imagine you’re driving down a scenic highway. Suddenly, you come to a huge rock in the middle of the road. You have the usual two options. Explain away how the rock ended up there, it must have come loose in a recent earthquake tremor. Or you might resist and complain about the carelessness of highway construction and the lack of government funding for rock removal. 

Or you could bypass all this negativity and just drive around the rock. 

                                                                                  Photo by Chris Marin - Hawaii

Which simply means... instead of asking WHY did this happen, ask WHAT can I do. It seems obvious, but it’s easy to get bogged down when rock, after rock, after rock seems to be dropped on your road to publication.

But look what this woman does with rocks: 

Photos by Jessica Purvis Vancouver, British Columbia June 2012

So instead of seeing the rocks thrown on your road as a STOP sign, which could derail all your efforts, maybe even cause you to give up for awhile, see the rock as a YIELD sign.  Slow down, ask what can I do, but keep moving forward on your writerly path.

And when I need to remind myself that the obstacles are part of being a writer, I think of this Thomas Mann quote:

            “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult   
                                                   than it is for other people.”

Feel free to comment on your obstacles, your ways to deal with them, or anything else.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Walk in the Golden Slippers of a Golden Heart Finalist!

Please welcome to my blog newly published author Carol Post.  Her debut novel Midnight Shadows recently released with Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense. She’s here to inspire and encourage all of us on the winding, twisting road that is a writer’s journey with some tidbits from her journey to publication.

Walk us through your actual process of conceiving of a story through writing your book. The short version. LOL

I am very much a plotter. I come up with my main plot points, then start filling in the scenes in between. When I get everything pretty well mapped out, then I'm ready to start writing. I hear a lot of writers talk about how characters will come to them and just demand their stories. Not me. I get a plot idea, develop it, then decide what kind of characters belong in that story. And I don't dream my story ideas, either. Nope, I have to work for every one of them! 

You were a finalist in the Golden Heart, tell us about that experience and how you decided to enter? 

I started doing the contest circuit at the end of 2009, shortly after I joined RWA, and since the Golden Heart is such a prestigious contest, I knew I had to enter. I didn't final the first time, but I did the second, in 2012. About two months before finding out I was a finalist, I got the call that Harlequin's Love Inspired Suspense was going to publish the manuscript. Although I had already realized my dream of getting published, being a 2012 GH finalist has been very rewarding. The fifty-some finalists have formed a tightly-knit group where we share good news and bad (both writing and non-writing related) and encourage and support each other. We call ourselves the Firebirds, after the mythical creature that rises from the ashes to fly again. You can check out our blog at Every week we do Fiction Friday, where we post serial stories in four or five parts. One segment (except for the conclusion) ends with a cliffhanger and three choices for what happens next that the readers get to vote on. Then whichever choice wins, the next writer has to make that happen. It's a lot of fun.

Do you have a critique group, partner, etc?  How does that work for you? 

I belong to an awesome 4-person critique group. I write inspirational romantic suspense, one critique partner writes inspirational romance, one writes women's fiction and one writes fantasy. I like having CP's from several different genres. They each bring something different to the table. We all belong to the same writer's group, but all of our critiquing is handled online.

Have you been to any conventions?  Which ones?  Would you recommend any, some, all? 

I always go to the Romance Writers of America conference. The speakers are great, the workshops are informative, and it's an excellent opportunity to meet with editors and agents. The energy there is incredible - it's so invigorating being with hundreds of other writers. I always come away inspired. This year I'm planning to attend the American Christian Fiction Writers conference also.

Did you have to pitch? 

Yes, I've pitched a few times. And there's nothing more nerve-wracking! I wrote my last pitch on the plane on the way to RWA Nationals. I figured I'd get it memorized in pieces over the next two days. (Please don't take that as advice on how to do a successful pitch!) Well, I somehow got the appointment date confused and that night realized my pitch was actually the next morning. Fortunately, I memorize well under pressure! Surprisingly enough, that pitch actually ended up being the easiest. I arrived about 15 minutes early, and when I walked in, a writer I had met at Nationals the prior year remembered me and asked if I wanted to practice my pitch with her. After going through it once, one of the volunteers working the pitch sessions asked if I wanted to go early, that the appointment scheduled before mine didn't show up. They always line you up two minutes before your pitch time, and I spend that two minutes getting more and more nervous. This time I got to skip all that, followed the volunteer back and sat right down with Love Inspired's Melissa Endlich without ever having a chance to get nervous.

And here's what happened as a result of that pitch.  Amazon link here.

What one piece of advice would you give to aspiring authors? 

Join a writer's group. Writing is such a solitary activity, and it's so easy to get discouraged and want to quit. (At least it was for me. I quit more times than I can count before I found out about RWA.) I belong to the Tampa chapter of RWA, Tampa Area Romance Authors, and I know that if it weren't for the encouragement and support I've received from my fellow chapter mates, I wouldn't be published today.  Besides all the moral support that writing groups offer, the workshops and conferences give you the opportunity to constantly improve your craft.

What's next for you?  

For the immediate future, I plan to continue writing for Love Inspired Suspense. I just signed a contract for my next two books, one of which is completed. The other I sold on proposal and have until June 15 to finish it. Then I'll start plotting my next series, which will take place in a fictional Florida island community. I'll start the process with a weekend at Cedar Key with my critique partners. (Research is tough, but we've all got to do it!) 

Wow, I’m so jealous of your writer’s retreat in Cedar Key.  I can’t thank you enough for thoughtful answers. Good luck with your new release and the upcoming ones too.

As always feel free to comment.