Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Weekly Wednesday Writing Prompt

Write about someone
who is hopeful for a
holiday reconciliation.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Expert Advice

"Don't tell me
the moon is shining;
show me the
glint of light
on broken glass."
~Anton Chekhov

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Weekly Wednesday Writing Prompt

Write about someone
who has misplaced
something essential
to their day.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Spark Word

Today's Spark Word is:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Expert Advice

"Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Weekly Wednesday Writing Prompt

Write about someone
who is trying desperately
to blend in.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Spark Word

Today's Spark Word is:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Weekly Wednesday Writing Prompt

Do a modern day twist
on a classic fairy tale.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tip To Try

If you have an over-packed schedule and your life is dictated by the scribbles on your calendar, then pen-in your writing time. Even if you can only manage a half hour per day, you’ll see a dramatic increase in your output. Squeezing writing time into your breaks and lunches at work can also help increase your daily word count. A ten-minute writing binge could mean a huge breakthrough in your plot or that witty line of dialogue you’ve been grasping for. Because some of our best writing ideas come when we’re involved in other activities, mini writing breaks scattered throughout the day can move your project along in small but significant steps.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Spark Word

Today's Spark Word is:

Monday, October 12, 2009

Expert Advice

"Fill your paper
with the breathings
of your heart..."
~ William Wordsworth

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Weekly Wednesday Writing Prompt

While flipping through
your favorite home
decor magazine,
single out a room that
really speaks to you.
Develop a character
that lives in that space.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Weekly Wednesday Writing Prompt

Write about a
sweet addiction.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Spark Word

Today's Spark Word is:

Friday, September 25, 2009

Tips To Try

As you read, do you ever come across a beautiful line of description or a clever turn of phrase that you wish to remember and aspire to? Try keeping an "Author Admiration" journal. All you need is a small notebook and a pen, and you're ready to jot down all those juicy bits as you happen across them. Anytime you feel that your own writing is coming across as lackluster and dry, simply immerse yourself in a page or two of your own, personalized creative brilliance-meter. You'll return to the page invigorated and inspired!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Weekly Wednesday Writing Prompt

Write about someone
who receives their
birthday wish, only to
discover it isn't at all
what they'd expected.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Expert Advice

If you stuff yourself full of poems, essays, plays, stories, novels, films, comic strips, magazines, music, you automatically explode every morning like Old Faithful. I have never had a dry spell in my life, mainly because I feed myself well, to the point of bursting. I wake early and hear my morning voices leaping around in my head like jumping beans. I get out of bed to trap them before they escape.
~ Ray Bradbury

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Weekly Wednesday Writing Prompt

Write about a bunch
of people who are all
trying to crowd into
a confined space.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Spark Word

Today's Spark Word is:

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Weekly Wednesday Writing Prompt

Write about a beggar who loves to hear himself sing.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Tips To Try

From the article "What's Your Perspective?" by Page Lambert in the September 2009 issue of The Writer magazine:

"Every character should want something, even if it's only a glass of water. Identify that glass of water for each character, and then let that desire color everything the character does and says."

Friday, September 04, 2009

Spark Word

Today's Spark Words is:

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Weekly Wednesday Writing Prompt

Write about someone
who receives
something other
than what they

Monday, August 31, 2009

Expert Advice

If you’re going to be a writer,
the first essential is just to write.
Do not wait for an idea.
Start writing something
and the ideas will come.
You have to turn the faucet on
before the water starts to flow.
~ Louis L’Amour

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Spark Word

Today's Spark Word is:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Weekly Wednesday Writing Prompt

Write about someone
who still does something
the old-fashioned way
in remembrance of
someone dear.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Expert Advice

The difference between
the right word
and the almost right word
is the difference
between lightning
and the lightning bug.
~ Mark Twain

Monday, August 17, 2009

Spark Word

Today's Spark Word is:

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Weekly Wednesday Writing Prompt

Take an interest you've
always wanted to pursue,
had you only the time,
and make that the main
passion of a new character.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Expert Advice

"This is the secret to writing:
a tube of super glue.
You apply the glue to
the seat of your pants,
and then apply your pants
to the seat of the chair."
~ Lynne Alpern

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Weekly Wednesday Writing Prompt

Write about a moment
of unexpected bliss.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Spark Word

Today's Spark Word is:

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Weekly Wednesday Writing Prompt

Write about someone who wishes they could be just like someone else.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Expert Advice

"There are so many different kinds of writing and so many ways to work that the only rule is this: do what works. Almost everything has been tried and found to succeed for somebody.
The methods, even the ideas of successful writers contradict each other in a most heartening way, and the only element I find common to all successful writers is persistence --
an overwhelming determination to succeed."
~ Sophy Burnham

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Spark Word

Today's Spark Word is:


Thursday, June 25, 2009

An Interview with Author Kathy Otten

Today I have something very special to share with you all -- an interview with a wonderfully talented local author,
Kathy Otten.

Kathy, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview.
You are such a gifted writer, and I really appreciate you sharing your insights and information about your work with us.

So tell me, have you always loved to write?

I have been making up stories and writing them down as long as I can remember. When I was a kid I would divide loose-leaf paper in half, write on the bottom, color a picture on top, and weave yarn through the holes. Once I got in high school I began filling notebooks.

What was it that made you realize that this was more than just a hobby, and it was time to get serious about writing as a possible career?

My kids were getting old enough to drive themselves to work and games and I found myself with more free time. Someone gave me their old, used computer and I started typing some of my better stories into the computer. I realized they weren't as good as I wanted so I started buying books on how to write. The kids went off to college and I had even more time. There was no epiphany; just a slow evolution.

How do you go about developing characters and story ideas? Which comes to you first?

My characters come to me first. They lurk in the periphery of my mind until I pay attention to them. Most of the time it's the hero, sometimes the heroine. Sometimes they just stand there, sometimes they are doing something. I notice what they are wearing and what they look like as I see them in that moment. Once in a while they have a name. Most times I have to hunt for one. When I find the right name, I just know it. Then I start asking them the who, what, where and when questions. Among the questions will be something about that character's internal and external goals. I'll start pondering his/her answer until another character pops into my head who can both give him/her what they want and also be the force to keep him/her from getting what they want. After I have the characters, bits of dialogue and scenes will pop into my head while I'm driving or walking the dogs. I write them down and when I get enough of them I start putting them into some kind of order. Eventually, I end up with a story.

I've got to know, what was your first publishing experience like?

I had written a couple of short stories as a sort of personal exercise in Point of View. Once they were finished I didn't want to leave them in my file drawer, so I began searching romance magazines, looking for a home for my stories. But my short stories were Civil War romances and it was hard to find a market. Then about three years ago I found a little blurb in the Pennwriters newsletter, about an electronic romance publisher, The Wild Rose Press, who was open to submissions in everything from short stories to novel, even American historicals. I didn't even have a computer at the time and between the library and my daughter's lap top I submitted one of the stories, Redemption of a Cavalier. The editor liked it and after edits it was released in e-format in February 2007.

I know you're working on a new novel at the moment. Could you tell us a little bit about it?

Currently I'm polishing and fixing scenes for a historical, western romance novel about a troubled Deputy Marshal in Indian Territory and the fiesty outlaw he's sworn to bring to justice.

It sure sounds exciting! Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Perserverance. Don't quit. Writing is hard. Handling rejection is hard. Rewriting and constantly honing the manuscript is hard. Sometimes you have to force yourself to sit down and write. And it can be a very lonely with nothing but the computer for company. But if you want it, you have to keep pluging away until something else comes along that you want more.

One last question. Where can we find your books?

My short stories, Redemption of a Cavalier and Someone to Share the Sunsets are only available in e-format through my publisher, My holiday novellas, A Christmas Smile and An Ordinary Angel (coming Dec. 9th) are available in e-format only from & My historical western novel, Between the Lines is available in both electronic and print formats. It can be purchased through any of the above websites as well as or ordered from your favorite bookseller.

Well, thank you so much for stopping by and sharing some of your expertise with us!
For more information on Kathy and her books, visit her website at:

Thanks again, Kathy!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Weekly Wednesday Writing Prompt

Write about someone who
is trying to be something
they are not.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Spark Word

In honor of my son Elliott's sixth birthday today, the spark word of the week is:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Weekly Wednesday Writing Prompt

Bring to life a commonplace object you encounter on a
daily basis, that is often overlooked until it is needed.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Expert Advice

One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper patterns at the right moment.
~Hart Crane, American Poet

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Spark Word

Today's Spark Word is:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Weekly Wednesday Writing Prompt

Write about someone who drastically changes their room color to symbolize the drastic changes they are making in their life.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Expert Advice

"Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on."
-- John Steinbeck

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Weekly Wednesday Writing Prompt

Write about something that's
brand-spanking new.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Spark Word

Today's Spark Word is:


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Weekly Wednesday Writing Prompt

Write about an unlikely friendship amongst unusual characters.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Expert Advice

Introducing a new segment here at my blog, "Expert Advice" where I get to take all the wonderful little tidbits I gather from the host of writing books I read and share them with you all!
For today, a little tip on how to start a story. If you don't know what to say, just start saying it. Keep "talking" to the page until it talks back to you.
"I start with a line of dialogue. I have no idea half the time who's speaking or what they're saying. I'll start with that line, and the more dialogue I write, the better I get to know the characters."
-- August Wilson

Monday, May 25, 2009


So for the past week I've been doing something very interesting... An author by the name of William Vitanyi, who also happens to own a small publishing company, came up with a truly novel (pun intended) idea: Why not get a bunch of strangers together and all write a book together in three weeks? He decided to call it Build-A-Book.

I read about it in our local newspaper last Sunday, and thought it was too crazy to pass up! So I dragged my brother down with me, and we went to check it out. About 30 people showed up, all eager and willing to participate. Mr. Vitanyi had written out an entire novel idea about a young girl who meets an elderly man at a nursing home and he tells her something that changes her life forever. He took the plot and divided it into 78 sections, or scenes, which we could choose from and then go home and write. All sections had to be turned in by Friday at 5:00 PM sharp -- just 5 days later! The other two weeks would be needed for editing and continuity.

I, myself, ended up with 5 sections, and wrote like a mad woman all week long. In the end, my final word count for the week was 4,490 words -- and that's NOT including the thousands of others who lost their lives on the editing room floor! Not bad. Not bad at all. Especially considering I hadn't put that many words down in the last year, most likely. It was a TON of work, but a total rush and I enjoyed every second of it.

Now the ball is in Mr. Vitanyi's court. But in two more weeks we will all meet back for a ceremony at which the finished novel will be unveiled. All the local libraries have been invited and will receive a donated copy, and the media will also be there for a recap from their story last week. It should be exciting!

If the book turns out to be interesting, Mr. Vitanyi said he just might assign an ISBN# to it and make it available on and other retailers. All of us get to share in any profits.

And best of all, in two more weeks there's going to be a book out there with MY name on it! I've dreamed of this my whole life, and now it's finally coming true! I can hardly believe it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Spark Word

Today's Spark Word is:

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Weekly Wednesday Writing Prompt

Write about someone to whom a letter makes all the difference.