Saturday, October 22, 2016

Double Your Word Count in Two Weeks

I put a hiatus on editing jobs for the rest of the year so I could finally start writing. I haven't written anything longer than a blog post since I finished Skydiving to Love back in February. My goals for 2017 are to write a novella, Kayla's Challenge for my writing group's Tiny House collection, write and release the third novel in The Circle Bar Ranch series, and write the first in the new Challenge series.

So when I found this post of Janice Thompson's, I paid attention. Who wouldn't want to increase their word count in two weeks?

Just in case this is something you want to do too, I pasted it for you here.

Writers are not all cut from the same cloth. Some race toward the goal, writing five, ten, or even fifteen thousand words a day. Others would think it miraculous to write that many words in a week, or even a month.

No, we’re not all alike, but we all have the same goal in mind: to write the best possible piece and get it into an editor’s capable hands. And we long to do this in a timely manner so that we can move on to the next piece.

So, how can we improve our word count? How can we zip-a-dee-doo-dah toward the goal? Here are a few ideas to speed up the writing process:

1). Give yourself a deadline. If you’re not writing against an editor-induced deadline, give yourself a personal one. You might consider upping the ante a little bit by entering the book in a contest with a very real deadline or by promising your critique partners a certain number of chapters by the end of the week. These self-imposed deadlines become even more real when you write them down. Add them to your calendar.

2). Set a timer. This sounds so simple, but it really works. Set a timer for an hour (or whatever length of time you have to write) and don’t get up out of the chair, no matter what.

3). Set word goals. Tell yourself that you’re not going to get up from the chair until you’ve written a thousand words.

4). Write in chunks of time. When I’m under the gun, I’ll write three times a day, setting a word goal of two thousand words per sitting. For you, it might be five hundred words per sitting. Doesn’t matter. You will get more done if you tell yourself you can do it and if you divide your workday into segments (with downtime in-between).

5). Don’t edit as you go. I know, I know. . .it’s tough! Turn off that internal editor and let the words flow. Write anything that comes to mind, even gibberish. It can be edited out later.

6). If you’re stuck, use word and phrase association. Look at the chapter you’ve just written and pull out words or phrases that refer to some event in the future. Maybe you’ve written that Susie has just learned she’s expecting a baby boy. Instead of pondering what comes next in the story, jump ahead and write the scene where Susie gives birth to her baby boy. Chances are pretty good that scene will pour out of you and will inspire you to write other future scenes.

7). Use writing prompts or other creative writing exercises. Consider a course on creativity. There’s nothing like stirring the imagination to speed up the process.

Above all, value your writing time. Cherish it. Protect it. Don’t give in to the temptation to check your email, browse facebook or do a video chat with a friend. Focus, focus, focus! Write, write, write.

Then, two weeks from now, you can pause to look back over the distance you’ve traveled. I’d be willing to bet you’ll blow yourself away with how much faster you’re writing.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Doors Closed on WOTS First Conference

Our very first conference, "Taking the Indie World by Storm," was a smashing success! We had twenty-one attendees--not too shabby for a first time--along with five presenters, and spent every minute of our time in fellowship, fun, and learning. Special thanks to Anthea Kotlan for setting us up in St. Timothy's Anglican Church. The conference room and kitchen facilities were wonderful. It was perfect setting!

Here's what you missed if you weren't there:

Linda Kozar informed us of the differences between traditional and indie publishing, and provided some useful information about distributors and formats: ebooks, print, and audible. Her speech about ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange) was worth the price of admission right there. Looking forward to learning more about that.

Kathrese McKee gave a super-informative overview about the kinds of resources writers need in their toolboxes. She covered everything from writing aids like Scrivener and Windows Office to the major digital retailers like Amazon, Apple iBook, and Kobo.

Crystal Barnes took us through some basics of book formatting and cover design, highlighting some of the more technical aspects of creating a book--both print and digital. She covered fonts, page set-up, quarter-cover design vs tri-design. Actually, I think she could've taught for the entire six hours without hitting the same topic twice.

Janice Thompson spurred our creative sides with great tips on how to market our books, reiterating the fact that successful marketing has more to do with creating and maintaining relationships with our readers than it does pushing our works all the time.

Linda Yezak explained why authors suffer from sticker-shock when they see the price of an edit and how to keep the price down a bit with the help of critique groups/partners, self-editing, and revisions. I gave some tips and tricks of how to find many of your own mistakes before sending your manuscript for an edit.

Add to the list devotionals from both Anthea and Janice, a wonderful breakfast provided by Linda Kozar and Janice, and a good lunch from a deli that knows what they're doing.

Even now, though, we're doing some analytics--what worked great, what could be improved, what we hope to do next year. Our 2017 mini-conference will be even better. If you did attend, be sure to let us know what you thought---the good and the bad. We would truly value your input.

I didn't make it in time for this pic, so they improvised. Such cut-ups!


The conference took the place of our October meeting, so for those we didn't get to see this past Saturday, we'll see you November 19th. Traci Hilton is joining us to discuss creating and marketing the audio book. 

Saturday, October 1, 2016

News and New Releases

Don't forget the WOTS Mini-Conference--one week from today! Click *here* for more info!

New Releases from WOTS Members:

Due for release October 4.

Christmas at Stoney CreekWhen newspaper reporter Tom Whiteman befriends a homeless man named Joe, Tom decides to bring him home to Stoney Creek, Texas. Joe begins to work odd jobs around town and make new friends, but contradictions in the man’s manner and speech cause Tom to believe there’s more to the old man than meets the eye.

As Tom and his childhood friend Faith Delmont set out to learn the truth about the old man with the kind, sad eyes, Christmas in Stoney Creek becomes one they will never forget as they discover that God’s love can turn tragedy and loss to triumph and that true love comes to those who wait.


Janice's New Novella

Return to Sender: A Christmas Love Letter NovellaHolly O’Brien’s plans are flipped upside-down when she receives what she believes to be a Christmas letter in the mail. Turns out, the letter is from a complete stranger, and is intended for someone else. The passionate note—written with shaky handwriting—clues Holly in to the fact that the writer wants to reconcile with her estranged family. Holly flies into action to find the sender of the letter. Getting it into the right hands is critical. Her journey leads her to the Shady Acres nursing home, where she meets Gertie, the writer of the cryptic letter. Only one problem: Gertie, who has Alzheimer’s, has no memory of writing it. Enter Liam, Gertie’s handsome grandson. Does he have to key to unraveling this mystery? When Liam and Holly come together, sparks fly, but not all of them in the right direction. Can they work together to solve the mystery behind the letter? And will Holly witness a Christmas miracle as she gets to know this wonderful family?


October 2016 New Releases

ACFW Authors

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Biblical Fiction:

Providence: Hannah's Journey by Barbara M. Britton -- When the prophet of Israel refuses to heal her, Hannah flees Jerusalem and is captured by an enemy with a curse all his own. (Biblical from Harbourlight [Pelican])

Shadow of the Storm by Connilyn Cossette -- In defiance of her mother, Shira pursues her heart's calling to become an apprentice midwife. When a delivery goes horribly wrong, Shira finds herself bound to a man who betrayed her, the caretaker of three young children, and the target of a vengeful woman whose husband was killed by Shira's people, the Levites. As contention between the Hebrew tribes and the foreigners fans the flames of another dangerous rebellion, Shira will come face-to-face with the heartbreak of her past that she has kept hidden for so long. How can she let go of all that has defined her to accept the love she's denied herself and embrace who she truly is? (Biblical from Bethany House [Baker])

Christmas Novella:

Christmas Lights by Chautona Havig, Vikki Kestell, Cathe Swanson, and April Hayman -- From historical romance to contemporary cozy mysteries and Christmas wonder, these four "light" reads will warm your heart and ignite your Christmas spirit! (Christmas Novella, Mixed Genres, Independently Published)

Contemporary Romance:

Risking Love by Brenda S. Anderson -- Can cautious bank employee Lissa Morgan risk falling in love with a former thrill-seeker, a widowed single dad, when she may have to foreclose on his house? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

A Mom for Christmas by Lorraine Beatty -- Noah's dream of a happy family and Beth's dream of a continuing ballet career are both dashed, but when they come together they discover that the Lord might have a new dream for both of them. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Sleigh Bells Ring by Sandra D. Bricker, Barbara J. Scott, Lynette Sowell, and Lenora Worth -- Santa Claus is coming to town, and so are the Tucker sisters. The girls have inherited their father's run-down horse farm for Christmas. It needs some serious TLC in order to make it sell-ready. Joanna knows that by recruiting her sisters and one handsome ranch hand they can fix up the place and even celebrate one last Christmas while they're at it. However, to Isabella, returning to their home in Kentucky bluegrass country for Christmas seems like an impossible hurdle. Can her Chicago boyfriend make life merry and bright again? One thing's for sure: nothing is peace on earth for Sophia as a new beau brings up old wounds. And when the fate of the horse farm is put in jeopardy because Amy accidentally fraternizes with the enemy, tensions rise. But it's not like the land developer stole Christmas . . . just her heart. Can the Tucker sisters have themselves a merry little Christmas? (Contemporary Romance from Gilead Publishing)

Do You Hear What I Hear? by Margaret Brownley -- Stranded at the old Star Inn until the road back to his cabin reopens, lumber mill owner Rick Talbot suddenly comes face to face with the past. The only woman he's ever loved is standing in front of the inn's blazing fire trying to get warm. Both Rick and Sally regret what happened between them years ago, but his family lumberyard clashes with her tree-hugging ways and neither are willing to try again. It will take the storm of the century, one stage-struck young boy, a certain meddling "angel"--and even a cranky cat--to convince them that in matters of the heart, sometimes the second time around is best. (Contemporary Romance from St. Martin Press)

More Than a Tiara by Valerie Comer -- Marisa Hiller abandoned her modeling career to nurse a broken heart in Montana, far from the photographer who ruined everything. Her family farm is now part of a CSA program teaching gardening and cooking to single moms, but when the coordinator begs her to represent the program in the Miss Snowflake Pageant, Marisa balks. God has forgiven Jase Mackie but hasn't answered his prayer to bring Marisa back into his life… until Jase finds himself out West as the official photographer for a beauty pageant, face to face with the woman he's never forgotten. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Room at the Inn for Christmas by Mary Connealy -- Ambitious hotel executive Amanda Star's has got her sights set on the CEO job at the multi-national Halston hotel chain. But then she inherits the Star Inn, a place her father had always wanted her to run alongside him. With no time to be away from her job, she rushes home to put the inn up for sale. Once there, she's struggles against keen regret, sweet memories, and the longing to return, which grows stronger when she is reunited with an old classmate: Anthony Carter, a handyman with a guarded heart. (Contemporary Romance from St. Martin Press)

Can't Help Falling by Kara Isaac -- A funny, heartfelt romance about how an antique shop, a wardrobe, and a mysterious tea cup bring two C.S. Lewis fans together in a snowy and picturesque Oxford, England. (Contemporary Romance from Howard [Simon & Schuster])

A Christmas Homecoming by Kimberly Rose Johnson -- Interior design assistant Bailey Calderwood suspects the mysterious admirer sending her cards and flowers is none other than the son of her unpleasable, bed-ridden boss. When Stephen Belafonte's mom demands he fire Bailey, can he find a way to heal the rift in his family as well his own heart, or will he be forced to let Bailey go? (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

Where Two Hearts Meet by Liz Johnson -- When Caden Holt's boss asks her to show off their own beautiful Prince Edward Island to impress a visiting travel writer and save the Red Door Inn, the reclusive executive chef is forced to face a world much bigger than her kitchen--and a man who makes her wish she was beautiful. (Contemporary Romance from Revell [A Division of Baker Publishing Group])

Trust My Heart by Carol J. Post -- Grant McAllister, a jaded big-city lawyer and small-town reporter Jami Carlisle have no hope of finding true love--except for a zany old matchmaker who won't give up. In the unspoiled beauty of the Smoky Mountains, there's healing and forgiveness to be found. And for Grant, this unplanned detour may be just what's needed to finally guide him home. (Contemporary Romance from Waterfall Press)

Insight by Deborah Raney -- She's having a baby. It's a blessing that brings comfort to newly widowed Olivia Cline. Yet with no insurance, no job, and precious little money, how will Olivia care for herself and her child? The answer is a handsome and brooding artist seeking an assistant. Reed Vincent has recently regained his eyesight thanks to a donor. And through his eyes, Olivia begins to see all the possibilities before her. Before them. Until, in a flash of insight, she knows why his signature is so hauntingly familiar. (Contemporary Romance from Raney Day Press)

Silver Bells by Deborah Raney -- As Elvis croons from the radio and Christmas descends upon a small Kansas town, two people find the miracle of love. (Contemporary Romance from Raney Day Press)

A Family Under the Christmas Tree by Terri Reed -- In this heartwarming tale set during the Christmas season, a single father and a fashion photographer are brought together by a young boy and a mischievous Bernese mountain dog--but first they must learn to set aside their differences if they are willing to let their relationship bloom. (Contemporary Romance from Howard [Simon & Schuster])

Third Strand of the Cord by Catherine Richmond -- Caroline will do anything to keep her ex-husband from putting her son with Down syndrome in an institution--even enroll the boy in a class taught by a know-it-all karate instructor. Lee Marivaux is an expert at reading people. He knows his feisty new student will thrive with firm guidance - and he's right. He pegs the boy's mother as a clueless socialite who loafs at the country club - and he's never been so wrong. When Caroline's abusive ex shows up, demanding custody, Lee and Caroline must join forces to keep the boy safe. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Buying Love by Toni Shiloh -- Impatient for marriage, Nina Warrenton places an ad in the newspaper for a husband--attaching a monetary reward. But when she begins to fall for the small-town chef who answers her ad, she realizes how much she wants him to love her and not her money. Dwight Williams needs fast cash to save the family restaurant, but can he let it go to prove his love for Nina? (Contemporary Romance from Celebrate Lit)

Moonlight Over Manhattan by Carrie Turansky -- Professional organizer Sarah Montgomery is hired to organize her elderly neighbor's cluttered apartment by Justin Latimer, her neighbor's grandson. Sarah believes free-spirited Justin is a lazy, unemployed poet who is taking advantage of his grandmother's generosity. Though attracted to him, she guards her heart against her growing feelings. As Sarah and Justin work together to help his grandmother and enjoy Christmas events in NYC, romantic sparks fly. When Sarah discovers who Justin really is, she must decide if she will continue to hide behind her protective wall or open her heart and embrace love. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Love Bears All Things by Beth Wiseman -- Charlotte Dolinsky needs time to recover after breaking up with her boyfriend, Ryan. But when a surprise visitor shows up on her doorstep in Texas, she's forced to put aside her own worries to help her Amish friends in Lancaster County. Daniel Byler struggles each day in his Amish community to heal from his fiancée's betrayal. When he discovers that a member of his family is in danger of being shunned, his pain turns to fear. His only way to help is by partnering with Charlotte, a woman he barely knows who has already deceived them all before. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

General Contemporary (includes Women's Fiction):

Paint The Storm by Dawn V. Cahill -- When Meg is challenged to love her lesbian daughter as Christ would, she struggles to live out God's command, and when her daughter goes missing, she finds herself joined with the unlikeliest of allies in her search for Linzee, and finally learns of God's unconditional grace for sinners. (Contemporary Women's Fiction from Spring Mountain Publishing)

Restoration Road by Elise Phillips -- Mallory Andrews's short trip back to Texas for her mother's funeral quickly becomes a move home to help her grieving father with his contracting business. When her old crush, Tres, hires them for a restoration project Mallory falls in love with the crumbling old house. And when feelings bloom between her and Tres, she finds herself on the road to a brand new, unexpected life filled with faith, sweet tea, and fresh paint. (General Contemporary from Desert Breeze Publishing)

Above All Things by Deborah Raney -- Expecting their first baby, Judd and Evette McGlin are thrilled to become parents. But the couple faces the ultimate test when Judd learns he already has a child: a six-year-old mixed-race girl born amid secrets and lies. Now, Evette must decide if she can accept the child. She thought she was open-minded--until hidden prejudices threaten the future of an innocent little girl, Evette's marriage and the very notion of who she thinks she is. (Contemporary Women's Fiction from Raney Day Press)

Restoring Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti -- Alexis set out to restore a fieldstone farmhouse in need of repair. She didn't expect to restore a life in the process. (General Contemporary from Worthy Inspired)

Strings of Faith by Terry Stafford -- Darcy is a classically trained violinist who dreams of playing bluegrass and winning The National Oldtime Fiddle Contest in Weiser, Idaho. When tragedy strikes, Darcy lays her gift aside for her family and faces unimaginable pain and loss, leading to dissension with her husband, disappointing judgment from her church, and anger with God Himself. Can her gift of music survive when her life is turned upside down? (General Contemporary, Independently Published)


The Lost Generation by Erica Marie Hogan -- On August 5th, 1914, the world changed forever. For John and Beth Young, it meant the happiness they finally achieved was snatched out from under them. For Emma Cote, it meant that her husband Jared would do his duty, despite her feelings. For Christy Simmons, it meant an uncertain future with the boy she loved. The lives of six people, spread across the British Empire to America were changed forever. (Historical from Elk Lake Publishing Inc.)

Aboard Providence by Keely Brooke Keith -- When an accident forces Jonah Ashton to serve as a ship's physician, he boards the Providence with the plan to escort a group of families to their new settlement in South America and then return to Pennsylvania to finish medical school before rumors of Southern rebellion erupt into all-out war. What he doesn't count on is getting lost at sea... and Marian Foster. When the settlers finally reach land, Jonah makes a startling discovery that changes everything, but will it change his heart? (Historical from Crossriver Media Group)

Historical Romance:

The Rails to Love Romance Collection by Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, Amanda Cabot, Lisa Carter, Ramona K. Cecil, Lynn A. Coleman, Susanne Dietze, Kim Vogel Sawyer, Connie Stevens, and Liz Tolsma -- Journey the Transcontinental Railroad along with nine unlikely couples who encounter all the dangers and disappointments of traveling the rails in the late 1800s. From sight-seeing excursions to transports toward new lives, from orphan trains to circus trains, can romances develop into blazing love in a world of cold, hard steel? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Cowboy Christmas Homecoming by Mary Connealy, Ruth Logan Herne, Julie Lessman, and Anna Schmidt -- For widow June Harper, another cold front is about to hit. Most call him Hugh. She'd call him Scrooge, except as the man ensures her needs are met, June can't help but wonder how to meet the needs of his heart. Netty Lewis can take care of herself, has for a while now. And even if Roy, her hired help for the holidays, does take care of her, that doesn't mean he cares for her or that he'll stay past Christmas. Pastor Colton McCabe is not sure he'll make it through the holidays with his new housekeeper. Grace can't seem to do anything right but love. Perhaps being a homekeeper will earn her a permanent residence in his heart. Connie Lancaster is determined to return to St. Louis, and no cowboy can change her mind. But if Isaac can change her heart, maybe Connie will see the homecoming she's been longing for isn't to a place but a person. (Historical Romance from Gilead Publishing)

The Captive Heart by Michelle Griep -- Stranded in a strange land, Eleanor Morgan faces starvation or marriage . . . but who wants to marry a murderer? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

The Rightful Heir by Angel Moore -- Cowboy Jared Ivy must work with stranger Mary Lou Ellison until a judge comes to town and determines which one of them is the rightful heir to his family's Texas newspaper. Intrepid reporter Mary Lou won't lose the Pine Haven Record--the legacy he left her--without a fight. But when she and Jared stop sparring long enough to investigate a story together, they become a force to be reckoned with. Will they let their battle over the Record get in the way of something even more newsworthy: true love? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Christmas at Stoney Creek by Martha Rogers -- When newspaper reporter Tom Whiteman befriends a homeless man named Joe, Tom decides to bring him home to Stoney Creek, Texas for Christmas. As Tom and his childhood friend Faith Delmont set out to learn the truth about the mysterious old man with the kind, sad eyes, they discover that God's love can turn tragedy and loss to triumph, and that true love comes to those who wait. (Historical Romance from Realms [Charisma Media])


Another Day, Another Dali by Sandra Orchard -- In order to regain her grandmother's favor FBI Special Agent Serena Jones agrees to investigate a missing Salvador Dali painting. But when the evidence points to members of the owner's own household, it becomes clear that Serena won't be winning any popularity contests. Then Serena stumbles upon links to her grandfather's unsolved murder. (Mystery from Revell [A Division of Baker Publishing Group])

Romantic Suspense:

Tangled Webs by Irene Hannon -- After a disastrous Middle East mission ends his six-year Army Ranger career, Finn McGregor needs some downtime in the woods. But when someone threatens his neighbor, publishing executive Dana Lewis, Finn and Dana must work together to discover who wants her to leave her lakeside cabin before it costs both their lives. (Romantic Suspense from Revell [A Division of Baker Publishing Group])

Identity Unknown by Terri Reed -- When a John Doe washes up on the shores of Calico Bay, no one knows who he is—including him. But one thing's instantly clear to deputy sheriff Audrey Martin: the man's marked for murder. And she's the only one who can protect him from the assassins who lurk at every turn. The arrival of a team of men claiming he's Canadian Border Services officer Nathanial Longhorn only further complicates the matter. As his memories slowly start drifting back, Nathanial and Audrey work to uncover who wants him dead and why. If they don't, this Christmas might be their last. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


A Time to Rise by Nadine Brandes -- What more can you sacrifice than your life? Parvin Blackwater is dead. At least that's what the Council and the world thinks. But her sacrifice tore down part of the Wall long enough to stir up hope and rebellion in the people. Parvin and Solomon must uncover the mysterious clues that Jude left behind in order to destroy the projected Wall once and for all. Meanwhile, the Council schemes to new levels of technology in its attempts to keep the people contained. Can a one-handed Radical and a scarred ex-Enforcer really bring shalom to the world? (Speculative Young Adult from Enclave Publishing)

Unblemished by Sara Ella -- Eliyana can't bear to look at her own reflection. But what if that were only one Reflection—one world? What if another world exists where her blemish could become her strength? (Speculative Young Adult from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Beast by Chawna Schroeder -- For as long as Beast can remember, she has lived among her master's dogs. With them, she sleeps. With them, she eats. With them, she fights and struggles to survive. But through hunger and cold, she dreams of one day becoming her master's favorite, earning bones with meat and a place beside the fire. When her pack scatters after a surprise raid, Beast must defend herself against slavers, hunting down the loners. They are so strong, and she is only a beast . . . or is she? (Speculative Allegory from Enclave Publishing)

Accelerant by Ronie Kendig -- He'll destroy the world. But he must save it first. As the only able-bodied heir to the Fire Throne, Haegan, Prince of Seultrie must return to the Nine Kingdoms and fight for his people. But there are insidious forces at work. When reality itself falls into question, Haegan struggles to know where to fight, who to trust. Caught between duty to his country and duty to the world, Haegan must see clearly enough to choose the right path to save his devastated world. (Speculative High Fantasy from Enclave Publishing)


Death in the Mind's Eye by Rick Acker -- It knows what you're thinking. It knows when you're lying. Does it know how to kill? San Francisco attorney Mike Webster and Dr. Johanna Anderson, a brilliant and beautiful psychologist, must clear Jo's name of a malpractice case before the controversial, technologically-assisted Mind's Eye therapy is seized by a shadowy finance firm and used as a weapon. (Thriller/Suspense from Waterfall Press)

The Warrior's Seal by Ronie Kendig -- A Special Forces team is thrust into a war with the past to save the president after an artifact unleashes a deadly toxin. Special Forces operative Cole "Tox" Russell and his team are tasked in a search-and-rescue--the U.S. president has been kidnapped during a goodwill tour. The mission nosedives when an ancient biblical artifact and a deadly toxin wipe out villages. Tox must stop the terrorists and the toxin to save the president. This is a free e-novella prequel! (Thriller/Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])

Deadly Infiltration by W. Richard Lawrence -- Infiltrators inside the American government are betraying undercover agents while helping sneak weapons of mass destruction across our borders. To keep their work hidden, they are willing to murder anyone who gets in their way. Sara, a brilliant computer expert working for the FBI, finds herself caught in the middle. Sara's young faith in God is gravely tested when she is framed for the murder of an FBI agent, forcing her to go into hiding. Meanwhile, Sara's fiancé Derry lives up to a promise he made to her and gives up his future to save her and hopefully the country. (Thriller/Suspense from Boarding House Publishing)

Western Historical:

Refining Fire by Carol Cox -- Meet the Arizona Territory Brides. Four strong, independent women--each determined to stand on her own two feet, and not one of them looking for romance. But sometimes love shows up when you least expect it... (Western, Pioneer/Prairie, Independently Published)

Monday, September 26, 2016

"Make Me Care," with Kathleen Y'Barbo

If you're in the WOTS Facebook group you've already seen this picture of last week's guest speaker, Kathleen Y'Barbo Turner. And if you went to the meeting, then you actually got to interact with her and her husband Robert. If neither applies to you, then you're in luck---I'm here to tell you about it.

Kathleen gave an informative interactive speech during our last meeting---well, I use the term "speech" loosely. We had a fun group discussion. A bunch o' friends having lunch and discussing our favorite topic: writing.

She started by asking us what drew us to buy a particular book. Answers were typical: a trusted author, the cover, the one-liner across the front of the cover, the back cover copy, the first page.
All these aspects of the book, plus a great opening, characters worth staying for, and the plot, present a contract between the author and the readers. The author is promising to make the experience worth the reader's time.

Kathleen mentioned developing a checklist for creating anticipation:

  • questions a reader truly wants the answers to,
  • dark secrets 
  • well-crafted, multi-dimensional villians
  • flawed protagonists
  • conflict so intense, the reader doubts the chances of a good resolution
  • characters so different, the reader finds it unlikely they'll fit together
Readers, she said, want to work for the pay-off. They want to follow the problem-solving trail. Our job is to provide an interesting trail for them to follow.

The group discussion was fun and as informative as the speech itself. If you missed it, you missed a good one.

Next Up:

Don't forget our conference in October! It will replace our usual October meeting, so alter your calendar as needed: cancel the meeting on October 15 and pencil in the conference on October 8. 

We will be taking entry fees at the door ($25 for WOTS members, $35 for nonmembers), but if you have the remotest possibility of coming, please let us know in advance. We'll be serving breakfast and lunch, so we need a headcount.

If you want to enroll with PayPal, use the link in the sidebar on the right. Make sure you get the Conference link and not the WOTS membership link---unless you want to pay for membership too! 

Looking forward to seeing everyone in October!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Don't Forget to Mark Your Calendars!

We've been working, praying, and planning over this conference for quite some time now. I sure hope everyone plans to come. If you come to the meeting today, feel free to pay either me or Kathrese: $25 for members or $35 for nonmembers. You can also contact: Linda Kozar ( Or you can use the PayPal button on the right and save your receipt.

Save the Date!

We're hosting our very own mini-conference on Saturday, October 8, 2016.

The topic? Indie Publishing.

This event will begin at 8:30 a.m. and will end with a book signing from 2:30 to 3:00. You'll hear from a host of speakers on topics such as formatting and uploading, designing your cover, choosing a freelance editor, nuts and bolts of indie publishing, creative marketing strategies and much more.

The cost for members is only $25. We encourage you to invite non-members, as well. Their cost will be $35 (see the 2016 WOTS Mini-Conference PayPal button on the side bar).

This event will be held at St. Timothy's Anglican Church, 6819 Louetta Road in Spring. Breakfast and lunch will be served and we promised to provide you with an amazing day of fun, fellowship and learning.

Tentative Schedule:

8:30 - 9:00: Breakfast/Book table setup
9:00 - 9:15: Welcome/Devotion Janice Thompson
9:15 - 10:00: Indie Rumspringa: Ready or Not: Linda Kozar 
10:00 - 10:45: Nuts and Bolts of Indie Publishing: Kathrese McKee
10:45 - 11:00: Break/Snack
11:00 - 11:30: Designing Your Cover: Crystal Barnes
11:30 - 12:15: Preparing for and Choosing a Freelance Editor: Linda Yezak
12:15: Lunch/Devotion
1:00 - 1:45: Formatting and Uploading Your Document: Crystal Barnes
1:45 - 2:30: Creative Marketing Strategies: Janice Thompson
2:30: Book signing

Come join us and bring a friend!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Fun Things Coming!

Coming next Saturday, our own Kathleen Turner who recently moved back to Texas and is currently drinking in the Spirit of Aggieland from her new home in College Station.

Kathleen will be speaking on "Make Me Care," so you don't want to miss it. As always, we'll meet at The Woodlands/Shenandoah Lupe Tortilla is located behind the Red Robin at 19437 Interstate 45, Shenandoah, TX.


Writers On The Storm 

Present its First Annual 


Save the Date!

We're hosting our very own mini-conference on Saturday, October 8, 2016.

The topic? Indie Publishing.

This event will begin at 8:30 a.m. and will end with a book signing from 2:30 to 3:00. You'll hear from a host of speakers on topics such as formatting and uploading, designing your cover, choosing a freelance editor, nuts and bolts of indie publishing, creative marketing strategies and much more.

The cost for members is only $25. We encourage you to invite non-members, as well. Their cost will be $35.

This event will be held at St. Timothy's Anglican Church, 6819 Louetta Road in Spring, (waving at Anthea Kotlan, who graciously offered the space). Breakfast and lunch will be served and we promised to provide you with an amazing day of fun, fellowship and learning.

Tentative Schedule:

8:30 - 9:00: Breakfast/Book table setup
9:00 - 9:15: Welcome/Devotion (Janice)
9:15 - 10:00: Indie Rumspringa: Ready or Not: Linda Kozar 
10:00 - 10:45: Nuts and Bolts of Indie Publishing: Kathrese McKee
10:45 - 11:00: Break/Snack
11:00 - 11:30: Designing Your Cover: Crystal Barnes
11:30 - 12:15: Preparing and Choosing a Freelance Editor: Linda Yezak
12:15: Lunch/Devotion
1:00 - 1:45: Formatting and Uploading Your Document: Crystal Barnes
1:45 - 2:30: Creative Marketing Strategies: Janice Thompson
2:30: Book signing

Come join us and bring a friend!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

New Literary Journal for Christians

Got this in the mail the other day from the editor of a new literary journal, Greater Sum, and thought I'd pass it along:

Hi, Linda. I got your contact information off the WOTS blog. If you're not the right person to contact, please accept my apologies. 
First of all, bless you and your chapter for fostering what is sometimes an overlooked art form. As an editor and a Christian I'm sometimes dismayed at how little encouragement writers of faith get from the faith community. Like the visual and performing arts, writing can and should be a great ministry for the glory of God. 
That's why we recently started a new literary journal called Greater Sum. Greater Sum is a journal of prose and faith meant to help cultivate and encourage the (growing) community of Christian writers with specific emphasis on fiction and creative & narrative nonfiction. While there are outlets for Christian creative writing—especially poetry—there simply aren't many active journals publishing Christian fiction & nonfiction. We want to fix that. Writers are a tremendous asset to the church, and story is one of the great art and teaching forms. 
I'm a decade into a career as an editor, but most of my work has been direct with authors or for organizations. I get tremendous joy out of helping writers one-on-one and through the classes I teach at libraries, conferences, seminars, etc. But it's time to do more with my experience in publishing and editing, and I'm excited to help foster contemporary Christian prose writers. 
I hope you'll pass on our information to your writing group if there are writers actively seeking publication, and I will happily answer any questions you or writers have. Our website is Thank you very much for your time.
Marcus Corder
Greater Sum: A Journal of Prose and Faith

According to the site, the journal isn't set to pay for articles yet. This is its debut year. But after reading several secular literary journals, I'm hoping this one does well.
BTW: Looking forward to seeing everyone next week. Billy and I are leaving Monday, combining our vacation time with the conference time. This is the first year he'll be helping at the conference, too--at least preconference. I've volunteered us both to be bag stuffers Wednesday morning, then Wednesday afternoon, we'll be setting up our shared table in the marketplace. If you get there early, look for me!