Miss Pym and a Friend

Miss Pym and a Friend

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Insscribed with Love

Memoir; Writing your Life Story: Dedications in Books, With Love From . . .: I think one of the saddest sites I see in my hunts and haunts for books are the inscriptions inside the cover or on the fly leaf, the loving...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I'll be Back

Too sick to write, but I'll be back. Look for a new blog, soon. I miss you all, please take care

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Anti-Piracy Bill Shelved

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Anti-Piracy Bill Shelved: Here is the link for this piece; http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/story/2012-01-20/anti-piracy-bills-halted/52698192/1the For anyone wh...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Rosalie Whyel Sale Reminder

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Rosalie Whyel Sale Reminder: Just A Little Reminder... Our Thank You Sale! EVERYTHING In the Museum Store IS ON SALE! 30% OFF (40% for Members)! ALSO- Our...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Asian Dolls and Web Doll Museum

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Asian Dolls and Web Doll Museum: On our Web Doll Museum, I will be featuring asian doll, from ancient to modern times, in keeping with our informal chronology of doll histor...

Monday, January 9, 2012

Memoir; Writing your Life Story: Writing Raw and Glitches; Holiday Heirlooms Spark ...

Memoir; Writing your Life Story: Writing Raw and Glitches; Holiday Heirlooms Spark ...: There have been some problems with cutting and pasting information on this blog, but not on my others. I was trying to write about using ho...

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Besides the New York Writers Workshop providing a column, we are starting two new ones this month: Self-Publishing: How We're Doing It by Martin Willoughby and Book Awards Column by Mary Greenwood. These columns are sure to provide some valuable information concerning how a writers group formed their own publishing company and a description of many book awards won by Mary Greenwood in her amazing career. We are always up for more… drop me an email and let's talk about starting your own column, weeb@writingraw.com

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The Staff of WritingRaw.comDaniel M. Annechino

Alan Bradley

Colin Cotterill

Julie HyzyArtist of the Month:
by Eleanor Leonne Bennett

Chemical Neutral by Rick Bailey

Fat Sex: Alice in Cyberland by Rebecca Jane Weinstein

Satan Speaks by Christopher Nagle

The Silent Lion by Elaine Rosenberg MillerBroken Room, Fixed Photo by Kristopher Miller

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas by Peter Fraser Macdonald

Lost Words by Jason Anderson

My Eyes Are Full Of Tears by G David Schwartz

Poetry Of Dead Things by Denny and Maya Hoffman

Red by Denny and Maya Hoffman

Riding the Rails by Mike Berger

She Walked Through The Door by Juliette Beswick Pokletar

The Cuckoo's Nest by Michael D. Brown

The Idol on the Square by Kristopher Miller

Tracking The Blues by John McKernan

Will-yng by Marrilynn Ready

(Segment 8)

It seemed there were far more steps than necessary for a police station. I reached the top and turned to look back down where the little people walked, those who were not above the law. They all walked in one direction or another, going about their day to day. At the moment, I realized how much I was irritated by humanity.
"You all have the right to remain silent!" I yelled from my perch above the street.
Most of you just don't exercise that right nearly enough, I thought to myself.
A few lost souls looked up at me and shook their heads. Most kept on walking, eyes to the ground and passing me off as just another crazy bum. They may have been right, but that did not lessen the rudeness. Exasperated by the insolence of my fellow citizens, I turned to enter the police station. I grabbed hold of the door handled and paused before pulling. I did a mental rehash of my plan... it was definitely crazy, but I knew I could pull it off.
I pulled the door open and stepped inside. The precinct was like a beehive. Men and women, some in uniform and some not, all scurried about like there was much to do and no time to do it. I walked up to the desk sergeant and placed my Macy's bag on the counter.
"Can I help you, Sir?"
"Why, I hope so. I have a bit of a problem and I thought someone in here might know the number for 9-1-1."
"Wow, never heard that before. What is the problem, sir? Boredom?" replied the cop.
"Nope, never bored, least of all today. I woke up, went for a walk in the park, played fetch with a dog, walked some more, followed a man in a suit, found a bag of cash and got smart with a couple of mafia thugs. I have to say it has been a rather eventful day and nowhere near boring."
"So, what's the problem then?"
"I just told you, weren't you paying attention?"
"You expect me to believe all of that?"
"No, sir. But I thought these five large bricks of one-hundred dollar bills might help convince you that it's somewhat true. The mafia guys may be an exaggeration, but they sure looked the part."
The desk sergeant seemed to change his tune as he saw the neatly stacked and packed hundred-dollar bills. He tried to reach out and grab one but I got them back into the bag too quickly for him. Guess he was behind the desk for a reason.
"I want to speak to the top hog please."
"Um, well, sir, I can take your statement."
"What did I just say?"
After a few more minutes of useless chatter, I was escorted to a room with a large mirror on one wall and a solid metal table in the center of the floor. They sat me down and I placed my sack of cash in front of me, right where I could see it. They left me alone for quite a while and I got bored for the first time today. So, I got up and began to prance around the room. I even checked myself out in the large mirror. Well, to tell the truth, that large mirror was about to have my butt print on it.
"Blue's moon, keep on a shinin'" I sang has I rubbed my bared cheeks across the glass.
Yes, I am well aware of the fact that someone was on the other side of that mirror and able to see me perfectly. Had they not been, it would have been a wasted effort and nowhere near gratifying. Feeling satisfied, I went back to my chair.
Moments later a couple of detectives and one uniformed officer entered the room. The young man with the dress blues stayed by the door while the detectives sat across the table from me. They were all read faced and looked as though they were hiding smiles. This told me that my assumption about observers had been quite accurate.
"So, Mr. Blue? Is that correct?" asked one of the detectives.
"Ummm, no. I told the man at the desk my name was Blue, never did I say I went by Mister. That would be an arrogant first name don't you think?"
"Okay, well, we don't have all day so why don't you just tell us what the problem is?"
"Boy, you just cut to the chase here don't ya fellas? You're not even gonna offer me a beverage to help calm my nerves, you know, ease the tension a little. Are you gonna jump straight in to 'good cop, bad cop' as well, or you gonna give me a chance to talk first?"
"Tell, ya what... Blue, why don't you just start talkin' while Officer Chumbley goes for coffee?"
"I suppose. Could I get two coffees though? Two creams in each, two sugars. And how about some pastries? Two jelly-filled and two fritters."
"Have a thing for the number two, or do you have an imaginary friend?" asked the other detective.
"Well, could you define imaginary? It would be silly to bring donuts and a coffee to someone who is not going to be able to enjoy them."
Officer Chumbley left the room, choking back laughter while the two detectives pulled up seats on the other side of the table from me. I showed them the cash and began to tell my story. I was about to the part where Ritchie and Bruno showed up when breakfast arrived. I began to laugh hysterically when Chumbley sat the tray on the table.
"What's so funny?" the uniformed man asked.
"Nothing. Nothing at all." I said as I grabbed a my pastries and java.
I proceeded to tell the rest of the story and even asked Chumbley to drop a few more quarters in the parking meter for me. They offered to wheel my cart around to the back of the station for me instead. After some thought, I agreed to let them do it.
"So, what is it you want from us exactly?"
I had given the answer to that question a lot of thought on the way over. I had to play my cards very carefully. I was hoping that, in the long run, I could make myself a very lucky man. So, as I prepared to give my answer, I rounded up the second serving of coffee and donuts.
"What about your friend, Blue? Aren't those his?"
"Well, first and foremost, you are detectives. However, even willing to overlook that, don't you think you guys are a little too old to believe in imaginary friends?" With that, I finished off one hell of a morning meal.

(to be continued... )

© 2011, Jason P. Henry

WritingRaw.com: Evolution Taken To The Next Literary LevelPage Content |

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Quote of the Day
To depend upon a profession is a less odious form of slavery than to depend upon a father.
Virginia Woolf
(1882-1941) Discuss

Quote of the Day provided by The Free Library Fire is Greedy by Eleanor Leonne Bennett, © 2011

Eleanor Leonne Bennett is a 15 year old photographer and artist who has won contests with National Geographic,The Woodland Trust, The World Photography Organisation, Winstons Wish, Papworth Trust, Mencap, Big Issue, Wrexham science , Fennel and Fern and and Nature's Best Photography.She has had her photographs published in exhibitions and magazines across the world including the Guardian, RSPB Birds , RSPB Bird Life, Dot Dot Dash ,Alabama Coast , Alabama Seaport and NG Kids Magazine (the most popular kids magazine in the world). She was also the only person from the UK to have her work displayed in the National Geographic and Airbus run See The Bigger Picture global exhibition tour with the United Nations International Year Of Biodiversity 2010.Only visual artist published in the Taj Mahal Review June 2011. Youngest artist to be displayed in Charnwood Art's Vision 09 Exhibition and New Mill's Artlounge Dark Colours Exhibition. eleanorleonnebennett.zenfolio.com

CLICK HERE to see more of Eleanor Leonne Bennett's artwork on the WritingRaw Assorted page.

Eleanor Leonne BennettThe week before Christmas; New Orleans, Louisiana 1972

Spotlights came on to reveal the simple structure and props that represented the manger in Bethlehem on the stage of Briarwood Elementary School. Two bales of straw were arranged diagonally from a sawhorse affair. A baking pan was nailed atop it and draped with a blanket. An A-frame of light wood was nailed together to give the impression of the stable roof over the scene below which included some large, papier-mâché "rocks." The entire background of the stage was covered with dark blue material dotted with glittered stars.
Soft organ music played as the narrator, a rather tiny boy dressed in a bathrobe, approached the podium. His name was "Dwayne," according to the handwritten program, reproduced on the office mimeograph machine and individually colored in crayons by the members of the cast. "Welcome to the Story of Baby Jesus… written by and starring… everyone in Mrs. Wilson's first grade class," he said, his voice hesitant and squeaking with fear into the microphone he held a little too closely to his mouth.
He was met by applause from the parents and relatives filling the room to over capacity. Many guests were forced to stand along the sides and at the back of the auditorium, tilting their programs in the dim light to look for familiar names. A few bulbs flashed as the play began and cameras were made ready for the entrance of the cast.
A little girl named "Bonnie Jeanne Cowgirl Butterfly O'Neill" (according to the program), played the part of Mary. She entered from the wings dressed in a long blue gown and a shawl that covered her hair and flowed to the bottom of her dress. Several blonde ringlets escaped the shawl presenting the visage of a little Red Riding Hood dressed in blue. She looked out at the audience and announced in a loud voice, "I am the Virgin Mary… Mother of Baby Jesus. He will be a teacher when He grows up. He is a very well-behaved Baby." The audience began to chuckle then broke into applause for "Mary," who smiled brightly.
Bonnie approached the baking pan. Lifting a doll wrapped in a blanket and holding it up high over its meager bed, she brought it down and kissed it. Then, holding it to her chest, she sat down on one of the straw bales and began to rock the doll, humming loudly.
This was the cue for the next set of actors. All manner of animals began to appear, crawling on all fours from both sides of the stage. Mrs. Wilson evidently had done some serious shopping at one of the many costume emporiums in New Orleans. Each child wore a head covering representing an animal. There were several sheep and pigs, one cow, two donkeys, a bull with horns and even a cat and dog. They moved out to stage front for audience viewing; then were to find locations among the rocks, all the while making their respective noises. They milled about on the stage making snorts, oinks, mews, barks, moos and ba-a-as. A few hee-haws screeched above the cacophony of sounds and the audience, again, fell into laughter.
Mrs. Wilson loudly instructed the children to hurry and find their designated spots as cameras flashed; but a few of them got up and waved at the audience as if to make sure they could be identified under their costumes. One little girl dressed as a pig shouted, "Grandma! This is me-Lois!" Now the audience was out of control.
Mrs. Wilson's hushing finally settled both the animals and the audience while Bonnie, who had been waiting patiently for her cue, reached for a bottle on the floor behind her bale. Another chuckle arose from the audience which built to a roar as she fed the Baby Jesus from the bottle, cooing and rocking Him, then throwing Him over her shoulder to pat Him soundly… until a loud burp erupted (which Bonnie produced with gusto).
Suddenly, a flash of light brightened the back of the stage and a girl named "Cynthia" appeared through a split in the background material. Applause accompanied her walk to the front of the stage which quickly quieted as they anticipated another comical scene. She was draped in a bed sheet cut out in the center to go over her head and flowing in folds to the floor. Here and there, the bottom of the sheet was pulled up and pinned with one of the stars from the background. Silver gift wrap ribbon tied to a necklace around her neck, fluttered all around her, catching the light as she moved. Two metal foil wings were tied to her back with a strip of material around her middle. She held a yardstick high above her, topped by a huge cardboard star covered completely with silver glitter. As she moved, the glitter sprinkled down to the floor, sparkling in the spotlights.
She turned to Mary and yelled: "Virgin Mary! I am the angel sent to tell you of the North Star. This is it!" she announced dramatically, shaking the star and loosening glitter all over Mary. There was laughter and applause as the glitter fell. Then she shook it one more time, for good measure. The glitter had obviously just been applied, to excess, to achieve this effect.
Mary answered, solemnly. "This is the Baby Jesus," she said, putting down the bottle and holding the doll out to Cynthia.
"I know that! And this star-the North Star-will always shine over this place-forever!" Cynthia shouted.
The children surely did not understand the term ad lib; but used it in profusion and with proficiency, throughout their performance. Cynthia evidently realized she couldn't manage holding the doll and shaking the yardstick at the same time; she gave up the Baby Jesus for glitter, on the spot.
Bonnie responded, "That's good… because… this is a very dark stable."
The audience roared and then Cynthia raised her star again. "And you will have visitors…with gifts-so get ready!" She swooshed her wand in front of Bonnie then moved behind the manger and stood with it held up high, ready for shaking if the need arose.
The robed narrator stepped up to the microphone again and said, "Here comes Joseph, the husband of the Virgin Mary." The program listed the part as being played by "Joey."
Joseph went directly to Mary and, obviously, forgoing his lines, took a snatch at the
doll. They struggled a bit as the audience craned to see what was happening. Finally, Bonnie demanded, "Joey! I mean-Joseph! Say your lines!"
Joey as "Joseph" had his own agenda. "But I wanna hold the Baby Jesus, too!" he whined while Mrs. Wilson whispered prompts from behind the curtain. She probably checked her watch, too, as she attempted to hurry her little brood along through the production that seemed to be taking unexpected sidetracks. Joey ignored her while the audience chuckled and hooted and Bonnie finally relented.
"Okay. But just for a minute… and you hafta sit down to hold Him." Joey eagerly took a seat on the other bale and Bonnie handed him the swaddled doll. "Now, be careful," she said, staying close to keep an eye on him. "Don't drop Him! My Nana just bought Him last week at Kmart!"
That was the end for the audience and they roared with laughter as Bonnie attempted to wrestle the doll back from Joey. Mrs. Wilson's children were out of control and she realized that she would have to step in and take charge. But she didn't need to go on stage. Just then, the bull ("Charles") meandered over to Joseph and began poking at him in the back with his horns while, evidently, giving him a harsh ultimatum. More laughter from the audience accompanied the action as Joseph turned around in annoyance to swat at the bull. But the bull persisted until Joseph got up, resignedly, and returned the Baby to Mary who immediately laid Him on her bale of straw to readjust the swaddling clothes while giving Joseph a scowl.
Mrs. Wilson prompted Mary from behind the scenes and she sat down primly on her bale as Joseph walked to the front of the stage. The audience quieted down only after Joseph raised his hand-a technique that Mrs. Wilson had thankfully taught her students-then he continued: "I am Joseph, the husband of Mary… and the father (he put emphasis on that word) of the Baby Jesus. I promise to protect my Baby (he turned to Bonnie with a matching scowl), and make Him very pure." He was met with thunderous applause to which he reacted with a smile saying, "I told you so!" to Bonnie. Then, taking an ad lib bow, he joined the angel at the manger.
Cynthia stepped forward and added, "And the Baby Jesus will be King of the whole, entire world!" Then, with a shake of her stick, she sprinkled glitter over the manger and Joseph-who swatted at his head to fend off the falling glitter-garnering more applause.
Now, three boys appeared wearing bathrobes and gold paper crowns. There were evidently three redheaded boys in Mrs. Wilson's class. The narrator announced, "Three wise men followed the star to visit Mary. They brought pricey gifts… I mean priceless gifts," he reiterated after a loud whisper from Mrs. Wilson. Again, the audience could not maintain control and the laughter continued as the first boy (Kurt) approached the edge of the stage. "I have brought gold for the Baby Jesus," he said, loudly, holding up several net bags of gold chocolate coins then placing them at Mary's feet. The second (Jake) announced he was bringing "franks and cents" from a faraway land as he swung a florist vase off the stage from which issued the smoke and smell of burning incense. And a third (Jimmy) brought a cigar box to the front of the stage and threw handfuls of what he called myrrh before closing it and presenting it to Mary. A footnote on the bottom of the program alerted the audience that "myrrh was replaced with parsley flakes since the children couldn't find myrrh anywhere in New Orleans." After each presentation, Cynthia shook her star… and the animals became increasingly agitated.
Now Charles, having gotten away with butting Joseph earlier, began to butt rocks and other animals. And the baaing, oinking and mooing began all over again, in earnest. But Mary had one last line and she stood and raised her hand to calm the audience which was, again, out of control. Mrs. Wilson whispered loudly to the animals; but they did not heed. Finally, Mary stamped and feet and shouted. "All you animals! Hush up and lay down! I'm not finished yet!"
The animals stopped and dropped in their tracks, with one last bark; and the audience held back all but a few uncontrolled giggles as she spoke. "And the Baby Jesus grew up to be a teacher… just like I said. And the angel was right, too. He became the King of all men. And Joey-I mean Joseph… was His father… 'til the end."
At this point, Cynthia went wild with her stick as she walked among the animals, throwing glitter everywhere. Some of the animals began to sneeze as Mary gently placed the Baby Jesus in the baking pan. The spotlights faded and went out as the audience showed their appreciation with applause and cheers. The Christmas holidays had begun with laughter and joy, in a little corner of New Orleans.

This story is an excerpt from Book III of The Sensuous Disciple, an unpublished novel by Beswick.

© 2011 Barbara A. BeswickAway In A Manger, A Baking Pan For A Bed by Barbara A. Beswick NEW Every 15th,
Season 3, Episodes 2: Nothing In His
Life Became Him Like The Leaving It

"Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not;
and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad."
~ Henry Wadsworth

The candle flickered... then died
So I sit here now in the dark, an old man
The weight of years pressing down upon me.
Brought to this drafty space by age.
Where now I sit, amongst empty rooms.
concerned with I know not what.
Looking out upon the stark landscape.
Through the thin frost that gathers on the panes
All out doors looking darkly back at me.
Remembering what it was that brought me here
A weight as heavy as the snow upon the roof
Gazing at the icy trees, the cracking sounds of branches
One aged man can't keep a house alone
Can't live a life filled with only ghosts
And if he tries, it's thus on a lonely wintry night.

© 2011 Denny and Maya HoffmanCold by Denny and Maya HoffmanThis month's winner is Denny and Maya Hoffman!

The following is the winning piece based
on the first line: "The candle flickered... then died."

January Contest: Write a 500 word or less piece using the following prompt: Write a fairy tale based on a top news story from the last 3 months. The deadline for this will be December 25. The winner will receive a $20 gift certificate from Amazon.com and be posted on WritingRaw.com. writ·ing ('ritiNG), Noun: The activity or skill of marking coherent words on paper and composing text; The activity or occupation of composing text for publication

raw (rô), Adjective: (of food) Uncooked; (of a material or substance) In its natural state; not yet processed or purified
Join the conversation Ditch Weeb Rib

Sunday, January 8, 2012

January Writing World Free to Share


A World of Writing Information - For Writers Around the World


Issue 12:01 12,974 subscribers January 5, 2012
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THE EDITOR'S DESK: Where Did 2011 Go? by Moira Allen
THE INQUIRING WRITER: What I would have changed in 2011,
by Dawn Copeman
FEATURE: How to Create Your Writer's Brand Online,
by Gail Kavanagh
COLUMN: Free Stuff for Writers: New Year's Resolutions?
by Aline Lechaye
THE WRITE SITES -- Online Resources for Writers
The Author's Bookshelf

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---> http://wwx.Writing.Com/ <--- Become a fan on Facebook: http://facebook.com/WritingCom Follow us on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/WritingCom **************************************************************** WRITERSCOLLEGE.COM has 57 online courses. Prices are low. If you can reach our web site, you can take our courses. http://www.WritersCollege.com ***************************************************************** WRITE FOR CHILDREN. Achieve your dream of becoming a published author. Writing books and stories for children is a great place to start. Learn the secrets 1-on-1 from a pro writer. Train online or by mail. Free Test offered. http://www.writingforchildren.com/H0597 ***************************************************************** THOUSANDS OF WRITERS USE FANSTORY.COM FOR: * Feedback. Get feedback for every poem and story that you write. * Contests. Over 40 contests are always open and free to enter. * Rankings. Statistics will show you how your writing is doing. http://www.fanstory.com/index1.jsp?at=38 ***************************************************************** DON'T GET SCAMMED! Choose the right Self Publishing Company for your book. What you need to know before choosing a self publishing company and the questions you should ask. http://dogearpublishing.net/self-publishing-companies.aspx ***************************************************************** FROM THE EDITOR'S DESK - read on for a special gift! ================================================================= Where Did 2011 Go? ------------------ Where did 2011 go? That's the question I've heard from friends, family, fellow writers, and just about everyone else I talk to. It's also a question I've been asking myself since around October, when it became apparent that the year was drawing to a close and I felt as if it has barely begun. Where did it go? Wasn't this the fastest year you've ever experienced? Didn't it go by in a flash? I used to think that was a comment one made as one got older, but this year I'm hearing it from people of every age. My sister, a teacher, says she hears it from teens! Of course, I have my theories. "Busy-ness" ranks highest on my list. These days, we're bombarded with ads for devices that let us text our friends whilst conference-calling our relatives whilst surfing the web whilst updating our Facebook page whilst recording our favorite shows whilst... whatever. Whatever you want to do, apparently, there's an app for that. The trouble with so-called labor-saving devices is that they seem to lead to MORE labor, not less. When it takes an hour to accomplish one thing -- such as washing the floors -- that hour seems to crawl by fairly slowly. When one uses that same hour to accomplish twenty-five things, time vanishes in the blink of an eye -- and one looks up at the end of the day to wonder where, exactly, that day went, and what we did with it. And that, I realized, is a big part of my problem. While I don't text and only rarely update my moribund Facebook page, I DO end up wondering, quite often, what happened to my day and why my to-do list looks very nearly the same in the evening as it did in the morning. The reason I don't know where my YEAR went is because I don't know where each DAY went. My husband likes to quote the business axiom, "you can't manage what you can't measure." So I decided, for 2012, to find out just where my time is going. I may not be able to "get back" my time this year, but at the very least, I can find out why I never seem to have any. My resolution, if you will, is to become a dedicated time-tracker. I thought it would be simple. Knowing there are datebooks and planners on the market that let you schedule or TRACK tasks in quarter-hour intervals, I bustled to the office-supply store, filled with good intentions. There I discovered that such planners are clearly NOT designed with the freelance writer in mind. Most start the "workday" at 8 a.m. and end it at 5 p.m. -- and allot a scant quarter-page to weekends, when, they clearly assume, the user is not "working." Hah! I also discovered that they were rather expensive. So I decided that the first step in tracking my time was to develop my OWN time-tracker -- one that took into account the hours and concerns of a WRITER. My day, for example, doesn't end at five; quite often it ends at midnight. Saturdays and Sundays are just as likely to be "working" days as any other day of the week. I also wanted to track more than just "what I did when." I wanted a way to note my accomplishments each week -- tasks completed, projects begun -- a way to remind myself that even when time seems to vanish, I really AM getting things done. About halfway through the resulting spreadsheet, it dawned on me that such a tool might be useful to other writers. So I decided to add a bit more to my "tracker": A weekly column for a to-do list, upcoming deadlines, and goals. And to dress it up just a bit more, quotes from famous writers to keep the inspiration flowing. Finally I threw in a submission tracker at the end. The result, I think, is a powerful tool for writers who want to manage their time more effectively. It provides a means, not only of recording time spent on actual writing projects (which is a vital part of setting rates or determining if a project is worthwhile), but of recording all those snippets of time that go to OTHER tasks. This is the place to note that you spent three hours reading other people's blogs, or an hour updating your Facebook page, or two hours on your favorite game, or an hour on the phone with your sister. Because what my husband says is true: You can't manage what you can't measure, and if you can't measure where your time goes, you'll never be able to manage it more effectively. But while I regard this as a tool, I also regard it as a source of inspiration and encouragement. It's all too easy to fall into the trap of believing that we have "wasted" our days -- that hours and days and weeks go by with no "real" accomplishment. And that, quite often, simply isn't true. Instead, our accomplishments -- the tasks we finished, the steps that we've completed, the things we've learned along the way -- get submerged in the greater flow of events. By the end of the week, they're forgotten; by the end of the month, we feel as if we've done hardly anything worthwhile. That's why I built in the "achievements" section -- to remind us to take a moment to jot down those things that we DID accomplish, before they are forgotten. This planner is my gift to my readers for 2012. You can download the electronic version, in PDF format, absolutely free. I am also providing the Excel file, with instructions on how to tailor it to match your own schedule (I know that many writers DO get up at 5 a.m. and write for two hours before breakfast; I just don't happen to be one of them.) Or, you can order a gorgeous hard-copy directly from Lulu.com. (BTW, Lulu is having a sale, so if you order by tomorrow and use the code "ONEMORETHING" you'll save 25%.) I don't know if this tool will make 2012 go any more slowly than 2011. But my hope is that, by the end of it, you will be able to say, "My time went quickly, but at least it was well spent!" Happy New Year from Writing-World.com! Moira Allen, Editor http://www.writing-world.com How to get your planner: PDF file: http://www.writing-world.com/admin1/planner.pdf (Right-click the link to save it to your hard drive, or click the link and then select "save as" to download it.) Excel file: http://www.writing-world.com/admin1/planner.xls (I don't actually have this loaded yet, so please give me another day or two before trying to download the Excel version.) Hardcopy from Lulu.com: http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/a-writers-year-2012/12402589 (Again, use the code ONEMORETHING to save 25% through January 6) And while I'm on the subject of time and books, I'm afraid that the 2012 edition of "Writing to Win" is still not finished - so I am extending the pre-order offer through the end of January. Pre-order this book by January 31 and save $6 off the cover price! Just go to http://www.writing-world.com/admin1/contests.shtml to place your order. When you do, I'll send you a PDF file of the January contests so that you don't miss a deadline! ***************************************************************** YOU WILL NETWORK WITH 30+ EDITORS Over 400 editors contribute their unique news and views each year. That's news and views to improve your chances to get published. Monthly newsletter. Get 2 issues FREE. http://www.thechildrenswriter.com/AK254 ***************************************************************** The Inquiring Writer: What I would have changed in 2011 ================================================================= By Dawn Copeman Happy New Year! And the first thing I want to talk about this year is what you would have changed about last year if you could. So I think it's only fair to tell you what I would have changed about last year first. If I had a time-machine I would go back and give myself a big kick up the butt in January last year to do more online promotion and hunt down more and varied clients on the web. I finally got around to doing this in August, branching out into new writing territory, and it has gone very well. If only I'd had the nerve to try it sooner. In fact, many of you would give yourself prods to get more work done, such as Dianna Whillet, who wrote: "I would have started submitting work earlier on in the year, instead of putting it off and putting it off. I was so nervous but it wasn't until November that I bit the bullet and actually submitted a query. Imagine my joy when it was accepted! The sad thing is I'd been sitting on that query for months. This year I will get my queries out there!" Good for you, Dianna. Shauna R. Hess Viele has a similar retrospective resolution. She wrote: "Looking back over the past year, I've practiced and polished, but no submissions occurred because I focused on completing assignments in a writing course I was taking. (Mainly because I wasn't forward-thinking enough.) I am pushing forward and taking the next level in the program (it is through Jerry Jenkins' Christian Writers Guild), and by the time I am done with this course, I plan on having a good start on a manuscript for a novel. In the meantime, I also plan to do serious market research in 2012 and start writing articles. "What would I change about the past year? I would spend less time on social network and game-playing sites! The social networking and reading blogs can be inspiring, uplifting, and downright fun, but therein lays the rub--before I know it, two hours have flown by, and my intended time for writing is gone. I have enjoyed reconnecting with classmates from years past, and have learned a lot from writing blogs that I read, but I need to curb my online time and just get BUSY. Money isn't the only thing I need to budget! "Speaking of which, my time is up for today! Thanks for the question, it definitely made me stop and take notice of what I need to do." You're welcome, Shauna. That was the purpose of the question. A. Elizabeth Westmoreland is another one who would make better use of her time. She wrote: "The one writing-related thing I wish I could change in 2011 is that I wish I had been better organized with my time, so I could have worked on my current book more. The poor thing hasn't been touched in a while. "This is definitely something I can fix in 2012!" Sarah from Canada is a new writer and she also wishes she had spent more time writing in 2011. She wrote: "If I could go back in time and give myself more motivation to work on my novel, if I could actually write as many words as I had wished, I would most certainly do it. I am very passionate about my story; however, I am a grade case procrastinator, like many people, I am sure." Well, yes, Sarah, many writers are, but thankfully we do have lots of articles to help you with this. Try this one for a start: http://www.writing-world.com/life/procrastination.shtml Isadora Daystar, however, would do some particular research in one area if she could go back in time. She wrote: "I'd be more careful to check on rights when I self-published for the first time this year and would have taken more time to make a list of reviewers, past and potential, so that my confusion (and many times theirs, lol!) would be better manageable! Oh, and I'd give myself hard, way early deadlines!" If you are thinking of self-publishing this year, be sure to check out Sue Lick's advice on rights here: http://www.writing-world.com/publish/lick.shtml Jonah Brown, however, our one male respondent, said he wouldn't change a thing about 2011. He wrote: "I finally found my writing stride in 2011. I have managed to write for one hour a day, five days a week and while that might not sound much, it has enabled me to work on my novel, submit articles to magazines and even pick up a monthly column in the town newspaper. "In previous years I'd tried to do too much. I work a full-time job and I couldn't, in all honesty, get up at 5 am to write for three hours before setting off to work, although one year this is what I set myself to do. This year I settled for what I knew I could realistically achieve. I write for one hour a day when I get in from work. I can think about my writing at odd moments during the day, coffee breaks, at the water cooler, lunch break etc., but I save up the writing for that one precious hour. I write as soon as I get home before dinner. What can I say; less is, in my case, more." Thanks for that, Jonah; I hope your experience can help others who are struggling with their writing targets and goals. If you are, or if you've never set yourself goals for your writing, then check out our articles on how to build a writer's plan here: http://www.writing-world.com/rights/plan.shtml and http://www.writing-world.com/dawn/dawn08.shtml Okay, this month's question is from a new writer, Sarah in Canada. She wants to know about writing short stories and posting them online. She wrote: "If I were to write my story, but when I reached the story's end I then decided to rewrite it so much that it would, in effect, completely change the plot, should I make these changes? Would it be weird if I was to post the first version on my web site and then change it in the future?" Can any of you short story writers out there help Sarah? Or do you have any burning issues to put to our writing community? If so, then e-mail me at editorial@writing-world.com. Until next time, Dawn Copyright 2012 Dawn Copeman ***************************************************************** WIN PRIZES AND GET PUBLISHED! Find out how to submit your stories, poetry, articles and books to hundreds of writing contests in the US and internationally. WRITING TO WIN by Moira Allen is THE one-stop resource you need to find contests around the world. SPECIAL OFFER EXTENDED THROUGH JANUARY: Pre-order the 2012 edition for $6 off the regular price - order by January 31 by visiting http://www.writing-world.com/admin1/contests.shtml ***************************************************************** NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF WRITING ================================================================= Record Number of Books Downloaded on Christmas Day -------------------------------------------------- Harper Collins has announced that over 100,000 of its eBook titles were downloaded on Christmas Day in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. The company hasn't yet calculated the number of US downloads of its books. This represents an increase of 600% on the average daily number of downloads. For more on this story visit: http://www.thebookseller.com/news/hc-christmas-day-downloads-top-100000.html Kindle Has Most Successful Day Ever ----------------------------------- Meanwhile in the US, Amazon reported that following the purchase of over 1 million Kindles per week in the US in the run-up to Christmas, Christmas Day saw the largest-ever number of Kindle downloads. Interestingly, two of the most popular downloads that day were self-published titles. For more on this story visit: http://www.thebookseller.com/news/christmas-day-biggest-ever-kindle.html And Traditional Book Stores Enjoy Successful End of Year Too ------------------------------------------------------------ Despite the first two news stories this month, traditional brick and mortar book stores across the US did much better than expected in December 2011. In a survey for Publishers' Weekly, most said that they had seen increased sales in December. The closure of Borders is given as one of the main reasons for their increase in sales. For more on this story visit: http://tinyurl.com/6ty89kf ***************************************************************** EVERYHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SETTING FREELANCE FEES! Find out how to negotiate agreements, choose pricing strategies, define tasks, deal with difficult customers, and much more in the award- winning "What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and Consultants" (2nd Edition) by Laurie Lewis. In print and Kindle from Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/setyourfees ***************************************************************** Writing Jobs and Opportunities ================================================================= Punchnel's Open to All Sorts of Submissions ------------------------------------------- This online magazine has a wide variety of departments and is open to an impressively wide range of submissions from recipes to reviews, to travel essays, to poetry, to serialized fiction and graphic novels. They pay $10 on acceptance for first electronic rights. http://www.punchnels.com/guidelines/ Crime Stories Wanted -------------------- OverMyDeadBody.com publishes all sorts of crime stories from cozy to hardboiled as well as nonfiction pieces such as interviews with crime writers. They pay $0.01 a word and up to $25 for unsolicited fiction. For more information and to see the complete guidelines visit: http://www.overmydeadbody.com/wg2011.htm Romance Publisher Open to Submissions ------------------------------------- Decadent Publishing is open to submissions of romance novels for its many imprints. Visit the site for detailed guidelines: http://www.decadentpublishing.com/ **************************************************************** HIRE AN AWARD WINNING DESIGNER/AUTHOR TO DEVELOP YOUR WEBSITES. Celebrating a decade of designing websites for authors that reflect their unique style and personality. Other design services include book designs, marketing materials, and email campaigns. Contact Shaila Abdullah for your design needs at http://myhouseofdesign.com/ ***************************************************************** FEATURE: How to Create Your Writer's Brand Online =============================================================== By Gail Kavanagh Are you doing everything you can to promote your writer brand? Many writers don't even think about themselves as a brand, they think of themselves as just writers. But most well established writers are, in fact, a brand. Think of Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, and Jan Karon. Each has a strong Internet presence, and a definable print presence -- a brand. These days, everything and everyone is a brand, from rock stars to celebrity bloggers. Promoting that brand and keeping it fresh in the public mind is what makes the difference between success and failure. Writers are no different. When you go online, everything you do is creating a brand, in the minds of publishers, potential clients and readers. So what are the guidelines to making sure you are a recognisable writing brand, as unique in your own sphere as Stephen King or Jan Karon, with a big following attracted to and interested in your brand? You need to sit down and think about who you are, and what you are writing, as well as your personal goals, and how you can create a recognizable brand. On the Internet, brands are associated with keywords. These keywords not only include the name of the brand -- like Coca-Cola -- but also elements associated with that brand. Think 'horror' and 'thriller' for Stephen King, 'Mitford' and 'Father Tim' for Jan Karon. Keywords like 'vampire' and 'Lestat' will lead you to Anne Rice. Keywords are vital for defining who you are and what you do online. Use keywords to identify your brand elements. Think about yourself as a writer and what you want to communicate to publishers and clients. Does your list include words and phrases like 'trendy,' 'controversial,' or 'on the cutting edge?' Are you linked with genres like horror, romance, or science fiction? Or does it include words and phrases like 'reliable,' 'consistent,' 'attention to detail?' Are you linked with concepts such as 'content,' 'editing,' or 'journalism?' Can you use keywords such as 'experienced' and 'print published', or would keywords such as 'fresh approach' and 'new ideas' work better for you? List the keywords that describe you and your personal brand and keep that list handy. You really need to accent the positive in your keywords. Don't use words or phrases like 'amateur', 'newbie' or 'old hand.' These give potential clients a pre-set impression of writers who don't know all the ropes, or who know too many and are set in their ways. As many writers are well aware, a big part of success in writing is finding your niche, what is special about you as a writer. J.K. Rowling is a megabrand with her Harry Potter series. Note that the name of the instantly recognizable character she created is in the title of every book and movie. You see those words, you think J.K. Rowling. You see Twilight, you think of Stephanie Meyer. Both these writers, while so different in following and ability, know the value of their brand. You may not be a fiction writer -- you may enjoy writing about crafts, cars or politics -- but so do thousands of other writers. Your brand consists of the unique perspective and personal experience you bring to your niche. You need to list what you bring to your brand that no one else has. Maybe it's your background, maybe it's the fact that you have often had to find solutions or solve problems on your own. No one else has quite your approach or your experience, and that is a big part of your brand. In promoting your writing skills online, you have to make that brand recognizable and appealing to consumers who you hope will choose you for assignments. Who will buy your product? If you write about rock bands and concerts, you may be aiming at the youth market, or the nostalgic baby boomers who want to hear all about your personal experiences at Woodstock. If you write about collecting rare items, archaeology or history, the market may be wealthier and more conservative. You will brand yourself accordingly, coming across as someone who is in the know in these fields. Above all, you want to create a brand that can be trusted. Many of use associate brands with logos, and logos are important. McDonald's Golden Arches are recognizable anywhere in the world. But what does having a recognizable logo mean if you are a freelance writer? If you have a company with a carefully chosen name that includes services like editing and proofreading, you will already know that a logo is important. It should be eye-catching and relevant, not boring, and it is well worth getting a professional to design one for you. But freelance writers should give some thought to their logo too. If you write articles, fiction or self-help books under your own name, your name is your logo, and how you present that name to the public is part of your brand. If you have a website, do you stop and consider how to present your name as your logo? The font, the size of the font -- even the colors you choose -- are all part of your brand. You need to sit down and think about the styles and colors that will support your brand. When you design a webpage or a header for a blog, keep your brand firmly in mind. Decide on a color scheme and use that where you can. If you are using a free blogging platform, choose a background that ties in with your brand, or one you can customize. Choose your fonts accordingly. A plain Roman font gets the message across that you are down to earth and reliable. Other fonts suggest different brands -- a Gothic romance writer may use a fancy Old English font, whereas a science or political writer may use something strikingly modern, internationally recognizable and sans serif, like Helvetica. The image you present to the public is also part of your brand. You need more than a blurry snapshot as your bio pic. You need to be consistent with your image across all your Internet activities. Do you have different images uploaded at every website and blog? Get one good image taken of you, a clear head and shoulders shot, and use it consistently across the web. Plan your bio image before it is taken. Pick out the main color you have chosen for your brand, and match what you wear and the background to the colors you are using as part of your brand. Use your brand keywords and match the image to suit, so that publishers and clients will have a visual image of your personal brand. When they see those elements, you want them to be reminded of your brand. Think of all the places you can promote your brand online -- not just your website and blog, but Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and others. Twitter can be a very good conduit for your brand, but don't over promote on any of these outlets. Offer snippets of advice, useful links, and random thoughts as well. As you gather fans and followers in your social networking activities, you are promoting your brand to them and their friends and followers. Once you have created a consistent brand for all your Internet activities, you will have your brand in mind wherever you present yourself to the public, on forums or social networking sites. The entertainment blogger may have a bubbly persona everywhere he or she goes, because that is the brand. The archaeology and history writer may only show up where there is some information on the subject to be shared, and do so with restraint, because that is the brand. Of course, both can log in anywhere under other identities and not affect the brand. Your personal brand is the key to marketing today. Knowing who you are, who you want to aim your product at, and how to fix yourself in their minds so that they go back to you time and again, is all part of your brand. Whether you are planning to start writing fiction or content, publishing eBooks or blogging, take time to sit down and work out your brand. >>--------------------------------------------------<< Gail Kavanagh is a freelance writer and reviewer living in Queensland, Australia. Now retired, she has worked as a newspaper reporter with considerable experience in the entertainment and movie reviewing fields. She is a self publisher with several books listed at lulu.com Copyright 2012 Gail Kavanagh For more advice building your writer's brand read this article: http://www.writing-world.com/tech/branding.shtml **************************************************************** EBOOK SELF-PUBLISHING EXPLAINED An epublishing revolution is sweeping the industry. We explain what is happening and show you how to self-publish your own eBooks. http://www.PublishYourOwnEbooks.com *************************************************************** THE WRITE SITES ================================================================= TheWritersPlan -------------- This is a comprehensive, completely free online book with templates to help you to create your own writer's plan. http://www.thewritersplan.com/ RobinMizelUnlimited ------------------- This is a great blog where you get to see the writing world through the eyes of an agent; the entry for Jan 3 was particularly interesting. But I want to draw your attention to this regularly updated entry from 2008 that covers query tracking software. This could be just what you need to sort out your writing year. http://tinyurl.com/7kd8fur Daily Inspiration ----------------- Sometimes, we all need a prod as well as a coffee to get working; I like these inspirational quotes for writers and artists. They always work for me. See what you think. http://harleyinspiration.blogspot.com/ **************************************************************** Free Stuff for Writers: New Year's Resolutions? ================================================================= By Aline Lechaye 2012: another year is here. Hopefully you all had a great Christmas and are looking forward to getting back to the keyboard! Write more this year: use "Written? Kitten!" to help you. It's great for cat-loving authors who need an excuse to get back to work after the Christmas break. Go to http://writtenkitten.net/ and start typing. Cute pictures of kittens pop up for every hundred words you write (or every two hundred, five hundred, or thousand words, depending on how often you feel like rewarding yourself). Warning: excessive cuteness of kittens may lead to inattention and high levels of happiness -- please don't forget to save your writing before you leave the site! Read more this year too. Go to the library and see what they have in the new arrivals section, or go to Amazon and look for free e-books (there are more than you think!) to add to your Kindle collection. (A little tip: go to the Kindle store and sort by "Price: Low to High." The free ones should show up first.) Most importantly, if you're looking for writing-related articles to read, there's no better place to find them than Writing World (http://www.writing-world.com/). There are articles on every single writing related topic there is. Seriously. Try something new this year: write and draw your own comics! Can't draw? Not to worry. We've found some of the best free comic creation sites out there. All you have to do is come up with witty dialogue. These wonderful websites will do the rest. At Pixton (http://www.pixton.com), the level of customization is astounding, as well as amazingly easy. Start by choosing the format and layout, and then select some characters to star in your comic. Practically everything in the comic strip is customizable, from the background to the characters' expressions and movements (it's actually possible to turn a character's head a full 360 degrees!) Finished works can be posted to the site or e-mailed to friends and family. Free users need to have Pixton credits to print and download their comics. Don't panic -- you don't have to pay for the credits. You'll get some free ones when you sign up. Note that if your internet connection is on the slow side, you may have to wait a while for the site to load between steps. If you're looking for quick, easy and cute, you should check out Strip Generator (http://stripgenerator.com). You start with a blank comic strip that you can populate with characters, "beings," speech bubbles, and props. Simply drag and drop characters from the top of the edit screen and type in some one-liners. Once you're finished, you can print out your work of art, or save it to your account for later. Not satisfied with comics? Try your hand at animated cartoons using GoAnimate (http://goanimate.com/). Start with a preset theme and choose some characters to go with it. Type or record your desired dialogue and watch the scene come to life! The site can take some time to load on slower internet connections. Free users have a limited amount of scenes and characters to choose from. >>--------------------------------------------------<< Aline Lechaye is a translator, writer, and writing tutor who resides in Asia. She can be reached at alinelechaye@gmail.com. Copyright 2012 Aline Lechaye ***************************************************************** AUTHOR'S BOOKSHELF: Books by Our Readers ================================================================= Knight Sky, by Lee Henschel Find these and more great books at http://www.writing-world.com/books/index.shtml Have you just had a book published? If so, let our readers know: just click on the link below to list your book. http://www.writing-world.com/books/listyours.shtml ***************************************************************** ADVERTISE in WRITING WORLD or on WRITING-WORLD.COM! For details on how to reach more than 100,000 writers a month with your product, service or book title, visit http://www.writing-world.com/admin1/adrates.shtml ***************************************************************** Writing World is a publication of Writing-World.com http://www.writing-world.com Editor and Publisher: MOIRA ALLEN (editors@writing-world.com) Newsletter Editor: DAWN COPEMAN (editorial@writing-world.com) Copyright 2012 Moira Allen Sutton House, Meads Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex To unsubscribe or change subscriber options visit: http://www.aweber.com/z/r/?LEyszKyMtCwcrMxs7GwMtEa0jEyczMwMLOw=

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