Wednesday, July 31, 2019

July 2019 Book Giveaway: Happy Birthday Harry Potter!

Today is Harry Potter's 39th birthday!

Someone recently told me about the Portuguese word saudade, meaning "the love that remains" after something or someone is gone, and how it can be applied to a favorite book.

This series was a huge part of my childhood. I can still remember the feeling I had after finishing the third book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and it's nice to finally have a word to describe it.

So, let's celebrate Harry's birthday, and the feeling of saudade, with a Harry Potter themed giveaway!

July 2019 Giveaway Information:

First Place Prize: One (1) paperback copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, by JK Rowling
Second and Third Place Prizes: One (1) Harry Potter Sorting Hat coffee mug

  • FOLLOW me at (@ccwriter_)
  • LIKE the corresponding Giveaway post.
  • For a BONUS entry, COMMENT on the post and tell me your favorite Harry Potter character!

  • FOLLOW me at (@CCwriter_)
  • LIKE the corresponding Giveaway post.
  • For a BONUS entry, COMMENT on the post and tell me your favorite Harry Potter character!

The Writing Desk Blog:
  • COMMENT on the post and tell me your favorite Harry Potter character!
  • For a BONUS entry, SIGN UP to receive an email each time there's a new post on The Writing Desk Blog.

Open to the US and Canada ONLY.

Entries will be accepted until Wednesday, 07 August 2019 at Midnight EST. 
The winners will be randomly drawn after the entry period is over.

Good luck! 

**This giveaway is sponsored solely by The Writing Desk Blog**

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Featured Post: Four Ways to Fight Imposter Syndrome - Lyn Fairchild Hawks

Four Ways to Fight Imposter Syndrome: How Authors Just Need to Chill

I decided to hold forth in a video in the very real fear us authors feel about imposter syndrome.

I just finished the latest revision of my young adult novel, No Small Thing, and I’ve been thinking about how I handle the imposter syndrome. So many of us face the feeling that somehow, we deluded ourselves into doing this thing, when we really don’t have the talent or the chops. I have four ways to put that BS on the shelf. ...


Original post date: May 19, 2019

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Featured Post: Marketing for Introverts - Samantha Bryant

Marketing for Introverts 

Hi! I'm Samantha, and I'm an introvert. In fact, I'm really happy that we're having this little talk here on the Internet, where I don't have to actually talk to you.

It's not that I'm not friendly. I bet I'd even like you. It's that I'm still recuperating after participating in a fan convention this weekend for my writing life.

Being a writer might seem like a natural job choice for an introvert. In some ways, it's an excellent fit.

Doing the work requires spending copious amounts of time alone.

The work itself is usually pretty quiet (just some keyboard clicking or pen scritching noises).

You can do the work wherever you are most comfortable.

On the other hand, if you want to make a career of writing, you can't *just* write. You have to put your work out there for others to read. ...


Original post date: January 16, 2019

Friday, July 19, 2019

Featured Post: Four Ways to Feed Off Feedback - Lyn Fairchild Hawks

Four Ways to Feed Off Feedback

If you’re like me, sometimes it’s tough to process feedback on your writing in an effective way. Doesn’t matter whether it’s your writers’ group, beta readers, reviewers, your agent, your editor–none of us humans are wired to welcome criticism. ...


Original post date: July 4, 2019

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Featured Post: DIYMFA #9: Trying a New Technique - Samantha Bryant

DIYMFA #9: Trying a New Technique

Building a writing life is all about figuring out what works for you. It's also a lifelong learning experience because change happens: your life circumstances, your writing process, even you-yourself. So, I'm always seeking new things to try. Writing life "hacks" so to speak, despite the negative connotation of "hack" when it comes to writing.  Over the years, I've found some tools and ideas that have made me more efficient and effective, and I hope to keep on finding ways to grow as my career builds.

To that end, I've been slowly reading through DIY MFA: Write with Focus, Read with Purpose, Build your Community by Gabriela Pereira, which is a good compilation of a variety of writing advice with a focus on building a process that will work for you career-long. I've also been participating in the DIYMFA book club.  They've got a very active group over on Facebook. If you're interested in exploring these themes about your own writing, I highly recommend giving them a look! ...


Original post date: February 10, 2019

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Featured Post: Re-cap of the 2019 Chicago Writers Workshop - Tara Lynne Groth

Tara Lynne Groth has also shared her re-cap of the 2019 Chicago Writers Workshop! Check out her full post (link below) for her experiences that weekend.


Re-cap of the 2019 Chicago Writers Workshop

Last month I not only attended the Chicago Writers Workshop for the first time, but visited Chicago for the first time! If you’re looking for a one-day writer conference in an easy-to-navigate city where you can get one-on-one exposure with literary agents, this is definitely one to add to your list. ...


Original post date: July 11, 2019

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Featured Post: Six Tips for Chapter One Success - Lyn Fairchild Hawks

Six Tips for Chapter One Success

How do you make sure people–readers, agents, editors–keep reading Chapter One of your Great American Novel? How do we get them to Chapter Two?

After publishing three works of fiction and after writing (and discarding) several novels, I’ve figured out how to crack the code of success in the first chapter. I love Save the Cat and the Story Engines methods, so I use a hybrid of these two formulas plus some other wisdom out there to make sure these six things happen in Chapter One. ...


Original post date: July 6th, 2019

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Featured Post: Summer Writing - Samantha Bryant

Summer Writing

Summer is here! As I write this, I've been on summer vacation for (checks watch--remembers I don't have one and checks phone) 1.5 days!

As a 21st century woman though, I always want more out of my time than I can actually get, so here are my tips for managing a mother-writer summer schedule.

For context, my kids are currently 12 and 19, with the 19 year old living forty-five minutes away from home, near enough that I can see her often, and be there to help her when needed, but not part of my daily dinner plan.

As a teacher-writer-mother, I look forward to summertime all year for the control over my schedule and ability to focus more on my writing life instead of shoehorning it in around school demands. And I've made it! I'm a full time writer, for almost two months in a row. ...


Original post date: June 19, 2019

Sunday, July 7, 2019

My Experience at the 2019 Writing Workshop of Chicago

Last weekend, I attended the 2019 Writing Workshop of Chicago with fellow writer Tara Lynne Groth. (Thank you again, Tara Lynne, for sharing this one!) 

Not only was the workshop more beneficial than I expected, I got to spend time with an old college friend, attended my first Pride parade, and was able to explore a new city - all in a few short days! 

Conference/Workshop Title: 2019 Writing Workshop of Chicago

Duration: One day (9:00am-5:00pm) split into five 1-hour blocks with a 1-hour lunch break.

Cost: $189.00
($$ – Not overly expensive, but not cheap or free. Excludes conference add-ons and travel costs.)

Materials Provided: At registration we were given a folder containing the conference schedule, with three classes/sessions to choose from in each 1-hour block. Some of the sessions provided handouts, but it depended on the speaker.  

Workshop Add-ons: Attendees had the option to sign up for a 10-minute one-on-one pitch session with one of the agents in attendance ($29.00 each), an in-depth query letter critique ($69.00), and/or a critique of the first 10 pages of your novel ($89.00).

Overall Impression: I think this is an excellent option for writers who are new to workshops/conferences. It allows you to get your feet wet and network without the multi-day commitment that comes with larger conferences. Also, if you've never pitched live before, you can take the opportunity to speak with an agent who represents your genre. (Do your research ahead of time!) Even if the agent isn't interested in your current WIP, you still get that valuable practice and feedback on your pitch.


Now for the really big news: I pitched my book live for the first time!

I've never done a live pitch before, and I made the (admittedly last-minute) decision to pitch my WIP while we were at the workshop. I'd originally planned on not pitching, because I'm only three-quarters of the way through my rewrite and most of the query tips I've read have said to never pitch an unfinished manuscript.

Luckily, I reached out to one of the conference coordinators and she encouraged me to sign up for a pitch meeting anyway. This might not be the case for all live pitch opportunities, so I suggest confirming with each one. She assured me that the agents they'd invited would still be willing to hear a pitch for an almost-completed book.

She was right!

I can't tell you how nervous I was. There's a big difference between submitting a query letter and
pitching your ideas in-person. To be able to spark a conversation about your book and catch an agent's interest without forgetting the important details or going overboard on enthusiasm. I saw both of these situations happen as I talked with other writers whose pitch sessions were before mine. I also spoke with several writers whose pitches had gone very well. It really does depend on how comfortable you are carrying on a conversation about your book.

One tip I have, now that I've got a live pitch under my belt, is practice out loud with a friend. Tara Lynne and I were able to bounce our pitches off each other, point out words that needed a little tweaking or made the conversation sound too stiff.  

I pitched to three agents, and they all showed some degree of interest in my WIP! Yes, I had to pay the add-on fee for each appointment, but I considered it a necessary and reasonable expense. I also figured if none of the agents were interested, I would still have that experience pitching my book to new people.

Does this guarantee I'll end up working with one of these agents? No, it doesn't. That depends entirely on my book and what they think of it once I send in the pages requested. But, what it does show me is that my book is a good idea and can generate curiosity.

I've set a deadline for myself to finish this draft - 6 weeks from now. Then, I'll be sending out my queries.


Who else has experience diving into the query process? Did you find you were able to garner more interest for your work by pitching in-person, or were you better able to express yourself in a query letter? I'd love to hear your experiences!