Wendy's favorite quotes

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."— Dr. Seuss

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Writer Retreats. Are they worth it?

In a word? 

Retreats vary according to who organizes them, but usually, the best parts are universal:

* Time to write. -- Away from your family, friends, job, house, chores, farm, pet dinosaur, and anything else that interferes with your writing time.

* Little or no responsibility for meal preparations -- As a mother of five children, let me just say how awesome it is to have people make food and feed me. Not mac and cheese either. We're talking crepes, Hawaiian haystacks, salads, fruit, roasted chicken. Heavenly.

* New friends! -- even the most introverted of writers comes away from retreats with a few new friends. Writers usually get along famously when tossed in a room together. Don't be surprised if you hear snippets of conversation like, "Would a body be harder to find in a lake or in the ocean?" Plotting murders make for great bonding time.

*  Free help. -- With a house full of writers, it's no biggie if you get to the end of your novel and can't figure out how Joe rescues Fifi from the White Lord, because you've got a captive audience that loves to brainstorm! With all these brilliant minds bouncing ideas off each other, there's bound to be something that sparks the idea to get you over the block. (this feature is also extremely helpful for spelling and punctuation advice. Don't fear the Grammar Nazi's, they are harmless as long as the chocolate doesn't run out.)

* Nice rooms -- Most retreats offer nice accommodations, though you might be expected to share a bed. If that is a deal breaker for you, consider bringing your own cot and/or mattress.

* Bonus Prizes! -- At many retreats, there are door prizes or swag and awards for the highest word count, early birds, night owls, best quotes, or most pages edited.

* Classes and/or Workshops. -- Sometimes they offer classes on marketing, brainstorming, or any number of other subjects. They can even watch and analyze movies and discuss plot points as they come up.

As I write, it's the last night of the iWrite retreat in Heber, Utah, and we're all up late to savor the last of our freedom here. I won the award for being most cheerful (I think it's probably my funny writer shirts). It might be silly, but I almost teared up that people enjoyed being with me as much as I loved being with all of them. Alas, it's time to go, but I'm already looking forward to the next one in the fall.

If you can swing it, GO. Retreats are wonderful!
I'm in the hat next to Canda Mortenson, as we roast marshmallows over the fire. Cindy Hogan is the one photo-bombing in the back. This was taken during a break the last night. So. Much. Fun!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Funny Writer Shirts--it's an Addiction.

So, why the shirts? Well, I blame it on Lisa Mangum and Dan Wells who made me laugh with their funny writer shirts. I spend half the year running around in cowboy boots, man clothes, and a wide brimmed hat--not the best outfit for feeling like a girl. Shirts that make me smile are my own little rebellion--sort of like the name of this blog. I may have to farm, but dangit, I can do it with my own flair.

Last year I organised a writers retreat in Heber, Utah for Authors Incognito. Just for fun, I gathered a bunch of my favorite shirt sayings and had them all made into shirts for the attendees. It was awesome how well the shirts fit the personalities of writers who got them. Here's a few of those sayings:

    • I’M PLOTTING AGAINST YOU. (I’m a writer. It’s what I do.)
      WRITER’S BLOCK: when your imaginary friends won’t talk to you.
      If you were in my novel, I’d have killed you off by now.
      Writers get the last word.
      Some of my best friends are fictional.
      I never got my acceptance letter from Hogwarts so I’m leaving the Shire to become a Jedi.
      WARNING! I’m a writer. Anything you say or do may be used in a story.
      Be nice to me. (Or I’ll put you in my novel.)
      This is my Writer’s costume.
      There. Their. They’re. Get it right. 
      I’m not daydreaming. I’m Plotting!
      I’m not quiet. I’m plotting.
      There are only two rules: #1 Butt goes in chair. #2 Words go on page. (Chair is optional)
      Save a writer. Buy a book.
      Shut up and Write.
      I read past my bedtime. 
      I write. Therefore I rewrite. 
      Reading Ninja! No book is safe. 
      If a book is well written, I always find it too short. –Jane Austin
      Never wrong a writer. They get their revenge in print. 
      Not all those who wander are lost. –Tolkien
      Irony. The opposite of wrinkly. 
      I like big books and I cannot lie.
      Only YOU can prevent comma splices.
      Book Junkie
      Go Away. I’m writing.

Here's a few of my shirts. A Charlotte that says "Meh" cracks me up. My Irony shirt got a gigglesnort out of Brandon Sanderson when I met in last summer at a signing. Shirt.woot.com and teefury.com feed my addiction with daily deals, but I hold out for shirts that really make me smile--usually about once a month.

Do you have any little writer quirks? Favorite pens? A closet stash of action figures? What's your secret addiction?

Friday, December 6, 2013

How to Lose Fans

Do you have an infestation of Fans? Have no fear. Follow this simple guide and you’ll be rid of those pesky Fans in no time! 

Fans find you in many ways...
TIP #1 
Be sure that your website is very hard to find. Don't use tags or labels that people might think of to search for your stuff.

Blast! They found you? Don't worry.
That first moment of contact is easily broken.
Tip #2 Be Paranoid and Accusatory.

Still a fan? No worries. Tip #3
Become a cyber-stalker. 

TIP #4:
Publicly argue with them over their opinions.

TIP #5
Be Really, Really, Really Negative.

Tip #6:
Ignore ALL Deadlines.
Keep them waiting as long as possible!

TIP #7:
Don't Deliver What You Promised.
Plot lines? Pfft. Just make it up.

Tip #8
Follow Trends.
Be sure to crank out the same stuff everyone else is doing.

TIP #9
Make Sure Your Fans Feel Unappreciated!
Fans are a dime a dozen. Make sure they know it. 

Tip #10
(This is crucial!)
If you've been rude to a fan, or hurt their feelings, NEVER say you're sorry! Let them wallow in their own little world of miserable disillusionment.

Wait for it... 
Success! You've officially lost a FAN. 
Whew! That was close. Fans can breed like cockroaches, spreading their fan-ness from one to another by word of mouth until a whole mess of them clamor for your attention and--I shudder to think--purchase your stuff. 

Just follow these ten simple steps and you will never have to worry about Fans again! 

Good luck!

*Have you ever seen/experienced a meltdown from an artist/writer? What's the fastest way people can lose you as a fan?*

Saturday, November 23, 2013

When the Setting is Your Hometown.

My latest completed novel is a dark YA suspense called FIREBUG which takes place in my hometown. I chose to use my town as the setting for a couple reasons. First of all, there had been several cases of arsonists here over the last several years. One summer about three years ago, we got a call in the night because the haystacks on both sides of the farm were burning. It turns out that an arsonist was walking across country and setting fire to any stacks he ran into. Fortunately for us, he missed our stack, though many of our neighbors lost their supply of feed for their cattle.

A bonus to setting the story in your hometown is that people who live there often know things that an outsider might not. It’s easy to set the scene at a high school where I walked the halls as a student.
It surprises me that I've had several beta readers say that they would never write a story about their hometown—that the bad things that happen to the characters feels too close and too real when the setting is just down the road.

They also worry about offending people. If the story calls for a dirty cop or an unethical mayor, then they worry that the real mayor or police of the town will be bothered by a story written about them.

Here’s the part that intrigues me: Why does it make a difference if the crooked cop is in your town or another town? Whatever town the story is set in will have things made up about the people living there, be it bad or good. Does distance from the made-up corruption make it easier to handle?

Sometimes our stories require the setting to be somewhere far from where we live, but if your story COULD happen in a place like your town, would you set the story there? Why or why not? Does writing about your hometown bring things too close to home?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Plot Twist

In my world, harvest is in full swing, but I'm working with one eye to the future. More specifically, November 1st, my most favorite day of the year. Winter is my writing season. Bring it on.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Trying to Cope

Why the delay on posting the reviews? Well, we had a tragedy in the family. An uncle died suddenly at the end of April and it has thrown my world for a loop. He was the one who farmed the neighboring farms with great grandpa. Our regular plans for running our farm were tossed aside as we went into crisis mode trying to farm two farms instead of one. We’re getting used to the long hours and learning curve, but everything is harder this year. I use the precious few minutes I get at the computer to work on prepping Firebug for submission. Any blog posts or reviews are on hold until the current crisis is under control.

We’ll be okay, but for now this is a tough time for us. The good news is that I’ll still have my writing time this winter.

Hopefully I’ll have time to sit and blog before then.

Have you ever had a tragedy that changed your life at a moment’s notice?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Upcoming Book Reviews & Interviews

Happy spring everyone! I’ve spent the winter months furiously writing my current novel, FIREBUG. I’m really pleased with the results and hope to be deep in queries for it by mid-summer.

In the meantime, I’ve fallen way behind on book reviews lately.  Some of the books I’ll be discussing soon are:

Million Dollar Diva by Tristi Pinkston, Brett Kitchen, & Ethan Kap


Rumplestiltskin by Jenni James


In The Bones by Renee Miller
Daughter Of The Goddess by Rita J Webb

I'll get the first up in the next day or so. What was your favorite part of this last winter? Or are you more of a summer flower?
Happy Writing!