November Means?

November is an awesome month. I look forward to it every year, and not because of Turkey day and not because it’s fall. Nope! I look forward to it because as soon as the first comes around I have a perfect excuse to avoid all responsibilities, like feeding children and cleaning house.

November means it’s also National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, and gives the chance to complete a novel-length work (50,000 words) in 30 days.  You can join your local region for write-ins and miscellaneous writing support, or even hook up with your writing buddies and have a friendly competition on who can get to the 50,000 word mark first and/or the fastest. The options are endless.

Writers around the world use this time to kick their inner editors to the curb to push out a frantically written, thrown together novel in 30 days or less.  This is the perfect chance to hone those skills and write something that could be the next best-seller, like Night Circus.

But there’s no pressure.

Just sit back, have fun, and let your muse take control. You may want to have some icepacks on the side though, fingers don’t like the abuse!

A caution to be heeded: NaNoWriMo is very addicting. Side effects include, but are not limited to, sleepless nights, sore fingers, euphoric highs, bankrupt coffee industry, disgruntled children and spouse, dirty house and laundry, sense of immense accomplishment, and others.  Participation in this activity is voluntary and upon sign up, you agree to the pros and cons and will not hold anyone other than yourself accountable for undesirable counter measures taken in order for your attention to be gained by anything other than your novel.

Disclaimer: This is a fun, informative, and slightly fictional post. My children are not harmed or neglected during the month of November and are quite convincing when they want attention from me. The fingers, however, are another story…

Business Cards for Creative Types

Business card

A writer wants their words to be memorable, but there’s another item they want everyone to notice…their business card.

 Your name, email address, photo and website are sufficient introductory information. Experts argue if you really need to add your writing genre. If your website has links to your Facebook fan page, Pinterest page and Twitter feed, there is no need to include those items on your card. Likewise, your home address and phone number are superfluous.

 When designing your own calling card, keep in mind your primary objective. There are three types of literary business cards: trade, personal and marketing.

 Trade business cards are best for self-published authors or freelance writers. These could include email address and website, so potential clients can contact you for jobs.

 Personal business cards work for authors linked to a traditional publishing house, where they want name recognition. These are perfect for networking with readers and other writers. This card should contain information about you, not your books. Social media links could also be included on a personal card.

 Marketing business cards focus on the product you are promoting, rather than the genre or author. This type of card is for each successive book you produce and market.

 A photo helps people remember you. However, make sure it’s a head-shot only. You may have a fabulous body, but a business card is no place to flaunt it.

 Lauren Ruth, literary agent of Slush Pile Tales, throws away generic business cards she receives from authors. The types she keeps are the ones with the author’s photo and a printed pitch on the back of the card. “I knew exactly who this author was,” she said.

 You may want to include the main tagline from your pitch on the front of your business card. “Non-preachy inspirational fiction” and “quirky small-town romance” might be two fun examples.

 Vista Print is usually the first place new writers go for business cards. They have tons of choices and bargain-basement prices. A simple set of 500 is under $25. Staples.com is having a sale right now, 250 full-color, matte finish business cards for $20 (regularly $30), with free shipping. Other printers are Zazzle.com, Uprinting.com and Printrunner.com.

 A template makes designing your own business card a snap. Most printers have several to choose from, depending on your needs. Once you have decided on a style for your card, color and content can be addressed. Simple, but memorable, are the watch words.

 Who should you give these fabulous communication creations to? Everyone! Friends, family and acquaintances can share your business cards with people they know. Fellow writers meet industry professionals all the time. They might remember you would be a perfect fit for a certain agent or publisher. The networking ripples could extend beyond the whole literary pond.

 “If you can’t write your idea on the back of my calling card, you don’t have a clear idea. “–David Belasco, the Bishop of Broadway

Credits: Author Business Cards, Lauren Ruth, from www.slushpiletales.wordpress.com; The Best Business Cards for Creative Writers, Jennifer Stone, from www.ehow.com; Author Business Cards are Different, Jennifer Hudson Taylor, from www.jenniferswriting.blogspot.com.

June’s Writer Feature

KWA’s June Writer Feature: Carol Englehaupt

Carol prof (1)

Carol writes middle grade, adult cozy mystery, fantasy, and YA paranormal as C.L. Roth.

Her current work in progress is the sequel to her middle grade fantasy, Cosmic Shift, titled Cosmic Chaos.

Writing has given her a separate life from her son, an artist with cerebral palsy.  “I am a full-time caregiver. Writing allows me to be ‘me’ and not an extension of somebody else.”

When asked what she would like to pass along to fellow writers, she replied, “Learn the craft to the best of your ability and get your social networking in place way before you need it.”

Carol’s latest release, Bone Weary is available now at Amazon, Createspace, and Barnes and Noble.

When her husband quits his job to take an extended vacation to Australia, a woman and her disabled son head for Weary, KS. She didn’t count on a town-wide feud, a stalker, or bones in the fruit cellar.

Want more from Carol? Keep up with her at her site.

Party On, Wayne: Gathering Research From Area Festivals and Cultural Events

Wayne's WorldWriting conferences and conventions are informative and helpful in the quest for publication. However, there are a slew of cultural and fun events in this area that can enrich your prose with flavor, color and depth. You may want to attend these festivals and research subjects of interest to your readers. Make sure to get contact information from event organizers and participants to use in future projects.

Historical Fiction

Steamboating in Missouri and Iowa, exhibit and lecture, opens April 27, 2013, National Archives Central Plains Region, Kansas City, MO; Night at the Museum II, April 2014, National Frontier Trails Museum, Independence, MO; 23rd Annual Chuck Wagon Gathering & Children’s Cowboy Festival, May 25-26, 2013, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, OK; Oklahoma Renaissance Festival, May 4-June 2, 2013, The Castle of Muskogee, Muskogee, OK.

Hobbies

30th Annual Kansas Numismatic Association Coin & Stamp Show, June 15, 2013 at the Cessna Activity Center in Wichita, KS; Wichita Flight Festival, September 28, 2013, at Col. James Jabara Airport, Wichita, KS; Red Slough Birding Convention, May 2014, Idabel, OK.

Foods

Prague Kolache Festival, May 2014, Main Street, Prague, OK; Italian Wine Tasting, May 21, 2013, Ciao Italian Kitchen, Wichita, KS; Tabouleh Fest, May 11, 2013, Main Street, Bristow, OK; Ethnic Enrichment Festival, August 16-18, 2013, Swope Park, Kansas City, MO.

Paranormal and Science Fiction

Fort Reno Ghost Tour, May 18, 2013, El Reno, OK; Tombstone Tales, May 19, 2013, Newkirk, OK; Kansas City Ghost & Gangsters Tour, every Friday and Saturday through July 2013, Kansas City, MO; Steampunk Day, May 25, 2013, Old Cowtown Museum, Wichita, KS.

People and Lifestyles

Kid Fest, May 2014 at Century II Expo Hall, Wichita, KS; 2013 Homeschool Conference, May 31-June 1, Century II, Wichita, KS; Just For her Expo Kansas, organized by HERLIFE Magazine, June 7-9, 2013, Overland Park Convention Center, Overland Park, KS; Festa Italiana 2013, June 2013, Zona Rosa, Kansas City, MO; Germanfest, May 3-5, 2013, Tulsa, OK; 1800s Lawn Social, May 2014, George M. Murrell Home, Park Hill, OK.

Arlene Rains Graber, Featured KWA Writer

Arlene Rains Graber shows style and a great deal of writing flexibility in her two chosen genres.  She says, “I write Women’s Fiction, both secular Arlene Graberand Christian.”  This diversity has led to success, as she is writing the third book in her series, A Plane Tree in Provence.

Asked about her authorial beginnings, she remembers: “On the advice of a book doctor, I pitched an idea to a publisher about writing a non-fiction devotional book on my travels.”  The pitch apparently worked because Devoted to Traveling: Inspirational Experiences of a Traveler became available in 2010.

Arlene admits that writing isn’t always a joy.  She is “not sure what or where I would be without my writing.  I admit some days it brings joy, but other days it is quite frustrating.  I dwell on the good days and take off for a very long walk on the bad ones.”

She has found inspiration by attending conferences and lectures.  “Joining a critique group,” she writes, “has proved invaluable for me.”  She goes on to advise that new writers always have at least three people look over writing and edit, edit, edit.

Arlene’s Christian novel, Angel on My Shoulder, is a novel of Pringle Taylor.  “A Teacher in Brooklyn, New York, Pringle must decide what to do next, after she loses her job and says “Yes” to a marriage proposal.”

The second book in the Plane Tree Series, The Cape Elizabeth ocean Avenue Society, has just been released.  “Will these five women return from France and change their lives at home?” Both are available from Amazon.

To read more from Arlene and to see upcoming announcements of her work, visit her website.

New for Youth!

I’m happy to announce that our first Annual Youth Contest will begin in just a few short days! You have just enough time to polish them entries and get them ready for entry! We’re accepting entries from May 1- June 1, or until we reach 100 entries. We do have a few things up our sleeves which will be announced shortly. So keep your eyes on this site! As always if you have any questions, please email contest(at)kwawriters(dot)org.

~Samantha LaFantasie, Contest Coordinator

For more information on our contest, visit the Youth Writer Contest tab or click here.

Wes Brummer, Featured KWA Writer

bar non candy barsWes Brummer still laments the end of the Bar None candy bar.  He probably wishes he had one to crunch through while working on his novel, Dust and Roses, a historical of Depression-era Kansas.  History is what Wes loves.  He writes, I feel a story makes the history more alive and compelling.  It doesn’t matter if it is far-fetched, as long as the setting is accurate and the characters are well driven.”

Wes is the recipient of several awards from the 2012 KWA Poetry and Prose Contest.  The first chapter of his novel won 2nd place, and his story Wes Brummer jpegGhost of a Chance won both 1st place in Short Fiction AND 3rd place in Humor!  You can read both by downloading our contest anthology, Words out of the Flatlands.   You can also read more from Wes by visiting his blog, Journey of a Novelist.

When asked about what this writer is reading, Wes acknowledges his latest resolution: “Read Local. Forget those NYT bestselling authors.”  He does his best to support his fellow KWA members.

As for advice for writers, Wes admits, “Hey, I’m just starting out!” but goes on to say, “be sure to follow through with the promises you make in a story.  Deliver on everything… If you talk about the possibility of something, either deliver it or take it out.”

Wise words from a great writer!

Jennifer Stinger, Featured KWA Writer

PhotoBooth26It is with distinct pleasure that we profile our intrepid KWA Newsletter editor, Jennifer Stinger.  While you may not recognize her face, you have definitely seen her work if you have read a recent newsletter.  Like many of our KWA membership, Jennifer struggles to find time to write between her full-time job, and raising a two-year-old and a teenager.  When she does find time, she is working on a modern romance set in northwest Texas.  Elements include childhood friends that are reunited years later, family and loss, and helping the one you love come back from their darkest place in the midst of life-threatening danger.

Jennifer does admit, however, that she feels “other settings are just waiting for me to find the time.  I like writing romance because it’s something that almost everyone can relate to.  I also like writing fantasy because it challenges the reader to reach into something that’s unknown and new.”

Jennifer isn’t just a writer.  Her digital art combines vibrant color and animated graphic elements to create pieces that are visually stunning.  You can see more here: http://mrsno6.deviantart.com/ .

Jennifer’s favorite author is Diana Gaboldon.  She says, “My aunt introduced me to her books and for the longest time, I was waiting on pins and needles until the next book would come out.”

As for advice for writers, Jennifer pushes for the passionate approach! “Be fearless! Don’t worry about what it looks like, grammar, or spelling.  This is coming from someone that had to overcome the hurdle of editing as I was writing, which would burn me out and lead to nothing but frustration.”  So let’s write on!

Katherine Pritchett, Featured KWA Writer

K PritchettKatherine Pritchett is a gal that says she has “rarely met a book I didn’t like.” A prolific writer and collaborator, Katherine considers herself primarily a novelist, although she has written articles, papers and policy at work.  She says that she loves “the luxury afforded by the word count to dig deep into the characters and the complex events that shape them.”

Several projects are in the works:

For short pieces, Katherine writes two blogs.  Through My Window expresses living with an attitude of gratitude, of being thankful for things often taken for granted. Diary of a Wimpy Dog chronicles her life with a manipulative Labrador retriever, and their other animal friends.

Katherine’s current project, Dr. Wonderful, is a romance between a surgeon and a paramedic.

When popular surgeon Rand McQuarrie challenges female paramedic Kris Evans, she dares him to observe a shift with her crew. Together they fight to save a patient and find the beginnings of mutual respect. The respect grows into attraction, despite misunderstandings and conflicts. The many demands of their jobs place on them is part of the conflict, and they struggle to find time to be together. And when they finally agree on a future, it is suddenly placed in jeopardy.

Her Richard Matthews novels, More Than a Point of Honor and The Judas Seat, are available at Barnes & Noble.

Katherine has also collaborated on a novel with her critique group: Baby Makes Three . Inspired by the life of a famous stripper who married a billionaire, had a baby and then died, leaving paternity of the baby in question, this book explores how it COULD have happened.

Katherine notes that new writers should “Never go with your first draft. Write, re-write, re-write again, edit some more, have others read it, then let it sit under the bed for six months to a year and edit again before you even consider it ready. And to quote Winny Churchill, “Never, never, never give up.”

For more news and information about Katherine Pritchett’s work, visit Ramblings about Life and Writing.

Michael Watson, Featured KWA Writer

Meet Michael Watson.  He mostly writes historical action/adventure, 1950s, but has written short stories and a western.  He finds that writingMike Watson 2 “is a constant learning experience” that has caused him to notice the world around him more.

Michael’s newest book, Treasure of the Anasazi, is part of his Jack Trader series, currently available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Createspace.  His readers will be happy to learn that he is currently working on the 3rd book in the series. 

His favorite writer is Clive Cussler, considered by many to be the greatest action/adventure writer.  Michael’s advice to new writers is “don’t impede the creative process by obsessing over ‘rules’ of writing. First get the story out.”  To read more of Mike’s adventures, visit his website at http://www.adventurewithmike.com.