Friday, May 3, 2019

In the Midst of Being Still

Graduations and summer are just around the corner but nothing has me looking to the future quite like my recent injury—my horse accidentally stepped on my leg.

The girls were spearheading their largest fundraiser to date. It was a split event with a gymnastic mock meet inside the facility and a fundraising fair outside.

Instead of elevating my leg, I trudged onward. And yet, I would have forced my little gymnast to lay down and take it easy but as a mother of three, the show must go on. My saintly mother-in-law flew in to help with our massive undertaking but even with her, I spent far too many hours on my feet.

By Saturday afternoon, my leg quit working altogether. Swollen twice its normal size—with a beautiful array of blue, black and purple coloring—I was forced to sit. Damon called in a work favor and here I am with my leg in a compression sleeve and crutches within arm’s reach. Until the MRI is read I’m going to pretend the hematoma will miraculously shrivel to nothing and that the torn calf muscle is just a sprain.
We have fifty chickens, four dogs and two horses. The daily chores of collecting eggs and shoveling horse manure aren’t exactly conducive to sitting—or crutches.

But in the midst of the chaos, I’ve been forced learned a few things.

One, my children are naturally kind and genuinely want to pitch in and take care of their mother.
Two, it’s okay to let go. I like a clean house and a clean paddock. Physically, I can’t keep up with either. The kids already have their list of chores, homework and practice (gymnastic, mock trial and instruments).
Three, there’s beauty in being still. I love to streamline—I love efficiency. There’s always a quicker or more productive way to accomplish tasks.
Yes, even writing. My brain does a happy dance every time I find a more efficient way to do something. But sometimes, I forget there’s also merit in doing nothing.

With summer just around the corner, take a moment to put down the computer or the pen and just be. Who knows, maybe your next novel will bubble up in the midst of being still.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Come and Celebrate

It's that time of year where Writers of Kern celebrates its members. Snag your seat and come to relish in our (and your) success.

Attention members:
If you have been traditionally published (or know a fellow member that has) please let us know! All traditionally published authors—not self or indie published—are eligible for the Robert Hargreaves Award.

Dan McGuire Blog Challenge Recipients:
Our fellow bloggers will be receiving their award, come and help celebrate their success!
Joan Raymond, Clarissa Kae, Natalia Corres, Judy Kukuruza, Lily Hobbs, and Ann Cook

Thursday, April 18, 2019

It Never Gets Old

There are few things I love more than seeing my fellow writer friends basking in the warmth of success. Being waist-deep in the trenches bonds us; it's deeper than familial. It's an emotional tie that can't be severed.
Although, Esther and I are in near constant communication, she (thankfully) hasn't tired of me yet. In June, she's flying in for WOK's workshop on her thriving small press career. With my current addition of a second horse, we might have our own adventure that weekend.

How much trouble could two writers conjure in a weekend?

(Side note, Esther's sophomore novel A Proper Scandal is absolutely delicious. She layers depth with intrigue like a pro.)

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The Magic of the Genie

Every (and I do mean every) one who attended last Saturday's workshop with Jeanne DeVita benefited, either through inspiration or practical "this is how you can be published." 
True to her word, she emailed her powerpoint presentation. If you'd like a copy, shoot me an email. I'll be sending her presentation out this weekend.

Also, if you're interested in an online workshop with our beloved Book Genie, let us know ASAP. We need to schedule her months in advance.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

The Power of Our Words

Since I was a child, I've kept a carefully logged journal and nothing helps adjust an aging perspective like your own handwriting. It's easy to sit on the sidelines, editing and cheering writers from a safe perch. I've encouraged and helped dozens upon dozens of authors.
But my view of my childhood, my family and faith has come into question the last few years and my journal has been a steadying force. I recently helped an author transition her memoir into a novel. 

There is freedom in creative nonfiction, allowing an emotional truth that many memoirs, especially when trauma is present, can stifle. Watching this writer revisit her personal history was not only inspiring but contagious. 

And so I've left the safety of my perch, and am finishing my own memoir-turned-novel. It's terrifying; truth was never accused of being pretty. But the reception, so far, of how my personal narrative (even novelized) can change a man's perspective, propels me forward.

This is our cause. We are writers. We are called to change the world, one sentence at a time.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Blogger's Block

We are writers and eventually, we all hit a snag. 
Some of us call it Writer's Block (some authors ignore it completely, hats off to them). Whether you acknowledge it or not, we all run out of ideas or fall out of love with what we've written. It happens to the best of us and right now, it's happening to a few of our fellow challengers.

If you're waist deep in "blah," join the club. You're a writer (or blogger).
And guess what, it's okay.

It's been several years since I've had an all out "nothing in my brain" writer's block. Why? Because I stopped.
No writing. Nothing. 
I stopped everything and did anything and everything but writing. I put myself in a writing time out. Many times, it's just one day of a time-out, some times it's a week. 
I can jot down ideas but not complete sentences. It needs to be a full vacation of the writing mind. Distance makes the heart grows fonder applies to fictional characters (or blogging).

Sometimes stopping is where to start (or end) writer's block.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Pitch List: Publisher's Eager for Manuscripts

Pitch your book to following publishers (please polish before you do so). This is not a personal recommendation of practices, only a researched list of who accepts unagented manuscripts. Submission rules and regulations can change without notice so do your due diligence.

And yes, you're welcome ;)

Page Street Publishing is a publisher of full color, mostly hardcover, gift books, cookbooks, and craft-books. They have recently started publishing young adult fiction. They have excellent distribution.
Charlesbridge publishes high quality books for children and young adults with the goal of creating lifelong readers and lifelong learners. They have good distribution.
Clean Teen Publishing is a small publisher started a number of years ago. They publish print and electronic versions of books. All of the books they publish are aimed at teens. Their selling point, and the reason they are named what they are, is that all books come with a really clear rating system, that they refer to as content disclosure. This is an unusual concept, and while I can see how it would appeal to parents, I am not sure how attractive it would be to most teenagers.
This Philadelphia based press publishes just 25 books a year in a whole range of genres, from children’s books to nonfiction to science fiction. Unlike most publishers that tackle a large range of topics, Quirk books has a clear marketing plan and to a certain degree their books have a cohesive feel, because they all are quirky.
They have published a wide variety of bestsellers and they have excellent distribution. Some of their bestsellers include The Last Policeman, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. 
Diversion Books was started by Scott Waxman of Waxman Literary Agency. They publish a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction genres, including young adult.
An ePublisher primarily focused on publishing romance, they are open to publishing young adult romance.
The books they publish tend to be on the younger end of the young adult genre (think thirteen year old readers primarily). They are an established and respected publisher.
A large independent publisher based out of Illinois, they also have offices in Connecticut and New York. Source Books was started in 1987 by Dominique Raccah. They also have several imprints, all founded within the last decade. They started out publishing business books but then expanded to gift books.
They now publish fiction and nonfiction in a large variety of genres, with a particular focus on young adult books.
Arsenal Pulp Press is a Canadian small press based out of Vancouver. They have won the Jim Douglas Publisher of the Year Award (from the Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia), and they have been a finalist for Small Press Publisher of the Year (awarded by the Canadian Booksellers Association) five times.They have good distribution in Canada and on the West Coast. I’ve seen a number of their books in stores in the Pacific Northwest. They also regularly host and promote events for their authors, and that is a good sign as well.
Red Deer Press is a small press based out of Canada. They focus on publishing children’s books. They publish books for a whole range of ages starting with picture books and culminating with young adult books. Their books have good covers, are generally well reviewed, and have good distribution.
Tradewind Books is a small publisher of  books for children and young adults located in British Columbia, Canada. They publish beautifully illustrated books, chapter books, books for middle grade readers, and for young adults. They publish primarily fiction but also some poetry. They are not interested in nonfiction. It is important to note that they cannot accept novels by non-Canadian authors unless they are chapter books that require illustrations. They can accept submissions for picture books. If you are not Canadian, only submit books that require illustrations. All other books will not be considered.
Tell-Tale Publishing is a small press founded in 2009. They seem to focus primarily on eBooks but also they have print options (largely print on demand). They publish six imprints which include Dahlia (romance, and various romance subgenres), Stargazer (fantasy, steampunk), Nightshade (horror), Casablanca (mystery), Thistle (middle school, YA, new adult), and Deja Vu (reprints for all genres).

The Parliament House is a small eBook and print press started in 2016.  They specialize in fantasy, including paranormal, contemporary, and urban. Their website is well designed and the covers are well designed and market appropriate. They seem active on social media and more focused on recruiting readers than writers. The fantasy novels they tend to list as favorites are aimed at young adults, although they themselves do not say that they are a young adult publisher.
They publish a wide variety of genres including young adult fiction but they are only interested in publishing work with an environmental or ecological focus.
Filles Vertes Publishing was founded in 2016. It is a new publisher with only a few books under their belt and a few forthcoming books as well. They have print and electronic versions of all their books. They accept submissions of middle grade readers, young adult books, adult fiction, and adult fiction in all genres, which is a broad spectrum to publish.
Pajama Press is a publisher of books for children and young adults. They focus on publishing literary works. They publish books that fall into a wide range of categories including: picture books, board books for the very young, middle-grade novels, young adult novels, and non-fiction for all juvenile categories.
Triangle Square is an imprint of Seven Stories Press that focuses on publishing young adult novels and children’s books. Seven Stories Press is an independent publisher that is well respected and has been around for twenty years. Their books are distributed by Random House.
BelleBooks was founded in 1999 by a number of writers of Southern fiction. They focused on publishing works of Southern fiction before creating the now substantial imprint BelleBridge, which is open to a wide variety of genres including, cozy mysteries, women’s fiction, romance, fiction, nonfiction, science fiction, horror, fantasy, young adult, mystery, suspense, and thrillers.
Albert Whitman & Company has been around since 1919. I grew up reading a series the best-known series that they have published The Boxcar Children. Over the past few years they have started to focus on publishing a larger number of books each year. Their goal is to be publishing 150 new books a year by 2020.
Hot Key Books is an imprint of Bonnier Publishing which is part of the much larger international Bonnier, a large media group. Hot Key Books is based in the UK. They publish books for kids and teens between the ages of 8-18. The cover art for these books is exceptional. They also have a great, easy to use website.
Entangled Teen is the YA imprint of the romance publisher Entangled Publishing.Entangled Publishing is a newer company but they have had a lot of success in the genre of romance and they have sold a lot of books. They primarily operate on a digital first model, which usually means print runs only happen if/when the digital book has been successful.
Polis Books is an independent publisher of fiction and nonfiction, founded in 2013. Their focus is on publishing new voices. They are a technologically driven company. They publish print and digital books. Polis Books was founded by Jason Pinter. Mr. Pinter had over a decade of experience in editorial, marketing and publicity for a variety of publishers including Random House, St. Martin’s Press, and The Mysterious Press.