Wednesday, August 29, 2012

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Seal the Deal & Links

While we didn't make it to the sea lion caves in southern Oregon, we did see plenty of harbor seals hanging around Newport.  For today's [Mostly] Wordless Wednesday, meet my little friends (said in a bad Al Pacino accent):

 Sunning on the rocks at Cobble Beach (if you can call it sunning when there is no sun...)
 I suppose "basking" works even if there is no sun?  These little fella's are super basky.
 Look at that sweet face!  This little guy was playing in the harbor at Depoe Bay.

Before I get to the links, be sure to come back this Saturday, September 1, for an interview with Ian T. Healy.  He always has great information for writers, and is both traditionally and independently published.

Link Time!

Blog Hops/Fests:

Gearing up to Get an Agent Blog Fest & Pitch Contest is run by Deana Barnhart and sounds fantastic!  If you have a completed manuscript this is the blog fest to participate in.  Real pitching opportunities to agents and small publishing houses.

Carrie Ann is hosting the Romancing the Hop Blog Hop.  Bloggers and authors can participate, while readers can win one of hundreds of prizes.


The Editor's Prize Contest is run by the Missouri Review.  $5000 prizes in fiction, poetry and essay, and possible publication.  $20 per entry.

The Olympia Unpublished Writers Contest from Clash of the Titles is aimed at unpublished writers.  No cash prize has been announced, but the entry fee is $10.

The 5000 Pound UK Sitcom Writing Prize is for UK writers only.  Try your hand at writing a sitcom for a development deal with Big Talk and Comedy Central UK.  Also, that's pound as in money.  I didn't look up how to do the symbol.

What's going on in your world?  Could you turn down a sweet seal face like the one above?  Ever seen a seal in person? 

May you find your Muse.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Prepare to be Enchanted - An Interview With Author Feather Stone

I have a delightful treat for you today!  Author, and fellow blogger, Feather Stone granted me an interview.  If you are feeling insecure about your writing or your creativity is restrained or stumped, her words will reassure you and get you back to the creative space you need to be in.  I think you'll find her positive attitude to be inspiring and contagious.

Feather Stone is the author of The Guardian's Wildchild.  A summary from her website:  

Caught in a reckless attempt to stop Dark forces, Sidney Davenport, a young, rule breaking, spirited member of the secret paranormal community of Guardians, finds herself imprisoned on a naval ship and slated for execution. Her struggle with the unfamiliar emotions of fear and anger becomes even more complicated when she can no longer fight her attraction to the very man who has orders to perform her execution.

Thanks so much for agreeing to talk to me.  What did writing The Guardian's Wildchild mean to you, personally?

Writing The Guardian’s Wildchild was a journey of awakening. I’d believed I could write a little, but I didn’t know I could write an epic novel. Once I became open to the possibility of being a successful author, a dormant part of my being emerged. Passion for creating scenes, characters, dialogue, and plot began to consume my thoughts. The more I submitted to the urgings to sit at the keyboard and spill out volumes of text, mirroring the images in my mind, the more I became a slave, a happy and mystified slave.

As my confidence was strengthened through taking writing classes and support from my fiercest critic (my husband), writing The Guardian’s Wildchild became an obsession. With the completion of each chapter, the success flowed into other areas of my world. Finding my voice in the world of fantasy gave me courage to speak up and be heard. My identity and sense of self-worth got a healthy kick in the pants.

How Feather envisions Sidney Davenport
My instructors had been clear in the classes advising us that getting a novel published is rare for new authors. When I had finished writing and rewriting the story, I was thrilled with the results. However, I’d accepted the fact that it was likely going to remain just a part of my legacy to my family. Nothing more. It may sound odd, but I was so grateful for the experience of having written such an amazing story, that was enough for me. It was only through my husband’s insistence that I did search for a publisher.

Writing The Guardian’s Wildchild was a gift, a beautiful experience that transcends description. I wrote every day for about ten years. During the long hours at the keyboard, time stopped. Troubles faded. Magically I was transported to a world that took shape before my ethereal eyes. I never knew where it was going to take me. I trusted the beckoning piper. As the inspirations took shape, I obediently and lovingly manifested what I saw, heard, felt into my physical world.

In the end, there wasn’t just The Guardian’s Wildchild sitting on the book shelves in my local Coles bookstore. I had been transformed.

Sounds like a divine experience.  You said you wrote every day for ten years.  What did you find helped you to settle down to write, and did you have any routines that helped you get into writing mode?

Nothing in my life previously had filled me with such enthusiasm.  I suppose my husband might tell you I was obsessed, perhaps possessed for at least the first five years.

Believe it or not, I had no trouble sitting down to write for all those years. I was driven. While I was at my paying job, all I could think about was about writing when I returned home. You would think that after putting in an eight to ten hour shift at work that I would be too tired to sit at the computer at home.

My incentive came from the fact that the inspirations were so clear and grand. I was anxious to express what I saw and felt before the visions faded. As the flow of scenes came into focus, I forgot about the fatigue, even became more energized as I was carried away on the magic.

I enjoy the positivity in your writing experiences.  A lot of the time you hear how hard it is, what a struggle it is to find time, etc. (I'm guilty).  What does your writing area look like?  Do you have anything specific that encourages or supports you while you're writing?

Ah, confession time. Now, you’re probably asking “What does my physical writing area look like?” It’s pretty basic. Laptop on kitchen table, coffee cup, cat staring at me, hubby asking “Are we eating today?”

You see, the thing is, the laptop is not where the story gets created. I’ve discovered I’m pretty much the run-of-the-mill writer. Other authors will tell you they spend hours or days creating scenes, dialogue, plot, everything within their grey matter before writing a word. Same here.

I create scenes while I’m brushing my teeth, walking Jasper, or shopping for groceries – all the time, everywhere I go.  If I’m conscious, building the story internally is ongoing twenty four, seven. The cashier at the grocery store will never know I’ve just imagined my character’s having the most incredible sex.

I don’t sit down to write a word until the scene in my head becomes crystal clear. It may take days for the nuances of every movement of the man’s hand unbuttoning the woman’s shirt to make it to the keyboard on my laptop.

Then again, it could be that I just love replaying those scenes in my head. I’m such a passion addict.

What supports or encourages my writing? It’s my hubby. In spite of the frequent days of fasting, he’s my most loyal fan.

You've spoken of being inspired and obsessed.  What was it about this story that grabbed you?  What inspired it?

Aside from the fact that the original inspiration was the result of a paranormal experience, my passion while writing the story flowed uninhibited. Even after publication, I’ll read a few pages and still feel that passion that captivated me for so many years.

Picture this. You’re standing at the headwaters of a raging river. Turning to discover its origin, you notice it gushing from a chasm deep within the mountain. The river is churning wildly, spitting its frothy spray in all directions. You become saturated with its cool mist. Rainbows glisten above the torrent. Your eye is drawn to follow the river’s journey. Something within you seeks to discover its desperate struggle. Twisting like a serpent, it surges forward over boulders. The river plummets with orgasmic convulsion down vertical crevices. You feel its pleasure. You must follow.  You must. You are no longer separate from the river. You’re seeking your source with the intense desire of lovers. Nothing, no power, no threat of death will stand in your way to feel the embrace, of that final surge in joining with the source.

I believe humans receive creative inspiration proportional to how much they allow their inner guide to speak. Every person has creative talents. The problems arise when a person allows negativity to sit on the throne, casting doubt, anger, fear, hatred. These emotions hold the person in a prison. People remain blind to the truth of their power, partly because their creative power frightens them.

Have your read the prose wherein there is a statement, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond imagination. It is our light more than our darkness which scares us.” (Marianne Williamson in Return to Love: Reflections on a Course in Miracles).

To answer your questions more directly, though the story of The Guardian’s Wildchild is publicly registered as fiction, I believe it is more truth than fantasy. I wrote the story given my core belief that human beings are spiritual beings having a human experience. I believe that at one time eons ago, perhaps on another dimension, human beings existed as both spiritual beings and as physical beings, moving between these dimensions at will. As a result of becoming enamored with physical sensations and giving power to the ego, we lost our ability to become spiritual without going through the death experience.

While listening to my inner guide, I felt the urgency to tell the story with the same intensity as the river rushing to be one with its source. There was no choice. It was beyond description with the spoken word.

That is all quite exquisite, and I know I could go on talking to you for ages.  Unfortunately, we have to wrap it up.  What advice would you give aspiring writers?

If you’re about to plunge into the world of being an author, be prepared for an awakening.

I had invested ten years of my life into The Guardian’s Wildchild. It had been my passion every waking moment of every day. I was a prisoner, gloriously happy, at the keyboard. It wasn’t until after I’d finished the first draft that I thought about getting it published. After rewrites and the third rejection from a publisher I had to deal with the possibility that my manuscript may never see a bookstore.  It dawned on me that during the amazing journey of writing the story, my life had changed in beautiful ways that’s difficult to describe.

If you write with your eye on the prize, publication, you may rob yourself of the joy of the journey. Free yourself from worry that your magnificent creation may not be acceptable to others. Write because you feel the rapture. It is then the flow of your vision will fall uninhibited onto the page. If you truly love the story you write, it will change you. You will then know that being published is secondary to the experience of being a creator.

I hope that Feather's words have been as encouraging to you as they have been to me.  Her viewpoint is so fresh and positive that I can't help seeing my writing as something worthy of nurturing.

Feather is offering a The Guardian's Wildchild bookmark to anyone who leaves a comment.  Please leave an email address in your comment and I will contact you for your mailing address.

The Guardian's Wildchild can be purchased at

You can find Feather Stone at these sites:

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Fearsome Fire Planes & Helpful Links

It's time for another [Mostly] Wordless Wednesday.  With the start of school, and my kids' school being in the burn area, I was revisiting some of the photos from the fire this evening while looking for photos I wanted to post.  I have plenty of scenic pictures from this summer, but I thought I'd keep today simple and post a couple of the planes that helped fight the fire.

First, we have one of the choppers. They were in it from the beginning, scooping water out of nearby bodies of water and dropping it on the fire.

This is the C130, our Great Hope during the fire.  When they arrived from out of state, we thought our savior was here.  While I'm sure they helped quite a bit, they didn't turn out to be the magic we'd hoped.

 Pretty cool looking, isn't it?  These planes managed to make it look like it was finally time to wage war on the Waldo Canyon Fire.

And this was the original plane before the C130's arrived.  It's the one that reminded me of the movie "Always."  These guys were working so hard, but didn't get all the glory the C130's did.

Now for the links:

Blog Hops-

Alex J. Cavanaugh introduced the theme of his September Blog Fest: Genre Favorites mixed with a little Guilty Pleasure.  Sounds fun!

M. Pax, Laura Eno, Brinda Berry and Ciara Knight will be hosting the What's Your Chocolate Blog Fest September 10.  Mmmm, chocolate.

Random Fun/Interesting Stuff-

BuzzFeed posted 30 Indispensable Writing Tips From Famous Authors. There's some good in stuff in there! posted The 6 Most Certifiably Insane Acts of Writing.  Think you're having a rough go of it?  Check these out.


Carly Watters shared an internship with P.S. Literary Agency.

Open for Submissions-

Pugnacious Press is taking submissions for their YA Steampunk anthology Real Girls Don't Rust.  (It's true, we don't)

Musa Publishing will be closing to romance and speculative fiction submissions on September 1.

Anything to share?  Like airplanes?  What has been your most certifiably insane act of writing?  What's your favorite writing tip from a famous author?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, August 20, 2012

What's Inspired You This Week?

I went out for one of my late-night walks last night and came across a young teen boy, too young to be out walking after midnight.  He hid behind a tree until he realized it was just some chick (that's me), and then he headed on his way in the opposite direction of where I was heading.

We were on opposite sides of the street, so I didn't get a good look.  I couldn't describe him to police or identify him in a line-up, but I could pick out the things I was able to see and extract possible reasons he was out walking at this time of night.

The Mundane: Perhaps he was just on the way back from a friend's house after sneaking out to play video games.  Mom said no more Halo 3, but Jack's mom was cool with it, and even baked them cookies while they played.  

The Naughty: He was drinking with some friends at the park (which was the direction he was coming back from).  Having been given the cold-shoulder when the bottle he'd spun landed on Amy, his one true love, Ben took a different sort of walk of shame home, the sound of malicious youthful laughter ringing in his ears.

The Spiritual: A remnant spirit, walking his final walk, doomed to repeat it for eons to punish the serial killer who ended his young life.  When did it happen?  His clothes were fairly timeless for the last few decades: jeans and an over-sized white t-shirt.  Could his killer still be alive?

The Magical: School is starting, so maybe he was just a young wizard, sneaking out from his reluctant family's home to catch the double decker spirit ride to the train station.  A wink of glass tells me he was wearing glasses.  Harry, that you?

The Evil: Tired from a long evening of torturing small animals, young Mordred strolled home, visions of doing the same to humans on his mind.

The Supernatural: Confused as to why it hadn't waited for a full moon, Sam quickly walked home after returning to human form.  Luckily, he had managed to get his clothes off before changing to his lupine form, so he was able to get dressed and not look too conspicuous.

The Vengeful: Lucas walked with triumph, mixed with trepidation, having finally taken his stepfather's life in revenge for years of ill treatment.  He stuck to the shadows, heading to Jake's house to climb back into his sleeping bag and solidify his alibi.

The Epic: Cast into a time not his own, John felt naked without his mighty sword.  He bravely marched ahead, wondering what these large metal behemoths were, sitting so squat and placid on these strange stone pathways.  Were they oracles?  Would they come to life at any moment?

The Other-Wordly: Jujemon, short for his alien name, which is unpronounceable in Human, studied the strange planet he'd just landed on.  Weird green things danced and swayed in the wind; a humanoid being walked past; tiny space ships littered the landscape, grounded for some unknown reason.

What has gotten your creative juices flowing this week?  What do you think my young friend was doing out on a Sunday night after midnight?  Were his intentions good or evil?

May you find your Muse.

Xbox-Controller by OCAL,
Bottle by OCAL,
Floating Ghost by OCAL,
Secretlondon Wizard S Hat by lyo,
Psycho Icecube by Kelly,
Werewolf by OCAL,
Poison by OCAL,
Longsword by OCAL,
Alien Eyes by OCAL,

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Tidal Pool Critters & Helpful Links

I posted various ocean and lighthouse pictures from my trip before, and now it's time to post some of the critters from the tide pool.  Who doesn't love tide pool creatures, I ask you?

 This is some of the exposed rock that is under the water during higher tide.  Not sure, but I think those are mussels?  And snails.

 Yes, I couldn't help it, another lighthouse picture.  But I love them!  And, being landlocked, I rarely get to see them.  Plus, I felt all clever and stuff because I got that awesome reflection of the lighthouse in the photo. Come on, you know that makes me awesome!

 Can you find the crab among the mussels (or clams or oysters or whatever the heck they are)?  I had to stalk him forever to get this photo.  He was tucked into a tiny crevasse in the rocks, and would climb underneath the shells around him every time I moved.

 How about this guy?  He was also in a crevasse.  Sneaky little things!

 Sea urchins!  They're so...purple!

 Starfish.  There were a ton all together in this particular puddle, all groovy and...starry.

 Look, another reflection photo!  I awe myself!  Okay, not really.

This is a sea anemone, but it is all closed up, so the little wavy tentacles are tucked up inside.  It seems to have taken on a little snail hitchhiker, and I wonder how comfortable all those shell fragments are?  Ouch.

Now for the links!

Blog Hops-

The What I Did Last Summer Blog Hop is being hosted by Emily R. King and Melodie Wright.  Participants will be posting one true summer story and one fictional summer story, and then you guess who's right!  Sounds fun.

The What If Blog Fest is currently going on this week (you can participate through Friday).  Hosted by Morgan, Cassie, Leigh and Clark, this one has you re-tooling a fairy tale in one of four categories: Best Plot Twist, Best Love Story, Best Tragedy or Best Comic Relief.

Today is the last day for the Unforgettable Blog Fest, run by Siv Maria of Been There, Done That.  Tell us about an unforgettable person, place or thing that has stuck with you.


Unicorn Bell is hosting the School's In Query Contest.  If you have a completed manuscript, this is a great way to get it read and possibly get a request for more pages.

Random Fun/Interesting Stuff-

Want to know who the Top Grossing Authors are, along with how much they make?  Click on this Forbes link and find out.

WriteOnCon, the free, online writer's conference, is back on.  They have a lot of great guests and experts.

Dan Pearce, of Single Dad Laughing blog fame, posted How to Update the Facebook Thumbnail & Description for Your Blog Posts, which some may find helpful.

Open for Submissions-

Damnation Books is accepting novel submissions, but not short story submissions.  They cover a lot of different genres, including horror, sci-fi, young adult and steampunk.  Click on the link for more information.

Ginosko Literary Journal is accepting short fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, interviews and more.  Click the link for more information.

The Last Goddess Magazine is open for articles.  Non-paying market.

Main Street Rag is accepting novella submissions through September 15, any subject.


Mshatch is having The Great Giveaway.  Enter to win some great books.  Multiple drawings.

That's it for today!

Do you enjoy saying the word "anemone" as much as I do?  How about aluminum (aluminium)?  Anything to share?  Ever been to a tide pool at low tide?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Turning the Tables

So it is official: I will be leading a workshop on social media for writers in October for the Pikes Peak Branch of the National League of American Pen Women.  Gasp!  I sent in the title and description today, which will soon show up on the website, which means I cannot flee, nor can I duck out gracefully.  ACK!

I'm a pro at attending workshops, but this will be the first I've led.  I haven't had to give any sort of speech since Speech class in college (which, by the way, was right before I got pregnant with my daughter, so we're not talking decades or anything, but six years is long enough!  It's more than halfway to a decade...)

I'm hoping I still have my handy dandy Speech textbook downstairs.  I'm pretty sure I do, as I only sold one textbook back, one which I've regretted not keeping ever since.  I can assure you that $20, or whatever pittance I received, was definitely not worth selling it back for when I could have continued using it.

While I'm utterly terrified, at this point, I'm also quite excited.  I'm already creating the workshop in my head, and I'll enjoy putting together a slideshow and handouts, but it's the talking part that will be hard.  I can assure you that my face will be bright red the entire time, because that's how I roll.  Haha!  Okay, hopefully not.  I'm actually pretty comfortable with the topic, which should help a lot.  I won't have to script anything, and can just use my notes as a guideline so I don't get off topic.  I work better off-script.

The workshop will touch on Facebook, Twitter and blogging, though I'll mention other forms of social media (LinkedIn, Pinterest, Good Reads) so people are aware of what's out there.  It's been requested as a very basic introduction, including setup of the accounts, as well as protecting oneself while putting yourself out there publicly.

Really, I talk about this sort of thing on here, so I'll just be doing it out loud, without need for spell check.  Right?  RIGHT!?

Oh, hey, and speaking of workshops, I'll be attending one presented by Brandon and Bryan of A Beer for the Shower next week via Pikes Peak Writers!  Go figure, small world, and all that jazz.  It's on blogging, which I already do, sure, but I'm betting they'll have plenty interesting and enlightening to say about it.

Any tips from you pro's out there?  What other forms of social media do you think deserve a mention?  What do you think is the A#1 most important thing newbies should know about social media?

May you find your Muse.

Image by OCAL,

Friday, August 10, 2012

Guest Post on Pikes Peak Writers Blog - Post Apoc

Hi there!  If you missed my post on "Things to Remember When Writing Post-Apocalyptic," you can check it out over at the Pikes Peak Writers Blog, where I guest posted yesterday.

Have a great weekend!

May you find your Muse.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Childhood Monster Blog Fest

Christine Rains is hosting the "What Was Your Childhood Monster?" Blog Fest.  Today is the last day for it.  It's been awhile since I participated in a blog fest, and this was a fun one to jump back in with.

My childhood monster was a super hero, actually.  The Incredible Hulk.  I was fascinated by Bixby's depiction of the green monster, and terrified that such a normal looking person could so easily turn into a raging beast.  I'd beg to watch the show, only to have nightmares and scream to my parents that the Hulk was in my closet.  I was all of 4 and 5 when watching the show, and would be devastated when my mom tried to deny my watching it to avoid those horrible nights.  I'd quietly sneak into the living room, turn the volume on low, and watch it until I got caught.

These days, my almost-five-year old daughter shares the same fascination and fear of the Hulk.  When we watch The Avengers, she screams "HULK SMASH" in victory when he's good, but she's so hurt and saddened during his bad times.  The same is true of the Avengers cartoon I found on Netflix for her.  I wonder what it is about him that captured both my imagination and hers?

I think you can still sign up if you missed out!  Just click on the link above.

What was your childhood monster?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Greening Up & Helpful Links

Okay, I made a big boo-boo somehow and got a virus on my computer.  Nasty little bugger it is, too.  So I'm using a loaner from my husband's work for another day or two.  It feels weird to be on a new machine!

One ramification of this, though, is that I don't have my photo files.  Also, I don't have my editing software to crop it or watermark it (I don't typically mess with the photos other than that).  So today's [Mostly] Wordless Wednesday will be a photo I took today of the burn area across the street.  You see, it's become green!  Already, the plant life is rejuvenating the area.  I find that so uplifting and hopeful! 

It probably looks sort of normal, but consider that all that land was black.  Then the rain kept coming and washing it out, which made it brown.  The part that matters now is that it is green!  GREEN!  Those houses on top of the hill survived, but you can probably make out the brown singed bushes around them.  Fire is amazing, and seems to leave behind destruction similar to a tornado's, in that it will skip right around something, take the houses surrounding that something out, but leave it standing.  We saw quite a lot of that. 

Now for  some helpful links:

Poe Forevermore is having a writing contest.  No entry fee, and it's based on Poe; sounds good to me!

ACC Writer's Studio is having a contest for responses to artwork.  The Speak Peace Contest encourages people to respond to artwork by Vietnamese children.  They are also taking art submissions.  This appears to be for Colorado residents only, has cash prizes, and is free to enter.

Apex Publications is seeking a blog editor.  It is not a paid position, but it comes with lots of neat handouts.

Crossed Genres Magazine is now open for submissions.  This is a paying market.  The current theme is "Boundaries."

Writer's Digest presented a 12-day plan of simple writing exercises that I thought you might enjoy.

Savvy Writers and E-book Online compiled a list of the 58 top websites to announce your book for FREE.  Free advertizing! 

Any helpful links to pass along?  Blog hops or anything of that sort you might want to mention?  Are you as surprised as I am at how quickly scorched earth comes back to life?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Con Envy

I'm posting late because I had an internet outage, but it's back, so whew.

First, Happy Morning After Mars Landing!

I don't know about you guys out there, but my Inner Geek is having a summer of it.  Some day I'd like to go to the ComicCon in San Diego and get my geek on, and this year I knew several people who went, including a cousin who got a press pass.  Jealous!! 

The ComicCon was always a fleeting thought, something I never intended to go to, until I discovered that they have various author panels there, as well.  So wait, I can go drool over various actors and show creators, as well as visit panels about, say, Kick Ass Chicks in literature?  Gasp!  Suddenly, the face of ComicCon has changed, and it's a place I might really one day like to visit.

Thinking of ComicCon got me looking around at other conventions, as well as other writer's conferences.  I discovered ReaderCon due to a news story about it.  They had Peter Straub and Caitlin R. Kiernan this year.  Wow!  Then there's WorldCon, CryptiCon, ConnityCon...okay, that one's not real.  Point being, there are tons of both conventions and conferences.  Then there are retreats, individual workshops, you name it.  In fact, here is a resource if you want to see what is available to you out there.  They don't have everything out there, but it's a good leaping off point.

How do you decide what to go to?  Firstly, are you looking for a convention or a conference?  Are you going as a fan or to learn and network?  If you're going as a fan, that one should be easy to choose, as you look for the convention which covers what you're a fan of.

If you're wanting a conference, that one may be harder.  I'm lucky, in that I have a highly respected writer's conference right here, not five minutes from me: Pikes Peak Writers Conference.  Though I might eventually want to try a different kind of writer's conference (possibly ReaderCon or WorldCon), for now I'm satisfied with all I get from my local conference.

Many don't have a local conference, or the local conference may not be what you're looking for.  In that case, travel is going to be necessary, whether to a different town or a different state.  Look at each conference you might consider and take into account the pricing, the type of activities offered (is it hands on workshops, seminars, pitches, a combination?), location costs (hotel, flight, food), the speakers and the subjects covered (just for non-fiction, children's writing, fantasy/sci-fi, horror, all of the above?).  If you write children's books, you want to narrow it down to conferences that cover that subject, not go to a non-fiction conference.

Don't recognize the names of the speakers?  Go online and research them, especially the editors and agents.  See who they've represented, what they've helped publish.  If what they're putting out is something you respect, they may be the right fit for you.  If you still don't recognize what they're putting out, maybe wait for different opportunities.

As for pricing, conference rates vary widely.  I've seen prices in the thousands, down to less than $100.  Putting yourself in the poor house for a conference isn't a good idea.  One fact I've seen repeated is that you are not likely to get a publishing contract out of a conference.  Yes, there are conferences where you can pitch, but the acceptance rate is pretty low.  You are going to a conference more to network and learn from industry experts and professionals than anything else.  Going as a fan or going simply to pitch won't be the best ideas.

Other things to consider: Is it in an area you might like to visit anyway?  You can play tourist the day before or after and get in a bit of a vacation.  Will you be able to stay at the venue or are there hotels nearby?  Would you be able to walk or take a shuttle, or will you have to drive in a strange town?  Do you have friends in the area who might let you stay with them?  Might a Con location  be one you get sent to by work, so you could work during the week, but delay your return to attend on the weekend?  Is food included in the price of the Con admission, or will you have to find food yourself?  Is there a good selection of restaurants nearby?  If this is a conference or convention that moves each year, might there be a year it will come closer to you?  WorldCon has a listing of past conferences, as well as having two future years listed.  I was interested to see that it comes through Denver, CO every so many years, so I can patiently wait for that one to find its way here in the future.

I'm sure there are many other questions you'll need to ask yourself that I haven't covered, but choosing the conference or convention that is right for you involves a lot of steps.  Consider your choice carefully, but don't let it overwhelm you.  Conferences are work, but they should also be enjoyable, at least in my opinion.

Ever been to ComicCon?  What sorts of Cons, both conference and convention, have you attended or would you like to attend?  Is there one above the rest that you'd like to go to?  Or do you have no interest in going to one ever? 

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Beach, Lighthouse and Helpful Links

As promised, here are some photos of Yaquina Head Lighthouse and Cobble Beach in Newport, Oregon from my trip to the Oregon coast.  I love it out there!  If you haven't been to a beach in Oregon, I should probably prepare you: the beaches there aren't warm, with soft white sand.  The temps tend to be in the 60's, with a tendency toward fog, and there was a lot of volcanic activity, resulting in black stones in some spots, such as Cobble Beach.  I find it to be just a different kind of beauty from other beaches, though, and those of us who grew up playing on those chilly beaches know that you go numb within a few minutes, so it's perfectly alright to jump on in, no matter the temperature!

 This was just a building on the hillside as we approached the lighthouse, but I loved the different sprays of flowers around it.

 More wild flowers, and a view of the bay and the big black rocks off the shore.  They were all inhabited by black cormorants, sea gulls and harbor seals (but those are for another post...)

 Yaquina Head Lighthouse.  They were doing tours, but the line was loooooong.

 A more distant view of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse.

 Cobble Beach and the big rocks.  Those black rocks in the foreground are delightfully smooth, and were created when lava flowed into the ocean and was instantly cooled, creating balls of lava that were then worn smooth by the waves.  It is one heck of a leg workout to walk across those!

 View in the other direction of Cobble Beach.

 Another view of Yaquina Head Lighthouse and Cobble Beach.

 A real live cave on the beach!  So cool!

 Yeesh, another shot of the lighthouse and beach.  Tons of drift wood, which is the only thing you're allowed to remove from the beach.

 Sploosh!  The tide was coming in, and I enjoyed watching the waves slam into the rocks.  This isn't a gentle coast, that's for sure.

I hope you enjoyed a little glance at a place from my childhood.  Though this coast is a little more rugged than some are used to, it's definitely worth a visit.  Other beaches in the area have sand, some have a combination of sand and lava rock, and at least one even features small sand dunes and agates (that would be Agate Beach).

Now for some helpful links:

First, some fun stuff from a couple bloggie pals:

DL Hammons of Cruising Altitude 2.0 is hosting WRiTE CLUB 2012, where writers duke it out to see who gets the most votes.  Check out the judges and consider participating.  Though it has already begun, you can still sign up to participate or vote.

Jamie Gibbs of Mithril Wisdom is having a 350 Followers Giveaway Extravaganza.  The prizes are a Moleskine Passions Book Journal and a Zombie Gone Potion Pendant.  

Now, some things I happened across that you may or may not sound interesting.  These are not things I have researched or used myself, at this time, so please be sure to research them on your own before jumping in:

Moshbag sounds interesting.  It's a platform for artists.  You can find a link to their blog for more information at the top of the page I've linked to.

Short Story America is having a contest.  1st prize is $1000.  Reading fee is $15.  Deadline is August 25.

Virtual Writers, Inc. takes essay submissions.  They don't pay, but will link to your websites/blogs/bios.  They also tout themselves as a place for writers to meet each other and get information, and they have a blog.  They seem to have prompts on the blog page, both word and picture.

Any helpful links you'd like to pass along?  This can include blog hops or contests you're running.  They will be passed along next Wednesday.  Ever been to the Oregon coast?  What did you think?

May you find your Muse.