Friday, February 29, 2008

Here, There, and Everywhere...

I've been all over the cyber highway lately, dear readers! Yes, it started with a guest post: That's What Bloggers are For on Writer's Notes when I contacted Jeanne Dininni offering up a post to help her out. She had fallen behind on her schedule due to extreme family illness. Finding Your Writing Zone showed up at The Writer's Round-About when Rebecca Laffar-Smith was gracious enough to have me share my writing ideas with her community.

Imagine how honored I was when I recently discovered my humble little blog was Laura Spencer's Of Note choice for the week at Writing Thoughts! Finally, I also made a guest appearance on The Urban Muse with 5 Reasons Blogging Helps Me Write the Cyber Highway. Susan Johnston decided to make February reader appreciation month. Chryselle, over at Reading & Writing Lounge, was kind enough to share the link to my guest post on Writer's Round-About in her Weekend Link Love post. Thanks Chryselle! Wow, February was a busy time!

Oh, I've been up to other things, too. I'm writing and selling like a busy little bee, but sadly I can't discuss where or for who. You know how it is.... I can tell you these opportunities have paid more, were a pleasure to be involved with, and I couldn't be a happier girl right now! :-)

And.... I'm currently experiencing the biggest break I've had so far! Of course, I'm ecstatic about that! I'll be sharing as much of my adventures as I possibly can while writing the cyber highway. Don't you worry!

Currently, I'm still trying to read Query Letters that Rock. Why can't there be more hours in the day?! Argh.


Can you believe it's Friday again already? So, how have you been? Long writing week? Dry spell? Pulling your hair out? Any exciting news to share with the rest of us? Here's to a great weekend!


Be sure to drop by Writing FORWARD. Melissa Donovan is running an awesome contest!

Grab my feed so you can travel the cyber highway with me, or subscribe by email.


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Saturday, February 23, 2008

My Waltz with Words

This post is my humble entry to Writing Coach, Joanna Young's Group Writing Project: My Love Affair With Writing, over at Confident Writing.



It started years ago. We’d sneak off and when no one was watching, we’d dance together for hours. I have such fond memories. It seems only yesterday it all began. I was young, impressionable, na├»ve, a dreamer. I’d gaze out the window endlessly, fantasizing about my love, wishing time could stand still and we were on our own island. I loved that idea, the serenity of an island and my love all to myself. Selfish, I was! If only I were spending time writing instead of being stuck in a stale ole classroom.... I would spend that time, though, soon. First, other duties beckoned.

Isn’t it funny how you can be so in love? It truly amazes me that you can think of nothing else in this world but how your heart feels, yearns, wants to share your thoughts wholeheartedly. You’d think it would fade after years of spending time together, but no, it only grows stronger, more vivid, more passionate with each passing second, minute, hour, day. It pulls me to be all I can be, to wake up every morning as the sun kisses my face, urging me to spread my wings and soar. It stirs the burning passion deep within my soul, to the core of who I am.

There have been ups and downs, break-ups, and reconciliations. I’ve learned a lot over the years, though. Sometimes we need a break from each other. Yes, we do. The love is sweeter once we meet again. Magical things happen when creativity strikes. It’s never too late to correct mistakes--oh, no--dreamers always dream, and this love should never be taken for granted. It’s a special gift, a gift I cherish and hold close to my heart, for always. I never want to let it go. I’ll keep hold of it until I’m laid to rest. I’ll be buried with it. No one can take it away from me….

I smile each time we have a secret date. It’s the sneaky part that’s fun, when only we’re awake. I cherish the times I hear those whispering rivers of words that speak to my heart, stir my emotions, bring laughter, tears, and makes me think. I feel like a schoolchild, tiptoeing to the kitchen, lifting the lid off the cookie jar and taking the first bite from that scrumptious chocolate chip cookie. It’s divine. The second bite is even better, and when the cookie is gone, plus a few more, I feel like we’ve really pulled something off!

Love becomes as gold with time after being tried in the fire, it's true, as is the case with writing, so even when I'm old and my hands are too frail to caress the keyboard as they once did and my ears are too worn to hear your sweet whispers, we’ll still dance. We’ll just dance slower, we'll do the waltz.



Be sure to drop by Writing FORWARD. Melissa Donovan is running an awesome contest!


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Sea of Books

Bonus post today: Feel free to visit my guest post, Finding Your Writing Zone, at The Writer's Round-About. Don't forget to peruse the site while you're there and see how talented, creative, and inspiring author Rebecca Laffar-Smith is!

*************************************************************************************



Wow, am I ever overwhelmed! I'm swimming in a sea of books too excited to even choose which one I want to read first. :-) Of course, I've browsed through this one and that, but haven't accomplished any major reading as of yet. I'm in awe that they arrived so quickly. That's amazing! Especially to an impatient kind of gal who was waiting on pins and needles! Well, with one exception: Feminine Wiles hasn't arrived yet, but that's ok. It should be here soon.

I feel a lot more confident with my future travels over to WordPress since I have WordPress for Dummies to refer to. I can breathe a sweet sigh of relief and know it's right there for me to grab when I need it.

I guess you know what I'm up to this weekend.

So, what do you plan to do with yours? Are you aching, stiff and exhausted trying to meet a deadline? Have you taken the weekend off to enjoy with your friends or family? Come on, jump into the comments and share!


Be sure to drop by
Writing FORWARD. Melissa Donovan is running an awesome contest!

Grab my feed so you can travel the cyber highway with me, or subscribe by email.


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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

My Amazon Shopping Spree

As promised I'm sharing the books I recently purchased during my Amazon shopping spree thanks to the $100 Amazon Gift Certificate I won from the Writer's Round-About contest. It was a close race and everyone wrote fabulous entries, so I am honored and blessed to have placed 1st with the serious competition I had! In retrospect, I do believe this certificate is the first thing I've ever won in my life! That makes it even more special.

I really put a lot of thought into my purchases. None of my selections were made in haste as I've been dreaming of the following titles for quite some time now.
I don't know how many books someone else would have ended up with for $100 but I came out with a total of eight. Yes, eight! Can you believe it? I will admit that I went over budget a smidgen. Normally, I'd cringe to go over budget as I take great pride in my wise spending abilities - or call it cheap if you want. :-)

Onto the lovely bookshelf additions.... Here's a list of the eight books I'll soon be able to hold in my hands and gobble up every page of, along with the reasons why I chose them.


1. Contracts Companion for Writers (Literary Entrepreneur series) - I've wanted this one since I read about it in Hope Clark's newsletter (Funds for Writers) and I'm really excited that it's on its way! I feel much better about my future dealings with contracts knowing I'll be able to reach for it anytime something is in question. This one, along with the Copyright book below, comes with forms on CD-Rom!




2. Copyright Companion for Writers (Literary Entrepreneur series) - I think this is an awesome resource for writers to have. It sounds like there is a lot of information about the copyright of our work and I think it's wise to educate ourselves as much as possible so we know how to protect our words.




3. Feminine Wiles: Creative Techniques for Writing Women's Features Stories That Sell - Many of my readers who have been around a while know my story: I'm a survivor of domestic violence, had a complete hysterectomy in my twenties, have lost over 100 pounds, along with other valleys and triumphs. Writing stories that speak to women's hearts, souls, minds, and makes a real impact on their futures (and of those who love them) is so important to me. Before I can do that, I have to kick it up a notch with my writing so I can make it into the bigger magazine markets and reach a bigger audience of women readers. This book, I believe, will be a huge stepping stone in that direction.




4. The Associated Press Stylebook on Briefing on Media Law - Some markets/clients want you to use AP Style as a reference. So, to cover myself I decided to get both this book and The Chicago Manual of Style you see below. It's something I thought about a lot and am pleased with my decision to have both as handy references. Regardless of which publication or clients I end up writing for, and whichever style they request I use, I'll be covered.






5. The Chicago Manual of Style
- I've seen a lot of magazine guidelines and other guidelines that require the writer to use this manual as a reference. I'm on pins and needles to get my hands on this one! I look forward to devouring the wisdom that lays within this (nearly 1,000 pages) hardcover gem!





6. The Copywriter's Handbook, Third Edition: A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Copy That Sells - When I first got to the place where I could use my hands and type and write again, I never thought I'd even consider copywriting. Why would I? I only wanted to write in magazines, anthologies, and newspapers. But the longer I write, the more avenues I open my eyes to, and I think you should too. There's a huge world out there and a lot of writing opportunities are available by stepping out into new horizons, experiencing new things, and quenching my never ending thirst for knowledge and learning by taking those opportunities. I feel what I learn from this book will take me far!


7. The Renegade Writer's Query Letters That Rock: The Freelance Writer's Guide to Selling More Work Faster (The Renegade Writer's Freelance Writing series) - Need I say anything? I've heard (ok read) on blogs, Websites, in reviews, and even personal emails how totally amazing and helpful this book really is. I was going to get the other book in this series but my other selections won out as I felt they'd really help me the most at the moment. I would recommend you get both books in this series, though, if you can.


8. WordPress For Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech)) - Ok, a while back I ran a poll. The majority of my readers voted in favor of my move to WordPress. The tech side of the writing business is something I was never aware was so important and to say it's not one of my strong points is an understatement! That's where this book comes in. I checked out other WordPress books but from the excerpt I read from this one, I feel it will lead me through all the steps so I'll feel more confident as I spread my cyber wings and fly off to another blogging platform, one I know nothing about.



And, there you go, my faithful readers. These are my selections and my thoughts for choosing them. Do you disagree with my choices? Do you have any of these books? Do you recommend any of these books? Do you feel I've made sound choices and will experience a huge boost in my writing adventures and sales? Don't be shy! Share with us in the comments.

Oh, and I'll be reviewing each of these books as I wade through them, so keep your eyes peeled for those posts!


Be sure to drop by Writing FORWARD. Melissa Donovan is running an awesome contest!

Grab my feed so you can travel the cyber highway with me, or subscribe by email.


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Monday, February 18, 2008

Michele's Manic Monday

Wow, I spent more time away from my desk than I'd planned! I think I enjoyed it a little too much! Of course, I've been online a few times I just haven't published a new post until now. Perhaps I should do a better job of following my own writing advice, eh? :-)

Today has been a wee bit busy (but in a good way!) so I'm just now finding time to deliver today's post to you. Great news, though: I won the contest! That means I received a $100 Amazon Gift Certificate and have lots of shopping to do for those books I've been fantasizing about. How exciting is that? Very! It feels like Christmas already!

Kudos to the other entrants who wrote fantabulous submissions:

Melissa Donovan, at Writing FORWARD

LaskiGal, at From the Cheap Seats

Jenn Hollowell, at Working Writer

Laura Ashton, at Peregrinas

Be sure to check out each of their awesome blogs and jump in their conversations. Everyone really did a great job with their entries and they have warm and inviting online communities, too! They're all winners!

And a special thank you to Rebecca Laffar-Smith,
at Writer's Round-About, gracious writer, blogger, and brilliant mind behind the contest. You must visit her blog - it's out of this world!

Another special thank you goes to Jeanne Dininni, at Writer's Notes.
She included a note at the end of my recent guest post, urging her readers to visit my blog, the contest, Stumble my entry, and to vote for me. She went beyond that extreme act of kindness today by writing an entire post congratulating me, saying all sorts of very sweet things about me! Gee, now I'm blushing! Jeanne is a wonderful blogger and you'll definitely return time and again if you visit her blog!

I really appreciate each of your votes, all of your support and your compliments. I simply adore this community and all of my faithful readers. I couldn't have won first place without you!

As soon as I narrow down my list to fit within budget and make my order, I'll share with you which books I've ordered and why. I've had the most of these on my wish list for a while now so there'll be no hasty choices here! You'll be able to watch my writing improve and flourish with the wisdom I gain from my new reference books and you'll see this blog grow, change, and move to WordPress (guess what one of the books is about?!) over the next few months.

I look forward to more sales, more clients, and higher numbers of subscribers and readers to this blog. How about you?

So, how's your Monday going? Manic busy? Slow? Any good news? Share with us in the comments.

Here's to a successful week writing the cyber highway!


Be sure to drop by Writing FORWARD. Melissa Donovan is running an awesome contest
!

Grab my feed so you can travel the cyber highway with me, or subscribe by email.


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Friday, February 15, 2008

Away from my desk...

I hope each of you had a smashing Valentine's Day yesterday! Probably had too many chocolates though... Watch out for those cavities! You don't want to worry about toothaches while you're writing those fabulous words of wisdom, now do you? Okay, okay, I'll quit making you feel bad. It is, after all, a special day.

Wait. What's this? We now have commercials! Gee, it's only one for this post. Let's see what the sponsor has to say...

Commercial: Sponsored by The Writer's Round-About Design Launch Contest. All entries are in. Yours truly is among them! Show your support by speeding the cyber highway and clicking the circle next to my name and voting for me. I'll win $100 Amazon Gift Certificate, which I'll use to purchase books to enhance my writing skills and help me be the best writer I can possibly be. Gee, a girl can dream. :-) Thanks in advance!

Back to regularly scheduled programming....
I so appreciate all the wonderful supportive readers here at Writing the Cyber Highway, but sadly I'm not going to be near my beloved computer connection part of today. I'll miss you terribly! To make up for the cyber silence, and give you something to look forward to, I decided to lead you to one of my recently published online clips. If you love writing essays, you're in luck! Last week I had an article published in the Funds for Writers newsletter sharing 10 Markets That Pay for Essays. Here's to lots of sales!

Enjoy!

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Go Green!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

 Valentine's Day Gifts Heart Shaped boxes Hope you're having a beautiful Valentine's Day!

Instead of writing a longer post today, I thought I'd just point you to my guest post at Writer's Notes: That's What Bloggers Are For.

Don't forget, I need your vote to win the $100 Amazon Gift Certificate. Come on, it's Valentine's Day! :-)

Go Green!

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Just a reminder...

Writing the Cyber Highway Community is the best. You're always cheering me on, encouraging me, making me laugh, and brightening my cyber days. I feel the warmth, genuine friendship, and connection across the globe each time I read a comment and respond. It fills my heart with joy to know my readers truly care about this blog, my writing successes/failures, and me. I ask you, with a sincere heart, to go one step further....

I'm still in the lead for WRA's New Design Launch Contest but that could change quickly as the competition is fierce and the other contestants are quickly catching up. Do a good deed on the cyber highway and help me build my writer's reference library by voting for me.

Not only will you be doing a good deed, my budget for books to help me improve my writing skills will go from $0 to $100 should I win the first place Amazon Gift Certificate! This will be a great blessing to me and I would appreciate it so much!

These books will be a godsend as I try to grow in the writing business and write the cyber highway. I'm dreaming big and aspiring to make my way to the writing success stars. Help me reach them....

THANKS!

(I'd do the same for you!)


UPDATE: I WON FIRST PLACE!

Thank you SO much for all of your votes, encouragement, support, and kindness. I appreciate it! I'll shop wisely with my prize: a $100 Amazon Gift Certificate. And, I'll review each book highlighting my favorite parts as well as share the knowledge I gain in future posts.



Be sure to drop by Writing FORWARD. Melissa Donovan is running an awesome contest
!

Grab my feed so you can travel the cyber highway with me, or subscribe by email.

Go Green!
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Monday, February 11, 2008

When Your Writing Well Runs Dry

Has your writing well ever ran dry? Be honest. It probably has, right? I know mine has. During those times I've felt like giving up, like I don't have any good ideas, and like I should have really written extra blog posts as backups for when the well wasn't flowing as freely as I'd like.

I've recently gone through a dry spell. I've felt as if I just didn't have anything to write, or say. Oh, I've still been writing. I just haven't felt as inspired, motivated, or like my writing well was overflowing with brilliant creativity. In a sense, I guess I've really felt burnt out - as in fried to a crisp! Melissa Donovan refers to it as Freelance Fever. That definitely makes sense.

Life's chaos brings exhaustion, overworked minds, and nowhere near enough hours in the day to tend to daily tasks and find enough quiet time to focus on quality writing. I'm the type of person who needs quiet to write, so if the phone rings or a knock comes at the door... that's it, I'm sidetracked - as in lost my train of thought and wonder how I'll get it back.

When your writing well runs dry, here's a few things you can do:

1. Rest whenever possible. You need your health to be able to function and think properly. Give it the respect it deserves and give yourself some time to re-energize - even if it's just a few short moments of peace with a hot cup of tea.

2. Exercise frequently. It's proven that exercise sends signals to your brain. Your entire body will thank you and your mind will be stronger, sharper. You'll write more efficiently if you make exercise a habit.

3. Write backup posts for your blog. Like I mentioned earlier, I should have done this myself for those busy or dry times. It's a great idea and I'm working on a few right now so I won't find myself in a pinch again. You can also ask for guest posts.

4. Surround yourself with inspiration. Pictures of loved ones, motivational quotes or poems, decorative cups for your pens, and your favorite books are all things that will make you feel more inspired to write.

5. Eat a healthy diet. It's essential for a strong body and mind. For me, there's no exception to this rule. After losing over 100 pounds and realizing how much better I can feel, I make it a top priority to eat healthful meals every day, drink lots of herbal tea and water, and juice fast at various times throughout the year. Just think, if you're not carbed out on french fries and donuts, you'll have a lot more energy to write!

With these tips, your writing well should be overflowing abundantly in no time. I know mine is! So, what do you do when your writing well runs dry? Share with us in the comments!

Are you following the poll? Vote for your favorite blog entry!

And... Be sure to drop by Writing FORWARD. Melissa Donovan is running an awesome contest!



Grab my feed so you can travel the cyber highway with me, or subscribe by email.

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

123, 6 Things About Me

As promised, I'm catching up on meme posts this weekend.

Janna, at Something She Wrote, has asked me to participate in the 123 Meme.

Here are the rules:


1) Pick up the book nearest you
2) Open to page 123
3) Find the 5th sentence
4) Post the following 3 sentences
5) Tag five others

The book nearest to me is Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul: Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirits of Writers. It's a great book that I'm enjoying very much. It's nice to draw strength, encouragement, and inspiration from writers who have persisted and made it.

Page 123 is actually a cover page for the fourth chapter. There's only a quote:

Find a subject you care about and which in your heart you feel others should care about. It is the genuine caring, and not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style.

- Kurt Vonnegut

I like this quote. I think it's simple, yet powerful all at once.


Onto the other Meme...

Mary, at Mary's Writing Nook, would like me to share 6
unimportant habits or quirks about myself...

Here are the rules:

1 Link to the person that tagged you.

2 Post the rules on your blog.

3 Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.

4 Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.

5 Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.


Since this is a writing-related blog, I'll share six things about my writing life.

1. If someone is talking, I'll sometimes write down part of what they said and part of what I was thinking.

2. Writing with a pink pen or in a pink notebook makes me happy.

3. I'd rather write than eat, or write while eating.

4. I'm addicted to making lists.

5. I like to write poems for family members as gifts.

6. I drink herbal tea when I write.


Now, I'm supposed to tag others. This time I'm going to break the rules and open the comments to anyone who'd like to participate. Either share with us in the comments, or write your own post and come back and leave a link. I do hope at least a few of you jump in and share!


Just a reminder....

Don't forget to vote for your favorite blog entry!
:-)

And... Be sure to drop by Writing FORWARD. Melissa Donovan is running an awesome contest
!

Grab my feed so you can travel the cyber highway with me, or subscribe by email.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Freelance Fiction in February

So, I was cruising the cyber highway one day when I happened upon a cozy hangout. G's Cottage is the perfect haven along this virtual road to grab a cup of hot tea, pull up a chair, plop your laptop on the table in front of you and get those Writing Thoughts recorded once and for all!

Mary's Writing Nook is another inviting place to explore. Snuggle up with your favorite throw, in your comfy chair, and study those Writer's Notes!

I was talking with my friend and she said, "Becoming Addicted to Writing is very easy to do for us ladies, isn't it?" That is so true. Oh, but wait.... Please forgive Sylvia's Insight (as well as my own) - we mustn't forget about Men with Pens!

There's talk of those who are a Freelance Parent finding it difficult to merely get their Words on the Page in the midst of a Functional Shmunctional life. But regardless how chaotic the Life of a Writer is, we have to keep Writing FORWARD if we're ever going to find success on the cyber highway.

Dana Prince, Valencia, and Barrie Summy were gossiping about Katharine Swan when all of a sudden, there was a scream. "Argh!" Becca said, "There's Ink in My Coffee!" For shame. It was such a nice day and there were even Black-eyed Susan's in a beautiful vase on the table.

If you're trying to Make Money Freelance Writing come enjoy the benefits and Write-from-Home. Did you know you'll produce Confident Writing when The Urban Muse visits? Yes, and once you quit Rambling Stuff and take Ancient One's advice, the Story Teller will come out in you and everyone will notice that your Award is Showing.

Beth Morrissey was reading The Life & Times of JB when she saw an ad for JWardArt. She was left alone to enjoy the paper because Mikster, Jessica Mousseau, and Allena decided to take a stroll through Tina's Odds and Ends.

My Journey in the Writer's Round-About has been quite the trip down the cyber Corridors. It's been so crazy some days, I've just wanted to hide away in Renie Burghardt's World!

Ah, but it's so nice when we hear: Something She Wrote was approved by A Writer's Words, An Editor's Eye. Watch out for the Wordsmith, though!

Always remember when your writing well seems dry, Good is the Enemy of Great!


Note:
This fun and silly story is fictional link love for all my fabulous readers who commented in January. If you weren't included, you either didn't comment last month or I somehow overlooked you. If you commented in January and aren't included, let me know and I'll write you in!

To all my faithful readers:
Thank you, each and every one of you, for following and joining me as I travel the cyber highway. On days I feel like giving up (yes, even I have those days), I'm sure to check this blog and find encouragement, thoughtful comments, and gentle criticism and advice to brighten my day and surround me with cyber hugs. I am forever grateful.

I can truly say that I love this community and cherish the variety of unique voices each of you bring to it. I appreciate your friendship and kindness. May you find continued success in your writing journey.

Just a reminder...

Don't forget to Vote for your favorite blog entry!



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Saturday, February 2, 2008

I Need Your Help!

I entered the WRA's New Design Launch Contest and now it's time to choose a winner. Why do I need you, my faithful readers? I need your vote! If you are so inclined, kindly speed the cyber highway and vote for me. What will I win? One of these incredible Amazon Gift Certificates: $100 - 1st Place, $50 - 2nd Place, or $25 - 3rd Place.

Here's where you need to vote:

You Decide the Winner!

Well, if you don't vote for me I'll still extend... (((Cyber Hugs))) and Smiles :-)

May the best entry win!

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