A Slice of Orange


It’s Worth It

January 10, 2008 by in category Archives tagged as


by Kitty Bucholtz

Okay, this has never happened before – three months in a row of writing on the same topic! Shows you how passionate I am, I guess!

So here’s the thing. People are talking about resolutions every January, and that’s fine, but I don’t need any new ones. I just want to keep up with the great writing habits I’ve been forming over 2007. Christmas vacation hampered my efforts, so I was quite willing when a friend said, “Why don’t we do that NaNo thing again in January?”

Within days, fourteen of our friends showed interest in creating a “challenge” group that posted goals and daily accomplishments. I created a new Yahoo Group and an Excel spreadsheet with a graph, and we were off and running.

The main hurdle was that while many were at a place where they were ready to start a new book January 1, many others were brainstorming or editing. So we came up with a point system. For instance, for every scene fully edited, you get 1000 points. For each blog posted on your neglected author web site, you get 200 points. For brainstorming out an entire novel’s premise, you get 1500 points. And of course, you get 1 point for every “new” word written as well.

It’s subjective, and each author gets to decide their goals and the points they believe they should earn. That’s fine because we aren’t competing against each other, but against our January 2007 selves. The goal is to do more than you did last month or last year. And boy, is it working!

One friend whose first book will be published soon, and is contracted for five more, made his goal to be 15,000 new words for the month. In the first three days, he wrote 4267 words! He said he’d never written so many words in three days before!

Many have posted to the group things like, “I only wrote 343 words today. I didn’t ‘have time’ to write at all, but knowing you all were writing spurred me on to do at least something.”

I personally replied to one of those emails saying, “Thank goodness someone wrote only a few words! It’s 5:15pm and I haven’t written anything today, but I know I can write 344 words! Thanks for ‘challenging’ me!”

Today is January 9th, and we should be 29% of the way to our goal. I’m less than 10% of the way there, but call me Seabiscuit. Apparently, I have to see that people are “beating” me in order to come up from behind! I’ve spent many hours creating and managing the group, hours that I could’ve spent writing. But I’m still getting more writing done than I otherwise would have. And I’m encouraging – and being encouraged by – my writing friends to kick off our new year of writing with a big bang. I say, it’s worth it!

Kitty Bucholtz writes romantic comedies because, well, she lives one! She wrote her first book in the NBC cafeteria, the second snowed in at a Reno hotel, and the third from a tiny apartment in Sydney. Even though she loves talking about, writing about, and teaching about writing, she’s pretty sure she knows at least three people who aren’t writers.

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Pets, Romance and Lots of Suspense

January 6, 2008 by in category Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston tagged as , ,

Happy New Year! Have you made any resolutions regarding your writing this year?

I have. For one thing, now that I have a part-time law job I’ve become less efficient in the use of my remaining time. Of course I still write a lot, but I get annoyed at myself for not making the best use of the time I have available. Solution? I’m going to put myself on a better writing schedule.

Okay, maybe I’ll convince myself of that one. In any event, I intend to continue to write in multiple genres as much as I can. Why do I do that? Because, for me, it’s always been fun and a challenge to be able to change how I write. I used to be in journalism, advertising and public relations, and then I became a lawyer. And during all that time, I’ve also written fiction. It’s a kick to be able to change types and tones of writing from one minute to the next: a feature article to a short story. A contract to a chapter of a novel.

Why else do I do that? Well, being able to move from one genre to another also opens up extra possibilities, especially since trends in what publishers buy seems to change so often based on what they think readers are looking for. Plus, it’s fun!

More about that, and changing genres, in my future Slice of Orange entries!

–Linda O. Johnston

Linda O. Johnston

Linda O. Johnston is the author of 14 romance novels as well as the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime.

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Thoughts on January 5, 2008

January 5, 2008 by in category Archives

Thoughts on January 5, 2008
by Diane Pershing

If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, then what am I?
And if not now, when?

First of all, of course, happy new year to all. There really is something rather magical about beginnings, isn’t there. And as I write that sentence the cynic in me replies, yeah, and the magic fades real fast as reality sets in. So yes, there’s magic and yes there’s reality. Both. It’s one of those Life is Messy Get Over It things.

What I really want to talk about is my new beginning as concerns my life as a writer. But first, let’s say good-bye. I’m pretty sure that this month’s release from Silhouette Romantic Suspense, ONE TOUGH AVENGER, will be my last category book. “Pretty sure” I say because there is always the possibility that an idea will come (or an offer of tons of money) that will change my mind. But what I’m noticing is that another book is calling me and it’s most definitely not a category romance. Yes, it has romance in it, but it is more about a rather eccentric and troubled young woman with a horrific past trying to get through her days in relative mental peace. Sounds like a romance, right? Except not. It’s grittier, edgier and much more boundary-pushing than anything I’ve ever written for categories. Plus it’s longer and lots more complicated, with several different points of view. The book is screaming at me to write it, so I am.

But, you say, lots of authors write both category and mainstream books. Why can’t you? Because as the years march on, I’m (gulp) aging and I find myself with a little less energy than before. Fact of life; wish it were not so, but there it is. There are no longer enough hours in the day to do all I want and need to do, so my writing time must be condensed, especially as various other areas of my private life need me more and more.

By the way, the quote that opens my blog today is attributed to a revered ancient rabbi, Hillel, who lived in Jerusalem at the time of Herod. It is justly famous, as it deals succinctly with why we are on this earth: to be our own biggest supporters, to give generously to others, and to be an active rather than a passive participant in our own lives. It is the last part, “If not now, when?” that is governing my actions now. I have this book in me, have had it for years, and if I don’t get to it soon, I am concerned that my mental and physical functions will no longer be up to the task.

Now this is not to say I’m doddering; I’m pretty sure that those who know me will attest to that. But time actually does pass, you know, whether we like it or not, and if we’ve been putting off dreams as something we’ll “get to” sometime in the future, we just may be fooling ourselves.

In 2007 I put in a whole new kitchen—the one I’ve wanted my whole life; I ran for President-Elect of Romance Writers of America; I gave my mother a stellar 90th birthday party and my son and his fiancée a lovely engagement party; I began this book I’m talking about. In 2008, I plan to continue doing the things I want to do in my life that I’ve been putting off.

What are your plans? And if not now, when?

Love to you and yours,
Diane Pershing

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OCCRWA January Online Class

December 31, 2007 by in category Archives tagged as
PITCH PERFECT with Janet Wellington

January 14 – February 10, 2008

Enrollment Information: http://www.occrwa.com/classes_January.htm

COST: $20 for OCC members, $30 for non-members
Enrollment deadline: January 12, 2008
Moderator: Kitty Bucholtz at kittyrosebucholtz@yahoo.com


Pitch Perfect: Getting to the Heart of your Romance Novel or Women’s Fiction Story (for pitching and for querying)

Everyone needs to learn how to pitch. Okay, maybe everyone except those few heavy hitters who have the luxury of only having to share a vague idea about a story with their editors because their stuff always sells well (we hate them, but let’s move on…).

So, the rest of us need to be able to present our story ideas within query letters, synopses, and during frightening agent and editor appointments at writing conferences!

•Can you use a 3-word phrase to describe your story? How about in one sentence?
•Can you capture the essence of your tale in 25 words or less?
•When your listener wants to know more about your story, do you know what to say and, more importantly, what NOT to say?
•Do you know the biggest benefit of having an agent or editor appointment at a national or regional writing conference?

The main goal of this class is to help you understand the different types (and lengths) of pitches you need to prepare, and for you to learn several ways and styles of organizing your pitch (that you can utilize in query letters as well as agent/editor appointments).

What do you get? If you read and comprehend all the lectures plus complete all the assignments, you will create your very own pitch that you can utilize for query letters, synopsis blurbs, and/or as a verbal pitch to agents and/or editors at conference appointments. Or, this process will clearly point out where you need to do some more work on your story. It might be a painful awakening that you have some serious revising to do, but it will be time well spent.

Either way, you’ll have gotten to the heart of your story.

About the Instructor:

After much hard work and the help of many other published and unpublished writers, Janet Wellington sold her first romance manuscript in 1998. Now, in addition to her own writing, she also teaches writing workshops at conferences and online. And she believes in giving back to the writing community and coaches other writers on craft and how to navigate the publishing maze through her business called Wellington Word, where she offers line-editing and manuscript critiquing.

Her favorite mantra is: If you’re going to dream, dream big…and do it! And she adds, “Getting published is a miracle achieved by four things: (1) Courage, (2) Perseverance, (3) Luck, and (4) Talent…usually in that order!”

PITCH PERFECT with Janet Wellington
January 14 – February 10, 2008

Enrollment Information: http://www.occrwa.com/classes_January.htm

COST: $20 for OCC members, $30 for non-members
Enrollment deadline: January 12, 2008

For more information, please see the website http://www.occrwa.com/classes_January.htm or email moderator Kitty Bucholtz at kittyrosebucholtz@yahoo.com

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My New Year’s Resolution

December 29, 2007 by in category Archives

This is one of my favorite times of the year. My family and I celebrated two birthdays and had a really nice peaceful, Christmas. I hope yours was the same. I definitely ate more this week than it takes to sustain life – and I enjoyed every bite of it.

Now its time to start thinking about New Year’s resolutions (if you’re the type of person who makes them). I could fall back on my annual vow of eating right and exercising more, but I know that will be history by my birthday in mid-January. I could vow to write more and procrastinate less, which miraculously I’ve actually been doing, so I don’t think that counts.

So instead how about this? I will challenge you to make a few small positive changes in your life whatever they may be and I will try to do the same in mine. Sometimes it’s the smallest changes that make the biggest difference.

Happy New Year Everyone!

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