A Slice of Orange


It’s Worth It

October 9, 2008 by in category Archives tagged as


by Kitty Bucholtz

When my Internet browser opens, I have it set so that several web pages come up at once. Several – like the Slice of Orange here – are industry blogs that I’m keeping up with. I often find myself nodding and agreeing with the writer, or I’ll think of something about the topic I want to share. But I usually don’t have time to read and comment.

That made me think about my own blogs and how few comments there often are. I realized that a lot of times people are probably thinking what I’m thinking – I either don’t have time, or I don’t want to write “I liked that” or “I agree” because the comment seems so inane.

Keep that in mind when you’re writing. I’ve had dozens of magazine articles and devotionals published and – with the exception of my recent RWR article – I’ve only received one note from a reader. (Thank you, friends, for your outpouring of electronic high-fives on that RWR article!) People will like what we write and be nodding their heads, or shaking their heads, or thinking about it for a while, and we’ll never know. While sometimes my words may not affect a single person, a lot of times they will, if only one. We need to keep writing. Don’t stop. It’s worth it.

Kitty Bucholtz writes light urban fantasy novels with a romantic comedy spin. She is a co-founder of Routines For Writers, a new web site to help writers write more. Read her article ORANGE YOU GLAD YOU THOUGHT OF THAT? in September’s RWR magazine. 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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Young at heart – best books for teens

October 8, 2008 by in category Archives

One of the joys of having kids is introducing them to the delights of reading. All three of my offspring happily immerse themselves in a book for hours at a time (including after lights-out, using a flashlight!), and it warms my heart to see such devotion.

As they get older—my son is 13, and my daughters 12 and 10—I increasingly enjoy reading their books myself. Not because I have to, but because there’s so much quality fiction around for Young Adults. The question becomes one of what’s suitable for what age kids. I’m on the conservative side of that debate, so sometimes I hold on to books for my kids to read in a year or two’s time. Here are some that I’ve read or that are on my TBR pile.

Meg Cabot – I loved How to Be Popular, what a great read! I now have The Princess Diaries on my TBR pile (yes, I know I’m miles behind the rest of the world on this, but better late than never). I also read an excerpt of Ms. Cabot’s new book on her website a few months back, and that looked great.

Stephenie Meyer – I read Twilight, again long after the rest of the world, and thought it was an amazingly written book. Vampire stories aren’t my thing, and I feel it’s too old for my 12-y-o, but hats off to Ms. Meyer for such a compelling story.

Sarah Dessen – I read Lock & Key – a very nice read about a troubled girl who has a happy ending. I’ll probably wait until my 12-y-o turns 13 before I pass it on to her. I have The Truth about Forever on my TBR pile.

Tina Ferraro (sp?) – I gave my 12-y-o Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress, and she loved it. I haven’t read it yet myself, but I plan to do so. I have another Ferraro book (blue cover, I don’t remember the title) stashed away for my daughter’s Christmas stocking.

Alyson Noel – I met Alyson as we both left a party at the San Francisco RWA conference. She seemed so nice that I went out and bought one of her books the next day, Kiss and Blog. My daughter really enjoyed it, but again, I haven’t read it yet.

Maureen Johnson – Girl at Sea. I bought this after it was highly recommended, but I haven’t read it yet.

Michael Morpurgo – what a great writer of fiction that appeals equally to boys and girls. You can’t go wrong with his books – try Kensuke’s Kingdom, War Horse, Adolphus Tips, Alone on a Wide Wide Sea, etc, etc.

Jeff Kinney – I recently bought Diary of Wimpy Kid (again, long after everyone else) and all the kids laughed their way through it (as did I). More middle grade than YA, but a lot of fun anyway.

Okay, those are my latest recommendations on the YA front. Anyone got any other ideas?

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Technology, Romance and Life

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

My older son got married last week. I’m so happy for him! He and his new wife are currently on their honeymoon in Europe. My husband Fred and I, married 31 years, were talking about how communications were so different when we traveled abroad–some of our trips long before we even met each other–and how difficult it was to keep in touch with family. Not so, today!

We live in an amazing era! I’m definitely a technology dunce, but the stuff I’ve been able to learn is still incredible. For one thing, I’m proficient in using at least part of my computer–for word processing for my writing, and e-mail. I’ve communicated several times with my son via e-mail, learning about where they are and the wonderful sightseeing they¢re doing, as well as getting questions answered about some holiday-related matters for later this year. A few of our return message got through almost instantaneously, even though we weren’t using instant messenger. He also called me on my cell phone–another technological wonder–while I was out for breakfast and he was enjoying the sunset. We talked for quite a while, since he had bought an inexpensive phone card there.

Our younger son is also traveling in Europe, although in different places from the honeymooners. Fred has communicated with him, too, via text messages.

Years ago, if we didn’t hear from a loved one who was traveling, we might be concerned about them but didn’t worry, since we didn’t expect to be in contact. Today, though, our expectations, or at least our hopes, are different. Not hearing back for a while can cause more consternation.

Hmmm. I may use that in a suspense story one of these days…

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–and has 2 Silhouette Nocturnes and a Nocturne Bites upcoming!

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Writer-Person Digs Deep

October 3, 2008 by in category Archives tagged as , ,

by Cait London

We all have life-lint, memories/incidents/visual scenes that attach to us while we travel through our lives. Bits of our lives remain quietly attached to the writer, waiting to be tapped and used in a unique story.

Question: Are there really unique stories?
Answer: While certain underlying elements can be common, each writer’s style and life experiences create a unique story. Repeat: We are each unique with our own stories.

IMHO, the best stories are built from scratch, from digging around within our collection of life experiences. To start from a pre-made story line (i.e. Secret Baby) is not digging deep, not exploring the who/what/why layers, though the final story may fall within that pre-made category. For instance, in developing my psychic triplet trilogy, (FOR HER EYES ONLY* is an Oct 2008 release) I basically understood how a mother relates to her daughters, and how those daughters relate to each other (well, not in the psychic sense J). Or as Kathleen Eagle says, “I’m selling them off in pieces.”

Sponge-like, the writer absorbs everything around him. My best story lines came while sitting in waiting rooms. Or traveling. The feel of the story locations came from actually visiting Montana, Lake Michigan, and Lexington, KY, the psychic triplets’ homes. Since I am basically artistic (a trait common to many writers), the handbags, sculptures, and jewelry designs were fun to fictionally create. I love Celtic jewelry and an ancient brooch is spotlighted in the psychic triplets’ story arc. Runes and Vikings have long intrigued me, as have psychic-seer elements. In short, much of Me is chocked within my novels.

Our own life experiences can be fictionalized. Just for fun, let’s bump them up, taking them to another dimension. Here’s mine (these can make a fun bio):
Landscape Designer (I’ve planted a few roses in my day.)
Interior Decorator (I’ve painted walls, shoved furniture around.)
CEO (I run my household.)
Technical Engineer (I can use a television remote.)
Chef (Pots and pans manager.)
Lighting Engineer (I change light bulbs.)
Director of Security (I lock the house doors.)
Director of Finances (I pay bills and budget.)

While that’s fun, it’s also a serious examination. When you actually make a list of what you do throughout the day, it’s quite long and filled with great story-fodder. Tap into yourself. Use You.

Cait London’s OCC writer series began last month. Visit CaitLondon.com for more on craft. FOR HER EYES ONLY, the conclusion of her psychic trilogy is an October 2008 release.
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Ignorance IS bliss

September 28, 2008 by in category Archives

By Laura Drake

Many writers I know began writing at an early age. They’ll tell you about a story they wrote about their dog in the third grade. I’m not one of them. I came into writing “butt first”(as I’ve found I do a lot of things in life.) I’ve always been an avid reader, but have only begun writing in the last few years. It’s given me a different perspective on the whole experience.

When I started writing my first novel (no short story practice for me, I jumped into the deep end – something else I’m known for) I’d never read a book on craft – plot, characterization, POV, or any of the millions of details you need to know. Funny though – because I’ve read so much, I knew a lot of this inherently, but didn’t know that I knew it. I was following rules that I wasn’t even aware of, because I know what works in a good story, and what doesn’t.

My method has been a negative in several ways:

Trust me – the “blind squirrel finds an acorn” is not the fastest way to write a novel. I started on page one with only a vague idea of where I was headed with the plot. Working my way through was like being in a pipe clogged with mud…I’d move forward a bit, then have to wait for everything to settle before I could move again.

And don’t even get me started on editing! Luckily I’m a good speller, but I could only edit with the rules I knew; I kept discovering new ones as I went along, and would have to start over – like fifteen times! Can you imagine, not knowing rules for POV? What “telling” is? Passive voice? Looking back, I laugh (as I’m sure I’ll laugh at my current writing in a few years.)

But this perspective has also been good in several ways:

I was too ignorant to be afraid.
I also didn’t know how long the road I’d started on was going to be.
Or how much editing lie ahead.
How many rejections
Since I didn’t know how to go about writing a novel, I had no expectations…of my writing or myself.

I guess ignorance can be bliss, because I have never felt so fulfilled or proud as when I typed the last word.

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