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Tag: OCCRWA Online Class

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Two Classes For Writers – Self-Publishing and Book Promotion by Kitty Bucholtz

August 9, 2016 by in category It's Worth It, Writing Classes tagged as , , , , , , , , , ,

This month I’m teaching a brand new online class for OCC – “7 Ways to Market and Promote Your Book Without Breaking the Bank.” I’m excited to share the things I’ve learned about inexpensive promotions – including having an author newsletter – with my writer friends!

The 4-week class starts next Monday, August 15, 2016, and costs $20 for OCC members, $30 for non-members. You don’t have to be a member of RWA to enroll in the class. You can read more about it and sign up for the class here. I hope to see you there! [Note: Signing up is a 2-step process. You must hit the purple “Yahoo Groups Join Now” button AND then come back to the page and pay via PayPal. If you only do one step or the other, you won’t be in the class until you complete both steps.]

This week I also re-opened my full-sized online course, “Your How-to Guide to Self-Publishing.” I’m so excited about everything I’m doing on the new website! There are five modules covering every step you need to take to get from finished manuscript to published book. I’ve spread it out over eight weeks, which should be plenty of time to learn what you need to do in the lessons and then go apply it. And you’ll have lifetime access so you can come back to the lessons as often as you like.

I’ve included videos, audio downloads, text-based lectures, and worksheets to help you through the entire process. There’s also a private Facebook group where students can ask questions and share their experiences. Two of the three tiers give students access to weekly/monthly live video-based Q&A calls, and those in the upper tier also get a private coaching call with me.

There are payment plans for all three tiers, and bonuses for anyone who signs up by August 15. You can learn more about it all at If you have any questions, please email me at kitty AT

I’m looking forward to helping more writers self-publish their books and find new ways to promote them. I hope to see you in one of my classes!

Kitty Bucholtz

Kitty Bucholtz


Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. Her novels, Little Miss Lovesick, A Very Merry Superhero Wedding, and Unexpected Superhero are currently available on Amazon . The free short story Superhero in Disguise  and the new short story Welcome to Loon Lake are available wherever ebooks are sold. You can find out about her courses on self-publishing, marketing, and time management for writers at her website Writer Entrepreneur Guides.

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Are you a Storyteller?

August 26, 2015 by in category Blogs tagged as , , ,

Author Shannon Donnelly is stopping by today to talk about storytelling.

There are workshops on dialogue, on character, on marketing your book, and just about everything else to do with writing and stories. But let’s talk about the big picture for a minute—let’s talk about the art of being a story teller.

Edgar Rice Burroughs taught me a lot about being a story teller. He was a prolific writer—he also was not at times a very good writer, but he knew how to spin a yarn as they used to say. I went through a phase where I devoured all of his books, but one stands out in memory as being awful. Truly terrible. But I kept reading…and wondering as I turned the page. The Oakdale Affair is about a bear in a cellar. Really. It’s melodramatic, has stiff dialogue, and you still turn the pages. It keeps pulling you forward. Burroughs was a story teller.

So how to do you learn this art of storytelling? I’m doing a workshop on this that goes into depth, but let’s just cover ten tips here that can help you be a better story teller:

1-Read a lot.Yes, it’s obvious, but most folks don’t give this enough weight. Read across genres. Read cereal boxes—short is harder than long. Read everything—and read with a critical eye. Take apart stories that make you keep turning the page, and take apart ones that don’t. Read to see how a story is spun on a page.

2-Master technique.You want to get the technical stuff out of the way. If commas baffle you, nail them down and figure them out. Get a copy of Strunk & White’s Elements of Style and make it your bible. Make your sentence clean and clear. Write enough that technique no longer makes your story stumble.

3-Focus on character.Story is character and character is story. There’s a reason Burroughs is remembered for Tarzan—one of the most famous of all fictional characters. Not only did Burroughs exploit Tarzan, he was smart enough as a story teller to know he needed a great character to carry the story. Story is character and character is story. Focus on your characters more than your plots.

4-Figure out your theme. Every story is about something. You will also probably write about the same theme for most of your life. Figure out what it is that is your theme—what makes you hot under the collar or uncomfortable? What gets your blood moving fast? Write about something that matters to you—that will make your story matter, too.

5-Develop your voice.Write a lot. The only way you’ll find your voice is by writing. Write poetry. Write bad poetry. You don’t have to show this to anyone. Get the bad writing out of your system to get to the good stuff. Write in a journal. Write by hand. Write as a habit. Your voice will come out on its own eventually.

6-Learn how to structure. What this means is you need to know how to pace the reader and escalate the tension and conflict. That keeps the reader turning pages. These things come from learning craft—and some technical tricks that really do work. Read a lot and you’ll see other writers using these same techniques. Take apart Dan Brown, Burroughs, and other writers who sell a lot of books. There’s a reason why they do and it all comes back to story and characters—and keeping readers engaged.

7-Dramatize and twist.Stories are bigger than life—they’re dramatized. Learn how to make stories (and that means characters and dialogue) a little more, a little bigger and better than life. This means characters say things we’ve all wanted to say at times, and events happen in ways that we’ve always wanted them to. Surprise your readers—but keep it familiar. That formula has been shown to create hit songs and it works with hit stories, too.

8-Use setting as a character. There’s a reason Tarzan exists in his mythical jungle as “king of the beasts” with his Tarzan call. Tarzan’s setting is part of his story—it’s a main character. Create great settings. Push them to be fantastic, amazing, rich, vibrant, complex. Develop your settings as you would any other character. Use them as metaphors as visual clues to theme as contrasts.

9-Hit the key beats.A story teller knows the audience expects certain beats in a story—just like we all expect certain beats in a song. If you miss these beats, the story seems to stumble, and if it stumbles too much, the reader is thrown out. It takes care and time to master the art of weaving in beats without being obvious—and it takes practice. This is where you read to see the beats in the story, and then you apply that to your stories.

10-Payoff the read.A great story reaches an inevitable and satisfying ending. You want twists and turns, but you don’t want to go so far out there with your story that you lose your readers. Part of this means you write to satisfy yourself, but you also write to satisfy the reader. Keep this in mind. And know that the greater the ordeal for the character, the more time you need to take to bring the reader back down to regular life. Always work toward that satisfying ending—the one that seems so perfect that the story could not end any other way. If you set up that ending in the beginning, you’ll be a great storyteller.

Want to tackle this topic in more depth? OCCRWA’s September online class is Storytelling for Writers, with Shannon Donnelly. For information and to register please visit


Shannon Donnelly’s writing has won numerous awards, including a nomination for Romance Writer’s of America’s RITA award, the Grand Prize in the “Minute Maid Sensational Romance Writer” contest, judged by Nora Roberts, and others. Her writing has repeatedly earned 4½ Star Top Pick reviews from Romantic Times magazine, as well as praise from Booklistand other reviewers, who note: “simply superb”…”wonderfully uplifting”….and “beautifully written.”

Her latest Regency romance, Lady Chance, is just out on In addition to her Regency romances, she is the author of the Mackenzie Solomon, Demon/Warders Urban Fantasy series, Burn Baby Burn and Riding in on a Burning Tire, and the SF/Paranormal, Edge Walkers. Her work has been on the top seller list of and includes the Historical romances, The Cardros Ruby and Paths of Desire.

She is the author of several young adult horror stories, and has also written computer games and offers editing and writing workshops, and will be teaching a workshop for OCC on ‘Breaking Down Writers Block’. She lives in New Mexico with two horses, two donkeys, two dogs, and the one love of her life. Shannon can be found online at,, and twitter/sdwriter.


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Kiss Me or Kill Me is coming soon.

May 26, 2015 by in category Events, Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense tagged as , , , , ,

What’s that? My online class for OCC, with the alternate name of Writing Cozy Mysteries 101 for Romance Writers. This will be my second time to present it.

The class will run from June 15 through July 12, and my intention is to have fun teaching my students how to have their characters solve murders while falling in love!

Here’s the class description:

All romances contain some suspense: will the hero and heroine resolve conflicts by the end and live happily ever after?

All cozy mysteries contain suspense, too, but do they always involve romance? Not necessarily, but the best ones do! Those romances seldom reach HEA by the end of the book, though. Cozies are usually parts of a series, and the suspense of romance can continue through subsequent books–even though the mysteries in each book must get resolved by the end.

What other similarities and differences are there between romances and cozies? They’ll be addressed in Kiss Me Or Kill Me: Writing Cozy Mysteries 101 for Romance Writers.

The class will also address the basics of writing cozies: choosing a protagonist and deciding how she’ll get involved solving mysteries; choosing a theme for the series; introducing and following through with a love interest—or not; throwing in a corpse or two, plus hiding clues for solving the murders; planning a series; and much more!

There will be online class discussions and writing exercises, too. Kiss Me or Kill Me will also contain enough basics on writing cozies that non-romance writers will learn a lot as well.

So… are you a romance writer who likes mysteries? A mystery writer who likes romance? I’ll be delighted to help you learn how to combine them.

I hope to see you in my class.

Linda O, Johnston

Linda O. Johnston’s first published fiction appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and won the Robert L. Fish Memorial Award for Best First Mystery Short Story of the year. Since then, Linda has published more short stories, plus eighteen romance novels, including the Alpha Force paranormal miniseries for Harlequin Nocturne. Alpha Force is a covert military unit of shapeshifters, and the most recent book in the series is GUARDIAN WOLF.  She has also published three Nocturne Bites e-novellas and is additionally writing a novel for Harlequin Romantic Suspense.


Linda is also the author of the Pet Rescue Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime which debuted in March 2011 with BEAGLEMANIA, followed by THE MORE THE TERRIER and HOUNDS ABOUND. The series centers around Lauren Vancouver, the dedicated administrator of a successful private, no-kill animal shelter who also finds herself having to solve murders. In the Pet Rescue Mysteries, “no-kill” means pets, not people! The Pet Rescue series is a spinoff from Linda’s Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter, nine-book mystery series, also from Berkley Prime Crime. 

Kiss Me or Kill Me is a 4-week online course that begins June 15, 2015 and uses email and Yahoo Groups. The class is open to anyone wishing to participate. The cost is $30.00 per person or, if you are a member of OCCRWA, $20.00 per person. 

For more information and to register go to        
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Rhetorical Devices Are a Writer’s Friends

February 26, 2015 by in category Blogs tagged as ,

Guest-blogging today is MM Pollard of Workshops with MM, an editor with Black Velvet Seductions. MM will be teaching OCCRWA’s March Online Class, “Writing Fiction with Impact”


When you hear the phrase “rhetorical devices,” do you break out in a rash? Do you think they are only for lawyers and other people who argue for a living? Do you think including them in your fiction will make your writing sound artificial and too scholarly for your readers?

If you have a rash now, sorry. May I suggest Sarna Lotion? It’s great to ease itching. If you answered yes to the other two questions, we need to talk, seriously.

Good writers use rhetorical devices and don’t even know it. Why? Because writers have been using them since they first wrote stories. You do, too.

If that is so, then why should you take my workshop, Fiction with Impact? Because we will cover twenty of these devices, devices that are suited to all fiction writing. I’ll give you several examples of each device from fiction and a chance to practice. You will learn to use these devices to impact your writing and your reader intentionally, not in a haphazard way.

I promise you won’t sound like a lawyer or Socrates if you use the information you’ll gain from the workshop’s six lessons. Promise.  
“Writing Fiction with Impact” begins March 16th and runs through April 12th. For more information and to register, visit the OCCRWA website.



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