My reading companion of 17 years, Kenya

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Re-inventing Is A Life Style

To reinvent is to be renewed
To stop the process
To start anew

It's the rewriting of a book
Or the changing of clothes
  for a different look

To be who you want
To define your style
Makes life interesting
Makes it worthwhile

The trick is not to go too far
Not to change the core
And always be who you are.

Monday, February 10, 2014

To Pitch and Publish - Indie Author Publishing Conference - 2014

Hats off to Changing Hands Bookstore for  organizing another great conference for writers/publishers this year.  We are lucky in the Valley to have an independent bookstore that is so community oriented.  The Conference was hosted once again by the  Phoenix Burton Barr Central Library.

Evo Terra & Jeff Moriarty:  Demystifying the Ebook Process
The Indie Author Publishing Conference & Pitchapalooza  is a full day of education and networking.  Starting at 8:30 with check-in and coffee time and the energy level is always high.  The Keynote speaker this year was John Mutter, Self-Awareness editor-in-chief who shared his vision of the future of publishing and trends developing within that market.  Mr. Mutter talked briefly about Barnes and Nobel closing more stores than it is opening but he was quick to point out that the Publishing world is both expanding and contracting at the same time.  He mentioned the hybrid bookstore concept such as the Sepulveda Card Wash and Bookstore in the LA area.  The new  Changing Hands Bookstore in Phoenix  when it is completed can also be considered a hybrid with its inclusion of the First Draft wine and beer area in the bookstore.  Expansion seems to be mostly at the Indies level since sales are up for the Independent Bookstore and they are opening more branches. One thing he also said that would resonate with a writer is that: "easier to publish; harder to reach readers." 

Evo Terra and Jeff Moriarty did as MCs keeping things moving at a good pace.  Their workshop on Demystifying the Ebook Process  was also filled with lots of good tibits.  After attending their workshop you may want to download Scrivener if you don't already use it.

Pamela Slim:  Books As Business
Pamela Slim offered valuable insights in her presentation, Books As Business.  "Build things around your book" was her main message and she gave the attendees five ways to achieve this starting with understanding who your beloved reader is and creating a plan that can keep you focused and moving forward.

Grael Norton from Wheatmark Publishing presented After the Manuscript  to a fill room.  If you haven't tuned into his free webinars  you may want to do yourself a favor and sign up:  If you  are a member of the Phoenix Writers Club, I have  this link in the monthly newsletter.

The workshop on Crowdfunding  101 given by Safwat Saleem was very interesting and filled a void in my knowledge base since it is a trend that  I know almost nothing about.  If I have any applications for Kickstarter in the future I will not hesitate to do it.

It was a very enjoyable and informative day and ended with the high-energy of the Pitchapalooza.  If you didn't get a chance to go this year then make sure you go next year.  It's well worth the investment.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Phoenix Writers Club - January 2014 Meeting

 "Use invisible work to create visible work".  That was a phrase used more than once by Stella Pope  Duarte as she spoke to the Phoenix Writers Club about the connection between the dream world and reality.  A prophetic dream in which her father was instrumental in changing the course of her life, opened her heart to understanding the dream world and gave her the strength to act upon her internal voice.  The luncheon meeting room at the Bluewater Grill  was filled as guest  listened to Stella Pope Duarte's inspirational account of her own journey into the writer's world.

 Ms. Duarte's current novel, Writing through Revelations, Visions and Dreams: the memoir of a writer's soul, is a roadmap that reveals the necessity of listening to the voice within that is you. Understanding your own internal language will empower you and provided the necessary strength to achieve your own definition of success in life.  Her advise:  pay attention to the unseen world of dreams and visions because the greater part of who we are is not seen.  She cautions that while dream books may help in a general way that only you can interpret your dreams because the symbols are meant to trigger a certain memory or response within you.

An energetic speaker, Stella Pope Duarte engaged and entertained members and guest  as she shared  stories about her life and a few pages of her Dream journal.  She advises keeping  a dream journal by your bed and to give your dream a title that can aid as a trigger for accessing the meaning dream.

It was a fun meeting and a great way to start the New Year.



Monday, November 4, 2013

Stephen King's On Writing

"Writing is refined thinking." I love that line from Stephen King's On Writing.  This short book is filled with quotable lines but I think that is the one which resonates the most with me.  Since I don't read Stephen King's novels I wasn't sure if I'd like this book, but I was so wrong.  It turns out I just loved it both for its information and its honesty.  This is not your typical 'how-to' book on writing.

In traipsing through  his gagged childhood memories, Stephen King shares with us the many experiences that enabled him to be the writer that he is today. He did not walk a straight line from point A to point B,  but all the unplanned events that happened along the way changed his perspective and offered fodder for his creative, story-telling style.

While the first part of this 228 book is about his discovery of himself as a writer,  the second part is about the fundamentals of the writing craft.   The nuts and bolts of his writing process begins behind close doors and ends when the doors to his den are open for viewing.  He has published about 40 bestsellers  so when he suggest that you stay away from the 'passive voice' and that 'the adverb is not your friend', you may want to give it some thought.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

WSJ Best-Selling Books Week Ended Oct 20


1)   Killing Jesus -  Bill O'Reilly & Martin Dugard
2)   I am Malala - Malala Yousafzai & Christina Lamb
3)   Humans of New York -Brandon Stanton
4)   David and Goliath - Malcom Gladwell
5)   My Story   -  Elizabeth Smart & Chris Stewart
6)   Johnny Carson  -  Henry Bushkin
7)   The Reason I Jump -  Noaki Higashida
8)   Si-Cology 1: Tale and Wisdon - Si Roberson & Mark Schabach
9)   Jesus Calling  -  Sarah Young
10) Break Out!-  Joel Osteen


1)   House of Hades - Rick Riordan
2)   Revealed  - P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
3)   Doctor Sleep - Stephen King
4)   Just One Evil Act - Elizabeth George
5)   The Longest Ride  -   Nicolas Sparks
6)   Identical   -  Scott Turrow
7)   Ender's Game - Orson Scott
8)   The Husband's Secret -  Liane Moriarty
9)   Gone  - James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
10) Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy - Helen Fielding  

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Phoenix Writers Club - September 2013 Meeting

"All life experiences can make a story".  That was the message from Wink Blair, President of Wink Inc, a public relations firm in Scottsdale, Az,  as she described, at the recent PWC meeting, the many adventures in her life that  guided her through various career choices.  She said more than once that  "all life experiences can make a story".

Speaking from years of experience as a publicist, freelance writer and community organizer Wink captivated the audience with stories from her past that were filled with historical data and well-known people such as Alex Haley.  We were all being entertained from fragments of her past.  There were stories from her days in Cuba and the little band of women friends known as the HAGS (Havana American Girls), the factory job in her home state of Louisiana, her writer friends and the Owl's Nest in the French Quarter, and later her movie assistant position with the first motion picture company to film in Louisiana.  But her story I enjoyed listening to the most was the one about her grandfather, the story that she tells in her recent book: Conversations With My Grandfather. 

This delightful speaker and dynamic personality still has plenty of books to write and places to go on her bucket list. Currently she is working on a story titled, Havana Heyday,   

Phoenix Writers Club is a group dedicated to the support and mentoring of writers.  The group meets monthly at the Bluewater Grill in Phoenix.