<![CDATA[Valerie Stasik's Pen Central - The Sequill Blog]]>Mon, 11 Dec 2017 01:39:03 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[ The Universe Knows Best ]]>Sat, 03 Oct 2015 23:21:07 GMThttp://valeriestasik.com/the-sequill-blog/-the-universe-knows-bestPictureHow I felt a few weeks ago
Sometimes the Universe has other ideas about your routine. I haven’t been paying attention to my blog posts, my website, and most importantly, my YA novel because I had an encounter with Windows 10 that had me hanging by my thumbs on its sill.

My laptop is five years old, but has never given me a problem. Like everyone else, I kept getting these invitations to download Windows 10, so against my better judgment, I downloaded it. After all, my computer fit the system requirements, so there shouldn’t be a problem. Right? For a few days it worked just fine. Then the start menu disappeared, and I could not open the notifications icon. Very scary. The Microsoft techs―all four of them―took a great deal of time and did their best, but nothing they did really worked. I then took my old Acer to Capitol Computer in Santa Fe. I had no time or the ability to focus on Chet, Lupe, and the mysterious watcher in the woods in my novel.

After a week, I got my computer back running Windows 7. All of my files were there (yes, I had all of them backed up on an external backup drive), but programs I really wanted had to be reinstalled. Apparently what was really causing the snafu were the old programs on my computer that Windows 10 was trying to update. I know of at least one program that was no longer supported by the manufacturer.

I think this was the Universe’s way of telling me I needed a new touch screen computer because big changes were a-coming. Looking around, it’s pretty clear the computer world ain’t what it used to be. Initially, I hated Windows 10. Now, I really like it. (Hm, could this be reverse engineering of alien technology―touch screen, a talking Cortana?) My new HP computer came loaded with Windows 10, so I didn’t have to go through the scary process of downloading it. This time of agonizing and relearning has again allowed my subconscious to alert me to details that I need to add or change in my novel, even working out the story for my next novel, so not focusing on my writing was a good thing. (I don’t think the subconscious gets nearly enough credit.) Yep, slow down and go deep. Oh, and I finally got most of my office reorganized. That was long overdue. Ah, finally living in the 21st Century. But what about writing in long hand, you ask? At this point, my brain seems entrained to a keyboard. Things flow and it’s so much easier to fix things.

Some other resources for going deep can be found at

http://www.livewritethrive.com/2015/09/02/telling-the-whole-story/

http://www.livewritethrive.com/2015/09/09/dont-jump-to-conclusions-the-perils-of-underwriting/

http://www.livewritethrive.com/2015/09/16/avoiding-underwriting-induced-magic/

http://www.livewritethrive.com/2015/09/23/how-writers-can-avoid-underwriting-emotions/

http://www.livewritethrive.com/2015/09/30/check-your-underwriting-10-key-questions-to-ask-of-your-story/

Yours, Valerie

If you think any of your friends would be interested in my blog posts, send them the following link: http://valeriestasik.com/the-sequill-blog.html


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<![CDATA[Characters: Go Deep]]>Thu, 03 Sep 2015 09:56:40 GMThttp://valeriestasik.com/the-sequill-blog/characters-go-deepPicture
Last time, I talked about how essential the plot device of free energy was to Chet’s story. In a suspense novel, a page-turning plot is important, but just as important are the characters. Every reader needs to identify in some way with the characters in a story to be engaged, so it’s important that the characters be believable and sympathetic—even some of the obnoxious characters should eventually be somewhat appealing. After all, few of us have lived without being offensive in some way at least once.

One of my writer friends used to keep a notecard above her computer. It said, “Go deep.” This is excellent advice, especially for someone like me who overdoes what a famous writer—I think it was Elmore Leonard—once said: “I leave out the parts the reader will skip over.” I get so worried I’ll bore my readers with too much detail that I end up with too short a story. That’s what happened with Chet’s story. Of course, my first drafts really are rough. What I’m finding in this revising process is that I’m really rewriting. It’s a good thing because I’m doing a creditable job of going deep, and I hope not adding details my readers will skip. The story is getting longer. Yes, it’s taking me a long time. I know, Stephen King has a decent manuscript in just a few months; however Ray Bradbury took five years to produce a book.

Going deep in this rewriting process has me not only clarifying and adding plot details but also fleshing out the characters and their relationships further. My goal is to do this without relying on that old standby, backstory. A little mystery about the characters entices readers, and I have novels in mind for at least two of the other characters. This is Chet’s story, yet I worried that he might not seem important to the reader, that other characters might take over his story. I soon realized that I had to take the reader into the emotion of his phobia and his concerns about his relationships and the future. We all deal with change, probably more so when we are leaving adolescence or when we are approaching our final years. Focusing more on the characters and their relationships deepens the inner conflict and what the story is really about—people.

I’m eager to finish the rewrite. This is an exciting and satisfying process, I guess because it involves problem solving strategy as well as creativity. I’ll have some idea if what I’m doing actually works when I send my manuscript to my beta readers. What are beta readers? They are very generous but honest friends who read the work and respond with what works and what stinks. Then I plan to hire a reputable story doctor/editor, C.S. Lakin (http://www.livewritethrive.com/), before sending it out for a final edit. By then, I hope to have an engaging, entertaining story.

For more about plot and character, go to one of my previous blogs: http://valeriestasik.com/4/post/2013/07/character-or-plot.

Yours, Valerie



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<![CDATA[Free Energy Conspiracy as Plot Engine]]>Thu, 27 Aug 2015 06:36:40 GMThttp://valeriestasik.com/the-sequill-blog/free-energy-conspiracy-as-plot-enginePictureOne of many representations of a torus
“Electric power is everywhere present in unlimited quantities, it can drive the world's machinery without the need of coal, oil, gas or any other fuel.”    Nikola Tesla

Essential to the plot of Chet’s story is the development of something called free energy. Free energy utilizes the torus energy that surrounds the earth. It’s self renewing, so it can’t be depleted. Creating devices that can capture this energy and transform it into electricity has been the goal of many. If it existed, there would be no need for power plants or transmission wires. Each consumer would only need the device that would capture the torus energy and convert it into electricity. Think what that would mean to the energy industry and possibly the economy. This is a consideration with which I’ve had to deal in Chet’s story. However, there have been many advances over the years that have made items and processes obsolete without destroying the economy.

Nicola Tesla was an early researcher of this energy. He invented fluorescent lighting, the Tesla induction motor, the Tesla coil, and developed the alternating current (AC) electrical supply system. He had registered over a hundred patents. He attracted the attention of J.P. Morgan who supported his work. When Morgan realized the implications of Tesla’s work on free energy, he withdrew his support. Many believe J.P. Morgan was motivated to do this to protect his investment in the copper that was used in electric transmission wires. In addition to withdrawing his support, he saw to it that Tesla was discredited in the scientific community. A poster of Nicola Tesla, a keepsake that Chet has from his father, figures in the story.

There have been many theories about conspiracies holding back the development of many innovations, and such a conspiracy to squelch the development of a free energy device is the basis of the plot in this suspense novel. Chet’s father was working on a free energy device when he disappeared under mysterious circumstances. By the way, there are supposed to be free energy devices in existence, but it’s believed they have a long way to go before they are practical. There are, however, many scientists working in the field of new energy which encompasses more than torus energy, for example, cold fusion. See http://www.newenergymovement.org for more on alternative energy.

WARNING: If you explore the Web for free energy, you’ll find many ads for free energy plans, books, and devices. I believe most of these are scams. Don’t waste your money.

Some sites you may find interesting follow:
Nicola Tesla
http://inventors.about.com/od/tstartinventions/a/Nikola_Tesla.htm?utm_term=tesla%20power%20generator&utm_content=p1-main-3-title&utm_medium=sem&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=adid-763d30b9-02b9-475f-9c46-5d91d3cbff23-0-ab_gsb_ocode-4633&ad=semD&an=google_s&am=broad&q=tesla%20power%20generator&dqi=&o=4633&l=sem&qsrc=999&askid=763d30b9-02b9-475f-9c46-5d91d3cbff23-0-ab_gsb

New Energy
www.newenergymovement.org  

The Thrive Movement (Information from this site initially inspired me to use free energy as a plot device. It’s an interesting site that offers a free, well-made, entertaining film covering several issues—food for thought.)
www.thrivemovement.com

Yours,
Valerie

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<![CDATA[What's Helpful?]]>Fri, 21 Aug 2015 05:28:48 GMThttp://valeriestasik.com/the-sequill-blog/whats-helpfulPictureFrom my teaching days
I’m still deep in the revision process. It’s slow going, but it’s going. I’ve been thinking about how we writers write despite the way some people treat us. People can be generous, compassionate, and supportive while some thrive on judgment and contempt that squelches the developing writer. I’m sure all of us have encountered teachers and other adults who were like this.

Sunny Fader told me about a teacher who said she couldn’t write and shouldn’t ever think of a career in writing. Sunny didn’t let this pronouncement hold her back even though she had dyslexia. She not only became a published book author, but she also wrote for Disney and had a script produced for the old Robert Wagner and Jill St. John TV series. In addition, she wrote and produced for a charitable organization overseas and for the St. Jude Hospital promos. And she taught scriptwriting at two universities.  So much for not being able to write.

Beth, another writer, visited with a book club who had read her book. For the most part, the discussion was civil and positive, but one participant kept questioning and criticizing one thing after another. Beginning to feel demoralized, Beth was startled at the end when the woman asked her when the next book was coming out. Go figure.

I often attend a monthly event where writers share short writings or excerpts. At one of them, an award-winning, published author read. When the event was over, I overheard her say that some people had no business writing. How much kinder it would have been to approach individuals and suggest ways to improve. Of course, I’m thinking like a teacher. As one of my colleagues once posted on her classroom bulletin board, “We’re all gifted; we just open them at different times.” I was shocked at this author’s stinginess, but I came to surmise that this was a case of sour grapes. She was a talented writer who’d achieved recognition—but no Pulitzer. Perhaps she felt there were other authors not nearly as talented as she who had achieved greater notoriety, and this was her way of salving her ego.

On the other hand, at the May New Mexico Book Association luncheon, author David Morrell (best known for the Rambo series) spoke to us about his books and writing. His previous two books, Murder as a Fine Art and Inspector of the Dead, are well-researched, historical Victorian novels featuring opium-eater Thomas DeQuincey, a change from his adventure books. I’m currently reading his most recent book, The League of Night and Fog: a Novel. This award-winning author did NOT ride in on a high horse. He was most cordial, answering all of our questions about writing and publishing with patience and a smile. He was quite encouraging. Of course, Morrell spent a few years teaching literature at the University of Iowa. Not that all teachers are Mother Theresas, but his attitude toward us demonstrated that he was one who understood the major purpose of teachers—to edify (to build up). And isn’t this an attitude we all should strive to develop? He treated us as equals, with respect. (He even gave away a free copy of his book, Lessons From a Lifetime of Writing, with each novel purchase.) I believe he would be one to suggest ways to improve a writing.

When it comes to writing, I believe we all have something worth sharing. Some of us write for our own pleasure and never publish. Some prepare documents for work. Some wish to leave a legacy memoir for our families. Some have stories inside of us that we simply must share. Not all of us are skilled, but with instruction and appropriate suggestions from others, we can attain whatever level we are capable of reaching. I think it’s important to encourage anyone who expresses a desire to write. Self-expression is so very important. It’s akin to saying “I exist.” When others are ugly to us, they invalidate us. Supportive criticism can make all the difference. Let’s leave the high horses in their stalls. A particular book may not be my cup of tea, but I believe there’s an audience for every book.


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<![CDATA[Vacation's Over]]>Thu, 13 Aug 2015 02:46:18 GMThttp://valeriestasik.com/the-sequill-blog/vacations-overPictureFilming of CHECKMATE at Eaves Ranch.
I took a “vacation” of sorts from my writing routine for a few months. Sometimes distancing oneself from the intensity is necessary for one’s sanity and, as I’ve come to realize, one’s creativity. Distance: It makes the heart grow fonder, right? I had moments of guilt but assuaged that guilt by realizing my young adult book still lurked within me even though I was not physically revising it. As I weeded the overgrown yard, as I planted succulents and hanged baskets of flowers from the gazebo, as I placed the hummingbird feeder and birdseed feeder, as I ate my meals beneath the gazebo and contemplated the chittering birds and shy lizards, as I caught up on past issues of The New Yorker, as I helped my friend Sheri with her website, as I visited my son and his family in New Hampshire, as I mourned the death of my sweet little terrier Sugar in April, as I regretted not visiting my friend Sunny in Florida before she passed in May, as I considered volunteering my newsletter skills to the New Mexico Book Association, as I shopped and cleaned, as I worshipped at the Roku altar to get my money’s worth of Amazon Prime, I found myself still working on that novel—noting articles on alternative energy, grasping what the book was really about, deciding how I would approach getting feedback, and reconsidering when I would publish it.

My fellow writer, Maxine Davenport, loaned me her copy of Stephen King’s On Writing. It was such a personal account of how he writes, so different from most books on writing. It was a pleasure to read probably because it was so heartfelt. What captured me was his process. He writes the first draft “with the door closed.” The second draft is done “with the door open.” He does not let anyone see his first draft. He works on it until he has a satisfactory second draft. That is the one he shares for feedback. I belong to a critique group of some very kind-hearted and perceptive people; however, having to come up with ten to twenty pages every two weeks for the group was daunting for me. Writing does not come easily for me. I also find it disorienting to work this way. I mull a great deal; I need time. That first draft should just come out and yet there should be plenty of time to mull. The muse needs to be unrestricted. Creativity is sloppy, without rules. One needs to get into the flow, the Zen of writing. Sometimes you don’t know where you’re going with a story, and sharing it before you get to your destination can be so restrictive. I didn’t learn what my novel was about until I reached the end. I also think that when your critics read a complete manuscript, it’s easier on them and more productive for you. (Note to my former students: Much of what I taught you is valuable. Much you can ignore. Read King’s On Writing and you’ll understand.)

While I was “vacationing” with my novel sending me postcards so I wouldn’t forget it, I developed the idea for a spinoff young adult novel with one of the characters from the first book (Lupe) as the main character. I also found myself ruminating about some short stories I’d started but not finished. And there are poems I should submit to the literary magazines. And I thought I might publish my play and film scripts in a collection.

I have decided to publish the young adult novel I’ve been working on when I have that second one pretty well on its way.  And, yes, there is a third book with one of the other characters (Hank) as the main character. I haven’t completely settled on the plot for that one—but I will. That way, my readers won’t have to wait so long for another.

Yep. Vacation’s over.

P.S. Re the above picture: Checkmate (later renamed Showdown at Galisteo) is a script Sunny Fader and I wrote for Sheri Mann's acting class. We were given the opportunity to film it at Eaves Ranch.  The Cheyenne Social Club was first filmed here, and the place is still used for  film work.

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<![CDATA[My Independent Publishing Journey]]>Wed, 05 Aug 2015 22:50:43 GMThttp://valeriestasik.com/the-sequill-blog/my-independent-publishing-journeyPicture
While I revise and rewrite my young adult novel, tentatively titled The Torus Edge (I’m considering a better title), I am going to share my independent publishing experience with you.  My company is Armery & Hallquist Publishing and only publishes my books at this point, which makes me a self-publisher. Why self-publish when it’s so much work and responsibility and when many self-published books are poorly done, making every self-published book, regardless of its good quality, appear suspect? Primarily it’s about control and eliminating the “middle man” (read publisher) who takes such a bite out of profits. It’s also about avoiding incompetent or dishonest literary agents and publishers. A few literary agents let your manuscript gather dust for months instead of shopping it aggressively (always establish a deadline in the contract). Some small publishers have failed to pay royalties to their authors or gone out of business.

Now, self-publishing isn’t for everyone. You need to be multi-talented or have access to talented help or be able to research competent help, have time and patience, be willing to spend your own money (budgeting ahead of time is crucial), and have the chutzpah to promote your book, indeed, a Herculean task. You must also beware the many "services" and subsidy publishers that have sprung up to take advantage of self-publishers (this is where research is especially important).

The advantage to having a publisher is that someone else is responsible for the book design, cover design, editing, distribution, and promotion, not to mention you get an advance on your royalties (Note: some publishers have sued authors to get back their advance when the book doesn’t perform as expected). Having a traditional publisher also makes it easier for your books to end up in bookstores. You see, bookstores need to know they can return unsold copies. This isn’t the case with self-publishing presses like CreateSpace unless you distribute to bookstores yourself with the promise of accepting unsold copies. Doing that would take even more time away from writing and may only work with independent bookstores. (I've recently heard that Ingram's POD division can get your book into the big chain bookstores because they will accept returns.)

However, the publishing industry has been changing and continues to change dramatically. Author advances are far less than they used to be, and the huge advertising campaigns are reserved for the big-name authors. Publishers want authors with several books in the works and who will be around for several years. (I can’t promise I’ll be here and functioning the next twenty years.) Authors are required to do a lot more promotion on their own, especially social media, so you don't escape that part of the process. Publishers are market driven and must second guess what the market will be like in two years, which can limit your acceptance no matter how well you write. Publishers are, after all, in business to make money, and it’s a tricky business where gambles sometimes don’t pay off.

Unless you’re James Patterson, Stephen King, or any other well-known author, your book may spend only a few weeks in bookstores—if you’re lucky. Some books, especially if you are not a big-name author and your book has received a bare minimum of promotion, may take more than a few weeks to catch on, but bookstores can’t afford to have your book occupy the retail space until it catches on. They, too, are in business. What happens to the copies that aren’t sold after a few weeks? They are returned to the publisher who then sells them at a huge discount to bargain book distributors and stores. You receive no royalty on these books. The publisher cuts its losses, but you get nothing.

Why do I choose to self-publish? I love the challenge and the opportunity to be involved in every aspect of getting my book to my readers. I don’t have the patience to wait on an agent to get my book to a publisher and walk the floors a year or so, waiting for the publishing staff to get it into bookstores. I’ve researched and studied every aspect of self-publishing. I enjoy doing the book design, and this time around I’m designing my cover from scratch (see the picture). The final cover will probably look quite different from this first effort, and I’m considering a better title. I may even hire a designer to improve it. But doing it myself helps me to finally decide what I want and what will really be effective. Yes, it’s a matter of control, and I don’t have to worry about copies ending up in the bargain bin at a discount store. With print on demand and the ebook version of the book, I don’t even have to worry about stockpiling copies in my garage like self-published authors once did. Many of us are ambivalent about the behemoth, Amazon, but they do get your book out, pay you a decent return, and your book stays available until you remove it from their site. Not everyone buys books on the Internet, and many really prefer to browse in bookstores; however, selling online is a good place to start for the self-published author.


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<![CDATA[A Lesson in How Description Can Capture Interest - Anne Rice]]>Sun, 08 Sep 2013 05:04:12 GMThttp://valeriestasik.com/the-sequill-blog/a-lesson-in-how-description-can-capture-interest-anne-ricePicture
I’ve begun reading Anne Rice’s The Wolf Gift. The first chapter is a lesson in how description can create the suspense necessary to capture the reader’s interest. Ordinarily, I would say a story might best begin with an exciting incident or riveting dialogue. Rice begins with a description of Reuben, the main character, and a little of his backstory, establishing his uniqueness. She continues with a vivid, detailed description of the setting. One might say that there is entirely too much detail, but in this instance, the suspense is in the details. So many of the furnishings and research items left by the great uncle who once owned the mansion are rare; antiques from different times and countries. The mansion is isolated on a cliff overlooking the Pacific near a large redwood forest that can never be logged. The reason for the sale of the property piques our curiosity. What did happen to the great uncle who went missing twenty years ago? This was a man of the world, an archeologist, who with a few close friends explored the mysteries of many digs.

Rice also makes it clear from the beginning that Reuben has little to restrain him from being just the one to be entranced with the mansion and its possibilities. He also has the money to buy it. Reuben is twenty-three and from San Francisco. The only thing I found odd about him is his speech. He’s no immortal, but he talks like someone from an earlier time, not a contemporary young man.

I’m looking forward to finishing this novel, and I don’t think Reuben’s lack of contemporary speech will ruin it for me.
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Authors, CLICK HERE for Treasure Finds for Authors. This section is updated regularly with finds from various other blogs that deal with writing, publishing, and social media. Check back often.

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<![CDATA[Some Revered Classics from Bygone Days Might Not Sell Today]]>Tue, 20 Aug 2013 02:43:07 GMThttp://valeriestasik.com/the-sequill-blog/some-revered-classics-from-bygone-days-might-not-sell-todayPicture
I decided I should read some classics by highly respected authors from the past since it’s been many years that I’ve done so. As an author who has consulted with fellow authors and studied many books and blogs on writing, I read these books with an eye to what I’ve learned; for example, grab your reader from the get go, leave out what the reader is likely to skip, create characters that will make your readers care, show don't tell (I noticed quite a bit of telling in a couple of these books).

I started reading Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, a book I failed to read in college. It is beautiful writing, but I could not finish the book because Conrad goes on for pages and pages describing the setting at the beginning of the book. Yes, it sets the mood, but I kept wondering what the conflict was, who the protagonist was, and when Conrad was going to get to the story. I believe when this story was written (before the cyber age), readers were patient and possessed a longer attention span than I do. These were literate people not distracted by radio, film, TV, computers, social media, cell phones, and instant gratification. They could appreciate the slow, beautiful blossoming of Conrad’s book.

Two other books I actually finished were Austin’s Emma and Fitzgerald’s The Beautiful and Damned. I’m sorry, but I really don’t get the popularity of Austin’s books. Aside from a peek into British society during that time period, they seem a little frivolous and in the vein of Harlequin romances. Although I must admit, I did like Persuasion. Why? Probably because the heroine appears to learn a very valuable lesson about love and social status. I guess I’m not the audience for her work.

I appreciate the popularity of Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, but I could not care less for the characters in The Beautiful and Damned. Perhaps the point of the book was to show how useless this couple was. I had no sympathy at all for them. I found their stupidity, dismissive attitude towards those not of their class, and their concern over money and their inability to live reasonably offensive. There was absolutely nothing redeeming about the characters; neither experienced an epiphany. They are narcissistic and contribute nothing to their families or friends, society, the arts, or even to themselves. They are slugs. I kept reading, hoping that perhaps there would be some astounding redemption. Fitzgerald writes poetically, and I did enjoy that. Another thing that I didn’t think worked: He has a section about Beauty being sent to Earth in the form of the wife. I don’t think this really adds to the story. It certainly doesn’t make the female character any nobler.

I suppose what all this illustrates is that writing changes as audiences change. There will always be literature from the past that is as viable today as it was when written. Shakespeare, Dickens, Twain, Conan Doyle, and Poe are obvious examples. But there are others that might not make the cut today.
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Authors, CLICK HERE for Treasure Finds for Authors. This section is updated regularly with finds from various other blogs that deal with writing, publishing, and social media. Check back often.

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<![CDATA[The Idea for Catching Air]]>Wed, 31 Jul 2013 20:29:36 GMThttp://valeriestasik.com/the-sequill-blog/the-idea-for-catching-airPicture
The idea for the young adult story I’m working on has changed considerably since I first decided on the concept. Several years ago, I was teaching my students the basics of writing a novella, using an example throughout the writing process to illustrate the planning (prewriting) steps. I enlisted the character of a skateboarder whose issue was coming to terms with his guilt over the deaths of his father and brother as well as the prospect of his mother beginning a new relationship—a pretty commonplace issue, but it served its purpose as a model.

I’ve wanted to write the story for some time. In the meantime, life went on and many other experiences have influenced me. Certainly, no one can escape awareness of our environmental, economic, and societal crises. And so the story in my head has become more complex. A major stimulus for the current version of my story is the information on energy from Foster Gamble’s Thrive Movement, thrivemovement.com. Gamble (a scion of the Gamble family of Proctor and Gamble) and his wife have produced a film, now free at their website, that explores many issues that prevent all people from thriving and offers suggestions for increasing the opportunity to thrive. There have been many books recently that also address these roadblocks to all of us enjoying a fulfilling existence. We are indeed in an era of dramatic changes, some scary and some awe inspiring.

I’ve chosen to write the story as a suspense, perhaps with overtones of science fiction. The main character still wrestles with his guilt, but added to the mix is a conspiracy and surprises about what really happened the day of the accident that so dramatically changed everything in his life.

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For a chance to win a copy of Incidental Daughter, sign up to receive my occasional email. I do not share or sell my list, nor do I spam. You’ll only hear from me once in awhile about upcoming events and items of interest. CLICK HERE and write “Sign me up.”
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To celebrate the recent publication of the Large Print Version of Incidental Daughter, I'm offering the Kindle version FREE from July 31 - Aug 4. Click on http://amzn.to/17iPuVc. This will take you to the sales page for the large print edition where you can click on the link to the Kindle version to order it.
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Authors, CLICK HERE for Treasure Finds for Authors.


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<![CDATA[Which Writing Contests Are Really Good?]]>Fri, 19 Jul 2013 05:25:43 GMThttp://valeriestasik.com/the-sequill-blog/which-writing-contests-are-really-good1Picture
Legitimacy

If you mean which ones are legitimate, the ones promoted in magazines like Poets & Writers, The Writer, and Writer’s Digest have proven themselves fair and ethical.

Years ago, I entered a contest and won a small prize and publication which never materialized. Months later I received a letter that the sponsor was being sued and that there would be a settlement. Nothing ever came of it. I don’t believe that happens these days, especially if the contest is sponsored by a university, writing organization, or an established publication. Contrary to my earlier experience, I entered a play script in a Writer’s Digest Annual Contest, placed fourth, and received the advertised prizes. A few sponsors who are looking for an exceptionally high-quality ms, on rare occasions, have not awarded a prize. This has usually happened in genres that had a small number of submissions.

Regarding fees, almost all contests charge a fee. The fees pay for the screening readers, judges, administration/office costs, and prizes. In many instances, the fees are not enough to cover these expenses, so some contests are additionally funded by grants or the sponsors themselves. In the event there is not an award, fees are not returned because the funds have already covered the costs of the contest.

Recommendations

So the answer to the question really depends on you. It’s a matter of your purpose, your experience, and your genre. You can add to your writing resume while winning cash prizes and publication. Familiarize yourself with the sponsor and the contest to find a good fit. Read the works of past winners.

Entering a contest can be a positive experience even if you don’t win. Years ago, I had a ms I’d submitted to a contest returned to me with some great feedback, not something that usually occurs, considering the flood of manuscripts through which judges must wade. There really are some kind readers and judges out there who might just take the time to encourage you. That in itself is a w nothing else.
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GIVEAWAY OPEN ONLY TO U.S. RESIDENTS.
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To celebrate the recent publication of the Large Print Version of Incidental Daughter, I'm offering the Kindle version FREE from July 31 - Aug 4. Click on http://www.amazon.com/Incidental-Daughter-Large-Val-Stasik/dp/0988584727/ref=sr_1_1_title_1_pap?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374120711&sr=1-1&keywords=incidental+daughter. This will take you to the sales page for the large print edition where you can click on the free Kindle version to order it.
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Authors, CLICK HERE for Treasure Finds for Authors.


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