International Thank an Author Year

WRITERI am declaring today the beginning of “International Thank an Author Year”. To my knowledge, this has not been previously declared, and I believe it is long overdue. And since Earth does not yet have an international government, I believe that I am as qualified as anyone else to declare this event.

Think about it for a moment. How many of you have a favorite book? Or an author that you absolutely adore? Have you ever learned an amazing fact by reading a book? Did you find a great recipe in a new cookbook? Has a favorite children’s book allowed you to spend quality time with a child or grandchild? Have you browsed travel books or novels with exotic locales, visiting those places in your mind? What about that special series of books, whose characters feel like your best friends? When life gets a little too crazy, do you escape between the pages for much needed relaxation?

SCREAMIf you answered YES to any of these questions, you should THANK AN AUTHOR. Without the efforts of those writers, you would have missed out on having some wonderful experiences. Just imagine how empty your life would be without books! On second thought—don’t imagine it. It is a horrifying image.

REVIEWYou may be asking, “How do I go about thanking an author?” I have several suggestions, but the most gratifying one for most authors is to WRITE A REVIEW. Just about everyone has an Amazon account, and that is probably the easiest way for anyone to leave a review. Many people also use Goodreads, or other reading-orientated sites. Many libraries also allow reviews on their websites. The advantages of writing a review are many. YOU get to tell the author how much you like the book, and even if there are some things you liked more than others. The AUTHOR gets thanked for all their hard work creating that book for your enjoyment. And POTENTIAL readers can be pointed in the right direction to find their own new favorite book.

Does the author have a website? Sign up for their newsletter. Newsletters will keep you informed of upcoming public appearances, new books coming out, and other news about the author. Authors love communicating with their fans. ONCE

Do they have a blog? Follow the blog, like, comment on, and reblog their posts so that others can get to know your favorite writers. This also lets the writer know that someone is reading what they write, and allows them to learn what topics people are most interested in.

FRIENDDo they have an author page on Facebook? “Like” their page, and invite your friends to like it too. This is a quick and easy way to show the author you are paying attention, and are interested in what they are doing. The same principle applies to Twitter. Spread the word!

Is an author appearing at a public venue for a book signing or lecture? Go see them, buy a book, get it autographed, and say “thank you” in person. You will probably be able to have you picture taken with them as well.

So go forth, fellow readers, and kick off International Thank an Author Year!THANKS

Spring has Sprung!

thJRZL9AXPSpring is a time to celebrate renewal—the flora begins to come alive, the animals that migrated or hibernated for the winter are seen again, the sun seems to shine brighter, and the breezes carry the promise of new beginnings. And these changes can affect the creative spirit as well. We will finally plant that garden, paint that picture, write that novel or poem—the possibilities are endless.

To celebrate the renewal of the spirit, and push that creativity along, I recently attended the annual Free Conference for Writers in Northwest Arkansas. This is a one-day conference held every year in mid-March, and in my mind marks the beginning of the conference season.

Although the conference lasts for just eight hours, the organizers always manage to pack the day full. The conference speakers this year were Linda Apple and Velda Brotherton, and the theme was using your own experiences to shape your writing. The final portion of the conference was devoted to sharing stories and remembering our good friend and local author Dusty Richards. Published authors from around the area were present as well, with books to sign and advice for new writers. bee

Linda Apple is known for her inspirational writing and teaching, and has been a regular contributor to the Chicken Soup books. Linda spoke about the importance of writing your own story to share with others. You may want to write your memoirs to leave for your family, or write about specific experiences to share with others. Sharing your experiences can help you to come to terms with events, as well as inspire and encourage others. It is very true that we can never know what is happening in another person’s life, and you can never know how sharing your story can help others.

Velda Brotherton is an experienced writer of fiction, from romances to westerns to mysteries. Velda taught us to use our own experiences to help shape and improve our fiction writing. Basing your characters on real people can help to cement their traits in your mind, and provide a more believable character. Using the name of a friend or family member can be your way of giving a nod to someone dear to you (although you might want to check with them first, to avoid potential embarrassment). And don’t forget the everyday touches that make your scenes realistic—the scent of a pie baking, the warmth of the sun on your skin, the sound of traffic outside the window. Taking time to smell the roses can really pay off when you are trying to create a scene in your next book.

thWWWQLNM3So to celebrate the first day of Spring, go ahead—write that story. Share your inspiration with others, whether you choose nonfiction or fiction for your platform doesn’t matter. We all have stories to tell, and as I’m fond of telling my friends—it’s your story, tell it how you want to. The important point is that you DO tell it.

 

My Guardian Angel

20180215_185715 (1)When I started this blog, my purpose was to give readers a look behind-the-scenes at the world of writing and publishing. To let others see what writers go through to write their books, to get published, and to promote the books they have written.

I spend my days communicating with many writers, both those that Oghma Creative Media publishes, as well as those that publish elsewhere, and some that don’t publish at all. Some writers are seasoned veterans, others are just getting started.

Along the way, and as an expected hazard of my job, I caught the dreaded writing bug. The beginnings of this blog are rooted in that illness, and I thought that the blog would cure my illness. I was unbelievably mistaken. My dreams have taken off, and I am now planning a cozy mystery series, a biography, and various articles to be written.

I communicate with writers daily. I look for ways that writers can promote themselves and their work. I look for new avenues to promote Oghma Creative Media as a company. I read constantly and offer suggestions to others. I encourage everyone to be the best person they can be, the best WRITER they can be.

And in the course of all this – I forgot to write. No excuses, I simply forgot to sit down and do it.

Luckily for me, I have a guardian angel. I’ll call her Brenda, because that is her name.

Brenda and I met at a writer’s conference last year, and I felt an instant connection with her. She came there to learn, and to pitch her book idea. I was there to represent Oghma Creative Media. We spent some time talking, and have kept in touch ever since.

A couple weeks ago, Brenda sent me an email with the beautiful picture featured here. She said she felt led to send it to me, and wasn’t sure why. When I received it, I admired the picture and had thoughts of writing about it. I framed a post about her generous gift of a lovely image, another post about how writers need someone/thing to light their way, another post about using random images to spark a story.

But you know what I didn’t do? I didn’t write.

Every day I encourage others to write. To simply put their butt in a chair and get to it. And I somehow neglected to apply that to my own life.

This week my guardian angel nudged me again. She didn’t nag, she didn’t criticize, she simply encouraged me to sit down and write.

So I did.

Brenda gently reminded me of the most important thing a writer must do. To be a writer, one must sit down and write. It doesn’t have to be great literature, nor does it need to be hundreds (or even dozens) of words or pages at a time. But we must write. Let the stories out onto the pages. Don’t worry about what will happen later –the editing, the publishing, and the marketing. Those things are necessary tools that we need. But not right now.

I hope that all of the aspiring writers in the world can find their guardian angel to guide them gently down the path to success. But a word of warning—stay away from Brenda. She’s mine, and I need her.

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