Category Archives: Agent Query

WordPress Impressed: Where do you blog?

My sister-in-law and I were talking the other day about websites. She has started a business with a talented girlfriend of hers and commented that they needed a website, but couldn’t afford one right now. As a writer with two names for my two types of writing, I know my way around blogs/websites. I’ve been on them (hit and miss) for nearly five years now. I’ve also helped other small businesses design user friendly sites of their own.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not the world’s most-or-even-close-to tech savvy gal around, but I do know a thing or two about what makes some servers more user friendly and/or professional than others. It’s because of this familiarity that I recommended WordPress for all her small business needs.

And before I hear a chorus of, “But you haven’t been blogging for eternity”, I would like to say that re-immersing myself with the social media world in the past weeks has actually made me appreciate the intuitive nature of WordPress all the more. In fact, one of my favorite aspects of WP at the moment is their new posting feature that allows me to hop back and forth between my kid blog and this blog so easily. LOVE IT.

“But wait,” you say. “You said website. What you have is two blogs. NOT the same thing.”

I can assure you that because of my YA writing, I am very familiar with WP as a static website and absolutely adore my webpage for it’s clean professional look that is easy to update when necessary. And yes, I have a different website for my kid books through Wix which isn’t nearly as easy to navigate–for either the designer or the viewer–as my WP one is. I also blog on two separate blogs with blogger and have a hate/hate relationship with them.

So, while I haven’t been the most consistent social media guru in the past six months, I do have some practical experience with the cyber realm of websites and blogs. Hands down, WordPress wins.

But don’t just believe me. If you’re looking into all web options, please consider this: the powers that be at AgentQuery Connect advise writers that the most intuitive and cheapest services out there is none other than WP–all without compromising on quality and professionalism.

So, what’s in your cyber wallet? Who do you blog with and where do you park your permanent dot com? Feel free to share the things you hate or love about the different servers.

Curious minds want to know.

Advertisements

Confession Time: Rebuilding My Brand

I hate to publicly admit my failures, but I’m going to do just that, right here for all the world to read.

When I started Words from the Woods, it was my private space. A place where I could go as a wanna be writer to connect with other wanna be writers ina way that didn’t intersect with my real life. And I did.

But slowly, more and more of me came out in my posts, and readers began telling me, “I read your blog to keep up with your family.” Or, “I love your insights into kids and relationships.” Over time, I’ve found myself catering to two vastly different readerships:

  1. Those seeking posts on my quirky take on family dynamics, marriage, child-rearing and my unique soap box issues. Sure they enjoy the bits about the books I read, and more than a handful like to keep tabs on my writing. But, and here’s my public failure announcement, I didn’t start blogging with you in mind.
  2. The people I initially blogged for were those seeking writing tips. Guess what? There are a thousand and one aspiring writer blogs (times infinity). In fact, I blog at a collective with that as the sole purpose. I’m also very active at AgentQuery Connect where, as a moderator, I provide real-time tips to writers nearly every day. Seems a little redundant, actually, to expend the energy regurgitating the information here. Which is likely why I haven’t been blogging as much recently. (Public failure announcement number two.)

All this got me thinking that it’s time I repurpose my blog. My future audience of book buyers is not writers themselves. Well, actually some are, but, as a whole, my future audience is parents. Parents and grandparents, or aunts and uncles, or godmothers and godfathers or teachers and librarians who are looking for WHY my books should be on their shelves. Not writers. Not unless you also have a child or twenty in your life that you wish to purchase books for.

I also happen to like talking about the things near and dear to my heart, like child-rearing, education, literacy, marriage, bullying and friendship. I’m a speech coach, a mother, a volunteer, a wife and a writer. I advocate for at-risk kids (the traditional kinds and the kinds we seldom consider) and do freelance writing on the side. Someday I want to have my books published and in the hands of the children you love. It is my ultimate goal.

But in the meantime, these other passions are also a part of who I am, and they impact why I write the things I do. These are the focus of my new journey in blogging.

Over the next week or so, you’ll see some changes to my blog as I begin rebuilding my brand. Not as a whimsical walk with an aspiring writer, but more so as a whimsical walk through the life of a parent writer.

I hope you stick around to see where this takes me. Personally, I’m both thrilled and terrified!

If there’s anything you personally would like to see me do more of (or not at all) let me know. Thanks for your support up ’til now and hopefully through this and beyond.

Hugs~

PS. I’ll completely understand if I some of you abandon this new brand. Just know you can always follow my writing words of wisdom at From The Write Angle or on AgentQuery Connect.

Newbies Matter

Yesterday, Dear Hubby took our middle son with him to a golf tournament. Eldest couldn’t make it due to another committment and one other player backed out of the foursome. Enter Middle as a back-up player.

He just turned eleven and until about six weeks ago, he hated golf. Yet for some reason this spring, he started saying yes to his father’s invitation to play. According to DH, Middle has a natural swing. But he’s young. And unpracticed for the most part. Still, they were short a guy and the tourney was a fundraiser for cystic fibrosis–a cause near and dear to our hearts.

During the game, they used two of Middle’s shots. Not because they had to, but because they HAD to. His two drives had the best lie. Nobody really expected this ungolfed youth to add value, so they were thrilled when he pulled through.

Over on AgentQuery Connect and other writing sites, it’s not uncommon to hear new writers claim they have nothing to offer in regards to critiques. While it’s true that more experienced writers have more experience to pull from, this doesn’t negate the fact that newbies still have something to offer.

As readers, they have an opinion. They know if they like a book, a character or a plot line and why. They know if something doesn’t ring true or if something feels forced. They either connect to a piece or they don’t. This is valuable for writers to hear, because the general population of readers don’t have writing experience. But they do know if a piece resonates with them or if something rings false. They, too, have opinions that can drastically impact the financial success of a book.

Newbies might not always know how to fix the things they feel or see wrong with a piece, but they can point them out. They can take a shot at giving the writer commentary that will ultimately lead to a better lie–and maybe a better reception with potential audiences.

Yesterday was a great experience for Middle. He got to practice his golf game, experience tournament etiquette and hopefully pick up on some of the nuances of golf by watching his teammates.  He also legitimately helped out his team. Not bad for a day’s work in the life of a newbie golfer.

Critiquers and writers speak up. What are your experiences with critiquing? Please share your memories and feelings as a newbie. Let us know how your critique style has changed over the weeks/months or years. What is your biggest strength in terms of critiquing, the one thing that comes natural to you as a reader?

Curious minds want to know.

Dressing Up Your Manuscript for Prom

I have one princess readying herself for prom.  Eldest has gone through it twice, but being a boy, he’s pretty low-key.  Dear Daughter is a whole ‘nother experience.  She needs make up and hair pins and shoes and alterations for her skinny little butt and shiny bling and sparkles and pretties and paint and…

Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun.  But it’s also a lot of hard work.  Colors must coordinate and styles must flow seamlessly from the tip of her top knot to her perfectly manicured toes.

Too much of anything is gaudy.  Too different is chaotic.  Less is definitely more.

In many ways, preparing a manuscript for submission is the same.  Less is more.

If you’re new to the writing gig, check out my list of references for a few books that can help accessorize your manuscript for your target agent/editor/audience.

For amazing websites or blogs on the business, please take a peek at my sidebar.  My favorite go-to places are yours for the asking.

What are some of your favorite writing resources?  What is your writing bible?  What blog do you turn to for all the answers?

Curious minds want to know.

 

 

Sister Queens by Sophie Perinot: Hot off the press!

Are you a sister, an avid reader or a historical romance fan?  If you can answer yes to any of the choices in the previous question, please don’t hesitate to check out SISTER QUEENS for your next read.

And…I may have fudged the truth a little.  SISTER QUEENS comes out tomorrow (Tuesday 3/6), but if you order today, you’ll have your e-copy delivered before you wake up.  Likewise, a pre-order today can get that dead tree copy to your doorstep nearly 24 hours earlier!

Sister Queens by Sophie Perinot

Hot new debut...in more ways than one!

A word about Ms. Perinot.  I met Sophie–aka Litgal–at AgentQuery Connect nearly three years ago.  She’s a pillar in the community and has very generously offered her help to aspiring writers along the way.  She’s dedicated to her craft and one of the hardest working writers I know.

Enjoy~

*now where’s that UPS guy with my copy?!?!?)

A Day of Donor Thankfulness

For forty years my body has behaved perfectly.  My nephew’s only did for fourteen.  Within the last month, both of us have replaced worn out parts–him a tendon and me some jawbone.

My utmost thanks goes to the unknown donors who will make our lives–and our recoveries–easier.

My utmost thanks also goes to the known donors in my life.

I thank the writing community at AgentQuery Connect and the daily donations my fellow scribes freely give.  The gifts of time, talent and even treasure are exchanged between individuals who have never met and likely never will.

Thank you, AQCrew and the beautiful site you have provided us.  If it weren’t for you, I would never have met so many wonderful people I call friends.  I wouldn’t have my agent because I’d still be debating whether or not I needed one.  I also wouldn’t have the confidence I now have in calling myself a writer.  You will forever rock my world, and I would give my firstborn son to you out of gratitude if he wasn’t turning eighteen in a few months.

I thank the Class of 09 for being the wonderfully supportive group of peeps that you are.  As odd as some of us can be at times, we make a pretty stellar team when you lump us into one room.  I would do anything within my power for any one of you.

I thank the newest members who join AQC every day in hopes of reaching their dreams.  Your enthusiasm continually pushes me to be better.  You might not realize it, but your donation to the community is invaluable.

Another thanks goes to my blogging friends.  Connecting with you through your writing is always a joy.  Seeing your successes and commiserating in your losses–personal and professional–gives me hope that the world really is a wonderful place to be.

Additionally, the comments I receive on my blog are some of the best donations around.  Some make me laugh, while others nearly bring me to tears.  They all bring me joy and motivate me to keep writing.

And finally and most importantly, I thank my family and real friends (as opposed to my imaginary, cyber ones).  Your support is unparalleled.  Even if you don’t know what an anthology is.  Or should I say especially?  Because despite not knowing how gruelling the writing process can be, your encouragement makes me believe in myself.  I am almost more afraid to let you down than I am of disappointing myself.

Life is full of gifts, given to us in tiny, unimaginable ways.  We don’t always recognize them for what they are, or appreciate them when we do.  We take things for granted that we should cherish instead.  Like our knees and our teeth.  Like our ability to breathe and live life.  We forget that someone, somewhere, has donated a portion of themselves to help make our lives easier and better.

So thank you.  From the bottom of my heart, thanks for being you.

hugs~ cat

Online News from My Writerly Muse

I’ve got some great things going on despite the date and the fact that I’ve spilled every single plate/cup/bowl/dog dish/etc…that I’ve picked up.  As a precaution, I shall steer clear of ladders, black cats and dastardly villains like Freddy and Jason for the rest of the day.

  • I’ve signed up on GoodReads.  If you’re a member, friend me and we can share our literary loves.  I know my bookshelf is empty (sidebar at left), but I told myself I wasn’t going to add books until I read them–after I joined.  That means all the great novels I’ve read in the past will remain off my shelves unless I read them again.  I do, however, have several great novels on my to be read shelf of soon-to-be debut authors.  It’s never too early to start thinking about future publications and even preordering them to show up on your doorstep upon their release.
  • I have three winners for my #WTGV (Want to Go Viral?) book give-away.  One lucky student (Lisa), parent  (Sharon) and professional (Angela) have received a free copy of this amazing book.  Thanks to all who helped spread the word regarding the best must-read book ever, Want to Go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman.  If you haven’t heard about it yet, click on my #WTGV tab at the top of my blog.  Even though we didn’t reach our million people mark by the end of December, I’d still like to give away one more copy of Want to Go Private?  Anybody who comments on my blog between Friday the 13th and Friday the 27th will be put in another drawing for a free copy.  Participants must reside in the US for shipping purposes.
  • Speaking of books: another writer friend and AQCer got a two book deal. He might sound familiar, as I’ve talked about R.K.Lewis before and provided links to his online articles over at Criminal Element.  Mister Lewis writes gritty noir with more voice than the pages can hold.  Congrats, Robert!
  • In contrast, Susan Keogh’s nautical fiction takes history to a whole ‘nother level.  Susan is a fellow crit partner, AQCer and a lyrical writer.  Her debut novel, The Prodigal, was recently picked up by Fireship Press.  So, if you haven’t been keeping track over the past months and are a writer, you might want to join AgentQuery Connect.  There’s a whole slew of good stuff going on over there: friendship, critique help, writerly support, agent offers and publishing deals.  Seriously, what are you waiting for?
  • And one last thing.  I blogged over at From the Write Angle today.  There I unveiled my Friday the 13th terrors in regards to being a writer.  But never fear, I did leave you with some tips and tricks to keep your body and mind sound during your writing journey.
  • Oh yeah, Dear Hubby and I are going out with some friends.  While sweating my way through my work out this morning, I got us a date.  Yay!  So, if ever you feel lonely, hit the health club.  You’re sure to run into like-minded peeps.  Even if your calendars don’t quite mix, those few moments of socialness are as uplifting as the 500 crunches I do each day.

How about you, dear readers?  How does your Friday the 13th go?  Is it filled with a bad case of the dropsies and unlucky ladders, or do you have some shining moments to pull you out of the doldrums?

Curious minds want to know.