Disappointing news for would-be campaigners

September 11, 2012

I’ve had a lot of fun in Rachael Harrie’s platform-building campaigns (or crusades, which is what they were called before all the bad press around the crusades got the name changed. 😉 ) I was looking forward to the Fifth Campaign in the second half of 2012, but apparently, like Patrick Stewart’s visit to Toronto, it’s been postponed until 2013.

Now, I can sympathize with whatever else Rachael’s got on her plate at the moment, and nobody else can really run a full Writers Platform-Building event like she can, but if there’s any other blogging crusaders-at-heart out there, maybe we can still get together and have some bloggy, Platform-Building fun this fall. To start with, I’m hereby opening applications for a new Crusader Spotlight series, running from now to October 30th 2012. If anybody wants to start a Crusader Challenge blogfest, count me in! And let me know about any other Crusadey fun you can think of.

Crusaders ho! Who’s with me?

Campaigner Spotlight – Honey from Stories to Share

March 13, 2012

Hello everybody! The Fourth Campaign is winding down already, and I haven’t had a chance to meet nearly as many campaigners as I’ve been hoping to! But today, I’d like you all to meet Honey, from Stories to Share. Take it away, Honey!

If you had one day left to live, what’s one thing you’d want to spend that time on?
I’d spend it with my children.  There’s a million places I’d like to go or do yet, but that’s what it boils down to!

What’s your favorite joke?
Probably one my husband used to do involving three people trying to blow out a candle, it was hilarious!  He would twist his mouth a different way for each one so the air only came out on the side.

What’s the most unusual part of your writing process?
I guess it would be that I have no process!  I brainstorm while I’m carrying out my daily mundane activities and write by the seat of my pants.  I thought I should have a process but then I read about a bestselling author who writes the same way, so I’m not changing, at least for now.

What advice would you give to all your fellow campaigners?
Just to have fun, and I guess that would be mostly to myself because I tend to take myself too seriously!

My blog is about writing and connecting with people regardless of their interests. I like to blog about funny or interesting things that happen around me too, so it’s not all just one single topic. I love comments and I respond to my readers personally.

Thanks for coming, Honey. Enjoy the rest of the campaign!

Campaigner Spotlight – Kaylie Austen

March 6, 2012

Good evening, Campaigners! As the Campaign winds into its fifth week, the spotlight shines down on Kaylie Austen.

Who would you go to if you desperately needed help?
My husband, hands down.

What have you learned from writing?
A lot! Most of it can be summed up by three words: perseverance, skill, and organization. I keep writing, querying, editing, and marketing to build my brand. Along the way, people have pointed out key issues with my writing, such as passive verses active, redundancy, 2-dimensional characters, etc. The more I write and incorporate these new skills, the better my writing becomes. Organization is needed in three major areas: plot, have to keep the storyline seamless, consistent, and believable; querying, there are a ton of agents and publishers, but we have to keep up with them and their world if we want to break into it.; organization also applies to time-management.

What’s your beverage of choice for a writing sprint?
Thai iced tea, readily available from the local bubble tea place.

What advice would you give to all your fellow campaigners?
Keep working on your craft. Learn by reading novels in your genre and keeping up with successful authors to see how they do it, ie: queries, hooks, revisions, etc. If you hit that brick wall and decide you can’t keep fighting, the grief isn’t worth it, it’s okay to give up. Know this: if you’re a writer, nothing will keep the ideas away. Quit now, the writing bug will get you again. There’s no shame in taking a break, that is, if your muse has mercy on you.

My blog details my adventures in writing, from the first spark of a new storyline to editing to querying to cover release, and all the things I’ve learned along the way. I hope someone will find value in my experiences and learn from them. My blog is also a way of explaining that writing and getting a novel on the bookshelf is not quick and easy. It takes a lot of dedication, hard work, sacrifices, and a level of humility. Also, I rant about upcoming releases and random things that make life great.

Thanks for joining us, Kaylie!

Campaigner Spotlight – Jarmila

February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Day, everybody, and happy Spotlight day, again. Today, my spotlight victim – er, gracious guest is Jarmila, from Freelance Writer for Women and Children.

How many Campaigners does it take to change a light bulb?
I see light bulbs as ideas.  In that case, we would not need Campaigners to change a light bulb. The electricity we generate from all the great ideas would keep that bulb glowing for a very long time!

How will you know when you’ve reached success as a writer?
When I hear folks say, “That article/book/story was such an encouragement to me” or “I didn’t know that…how fascinating!” or, “I felt as though I was there in the scene with your character.” Any or all of those would spur me on…

What’s your favorite breakfast food?
That’s a tough one.  I can’t decide between eggs Benedict, eggs and corn-beef hash, or biscuits and gravy.  They are meals to be indulged in only a few times a year!

What advice would you give to all your fellow campaigners?
Don’t get over committed, do what you can, and don’t feel intimidated by others.  Write what you know and love, and not what you feel is popular, or what you are told will sell. Be true to yourself.  Be brave, and branch out in a new way this year with either FaceBook, Twitter, or your blog.

Jarmila V. Del Boccio (a.k.a. Vicki by friends) has been a freelance writer for women and children for the past two years, and has published in “Thriving Family” magazine.  Her passion is to make History and the Scriptures come alive for children, although PiBoIdMo and 12×12 in 2012 has stretched her to include fiction.  Her Travel Blog is primarily used to share her family’s amazing homeschool expeditions, but has morphed to include a “journey into the world of writing.”

Thanks so much for sharing your light bulbs with us, Jarmila!

Campaign Spotlight – Crazy California Claire

February 27, 2012

Okay, I’m getting into the Campaign groove this week, and that means there’ll be a lot of interviews. First off, to help fight off those Monday blues, I’m talking to Crazy California Claire.

Who is your favourite author?
I always find it really difficult when someone asks me to give a definitive answer to a question like this. My son always used to ask me what my favourite food/movie/toy/child was! I could never answer him either. So, I can tell you who I enjoy reading if that’s any good. I love Dr Seuss, especially The Lorax (can’t tell you how excited I am to see the movie). I love Lee Child, Robert B Parker, Janet Evanovich, Paulo Coelho, Jane Austin, JK Rowling, Dan Brown, I could go on and on. Picking only one would be the quickest way to the funny farm!

Out of your favourite two fictional characters – who would win if they got in a fight?
 Well, Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet often got into fights, but I think Pooh generally won, didn’t he?

Read the rest of this entry »

My entry in the first Campaign Challenge of 2012 – Attack of the Shadows

February 23, 2012

A little housekeeping, first – I still have some openings for my Campaigner Spotlight series, so let me know in the comments if you’re interested in doing an interview on the Kelworth Files, or email me at chrisken zero at gmail dot com . And happy 450 posts to me!

So I actually finished my flash fiction for the Campaign Challenge ahead of schedule! Rules and bonus conditions follow:

  • Required – Post by Friday, February 24th (at 11.59pm EDT). DONE!
  • Required – Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. DONE!
  • Required – Begin the story with the words, “Shadows crept across the wall”. These five words will be included in the word count. DONE!
  • Bonus – End the story with the words: “everything faded.” (also included in the word count) DONE!
  • Bonus – Include the word “orange” in the story. DONE! (though it feels a little forced to me.)
  • Bonus – Write in the same genre you normally write. DONE! I write in a lot of genres, but this is fantasy, which is certainly a familiar wheelhouse for me. It also features Justin, who was a character in my modern fantasy story ‘Lesson One.’
  • Bonus – Make your story 200 words exactly! DONE!

So here it is:

Attack of the Shadows

By Chris Kelworth

Shadows crept across the wall. One jumped onto the table, skittered to the flickering candle, and threw itself into the flame. Light and darkness met; then both were no more, and the other shadows grew thicker and larger in response to their brother’s sacrifice.

Justin woke in the dim room, with the shades dancing in the corners of his eyes. Without the candle lit, he’d have only one chance to escape this place where the shadows dwelled. He cursed himself for a fool, thinking that he had the energy to come down here and work his spell without sleep getting the better of him. From his pocket he pulled a small gilded orb, the size of an orange. With his other hand, he pushed himself up from the table.

The shadows moved in at once. Justin spoke a word, and the orb flew into the air above the table, and glowed like a miniature sun. The shadows scrambled for cover, and Justin made a break for the door.

Unfortunately, he hadn’t noticed that one shadow had hidden and used his body for cover against the light. Now it tripped him, and Justin fell hard against the stone floor. Everything faded.

If you enjoyed this story, (and you’re in the Campaign,) go over to the Campaign Challenge page and click ‘Like’ under my name! I’m 185 in the list. Then go read some of the other entries. 😉

Campaigner Spotlight: Donna Martin

February 22, 2012

Hi, everybody! I’m pleased to finally launch my Campaigner Spotlight series for the Fourth Platform-builders Campaign by bringing you a spotlight interview with Donna Martin, from On the Write Track.

Campaigner Spotlight is brought to you by the Stringing Words writer’s forum!

Are you more comfortable in a large group or talking with just one other person?
It really depends on the situation.  I am currently a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo and have been teaching for about 9 years so I am extremely comfortable in large groups when I am instructing or doing a demonstration.  Off the mats, however, I am an extreme introvert and would rather talk one on one.  I am fascinated with people in general and I would have a better way of getting to know someone new through a one on one conversation.
What would you do all night if you couldn’t get to sleep?
Again, it would depend on the situation.  If I am by myself, I would read or watch some of my favorite movies or get on the internet.  I have many WIPs that need my attention and there are always all these lovely blogs to follow.  But if I am with someone else, then I would spend hours just talking, discussing all kind of topics and taking the time to connect with that other person.
Do you tend to remember any of your dreams?
Funny you should ask about dreams.  I always remember my dreams as they are extremely vivid; full of color and action.  Early last year I started a strange pattern of dreaming where I actually visualized a different children’s picture book every night for three weeks straight.  Every morning I would wake up and rush to write everything down.  Up until that point I had given up on my writing and I hadn’t actually written anything in over 20 years.  Now, I can’t seem to get the dreams to stop… lol
What advice would you give to all your fellow campaigners?
Listen to your heart.  Don’t let other people’s negativity bring you down or make you doubt yourself as a writer.  If you wake up each morning with thoughts of stories in your head, then you are a writer.  If all you can think of during the day is your next revision, then you are a writer.  And if you lay down your head at night and plan out the plot of your next novel before you fall asleep, you are a writer.  No where does it say you have to be “published” to be able to call yourself a writer so be proud of who you are because I am!
My blog, On The Write Track, is my way to encourage and inspire my fellow writers, both new and experienced, on their path to publication.  I write children’s picture books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, poetry, essays and just about anything else that interests me.  I love it when I get new visitors to my blog who leave me a comment on one of my daily posts as I reply to all posts.  And I will be having another contest sometime soon so keep checking in with me!
Thanks for answering my questions, Donna, and I hope you have a really great Campaign experience! I’m still looking for more Campaigners to spotlight, so if you’re interested in doing an interview on the Kelworth Files, let me know in the comments or email me at chrisken zero at gmail dot com

It’s Campaigning time! (But I’d rather be a Crusader.)

February 6, 2012

So, the fourth crusade is up and running, and one of the requirements to join is to post about the campaign and link to it. So that, obviously, is what I’m doing write now. 😉

I’ve had a lot of fun with the third Platform-building Campaign, but I’m sorry, I have to say, to me, it just didn’t have the immense cool factor of the second Platform-building Crusade. I know that there were people who were offended by the word ‘Crusade’, and Rach made her call to change the name, but I just loved being a Crusader, and I’m a little sad that there were people whose feelings were hurt by that word.

If you don’t know what either the Campaign or Crusader are about, then basically it’s just a huge months-long fest of blogging writers linking to each other, getting to know each other, and having fun together. You can follow the links to Rach’s blog to find out more.

Moving on – Campaigner spotlight interviews! If you’re signing up for the Campaign too, and you’d like to do an interview and get the spotlight on your book or your blog or anything else you’d like to plug, you can reach me by:

  • Email at chrisken zero at gmail dot com (deciphering that email address shouldn’t be hard for anybody who isn’t a bot.)
  • Commenting on this post
  • Waiting for news about the Fourth Campaign yahoo group, which should be starting any time, and joining. I imagine I’ll be posting a call for Spotlight subjects there in the next few days.

If you’ve contributed an interview for the Third Campaigner Spotlights or the Nano spotlights in 2011, then I’d rather give new people a chance rather than give you a second chance, but I don’t mind you dropping me a line to let me know that you’re available in case I need somebody to fill a spot.

And, if you’d like to contribute questions for the interviews, post a comment below! I’ll probably vary the interview format a little, with a few questions that are sent to all spotlight bloggers, a few that are repeated often, and a few that are unique.

Hope to see you all on the Campaign trail!

Campaigner Spotlight – Michael Haynes

October 30, 2011

First off, sorry, no Six Sentence Sunday from me, if anybody cares. Maybe it has to do with the linky list going on hiatus last week, even though I went ahead and shared six sentences anyway – I remember thinking that I should schedule my six sentences yesterday, but I guess I never got around to it, and then remembered at 6:30 this morning, but the linky list had closed at midnight. So I’m doing my last spotlight of Campaign season instead!

And that means it’s time for Michael Haynes!

Do you have a WIP that you’re blocked on or conflicted about? If so, tell us a bit about it.
Yes, I rashly started on a novel about six weeks ago. This was motivated by a combination of thinking I had a cool idea and having written a bunch of short stories in a short span of time and feeling like they were tumbling all over themselves trying to get out to various markets for consideration. So, I said “Well, if I start on something long, I won’t be adding to the short story queue.” Which wasn’t necessarily a bad idea in and of itself. Right now the novel is stalled out somewhere around 18,000-20,000 words. This is not a catastrophe as it’s taught me some things which I think will be very useful in November when I’m working on my NaNoWriMo project. The main thing is that no matter how much I may “pants” or mostly-“pants” my short stories, I don’t feel comfortable trying to do that with a novel. I got to the point where I felt like I’d swum out too far to either turn back or reach the opposite shore. So, for my NaNo project, I’m going to have a solid outline by 10/31.

Read the rest of this entry »

Campaigner Spotlight: Alicia Gregoire

October 27, 2011

Hi, everybody. Today, the spotlight shines down on Alica Gregoire, and her Slice of the Blog Pie.

If you had one day left to live, what’s one thing you’d want to spend that time on?
After I got over the never-ending anxiety attack of knowing when, exactly, I’d die, I’d want to spend my remaining time with my family and close friends. They would be the ones I’d miss the most.

What is your most prized possession?
I would say the cats. I’m very possessive of them and they’re also the first thing I look for when I get home. This might have to do with the fact that The Stripey One thinks she’s a ninja and The White One likes to go on walkabouts.
If cats don’t count (and they should), I’d say my book collection. There’s a lot of time and money sunk into that.

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve written since high school, but the first time I wanted to be a published one was in college. I was studying middle school education and had a pretty tough semester with a professor who made no sense. I’d come up with a new alternative career choice after every class. This was also the semester I first took creative writing and loved it.

Blog blurb
Alicia is a Boston native and writes young adult contemporary and adult urban fantasy. She blogs at Slice of the Blog Pie, which covers a little bit of everything: writing tips and writer angst, cat stories, fandom galore, and weekly doses of zombie info. When she’s not blogging or plotting she can be found with her nose in a good book.

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