Monday, October 31, 2011

Weekly Progress Check-In

This is the Mid-Willamette Valley RWA's weekly check-in.  Every Monday we encourage members and visitors to let us know how their writing is going.

Today is Monday, October 31, 2011.  (Happy Halloween!)

This is the last day before National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) begins.  Do you have plans to complete any projects in November?  What do you hope to accomplish in the next month?  

Good luck reaching your personal goals for November!

Friday, October 28, 2011

I Babies

Current Project: Sharks
Status: Almost Done and with twists

Technology pertaining to infants. My almost 2 year old granddaughter is an I baby. What you say is that? It is a baby who has grown up with an Ipod in his/her hand. She can find netflix but can't quite get the show she wants. She knows the symbol for skype and want to call ne ne, her aunt Jenee. I really feel inadequate. I'm still trying to navigate my new android. I know, I know I just don't have the time to stare at my phone and push icons until I see something I want.

Can anyone possibly imagine what the technology will be in the next 10 years? OMG I think all babies should be I babies or they might be left behind. I can't imagine. I just can't think about it.
And as a retired math teacher, I can't believe I'm saying this. Is there really a reason for our children to learn their multiplication tables? Give them a calculator and forget the headaches! (no I don't think I just said that).

I remember about 10 years ago when my parents were debating a computer. I said "You have to stay up with technology."

Wow! I will forever remember those words. But I'm not sure anyone will be able to keep up with technology or be able to pay for it.

What do you think technology will be like in 1o year? And what do you think about I babies? good or bad?

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Current Project: Preparing for re-issue of my Rock 'n' Romance series
Status: New covers done, text rechecked for minor errors, all sent to publisher... Now on to promotion!
Posted by: Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel

Ack! I have the need for an automatic blog generator today. Because in spite of the automatic reminder that today is my day to blog--and my old-fashioned reminder of jotting a note, I forgot to write my blog yesterday and schedule it to post just after midnight as I usually do. (By the way, I looked up "auto blog writer" on the Internet and there are some options--which I choose not to take--so you're stuck with my own words. :)

While I was on the Internet I decided to look for excuses of why my blog wasn't written and posted. Of course there were sites for this, but I didn't look deep enough to see if "the dog chewed up my blog post" was among them. Besides, my dogs would rather lay in the sunshine that is now streaming across my back yard. Though I could legitimately use "my small white dog was barking at the back fence and I had to bring him inside so he could sit in 'time out' while I wrote this blog." I probably shouldn't confess he came in one door and out the other that one of the other dogs opened. Sigh. Need an automatic door closer...supposed I could get one of those online too!

Back to technology...

My thoughts this morning turned to what type of technology would help me as a writer. Others have discussed or given links to software that will help generate or organize stories. Since I like to use storyboards or vision boards, I searched for those. Yep, software--some of it free--to generate those also.

How about software to write story outlines? Yes. Character sketches? Of course. Ideas for plot twists? Lots of them.

Guess I'm a bit old-fashioned in that I prefer to do some of the work myself--or maybe I can see myself spending hours searching out these software packages and not getting any actual writing done.

However, in my Internet search, I also thought of ways to give my characters more depth. Up came blogs written by police officers (or lawyers or whatever). Though this type of search can also be amusing. I wondered if cowboys blogged and came up with a lengthy listing of blogs for the Dallas Cowboys football team. Um, not what I had in mind.

It's probably obvious I'm a fan of the Internet--at least most of the time. I've found so much information that's helpful to me in writing. Yet sometimes I also search and search but can't seem to generate exactly what I'm looking for.

How about you? Please share your most amusing or odd or productive or frustrating search for something on the Internet?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Current Project: Galley edits for Spirit of the Sky
Status: working on it

So since my first blog on this topic earlier in the month nothing has changed about my inability to use technology.

I do have my website up and running, but my printer is still not talking to the new computer and in desperation , I hooked the old laptop back up just to make copies. Which means putting info I want copied onto a flash drive and then putting it in the laptop and printing. 

What's funny is I couldn't wait, back in the 80's, when I was writing on a typewriter for the day I could afford a computer. I helped in the kids' school in the computer technology room to learn how to use the beasts and the instructor would let me use the computer in between classes to write my stories and put them on a big square disk. 

Finally, the day arrived I could get computer. I bought a Mac. That's what they had in the schools and I told my husband that way I'd have help if I ran into problems.. But man was that an investment back then!  

It was wonderful to be able to delete and enter words all over in the document without having to retype everything! 

But then I came to another problem, the Mac's back then didn't play nice with other computers and when I wanted to critique with other people they couldn't read my stuff and I coudln't read their stuff. So I floundered along until the day came when I threw my hands in the air, told my dh I needed a computer that talked with everyone else and became a DELL fan.  I gave the Mac to a friend of the family who was headed off to college and have been happy with my choice ever since. 

Except for the fact I am so darn technology challenged that it takes me days to figure out how to do some things on some programs.  And after all these years I still don't have the fearlessness it takes to push keys and see what happens. I'm always afraid I'm going to mess something up. Because usually, I do! 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Weekly Progress Check-In

This is the Mid-Willamette Valley RWA's weekly check-in.  Every Monday we encourage members and visitors to let us know how their writing is going.

Today is Monday, October 24, 2011.

Are you on track to reach your goals?

There are 68 days left in 2011.

Weekly Calculations:
If you write 1 page per day, you can write 17000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 2 pages per day, you can write 34000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 3 pages per day, you can write 51000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 4 pages per day, you can write 68000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 5 pages per day, you can write 85000 more words by the end of the year.

So how are you doing?  If you have gotten off track, this is the week you can regain your momentum.  Tell us how you're doing, and set a fresh goal for the upcoming week.  A page a day is a book in a year.  You can do it!

PRIZES:  The best prize is reaching your personal goal and finishing your book.  But if you need an extra little incentive, remember:  any chapter member who reaches her personal goal by the end of the year receives a prize at the year-end party.  Non-members can win, too.  Non-members who show up for at least 20 weekly check-ins will have their names entered in a drawing for a gift card from Powells, the world's largest independent bookstore.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Learn About Marketing with Deborah Riley-Magnus

We are pleased to have Deborah Riley-Magnus as our guest blogger today.  She will be teaching the online workshop "Geisha Marketing for Authors" for us November 7-12, and has offered to give us this preview of her topic:

Geisha Marketing for Authors vs. Hide-Under-the-Blanket Marketing.

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when I say the word … marketing? Don’t be afraid, just spit it out. I already know what you’re thinking.

“Oh no! Will I need to become one of those authors? The kind that talk about their work all the time? The kind who think about nothing but selling books? Will I need to be like a used car salesman? A slimy manipulator? Can I get away without doing any marketing at all because really, I’m just too shy (or too busy, or too important, or above all that stuff, or all I want to do is write)?”

Um … no. Let me start by addressing your concerns. First, you will not become one of those authors because true marketing has nothing to do with irritating repetition. You will not be thinking about selling your book all the time because marketing is an ongoing component of being an author and creative thinker. Good marketing is a second nature, not a disruptive activity. If you market like a used car salesman, you’ll turn people off. If you come off like a slimy manipulator, you’ll turn people away.

Can you get away without marketing at all? This final concern is the primary reason for my workshop, Geisha Marketing for Authors. Unfortunately, no matter your reason for not wanting to market, you must market. The state of the publishing industry has unceremoniously dropped all that responsibility on the author’s shoulders but I’m here to tell you … this is a challenge and a huge benefit. Controlling your destiny is the key to this, so don’t look at it as a sad, terrible turn of events, look at this as a great opportunity.

Marketing is nothing you thought it was. Marketing is an art, and an effective marketing strategy must be creatively developed specifically for you and the book you wrote. The Geisha Marketing for Authors workshop covers the primary elements to help you to understand, craft and implement marketing exactly the way you and your book need it to be.

The definition of Marketing is: The process by which one creates customer interest in products or services. The definition of Geisha is: An entertainer whose skills include performing various arts such as classical music and dance. This workshop ties together the elegant art of the ancient geisha with the power of effective marketing. It is five days of exploring possibilities that work and don’t overwork the author because hey, you’re supposed to be writing your next book, right? Here’s what we’ll be covering:

  1. The Training for Geisha Marketing
    1. Tools, goals and creating perfection
    2. Polishing speaking, appearance and pride
  2. The Art of Geisha Marketing
    1. Building an Author Platform
    2. Building a Book Platform
    3. Social Networking at its best
  3. The Beauty of Geisha Marketing
    1. Marketing harmonies outside the norm
    2. Commitment to what art you have and will perform
    3. Finding and cultivating new lovers of your performance
  4. The Performance of Geisha Marketing
    1. Consistence, continuity and patience
    2. Short and long performances
    3. The harmony of presentation
  5. The Reputation of Good Geisha Marketing
    1. Follow up, building upon and the poetry of the “T” (testing) Ceremony
    2. The Geisha Marketer’s agreement with their readers
Marketing is personal, based on you and your book. Powerful marketing strategies come from powerful creative ideas and that is the primary goal of this workshop … to take the amazing creativity you put into your book and expand it into a marketing tool like no one else’s.  All those other authors making that ruckus and noise on twitter and facebook, shouting that you really should buy their book, have not looked at marketing this way. They are doing what everyone else does.

Good marketing is developing a new or more creative path to better results. Are you up to the challenge? If so, Geisha Marketing for Authors is for you.


Deborah Riley-Magnus is an author and an Author Success Coach. She has a twenty-seven year professional background in marketing, advertising and public relations as a writer for print, television and radio. As an Author Success Coach she focuses exclusively on publicity, marketing and promotional solutions for authors.

Deborah produces several pieces weekly for various blogs and websites including her author website and Unruly Guides, and an author industry blog, Deborah Riley-Magnus,Writaholic. She teaches online and live workshops as an Author Success Coach.

Cold in California, book one of The Twice-Baked Vampire Series, was released in July, 2011. Her non-fiction, Finding Author Success: Discovering and Uncovering the Marketing Power Within Your Manuscript will be released in November, 2011. In January of 2012, she will be launching a new online publication called the Whispers of the Muse Literary Magazine.

She belongs to several writing and professional organizations and is a member of the WriteSEX blog group as the marketing, promotions and publicity expert. She can be followed on Facebook and Twitter.

A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she has lived on both the east and west coast of the United States and has traveled the country widely.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hook Up with Tech Stars Like NiteCruzr

Current Project: Revising Blindsight
Status: Moving Forward

My most recent helpful tech discovery is a virtual hunk named NiteCruzr. I began stalking him after I spotted him several times on the Blogger Help Forum, where I’d gone in desperation when Blogger’s stock Help answers didn’t help. (Find the forum by clicking on ‘contact us’ in the new Blogger interface.) 

Anyhow, this technical giant of a man oozed answers (over 50,000 of them so far.) He is a Star contributor, someone who knows a heck of a lot about Blogger and helps the technically-challenged, apparently out of the goodness of his heart. He does this for fun, at (you guessed it) night.

When I got over my shyness and clicked on his name link, I learned he blogs. He blogs a lot.
He’s worth his weight in virtual gold to the technically-challenged. (On a side note, he blogs about cooking at A Renaissance man!) The good news is, you can (virtually) stalk him, too. And others like him. 

You’ll find them on forums associated with blog or web hosting services ( WordPress, GoDaddy ), software programs (DreamWeaver, Microsoft Office Forums), and on forums devoted to personal computer users (MacTalk. Bleeping Computer .) In a nutshell: you name the technology; it’s got a forum (probably more than one.) And those forums have Stars who can (and usually will) answer your questions.

So venture out, ask your most vexing questions, and hook up with tech stars. You’ll be glad you did.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Quote of the Day

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." --Arthur C. Clarke

Here are some links to the scads of writing software available--who knew there were so many companies offering "quick" and "easy" ways to write your novels?

Have you tried any of these? What kind of writing software appeals to you? Or would you rather just be left alone with a blank screen or paper & pen to find your own way to tell your stories?

Note--the quotes below each are the designers' claims about their products, not mine!

"Character Writer is a cross-platform software package that offers both character-generating and story-generating tools in one easy-to-use interface. Instantly generate character profiles and descriptions. Get instant help writing your screenplay, movie script, play or novel."

"Have a great idea for a movie? Then get it out of your head and onto the page! Just answer these 4 questions: Who is the main character? What is the main character trying to accomplish? Who is trying to stop the main character? What happens if the main character fails? "

Dramatica Pro
"Dramatica Pro asks you all the questions about your story that you should ask but probably forget to ask. Dramatica Pro works with you to develop stronger, richer characters that leap off the page while weaving your themes into your plot seamlessly. Plus, it helps you identify and eliminate unwanted story choices before they become problems."

"FinalDraft is the number-one selling scriptwriting software in the world."

Master Storyteller
"Master Storyteller explores both the Art of Storytelling and the Craft of Story Structuring."

New Novelist
"NewNovelist novel writing software breaks down the process of writing a novel into manageable chunks."

Power Structure
"It will give you a Playground of the Mind™ : innovative, graphic methods of looking at your story, its conflicts, character development and more so that you can easily spot weak areas and strengthen them."

Power Writer
"It erases the line between story development and story writing by fully integrating the outlining and development tools directly into the word processor."

"Full screen. Focus on your work... A single self-contained executable file. That’s all. Easy to use with a pendrive, so you can carry your writing environment with you everywhere."

"Scrivener is a powerful content-generation tool for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents. While it gives you complete control of the formatting, its focus is on helping you get to the end of that awkward first draft."

"Storybase 2.0 provides direct access to an amazing clipboard of narrative writing prompts that can be personalized with your characters. A sure cure for writer's block, Storybase 2.0 can help your writing project come alive."

"StoryWeaver is a step by step approach to story development that takes you from concept to completion of your novel or screenplay."

"StyleWriter mimics an expert editor checking, cutting and rearranging your words to produce a clear and readable style."

The Writer's Software Companion
"Imagine a tireless writing coach standing by your side, a coach with all the writing and teaching credentials you could ask for."

"You're serious about writing a novel. Now, get the tools you need to take your story ideas from initial concept and characters through completed manuscript."

Writer's Blocks
"With Writer’s Blocks, you enter ideas, notes, or any type of information into movable blocks of text ... Zooming out gives you a visual overview of what you have written. The blocks can be easily dragged and dropped around into a coherent structure."

"For Mac iPhone, iPod, & iPad users to write without distractions. WriteRoom is a full screen writing environment. Unlike the cluttered word processors you're used to, WriteRoom lets you focus on writing." (The PC version is called DarkRoom, available here:

"The heart of Writer's Café is StoryLines, a powerful but simple to use story development tool that dramatically accelerates the creation and structuring of your novel or screenplay."

Writer's Dreamkit
"The Writer's DreamKit StoryGuide handholds you from initial idea all the way through to completed narrative treatment, inspiring you and supporting you along the way."