Wednesday, November 30, 2011


We are pleased to announce the winners of the Weekly Progress Check-in for 2011.

Paty Jager checked in every single week (a total of 48 weeks), and is our chapter member winner.  It's no wonder she's been having so much writing success with that kind of work ethic.  Congratulations, Paty!

(Genene Valleau was a close second at 44 check-ins, and I think it's no coincidence that these two members have been extremely productive this year.  A great incentive for the rest of us to participate regularly in the weekly updates.)

Our non-member winner is Annabeth Albert, who got back into her writing mid-year and checked in 26 times.  Send me your mailing address offline (to mail @ barbaracoollee . com) and your prize will be on its way to you.

Congratulations to everyone for their hard work this year.  The weekly check-ins will continue through December for those trying to finish up year-end projects, and then we'll have a new set of prizes available starting in January.

Quote of the Day

On the last day of November, we celebrate our progress in NaNoWriMo:

"Writing the last page of the first draft is the most enjoyable moment in writing. It's one of the most enjoyable moments in life, period." --
Nicholas Sparks 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Weekly Progress Check-In

Today is Monday, November 28, 2011.

This is the final "official" weekly check-in of the year!  Post in the comments how your year went, and let us know if you met your own personal writing goals.

We will announce winners of non-member prizes soon, so check back to see if your name is posted as a winner.

Our chapter members will receive prizes at our holiday party in December.  

Congratulations on all your hard work this year.  We'll post weekly check-ins for the month of December as well, for those who are writing through the holidays.  Be sure to come back the first Monday in January to set new goals for 2012.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Passing Thanksgiving and heading into Christmas

Current Project: Promoting the Highland Series
Status: virtual tour begins November 28th 

Highland Honor is the first of the three books series. I'm truly excited about this tour. Everything about Goddessfish promotions is professional. (No they didn't ask me to do a plug for them) I am hoping to sell a lot of books. I have twenty stops in four weeks. I can't wait to see how this will turn out. It was a lot of work putting together articles and interviews for the tour but it was also fun. I think the hardest part was keeping everything organized. I put one interview in the trash and I thought I sent one back but had not done so. The people at goddessfish are very patient. I would think you would have to be to do this. And did I mention organized? They have to be soooo.... organized. 

Nano is something I have never done. I either sit down and write or I have other projects that have more pressing needs. Although I have challenged myself to write more in other months. Until this year I have been working in November. Now I know some of you work full time and still accomplish the goal of writing your book in a month. It just wasn't something I could do. But I so applaud those who do this challenge whether they succeed or not.

So  Go!  Fight!  Nano!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Current Project: The LEGACY SERIES
Status: editing book #3
Posted by: Genie Gabriel

Yes, I'm about to embark on a blasphemous path. I'm going to give you some reasons NOT to participate in NaNoWriMo. Please, don't throw rotting vegetables just yet. If you've committed the unpardonable and are struggling to keep up with your word-count goal of National Novel Writing Month, you can probably add reasons of your own to this list. And if you're writing almost 2000 words a day, you probably don't have time to read this anyway.

So, here are my reasons not to join the NaNo craze.

1. Are you crazy? The holiday season is bearing down on us with all the sympathy of an earth-destroying asteroid. Who is going to make sure the retail stores make their way into the black if the entire population is (gasp!) doing something creative and productive? 

2. Are you crazy? Who would go on a crash diet on Thanksgiving day, with Christmas candies, cookies, pies and other yummy desserts just around the corner? So why draft a book now? Wait until tomorrow or the next day or the next…

3. Are you crazy? I have three books to promote during November and another two to edit. I'm way past the time when my words on a computer can be a crappy draft. Everything I'm writing now has to be polished to a gleaming finish.

4. Are you crazy? Sitting at the computer for eight or ten hours a day does nothing but broaden my fanny and make my back ache. I would be frozen in hunker-down mode and have to be pried out of the chair with the jaws of life.

5. Are you crazy? Why would I want to scale back my writing to a mere 50,000 words a month? I have deadlines to meet! Doggies to feed! A mortgage to pay!

Hopefully you've guessed by now I wanted a chuckle this morning and took it out on you--the blog readers. 

For those in the throes of NaNoWriMo, I wish you luck in meeting your goals. For those who aren't participating, you have 341 days (more or less) to come up  with a reason NOT to do NaNo next year. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all! I hope you have much for which to give thanks!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Plugging Along

Current Project: Logger in Petticoats
Status: 42,000 words

No one has thrashed me enough with a wet noodle this month or I would be farther along on this WIP.  Something I'm learning from this project is I have to have my heart fully engaged in the story for it to flow smoothly from my fingertips.

Don't get me wrong I love my hero and heroine and I love the Halsey family, but because this premise is my second choice for this book I've had a harder time getting it written. That and outside influences have made my writing feel like I'm grinding my fingers in a meat grinder.

My goal is to have this book finished and polished by mid December. That means I have to seriously dig in and get to writing so once Thanksgiving is over I have to stick my nose to the computer monitor and my fingers to the keyboard and not look up until the dang thing is done. 

Easier said than done this time of year!   

How are those of you on a schedule or doing NaNo coming along? Better than I have?

I received the cover for the final book in the Spirit Trilogy. If doesn't quite match the other two but not a whole lot I can do about it.

Paty Jager

Monday, November 21, 2011


Most Recent Read: Destined, by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
Current Read: Ganymede, by Cherie Priest
Planned Next Read: Magic on the Line, by Devon Monk
I have a confession to make. I have a book so close to having its first rough draft completed. I 'interviewed' characters prior to starting the writing process. Knew where I wanted the book to end. Knew high points I wanted to hit while writing. And then I started writing. One word after another. Straight through. To the end.
Uh, where are the chapters? You know, those minor things with the cliffhanger endings that compel the reader to turn the next page because they have to know WHAT COMES NEXT?
Umm... Going to add in those (minor? MAJOR!) details when I get done with the first draft? Uh-oh.
Yeah. So. Can I forgive myself for not doing it right the first time?
Okay, here's the thing. I have asked so many, many authors this question: what is the right way to write a book? And they have all responded the same way: there is no 'right' or 'wrong' way to write a book. You have to figure out YOUR way, that works for YOU. And do it.
So, if I allow that what I did isn't a wrong way to write, then I ask myself, Was this the smartest, most efficient way I could write my first draft? The only answer I have is, No.
Now I have a 10+ foot long sheet of white paper stretched across the living room wall. It has a lovely (pink!) arc stretching from end to end. With tic marks going across the arc. Penciled in are the ending of the book and, going backwards from the end of the paper to the beginning, are chapters, with short notes on what happens in each chapter.
The reason this creative outline is backwards is because of something I already have done hundreds of times, both at home and at my dayjob. Problem solving. Whenever I have a problem to resolve, I look at the problem and ask myself, How did this get here and what do I have to do to fix it? Then I 'back walk' the problem, from step Z to step A, until I arrive at the beginning and can begin moving forward through the steps, correcting as I go, until I arrive at the problem and can fix it. So I decided to apply this process to outlining my book. Why not? It's worked for me on a daily basis for years, and it is something I am thoroughly comfortable with doing. Outlining the book this way is such an obvious answer, I wonder why I didn't see it before.
What kinds of learning experiences did you have, while working on writing your book(s) that helped you become a stronger, more efficient author?


Most Recent Read: Destined, by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
Current Read: Ganymede, by Cherie Priest
Planned Next Read: Magic on the Line, by Devon Monk

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, November 21, 2011.

Are you on track to reach your goals?

There are 40 days left in 2011.

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

Thursday, November 17, 2011

NaNoRevMo Update

Current Project: NaNoRevMo
Status: In Progress

How’s it going? Hmmm, let’s see:
My goal is to finish revisions and polishing of my last manuscript.
  • Maintaining laser-like focus?
    When I’m writing, yes. But I’m not writing as much as I’d like. Between houseguests, a convention, blog administration, and online training for migrating the RCRW website to MyRWA, I’m not all that focused.
  • Write in parallel with a partner?
    This has been happening three days a week. I like it because it’s like I have an appointment to write.
  • Making amazingly fast progress on revisions and polishing?
    Nope, but making faster progress than I was before NaNoRevMo.
  • Planning to continue?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Quote of the Day

Some quotes for NaNoWriMo from Nora Roberts, an expert at writing well and writing quickly:

"I don't fiddle or edit or change while I'm going through that first draft."

"I generally write a first draft that's pretty lean. Just get the story down."

"You can fix everything but a blank page."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Go With The Flow

Writing isn't easy. It takes discipline to find the time to write, assuming you're not a full-time writer, and then to actually sit your backside in a chair and do it. You can always find excuses to avoid writing and usually they're things most people would find reasonable—you need to clean the house, go grocery shopping, make dinner. And at the end of the year, it takes a near herculean effort not to succumb to the Big Excuses—holiday planning/decorating/meal cooking/gift shopping. I mean, the holidays are already stressful enough and you don't want to let your friends and family down, right?

Wrong. You've forgotten one very important person: You. When you, as a writer, don't prioritize your writing and always (or mostly) let other distractions take precedence, you're letting yourself down. I don't mean your writing absolutely has to come always first, but it should be important enough to come first a fair amount of the time. It's called balance, something we could all do with more of in our lives.

That's one of the reasons why I think NaNoWriMo is great for a lot of people. I'll freely admit it isn't for everyone. But for some people, NaNo has turned out to be the one month of the year they're able to truly prioritize their writing as task numero uno. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because they can point to the website and say, "See? I'm participating in a national event. I just can't do x-y-z until I've reached my word count for the day." Or, maybe it's the feeling of we're-all-in-this-together comradery at the write-ins that spurs people on to continue writing.

It's as if once you start writing, the words suddenly just keep flowing. My advice: Go with the Flow. Make it a habit and keep going. (Surprise! For those who only write during NaNoWriMo, if you keep writing after November the words still flow.)

One note. Don't forget to back up your work! My rule is: Save Early and Often. Turn on automatic saving, manually save frequently, and create an archive back up after each writing session. Since I use Scrivener, I back up my Scrivener project to a zip file.

Another back up suggestion—save your back up file to multiple physical locations, in case of a disk crash. My two favorite "off computer" back up locations are an USB flash drive and Dropbox. If you've never heard of Dropbox, it's a cloud service and it's free for up to 2GB of storage (you can pay for more storage, but honestly I've been using it for months and haven't begun to make a dent in my storage space). You can access it from multiple devices (PCs, Macs, iphones, ipads, other smart phones, etc.) and you can share files with other people, if you choose, using different levels of permission. It's an amazing service.

So, find time to write and write as much as you can (turn off your internal editor!). Save your work frequently and copy your back up files to multiple storage devices. And above all, have fun!

I'm a bit behind on my NaNo goals, but I'm plugging away and writing every day. How's your NaNo journey going?

Monday, November 14, 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, November 14, 2011.

Are you on track to reach your goals?

There are 47 days left in 2011.

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

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sooo many blogs and sooo...little time!

Current Project: Sharks
Status: one more chapter

I'd like to wish everyone a very happy and fun fillied Thanksgiving with lots of wonderful food and quality time with families. 

Nano, nano finish the damn, I mean darn, novella. I've never taken so long to finish anything in my entire life. Procrastination did not play a part in the slowness of this project. The demon on my shoulder was the lack of inspiration. As usual though my characters took over and started writing the manuscript. Wow, thank you Lilly and Jacob for deciding what I could not. Thank you for stepping in, poking me in the arm, and taking over, telling me what you wanted. You two are my inspiration. And thank you Bentley for becoming the best bad guy ever.

I do not have the time to write 50,000 words in a month, at least not this month. But I decided to use nano to my advantage. My simplistic goal, finish the book by the end of November. I think it will be completed in the next week and the lead weight sitting on my shoulder will be lifted.

I also decided to try goddessfish promotions as I am rereleasing my Highland series. My virtual tour begins on November 29th and goes to December 23. I have answered interview questions and written articles for 18 different blogs. I am giving away a $50.00 gift card at Amazon to one randomly drawn commenter and a clan MacPherson book mark at each blog to one randomly drawn commenter. Now that most of the blogs are completed, I can sit back and watch. Hopefully I will sell lots of books, receive great comments, and meet new friends.

Any one know a way to make the picture smaller?

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Current Project: Promoting Rock'n'Romance trilogy while editing LEGACY series
Status: Moving forward
Posted by: Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel

I liked Sarah's NaNoWriMo twist so much last week I came up with one of my own: National Novel Promotion Month. 

This seemed appropriate as I'm doing a lot of promotion this November and early December for the re-issue of my Rock and Romance trilogy. 

So what could NaNoProMo mean? Perhaps being a guest on as many blogs as possible. Launching a new Web site. Or signing your way from week to week at in-person booksignings. Radio, television, online--getting your name and news of your book out to potential readers. Doing some type of promotion every day.  

Also perfect for me is the timing of an online marketing class sponsored by MWVRWA that's going on now. The instructor is making me think. And plan. And execute marketing strategies for myself and my books. I'm getting ideas for future marketing as I realize how much more I could be doing. 

Then there's the irony Paty talked about yesterday: getting caught up in other things that pull you away from writing. Making so many commitments that book deadlines slip up on you or, worse, slide by unmet. I've become very aware of finding the balance between writing and promotion since I have three re-issues during a one-month period: THE ROCK STAR on Nov. 1, THE BODYGUARD on Nov. 15, and THE LEADER OF THE BAND on Dec. 1. I want as many people as possible to know about these books.

However, I also need to keep moving forward with edits on my LEGACY series that will begin releasing next March. 

That means the rhythm of my writing life this month is edit, promote, edit, promote. Not much in tune with NaNoWriMo, which pushes writers to just throw words on paper or on the computer screen to get a draft. I'm at the other end of the spectrum--finishing and polishing and promoting books.

So let others draft their novels during NaNoWriMo--I'm promoting mine this month with my own NaNoProMo!

Where are you are in the process of producing your book--writing a draft, doing final edits, submitting your manuscript, promoting? Or have you taken a rebellious stand to simply READ this month? 

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

NaNo Whato?

Current Project: Logger in Petticoats
Status: 21,000 words

I've not tried the NaNoWriMo challenge before. Mainly because I am a self motivated writer. I beat myself up enough if I don't make deadlines and don't need to rely on other methods to get the job done. However, I've found the more books I have written and the more promo I need to do, the less time I find for writing.

I'd hoped to be about double the word count I have by now but things just keep taking me away from the computer. I planned to make this my own personal NaNo month and so far, it's not working.  This week I spend two half days at schools teaching them writing basics from an authors standpoint. Well to go to town for that I end up doing other errands so I get only a couple of hours to work on the writing. My goal for next week is to spend every day in front of the computer and get my words really flowing. So do the NaNo dance for me when you're doing your own.

When I have a new post in two weeks, you can see if I've added any words or if this will be the first time I dont' make a deadline I've self imposed.

NaNo, NaNo!

Paty Jager

Monday, November 07, 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, November 7, 2011.

Are you on track to reach your goals?

There are 54 days left in 2011.

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

Friday, November 04, 2011

Geisha Marketing for Authors

Mid-Willamette Valley RWA's next online workshop will be "Geisha Marketing for Authors," taught by Deborah R. Magnus.

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.

The Geisha Marketing for Authors workshop is specifically designed and presented to show the true art of marketing, to imbue the power of passion, skill, creativity, understanding and talent to create a successful book marketing plan. If an author is now to do jobs like Publicity, Marketing or Promotions, they need to know the ropes. Each day one segment of Geisha Marketing will be explored, discussed and an assignment will be given. Assignments will be responded to and solutions explored.

1)      The Training for Geisha Marketing
a.       Tools, goals and creating perfection
b.      Polishing speaking, appearance and pride

2)      The Art of Geisha Marketing
a.       Building an Author Platform
b.      Building a Book Platform
c.       Social Networking at its best

3)      The Beauty of Geisha Marketing
a.       Marketing harmonies outside the norm
b.      Commitment to what art you have and will perform
c.       Finding and cultivating new lovers of your performance

4)      The Performance of Geisha Marketing
a.       Consistence, continuity and patience
b.      Short and long performances
c.       The harmony of presentation

5)      The Reputation of Good Geisha Marketing
a.       Follow up, building upon and the poetry of the "T" (testing) Ceremony
b.      The Geisha Marketer's agreement with their readers

The workshop will be held from November 7th through the 12th, and costs $25 for nonmembers (chapter members may take the workshop for free).  You can enroll through our website at

About the instructor:  
Deborah Riley-Magnus has a twenty-seven year professional background in marketing, advertising and public relations as a writer for print, television and radio. She owns Paradigm Warriors, a small Author Success Coaching business focused exclusively on publicity, marketing and promotional solutions for authors.

She is also a writer, represented by Wylie-Merrick Literary Agency for fiction and non-fiction. She produces several pieces weekly for various websites including her author and writing websites and industry blog. She belongs to several writing and professional organizations and teaches various workshops on Author Success.

She has lived on both the east and west coast of the United States and has traveled the country widely. A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she currently lives, works and writes in Los Angeles, California.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

My Twist on NaNo This November

Current Project: NaNoRevMo
Status: Just started
My Twist on NaNo This November
I’d hoped to write the first draft of a new book this year during NaNo. However it turns out that I have another priority. I need to do a final polish of my last manuscript.

The siren call of procrastination tempted me to do NaNo anyway. I love the energy of NaNo, the intense focus and the feelings of accomplishment. I have three stories planned and ready to go. Plus writing a new story is fun and exciting. 

But a writer must be self-disciplined enough to follow through. She must be willing to work when it’s hard, to do the not-as-much-fun steps necessary to make a book the best that it can be, and to do them as many times as necessary with a particular story. She must control the urge to procrastinate.

Then inspiration struck: I could do my own version of NaNo to serve my own goal!

I call my project NaNoRevMo. I’m channeling my NaNo energy into polishing pages with laser-like focus. My sister, Diana McCollum, and I partnered to write in parallel as often as we can. We report our progress to each other. And I’m on track to reach my goal.
NaNoWriMo, I salute you! Once again, you’ve inspired me.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Quote of the Day

This month the Mid-Willamette Valley chapter is concentrating on NaNoWriMo and/or BIAW.

When it begins to feel overwhelming to draft a novel in a month (or a week!), remember:

"Writing a book is like driving a car at night. You only see as far as your headlights go, but you can make the whole trip that way." --E. L. Doctorow

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Ready, Set, Write!

Welcome to the first day of NaNoWriMo!

Have you written your first words yet? Yes? Way to go! Keep up the good work! No? Why not? Time's a-wastin' if you want to write 50,000 words this month, so get cracking!

I'm only half-joking about that.

I've participated in NaNoWriMo every year since 2003. My first NaNo I wrote over 125,000 words. I've never duplicated that feat and my other NaNo attempts have been a bit of a mixed bag in regards to the number of words written, but I count each a success. That's because I've learned something important about my writing during each one.

My first NaNo taught me that I can write novel-length fiction. Diving into a couple of NaNos with only an idea and a couple of unformed characters taught me that I'm not a pantser. NaNo has taught me that I have to turn off the internal editor in order to get the words on paper. It's also taught me I can write fast, so long as I have a pretty good idea where I'm going, and that I can carve writing time out of just about any hour of the day when I need to.

I know the fact that NaNoWriMo is held in November drives a lot of people a little crazy. And so it should. Who wants to try to write 50,000 words in a month with one of the biggest holidays of the year? The thing is, though, if you can muster the discipline to write 50,000 words in November, of all months, then imagine what you could do in, say, March?

The real key to NaNoWriMo, at least for me, is to set a daily word goal and make sure you reach it. Then, if you can, write past it. If you break it down, 50,000 words in 30 days comes out to 1,667 words per day. That's the goal I set for myself in my first NaNo, but each day I tried to write more than that, usually doubling my goal. I told myself I was creating a cushion for the holidays, but I found when Thanksgiving came that I still managed to find time to write. Of course, by that time I didn't have to write—I'd already written something like 75,000 words—but I was having so much fun writing I didn't want to stop.

So, what's my goal this year? I need to come close to duplicating my first NaNo. I know it can be done; I've done it before. If you're looking for me this month, I'll be the one over there in the corner madly typing away at the keyboard.

If you've decided to participate in NaNoWriMo and would like to share your experience, I'm "dbw" on the NaNo site. I don't participate in the forums and I don't generally go to local write-ins, but I do try to post my word count. Just don't expect the site to be useable for the first day or so. It's kind of like most fitness centers the first couple of weeks of January—packed with people with good intentions who stop going after they realize how much hard work it is. After the first couple of days, the NaNo site generally settles down.

Good luck, all you NaNo-ers out there! Keep us updated on your progress.