2017 Dahlonega Literary Festival – This Weekend!

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DLF Featured Authors 2017

Abra Kadaver – Oct 29, 2016

Halloween fun for literary geeks! This event will help make the 2017 Dahlonega Literary Festival possible. Michael & I will be there in costumes inspired by two of our favorite books of all time…

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2016 Dahlonega Literary Festival – March 12-13

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NGAG Lit Fest

Yesterday Girls – My NaNoWriMo Book Cover

No, you can’t run out to the bookstore and buy it…yet. According to the inspiration gurus over at NaNoWriMo, authors who create a book cover to inspire them are 60% more likely to finish the 50,000 word challenge by the end of November. So… Yesterday Girls eBook Cover

BOOM!

Note: This image is strictly for inspiration purposes. One thing I discovered while putting this together is that I am definitely NOT a professional book cover designer. When this novel appears on Amazon, it will have a much, MUCH better cover. Still, this is a fun inspirational exercise that I highly recommend for anyone in need to a little positive writerly mojo.

During one of his PBS specials, Wayne Dyer said that he geared up to write a new book by calling his publisher’s design department and having them mock up the cover design before he started writing. Now, if you have Wayne Dyer’s mega sales figures, you probably have publishing design professionals willing to do this for you too. The rest of us have free resources like Canva and PhotoPin.

What do you think? Does this cover make you want to pick up/click on the book to read more? Or does it miss the mark entirely? Have you ever used an image to inspire your creativity?

photo credit: Drift Bottle via photopin (license)

NaNoWriMo Write In Events – 5 FAQs

Hands to keyboardWhat is a Write In?

Believe it or not, a Write In is exactly what it sounds like. A group of writers show up at a designated place and time with their laptop (or tablet or pencil & paper) to write. It’s not meant to be a discussion about the craft of writing. It’s not a workshop on how to get published. It’s not a critique group or a marketing session.

A NoNoWriMo Write In is all about massive word count production.

Are you serious? You just sit there and write?

Yes and no. Some writers might show up, plug in earphones and say nothing to anyone for the full 2 hours. And that is OK. Some writers might want to interact more by calling out questions to the group such as “I need plot help, how can I get an elephant into a bathtub?” or “Do ninjas wear shoes?” or “Does anyone know how to turn off the auto-correct on my Word file?” And that is also OK.

The key most important thing is to write, write, write! And then write some more.

That’s all there is to it?

Well, there will be a very brief round of introductions at the start. If enough folks are interested, we may have word sprints where we set a timer for 5-10 minutes and write as fast as possible to see who has the most words when the timer goes off. I may throw out kooky challenges like adding an item/key word to the scene your working on. Examples include “Add a Ninja to your scene” or “Something explodes.” Participation in word sprints and writing challenges is strictly voluntary. If someone is cruising along on their heartwarming knitting romance, they may not care to add a ninja or an explosion. On the other hand, their characters could start discussing how to knit a ninja costume for a beloved grandchild and open a whole new subplot based on Ida Mae’s grandson who is in the hospital suffering from burns. It’s all just silly writing fun, but it could open new plot possibilities.

Why would someone participate in that nonsense?

Some people hate Write In events but I love them. During my first four years of participation in NaNoWriMo, I found the Write In events to be highly motivating. Writing is such a solitary pursuit. It feels good to spend time with others doing the same thing. There is just something so magical about sitting in a room surrounded by the sounds of fingers tip, tap, click, clacking away as fast as possible.

When you listen to music with a fast tempo, you walk faster. When you listen to the cacophony of other productive writers typing fast, you type faster. At least I do.

I want to join a Write In. Is it open to any writer currently working on a manuscript?

Yes! My events will be at two public libraries so they are open to all authors (and aspiring authors) who want to participate. I’m not going to audit the group and/or exclude anyone who has not registered on the NaNoWriMo website (or the Young Writers Program website). That said, I HIGHLY recommend joining the challenge, creating an author profile and a novel. It’s all FREE…and there is something so powerful and motivating about posting word counts online.

Sounds great! When and where can I participate in a Write In?

I’m hosting two write in events in the North Georgia region:

  1. Tuesdays 7:30 – 9:30 PM at the Dawson County Library
  2. Fridays 7:30 – 9:30 PM at the Lumpkin County Library

There are lots of other NaNoWriMo events in North Georgia and all over the world. You can click here to find an event near you.

photo credit: Annette + Powerbook + Teh Interwebz via photopin (license)

November is National Novel Writing Month – Join the Madness!

NaNo-2015-Participant-Badge-Large-SquareWhat do my first published novel and Sara Gruen’s spectacular novel Water For Elephants have in common?

If you guessed anything to do with sales figures, you would be wrong. However, they both started as NaNoWriMo winners.

Unfortunately, 2006 (the year I wrote the first 50,000 words of NSLA, NSFA) was the last time I won the month-long writing challenge. But that is about to change!

I’ve decided to dive head-first into NaNoWriMo this year. Here’s what that means:

  • I’ve signed up (it’s FREE)
  • Updated my author profile (I’m Slayzak)
  • Designed a novel cover on Canva (Also FREE if you use free elements)
  • Started planning a whole new novel (it’s going to be SPOOK-tacular)
  • And volunteered to host 2 weekly Come Write In events in Dahlonega and Dawsonville (GULP!)

If you are participating in NaNoWriMo this year and are in the North Georgia region, please, please, PLEASE come join one or both of my write in events:

  1. Tuesdays 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM at the Dawson County Library
  2. Fridays 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM at the Lumpkin County Library

Yes, the times are outside of both libraries’ posted hours, but don’t let that scare you away. We’ll be meeting in the Community Rooms at both locations and I’ll have the key to get in.

Participating in NaNoWriMo in another region/state? Or just not interested in working on your novel with a group? Tap me as a writing buddy! I make a great writing buddy. Really, I do. Tap me.

June is Writember

Hands to keyboardHere’s a dirty little confession…I don’t actually enjoy writing. There I’ve said it.

Now please don’t misunderstand. I’m a writer to the core. My brain is constantly bubbling with story ideas – more stories than I could possibly type out in a month of Sundays. I love plotting and playing with fiction in my head. I certainly enjoy talking about writing, participating in writing conferences/seminars/classes, planning to write and pinning pithy quotes about the writing life over on Pinterest. And there is nothing quite so glorious as that supernaturally awesome moment when I can sit back from the keyboard knowing I have finished writing for the day. [Cue angels singing]

But the actual act of writing? Very painful. No joy there.

And yet, here’s the great paradox of my life:  I’m even MORE miserable when I DON’T write! Now you might think that means I write every day…but I don’t. I just allow myself to wallow in misery and shame for days and even weeks at a time.

So, yeah. I’m always in search of new ways to inject inspiration and productivity into my writing life. Last year, I discovered the WriteChain Challenge (and App) but quickly lost interest after killing my first writing chain by accident (not because I failed to write, but because I forgot to log in my word count for one day). That said, I still love the concept. And I really, really need a healthy dose of accountability to get my hands back to the keyboard after a full month of wallowing in misery.

So June is my Writember. I’ve got my plan and I’m ready to roll! the initial goal is to write 500 words per day. If that proves too difficult, I’ll lower the goal. All that matters is that I do this for 30 days. In a row. No excuses.

(If this doesn’t work, I might have to go back to that gun-to-my-head scenario that worked so well back in January 2013.)

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photo credit: Annette + Powerbook + Teh Interwebz via photopin (license)