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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Almost Over

https://www.morguefile.com




JANO 2016 is almost over. Thirty-one days go by so fast. Some of our participants made the goal of 50,000 words. They have a novel under their belt. Not a polished, ready to publish novel, but a great start. Others are still typing their fingers to the bone trying to reach the end. And still others have thrown in the towel.

But, no matter where they ended up this month, they are all winners. They took the challenge to write a novel. Lot's of people say they want to write a novel, but never do. 

As chairperson, I want to thank you for signing up and writing your stories. I also want to thank the volunteers who set up virtual write-ins and donated prizes (see our donor list to the right). It takes a village. 

Don't stop here. If you are done with your novel, put it away for a few weeks, then pull it out and start polishing it. Fill in those plot holes, take out those repetitive words, add description. Repeat. Then, don't let it sit in a drawer. Submit it. Yes, you'll probably get some rejections - we all do. But, who knows, you could be the next J.K. Rowling. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

JOIN US FOR JANO 2016
JANO 2016
About JANO
During January, 2010, Sleuths’ Ink held it’s first-ever JANO challenge. Modeled after the popular National Novel Writing Month in November, JANO begins in, you guessed it, January.
Participants are challenged to write a 50,000-word novel during January. Join us and kick off the new year with a novel in progress! 

Two good reasons we picked January: 

1) You get an extra day to write. To complete 50,000 words during January, you only need to write 1,613 words a day.

2) The holidays are over. Winter has set in. What better way to spend a long, dreary month than writing a novel?

Over the past few years, participants from across the nation entered our challenge. Many of them reached their 50,000 goal, with a few actually receiving a contract for their completed JANO project.

JOIN US FOR JANO 2016!

Sleuths' Ink will hold its Seventh Annual JANO beginning January 1, 2016. Please join us and kick off the new year by writing a new novel or adding new words to a work in progress. And it's free! 

Rules: There may be no actual writing on your new JANO novel until January 1. If you are going to  add words to a work in progress, we can only count the words added after January 1. It is up to you to keep those word counts separate. You may plot your novel and create character sketches before January 1, 2016. On that date, write like mad (no editing) the entire month in order to reach the 50,000-word goal.  

To celebrate JANO members’ successes, Sleuths’ Ink will sponsor a party February 5, 2016. Details are forthcoming. As always, during the party, prizes will be awarded to our JANO 2016 participants.  See categories below.  In addition, we're giving away a $100 grand prize to one lucky JANO participant at our annual December holiday party.  The winner of this grand prize must be a Sleuths’ Ink member in good standing as of February 1, 2016 and must have written a minimum of 25,000 words in 2016.


PRIZE CATEGORIES FOR JANO:


  1. First to 50,000 words in January
  2. Second to 50,000 words in January
  3. Third to 50,000 words in January
  4. Best Title
  5. Best First Paragraph 
  6. Most Unique Character Name
  7. Best Blurb – 100 words or less  

    KEEP IN MIND: a Blurb is often used in your query letter to sell your story to an editor or what is found on the back of the book to grab your potential reader’s attention.
 Participant MUST have written at least 10,000 words to be eligible for prizes
  • Must be on the janowriters yahoo email loop. (see below)
  • No acceptances after MIDNIGHT January 31, 2016 deadline. NO exceptions!!!
Attendees of the Wrap-Up Party judge the last four categories on February 5th, 2016 and prizes will be awarded accordingly. You do not have to be in attendance to win, but we encourage everyone within driving distance to come join the FUN!
JANO is sponsored by Sleuths’ Ink, a mystery and suspense writers’ non-profit organization in Springfield, Missouri. JANO 2016 Chairperson: Wanda Fittro

Monday, November 30, 2015

MEMBER INTERVIEW - Cait London

Cait London
Please welcome one of our most well known authors, Cait London.
Thank you, Sleuth’s Ink for inviting me. I’m a happy member of this mystery group, which presents unusual, helpful programs and good fellowship. For years, Shirley McCann, V.J. Schultz and others have built and maintained this writer's group. I enjoy it very much.

Tell us about your writing journey.

2016 will be the 30th anniversary of my first published book. I started with an agent, Ray Peekner, and with Berkley Publishers in a category line called Second Chance at Love. From there, I had 4 more agents, including Curtis Brown and Wm Morris. Several historical romances for Berkley and Dell followed. At the same time I wrote category romances for Harlequin.
While still writing for Harlequin, I wrote romantic suspense for HarperCollins. Most of my career has been writing for two traditional publishers at the same time. With copy edits and galleys going back-and-forth, this was not easy. Add in the old-style promotion we used to do, such as traveling to speaking engagements, signing books, etc. and it’s a busy schedule. Some writers are still doing this now, but the Internet has changed that picture dramatically. During this frenzy of writing, publishing, promoting, I was also a single mother raising 3 daughters.

Over the years, I've had best sellers and received awards. Harlequin and HarperCollins are still selling my Cait London books.
Can you tell us a little about what you are doing now?

I am now dealing with my back list and working on new projects. 

Acquiring back list rights is not easy, yet it is like real estate and valuable in different ways. Publishers want to hold rights and so do some agents. This is why I recommend scanning legal agreements for later reference. Moving forward with your back list needs to be considered carefully. Choices have to be made: Do you update older books, spending time and money on them, or leave them and move forward. I love my books and I wanted them out in readers' hands.

I am a DIYer. Learning and doing self publishing took time. I’ve always been regimented, but shifting lanes to Indy publishing hasn’t been easy. Taking on the business end of publishing is a big job; it isn’t for everyone. The learning curve is steep. “Each to his own” rule applies. However, services can be hired. If you do hire, make certain those services are the quality you need and deserve. 
 What has inspired you lately? 
In early October this year, I attended a professional’s only conference, Novelists Inc. {http://ninc.com}This conference is unusual because it’s all leading edge information. It’s mostly Indy geared now, though many members are “Hybrids” writing for traditional/legacy houses and Indy publishing; no agents or traditional publishers are featured.
 NINC impacted my plans for 2016 and forward. Right now I’m listening to Joanna Penn’s The Creative Penn {http://TheCreativePenn.com} podcast, and give it high marks. This podcast does not deal with how to write, but how to market and balance your creative times with necessary promotion. There are also interviews with people who are successful in promotion/copy writing (blurbs/ads etc.) One of the sessions dealt with dictating your books. I’ve used Dragon successfully with my PC for articles and blogs. (At one time, I had 3 blogs AND a full blown website.) I’m in a creative/fertile “nesting” period right now, writing away and learning.

What does the future hold for Cait London?

My plans for 2016 include:

  1. Get back into dictation.
  2. Collect all the articles I’ve written in the last 30 years about how to write and stash them in a folder for a potential book. We need more of those, don’t we? (To understand that last question, know that I have won awards for humor.) However: I highly recommend Dwight Swain’s Techniques of Best Selling Writers. Study it, mystery writers.
  3. Complete my book list {http://caitlondon.blogspot.com/p/books.html} up on my website {http://caitlondon.com} and linked. This is challenging.
  4. Switch my full website name domain to something I can manage for now.
  5. Indy publish a new completed book that is currently with my copy editor. Finish the WIP. Write the 3rd/4th Novelette in a series, lift a free short series to Wattpad. (Thank you, Shirley McCann, for pushing me into Shorts.)
  6. Publish more back list. This includes getting ISBN, formatting, and covers.
  7. Covers: More consistent looks. Work with designers (I like artistic filters).
  8. Review of my current published books’ metadata. I just heard this: Constantly review. We learn as we go. Or we should. Makes sense.
  9. Redo my Amazon author profile and link my out of print/reverted rights - traditional/legacy books with my own Indy books.
  10. Do some i-Book coupons, some free books, and some Goodreads giveaways.
  11. Take more online courses, re: marketing on Facebook.
  12. A friend and I are considering meeting for a formal brainstorming session. Each brings to the table 5 things about their WIP for which they need help. Time is equalized. That equal time is an essential agreement, or someone dominates and someone comes away frustrated.
  13. More stepping outside the usual, i.e. attending NINC - testing what works. I might even draft up a business plan. (A little humor, you know.)



Now let me ask you: What are your writing/publishing plans for 2016?

Thanks Cait for sharing some of your insights and knowledge with us.  
Please visit her website {http://caitlondon.com} and join her e-newsletter
{ http://mad.ly/signups/105014/join}. Giveaways and contests, you know, plus what I’m doing—like crocheting and painting, which will turn up in new books/shorts.
Link to her Amazon Author page


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

JANO 2016

JOIN US FOR JANO 2016
JANO 2016
About JANO
During January, 2010, Sleuths’ Ink held it’s first-ever JANO challenge. Modeled after the popular National Novel Writing Month in November, JANO begins in, you guessed it, January.
Participants are challenged to write a 50,000-word novel during January. Join us and kick off the new year with a novel in progress! 

Two good reasons we picked January: 

1) You get an extra day to write. To complete 50,000 words during January, you only need to write 1,613 words a day.

2) The holidays are over. Winter has set in. What better way to spend a long, dreary month than writing a novel?

Over the past few years, participants from across the nation entered our challenge. Many of them reached their 50,000 goal, with a few actually receiving a contract for their completed JANO project.

JOIN US FOR JANO 2016!

Sleuths' Ink will hold its Seventh Annual JANO beginning January 1, 2016. Please join us and kick off the new year by writing a new novel or adding new words to a work in progress. And it's free! 

Rules: There may be no actual writing on your JANO novel until January 1, but you may plot your novel and create character sketches before January 1, 2016. On that date, write like mad (no editing) the entire month in order to reach the 50,000-word goal.  

To celebrate JANO members’ successes, Sleuths’ Ink will sponsor a party February 5, 2016. Details are forthcoming. As always, during the party, prizes will be awarded to our JANO 2016 participants.  See categories below.  In addition, we're giving away a $100 grand prize to one lucky JANO participant at our annual December holiday party.  The winner of this grand prize must be a Sleuths’ Ink member in good standing as of February 1, 2016 and must have written a minimum of 25,000 words in 2016.


PRIZE CATEGORIES FOR JANO:

 
  1. First to 50,000 words in January
  2. Second to 50,000 words in January
  3. Third to 50,000 words in January
  4. Best Title
  5. Best First Paragraph 
  6. Most Unique Character Name
  7. Best Blurb – 100 words or less  

    KEEP IN MIND: a Blurb is often used in your query letter to sell your story to an editor or what is found on the back of the book to grab your potential reader’s attention.
 Participant MUST have written at least 10,000 words to be eligible for prizes
  • Must be on the janowriters yahoo email loop. (see below)
  • No acceptances after MIDNIGHT January 31, 2016 deadline. NO exceptions!!!
Attendees of the Wrap-Up Party judge the last four categories on February 5th, 2016 and prizes will be awarded accordingly. You do not have to be in attendance to win, but we encourage everyone within driving distance to come join the FUN!
JANO is sponsored by Sleuths’ Ink, a mystery and suspense writers’ non-profit organization in Springfield, Missouri. JANO 2016 Chairperson: Wanda Fittro

Thursday, October 29, 2015

NANOWRIMO TIPS

Even though Sleuths' Ink has it's own writing competition called JANO - (get more info about that on the JANO 2016 page to the right) - many of our members join hundreds of thousands of other people around the world and also participate in the original challenge that is National Novel Writing Month. If you've been under a rock for the last fifteen years and don't know anything about it, here is a link.

http://nanowrimo.org/

So, in the spirit of NaNo and our own upcoming JANO here are a few tips to get you through November and January.


  1. Buy easy to fix food. You've got to eat, but let's face it, there won't be a lot of time to prep and cook. I'm big on frozen pizzas, burritos, and mac & cheese. If you don't have a crock pot - go buy one. Great for soups, chili, and pot roast.
  2. You will need plenty of caffeine - whether you prefer coffee, soda,  or tea, make sure you have some. It sure helps with early morning writing before work or late night catch up.
  3. You must commit to writing everyday. To meet the challenge, you need 1667 words a day. If you miss just one day, you are behind. And believe me, it is extremely hard to catch up. 
  4. If you have a family, clue them in beforehand. They will need to be more independent and do things you usually do for them. Don't surprise them on the first of the month. They'll rebel and you will feel guilty. They'll probably rebel anyway, but at least you get to say "I told you about this."
  5. DO NOT EDIT. Lock that inner critic in the attic or basement. Put duct tape over their mouth. You don't have time for them this month. Later you can release them and maybe buy them an ice cream cone. 
  6. And because you can fix things next month, here are some easy cheats to increase word count: Do not use contractions. See what I did there? Don't is one word - do not is two. Easily fixed later with find and replace. All your characters have first, middle and last names - maybe even titles that they use every time they are introduced. "Hello. I am Queen Of Everything Victoria Marie Washington." Describe everything in thorough and complete detail. This is when you can use all those metaphors and similes you have been dying to use. Hint - put these in bold italics so they are easy to find when you are ready to edit. 
Most of all have fun. If you get behind - so what - you have more words than you did yesterday and closer to your goal of writing a novel.

Monday, October 19, 2015

MEMBER INTERVIEW

Please welcome Sleuths' member and current Vice President, Tierney James. This very talented lady writes thrillers, romance, and children's books. Check out her link at the end of this interview.

Do you write every day?

I try to write seven days a week. Usually Monday through Friday I treat it as a job going to my home office by 9:00am, break for lunch then back at it until about 4:30. I cook dinner, watch the news then usually do some marketing, edits and research while I watch my favorite TV shows. Some nights the computer is on until about 10:00pm. I’m trying to get away from that. I also write on the weekends but try to get out and breathe fresh air, go to a movie or visit family.

Sweet or salty snacks?

I eat way too much salt. I like to say I do it to keep my blood pressure from getting too low.

Do you have a special place you write or just wherever you land?

Writing from home works better for me. My favorite spot is on an old desk I bought at an antique store for $80. It’s in my little office that has big windows and lots of pictures of sailing ships on the walls. I also have some African masks and my grandmother’s cabinet where I store writing supplies. Some people can write at coffee houses or libraries. I find that I drink more coffee and people watch at those places.

What inspires you? Person, place or thing?

All those things inspire me but I find that ‘place’ leads to more story ideas. I have notebooks full of descriptions, folktales and culture of places I’ve visited.
Here is a blurb from her latest book.

WINDS OF DECEPTION
Tessa Scott believes her encounter with Ex-Delta Force Captain Chase Hunter, a year earlier, can finally remain in the past. After she arrives in Washington D.C. Enigma enlists her help when they uncover a plot to assassinate both President Austin and the Prime Minister of Israel. To complicate an already volatile situation a hurricane moves toward the nation’s capital creating the perfect opportunity to stage an attack.
Lines of loyalty begin to blur as Tessa confronts life and death events that could change the course of the United States. Complications arise when Tessa is faced with the knowledge her uncle plans to take revenge for Israel’s 1967 attack on the USS Liberty and its lost crew members. No one knows that a powerful member of the government is behind the conspiracy. Tessa and Captain Hunter join forces to halt the violence against the most powerful men in the world. She must ultimately choose between her love of country or exposing the truth against Israel.
The growing attraction between Tessa and Captain Hunter creates an emotional storm, adding even more dangerous consequences to The Winds of Deception.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

JOIN US FOR JANO 2016

JANO 2016
About JANO
During January, 2010, Sleuths’ Ink held it’s first-ever JANO challenge. Modeled after the popular National Novel Writing Month in November, JANO begins in, you guessed it, January.
Participants are challenged to write a 50,000-word novel during January. Join us and kick off the new year with a novel in progress! 

Two good reasons we picked January: 

1) You get an extra day to write. To complete 50,000 words during January, you only need to write 1,613 words a day.

2) The holidays are over. Winter has set in. What better way to spend a long, dreary month than writing a novel?

Over the past few years, participants from across the nation entered our challenge. Many of them reached their 50,000 goal, with a few actually receiving a contract for their completed JANO project.

JOIN US FOR JANO 2016!

Sleuths' Ink will hold its Seventh Annual JANO beginning January 1, 2016. Please join us and kick off the new year by writing a new novel or adding new words to a work in progress. 

Rules: There may be no actual writing on your JANO novel until January 1, but you may plot your novel and create character sketches before January 1, 2016. On that date, write like mad (no editing) the entire month in order to reach the 50,000-word goal.  

To celebrate JANO members’ successes, Sleuths’ Ink will sponsor a party February 5, 2016. Details are forthcoming. As always, during the party, prizes will be awarded to our JANO 2016 participants.  See categories below.  In addition, we're giving away a $100 grand prize to one lucky JANO participant at our annual December holiday party.  The winner of this grand prize must be a Sleuths’ Ink member in good standing as of February 1, 2016 and must have written a minimum of 25,000 words in 2016.


PRIZE CATEGORIES FOR JANO:


  1. First to 50,000 words in January
  2. Second to 50,000 words in January
  3. Third to 50,000 words in January
  4. Best Title
  5. Best First Paragraph 
  6. Most Unique Character Name
  7. Best Blurb – 100 words or less  

    KEEP IN MIND: a Blurb is often used in your query letter to sell your story to an editor or what is found on the back of the book to grab your potential reader’s attention.
 Participant MUST have written at least 10,000 words to be eligible for prizes
  • Must be on the janowriters yahoo email loop. (see below)
  • No acceptances after MIDNIGHT January 31, 2016 deadline. NO exceptions!!!
Attendees of the Wrap-Up Party judge the last four categories on February 5th, 2016 and prizes will be awarded accordingly. You do not have to be in attendance to win, but we encourage everyone within driving distance to come join the FUN!
JANO is sponsored by Sleuths’ Ink, a mystery and suspense writers’ non-profit organization in Springfield, Missouri. JANO 2016 Chairperson: Wanda Fittro