Guest Bloggers

Nathan Bransford

Guest Blogger Nathan Bransford reflects about this past decade with the constant of books by his side. The following is excerpted from Nathan’s December 30, 2019 blog post. So much can change over the course of a decade or two. Thank goodness the books we read and write will still be there waiting for us when we need them. When the clock struck midnight to ring in January 1, 2010, I was a literary agent with Curtis Brown Ltd. in San Francisco, I was married, and the ink was barely dry on my first book deal for the Jacob Wonderbar series. Little did I know that within a year and a half all that would change. Amid all this change, amid all of this upheaval and turmoil, there’s only one thing in my life that hasn’t changed. Books. The first time I visualized my current life was during a vacation in 2010…

Guest Bloggers

Commenting on Blogs. Good idea?

Anne R. Allen’s post about commenting on blogs elicited 100 comments! Anne writes about commenting on blogs to build your author’s platform: I’ve seen a steep decline in the number of people commenting on blogs over the past few years. I’m not sure why that is. But commenting on blogs is still an easy, painless way to get your name into search engines and build an “author platform.” I realize I’m partly preaching to the choir here. We have wonderful commenters on this blog. But I see a lot of great blogs devoid of comments these days. And there are lots of people who seem to prefer to respond to the link to a blogpost on Facebook or Twitter rather than on the actual post. Unfortunately, sometimes they haven’t read the post, but are responding to the header, which isn’t a good idea. That’s a good way to look like…

Guest Bloggers

Staying Grounded and Centered.

Today’s insightful post is by guest blogger, Rebecca Lawton. I have a dear friend who jokes that, in 2020, we’ll have no need for glasses. A long-time wearer of glasses himself, this friend also loves punning. With or without glasses in 2020, we who love writing and reading want to see clearly in all our endeavors. For me, seeing clearly means staying grounded and centered, understanding what I’m observing with all senses. Doing so requires that I stick with various creative practices, whether in writing, communicating, playing music, reading the work of others, or learning new skills and ideas. Basically, for everything. I consult writing-related resources as well. This time of year, I offer a list of them on my blog. For the first time ever, I’ve also included a few references for clearing the mind. May your practice buoy good health and happiness, for you, yours, and those you meet. May the goodwill you generate extend to the well-being of the planet. I join you…

Guest Bloggers

I didn’t want to go.

“I didn’t want to go but I’m glad I did.” Bella Mahaya Carter’s title for her early December email caught my attention, probably because so many times I didn’t want to go but I was glad I went. Here’s what Bella wrote: Dear Friends, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are enjoying the holiday season!  Today’s post is about showing up for ourselves and for each other.   This past Monday night, I did not want to attend Forest Lawn’s annual “Lights of Remembrance: An Evening of Honoring the Memories of Your Loved Ones.” I was tired (hadn’t slept well the night before) and felt like I was getting sick. I also didn’t want to drive twenty miles at night to a place I’d never been, or go alone (my husband was too tired and my friend declined). I wanted to stay home, lounge by the fireplace, and watch The Crown. …

Guest Bloggers

Early Christmas Morning

As I write this, it’s early Christmas morning, 2019. It will be a quiet day here at Chateau Cullen, except for the swishing of a broom while I sweep the porch and the hum of the washer and dryer, getting ready for our holiday party this weekend and for my granddaughter’s third birthday. Today will be a busy day for some, filled with happy feet and sparkling eyes as young and old open presents under a decorated tree. For others, it will be quieter. Today’s guest blogger, Bella Mahaya Carter shares her holiday thoughts. Dear Friends: I hope you’re enjoying the holiday season—or getting through it with as much grace and ease as possible. One thing that helps keep me calm is walking our dog, Katie, who insists upon frequent and leisurely outings. I don’t mind (usually), because they provide exercise, time outdoors, and inspiration. Check out this leaf she’s…

Guest Bloggers

Just be yourself.

The definition of marketing is connecting with people in a human way and doing it as authentically as possible. Writing can heal and transform lives. Guest blogger Bella Mahaya Carter shares her epiphany about newsletters and marketing. Sometimes I want to lay down my ambition, hit cruise control, and glide through life.  But as an author (and human being) there’s so much I don’t know and want to learn. Case in point: I had a wonderful experience publishing my memoir with She Writes Press. I’ve come close to selling out my 1000-book print run—except for a few boxes left in my garage, which remind me of this important fact: books don’t sell themselves.  The realization that I (along with most authors today) need to take responsibility for the business part of my writing life has been sobering—but also, surprisingly fun. I’ve been reading marketing books the way I used to read craft books as a young writer—inhaling…

Guest Bloggers

Tips To Unlock The Book Only You Can Write

Guest Blogger Jenn Gott writes about 3 Inspiring Ways to Unlock the Book Inside You. Does this sound familiar: You’ve always been drawn to writing and have a mind brimming with ideas. You’ve always loved the idea of holding a book you have written — but somehow, despite all your best intentions and New Year’s Resolutions, it just hasn’t happened. Or maybe you’re a writer who has started a thousand writing projects, only to abandon them all within a few pages. Perhaps you’re not even sure if you want to be a writer, but you’ve always wanted to write a children’s book for your kids. Maybe you’re a poet, or a copywriter, or a journalist, and there’s a book you know you could write, if you just find the right words inside you. Maybe, maybe, maybe. One day. The trouble with “one day” is that it doesn’t exist — each…

Guest Bloggers

Yes, you can write that book you’ve been wanting to write!

I read about author Kira Jane Buxton in the Breaking In column, Writer’s Digest, October 2019 issue. I especially appreciate what she worked through to realize “. . . letting go of outside expectations while writing Hollow Kingdom afforded me the freedom to take great risks.” Her advice for writers: “Just have fun with it. Write the thing that’s burning inside you.” I enjoyed reading about her writing journey. I hope you will, too. Kira Jane Buxton I had a solid ten years of professional rejection under my belt by the time I realized I wanted to be a writer. Ten years of trying to ignite an acting career and an art career, seemingly with a broken match and wet kindling. A creative writing class at Santa Monica College (a gift from my husband that I deferred for a year because I was petrified) got my blood pumping and made…

Guest Bloggers

Start Small

Today’s brilliant post is by Nancy Julien Kopp: I’m a proponent of starting with small projects and moving on, step by step, to the bigger ones. Many writers dream of publishing a novel or a full book memoir. Some will start out their writing journey by beginning the pursuit of that dream immediately. It’s fine to have a worthy goal, but diving in the deep end before you know how to swim can bring big problems. Start small. Write a personal essay or memoir about an occurrence, something that happened and had some meaning for you. Later, it might become a part of the book you hope to write. Those little snippets of memoir can grow into something much larger, as can your personal experiences that taught you a lesson, as we see in personal essays. Novelists can practice their skill by writing short stories before attempting a full novel….

Guest Bloggers

Creativity as magic

Michael Shapiro’s latest book is a winner. Below is an excerpt from the introduction of The Creative Spark: How musicians, writers, explorers, and other artists found their inner fire and followed their dreams. It reminds me of an important message for every one: We are all unique and have our stories to tell. No one else can tell your story. Only you can. From The Creative Spark by Michael Shapiro Something magical happened as I completed this book. One evening just before sunset I was in our backyard watering the planter boxes. On a stem of parsley I noticed a startling pattern of color, concentric rings of orange and black dots. Looking closer I saw the segments of a swallowtail caterpillar and could identify its tiny feet. For the next few days the caterpillar chomped on the parsley plant, absorbing energy for the next stage of its life. I placed a stick…