Archive for the ‘Misc’ Category

Producer/Agent Marilyn Atlas Shares Writing Secrets

March 10, 2014

My new blog post regarding Producer/Agent Marilyn Atlas and her Writing Tips are on my new blog site.  Transfer or add your subscription now!


How YOU Can Be a Writer NOW

March 7, 2014

Visit for my new blog posts!



My Blog is Moving! I need YOUR help!

February 21, 2014

Reading, Writing and Elizabeth is moving its site to

Move with me! Please subscribe to the NEW site. This one will be taken down in a short while.

Thank you all!

I’ll keep providing writing tips, anecdotes about the writing, publishing world, and sharing books with you.

See you soon at



Write Out of the Box!

January 13, 2014

“If they give you ruled paper, write the other way.” Juan Ramon Jimenez

In kindergarten, my son’s teacher gave each student a construction paper Christmas stocking along with decorations. Their assignment? Cut them out and glue them too look like her example.

A couple other mother-volunteers and I entered the room while teacher and class were on the playground for recess.

“Look at all their stockings,” said one mom.

Each stocking was hung, identically in a row along the wall. They could have been mimeographed in their sameness.

“Wow,” said the other mom, observing one stocking decorated with magic marker Christmas figures on the tiny white edge of the stockings’ perimeter.
“Who did that one?” said the first mom.
They peered closely at the small signature.
It was Tofer.

I write this anecdote not to brag, but to show how one five-year-old figured a way to be creative even with a cut and paste assignment.

How will you show your individuality with your writing or art?

Writing Prompts:
1. Select one of your scenes you’ve already written. How can you make it yours and only yours?
2. Make one of your characters quirky. What distinguishes this character from every other one in your book? A particular secret, trait, or passion may allow her to be amusing or annoying or lovable!
3. Create a setting that shows its character. Being specific creates identifiable reactions and emotions within your readers. Can you show nostalgia? A comfort setting? A suspenseful place? Remember sounds, smells and even tastes will allow your readers to feel like they are there.

December 21, 2013

Apologies!  I’ve written the last couple of posts to this blog and non-techie me has pushed the incorrect button.  I THOUGHT I saved my edits of the posts, but I didn’t.  Ugh.  And I’ve been doing this blog for HOW long?

Just goes to prove that I’ve been rushing too much, as usual. 

Hope you take time to enjoy this month and don’t do as I do, but do as I say!

How Poetry Inspires Writers and Artists

December 18, 2013

Quote for today: “Lose your mind and come to your senses.” Fritz Perls


From the book, Poems of Sleep and Dreams Everyman’s Library, 2004, Richard Wilbur’s “Walking to Sleep” holds a truth that speaks to falling asleep and creative pursuits:

“Step off assuredly into the black of your mind. Something will come to you.” 

Writers and artists! Present an open mind without fear. 

Trust your imagination. 

Writing Prompt:  Open a book of poetry at random.  Which poem stares back at you?  Read it slowly, soaking up the words.  Which line speaks to you?  Let that line become your muse for the day.  Create your work inspired by the meaning of the poem’s powerful words. 

How to Finally Write That Book, Change a Habit, and Earn a Million Dollars . . .

November 12, 2013

I have many excuses as to why I haven’t written on this blog sooner. Relatives were visiting, I traveled to a lovely writing retreat, and I’m on a book deadline and negotiating a contract. But at the end of this paragraph, who cares?

What habit would you like to change in your life? Want to get that book written? Create art every day? Drop a few pounds? I just read This Year I Will . . . How to Finally Change a Habit, Keep a Resolution, or Make a Dream Come True by M.J. Ryan.

Ryan says there are ten resolution pitfalls:

1. Being vague about what you want. A friend of mine is creating a website. When I asked her for specifics, she can’t pin it down as to what her site is all about. No wonder she’s a year late on her own deadline for this project.

Write down your goal. Next, break it up into baby steps. I like list-making. If it’s too big of a project it will scare me away. But if I only have to do one tiny thing per day, the work will eventually get done.

2. Not making a serious commitment. How bad do you want this goal? Why?

3. Procrastinating and excuse making – – no time, wrong time, dog ate my homework. (See my first paragraph above.) An acquaintance of mine does this, too. Years ago she said she couldn’t write because she was raising her children. Now, children are long gone and she still hasn’t written the book.

4. Being unwilling to go through the awkward phase.
In writing a book, this often is either when a person begins the book or when the writer reaches the murky middle. Even though writing isn’t digging ditches, it’s tiring. And no one is patting you on the back with huge checks with each chapter you write.

5. Not setting up a tracking and reminder system. Have you created a schedule? Check off what you’ve done so you can visualize your own progress.

6. Expecting perfection, falling into guilt, shame, regret. Remember, rough drafts are supposed to be lousy. Don’t keep rewriting. Just get the work written. When you write THE END, take a break and only then are you allowed going back to the beginning for your rewrite.

7. Trying to go it alone. It takes a community to write a book. Discover a writing partner, group, or online list serve to cheer you on or suggest ideas for your creative process.

8. Telling yourself self-limiting rut stories. Negativity not allowed!

9. Not having backup plans.

10. Turning slip-ups to give-ups.
I’m not explaining the last two. Read the book. It’s worth it.

I’m trying to stop drinking diet soda. I manage this fairly well until travel time or when a migraine attacks. My body seems to crave caffeine and diet soda. Somehow, through the wall of pain, I feel the world owes me this addiction. I’ll never get rid of this horrible pain again. (#8?) A writing friend also is struggling with the same addiction so we encourage each other along and cry on each other’s shoulders. (Thanks, Deborah!)

One more hint from the book: If you have trouble with negative thoughts, here is something from the work of Byron Katie who stopped being a morbidly obese agoraphobic. She’s now a famous and lovely spiritual guru.
Ask yourself four questions:

1. Is it true?
2. Can you absolutely know it’s true?
3. How do you react when you think that thought?
4. Who would you be without that thought?

Writing Prompts:

1. Choose a habit you would like to adapt or change. Write it down.
2. Read M.J. Ryan’s book and use your habit to do the exercises within the book.
3. Will this help you with your art and/or writing?
4. Write about the emotions you experience through your process.
5. Write an essay or poem about your habit.

The Legal Aspects of Writing and Publishing – Contra Costa County Workshop

October 21, 2013

Rick Acker will present a workshop on “The Legal Aspects of Writing and Publishing” at the next luncheon meeting of the Mt. Diablo Branch of the California Writers Club (CWC) on Saturday, November 9, 2013 at Zio Fraedo’s Restaurant, 611 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill.

Based on his seminar, “Author Law 101”, Mr. Acker will explain the legalities for a book’s cover art, how to use real people, information, and photos in memoirs or fiction, indie publishing, traditional contracts, and copyright laws.

Mr. Acker is a Deputy Attorney General in the California Department of Justice, and a writer. His Kindle #1 best-selling novel is When the Devil Whistles, and he is also a contributing author on several treatises published by the American Bar Association.

Check-in is from 8:30 to 9:00 am. The workshop is from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm, with luncheon following the workshop. The cost is $45 for CWC members, $55 for guests.

Reservations are required, and must be received no later than noon on Wednesday, November 6. Contact Robin Gigoux at, or phone 925-933-9670. Expect confirmation only if you e-mail your reservation.

The California Writers Club Mt. Diablo Branch web address is:

Contra Costa County Student Short Story Writing Workshops

October 17, 2013

2013 Fall Fiction Series: Short Story

Saturdays in November at The Storyteller Bookstore

November 9: Voice

November 16: Structure

November 23: Style

4:30-6:00 pm
Ages 9-up
Notebook + materials included
$25/each or $60/series

To Sign up for Wordplay Workshops or for more information contact:

Or find us on Facebook

The Storyteller | 925 284 3480 | 30 Lafayette Circle | Lafayette | CA | 94549

13-year-old lands two book deal

August 14, 2013