Archive for November, 2007


Books make a thoughtful gift that can be cherished for years to come.

And on December 9th at Barnes and Noble, Clackamas Town Center, every purchase you make supports literacy for disadvantaged kids.

Please mark your busy holiday calendar to plan on purchasing books as gifts this holiday season at the Barnes & Noble-Books For Kids Bookfair.
Moms who love to read and write will not want to miss a panel discussion with author moms from the Portland area that concludes the event. Come hear insightful tips on writing for publication from four busy women who balance authorship with motherhood from 4-5 p.m. on Sunday, December 9th at the Barnes and Noble, Clackamas Town Center.

Stop by, shop, bring your kids and your questions! Book signings by panel members to follow the discussion.

Writing in the Dark, in the Basement, in the Bathroom or at the Park
A panel discussion of Mom Authors with Chelsea Cain, Heather Sharfeddin, Elizabeth Rusch and Christina Katz
Moderated by Diana Page Jordan

The Panel:

Chelsea CainChelsea Cain
Chelsea Cain is a humor columnist for The Oregonian and reviews for the New York Times Book Review. She has written for a wide variety of publications and is the author of Confessions of a Teen Sleuth, published by Bloomsbury US. She lived the first few years of her life on an Iowa commune then grew up in Bellingham, Washington, where the infamous Green River Killer was “the boogeyman” of her youth. She started writing her New York Times Bestselling thriller, Heartsick, to kill time while she was pregnant. Chelsea lives in Portland with her husband and daughter. Visit her online at

Elizabeth RuschElizabeth Rusch
Elizabeth Rusch’s first children’ book, Generation Fix, was a Smithsonian magazine Notable Children’s Book and a finalist for the International Reading Association’s Children’s Book Award and the Oregon Book Award. She has four more children’s books out this year: the Oregon Book Award finalist Will It Blow?: Become a Volcano Detective at Mount St. Helens (Sasquatch, 2007), A Day with No Crayons (Rising Moon, 2007), The Planet Hunter: The story behind what happened to Pluto (Rising Moon, 2007), and Girl’s Tennis: Conquering the Court (Capstone Press, 2007). Elizabeth lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and two children. More at

Heather SharfeddinHeather Sharfeddin
Heather Sharfeddin lives in Sherwood, Oregon with her husband and son, where she writes novels about the modern American West. Her first novel, Blackbelly, earned starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and Library Journal, and was named one of the top five novels of 2006 by the Portsmouth Harold. Library Journal called it “A superbly crafted first novel about an unlikely romance…both characters are wonderfully drawn.” Her second novel, Mineral Spirits, also received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews in which they called it “a spell-binding, high-country thriller”. Heather’s next novel, Windless Summer, is due out in 2008 from Bantam, followed by the paperback editions of Blackbelly and Mineral Spirits. More at

Christina Katz, The Writer MamaChristina Katz
Christina Katz is working on her second book for Writer’s Digest Books for publication in Fall 2008. Her first book, Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids came out in March 2007 to five-star Amazon reviews and much blogosphere buzz. She has written over two hundred articles for magazines, newspapers, and online publications and has appeared on Good Morning America. Christina is a popular writing instructor who has taught hundreds of writers over the past seven years and blogs daily. Her blog, The Writer Mama Riffs, was spotlighted by Writer’s Digest Editor Maria Schneider as a top twenty writing blog. Christina is Publisher and Editor of two zines, Writers on the Rise and The Writer Mama. More at

Panel Moderator:


Diana Page Jordan
Diana Page Jordan is an award-winning broadcast journalist and interviewer, having done interviews with thousands of authors, heard daily on Take 5 XM-155, BETWEEN THE LINES on AP Radio Network and on the Barnes and Noble dot com website. She is also ABC KATU-TV’s Book Reviewer, appearing regularly on AM Northwest. Jordan’s author interviews and book reviews have appeared in the Costco Connection and the Portland Tribune. Her non-fiction has appeared in four anthologies. She also emcees, creates podcasts, and gives speeches and seminars on “The Gentle Art of Interviewing,” based on her diverse experience. More at

How to make sure Books for Kids gets credit for your purchase:

Shop at Barnes & Noble, Clackamas Town Center, on December 9, 2007. Be sure to mention at the register that you want your purchase to go to Books for Kids! Bookfair vouchers will be available at registers all day long!

Books for Kids is part of Willamette Writers. This is only one of many events with local authors. Help Barnes & Noble and Willamette Writers support Books for Kids by spreading the word. More info at

If you have questions about the event or a media inquiry, please contact the Willamette Writers, Inc. office at or by phone at 503-452-1592.


Writing White Papers Nominees for the Top Ten

Recognize any blogs on this list?

Here are the finalists for the top 10 blogs nominated over at Writing White Papers:

Check ’em out over the weekend when you are not preparing for the holidays. 🙂

A Former Pitching Practice Student Shares How Persistance Pays Off

Wise words from a writer mama…of twins!

I sent two queries to Twins Magazine, and never got a response on either. I also sent two e-mail follow-ups, and again, heard nothing. But, two weeks ago, I learned that my emails were not always being received. Two different publications I write for did not receive my copy. This was alarming to me. So, I decided to call the Twins Magazine editor and just ask if she got the queries since I hadn’t heard back.

I left a voice message for her. Less than a week later, she called me and said she gets so many queries that, no, she didn’t see mine. She did a search for it from her archives, found it, and said she would like that story. So, a little persistence paid off here.

Thanks for sharing, Shawn!

Six Out of Seven Writers on the Rise Contributors are…

…writer moms! In the first half of the November/December issue, that is. 🙂

And dang, if I don’t say so myself, it’s a fine issue so far.

Have you checked it out yet? You don’t want to miss it. Here’s the scoop:

I talk about how I stetched all year (I’ve mentioned this already in a previous post)

Wendy Burt gets some great book recommendations and dares to ask the question: “What’s the difference between a real writer and a wannabe writer?

(Her son Ben is adorable, by the way, I just saw them in Colorado!)

C. Hope Clark tells us how to get our butts in the chair and keep ’em there. She’s good like that.

Gregory Kompes shares how to brand our writing career with products (he’s the non-mom, btw…did you guess that?)

Lori Russell gets the inside agent scoop from April Eberhardt of the Andrea Brown Agency

Sharon Cindrich shares tips on how to spread some holiday joy with your business colleagues

And Abby Green gives the lowdown on what “byline” means to you

You are welcome to share your success stories here

And we’d love it if you’d nominate Writers on the Rise here and here, if you feel so inspired.

Doesn’t that sound helpful? Enjoy!

My Mom is my Hero: Call for Submissions

Dear Writers,

I am currently editing “My Mom Is My Hero,” and I am very short on
quality entries; thus, I have extended the deadline to December 15th.
I desperately need an influx of solidly written stories, particularly
with strong characterization and diverse story lines. The heroism
doesn’t have to be spectacular by any means; for example, I’m honoring
my mother’s memory by writing about how my proper southern mother–a
blend of Jackqueline Kennedy elegance and Ava Gardner sex
appeal–taught me social graces. A mother figure, grandmother, or a
mother you know qualifies. The publisher will only allow five
illness/death stories in the total work so I’m encouraging everyone to
write about everyday heroism. I really need diversity and humor!

Here’s the official “Call” and Guidelines. Please pass it on to anyone
you know who might have a good mother story to tell. THANK YOU!

“Call for Stories”

For Adams Media’s new Hero series, we seek fifty 850-1200 word true
stories no later than DECEMBER 15, 2007. We pay $100 per story (one
per volume), plus a copy of the book, and we will also award three
prizes $100, $75, and $50 for the top three stories—and a free copy of
the published book. A summary of what we want, formatting
requirements, and story tips follows. Please follow them carefully.
Also, please click on and carefully review all
the text under: “Hero Series Guidelines” where sample stories are

My Mom Is My Hero

Being a mother often proves the most difficult, and the most
important, job in the world; one that includes conflict but also
brings rich—albeit often unspoken—rewards. In this anthology, we seek
to honor real-life mothers and, therefore, want inspiring, true,
personal stories that speak to the challenges, ultimately positive
experiences, and extraordinary relationships between mothers and their
children (mothers of all ages, i.e., grandmothers count). Also a woman
who served as a mother figure, who played a significant role, or who
performed a heroic deed may also be honored. Heroic deeds range from
rescuing a child from physical peril to holding down a steady job and
raising children with exceptional values or work ethics. As we will
print very few stories focused on illness or dying, we encourage
authors to choose another time that illustrates your mother’s unique
character, drive, strength, dedication, tenderness, generosity,
intelligence, humor, etc. Bring your mother to life on the page and
show the world why she is worthy of accolades.


Please e-mail entries to as a separate
Word attachment. If you don’t have Word available, embed the copy in
your e-mail message (Times New Roman, no special formatting, please).

BASICS: 850-1200 WORDS, tightly written, focused, true, uplifting

Formatting Requirements:

  • Send all stories as a separate WORD document. If you don’t have Word, embed the story into the body of the e-mail.
  • Single-space all contact info (name, address, phone, e-mail) at the top left of the document.
  • No headers or footers; No page numbers.
  • Use 12 pt. Times New Roman; single or 1.5 spacing.
  • Make Paragraphs flush left with one extra space between them. No indentations.
  • Only use ONE space after a period.
  • Do not put titles in all CAPS; Do not include byline.
  • Do not put “The End” or anything else at the end.
  • At the bottom of your document, please provide a tightly focused three-sentence bio. Bios may include selected writing credits, but limit self-promotion to mention of a website. Humor is good. Link it to the story if relevant.

Story Tips:

  • Story must be true and uplifting. We are honoring mothers.
  • Tell a story—utilizing classic story structure, i.e., beginning/middle/end
  • If you write an essay or profile, they must include dynamic characterization
  • Keep the focus on your mother/mother-figure; she’s the heroine of the story!
  • Use description, characterization, action, and dialogue to bring your mother to life on the page
  • Focus on a momentous event that illustrates your mother’s heroic character
  • SHOW us why your mother is/was unique, exceptional, colorful, dramatic, heroic
  • Cut right to the chase, open with a scene; do not open with “My mom is my hero because….”
  • Come up with a snappy, evocative title; avoid “My Mom, My Hero,” etc.
  • Avoid death and illness stories (we’ll get way too many)
  • Strive for unique, fascinating, entertaining, distinctive tales
  • Make all the characters in the story dimensional, memorable
  • Please use active voice and strong verbs. Avoid “It was” and “There was” sentences.
  • Use potent, succinct modifiers.
  • Employ a strong voice
  • Humor is WELCOME

THANK YOU, and I look forward to receiving your stories!

All best regards,


Susan Reynolds
Literary Cottage Agency

Little Slideshow from our Colorado Vacation

Can you feel the temperature dropping forty degrees?

Good ol’ Colorado. She’s good like that!

And p.s. It’s fake fur, in case you were wondering. It looks real though. Also…my husband and mother-in-law were too sick from the spinning rides to keep up with us (in truth I almost lost it a couple times myself).

Please Join Me for a Standing Ovation!

Thank you, 2007 Writers on the Rise Contributors!

Oh my, the applause are thunderous!

And well deserved. 🙂

I can’t wait to thank the 2008 Writer Mama Zine Contributors! (But we’ll have to wait.)

Please sign up in the upper right hand corner so you won’t miss a single issue of the 2008 Writer Mama Zine.

To subscribe to Writers on the Rise for 2008, click here and then click in the upper right hand corner.

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