Monday, March 31, 2014

What's a Rhetorical Device?

By Karen Albright Lin



We hear the term, but do we really understand what a rhetorical device is and what types exist? There are some that are so obscure, so archaic, they are rarely found in today’s writing. But it is shocking how many we do use without realizing it. They are our friends, artistic techniques and rules for using language. Think metaphors, backloading, analogies, alliteration, and paraphrasing. We use them because they have great impact on our writing. They help to persuade or please. They turn mundane writing into interesting writing, more elegant writing.

When I studied up on them, I noticed they fell into three categories with a convenient acronym of WIG.

W – order and use of Words or phrases
I – way of presenting an Idea
G Grammar or punctuation

W

An example of a W device would be ANAPHORA. It is a repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses. It helps emphasize a thought or feeling. She couldn’t stop dreaming. She couldn’t stop wandering. She couldn’t stop hesitating before making decisions.

One W device most of us are familiar with is ALLITERATION, repeated initial sounds. Sherry was shipped to shore. Alliteration is an artful aid in arrangement.
  
I

One of my favorite I rhetorical devices is APOPHASIS. It is the mention of something in disclaiming intention of mentioning it, essentially pretending to deny what is really affirmed. "I don't want to say anything bad about another attorney, especially one who's a useless drunk."

Another I:  we PARAPHRASE, often euphemistically. This is a restatement of text or a passage in another form or using other words, often to clarify meaning. If your character’s enemy has died, he “is no more,” he’s “gone to meet his maker,” or as John Cleese would say, “his metabolic processes are now history.”

G

ASYNDETON is a G technique in which you omit words or phrases between items in a list. An example would be omitting the word “and.” His snake-bit arm was swelling, shaking, growing red.

Another G, POLYSYNDETON, uses a conjunction (usually AND or OR) between a series of words in a list of three or more. It adds rhythm and a sense of compressed time. The secretary brought me coffee and faxes and mail and women and air freshener.

These are only six of upwards of 100 rhetorical devices I’ve found in my research. We don’t want to overuse any one technique, but if we keep as many of them as possible in our bags of tricks, we will have vivid, luxurious, and engaging prose.   


About the Writer:  Karen is an editor, ghostwriter, pitch coach, speaker and award-winning author of novels, cookbooks, and screenplays. She’s written over a dozen solo and collaborative scripts (with Janet Fogg, Christian Lyons and director Erich Toll); each has garnered international, national and regional recognition: Moondance Film Festival, BlueCat, All She Wrote, Lighthouse Writers, Boulder Asian Film Festival, SouthWest Writers Contest, and PPW Contest. Find out more at www.karenalbrightlin.com.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Quote of the Week & Week to Come

"He is the true enchanter, whose spell operates, not upon the senses, but upon the imagination and the heart." -Washington Irving, born April 3.

Washington Irving
"Courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin."
From Wikimedia


This week on Writing From the Peak...

...Karen Albright Lin asks "What's a Rhetorical Device?"

...Deb McLeod brings us the 2nd part of her Serialized Novel posts: "Manipulation is a Virtue"

...We bring you April News & Events

...We feature Q&A's with Becky Clark, Kris Neri, Terri Bischoff, Cindi Myers, and Michelle Johnson


Saturday, March 29, 2014

PPWC 2014 Q&A - Lynda Hilburn

Lynda Hilburn, Author


1. What was the defining moment that made your realize you wanted to be an author?

There wasn't really a defining moment. I started writing nonfiction and newspaper articles [high school and college] very early. At one point, I wrote a newspaper column -- The Psychic Counselor -- for five years. I continued along those lines until I discovered genre fiction in 2004. Writing fiction was the most fun I'd ever had. I could make up fantastic imaginary tales instead of having to write "the facts." I'm not sure I would have kept on going if I hadn't sold the first few fiction stories I wrote, but discovering I could make part of my living by writing has been very exciting. Writing is the most raw and vulnerable activity I've ever done [including being a singer and professional musician!].

2. What is the one thing you cannot work without? What is your creative vice?

I can't write without -- silence. Unlike other authors who have cool play lists they listen to while writing, I need absolute quiet. I can't even write in coffee shops because the conversations distract me. Music trances me out. My creative vice? A glass of wine while I'm writing.

3. If you could 'revive' any literary figure from the past for a one hour conversation, who would you choose?

That's a no-brainer, LOL! Dracula.Of course, he'd have to agree not to suck me dry

4. What is one of your more notable or unusual conference or convention experiences?

My most notable experience happened at a metaphysical conference I attended many, many years ago. I was supposed to present on hypnotherapy and the power of the mind. They put me in a small room, because we didn't expect many people. To my absolute shock, so many people tried to cram into the small space that they moved me to an auditorium and that was full. Afterward, I sold over a hundred of my hypnotherapy CDs. That was an unexpected pleasure.

5. If we asked your friends and family to compare you to a cartoon character, which would they choose, and why?

Underdog!! Or maybe Wile E.Coyote, who keeps on leaping over the cliff

6. What is one thing would you like aspiring authors to know about the road to success?

The secret to success is -- never give up. I know everyone says that, but it's true. And be careful who you listen to. Remember everyone has an opinion and most of them aren't going to be helpful to you.


About the Author: Lynda writes paranormal fiction about vampires, witches, ghosts, psychics and other supernatural creatures. She makes her living as a licensed psychotherapist, hypno-therapist, professional psychic/tarot reader, university instructor and workshop presenter. She’s the author of The Vampire Shrink, Blood Therapy and Crimson Psyche, coming in late 2013. In addition, she has several novellas (Undead in the City, Diary of a Narcissistic Bloodsucker, Until Death Do Us Part and Devereux: The Night Before Kismet) available from most e-book outlets.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Countdown to Conference: 10 Reasons to Attend PPWC 2014 (That You Might Not Already Know)

By M.B. Partlow


1. Mark Leslie Lefebvre is Director of Self Publishing and Author Relations for Kobo. An advocate for booksellers, print on demand, ePublishing, and independent authors, Mark has given talks about writing, book-selling and publishing throughout the US and Canada, as well as in Paris, London, and Frankfurt. Yeah, and he's a published author, as well.

2. Can I interest you in a Carriger or a Ryan? Perhaps a Firespider? This year, the bar at the Marriott is crafting special drinks in honor of each keynote speaker, only available for the duration of conference.

By OCAL, clker.com

3. HOT DAMN Designs is hosting a reception on Friday night in the library next to the bar. Free and open to everyone. Grab a drink and head in for the Kim and Jennifer show! Giveaways, fun and...are those cover models in the corner that you can take your photo with?

4. The chocolate cake is back for dessert at Saturday night's dinner. Yum!

5. A dead body! On stage! If you haven't signed up for Murder in Aspen Leaf, part of the Thursday Prequel, you'll miss the chance to see our murder victim make her acting debut. Please, do not call 9-1-1. Unless you find a second body.

By OCAL,clker.com

6. The shoes. Realistically, there's nothing more fun than the betting pool on how tall our conference director will be in her tallest heels of the weekend. And if anyone has a radar gun, we'll clock how fast she can move in those stilettos.

7. Becky Clark has offered (threatened might be a better word) to present part of her Thursday workshop using interpretive dance.

8. Deb Courtney is running another fabulous on-site flash fiction contest. Bring your mad writing skillz and wait for the prompt. Pencils down when Deb calls time.

9. Chuck Wendig's beard. Some say it's the source of his power.

10. MK and Brian Meredith onstage in their underwear! That got your attention. In a very special workshop on Sunday, Lights, Camera, Kiss, our fearless leader and her equally fearless husband have volunteered to play the cover models for a photo shoot. I'd be very surprised if there wasn't a kilt involved.

Here's our fearless leader, herself, talking about Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2014:



About the Author: MB Partlow, 2013 Programming Director for the Pikes Peak Writers Conference, is hard at work getting fantastic speakers and participants for the conference.  You can reach her at programming@pikespeakwriters.com or find more information on the 2013 Pikes Peak Writers Conference at pikespeakwriters.com.



Thursday, March 27, 2014

PPWC 2014 Q&A - Jax Hunter

Jax Hunter (with husband, Dan), Author


1. What was the defining moment that made your realize you wanted to be an author?

I made up stories for myself for as long as I can remember. I was an only child so I "played" parts in all my favorite tv shows and made up "fanfic" in my head before it was a word. Never wrote them down. But one story had been hanging around for years and, finally, I decided to write it. That was about twelve years ago and, eventually, that story became "Black Ice," my first novel.

2. What is the one thing you cannot work without? What is your creative vice?

Eek, I don't know that I have one. I have preferences but nothing set in stone.

3. If you could 'revive' any literary figure from the past for a one hour conversation, who would you choose?

I am always interested in a writer's process. I wouldn't mind visiting with Tolkien. But I'd also love to talk writing with Diana Gabaldon or Debbie Macomber or, really I just love visiting with writers about writing. Famous, not so famous. Published, not so published. I've never been one to get in line for an autograph. I don't really understand the whole autograph thing, though I love visiting with my readers and enjoy signing their books for them. I don't do fan things either; if I can't have a real relationship with someone, I don't want to spend time in the crowd wanting just one handshake. Does that make me weird?

4. What is one of your more notable or unusual conference or convention experiences?

Last year at Write Your Heart Out, I had a great conversation that led me to pull my books back and self publish them. So glad I did.

5. If we asked your friends and family to compare you to a cartoon character, which would they choose, and why?

Foghorn Leghorn. Ah say, that's a joke, son! Or maybe Snoopy - Snoopy Dancin' is something I do when I have great news!

6. What is one thing would you like aspiring authors to know about the road to success?

That there are no losers, only quitters. Even if you never get published, your life will be so very enriched by writing. Find the story you were born to tell - it might take awhile to find it - then do your very best to tell it well.


About the Author/Experts: Dan Bubis and Jax Hunter were EMT’s in the high mountains of Colorado for sixteen years.  They worked on a rural ambulance service and also on Search and Rescue.  They both teach CPR.  Jax is a published romance writer.  Her latest series revolves around Air Force ParaRescue, a field that encompasses both emergency medicine and search and rescue.

PPWC 2014 Q&A - Aaron Michael Ritchey

Aaron Michael Ritchey, Author


1. What was the defining moment that made your realize you wanted to be an author?

Let’s break this down by year, shall we? What event made me realize I wanted to be an author?

a. 1970 – Birth

b. 1978 – A story I wrote about a bounty hunter with a double-barrel shotgun tracking down a pack of wolves who stole Little Bo Peep’s sheep.

c. 1979 – Edgar Rice Burroughs and A Princess of Mars.

d. 1980 – Robert E. Howard and Conan

From 1981 to 1994 I had given up all hope of ever being an author. I wrote bad suicide poetry and worse DnD-based short stories, but in the spring of 1994, listening to Soundgarden’s Mailman, I started what was to be my first novel, The Dream of the Archer. I’ve been chasing the dream and cowering in fear ever since.

2. What is the one thing you cannot work without? What is your creative vice?

I need music and I need a table for my laptop, preferably in a public place, preferably somewhere that allows smoking. Which leads to my vices: in the summer, cigars. In the winter, insomnia.

3. If you could 'revive' any literary figure from the past for a one hour conversation, who would you choose?

William Shakespeare and Carl Jung together again. Because reasons.

4. What is one of your more notable or unusual conference or convention experiences?

I don’t drink alcohol, and yet I find that when I’m around wine drinkers at writers conferences, it gets poured on me or my bed sheets. I won’t name names.

5. If we asked your friends and family to compare you to a cartoon character, which would they choose, and why?

My wife would say I’m the Tasmanian Devil because I never stop moving, I break things, and I make growly noises when I get frustrated with stupid, normal, boring life. My daughters would say I’m Bugs Bunny because yeah, cool, funny, and funnier.

6. What is one thing would you like aspiring authors to know about the road to success?

Let go of your opinions on your writing. They won’t be accurate because you’re probably not as bad as you think and probably not as good. Practice humility and gratitude daily.  Enjoy what you can because there are tasty parts to this journey, but sometimes, the trip across the desert may try to convince you otherwise.


About the Author: Aaron Michael Ritchey’s first novel, The Never Prayer, was published in March of 2012 to a fanfare of sparkling reviews including an almost win in the RMFW Gold contest. Since then he’s been paid to write steampunk, cyberpunk, and sci-fi western short stories.  His next novel, Long Live the Suicide King, will give hope to the masses in 2014.  As a former story addict and television connoisseur, he lives in Colorado with his wife and two goddesses posing as his daughters.  When he’s not writing, he’s travelling the world, riding his bicycle, or talking about writing.  His speaking experiences range from talks on how the 12 steps of recovery ease artistic angst to writing a first chapter with sentences like fish hooks.  He Facebooks, interviews authors, and in his free time meditates in silence, praying for the souls of writers and artists everywhere.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Ability to Write: Nature or Nurture, Part III

By Pete Klismet


(Continued from Part II last month)

My research into the ability to write had to go a few steps beyond where I had taken it to that point, which wasn’t very far. So I searched under the topic of “Are Talented Authors Endowed with an Innate Writing Ability?” and found an article by one Mathew Kulas, who claims to be a professor of writing (do they really have these?).

In his article, Mr. Kulas proposes: “Many people argue that accomplished storytellers are born with this skill, however I am in no way certain. Maybe you might have a degree of predisposition, yet I think that authors are created (my emphasis added). In my opinion certain authors are highly gifted but even so these individuals still had to develop the gift by way of extensive learning, practice, in addition to thinking. For that reason, I think writing to be all three — a skill, a craft as well as a talent.”

That didn’t help a lot, but I also realize research means you form a hypothesis (a theory) and then seek to either prove or disprove it. Thus, Mr. Kulas didn’t help much, because he seemed to equivocate, claiming all three are factors. But maybe he’s also saying if you have the native ability and hone it, you could become a skilled writer. Makes sense. However, I have also learned the idea behind investigating or researching something is to avoid coming up with a theory, and then finding facts to fit the theory, not disprove it. So I needed to press on.

Next I came across an article by one James M. Jaspar. Reviewing his website, Mr. Jaspar appears to be interested in teaching people how to write, particularly when he says: “Anyone can learn to write well. This is not some innate skill like perfect pitch. Solid, even elegant writing is an ability we acquire little by little, learning the proper uses of one verb or preposition at a time, mastering long sentences then short ones -- and then figuring out how to combine the two. We learn to compensate for our own stylistic idiosyncrasies, whether these are an excessive use of adverbs or logical connectors or a tendency to write one paragraph after another of exactly the same length.” His website is located at:  http://www.jamesmjasper.org/Writing.html.

So I concluded: Either he’s wrong, or I’m wrong, but I’ll go with him being wrong, since I have little clue what he’s trying to say. Albert Einstein once said “If you can’t explain your topic simply, you don’t understand it yourself.” I didn’t find Mr. Jasper’s article to be simple. Plus, he seems to want to make money by teaching those who can’t write how to write, so I had to conclude we’d have to agree to disagree. Mr. Jaspar’s article definitely didn’t advance my theory much farther than where it had already been.

Part of the reason for even looking into this somewhat esoteric topic was based on thirteen years of teaching in a community college. I found out that reading the written work of some of my students was almost impossible. Many couldn’t spell, but worse than that those same students were not able to carry out a thought beyond one sentence. Others did quite well. So I was stuck in a quandary, wondering if I was truly accomplishing anything in trying to make my poor students write yet more while frustrating themselves to death (not to mention me having to read what they were trying to say). It took some time to figure out that there was a direct correlation between those who were poor writers, and those who got poor grades.

“Ah-ha!” I thought. “Now I’m onto something.” Perhaps the ability to learn is based on one’s intelligence level. Contrary to what the U.S. Constitution says, my theory is that “All men are NOT created equal.” I had a living laboratory right there in front of me. So, I had a meeting with myself, tried to think outside the box, and formed my own theory: “The ability to write well is based on one’s level of intelligence.” Good writers tend to be brighter people. They can interpret information and think critically about what the information means. Then they can explain it in understandable terms. Those who don’t have this ability are only capable of parroting back rote information. 

Absolute proof of this came in my Human Relations and Social Conflict classes. Part of my final exam consisted of doing essays on topics we’d covered over the course of the semester. Being the nice professor I was (!), I let them use their notes to do the essays. I would pose eight questions related to topics we’d covered, tell them to pick the four they liked, and finally to create essays on those four. Without fail, the better students could take their notes and explain what we were covering. By contrast, the poor students would simply re-write their notes, meaning they had written down the information, but had no clue how to explain it, so they just simply parroted their notes back to me.

In the Criminal Profiling class I taught, I did the same thing, only with a higher degree of difficulty, since it was the most advanced course in our program. I’d give them four fact patterns and ask them to do a ‘profile’ of an unknown offender, based on the fact pattern of a murder case or a sexual assault. Voila! Exactly the same results. Some would just re-write a laundry list, but could not explain how they’d come to the conclusions. The better students would do an in-depth analysis and explain every point they were making. It was a pleasure to read the latter, and whether they were right or wrong was less important than how they explained the conclusions they arrived at.

My educated guess would be that the ability to write is a function of one’s intellectual capability. Those with higher intelligence simply write better. Sort of the old “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” The best example of that would be personal observations in my college classes. In fact, I eventually learned to minimize the amount of writing in my classes, because I found a direct correlation between good writing and good grades, and that the reverse was true. The other thing I found was that students who couldn’t write, or were too lazy to do so, would get someone else to write a paper for them. Or wouldn’t write it at all. 

In conclusion, I believe you’ve either got it or you ain’t got it. I’ve thought that for years, and I now have myself even further convinced. If your intellect isn’t fairly high, you probably have failed to learn the basics you needed to learn about writing well in the early grades. And if you missed that, or ignored it, then it will influence your ability to write the rest of your life. I’d like to think I proved my theory, but I’m still not sure. It was fun thinking about something I’ve wondered about for years. The question would then be, am I a good enough writer that you understand why I wrote this and what it all means? If the answer is “yes,” then I’ve done my job in expressing my opinion.


About the Author: About thirty years ago, a small cadre of FBI agents were hand-picked by the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit (BSU) to receive training in what was then a highly-controversial and ground breaking concept: Psychological Profiling. Pete Klismet was fortunate enough to have been chosen to become one of the original FBI “profilers.” He received additional training, was temporarily assigned to work with the BSU in Quantico, Virginia, and put that training and experience to work in assisting state, federal and local law enforcement agencies in investigating violent crimes. 

He was named National Law Enforcement Officer of the Year in 1999, the same year he retired from the FBI. For the next 13 years he taught in colleges, and is now retired as a professor emeritus. He and his wife Nancy live in Colorado Springs.


Pete’s award-winning book FBI Diary: Profiles of Evil is available at www.houdinipress.com and www.amazon.com. He plans to release ‘a couple more books’ in 2014. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

PPWC 2014 Q&A - Darby Karchut

Darby Karchut, Author



1. What was the defining moment that made your realize you wanted to be an author?

After I wrote a piece of fan fiction about five years ago for Foyle’s War and received enough positive feedback to make me think about writing a book. With my own characters, no less.

2. What is the one thing you cannot work without? What is your creative vice?

Silence. I cannot work with the sound of voices or music, even instrumental music. I wear earplugs a lot. Coffee strong enough to be considered a lethal weapon in many countries.

3. If you could 'revive' any literary figure from the past for a one hour conversation, who would you choose?
Why, the Great One, of course: J.R.R. Tolkien.

4. What is one of your more notable or unusual conference or convention experiences?

It was my first ever conference which happened to be the 2010 Pikes Peak Writers. I was pitching my debut novel to an agent, and introduced myself as Karby Darchut.

5. If we asked your friends and family to compare you to a cartoon character, which would they choose, and why?

The Coyote. I can take the hits and keep on a-coming.

6. What is one thing would you like aspiring authors to know about the road to success?

You need to treat your writing as a business. That means writing everyday, even when you don’t feel like it. That means making deadlines, both big and small. That means acting professional in person and within social media. Yes, you can be your own delightful, quirky self, just do it with class.


About the Author: Darby Karchut is an award-winning author, teacher, and compulsive dawn greeter. She’s been known to run in blizzards and bike in lightning storms. When not dodging death by Colorado, Darby writes urban fantasy for tweens, teens, and adults.

PPWC 2014 - Susan Mitchell

1. What was the defining moment that made your realize you wanted to be an author? 

When I embraced my amazing skill at keeping bill collectors at bay. I always have a great story to tell. And I am very convincing.

2. What is the one thing you cannot work without? What is your creative vice?
A Pen

3. If you could 'revive' any literary figure from the past for a one hour conversation, who would you choose?

Aleister Crowley or H. P. Lovecraft. Alcohol would be involved for sure.

4. What is one of your more notable or unusual conference or convention experiences?

Meeting John Updike and chatting about pens.

5. If we asked your friends and family to compare you to a cartoon character, which would they choose, and why?

Velma Dinkly from Scooby Doo. Hair, glasses, nerdiness, talking to a dog...all on point.

6. What is one thing would you like aspiring authors to know about the road to success?


Believe in yourself. Hard work can pay off.


About the Author: Susan has a degree in English from Northern Arizona University. Her work has appeared in literary magazines including George and Mertie’s Place, Poetry Motel and Wordwrights. She writes and produces television commercials, promotions and programs locally. She has also written and produced projects for TLC, regional ABC, NBC and CBS affiliates. In addition Susan is currently completing work on a darkly humorous horror series.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Seven Things About Pitching You Won’t Hear From Me Live

By Linda Rohrbough


I’ve come up with a pitching workshop that’s also now an iPhone app. It’s a three step formula that works for any book. Want to hear more? I’ll let you in on my secrets when I teach it live in my Thursday Prequel workshop on April 22nd at this year’s PPW Conference, "Pitch Perfect: 3 Steps to Getting Their Attention." But in the meantime, let me tell you seven things I’m sure I won’t have time to say that Thursday morning.
1.      Most writers stop improving their pitch at the point where they sell the book. They do this because they figure if the pitch sold the book, it’s good enough. I agree. However, there are basic ways to make a pitch work and it can always be improved.
2.      Most new writers feel they have to be all things so some editor or agent will pay attention to them. That’s simply not true, and it’s the quickest way to produce failure.
3.      Every writer, no matter how much experience he or she has, has some level of fear when pitching. What’s important is to understand the concept that you can use fear to your advantage, and learn how to make fear work for you instead of against you.
4.      I failed miserably the first couple times I tried to pitch my fiction work. I failed pitching my non-fiction work, too, but the fiction failures were worse because I thought I had enough experience writing professionally to be heard. This is why I did the work to come up with my formula, which I use for my own work.
5.      This is a false statement: “You just need a one-sentence pitch.” I’d like to find whoever started that rumor and straighten them out. Although it’s so widespread now, I’m not sure it’s possible to trace the source.
6.      Most successful writers learned how to pitch by trial and error with years of practice. Yes, you can learn the same way. But do you really want to? Wouldn’t you rather shortcut that process?
7.      I get this question a day or two into a conference from new writers who take my workshop: “Do agents and editors always say yes?” They look at me with suspicion because they have heard pitching is hard. But these fresh writers, who have never pitched before and are using my formula, think pitching is too easy. So there must be a catch, like all agents and editors say yes at conferences and this is a scam arranged to make them feel better about paying extra for this workshop. So those of you with experience, can you tell us, do all agents and editors say yes at conferences? Ask around to the professional writers who learned to pitch by trial and error. Find out how long and how many tries it took them to get a yes.
One thing you will hear me say in my workshop is that pitching is a lifelong skill for a writer. Since writing is a lifelong profession, that makes sense.
I’m smiling as I write this because I’m looking forward to teaching this workshop. It’s one of my favorites and fresh for me every time I teach it. (I’ll be teaching other workshops during the course of the conference, as well.) Plus, I’m looking forward to being back home in Colorado. For those of you who don’t know, I’m a third generation Colorado native transplanted to Raleigh, North Carolina, but always looking for an excuse to come home.
Here’s the link for the Thursday Prequel workshops. Hope to see you there!


About the Author: Linda Rohrbough has been writing since 1989, and has more than 5,000 articles and seven books to her credit along with national awards for her fiction and non-fiction. New York Times #1 bestselling author Debbie Macomber said about Linda’s new novel: "This is fast-paced, thrilling, edge-of-the-seat reading. The Prophetess One: At Risk had me flipping the pages and holding my breath." The Prophetess One: At Risk has garnered three national awards: the 2012 International Book Award, the 2011 Global eBook Award, and the 2011 Millennium Star Publishing Award. An iPhone App of her popular “Pitch Your Book” workshop is available in the Apple iTunes store. Visit her website: www.LindaRohrbough.com.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Quote of the Week & Week to Come

"To be a poet is a condition, not a profession." -Robert Frost, born March 26.

By Fred Palumbo, World Telegram staff photographer [Public domain],
 via Wikimedia Commons


This week on Writing From the Peak...

...Linda Rohrbough shares "7 Facts You Won't Hear About Pitching From me Live"

...Pete Klismet asks "Is Writing Ability Innate," finishing up the third part of his series

...M.B. Partlow helps us Countdown to Conference with "10 Reasons You Want to Come to Conference (That You Might Not Know)

...We feature Q&A's with Susan Mitchell, Darby Karchut, Aaron Michael Ritchey, Jax Hunter, and Lynda Hilburn

Saturday, March 22, 2014

PPWC 2014 Q&A - Kris Tualla

Kris Tualla, Author


1. What was the defining moment that made your realize you wanted to be an author?

When I started my first book - on a whim - and it was like turning on a faucet and my characters' lives poured out like water. I finished my first 100,000 word manuscript in just 10 weeks. Now I have over 1,000,000 words published.

2. What is the one thing you cannot work without? What is your creative vice?

I do ALL of my fiction writing on my laptop - and ALL other work on my desktop. I work best if I roll out of bed and go to my writing chair without touching the desktop PC, or opening email, or checking Facebook. Or even answering the phone at times!

3. If you could 'revive' any literary figure from the past for a one hour conversation, who would you choose?

That has to be Jane Austen. She is the penultimate romance author, and a rebel in her own way. If not her, I'd choose the Bronte sisters, Emily and Charlotte. Anne... well... bless her heart. She tried.

4. What is one of your more notable or unusual conference or convention experiences?

Creating my own! In 2011, I founded Arizona Dreamin' - Arizona's only romance reader event. Boy, did I learn TONS about authors. Not all of us understand how to promote ourselves, nor how to pitch our books to readers! Even so, our attendees have a BLAST!

5. If we asked your friends and family to compare you to a cartoon character, which would they choose, and why?

Maybe Tigger. Because I am always accused of having "so much energy"!

6. What is one thing would you like aspiring authors to know about the road to success?

Do NOT take "short cuts"! Take the time to find out how to write, get your work critiqued by people who understand the market, have your manuscript edited by someone other than yourself. And if you choose to self publish, get professional help to create a professional product.


About the Author: Kris Tualla, a dynamic award-winning and internationally published author of historical romance and suspense, writes with a fast-paced and succinct style. Her plots are full of twists, passion, and very satisfying outcomes! Kris started in 2006 with nothing but a nugget of a character in mind, and has created a dynasty with The Hansen Series and its spin-off, The Discreet Gentleman Series. Norway is the new Scotland!Kris is an activemember of Romance Writers of America, the Historical Novel Society, and Sisters in Crime. She is an enthusiastic speaker and teacher, and created Arizona Dreamin’ – Arizona’s first romance-reader event: ArizonaDreaminEvent.com and it’s author-focused companion: BuildintheDream.com

Friday, March 21, 2014

Sweet Success! M.J. Stewart

Compiled by Kathie Scrimgeour



M.J. Stewart is pleased to announce the release of her new Middle-Grade Action Adventure novel, Two Degrees From Zero: A Snowboarding Adventure (Clan Publishing, ISBN: 978-0-9911850-0-9, Kindle e-book; ISBN: 978-0-9911850-2-3, Paperback, 200 pages), and is available at Amazon.  



Thirteen-year-old Derek’s cool snowboard adventure does a dangerous rewind, because his Burton Hero board holds the key to an unsolved crime. Two Degrees From Zero is a story about a boy who lost his father in a car accident two years earlier, and struggles to accept his mom’s new romance, Thomas, who invites Derek, his mom, and teen friend Janae (The Clan) on a snowboarding/ski vacation to Keystone, Colorado. When a blizzard hits during a sleigh ride and dinner The Clan accepts an offer from two arrogant snowmobilers for a way home. To The Clan's dismay they are abandoned in a creepy backwoods cabin. The teens must escape the frozen ravages of the blizzard. Derek’s determination to save The Clan while outwitting the thieves is unstoppable.

Constantly nourished by Colorado’s scenic beauty, M.J.s love for the outdoors includes downhill skiing, biking, camping, hiking, and nature photography. Two Degrees From Zero is her first middle-grade novel.
We love to hear of fellow Pikes Peak Writers' Sweet Successes, including story acceptances, winning contests, getting published and book signings. Please email Kathie Scrimgeour at ppwsweetsuccess@gmail.com if you've got a Sweet Success you'd like to share.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

PPWC 2014 Q&A - Hank Phillippi Ryan

Only two days to register for Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2014 before pricing increases!

Hank Phillippi Ryan, Author, Keynote


1. What was the defining moment that made your realize you wanted to be an author?

I had a great idea for a mystery. It was SUCH a good idea, there was nothing I could do but write it. (It turned out to be PRIME TIME, which won the Agatha. I was 55 years old.)

2. What is the one thing you cannot work without? What is your creative vice?

Coffee. Lattes, iced or hot, who cares. It's wrong to think of that as a vice, though. Oh, Diet Cokes, put in the freezer until they are slushy. And almonds. Plus--it's also not a vice!-- but even though I work at the computer, I still need a pencil and a legal pad and an eraser.

3. If you could 'revive' any literary figure from the past for a one hour conversation, who would you choose?

Shakespeare. The best story-teller ever, relentless suspense, absolutely reliably wonderful plots, intense and poetic and original, with psychologically rich characters, and big- finish endings.

4. What is one of your more notable or unusual conference or convention experiences?

At BEA, I was interviewed by Lee Child. It's used on my audio book! Amazing. At CCWC, I got to interview the brilliant Sue Grafton, for which I studied for weeks. And, in a scene right out of Ziegfield, I was asked to interview the incredible David Baldacci, in front of the entire Bouchercon, with only a few hours notice when Robert Crais had to cancel. I'm a reporter, can do. But here's my philosophy--one wonderful thing happens at every conference. To each and every person. I promise, You just have to go and see what it will be.

5. If we asked your friends and family to compare you to a cartoon character, which would they choose, and why?

Ha. I'd love to know that, and now I'm going to ask them. I would predict the Roadrunner, because I am always going a million miles an hour, and sometimes don't realize I need to stop. But he's happy, right? And he keeps trying!

And as an addendum: I went to Facebook (of course) to actually ASK my friends which cartoon character I reminded them of. And I was--touched and amused, frankly, and still laughing at the results. There was a big contingent of Brenda Starr, and of Lois Lane. Makes sense, right? A few "Cathy," which I love, and Veronica from Archie, ditto, and Joan Jetson, brilliant, BOTH Daphne and Velma from Scooby Doo, which I embrace totally. And, from the "you gotta be kidding but thank you" department, Wonder Woman and Jessica Rabbit. Only a few people--- all dear friends--picked Roadrunner.

6. What is one thing would you like aspiring authors to know about the road to success?

It's different for each person, so it's a waste of time to compare what you have with what others have. Work as hard as you possibly can, do the best you possibly can, every single minute on every single project. You never know when the wonderful thing will happen. Be generous, be kind, be grateful, be patient. This is what you always wished for! And when you have a bad day (as we all do!)--pat yourself on the back, because that means you're giving it all you've got--and that's what writers do! And don't forget to have fun.


About the Author/Keynote: HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN is the on-air investigative reporter for Boston’s NBC affiliate. She’s won 30 EMMYs, 12 Edward R. Murrow awards and dozens of other honors for her ground-breaking journalism. A bestselling author of six mystery novels, Ryan has won multiple prestigious awards for her crime fiction: the Agatha, Anthony, Macavity, and most recently, the coveted Mary Higgins Clark Award. National reviews have called her a “master at crafting suspenseful mysteries” and “a superb and gifted storyteller.” Her newest thriller, THE WRONG GIRL, is a Boston Globe bestseller and was dubbed “Another winner” in a Booklist starred review. She’s on the national board of Mystery Writers of America and 2013 president of national Sisters in Crime. Visit her online at HankPhillippiRyan.com, on Twitter @hank_phillippi and Facebook/HankPhillippiRyanAuthorPage.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Do You Name the Author? - A Reader University Post

By Stacy S. Jensen

This is the third post in a series of 12 ways to help authors (and your writing) by reading.  


I know most authors aren’t rich and famous. Heck, most people don’t even mention an author by name. I’m guilty of this too.
You’ve overheard this or been a party to that conversation about a book, right?
“You know the book about the sheep quitting?” {Can’t Sleep Without Sheep by Susanna Leonard Hill} or “That book where the kids are put in an arena to kill.” {The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins} Most comments are followed by “It’s on the tip of my tongue” or snapping fingers. The speaker can’t remember the title or the author’s name.
I’m sure many authors don’t mind that their name {or title} is forgotten. They simply appreciate that the reader remembers the story.
Not naming an author won’t break the universe, but it doesn’t help an author trying to get established. When I hear a title or an author mentioned, I often look up their other work. One mention, and suddenly I’m checking out multiple books. There’s value to naming an author to a potential reader.
This is one thing I will do this year — I will name authors and the titles of their books. For picture books, I’m trying to add the illustrators, too. To accomplish this, I will use Google or Amazon or my library’s catalog to complete a quick search. If I can’t remember the title and author or find it, I will bow out of a conversation in person or on social media. It’s early in the year, but so far I am on track.
Do you name an author when you talk about book titles?
Reading: I continue to read Divergent by Veronica Roth. I fear I may have a difficult time skipping over Roth’s next novel Insurgent, but I have The Book Thief by Markus Zusak next on my list. I know my list is so 2012 or 2013, but this is why I’m trying to read more. I’m behind!
(This post originally appeared on Stacy S. Jensen's blog on January 20, 2014)

About the Author: Stacy S.Jensen worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for two decades. Today, she writes picture books and revises a memoir manuscript. She lives in Colorado Springs with her husband and toddler.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

PPWC 2014 Q&A - Chuck Wendig

Conference prices go up March 23! Now's the time to register at the lower price!

Chuck Wendig, Author, Keynote


1. What was the defining moment that made your realize you wanted to be an author?

Reading one novel: BOY’S LIFE, by Robert McCammon.

2. What is the one thing you cannot work without? What is your creative vice?

No coffee means stabby-stabby.

3. If you could 'revive' any literary figure from the past for a one hour conversation, who would you choose?

I hear Ben Franklin — not a literary figure precisely, but a writer just the same — had fascinating thoughts on beer and coffee.

4. What is one of your more notable or unusual conference or convention experiences?

Discovering I have a secret but very vocal cache of fans in the fantasy world known as “Australia.” (The conference: GenreCon!)

5. If we asked your friends and family to compare you to a cartoon character, which would they choose, and why?

Bill the Cat? ACK.

6. What is one thing would you like aspiring authors to know about the road to success?

“Aspiring” is a meaningless word. That’s the lesson. Do not aspire. Merely do. You wanna write? Write. You can aspire to do all manner of things, but it only counts when you commit to the act and finish what you begin.


About the Author/Keynote: Chuck Wendig is a novelist, screenwriter, and game designer. He is the author of such novels as BLACKBIRDS, MOCKINGBIRD, THE BLUE BLAZES, and UNDER THE EMPYREAN SKY. Author of the Writer’s Digest guide, THE KICK-ASS WRITER. He is an alumni of the Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab and is the co-author of the Emmy-nominated digital narrative COLLAPSUS. He lives in Pennsyltucky with wife, son, and two dopey dogs. You can find him on Twitter @ChuckWendig and at his website, terribleminds.com, where he frequently dispenses dubious and very-NSFW advice on writing, publishing, and life in general.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Smackdown With Your Inner Editor

By Debbie Maxwell Allen



photo credit: Debbie Allen

Do you wrestle with your inner editor? Do your eyes wander over the last paragraph you wrote, unable to rest until you've eliminated the little red squigglies under each word? Do you find it easier to spend your precious writing time analyzing previous pages than writing new words?

It's time for a smackdown.

Your creative side loves to explore new worlds and uncharted territory. Your analytical side wants to fix everything and make it logical. Unfortunately, to do both at the same time makes for a double-minded writer.

You may very well be polishing your manuscript in anticipation of pitching at the next Pikes Peak Writers Conference. Here are some resources to motivate your red pen--so you can get back to writing.


I've gathered a great crop of resources from other writers who have tackled this issue. They haven't solved it, but some of their advice might be exactly what you need to try to keep your editor at bay--at least until your manuscript is finished and it's time to let him or her out from exile.

One thing I do when my inner editor won't keep quiet is to write in the dark. Yes, it's messy, but effective. Computer users can also choose a font color that matches your screen color so your words will be invisible, or dim your screen to black. Don't forget to save, though! If you have a desktop with a wireless keyboard, move across the room from your screen. Here are some more tips:

Mandy Houk, member of Pikes Peak Writers, shares a great visual for writers to understand what the inner editor does to our confidence.

Cassie Mae, at The Writer's Dojo, gives four practical tips for shutting off the inner editor. I really like her color idea.

Tina Radcliffe over at Seekerville, wowed me with her unauthorized cheat sheet of self-editing tips. I'll be using tip #4 to create my own 'weasel words' list.

The NaNoWriMo blog has a post on A 7-Step Guide to Big Picture Revision (With Bonus Checklists!). I love using highlighters to help me visualize what's missing--or overdone.

Check out the Three Stages of Editing (and nine handy do-it-yourself tips) to whip your manuscript into shape.

And finally, Entrepreneur offers a list of ten words to cut from your writing. Super fast and easy fixes to get your manuscript into shape.

Have you found anything useful for keeping your inner editor locked up? Or is yours particularly well-behaved?

About the Author: Debbie Maxwell Allen writes young adult historical fantasy in the Rocky Mountains. She blogs about free resources for writers at Writing While the Rice Boils

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Quote of the Week & Week to Come

“The books we enjoy as children stay with us forever -- they have a special impact. Paragraph after paragraph and page after page, the author must deliver his or her best work.” -Sid Fleischman, born March 16

Sid Fleischman

This week on Writing From the Peak...

...Debbie Allen has a Smackdown With Your Inner Editor

...Q&A with Chuck Wendig, conference keynote

...Stacy S. Jensen shares the third her piece in her Reader University series

...Q&A with Hank Phillippi Ryan, conference keynote

...We share in a Sweet Success

...Q&A with Kris Tualla

Saturday, March 15, 2014

PPWC 2014 Q&A - TIffany Yates Martin

Tiffany Yates Martin, Editor, FoxPrint Editorial


1. What was the defining moment that made your realize you wanted to be an editor?

I’ve never not loved words and stories. They’re my first memories. I wrote as soon as I could speak, and I analyzed books and movies as soon as I could reason. I began as a copy editor—which I also loved, by the way, because I think grammar is beautiful (I actually loved diagramming sentences in school)—and then moved into developmental editing, which I love even more because I get to be the handmaiden to an author’s creativity. I’m very, very lucky that I’ve worked in this field for nearly all of my career.

2. What is the one thing you cannot work without? What is your creative vice?

Can’t work without coffee, and my Webster’s Collegiate dictionary. Creative vice…well, until recently I would have said candy corn, as it used to fuel creativity—until an author friend sent me a terrifying list of health issues that it can contribute to. I suppose the worst creative habit I have is that I’m constitutionally unable not to analyze and deconstruct any form of entertainment I’m enjoying, or to not mentally (and, sadly, verbally) correct grammar and spelling in advertisements, signs, documents, etc.

3. If you could 'revive' any literary figure from the past for a one hour conversation, who would you choose?

Max Perkins, in a heartbeat. He was the editor for Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, and so many more. By all accounts a gentleman, a gentle and insightful editor, and a profound fan and champion of authors.

4. What is one of your more notable or unusual conference or convention experiences?

At the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, I stayed with one of the organizers in her incredible home atop a mountain in Montecito. We sat outside overlooking mountains and ocean on their brick patio amid hibiscus and plumbago and frangipani and palm trees, a group of writers, editors, and publishing professionals talking about what we loved most in the world: books. Pretty idyllic.

5. If we asked your friends and family to compare you to a cartoon character, which would they choose, and why?

Ha! Oh, dear, probably Big Bird, because I’m very tall. And I love yellow. J

6. What is one thing would you like aspiring authors to know about the road to success?

I had an author friend of mine—a very successful multi-published Knopf writer—tell me once that the only thing that separated her from many of her unpublished writer friends was persistence. That really stuck with me. If you love writing, do it—in the face of rejection, discouragement, despair . . . keep doing it. You will get better and better, and eventually—I really believe this—you will find an audience for your work, whether that’s a traditional pub contract, or a wide readership as a self-pub author, or some other path we don’t even know about yet. As long as writing feeds your soul and what it offers your well-being is greater than the cost of the hard parts, don’t quit.


About the Editor: Tiffany Yates Martin has worked in the publishing industry for more than twenty years, currently through her editorial consulting company, FoxPrint Editorial, helping authors hone their work to a tight polished draft. As a developmental editor she works both directly with authors as well as through major publishers. As a freelance copyeditor and proofreader, she has worked with several of the “big six” New York publishers, among them Random House, the Penguin Group, and HarperCollins. She holds a BA in English Literature from GSU and is a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association. As a speaker, she has presented editing workshops for conferences such as the Santa Barbara Writers Conference and writers’ groups including Delve Writing, and served as a panel moderator for the Texas Book Festival. She has worked on titles by New York Times best-selling authors and manuscripts for unpublished writers, single titles as well as entire series. www.foxprinteditorial.com www.facebook.com/FoxPrintEditorial

Friday, March 14, 2014

Sweet Success! Lynda Hilburn

Compiled by Kathie Scrimgeour


Lynda Hilburn’s paranormal novel, Crimson Psyche, Kismet Knight, Vampire Psychologist book #3 [British edition] (-ISBN: 978-0857387257, 464 pages, Paperback and e-book) was released in the U.K. January 2, 2014, by Quercus Books/Jo Fletcher Books UK. The book is presently available only in the U.K. and will be available in the U.S. soon.



When Kismet Knight became the Vampire Psychologist, she didn't bank on discovering that vampires are, in fact, real - let alone falling for an 800-year-old master vampire.

But that's now the least of her worries. A hunter is out there, and he has plans for Kismet. When a strange, cold darkness brushes the back of her thoughts, it awakens Lust, a dangerous part of her psyche she cannot control.

Kismet had better hope that her friends will find the answers, because this is enough to make anyone lose her mind...


Paranormal author Lynda Hilburn writes the Kismet Knight, Vampire Psychologist series as well as other supernatural tales featuring vampires, witches, ghosts, psychics and wizards. In her other life, she is a licensed psychotherapist, hypnotherapist and professional intuitive. You can find Lynda at her websites: www.lyndahilburnauthor.com and www.paranormalityuniverse.blogspot.com.

We love to hear of fellow Pikes Peak Writers' Sweet Successes, including story acceptances, winning contests, getting published and book signings. Please email Kathie Scrimgeour at ppwsweetsuccess@gmail.com if you've got a Sweet Success you'd like to share.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

PPWC 2014 Q&A - Gail Carriger

Gail Carriger, Author, Keynote


1. What was the defining moment that made you realize you wanted to be an author?

The moment my best friend had a short story accepted. She was 15. I figured if she could do it, so could I. Two years later I sold a short to the same market. She now works in the publishing industry, so I’m still trailing behind.

2. What is the one thing you cannot work without? What is your creative vice?

Tea.

3. If you could 'revive' any literary figure from the past for a one hour conversation, who would you choose?

Oscar Wilde.

4. What is one of your more notable or unusual conference or convention experiences?

TeslaCon is a full immersion steampunk event. I was expecting it to be more like a standard convention so, at first, I was overwhelmed. Soon, however, I started thinking about the same way I would a Renaissance fair, then I really got into it and had a wonderful time.

5. If we asked your friends and family to compare you to a cartoon character, which would they choose, and why?

She-ra, I hope. Because she's awesome.

6. What is one thing would you like aspiring authors to know about the road to success?

That when you pursue a career producing a creative product you must learn how to manage a small business. Most of my time every day is not spent writing it's spent managing the business around making myself a successful author.


About the Author/Keynote: New York Times Bestselling Author Gail Carriger writes to cope with being raised in obscurity by an expatriate Brit and an incurable curmudgeon. She escaped small town life and inadvertently acquired several degrees in higher learning, a fondness for cephalopods, and a chronic tea habit.Her books are urbane fantasies mixed with steampunk comedies of manners. Her debut novel, Soulless, won the ALA’s Alex Award and was nominated for the Compton Crook, Campbell, and Locus Awards. Changeless, Blameless, Heartless, Timeless, Soulless Vol. 1 (the manga), Soulless Vol. 2 (the manga of Changeless) were all New York Times Bestsellers. The first in her steampunk Finishing School series for young adults, Etiquette & Espionage, released Feb. 5 2013, was an instant NYT Bestseller. The next book in the Finishing School series, Curtsies & Conspiracies, releases Nov. 5, 2013. She will release the first book in her new adult series, Prudence, in the second half of 2014.Her other hats (neither pith helmet nor fedora) have included tromping the globe excavating ancient cultures, torturing undergraduates with science, and writing cryptic reviews of YA novels for the Horn Book Guide.You can find Gail through her agent, Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency (www.nelsonagency.com), via her website (www.gailcarriger.com), on Livejournal, Blogspot, Twitter, Goodreads or Facebook.

*A Note From Our Programming Director:*

If you're wondering what kind of workshops will be offered at this year's PPWC, we have updated the sampling on the website.

When you're visiting Pikespeakwriters.com, click on the "PPWC" button, and then "PPWC Workshops." Or use this link: http://www.pikespeakwriters.com/ppwc/workshops/

This is not an exhaustive list. We offer more than 60 workshops on a huge variety of topics, plus 15 Read & Critique sessions (in three different flavors) you can sign up for when you register.

See you in April!

MB