Tag Archives: writers

First Ever Word Sharks Conference

I first thought about hosting my own conference years ago. I wondered, “Who would come?” I ruminated, I wondered, I worried.

And then I put the idea out there…on social networking.

I got a handful of responses. I thought, “Hmm, not much interest.”

And then I had another thought: perhaps this first Word Sharks Conference should be small, intimate, personal.

So, the first Word Sharks Conference was created. It will happen this June in Newark, DE, near my hometown. In the home of my brother (the cheapest venue I could find, and he makes awesome ribs).

I am pleased and proud to tell you about the first Word Sharks Conference attendees and presenters.

Prepare for future Word Sharks Conferences. If this one flies – er, swims – we may do it again.

Barbara Forte AbateBarbara Forte Abate –

Finding Your Right Editor

Barbara Forte Abate grew up in Millbrook, New York, and currently lives in a creaky old house in Pennsylvania, where she makes up lies, doses them with truth, and titles it fiction. She is long time married to a very fine man and is the mother of four fabulous children. Barbara is the award-winning author of The Secret of Lies, Asleep Without Dreaming, and newly released, Painted From Memories.

JJ BROWNJ.J. Brown –

Writing for Good – Turning Tragedies Into Tales

J.J. Brown is a health journalist and the author of seven books including short stories, novels, poetry, and nonfiction. Originally from the foothills of the Catskill Mountains of New York, she now works and lives in New York City. J.J. Brown completed a PhD in genetics and worked as a research scientist prior to turning to health education, fiction writing and publishing.

Elizabeth CottrellElizabeth H. Cottrell –

Connect With Your Readers: Strategies for Nonfiction Writers

“An effective nonfiction writer teaches, informs, and often persuades or inspires. Connection and clarity are essential elements to outstanding nonfiction content: connection with the needs and desires of your reader and clarity about what will meet those needs and desires.” ~ Elizabeth H. Cottrell

In this workshop, Elizabeth will share strategies for connecting with your readers so they find your nonfiction book more readable, valuable, and compelling.

For over 25 years, Elizabeth has been a technical and freelance writer with content expertise in the areas of small business/entrepreneurship, biology/medicine, and community banking. Since 1991, she’s owned and operated RiverwoodWriter, LLC, offering both writing and desktop publishing services to help others get their ideas expressed and published. She has helped produce regional and family histories, and has ghostwritten a corporate history, a memoir, and several other nonfiction books.

Elizabeth is a bank board member, community activist, Extra Class amateur radio operator (W4EHC), note-writing evangelist, and (from a former life) published leprosy researcher. She and her husband John live in Virginia on the north fork of the Shenandoah River, where every day she is inspired by her surroundings. Elizabeth blogs at Heartspoken.com about strengthening life’s essential connections—with God, with self, with others, and with nature.

Pam WightPamela Wight –

Exploring the Hidden Stories in Your Mind

“Writing is the act of burning through the fog in your mind.” – N. Goldberg. How do we lift the fog and discover our creativity? My creative ‘wighting’ for fun classes help students explore the hidden stories in their minds. In our Delaware explorations, I’ll share some of the writing exercises and tips I’ve used to encourage pens (or laptops) to flow with ease. All you need to bring (besides your writing accoutrements) is a zeal for the zany and poignant, a sense of humor, and a willingness to be open and honest as you write.

Pamela Wight has an M.A. in Literature and is a writer, editor, and teacher with a focus on adult fiction. She has published two books (The Right Wrong Man and Twin Desires) and writes a weekly blog called Roughwighting. Pamela’s career has included editing medical textbooks, writing medical articles for Advance newsmagazines, and devoting years as the managing editor of the journal Radiologic Technology. Pamela has taught creative writing classes for over 25 years in both the San Francisco and Boston areas.

Karen Sanderson (4)Karen R. Sanderson –

Editing and Proofreading Tidbits and Tricks

Karen will call on her years of research and work with writers to provide editing tidbits and proofreading tricks to help make your writing better and more concise.

Karen R. Sanderson was raised by a mother who wanted to be an English teacher and who worked for Merriam-Webster as a proofreader and an aunt who could complete the Sunday New York Times crossword in a day. Karen completed writing coursework through UCLA and University of New Mexico and was the winner of the SouthWest Writers 2009 Writing Contest – The Best Hook. She is currently pursuing her BA in English at Minot State University. Her short stories have been featured in The Rose & Thorn Journal, Every Child is Entitled to Innocence anthology, Valley Living Magazine, BewilderingStories.com, and WritingRaw.com. 

Stephen King –

He’s been invited but probably won’t show up.

And if his people tell him about the invitation I sent…I suggested he show up with a basket full of Maine lobsters.

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A Legendary North Dakota Conference Experience

fargo

 A Legendary North Dakota Conference Experience

I have attended numerous national conferences, and not one of them compared to the intimate (and awesome!) North Dakota Bloggers & Writers Conference I recently attended in Fargo, ND. Not only did I connect with writers from North Dakota, Minnesota, and Canada, but I experienced Fargo for the first time.

Before the conference kick off, my BFF and I visited The Rourke Art Museum.

Wine cellar at the Hotel Donaldson

Wine cellar at the Hotel Donaldson

Sunday Evening Walk About

Attendees gathered Sunday evening at the Radisson and paraded over to the Hotel Donaldson for a tour of a couple of their unique artist-inspired rooms, the wine cellar, and their distinctive work-out room. That was followed by hors d’ouveres at the Donaldson’s HODO Restaurant. Other stops in downtown included Unglued Craft Market, olive oils and balsamics at Pinch and Pour, and brews at Wurst Bier Hall.

Pinch and Pour

Pinch and Pour

Conference Day 

Monday’s conference started with a scrumptious breakfast of fresh fruit, bagels and pastries, coffee, tea, and juices.

Morning Presentations 

Rachel Hutton – Editor, Minnesota Monthly

Freelance Writers Panel

Freelance Writers Panel

Freelance Writers Panel with Jessie Veeder Scofield, Jennifer Dewey Rohrich, and Amity Moore

Moderator, Beth Schatz Kaylor, blogger at Rhubard and Venison

More Yummies

Lunch was presented with panache…pasta salad, seasoned potatoes, zucchini and squash with peppers and onions, and roast au jus.

Kim Jondahl, North Dakota State Historical Soceity

Kim Jondahl, North Dakota State Historical Soceity

Afternoon Presentations

Kim Schmidt – North Dakota Tourism

Kim Jondahl – North Dakota State Historical Society

Nicole Moen – Fargo-Moorhead Convention & Visitors Bureau

Roundtables

Afternoon roundtables included Writing Blogs That People Love with Jessie Veeder Scofield, Visit with the Editor with Rachel Hutton, Photography Inspired with Jennifer Dewey Rohrich, and Writing Tips and Tricks with Amity Moore.

Kim Schmidt (center) at the Hotel Donaldson tour

Kim Schmidt (center) at the Hotel Donaldson tour

Final Presentation

Passion with a Purpose – Tony, Sarah, and Gio Nasello of Sarello’s Restaurant and Wine Lounge in Moorhead, MN, and of Home with the Lost Italian.

Breaking Up

We broke up. I didn’t want to leave. I felt like I had new friends all over the state!

Display of the reconstruction at the Hotel Donaldson

Display of the reconstruction at the Hotel Donaldson

Other Bloggers

Here are the resulting blog posts about the conference. And many of these blogs have incredible North Dakota photos.

Allison “A. J.” Bauers of The Covert Extravert with A Guide for First-Time Conference Attendees

Sarah and Tony Nasello of Home with the Lost Italian, Staking Our Claim as North Dakotans

Roxane Beauclair Salonen, thePeace Garden Writer, Secret Spaces

Jessie Veeder Scofield of Meanwhile, back at the ranch with A North Dakota Story

Devin Berglund writes The ND Writing & Blogging Workshop, Through My Eyes

Jenny Dewey Rohrich, The Prairie Californian, with Refreshing My Passion for North Dakota

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Filed under Blogging, Social Networking, Special Events

Will you be remembered after the writers’ conference?

fargoI am attending a writer/blogger conference in Fargo, North Dakota, this month.

I looked back on my writers’ conference tips, written last year. I also wrote about “branding” back in 2013 – you can see that link here.

For this conference, I thought…

How do I want to present myself? (The Word Shark, editor extraordinaire)

How do I want to dress? (professionally, in colors to match my website and blog)

What do I need to have? (biz cards, a name tag, give-away pens)

People are going to remember me because

I dressed like a professional editor – sensible shoes, a blazer, neat hairdo, spare make-up. And everything about me is going to scream, “Shark!”

Personalize

I’m not going to use any entry-table name tag, no way. I made my own. You guessed it – it has a shark on it.

Hand outsDSC02485

I will have The Word Shark biz cards and give-a-way pens with a shark charm (people will take me home with them).

North Dakota bloggers on FB

I discovered and joined the FB group, North Dakota Bloggers. There has been some chit-chat about the conference, and I have connected with a handful of attendees as well as presenters.

Research the presenters

Before any conference, you get a who’s-presenting email. Do look up these people, connect with them on social networking, follow their blogs ahead of conference time.

Magazine articles

One of the presenters at this conference is the editor of a local, regional magazine. Will I have a couple of articles to hand her? You bet your dorsal fin!

DSC02496Engage

Don’t just show up at the conference – engage. Talk to people, ask questions about their projects, and participate in discussions. Exchange cards so you can send a follow up email, “Nice to meet and you at the conference…”

When all the conference-goers go home

They will pick up my shark pen and say, “Hey, maybe I do need an editor.”

 

Conference ready!

Got the shark name tag

Got shark-pen give-away swag

Got a flashy shark shirt for downtown Fargo walk-about

Got a quiet shark tee and blazer for the conference crowd

Got the biz cards, ready to hand out

It’s all conference I’m about!

 

How do you prepare for a writers’ conference?

What’s your favorite thing about attending a writers’ conference?

 

Cool shark-charm pens custom made by The English Rose.

 

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Filed under Blogging, Branding & Platform, Social Networking

What is “branding?”

brandingBranding – what the heck is it?

An “expert” came to me with a proposed guest blog about branding. I looked at her site, Twitter, Fan Page. Her site had a rheumy picture and bland copy. Her Twitter had five tweets (still has five tweets months later), and her Fan Page had four posts in six months. Each site looked different. There was no consistent message. What kind of branding is that?

Why would I follow her advice (or feature her on my blog) when she can’t brand herself out of a paper bag? Couldn’t brand herself with two hands and a map.

In proper Word Shark fashion, I started to research. I Googled “branding.” I read a bunch of blogs and articles. And I asked my connections what they thought.

April Michelle Davis Editorial Inspirations – “My website, business card, print materials, and everything about my company has the same colors, fonts, look, and feel.”

I think the theme/scheme is important. You don’t want to be pastels and floral on one page, and dark and gruesome skulls on another page. You want your colors and your feel to translate from one page to the next.

Shark and bluek

If you look at my Fan Page, you see a shark in blue water. If you look at my Twitter profile, you see a shark in blue water. My website – shark and blue. My blog – shark, blue.

Published writer Ilil Arbel – “Personal branding is positively grabbing someone’s attention by creating a unique, unforgettable image. Personal branding, by definition, is the process by which we market ourselves to others. Each one of us has to develop their own USP – Unique Selling Proposition – to communicate our brand, as the big corporations do.”

Ilil digs deeper – “Yes, I think branding goes deeper than a logo and a color scheme. It has to create an image that is strong enough to be remembered by concept, not just shape.”

Going deeper

I like what Ilil said about going deeper. Branding is not just a color scheme or font. It’s what you stand for, it’s what you deliver; it’s following through on promises and conducting oneself with professional integrity.

Public identification

Elizabeth H. Cottrell of Heartspoken and Riverwood Writer says, “Branding is the development of a public identification through marketing, imagery, logo, and consistent messaging. In includes everything related to social media activity, advertising, etc. In a nutshell, it’s what pops into people’s minds when you or your company name is mentioned.”

k 2Consistent messaging

I try to put forth a consistent message about the importance of editing and proofreading. I like to introduce new writers, bloggers, poets, musicians, and artists in my special monthly features. I am a bit (a bit?) sarcastic at times, but try to present it in a humorous fashion. I share what I’ve learned and pay it forward.

Consistent message

Artist and illustrator, Janice Phelps Williams – “Good branding is nothing more than knowing who you are, who you want to be, what you are good at, what people will respond to, and how to live your personal and professional life in a consistent manner. It is being consistent in words, in graphics, in subject. It is being focused and knowing where the boundaries are. These are the only rules I focus on. I don’t really think of my brand, but I know when something ‘doesn’t feel like me.’”

Doesn’t feel like me   

There are certain bloggy features that don’t feel like me, i.e., book reviews, interviews, or constantly hawking myself or my services. So, I just don’t do any of those things.

***

What is “branding” to you? What is your consistent message?

“Become someone worth knowing. Then your book will become something worth buying.” – C. Hope Clark

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The English Rose give-away winner

English Rose 4

On Christmas Eve Day I posted The story behind The English Rose with an announcement for a special holiday give-away.

The winner of the holiday give-away for $20 worth of The English Rose pens/pencils is Esther Miller. Congratulations, Esther!

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It’s never too late

Even if you didn’t win the give-away, you can still connect with Collette on Facebook or email The English Rose at englishroseest2011@yahoo.com.

I hope you enjoyed the holiday posts. Next up – a special four-pack of guest blogging tips.

Rose 5

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The story behind The English Rose

English Rose 1About Collette, The English Rose

I am a Military wife of 11 years; my husband is active duty Air Force. We met while he was stationed in Spain and traveled to England for classes. I am British by birth, hence The English Rose name. We currently live at Eglin AFB in Florida and have four wonderful children together, one of whom is special needs.English Rose 8

The business started when I used one of my pens at a store and the cashier asked me where I’d purchased it; I explained I had made it. The cashier asked if I sold them; when I said no she said I should. From there, everything just fell into place.

English Rose 2

Ordering on the page is easy – you can hit the Order Here Tab located at the top of the page by the photo album, or, if you prefer, email me at englishroseest2011@yahoo.com. From there we discuss exactly what you would like for your customized order.

English Rose 4

Connect with The English Rose 

Connect on Facebook or email The English Rose at englishroseest2011@yahoo.com.

English Rose 3

Writers

Wouldn’t these pens or pencils be a great give-away at a book signing or conference? You can have them personalized with your name and website!

Special holiday give-away

Make a comment on this English Rose guest blog and be entered in a random drawing to win a $20 gift of English Rose pens or pencils. A comment must be made by midnight of Christmas Day. Winner will be announced December 26.

English Rose 6

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May I quote you? Great writing quotes.

Anton Chekhov

Anton Chekhov: Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.*

E. L. Doctorow: Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.

Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury: You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.

Elmore Leonard: I try to leave out the parts that people skip.

Toni Morrison: If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.

Sharon O’Brien: Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say.

Isaac Asimov: If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.

Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde: A man who does not think for himself does not think at all.

W. Somerset Maugham: There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.

*Anton Chekhov’s quote about the glint of light on glass is one of my all time favorite quotes. I think about this quote every time I consider “show, don’t tell.”

Do you have a favorite writer’s quote?

How many of these authors have you read?  

Quotes taken from Brainy Quote and Quote Garden

Photos from Wikipedia

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Filed under Blogging, Personal Articles, Publishing, Social Networking