What Are Your Chances of Being an Olympian?

An equestrian enthusiast and fan of this blog, Jenn Bohman, sent me this graphic I’m about to share with you. Jenn thought you, my readers, particularly the equestrians in the crowd, might be interested.  I hope you are, and if you normally visit my blog to read about writing, well, take a break from writing and catch some Olympic spirit in the final days.

I, like many, have been caught up in serious Olympic fever over these past few weeks. I get so emotional watching athletes in all sports compete like they never have before to proudly represent their countries. So many highlights, and such class, demonstrated over and over again by both rookie and seasoned athletes. I get very emotional, cry a lot, and stay up way past my bedtime. But have you ever wondered what the odds for an athlete to actually reach the Olympic Games? [Read more…]

Tips for the Perfect Blog Post

Sharing with #SCBWIsocial

I’ve been studying blogging lately, and thought I’d share Derek Halpern’s easy reference “How to Write the Perfect Blog Post” with you. It’s okay, he gave me permission.

Not all blogs are alike – use what works for you.

I’ve personally struggled along the way. Has anyone else heard these voices: Is anyone reading this?  Who cares? Why am I doing this? I’ve concluded my approach to blogging NOW follows the way I accomplish most of what I do. I start with a basic plan; learn as much as I can; adjust and modify using what seems to work; learn from what doesn’t; and keep moving forward. Positively.

I consider an expert’s experience with 1,000,000 pageviews a day worthy of sharing with you.

So read on for the step-by-step guidance on the Perfect Blog Post (click to enlarge), from which I think any blogger or writer can learn AT LEAST one valuable tip.

PerfectBlogPost
Like this? Learn how to use psychology to get more traffic and sales with Social Triggers.

And just to personally follow Derek’s advice, here’s where I’ll ask you to subscribe in the sidebar to the right, if you’d like to see future blog posts and benefit from other lessons I’ve learned.  Hey, it’s free…just as is the “Leave a Comment” feature. Happy blogging!

Keeping It Real at the Annapolis Book Festival

This year, the Annapolis Book Festival included a panel, “Young Adult Books: Keeping It Real.” The title alone fascinated me, and I was thrilled to be part of it. The Key School in Annapolis created the Annapolis Book Festival 10 years ago when a group of dedicated parents decided to bring a world class event promoting reading and writing to Annapolis, Md. Once involved with the event, I quickly recognized why the Annapolis Book Festival holds the reputation as one of the finest book festivals in the region. With over 40 authors and 25 panels, The Key School saw to every detail and ensured both authors and audiences enjoyed the event.

[Read more…]

Critiquing Guidelines via Edie Hemingway

I blogged recently about the value of receiving critiques as a writer. I then fortunately received the following guidelines from co-Regional Advisor of the Maryland-Delaware-West Virginia Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Edie Hemingway, on giving critiques. Edie graciously agreed to let me share these tips in my blog as a follow-up to my last post.

In Edie’s words, “I put these together when I started teaching my own workshops, based on my experiences ‘workshopping’ during my MFA program at Spalding University. I’ll also be using them for the online course I’m teaching this summer for McDaniel College’s graduate certificate program in Writing for Children and Young Adults.”

Edie Hemingway is the author of Road to Tater Hill
(Delacorte Press and Yearling paperback), winner of a 2009 Parents’ Choice Gold Award, and besides writing, teaches several writing workshops. If you’d like to find out more about her and her programs, she can be reached at
http://www.ediehemingway.com

This is a great list for those who belong to a critique group or plan on joining one. As Edie suggests, these are also useful during the revision process.

[Read more…]

Kings of Colorado – Book Review

Kings of Colorado by David E. Hilton

Not long ago, I received an e-mail that went something like this:

“Dear Valerie,
David E. Hilton’s debut novel KINGS OF COLORADO—now available in paperback (Simon & Schuster; January 3, 2012; $14.00)—is a powerful coming-of-age story set on a juvenile delinquent ranch in the Rockies….I would love to send you a copy of KINGS OF COLORADO to review, giveaway, or feature on Believing in Horses….” 

Since Simon & Schuster cared about my thoughts, I thought I would share them here as well.

In Kings of Colorado (Simon and Schuster, 2011) by David E. Hilton, Will Sheppard stabs, but does not kill, his father, and pays the price for the rest of his life. Sent to the Swope Ranch Boys’ Reformatory in Colorado across the country from his Chicago home, thirteen-year-old Will learns lessons one would hope a child protecting his mother from his abusive father would never have to learn. Two years at the brutal boys’ ranch toughens Will, but does not leave him devoid of emotions. His saving graces include friendships, a special horse he trains, and a kind nurse. Will endures one violent and tragic hardship after another, leaving the reader wondering if he can possibly survive.

[Read more…]

The New Short Story – Guest Post by Edward H. Carpenter

Today I’m featuring a guest post by Edward H. Carpenter, on the re-emergence of the short story in literature. Ed and I became friends via Goodreads due to our military connection. I rarely see a military uniform in an author’s profile photo, so when I saw the Marine green, the Navy blue in me had to say “hi.” Here is a little about Ed and what influences his writing, in his own words:

“Well, I’m one of 12 children, a career military officer, a small business owner, and an athlete. I’ve flown planes and jumped out of them, served in war zones and looked into the empty sockets of skulls in a mass grave. I’ve lived in Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia, and traveled to more countries than I can list, but not nearly enough.

[Read more…]