Thursday, January 07, 2010

Volume I, Issue I

“He who spends time regretting the past loses the present and risks the future.”
Francisco de Quevedo
(Spanish Writer)


It’s a New Year and time for new beginnings. For me personally, I look forward to chalking up 2009 as a learning experience and diving right in to 2010. I had some accomplishments-three of my books hit the shelves, and some disappointments—didn’t get to promote my books as I wanted to because of time constraints and wasn’t able to work on my fiction like I had planned.
But what’s in the past is past. I can’t go back and change 2009. All I can do is look ahead and do better. I always make out a list of goals for the upcoming year. This year I intend to keep current with this newsletter, something I’ve been meaning to do for five to ten years now; work on my fiction, I know if I write one page a day at the end of the year, I’ll have a book; stay in touch better with friends and relatives, to name only a few things.
Problems always seem to arrive mid-year. I do great for the first few months and then things fall apart. I like to pride myself in the discipline I have, when in truth I know I do not have the work ethic some of my friends have, especially one. I am currently interviewing Merline Lovelace for F&W’s Novel and Short Story Market Book. She and I started writing around the same time. Today, she has 75 books published with millions in print. I have fourteen, most with small publishers and hundreds of articles. The difference between Merline and me is she sits at her computer ten hours a day.
I realize we have different lifestyles, different responsibilities, different personalities, but still I can’t help but admire her discipline. I sit down at the computer for a few hours and find I have to get up, do something different. Sometimes, when I get to my computer, I do everything else, like check the weather, email, facebook, etc. before I ever open my word processing program. This year, I’m going to work on getting in to the discipline of work. Working on my writing projects is going to be my number one priority. If I have to start small, then I will.
I read an article a few years back. The writer wrote about how he was having trouble with discipline. He decided to get on his computer, open his word processing program and work for thirty minutes on his writing. Even if he didn’t write a word and the page remained blank, he would sit there for thirty minutes. After a week of staring at the cursor blink, he became so bored he started writing. At first, it was anything to get words on paper. After a few weeks, he found he was into a story. He lengthened his time until finally he was writing up to six hours solid a day.
In the past, I have said “I am serious about my writing” and from the outside it may look like I have been, but I have known the truth. This year, I am taking a different approach.
What is your approach? Have you studied, really considered what you want to accomplish in 2010? Written down your goals? If you haven’t thought about it, do. Even if you aim at the moon and miss, you might hit a star. And forward progress is forward.
Look to 2010 with optimism and a desire to succeed my friend. I am.

The best way to get in the habit of writing is to, of course, write every day. If you are stuck and can’t think of any topics to write about, why don’t you visit This site was picked as a Writer’s Digest Top 101 Websites for Writers. On the opening page, you will find 346 writing prompts. Just move your cursor over the numbers, read the prompt and start writing. It’s a great way to practice your craft without feeling the need or pressure for perfection.

We all wake up in the middle of the night with a great writing idea. Most of us have learned to get up and write those ideas down. I say “get up” because many of us have a partner beside us and can’t turn the lights on. Well, we could turn the lights on, but that wouldn’t be considerate and in most cases we’d awaken a bear we’d rather not deal with.
On the flip side, we don’t get up. We lie in bed, convincing ourselves we’ll remember in the morning, and fall back to sleep. When morning does come and we can’t remember the brilliant idea we had at 2:00 a.m. we become bears ourselves.
I have found the solution to the problem. It is called the “Magellan’s Night Writer Pen”. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the pen, it has a light on the bottom half that illuminates a fair amount of paper, so you can write down those ideas in the middle of the night without getting out of your warm bed and disturbing your partner. The cost is $19.85 plus shipping and handling. You can order the Night Writer Pen from or pens like it and much cheaper at

In this section of the newsletter, I will be presenting markets that are currently looking at writer’s manuscripts. This month, I’d like to introduce you to Dan Case is the publisher. This house is a small publisher, but it covers many different genres. Case has several series he publishes as well as individual genres. This house does not offer an advance, but the royalty rate is competitive. To check out this market, visit

I just completed reading the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyers. I had never read any vampire books and actually shunned the suggestion, but then I watched Twilight the movie and I admit I am hooked. After I finished that series, I read Pride and Prejudice again. I typically read P and P once a year. Then it was on to research reading. I read three books my Merline Lovelace, All the Wrong Moves, Undercover Wife, and The Duke’s New Year’s Resolution. For those of you who have never read Merline, I would recommend her books highly. Her attention to detail is incredible. Now, I’m reading a novel by Laura Kinsale and Finding Your Voice by Les Edgerton. I hope in February to give you a review of Finding Your Voice.

Make a list of as many childhood memories as you can remember good and bad. Keep this list in your journal. Once a week, pull your list out and write about one of those memories. Remember to write about how you felt then (if you can remember) and how you feel now about the event. One day, the memory might be useful in another piece of work.

Disclaimer: Deborah does not make any money off the products she discusses in this newsletter or endorse any website or market. Her purpose is to provide information only. She believes research and decision making is always left to the individual reader.