Tag Archives: contests

Renewal Giveaway

 

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UPDATE: Congratulations Barb, your name was chosen to win the bookmark. Thank you so much for commenting. I hope you like your bookmark as much as I like mine. If you send me your address to my email maribethpgraham at comcast.net I will forward your bookmark to you.

Somewhere along my travels of the mundane days of work, I got lost. I stopped dreaming. I stopped envisioning a life other than the one necessary to survive. I stopped trying. I stopped writing.

And when I did, I lost myself. I betrayed myself. I am a lot of things to a lot of people, daughter, wife, mother, sister, friend, employee but in order to be good at any of those positions, I must first be true to myself.

I’m a writer. I’m eccentric at times. I have a weird sense of humor (and usually connect best with those who share it.) I’m a daydreamer. I’m an empathetic human who can see myself in everyone I meet. I can be an air head at times but also a force to be reckoned with. I’m silly but intense and will not apologize for my imagination. It is the gift I was given.

We all have a purpose. We all have struggles, self-doubt, moments of self-hate, but we all possess, beauty, talents and share collective thoughts. We need to inspire each other to become the best versions of ourselves. We need to help one another see the gifts within. When we start to do this, small parts of the world will change.

I may have taken breaks through my writing journey,but, I always seem to come back to the craft that makes my soul feel at home.

To celebrate my renewal of spirit and my newfound excitement to get back into what I so adore, I’m having a giveaway.

These hand-crafted book marks are made by Trades of Hope. These women have faced many struggles. They use their talents to help support their children and community.I’m in love with these bookmarks. I want to share one with you.

All you must do is comment on my blog a positive word. I’m old-school, the list of winners will be thrown in a hat and picked at random.

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Contest for YA fiction Writers

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Are you a young adult fiction author? If you are polish up the first two hundred words of your manuscript and enter the Writer’s “Dear Lucky Agent Contest.”
Writer’s Digest is holding its 15th free lucky agent contest. Three lucky winners (I’d love to be one of them wouldn’t you?) will get get 1) A critique of the first 10 double-spaced pages of your work, by your agent judge. 2) A free one-year subscription to WritersMarket.com ($50 value)!

The agent this month is Andrea Somberg. Here is the description Writer’s Digest gives for Ms. Somberg:
A literary agent for close to fifteen years, Andrea Somberg represents a wide range of fiction and nonfiction, including projects aimed at a young adult and middle grade audience. Previously an agent at the Donald Maass Agency and Vigliano Associates, she joined Harvey Klinger Inc. in the spring of 2005. Andrea has also been a MediaBistro instructor, teaching courses on writing nonfiction and memoir book proposals.

Be sure to hurry because this contest will be closed to submissions as of Wednesday, April 9th. To check out the full details click here.

Contests are a great way to get discovered. If you are entering a contest be sure that the site holding the contest is reputable. Good Luck,
If you don’t write YA fiction, let me know what you do write. I’m always interested in the genre’s people choose to write.

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My First Literary Interview

Lydias Literary Lowdown with Lydia Aswolf 3/1/2011 – WGGM | Internet Radio | Blog Talk Radio.

 

I recently was interviewed by Lydia Aswolf over at Lydia’s Literary Lowdown. It was my first literary interview. She was fabulous and asked me some great questions. We talked about the journey a writer takes, where my inspiration comes from, finding time to write and the process of shopping my book around (The Graveyard Five). Today, I am posting the interview on my blog. I hope you like what you hear. Happy Writing!

I am trying to build my platform. What are some things that you have done to try and build a platform?

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WHAT COULD YOU WIN?

As I was writing my previous post, I had a moment of spontaneity. Blame it on Valentines Day. Cupid must have whispered into my ear, “Hey Mar, why not make this a giveaway?”

Because I was inspired unsuspectingly, I didn’t give much thought to the contest or the gift but after two days I came up with something I think any writer would like. I know I would (that is why I also ordered one for myself). I decided to have a customized bracelet made up (The kind Lance Armstrong made famous-You know “Livestrong”).

So far, I only have one entrant but hopefully that will change (If not then I’m sure Amy will be happy).

Click on the Link below to get a peek of what the bracelet looks like. It is a silicone wrist band with I WRITE MY OWN ENDINGS on one side and I WRITE BECAUSE I CAN on the other.

Click on the link below to see a sample. In case you missed the post here was the prompt : Lexie stepped off of the train (What does Lexie stepping off of a train have to do with love? Was she meeting up with the guy she left everything for? Was she returning home to tend to a sick parent? Was she following her dreams?)

The contest will end Monday at 11:30 a.m. I am not making you do anything special. If you would like to mention it on Twitter please feel free to do so. You could mention it in a blog if you’d like, I think that would be A*W*E*S*O*M*E.

BRACELET

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Writing About Love Giveaway

Happy Valentines Day! Love, aah yes, it’s what makes the world go around. We all look for it, give it, receive it and would have a hard time living without it. Love is a writer’s friend. If you are a writer then chances are you have written about love.

Today is a good day to write. It is a day of observation. Take the time to focus on what emotions are being displayed. Is there a co-worker that is in a terrible mood because her and her significant other called it quits and today she has no valentine?

Did you witness flowers being delivered to an unsuspecting person? How did they respond?

I’m willing to bet that every novel written has some element of love within its pages. It can be materialistic love, sibling love, romantic love, love of power, platonic love or unconditional. Love is not just mushy. It can be the root to violence, insecurities, and betrayal.

Today’s post is a writing exercise. It has two parts.

First Part- Take one of your favorite novels down from the shelf and begin exploring the pages. Where did the author write about love? What type of scene did they create? How did you feel after reading their words? Did anything about their words inspire you?

Second Part- Create your own love scene. Remember it doesn’t have to be sunshine, rainbows, kisses and hugs. It could be storms, rocky roads and sacrifice.

Writing Prompt: Lexie stepped off of the train (What does Lexie stepping off of a train have to do with love? Was she meeting up with the guy she left everything for? Was she returning home to tend to a sick parent? Was she following her dreams?)

You could go anywhere with one sentence. What the heck let me see where you take this and you might win a surprise. I’m in the mood for a giveaway.

Make me feel love in 100 words or less and you may be a winner.

Because this giveaway was spontaneous I do not yet know what the gift will be but I promise it will be well thought out.

Love and Kisses xoxoxoxo

Maribeth

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Not Everything Can Be Made Up When Writing Fiction

Writing fiction can be extraordinary fun. You get to create worlds, explore myths and dabble with creation. You can write about a Stratabear (completely made up) living on a cloud drinking raindrops while sprinkling rays of sunshine on unsuspecting guests. You can make this rare bear have a super long tail, cat like whiskers and tye-dyed eyes.

Yes, fiction can be fun but it is important to remember not everything should be made up if you want to be taken seriously as a writer. If you are writing about how the Stratabear only comes off of the cloud to feed his honeysuckle sucking habit, you cannot say that his favorite month to suck the sweet flower is December. Why not? Because, Honeysuckle does not grow in December. (If you want it to be December, you must come up with an explanation of why it is growing in December so if the reader questions this you have an answer ready)

You can have the most imaginative piece of work but if the facts are wrong, your highly fantastical tale may get dismissed.

When I began writing fiction, I thought every thing could be made up and nothing had to be checked. Thanks to several writing courses I learned that lack of research is a quick way to get your work dismissed.

Below is a list of things to think about when creating fiction.

• If you are writing a period piece, familiarize yourself with the era. Eg. What names were popular? What style of clothing was worn? What was going on in the world?
• If you mention a plant or flower make sure you are in the right month. (See above, Honeysuckle does not grow in December)
• If you mention a real town, make sure you know facts about that town such as the weather patterns, schools, landmarks etc.
• If you mention a famous piece of literature make sure you have read it and know who wrote it. (Imagine saying something like Stephanie loved Romeo and Juliet, it was one of her favorite stories by Hemingway) Something like this might get your manuscript tossed into a paper shredder
• If you are writing about a character with a specific occupation, be sure you know what that occupation entails.
• If you are writing about natural disasters, make sure you are in the right State. E.g. Pennsylvania is not known for large Earthquakes. It doesn’t mean that PA can never have an earthquake, but it does mean that the characters won’t be complaining that they are sick of living in PA because of the Earthquakes (Unless of course you make up a futuristic story that explains why all of the sudden PA suffers from frequent quakes).

I can go on and on but I think the point has been made. Writing fiction does not mean that you never have to research. Get your facts straight. Don’t jeopardize your career because you didn’t feel like doing the legwork.

Are you a fiction writer? What do you love about writing fiction?

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THE ART OF OBSERVING

Have you ever been in a situation where you catch another person looking you up (or down) from head to toe? Your first thought is probably something like “What is she (or he) looking at?” This is the exact thing a writer must do in order to create characters, develop scenes and incorporate details. Imagine if every book you read had only a plot? What if there was no character description, no setting imagery or no sounds mentioned? I think you would agree that most readers would find the book BORING. It is the incorporation of a writer’s observation that brings a book to life. A dark haired man is bland. A dark haired man with a receding hairline, beer gut and a tattered white t-shirt adorned with sweat soaked arm pits becomes interesting (or disgusting). A scene where a girl sits by herself on a bench in a park isn’t much of anything. Adding detail to the scene gives the reader a visual and helps bring them into the life the writer created. E.g. A teenage girl sits on a spray painted park bench under an oak tree and notices a large groups of kids huddled around the basketball court watching grown men play a game of hoops. The reader can now envision the setting because of the addition of minor details, such as the spray painted bench, the oak tree and the basketball game.
If you are a writer think of yourself as a sponge. Everything around you should be soaked up.
If you want to master the art of observing you must do the following.

*Wherever you are take in the sounds. Practice closing your eyes and assimilate all that is audible. How many sounds throughout the day do you ignore because they have become too common? E.g. Birds chirping, horns beeping, sirens, dogs barking etc.

*Watch the Activity. Try sitting in a highly active place (restaurant, park, casino, sports arena, concert, etc.) and write down what is happening around you. What is the waitress doing? Is there a child sliding down a slide for the first time? Are there groups of people listening to music in the parking lot prior to the concert they are anxiously waiting for?
*Pay attention to emotions. Does the gambler look excited or frustrated? Weddings, funerals and sporting events are great for observing emotions.

*Watch for mannerisms. Mannerisms as I have discussed in previous posts make characters relatable. Does the young waitress have a habit of licking her lips? Does the lead singer jump up and down before the start of a new song? Is the football player known for blessing himself before he leaves the huddle?

*Don’t forget about nature. Nature is free art. Getting in touch with nature may sound corny to some but it is a must for a writer.

*Watch the animals. Don’t ignore the birds that chirp on the telephone wire, dismiss the squirrels that scurry up the tree or fail to pay attention to the neighborhood cat. They all can add to a scene.

*Make note of a person’s sense of style. Do they have a flair that begs to be imitated? Do they appear sloppy looking? Is their pants one size too small or two sizes too big? All of this can be used for character building.

*Check out the atmosphere. Make it a point to scan your surroundings. If you are in a friend’s home look at their décor for inspiration. What unique things do they have that can add depth to a scene. Does your favorite restaurant have booths or tables covered in linen?

Promise yourself that this week you will take time to really observe. Soak in your surroundings. But, remember that too much detail can be overkill and turn a reader off. Find a way to add your observations in a non obvious way.

What observations have I missed that you think are important?
Where do you like to go to observe?

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Why I am Your Dream Client:(Info I can’t include in a query or bio)

A good query will pique an agent’s interest and hopefully prompt them to request more. A bio will give an agent a glimpse of who you are. The social media networks will allow an agent to get an even better grasp on a potential client, (what they look like, what family and friends say about them, what their interests are). Today’s post is meant to be fun yet informative. Currently, I have three partials out there swimming in the sea of possibility. I have decided to list ten reasons why I think I would be a dream client just in case one of those agents decides to check out my blog. What would you tell an agent about yourself if you could?

1. I LOVE constructive criticism. I am completely aware that I will never reach my full potential unless I am willing to listen to what others have to say. I do not view constructive criticism as an attack. If I had nothing more to learn, I would already have many published books under my belt. Note to other writers- Don’t respond immediately to constructive criticism. You are more apt to respond negatively within minutes than you are if you give yourself a few hours, even a few days.

2. I will never attack you via the internet. I won’t promise I will always agree with what you have to say but it is not my style to throw your name out into cyberspace to “get back” at you.

3. I am not trying to be the next J.K. Rowling, I am trying to be me. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t love to become as successful as a lot of today’s popular authors, I am saying I won’t try and ride on anyone else’s coattails. I want my work to be my own. I’d rather start a trend than follow one.

4. I am good at public speaking. Of course I get the jitters when standing in front of a group of people but the audience would never know.

5. I can get along with anyone. I think everyone has a story to tell. My motto is – look for the good within every person you meet and you might be surprised how your life changes. If you can’t find any good then you have a muse for evilness.

6. I will always give it one-hundred and ten percent. I want to be great at anything I do, not because I want to be better than anyone else, I just want to be the best of myself.

7. I have a fun sense of humor. Often, I connect with others based on sense of humor. I’d rather laugh at myself than at someone else.

8. I won’t pretend to know your job.

9. I have a trunk full of stories waiting to come to life. I don’t want to be a one trick pony.

10. I am LOYAL. I won’t look for every opportunity to get rid of you. If there was a problem I felt needed to be addressed, I would come to you first.

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TEN REASONS I WRITE

1. I truly believe I was born to write. I have done many things in my life and held numerous jobs (I currently love my day job) but through it all writing was always a part of what I did.

2. I love to create stories and then look back and think- Did I write that?

3. I want to see my name on a book cover. I want to see what my first book cover will look like (I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to this).

4. I love anything that has to do with words. Words to me are like numbers to a mathematician.

5. It is therapeutic to my soul. When I sit down to write, it’s like taking a mini vacation. Everything and everyone falls to the side. I could find myself on a beach, walking a desert or on the top of a mountain.

6. I’m an observer. Observing without producing is wasteful as far as I’m concerned.

7. I’d like my words to help someone else interpret life in a way they never thought they would.

8. I want my children to be able to have my words to read after I’m taken from their life.

9. It’s exciting. Any emotion I am feeling can be released through writing.

10. If I didn’t write, I wouldn’t be me.

We all have reasons to do what we do. I’m sure many of my reasons are similar to yours but I would still like to hear why you write. Do you have a reason different from the ones I listed?

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I HAVE A THINKING SPOT DO YOU?

As a young girl, my friends and I spent most of our days hidden underneath a Weeping Willow. It was our place. A magical spot obscured from everyone. Under the Willow, we took journeys to different places, shared secrets, stole kisses and expanded our imaginations. Life was never boring as long as we had our tree. As all children do, we eventually grew up and left the Willow but the Willow never left me. When I met my husband I shared my memories with him and would often have him drive me by the tree to reminisce. I knew he was listening but was still surprised when years later I came home to find my very own Weeping Willow in my backyard. It started off small but gradually grew to be as big as the one I sat under as a young girl. Nestled under my tree is a swing where I like to sit and think of journeys, secrets and kisses. My imagination expands when I’m under the tree and I have now declared it my thinking spot. It’s my sacred place where ideas bloom, stories unfold and my journal fills up with future stories that I hope one day others will read.
Every writer whether they are aware of it or not has a thinking spot. A place where they go to plot out a story, create characters and develop scenery. Where is your thinking spot?

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