Monday, February 20, 2017

Plan Your Writing Ideas for 2017

By Maritza Martinez Mejia

Are you organized? What is your plan for the New Year and the rest of the year? I have some ideas that may help you find the right path for a successful beginning.  Step by step you reach far. Go ahead! Have a productive 2017.

1.    Use Dream Boards, also called Vision Boards to remind you the path you desire to follow, and the goals you hope to achieve during the upcoming year using the power of images.  For detailed information visit here.

2.   Planners or Calendars to mark important due dates, meetings, anniversaries, birthdays or any important days you don’t want to miss. There a vast variety of calendars and planners. Which one is your best planner or calendar? I frankly use the calendar I received at the New Year’s Mass at my local church. I use it as MASTER CALENDAR. I mark all my children’s important school days and activities in black pen. I use blue pen for my working days as substitute teacher and purple for my book signing or book exhibitions. Finally, I use a red pen for important family activities or medical appointments. I happily use green for our TRIPS.

3.   Monthly Check List for a simple way to mark important dates in a list by month. After the task is done, you cross it off the list with a red pen or your favorite color pen. For me, the satisfaction of completing a task is unique.

No matter the style you use, it is important to get organized and set goals to achieve success. 

Make your dreams and turn them into goals to 2017. What is your planning style?
Maritza Martinez Mejia a bilingual substitute teacher born in Colombia lives in Florida with her husband and their two teenagers. For her active participation and service to the community, she is the recipient of the "Crystal Apple Award 2006." Maritza published her memoir "Hazel Eyes" (2010), "Vanilla and Chocolate" (2012), "Grandma's Treasure" (2014), "Poems, Thoughts and More" (2015), by WRB Publishing and  Ojos Avellana (2016) by Entre Lineas. She won the FAU Treasure Coast Poetry Contest Spring 2010, Virtue Christian Book Awards for Best Poetry 2015 and Latino Book Awards 2016 for BEST Translation and EBook. Both Bilingual Children Books received a FIVE Stars Seal Review by Reader's Favorite. Maritza obtained a Bachelor's degree in Humanities with a Certificate in Women's Studies from Florida Atlantic University. She graduated from Universidad Mayor de Cundinamarca in Commerce and Foreign Language. She translated into Spanish "Temporary Permanence" by Yashi Nozawa, "The Legend of the Colombian Mermaid" by Janet Balletta, and "Hazel Eyes" as "Ojos Avellana." Maritza writes to inspire others to be good. 
Author page:  Website:

Friday, February 17, 2017


By Janetta Fudge-Messmer

We’ve all heard the saying, “The Lord works in mysterious ways”. In my case, He directed me on a path I could never have imagined, and blessed me beyond measure.

Almost two years ago I had the privilege of spending a month with my mom after she transitioned into the nursing home. One day I started to ask her questions about her life. Each evening I’d go back to her home and type out what she’d shared with me that day. In the end, I had thirty-five pages of “Mom’s Story.” Later that year, I compiled it into a book (with photos) and ent it to my siblings. They loved it.

Also, while visiting Mom, I put the finishing touches on the novel I started the year before. I tell people that Early Birds is loosely based on my husband and my life. Our dog told us to quit our jobs, sell everything, buy an RV, and get on the road. (I’m happy to report we took Maggie’s advice and have traveled for over three years now.)

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t see a correlation with us hitting the highways and my mom’s story. But the Lord sure had a plan. A few months after Winged Publications published my debut novel, my hubby came up with a grand idea. We could sell my RV-inspired novel at RV rallies.

He called different RV groups and the state directors at the rallies wanted me to set up a booth and sell my book at them. Some even suggested I do a seminar, along with selling my book. I said, “Sure”, but didn’t have a clue what I’d talk about. Then I remembered “Mom’s Story”.

She had a story to tell and it was if the Lord was telling me, “Other people do too.” At my first seminar I shared my mother’s story and gave them questions to jumpstart their own writing. I also used my novel as an example of more ideas they could write about (friends, adventures, trials and tribulations, etc.).

It’s funny how two unrelated events ended up going hand in hand.  I’m learning so much on this writing/marketing journey, especially how much the Lord directs our paths when we let Him.

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your path; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:4

Janetta Fudge-Messmer is an inspirational author, speaker and editor. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and spent seven years as a speaker with Toastmasters International. Her first novel, Early Birds, was published January 2016. The sequel, Southbound Birds, followed in October 2016. Her newest novel, Chords of Love, is in a compilation with four other authors entitled My Secret Love.  Janetta’s past publications include a fiction article, A Working Relationship, published in Guideposts Magazine. Guideposts Books published, "Shorthaired Miracle”. She resides in Florida, or wherever the wind blows, with her husband of 35 years and their precious pooch Maggie. The three of them became full-time RVers in 2013 and enjoy traveling around the USA in their Minnie Winnie. All of Janetta’s novels are available on Amazon:  Website: Blog:
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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Authors Can Hoot About Managing Their Social Media

By Annette Cole Mastron, Communications Director of Southern Writers Magazine

We all know how much time just Facebook takes to get the word out about your books and author events. Some days it feels like Alice falling down the rabbit hole when you try to manage your social media. 
There are multiple social media management tools to help an author manage social media promotion. One of them is Hootsuite. Choose the free option to see how it works for your needs. You can manage many different social media venues. With Hootsuite you can manage post updates, connect with your fan base, and review responses on more than thirty-five popular social networks, such as:
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn (including Pages, Profiles, and Groups)
  • Foursquare
  • Facebook (including Events, Groups, Profiles, and Fan Pages)
  • Google+
  • WordPress blogs
It also connects you to several other platforms using third party apps. These include:
  • Vimeo
  • Instagram
  • Evernote
  • MailChimp
  • Storify
  • Edocr
  • Slideshare
  • Flickr
  • Tumblr
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Get Satisfaction, among others
You can even add more than one of the same network. You can manage multiple Twitter channels, or Facebook pages, post to multiple venues at the same time or schedule for future dates. Be aware of the types of followers you have on each social media site. Facebook may be different than your YouTube followers. Instagram is photo driven, and Twitter is #hashtag driven and limits post to 140 characters. Facebook allows longer posts with photos and videos. A word of caution: if a post is too lengthy on Facebook people, may not wade through the post. 
Hootsuite can be valuable to promoting you as an author. Penguin Random House has an excellent article on how Hootsuite can be of benefit to cut your time to manage your social media. It includes a quick YouTube to walk you through HootSuite.  
Hoot out if you use Hootsuite or give it a try let us know what you think. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Spell of Historical Fiction

By Murray Andrew Pura

Murray Pura’s “Beautiful Skin”, published by MillerWords out of Mount Dora, Florida, is a World War II Romance based somewhat on his family’s real-life experiences. He shares with us his thoughts on how to write compelling historical fiction, or as he says, how to weave the “spell”.

People that read historical fiction primarily want two things: they want to be entertained (something common to every reader) and they want to be educated (something that is not common to every reader). Moreover, they want the education aspect to be pleasant and painless. Many of them avoid the reading of history books because they find them dull. They want their history to be as exciting as an action film with lots of layers of plot and character development and intrigue and romance. The writer of historical fiction is expected to deliver if he and she want to have a growing fan base and better than average sales.

So the entertainment part is a given for any genre of fiction: offer up characters the reader soon begins to care about, create an intriguing plot with plenty of subplots and dramatic twists and turns, and bring about a conclusion that satisfies, even if the tears are flowing.   

The education part is trickier. Historical fiction fans want to feel like time travelers. They are excited about living in the past, not just reading about it. They want to feel as if they are really there: the clothing, the cooking, the houses, and the ways of getting around (whether by Model A Ford or by chariot) have to feel like the real thing. Every aspect of the story needs to be authentic. They don’t want to find out that the author got the airplanes wrong, or the firearms, or the dresses, or the dialects, or the politics.

Another part of the fun is truly being in the past, so far as the imagination goes, and finding out what you would have done if you really had lived during that era and experienced a dramatic turning point in history (Pearl Harbor, the Battle of Saratoga in the American Revolution, the rule of Henry VIII, the fall of the Roman Empire). So readers need to be able to identify with some of the main characters and some of the lesser characters too as, along with them, they make decisions that not only affect their personal destinies but the destinies of nations. This means that, coupled with meticulous research into the historical era represented in the story, the author must possess the skills to make history live, and make it so personal the reader is there, is feeling the tension and the pain and the wonder, and believes their actions make a difference to the fate of thousands, if not millions.

That’s a big part of the draw and the thrill of historical fiction: hearts really beat, lips really touch, blood really flows . . .  the fictional world is real . . . history comes alive in human skin and emotions and spirit . . . and the reader is a part of it, making history happen. This is the reality the writer must pursue with his research; this is the I-am-there feeling the author must bring to pass with the power of her story and the power of the words she weaves.
Murray Andrew Pura is the author of more than a dozen novels, two collections of short stories, and several non-fiction titles including the Zondervan books Rooted and Streams, as well as the Baker devotional Majestic & Wild. Born in Canada, he is a recent transplant to New Mexico. His first novel was released in Toronto in 1988 and was a finalist for the Dartmouth Book Award. Pura has been a finalist for several awards in the US and Canada, including the $25,000 Kobzar Literary Award for his novel Zo. In 2012, Pura won the Word Award of Toronto for Best Historical Novel for The White Birds of Morning. Connect with the author on Facebook. MillerWords is a Florida based independent publisher of positive and inspirational books for all ages that can be found online at or on Facebook at

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Writer’s Conference––Should I Go or Not?

By Susan Reichert, Editor-in-Chief for Southern Writers Magazine 

Do you ever wonder why you should go to a writer’s conference?

Do you come up with reasons to go or not to go?

If you asked that question to a room full of writers, you would likely get an equal amount of reasons for both––go or not go.

The top reasons people give to not go are:
Cost too much money.
Don’t have the time.
Too much to do.
Don’t want to travel far.
Don’t know anyone there.

The top reasons people give to go are:
To meet other writers.
Learn more about the craft of writing.
Make new friends.
Meet agents and editors.
Get inspired.

You may not be able to attend every conference but you can choose one conference for the year. 

Perhaps one that is closer to your home. Less expensive than some; determine your priorities at work and home and complete them freeing up time you need away. There are plenty of conferences that are just on the weekends, two days.

Create a mindset to look forward to meeting new friends who have the same interest as you. These friendships are precious gems that last a lifetime.

Above all, look at the reasons you give, and make sure they aren’t excuses.

After all, there are conferences just about all year. Enjoy your conference!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Writing Powerful Dialogue

One of the things that originally drew me to classic Southern fiction was its compelling dialogue. From Tennessee Williams’ Streetcar Named Desire, we’ll never forget broken Blanche DuBois’ pitiful “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers,” nor even Stanley Kowalski’s simple, desperate “Stella!” In Faulkner’s great Absalom, Absalom!, Charles Bon’s “—So it’s the miscegenation, not the incest, which you can’t bear” reveals in one sentence the novel’s social themes with authority.

In my interview on LA Talk Radio’s “The Writer’s Block,”  hosts Jim Christina and Bobbi Bell asked how I created such powerful dialogue in my antebellum South thriller, The Lies That Bind: DarkHorseTrilogy, Book 1. Frankly, my reply to them wasn’t very revealing, and I’ve thought about what I should have said ever since. So, expiating my sin of omission, here are some keys to writing memorable dialogue.

Characters with Strong Points of View
If you have strong, intelligent characters with strong points of view—obsessions are especially excellent—they’ll tell you, the writer, what they want to say. All you’ve got to do is transcribe their words. I generally find my characters telling me what they desperately need to express in a scene I’m working on when I wake up in the morning, when taking a shower, or even exercising. These often prove to be the best lines in the book.

For example, in The Lies That Bind, the wealthy Missus French runs the town, but because of her traumatic past with men, she is now a recluse who disdains people. So when her heir, Devereau, cajoles her to make her [dreaded] annual Easter pilgrimage to the church in town, she reveals her complete estrangement from society and its institutions with: “I don’t see why I have to go to church simply because That Man rose from the dead.”

Limitations Lead to Irony/Humor
Novels also contain dialogue that, because the reader has superior position, makes the character’s misstatements ironic, humorous, and fraught with meaning. In Faulkner’s masterpiece, Absalom, Absalom!, Wash Jones’ never-say-die exclamation about the Southern war effort, “They kilt us…but they ain’t whupped us yit, air they?” is unforgettable. In my novel, minor character Ellen is a young innocent who believes she is being guided by God to free all the slaves in town, so she secretly sews a ridiculous gown she believes is seductive. When her naive scheme takes her unannounced into Devereau French’s bedroom, revealing the terrified Devereau’s most awkward secret, Ellen is so confused and self-conscious, all she can say is, “Don’t you never tell nobody you seen me wearing this”—which readers often quote to me.

When you write a novel, you live intimately with your characters for a long time. If you listen closely to their needs and desires, they’ll write some unforgettable dialogue for you. But be sure you quote them accurately and honestly—it’s only fair :)
Ed Protzel has the unique perspective of a mixed-heritage Jew-Cherokee, who lived for a time in an orphanage and later as a teen runaway, gives Ed Protzel special insights into characters that are outsiders, men and women on lonely quests seeking justice, love, and fulfillment against society’s blindness. The Lies That Bind, a darkly ironic antebellum South thriller, is the first book in Ed’s DarkHorse Trilogy. Ed has also written five original screenplays for feature film and developed scripts/projects for 20th Century Fox. Ed earned his master’s degrees in English literature/creative writing from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and his bachelor’s in English at the University of Hawaii. Ed had a dual career for over twenty years, working as an investments advisory manager for Fortune 100 firms, while writing screenplays and novels. Ed’s expertise as a novelist and screenwriter is in the American tragicomedy movement (Faulkner, Twain, Tennessee Williams, Flannery O’Connor), science fiction, Shakespeare, and a variety of historical periods, including World War II, the American Civil War, and Fourteenth Century Europe. The final two books in his DarkHorse Trilogy include many of the same major characters as the original: Honor Among Outcasts, set in Missouri during the Civil War (2017), and Something in Madness, set in the 1880s (2018). Ed is married and lives in St. Louis, where he writes full time and teaches college English as an adjunct. His social media links are website:
Ed Protzel blog: Facebook   Twitter  Goodreads

Friday, February 10, 2017

How Do I Write My Books and What Inspires Me to Write?

By Roger Rapel

Good questions, some writers have to sit down and people watch then research their chosen subject matter. Then seek inspiration to format the work into a readable manuscript.

Just a little about myself I spent 30 years in the UK police retiring as a Detective Sergeant. Within that period I investigated many serious crimes including murders, rapes, kidnapping and child abuse. I therefore have the subject matter I write about already in my head, including the format without having to research and check on procedural aspects.

In that respect I am lucky, whilst I continue to write about crime and the investigative aspects I can use recall to put pen to paper so to speak.

Whilst in the police when concluding investigations I was required to submit thorough reports highlighting the pertinent points to prove a case. This included evidence gained from a scene, exhibits photographs etc. all these had to be placed in chronological order so they were able to prove the case.
It is with that chronological case handling procedure that I write my books. In some respects I lack the embellishment skills of some writers and prefer to keep the themes I write about moving at a fast pace. I have read some books where the embellishment was so long and out of context that they became boring, causing me to lose interest.

I try to make my books interesting to the reader by creating a character that is the centre of the investigations. Detective Sergeant Jim Broadbent is a hard working beer drinking, womanising individual. I wanted to get away from the saintly detective with a halo around his head whilst sat on his white charger as he fights crime. By creating his persona I selected a few personalities and moulded them into Broadbent. Am I in there? I plead the Fifth Amendment on that question. The police the same as other frontline workers have a defence mechanism of humour and alcohol to reduce the stress from what they see and deal with.

By creating this love or hate him character it leaves the reader to use his discretion when reading as to whether they agree or disagree with how Broadbent leads his life. But what Broadbent does do, is fight crime to the detriment of his marriage due to his long hours and dedication.

In my latest book ‘Retribution’ Broadbent is called to a suspected murder scene where the body of man so badly beaten his face is reduced to pulp and unrecognisable. The investigation takes Broadbent on twists and turns ending on the doorstep of MI5 and the CIA. In amongst this is a woman Tanya who is seeking murderous retribution on the men who have wronged her, who is she?

Broadbent becomes frustrated at the false information he is being fed. Where will it end??
Roger Rapel was born just after the Second World War, and brought up in the austerity of rationing in the fifties. I left school with no formal qualifications at 15, entering the University of Life. I bummed around from job-job, including service as a merchant seaman, I then joined the police. Spending 30 years in the UK police; retiring as a detective sergeant. During that time I served in many depts. including tactical firearms, drug squad,CID and Crime Squads to name a few, but was always front line. I’m the author of Retribution, MissingGift or CurseAbducted and Cindy Where Are You. My social media links are:  Website:  
Publisher: Ravenswood publishing