Archive for September, 2014

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through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Helen Dunn Frame, author of the mystery novel, GREEK GHOSTS.

 Welcome, Helen!

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

 

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Author Helen Dunn Frame

 

Although “retired” for ten years, I am self-employed as a writer, editor and author, scribing articles, books, letters, e-mails (to keep in touch with people worldwide) and newsletters. Travel is high on My Bucket List, accomplished as often as the budget permits. At six years old my grandmother had me cut out a pattern laid on very expensive fabric, which led to lifelong ability to sew. Most people don’t realize my age as I have a lot of energy, love to dance, and have a ton of projects, and tout being the new fifty. Here’s a bio written in the third person by the man who created my original website years ago to which I’ve added updates.

 

Helen Dunn Frame combined many skills including professional writer, marketing/public relations specialist, and accomplished businesswoman during her business career. Her love of travel culminated in the fascinating mystery Greek Ghosts, published by iUniverse in 2003, into which many threads of her personal experiences were woven.

In Costa Rica, where she has spent most of her time since 2005, she authored an anecdotal book full of data to help Baby Boomers jump start their due diligence in order to find their paradise for retirement. Retiring in Costa Rica or Doctors, Dogs and Pura Vida, second edition, and Greek Ghosts are available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon.

Helen, a former real estate broker specializing in retail and restaurants in Texas, became Editor of Coldwell Banker Costa Rica’sVista Magazine in 2008. It not only listed properties and businesses for sale and rent, but offered information about the country, its people, as well as living and investing in Costa Rica. Subsequently she contributed to the Coldwell Banker Coast to Coast Properties website and wrote articles for the Weston Magazine Group in Greater NYC, contributed articles to online sites, and to The Tico Times, now only available online.

A graduate of the Journalism School at Syracuse University she has been published in Costa Rica, England, Germany, and the United States.

Living abroad and traveling at least once in 50 countries as well as having a Master’s Degree in Sociology and Anthropology from New York University, has given Helen a deep appreciation for the value of diverse cultures. In addition, over the years she has developed various skills in Spanish, German and French.

 

 On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

My office (second bedroom that has a futon for guests) has a three-part, large louvered window, the original outside wall. Another similar window is on the current outside wall across a hall. It faces a beautiful garden which I view from the office. The house was renovated from a small Tico one so it has lots of character. The room also includes a horizontal 4-drawer file cabinet (jammed full of files including writing samples), a futon, and a traditional desk. Years ago, a water leak in an apartment damaged about 60% of my hard copy files. When I made an insurance claim, the rep wanted to know why I just didn’t send prospects copies of my samples from my computer, apparently not knowing those hiring want to see a published version. My reply:  “Hon, we didn’t have computers before you were born.”

The computer desk came with the rental. The owner made me a separate little table on which I have a keyboard and Track Ball at the proper height.  My current laptop (hate those flat keyboards and “mouse” because I’m a touch typist) no longer has a screen. It’s hooked to a flat screen TV in order to have a monitor. This laptop cum desktop computer gets replaced by a new laptop in November.

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2. What are some important things on your desk? Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

My desk is arranged so I can reach some supplies and files, get to two printers and much used reference books (including Spanish verbs and bilingual dictionary), as well as the lamp, landline and Magic Jack phones. Of course, the usual tools (pencils, pens, markers, scotch tape, stapler, tissues, clock, sharpener, paper cutter, note paper, blank DVDs and CDs, bug spray, hand lotion, petroleum jelly, and more) are also within an arm’s reach. People complain about my penchant for organization, but having everything in its place facilitates my production.

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3. What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

The view, not having air conditioning or heat, having two ceiling fans and a vertical floor fan for when it’s warm are some of its great features. My favorite items are a sterling silver letter opener in the shape of a sword, my son’s first jigsaw puzzle that I made into a hotplate, and a paperweight with a flower inside it. My escort to a fraternity ball in college gave it to me the sword as a favor and my deceased son bought the paperweight with his allowance as a young boy.

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4. What’s your writing beverage? What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

During the day I drink two cups of coffee, then a glass of 50% cranberry juice, followed by glasses of sun tea made outdoors. It’s poured over ice, flavored with lemon or lime juice without sugar. I rarely have anything alcoholic when I’m writing.

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On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author? Who inspired you to write?

Frankly I can’t recall who inspired me to write. I really began creating in the Long Island City High School when I was an editor of the school newspaper. While I was seventh in my graduating class, one of the advisors asked me to write the Valedictorian’s speech. He felt the boy who was number one was not capable of penning it. I still use a word I learned then: pinpoint.

Citing a favorite author is difficult. . One writer I read regularly was Art Buchwald who could speak as well as write with such humor, an ability few writers enjoy. If you were to look at the shelves occupied by books to read, you would find Austin, Cornwell and Brown among other known and lesser known writers. It pinpoints that I’m catholic (lower case meaning universal) in my reading tastes.

Fortunately my parents did not censor what I read as grew up, not being educated, Long before becoming a teen, I would go to the storefront library branch in Woodside, Queens, and read the entire row of books on a shelf. Throughout junior high and high school, I would read about a dozen books a week, including an occasional book banned by a teacher as being too adult. One author from that period was Noel Streatfield who wrote books including Skating Shoes and other “shoe” titles (listed on Amazon). Currently I read many newsletters, forums, articles and columns.

 

2. What’s your typical day as a writer like? Do you have any writing-related rituals or quirks?

My days are far from typical and have no rituals or quirks. Some days I write, others not, giving myself permission to enjoy relationships, attend Club meetings, and do all my chores. Here’ an example of one day.

Not having a car, I got up at 6:30 and walked in to the center of town for a quarterly lab test at 8 a.m. Breakfast was eaten at a neighborhood Soda (small family run restaurant that serves typical food), followed by shopping at a convenience store, before returning home to answer these questions. The Talk and Dr. Oz were broadcast on TV while I prepared and ate my main meal. Then it was back at the computer to accomplish some of the things on my To Do List that needed to be done before going to the States. I found a few moments to post on my business Facebook page. To keep limber, at regular intervals I stand up from the computer and walk in the house or garden.

 

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Tweaking my latest manuscript continues as uploading it to Create Space and ordering a hard copy proof is a priority before the trip. In the evening I recorded Wheel and Jeopardy to view later to solve puzzles and answer questions as part of my effort to keep a keen mind. This particular day I participated in an online seminar.

Afterward I relaxed while watching programs of interest (not sitcoms because I abhor canned laughter) whether on TV, online, or those I recorded with WinTV. If a newspaper, magazine, or copy of something I’m writing, like this interview, is available, I read or edit them during commercials.

 

9. Do you write every day? How many hours a day do you spend writing? What are some of your worst writing distractions?

As noted before, writing doesn’t happen every day and the number of hours varies. It all depends on deadlines. My two dogs will usually lobby for their lunch about noon by standing on their hind legs, putting their paws on my ergonomic desk chair, and wagging their tails. However, when I’m concentrating, I’m really disciplined.

 

10. Why do you write?

While writing is five percent inspiration and 95% work, it’s easy for me and provides joy, happiness and contentment. Creating marketing materials and promoting the books are also fun. I’m never bored or depressed, and never have writer’s block.

 

11. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us? How about a favorite writing quote?

My personal writing quote is: “Revenge is mine, said the writer, author, and editor.” This warns people that they can show up as a character in a book or be quoted.

For several years my byline graced a column aimed at beginning writers. Someone recently suggested creating a small e-book with them because the website is dark. One tip that will appear in it is “keep the word “I” to a minimum.” Write from the reader’s point of view. A friend, Carolyn Howard-Johnson has a number of e-books designed to help writers. Find them on Amazon. She also provides pointers online with “Sharing with Writers” and “Feedblitz.” In the meantime, look for my next book on the same site soon called “Secrets behind the Big Pencil,” a fictional book that features elements of reality that was inspired by an actual scandal.

 

Website: www.helendunnframe.com

Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/helendunnframe.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/RetiringInCostaRicaOrDoctorsDogsAndPuraVida

 

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Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life, Helen!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.

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Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Jennifer Pitts, fellow SCBWI member and author of that fun blog Scribbles from Jenn 

Welcome, Jenn!

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?
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Writer Jennifer S. Pitts

After careers as a waitress, shoe buyer, teacher, and principal, I finally settled on Writing Mom, both of which are harder than any of the other careers I’ve held, mostly because in those other careers the workday came to an end. In my current career… let’s just say I’m on call 24/7. I love cruising! It doesn’t have to be any specific destination, just put me on a large ship, in a big body of water, with all the food you can eat, and I’m happy. Our family also enjoys RV’ing. It fulfills my husband’s desire to bond with the outdoors while allowing me to have most of the comforts of home. Thanks to him, our family has visited most of the national parks in Arizona, California, Utah, and Wyoming. I actually blogged the A-Z Challenge 2012 on some of our RV and Cruising destinations. 

I have am currently on the sixth, and hopefully, final draft of my middle grade fiction book. I thought it would be done much sooner, but as Geri the Cleaner, from Toy Story 2 says, “You can’t rush the art.” One dayI’d love to write a picture book, but before I do, I’ll have to master the task of brevity, that is not one of my strong suits.

I recently took an online quiz asking which superhero I was and got Wonder Woman, obviously they don’t know how long I’ve been working on my book. In the real world my hidden talent is displayed on the tetherball court which is why I asked, and received, my very own ball and pole for Mother’s Day last year. I’m currently seeking new victims, opponents since none of my family cares to play with me anymore.

 

On Workspace

1. Where do you do most of your writing?

Until last month, I did all my writing at my desk in a small room off the kitchen.

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Jenn’s Workspace

However, after we acquired a loveseat for our bedroom, it has become my new workspace. It’s brighter, quieter, and is usually accompanied by my biggest fans.

 Jenn pets

2. Where did you get your desk?

Growing up with a single mom, we spent a lot of time in thrift stores, which I still love doing today. My desk, hutch, love seat, and Keurig were all thrifts store finds. Initially, the desk didn’t fit, but my handy husband chopped off a few inches, swapped around the return, and Voilà, it did!

 

3. How did you go about arranging your work area?

I don’t really arrange things; I mostly move the mail out of the way before I work.

 

4. What are some important things on your desk?

I love quotes and how they are able to get the point across in a few simple words.I recite the one below almost every day before I begin writing.

jenn quote 1

5. Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

Coffee, water, my Emotion Thesaurus, and music.

 

6. What do you love most about your workspace?

That it’s a work in progress, like me.

 

7. Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

Toys! Since I write middle grade my toys remind me to make time to play every day. I especially love the look alike Chibi my girl made for me and listening to the conversations between my Chibi and Mr. Spock. Vulcan logic can be very helpful in overcoming writer’s block. I also have a Staples Easy button nearby. I like to press it whenever I finish a scene, even though it rarely was Easy; pressing it makes me feel like it was. Another thrift store treasure is my antique typewriter. It actually works and everyone under twenty finds it fascinating.

 

8. What’s your writing beverage? What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

Coffee! Hot when it’s cold and cold when it’s hot.

On Writing

9. Who is your favorite author?

My favorite often depends on my mood.  Like most writers, there are many authors whose books I enjoy: Octavia Butler, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Lois Lowry, Kate DiCamillo, Beverly Cleary, Sid Fleischman,Khaled Hosseini … the list could go on and on. More than likely whoever you like, I like them, too.

jenn books

 

 

10. Who inspired you to write?

As a lifelong reader, I always imagined how wonderful it would be to actually create the stories that make kids laugh and cry. However, the person who actually lit the spark that had been smoldering inside me for several years was, Alexis O’Neil. I met her at a UCLA event. She encouraged me to join SCBWI and thus began my wonderful, yet precarious, journey as a writer.

 

11. What’s your typical day as a writer like?

With two active teens in independent study programs, I don’t have a typical writing day. My goal is to write four hours a day, Monday thru Friday, but often that doesn’t happen, so my writing often spills over to the weekends and sometimes, the wee hours of the night.

 

12.Do you have any writing-related rituals or quirks?

Before I begin writing, I like to close my eyes, recite a few prayers and inspirational quotes, before listening to what my characters have to say to me for this day.

 

13.What are some of your worst biggest writing distractions?

My teens are my biggest distractions and my biggest joys.

jenn teens

 

 

14. Why do you write?

I write because I love sharing the stories roaming around in my head. I rewrite because the stories in my head don’t always come out right the first, second, or even third time.

 

15. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us? How about a favorite writing quote?

Recently, I learned it took J.R.R.Tolkien over a decade to write The Lord of the Rings. I’m not saying my WIP is the next Lord of the Rings, but hearing that inspired me to keep moving forward as did this quote from Richard Bach,

jenn quote 2

A big THANK YOU, to Nutschell who, even though I’m pre-published, still allowed me to share my writing space with you because, as she said, I am a writer!

 

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Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life, Jenn!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.

 

 

 

 

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Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Ciara Knight, author of the #1 Amazon bestselling series, The Neumarian Chronicles.

neumarian chronicles

 

Welcome, Ciara!

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

Semara profile pic2Author Ciara Knight

I never know what to say about myself…I’m just me. LOL. Okay, well, I have three boys, a male dog, two male cats, and a husband. Yep, I’m the only girl at home. Which is funny since I grew up in a house with all girls.

I’m a little bit of a dare-devil and geek. I think if I could dress in cosplay while competing in Amazing Race, I’d find my little bit of heaven on earth. 😉

 

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I love to travel, not the kind that you spend all your time on an air-conditioned motor coach, but more with backpacks and trains. I love video games, cupcakes and I’m a Browncoat. 😉

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On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

My back deck. Ah, I’ll let the picture show you why.

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Ciara’s Workspace

2.  Where did you get your desk?  How did you go about arranging your work area?

My husband bought it for me. :) I called my best friend to organize it for me. I lack the appropriate organizational skills. She says I’m more of the creative genius type and she loves me for it.

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Ciara’s Workspace

3.  What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

Coffee…did I mention coffee?

 

4.  What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

My kitty cats. They tend to help me write by sitting on my laptop and batting at my fingers.

 

5. What’s your writing beverage?  What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

Did I mention coffee yet?

 happy coffee

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?  Who inspired you to write?

Edgar Allen Poe is my favorite writer, but I think Sherrilyn Kenyon, Agatha Christie, Jules Verne, and Richard Ford since they are all authors with learning disabilities like myself.

 Ciara and Sherilynn

Ciara and Sherrilyn Kenyon

 

2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?  Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

I get up and get the kiddos off to school, hit the gym, shower then snag my large coffee. At that point, it’s writing and/or editing time. I work until lunchtime, sometimes through lunch, and then end around 2:15PM to get kiddos from the bus. I do all the family things until after dinner then I work a few more hours.

 

3.  Do you write every day?  How many hours a day do you spend writing?  What are some of your worst writing distractions?

Yes, everyday that I can.

I work around six hours a day. My worst distraction is my husband. LOL He works from home, also.

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4. Why do you write?

Because it’s what I was born to do. Being a child that was unable to read or speak clearly, I escaped into my imagination. Now, I can share my stories with others. I went to college, worked for several years, but it never felt right to me. Writing isn’t a choice, but my fated job.

 

5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote?

I wish I had words of wisdom, but it’s just a tough game. If you want it, go for it, but you’ve got to REALLY want it. There are too many sacrifices you’ll have to make for you to not want it bad enough.

  “Creativity is an act of defiance.” ~ Twyla Tharp

 

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Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life,  Ciara!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.

1,202 total views, no views today

TWN WWW 300

 

Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Angela Ackerman,co-author of one of my favorite writing books, THE EMOTION THESAURUS. Along with Becca Puglisi, Angela has also co-authored two other wonderful writing books – THE POSITIVE TRAIT THESAURUS and the NEGATIVE TRAIT THESAURUS.

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You can find Angela (and Becca) sharing writing tips and techniques at writershelpingwriters.net 

Welcome, Angela!

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

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Author Angela Ackerman

I am a full time writer and mom to two crazy and hilarious teen boys living in Canada. About two years ago I switched city living for semi-country living, which is a great backdrop for many of my stories. I write middle grade and young adult contemporary mysteries, but right now, all of my writing time is going into producing books for writers like The Emotion Thesaurus. I love to travel and have been to some interesting places. Not sure I have any super-interesting hidden talents, but I am a decent cook!

 

On Workspace

 

1. Where do you do most of your writing?

For the most part, I write from my office. As you can see, I have a great view of the woods, and quite often deer stroll through my yard. This house also came with a chipmunk (dubbed “Lightning” by the previous owners) who lives in the woodpile, and his tree acrobatics keep me well entertained.

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Angela’s workspace

 

2. Where did you get your desk? How did you go about arranging your work area?

I bought this desk at Staples, and the window was the best spot to place it. I have built in bookshelves and the third wall is actually an open balcony, so I didn’t have a lot of options, but the view more than makes up for it!

 

3. What are some important things on your desk? Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

I tend to keep a lot of note paper around, because I am notorious for note taking. Being an author means running a business, and my day is pretty packed with marketing as well as writing. Notes keep me on track. I also keep my business plan right within reach, so I am always reminded to stay on task. I have a great library of books on writing craft that I like to have handy.

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Writing books

4. What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

I draw inspiration from the weird, so I have a keychain voodoo doll collection hanging in my window, and an army of zombie gnomes to keep me company.

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Angela’s Zombie gnomes

5. What’s your writing beverage? What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

Coffee. Always coffee!

 

On Writing

 

1. Who is your favorite author? Who inspired you to write?

Oh, tough question! Favorite author? Just one? This is like asking me to pick a favorite son! Okay, I would have to say the late Robert Jordan is one of my favorites, but it was both Stephen King and Terry Brooks who inspired me to pick up a pen. Love all three!

 

2. What’s your typical day as a writer like? Do you have any writing-related rituals or quirks?

I start the day usually messing around a bit while I drink that first cup of coffee. I play some Clash of Clans, do my rounds on Twitter and Facebook, and check my email for anything important. I do a bit of marketing too, and analyze our efforts and visibility as well as look at possible opportunities for further visibility. Once it’s time to get down to business, I set a Pomodoro timer or turn on Rainymood and start writing. I often write until 4 or 5 pm, and then my brain gets the dumb and I focus on more social media or spend time with the family.

 

3. Do you write everyday? How many hours a day do you spend writing? What are some of your worst writing distractions? (You can provide a picture of this if you want—like if you have cats or games that distract you)

I write monday to friday–I love it, I love sharing the worlds inside my head. Some days are bigger “marketing” days, so it’s more blogging type writing than book writing, but each weekday I write. The books Becca and I are working on now (two Setting Thesaurus books) are very research-heavy, so depending on the setting we’re working on, there might be more researching than actual writing. My biggest distraction is probably social media, but it’s one of those necessary evils as I really need to do it well in order to find my audience and foster relationships.

 

4. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us? How about a favorite writing quote?

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This might seem like an odd quote to draw inspiration from, but it reminds me how amazing stories often misdirect the reader. When you read this quote, you think it’s going one place, but it takes you somewhere else entirely. I think one of the most incredible feats is surprising the reader.

Thanks so much for featuring me today! This has been super fun talking about my writing process!

 

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Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life, Angela!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.

3,740 total views, 1 views today

August Spotlight Week Giveaway Winner

Happy Monday everyone!

This past August, the spotlight was on Author Nancy Ellen Dodd and her helpful writing book THE WRITER’S COMPASS. Now it’s my pleasure to announce the winner of last month’s Spotlight Week Giveaway!

Congrats to BEV BAIRD for winning a signed copy of THE WRITER’S COMPASS!

The Writer's Compass

 

I’ll email you in a few minutes to give you instructions on how to claim your prize.

In the meantime, I’d like to wish everyone a happy, productive week!

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