Monthly Archives: February 2014

Another Award!? First, I’d like to thank my mother and Old Man Winter…


You guys are awesome! This blogging thing is going to my head. The lovely Kate Loveton of Odyssey of a Novice Writer just nominated me for the prestigious Lighthouse Award. And I want to publicly thank her for her support. Sometimes we wonder if anyone even cares out there and so getting these little bits of affirmation really helps. So that’s why I’m paying it forward by in turn, nominating a few other blogs that I feel deserve mention.

First off, of course, is Kate’s. She is crazy about books, writing and is very witty. She likes to review novels and is into contemporary adult fiction feel-good kind of stories. So click the link above if you’d like to see her stuff. (Or see what she had to say about my blog.)

The following are some other blogs that I think you might find interesting and helpful:

Margaux’s Blog      One Book, Two Books, Old Books, New Books     DonCharisma     Writers in the Storm     Travel Chick Diaries     From the Laundry Room     Interestingliterature

Ok. There they are. The newest list of Lighthouse Award nominees! Please check out their work. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. That’s one of the things that blogging allows us to do. Spread the love. If there’s a particularly informative or inspiring blog I like, I pass it on. Especially for my fellow-writing friends out there.

Also by blogging, I am able to use my experiences to help others in similar situations. I mean, let’s face it. Writing is a lonely occupation. And sometimes we just need someone to listen. Or sometimes we need to feel someone else’s pain. That’s what the blogging community can provide.

And lastly, I want to entertain. I guess that’s the true test of a fiction writer. We want to tell a story. We don’t want to teach a lesson. I remember reading that somewhere in On Writing by Stephen King. He said for most of his novels, he simply wanted to tell a story and scare the shit out of people. Yup. My kind of guy. So while I don’t want to scare the shit out of people I do want to elicit a reaction – good or bad. So hopefully, soon, there will be more posts of the fictional sort that will entertain and not just inform.

So I think I’ve fulfilled my duty as a Lighthouse Award recipient. (Thanks Kate!) Good luck to all those nominated and don’t forget to pay it forward!

The criteria for accepting the award are:

• Display the Award Certificate on your blog.
• Write a post and link back to the blogger that nominated you.
• Inform your nominees of their award nominations.
• Share three ways that you like to help others.
• Nominate as many bloggers as you like.

Write on everybody.


Conferences Count


Writing by nature is a solitary endeavor. Ask any successful author and they will tell you that getting to the point of publication took countless hours of alone-time in front of a screen. Things can get pretty quiet; just you, a blank piece of paper and the ticking clock. And that’s one of the reasons some writers never become authors. It’s just too lonely out there.

That’s why we need to reach out to others like us and attending a conference is a great step. I just got back from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators annual conference in New York City. I was surrounded by people just like me! Writers who are almost authors. Artists who are almost illustrators. And of course those who have already found success.

While I didn’t come away with a lot of new tools for my writing box, I did leave with a renewed conviction that this is what I was meant to do. What I got out of the experience was validation that I am on the right track and that if I keep plugging away, success will follow. I just need to be patient. And I know we read this type of advice all the time. But when you pay good money for the advice, somehow it matters a little more. You are invested, literally.

In the Grand Hyatt’s ballroom on Sunday, I stood three feet away from Arthur A. Levine  (publisher of the Harry Potter series)  and was tongue-tied. This year I had nothing to offer. But next year? If he’s there, I’m going to give him the best break-out middle grade chapter book pitch he’s ever heard!

Now that’s the attitude!

Write on everybody.

Are You a Panster or a Plotter? Weigh in.


Battles rage about this issue. When writing – especially something large or complex – are you one who flies by the seat of your pants (Panster)? Or do you carefully outline the story from beginning to end (Plotter)?

Take a moment to answer the poll. It will be interesting to see which one comes out ahead…

Myself? Well, I’d say I’m a Semi-Plotter.

It all started in grade school when my teacher, Mrs. Harding, made us outline our book-reports. You know I, II, III followed by A,B,C and then 1.2.3 yadda, yadda, yadda. Sometimes it got so convoluted that I’d forget where I was in the scheme of things. I’d draw arrows from III.C.4 to I.B.2 and then erase like crazy. By the time I was done, there would be holes in the paper and tears on my cheeks.

But over time, I realized that this kind of planning was good for me. To an extent. It helped organize my thoughts, figure out where I was headed and finally bring it all together in a neatly wrapped package. Years ago, when I wrote for a local paper, I would often jot down a rough outline to get a good feel for the flow of the story. Then I would fill in the missing pieces of information. Often, I would find myself surprised when my story simply concluded on its own as if by magic.

So I’ve taken this non-fiction type of outline and plan to apply it to my next work of fiction. But in a much more organic way.

I have the story in scenes written out randomly on my laptop. Yesterday I cut up a brown-paper bag like you would if you were going to use it as a book-cover.  Next, I raided my daughter’s art cubby and scavenged a nice assortment of colored markers. I plan to sketch out a timeline of the scenes on the brown paper and use it as an “outline.”

So for those of you content to simply let the pen fly willy-nilly, I bow in respect.

But you won’t have a pretty piece of brown paper with rainbow- colored jottings to hang up on your wall now will you?

Getting Noticed… It’s Nice.


A few days ago, after my morning tea, I  discovered that my blog had been nominated for a Liebster Award! WOW! I jumped up and down and did a Happy Dance. But then I asked myself… What is a Liebster Award? After a little Google search I found that it’s a fun way to get people excited about your stuff and, at the same time, pay it forward. So THANKS to the fair and talented Lily of She thought my stuff was worthy of a shout out!

The Rules:
  • You must link back to the person who nominated you.
  • You must answer the 11 questions given to you by the nominee.
  • You must pick 11 nominees with under 200 (or 2000 if you want to go with that) followers to answer your questions.
  • You cannot nominate the person who nominated you.
  • You must let the people you nominate know they have been nominated.

My answers to Lily’s questions:

  • Favorite movie:  Little Miss Sunshine
  • Song that makes me feel alive:   The Logical Song  by Supertramp
  • If I could live anywhere, where would it be:   Bath, Maine
  • Favorite food:  Greek salad or chocolate cake
  • Favorite word:  serendipity
  • Favorite hobby:  collecting Fire King
  • If I could change my name:  I like my name.
  • Favorite snack:  buffalo chicken wings with blue cheese
  • Favorite class in college:  Editing. I know. I’m weird.
  • Favorite poem: The Red Wheelbarrow, by William Carlos Williams
  • Favorite season:  SPRING!

Here are some noteworthy blogs that I think you’ll really like. Most deal with writing and books while a few focus on travel and cooking. Enjoy!

Margaux’s Blog

One Book, Two Books, Old Books, New Books

A Penny and her Jots

Emu’s Debuts

Wicked Words

Jodie Llewellyn






Now, for those I nominated, here are your questions:

  1. What was your favorite cereal as a kid?
  2. What is your favorite movie?
  3. How old is the oldest thing in your closet?
  4. What is the name of your favorite pet (past or present)?
  5. Who is your favorite author?
  6. What is the coolest city you have ever visited?
  7. What is the oldest food in your fridge?
  8. What is your favorite brand of soap?
  9. What do you crave when you crave?
  10. What is your favorite TV sitcom (past or present)?
  11. What era in history best defines you?

I guess that’s it. Carry on everyone. I will be rooting for us all when they announce the winners of the 2014 Liebster Awards! – Kathy

Marie Lamba, author

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