Writing Contests by: Bren Kyveli


Have you ever participated in a writing contest? How about a flash fiction one? How about a flash fiction challenge with only 48 hours to write, edit, and have beta read a story, in an assigned genre you may or may not be familiar with? You should, it’s a great teaching tool. Continue reading

The Writing Reference Books I Keep on My Desk by Matt Mansfield

Writing Reference Books I Keep on My Desk

I’m a complete glutton for writing reference books. Even when I’m not writing, I love flipping through the pages to see what catches my eye either for fun or as inspiration.

I suspect that many writers share the same habit – after all, writing starts with words, phrases, and world building, all of which abound in the pages of these books. And, with the number of new writing reference books being published each month, I suspect that publishers are well aware of this habit as well.

While my collection continues to grow, most rest on the bookshelf in the corner, waiting for when I need to dip in. The small number that sit on my desk however, are my favorites, my most-used and most-loved writing reference books and I’d like to share them with you.

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The Great Humbling by Kate Whitaker

It takes ego to be an artist. Which is not to say that all artists are raging egomaniacs.



However, it does take a certain amount of self-confidence to allow people to view your work. You have to believe that it’s good.

Do I believe in my work? Yes, yes I do. I write fun stories. They have, what I hope, is surprising depth, but they are fun, and I know I am good at what I do.

So this last week as been most humbling.

See, I stopped writing my fun shorts and novellas and dusted off my novels. 100,000+ word, door-stopping, epic fantasy… I’m BACK, baby!



However, I set down these novels nearly three years ago. And I grew a lot as a writer in those years. I learned what not to do when writing. I learned  a lot of stuff I didn’t know when I wrote my novels.

Which isn’t me saying that they are terrible. They aren’t. The story is solid, the characters well-rounded, the world well-balanced.

It’s the prose. It’s the technique. It’s the little things that make me a better writer than I was three years.

And now I have to go back and fix those things. Which is very humbling. Acknowledging your faults and weaknesses as an artist is always humbling. I like that I’m a better writer than I was three years ago. But that fact that I wasn’t as good as I am now is smacking me in the face… a lot.



I’m coming to understand artists who don’t review their old work.


But I also have that ego I mentioned earlier. There is a good story here, and the work I’m doing on it is purely cosmetic. I may be better at sentence structure now, but my story structure and character development was always solid.

And I’m grateful for the other writers who took the time to help me learn the last few years. I’m going to take that knowledge and apply to these novels. I’m going to make them better because I’m a better writer.

However, being better means I wasn’t always as good as I am now… And there is the great humbling in a nut shell. If you are striving to improve, that means the stuff you did previously isn’t as good as what you do now… and I’ve gone cross-eyed.



So yes, my humbling is also fueling my ego. My ego has grown because it’s been humbled. Welcome to being an artist.


Kate Whitaker writes for fun and profit from the woods of the Olympic Penninsula. You can most likely find her sitting at her kitchen table yelling at kids as she tries to figure out a new way to kill made up monsters. She has a newsletter and a comic.



Imagination Play Time by Kathryn L. James

Plot or Pansters? I wrote Crazy Beautiful Lies, a full-length novel, and Crazy Beautiful Kiss, a short in the anthology, Story of a Kiss, entirely by the seat of my pants. I didn’t know where they were going from chapter to chapter…not even scene to scene. But I did it, and in the end, I was over the top happy with the results! Continue reading

Hidden treasures by Cayenne Michaels

Let’s talk about inspiration.

Namibrand 1

Where does it come from? Is it stored inside of us and stirred awake when we encounter something in our everyday life that brings out this hidden treasure we never knew we carried?

Or, is it handed to us, as a gift, by someone or something that has you or me are the perfect person to see its true potential?

Elizabeth Gilbert says:

The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.

Have you found any yet? Please…share them with us in the comments field. As writers I think we all know how to appreciate them. We know how precious these discoveries are. Continue reading

Let’s Start At The Beginning by Emma Marie Leigh

You’ll have to forgive me. I’ve been suffering from a case of writer’s block so thick, I’ve been stumbling over what my post would be about all week. I have this awesome idea about tropes that I love, but it’ll have to be your dose on my next segment. Continue reading

My First Convention

By Milli Gilbert

I recently – like over the weekend recently – had the chance to attend my first “nerd convention” as my husband calls it. It was, and I won’t deny it, but… I can no longer say I’m a closeted nerd. I’ve officially outed myself, and in a big way. Because I had a fantastic time.

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Before It’s Too Late by Sha Renee

Recently when I accompanied a loved one to the hospital I noticed a man sleeping in a chair in one of the waiting areas. He appeared to be in a fairly deep sleep – arms crossed over his chest, head tilted to the side. I studied his sleeping visage for a moment. Surely he was the spouse of a dear friend I met long ago when our kids were in first grade together. But I hadn’t seen him in so long… was that actually him? If so, I should wake him up and say hello. Continue reading