Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What do you want?

Here at TWC we do our best to educate, inspire and support all our members. We bring you authors who are enjoying success at different levels, so you can find out how they did it. We discuss topics that are important to all writers. We provide links to things that we think you will be interested in, or that you should know more about.

What we need from you is FEEDBACK.

What parts of our website do you use? What could work better, and how?

Do we bring in the guests you want to talk to? What genres are we missing? What other guests would you like to see? (Yes, we'd all like to chat with an agent. I'm still working on that one.)

Do you miss our topic chats? Would you like to see more of them?

What topics would you like us to workshop in chat?

The Writer's Chatroom is for your education and edification. We can only provide what you need if you tell us what that is.

You are a writer, right? You have something to say, don't you?

The Comment link is right below this post. Use it and...



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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Comic books to end the war on terror!

Okay, that might be pushing it a bit. But there is a new comic series out there that could make a difference. (Reference Newsweek story)

"The 99" is a new superhero comic series. (Download the first issue here.) Just like any other superhero series, some are good and some are bad. One side wants world peace, the other wants world domination. "The 99" is X-Men or Justice League, Muslim style.

Yes, I said Muslim. "The 99" is based on Muslim history and traditions. The superheros are based on the 99 attributes of Allah. Examples: Jabbar is a Hulk-like figure of enormous strength; Noora has power over light; Darr is the inflictor of pain; Raqib is the watcher.

"The 99"'s website says : "When the Tigris River turned black with ink from the books of Baghdad's greatest library, 99 mystical gem stones were used to absorb the knowledge... and then were thought to be lost forever. These mystical gems -- known as the Noor Stones -- have now been discovered centuries later, as 99 heroes unlock the powers within them. A lone scholar dedicates his life to uniting these gem bearers as a force for good: THE 99! But is he up to the challenge when the first gem bearer has the power to level a city with a sneeze?"

Personally, I think anything that helps the east and west understand each other better is a good thing. And all lasting change begins by changing the ideas children grow up with. Maybe there is a Noor Stone to end Jihad. Let's hope so.


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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Free Online Writer's Conference

TWC member Karina Fabian (one of the conference organizers) said you don't have to be Catholic to attend this conference. You don't even have to be religious, as long as you respect other attendees' rights to be religious.

Conferences can be vital to a writer's career, but the time and expense of traveling to distant conferences, hotel rooms, meals, etc, make it impossible for a lot of writers to attend. You can't beat the price of this one...FREE!

PS: I will be presenting my Branding Workshop at the conference.

Catholic Writers to Hold Online Conference

World Wide Web--Writers, editors, agents, and other publishing professionals from around the world are gearing up for the first annual Catholic Writers’ Conference Online, which will be held May 2-9, 2008, and is sponsored by the Catholic Writer’s Guild and Canticle magazine. The online conference is free of charge and open to writers of all levels for those who register by April 25.

Tim Drake, veteran journalist who will be presenting at the conference, says he thinks the conference is worthwhile for all faith-based writers. “I think writers of every stripe, from beginners to seasoned veterans, can always stand to learn something new. This conference provides an opportunity to learn a few tricks of the trade, without having to spend an arm and a leg to get there.”

Author and editor Carolyn Howard-Johnson, who with conference chair Karina Fabian will be conducting seminars designed to help authors put their “Best Book Forward,” concurs. “It's never too early to learn more about what we love…. When we put ourselves out there, the universe seems to bring us exactly what we need. When we close down on opportunity for whatever reason, we miss getting what we should.”

New seminar and chat topics are being added constantly, including seminars on character and dialogue development, virtual book tours, how to get grants and other money with your writing, trends in fiction, world building, and connecting with a secular audience. Presenters and chat hosts include Vinita Wright (Loyola Press), Maya Bohnhoff, Tim Powers, Mark Shea (Catholic Exchange), Hope Clark (Funds for Writers), Sr. Maria Grace Dateno, FSP (Pauline Books & Media), Bert Ghezzi (Word Among Us), and Brian Saint-Paul (Crisis/Inside Catholic).

“We’re very happy with the caliber of publishing professionals who have volunteered to participate in this first conference,” says event co-chair Heidi Hess Saxton, editor of Canticle magazine. “There is a nice mix of fiction and non-fiction as well as book and magazine publishing represented here. Something for everyone … and you can’t beat the price!” Although the conference is offered free of charge, donations are accepted; proceeds will go toward future conferences.

Hope Clark, author of “Funds for Writers” is also optimistic about the event’s success. “I see writers … unable to run from conference to conference, seated before a computer soaking up information, taking notes, excited about finding answers to questions they didn't even know they had. I see writers walking away from this conference excited again about being writers.”

Early registration is recommended, as some courses will have limited openings that will be filled on a first-come, first serve basis. To register or for more information, go to

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Free Books!

You don't become a writer if you don't enjoy reading. If you want to be an effective writer, you must read both good and bad writing, so you learn to tell the difference. But where do you get all this reading material? Buy it? Libraries? Trade with friends? All good ideas.

Or you could get free books.

The first place I want to recommend is our Sunday chats. Our guests nearly always give away a free book. All you have to do to be eligible is show up. It doesn't get much easier than that.

There are other places to get free books, and I hit them all. You can too. Most involve signing up for a mailing list. But what's wrong with receiving an email saying "Come over and win a free book!" I welcome emails like that.

If you're into ebooks (and who isn't, especially if they're free!), Tor is sharing. Sign up for their Watch the Skies newsletter, and you will get a free ebook download every week. Yes, EVERY WEEK! A free ebook and book wallpapers you can download to your computer.

This is for a limited time, so don't wait. Go get what they're offering. I got a kick out of their statement on the site: "This program will end when the site launches, but you can keep the free books; we won’t be erasing them with our orbital attack electromagnets. (Yet.) Did we mention, watch the skies?"

Harper Collins is getting into the act too. "Eos is 10 years old! To kick-off our yearlong anniversary party, we're giving away free e-books! Every two months for 2008, we'll give away a new free e-book at ." I just got a new novel by Raymond Feist.

I haven't found anyone who gives away thousands of print books, but there are contests where you get a chance to win them.

Every week, Great American Book Giveaway does exactly what it says it gives books away. All you have to do is visit the website, choose one of the five books they are spotlighting that week, type in your email address and click a button. You will receive an email thanking you for registering. At the end of the week, you will receive an email telling you if you won or not, and inviting you to check out the next week's selections. I haven't won there yet, but I've added a lot of books to my want-to-read list.

Every month, BookBitch offers dozens of free books. All it takes is an email to enter. I just received "Slip of the Knife" by Denise Mina, because I was a winner in February!

A lot of authors have contests for their newsletter members. I've won several books that way too. Found a couple guests for the chatroom by winning free books. Wrote a lot of reviews too.

So there are a few places to start with. Where do you go to get free books?


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