Category Archives: writing

WOW, my first author interview

happyLast summer I entered a flash fiction contest hosted by WOW, Women on Writing…and recently found out that I was a runner-up (much jumping and hand waving).

Pretty good as I truly struggled with the length limitation of 750 words. I had first submitted this piece during the winter contest and paid extra for the critique option.  I didn’t place in that contest, but I received valuable feedback on not only how to make that story better in particular, but how to improve and tighten-up any story.

Check out this amazing organization at:, they offer writing classes and have an ezine as well–and while you’re there, read my runner-up entry, The Reunion.

The Winter 2015 contest is closed, but the Spring 2015 one will be opening soon, so try your hand at Flash Fiction!




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Things that make you go…ummmm

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Thanks to C+C Music Factory for the title (just a little artistic license on my part). I was thinking about a game one of the local radio shows used to play during my morning commute. It was called The Um Game. The concept is deceptively simple. The host would give callers a topic and all they had to do was talk about it for 3 minutes…without saying um…and you’d win a prize. Most people didn’t make it past the first minute. Heck, some people didn’t make it past their first word.

DJ: Hi Rhonda, thanks for playing the UM Game. Tell us about your love of rutabaga for three minutes without saying Um. Ready?

Rhonda: Yes

DJ: OK, the clock starts…now.

Rhonda: Um

I would howl with laughter as one by one the contestants fell victim to the dreaded um. I’d tell myself that if I had the chance, I could do so much better than those poor saps. Then my company went through the first of many reorganizations and co-workers started getting laid-off. I kept hearing from them about the need for networking and developing your elevator pitch. Should be easy-right? Who knows what you do better than you do? I have struggled with the elevator pitch through each and every permutation of my job and it hasn’t gotten any easier. I should be able to disseminate the mysteries of my job in five minutes or less and without the hated um. I’ll let you know when I get it straight.

Okay, so I can’t discuss my day job, something I’ve been doing for the past eight years. Talking about my writing should be easier…not. I’m prepping now for a writing conference I’m attending in Boulder. To get me out of my comfort zone and to genuinely prepare me for pitching my YA novel, I’ve signed up for a ten-minute pitch session with an agent. A while back, I wrote about the query letter boot camp I took from Writer’s Digest. That was to get me ready for the live, in-person session in a couple of weeks. Hoo-boy, I am so not ready. I received good feedback from the WD boot camp agent I was assigned to and this session in Boulder is preceded by a critique of my written query. So far so good. I just need to fix what the WD agent said needed fixing and send it off for the critique and then I should be in good shape for the live, up close and personal pitch session…gulp.

Um, I’m going to need some more practice!

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My Journey as a Writer-Reinvention

This week is the Women’s Fiction Work Shop at WFWA (Women’s Fiction Writers Association). Yesterday the forum topic was on platform and reader relationship as explained by the amazing Claire Cook. Yes, she discussed the need for a welcoming place that readers and other like-minded travelers want to visit…and your responsibility as the owner to not turn your welcoming spot into a marketing blitz. That was part of her post, but mostly, and the part that resonated the deepest within me was her theme of reinvention.

In my life I’ve reinvented myself many times. From shy daughter to fierce mama-bear to my own shy daughters. From a high-school educated girl to a woman who pursued a PhD in Immunology all the while tending to school-age children. From corporate worker who believed our dreams are no longer attainable once we hit middle-age to a middle-aged rebel who still works in corporate America, but uses the rest of her time pursing her dreams. Dreams are important, they are the light at the end of the tunnel that keeps us moving forward.

I’ve just started Claire Cook’s book, Never too Late: Your Road Map to Reinvention and already I feel inspired to work harder to reach my dream goals.  I believe in synchronicity and I also believe that when you open yourself up to change, the universe responds and provides you with opportunities.

Here’s to all the re-inventors in this world. May you dare to dream, have strength in your convictions and the wisdom to grab the opportunities that present themselves to you.


photo credit: <a href=””>Paulo Brandão</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;

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My Journey as a Writer-NaNoWriMo

Image courtesy of jannoon028 from

Image courtesy of jannoon028 at

I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo this July and had a blast. I used it as a way to set a deadline to finish the first draft of my YA fantasy novel. I made my goal and was amazed at how hard it was to write 30K words in a month. November starts NaNoWriMo and the goal for all participants is 50K, that works out to roughly 1667 words a day (I think). I want to use this artificial deadline/goal to work on the first draft of the sequel to my book. But I don’t want to go it alone.

In Camp NaNoWriMo, they place you in “tents” (unless you know people) with folks who write in the same genre as you. In theory, it is an awesome way to create a ready-made support group. In my experience, it was a flop. After a few encouraging posts at the beginning of the month, my tent disappeared into the mist, perhaps they were eaten by bears? I don’t want to go through that in November.

So, I joined the regional group for NaNoWriMo and attended my first meeting today. It was wonderful being surrounded by people who have actually won NaNoWriMo (wrote 50K words) multiple times. They were full of great advice and best of all,  there was a session on plotting by Cynthia Cooke, a multi-published author.  Her graphical outline of plotting elements immediately showed me where my first novel is lacking and gave me insight to how I want to approach my second novel.

I encourage you all to look into NaNoWriMo as a way to achieve your writing goals.

Write because you want to, write because you must!

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My Journey as a Writer-Query Letters

It’s day two of the query letter boot camp and that means we have to write our letter, get the first ten pages of the manuscript in tip-top order and submit to our assigned agent by 11PM tomorrow night. I have the pages formatted and will review again before I send it out and I have the letter basically written. It was synchronicity that caused an order of books to be delivered today. I had ordered a submission bundle from Writer’s Digest and expected it to take days to deliver. Surely only Amazon and Jimmy Johns have lightening fast delivery?

Anyway, when I got home from work this evening, a box was sitting on the porch…and it was heavy. Without my glasses on, I just assumed it was for my husband, a man who is single-handedly keeping e-bay and dare I say the entire American economy afloat. I picked it up and left it on the living room end-table. I then rushed upstairs to take part in the last half hour of the boot camp chat. When the chat was over, I made my way downstairs…with my glasses on.

Yippee, the box was for me and it was loaded with books that are sure to a big help with the submission process. It contained Weekend Proposal, Revision and Self-Editing for Publication, An Insider’s Guide to Publishing, The Author Training Manual, Formatting and Submitting your Manuscript and….Guide to Query Letters.  How amazing is that? Ok, not terribly amazing as I DID order the blasted books. What is amazing is that they arrived in time to be useful for this boot camp!

I know I said yesterday that there is a time to read books about writing and then you need to stop and JUST WRITE. Well, this is different, I know I have a writing book problem, but I don’t or didn’t have any books on prepping your manuscript and submitting. So really, this is completely different and I don’t have a problem…

The cool thing about this boot camp is that your assigned agent will read your materials and critique your query letter. I don’t expect anything further to happen from this exercise, the agent I was assigned to doesn’t represent science fiction/fantasy. What I’m hoping for is good feedback so I can craft an excellent query letter(s) to agents that DO represent my genre.

I’ll get the feedback sometime during the first week of October. I am excited to be on this journey.

Write because you want to, write because you must.


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