Monthly Archives: October 2012

Book Drawing Winners!

Once again we’d like to apologize for the lateness of this post. We made a few organizational flubs, but we’ve sorted through them and now we’re collectively kicking ourselves in the backsides and working hard to get things sorted out. We promise not to let this happen again!

So, without further ado – the winners!

Winners of our many prizes related to Mark L. Forman’s “Adventurer’s Wanted” series are:


We’re trying to contact you privately, but the fastest way to get your prizes is to email us your shipping info at right away! Normally we’d give winners 1 week to respond, but since we’ve kept you waiting, you can keep us waiting, too. We’ll give all winners 2 weeks to contact us with shipping info before passing the prize along to another commenter. Be sure to mention “Adventurer’s Wanted” prize in your email.

And the winner of “Variant” by Robison Wells is: Kristy G. Stewart.

Again, send your shipping info to and we’ll send you your book. Be sure to mention “Variant” prize in your email.

Thanks for participating, and we hope you enjoy your prizes.

Podcast interview: Author Heather Ostler talks about networking

In this episode, we talk to debut author Heather Ostler. Her YA paranormal, The Shapeshifter’s Secret, was released over the summer, and she also happens to be a good friend of the Writing Snippets crew.

In this interview she talks about her experiences networking prior to the sale and release of her book. Comment below to enter a drawing to win a signed copy of her book!

To learn more about Heather, you can visit her blog.

Finally, we are aware that we’ve been slow in announcing the winners of our last two drawings. We apologize for the inconvenience, and we’re working to get that announcement made as soon as possible! Thanks for your patience.

Now here’s the interview!

Download here. (right click and select “save link as” to download)

Getting Back in the Saddle

Getting back into the writing saddle can be difficult. I just finished a writing break and I found the hardest part about saddling up the writing horse was not getting up and falling off, but that I wouldn’t ride with the skill I once had. I feel writer’s block is more of an emotional issue than a physical problem, and usually that emotion is fear. Fear. I heard this acronym once, and it stuck with me. False Evidence Appearing Real.

In my case, my fear stemmed from a belief that I had lost my writing skills from lack of use. Could I prove that as a fact? No, because I hadn’t tested that theory, I was too scared. Losing my skill felt like it could be real. Haven’t you heard the saying, Use it or Lose it?

Based on that belief system, I am right.


Aside from letting go of that belief system and choosing a new one? Preferably the one that states it’s just like riding a bike. In other words, once you get going, it all comes back to you.

Don’t buy into the fear, get writing. Write when were and how you can. Don’t let you stop yourself with excuses. I have heard this one a lot lately, “I don’t have the right equipment.” Go outside, find some dirt, pick up a stick- equipment- and write.

Write for yourself, write to change the world, write for fun, write to get the voices in your head out on paper. Just write!

How do you know if you are improving?

I am here to tell you that the more you write the more you will improve, but not without some sort of feedback. Moms and significant others don’t count. Sorry. They are great for support, but don’t count on them to be completely honest, or even trust them to know the writing business or what they are talking about. And in some cases, they can do more harm then good. One aspiring writer I spoke with gave a worst case scenario where family took her story and tried to make it their own and she lost her voice in the process.

I don’t let my supportive hubby read my work. I bounce ideas and brainstorm with him, and he is great for that, but he is not my critiquing buddy.

Honestly, the best choice I ever made for my writing was joining a writers group. I actually have a hard time reading another aspiring writer if they have never been in a writers group. The difference can be staggering between novice writers that are in a group and a writer that has never dared show another person what they write.

Find a good writers group. Whether locally or online. Try a few of them on until you find the right fit for you.

I am lucky to have an awesome writers group. One where each person actively tries to improve and learn more about the craft and trade. We get together and share our knowledge. We find strengths in each other, and find weaknesses too. I learned by being critiqued what they have an eye for, and I rely on their eye if it is in an area I need improvement.

I’ve learned that anyone can get published, as long as they are trying to improve and they never give up.

Don’t let FEAR ever stop you. Keep writing and keep smiling, and for the record, it is like riding a bike.

By Lillian J. Banks

Writing Snippets Classics: World Building 101

This classic Writing Snippets podcast, first posted in January 2011, features Jocelyn, Lilly, Alice, Ava and Lauren discussing the basics of world building in your writing.

Download Here (right click and select “save link as” to download)

(about 22 min)

The authors and books mentioned in this episode:

Robyn Mckinley

Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

Lois McMaster Bujold

Scott Westerfeld

Grace Lin


Lois Lowry

Jim Butcher

Suzanne Collins

Shannon Hale

Chaim Potok

Jan and Stan Berenstain


Finding Your “New Normal”: Writing Through Life Changes

During the course of your writing career you will inevitably go through times of major life upheavals or changes. It could be a change in your day job. Entering or leaving post-high school studies. Marriage. Divorce. Having children. Moving. Illness. And on and on.

It also seems inevitable that no matter how much you’d like to stick to your writing schedule during those life changes, you won’t be able to keep it up. You’ll have to take the time to experiment until you find your new normal when it comes to writing.

My latest life change involved having a baby about a year ago. During the first few months of her life was able to stick to a half-way “normal” schedule because she slept half the day. Not all of my other tasks or errands got done, but I took care of my baby and got some writing and editing done. Now that she’s a toddler, however, things have really changed.

For those of you who haven’t experienced raising a toddler, suffice it to say that they do not make quite time in front of the computer an easy thing to achieve.

So I’m in the process of experimenting what my new normal is going to be while we get through the toddler and terrible twos phase of my daughter’s life. I certainly won’t be able to find two hours in the middle of the day to write anymore. And I’ll almost certainly have to make sacrifices – maybe sacrifices of sleep to write late at night or early in the morning. Sacrifices of “free time,” giving up television or lunch dates with friends. I don’t know exactly what changes I’ll have to make yet before I can establish a new normal, but I’m going to keep experimenting until I find it.

Because one thing is certain: writing is NOT a sacrifice I’m willing to make. I’ll be a writer come hell or high water, even if it means a dirty house or hiding from my family a few hours every weekend.

What have you done to find a new normal for your writing after major life changes? Share your stories in the comments below. Maybe what worked for you will help someone else through a difficult transition.

By Jocelyn Nash Carlin

Talking with Robison Wells about Living and Writing While Dealing With a Mental Illness

Rob Wells

In this interview, Robison Wells, author of Variant, a YA dystopian novel, opens up about his severe panic disorder. He shares his experiences to help others coping with mental illness in their own lives or in the lives of friends and loved ones. He talks about how his disorder impacted his life, his family, and his career. Please excuse the background noise – Jocelyn had to bring her baby to the recording session.

variant cover

He’ll be doing some book signings for Feedback, the sequel to Variant starting Oct. 2nd.
Check his website at for details. And as always, leave a comment if you want the chance to win a signed copy of Variant. A winner will be chosen sometime next week.

Download here (right click and select “save link as” to download”)