Monday, December 31, 2007

The Blog Tour for Small Town Secrets

Won't you please join me and the wonderful people who will host my blog tour this entire month below are the dates, names, and blog sites of those involved. Come along and join us. Everyone who comments will get a PDF copy of The Small Town Secrets cookbook titled The Golden Kettle Cafe - so be sure to leave your email address.
Billie A. Williams
Printed Words Blogger/author of Small Town Secrets

Blog sites:
Joyce Anthony-

January 1

Marvin Wilson :
January 5

Nina Osier –
January 6

Ron Berry – and

January 7

Sandra Cox –
January 8

Bryn Colvin –
January 9

Nikki Leigh –
January 16

Elaine Cantrell –
January 20

Janet Elaine Smith http://www.janetelainesmith.blogspot. com
January 31

Vivian Zabel - blogs: and
January 26

Pamela Thebideau –
January 25

Angela Verdenius -

Beckie Joki -

Karina Fabian
January 21 & 22

SK Hamilton, (Pee Wee)
January 30

Mary Emmons

Kim Richards (waiting for link)
January 28 & 29

Bob Blackburn (waiting for link)
January 23

Dawn Mork (waiting for link)
January 14

Sunday, December 30, 2007


Words printed in the Daily Nettle Newspaper scratched on the readers minds and cut a ribbon of fear through the tiny town of Nettlesville -- read on!

EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about it!
Constable Dusty Rhodes mauled by a grizzly in the Colorado Wilderness area where he was vacationing.

(That is only the smoke from the fire that rages in tiny Nettlesville.)

Nettlesville is on fire
Who is that deputy new hire?
Is a serial arsonist doing the crime
As buildings burn, one at a time.
They wonder

Chaneeta Morgan’s secret past
Undoing the Town Chairwoman fast
She wonders

Is she destined to pay for an imagined sin
Will Olga’s vengeance allow her to win
The coveted Town Chairwoman post
What growing Evil does Nettlesville host?
They wonder

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

Small Town Secrets

by Billie A Williams
ISBN 978-1-59705-766-0 (print)
ISBN 978-1-59705-283-2 (electronic)
Available January 1, 2008
From Wings ePress, Inc or your favorite bookstore.
Readers Guide available free at
Contact: Billie A Williams
P O Box 134
Amberg, WI 54102

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Accessibiilty, Don't Handicap Yourself

Accessibility, Don’t Handicap Yourself
By Billie A Williams © 2007

So how do you make the printed words of your story accessible or meaningful to the reader? Always get your story down to the levels of individuals. Individuals are people we can see and identify with. If you make reference to the Senior Citizen population you get a ho hum, yeah we’ve heard of them, from your audience. But if you say Marge Peterman who lives next door – we see her, to name someone is to personalize them.

It’s hard to see the individual trees when faced with a dense forest. Single out a stately Elm or a beautiful Weeping Willow and our minds will conger up our picture of them. It becomes a certain type of tree, which we recognize. A forest can be many things to many different people. A red wood forest, a pine forest, a forest of red maples, a mixed woodland forest will all bring a different picture to your reader— be specific, more specific than a forest. Specificity makes the reader see YOUR picture.

Another way to make your story meaningful to your reader is to print word pictures that set the tone very early on. Tone reflects the attitude of the protagonist toward his situation and puts the reader in a frame of mind to accept his response to that situation. It’s more than weather, it’s atmosphere, total environment.

Speaking of weather, there is much discussion about whether or not to open your story with weather. At best it’s a chancy situation. If your character is not invested someway in the weather situation , if he isn’t experiencing it in some way tied to his emotional, physical and or psychological well-being, you will be stopping your story to look at the stars or some thing similar and your reader will slip free from your story thread.

Nature, the environment, can evoke a feeling of foreboding. Remember tone is the way to make the weather matter, to elicit the feeling you want your reader to feel. The mood you want to create will benefit from the tone, when used properly. You don’t need a panoramic view of a sunny day, or a cloudless sky, but weather and environment for a reason like Patricia Cornwell does in Black Notice. “The late morning blazed with blue skies and colors of fall, but none of it was for me.”

You need to make sure weather isn’t just a side trip, an author intrusion, an engine idling before the story takes off. It must be connected to, or with, your main character, and with your plot. Otherwise, it becomes extra baggage and unnecessary background like back story. Unless it distinctly helps to set mood or tone, it is merely fluff—unnecessary and distracting. You can do better.

“…take a hint from the developers of real estate and don’t let your grand opening depend on the weather,” Chris Roerden in Don’t Murder Your Mystery.

Choose your opening carefully. It’s your only chance to snag your reader and reel him into your story world. Keep in mind…”Fiction does not exist on paper. It exists within the mind of the reader. Use just enough words to get the mind working,” J.A. Konrath.

Add just enough tensile strength to pull you reader along and into the story, not letting them tug free, but continue pulling them deep, deeper into your story without spitting out your hook, or breaking your story line and moving on to the next book on the shelf. Make your story accessible to your reader. That is, help them get into the story quickly and stay there.

Billie A Williams

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Story Worth Telling Part II

Story Worth Telling – part II

Story worth telling – “Always relates more to the inner psychology of the protagonist and has to be big enough, dramatic enough to change the protagonist’s world and force him on a journey of change.” Les Edgerton

All story problems, twists and turns, dialog and movement is movement toward alleviating or fixing this story-worth-telling main problem. The resolution of the surface problem (your twists and turns) contribute to the resolution of the main story problem, but don't solve it. You need more than a reversal of fortune or circumstances to create a story-worth-telling.

To figure out what lies beneath the surface problem of your character, put yourself in your two year olds mind and incessantly ask, as s/he would, WHY?

It’s rather like saying you want a million dollars. Okay, someone brings you a dump truck load of green. A million dollars worth of green. Now you should be content. You can roll in that pile of money, count it, stack it, burn it if you like. Are you happy? Does it make you happy to have a room full of money? NO? Well then, HAVING a million dollars wasn’t really your goal at all. Perhaps it was the prestige of telling people you have a million dollars. So you put on your ragged jeans and sweat shirt and those scruffy old tennis shoes you’ve been hoping to replace someday. Now you set out to brag to the world about your roomful of money. What do you mean that still doesn’t make you happy? Why? What did you really want?

Oh, you want to spend it? What you really wanted was all the stuff you could buy or have, all the people you could help by donating some of it, and the list goes on. Then your surface problem was wanting the money to increase your wealth, but the story-worth-telling problem or the real goal of your want was what the money could do for you — that is the real why.

Another way to determine the story worth telling goal versus the surface goal or problem is to take a mental snapshot of it. If it can be framed in a picture— you or your character with a fistful of money – or rolling around in a room full of money—that’s a surface problem. You can not snap a picture of your self-respect, a worry free existence, peace of mind or caring and giving from your heart—that is your story-worth-telling goal. Keep asking until you unravel what it is your character REALLY wants and WHY.

In Evan Marshall’s book The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing he furnishes you with a form that you fill out for your point of view characters (POV) for each scene. That form consists of a series of questions to ask about your character and his circumstances. For instance, Who is in the scene with him, what is your character’s scene goal, who or what opposes your character as he tries to reach this goal? What does your character want at this point in your story? You have already given him a story goal (the story-worth-telling goal) so this is an action to circumvent, plow through or correct a surface problem moving him one step closer to the real goal—the story-worth-telling solution or resolution.

At the end of this form, you set a new goal for your character because while he did not resolve the main story-worth-telling goal, he lost this tussle to get what he really wanted. It sets him on a new path with a renewed resolve and a new mini-goal. (*Unless of course he’s the villain because the villain wins in every scene he’s POV character in —until the end that is.)

Story surface problems must arise from within, from the story-worth-telling problem. It cannot come out of the clear blue ether having neither connection to the story-worth-telling main problem, nor some connection to the story whole. Every new surface problem arises out of the last problem.

*Your antagonist needs an equally compelling and honorable, at least in his mind, story goal. He must want something with the same passion as your protagonist. The two characters must be equally matched. The protagonist is capable of winning her goal over the antagonist’s winning his goal.

So where do you find these Story-worth-telling goals and problems? Your own personal demons—mine them when you are looking for story ideas. What makes you cringe, what turns your stomach or ties it in knots, brings you your greatest joy, causes you to turn red in anger—think about them. Write them down and also write down what physical manifestation they cause in you. You will be well on your way to create a compelling break out novel.

Billie A. Williams

Write Like The Wind,
accidental sleuths solving crimes
with wit, wisdom and chutzpah

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Galleys Are A Scary Thing

Galleys Are A Scary Thing
By Billie A Williams © 2007

I’ve turned in my Galley’s the last step before publication. The scary part about them is I’ve recently reviewed and passed yea and nay judgments on editorial comments by my editor as well as looking for more corrections myself. So the book is all too familiar to me. I tried reading sentences backwards to be sure I was seeing every word – Of course I read them forward first. I found a few typos that still escaped the editor, copy editor and me. Now the finals are back to me. They are what the world will see January 1, 2008 when they go live on the website.

I held, in the back of my mind, some advice on writing from a book I’ve been reading Hooked, by Les Edgerton. He says in your inciting incident it is not about loud and action packed entry into your story that what you need to hook your reader is rather “The intensity of the wanting is what introduces an element of danger.” Lower the volume he says. I know that is true. If you test it with a roomful of energetic, active youngsters – to get their attention you whisper, you will see the accuracy of this statement.

E.F. Hutton knew long ago what Edgerton expounds to me. Remember that commercial that ran so long ago. If you want to get someone’s attention Whisper. And they whisper “When E.F. Hutton talks, everyone listens.”

Begin with a small moment to create your inciting incident. He uses Thelma and Louise in the movie as an example. I looked at Small Town Secrets my January 2008 release. Chaneeta is removing Valentine decorations at her Cafe and replacing them with the March St. Patrick's Day decorations that remind her of spring when the fire alarm jars her to the present. She is Town Chairwoman as well as a volunteer fire fighter. She is worried about the Barkers’ and their children as she realizes no one will escape now if they aren’t already out of the burning building.

But this isn’t really the inciting incident – the inciting incident occurs when she picks up a rag doll from the periphery of the fire and is immediately transported to an earlier time in her own life. The fire has charred half the doll to black. It brings her mind to her past. Racial slurs spray painted on the family's garden shed wall further deepens her psychological/emotional meaning beyond the fire and the cause of it. What meaning does the black and white doll have for Chaneeta?

The hook is the first brief, potent statement of what is the matter with the central character, what his/her problem is, what difficulty s/he is facing. Edgerton says “…the pulsating pile up of adverbs rarely add the punch that strong, stand alone verbs can.”

A fast start is made with short sentences, paragraphs and quick action or punchy dialog. While a slow start is made by invoking a mood with the description of setting, time or place.

Small Town Secrets starts out slow. Yes another fire rages destroying the home and memories of a family, but the family is safe. The bigger story is reflected in the blaze as graffiti, a racial slur painted on the side of the mixed race family’s garden shed. I believe I started it right. The half white/half black doll is a perfect symbol of what Chaneeta thinks of when she sees the racial slurs. When she gave her illegitimate child up for adoption at her birth, did she leave her to fend for herself against racial slurs and prejudice? Where was she, was she okay. Would Chaneeta ever get over the guilt and pain of leaving her child?

The reader wants to know the circumstances of Chaneeta’s emotional tug of war. This is the inciting incident. I hope it is the one that will pull the reader into the story – hooked until the end. As I read through my galleys for the final time, I had a feeling that if Edgerton was right—I had done exactly what I should have done. I’ve started my book in the right place. Only time will tell, sales will show me if I’ve hooked and held my readers.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Inciting Incident--Trouble--Right here! Right now!

Inciting Incident – Editing your work

Stories over and above everything else are about trouble. Without trouble, your protagonist’s business as usual life would not be of interest to a reader who already has his own version of dull and boring, mundane, status quo. Whatever word you choose, no trouble, no conflict, = no story.

In Small Town Secrets (Wings ePress, Inc. January 2008) I continually asked myself during the edits—so what? Chaneeta is a volunteer fire fighter. She goes to a fire in the first pages of my book. So What? Fires happen all the time. The fact that she’s the town’s chairwoman, the equivalent of a mayor in other cities and that it appears a racially motivated, serial arsonist is on the loose cranks up the ante. It bursts a hole in the fabric of the mundane and ordinary Nettlesville. At once we see her trouble. Is it enough to sustain a whole novel?

Right now we are just after the hook to pull the reader in. So this bit of information definitely is a beginning. But, what is revealed by Chaneeta’s memories of past racial troubles that affect her personally is hinted at. What racial trouble, small town, obviously well-liked Caucasian woman, our curiosity begins to wonder almost at once if that isn’t enough, another trouble surfaces in the form of Olga Corn. Owner, operator, of the Daily Nettle Newspaper, woman bent on unseating Chaneeta Morgan as town chairperson. She appears at the fire to point accusing fingers and blame the town chair woman for the trouble, for allowing someone to burn yet another building in Nettlesville and more.

I’m satisfied we have enough trouble to get this novel off to a rip roaring start. By adding more troubles as we go along there will be enough momentum to carry the story to novel length. My editor, Leslie Hodges, watched for this. She also watched that each drawn gun was fired—meaning-- whatever trouble I threw in my protagonist’s way was resolved before I typed “The End”.

Revising, tweaking, pulling and shaping the final product is always a lesson in continuity, pace and completing the whole picture. It begins with the inciting incident — the trouble. Remember without trouble there is no story.

Write on and Write like the wind!
Billie A Williams
Small Town Secrets (Mystery Suspense available January 2008)
ISBN 978-1-59705-7660

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Count Down to Book Release Date

Whew! Without giving much thought to my finished novel since it was accepted for publication by Wings ePress, Inc. I proceeded to write other things, began another novel and basically went on about my business as usual.
This week end I got my edits for Small Town Secrets release in January 2008. I already had the cover - fantastic as it was, posted it on my website been bragging about it all over the web--now I had my baby back with editor's remarks and correction.

The editing process is revealing. You see the story with a whole new eye now that it has been snuggled away in the editors in box for more than six months, perhaps even a year. You see things you never remembered putting in there, you realize things you left out that needed to be included (your editor spotted those and made a note to you about it in the text) at some point you may even be asking yourself -- "Did I write that?" or some variation of that -- maybe even "Wow this is good, I can't believe I wrote that." Those are the best revelations. As I worked my way through the edits, line by line, paragraph by paragraph, I hoped my characters were as alive as I thought they had become to me as I was reintroduced to them. Sometimes a tear came to my eye over one problem or another for my protagonist. I didn't will them, they just came as my heart went out to Chaneeta Morgan in her despair over her only child. How dare I put her through this kind of torture?

The editing process opens your eyes, it opens your heart, and in the process gives you renewed confidence in your writing While there are mistakes to be corrected, while there are flaws in the whole, the basic story is good--it's readable--you can empathize with the characters--you wonder or you are amazed at what you know and what you've learned through the writing process. You also see how you've grown as a writer since you untied your apron strings from that novel and moved on to the next.

I have a supreme desire to thank my editor, Leslie Hodges, as her gentle red pen tweaked and strengthened my story. What remains after twelve hours of reading and making choices to accept or decline her red penciled edits, I chose in nearly every case to acquiesce to her expertise and judgment. That is what a good editor does--she tweaks she doesn't tamper. She leaves the story better for her footprints in the shadows but never pushes herself to the forefront--like an author who doesn't intrude on his/her story a good editor is invisible, never imposing her way of writing, just adjusting the way you get to the point you want to make.

For sure the first edits are a heady and exhausting experience. Would I skip it? Not for the world. I learned from every comment, every correction and every thought provoking decision made. The proof is in the Pudding, and I await the next task on this way to publication with enthusiasm.

Friday, December 21, 2007

How to - on Blogging

I'm evaluating a multi-media course on blogging from the folks at Simpleology. For a while, they're letting you snag it for free if you post about it on your blog.

It covers:

  • The best blogging techniques.
  • How to get traffic to your blog.
  • How to turn your blog into money.

I'll let you know what I think once I've had a chance to check it out. Meanwhile, go grab yours while it's still free.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Is it Trivia or Nostalgia

Earlier today I came a cross an email in my inbox with some very interesting trivia in it. The message was about marketing, but I found it extremely thought provoking. Here is a peek at what I mean:
Just 25 years ago there were,

- only 4 running shoe styles to choose from, today there are 285. Do we run more or just think we need more choices, are our feet different - softer perhaps - or are we trying to make a fashion statement while we try to stay fit - if we indeed plan to actually run in these running shoes.

- 17 over the counter pain relievers, today there are 141. Are we in more pain or just not able to deal with things as well as our ancestors 25 years ago? What does this say about our ability to cope with the daily pressures. Were we better off fighting wild animals, and having to work harder for what we had then we are now? Are we hypochondriacs taking a pill for every ill or perceived ill?

- 20 soft drink brands, today there are 87. Well okay, we are fickle. We need more choices? The market says people are not lemmings and therefore want more choices to pick from? I should think 20 soft drinks Would be enough - after you have Coke, diet coke, Pepsi cola and diet Pepsi - maybe Mountain Dew and Root beer in both diet and regular. What else do you need? Doesn't that cover all the flavors? Oh sweet tooth 7-UP perhaps...Orange of some sort -- okay I guess there are enough people with diverse enough tastes we may need 40 but 87?....Come on!

- 4 types of milk, today there are over 30. There is white milk and chocolate milk--so we have to lighten it up a bit for some -- but 30 ways to drink your milk? Are we becoming a nation of spoiled brats who have to have everything our way - we have to have it DIFFERENT from anyone else, so we keep inventing the wheel. Guess what folks, it's still round, and it's still milk no matter how we try to disguise it.

- 13 choices on a McDonald's menu, today there are 53. I won't even touch this one - Kangaroo is enough - I prefer real beef.

- 12 major dental floss brands, today there are 68. Excuse me? 68 brands of dental floss? Why? It's string, it's flavored sometimes--though I can't understand why--you've supposedly just brushed your teeth with a flavored toothpaste and rinsed with a flavored mouth wash - why do you need flavored dental floss or sixty some choices of the stuff.

Do they only make one type of Duct tape? There must be a reason - you don't mess with a good thing. If it ain't broken, don't fix it.

I'm all for freedom of choice, but this borders on, no this IS overload.
And of course that is only my humble opinion and you are allowed to choose to move on to the next blog or respond here before you move on = ). Thanks for visiting.
Billie (Free weekly chapter of a novel in progress. The Capricorn Goat ~ ~ January Flannel) (free 5 week writing course)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

10 Fundamental Components of Your Story's Opening Scene

The Goal of your Story’s opening is to successfully introduce the story worth-telling problem and to hook the readers. It is essential to establish the rules of they story as each genre has its own rules that govern reader expectations. You must also foreshadow or forecast the end of the story at the very beginning. These are the essential components of an opening scene that should help you off to a hook-worthy beginning.

[NOTE: Not all of these elements must be present in the opening scene, however the first four are the foundations you will build on and are therefore crucial. ]

1. Inciting Incident – When the fabric of society as the protagonist knows it, has a hole ripped in it creating
2. The story-worth-telling – the problem, conflict, or crisis, which must be solved or resolved by the end of the story.
3. Initial surface problem – The immediate spurn to action caused by the inciting incident. The protagonist will solve, but not the real underlying story goal. Think of it as a mini-goal aiming toward the Story Goal. It also can create other problems. It may arise from the initial problem, but must have a deep rooted connection to the story-worth-telling problem of number two.
4. The Setup – You should strive to only give the reader what is exactly, absolutely necessary to understand this opening scene. (Little or no backstory). Save details for later when you will work them into the story whole a little at a time. What you need is a hint of the trouble to come, directly or indirectly.

These lesser components may or may not be necessary to adequately introduce your story. Use them, or leave them out whatever best suits your story and its purpose.

5. Back Story – The kiss of death to your manuscript? If you include too much unnecessary links to the past – yes it will be. Trust, instead that the reader’s ability to ‘get it’ will help them know what they need to know. Remember to include only that which is absolutely and exactly necessary. Some will assuredly fit better into the latter part of the story.
6. The Opening Line: This should be the best, strongest, most charged sentence of your entire manuscript!
7. Language – Remember the rule of thumb…each additional adjective or adverb halves the power of the verb or noun you use. Rarely, if ever do they double the affect. Strong, original verbs and concrete nouns create powerful writing. That includes dialogue tags, use said if you need to use a dialogue tag. Generally, language and action will do the tagging for you. Follow the rule of FAD – Feeling, Action, dialogue and you will stay on target without using unnecessary dialogue tags.
8. Character Introductions – Usually, protagonist and antagonist reaction/action form inciting incident creates a vision of these characters and indicates their personality. Brevity—is key here— pick telling details, not necessarily physical description but something that lends itself in interpretation to knowing your character by his/her actions. A caveat here is—do not introduce too many characters at once. It confuses the reader and makes the characters harder to remember.
9. Setting – Glimpse of detail, depending on how important the setting is to your story. Again brevity, includes these points in your setting – Physical space, time period, culture, society, and uses your five senses. Give the reader a sense of what is heard, seen, smelled, tasted include only if they are significant to your story at this point however. It should not stop or even noticeably slow down the forward movement of your scene or story.

According to Les Edgerton author of Hooked, Write fiction that grabs readers at page one and never lets them go. “…active description, incorporated unobtrusively within the action of a scene,” describes your setting.

10. Foreshadowing- Hints of action or obstacles to come in your story-worth-telling.

What is a good rule of thumb about how long your opening scene should be? According to most books on writing you should be able to create this scenario in about four pages. Using concise language will cause your writing to pick language that will work in more than one way. Write a great hook, clean concise prose with only the exactly necessary details and you will be on your way to being well-published.
Write Like The Wind
Until next time!
(Pens In Motion)
(Free reads of a works in progress - The Capricorn Goat-January Flannel

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Random Musings

A quote in Julia Cameron's Walking in This World hit me as so appropriate for writers and readers.

This is from Shakti Gawain, "We will discover the nature of our particular genius when we stop trying to conform to our own or to other people's models, learn to be ourselves, and allow our natural channel to open." This applies to readers as well as writers. Rather then be lemmings we are better being ourselves because -- who will be us if we aren't and for writers who will write our story if we don't. No one can interpret it better then we can.

There is another quote I can't remember who said, I paraphrase here - Other people's opinions are none of our business. A bad review, a bad critique, a Top Ten Book List - these are someone else's opinions. We should write the book we want to not because it's popular. We should read the book we want to--not because some one else said we should, but because we want to.

So When we as writers interview one of our characters to make them come alive to our readers - we are in that skin. We are that person at that moment. In Small Town Secrets, due out next month, Chaneeta Morgan is the owner and operator of a cafe as well as the town chairperson of this small town. She is a composite of many people I know or have known, but then aren't we all? We are the experiences we have lived, we are the people whose lives have brushed against ours. So in allowing Chaneeta to just come to life, I hope readers will find bits of themselves in her, or at least bits of people they know.

I live in a small town, I work at a small town cafe - the town chair person here happens to be a man, but it could have been Chaneeta. I'm sure this small town of Amberg, Wisconsin has affected this story in ways I'm not even aware of myself.

I say look for the author and her life whenever you read her books. Whenever you encounter a hero looking evil in the face you'll know what kind of hero you are by your own reaction. If something makes us uncomfortable our escape is a good read or a good writing session. That makes us all connected.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Unique to You Writing

There are so many ways to use your writing talents. You don’t need to be a New York Times best selling novelist. You may aspire to be a journalist, a magazine columnist, or a plethora of other writing careers, where your writing is important and sharable. Perhaps you are in the healthcare field and would like to share your experiences with others. Maybe you are a traveling nurse for example. You could combine your career, your travel and your writing as Epi Larue does at Or educating nurses about new technology and more at

As a genealogist you would be more than apt to find fodder for stories from ancestors as Janet Elaine Smith does in her Keith Trilogies. To see some of the creative uses she has for her research into her family tree . She proves history (including family history) does not need to be boring. She proves you can take what you know and what you need to know, what you love and you want to share in more then one direction. A deep subject handled with a light hearted approach becomes a lesson learned without being aware you learned it.

Your faith, your belief in others combined with your writing skills can lead to much enjoyment and satisfaction for your readers as well as you. It is a marriage of talent and careers that makes rainbows possible. Helping others help themselves sometimes is managed when teacher meets the student. As a writer you know other writers, a good place to exercise your talents, flex your career muscles and help others is through author interviews or book reviews. Joyce Anthony does both with a flare and so much more.

Sometimes you can reach people with humor more then serious nagging. Sometimes your lessons in life can help another to smooth sailing. Look at the Chicken Soup for the soul books — in some small way your writing can do the same. If you are an author, if you have an experience that could help others in their struggle to cope in a sometimes perplexing world — write it, send it out. If you touch one life you will have accomplished a great deal. There are light hearted ways to deal with a plethora of angst, except a depressed or struggling individual rarely sees them. Even in writing you may experience something others can learn from. Allyn Evans shares some of the lessons she has learned the hard way. It can surely lighten your load, but also sharpen your pencil.

You may be saying all well and good, so I write. How do I know my writings good enough? How do I get my manuscript polished so that it is accepted by publisher, agent, magazine or whatever venue I’ve chosen? will surely offer you enough help to answer these questions and more.
A good critique group will help you gain confidence, while helping you shape your writing. Do some research on them, test out a couple. Pick one that is compatible with you, not all of them are. The watch, listen, learn, test, and go for the brass ring.

Then you will more then likely ask If I do find a publisher or I self-publish my worries are over right? That my friend is a knotty situation, with solutions. Very few publishers, (certainly if you self-publish) have marketing plans in place for you. You will very likely be left to your own devices – you need to market and promote and yes even if they do—you still should because, who knows more about your book then you. Who has the passion that wrote the book in the first place? Who believes in it enough to want it to succeed? You had a message you wanted to deliver when you started writing. In order to deliver that message you must get your book into the intended audience’s hands. How do you do that? There is help everywhere, but a good place to start would be or visit for another one of her writer helps, The Frugal book Promoter by Carolyn Howard Johnson or Janet Elaine Smith’s Promo Paks (soon to be available in print as well as e-book) will offer you many low or no cost ways to jump start your promotional efforts.

Writing is so much more than putting words on a page. Sharing what you know or what you want to know about can take as many forms as there are methods and genres to present your work. Knowledge is everywhere with the internet all you need to do is search.

The pen is indeed mightier than the sword.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


Book Club Invitation

Are you ready to experience a brand new Book Club? Go here have a look see - and if you are so inclined click on the link to join up.
You will be getting a whole book for free --written by me-- it's my early Christmas gift to you - The Capricorn Goat -January Flannel (Working Title) being written while you watch - one chapter a week - get started now at go to the website and click on the book club link at the top of the page - do as it tells you and before you know it -- you'll be reading = ) Absolutely Fr**! You will never pay anything ever!
The Novel should end up at around 80,000 words, you’ll get about 2,000 words or so a week.
I hope you enjoy it,
Billie A Williams

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Glass Mountain

“My mood is the glass mountain of fairy tale lore! I slither down every time I try to clamber up.” Julia Cameron

As writer’s we expect those days when the words just won’t fall to page in the manner we hoped. When we’d rather pull the rabbit hole we’ve fallen into down with us and never view the light of day or the page again. When the wind blowing the new fallen snow across shoveled pathway creates drifts and magical pyramids in its wake, we want to be swallowed up in the white-out. But we clamber up out of that black hole, we clamber back up that slick glass mountain, we push and fight to get out from under the drift and we do write again even better than before.

Elisabeth Kubler Ross says, “…live each day…as if it was the only one we had.” And to do that we need to climb up, dig out, and scale the mountains in our path or roadway. If we don’t write it no one else can. Our uniqueness is unique only to us.

Two writers writing side by side with the same three-word prompt will never have the same story even if they write elbow to elbow. I read somewhere that our attitude creates our altitude, so if we are to scale great mountains of glass we will need to adjust our attitudinal course.

One way to plow through the snow drifts of our fear, our refusal to write, our writer’s blocks is to just write. Ribe Tucus! Butt in chair and write. We eventually can write through that drift as if the pen were a snow plow or shovel. We can climb over that glass mountain as if we had diamond studs in the tip of our pen and our cleated shoes. It takes courage to write in the face of great obstacles, but once begun, the writing will solve its own road blocks, its own mountain or snow drift.

“Freedom means choosing our burdens,” Hephzibah Menukin told us. If our burden is to write and we choose to accept it by picking up the gauntlet in the form of pen or keyboard, then we must WRITE ON!

Billie A Williams
Award-winning, multi-published author
Accidental Sleuths who solve crimes with wit, wisdom and chutzpah
Writing instruction books written in byte sized, portable prose.
Spice Up Your Writing, Write to Entice
ISBN 978-0-6151-7533-1
To see more go to

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Snow Fall and Writing

As I was shoveling the 7 to 10 inches of snow from my walkways this morning, I thought how like writing that was. One shovelful, one small chunk at a time. I could see where I needed to shovel to - the road, the driveway, the house--just as with a story goal {which you should always have before you start to write} you know where you need to go, all you have to do is get there. One small shovelful, one small word, sentence, paragraph, page, chapter at a time.

If there is one thing I learned from NaNoWriMo it's that when its large its hard [your goal 50,000 words] - when its small its easy - [1,667 words a day]. Like the snow, one shovelful at a time, one walkway at a time, one job done in fine style in no time at all.

So even if it's drifted, there's away through that drift. Even if you are feeling blocked, there is a way through that block. One tiny step at a time.

"Art is made from talent and character. Adverstiy strengthens character and can strengthen our art as well," says noted writer, artist, screen writer, musician Julia Cameron. She used a phrase to describe one of her acquaintences that absolutely makes him visible. "With a face like a ravaged cathedral and a shock of snow-white hair to top his alpine height..." Do you need to see a picture - or does her magic with a pen, give you a sense of the man...can you see from the tiny shovelful of snow how she is building the snowbank while she cleans the walk? Her person becomes a living, breathing human being before your eyes, one word, one phrase, one sentence at a time.

Don't believe me how completely one step at a time does the job... look at a blizzard. How does it start? One tiny, beautiful snowflake at a time falling in just one place. As it perseveres adding one snow flake after another it grows - soon you have 2, 4, 6, maybe 10 inches of snow. It still is only falling one tiny snowflake at a time in that one spot. Build your writing the same way. Put one word after another until you have a clause, add more until you have a sentence. Make another one and add it to the first and soon you will have a paragraph. String some paragraphs together and you'll have a page, then another page until you have a chapter. If you keep going one word at a time, you'll have a novel in no time.

Somewhere it was said that you can't see where you are going at night, well not any farther than your headlights can illuminate. But you can make the whole journey by following as far as those headlights can reach - and just keep doing that all the way to your destination whether it's a mile or a couple hundred miles. Same with snow flakes and shoveling snow or books and writing them it gets done one bite - or byte at a time.

So get the pen to the page - write the first word--that's all it takes. Happy shoveling!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Snow Use Procrastinating

"Ideas are a dime a's the passion that publishers are looking for." Says one writing guru. That is so true. If you start your story out with and idea and six little key points you will be ready to roll.

What are those key points? Do you remember the journalist questions you were told to answer? try this on your story before you begin writing.


That's it. And after you get that written you just fill in the holes. Sounds easy doesn't it? I have written three books that will help you do that. Put them on your Christmas list and you'll be ready to roll by January 1st.

Writing Wide, Exercises in Creative Writing
ISBN 1-4137-0092-6 [Filbert]

Characters In Search of An Author
ISBN 978-1932794151 [Filbert]

Spice Up Your Writing! Write to Entice
ISBN 978-0-6151-7533-1 []

These are sure to get you started and help you keep going. So all you need to do is add your own passion by writing about something that moves you deeply. It may be a mystery that has other reasons for being, domestic abuse, drug abuse or some other social ill. It may be a non-fiction book, a cookbook, a how to craft or garden book, it may be a poetry book--but if you add your need, your zest, your personal fingerprint to it -- it is a sure fire winner.
Good Luck!