Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Guest Post: Money Making Tips for Writing Mamas

Most writing mamas will know how tough it can be to fit writing around work, motherhood and other family commitments, particularly when you are taking on big projects such as novel writing. If you are using your writing as a source of income, then the inevitable delays you will incur as you take time out to watch soccer games or enjoy family days out are going to impact on your finances. In fact the irregular pay associated with a career in writing, particularly freelance writing, is thought to be one of the main reasons why writing is amongst one of the highest risk professions for anxiety and depression. But fear not, in the midst of your mammoth projects there are quick, flexible and enjoyable ways for you to earn a little extra income while still honing your craft. Here are a few:

Blogging has taken off in a big way over the last five years and now with an estimated 152 million blogs on the internet, you could turn your personal website into a money spinner. The beauty of blogging is that you can write about whatever you want with fashion, travel, cookery and parenting being just a few of the most popular genres in the blogosphere. If you can gain a strong readership and large following then you may find that companies or other bloggers will pay to advertise on your blog. You may also find that companies in line with your chosen genre will send you free products to review or ask to be affiliated with your blog. And you can also use your blog as a platform for selling or promoting your own writing or indeed, anything you like. Of course you need to blog regularly and have a good knowledge of SEO writing in order to keep traffic coming to your blog, but any extra income you can earn from what is essentially a hobby has to be a bonus, right?

Freelancing is a great way to take on as much or as little extra work as you can manage. It also gives you the chance to write for a variety of outlets and adapt your writing style from the comfort of your own home. Many content providers, such as, will employ writers to provide well researched content for websites or blogs or you could try and submit articles, interviews, reviews or opinion pieces to newspapers or magazines on a freelance basis. Before you submit anything make sure you check if the publications you plan write for accept submissions from unsolicited contributors and remember that with the decline of printed publications there are many opportunities to write for online magazines – you just need to do your research thoroughly beforehand. Freelancing won't just enable you to make a little extra cash at your own pace, but it also gives you the chance to build a portfolio of your work and if you have a regular client they may be willing to provide references for your resume.

Enter literary competitions
If you are someone who enjoys writing poetry or fiction then why not enter some of your work into a literary competition? Thousands of writing competitions take place each year with Readers Digest holding and advertising many of them. Often winners can expect to receive a cash prize and/or have their writing published or critiqued by a professional writer. It is a good way to make money from your hobby and keep your creative (and competitive) juices flowing.

Ghost write or proof read
Make money by helping fellow writers by proof reading and editing manuscripts. You will find that this will also help you to improve your proof reading skills for your own work. You could also consider becoming a ghost writer for someone who has all of the elements for a project or piece but doesn't necessarily have the writing skills. Look on online forums and noticeboards such as Craigslist where you will find people advertising for ghost writers or proof readers.

Think outside of the box
There are several ways that you can make money from writing without going down the route of traditional fiction or non-fiction writing. Think about all of the ways writing appears in daily life – for example in greeting cards, resumes or on TV in the form of scripts for soap operas. Try your hand at everything, even if you don't succeed it will give you experience in different areas. Know what makes money and utilize it. For example many magazines pay or hand out prizes for published reader's letters which will take you minutes to submit.

written by Eve Pearce

Friday, February 21, 2014

Blog Talk Radio's Families Matter Show - Topic: Alone Together

Join Irene Roth and Virginia S Grenier every 3rd Friday of the month for the Families Matter Show here on BTR's Freatured World of Ink Network.

Each month the Families Matter Show will cover topics on the importance of family to empowering our children.

This months topic: Alone Together: How Technology has Separated Us from Each Other
We are all over-connected through cell phones and other technological gadgets. Even when we are together as a family with our children, we seem to be texting and playing video games. We are multi-tasking masters. But it is at the peril of teaching our children the true art of communication. Kids are having a harder and harder time to really connect with each other, be they friends, siblings or parents. We as parents should find ways to show kids the importance of empathic connection.  We could this in the following ways:
  • Having unplugged times when we could related to one another personally and face to face;
  • Having times when we are doing things as a family as opposed to watching television all the time;
  • Going out for walks as a family;
  • Doing family activities;
  • Just hanging out as a family;
  • Having a sit down meal at least a few times a week.
By taking these steps we could saving our children the hardship of not being to effectively communicate when they get older. We need to be parents who are not alone together but openly and empathically together.

Listen to the podcast at

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Guest Post: Exploring Two Sides of the Literature Coin

It has often been said that writing is a pursuit best undertaken as a hobby or a genuine passion, with any financial gains resulting from it being viewed as a bonus. Although almost every writer, whether specializing in fiction or non-fiction, likely dreams of fortune, fame and topping a best-sellers list, the contrasting reality for many is that their writing barely pays the bills, even if they have a supreme talent.

The writing profession as a whole is sometimes overly romanticized and writing is perceived to be one of the elite arts, with the printing press offering people a chance of immortality. When people speak of great writers, images of Shakespeare or Milton spring to mind, yet, on the flip side, there are a host of talented writers who have failed to achieve such far-reaching success and influence, or have failed to make money from writing during their lifetimes, despite seemingly having the talent to do so. It is clear, therefore, that the difference between success and failure is not based on talent alone. However, for some, the dream of writing a classic piece of literature that lives on forever is worth the risks that come with it.

Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll

At the top end of the writing industry, writers can earn huge amounts of money and live lifestyles akin to those of famous rock stars. Stephen King, for example, earns an estimated $45 million per year from his books and such earnings almost certainly contributed to his lifestyle of excess, which he lived out for much of his adult years and which consisted of parties, celebrity associations, binge drinking and regular cocaine use. Meanwhile, Harry Potter author JK Rowling has a net worth of over $900 million and has used her huge wealth to enjoy lavish holidays, travel via private jet and live in a seven bedroom beachfront house, which costs over $100,000 per week. Writers who achieve similar levels of success can look forward to a glamorous lifestyle consisting of luxury hotels, VIP service, celebrity parties and a hugely inflated bank account.

Of course, not everyone can successfully secure publishing deals and even those who do manage to cannot guarantee effective marketing of their books. However, the recent success of Fifty Shades of Grey has made the dream of being a rich and successful writer seem more attainable than ever before.

E.L. James' erotic novel was initially self published via a print-on-demand service and went on to achieve unprecedented success for such a small-budget novel, generating huge worldwide sales figures on the way to becoming the UK's best-selling book of all time, making James into an overnight sensation and a millionaire to boot. It is, therefore, easy to see the allure of a career in writing, at least on a basic level.

The Other Side of the Coin

Hugely successful writers may live the kind of lives associated with rock stars and, in fact, the similarities between the music world and the world of writing do not end there. If the perks of being successful in both industries are similar, so too are the chances of failure - the harsh reality is that a complete failure to achieve a sustainable living from either occupation is the most likely result.

Despite E.L James' success, figures suggest that the average self-published book is lucky to sell 200 copies during its entire shelf life, far too few to generate a meaningful income from. In fact, the average book published by traditional means only sells 2,000 copies; again, not enough to be a sustainable living.
In addition, much like the music industry, artistic merit and credibility are not what success hinges on; or at least not exclusively. That Fifty Shades of Grey was a commercial success is without question, however, critically, the book was panned by most. Meanwhile, thousands of more skillful writers struggle to earn a living from writing. This is, perhaps, the writing world's equivalent of genuinely talented and credible musicians struggling to compete with manufactured pop stars, produced from reality TV. In both art forms, mass appeal reigns supreme.

This pattern is nothing new either and actually dates back several centuries. During the Romantic era in Europe, for example, many of the great writers, like Percy Shelley, achieved little commercial success during their lifetimes and some even associated mass appeal with a lower form of art. High art, it was claimed, was beyond the intellectual capacity of the mass market and a truly great writer was rarely appreciated during their own lifetime. Many years later, however, people would be hard pressed to question Shelley's command over the English language, or, indeed, his status as one of the great lyric poets.

However, judging writing on its artistic merits alone and completely overlooking sales figures is perhaps not realistic in the modern day if you wish to work exclusively as a writer. The costs associated with publishing a book, even if you go down the self-publishing route, make earning a living from writing very difficult and mass appeal is an essential part of being a successful writer in the twenty first century. Which begs the question, is it worth selling out your artistic principles for mainstream success?

The Bottom Line

The small chances of success and the possibility of having to sacrifice artistic merit for the purposes of mass marketing make writing a very difficult career to pursue. That said, the rewards for achieving mainstream success are incredibly high and it is understandable why so many people look to shoot for the stars.

In reality, however, perhaps the best attitude to take really is to simply write for pleasure and personal satisfaction and take any financial rewards that stem from that as and when they may come along. Completing a book can be an exhausting, but ultimately incredibly rewarding journey and you may have something with merit to contribute to the world, even if you are unable to make a career out of it. Besides, you can always console yourself by adopting the attitude of Shelley and the other Romantic era writers.

written by Eve Pearce

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Writing Mama Show with Guest Author Tim J. Myers

Join host Virginia S Grenier on Mondays for The Writing Mama show at 2pm Eastern - 3pm Central - 12pm Noon Mountian - 11am Pacific as she chats with authors about their books, writing success and regrets, and how the publishing world is changing.

This week's guest is Tim J. Myers, a writer, songwriter, storyteller, and university lecturer in English for Santa Clara University. Tim spent 14 years as a classroom teacher in the States and overseas (Norway, London, Tokyo), has 20 years of university experience, and has been a professional storyteller for over 25 years. None of this, however, is nearly as noteworthy to most people as finding out that Tim is the oldest of eleven children.

Check out Tim’s TV interview on children’s lit!  Why is good children's literature so powerful, so magical?

Learn more about Tim J. Myers at

Keep up to date with The World of Ink Network at our Facebook fan page!

Blog Talk Radio podcast at

Friday, February 7, 2014

Interview Friday with Author L.R.W. Lee of the Andy Smithson MG Fantasy Series

From an early age L. R. W. Lee knew she wanted to write a children’s book. Her imagination for such a book was cultivated early on as her family didn’t have a lot of money. She and her older brother were encouraged to use their imaginations to entertain themselves. And use them they did – climbing trees and tree forts, using a quilt for a matchbox car city, making puppets and putting on shows, and much more and her creativity and imagination grew.

VS: Mr. Lee, I want to thank you for being my guest here on The Writing Mama once again. You recently just released the 2nd book in our series, which is a great accomplishment. What do you do to help balance your writing life with your family life while writing a series?

Lee: I’m spoiled in that regard. I founded, built and sold a multi-million dollar company in January 2012. Since then, I’ve been free to write full time so I don’t face quite the challenges as many authors. I write while everyone is out of the house and then transition to non-writing activities once they all get home again.

VS: How long have you been writing?

Lee: Professionally, I’ve been writing for approximately 2 years now.

VS: What inspired you to write your books series?

Lee: On one level, reading fantasy adventure novels inspires me to write. I enjoy the worlds others create and I want to add my own twist for my readers. At another level, I write because I am passionate to share uncommon principles that made my life significantly more peaceful and meaningful with my readers. In so doing, I hope to introduce them to these principles so they can lead more enjoyable lives as a result. A few of these uncommon principles include overcoming frustration, impatience, fear, and jealousy. As well, they include understanding why it makes practical sense to tell the truth, and understanding that success in life comes from responsibility, diligence, dignity to name a few.

VS: What is a typical writing day like for you?

I start with an hour of exercise during which I organize my thoughts for writing and work through specific parts that aren’t as clear as they need to be. After that I spend about 2 hours working social media and talking with fans. After that I focus on writing what has been ruminating for several hours of the day. I usually write for 3-4 hours until my brain can’t invent anymore and then go back to social media and anything else needing my attention. Sometimes it’s the next episode of the book 1 podcast, other times its website updates and more.

VS: Is your family supportive of your writing now that you’re into writing a book series?

Lee: Yes. I’m proud to say that my husband read the first book in the series during our vacation this summer and my daughter, a Junior in college, read it after a bit of arm twisting (no, she was not harmed in the process J). Only my son has not read it. I think he’s afraid of finding himself in the pages, and, in some measure he’d be right.

VS: This isn’t your first publication so what was the first thing you ever had published?

Lee: My debut novel was Andy Smithson: Blast of the Serpent’s Cunning, Book 1 and I published it in April 2013

VS: Can you share with us a little about your current book in the series?

Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning is the continuation of L. R. W. Lee’s well-received debut novel Blast of the Dragon’s Fury and the next offering in this seven-book Andy Smithson allegorical, fantasy, adventure series for middle graders.

In Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning, Lee continues to weave a tale of mystery and intrigue as the main character, Andy Smithson, who is now 11-years-old, returns to Oomaldee to retrieve the second ingredient needed to break a 500-year-old curse enacted to punish the current ruler for murdering his older sister when she was 15. Not one to forgive easily, Imogenia’s spirit is bent on thwarting Andy to preserve the curse and naively aligns herself with the evil, scheming Abbadon.

Things go from bad to worse when a creature Abaddon conjures from the darkest magic steals the Stone of Athanasia, the source of the ruler’s immortality, causing the king and his wizard, Mermin, to fall gravely ill. Andy is forced to choose between retrieving the stone to save those he loves or obediently going after the second ingredient. What will he chose? Will he be able to save the King and Mermin?

You won’t want to miss the non-stop action, drama and thrills on this adventure that is Andy Smithson: Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning, Book 2.

VS: What did you find to be the most challenging part of writing the second book in your series?

One word. Editing. I hate revising what I’ve done, but I do it because I know it makes the experience so much better for my readers. After I do my edits, I turn it over to a professional editor who cleans it up a lot more.

VS: What part of your book do you feel really stands out to you personally?

Lee: The relationship between Andy and the king. There are several touching scenes in this book that I felt very deeply as I was writing. Every kid, let alone adult, wants desperately to be loved and accepted for who they are, warts and all. Andy comes from a home where he doesn’t feel that acceptance and when he finds it in this land, he soaks it up.

VS: What character is most like you in the series?

Lee: Alden. He’s a loyal friend who is willing to support the hero and will initiate action as events merit.

VS: Do you have any other works in progress? Can you share a little about them?

Lee: I’m working on the third book in the series, Andy Smithson: Disgrace of the Unicorn’s Honor which should be out in Fall 2014.

VS: What tips can you give writing parents with children at home to help them see publication?

Lee: Believe in what you’re doing and stick to it. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will. And, if there is a reason you are passionate about writing (like me sharing uncommon life principles), only you can hold that narrative and see it through.

VS: What do you think are the basic ingredients of a good book?

Lee: Dynamic characters who grow through a riveting plot that includes many seemingly insurmountable difficulties.

VS: What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?

Lee: I think the biggest thing is to create a character who is flawed. Readers know they are imperfect and can identify. I create flawed characters through description of what they look like, how they speak/think/act and their expressions as well as how other characters react/interact with them. Readers believe a character whose older sister describes him as “pathetic”.

VS: What do you feel as parents we need to do to help our children see success?

Lee: I believe success in life comes from responsibility, diligence and dignity. Culture today does not espouse these principles, but as a human being working and playing around other human beings, our children need to understand and be able to act with these principles. Master these principles and one can’t avoid being successful.

VS: Have you received any awards for your writing?

Lee: Not yet, although my first book, Andy Smithson: Blast of the Dragon’s Fury, Book 1, has been voted on and is ranked first on the Goodreads Clean Indie Reads list.

VS: Where can the readers of The Writing Mama find out more about and your writing?


VS: Is there anything else you would like to share with us about being a “Writing Mama or Dad”?

Lee: Yes. Thank you for your support! It is you that I write for and it is gratifying when I hear feedback from you as I have over the year since publishing the first book in the series.
Also, I am very excited to announce that the free serialized podcast of book 1, Andy Smithson: Blast of the Dragon’s Fury is now available on the iTunes store at as well as on my website at!podcasts/c18hh

 As well, as part of my book launch tour, you have the opportunity to win 9 fantasy adventure ebooks from highly acclaimed authors. To enter go to my website at!giveaway/chq4

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Book Review Thursday: Under the Dome by Stephen King

  • Paperback: 1088 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books; Media Tie-In edition (June 11, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476735476
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476735474

On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester's Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener's hand is severed as "the dome" comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when -- or if -- it will go away. 

My Thoughts:
Those who follow me know that Stephen King is one of, if not, my favorite author. There maybe many reasons why this is beyond his writing style. I tend to like many of the same books, movies and TV shows he does. We were both born on the same day, September 21st. Mostly, I think the reason why I am such a fan of Stephen King is because maybe we see many things the same way and his novel Under the Dome is one of the books I love most by this amazing author because of how he captured the deep down human nature inside each of us.

I know many King fans were not overly happy with this novel by our beloved author. I can understand a lot of their reasons for that, however, even though there is a lot of detail and at times the plot slowed down quite a bit, the intensity of the plot was amazing. I think as readers we may have overlook what King was trying to do with this novel (and a novel that took him a long time to complete). So what is it that I think King was trying to do? To give us a good look at human nature and how people, or "sheepeople" as my son and I like to call them, react under extreme circumstances.

I think Kay (Tommy Lee Jones) said it best in the movie Men in Black. "A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it. Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you'll know tomorrow."

Stephen King really showed in perspective exactly what Kay was talking about in Men in Black. So Kudos to you King for doing a wonderful job.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Podcast - What is Success with Guest Author, Filmmaker & Comedian Brian Scott Mednick

Join Marsha Casper Cook & Virginia S Grenier on the 1st Wed. of the month for the What is Success show where they will talk with guest, share tips and talk about the film and publishing industry.

This month's guest is Brian Scott Mednick, an author, filmmaker and stand-up comedian who graduated New York University's Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in Film and Television in 1995. Brian spent fifteen years writing and researching a biography of Gene Wilder entitled Gene Wilder: Funny and Sad, published in December 2010 by BearManor Media. Brian is widely considered the foremost authority on Mr. Wilder and his work, and his book has been cited in publications in the United States, Europe, and India.

Brian has reviewed film and theater for such publications as Show Business Weekly and Good Times.
Learn more about Brian Scott Mednick at

Learn more about the World of Ink Network at

Listen to the show podcast at

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Book Review Tuesday: How Roland Rolls by Jim Carrey

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 68 pages
  • Publisher: Some Kind of Garden Media; First Edition edition (September 24, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0989368009
  • ISBN-13: 978-0989368001

HOW ROLAND ROLLS, winner of a 2013 Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award, is a story about a wave named Roland who's afraid that, one day, when he hits the beach, his life will be over. But when he gets deep, he's struck by the notion that he's not just a wave - he's the whole big, wide ocean! The story shows humanity's interconnectedness through the metaphor of a wave in the ocean.

In HOW ROLAND ROLLS, Carrey brings his wit and wisdom to the story of a wave named Roland who’s afraid that, one day, when he hits the beach, his life will be over. But when he gets deep, he’s struck by the notion that he’s not just a wave — he’s the whole big, wide ocean!

The book is lavishly illustrated by award-winning artist/animator Rob Nason, and is a pure delight for children (and their grown-ups!). Cover is attached, and you can visit our website at

I was sent this book and I'm glad they did. I am touched to see Jim didn't go the traditional route in getting his book in print. Instead he went the indie route. Kudos Jim! He also enlisted a very talented illustrator to help him make this book not only wonderful, but Jim Carrrey dazzling wonderful as Jim himself posed for many of the Roland faces you see throughout the story, not to mention his own image from time to time can be spotted.

The story is written in rhyme and well done. Of course this actor/comedian does understand the importance of free flow and rhyme I am sure. But what really caught me was how the story unfolded or should I say rolled along in perfect harmony with the illustrations and Roland's own adventure. Every aspect was in tune with each other, every detail blending and intertwining as it should, making this one of the best indie picture books I've seen in a long time.

The story itself has many levels for all ages. Children will enjoy the fun aspects of the story and understand Roland's loss when he can't find his friends and later when he learns waves come to their end on the shoreline of the beach. Readers will have a better understanding about how we all interact with each other and touch each others lives in all we do and say. Children will come to the understanding and the importance of friends, making new friends, the world around us and how important each of us are in this great, yet small world we live in. Finally, readers will have a deep knowledge that even those we love may seem to be gone in our lives, they are truly with us each and everyday. They live within us and around us all the time.

The hidden messages throughout the story and main theme are wonderfully done and Jim Carrey really brought a deep profound thought about life and death in this amazing picture book.

What My Kids Thought:
My two girls (ages 9 and 4) sat down to read How Roland Rolls not once but several times. This is their favorite bedtime story thus far. My youngest loves illustrations and all of Roland's faces. She really got a kick out of the pictures of Jim Carrey at the back of the book showing him making the Roland faces for illustration. Jim also invites kids to share their Roland face and even though I haven't sent my youngest's picture in, here it is for your enjoyment.

My older daughter loved how simple and caring Jim's message about loss was shared with her as a reader. She picked up on the main theme right away and it opened a nice dialogue between us as her grandparents are getting older and she fears one of her grandfathers may not be around when she is much older.

My 9 year old really held onto the message about how we all make a difference in the world around us, no matter if it is small or big. It has inspired her to follow in my foot steps, and Jim Carrey's,  in writing stories about things she finds important to share. We are working on four picture books together right now, my daughter and I. I find this time so special and also she is happy to know she will be leaving her own mark on the world once she is gone for her family and friends to remember her.