Writing quote

Sure, it's simple writing for kids...Just as simple as raising them.
— Ursula K. LeGuin

Monday, September 26, 2016


   Last month, I talked about the power of conferences to revitalize your writing and boost your muse. Today, the topic will be on how writing contests can do the same thing. Are you feeling stuck on your project? Stumped for story ideas? Hit a creative brick wall? Writing contests can be the jumper cables to your stalled creative engine. And they're fun! Here are a few to get you started:


Write a 1,000 word fictional tale based on this photo prompt:

For Submission guidelines and contest rules, see the flyer below or visit the Redwood Writer's Club website


Write a 2,000 word fictional short story using any nuance, definition, or understanding of the word "dark." Enter at The Writer.


Registered users must submit a story between 1,000 and 10,000 words ("Qualifying Story") and designate the story under one of the following categories: 1) Diversity, 2) Historical Fiction, 3) Fantasy, 4) Horror/Suspense or 5) Teens by Teens. For contest info. and submission guidelines, visit Story Shares.

Check out these other lists of writing contests:

Good luck! And may the Muse be with you.

Friday, August 19, 2016


With Robyn Murphy infront of our house
rental on the Mendocino Coast.
   I attended the Mendocino Coast Writer's Conference during the first week of August—and came back inspired and refreshed, ready to tackle my writing. Editor Laura Atkins' Young Adult and Middle Grade workshop was fantastic. We had a lovely group of participants who gave specific, constructive yet gentle feedback on each other's manuscripts; I met another Ukiah writer who is interested in joining the SCBWI Mendocino County Meet and Greet; and, as always, I had fun hanging out with my writing buds, Amanda Conran (author of The Lost Celt) and Robyn Murphy.
   Conferences are such a great way to meet people and network with industry professionals, as well as learn more craft techniques (I learned about the "scaffolding" process for outlining your book, and that my novel should be middle grade, not young adult—a huge vision shift). In spite of receiving a partial scholarship to attend this conference, the total costs, including accommodations, can be quite pricey.
At the Hill House with Robyn Murphy and
Amanda Conran
   If time or money doesn't allow you to attend a writing conference right now, there are some good online options. Currently, I'm taking a Novel Master Class with James Patterson. Yes, that James Patterson. At $90, this 36 session webinar is reasonably-priced. You can watch the videos at your own pace, in the comfort of your own home. Of course, what you get out of the webinar depends on what you put into it. I highly recommend doing the "homework" assignments (don't worry, they're not very time consuming) and watching some additional links such as Mr. Patterson critiquing novel loglines submitted by former students. There are different webinars with a "Master": screenwriting with Aaron Sorkin, singing with Christina Aguilar, acting with Dustin Hoffman. Access these webinars at www.masterclass.com, and learn from a Master of the craft!
   And if you write for children, Mira Reisberg and the Children's Book Academy offers a series of wonderful webinars on all aspects of creating children's books, http://www.childrensbookacademy.com.
   Till next time, happy learning—and writing!

Saturday, April 23, 2016


   Aaah, Spring! It's the time of rebirth, rejuvenation and renewal. I love this time of year, when the days get longer, the sun smiles down upon us (in California anyway), warm but not blistering hot, birds twitter in the early morning air...and I'm thinking this is as good a time as any for the rebirth and rejuvenation of my blog as well. No, I'm not changing anything drastic, but it's lain dormant for too long. I do want to focus this year on topics that other writers would find more helpful though, so if you have anything you'd like me to explore, research, or post here, let me know. 
   Since Spring can also be a renewal time for our writing, I'd like to start with upcoming writing conferences and workshops. My sister, Shirin Yim Bridges, publisher of Goosebottom Books and Gosling Press wrote this great post about the Power of Conferences on her blog. To add to her list, here are some other workshops, conferences, retreats to jumpstart your writing:

BASIC SCRIVENER FOR WRITERS, Saturday, April 30, 2016, 2 pm. - 4 pm., Walnut Creek, CA. - Join me for this hands-on two hour workshop. I'll walk you through how to get started with this powerful writing tool. Bring your laptops! Register here. You can download a free 30-day trial of Scrivener here

BOOK PASSAGE YOUNG ADULT AND MIDDLE GRADE INTENSIVE WRITING WEEKEND, July 16 - 17, Corte Madera, CA. Participants will have a chance to not only learn and network but to workshop! The panels will cover information for both new and established writers like how to make your query letter stand out, marketing and promotion, developing ideas and how to writer a compelling narrative. There will be many opportunities for faculty and participants to talk, laugh, and exchange ideas in workshops, lunches, and dinner.

SCBWI SUMMER CONFERENCE, July 29 - Aug. 1, Los Angeles, CA.The SCBWI conference is a rare opportunity to meet and network with the most influential group of the key decision makers in children’s publishing. A brilliant array of children’s book authors and illustrators will inspire you with their knowledge and vision, and help you bring your craft to a new level.

MENDOCINO COAST WRITER'S CONFERENCE, August 4 - 7, Mendocino, CA. - Workshops, craft discussions, panels, agent pitch sessions, manuscript consults on the beautiful Mendocino coast. Scholarships are available. Fees and registration here.

PUBLISHING BOOT CAMP, August 7, Mendocino, CA.Shirin Yim Bridges—who leads this popular program internationally—will work closely with writers who want to visualize and plan a publishing strategy. Whether nonfiction, poetry, fiction, or children´s literature, the publishing world is wide-open these days, with more options than ever before. A box lunch is included. Plan to spend the day on-campus and learn the latest about publishing, whether or not you have an agent.

SCBWI GREEN GULCH WRITING RETREAT, Sept. 9 - 11, Mill Valley, CA. Need some time to write away from the distractions of traffic, family demands, and that never-ending pile of laundry? This is a great writing retreat for children's, YA and middle grade writers.

WRITING WORKSHOP OF SAN FRANCISCO, Saturday, Sept. 10, 9 am. - 5 pm., San Francisco, CA. - a one-day "How to Get Published" workshop. Agent pitch sessions and manuscript critiques available. The early bird registration fee of $149 is fairly inexpensive as far as writing workshops go.

PACIFIC COAST CHILDREN'S WRITERS WORKSHOP, Sept. 23 - 25, Santa Cruz, CA. - This intensive seminar offers editor or agent feedback on selected whole-novel manuscripts, including two in-person consults with a mentor, and editor and agent critiques on your polished, opening chapters. Register and apply here. Manuscript critiques are due April 30!

Next week, we'll explore writing grants and awards!