Posts tagged ‘writers group’

October 18, 2014

Squirrels, apricot leather and sharing the joy of writing

 

The squirrel who ate dried apricot mush

The squirrel who ate dried apricot mush

A few years ago, my sister gave me a pair of shoes that I have absolutely loved.

She passed them on, not because they were worn out, but because she is much more fashion conscious than I am, and she knew it was time for her to try something different.

Now those shoes are about beat into the ground. The insides are falling apart and the sole is peeling off at the toes and the heels, and still I love them.

Here’s one reason why:

Two summers ago, I wore those shoes when I went to pick apricots. So many apricots had already fallen off the tree that they created slippery mushy spots on the ground. When I went home, my shoes were too yucky to take inside the house, so I set them outside in the sun to dry.

And dry they did. I had a veritable layer of apricot fruit leather baked all around the edges of my shoes.

I wore those shoes to garden in, after that, and then one day I wore them on a trip into the mountains with my mother and my children. After our picnic, I started taking photos of the scenery. My girls started laughing and pointing at my feet just as I felt something tickle the side of my right foot.

I looked down and saw a squirrel, peeling the apricot leather off my shoes.

I was reminded of this tonight in a strange way. I spent the day at a local pumpkin patch selling books with other local authors, and I thoroughly enjoyed the autumn-harvest-festival feelings that pervaded the little fair. For a moment, I felt a little bit like the squirrel–afraid of people I think are bigger than I am when it comes to writing, but so hopeful for a delicious successful-writer experience that I was willing to sneak up upon it and nibble at it.

It turned out well. I learned SOOO much from one day behind a table, and I had the opportunity to strengthen friendships with other writers and meet groups and groups of other locals. I actually sold books. Friends from my own neighborhood drove all the way to the pumpkin walk to support me. The sun was bright and cheerful, but it never got too hot, even in the late afternoon.

Marketing is a lot easier for me when I have a support group around me like that. By the end of the day, all of us were promoting each other’s books. There was a real sense of community lining our two tables. Until I returned home, I didn’t even remember that no one new entered the #burgersandbooks giveaway this week.

Now it doesn’t even matter. I plan to keep promoting books and holding give-aways, but that’s because I like them. It’s not really dependent on anyone else.

So I guess I really do feel like that squirrel. I glean happiness wherever I can find it.

Even if it’s not something I planned for.

Even if it’s not easy to access.

Even if I have to get out of my comfort zone to do it.

Overall, it was a smiley, feel-good day. Better than old shoes and apricot leather, and I plan to keep sharing the joy.

 

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September 27, 2014

There’s a winner! #nightones #giftcard #giveaway

 

I love rainy days when clouds sink low into the mountains, like this!

I love rainy days when clouds sink low into the mountains, like this! 

What a happy rainy day for a gift card drawing!

The winner is Heidi from Wyoming. Congratulations, Heidi! I hope you enjoy the gift card!

So what’s next in the Night Ones world?

Book two is still on schedule for a December release. The cover reveal will probably happen around Thanksgiving time, maybe a little bit before. LaRae Monroe has already agreed to create the book cover, and I’m so excited I can hardly wait for November. She’s an incredible artist. (Check out her Facebook Page!)

Meanwhile, some local authors are banding together to sell books at a pumpkin walk this year. I wasn’t going to print any physical copies of the book, but I do want to support my fellow writers–so I gave in.  I expect to have a small number of books in a week or two. My husband, a truly talented woodworker, also wants to sell some at a craft show on October 30. I guess we’ll see how it goes!

A poetry sample book is coming sometime soon, too. I meant this as a Mother’s Day gift two years ago. Due to some technical difficulties, I set it aside and only finally finished uploading it last night. I may get some physical copies of that one to give to loved ones, or to sell, if there seems to be a demand. I intend for it to be free on Kindle, maybe as soon as tomorrow.

I also have a stand-alone fantasy book I’m in the process of editing. I hope to have it completely edited by the end of October. At the request of someone dear to me, I’m sending out queries to traditional publishers for this one. I’m not holding my breath. It sounds like fun, but right now, I plan to self-publish this book after I receive all my rejection letters. 😀

The critique group is coming along NICELY! I really love having people to bounce ideas back and forth with, and the writers in this area are packed with talent. It’s impossible to spend time with friends like these and not become a better writer. The larger writer’s group is lots of fun, too.

Journalism continues. I had three pieces published in September, which is the most work I’ve had published at once in about two years–I may have to slow down again, but I love writing these stories, so it’s hard to set aside. These articles are all fun, lighthearted stories focusing on the positive things in my world–incredible people with amazing talents and unique experiences to share. I love writing about good people who do great things in their spheres of influence!

And now, the news about more gift card give-aways: Yes, I’ll be doing another one in November!!! Stay tuned for more details! If you’ve already downloaded The Night Ones but haven’t had a chance to read it yet, now you have a head start! 🙂

If you’re interested in more information on my books, my give-aways, more frequent updates on my works-in-progress or other writing-related things I don’t always post on my blog, please send me your contact information! I’ll send out an e-mail once or twice  a quarter to let you know what’s up.

Wishing everyone a very happy day!

 

July 30, 2014

Marketing From a Village

Hinterstein Germany Village Buildings Mountains (from pixabay.com)

This past month the local writer’s group I’m a member of held its own book-fair at one of the local parks.

For the first hour, I went, mingled with my fellow writers and watched the band and food vendors set up for the weekly Fridays on Vine concert. Everyone seemed excited, hopeful that the concert and the sign welcoming the public to come meet local authors would bring a stream of locals through the pavilion.

No one said it aloud, but we all watched people gathering on the grass and at the picnic tables as if we might know some of them. As if they might see us, come running in (with their friends, of course) and buy books.

Only a handful of visitors trickled through while I was there, and I don’t think more than a few books got sold, but I still consider the night a success.

Here’s why:

As a united entity, we authors vivaciously reached out to the public.

To my knowledge, this is the first time our little group has ever done this.

It takes guts to welcome new people to come see what we’re up to. It takes courage to put on a professional image, especially when, for most of us, our fledgling works have been self-published and all the marketing efforts are up to us.

For some of us, it takes everything we have to overcome Imposter Syndrome enough that our neighbors, relatives and other people we meet in settings like this will take us seriously. We hope they will at least notice that we take ourselves seriously. (That in itself is a great leap forward.)

I overheard one author say to another, “I don’t know. Sometimes I think we’re all just buying books from each other.”

That may be true. I came home with stacks of bookmarks and two books from my fellow authors, but here’s the deal:

To succeed, self-published authors and traditionally-published authors with little or no marketing budget must be united.

We need to sell the works of other authors as well as our own writings. We need to pass out those bookmarks to every potential reader we meet.

In a world where Talkers and Sneezers make ideas like great books go viral, we need to form tweet teams and street teams that will actually pound the pavement occasionally.

We need a village, and we need to sell to the villages we live in.

That means creating our own wave of enthusiasm, relying on each other to help spread the word, and forming our own movement that can eventually pick up momentum in our own towns and cities and spread to the larger world.

We create online villages by blogging, commenting on each other’s blogs, participating in blog hopping and blog tours, attending virtual book launches and creating author pages on Amazon and Facebook. These are helpful (and so fun they’re sometimes addicting). Wherever we go, we try to seek out our target audiences, hoping they’ll become part of our online villages.

I wonder, though, if they’ll ever really replace people we can get to know.

It takes a lot more courage to reach out to people you can see and touch than it does to reach out to people you might never meet in person. This is one reason why I admire writers who sell their books at trade fairs and arrange for book signings in libraries and bookstores.

Perhaps this is also why I value my writer’s group so much. This last month, at least, these other authors were my village. Even though I didn’t bring any bookmarks to pass out or books to sell, I felt their combined energy swelling up and spilling over into the concert at the park. Since then, two books from one local author have made the bestsellers list on Amazon.

I can’t help but see a connection here.

Her village is thriving.

 

 

August 25, 2013

Bruschetta for writers

Homemade Bruschetta and string cheese

Homemade Bruschetta and string cheese

I have wonderful memories of cold winter days made warm by the company of good friends.

Once a week, we met together to talk, work on projects, watch chick flics and allow our young children to run around in the immense back yard of one particularly wonderful lady.  While they wore themselves out in the snow, we rejuvenated our minds and hearts.

Here I found willing readers for my first attempts at fiction, encouragement when I accepted challenging nonfiction assignments and dedicated discussions about books. We talked about books we were reading, books we loved, books we hated, plot lines and characters and what made certain books original. I found several new favorite authors this way.

A larger group of us met once a month for lunch. In the summer, we often picnicked at parks in and around the Bismarck area. During cold weather, we met at restaurants.

One February day, we met at Olive Garden, where one of my dearest friends introduced me to Bruschetta.

I’m busy chopping fresh garden tomatoes today, content with the idea of Bruschetta for dinner.  It’s like dining with a friend.

I’m inclined to believe that all writers need friends.

Author Janet Sketchley recently put it this way:

We may do the actual writing alone, even if we do it best amid the background chatter of the local coffee hangout, but it’s the writing community that lets us thrive.

I’m nodding my head here. Writers need a strong network, for emotional health if for nothing else.

I haven’t been able to attend a slightly geographically-distant critique group for months now, but the few times I was able to attend saved my sanity during some rough times.  I’m hoping to get back to it this fall. I loved it.

Likewise, I love the local writing group that I attend more regularly. I love chatting with my daughters about their own works-in-progress, and I love that some of my writing friends I’ve left behind will call me two or three times a week just to talk writing with me.

I do, however, think that writer’s friends can—and should—extend beyond other writers.

Like my Bruschetta friend from North Dakota, and my daycare-crib-keeper friend, my German party friends, my do-it-yourself home decorator friend, my librarian friend, my running friends.

Those friends are now joined by my dessert club friends near my non-North Dakota home—the one who takes in pets for the animal shelter, the one who creates beautiful beaded hair  clips, the one who knows how to make gum paste flowers for wedding cakes and the one who enjoys Dr. Who and Monarch of the Glen.

Every person is amazingly unique, and yet it seems like any time I get together with friends, we talk about stories of some kind. I learn something from each interaction with them. Usually, I learn something about myself.

I believe that transfers directly to my writing. It makes me both a better person and a better writer.

These moments with friends are like the basil in my Bruschetta—they make something ordinary like garden tomatoes into something completely wonderful, something worth savoring and worth sharing.

April 23, 2013

In two hours I learned eight important things about screenplays

Notes from my screenplay-writing class

Notes from my screenplay-writing class

Two hours of this past Saturday were spent in a room in the local library, where I attended a terrific class with folks from my writing group. We learned about screenwriting. There will be a follow-up class in two weeks, and I’m already excited about it.

I can say this much about it: it may very well change the way I write all my fiction. At the very least, I’ll be taking different things into account when I write my first and second drafts and before I begin writing, when I plot the book and start getting to know my characters.

Rather than writing out everything I learned, I’m including a simple list here. Please feel free to browse through it, pull out the tidbits that help you most and put them to work wherever you need them.

What I learned about screenwriting:

  • The best formula for screenwriting involves three acts that take close to the same amount of pages to write
  • Screen plays are generally no longer than 120 pages. (That was an eye-opener, for me.)
  • Screen plays are written in present tense (think Charles Yallowitz’s work here).
  • Action, not dialogue, is what makes a good screenplay. Dialogue is only used to aid the action. (Another eye-opener.)
  • In film, characters are what they do, not what they say. This is the ultimate show-not-tell, because there’s hardly ever a way to get into a character’s head except by interpreting their choices and the things they do.
  • When writing a screenplay, be concise–but don’t forget important adjectives and adverbs.
  • If possible, avoid parenthetics (directions to the actors and director)
  • Avoid revealing plot points through dialogue. If something needs to be revealed, do it through action.

I’m anticipating having another screenplay-happy list to share in two weeks.

April 12, 2013

An interview with LDS author Roseanne Wilkins

Author Roseanne Wilkins

Author Roseanne Wilkins

During the past few months, as I’ve been getting to know my fellow writers in the Tooele Writer’s group, I’ve been very impressed with author Roseanne Wilkins. She recently led a workshop to teach fellow writers how to format books for CreateSpace and e-book options. As near as I can tell, she has self-published about four books and seems to be doing very well.

One thing I find remarkable about Roseanne is her ability to find and write to a particular target audience, which has contributed to her success (read more about it below). Roseanne writes clean romance fiction for women belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, referred to in her interview as LDS.

You can learn more about Roseanne at her blog, here. Meanwhile, here are her answers to my interview questions:

When did you first write and publish your first book?

I started my first book when I was 14. I had pneumonia and spent the time in bed writing a shape-shifting black panther story. I had nearly 50 pages done before I put the project aside. I started Tangled Hearts in 1983. In 2008, I read the entire Twilight Series twice in one week. I finished Noonday Sun, a 110,000-word novel, before Twilight: The Movie came out in theaters. After I finished writing that book, I picked up Tangled Hearts (released as an ebook in 2010) and finished that, then went back to Hidden in the Heart (Released in 2011), which I had started in 1991. Change of Heart is a new book, one I started in 2011. I had it finished and published by 2012.

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

My mother read to me from the time I was very young. I loved how her voice would change as the characters did, and I wanted to be able to write something that would touch someone the way I had been touched. In fourth grade, I had a wonderful teacher who had a stack of story starters for writing practice. That sparked my writing ability, and I’ve considered myself a writer since then.

With your busy family life, how do you find time to write?

I require silence when I write, so I prefer to write when my children are in bed. I have 8 that are still at home. Silence only happens when they’re all asleep.

What made you choose self-publishing over seeking a traditional publisher?

When I first decided to publish Tangled Hearts, self-publishing was just beginning to take off. Vanity publishing, where the author pays to have the product produced, had been around for a long time, but it was expensive, and I knew we couldn’t afford that option. So I first sought to have my book published traditionally. Tangled Hearts was accepted by Granite Publishing. When I asked the editor what changes needed made, she assured me that the book was fine the way it was except for the final chapter, the afterword. I shortened the afterword and added a couple of pages between it and the end of the last chapter. Since Cedar Fort, Covenant, and Deseret Book had already seen and rejected the manuscript, I opted to self-publish. I also had a good friend who sent me information on PubIt, which handles Nook ebooks. The best part about it was the price: free. I just had to figure out how to format it. Had my first experience been with Kindle, I might have given up. I found it much easier to create an ebook for Nook than it was for Kindle. After releasing my ebooks, I learned about CreateSpace, which produces books one at a time. The price to have a paperback book available to purchase? Free. Within a couple of months, Tangled Hearts was selling briskly, I’d released it as a paperback, and I didn’t even consider a different option for my other three books (The Fruitful Tree is a children’s picture book).

How do you go about marketing your books, and what makes the biggest difference for you?

Marketing my LDS books has been relatively easy. I had no idea how search engines work, but my desire to keep my books in the LDS market where they were supposed to be led me to add “an LDS novel” to the title of my books. That enabled Amazon to know exactly who my target audience is. I’ve sold several thousand ebook copies of my best selling book. The other thing I’ve done a lot of is book giveaways, both on Goodreads and through blogs. I’ve also paid to have my books promoted on “Clean Romance Reviews.” As an LDS author, I think it’s essential to get your name on LDS Publisher. Also, I have an author page on facebook, Amazon, jacketflap, and Utah Writers. If you’re going to be an author, you need to find and seek places where your name should be, then get your name out there. I also find spending a few minutes on Goodreads and Shelfari leaving reviews for books you’ve already read is a great way to get you name recognition on Google.

What advice would you give a new writer?

Write. Then be willing to let others read what you’ve written. If you don’t feel comfortable handing your book over to 10-20 people before you send it off to a publisher or an editor, you’re not ready to have a published book. Let go and let your readers read. Under no circumstances stick a book out that hasn’t been read by multiple people or by a professional editor. There are too many things you simply can’t see in your own writing. Pay attention to their comments. If there are spots they don’t understand, you need to re-word the sentence. Sometimes just one or two words makes all the difference. So write. Let people read. Clarify and fix. And the final step: do it. Either send your manuscript off to publishers or publish it yourself.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Keep writing.

If there’s anything else you’d like to share, share it here!

If I can pick up my writing after a 25-year break, anyone can. I didn’t know a thing about ebooks when I started. I didn’t even know how to navigate around MS Word. If I can do this, so can you. What’s stopping you?

March 13, 2013

An essay written by my daughter

DSC08586

One of my daughters loves to write. She and I sometimes have our own little ‘writer’s group’ over lunch–it’s so much fun to share writing with someone I love so deeply!

Today is the fourth day she’s been sick, and in spite of that, she wrote the following essay…and I’m so proud of her, I asked her if I could post it here. She said yes! 🙂 It may not be perfect or long, but for an eighth grader, I think she’s done a pretty good job finding a theme she can relate to.

The Battle for Peace

     The poem “The Stretcher Bearer” by Robert Service is about a person who desperately tries to escape war. When affected by war, the speaker longs for peace.

     There is not a place worse than war. Service says “I’ll tell you wot-I’m sick with pain/For all I’ve ‘eard, for all I’ve seen.” Here he mentions the horrors of war. The reader catches a glimpse of the grotesque scenery. He goes on to say: “Around me is the ‘ellish night,/And as the war’s red rim I trace,/I wonder if in ‘Eaven’s height,/our God don’t turn away his face.” As he explains the awfulness of it all, Service brings out the shame and distress of war. It is bad enough that the most powerful being would turn away.

     Everyone is affected by the great and terrible wars of men. In the poem, Service points out, “As man destroys his fellow man;/I wave no flag; I only know,/As ‘ere beside the dead I wait,/A million ‘earts is filled with woe,/A million ‘omes is desolate.” Service exposes war as the cause of suffering for millions. It leaves families with children without homes, without loved ones, and without hope.

     The war’s end is so far away that no mortal being can see it. In the last stanza of the poem Service creates a dark and hopeless mood when he says: “In drippin’ darkness, far and near,/All night I’ve sought them woeful ones./Dawn shudders up and still I ‘ear/The crimson chorus of the guns./Look! like a ball of blood the sun/‘Angs o’er the scene of wrath and wrong…./“Quick! Stretcher-Bearers on the run!”/Oh Prince of peace ‘ow long, ‘ow long?” He paints the picture of a distant, hopeless future. In the last sentence of the last stanza he is praying. He prays to see the end soon.

     He does not even want to know who is responsible. The speaker says “I don’t care ‘oose the Crime may be;/I ‘olds no brief for kin or clan…” all he wants is an end. The stretcher bearer tries to leave the war behind him. All he wants is peace. But hatred seems to catch up with him. Service speaks for many people when he points out all the awful tragedies of war. He uses the speaker in the poem to represent these people.

Source

Collected Poems of Robert Service page 389 lines three through ten, twelve through sixteen, and seventeen through twenty four

February 25, 2013

Thoughts on Secrets of Successful Writers, by Darrell Pitt

One of the best things about writer’s conferences is that you get to network with other authors. You find out what works for them in everything such as the best time to write and low long to write every day to how to price books, how to develop a platform and how to promote your books.

Darrell Pitt‘s Secrets of Successful Writers might be the next best thing to attending a writer’s conference or an ongoing, very inclusive writer’s group. This book introduces us to fifty authors (including Pitt) and how they deal with the pertinent issues.

The chapters in Secrets of Successful Writers are conducted interview-style, so you get author’s answers back in their own words. You might as well be having a conversation with them.

Here’s some of the advice I gleaned from this book–remember, not every author uses every technique, but these are the techniques that jumped out at me most:

When and how much you should write

  • This varies widely from writer to writer. Some sleep late and work late; some work early, and some write just when they find the time and inspiration. The tricks seem to be flexibility and the willingness to experiment with your own schedule until you find what works best for you.

Marketing–always the big one :

  • Be nice to your readers; be sociable online and make friends
  • Methodically use the Amazon discussion boards to promote your book
  • Do every interview you can
  • Visit Joe Konrath’s blog for some great ideas
  • Find a readership using ebooks
  • Network with other indie writers enough that their fans get to know you, too
  • Use facebook and Twitter
  • Author Heather Killough-Walden also said the following: 

Create a stark, eye-catching cover that draws readers to your book out of all of the books surrounding it on the Amazon or Barnes and Noble page.

Pricing:

  • Some of the authors were traditionally published, and their publisher took care of that.
  • For indie authors, pricing seems to be as arbitrary as when you work and how long you work each day. The general idea among many of the authors was to play around with pricing until you’re comfortable; however, a lot of them priced their books between 99 cents and $2.99, and one said she was uncomfortable pricing her books over $5 each.

General advice:

  • Write as much as you can.
  • Pay attention to quality writing
  • Writer’s block is a signal that you need more input. Go gather some information, come back and start writing again.
  • ebooks are the future of the publishing industry. Bookstores and libraries are more about the experiences they provide–the smells, the textures of printed books, etc.

My favorite part of the book was this question-answer set:

Darrell Pitt:

What advice would you give to someone about to publish their first novel as an ebook?

John Locke (the first independent author to sell one million ebooks on Amazon):

The minute you send it out into the world, start writing the next one. Don’t worry if your firs t one is going to sell, because it probably won’t. And if it does, your public is going tow ant the next book anyway, and you’ll have nothing in the tank to give them. Your readers want to know you’re committed to providing them with content. In this regard, writing is like a friendship. Do you want to be my friend? Then BE there for me!

How can you not smile at a statement like that?

An upside of this book: you can read an interview a day, stay enthused and feel like you’ve made a new friend. Pitt also included web sites, Amazon pages, and similar information for the author at the end of each interview. If you find you have a lot in common with a particular author, it’ll be easy to use that information to follow them or even get in touch.

This book was both helpful and friendly.

About Darrell Pitt: something to encourage all indie authors

Besides editing Secrets of Successful WritersDarrell Pitt authored the Teenage Superheroes series and The Steampunk Detective. He now has a major publisher looking at his books. I’ll be following up with him about that when he’s able to share more.

In his own words:

It’s a real confirmation the indie publishing can lead to great things.

TeenageSuperhero-2240x1400 [Desktop Resolution]  TheSteampunkDetectiveFINALWebRes

February 19, 2013

Three reasons to have fun with IndieReCon

indierecon

This week I’m attending the online Indie author’s writing conference, IndieReCon. I didn’t find out about it until last night, and I’m grateful to Jessica Schaub for posting about it. It’s been very informative–and relaxing–so far. Kind of like a day spa for my mind.

In my mind, there are three things that really make this conference great:  1) it’s free; 2) you can catch the things you miss later, since they stay posted on the web site; and 3) I can do this from home. No traveling. Also, my baby is playing in the background, and you know how I feel about that.

Of course, there’s no face-to-face interaction with other writers, but the information is solid and it’s fun to think about all the other writers participating this way today. It’s kind of like a gigantic writer’s group. Oh, the joy of networking with other writers, even electronically!

Topics covered so far (many by blog-type posts):

  • The future of digital publishing
  • The pros and cons of Indie publishing
  • Entrepreneurial Authors and the many hats they wear
  • Sidestepping the Stigma (of self-publishing vs. traditional publishing)
  • Mistakes new Indie authors make
  • The Costs of Self-Publishing
  • The Basics, Part One: book pricing, distribution and formatting

In a few minutes, The Basics, Part Two will open, in which participants will learn about the business side of writing.

The schedule for the full three-day conference can be found here.

It’s certainly a boost to my enthusiasm. I think all writers need that now and then.

January 8, 2013

Three reasons for Writer’s Group to become a girls’ night in

I love spending time with my girls, whether we're out and about or snuggled up at home.

I love spending time with my girls, whether we’re out and about or snuggled up at home.

There are very few things I’d miss my writing group for.

A special family outing is one of those things. That’s what happened last month–my husband got tickets for the entire family to go see a Christmas concert, not knowing that was the same night my writer’s group.

This month, the writer’s group was scheduled for last night–and I missed it again because of a sick child.

Granted, the ill child is thirteen years old. I’m sure she and the family could have handled me leaving for a few hours. I debated about it all morning and finally realized I needed to stay home, for the following reasons:

  1. There’s a sore throat, a headache and a fierce fever associated with whatever she’s got. I don’t feel sick, but I also don’t want to take a chance of passing that on to anyone else.
  2. Sometimes girls just need their moms. When you’re not feeling good, it’s hard to feel good about yourself, and during those times moms can be extremely comforting. I know this because, after all these years, I still need to at least call my own mom when I’m not feeling well.
  3. Moms always need their girls. Part of the fun of going to a writing group is coming home and telling my daughters what I learned. They both like to write, and this particular daughter is already working on two books that she hopes to publish someday. Her enthusiasm and ambition keep me motivated when the deadlines get tight. Both girls help me remember why I chose to write in the first place: because I love it.

I’m already looking forward to the next writing group. I have my piece ready to go, and I’m hoping I can still help critique the works of my writing group friends by e-mail while I wait a whole four more weeks. Writing group is my night out, one of the only times I really take time for myself.

Last night–well, that was really a girls’ night in. I loved that, too.

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