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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Muse Online Writers Conference and We Have a Winner for the free copy of Nature Girl by Jane Kelley

Lea Schizas, who founded the conference and is the publisher of MuseItUp Publishing

As promised I kept the blog post up for two weeks so everyone could comment or ask a question. I want to thank all of you who have commented and I wish I had ten copies for everyone. But I only have one so I did the drawing and the winner is:

Susanne Drazic

So it is up to you, Susanne to send me your address so I can ship your copy of Nature Girl by Jane Kelley to you!!! I will also announce this on Facebook if you don't get over here to the blog to see this. You will have only three days to contact me. If you don't contact me by then I will do another drawing and pick another winner.

What changed in my life are my eyes. I had my second cataract operation and it went very smoothly, though not so much psychedelic stuff. The eye is almost completely healed and my vision without glasses is now 20/20 to 20/15. I have to take off my glasses to watch TV and movies, and drive. I still need reading glasses for reading and computer. I don't wear glasses when I'm walking around or driving now, and that hasn't happened since I was 21. But really I started wearing glasses in seventh grade. Then I used them only for TV, movies, reading, and close work. They're trifocals, but now all I need is the bottom for reading. Everything is blurry if I look through my glasses.:)

How many of you attended The Muse Online Writers Conference last week? I wanted to do the whole thing, but I was only able to attend a few chats and participate in a few of the workshops. For anyone who has never been to this wonderful and informative conference, you must go next year. The founder, Lea Schizas, decided five years ago that not everyone can attend in person conferences and it wasn't fair to keep these people from attending a conference. So she and a few others began The Muse Online Writers Conference. You can come as you are, it is free, and though the chats are usually in the daytime and early evening hours, the workshops run around the clock. She invited publishers, agents, and editors to attend and each year writers can interact with publishers, agents, and editors in both the chat rooms and the forums.

Last year Lea added Pitch sessions for the publishers and agents who were there. Many people were able to pitch their work and received contracts. I wanted to pitch last year, but I wasn't ready. However, I received great suggestions from Margot Finke, who helped me to change my first page just enough to get the attention of the founder, Lea Schizas. So this year I decided to pitch my YA novel that you have heard about umpteen times, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, to MuseItUp Publishers and I was so excited that they wanted to see the full manuscript!!!

I can't tell you how much time I spent on this manuscript, but in five years of sending it out I have received seven rejections. After the last rejection about a year ago, I decided to leave it alone for awhile. But I had written a pitch for it and used that to get my pitch scheduled. However, I didn't think it really said what I wanted to say. So my older daughter sat with me and helped me to rewrite it so it had more pizazz!!! I felt great about using it and did I mention how excited I was when they liked it too???

Maybe you have heard this too many times, but I have to say it.:) You never know what is going to happen and who is going to make it happen for you. Last year I met Vivian Zabel of 4RV Publishing and that resulted in my asking her onto my radio show and that was how I got to know her even better. She is a phenomenal publisher and I am so honored to be part of 4RV as an apprentice editor. Networking is very important for a writer and being at The Muse Online Writers Conference allows a writer to meet a lot of people you would not normally meet. But what is really wonderful is that every writer or publisher I met there was someone who was ready to help and support you depending on what you needed. Also what is wonderful about the conference is the decorum and the rules for chats. Sometimes you're in a chat room with lots of people and the moderators keep it going making sure everyone gets a chance to speak.

Before the pitch sessions you are in a chat room where the moderators act more like crisis intervention counselors than moderators. Here are all these writers waiting for the time to go into the pitch session, which is only seven minutes.:) I'm reminded of that kids' game we played at boy/girl parties, "Seven minutes in heaven" where you had to go into a closet and kiss a boy for seven minutes. When we played it at my birthday party before going into seventh grade, I had no closet in the living room. So we turned off all the lights and instead of spinning a bottle we just kissed for seven minutes. Hard lips against mine were not my idea of heaven, but I figured there had to be something good about kissing a boy so I didn't judge kissing by that or I would never have kissed anyone again!!

Anyway, back to the pitch session, when it was our turn we had to leave the chat room and go into the pitch chat room. While we were waiting, people chatted with each other and the moderators, and it was comforting to know that everyone was really nervous. We were hyperventilating (like my heroine, Carolyn) and the moderators kept telling us to blow out and not hold our breath. Everyone wished everyone good luck and congratulated anyone who got a bid to send their work. I know that I wish I had had someone to do that for me the other times when I had to send out my work to a publisher at the post office or from my computer. The nerves creep up on you and before you know it you're so nervous your hands can't type anything on the keyboard! That would have been difficult, because pitching online meant cutting and pasting your pitch into the chat room with the publisher and whoever else was there with them. Unlike querying a publisher, you learn your fate almost immediately. Then you go back to the holding chat room where people congratulate or commiserate with you depending on your outcome. But Carolyn is out there now and I hope they treat her with the love and affection I have felt for her.

Keep your fingers crossed for me. As I mentioned to another writer friend today we all need the Good Luck Fairy in our lives. After this half year I really need her or him to raise a wand over my life and make everything all better.:) Good luck to all of you who have your work out there with publishers and editors. For the others who have worries about trying to publish your work, send it out!!! If you don't send it out you don't have a chance of publication ever. But if you do send it out there is always that possibility it will be published.

Okay, so I'm sure everyone is wondering who will be my guests for October's radio show. One of my guests is Michelle McGriff who has written over 25 novels and has 3 other books as well. She is a lot of fun and I think you will really enjoy her. Also, my other guest is Jason Mayo, of Out-Numbered blog. I'll bet a lot of you have laughed at the hysterical prose Jason writes on his blog about his life with his wife and family and how he feels outnumbered. Now he has written a book that is perfect for Halloween, Do Wishes Make Fishes. The book is about a little boy whose mother cooks healthy dishes, but he wishes she weren't there and a witch replaces her. What is wonderful about this book besides the story is that all the proceeds from the sale of the books go to The Garden of Dreams, a charity that is based in Madison Square Garden. Jason's friend has cancer and there is a very heartfelt story you must read before you read any part of it. Click on the link. Sadly, Jason Mayo has decided to stop writing his blog due to his life speeding up. Tune into the show on Thursday, October 28th at 3PM Central Time to find out why he has decided to give up blogging for now.

Until the next time thank you to my new readers and as always a big thank you to all my followers for continuing to read my meanderings. There are quite a few writers who will be on this blog as guest authors. One of them is Sandro Isaack, who wrote a picture book called Stork,MIA He will be here next week. I will be posting my poems tomorrow.


  1. The Muse Online Writers Conference is AWESOME. Looking forward to next year!

    Whew! I made it in time to get the book Nature Girl by Jane Kelly! Glad I didn't miss it. Looking forward to reading it. Thanks! I'll send you my address.

  2. As everyone can see, Susanne Drazic contacted me and she will be getting the copy of Nature Girl by Jane Kelley.

    Thank you to all who left comments and come back in a few days for the next book give away!

  3. Hi Barbara,
    Congratulations on going through the pitch session with success! Welcome to the Muse family. It is a great place to be. I have only been part of the family for a month or so and it has taken me this long to catch my breath.
    I have added your blog link to my blog... at Ramblings from Lady Rosalie... as a Muse Author. :)
    Congratulations again and welcome.

  4. Hi Rosalie,
    Thank you!!! It was very stressful and waiting to find out if Lea liked it was impossible!!

    I went to your blog and checked it out. I like the idea of offering Free Reads. I didn't notice my blog there, but maybe you are planning to add it. I am adding yours to the Blogs I Follow too. I also decided to Follow you!! I hope you will decide to follow me too.:)

  5. Hi Barbara,
    I thought I had saved the changes to my blog links. Now your blog is listed. Thanks for the heads up.
    Following you on Facebook. ;) Thanks.


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