The Mother's Day Writing Contest Winners

20100216writingchallengeblogMother's Day has come and gone. Father's Day approaches on swift wings. What's happened in between? Well, we've been reading the submissions to this writing challenge. Hopefully you've been thinking about what to get Dad for his special day. 

We recommend a meat smoker. A lot of people think they're impractical, but they're wrong. They're an amazing way to empower your father to produce delicious meals of meat while basking in the summer sunlight and sipping on his favorite man-beer. of the Mother's  Day Writing Contest!

#1 Grand Prize Winner of Self-Editing for Fiction Writers

Easy Peezy by Leo1 
This was some pretty wild sci-fi, but interesting and well-composed. 

And the other deserving recipients of PageToFame Coupons!

Edelweiss by SC_Benjamin
We liked that there was action in this scene, not easy to make action work in conjunction with Mother's Day. The ending was also equal parts unexpected and interesting.

Photos by AdraLynne
This entry fleshed out a realistic character and a very touching scene in a small space. Really powerful.

Mum's the Word by violet_Music
Cute and unconventional. Two things that rarely go together and work. Nice!

Conundrum by RockDarkwater
This one made us smile, and the rhyme and meter was well done.

Found on the Prairie by JRBeck
This entry had an unusual perspective and a lot of depth in the back story. As you know from the last contest, we're suckers for good backstory.

Congratulations to the winners! You will receive your PageToFame Coupons in the mail soon. 

Don't forget about the Food Writing Contest that's still open for submissions until June 3rd. Hope you brought an appetite! 


Becoming a Brand: Rae Gee's Publicity Tips

MarsontheRise(1)Happy Friday, WEbookers! Here's the last installment of our stellar conversation with Rae Gee, newly published author of Mars on the Rise. Read on for what she has to say about publicity and all things social media.

So you've written a book and landed a publisher - the only thing left is to tell the world about it! Tell us about your experience as a newly published author—what has been your favorite part so far?

Now you're talking my language! I've worked in and around promotions since I was 18 so this is my favourite part of the process. I love talking to people and creating publicity materials.

As for my favourite part so far – probably talking to people who are as excited about the book as I am. When you're feeling a bit low, it's a great pick-me-up.

And what scares you the most about publicizing your book?

Negative responses, I think. Like any writer, I'm quite protective of my work, and a complete perfectionist. Slowly I'm learning that I can't please everyone. Another thing which scares me is having it plagiarized. It's happened in the past, someone stole my work and passed it off as their own. Thankfully it's getting easier to get plagiarized material taken down and I'm lucky in that I have some great friends who keep an eye out for it.

 Any surprises?

 Seeing it hit Amazon's Gothic charts in both the UK and Germany! That's been a real rush!

Have you used social media at all to spread the word about Mars on the Rise?

Oh heck, yes! There's the Facebook page, the Twitter account, the blog , the Goodreads profile... I'm now tempted by a Ustream page but I'm not sure if people want to see me drinking tea and eating chocolate! Something I adore is the ability to link them together so that updating one will update the others. I try not to put the same updates on all of them so that people aren't swamped with identical information. I also try and make sure that I'm talking to them and not at them.

Your social media profiles for the book carry the name "Veetu Industries." How does this connect with your writing career and the book?

The_Dreamer_by_MWaters-postcard printVeetu Industries is the name of the company which features in Mars on the Rise. Owned by Erus, it's responsible for churning out the weapons and machines which keep the wars running. I never really thought a lot about it while I was writing; it's like one of those programs which runs stealthily on your computer, a little something which added to the overall story. People who've read the book now liken it to the massive, multi-national, faceless companies which are now around the globe. That was something I'd never seen it as; it was always just another cog in the book.

Over time Veetu Industries has grown and now people associate it with the book and the characters. It's great because it's literally becoming the brand of the books, so much so that people are now starting to ask for merchandise! One person did ask when Veetu Industries t-shirts would become available and, in the true nature of the company, I did reply that there would be no t-shirts but company brandings would soon be offered to all loyal employees! (I am joking! I'd never do that to anyone! Hopefully we'll have the t-shirts at some point though.)

Haha, sounds like fun - and it must be exciting to watch a community form around your work.

One of the great things about social media is that you can interact with people and have conversations. It's great and I love how grounding it can be to have normal, every day conversations with people. It's also brought all my friends together and I get so excited talking to them about it. Some of them have stepped up and offered to do things for me like designing and building websites and creating artwork. As much as I originally loathed it, I'm now a big Facebook user. It's been a great help in keeping in touch with friends and family while writing the book and it's become a wonderful tool afterwards.

Saying that, I try not to rely on it too much. In this day and age there is so “noise” out on the internet, so many people with things to say, that anything you say can be lost. I really like talking to people face to face and I'm a huge fan of snail mail. I love writing letters to people, sending them little things through the post and, in turn, I love getting things back. To me, at least, it feels that little more personal.

What advice do you have to other newly published authors as they send their books into the world?

Prepare as much as you can. Make a plan on how you're going to promote the book.

Get your friends involved. If you're excited they'll be excited.

Surround yourself with inspirational people. They'll help lift you up when the going gets tough. Likewise, when they're having a bad day, you'll be able to help them.

Don't let people's negativity get you down.

Get to as many events as you can. For example, if your books features stock car racing, get to the events and talk to people. Get them interested.

Enjoy the ride!

Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us this week, Rae! It's been great hearing all about your experience and your super advice for all of us here on WEbook, working hard on our own projects. We're excited for you and Mars on the Rise!

If you have any questions for Rae, leave a comment below, and we'll try to coax her back for another chat!

"Learn to Relax": Publishing Advice from Rae Gee

MarsontheRise(1)On Monday, Rae Gee shared candidly aabout how writing brought her back to life. Today she chats with us about the other reward for her dedication to her manuscript: Publication!

Mars on the Rise has just been published by Torquere Press – you must be thrilled! How did your manuscript find its way to them?

Originally I sent it as an entry to the 2011 Terry Pratchett Prize (it didn't place!). But while I was waiting for the results of that I began sending it to publishers. I started by going through the Writers and Artists Handbook and the Writers Market before finally looking for a list of LGBT publishers. I took advice from friends on how to write a query letter, as well as looking online. There were several offers and I finally decided on Torquere.

So important to really do the research – which goes back to what you said on Monday about wanting everything to happen NOW! What can you share about the editorial process with your publisher – was it painful, exciting, rewarding, upsetting…?

There were so many emotions with the editorial process. The original manuscript was 150,000 words and they wanted to get it down to below 100,000 to keep the costs down. So there was some sadness and pain at having to get rid of parts. Yet it also felt great to be re-writing parts of it and seeing it flower. At the same time, the encouragement that everyone at Torquere gave me has been wonderful and I couldn't be happier! They've really helped and supported me and I'm so thankful for that.

What surprised you most about the process of publishing – any unexpected steps along the way?

Not really! I'd spoken to a lot of friends about the publishing process, as well as reading articles (there's a lot in the Writers and Artists Handbook) so I knew that, despite my quirks for wanting everything right now that I just had to chill out and go with the flow.

What advice would you give aspiring writers eager for publication? 

Take your time.
Research who you want to send your book to. Don't just send it to every publisher you come across.
Take your time writing your query letter (there are some great templates online). Not quite clear
Edit your book before you send it, look for dropped words, missing punctuation etc. If you can get friends to proof read it as well, do that. They'll see things which you haven't.
Make sure you format it to the publisher’s guidelines. These vary from publisher to publisher and it can take a lot of time to do each revision. If you've followed their guidelines there's more chance you'll get a response.
Don't just go for the big publishers. There are many out there now, catering for everything and anything.
Look further afield. Don't think that you have to be published by a company from your country. I'm from the UK and Torquere are based in Texas.
Learn to take time out and relax.

Fantastic advice - writers, print out that list and tape it up above your desk! More to come on Friday, when Rae Gee talks about publicity in the age of social media. Scope her out ahead of time on Twitter and on Facebook!

Writing to Live Again - A Conversation with Rae Gee

BW2We're very excited about this week on the WEbook blog! Today is the first of three interviews with WEbooker and recent debut author Rae Gee, whose steampunk thriller, Mars on the Rise, was published this spring by Torquere Press. Today, Rae chats with us about her writing life.

Congratulations on your debut! Tell us a little bit about Mars on the Rise.

Thank you! Greetings from across the pond! Mars on the Rise is set in the fictional Victorian city of Svenfur during the last years of the nineteenth century. It follows improvised storyteller Cedo as he steps from the pier and into the arms of weapons manufacturer Erus Veetu. Erus has promised him fame and fortune but Cedo has to battle with his sense of what's right. He discovers that below the streets and behind the walls of Svenfur are deadly machines, slavery and human sacrifice. With  Erus supplying the weapons for the war in the East, Cedo tries to stop it from coming to the shores of England. Does he succeed? Can he penetrate Erus' cold exterior and stop the cogs and gears of progress? You'll have to read it to find out!

 Sounds thrilling! When did you first start writing?

Probably when I was in school. Apparently I've always had a vivid imagination and I was lucky enough to have a really good teacher in secondary school. She really encouraged me to go for it and get stuck in. For several years, due to my own stupidity, I didn't write a thing. I fell into a dark place, got wrapped up in drink and drugs, and it fell apart. It was only through the encouragement of some really wonderful friends that I began writing again. A couple of years ago, I sat and thought, “I can't do this any more. I really need to do something with my life” and, through various blogs and websites, began writing again. There was always that spark in there, waiting to come back to life; it just needed a helping hand from some great people.

That’s very inspiring – writing as rescue, in a way. And it’s amazing what a difference it makes to get a bit of encouragement at just the right moment. How do you fit writing into your life alongside work, friends and family, etc.?

MarsontheRise(1)With Mars on the Rise it was quite strange. It started off as a paragraph for a friend to illustrate. Yet while I was sitting on a train at Crewe station, the idea hit me. Not all in one go, but little bits. To write it I pretty much cut myself off from the world. I only went out to work or to go shopping, rarely went out with friends or did anything sociable. I realised that if it was going to happen, I had to knuckle down and get on with it. It's just great that we live in a day and age where we can communicate so easily and cheaply. My friends are really supportive, as are my family. Now that the book's out I'm starting to ease myself back into having a social life, seeing friends more often, actually going out and having fun!

That’s dedication, alright! What’s your biggest challenge as a writer, and how do you overcome it?

Thinking that everything has to be done right this instant. Obviously we want everything to happen now. We want the book to be finished yesterday. We wanted it to be published last week. I'm terrible for wanting to control every little detail and it drives me to distraction (and to at least one nervous breakdown!). Life doesn't work like that and it's taken me a long time to just sit back and enjoy the ride.

When did you join WEbook? Tell us about your experience on the site—any favorite features?

I joined Webook back in 2009 on the insistence of a couple of writer friends. They'd come across it and were really enjoying it. So I signed up and instantly fell in love! (Although I'll admit to not having used it too much as of late and, for that, I apologise!) I think my favourite features are the projects. It's great to get invites to contribute to them. Some of my favourite ones have been the 50 and 60 word challenges. On top of that I've made some really great friends through Webook as well!

Yes, we'd love to see more of you! We've got a lot of exciting new stuff in the works. But back to your work - how did you use WEbook in writing and perfecting Mars on the Rise?

I'll tell you now, if it hadn't have been for the users of Webook, Mars on the Rise would never have been finished! I'm terrible for leaving things in half-way hell. Thanks to them I kept going, kept adding to it. And it was mainly down to people leaving comments, saying how much they liked it and making suggestions. Some of the events in the book are a direct result of something someone said. It was especially great when I was stuck and wanting to give up. A message, or a comment, would turn up and that would be the push I'd need to get on with it.


Come back on Wednesday and Friday for more of our conversation with Rae - she'll talk about the publication process (oh, the mysteries!) and the importance of enthusiasm in publicizing your own work. While you're waiting, you can follow her on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook!




The Food Description Writing Contest

FoodchallengeFood. It’s enjoyable to eat, sure. It’s vital to our continued life as humans, fact. You know what else it is? It’s a great detail to add into any written scene.

A lot of writers were known for their food descriptions. Hemingway was big in to details of the Parisian food scene. Brian Jacques would sometime go on for pages about the different feasts consumed in The Redwall series. But pretty much all great writers have a knack for a well-placed meal tidbit.

Why is this? We think it’s because reading about food can easily create a physical reaction from the reader, and this makes the scene seem more real.

Call us crazy, it doesn’t matter, the latest writing challenge isn’t changing one crumb.

Write a scene (300 words max) that uses a description of food to bring the scene to life.

As usual, the type of food, actual role of the juicy description, and scope of the scene are totally up to you.

WEbook will pick the top six winners and award them free entry to PageToFame, our flagship writing contest. The #1 Food Contest Winner will win a copy of A Moveable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway

So grab a fork (and a pen/keyboard) and dig in to this writing contest

The Back Story Writing Contest Winners

20100216writingchallengeblogWe've read the stories. We've gone back with you - tread the waters of time as characters drift between the past and present (sometimes the future) during their small 300 word stages. It was a wild, fun ride. We're a little dizzy. 


#1 Honor (and recipient of a copy of Game of Thrones) goes to....

Pliny by LostViolet
This entry won top honors because of it's fresh, vibrant descriptions and perspective. When you go classical like this, there's a big pitfall by the name of "overwritten" that LostViolet deftly avoided.

And the other 5 winners (and PageToFame coupon beneficiaries) are...

Linsora and Permac by WinterDragon
This entry achieved a perfect balance between realistic character interaction and sci-fi back story. Despite including quite a bit of "new" history and information, the fact that it's conveyed through natural dialogue makes it smooth, believable, and engaging.

Bionic Baby Blue by jblane
This one had us on the edge of our reading chairs! A tense scene indeed. We also liked that this entry relied on unspoken information and action between these two characters to convey its back story.

Stems by JRBeck
This one made us smile, which always goes a long way. However, it's also got a dialogue of backbone which is never easy to do, yet still manages to set a scene, flesh out some characters, and reveal some back story in a clever way.

Could Have by M_Farris
This one convey an entire relationship between a man and a woman without every mentioning it directly. Not easy. Bravo!

The Big Pharma by sigmundsquirrel
Oh, Sigmund. So many times we judge and love an inventive, well-written entry and find out that it was written by you. This one created a world full of backs tory that we engaged with, and wanted more of in a bad way. Well done, Mr. Squirrel. 

Winners will receive prize information in their in-boxes shortly. 

The next writing contest is also freshly opened and ready for your entry. Start a new chapter in the Mother's Day Writing Contest and keep the writing fun going!

Have a writerly weekend,

The 'book

Mother's Day Writing Contest

Mother’s Day is right Shutterstock_70303954 around the corner! And if you forget, you have only yourself to blame, thanks to the commercials from florists, jewelers, and spas filling ad space from street corner to airwaves. But surely Mom is worth a little more than a card and lunch in a crowded restaurant! She did bring you into this world, after all, as well as cleaning up after you and keeping you alive for your first couple decades.

So here’s your chance to picture an ideal Mother’s Day tribute—or a celebration gone horribly wrong. Write a 300-word story in which someone gives an unusual gift to a mother, or a motherly figure (grandmother, overbearing aunt, foster mom, Mary Poppins,  stepmothers good or wicked, the choice is yours). Let your imagination run as much as your nose used to, when you were still hanging on your mother’s apron strings. 

To enter, start a new chapter in this writing project.

The deadline for this contest is 10 pm on Sunday, May 13. That’s Mother’s Day, so consider it your deadline also for calling your mom! Winners get a free entry to Page to Fame, and our very favorite entry will win a copy of Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print.

THE FINE PRINT: Contest ends at 10 pm on May 13, 2012. WEbook does not take into account the user ratings when deciding who will win the challenge. We read each submission carefully, and decide the winners based on our own judgment. One  submission per person ( you can revise your entries up until the deadline).

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