Tag Archives: blogiversary

Blogiversary Celebrations – New Look Site & A Prize Giveaway!

gift-553140_1280Welcome to my blogiversary celebrations! Today marks 6 years since I first started this blog as a way to help aspiring writers by sharing my acquired writing knowledge, as well as sharing my own writing journey.
I have some exciting announcements for my blogiversary:

  1. My blog has received a new look and a new and improved domain name.
  2. My short story collection Beautiful & Deadly is due to be released on the 30th September and I am excited to share the book trailer with you for my blogiversary.
  3. To celebrate my blogiversary, I’m having a competition! That’s right, it might be my blog’s birthday, but YOU get the presents! Details at the end of this post.

A Brand New Look

Regular visitors may have noticed my blog’s brand new header and updated look! You may also have noticed a change in my website’s name. I decided it was time to not only get an official and simplified domain name, I also decided it was time to rename the site to reflect my name. So now instead of thegracefuldoe.wordpress.com, my new web address is *drumroll*

johartauthor.com

But don’t worry, if you use thegracefuldoe.wordpress.com it will still take you to this site 🙂

Beautiful & Deadly

beautiful&deadlycover FINALThe last five years I’ve had a number of short stories published in various anthologies. A few months ago I had the idea to put them all together in a single collection, along with some new, never-before-published stories. In the coming weeks I’m going to talk a little more about how the idea to publish my own short story collection came about and a sneak peek at some of the stories included, but for today I’m excited to premiere my first ever book trailer!

Competition Time!

To help celebrate my blogiversary I’m running a competition to win an advanced PDF copy of ‘Beautiful & Deadly’ along with some other great prizes!

To enter, simply fill in the rafflecopter:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Prizes:

  1. An advanced PDF copy of ‘Beautiful & Deadly’. You will get to read it more than a week before its official release date!
  2. Your choice of any single story from the collection as a limited edition PDF.
  3. Your choice of a short story critique or Amazon gift card.

Competition closes: 11.59pm (AEST) Wednesday 16th September

Winners will be drawn at random and announced on Thursday 17th September.

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Blog Birthday and a Competition

Today is my blog’s third birthday! I had planned a big celebration, but, as seems to be the norm lately, time got away from me. I do have an exciting announcement though…

There is a fanfiction competition happening to coincide with the release of a collaborative story collection titled The Life and Times of Chester Lewis, of which I am one of the contributing authors (alongside some great writers, such as Michael White who co-authored Private Oz with James Patterson). The collection follows the life of the title character, Chester Lewis, through the decades from the 1930s through to the 2030s (I pick up the story during the 1980s). The fanfiction competition is open to writers worldwide and has a fantastic first prize (plus anyone who enters is eligible to enter the Chester Lewis Fan Fiction Group where you will receive regular fiction writing tips and have discussions with fellow writers).

Thanks so much to all my blog followers and readers, new and old, for always making me smile with your comments, follows and likes over the past three years!

2nd Blogiversary: The Highs and Lows of the Past Year

Wow, what a year!

This time last year I was celebrating the very first blogiversary of this blog, I can’t believe another year has past. So much has happened in this past year; these are some of the biggest ups and downs:

I took part in NaNoWriMo for the second year in a row. After finding it hard to get into the story I’d planned, I ended up writing a fanfic and reaching my goal of writing 50,000 words in a month. (The previous year I’d only managed half that.)

– The worst day of my life was the day I found out I had a miscarriage and lost my baby. I didn’t cope at all with the loss and sunk into depression. I found it hard to write for a while. I’m still struggling with the loss, but I’m writing.

After entering my completed YA fantasy MS into a couple of novel competitions and having no luck, I decided to put it aside for the time being, rather than following my original plan of querying it. I decided to focus on my YA thriller WIP instead.

– After the devastating floods in Queensland at the start of the year, I was compelled to submit a story to the anthology 100 Stories to Queensland. I was thrilled to first make the longlist and then the shortlist and have my story ‘A Penny for a Wish’ included in the anthology. The anthology has gone on to raise much needed funds for disaster relief in Queensland.

– I was surprised and thrilled to find out my story ‘Angel Blood’ was to be included in the Australian Literature anthology (and I also totally bawled my eyes out as it was to be my first story I would be getting paid for). It was released at the same time as 100 Stories for Queensland. I couldn’t believe my debut as a published author involved two separate stories being published at the same time.

– I jumped at the opportunity to get on board an anthology called Literary Mix Tapes: Eighty-Nine where I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with other authors and an editor (the fabulous Jodi Cleghorn). Working on my short story ‘Eighteen for Life’ has been a great learning experience for me as a writer. Eighty-Nine is due for release next month.

– I’ve had the honour of being invited to write short stories for several other upcoming anthologies (which I will tell you more about as the release dates come closer).

I found out I was pregnant again, but kept the pregnancy secret despite the fact I was suffering the worst morning sickness of all my pregnancies so far. Thankfully the morning sickness has now subsided. I’m nearly at the halfway point!

My family and I were all plagued by illness over the winter months, and in fact it got so bad my son ended up in hospital for a week (with me staying there with him) and my daughter ended up in hospital overnight. Even once we were home it was a long road to recovery (compounded by the fact I was also suffering horrendous morning sickness at the time). Needless to say my writing suffered during this time, as did my poor blog.

I worked up the courage to send a couple picture book (and one chapter book) manuscripts to publishers. So far no luck, but…

– Only last week I received the exciting news my picture book ‘Monster Sister’ was shortlisted for the CYA competition’s preschool category. (CYA = Children and Young Adult Writer conference, which is held annually in Brisbane, Australia.) I just found out the winner as I was about to hit ‘publish’ on this post. Unfortunately ‘Monster Sister’ did not win, but I feel so privileged to have even been shortlisted and to have had the opportunity for my story to be seen by a publisher.

Edit: Just had to make an edit, because I just found out that although ‘Monster Sister’ did not win the CYA preschool category, it did place second!

Blogiversary Celebrations: Part Four – Contest Winners!

I know some of you have been waiting for this all day. The time has come to announce Peevish Penman’s and my joint blogiversary contest winners!

CONGRATULATIONS TO:

Jessica (@jsubject)

Lisa. B. (@LisaMBasso)

and Monica B.W.

The three winners each receive a five-page critique from both Carrie and myself. If the three winners could please e-mail Carrie at  bzuley(at)yahoo(dot)com or me at thegracefuldoe(at)hotmail(dot)com we can organise your critiques.

Thank-you to everyone who entered and helped spread the word about the contest.

And thank-you to everyone for helping me celebrate my blog’s 1st birthday today. I’m looking forward to another year of blogging and writing. 🙂

Blogiversary Celebrations: Part Three – Interview with Agent Intern C.A. Marshall

I would like to welcome special guest, and winner of the Best Agent Intern Site award, Cassandra Marshall to my blog. Cassandra has kindly agreed to answer some questions for me to share with you.

As a writer, what have you learnt through being an editor and an agent intern that you now apply to your writing?

Each activity helps the other. I can use what I see in the queries pile to help write my own query so it stands out (and I have four full requests in two weeks to prove it! Yay!) and if I see mistakes over and over again in a clients MS, I’ll check my own for those mistakes too. It’s like the quote, “It takes a village to raise a child” except it’s more like, “It takes a writing community to write a book.” The more you learn and then share what you learn, the better for all of us.
(GD: Congratulations on the full requests!)

As an editor, what is the most common mistake you see when editing a manuscript?

Not capturing a specific voice. Teens using outdated slang or phrases, characters that are formulaic and cliche, stuff like that. The more you read in your genre, the better you will be at distinguishing voice.

Do you have any tips for writers who might be in the process of revising their manuscripts?

Save your changes. Use “track changes” if you edit in Word. Save the bits you cut out in another file. You never know if a revision means that you could use a scene you’ve already written and you’ll be sad that you got rid of it. Or it’s also possible for those scenes inspire more books.

What is the best piece of advice you have for aspiring authors?

Read. Read as much as you can in your genre to figure out what does and does not work. Read submission guidelines for each agent/publisher and follow them exactly. Read agent and fellow writer blogs and become part of the community.

Thanks for having me Jo!

C.A. Marshall is a freelance editor, lit agent intern, YA writer, and loves to play with her dog Mollie. She dreams of one day owning a small house near the water, preferably in England, with a shelf full of books she has written and has helped others to write. She can be found in Emmett, MI and at camarshall.com

Be sure to check out the Free Edit Contest on Cassandra’s blog. One lucky person will win a FREE substantial edit for up to 100K words.

Thanks so much for being here, Cassandra!

(P.S. To all those waiting for the results of the Graceful Doe and Peevish Penman’s blogiversary contest, the winners will be announced in the next post. Not long now!)

Blogiversary Celebrations: Part Two – Award Ceremony

Welcome to the first ever The Graceful Doe Blogiversary Award Ceremony! It’s nice to see everyone dressed in their finest.  Now that everyone is seated let the award ceremony begin.

Over the past year I have visited numerous sites on writing, querying, etc. Many of those sites and posts have contained lots of great information and some of those great sites and posts I have shared on my blog. The awards to be presented today go to those who I have kept returning to over and over again, who give great advice or tips to writers, and who are just all around fabulous people.

Just over a year ago I discovered how much the internet had to offer aspiring authors. At that time I had decided to get serious about writing a novel and found a lot of great sites with information just right for the helping me begin my serious writing journey. So the first award is the Best Site for New Writers award. This award goes to a site offering helpful advice to those writers who may just be starting out. A site that covers the writing basics, such as writing effective dialogue and character building, in an easy to understand approach. This award goes to…

Barry Lyga’s blog barrylyga.com

For those who don’t know, the majority of my writing falls into the category of kid lit, that is, writing aimed at children and teens. As a result, I read a lot of blogs and posts relating to kid lit. This next award is for the Best Site for Kid Lit Writers. This award is for a site that covers the various aspects of writing picture books, chapter books, middle grade and young adult, giving writers of kid lit great advice to help improve their writing and querying. This award goes to…

Mary Kole’s blog kidlit.com

Query writing is something many writers agonise over, which is why it’s great that there are so many insightful blogs and websites out there offering advice. This next award is for the Best Query Advice Site. It’s for a site dedicated to helping writers write effective queries. With her brutal honesty and dedication to helping writers get their queries right, this award goes to…

The Query Shark (aka Janet Reid) at queryshark.blogspot.com

In the past year I have come across some of the loveliest literary agents. They are willing to take time to tweet and blog about querying and writing for the benefit of writers to help them along their journey towards publication. The Best Agent Site award is for a blog or website of a literary agent that offers advice and encouragement to aspiring authors. And the award goes to…

Rachelle Gardner and her blog cba-ramblings.blogspot.com

And as many lovely agents as there are about, there are just as many lovely agent interns. From tweeting about the query pile to blogging helpful hints for writers, agent interns are a great resource for aspiring authors. The award for Best Agent Intern Site is for a blog offering advice to writers, including not just advice on query letters, but other aspects of writing too. This award goes to…

Cassandra Marshall’s blog www.camarshall.com

Still on the topic of agents, anyone who follows the #queries hashtag or #askagent hashtag (or any similar hashtags) on Twitter knows that there are agents and agent interns out there giving great advice to writers on Twitter. I have a long list of agents and agent interns I follow on Twitter and all of them are only too willing to help out aspiring authors. I just had to include an award for the Best Agent to Follow on Twitter. This award is for an agent on Twitter who regularly tweets valuable advice to writers. The award goes to…

Natalie Fischer @Natalie_Fischer

There are a lot of great Twitter chats for writers. There are chats to discuss the craft of writing, writing genres, querying and a multitude of other topics. I considered doing an award for the best writer chat, but then I had another idea. Instead this award is for the Friendliest Writer Chat. This award is for a chat where you are bound to meet the friendliest writers around, who are always willing to offer support to their fellow writers and are only to happy to share links and resources with each other. The award goes to the very friendly…

#pblitchat (run by two lovely ladies known on Twitter as @KarenCollum and @KatApel)

Writer forums offer great support for writers. Apart from offering a way to connect with fellow writers, these forums are places where you can have your writing or queries critiqued, find out information about the writing industry, or, if you are really lucky, even find an agent for your book. The award for Best Writer Forum goes to a site that offers all these things as well as supporting and encouraging emerging writers. The award goes to…

YA Lit Chat at yalitchat.ning.com

And now we get to a couple of more personal awards. Critique groups and critique partners help writers see plot holes, character flaws and poor word choice a writer may have overlooked. They read a manuscipt with fresh eyes, reading it how a reader would read and understand the story without the bias the writer him/herself have, yet at the same time because they are writers themselves they can also look at the manuscript and tell the writer not just that something isn’t working, but why it isn’t working. This past few months I have been swapping chapters with a critique partner and I think she is deserving of the award for Awesome Critique Partner. The award goes to…

Beth Hull (you can find her blog here)

The last award today goes to someone who I’ve been collaborating with the past couple of weeks to bring you all a 5 page critique contest, someone who is also celebrating her 1st blogiversary today. The award for Best Blogiversary Buddy goes to…

Peevish Penman (aka Carrie Bailey – find her blog here)

And that concludes The Graceful Doe’s first ever Blogiversary Award Ceremony.

More blogiversary celebrations still to come (including the winners of the blogiversary contest).

Blogiversary Celebrations: Part One – A Reflection

Wow! I can’t believe one year ago today I made the very first post on this blog. I started this blog with the intention of sharing my writing journey with others, as well as sharing information and helpful links I found along the way. The blog has changed appearance in the course of the year (a new header, new theme, handy page links at the top and a cute little Twitter link), but the intention has always stayed the same.

By far the most popular posts I make are the ‘Helpful Website and Blog Post’ editions I post once a month, compiling all the helpful sites and writing information I’ve come across in the past month. (Look out for an award ceremony later today where I’ll be awarding some of my favourite sites of the past year.)

Lots has happened along my writing journey. I finished my YA novel and I’m currently in the last stages of tweaking it. My picture book story ‘Can You Jump Like a Kangaroo‘ came third in the Smories 2nd International Short Story Competition. My short story ‘Waiting on the Docks‘ was featured on The Australian Literature Review website. And I’ve met so many fantastic and supportive fellow writers through chats, forums and Twitter.

A big thank-you and lots of love to all those who follow my blog or even just visit occasionally.

xxx

PS Stay tuned, I will be posting throughout the day. I have lots of exciting things planned. And don’t forget the contest for 3 people to win a 5-page critique from both Peevish Penman and myself ends today, but if you’re quick you can still enter: Blogiversary Contest Details

PPS Don’t forget to pop over and wish a Happy Blogiversary to Peevish Penman too: Peevish Penman. Happy Blogiversary Carrie!

Mini-interview + Blogiversary Contest Details

CONTEST NOW CLOSED – Thanks so much to everyone who entered and promoted this contest. Winners will be announced later today (11th Sept 2010 AEST)

In exactly one week my blog will be celebrating its one year blogiversary! By coincidence Peevish Penman is also celebrating her one year blogiversary on the same day (10th September in the US and the 11th September in Australia). To celebrate our joint blogiversary we will be holding a joint contest. But before I give you the contest details I’d like to introduce Peevish Penman (aka Carrie Bailey) a writer, blogger and mom from Oregon. She runs a fantastic Writer’s Zine on her blog and has taken some time to answer a few questions for my blog to launch our joint contest.

1.  Do you have a writing mantra and would you recommend it for other writers?

I use a string of curse words followed by “so write already, Carrie.”  In truth, I try so hard to stay “G-rated” on my zine and other media that it all just pours out other times and has led to my theory on “the conservation of curse words” which states that each individual must use a fixed finite number of them throughout the course of their lifetime.  My “writer mantra” is where I choose to expel all of mine safely and in the privacy of my own home where no one can fine me a quarter.

(GD: I think I will probably explode in an expulsion of expletives on my death bed. 🙂 )

2.  If you had to spend a year writing on a deserted island without any contact from the outside, what would you bring and why?

A generator and S. Michaels aka. @slushpilehero’s laptop.  My signed copy of Ashwin Sanghi’s book, “The Rozabal Line.”  Twenty thousand bags of coffee beans, an espresso machine, and a barista.  Plus, some peanut butter, spoons, and a row boat so I could row over to your island, Jo, and trade for chocolate. And a camera so I could prove to my twitter friend, @soulwindow, that I am not our mutual twitter friend, @ItaliaTrent.

(GD: I’ll trade you a Mars Bar for two spoonfuls of crunchy peanut butter)

3.  So far what has been your greatest challenge as a writer and how have you overcome it?

Typos.  I can’t overcome them, because they’re inserted into my work by gnomes-who excel at html-after I’ve toiled and labored over each piece.  However, I’ve found that if I simply forgo the need to be perfect and hand my work over to other people to edit, they neutralize the gnomes’ damage.

But seriously, there was a point when I used to experience a mild euphoria each time I noticed errors in other people’s writing.  I think it is an important stage many writers go through when they realize that talented writers aren’t great because they’re perfect, but because they’re experienced.

My desire to be perfect used to paralyze me from writing and/or sharing my work at all.  Now, I let the keys fly and worry about the mistakes later.  Lately, I’ve been sending out very rough drafts to people I trust, because the earlier I get feedback, the better my work turns out. Just ask YA writer, Juanita McConnachie aka @WritersblockNZ, she’s seen the havoc gnomes’ wreak first hand.

(GD: I wonder if those are the same gnomes who stole my TV remote.)

Thanks so much Carrie! And if you would like to see my answers to those questions then pop over to Peevish Penman’s blog for my mini-interview.

And now for the contest details…

THE PRIZE:

A critique from both Carrie and Jo for up to five pages of your manuscript. That’s right a total of two critiques for your first five pages. And because it’s our blogiversary there will be not one, not two, but THREE WINNERS! Three people will be getting a critique from both Carrie and Jo.

HOW TO ENTER:

Simply comment on this post (or Carrie’s contest post) with your entries. We’ll be running entries on a point system:

+1 entry for following @gracefuldoe on Twitter (+2 if you are already a follower)
+1 entry for following @PeevishPenman on Twitter (+2 if you are already a follower)
+2 entries if you subscribe to The Graceful Doe’s blog (+3 if you already subscribe)
+2 entries if you subscribe to Peevish Penman’s blog (+3 if you already subscribe)
+1 entry if you tweet about the contest (please include link to tweet)
+4 entries if you mention the contest on your blog (please include link to blog)

Good luck! The winners will be announced in one week on our blogiversary (that’s 10th September in the US and 11the September in Australia).