From Adults to Teens and Everything In Between

From Adults to Teens and Everything In Between

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Recovering From A Conference

I just returned from a five day conference in St. Louis, MO. This is the third ACFW conference I have attended, and each year I meet more people, sharpen my writing skills, and have a great get away talking for hours with people who love writing.

Traveling to the conference was a little stressful. On the way to the airport we encountered a little traffic. A truck over-turned, leaving a load of cabbage and some diesel fuel on the highway. Thankfully, I made it to the airport with fifteen minutes to spare....thank you Southwest for allowing me to board!

My classes were all very interesting, and I was able to plot out a sequel to the book I was pitching. I had four meetings with agents and editors, and I was very encouraged by the response to my latest book. The picture included with this post was taken on the last night of the conference.(I'm the one on the right.) There is an awards banquet, the food is always excellent, but the highpoint of it all is hearing who won the awards.

If you haven't attended a conference, I highly recommend them. Which writer's conferences are you considering attending?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Digital Scrapbooking Software to Write a Book?

I was recently approached to review some digital scrapbooking software called My Memories.  As I was exploring the software, I thought that it might be a useful tool for someone writing a memoir or a family history with a lot of pictures and digitized archival documents.  I've been thinking a lot lately about the latter.

I have been tinkering with genealogy for over a decade now and have accumulated hundreds of pictures of my ancestors, as well as interesting documents that summarize the high and low points of their lives.  Take, for example, my grandma's two young uncles, who were tragically electrocuted in 1918 while working on a barn.  I found a newspaper article detailing the incident:

I'd like to be able to share the fruits of my labor with my extended family, and have been thinking about putting together a book with the best pictures and documents from my research.  The digital scrapbooking software came to mind.  Most of my family history pictures and research is already digital anyway.  It would be really easy to dump the pictures into pre-designed templates and add the text containing the details and dates necessary to identify the subjects. 

For people who are writing memoirs, I think the software might be useful as well, depending on the nature of the memoir.  Let's face it.  Memoirs are really difficult to market to traditional publishers unless you're...well...somebody.  Self publication might be the way to go for many memoirists.  If your life story is very image heavy, then it's worth checking out software for digital scrapbooking.  You can distribute your book in a variety of forms, including on CD, DVD, and hard cover.

Finally, if you  just have a ton of digital pictures and video that you want to organize and share,there are some really powerful software products out there. 

If you're interested in a chance to win free digital scrapbooking software, hop on over to my place at

Sunday, September 18, 2011

What I Did Over My Summer Vacation

Remember how sometimes teachers would assign that ridiculous essay asking what you did over your summer vacation? Our little Fiction Flurry hiatus felt a lot like a summer vacation to me. I feel like telling you what I did.

1. I turned 24. And while I'm still the "young'un" of the group, it feels old to me. I keep thinking there's NO WAY I'm 24. And, yet, I am.

2. I celebrated 4th of July with my friends the only way we seem to know how--going to downtown Columbus for Red, White, and BOOM and hanging out with the million other people who do the same. There were some drunk teenagers on our bus on the way into the city. One girl puked in her own purse. It's moments like that when I ask myself why I love RWB so much, but I do.

3. I helped run Portkey, which was a special online conference of sorts that the Harry Potter Alliance staff put on during LeakyCon, which was the BIG Harry Potter convention that was down in Orlando, FL this year. I headed up Gryffindor house for the house cup and Livestreamed a lot. We gained fans. It was...surreal.

4. I nerded out over the last Harry Potter movie, re-read all the books, held a two-day "Potterpalooza" with my friends (where we marathon-watched all the Harry Potter movies), and then I dressed in costume and went to the midnight premiere of the last movie. I cried. But my costume was AWESOME.

5. I went to a couple of concerts, all indie artists. One was in Cleveland, to see a few "nerd bands" as you might call them--Alex Carpenter, Jason Munday, Christian Caldeira, and Mike Lombardo. They're all YouTube musicians, three are/were in wizard rock bands, and I fangirled with the best of them. The second concert was Harry and the Potters. Judge away.

5. I moved out of my parents' house, and into an apartment with my friend Tracy (whom I've known since kindergarten) and my friend Kathleen (who was my roommate for four years in college). We have yet to kill each other, so I count it a success. I finally finished unpacking my room this weekend.

6. I watched an obscene amount of NCIS, after stocking up on all the seasons on DVD. I'm currently on season 8 and trying to see if I can catch up before the season 9 premiere on Tuesday.

7. I kept Livestreaming with Portkey, but not as a conference. We decided to keep the fun alive, and somehow I found myself as a regular host. On the night of July 30/July 31, we spontaneously decided to pull an all-nighter to try to get into the beta of Pottermore with the first clue posted in the "Magical Quill Challenge." Ten. Hour. Livestream. I went to bed as the sun was coming up.

8. I started beta testing Pottermore...getting access to the site one week after access started. That was a painful week to wait. And then I had a slight identity crisis as I got sorted into Ravenclaw, as opposed to Gryffindor. And then I got over it. Now...dude, I'm a Ravenclaw and don't know how I didn't see it before. Since getting access...I've successfully brewed a handful of potions and successfully exploded two cauldrons (and I still have no idea why).

9. I started re-reading the Harry Potter books. Again. After buying a third set of the books to mark up, highlight, and write in the margins to my heart's content. Now, let's be fair. I'm reading it through this time much slower...mostly only at night, before bed. But it's still fun to have a set of Potter books that I'm allowing myself to mark all over.

10. I danced at the Dublin Irish Festival, as I have done since I took up Irish dancing two years ago. I won five medals in the dance competition. And then, recently, we lost our dance teacher to cancer. It's been strange starting the new dance year without her there.

11. I went to the Ohio Renaissance Festival with my friends for the first time in about five years. I bought a quill, a leather journal, and a jar that says "Floo Powder," because I can't go anywhere without buying something nerdy (at the Irish Festival, I bought a Deathly Hallows symbol...and if you know what I'm talking about, you get extra points in my book).

12. I finished my third draft on my novel. Then I bought myself a HUGE cup of frozen yogurt, with WAY too many topics at Menchie's.

13. I went to the 20th Anniversary Homecoming game for my high school, and marched in the alumni band with people who represented 16 of the 20 graduating classes from the school. It was amazing and fun and stressed me out to no end, because I somehow found myself in charge of organizing it.

In summary, I did many, many geeky things and had many, many adventures. And now it's the fall, and I'm getting ready to send out my novel to literary agents, and I'm counting down to NaNoWriMo, and I'm still doing Livestreams with Portkey, and I continue to work with the HPA. I've also become a writer for the Potter Games, a choose your own adventure style online game, and I've made amazing friends over at an RPG called Magic is Might Continues, which has become a great writing exercise for me and entertains me to no end. Yes, I've fallen even more into the Potter fandom, and I'm okay with that, and I continue to learn more about my own writing. It's been an amazing summer, but I'm ready for the fall and the new adventures that will bring.

So what did all of YOU do during the "summer vacation"?

A Lady and her Wolf

To all our dear followers; readers and authors alike,

I have been on my writing journey for nearly a year now and am coming to the portion of my novel where I'm wrapping up the various mysteries and romances. With that in mind I'd like to ask a favor of you all. What are your opinions on the short blurbs at beginnings of chapters?

You see, I'm writing a historical romance/mystery. If you are a follower of Sabrina Jeffries you'll be familiar with what I'm talking about. For several books now she's had snippets of correspondence between two characters at the beginning of each of her chapters. If you aren't aware, she's finally come out with the story where these two have the starring roles.

I have employed this same tack in my current piece of work. I did, however, put my own spin on the technique. I've used the secret diary entries of my leading lady's great aunt, from the age when she was on the marriage mart.

I have included the first entry for your perusal.

Sept 17, 1715

Today I received this journal as a gift from my father for my sixteenth birthday. After much consideration I have decided I will use this wonderfully made tool to document my search in such hopes that it will help me chronicle a categorical search culminating in the discovery of the legendary Settrington jewels. I have armed myself with a copy of the poem my father shared with me. I shall begin by systematically searching the household for hidden rooms, passageways, and compartments. My hope is that through these efforts I will be led down the path to discovery or at the very least leave behind a detailed path of my journey that one of my descendants might be compelled to continue.

Remember, these are the diary entries of a long dead relative. Though both women are after the same goal. The heroine of this story lives in 1813 England and is the tender age of 19.

Thoughts? Ideas? Criticisms?

Michele Buchholz

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Reinventing Ourselves

You may have noticed that the gang at Fiction Flurry has been on hiatus for a month or so.  To be honest, we were burned out.  Frustrated.  Uninspired.

We took a break from our meetings.  We took a break from blogging.  Some of us took a break from writing.  The good news is we're back!  And things are going to be a little different around here.

The Fiction Flurry writers are going to blog about what ever strikes our fancy.  It might be about what we're writing, or what we're reading, or even about what was for dinner last night.  The point is, we don't want the blog to be a chore for ourselves or more importantly, for our readers.

Stay tuned.  It's going to be a fun ride!

Stat Counter