Seven Ways Writers Lives Have Changed

While attempting to declutter my office–to make room for more necessary things–I came across a box of cassette tapes of workshops given by some of my favorite authors.  There was a time when I did not get in my car unless I had a cassette to listen to while driving.  Times have certainly changed for me because now I get in my car for silence.  The beautiful, though temporary, silence.  That box of cassettes got me thinking about what else has changed for me as a writer.  I began writing in the early nineties–not that long ago, I know–but I work so very differently now.  See if you can relate to any of these obsolete activities.

  1. I knew librarians not only at my branch but other branches, too. I often asked for help locating material for a topic I was researching. (Well, I still know my local librarian’s names but they don’t point me in the same direction they once did).  Back then, the source for research usually started with one of the big sets of encyclopedias.  Now libraries don’t carry these bulky sets. Seven Ways Writers Lives Have Changed
  1. I typed on a typewriter that had ribbons that needed to be replaced when the ink ran dry. We were poor (which is why I had an old typewriter) so I always rewound the ribbon and gave it a second, sometimes third, life before I replaced it. Read fellow author Sheila Claydon’s experience about typing her first manuscript.
  1. I befriended the copy store staff. I even had an account because I made so many copies they gave me a discount. Don’t forget we didn’t have multifunction printers in our homes.  Copies of chapters for critique groups, contest entries, and manuscripts had to be made at a copy store.  Seven Ways Writers Lives Have Changed
  1. I befriended post office staff. In those days manuscripts had to be mailed along with an SASE (self-addressed-stamped-envelope). The post office staff always inquired on what I was writing and mailing out, and I put one or two of them in my stories.
  1. Another thing I did was wait for the telephone to ring. Email wasn’t invented yet so writers either got a rejection letter by mail or an offer by telephone. This hopeful writer waited by the telephone, not the mailbox. Seven Ways Writers Lives Have Changed
  1. I never had to think about book promotion. This is a state I miss most about the early days of my writing career. I just focused on writing.  What a novel concept.  Seven Ways Writers Lives Have Changed
  1. I had a drink. If a rejection letter did arrive I would have a cocktail such as a frothy, salt-rimmed margarita and I called a dear friend for moral support and to commiserate with. Oh, wait. I still do that.

Popular romance author Leigh Michaels shares the nostalgia of her first home office (clickhere).  How about you?  What has changed in your writing life since you first started writing?  Share in the comments below.

 

New Class For Writers!

Take a Workshop by Victoria M. Johnson

Kickstart Your Creative Writing Habit

Sep 11, 2017 to Oct 9, 2017

Is your creative writing lacking creativity? Are you too busy to make writing a habit? Or perhaps you’re on a roll and want to stay there. Wherever you are in your writing journey, this class will energize you and set you on a path for writing furiously and regularly. Every week students will receive inspiration for in-class writing exercises. You’ll learn techniques of craft and imagination to use immediately whether you write poetry, fiction, memoir, essays, songs, or blog posts. You’ll never again ask yourself, what do I write about? In this fun and motivating class you’ll end with plenty of new material, inspired and equipped to keep your creative fires burning.

Register online NOW!   click here

Held at Capitola Community Center from 5:30pm to 7:00pm.  5 Mondays.

For More Information or to Register by Phone: (831) 475-6115

Instructor Bio:  Victoria M. Johnson is a published author and filmmaker. Her published works include The Doctors Dilemma (Avalon Books), the nonfiction work Grant Writing 101: Everything You Need To Start Raising Funds Today (McGraw-Hill), and four other books. Her poetry appears in online literary journals and print anthologies. Victoria is both writer and director of four short films and two micro documentaries. She has presented workshops on writing in the Bay Area; Chicago; Washington, DC; Vancouver, Canada; and New York.

New Workshops For Writers!

Take a Workshop by Victoria M. Johnson

Creative Non-Fiction: Writing That Matters

Apr 12, 2017 to May 3, 2017

Launch your writing career with a non-fiction book on a topic you’re passionate about. The basis of this course is the belief that writers can “make a difference” with their writing. Discover how to use the arsenal of tools and techniques to write creative non-fiction pieces with power, urgency, and clarity.  Students will learn how voice and theme impacts writing that matters.  Whether you write essays, articles, or books, this empowering class will guide you to create strong, inspiring prose on topics that matter to you.

For more information or to register, click here.

Held at Capitola Community Center from 1:30pm to 3:00pm. 4 Wednesdays.

Any writers in the Santa Cruz Area will be interested in both of these workshops.

Take a Workshop by Victoria M. Johnson

Flash Fiction Writing Bootcamp

May 10, 2017 to May 31, 2017

Come learn how to create very short stories, also known as short shorts and flash or sudden fiction. Flash fiction stories have all the elements of fiction and have the power of their longer cousins to transform the reader. Discover tried-and-true techniques, look at great examples, and free your creativity to write your own flash pieces. For beginning writers or pros, this is a fun and motivating class that will help you improve your storytelling skills. Following a lecture each session, students will write new pieces based on the topics covered and prompts to get the creative juices flowing. You’ll also learn editing tips and opportunities for publishing your polished works.

For more information or to register, click here.

Held at Capitola Community Center from 5:30pm to 7:00pm. 4 Wednesdays.

Instructor BioVictoria M. Johnson is a published author, poet, and filmmaker. She is the writer and director of four short films and two micro-documentaries. Avalon Books published Victoria’s fiction debut, The Doctor’s Dilemma, in 2011 (A 2012 Bookseller’s Best double finalist). McGraw-Hill and General Publishing Group published her in non-fiction. In 2012 Victoria entered the indie publishing arena with a collection of romance short stories and in 2014 a how-to book on fiction writing techniques. Her poetry appears in online literary journals and print anthologies.

Upcoming Workshops for Writers & Poets

TWO CLASSES Starting Soon!

Take a Workshop by Victoria M. Johnson

Any writers and poets in the Santa Cruz Area will be interested in these workshops.

Social Media For Authors And Poets

March 7, 2017

social media class by Victoria M. Johnson

Social media has become a crucial element for authors and poets in promotion and branding, finding opportunities, and fundraising. But those new to social media may not understand what platforms are best for them and what they can do once they are up and running. Some don’t understand the benefits of social media at all while others have opened accounts but don’t know what they’re doing there. This class will showcase a variety of social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, websites and more! Though the class focuses on writers and poets, all artists will benefit from this exciting workshop.

For more information or to register, click here.

Held at Capitola Community Center from 1:00pm to 4:30pm. One Day Only.

Flash Fiction Writing Bootcamp

Mar 15, 2017 to Apr 5, 2017

Flash Fiction Workshop by Victoria M. JohnsonCome learn how to create very short stories, also known as short shorts and flash or sudden fiction. Flash fiction stories have all the elements of fiction and have the power of their longer cousins to transform the reader. Discover tried-and-true techniques, look at great examples, and free your creativity to write your own flash pieces. For beginning writers or pros, this is a fun and motivating class that will help you improve your storytelling skills. Following a lecture each session, students will write new pieces based on the topics covered and prompts to get the creative juices flowing. You’ll also learn editing tips and opportunities for publishing your polished works.

For more information or to register, click here.

Held at Capitola Community Center from 5:30pm to 7:00pm. 4 Wednesdays.

Instructor Bio: Victoria M. Johnson is a published author, poet, and filmmaker. She is the writer and director of four short films and two micro-documentaries. Avalon Books published Victoria’s fiction debut, The Doctor’s Dilemma, in 2011 (A 2012 Bookseller’s Best double finalist). McGraw-Hill and General Publishing Group published her in non-fiction. In 2012 Victoria entered the indie publishing arena with a collection of romance short stories and in 2014 a how-to book on fiction writing techniques. Her poetry appears in online literary journals and print anthologies.

 

A New Poem is Published

My poem is published in the “Night Terrors” issue of Perfume River Poetry Review.

Perfume River Poetry Review Issue 3

The call asked for poems from your worst nightmares and I think they gathered some chilling works for the anthology.  The issue is available in paperback or as a free PDF download at: Perfume River Poetry Review.  Look for my poem, Bones on the Clock, on page 37.  Their other issues are amazing, too.  Take a look for yourself…

Issue 1: Inaugural Issue: Where We Begin

When was it you first discovered that words could bring you joy, give comfort, sustain you, and create hope and beauty?

Issue 2: Ars Erotica

Ars Erotica explores aesthetics of love, sex, sexuality, and intimacy and how it makes us human.

Issue 3: Night Terrors

What are your fears of the dark?  What keeps you up at night–be it ghosts or hauntings in your heart?

Check them out.  Each issue is $10 in paperback or free PDF.  Also, keep an eye open for their next Call for Submissions.

The Frankfurt Book Fair in Pictures

I attended the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair and I wrote a really cool blog post about it, which you can find the link to below. But I had too many pictures to post them all in one place, so here are a few more.

Frankfurt Book Fair in Pictures by Victoria M. Johnson

Detlef Bierstedt a.k.a. George Clooney

Amazon Publishing’s Booth

Detlef Bierstedt is the George Clooney of Germany. Let that sink in a moment. He is a German actor who is the voice of George Clooney (among others) in American movies that are voiced-over for German audiences. He is also the voice in many audio books for Amazon Publishing.

Frankfurt Book Fair in Pictures by Victoria M. Johnson

We all sat on book cover stools. Um, I didn’t see my book cover.

Amazon booth at Frankfurt book fair

Editors answering questions and meeting with clients.

Victoria M. Johnson

That’s me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scenes From the Book Fair Floor

Frankfurt Book Fair pitching

Literary agents, authors, publishers and other book professionals pitching projects.

celebrity author

An author talk ended with attendees wanting an autograph and photo.

Children's books in Spanish

Edelvives, a children’s book publisher from Spain.

Frankfurt book fair floor

Books everywhere.

Calendar Exhibit

Some of the calendars on display were several feet wide.

Calendar Exhibit

Hundreds of calendars on exhibit.

Where's Waldo German calendar

I found Waldo in Frankfurt!

Frida Kahlo calendar

Lovely Frida Kahlo calendar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Champagne time!

Many of the vendors hosted parties in the evening. Lots of champagne, wine, Hors d’oeuvres, and live entertainment.

music at Frankfurt book fair

Live entertainment throughout the book fair floors.

champagne

Champagne toast

champagne time

Me with editor Lauren Edwards. Cheers!

 

If you want to find out the fascinating story behind the pictures, and I know you do, then click the link to my Classic and Cozy guest post: What Really Happens at the Frankfurt Bookfair

 

 

Operation: Inspire Others

I missed both the Romance Writers of America Conference and Thrillerfest this year due to our move overseas, so imagine how thrilled I was to learn that three fabulous authors: Diana Gabaldon, Tess Gerritsen, and Kathleen Antrim were visiting Germany. I was so over-the-moon happy to attend their workshop and meet-and-greet events that I cancelled a trip to the world’s largest wine festival in Bad Dürkheim, Germany!  (I haven’t located a writing community here yet, so I am starved for that creative connection with other writers–Twitter helps :-)).

It was standing room only in a good-sized library on the Army base in Landstuhl. The authors revealed writing tips and secrets on a variety of topics such as: finding an agent; their writing processes; and staying fresh and unique after writing several books. The audience asked great questions and the trio provided thoughtful answers and advice.

Diana Gabaldon, Tess Gerritsen, and Kathleen Antrim, Operation Thriller

L to R: Kathleen Antrim, Diana Gabaldon, and Tess Gerritsen

From Diana:

Diana advised writers to put your completed manuscript in a drawer for a month. Then when you pull it out to read, ask yourself of everything, “Why is it there?” Why is this character there? Why is this scene there? Why is this sentence there? Everything should be there for a reason.

From Kathleen:

When Kathleen starts a book, she nails the concept first. Then she asks herself if the concept will sustain a novel. Once she has the concept down she writes a 3×5 card of each scene in longhand. She writes who is going to be in the scene and what’s going to happen. This process gives her the bones of her novel.

From Tess:

Tess urged writers to seek emotional resonance in scenes. “Don’t just write what you see in a scene, but also what you’re feeling in that scene.” She used an example of describing a skirt. Instead of just describing the color, perhaps say it looked wrinkled like a child had tugged on it.

One final nugget of wisdom came from Diana. She spoke about The Rule of Three, advocating the use of three senses in a scene. “Then the scene will come alive.”

Operation Thriller V

Thriller authors visit Germany! That’s me in purple 🙂

I came away feeling inspired. From the enthusiastic applause I know others felt the same way. The authors then hung around and graciously signed their books for an even larger number of people. (While we were in the workshop, they were amassing in another room!)

The event, to “lift the spirits of America’s troops and their families” was sponsored by International Thriller Writers (ITW) in coordination with the USO. Even the books were donated. The official name of the program, which this year included stops at bases in the UK and Germany, is Operation: Thriller. My sincere thanks to all who made it possible. What a wonderful thing to do for those serving away from home, and their families.  Oh, check out the cool poster they signed for everyone:

Operation Inspire Others

Workshop: Social Media for Authors and Poets

Any writers and poets living in the Bay Area will be interested in this workshop

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Social Media for Authors and Poets

social media collage

Social media has become a crucial element for authors and poets in promotion and branding, finding opportunities, and fundraising. But those new to social media may not understand what platforms are best for them and what they can do once they are up and running. Some don’t understand the benefits of social media at all while others have opened accounts but don’t know what they’re doing there. This class will showcase a variety of social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, websites and more! Though the class focuses on writers and poets, all artists will benefit from this exciting workshop.

For more information or to register, click here.

Instructor: Victoria M. Johnson is a published author, poet, and filmmaker. She is the writer and director of four short films and two micro-documentaries. Avalon Books published Victoria’s fiction debut, The Doctor’s Dilemma, in 2011 (A 2012 Bookseller’s Best double finalist). McGraw-Hill and General Publishing Group published her in non-fiction. In 2012 Victoria entered the indie publishing arena with a collection of romance short stories and in 2014 a how-to book on fiction writing techniques. Her poetry appears in online literary journals and print anthologies.