Romance Writing Workshop

I’m pleased to announce that I’m participating in the Monterey Public Library’s Indie Author Day!

Come Join Us

Saturday, Oct 20, 2018 at 12pm to 5:15pm.  The free event includes workshops, author panels, readings, and treats!

Check out the flyer to my romance writing workshop held at 4:15 to 5:00pm…

Write a Romance with author Victoria M. Johnson

I’m also in the Author Reading Group 2, which takes place at 1:45 to 2:45 pm in the Quiet Study Room.

Check out the flyer to see the amazing authors in my group…

Author Victoria M. Johnson at Monterey Public Library

Get Feedback on Your Project

In the Query Letter Workshop, which is really a private ten-minute session, bring your queries and spend one-on-one time getting advice from published authors or an editor. 12:30 to 1:30pm.

Author Victoria M. Johnson Query Letter Workshop

Other workshops and panels include: Writing the Spec Screenplay, Science Fiction and Fantasy panel, Thriller and Suspense panel, Children’s Books panel, Youth Writer Workshops, and more!

It’s all happening at the Monterey Public Library

625 Pacific Street, Monterey, CA 93940

(831) 646-3933

ONE DAY Only!  Don’t miss it.

10 Top Reasons to Try Zumba

Fifteen million people in 180 countries have made Zumba a world-wide phenomenon.  Zumba has become a dance-fitness revolution.  But what is it about this workout that is so special?  The same reasons why I think you’ll love it:

  1. Hear great music.

The exhilarating, mostly Latin music provides a festive atmosphere.

 

  1. Dance to the great music.

You don’t even have to know how to dance.

 

  1. Learn new dance styles in easy to follow steps.

Your zumba certified instructor will cue you to their choreography steps in salsa, merengue, cumbia, reggaeton, and more.

 

  1. No experience required.

Zumba is for anyone able to exercise.  No one expects you to be perfect.  No one expects you to know the steps.  Just follow the cues at your comfort level.

 

  1. No special equipment required.

You don’t have to buy expensive equipment.  You just need workout clothes that you probably already have and workout shoes that suit your needs.

 

  1. Meet other people.

Come for the physical fitness; find camaraderie in the friendly classes.

 

certified zumba instructor

 

  1. It’s fun!

You’ll have so much fun that you’ll forget you’re burning calories.

 

  1. It’s a total body workout.

Gain strength and stamina.  Zumba helps improve cardiovascular health, muscle conditioning, and flexibility.

 

  1. Zumba is wonderful for the brain.

Following along with the choreography gives your brain a workout too.  (In a fun way, of course.)  Zumba is good for your mental health.

 

  1. Zumba is fantastic for the soul.

All that fun and movement reduces stress.  At the end of class, believe me, you’ll feel energized and amazing.

 

Are you convinced to give Zumba a try?  I enjoyed Zumba class so much that I recently became a certified instructor.  If you live in Santa Cruz County in California, you’re in luck.  That’s where I currently teach.  You can also check out my Zumba page.  Wherever you live I’m sure there’s a class near you.  Do you already take Zumba?  What do you love about it?  Tell us in the comments below.

 

3 Incredible Lessons Whales Can Teach Writers

Humpback whales are magnificent creatures. They grow to about 52 feet long and weigh almost 50 tons, the males sing hauntingly beautiful songs, and humpbacks are acrobatic as they can leap high from the water’s surface, roll in the air, and then dive to 1,000 feet.

But the incredible thing I learned about humpbacks is this; their entire lives are filled with only three activities: feeding, breeding, and migrating.  That’s it.  Three activities for an entire lifetime.

So what can writers learn from this amazing fact? Here’s one way we can adapt the three activities to the writing craft:

What Writers Can Learn From Whales by Victoria M. Johnson

Feeding

Feed your soul.  Take care of yourself.  It’s important for writers to feed your creative spirit.  Exploring helps.  You can explore the world or your own hometown.  Try new things, go to new places, eat new foods, and read new books. Expose yourself to other art forms and cultural experiences.  All this discovering is feeding your creative being.  But you need down time, too.  Take time to meditate.

Breeding

I view this as your production of work.  Whatever it is you specialize in–be it poetry, short stories, novels, or nonfiction–breed new writing.  Writing begets writing.  I think writers are happiest when they are creating.  I know I am.  For success and longevity as a writer, you need to produce new finished material.  Finished, not sitting in a drawer, but out in the marketplace or getting read by your editor or agent.

Migrating

Move about.  Don’t stand still.  For writers this can represent getting out of a rut, if you feel like you’re in one; or trying something different, for example adding your short story to an anthology with other good writers.  These activities aren’t meant to take you away from your main novel or poetry writing projects, but are meant to explore other ways of reaching your readers or reaching new readers, or perhaps taking advantage of an opportunity that presents itself.  We are on a writer’s journey, are we not?  That suggests we’re meant to keep moving.

Three Activities

All three activities are essential to the humpback whale’s existence. I think they’re essential to the well being of us writers, too.

 

In Praise of the One Word New Year Resolution

Before I give you the secret to the one word resolution, lets take a sympathetic look at how difficult others make the task of setting annual New Year’s resolutions  🙂

One Word New Year Resolution

The USA.gov website lists the ten most popular resolutions Americans make. Number one is spend more time with family and friends, and number two is fitness. Click here to see the other popular resolutions in America.

Statistic Brain is a website of statistics, percentages, rankings, and all things numbers. They site that a mere 9% of people who make resolutions are successful in achieving them! People in their twenties have a 38% rate of success compared to people over 50 who achieve at 16% rate. Click here to read all their Resolution statistics.

And Forbes has a piece about making your New Year’s resolutions stick. The author, Amy Morin, gives four keys to help. I like number two: Believe You Can Do It, where she talks about reducing negative thinking. Click here to read her article.

According to Business Insider, there are even apps to help people accomplish New Year’s resolutions. Each of the five apps they highlight are for a specific resolution such as wanting to reduce stress or learn a new language. The idea is that whatever your resolution, you might find an app to help you achieve it. Click here to read their piece.

I should say I’m not against writing a long list of resolutions or goals each year. But I’ve found this one word method really kept me focused and centered. It’s a daily reminder–or however often you want to look at it–of what matters to you. The one word does not cause stress. There aren’t lists of items to check off. There’s no guilt as the months progress. There’s no time required to read through lists, adjust goals, cross off items, or add new items. The one word needn’t require a “to do” rather the one word can invoke a “to be” where you can easily identify if you are or are not being this word.

I learned about the one word approach at a New Year’s brunch with a few dear writer friends at a time in my life when I was incredibly overwhelmed and I didn’t have the energy to create a list of goals. But I could resolve to be one word. That was about all I could handle.  Now looking back I see that my one word goal was so simple that it was both achievable and inspiring. The trick is selecting the one word that truly represents your most important goal. Here are some examples: productivity, organize, appreciate, balance, discover, fearless, flexible, and declutter.  Here’s one I wish a friend of mine would adapt: No. She says yes to everyone and has little time left for herself or her writing.  Writers might pick a word like: prioritize or diversify.  Last year my word was submit.  It helped me focus on a weakness: I would write and edit pieces, but never spend time researching markets or submitting my work.  And last year, with this one-word goal, I had the most submissions, rejections, and acceptances, in my career. My word for next year should be sleep, since I didn’t get much of it.  Instead my word for the new year is thrive.  When I’m presented with an invitation or opportunity I can ask myself, will this activity help me thrive?  Then I can decide if I want to accept it or not.  If you’re one who enjoys writing several New Year’s resolutions, go for it.  Then see if you can find one word that sums up the most important ones.  And tell us your word for 2018 in the comments below.

 

How to Carve a Turkey and Other Thanksgiving Tips

Well, it’s that time of year when we put away the Halloween decorations and think about the Thanksgiving holiday and our meal plans. Many of us are busy juggling work and children and other responsibilities and don’t stress out over the big dinner until the last minute (two days before Thanksgiving). Are you one of those who rush to the grocery store only to find gigantic frozen turkeys that need three days to thaw? Or have you found the right size turkey but your mind is blank on what to serve with it? There are plenty of details involved in serving a delicious and satisfying Thanksgiving meal, especially if you also have to prepare for guests.

Fortunately, there are experts out there who are ready with Thanksgiving tips and recipes to help us with all those details. It doesn’t matter if this is your first time hosting or if you’ve run dry from hosting year-after-year. I’ve found ideas and inspiration to help make your dinner the best ever.

First things first. Here’s a short video to get you in the mood for turkey.

How to Carve a Turkey

Thanksgiving Side Dishes

For savory dishes like Lemon Pepper Green Beans, Southern Candied Sweet Potatoes, and Holiday Cranberry Sauce head over to the AllRecipes website.

The Country Living website has ideas for 100 classic Thanksgiving side dishes such as Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Salad, Rosemary Monkey Bread Stuffing, and Apple Walnut Stuffing.

Wondering what beverage to serve with your feast? Not to worry. The New York Times has you covered with this article:

There Are No Wrong Thanksgiving Wines

Where you’ll find insight such as, “Do not worry if you don’t have enough stemware. Thanksgiving is not the time for these sorts of concerns. Serve wine in tumblers, if you like.”

Thanksgiving Desert

For dessert, you can’t go wrong with pumpkin pie. Other pies work, too. But why mess with tradition unless you want to surprise your guests with a scrumptious variation such as Streusel Topped Pumpkin Pie. Or instead how about wowing them with Pumpkin Spice Donut Holes?

The experts even have recipe ideas for vegan and vegetarian menus. Just visit the Serious Eats website for tasty options.

After all that preparation, cooking, and hosting, you should now sit back, enjoy your friends and family, and most of all, count your blessings. That’s what the holiday is all about.

Best wishes to you and your family this Thanksgiving holiday!

 

October Writerly Events Roundup

I’ve had a busy October so far and I didn’t want to wait until the month ended to share these memories with you.   I had a fabulous time participating in four great writerly events.

1. Indie Author Day

On October 7th, the Monterey Public Library teemed with authors, writers, and readers. The super-organized event included seminars, workshops, and classes, all taught by local experts and neighboring authors. I was on the “Self-Publishing vs Traditional Publishing” panel. The other authors on this panel were amazing. Thanks to Eboni Harris for organizing the well-attended event.

Indie Author Day flyers

Victoria (L), D.S. Kane (C), and Alessandra Harris (R)

Indie Author Day panelists

Yvonne Carder (L) Victoria, and Chess Desalts (R)

E. Ardell (L) and Victoria (R)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are the above author’s links to their websites:

D.S. Kane, Alessandra Harris, Yvonne CarderChess Desalts, and E. Ardell

 

2. How-To Booklet

I was inspired by my writing class students to compile this booklet to help reach writers who can’t attend my classes. It offers inspiration, tips, and yes, the kick in the pants. Published on October 6th, it will be available as an ebook soon.

new booklet

A new booklet is published.

3. Writing Class

October 9th. My five-week writing class in Capitola was a lot of fun (and hard work). Even though I added a week to my usual length of four weeks, the participants still said it went by much too fast.

See the thoughts swirling and the pens moving?

4. Booktoberfest 2017

A fun writerly event

October 17th in Pacific Grove, CA. This annual gathering includes readings by a few members of the Central Coast Writers whom had works published within the last 12 months. Also, all members were invited to display their books and answer questions about their publishing experience. It was a great way to meet other authors, see the variety of their books, and share publishing information. This was my first time attending a CCW event, and I must say the talent of the readers that night and the friendliness of everyone impressed me.

 

CCW President Laurie Sheehan & Victoria

Victoria at Booktoberfest 2017 Pacific Grove, CA

Now that these exciting writerly events are behind me it’s time to get back to work writing, developing the curriculum for my next session of classes, and editing my latest micro-documentary. I can’t wait. What’s going on in your writing life? Share in the comments below.

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.

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.