Thursday, January 28, 2016

The After-Conference Afterglow: Seven Ways to Keep the Creative Fires Burning

Rhonda Browning-White

You’ve put your life on hold for a weekend, a week, or even longer. You’ve attended a fabulous writers’ conference, and you’ve come home with a load of books, handouts, and scribbled notes. You’ve made dozens of new best friends who actually get you, who understand that it’s okay to have morning coffee with the voices in your head. You’ve found your tribe, and you're inspired to write, write, write!

And then there’s the laundry. And the grocery shopping. And the kids and pets. And the day job.

How will you ever maintain the momentum and apply the advice you garnered at The World’s Greatest Writers’ Event, when you have to face the real world?

Here’s a list of sure-fire ways to keep that exciting energy flowing from your mind to your manuscript. Let me know how they work for you!

1. Sleep. Yes, this sounds counterproductive. However, chances are good that you rose early, stayed up late, and have jet lag or are road weary. You’ve also been away from your family and friends, and if you want their support throughout your writing career (you’ll need it!) then you must revive and reconnect. Twenty-four hours of R & R won’t sideline your journey to the bestseller list. In fact, once your brain is rested, you’ll be more productive, and since you’ve caught up with all that’s happened in your family’s life, you’ll feel good about shutting the door to your home office while you get some serious writing done.

2. Sort. All those notes, handouts, and manuscript suggestions need an organized home. If you don’t have a folder for handouts, make one now. If you have several handouts, consider sorting them by topic: characterization, plotting, publishing advice, and so on. Hopefully you thought ahead and took a notebook with you, so all your snippets of advice are in one handy place. If not, transcribe the best notes into a notebook or onto index cards, so you’ll have them at your fingertips when you revise your work. Then gather all the business cards and contact lists you’ve received, and set them aside. (We’ll get to those later.) Lastly, if you’ve been lucky enough to attend a conference with a workshop, sort all the critiqued copies of your manuscript by page number (all page ones in one stack, page twos in another stack, etc.). Then, when you revise your manuscript, you can work through one page at a time on your computer, applying what you wish to use in your story, then discard the rest.

3. Write. Yes, you have a stack of signed books you can’t wait to read. Yes, you still have laundry to do. But before you do any of those things, take fifteen minutes (or two hours, if you’ve got it) and write! Tell yourself that this is a requirement for your conference. Use a prompt from a class that you didn’t have time to work on during the event. Or go ahead and begin tackling those revisions to your story.

Sometimes we return home intimidated by the amount of work we think we need to do in order to make our manuscripts publishable. The truth is, however, that unless you start working on your writing, those manuscripts will remain unpublishable! Start where you are right now. Don’t worry: if you mess up, your computer has a delete key.

4. Say “Thank you!” That perfect snippet of advice you received about transitioning from one scene to another? The recommendation a published writer made to his editor? The handout that you plan to post on your bulletin board as a roadmap to finish your novel? Say thanks! Pull out those business cards you collected, and drop a handwritten thank-you note in the mail. Don’t have a street address? Send a thoughtful, personalized email thanking the presenter or mentor who shined a light on your writing path.

5. Connect. While you have those business cards, presenter list, and workshop critique schedule in hand, update your social media accounts. Add to your Facebook friends list, follow your new connections on Twitter, and update your Instagram. Be sure to follow the blogs of your favorite presenters, authors, and new friends. If you’ve become especially good friends with a few of your fellow attendees, ask them to return the favor and follow your blog, as well.

6. Read. Finally! You’ve caught up on the business end of writing, so before you nod off to sleep, grab a book from the stack you’ve brought home from your conference. When you’ve finished each novel or book, be sure to review it in at least two or three places, such as on Amazon, Goodreads, or Facebook. Better still, write a formal review and submit it to a literary magazine or newspaper. If it’s accepted for publication, you’ll have yet another byline for your bio!

7. Now, back to work! While we’d love to get lost in reading the great works of our peers and researching details for our stories, our job—first and foremost—is writing. Build off the momentum you gained at the conference. Remind yourself that another conference awaits you in a few months, or next year, and you’ll want to have a polished manuscript to present when that time arrives. If an agent or editor has asked to see your work, be sure to have it professionally proofread or edited (Inspiration For Writers, Inc. can help with that!), and send it out as soon as you can. Include a note reminding the agent that she requested your manuscript at XYZ Writers’ Conference. Then, once it’s out the door, get back to work! It’s time to start your next story!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Introducing Danielle Taylor

Danielle Taylor is a freelance writer, editor, blogger, budding photographer and meandering wifi hobo, and she has worked with the IFW team as a nonfiction editor since summer 2015. From 2009-2015, she worked as a magazine editor in northern Virginia but yearned to hit the road as a freelance writer and traveler, and she finally made the shift the same summer she began working with IFW. She then set up her business (Adventure Editorial), moved into the back of her Subaru Outback and embraced the open highway. She now travels full-time in search of adventure, excitement and always her next story.

(Danielle in D.C. circa 2007 climbing a statue of a giant emerging from the ground)

In her writing for a variety of magazines and online outlets, currently including Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine, Rails to Trails magazine, Outdoors Unlimited magazine and the Matador Network website, Danielle covers outdoor recreation, conservation, public lands and travel. In 2016, she's taking a long road trip to all 59 national parks for the National Park Service's 100th anniversary, and she's working from anywhere she can get a decent connection to the web. When she's off the road, she splits her time between Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina.

Danielle has a retriever mutt sidekick named Paxton who often accompanies her on adventures, including a month-long road trip across the U.S. She has been clogging since she was five and performs with the Blue Ridge Thunder Cloggers, and she volunteers as a search and rescue ground crew member and dispatcher with the Shenandoah Mountain Rescue Group. During college, she sailed around the world with the Semester at Sea study abroad program. Danielle holds a B.A. degree in magazine journalism and English as well as a B.S. degree in human geography from the University of Maryland.

(Danielle and Paxton, her furry companion, right before they left on the road trip in 2009)

If you're interested in reading more of Danielle's writing and following her travels, check out her website at, follow her on Twitter at @adventureedit and like her Facebook page at

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Free promo eBook of A Consternation of Monsters

We here at Inspiration for Writers would like to alert our readers to a free eBook giveaway being conducted by one of our editors.  
Today through Friday January 15, the ebook of Eric Fritzius' collection of modern fantasy short fiction, A Consternation of Monsters, is being given away FREE on's Kindle.  

A consternation, as we all remember from grade school, is the collective noun for monsters.  It is therefore a fitting title for a collection of short stories which contain monsters of various sorts and shades.

In these tales, a creature of make-believe proves difficult to disbelieve, a trickster-god takes an unkindly interest in witnesses, eldritch horrors can be summoned using a quilt, frustrated wolves face dangerous prey, the angel of death wears a plaid sport coat, wise old women are to be feared and heeded, the corpses of legends can be perilous to have around, Elvis remains the once and future king of rock & roll, and where one of the most powerful and potentially destructive objects in the world is a fork.

You don't have to possess a Kindle device to read this book.  If you have an iPad, tablet or even just your smart phone, your device's app store will have a free Kindle app for download that will let you read this book as well as thousands of others (many of which can be found for free at such sites as  Worse comes to worse, you could read it on your laptop or desktop computer.

You can find your free copy of
A Consternation of Monsters at

But hurry because this deal ends Friday at midnight.

Reviewers have said: 

"Fritzius invites the reader into worlds that don’t exist, or at least we think they don’t: Other planes of existence, multi-verses from where other creatures come to see us, monsters stepping out of the ether to do what they are designed to do — scare us and make us think about our the choices we make, what’s really important for us. Like survival."

    -- Cat Pleska, the WV Book Team at the Charleston Gazette newspaper


“An entertaining and well-crafted collection of short stories offering mild horror, humour, and quirky ideas.”

    -- Unlimited Book Reviews (


"It is my great pleasure to announce that Mr. Fritzius has delivered the goods with ten tales of the strange, weird, and delightfully dark. Like Bradbury before him, the author transports us across a wide variety of setting and tone, unveiling rich characters from all walks of life, with surprises waiting around every corner for them (and the giggling-through-fingers reader). An unqualified success."

    -- Aaron Christensen, horror movie blogger at Horror 101 with Dr. AC     


“The reader is taken on adventures through the ancient, the mystical, and the powerful, delving into ideas of creation and destruction that most of us have not considered. All around us, ancient magic stirs and intersects with human life.”

    -- Elizabeth Love, WriterBee’s Book Reviews (


“A most absorbing read, this collection of monster themed short stories is fun, chilling, surprising, and utterly addictive.”

    -- Jonathan Joy, WV Playwright


“Collectively, Consternation operates to give us a nod and a wink about a much more sinister formulation of the Universe than mere angels and demons, which allows Fritzius the freedom to not lean on gore-n-scream horror tropes, but to play on familiar types and sub-genres in new, inventive, and entertaining ways.”

    -- Joey Madia, New Mystics Reviews


“I loved these not too gory monster stories. Plenty of scare, but not too much blood. Absolutely perfect.”

    -- D. Lewis,


"A fine debut from a gifted storyteller."

    -- S.D. Smith, author of The Green Ember.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Introducing Geoffrey Cameron Fuller

Geoffrey Cameron Fuller recently teamed with Daleen Berry (Sister of Silence) to write about the stabbing murder of high school honors student, Skylar Neese, by her two best friends. Their work resulted in two books, The Savage Murder of Skylar Neese (BenBella Books; February 2014) and Pretty Little Killers: The Truth Behind the Savage Murder of Skylar Neese (BenBella Books; July, 2014). The crime and the books were featured on Dateline (NBC), Dr. Phil (NBC), 20/20 (ABC), and I Killed My BFF (Lifetime). The Savage Murder of Skylar Neese peaked at #12 on the New York Times bestseller list, and the second book, released in July, 2014, is selling well.

(At a Pretty Little Killers book signing.
Geoff Fuller (left), IFW intern Jessica Nelson (middle), and co-author Daleen Berry (right))

Fuller has been writing and editing professionally for twenty-five years and has become familiar with just about every form of contemporary writing. In addition to feature journalism, he has written award-winning nonfiction, sudden fiction, short stories, and novels, as well as a range of business and technical writing: annual reports, white papers, vision and values statements, feasibility studies, market analyses, conference proceedings, advertising copy, political speeches, grant applications, and textbooks. He is the author or co-author of five books, and his writing is credited in another dozen books.

(Geoff Fuller at a signing for his book Full Bone Moon)

 In addition to publishing under his own name, Fuller has also been widely published as a ghostwriter, read aloud his fiction in a variety of settings and performed it on the radio, given dozens of workshops on business writing and the publishing industry, and taught classes on the novel, sudden fiction, and memoir since 1997. Fuller was a contributing editor for Writer’s Digest for several years, sat on the Board of West Virginia Writers, and is the only person to have won prestigious WV Arts and Humanities literary fellowships in all three prose categories: fiction, nonfiction, and memoir.

For six years, from 1998-2004, Fuller worked as a developmental editor for Fitness Information Technology, a sport psychology and sport management publisher based in Morgantown, West Virginia, since 1987. Before that, he worked for about ten years for the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and Development, Inc., a nonprofit business resource firm and occasional publisher, also based in Morgantown.

Currently, Fuller works as a freelance writer-editor for a variety of private clients and occasionally hosts writing classes on the Web or in a variety of locations around the state. He lives in Morgantown, West Virginia, and is a member of International Thriller Writers.