“I’ve always felt that my ‘style’—the careful projection onto paper of who I think I am—was my only marketable asset, the only possession that might set me apart from other writers.” ---William Zinsser

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Monday, May 12, 2014


Just last week I finished the final draft of 30 Perfect Days, Finding Abundance in Ordinary Days. The project took me 18 months, but it could have been done in six. Those of us who have a tendency to go in too many directions make our lives a little crazy, but there's calmness in focusing on a project at hand and putting your heart and soul into it. Only then do you believe in your project and the work, and only when we focus inwards do we get to the place that connects with thoughts that need to be given voice in words. Focus becomes a meditation, a letting go, a way of being present, if we're open to it. Once I decided it was time to complete the book, I finished the first draft, the second, and then the third; soon it will become a tangible and finished project that we can hold in our hands.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Spring Word Lovers Weekend - May 30-June 1, 2014

Writers crave time and space. We need to practice the craft and feel community support. Word Lovers creator Claudia Taller invites you to get motivated and supported at Lakeside, Ohio’s Chautauqua on Lake Erie.

On Friday at 1PM, Claudia will lead early arrivers on a tour of two local wineries. Dinner will be served at 6:30PM followed by a session of exploring your goals through vision boarding.

9-11AM Saturday, Liana Laverentz will show you how to open your book with a bang, prop up a sagging middle, and craft endings that leave your readers wanting more. Focus will be on keeping your reader’s attention, getting rid of words that slow a manuscript down, knowing what’s important to the story, and what is not. Bring the first three pages of your work in progress or send 3-page openings on paper ahead.

1-3PM Saturday, Trudy Brandenburg will lead a fun and active two-hour session about Self-Publishing and Marketing. She will lead you through publishing through CreateSpace, and you’ll also walk away with a draft of your book cover and a marketing plan. You’ll also design your business logo and your brand and start a workbook to keep you on track.

3-5PM Saturday, Claudia will remind you of The Elements of Style in a copyediting and word choice session that take you back to Strunk & White and get your manuscript or short pieces into audience-ready shape, followed by a roundtable critique session.

9:30AM-12PM Sunday, Claudia will lead a workshop inspired by The Red Tent by Anita Diamant and Women who Run with the Wolves, Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. We will begin by telling our stories in the oral tradition. We will express our dreams and sorrows with poetry making, then write a personal essay. We will journal about our life's journey and find the through lines, the truth of how we got to where we are and ask ourselves where we are going--and how do we tell that longer story?

Weekend Fees are $239/weekend for a shared room and $329/weekend for a private room. Commuters pay $149; Saturday-only is $89, and Sunday-only or Friday-only are $49. Stay over on Thursday night for $50. All meals, except Saturday dinner, are included. Email claudia.taller@yahoo.com to make a reservation. Payment is due by May 15 and can be sent to 26408 Chapel Hill Drive, North Olmsted, Ohio 44070.

Liana Laverentz (www.lianalaverentz.com) has published three contemporary romances with The Wild Rose Press, Thin Ice, Jake’s Return, and Ashton’s Secret. Thin Ice is a Golden Leaf and EPIC Award winner, Jake’s Return a Golden Leaf Award Winner. Her current work in progress is a non-fiction book about women's health and wellness, based on posts from her successful blog, Living on a Prayer, Living with PMDD. Liana is also a freelance editor with award-winning clients.

Trudy Brandenburg (www.trudybrandenburg.com) is the author of The Emma Haines Kayak Mystery Series. Her books have recently been featured in the November 2013 issue of Columbus’ "614 Magazine" and will be featured on Cleveland.com. She also writes "Clintonville Clips" for her community Facebook page. She has also published a number of non-fiction articles and produced a CD, Whitelight Relaxation Meditation.

Claudia Taller (www.claudiajtaller.com) has published more than 300 legal, lifestyle, and travel articles during the last twenty years. Her book Ohio’s Lake Erie Wineries is an Arcadia Press success story, and her book Ohio’s Canal Country Wineries will be released in 2015. 30 Perfect Days, Finding Abundance in Ordinary Life, will be released this year. She created Igniting Possibilities and Word Lovers in 2008.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Thirty-Year Plan

Thirty-year plan: Take a large, blank sheet of paper and pin it to the wall. On the top write this quote from Tennyson: ”How dull it is to pause/to make an end/to rust unburnished, not to shine in use.” Now make a grid by drawing five liens down the paper and six lines across for thirty squares. Then write down all the things you want to do if you had the time and promise “Never to become dull, always to shine from use.”

A Winding Road - Writing

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My book, "Ohio's Lake Erie Wineries," an Arcadia production, explores the history of island and lakeshore wineries from the mid-1800s through today. I write travel, memoir, profiles, book reviews, local interest articles, and fiction. My writing is always of discovery--whether it's journaling, book reviewing, letter writing, or sharing an experience of life. I have written two novels and am working on a third novel and a memoir. I am passionate about sharing what life has to offer with others. "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron woke me up to a sense of possibility--life is too short not be enjoyed by living deeply and well. I created Igniting Possibilities, a conduit for creativity workshops and events, in the hope of guiding others to realize their full potential. The Word Lover's Retreats at Lakeside, Ohio's Chautauqua community, help writers find their voice and direction.