Tuesday, May 27, 2014

FREE dowload of MY KIND OF CRAZY - just this week on Amazon, May 27 thru May 31

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Grab your #FREE Kindle edition of MY KIND OF CRAZY,
by CWO columnist Katie O'Sullivan,
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For a Limited Time only: May 27 though May 31

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Friday, May 16, 2014

Finding Passion in Writing Relationships

The first writing group I ever joined was an eclectic mix. We drank coffee and shared muffins, and liked each other as people. We met for two hours once a week, bringing pages to read out loud and copies for everyone to follow along and jot feedback

We spanned genres. Two of the members were writing memoirs, one a cozy mystery, one a women’s fiction. And then there was me. I wanted to write for young adults, but the group discouraged that. I worked on an adult fiction piece that never sold, as well as the psychic ghost story that became my first novel, Unfolding the Shadows.
But any time I tried to start something for teens, the group disapproved. When I brought my first mermaid pages, they listened politely but wrote cutting comments on the papers they returned to me.
I liked these people. But. They didn’t understand. And it hurt.

I left the group. Or should I say, we broke up.

Finding the right writing groups or critique partner is like dating. You need to find the right fit, and you should keep trying new ones until you do. You’re getting into a relationship, and it needs to work for everyone involved, so don’t commit before you know it’s right for you.

You might go on a second date with a guy, even if the first one wasn’t so hot. You know, give him a second chance, because anyone can have an “off” day. But. You wouldn’t make long term plans until you were comfortable with him.

Same with a critique group.

When you find the right group or person, you just know it. Kathy Otten, author of A Tarnished Knight from The Wild Rose Press, says she’d be nowhere as a writer without her critique group. They meet once a week for 3.5 hours to exchange pages and give feedback, and she finds them “invaluable, not only for critiquing but for encouragement and support.” Important enough to drive 85 miles round trip to be there!

Her group has a leader, who keeps them from getting too far off topic in their discussions. “We have members from all walks of life with different careers (technical writer, an attorney, social worker, a cop, nurse and others) and that makes for a great resource to use in research. I've learned that leather cowboy boots don't burn if the hero tosses them into a fire. Foster kids can't share a bedroom. And just because someone gets shot, doesn't mean they fall down.”

Other writers haven’t been as lucky with groups.

Urban Fantasy author J.C. McKenzie recalls she once paid $110 for a 4-month weekly manuscript workshop. “The idea was to bring your completed manuscript and every week the group would critique the work together... It essentially resulted in a 10 minute hot-seat, where the other unpublished writers would rip into my work and tell me it was crap without providing any constructive feedback on how to make it better. The experience left me crying in my car more than once and almost killed my passion for the craft. Thankfully I found the RWA (Romance Writers of America) and through it, some wonderful, supportive critique partners.”

A good critique partner, or CP, is “worth their weight in royalties.”

Her advice on finding the perfect fit? “Be upfront with what you want: how often you want to exchange work, how much work is exchanged at once, what kind of feedback you want, etc. Don't be afraid to say that it's not quite what you're looking for after you've exchanged the first chapters, otherwise you've committed to a one-sided relationship.”

She adds, “Don't be afraid to ignore their suggestions and advice, either. It's your work, not theirs. Also, try to let the CP's suggestions sit before you look at your work again. Sometimes when you first read the comments, they seem overwhelming, but with a clear head, they can really make your manuscript pop!”

Another option? Finding that “group” feel in an online environment.

Romance author Ilona Fridl says she found “the perfect writing group” at AllWriters’ Workplace& Workshop, in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Although definitely further than 85 miles from Cape Cod, they offer online workshops, courses and groups led by published writers. “And unlike some groups,” Ilona says, “all the criticism is positive.”

Ilona credits the class and instructor Kathie Giorgio for helping sell her very first book. Her fifth book, Iris Rainbow, is coming out in July from The Wild Rose Press.

Closer to home, the Cape Cod Writers Center sponsors many writing groups for their members, as well as an annual conference here on the Cape. A Book in Hand hosts monthly author nights at the Jacob Sears Memorial Library in Dennis. These events are open to the public and a great place to meet and mingle with other authors. Check their calendar.

Many libraries also have writing groups that meet in their conference rooms once a week or once a month. The Dennis Public Library on Hall Street in Dennisport also hosts a Friday AuthorSeries at the end of each month. The SandwichPublic Library hosts author events in conjunction with Titcombs Bookshop.

Seriously, stop by and chat with your local librarian to see what’s going on in your town.

Finding a group? Not so hard. Finding the right group or CP? Priceless.

When my writing group didn’t want to read about my mermaids, I was a little crushed.
At my high school reunion, I ran into a guy who’s now a computer programmer and an aspiring novelist. I complained about my writing group and he sympathized. We became Facebook friends, exchanged emails and then manuscript pages. He encouraged me to add more action and drama to my storyline, helping me mold my bad guy into something even more evil than he was before. Turned out, he was the CP I’d been looking for!

And Son of a Mermaid sold soon after.

My second young adult mermaid book – Blood of a Mermaid – was published May 15 by Crescent Moon Press. 

My next romance novel, My Kind of Crazy, makes its worldwide debut at the end of July, published by The Wild Rose Press.
I’m still searching for that perfect writing group. But in the meantime, I’ll just keep writing.

About the author:
Katie O’Sullivan loves editing, writing and playing with words. She lives in Harwich with her family, and the big dogs who "make" her walk on the beach every day.

She writes romance and adventure for young adults and the young at heart. Her first young adult novel, Son of a Mermaid, was published in 2013 by Crescent Moon Press. The sequel, Blood of a Mermaid, is available May 2014.

Her latest Cape Cod romance is My Kind of Crazy, published by The Wild Rose Press in March 2014. Available now exclusively on Kindle, the world-wide all-format release is slated for July 31, 2014.

Visit her website at www.Katie-osullivan.com, and be sure to check out her regular column THE WRITE WAY in every issue of CapeWomenOnline.com magazine.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Something About Charlie by guest blogger Caryn Ritchie

I was first introduced to Wildtracks one year ago, while visiting Sarteneja. I have been involved with animal rescue and rehabilitation for most of my life but never had a hands-on opportunity to work with manatees or monkeys. When I met with Paul, the director of Wildtracks, he offered me the opportunity to volunteer there and I knew I had to make it happen.

One year later, I am entrenched in the everyday world of monkey and manatee care. I initially was given a general orientation and introduced to all the animals in residence at Wildtracks. Volunteers are matched with the animals they care for by interest, personality, and length of stay. 

I was matched with the “Front Spider Monkeys”: Rafiki, Charlie and the pair Frisky and Frolic. They are all adult spider monkeys, three males and one female. Everyone except Rafiki will be released into the wild when they are ready. Rafiki has a severe spinal scoliosis and cannot fend for himself so he will remain at Wildtracks.  

My special chore aside from cleaning and feeding these four monkeys is to socialize both Charlie and Rafiki. It is perfect for me because it is hard for me to not touch and talk to monkeys. I love them all, but Charlie is special.

Charlie has intense eyes and white markings on his face that make him look like he is always smiling. He had a terrible life prior to Wildtracks - he was kept chained to a peccary pen and sustained two severe bites that got severely infected. Despite what must have been extremely painful, he allowed Paul to treat his wounds daily. Charlie loves being around people.  

Every day I spend time sitting with him and telling him stories about the jungle, freedom and beautiful lady monkeys. The enclosure mesh separates Charlie and me because adult spider monkeys can be unpredictable, but this doesn’t stop us from feeling intensely connected. He holds onto my hands or my shoulders and tries to get as close to me as possible by pushing out his chest.  

Charlie vocalizes with me when he becomes excited. At times I feel Charlie can look into my soul. He touches my heart. I have been rewarded by having Charlie become less anxious when I am around. He looks more comfortable and doesn’t startle as easily. 

After one month with Charlie it will be very hard to leave him. I think the separation will be difficult for both of us. I know he will be given another volunteer to care for him in my place. I know they, too, will fall in love with Charlie and help him continue with his rehabilitation.  

Charlie makes me believe that he will not forget me, but that may just be what I want to believe. I know I will never forget Charlie. Caring for him and understanding the struggles he has already overcome, and the struggles he has ahead of him, will keep Charlie in my heart and my mind forever.  

I hope to return to find Charlie released and happy in a troop he can share his love with. 

To read more of Caryn’s Belize adventures visit her blog: Belizeanatheart.com
For more about Wildtracks Rehabilitation center visit: www.wildtracksbelize.org  

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Cover Reveal! BLOOD OF A MERMAID by Katie O'Sullivan

Get ready for summer reading on the beach!

The second book of Katie O'Sullivan's mermaid series will be published later this month, and today is the big "cover reveal" - take a look at this gorgeous cover the publisher has created! Cool, right? The way her dress resolves into a wave, or maybe it's the other way around. Magical. If you look closely you can see the fairy sparkles all around the figure, as well as the mermaid tail splashing off shore.

If you haven't heard about this mermaid series, they're set on Cape Cod, in the fictional West Harwich neighborhood of Windmill Point. The first book takes place along that stretch of private beach and dock, and far below the surface of Nantucket Sound. In the second book, the action and adventure expand, with the hero and heroine journeying to far off places like the Aegean Sea as well as dungeons in the Arctic Circle.

Here's the back-of-book blurb:

Mermaid blood.

When Shea MacNamara fell into the ocean for the first time, he found he could breathe underwater. The son of a mermaid, the sea is in his blood. Literally. The best part of Shea’s new life? His girlfriend Kae, who also happens to be a beautiful mermaid.

But darkness lurks under the sea. When evil mermen kidnap Kae, the king reminds Shea that having royal blood means making tough choices. 

An Arctic dungeon, a fiery plane crash, the legendary halls of Atlantis…and narwhals?

Having mermaid blood just got a lot more complicated.
* ~ * ~ *

If you haven't read the first book yet, what are you waiting for?

Get your copy of
on Amazon