Tuesday, September 27, 2016

OCC RWA Birthday Bash: Writing is our Superpower

OCC RWA is proud to welcome internationally renowned speaker and writing instructor Margie Lawson as the keynote speaker at our 2016 Birthday Bash mini-conference scheduled for Saturday, October 8 , 2016 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Embassy Suites in Brea.

The theme of the Birthday Bash is "Writing is our Superpower" and attendees are welcome to come dressed as their favorite superhero or villain. This special event, part of OCC's October general meeting, will also include raffle baskets, critique giveaways and awards for the winners of the Orange Rose and Book Buyers' Best contests. 

Margie Lawson —editor and international presenter – teaches writers how to use her psychologically-based editing systems and deep editing techniques to create page turners. Margie has presented over 90 full-day master classes in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and on cruises in the Caribbean. Writers credit her innovative deep editing approaches for making their writing stronger—for contracts, awards, and bestseller lists.

For the Birthday Bash, Margie will present the following:

Writing Fresh Visceral Responses: Beyond Hammering Hearts (Morning Workshop)
This workshop teaches writers the importance of including visceral responses when emotions run high, and how to write them fresh. We will cover the full range of visceral responses, writing fresh, using the Four Levels of Powering Up Emotion, how to crescendo emotion, stimulus/response patterns, ideomotoric shifts, cliché twists and cliché play, and how to hook your reader viscerally. 

Top 20 Rhetorical Devices for Fiction Writers (Afternoon Workshop)
Learn 20 rhetorical devices—why, how, and when to use them to add the most power to your scenes. Learn how to strengthen your writing with rhetorical device combos. Learn which rhetorical devices compress time and expand time. Learn how to use some rhetorical devices to slip multiple hits of backstory into one eloquent sentence. Learn which rhetorical devices are frequently used by some NYT bestselling authors to empower their openings and turning points. 

Make the Bash a getaway weekend and mini-conference by staying at the hotel. OCC RWA President Nikki Prince will host an Evening Write-In at 8 p.m. on Friday, October 7 (room number to be determined). She’ll provide drinks and snacks, you just bring your laptop or notebook.

After the Bash on Saturday, grab dinner at the hotel bar or one of the nearby restaurants and then come back to assigned hotel rooms for Pajama Parties to be held from 

"Spread the Word" with Ophelia Bell:
Bestselling author Ophelia Bell gives tips on building a newsletter or an entire onboarding campaign. Resources, etc. How to reel in leads. What she’s done, what other writers do that works and what her readers respond to.

"Instagram" with Christina Alexandra:
Social media is growing by leaps and bounds. One of the more popular platforms these days is Instagram. Instagram is a way to connect and interact with readers, followers and fans.

While it can be a little intimidating at first, there is no reason to be afraid of it. With a handful of tools and a few simple steps you can turn Instagram into a marketing tool tailored to your needs.

The party will cover the use of Instagram and its filters and layouts, word swag, aviary and ripl.

"Wild, Wild Whist" with Alanna Lucas and Julie Rief:
Fill your pockets with chocolate coins and get ready for some wild historical card playing! The hosts will shuffle up some tricks and tips for fun from yesteryears.

Cost for the Birthday Bash is $40 for RWA members and $55 for non-members. It includes lunch and dessert. To register or for more information, visit http://occrwa.org/chapter-meetings/birthday-bash/

Friday, September 23, 2016


You know how myths and legends are actually early stage psychiatry?  

They are stories that illustrate behaviors, offer life lessons and explore the dynamic between certain personalities.  They demonstrate the impact of misunderstandings, the consequences of acting hastily and the importance of not dismissing people because they don't meet your assessment of being a valuable player.  They remind us of the need for courtesy to all (really, you just never know), and countless other helpful guideposts to better understand and survive in this complex world.

Jealous Hera, mischievous Loki, the old beggar woman asking for alms, the simple son, witches, goblins, vampires, werewolves, zombies....

Zombies! Yes, it sounds a bit ridiculous.  Despite Haitan folklore, Vodou, Voodoo, or whatever spelling or incantation you choose—or even the possibility that the Undead do indeed walk—our present Zombie craze is highly stereotyped and stylized.  

But you perhaps never thought of the Undead as a valuable life lesson—an accurate explanation of what life is actually like. 

Think again.

It all starts innocently enough, you're living your life, hanging out with your classmates, co-workers, colleagues, spending days, months, often years together, cordial, close, connected.  You chat, share meals, share stories, share your life, your dreams, your experiences.  

You think you are surrounded by humans, but all it takes is a change to clarify who in your group are the living dead—surviving off flesh or brains—and who are actually human.  You graduate, your kids go to different schools, you move, you change jobs, you retire.  Suddenly, you no longer have a brain or flesh worth eating—you have nothing to offer.  

In fairness, you can't stay friends with everyone & the drifting apart is often mutual, but it's still an odd feeling to achieve invisibility with people you may have seen every day for years. 

Retirement may be the most challenging adjustment, as other changes often just trade one group of the Undead for another.  Opting out of the workforce can often eliminate your usefulness to others quite dramatically.  Suddenly, you have nothing worth eating....

Visiting the old workplace you realize you are a ghost in the machine—invisible to most.  Though it can sometimes be quite surprising who you are visible to, and to whom you have disappeared.  

Just like in a Zombie film the humans are often not the ones you would expect.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Oh Mercury Retrograde, Are You Here Again? by Connie Vines

Oh, Mercury retrograde. You are here, AGAIN. You have arrived on our collective doorsteps in all your messy glory. 

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, here we go. The planets are swinging around at all times, and their movements affect us all in different ways. All planets go retrograde, but Mercury’s journey seems to impact people much more than any other. (Even people who “don’t believe in astrology” often “believe” in the crazy aftershocks of Mercury retrograde!)

Why is that? It’s because Mercury rules communication, clear thinking, truth and travel, so when the planet goes retrograde — which means that it looks like it’s going backwards in the sky — all those things go backwards. They start to get ugly and tangle up. Mercury isn’t really going backwards, it’s just hanging out by the sun, but from Earth, that makes it look like it’s in reverse. It typically runs for a couple of weeks, a few times a year.

Check out these dates below and put them in your calendar!

In 2016, Mercury is retrograde from…
January 5th to January 25th
April 28th to May 22nd
August 30th to September 22nd
December 19th to January 28th (2017)

Note: We sometimes start to feel the effects of Mercury retrograde a few days early. It’s nice to give yourself a bit of leeway on either side of the prescribed dates!


All sorts of things! It’s like everyone you know has suddenly gone mad! You might find yourself getting into bizarre arguments about nothing at all, being unable to finish sentences or barely even able to form a coherent thought. Your computer and other electronic equipment is more likely to go on the fritz. You could experience travel delays, too. Double-check your flights and take a book with you to keep you occupied while you wait for the train! We don’t tend to get all the information we need at this time, so it can be hard to make big decisions and it’s not always the best time to sign a contract, either.

Expect to hear super-loud complaining from your friends who are Gemini (me!) or Virgo, since both are ruled by Mercury! Mercury also rules a lot of industries like publishing, writing, editing, advertising, sales, public relations and anything to do with transport, like airlines, the post office and cabs! This means it can be particularly rough for Gemini train conductors and Virgo magazine editors, so be kind to any you know!

I often find that Mercury retrograde makes me want to go into hermit mode. I feel like half my brain is missing so I’m really not that interested in interacting with anyone, plus every conversation seems to go in an unusual, confusing direction. I feel much more irritable and frustrated and things just don’t seem to go how I want them to.

So that’s the bad news. Mercury retrograde can be a total kick in the teeth for those of us who normally pride ourselves on having our karmic shit together! The GOOD news is that Mercury retrograde provides us with lots of beautiful opportunities if we can just tilt our head and squint.
Mercury retrograde wants us to move back spiritually. It is providing us with a chance to re-examine various areas of our life which may need a little more work, so that we can move forward to a bright new dawn. Now, more than ever, the time is right to look at things with clear eyes. 

It’s also a terrific period in which to tie up loose ends. So many of us have unfinished projects… Maybe that door just needs another lick of paint, or you’ll decide to put away your ex-boyfriend’s love letters once and for all. 

One of the best ways to cope with it — as with anything, really — is to just “go with the flow”. When you fight Mercury retrograde, that’s when life gets really ugly. Just take some time, go slowly, be careful, don’t freak yourself out by expecting to be uber-productive-perfect right now. Be good to yourself and the people around you, now more than ever!


http://galadarling.com/gala/images/ui-images/heart.gif Be sure not to take things too personally. People will often say offensive things they didn’t mean around this time, because their thinking is clouded and their communication skills are on pause! If your best friend suddenly became the most insensitive person in the world, give her the benefit of the doubt.

http://galadarling.com/gala/images/ui-images/heart.gif Back up your data!

http://galadarling.com/gala/images/ui-images/heart.gif Don’t purchase any big ticket items, because they will often have flaws or issues that you weren’t aware of! Of course, life doesn’t stop just because of wacky planetary movement, so if you absolutely have to get that car, computer or iPhone, TRIPLE-check all the paperwork, and make sure you have a warranty!

http://galadarling.com/gala/images/ui-images/heart.gif Take things with a grain of salt. Everyone is a bit confused, and people are much more inclined to change their mind once Mercury goes direct. Mercury can be a bit of a trickster — could it be that the next few weeks are a big karmic joke?
http://galadarling.com/gala/images/ui-images/heart.gif Read the small print on any contracts. Ask lots of questions. Again, you can’t put your life on hold just because of some silly planet, but adapt your lifestyle a bit so that things run more smoothly. Communication can be a mess right now, but do your best to get as much information as you can.

http://galadarling.com/gala/images/ui-images/heart.gif Finish things you started a while ago. Home improvement projects? Wardrobe re-organization? Short stories? Love affairs?! This is an excellent time to tie up loose ends and file things away forever.

http://galadarling.com/gala/images/ui-images/heart.gif Get together with old friends, reminisce and laugh!

http://galadarling.com/gala/images/ui-images/heart.gif Double-check any information you’re given, especially as relates to travel arrangements! During one particularly formidable Mercury retrograde, I actually caught a cab to the wrong airport! Check times, delays, baggage allowances, reservations… everything!

http://galadarling.com/gala/images/ui-images/heart.gif Allow Mercury to nudge you in unusual directions. If you seem to find yourself “back to the future”, don’t just try to wriggle out of it — look at what the universe is trying to show you. What can you learn from this situation? This is a fantastic time to re-examine, accept and move on.

http://galadarling.com/gala/images/ui-images/heart.gif Use the things you’ve discovered in the past to create a dazzling new vision so that you’re ready to blast ahead when Mercury goes direct!

Happy Writing,

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Sunday, September 11, 2016

A Day in the Life of a Writer via Twitter by Jina Bacarr

A friend recently asked me if I journal.

Wow, a question that struck a cord in me. I haven't kept a journal in years. I've got stacks of journals and diaries from high school, college, etc., but I spend so much writing stories, I stopped writing down my thoughts.

Then I realized I do journal in a way.

I tweet.

I don't mean the promo tweets or the pretty graphics I love to put together for my books.

I mean the "here's where I'm at in writing..." tweets.

So this month, I put together my favorite "journal tweets" for you. (I left out the hashtags.) It's not easy putting your heart and soul into 140 characters, but hey, it's convenient, like having a cell phone instead of a landline in our digital world.

It works when the power goes out...


Jina's tweets:

1 -- best part abt wearing tight jeans when you're writing..can't move so you keep your butt where it belongs..in the chair

2 -- Reading aloud edited version of your story is like sex: too slow and you'll never get there; too fast and you won't remember it. 

3 -- how much of a part do our memories play in writing our stories? performing in Italy inspired my Royal Magic story

4 -- is imagination the most important tool in the writer's toolbox -- or is craft more important? What do you think? 

5 -- writing a novel is like watching your roots grow out...painful and oh so slow, but always, always fixable!

6 -- Writing sexy romance is like taking off a pair of black silk stockings, inch by inch: the slow reveal is way more sexy 

7 --  the waiting game with yr m/s...you submit...you wait..kinda like dating It can break your heart...but you do it anyway

8 --
I have a secret: I keep telling myself "just one more edit" of m/s -- which have now turned into 6. Why is it so hard to let go?

9 --  this writer and her m/s have finally parted--re: earlier tweet today, I submitted my story tonight to the publisher!

10 -- writing is always hard work...grueling actually...you want to quit...then you get a 5 star review on your last book and you cry...

Website: www.jinabacarr.com
Blog: www.jinabacarr.wordpress.com

Getting clean ain't easy...even for a princess

Zoey's story from Royal Dare coming in October 2016: ROYAL BRIDE

The magic is in his kiss... 


She wore gray.
He wore blue.
But their love defied the boundaries of war.
And time.

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