Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The 90 Top Secrets of Best Selling Authors

I found a great article I thought I'd share, "The 90 Top Secrets of Bestselling Authors" by Jessica Strawser for Writers Digest. Originally I had posted the entire article to my blog, however, to keep from committing copyright infringement, I will just post a few favorite quotes; one quote from each category referenced. You can find the remaining quotes from famous authors, ninety in total, on Writers Digest at the link provided below.

I encourage you to read ALL 90 quotes on Writers Digest...very inspiring! Enjoy!!

God Bless!
T Denise Clary

"The 90 Top Secrets of Bestselling Authors"

By Jessica Strawser for

"Here, some of the most successful writers in recent (and not-so-recent) memory share their take on everything from how they get ideas (or go find them), to the best way to start a manuscript (or why the only important thing is that you start at all), to their most methodical writing habits (and quirkiest rituals), to writing with the readers in mind (or ignoring them entirely). The quotes were pulled from 90 years’ worth of Writer’s Digest magazines (as fascinating as it is to observe what’s changed since 1920, it’s equally refreshing to realize how much good, sound writing wisdom remains the same)." Jessica Strawer


—No. 7—
“Sit and quiet yourself. Luxuriate in a certain memory and the details will come. Let the images flow. You’ll be amazed at what will come out on paper. I’m still learning what it is about the past that I want to write. I don’t worry about it. It will emerge. It will insist on being told.”
Frank McCourt

—No. 13—
“Beginning a novel is always hard. It feels like going nowhere. I always have to write at least 100 pages that go into the trash can before it finally begins to work. It’s discouraging, but necessary to write those pages. I try to consider them pages -100 to zero of the novel.”
Barbara Kingsolver


—No. 21—
“You have to follow your own voice. You have to be yourself when you write. In effect, you have to announce, ‘This is me, this is what I stand for, this is what you get when you read me. I’m doing the best I can—buy me or not—but this is who I am as a writer.”
David Morrell



—No. 30—
“You need that pride in yourself, as well as a sense, when you are sitting on Page 297 of a book, that the book is going to be read, that somebody is going to care. You can’t ever be sure about that, but you need the sense that it’s important, that it’s not typing; it’s writing.”
Roger Kahn



—No. 39—
“Writers shouldn’t fall in love with characters so much that they lose sight of what they’re trying to accomplish. The idea is to write a whole story, a whole book. A writer has to be able to look at that story and see whether or not a character works, whether or not a character needs further definition.”
Stephen Coonts


—No. 52—
“Too many writers think that all you need to do is write well—but that’s only part of what a good book is. Above all, a good book tells a good story. Focus on the story first. Ask yourself, ‘Will other people find this story so interesting that they will tell others about it?’ Remember: A bestselling book usually follows a simple rule, ‘It’s a wonderful story, wonderfully told’; not, ‘It’s a wonderfully told story.’”
Nicholas Sparks


—No. 54—
“Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts.”
Larry L. King


—No. 66—
“… Falsely straining yourself to put something into a book where it doesn’t really belong, it’s not doing anybody any favors. And the reader can tell.”
Margaret Atwood


—No. 75—
“I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.”

Harper Lee


—No. 83—
“Always remember the reader. Always level with him and never talk down to him. You may think you’re some kind of smart guy because you’re the great writer. Well, if you’re such a smart guy, how come the reader is paying you? Remember the reader’s the boss. He’s hired you to do a job. So do it.”
Jay Anson

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Another Writing Contest (Deep River Books) - Ummmm!?!?

I received an email from publisher Deep River Books announcing its 2011-2012 writer's contest which apparently started on November 1st. In researching a little more about this contest and Deep River Books (allegedly a Christian publisher), I discovered there were some 'good, bad, and ugly' elements to the whole thing.

The Good...
The first place winner(s) of the contest can win a publishing contract with Deep River Books.

The Bad...
Deep River Books (formerly VMI Publishers) is a "partnership" based publisher. In other words, a vanity press publishing house which requires some type of financial investment from the author. They require authors to 'partner' with them by purchasing a certain amount of their own books once published...this could be bad, depending on how many books DRB requires. And they still keep a large percentage of the royalties even after requiring authors to make an investment.

The first place winner(s) of the contest can win a publishing contract with Deep River Books.Well, if an author is announced the first place winner(s) of the contest, is the winner still required to purchase a certain amount of their own books???

The second place winner receives a $1000 certificate TOWARDS publishing with Deep River Books and the third place winner receives a $750 certificate TOWARDS publishing with DRB. Sounds Ok, right? Well, that would depend on how much DRB charges authors to publish (i.e. How many of their own books an author is required to purhcase?). 

 The Ugly...
I have read, through another blog site, that Deep River Books requires authors to purchase a minimum of 1000 copies of their own books, which could cost anywhere between $10,000 and $20,000 dollars. So does the contest exempt the first place winners??? Also, if you are a second or third place winner, obviously you may still have to come out-of-pocket pretty significantly in order to publish your book with DRB. that's UGLY!!

Well, I just thought I'd bring it to your attention just in case someone else received the same email. Of course, if you don't mind spending a large investment to have your books published, then by all means...

IMHO, either go the 'Traditional Pub' route, or go with 'Self-Pub,' and leave the rest behind.

God Bless!
T Denise Clary


Deep River Books 2011-2012 Writer’s Contest

Deep River Books is awarding TWO complete royalty-based publishing contracts, one awarded to the best non-fiction manuscript entry AND one to the best fiction manuscript entry.

There will also be 2nd and 3rd place awards along with several Certificates of Merit.

This is your chance to receive a full-service publishing contract and get your book published and distributed across America. There are no strings attached. If you win, you get published and paid royalties for all sales of your book. And the Grand Prize Winners books will be featured at an upcoming International Christian Retail Trade Show.

The contest begins November 1, 2011 and ends January 15, 2012

To find more details and enter the contest, go to 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

New Bible Verse ~ Sunday, Nov 27th

New Bible verse posted as of November 27th...Have a great week!

Colossians 3:15 (NIV)

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

God Bless!
T Denise Clary

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ralph Waldo Emerson Got It Right!

Essayist, lecturer, and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

There are so many things I am thankful for, and TO BE thankful for each and every day, three hundred sixty-five days of the year. Essayist, lecturer, and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson summed it up pretty nicely in his poem when he thanked our Lord for everything we experience in our lives. Notice how Emerson phrased it in a way that reads, "everything Thy goodness sends," which encompasses any and all things (whether good or bad), not just the things we feel are good in our lives.

When you hear someone respond to the age old Thanksgiving question, "what are you thankful for?"  Do you ever hear responses such as, "I'm thankful that my car broke down last week and it ended up costing me a thousand dollars!" or, "I'm thankful that I got so ill, I was hospitalized and spent three days in the hospital!"  Of course not, and why would anyone say such things? Right?!? We're use to hearing the canned responses of "family, friends, health, job, etc.," -- and not necessarily in that order.

Well, think about the words in Emerson's poem. And truly think about all the mishaps, missteps, accidents, perils, illnesses, close-calls, conflicts, mess-ups, slip-ups, burdensome things and all unforeseen things that have occurred in our lives, and amongst us, since the day we were born. It is truly a miracle and only by God's grace that any of us are blessed to go to sleep at night and wake up to a brand new day!

Can you think of the last time you thanked God, NOT just for the great things going on in your life, but also for all those not-so-nice things that have occurred and, quite possibly, you are still wading through (and waiting on that miracle to happen)?

The reason I ask is because I have found that my greatest moments of strength, growth, agility, understanding, peace, love, prosperity, etc.,  have come out of the most difficult times in my life. I can truly say that I am a better person today than I was a year ago, five years ago, ten years ago, twenty years ago and so on, because of some of the hardships I have endured throughout my life...NOT because the Lord caused difficult times to occur, but because He allowed them to. And He gave me the necessary tools and skills needed to persevere through those hardships. It is through those difficult times that I am reminded of how truly blessed I am to have a God that loves and cares for me, and only wants the best for me.  

Some of us have had to wait longer than others to see a hardship or 'mountain' removed from our lives. Why? There could be a multitude of reasons, but one reason could be that the Lord is waiting ON US to make a move to change, to grow, to stretch beyond our comfort zone! God knows our full potential better than we do most of the time! Unfortunately, many of us stay stuck in a situation waiting on the Lord to act, when in reality the Lord is waiting on us to make a move. So why would the Lord allow hardships to occur in our lives??? Well, just think about it...would you still want to be that same knuckle-headed teenager you once were with that hard-headed, stubborn, superior attitude you once had? LOL.


God Bless and Happy Thanksgiving!
T Denise Clary
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Little Humor for You!

A little Monday humor for you...This is an 'oldie but goodie' joke, thought I'd post! Have a wonderfully fun day!

God Bless!
T Denise Clary

Ducks in Heaven 
Three women die in a car accident and arrive at the pearly gates of Heaven. St. Peter greets them and says before they ever enter Heaven, "Whatever you do, don't step on the ducks!"

Well the women thought that this was a very odd thing to say, but when they enter Heaven, they see why he did! Ducks are EVERYWHERE!
The 1st woman was talking to the 2nd and, not paying attention, stepped on a duck. St. Peter appears at her side with a pair of handcuffs and a hideous man. "Now that you have stepped on a duck, you shall be chained to this man for the rest of your days here."

A few weeks later, the 2nd woman suffers the same fate.

Now the 3rd woman is determined to not step on a duck. Weeks, months even years pass, and she's yet to step on a duck. Soon, St. Peter has appeared at her side with the most beautiful man she'd ever laid eyes on and a pair of handcuffs. St. Peter handcuffs them and walks away without a word. "Whatever have I done to deserve this?" the woman asks.

"I don't know about you, but I stepped on a duck." said the man.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

New Bible Verse ~ Sunday, Nov 20th

New Bible verse posted as of November 20th...Have a great 'Thanksgiving' week!

1 Peter 3:8-9 (NIV84)

8 Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.  9  Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.  

God Bless!
T Denise Clary

Linking today with Jumping Tandem
for some Sunday inspiration.
Join us!!! Click below.

Friday, November 18, 2011

How To Write A Children's Picture Book

In lieu of 'NaNoWriMo' going on this month, coupled with the fact that I have written several children's books (although they lack illustrations at the present moment), I thought I'd post an article I found on the internet regarding how to write a children's picture book. The article is written by author Jacqui Robbins. Please click on the link titled, How to Write a Children's Picture Book, to be re-directed to the author's blog site to get an in-depth explanation for each point below numbered from one to eleven. I am not certain if my current books follow all the rules the article lays out, but I think they come pretty close!  Happy writing! :-)

God Bless!
T Denise Clary

by Jacqui Robbins
(Author of “The New Girl…and Me” & “Two of a Kind”)

1. Read 100 first.

2. Picture books have 500-700 words. Or fewer.

3. Picture books are 32 pages long.

4. Each page much have something newly illustratable.

5. The text of your story must stand alone.

6. Don't talk down to children or moralize to them.

7. Your story must have a beginning, a middle, and an end.

8. Your story must have a conflict or a problem, and that problem must be solved by the kid.

9. Show, don't tell.

10. If you write in rhyme, your rhyme and meter must be perfect.

11. Forget numbers 2-10 until your story is written. Just start writing. Worry about the rules later.

Just have fun!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

New Bible Verse ~ Sunday, Nov 13th

New Bible verse posted as of November 13th...Have a great week!

Deuteronomy 1:11 (AMP)

May the Lord, the God of your fathers, make you a thousand times as many as you are and bless you as He has promised you! 

God Bless!
T Denise Clary

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Veterans Day!


I found the following poem on the internet, thought I'd share...

One Nation Under God
by Roger Robicheau
One Nation Under God we live
Think about all some had to give
We the people share freedom’s life
In a world of ever present strife
Be grateful to those who keep this true
Warriors of our red, white, and blue
They're trained by those of great skill
Honed to perform, so strong their will
They show what love is all about
They’ll fight for us, there is no doubt
Defending bravely what we are
No holding back each heartfelt star
Highly praise these men and women
Giving thanks time and again
Those in uniform will always be
The golden pride of this country.

God Bless!
T Denise Clary 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Today is an Election Day...I Voted Today!! :-)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

New Bible Verse ~ Sunday, Nov 6th

New Bible verse posted as of November 6th...Have a great week!

Philippians 4:19 (NIV)

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus. 

God Bless!
T Denise Clary

Friday, November 4, 2011

Is 'NaNoWriMo' Too Much For You? Try The Lulu Short Story Contest ~ Win Actual Prizes!!

As many of you know (and I have posted) 'NaNoWriMo' is going on right now. However, do you feel overwhelmed by the 50,000 word count needed to be announced a "winner"  with 'NaNoWriMo'? Well maybe the contest at is more your style. has a contest going on RIGHT NOW for short stories...this might be more up your alley! I believe it's a better fit for me at least. Read about Lulu's contest below and click on the link for additional information. Thanks, and happy writing! 

God Bless!
T Denise Clary
**A special thanks to Jennifer Moody with MoodyEdits ( for letting me know about the contest!

The Lulu Short Story Contest is here and starts right now!
(Information below taken directly from a post written by "AJ" for at link

As many of you know, November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) – a great time to put your nose to the grindstone and try to complete a 50,000 word novel in under 30 days.
But we got to thinking: over 200,000 authors participated in NaNoWriMo last year and only 30,000 actually made the deadline. That leaves 170,000 dedicated and talented folks high and dry. That’s a whole lot of creativity to waste. So why not make things easier? After all, creativity is about quality, not quantity.
Thus, the Lulu Short Story Contest was born…
Throughout the month of November – all the way to December 1st – anyone can participate in our Short Story Contest and take the pressure off the creative process. Better yet, we want to help folks see their creativity available to the public as quickly as possible too, so we’re gonna help you create an eBook out of your short story that’ll go live in the iBookstore and on Barnes & Noble’s NOOK.
How to play:
  • Write a 600 word short story using our handy eBook template. Download the template here.
  • Follow the list of things you don’t need available here.
  • Upload your work to and send it through the Lulu ePub Converter
  • Make sure to set your work to public availability and set to “sell everywhere.”
  • Once published, submit a link to your eBook’s product page, along with your name and registered Lulu email address to SurveyMonkey to help us track submissions and claim your 20% off coupon.
  • Feel free to promote your contest submission on our Facebook and Twitter (#nanowrimo) pages too
What about prizes?!?!
This is the best part.
First place:
  • $500 cash
  • Barnes & Noble NOOK
  • Feature in Lulu Staff Picks and Lulu Blog
  • Free mentions in upcoming Lulu publicity
  • Professional review of your work
Second place:
  • Barnes & Noble NOOK
Third place:
  • $100 gift card to Barnes and Noble
All participants:
  • 20% off coupon for next purchase on
Winners will be selected by a panel of Lulu judges and announced mid-December after review of all submissions. Bring on your remarkable stories for a chance to win some amazing prizes!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

"NaNoWriMo" has Begun!

This is my first year participating in National Novel Writing Month (a.k.a. NaNoWriMo) and as far as my progress...

Well, as of the third day, I have only typed - COUGH COUGH - 430 words. Quite a bit shy of the 50,000 words needed to be announced a WINNER, LOL!!! :-(

However, in the grand scheme of things, being that my books are short story/flash fiction picture ebooks (word counts are around 1100 or less per book), I am almost halfway with completing another short story in my "Little Life Lessons; Love, Grace & Blessings" Series. So for that I am quite happy :-)

How about you? Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? How far have you gotten in your word count?

For more information on NaNoWriMo, please see earlier blog post (Oct 13, 2011) at link

God Bless!
T Denise Clary

...And The TWO Shall Become ONE ~ #1 and #2 Religious Publishers Soon to be Under One Umbrella

HarperCollins Publishers (Zondervan) Aquires Thomas Nelson Inc.
Religious publisher Thomas Nelson Inc. is being acquired by HarperCollins Publishers, a company owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. that already runs Nelson’s biggest rival, Zondervan.
The deal, which is expected to close at year-end pending regulatory approvals, comes as Nelson is riding success of its mega-best-selling book Heaven Is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back.

HarperCollins, which runs publisher Zondervan, would have a 35% to 40% share of the evangelical Christian publishing market after acquiring Nashville-based Nelson.

The ownership change would be the latest in recent years for the more than 200-year-old publisher of Bibles, inspirational books and digital content.

HarperCollins spokeswoman Erin Crum said the company would continue to publish books, Bibles and other products under both the Thomas Nelson and Zondervan names.

Brian Murray, HarperCollins’ CEO, said Nelson would add further balance to the company’s existing publishing programs. Meanwhile, HarperCollins’ global print and digital publishing platform — which includes e-book distribution — should add marketing opportunities to boost the readership of Nelson’s authors.

Nelson and HarperCollins’ Zondervan unit have strong Bible publishing arms. Nelson is known for the King James and New King James versions; Zondervan publishes the New International Version. Both publishers have a roster of well-known authors, including best-selling Christian fiction writer Karen Kingsbury for Zondervan and Max Lucado for Nelson.

“They’re kind of the top two — it’s kind of surprising that they could be under the same secular parent company,” said Christine Johnson, managing editor of Christian Retailing magazine.

Nelson has 491 employees, including 400 in Nashville, with the others in Plano, Texas, at a live events division.
              --Above information courtesy of Getahn Ward of The Tennessean

What do you think of the deal?

God Bless!
T Denise Clary