Give the Gift of Unconditional Love: Write

I’m a visual artist as well as a writer, and I opened up 1984 the other day, with the intention of looking for details for a painting I want to do. I meant only to skim a few paragraphs, get an idea of what London is supposed to look like, and then get back to planning the painting. But I couldn’t keep my focus on the research. Without realizing I was doing it, I started to read. Because 1984 is just that beautiful, that compelling, that – home? Is that what it feels like: coming home? I’m generally a nervous and lonely person, always second-guessing the loving intentions of friends and even family, always trying to hide my true self because I’m sure I will be rejected. But reading 1984, I become unselfconscious. Reading 1984, I am completely myself, and I have no thought that I might not be accepted that way.  For me, the experience of reading 1984 is an experience of being loved unconditionally.

And you know what? Once upon a time, 1984 didn’t exist. Once upon a time, George Orwell wrote and struggled and edited and wrote and threw away whole paragraphs and rewrote and gave up and kept going anyway, in order to create that book.  In order to create a text that gives me the experience of unconditional love.  Maybe you hate 1984, but I’ll bet you’ve read something that gave you that experience, too. And maybe, if you don’t quit, if you work hard to master your craft and give your stories form and get them into the world, something you write will give someone else that experience.

As humans we always seem to expect something in return: maybe we can’t truly love another person unconditionally. But our stories can. So keep going. I’m cheering for you.


Writing Nonfiction

Hi, I’m Betsy Miller.

I write both nonfiction and fiction. I recently wrote a nonfiction piece for the International Hip Dysplasia Institute (IHDI). You can read it at the following link:

Some parents wanted to share their experiences with their young daughter Isabelle’s hip dysplasia treatments. This sort of content can be tremendously helpful to other parents, but it can be confusing, especially in this case since several surgeries were involved.

To make this piece easier to navigate and less confusing, this is what I did.

  1. Wrote a hopeful title for the piece.
  2. Edited the parents’ comments for length, conciseness, and sequence being careful to maintain their meaning and focus.
  3. Recommended where to put images to support the text.
  4. Put in headings for the different treatments.
  5. Wrote text explaining what the surgeries entailed, revising content from the surgeon into everyday language as much as possible. I asked that this content be formatted differently from the personal experience text. The IHDI decided to set off the explanatory text with a different color background.

I’m really pleased with how it turned out. This is a work for hire piece. That is a common arrangement for website content. The finished piece belongs to the IHDI, which paid me when the work was done. There’s no byline, which is also common in work for hire arrangements with businesses or organizations.

FROST MOON at Georgia Tech

Hi, this is Anthony Francis, a regular at the Mission City Coffee Write to the End group and a contributor here at the Write to the End website. I’m the author of the Dakota Frost, Skindancer series, which was written in part at Write to the End sessions and in part during National Novel Writing Month.

Just prior to this year’s Dragon*Con, I gave a talk about the Dakota Frost series at Georgia Tech, my alma mater. During my talk, I read from FROST MOON, the *cough* shameless self promotion EPIC award winning first book in the Skindancer series, and talked about it and the second book, BLOOD ROCK, which features Georgia Tech prominently in the early chapters.

For writers, the interesting thing about the talk may be the discussions of how I came up with the series, how I research it, and what I’m hoping to achieve. The Skindancer series was in part a reaction against some trends in urban fantasy, but like much urban fantasy it’s extensively researched and tied to a specific time and place. The FROST MOON book talk is online at the Georgia Tech Library Website; I hope it is useful to you!

-the Centaur

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Holiday Short Stories

E-book publisher Untreed Reads (paying market – royalties, no advances) is looking for holiday short stories, especially relating to Kwanzaa and Hanukkah.

From: Jay Hartman []
Sent: Thursday, September 22, 2011 7:03 PM
Subject: CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Holiday Short Stories

Untreed Reads is announcing an open call for short stories for our holiday season. Please note the following:

1. The holidays we are interested in are Thanksgiving, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and New Year’s. We are looking for Hanukkah and Kwanzaa stories in particular.

2. Short stories may be in any genre (except religious, erotica, children’s or anything above a PG-13 romance), but must encompass one of the holidays listed above.

3. The short stories will NOT be in an anthology, but rather published as stand-alone stories. All will receive our standard short story line covers.

4. Previously published material is fine providing electronic rights have reverted to the author.

5. Stories may not be shorter than 1500 words or longer than 5000.

6. Deadline for Thanksgiving submissions is October 31, 2011. Christmas, Kwanzaa and Hanukkah is November 15th. New Year’s is November 30th. Submissions received after these dates will not be considered.

7. For this call, we can only accept works where we can be granted worldwide English rights.

8. This is an open call, and may be reposted and resubmitted everywhere.

All submissions should be sent to Jay Hartman, Editor-in-Chief, at Submissions should be in Times New Roman, 12pt and DOC format attachment. Submissions may NOT be submitted as either PDF or in the body of an email. Stories sent in that manner will not be considered. Please indicate the holiday in your subject line in the format: HOLIDAY: NAME OF STORY.

Once we have selected our stories for the season, all authors will be notified as to the final status of their submitted manuscript.

For any questions regarding this call, please direct them to Jay Hartman at

Jay Hartman
Untreed Reads Publishing

Main Home

Equilibrium is now available in ebook format

I just got the news that my short story Equilibrium is available at the Untreed Reads store, and also in a number of other ebook venues.

I can get my author’s copy in an ebook format of my choice. I don’t actually have an ebook reader, but if anyone in the group wants a freebie, let me know and I can request your preferred format. The first person who asks me will get the freebie.


Crafting a Story Description

My writing assignment was to come up with a brief description of my short story Equilibrium, which falls into the literary romance category. Though I have experience writing descriptions for nonfiction, I had never done this for a short story. I looked around a bit online and wrote this description:
After her divorce from a difficult husband, Emily Walker’s life contracts into a steady routine of work and solitude. Wanting more, she takes her first steps out of her comfort zone to connect with someone new.
My first attempt didn’t fly because although it was technically accurate, it didn’t capture the feeling of the piece. Here is what the publisher said in response:
The description is ok, but it doesn’t really address the magic of what happens in the restaurant, and that’s really the key to the story. So I think what you have is a good start, but how about going a little deeper into the story? Show off the angles that make this stand out from other romance stories of similar storyline.
I pondered that. I went online and searched for advice about writing pitches for romances. After a fair amount of thought and effort, I came up with two possible approaches. I decided to send both:
Option 1
Worn out at the end of an ordinary day, Emily stops at a roadside diner, where she meets Jim, a sensitive man who intuitively understands her. Can she move beyond the pain of her broken marriage and rediscover the simple pleasures in life over a bowl of soup?
Option 2
At the end of a long day at work, Emily stops for a quick bite to eat. Instead, she finds a respite from the stress of everyday life, and a surprising connection with a kind, unassuming man, who really understands her.
I also included this note: Am I getting closer? I’m willing to keep at it until you’re happy with the result.
This time, the publisher was happy with my efforts. Here is what the editor said:
I’m loving Option 1, so I’ll be going with that. We should be sending you an “it’s live” announcement very soon!
My final response to the editor:
Yay! That’s ahead of schedule, and very exciting.
What I took from this experience, is that just because something is short, doesn’t mean that it is simple to write. I would say that it took me about 2-1/2 hours in total to come up with the final two sentences that the publisher is using. Also, until you start writing professionally, you might not realize how much publishers rely on writers to craft chunks of their own promotional copy. The publisher might revise what the author comes up with, but they know we can write, so they’ll ask the author to provide at least a starting point.
As a writer it is worth spending some time on a description like this because it helps your work sell. It can also help you figure out what the real essence of your story or novel is about, and how it is most likely to connect with readers.

First Post

Work on your latest writing project in the company of fellow writers. Members write in all different forms and genres, so come to share and learn! Please bring pen and paper or whatever you use to write.

We meet at 7:00 pm every Tuesday except the first Tuesday of the month.

This post used to say where we were meeting at the time (a certain Starbucks), but I’ve edited it in order to avoid confusion. For our current meeting place, please see sidebar.

Hope to see you soon!