Follow the evolution of the Writer Knapsack (and even participate and help make decisions) as I create the face and materials of a new and different take on helping writers in this crazy world of publishing. Join me from the beginning and watch the website change as I work on sketches to a final logo, offer tips and tales toward final production, and develop an array of materials for those living the writing life...all to fill the pockets of your own writer knapsack.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Proud Mother Moment

As this is a blog about the writing life, I like to share personal things here and there as you've seen recently with our new pup.

This time it is a proud momma moment because my oldest son recently won a series of youth bowling tournaments and gained a spot on Team Ontario.  He will be heading to Calgary to represent in the National Tournament.  Very cool for him and our local bowling organization.  He's been practicing hard for each tournament that got him there, and his coach and the bowling centre owner have been so good to him.

Not only that, but he has also qualified for the next rounds in the local Youth Dart league and will be heading to Sudbury just before this.

The boy is on fire, and I couldn't be more proud so had to share out loud.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Don't Forget to Do Your Homework

Though it is FINALLY spring and our March Break is over, the kids are back in school, and I have to make note that this is a good reminder to authors in general...especially newer authors...

Don't forget to do your homework!  

This is a good life lesson, especially in the publishing industry.   Study your craft constantly.  Learning never stops (even for editors).

But most importantly, do your homework BEFORE you submit.  Most publishing houses have their submission guidelines on their websites.  


In reality, this is your first test as an author.  Can you follow simple guidelines?  Can you do what is asked of you in the general form? 

You may be quirking your brow and thinking, What? A test?  Seriously?

Yes.  Maybe not a serious, sit down, use a #2 pencil type one, and maybe not in the terms any publishing house would actually use, but there are editors on the other end of that submission email.  Trust me, those editors quirk their brows at someone who sent multiple attachments when it was specifically asked that no attachments be sent with a query, or when you use a really weird and fancy font when a simple Times New Roman 12 was specified.  No, you aren't physically graded, but not adhering to simple guidelines can start you off on the wrong foot with someone that you really want to impress.  They need to know you can follow simple directions so that when it's time for the more in-depth directions of edits on your manuscript, they know up front you are someone they can work with. 

So, show them  you are someone they want to work with. Show them you are someone they CAN work with. Show them you are serious and took the time to research their site. This effort shows them you are someone willing to learn and willing to work for your craft. 

And I'll let you in on a secret, those are the answers to that first test called Submission Etiquette 101.  

Do your homework and you'll ace it every time!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Word Jumbles

I've decided to make a regular post (once a month or so) dedicated to word jumbles...not the puzzle, but the words that get you puzzled--Homonyms and/or very similar words that authors often mix up in manuscripts.

I am lucky enough to work on the Yellow Rose (contemporary western) line for The Wild Rose Press.  Cowboys, cowboy, and more cowboys....ah yes, such a sacrifice LOL. And there is one set of words that more often than not get mixed up in every three out of four manuscripts I edit...

Rain   ~   Reign   ~   Rein

Rain: moisture drops from the sky.  (To be honest, this is the one version that rarely gets mixed up, but as it is part of the homonym set, I felt it needed to be included overall)

Reign: to rule over something such as a country.

Rein: the long straps attached to a horse's bit in order to help guide the animal, or to check or guide (as in pulling on the reins to stop or turn direction).

Now, as for the last two, these get mixed up all the time because a cowboy doesn't reign in his horse, he reins in his horse.  A king doesn't rein over his kingdom, he reigns over his kingdom.  Amazing how one letter "g" can change the whole meaning.

But, here is the tricky part when using an abstract description.  He doesn't try to reign in his emotions, but instead, he reins in his emotions.  An easy way to remember is thinking of it as the character is holding back/controlling all his pent up emotions, kind of like a cowboy controlling the reins of a feisty horse.

Reign is to rule--think of the "g" as if to govern over. Rein, on the other hand, is a strap or to hold back--no "g" needed.

Just for fun, let's put them all together...

Storm clouds reigned over the darkening sky as rain poured down on the cowboy attempting to rein in his fear-ridden horse.

Do a Find in your manuscript for reign and rein and make sure you are using the right word spelling.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

2016 Maple Leaf Awards Competition

The 2016 Maple Leaf Awards competition is now open for entries.

If you have a romance title published in 2015 you may be eligible to enter the competition.
Complete details are found here: 

Please feel free to spread the word about the competition to your writing groups and writing friends!