Profile of Word Weaver Writing Contest: The Third of Three 3rd PLACE WINNERS, “Ice Cream” by Geoff Le Pard

img_2351-11What goes on inside the writerly mind?

Let’s sit down with one of our Word Weaver Writing Contest 3rd place winners, Geoff Le Pard, and find out.


 

If you follow the blog, you’ll recognize the name Geoff Le Pard as the 1st place winner of our March Word Weaver Writing Contest. That doesn’t mean he gets a free pass to make it as a finalist for this contest. His writing is consistently good, which is why we see him here in the winner’s circle again. It thrills me to have good writers come back and compete, but anyone can win these contests!

DAN: Did you write your story for the contest or was it part of a larger piece or something you had written before?

Geoff Le Pard: It started life as a 199 word piece of flash and, well, it grew. And grew.

2014-08-25 22.08.13
author Geoff LePard

That can happen. Tell us about your writing process. What is the journey from idea to published piece/completed story?

When I have a prompt, genre or other guidance I have to work to, I tend to put my muse on his lead and head for the woods. That would be very creepy if said muse wasn’t a Jack Russell-Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross called Mylo – Dog on the Blog.  Out in the wilds of South London I can usually be relied on to come up with four or five ridiculous ideas and then settle on one and gnaw at it. With short fiction, I try and think of the ending, the twist or the pull early on in the process. You don’t have long to do much so it’s important not to blather away and use up words. In novels you have the luxury of a bit more development time and there I tend to let things flow, first time around and work back to something solid during the many edits.

Did your spouse help you? How?

Ah. By letting me sit at my screen for hours. By being an utterly ruthless editor if I ask her. By not pushing herself forward as an editor until I’m brave enough. Mostly by still laughing at my jokes after 40 years together, some of the jokes being familiar to her from that far back.

She’s a good sport! Where do you do your writing?

Three places, mostly: the kitchen table; my memory desk in a nook in an attic room and in one of several local cafes that Dog insists we visit after our walks.

aa geoff lepard
some of Geoff’s works

Do you have a writing goal you want to achieve?

I started writing in 2006 and wrote four novels before deciding I needed to learn some technique and began a few courses culminating in an MA in creative writing in 2013. I have those four novels still to beat into shape (the first is currently in surgery) and publish as well as several ideas that I want to take forward: currently I’ve published four novels, a memoir and two anthologies of short fiction.  This year I will publish a fifth novel (the sequel to my first published book, following Harry Spittle’s adventures) and another anthology (comprising the 70 plus pieces of short fiction I wrote in 2017) with the revised first book likely to be published in first quarter 2019. I have planned out the third and fourth parts of the Spittle Saga (the third part is written – first draft only); I have a great idea I want to write during Nano this year – a piece of magical realism, not something I’ve touched before; I’ve a MG novel written that deserves to be the first of a trilogy and I’d like to find the time to write them. And did I mention the other three novels I wrote before I learned anything about the writing process? Oh, and each week I try and write more short fiction for my blog, between two and four pieces that can go into another anthology next year. Not much, really….

What helps you the most when it comes to writing?

Time. Good cushions. A reliable laptop. Oh and Time and coffee and cake and Dog. And praise. I’m a carrot kind of guy, or maybe it’s just this ego thing…

What does writing success look like?

Hitting publish on any novel, memoir or anthology. Then holding my own book in my hands. Ok, I’m not immortal and sure books may rot but I’m leaving a little of me for others to find after I’m a quintessence of dust again and that feels nice.

What are you working on now?

There’s an anthology of short fiction which is with one editor, the revised first ever book I wrote is with another (I suspect this will need a fair bit of work still) and I’m revising (the last of eight edits) the sequel to my first published book, starting on Monday with a view to getting it to an editor by the end of September. I am also meeting my cover designer over the next week to work on covers for these three works. Alongside this, I’ve been working on some poetry, taking the first line of famous poems and giving them my spin. I’m wondering if I shouldn’t pull some of my poetry together in a collection… Hmm.

There are a lot of writing contests out there. What drew you to this one?

I found your last one, via Lucy of the Portergirl series and, to my delight and surprise won it. How could I not have another shot at the next one? I also had this little piece that I wanted to expand and it fitted neatly with the category so, serendipity!

How did you hear about our contest?

Developments To The Kitchen Situation
“that Brazier woman”

I follow your blog. Sucker, huh? Blame that Brazier woman.

Have you ever entered a writing contest before?

I have a go at a few prompts some of which are judged but yours are the first where it’s been a formal process and so structured. And it’s also the first where I get a critique.

Will we see you again in the next Word Weaver Writing Contest, if there is one?

I expect so, depending on the requirements (genre, prompt, title, timing or whatever)

Did you know the piece you submitted was special?

Nope. Astounded. But then that’s the same with anything I write. It’s always in hope…

What’s next for you?

More of the same. Just hope my fingers hold out and Dog doesn’t get fed up with the walks.

 What was Dan’s critique process like?

91nG5Rw-fiL._UX250_Now that I’ve been through it twice, I can truly say it’s the best bit of the whole thing. Yep, it’s lovely to be judged worthy of a place, but let’s be honest, a lot of that has to do with subjectivity of the judges – there are so many great stories out there. The critique on the other hand brings home to you a different way of looking at the story. A lot of people read my stuff, on my blog and elsewhere and often say lovely things about it… but wouldn’t it be great if there really told you where it failed? What sucked? What clunked? I love the idea everything I write is perfect; I love the idea I could live on coffee, cake and chocolate – oh and cheese, mustn’t forget the cheese. But that’s utterly unrealistic. So I know there must be greens too as I know there must be critiques and in the same way I’ve learned to love the greens (though, please, what is the point of kale? Yeauch.) I’ve learned to love a good critique and that’s what Dan gives you.  It’s thorough, non-judgemental, encouraging if you deserve praise and unstinting if you don’t.

About Geoff:

Geoff Le Pard started writing to entertain in 2006. He hasn’t left his keyboard since. When he’s not churning out novels he writes some maudlin self-indulgent poetry, short fiction and blogs at geofflepard.com. He walks the dog for mutual inspiration and most of his best ideas come out of these strolls. He also cooks with passion if not precision.

Geoff Le Pard’s Amazon Author Page

aa geoff lepard

My Father and Other Liars is a thriller set in the near future and takes its heroes, Maurice and Lori-Ann on a helter-skelter chase across continents.

Smashwords  Amazon.co.uk Amazon.com

Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle is a coming of age story. Set in 1976 the hero Harry Spittle is home from university for the holidays. He has three goals: to keep away from his family, earn money and hopefully have sex. Inevitably his summer turns out to be very different to that anticipated.

Smashwords Amazon.co.uk Amazon.com

Life in a Grain of Sand is a 30 story anthology covering many genres: fantasy, romance, humour, thriller, espionage, conspiracy theories, MG and indeed something for everyone. All the stories were written during Nano 2015

Smashwords Amazon.co.uk Amazon.com

Salisbury Square is a dark thriller set in present day London where a homeless woman and a Polish man, escaping the police at home, form an unlikely alliance to save themselves.

This is available here Smashwords Amazon.co.uk Amazon.com

Buster & Moo is about about two couples and the dog whose ownership passes from one to the other. When the couples meet, via the dog, the previously hidden cracks in their relationships surface and events begin to spiral out of control. If the relationships are to survive there is room for only one hero but who will that be?

Smashwords Amazon.co.uk Amazon.com

Life in a Flash is a set of super short fiction, flash and micro fiction that should keep you engaged and amused for ages

Amazon.co.uk Amazon.com Smashwords

Apprenticed To My Mother describes the period after my father died when I thought I was to play the role of dutiful son, while Mum wanted a new, improved version of her husband – a sort of Desmond 2.0. We both had a lot to learn in those five years, with a lot of laughs and a few tears as we went.

Amazon.co.uk Amazon.com

 

Gang, join me in congratulating Geoff LePard for a terrific story!

Profile of Word Weaver Writing Contest: The Second of Three 3rd PLACE WINNERS, “Spirit Lake” by Sharon K. Connell

img_2351-11What goes on inside the writerly mind?

Let’s sit down with one of our Word Weaver Writing Contest 3rd place winners, Sharon K. Connell, and find out.


 

DAN: Did you write your story for the contest or was it part of a larger piece or something you had written before?

Sharon Connell info (1)
author Sharon K. Connell

SHARON K. CONNELL: This story was written some time ago for a local writers club contest where I won second place. Since then I’ve worked on it and when you offered the opportunity in your Word Weaver contest, I polished it some more. Thanks to Dan’s critique, I think it’s ready to shine at this point.

Tell us about your writing process. What is the journey from idea to published piece /completed story?

When I get an idea for a story, I write it down in a notebook. I have a ton of ideas at this point. Then I start the story.

“I’m what everyone calls a pantser. The story takes off on it’s own and I go until it’s complete.”

At that point, I go back and reread, making an outline from what I’ve written. After this step, I self-edit using an online editing program. The next step is to send the story one chapter at a time to my critique partners for their inspection. They are always a great help  with everything from spelling errors, grammar, things I’ve missed that the reader may want to know, etc. When I get those chapters back, I made my changes where I feel they are necessary, and do another read-through. Finally, the MS is ready for my editor. After that, we all know what happens. LOL

Where do you do your writing?

I have a desk in my office that sits next to a window overlooking the front yard and gardens. A birdbath is right in the middle of the window space, so I take a break `occasionally to watch my feathered-friends in their antics. It’s a nice, quiet atmosphere.

Sharon Connell info (1)Do you have a writing goal you want to achieve?

At this point, I feel I’ve already achieved my goal. The rest is simply added achievements.

What helps you the most when it comes to writing?

A quiet space, encouragement from my critiquers and readers, knowing that I’m doing what God wants me to do, etc. There are so many things that help, it would be hard to know which is the most helpful.

What does writing success look like?

I feel I have at. People are reading and enjoying my work.

Sharon Connell info  (2).jpgWhat are you working on now?

I’m finishing the rewrite on my second published novel, Paths of Righteousness (written and published before I knew anything about writing), and will be sending it to my editor in about a week. Then I’ll start the rewrite of my third published novel, There Abideth Hope, to make it into what it should have been the first time around. After that, I have a new story to write, tentatively titled, Treasures in a Field.

There are a lot of writing contests out there. What drew you to this one?

It sounded like my short story, Spirit Lake, would fit, so I sent it.

How did you hear about our contest?

Through Dan’s newsletter.

Have you ever entered a writing contest before?

Yes, a few, but it’s not my general interest to participate in writing contests. I’m more interesting in the writing itself, and having my readers supplied with good reads.

Sharon Connell info (3)

Will we see you again in the next Word Weaver Writing Contest, if there is one?

If I have something I feel fits the genre for the contest, I will certainly want to be a part of it.

Did you know the piece you submitted was special?

This  piece was a story my Uncle Hjelmer (The real spelling of his name) told us kids, and it stuck with me all these years. I always thought it was special, I guess because my uncle was a story teller and you never knew if he was making something up or telling you the facts. When I found out that the Legend of Spirit Lake was something that people had told for years (in various versions), it made the story all the more special to me. I embellished what my uncle had told, and decided it made a great short story.

What’s next for you?

Like I said, rewrites, republish, and then start a new story.

What was Dan’s critique process like?

I found it very helpful. Dan doesn’t try to change your writing, just help it.

Has anyone else ever told you that you have a gift for spooky stories?

Yes. I have a friend who writes paranormal tales. On my group forum, we have a writing prompt each day, and often I get it into my head to head down this trail. She loves it. LOL


About Sharon:

Sharon Connell info (1)Sharon K. Connell was born in Wisconsin and lived there for five short days. From that time through college, she lived in Illinois. For over twenty years, she made her home in Florida where she graduated from the Pensacola Bible Institute. California, Ohio, and Missouri have also been called home through the years. Now retired from the business world, she resides in Houston, Texas, enjoying every minute of her writing career.

 Except for six, Sharon has visited every state in the United States. She has also travelled to Canada and Mexico. The stories in her four published novels reflect some of the experiences she has had during that time.

 Sharon writes stories about people who discover God will allow things to happen in your life that will help you grow and/or increase your faith. She has learned through the years that there is nothing too big for God to handle. And He will…if you take your hands off it, and leave Him in control.

 Her genre is Christian Romance Suspense, with a little mystery and humor added for good measure. She also writes short stories in other genres on occasion.

Here are Sharon’s links:

Website: http://sharonkconnell.com/

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/sharonkconnell

Author’s book page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/averypresenthelpbook1

Author’s Page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChristianRomanceSuspense/

Facebook group forum: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ChristianWritersAndReadersGroupForum/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SharonKConnell

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/SharonKConnell

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/sharonkconnell

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/rosecastle1/

Blogging on WordPress: https://sharonkconnell.wordpress.com/

 

Sharon is a Member of:

American Christian Fiction Writers: https://www.acfw.com/

Houston Writers House: http://houstonwritershouse.net/

2 Elizabeths Literary Magazine: https://2elizabeths.com/

CyFair Writers Group: https://www.meetup.com/CyFairWriters/

 

Her Published Works:

His Perfect Love http://amzn.to/2iCMALI

A Very Present Help http://amzn.to/2yuF4eE  Kindle http://amzn.to/2AjdYU3

 

Book trailers:

His Perfect Love https://youtu.be/e3tRr6mLzZk

A Very Present Help https://youtu.be/wYyoOE5IzS0

Paths of Righteousness by SharonKConnell http://youtu.be/w2JkmYqhFyE (available soon)

There Abideth Hope by SharonKConnell http://youtu.be/16G7IZaZB9Y (to be rewritten)

Gang, join me in congratulating Sharon for a terrific story!

Profile of Word Weaver Writing Contest 2nd PLACE WINNER: “Where The Black Tree Grows” by MD Walker

img_2351-11What goes on inside the writerly mind?

Let’s sit down with our Word Weaver Writing Contest 2nd place winner, MD Walker, and find out.


 

MD WALKER

DAN: Did you write your story for the contest or was it part of a larger piece or something you had written before?

MD: I wrote this story specifically for the contest and it’s not part of a larger work. This is the first short story that I have written.

image
author MD Walker

Tell us about your writing process. What is the journey from idea to published piece/completed story?

Once I saw the announcement for the contest and decided I wanted to participate, I spent a week or two deciding on a plot outline. Then I started writing and it all flowed rather quickly.

Did your spouse help you? How?

Yes, he did. He listened as I talked through ideas and read it after each revision.  I edit and rewrite a lot, so that is really a lot of reading.

Where do you do your writing?

For this story, I wrote in my living room after my kids went to sleep.

Do you have a writing goal you want to achieve?

I would like to write and publish a novel. I have started novels in the past and haven’t finished them. Most recently I was working on a story and my laptop crashed. I lost over 10,000 words and was reluctant to start writing again.

What helps you the most when it comes to writing?

Reading. It is important to read to see how other authors are telling their stories. What works for them?  What works for you?

What does writing success look like?

I don’t think success can be defined by fame and fortune. We all want to write the next Great American Novel but, realistically I think that to continue writing is the definition of success for any writer, myself included.

What are you working on now?

I am working on a story about a small town where all the children go missing on the same night. How could this happen? How will they get the children back? These are the questions I hope this book will answer.

There are a lot of writing contests out there. What drew you to this one?

I saw it last year and wanted to enter but I procrastinated and before I knew it, it was too late. So, this year when I saw the announcement I knew it was something I wanted to do.

How did you hear about our contest?

I follow Dan’s blog. I enjoyed reading the entries from last year, as well as reading the writing tips that he shares.

Have you ever entered a writing contest before?

No, this is the first writing contest I have ever entered and I am so excited that my story was chosen as a finalist.

Will we see you again in the next Word Weaver Writing Contest, if there is one?

Yes. I hope to keep writing and I plan to enter as many contests as possible.

Did you know the piece you submitted was special?

No. I have been astounded at the positive response it has received. I never expected for it to do so well.

What’s next for you?

I would like to continue working on my blog and writing and hope to eventually publish a novel.

 What was Dan’s critique process like?

It was very encouraging and professional. I would highly recommend working with Dan if you need an opinion on your current work.

MD lives in Florida with her husband and two daughters. She loves Harry Potter, hot chocolate and spending time with her family. When she is not reading or writing, she is working on her blog, Plot Monster, which is dedicated to the open discussion of all things literary. Where the Black Trees Grow is her first attempt at a short story but she hopes to write more in the future.

MD Walker Links:

 
 
 
 

Gang, join me in congratulating MD Walker for a terrific story!

Help Pick Bad Writer’s Best Tweet

If you aren’t checking out Bad Writer, you are missing out – currently there have been over 900 funny writing themed Tweets that will make your day. Need a smile? BW to the rescue. because super funny.

Allison Maruska

Some of you have met my alter-ego on Twitter, Bad Writer. She spends her days dishing out ill-advised writing tips and telling anecdotes about writing that come from her probably missing her calling.

1DB3BFD9-73C6-4914-9A38-8A738E0F5981

That tweet is her current pinned tweet, the one that stays at the top of her timeline. Tweeps pin tweets so thoughtful followers can easily retweet content that deserves more exposure. For authors, it’s usually some kind of marketing tweet. For parody accounts like Bad Writer, it’s the “best” tweet. Whatever that means.

It could the funniest one, or the most relatable, or maybe the one that got the most likes.

Bad Writer could use a new pinned tweet, and I can’t decide which to use. That’s where you come in. 

I’ve selected a handful of her tweets. Pick the one you think is “best.” You can choose one of these, or if you want to…

View original post 85 more words

Profile of Word Weaver Writing Contest 1st PLACE WINNER: “Devils Hollow Holy Water” by Adele Marie Park

img_2351-11What goes on inside the writerly mind?

Let’s sit down with our Word Weaver Writing Contest 1st place winner, Adele Marie Park, and find out.


 

(Like all our winner’s profiles, when they answered these questions, they did not yet know what place they had taken in the contest.)

I believe
author Adele Marie Park

DAN: Did you write your story for the contest or was it part of a larger piece or something you had written before?

ADELE MARIE PARK: I wrote this story a while back, then looked at it again, edited it and sent it off to you.

Tell us about your writing process. What is the journey from idea to published piece/completed story?

The idea springs first. It can come from a myriad of places. A voice inside my head, a dream, a news story, even just washing dishes the idea implants itself. Then I write it down, I have a notebook and pen ready just for these occasions. Then I write some more and start typing it up on the lap top. After that, edit, edit, edit, rip apart story, sew it together again and edit, edit, edit. Send out to my wonderful beta readers, my editor and only when it comes back officially polished do I even think about publishing.

adele marie park
a few of Adele’s books

Did your spouse help you? How?

My wife, Becca, read the tale and felt horrified and a bit nauseous, so I knew it was a good one. Lol, she does go above and beyond duty when it comes to my writing. I love her to bits.

Do you have a writing goal you want to achieve?

I would love my stories to mean as much to the readers as they do to me. For them to take away a story that will stay in their mind. Also, to make enough from writing to be comfortable and to be able to build the eco friendly house by the sea.

Where do you do your writing?

I write in the kitchen, the hub of the home with coffee and lots of inspiration from Dante the dog and my wife. And sometimes the neighbours if the back door is open which it usually is. The writing studio will come later with the eco friendly house by the sea.

What helps you the most when it comes to writing?

I write with a music playlist. All kinds of music e.g. for a battle scene I might pick a track from The Dropkick Murphys band. For a love scene London After Midnight “I Love you to Death” is a sure fire winner. I am a visual person, I see my work in my head as if it were a movie, so a good score is imperative to creating a masterpiece.

What does writing success look like?

Writing success for me would mean a phone call from Peter Jackson wanting to make one of my novels into a movie, or a trilogy even. It’s true, that is what it would mean for me to be a success, to watch my words and characters on the big screen directed by the genius who gave us Lord Of The Rings. On a simple note, lol, to walk into a book store and see my book covers at the front door in a display, not waiting to go in the trash.

Adele Marie ParkWhat are you working on now?

I am in the middle of editing a novel called “Wolfe Manor”. I am very excited about this project. It’s set in a private mixed school, called Wolfe Manor. The Manor house itself has stood for hundreds of years, withstanding Saxon, Viking and Norman raids. It holds many secrets but is home to Fianna who was found abandoned on Wolfe Manor’s steps as a baby. The head mistress Daisy and English teacher Cassandra raised her and she calls them her aunts. However, there is the mysterious and frightening dreams of a blackness that plague Fianna. The book starts with the beginning of a new term. Introducing new friends, old ones and a voice from the past which threatens to unravel Fianna’s perfect world.

There are a lot of writing contests out there. What drew you to this one?

I have been in your competitions since the beginning and am a great believer in them. They just keep getting better and better. Plus your critique is fabulous.

It paid off, too; your writing has improved and keeps getting better – enough to take first place this time!

1st

How did you hear about our contest?

From your website, Dan.

Have you ever entered a writing contest before?

Yes, I have entered all your contests and a few others. I find that competitions are a great way to flex your writing muscle in a way that you might not have thought about before.

Will we see you again in the next Word Weaver Writing Contest, if there is one?

Oh yes.

Did you know the piece you submitted was special?

When I see the reaction it got from those who read it, that and their complexion turning green, I knew it was a good one.

Adele Park
Adele Marie Park

What’s next for you?

Finish editing Wolfe Manor send it out to beta readers. I think it’s good, it could be a lot of old turnips. Send Wisp 2 to beta readers and when it comes back my editor. And there’s always Suleskerry. The novel I’ve been writing since I was a teenager. I finished re-writing book one now, for the sixth time. I think, the time is right now to throw it out there. Eeeek.

 What was Dan’s critique process like?

Dan your critique is invaluable, you know how I write and you also know I’m dyspraxic and you explain everything clearly to me. It’s fair and if I need to be told to stop doing something odd or just wrong, you tell me. Thank you Dan.

You are very welcome!

Gang, connect with Adele to find out more about her work!

Facebook personal page

Facebook author page

Website

Twitter

Goodreads 

Amazon (UK) author page

And please join me in congratulating Adele Marie Park for a terrific story!

What about this? (And don’t be sexist or politically correct just be HONEST)

img_2351-14
your humble host

The other day, we were asking you to choose between two blurbs and two tag lines.

Then I got this message.

Dear Dan,
I would put the first names of the detectives because I think one is a woman and if I know that up front I’m more likely to buy the book.
So maybe something like this:
Facing two horrific crime scenes, Detectives Sergio Martin and Carly Sanderson are assigned to lead the investigation. 
That attracts me more because maybe as a woman I don’t want to read about two men, just a thought.
Sincerely,
Not A Sexist Or A Politically Correct Worrywart

She has a point, and as one of my valued Critique Partners, she gets to the heart of the matter.

MARKETING

According to my friend Jim Patterson (James to those of you who didn’t pay a hundred bucks for his course)

women buy 80% of the books

so we need to keep the ladies in mind when we market.
(Personally, I always try to keep the ladies on my mind, but here – does it help?

Most of the readers of this blog are women. Does letting you know Detective Sanderson is a woman increase your interest level in the book at all?

If the cover has a woman on the front, that might help, but going JUST with the blurb information…

WOULD SHOWING THE DETECTIVES FIRST NAMES – AND LETTING BUYERS KNOW ONE IS A WOMAN – HELP?

Let me know in the comments below.

Here’s the Blurb that most of you liked:

A lone trucker is ambushed, shot, and brutally stabbed. A tourist meets the same fate while out for a jog. Facing two crime scenes that could have been in a horror movie, Detectives Martin and Sanderson search for the crazed serial killer. When five more attacks happen in a week, launching the entire city into a panic, the mayor throws all of the city’s resources into stopping the rampage. But while the detectives work around the clock, they don’t know the killer has upped the game—by making them his next targets. 92 words
We’d change that to Detectives Sergio Martin and Carly Sanderson
or
Detectives Carly Sanderson and Sergio Martin
(Might as well put her first. She has seniority over him and being first will catch a few more eyeballs.)