Diamond Valley Writers' Guild

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Summary of September 22, 2018 Meeting

The horror genre is unfamiliar to many of us. We write memoir, crime, mystery, romance, women’s fiction, westerns…

Members approached the September meeting with trepidation. We expected zombies and trails of blood. We didn’t get what we expected. Instead, we got so much more.

We got Timothy Chizmar and Mercedes M. Yardley – all the way from Vegas, baby – talking about the art and business of writing and selling in any genre. Tim, who also does stand-up comedy, said the horror genre was a fixture of his admittedly dark childhood. He spoke with passion about believing in the value of one’s work. He said if you truly want to call yourself a writer, you should write with dedication. Don’t wait for the perfect setting. Just write. Tim was enthusiastic about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) which occurs in November, and encouraged us to try it.

An avid marketer, Tim gave us some examples of thinking outside the box, which is becoming increasingly necessary in a crowded market. “The industry is changing so fast,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to try crazy, offbeat approaches.”

In contrast to Tim’s dark childhood, Mercedes told us she grew up in a “100% whitebread” environment. The horror genre, she said, “gives people the opportunity to live through something together.” Citing examples from the 9-11 terror attack and poignant vignettes from her own life, Mercedes believes this dramatic fear “erases the differences between us. It brings people together.” She mentioned that there’s a stigma attached to women writing horror, but “who knows horror better than women?” she asked. “We live horror every day.” Horror is a way for us to deal with our own fears.

Tim and Mercedes said there’s an element of horror in all good stories. Tim asked us to consider something that scares us, something so personal we perhaps have never told anyone before. Then he said, “Write about that.”

Mercedes said to start small. “Write a Halloween story,” she suggested.

Tim and Mercedes inspired and moved us. Many of the group came up afterward to thank them, both at the meeting and at the restaurant afterward. A common sentiment was, “I almost didn’t come, because I don’t read or write horror. But I’m so glad I did!”

I said to Tim, “We keep hearing that.”

He nodded. “Yeah, it’s like, ‘I thought you guys would suck but you totally didn’t.'”

They totally didn’t.

Tim, Lynne, and Mercedes (top)

CreateSpace is Going Away; What to Expect

Thanks to Marj Charlier, Treasurer of the Guild, for sharing information with us as to the impacts of this big change. As you transition from CreateSpace to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) for paperback versions of your books, the change should be easy. Also, KDP will be simpler to use in some respects. However, don’t expect any customer service for months. KDP is overwhelmed right now with the conversion.

Marj was kind enough to put together an information sheet regarding the “merger” (actually, KDP is absorbing CS). Click here to see the handout in PDF.

Writing Tips

Thanks to Sandy Schuster-Hubbard, Board Member-at-Large, for presenting the Writing Tips segment at today’s meeting. Sandy talked about the use of subtext in our writing (the opposite of on-the-nose writing). For more information, click here to see the handout in PDF.

Election Reminder

As stated at the meeting, we’ll hold elections at the October meeting for three positions on the DVWG Board of Directors: Vice President-Membership, Recording Secretary, and Member-at-Large. For more information about the process or the positions, please click here for Guild Bylaws.


October Meeting

Make Money as a Writer

presented by

Teresa Burrell

Author, Attorney, Advocate

Is your writing a hobby, or, do you want to make money? Do you sometimes wish your bank account were a little fatter? Do you wish you could afford a professional editor or a cover designer?

Teresa Burrell has accomplished what few writers have been able to do. She has made consistent income of over $100,000 per year, writing and marketing her self-published books on Amazon.com. In less than ten years she has written nine novels in her popular Advocate series, three illustrated children’s books, and Mason’s Missing, the first in her spin-off Tuper Mystery Series. Her books have won awards and sit at the top of Amazon sales charts.

Takeaways from this meeting include the seven “not so easy” steps to success, techniques to build your customer base, and one strategic key to business success.

Come and learn all you can from this financially successful author.

This blog post was prepared by Lynne Spreen, President of the DVWG. Lynne writes women’s fiction with positive aging and romantic themes. You may access her website here and her books here.

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