Tag Archives: Christina Katz

Win a Copy of “Easy to Love But Hard to Raise”

Earlier this month I blogged here about Christina Katz’ Every-Day-In-May Book Giveaway. It’s still going strong. You can check out Christina’s site to see all the fabulous books she’s given away thus far.

This coming Saturday, May 26, Christina and I will be giving away a free copy of the anthology Easy to Love But Hard to Raise. Check her web site for the rules, but your odds are great. All you have to do to win is go to her site on May 26 and answer the question of the day in 50-200 words by posting a comment. She will choose one winner for each anthology randomly. Get in to the habit by heading over there every day for the rest of May. She has some amazing titles still to come including:

May 22nd: Natalie Serber, Shout Her Lovely Name (fiction, short stories) More info

May 23rd: Christina Katz, Build Your Author Platform e-workbook (nonfiction, how-to) More info

May 24th: Kristina Riggle, Keepsake (fiction, novel) More info

May 25th: Abigail Green, Mama Insider: Laughing (And Sometimes Crying) All The Way Through Pregnancy, Birth and the First Three Months (e-book, humorous nonfiction) More info

May 26th: Anthology Day! Cara Holman, Lorraine Wilde, Chynna Laird, and Lela Davidson are participating writers

May 27th: Miriam Kobras, award-winning The Distant Shore: Book One of the Stone Trilogy (fiction, romance) More info

May 28th: Allison Winn Scotch, The Song Remains The Same (fiction, novel) More info

May 29th: Lisa Schroeder, It’s Raining Cupcakes More info and Sprinkles and Secrets More info (middle grade fiction novels)

May 30th: Christina Katz, one set of her three books by Writer’s Digest: Writer Mama More info, Get Known Before the Book Deal More info, and The Writer’s Workout More info (all nonfiction, how-to)

May 31st: Karen Karbo, a set of her three kick-as women books: How To Hepburn More info, The Gospel According to Coco Chanel More info, and How Georgia Became O’Keeffe More info (nonfiction)

Christina Katz’ Every-Day-in-May Book Giveaway

Each May, Christina Katz, author of Writer Mama, Get Known Before the Book Deal, Author Mama, and this year’s The Writer’s Workout, hosts a daily book giveaway on her blog, The Prosperous Writer, featuring the works of many of her former students.

How it works: visit her blog each day to see the featured book and post a comment answering the question of the daily blog. One winner will be chosen from those that comment. If you win a book, Christina will be in touch and mail you your book within a couple of weeks. Simple as that.

I’m honored that the anthology Easy to Love But Hard to Raise: Real Parents, Challenging Kids, True Stories that includes my essay, Finding My Way will be up for grabs later in the month alongside other anthologies featuring her student’s work.

I’ve taken Christina’s classes Writing and Publishing the Short Stuff and Dream Team. Her classes and books have served my writing career very well, so please head over to Christina Katz blog and comment away to win!

Malia Jacobson: A Writer’s Role Model

Blogging can feel selfish at times because I get to choose what I write about every day, and no matter the subject, the perspective is all me, me, me. But one of the topics I most enjoy is highlighting the work of others who inspire me as a writer and a human being.

Pacific Northwest writer, Malia Jacobson and I took Christina Katz’ writing class, Writing and Publishing the Short Stuff, at the same time a couple of years ago. Since then Malia has been knocking it out of the park. I have been following her regularly on Facebook and her Website. Her flourishing writing career continually pushes me to keep at it.

Of course, she was a successful writer before she took Christina’s class, but what she has accomplished since is impressive. She now has more than 150 credits in over 60 publications (these numbers may be higher because she has 14 articles in January ’12 publications alone), with many in national magazines like Costco Connection and Women’s Health Magazine.

Malia is successful for many reasons (talent, dedication, and hard work to name a few), but I think she would agree that specializing and becoming an expert in a couple specific areas has been a boon to her career. I’m most familiar with her experience as a sleep journalist. She studies and writes about how to get your kids to sleep better and how sleep (or the lack of it) affects the whole family, including us tired parents.

I recommend Malia’s e-book, Ready, Set, Sleep: 50 Ways to Help Your Child Sleep, So You Can Sleep Tooto all my friends in this struggle. Its full of helpful tips for diet, exercise, and other approaches that will get everyone in the family the rest they need dearly.

In December Malia appeared on Seattle’s King 5 News segment, Parent to Parent, to talk about one of her articles focused on how to raise moral kids, which is no small feat in today’s crazy world.

What I admire most about Malia is how she’s able to balance work and life. She is an accomplished writer with diverse publication credits and strong professional relationships while fulfilling her roles as dedicated wife and mom to her young children. She still finds time to bake cookies, clean house, and maintain her blog, Family in Progress. She’s someone we can relate to and aspire to emulate.

Way to go Malia, and thanks for being an inspiration to us all.

New Headshots

Because we had to turn in headshots as presenters of a workshop (which went great, BTW) at the PNWA Conference booklet, I made sure to credit my BEST friend “A. Christine Furman.” I’ve used Chris’ excellent photo since about 2004, but I decided it was time to have a new one since I was a little thicker and seasoned since then.

I needed something with more pixels. Christina Katz recommended Mark Bennington on her blog and facebook. I was reluctant because I had my eye on a photographer in my own backyard, but at the last minute had this urge to just do it, so I did. It took about eight minutes and a very reasonable fee and it was worth every cent.

The photos are big not because I’m completely full of myself, but because Bennington is a master with a camera!

I’m one of millions of women who never like photos of themselves, or almost never. Except that one in high school that I keep in a drawer to remind me of how good I looked and didn’t even know or appreciate it (which is probably the same thing I’ll say again in twenty years when I’m grey and leather-faced).

Mark’s an amazingly talented man (xoxo to you Mark!) if he can make me look this good after two nights of only four hours sleep and eating only bagels (that’s what they served at the conference and I was too busy to buy food).

I had an amazing time hanging out with my writing buddy and fellow workshop presenter, Kim Kircher, and spent some quality time with a couple agents and editors that are also very kind and interesting human beings.

 Yup, Friday, August 5th was a pretty awesome day for me. Great new headshots, two pitches who said yes they want pages, and getting to know some really wonderful people a whole lot better all in one day. Hooooeeeeeee, that’s a good day.

More Good News

I love this kind of news. Nashville Parent and Cincinnati Family Magazines would like to publish an article I wrote about how to get your kids out of the house quickly in the morning without turning into an ogre. That little article has brought me the most publication credits so far, probably because it’s perfect for back-to-school. It will also appear in Ohio Valley Parent this fall and a version of the idea will appear in the tips section of the September issue of the print and I-Pad versions of Parents Magazine.

I wrote the article as an assignment during Writing and Publishing the Short Stuff, an on-line course I took with Christina Katz last year. I also need to thank Brenda Hill, the Bellingham Public School District Occupational Therapist, that introduced me to the idea.


Now This is How You Do Platform

These days, becoming a published non-fiction author is all about platform. Your platform includes all of the activities you do that give you access to your intended audience, such as public speaking engagements, blogs, and media attention. A good platform also increases your credibility as a future author. Christina Katz’ helpful book, Get Known Before the Book Deal: Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow an Author Platform has a wide range of suggestions on how and where to invest your effort and build your own author platform.

I’ve expanded my platform recently by publishing articles in regional parenting publications, developing a writer’s workshop that I’ll present this summer, and blogging here and at Easy to Love But Hard to Raise.

I recently met an author and film maker with a platform worthy of my envy. Chris Morgan is a scientist, conservationist, and founder of Wildlife Media, a company dedicated to creating natural world films to fund conservation. I attended Chris’ reading and book signing for his new book, Bears of the Last Frontier: The Adventure of a Lifetime among Alaska’s Black, Grizzly, and Polar Bears, at Village Books in Bellingham. The book is breathtaking with pictures and journal entries about his close contact with a variety of bears. During his presentation I was delighted to discover that Chris’ three-part film series, Beartrek: Bears of the Last Frontier, on PBS’s long-time staple, Nature, began this past Sunday night. I’ve programmed my DVR to catch his up close interaction with many bears within their own habitat. Even if you missed the first episode, I’m sure you’ll still be able to appreciate the next two in the series. Chris is also working on another film due out next year.

I’m used to reading about New York and L.A. authors made famous on Oprah or morning television with amazing, diverse platforms that reach a national audience. I think to myself, I can have a solid, respectable platform, but I’ll probably never attain that kind of attention. Chris is the first author with an astonishing platform who also happens to live in my little town. Here in Bellingham, Chris is also working with Conservation Northwest on the North Cascades Grizzly Bear Outreach Project. He has a convenient web site that lists his entire platform in one convenient place. He’s got a blog, a twitter following, a company called Insight Wildlife Management to help others manage their bears, and an eco-tourism company that takes regular schmo’s like me into the wilderness to see bears up close.

On paper, I’d expect Chris to be completely exhausted. I’m worn out just looking at all that he’s able to accomplish. But he’s also inspiring me to continue to expand my platform. When I get the chance to interview him for a future article, one of my first questions will be, “How are you able to juggle such a diverse array of projects in addition to spending time with your family?” Chris also has a son. He has certainly earned my admiration and respect and I can’t wait to see what he’ll do next.

Increasing Your World Profile

Writers conferences, agent blogs, and how-to-get-published books all say that it’s not enough to just be a good writer these days if you want to land that book deal. You have to be a demonstrated leader in your field. Some common ways to demonstrate this is through public presentations, interviews, and workshops.

Martin and Flacco’s book, Publish Your Nonfiction Book suggests that you get other people to write about you. When I read that, I wondered, “How the hell am I going to do that?”

An improv friend who is also a writer, educator, project management specialist, and businesswoman, Ramona Abbott, (yes, she’s all that and more) suggested a web site that she’s used. It worked for her, she was interviewed as a an expert source for the world-renowned Washington Post in March and in April was interviewed for a Utah-based podcast. She is getting people to write and talk about her expertise, positioning her as an expert in her field. This is exactly what agents and editors are looking for in a new author. In addition, she’s training herself to become a confident interviewee and presenter, a skill that is paramount in selling your book after you land your deal.

What is that web site you ask? HARO or Help a Reporter Out. I’d heard of this website in writing class I’d taken, as a resource for me as a reporter if I needed experts and questions answered. But it never occurred to me to monitor it as a source, until Ramona forwarded me a query from a reporter looking to write a story about assisted reproduction.

Last month I signed up at HARO to receive daily e-mails that list what reporters around the globe are looking for. I spend about 10 minutes each day looking over the reporter queries. About every three or four days, I find one that I can respond to as an expert or source. I focus on the areas where I’m trying to establish myself as a trusted contributor: environmental science, assisted reproduction, parenting, and special needs.

On Monday afternoon of this week, I responded to this query:

Summary: Getting out of the house!

Name: Melanie Parker (Women’s glossy)

Category: Lifestyle and Fitness

Email: omitted

Media Outlet: Women’s glossy

Deadline: 07:00 PM EST – 19 April


We’re a nationwide women’s magazine (circ 3.5 million), looking
for your tried-and-true tips for how to get out of the house
efficiently in the mornings. Could be anything–how you get
yourself and others awake, fast shower and beauty tips, or
night-before strategies. Anything that works for your home. Moms
and non-moms equally appreciated. Please email them in, along
with your name, age, city, state, number of children (if
applicable) and job title and company and phone number (just for
contact purposes), and I’ll be in touch. Many thanks.

By Tuesday morning, I received an e-mail from Parents Magazine Lifestyle Editor Taryn Mohrman saying that she liked my tip so much that she plans to use it for their September issue! Of course, I’ve learned the hard way not to count my chickens before they hatch. It’s still possible that Taryn will have more than she can use for September, and my tip might still get bumped. If that happens, I’ll be disappointed, but not crushed because I’ll know it’s not about the quality of my work, it’s about a last-minute decision that editors must make every day.

However, my hopes are high, because Taryn also then asked me to make a short video of the same tip for use in their tablet/iPad version of the magazine. Once I submitted that, she asked me for a photo as well. So come September, there is a fantastic chance that my tip, video, and photo will appear in Parents Magazine.

Taryn was easy to work with and very professional. I worked hard to do the same for her.

Of course, I can’t share the tip with you now, but it focuses on a quick and easy way to herd your children out of the house on time each day. I developed the tip as part of a writing class I took with Christina Katz, called Writing and Publishing the Short Stuff. I still highly recommend this class as a way to get started publishing in the parenting field.

If you’re not familiar with parenting publications, Parents is one of the most widely read in America. The credit in Parents, although small, will be the biggest to date on my writing resume. It will help solidify my credibility as a journalist.

My tip will appear in the “It Worked for Me!” section of the magazine. How ironic that this post is all about how HARO worked for me.

I have Ramona and Christina to thank for their education and encouragement. Please help me thank them by checking out their web sites and blogs. If you’re an aspiring writer, or just want to put a little umph in your career, check out HARO and let me know how it works for you.