NaNoWriMo For Children’s Writers

JournalMany children’s writers don’t think that they could take part in NaNoWriMo.  But this is not true. All children’s writers can take part in this important event, but on their own terms.

Obviously, most children’s writers don’t need to write 50,000 words. However, depending on the kind of writing that you do, be it middle grade novels or short stories or even picture books, you could definitely decide on the parameters of what you will create and take steps to create it.

For instance, if you write middle grade novels, go ahead and plan your novel. Outline your story and then figure out your plot and how you will solve your problem. Then plan your chapters. Write all of these down, open folders for each chapter, and open up your files on your computer. Then, when November 1st comes, you could plan to write your middle grade novel during the month.

Or, if you write picture books, you may decide to write 2 or 4 picture books during the month of November. Decide on how many books you could write, and then sit down and write them. You could set out the parameters for your own productive month, and get a lot done.

So, regardless of whether you are a children’s writer or an adult writer, you can write during NaNoWriMo and get a LOT of writing done. November is usually such a dark and dreary month weather-wise so why not get productive.

That is precisely what I plan to do. Each November I get really productive in writing a couple of manuscripts. Last year, I wrote a nonfiction book from start to finish in addition to two picture books. So, I know you can do too. So, start planning, and let me know how the process if coming along!

~ Irene Roth

Here and Again by Nicole R. Dickson

Here is an example of a wonderful novel.  It is written beautifully and an example of excellent writing.  I recommend that you read this book yourself.  What a treat!  Thank you Nicole for  writing such a wonderful book!

HereAgainCoverHere and Again
Nicole R. Dickson

This is a great historical novel with a twist. I loved the story and I was glued to the book until I finished reading it. Nicole weaves past and present wonderfully in this book and transports the reader back in time.

The story is about Ginger who loses her husband in the Iraqian war. The story also follows all the historical details and the descriptions uniquely shift between Ginger and a male’s perspective. It is great to see the differences in perspective of similar events. That always fascinates me because men and women are truly so different in how they view the world and what is important.

Ginger is like so many women who lose their husbands. She is left to take care and raise her three kids. She is lonely and grief stricken with no one to turn to. So, one day she decides to pour out her grief in her husband’s special spot on the farm where she lives with the kids. There she meets a very special man who will change her life for the better.

They start a profound journey together and the book highlights that beautifully. It is in many ways a journey of love, healing and coming together. The book is so beautifully written and the story comes together like a marvellous piece of beautiful art. I absolutely commend Nicole on writing such a beautiful novel.

The story does show that we never know what will happen in our lives and what our future will hold. But if we are hopeful and live the best and most graceful life possible, things will probably work out for the best.

Thank you Nicole for such a GREAT and inspiring book!

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Getting Motivated to Start a New Writing Project

NaNoWriMo is the perfect month to start a brand new writing project. But it is time to start preparing for the even right now. Because once November 1st hits, you will have to know what you are writing and how much you have to write each day in order to complete your whole manuscript in one month.

There is something about November, isn’t there? When the weather is getting cold and dingy, as it is here in the North Eastern part of Canada, it is time to get indoors and get creative.  It is during such fertile times, that many writers get the urge to start a writing project. It is just a very inspiring time for writers.

However, starting, and especially completing a writing project, is not an easy task. It is easy to be excited at the beginning. Who doesn’t like a brand new idea floating in our minds? It’s so new and fresh. But how can we feel inspired to keep working on the project persistently so that we can complete it.

Here are a few tips to try out when starting a new project.

1. Decide to work on the project from beginning to end right now. It is hard to be steadfast with our writing project as life can cause many unnecessary interruptions. The only way for writers to be successful is for them to be able to move past interruptions to a place of calm and peace so that they can successfully create a firm intention to complete the project.

2. Rate all other priorities both on the desk and outside with family and friends as 1, 2, or 3. Then create an agenda for the 1’s immediately, and immediately delegate the 2’s to someone else. Put the 3’s in a drawer or folder designated the 3 file. Set aside a few hours once a month to go through them and see what’s still important enough to deal with. Most of these things, especially in the 3 file, are even less important than they were.

3. Postpone procrastination! Many times, perfectionism can cause procrastination. We, as writers, want to do our best with our writing. But we can’t be perfect since it’s hard to get any writing done if it always needs to be perfect. There is nothing harder than aiming for perfection all the time. It can make writers feel disempowered and unproductive.

4. Have fun with the new writing project. Writers may want to try playing some special music as they write. Or, they may want to reward themselves after they finish writing their word count for the day. Whatever it is, just celebrate. The celebration doesn’t have to be big. But it does have to make a difference and inspire writers to keep writing the next day.

November and the all the winter months could be a time for new fruitful beginnings. Writers should start a new project and take the time to regroup their priorities. They should also rethink their overall priorities and make this season their most productive yet.

Now it’s time to step out of the negative writing mindset and attitude into a more positive and productive one. Are you ready to commit to a new project?

Irene S. Roth
Author, Editor, and Freelance Writer

Meet Nicole R. Dickinson


NicoleRDicksonI welcome Nicole to my blog.  It is such a pleasure to have you here Nicole. I look forward to getting to know you better in the next few minutes.

First of all….

1. What are your hobbies?
I run – not a marathoner or anything, but I will run up to six miles at a time. For me, running is when I can remove myself from every demand in my life and center my place in this world. I never run with anything like music or talk radio pouring into my ears. Always I need to be outside. I listen to my feet hit the ground on a trail somewhere and feel the earth hold me steady as I pass. I hear the wind replying to my breath. Deer and squirrel and bat and owl move with me at times and it is while running that I sense the effort it takes to be in this world. My body aches from that effort. Yet even when it rains or snows or the sun beats down heat upon my road and I grow weary, I feel with most clarity the absolute wonder of life.

2. What inspired you to want to write Here and Again?
A couple things inspired me to write this novel. One was the terrible but honorable cost military families pay for their service. Remember, when a family member joins the military, the entire family joins the service in one way or another. I wanted to acknowledge that service and honor that truth. The other was to walk into the Civil War. I study this time in our history. I consider myself a serious student of it. So as I was driving through the Shenandoah Valley one day, I finally had a character from that time enter my head and finally had a story to write that would lead me wandering those pivotal years in our history.

HereAgainCover3. Can you summarize the book for us?
Here And Again is a story of two people who have lost their future. Both are wandering around as ghosts, stuck between their beginning and their end. For Ginger Martin, widowed by the Iraq War, the struggle to keep living in her husband’s dying dream carries only the hollow pain of his loss. For Samuel Annanais, a soldier lost in the Civil War, the duty of service has left him a wandering specter without an end. These two souls meet on the banks of the great Shenandoah and realize, though separated by time, they are essential to each other as they seek a future in their own lives and find their purpose in each other’s.

4. What are your future writing projects?
Currently, I am working on a novel that deals with Sherman’s Special Field Orders, No. 15, which, back in the Civil War, was a military order that allotted 40 acres (and a mule but that is questionable) to the newly freed black slaves in Georgia, South Carolina, and several other states. This history has become the tale the Red family of Antres Vast, Georgia tells each generation as to how they came to own the property on which they live and that same 40 acres is now at the center of a major family battle. As with most family stories, the telling changes in time and is rarely reflective of the reality way back when. In fact, sometimes family history is nothing but a myth and the truth is deeper, darker, and more defining of who we are than even we ourselves can possibly imagine

5. Any tips for aspiring writers?
Find the purpose. Every story has a purpose. To finish a story, there must be the purpose to bring it into being. For me, I never finish a story unless I have the end. Sometimes the end changes a bit, but without it, I have no road and no horizon and with no horizon, there is no purpose and so, no story. When you have the purpose, the story lives. Find the purpose.

6. Could you share your website with our readers?

Thank you Nicole!  It was a real pleasure getting to know you better. What a wonderful person you are and a GREAT writer as well. I am SO enjoying reading your book, and will have the book review here shortly.

All the best of luck!



Meet Nicole R. Dickson and Her Wonderful New Book

HereAgainCover NicoleRDicksonHere and Again
By Nicole R. Dickson

Deep in the Shenandoah Valley, the present and the past are as restless as the river mists. And when they collide, the heart is the only compass pointing home.

For nurse Ginger Martin, her late husband’s farm is both a treasured legacy and the harbinger of an uncertain future. Since he was recently killed in Iraq, every day is fraught with grief that won’t abate. Keeping the farm going and nourishing her children’s hopes without him seems as impossible as having dreams for the future—or going back into the past…

By a curious coincidence, a stranger appears in Ginger’s life, always showing up to help in unexpected and much-needed ways. He says he’s a soldier, lost and trying to make his way home, but Ginger understands that Samuel is a kindred spirit, longing to repair a life interrupted. The challenges of their hopes and longings will test who they really are in the most heartbreaking of ways. And only by coming to terms with their losses and the necessity of change will Ginger and Samuel be able to each make a future of their own—and discover at last where their true home lies…

Author Nicole R. Dickson creates an indelible, delicate world filled with heartbreak and hope, seamlessly weaving past and present, and tying together the personal price we pay for legacy, war and duty.

Praise for Here and Again

“If you could seamlessly blend the movie Field of Dreams with Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife and season liberally with John Jakes’ North and South, you might find yourself with this unputdownable book. Dickson deftly draws the humanity out of two wars in which the U.S. has seen many horrors and places Ginger’s story against a backdrop that blends scars from the two… Ginger’s pain will resonate and stick with readers who will want to move to a farm – with horse-drawn plows – and hug each and every one in Ginger’s circle.” — RT Review, June 2014

“Ginger Martin lives on a farm in the Shenandoah Valley with her children and working as a nurse. Now her in-laws want to sell the farm and Ginger wonders how she can keep it. But the farm is her children’s legacy, and Ginger is determined to hold on to her home. The appearance of a stranger dressed in a Civil War uniform will change everything. Dickson seamlessly blends past and present in this deeply satisfying novel of a family coming together after a devastating loss, finding strength in the most unexpected of places, and discovering exactly where they truly belong.” – Booklist, June 2014

About Nicole R. Dickson

Nicole R. Dickson is the author of two novels, the first of which, Casting Off (2009), was a top ten entry in the first Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award in 2008. Additionally, as a business executive, she writes essays on leadership and defining brand. An avid student of history, she can most often be found buried in that section of the library and finds many of the books there follow her home to rest on her bedside table. Here and Again is her second novel.

NAL Accent/Penguin
Trade paperback, $15.00/$17.00 Canadian
Kindle $15.00
400 pages
ISBN: 978-0-451-46677-8
June 3, 2014
Available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, IndieBound and Powell’s
Complimentary Digital Download for Review available at NetGalley [For press, professionals & bloggers only]
Genre: Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction
Facebook: /nicolerdickson
Twitter: @nicolerdickson

For interviews and press assets, please contact Darlene Chan at

Excuses Begone

It has been said that old habits die-hard and seem to be next to impossible to change. But this need not be the case. You CAN change old habits and patterns of thinking that are keeping you from being the best writer possible.

The first thing that a writer should do is to take stock regularly. When a writer evaluates how she is progressing, she is able to become aware of some of the self-defeating thoughts and actions that she takes every day—ones that are completely unproductive and can lead to misery and a lack of success.

In order to change our old negative, self-defeating writing habits, we should seek to get rid of all of our excuses for not accomplishing and producing what we must in order to be successful. This usually takes an intentional mind shift—one that moves the writer from a negative to a positive state of mind.

So, instead of constantly saying, I can’t, I’m not able, I’m too old, I’m too dumb, and so on, we should say, I will try this, I can do this, I can learn to be a better writer, I can get published and so on. No matter where you are in your writing career, you can make small improvements today in your thinking patterns that will eliminate some of the excuses for you to remain stuck in a rut of negativity.

Here are a few things you could do to get yourself out of the negativity rut.

• Make a decision NOT to entertain any more excuses for not being the best writer that you can be. Instead, start where you are right now, and decide on which positive steps you can take to bring your career to the next level so that in time you could be successful.

• Take steps to change and reverse all negative self-defeating writing habits and thoughts that you have towards your writing career. Instead, try to write every day, even if it is for 15 to 20 minutes. The consistency will help you to feel more confident about your writing career. Also, take a class every season to upgrade and improve your writing skills.

• Have a zero tolerance towards negativity in your life in general. Many times when writers experience negativity in other parts of their lives, such as with their families or jobs, this kind of spills over into their writing life. So, it is important to take steps to be as positive in all areas of your life.

• See yourself through a new lens. Instead of seeing yourself through the lens of failure, view yourself through the eyes of success. If you have to fake that feeling at first, that’s okay. Just develop it. This positive feeling will give you the confidence to pursue any of the avenues you need in order to be the most successful writer.

By taking these steps, you will stop making excuses for not being a successful writer. Instead, you will take responsibility for your writing life. You CAN BE a successful writer. It doesn’t have to be difficult, even small changes can produce major results. All you need is a positive mind-set.

Try it!

Irene S. Roth
Freelance Writer, Author, and Editor

Book Review: Noddy in Wonderland

This is a GREAT novel with wonderful pacing and magical elements in it. If you are trying to write a great fantasy, please take the time to read this book. Here is a review of the book to tweak your imagination.

61XC2aC7g7L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_[1]Noddy In Wonderland
By: Paddy Bostock

Noddy in Wonderland is a unique fantasy novel for all ages. It will keep the reader turning those pages. It is filled with romance and magic. What a great combination for a novel!

Noddy in Wonderland is a multifaceted drama, imbued with philosophical, social and psychological implications. Yet, one of the greatest aspects of the novel is that it never makes its connection with that genre completely explicit. I love the freshness and uniqueness of this story.

The story is about a former soldier, Noddy who returns to his hometown, Liverpool. He dreams of becoming the king of Liverpool. When he shoots a government minister in the bottom, he accidently divides the country into two groups, a group of fans who approve of him and the entire government machinery who threaten to go against him. How does Noddy manage to turn this situation around and see his dream come true? This is a very intriguing part of the story that the reader should explore for him/herself. And on this fantasy adventure he chugs along a large group of accomplices and friends including his brother Knobby, a beautiful girlfriend Meryl, and an elf and a talking dog. This is quite a combination of unique characters.

In this story, Bostock mixes satire and sarcasm into a delightful story. Turning this into a fantasy takes a lot of hard work. But Bostock pulls it off with honours. But what is more, behind the hilarity lies a profound understanding of human nature and an in-depth contemplation of some pretty ineffable issues. The book is also paced perfectly. I just love stories that have this kind of depth and meaning.

Bostock’s novel is one of self-development and it will make the reader rethink and reassess some of his common frameworks and viewpoints. Being a philosopher interested in philosophical psychology, this book tweaked my interest quite a bit and held it until I finished reading it. What a GREAT book! Now, I plan on rereading it.

I recommend Noddy in Wonderland to anyone who loves to read fantasies. Get ready to be transfixed by this book.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth