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Whether it’s in the area of creative arts or business, be open to serendipitous opportunities that DON’T have anything to do with having all the ‘necessary things in place or following the rules.

Enthusiasm, excitement and expectations are like magnets. They draw to us or repel opportunities for success. Intuition and listening to your inner voice plays a BIG part in success. This could be a joyful conversation with someone while you wait on line at Starbucks that leads to an introduction or a phone number, or moving forward with sending out a query to that Agent in spite of your inner fear.

Writers, Actors, Artists, Sculptors – are constantly bombarded with rules that box them into believing they must attend conventions/market themselves/blog their asses off/network or get the best headshots/acting classes/skinny down-Botox up in order to make it. This just undermines joy and shrivels belief in talent. It plops you down into an environment of ‘not gonna happen unless you…’ and we believe it, blocking the unexpected, the serendipitous, the once in a lifetime opportunity.

That is not to say rules are worthless. Going out and meeting people in the industry will most likely help your career. And yes, blogging is a great way to market yourself. But it shouldn’t stop you from ‘making’ it.

My sister and I have known a number of ‘Innocents’ – those to whom the RULES were not yet set in stone. We’ve seen beginning writers through excitement and a belief in their abilities get an agent and sign with mainstream publishers. Struggling actors have snagged a National Commercial or a speaking role in a soap or a sitcom. . But as time wore on, and the buzzing around them seeped in, focusing on what they didn’t have and how they weren’t following the rules, the jobs dried up, and they slowly became part of the disappointed, disillusioned and frustrated mass of unemployed.

We have written this blog because we and so many of our talented friends have fallen victim to undermining ourselves. We want to remind you to make your Creative Spirit trust itself, to stop you from feeling helpless, your work’s not good enough, the odds aren’t in your favor, or any other negative emotion that pops up and tears down your confidence — and that includes a pass from an agent or publisher. Agents and publishers often say their pass has nothing to do with your talent. It’s true. The passes are all about finding the right home for your baby. So keep sending it out. Yes, the personal approach works, and yes, as a writer if an Agent is interested in your letter they WILL look at your website/blog, so it would helpful if you had one and if it was good. Hey, times change and marketing yourself today is HUGE … but it’s not everything.

Write what you love with joy and abandon and believe that the world is big enough, quirky and mischievous enough to embrace you even without all the trappings of the Rules.

Love you, keep the faith – The Sisters Dent

This Tuesday we had a creative luncheon with a very dear friend. We dined, yakked and shared our stories with one another around a crackling fire with full emotional support. It was heaven. This made us think about how incredibly lucky we are to not only have creative friends but also to have a writing group that supports each other with acceptance and safety.

Our lovely luncheon reminded us about our Group’s monthly Soirees held on Sunday. The Soirees hold the same magic of inspiration as our luncheon did and are a fantastic prompt for members to write a new short story every month. Think of it –at the end of the year this tally’s up to 12 brand-spanking-new tales that might not ever have been written without the monthly get togethers.

    How It Works

Whoever hosts the event at their house, decides on a Theme. Everyone brings something to Eat, pot-luck style, and we socialize, scarff down the yummy food and then read our stories. Some are short, some long and some aren’t even on the theme – but it’s brand new, gossimer gold spun out of our fertile imaginations.

New Work. New Stuff, New Crafting-of-Words to stretch and expand your writing abilities and enrich your catalogue of tales which you will at some future date submit to one of the many contests out there even if you think the story and theme is too out there.

For our month of February the theme is “Potions and Allergies.” Sometimes you got nuttin’ but you’re committed to come up with something out of respect for your Host. Roxanne blew out yet another short story, “My Zombie Valentine” and Karen’s alter ego wrote “Curse of the Dog” – a fantasy set in the far past, a genre she has never worked with before. Both stories are out of their comfort zones.

The beauty of adhering to a monthly Soiree Theme forces you to write. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be completed–it just has to be ‘created and begun’. This is a wonderful kick in your Muse’s Butt, which leads to building up your repertoire of unique and individual creative projects.

This is a call to go with the flow, accept a challenge, enhance your abilities and stretch your brain.

Both of us have written things outside of our comfort zones. Roxanne who never wrote a zombie story and didn’t think she could, wrote “Zombies at Red Rock” which sold to “A Fistful of Horrors” Her very first ghost and YA story, “The Ghost on Coffin Street,” was written for a Halloween party and sold to Whortleberry Press in their Halloween Dances with the Dead“. It’s one of her favroites. Miss Luella’s Magic Shop,” sold to “Ticonderoga Publications.” for their paranormal anthology, More Scary Kisses.”

Karen’s “Mr. Hoo-Wards Unwise Promise”, a Grade School Christmas Tale was written in honor of the Soiree Hostess, Helen, who wrote the most charming and delightful Children’s stories. It sold to Whortleberry Press in their Peace On All The Earths. The next one was “Grave Mistake” again for Whortleberry and her “Basic Nature” was sold to HOTIP’s Issue of Children and Zombies (definitely NOT a YA or Children’s story)

We’ve had all sorts of themes over the years and you never know what you can do until you challenge yourself to try.

As we’ve mentioned in our previous blogs – we like to share and we can’t think of anything more helpful to the creative spirit than holding a Soiree. It can be with just one or two people or a dozen. But making the commitment, and allowing free access to all sorts of ideas for your Muse to play with is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.

We took a short hiatis from blogging so we could finish up commitments, take time for a new critique group and spend a whirlwind of time entertaining. But now we’re back, hunkered down in our homes and thrilled that Nemo, the humongous snow storm didn’t drag down our powerlines. Right now, it’s breathtakingly beautiful outside, providing a spectacular and inspiring setting to write.

NEWS:ADDRESS CORRECTION FOR BOOKS AND BOOS – 514 Westchester Road, Colechester, CT.

The Sisters Dent will each be reading at “Books and Boo’s” on April 6h from 2:00-6:00 pm. Owned by Stacy and Jason Harris, long time members of the New England Horror Writers, “Books and Boo’s” is located at: 514 Westchester Road, Colechester, CT. Please come on down (or up) and join us. We’d love to meet you!

Roxanne has been a busy bee – working on “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” a charming and hilarious Regency that oddly, doesn’t include snow since she discovered it seldom snowed in that part of England in the early 1800s. Not to be genre specific, she plans on sending out two horror shorts she just completed next Tuesday. Why, you might ask is she waiting for Tuesday?

Tip: A short story sent late Tuesday for a Wednesday read is more likely to be read in it’s entirety and not summarily tossed into the reject pile. Ask us why if you’re curious.

No moss under those tiny feet, Roxanne has begun a new short mystery, “The Man in the Green High-Tops.”

Karen is finishing work on her paranormal noir novel, “A Case To KILL For” and has begun the dreaded ‘Outline’. She’s been working on two more shorts as well, “The Thousandth Tear” a lovely tale of betrayal and revenge and “Curse of the Dog” a very pecurliar genre she’s never written before. Zee Muse she takes liberties.

Just like to add we have both received passes as most writers do. We commiserate and support one another to continue to send out, a HUGELY IMPORTANT step for any writer. Do not get discouraged friends, keep on keepin’ on!

We also kept bugging each other to pick up a pen and continue our blog. Apparently the nagging worked. So – here we are where we hopefully will be a weekly presence to inspire other writers, like you – to share. And don’t underestimate a good nag.

See you soon!

We just returned from ANTHCON (see pics end of blog), primarily a Horror Writers Convention, this year held at the Holiday Inn in Portsmouth, NH.   It was a slam-dunk success especially utilizing our favorite word sharing. We arrived Friday and immediately dumped our stuff in our comfy two-Queen beds room, socked our food in the mini fridge, then took off to see who was lounging about downstairs.

We picked up our badges and swag bags (fun stuff – T-Shirt, bag, things from other authors ranging from books, comics, pins, pens, drink cozies and postcards galore announcing everyone’s recent books) and helped set up the NEWH’s table in the Dealers room. Friday included a cocktail party (hosted generously by Sam Adams Beer) where we met new friends and greeted old and cherished ones from previous conferences. Some attendees actually traveled from as far away as India and California. Yikes!

During the conference the Dent sisters were each other’s ‘wing-man’ which is just another word for your backup. When you have one person to be there for you – you don’t need to worry if you get tongue tied in front of a publisher or agent, or if your hero of fiction happens to stop by to say hello.  A frozen moment of ‘gaaa’ can be flipped around by your wing-man as they fill in your name when you stutter or forget your credits.

AND the best part — you get to be brave for others. Introducing a writer you just met to a publisher who is looking for exactly what they write “Urban Fantasy” or “Steam Punk” is an incredible gift to both you and them.

The keynote speaker this year was Gary Braunbeck who is not only a prolific writer but one who doesn’t limit himself to one genre.  He does them all and does them exceedingly well and bowled us over with his fabulous prose.  In support of a charity Mr. Braunbeck generously wrote a short story utilizing random words, names or sayings that the conference attendees purchased. Let’s just say, he was seriously challenged – yet came up with a rollicking, riotous, crazy-ass detective story that killed! And strangely, it all made sense. For the same charity, in the silent auction, Karen won the most amazing print and one of the last treats of the weekend was to hear the singer, Voltaire and his naughty lyrics that had us all in stitches.

Our sensational three days of meeting friends, making new ones, attending panels and readings was exhilarating. Roxanne read from her new short “The Legacy,” which was included in Anthocon’s first print book, Anthology, Year One and Karen read from two of her published works, “A Case To Die For” from Damnation and Dames and “Endless Hunger” from The Call of Lovecraft. We filled out tickets for a drawing and Roxanne won not once but three times and now is in possession of eight books by authors at the conference.

One panel we thought particularly interesting was the one on YA Fiction.  Representatives from Spence Publishing and Evil Jester Publishing shared their knowledge and discussed the new trends among other helpful tid bits which we were told you can find on their websites!

There were many panels and speakers and the benefit of going with another person is you can actually walk away with twice as much information:  if each of you attend a different panel, you can take notes for the other. Or if notes aren’t your thing, meet and give the highlights over lunch.

There are numerous conventions held all year across the country, including NECON, ANTHOCON, COMIC CON, ROCK AND SHOCK, WORLD HORROR, NECROMICON, ARISIA, BOSCON (Fantasy), READER CON and DRAGON CON.  Even if you don’t have a wing-man, try and attend just one. Most conferences will double you up if you don’t have someone to share the room with.  Who knows, maybe you’ll meet a like minded writer who will be just as enthusiastic about sharing a creative life as you are.

Next week we’ll tell you how we’re doing with NanoWrimo – till then!

  

Whatever you choose to hook up with, a Support or Critique Group, your participation in a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly meeting of the minds can be extremely beneficial.  We belong to the Essex Artists and Writers Guild (EWAG) which is strictly a Support Group that works for us. There are plenty of critique groups who will offer advice and criticism should you need it.   We find that a support group encourages the flow of creativiity and your writing improves.

Belonging to any group, opens you up to other styles of writing, story presentations and that wonderfully exciting, jazzy blinding power of Inspiration.

Joining a group, brings you into contact with other writers who have information to share, just like you. People who might know more about something than you do and are willing to help you out (like show you how to start your blog)or share books about 19th Century goo-gaws that will help enormously with your current steam punk story.

Writers everywhere are out there hunting down markets to sell to, and if you join up with a good group – they’ll share their information, and you can share right back. The feeling you get from sharing information with other like minded people is a rush — and everybody wins.

A group of writers can organize Writers Weekend Retreats, Sunday Soiree’s –things that bring you together and encourage you to do what you love to do –write. This past weekend, EWAG rented a house on the beach up in Maine from Fri-Sunday. Cost for the house was $100/pp for the entire weekend – and we wrote our brains out amd probably put on twenty pounds as everyone chipped in with their favorite dishes and of course junk food.  . In preparation for NanoWrimo, some of us actually achieved 10K that weekend. The camaraderie and knowledge that you were there for one thing – writing. with no distractions, except for short walks on the beach, led to writing mania and enormous accomplishments.

We can’t express enough how much we love the idea and practice of sharing. It makes you stronger, it creates family and bonds that go deeper than you’d ever imagine.

Last year we attended our very first ‘con’ — Anthocon in Portsmouth NH. Because it was within driving distance, we drove to and from the hotel each of the three days. We had a ball and determined to attend more conferences.

This year we’ve reserved a room so we can eliminate the driving and attend more of the social events without worrying about getting home. We’ve also reserved a table with another group we belong to, NEHW (New England Horror Writers) so we can display our books, meet and greet. Roxanne is particularly excited because she has a story in Anthocon’s first print anthology. We always come away with fabulous ideas for new stories and meet interesting people from all over the country. It’s a blast and well worth attending, especially when you share.

We will be taking pictures and posting our experiences on next weeks blog – Hope to see you then!

Dent Sisters at Work

Dent Sisters at Work

Numero UnoFinancial Aspect.  We have many reasons for sharing, but one of the most logical benefits to doubling up with another person, is financial. 

All of us have commitments and obligations to family, friends and work, not to mention the holidays.  When conferences and workshops beckon but funds are rapidly sinking — pool your money and share the hefty expense of Gas, Hotel Room, Food, purchasing Table Space (along w/sharing the obligatory booth time)…PLUS:

SwagPens, Magnets, Bookmarks – all with your ‘shared’ blog/website stenciled across it in blazing “READ ME” letters. Postcards – where you can double-side, listing both of your latest novels/anthologies – or, if you happen to  have (shared) told each other about an open submission and BOTH get your stories in it: Print the Cover on one side and list a few of each of your Books and Blog on the other.  Again, a win win situation.

By aligning with just one other person, your marketing efforts enable you to double your exposure to any media blitz that person participates in. ANY. Including chatting up relatives, co-workers, agents, publishers – whoever they meet, anywhere.  Networking opportunities abound and you don’t even have to be there to reap the benefits.

More next week on our LIST “How Sharing Your Creative Life” can have enormous benefits leading you to become a Successful Writer

Leave a message ~ we’d love to hear from you, especially if you have a unique marketing strategy you’d like to share. Oh ~ and Happy Halloween!!!  K&R

Whether you are drawn to mind numbing horror, Regency romances, Victorian  mysteries, Zombie Apocalypse, twisted fairy tales or YA stories, between the both of us, we’ve written them all.  You can double your exposure by doing what we did.

Sharing a blog and combining our talents made us realize how important and worthwhile it is to share your creative life with at least one other person. Sharing can boost your visability by at least 50%, enhance productivity, cut costs in half — AND having four eyes and two minds to look over your work before sending it out — priceless.

We think this is an incredible way to help writers achieve their dreams with the simplicity of sharing.  We’d like to share what we’ve learned over the years and give you the hard reasons why sharing is a no-brainer for success.

Next weeks blog — breaking down the specific ways and reasons this can work for you, and no – you don’t have to be siblings.

Dent Sisters at Work

Dent Sisters at Work