The Blog

Mystery Writers of America

Post 10 in my Professional Authors Associations Series. Click here to read post 1.

Mystery Writers of America: mysterywriters.org

Visit their website at mysterywriters.org

Visit their website at mysterywriters.org

The Mystery Writers of America is an organization of and for mystery writers and those allied to the crime-writing field. MWA is dedicated to promoting respect for crime writing and for those who write it. It provides scholarships for writers, sponsors a youth literacy program and symposia and conferences, presents the annual Edgar Awards, and conducts other activities to further a better appreciation and higher regard for crime writing. MWA also works to educate writers and those who aspire to write regarding their rights and interests and to make writers and readers aware of developments that could affect crime writing such as legislation, publishing industry practices, judicial decisions, and in other ways. Membership includes writers of books, short stories, plays, and screenplays; publishers, editors, agents, librarians, booksellers, and other in allied fields; aspiring writers and others devoted to crime writing.

MWA has eleven regional chapters, and members are automatically enrolled in the appropriate regional chapter. All chapters have a newsletter and most have regular meetings; increasingly, chapters also have an online presence. Benefits include ten issues annually of the national newsletter, internal listservs focused on practical issues such as touring, contracts, publicity, agents, foreign rights, movie options, and other business questions, help for traditionally published writers who have been dropped by their publishers, access to health, vision, and dental insurance, and discounts on resources such as Writer’s Digest books and magazine, Publishers Weekly, invitation to the Edgar Awards, a one-day writing conference, and exclusive databases of bookstores and libraries interested in mystery writers and books.

This information has been adapted from the 4th edition of The Writer’s Legal Guide by Kay Murray and myself.

December 30, 2015 0 Comments

The Money Mentor: Where I Started

This is Part 2 of the series to serialize my book The Money Mentor: A Tale of Finding Financial Freedom. Click here to start reading from Part 1. Every other week will have another segment of the story of how a 23-year-old dancer struggles with and ultimately overcomes the burdens of her crushing financial debt. Look for posts on a variety of topics in the intervening weeks.

When you look at me, you see a young woman of twenty-three with a silver ring through the left nostril of my nose, my dark hair cropped short with highlights of blonde, and my lipstick a dark maroon. I have sparkling brown eyes, a dancer’s figure nearly five foot six, and a blend of features that leaves my origins a mystery. I might come from Bali or Peru, Nepal or Turkey, or almost anywhere in the world where people have darker skins. My adoptive parents, James and Mary Cassidy, had been over fifty when an agency found me for them—I was only a few months old. For whatever reason, they resisted my inquiries about my origins. I only know that I came to the United States from another country where my birth parents, for reasons no one ever explained to me, gave me up for adoption.

Jim and Mary had been childless, and they certainly had love to share with me, but they died in their late sixties and left me alone in the world. While growing up, I had been accustomed to their middleclass lifestyle and earned a college degree, but they never taught me anything about money. Nor did managing money seem to be the subject of any of my high-school or college courses. Of course, I majored in dance and art, not finance or economics. When the lawyer figured out the value of my parents’ estate, there was hardly anything left. I suddenly realized that they had lived from paycheck to paycheck, both working, and even the value of our home had been reduced to nearly zero by a home-equity line of credit and a drop in real-estate prices.

After I graduated from college, I moved to the city and started auditioning for dance companies. I quickly realized that I would starve if I didn’t find some other work, particularly since I needed a lot more training in dance before I would be able to perform in any of the dance companies. So I worked as a waitress. It was easy work to find and didn’t require a lot of commitment. I even imagined that the rushing from table to table was choreography of a sort, and that the exercise would help me in my dance classes. I shared a small apartment with two other dancers my age, a strange experience of not enough closet space and lining up for the bathroom in the mornings. Since I had grown up without siblings, I didn’t know what to make of our situation, but I felt that I could endure anything if I could only dance.

The Money Mentor: A Tale of Finding Financial Freedom

If you don’t want to wait two weeks for the next post in this series, you can purchase The Money Mentor on Amazon.

Horror Writers Association

Post 9 in my Professional Authors Associations Series. Click here to read post 1.

Starting with today’s post, I will be focusing on genre specific associations.

Horror Writers Association: horror.org

Visit the homepage of the Horror Writers Association at http://horror.org

Visit the homepage of the Horror Writers Association at http://horror.org

The Horror Writers Association is a nonprofit organization of more than 500 writers and publishing professionals, dedicated to promoting horror and dark fantasy literature and the interests of those who write it. In addition to sponsoring the annual Bram Stoker awards for superior achievement in horror literature, HWA provides networking, a mentoring program, information trading, and promotional resources to aspiring and established horror writers, including a monthly newsletter with publishing and market news and a timely, comprehensive listing of markets. It has local chapters in the United Kingdom, Ontario (Canada), New England, New York City, Hudson Valley, New Jersey, Mid-Atlantic Region, Florida, Michigan, Chicago Area, Missouri/Lower Midwest, and Los Angeles. Full members must be published professional writers of horror, but aspiring authors who demonstrate an intention to become a professional writer may join as affiliate members.

This information has been adapted from the 4th edition of The Writer’s Legal Guide by Kay Murray and myself.

December 16, 2015 0 Comments

The Money Mentor: Before My Story

Welcome to the first part of the series to serialize my book The Money Mentor: A Tale of Finding Financial Freedom. Every other week will have another segment of the story of how a 23-year-old dancer struggles with and ultimately overcomes the burdens of her crushing financial debt. Look for posts on a variety of topics in the intervening weeks.

Since I am not a writer, my story would probably never have been told if I hadn’t met my mentor, who helped me get out from under the burden of debt and improve my financial life. My mentor was neither wealthy nor a man. She seldom told me what to do, although she did encourage me to write about the twists and turns in my own journey to financial freedom. Rather, she helped me understand my life and my finances by her encouragement, examples, and questions. In the course of dealing with my money cares, I learned to see my life as a spiritual adventure. I discovered and developed aspects of myself that I would not have imagined existed. And I found a lifelong friend in my mentor. I believe my story offers a message of hope. As my teacher’s wisdom and generosity helped me meet many challenges in my life and eventually free myself from debt, I hope that this retelling will help others. In some ways, my story appears to me to be the story of America at a certain moment in its history, when wealth and debt raced in a rivalry that mastered my life and the lives of so many people around me. My story is about my decision to end my participation in that race; in fact, to imagine my life in a new way that made the idea of a race beside the point.

This series represents an accurate portrayal of a crucial six months of my life, but even my efforts to fit my life into a story are open to questions, since I felt my life was more like a flood, moving me in ways and places that I would never have expected. This story is an account of some difficult and exciting times in the course of that joyous overflowing.

The Money Mentor: A Tale of Finding Financial Freedom

If you don’t want to wait two weeks for the next post in this series, you can purchase The Money Mentor on Amazon.