Dramaquill's All Things Writing

January 22, 2015

Writers Digest online website

Filed under: Writing — dramaquill @ 2:43 PM

If you are looking for information on pretty much anything to do with writing and the publishing biz, check out http://www.writersdigest.com.

They have articles, editors’ blogs, information about upcoming events and competitions, a community forum and lots of other resources.  You can also sign up to receive the free ezine, which I highly recommend.



December 10, 2014

My suspense novel, “When Love Won’t Die” is published

Filed under: Writing — dramaquill @ 2:49 PM

It’s an exciting day for me today!

After all the disappointment of my former publisher going out of business, I could not have been happier to find a new publisher for my suspense novel, “When Love Won’t Die”.  Splice Publishing is a new start up and I’m excited to say that my book is now available in print as well as e-book formats for Kindle, Nook and Kobo.

It’s been a long journey, on an often winding road, but I’m thankful that with each twist and turn I’ve learned something about writing, publishing, marketing, and all the other aspects of becoming a published author.

My book is available for purchase at any of the following online retailers:


http://www.amazon.com/When-Love-Wont-Jacqueline-McMahon/dp/1987854012/ref=tmm_pap_title_0My book in PRINT 2.JPG My book in PRINT 1.JPG




December 8, 2014

I didn’t finish Nanowrimo – am I a failure?

First of all, congratulations to all those writers who conquered and won the Nanowrimo 50,000 word challenge.  I salute you!

I chose a WIP (“Summer at Birch Beach”) this year.  I had about two thirds of it written in a very rough draft.  I thought I would use Nano to not only finish the rough draft but also begin working on an amazing revision.  After the month was up, I would have a new manuscript to shop around.  Needless to say, after about a week, and 8859 words, my Nano writing got detailed.

Since I didn’t finish Nano, am I a failure?  If you didn’t finish, are you?

Let’s look at what I did accomplish during November:

  • Secured a contract with a new publisher for my suspense novel, “When Love Won’t Die”
  • Finished the second act of a full length melodrama play for my acting class
  • Wrote lyrics, music and accompaniment for two original songs for the melodrama
  • Started final revisions on my sequel, “Amorous Obsession”
  • Wrote a synopsis for the back of the print version of my book
  • Wrote a query letter for my sequel

I may not have managed the 50,000 word goal on “Summer at Birch Beach” but I wrote every day.  The melodrama script had to be finished by December 1st so the students could begin learning their lines, blocking scenes and singing new songs.  I had to do a small revision for my new publisher so that I could get my book up before Christmas.  And now that my suspense novel is available again, that inspired me to work on the sequel.

So…I did NOT win Nanowrimo.

But I did win the writing battle.

If you didn’t complete the 50,000 word journey of Nanowrimo this year, you aren’t a failure.  Just signing up and giving it a try deserves a high five.  You did write.  You do have a word count.  Now…keep going!  It will pay off.

To purchase “When Love Won’t Die” in ebook Kindle format OR in print, go to:


July 3, 2014

Top Five Questions to ask yourself about your current WIP

Filed under: Writing — dramaquill @ 1:55 PM
Tags: , , , ,

1. Is this my very best version or do I need to do more revising?

2. Am I passionate enough about this WIP to keep going until it’s

3. What do I want to accomplish by writing this?

4. Is this something I think others will want to read?

5. Am I setting aside time everyday to work on it?

June 25, 2014

Should you work on more than one manuscript at a time?

My business closes every summer for six weeks. As much as I love what I do, this holiday time allows me the luxury of working on myown personal writing projects, rather than the writing I do for work during the school year.

Currently, I have a finished draft of my second suspense novel. It has gone through a round of critiques and I am ready to do one more revision before it’s ready to sub out to publishers and agents.

I have about half of a third suspense novel that I started last summer.

I also have three quarters of my YA novel completed and a game plan for how the book will end.

I recently completed the first chapter of a new novel, with a quirky character, that I think has great potential.

So which one do I choose to work on?

It would seem that I should focus all my energy on revising the completed suspense novel so that I can start subbing it out. And for the most part, I believe that is exactly what I am going to do for the next six weeks.

But what about those days when my head just isn’t in the right zone for suspense? Or when I’ve hit an obstacle and aren’t quite sure how I want to handle it yet?

For me, it’s very healthy to turn to something else. My creativity may still be flowing, just not in the direction of my first project. I love having the option of opening up a completely different world and writing new words.

Revisions are necessary in order to ensure that you have the best manuscript possible but revising can be tough. When my head isn’t cooperating in revision mode, I switch to writing mode.

I know what you’re thinking. A lot of folks who jump from one manuscript to another end up with a computer full of unfinished projects. I do agree that this can certainly be a possibility.

We all work differently. For me, having the option of switching to something else is sometimes exactly the jump start I need to get back to the original project.

I’ve worked like this all my life. I’ve finished three full length plays, several one acts, an adult suspense novel, numerous articles and maintained this blog. So for me, working on multiple projects at the same time keeps my creativity flowing.

Do you work on more than one manuscript at the same time?

May 20, 2014

Writing contests – 2014

Writing contests can be a terrific way to get your manuscript seen by those in the publishing biz. Often, prizes include publication.

If you do choose a contest with an entry fee, make sure that the prizes warrant the fee charged.

Here’s a short list to get you inspired:





Remember to read all contest info. carefully before sending your manuscript.

Now what are you waiting for?

May 12, 2014

Summer Writing Retreats and Workshops

Spring has finally arrived and with it comes the anticipation of those wonderful long sunny days of summer.  Writing outside is one of my favorite summer activities.  I’m inspired by the fresh smell of the wind, the sun on my face and the extra hours of daylight.

Thinking about taking a writing vacation this summer?  Somewhere where you can do nothing but write?

Here are a few great resources:







Where will you be writing this summer?


March 15, 2014

2014’s 100 best websites for writers

Filed under: Writing — dramaquill @ 3:43 PM

I’ve felt much like a hermit this winter. It’s been the coldest and snowiest winter in decades. For most folks it’s been a problematic winter. For writers, it’s been a gift. What better excuse for staying home and writing than the weather.

I finished my second suspense novel, Amorous Obsession, thanks to this awful winter. I’m currently deciding which book manuscript to pick up and finish next.

I’ve also had more time to surf writing sites, read articles, read e-zines and even do some research.

I found this gem that I’d like to share with everyone:

Check it out! I’m going to do that right now.

February 10, 2014

What the Olympics can teach you about Writing

Filed under: Writing — dramaquill @ 3:34 PM

Like so many folks, I’ve been watching the Olympic Winter Games and enjoying learning about the different athletes and their different sporting events.

As I sat in front of the TV, (not doing any writing) I thought about what so many of the athletes said in their interviews – how difficult getting to the Olympic games had been for them. And yet, there they were, despite all sorts of obstacles.

It got me thinking about writing and the many difficulties writers face:
*writers block*
*submission guidelines*
*finding an agent*
*marketing and promotion*
*finding time to write*

The athletes train everyday.
Writers need to write everyday.

The athletes are all part of a team. (even those in solo events have a team of coaches and supporters encouraging them)
A writer’s team consists of critique partners, editors, publishers, agents etc.

The athletes work toward goals.
Writers need goals too (contests/deadlines/# of words per day)

The athletes take care of themselves physically, mentally and emotionally.
Writers who take breaks for exercise, eat healthy foods and get enough sleep will be able to think more clearly and accomplish a great deal every day.

The athletes devote their time to their sport, making whatever sacrifices they need to in order to train.
Writers often complain that they don’t have enough time. Take a look at little things that can be removed from the day-to-day routine:  get up 30 min. earlier or go to bed 30 min. later/watch less TV/let your
phone screen calls when you’re writing.

The athletes keep a positive attitude.
It’s easy for writers to get discouraged and feel like giving up. How badly do you want it? Don’t let those rejections stop you.

The athletes push themselves and their boundaries outside of their comfort zone.
As a writer I find it stimulating to try writing in genres outside my comfort zone just as creative exercises or to query a new publication, even if it’s one that’s known to be difficult to get an acceptance from.  

Athletes strive to win races and medals.
Writers strive for acceptances and contracts.

Watch the Olympic games today. Maybe you’ll get that inspiration you need for your writing.

January 18, 2014

Tips for Writing Suspense

Filed under: Writing — dramaquill @ 7:57 PM

All writers want to keep their readers engaged in page turn after page turn.  Writing great suspense can be very difficult.  Check out these links for great ideas from some of today’s best suspense writers:

How does Stephen King create suspense?

Where does Mary Higgins Clark get her inspiration for all those different stories?

What did Agatha Christie do to become the best selling novelist of all times?

Why did Janet Evanovich switch from romance to mystery and suspense?

Do you follow John Grisham’s Ten Commandments of how to write a thriller?

What’s the best way to improve your own suspense writing?  Learn from the best.


December 31, 2013

Make 2014 your year

Filed under: Writing — dramaquill @ 5:03 PM

Instead of making resolutions (and feeling like a failure if you don’t live up to them), why not just look to 2014 as the year you will devote as much time as possible to your writing career…period.

If life gets in the way, then deal with the hurdles.

If you don’t work on one project, work on another one.

If you really want to get an agent or to get a traditional publisher, polish up those query letters and sub them out.

If you don’t feel confident in an area of your writing, read books, take courses, find information and perfect that flaw. (Personally, I’m still working on voice again this year)

If you want clips, target some publications, write you best material and submit it.

If you want it, then go get it!

Make 2014 your best year yet!

Happy New Year!


December 11, 2013

Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine

Love writing a good mystery but not sure you want to write a novel?

Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine is a monthly digest filled with stories dripping with mystery and suspense in all its genres and sub-genres.  It’s been around since 1956 and continues to provide readers with page turning short stories, plus a book review, a puzzle and more.

If you’re not familiar with the magazine, I recommend reading a few issues or at the least, ordering a sample copy to get the feel for the style of the magazine and the types of stories included.

Writers’ guidelines can be found here:  http://www.themysteryplace.com/ahmm/guidelines/


November 29, 2013

Writers – What Are You Thankful For?

Filed under: Writing — dramaquill @ 11:40 AM
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in the United States. That got me to thinking. As a writer, what am I thankful for?

1. The internet
It no longer matters where you live. You can write from
anywhere and be connected to publishers, editors,
agents, critique groups, book clubs, ezines…anything you

2. A computer
Although I do love writing with pen and notebook, being
able to create my documents on a computer and email
them, rather than print and mail them, is not only handy
but also saves me money.

3. Brick and Mortar Book stores
As much as the world seems to moving into a more
digital direction, nothing is more of an indulgence than
wandering through a store with shelves brimming with
books of all kinds.  Book stores are definitely one of my
guilty pleasures.

4. My Day Job
Yes, I’ve been known to complain that I don’t always have
enough time to write my books because I have to go to
work, but I’m also very lucky because part of what I do
in my job is writing (playscripts & business correspondence).

5. My Followers
Being online can sometimes feel very impersonal and
blog posts can seemingly be lost out in cyberspace
somewhere. How thankful I am for my blog follwers.
Some comment. Some contact me. Some simply read
my posts. But…I know you’re out there and that keeps
me motivated to keep blogging.

Writers – What are you thankful for?

November 22, 2013

Chuck Sambuchino’s Guide to Literary Agents

A few years ago I received an email from a fellow named Chuck Sambuchino, inquiring about an article I had written on the business of playwriting.  He wanted to publish it in the Writer’s Digest Market Book, “Screenwriter’s and Playwright’s Markets” (both 2009 and 2010 volumes).  Of course I was thrilled and with some editing and tweaking a new article was born.

This was the first time I had heard of Mr. Sambuchino and I soon found that he had an amazing web presence and a vast knowledge of the writing biz and in particular, agents.  I’ve been following his blog and newsletter ever since.

Today, I’d like to share his links with my readers.  Whether you’re actively seeking an agent right now or you’re interested in knowing more about what it takes to get one, I’m sure you’ll find lots of valuable information in his blog, articles and books.





November 18, 2013

Barbara Park, Junie B. Jones author, dead at age 66

Before I settled into writing novels in the adult suspense genre, I dabbled in writing for children. Several of my poems were published in Hopscotch for Girls magazine, WeeOnes online, Dragonfly Spirit and My Friend Magazine.

I also enjoyed writing stories for kids and at one point thought about taking the adventures of some of my characters in chapter books, MG novels or even YA.

For research, I read a lot of books in the kidlit field, but I must say that the Junie B. Jones series, by Barbara Parks, was one of my all time favourites. June B is a hilariously charming and funny girl who’s take on life’s ordinary occurrences entertains adults as much as the children who read the books.

Today, as I checked my emails and ezines, I read about the passing of Barbara Park, the Junie B. Jones author. She was only sixty-six years of age.

It got me to thinking  not only about myself ,but about so many other writers who complain that they don’t have the time to sit down and write.

Well, we’d all better make the time. We never know how long we’ll be lucky enough to grace planet earth with our existence.

Whether you’re a Junie B. Jones fan or not, Park’s success with this series proves that great writing sells books.

Check out this article from NYdailynew.com:

If you really want to write, make the time –  for tomorrow is not guaranteed to any one of us.

« Previous PageNext Page »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.