Posts tagged with: Winter Writing Festival

Guest Annabeth Albert Talks About How the WWF Changed Her Writing Career!

Today the Rubies are welcoming a special guest, Annabeth Albert, a longtime Friend of the Rubies who first found her true writing groove during a Winter Writing Festival a few years ago. She’s here today to share some important writing lessons she’s learned that launched her professional career.

Annabeth grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter.  In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two toddlers.

Take it away, Annabeth!


Thank you so much to the fabulous Rubies for hosting me! I’m a long time Ruby fan (Ruby groupie? Can that be a thing? Please?), and this year marked my fourth Winter Writing Festival. That first year was a huge turning point for me—I went from sporadic 500 word days to consistent 1,000 word days and a finished book by the end of WWF 2012. That particular book didn’t sell, but the next year, I was back with a new WIP. I spent the 2013 WWF finishing that new manuscript and doing some serious rewriting on it. The 2014 WWF will always be special to me because I received word during it that I sold both my 2013 WWF book (TREBLE MAKER) AND my 2014 WWF book (SERVED HOT). And today is the release day for SERVED HOT!

DSC_7026authorFacingRight-266x300I’ve waited a long time for this day, and I really credit the WWF with changing how I write and how I prioritize my writing. I want to share with you some of my tips for keeping productivity high as the challenge comes to an end.

It helps to think of writing as a business, and like any business, you need a business plan to capitalize on your success. A bit of strategic planning now will serve you all the way until the next WWF. First, take a quick minute to list five truths you’ve learned about yourself as writer during the challenge. These can be positive or negative and just jot down whatever comes to mind. For example:

  • I can write in short bursts throughout the day, but long sessions aren’t as productive for me.
  • I write faster in the morning and late at night, and slowest in the late morning/afternoon.
  • I am more likely to avoid the lure of the internet when I know others are also working.
  • Keeping track of my weekly word/page count is a huge motivator.
  • I am a plotter & if my word count is dropping, something may be wrong with my outline.

Now, take your list and brainstorm how you can apply it to a daily writing plan.

Winter Writing Festival: Check-in #5

We’re on the other side of halfway now, and I’m still feeling the inspirational, high-energy vibes I was feeling back in the first week. Thank you all for keeping me motivated to meet my daily, weekly, and festival goals. I hope you’re continuing to find the support and enthusiasm you need to meet your goals, too!

How did you do this past week? Good or bad, remember to share your progress below for some cheers and commiseration. If you need a boost, don’t forget to check out the chat room for sprints. I always find those motivational! And if you put “I MADE MY GOALS” at the top of your comment, you’re entered for a chance to win one of these fabulous prizes to keep you sprinting toward that finish line:





*If you’re reading this on the Festival website (the blue site), make sure you jump over to the regular Ruby Slippered Sisterhood blog (the ruby-colored site, at before leaving your comment!

Winter Writing Festival: Check-in #1

We’re one week into our Winter Writing Festival and the chat rooms have been hopping, the initial goal setting and energy level have been inspirational, and I’ve had a number of writers telling me they “needed this right now.”

So did I. You all have motivated me to work hard and keep the momentum going. Even on days when the words aren’t flowing, I’m finding it productive to listen to RWA conference workshops, read a copy of RWR, spend time plotting, or perform any number of writing-related activities. And the sprints have definitely helped my word count along.

So, after seven days, how’s it going for you? Are you doing great? Hitting a wall? Consuming vast amounts of caffeine and chocolate? Remember, this festival is meant to promote productivity, which is why point-earning is flexible. Do you need to adjust your goals? Find a new motivation? Commit to stopping by the chat room to sprint this week?

Share your progress in the comments below for some cyber cheers or commiseration. And if you’ve met your weekly goal (earned at least 7 points), say “I MADE MY WEEKLY GOAL” at the top of your comment for a chance to win some amazing prizes to keep you going:

 check in 1 covers


 *PLEASE NOTE: If you’re reading this post on the Festival website (the blue site), make sure you jump over to the regular Ruby Slippered Sisterhood blog (the ruby-colored site, at before leaving your comment!

 Be sure to leave a comment below and mention “I MADE MY WEEKLY GOAL” for a chance to win. Good luck to you all as the festival continues. Happy writing!

–Anne Marie

Announcing the 2015 Ruby Winter Writing Festival!!!

Caught up in the holiday frenzy?

Remember to pencil in a little post-holiday gift for yourself: THE FIFTH ANNUAL RUBY SLIPPERED SISTERHOOD WINTER WRITING FESTIVAL STARTS JANUARY 12, 2015!!!

If you’ve joined us for the Winter Writing Festival any time during the past four years, you know it can be a tremendously productive time, with lots of inspiring support and the magic of REGULAR WRITING SPRINTS!!

It’s completely free, and all writers are welcome—the more the merrier!

Through the bleakest part of winter—January 12 through March 2 this year (since February ends during a weekend)—the Winter Writing Festival will be here to keep your creative fires burning, with camaraderie, encouragement, fun prizes for participants, and as much virtual hot-chocolate (and virtual cookies!!) as you please. ‘Cause nobody’s Muse can resist a party!

Here’s the beauty part:  unlike NaNoWriMo and other writing challenges that (much as we love them!!) have a one-size-fits-all approach, the Ruby Winter Writing Festival is designed for you.

No matter what stage you’re at right now (brainstorming, plotting, free-writing, fast-drafting, slow-drafting, revising, layering, polishing…or any combination of the above) the Ruby Winter Writing Festival wants to give you fuel for your winter writing fire.

We use a “point” system, with a goal of earning one point on average per day.

Everybody gets one bonus point on the first day for stopping by the Ruby blog and making a public commitment to take part in the Festival. Then, for each of the 50 days of the Festival (including January 12), you work to earn an additional point—and YOU DEFINE WHAT IT TAKES TO EARN THAT POINT.

Here are some examples of the sorts of things you might define as worth one point (you fill in the variables with the amounts that work for you):

-writing X number of words or pages

-deep revising Y number of pages

-polishing Z number of pages

-freewriting / brainstorming for Q number of minutes/hours

-doing R number of 20-minute writing sprints

-keeping butt in chair and hands on keyboard for S number of minutes or hours

For instance, one person might commit to earning points according to the following terms:

-writing 500 words per day  OR

-deep revising 10 pages per day OR

-doing a final polish on 25 pages per day OR

-participating in an hour of writing sprints

Any day that person meets ANY of those goals, she gets a point.

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO CAN’T PREDICTABLY WORK *DAILY* BUT KNOW YOU CAN ACCOMPLISH A GOAL BY THE END OF A *WEEK*, we’re also officially giving you permission (not that you ever needed it!) to set a weekly instead of a daily goal, and then give yourself 7 points when you make it!! (See? It’s SUPER CHILL AND FLEXIBLE around here.)

You can also give yourself BONUS POINTS for auxiliary goals, like writing new words every day for seven days in a row, or reaching a certain word count by the end of a week, or writing THE END on a manuscript. Be creative with how you set up earning your points. Make them work with your personal writing style and writing needs.

If you can’t meet your goal on any particular day (or week), you can certainly double or triple or quadruple your goal on another day (or week) to catch up.

And if you know ahead of time that you can never work on certain days (say, Saturdays) feel free to add something like “Keep balance in my life by taking Saturday off” to your personal list of ‘ways to earn a point.’ Yes, really, you can get a point for taking a planned day off!! Don’t be shy.

Remember, we all have different life commitments and different approaches to our writing lives, so we all need to set our own goals. All goals are equally worthy. This isn’t a competition, it’s a supportive process for MOVING FORWARD WITH OUR WRITING.

Check in on the Ruby blog every Monday during the Festival to report your progress. If you reach March 2 with at least 50 points, YOU WIN!!

Because we’re the Rubies, and we like to do things up right (and…okay, because we have the awesome Liz Bemis of we’ll even have a special sister website up and running during the Festival which you can access by going to or by clicking the blue “Ruby Winter Writing Festival” button which will soon appear near the top of the Ruby site.

Everyone who commits to participating on January 12 will be able to download a cool “Ruby Winter Writing Festival Participant” badge (similar to what’s shown at the top of this post) to post on their own website or blog.

Plus, everyone who checks in on a Monday reporting that they’re on track with earning points will be entered in random drawings for cool prizes, like copies of craft books, copies of books by published Rubies, and expert critiques from the Sisters!

If you check in on Friday, February 28 and report you’ve WON, you’ll be able to download a “Ruby Winter Writing Festival WINNER” badge to post on your website or blog.

And of course you’ll have the satisfaction of achieving a small boatload of wonderful shiny writing progress (not to mention eternal fame and glory…and cookies!).

What’s not to love?

Decide on your personal terms for earning points, and join us back here on Monday January 12 to get started!! And spread the word on your loops, Facebook, and personal websites! The more writers who join us, the stronger we’ll all be!

Winter Writing Festival Closing Ceremonies

embersGreetings, Festival Goers! Once again, we’ve reached Day Fifty of the Winter Writing Festival!

 This is our Final Check-In Thursday and Closing Ceremonies rolled into one.

 You still have ALL DAY today to work towards your goals–nothing ends until midnight your time. (As always, the Festival is always about YOU.)

After that, though, the great Writing Festival Torch (yup, it’s real, carved out of a gigantic ruby and guarded by handsome cabana boys…right here next to me as I write) will be extinguished until next year. But we know the embers will keep on glowing, and the Creative Fires will continue to burn bright inside each one of you!

 In the end, let us know if you made your goals!!  Once you’ve have reached 50 points based on your personal point system,  you can copy the fabulous .jpg below and post it proudly on your own website:


 We hope you’ll continue joining us right here on the Ruby blog for your daily dose of writing inspiration as we continue on our collective writing journeys.

Be sure to stop by the Ruby blog next Monday, March 3, to share your Reflections on the Winter Writing Festival–after you’ve had a few days for it all to sink in, tell us what you’ve learned in the process, and give us advice and ideas for making the Festival even BETTER next year.

Also, starting in the next couple weeks, we’ll begin counting down to the Golden Heart and Rita Nominations for 2014. And be sure to join us on  March 26 for our raucous CYBER-PARTY as the finalists’ names are announced. We’ve got our fingers crossed for some of the WWF Participants’ names being announced and want to pop a bottle of cyber-champagne with you!!!

Many of you have been asking whether sprints might be continuing even after the end of the Festival. The Chat Room over at will remain open. If any regular sprinting groups have plans to continue in your time slot, please say so in the comments below. Some Rubies have also proposed the use of a #rubysprint hashtag to call sprinters together. SPRINT ON, sisters and brothers!!

I want to take a quick moment now to thank our wonderful and amazing Ruby Sister Liz Bemis of who built both our websites! We could never have held this Festival without her!

 But now, grab a steaming mug of cyber-cocoa and some of our scrumptious Festival Finale cyber-brownies, and leave a comment below (jump to the Ruby blog, if you’re over on the WWF site) summing up your WWF experience.

 Of course, since we’re the Rubies, prizes are involved. Anyone who leaves a comment today will be entered in a random drawing to win one of the following:

 1) Captured Heart and Tangled Heart (set) by Heather McCollum.

2) A $10.00 Amazon gift certificate from Anne Marie Becker.

3) An e-copy of Capturing The Cowboy’s Heart by Lindsey Brookes.

4) A set of 3 books; The House of Steele Series: The Paris Assignment, The London Deception, The Rome Affair by Addison Fox. (USA only)

5) A $25.00 Amazon gift certificate from Darynda Jones.

6) A Kindle copy of PERFECT by Autumn Jordon 

7) A first chapter critique (contemporary romance-25 pages) by Kim Law and a gift pack of chocolate (US only).

cover check in 7

Plus, this year for the first time, we’ll be awarding our $250 Grand Prize Gift Card to one lucky Festival participant who checked in on every Check-In Friday AND can proudly say, “I EARNED ALL 50 POINTS DURING THE FESTIVAL!”

snow print


Thanks, everyone, for being with us this year!


It’s been such an honor to share in your incredible energy and creativity, and we wish you the best on your journey forward!


We’re hoping to meet as many of you as possible in person at Nationals…and we’re looking forward to seeing your Festival books on the shelves before too long!

Winter Writing Festival CHECK-IN (Week 5)

Here it is—already WEEK 5 !!!

If you’ve made your goals so far, you should have earned 36 POINTS! (The day one sign-up gave you a bonus point for the first day!) Don’t despair. You can always make up points. If you’ve fallen behind, just work on catching up over the next few weeks. Even writing nonsense is better than a blank page!

Here are a few suggestions on how to increase your chance of succeeding in making your goals.

Make your writing a top priority! Write SOMETHING every day, even if it’s just a chapter heading.

Set your goals to an achievable level to avoid discouraging yourself. You can always exceed your target. For example, I set my daily goal at 1,000 words a day, and I’ve been consistently writing over 1,500. So I have a surplus for the days I wake up feeling lousy or my electricity goes out.

Lose the all or nothing mindset. If you fall behind, don’t worry, just jump right back in and keep going!

Take advantage of our chat room It’s open at site. Check the times posted on the RSSWWF site (blue site) for your sprint hostesses and come join us. If there are no sprints scheduled, come hang out. Other writers frequently drop by hoping to find sprinting buddies. If you haven’t had a chance to try sprinting yet or if you’re not sure how it all works, Kim Law did a great post on how the sprints work right here.

The writers who sprint are usually more successful at making their goals and sticking with it to the end. I’ve gotten to know a lot of you in the chat room, and sprinting has been an invaluable tool to help me achieve my goals. Not to mention it’s LOTS OF FUN!

Now, share with us how you did this week and 5 lucky commenters will receive one of the five fabulous prizes below (1st winner gets first choice, 2nd winner gets second choice, etc.). So be sure to comment on this week’s progress, whether good, bad, or ugly. We want to cheer you on or commiserate. And remember—you can’t win the GRAND PRIZE at the end of the festival ($250 online gift certificate) if you don’t check-in every week.

Here’s the SWAG that’s up for grabs for Week 5

1) An e-copy of Her Hard To Resist Husband by Tina Beckett

2) An e-book Only in Vegas or Operation: Date Escape by Lindsey Brookes

3) A $20.00 Amazon gift certificate from Bev Pettersen.

4) Kindle version of Hotter in Atlanta by Liz Talley

5) A first chapter critique (contemporary romance-25 pages) by yours truly, Laurie Kellogg, and an e-copy of one of my books. RubyWeek 5 Checkin

*NOTE: If you’re reading this on the Festival website (the blue site), make sure you jump over to the regular Ruby Slippered Sisterhood blog (the ruby-colored site, at before leaving your comment!

Here’s hoping you make lots of progress this week as we sprint toward the finish line! Happy writing! We can do it!


Winter Writing Festival: Check-In #4


Wow, are we at the halfway point already?! As Elisa’s post on Tuesday pointed out, we’ve crossed the halfway point in this marathon.

You may be chugging right along, pacing yourself perfectly to cross that finish line on time and with your goals met. Or you may have tripped over a loose stone, run smack into a boulder, splashed through a puddle, fallen and skinned your knee, or gotten stuck in a poppy field.

I’m here to tell you that finish line is still reachable. (*adopts drill instructor tone*) Get yourself up, dust yourself off, and push, push, push. You can accomplish amazing things. I know you can.

Tell us how you did this week and 5 lucky commenters will receive one of the five fabulous prizes below (1st winner gets first choice, 2nd winner gets second choice, etc.). So be sure to comment on this week’s progress, whether good, bad, or ugly. We want to cheer you on or commiserate. And remember – you can’t win the GRAND PRIZE at the end of the festival ($250 online gift certificate) if you don’t check-in every week.

Here are the prizes up for grabs this week:

1) Tamara Hogan: Tempt Me in winner’s choice of format.  (Print USA only)

2) His Forever Girl (winner’s choice of format) by Liz Talley (Print USA only)

3) An autographed copy of Last Chance Knit & Stitch by Hope Ramsay (US ONLY)

4) A $20.00 Amazon gift certificate from Vanessa Barneveld.

5) A first chapter critique (25 page max) contemporary or romantic suspense by Autumn Jordon


TamaraHogan_TemptMe_100pxHisForeverGirl_300-142x225Last Chance Knit & Stitch coveramazongiftcardperfectsml

*If you’re reading this on the Festival website (the blue site), make sure you jump over to the regular Ruby Slippered Sisterhood blog (the ruby-colored site, at before leaving your comment!

Wishing you forward progress and happy writing vibes in the coming week! You can do it!

Winter Writing Festival Check-In Friday!

Hello Winter Writing Festival Participants! Welcome to our second Check-in Friday! So…how did you do this week? Did you meet your goals? Did your muse come out to dance, making your fingers fly across the keyboard and the dialogue flow without your conscious thought? Or were your kids home, demanding sippy cups and play dates until you had to lock yourself up in the closet to sprint to the end of your daily word goal?

We want to know! So make sure to comment on this blog on the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood site for your chance to win one of the 5 following prizes (1st winner picks first, 2nd winner picks second, and so on):











1) A Kindle copy of Romanced By The Redneck by Lindsey Brookes.

2) A $20.00 e-gift certificate to Powell’s Books from Shoshana Brown.

3) Two e-books (winner’s choice) by Vivi Andrews

4) A $10.00 Starbucks gift certificate from Tina Beckett

5) A first chapter critique (25 pages max) any genre by Anne Marie Becker.


If you are reading this on the blue WWF site, pop over to the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood site ( to comment. You must check in every week on the RSS site to be eligible for the grand $250 prize!


Wishing you every success this week!

Winter Writing Festival: Check-In #5

The Third Annual Ruby Slippered Sisterhood Winter Writing Festival is coming to the end of its fifth week. It’s hard to believe we’re on Day 36 of the festival – people have been doing an outstanding job meeting their goals and it’s time to celebrate!

Today we complete our 5th full week, and it’s time to officially check in!

If you’re reading this on the Festival website (the blue site), jump on over to the regular Ruby Slippered Sisterhood blog (the ruby-colored site, at and leave a quick comment about your experience with the Festival and your progress so far.

A few odds -n- ends before we get to the goodies.


Our Chat Room  is open over at the site. You can check the times that are posted on the RSSWWF site (blue site) for your sprint hostesses and come join us.

If you haven’t had a chance to drop in yet or if you’re not sure how it all works, Kim Law put together a great post on how the sprints work right here.

2. If you’ve made your goals so far, you should be at 36 POINTS! (The day one sign up got you a bonus point for the first day!) Don’t forget, you can always make up points so if you’ve fallen behind, just work on catching up over the next few weeks. All writing is good writing!

If you made your goals, please add a line in your comment in all caps saying I MADE MY GOAL!!! You will hear us cheering loudly!!!

If you’ve fallen a bit behind, don’t worry, just jump right back on and keep going!

3. There’s still time to download your Festival Participant Badge right here:

If you’d like to post the badge to your personal site, you can grab it here.  Just right-click on the badge below, choose “SAVE IMAGE AS” and save it to your computer. You can then upload it to your own website as you please!

writing-fest-2012-template copy



Anyone who checks in at the Ruby blog today will be entered in a random drawing to win one of the following prizes – don’t miss out!:

  • Synopsis critique (Amanda Brice)
  • A Breath of Scandal (print) by Elizabeth Essex
  • Edge of Light and 2-book set of Remnants series (eBook) by Cynthia Justlin: Her own Best Enemy and Intrusion
  • Ruby-slipper ring holder (Gwynlyn MacKenzie)
  • $20 Amazon Card (Diana Layne)

So come join us and let us know how you’re doing! How did Week #5 go? Did you make your goals?

I hope you dance

I’m sure you’ve all heard the song “I hope you dance.” It came back to me forcefully in, of all places, dance class.

I call the class “Line Dancing for Zombies.” While many of our classmates are young and active, we have one lady who is 91 and another in her mid 80s. One of my classmates had a complete knee replacement less than six months ago and is dancing rings around me because I dance like a pregnant water buffalo. A good reason to line dance. It saves on apologies to partners.

Today we had a man join our class who is on portable oxygen. He didn’t know any of the steps; none of us do when we first join. He had the extra weight of the oxygen tank to carry with him as we moved and turned. He shuffled through the class, watching what the rest of us were doing and trying to keep up.

He made it through the class. He had the choice to sit out exercise with his oxygen bottle or make the effort to come in to the YMCA and dance, and he danced. It was his own steps rather than what is choreographed for each piece of music as he tried to figure out what we were doing, but he danced.

We’re two weeks into the Winter Writing Festival. By now the first flush of excitement is over, and the tedious slog of doing what you said you would do every day is wearing you down. Things are coming up in your life. The dust bunnies are multiplying, the kids are coming down with the flu, a new project has come up at work demanding more of your time.

Like the man who had the extra weight of the oxygen bottle and lungs that must have quickly begun to burn from the need to rest, you have a choice. You can sit out putting those words on paper or on the computer screen, or your fingers can dance across the keyboard. I hope you dance.

How is the Winter Writing Festival going for you?

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