Thursday, August 25, 2011

What Is Your Ideal Writing Space Like?



I was so jealous of my husband the other day. He was out of town on business and called me saying he was sitting on his hotel balcony (beer in hand of course), looking out at the ocean and at Celine Dion’s mansion. I could care less about Celine Dion’s house (although I do love her) but it was the ocean part that I was so envious of. The first thing that popped into my head was… how that kind of setting would be so perfect for writing. Wouldn’t looking out at the peaceful ocean waves just bring me all kinds of inspiration?


I believe I could look at water forever. My hopes and dreams for retirement someday are to have water outside my back patio whether it’s a beautiful sparkling pool with a waterfall, a lake or even a river. I don’t care, I just want water to look at. And a glass of wine would help too.

So you would think that water would really give me inspiration to write, however in reality, when I think about the settings where I do my best writing, they don’t involve any kind of scenery at all. Although I love looking at beautiful scenery, I tend to get distracted if it’s in person. I must admit though sometimes when I feel “writers block” I have found a picture of something mystical/beautiful for inspiration ideas. But in person, although the setting may give me some good inspiration for a new story, I have a hard time actually sitting and writing the story down. My mind just drifts off into la-la land without writing any of it down. I actually do my very best writing when I have complete silence and nothing but my computer in front of me.

It’s the same with reading for me. There can be no noise whatsoever or I lose my focus. What a pain.

So what about other writers? What kind of setting gives you the best inspiration? What is your ideal or dream writing space like?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

And the winner is......

Congratulations to the winners of Courtney Rene's contest and interview with me. Thanks to all those that participated and a special thank you to Courtney. You can still check out her interview with me or just her blog itself at http://www.ctnyrene.blogspot.com/.


 1st place winner of a copy of the book The Pea in Peanut Butter was Inluvwithwords (aka Ruth)

 2nd place winner of the goody bag was  Miranda Paul.

I will get those right out to you both!

By the way, here is the correct answers to the contest questions:

 1. Would Allyn prefer to live in Florida or Michigan? Michigan, I hate the heat!!
2.  Do you think Allyn contributes to the candy fund at work or does she have the actual candy bowl on her desk? 
     Both and I'm broke for it.
3.  Do you think Allyn would prefer to meet Donald Trump, Rosanne, or Star Jones? Rosanne. Donald and Star are way too boring for me!
4.  Would Allyn be better at Interior Design, Psychology, or a Movie critic? Actually, probably all 3. Don't ask me why I didn't pursue any of them!!
5.  If Allyn were given an opportunity to do one of the following, which would she turn down? 1) A chance to move anywhere in the United States   2) A photo shoot with Victoria Secret  3) A million dollars No doubt about it, the Victoria Secret photo shoot.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


http://megwaiteclayton.com/1stbooks/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/mybookshelves.jpg

Welcome to anyone who is visiting from the She Writes Blog Hop! I'm thrilled that you decided to stop by.

This is a great way to check out each others blog so enjoy! I'm looking forward to checking yours out as well.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

First off, don't forget to check out Courtney Rene's (author of Shadow Dancers) blog to read her interview with me and get your chance to win a free autographed copy of my new children's picture book The Pea In Peanut Butter or a doggy bag that contains a bookmark, magnet, stickers, and a few surprises from Louisiana. Since my post is about generosity today, I'll even throw in an extra doggy bag or two for the winner of that prize. Click here to enter Courtney's blog: http://ctnyrene.blogspot.com/2011/08/interview-with-allyn-stotz.html
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Now on to my post for this week...

ARE WRITERS GENEROUS PEOPLE?


Have you ever thought about that? Well my answer to that question is a definite “You betcha!”

Maybe we as writers didn’t start out thinking that we were necessarily generous people, however when you stop to think about everything and everyone that we have to give of ourselves to, I wonder if we aren’t some of the most generous people we know?

After all, think about how much writers give of themselves. We give anyone who will listen, thousands of our most intimate thoughts. We put them down on paper for their enjoyment. Let’s face it, most of us writers get next to nothing for that generosity, we just like doing it. We love dreaming and hoping that our words might make someone happy. That perhaps something we wrote might make a child smile and laugh. Our words might help someone through a difficult time in their life. And our words might take someone off into an adventure that they otherwise might never have been able to experience.

We writers give of our expertise to other writers by joining critique groups. If any of you are in one of those groups, think of everything that we learn from the group. We willingly trade writing secrets and knowledge to anyone that shows a desire to learn.

Most writers I know make time out of their busy schedules to check out other writers blogs and leave comments to help each other.

Let’s just admit it. We are AWESOME!!

So today, I’d like to continue on with that generosity and post a couple of my most helpful websites that I use in my storytelling and I challenge you to do the same.

Here is a site that I log onto almost every time I sit down to write a story. It’s a wonderful site that is full of ideas on how to describe places, actions, movement.

Next up is a wonderful thesaurus site:

Here is a great one to find words that rhyme:

This is another good site for descriptive verbage:

If you need to find a fairy or fantasy name, this is a great site for that. It also tells you what the name means.

And finally, here is a helpful site if you want to find out the readability age of your manuscript:

Now it’s your turn! If you are feeling generous today, let me know some of your favorite, most valuable writing sites or resources and hopefully we can both give some great help to another fellow writer who is in need of it. Let’s share the love!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Courtney Rene's Interview with me

Today the author of Shadow Dancer, Courtney Rene, is interviewing me about my new picture book The Pea In Peanut Butter. Hop on over to her blog to check it out and try your luck at answering a few questions about me and winning a free autographed copy of the book or a doggy bag. Here's the link! http://ctnyrene.blogspot.com/2011/08/interview-with-allyn-stotz.html



Hope to see you all there!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Picture Books vs Early Readers and Chapter Books


Being a writer has many conflicting theories. If you do any research on Picture Books you will run into many articles that say publishers don’t like talking animals. And yet when you see what picture books are out there, the majority of the most popular ones are with talking animals.

Research will also tell you that publishers aren’t publishing many picture books anymore because they are on their way out. And yet once again, the majority of the books on the shelves for small children are picture books. And they aren’t old picture books, they are newly released.

I decided that although my first love is writing picture books, I needed to branch out and learn to write early readers and chapter books. However, when I went to the bookstore to purchase a few for research purposes, there were very few books in either of those categories. And they seemed to all be series books. Don’t children read anymore or has this world turned into nothing but electronic gadgets?

Is the reason publishers aren’t publishing books for small children because parents don’t seem to have time to read to their kids anymore?  Instead they send them off to the TV room to watch a movie? Or to play video games and computer games?

It sure is a struggle to stay motivated in the writing world. I just received a rejection from a story I sent into a magazine 4 months ago! But to top that off, I went into my spreadsheet where I keep track of things I’m waiting to hear back from and had to not only gray that story out as a rejection but had to pink out another 5 stories. PINK OUT!! Now to everyone else, that color pink means nothing to you but I color code submissions, rejections, and dead in the water stories (you know, the ones where the publisher makes you suffer and just wait until their time frame has passed). And guess which one of those is pink. You guessed it. The sweat and wait for nothing submissions. At least with rejections you know they received your submission and now it’s time to move on. The dead in the water ones you aren’t even allowed to find out if they received it at all. Those are no fun.

Can anyone tell that I am a bit discouraged today? It just really takes a lot of self-confidence, endurance, patience, stubbornness, and love of writing to keep on fighting! Good thing I love it!

Okay, back to what my original post was really supposed to be about!

What is your take on picture books versus early readers and chapter books? Do you think one or the other is easier to write or get published in?

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Special announcement: Mark your calendars for August 15 so you can check out Courtney Rene’s interview with me (www.ctnyrene.blogspot.com) about my children’s picture book The Pea In Peanut Butter. And make sure you take the test at the end of the interview for your chance to win a free autographed copy or a free doggy bag!