Live from SWA All Week

I made it to St. Simons Island, Ga., last night—unscathed—and I’m gearing up for my third year at the Southeastern Writers Association conference (35th year for them!).

As my regular blog peeps know, I have returned this year as an instructor (my session on journalistic writing is Wednesday, so if you’re here and you want to catch it, come on down!).

All week, I’ll be blogging about my adventures as well as sharing notes from the sessions I attend—so stop back.

With only about two hours underway:

  • I announced to the entire conference I have poison in my room
  • Author David L. Robbins told me I have Justin Bieber hair

What will tomorrow bring?

Do you see it??

If you missed my SWA presenter profiles and interviews, click here for a complete list.

Writing News: My Guest Post over at GLA

As you may or may not know, I am a contributor to Writer’s Digest Books (with articles forthcoming in the 2011 and 2012 editions of Chuck Sambuchino’s Guide to Literary Agents as well as the 2011 editions of both Alice Pope’s Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market and Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market).  From time to time, I also interview literary agents  for Chuck’s Guide to Literary Agents blog.

My article in the upcoming GLA deals with maximizing your writers conference experience, and to gear up for that as well as my speaking engagement at the 35th annual Southeastern Writers Association conference next month, I guest blogged over at the GLA blog today.

Here’s the link to my post, “How to Have an Awesome Time at a Writers Conference.”

Hope you enjoy!

Suspense, Daphne du Maurier, and Ruining Literature with Film “Adaptations”

I recently judged a writing contest for the Kiss of Death Chapter of Romance Writers of America—which is partial to the suspense writings of Daphne Du Maurier (Rebecca, “The Birds,” etc.)—and the contest coordinator, Donnell Bell, asked me to pen a guest post for Five Scribes, the group blog to which she contributes.

The post went up yesterday; it’s on suspense and how I taught it to my eighth graders using Daphne du Maurier’s “The Birds” and Alfred Hitchcock’s film of the same name.  Check it out!

I'm not a fan of the film, but how awesome is this BIRDS Barbie?

Because I also touch on the idea of books versus movies—specifically calling out Kenneth Branagh’s 1994 abomination, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein—in the comments section, Bell asked me if there are any films I deem better than the books . . . I’m stumped.

Do you know of any?  I’m having trouble here . . .

Remember, in the book, when the Creature decapitates Elizabeth and Dr. Frankenstein attaches her head to another body? No?? Oh yeah - because that doesn't happen.

Writing News: My Guest Post for YA Author Steph Bowe is Up

As I announced a few weeks ago, I was chosen to guest blog for 16-year-old young adult author Steph Bowe’s blog, Hey! Teenager of the Year.

All this month, the young Aussie is featuring a series of guest posts on young adult lit—trends, subgenres, popular books, writing/publishing tips.

My post, “To Leet or Not to Leet” is on leet speak (or “text message lingo”) and its place in young adult literature.  It’s a subject that has been on my mind a lot lately, and I’d love to hear your thoughts—so feel free to comment!

Click here to check out my post.

As someone who sent three query letters - two of which resulted in offers of representation - Bowe is one YA author from whom we can all learn a lot.

Bowe’s debut novel (working title: These Bones) will be published this September in Australia and New Zealand (Text Publishing) and the summer of 2011 in the U.S. (Egmont USA).

Writing News: I’m Guest Blogging for YA Up-and-Comer Steph Bowe

This post is two-fold.

This fortune teller, however, has more folds than that.

First of all, I’m excited to announce I’ll be guest blogging for 16-year-old young adult author Steph Bowe‘s blog, Hey! Teenager of the Year.

Throughout March, the young Aussie will be featuring a series of guest posts on young adult lit—trends, subgenres, popular books, writing/publishing tips—and I am privileged enough to have been chosen as a contributor.

As someone who sent three query letters - two of which resulted in offers of representation - Bowe is one YA author from whom we can all learn a lot.

Bowe’s debut novel (working title: These Bones) will be published this September in Australia and New Zealand (Text Publishing) and the summer of 2011 in the U.S. (Egmont USA).

Click here to check out her blog—and don’t forget to stop back there March 8, when my piece on leet speak/text message lingo will run.  (Don’t worry; I’ll remind you.)


Second of all, Bowe hosts a number of contests on her blog—including one I want to win so bad I can taste the ink on the page (it’s for an advanced reading copy of Will Grayson, Will Grayson, which just so happens to have been written by two of my favorite young-adult writers, New York Times bestselling authors John Green and David Levithan).

This contest closes Feb. 28, but Bowe has a slew of other giveaways . . . so, be a dear and go for one of those – because I really really really want to win this one!

Molly: "Pleeeeeease pick my mommie, Steph!"

Writing News: I’m Presenting at RWA Nationals

Last week, I got the fabulous news that I’ll be presenting at the 30th annual Romance Writers of America national conference in Orlando, Fla.

In my workshop, “Sweat the Small Stuff: Getting Your Work Read & Represented,” we will polish and perfect the all-too-often overlooked details in query letters and manuscripts—proper grammar and formatting—in order to get the attention of agents and editors and have a better chance of getting work read and represented.


Millions of writers think they have written “the great American novel” and, regardless of how they submit it, some literary agent will fall in love with the story, sign them, and an editor will clean up their grammatical and formatting messes.  However, in today’s economy, agents and publishing houses cannot afford to take chances, so new writers are under pressure not only to have a top-notch story, but also to submit it in pristine condition.

Although submission guidelines differ from agency to agency, certain grammatical and formatting standards run industry wide, and, besides good writing, producing clean, properly-formatted copy is a quick and easy way serious writers can set their work apart from the amateurs in the slush pile.


This session will teach the basics of grammar and Chicago Style manuscript formatting by analyzing examples not only brought in by me, but from those in the class as well.  Attendees will either submit ahead of time or bring in transparencies (that decision is up to RWA) of their query letters and/or the first two pages of their manuscript.  We will dissect, tighten and clean up the mistakes in a sort of a slush session, right before their eyes.

I will reinforce that, if you give agents a break, you’ll be giving yourself a break—you’ll avoid silly mistakes that will result in rejection before an agent has even read sentence one.  Students will learn how to set themselves apart with clean copy and give their work a fighting chance.

Clean up your work!

Ketchup & Contest

I’m back, my lovelies—and apparently creepy! (Lovelies? Really??)

This is how much catch-up we need to do!


For the past seven days, I Cullened it up with my sleep schedule, and around 8 o’clock Friday morning, I officially finished editing and formatting my manuscript.

In the last five months, my novel got a bit of a facelift—including a 20K word cut and a new title—and it’s looking better than I could have imagined when I started it three years ago.  Now, it’s full speed ahead toward the rejection—I mean query—process!

On slightly-more-normal-hours, I had a nice celebratory dinner with the hubs last night (man, was it nice to leave the house!), and we treated ourselves to a weekend of home improvement, which has begun with painting our living room, dining room, and kitchen in our new house.  (I decided to take the weekend off from writing…and, of course, haven’t stuck to it at all!)


Feeling a little out of the loop from being MIA for a week, I’d like to kick off my return to blogging and Tweeting and Facebooking and showering (I mean, um…) by hosting a little contest here on the blog.


As a nod to the beginning of my querying journey, the winner will receive a brand-new copy of the 2010 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino!

Here’s the Writer’s Digest description of the book, for those of you who might be unfamiliar with this fabulous resource:

“Now in its 19th year, Guide to Literary Agents is a writer’s best resource for finding a literary agent who can represent their work to publishing houses, big and small. This edition offers more than 750 updated listings for individual agents, and more than 80 pages of original articles on finding the best agent to represent your work and how to seal the deal. From identifying your genre to writing query letters to avoiding agent pet peeves, the Guide to Literary Agents helps writers deal with agents every step of the way. Includes exclusive access to online listings on”

There might be second- and third-place prizes as well, depending upon the amount of entries I receive, the overall awesomeness of them, and whether or not I can come up with something else.  I have a few ideas brewing…I’ll keep you posted.


Now that I have your attention with the awesome prize, here’s how to get your grubby little hands on it:

I am always reading and researching writing Web sites and blogs (see my last blogosphere post, if you don’t believe me).  At the same time, I am always looking for new ones to add to my online library.

For this contest, all you need to do is provide me with the URL of your favorite writing Web site or blog.

Entries can focus on anything from crafting to the industry.  **If you’re picking a blog, please send me the specific URL of one of your favorite posts from said blog.**

All entries should be informative or awesome—but preferably both!  I will be the sole judge, and my favorite will be the winner.


All you need to do to enter is either:

  • leave the URL of your choice in the comments of this post


  • e-mail it to me at


Although my blog traffic has quadrupled since November, I want to reach more writers!

Mmm - peanut butter swirl!

That said, any entrant who Retweets my blog posts this week (I always Tweet them as I post them) or posts a link to my blog on his or her blog will earn “extra credit.”

I will check my Twitter replies daily, but if you blog about this contest or link to my blog somewhere, please shoot me an e-mail to let me know so I can figure in your “extra credit.”

If you’re not already following me on Twitter, click on my Twitter ID (@RickiSchultz) or my latest Tweets, located at the bottom right of this blog.

**If you don’t have a Twitter account or a blog, fear not.  This will not necessarily determine the winner – but it will probably help me in the event of a tie.


All entries must be received by Tuesday, January 26 at 12:00 A.M. EST. No exceptions!

Questions? No? OK—good!  Now, get out there and dazzle me with the most mind-blowingly amazing writing sites and blogs you’ve ever seen!

If your sites are so-so, you might want to consider using a Bedazzler. How much more badass is this crappy Hello Kitty PC?