• blog,  Pop Culture

    Shut Down Thinking!

    There are more and more stories online now about mobs in artistic communities attempting to shutdown wrongthink.  As you may remember, I experienced this in 2013 when I was writing dirty stories, scratch that, passionate stories that involved monogamous, heterosexual couples. Walter Kirn captured my experience in his Harpers article last year Illiberal Values.  Holiday works in accounting, not a colorful field, which is why she originally assumed her pen name. Soon she had another reason: politics. Though Holiday considered herself a liberal (“I was on the ‘coexist’ team”) and held impassioned environmental views that she’d promoted on an earlier blog (“I crusaded against plastic bags and all things plastic…

  • Grand Tier,  Orchestra,  Private Journal

    New Routines

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  • blog,  Book Reviews

    Book Review: A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash

    *Spoiler Alert* In A Land More Kind Than Home, Cash tells the story of a death that happens in a small church from three different points of view, each person giving different parts of the story. There is Adelaide Lyle who opens the book remembering how much has changed in the tiny North Carolina town where they live. She hints that these changes came about because of the actions or decisions of Carson Chambliss. The book is about a tragic event that changes the town forever. Read more about writing a great beginning with a great hook.  This first chapter is incredibly strong. It follows the full arc of a…

  • blog,  Going Offline,  Writing Journey - A Journal

    Seven Days Offline

    Last week, I decided to make a dramatic change in my life.  I wanted to quit social media.  I tried to quit in the past and failed, but this time I was more motivated than ever. I wanted to quit so I could focus more on my writing.  This has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. At first, I was just going to delete the apps from my phone and give myself a certain time of day to check in, but as my cousin reminds me, I’m not a woman who can “do moderation.” I’m more of an all or nothing kind of gal, so I pulled the…

  • blog,  Going Offline,  Header Slider

    Write Great Shit

    I started Kitten Holiday in October of 2013.  Since then, I’ve written ten stories, six hundred blog posts (insane, right?), and submitted articles to over twenty publications. I’ve published essays on numerous online publications and I’ve got a 40,000-word non-fiction book in draft and 75,000 words of scrap and freewriting for a novel–both have remained unfinished for two years. I need to focus and outline and edit and get the work done.  It’s time. My goal in starting Kitten Holiday was to get back into the routine of writing after a ten-year hiatus and to improve my skills.  I wanted to be able to take creative risks and push myself without feeling like…

  • blog,  On Writing

    Write Like A Boss: How to Establish Narrative Authority and Gain the Reader’s Trust

    This essay is a summary of the points made in my recent Write Naked, Die Famous Podcast on the topic of Beginnings. Use this article as a reference. Listen here: To write a great beginning that will keep the reader engaged, we’ve got to do three things: grab their attention, hook them with a promise and convince them that this story is the one they need to read. Convincing them takes a combination of persuasion and authority. Once we have their attention, enticing them with a promise is part of the persuasion — if the hook promises a payoff they are interested in, access to special information, a thrilling suspense,…

  • blog,  On Writing

    Mastering “The Hook” in Your Writing

    This essay is a summary of the points made in my recent Write Naked, Die Famous Podcast on the topic of Beginnings. Use this article as a reference. Listen here. Many of us think we can measure success in writing by sales, but any number of factors can impact your book sales that don’t have to do with your writing. You are a writer. Your job as a writer is not to sell units of books — that’s the job of the publisher and the bookstore. Your job as a writer is to keep the reader reading.  Keep her reading the next word, sentence, page, and chapter despite all the…

  • blog,  On Writing

    Are You Brainstorming or Beginning? Where Does Writing Start?

    This essay is a summary of the points made in my recent Write Naked, Die Famous Podcast on the topic of Beginnings. Use this article as a reference. Listen here: Writing is hard work but for most of us, it’s also fulfilling work. Whether you write fiction, poetry or non-fiction, writing comes from a creative spark that ignites a fire within us to express this idea through writing and, for many, to share this idea with others. The struggle many have with writing isn’t just the discomfort in revealing their ideas or vulnerabilities or in exploring the dark and frightening parts of their psyches with the world, the hardest part…

  • blog,  On Writing

    Four Ways to Grab the Reader’s Attention in the First Sentence

    Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t grab your reader in the first sentence, you could miss it. This essay is a summary of the points made in my recent Write Naked, Die Famous Podcast on the topic of Beginnings. Use this article as a reference. Listen here. There are so many things competing for our attention it’s even hard to focus on the important things, it’s hard to stay on task. We are easily distracted and hard pressed to really focus on something. With fast-paced TV shows, high tech movies and the scandal, drama and salacious content in bite-sized portions on social media, how are we, as novelists, supposed to…

  • podcast

    Episode 01: Beginnings

    How do you write a compelling beginning that gets the reader’s attention and keeps them reading? What is the difference between brainstorming and creating? What is the difference between being artistic and being an artist? And why is it so hard to get started?   Resources and Reading Tools If you don’t have time to listen but still want to learn the lessons, I’ve written companion pieces as a resource for you to reference after you’ve listened or instead of listening to the podcast. Are You Brainstorming or Beginning? Where Does Writing Start? The three stages of an artists work and why the first stage is the least important. Four…