Monday, October 5, 2015

Countdown to NaNoWriMo

The air is cooler. The leaves are changing. There's pumpkin spice everything. That can only mean one thing. NaNoWriMo is just around the corner. (Oh and it's fall.)

Every year I spend the months leading up to November thinking about what I want to write about. I think about how I'm terrible at being a fly by the seat of your pants writer so I vow to make a full fledged outline by the time November 1st gets here. I even have a go to book. Every October I break out my copy of First Draft in 30 Days by Karen S. Weisner which I like to use to help make my outline. (If you are unfamiliar with the book it really should have been titled First Outline in 30 Days.)

What actually happens is that I put off making an outline and then the week before NaNoWriMo is supposed to start I scribble out some half baked plot that never gives me enough story to write 50,000 pages. I end up making up completely random stuff as I go along which renders NaNoWriMo more a freewriting exercise rather than a novel writing one. In chapter one my protagonist meets Mr. Right and wants to be a preschool teacher but by chapter five she's fighting off vampire aliens in a steamship in post-apocalyptic Chinatown.

So why do I do it every year? Isn't is just a waste of time and energy? (For even more vile NaNoWriMo bashing see here. And muting the hashtag #amwriting. Seriously? I digress...)

When is writing anything a waste of time and energy? Do I expect to write "the Great American Novel" in only 30 days? Of course not. I'm not an idiot. But I'm perfectly fine with with writing 50.000 words of crap because it means I'm writing.

NaNoWriMo provides structure, a writing community, and most of all, a deadline. I don't see how anyone could think these things are a waste of time.

I started this post intending for it to be about how I'm going to prep for NaNoWriMo and now it's turned into a NaNoWriMo apologetic post. (Surely there was a better word for defending something than "apologetics." It's the most wimpy self depreciating word for defense ever.)

Let's get back on track here. I need to focus....oh look something shiny!

Here is a list of links to articles about prepping for NaNoWriMo:

The Serious Novelist's Guide to NaNoWriMo

Getting Ready for NaNoWriMo 

Top 12 Benefits of Outlining Your Novel

12 Vital Preparatory Steps for NaNoWriMo

Nanowrimo Prep: The Master List 

Oh and if I end up procrastinating yet again this year:

The Hailstorm Approach: Prep for Nanowrimo in Seven Days (or Less)

How to Steal a Plot for Your Book (and get away with it)

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Who am I?

My blog is still The Single Mommy Blog yet at the same time it's not. It's something bigger now. It's still about single parenting but now it's also about writing and creating which means unless I want to keep posting shit I find on Pinterest all the time, I'm going to have to come up with something I write and create myself.

So maybe the truth is I know EXACTLY what I want this new Writing Creating Single Parenting blog to look like. The problem is it means doing those things which is terrifying. I"ve been "blocked" for the last nine years. (That's a long time to keep making the same excuses.) And now suddenly I've decided to create an entire blog network based on the things that I've been unable to do.

The worst part is that now my name is written in huge letters right across the top. And it links to this half of the blog where I planned on showcasing my writing. All the poetry, short stories, and essays that I've been too blocked to write for the last 9 years.

I feel like a baby bird that's been shoved out of the nest by the momma bird which in this case is...myself. Does that make any sense? I've finally created the very thing I've wanted for nearly a decade but I'm scared out of my mind that I can't fill it. That I'll fail. (That I'll fail at 40. My birthday is next month.)

The freedom scares me. No longer is "the single mommy" filling up the space but instead it's me. It's no longer just a role to fill. Who is Julie Cornewell and when did I get so full of myself that I created these urls with my name?

I'm pretty sure I'm panicking. The reality of what I've done has settled in. I actually have to write and create. I have to be a writer and an artist. Yet for the past several years I've said I don't know how. I can't do it. I'm blocked. Fill in every possible excuse here.

Maybe this is the online equivalent of taking someone afraid of spiders and giving her a spider to hold in her hand. Or taking someone scared of heights to the roof of a skyscraper. These blogs are my spider. My skyscraper. I am facing my fears head on. This just might be the best creative therapy I've ever attempted. Or it just might be the worst. It might be the final and true death of my creative career.

What an ironic thing to write considering I blame my husband's death for killing my creativity in the first place. But I want my creativity to be alive again, I want to find out what I'm really capable of. I want to succeed. And to do so at 40? Well that's just a damn good story to tell.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

I Won Camp NaNoWriMo!

I managed to get done on the very last day but I reached 10,000 words! However, I didn't write the linked short stories like I had planned. I ended up writing memoir again.

Every NaNoWriMo project I do ends up being memoir. I think it's time to accept that something in me strongly wants to write memoir and I need to take that seriously.

For now, I will bask in the glow of having written 10,000 words and reaching my goal. It feels good!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Blog Using My Name Isn't a Violation of Blogger Policy

Yesterday I wrote about a blog using my name that is clearly written by someone who isn't me. The person is also using the names of two other people as their blog names. I contacted both of them via email and they are as frustrated as I am that someone has create blogs piggybacking on our names. (Oddly we also feel slightly complimented.)

This was the response that I got from Google. To say I am ticked off would be quite the understatement. The only way to contact this person is through Google + and I really doubt I will ever get a response. How is this not a violation? Maybe I should retitle this blog Hillary Clinton so I get millions of hits. 


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Monday, April 13, 2015

Identity Theft or Why is Someone Using My Name for Their Blog?

I like to Google my name from time to time to see what shows up in the listings. When I searched my name this morning I found something interesting. I found a blog called

Now I certainly didn't think this was strange at first. I've always assumed that I'm not the only Julie Cornewell in the world. I started exploring the blog and noticed the author of the posts was someone named Allison Wedgies. That's odd I thought. I chalked it up to "Allison Wedgies" being just a handle.

I then decided to Google "julie cornewell allison wedgies" and that's when I came up with something really strange. This post at Teaching with Technology lists several blogs that Allison Wedgies writes. She writes a number of blogs that include other people's names in the title.

Check out some of my other blogs that I write about: Teaching with TechnologyWhy Don’t You Believe Me RecordsEthan PettitRIZAL'S BLOGBack and ForthAmy's Self Defense for Women BlogElisa BethSipho Mpongo PhotographyJulie CornewellDonuts in Dior

Why is this person writing blogs using other people's names?  Most of all, why is my name being used as a blog name!? Even the technology and self defense blogs have photos and artwork on them. None of these blogs appear to actually be about what the title claims. This Allison is the sole blogger at them all. Is she using real people's names to create her blogs?

It turns out she is also hijacking (for a lack of a better term) two other names. Ethan Pettit is a real artist. His real blog is and Allison appears to have created a fake blog using his name. Sipho Mpongo is also a real photographer. However the real website for Sipho is

I'm not sure what I can do. Even if I could get ahold of someone at Google, I'm not sure they could or would actually do anything. All that is being used is my name. She hasn't copied anything I have posted but this does feel like some sort of identity theft. I will definately be contacting Ethan and Sipho to let them both know this person is doing this.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Alanis Morrissette's Spiritual Recovery from Anxiety and Depression

I have become a huge fan of Oprah's Super Soul Sunday. This past Sunday, I also caught an episode of In Deep Shift with Jonas Elrod featuring Alanis Morrisette. I have always been a huge fan of Alanis but to learn her story about her (spiritual) recovery from anxiety and depression touched me deeply.

In the episode, she explains in detail the story behind the song Thank U and how it was a life changing breakthrough for her.

When I searched for these links I also discovered that Alanis was on a past episode of Super Soul Sunday.

Learning all of this makes me an even bigger fan of her.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

2015 Linked Reading Challenge

What is the 2015 Linked Reading Challenge?
The 2015 Linked Reading Challenge is a yearlong challenge for reading a unique genre of boojks called linked short stories or short story cycles. This genre lies somewhere between short story collections and the novel. The most recent popular book in this genre is Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout.

A list of a few dozen examples can be found here. As I come across more books in this genre I will be adding them to the list.

Reviewing the Books
If you are writing book reviews, I want you to do more than just tell why you liked it or not. I want you to describe where on the short story collection to novel spectrum this book lies. Was it more like a short story collection or a novel? How were the stories connected? Were they connected by theme, place, or by people?

The Levels:
Weak Link: 1 - 4 books
Strong Link: 5 - 9 books
Stronger Link: 10 - 14 books
Strongest Link: 15 - 19 books
Unbreakable Link: 20 or more books

The Rules: 
This challenge ends Dec 31, 2015.

You may sign up anytime during the year.

You may include books of any format including traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks.

Books may be mainstream, literary, YA, romance, etc.

You may reread books.

Books may count towards other reading challenges.

Use the hashtag #2015LinkedReadingChallenge

If you could be so kind, please place the 2015 Linked Reading Challenge banner on your blog to help spread the word.

Please link back to this blog, post about it on Facebook, Tweet about it, and so on to help spread the word.

Signing Up
Before signing up, please create a post or page where you will list all the books you have read and then use that link for your Linky Tools below. If you don't have a blog you can still sign up by using a link to your Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and so on.

Writing Linked Short Stories

My Camp NaNoWriMo Book Synopsis: A series of linked short stories about how people are connected with each other in unexpected ways

I have wanted to write this book for about 2 years now. There's a problem though. I know how to write a short story. I know how to write a novel. But I don't know how to write linked short stories. I probably should have started doing this research long before now considering Camp NaNoWriMo starts in a week but better late than never. I may spend the entire year working on this project since there is another round of Camp NaNoWriMo in July and then NaNoWriMo in November.

In this post, I want to do two things. First, I want to create a list of links about linked short stories. This will be informational and instructional links on how to write a short story cycle (the proper name of this genre.) 

Second, I want to create a list of published linked short stories to read. The only short story cycle I knew of was The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank but it turns out there are dozens of books written using linked stories. I got most of the books on this list from a Goodread's thread but as I did more research I found even more examples. 

Linked Stories and the Short Story Cycle

Nonfiction Books about Linked Short Stories
The Short Story Cycle: A Genre Companion & Reference Guide by Susan Garland Mann

A List of Linked Short Stories
The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank
The Alice Stories by Lee Kercheval
Bodies in Motion by Mary Anne Mohanraj
Why the Devil Chose New England for His Work by Jason Brown
Knockemstiff by Donald Ray Pollack
Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson
Later, at the Bar by Rebecca Barry Alice Munro's
The Beggar Maid by Alice Munro
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
Time Enough for Love by Robert A Heinlein
The Things They Carried by Tim O' Brien
Self-Help by Lorrie Moore
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan After The Quake by Haruki Murakam
Moral Disorder by Margaret Atwood
The Nightingales of Troy by Alice Fulton
Close to Spiderman by Ivan E. Coyote
Our Kind by Kate Walbert
Ideas of Heaven by Joan Silber
Close Range: Wyoming Stories by Annie Proulx
Varieties of Exile by Mavis Gallant
Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson
Dubliners by James Joyce
The People of Forever Are Not Afraid by Shani Boianjiu
Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich
Stones for Ibarra by Harriet Doerr
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Last Call by K.L. Cook
Mary and O’Neil by Justin Cronin
In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin
Let The Great World Spin by Colum McCann
The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachmann
A Visit From The Good Squad by Jennifer Egan
So Much a Part of You by Polly Dugan

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Author is Selling the Rights to Her Book on eBay Part Two

A while back I wrote a post about a published author who is selling the rights to her book on eBay. I never checked back to see if she had sold the rights or not. I never bothered because I knew the answer and believe me, I'm no psychic. 

Today I clicked on the link once more and found something rather unexpected. 

Phoebe Valentine is no longer selling her book right with $100,000 as the starting bid and with the Buy It Now price at $200,000. She has a new eBay listing. Logic would tell you that since it didn't sell, she would lower the price, right?


The bidding now starts at $200,000 and the Buy It Now price is at $400,000!

You would think she had at least taken the time to correct the typos in her item description but she didn't do that either. Would is still spelled "woud" and even her publishing house is also spelled incorrectly as two words when Authorhouse is one word. The very website she describes as being associated with the book is spelled wrong in her item description. She actually calls it

I did another Google search but found nothing more than I had before other than my own blog post about it. 

Phoebe Valentine, if you are reading this, I would love to write an article about you or do an interview with you! I've never met anyone who sold their book rights on eBay before. The whole thing just has me completely fascinated. 

I still wonder if this person is actually Phoebe Valentine. The fact that the price has been raised makes me truly think it's a scam. If I could talk to Phoebe Valentine I could find out if it's really her. And I still want to know if it's actually legal to sell your book rights over eBay.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Author is Selling the Rights to Her Book on eBay

When I'm bored I like to look up the most expensive items in various categories on eBay. Today I typed in "books" and clicked the button to list the most expensive first and came across a published author selling the rights to her book. She is sending the original manuscript along with a copy of the paperback. The bidding price starts at $100,000 with the Buy It Now price at $200,000.

Is this even legal? Doesn't the publishing house own the right to her book, not her? Does sending someone the original manuscript actually transfer any book rights?

According to AuthorHouse, it is a self publishing company so you maintain creative control of the book. So I don't see any reason why this wouldn't be legal but I'm no expert.

Here is the description of her eBay listing:

I am selling the rights to my book I wrote in 2004 that describes my experiences of Internet Dating. The book reflects my true experiences, and is written in a comical, sexy fashion. I set out to prove that Internet Dating was nothing more than a format for many sexual encounters. I was out to prove that no matter what your age you could have a date every night of the week and most of the encounters were with married men asking for discreet encounters.
 I published the book through "Author House" online who printed the paperbacks. However I was unable to promote the book, because that was an extra cost I could not afford. "Author House" sold my books online through "Amazon", and everyone I verbally spread the news too, about the book, bought it and loved it. This book would be great for a screen writer or producer and woud make for a very funy movie or sitcom. I am asking the price shown because of all the work I put into it and all the the personal stories I personally experienced myself, and I need the money.
 For all the interested bidders, you can email me and I will send you a sample of a chapter. Only honest bidders please. Contact me through Ebay please.
 The reason I am selling all rights and giving the winning bidder my original transcript,t is over the years I have become closer than ever to God and want no ties to this book anymore. This book is like the first "50 Shades of Grey". MeagDates.Com was registered and the ISBN# was 141847489. My author name was Phoebe Valentine. You can Google the book online for more information also. This new listing is the lowest price I will go. I put many hours to write this and will not just give it away.

I was curious about this listing and decided to do a little research. Phoebe Valentine is indeed that author of a book called MegaDates.Com: My Internet Dating Encounters that is available at among other book sellers.

However there are some oddities about the eBay listing that makes me wonder if it is legitimate.

First of all, the lack of paragraph spacing and typos. I copied and pasted it exactly as it is written. If I was trying to sell my manuscript online to the highest bidder I would make sure there weren't any spelling errors in the item description.

Second, in the description "Author House" is spelled as two words. This is actually incorrect. According to website it is all one word and written AuthorHouse. She doesn't know how to spell her own publisher correctly?

Third, the person listing the manuscript says "Please contact me through eBay only." Now I know it's against eBay policy to contact a seller or buyer outside of eBay, but I would want some kind of proof that this seller actually is Phoebe Valentine. I'd also want some kind of legally binding contract saying if I make this into a million dollar movie you can't sue me, but that's me.

How is the buyer to know this is truly the original manuscript and not just a copy some scam artist decided to type up using the paperback copy of the book?

I decided to do a little digging and I also found the manuscript and book rights listed at a website called which is described as a bachelor pad decorating website. What an odd place to sell the rights to your book.

Other than listings for the actual paperback book, I could find absolutely nothing about Phoebe Valentine. I wanted to at least contact her and send an email saying I saw your listing on eBay and I'm concerned it may not be legitimate.

Lastly, I'd like to point out the obvious. Whether she found God or not, her name will always be associated with the book. If someone were to buy the book rights and turn the book into a screenplay or television show, Phoebe Valentine would become even more famous for the book she wants to distance herself from. While I'm sure she'd like to believe she could truly distance herself from it, in this day and age of doxxing I'm sure someone would find out her real name.

I'm sure I'm going to have to chalk this up to an unsolved mystery. Is this really the original manuscript by the original author? I will probably never know. All I can do is click "watch" on the eBay listing and see if anyone actually bids on it.