Grandma's Cookies by Renee Marksi

I rubbed my temples slowly, trying to concentrate on the screen in front of me. I had to finish this paper by midnight so I could submit it for my ethics class. With 1000 words left to write, I was not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. My daughter's laughter drifted in through my closed office door. Thank goodness my mother was able to come over three days a week to help with her so I could get my schoolwork done. That woman was my saving grace.

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Three Sisters, Santa & A Billboard by Laura Smith

In hindsight, it would have been smart to belt Santa into the passenger’s seat before heading home. In all actuality, it would have been smarter not to have contacted the CraigsList poster about buying Santa at all. This was Chrissy and her last minute plan to win the neighborhood decorating contest and surprise her sons at the same time. It was also Emily and her idea to drive with Shannon’s convertible top down and stick one of Santa’s arms out the window so that everyone would notice him driving by.

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'Tis the Season by James W George

The Christmas music emanating from the elegant viola was breathtaking. Of that, there could be no doubt.

It was a frosty morning and the second Sunday of December, but the local United Methodist Church was warm and inviting. The sanctuary was decorated, as usual, in a festive but tasteful manner. Attendance was indeed impressive, and every worshipper was absolutely enthralled by the beautiful music.

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Writing During the Holidays

Wouldn't it be nice if it didn't feel like every single week we had a holiday? Days where we could just relax and write to our hearts content? Well too bad, those days are long gone until next year. From surprise visits to holiday parties, and everything in between, there's a lot of foot traffic in my house during the holiday season.

I'm going to offer you some slacker suggestions on how to create time for writing.

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How Can You Tell that Your Story is Finished?

By now I'm sure you have all heard me talk about Breath of the Titans, the first trilogy of books I wrote. I walked blindly into book writing, but I found a formula that worked well for me. I even managed to squeeze three books out of myself, when I only planned on writing one. That's not mentioning the other tales that followed.

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Riley Amos Westbrook
How do You Categorize Your Work?

I've seen this question asked numerous times on the boards, so I thought I would take the opportunity to address a topic I've avoided. It isn't a difficult topic, just one people can have strong opinions on. Remember, here at SIA  there is no one size fits all.

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Riley Amos Westbrook
Is your WIP a Short Story or a Full Length Novel in the Making?

I love to write. Watching the words flow onto the page is a special thrill unto itself. I've written many different stories, including shorts, novellas, and novels. If there is one thing I've learned, each has their unique strategies. And I'm finding that with proper foresight and planning, there's no reason you can't use all of the different story types together to make a great book.

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Riley Amos Westbrook
Do You Outline? Should You Outline?

Why can't we have both? Seriously though, there are advantages to both styles, and I'm going to attempt to address them here today. Besides, we all use parts of both styles whether we want to admit it or not, it's a spectrum, not black and white kinda thing.

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Riley Amos Westbrook