Claim Your Story

Writing Conference, Ashland, Oregon

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Kate’s Quickies:Jessica Morrell: Writer, Teacher, Truth-teller


Thanks so much for the kind words–I worked so hard on those books….

Originally posted on Kate MacNicol's Blog~:

Welcome to Kate’s Quickies! This is the place where you get one or two writing links so you can quickly get on with your day and do the things you love — like write.

So how’s your week been? My week was busy-crazy but busy-crazy in a good way. Lunch with a dear friend who I haven’t seen in a year was definitely a highlight AND today my sis-in-laws are having a wedding shower for my daughter.  In my writing life I’m presently writing a synopsis. Ugh. In my reading life I’m reading Thinking Write by Kelly L. Stone, lots of synopsis books too numerous to list:) and fiction-wise, I’m reading A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.

This week’s Quickie if you choose to click on the links, will make you think. It will make you think about what your write, how you write it and what you can…

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notice of cancellation

Originally posted on Summer in Words:

I’m sorry to announce that Summer in Words 2015 has been cancelled. I’ve been involved in my mother’s end-of-life care this year and last fall. She died recently and because of the uncertain nature of my schedule and demands of family matters I was not able to spend the many hours needed to organize this delightful conference. Much of the planning, marketing, correspondence happens six -eight months prior to the conference and I was caught up in helping my parents.  I apologize for disappointing people who had planned to attend and I’ll miss those glorious days in June at the Hallmark Inn and Resort.

On a good note, I’ll be organizing a shorter Claim Your Story conference at the Hallmark this fall. Stay tuned for more information.

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There is STILL time to register for Claim Your Story

Lithia Springs Resort, Ashland, Oregonclock 1 top half

October 4, 9-5

  • 1/2 day conference price also available, with or without the luncheon/ key note.
  • Keynote/ luncheon only is also available
Image by Billy Tice, Austin, TX

Image by Billy Tice, Austin, TX

 Claim Your Story Writers Conference, October 4 at the Lithia Springs Resort in Ashland, is a day-long gathering that will deepen and spark your writing practice and help you sell your work in a crowded marketplace.  Workshops will be taught by talented authors who are also distinguished writing teachers: Melissa Hart, Midge Raymond and Jessica Morrell.




  • Brave on the Page, Jessica Morrell
  • Everyday Book Marketing: Promoting Your Book During Your Regularly-Scheduled Life, Midge Raymond
  • Keynote: Write the Story You Want to Read, Melissa Hart
  • What’s in a Title, Jessica Morrell
  • Scene in Story: The Critical Component, Melissa Hart
  • Branding Discussion and Q & A

 Keynote: Write the Story You Want to Read, Melissa Hart.  This keynote, informed by a famous J.D. Salinger quote, asks you to claim the story you’ve always wanted to read by boldly sitting down to write it yourself. Hart will challenge you to consider the excuses we make for not writing and inspire you to make a literary life your top priority.

The Lithia Springs Resort in Ashland is an uplifting, charming setting. Conference attendees can tour the gardens and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

 To register: Cost for the conference is $125 and includes a catered lunch and beverages. To register or for more information about the conference including the schedule, visit the conference website here at Payments can be mailed to Jessica Morrell, P.O. Box 820141, Portland, OR 97282-1141. PayPal payments are also accepted.

For more information on the instructors visit:

Jessica Morrell, the conference coordinator, is the author of six books along with the upcoming White Heat and No Ordinary Days. She works as a developmental editor and is also the founder of Summer in Words Writing Conference in Cannon Beach, Oregon and Making it in Changing Times Writing Conference in Portland, Oregon.

Conference logo by Billy Tice of Austin, TX


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The world of stories….

I had to share one of my favorite sentiments about the world of fiction by George R.R. Martin creator of the Song of Fire and Ice fantasy series: game-of-thrones Ned Stark

The best fantasy is written in the language of dreams. It is alive as dreams are alive, more real than real … for a moment at least … that long magic moment before we wake.

Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli. Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab. Fantasy tastes of habaneros and honey, cinnamon and cloves, rare red meat and wines as sweet as summer. Reality is beans and tofu, and ashes at the end. Reality is the strip malls of Burbank, the smokestacks of Cleveland, a parking garage in Newark. Fantasy is the towers of Minas Tirith, the ancient stones of Gormenghast, the halls of Camelot. Fantasy flies on the wings of Icarus, reality on Southwest Airlines. Why do our dreams become so much smaller when they finally come true?

We read fantasy to find the colors again, I think. To taste strong spices and hear the songs the sirens sang. There is something old and true in fantasy that speaks to something deep within us, to the child who dreamt that one day he would hunt the forests of the night, and feast beneath the hollow hills, and find a love to last forever somewhere south of Oz and north of Shangri-La.

They can keep their heaven. When I die, I’d sooner go to middle Earth.

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Q & A With Melissa Hart

Melissa HartQ: What is your best writing tip?
A: Develop a habit of writing every day.  Carry around a spiral notebook and pen or a laptop and commit to at least ten minutes.  You can write a decent rough draft of a poem, a piece of flash fiction, or a paragraph of a novel or memoir or nonfiction article in ten minutes.  The goal is to make writing a habit–like flossing, only a lot more fun!

Q: Is writer’s block real? If so, how do you tackle/ circumvent it?

A: I don’t think writer’s block is real.  I think it’s possible to think you have no ideas, but a ten-minute freewrite on a major conflict you’re experiencing, or a significant joy, or a question that’s keeping you up at night, or your favorite funny family story, will get your ideas flowing.

Q: What’s your writing process?

A: I’ve structured my life so that when I get an idea for a piece, I can usually sit down and scribble out a rough draft that day.  I write the first draft longhand in a notebook, and then transcribe my chicken-scratch onto the computer.  I write multiple drafts, then have my husband read a polished version of a piece.  We discuss it in terms of his perceptions and editing notes, and then I revise again.  I read my work out loud several times during the process (sometimes to my cats) to check for pacing, flow, and believable dialogue.

Q: How do you make time to write?

A: It’s difficult when I’m teaching a lot and parenting a lot, and I must get exercise daily or I go bonkers.  But the time is there. Often, I’m lucky enough to be on deadline for a magazine essay or article, and that forces me to make time to write, even if it’s late in the evening or early in the morning.

Q: What are you working on next?

A: I’m in the editing stage of my first middle-grade novel, which Sky Pony Press will publish next year.  It’s called Avenging the Owl, about a California surfer-kid forced to move to Oregon and volunteer as a raptor rehabilitator after he accidentally injures a boy with Down syndrome while trying to kill a Great-horned owl that seizes his kitten.


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