Tag Archives: Julaina Kleist-Corwin

Shaped by Choices

Writing a story begins with a choice. What does the writer-in-me want to tell? That is balanced with the question, “What does the target audience want to read?”

I’ve made a lot of good choices in my life—and a few that didn’t reach that level. Some of those decisions shaped me like homemade playdough in the hands of a preschooler. I was punched, squeezed, rolled, and manipulated. Just when I thought I had reached my destiny, slam, bam. More pounding.

Julaina Kleist-Corwin, a writing instructor, gathered short stories about choices for an anthology. She extended the competition to former students and writers who had been published in her previous anthology. She read each 500-word submission and suggested changes. No pounding, punching, or squeezing. Then the writers were given the opportunity to reshape their stories. Most were memoirs. A few were fictionalized.

My memoir, “Second Chance,” is about my submission to an anthology being published by a well-known New York publisher. The book theme was true stories about Christmas miracles. No problem there. I had a story to tell.  I submitted it. Hooray! It was accepted with minor suggested edits. The congratulatory email said the next step would be to sign a publisher release form. I waited a few days. No form. Instead, an email suggested I revise my story. Playdough again.

“But that isn’t what happened,” I wrote to the developmental editor.  She gently rolled my story into shape to keep the facts and told me to sign the forthcoming release.

Two days before the deadline to sign the release, I received an email from the main editor, the one whose name would appear on the book cover. He added more fiction. “It makes a stronger story,” he said.

Slam, bam. Playdough. Only this time, I had a choice. Accept the change or insist on keeping the story as I wrote it.

What did I decide? Read about it in The Choice Matters.



Disclaimer: Julaina doesn’t know I’m including her Amazon book link in my blog, but I’m sure she’ll be delighted. The print edition and e-book are on sale at introductory prices.



Filed under Editing, Memoir, Writing

Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe: You’re It!

Tag was a childhood game that taxed my running skills. I did my best to stay out of reach of the person who was “it,” but my short legs were no match for my long-legged nephews and friends.  When the tagger touched me, he yelled “You’re it!”

When Julaina Kleist-Corwin tagged me in a blog hop, I didn’t run. I accepted the challenge. Meet Julaina.

Julaina Kleist-Corwin

Julaina Kleist-Corwin

Julaina Kleist-Corwin teaches creative writing for the City of Dublin, California and has been a presenter at the San Francisco Writers Conference. Julaina has won several short story contests. Her work is published in The California Writers Club Literary Review, Harlequin’s 2012, 2013 Christmas anthologies, and other collections. She writes Women’s Fiction, YA, and multidimensional romantic mysteries.

In Norman and the Painting, the man of Jill’s dreams appears out of a painting. Jill has to discover how to keep him from constantly disappearing back into the painting so they can have a normal relationship.

Julaina is the editor for her anthology, Written Across the Genres. She is a member of the California Writers Club Tri-Valley Branch. She lives in Northern California with her husband and Blue Russian cat. She likes animals and trees, nature walks, art, music, and literature. Visit her blog: www.timetowritenow.com. Follow her on Twitter @JulainaC.

Now that I’ve been tagged, I’m it. Let me introduce you to my protagonist in my crime fiction work in progress.

  • What is the name of your character? DetectiveTaylor Madrid, Maricopa County Sheriffs Office (MCSO).
  • Is s/he fictional/historical? Fiction all the way. Any resemblance to a Maricopa County Sheriff’s deputy in Sheriff Joe’s jurisdiction is purely coincidental.
  • When and where is the story set? The setting is in the fictional city of Ironwood, in the real Maricopa County, Arizona in present time.
  • What should we know about your character? Taylor is a high achiever. She’s passionate about child abuse. She’s pushing for a promotion to detective sergeant, climbing the ladder of success.
  • What is your character’s goal? To be the youngest female lieutenant in Maricopa County.
  • What is screwing up your character’s life (main conflict in writerly speak)? Madrid is haunted by dreams of her pre-kindergarten years where she plays with a sister, but her mother insists Taylor is an only child. When Taylor investigates the suspicious death of a transient waitress from Sony’s diner, her dreams escalate to nightmares.
  • What is the title? Next of Kin
  • When can we expect the book to be published? Look for Carr Twins & Co. to publish my novel in the summer of 2015.

Now run with me as I tag a couple of authors. First, meet George who had to slow to a walk for me to catch him.

George Cramer

George Cramer

George Cramer has lived in Dublin, California with his wife Cathy for almost thirty years. They have three adult children.

George is certified as PCI, CFE, CPI, and CFS. He has over forty year’s investigative experience. Mr. Cramer began his investigative career in local law enforcement. He is a licensed Private Investigator in California and Arizona. He recently left the corporate environment where he last worked as the head of Global Investigations, Safety & Security for the Palm, Inc. Division of Hewlett-Packard. He has specialized in Standards of Business Conduct, undercover operations; insurance and corporate fraud; crimes against business; and the protection of intellectual property.

George has conducted thousands of successful investigations throughout the Americas and Asia. Additionally he is recognized as an expert in the area of Interviewing and Interrogation, having presented numerous seminars on the subject including at ASIS-International and High Technology Crime Investigators international conferences.

He is currently working on two writing projects. The first is a mystery novel spanning forty years; the second a memoir. Visit his blog at http://gdcramer.com. Follow him on Twitter @WriterBiker.

My note: George is a bit shy about his writing. “Joe,” his most recent short story, was published in O-Dark-Thirty. See it here: http://o-dark-thirty.org/2014/09/23/joe/.

I tagged Patty while she stopped to catch her breath during the final pe-publication days of  Eve’s Requiem, her co-edited anthology.

Flaherty-Pagan headshot

Patricia Flaherty Pagan

Patricia Flaherty Pagan grew up near Boston but has traveled extensively and sampled the expat life. After earning her MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College, she founded the mission-oriented indie publisher Spider Road Press. She edited Up, Do: Flash Fiction by Women Writers. Her fiction has appeared in publications such as Spry, The Pitkin Review, and Robocup Compendium 2013. She recently coedited Eve’s Requiem: Tales of Women, Mystery and Horror, which will be published by Spider Road Press on October 10, 2014. Visit her online at http://patriciaflahertypagan.com/.

Here’s my advance reader review for Eve’s Requiem, an anthology:



Eve'sRequiemCOVERfrontEve’s Requiem pushed me beyond my favorite crime fiction into mysteries edged with capricious horror. This collection of short stories awakened an awareness of dangers that challenge female resilience. I cringed as each protagonist stepped into jeopardy and sighed when she escaped the menace. Eve’s Requiem captivated me with an evening of reading—disturbed only by peeks out the window to see what dangers lurked in the shadows.

– Violet Carr Moore, author, editor, blogger


Ready, set, go. You’re it!


Filed under Blogging, Book Reviews, Events, Memoir, Reading, Writing

Poetry Title Contest

First Place Ribbon

In May, Julaina Kleist-Corwin posted a group poem on her Time to Write Now blog with a challenge to create a title. This week she announced the winner.

“Jennifer King, poetry instructor and director of the Downtown Oakland Senior Center, gave us the final vote for the winner of the group poem title contest. The title is … “Cadence” by Violet Carr Moore!

Vi also won the third place for “Time”. She has won a writer’s basket with two books and a few other fun items.”


The time she waits on none who tarry long

Instead she dances t’wards her scheduled end.

Ignoring worries; seeking pleasure’s song,

She hopes to make the day a lasting friend.

The other side of time we know is death.

She nudges us along to paths not sought.

Although we fight for every passing breath,

The end will come to all no matter what.


Now I hurry to revise Next of Kin, my cozy mystery novel in progress, before I reach the last lines of Time.

 Hour glass-animated


Filed under Blogging, Events, Writing