Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Spook-tacular Halloween Writing Ideas

By Melissa Kline

Design-A-Costume. This is a great exercise for a writing group or class. Pick a partner and “design” a costume for them while they do the same for you. Write about the details – what it looks like, its function and where the costume might be worn. Then share your designs and why you think it’s the perfect getup. As an added exercise, draw the costume with color and details.

Speed Candy List. Set a timer for 1 minute and list as many candies as you can. If you are in a group setting, compare lists to see who has the most listed and which candies are most popular/rare. Then write a short story and incorporate as many candies as you can without listing them.

Potion Concoctions. Come up with the most creative magical potion that you can think of. Write about its purpose - what it does when used for good…or evil. What does your potion look like? Does it have a scent? Color? Texture? Is it made up of various items or just a few? Don’t forget to give your potion a name! Group Bonus: Fill a bunch of jars/bottles with colored water and let each member choose a “potion” for inspiration.

Character Doodles. You will need a few sheets of paper and at least two people for this exercise. Fold paper(s) in thirds. Each participant draws a head on top half first, then passes and draws torso. Pass one last time to draw the legs. Do not let anyone see your doodles until they are complete and don't forget to include continuation lines. When characters are complete, unfold and reveal your kooky creations! Use your creatures as a writing prompt or discussion piece.

Do you have any Halloween inspired writing exercises you’d like to share? I’d love to hear about them.

Happy Halloween, Friends!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


by Kathy Cannon Wiechman

Three years ago, a group of 8 friends at a Highlights Foundation Writers’ Workshop started this blog. It was the brain child of Kim Van Sickler, and Kim has been the main member to keep it afloat.

Since its inception, one member has left to deal with enormous health issues (We love you, Grace!) and two members left to begin their own inspirational blog at City Muse/Country Muse. A few others only occasionally put in rare, but welcome, appearances when their busy schedules and inspiration allow. But Kim has gone out into the blogosphere and developed a following, and always manages to come up with a post when needed, no matter what.

When Swagger began, I couldn’t envision being able to write new posts on a regular basis. After all, I was busy with ideas for novels and short stories. So were all the other Swaggers. But over the past 3 years, I have written more than 100 blog posts, some of them on topics delegated by blog hops. Others were inspired by events in my own life, like getting a publishing contract for my debut novel LIKE A RIVER (due out April 7, 2015 from Calkins Creek). I have also told stories from my childhood, that had been tucked safely in a file drawer inside my mind.

Life has thrown many things at all of us, those kinds of things that Life throws, things that could end a blog’s existence. But Swagger survives—and thrives.
                                Happy birthday, Swagger!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Come Visit Me at Literary Rambles!

by Kim Van Sickler

I'm over at Literary Rambles today! Come visit!

My first review from the Snatched in Gullybrook giveaway on Goodreads was posted by a winner who lives on a military base in Germany. You can read it, along with other reviews of the book, here.

On Wednesday I will be at the Not Under Our Roof Conference in Lima, Ohio. It's a sex trafficking awareness conference tailored to workers in the hotel and tourism industries.

Kim signing books at the University of Toledo's Sex Trafficking, Prostitution and Sex Workers Conference last month.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Fall Giveaway!
by Melissa Kline

This month my company is hosting a super easy, writer-friendly giveaway starring my dystopian YA novel, My Beginning and hot-off-the-press psych thriller, A Fine Line. Four autographed copies are up for grabs. Just leave a comment below per the entry instructions or visit the giveaway site at, and tell us what you think of our cover images. That's it!


Here's a sneak peek at the entry images and rules: 


Tell us what lurks beyond the 
keyhole. Use your wildest 
imagination to come up with
what lies behind these rust 
stained walls. Is it an escape? 
A prison? Who, or what's out 
there? Or within?


This Rorschach image 
was created specifically for the
cover of A Fine Line. Use 
your imagination to decipher
what's in the ink. What do 
you see? Blobs of 
black, white and grey? Or
something else? Is it light
and happy? Or dark and
Tell us your thoughts at or leave a message with your answers in the comments below for a chance to win one of these spooky Halloween reads!