Attending workshops is important

I just attended the 2014 Arizona Writing Workshop in Tucson on Nov. 22nd. It was a great experience, and writers should attend classes and workshops and conferences.

But first, last clichés:

Racking my brain – To strain to discover a solution or to remember something. Rack refers to the medieval instrument of torture where the victim’s body was stretched until it broke. The idea is old and comes from 1530. “Rack” came into use about 150 years later.

Make no Bones about it – To say or do something without hesitation, evasion, or formality. This saying is so old, it’s original meaning is lost. Nicholas Udall used it in Apothegms from Erasmus (1548). One writer suggests this phrase comes from a diner who makes no fuss if he finds bones in his food. Others relate it to dice, so called because they were originally made from bones, and suggest it meant simply throwing the dice without make any prior fuss about it.

Cat got your Tongue – Why are you silent? Eric Partridge says this term dates from the mid-19th century in both England and U.S. and was one of several phrases used in addressing a child who, after getting into trouble, refused to answer questions. The literal meaning is quite far-fetched, so it must come from the grown-up’s invention of some weird circumstance that prevents the child from speaking. There is a French idiom: “I throw my tongue to the cat,” meaning “I give up; I have nothing to say.”

So, how many did you find?

At the workshop by Chuck Sambuchino, an editor and an author, I learned a lot. The all day workshop was from 9 – 5 and we had speeches on –  book publishing options today; everything you need to know about agents, pitches and queries; a chapter 1 critique fest by agents; how to market your books: platform and social media; and 10 tips on how to get published.

I won’t keep my lips sealed about this workshop. I will pass on some of the knowledge I learned. It will be taught in a few blog posts, because there is so much information. Writers need to attend workshops to not only learn, but to get energized about writing. All cats are grey after dark and it’s important to keep learning new things, especially about our craft.

The first session was about publishing options today and Chuck Sambuchino explained the differences between traditional publishing and self-publishing. There are pros and cons for both. The best idea for an author would be a hybrid of the two. If you have a book that is small, meaning has a limited reader range, try self-publishing. A global book—try traditional. Of course, self-publishing will give you higher royalties, but your book can be invisible unless you have a great platform and can sell your book well. With traditional the money flows to you and with self-publishing you pay up front for costs. Either way, it really depends on you.

There’s a mine of information out there for writers, and by attending workshops, you receive much. For more insights from Chuck Sambuchino see his websites or

Keep Writing,


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Traveling Still

I’m still on the road, but here are the last clichés:

Off the Top of my Head – Impromptu, extemporaneously, impetuously. A mid-20th century Americanism. Term appeared in Harold L. Ickes’ Secret Diary (1939). See also author June Drummond (Junta, 1989).

Make the Grade – To reach a given standard or pass a test. Alludes to climbing a steep hill or gradient and was transferred to mean any kind of success in the first half of the 20th century. There was an early appeared in print in S. Ford’s Inez and Trilby (1921).

One for the Road – One last drink of alcohol. Eric Partridge thought the term originated with traveling salesmen who applied it either to one last drink after a night’s carousing or to one more drink before one literally set out “on the road” to see more customers. From 20th century, heard less often today, especially in America where heavy drinking is increasingly frowned upon, especially for drivers.

How many did you find?

I’m racking my brain to figure out my blog post while traveling. Usually I write about writing, but this trip it’s difficult. Came to say good-bye to my sister-in-law who is dying of cancer.

Make no bones about it, this trip was hard and writing a blog about writing is even harder.

So, I’ve posted my last blog clichés and since the cat has my tongue, I will say…until next post…

Keep Writing!