Ghost Room-ing

We are experiencing a problem with login at the chat room.
I have named the phenomenon “Ghosting.”
The Chat Room appears as it always has but for some guests the room is a ghost – meaning you can see people but you are really in a look-alike room. Those in the real room cannot see you. Yes, it hurts my head just trying to explain it. 🙂
Support Tickets and emails have been submitted a number of times in an attempt to resolve this issue.
If you think you might be inside a Ghost Room, please log out completely, then close and re-open your browser.
I will acknowledge you to help you verify you are inside the correct room.
I am sorry for this inconvenience and I am attempting to resolve.
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Quarterly Critique Chat Guidelines

Prismatic 3D Question MarkIf you are interested in an on the fly critique from the entire Writers Chat Room this is your Quarterly Opportunity.

Follow the guidelines exactly. Submissions that do not follow the guidelines will be rejected.


Email 150 – 300 words from your work. Paste your submission into the email, do not send an attachment. Do not hit reply!

Use the subject line “Submission: Critique Chat February 2018”.

Copy this list and put it at the beginning of the email, with your answers:

Format: (short story, novel, cover blurb, query, proposal… ):
Section: (beginning, middle or end of piece or the entire thing)
Name you intend to publish under:
Name you use in the chatroom:

You can add one or two sentences to set the scene, if needed. But no more than two sentences.

Submissions must be received by 3 pm ET on Sunday, February 25th, 2018 to be eligible for chat.

Submissions following the guidelines will be used in the order they are received. This means you must be on time and the whole room needs to be focused.

Unless you are really stumped, submit your best work. Most of us are aiming for publication. To get there, we have to be able to handle honest critiques. We will not allow personal attacks, but problems in the writing will be openly discussed.

If you are not in attendance, your submission will be skipped. It’s a waste of everyone’s time to critique something if the author isn’t there to hear it.

Fiction, nonfiction, essay, query letter…it doesn’t matter. Try to get an entire scene into 300 words. Full scenes tend get better critiques.

Why only 300 words? More than that will scroll off the screen too quickly. People need to be able to read it, to give a good crit. 300 words is the maximum but if a blurb, bio, query, hook only needs 150 or fewer words to do the trick then don’t feel any pressure to pad your word count.

Please be on time for this chat. Crosstalk, including greetings, will be kept to a bare minimum. Make sure you have floated and enlarged your screen in chat, so you can keep up. Here we go…let’s see how many of you have learned to write well and follow submission guidelines.

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J. D. Horn

J. D. Horn was raised in rural Tennessee, and has since carried a bit of its red clay in him while traveling the world, from Hollywood, to Paris, to Tokyo. He studied comparative literature as an undergrad, focusing on French and Russian in particular. He also holds an MBA in international business and worked as a financial analyst before becoming a novelist. He has race bibs from two full marathons and about thirty half marathons. Though knocked out by an injury, he’s working on making a comeback.

J. D.’s books have now been translated into Russian, Romanian, Polish, German, Spanish, Italian, and French, with a Turkish version of The Line in the works. J.D. is a long-time animal rights advocate, animal lover, and non-proselytizing vegetarian. He, his spouse, Rich, and their rescue Chihuahua, Kirby Seamus, split their time between Central Oregon, San Francisco, and Palm Springs.

You may email J.D. at

The Witches of New Orleans Series

From Book 1:From the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Witching Savannah series comes the story of a young witch’s quest to uncover her family’s terrifying history…

Magic is seeping out of the world, leaving the witches who’ve relied on it for countless centuries increasingly hopeless. While some see an inevitable end of their era, others are courting madness—willing to sacrifice former allies, friends, and family to retain the power they covet. While the other witches watch their reality unravel, young Alice Marin is using magic’s waning days to delve into the mystery of numerous disappearances in the occult circles of New Orleans. Alice disappeared once, too—caged in an asylum by blood relatives. Recently freed, she fears her family may be more involved with the growing crisis than she ever dared imagine.

Yet the more she seeks the truth about her family’s troubled history, the more she realizes her already-fragile psyche may be at risk. Discovering the cause of the vanishings, though, could be the only way to escape her mother’s reach while determining the future of all witches.

The Witching Savannah Series

From Book 1:

Savannah is considered a Southern treasure, a city of beauty with a rich, colorful past. Some might even call it magical…

To the uninitiated, Savannah shows only her bright face and genteel manner. Those who know her well, though, can see beyond her colonial trappings and small-city charm to a world where witchcraft is respected, Hoodoo is feared, and spirits linger. Mercy Taylor is all too familiar with the supernatural side of Savannah, being a member of the most powerful family of witches in the South.

Despite being powerless herself, of course.

Having grown up without magic of her own, in the shadow of her talented and charismatic twin sister, Mercy has always thought herself content. But when a series of mishaps—culminating in the death of the Taylor matriarch—leaves a vacuum in the mystical underpinnings of Savannah, she finds herself thrust into a mystery that could shake her family apart…and unleash a darkness the line of Taylor witches has been keeping at bay for generations.

In The Line, the first book of the Witching Savannah series, J.D. Horn weaves magic, romance, and betrayal into a captivating Southern Gothic fantasy with a contemporary flare.

JD is giving away three copies of The King of Bones and Ashes. Print or digital to US addresses; digital to all other countries.

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A Writerly Survey

Last Fall I created a Survey.

The problem was that it came really close behind two previous surveys and many participants thought they had already responded and didn’t click on the link.

I am embedding it here for your convenience. Survey Monkey will tell you at the top of the landing page if you previously responded. If this happens, Thank You for helping the chat room help you way back then.

This survey is also available in your Newsletter.

Please use the scrollbar within the text window below to see the questions contained in the Survey or use This Link to go directly to the Survey Monkey Site.


Create your own user feedback survey

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Formatting a Manuscript and Creating a Marketing Plan

Planning ball

This Topic appeared in Wednesday’s Newsletter

If you use Word and need to know how to correctly format your Manuscript, this is a great place to visit.

How to Format a Manuscript Using Microsoft Word

Knowing how to format your manuscript is an important issue. Your editor needs to be able to get in there and poke around. The person who is going to format your novel or book does not want to have any extra work as she does the final formatting to change your work into various e-files and print on demand.

Many of you will get instructions on formatting at least as soon as the ink dries on your contract.

Formatting a Manuscript and Creating a Marketing Plan

For Sunday’s Topic Chat I am using multiple websites for information. This is one of four links I’ll be using. To discover all of the links on the Topic, consider signing up for our Newsletter. The form appears at the end of this post.

How To Write A Book Marketing Plan In 13 Easy Steps

Almost all publishers will ask about your marketing plan, even the big publishing houses expect an author to engage in marketing.  Articles and short stories are exceptions because the newspaper and magazines come with subscribers baked in.

Promoting your book takes careful planning so you get the most out of your time and effort. And that’s why having a book marketing plan is an essential part of the process.


See the Whole List

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