A Writerly Blog
It never occurred to me that my desire to write middle-grade historical fiction would change. Nor, that my author’s bio must follow suit. But I was recently enlightened when I had to write a book proposal (much like a term paper, for those of you who are unfamiliar with them) and with it, include my bio. Seems simple, until you understand I am writing a non-fiction book on “aging confidently”, something I am struggling to do lately. Now, instead of writing for young people, I'm reaching my peers.
My Middle-grade Bio
This is what I created when I published The Heart Changer in 2019:
Jarm (‘J’ pronounced as a 'Y') Del Boccio finds her inspiration in everyday life, but in particular, when she travels the globe, observing the quirky things that happen along the way. Focusing on lives of characters from the past, Jarm is devoted to breathing new life into the pages of history, and offers her young readers hope, heart, and a real-life hero.
Jarm loves to travel, is passionate about visiting new places and determined never visit the same location twice. Unfortunately, sometimes she has to break her own rule. Having journeyed to six out of seven continents, she’s slowly checking off destinations on her bucket list. Jarm’s next dream destination is a stay in a Mongolian yurt with plenty of yak milk to drink!
Some interesting factoids about the author: Her first job was working in — no kidding — a Chinese laundromat! After meeting a bat head-on, Jarm had the distinct privilege of sporting black eyes for eighth grade graduation. Her secret desire? To get caught up in a flash mob singing a tune from a favorite musical.
Jarm taught Kindergarten and high school art/home economics, served as school librarian, and later, nannied a four year old girl. But her greatest challenge was educating three missionary children in an isolated bush village in Papua New Guinea, without the benefit of modern conveniences.
Jarm is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and American Christian Fiction Writers and Word Weavers, and has published three articles in The Old Schoolhouse magazine (2013/18/19). She finished her advanced course with the Institute of Children’s Literature, completing her third MG historical fiction.
Jarm Del Boccio is content with the journey God has placed her on, and lives with her husband, adult daughter and son (when he lands at home), in a tree-lined suburb of Chicago. Her debut middle-grade historical fiction, The Heart Changer released with Ambassador International April 26th, and recently won the Illuminations Silver Medal Award in the Children’s/YA category, and honorable mention in The Purple Dragonfly Book Award’s spiritual/religious category.
You can connect on her website: Jarm Del Boccio, Author or social media platforms: Goodreads, Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram.
A New Genre, a New Bio—a New Identity!
Now that I am writing a non-fiction book on Aging Confidently, it's necessary to change my bio to reflect the current ‘me’ and to identify with my future readers—folks in their silver years and beyond. Below is my revised but tentative bio. I'd appreciate your feedback!
Jarm (‘J’ pronounced as a 'Y') Del Boccio has spent the last 10 years breathing new life into the pages of history offering middle-grade readers hope, heart, and a real-life hero. Now, well into her silver years, and maturing along with her peers, she is looking forward, and not back. Jarm sees a reluctance to let go of the past and its comforts to forge ahead into new territory that will enlighten, refresh and energize the spirit. What many peers fear is the very thing that will help them age with grace, confidence and faith, making their last years productive and meaningful.
Jarm scares off the aging bug with travel, and is passionate about visiting new places—she is determined never visit the same location twice. Unfortunately, sometimes she has to break her own rule. Having journeyed to six out of seven continents, she’s slowly checking off destinations on her bucket list. Her secret desire? To get caught up in a flash mob singing a tune from a favorite musical. Jarm feels like a 20-something when someone comments on her stunning silver hair. She tells them it's God’s gift to her (along with her stellar hairdresser of 30 years.)
Although Jarm taught elementary and High School students, served as school librarian, and later, nannied a young girl, her greatest challenge was educating three missionary children in an isolated bush village in Papua New Guinea, without the benefit of modern conveniences.
Jarm is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Word Weavers, and Hope*Writers. She has published articles in The Old Schoolhouse magazine and recently, her devotional on Nehemiah was accepted for Unlocked Teen Devotional.
Having sold her home in a tree-lined Chicago suburb, Jarm has moved 11 times in four months. Although it's an adventure she wasn't asking for, Jarm is content with the journey God has placed her on, and plans to move with her husband to North Carolina coast. With this move, she has become an avid declutterer and minimalist, since discovering it fogs her aging brain.
Her award-winning debut middle-grade historical fiction, The Heart Changer released with Ambassador International in 2019, and still has two more kidlit novels to submit when the time is right.
You can connect on her website: Jarm Del Boccio, Author or social media platforms: Goodreads, Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram.
What do you think of my new identity? Would you add anything to my bio that would represent my ‘silver self” better? Anything you would remove that is not necessary? Please tell me in the comments below. . .
I don't know about you, but as a writer, I look forward to a new writing guide when it comes along. Today I get to share the news that The Conflict Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Obstacles, Adversaries, and Inner Struggles (Vol. 1) has arrived!
The Conflict Thesaurus is their newest writing tool. . .
This guide is about that absolutely necessary ingredient our stories need: Conflict. It shows you exactly how to use conflict to raise tension, create a fresh story premise, and pull readers in. The guide also dives into over 100 conflict scenarios and how each can be endlessly adapted to challenge a character inside and out. Problems, Moral Dilemmas, Ticking Clocks, Obstacles, No-Win Scenarios. . . this book is plot brainstorming in overdrive!
I'm part of Angela & Becca's Street Team for this release, and we have an important question to ask you:
Can You Survive Danger as Well as Your Favorite Protagonist?
Sure, it's easy for you (or is it?) to use conflict to wound your characters and make them struggle, but what if it's you in the hot seat instead? Will you make good decisions, or bad ones?
Are you game for The Conflict Challenge?
It's time to find out by taking the Conflict Challenge! I dare you to become the protagonist in a special story Angela & Becca have created. And heads up, if you survive, you win some pretty cool stuff!
While you're at Writers Helping Writers taking the Conflict Challenge, make sure to enter The Conflict Thesaurus celebratory giveaway, too. But hurry - it's only on for a few days.
So, take the challenge. . . if you dare. I did, and it's super fun. And don't forget to come back and let me know how you did against Camp Deadwood!
While your at it, check out Becca and Angela’s other stellar tools:
Have you used any of the above thesauri? If so, which is your favorite? If you're looking for an incredible online tool that helps you craft your story, check out One Stop for Writers.
Are you a writer stuck in a genre that's tired? Do you want to branch out into something new? How about travel writing? If you love words, adventure and a desire to share your discoveries, with a possibility of free food, lodging and activities, travel writing is for you!
The How-tos of Travel Writing
Believe it or not, travel writing is much like creating a novel or magazine article. All good writing needs a hook, which is usually sentence or paragraph that draws you in, then follows with points or scenes that bring you though the piece in an orderly and engaging way, keeping the promises the title and hook offered.
But where do you begin? Your hometown, of course! There are numerous things to see and do where you live. Restaurants, shops, nature hikes, and museums are just the beginning. Ask your local chamber of commerce, library or historical society for ideas. And read this short article, 5 Tips for Travel Writing Success in Your Hometown.
Have a focus. “Three top places to enjoy the fall leaves in (your hometown)” "10 top restaurants that offer hygge atmosphere in (your hometown) this winter” are some suggestions. Everyone googles ‘best’ or ‘top 10’ when they are looking for places to go, so add yours!
Then pitch your idea to a local newspaper or magazine. Much advice for these steps and beyond are found at Great Escape Publishing If they agree to publish your article, that's when the fun begins.
Looking for more possibilities for publication? Try Midwest Living, GoNomad, Rovology, or Play, Stay, Eat. But here's the catch: before writing an article, reading well-written ones is a must. Subscribe to Afar's newsletter, check out Travel&Leisure from your local library, and any other popular travel magazine. Read voraciously, to get a feel for the voice and content of a great travel piece.
If you are looking for constant inspiration and mentorship, join ITWPA which offers classes, travel ideas, examples of travel writing, great photography and more. It's an organization which will give you guidance and credibility, along with a jounalist's pass all your own!
I've given you a quick introduction to travel writing, but it takes study and perseverance, Consider joining the groups above for support. One successful travel writer, Abi King, has a stellar website, Inside the Travel Lab and offers a newsletter that will give you a feel for the travel journalist's lifestyle. Be inspired!
Are you a travel journalist? If so, tell us your favorite location to write about. Have you considered travel writing? Let me know your thoughts below!
Looking to Improve Your Writing Skills, but can't get out of the house? Are you in an isolated area where there are no writer's groups? This Post is for you!
Hi everyone! Today, especially for writers, I have something fun to share -- a special writing resource and a chance to win some help with your writing bills. Fantastic, right?
Some of you may know Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi of Writers Helping Writers. Well, today they are releasing a new book, and I’m part of their street team. I’m handing the blog over to them so they can tell you about their Writer’s Showcase event, new book, and a great freebie to check out. Read on!
Have you been floundering in the dark lately? Or maybe you're not aware your light has dimmed. Maybe, you are just living life as it comes, but underneath, are realizing there is something more.
I believe that's the way the shepherds felt over 2,000 years ago on the night Jesus was born. Since this is the Christmas season, I want to share a portion of my Christmas Musings written in 2012. For another character sketch in this series, here is the link for the Magi's story. I hope you are blessed by my interpretation of what happened many centuries ago and many miles away. How would you have responded that night?
And now for something completely different. Do you love to share newsworthy articles? Love to inspire your readers? Or, are you a history buff, but sadly, with very little time to read? Do I have news for you! Apps you'll love. Since I am a Mac girl, these three are found at the app store. If you are an android user, good news - it's available for you as well.
Just a few days ago, I was awarded the Leibster Award. Well, that’s not quite true. I was offered it. By a young poet and friend from the UK! Hannah is a budding writer and blogger who delights in using her God-given gifts to encourage and inspire others. You can check out her blog, The Way of Delight here. Thanks, Hannah!
Since I had no other plans for this week’s post (I’m heading to the SoCal Christian Writer’s Conference tomorrow — can’t wait!) I decided to take her up on the offer. The award has been around for a number of years, morphing as it time went by. If you want the full story, you can read it at wordingwell.com I went online to find a few images for the award, which you see above.
As a writer, I can get caught up in FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out. Each time a new blogpost or newsletter alerts me of a webinar I must attend, a book I should be reading, or a social media task I need to engage in, I get panicky.
Which is the most important? What if I make the wrong choice?
There is too much to do in a limited timeframe. We authors have families, other jobs, people and pets we must care for, and places we'd like to go, just like anyone else. How do we fit it all in??
Can I make a suggestion?
We don't need to!
As far as I'm concerned, there are only seven things we authors MUST do . . .
Ten days ago I returned exhausted from three whirlwind days of our regional SCBWI Conference. Wow. I couldn't take it all in -- there was so much to absorb! There were workshops and keynote addresses by seasoned authors, a bookstore to shop to our wallet's delight, and of course, a county fair to top all county fairs.
Topics from how to garner invites for author visits to social media marketing and what to look for in an agent. And the customary craft courses on voice, editing and character.
If you've been to a writer's conference, you know how daunting it can be. So what are the 5 things to remember? Let me outline them simply here:
1. BE COMFORTABLE
Wear comfortable shoes and clothing (with a sweater or jacket to ward off a chill in case the rooms are freezing). Bring snacks, a method to take notes, and a tote, small suitcase or large purse to hold all the conference goodies and handouts.
2. BE WILLING
If you live in the area, (but even if you don't) volunteer to help set up registration, drive speakers to and from the airport, or attend to the needs of the host for a workshop. I offered to pick up a well-known author after her flight, and ended up having a friendly and insightful conversation. I realized she has some of the same issues as we debut authors do!
3. BE FRIENDLY
Network with attendees, authors, agents and editors. Sit with them at a meal, chat in the lounge, or catch them at the end of a workshop. They are humans like you and me. No need to be intimidated! If you don't try, you'll never feel comfortable around them. And don't underestimate the importance of conversing with fellow writers, even if they haven't published yet. We all have valuable things to share. Bring business cards to pass out, and be sure to follow them on social media. Who knows where that will lead!
4. BE REALISTIC
Don't expect to land an agent or sign a contract at your very first conference. Yes, it has happened, but chances are slim. It doesn't mean you or the conference was a failure. It does mean you have accumulated tips and tricks for your writer's journey that will eventually lead to a contract. Put into practice all the things you are learning, and move forward. Good news may be around the next corner, whether that is next month or next year!
Remember those notes you took? Hopefully, while in the workshops, you highlighted or circled the items you needed to work on first. Maybe it's editing your latest manuscript, or submitting to that awesome agent you talked with -- just make sure you've perused their wishlist before submitting. Get to work immediately on those tasks. As I write this, I'm reminding myself I have not followed through on my own advice. Believe me, I will miss out if I don't move ahead. Don't be like me!
This is the first time I've attended a conference as a debut author. So I was honored to see my little MG historical fiction nestled among the great kid lit authors of the Midwest. Well, maybe a bit intimidating, too. And although I sold only one, I discovered another author had sold none. So, I didn't worry. We all need to begin somewhere. And I am firmly traveling down the path of marketing, writing and submitting.
Here I am below, ready to sign the one book purchased. But no one showed up. No worries, because two-thirds of the attendee authors didn't show, and the few that sat at their assigned place faithfully and waited, had no books to sign. But, we took photos of each other, then exchanged and signed our books. Win-win. Just not in the usual sense.
Can you think of other points to remember when attending a writer's conference? Which conferences have helped you the most on your writer's journey? Tell me in the comments below. . .
Speaking of debut authors -- The Heart Changer has 12 reviews right now. Can you help me reach 20? If you have read my story, please give me an honest review on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and/or Bookbub. You can copy and paste the same review to all the online sites. Easy-peasy!
I'd sure appreciate it!
My MG Biblical fiction "The Heart Changer" debuted in 2019 with Ambassador International.