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Holiday Gift Ideas for Writers

It’s the holiday season once again.

With that comes a time for giving gifts, but you may find yourself stumped on what to give someone.

Here is a list of ideas for the writer in your life. This list does not guarantee Christmas delivery times. Please check each individual site to see their shipping policies. This list was meant to inspire your holiday purchases if you are stumped on that special writer in your life.

 

1- Books about Writing

Writers love reference or inspiring books about writing. Here are a few of my top choices.

500 Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing Prompts

500 Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing Prompts by Julie Wenzel (me)

Yes, I am a bit bias because I wrote this book. So here’s my one moment of self -promotion on this list. However, I think this would make a fun little gift for any writer that loves science fiction and fantasy. Also, if you purchase the paperback, Amazon will sell you the eBook version for only 99 cents via Matchbook!

The book is sectioned off into 10 sections with 50 prompts per section. Think of a number 1 – 500 and easily find that spot in the book.

500 Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing Prompts is also appropriate for writers of any age. So no worries if you’re looking for something for your teen!

 

 

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers How to Edit Yourself Into Print

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print by Renni Browne and Dave King

Whether someone decides to completely self-edit a book with no other help or wants some pointers on how to get their work to the next level, this book comes highly recommended.

Book description: “Here at last is a book by two professional editors to teach writers the techniques of the editing trade that turn promising manuscripts into published novels and short stories.”

 

 

 

Additional Book Recommendations:

On Writing by Stephen King

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

5,000 Words Per Hour: Write Faster, Write Smarter by Chris Fox

 

2- Coffee, Hot Chocolate, and Fun Mugs

Writers are fueled by their liquid of choice, which is often coffee or hot chocolate. Here are some ideas for the writer in your life.

coffee mugs - i love coffee

Coffee Mugs from I Love Coffee

Cute and fun little coffee mugs can be found at the eshop from I Love Coffee.

Other fun places to get coffee mugs include Zazzle, ModCloth, and your favorite coffee shop.

 

 

Starbucks Holiday 2016 Blend

Christmas Blend Vintage at Starbucks

A dark roast coffee. This also comes in whole bean and decaf. There is also a Holiday Coffee Collection for $39.95 that includes Christmas Blend, Holiday Blend, and Espresso Roast.

Other coffee shops have holiday blends as well. Check out their websites for more info.

 

 

 

 

 

Homemade DIY Hot Chocolate in Mason Jar Gift Recipe via Love Grows Wild

I recently made my own homemade brew of hot chocolate by mixing 2% milk, sugar, cocoa powder, and cinnamon in a pot. Ever since then, I’ve become a little obsessed with the idea of making homemade hot chocolate versus a package from the store. Don’t get me wrong, I still like store-bought hot chocolate / cocoa.
I mention gifting homemade hot chocolate because not only is a cute, homemade gift, I don’t think many realize how easy and delicious homemade really can be. If you live in a cold area like I do, anything warm like coffee or hot chocolate is always appreciated. (A side of cookies is always nice too)

 

Coffee Gift Cards

Gift cards always make a great present for writers who love their coffee. Some suggested places for gift cards include, Starbucks, Peet’s, Caribou, Tim Horton’s, and Dunkin Donuts. Be sure to check the location to make sure there’s a coffee shop nearby so they can use the gift card. Many coffee shops are only located in specific regions.

For an even more personalized gift, find out if there’s a locally owned coffee shop they frequent instead of the bigger chains. When it comes to coffee, many people are very specific.

 

3 – Other Fun Gifts

Storymatic Card Game - Gift for writer

The Storymatic Classic Game 

Combine unique cards that act as story prompts. The listing states it has trillions of combinations. This game would be fun for a writer of any age. Reviews list many people use this for youth writing workshops and their classroom. So whatever age you’re shopping for, this would make a great gift.

 

 

 

Time to Write – Whether it be babysitting the kids, cleaning the house, or a weekend getaway to decompress. One thing writer’s need the most is just time to write.

Amazon Prime Membership (for Prime Music) – Writers need specific music (or for some none at all) when they write. This is a great way to open up the possibility of thousands of albums with no commercials. This is personally how I listen to music when I write.

Register them for a Writer’s Conference – These can be costly, but also well appreciated. If you plan on buying a ticket to one of these, be sure to find out if they really want to attend and consider the potential cost of flight and hotels. These will set you back hundreds, but a really generous gift for serious writers.

Here’s a list of writing conferences >>> Writing Conferences.

Gift Cards to Book Stores – Writers are also readers. Any writer will appreciate an opportunity to add to their library of books, whether it be fiction for pleasure or reference books.

Signed Books by Authors – Some signed copies can be impossible to come by, but others are easier than you think. Some known and active authors like Brandon Sanderson even have a spot on their site dedicated to purchasing signed copies. Just find out their favorite author and do a quick search. You’d be surprised! Writers love to read. They will have their idols–authors they look up to. Signed books are unique and thoughtful gifts to any writer.

 

I am sure I missed some ideas as there are many more great gifts for writers such as fun t-shirts, accessories, journals, and more.

If you’re a writer, what’s on your wishlist?

 

Article note: None of these links are affiliate links. The only profit I make is a purchase of books I wrote.

Cover Reveal: The Infected Manuscript

This month, I will be publishing a zombie short story I wrote several years ago by another title. It was collecting dust, yet I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

About The Infected Manuscript:

This story tells a tale about a horror novelist that is so caught up in his novel, he has completely shut himself out from his family. His wife and kids beg to spend more time with him, but he has a deadline to make and a bout of writer’s block.

It is a first person perspective of the novelist losing himself in his zombie apocalypse manuscript.

 

In November, I went back and updated the title and created a cover for it.

Here’s the cover:

The Infected Manuscript Zombie Short Story Julie Wenzel

 

Like my other titles such as 500 Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing Prompts and Zombie Writing Prompts, I have done all my own cover art using creative common license images and a bit of Photoshop and typography magic. I intend to continue to do my own covers for a few other future titles. However, this will not always be the case. Depending on the project I would like to have some covers commissioned.  Though I do love to work in Photoshop, create vector images, and do pixel art, there are certain art techniques I will be seeking out in future book covers that I cannot do on my own.

I look forward to collaborating with artists in the future.

The Infected Manuscript is set to release within the next week (December 2016). Stay tuned!

Becoming a Multi-Genre Author

multi-genre author writing laptop coffee

 

After giving it a lot of thought and reading pros and cons lists of other writers, I have decided to take the plunge and become a multi-genre writer.

No longer am I going to restrict myself from writing stories I want to tell, or spend time thinking about the possibility of building a pen name.

This can be a very scary plunge to take, as many believe that an author should pick a genre and stick to it. If I followed that advice, the only thing I’d be allowed to write under my name is fantasy. Some genres easily overlap without a problem, so at most I could be a fantasy and science fiction author.

But then what happens to the zombie stories I want to tell?

About six months ago, I came up with a zombie apocalypse story that is part western, part steampunk, part science fiction all balled into one. (More to come on this one someday, I do honestly plan on writing it.)

But I’ve already written a children’s illustrated book and a young reader novel about a little girl and her magical friends. Do I start a pen name just for the one book? Which stories get the pen name? Which one should I just forget about?

Overall, it just didn’t seem right for me to be having this conflict. Would building a new pen name for each new idea really be a good use of my time?

 

Now I have a romance novel in the works with geek references, magical spells, and lots of pancakes. How does that line up with my zombie story, as far as “author branding” goes?

Perhaps it doesn’t. But both stories are still me.

I toyed with the idea for over a year that I should just make separate pen names for every genre I wanted to write in. Many authors swear by pen names. But even if I decided to be open about my pen names, it still felt like I was hiding behind a name for the sole purpose of branding.

After much thought, I realized that even though all of these stories I have written or planned on writing are technically different genres, they are still me. A lot of my heart and soul (as cliche as that may sound) pours into those words. Why not group them all together? I don’t want to be any other pseudo name.

I want to be me.

I want my stories to be attached to my name…not something I made up because it sounded good for branding sake.

This isn’t a dis to those that make pen names. This is just me stating that it isn’t going to work for me. For another author, a pen name could be beneficial towards their sales. It just isn’t going to work for me.

 

With this decision, there will be challenges. 

How will a young reader be able to know that when they pick up a book of mine, they won’t accidentally pick up a horror book? It will take clear differentiation in book covers and blurbs of course. Will it be enough? Time will tell.

All of this ultimately is going to be taking it one step at a time…one title at a time…one cover…one blurb. Because I love to read multiple genres, I’m going to just assume there are people out there that do the same.

Young readers grow up eventually and expand their reading horizons. I want my titles to be there for them when they do grow up.

 

So what genres do I ultimately plan to write in?

Science fiction. Fantasy. Young Adult. Post-apocalypse. Sweet Romance (must still have magic or science in there). Young Reader. Picture books. Light horror (good zombie fun).

There’s a lot of overlap with these genres, so ultimately my heart is still in a similar place when it comes to my writing.

 

At the end of the day, I will always stick close to science fiction and fantasy. But if an idea strikes me in a random genre, I’m not going to hold back from writing it.

 

I welcome you to follow me on this journey.

Join me on Twitter or send me a message. I’d love to chat with you!