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Corfu, Greece
Liana Metal lives in Greece, on the island of Corfu. She is an EFL teacher(MAEd -Applied Linguistics), book reviewer and freelance writer. Liana is also an artist. Her drawings/paintings can be found both online at www.aggelia-online.gr and at several shops in Corfu town. To contact the artist visit http://LianaMetal.tripod.com or her blog at http://LianasKerkyra.blogspot.com Η Ηλιάνα Μεταλληνού διδάσκει Αγγλικά στην Κέρκυρα, γράφει άρθρα και ιστορίες για έντυπες και ηλεκτρονικές εκδόσεις σε όλο τον κόσμο και ζωγραφίζει. Μπορείτε να την επισκεφθείτε στην ηλεκτρονική διεύθυνση http://toasprosaligari.blogspot.com και http://www.coffeetimecorfu.com


A book for kids/ 3 stories in English

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Meet Debra Eckerling

Happy New Year!

This year starts with the presentation of a talented author, Debra Eckerling.

I am sure you will be delighted to learn about her!

Interview with Debra Eckerling, the leader of Write On! (www.writeononline.com)

Tell us about yourself first.

I am a freelance lifestyle and entertainment writer who developed a niche in writing about writers. I moved to LA from the Chicago suburbs 12 years ago, and freelanced while working fulltime until two years ago when I went out on my own. Some of my “day jobs” included Community Relations Coordinator for Barnes & Noble, Production Editor at Publications International, Ltd., and Director of Communications for an executive benefits company.

I have been leading a writers support group for the last eight years, and have a writers website – www.writeononline.com. I also host workshops in addition to freelance writing, editing, and coaching.

When did you start writing?

Like most writers, I developed a love of writing from the moment I learned to write in grade school. In high school, I did a lot of essays and creative writing, and even had a poem in the high school literary journal (which I find extremely funny since poetry is the one thing a do not do now). I graduated with a degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and freelanced for one of the college papers. I also was an award-winning public speaker on the nationally ranked Forensics team. Participating on the team involved a lot of writing and peer-coaching.

What types of writing do you do?

My writing includes non-fiction articles, essays, and corporate communications. In addition to the content for my website – WriteOnOnline.com – I edit the eZines for The Writers Store and StoryLink.com.

I have also written four screenplays and participated in/completed National Novel Writing Month for the first time last November. I am currently working on a non-fiction book on writing and am planning to participate in NaNoWriMo again this year, as well as it’s sister-group ScriptFrenzy, which encourages people to write a screenplay in a month. That takes place in April.

Tell us about Write On! What is it about?

Write On! is the writers support group I have been leading in Santa Monica for the last eight years. We focus on goal-setting, productivity, and accountability, as well as networking with light critique. Whereas most writing groups cater to a specific type of writer, Write On! is open to writers in all areas, mediums, and levels of experience. Most writers create in more than one medium. Plus, all writers need people who understand them to cheer them on.

I launched the dedicated website – www.WriteOnOnline.com – about a year and a half ago. People would move out of town and want to stay involved, have a place to post their goals, and stay in touch with the community. I also met a lot of people from other states and other countries, who liked the idea of the writers support group and wanted to participate.

Over the last year and a half, Write On! Online has developed into an informative website and community. We have Author Q&As twice a week, Expert columns every Thursday, and a drawing for posting monthly goals either on the website or on the Write On! Online Facebook Fan Page (www.facebook.com/writeononline). The Facebook page allows people to participate in writing discussions, share knowledge, and post links to their latest success. I also have a monthly writing challenge with prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. The topic for the January Challenge is Review Yourself: submit a 200- to 400-word review of your own work. Details here: http://bit.ly/5ZUYEW

What inspired you to create this?

I was the Community Relations Coordinator for Barnes & Noble in Schaumburg, Illinois, and, whenever I was at a loss for events, I would sit in the café and talk to our customers. One day, someone asked if I would start a writers support group at the store. I thought it sounded like a good idea, and decided to try it out. It was quite a success. As a bonus, I started writing essays as my goals for the meetings – I don’t believe in bugging people to set goals unless I intend on setting them myself. When a freelance opportunity came up, I had writing samples ready to go.

I re-launched the group in Los Angeles in 2002.

Where is it online?

The website is www.writeononline.com, and the Facebook page is www.facebook.com/writeononline

Tell us about your other work.

In addition to my niche of writing about writers – WriteOnOnline.com, as well as editing the eZines for The Writers Store and StoryLink.com – I love to teach and I love to talk. I lead workshops on topics such as Breaking through Writers Block and Marketing through Blogging and Social Networking. My next class is Goal Setting & Productivity on January 30 at The Writers Store in Westwood, CA. Details here: http://www.writersstore.com/product.php?products_id=4440

Has the Internet helped you in your writing career? How?

Yes. The internet is awesome. Really the best tool for education, networking, and self-promotion. It has helped me expand my reach to writers, and allowed me to assist authors in increasing their visibility – and share information – through interviews on my website.
Authors need a platform. – and there is no better, far-reaching platform than the Internet.

What do you advise new writers to do?

Start by journaling. Write what’s happening in your life, feelings, observations, unique characters you encounter, and ideas. It’s great practice for developing style and tone, and there’s plenty of material to write about. Writing is exercise: the more you do it, the more skilled you become.

Thanks Debra for being with us!

Good luck!



Darcía Helle said...

Debra, you lead quite an interesting (and busy!) life. And it sounds like you mingle with some fun people! -- Aren't all writers fun people? :))

Nancy Famolari said...

I agree, the internet is awesome and so is what you're doing for writers and others in the entertainment business. Keep at it!!

Great post, Liana!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Liana, for the opportunity. And thanks, Darcia and Nancy, for your comments and encouragement. Yes, writers are a lot of fun, and I truly love helping people turn from dreamers into do-ers!

Vivian Zabel said...

Finally, I can see. *laugh*

Thank you, Liana, for introducing us to Debra.

Debra, you are such a help for writers.


The Old Silly said...

Ah! the direct permalink worked. Enjoyed the feature post. You're one very busy and creative woman/author, Debra!

Marvin D Wilson

Helena Harper said...

This is a great post, Liana - I found it both interesting and informative.

Great to meet you, Debra. You are obviously a woman with a great desire to help other writers and it's wonderful what you're doing. I think the advice about journaling is great - I remember doing that myself as a teenager. I'm curious to know what prompted you to take part in the NaNoWrMo contest? Is that the first novel you've written? And what genre is it?


kathy stemke said...

Hi, Debra. Your "Write On" group is a wonderful resource for writers.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

A fascinating interview. I paid a visit to the website and plan to go back and spend a lot more time there.

Magdalena Ball said...

Thanks for such an informative interview Debra and Liana. I particularly like your (block busting) comment about writing being an exercise: "the more you do it, the more skilled you become." I think many writers underestimate the value of keeping a journal (all those lost moments) and the way it keeps you in a literary mindset.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, everyone! I appreciate your thoughtful comments, and am thrilled to introduce you to my site.

Helena, I have known about NaNoWriMo for years, and always encouraged my "writers" to participate. Over the summer, I found some of my short short stories from high school, and it reminded me how much I used to enjoy writing fiction. I knew NaNo was coming up, and decided this was the year I would write my first novel. (The genre is chick lit. )

I solidified my intent by telling everyone I knew I was going to take part - I even announced it during the Breaking Through Writers Block workshop I taught at Screenwriting Expo in October. A few of the people in my audience messaged me that they were planning to go for it, too!

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Liana, I'm so glad you are hosting Deb today. I met her recently at a book signing supporting our friend and memoirist Amy Ferris. She wrote Marrying George Clooney.

Anyway, she is one little powerhouse and so her mom. Yay for the two of you.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Tweeting tips for writers @FrugalBookPromo

Tina Haapala said...

Great to learn more about you, Debra! The internet is such a great place to build a writer's community, as well as a platform. I'm just starting out with the website/fanpage/etc and I love finding new sites like this for information and inspiration. Thanks, Liana.

Janet Ann Collins said...

That group sounds like a good idea.

Liana said...

Thank you so much for sharing with us all that information! And I appreciate your sending the good link-I didn't know how to fix it!

I am grateful to you all who visited! Thanks so much!

Martha said...

Wow, you keep yourself going. The advice is wonderful. It was nice to learn more about you.
Martha Swirzinski

madcapmaggie said...

Debra, it's interesting that you should talk about journaling -- years before I started writing for publication I started keeping a journal -- you're right about it being good practice, plus an excellent way to get the creative juices flowing.

Margaret Fieland

Karen and Robyn - Writing for Children said...

Liana, wonderful interview.

And, Debra, you've have such an interesting writing background.

I also agree that the internet is a great source for learning, networking and promoting!

Karen Cioffi

Heidiwriter said...

What a great idea! That's a "slogan" my writing group has been using for a number of years.
Write on!