Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

Local Spotlight at Umpqua Bank Sellwood Branch

I am happy to announce I am the local Spotlight at the Sellwood Umpqua Bank.

All my books are signed and available for sale. Information about my workshops and manuscript critiques is also available in the display. The books will be there until November 30. If you are in the Portland area, I hope you will stop by to pick up one or two. It’s a special chance to get copies of my first short story, “Hurricanes” published in Summer Shorts which is now out of print but I had some copies still available in my stash!

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Children’s Summer On-Line Writing Class

If you have ever thought one of your childhood memories would make a great children’s story, join me this summer and learn how to turn that tale into a story for children.

How can we use our stories of growing up and turn them into stories for children? In this class, we’ll explore how to craft compelling plots that stretch beyond the truth, how to show not tell our daring adventures and how to create strong characters who leap off the page and demonstrate bravery and strength. There will be opportunity for constructive and supportive feedback.

The class runs from June 6 to July 18 and is on-line with The Loft Literary Center. Register here.


Also, if you are an educator and want to add to your summer reading list, there are two great blogs I follow which give me a depth of great new titles to explore.

Nerdy Book Club Blog

And there was a great post a few weeks ago which showcased picture books to use with older students here.


A Kids Book A Day Blog


Also, if you are an educator looking for continuing education credits, I teach some children’s writing classes and children’s literature classes with Seattle Pacific University. All are distance learning and you have a year to complete.

Some of my classes include:

Writing the Children’s Picture Book

Writing the Children’s Short Story

Writing with Boys

Excellence in Children’s Literature (Which is a study of some of the lesser known book awards for kids)

You can find out more about my educator classes with Seattle Pacific SPIRAL here. 

(Once you click on the link above and it takes you to Seattle Pacific University’s website, look under Curriculum and Instruction to find my classes)



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Writing and Resistance: Overcoming Your Blocks to Success

I am teaching Writing and Resistance: Overcoming Your Blocks to Success as an online class at the Loft Literary Center. It starts on March 7 and runs until April 4. This is a low stakes class meaning there is not a lot of outside class time work and it’s priced accordingly.  Registration is open here.

You’ve got a great idea for a story. You are working full speed ahead. Suddenly, everything grinds to a screeching halt. Commitments are screaming at you from all sides, you’ve got the flu and you just can’t get to your writing commitments. Stop. Don’t let fearful resistance block your success.

In this class, we’ll look at the ways resistance shows up in our writing life, the causes of resistance and how it blocks us. But more importantly, we’ll explore ways to fight the fear. Participants will create a plan of action for the next time that sneaky pest resistance shows up.

Hope to see some of you in class!

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From the Heart Free Romance Books


I’m participating in a fun promotion with Book Cave this month. “From the Heart” allows you to chose one romance book for free in exchange for signing up for that author’s newsletter. And you can enter to win a $50 gift card!

My book, Sweetheart Summer, is one of the books but there are plenty others to select too if you have read Sweetheart Summer.


You can find all the books on the From the Heart Promotion here! Enjoy!

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The Water Park Slide

Since moving to Portland, I’ve been attending a few MeetUp Groups. These are groups that get together to do various activities. There is quite a selection to pick from–writing groups that meet to just write for a few hours in a cafe, board game groups, hiking groups, sailing groups, getting to know the city groups and craft groups. It’s a great way to get to know various parts of the city, meet a few people and pursue hobbies and interests.

On Sunday, I attended a MeetUp at a water park. The title of the group was, “Water Park instead of the Superbowl.” I’m not a football fan and this seemed like a better option than a party cheering for teams I didn’t care that much about.

Besides, I like pools and those with slides, high diving boards and wave pools are fun.

There were five of us at the MeetUp, all between the ages of 30’s to 40’s. As we climbed the steps to the slides, I eyed the slides warily. There were two. One enclosed like a tube that went down about four flights to the pool and one open that went on a slower incline. Immediately, I opted for the slower incline. My heart pounded as I stepped into the slide. As a child, I loved these at the pool where we attended and even went on one that was a fire escape for my local YMCA. But as an adult? Suddenly, I started thinking about my health insurance. Where was my local hospital?


Hesitantly I got into the slide. It was open above my head and I could see where I was going. I pushed off and after a few seconds of panic, realized that if I just flowed and let the water take me it was a nice ride. Soon, I was dropped into the water below and came up grinning.

I went on the open slide a few more times, but pretty soon everyone began pestering me…”Try the closed one.”

“I don’t know,” I eyed it. I can be a little claustrophobic and that seemed like it had the possibility for me to freak out.

“It goes fast,” one of the MeetUp folks said.

Suddenly a group of girls, age 7, were chiming in. “You can do it. Don’t be scared.”

What could I do? A group of seven year olds thought I could do it.

My heart pounded as I got into the slide. What if I flipped out inside the slide?

I pushed off and moved two feet into the slide. I waited. Nothing happened. And suddenly, I realized I had hit a dry spot and didn’t have enough momentum. I wasn’t moving. I felt a little like my dog when we took agility classes and he got into the tunnel and then wouldn’t come out.

I knew what to do. I could handle this. In the dark, I scooted forward and caught the water and whoosh..I was off. Much faster than the other one had been.

And then, boom. I was dropped into the bottom of the slide and in a big splash into the pool.

When I came up for air, the seven year olds were in the pool cheering for me. “Did you like it? We knew you could do it. It wasn’t so bad was it?”

On the way back up the stairs, one of the girls confessed. “We were taking bets which slide you would take.”

“Did you win?”

She smiled and shrugged at me. “Maybe.”

I grinned back at her.



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Writing Conferences

It’s that time of the year when the buzz about the spring and summer conference season starts. We are lucky in the Pacific Northwest to have an abundance of good ones to choose from and I’ve been to all of them at one point or another over the last fifteen or so years that I’ve been writing.

The Willamette Writer’s Conference

The Pacific Northwest Writers Summer Conference

 SCBWI Oregon Spring Conference

SCBWI Seattle Conference (This runs bi-annually now and the next one is 2019–good chance for you to attend the Oregon SCBWI Conference this year)

Romance Writers of America National Conference--It moves around each year and I never look much at it until it hits the Midwest or West Coast areas. This year is Colorado but next year it returns to the West Coast again!

Seattle RWA Fall Conference–I always include this one in the considerations because payment is due during the summer for registration.

Connecting Writers with Hollywood-This one is relatively new and takes place in June in Spokane. It’s a good way for you to get your work in front of producers and agents.

Also if you are a reader and live in the Pacific Northwest, the Get Lit Book Festival in Cannon Beach is fabulous! They have different authors every year come talk about their books. Here is the information for this year which takes place in May 18-20. I’m planning to attend this year. I’ve always attended but last year due to my moving process couldn’t get there.


I always attend Seattle RWA Conference in the fall and every other year or so try to submit a workshop proposal. (If accepted this cuts down on my costs. I also stay at the Red Lion and not the conference hotel as the Red Lion will also run room specials and I can get a room for under a $100. It’s close enough to the conference hotel and gives me a little breathing room after a long day of workshops.) This has been my favorite conference since I started writing romance and where I learned the most about digital publishing and the world of the Indie author. Plus, it’s also where I see familiar faces who I only see once a year.

At times, I have attended parts of the Willamette Writer’s Conference (a one day session) and the Pacific NW Writer’s Conference. I loved attending Christopher Vogler’s one day session on the Writer’s Journey and it was well worth every penny I paid. Both of these conferences can be very pricey and usually fall out of my writing conference budget.

For years, when I wrote mostly for children, I always attended Seattle SCBWI’s conference and sometimes drove down to Portland to attend the spring Oregon SCBWI Conference. I always recommend these conferences to new children’s writers as it’s a great way to pitch your work to agents and editors and hear who wants what. Since I mostly write in romance now, I don’t attend these conferences anymore but still recommend them.

This year, besides the Seattle RWA Fall conference where I have submitted a proposal to teach a workshop about teaching on-line classes, I am planning to attend Connecting Writers with Hollywood. The more I talk to people, the more I realize how many folks are streaming shows on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hula. Producers are in need of content. Some want screenplays, but some are literary agents who will get your stories in front of producers. So this June, I’m headed off to Spokane to learn a little bit more about the process of getting a story to Hollywood.

What are your plans for conference season?






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New Facebook Group for Writers

For all of you who are writers, I have created a new Facebook Group. “Writer’s Cottage: Inspiration for the Journey.”

The purpose of this group is to share your successes, challenges and inspiration on the writing journey. The group is not necessarily a place to share craft ideas or opportunities to publish. Instead, the idea is to create a supportive community around the long and often challenging journey of being a writer.

Think of it as a place to go to give and receive support, inspiration and hope for the journey. We love writers of all genres but especially memoir, children’s writing and romance.

This is a closed Facebook group–meaning your posts will only be viewed by those in the group and you will need to hit a button to request to join.

Unlike my public book Facebook pages for readers, this group is specifically  geared toward those of you are are writers in any stage of the journey–from just beginning to seasoned.

Here is the link on Facebook. I hope some of you will join us!


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New Office Space

Last spring I packed up my office and spent a significant time in the last nine months living out of bags and juggling around boxes.

Finally after a new coat of paint, a new floor and some shelving, I finally got to unpack my office. When I packed everything up, I did a lot of getting rid of old files and books. But the process continued as I moved into the new space until finally I had a place that felt as if it was ready to move forward into the next chapter! And if you look closely on the couch, beside the Curious George is my dog, Stormy…who of course must be in the office!



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Write Every Day–or not….

“Write every day.” It’s one of the most popular pieces of advice to writers. It’s something I have struggled and fought with since I chose to become a writer. Write every day.

I get the thinking behind this advice. You need discipline as a writer. It’s not just when the muse strikes. You need to write through the hard times. The times when you are not inspired to work on the story.  You need to have a set period of your day that you say this is my writing time. No one interrupts me.

But I have never written every day. Not when I was doing my MFA in Writing for Children Work. Not when I was writing articles and not when I was writing my six books.

In the beginning I always took Sunday off from all writing and writing business. I recognized I needed one day to not work and in the beginning I was spending almost every Saturday working on articles and short stories.

As I wrote each book, there was a period in the process when I did write every day. During the fast drafting, during the revisions, during the edits, and during the release and promotion–not really writing but there was a lot of blog writing.

But in between those parts of each book there were also many days I did not write. I ran my life. I taught my on-line teaching classes, I taught workshops, I taught educators, I worked on house projects, I learned how to sew and I crafted. I went to yoga, I took the dog for a walk. I had a couple disaster relationships. I traveled to the Oregon coast and I read. I did those things which fed my writing.

I have often been hard on myself the last nine months as I moved from Seattle to Portland. I packed up my office last May and this week I finally could unpack it. And in those nine months, my office lived out of bags and it was not cohesive for my writing process at all. It worked somewhat for my teaching although I had to teach one workshop in November without any of my usual materials because everything was still in storage.I managed, but it wasn’t great.

I couldn’t keep a story in my head. I coudn’t keep characters in my head. I had no solid place to lay out a story board unless I wanted to move it fifty times as I worked around packing and unpacking a house. But the biggest was I just had no room in my head because I moved cities and have had to start from ground zero. Where is the store? Where is the library? What neighborhood works best for me? Where is the yoga class that works for me? How do I get health care? That driver’s license has to be retaken and the teaching certification also has to be retaken for endorsements and other requirements we didn’t have in WA State. How do I hire for painting and a new floor in the room which will become my office? Life decisions took over my story idea space.

And a little part of me spent too much time whispering..You aren’t writing. You SHOULD be writing. What’s wrong with you?

And then I read this article…

And this struck me….

Here’s what stops more people from writing than anything else: shame. That creeping, nagging sense of ‘should be,’ ‘should have been,’ and ‘if only I had…’ Shame lives in the body, it clenches our muscles when we sit at the keyboard, takes up valuable mental space with useless, repetitive conversations. Shame, and the resulting paralysis, are what happen when the whole world drills into you that you should be writing every day and you’re not.

It’s not just writing. Shame. I should be further along. I should have x number of books out. I should be making x amount. I should. I should. I should. It’s a killer to the creative process.

But nothing lasts forever and as the shelves went up in the office, the floor was finally finished and the paint done, I could finally unpack the twenty boxes I’d been sitting around for three months. And, as I tossed old files and organized my office this weekend until I finally stood in front of a room that was ready to move forward in it’s new life, I realized that writing was all waiting for me. It was waiting for me to bring new energy and life to it. And it didn’t need me writing every day, what my writing needs is the fresh ideas and new emotions which come when you let life lead you and stop shaming yourself for not writing every day.





Giveaway Kids in Orange: Voices from Juvenile Detention

For many many years I have published this blog, but a few years ago I also started publishing a newsletter about four or five times a year. My newsletter usually includes upcoming author appearances and workshops, book news as well as sometimes a recipe which ties to one of my books or a craft or sewing idea. My intention this year is to bring more meaning to my crafting and sewing work and as a part of that I’m going to be sharing one place you can get involved in your community that supports women’s causes in the newsletter.

If you’d like to sign up to receive my newsletter, I’m giving away one ebook copy of my memoir, Kids in Orange: Voices from Juvenile Detention in exchange for signing up for my newsletter here.




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