Creating a New Story

Writers are often asked where they get their ideas. Most of us say we get them from everywhere: newspapers, TV, real events, family dynamics, travel, and so on. Some story ideas seem to come full-blown. Others need to be pulled out of our imaginations. The same is true of characters. … Continue reading

Designing (or redesigning) a Website

Recently a writer friend said her website was blah and asked if my daughter could help her, so this coming Saturday my daughter and I will make a “house” call to see what exactly is needed to give the writer’s website some sparkle. Meanwhile, I thought I’d check what others … Continue reading

Try Something New

I recently tried something new–a Viking cruise. (From Paris, France, to Luxembourg, to German towns along the Moselle River and the middle Rhine River, to, finally, Zurich, Switzerland) My head is filled with images, bits of conversation, smells, and sounds. I’ve seen cathedrals, cathedrals, and more cathedrals. Some I’ll remember, … Continue reading

Author Events – Are They Worth It?

Recently I attended an “Authors’ Day” event that was held on a Saturday at the Tamarack District Library,  105 miles from my home. I left my house at 7:00 a.m. and returned home around 4:00 p.m. There were 19 authors spread throughout the library. My table was located in an … Continue reading

What Happens AT MIDNIGHT?

This week, Lainee Cole is visiting my blog to talk about AT MIDNIGHT, an anthology that she’s in. Welcome, Lainee. Tell me about AT MIDNIGHT  AT MIDNIGHT includes three love stories: Midnight Casanova, written by me, Lainee Cole; Two Days Until Midnight, by Lynn Crandall; and Midnight Deadline for Love, by Rena … Continue reading

Writing a Blurb

We’re told the most important selling tools for a book are the cover and the back blurb. With traditional publishers, the author usually doesn’t have control over either. Oh, we’re asked for suggestions, but the editor, or art department, or marketing department is usually the one who makes the final … Continue reading

Reading to Write

The other day my friend Joe Novara and I were sitting on my deck, looking out at the boats on the river, talking about what we were reading and why. Before Joe left, I asked him to write something about why he felt reading other authors’ books helped a writer. … Continue reading

Doing Something Different

I’m always trying something different, sometimes because of outside changes (lose a publisher or hear about a new publishing opportunity), and sometimes for variety (write sexy romances, sweet romances,  romantic suspense, straight suspense and thriller). Back in the mid ‘90s, my Silhouette editor told me about a new line that … Continue reading

Your Inner Editor

I’ve been blogging about the need for an editor and ways to find one. Most writers also have an inner editor. You know what I mean. It’s that little voice in our head that says… You can’t write That sucks No one will want this story Give up (This list … Continue reading

The Internet and Research

Yes, I know you can’t trust everything you read on the Internet, but I love being able to use it for research. When I first started writing (back in the dark ages), if I needed to research something, I had to drive at least 20 miles to reach the nearest … Continue reading

A Novel is not a Soapbox

I’ve heard, and believe, that a novel of fiction can get a message across better than a non-fiction book. Why? For one thing, many people won’t/don’t pick up non-fiction books that deal with topics that make them uncomfortable. As an example, consider Kathryn Stockett’s book The Help. The theme of … Continue reading

Is That Really Necessary?

I’ve been reading and critiquing some unpublished chapters lately, and I’ve come across two common errors that many new writers make. Telling too much The first mistake is when the writer includes a lot of information that isn’t really necessary to the story. Sometimes this is backstory (I want to … Continue reading

More Suggestions Re: Editors

Last week, in my blog, I asked others to suggest ways writers might find freelance editors. Here are the suggestions I received: Susan Oleksiw said: I’d include the National Writers Union and its locals. Local chambers of commerce sometimes include editors among their members. In Boston, Grub Street is a … Continue reading

How Do You Find An Editor?

I recently had another writer ask me how to find a freelance editor. I decided that would be a good topic for this blog. Although most of my blog readers are published or already belong to writers’ groups, some of my readers are still new to the idea of getting … Continue reading

Story Structure

Remember, there are no absolute rules in writing. Note, I said ABSOLUTE. We do have grammar, punctuation, and spelling rules, but these are broken everyday by writers who want to show something about a character’s speech or writing. Formatting rules change due to technology or the desire to create a different … Continue reading

Painting with Words

I majored in art, so it’s natural for me to compare painting a picture to writing a book. The artist uses color, along with shapes and lines, to create a picture. Writers use words. When starting a new painting, I have an idea in mind. Some artists make detailed sketches. … Continue reading

Why Hire an Editor?

“I’m going to self-publish because  don’t want anyone changing what I’ve written!” I cringe when I hear a writer say that. Maybe the published book will be “clean” (no typos, misspellings, or poorly written sentences), but usually it will have sections that are either unclear, repetitious, or totally unnecessary. (I’ve … Continue reading