Y is for Youth

Okay, I’m getting old. That or they’re starting to hire news reporters, financial advisors, and doctors straight out of grammar school. I don’t think of myself as old, but whenever I look in the mirror, there’s this old lady who reminds me of my mother who keeps looking back at … Continue reading

X is for …?

What can I come up with for X? X-ray, Xanadu, X chromosome, xebec (that’s a 3-masted sailing ship), xylem, Xena… My dictionary devotes barely a page and a third to X words. I have some Xanax in my medicine closet. I use it occasionally to help me sleep when ideas start bouncing … Continue reading

W is for Walking

I’m not a person who enjoys participating in sports. I loved riding horses, but I no longer do that. To simply exercise doesn’t excite me, though I do like yoga. Swimming is okay, but I mostly tread water nowadays. And even though I like the idea of water aerobics, the … Continue reading

V is for Valleys

I, and most writers, suffer a form of manic/depressive. When we have a new idea buzzing in our heads, we’re euphroic, positive thinkers, and  have high energy. Be a finalist in a contest, or better yet, a winner, and we’re on cloud 9. Have an agent tell us we’re wonderful … Continue reading

U is for Unexpected

One of the things I’ve learned to enjoy about writing is the unexpected—the sudden appearance of information I need, the unexpected meeting of just the right person I need to talk to. I’ve now reached a point where I almost expect it, yet it’s still thrilling and sometimes unnerving. Some … Continue reading

T is for Twitter

I have a Twitter account. @marisSouthHaven. I Tweet. I retweet. I favor tweets. I have no idea what I’m doing. Several years ago I watched Jane Friedman demonstrate how to manage a tweet account. She made it look so easy. I went home and downloaded a program that was supposed … Continue reading

S is for Seventy

My protagonist in A Killer Past is a seventy-four-year-old woman. Mary Harrington is a widow and a grandmother, but she’s not someone who sits on the sidelines, knitting and letting others take action. She’s typical of a vast number of women (and men) in their seventies, myself included, I hope. … Continue reading

R is for Rhodesian Ridgebacks

I may now own a miniature poodle, but my heart still belongs to the Rhodesian Ridgeback. I fell in love with the breed back in 1969 when I first saw them at a dog show in Santa Barbara, California. By 1970 my husband and I owned one, along with a … Continue reading

Q is for Query

Writing a query letter (or email query) is not an easy task for most people. On one page–usually no more than four or five paragraphs in length–the writer must entice and inform. A story must be condensed from thousands of words down to a mere 100-200 words. The query letter … Continue reading

P is for Persistence

There are a lot of fantastic writers who will never be published. A lot of wonderful stories that will never be available to read. Why? Because the writer gives up, doesn’t persist. One negative comment, a few rejections, a bad review, and the writer is finished. Even the writers who … Continue reading

O is for Opinion

I think one of the most difficult concepts for writers to accept is that a rejection, bad review, or even a negative critique is simply that one person’s opinion. I can tell myself that, but still my first reaction is “The story sucks,” or “I suck as a writer.” Of … Continue reading

N is for Novel

I’ve heard some writers suggest to new, unpublished writers that the newbee should write short stories. Their point is by writing short stories the new writer learns how to put together a story idea from beginning to end, hopefully won’t be discouraged by the length or by any rejections, and … Continue reading

M is for Mystery

I think I’ve always loved mysteries. Mysteries, adventure stories, and horses. Of course, most books have a mystery of some sort: Will the girl get the guy? Will the hero save the girl/find the treasure/catch the bad guys? Will the “gang” escape the monster/save the princess/topple the evil monarch? Will … Continue reading

L is for Love

When I started writing I had no idea I would be writing romances, aka Love Stories. I had never read what was known back then as romances, books published by Mills and Boon, Avalon, Harlequin. I did like happy endings to stories, and I did enjoy the romance that was … Continue reading

K is for K.I.S.S.

Keep it Simple S***. (Here you can put Stupid or Sister or Son or whatever word that would start with S and fit.) I remember hearing K.I.S.S. way back when I started writing. It fits with query letters. A query that sticks to the basics (is kept simple) works best. … Continue reading

J is for Judging

I started entering and judging contests back in the 1980s. At that time the RITA was called the Golden Medallion, and the score sheets actually had points for various aspects of the book as well as space for comments. I remember my 1988 finalist, A Winning Combination, was marked down … Continue reading

I is for Individuality

I wish I’d written the Harry Potter books. I’d love to have the money J.K. Rowlings makes as well as the fame she’s achieved. I wish I could produce books as fast as James Patterson does. I wish patrons lined up around the block to buy my books, that my books were … Continue reading

G is for Groups

I’m a groupaholic. If there’s a group out there—physically or on-line—I join. Well, maybe not all groups, but if it’s a gathering of writers that even remotely write or talk about what I write, chances are I’m a member. This is good and bad. I learn from others, enjoy the … Continue reading