How Snowflakes Can Help You Write …

I have a dream … that one day I will discover how best I write.  I just spent a wonderful afternoon this past Saturday speaking with some amazing women and they all shared different methods of writing and I just thought to myself, “Wow – they are wonderful.  I am so proud to be a Sister in Crime with them.”

I had just shared that I was 21000 words into a manuscript and I had lost my way, I was thinking that I would have to print the whole thing out and then outline it so that I would… Continue reading

Self-pubbling #3: Platforms and Tips

So, you’ve decided to self-publish and you’ve created your cover. Now, you need to decide which publishing platform you’re going to use. There’s an enormous quantity of self-pubbing information on the net, enough to make your eyes glaze over. I’ll just mention a few sites that might be beneficial. Then, I’ll add a couple of comments.

Three sites I highly recommend are:

An excellent overall and in-depth look at self-pubbing. Includes comparisons of the primary publishing services available.

A review of steps to take from finishing your draft to posting your… Continue reading

Reading Out Loud

ReaderBoyDo you read your work out loud?  At least the dialogue?  There’s at least two times I find this helpful.

The first is when I am having trouble with a piece or the voice of a character.  Reading it out loud can give me a sense of rhythm or, more likely, the lack of the rhythm of that character’s statements.   The rough patches tend to stick out and I mark those as I go along.  Once I’ve finished the read-through, I’ll revise and then repeat this process until I’m satisfied… Continue reading

Writers’ Groups — From Heaven or Hell?

writer's groupFor as many different writers out there — there are different kinds of groups.

Some groups do nothing but write — like a group study hall and there is someone like a cross between the worst librarian figure saying “shhh” and Professor Snape knocking heads together if you so much as sneeze more than once.  There are some groups that critique and tear apart manuscripts with lots of red pen and harsh words.  There are some groups that you get together and write part of the time from a… Continue reading

More Self-Pub Decisions

So, you’ve decided to self-pub. That’s one big decision out of the way. Now for the next one: The Cover. Others may dispute putting this first on the list of must-dos, but it’s on mine because of the important impact it has on your enthusiasm level. After months or years of slaving over your manuscript, a cover is the first visible projection of what you’re working on. A cover says you’re at the point of launch or soon to be there. It says you’re a legitimate author. As you continue to perfect your book, you’ll find yourself frequently (and fondly)… Continue reading

Finding the perfect editor

“With the aid you’ve given me,” F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote Maxwell Perkins in December of 1924, “I can make Gatsby perfect.”


Maxwell Perkins

Perkins, the noted editor who also worked with Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is probably best known for helping Fitzgerald craft his American masterpiece. Not only did he help Fitzgerald with the characters and language in The Great Gatsby, but he even helped him with the book’s title – the classic might have otherwise been named Among the Ash-Heaps and Millionaires (for more… Continue reading

The Re-Application of Bum Glue

Last week I realized that I had unglued from my writing chair while editing my novel.  I decided to return to one of my favorite books on writing – Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird – to see if I could find some ways to overcome my terror and enable myself to move forward.

The first six chapters of Bird by Bird discuss techniques that writers can employ to help overcome some of the psychological barriers that get in the way when they sit down to work.  Although these techniques deal specifically with writing, I think that they could also… Continue reading

A Room with a View

When I planned my move I knew I would be mostly working from home.   Lots of light and a view to the outside became one of the most important considerations.  I’m one of those people who like to have some framework to work within.  For puzzles, I always start with the border.  In my writing, I almost always have a general idea of where it starts and ends.  It changes over time, but it’s a place to begin.  While it might sound strange to some people, in thinking about where I wanted to live, that was the starting point… Continue reading

From Whence Comes Your Encouragement?

The other day, I was feeling discouraged.  I couldn’t get my butt in the chair to work on any of my three works in progress … I had no ideas for my blogs and I had been rejected for a grant I had written for work.  I was about ready to just say “to heck with it all I didn’t need it anyway!”

Then I received a phone call.

Now Susan was a friend of my husband’s.  I don’t remember exactly when I last saw her — but my husband has been dead for more than 10 years… Continue reading

Self Pubbing — The most important Decision You’ll Make

There’s been so much written about self publishing that new pieces are mostly out of date by the time they’re printed. Hopefully, this will be an exception.

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve heard the following sentence, perhaps even ad nauseum. SELF PUBLICATION IS NOT FOR EVERYONE. The biggest decision you’ll make is not who you pick to design your cover and format the interior of your book or to conduct a publicity campaign for you.  The biggest decision will be whether to self-pub at all. And, as in so many things in life, that almost always comes… Continue reading