Nerd Arise!

I love this month’s topic. In my previous life (maybe in this one, too), I must have been a real nerd. The card-carrying kind, with the pen clip for my blouse pocket and a baseball cap turned the wrong way, bill forward.



I probably had red hair in kinks that stuck out all over. And definitely freckles.

My idea of fun was to collect “Resources.”

Maybe I landed a job at MI-5. Or maybe I was a librarian, before they got cool… Continue reading

A Summer Workshop – Hollins University

During a winter meeting, a member of my local writer’s group spoke about the Hollins University Summer program, Tinker Mountain. It sounded great but I had family coming to stay. Then they cancelled and I had a free week.
I’ve looked at a lot of university programs but they generally seem to focus on literary fiction. But Hollins offered a weeklong workshop with Laura Benedict on “Crafting High Concept Genre Fiction.” That factor and the size of the class (limited to 12 students) appealed to me. Continue reading

My Characters Speak

Seen from afar on a windy beach or along the edge of a cliff, Bianca Ferguson, nee beach crescentBrendani, resembles a fairy-tale creature, perhaps a wood sprite or a pixie. If you look a little closer, though, you’ll see that the wild blond vision is holding a sketchbook in her hand.

Bianca’s role in my story revolves around her art and her role as a loving aunt. Painting has always been part of her life. Her art flows from her brush as easily as words spill from her mouth. She’s been at… Continue reading

Social Media Review, Part 2

My first post on social media discussed Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and why social media is necessary for writers. This post I’ll discuss Google+, Pinterest, and Tumblr.


Google+, a.k.a. Google Plus, is the social networking component of Google’s suite of applications that includes mail, calendar, Hangouts, and Drive, to name just a few. In Google+ you create circles – as many as you like – which can be private or public, and you can add or invite anyone to join a circle.   You write posts, which can include images and videos, and share with… Continue reading

Shopping or Writing? A Fine Balance

When the idea of writing a novel first came to me, I tackled it the same way I approached my early years of teaching. I would check out or buy book after book of experts’ thoughts about writing and how to get started. Still sitting on the shelves in my office are books from that period of my life: On Writing by Stephen King, Write That Book Already (Barry and stephen-king-on-writingGoldmark), The First Five Pages (Lukeman), and numerous books by Orson Scott Card. Seriously, I probably read forty or fifty other… Continue reading

Cozy Noir? A Guest Post by Vinnie Hansen

MD-BookCoverI credit author Andrew MacRae for birthing the term Cozy-Noir. He coined the phrase to describe his first mystery, Murder Misdirected. At Left Coast Crime 2014, he moderated a panel on Cozy-Noir, which in turn engendered a hashtag. Now there is to be an anthology devoted to this newly invented mystery sub-genre.

So, what happens when we throw the disparate cozy and noir together in a blender? First let’s look at the two ingredients:

The on-line Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines noir as “crime fiction featuring hard-boiled cynical characters and bleak sleazy… Continue reading

Help! I Can’t Write.

No good!

No good!

As far back as grade school, I loved to write. I tried poems, short stories, and eventually, technical writing. I always yearned to write a novel but knew I wasn’t good enough. I’d started a few and the stories simply petered out. What to do?

Through a lot of trial and error, I found that one of my best resources was other writers. I can hear you all now, “Duh!” Of course other writers are the resource. But how do you access and… Continue reading