Month: July 2018

A Character Board Is An Asset To A Manuscript

Character boards can be a worthy time investment for an author planning a novel – especially the first one. Writer’s Digest says: “One effective way to create lively characters on the page is to create a character board first, enabling you to envision who your character really is.” Many writers use character boards when planning out the “people” in a novel. I did not include this resource when preparing to write my first novel. Frankly, in the beginning, I had no plan. I was winging it, all the way. If, over the years, you’ve read posts I’ve written about this subject, then you know how many mistakes I’ve made on this, my self-publishing journey. It wasn’t long into writing my first novel that I realized this story would work better as a series. With this mind, I finally began ...

Never Give Up On The Light Inside You

“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” – Winston Churchill

Winter Stillness in Snowy Washington, DC

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus    

International Mystery: When The World Visits Your Blog

When I speak of “International Mystery,” I’m not referring to MHz’s excellent line-up of detective shows featuring Montalbano, Van Veeteren, Wallander and Maigret. What’s more, this post completely ignores those case-cracking inspectors, Morse, Lewis, and Lynley, who hang out over at BBC Television. Instead, I am using the word international to refer to the list of countries from which my websites have been accessed.  In alphabetical order, they include: Australia Canada China Cyprus France Germany India Indonesia Israel Peru Russian Federation Scotland Spain United Kingdom United States Getting To Know A Fellow Book Lover The mystery part of the equation is my curiosity about those people in faraway lands who have, accidentally or not, visited my sites. A part of me wishes I could g...

Blog Posts Are Forever – Be Careful What You Write

Over the past few years, I’ve come across an increasing number of posts from people who share a lot of private stories on a blog.  I’m all grown up and I’ve (so far) lived a reasonably interesting life; it’s true. Yet I still find myself surprised when bloggers write personal, sensitive information that isn’t even about them — it’s about someone they know. Too much information, a.k.a., TMI, people! When I set up my first blog, I was completely unaware that the next chapter of my future would hold a non-stop series of new beginnings, painful endings, major happenings, funny mistakes, completely avoidable mistakes, one-of-a-kind blessings, and unexpected deaths. Oh, and love. I want to tell you everything. More times than I can count, I’ve set my fingers on this very keyboard wit...

Amazon’s Kindle Is Redefining The Future Of Publishing

How can a simple Kindle e-reader have been the driving force behind so much change and innovation, globally, over the past ten years? Unlike our ancestors, modern entrepreneurs are not trudging through endless fields, or scaling virgin peaks, or building houses from materials hewn entirely by their own hands. There is no wagon train filled with pioneer men and women, babes in arms, being jostled about for weeks or months on end, ready to gamble on everything in their quest for new horizons. No longer are there patches of land free for the taking. The givers asking only that you plant your roots in that soil, and raise your family, your crops, and your hopes inside its boundaries. Travel The World From The Comfort of Your Own House For today’s entrepreneur, fearlessly carving out a ne...

Editing A Novel Is Essential For Success

Self-editing is hard to do 165, 000. That’s the total word count for my first draft of Ava, before editing. No kidding. I sweated over that draft, lost sleep over it, obsessed over it for months on end. It was my first-born work of fiction and I was so proud. I fed my manuscript constantly, convinced that the best way to nourish a growing book was to heap words—any words—onto the pages. No detail was too small to include, and I assured myself that readers would absolutely, positively want to share in these tidbits. For nearly a year I kept right on stuffing and stuffing, never editing even once. For a solid 52 weeks, I was certain I was creating the best story ever written. And so I kept on writing and writing. By the twelfth month, my manuscript had ballooned into a fleshy entity so large...

The Dream of Becoming a Published Author

It’s 3 a.m. The dream wakes you, scaring you with its intensity, shaking you with its fever. By day it trails you, clings to you, seeps into your skin. At first, you tell no one. Then, little by little, the dream finds words, finds its way out of your mind and into your reality. You are forever changed. Your family and friends tell you they love you, but they’ve heard enough about your imaginary world. They think about screening their calls. You reassure them it’s not some ploy you invented to steer conversation away from the fact that you are, once again, single.  (Well…) You attempt to prove it by weaving your cloth of words during dinner. You begin speaking faster and faster, begin moving through the plot with stealthy determination to reach the best part — the twist — before you ...

There Is Money To be Made in Self-Publishing. So Make It.

Q: How would I define the self-published author? A: Four parts fearless, three parts writer, two parts entrepreneur, and one part dreamer — with a sprinkle of pioneer spirit thrown in for good measure. While self-publishing a novel does begin with the work of a writer, it is actually a business. A small business. A start-up business. A messy, complicated, time-absorbing business, located in uncharted territory, offering up no guarantees of any kind. That’s where the fearless part comes in. The continued and steady growth of the ebook market is a recognizable indicator that our tireless, irrepressible American ingenuity is on the loose again. Lovely. For those ready to wade in the waters, all signals show there are profits to be made. Major opportunities are exploding in every direction, an...

Single and Looking

Dating. Ah, yes, that powerful, ageless word. These days, friends, relatives, neighbors, even co-workers might send a link to a Facebook page, or a blog, or networking group, or dating site, with the wonderful goal of helping the unattached among us connect with others who are also single and looking. Imagine for a moment that eHarmony or JDate or Match offered singles the opportunity to post reviews after going on dates with other members. If you were considering setting up a date of your own, would those reviews influence your decision of whether or not to make contact? Of course they would. For example: “This person was running really late but in the end I didn’t mind because the conversation made me laugh all the way to the ‘best of luck to you’ farewell at my car. Not my t...

Risk and the Unpublished Writer

“Do you believe?” I’ve been asked that question over and over, in various forms, for two long years. Do I believe in what I’m doing? Do I believe the sacrifices are worth it? Do I believe people will want to read my books and short stories? The list goes on. All the while, I’ve been writing and re-writing stories and novels. I’ve been editing and re-editing them, often scrapping entire chapters and starting over again. Writing novels has taught me that, while happy endings are not always possible, they are always plausible. There is virtue in taking a risk of the heart or of the mind. In its best form, risk is faith. And faith is, perhaps, the only part of the human spirit with the power to turn what’s plausible into what’s possible. Faith in the storyli...