Rejections and Reviews

You did the hard work. You dreamed, plotted, wrote, and edited the story within you that needed to be told. Then you did more hard work – writing that query letter. Some think it’s more of a challenge than writing the book itself! I’m inclined to agree. Query letters and blurbs will be the death…

Captivate With Color

There are so many senses in which to immerse readers, and color plays a huge role in getting readers to feel like they’re right there in your story. In order to get the most out of each visual description, bust out that color palette and have some fun! Go Beyond the Obvious Sure, her dress…

Of Things Lost

If you’re a writer who has unexpectedly lost hard-won sentences, paragraphs, or drafts to the electronic technology demons, you know all too well the chest-clenching feeling of panic and heartbreaking loss that comes with a file that will not open or the fatal error message that signals whatever you’ve written is forever doomed to orbit…

Baking for a Baker – #14

Jenna’s an average baker. Nothing too fancy or complicated works for her. And she doesn’t really need to do much baking because Jim’s Bakery is downstairs from her apartment. Jim and his wife Rosa are of the same Slovakian descent as Jenna, and they’ve pretty much adopted her as their own since Jenna’s parents live…

Writers on Vacation

Even the most passionate, dedicated writer needs a break. Perhaps you’re in between projects, feel a bit bogged down by the process, or don’t have a clue where the plot of your story is headed. A vacation is a good way to step away from the writing process and give your mind a well-deserved respite….

Deadlines

Deadlines. We all have them, and probably chafe in varying degrees when they approach. Work-related deadlines, bill-paying deadlines, and the days of the week that the trash needs to be set out at the curb (yeah, that’s a deadline, too). Some are more constrictive than others, and some we can ignore or procrastinate about a…

The Shawl – #13

What do you do when something as seemingly unimportant as a shawl materializes in your mind and tells you it has a part to play in your story? It not only knows the place, it shows you. It leads you to the exact scene, and as it settles in, tells you of its significance going…

Two at a Time

A writer’s mind rarely rests. If a writer isn’t in front of the computer, their brain is most likely composing, editing, or solving a plot problem. It’s more than enough for a mind to manage if there’s just one story floating around, but what happens if another one steps in and tugs at your sleeve?…

Unsavory Characters – #12

It can’t be smooth sailing, hearts, and rainbows all of the time. A story worth reading and investing in has to have challenges, heartbreak, and times when it would be easier for your character to give up than to carry on. And the characters that fill the pages of The Ghost Writer can’t all be…

Across the Pond – #11

So… Jenna is finally on her way to Scotland! She works for Posey Travel and has lots of travel miles built up, so she won’t be flying coach/economy. Still, the stress of getting there is pretty much the same for everyone (except for the wealthy or those who don’t need to make their own arrangements,…

Secrets to a Series

Our first book was never written with the intent of becoming part of a series, but the characters had other ideas. They weren’t done telling their story, so (for my part) I had to figure out a way to keep it all straight going forward. Along the way, I’ve seen other writers voice the challenges…

The Inevitable Low Point

There’s no getting around it. Every successful story has to have a low point – the place where it all goes wrong, and there’s little hope in sight. Is there any point in struggling on? Highly doubtful, probably not. It would be so much easier at this point to give up and let whatever is…

Jim’s Bakery – #10

You’d love Jim’s Bakery. It’s one of those gems you might never experience unless you get off the beaten track and know where to look. It’s located in Jenna’s NYC neighborhood of Kensington, and she’s lucky in that she lives next door and above it. When Jenna moved in, she learned that she and Jim’s…

Making Old New

With social distancing and sequestering still high on the priority ladder, it might be a good time to dig through the closet/flash drive and unearth that writing project you’ve been meaning to finish or thought was so bad that it was beyond repair. Dust Them Off! Pull those unfinished projects out and see which one…

Jackamiah’s Pond

When the night is full of mist and shooting stars abound, the oaks begin their slow descent to Jackamiah’s Pond. They drink their fill and wash their leaves, then beckon to the moss to line up at the water’s edge and watch the Pathway’s Cross. At three-past twelve the moon aligns and shines into the…

Tom the Scot – #9

I wasn’t sure what to write about in this blog, so I closed my eyes, scrolled with the mouse, and stopped at a random page in the manuscript. So, where did I end up? On page 142, where Jenna tells a man named Tom (via email) that she’s planning a trip to Scotland later that…

New Year Writing Strategies

It’s the new year, and people are thinking about resolutions, changing their lives, and expanding their horizons. Those are great goals to aspire and work toward. I’ve even been working on a few of my own in various parts of my life. Then I wondered how I could apply those lofty ideas to my writing….

A Cozy Afghan – #8

I’ve been crocheting afghans for years as gifts or requests, but I never thought to look beyond the infinite skeins of yarn or countless hours of crochet hook-twisting to see what was behind the name or explore (beyond the obvious) why they’re more than just a throw! What’s behind the name? I did a search…

Story as Shopping

When I go to the grocery store, I like to have a list in hand. It helps me stay on track and (most of the time) keeps me from veering off into the chip/snack/candy aisle for something I don’t really need. That being said, I like to give myself the freedom to explore the “off…

The Great Balancing Act

It’s a tricky business, writing. A writer wants, and needs, to write. If only life were that simple. These days, a writer has to be so much more…editor, formatter, agent, marketer, webmaster, publicist, and many times a publisher. The days of writing a story and handing it off (so you can get started on the…

A Man Appears – #6

Finally! There’s a man from our time on the page! I knew someone of the male gender needed to show up in Jenna’s time, but I wasn’t sure exactly when it would happen. As it turned out, Thomas Keith found just the right moment to make an appearance. I’ll tell you what I can about…

Storm Prep – #5

Whatever world the characters in a story inhabit, there has to be some sort of atmosphere surrounding them. There has to be weather in the world where they live, and it has to be more than, “It was a dark, stormy night.” Although, I’m about to tell you about that very thing:  a dark, stormy…

Through the Door

If you’re a writer, it’s bound to happen. You’re in one of those treasured sweet spots where your story is all but writing itself! Then, without warning, it’s over, and you’re up against it. Now what? There is a way forward, a way to emerge victorious and keep your characters doing what they need to…

Dream Worlds – #4

I just finished writing a scene where Jenna has a dream, and it got me thinking about the many ways I could use this dream (and perhaps others) to provide you with clues, foreshadow events to come, and let you see things that Jenna herself isn’t aware of – yet. Some things may not make…

Dog Day Rescue

In the dog days of summer, it’s tempting to want to relax a bit and let your story drift along on its own. Like you (perhaps) imagining yourself floating aimlessly on an inner tube on a lake somewhere – right? Trouble is, those scenes are going to read like they’ve succumbed to the summer heat…

Centuries Apart – #3

In the first two blogs, I shared information focused on the geographic locations of the story and the general timelines. I told you a bit about the main characters, but I thought you’d like to get to know them a little better. New York City – present day: Jenna Hickson is 32 (an only child),…

The Castle Chose – #2

My novel-in-progress takes place in two, distinct locations and time periods. I’ll use two, significant characters to help explain. Jenna Hickson lives in present-day New York City, and Sophia deKeith is living in 14th century Scotland. You may wonder how there can be a connection between the two, but there is. And… just in case…