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….

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…

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),…

I’ve Never Been There!

The world you create for your readers has to be a place they can picture in their minds. It has to be believable, even if it’s a fantasy world. It’s like a base camp; your reader needs to be able to settle there and feel comfortable as they acquaint themselves with the characters you create…

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…

Just a Name?

Names are how we identify things – people, places, things, etc. For the purposes of this blog, I’m going to concentrate on the names we give to the characters in the stories we write. I have found that choosing a name is quite an undertaking, and it’s one that should not be taken lightly! A…

It’s All in the Details!

Details breathe life into a story. The senses are awakened and heightened, transporting the reader into the world created by the writer. But there’s another, powerful purpose to small details that brings an added dimension to a story. Don’t Overdo If you choose to give an enhanced role to a small detail, choose wisely and…

Hurricanes and Rowboats

It’s a feeling I am familiar with. Anyone who’s finished writing a story might feel the same. I felt lost, like I was adrift in a boat with no oars or motor. The story had come to an end, but this time it was magnified. It was the end of a series – the cumulative…

Castle Dreams

I don’t remember how old I was (early elementary, probably), but the day is clear and vivid in my memory. After sledding with friends, I changed into dry clothes and spent the rest of the afternoon in my room next to the heat register with a book I could not put down. The book? Grimms’…

Co-Author Magic

At the many writing conferences and workshops I’ve attended over the years, I’ve heard about writers who collaborate on a variety of projects, and I always wondered how it worked. It seemed to be a rare, hushed process that took place under mysterious, obscure conditions. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d…

This Writer’s Toolbox

Writing is a process of total immersion into the world around me. It is not limited to the actual task of writing – pen, paper, computer, etc. To create a believable and inviting world for readers, I must first create one for myself, as a writer. I create this world by seeking out and using…

Trust Your Inner Voice

Every writer welcomes and treasures those times when the writing comes easy. The scenes pretty much write themselves – all you have to do is put your hands on the keyboard and they settle themselves into your story with ease and grace. What happens when that inner voice guiding you goes silent and the writing…

Mixing It Up

I have evolved as a writer in that I need (not want) to write every day. It’s woven itself into the fabric of my very being. If I find the day slipping by and I haven’t written in one form or another, unease and guilt seeps into my soul. To relieve my self-imposed angst and…

Story As Tree

Now that spring has arrived (for the most part), I thought it would be interesting, and hopefully of some help, to create an analogy between a story and a tree. I think it will work; I’m exploring as I write, so hang in there with me and we’ll see where this thing goes. Before any…

Chocolate Sampling

There are those who say it’s bad manners to take a bite of a chocolate candy and put it back in the box. I would respond by buying them their own box, because those partially eaten chocolates have a role to play when it comes to my writing. Sure, there might be a guide on…

Plot Police Raid

I’m in the zone. I know just what needs to happen in this particular scene, and it’s practically writing itself. As I type away with a satisfied grin on my face, the Plot Police burst through the door and stop me dead in my celebratory tracks. “Halt! Hold it right there!” the tall, handsome one…

Dimmer Switch Request

An image on Facebook prompted me to write this blog. The post read as follows: “A writer is working when looking out the window.” “That’s me!” my mind shouted. (I would have shouted out loud, but I was at work and being on Facebook during office hours is frowned upon.) Conscientious employee that I am,…

Where is This Going, Anyway?

There are times where I need to write, and I have no idea where the inspiration is going to come from. What I have learned from these short pieces, is that they’re about so much more than what I thought or originally intended. I’ll provide a couple of examples – you can read the entire…

How This Writer Writes

  I don’t mean handwriting. What I mean is the journey my story makes from brain to page/screen. The process, rather than the actual act – well the act, too. Perhaps I should explain. When a non-writer hears that I’m going to be spending the day writing, I think they envision me in front of…

Changing Hats

The image of the peddler with the stacks of hats in “Caps for Sale” by Esphyr Slobodkina seems to ring true for me these days. I’m not selling hats, but I am wearing a lot of them (figuratively speaking). They’re not colored, like the peddler’s checked, gray, brown, blue, and red. I guess they could…

I’m Glad I Love Research

  I’m fully immersed in my story. I’m in “the zone,” typing madly, but this story is practically writing itself. Then one of my characters hands another a cup of tea (insert sound of screeching brakes). Wait! Did they have tea in 13th century Scotland? Turns out they didn’t. Change tea to honeyed milk. As…

Who Has the Crystal Ball?

I’m a writer. I write about a lot of things, but my primary genre’ is middle-grade. I recently finished the first novel in what will be a series of three. It’s been proofed, edited, and it’s all shined up and ready to go. So how do I know if the time is right, if the…

What’s in a Name?

How do you decide on a name for the fictional characters you write about? I thought about my own process of choosing names – it varies, and it’s complicated.

Guilt-Free Writing

I’m a writer. I love writing. Every day. But what happens when real life gets in the way, and I end up in front of the computer doing everything BUT writing? When my brain won’t shift to writer mode, or I’m stuck and the solution won’t show itself? How do I stave off the inevitable…

Writing While You Wait

My middle-grade novel, The Mystery at Moz Hollow (first in a series of three) is making its way into the big, wide world of editors and publishers – the great “out there.” It’s polished, shined, and ready to be presented to the world. It reminds me of historical novels where a young girl has her “coming out”…

Bookshelves As Storytellers

I love looking at people’s bookshelves. I guess that means I love hanging out with people who value reading and all that goes along with it. I like to see what titles people read, collect, and what they consider worthy to garner the limited space booklovers never have enough of. I have my favorites and…

The Comfort/Discomfort Zone

My middle-grade novel is done. Yay! That’s cause for celebration. And, I did, especially when it won an RPLA award at the Florida Writer’s Association competition in October, 2016. I took a well-deserved break and sat back for a time to revel in its completion and success. Now what? Well, I’ve decided to include this…

The Once-Maligned Character Template

In my college Creative Writing class, we were given a template to complete before we started writing our stories. It was basically a fact sheet – things I needed to know about my character before I wrote my first word. I thought it was the most ridiculous thing ever. I wanted to write my story…