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Guest Writer

Three Editing Strategies That Can Make a Real Difference
Three Editing Strategies That Can Make a Real Difference 1024 576 Reader Views
Once you written and slaved over a manuscript and revised and nursed it through several iterations, the last thing you want to do is to slough through even more editing tasks. I get it. Sometimes, after I’ve put in hundreds of hours to write and strengthen my work, taking one or two more hours to do even more editing seems like a bridge too far. But I’ve found these three editing strategies—which don’t take that much time—can make a huge difference in how a piece reads. These are hardly new, but the changes they exact can be dramatic. read more
“How to Handle Book Bigotry”
“How to Handle Book Bigotry” 1024 576 Reader Views
I believe—know—that attitudes toward self- and indie-publishers have become more accepted over the decades. When my first novel was published, any book published by anything other than university presses and New York’s Big Five were derisively called “vanity publishers.” Still, book bigotry or its near cousins hasn’t disappeared entirely. read more
How Improv Comedy Made Me a Better Writer
How Improv Comedy Made Me a Better Writer 1024 576 Reader Views
The basic premise of improv is that scenes are made up live on stage in front of an audience.  Terrifying and hilarious, improv is a form that exists every moment in the creative place where artists surprise themselves and their scene partners… don’t writers perform improv every time we pick up a pen? read more
Hispanic Heritage Month – A great time to reconsider what it is to be an “American.”
Hispanic Heritage Month – A great time to reconsider what it is to be an “American.” 1024 576 Reader Views
Generations of Hispanic and Latino Americans have positively influenced and enriched our nation. These contributions only scratch the surface. Countless immigrant families have worked hard to make our nation stronger, and if not for their influences, the U.S. would not be the vibrant country it is today. Still, immigrants are faced with challenges and the risk of deportation every day. read more
The Age Old Question of Plotting vs. Pantsing
The Age Old Question of Plotting vs. Pantsing 1024 576 Reader Views
The question of how to approach writing your novel—whether you should plot out every detail or “write by the seat of your pants”—has been raised and answered more times than I can count. On this issue, I’ve learned much from several great writers, from Stephen King to William Kent Kreuger to Stephanie Evanovich. And I’ve tried to put these lessons to work in crafting the narratives of my new series, the Haunted Shores Mysteries. There is no perfect advice here, but perhaps my observations may prove helpful. read more
When Oprah Tolled the Bell for Her Book Club
When Oprah Tolled the Bell for Her Book Club 1024 576 Reader Views
At first Oprah’s picks were authors of little renown. She chose novelists with important things to say and a unique way of saying them and didn’t give a T-tinkers darn who published the book or if the author’s name was known to anybody. read more
“Writing about Imaginary Playmates”
“Writing about Imaginary Playmates” 1024 576 Reader Views
I never understood why my mother insisted that my friends Nappy and Cordy were imaginary. They talked to me, told me stories, and were just as real as Alison or Charles or Kathy. I certainly didn’t see any difference, except possibly that they told better stories. read more
Home, Sweet Home
Home, Sweet Home 1024 576 Reader Views
Homes can form the center, backdrop, setting, or sometimes take the starring role in a book. Homes reflect our personalities and preferences and our localities, our countries, and our cultures. Homes are a great way to introduce children to diverse cultures. read more
“The Europeans: Bringing Civilization to North America (If you believe in fairies)”
“The Europeans: Bringing Civilization to North America (If you believe in fairies)” 1024 576 Reader Views
This country has folktales about the frontier hero, men who “tamed the wilderness.” What isn’t mentioned in these stories is the dark side of the “pioneer spirit”: the massacre of Native people, the racism toward them and African-Americans, the exploitation and destruction of the environment. Our history is scrubbed of historic facts and is as squeaky clean as Disney’s Cinderella in her Dior inspired dress. read more
Danger Ahead: Your Book Cover Is ALWAYS Your Business
Danger Ahead: Your Book Cover Is ALWAYS Your Business 1024 576 Reader Views
We all know that book covers are an important sales device for books. It’s not just about art or even graphics. It’s also about marketing. There is danger in not knowing enough about them, even for an author who will be traditionally published by the biggest and best. read more