The Three Rs: Reading, wRiting, and Roaming

August 20, 2018

I'm pleased Amanda Zieba is able to join us again. Amanda is an author, a word nerd, a mom, a wife, a teacher, and so much more. Today she gives us excellent tips on revising your work. (In my opinion, there are never enough tips to get me through this phase of writing!)










I have been fortunate enough to attend three, four-day writing excursions this summer. Since leaving the full-time teaching world, my home office hours are mostly dedicated to paying gigs. But, on these writing retreats, I splurge, allowing myself to dive head first into my fiction work.

This summer my fiction project is revising my YA Fantasy manuscript. As I’ve... Continue Reading

August 14, 2018

I do love a good paranormal story, and recently picked up The Sisters by Wisconsin author Janet Kay. This story is an interesting tale set on historical Galveston Island, Texas that weaves in an ample supply of ghostly entities and reincarnated souls. The story is written in alternating perspectives of both living and dead characters, which makes for a fun read. 

... Continue Reading

July 31, 2018

I have not had time to read much in the past few weeks! This makes me sad, but that means I’m getting a lot of other things done. (Or maybe it means I’m watching too much TV? More about that below!)

In May, I raved about Holly Tierney-Bedord’s Sweet Hollow Women and promptly picked up her newest release The Port Elspeth Jewelry Making Club. While the title might make you think this is a breezy chic lit story, that is SO not the case. This is a fast-paced, hidden secrets, murder-mystery, suspense novel set in an uptight, clique-filled small town where gossip abounds and everyone has an opinion about everyone else. (How’s that for a bunch of hyphenated adjectives!) Tierney-Bedord crafts... Continue Reading

July 24, 2018
Featured Articles: How to (Ethically) Hack Amazon Categories and  #CockyCate is Over (At least for now!?)

Now in its second year, the Writers' Forum is a compilation of the month’s important publishing news and helpful writing information for authors, particularly those independently publishing their books. For readers, there are links to southern Wisconsin bookstores to preview their... Continue Reading

July 17, 2018

I've talked at length before on my website and at writing conferences about how archaeology and history have inspired my fantasy novel writing. The amazing megalithic structures of Ireland have been particularly significant to my storytelling, often making their way onto my covers. This has made July an incredibly exciting month so far with discoveries of previously unknown megalithic structures near Newgrange in Ireland’s Boyne River valley. With Ireland experiencing a severe drought, the outline of a rather large circle was captured by drone photography just a short distance from the Newgrange passage tomb. This is an open circle with concentric markings creating a large circle surrounded by two more circles of what are presumed to be old post holes.

I was curious why... Continue Reading

July 10, 2018

I joined my very first critique group, Chicks of the Trade, in January of 2008. Six women writing everything from romance to sci-fi to horror to mainstream contemporary fiction (me). We gathered at an Italian restaurant in Rockford, Illinois with our first chapters in hand. I’d never met these women before and I’d never written a word of a novel, yet alone a whole chapter, so it was pretty scary. But the chicks gave incredible feedback and support and without them I’d never have finished my book.

Critique groups are terrific for setting deadlines and making sure you get the writing done. They’re also great at pointing out what’s working and what’s not. Writers have to realize that their writing isn’t perfect even though they may think it is. It’s a hard lesson to learn. Every... Continue Reading

June 29, 2018
Featured Articles: 850 Words Added to Dictionary What Amazon is Doing about Book Stuffing and Fake Reviews

Now in its second year, the Writers' Forum is a compilation of the month’s important publishing news and helpful writing information for authors, particularly those independently publishing their books. For readers, there are links to southern Wisconsin bookstores to preview their upcoming events. I’ve been an independently published author since 2014 and provide this information to assist others in the way that generous writers assisted me when I was at the beginning of my indie pub journey. On a professional level, I also use my publicity and editorial skills to aid other authors through my company Lost Lake Press... Continue Reading

June 20, 2018






Prewriting exercises to improve dialogue-writing skills

I’m an advocate of prewriting exercises. Similar to a jogger stretching her muscles before taking a loop around the block, a writer should loosen her mind before tapping the keyboard. This month, I’m discussing exercises in relation to writing dialogue. The craft of composing dialogue is a specific skill that every fiction writer should have; it’s a technique that conveys plot and character, and it speeds storytelling. Like it or not, modern readers expect books with plots that are accessible and quick to understand; concise dialogue assists that process. My suggestions for... Continue Reading

June 14, 2018

There are four outstanding writers who entertained me during the months of April and May, Beth Flynn, Theresa Shaver, Nora Roberts, and Holly Tierney-Bedord.

I became a fan of Theresa Shaver many years ago when I first read her Stranded Series. I was delighted to find out that there was a book five! (As a side note, for those of you who read a lot and want to keep track of new releases by authors you love, take the time to follow them on Amazon or BookBub or on the author’s website. You’ll get a nice notification when their next book releases, so you don’t miss anything.)

Frozen: A Stranded Novel continues the story of a class of Canadian teens who are originally stranded at Disneyland in California when an... Continue Reading

June 11, 2018

A few years ago, I met Kelly DiNardo at a writing conference in Madison, Wisconsin. Kelly was an instructor that year, and we struck up a conversation where I learned that she had recently relocated to Madison from the East Coast. I have to admit I was fascinated by her freelance writing career, which included publication in well-known national magazines. Later, Kelly was the visiting author at our Books & Beer Book Club in Columbus, Wisconsin when we read her biography of the striptease artist, Lili St. Cyr. Kelly has been practicing yoga for years and, even after her move to the Midwest, she has maintained her co-ownership of the Past Tense yoga... Continue Reading