Reading, wRiting, and Roaming with Author Valerie Biel

September 28, 2022

Penguin Random House/DOJ Case Update

Amazon Changes eBook Return Policy (finally)

IBPA Revises Hybrid Publishing Criteria

October Holidays for Book Promotion


DOJ Case Regarding Penguin Random House Merger with Simon & Schuster

If you haven’t been following this case here’s the quick take . . . the Department of Justice sued to block PRH’s proposed acquisition of S&S because it would allow PRH (already the largest publisher in the world) to “exert outsized influence over which books are published in the United States and how much authors are paid for their work.” The trial portion has concluded (and it was fascinating to hear from so many in the publishing industry, including authors and agents.)... Continue Reading

September 20, 2022

The September Author Series features Marilyn Levinson (aka Allison Brook) and the advice she'd tell her pre-published self. Most of the featured authors in 2022 I connected with through the Blackbird Writers, a fabulous and supportive group of mystery, suspense, and thriller authors, and Marilyn is no exception. It has been delightful to get to know her, and I was pleased she could take the time to join us in the same month as her most recent book release. She's a busy gal! 

About Marilyn:
A former Spanish teacher, Marilyn Levinson writes mysteries, romantic suspense, and novels for kids. Her books have received many accolades. As Allison Brook she writes the Haunted Library... Continue Reading

September 12, 2022

Hello, writers!

Welcome to September. This month is a favorite. It’s like summer but without the crowds. It’s a time when the sun still shines, but one’s desire for a routine is strong. September is a fabulous month to revisit goals and make new plans.

Last month, I wrote about how authors can use Pinterest to build an their social media presence. The site is different from other platforms because it functions as a search engine. It focuses less on “likes” and more on outcomes for users. In fact, while writing these blog posts, I found... Continue Reading

August 29, 2022

Barnes & Noble Hardcover Shelving Controversy,

The Priority Parallax: What’s Truly Important,

Draft2Digital and Smashwords Merger Update


Barnes & Noble Stocking Policy Sparks Controversy Online (and why it didn't surprise me.)

I get it. At first read, the Twitter storm and ensuing speculative articles about Barnes and Noble’s new policy about ONLY carrying hardcovers for authors for whom there’s a guaranteed track record of good sales was panic worthy—particularly for authors who might fall outside of B&N’s favored hardcover author group and are close to release date. For those authors, a strategy shift to printing less hardcovers and more paperbacks (and paperbacks sooner) could prove difficult given... Continue Reading

August 22, 2022

Welcome to the August 2022 Author Series where published author Jacqueline Vick shares the advice she'd go back and tell her pre-published self--which is a great help to other writers. I met Jackie through our membership in the Blackbird Writers, a fabulous and supportive group of mystery, suspense, and thriller authors. She has published many wonderful books, which are featured here along with her sage advice!

Jacqueline writes mysteries that feature farcical situations and satirical humor. She writes about characters who are reluctant to accept their greatest gifts. She is the author of THE FRANKIE CHANDLER PET PSYCHIC MYSTERIES and... Continue Reading

August 15, 2022

The brouhaha about writers and their word counts, makes a dramatic entrance every so often. Probably more often than we think. We writers, we love our words. Every one of them, from And to Zed. In our writerly heads, each word is carefully handpicked and absolutely necessary to create our magical stories. Like Mozart, each note is essential for our readers to understand our masterpieces.

Guidelines? Preposterous!

As if any would dare! No one told Mozart to limit his notes…or did they? Too many notes? For Mozart? The child prodigy used a lot of notes as he attempted to complete—without success—five sections for his, Requiem, but these days writers have a lot less room for our creative... Continue Reading

August 8, 2022

I'm pleased to share an interview with author Lynne Handy whose newest book, Old Sins, will release later this month. This is book three in her Maria Pell Mystery Series, but it can easily be read as a standalone. I love Lynne's writing (as you'll see by my review of Old Sins) and appreciated this chance to learn more about her. Enjoy!

My review - 5-stars!

Old Sins, featuring poet and amateur sleuth Maria Pell, grabs you from the first page and doesn’t let go. Exceptionally well plotted, the book’s mysteries and crimes—both old and new—weave together in intricate and unexpected ways. The author builds a creative cast of characters that will have you guessing as to the real culprits as murder, kidnapping, sex-... Continue Reading

August 2, 2022

Happy August. I hope your summer has been productive and pleasant.

How many of you turned to Pinterest for recipes or decorating ideas during the Independence Day holiday? The platform has become the go-to for sources of inspiration, connection, and search results. The site is different than other social platforms. It works as a search engine and focuses less on “likes” and more on specific outcomes for users.

In June, I began writing about social media for authors. For the next two months, I’ll offer tips about using... Continue Reading

July 25, 2022

Just Do It Yourself: A History of Self-Publishing,

Authors Are Protesting Amazon’s eBook Return Policy,

No More Mobi?


Just Do It Yourself: A History of Self-Publishing

From Charles Dickens through the Kindle era, this is a fascinating article about the history of self-publishing from Alan Scherstuhl for Publishers Weekly. (Who knew that there was self-publishing had been around so long?)  

Authors are protesting Amazon’s ebook policy that allows users to read and return.

Here’s the nitty gritty about... Continue Reading

July 18, 2022

Welcome to the July 2022 Author Series where published author Donna Rewolinski shares the advice she'd go back and tell her pre-published self. (And it’s something that nearly every author I talk to agrees with!)

Donna is the author of Novice Mystery series, which includes Novice Mystery -Ireland, Novice Mystery – Mexico, and Novice Mystery – France (to be released later this year) all from Ten|16 Press. She is a practicing social worker with a master’s degree in social work and is married to a veteran police detective. She belongs to the Red Oak Writer’s Critique Roundtable, Sisters of Crime, Blackbird Writers, and the Wisconsin Writer’s Association. She says this about her writing, “Some of the life I write about I’ve lived. Some I’d like to live. Maybe... Continue Reading