OCD About Books? You Bet! #amwriting

Am I the only one who gets a tad OCD about her favorite books? I have now created my very own “Still Life with Crows” on the shelf directly over my monitor. Every time I look up, I’m reminded of how much I love the Pendergast books. And crows. And then I continue typing, much inspired. Silly? Possibly. But it makes me happy, and what’s better than being hard at work with a smile on your face?  

BTW, the two books on the right of this little tableau are Leigh Bardugo’s duology, Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom, two huge favorites of mine, too. How could I resist adding those gorgeous crow covers to my little vignette? I couldn’t. And I highly recommend using your favorite books in creative ways around your work space, too. It really is inspirational. That’s my story, an’ I’m stickin’ to it! 😀

Have a great afternoon and an even greater weekend, folks! ❤

#GardenInspiration – Painted Bunting

It’s an absolutely picture perfect day here in central Florida today. Cool enough breeze to keep you from melting, but warm enough for shorts and t-shirts. And as if the weather isn’t enough reason to spend some time outside, this morning, a stunning male painted bunting visited our birdbath. He splashed and frolicked long enough for me to really enjoy his vivid orange, blue, and chartreuse coloring. I’m hoping he’ll be back later for a snack at the feeder, but when he finished his ablutions, he flew up into the bamboo, and became invisible.

You wouldn’t think a brightly colored bird like this, or our year round resident cardinals could vanish among solid green foliage, but they do. You can stand beneath, listening to the scarlet cardinals singing, and not see them to save your soul. Mother Nature is always interesting, and usually inspiring. Today, I was reminded of that once again.

Writers, when your muse has deserted you, go outside. Take a walk around your neighborhood, or a hike in the closest wooded area. Go for a canoe ride. Take an eco-tour. Or just sit on your patio with a  cup of tea, and see what flies or scampers by. You might be surprised. Even in a busy suburban area, with nearby shopping malls, and an interstate highway, I regularly see things like today’s painted bunting. And when I return to work, it’s with renewed energy and inspiration.


#InspirationBoardSunday #SundayBlogShare

For many of us, nothing is quite so full of inspiration as an animal. (Witness the ten kajillion online photos and videos on YouTube). They touch us in our daily lives, teach us how to enjoy the world, and surprise us with their beauty, strength, and grace. Why not let more of them inspire us in our writing?

I enjoy including animals in all of my books. My characters have pets that immediately say something about who they are. From the enigmatic MacKenzie Cole’s sole companion, an Irish wolfhound named Rosheen . . .

8378f7160a81ac22ed0dfc458dfd5b62 Continue reading

#InspirationBoardSunday #SundayBlogShare

Inspiration! Where does it come from? In a word, everywhere! Open your eyes and unstop your ears, and you’ll find it. I keep a file on my computer called, surprise, Inspiration, and I save lots and lots of pictures there. Of SO many things. Sometimes, I just sit browsing through them, thinking about what stories are hidden within them. Today, I’m going to share some randomly selected images for your viewing pleasure. Which ones speak to you?

Maybe you are most often inspired by scenic vistas and faraway places.


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Poetry: Dictionary

Sometimes it’s fun to make a poem into a certain shape–so long as you don’t pick a shape that’s too complicated.

All those words together... it's kind of magic. Image from WikiMedia by alex756.

All those words together… it’s kind of magic.
Image from WikiMedia by alex756.


The tree grows

It grows, the tree

Each leaf, each branch

is cluttered with lots of little words




to blanket the ground

The Best Writing Tips

One of my most popular blog posts included quotations by famous authors, so I thought I’d share them again on The Write Stuff. The original post (with pictures and more text) can be found here: Writing Tips

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” Jack London

“Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.” Barbara Kingsolver

“If you want to be a writer you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” Stephen King

“Beginning writers must appreciate the prerequisites if they hope to become writers. You pay your dues—which takes years.” Alex Haley

“Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” E.L. Doctorow

“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.” William Faulkner

“You must want to enough. Enough to take all the rejections, enough to pay the price of disappointment and discouragement while you are learning. Like any other artist you must learn your craft—then you can add all the genius you like.” Phyllis A. Whitney

“Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.” Henry David Thoreau

“My aim is to put down what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way I can tell it.” Ernest Hemingway

“I write as straight as I can, just as I walk as straight as I can, because that is the best way to get there.” H.G. Wells

“Good writers are those who keep the language efficient. That is to say, keep it accurate, keep it clear.” Ezra Pound

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”
Robert Frost

“Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader—not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.” E.L. Doctorow

“As for the adjective, when in doubt leave it out.” Mark Twain

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” Anton Chekhov

“Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water. Every sentence must do one of two things—reveal character or advance the action.” Kurt Vonnegut

“Cut out all those exclamation marks. An exclamation mark is like laughing at your own joke.” F. Scott Fitzgerald

“If you are using dialogue—say it aloud as you write it. Only then will it have the sound of speech.” John Steinbeck

“There is no satisfactory explanation of style, no infallible guide to good writing, no assurance that a person who thinks clearly will be able to write clearly, no key that unlocks the door, no inflexible rules by which the young writer may steer his course. He will often find himself steering by stars that are disturbingly in motion.” E. B. White

“When you get in a tight place & everything goes against you, till it seems you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place & time that the tide will turn.”  Harriet Beecher Stowe

“Shut down the internet, set a timer for 15 minutes, and write. Hopefully, when the timer goes off, you will be involved in your story enough to keep going.” Marcia Strykowski

What are your writing rewards? (And a keyword bonus)

Writing notebookWe all live for those days when the virtual ink is flowing so fast it seems to stain our fingertips as we pound away on the keyboard. But what about the slow days when you think you’re stuck and your novel is never going to get itself finished? What about when you’ve written through the glow of the first quarter and are still climbing that story-telling mountain? Or how about (my personal problem for much of this past summer) if you’ve promised your fans a sequel…and you just can’t figure out where to start?

Ever since I was a kid, a brand new notebook has seemed like one of the best presents imaginable. There’s so much potential on those blank pages — I could almost write a novel about the stories that call to my pen. The first word I place on the first blank page fills my heart with so much glee, I often have to open up a word processor so the words can come out of my head as fast as they go in.

Of course, I’m a total cheapskate, so I buy my writing rewards in bulk. That’s right, I haunt back-to-school sales and pick up a dozen one-subject notebooks at five for a dollar. (Of course I opt for the one-subjects — more gleeful beginnings for the buck!) Then I hoard my stationary as if I could never afford another notebook, and when times get really tough, I pull out a new notebook and get to work. (Finally, if all else fails, there’s always chocolate….)

How about you? What do you use to unstick your wheels when you seem to be mired in the mud? Or how do you reward yourself when you reach your daily word count?

Supercharge Your Kindle Sales(As a side note, when I started this post, it was totally going to be a keyword followup. But I realized I didn’t have enough to say, so here’s the cliff notes version:

  • Supercharge Your Kindle Sales includes more nitty-gritty information than I’ve seen anywhere before on the topic of keywords for ebooks. I knew most of it, though, so am glad I only borrowed rather than bought.
  • The author’s method of determining whether enough readers are searching for your keyword phrase involves typing in the beginning and seeing if Amazon autofills. No autofill = nobody cares.
  • As my husband also told me after I set him to work harvesting new keywords for my books, you can find new autofill suggestions by starting with one word on amazon, adding a space, then running through the alphabet. For example, type in “werewolf a” and they’ll suggest “werewolf academy,” “werewolf b” and you’ll get “werewolf books for teens,” and so forth.
  • Finally, from my husband only and not from the book, try using Google’s autofill feature as well. You might find a phrase that will carry over well to Amazon!)

So, there you have it, two posts accidentally merged into one. Clearly, I should have read Ned’s eye-test post more carefully!

And, as a final P.S., don’t forget to go borrow your copy of my sweet billionaire romance! It’s on a roll, but could use more eyes!