Reading, wRiting, and Roaming with Author Valerie Biel

May 17, 2021

Joe jumped behind the wheel of his car. He felt like he’d been swimming in his morning coffee, a triple-shot death wish, extra sugar. From the passenger seat, Susan watched him, thinking Joe looked beyond hyper. What was wrong with her best friend?

Yes, dear reader, I committed a writing faux pas in the above sentences. I shifted POV in the same paragraph—within two sentences, even!

I read something similar on the first page of a new mystery release, unfortunately.


What’s a writer to do when cautioned against narrative POV shifts but then sees the very thing in a book from a major publisher?

During the last months, I’ve been revising... Continue Reading

May 11, 2021

Welcome to the May installment of the 2021 Author Series, where a published author takes the stage and tells us what they wish they had known before they published their first book along with what advice they would give their pre-published self.

I know many of you already know Liza Wiemer! I am a big fan of her novels The Assignment and Hello?. (You can read my most recent interview with her along with a review of “The Assignment” here.) If you do not yet know Liza, here's a quick biography. (But I recommend that you also head over to her website and read the fun "how she met her husband" story.) ... Continue Reading

May 5, 2021

My four favorite books from the past two months include a poignant middle-grade novel, a beautifully written adult fiction, a spiritual book about connecting with nature, and a wonderfully suspenseful, twisting thriller.

But there’s this other thing I did that I need to talk about … it makes me feel guilty perhaps because it was so indulgent. I binge-read 49 other books (all in the same series), one after another after another. It was lovely, but I have so much guilt, because I have a rather large stack of other books waiting to be read and reviewed. But this binge of books taught me a few things about series writing and myself, which I share further into this post. First, let’s celebrate four excellent books:

... Continue Reading
April 28, 2021




Kindle Rolls Out New Exclusive Fiction Serialization Option

Kindle Vella is a new exclusive way to serialize your fiction stories and deliver them to readers one episode/chapter at a time. This is only for US based authors via, and it is only for new stories. You can’t serialize a book you’ve already published. There’s plenty of talk out there about this new option. First, take a look at Dave Chesson’s article giving the program details. Then dive into Publishwide’s... Continue Reading

April 20, 2021

I didn’t become a coffee drinker until my forties. How did I survive without it? I’m an early bird, so coffee, my computer, and my characters are what I’m about at five o’clock in the morning. Also, I love local coffee shops. They’re great places to meet friends and make notes about writing projects. (I can’t write in public spaces, though. Too distracting. When I write, it has to be in a quiet spot without noise or diversion.)

I’m a member of a writer’s group where we share chapters of our mystery-novels-in-progress. We have different writing styles, characters, and plots, but one location we write about is similar: The coffee shop.

Coffee shops are our “third place.” A home-away-from-home where... Continue Reading

April 6, 2021

Welcome to the April installment of the 2021 Author Series. Each month a published author takes the stage to share their wisdom as they tell us what they wish they had known before they published their first book or what advice they would go back and give their pre-published self. This month mystery-suspense-thriller author Chris Norbury shares his wisdom with us. (If you haven’t had a chance to read his books Straight River and Castle Danger, add them to your reading list! The stories feature Matt Lanier, a southern Minnesota farm kid-turned professional musician whose middle-class world is turned upside down by a conspiracy... Continue Reading

March 30, 2021






The Big 5 Become the Big 4

It’s been in the works since late last year, but it looks like now it is official. Penguin Random House will acquire Simon & Schuster for $2.2 billion. (You may remember that Penguin and Random House merged back in 2013, reducing the big 6 publishers to the big 5.) The other three are Macmillan, Hachette Book Group, and HarperCollins. Kirkus has a comprehensive article on the merger. There’s plenty of... Continue Reading

March 23, 2021

Welcome to the March installment of the 2021 Author Series. Each month a published author takes the stage to share their wisdom as they tell us what they wish they had known before they published their first book or what advice they would go back and give their pre-published self.

I’m so glad that Nick Chiarkas has agreed to share his wisdom with us this month. I first met Nick many years ago, long before we both started writing fiction. It has been delightful to connect with him again in the publishing world. Plus, I’m a huge fan of his book, Weepers!

Nick Chiarkas’ extensive legal and law enforcement background allows him to write from a place of powerful personal experience. He doesn’t... Continue Reading

March 16, 2021

It’s coming. Revision of my finished manuscript is approaching like warm weather—and mud and bugs. Writing the second draft of my novel will occupy my summer. I’m looking forward to the process like a new season; it promises new life and fresh ideas. But with every silver lining, there’s a cloud. Revising book chapters that have been ingrained in my mind for a year will be a challenge.

The subject of this blog post is in response to a survey that Valerie Biel conducted among her readers. How does a writer approach the second draft of a novel?

I’m offering advice for revision: First, consult (or create!) your book’s outline to highlight the... Continue Reading

March 2, 2021

“Edith: The Rogue Rockefeller McCormick” is an exceptional book about an exceptional woman. Andrea Friederici Ross’ extensive research is obvious and draws us into Edith’s story and all she was able to accomplish (despite not being taken seriously as a woman in so many situations.) This story will make you angry on her behalf but you will also admire her ongoing tenacity. This is a remarkable work that honors Edith’s many legacies and highlights a history that might otherwise have been lost. This is a well-written and beautifully documented work that has the suspense and pace of a fiction novel. 


To Purchase the Book:

Use coupon code SIUP20 to get 20% off Edith at the publisher’s website:... Continue Reading