Reading, wRiting, and Roaming with Author Valerie Biel

September 23, 2021

Welcome to the September installment of the 2021 Author Series, where a published author shares with us what advice they would give to their younger/pre-published self. Sara Dahmen is our September author, but she does so many more things than writing I can't even begin to list them here . . . just scroll down for her full bio. (Seriously!) I first met Sara at a writing conference and immediately admired her spirit, energy, and tenacity. Anyone who does the cookware research for her historical fiction so well that she ends up not only with a new hobby, but starts a company selling such cookware and learns how to make it, too. . . is my kind of person! 

I've interviewed her before... Continue Reading

September 14, 2021

Did you spend the summer polishing your fiction novel? Congrats! Perhaps you’re pitching it this fall. Some excellent virtual conferences are available, including the Writing Day Workshops and the Midwest Writer’s Workshop Agent Fest.

I recommend attempting a virtual pitch if you’re ready; check out the links for the writing events listed above and sign up. Pitching is a great experience, and it forces you to polish that novel—and develop the essential supplemental materials... Continue Reading

September 1, 2021

Often my book reviews highlight my favorite stand-alone books, but this post is going to focus on the excellent series I’ve been reading and highly recommend—both romance (romantic suspense) and mysteries. (Click on the either the title or the book cover image to learn more and go to the book's purchase page.)

The Westmoreland Dynasty Series by Judith McNaught

IF YOU LOVED BRIDGERTON, both the books by Julia Quinn and the Netflix Series (and—swoon—who didn’t?), I think you’ll love the historical romance Westmoreland series by Judith McNaught.

The series begins with Whitney, My Love set in England’s Regency period, continues with A Kingdom of Dreams which goes backward in time to Scotland in 1497, and moves back to 1800s England for Until You and Miracles, books... Continue Reading

August 24, 2021





Should MFA Programs Teach the Business of Writing?

If you’ve followed Jane Friedman for any length of time, you’ll know that her answer to this is going to be YES. You can read the full article here.  What continues to surprise me is that there are creative degree programs that somehow think it is not important to teach their students how to go about ‘selling’ their work whether it is writing or other art forms. This high-minded and—yes, I’ll go so far to... Continue Reading

August 17, 2021

I’ve read so many good books since the beginning of May that it is a struggle to only share a manageable number of those with you. To help avoid overload, this post details my favorite stand-alone stories of late. (In September, I will focus on the series I’ve been enjoying.) And take a look at the covers on these books--I love them all for different reasons. 


Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper


This book is enchanting! Written from the point of view of a nonverbal eleven-year-old girl with cerebral palsy, you’re dawn into Melody’s world, her mind, and her frustrations over not being understood. It has taken... Continue Reading

August 9, 2021

Welcome to the August 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.

Holly Tierney, our August author, writes women's fiction, thrillers, mysteries, romantic comedies, and more. One of her books has even achieved Kindle Unlimited All-Star status! If you’ve been following me for a while, you may remember that I’ve gushed about her stories in the past. You can read those reviews here and here.

The image below shows less than half of the books she's written!! 

... Continue Reading

August 4, 2021

When I first heard about Rochelle Melander’s new book, I was so excited about the overall theme and concept. THEN I received the advance reader copy and was blown away by the design, content, and – well – everything this book has to offer. Here’s my official review:

Mightier Than the Sword: Rebels, Reformers, and Revolutionaries Who Changed the World Through Writing is a delightfully informative book that will allow readers of all ages to learn more about inspiring writers throughout history. Written for the middle-grade audience, this book will have a broad appeal well beyond this age group. The book’s gorgeous design, organization, and illustration combined with succinct biographies will keep the reader engaged. Particularly intriguing are the way the author presents how... Continue Reading

July 27, 2021






PTSD and Platform: Is Vella in Vain?

Author Emily Shore writes an insightful article about her route to publishing on the Kindle Vella serialization platform amid personal struggles that could have derailed her progress! She details what these first days have been like along with the process and Facebook groups where authors have banded together to learn about Vella successes and struggles from each other. Great info if you’re considering Vella!

... Continue Reading

July 19, 2021

This is a very fitting blog post topic from Tracey Kathryn as she shifts to using her pen name T.K. Sheffield. We'll be getting the same awesome writerly wisdom in her guest posts (that we've enjoyed nearly once a month for the past three years), but future posts will come from T.K. Sheffield. Scroll to the bottom to get the latest on her writing adventures and her new website introducing her mystery series! 

What’s in a name?

For me, it’s anything but sweet. Or the process of naming novel characters, that is. One of the hardest things for me to do is come up with names for the people in my books. (The other is finding comparable titles for my work, but that’s a problem for a different... Continue Reading

July 13, 2021

My name is Anne Louise Bannon. I am primarily known for my historical mysteries, particularly, the Old Los Angeles series, set in the 1870s and featuring Maddie Wilcox, a physician and winemaker.

But I have a problem. I do not read only historical mysteries. I also read contemporary mysteries, cozies set in small towns, the occasional thriller, classic mysteries. Sometimes, I even read straight up romances, fantasies, and even some science fiction. Why, in Heaven’s name, would anybody expect me to write only historical mysteries?

Well, there’s this thing called branding. So far, I have been building my personal brand based on my historical mysteries because that’s what’s out there at this moment in time. Even the time travel serial currently posting on my blog, But... Continue Reading