Reading, wRiting, and Roaming with Author Valerie Biel

October 19, 2021

Given that it’s now October and we've entered the spooky season, I’m writing about the ghost-like feeling that plagues writers: imposter syndrome. Putting ideas onto the page and then releasing them to the world for critical feedback is a risk. The most successful writers, including Sandra Brown, have revealed doubts about their writing talent.

As parents or psychologists will tell you, external praise won’t change a person’s self-esteem. For writers, who experience... Continue Reading

October 12, 2021

Welcome to the October installment of the 2021 Author Series, where a published author shares the advice they would give to their pre-published self along with what they wished they'd known before they published their first book. Kristin Oakley is our October author. I first met Kristin at one of the many University of Wisconsin continuing education writing programs (which alas are no longer continuing!) We've collaborated before in this space on articles about critique groups, attending writing conferences, and... Continue Reading

October 7, 2021

Harry Potter and On Wisconsin (Authors)!

AH, HARRY POTTER—fond memories were recently rekindled with the recent gift of the ILLUSTRATED Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (thank you daughter #2). An unbelievably gorgeous book with such beautifully detailed illustrations that I would often just sit and stare at the page to take it all in. I really didn’t intend to READ the entire book (again for the umpteenth time.) But I was drawn in AGAIN, and thoroughly enjoyed it. What’s fun is that this is the British English version . . . so it was all favourites and colours and crisps and biscuits and car boots and lifts etc… However, then shouldn’t the cover have read “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”??? NOT Sorcerer’s Stone. Hmmmmm.

Our eldest was 11 when the first... Continue Reading

September 29, 2021

NEW AUTHOR PRO COURSES: Traditional Media Promo, Audiobook Production, and more Free Guides!




New Author Pro Courses

As promised, here are two new courses for authors, one will teach you how to gain attention for your book with traditional media and the other will help you expand your author revenue stream by creating audiobooks.

How to Promote Your Books with Traditional Media

Learn how to... Continue Reading

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