Reading, wRiting, and Roaming with Author Valerie Biel

November 8, 2020

My six favorite books from the past two months include a grab-your-tissues middle-grade novel, a heritage-rich young adult novel, a heart-warming, coming-of-age mystery, a sweet romance, and duo of time travel romance novels that take us to the old west (and back again).


This book cover is adorable and intriguing and it’s what initially drew me to this story. Why in the world is this girl on top of a bus? You’ll love her from the start and eventually you’ll learn the heartbreaking reason why she’s now called Coyote Sunrise and why her dad is called Rodeo and not Dad. The sheer personality of this character is something to gush about—unique, forceful... Continue Reading

October 28, 2020






How to Write a Ghost Story

Perfect timing on this article from Amy Holland at the Good Story Company. Are you in the mood for writing a ghost story? Here are tips to help you build the suspense and draw from what scares you the most.

Amazon Reader Review Myths: What You Need to Know

Many thanks to Sandra Beckwith for penning this excellent article dispelling the myths surrounding Amazon reviews that seem to... Continue Reading

October 20, 2020

November is cozy with its cool air, pumpkins, and turkey, but it’s also thrilling. For writers, that is. National Novel Writing Month is thirty days of writing, with the goal to produce fifty-thousand words for a novel. It’s a daunting challenge, but it’s also a self-directed class in writing-skills improvement. Plus, there are prizes at the end, and the NaNoWriMo site offers deals on products. (BTW, I write using Scrivener, which I recommend. Participants get a great discount.) In honor of the month, I’m offering tips about prepping and writing for both of my September and October blog posts.... Continue Reading

October 15, 2020

Today, I'm giving you my best 13 book marketing tips for before, during, and after your book launch. So often authors reach out to me after their book has launched and they’re disappointed with sales and aren’t sure what to do to. This conundrum equally affects those who publish traditionally and independently. It's incredibly difficult to sort through all the book marketing tips and information available. I know . . . I do it on an almost daily basis. 



At the beginning of your author journey, whether that’s during your querying phase or when you are proceeding down the path toward publishing independently, you MUST set up a website. This establishes your presence as a professional in the online world and serves as your... Continue Reading

October 7, 2020

You know how I promised you all more stories in my Circle of Nine series? I’m finally constructing the outlines! I’ve been pulling research books off my shelf and realized I’d compiled a wonderful library of Celtic mythology and witchy guides to help me craft the perfect details to make my stories come alive. And, what better time to do this than in the witchiest month of the year?

So welcome to Part One of Books that Help Me Write My Books.

Halloween is approaching . . . but in my books that holiday is Samhain, pronounced SAH-win or SOW-win. Beginning at sunset on October 31 and ending at sunset on November 1, this is the pagan new year holiday. It is the cross-quarter day between the fall equinox (Mabon) and the winter solstice (Yule) and divides the year... Continue Reading

September 30, 2020

Wisconsin Writers Association 2020 Fall Conference

Everyone Wants Barnes & Noble to Survive. Can It?

Traditional Publishing Enjoys Its Best Sales in a Decade—Despite Supply Chain Problems


Wisconsin Writers Association 2020 Fall Conference – October 3 – Still time to register!

The Wisconsin Writers Association Fall Conference is this Saturday, October 3. This is a steal at $30 for those who are already members of WWA and $50 for non-members. There is still to register HERE. The lineup includes: Dasha Kelly Hamilton, MKE Poet Laureate; Erin Celello, author, Miracle Beach and Learning to Stay; Ann Garvin, author, I Like You Just Fine When You’re Not... Continue Reading

September 22, 2020

November is a special month for writers. It’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and its goal is to get as many words written for a new novel as possible. It’s a fantastic thirty-day challenge that is exhilarating and draining at the same time. In honor of the event, I’m offering tips about tackling the “messy middle” for both the September and October blog posts.

According to Larry Brooks, genre fiction has a specific structure that includes the set-up, response, attack, and resolution. Each block is set up as a rough quartile. So, the messy middle is fifty percent of the book, and it includes the protagonist’s... Continue Reading

September 15, 2020

There’s a long tradition of celebrating some of our favorite works of literature with collections of recipes that are directly referenced in books or inspired by them.

After all, C.S. Lewis once said, "Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably."

Eat, Read & Dream Cookbook from IndieBRAG

I have always been a fan of literary cookbooks, so when my book series was offered the opportunity to be part of one, I was quite excited. The indieBRAG Eat, Read, and Dream Cookbook highlights recipes from books that have earned the B.R.A.G. Medallion. (B.R.A.G. stands for Book Readers Appreciation Group.) It was the brainchild of... Continue Reading

September 10, 2020

I was extremely saddened to get the email this week announcing that not only will my favorite writing conference (The University of Wisconsin Writers’ Institute) be discontinued—the entire University of Wisconsin Continuing Studies writing program is also suffering the same fate. Laurie Scheer writes, “The UW-Madison Division of Continuing Studies (DCS) writing program is being discontinued as part of broad changes to DCS in response to financial downturn resulting from the pandemic.” It is just such a blow to lose this wonderful conference and so many courses that helped us all be better writers and offered the chance to network with other creative people. This truly was (by many accounts) the best writing conference in the Midwest.

It was the first writing... Continue Reading

September 2, 2020

My four favorite books from the past two months include an incredibly fun picture book, an impactful young adult novel, a long-awaited young adult novel, and a kick-back beachy read. 



Readers of all ages will enjoy this incredibly fun and adorable story about a young kangaroo who must learn how to quickly find and jump back into his mom’s pouch. This is a great romp through all things Australian from the different animals who try to help the young Joey to specific vocabulary from ‘down under,’ including the definition of bobby-dazzler. The facts at the back of the book will be a hit with all kids but particularly those who like to dive into the details.

... Continue Reading