Reading, wRiting, and Roaming with Author Valerie Biel

September 18, 2018

This year I completed my first nonfiction book proposal, and I realized how intimidating the process might be for someone who is not familiar with the components that go into such a proposal. Heather Shumaker is an author I have long admired for her savvy in the publishing world. She has authored three nonfiction books, and her children's novel will be out... Continue Reading

September 11, 2018

In a piece written in the style of her memoir, Bonniejean Alford boldly explores the role “heroes” have as inspiration on her journey to inspire.

The Greatest American Hero

By bonniejean alford, Creative Communication Strategist | Word Artist | Speaker

This year, I received an amazing gift from the universe: the honor of meeting one of my childhood heroes via video chat. Truthfully, a dear friend granted me this gift for my birthday in February. What a nice surprise!

Of course, this hero did not reside in America, but remained no less a hero to my life. As a child, I didn’t have many positive influences. And definitely no one there to inspire me creatively. Despite this, I wrote – A LOT.

I still do.

The ideas flow. And flow. And flow some... Continue Reading

September 4, 2018

Charles Dickens, Beatrix Potter, Marcel Proust, and Edgar Allan Poe all self-published their books. If you're planning to do the same, you're in good company. Today you can publish your manuscript with just the click of a button but be sure to research your options first.



Four Routes to Book Publishing - and the pros and cons of each:


Traditional publishing  examples: Penguin Random House, Macmillan, Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster

♦ The author acquires a literary agent (for fiction) who finds an interested publisher.

♦ The publisher buys the rights to the manuscript and uses their staff of editors and graphic designers to publish the manuscript -- the author has little or no say over the... Continue Reading

August 29, 2018
FEATURED ARTICLES: CreateSpace Says Goodbye & Critical of Vanity Press? How Big Publishing is Cashing In

Now in its second year, the Writers' Forum is a compilation of the month’s important publishing news and helpful writing information for authors, particularly those independently publishing their books. For readers, there are links to southern Wisconsin bookstores to preview their upcoming events. I’ve been an independently published author since 2014 and provide this information to assist others in the way that generous writers assisted me when I was at the beginning of my indie pub journey. On a professional level, I also use my publicity and editorial skills to aid other authors through my company Lost Lake Press... Continue Reading

August 20, 2018

I'm pleased Amanda Zieba is able to join us again. Amanda is an author, a word nerd, a mom, a wife, a teacher, and so much more. Today she gives us excellent tips on revising your work. (In my opinion, there are never enough tips to get me through this phase of writing!)










I have been fortunate enough to attend three, four-day writing excursions this summer. Since leaving the full-time teaching world, my home office hours are mostly dedicated to paying gigs. But, on these writing retreats, I splurge, allowing myself to dive head first into my fiction work.

This summer my fiction project is revising my YA Fantasy manuscript. As I’ve... Continue Reading

August 14, 2018

I do love a good paranormal story, and recently picked up The Sisters by Wisconsin author Janet Kay. This story is an interesting tale set on historical Galveston Island, Texas that weaves in an ample supply of ghostly entities and reincarnated souls. The story is written in alternating perspectives of both living and dead characters, which makes for a fun read. 

... Continue Reading

July 31, 2018

I have not had time to read much in the past few weeks! This makes me sad, but that means I’m getting a lot of other things done. (Or maybe it means I’m watching too much TV? More about that below!)

In May, I raved about Holly Tierney-Bedord’s Sweet Hollow Women and promptly picked up her newest release The Port Elspeth Jewelry Making Club. While the title might make you think this is a breezy chic lit story, that is SO not the case. This is a fast-paced, hidden secrets, murder-mystery, suspense novel set in an uptight, clique-filled small town where gossip abounds and everyone has an opinion about everyone else. (How’s that for a bunch of hyphenated adjectives!) Tierney-Bedord crafts... Continue Reading

July 24, 2018
Featured Articles: How to (Ethically) Hack Amazon Categories and  #CockyCate is Over (At least for now!?)

Now in its second year, the Writers' Forum is a compilation of the month’s important publishing news and helpful writing information for authors, particularly those independently publishing their books. For readers, there are links to southern Wisconsin bookstores to preview their... Continue Reading

July 17, 2018

I've talked at length before on my website and at writing conferences about how archaeology and history have inspired my fantasy novel writing. The amazing megalithic structures of Ireland have been particularly significant to my storytelling, often making their way onto my covers. This has made July an incredibly exciting month so far with discoveries of previously unknown megalithic structures near Newgrange in Ireland’s Boyne River valley. With Ireland experiencing a severe drought, the outline of a rather large circle was captured by drone photography just a short distance from the Newgrange passage tomb. This is an open circle with concentric markings creating a large circle surrounded by two more circles of what are presumed to be old post holes.

I was curious why... Continue Reading

July 10, 2018

I joined my very first critique group, Chicks of the Trade, in January of 2008. Six women writing everything from romance to sci-fi to horror to mainstream contemporary fiction (me). We gathered at an Italian restaurant in Rockford, Illinois with our first chapters in hand. I’d never met these women before and I’d never written a word of a novel, yet alone a whole chapter, so it was pretty scary. But the chicks gave incredible feedback and support and without them I’d never have finished my book.

Critique groups are terrific for setting deadlines and making sure you get the writing done. They’re also great at pointing out what’s working and what’s not. Writers have to realize that their writing isn’t perfect even though they may think it is. It’s a hard lesson to learn. Every... Continue Reading