The Three Rs: Reading, wRiting, and Roaming

November 5, 2019

When I began writing fiction professionally, I had no idea the number of things I would need to learn on the way to publication and beyond. I will never forget the many people who provided kind mentorship in those early months. Now, ten years later, it’s incredibly fun to do the same for other writers through my company Lost Lake Press.

But let’s back up to the very beginning of this journey. It was 2009, and I made a decision to radically change my professional world. My sister had been diagnosed with a terminal cancer—the same cancer that took my oldest sister a few years prior. I was devastated and with the reminder (yet again) that our time here is finite, I... Continue Reading

October 29, 2019


How the CASE Act Benefits Authors

New York Times Shifts Its Bestsellers’ Lists


How the CASE Act Benefits Authors

The Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act has been making its way through Congress and will (if passed) allow for an alternative to pursuing copyright infringement in Federal Court by creating a small copyright infringement tribunal within the U.S. Copyright Office. The Publishers Weekly article about CASE by Authors Guild director Mary Rasenberger is... Continue Reading

October 22, 2019

Last month, I wrote with gusto about the benefits of an accidental retreat. I had a wonderful time when my husband suggested I go up north. Alone. To the woods. Where I could reside in solitude with nothing but mystery books, spotty cell service, and a large, empty forest around me.

A retreat is all fun and games until reality sets in. What was I thinking? What if something had happened?

It’s October, a time for spooky nights and ghost stories. The theme leads me to this month’s blog post’s topic, obituaries. Have you written one? Have you composed your own?

We’re writers, so we should be prepared to write something... Continue Reading

October 17, 2019

Barbara Britton is back with another fabulous story! Lioness: Mahlah’s Journey releases as an e-book today and will be available in print on December 6. I feel so lucky to have received an advance reader copy, so that I can share with you why I love this tale so much. 

Britton writes (predominantly) Biblical fiction. She takes lesser known women from the Bible and relying on what we do know about them from specific verses, she fills in and finishes their stories. She has an uncanny ability to transport the reader back to Biblical times to the point that you can almost taste the dust in the air and smell the dampness of the River Jordan.

Lioness: Mahlah’s Journey is no different. In this story, I was so impressed... Continue Reading

October 8, 2019

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 exercises for creating great characters. I think designing characters and all their traits (quirky or not) is one of the most fun parts of being a fiction writer. These exercise will definitely get you started.

Character Creation with Amanda Zieba

Character. Without it, your story is meaningless. Your reader needs something to care about, SOMEONE, to root for, empathize with, and emotionally invest in.

Two of my current fiction projects are demanding that my attention be focused on character, which got me thinking about how to better understand who my characters really are. How do you get to know someone you... Continue Reading

October 1, 2019

Eight Excellent Reads! Mystery, suspense, historical fiction, romance, nonfiction, and dystopian . . . a little bit of something for everyone. 

The Flats Junction Series

Wisconsin author Sara Dahmen has penned a series of book set in the fictional Dakota Territory town of Flats Junction. (I’ve been lucky enough to read some of these books in their beta form—so I know what’s yet to come, and let me tell you, it’s excellent storytelling!) You can check out the series website HERE. So far there are two books released.


This book has a wonderful and rich cast of characters (some who will recur in the following books). You’... Continue Reading

September 23, 2019


Indies vs. Amazon? Maybe It’s Time for a New Game by Maggie Stiefvater

Amazon Publishing: The Road to Conquest and How Bezos Razed New York by Kristen Lamb


Indies vs. Amazon? Maybe It’s Time for a New Game

YA fantasy/paranormal author Maggie Stiefvater is spot on (in my opinion), when she talks about how the Indie Store vs. Amazon book sales’ battle is destined to fail (for the indie stores). Instead, she discusses how and why Indie Stores need to embrace what they do better and capitalize on THAT rather than attempt to compete in the losing battle with Amazon. Smart stuff! http://... Continue Reading

September 16, 2019

Happy autumn, writers!

What a wonderful time to reside in Wisconsin. I believe my home state rivals the Northeast regarding fall color, but then I’m biased. Recently, I spent a week in the Northwoods and the respite provided clarity that I didn’t expect. The tiny cottage where I stayed felt like a step back in time. The decor was mid-Fifties, the cell service was spotty, and while there was a television, I rarely turned it on.

I used the time away as a break from the busy-ness of life. I didn’t even expect to have a mini-vacation; it happened because my husband had to go out of town and he suggested it. Why not?, I thought. I packed a suitcase, a stack of books, and my laptop computer, and a short... Continue Reading

September 10, 2019

If you’re going to independently publish your work via one of the many publishing platforms available to authors, I highly recommend that you set up your own publishing imprint. Yes, just like traditional publishers, you will want your work to be published under a company name—other than your own author name—for a number of reasons.

What IS an imprint? An imprint is a trade name that you create for your independent publishing business.

Why you need an imprint name.

Credibility: You don’t want your independently published book to be immediately recognized as such. (The words Independently Published will appear by default—for instance—if you use the free ISBNs from Kindle Direct Publishing.) Even though the stigma of independent publishing has lessened, there’s no... Continue Reading

September 3, 2019

Many of us toil in private for years before we are ready with both our skill level and emotional fortitude to submit work for publication. But where can we submit our precious pages? Depending on what you write and which audiences you’re trying to reach, the answer to that question differs.

For the scope of this article, I’m focusing (mainly) on publishing houses who will accept un-agented submissions, contests for works of all lengths and types, and literary journals looking for everything from essays to short stories to poetry. None of us have the time to search for these locations one by one. Instead, I advocate signing up for handy newsletters that provide lists of reputable publishers and journals. These are my favorites!!

... Continue Reading