Reading, wRiting, and Roaming with Author Valerie Biel

June 17, 2021

As we return to a normal schedule in the months to come, this is a perfect time to discuss speaking engagement planning. Even so, much of this advice works equally well for online events! You might think that the most important item to discuss is where you can book speaking engagements, but I’d like to take a step back and ask you to think through why you’re seeking to book these types of events. What’s your goal? That’s the real starting point!

What Are Your Goals for Speaking Engagements?

Why do you want to book speaking engagements—is it simply a means to gain attention for your book(s) and sell more copies? Or do you have a broader message based on your book’s topic or expertise that you’ve gained during your writing or publishing journey? Perhaps, you’ve... Continue Reading

June 10, 2021

Advertising Your Books – Part One taught you how to get started with BookBub ads. With continued testing on this platform, I've updated that article HERE. Part Two focused on Facebook advertising. I’ve continued to have very good success with Facebook advertising for myself and for my clients. With that information (as well as adapting to Facebook's platform changes), I've updated that tutorial ... Continue Reading

June 1, 2021

Welcome to the June  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 along with what advice they would go back and give their pre-published self. Greg Renz, author of Beneath the Flames, is our June author. You can find my earlier review and author interview with Greg here. His book was based upon his own experiences as a firefighter and remains one of my favorites!


The first rule of firefighting is to never enter a burning building alone. Sometimes rules must be broken, much like writing. Fire Captain... Continue Reading

May 25, 2021





Finding Your Writing Motivation

We all need help with motivation no matter what projects we are hoping to tackle. But I think that creative work and particularly writing, can be knocked off course more easily by the rejection (that comes with submitting one's work) along with the general stress of the world. I’m enjoy a reset of sorts this week at a writing residency in Door County and this article really spoke to me. So for those of you who need a little boost of motivation, Mary Kole’s article might just do the trick: https://kidlit.... Continue Reading

May 17, 2021

Joe jumped behind the wheel of his car. He felt like he’d been swimming in his morning coffee, a triple-shot death wish, extra sugar. From the passenger seat, Susan watched him, thinking Joe looked beyond hyper. What was wrong with her best friend?

Yes, dear reader, I committed a writing faux pas in the above sentences. I shifted POV in the same paragraph—within two sentences, even!

I read something similar on the first page of a new mystery release, unfortunately.


What’s a writer to do when cautioned against narrative POV shifts but then sees the very thing in a book from a major publisher?

During the last months, I’ve been revising... Continue Reading

May 11, 2021

Welcome to the May 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 along with what advice they would give their pre-published self.

I know many of you already know Liza Wiemer! I am a big fan of her novels The Assignment and Hello?. (You can read my most recent interview with her along with a review of “The Assignment” here.) If you do not yet know Liza, here's a quick biography. (But I recommend that you also head over to her website and read the fun "how she met her husband" story.) ... Continue Reading

May 5, 2021

My four favorite books from the past two months include a poignant middle-grade novel, a beautifully written adult fiction, a spiritual book about connecting with nature, and a wonderfully suspenseful, twisting thriller.

But there’s this other thing I did that I need to talk about … it makes me feel guilty perhaps because it was so indulgent. I binge-read 49 other books (all in the same series), one after another after another. It was lovely, but I have so much guilt, because I have a rather large stack of other books waiting to be read and reviewed. But this binge of books taught me a few things about series writing and myself, which I share further into this post. First, let’s celebrate four excellent books:

... Continue Reading
April 28, 2021




Kindle Rolls Out New Exclusive Fiction Serialization Option

Kindle Vella is a new exclusive way to serialize your fiction stories and deliver them to readers one episode/chapter at a time. This is only for US based authors via, and it is only for new stories. You can’t serialize a book you’ve already published. There’s plenty of talk out there about this new option. First, take a look at Dave Chesson’s article giving the program details. Then dive into Publishwide’s... Continue Reading

April 20, 2021

I didn’t become a coffee drinker until my forties. How did I survive without it? I’m an early bird, so coffee, my computer, and my characters are what I’m about at five o’clock in the morning. Also, I love local coffee shops. They’re great places to meet friends and make notes about writing projects. (I can’t write in public spaces, though. Too distracting. When I write, it has to be in a quiet spot without noise or diversion.)

I’m a member of a writer’s group where we share chapters of our mystery-novels-in-progress. We have different writing styles, characters, and plots, but one location we write about is similar: The coffee shop.

Coffee shops are our “third place.” A home-away-from-home where... Continue Reading

April 6, 2021

Welcome to the April installment of the 2021 Author Series. Each month a published author takes the stage to share their wisdom as they tell us what they wish they had known before they published their first book or what advice they would go back and give their pre-published self. This month mystery-suspense-thriller author Chris Norbury shares his wisdom with us. (If you haven’t had a chance to read his books Straight River and Castle Danger, add them to your reading list! The stories feature Matt Lanier, a southern Minnesota farm kid-turned professional musician whose middle-class world is turned upside down by a conspiracy... Continue Reading