Reading, wRiting, and Roaming with Author Valerie Biel

December 6, 2022

The Anatomy of Not Writing a Novel & How NaNoWriMo Rescued Me

I’d never been much of a fan of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for two reasons. The idea of writing 50,000 <<quality>> words in one month didn’t seem possible, and the ‘rule’ that it had to be a new novel with no previously written words didn’t mesh with my schedule anyway. Easy to dismiss. “Pish posh” as Mary Poppins would say.

And then . . . I was at a writing residency at Write On Door County in 2019 and wrote 20,000 words in 6 days.  I started to think that I’d been wrong about the impossibility of 50,000 words in 30 days. In fact, I realized that immersion in the story I... Continue Reading

December 5, 2022

This month Joy Ann Ribar is sharing the advice she wishes she could tell her pre-published self! As we finish up our Author Wisdom series for 2022, I hope you take Joy’s advice into the new year to make your writing journey a little easier. Like most of the featured authors this year, I connected with Joy through the Blackbird Writers. I'm so glad she was able to 'stop by' this month because she’s now off on her next big adventure traveling the country with her husband in their RV!



Joy Ann Ribar’s cocktail of careers includes journalist, paralegal, teacher, aquaponic greenhouse technician, and author. Joy infuses this mixture into her main character, Frankie... Continue Reading

November 29, 2022

Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the Publishing World

2022 National Book Award Winners

Amazon Adds Goodreads Ratings to Book Listings


AI in the Publishing World

More and more I’m seeing AI generated work become part of the publishing world. And it gives me pause, I’m not sure what to think of relying on computer generated content. I can see its usefulness, but to what extent is it okay to use? In the past 30 days, here are the AI products/uses I’ve come across.

Audiobooks for Self-Published Authors from BookBaby

BookBaby is now offering audiobook production using AI voices... Continue Reading

November 21, 2022

Coffee, Candles, and Cards: Affordable Gifts for the Writer in Your Life

Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Season’s Greetings, Writers!

The holidays are upon us. Can you believe how quickly the months flew by? A new year, 2023, approaches. Writers are finishing manuscripts, pondering what they’ll create next, and racing through events such as National Novel Writing Month.

For November, in honor of the most hectic time of year, I’m keeping things simple for writers and those who love them. The holidays are busy. Costs are up for everybody. I’m suggesting gifts that are meaningful and affordable: coffee, candles, and gift cards to... Continue Reading

November 8, 2022

This month Christine DeSmet is sharing the advice she wishes she could tell her pre-published self! Such good advice this month! Christine pens fabulous novels but she's also a wonderful writing coach, teacher, and editor. In fact, she was the first professional to critique the initial pages of my very first book-length work, offering excellent advice and encouragement. If you're a writer looking for guidance on your publishing journey, I highly recommend Christine. Her newest Fudge Shop Mystery, Holly Jolly Fudge Folly, comes out this month. (See the full description below!)


Christine DeSmet is an award-winning author, screenwriter, writing teacher, and writing coach/developmental editor. Her new novel is the November release, Holly Jolly... Continue Reading

October 31, 2022

♦ Amazon Bugs: Price Increases, Categories and Terminations

♦ KU vs. Wide: Should You Be Exclusive to Amazon (Kindle) or Not? 

♦ What Counts as a Bestseller

♦ Publishing Wants to Cash in on BookTok. Creators Say No.



Amazon Bugs: Price Increases, Categories and Terminations

Jason Hamilton writes for the Kindlepreneur website on the latest glitches on the Amazon platform which have included random price increases, books not showing up in categories they ought to be listed in, and an increase in author account terminations. Just reading this list makes me nervous, but this article has some solutions for each situation if you’re finding yourself a victim of one of Amazon’s glitches. The good... Continue Reading

October 18, 2022

This month Kim Taylor Blakemore is sharing the advice she wishes she could tell her pre-published self! These wonderful tips are essential reminders for those of us who have been writing for a while and invaluable advice for writers at the beginning of their publishing journeys. Like most of the featured authors in 2022, I connected with Kim through the Blackbird Writers. I'm so glad she was able to 'stop by' this month because her latest book just came out and I know she's super busy!  

Kim writes historical novels that feature fierce, audacious, and often dangerous women. She writes about the thieves and servants, murderesses and mediums, grifters and frauds - the women with darker stories, tangled lies and hidden motives. She is the author of the... Continue Reading

October 12, 2022

Happy October, writers!

For the past two months, I’ve written blogs about using Pinterest to build an author’s social media presence.

But October deserves an especially scary post: Who’s writing a novel during the spookiest month of the calendar? (Besides April—tax month—that is!)

I write cozy mysteries, mostly. The Backyard Model Mysteries are on submission to publishers. While waiting to hear good news, I dug out a half-finished manuscript to complete. The genre was new to me: magical realism. While I adore the category—who... Continue Reading

September 28, 2022

Penguin Random House/DOJ Case Update

Amazon Changes eBook Return Policy (finally)

IBPA Revises Hybrid Publishing Criteria

October Holidays for Book Promotion


DOJ Case Regarding Penguin Random House Merger with Simon & Schuster

If you haven’t been following this case here’s the quick take . . . the Department of Justice sued to block PRH’s proposed acquisition of S&S because it would allow PRH (already the largest publisher in the world) to “exert outsized influence over which books are published in the United States and how much authors are paid for their work.” The trial portion has concluded (and it was fascinating to hear from so many in the publishing industry, including authors and agents.)... Continue Reading

September 20, 2022

The September Author Series features Marilyn Levinson (aka Allison Brook) and the advice she'd tell her pre-published self. Most of the featured authors in 2022 I connected with through the Blackbird Writers, a fabulous and supportive group of mystery, suspense, and thriller authors, and Marilyn is no exception. It has been delightful to get to know her, and I was pleased she could take the time to join us in the same month as her most recent book release. She's a busy gal! 

About Marilyn:
A former Spanish teacher, Marilyn Levinson writes mysteries, romantic suspense, and novels for kids. Her books have received many accolades. As Allison Brook she writes the Haunted Library... Continue Reading