Reading, wRiting, and Roaming with Author Valerie Biel

July 19, 2021

This is a very fitting blog post topic from Tracey Kathryn as she shifts to using her pen name T.K. Sheffield. We'll be getting the same awesome writerly wisdom in her guest posts (that we've enjoyed nearly once a month for the past three years), but future posts will come from T.K. Sheffield. Scroll to the bottom to get the latest on her writing adventures and her new website introducing her mystery series! 

What’s in a name?

For me, it’s anything but sweet. Or the process of naming novel characters, that is. One of the hardest things for me to do is come up with names for the people in my books. (The other is finding comparable titles for my work, but that’s a problem for a different... Continue Reading

July 13, 2021

My name is Anne Louise Bannon. I am primarily known for my historical mysteries, particularly, the Old Los Angeles series, set in the 1870s and featuring Maddie Wilcox, a physician and winemaker.

But I have a problem. I do not read only historical mysteries. I also read contemporary mysteries, cozies set in small towns, the occasional thriller, classic mysteries. Sometimes, I even read straight up romances, fantasies, and even some science fiction. Why, in Heaven’s name, would anybody expect me to write only historical mysteries?

Well, there’s this thing called branding. So far, I have been building my personal brand based on my historical mysteries because that’s what’s out there at this moment in time. Even the time travel serial currently posting on my blog, But... Continue Reading

July 6, 2021

Welcome to the July 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. Amanda Zieba, our July author, has written many books for all audiences along with helping other authors with their publishing journeys. I’ve reviewed Amanda’s books and interviewed her in this space previously—I really love her books! For further reading, click on these post links:

Author Interview and Review of Reality Bites (Champion Chocolatier 2)

... Continue Reading

June 29, 2021






Why Kindle Vella Isn’t Going Away

In April we talked about the roll out of Kindle’s new exclusive serialization option Vella, which is set to start in the coming weeks. Monica Leonelle’s article on Medium explores why she thinks Vella is here to stay in comparison to some of Kindle’s other now defunct writer programs like Kindle Serials, Kindle... Continue Reading

June 22, 2021

I’m an early riser. I adore the morning hours when no one else is awake; it’s the best time of day. I have a routine: I stretch my back, drink a mug of warm lemon water, then step outside to my wonderful backyard for fresh air. After that, it’s coffee and writing. The consistent process helps me stay on track. It’s what I need to get words on the page.

Becoming aware of that need, that process, gave me a lightbulb moment; it provided enlightenment as I revised my mystery novel. There are certain things I require—movement, hydration, and fresh air—to start my writing day. I thought of other writers and asked myself, What do other novelists need to write?

Then, given that I’m revising the first chapters of my mystery novel, I took the question further to consider... Continue Reading

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