Reading, wRiting, and Roaming with Author Valerie Biel

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

September 12, 2022

Hello, writers!

Welcome to September. This month is a favorite. It’s like summer but without the crowds. It’s a time when the sun still shines, but one’s desire for a routine is strong. September is a fabulous month to revisit goals and make new plans.

Last month, I wrote about how authors can use Pinterest to build an their social media presence. The site is different from other platforms because it functions as a search engine. It focuses less on “likes” and more on outcomes for users. In fact, while writing these blog posts, I found... Continue Reading

August 29, 2022

Barnes & Noble Hardcover Shelving Controversy,

The Priority Parallax: What’s Truly Important,

Draft2Digital and Smashwords Merger Update


Barnes & Noble Stocking Policy Sparks Controversy Online (and why it didn't surprise me.)

I get it. At first read, the Twitter storm and ensuing speculative articles about Barnes and Noble’s new policy about ONLY carrying hardcovers for authors for whom there’s a guaranteed track record of good sales was panic worthy—particularly for authors who might fall outside of B&N’s favored hardcover author group and are close to release date. For those authors, a strategy shift to printing less hardcovers and more paperbacks (and paperbacks sooner) could prove difficult given... Continue Reading

August 22, 2022

Welcome to the August 2022 Author Series where published author Jacqueline Vick shares the advice she'd go back and tell her pre-published self--which is a great help to other writers. I met Jackie through our membership in the Blackbird Writers, a fabulous and supportive group of mystery, suspense, and thriller authors. She has published many wonderful books, which are featured here along with her sage advice!

Jacqueline writes mysteries that feature farcical situations and satirical humor. She writes about characters who are reluctant to accept their greatest gifts. She is the author of THE FRANKIE CHANDLER PET PSYCHIC MYSTERIES and... Continue Reading

August 15, 2022

The brouhaha about writers and their word counts, makes a dramatic entrance every so often. Probably more often than we think. We writers, we love our words. Every one of them, from And to Zed. In our writerly heads, each word is carefully handpicked and absolutely necessary to create our magical stories. Like Mozart, each note is essential for our readers to understand our masterpieces.

Guidelines? Preposterous!

As if any would dare! No one told Mozart to limit his notes…or did they? Too many notes? For Mozart? The child prodigy used a lot of notes as he attempted to complete—without success—five sections for his, Requiem, but these days writers have a lot less room for our creative... Continue Reading

August 8, 2022

I'm pleased to share an interview with author Lynne Handy whose newest book, Old Sins, will release later this month. This is book three in her Maria Pell Mystery Series, but it can easily be read as a standalone. I love Lynne's writing (as you'll see by my review of Old Sins) and appreciated this chance to learn more about her. Enjoy!

My review - 5-stars!

Old Sins, featuring poet and amateur sleuth Maria Pell, grabs you from the first page and doesn’t let go. Exceptionally well plotted, the book’s mysteries and crimes—both old and new—weave together in intricate and unexpected ways. The author builds a creative cast of characters that will have you guessing as to the real culprits as murder, kidnapping, sex-... Continue Reading

August 2, 2022

Happy August. I hope your summer has been productive and pleasant.

How many of you turned to Pinterest for recipes or decorating ideas during the Independence Day holiday? The platform has become the go-to for sources of inspiration, connection, and search results. The site is different than other social platforms. It works as a search engine and focuses less on “likes” and more on specific outcomes for users.

In June, I began writing about social media for authors. For the next two months, I’ll offer tips about using... Continue Reading