The Three Rs: Reading, wRiting, and Roaming

December 2, 2019

Books to carry you through the holidays!

Buy the Little Ones a Dolly by Rose Bingham

Wisconsin author Rose Bingham pens this heart wrenching memoir of her life after her mother abandons their family in 1952. Rose is the 15-year-old big sister to six younger siblings. The youngest is only three. As you can imagine, much of the child-rearing duties and housework fall to her. We follow Rose and her family through their struggles and into adulthood.

What is so striking about this story is that it is true! This well-written account of her life is more engaging, intriguing, and heart-tugging than any fictional novel for the simple reason that Bingham persevered... Continue Reading

November 25, 2019


Self-Publishing Report Analysis 2019

30 Book Awards You Should Know About


Bowker Self-Publishing Report Analysis – 5 Surprising Findings for 2019

Bowker (the company that sells ISBNs) has analyzed publishing statistics from 2013-18 in their latest report. Key points include; Amazon publishes 92% of independently published books (no surprise); self-publishing activity overall decreased by 25% in 2018 over 2017 stats; and, more importantly, previously reported numbers from Bowker underwent significant corrections, so it pays to read through this report to see how previous statistics were amended. Read the analysis with a link to the full report... Continue Reading

November 18, 2019

How Limiting Screen Time, Keeping a Calendar, and Visits to the Local Hardware Store Will Keep Me on Track

During the holiday season, my writing time gets impacted by the rush of parties, travel, and celebrations. I’m sure it’s that way for most all writers, so I’m offering ideas to stay on track. Two of my suggestions are practical. One is a bit off the wall. But I’m a writer. Outside-the-box thinking is normal, right?

Put down the phone

Social media is not just a distraction, it’s a time warp. Precious minutes tick by while we check applications such as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter. There are monitors and timers to help with limiting the time spent browsing, but an old-... Continue Reading

November 12, 2019

This fall I’ve been extremely fortunate to achieve some quality writing time in ways that were unusually helpful: a week-long writing residency and a weekend writing retreat. Both have given me a clarity on my current work in progress and energized me to finish this story more quickly than I ever could have imagined when I started it in September.

Write On, Door County Residency

Do you ever go somewhere and then wonder if maybe you shouldn’t review it because you don’t want everyone to learn about your favorite beach or restaurant? Yes? That’s what Write On, Door County feels like for me. However, I would be doing a mean disservice to my writer... Continue Reading

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