Scheduling and Time Management by Alyson McLayne

Who doesn’t need help managing their time. Anyone who can live and thrive while wrangling five year-old twin boys deserves a medal, never mind a listen too. So with that I invite you to read this time management post by Alyson McLayne.

Scheduling and Time Management by Alyson McLayne

Ever wonder how you’re going to get everything done? Let Alyson McLayne show you how she seizes the day!

My secret? Coffee!

With January just ended, I realize I haven’t set any goals for the year. And truthfully, as busy as I am, I can’t help but wonder What’s the point? I already have goals for this year in the form of deadlines: 3 books to complete, 12 newsletters to craft, 25+ blogs to write, and the world to wow on social media—not to mention conferences to attend and edits coming out of my ears.

Maybe, like me, you’ve reached the point where you no longer sit down and write a list of New Year’s Resolutions—only to fail come December 31st. Instead, perhaps you choose an inspiring word that becomes your mantra, or theme, for the year. One year I chose the word “success”, and last year a friend of mine chose the word “courage”. This year she has a catchphrase: “Seize the moment”.

These are all good ideas. I can only imagine that if we courageously seized the moment whenever we could during 2018 it would lead to great success!

But I feel like those kinds of words and the sentiment behind them are too ephemeral for me this year. I need something with more grit, more heft, to get me through the challenges I face. Like many of you, in addition to writing, I’m also busy on the home front—I have twin five-year-olds, a puppy, aging and sick parents, and a husband who works long hours.

Read the full post at Romance University!

Unbelievably Strange Planets in Space

Here is some inspiration for all the science fiction writers out there! Or people who just like cool science like me!



How to Write a Synopsis—Without Turning Homicidal

Having a great synopsis is so important because that is usually what will turn a prospective reader into a purchaser.  And I beg you please, have a one or two sentence summary that can be used to effectively advertise your book!

How to Write a Synopsis—Without Turning Homicidal

by Sarah (Sally) Hamer @SarahSallyHamer

Part One

One of the big questions I hear in my classes is, “How do I write a synopsis?”

Good question. Here’s the best answer I can give you:

Buy Gracie O’Neil’s book, How to Write a Synopsis—WithoutTurning Homicidal.

Gracie is one of our ‘down under’ folks, living in New Zealand down the road from the Hobbits. She’s funny, gracious, and brilliant, all at the same time. And, her book on synopses not only helps my students, it helps me to explain how story structure works.

She says “The first key to a killer synopsis is to find your story’s centre. Its soul. Its beating heart.”


Tell your story in 50 words or less.

I can hear the groans from here!

It’s really not that hard. Really.

Read the full post at The Write Conversation!

Becoming a “Real” Writer

This isn’t about getting a contract or a million Amazon followers, but how to express your “real” self through your writing. Finding your unique voice and staying true to it. I really enjoyed reading it and I hope you do too.

Becoming a “Real” Writer

I love to go hear other authors speak. What a kick that Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout sounds like my favorite quirky aunt, or that bestselling author Margot Livesey’s lush prose begins with characters who, like mine, nod and shrug their way through her first drafts.

I’ve walked away from dozens of such interactions thinking, “She was just so real.”

Now, isn’t that a funny thing to say about someone who makes things up for a living?

Or perhaps writing engaging fiction is one of the most emotionally truthful pursuits in which we will ever engage. A novelist can spend years crafting a story that will illustrate an emotional truth. Why? Because the point she is making is vital to her worldview. That’s pretty darned personal—it’s laid bare.

Fear of such exposure is why reaching for emotional honesty can be a significant source of writer’s block. Accomplished writers grow in authenticity the same way we all must: one step at a time.

Read the full post at Writers In The Storm!

The History Of the World: Every Year

This is really cool but I also thought it might be useful for writing research or inspiration!

The Words That Changed Your Life: Discovering What Made You a Writer

I have always loved stories, making them up or reading them. My beginnings as an author started in first grade with Enormous the Frog.  I can’t imaging not be creative this way. How about you? What made you want to write?

The Words That Changed Your Life: Discovering What Made You a Writer

by K.M. Weiland

For me, it’s almost become a cliché answer: “I write because stories have always been my language. I write because my very first memory is telling myself a story.”

“Why do you write?” and “What made you a writer?” are two questions I’m ubiquitously asked in interviews. I can respond to those questions in my sleep. I don’t even think about their answers anymore.

And that, as I’m now realizing, is a shame.

As artists, our early influences were more than just the first domino in our journeys. They were more than “just” formative. They were the experiences that shaped us into the people and writers we have become. Sometimes these influences are conscious: some writers can recall a specific book or movie that made them say, “I want to be a writer.” But even in these situations, the subconscious impact is often far deeper and more telling.

Read the full post on Helping Writers Become Authors!

Is Writing Being Devalued by Giveaways and Cheap Ebooks?

This is something I have been thinking about a lot lately. I LOVE to read. And while I don’t have as much reading time as I wish, I do read fast and manage to do my part. I still can’t get through my to-be-read pile. Because of one of my day jobs I am constantly being exposed to a lot of titles. Some I end up deleting after a chapter or even a paragraph because there are so many good stories out there, why waste time on stories that are not going to thrill me. But having this large amount of decent content means I never get to authors I love and would have to pay more for their titles. On the flip side, I am currently reading a series that I got the first story for free in one of those anthologies and the story was so good, I had to buy the whole series right there because I was going to die if I didn’t know what happened next! What are your thoughts?

Is Writing Being Devalued by Giveaways and Cheap Ebooks?

by Jane Friedman

Increasingly, at writing conferences and in the mainstream media, I observe growing unrest surrounding the proliferation of free and cheap literature, particularly ebooks. The reasons for sharp discounts and giveaways are legion (and some reasons are better than others), but regardless of the reason, I see greater peer pressure on and shaming of those who are seen to “devalue” literature in our culture.

Whole books have been written on this topic, as it’s an anxiety affecting creators in diverse fields. Some describe the phenomenon from a neutral and even historical perspective (“how have we ended up here?”), some are more activist in their approach (“fight and resist”), and still others are pragmatic (“here’s how to play with the hand you’ve been dealt”).

Read the full story on Jane Friedman!

Boston Accent Trailer – Late Night with Seth Meyers

See it isn’t just me! I could never watch Murder She Wrote cause Tom Bosley’s accent drove me bonkers! I know, I am aging myself. Sigh.

If Alexa was Southern

It should say “Bless their hearts”!

Benefits of being a hybrid author

There are pros and cons to traditional publishing vs. indie or self-publishing. Why not do both? Pub Crawl has started an excellent series on just this question!

Benefits of being a hybrid author: When to self-publish and when to go the traditional route? Part One: Traditional Publishing


Julie here! Today, I have Falguni Kothari as my guest on the blog. Falguni is a successful “hybrid author,” with both traditional and self-publishing experience. Her new book, MY LAST LOVE STORY (Harlequin/Graydon House), comes out tomorrow, January 23, 2018. This is Part One of a two part post, so be sure to come back tomorrow for Part Two. Take it away, Falguni!

Never keep all your eggs in one basket. The adage has become more of a philosophy I’ve adopted to navigate various aspects of my life, including my publishing career. So, what or who is a hybrid author? A writer who avails herself of all the publishing opportunities available to her, such as traditional, self and paid publishing, in various combinations, is a hybrid author. She is not turned off by the ever-shifting landscape of the publishing industry, but rather, she slams open doors for herself and charges across the altering, often turbulent publishing landscape, very much a captain of her own ship.

Read the full post on Pub Crawl!

A Look at Masterful Voice

It is human nature to compare ourselves to others, especially those we deem successful in their field. But what do you do when there is no one who writes like you do? Sometimes being the only person like you can be lonely, just ask Kermit. But it can also mean that you are unique in ways that are great, like Tigger or Aretha Franklin.  I friggin love C.S. Lakin in general, but this post is really good, about not losing what makes your writing yours. Don’t lose your voice.

A Look at Masterful Voice

by C.S. Lakin

I love talking about voice in fiction. I veer off from other “experts” in definition about voice. I believe that some people are referring to the writer’s style when they talk about voice.

Take a listen to what literary Donald Maass says about voice in Writing the Breakout Novel:

“I am looking for authors with a distinctive voice.” I hear that from editors over lunch almost as often as I hear, “I am looking for big, well-written thrillers.”

What the heck is “voice”? By this, do editors mean “style”? I do not think so. By voice, I think they mean not only a unique way of putting words together, but a unique sensibility, a distinctive way of looking at the world, an outlook that enriches an author’s oeuvre. They want to read an author who is like no other. An original. A standout. A voice.

Read the full post on Live Write Thrive!



How well do you know typography?

Typography, fonts, serifs oh my! How well do you know different pop culture fonts? There is a cheat video linked below to see how you did.

Here is the link to the one with the answers –

Top 10 Words That Will Kill Your Writing DEAD

Oh-oh I am guilty of a few of these. However, In my defense I only use “however” in business writing. Now I am going to be extra careful none of these are used in my literary writing. It is a great post because by getting rid of these words you actually make your writing more active.

Top 10 Words That Will Kill Your Writing DEAD

So I read screenplays for a living, plus I spend a huuuuuuge part of my life reading FOR FUN (wtaf!), so I’ve discovered there are certain words that crop up again and again and again which threaten to TORPEDO writers’ narrative efforts.

I call these ‘crutch words’ (quiet at the back). Crutch words are those we may rely on in EARLY DRAFTS, which we need to seek out with a torpedo of our own and DESTROY in the edit process. Whether you’re a screenwriter or novelist (trad or self published), look out for these suckers …

1) ‘Suddenly’

The actual word ‘sudden’ means ‘quick and without warning’, so it’s especially ironic that including the word LITERALLY SLOWS THE ACTION DOWN. WTAF is the point?? Compare:

Read the full post on Bang 2 Write!

A talking head channels his inner hero

I love David Byrne. He just seems like someone who is so comfortable in his skin and embraces himself in his own unique brand. He always appears to enthusiastically enjoy whatever he is doing.  I love David Bowie and am still sad about loosing him. Heroes is one of my favorite songs. It is about a couple trapped on either side of the Berlin Wall. Lastly, I love singing. If you can’t sing good, sing loud! Choir! Choir! Choir! is hard to describe. But they put on shows where they teach people to sing and then video tape them. Check the link out and see if you can figure them out better.

But this is a tape of Choir!Choir!Choir! working with David Byrne to sing Heroes by David Bowie.  I thought it would be a nice way to start off your week.

How To Write Diverse Characters With Alex Anders

This is the year for diversity, of which I am so glad. I have always been cautious in my writing about cultural appropriation and wanting to have my characters be, well real. We have all read a story where someone tries to write an accent and have it just be horrible. Not just in the writing world either. As someone from the great state of Massachusetts, I can’t tell you how many times I wince when watching tv an people try to do a Boston accent. And yes, my Patriots just lost but it was a good game. ; )

How To Write Diverse Characters With Alex Anders


The Guardian UK recently reported that diversity is a trend in publishing for 2018, so today, I have an interview with Alex Anders on how to write diverse characters without cultural appropriation or stereotyping, as well as boundaries around language and an interesting discussion on gender fluidity.

In the introduction, I mention the launch of Publica, which uses the blockchain for publishing – definitely an early entry into what may eventually be a bigger part of the industry. But I’ll be waiting for the Alliance of Independent Authors Blockchain for Books white paper, launching at London Book Fair, before giving my take on it.

I also give a personal update around my screenplay adaptation, the audiobook for The Healthy Writer, and note two new podcasts: Mark Lefebvre’s Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing, plus Ingram Spark’s Go Publish Yourself.

Read the full post on The Creative Penn!