"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Friday, November 25, 2016

5 Ways to Become a Better Writer by the End of the Year

2016 is winding down now, and you may be realizing how many of this year’s goals have yet to be accomplished. Instead of becoming depressed by any failures or incomplete tasks, ask yourself what you can reasonably accomplish by December 31 to ensure you feel this was a successful year for your goals. Here are five simple suggestions:
1)      One New Learning Experience – If you take your writing seriously, then you are trying to improve every year. One of the best ways to do so is to attend at least one class or conference. I don’t count self help books , even those written by the best professionals, in this accomplishment because you are looking for interaction and feedback on your skills. You want to improve your techniques, and the best way to do so is to identify your strong points and strengthen your weak ones. If you’re on a budget like most of us, try a small and local conference or course. Check with nearby writers group to see what they may be offering. You can also search the internet for a free online course or check to see what is available at your local community college.
2)      Two Good Beginnings – we’ve all heard that you must hook your reader immediately. The best two ways to do so is with your title and opening paragraph. Whether it’s an editor, publisher, or average reader the rules are the same. If they lose interest in the first couple of lines, it doesn’t matter how expertly written the rest of your work is. So, spend as much time as necessary to craft an attention-grabbing title and introduction.
3)      Three Stories – we all have work, family, and friends vying for our attention. However, the surest way to improve your own writing is to study the craft of others. Even slow readers will be able to read three short stories in the five weeks left of 2016. To keep your interest, try a variety such as a new best seller, an old classic, and at least one in the genre you are trying to publish. Science has revealed that reading reduces stress and exercises your brain, both of which will aid your own endeavors in craft.
4)      Four Revisions – whether it’s the two beginnings discussed above, or you’re attempting to complete an entire piece, you should give it at least four good passes before you submit it. As you read over your first draft, keep an eye out for errors. Use a proofreading tool to identify potential problems quickly. Start the third revision after a “cooling off” period. A break will allow your brain to reboot so you can look at your work with a fresh eye. Ask a few outside parties to provide objective feedback for the fourth revision.
5)      Five Senses - Many writers focus almost exclusively on what characters see and hear, but what about the other senses? Truly effective writers must appeal to all five — sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. This will aid in creating dynamic characters with an environment that comes alive for the reader.
Writing better is within your reach. It’s never too late to reach your goals, or improve your techniques. I hope you are all able to finish the year feeling like a success!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are celebrating Thanksgiving in the United States this Thursday.

I will be taking the week off to spend time with friends and family. I hope you all enjoy a wonderful holiday!

What are you thankful for having in your life?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Enter to Win 55+ Inspirational Historical Romances PLUS a Brand New Kindle Fire!

Today, I have a fun surprise that I'd like to share with you.

To celebrate November, more than 55 fantastic inspirational historical romance authors have teamed up to give away a huge collection of novels, PLUS a kindle fire to one luck winner!

You can win books by authors like Elizabeth Ludwig, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Karen Witemeyer, and Michelle Griep just to name a few.

Enter the giveaway by clicking here: bit.ly/historical-inspy

Good luck, and enjoy!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Bridge to Publication 2016

On Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending the 2016 "Bridge to Publication" writing conference in Lake Charles, Louisiana. A few take aways:

Quinn Loftis (YA Fantasy/Paranormal Author) - Self publishing is most definietely a viable option, but you have to be willing to do all the work. AND "Creativity breeds creativity" keep reading, but make sure it is quality material, not just the cheapest or easiest work to get your hands on.

Also, as a former nurse, she stresses the importance of exercise - "Your brain and body both need stimulation. It improves concentration and memory.

DiAnn Mills (Christion Fiction Author) - Always "Expect an Adventure". Your story must have passion, a strong character always has a problem to solve, and they must EARN the ending. If you need help fleshing out a character, try the Myers Briggs tests or www.humanmetrics.com

A great way to raise the tension is to make your setting as antagonistic as any character. She also suggests that you MUST show your hero or heroine facing a multitude of emotions.

Other great speakers included: 

BJ Bourg – Mystery Author
Darrell Bourque – Professor Emeritus in English and Poet
Larry Gray – Playwright
Deborah LeBlanc – Mystery/Suspense Author

An interesting fact: presenters suggested that 80% of ALL readers are female, and that 60% of those women read romance.

Not a bad way to spend a Saturday. Writers conferences never fail to inspire me. How about you?

What have been some of your most memorable conference experiences?

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election Day Reads

It is officially election day. While I hope you are exercising your write to vote, I also hope you are escaping the negative emotions and even confusion surrounding today's event.

"Don't say you are not going to vote because you would only be voting for the lesser of two evils. Unless Jesus is on the ballot, you will ALWAYS be voting for the lesser of two evils!" - Rick Green

Rick Green visited our church Sunday and shared some interesting insights about our country. If you are curious, check out http://rickgreen.com/

If you'd like to see some fun election movie clips, or read how to choose wisely for your own manuscripts, then visit  The Kill Zone.

If you're looking for a few election day short stories, then try Sleuth Sayers.

I hope you all have a wonderful election day!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Matowak Woman Who Cries - Tour and Giveaway

Hello and welcome to the Mâtowak Woman Who Cries book tour and giveaway!


A murder enveloped in pain and mystery...

When Canada's retired Minister of National Defense, Leland Warner, is murdered in his home, the case is handed to Corporal Danny Killian, an aboriginal man tortured by his wife's unsolved murder.
The suspect, 60-year-old Sally Warner, still grieves for the loss of her two sons, dead in a suicide/murder eighteen months earlier. Confused and damaged, she sees in Corporal Killian a friend sympathetic to her grief and suffering and wants more than anything to trust him.
Danny finds himself with a difficult choice—indict his prime suspect, the dead minister's horribly abused wife or find a way to protect her and risk demotion. Or worse, transfer away from the scene of his wife’s murder and the guilt that haunts him...

Mâtowak Woman Who Cries is available in eBook at the following sites:

The print copy is available at: 


When Joylene's father died in 1983, she wrote her first full–length manuscript to channel her grief. The seven-year process left her hooked and she began Dead Witness within a few weeks of finishing Always Father's Child. Today Joylene is the author of three suspense novels: Dead Witness, Broken But Not Dead, and the steam-punk collaboration Break Time. While she'll admit being published didn't fix all the wrongs in her life, she wishes her parents had lived to see her success. Dead Witness was a finalist in the 2012 Global eBook Awards. Broken But Not Dead won the 2012 IPPY Silver Medal, and its sequel Mâtowak Woman Who Cries is due for release November 1, 2016.

Joylene lives with her husband and their two cats Marbles and Shasta on beautiful Cluculz Lake in central British Columbia. They spend their winters in Bucerias, Nayarit, Mexico.

For more on Joylene and her writing, visit her website and blog then connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and her Amazon Author Page.

Tour-wide giveaway (US and INTL)
*This giveaway is for three (3) print copies that are available to those living in the U.S. only and one (1) eBook copy available international. To enter, please visit:

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

IWSG: Favorite Aspect of Being a Writer

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs. You can also join us on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG, or on the Facebook page.

Now, IWSG hosts have changed up the format in an effort to make it more fun and interactive.Every month, they will announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Don’t forget to visit others that day to see their answers. Want to join, or learn more? Visit our - Sign-up List.

The November 2nd question - What is your favorite aspect of being a writer?

My Answer - There are two main joys for me in writing. First, for my nonfiction I get to travel and explore so many places and meet such interesting people. Then, I get to share those experiences with my readers. Secondly, for my fiction I get to become anyone I want and create any world or experience I want to enjoy. I hope my readers enjoy those just as much.

How about you? What do enjoy about being a writer?