Archive for the 'Inspirations' Category

The Despair and Wonder in Every Moment

One exquisite moment

On Sunday morning, I drove through town to have coffee with a friend. It was one of those exquisite fall days that sometimes arrive just before winter settles in—the aspens and cottonwoods are all bright yellow clouds of leaves contrasted against the cloudless blue sky and blue mountains—just dusted with snow—in the background. I had the same thought over and over, “It is such a beautiful fall day! I love the way that hillside looks! Look at [...]

Forget Heroes: Why Heroines Are Important

Photo by Tomás Peñalver

Today we’re thrilled to have Martha Conway with us. Her latest novel, THIEVING FOREST (Noontime Books), is the story of seventeen-year-old Susanna Quiner, who watches as a band of Potawatomi Indians kidnaps her four older sisters from their cabin. With both her parents dead from Swamp Fever and all the other settlers out in their fields, Susanna makes the rash decision to pursue them herself. What follows is a young woman’s quest to find her sisters, [...]

Celebrate yourself

photo by Luca Moglia

When I was in the midst of writing my first novel, I gave up. I’d never written fiction before. I had never even taken a class on how to write fiction. I had no idea what I was doing, and I knew I would never get published. I explained all this to my husband.

“You know, even if you never get published,” he said, “It is a huge accomplishment just to finish an entire novel. How many [...]

Two Pages Tell a Story

By Hana Carpenter (Flickr CC)

Today’s guest is Yona Zeldis McDonough, the award-winning author of six novels, most recently You Were Meant for Me. She is also the author of twenty-three books for children and she’s the editor of two essay collections. Of today’s post, Yona says: “I have written six novels and I want to share some of what I have learned along the way.  Writing a novel is a like being a long distance runner—you have to have endurance. [...]

We Are All So Weird

I am so weird. In fact, if I wrote a list of all the ways I am weird, you’d be reading until January. And that list would only include the weirdness I recognize. Add to that list the things my husband and children find weird? You’d be reading until 2017.

As for you, my friend? You’re weird too. Maybe you’re not quite as weird as I, but let’s face it; you’re pretty weird. I know this because each and every one of us humans is weird. [...]

Take Charge of Your Author Business: 5 Aspects to Consider

photo by Éole Wind

We’re thrilled to have Joanna Penn back with us today. She’s an author, speaker, and entrepreneur, and was voted one of the Guardian UK Top 100 creative professionals 2013. Her latest book, Business for Authors: How to be an Author Entrepreneur, is out now in ebook, print and audio. Joanna’s website, The, is regularly voted one of the top sites for authors and self-publishers. Writing as J.F.Penn, Joanna is also a New York Times and USA Today bestselling [...]

6 Writing Lessons That I Learned From My Wedding

Photo by Angie Liang

I really hate to be all me-me-me, but I got married last weekend, and let’s be honest: that’s all I can think about right now. It is a big, wonderful change.

It was also a bit of an ordeal. Like most ordeals, it taught me many things. These lessons aren’t necessarily specific to writing, but let’s be honest: if you’re a writer, everything reminds you of writing.

So here are a few important lessons that I learned, and how they can be [...]

Squeezing out the Stupid

So I’m a pantser – a seat-of-the-pants writer who makes up the plot as he goes along. I figure if I already know the end of the story, there goes the joy of discovering it and, really, for me, much the point of writing it. Some among you are like me in that respect. Others among you are like me in this other respect: I hate outlining like a cat hates baths. The thought of sitting down and actually plotting [...]

What Are You Afraid Of?

There is an Elizabeth Gilbert post making the rounds this week dismissing fear as boring. Which it is, in a way, and I get the point of the post, but it strikes me as something we need to talk about sometimes.

What are you afraid of? Some writers are afraid of not being good enough. Some are afraid of fading into obscurity. Some are afraid that people will judge them, that they will lose love when people see through the words [...]

Touch the Hearts of Your Readers: Entangle Their Emotions

My mom, in better days, getting her parish priest liquored up on her birthday

Chapter 1: Out in the Cold
A couple of months ago, I had a troubling task. I was down in Southern California at my mom’s, accompanying her (along with my older sister and my girlfriend) to a couple of assisted-living centers in order to evaluate them. At 92, my startlingly frail and near-blind mother has had 24-hour care for more than a year now, and has [...]

Why You Don’t Need to Rush Your Writing

The truth can be told at last: I am the world’s worst dilettante.

In my life I have learned to rock-climb, ski, speak French (all badly). I was deputy press secretary for New York State in Dukakis’ bid for the presidency in 1988, a job I got through volunteering in hopes of meeting a nice single guy.  I worked at The New York Times back when the presses were still in the basement of the building on 43rd Street, was fired [...]

Wanted: Grim Reaper As Writing Coach

The Grim Reaper by Trish Steel [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Last month, through pure serendipity, I stumbled across an intellectual exercise which I’d like to recommend to all my fellow writers.  I believe it will be of particular benefit to those of you who  a) are overwhelmed with life and yearn for a reset button b) wish to clear away the cobwebs of smugness and complacency, or c) like me, write genre fiction that others might call “quiet” or, in [...]