Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Tuesday Tip: Be Prepared!

You sit down at your desk and are ready to work. However, just when you are about to get started, you realize you are missing some basic supplies. Now, the time you had dedicated to writing will be spent running errands instead. 

To help your precious writing time be productive, here is a list of items you should keep on hand and frequently monitor to ensure that they are available when you need them.

  1. Pens, pencils, and highlighters: Everyone has their favorite, so be sure that you do not run out. If possible, purchase these items in a pack. You may find that it is beneficial to keep certain colors for certain tasks. And if you like to use pencils, be sure you have a pencil sharpener as well.
  2. Sticky notes: I believe these are one of the greatest inventions ever! I use them all the time and have them everywhere. Bright colors may be beneficial to your projects. A different color could be used for each task to help you prioritize and organize things.
  3. Printer ink and paper: Again, this is something you may wish to purchase in bulk, especially the ink. You can often find good deals on printer paper, and it may be beneficial to buy an entire box to ensure that you do not run out.
  4. Paperclips: These little guys come in quite handy. For fun, I like the multicolored variety. One box can last you quite a while.
  5. Memo pads: I take a lot of notes! I have tablets of various sizes and colors all over my desk. I prefer the ones that are lined, but choose what works best for you. 
  6. File folders: It is important to stay organized, so these can really help keep your desk and projects in order. As with the paperclips, I like the folders that come in various colors.
Don't let a lack of supplies be the excuse for not meeting your daily word count goal. Your readers need your supplies to be well-stocked so you can be productive. They want to get their hands on your next book!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

April Featured Book #2

Statistics show that one in twenty-five people is a sociopath, which may make you wonder if you’ve ever met one. This is exactly what led Lisa Scottoline to pen her latest, “Every Fifteen Minutes.”

My review...

Doctor Eric Parish is well respected at work and adored by his young daughter. His wife, on the other hand, is looking to move on. His job as chief of the psychiatric unit is promising. Yet things take a turn when he meets Max Jakubowski. Max is a high-risk patient who is also dealing with OCD and obsessive, violent thoughts regarding a girl he likes. When she is found dead, Max becomes a suspect… and so does Eric. Along with his custody battle, Eric is now in a battle for his freedom, as well as his life. Who is setting Eric up? Is Max as innocent as Eric believes? This psychological suspense grabs the reader’s attention from the first sentence and takes them inside the mind of a sociopath. Just when you think you have all the twistS and turns figured out, you realize you’re wrong. The complex plot and stunning conclusion are riveting and leave no doubt as to why Scottoline is a top-selling author. Along the way, the story sheds light on how mental illness is, unfortunately, not taken as seriously as physical illness, though the two are closely linked.

About Lisa...

Lisa Scottoline is a New York Times bestselling author and also writes a weekly column, called Chick Wit, for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Lisa has won many honors and awards, notably the Edgar Award, given for excellence in crime fiction, and the Fun Fearless Female Award from Cosmopolitan Magazine. She also teaches a course she created, called Justice and Fiction, at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and regularly does speaking engagements. There are twenty-five million copies of her books in print, and she is published in over thirty other countries. Lisa graduated magna cum laude in three years from the University of Pennsylvania, with a B.A. degree in English, and her concentration was Contemporary American Fiction, taught by Philip Roth and others. She graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She remains a lifelong resident of the Philadelphia area, where she lives with her array of disobedient pets.

You can find her online at:

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

As Anton Chekov stated, it is important to "Show, don't tell." This is advice every writer has heard numerous times. Showing makes the reader feel that they are truly a part of the story. 

Example of telling:  "The pizza was delicious." Really? How is that going to keep me, the reader, engaged?  Instead, show me.

Example of showing: "Stringy, white mozzarella cheese bubbled over the spicy red tomato sauce while pepperoni was piled in thick layers on top. The cheese dripped over the edge of the slice, and black olives sat on each piece of pepperoni. With every bite, I was able to savor the individual ingredients. It was better than I imagined." As a reader, you now have my attention...and my stomach grumbling.

For writing to be effective and engaging, it is important to show the story. When the author shows the story, it allows the reader to become part of the book and experience what the characters are experiencing. It is important to have a balance between showing and telling. Telling states facts and observations. Showing goes a bit deeper.

Ways to show the story…

·         Use dialogue: This is one of the easiest ways to engage the reader and allow them to see the story through the eyes of the characters.
·         Use descriptive language: This includes using adjectives, adverbs, and sensory words. However, adding too much can overwhelm the reader.
·         Add specific details when possible: This makes it easier for the reader to visualize the story. Specific details should be used to describe locations as well as the characters. However, at times, you do want to leave certain things to the reader’s imagination.

If you try to envision your story as a movie, it might help you. Every scene does not need to be tied up neatly before moving on to the next one. This can create cliffhangers, which will keep the reader engaged. However, be sure to show the cliffhanger. You can draw the reader in even more by describing the lighting and music that may accompany the scene. Giving your characters something active to do is also helpful. Try to place your reader smack dab in the story.

Keep in mind that it is not possible, or recommended, to show every scene. If you did, your book would be thousands of pages long. It would be hard to find someone interested in reading, or even editing, that book! Though the reader is not technically inside the mind of your characters, that is how they should feel.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April Featured Book #1...and a GIVEAWAY!

Dana has graciously offered to give away a hard copy of "Presumed Guilty" to one lucky person. In order to be entered, leave a comment and your email address. The last day to enter is April 14, 2015. If you are chosen, I will be in touch to get your mailing address to pass along to Dana.

Before sharing my review, here's a bit of information from Dana.

A Word from Dana...

I loved reading suspense but had never really given much thought to writing it, mostly because I doubted my ability to do it. In 2013, an idea started bouncing around in my mind about a woman falsely accused with a crime. What if she went to prison? What if she had to go to the cop who arrested her? What if the real killer was after her?

The idea continued to pester me. Early in 2014, the editors of Love Inspired Suspense announced they were seeking new authors through a contest called “The Search for a Killer Voice”. I took a leap of faith, and on February 14, 2014, I submitted my first page. The date is forever cemented in my brain. Over the next few months, what was an idea developed into a book.  

My Review...

Melanie Swanson spent four years of her life in prison for a crime she did not commit. Few people have been willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, including Lieutenant Jace Tucker, who is now tasked with protecting her. Someone is trying to prevent Melanie from recalling details from the past. However, she is determined to remember, as the truth is all she has left. Jace is forced to admit that recent events are more than just coincidence, especially when jurors from her case turn up dead. Is someone who is sworn to protect her involved? This is an exciting debut from this promising storyteller. The opening scene grabs the reader immediately, and it is easy to connect to the heroine. Lynn keeps the reader guessing until the end. The pace and plotting are ideal for reader engagement, and they will anxiously await a (hopeful) sequel.

About Dana...

Dana grew up in Illinois.  She developed a love for the written word very early on and started her first “book” in 5th grade. Although she never got more than a few pages written, the dream was planted in her heart. She met her husband at a wedding and told her parents she had met her future husband. Nineteen months later, they were married. Today, they live in rural Pennsylvania with their three children and enough pets to open a petting zoo. In addition to writing, she works as an educational interpreter for the deaf and is active in several ministries at her church.