Sound smarter. Learn how to write better & speak well!

Afraid to speak out? To speak up? What if you say the wrong thing? Or the right thing, but no one understands your point? How about writing? Are you one of the millions who write in short texts and acronyms: LOL, BTW, B4, ATM, BRB, FYI? What if WORDS fail you? Think you’re alone? Not even a little bit. Fear of public speaking is one of the highest recorded fears. Some numbers list this fear as high as 75% for most people. (Kids are afraid, too!) Public speaking doesn’t mean standing on a stage with notes or a teleprompter. Places to speak in public: Loads of places to speak up & speak out. What about […]

Here’s how to kick-start YOUR Creative flair.

Uncover The Path The dreaded, cringeworthy blank space. Every creative individual knows the fear of looking into the abyss and discovering: a blank page, an unpainted canvas, a bleak backdrop, an empty skillet, a barren website. It’s not easy to find a way past the void. The creative well may truly seem dry. But hard is only a place to start. Courage is staring down the void and then getting busy, anyway. Not every typed word is a diamond – believe me, I know. Each brush stroke is not a keeper. Loads of recipes serve up disastrous culinary experiments. And every graphic artist has scads of launch designs that will never see the light of […]

Parents Get to Have Fun, too!

Several years past, Disney spent their advertising dollars to entice the older age group (mature visitors) back to their parks. Scene: Daughter driving off in VW Bug, headed to college.Voice-over: “My parents will be so sad when I’m gone. I don’t know what they’ll do.” Scene: Mom & dad, in full Mickey Mouse regalia, riding the roller coasters at Disney World. So, when the 19.9 million students (projected student starting figure for 2018) finally leave for college, do mom & dad mourn their leaving? The wallet probably does. According to this year’s figures, 25.5 Billion – yep, that’s with a ‘B’ will be spent to put kids into university for the first-time, or send those […]

Phrase . . . the true meaning behind the catch phrase: A fool’s paradise.

Pick a genre and you’ve probably read the catch phrase: Fool’s Paradise. ‘John thinks he’ll finally get the promotion, but then he lives in a fool’s paradise.’ ‘Her fool’s paradise ended the day she caught her cheating lover in bed with her best friend.” Are you writing historical stories and worried about the inception of this phrase? Unless, your characters are pre-1462, you’ll be safe. This phrase first found its way on page in the Paston Letters, 1462. But what exactly does a fool’s paradise mean? Shakespeare embraced its usage in Romeo and Juliet, and certainly that was one couple that lived in happiness based on false hope. Writing current fiction . . . or […]

Marketing: 13 Tips for building TEXT TEASERS

TEXT TEASERS are a fabulous way to entice readers to purchase your newest release. Today’s author must write a great book . . . and then seduce the reader to opening the cover. I’ve highlighted Paint for the purpose of this blog, but other numerous options for image-compiling Text Teaser are available. However, the process is what is crucial. Discipline yourself through these steps, and then whatever program you employ will work more effectively. STEP 1 for building Text Teasers: Resize book cover to several different sizes. SAVE with actual pixel count in the title of each save. This pixel count is 392 X 460. The original size from my design team was 1600 X […]

3-2-1 Book Launch

Book releases have changed over the past ten years or so. What was once the primary responsibility of the publisher’s marketing team has morphed into the author’s responsibility. What was once covered with editors/agents emails and flyers to brick-n-mortar shops is now vibrantly alive through social media. To keep myself on track, I’ve compiled a list of what-to-do’s for my upcoming book launch. Am I arrogant enough to think I’ve covered it all? Nope, not even close. Marketing gets to be fun . . . perhaps, not all the time. But as creative types, it makes sense to tap into those inherent skills. Visit with establish authors for last minute insight. Complete final editing & […]

Sly as a Fox

Common phrases can be trite and throw-away. Or they can layer on depth and provide alternative options to explore characterization. Today animal phrases are roaming (pardon the pun) through my brain. Why? On an early hours’ walk, a fox crossed my path. Not unique for loads of people who enjoy country living, but considering that I’m buried in a ‘metropolis’ of suburbia, pretty unusual for me. So the fox crosses my path and now I’m wondering (at a quick pace, I might add) what does it mean? Is it like the crossing of a black cat? (bad luck) Is it like crossing paths with a crow? (change on the way) Is it like a path-crossing […]

Too Much to Swallow – Plotting

However great the storyteller, however well published the author – one truth remains constant. Plotting, beast that it is, can never be side-stepped, shortened or eliminated. Short story to novel, fiction to non-fiction, romance to suspense, each writer must face the daunting task of basic plotting. Breaking the process of plotting down into specific bites can make the entire process more palatable. Who . . . What . . . When . . . Where . . . and Why: basic questions guaranteed to cook up plotting BRILLIANCE Who – be specific, which character is the target of this plotting session. 1) One of the protagonists? 2) The villain? 3) A secondary character who’s crucial […]

Working Wednesday – Organization is not a ‘4’ letter word

Writers live in their own world, gladly, but sometimes it becomes a messy place. The temptation may be to wear ear protectors to keep all the ‘good’ stuff from falling out before its time. Currents of conversations, snippets of scenes, puzzling plots, character quirks (heroic or hateful) — all roll around in a writer’s head, vying for storage space. Several years past, the organization tool: Trello came on my radar. Whether writers are ‘pantser’ or obsessively organized, Trello can be the light at the end of the tunnel. Think of Trello as a large message board filled with Post-it (sticky notes, if preferred) notes galore, color-coding, sharing options, drag and drop, schedule capabilities, external linking, […]