Tag Archives: novel writing

What a Headache . . .

Theatrical masks

Oscar Wilde said he took out a comma in the morning and put it back in the afternoon.

Long before I devoted endless hours going back over and over what I’d written, I laughed at that quote.

No longer.

I’d recently completed another chapter in my wip and begun another, but something nagged at me.

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Launching Soon!

WN White w1 & Border 400WRITING YOUR NOVEL: From Idea to Outline, to Plotting Your Way Through the 3-Act Structure Book 1

Have a great idea for a novel, but don’t know how/where to begin?

Never Fear. Writing Your Novel will help you!

A simple, step by step method for building a successful storyline from your basic idea. Designed for the busy lifestyle, it’s simple enough to read in one sitting, yet powerful enough to demonstrate the mysteries of the modern story structure.

I explain story structure and demonstrate plot points, although I call them Stepping Stones because, when used correctly, they guide you through the maze of modern story structure.

As a Bonus, I’ve included how I used the Stepping Stones to build my novel, Ten Times Guilty!

Amazon Kindle:

Smashwords: Coming Soon!


September 5, 2015 · 4:17 pm


To my amazement and shame, I realized it had been months since my last post. Oh, I have some great excuses: a recent major household move which involved looking at properties, finding one, contract negotiation, the waiting to hear, acceptance, the actual move, unpacking, and getting back to business.  For a writer, getting back to business means getting back to writing. And that’s where I’ve floundered. I’ve suffered from that  horrible affliction  – procrastination. 

lazy kitten200

Know what that means to a writer? Oh, I know how the dictionary defines it: ‘to put off intentionally and habitually,’ and that’s very true. But for a writer, it’s a double-whammy – losing days, weeks, months of valuable writing time, and losing touch with other writers and readers.

I’ve also been undecided about WHAT to write. I’ve received requests to write sequels, especially for With Full Malice and The House on Serpent Lake. But while the ideas are appealing, I just couldn’t work up any enthusiasm for either, and a writer has to love an idea in order to work on it day after day, week after week, month after month.

So again, procrastination.

But thanks to a friend who bounced ideas with me,  I’ve started another novel. And I’m excited about it. I won’t say anything else at this point, only that it’s a paranormal. Or perhaps supernatural. And it has to do with changing shapes.

I hope none of you have suffered from my affliction, altho I’ve heard it has the ability to spread fast. Especially during warm summer days. And winter. Ok, spring and fall too. Guess we really have to have diligence to survive it.

Till next time, thanks, y’all.


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July 2, 2014 · 7:13 pm

New Novel Writers Group

images for 2012 invitation

Need to learn or brush up on the craft of writing? Join my novel writers group in Redlands, CA. At our next meeting we’ll critique opening pages, so critical to a writer’s success – or failure. If you’re writing a novel, published or aspiring, feel free to join us for sessions on the different techniques:



October 29, 2013 · 6:15 pm

Unholy Desire – More Changes, More Revisions

antique_typewriter 4 wordpress 200I wish I could write my story the way instructors say it should be done:  get the story down, THEN go through and do the revisions.

It’s such good advice, simply because it makes sense. Get your story down before you get lost in the mire trying to correct everything. If you do not, you risk running out of steam, and that’s how many manuscripts wind up unfinished in a drawer.

However, I’m not a model writer. I truly wish I were. If so, I could’ve had my new story completed by now. But no, I’m one of the weird ones who edits and revises as she writes. What’s worse, I can’t continue forward if something I’ve already written nags at me, even if it’s two, three, or more chapters back.

Well, in this story, there’s been a lot of nagging, and while I thought this morning’s writing session would put me close to the end, it didn’t even come close. Instead, without knowing what exactly was bothering me, I went back several chapters and began reading, again and again, until I realized what was wrong. Then, not sure if my corrections would work, I began the process of revising, moving this paragraph here, that paragraph into the next chapter.

And even though I’m still not sure the flow is exactly right,  I feel better, because finally, that horrible nagging feeling is quiet for a change.

Now I can continue on in peace.

At least I can hope.



Filed under Craft of Writing, My Blog, The Publishing Process

New Book

Working on my new story – a mystery with a little something extra:

An abandoned home on a north woods lake, dreams of a seductive lover from another time—Lindsay wants the hundred-year-old home to heal her troubled marriage. Something unseen in the house wants her.


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Manuscript Mechanics – Take your manuscript from Amateur to Professional

My new writers group met in Calimesa, and we had a good discussion about publishers – what the different class of publishers could offer, what to expect, and we talked about POD publishing as opposed to print runs.

I loved the mobile home clubhouse. We had a large private room overlooking the swimming pool, and we could sit around a table large enough to hold notebooks, extra books, pens, and drinks. It even had a small kitchen and at least two restrooms. What a joy. Thanks, Joyce.

During the next meeting, August 23, we’ll talk about manuscript mechanics. I’ll offer tips and suggestions based on my own experience as a writer, and we’ll talk about problems I’ve encountered as an editor and how to correct them, such as:

Quotation marks – when NOT to use them. Tags – are you using them correctly? Semi-colons? Are they necessary? How about those pesky serial commas? The name kinda sounds like a murder mystery, doesn’t it? Should you murder them?

If you’re a writer in the Inland Empire, feel free to join:

SoCal Orange Empire Writers League


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Write What You Know?

Sage Advice or Hogwash?

Excerpt from Writing Your Novel:

Long before I began writing and editing fiction manuscripts, I sat in many writing classes, starting in the late 1980s and continuing to today. I’m always learning. And in most classes, two phrases have stood the test of time:

1) “Show, don’t tell,” and, 2) “Write what you know.”

Sage advice? I agree with the first one, but I think the second is hogwash.

According to my online dictionary, Sage is defined as:

noun – Somebody who is regarded as knowledgeable, wise, and experienced, especially someone of advanced years revered for his/her wisdom and good judgment

adjective – having or showing great wisdom, especially that gained from long experience of life

I’ve loved books as far back as I can remember. Fond memories of my grandfather include the stories he read about magical castles and brave knights defending their fair ladies in days of olde. I never tired of the stories, so I was eager to learn to read, and I grew up with piles of books in my home.

When my husband and I owned a bookstore in the 1980s in Denver, I met several authors, and, since I’d previously been a proofreader in the aerospace industry, several asked me to proof their manuscripts. Some were well-written while others were obviously penned by beginners. But that turned out to be a wonderful, enlightening experience, because I’d always thought writing with hopes of publication was something I dared not try. WRITERS were those who had been born to literary families with Nobel Prize winners and who’d been educated in top universities. I, as a normal housewife and mother who’d never finished college, thought I could never attain that magical status.

Oh sure, writing had been a dream for years and, armed with the latest how-to book, I’d even begun a chapter or two of my own creation. But to me it was only a dream, something that I could never achieve, so I didn’t try very hard…

…until . . .

Writing Your Novel

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1st Chapter Workshop

Are you stuck in the slush pile? Or worse, are you getting rejections?

Some agents say they can tell in the First Few Paragraphs if a manuscript is worth reading. They may read the entire first page, but if the writer hasn’t presented at least the first of the essential elements by then, off goes the manuscript with a rejection stamp.

Do you know what they’re looking for?

Have you included the 5 Essential Elements in your first chapter?

On Feb 11, 2012, I’ll be conducting a 1st Chapter Workshop at UCR Palm Desert. If you’re in the area and need work on your first chapter, bring the first two pages of your chapter and join us!

REGISTER NOW,  and learn how to apply the Essential Elements to your own first chapter. Learn how to take your chapter from dull to dynamic!


February 11, 2012

10 am – 12:30 pm

UCR Palm Desert Graduate Center

75-080 Frank Sinatra Dr

Palm Desert, CA  92211

Sponsored by the Palm Spring Writers Guild

Click on Upcoming Events

Direct link:

See you there!

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I just received the news that Beyond the Quiet has hit Amazon’s top 100 Bestsellers in the Kindle Suspense genre.

And I’m thrilled. I’m going to take a screen shot so that no matter what happens from here, I’ll always remember the thrill I’m feeling right now.

I’ve received quite a few reviews in the past few days, some good and some pretty darn terrible. And that’s ok. I know not everyone will like my stories. I don’t like everything I read and I’m even disappointed at times by my favorite authors. When we make our work available to the public, we put ourselves at risk. Par for the course.

But most of the bad ones refer to the sex scenes and I’m surprised. I’ve seen graphic sex in some of the major publisher’s books, so I didn’t realize how many people were still offended by them. One said it was ‘gratuitous sex’ but on that point I have to disagree. I gave a lot of thought to those scenes and decided to go all the way – no pun intended. I wanted to show my character’s ‘flowering,’ in every way and that even a woman who has been married over twenty years can still be awakened by someone who loves her.

Maybe I’m a romantic at heart, maybe I still believe you can find true love while finding yourself. And this is the journey my character undertakes. Most of all, she’s on a journey to find herself.

I love this story, and no matter what I’ve written since or will write in the future, Beyond is still my favorite. Perhaps because, as a few readers have guessed, I put a lot of ‘me’ in the story.

I just haven’t found my Terry O’Neal yet, but Lisa’s story gives me hope.

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