The Character Cringe Factor (Or, Why Won’t They Just…)

It’s the second Tuesday of May, which means my newsletter is out! You can read it here or subscribe to ensure you never miss one. I often include subscriber-exclusive giveaways. This week I’ve been musing on frustrating characters. It started because my teen reader was venting to me about her most recent re-read–and the fact…

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Why Characters’ Traumatic Experiences Sometimes Feel So Real

Imagine planning your vacation for months, counting down the days. You set your alarm bright and early, take an Uber to the airport, check your bags, and settle in to wait at the gate. The flight’s a bit delayed, but then you board. The pilot comes on and says, “Folks, there was a lot of…

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I See What You Did There (With That Twist)

Happy Spring! At least it feels like spring to me, since spring break starts in about six or so hours. It’s a bit dreary here in Missouri at the moment, but if we wait a few days, that will change. Fortunately, I don’t have to wait for it, as I’m heading to Disney World! (Cue…

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Choosing the Right Words for Your Novel

Happy February! Last week, I participated in World Read Aloud Day for the third consecutive year. For the unfamiliar, World Read Aloud Day is an annual celebration of the power of reading aloud sponsored by LitWorld and Scholastic. Authors offer free virtual school visits during this one day of the year. Typically the visits include…

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What I Read in 2023

Happy New Year! I’m already a couple of books into my reading for 2024, but it’s tradition for me to recap my year here on the blog, so here’s a summary of what I read in 2023. My reading was up in 2023! I finished 90 books (versus 80 in 2022). I didn’t have a…

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Gift Ideas for Your Favorite Writer/Reader

Happy Holidays! I don’t know about you, but every year I find it harder to put together a gift wish list for family members. It’s probably because I’m in that season of life where I’m mostly focused on my kids, so I’m not usually thinking about what I want for myself. And when there is…

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So Many Ideas, But Which One Do I Write?

Happy November! It’s my birthday month, and all my favorite stores have already been making me feel special with an influx of coupons and rewards. If you’d like to do something nice as well, check out my November newsletter, out today, for a list of 10 ways you can support authors. I’d love for you…

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Will Teen Readers Recognize that Movie/TV Show Reference?

Happy October! I hope you’re enjoying the fall. I’m still hard at work revising my current manuscript. It’s taking a bit longer than I expected–probably because of that total restructure. But maybe also because I keep getting distracted. As a result, I’ve been taking another social media break. I’m just popping back on this week…

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How I Restructured My Work In Progress Using Save the Cat

Happy September, friends! You may recall a few months ago I talked about tackling a self-edit for my current manuscript. One thing I didn’t get into during those posts is that I had tried something rather ambitious when I drafted the book–and I already knew it might not work. In the first step I mentioned…

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All My X’s Live in… The Former Twitterverse?

Greetings from the Lake of the Ozarks! It’s the last week before school starts, and I’m hanging out here with my family. I mostly wrote my newsletter–out today–before we left town Saturday, but finishing up the last few details on that and this blog post today while working in this lovely room is not a…

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Easy Words & Phrases You Can Cut to Tighten Your Manuscript

How’s everyone’s summer going? I just returned from New York with my family, where we filled the week with Broadway shows and all the major tourist attractions you’d expect. It occurred to me on our return home that both of my books have ties to New York. Jenny (Your Life Has Been Delayed) boards a…

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How I Self-Edit A First Draft

Happy summer! It’s in full swing here–at least schedule wise. The weather has been unusually cool the past few days thanks to a storm that came through over the weekend, but I expect the heat to return soon. Missouri is notorious for jumping from 60 degrees to 90 in a single week. On Friday, I…

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