Meet the Authors–Gloria Ferris and Donna Warner

L-R Gloria Ferris, Donna Warner

L-R Gloria Ferris, Donna Warner

Yesterday, I attended an author event featuring two of my fellow Guelph Partners in Crime, Gloria Ferris and Donna Warner. In addition to reading from their novels, Gloria and Donna shared an interview with the International Thrillers Writers and answered questions from the audience. A lively discussion followed, and several topics were covered, among them e-books vs. print books, reviews, book covers, inspiration, and querying.

Thanks to librarian Chris Fraser for organizing and hosting this event at the Evergreen Seniors’ Community Centre in Guelph.

Librarian - Chris Fraser

Librarian – Chris Fraser


Where to find Gloria…

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon

Where to find Donna…

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon

10 Favorite Craft Books on Writing

I’m happy to welcome back author Jo-Ann Carson. Today, Jo-Ann is sharing her top ten craft books and her latest release, A Highland Ghost for Christmas. I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend this delightful novella.

Here’s Jo-Ann!

I love craft books on writing, so today I thought I would share with you my ten favorites. Easier said than done!

Whittling my list down to ten, seemed impossible. I went to my shelf and made a stack of ten tossing one aside for another, shuffling them, and starting over again and again as the list didn’t seem quite right.

It was difficult to choose only ten.

Finally, I decided to look at it differently. I’ll be teaching a course on self-publishing soon and I want to have a basic list of ten books I would recommend to a new writer. That helped a bit.

Here’s my ten, ranked by the number of times I go back to them. I’d love to hear yours.

One – The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

513vzjihiol-_sx348_bo1204203200_“One of the biggest problem areas for writers is conveying a character’s emotions to the reader in a unique, compelling way. This book comes to the rescue by highlighting 75 emotions and listing the possible body language cues, thoughts, and visceral responses for each…. ” (Amazon)

Two – The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes & Heroines by Tamu D. Cowden, Caro LaFever, and Sue Viders

characters“All fiction writers want to write stories with great heroes and heroines–characters who leap off the page and capture the reader’s imagination. Heroic characters can be broken into sixteen archetypes …” (Back blurb) Amazon


Three – Save the Cat by Blake Snyder

save-the-cat“This ultimate insider’s guide reveals the secrets that none dare admit, told by a show biz veteran who’s proven that you can sell your script if you can save the cat!” (Amazon)


Four – On Writing by Stephen King

41w6ybzk-l“… It starts with this: put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn’t in the middle of the room. Life isn’t a support-system for art. It’s the other way around. (back blurb) Amazon


Five – Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t by Steven Pressfield

steven-pressfield_nobody-wants-to-read-your-shit“There’s a mantra that real writers know but wannabe writers don’t. And the secret phrase is this: NOBODY WANTS TO READ YOUR SH*T. Recognizing this painful truth is the first step in the writer’s transformation from amateur to professional.” (Amazon)


Six – Write. Publish. Repeat. by Platt Truant and Wright

514lbagvkhlWrite. Publish. Repeat is publishing for beginners and experienced writers alike. In 2013, Johnny B. Truant and Sean Platt published 1.5 million words and made their full-time livings as indie authors. In Write. Publish. Repeat., they tell you exactly how they did it: how they created over 15 independent franchises across six publishing imprints and 100+ published works, how they turned their art into a logical, sustainable business, and how any author interested in indie publishing can do the same to build a sustainable, profitable career with their writing ….” (Amazon)

Seven – Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

41scc3qs6bl-_sx317_bo1204203200_“A warm, generous and hilarious guide through the writer’s world and its treacherous swamps.” —Los Angeles Times (Amazon)



Eight – The Right to Write by Julia Cameron

51lds7v2wtl-_sx318_bo1204203200_“What if everything we have been taught about learning to write was wrong? In The Right to Write, Julia Cameron‘s most revolutionary book, the author of the bestselling self-help guide The Artist’s Way, asserts that conventional writing wisdom would have you believe in a false doctrine that stifles creativity.” (Amazon)

Nine –Stein on Writing by Sol Stein

51jzc-70fql-_sx310_bo1204203200_“This is not a book of theory. It is a book of useable solutions– how to fix writing that is flawed, how to improve writing that is good, how to create interesting writing in the first place.” (Amazon)


Ten – The Chicago Manual of Style

31inmkgexxl-_sx331_bo1204203200_This is the industry bible.

“… the authoritative, trusted source that writers, editors, and publishers turn to for guidance on style and process….” (Amazon)


A Highland Ghost for Christmas

highlandghost_cvr_medJilted by her fiancé, librarian Maddy Jacobson is nursing a broken heart, when her best friend gives her an early Christmas present. Intended to be a fun, psychic reading in a spooky, tea house, the gift turns out to be life changing. Maddy becomes haunted by a mischievous, Highland ghost.

Ruggedly handsome, Cullen Macfie, the Highlander, has been dead for over three centuries, and never in all those years has he been as attracted to a woman, as he is to Maddy. He falls hopelessly in love and decides to woo her.

Can there be a future for a librarian and a naughty, Highland ghost?

A Highland Ghost for Christmas is a sweet, romantic comedy guaranteed to warm the cockles of your heart, make you laugh out loud and leave you craving a man in a kilt … and shortbread, of course.

Buy Link

Jo-Ann Carson writes romance twisted with suspense and polished withdsc01318-large-web-view humor. Her strong characters take you on a fast and fun ride. Currently she’s writing the Gambling Ghost series, a collection of sweet, paranormal romances guaranteed to warm your heart, make you laugh out loud and leaving your craving a ghost of your own.

Jo-Ann loves to interact with readers on social media:

Website * Blog * Twitter * Facebook

shutterstock_104723360 (1)Your turn. What are your favorite ten craft books on writing?

Visiting Motive Means Opportunity Blog

When I decided to pursue my writing dream, I imagined one of the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne visiting each morning, taking my hand, and guiding me to the computer. There, she would remain, offering words of encouragement until I produced my daily quota of words.


That was the fantasy.

The reality was very different.

I was unprepared for the tyranny of the blank page. While everything was in place—business cards, new computer, dreams of a runaway best-seller—my writing muscles refused to budge.

Continue reading on the Motive Means Opportunity blog.

Half-Way Party for Guelph #NaNoWriMo

nanowrimocrestLast evening, eight of us met at Fionn MacCool’s in south Guelph for our half-way party. We are an eclectic group of writers but still manage to find common topics of discussion. The conversation was an animated one as we chatted about our WIPs, e-publishing vs. traditional publishing, evil day jobs, and NaNoWriMo.

We also debated the merits of different writing processes. We appeared to be divided (not so evenly!) between plotters (write using chapter outlines) and pantsers (write by the seat of their pants). While I like to stick with my comfort level of 1700 words per day, several of the others have written 5000+ words in one day.

All in all, it was an enjoyable evening, and I left, inspired to continue writing.

My Word Count (as of Tuesday, November 15) – 25,599 words.

Goal (by Wednesday, November 30) – 50,000 words.



How to Salvage a Manuscript

I’m happy to welcome award-winning author Catherine Castle. Today, Catherine is sharing tips on how to salvage a manuscript and her novel, The Nun and the Narc.

Here’s Catherine!

salvagemanuscriptDuring a recent forage through an old Writer’s Encyclopedia for blog ideas, I came across an entry entitled “How to Salvage a Manuscript.” Great topic for a writer’s tip blog, I thought. Here’s what the book recommended, and I quote.

“A manuscript that has been returned to an author wrinkled or crumpled may be salvaged from the time and expense of retyping by ironing the pages.”

Not exactly what I had in mind when I thought about salvaging a manuscript. My mind was running more along the lines of fixing the story, not limp pages. I did get a good laugh, though, because eons ago, when you sent in paper submissions, I had some work come back looking worse for the wear. Funny thing is, I would have never thought about ironing the pages.

The article goes on to state that you should not use a steam iron on the pages, and you should iron the back side of the paper to keep the ink from smearing. Apparently, ironing will also take out paper clips crinkles. Who knew?

Upon further reflection, I recalled seeing an episode from Downton Abbey where one of the housemaids ironed Lord Grantham’s London Times so the pages would be crisp for the master of the house. Heaven forbid that they should give the lord of the manor limp newsprint! I thought the action odd, but my husband seemed to feel ironing the paper made perfect sense. Must be a male thing.

Anyway, I digress from the original theme of this post—salvaging a manuscript, sans the iron. When you think there’s no hope left for the story you’re working on consider trying the following.

1. Set your manuscript aside for a few weeks. Then pick it back up and read it start to finish. This uninterrupted read will help show you where you have holes, repetitiveness, and weak places.

2.Take a hard look at your characters. Are they well-rounded and three-dimensional or are the flat, stock characters? If it’s the latter, rewrite them.

3. Check to make sure your plot is strong, not clichéd, and will carry the story throughout the book.

4. Do you have a sagging middle? Writers often know the beginning, the black moment, and the ending of their stories. The middle, where we’re tempted to just say “stuff happens”, can often be a gray area, especially for pantsers. Make sure your story stays strong in the middle so readers don’t lose interest.

5. Do a Hero’s Journey outline to be sure you’ve hit all the necessary story points. If you don’t know the Hero’s Journey, you can use another plotting device like the Snowflake Method, or Save the Cat. Failing stories can often be fixed by insuring you’ve included the right plot points.

6. Is the story told from the right POV? Make sure each scene is told from the perspective of the character who has the most at risk. Doing so will give the book necessary tension to carry the reader through to the next chapter.

7. If everything above fails to help, give the book to a beta reader and let them tear it apart. Fresh eyes see things you don’t.

Do you have a favorite way to salvage your manuscripts? I’d love to hear it.

TheNunAndTheNarc2_850 (2)Where novice Sister Margaret Mary goes, trouble follows. When she barges into a drug deal the local Mexican drug lord captures her. To escape she must depend on undercover DEA agent Jed Bond. Jed’s attitude toward her is exasperating, but when she finds herself inexplicable attracted to him he becomes more dangerous than the men who have captured them, because he is making her doubt her decision to take her final vows. Escape back to the nunnery is imperative, but life at the convent, if she can still take her final vows, will never be the same.

Nuns shouldn’t look, talk, act, or kiss like Sister Margaret Mary O’Connor—at least that’s what Jed Bond thinks. She hampers his escape plans with her compulsiveness and compassion and in the process makes Jed question his own beliefs. After years of walling up his emotions in an attempt to become the best agent possible, Sister Margaret is crumbling Jed’s defenses and opening his heart. To lure her away from the church would be unforgivable—to lose her unbearable.

Buy Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble


catherinecastleAward-winning author Catherine Castle has been writing and gardening all her life. Before beginning her career as a romance writer she worked part-time as a freelance writer. She has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit, under her real name, in the Christian and secular market. Besides writing, Catherine loves traveling with her husband, singing, and attending theatre. In the winter she loves to quilt and has a lot of UFOs (unfinished objects) in her sewing case. In the summer her favorite place to be is in her garden. She’s passionate about gardening and even won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club.

Her debut inspirational romantic suspense, The Nun and the Narc, from Soul Mate Publishing was an ACFW Genesis Finalist, a 2014 EPIC finalist, and the winner of the 2014 Beverly Hills Book Award and the 2014 RONE Award.

Where to find Catherine…

Website/Blog | Amazon | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

Group Blogs

Stitches Thru Time | SMP Authors Blog Site

Starting #NaNoWriMo

nanowrimoparticpant2Never say never.

For years, I’ve been shaking my head whenever the topic of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) came up. I couldn’t fathom the idea of writing 50,000 words in one month.

Madness…undue stress…why on earth would I subject myself to that kind of torture?

In a podcast with Stephen Campbell, I listed several reasons for not participating and assured him I would take my time writing any future novels.

All that changed when I started imagining the plot for A Different Kind of Reunion, Book 3 in the Gilda Greco Mystery Series. Determined to release the book within a year of Book 2, I knew I had to change my m.o. If I continued to work at my present speed, it would take at least two years to write, edit, and release the novel.

Continue reading on the Sisterhood of Suspense blog.