Email Power!

Can you compose efficient and effective emails?


When I heard this question, my first impulse was to say, “Yes, of course.” But glancing through my in-box, I realized I wasn’t that efficient or effective. While I don’t ramble or use ambiguous language, I could improve the tone of my emails.

In her book, Playing Big, Tara Mohr devotes an entire chapter to “Communicating with Power.” She stresses the importance of identifying those “little things” that “walk the fine line of saying something without coming on too strong, but in fact they convey tentativeness, self-doubt, or worse, self-deprecation.”

Continue reading on the Sisterhood of Suspense blog.

Plotting on the Parkway

I’m happy to welcome back C.D. Hersh. Today, Catherine and Donald share their plotting adventures and recent release, The Mercenary and the Shifter.

Here’s CD Hersh!

plottingontheparkwayhershIt’s getting kinda antsy at the C.D. Hersh household, because we’ve got book number five in The Turning Stone Chronicle series to finish plotting. We do our best plotting on the road and we don’t have any upcoming trips. Our paranormal romance series was conceived on a loooong, cross-country trip after we saw an exit road sign for a place called Turning Stone, New York. A bit of brainstorming and a series was born.

Plotting on the road makes the time go faster for Donald, who drives, and keeps Catherine (who writes the notes in longhand a lot of the time) from seeing all the crazy drivers tailgating us and zipping between semi-trucks and our safety zone. Nothing drives Catherine nuttier than watching an F-150 Ford with a full jump cab try to squeeze into a space that barely fits a smart car, without giving us a signal! She truly believes all the imaginary braking with her right leg, while in the passenger seat, contributed to her arthritis. Fortunately, we aren’t considering traveling anywhere near the Jersey Turnpike where everyone drives like maniacs, although we think quite a few drivers we’ve encountered must have had lessons from a Jersey driving school.

So what’s the point of this post, you ask?

Here’s a few things we’ve learned during our loooong drives:

1. Aging knees don’t like being cooped up in a car. Imagine that.

2. It’s really hard to read plot notes written months ago while driving on a bumpy interstate.

3. It’s even harder to write on a bumpy interstate road.

4. Catherine should really transcribe her notes as soon as we get home.

5. Especially when words written while driving on the buzz strips on the shoulder of the road make her notes look like an EKG reading.

6. The new flash stick recorder we got works better than the old-fashioned pencil and paper, although it does allow Catherine to still see all the nutso drivers, and when Donald transcribes the notes they’re not always coherent. Catherine’s a blonde. J BTW, she’s writing this, so don’t take offense, ladies.

7. We like plotting almost better than writing—or maybe it’s the traveling we like.

8. Donald plots very well—most of the time. However, Catherine always has to throw a few suggestions out the car window. Isn’t that what a collaborator is for?

9. We need more road trips because we have two more books left in this series.

10. Writing with a collaborator is fun!

How and where do you plot your books?
Or do you travel—oops, write—by the seat of your pants?



When mercenary soldier Michael Corritore answers a desperate call from an ex-military buddy, he finds himself in the middle of a double kidnapping, caught in an ancient war between two shape shifter factions, and ensnared between two female shape shifters after the same thing … him.

Shape shifter Fiona Kayler will do anything to keep the shipping company her father left her, including getting in bed with the enemy. But when she believes the man trying to steal her company is involved with kidnapping her nephew, she must choose between family, fortune, and love. The problem is … she wants all three.



cdhershPutting words and stories on paper is second nature to co-authors C.D. Hersh. They’ve written separately since they were teenagers and discovered their unique, collaborative abilities in the mid-90s. As high school sweethearts and husband and wife, Catherine and Donald believe in true love and happily ever after.

Together they have co-authored a number of dramas, six which have been produced in Ohio, where they live. Their interactive Christmas production had five seasonal runs in their hometown and has been sold in Virginia, California, and Ohio. Their most recent collaborative writing efforts have been focused on romance. The first four books of their paranormal romance series entitled The Turning Stone Chronicles are available on Amazon. They also have a Christmas novella, Kissing Santa, in a Christmas anthology titled Sizzle in the Snow, with seven other authors.

Where you can find CD Hersh…

Website | Blog | Soul Mate Publishing | Facebook | Amazon | Twitter | Goodreads

My Word for 2017

Two years ago, I began this annual tradition.

In 2015, I ended a prolonged writer’s block by selecting Onward as my word of the year. In the twelve months that followed, I wrote articles and book reviews and released two novels—A Season for Killing Blondes and The Coming of Arabella. I also started several projects that were in various stages of completion by the year’s end.

Frustrated by these incomplete projects, I selected Focus as my word for 2016. I applied myself and finished editing Too Many Women in the Room (to be released in Spring 2017). I also wrote several short pieces and participated in NaNoWriMo, completing 50K words of A Different Kind of Reunion (to be completed in 2017 and released in early 2018).

As I contemplated my selection for 2017, I toyed with several words: upward, booming, soaring, flying, success, prosperity, and abundance. Clearly, I was headed in a very different direction, one less linear than previous years. Having proven that I can initiate and complete writing projects, I was now ready to raise the stakes. I also needed to cultivate a more trusting spirit and take more risks.

For those reasons, I have selected Thrive as my word for 2017.

I like this definition from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary…

1: to grow vigorously: flourish
2: to gain in wealth or possessions: prosper
3: to progress toward or realize a goal despite or because of circumstances

And this quotation from Maya Angelou…

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”


Thrive ♦ Prosperare ♦ Prospérer ♦ Gedeihen ♦ Prosperar ♦ Trives ♦ Blomstre

Have you selected a word for 2017?

In Praise of Morning Pages and Artist Dates

theartistswayIn 1992, I picked up a copy of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Hoping to inspire and motivate my inner writer, I spent an entire weekend devouring the book and then decided to incorporate morning pages and artist dates into my life.

That enthusiasm fizzled after only one week.

At the time, I was in the thick of my career and personal life. Busy with course preps, curriculum meetings, extra-curricular activities, and family health issues, I found myself unable even to consider adding one more activity to my schedule.

Continue reading on the Killer Hobbies blog.

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.