Category Archives: Publishing

A New Library in Town: One Stop for Writers

I’ve been following Angela and Becca’s website: Writer’s Helping Writers. It’s a fabulous website for writers. I also use their books: The Emotion Thesaurus, The Positive Trait Thesaurus, and The Negative Trait Thesaurus. This new venture of theirs should be another great resource for writers.

If there’s one thing all writers agree on, it’s that writing is TOUGH. The road to publication twists and dips as we learn the craft, hone our abilities, create stories we’re passionate about, fight discouragement, educate ourselves about the industry…and then start the process all over again as we realize there’s room to improve. But you know what? If you are like me, you wouldn’t have it any other way.

Yet, sometimes it’s nice to get a helping hand.

Finding a good writing book, a helpful blog, a mentor or critique partner to share the journey with…these things are gems along the writing path.

And guess what? Maybe there’s another resource waiting just up the road called One Stop For Writers.


One Stop For Writers is not writing software, but rather a powerful online library that contains tools, unique description collections, helpful tutorials and much more, brought to you by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi, the authors of The Emotion Thesaurus and Lee Powell, the creator of Scrivener for Windows.

Could One Stop For Writers be the writing partner you’ve been searching for? Visit Writers Helping Writers this week and see, where Angela, Lee and Becca are celebrating their venture with prizes and some pay-it-forward fun.



Leave a comment

Filed under Publishing

Soul Mate Publishing Author books for 99 Cents this week.

IMG_8788Every so often, Soul Mate Publishing puts author books up for 99 cents on Amazon. Instead of posting each one separately, one of our fellow authors took the time to list them for your use. I’ve read several of them and are great books. Look them up. Great Christmas presents.

Three Reluctant Promises

Redemption for Liars
Deadly Awakenings
Voodoo Butterfly
Fury Rising
Hers by Request
Unspoken Love
Dreams of Perfection
The Call
The Vampire’s Passion
Gala in the Garden
Moonlight Serenade
A Shot in the Dark
An Enduring Love
Strange Bedfellows
Cursed be the Wicked
Powerless Consent

Leave a comment

Filed under Publishing

Perseverance – Interview with Julia Lightbody

IMG_4723 (2)One of the things I wanted to do with my blog was interview unpublished writers to find about their journeys to publication. I’d wanted to do several a month, but after the first interview with Deb Waite a few months ago, I’ve only received a few interviews back. So now I’ve decided to do one a month. Then with the work and release on my two children’s books, “Uncle Bill’s Farm” and “The Hat Peddler,” I haven’t had time to write and post the interviews. Well, it’s time to get started.

This month I’m featuring Julia Lightbody, writing as Ava Black. Julia is a fellow member of the Wisconsin Romance Writers of America. Unfortunately we’ve never met, but I hope to remedy that at our next conference in April. After reading this interview, I believe you’ll learn how to persevere in whatever you do.

Julia, who or what inspired you to write? Lust, pain, victory and release beg me to write. So often, the daily monotony of ‘average’ weighs heavy on my brain, and I can’t help but crave something more than scooping dog poop from the neighbor’s yard and washing endless loads of laundry, something that frees creativity and chains boredom. Writing is that ‘something more.’ Its escapism, fantasy, perfection, and the only endeavor I can get away with while working full-time and raising kids (Olympic Gold Medal Figure Skater is too time consuming). As for who inspired me to write, Alfred Noyes wins the honor. In second grade, Mrs. Corrigan assigned us to write or copy our favorite poem and read it to the class. That night after school I ran home and dug Childcraft Volume Two from the living room bookshelf and copied The Highway Man. While scribbling away with a dull Number Two, something in my brain clicked. Since that day, I’ve always written—poems, short stories, diaries, novels. I haven’t read that poem in a long time and looked it up. I forgot what a tragic love story it is.

How long have you been writing? Did you stop and start, or write continuously during that time? Writing is like breathing, it never stops, well, unless you have babies and are working full-time and going to night school, then it stops. But it picks up once the babies are off to elementary land and the degrees are earned. My most productive writing years are now, midlife, because I have the desire, skill and time, and money to hone the craft. Writing ain’t cheap. Purchasing computers, attending conferences, hiring editors, all comes at an unaffordable price for a young family paying daycare and vet bills. But the time and dedication necessary to complete a manuscript are free, and something anyone who wants to write can afford. IMG_4721

Have you submitted a manuscript? I’ve submitted three, all have been rejected…over two-hundred times. The first rejection letter I received crushed my spirit for days, but not my will to write. I remember heading to the mailbox after work, wondering if today was the day I’d receive my SASE from Writer’s House (a top NY literary agency who represents clients like J.D. Robb and Lisa Jackson ), complete with contract inside. What waited was a three sentence ‘thanks but no thanks’ dis that sent me into a tailspin. How could they reject such art? How could they not offer critique? How could they slaughter my dream? Easily. Most agents get hundreds of submission monthly and are looking for strong voices, characters and plots. My art had none of those and although I loved writing, I didn’t love continuity, rhythm, and cohesiveness. Since that rejection letter, I’ve learned to love them. I admire your commitment to our craft. Many—if not all—other writers would have given up long ago, yet you keep persevering. I know someday I’ll be doing an update saying you are published.

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????How do you handle those rejections? Rejections is raw and painful and personal, or at least it was until I researched rejection and learned it’s the first step to success. Stephen King’s first four novels were rejected, but his fifth sold. The name of that novel was Carrie. Rejection can’t define your skill or dream, it can only force you to hone craft and reevaluate details. In the beginning, after I opened rejection emails and snail mails, I’d crawl into bed and cry while swearing to burn my manuscript, but once I wiped the tears and studied models of winning query letters and synopses, I threw on the big-girl panties and broke out the editing pen. As cliché as it sounds, failure helped me succeed. This past year, I’ve received 10 full reads and 10 more rejections, however the rejections now come with critique and commentary such as “The writing is wonderful, but not for our audience,” or “The premise and characters are compelling, but my new-client list is full.” Rejection still stings, but now the sting is from a honey bee, not a box jellyfish. It’s part of the business, and something all writers need to accept. YOU WILL BE REJECTED. Last month I received a rejection letter, promptly threw it out, turned on the computer and kept writing. You have such a wonderful outlook on this topic. I like to tell students I talk to that rejection only makes you a better writer. I’m proud of my rejection file. The day I received an actual rejection letter that wasn’t a form letter, I knew I was improving.

What do you do to keep yourself from giving up? Every day I want to stop writing, but the truth is, I can’t. Last weekend at Mystery University, a Mystery Writers of America educational seminar, a friend spoke a great quote that sums up quitting writing, “Without writing, there’s just life” That’s about it. I agree. I believe non-writers don’t understand how necessary it is for us to write.

On a different topic—who are your favorite authors? Favorite authors include Maegan Beaumont (Carved in Darkness), Jennifer Hillier (Freak, Creep), and Gillian Flynn (Dark Places, Sharp Objects). Female writers penning gritty tales of flawed heroines battling insurmountable odds and inner darkness trip my trigger because the characters embody life’s hell and humanity while slicing through bullshit with grace. They’re goddesses on a mission to kill, maim, and avenge, and who doesn’t love a good ass-kicking goddess? I love this questions because I always learn the names of new authors to seek out–but so many books, so little time.

Do you enter contests? Have you won any? Every spring the Romance Writers of America and Mystery Writers of America feature a national writing competitions for unpublished authors. I’ve entered both and lost both. I’ve also entered and lost state writing competitions sponsored by regional RWA chapters. The key to not finding a tall bridge and jumping after being eliminated from round one is to remember that results are subjective. After the ms was read, judges mailed score sheets explaining elimination and what one judge scored as nearly perfect, the other scored as deeply flawed. Feedback as explicit as what a contestant receives in competition critique is invaluable and well worth the minimal entry fees. Competitions are a great way to connect with other writers and hone craft. I remember entering a contest with a time travel. One judge’s comment: “This could never happen.” Well, duh! I wanted to tell her how much I loved going back to 1862 the last time I went.

Can you share your work-in-progress? My WIP, Maladapted Behavior, is a psychological thriller featuring a flawed female shrink who enlists her lovers to unravel her patient’s murder. Okay, I just keyed onto the word “lovers.” I think I like this woman already.

book-feather-white-background-42062995What will you do to celebrate when you get a contract? I don’t torture myself with this delusion.

How did you choose the genre you write? I paid attention to the types of book, movies, music, and TV shows I love.

Are there any genres you wouldn’t write? Why? Sci-fi scares the bejeepers out of me. Technology, molecules, time travel and the vocabulary that accompanies those pieces, along with incredibly high word count requirements, are way beyond my skill level. Kudos to Sci-fi writers. Boy, I agree with you on that.

Do you go to conferences and workshops? Conferences and workshops enable blind writers to see. When I started writing, I penned on intuition and emotion, not skill. Conferences and workshops detail methods, techniques, formulas and even worksheets to make the process of finding rhythm, continuity, character arcs and editing feel intuitive instead of learned. Besides serving as an invaluable tool to hone craft, they’re a smokin’ hot opportunity to meet other writers experiencing the same rejections, insecurities, and frustrations as you. There’s no place that I feel more at home (unless I’m actually at home) than at a writing conference. Where else can you have an hour-long discussion about new and creative ways to skin someone you’ve kidnapped? Conferences and conventions are the place to be! They may be expensive, but are worth every cent. Well said. I’ve been attending them for years and learn something each time. Where else can you brainstorm about how to kill someone off and not be looked at like you were a psycho—wait, maybe we are for doing what we do.

Do you have a critique partner or group? Are they helpful? How? For the first two years I wrote, I didn’t have a critique partner and wasn’t in a group. I wish I had. Sharing work with strangers is scary, but you can only bug your FB friends and close family to read a chapter so many times before they start unfriending you. Currently I’m in a critique group that offers honest advice and support. The most valuable critique unveils aspects of your writing that you didn’t know needed improvement. For example, a fifteen page sex-scene may not be the best way to keep readers’ attention, or a character can’t start a murder investigation on a Monday, go on a Caribbean cruise on Tuesday, and be back with evidence to solve the crime on Wednesday. Timelines are tough to follow if they’re not plotted, and critique partners catch that. They also remind you that you’re not alone in your little world of rejection and failure, you’re in good company and there are people out there that care about that. Next to editing, receiving critique is the most helpful way to grow. I find I learn a lot by critiquing others’ work, too.

Tell us about your writing space: My writing space is a twelve-year-old factory warehouse liquidation special, green corduroy loveseat. It’s covered in dog IMG_4717 (2)fur (of the yellow Labrador variety) and has a few rips in it from the dog’s nails. Generally, I lay on the loveseat, with my feet propped over the arm, laptop placed on my belly atop a pillow and write. Since I work full time and have a six and nine-year-old, I usually write after seven p.m. I get home from work around four, do homework with the kids, cook dinner, clean up after dinner, walk the dog, then write. On the weekends, I cook breakfast, clean the house, wash four or five loads of laundry, then settle in to write. If the kids are too loud, I leave the living room love seat and head upstairs, where I crawl into bed and write in bed. Shutting the door usually doesn’t drown out the noise, but it helps. I write every day. The only days I don’t write are after I’ve finished a manuscript, or if I’m on vacation. If I’ve finished a manuscript, then I give myself about a week of downtime. Writing isn’t a chore, it’s a release, and I look forward to it daily. You certainly are good example to those “writers” who say they would love to write a book—if only they had the time. With your busy, busy schedule, I don’t know how you stay awake on the couch or in bed. I’d be asleep in a matter of minutes.

Thank you Julia for your spending your time with me today. I look forward to meeting you at a conference. Good luck with your writing.

Leave a comment

Filed under Publishing, Reading, Writer Interviews with Tina

The Perfect Book. Wait. OMG. There are Errors?

Sometimes, no, let’s make that most of the time, writing and publishing can be frustrating. Just about the time you think you have things right, something happens. But more on that in a moment.

Uncle Bill's Farm - Front Cover redoneAlli’s and my first booksigning event for “Uncle Bill’s Farm” is in the record books. I loved telling people who stopped at our table that I wrote the book with my granddaughter. Getting Alli to talk was another thing. She can be shy, and when she did say something, it was hard to hear her.
One of things I had her do was sign the seventy-eight books I had with me. Then, of course, she made me sign them, too. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I’d sign them as they were bought. I did let her use my special pen a friend gave to me for signing books. IMG_9420

But, it turns out all that signing was for naught. Last week I picked up the proof for “Uncle Bill’s Farm.” Everything looked good except for a few borders the printer had to fix. I gave the go ahead for printing, and Friday I picked up the books. Because of all the political flyers and things Jim had to get done, he only had time to print seventy-eight books. Thank goodness for that.

IMG_9416Saturday morning came. I got all set up at the kids’ school and waited for my co-author. Alli and her friend came in, and the first thing they said was, “We found a mistake.” My stomach dropped. I felt ill. If there is one thing I can’t stand is having an error in one of my books. The mistake was on a page that I changed the wording. I used the words “the chickens” twice in one paragraph, decided to remove one and substitute the word “they.” I forgot to remove the word “the,” so the sentence had “the they” side-by-side. I was devastated, but Jim (the printer) said it was an easy fix.

Then last night my daughter called me to tell me she found three errors. OMG!!!!!!!!!!!! One was one I knew I had fixed before the proof printing, one was the mentioned above and one was one nobody had found—except Becca. I tossed and turned all night worrying about how the one error had shown up in the printed books, but wasn’t in the proof. How were we going to fix the others? What would people think when they saw the mistakes?

This morning I had to send the printer the file for “The Hat Peddler,” via an on-line transfer site. I couldn’t get the darn thing to work. I was still obsessing about the errors in the other book and worrying “The Hat Peddler” wasn’t perfect. The night before I read the text frontward and backward—twice. TheHatPeddlerCoverRevised

Then I found the proof to “Uncle Bill’s Farm,” and low and behold, the first mistake was correct on the proof. Since I couldn’t send Jim the file, I drove thirty miles to his office with proof and new book in hand. Neither one of us could figure out what happened, but we think he may have printed from the wrong file.

I believe there is a reason for everything. Since he hadn’t bound any of the additional books, yet, I was able to make the corrections, and give him a new file. He’s printing the three new pages and inserting them in the book before cutting and binding. Yay. “Uncle Bill’s Farm” should now be error free.

I have a good idea on who bought the book over the past few days. They are all going to get the new version. Friday I pick up the new books along with “The Hat Peddler.” Now all I have to do is get rid of that nagging knot in my stomach, get Alli to sign books again, and get some sleep.
To order both books go to:

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Signings, Children's Books, Publishing, Writing

Whoohoo – Looky-Loo What I Got Today!!!!

What a week this has been. On Monday I found out “Riding for Love” went to paperback on Amazon. Last night I found out it was also on Barnes and Noble. Then today, when I got home, this is what I found on my doorstep: IMG_8683

Thank goodness the delivery person had the sense to put the boxes in a large plastic bag or they would have all been wet from all the rain. Now it’s the tears on my face that may make them wet. I’m sooooo excited. My hands are shaking. I keep giggling. I’ve done several jigs. And I do believe I kissed the first copy I took out of the box!

me and my book


Filed under Mystery, Publishing, Reading, Romance, Uncategorized