Writer’s Resource: Goodreads

We all know that Goodreads is a great place to find books and share them with fellow readers, but did you also know it’s an excellent resource for writers?  If you’re interested in connecting with other writers, learning from authors, or creating your own author presence on the website, check out today’s Goodreads blog.  You’ll find gems of advice like this:

Write something—anything—for 15 minutes a day

“Here is my advice: I get out my kitchen timer and set it for 15 mintues. I am not allowed to stand up until the 15 minutes are over. During that 15 minutes, I write something. Anything — a letter, a poem, a list of people you hate, a prayer, all my favorite words, a childhood memory, a dream. Something. I might even sit there for 15 minutes writing, “I don’t know what to write!” but I learned long ago that a “bad” day of writing is still a good day.”

-Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

If you’re a member of Goodreads, pop over and visit me – I’d love to connect!


Books to help you write your book


A friend recently told me (with pure exasperation) that this year she’s going to write her book.  She’s not the first person I’ve heard the words from.  It’s not a typical New Year’s resolution, but we writers are not a typical bunch, are we?

One of the things I’ve found to help me write my books is to use resources from other writers who are successful.  There are endless articles online, in writing magazines, and on blogs that can offer inspiration.  And there are a zillion writing books out there to help us as well.  But how do you know which book is for you?

First, let me reassure you that I’ve been in your shoes.  I know how daunting it feels to want to write that book, but to have no idea how to start.  Here are the books that helped me at different stages of my writing process.  Try one out – I promise you won’t be disappointed.

  • You haven’t written a word, or at least nothing that resembles a book.  Start with Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones or Wild Mind to get you going.  Goldberg introduces you to writing practice, offers fun writing prompts, and helps get those creative juices flowing.  Remember that it can take weeks or months (or years, like Goldberg found for herself) to find your voice and your story, so be patient.
  • You’ve been writing for a little while but only have the basics down.  You know your book’s perfect beginning, you know how it should end, and you know some of the scenes… but not much else.  Character work and outlining can go a long way in solidifying your story.  Try 90 Days to Your Novel by Sarah Domet to kick start your book.  You’ll come up with a strong outline and characters that will carry your story, even if you don’t stick to the 90 day schedule.
  • You’re halfway finished writing your book… and stuck.  Writer’s block, anyone? Middles can be a painful slog.  But don’t give up!  Check out James Scott Bell’s new book Just Write.  You’ll find useful tips on everything from creating a strong premise to building  memorable characters.  Bell even wrote  a section on writer’s block in the chapter titled “Brave the Writing Life.”  This book not only inspires writers to strengthen their stories, but to pay attention to the rewards of a writing life.
  • You finished your rough draft.  Now what?  First of all, treat yourself to a nice meal, a glass of wine, a massage – whatever makes you happy.  Read something fun.  Do the things you put off while you were busy writing.  And be proud of yourself, because completing a first draft is a huge deal!  Then, get back to work.  It’s time to pull that manuscript out of the drawer and find a marking pen.  Hone your editing skills with the book Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Brown & King, where you’ll learn how to use professional editing techniques to perfect your manuscript.

Feeling a little more motivated?  Good!  Now remember, there’s one fundamental act that will see you through to a finished book.  It’s not inspiration or time or talent…  it’s actually writing.  Like William Faulkner said, “I only write when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes at nine every morning.”

Well, it’s 9:00 a.m.  I’m off to my writing desk.  Are you?

Blog awards!

Sometimes I worry that my blog is a little too… random?  scattered?  perhaps showing signs of ADD?  Because some days I blog about writing, others about scrapbooking, still others about the chaos of my household.  I often wonder, what is the purpose of my blog?

So you can imagine how pleased I was when C.B. Wentworth, a writer and blogger friend that I really admire, gave me a couple of blog awards – one of which is for being a “versatile blogger”.  Whew!  So it’s okay to blog about a lot of everything!

One of the rules when receiving these awards is that I must provide seven random facts about myself.  So, here you go:


  1. I studied international business administration in a Danish school during college.
  2. Then I returned to the States to get my bachelor’s degree in Geography.
  3. And never used either of these subjects in my post-college career, choosing instead to teach special education.
  4. And now I’m a romance writer.  How’s that for random?
  5. I’ve traveled in nine different countries.
  6. I’m married to a Welshman.
  7. I wear purple writing glasses.

And now I’d like to pass these lovely awards along to other very deserving bloggers.  Here are five new writing blogs that I have recently discovered and really enjoy following:

Don’t Pet Me, I’m Writing.  Tawna Fenske is hilarious.  I haven’t even read her new romance novel yet, but it’s on the top of my list – and if it’s anything like her blog writing, it’s gonna be gooood

Wilde Life.  Lori Wilde was the instructor for my very first writing course.  Ever since then I have been in love with her books, and her blog is fun and full of good writing advice.

Grab A Pen.  I think I may have linked to Tahereh Mafi before, but she’s worth mentioning again (and again!).  Tahereh’s blog is always entertaining along with being chock-full of writing inspiration and advice.  Her first (highly anticipated!) book is coming out this fall.

The Sisterhood of the Jaunty Quills.  This blog is co-written by a number of published authors, one of which is my favorite Kristan Higgins.  What I love most about Jaunty Quills is all of the prizes that readers can win!

Journalize This.  Okay, this isn’t a new blog to me.  It’s actually one I’ve followed for a long time, written by my very good writing buddy Kristen Fairgrieve.  I just couldn’t resist because she’s already received the award once and now she’s going to want to kill me for sending it to her again.  Ha ha!  Hi Krissy! *wave, wave* How ya doin’?  🙂

Little Details

Remember the book tote I featured in Want It Wednesday a few weeks ago?  This is a photo of the tote that I ordered from Gathered & Sown on Etsy – it arrived in my mailbox this week and I am so happy with it! 

I can’t get over the perfect little details of this bag – the stitching, the tag, the beautiful fabric, and such amazing quality.   I also had a chance to get to know Angie (creator and owner of Gathered & Sown) during the purchasing process and am so happy to have her new friendship.  Who knew that a book tote would also lead to a fun new friend!

Another goodie that arrived in my mailbox this week was an adorable pin cushion that I ordered from the wonderful Emma Lamb

Originally I wanted to purchase a gorgeous pillow from her, but considering how my boys toss pillows around this house and use them like toys, I didn’t want to chance having it ruined.  So I bought a little pin cushion instead, and it’s just so stinkin’ adorable!  What amazed me most when it arrived was how much Emma had paid attention to the little details:


Thank you Angie and Emma!  You are such creative and talented women!

want it wednesday – fall books preview

The Next Always:  Book One of the Inn Boonsboro Trilogy by Nora Roberts. (Being released on November 1, 2011)

I adore Nora Roberts!  This newest book of hers is on the top of my list for fall reading.  Here is a description from Amazon:

“America’s favorite writer” (The New Yorker) begins an all-new trilogy-inspired by the inn she owns and the town she loves.

The historic hotel in BoonsBoro, Maryland, has endured war and peace, changing hands, even rumored hauntings. Now it’s getting a major facelift from the Montgomery brothers and their eccentric mother. As the architect of the family, Beckett’s social life consists mostly of talking shop over pizza and beer. But there’s another project he’s got his eye on: the girl he’s been waiting to kiss since he was fifteen…”


Until There Was You by Kristan Higgins (Being released October 25, 2011)

Kristan Higgins is one of my all-time favorite romance writers.  She’s funny in her books and hilarious on her blog – one of those authors you’d love to meet in person.  I’m really looking forward to this next book.  There’s no description on Amazon for it yet, but I’m sure Kristan will be posting something on her blog soon.  In the meantime, here’s a little author info for you:

“Kristan Higgins is the RITA award-winning author of CATCH OF THE DAY and three other romantic comedies. Previously a copywriter, Kristan began writing fiction when her children graced her life with simultaneous naps…so much more satisfying than folding laundry. She holds a BA in English from the College of the Holy Cross, which enables her to identify dangling participles and quote many great novels. Kristan lives with her family in Connecticut.”  (Amazon.com) 

Kamiak Creek

It’s Fill the Well Friday!  I had such a hard time deciding which pictures to post for today’s guest.  When you visit her blog, you’ll understand why; every single photo that she shares is stunning.  Absolutely breathtaking.  I’m so pleased to share her work today!

Shelly Jefferson Morton is a busy lady.  She works full-time, has a small business selling cards online, volunteers for the American Red Cross, and keeps up with hobbies like photography, crafting, gardening, cooking and hiking – to name a few.  And she just finished planning her own wedding down to every last tiny detail.  To sum it up, she is Superwoman.

I met Shelly at the start of the year when we both began posting our photography for Project 365.  To say that I have learned a lot about photography through her blog is an understatement.  Not only has she shown me how to use composition, depth of field, and capture color and texture, but most importantly she’s taught me to appreciate the absolute beauty in nature’s details. 

As Shelly shows through her blog, Kamiak Creek, there is such serenity in the deep color of a flower petal, the texture of a bumble bee, the pattern of a butterfly’s wings.  She not only finds a solace and replenishment through photography of nature, but gives this gift to her readers as well.

You can find more of Shelly’s amazing photography on her blog, KamiakCreek.wordpress.com, and in her Etsy shop, KamiakCreek.etsy.com.

Want It Wednesday – book and a bag

The last of our summer adventures are on the horizon and I’m gathering my books and magazines for a little R&R.  I usually try to stuff these reads into my purse along with snacks and sunglasses, wallets and some of the boys’ toys.  But this year my purse is small.  And my pile of ‘to be read on vacation’ is growing larger by the minute.  Time for a book tote!

I’ve been eyeing up bags like this from Angie Gordon’s Etsy shop, Gathered and Sown.  The colors, the flowers, the white stitching (I have such a thing for stitching!) … now if I can just decide which one I like the best!  They are all so beautiful. 


And one of the many books I plan to slip into the lovely tote?  Escaping Into the Open, the Art of Writing True, by Elizabeth Berg.  Here is a review from Amazon.com:

Elizabeth Berg (Talk Before Sleep) is a can-do kid. Forget the common wisdom–that writing is difficult and getting published nearly impossible without contacts or an agent. “What you need most,” she says, “is a fierce desire to put things down on paper.” And if a gentle nudge will help you on your way, well, Berg wishes to provide just that, cheerfully, with Escaping into the Open. For Berg, writing–and success–comes easily. In fact, she says, “What I like doing best is writing…. I feel like a drug addict with an exceptionally wise drug of choice.”

It is refreshing to come across a book so positive and friendly–even if a there is a little too much emphasis on the author’s own experience (did she really have to include a five-page essay by an envious friend and three pages of topics about which she herself has successfully written?). Still, how could one not appreciate a writing guide that espouses napping, eating chocolate-covered cherries, and standing by your “man(uscript),” and that likens passionate, risky writing–the only kind that’s worth anything–to great sex? Berg encourages her reader to look (and listen and feel) deeply, to learn from children, and not to let life interfere with writing any more than it has to. She addresses–sometimes with help from her friends–writing classes, writing groups, and the writing life. In a chapter called “If you’re a man, be a woman,” she offers up 30 pages of writing exercises. Berg is personable, whimsical, amazed by her good fortune, and direct. “There’s only one person who can stop you,” she says gravely at book’s end, “and we both know who that is.” –Jane Steinberg