The Introvert’s Guide to Networking

What’s a word that will make almost any introverted writer shudder? Networking. Or perhaps its cousin, platform. Ugh. I have to talk to people? Can’t I just hide in my back bedroom and create such an enthralling novel that everyone will buy it on the merit of craft alone (without the unpleasantness of social interaction…

Show vs. Tell: Draw Your Reader into Your Story

In my career as a full-time fiction book editor, I’m sometimes asked the most common problems plaguing manuscripts. And I always know exactly what to tell writers. Show versus tell. No matter how interesting the characters or unique the concept, telling instead of showing in your prose will kill your story every single time. Most authors…

Home for the Holidays: Writing Family Roles in Fiction

There’s one in every family. You know who you are. (If you don’t know, it’s probably you). There’s always a black sheep of the family, just like there’s the quirky aunt who gives you horrible knitted sweaters for Christmas, or the grandparent who forgets you grew into an adult 10 years ago, or the screaming…

Your Novel Check-Up (Part 1)

What makes a great book? Is it the story? The characters? The age-old conflict between good and evil? Or, perhaps, the thrilling richness of escaping into a fantastical new world? From a business stand-point, what is it about a book that makes an editor or publisher sit up and take notice (or yawn and pour…

Preventing creative burn-out

Burn-out. Such an ugly phrase. I prefer to use other, nicer words like tired or stressed or encountering writers’ block, but the result is the same. I end up discouraged and depressed, banging my head on a mental wall and desperately squeezing every last drop of creativity from my soul to meet real (or self-imposed)…

Why dressing professionally is like writing a book

Can I make a confession? I love fashion. Yes, I’m a slightly nerdy tomboy who loves action movies and rolls my eyes at drama. But I also love fashion. For artsy “free expression” types (that means me, by the way) “fashion” is usually whatever we feel like wearing. For introverts, fashion is often just another word for…

Musical Cues for the Creative Writer

Few creative mediums instantly set the tone and affect our emotions so immediately and powerfully as music. Think about the Indiana Jones theme. Now the Imperial March from Star Wars. You’re humming it, aren’t you? How did they make you feel? Were they different emotions, or the same? Now think about Lily’s theme from the last…

Planning a “Workation” on a Budget

I curled up in an overstuffed armchair with a mug of my mostly-milk Mexican chocolate brew, editing an Appalachian-themed historical novel in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. Fifty pages later, I set aside my work for a jaunt to the stunningly gorgeous Lily Lake outside of Estes, Colorado, to stretch my legs, enjoy the…

RealmMakers 2016: Steampunk Princesses and Creative Space

I sat around a table with three steampunked Disney princesses, a Zelda princess and Kylo Ren (complete with lightsaber), watching a room of geeky introverts turn into extreme extroverts. In the buffet line, Capt. Jack Sparrow mingled with Molly Weasley, River Song, Agent Carter and an Amish zombie. This is the creative craziness that is…

Wallflower: Staying true to yourself in a popularity contest world

I’m a wallflower. Always have been. Probably always will be. At any given party you’re most likely to find me drifting along the outside wall, making friends with the host’s dog or pondering life, the universe, and whether to make Italian chicken salad or tacos for dinner the next day. It’s not that I don’t…