The Agony and Ecstasy of Choice

I’m a first-born. So of course my parents thought I walked on water (until my siblings came along at least) and they sent me a clear message—I could be anything I wanted if I put my mind to it. The trouble was I heard it wrong. I thought they said I could be everything I…

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Why This Story?

Ever find yourself wondering why you’re writing a particular story? Out of all the myriad tales out there, why do certain themes seem to pop up in your fiction more often than others? Why, when you analyze the themes you gravitate to, do they bear a startling similarity? Maybe you find yourself writing about the…

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Writing Retreats are Back

I’m just winding down from my first in-person writing retreat in what seems like fifty years. This one was within driving distance of my home in Milwaukee, was small (14 people) and affordable and I have to tell you, it reminded me of all the reasons I’m such a conference junkie. Yes, I’m that person…

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Advice to a Young Writer

Two weeks ago I took a workshop through International Thriller Writers from Lisa Unger who was describing her career as an author, including the 20-something books she’s written and I was suddenly struck by the fact that given my age and my career trajectory, there’s no way I will ever write that many books in…

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Eight Tips to Get Your Short Fiction Published

Eighteen months ago, when I became Managing Editor for the literary journal The Write City Magazine, I got 1-2 submissions daily in my in-box. This year that number has doubled. Perhaps it’s due to the pandemic and writers having more time. Perhaps more people are trying their hand at fiction and starting with short stories.…

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Grab Back Control

There’s nothing worse than feeling as though your writing career is out of your control, that others are in charge of your fate. For many of us writing is our second career. In “real life” we’re lawyers, accountants, police officers, teachers, entrepreneurs, retailers, and scientists. For myself, I spent years as the CEO of a…

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What Photography Can Teach You About Writing

Three years ago, my photography instructor gave our class this assignment: spend a day taking pictures which, when put in the right order, tell a story. And coincidentally, the next Sunday I was set to attend my first Green Bay Packer game at Lambeau Field where we were pitted against our decades-old rival, the Chicago…

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How to Be a Top-Notch Podcast Guest

This month I hosted my 78th interview for Hear Us Roar where my guests are debut authors of women’s fiction, so it’s a perfect time to share some tips from the last 2+ years about using this medium as part of your book marketing package. As of February 2021, there are 1.75 million podcasts out…

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5 Guidelines for Writing a Helpful Critique

Last week my writing buddy sent me her new novel and asked for my feedback. This is the one I’ve been hearing about for a year, the novel she’s written that’s closest to her heart, and the one I feel will earn her a deal with a major publisher. And it got me thinking about…

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Diary of a NaNoWriMo Newbie – Part II

Last month I shared that I’d signed up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short). I’d never done it before but thought I’d give it a try. So first things first. I WON (okay, hundreds of thousands of writers did but I was one of them). I wrote 50,111 words during the month of…

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