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Monday, December 2, 2013

Great Link About Self-Publishing-

Originally posted by, Helium:

I self-published my book: Confronting The Bully of OCD back in 2004. I am still selling copies each month through  It was an interesting and educational experience about the process of turning a manuscript into a book and getting it out to the readers.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Grasping the Energy and Pulse of City Life-

       I live in a noisy busy area not far from Manhattan. I have the MTA trains running behind our house to and from the city. Literally. 

Yet, for some unknown reason, I write better and more often in the midst of this chaos, than I do in the peaceful quiet of the mountains, where I often go in the warmer weather.

     There is a certain lively 'energy' that all busy areas seem to possess, especially that of a big city.  New York City is often coined, the city that never sleeps. And if you've ever spent a night in a hotel in Manhattan, you'll know why.  It made our passing trains seem peaceful. There was never a moment of non-activity. Garbage trucks unloading trash cans, beeping horns, a steady hustle and bustle, no matter the hour. 

     While this might make for insanity to some folks used to a more quiet environment, for others, it provides a stimulating creativity.  In fact, I'd suspect that most New Yorkers, for example, don't even 'hear' the noise.  They are part of that energy that propels the city. It runs through and with them. 

      Insofar as writing is concerned, we can grasp a bit of this energy for our city scenes - get the 'feel' of it and bring it to life in our story. 

   Of course, the holiday season is the time when such cities seem to take on a magical aura. Lights twinkle throughout the streets, Department store windows are decorated and spark to life with animated puppets and glitzy mannequins. Santa Claus in on nearly every street corner ringing his bell.  Churches chime  Christmas carols, while holiday tunes ring out from various shops that people are running in and out of with wrapped packages. 
     Whether you are writing about the past or present, most cities have been carrying out these holiday activities for over a century or more.  

A touch of snow always makes things all the more magical, as snowflakes swirl around street lamps, and colored lights peep through new snow, muted yet soft and inviting on a Christmas tree in the midst of a bustling city.

The streets take on a subtle quietness - like the difference between walking on a carpet compared to walking on a hardwood floor. 
And it's a wonderful feeling!  (Store that for a city winter scene!)

And let us not forget the scent of the pretzel man on many a corner selling warm doughy pretzels and even hot chestnuts to bundled up customers waiting in line, shifting in place to keep the cold at bay.  Pretzels and chestnuts have been sold from way back-in-the-day, except now vendors have carts.

Had I not included any photos, could you still picture it? These are my memories of Christmas in the city that I've just attempted to convey to you. The photos are included to let you 'see' what I saw. BUT you should be able to envision these things just by my words. Ah! Now that is the wondrous craft of writing!

     While Christmas is an ideal time to grasp the 'feel' of the city at its best (note how many Christmas movies that take place in New York City,) there are other times that can transfer their imprint on our minds to paper quite well. Like a rainy day in the city...many a painting has been done to portray such days.

                     There's something 'cozy' about a rainy day (or night) in a bustling city.

And there's the new life of springtime too. When people come out to the parks in their cities.  In New York, it's Central Park, as the budding Cherry blossoms emerge in full splendor.  And sidewalks are colorful with new tulips.      

And not to forget summer, when everyone flocks to outdoor cafes, steps of large buildings, and the small parks on benches or at tables to gather and eat lunch.
   Again, this post has lots of pictures because, as I've said in other posts, taking photos can help access the feelings we felt at those very places and times. Cozy, invigorated, overwhelmed, awed, energized, stimulated, nostalgic, etc.
    It seems that people who live in quiet serene areas, nowhere near a big city, tend to enjoy reading about city living, and vice versa. I often hear the teens of country living parents say that they can't wait to move to the city. And I hear city folks say that they wish they could have a nice quiet place in the country to 'get away from it all.'
    So, we never know who will want to get lost in the environment we create in our writing.  Therefore, it's a good idea to write it from the positive perspective we have gained from our city and country visits and/or living. Both have their own special draw.  

   But in this post, since we are focusing on a city environment, I urge us all to find those subtle poignant moments that are numerous in nearly every city setting.

   I like to hone in on what might otherwise pass the ordinary eye in all the busyness of a city setting. 

    We can find every emotion on city streets. And that makes for a wonderful treasure chest to go to for your characters as they evolve in your story's city setting. 


See what emotions and types of moments you can find the next time you venture to the city.  And if you live in one, look at it with new eyes.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Some Fun Writing Resources

     Sometimes it's a good idea to write just for the experience and practice. Maybe even for the thrill of seeing your article in print online. 
     You might not make money, maybe just a few dollars with some of these articles, but it's a beneficial way for some relaxing, fun writing. To write about the things you know about, enjoy doing, or information you have gathered that can be helpful to others, is a nice diversion from demanding projects and slow going novels. 
     Here are some sites to check out: 


     And here are some of the articles I have written on these particular sites.  The photos for the articles on SheBudgets are provided by their team. You can get an idea from reading a few, of how the articles appear.

1- Some of my articles on

Helium also has contests you can partake in as well.

2- Some of my articles on SheBudgets...

Monday, October 7, 2013

Nature Scene Tips...

Nature can be a wonderful allurement to write.  She is also a good teacher, in that we can write about what we see in her magnificent beauty. The colors, the scents, the people enjoying the natural world of God's handiwork. Children playing at the seashore. A couple hiking along a gold and orange leaf strewn country road. A lone man or woman sitting on a rock observing the surrounding beauty of a forest. There are so many poignant scenes that often unfold right before us when we spend time in the natural world.  

If you can't write at the time you are in the midst of a beautiful spot, then take a few photos, and look at them later, when you have the time to write. Describe everything you see and admire, along with the feel of the breeze, the sun on your face, the sound of rain drops on leaves, or cool snowflakes tinging your eyelashes. Whatever you remember from when you were there.
I recall a time when I was in the Adirondack Mountains and took an unplanned stroll on a path off the side of a road. At the end of this path was a lake named, Rock Lake. It was totally silent there, except for the thrilling and haunting calls of two Loons on the lake, and leaves falling to the ground. I could hear each leaf as it landed on the forest floor.
Unfortunately, I left my camera in the car, as this was an unplanned venture. But the memory of it remains fresh in my mind, even a decade or so later.
But not all nature experiences are necessarily pleasant, although always interesting. Getting caught in a lightening storm is not only frightening but dangerous. Walking or driving on a foggy road can be a daunting task. And weathering out a storm, be it snow or torrential rain, can bring on a sense of foreboding. However, they make for great genuine tension in a story.
And don't overlook the intricate wonders of nature, like colorful fungi, peeping critters off the side of the road, unique flowers, and stacks of firewood on a front porch. They all can add a real sense of 'being there' to the reader as you describe these gems of nature.

It's a good idea to have a nature journal to record such special sacred times with Mother Nature. At some point, you might need to refer to it for writing a nature scene. Have it in sections of seasons, and also in sections of, serene, challenging, or frightening.
When we describe what we've really experienced and saw, the description is always more engrossing and alive, than when we write of a place from research alone.
This is why I travel a couple hours from my mountain place to the Amish community of, Stone Arabia, whenever I can.
 At present, I write mainly Amish stories. The Amish live in farm settings and their lives are surrounded by nature and farm animals. Internet research and information given to me by others, seems stale in comparison to the actual viewing of the place where my stories take place. It's one thing to look at a photo of an Amish horse and buggy coming down a road, but entirely another, to hear the clip-clop of the horse and see the smile of greeting on the Amish driver as he passes my car.
      So, get out into nature, if you can, and grab those moments of natural wonders for authentic descriptions of the nature scenes for your stories.
      Next time, we'll talk about how to grasp the energy and pulse of city life.

Monday, September 30, 2013

My self-help book still selling-

Step-by-step techniques obtained by the author during her sessions with a leading OCD specialist in NYC, who also endorsed and prefaced the book. Linda Maran knows firsthand the struggles and challenges of having Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, thereby understanding the fears and weariness of other sufferers. Never dry or technical. Full of encouragement, tips and effective methods that work when applied as directed. Excellent for those who cannot afford the specialized therapy or do not live where an OCD specialist is available. 

Editorial Reviews


I have read the book carefully and it is a masterpiece! -- Joseph DeRose, MD

Maran has faced her demons and taken steps to reclaim her life. She's hoping to help others face their fears. -- Gary Buiso,Bay News-A Courier Life Publication,Brooklyn, NY

Offers the best combination of the personal and professional story of OCD. Readers will know exactly what's ahead of them. -- Steven J. Brodsky, Psy.D., Licensed Clinical Psychologist

This clearly written book is a practical guide for all people suffering from OCD. -- Dr. Philip Mango, Ph.D.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Query Tips and Perseverance

     A query is an inquiry; a question, to an editor about a book or article we are interested in having published. Basically, it's saying: here is my project, are you interested?
     First and foremost, we need to target the proper publishing houses for our work. The Writer's Market is a good source to see what various publishers are looking for  It would be a waste of our time and theirs if we send a query about a romance novel to a publisher who only publishes biographies or cookbooks, or vice versa.
     When writing a query it's important that our spelling is correct, and not to go overboard trying to impress an editor with a book or article. It's best to simply state what our book/article is about, the kind of audience it will attract and why. Perhaps citing another similar book, and how ours is different. Mention past publications, if any.
      One page queries should be the goal. We can save our long description for a proposal, if  asked for one. Grab the editor's interest with the opening sentence. But no bragging. After all, is bragging a turn off to you? Well, most likely it will be to an editor too. Not a good idea to say something like: I am a fantastic writer and I know you will love my latest novel. OR, I'm sure my novel will be a best-seller.
       Yes, we might very well be fantastic writers, but that doesn't always qualify our book or article for publication. It's the topic, the market, and the needs of the publishing house that all come into play for a book or article to arrive at publication.
       And as far as it becoming a best-seller. No one can foresee that scenario ahead of time. Sometimes the least likely book becomes a top-selling one, and another that seems to have that potential, doesn't. Our work is in the hands of the readers, along with good marketing. That is what makes or breaks sales.
       Most queries are not answered quickly.  It might take up to two months or longer for a response. Do not call the editor week after week to see if your query was read. Send a short follow up letter if its been four or more months without any response.
      There are publishers who accept simultaneous submissions...meaning, we can send a query to them and also to others who state the same. This way we have more than one editor considering our query. Again, The Writer's Market will give all that information about every publisher listed.
        And then we wait...that's the hard part.  But it can be a fruitful time of improving our project, and comprising a second list of publishers to send queries to, should all the ones we sent warrant a rejection. And if that's the case, read any comments that might have been added to the rejection to make some changes. Most times, however, we will receive a basic form letter rejection, although some editors will scribble a note or two as to the reason why it was rejected, which can be helpful and often encouraging...or not.
       Many of us writers have a 'rejection' folder in our file drawer - it doesn't mean we will never achieve our publication goals. Here are some rejection comments sent to now famous and best selling authors, taken
from the site: The International Civilian. Entitled: Rejected Best Sellers by Craig Brunton:

“Too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling…”
Writer: Dr. Seuss
Aftermath:  300 million sales later and he’s the 9th best selling fiction author of all time.

“We feel that we don’t know the central character well enough…”
Writer: J.D. Salinger
Book: The Catcher in the Rye
Aftermath: After the initial rejections of the book, he did a rewrite and went on to sell 65 million copies.  A few well known assassins later, Holden Caulfield is a generational icon.

“I recommend that it be buried under a stone for a thousand years…”
Writer: Vladimir Nabokov
Book: Lolita
Aftermath: Rejected by every major publisher. (The subject matter probably had A LOT to do with that).  Anyway, the author goes to France and lands a deal with Olympia Press. The first 5000 copies quickly sell out.  The novel is then published by all those that initially turned it down, and reaches combined sales of 50 million.

“An absurd and uninteresting fantasy which was rubbish and dull…”
Writer: William Golding
Book: The Lord of the Flies
Aftermath: 15 million copies.

“Too radical of a departure from traditional juvenile literature…”
L. Frank Baum
Book: The Wizard of Oz
Aftermath: 15 million copies plus the, arguably, most well-known movie of all-time.

“We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell…”
Writer: Stephen King
Book: Carrie
Aftermath: Random House rejected his first novel, The Long Walk.  He put that book aside and decided to write a new novel.  Carrie would sell 1 million copies.  At the time of this post, his total number of books sold is over 350 million, placing him number 16 on the all-time list.

“This will set publishing back 25 years…”
Writer: Norman Mailer
Book: The Deer Park
Aftermath: He won the Pulitzer Prize.  Twice.

So, let us not throw in the towel, so to speak. One of us might be on this list one day. And if not, that's okay too. We can still enjoy our God-given gift of writing in many other ways...blogs, web sites, journals, and even self-published works. Just keep the words coming.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Thinking of Writing a Cookbook?

     If you enjoy cooking, writing a cookbook can be fun, but certain rules and formats apply, especially if you'll be submitting to a publisher or agent.
     These tips might help...

1- Have a chapter outline.  List each chapter and the recipes each chapter contains.

2- Place each recipe on a separate page, with the ingredients first, followed by the directions. Double space, if submitting to a publisher or agent. And have your name and title of the cookbook at the top left or right side of each page.

3- If you are including photographs of some recipes (for professional publication) they need to be of top quality. Cell phone pics won't do.You'll need proper lighting and possibly a tripod, for photos to come out clear and bright.

4- Be sure to test every recipe for proper measurements and taste.If you have some from your grandmother and they call for a 'dash' of this, and a 'pinch' of that, you'll need to prepare the recipe and experiment with measurements, such as, 1/2 teaspoon, etc.  Recipes need exact measurements to be consistent each time they are made.

5- Come up with a catchy title. You can check sites such as,, and Barnes and Noble, to see if such a title already exists or not. Also, (before submission to an editor) check to see if the kind of cookbook you are working on has not already been published. Some topics have over flooded the market, such as books on chocolate or Italian cooking. However, the market needs change from year to year, so keep on top of the hot topics. If you check now, you're apt to see a number of cookbooks about gluten-free cooking.

6- Unfortunately. the love of cooking is not enough for most publishers to consider your book for publication. They like to see an author with a platform on cooking. What qualifies you to write such a book?  Do you have any professional cooking experience?Have you worked in the food industry or sold your special treats with success? Why would readers want to read your cookbook?  What is unique about it?  But don't despair. See the next possibility...

7- Self-publishing is another route to go to get your cookbook on the market. offers Independent Publishing, which enables you to have your book published through them in print version, Kindle, or audio. Check out their site at:

8- For some, having a cookbook on the market is not the most important reason for writing one. It's special to put together a cookbook for your family to be passed down the generations. Even for special friends who've enjoyed your meals. And it would make a wonderful gift for a special occasion, such as someone buying a new home, a wedding gift, or even a birthday or holiday gift, with your own holiday recipes included.
    You can have a few copies printed for those treasured people in your life through a local printer. Shop around for prices. Some printers require a certain amount of books to be printed, others don't. The inclusion of photos up the price, so choose only a few favorite recipes to be accompanied with a photo. Or, you can check the services of the aforementioned for, if you'll be having more than just a few copies done.
      I've been fortunate to have a number of food articles published, with a couple using my own photos, and am currently working on a cookbook myself.  Checkout my other blog:

Friday, September 6, 2013

Thinking Out The Ongoing Plot-

    I might have mentioned a snippet of this in another post, but lately, I'm finding that a better way to move along my plot without sitting for hours before the computer, is to think it all out in my mind. Usually while lying in bed or taking my daily walk. I even have the characters interacting...who says what to who. I can "see" them in my mind. (Yes, we writers are an odd bunch at times.)
  For me, it ends up as if I'd watched a movie. And when I watch a good movie, I always remember it. Well, it's the same with my thought-out plot.
Afterward, I can't wait to get to the computer and move the story along. It's like taking dictation from the scenes I see in my head. I love the 'rush' I get when it works out that way. 
Of course, there are days that I can't get past that exciting climax in the plot...and it's like being stuck in rewind each time...but then the mechanism gets unstuck and the plot moves on once again.

"A story to me means a plot where there is some surprise. Because that is how life is - full of surprises."
Isaac Bashevis Singer

Monday, September 2, 2013

My Amish Blog - Keeping Those Pages Turning-

#1-   As I've said and learned over and over again, it's wonderful to write about our interests and what pertains to the genre we want to be published in. I am currently writing Amish novels, so all things Amish draw my, clothing, good and bad behaviors of certain groups, the PA Dutch language they use among themselves, the latest TV shows about Amish, and of course, Amish novels. .
   So, check out the latest post on my Amish blog:
   Thanks for looking.

#2-   Currently, I am writing my second Amish novel. This gives me the enthusiasm and hope that the first novel will be published. But, I realize I am in quite a competitive genre and there are so many wonderful authors writing Amish these days.
        So, I've added a twist of mystery and suspense to mine. (Not such a new concept, but perhaps less predictable...I hope.) My goal is, a story with very few, if any, 'dead' spots.    
     Most writers save the 'who done it' until the end. I still have about 41,000 words to go. So, I am going to give double trouble to the story. One 'who done it' gets solved at this midway point, and the other, a big surprise, will come at the end.
     I want to do this, because when I am dragging out a story just for the sake of 'word count' then it will be as boring to the reader, just as it was for me, the writer, to drag it out.
     I think it's best to let the story carry us along, rather than the number of words completed and the number to be reached. Too much description and idle small talk between characters are parts I tend to skip over when I'm reading a novel. (Yep, I admit it.)  And I don't want readers to do that with my stories.
     So...rather than become frustrated about how I will keep those pages turning with the 'aha! moment' at the end - I'll have two such moments instead of one.
     There's no rules on how many surprises an author can tuck into a story.  After all, many times life throws us one surprise after the other...some good, and some not too welcomed. I've heard people say about their own circumstances: "I could write a book about all this" Why not? 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

How To Hang In There When...

1)'s an exceptionally beautiful day outside. To some writers, a rainy, miserable day, feels like a 'right writing' day. There's not much out there for that 'I'm missing out' feeling.
      I am fortunate that my office has a large window with a partial view of a tree. The sunshine flows in, although so does the noise. (I do not live in the quietest area.)  Still, I can enjoy the breeze and sunlight WHILE I write.
     OR, I can opt to go outdoors before my writing time begins. Do my two-mile walk first thing in the morning, or stroll along the seashore (fortunate enough to be a short drive from several beaches.) Then,
when I delve into my writing, I don't feel as if I'm missing out on the great weather because I made the time to partake in it. And...not to forget the laptop - take it outdoors and do some writing while enjoying Mother Nature. Don't have one? Take a notebook, then later, type out what you've written on your PC.
2) have worries on your mind.  Most of us have something to worry about, at times the issues are more worrisome than others. Writing, for me, is a distraction from worry.  Of course, the writer needs to LIKE what is being written. If not, maybe it's time to rethink things. Writing in a genre that one despises or is bored with, will not bring joy to the writing, and it'll show. Best to write about what we love to read. What we know best, and/or what we enjoy researching. To approach the computer with dread, is not beneficial to our craft.
3) are receiving one rejection after the other, and might be thinking: why bother? This is a tough one to get through. But every writer weathers the storm of rejections, along with the frustration and disappointment that comes with them. Still, we need to forge ahead. Rejections don't mean we are not good writers, it
usually means a change in the publisher's interests, market trends, and even the mood of the editor who reads our proposal on a particular day. If every writer who'd been rejected walked away from writing, we'd not have many a great novel and non-fiction book out there. It's encouraging to read the bio of various famous authors and learn of their struggles toward success.
4)'re just plain blocked...nothing is coming from your head to your fingers to the screen. Blank! It happens to the best of us. Sigh! Then take a break. Maybe a day off to clear your head. This isn't giving up, it's coming up for air. Big difference. Then when you go back to your project you'll be that much happier and fruitful for the reprieve.
      Happy Writing!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Blog What You Write About-

   Writing a book?  Create a blog on the topic.
    Have a book already published?  Create a blog for the book and the subject matter.
    Most of us write what we're interested in and a blog can be a nice outlet for those interests aside from writing of the book. Plus, the added bonus is some exposure of the genre you write and further interest from others in your writing. 
    Currently, I write Amish adult genre. Check out my blog about my Amish discoveries.                    

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Write What You Write-

    This post is inspired by my agent, who, being a writer herself, has keen insight into the ups and downs of a writer's mind and the various reactions that go with it.
   Yesterday, those of us in our agent's client group were told that, New Adult fiction, is the hot genre now. I immediately felt I had to try to write one. After all, what I write might be on its way out.
    I assume some of the other writers/authors might have been wondering the same, since there were lots of responses to our agent's latest find on what's popular at the moment.
    Let's see, I have two completed contemporary novels and I can rework them to fit that genre. Or, I can write one from scratch. These are some of the thoughts that accompanied my morning walk in the park this morning.
    And then I received an-e-mail sent to all of us in the client group...WRITE WHAT YOU WRITE.  Ahhh, truer words cannot be said.
    If we try to fit into the most popular genres, it's often depicted in our writing. But, if we write what we are comfortable writing, and what we ourselves enjoy reading and know about, then that is reflected in our work.
    There are so many books out there.
So many different categories in the many genres. I am not apt to write a novel about fairies and wizards. Not because those stories are not good, but because I have no interest in that topic and it would surely show. And what about the joy of writing?  I prefer to enjoy what I write about, not drudge through it just because 'maybe' I'll make a decent sale. Or just for the sake of becoming published. For me, to do this could mar my craft.
    Before I write any other genre, I'll need to read a few books in that category, to see if I enjoy them. If I don't, no sense writing one. It would be like having a job I hate.
    So, while I will dabble in new areas of writing to see if I fit into any other genre beside the one I write, I will  focus on whatever I truly find enjoyable to write.
    Bottom line: In order to give readers the best I can give, I'll: write what I write! 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Value of a Critique Group

     When I was first encouraged to join a critique group I was very anxious about it.
     What if my writing wasn't up to par compared to the rest of the group? Would I be able to critique the work of other writers in a helpful manner?  How many grammatical mistakes and misspellings, plus basic writing rules would I be in the red with?
     Well, the only way to know was to go for it. So, I did. After the first critique there were red comments to the right side of my page all the way down nearly every page of my first chapter.  I winced. I hated what the comments said. Not because of the veracity of them, but because of the realization of my ignorance in writing good fiction. (I had written and published only non-fiction in the past. A whole other ball game.)
     But I read the comments and took their advice. I learned all about POV and TELLING. Neither of which I'd ever heard of before joining the group. It's amazing they kept me on. But I am grateful, because I learned and improved my craft.

     I remember one former member of the group who noticed how often I used exclamation marks. When I read through the chapter I almost laughed aloud. Nearly every other sentence had one or two at the end of it. Perhaps I was writing the way I often speak...with emphasis! Maybe too much so.
     Reading the work of the others in the group was an inspiration for me to keep at it. Some were quite experienced and published. I knew I was with a group of authors I aspired to be like.
     Now, I look forward to doing critiques and in receiving them. It's great when others catch something I've
overlooked, even after reading it several times. It assures that my submissions to my agent will be as error-free as possible.
    So, if you're a new writer, or even a well seasoned one, and haven't had the experience of being in a critique group, I highly recommend it. Yes, it takes some time to critique the work of the other writers in return, but it is interesting to read their stories and styles of writing, and the payback of their critiques is well worth it.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Waiting For That Acceptance E-mail?

   If your agent has sent out your manuscript to various publishers, you might be waiting day by day, staring at your e-mail for the one that says: They want it! 
   Instead of checking e-mail a hundred times a day for that long awaited e-mail, the best distraction and remedy is to...keep writing.
   Start a new novel. Even if you never submit it, you'll be focused on the story rather than whether or not your completed novel will be accepted.  Plus, you'll be improving your craft and creativity.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Tossing and Turning?

    When sleep eludes me and I find myself thinking of troubles, worries, and all that needs to be done the following day, I divert to my novel/s in progress.
     You'd be surprised to find how many great plots you can come up with as you wait for sleep to come. For some of us it might be a good idea to keep a pad and pencil on the night stand to jot them down, lest they be lost to grogginess after sleep finally comes.
    Thinking of stories and plots might also help prevent bad dreams. After all, most dreams are about the last things we think about. Who knows? A dream involving our stories in progress might even be a great inspiration!
    So, if after the warm milk, relaxing music, and ear plugs, you are still a bit restless before sleep, think of what your characters will do next. What changes can improve the plot. How to make the reader want to keep turning the page.
   And last but not least, think of your waking dream of getting that book published. Imagine it as a reality and you will fall into slumber with a smile on your face.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Inspiration through the printed word-

The privilege of writing inspirational fiction and Self-help books is that I have the opportunity to turn bad/sad experiences into redeeming and positive ones.
            Painful memories, whether from childhood or current, can teach us a thing or two about forgiveness and our own inner strength and resolve.
             Don’t you love to read a book that seems to speak to your personal struggles and gives you hope for a wider heart and a greater faith?  I know I do!  So, if I get the chance to write a story or a self-help book that can do that for someone else, well, that seems to be the main point of the gift I’ve been given…to turn inspirational words onto paper that can make a difference. However big…however small, doesn’t matter.  One drop of rain on parched ground is better than none.                                                                        
         Writing reminds me of sowing seeds. We scatter the seeds of our background into inspirational
stories and books. But we have no idea if they will ever reach the masses. But when those
transformed seeds sprout through the dark long hours of work and perseverance into an accepted novel or  self-help book featured on and Barnes and Noble, it’s time to rejoice. Our seeds now have the potential to be fruitful to many readers – to spread their sprouts into brokenness and sadness and bring hope and renewal.  Now, that’s an awesome power that words possess, if we use and bring them forth accordingly.   
          Some of my published words this far:     
Confronting The Bully of OCD - available on

Living With Pain - Twelve Practical Steps by Liquori from their web site.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Writing is a great habit


My computer has been on the outs for a while, on and off. This affects my writing and because of it, I realize how important it is for a writer to write...daily. Whether it be a few lines, a couple pages or a whole chapter. Putting the words down is the key.
    Sure, I can catch up on organizing my office, cleaning things that haven't been cleaned in a while, like dusting behind the TV set or behind my books on their shelves. Maybe even cook a gourmet meal. But in the end, I am lost without my writing, my characters, and my stories. No matter if they reach a publishing house, (although that is the goal and ultimate dream) the main thing is to keep at it.
    Not much different than working out. If we slack off for several days, we feel the difference. Perhaps our mood changes  or we feel restless. And then when we get back to exercising, it seems harder than ever.
    So, even if I have to write in a notepad, which I did this morning, I will write. Otherwise the characters collide in my head and this writer feels compelled to give them their voice.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Read, Retain, Re-create-

   I am currently reading Amish romance novels and non-fiction books written by former Amish. Any TV shows about the Amish are also part of my "homework." I want to know my genre well.
   Soon, I will be reading about WWII and how it affected Italy, since I hope to publish my mother's memoir, most of which is based in that country and in that time period.
    The bonus to all of this reading and research is that we are always learning... there's a vast amount of knowledge that any of us writers can accumulate and retain. And it's never too late to learn, whether we are retired and writing as a new career, or a full time author from the get-go.
      We tend to write best when we write a topic that we know about well. 
      Sometimes our surroundings can be another great asset. Writers tend to observe everything, which in turn, is stored away in our minds and gives birth in one of our stories. The way the wind blows with a bit more force in a snowfall can bring a magical silence to a bustling city...a flower peeking it's way through a crack in the sidewalk...a memorable culinary experience...and often those special romantic, warm moments, be they our own or those of others that touch us....a loving aging couple arm in arm, or a young couple kissing on a park bench. Real moments that can be reborn on the page and felt by the reader.
     In many of the Amish novels I read, I can almost taste the delicious foods described in many of the mouth waters for a warm piece of fresh baked apple pie. And the scenery of green pastures and cows grazing, even the smell of manure in the stalls comes alive as I read. I am transported to the time and place the author writes about. And those are the novels that I do not soon forget.  I hope I too can achieve the same re-creation of a sensory experience for my readers.
     It seems that many people in the arts are what I like to call "noticers." We notice every little thing...sights, smells, the feel of things, etc. And isn't it a blessing to be able to do so, and pass along the ones we relished to our fictional characters, who then transport them to the reader?  Or onto a canvas or into a song?
     As writers, we can use our talents to be the bearers of Good News in our creative endeavors.

"Everyone has inside himself-what shall I call it-a piece of good news." 
          From a framed quotation in the home of Commander & Mrs.Geoffrey Kittson
               (Courtesy of: Norman Vincent Peale's book: Why Some Positive Thinkers Get Powerful Results..)