New Year’s for Writers

Donna Renzulli, author of the children’s book “Dangerous Reading,” posted an interview with me on her blog “A Writing Primate” as an inspiration for New Year’s resolutions for writers.

Below are the questions she asked:

  1. Tell us what you mean by developing a “mind-set” for writing, and how important is it to the creative process?
  2. You equate story-telling with building a house: foundation, adding structure of walls and roof, the flooring, painting and adding designer touches. Elaborate for us the use of the 7 stage process described in your book which maps out the writing of a story with beginning, middle and end.
  3. What recommendations can you give to a writer who is blocked about writing a certain idea, but can’t seem to get a handle on it?
  4. What if you already have a rough draft or even a completed manuscript, how can your book, The Writer’s Compass help the writer?
  5. Building tension is important to any story line. What tools/ideas would you recommend on how to do this naturally in developing this sense of urgency?
  6. Tell us a little about what you are currently working on?
  7. Please give us an eight-word description of your life.

For the answers, check out her website at


What Was Your Last Unwanted Advice?

Recently I was meeting with a friend and we were discussing her book that is coming out soon. I wanted to help her out and was giving her my “advice” on what I’ve learned. Finally she said, “I’m paying a PR firm a lot of money, I think I’ll take their advice first.”

I was stunned and a little hurt, after all I was well-meaning, but I think she did me a favor. She helped me to see that sometimes people don’t want our advice.

Being a mother and a teacher, I forget that sometimes other people just want someone to talk, not to listen to you tell them what to do. The first clue is when they argue with everything you say—a clear indicator you can’t offer a solution, instead just offer an ear.

When was the last time you offered to “help” someone by imparting your intelligent responses to how they should handle the issues in their life? Or when was the last time you had to sit through a bucket-load of advice from someone else?

Rings of Gold

An important part of my life is my faith. I’ve decided to start another blog that specifically discusses issues and contemplations from my religious life. The blog is titled “Filthy Garments & Rings of Gold” based on verses from the Bible that I find particularly meaningful. If interested, I hope you will join me there.

Two Interviews: Characters and Writing

Mike Angley, award-winning author of the Child Finder Trilogy interviewed me for his blog. Much of the conversation had to do with developing strong characters, as well as some other thoughts I hope you will find interesting. Check out the interview and more about Mike and his trilogy at

Also, if you missed it, be sure to check out Sylvia L. Ramsey’s “Thoughtful Reflections” blog with our interview at Sylvia has some interesting questions about writing and writing habits.

A Creative Tool For Developing Business Stories

Lou Hoffman invited me to write a guest blog for “Ishmael’s Corner.” The blog is a writing exercise to help people in business with idea generation using a story development technique. Check out the exercise and the blog at

Article in Writers Digest

Be sure to check out my article, “Put Your Novel On The Map,” in the Writers Digest magazine January 2012 issue. The article has an interesting graphic representing a structure map and access to a free map Writers Digest created as a giveaway.