Seizing the Moment–and Wishing that I Hadn’t

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I attended my first writers conference in 1999, convinced that they’d kick me out once they discovered I had no writing talent. The third year, I gathered enough courage to schedule an appointment with the editor of a major Christian magazine to pitch a personal experience article. While the piece didn’t fit his periodical, John liked the basic story and suggested changes to make before I submitted it. I was thrilled that he didn’t just say no. At dinner that evening someone asked if I’d had any exciting appointments. I told them about my meeting with John. Joanne shouted, “He’s…

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Are You a Cheerleader or a Nitpicker?

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Are you a cheerleader or a nitpicker? by Linore Rose Burkhard Every author I know, myself included, wants to make readers happy, especially the cheerleaders who love our genre and stories. After all, by loving and reading our books, they keep us in business. Nevertheless, not all readers agree on what works for them, and some get downright nitpicky. What’s a writer to do when we are stymied by conflicting feedback? Case in point:  my recent release (Miss Tavistock’s Mistake: Brides of Mayfair, Book One). Reader 1: “The Jane-esque language in this novel is exquisite.” Reader 2:  “Kudos to Ms….

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Saying Goodbye is Never Easy   

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Often, when an author begins writing a series, they have an idea of how long it will be. Knowing in advance when to stop gives the author the opportunity to develop their characters and their series, and to bring it to a logical conclusion with a satisfying character arc and ending. Which just goes to show how little I knew about writing a series when I began my By the Numbers series. In fact, when I wrote the first title, No Accounting for Murder, I didn’t even know it would be a series. Until I wrote THE END. Well, last…

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On Horses and Storylines

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Miss Christie’s little black ears twitch at each note as morning birds serenade us. We start most mornings (God, weather, and coffee supply willing) in our treetop screened porch, nestled under blankets, Bible and journal nearby. Very soon, Miss Christie and I will begin our days from the pleasurable confines of Cosmo, my Class B RV. The three of us are hitting the road on Memorial Day, heading to Oklahoma City, where we will reside in an RV lot for a ten-day horse show. The Amazing Miss Clara—my nine-year-old quarter horse mare, Jess, our trainer and several other dear friends…

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The First Zip Line Ride?

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Fun trivia: The Brooklyn Bridge opened in 1883. The first person to cross it was E. F. Farrington, the Bridge’s master mechanic. But instead of walking across the bridge, he went by zip line! I discovered this fascinating bit of trivia while doing research for my novel, A Sicilian Farewell, part of which is set in late 19th-century Brooklyn. Dr. MaryAnn Diorio is an award-winning author who writes riveting fiction that deals with the deepest issues of the human heart. Her latest novel, IN BLACK AND WHITE, a love story about racism, released in November 2019. MaryAnn has also written…

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A Funny Thing Happened – On the Way to a Story

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“A book with a cowboy on the cover. Historical.” That’s what the editor wanted. Did I have such a story, she wanted to know. No. Well, not really. But I could. After all, I’m a writer. I could come up with an idea, couldn’t I? Let’s see. Set it in Colorado. In the 1880s. Do some online research. What happened in Colorado in that time? A drought in the southwestern part of the state. For several years prior, in fact. Gold mining. Silver mining. Wait a minute. Cowboys care about water. And silver mining? Who knew. So I was off…

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Reflections From the Road

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My recent retirement prompted a personal move from Illinois to my home state of Wisconsin—which meant my awesome nine-year-old quarter horse mare and I also moved to a new barn and horse trainer. All of these changes resulted in prepping, practicing, and praying for success on a brand-new horse show circuit this year. We agreed to an aggressive schedule of shows that would take us from Wisconsin to Oklahoma City for our first event; onto Las Vegas for our second show—The Silver Dollar Circuit—and then to Scottsdale, AZ for our final event, the Sun Circuit. This was my first series…

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Water or Not?

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Sandra Glahn While I’ve often written for medical publications—both fiction and non—I am not myself a physician. But I’ve been on the receiving end of more than my share of surgeries and treatments, so I can definitely write from the patient’s perspective. When I wrote non-fiction medical information for the trade market, my editors usually viewed my “lack of knowledge” as a benefit. My ignorance meant I naturally said “miscarriage” instead of “spontaneous abortion” and  “bruise” instead of “contusion.” But when I decided to branch into fiction to explore complex medical issues (Lethal Harvest; Deadly Cure; False Positive), I knew…

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way To a Story

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“She’s cute, and perky, and all the things I’m not.” That’s how my real life persona, Donna Schlachter, describes me. I’m not sure why, because she’s a pretty swell person herself. Still, I suspect it’s because she likes to live vicariously through me. Kind of like a split personality. Maybe all authors are that way. We live our lives through our characters. Putting them in situations most of us would never experience. When I wrote the first book in this series, I had a character, an occupation, and a murder—but I didn’t know whodunit, or why. I got to within two…

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A Guide to Getting Away to Write

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by Judith Couchman At some point in a writing career, most authors entertain the idea of getting away to write. We think about peace, quiet, focus, solitude. No interruptions. And the beauty of working in a seaside condo or a woodland cabin. Sounds wonderful, right? It can be. Or it can balloon into disappointment. It depends on how we prepare for it. Yes, prepare. Prepare by setting guidelines for an enjoyable writing venture. Guidelines can sound like knocking the romance out of a get-away dream. However, if we adopt a laissez faire approach to a writing trip, we can wind…

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