5 Ways to Celebrate the Authors in your life

National Author Day Eve: 5 Ways to Celebrate the Authors in your Life


  1. Buy an author’s work: BUY, meaning don’t steal, beg, or borrow, and WORK, meaning books, magazine articles, poetry, or journals that have published essays.
  2. Promote an author’s events: attend a reading, bring a friend, buy a book (don’t worry, i’ll only repeat this once), post the reading/signing/party/workshop on your social media–it helps visibility!social-promotion
  3. Spread the word! Talk up the author or book by reviewing the work. Use online sites like Goodreads or LibraryThing, or drop it into conversation at your book club/excuse for drinking wine. Ask your local library to get a copy for your community–it’s easy! Read the book in public–you know people are voyeurs.
  4. Give the author feedback! It makes the author feel seen, appreciated, and respected, while also giving her specific details on what she is doing right and what she may need to work more on. The specific part is key.obama-i-see-you
  5. And last on my personal wish list?? Give an author a hug. A sense of connection is important.dscf0039


Happy National Author’s Day!


Images via InnovationGames, Professional Social PromotionMemeMaker, & Heather’s toes 😉

Your Writing Environment


Welcome to the third post in my new series about preparing for, and surviving, NanoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Join me in November to attempt this valiant feat yet again- check in with the writing community on our Facebook page.

If you are going to undertake a concentrated effort to write 50,000 words in 30 days, you’ll want to have your writing environment established. I’m here to help you set it up.

What makes up this ‘environment’? Well, there are plenty of wonderful examples of famous dead writers’ workspaces , and the recent trend of posting about one’s own workspace. I love these latter ones, especially when the writer explains why the place works for them.

But there are also other elements, such as music (some like quiet, some loud, some none), positioning (toward a wall, a window), timing (early morning vs late at night)…endless possibilities for the finicky writers in all of us!

Clean, minimalist, soothing


It’s bare, giving you space to create.

It’s light-filled, making you feel buoyant and supported.

It uses a semi-comfortable chair, ensuring you are ergonomically comfortable but don’t fall asleep.

Who likes this one?

Cozy, Saturated, Comforting


This one likely has easy access to books, where they crowd you at each elbow.

This one has a super-comfy chair that makes the discomforts of the sitting position vanish as your imagination takes off (or your focus sharpens, as in this case with the writer’s edits ready to go).

This one comes complete with cat, safely off the writing surface–peaceful coexistence, unlocked!

Who likes this one?


Chatter, warm drink, calm in a storm


Here you have liveliness, which gives you energy.

Here you are an island of calm, a black hole of concentration in a sky of chattering constellations.

Here you are forced to work on what you came for and not get distracted…unless you give in to the wifi sirens!

Who prefers this one?

My Mash-up Style


home setup desk cozy

At different times, I use all of these writing environments, although it must be said the clutter-free, minimalist look gets the least play around here.

It’s part of my strategy, which can be summed up as “A change is as good as a rest.” I’ve talked about resetting the inner writer, and that is part of the same strategy. By facing one battle, getting the work done, and shifting course, it resets the attention span, creative juices, and sitting muscles.

I’ve got my wingback armchair, two cluttered bookcases, the desk, and an organizer cabinet in one corner.

I’ve got the pale-wood Ikea table in the kitchen nook (where I’m writing from now), which is easy to clear off.

And when I’ve been cooped up at home for too long, and not even lounging on the sofa will do the trick, I head to the Clearing Cafe, a modest (i.e. not caught up in its own hipster vibe) coffee shop with good (and healthy!) food available, a brisk 20-minute-walk from home.

So, back to you. Do your reactions to these environments give you a clue as to which works best for you? Will you try something new for NaNo? Let me know in the comments, or in our Facebook group!

Here are some more resources on how to set up a divinely inspiring writing environment:

I hope that helps you all on the practical side of your writing journey. I’d love to hear which environment appeals to readers, or what I’ve left out!


Images via Pinterest, MeaganSpooner.com, and New Scientist, as well as the author herself.

Why NaNoWriMo Works for Both Writers & Editors

Welcome to the second post in my new series about preparing for, and surviving, NanoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Join me in November to attempt this valiant feat yet again- check in with the writing community on our Facebook page.

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who love writing and those who love editing. Here is a fairy tale that may encourage some of you writers out there.

tale of two sisters horror movie

There once were two sisters. Johanna and Jamilla. Johanna loved to write. The blank page was her friend. Ideas flew into her head at the slightest provocation. She wrote everyday, but had a hard time refining these ideas into polished prose. Her sister Jamilla, on the other hand, loved to edit. She loved to mark up pages with her red pen. Once she heard a sentence, the ways to improve it immediately suggested themselves. She happily polished her work everyday, but had a hard time moving on to write something new because the blank page terrified her.

One day they talked about what they loved about writing, and editing, respectively:

“You can start anywhere, and end up anywhere!”

“You can try out as many words you like, until it sings!”

“I feel free as a bird, my pen the captain of a ship!”

“I feel like the smartest person in the room, able to bring out the truth beneath the text!”

“Hmm,” said Johanna. “Editing sounds nice.”

“Huh,” said Jamilla. “The way you put it, writing sounds nice, too.”

And from that day forward, they took turns reminding each other the good things about writing, and editing, respectively, whenever one or the other got frustrated.

“Remember, your pen is Admiral Lord Nelson at Trafalgar!”

“And remember, you’re the smartest person in all of Florin and Guilder!”

And the two sisters lived productively, and successfully, ever after.


Image via MikeMcStay

How I Approach NaNoWriMo

Welcome to the first post in my new series about preparing for, and surviving, NanoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)

NaNo works for me because … I am capricious.

I can be good at discipline, but only until I get bored of it, or feel limited by it, then I toss it aside.

I have thought before of how this makes me look like a ‘dabbler,’ an ‘amateur,’ a ‘dilettante,’ but I’m convinced I’m not that.

moon on water

No, if you want an explanation, look at how the moon works on the tides. It’s a mystery to me, except in that the water comes in and goes out, sometimes more, sometimes less. I write more and I write less, and my feeling of self-worth can wax and wane with my output, but in the end what is important is that I still write.

The period of 30 days is short enough to stick with, and it provides a wonderful thrill of adrenaline. If you prepare at least a little bit, you will have something to go on, and then at the end of a month, you have a lot more to go on, because your story has rolled itself out in front of you!

The only problem then is figuring out how you’ll shoehorn yourself into the discipline required for editing it.


Image via findingmarcoharlequinlover

Getting in the Mood for Halloween

I’m not much of a Halloween person.

halloween costume fail optimus prime

But I DO love mysteries.

And Halloween is sort of about Mystery…right?

Join me and two of my fellow authors this weekend!


We’ll be reading from our scary/creepy/suspenseful works on Saturday, October 8th, 1:30-3 PM at Another Read Through in Portland.

Check out the Facebook Event page for more information, and to let us know if you can make it! Keep working on those costume ideas, though… 😉


Images via CostumeFail and Authors’ websites