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Become a better writer today! Today? Yes, today! How? By reading my book full of writing tips and tricks. Get your copy. My best to...

Monday, August 28, 2017

Have you heard the good news? Flight Before Dawn is now available as an audiobook!


Have you heard the good news? Flight Before Dawn, my bestselling debut novel is now an audiobook! 
Narrator Paula Faye Leinweber did an amazing job of bringing Victoire, Leal, Rainier, Voleta, Father Pierre, and the others to life. Feel the suspense, uncover the mystery, and live through the occupation of France and the struggle for liberation, in the build up to D-Day, in an all new way.

The audiobooks are available at AudibleAmazon, and Itunes
If you prefer to read instead of listen, Flight Before Dawn is available in hardcover, paperback, and ebook. For information about all of my books, including many retailers where they are available visit my website.

My best to you all,

Friday, August 25, 2017

Five For Friday: Five Questions to Ask yourself to Make Your Writing Stronger

Today I'd like to share another excerpt of my writing tips book with you. This comes from Chapter Seven: Easy Ways to Improve your Writing.

Five Questions to Ask Yourself to Make Your Writing Stronger

1. Have I engaged all senses?
Many authors write what can be seen. Have you included taste, touch, sound and smell as well?

2. Are characters speaking in dialogue or monologue?
For realistic conversation, make sure that your characters are speaking to each other, not at each other. Speaking at each other = series of monologues and not conversation.

3. Have my characters changed in some measurable way?
Plot builds character in books. It's important to show how the plot has changed your characters and how they have grown or developed by the end. If your character is static, this is a problem.

4. Is there enough suspense?
Even if you are not writing suspense, thriller or mystery, you don't want the plotting, pacing, and outcomes to be obvious. Good writing leads to the reader thinking. Make sure that you offer enough questions, twists and variety to let your readers think.

5. Is this in the best shape possible?
Yes, agents and publishers may change aspects of your story. But, don't wait for others to strengthen your writing. Make it as strong as it can be. If you know that it still needs work, that can hinder you getting the attention you need. Be willing to receive help from others, but get your work in the absolute best shape possible. If you need professional help, contact me. I've helped other authors secure publishing contracts, get agent attention, and strengthen their work. I'd be honored to help you with your writing!

My best to you all,

P.S. Did you hear the exciting news?
Flight Before Dawn, my first novel and a bestseller, is now an audiobook! My narrator did an amazing job and it's available on Amazon and Audible. Itunes coming soon! 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Liberation of Paris and Remembering the Past

August 24, 1944, the day that Paris was liberated, plays an important role in Flight Before Dawn.

Here, I share a behind the scenes commentary of one of its passages.

My best to you all,

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

A Candle in the Dark: Creation in a time of Destruction


Can we be real? Really real? It can be tempting in a time of seeming destruction to wonder at the possibilities of creation. I see many writers disillusioned by the process, knowing the power of the written word, and yet wondering what difference they can make in the face of hatred, in the shadow of a world that could be, and yet tantalizingly remains adrift.

Photo by Megan Easley-Walsh
But... and this but is important... creation is all the more important when things seem bleak. Take your cue from nature. Out of the darkness and snows of the winter bursts the buds of spring. The birds begin to sing until the choruses grow and swell in the harmonies of summer that surround us now, as they flit from bloom to bloom in the garden.

All metaphor aside and put simply, your words matter. Each person who dares to voice truth, peace, love, acceptance, equality, freedom, each voice adds to the conversation until at last the hatred will be too drowned out to matter. Have you noticed that? Hatred has to scream. It has to disrupt our lives in unthinkable ways. Do you know why? Because love is loud. Always. Peace roars in its serenity. And hatred is forced to try to compete. And so we must not let it win. We must not be silent in its wake. We must love louder. Practice peace louder. Dream louder. Live our freedom louder.

I've mentioned how my first novel, Flight Before Dawn, is about resisting the Nazis and how it's supposed to be about the past. My most recent release, Painted Faces, addresses not the end of the second world war, but the beginning. It takes place in 1938, as the storm clouds begin to gather on the horizon. Again, I've noticed many parallels with events now. It too was supposed to be about the past. Unfortunately, lately, I'm feeling like my historical fiction is not consigned to the pages of history. It often feels more like I have become a contemporary fiction author. But, historical fiction at its best, while artful and imaginative and full of interesting characters and imagined lives, has at its heart, jewels of truth about the past. It stands to warn, to caution, and to prevent the past from repeating.
And sometimes, as in these words from Painted Faces, it serves to offer hope in the face of difficulty.
 Across Europe, Hitler's gathering the fragments of death in the guise of disappointment, fear and oppression. When assembled, they will undoubtedly give rise to a monster more terrifying than any that has roared to life on Universal's screens. But just as Frankenstein's monster was scared by fire, each light kindled by a sincere desire to help another is helping to stomp out the beast.
In life, it is difficult to guarantee happily ever after. I no longer see only stardust. I came to be a part of fiction and have learned that reality can be far more horrific. Every event that has happened is not laced in happiness, just like the movies that I love, but even after living through such events, in the end, the monsters can still be put to rest and dreams can still be realized.

Excerpt from Painted Faces.

My best to you all,

Friday, August 18, 2017

Five for Friday: Dynamic Conflict for Fiction Writers

Today, I'd like to share with you a section of my writing tips book on conflict. This comes from Chapter One: Essential tools for the Writer. Plot is essentially what happens in the story. Conflict is what propels the plot. In the excerpt below, I've outlined the five major types of conflict for you. It can be tempting to think of an evil villain to set your hero up against. There's nothing wrong with that, but stories can be richer, more dynamic, and more fulfilling when conflict arises in unexpected ways. It can also make your characters seem more true to life.
Courtesy of Giphy


Conflict is an important bridge between plot and characters. Each novel, no matter the genre, contains some sort of conflict. Many contain more than one. You can layer conflicts to create more interesting plots and more dynamic characters.

Internal vs. External

External conflict is easy to spot. A firefighter battling the raging flames, a son arguing with his father, or a battle ensuing between two armies are all examples of external conflict. It is a strong component in commercial fiction, fantasy, action, adventure, mystery, crime, and some historical fiction. Internal conflict is about the issues under the surface. This may be conflicting thoughts, emotions, feelings, or interpersonal relationships that are simmering.

Five major types of conflicts

Here are some of the major conflict varieties.

Man vs. Man

This is what most people think of when conflict is mentioned. Basically, a character opposes another character. This may be as dramatic as through a battle or in a more benign way like funny sibling rivalry.

Man vs. Self

While man vs. man is external conflict, man vs. self is internal. Self-doubt, health crises, and overcoming personal obstacles are all examples of this type of conflict.

Man vs. Society

Man vs. society may be external, if the character acts against the injustice. Or it may be internal, if the character is affected by the margniazlation of society, or some other aspect of it, that has been internalized.

Man vs. Nature

This is a frequent favorite of action adventure stories. Vicious animals, bad weather, and surviving in the wilderness are all examples of man vs. nature.

Man vs. God

This may be external, such as a Greek mythology story where a character encounters a god and has some sort of interaction. Or, it may be an internal struggle, such as a character having a crisis of faith.

Need an editor or a professional proofreading of your novel? Email me at [email protected]. Full manuscripts are only $1.50 per page.

My best to you all,

Monday, August 7, 2017

Origins of Writing and Exciting Things Ahead!

Here I am, beside the papyrus plant at the botanical gardens. Hooray for papyrus, paper, and books! I have been working on some surprises and have some very exciting upcoming things to tell you about soon, with my books. I hope you're enjoying Vivian's story in Painted Faces.
All the best,

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Happy Birthday, Vivian!


It's August 1st and that means it's Vivian Harris's birthday.
Who's Vivian Harris? She's one of the central characters in my newest release, Painted Faces. Longing to exchange farm dust for stardust, she seeks out the bright lights of Hollywood! The year is 1938 and anything is possible... even encountering a new worldview, encompassing somewhere as far away as Budapest.

Here's the opening page from Painted Faces...

August 1, 1938
There's nothing wrong with Kansas. I should know. I lived there my whole life. The only thing is, I have dreams that are gigantic and in Kansas my dreams just don't fit. You know how Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz books, (By the way, MGM's filming that this year) is lifted out of Kansas into an extraordinary world and suddenly there's magical creatures and new friends but also dangers she never could have imagined? That's me. Except that, I'm not a fictional character, even though I love them, particularly those on the silver screen. I'm real.
I'm Vivian Blanche Harris and less than a year ago, I would have thought that The Wizard of Oz was only a book. I also would have never thought that somewhere as far away as Budapest could have any bearing on my life. Europe existed as a foggy, over there place. It might have been Camelot for all I knew about it.
But, that was then. That was before. Before what you ask? Before everything. Before I disappointed my family and friends. Before I dared to dream bigger than I ever have. Before I learned that the horror of the films in the theater pales in comparison to the reality that can be encountered in the world and is often far from obvious. After all, the movies are in black and white and we live in color. Each day, I'm discovering another facet of that color. The twenty candles on my cake today remind me of all those possibilities, as I pause to reflect on all that I've wished for and all that's happened.

My best to you all,