Inspiration is an interesting subject. While it’s easy to think that writing is about inspiration, I’d like to think it’s about a few other things. Persistence. Patience. And a healthy dose of wild self-confidence mixed with an equally healthy dose of wild insecurity. (You need both, by the way – one boosts you up to focus on the work and the other keeps you humble. If you can find another way to do this whole writing gig, please – PLEASE – tell me.)

Smile – Everyone’s Watching

Conferences! What a wonderful time to meet like-minded people, make friends, find mentors, learn the craft, and maybe entice that perfect agent or editor to love your stories. You can make major strides forward in your writing career by attending conferences, but you can also make some horrendous mistakes that can set you back. Let’s […]

April Showers Bring May…

…flowers? Nuh-uh, not where I live. Here in Minnesota, there’s still snow on the ground, and anything planted before Memorial Day will likely be a victim of a serial killing frost. Nope, if you grew up where I did, just south of the Canadian border, learning how to skate as soon as you walked and […]

The (Not-So) Dreaded Synopsis

In thinking about what I wanted to blog on, I remembered a synopsis article I’d written for my RWA chapter several years ago. In my distant memory, I’d recalled having fun with it (fun with a synopsis, you say?!?!) and dug it back up. I hope you’re forgive the re-do, but I thought it might […]

MOVE…or at Least Get Up and Stretch!

Hello, friends, and welcome to a non-writing but necessary blog post that will hopefully have you up and toe-tapping. Or like mentioned in the title – at least stretching.  The Rubies had a conversation a few weeks ago about our health, specifically about getting up and moving around. One of our little slippers got tied […]

National Library Week

I grew up in St Augustine Florida, the oldest city in the nation. History all round. Many buildings in use date to the early 1700’s. My grandparent’s home was built around civil war times.   One was constructed around 1783, by Bernardo Segui.  It also was the home of Edmond Smith, the last Confederate general […]

It’s All In The Past

I love a good action movie where it’s all about the ticking bomb, once in a while. However if the screen writer adds a character that touches my heart, the movie goes from good to great! When that happens, I can’t stop talking about it. I tell my family and friends. I chat about it […]

Autism and writing what you know

I give a writing craft workshop called Write What Your Family Knows. The concept is partly about research, partly about a writer’s life. By mining my family’s interests or careers, I have instant access to a (mostly) inexhaustible source of expert information. Do I want an alpha hero? Little brother is an Army retiree. Do […]

Industry Terms

Sometimes authors and those in publishing rattle off industry terms and acronyms forgetting not everyone knows what they mean, so I’ve listed a few. Feel free to add, or ask about those not included in comments.    TYPES OF FICTION Commercial Fiction- Fiction written in ‘plain’ language that focuses on plot and content rather than prose.  Commercial fiction, […]

Write Me a Book as Fast as You Can!

Many of us grew up reciting nursery rhymes from Mother Goose. The other day I was thinking about how chaotic the writing life sometimes is. We live from deadline to deadline or feel like we’re stuck on an assembly line that slowly picks up speed. It’s easy to keep up at first, but pretty soon […]

What I learned from the trash truck

For twelve years, every Monday night I’ve taken the trash can out to the curb for early Tuesday pickup. You’d think by now taking the trash out on Monday night would be imbedded in my DNA. Nope, last Monday night I didn’t take out the trash or pick up the mail. No reason for it, […]

The Value of Another Pair of Eyes

So you finished your first draft… WHEEEEEEEE!!!  Pop the champagne!  Read that book you’ve been saving!  Dive into your stash of Dove chocolate!  Celebrate that moment!  Make sure you are reminding yourself how huge that accomplishment is and how amazing you are – don’t forget to revel in the moment!  But then, the next day […]


Let’s talk about voice.  No, not the TV show. The ‘voice’ that comes through in your story. Your book. And I don’t mean reading it out loud. I mean what YOU bring to the story. Ever ask anyone to define voice? Most times I’ve gotten something along the lines of, I can’t tell you what […]

Getting Back on the Writing Horse or A true account of a writer/non-writer/writer

Do you remember the first time you sat down with your hands poised over the keyboard ready to write the Great American Novel? The characters were talking to you, the plot was strong, and the words flowed. A wide range of emotions came from both you and your characters. In order to get those words […]

It takes a family…

Most of my blog posts have writers as their target audience. Not this post.  Today I’m addressing our families. Living with a writer can be a tough job.  We’re odd creatures.  We do things that would get other people locked up—like hearing voices.  Sobbing randomly.  Plotting murder. You, our loved ones, worry about us.  You […]

Consolation Day (Phone Didn’t Ring Wednesday? We’ve Got Chocolate..and some helpful advice!!!)

 **because the blog was down so long Friday morning, I’m extending the chance to comment through the weekend, and will keep awarding the remaining prizes through Sunday evening. Keep commenting!** Well, #*$&#@$!!!!! And waaaaaaaah!!!!! And also NO DANGED FREAKIN’ FAIR!!!!!!!!!! You had such a FABULOUS book entered for the Golden Heart or the RITA this […]

Welcome 2018 Golden Heart and RITA Finalists!!

CONGRATULATIONS, 2018 FINALISTS!!! We know you must still be floating in the clouds!!! And you deserve every moment of happiness! RWA judges are tough, and nobody gets where you are without having written a FABULOUS book!! (See the full slate of 2018 nominees here). We have a tradition here at the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood of […]

It’s Golden Heart / RITA Announcement Day!! And We’re Throwing a Cyber-Party!!

LET THE ANNOUNCEMENTS BEGIN… Those amazing Golden Heart and RITA nomination phone calls are going out today, and thousands of hopeful romance authors are trembling with anticipation as they wait to see if their phone will ring!! We’re here to cheer, commiserate, celebrate, hold hands with other nervous hopefuls, give you good company to gnaw […]

10 Ways to Kill Time Until the Call

Warning: The following post is a bit tongue-in-cheek. It’s a Ruby Reprise from a few years ago (with some minor updates), but the tips are still valid…especially the chocolate one. 😉 10 Ways to Kill Time Until the Call… GH, RITA, or THE Call It’s almost here! The day calls go out to the Golden […]

Art & Business – You Can Blend Both

I’ve had some great conversations recently with several different people in my life (writer friends, non-writer friends, extended family) and inevitably conversation swings through a variety of topics. Amazingly, if you dig under the discussion, what we’re really bubbles up is the effort it takes to combine art with business.

St. Patrick’s Day Fun – Make a Little Magic

Tomorrow is a day of magic! Leprechaun magic! Although St. Patrick’s Day is anchored in Ireland, many people off the green isle celebrate the magic of this fun day. Even though I have reddish hair and some freckles, and my dad looks like a Leprechaun, I’m not Irish. But ever since I was a wee […]

National Write Your Story Day.

Today is National Write Your Story Day. This is something dear to me so, I thought I’d do a quick drive by blog. Many, many stories are lost because they were never written down or even shared verbally. People think their stories aren’t important. I feel they all are. Every single one. Please do this […]

Finishing the Damn Book

Do you know that feeling when unfinished tasks plague you and you feel like you’re haunted by the things you haven’t completed?  Turns out there’s a scientific reason for that.  It’s called the Zeigarnik effect.  Psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik noted that waiters could remember orders in incredible detail, but as soon as they completed the task […]

My Muse is an Angsty Teenager – How to Handle Writer’s Block

As writers, at one time or another, we experience writer’s block, that hair-pulling, empty-brained void filled with silent characters, standing around doing nothing. They wait, and you wait for inspiration. Oh, wherefore art thou, muse?!   I envision my muse as a teenager (maybe because I live with some of those taciturn creatures). When my […]

The Great CP Search (Reprisal from April 2017)

If you’ve been a Ruby blog follower for a long time, you may recall my March 10th, 2011 article on critique partners — AKA cattle prods.   If you didn’t  read it, you might want to now as it’s relevant to this post. During the RWA national conference we heard from many writers looking for a CP.  I won’t […]

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