Six Lessons my Five-Year-Old Can Teach You About Selling Books

It was a cold, rainy day and I was at the college where my wife works to meet with an acting student who needed to record an audition for a film role. Although college was in session, the elementary school was closed for the day and so my job after coaching my student was spending time with my five-year-old son.

Those of you who follow me regularly on Twitter (@pauljennynyc) and Facebook often see photos and hear stories about this little boy’s abundant energy, wild craziness and free-flowing imagination. He inspires me to write and to tell stories for a living. Seeing the world through his eyes keeps wonder alive in me. He’s always saying or doing something surprising, silly or even profound and I’m a better person in his presence.

After finishing the coaching session with my student, I came back to the lobby and my son had set himself up behind a low bench that he was using as a table. He had five paper cups festooned with push pins, screws and paper clips with hand written price tags next to each decorated cup.

I knew right away what those cups were. They were Daleks. My son is obsessed with the Daleks from Dr. Who and loves to make models of them with whatever he can get his hands on.


Fair use. Uploaded by Edokter to Wikipedia.

Three of the Daleks had $1.00 price tags. One had a $10 price tag and another cost $1001. Each handmade Dalek pretty much looked like every other one, but he was trying different prices to see what would sell.

LESSON ONE: Try different price structures on your books. Most of them will probably sell at $.99-$2.99 but I think it’s a good idea to put a few of them out there at a higher price. There is even some research to suggest that setting the price higher and then marking that price down during a sale will suggest that the book is a really good deal. You already know that it IS a good deal, but the psychology of the good deal is well-documented.

I asked him why the one Dalek was so expensive. He said, “Well, if someone has that kind of money and really likes Daleks, they might buy it for that much.”

I had to agree with this kind of thinking, but I thought the more expensive Dalek needed something to set it apart so I took a gold paperclip and made it into a kind of antenna for him. I said, “Here put this on the expensive Dalek and say it is a ‘Special Edition’ and then people will think of it differently.”

He grinned from ear to ear and poked a few new holes to put the “golden” paperclip antenna on the special edition Dalek. Now it was different. Now it really was a special edition compared to the other Daleks.

Students wandered by the bench as they were passing from class to class. With each and every student, my son would hop up from behind his table, run over to them with a big smile and say, “Do you want a Dalek?”

The students would come over thinking he was giving them away, but then he showed them the price and their smiles would turn into frowns. Most would say they didn’t have any cash and then walk away. My son started to get frustrated.

I said, “You should always say, ‘Would you like to buy a Dalek?’ that way they know you are selling them and the people who are interested in buying will come over and look at what you’re selling.”

He agreed. He tried it with the next group of students. They were interested and came over to check out the paper cup Daleks.

LESSON TWO: Make sure you let people know you are selling your books. Just putting them on the various sites for sale but then never doing any kind of outreach won’t be very effective. You have to reach out and let people know that you have something they might want. There are may ways to do this without being spammy. By doing some research you can find the best ways to do this for the genre you’re working in.

Those students still didn’t buy. It seems college students don’t carry a lot of cash on them during class. So, I made another suggestion.

“Next time someone comes by, politely say, ‘Excuse me, would you like to buy a Dalek?’ then, when they say, ‘I would like to but I don’t have any cash’, offer to trade them something for the Dalek instead.”

He tried this tactic with the next student – a young man with glasses who was definitely a Dr. Who fan.

“Excuse me, would you like to buy a Dalek?” my son asked.

“How much are they?” The student looked amused and slightly uncomfortable and pushed his glasses back up on his nose.

“This one is $1001 but that is a special edition with a gold antenna. These are only $1.00.”

“That’s a great deal! But I don’t have any cash.”

“Would you be willing to trade something?”

“Let me see…” The young man pulled out his wallet and checked his pockets to see if he had anything he could trade and in doing so, noticed that he did have a dollar.

“Actually, I do have a dollar. Here you go!” The young man handed him a dollar.

My son beamed. He jumped up and down. He waved the dollar in the air.

“Don’t forget to give him his Dalek and say thank you,” I said.

“Oh! Here you go. Thank you!” He handed the young man his Dalek and continued to do the money dance while squealing and leaping around the room.

LESSON THREE: By engaging with your customers you can make more sales. By letting them know there are many ways to purchase what you have to offer you give them lots of opportunities to become a buyer. Being polite by saying “Excuse me” and “Thank you” is always a good practice. Also, money dances are a lot of fun and fill me with joy!

For the next three hours my son asked almost every person who stopped buy if they wanted to either buy or trade something for a handmade Dalek. After awhile he started offering them to buy or trade and his “sales” slowed.

I said, “You should lead with, ‘Would you like to buy a Dalek?’ then if they say they have no cash, offer to trade with them. By giving them too many options right away, they can’t decide and then make no decision at all.”

He thought about this and nodded. Then he started making some drawings to sell. He was getting low on Daleks. The only ones left were the $10 and $1001 Special Edition Dalek.

LESSON FOUR: Giving your buyers too many options all at once is confusing and can cause people to not engage with you. I have a few friends who are selling classes, books, lectures, seminars, workshops and I get so many emails and notices from them that even if I wanted to take part, I wouldn’t know which offer to take because there are so many of them. Some offer free things for participating, some offer discounts if I act by a certain time, but all of them are being offered at once and I get overwhelmed. I know I’d rather just get one solid, convincing offer that is a great deal than tons of offers all at once.

The drawings he made were almost as popular as the Dalek models. He drew a picture of New York City, Dark Vader (he insists that’s what he should be called), tanks fighting, a train, some scribble marks, a page full of ‘W’s and lots of pictures of R2-D2 and BB-8, his newest obsession.

LESSON FIVE: Diversify! You really need more than one book to make any money. Look at what other authors are doing. They are usually busy building up a catalog. The more product you have to offer, the more diverse of an audience you can reach. He needed more than one product to keep people’s interest. Not everyone is into Dr. Who. There were a surprising amount of college students who didn’t know what a Dalek was.

As the day went on he sold four of the five Daleks. (He let the $10 Dalek go for a pen/stylus combination that matched his tablet. Pretty good trade!) The $1001 Dalek went home with us, it was a Special Edition after all.

handmade dalek

He sold or traded all of his drawings. He earned $3.95 in cash, plus a 10p coin and a Danish coin (perhaps a 50 øre). He traded for a green pen with no top, a catalog from Mrs. Fields, a gorilla key chain with no arms that he said had a 3D butthole (turned out to be a small screw in the gorilla’s backside), a half pack of gum, a piece of a sugar cookie, a piece of a brownie cookie, the pen/stylus and a bobby pin to hold his money together.



At the end of the day, as he was packing up, he gave away all the leftover drawings to his lucky last customer. The money dance was danced many times. He had a great day interacting with people of all ages and backgrounds. He earned enough money to go to the toy store later and buy himself a new toy, but he also learned a very valuable lesson:

LESSON SIX: By creating something from nothing, putting it out there in the world and saying “If you are interested in this, I will trade you something for it” you can have a very rewarding life. There might not be a ton of money involved but you could end up with a bag full of treasure by the end of the day.

If you take these lessons from my five-year-old and apply them to your book sales, you’ll be doing the money dance in no time! Leave a comment if you do. I love hearing from you.

How To Write & Publish a #1 Bestselling Children’s Book to Amazon in a Weekend (Sort of…)

Thank You Bear COVER FINAL

The title of this post was the promise made by a recent free webinar I did recently. One of the people responsible for the “Chicken Soup for the (fill in profitable niche group here) Soul” publishers sponsored the webinar. Like most of these free webinars, it was well presented and had some great information, but I think the title, “How To Write & Publish a #1 Bestselling Children’s Book to Amazon in a Weekend” is a bit misleading.

The thing about these free webinars  is that they are part of a “funnel” to pull people in with an offer of something for free and then, at the end of the presentation, they offer a class or service (or classes and services together) that they say is worth in $2000-$3000 range (or more). When they hook you with the price of how much everything would cost separately, they cut it a few times to around $300 (give or take). It reminds a bit of the late, great Billy Mays of infomercial fame saying, ‘But wait, there’s more!”

Just to be clear, this is not a post about trashing these free webinars. I want to share my experience of trying out the information without buying the product offered at the end. I don’t know how much money the publishers make running these free webinars, but it seems like a great way of making extra income that also drives people to your books. If you get 100 people to pay $300 for the product, you make a nice paycheck. If anyone has run one of these and has numbers they would like to share, please contact me.

Most of the free “Write a Best-Seller Quickly” webinars I’ve participated in give the same basic information over and over:

  1. Do research on in the niche you want to write in. Then do a mashup, i.e. Something that is popular mashed-up with something else popular to make a new thing. This one takes a video game that is popular and mashes it up with the “Diary of a Wimpy” kid series.
  2. Write and publish your book. (Made to sound easy!!!)
  3. Drive people to the site and have a free offer to develop an email list.

The offer was for a lot of videos, a website for support, a promotional group, phone coaching and seemed like a great deal, but I didn’t take them up on it. I wanted to see if I could actually write and publish a children’s book in a weekend.

So I hopped in the shower, where I usually go to get good ideas for books, and when I came out, I had an idea. I did the Amazon research, but wasn’t ready to try a mash-up just yet. It seemed like animal books about bears were doing pretty well, so I went to, a site that has licensed photos that anyone can use for free as long as they transform them into something else. I searched for photos of bears and other animals.

While searching, a little story started to form. The photos of the Sun Bear showed him being very expressive. He was a cute bear and I thought, “What if the Sun Bear was always being asked questions by the other animals?” Then, when Sun Bear answers them, they say, “Thank you,” and he says, “You’re welcome.”Definitely not a novel length story, but it seemed like a charming way to teach little ones about that concept and the photos were gorgeous and already licensed.

By that paragraph it seems that, “Bam!” I had a children’s book. But, no!

I had to gather all the photos and format them properly, write the rhymes for the story with pacing and rhythm that worked, bring in repetitive elements, find software that would compile the book, design a cover, write the front matter and back matter and put it all together, sign up for a Kindle Direct Publishing account and THEN publish the book.

It’s a LOT more work than it seems and this was a fairly simple picture book.

So, I gathered my photos and put them in different orders. When a photo didn’t work, I looked for others that did. Like I said, is a free site, so some of the photos are brilliant and some are rubbish, you have to really search to find consistent quality. All of the photos I found were bright and clear with the animals doing dynamic things. That took about two days.

In the meantime, I wrote the copy. I edited the copy about 8-10 times for clarity, rhythm and rhyme. I kept trying to find just the right rhythms for a read aloud book. That took about 3 or 4 days to get right. My son, Willoughby, who is five, was a big help with this.

Then there was the software. I downloaded Amazon’s Kindle Kids’ Book Creator software from their site. It’s easy to use, but the user interface doesn’t have a lot of explanation. It took me several tries to figure out how to place text on the pages, how to keep the photos looking clear and how to add clickable links.

When I had the pictures and words of the book assembled, which took about three days or so, I wrote the front matter and back matter and tried to add links. The front matter was the copyright and title page, the welcome letter and the dedication page. My mother-in-law, who was like a mother to me, passed away recently, so I dedicated the book to her. Then I found a great quote from Dr. Seuss that seemed right, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

I wanted to include fun animal activities and interesting facts about the animals in the book, too. It took a few more days to come up with the animal activities and then I had to research the facts about the animals. I finished these two pages, then added a few “thank you’s” on the back page.

I also wanted clickable links in the front and back matter, so I spent hours trying to figure out how to make this work. I went to the Forums for help, but the help varied and kind of explained what was going wrong. No matter how much I tried, I couldn’t seem to get it to work. I finally stumbled on what I thought was the solution and tried that.

Then I designed and built a cover about 10 times. No matter what I did to the cover, it still ended up looking blurry when I uploaded the book to the Kindle Previewer. It looked fine as a thumbnail, but there is still something wrong with this part of the book. If anyone knows a solid solution to this, please contact me at

I signed into Kindle Direct Publishing on Amazon and went through the process to upload the book. I wrote copy for the landing page, describing ” Thank You, Bear!” and how the AGAIN, AGAIN books are meant to be read over and over so that children learn the words and concepts in the book.

When I finally checked all the proper boxes and figured out exactly what Amazon was asking for, I hit the PUBLISH button!

I now had a book on Amazon. Wow!

But it was a LOT more than just  a weekend. I took the free webinar on April 1 (no joke). I hit publish on April 6. Not too bad, but definitely more than a weekend.

I let the book be out there for a while before I ran a giveaway and invited friends and family to download the book for free.

They responded and left amazing reviews which drove “Thank You, Bear!” to #1 in ebooks for kids for Bears and Manners! The other benefit was I got to reconnect with a lot of friends I hadn’t spoken with in a long time. All of their news started showing up in my Facebook feeds since I had invited them to my virtual book launch.

After putting the book out there for several days, I realized there were a few problems with the book. The number one problem was the lack of clickable links. A good friend, the illustrator Anita Søelver, reached out to help.

After about 10 hours of searching forums, trying different things, she was able to find an article that showed how you had to REMOVE code from the page, not ADD anything to it. I finally had clickable links. We still haven’t figured out the cover issue.

So for about three or four days after I published the book, I was still tweaking things to make it better. Total time working on the book? I’d say about a week and a half, working on it part-time, three or four to five or six hours a day.


You can write and publish a children’s book fairly quickly on Amazon with their Kindle Kids’ Book Creator, but it helps to have a knowledgeable community surrounding you that can help you when you get stuck. I think it might have been easier if I’d decided to sign up for the class, but then I would’ve added a few weeks to the process while I learned the information, processed it, and figured it out. I wanted to just jump in there and do it. I haven’t done a mash-up title yet, but I want to try that as well. I’ll post the results here.

I do have several more children’s books almost ready to go, but I’m taking a bit more time this time through. I want to avoid the constant updating of titles, descriptions, and covers that I went through the first time. If you ever need any advice or help, feel free to reach out to me. Here’s the next book’s cover:


As always, I’d love to hear from anyone else about their experience of trying to publish something quickly. Please leave a comment and tell us all about it.

If you made it this far, I’d love it if you downloaded “Thank You, Bear! An AGAIN, AGAIN Book” and left a review. It’s only $1.99 right now. I’m running another FREE giveaway April 20, 21 and 22 for Earth Day. Just click the book cover to go to the page. Thank you!

Thank You Bear COVER FINAL

Five Things I Learned About Writing from Being an IT Cable Tech


I’m covered in drywall dust. It’s in my hair, my eyes, the creases of my skin. My blue jeans are cloudy white from all the dust covering them.

As I walk, little puffs of drywall dust, fall from my shoulders. I spent most of the day as a cable tech for a small IT Telephone Installation company doing the telephone and computer cables for a methadone clinic that is moving into a new building.

I worked 10-and-a-half hours today, never sitting, always thinking about what to do next, trying to figure out how to accomplish the tasks that needed to be done. As I stood on that ladder all day, my head in the ceiling, I realized that what I was doing was a lot like trying to get a first draft completed.

One of the main jobs of a cable tech is doing cable runs. The boxes of CAT 5 or CAT 6 ethernet cable start in the telephone closet. From there I have to run the cables up into the ceiling and then out to each of the rooms that needs a voice and data connection. I gather as many cables as I need for each run and use electrical tape to attach them to a long, flexible fiberglass rod of about 10-30 feet, that are called “the sticks.”

Then I open the drop ceiling and push the sticks with the cables attached in the direction I want them to go. There’s a beginning, the telephone closet, and the end, the office that needs the voice and data connections. But what happens in the middle and how I actually get to the end, is the journey that changes with every new location.

As I was drilling holes in the wall all day, this seemed like such an apt metaphor for how I was working on my current first draft I wanted to share it with you.

Five Things I Learned About Writing from Being an IT Cable Tech

1. It starts out as a MESS.

When we show up for a new job, the telephone closet (if it IS even a closet, sometimes it’s a flooded, moldy basement) is usually a tangled mess. There are cables going everywhere. Some are punched down (or connected) on the patch panel where they’re supposed to be. Some are cut and stuck in a hole in the wall and we have no idea where they are going. Some are just wrapped in tight knots around each other in a pasta-like configuration we call “spaghetti.” The great news is that by the end of the day, that mess will be a neatly coiled, fully functioning phone and computer system.

The first draft I’m working on right now is just like this. I have some great beats that I know will work, they connect. The characters know what they want and how they are going to try to get it. Those are the cables that are working.

But for the most part, this first draft is filled with all of these crazy ideas and tangents and random characters that are kind of stuck in that hole in that wall with no idea where they are going.

The 30,000 words I now have (on my way to probably triple that) are nothing but a giant mess of spaghetti. But I know that as I keep working on the story, teasing it out, stretching out the story lines, just like with the cables, my first draft mess will eventually be a fully functioning story.

2. We make a PLAN and stick to it, until something BAD happens, then we make ANOTHER plan.

Before we start untangling and doing cable runs, we go from room to room and figure out how many cables we need for each room, where they have to go and how we’re going to get there. I have to pop ceiling tiles, climb ladders and see what’s up in the ceiling. If it’s open and it’s a straight shot to the telephone closet, the runs are easy.

But if it’s all closed up tight, we’re in for a long day, because we have to figure where we’re going to cut holes in the walls to run the cables.

Often we think we’re going to cut holes in one place, but when we cut into a wall, there can be some not-so-fun surprises. I’ve cut into cement, hidden brick walls, old iron staircases, desiccated squirrels, electrical lines, wooden beams, water pipes, nails, screws, even an old Yankee’s baseball cap. If you can name it, I’ve probably found it stuck in a wall.

This is like sitting down to figure out the beats of the story – this happens, and then this happens and that leads to this, and so forth, until I get to the end.

I’m a plotter, so I like to know where my story is going. I write the beats out and make a nice plan. But I often find when I “cut into the wall” of the writing, that my plan isn’t as solid as I thought it was.

This can sometimes be frustrating and makes me want to stop writing the story. But in cable tech work, I can’t just quit, I have to find a new way around the problem or risk the client’s wrath.

Sometimes when I’m writing and get stuck, I take a break from that part of the story and see if I can work on another part of the story.

I often resist this because I think I have to keep a beginning to end progression as if I was telling the story, not writing it. It’s funny, because I also make films and we almost never shoot a film in sequence. We might shoot the ending where the couple is breaking up many days before we shoot the scene where the lovers first meet. But when I’m writing, I resist working this way.

Another thing I’ll do is make flow charts to see if I can figure out a solution that way. It’s a kind of IF/THEN chart from back in my days as a computer programming student. IF this happens, THEN this must happen. Sometimes it helps.

I also like to record myself telling the story to myself. I find that talking about it out loud to myself is a great way to get out of my head and think about the story kind of like an actor would. I start to ask questions like, “What else could the character do at this point besides this?” “What if the character wants this instead?” “If this character meets this person and does this, what are the consequences?” I find myself answering myself and arguing with myself and it’s usually pretty hilarious.

3. We take ACTION until we’re done.

A lot of the businesses we do cable runs for need their telephone and data cables up and running in their offices yesterday. We have deadlines to meet that, if we don’t meet them, the business doesn’t open and we don’t get paid as much. We often quote the clients how long we think the runs will take and if we estimate that we can get it done in a certain amount of time and bill them for that time, then we don’t make our deadlines, we start losing money.

With writing my first drafts, I often let myself off the hook on this one. I justify my low word counts and inability to get past sticking points. But if I were running my writing business like we have to run the cable tech business, I’d be hitting those word counts because my boss wouldn’t pay me otherwise. That’s where an accountability partner can be really useful. Since I’m my own boss as a writer, it’s easy to give myself the afternoon off. But when I have someone I have to check in with, those words counts really soar. It really helps!

4. We expect to get DIRTY.

I don’t show up for a cable job in khakis, dress shirt and a tie. I’m usually wearing work boots, grubby jeans, an old t-shirt and a flannel shirt as a layer if I have to go outside. Being a cable tech is a dirty job. I’ve had to crawl through fiberglass in an attic when it was 102 Farenheit outside. I’ve waded through flooded basements with I-don’t-know-what floating by to get to the telephone punchdowns. I’ve been in a two-foot high, dirt floored, sub-basement, lying on my back with endless spider webs 2 inches from my face. My hands and fingers get cut, my head gets gouged and my clothes get dirty. I don’t expect it to be any different.

Why, then, do I think writing a novel should be different than it actually is? If I’m honest with myself, I think I have this idea that the novels I’m writing should just spring from my head full-blown and enter themselves into Scrivener without me having to do much else but think about it. Laughable, right? But with cable tech, a skilled trade, I wouldn’t even consider the notion that the cables will get themselves run just by thinking about them. I read other

To get a first draft done, I have to get dirty. I have to be ready for the struggle. Appreciate when things flow, but work through the knots when they don’t. I have to go deep into character. I have to be as specific as I can with my words so the story can live and breathe. Why do I think that’s easy? Why do I think that shouldn’t take just as much effort as doing twenty cable runs a day?

One of the things that stops a lot of us are our expectations. If we can figure out what it is we are expecting, we can get past the disappointment of not meeting those expectations. Our expectations have to be realistic. As a cable tech, I expect to get dirty. As a writer, I have to expect that there is going to be some hard work ahead.

5. It’s HARD WORK, but endlessly FASCINATING.

When we get to a site, we have to unload the heavy collapsible ladders, the boxes full of cable, the server racks, buckets, vacuum, tools and everything else we need to get the job done. I usually sweat through my clothing by the end of the day. I spend most of the 8-10 hours on the job with my arms raised above my head, constantly moving. Standing on ladders all day, especially portable ladders, is painful to the bottoms of the feet and usually leaves bruises on my thighs.

But I love the challenges of the job, finding the ways to get the cables run and make sure the wall plates and jacks look tidy and are easily accessible for the end-user. At the end of the day, if we hook up the computer and it accesses the internet, or plug in a phone and it works, we know our job is done. We’ve worked hard and created access to communication for hundreds of people. There is satisfaction in that.

Same thing can be said for writing a first draft. I might be banging my head on the desk trying to figure out a scene, but when it finally clicks, there is that buzz of recognition, that “knowing it works” feeling, that can’t be beat.

I might set myself a word count goal for the day and struggle for an hour or so and then the story-teller in me suddenly takes off and, before you know it, I’m surpassing your goal by many words.

I might even stare at the blank page or screen and then give up, returning to some other task, only to be inspired a few hours later to start again.

Like being a skilled tradesperson, writing is hard work, but endlessly fascinating. By looking at it as a skilled trade and not something that should happen easily, I’m able to really put it into perspective.

Here’s a summary of what I learned:

  • Even though your first draft starts out as a mess you can work through the mess and refine it by untangling the knots. Sometimes you have to work out of sequence to do though
  • When you write out the beats of your story, be prepared to run into some problems as you write. If that happens, work through it until you come up with a new plan. Sometimes you have to drill a hole in a desiccated squirrel to get to the other side of the wall.
  • Giving up halfway through is just as bad as not starting at all. Take action and keep going! Get that first draft finished. If you’re stuck, find an accountability partner.
  • When you find yourself wishing that you were writing, faster, better, more like someone else, remember that false expectations can get in your way. It’s your journey, expect it to be just the way it is.
  • While you’re doing all that hard work, think about how rewarding and endlessly fascinating it is to create something from nothing. In the end, you’ll have something that communicates with people in a way that only you can communicate. That makes it all worthwhile.

I always love to hear your comments. Let me know about how your writing is going and any other ways you find to keep getting those first drafts out of your head and onto the page.

If you’re a fan of Sterling & Stone and looking for something to read, you can get a FREE copy of the steampunk anthology Beyond the Gate by clicking this link. My story, My Strength Will Ease Your Sorrow, is in there. The first draft I keep referring to is the novel length story based on this short.

Have a great writing day!

Be a Straight Shooter – Use Straightforward Dialogue Tags


(Credit: Morguefile photo by lightfoot)

“You’re in big trouble, Dastardly Dan. You stole my prize bull,” Cowboy Carl blurted.

“I did not,” Dastardly Dan babbled.

“You did, too,” Cowboy Carl objected.

“Prove it!” Dastardly Dan bellowed.

“He’s standing right behind you,” Cowboy Carl barked.

“Save me!” Dastardly Dan squealed.

The prize bull stomped his front hooves in the dirt and snorted. Then, he lowered his horns, snorted again, and charged. Carl and Dan grabbed hold of their ten gallon hats and ran. They both wanted to get as far away as they could from the prize bull and these terrible dialogue tags.


There’s a chart going around the internet that pops up from time-to-time on Pinterest, Twitter (and other writerly hangouts) called, 100 Colorful Words to Use in Place of Said. It looks like this:

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 2.40.25 PMThe poster was apparently created for the classroom by to help young writers use words other than “said” when writing dialogue tags. As you can see from the poorly written dialogue above, young writers might benefit more from using straightforward dialogue tags and saving the colorful language for the rest of their prose.

Teaching student writers about synonyms and how to look for the most powerful word is useful. But when it comes to dialogue tags, I think it’s best to stick with “said” when someone is speaking and “asked” if someone is asking a question.

If we use a lot of colorful words for dialogue tags, the reader’s brain has to stop and translate each tag. It’s better to find a way to write dialogue that is “snappy, stormy, nagging, sputtering, gushing, etc.” than to add a tag to let us know the way the dialogue should sound.

The next time you read a colorful dialogue tag, try saying the dialogue as the tag indicates. I can almost guarantee you that the tag will affect the way the words come out of your mouth. Then, get rid of the tag, write it the way you “said” it and use “said” for the tag. It will come across as much more truthful and the reader won’t have to stop and think about how someone might “snort” or “sneeze” your dialogue.

Another way to be a straight shooter with your dialogue is to put the dialogue tag within quoted material when you can and use an action to show us what state of mind the speaker is in.

Here’s an example from the Pulitzer prize-winning Western writer, Larry McMurtry. In Lonesome Dove (“the grandest novel ever written about the last defiant wilderness of America”) Augustus finds some of his pigs eating a rattlesnake on his front porch. He kicks a young pig, known as a shoat. He doesn’t begrudge the pigs the snake, he says that having pigs on the porch “just makes things hotter and things were already hot enough.”

Here’s the dialogue with the pigs:

“You pigs git,” Augustus said, kicking the shoat. “Head on down to the creek if you want to eat that snake.”

Notice how the dialogue tag is in the middle of the line and McMurtry adds some action for the character to do. Augustus kicks the little pig, then gives the pigs an order. I can’t imagine Augustus scolding, shrieking or protesting while he says those words. But I can tell just who Augustus is by the way the line reads and what Augustus has to say and what he does. As a reader I just want to hear him saying it, not think about how he might have said it. That part I can make up by myself using the information the writer has given me.

Next time you’re writing dialogue, stick to your guns and just use “said” and “asked”as a dialogue tag. If you need to break things up a bit, try putting the dialogue tag in the middle of some dialogue or, if you’ve already established who is speaking, leave off the dialogue tags completely. I think you’ll find that your writing is stronger and more truthful this way.


When they lost sight of the prize bull, Dastardly Dan stopped to catch his breath. “Hold up, Carl,” Dan said, clutching his sides. “I cain’t run no more.”

Carl stopped and turned toward Dan, keeping his hands over his six-guns.

“Dan, did you steal my prize bull?” Carl asked.

“I didn’t,” Dan said, shaking his head. “I only borrowed him to impress my girlfriend, Miss Daisy.”

“Dan, thanks for being such a straight shooter with your honesty and your dialogue tags,” Carl said, pulling out his six-guns and pointing them directly at Dastardly Dan’s chest. “Now I’m going have to take you to jail. Git your hands up.”

Dan raised his hands high. Carl walked him all the way back into town and locked him up in the county hoosegow. Later that night, the prize bull returned. Rumor has it that not long after, Cowboy Carl and Miss Daisy were at the saloon drinking root beer and talking quietly together. I guess that prize bull impressed Miss Daisy after all.

Writing Prompt 10: Dystopian Mall


(Credit: ©Seph Lawless)

I’m working from the Hudson Valley Mall in Kingston, NY today. I’m sitting outside Dick’s Sporting Goods (free WiFi!) in one of those massaging chairs that make you look ridiculous when you’re sitting in them because they vibrate you from head to toe. There’s also a disconcerting seat probe that pokes you in the nether regions during the massage. I’ve already paid my dollars to get shaken and poked, but I wanted to do a writing prompt before I continue into the depths of the mall.

Malls are dying. Radio Shack is in Chapter 11. There were a few flashlights and a lot of empty shelves at the one here. Several restaurants are boarded up. A clothing store has big yellow signs that read, “Everything must GO!” There are some lonely looking baby t-s hanging limply from some hangers. When I stumbled across this article on Huffington Post, Abandoned Mall Filled With Snow is an Ice Age Dystopia, I thought, “What a great writing prompt!”

I’m a fan of dystopian fiction. One of my favorites that I read last year was The End of the World Running Club by Adrian J. Walker. It’s a story about a group of misfits including Edgar Hill, an overweight slob of a father and under-performing husband who has to race against time and overcome his own short-comings, not to mention 100 mile canyons and a very strange council estate, to find the people he loves before he loses them forever. It’s a great read and the characters and situations keep you interested right up to the end (of the world). I really enjoyed it and hope you will check it out.

For the writing prompt, there are a few questions we can ask:

How did the mall become abandoned in the first place? Zombie hoards? Aliens? End of the world meteor?

Who lives in the mall now?

Why are our story characters there? Do they need to find the recipe to Auntie Anne’s pretzels? (Why are those pretzels so damn good?)

The photographer, Seph Lawless, is also a great jumping off point and a good model for a lead character. He’s a photographer and political activist who uses a pseudonym because he fights against “injustice and oppression by any medium necessary…a pen, a lens, a brush, a voice …even your body.”

He’s also a published author. His book, Autopsy of America, was written in 2013. According to his website, “The book captures the plight of Americans and the devastating effects that globalization has had on American cities. The book chronicles his journey across the United States with an emphasis on the most abandoned and economic deprived areas of America.” I couldn’t find a link to the book, but I will post it if I find it.

Please send me any links to any stories you create based on this prompt, I’d love to read them!

Have a great writing day. I’m going to go look for an Auntie Anne’s pretzel before they go bankrupt and the zombie hoards take over.

Lu Ji – Writing Quote Wednesday


(Credit: Writing Quote created by Paul Jenny with Flickr photo by Trey Ratcliff)

This poem comes from Lu Ji’s famous work, The Art of Writing (Wen Fu, 文賦). According to Wikipedia, it has been called a “hymn of praise for the craft and art of writing and a specific, prescriptive handbook for the writer.” The essay reveals, as the Fu form is set up to do, the kinds of inner processes all writers have to go through to prepare for the creative act of writing.

This philosophical work consists of 21 verses of “rhyme-prose” poems that describe a writer’s mind as wandering through a kind of mini-universe within our own bodies in search of the elements which form the origins of our literary work.

I picked up The Art of Writing, Teachings of the Chinese Masters at a used bookstore in town, but you can get your copy on This slim, 94 page volume of essays is worth adding to your library of writing books, especially if you are interested in the “whimsy, spontaneity and contradiction” of Taoism and the Taoist writers.

2015 Very Inspiring Blogger Award…Paying it Forward


I’m delighted to start 2015 off with a big thank you to Joseph at A Cup of Joe for nominating me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! One of my resolutions (and you know how I feel about those) is to more actively engage with the online blogging community, so being nominated for the award was the perfect opportunity to do just that.

It was a pleasant surprise to hop on the blog the second day of the New Year and find out a full-fledged Pyro-wizard nominated me for an award! Thank you very much, Joseph.

I’m really enjoying your posts and I’ve followed a few of the other bloggers you’ve nominated as well. Here’s to all of us having a very creative and prosperous 2015! I hope we can ALL have a bottle of wine and share a few stories someday as well.

Here are the three things that inspired me this week:

  1. My Twitter Community. Always good for a laugh, great writing advice, or support in the form of a playful jab and a mocking tweet, these folks really inspired me in many ways this week. Some of them have blogs that I’ll be nominating as well. You should definitely FOLLOW them and say that Paul sent you!
    1. Ksenia Anske @kseniaanske – her acerbic and grumpy tweets are hilarious and always an inspiration. When I was feeling down about my WIP, she asked her Twitter community to show me some support and they did! Her books are like romantic fever dreams that have a dark beauty and poetic beating heart. I’m very grateful to have her in my community.
    2. Laurence Lau @Laurencelau10 – is brand new to Twitter and has quickly become an important part of the online community. He always has inspirational words of wisdom and shares generously of his time with his Twitter followers. We’ve met IRL (in real life) and I love hanging out with him to talk about art, poetry, theatre, film, television and life in general. He’s a great actor, too, and I’m really glad I’ve gotten to know him over the past few months.
    3. Adam Dreece @AdamDreece – is a force to be reckoned with on Twitter! He’s über engaging, plus he’s funny and smart and an overall mensch. His The Yellow Hoods books are adventurous whirlwinds filled with engaging characters that make you care about them. He’s also created a delightful steampunk world for them to inhabit. Book Three is about to be released soon, keep an eye out for it!
    4. Debi Smith @DebiVSmith – says she’s an island girl stuck in the Midwest who tries not to take herself too seriously. I’ve really been enjoying our conversations. She’s upbeat and funny and likes to engage on Twitter. I’ll be looking for more of her writing in the months to come.
  2. Visiting my wife’s mother in the nursing home. It sucks to be old. Spend any amount of time in a nursing home and you’ll learn that in the first five minutes. Your body doesn’t work the way it used to. Strangers are always telling you what to do. You forget things that you’ve said two minutes before. It’s sad, but it’s true. Being in the nursing home was inspiring because it reminded me that I have to live fully now. I can’t put off until tomorrow those things I say I want to do. If I keep putting them off, I may wake up some day in one of those hospital beds saying, “I wish I would have…” I don’t want that to happen. My wife and I are making plans for the coming year filled with adventure, love, creativity, health, prosperity and joy. We’ve also been spending as much time with mom as we can.
  3. Losing my holiday gift. I received a quad-copter as a gift this holiday season. It’s a small plastic drone with four whirring propellers and a prop guard. There’s a remote control that connects to the little flying machine and it takes some effort to learn how to fly the darn thing without crashing it into my face. I try to fly it every chance I get and I LOVE it. (Anything about flying makes me jump up and down with joy!) It zips around in the air like some kind of friendly insect and with the push of a button and the right timing you can make it flip forward, backward or side to side. When I was at my Dad’s for the holidays, I took the little copter out for a spin in the backyard. It was cold, and a bit windy, but where I was standing there wasn’t enough wind to blow the copter off course. Problem was, when I got the copter above the house, the wind was whipping around with such force that the little drone shot up into the air about 100 feet and headed off downtown! I bolted out into the alleyway, struggling to get the copter back under control with the remote, but it wasn’t responding. I watched in despair as it flew off above the treetops, then dropped from site somewhere in the middle of the neighborhood. I searched high and low for the little copter, climbing into bushes, looking through fences, tramping through people’s yards. No luck. I had my middle son come with me. He was no help. He just had wild theories about it being abducted by aliens and taken off to some other corner of the universe. I finally gave up in defeat and went to have some lunch with my family. Fortified, we stepped back into the cold. “I have a feeling we’re going to find it,” I announced. My wife was mad. She bought me the copter and I lost it after only two or three days. My son and I went searching again, this time down a different alleyway. My wife was in the car (it was 14 F, -10 C) and she had the five-year-old and the two older teenagers with her. While my son and I looked in garbage cans, trees, and on rooftops, she was driving around searching for it as well. Just as we were about to give up again, we heard “FOUND IT!” from down the alleyway. We ran as hard as we could and they took off in the car, laughing. When we finally caught up to them, sweating and out of breath, there it was, the little copter, unharmed. It had just been sitting in someone’s yard, untouched for about four or five hours. Needless to say, I was very happy to get my holiday present back. I immediately wrote my phone number and email address on the little copter just in case it took off on its own again. The reason this was such an inspirational moment for me is that it taught me that sometimes you have to stop searching for something and rest. You don’t have to give up for good, just for a little while. If it’s something that matters to you, you’ll get back to it and look in as many different places using as many different methods that you can to find the answer, I mean, the copter, until you succeed in finding it. I hope to remember this lesson throughout 2015.

And now, here are my nominations for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award 2015 (in no particular order). I chose 12 Bloggers to nominate because the number 12 seems to be particularly important to us as humans. There are 12 months in a year, 12 inches to a foot, 12 signs of the Zodiac, 12 Tribes of Israel, 12 Disciples of Jesus, 12 Days of Christmas, 12 grades in school, 12 hours in a day, 12 hours in a night, the human body has 12 cranial nerves, it is the number of Function keys (F1-12) on most keyboards, and so on (to the power of 12).

  1. Adam Dreece – Author of The Yellow Hoods
  2. Reflections of a Book Addict – Kimberly Denny-Ryder tries to read 100 books a year
  3. Bucket List Publications – travel, adventure and new experiences
  4. Diary of a Milkaholic Clown – propofool or milk of magnesia, bizarre shit, writing, astrology
  5. Ramblings of the Chocolate Wasted – Debi Smith’s Blog
  6. The Bee Writes – writing, books, authors & FREE resources
  7. Adora Herveaux – Aspiring women’s fiction author writing about love, life and relationships
  8. Alexandria Ingham – Freelance Writing and Blogging Mentor
  9. Miss Snark’s First Victim – A blog for aspiring authors
  10. Lemon & Raspberry – writer, editor, photographer, encourager
  11. Ben Willoughby’s Blog – writer with an unnatural fear of toilets
  12. Ksenia Anske – Fantasy Writer

I want to thank each of you for your sense of humor, your inspiring writing and for making the internet a really cool place to hang out.

I’d also like to hear from as many of you as I can, so I’ll keep the rules for accepting your award short and simple. Please follow these three guidelines when accepting your award:

  1. Write a blog post thanking the person who nominated you by linking to his/her blog and please display the award logo in the post.
  2. Nominate at least 5-15 other blogs (more or less). Link to their blogs and let them know about the nomination.
  3. Mention three things that inspired you the most this week (you can talk about last week’s inspiration too).

If you don’t accept, no hard feelings, just keep doing what you’re doing to be so inspirational! Thank you for sharing your stories with me. They truly are the wildest things!

Amanda Palmer – Writing Quote Wednesday

(Credit: Writing Quote created by Paul Jenny using photo by GaborfromHungary)

(Credit: Writing Quote created by Paul Jenny using photo by GaborfromHungary)

Amanda Palmer’s new book The Art of Asking” is now available on Amazon. It seems she got caught up in the Amazon/Hachette brouhaha that’s been going around in publishing circles. For now, the publishers have declared themselves satisfied (according to this Times article).


The reason I chose this quote for Writing Quote Wednesday is that I recently watched Palmer’s TED talk (after finding out more about her from Ksenia Anske) and was thinking a lot about her ideas of “asking” people to support you as an artist. She says you can’t make people buy what you create. You have to ask them to.

You can watch the talk here:

If you don’t have the time to watch the video, she also mentions that when she was working as a “living statue” street performer people would sometimes drive by and yell, “Get a job!”

That “get a job” mentality that is heaped upon anyone who dares to make a living in the arts is so pervasive, so insidious in our culture, that we even say it to ourselves.

I find myself saying “get a job” as I sit down to create a world from nothing but my imagination and life experience. I’ll be working on my latest story and that little voice in my head keeps saying, “Get a job! What are you doing with your life?”

There is a guilt and shame that I feel sometimes when I am doing my own creative work. I think, “I’m not working for someone else, so it must not be of value. Get a job.” People don’t consider it a job, or they think that because I enjoy what I do that it is somehow less difficult than other forms of work. The amount of time it takes to create something new can be immense. You have to take the time to play and think and consider and fail and rebuild and learn and do. It might look like play to someone from the outside, but those of us who have done it know that it is a lot of hard work, too.

I find myself saying it when I’m in the middle of a performance and the audience is sitting on the edge of their seats and I can feel them listening to what I’m saying. I can feel the connection between us and then I start to worry if it will last. Suddenly, that voice again, “Who do you think you are? Get a job! This is too intimate. This is too risky. This is too…” fill in the BLANK. It takes me right out of the moment of creation and into the worry about survival. Where is the next job coming from? How will I survive?

I find myself saying it when the bills come due and the bank account is bleeding out. “Get a job,” that insistent voice says. Those people who love me most have said it over and over again. Not directly, but in hundreds of little ways they may not even be aware of. The strident tones of voice. The sideways glances. The looks on faces.

Sometimes, when I’m feeling brave, I answer the voice back. I say, “Quiet down, you. I have a job. I create for a living. I take nothing and make it into something. I am working for someone else – the people who want to hear my stories. My job is to be in collaboration with them. To ask, without shame, for people to share in this journey with me.”

That shuts him up for a little awhile.

It’s time to be brave again. I’m asking you now. Please support the Fiction Unboxed short story anthology “Beyond the Gate” by downloading it on Amazon. It’s FREE. (It’s also available on other major booksellers.) Then leave us a short review. We’d love to hear from you.

I’m also working on the novel length version of my story “My Strength Will Ease Your Sorrow” from that anthology. I ask that if you’d like to know when it’s available, please sign up for the email list.

If you feel inspired, please share your “get a job” and “asking for” stories in the comments section.

Thank you for all you do!

Here’s more Amanda Palmer to make your day brighter:

Also, please stop by Amanda’s Blog.

8 Best Selling Novels Written During NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo as it’s affectionately called, starts in less than two weeks.


I’m a past winner of this book writing frenzy. I’m proud of my stickers and certificate saying that I participated and completed 50,000 words in 30 days (which works out to about 1,667 words a day). I had been struggling to complete a novel length story for years and the year I decided to do WriMo I was determined to finish a first draft “no matter what.”

The resulting work, The Sangoma’s Daughter, started out as a vague idea I had about a down-on-his-luck janitor at an American university who meets and has a tempestuous relationship with a young Zulu woman from South Africa who is a sangoma (a traditional healer). I decided to “pants” the story.

For those of you who don’t know what a “pantser” is, it’s someone who just jumps into writing a story with no pre-planning and then writes a white-hot first draft by the “seat of their pants” – a pantser. I’m now a firm believer in being a plotter – someone who writes out beats (story actions) and figures out what the characters want from each other before the story begins. As I write within the plotted out beats I often find the freedom to pants some scenes as well.

The result of pantsing a NaNoWriMo novel was a 50,000 word story that is a total mess. As I wrote I became fascinated with this janitor who lived by himself in a utility closet on campus and the Sangoma’s daughter never quite made it into the story. It was a wreck.

Some days, in order to get out my writing quota of 1,667 words, I’d make up lists of things that my janitor would be thinking about instead of figuring out what he was doing. I’d write endless run-on sentences just to pile up words. The “novel” is full of long passages of description that aren’t important, dialogue that is pumped up with unnecessary information and general fumbling around to try to find what my story was about. I still haven’t made another pass at this story, but I will return to it someday to see if I can salvage a chapter or two.

What I did get out of participating in NaNoWriMo, though, was a sense of accomplishment and a respect for the hard work it takes to complete a novel. I said I was going to write 50,000 words and I did. I met a wonderful community of people who were all struggling with the same journey of discovering what their stories were about. I also realized what it would take to stick to a novel-length story: lots of hours in the chair, no editing, staying immersed in the story, keeping to word counts and deadlines, being okay with writing a terrible first draft and not giving up. No wonder Hemingway said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

Although my story was a wreck, there are several best-selling novels that came out of participation in NaNoWriMo. Perhaps yours will be a best-seller some day, too.

Leave me a comment about your participation in NaNoWriMo and let me know if you’ve published your work. Please include a link to the work so we can check it out.

8 Best Selling Novels Written During NaNoWriMo

The Lunar Chronicles

Some novelists struggle to write ONE first draft during WriMo.

YA fiction writer Marissa Meyer wrote THREE: Cinder, Scarlet and Cress.

These futuristic re-tellings of famous fairy tales with a sci-fi twist were all written during a 2008 NaNoWriMo. As a self-professed geek and chronic over-achiever, Meyer says she participated in WriMo that year because she was trying to win a contest where the Seattle based writer with the most words written during the month would get to play a walk-on role on a future episode of Star Trek. She came in third with a word count of 150,011 and didn’t get the role, but she ended up with 70,000 words for Cinder, 50,000 words for Scarlet and about 30,000 words for Cress. 

Before she published the novels, all three had to be completely scrapped and re-written. Meyer said, “I may not produce anything of quality during NaNoWriMo, but I always come away with a great roadmap.” It was two years to the day she started Cinder during WriMo that she got her first offer from a publisher.

Meyer says she’s a neurotic plotter who spends weeks, months even, on brainstorming, plotting, re-arranging notecards and making character arc charts. She also uses the Scrivener color-coding feature to help keep track of what’s going on in her stories. Her revision process is extensive. For these best sellers she did two entire rewrites, six or seven rounds of revisions, had eight beta readers, and did countless polishing and editing after WriMo was over. All that hard work paid off for Meyer and her Lunar Chronicles series is a huge success.

Darwin Elevator

Jason Hough (pronounced “Huff”) is still in denial about his success with his WriMo novel, Darwin Elevator. He did a WriMo in 2007 and said his story, Tact or Fiction, basically fell apart after the first chapter because he tried to pants it and just jumped into it with no planning. He did finish with 50,280 words, however. Although the story was a bust, he had a sense of accomplishment and a new found respect for the hard work it takes to write a novel.

In 2008 he tried again, but this time he had a highly detailed outline, lots of character sketches and maps, and an idea of what he was getting himself into. He completed the first 50,000 words of Darwin Elevator, then after stepping back for awhile and doing a first revision pass himself, he hired a freelance editor.

He recommends using writing software like Scrivener to get the job done because it makes the revision process so much easier. He also advises everyone to do their research when they are querying an agent. He says, “At least 75% of queries are discarded almost immediately by agents for simple mistakes. Lesson: It doesn’t take much to increase your chances significantly.”

For more inspiration from Hough check out his post: Doing NaNoWriMo: some tips for success.


Hugh Howey has been a supporter and participant in WriMo for several years. His breakout dystopian sci-fi novella series, Wool, thrust self-publishing into the national media spotlight. After selling tens of thousands of books directly to readers, he was picked up for a six-figure deal by a major publisher. Howey wrote three of the five novellas of the Wool series in 2011 and published one of them.

Check out Howey’s post NaNoWriMo is Almost Here for some great inspiration and what to look for if this your first time participating.


Rainbow Rowell says she did “some of the bravest writing” she’s ever done during her 2011 WriMo stint. She was already an accomplished author with two published books, Attachments and Eleanor and Parkand thought that WriMo was something amateur writers did.

She was reluctant to participate because it seemed like something writers who needed to trick themselves into writing did to just pile up words. But then she thought it might be wonderful to have a nice big pile of 50,000 words to play around with.

Her pile of words written in 2011 wasn’t a mess at all and became the first 50,000 words of a best-selling novel called Fangirl

Rowell credits WriMo with changing how she wrote. Usually she would start writing by rewriting what she had written in the last session, but for WriMo she had given herself three goals: to write every day, to write at least 2,000 words a day, and to keep moving forward.

She was surprised to find that she could easily pick up where she left off and felt like the momentum she generated by staying in the world of the story contributed to its success. She didn’t finish the novel during WriMo, but after a heavy rewrite that Spring to finish the story, she was shocked to realize she kept almost all the words she created during WriMo.

Rowell said, “NaNoWriMo helped me push past so many of my doubts and insecurities and bad habits. And I think that’s partly why I love Fangirl so much now—because I remember how swept away I felt when I was writing it.”

The Night Circus

Although Erin Morgenstern‘s novel, The Night Circus, has had rapturous reviews, strong sales and the movie rights bought by the producers of the Harry Potter films, it started out as a much different story during NaNoWriMo.

Morgenstern said, “I was working on a different story altogether, one that was becoming progressively more and more boring because nothing was happening. I needed something exciting to happen and I couldn’t figure out how to do it with the locations I had so I sent the characters to the circus. That circus was immediately much more interesting and eventually I abandoned that other story and its characters entirely and focused on the circus instead. What eventually became The Night Circus started from exploring that spontaneously-created location, figuring out who created it and who performed in it and what its story was.”

She calls herself a binge writer and prefers to write in long sessions rather than every day. She attributes this to getting her start as a serious writer by participating in NaNoWriMo.

Water for Elephants

The transplanted Canadian, Sara Gruen, (now a U.S. citizen as well) moved to the U.S. for a job as a technical writer in 1999. When she got laid off in 2001, she decided to gamble on writing fiction instead of looking for another job. Her novel, Water for Elephants, started as a WriMo novel and has been on best-seller lists for over a year, read and discussed by book clubs around the country and turned into a film starring Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattison. (60% on

In her pep talk for NaNoWriMo participants Gruen says was having trouble with her own word counts when she realized she wasn’t heeding her own advice. She was ignoring her own rules: no editing, it’s okay to write a really bad first draft, and move around the story as much as you want. When she realized this for herself, she tossed all that aside and started focusing on writing the fun parts of the story that she wanted to write.

As her last bit of advice, Gruen said, “However far behind you are, take comfort in knowing that there is somebody else out there in the same boat, and look for that next fun scene. And then the next. And if that doesn’t work, set someone on fire. In your book, of course.”


I found a lot of inspiration in reading about these authors and their varied paths to publishing success that began by participating in NaNoWriMo. I wish all of you much success with your writing journey this coming month and hope to hear from you how it’s going. If you haven’t yet done a WriMo, I urge you to take the plunge.

Remember, Stories are the Wildest Things, and they can take you places you’ve never been before, especially if you’re the ones writing them. See you in the Winner’s Circle.

(Sources:,, Author websites)