Welcome to my writing pages!  The main focus of this website is to offer writing tips, prompts, and inspiration to writers, no matter what their genre or skill level. You’ll also find information on my published works and the ones in progress. My schedule for posting is:

Monday Sparks: Writing prompts to fan your creative flame.

Thursdays – Writing tips based on a monthly theme

You will also find me on AmazonFacebook, Instagram, and Goodreads.

Featured post

Basketful of Books Giveaway!

Need some new books for the summer? I am thrilled to announce my YA mystery, A SHADOW ON THE SNOW, is part of the Basketful of Books Giveaway. This giveaway runs 5/16 through 5/21, and the prize consists of twelve Christian books. The 1st place winner will receive all twelve books (authors’ choice of format) and the 2nd place winner will receive three books (authors’ choice of format) of their choosing.

The genres are:

  • 2 speculative ficiton
  • 2 historical romance
  • 3 contemporary romance
  • 2 mysteries
  • 3 suspense

Something for everyone! You can enter to win here. Best of luck and happy reading!

Help for a Reluctant Reader

This may seem weird for an author to admit but I’m looking for help for a reluctant reader. And I’m the reluctant one. For the past six months or so, I’ve found it extremely difficult to sit down with a book and enjoy it. Finishing a novel is almost impossible. I think the problem stems from the fact that 2021 ambushed my family. All the drama and trauma has left me with little patience and a tiny attention span. So I’m reprinting the advice I gave last year to help writers who have lost the joy of reading and hope readers out there will have even more tips to aid me in regaining my love for it.

Writers often lose the pleasure of reading because we read through our writer’s lens and evaluate a story as a writer, not as a reader. Here are three ways writers can reclaim reading joy.

Schedule Time to Read

That may not sound like fun. I have to schedule time to read like a dental appointment? But I’ve found that with a husband and kids, if I don’t schedule everything–even something as minor as my pleasure reading–I will never stumble across a free hour to sit down with a book. I have never stumbled across a free hour to do anything since my kids were born. Now I understand why my mother often took a book to the bathroom.

On Sundays, I don’t do any writing or anything related to publishing. I try to read just for the fun of it. I’m not always successful. I’m so wired to work that it’s hard to relax. But it’s nice to stretch out with a book other than at bedtime.

Read Dead Authors

A good piece of advice for writers pursuing publication is to become familiar with the books currently being published in their genre. The drawback of that advice is that writers constantly analyze those books, comparing them to their work in progress, robbing themselves of reading joy. 

Reading great books from the past in my genre removes the need to dissect them. It also educates me in the history of my genre.

Read a Genre You Don’t Write

Reading a genre I have no intention of writing in helps silence, or at least muffles, my internal editor. I can more easily approach a book of historical fiction or sci-fi as a reader than as a writer.

That’s one reason I enjoy reading poetry. I know I’ll never publish anything I write, so reading it is simply fun.

For more posts focused on readers and books, click here.

Does you have suggestions to help a reluctant reader? I like mysteries, humor, poetry, and speculative fiction short stories. They have to be quick reads. I’d love some recommendations.

What Makes You Not Finish a Book?

What makes you not finish a book? My reasons come under two headings: content and style. Under content, I quit reading if there’s too much cursing or too much graphic or inappropriate content. I can’t give you any hard and fast rules. I just know that if I’m reading a story and those things make me fed up or revolted, I quit. Also, I can’t stand to read a book where children are in horrible danger or killed. Those plots makes me sick.

Style is entirely different. I usually close a book before the end if I can’t connect with the main character. Often that’s because there’s nothing out of the ordinary about the character. I’ve read about this kind of character a hundred times before. But other times, I quit reading because the characters don’t act like human beings, in that they behave in a way that’s convenient to the plot, not like a person would in reality. Ridiculous plot twists also turn me off. I was reading a mystery from 1938 that used hypnotism as a fairly minor plot point. Any enjoyment I’d derived from reading the book went out the window. I don’t think hypnotism was original or believable even in 1938.

I’d love to hear from you about this topic. What makes not finish a book?

For more reader-related articles, click here.

Do You Read in Time?

Do you read in time? By that, I mean do you read stories in the month or season in which they are set? Most readers have their favorite Christmas and Halloween stories that they reread around those holidays. Since I love mysteries, and for some reason Christmas and mysteries like to hang out for the holiday season, I have tons to choose from.

But I also read stories which are set during non-holiday times. My brother-in-law, for example, reread The Lord of the Rings trilogy in the early spring each year because the Battle of Pelennor Fields, the epic battle at the end of The Return of the King, is fought in March.

I read Watership Down in June because that’s when the story starts. It covers most of the summer with an epilogue in the fall, but I read it in June because the description of nature is so lush that it seems to fit in that month. For the same reason, I read The Time Machine in summer. The Time Traveler travels to the year 802,701. This England of far in the future is experiencing a gold summer so it makes sense to reread it during this season. I read the mystery stories featuring Uncle Abner as the detective in fall because some of my favorite stories from this series are set them, although others are set in other seasons.

I think I like to read in time because it makes me feel closer to the story, like I’m living it with the characters.

Sometimes, I choose to read a book at the same time I discovered it. I took The Father Hunt by Rex Stout with me on our summer vacation a few years ago. It was so wonderful to rediscover this mystery that I packed it again for our next summer vacation and will continue to do so this year. The flip side of that is that bad circumstances can make me dislike a story. I read a Nero Wolfe novella while driving home from visiting my parents during the holiday season. For some reason, I got car sick while my husband drove. The next time I tried to read the novella, that sensation of nausea came over me again. Fortunately, after a space of several years, I could reread the story with no ill effects.

Write in Time

I also tend to write in time. In A Shadow on the Snow, I have pivotal scene occur during a snowstorm on Valentine’s Day and the novel ends on Good Friday. For the next novel in the series, I open on Memorial Day and plan to wrap it up on Father’s Day. Using the holidays as touchstones isn’t something I thought a lot about. Since family is critical to my stories, it makes sense to work in holidays, which are often the most memorable events in the life of a family.

What do you think? Besides reading Christmas stories at the appropriate time, do you read in time?

Book Vs. Movie

Book vs. movie is the age-old–or at least 100 year old–controversy of which art works best for telling a story and if the movie holds true to the book or merely borrows the title and a few characters.

Two excellent movie adaptations of novels are The Outsiders and The Maltese Falcon. Both stick closely to their original books, not adding any scenes or characters. The movie The Maltese Falcon eliminates a minor character, and you would never notice. In movie adaptations of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, some characters were written out and others had their roles beefed up, and the script added scenes not in the books. But no less a fan than my brother-in-law, who was a total Tolkien nut, loved the movies. They still captured the spirit of the books.

Very rarely does the movie improve on the book. Death on the Nile (1978) came up with a much better plot point than the book in which the detective tricks the culprits to reveal themselves.

Of course, there are legions of movie adaptations that the fans of the books hated or at least feel the movie didn’t do their book justice.

So let me hear from you! What’s your opinion of book vs. movie? Which movie adaptations do you love? Which do you hate? What books do you think should be made into movies?

For more bookish prompts, click here.

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