Friday, January 25, 2019

Writers Together Flourish!

Writing can be an exciting pastime but a daunting career. There is the constant struggle to mold characters, enhance plot, and deal with concerns like theme, pacing, and arcs. Does it all flow together? Have you read it so often it's just an incomprehensible mishmash?

You don't have to do it alone. Find a critique group--other writers who understand the process and are willing to read and analyze your work.

You can find groups online or in person. Many writing communities offer opportunities for authors to get together. For instance, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America 
have subgroups that offer critique opportunities. Or you can search the internet.

If you want to meet in person, Google "writing critique groups" in your area or go to Meetup.

I started with an online group who's members were patient, kind and nurturing. When that group disbanded, I thought I knew everything about writing and entered an online auction, paying for an agent’s critique. I fully expected to become her client. I’m forever grateful. She kindly disabused me of my fantasy. Her critiques included backstory, head-hopping, no plot catalyst, and no stakes! I looked for another group. 

Using Meetup I met four diverse writers who became good friends.  Together, we improved my writing, and I published a short story.

When I moved to Florida, I used the Net to find a phenomenal new group, whose in-depth critiques helped me refine my technique and get a better grasp of my work. 

Constructing a story is an art. Thanks to my peers, I've learned to weave the strands together using economy of words, active voice, and tension.

Even though writing is a solitary profession, we don't have to isolate ourselves. Sharing ideas with a trusted cadre will not only enhance your skills, but present you with important new friends.

If you don’t have a writing group now, I recommend you find one soon.

Remember, Keep Writing!

Saturday, January 5, 2019


Want to ENTICE your readers, ENHANCE their experience, and DISCARD dull and boring? Check out this blog on FORCEFUL VERBS!  

New Year--New Disciplines

Fantasies bubble up inside me--ideas, beginnings, characters. Perfect for short stories. If only I could write them. I begin with zest, but the tale usually dies before it can reach a conclusion. A few have trudged on to "the End." Some have even received "Rejections," and one actually made it to an Ezine. However, too many sit in my files waiting--almost finished. 

With longer endeavors I do better. I have two complete novels ready to shop. A second in my series is perhaps a third of the way through. I'm a pantser, which means I write by the seat of my pants, learning the story as I go. I enjoy building my characters and setting. As the protagonist interacts with her world, the plot sorts itself out, unlike my short stories.

So, this year, I've decided to write down all the exciting ideas that pop into my head to look at later. Today I will discipline myself and concentrate on my manuscript, no matter how tempting the scenarios flitting through my head.

Remember, Keep Writing!
My writing buds!

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Memories - New England in Autumn

I listen to the air conditioner hum as I look out my
window on the sun-painted landscape. The season has changed from Summer to Fall. Yet, in Southwest Florida the change is imperceptible.

Last week, my husband and I visited my former Massachusetts home. Brrrr! I had no problem recognizing the Autumnal change. But, as I pulled my jacket tighter, I couldn't resist scanning the greenery to spot the tell-tale signs of the season--color. 

Autumn is one of the most vibrant times of the year. The flaming reds, the bright oranges and yellows that herald the end of summer brighten my spirit. Alas, we were too early. I could spy only teases of red. As much as I love the sunny colors of Florida, I miss Fall's splendor. 

I've written a Haiku--fond memories of a New England Autumn:

Nature's Fall display
Instills a sense of wonder 
And peace in my soul.

Red, orange, yellow,
The fleeting colors of Fall
Blaze before they die.


Monday, December 18, 2017

Great Story for All Dog Lovers

I just read a heartwarming story about an exceptional Australian shepherd who survived for 44 days in Yellowstone National Park. Michelle Caffrey's exciting account of Jade, a young dog who beat all the odds, is a perfect Christmas gift. Miracles do happen.

Just published--New book offering by Naples writer in time for Christmas: 
BRING JADE HOME: The true Story of a Dog Lost in Yellowstone and the People Who Searched for Her.

Michelle Caffrey's heartwarming recount of a family and their Australian shepherd, lost for forty-four days is a seasonally joyful tale for all ages.

BRING JADE HOME. (226 pp. $15.95, and Kindle $9.99 and free on Kindle Unlimited) To obtain a copy of the book in either paperback or PDF format to review, or for an interview, contact Michelle Caffrey at

Mary McCluskey, award-winning novelist, says, "Bring Jade Home is a true story that reads like a literary thriller. It's a page-turner of a book with a mystery at its heart and a cast of well-drawn characters. The central character, of course, is Jade herself, a beautiful, blue-eyed Australian shepherd, who, after a terrifying traffic accident--chillingly described here--runs off into the stunning wilderness that is Yellowstone National Park.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Haiku - A Taste of Poetry

One shelf of my bookcase is devoted to poetry I love to read. Whether soothing or a call to action, the cadence of the words gives me comfort. When I try to write it, however, I never get past a few stanzas. 

Then I discovered Haiku, a Japanese poetic form. I found it an exciting challenge. The verse contains 17 syllables, arranged in three lines of 5-7-5. An alternate set-up is 11 syllables, 3-5-3. These shortened poems energize my Muse. I love the challenge of creating a cohesive story within a specific cadence.

Last year I wrote a Haiku for each season, based on my life in Massachusetts. This year, I'll need new verse since I've moved to Florida!


Winter's cold caress
grudgingly suspends its reign
as spring tiptoes in.


Warm sunlight dancing
atop eager new blossoms
sings a summer tune.


Fruit of the chestnut,
adorned in a spiky coat,
heralds fall's display.

Winter - Icicles

Water trapped in time
With its too brief frozen life,
sparkling in the sun.

I'd love to see a Haiku from you. Something for the season? Leave it in the Comments section.

Enjoy your holidays and, remember, keep on writing!


Sunday, November 19, 2017

CYA – Cover Your Assets

What assets reside on your computer that you can’t possibly live without? Business? Special photos? Memorabilia? How do you have them protected? What would happen if you lost them?

Okay. You probably know what I’m going to say – Back-Up! I’ve heard the word and passed it on many times. Computers crash. But, when it happened to me, I was shocked, even a little unhinged.
In hindsight, I realize that my computer was acting weird before it died. I blamed the problems on my internet service. Perhaps if I had called for help then, I wouldn’t have lost everything. By the time I tried to do a Windows reinstall, it was too late to save not only my files, but all my programs and drivers.

Now for the good news. I had Carbonite, a cloud-based savior. Programs like this do continual back-ups of your data and store it on their servers. For a low annual fee, Carbonite saved me. I contacted them and they reinstalled the program and downloaded all my files.

I also have two other programs that use the cloud to protect me. One is Dropbox, a free program that can be installed on multiple computers. Because I had Dropbox on both computers, I was able to work on files using my notebook while my laptop recovered. (Another great idea--have an extra online device in case of trouble.) The other program that I, as a writer, absolutely love is called Scrivener. With Scrivener, I create all my work--books and short stories--on their specialized templates. My masterpieces are then saved to their servers. Scrivener is installed on both of my machines, so I was able to keep on writing while my laptop healed. I consider my writing priceless and would pay anything to keep it safe. Lucky for me that Scrivener, like other writing programs, is inexpensive.

Be prepared to download and reinstall your programs and printer drivers, but, with foresight your life can began again.

And remember, keep on writing!