Thursday, October 8, 2015


To Prove or Improve Your Writing? To Prove or Improve Your Writing?

My latest manuscript is what agents call “dead.” That means every major CBA publisher... 

How To Write a Simple Summary

When I first query an editor with an story idea, I break it down into a few simple... 

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To Prove or Improve Your Writing?

My latest manuscript is what agents call “dead.” That means every major CBA publisher... 

Writing Interruptions: Handling the Holidays

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the... 

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I’m a BLABer Mouth!

Yes, it’s true! I’ve started Blabbing and I love it. My partner, Ron Estrada and I host our Teen Writers Publish Podcast LIVE almost every Saturday. If you’ve never seen it, check out the Blab Podcast below!  Read More →

To Prove or Improve Your Writing? To Prove or Improve Your Writing?

My latest manuscript is what agents call “dead.” That means every major CBA publisher has rejected it. Sure, some called it “charming” and rejected it because they’ve already acquired a modern-day princess story while others claimed to want to work with me if only they had openings in their fiction lines. But that doesn’t change the fact... [Read more of this review]

How To Write a Simple Summary

When I first query an editor with an story idea, I break it down into a few simple parts. A summary is not an overview of the entire novel, but rather a summary that will hopefully hook the editor into wanted to know more. This type of summary can be used on a One-Sheet (popular at writer’s conferences to pique an editor’s interest). Or... [Read more of this review]

Avoid Comma Drama

Punctuation, blech! Yes, I know, but it’s not as bad as grammar—a subject we’ll tackle another time. In my craft blog today, I’ll share a few simple comma guidelines. And I do mean simple! Okay, now that you’re wiping the sweat from your brow, let’s go. Introducing: The Comma That little flip on the page causes many... [Read more of this review]

My Best Writng Advice

Early on in my writing journey, my quest for publication, I received a bit of advice that at first I balked but now, in clear hindsight, value more than any other counsel I was offered.  I was never a big reader.  In school I skimmed, jumped, skipped, and trotted through books, pulling out the highlights and lowlights, just enough to cover a book... [Read more of this review]

Procrastination Nation

Hello, my name is Julie, and I’m a procrastinator. It’s something that I struggle with often. I have a short attention span, which isn’t helpful when you’re writing novels. I’m the mom of a four-year-old and have a full-time job. If I procrastinate, I’m not going to get it all done. It has forced me to teach myself to stop procrastinating... [Read more of this review]

The Power of Love Stories

When my first romance novel released in 2010, I took it to a local Christian bookstore only to have the older gentleman in charge tell me that Christians shouldn’t read romance. We should only read about stuff that will change our world, like politics. My first reaction was to feel sorry for his wife. But then I started questioning the truth of his... [Read more of this review]

I Do My Best Writing in the Shower

The key to a more productive writing life, for me, may be an increase of distractions. I’m not kidding. I can sit down in a quiet house, long hours stretched before me, all allocated beautifully (according to my DayTimer) for writing. Nothing happens. My fingers idly tap the desk. I take another sip of coffee hoping for a jolt of inspiration.... [Read more of this review]

Character Arcs and Outlining Character Arcs and Outlining

For some time now, Super G and I have been engaged in a bloody battle to the death* over whether or not we should plot and outline our novels before typing “Chapter 1.” I have now written 4 novels, mostly with the SOP method. Oh, there were notes and I had a good idea where I was headed, but really, I was pantsing it in the truest sense... [Read more of this review]

Romantic Suspense

What is a romantic suspense? That’s a good question and one I’ve been asked by more than one person. Obviously it’s a story that has a romance and a suspense. Well, duh—hence the term romantic suspense! Okay, then how much romance and how much suspense? That’s a good question, too. And a lot of people disagreed on the mix. A lot of it depends... [Read more of this review]

Show Emotion Instead of Naming It

  Instead of naming an emotion, show the character under the strain of the emotion. Instead of writing, “Anger burned through her,” show the anger burning through her, without writing the word “anger.” A volcano exploded in the pit of her stomach, spewing gases up to sear her nose and make her eyes sting. She could barely breathe through... [Read more of this review]

Dialogue Tags

The writing book Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King (second edition) is one of the best books for bumping your writing up to the next level and making it look more professional. If you haven’t read this book yet, I strongly suggest you buy it or borrow it and read it right away. They suggest eliminating dialogue tags in... [Read more of this review]

Creating Quirky Characters

  Writers are fabulous people-watchers. We have to be. After all, the imaginary characters we create must seem both true-to-life and intriguing to the reader. One way we add interest and realism to our characters is to give them quirks. My dictionary says a quirk is a peculiarity, and a peculiarity is something that is unique, special, or odd.... [Read more of this review]

Nuts and bolts on writing

I wanted to discuss some of the “nuts and bolts” of this writing business. Some of my observations and lessons I’ve learned over the twenty-six years I have been writing. 1. Talent is important but equally or more important is perseverance with some luck thrown in. 2. Rejection is part of writing and sending your work out. We have to learn to... [Read more of this review]

Growing Grammar: COMMAndments

People generally approach grammar and liver the same way. They either dive in with gusto or grow pale, start sweating, and look for the nearest exit. Okay, perhaps not the most appealing way to start a column that will feature grammar issues, but food analogies seem to work for me.(Food works for me, but that’s another story.) Grammar is not what... [Read more of this review]

The Secrets of a Sentence

There’s a story about George Washington Carver. He asked God to reveal the secrets of the universe, and God was silent. He asked God to reveal the secrets of science and biology, and God was silent. Then he asked God to reveal the secrets of the peanut, and God did. I don’t care about peanuts. But you could say I’ve spent the last ten years asking... [Read more of this review]

Character Goals and Motivation

A goal is like an agenda. Something the character wants. It has to be hard to get. Readers like to see the character struggle. They like to know what the character wants, but they have absolutely no idea how she’ll get it. Your audience wants to live moment-by-moment through your character’s life, feeling all the setbacks. For the reader... [Read more of this review]

How to Improve on a Blank Page

One of the most common questions I get from aspiring writers is “How do I start?” The ideas are in their heads, but the problem is getting them on paper.Whether you are writing magazine articles, story stories, novels, or even homework assignments—here are some tips for improving on the blank page. Sift Through Your Ideas. Realize some ideas will... [Read more of this review]

Plot: Series of Scenes

There are many different ways a writer plots–you could say it’s an individual thing. I think as writers we listen and learn about the various techniques that work for others, then we incorporate what works for us–sometimes through trial and error. Some don’t plot at all, but write by what some people have called by the seat of their... [Read more of this review]

The Role of the Synopsis When Submitting

Why do I need to cut a synopsis? While I haven’t talked to every editor and agent on the planet, the majority of the ones I’ve spoken to prefer a 2-3 page synopsis. However, every editor is different. One editor will want a one-page synopsis, another will want an extensive chapter-by-chapter synopsis. In my experience, it’s usually better to opt... [Read more of this review]

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