Saturday, December 13, 2014


Check the date and time for this post.

Go ahead. I'll wait.
...   ...   ...   ...

Right--12/13/14  15:16 (that's military for 3:16 PM)

Such a cool date. We'll never see it again with month, day, year, hour and minute lined up that way! Well, at least for a hundred years. There's a little math geek in me that is very happy right now.

Quirky: Finding something just strange enough to be interesting, but not so far out there to be off-putting.

Quirky characteristics make books memorable, pull us into the story, and make the characters more relatable--iconic. Here are a few quirky characters that come to mind:

Harry Potter--lightning bolt scar

Jace in The Mortal Instruments--so, so, soooooo conceited but we love him for it

Becky Bloomwood in Shopaholic--she can't help it--she shops, and spends, and buys some more

Mrs. Bennet in Pride & Prejudice--perpetually immature

Quirky details pull us into stories. 
Go write some quirks today!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Commas and Introductory Phrases

To continue my little tutorial on punctuation ...

Let's talk about introductory phrases. Those are phrases that come at the start of your sentence that introduce the rest of the sentence. (Hence their name, right?)

Here are some examples:

As I was saying ...

Furthermore ...

However ...

As part of today's blog post ....

Whenever your sentence starts with an introductory phrase, you need a comma to separate the phrase from the rest of the sentence. Like so:

As I was saying, you need a comma.

Furthermore, you should put the comma in the right place.

However, don't go overboard and start putting commas in just any old place.

As part of today's blog post, I'll show you examples of where to place your comma.

See you next time when we discuss ... the Oxford comma.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Setting the Mood

As we head full-steam ahead into this holiday season,
here's a gift from your iWN Board:

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Research--Get Your Facts Straight

Jenny Moore
You’re writing a contemporary, so you don’t need to research, right?


While your characters live in basically the same world you do, there’s still plenty to learn—unless you are actually writing about a person who lives in your town, has your same job, and enjoys the same hobbies as you do. In that case, just x-out of this right now and get back to your MS.

But, for those of us who are not writing about people just like us living in our town, there’s plenty we need to know.

First of all, setting. I love maps and travel guides. Most states will send you a packet with all sorts of information. Those are super cool, lots of pictures. Of course Google maps, and an almanac—you want to know what the weather is like. And does it get dark early in the winter? Things like that add depth to your story and make the reader feel like they are one step deeper inside. That’s what we want, right?

And find movies shot in the location you’re writing about. That gives you a whole lot of setting ideas and helps you picture it, especially if it’s somewhere you’ve never been. Coffee table books, post cards, and of course Google images.

Next up: culture

This is tricky. You can’t just learn a culture. But you can find out bits and pieces of what people there are like, and that will not only make you look like an expert on the region, it will help with your character development.

I like history books for this. Both fiction and non-fiction.  History of a place tells why the people there act the way they do now.

And what better way to learn about a culture than its stories?

And now for:  Language

It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, every region has its own distinct way of speaking. Even twenty miles away from your house, you can find something unique about how people talk. So, learn about it. I’m not saying you have to be fluent in a new language, but an accent, a unique speech pattern, even a few words from your character’s native tongue makes them more interesting. And who doesn’t like reading slang from somewhere new? It’s fun and can help make your story richer.

Keep your eyes open, you’ll find facts and interesting tidbits that can add to your story in the funniest places. I found this article in an airplane magazine about Irish surfers. Did you know they surf in Ireland?

I didn’t. But a character in my Irish book would definitely know.

Any time I go to a museum or some sort of historical place, I get the souvenir guides. They don’t cost much, and there are tons of things to remember. Plus, again pictures.

And last of all: Don’t be afraid to ask.

 Something I’ve learned is people love talking about themselves, their job, their family, their hometown. Just get up the nerve to ask.

I wrote a book about a girl that grew up on a cattle ranch and so I asked someone I knew about it, and he took me to his ranch when they were branding—it was an entirely new world to me, one that I can write into my story with details of smell, (bad) sounds, sights that I wouldn’t have ever known without experiencing it for myself.

So, get out into the trenches, writers!  Don’t be afraid to get dirty, and of course take lots of notes, you never know when you’ll need them.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day

by Donna K. Weaver

If our country is worth dying for in time of war
let us resolve that it is truly worth living for in time of peace. 
~Hamilton Fish

On this Veterans Day, I invite you to visit my personal blog to see my thoughts on this holiday and to check out some suggestions I have for honoring and supporting our troops. 

We can all do something.

Click here

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Ready. . . Set. . . Retreat!

The spring retreat will be held
 March 26-29th in Heber, Utah

How to sign up for this retreat: 
FYI: there are only 20 spots. All meals are included AND there will be mini-workshops on Building Your Presence as an Author and Marketing during the retreat so that if you choose to go to all the workshops, you will have all the tools you need to Brand yourself, and your books for your target audience.  See pics of the awesome accommodations for the retreat here. Sign ups open on Saturday, November 8th at 8am MST. NO EARLIER.

1. Pick which bed type/price you would like (see below)

2. Send an email to with your first and second (if you have one) preference.

3. We will send you a confirmation email and a link to pay-through Paypal- (you may choose to split your payment into three and send one third immediately, the second on third on Jan. 15th and the last third on Feb. 15th. You must pay in full by Feb. 15th.)  We must have your payment within one hour of receiving your confirmation email or your spot will be given to the next person in line.

NO REFUNDS-thank you. (you can, however transfer your bed to someone else if you discover you are unable to attend)

The bed options:  (if you are planning to choose a queen or a king bed, you might want to find someone to be your roomie if you care who is in the bed with you.)

**Anything not highlighted is available
***Anything highlighted in red is reserved/paid for

Bedroom 7: 1 King with bathroom                    2 spots for $275 each

Bedroom 6: 3 bunk beds            3 lower bunks @ $175 each
                                                       One, Two, Three
                                                    3 upper bunks @ $150 each
                                                       One, Two, Th

Bedroom 5: Queen and a Bunk   2 spots in the queen @  $200
                                                 One, Two,
                                                       1 upper bunk @ $150
                                                       1 lower bunk @ $175

Bedroom 4: 2 Queens          4 spots @ $225

                                                       One, Two, Three, Four

Bedroom 3: 1 Queen           2 spots @ $225 each
                                                          One, Two

Bedroom 2: 1 Queen                           2 spots at $225 each
                                                         One, Two,

Bedroom 1: 1 Queen                          2 spots at $225 each
                                                                One, Two  

We are So excited to have you join us!!!
Have question? 

Email us-

Monday, October 27, 2014

Bump in the Night

Giants? No problem.
Zombies? No problemo.
Warewolves, vampires, witches? Puleez—not a problem either.
Psychopath? Hands on face, shut off the sound, think of going to the kitchen for something I need right now!

Scary scenes make great entertainment, but everyone scares in a little different way. Here are a few tools for kicking up the fright.
•Speed up the reader with short sentences.
•Include details that make the reader feel the tension in the situation.
•Being scared is an emotion. Use the character’s emotions to manipulate the readers’.
•Twist the surprise moment—different time, place, person.
•Need ideas? Start with your own fears and exaggerate.
•The reader has enough information to know that something bad is going to happen SOON! But the character doesn’t know, and the reader doesn’t know when.

Happy Halloween—Celebrate by writing something scary.