A Musical and a Funeral

A Musical and a Funeral

A musical and a funeral. What, you might ask, could these two disparate experiences possibly have in common? Well, they both set my writer’s senses humming. First, my daughter and I saw the Stratford Festival’s brilliant, boisterous production of the musical comedy...
Cherish Your Writer Comrades

Cherish Your Writer Comrades

Has this ever happened to you? You’re at a party, telling a new acquaintance about a plot twist for your story, and they look at you with polite bewilderment, and perhaps a wince of boredom. But later, you tell a fellow writer about the same plot twist and they’re...
NEW: The “My Writing Mentor” Program

NEW: The “My Writing Mentor” Program

There’s no satisfaction like completing your book and celebrating, because you know it’s really good – the kind of book that can attract a top agent and win an offer from a major publisher. But moving forward all alone can be a challenge. You may be finding yourself a...
The Creative Process: Finding Your Own Way

The Creative Process: Finding Your Own Way

Story creation is a joy. But sometimes the process can lead us on a twisty path. I’m at work on a new novel with the working title Fearful Symmetry. I say “new” but the idea for it came to me years ago. Sixteen years, to be exact. At that time, I’d had a satisfying...
King Henry VIII, My Husband, and the Pissing Drunkard

King Henry VIII, My Husband, and the Pissing Drunkard

Research is part of every writer’s work. Years ago, writing my first historical novel, I discovered an eye-opening research resource close to home. My husband. The Queen’s Lady is set in England during the reign of King Henry VIII. Now, Henry and my husband...

Wise Advice from a Legendary Agent

Years ago, when I was querying agents about my first novel, I read an interview with top agent Albert Zuckerman in which he was asked, “What’s the single most important piece of advice you’d give a new writer?” His answer was, “Be willing to work your ass off.” Aha, I...
Purple Prose vs. the Real Deal

Purple Prose vs. the Real Deal

I spoke by Skype recently to a very gifted writer I’m mentoring, and he told me his previous attempts at fiction were an embarrassment of “purple prose,” the phrase writers use for overblown, overwritten language. He had, he said, cured himself of that failing....
Common Problem, Easy Fix

Common Problem, Easy Fix

If you’re a writer, you delight in words. Word patterns. Word play. Word power. The love of words is in our DNA. Words are also the most basic tool you have in creating a story. The wise writer chooses words very carefully. Mentoring a writer recently, I pointed out...