Five Things to Consider When Creating Your Heroine

Thursday, November 30, 2017
Lately I’ve been noodling over a new book idea. 

Understatement of the century: I’m not a huge fiction writer. And very little of what I write is for the grown up crowd. 

But a pair of friends jokingly suggested that I write a series set in a church choir.  Can you guess how we know each other? “They would have to be cozies.” “And of course I’d be your sidekick.” “They’d be great.”

While I laughed it off, I find myself playing with the idea. The protagonist. The setting. The title. The victim.

Before I go anywhere with it, I have some decisions to make about my main character although I do know a few things. She’s female. She sings soprano in her church choir. She lives in the Midwest. 

But that leaves a lot that I still need to figure out. Here are five things I need to consider and they all have to do with creating a character that readers will “get.”

1. Profession. Too many manuscripts I see are populated by characters who are writers. I understand why. Writers know writing. We write what we know. While many people dream about writing, they have other jobs. Although I'd like her to do something creative it might be her hobby. But she is going to need a job.  I have a few ideas.

2. Strengths… Too many of the lady detectives that I’ve read come across as GI-Joe in drag. She is not going to be a black belt or a marksman. But she is going to have street smarts – the kind that a woman needs to get by from day to day. So although she knows about keeping herself safe, she may end up in danger to solve the mystery. And that brings us to…

3. Weaknesses. I’m not interested in writing an anti-heroine. But my character will have to have some flaws to make her interesting. I’m not 100% certain what they will be but I think they should relate to her strengths. Perhaps one of her strengths (her sense of justice) could become a weakness in certain circumstances (she gets backed into a corner trying to help someone out of a fix).

4. Relatable. I definitely want her to be someone that my readers can identify with and part of this will come from realistic strengths and weaknesses. But I also want her concerns to be realistic and relatable. Our worries will be her worries – getting a more-or-less healthy meal on the table, making sure everyone is fairly presentable, and safety. Safety will have to be a big one.

5. Unique. Although I want her to be someone we could all know, I also want her to be unique and interesting. This means that in some ways she will have to be a little out there. The way we would all be if we could just manage to pull it off.

I definitely have some things to figure out, but I feel like I’m well on my way. And if something stumps me, I’m sure I can just bring it up with my friends. They seem to be full of ideas lately.


To find out more about Sue Bradford Edwards' writing, visit her blog, One Writer's Journey.  Sue is also the instructor for Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults. The next session begins January 8th, 2017.
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The Lost Art of Writing

Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Before you throw something at your screen, let me explain.

I’m not talking about the writing that you and I do on a daily…okay, at least weekly basis, the writing that we send out into the world, hoping to make a bit of money. I’m talking about the warm fuzzy writing, the thank you notes, the letters, the sticky-note or maybe even messages-in-a-bottle—writing that reaches out from our hearts to other specific hearts. I’m beginning to think that kind of writing is falling by the wayside of technology and that makes my heart more than a bit sad.

And so as we dash into the last month of the year, maybe you and I can do our part to bring back the lost art of writing. I just happen to have a couple of ideas to help us find it!

Model Writing

Do your kids see you writing? I’m sure they know you write—we certainly talk and/or complain about it enough! But do you ever write around them? Do they see the process? When you model your writing, you give your children the opportunity to see how thoughts become words, words sentences, and sentences can become anything!

Take community politics. If you’re that citizen who rallies the governmental troops for changes through a letter-writing campaign, share that process with your kids.

Or maybe you rally the troops on a smaller scale. Instead of telling your family about the wants and needs of the household, get a chalkboard and write messages. Encourage your kids to write a letter to Santa, not just a list. Put a sticky note in a backpack with a sentence or two of encouragement.

Look for ways to include writing in everyday life and then watch how your family’s skills grow.

Resist Short Cuts

Oh, the short cuts technology provides! It’s so much easier to grab the cell phone and call to say thanks or congratulations to our friends and family. But sending a note is something to be treasured.

A few years ago, a dear family friend in failing health had moved to North Carolina, and we made several trips to see Ann. My daughter was unable to go, and so instead, she wrote to her. I assumed it was just a short note, but when I arrived for the last time in North Carolina, Ann’s brother showed me the “note.” It was a two-page long letter!

He went and on and on about that letter and how much it had meant to Ann! He practically knew it by heart, since she’d read it so often. It had been a small thing to my daughter, taking the time to write that letter, but it had been a whole treasure chest of love for Ann.

Sure, a text or comment may last forever out there in the internet world, but no one ever bundled a bunch of texts or comments and tied them with a ribbon. A face-to-face call is nice, but memories fade with time.

Which brings us to the probable reason why the art of writing is fading from our busy lives. There’s no denying that it takes more time to write a meaningful thank you note, a cheery letter, or a happy congratulations. But if we can write 50,000 words for Nano, we can manage a few more words for the people we love.

Let’s challenge ourselves this holiday season to send a true gift from the heart. We’re writers! And we can bring back the lost art of writing, word by lovely word.

Cathy C. Hall is a kidlit author and humor writer and she's challenging herself to write letters--actual letters--during December. Though she'll probably put them in an envelope and mail 'em, she does love a good message in a bottle. (Isn't that the best photo? Check out Pexels for more fabulous and free photos. And check out more about Cathy here! She's kinda fab, too.)

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Serving Up What People Deserve

Tuesday, November 28, 2017
         One recent Sunday I was watching a story on the CBS Sunday Morning program. The segment that had me stuck in my chair, fascinated, was about the Broad Street Ministry in Philadelphia. An award-winning restaurant (Rooster Soup) has teamed up with a homeless shelter to serve up restaurant-quality meals to people in need.

        No, the homeless don't stand in line for their gruel. They sit at tables with table cloths, they're served by wait staff (volunteers), and the food they get? Well, my mouth was watering over huge burritos that took up the whole plate and were drizzled with some delicious-looking sauce.

        The director of the program. The chefs. The servers. They all believe that no matter what people look like or how they smell, they deserve to be served up in a hospitable manner.

        Which got me thinking. What should we serve up to our readers? What do they deserve?

  • The most delectable beginning we can mustard (okay, I couldn't resist) A memorable book, just like a memorable meal, begins with something to whet our appetite. Is your beginning compelling? Does it lure the reader into reading more?
  • Some credit  Readers are capable of connecting the dots. Leave them in the dark for a bit... they'll nibble their way to the right conclusion if they're given some clues along the way. Don't insist on spelling every single thing out. Readers are smart and can think for themselves. Give them a little credit when it comes to their intelligence. 
  • A warm welcome  No matter what kind of story it is, it's more engaging if the reader feels like they're being immersed in the events. If it's a murder mystery potboiler, the reader should feel like they're right beside the detective (or the future victim) as the story unfolds. The sensory details. The character's thoughts/inner dialogue. The ambience. Being able to escape into a book is a delicious way to while away an afternoon.
  • A satisfying ending  A marvelous meal deserves a bit of dessert at the end. A well-crafted story deserves an ending that hits the spot, ties up all the loose ends and leaves a satisfactory aftertaste. If the book or short story comes to an abrupt ending, it almost feels to the reader like they were cheated... like they had their plate taken away before the meal was finished. 

           How about you? What do you like served up when you dig into a book? Hungry minds want to know...

Sioux Roslawski is a classroom teacher, a consultant for the National Writing Project, a freelance writer, a dog rescuer for Love a Golden Rescue, a wife, a mother and a grandmother. She's currently trying to finish up her 2017 NaNoWriMo project so that, someday, she can serve it up to readers. If you'd like to read more of her stuff, check out her blog.
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Jennifer A. Payne Launches Her Poetry Book Blog Tour of "Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind"

Monday, November 27, 2017
...and giveaway!

Part social commentary, part lament, the 73 poems in Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind are, at their heart, love poems to the something greater within all of us. Their investigation of the human condition and its folly — politics, religion, development, technology, consumerism — is juxtaposed to a series of poems about our natural world and the possibility of divine connection.

Poetry + Trash Ask Readers to Consider “What is our legacy in this vast and wondrous Universe?”

Would God floss? Do spiders sing? Can you see the Universe in your reflection? Explore the answers to these questions and more in Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind, a new book by Connecticut author/artist Jen Payne.

A timely publication given the state of our world, Evidence of Flossing is more than a simple poetry chapbook. Its pages are illustrated by a random, absurd, and heartbreaking assortment of original and vintage photographs, including a series of discarded dental flossers that inspired the title of the book.

A take on traditional street photography, these images examine human nature from a different and thought-provoking perspective. Several of the photographs were featured in a recent Arts Council of Greater New Haven art exhibit entitled “Where the Whole Universe Dwells.” They are part of a collection of more than 100 photographs of used dental flossers found by Payne between 2014 - 2017, and speak to the subtitle of the book: What will we leave behind?

Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind follows on the heels of Payne’s 2014 well-received book LOOK UP! Musings on the Nature of Mindfulness, and continues a dialogue about our innate connection with nature. Both books are published by Three Chairs Publishing,

Paperback: 180 Pages
Genre: Poetry/Art
Publisher: Three Chairs Publishing (October 1, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0990565114
ISBN-13: 978-0990565116

Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind is available in print at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Etsy, and IndieBound.


“The poems in Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind are a brilliantly incisive
commentary on our simultaneous human sense of beauty and waste and loss.” — Dale Carlson, ALA Notable Book author

“In Jen Payne’s exquisite introduction to Evidence of Flossing, she provides the purpose of this book: to illustrate, poem by poem, the very fraught relationships which define us, human to human, human to earth and animal, and human to the unifying spirit, which may or may not be her lower case “god.” She is sober, admonitory, enraptured and antic by turns, her illustrative photographs always a source of pleasure or irony — often both. This is a most unusual book, richly thoughtful and sorely, sorely needed.” — Nancy Fitz-Hugh Meneely, author, Letter from Italy, 1944

“It’s uncanny how Jen Payne grabs hold of seemingly ordinary strands of life — then surprises us with new meaning. A master at storytelling, Jen brings us to the realization that the stories she shares are actually ours. An engaging, thought provoking and masterful reflection on our collective legacy in this world.” — Mary O’Connor, author, Life Is Full of Sweet Spots and Dreams of a Wingless Child

Book Giveaway Contest:
To win a copy of Evidence of Flossing, please enter using the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this post. The giveaway contest closes Sunday, December 3rd at 11:59 PM EST. We will announce the winner the next day in the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!

About the Author:

Jen Payne is inspired by those life moments that move us most — love and loss, joy and disappointment, milestones and turning points. Her writing serves as witness to these in the form of poetry, creative non-fiction, flash fiction and essay. When she is not exploring our connections with one another, she enjoys writing about our relationships with nature, creativity, and mindfulness, and how these offer the clearest path to finding balance in our frenetic, spinning world.

Very often, her writing is accompanied by her own photography and artwork. As both a graphic designer and writer, Jen believes that partnering visuals and words layers the intentions of her work, and makes the communication more palpable.

In 2014, she published LOOK UP! Musings on the Nature of Mindfulness, a collection of essays, poems and original photography. Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind is her second book.

Jen is the owner of Three Chairs Publishing and Words by Jen, a graphic design and creative services company founded in 1993, based in Branford, Connecticut. She is a member of the Arts Council of Greater New Haven, the Branford Arts and Cultural Alliance, the Connecticut Poetry Society, Guilford Arts Center, the Guilford Poets Guild, and the Independent Book Publishers Association.

Installations of her poetry were featured in Inauguration Nation an exhibition at Kehler Liddell Gallery in New Haven (2017), and Shuffle & Shake at the Arts Council of Greater New Haven (2016). Her writing has been published by The Aurorean, Six Sentences, the Story Circle Network, WOW! Women on Writing, and The Perch, a publication by the Yale Program for Recovery and Community Health.

You can read more of her writing on her blog Random Acts of Writing,

Jennifer can also be found online at:





-----Interview by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto

WOW: First of all, congratulations on your book Evidence of Flossing! What was the first book you fell in love with? And why?

Jen: There are two books I remember loving as a kid. One was The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. It's about four orphaned children who end up living in an abandoned boxcar in the woods. It seemed so idyllic…living in the forest, eating wild blueberries for supper, making cool things from found objects. The other book was The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis—oddly enough also about four young children who have magical adventures in the woods!

I had a big imagination as a kid, and parents who insisted I play outside. Plus I grew up along the shoreline in Connecticut, and there were always places to explore: beaches, marshes, trails through woods. So, I pretended I was like the Alden children living in the woods, or Lucy finding her way to Narnia.

Sprinkle in a little Winnie the Pooh and Emily Dickinson, then later in life Thoreau’s Walden, and I guess you could say I always looked to the woods and nature for inspiration.

WOW: Sounds like we would have made excellent friends as a kid! We had similar tastes in books! So, when did you know you wanted to be an author? What was the first thing you wrote that made you feel inspired to pursue writing?

Jen: I've been a writer for as long as I can remember. My dad traveled a lot for business, and we used to write letters to each other when he was away—I think that's where it started.

I had a ton of pen pals, too, back when you still did things like that. There was a television show called the Big Blue Marble. I belonged to their Pen Pal Club and wrote to kids in England, Belgium, France, Trinidad, and Korea.

And I've always written that way... not made-up stories, but real life experiences. I wrote for my high school newspaper. Studied journalism at UMass. My first job was writing press releases and advertising copy. So, my writing is very much based on that nonfiction foundation, though more creative nonfiction, or nonfiction prose.

WHEN did I know I wanted to be an author? I used to talk about writing "the great American novel” but I could never figure out how my writing fit that genre. Then, about six years ago, a friend of mine suggested my blog writings would make a great book. That's how LOOK UP! Musings on the Nature of Mindfulness came about—that's the book I published in 2014. It's a collection of my blog posts.

WOW: I really love that you turned your blog writing into a book! Your blog turned out to be quite the muse for you! What are your books about?

Jen: Both books, really, are about reconnecting with nature, about appreciating the gifts of our planet. LOOK UP! tells the story of my own journey. It's organized like a journal, and includes a collection of my essays and photographs, plus a bunch of quotes by famous naturalists, philosophers, and writers who have considered the same topics of mindfulness and our connection with the natural world.

Evidence of Flossing is what happened next. After the journey. It's an examination of the contradictions and tragedies of our everyday world compared to the organic rhythms and beauty of the natural world. But this book is all poetry—73 original poems—plus a quirky series of photographs of discarded dental flossers and other original photos.

WOW: I love how you merge both creative outlets in your book – photography and poetry. Let's talk time management - you own a graphic design company, write books, find time for poetry reading events, book launches, do you do it all and how do you do it with a smile on your face? What advice can you give to others who struggle with time management and juggling it all?

Jen: Good question! I have a smile on my face - most of the time - because I truly love what I do. I love my day job and I love my writing life. They feed me. I think it's easier to make time for things that feed you.


My secrets? I get up super early - like I don't want to tell you how early. And for me, those quiet, early morning hours are the best time to get good work done.

Coffee. Also a good thing. (And always from a Wonder Woman mug.)

Yoga or a long walk in the woods—please, yes.

And then, I eat frogs.

Have you heard of this? It's a technique from motivational speaker Brian Tracy, who says that if you tackle the most difficult things on your To Do list first, it creates momentum for other things to get done more easily. A friend shared the video with me a few years ago ( and it's really changed how I approach my day. Especially when I am up-to-my-eyeballs busy!

My advice to others? Oh dear, well...find your super powers (like getting up early), go for a walk, invest in 3x5 cards, drink coffee, and eat frogs when necessary.

WOW: I will most definitely have to look up the eating frogs idea later. You're all about conversations (me too) - so imagine the current you is having coffee and conversations with the teenage you...what advice would you give yourself?

Jen: That would be a LONG conversation, probably involving a little finger wagging—don't start smoking; more books/more writing/less boys; travel not chachkies. The usual hindsight things.

And then…there is a great parable in Ram Dass' Journey of Awakening that tells the story of a king who asks his people to come up with something that would make him happy when he was sad, and sad when he was happy. The winner presents the king with a ring, the inscription reading “This Too Shall Pass.”

So, that: Don't worry. Be happy. This too shall pass.

WOW: I’d definitely be telling myself something similar if I could sit my teenage-self down over coffee! So, what's next for you? You certainly aren't the "sit around and wait for life to happen" person - so where can we expect to see you next?

Jen: You're right there! Actually, I've been thinking about publishing a short story I wrote called Water Under the Bridge. It's an epistolary novel told through a series of emails.

But more immediately, I want to do an art exhibit of the (dental) flosser photos from Evidence of Flossing—maybe in the spring. I just think they deserve their own time and place outside of the book. They have a story to tell.

Don't we all?

WOW: We do! I truly believe that. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us today and we can’t wait to see the feedback come in from the book tour about your book Evidence of Flossing!

----------Blog Tour Dates

November 27th (today) @ The Muffin
Interview and giveaway.

Tuesday, November 28th @ Words, Crazy Words
Tara Meissner reviews Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind by fellow author Jennifer A. Payne. Don't miss Meissner's insight into this lovely book of poetry and more.

Wednesday, November 29th @ Lauren Scharhag
Today's guest blogger at Lauren Scharhag is Jennifer A. Payne with a post titled: "The Importance of Retreat" learn more about Payne's thoughts on down time and going off the grid as well as her latest poetry book, The Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind.

Monday, December 4th @ Words, Crazy Words
Jennifer A. Payne pens today's guest post at Words, Crazy Words - the blog of fellow author Tara Meissner. You won't want to miss Payne's insight when it comes to "Blogging as a Creative Tool"!

Tuesday, December 5th @ World of My Imagination
Nicole Pyles will be posting a review of Jennifer Payne's book, Evidence of Flossing over at her blog.

Wednesday, December 6th @ Create Write Now
Mari McCarthy at Create Write Now welcomes fellow author Jennifer A. Payne as today's guest blogger with an insightful post titled: "Everything is Connected". Learn about this as well as Payne's latest poetry book, Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind.

Thursday, December 7th @ Beverley A. Baird
Beverley Baird reviews the lovely new poetry book, Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind by Jennifer A. Payne.

Thursday, December 7th @ Writers Pay it Forward
"The Bravery of Storytelling" is the title of today's guest post at Writers Pay it Forward - you won't want to miss this intriguing topic and opportunity to hear from Jennifer A. Payne about storytelling as well as her latest poetry book, Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind.

Friday, December 8th @ BookWorm
Anjanette Potter reviews Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind by Jennifer A. Payne and also takes a few moments to interview Payne about her latest poetry book and more!

Monday, December 11th @ CMash Loves to Read
Today's author at CMash Loves to Read is the one and only Jennifer A. Payne and her latest book The Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind. Don't miss today's opportunity to hear from Jennifer with her guest post titled: "Finding Inspiration".

Tuesday, December 12th @ Linda Appleman Shapiro
Linda Appleman Shapiro reviews Jennifer Payne's latest poetry book, Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind. Don't miss this insightful blog stop.

Tuesday, December 12th @ The Constant Story
Fellow author David W. Berner reviews the latest work of Jennifer A. Payne - learn more about Payne's beautiful poetry book, Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind.

Wednesday, December 13th @ Choices with Madeline Sharples
"Exploring Mindfulness" is the title of today's guest post at Madeline Sharples Blog, Choices. Today's guest author is none other than Jennifer A. Payne. Find out more about her topic, her writing, and her latest poetry book, The Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind!

Wednesday, December 13th @ CA Liccardi
Writer Christopher Liccardi reviews Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind as part of author Jennifer A. Payne's WOW! Women on Writing book blog tour for her latest poetry book.

Thursday, December 14th @ Bring on Lemons with Crystal Otto
Crystal Casavant-Otto reviews Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind as part of author Jennifer A. Payne's WOW! Women on Writing book blog tour for her latest poetry book.

Friday, December 15th @ Lisa Haselton's Reviews & Interviews
Jennifer Payne is interviewed by Lisa Haselton; find out more about Jennifer's latest poetry book Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind.

Monday, December 18th @ Elaine Drennon Little
Fellow author Elaine Drennon Little reviews Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind by Jennifer A. Payne.

Monday, December 18th @ The Writer Site
Luanne Castle reviews Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind by Jennifer Payne. Don't miss Luanne's insight into this beautiful poetry book.

Tuesday, December 19th @ Life is Full of Sweet Spots
Mary O'Connor reviews Jennifer Payne's latest poetry book Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind. Don't miss this opportunity to learn more about this lovely book!

Wednesday, December 20th @ Depth of A Woman
Stop by Depth of A Woman to read Joss Burnell's review of Jennifer A. Payne's Poetry Book Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind.

Thursday, December 21st @ Spirituality Without Borders
Jennifer Payne and her lovely poetry book Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind is the topic today at Spirituality Without Borders. Read Rita's review of this lovely book and find out more about the lovely author behind it!

Friday, December 22nd @ Writing on the Rim
Stop by Writing on the Rim and hear from Juliana Lightle about her thoughts after reading Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind by Jennifer A. Payne. Don't miss this insightful review!


Enter to win a copy of Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind by Jennifer A. Payne! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. We will announce the winner in the Rafflecopter widget next Monday, December 4th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Photo Credits:
Book Cover, Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind (Flosser No. 007-1214 - Diner, Connecticut, December 2014, by Jen Payne)

Flosser No. 064-0616 - Flosser and Bone, Connecticut Parking Lot; June 2016, by Jen Payne

Author photo by Christine Chiocchio (Branford, CT)
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Advice for a Young Writer

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Dear Young Writer,

I’m writing you from the future to give you some advice about the writing life. Right now you are a 21-year-old college graduate, full of questions and confusion about the right path for you. Should you continue on the trajectory your professors have set for you and earn your dues at a small-town newspaper or magazine, or think outside the box and leave the place you call home for uncharted territory? Should you put yourself in debt and focus on your lifelong dream of writing a novel with the help of a fine arts degree? Or should you do something that has nothing to do with your degree in communications and write in your spare time until you have the words on the page just right for submission?

It’s hard to know the right answer, especially if your main goal is supporting yourself and trying to pay off bills. Are you willing to be a starving artist? If you’re like me, you may choose to take the “easier” path and accept the first job in your field that is offered to you. And then you’ll realize it still isn’t enough to pay all the bills and you’ll go back to the restaurant you worked at while you were in school and ask to work weekends for extra money.

I’m 41 years old now, and while I still consider myself a writer, there are things I wish I’d done differently. I wish I’d known about freelance writing much earlier. I wish I had focused more on my interests and turned those into paying assignments so I wouldn’t have had to spend so many hours serving brunch and folding silverware to make ends meet. I know all those experiences I had (taking a job where I mostly typed up insertion orders for advertising clients and writing the occasional press release) were valuable, but I do wish they had been different. But back then, I didn’t know all the ways one could have her work published, nor did I know those opportunities would increase tenfold with the innovation of the internet.

The main thing I would have done differently is that I would have written more, written often, and learned how to receive more money for doing it. As it was, much of my career has been spent writing a little and doing a lot of other things, like crisis management, public relations and marketing. These are all solid skills that continue to help me pay the bills, but they zap your energy when you go to sit down write creatively. And, I would have learned more about travel writing so I could visit places I’ve never seen before and turn those visits into paying assignments, or better yet, receive free trips in exchange for an honest review of a destination.

So you see, young writer, the sky’s the limit. But the answers will not always come easy to you, and you may get sidetracked with the promise of career advancement every now and then. But focus on what you want out of life, and how you can make your writing talent help you achieve your goals.

And most of all, don’t ever give up doing what you love the most. There are days when it will be the only thing that brings a smile to your face.

What things would you tell your younger self about writing? Are there jobs you wish you’d passed on so you could have spent more time writing?

Renee Roberson is a freelance writer and editor who also works in marketing at a nonprofit theatre company. She spent many years working in restaurants while she tried to figure out how to turn her writing into paychecks. Visit her website at
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Interview with Karen Lynch, Author of Relentless

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Today we chat with Karen Lynch, author of the book Relentless. Read on for more about this author's technique for writing, favorite books as a child and so much more.

About Relentless

Sara Grey’s world shattered ten years ago when her father was brutally murdered. Now at seventeen, she is still haunted by memories of that day, and driven by the need to understand why it happened. She lives a life full of secrets, and her family and friends have no idea of the supernatural world she is immersed in or of Sara’s very powerful gift.

In her quest for answers about her father’s death, Sara takes risks that expose her and her friends to danger, and puts herself into the sights of a sadistic vampire. On the same fateful night she meets Nikolas, a warrior who turns Sara’s world upside down, and who is determined to protect her even if it’s the last thing she wants.

Sara’s life starts to spin out of control as she is hunted by an obsessed vampire, learns that her friends have secrets of their own, and reels from the truth about her own ancestry. Sara has always been fiercely independent, but in order to survive now she must open herself to others, to reveal her deepest secrets. And she must learn to trust the one person capable of breaking down the walls around her.

Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Karen Lynch; 1 edition (January 3, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0615942423
ISBN-13: 978-0615942421

Relentless is available for order on Amazon, Barnes & NobleiBooks, Kobo, Google Play, SmashWords, Audible, and IndieBound.

--- Interview with Nicole Pyles

WOW: Thank you so much for being with us and our readers today and congrats on the success of your series Relentless. I understand you are working with Stephanie Hansen and Metamorphosis Literary Agency – how did you end up choosing this particular agent and agency? What has been a highlight of this partnership thus far?

Karen: I met Stephanie through Rick Miles, the owner of Red Coat PR. I’m a client of Rick’s and during one of our conversations, I mentioned I’d like to find an agent and had no idea where to start. I had talked to agents from some of the bigger literary agencies, but I didn’t really click with them. Rick told me about Stephanie and introduced us. She and I talked and hit it off immediately. I love working with Stephanie because she’s knowledgeable, and you can tell she’s passionate about the industry.

WOW: That’s awesome you hit it off so well! You mentioned on your website that some of the other characters in the series will be getting their own book. What is your method for writing from the perspective of these other characters?

Karen: I don’t there I have a different method for writing their POV. For me to write any character, I need to be able to hear them in my head. That might sound a bit weird, but if I can hear their dialogue and relate to them, I can write them. And not every character can be a main character. Some have interesting quirks that might make readers want to know more about them, but that doesn’t mean they have a whole story in them.

WOW: As a writer, I can understand what you mean about hearing characters! You also mentioned that your idea for Relentless came from a dream. How often do dreams inspire your writing?

Karen: Not often. I’ve written down several story ideas based on dreams, but so far, Relentless is the only one to make the cut.

WOW: That must have been one incredible dream! And I loved reading how much you read as a child! I think we would have been friends growing up. What kind of books did you read as a kid?

Karen: Now there is a question. I read everything I could get my hands on. Some of my favorites were the Little House series, Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, Bobsy Twins, stuff like that. My favorite book was To Nowhere and Back by Margaret Anderson. That’s the one that inspired me to write.

WOW: I looked that book up and that sounds like something I would have liked as a kid – and likely even now! So, you mentioned in your interview with Ind’Tale magazine that when your boss asked you to stop working so much overtime, you finally decided to write “that” book. What was your writing method at that time and what worked best for you?

Karen: I started out just writing whenever I felt like it, but I soon realized I needed more structure if I was going to be serious about it. I blocked off two hours every week night as writing time, and I tried to get in six to eight hours on Saturdays and Sundays. I also refused to allow myself to edit what I’d written, another bad habit that had kept me from finishing books before. Once I got into a routine and changed some of my mindset, I became a lot more productive and finished the first book.

WOW: I love the structure and schedule you set for yourself. It obviously paid off! You are such a fantastic example of a successful self-published author! What made you decide to self-publish?

Karen: Thanks! I’d always thought traditional publishing was the way to go, up until I finished the first draft of Relentless. I started looking at my options while I was doing the second draft, and what I read was pretty discouraging. My series is young adult paranormal romance and a lot of writing sites I went to said publishers weren’t looking for that as much after the Twilight thing died down. Then I attended a self-publishing webinar where Hugh Howey and Sarra Cannon where the guest speakers. After listening to them talk about their success, I decided I wanted to try self-publishing. The rest is history.

WOW: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us today! Best of luck on your series and we hope to hear more from you soon.

More About Karen Lynch:

When she is not at her job as a computer programmer, Karen Lynch can be found writing, reading and baking. A native of Newfoundland, Canada, she currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her cats and two crazy loveable German Shepherds: Rudy and Sophie.

Find Karen online:


-- About Nicole Pyles

Nicole is a writer, blogger, and bookworm living in Portland, Oregon. She loves writing stories about people in unusual circumstances and hopes one day WOW! Women on Writing will be interviewing her about a book she wrote.

Visit her blog, World of My Imagination,, for book reviews, writing prompts, and anything else in between.

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Don't Forget To Thank Creativity

Thursday, November 23, 2017
You read a lot of posts about being thankful at this time of year. You will often see a long list of the typical items: family, shelter, food, health, financial security, and so on. It's good to be grateful for the blessings we have and to look at life with an optimistic and grateful attitude.

Have you ever been thankful for your creativity? 

I feel like we should take a moment today and be thankful for our imaginations, for the gift that we have been given to use our right brains and make fantasies come alive whether its with words or paintings or music.

My creative one
I am thankful that I see my gift of creativity coming alive in my daughter. At 7, she has a notebook, where she writes lyrics to original songs. She has made several stapled books full of words and illustrations. She pretends to be characters from her favorite shows. I can often overhear her talking to her "YouTube Channel Fans" on her made-up Katie channel. Sometimes she even ends that creative play with, "Don't forget to leave a comment below on how you liked our video."

Because I am thankful for creativity, because I am a writer, because creativity is important and celebrated in our house, she is carrying on the tradition. I suppose I am responsible for molding another creative mind, and I couldn't be more thankful for this opportunity!

I am also thankful for the outlet my creativity provides for me to work through the tough times, to express myself through humor, to share what is important to me with the world.

So this Thanksgiving, while you fill your belly with turkey and stuffing and you give prayers of thanks for your many blessings, don't forget to also thank the powers that be for your gift of creativity and your freedom to express it. I certainly will be, and I might just be doing that on Katie's pretend YouTube channel, where I will ask her viewers to leave a comment below on what they are thankful for this year or how their creativity helps them. 

Margo L. Dill is a writer, editor, teacher, and mother living in St. Louis, MO. Don't let your creativity and progress on your novel stop during the holiday season. Consider taking her WOW! novel writing course, where you will be turning in sections of your novel every Friday for critique. Next class starts December 1. Sign up here.
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Giving Thanks to a Writer

Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Ah, Thanksgiving. The day we shove food in our faces, drink that extra glass of wine, and plop ourselves down on the couch to watch football and catch up with family. We deserve that delicious food, that extra sip, and that glorious relaxation, of course, but we shouldn’t forget the purpose of the holiday, which is to give thanks for everything we have in life.

This Thanksgiving, I also propose we thank a writer. There are many ways to do this.

Review a Book

Publishers want to see reviews. Reviews make them happy. If a publisher isn’t happy, chances are the writer isn’t happy either. So, help them out this Thanksgiving and leave a book review on Amazon or Goodreads. It doesn’t take long, but is a lasting way to help a writer’s career.

Buy a Book

There is one thing better than leaving a review from an author, and that is purchasing their book. Sure, you could borrow it from the library, but buying the book helps the writer score bonus points with their publisher, and puts a little extra green in their pocket in time for the holiday season. Personally, I think it’s a good idea to support our book stores as well. With Borders already gone, they need us more than ever.


Until I published my first novel, I didn’t realize that promoting it would be harder than writing it. I’m so grateful for my friends and family who talked it up and shared it on social media. If you have a blog, invite a fellow writer to do a guest post, or do a spotlight piece. Hand out bookmarks at work. Even the littlest thing can help a writer get their name out there.

Read a Draft
We all have that amazing writing friend who reads our drafts and provides feedback. Why not take time to thank them this Thanksgiving by offering to read their latest manuscript? Writers thrive on feedback, and each revision is a step in the right direction.

“Book club” Their Book
I consider this the ultimate thank-you. Perhaps you’ve already read and reviewed their book, but want to take your level of gratitude one step further. Why not use the author’s book as a book club read? Not only are you increasing their readership, but you’re promoting their name and their sales. Better yet, ask your book club members to review the book when they have finished. The “thank you” that keeps on giving!

What do you say? Ready to give thanks to your fellow writers? I’d love to hear other ideas!

Bethany Masone Harar is an author, teacher, and blogger, who does her best to turn reluctant readers into voracious, book-reading nerds. Check out her blog here and her website here.

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Fight the good fight

Tuesday, November 21, 2017
We've all heard stories about editors who "passed" on manuscripts that became best sellers. We wonder how they could have been so blind. We think we would never make such a terrible mistake. But to be honest, when faced with the unfamiliar, it's easy for anyone to "pass."

We may rationalize anything that doesn't make sense with a critical response. "It can't be me, so it must be you." However, the ones who persevere through negative responses are the true artists, those not swayed by others.

Artists and leaders are unique in that they offer their vision to the world with every word, melody, product, or system they create. Writers also are on the forefront of change. We may have a new or unique vision, and the critics may not be ready.

My advice is to be kind to the critics. Give them time to catch up to you. They may not know you, and may not be ready for what you have to say. There is no right time for creativity, and it may strike you in an unlikely place in an unlikely way. You need to be ready to defend your work, and explain or rewrite it in a way that makes it more relatable, and hopefully, marketable.

Critics also have not had time to keep up with the information in your head. Your idea may have been percolating for a long time, but most of it is beneath the surface inside your brain, like an iceberg. You've seen the part sticking out of the water and the huge foundation underneath, because you built it. But others may come upon it like the Titanic approached that other fateful iceberg. They weren't expecting it, and may need a time to figure out what's happening. Give them a minute to catch up. Help them readjust their thinking.

Fighting the good fight to get your ideas out in the world can take many different forms, like a book you've been writing for months, or the perfect essay that has been rewritten 15 times with help from your writer's group. It also may take the form of conquering rejections by sending out a manuscript immediately to someone else.

Artists consider rejection a challenge that comes with a decision. The choice is yours. Listen to the critics and take what you need, or ignore them altogether. You have to decide. It's your view, and that view may be different from every other view in the world, but it's up to you to defend, explain, or rewrite.

So fight the good fight, however you see fit.

And have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Mary Horner's short story Shirley and the Apricot Tree appeared in the latest edition of Kansas City Voices. She teaches communications at St. Louis and St. Charles Community Colleges.
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An Attitude of Gratitude: 10 Reasons to Give Thanks

Monday, November 20, 2017
Autumn and winter are my favorite seasons so an attitude of gratitude is natural for me this time of the year.  Fortunately writers have a lot to be grateful for all year long. Here is my Top 10 in alphabetical order so I don’t have to prioritize them.

Family – Larger
My father’s family is from Mississippi and West Texas so I come from a long line of southern story tellers. I grew up listening to the men spin tales of the desert, ranching and the mountains. These tales weren’t 100% true, they were True, something I needed to understand to write fiction.

Family – Smaller
I’m also profoundly grateful for my immediate family. These are the people who support me daily in my quest to write.  They also drag me out of my comfort zone which every introvert occasionally needs.

Knitting and Crochet
What do they have to do with writing?  It is a great way to occupy just enough of my brain so that I can sit and noodle a solution for some writing problem. Handwork is also how I recharge.

My library system has a huge collection of books, magazines, e-books, e-zines, DVDs and more. This is how I keep abreast of the latest developments in publishing. They are also a huge help as I research my nonfiction projects.

Monkey Mind
This is a yoga term for an unfocused mind. Mine has been referred to as a “barrel of monkeys mind.” With my scattered thoughts, I can generally find something that interests me when my editor asks if I want to write about a particular topic.

Yes, my computer. I started writing on a clunky electric typewriter at the kitchen table. It wasn’t long before my super supportive husband bought a computer for me so that I didn’t have to retype every draft. I am so grateful to write on a computer!

That’s the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. It is the best organization around to help you network with fellow children’s writers. Writing for children really is a different beast. I’ve found the majority of my writing gigs, including WOW, through SCBWI contacts.

Again, this may not seem worthy of Top 10 status but I’m dyslexic. Spell check is my friend!  Grammar check is a close second since it catches some of my mistakes that spell check misses.
Treadmill Desk
Although I’m not coordinated enough to write on the treadmill, it is where I read e-mail, blog posts, contest manuscripts, magazines and books to review.  Because I’m working on a fair sized monitor I can enlarge things enough to read as I’m bobbling around while walking.

Last but not least, WOW and the Muffin are definitely on my list. Writing for children may be a specialized field but it’s important to be in touch with the industry as a whole. Ironically this is also where I met both Margot and Sioux. Margot writes for children. Sioux lives in the same county I do. And this really is a top community in terms of information exchange and support.

So, what are you grateful for as we head into Thanksgiving? 


To find out more about Sue Bradford Edwards' writing, visit her blog, One Writer's Journey.  Sue is also the instructor for Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults. The next session begins January 8th, 2017.
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Using a Style Guide

Sunday, November 19, 2017
Have you noticed more and more people using social media for a Q&A session? Group Administrators are having to remind members not to come to their groups seeking medical advice, technical advice, and the like. Similarly, writers may find peer or reader groups helpful when seeking feedback and ideas but when it comes to style guidance, let’s should turn to a reputable source. I personally feel the Chicago Manual of Style is the most comprehensive style guide, but depending on your purpose for writing, you may find others better suited to you.

If you are intimidated by the size of the print version of the Chicago, you may prefer the online version (some say the online version is easier to search as well). Regardless of which manual or version you choose, it’s a much safer source than the online community. For example, a friend recently inquired about the correct way to note time. Answers varied greatly from: I like 6AM, I like 6 I’m the morning, I’ve seen 6a.m. and the list goes on. Grabbing your style guide will get you the best answer the first time with no time wasted for debate.

Which guide do you use? Which version? What led you to use this particular guide? Do you have any funny stories about online advice? We love to hear from you! Leave a comment below.


Crystal is a council secretary and musician at her church, birth mother, babywearing cloth diapering
mama (aka crunchy mama), business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Publicist with Dream of Things Publishing, Press Corp teammate for the DairyGirl Network, Unicorn Mom Ambassador, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, five young children (Carmen 10, Andre 9, Breccan 4, Delphine 2, and baby Eudora, two dogs, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, and over 230 Holsteins.

You can find Crystal riding unicorns, taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books, baby carriers, cloth diapers, and all sorts of other stuff here, and at her personal blog - Crystal is dedicated to turning life's lemons into lemonade!
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I'm (Fabulously) a Failure for 5 Reasons

Thursday, November 16, 2017
          Yes, I'm doing NaNoWriMo this year. I'm also planning on failing at it. It's a 100% guarantee that I'll be a loser, and that's just fine with me.

        Why am I okay failing at this challenge? Well, I have several reasons.

1. This challenge gets me out of my comfort zone. Normally I write creative nonfiction. Short memoir stuff that averages 1,200 words. A book-length piece is not my usual. NaNo pushes me to become a long-distance runner instead of sprinter... at least for this month.

2. I get to write surrounded by my students--4th-8th graders--and as I tap away and stare off into space and delete lines, I'm modeling what a writer does. Most of them are sailing along and meeting their word count goal. They share their word count with me, and ask about mine. Even though I'm pathetically behind the almost-2,000 words per day I need to get down, I don't stop. I share my low numbers, and I keep on creeping along. (Young writers--lucky them--have a smaller word goal. They actually get to set their own goal.)

3. So far (at the moment this post was published) I have 14,099 words. If I hadn't started NaNo on November 1st, I'd have 0 words down on this project. 

4. At the end of October when I was trying to figure out what in the world I was going to write about, I struggled. I considered a couple of ideas. When November 1st rolled around, I began the story from a teacher's perspective. (It's historical fiction, a kind of fictional mash-up between 1955 and 2017.) 

It was all wrong. After a day of writing, I realized it. I scrapped what I wrote and started anew. Now I'm telling the story from one of my students' viewpoint, and it feels right. And that's what writers do, especially if they have a deadline. They stumble. They revise. They change directions. They "make it work" as Tim Gunn says.

5. If I "win" at NaNoWriMo, I'll get 50,000 words down on paper. However, I'm writing a book slated for middle-grade readers. Most of those books are 20,000-30,000 words in length, so I know by the time I get to the end of my manuscript, the 50,000-word finish line will still be too far ahead for me to see. That's fine. If I manage to finish the first draft in a month  in a couple of months by the twelfth of never, I'll be thrilled. Really.

       So, perhaps you're not doing NaNoWriMo. November's short, there's Thanksgiving, the word count goal is crazy-big--I get it. I understand. However, maybe you might come up with your own month-long (or summer-long, or year-long) challenge. Set it up. Make it your own. And make it public and post your progress. (Your writing friends can prod you along if they know about it.)

       Hi. I'm Sioux, and I'm a failure. And I'm totally cool with that...

Sioux is too busy working on her NaNoWriMo project right now to write a clever bio. If you're interested, check out her writer/dog rescue/teacher blog.

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Going "There" With Your Writing

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Because it’s National Novel Writing Month (no, not participating this year!) I’ve noticed all the writing trade magazines and websites are chock full of inspirational articles on how to write a great plot twist and craft a page-turning dilemma. One such piece of advice centered on writing what scares you—you know, dig into those deep, dark fears a la Stephen King It style. Here are a few examples:

Fear of Not Fitting In. The fear of not being liked by others can push people to do things they would never have imagined. When I was a teenager, I read the novel Killing Mr. Griffin by author Lois Duncan. One of the main characters is a young woman named Susan, the straight-A student who doesn’t cause her parents any trouble. But she’s lonely, and when the boy she’s always had a crush on starts to pay attention to her, and invites her to spend time with his social circle, she finds herself being pulled into a kidnapping plot that goes against her beliefs and ends in tragic consequences. If Susan hadn’t felt so isolated and invisible in the first place, she may never have been led astray and put it an impossible position.

Fear of Being Watched. I had a stalking experience in college that sticks with me to this day. It was made worse because it was someone I knew—someone I had classes with and who often hung out in my circle of friends. Before I realized what was going on, I told him about an apartment that came up for rent across the hall from mine when he mentioned he was looking for a place. For the next nine months, he showed up everywhere I went. He knocked on my apartment door all hours of the day, and it got so bad that I would literally come home from work, tiptoe up the stairs with my key poised, and try to slip into my apartment as quietly as possible. He would knock on my door seconds later. It took me years to get over that experience and I still look over my shoulder everywhere I go. When I decided to write a young adult novel for NaNoWriMo a few years ago, I honed in on the paranoia one feels after an experience like that, especially when you’re a teenage girl already in a vulnerable state. Toss in that the stalking is coming from the most popular boy in high school and you’ve got something to work with.

Fear of a Place That Caused You Heartache. Have you ever been to place where you had such a bad experience it made you never want to visit there again? For Jenny in the novel Forrest Gump it was her family home where she was abused by her father. In Elin Hilderbrand’s novel The Matchmaker, it was the main character Dabney, who had a pathological fear of leaving Nantucket. It stemmed from an experience she had as a child, where her mother took her for an outing in Boston and left in her in a hotel with someone from the maid service after she decided she didn’t want to be a mother any longer. Dabney’s refusal to leave the island of Nantucket causes a strain on the relationships in her life—her high school boyfriend leaves to become a foreign correspondent and she won’t travel with him, she marries a professor at Harvard University but is content with him living and teaching at the campus throughout the weak, and (slight spoiler here) but it keeps her from taking care of herself properly and traveling outside of the island for medical care. Fear of places can overtake our lives, and it is yet another area that is ripe for exploration in our writing.

Have you ever explored a deep, dark fear in your writing, or read a book where someone else executed it beautifully? I’d love to hear about it!

Renee Roberson is an award-winning freelance writer and editor who also works in marketing and development at a nonprofit theatre company, where she hears many stories that would make for plays within themselves. Visit her blog at

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Paying It Forward the Write Way

Tuesday, November 14, 2017
In 2008, I won three how-to books on writing for children by Eve Heidi Bine-Stock.

I liked them so much, I pitched an interview to WOW when the theme was children’s writing. So in 2009, a 20 Questions article appeared and Eve garnered a fair amount of promotion.

Flash forward to 2016, when I received an email from Eve; she’d just published a book on self-publishing for the picture book writer. Would I be interested in giving her new book a read in exchange for a review? And because her book was not only informative but easy-to-follow, I was happy to write a review and I pitched that review to a magazine in the children’s publishing world. And Eve enjoyed more promotion.

All those reviews—paying it forward the write way—because of one little giveaway almost ten years ago!

It’s just one example, I know. I also know how easy it is to get discouraged with book promotion, to wonder if it’s worth all the time and trouble. Giving away books, searching for readers in exchange for a review, following up later with emails or tweets or messages, and on and on and on. But here’s my point: even if only one reader out of a handful works out, then at least you know you have a dedicated reader. And that dedicated reader—readers like me—are golden.

When you have a new book—or if you’d like to promote a book during a special season—then contact your golden readers first. Make it a personal request; I know from experience that I’m more likely to respond positively to a personal email rather than a generic one. And yes, it might take a little more time, but your golden readers like you and your books, and more importantly, they’re willing to put in a little work for you. They’re much more likely to read and review for you, to spread the word for you on social media, to talk to friends and family about your book.

But what if you don’t have a book coming out? Then it’s your turn. ‘Tis the season to say thanks, to let those who’ve helped you out in all kinds of ways know how much you appreciate their time and trouble.

So that’s it. All that’s left is for you to get out there and do the write thing. (Was this last pun too much? Or just write? Oh, ugh. Sorry!)

Cathy C. Hall is a kidlit author and humor writer and occasional book reviewer. She's also a sucker for a good pun (or a bad pun, as the case may be.) And she'd like to send a big thanks to all y'all who read her posts here and here! You're truly golden in her book!

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Mary Maurice launches her blog tour for Burtrum Lee - A Scientific Mystery

Monday, November 13, 2017
...and giveaway!

Coated with a life of lies and deceit, Burtrum Lee Conner is sick to her stomach. Dozens of times throughout her life the feeling of not being who she is has tormented her. But she kept it to herself, believing that maybe it’s just a chemical imbalance of some kind considering she is one of the first artificially-inseminated babies of the 1960s. Now, there’s more though, something much deeper, much more maniacal than she could have ever imagined. She’s not the first test tube baby at all, but the first…

Burtrum Lee Conner, born into a world of scientific mystery, discovers that the life she’s been leading for the past forty years, is the wrong one. Her parents, Jed and Jane Conner, stealing her as an infant, brought Lee up as their own. Even her devoted grandmother, Clair Conner, kept this secret close to her chest until they were found out. And now, Lee Conner’s biological mother, Katie Lee, wants her back, but not before the diabolical Dr. Stone has his say.

Paperback: 219 pages
Genre: Scientific Mystery
Publisher: Silver Leaf Books LLC (November 13, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1609751973
ISBN-13: 978-1609751975

Burtrum Lee is available in ebook and in print on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.

Book Giveaway Contest:

To win a copy of Burtrum Lee please enter using the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this post. The giveaway contest closes Sunday, November 19th at 11:59 PM EST. We will announce the winner the next day in the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!

About Mary Maurice:

When I was a child growing up in the Detroit area, I thought I wanted to be a painter, and then as a teenager the idea of being a musician intrigued me, then as a young adult, I realized that I’m a writer.

After attending Western Michigan University for two party filled years, I decided to leave academia and explore the real world to learn what life is truly about. For fifteen years I’ve traveled the country working in restaurants, writing and doing readings wherever I was welcome.

While living in Minneapolis during my twenties, I was fortunate enough to be tutored by Dr. Jonis Agee, who was at the time head of the creative writing department at St. Catherine’s College in St. Paul. Her lessons were imprinted in me for all of these years, and have influenced my writing ever since.

My adventures landed me in San Diego, Chicago, San Francisco, and Oregon, finally leading me to the Land of Enchantment where I’ve resided since 1994. Living in Santa Fe, and the beauty and isolation that surrounds me, has inspire my creative muse in ways that no other place has. While still working in the hospitality industry, my passion for the craft of writing has never been stronger. And I know with each sentence I write, and every paragraph I compose, my ultimate goal is to find the perfect word.

Keep on bookin!

Connect with Mary online:




-----Interview by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto

WOW:  Thank you so much Mary – thank you for sharing your writing with the world, choosing WOW to help with your book promotion, and for being here for today’s interview. 

Let’s get started: Imagining your life as a complete lie - what an interesting concept. Where did you get the idea for Burtrum Lee? How did it go from an idea to something you decided to pursue publishing?

Mary: I started with the title, and then the ideas came to me as I sat down and wrote. After finishing multiple drafts, I knew it was time to pursue publishing when my heart jumped as I read Burtrum Lee.

WOW:  What an awesome feeling – I’m sure readers will feel the same tug at their heart as they also experience the magic of Burtum Lee. When did you start writing and what or who inspired you?

Mary: The fire started when I wrote my first poem in the ninth grade, and the flames haven’t stopped burning. Throughout my life I’ve had great support from people who’ve read my books, attended my readings, and it is this support that inspires me to keep on writing. Also, the writing in itself keeps my desires alive.

WOW:  Those flames of desire – such a great way to describe writing with passion. Passion and compassion are so important for drawing readers in. Now, speaking of reading, do you have a favorite book, author, or genre? What drew you to them?

Mary: My favorite book of all time is Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. The novel is one of the most compassionate books that I’ve ever read. My favorite author is Stephen King. His format and engaging style has influenced my writing greatly. I’m drawn to his work because it teaches me, and the more I learn about writing, the better I become.

WOW: Stephen King – talk about success! How will you be celebrating your successes? What advice do you have regarding rejection? What lessons have you learned about publishing? What might you do differently next time?

Mary: I’ll celebrate my success, of course, by first going to Disneyland, and then, I’ll write more books. As for rejection, I’ve never had a problem with it. I figure, it’s all a part of the game, but perseverance and determination are the real winners. And as for, what would I do differently the next time, nothing, because what I did worked.

WOW: Good for you – both celebrating the success and recognizing your achievement. What's next for you?

Mary: I’ll just keep writing and doing readings, and continue to get the word out. That’s my life purpose, and I plan on fulfilling it.

WOW: Thank you so much for sharing your time and talent with the WOW readers today Mary – this is going to be such a fun tour (we are absolutely kicking it off on the right foot with this exciting interview)!

----------Blog Tour Dates

Monday November 13th (today) @ WOW! Women on Writing
Interview & Giveaway!

Tuesday, November 14th @ Create Write Now
Mary Maurice is today's guest author at Mari McCarthy's Create Write Now Blog - don't miss this intriguing guest post titled "Moving Beyond Writer's Block " and learn more about Maurice's scientific mystery, Burtrum Lee.

Wednesday, November 15th @ Beverley A. Baird
Beverley A. Baird reads and reviews Mary Maurice's scientific mystery, Burtrum Lee and shares her thoughts on this page turning novel!

Thursday, November 16th @ CMash Loves to Read
Today's guest blogger at CMash Loves to Read is none other than Mary Maurice. Hear from her on the topic of "Finding My Muse." and learn more about her scientific mystery, Burtrum Lee.

Friday, November 17th @ Bring on Lemons
Crystal Otto reviews Mary Maurice's Scientific Mystery, Burtrum Lee!  – don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about Mary Maurice and find out more about this page turning novel Burtrum Lee.

Monday, November 20th @ Lisa Haselton
Lisa Haselton interviews Mary Maurice about her scientific mystery, Burtrum Lee.

Tuesday, November 21st @ Margo Dill
Mary Maurice visits the blog of fellow author Margo Dill. Hear from Mary on the topic of: "What's So Hard About Being Nice?" and learn more about Mary's scientific mystery, Burtrum Lee.

Wednesday, November 22nd @ World of My Imagination
Nicole Pyles reviews Burtrum Lee - the Scientific Mystery by Mary Maurice.

Thursday, November 23rd @ Writers Pay it Forward
"Who Left the Skunk on the Side of the Road" is today's topic at Writers Pay it Forward as Mary Maurice pens today's guest post and discusses her book, Burtrum Lee - A Scientific Mystery.

Tuesday, November 28th @ Choices with Madeline Sharples
Mary Maurice writes an intriguing guest post at Choices today. She talks about "Keeping Readers Engaged". Don’t miss this post and opportunity to learn about Burtrum Lee - A Scientific Mystery.

Thursday, November 30th @ Women of Wonder
Ginny at Women of Wonder reviews Burtrum Lee - A Scientific Mystery by Mary Maurice and shares her thoughts with readers. Don't miss this exciting blog stop!


Enter to win a copy of Burtrum Lee by Mary Maurice! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. We will announce the winner in the Rafflecopter widget on Sunday, November 19th!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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