Alone, We Stand Together: Lessons From ThrillerFest

At ThrillerFest, as with all writing conferences, you go into each session with a set of expectations. Most of the day consists of listening to panels on certain topics, and then interviews.  Over the course of the day, I heard discussions on everything from reading and editing to villains and violence, from debut authors and… Read more »

Surprises at Every Turn: ThrillerFest 2013

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending ThrillerFest, a fantastic event from International Thriller Writers (ITW). Like last year, the theme that tied together my ThrillerFest experience can be summed in three words: “Expect the unexpected.” You might assume an event put on by thriller writers would have an icy vibe. You might… Read more »

Writing Outside Your Comfort Zone

When people meet me for the first time, they usually find out within the first ten minutes that I love to write. The question that proceeds right after is, “What do you write?” At that point, I’m stumped. The thing is, I write a little bit of everything – memoir, flash fiction, news articles and feature… Read more »

How to Stay in Action When You Get Rejected

You didn’t hear back from the agent. Perhaps the editor rejected you. You may be asking, “What the heck?” Firstly, congratulations on putting yourself out there. Now, here’s something to take on: Look beyond the anger, the embarrassment or the frustration. What is there for you? Consider that a rejection or a lack of response is a… Read more »

The Art of Giving Up on Books

The art of giving up on books is something I have practiced in short seasons for two years now. I never would have done it before, because books are sacred and I had convictions about finishing each one before I moved on. Practical reasons compelled me to betray those convictions. And I think you should… Read more »

How to Keep Writing When You’re Scared of Failure

Everyone’s experienced it. You have that novel bouncing around in your head, but you’re scared to start writing it. Thoughts pop up about not being good enough, about agents and editors laughing at your crazy idea, about all the time and energy spent on something that may get rejected. Your chest collapses. Your face cringes. Here’s the deal:… Read more »

Social Media for Writers: Interview with Dan Blank

Today it is such a pleasure to host a friend and mentor Dan Blank of WeGrowMedia.com. Some time ago I interviewed Dan about his take on social media and how he helps writers manage their social media without getting overwhelmed. This topic especially resonated with me because for a long time I had a love-hate… Read more »

7DayStory: FREE Short Story Workshop and Q&A

Join me and Julie Duffy of StoryADay.org us for a FREE Short Story Workshop next week. We’ll be talking about the tiered revision process that inspired our collaborative project–7DayStory–and you’ll have a chance to ask both of us questions about writing, short stories, and the 7DayStory Challenge. Here are the details: 7DayStory Workshop and Q&A… Read more »

Key Questions for a Standout Book Cover

In a bookstore, shoppers feel at home, walking up and down the aisles filled with hundreds of books, perhaps with a coffee in hand. They take their time, looking at each book cover as if in a gallery. You’re not in a traditional bookstore. In the fast-paced world of digital publishing, users demand instant gratification…. Read more »

Book Expo 2013: Trends and Highlights

Every year at Book Expo America (BEA) one of my primary jobs at the show is trend-spotting, especially now that DIY MFA has begun featuring more guest content on our site. Book Expo is the main place where I connect with authors, publishers and industry professionals that we will feature over the coming year. But… Read more »