writing a novel

#5onFri: Five Things I Wish I’d Known about Writing a Novel

Too many novels go unfinished. Writers give up in frustration because they run out of ideas, they get stuck, or they become overwhelmed by self-doubt. This often happens because writers have unrealistic expectations about the novel-writing process.  Through my own struggles with writing a novel, as well as my work with other writers, I’ve seen… Read more »

immigrant experience

Writing about the Immigrant Experience

Immigration is an emotional topic that can turn the friendliest of conversations into a fierce debate. People have wide-ranging views that have been shaped by their own experiences, the opinions of friends, and the news programs they watch. Writing about the immigrant experience requires a lot of nuance and attention to detail. Seven years ago,… Read more »

writing fiction

#5onFri: Five Tips for Writing Fiction

As an author of three published novels and over thirty short stories, several of them award-winners, I have acquired a sense of how to approach a writing project and finish it. I taught myself about writing fiction by learning from mistakes and the way I erred in my early years as a writer. I’m still… Read more »


The Importance of Friendships in YA

Growing up, I was a shy kid who switched schools every year. Books became a safe haven for me. A place I could escape, where who I was and what I wanted most could be lived out through hopping into the lives of characters. It was a place where people like me could form friendships… Read more »

Codi Schneider

Interview with Codi Schneider

I love mysteries with animals as sleuths, so I was delighted to speak to debut author Codi Schneider about her book Cold Snap. It’s the first in a series about a cat named Bijou and her human Spencer Bonanno, who runs the Fox Burrow Pet Inn in their little town of Gray Birch in the… Read more »


#5onFri: Five Ways to Make NO Work for You

After three months of back and forth on a book proposal for a book idea they pitched to me, their “no” was short and to the point: The marketing department doesn’t think you have a strong enough platform to sell books. I was devastated. I cried big, ugly toddler-sized tears for days. The bitterness lasted… Read more »

Title Image: On Starting Now

On Starting Now

In June 2016, I was at a crossroads. I felt behind everyone I knew in terms of my career and life experience. I was sick with money worries, constantly anxious, and when I would glance ruefully at the dust on my writing desk, the specter of “real adult life” sounded a lot like my father…. Read more »

Title Image: Humor Writing

The History of Humor Writing

Whenever I discuss humor writing with anyone—and I mean anyone—people seem immediately intimidated. Some people think that they are not funny enough or don’t have the personality for writing humor. Some might even say they are not familiar with humor but more with things like improv and stand-up. For those still curious how to write… Read more »

tone of voice

Tone of Voice (It’s More than Personality)

On an old Curly Girl greeting card taped above my desk, a woman’s red-fingernailed hand wraps around a vintage microphone. Artist Leigh Standley’s caption sprawls above the illustration:  “Find Your Voice.” Find. Your. Voice. Weaned on this advice, we fiction writers know that when an otherwise well-built narrative lies comatose on the page, only a… Read more »