The Importance of Showing Up

By Grace Topping As a child, I enjoyed the stories my mother told my sisters and me at bedtime about her childhood. Sometimes her stories were happy and sometimes sad, but we were fascinated by them. Little did I realize that one of her experiences would profoundly affect me and cause me to do things …

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My Love of Bad Guys

By Annette Dashofy I grew up at a time when Westerns were all the rage on TV. Gunsmoke, Bonanza, The Big Valley to name a few. My dad and I watched them all. One of my favorites was a series titled Alias Smith and Jones. In it, two of the most successful outlaws in the …

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Halloween vs. Valentine’s Day

By Judy Penz Sheluk This post is scheduled for Halloween, which amuses me, because I’ve never been much of a Halloween person. Even as a kid, I dreaded the thought of dressing up and knocking on neighbor’s doors asking for candy, then coming home and watching while my dad inspected every piece for signs of …

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Grammar Crimes

By Lois Winston Do you have a grammar pet peeve? I do, thanks to Peggy Riley Hughes, my seventh and eighth-grade English teacher. Because of Mrs. Hughes, I cringe whenever I hear or read poor grammar. If the world had more Peggys, I’d cringe a lot less. To boldly go where no man has gone …

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Surprise! It’s a Sequel!

By Bethany Maines In this day of Marvel Universes and streaming limited– run shows, no, it’s not a surprise that it’s a sequel. It seems like everyone is embracing the sequel world-building ethos. But how is it that Marvel is thriving while DC can’t seem to figure out how to connect… anything? Or, for that …

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Do You See What I See? by James M. Jackson

By James M. Jackson Answer me this: It’s summer. I point to any sugar maple in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan forest my protagonist Seamus McCree calls home and ask, what color are its leaves? We all know the answer: green. Yet, what I cannot know is if the “green” you see is the same …

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The Deep Thrill by Barbara Kyle

By Barbara Kyle Mystery. Thriller. Romance. Science Fiction. Horror. The publishing industry uses these labels for what they call “genre” novels. Literary critics often dismiss genre novels as lightweight, even trivial. But are they? After all, it can be argued that even classic literary novels fall within the bounds of some genre. Jane Austen’s Pride …

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Art as Therapy – Filling the Well by Cheryl Hollon

As some of you know, writers today are responsible for a significant portion of their books’ virtual and in-person promotion work. Marketing is fun but, at the same time, can be draining. I tend to push very hard for the month before and after a book’s release date. That means up to twelve hours a …

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The Writer as Vagabond by Molly MacRae

The word vagabond strolled into my head the other day. I’ve always liked the word so I was happy to see it and to have it stick around for a while. I like the sound of it—full and round but with concrete edges in the G and the D, and with that tiniest buzz you …

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Punderful Titles

By Meri Allen (aka Shari Randall) I’ll never forget the moment I opened the email from my editor announcing the title of my cozy mystery debut in the Lobster Shack Mystery series. I was sitting across the breakfast table from my daughter who was enjoying a bowl of cereal when I read the title. “Curses, …

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