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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

#AuthorToolboxBlogHop: Wear a Mask


First of all, I would like to apologize for my comment backlog. Apparently after Google+ became defunct, the comments setting had switched to “moderate all.” I was unaware of that and feel horrible for not engaging with all of you! I will do better now that it’s fixed.

Secondly, Covid cases, especially severe cases, are rising in Kansas City. My day job is that of a pharmacy technician for a hospital and it’s really stressful right now. So, my advice this month doesn’t pertain to writing.

Wear a damn mask. Wash your hands. Practice social distancing. Get your flu shot. Be kind to yourself. Cry it out. Exercise if possible. Find reasons to smile. You are enough. And for those living in the USA, please vote!!

See you all next year. Good luck to those participating in NaNoWriMo! Check back in December for my favorite books of 2020.

To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, click here

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Author Toolbox Blog Hop - Pandemic Fatigue
Image from Pexels.  

Would you want to read a work of fiction about COVID-19? What about a different pandemic?

My answer is no, and from my very “scientific” research, I am not the only one who feels that way.

My very “scientific” research consisted of asking my friends and colleagues, both avid and casual readers, if they would be interested in reading a book about our current pandemic. I was sure one or two people would have loved the idea, but honestly, everyone said no. 


In the beginning of the lockdown, I noticed that a lot of people were watching movies like Contagion and Outbreak. My son reread The Maze Runner because it’s post pandemic and dystopian. But I think people are done with those types of things. It was fun in the beginning because we didn’t know just how much the dictator-in-chief would fuck up the national response. Most didn’t know that the clown we currently call “president” had thrown away the How to Survive a Pandemic guidebook that President Obama had successfully used left him. Most didn’t know that he fired the whole pandemic team at the CDC.

And because of that…

COVID-19 fatigue is real, very real. I work in a hospital as a pharmacy tech, and while I’m not a nurse or doctor treating C-19 + patients, I feel like I’m neck deep in the pandemic every day. While I care so deeply for every life touched by this horrible illness, I am also tired of it, and so are so many of my co-workers. Don’t get me wrong, we are not the crowd who are tired of it and refuse to wear masks or refuse to believe the science behind social distancing and basic hygiene. We are the people who get home from work and don’t want to talk about the positive cases anymore. Home has become the one place I can pretend the world is normal. And books are my escape because nothing is normal.

Pandemic fatigue is why everyone told me they wouldn’t read a work of fiction or even a memoir about COVID-19. I’m sure as time passes more people will be willing to read about these things again, especially if we writers find an interesting way to spin/twist it.

Let me know in the comments if you are wanting to write or read something pandemic related!!

To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, click here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

#AuthorToolboxBlogHop: Choose Your Words Wisely

Have you ever read a short story or a book that felt off? The story itself was good but something just didn’t feel right. There is a good chance poor word choice was throwing you off.

The way I see it, one of the most important things a writer can focus on is word choice. Especially when it comes to dialog. Dialog can make or break a story. As a writer I need to know when to have a character say “hello” versus having a character say “hey.” I need to know the connotation behind words, particularly if I am writing a period piece or a story taking place in a certain country (if the story takes place in the US but a character had just moved there from London, it would be a smart choice to have the character use British slang versus having them use American slang.) 

Along with good word choice, I find that my favorite writers aren’t afraid to use “colorful” language. They use cuss words and content appropriate slang which I feel make the story feel more real and the characters more relatable. It’s kind of sad that I feel the need to mention this, but Americans are extremely weird when it comes to language. The word “fuck” will have some of them up in arms and they will act like you’re an obscene idiot for using the word, but they have no problem watching something extremely violent as long the language isn’t too filthy. I’m looking at you, PG-13 movies.

So, when you’re writing your next story or editing your current story, please look at your choice of words. Does the word make sense in the context of the scene? Did you make productive choices? If a sentence doesn’t sound right, try changing a word or two and see if that helps.

I hope this helps you in your writing. Please let me know if you have any word choice tips or advice!

To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, click here.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

#AuthorToolboxBlogHop: Staying Creative While Sick

Hello All!

Welcome back to the Author Toolbox Blog Hop! I missed last month because of the flu, which unfortunately means that I also missed out on quite a bit of writing. Seriously, those days of just laying around would have been fantastic for working on my story. I know there is a saying, “Write drunk, edit sober,’ but I’m not sure it applies to the delirium of the flu. Let’s just say my story would have went from something supernatural based in reality to something no one would recognize. 

The flu is why this post is dedicated to the art of staying creative while dealing with illness.

  1. It is okay to take sick days. I know that typically writers have a routine and sticking to it is important. That being said, sometimes your body breaks down because you need a break from everything other than sleep. So, sleep and let your dreams spark a little inspiration for you.
  2. Keep a journal/notebook near you at all times. You know that sleep thing I was just talking about? Any dream you have might become inspiration for you story. If you happen to wake up and remember any of it, write it down in a bedside notebook. Honestly, I recommend keeping a notebook next to your bed for any dream inspiration that may happen. Some of my best ideas and lines of dialog came from my dreams.
  3. Too sick to write but can’t sleep? Try reading a book or binge watching something on Netflix/Hulu/Disney+. Stick with the genre or theme that aligns with your story. I think it helps to look at things that are similar because it gives you an idea of what works and what doesn’t. My story is about witches and watching The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina has helped me see that it works to write witches in a non-traditional way.
  4. Last but not least, just rest. Don’t look for inspiration in dreams while you sleep. Binge watch a guilty pleasure that has absolutely nothing to do with your story. Read a book you’ve been wanting to to read but felt like you couldn’t while you were writing. But seriously, rest. We writers are human after all. You can always write once you are healthy.
Stay healthy fellow bloggers and see you next month!

To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, click here.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

#AuthorToolboxBlogHop: It's NaNoWriMo Time


It's almost National Novel Writing Month and I just wanted to wish everyone good luck! 

I hope you meet and exceed your goals. I hope this is the most successful NaNoWriMo you have every had!!

If you need inspiration during the month come back to the blog hop and check out old posts. They always serve me well and I hope they do the same for you!!

I know this is the last #AuthorToolboxBlogHop of the year, but check back in December after you've completed your 50,000 words and take a look at my favorite books of 2019 list. who knows, maybe you will find your new favorite there.

See you all next year! And thank you for all of the amazing advice you all have given this year!
To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, click here.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

#AuthorToolboxBlogHop: NaNoWriMo Prep

I can't believe it's almost National Novel Writing Month... With a little less than two months left, it's time to start your NaNo Prep!!

How do I prepare?

I outline. I know some people believe that outlining is cheating, but I'm a firm believer that outlines can help keep you on track while blasting through 50,000 words. 

I make a writing soundtrack. I can't write in silence or while watching TV, but I can write while listening to music. In fact, sometimes music can be a huge inspiration. Music has helped me fine-tune the emotion and the depth of each scene.

I decide on my daily word counts. NaNoWriMo happens during my birthday month and the holidays, so I make realistic word goals based on the days that I won't be able to write as much.

Here are some links from my previous blog posts:
Advice From Authors for Authors
Writing Prompts

I wish you all nothing but luck and endless creative inspiration this National Novel Writing Month!!

To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, click here.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

#AuthorToolboxBlogHop: Writing in the Lazy Days of Summer

I don't know about you, but writing in the summer can sometimes feel like a daunting task. Summer is a time to be outside and to be a little lazier than usual, or so my tired mind tries to convince me. Not that summer can't be an amazing source of inspiration, summer adventures and beautiful sunsets can end up being the perfect set up for your story.

BUT... what do you do when you feel the lazy days calling for you?

1. Answer the call. Take a short break. Let your vacation be a real vacation (though make sure to pack a small notebook in case you get inspired.) I am a big proponent of writing every day, but if you feel like your writing is suffering, take a couple days off. Honestly, you might come back recharged and ready to knock out that plot you've been working on forever.

2. Take your work outside. I love my laptop because of its portability. But I also travel with a small notebook and sometime writing by hand is the best. A change of scenery might be the thing you needed all along.

3. Listen to music. Sometimes the perfect song comes along and sets the tone for a scene. Bands/Artists that have been my inspiration lately are: The Strumbellas, The 1975, The Moth and The Flame, Billie Eilish, Amy Shark, Young the Giant, and The Matthew Good Band. Make a soundtrack for your story. It's fun and can keep you on track.

4. Schedule a time each day for writing and stick to it. Lock yourself in your office or living room or bedroom or wherever you write and just do it. Just write. Make it a habit and stick to it.

Summer is a hard to time stay motivated. There is so much to do and so many adventures to be had before you get trapped indoors by winter. So definitely enjoy it and soak it all in, it just may be what inspires your next story.

To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, click here.