7 Quarantine Reads for Writers

Let’s face it: There are a seemingly infinite number of books about writing, but how do you distinguish a helpful resource from the hype-y ones that guarantee, say, a bestseller in one month flat? Well first things first, like those get-rich schemes that pop up in infomercials late at night, anything that sounds too good to be true probably is. The truth is, great writing simply can’t be rushed. It’s a joyful yet painstaking process that requires time, effort and determination (and a killer critique partner wouldn’t hurt either). There’s a good chance you’ll want to rip up whatever you’re… Continue reading

Two Absolute Page Turners

Flashing way, way back to my elementary and middle school days when we were rewarded with coupons for free personal-sized pizza from Pizza Hut based on how many books we read over break, summer has always been synonymous with reading for me. Even without the free pizza, it’s a habit that’s stuck with me through adulthood with summer being peak reading season since I’ve always been, well, more of an indoor person. Especially when it’s approximately 1,439 degrees here. I thoroughly enjoyed the bulk of what I read this summer — domestic thrillers, biographies, cookbooks, general fiction, even an unexpectedly… Continue reading

Summer Reading 2019 x 3

It’s quite possible that DFW hasn’t gotten the memo that it’s, well, summer (and I’m more than okay with that). Instead of clocking in at roughly 2,318 degrees, June has been nice and mild. Sunny. Not humid. Temps climbing not much higher than the upper 80s.  In other words, pretty incredible for North Texas. “Pretty incredible” could also sum up the novels I’ve recently finished reading. While completely different genres, they all captured my attention in that frantic, I-can’t-turn-the-pages-quickly-enough way. I kickstarted my summer reading with The Last Mrs. Parrish, which has been compared to super twisty psychological thrillers like… Continue reading

Happy 10th Birthday, Debut Novel

I can hardly believe it’s been 10 (!!!) years since the release of my first novel, Around the World in 80 Dates. While my book’s actual birthday was back on September 27, it was October 18, 2007 when I first spotted it on the shelf at Borders in Roseville, Minnesota (still miss you Borders, R.I.P.). As I picked up my novel from the shelf and, you know, confirmed it was mine, I was having a total That Thing You Do! moment in my mind where I wanted to scream “That’s MY book!” to everyone in striking distance. Since I didn’t… Continue reading

Ready, Set, Pitch Slam!

Just shy of two weeks ago, I not only attended my first Writer’s Digest conference in NYC, but I survived (!!!) my first Pitch Slam. For anyone not familiar with a Pitch Slam, it’s like speed dating for writers. But instead of connecting with a cute guy or gal, your mission is to pique the interest of an agent or two (or more) who represents your chosen genre. The rules are simple enough: You get a minute and a half to pitch your passion project, and he/she gets a minute and a half to respond. If the conversation goes the… Continue reading

Confessions of a Writing Conference Newbie

I’ve been writing professionally for nearly two decades, and there’s hardly anything about my career that would be described as “textbook.” So come to think of it, it’s probably not all that crazy that I finally made my way to my first writers conference a whopping 10 years (!!!) after my first novel was published, right? Just typing that last sentence feels a little weird, though. Having a 10-year-old debut novel sort of feels like finding out the kids you used to babysit are now in college—or even scarier, getting MARRIED. It doesn’t seem quite possible, and yet, here we… Continue reading