More Best Bloggers Blogging to check out … | Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

I love getting up in the morning and finding little treasures. Today Susan Toy posted some of her favorite blogs. First, I checked out each blog I didn’t already know about, then I followed their blogs. What a great way to find new bloggers out there. Thank you, Susan.

Here’s her blog if you want to check out the list.

P.S. Farley is not sure about the cat blogging, but says he can deal with it.


While it was impossible for me to have followed, listed, and awarded in my earlier post every blog I know of that is good, I didn’t want anyone to think they’d been forgotten. So here&#…

Source: More Best Bloggers Blogging to check out … | Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing


DESCENT: ‘My stomach knotted…’

Reblogged from Magic of The Muses

DESCENT: ‘My stomach knotted…’.

Welcome to Kristina Stanley, author of the brand new thriller DECENT. 

Let’s find out if  doing the final edit on a novel is as terrifying as murder on the slopes…  Read more at Magic of The Muses


Thanks to Eileen Schuh for hosting me on her blog.

Eileen’s books:

Eileen's Novels

Ready to Publish?

The life of a mystery writer is full of twists and turns. Some good. Some not. But here’s a twist that lands in the good category. I’ve signed a two-book publishing contract with Imajin Books for DESCENT and BURNT.

When I began writing my novels, I loved reading blogs about the writing process, about how to write, about how to publish, and about anything else to do with writing. And I still do. Now it’s time to return the favour. Over the next few months (or years), I’ll blog about the publishing experience. I’ll do my best to share what I learn. To give you an idea of what’s coming, here are my first baby steps in working with a publisher.

Step one: Re-launch my website and give it a cleaner look. This is a work in progress, and the updates will keep coming as I go through the publishing process.

Step two: Decide if working titles for DESCENT and BURNT are the final titles.

Step three: It’s a mystery.

Stay tuned . . .

And as usual, thanks for reading.

Why Blog About Something You Want To Learn?

I had a friend in medical school who told me when she was learning a new medical procedure she was taught:

  1. Learn one
  2. Teach one
  3. Do one

I think this process can be applied to learning grammar and punctuation. When I’m unsure about a rule, the first thing I do is check my grammar books and read about it. This is the Learn One phase.

Next, I blog about it. If I can explain the rule, then I probably understand it. This is the Teach One phase. If you’re doing this, be careful to use your own words. Don’t cheat and look at the grammar book for help. You need to be able to explain the rule without any aids. Sometimes I don’t blog about the rule, but I do try to write the rule in my own words. Even if it’s on a scrap piece of paper, it helps me remember the rule.

Lastly, I write using the rule. This is the Do One phase. You can edit and proofread to ensure you’re using the rule properly too. I consider editing part of the Do One phase.

I figure if this is how medical students learn, it must work for other areas of knowledge too.

Do you have any tips for learning?

Thanks for reading . . .

Can Writing a Novel Help Your Career?

I believe the answer is yes.

Without clear communication it’s hard to get things done in our world of team work, offices in different locations, cities or countries, partners working time zones hours away, and the multicultural workplace.

Much of our communication happens via the internet or intranet, making written communication extremely important.

Using interesting, concise and clear communication will help you get your job done, convince others to work on your project, and highlight your intelligence.

Think of the time you save if you only have to send a memo once and not answer questions about it.

Over the last few years, I’ve improved my writing skills by writing several novels. The more time I spend writing, the better I get at it. As they say, whoever they are, practice makes perfect.

So if you think spending time writing a novel that might never get published is a waste of time, think again. Writing a novel will improve how you communicate by the written word.

Have you found this to be true, too?

Thanks for reading.

Leaving a job? How To Get a Dream Reference Letter

When leaving a job on good terms, you’ll want a reference letter in hand. Ask your employer for a letter. If they agree, offer to write a draft for them.

While working as the Director of Human Resources for five and half years, I was asked regularly for a reference letter.  From an employer’s point of view, I found it easiest when the employee prepared a draft letter for me.

In a busy job, with my own deadlines, I found it difficult to make time to write a reference letter from scratch. That meant I had to look up employment dates and main job responsibilities, and I had to think of the person’s best characteristics. All easy to do,but time consuming.

Employees were sometimes shy about writing the letter, maybe thinking it was presumptuous, but what it really is, is helpful.

But what do you put in your letter?

  • Job title
  • Start and end dates
  • Main job responsibilities
  • Qualifications required and held for position
  • What you were good at. This is important. Don’t be shy about saying what you did well.

End the letter with some form of the following sentence: Given the opportunity, I would happily rehire – insert your name here.

The last sentence means the company was pleased with your work and is code within the HR circles that the reference is good.

Next, print two copies with room for a signature. Put one copy on a storage device. Present both to your employer. Thank them for giving you a reference, and state that you have prepared a draft for them as a starting point.

In many cases, I signed the letters as they were presented to me. In some cases, I felt the person under sold themselves and added a few things, and only rarely did I think the person went overboard and I took a few things out.

I hope this helps you get the reference letter you need.

Thanks for reading . . .

Offline Blogging Software

There is always something new to try or learn. This month, I decided to try the 30 day free trial of MarsEdit.

Why? I work offline most of the time. Living on a sailboat means I don’t have regular internet access, hence I need to write my blogs and upload when I have access.

I downloaded the free trial – I love a free trial. The free trial gives me time to decide if I want to spend my money on the software without taking the risk that I won’t like it.

My advice on first use: Once you download the free trial, check how many blogs you’ve written and set the refresh limit to this number. The first time in the software all of your blogs will download to your computer. After that’s done. reset the button to a lower number to speed up the process.

My likes:

  • When you write a scheduled post, the date columns lists the date the post is scheduled for so you can see your upcoming posts without having to go online. Sometimes I forget how far in advance I’ve written posts.
  • Easy addition of photos.
  • Adding categories and tags offline.
  • Works with WordPress – since that’s what I use for a blog platform.
  • Any time an idea strikes me for a blog and I happen to be working on my computer, I can pop over to MarsEdit and store the idea.
  • Free Trial.
  • MarEdit will download the latest version of a post when you hit the refresh button. This is helpful as I often write the blog but make changes when I see it online. These changes get sent back to my computer and then I have the latest version of the post.

Where I would like to see improvements:

  • Help file could be better. For example I couldn’t find an explanation of the Refresh vs. Refresh All command. I didn’t  try the community forum or the support function. Since I work mostly off line these are not features I would use.
  • I’d like to create folders so I can organize my blogs and couldn’t figure out how to do this.
  • I’d like to be able to add a link but I guess that’s not a reasonable expectation from software what is meant to be used offline. To do this, I underlined the text to remind myself to add the link once I was online. Then I submitted the post in draft status so it wouldn’t go public on my blog. There is a link function, but you have to know the URL, and if you’re offline . . .
  • If you do add a link offline, and you want to the linked URL to open in another page, you need to go online and set this feature
  • Even though I set the post date to a later date and left the Post Status button as published I thought the post would be published on the date I chose. Instead the post published immediately. This is fine, except that I have a schedule I like to keep. I thought If I set the date, then it would post on that date. I learned I had to set the Post Status to draft and the go online and set accordingly.
  • Not all of my pages downloaded to my computer.

I think the software is a little over priced. After the thirty day trial I’m not sure I’ll buy the software. I’m still very positive about it, but I think I’ll look around and see what else it out there. If the price was $29 or lower, I think I’d buy in now.

These are just my views on trialling the software. If you’ve had a different experience I’d love to hear about it.

Are there any programs you use to help you write or blog? I’d like to try something else before I make my final purchase decision.

Thanks for reading . . .


Top Ten Reasons to Blog . . .

If you are an Author, published or unpublished, here are 10 reasons to create a blog and stick with it.

  1. Build an audience for when you’re ready to sell your novel (or continue to sell an already published one).
  2. Practice writing.
  3. Practice proofreading.
  4. Develop your voice.
  5. Learn about social media.
  6. Share your knowledge with others.
  7. Connect with others world wide who have similar interests to you.
  8. Promote the work of authors whose work you admire.
  9. Get motivated to write: any kind of positive feedback encourages me to keep trying.
  10. Prove to a publisher that you can build and maintain a platform.

Why to you blog?

What motivates you to comment on other blogs?

Thanks for reading . . .

How to Get a Free Manuscript Critique

The value of blogging hits home. I’ve been following Joan Edwards for a while now and here’s what happened.

Joan posted an offer of a free manuscript review just for commenting on her blog. So I commented and I won.

I sent the first 1000 pages (oops – I meant words)  of my novel Avalanche to Joan. Joan assured me complete privacy and got straight to work.

What Joan did:

  • She sent me a covering letter describing her overall strategy and what her highlighting meant .
  • She gave me high level comments before reviewing each line in detail.
  • The critique included story line, grammar and punctuation comments.

It’s exciting to receive professional feedback that will help me improve the quality of my story. She included areas for improvement and highlighted sentences she thought were good. Now I have to get to work and make this better. It’s amazing what a second pair of eyes can do for a manuscript. I wish I could have Joan review my entire manuscript. Thanks Joan. You are a star!

If I didn’t blog, I never would have had this opportunity. This comes right back to Authors Helping Authors.

Thanks for reading . . .

Grammar: How to Learn What You Don’t Know

This is what I did.

In 2008 I attended the Humber School For Writers correspondent course. Joan Barfoot was my mentor.

The course is designed so a professional writer works with the student on a manuscript.

I thought I knew all about punctuation and grammar until Joan pointed out I didn’t know how to use a comma.

In my mind, I was using the pesky little mark correctly. But how would I know unless someone else pointed it out to me?

My point. You need someone your trust, who knows grammar and punctuation, to give you an honest review of your talent.

Then . . .


Perfection doesn’t come for free.

Do you have any tips for figuring out what you don’t know?

Thanks for reading . . .