7 filler words that you just don’t need. Really.

Beginning writers do it. Experienced writers do it—pack their sentences with unnecessary “filler words,” making a perfectly clear five-word sentence sound weak, dull and vague. With a discerning red pen (or delete key), eliminate filler words for more powerful copy. Here are 7 common filler words we use all the time and how to get… Continue Reading

How to Engage Readers

I’m reading Elizabeth Strout’s Anything is Possible, which is, in a nutshell, about regular people in a small Illinois town coping with dysfunctional childhoods, dysfunctional parents, dysfunctional marriages…stuff pretty much everyone goes through to some extent. Strout hooked me in the first paragraph. How does she do that? I reread the first page to see… Continue Reading

Bay Area Book Festival: Tough Love and More

Yesterday I BART’d myself to Berkeley to attend the Bay Area Book Festival, a weekend-long event filled with author discussions, book signings, film screenings, and an expo featuring book publishers, authors, and writer resources. Books, writers, more books…sounds like my kinda place!

3 Freelance Horror Stories

A colleague of mine needed “freelance horror stories.” Wouldn’t you know, one of mine made the cut! Spooky!

More Money in Less Time—Believe It!

A “Make more money in less time” teleseminar provided good business tips and, whether the host knew it or not, for a prosperous life.

Do You Want to Get Paid by the Page?

Starting July 1, Amazon will start paying some of its self-published authors by pages read rather than copies sold (or borrowed, if we’re talking about Kindle). This is an odd concept that could potentially hurt earnings for children’s book authors, who tend to write shorter works, but would benefit thriller and mystery authors, whose readers… Continue Reading

Is Your Fact Check Motivated by Fear?

In the wake of the Rolling Stone rape story, its retraction, and Columbia School of Journalism’s excellent analysis of the many ways Rolling Stone and journalist Sabrina Rubin Erdely went wrong, Monica Guzman wrote about fear and fact-checking for Columbia Journalism Review. She raises some strong points. Journalists fear big mistakes (and little mistakes, too),… Continue Reading

Headlines: Will You Keep Reading Now?


Headlines are not my strong suit. Every article I write has to have a headline, and I struggle to create something snappy and relevant almost every time. This means more than 15 years of headline struggle and probably thousands of words wrestled out of my brain in hopes of finding the ultimate catchy phrase that… Continue Reading

Webinar Recap: Writing for the “Christian” Market


Writer’s Digest recently offered a free webinar titled “How to Land High Paying Writing Gigs in the Christian Market.” Presented by American Writers & Artists Inc., the webinar covered everything from the skills needed to succeed in the Christian business market, to writing and copywriting opportunities available, to tips on how to break in. I’m… Continue Reading