Posted in writers

Z is for Zig-Zag


To all the writers for the A-Z Challenge, we made it. This is the last of our challenge, but I hope not the end of our blogging family. I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting so many of you here and feel certain that it never would have happened without A-Z. I will continue to follow your blogs and hope you do the same. I was thrilled to see that I received hits from as far away as Australia and from a total of thirteen countries. Wow.  Image

The reason I chose Zig-Zag for my “Z” post is because it is a great analogy of the blogs to come. I am going to use this blog to talk about both of my careers in one place. I’ll tag them as author or real estate and if you only want to follow one or the other that is fine.  My other career is real estate. I have been a Realtor® for twenty four years and practiced in three different states.  What I would like to do is post updates on the real estate market in general, along with a little about local southwest Florida. I would love to receive comments back about your cities, states or countries.     Image

I will not be posting daily, but as the whim strikes me. As you know, authors and Realtors® are very independent and choose our careers for the flexibility. Our fates are in our own hands, not of an employer.  It is my wish that some authors may also be interested in the pulse of the real estate market and vice versa.   


Things you can look forward to in my upcoming blogs:

Author interviews with new book out.

Interviews with agents and publishers.

Writing tips I pick up along the way from other professionals.

Real estate market updates, local and global

Buying tips for home buyers

Selling tips for home sellers

ImageSo, until we meet again.  . . . 



Posted in writers

Y is for Yellow


Does color affect your mood? Most experts will agree that it does. Take into consideration Tiger Woods’ “power red” shirt he always wears on the last day of a tournament, or “power ties” notoriously worn during political debates.  Red is power. White is pure. Black is dignified or sexy.  Image

Yellow is the happy face color—or a soft baby chick—or a singing canary, a yellow rose. It’s hard to think of anything negative when it comes to yellow.  I’ve been thinking about how to lighten a dark story without taking away the gravity of the premise.  Yellow . . . I need to add some yellow, in the highlights of a little girl’s hair, or a warm sun filling a room with sunshine, that single yellow rose.


As a writer, it is important to activate all the senses and I believe color is an effective tool. Our words are our paintbrush, our keyboards our canvas. Do you see your story in color? Or are they a monochrome of black words on a white screen? Do you use color to change the tone in a story?   Image


Y is also for Yea! We are almost to the end of our A-Z Challenge. Are we having fun yet?

Posted in A-Z Challenge, authors, children, parents, writers

X is for Generation X


Different data gives slightly different dates to describe Generation X. These are the children of the baby-boomers.  1965-1979 (age- 48-34), 1965-1982(age  48-31) 1964-1981(age  49-32)

So it is safe to say they are now between the ages of 31 and 49.

But who really is Generation X ?

TAG WORDS AND PHRASES,  Accept diversity, Pragmatic/practical, Self-reliant/individualistic, Reject rules, Mistrust institutions, PC, Use technology, Multitask, Latch-key kids, Friend-over family, work best in a casual, friendly work environment, Involvement, Flexibility and freedom, Need a place to learn

A marketing study, “Gen X: Flirting With 40,” stated that Gen X has matured into a group of “technologically savvy, adventurous pragmatists.”

  • A higher percentage of Gen Xers married later than their parents and stay married, and most want to be married.
  • Generation X devotes more hours to work than average and pursues continuing education, although they are the first generation to make less money than their parents. They are over educated and under employed.
  • As former latch-key kids, Gen Xers were expected to be wimpy, neglectful parents, however over 84% of Gen X parents expect their children to earn a college degree.
  • Two-thirds of Generation X are satisfied with their jobs.
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 meaning very happy, the median happiness score was 8.

The term Generation X really became popular as a label for the post-baby boom generation after publication of a 1991 novel by Canadian author Douglas Coupland titled, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, which portrayed the lifestyles of young adults during the late 1980s—people who were members of what we now call Generation X.


There was a earlier book written in the 1960’s named Generation X by British writer Jane Deverson and Hollywood correspondent Charles Hamblett. Deverson interviewed teenagers of the Mod subculture that originated in London in the 1960’s but the finding were too controversial for magazine articles so they collaborated to write the book. British punk rocker, Billy Idol, later named his band after the book.


In an article titled, “Generation X: Declaring their Independence” it stated the following:

  • Divorce and working moms created “latchkey” kids out of many in this generation. This led to traits of independence, resilience and adaptability. Generation X feels strongly that “I don’t need someone looking over my shoulder.”
  • At the same time, this generation expects immediate and ongoing feedback, and is equally comfortable giving feedback to others. Other traits include working well in multicultural settings, desire for some fun in the workplace and a pragmatic approach to getting things done.
  • Generation X saw their parents get laid off or face job insecurity. Many of them also entered the workplace in the early ’80s, when the economy was in a downturn. Because of these factors, they’ve redefined loyalty. Instead of remaining loyal to their company, they have a commitment to their work
  • Generation X takes employability seriously. But for this generation there isn’t a career ladder. There’s a career lattice. They can move laterally, stop and start, their career is more fluid.
  • Generation X dislike authority and rigid work requirements. Gen Xers want to work with you, not for you.

Although this is smallest of the current generations in numbers, at this time they are a major contributor to every aspect of our society. Putting it frankly, Gen Xers have taken over the world. The Baby Boomer generation has stepped down and our fate is now in the Xers hands.

Are we in better hands? Time will only tell. As a “Boomer”, I see things through a different lens than Xers. I’ve mellowed a little from the riotous and free-living sixties and seventies. I believe words like loyalty, family, patronage and honor trump just about anything. As much as I adore my children, the majority of Xers seem quite narcissistic. I could be wrong. Ironically, I see the Gen Yers just the opposite.

Since a large majority of readers of blogs are Gen Xers, I’d like your opinion. How do you see yourself? Ares the surveys correct? 

Posted in writers

W is for Whimsy


Whimsy is not my expertise. I write heavy, sometimes dark, and always controversial. So how can I give my readers a breather between these scenes? The answer is with some humor or whimsy. The problem for me is I don’t have a funny bone in my body. The last comedian I thought was funny was Bill Cosby. 

Now it is your turn. I have been giving you tips from A-V. Please readers, tell me how to come up with humorous lines to lighten the load. I have one line in my WIP. “She tried to do a hair-flip, but it came across more like a neck spasm.”  Funny?  Not really. That’s it.  My characters are in serious problems. I don’t want to make light of it. I have controversial subjects like gay marriage, gun control and prejudice in my story. How the heck to I put whimsy into that?

Help please. 

Posted in writers

V is for Vanity Press


What exactly is Vanity Press? According to the dictionary, “Vanity Press” is any publisher that the author pays to have their work printed. Thankfully, the term is slipping into obscurity because of the quality work that is now coming from Indie Publishers, from both new and previously traditionally published authors. “Vanity Press” was coined to describe works that lacked the quality of traditional publishing. It was believed to be for the writers that printed for their own limited publication with no intention of commercially selling their work. Those authors will always exist and there is a place for them. However, along with those types of publications, there is fantastic talent of commercial works that had been previously ignored because they didn’t make it through the small tunnel of the traditional publishing houses in years past.

Can you believe how much the industry has changed in the last five years?

The top five self-published books that made the USA Today Top 150 Books this week are:

The Bet by Rachel Van Dyken (Self-published via Amazon Digital Services). This week #2 (last week #26) $0.99


Falling Into You by Jasinda Wilder (Self-published via Amazon Digital Services). This week #14 (last week #12) $3.99


Second Chance Boyfriend by Monica Murphy (Self-published via Amazon Digital Services). This week #32 (last week, not on the list) $3.99


Music of the Heart by Katie Ashley (Self-published via Amazon Digital Services). This week #70 (last week #31) $3.99


Surrender Your Love by J.C. Reed (Self-published via Amazon Digital Services). This week #81 (last week #71) $2.99


This is what the Huffington Post had to say on January 16, 2013, By Sabrina Ricci for

Indie publishing is a growing trend. According to Bowker Books in Print and Bowker Identifier Services, over 235,000 print and ebooks have been self-published as of 2011. (Imagine how many there are in 2013)

What’s even more interesting is that many traditionally published authors are also going indie, all for a variety of reasons—some because they were unhappy with their publishers’ marketing efforts, others because their publishers no longer wanted to publish their books. But after talking to six traditionally published authors who have since turned to self-publishing, it became clear they all had one common motive for making the switch: they wanted control.

Barbara Freethy, author of 34 books including the Wish series and the first author to sell one million books on both Nook and Kindle, said that she has been writing for 20 years, via four different publishing houses. Then in 2010, she got the rights back to her backlist books and decided to self-publish the ebook versions.

“Once I saw how well my self-publishing books were doing and how much more attention and focus I could put on my own books, it was a pretty easy decision [to continue self-publishing] because those books have been doing so much better,” she said.

Freethy said that she prefers self-publishing because she has more control and power over her own product. She can also publish her work more frequently.

I think they can bury the term Vanity Press. What do you think?

Posted in writers

U is for Unknown


As writers, we often here people talk about writer’s block. I thought it was all hooey. In my mind, writing is a decision you make. It surely will require edits and rewrites but I just did not accept “writer’s block” as anything but an excuse. Until now- talk about block. I could not come up with a single thing that started with U. So U is for unknown. And I will never again say I don’t believe in writer’s block.

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how do you overcome it?

Posted in writers

T is for Theme


As writers we all know that our short stories, prose, poetry or novels must have a central theme. A theme is intangible, but every bit as important as the plots you develop. There can be multiple themes, and many times novels have several, but I suggest that there is still one prevailing theme in every story. Themes should be unspoken but easily recognized. As we talked about series in the “S” post, the theme you choose for your series must also carry over from book to book.

So what do we mean with a “theme?” It does not mean a moral, although some writers sometimes mix up the two. A “theme” could be revenge, survival, love or a combination of any number of things. A moral, unlike a theme, is a message that does not have to be in every story. I believe it is great if an author can “teach” something with a moral message, but I don’t judge a book if I didn’t learn a lesson. Sometimes girls just wanna have fun. However, if the theme gets watered down or lost, the plot usually does as well. Understanding what your “theme” is may keep you on track when you get run-on-of the-keyboard. My last book’s theme was redemption (1st) and reconciliation (2nd) I hope that my readers could easily determine that when reading it. My new WIP’s theme is prejudice, and it takes several forms.

What themes are you currently using, or that have been successful for you in the past?

Posted in writers

S is for Series


I wanted to write about Series because I know little about the subject. This exercise in blogging is as much a learning experience for me as it is for you. After reading many articles on writing a series and taking copious notes, I ran across a blog by Kaye Dacus which she titled “Writing the Series.” It is dated June 16, 2008, but the message is as relevant today as it was in 2008. What impressed me the most was her simple explanations of the three types of series. I didn’t know there were three types until she pointed it out. I had to hit myself on the head and say “Duh, how obvious.” Everything written below is entirely by Kaye Dacus. I cannot take a word of credit. I hope you find it as educational as I did. The actual link to her site is HTTP:// The first book of her Great Expectation Series, Follow the Heart is scheduled to be released in May 2013. 


Writing the Series by Kaye Dacus – June 16, 2008

When it comes to fiction, what is a series? Well, to put it simply, a fiction series is a number of books written around a particular continuity theme. It can be a duet, a trilogy, or an open-ended number of books, but they are a series only if there is some thread that ties them all together.
What kind of thread? Well, that depends. In Jan Karon’s Mitford series, the continuity thread is the main character, Father Timothy. Dee Henderson’s O’Malley novels are tied together because the main characters in each of them are adopted siblings. But they’re also tied together because each of the main characters is in some kind of “heroic” profession—like a police detective, a U.S. Marshal, a firefighter, a grief counselor, or an EMT. In Susan May Warren’s Deep Haven series, it is the setting that ties the books together, though the characters from the previous books do make “cameo” appearances in subsequent books.
With some series, there is a little bit of a difference, because it’s a continuing story throughout the series—which is seen most commonly in trilogies such as the Lord of the Rings series—in which the first two books may give a somewhat satisfying ending, but more than likely just leave the story hanging so that you have to continue reading to get any closure. This is true in some longer series, such as J.M. Hochstetler’s American Patriot series—which will extend to seven or eight volumes before the storyline comes to a conclusion.
The many ways of tying books together to create a series can pretty much be broken down into the three different kinds of series: spinoffs, serials, and sequels.

Spinoffs: A series of novels that take an existing minor character, setting, or concept from the first stand-alone story and create a new plot/situation for additional stand-alone stories. Examples: Dee Henderson’s “Uncommon Heroes” series or Christine Schaub’s “Music of the Heart” series that had as its continuing thread the novelization of the stories behind some of the greatest hymns of all time. Spinoffs are very common in the Romance genre—or in TV, though sometimes without as much success as in novels (e.g., Joni loves Chachi, Joey, or Frasier or the “Avonlea” series that was a spinoff of the Anne of Green Gables setting).

Serials: A series of novels that follow one particular character throughout many different, mostly unconnected episodes. Each novel is self-contained and could be read as a stand-alone title, though each successive title reveals more about the continuing character(s). Examples: Tony Hillerman’s novels featuring Navajo tribal police officers Leaphorn and Chee; Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan novels; Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels; Sherlock Holmes; Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys… are you sensing a genre pattern? Serials are seen most often in Mystery/Suspense and Action/Adventure. This is also what makes up the bulk of TV programming: the CSI and Law & Order franchises are prime examples. If you’re addicted to them, you watch every week and pick up on all of the tiny hints about the continuing-characters’ lives outside of the cases they’re working. However, the driving force of each week’s episode is the self-contained crime they must solve. Non-addicts can come in at any time and watch an episode and understand 95% of what’s going on (the other 5% being information about the characters that have been built throughout the series, such as Bobby Goren’s mother’s schizophrenia and cancer, or Horatio Cane’s relationship and short-lived marriage to Eric’s sister).

Sequels: A series of novels that contain one continuing story in a finite number of volumes. While each volume has a beginning, middle, climax, and denouement, the main plot/conflict of the series continues throughout the series and finally comes to a climax and resolution in the final volume. This main plot/conflict must be introduced early in the beginning of the first book. It cannot suddenly appear three chapters from the ending. While, if well-written, sequel-series books could be read separately, it is usually necessary to start with the first volume and read them in sequence to truly understand the entire storyline. Examples: Star Wars (whether taken as the original trilogy or the full set-of-six films), Tracie Peterson’s “Ribbons West” series, the Harry Potter series. Sequel series are most common in Science Fiction, Fantasy (just do a search for “trilogy” in the books section of!), and Historical Fiction/Romance. In television, these are shows such as LOST or Alias where each show builds the story upon what happened in the show before, and it’s really difficult to come into the middle of it and really know what’s going on without going back to the beginning to catch up.

Kaye Dacus (KAY DAY-cuss) is an author and educator who has been writing fiction for more than twenty years. A former Vice President of American Christian Fiction Writers, Kaye enjoys being an active ACFW member and the fellowship and community of hundreds of other writers from across the country and around the world that she finds there. She currently serves as President of Middle Tennessee Christian Writers, which she co-founded in 2003 with three other writers. Each month, she teaches a two-hour workshop on an aspect of the craft of writing at the MTCW monthly meeting. Kaye lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she is an academic advisor and English Composition instructor for Bethel University.
Note from me: Thank You Kaye for your invaluable information.
Are you currently writing a series? Is it is Spin off, a Serial or a Sequel?

Posted in writers

R is for Read


Reading is my favorite hobby. When life is stressed, I read a book. When life is relaxed, I read a book. Pulling just a few of my favorite quotes about reading, I will share them with my comments.


“A good book on your shelf is a friend that turns its back on you and remains a friend.”  ~Author Unknown

                So true. And it doesn’t get mad if I ignore it for a few years. I am a re-reader and eventually come to re-read my all-time favorites. They always welcome me back, no matter how long I have been gone.

“A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face. It is one of the few havens remaining where a man’s mind can get both provocation and privacy.”  ~Edward P. Morgan

                Without books, so many subjects would have gone unexplored. Things I didn’t even know I was interested in have expanded my horizons. All because of books.

The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it.  ~James Bryce

                Through books, everyone can learn a new skill, become a better person, learn to love.

“Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book.”  ~Author Unknown

                This is my favorite quote. I am blessed with many friends, but books can take me to another life like no person can.


What is your all-time favorite book? Mine is Sarah’s Key by Tatiana De Rosna. 

Posted in A-Z Challenge, authors, children, parents, writers

P is for Purpose


I believe every one is on this planet now, at this exact moment, in this exact place for a purpose. Throughout our lives, our purposes change as we grow.  Just a few of my “purposes” in life have been to be:

An obedient daughter

A fun and loyal sister

A devout Christian


A good mother

A loving wife

A successful salesperson


I can’t profess to have accomplished all of those things to the best of my ability, but I did the best I knew how to do at the time.


So what is my purpose now? I believe it is to write. As writers, we can have a variety of purposes. They could be to entertain, educate, inspire, amuse, thrill, even to scare. I believe my purpose is to teach empathy through the characters in my novels; to teach compassion for certain groups of people such as battered women, dysfunctional youth, and victims of violence or prejudice.

What is your purpose?