Category Archives: Writing

An unexpected surprise

Has someone ever said to you, “I have bad news and I have good news?”

When this happens to me, I always say “give me the bad news first so I can end on the good news.”

This happened to me on Tuesday, November 7.

I was standing in the kitchen cooking supper when my husband came in and said, “I have some bad news and I have some good news.”

As usual, I said, “Give me the bad news first.”

“The bad news is we have puppies,” he said.

I promptly dropped the dish I was holding.

“What’s the good news,” I asked.

He answered, “We have puppies.”

How did that happen?

We adopted our dog six years ago and were told she was spayed.

This poor dog had been through enough.  She had been rescued from a puppy mill and she wasn’t even a pure breed dog.

Chloe had three (3) puppies.  Hubby had found one dead in the kennel, one puppy doing great, and a third puppy was struggling.

Now, Chloe likes being outside instead of being inside.  We tried over the years to keep her inside, but she wouldn’t have it.

We live on a farm and she is only loose when we are home.  And then, she is with us most of the time.  Otherwise, she has her own extremely large dog run and kennel area with plenty of shade, etc.

Because it is cold this time of year, we moved the truck out of the garage and moved Chloe and the two puppies inside.

At about 9:30 p.m., Chloe kicked the struggling pup out of the kennel.  Guess she knew something we humans didn’t know.

I took the puppy inside.  It was much smaller than the other pup. It really looked more the size of a newborn kitten than a newborn puppy.

All I had to feed the little thing was kitten formula.  Did I say, I was a cat person.

I sat with the puppy throughout the night, feeding it with an eyedropper.

About 5 a.m. on November 8, hubby came into the room where I had the puppy and told me to go get some rest and he would take over.

He got on the internet and found an article that said to keep the puppy with the momma.  Chloe wasn’t having it.  She continued to kick the little thing out of the kennel.

Needless to say, the puppy died about 10:30 a.m.

The puppy that was doing great is still going great.  It is now four (4) weeks old.  Its eyes are open and it scares itself when a loud bark comes out its mouth.

Here is our unexpected surprise. Two days old.


Age 3 weeks old.



Comments Off on An unexpected surprise

Filed under Non-Fiction, Writing

128 Words with Senses that Started out as Underworld Slang

This list of words is good for writers writing about the mob/mafia and want to use the correct wordage for the time period.


From Daily Writing Tips, August 10, 2017

The slang senses of many words we use in conversation and in informal writing originated in jargon employed by criminals, often coined to disguise the activities they were describing when they spoke among one another. This post lists and defines a number of those words.

action: bet, or betting, or criminal activity
aggro: aggressive behavior
angle: approach, or plan
bananas: crazy (originally, “sexually perverted”)
beat: escape, avoid
beef: quarrel
blow: leave
boob: stupid person
boost: steal
bought: bribed
break it up: stop argument or fight
broad: woman
buddy: man (as in addressing a person the speaker does not know)
bum’s rush: act of being forcibly removed
bump/bump off: kill
bunk: nonsense
buy: bribe
case: check the site of a potential robbery
chisel: cheat
clam up: stop talking, or refuse to talk, to avoid giving information
con: scheme to trick someone into relinquishing money
con man: person who steals through trickery
cop/copper: police officer or private detective
crew: group of rank-and-file criminals subordinate to a leader; by extension, a group of people with whom one associates
crumb: worthless person; originally, a noncriminal
deep-six: bury
dive: low-quality establishment, such as a dark, dingy bar
doll: attractive woman
dope: drugs, or information
dough: money
dump: see dive
Feds: federal law-enforcement personnel
fence: trade stolen items, or one who does so
finger: identify
fix: situation in which law-enforcement personnel have been bribed to overlook criminal activity
fruit: homosexual (derogatory)
fuzz: police
glom: steal (by extension, “grab”)
go straight: cease criminal activity
goofy: crazy (by extension, “silly”)
goon: low-level criminal
graft: see con
grand: thousand (dollars)
grease: see buy
grill: interrogate
grifter: see “con man”
haywire: mentally unbalanced
heat: attention from law-enforcement personnel, or a gun (by extension, “psychological pressure”)
heel: an incompetent criminal (by extension, “a villain or someone who takes on a villainous persona or role,” as in professional wrestling)
hit: planned murder (by extension, “an attack on someone’s reputation”)
hood(lum): see goon
horn: telephone
hot: stolen
hype: cheat by short-changing, or hypodermic needle
jam: trouble, or a troublesome situation
jaw: talk
joe: coffee
joint: place
junkie: drug user
keister: buttocks, or a safe
kisser: mouth
knock off: see bump/“bump off”
knock over: rob
large: see grand
lay low: remain out of sight so as to avoid attention after committing a crime
legit: pertaining to legal business activities
lit: drunk
loan shark: one who loans money at high rates of interest
looker: see doll
lug: stupid person (by extension, “clumsy person”—often used affectionately and jocularly)
mark: person targeted to be a victim of criminal activity
marker: IOU, note acknowledging a debt
mitt: hand
muscle: force, or intimidate, or someone who forces or intimidates
mug: face
nail: capture
nick: steal
nix: no, or say no to something
on the carpet: situation in which a criminal is called on the carpet, or disciplined, by a leader (by extension, pertains to any similar event)
on the lam: moving secretly to avoid arrest after committing a crime
on the spot: targeted for assassination (by extension, pertaining to being held accountable for a failure or mistake)
packing heat: armed with a gun
patsy: person framed for a crime (by extension, “fool”)
paw: hand
piece: share of the proceeds from criminal activity (see action), or a gun
pig: police officer
pinch: arrest
pop: see bump/“bump off”
punk: see goon (originally, a submissive homosexual)
put the screws on: see grill
queer: counterfeit
rap: criminal charge
rat: give information about associates’ criminal activities to law-enforcement personnel, or someone who does so
ringer: fake
rub out: see bump/“bump off”
rube: easy victim
sap: stupid person
score: succeed in obtaining stolen money or goods
scram: see blow
scratch: money
sing: see rat (verb)
skip out: leave without paying
skirt: woman
slug: punch, or knock unconscious, or a bullet
snatch: kidnap
sock: punch
spill: see rat (verb), or talk (verb)
square: honest
stiff: corpse
sting: see con (by extension, “a law-enforcement operation to prompt and observe criminal behavior”)
stir: jail
stir-crazy: mentally disturbed because of incarceration
stool pigeon/stoolie: see rat (noun)
straighten out: resolve a dispute
string along: deceive
sucker: see rube
swag: stolen goods (by extension, “gifts offered to promote through publicity”)
tag: designation (by extension, “graffiti signature”)
tail: track a criminal’s activities, or a law-enforcement official who does so
take: share of profits from criminal activity
take a powder: leave
take (someone) for a ride: see bump/“bump off”
take the fall: be targeted for blame for a crime
tighten the screws: pressure
trap: see kisser
two bits: twenty-five cents
vendetta: vow of vengeance (by extension, “a passionate, sustained effort to avenge oneself or one’s family or group”)
yap: see kisser

Comments Off on 128 Words with Senses that Started out as Underworld Slang

Filed under Authors, Books, Crime Fiction, Genre, Murder Mystery, Mystery, Writing

September is Preparedness Month

With Hurricane Havey causing havoc in Texas and Louisiana, it is once again time to think of your own Preparedness.


Where do you start?

By breaking the plan down into parts each week, it becomes manageable and not overwhelming.

Week 1: Prepare a household inventory.

Week 2: Review your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy to see what is covered.  If you do not understand your policy, make an appointment to visit with your insurance agent.

Week 3: Build a “Grab-and-Go” kit.

Week 4: Create a communication plan.


To help get you started you can download a pdf of the “Survival Journal” that my husband and I use.

Print off the pages, fill them out and put them into plastic sheets and put into a 3 ring binder and put in your Survival Container or Grab-and-Go Kit.

Survival Journal

Comments Off on September is Preparedness Month

Filed under Books, family relationship, Non-Fiction, Writing

Decluttering Time

Have you ever taken the time to de-clutter your workspace or home?  I know that I have.

Today, I am de-cluttering my external hard drive.

Perhaps, you are like me.  If not, count yourself lucky.

I have the tendency to save pdf files, jpegs, etc. that I find on the Internet, telling myself that one day I will get around to reading the information or doing something with the jpegs.  I save these because I know that I will not be able to find that one piece of information again! (I tell myself the same thing with emails.)

The result of all this saving is having files that I never get around to viewing.  So, today is my decluttering (deleting files I don’t want to keep and organizing the ones that I want to keep) time.

Here are the titles of a few files that I deleted from one file folder.  I still have several folders to go.

  • 15 Daily Actions For Making Your Feel Happier!
  • 21 Powerful Ways to Persuade People to do What You Want
  • 22 Powerful Tools to Transform Your Fear Into Happiness, Peace, and Inspiration
  • The 30 Second Secret to Blasting Your Energy Levels Through the Roof in the Morning
  • The 60-60-30 Solution
  • 70 Inspirational Quotes
  • 88 Fun Thoughts About Life
  • 101 Negativity Killer: Learn to Stay Positive & Achieve Your Goals
  • 179 Forward Steps: Life Power Tips for Everyday
  • 404 Self Improvement Tips
  • 1001 Tolerations  (a master list of things to stop tolerating)
  • How to Publish a Book
  • Abundant Thinking: Achieving the…Rich Dad Mindset
  • Amazon Bestseller Checklist: Download & Check Off Before Publishing!
  • Awareness Building


Here are a couple of jpeg files that I deleted.

Comments Off on Decluttering Time

Filed under Writing

7 Ways to Build Suspense

This post was originally posted by the late John Yeoman on October 4, 2012.  His title was “Seven Simple Ways to Build Suspense.”  John’s website has been disabled.


How many ways can you hang a page? Or a scene? Or a chapter? That old ploy, the cliffhanger, has made a comeback of late in the penny dreadfuls of Dan Brown. Every episode ends upon a note of intrigue, horror or mystery to entice us to turn the page.

His counterpart in melodrama Kathy Reichs uses so many hangers – around three per scene – that she must pluck them out of a database.

Can we use page hangers without appearing to be formulaic? 

Yes! (Please turn my page. I shall reveal the secrets soon…)

Continue reading

Comments Off on 7 Ways to Build Suspense

Filed under Authors, Books, Suspense, Writing

5 Tip for Writing Biographies

Here are 5 tips I have learned while writing biographies.  This could also work for any of your writing projects.

  1. You will never have all the research evidence you need to write the story. So, stop looking for that “one more thing” that you hope will turn out to be the “wow” factor.
  2. Create a timeline of the person(s) life.  I create a Table document in Word for my timeline.  I create a column for date, place, event/notes/references. This also helps me organize my research materials.  This has also saved me hours of looking through printed articles trying to find something.  With my Word/Table document, I can click on “Find” and fill in the search box.  This gives me the reference article title and date and then I can locate and view the printed document.
  3. Create a To-Do List.  My to-do list includes names of people I want to interview, archives I need to contact, phone calls I need to make, etc.
  4. Create a writing schedule.  Try to write at least 1,000 words each day or at each scheduled writing time.
  5. Backup all your work.  I save my work on my laptop, then back it up to an external hard drive, then put a copy into my DropBox account in the Cloud.


Comments Off on 5 Tip for Writing Biographies

Filed under Authors, Biography, Books, Genre, Writing

Featuring Children, Tweens & YA Authors

Are you a Children’s Author?

Do you write for tweens?

What about Young Adults?

I am paying it forward in 2017 by featuring authors on my blog.

Sign up for me to feature you on the Feature Calendar page!feature-md

Occasionally, there will be bonus material, giveaways, reviews and more!


Filed under Action Adventure, All Saints Day, Animation, Authors, Autobiography, Awards, Biography, Body, book blitz, Book Expos, Book Fair, Book Launch, Book Reviews, Book Signings, Books, Children's Books, Christian Romance, Christmas, Comedy, Coming of Age, Cookbooks, Crime Fiction, Dark Fantasy Romance, Day of the Dead, e-books, Easter, family relationship, Fantasy, Fiction, Genre, Good Friday, Halloween, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Holidays, Inspirational, Interesting Blogs, Mardi Gras, Marketing, Memoir, Military, Mind, Mother's Day, Movies, Murder Mystery, Mystery, New Age, New Years, Non-Fiction, Paranormal, Paranormal Fantasy Romance, Paranormal Romance, Paranormal Urban Fantasy, parenting, Picture Books, poetry, Quotes, Recipes, Religious, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Self-Help, Self-Help, Self-Publish, Social Networking, Songs, Spirit, Suspense, Thanksgiving, Thriller, Travel, Traveling Kansas, Urban Fantasy Romance, Urban Fantasy/Horror, Veteran's Day, Videos, Western, Writing, Young Adult

I’m a Writer



If you take a “think break” while writing and there are people about.  Do you ever think they would make a good or bad character for your story plot?

If not, perhaps you should.

1 Comment

Filed under Authors, Books, Writing

Using Dialogue to Develop Characters, a Guest Post

FEATURE ARTICLE: Using Dialogue to Develop Characters5ebe9474a58e163b3d0c1d0522bc6438

By Mike Klaassen
“One of the most important functions of dialogue is characterization,” states Randall Silvas in The Writer (February 1985). “Through his own words, a character comes alive. Through his own words, a character defines himself and reveals who he is . . .”

Dialogue can provide the reader with critical information about each character:

  • Background
  • Personality
  • Values
  • Attitude
  • Goals
  • Motivation
  • Emotion

Nancy Kress, in Dynamic Characters, offers insight into characterization, especially about the relationship between dialogue and a character’s thoughts: “What your character thinks about helps to create his personality for the reader. So does how he thinks: in what words, with what sentence structure, with what level of grammatical correctness. The result of this matching of diction, sentence structure and level of sophistication to a character’s personality is twofold. First, a given character’s dialogue and thoughts will end up sounding consistent with each other. Second, the closer the distance between author and character, the more alike thoughts and dialogue sound.”

A character’s thoughts (what he thinks and how he thinks) help the reader understand the character. Likewise, a character’s spoken words (what he says and how he says them) reflect that character’s thoughts and provide insight into the character. What a character says depends, of course, on the specific needs of each story and needn’t be further addressed in this discussion. But how a character speaks also shows the reader a lot about a character, and that warrants additional attention in several aspects:

  • Distinctiveness
  • Organic nature
  • Mechanics


Many writing coaches agree that each character should have a distinct voice. According to Gloria Kempton, in Dialogue, “Giving your character a particular manner of speech can go a long way in characterizing him and helping your reader recognize him when he appears onstage. It distinguishes him from the other characters, setting him apart.”

William G. Tapply (The Writer, October 2008) advises writers to “Give each character – – even secondary ones – – a distinctive voice.” Stanton Rabin (The Writer, March 2009) notes that “If you cover up the names and just read the dialogue, you should still be able to tell which character is talking. Your characters should be unique and speak in distinctly individual ways.”

Evan Marshall, in The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing, advises writers to create distinctive voices, so characters don’t all sound the same. Janet Evanovich, in How I Write, agrees: “Nothing is more tedious than reading a story where every character uses identical speech patterns.”


Characters need to be distinct, but not just to help the reader identify the character. As observed by Gloria Kempton, the “Quirkiness of a character’s speech . . . should rise organically out of who the character is and what his purpose is in the story.”

According to Randall Silvas (The Writer, February 1985), a character’s “. . . speech pattern will identify him as erudite or obtuse, an Okie or a New Englander, a stuffed shirt or a clown.”


“The challenge for us as writers,” notes Gloria Kempton, “is to find a way to show our characters’ speech on the printed page.” This may be accomplished at various levels:

  • words (word choice, contractions, trigger words, unnecessary words, spelling,)
  • sentences (sentence structure, diction, phrasing, sentence fragments, grammar, elimination of words, word order)
  • punctuation
  • rhythm and pace (cadence)
  • voice quality (inflection, pitch, timbre, enunciation, voice volume)
  • background (accent, dialect, colloquialisms, trendiness, profanity)
  • coherence (straightforward, disjointed, misdirected, or cross-purposes dialogue)

“Dialogue’s first task is to convey characters,” observes Peter Selgin, in By Cunning & Craft. Fortunately for fiction readers, there is so much to learn about characters through their own dialogue. Fortunately for fiction writers, there are numerous tools available for helping develop characters through their own words.


Author Mike Klaassen publishes “For Fiction Writers,” a free monthly e-zine. 

Mike Klaassen is an author devoted to writing novels and to helping others understand the craft of writing fiction.

“My goal as a novelist,” says Klaassen, “is to write fiction that even the most reluctant readers will enjoy.  My goal as a nonfiction author is to help fiction writers achieve the cutting edge in fiction-writing technique.  The objective in each of my articles is to present the most comprehensive analysis of the subject matter available anywhere.”

Mike lives in Kansas.

You can learn more about Mike and his novels at

Comments Off on Using Dialogue to Develop Characters, a Guest Post

Filed under Authors, Writing

Spotlight – Author, Robert Kimbrell

Rave Review Book Club’s Spotlight Author Blog Tour – Author, Robert Kimbrell

She Wanted My Advice?

So a female friend recently asked me for advice on writing and self-publishing a book. I am always happy to talk about writing! She wants to self-publish her first book and wanted to know some things that will help. While not an expert by any stretch, I have published works and read the works of others and therefore had some things to share with her. I am happy to pass on these things to you too.

Self-publishing is not, as most know, a reason to settle for less. Self-publishing, while bypassing traditional publishers, does not and should not mean a book is less professional.

When someone reads any sizable amount of Indie books, sooner or later a book will appear before them that is amateur-ish. Perhaps that sounds judgmental, but readers want to know they are not wasting their time with misspells, bad formatting, repetitive sections and the like. These all add to a bad experience in which the reader loses faith in your story. The person you hope will read and enjoy your book has every reason to then put down your work and move on to something else. Even the casual reader can tell when the story has, “been worked hard on”, when it rises to a level of class and professionalism; or when it doesn’t deserve their late, sleepless nights from reading your intriguing story.

So when I say self-publishing is not a reason to settle for less, I mean that we as authors and self-publishers need to be sure the end product is top notch. This goes without saying, but how sad it is when some turn to self-publishing as an easy way to churn out books. This waters down the perceived talent among those who self publish. What can you do to put out quality work?

  1. When entertaining your idea for a story, think about it A LOT. Think about possible plot issue, characters and so forth and write everything down, no matter how trivial it may seem to you.
  2. Write everyday. Author Janet Evanovich has a great audiobook titled, HOW I WRITE. In it she suggests writing every day as if it were your job. Among other reasons, it keeps the juices flowing.
  3. Don’t bother family/friends for their opinions.
  4. Read it, read it, read it.
  5. Self edit. Then rewrite and self edit some more. Do this many times, then reread everything to be sure there are no plot issues.
  6. Get a professional editor/proofreader. For the record, having someone to go over your work with a fine-toothed comb is perhaps the best thing you can do.
  7. Get a professional cover design.
  8. Whether paperback or ebook, get a pro to format the interior for you. This will make all the difference.

There are people that know more about writing than I, and surely they can give you some words of wisdom. But if you want to put your work out there, if you want it to have a level of professionalism so that readers won’t put it down and move on, these tips will help you.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00043]Book Blurb:

Because Annie has no recollection of her birth parents, her life is full of unknowns. Still, she seems relatively content with her simple existence in Washington, DC. Marcus, her new Italian boyfriend, adds much desired spice to her life despite secrecy about his position at SecureVest. But when Annie becomes mysteriously ill, it is the catalyst for a life far from simple.

Seemingly by luck, Annie discovers that she is maturing into a dhampir (a vampire/human hybrid), and to survive she must feed on fresh human blood. With Marcus fully aware of Annie’s predicament, they concoct a scheme: find the evil living among us and act where justice does not.

Vigilante Annie is born.


Amazon Link:


Author Bio:

An only child, (in the seventies, mind you), little Robert could be seen running in the backyard playing superhero, with a bed sheet serving as his cape. He also spent many hours drawing or writing in his mid-sized Ohio town. Having also battled depression earlier in life, Robert now sees how his low points have brought him to a more creative, stronger sense of being. Now he is where he wants to be, and is telling the stories he is meant to tell. His other interests include reading, motorcycle touring, fitness and classic movies.


Twitter:  @VAAuthor





Filed under Authors, book blitz, Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Writing