Credits to Plato who coined the phrase that “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.” While true that what I find pleasing may differ from others’ opinions, there seems to be a school of thought that every book should have at least one villain. In other words, a beauty is insufficient without a literary beast.  A “baddie” does not necessarily have to be a person. As Randy Ingermanson shares on his website,, “It’s perfectly OK to have society be the cause of all your lead character’s ills. It’s perfectly OK to have the environment be the ‘villain.’ It’s OK to have your protagonist be his own worst enemy.”Read More →

I’ve been practicing yoga for a decade and try to take class four or five times each week. As my schedule permits, I bike, hike or lift weights. I used to think of exercise as a time sink but try now to think of physical activity as an important part of my daily routine. Getting stronger is a terrific benefit but something that happened slowly with interim bouts of frustration. Not every day is a walk in the park. To the contrary, there are days when I drag myself to the gym or the yoga studio because I am tired or pressed to meet aRead More →

Let’s face the reality. Some people get a lot of breaks because of their contacts, they are in the right place at the right time or they lead a charmed life . Unfortunately, waiting around for Lady Luck is not an option for most people. I believe in the power of hard work, appropriate risk-taking and being open to learning from failure. When I finally decided to commit time to fiction writing, I had already expended considerable effort to learn about the publishing industry and try to understand how commercially successful authors create and market their books. I continue to attend workshops about story structure.Read More →

I just signed up to attend ThrillerFest XI next year. If the 2016 conference is anything like the 2015 event, it will be money well spent. This year’s ThrillerFest was chockablock with informative sessions that focused on topics such as story structure, narrative and the use of locale as a character. Other workshops (and there were at least several dozen) addressed copyrights, building a productive relationship with an agent and marketing one’s book. An added bonus was a chance to meet others who love to read and write. The instructors were enthusiastic and the attendees were generous with their insights and occasional frustrations about the writing process.Read More →

I’m eagerly awaiting the delivery of a new book by author and professor extraordinaire, Richard Krevolin, about attracting new customers. Entitled “The Hook: How to Share Your Brand’s Unique Story to Engage Customers, Boost Sales, and Achieve Heartfelt Success,” he describes the power of storytelling and urges companies to take advantage of this effective technique as a way to increase sales. I can’t wait to get my copy. Think Like a Freak  likewise extols the virtues of storytelling. Authors Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner explain that stories “capture our attention,” serve to teach and allow readers to be part of the action. IRead More →

Most people I know do not have scads of free hours to tackle something new, let alone a big project like writing a book. To the contrary, they tend to be overbooked and overstressed. In my case, I have long juggled many balls. When I worked in banking, I went to school at night or pursued a professional designation. I still work on deadline and have to be organized. It’s not always easy. Life intrudes or something ends up taking longer than originally expected or I just want to take a break to exercise or see a movie. I am a consummate maker of listsRead More →