Category Archives: Uncategorized

Reoccurring characters

I love when I pick up a book by a favorite author and as I open to the first page I see the return of one or more of my favorite characters. Some authors bring characters back in every book and I feel that lets you get to know those characters even better than just seeing them in one book and they are gone. It also eliminates the time spent on a book learning about and meeting new main characters when starting a book. There is the danger of people picking up a newer book without having read anything before and not knowing all of the history, but I feel if the story is told sufficiently then they will understand the current story whether they have the background or not, although the background will only enhance some of the references made in subsequent books.
Now, you might be thinking, that would be boring, to keep reading about the same characters in book after book.
But it also isn’t all the same. The author has the opportunity to introduce any number of supporting characters, which can be returning or new to keep a story fresh and exciting.
I have taken this approach with my first two novels, The Eleventh Hour and Double Time.
I returned my main character, Tad; his family; and those close to him for the second novel. I liked being able to continue the story of his life and bring new adventures to a character with whom I enjoyed working and getting to know throughout the first novel.
I plan to base by third novel on Tad as well, continuing to develop different aspects of his character and to delve even deeper into his life and past. I hope readers will enjoy the journey as much as I will.
What are your thoughts? Do you like returning characters or do you like a book to be all new?

Check out the adventures of Tad in:
The Eleventh Hour
Double Time


Critique groups offer more than just critiques

Writing can often be a solitary job; most people write books by themselves, unless you have a co-author. Despite this, it is still beneficial to surround yourself with other writers.
One way to do this is through critique groups. I am a member of a critique group that is celebrating our 10-year anniversary this year. We meet every two weeks, more or less when schedules allow. We offer feedback, comments and beneficial critiques to one another’s stories. But we do more than critique. We brainstorm ideas for one another, provide support, laugh a lot, and have become good friends.
Being a part of such a group is helpful in staying motivated to write, knowing there is someone out there waiting to read your next chapter. It also helps to have other views provide feedback and point out things you may not have seen or thought about.
Where do you find such a group? Look for local writing organizations or groups online. Critique groups often meet in bookstores so check their bulletin boards for any meeting notifications. Or simply talk to other writers and see if they are members of such groups.
I highly recommend you give it a try. You’ll get so much more out of it than you will ever expect.
Let me know what you think about critique groups. Are you a member of one? How did you get started?

Great books available for less

To me there’s nothing better than the “bargain bin” at book stores. It offers the opportunity to try out new authors without a lot of expense. You never know what new favorite author you might stumble upon.
I found a similar deal online for e-books at Great Books. They offer the latest best sellers and more for a variety of different options. You can’t go wrong. They offer 20 books for just $39.95, or if that isn’t enough reading material for you they have unlimited downloads for only$14.95 a month. Another option is 100 books for $99.95, making it just 99 cents per e-book.
You can choose from the latest best sellers by James Patterson and Sandra Brown or Iris Johansen and Dan Brown. You also can browse by category or subject matter. It can’t get easier than that.
Don’t have a Kindle or Nook? Don’t worry. You can read e-books on a PC or laptop or your iPad.
Check it out today to visit the world’s largest online library. I know I’m going to browse through some books at

Cover time

Where do you get your ideas for your covers? Do you make them yourself or have others create them?
I like to create my own covers. For my first novel, “The Eleventh Hour,” I took photos of one of my friend’s daughters who had red hair. It went great with the main character in that novel. We had a good time laughing and taking pictures. Then it was time to find the other elements to go on the cover, which I found through non-copywrited photos online. The only problem was they weren’t very large files, but I made them work. After blending it all together and creating several versions, I got input from a lot of friends and members of my critique group on which one they liked best.
Now, I’m starting the process again as all I have left on my next novel, “Double Time,” is the cover. I hope to take some pictures tonight, then get it all put together before the end of the weekend.
Where do you get your inspiration for covers?

Check out the Eleventh Hour:

Finding the end

Your book is going along great, you have fully developed characters, great action, there’s just one problem. The story just won’t end. I’m sure I’m not the only one to ever have had this problem.
Usually I even know how it’s going to end, I just can’t seem to get there.
You know the point. It occurs when you are about a chapter or two from your masterpiece ending, You write that chapter, then the next. Surely the end is within reach. But no. It is still a chapter or two – maybe more by now – away. So you write another chapter, sure to get there this time. Wrong again. You lean back, evaluate where you are and realize you’re still no closer.
There are a couple of things that have worked for me to get past this.
Often, I go ahead and write that last chapter. Sometimes it helps to have it in writing in front of you.
With the sequel to The Eleventh Hour, which will be coming out later this month, I finally had to sit down and just stay focused on the end. Every word had to be directed at helping wrap things up. I finally made it, about three chapters later, but it was ended.
After reading over those final moments, I did realize I had rushed it a bit and went back and filled in some gaps. Then it was complete.
For those struggling to reach the end, I suggest you stay completely focused on achieving that end. Don’t get sidetracked by other details or side stories. You can go back later and fill those in. Just get to that end.

Staying disciplined

Just like everything else in life, writing takes discipline. If you don’t have discipline, you won’t have any writing to show.
It’s easy to get distracted with the hectic lives we all lead, but just as any other job, you must set time aside to write, whether it’s work on a novel, jotting down a poem or two or writing a short story.
It’s important to find a time to write and stick to that schedule.
I prefer to write in the evenings. Most people I know like to write first thing in the morning, but I’ve never been much of a morning person. I guess it takes my brain a while to wake up and get functioning.
Of course, there are a couple of downsides to writing at night. If I start too late I get tired quickly, or if I get really into my story I will end up staying up into the early morning hours, then still have to get up for work.
Regardless of when you like to write, it’s important to set a time aside to do so. It’s also helpful to have a place set aside where you can keep your notes and writing materials so you have easy access to them and don’t have to get things out and put them away each time.
Make it as easy on yourself as possible.

Getting inspired

Where do you get your ideas? Do you read the newspaper? Watch the news? People watch? I’ve heard numerous sources of inspiration people find for their writing. Ideas can come from almost anywhere in fact.
Now I’ve never dreamed a novel, although I’ve heard people who claimed they have, but I do find endless sources of ideas.
Interesting events are all around us. We just need to keep our eyes open and watch for them. I’ve found it works the same as it does for photography. It’s all about finding the interesting angle or unique point of view. Did you see the man walking down the street with his cane? Where was he going? Where was he coming from? Was he on the run from someone or on his way to commit a crime? Let your imagine run wild. You never know where it may lead you.
I love to people watch. Malls are great places for this, as are airports. Really anywhere will do as long as there are a lot of people around. My friends and I used to make up stories to go with the people as they passed by. Most of them probably wouldn’t make a good novel, but you never know what might spark another idea that is going to be the next best seller. So keep your eyes open, and most importantly keep a notebook handy to jot down those ideas as they come to you. One thing is for sure… no matter how confident you are you will remember it, you won’t. Keep those creative ideas flowing and keep on writing.
Do you have a unique story on where you once got a great idea? I’d love to hear about it. E-mail me at