Women in Horror Month

February is Women in Horror Month, a time to recognize all the women who create wonderful horror stories for your enjoyment. Support women authors this month and always!

This week, a reader left a review on Amazon for my book Freaked Out. It was a great review, which is awesome, but it mentioned points I specifically set out to make as I wrote the book. I thought to myself: YOU GOT IT!!! You understood me! All the rewriting and editing was worth it!

You can’t ask for more than that as a writer. I was very touched and it gave me a boost of confidence I really needed right now.

Although I appreciate each and every review I receive, this was only the second review posted for this book, which was released in 2016. Reviews help books get more attention from readers (and buyers!) and also gives authors feedback on their work. I encourage every reader to review the books you read.

A review on Amazon doesn’t need to be wordy; a paragraph is enough! I love reviewing books I’ve enjoyed. It’s like recommended a new book to the whole world! I’ve always been the kind of person who says, “Oh, have you read this new book?” Sometimes I am sure I drive people crazy, but I love getting suggestions for exciting new reading material.

Do your favorite authors, and your friends, a favor and leave a review! It’s much appreciated!


26 Letters, Making Words

I named my blog 26 Letters, Making Words because one day I made the off-hand comment that all books start from just 26 letters, combined over and over to make different words. We can pretend to be linguistical geniuses, but it’s all sort of a big game of Boggle, and if you’re lucky and diligent and you paid attention in Miss Larsen’s Senior English class, you can probably write a pretty good piece of fiction.

Those 26 letters I have at my disposal are the same 26 letters Edgar Allen Poe had, and that John Steinbeck had, and that Ray Bradbury had. And they each ended up with words and sentences that inspired me and made me want to write. Now I have to scoop up those letters and make words. Make the words into sentences. Sentences into paragraphs. You get the idea.

Now I’m making words every day and I’ve finished the rough drafts of two novels. One is a romance novel and one is a horror novel. The romance novel started as a funny horror novel but it turned a corner somewhere and became a romance. The horror novel is still horror.

That little switcheroo wasn’t my idea, but words don’t always do what you tell them to do. Sometimes they gang up on the writer and head off in their own direction. A plane ride becomes a road trip, or a walk down Lonely Street becomes a trip to the Las Vegas All-Nite Drive-Through Wedding Chapel. Words are fickle that way.

And paragraphs? Don’t get me started on paragraphs. Those things will knock a writer right off the plot. Sometimes, they’re wise paragraphs and the change is good, but sometimes, the writer must be tough and throw those paragraphs in the trash. It’s only words, after all, just a bunch of letters. Don’t be too proud to mix ’em up or even throw them away.

NaNoWriMo Success!


In a lonely, dimly-lit coffee house, the lonely writer types word after word, sentences turning into paragraphs and finally, a pile of papers forms that most revered creations of all–a novel.  It takes years, we all realize that.  First, the writer ponders a plot and character and conflicts. Outlines are written, unless you’re a pantser, then you’re just off drinking coffee and eating danish and thinking deep thoughts.

Then the writing begins. Hair is yanked out of one’s head. Coffee is consumed by the gallons, cigarettes are smashed into ashtrays outside the shop.  The whole process labors on, slowly, laboriously, until–at last–the writer types “The End” and is released from the spell the muse had them under.

That’s one way to do it. Or you can sign up for National Novel Writing Month and write a book in one month. Yes, I said one month, just thirty days. To do that, the writer needs to produce 1,600 words a day to create the 50,000-word mark by the end of November. Fifty thousand’s a good length for a slim but respectable length novel. Sounds so reasonable, doesn’t it? Just write every day, 1,600 words a day, every day for a month. Easy peasy, oh so easy.

You can’t tell but I’m laughing my pants off on this side of the computer monitor. Writing every day is a challenge itself. I’ve been a writer for more than thirty years and writing is my passion, forgive the cliche.  I’m overstating it a bit because I’m not so passionate that I write every day unless I’m facing a deadline. First books don’t have deadlines, unfortunately, so I never seemed to get that first novel written.

When I first learned of NaNoWriMo, it sounded like an excellent way to motivate myself, and so what if I didn’t finish 50,000 words by the end of the challenge? Who’s gonna know? Well, it turns out everyone would know because I told all my friends and they were encouraging me all month. I never could keep my big mouth shut.

On the days when I hated the very sight of my keyboard, I’d think about how lousy I’d feel if I had to admit I skipped a day of writing. Even worse, if I didn’t reach my goal, I’d face that disappointment. So I’d drag myself into my office and plunk around on the keyboard until words formed sentences and before long, my story was coming together.

Around the third week of November, I typed that 50,000th word and shouted, “Hallelujah!” startling my dogs into a frenzy of barking and trying to jump in my lap. Celebration over, I turned back to the computer and typed on. My book isn’t finished, so I’m going to keep writing every day until it is. I just realized I told you, so now I have to do it or I will feel terrible. Good motivation!