Literature connects us

The Outlander series describes a period of time that is foreign to most of us. It’s the literature that connects us to the events of that time.

Naming characters

Recently a reader asked me, “How do you name your characters?” That’s a great question. In Proving Her Claim, the main characters are Norwegian and Lakota. For Anna Olson and her family, I actually tapped my family history. It’s rife with Olsons and Johnsons, as well as Olafs and Johannas. In naming Two Hawks, Yellow Bird […]

Writing (and Riding) the Dakotas

That was the title of a panel discussion at this year’s Western Writers of America convention. And, even though I was a first-time attendee, I was asked to participate and provide a South Dakotan’s take on Writing Dakota. Panel members discussed how the Midwest’s particular traits become part of the story. The land itself often plays an […]

A writer’s life: book fairs, conferences and networking

It started out with Wild Deadwood Reads. I can’t think of a more appropriate name to describe this event. WDR, held in Deadwood, South Dakota, began in 2017 to connect authors with readers. This was my first time attending the multi-genre book event. Wild Deadwood Reads lived up to its name. It was wild! Imagine 91 authors, […]

The value of reader reviews

Reader reviews are truly the lifeblood for authors. Whether it’s a work of fiction or nonfiction, reviews provide authors with feedback, are useful for future books, and are a gauge for the success or failure of the book. In the world of Amazon, where 80% of today’s books are sold, reader reviews are used in […]

Using accents and dialects in dialogue

In a recent author talk, one of the audience members asked me why Two Hawks spoke English with a Scottish accent. I explained that my hero needed to speak English in order to communicate with the heroine and that using a Scottish accent in dialogue seemed reasonable since his father was a Scots fur trader. […]

Book marketing strategies

There’s more to book publishing than simply writing a book. That’s just the beginning. The next step is book marketing. In the past, agents and publishing houses managed book marketing for authors. Now, self-published authors are responsible for their own marketing, but even major publishers ask authors to be more involved in marketing their books […]

When the character took control

No one was more surprised than I was when my character took control of the scene in the book I’m currently writing. There I was, typing away. The scene was set. My characters were interacting, and then my heroine made an unexpected move. It sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? I recalled webinars that discussed the possibility […]

Typos happen

Typos, whether they’re grammatical errors, missing or misspelled words, are the bane of every writer’s existence. That’s not an over-statement. Part of the path to publishing is hiring a professional proofreader to catch those errors. But even before that step, an editor reviews and edits the manuscript for character development, copy flow, point-of-view and a host of […]