Three Steps to Website Revision

Live to Write - Write to Live

Deborah Lee Luskin, photo New Headshot!

I recently completed the three stops to website revision: Procrastination, New Headshot, Revised Content.


I’ve needed to revise the Writing Services section of my website for almost two years. During the previous iteration, I called myself a pen-for-hire. I do have reliable and lucrative clients who pay me to write for them, but the truth is more people hire me to teach and to talk, activities that build audience and allow me more time to write what I want. I kept planning to revise the content on these pages – as soon as I had a new headshot to go with.

New Headshot

Moose Camera shy charismatic mega fauna photo by my friend Kathy Lena

Like most charismatic mega fauna, I don’t like to stand still for the camera, so I kept “forgetting” to ask my friend who’s a wildlife photographer to snap a new headshot…

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Why Pre-sale?


Pre-order for books is a fairly new tactic, now wholeheartedly embraced by Amazon, iBooks, Smashword and other on-line sellers. My newest Zack Tolliver, FBI novel Under Desert Sand will be placed on pre-order at immediately after Easter. In this article I will discuss what I feel are the advantages and disadvantages of using pre-order for the author––and for the buyer.

I have placed books on pre-order with Amazon Kindle twice before, with mixed results. The first book I tried was CAT. I hyped it a lot and sold several copies before its actual publication date. Later, I put my new, experimental (for me) mid-grade book Payu’s Journey up for pre-sale. I sold just one (thanks, mom). But to be fair, that sale represented a large portion of all sales for that book as the month went on (Payu did not sell well as an Ebook – more about…

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5 Tips on How to Make Your Writing Process Feel Like a Game

Kobo Writing Life

By Joan Selby

Exhausted. Sleepless. Stressed… Oh, you must be a writer! It’s a tough job, but you do it because it’s the only thing that makes you feel complete. When you have an idea and you want to translate it into literature, the process is beautiful and torturing at the same time. You stare at a blank page for hours although you planned to write at least one chapter in the morning. The deadlines are approaching , and the clients or publishers are nerve-wracking.

Does it have to be that hard? Can’t you just enjoy the process of writing like you once used to?

We might have a solution for you: turn writing into a game. Seriously, you can trick your mind to think that writing is a fun game it wants to participate in. Let’s see how you can do that.

1) The “One Word at a Time”…

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You Need a Deadline – New Reedsy Contest Directory

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The first quarter of 2017 is behind us. How’s your writing going? In January, we checked in with you about your writing goals, but that seems like it’s SO long ago now. (How did we get to April so quickly?!?)

Have you, like me, you’ve been moving the goal line on your writing projects? You know – pushing things out a little bit at a time because, life? I completely understand. Things come up. Each of us has obligations and unplanned crises, and many of us are also suffering from resistance fatigue. Hitting your writing targets can start to feel like an impossible dream.

Well … sometimes, what you need is a deadline.

I write a LOT, but most of what I get done is writing that is tied to a client or other deadline. “My” writing projects (stories, novel ideas, flash fiction, etc.) tend to slip down the slippery…

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Favorite Springtime Reads and Writing Exercises

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Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.

QUESTION:  Although Old Man Winter seems loathe to loosen his grip on those of us living in the northeast of the United States, Spring IS coming. In fact, the official first day of Spring was earlier this week on Monday, March 20th.

So – with hope in our hearts, sunshine on our backs, and the persistent and triumphant chirps and whistles of feathered friends in our ears – we’d like to share with you our favorite springtime stories, novels, poems, and writing rituals. (And then, of course, we’d love to hear yours!)

JME5670V2smCROPJamie Wallace: My favorite spring poems are by A.A. Milne. I read them as a child, and when my daughter was a little…

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One of the best ways to make yourself happy

One of the best ways to make yourself happy in the present is to recall happy times from the past. Photos are a great memory-prompt, and because we tend to take photos of happy occasions, they weight our memories to the good.

~Gretchen Rubin

Writing muses

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I’ve always collected things just as I collect memories, so I happen to have many different muses around my office (so many that at times it looks more like a play yard than an office.) Among my current top 3 are:

My Writing Witch – I’ve had this little doll for years and somewhere along the way she lost her broom, but she’s stood by me in good times and bad.


An inspirational magazine cover sent to me by a kindred spirit. It motivates me to be strong and persevere.


My beloved office mate – Pippin, who has never once disagreed with the direction my writing has taken. Such a good boy.


Look around your writing space. What’s there that inspires and motivates you?


Wendy Thomas is an award winning journalist, columnist, and blogger who believes that taking challenges in life will always lead to goodness. She is the…

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Including Background Scenery

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I write a lot of first person. That means that I use “I” a lot. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but because I’m so concerned about my story’s action getting out that I tend to forget to put sufficient background into my story. You know that old writer’s maxim = Show don’t tell? Well I am forever telling.

Not good.

Background scenery is what literally grounds your scene. It allows your readers to visualize themselves right alongside you in your story.  And it is absolutely necessary.

So how is this done?

For me, I go ahead and write my “I” story. I don’t worry about details in the first draft. I just get the storyline out of my head.

Then I go back and work my way through my five senses:

  • Sight
  • Smell
  • Touch
  • Feel
  • Hear

I ask myself questions for each sense. What did I see? What unique…

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The power of hashtags (#) when you are a writer

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We’ve talked about the power of tweeting before. Twitter, when harnessed, can provide important connections and fantastic advice from professionals and other writers. Twitter is often described as being like a stream of continuous information. But how does one navigate that which at times seems more like a tidal wave?

hashtag1The answer is to use hashtags (#). A hashtag is like an invitation to a party. If you use the hashtag and others are also using it, everyone can now join in the conversation.

A few caveats – you have to already know what the hashtags that are being used are. In circular logic that means that you have to know what to use before you can use it.

This is done by using searches. Try searching  in twitter on a general hashtag that is widely used by the writing community – something like #author or #writer is probably a…

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The Evolution of Writers

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I’m having a difficult time writing these days.

I’ll sit at my desk ready to work on a piece and then my phone beeps. There’s another news alert – The Press Secretary has doubled down on a clear lie at the daily press conference.

Or there’s an announcement of another Executive Order (decree).

Or I hear about some State Rep in Minnesota who passed an amendment so that health insurance companies won’t have to cover many pre-existing conditions like diabetes, prenatal care, ventilator care, Lyme disease … the list goes on and on and on. (Interestingly Erectile dysfunction will still be covered – Phew!)

Or there’s a gag order on government agencies who report directly to the public, (EPA, USDA) if you cared about the environment or the food that you eat, good luck, you’re now on your own.

Or an elected official is tweeting about the “fat women” who…

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