June 30 Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts

Birthdays: Winston Graham (1908), Czeslaw Milosz 1911), Harry Blackstone, Jr. (1934), Assia Djebar (1936), Jose Emilio Pacheco (1939), David McPhail (1940), Ahmed Sofa (1943), Daniel Goldhagen (1959), Adam Roberts (1965), Dinaw Megestu (1978),

Czeslaw Milosz won the 1980 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Quote: “Don’t think about how your characters sound, but how they see. Watch the world through their eyes – study the extraordinary and the mundane through their particular perspective. Walk around the block with them, stroll the rooms they live in, figure out what objects on the cluttered dining room table they would inevitably stare at the longest, and then learn why. Be generous to your characters: kill them, save them, break their hearts and then heal them. Stuff them with life, emotions, histories, objects and people they love, and once you’ve done that, once they are bursting at the seams, strip them bare. Find out what they look like—how they stand, talk move, when they have nothing left. Now put them back together, fill them once more with life, except now leave enough room for the reader to squeeze their own heart and imagination inside.” – Dinaw Megestu

Tip: In dialogue, try to avoid the “But as you know…” syndrome. If the reader should know it, then you should have had it in before this.

Jumpstart: Open any magazine to a picture and write a paragraph about what is happening or what is being advertised. You’re trying to describe this to someone who can’t see it. Be specific.

June 29 Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts

Birthdays: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900), John Toland (1912), Julia Kepes (1918), Frederic Dard (1921), Charlotte Bingham (1942), Quintin Jardine (1945), Brian Herbert (1947), Breece D’J Pancake (1952)

Antoine de Saint-Expury is best known for his novella “The Little Prince”

John Toland won the Pulitzer Prize for History for “The Rising Sun”

Quote: “You can’t write any form of fiction unless you enjoy reading it. You must be sincere in your approach. It’s no good despising the form. So many people think they could earn some money from writing something for which they have no affection. It won’t work. The first thing you have to have is belief.” – Charlotte Bingham

Tip: Try not to give your reader “ping-pong” dialogue. Break up long passages of dialogue with actions.

Jumpstart: List ten things that annoy you. Pick two and write about them. Why do they annoy you? What can you do about them?

Spotlight: D.R. Grady

A geeky R&D director asks the reigning sales queen on a date and they’re both shocked when she accepts.Can the geek keep the girl?


Nerdy Nick Harrington can’t believe his superpower over gorgeous sales queen Alexis Collins. He, dorky lab guy, starts distracting their focused revenue maker from important meetings and clients after their first date.

Things go swell for a few euphoric weeks. She meets his cat, he meets her friends, and they contemplate meeting the parents. Then their boss casually mentions that they should both apply for a new vice president job.

Nick and Alexis have to decide between their precious new relationship or their dream job.

Link to Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B1P8T1KW

Link to Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/2940165857942

Link to iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/x/id6442828676

Link to Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=cV5wEAAAQBAJ

Link to Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/Search?Query=9781005901516

Link to Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1148149

D.R. Grady books are clean contemporary romances for avid readers who love witty dialogue between heartwarming, brainy characters. D.R. writes stories featuring nerdy (okay let’s be real, geeky) heroes/heroines and the smarty pants partners who love them. Fall in love with these clever, empowered women who have earned their snark.

Author Website Link: www.drgradybooks.com

Facebook Page Link: D.R. Grady

Goodreads Profile Link: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5261309.D_R_Grady

Bookbub Profile Link: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/d-r-grady

 Amazon Author Profile Page Link:http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007HR0ULS

Spotlight: Maria Imbalzano

The untimely death of EJ Hampton’s father kills her dream of practicing law with him in her hometown of Wylder. Heartbroken, she now has two weeks to organize the practice for sale. When she meets her father’s millionaire client Dylan Addison, he is demanding and entitled—yet his charisma captivates her.
Dylan is under pressure to renovate the Wylder Hotel before his father pulls the plug on his project. He needs EJ’s expertise, but she is bent on returning to her life in San Francisco despite the fireworks between them.
EJ walks a tightrope trying to balance Dylan’s needs against her own, but doing so is far more complicated when emotions get in the way.

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Maria Imbalzano is an award-winning contemporary author who writes about strong, independent women and the men who fall in love with them. She recently retired from the practice of law, but legal issues have a way of showing up in many of her novels. When not writing, she loves to travel both abroad and in the states.  Maria lives in central New Jersey with her husband–not far from her two daughters and granddaughters. For more information about her books, please visit her website at http://mariaimbalzano.com where you can also sign up for her newsletter.

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Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00FG9RI5K



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Spotlight: Skye Warren


Finn Hughes knows about secrets. His family is as wealthy as the Rockefellers. And as powerful as the Kennedys. He runs the billion-dollar corporation. No one knows that he has a ticking time clock on his ability to lead.

Eva Morelli is the oldest daughter. The responsible one. The caring one. The one who doesn’t have time for her own interests.

Especially not her interest in the charismatic, mysterious Finn Hughes.

A fake relationship is the answer to both their problems.

It will keep the swarming society mothers from throwing their daughters at him.

And it will keep Eva’s mother from bothering her about marriage.

Then the fake relationship starts to feel real.

But there’s no chance for them. No hope for a woman who’s had her heart broken. And no future for a man whose fate was decided long ago.

WARNING: This book is intended for readers eighteen years old and over. It contains material that some readers could find disturbing. Enter at your own risk…

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Skye Warren is the New York Times bestselling author of dangerous romance. Her books have sold over one million copies. She makes her home in Texas with her loving family, sweet dogs, and evil cat.


Author Links

× Amazon Author Page

× Facebook

× Facebook Group Skye Warren’s Dark Room 

× Instagram @skyewarrenbooks

× Pinterest

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× Verve

× Website

Skye Warren’s Other Works


Links Below Go to Amazon


The Stripped Series

Experience the Stripped world of dark glamour and forbidden love…

Tough Love (Stripped, #0.5) Free Download

Love the Way You Lie (Stripped, #1)

Heartbreak (Stripped, #1.5) Free Download

Better When It Hurts (Stripped, #2)

Even Better (Stripped, #2.5)

Pretty When You Cry (Stripped, #3)

Caught for Christmas (Stripped, #3.5)

Hold You Against Me (Stripped, #4)

To the Ends of the Earth (Stripped #5)

The Chicago Underground Series

Meet the gritty and dangerous men of Chicago Underground…

Rough (Chicago Underground, #1) Free Download

Hard (Chicago Underground, #2)

Fierce (Chicago Underground, #3)

            Wild (Chicago Underground, #4)

Dirty (Chicago Underground, #5)

Secret (Chicago Underground, #6)

Sweet (Chicago Underground #7)

Deep (Chicago Underground, #8)

A Modern Fairy Tale Duet

Fall in love with this sexy modern fairy tale…

Beauty and the Professor

Falling for the Beast

The Dark Nights Series

Take a trip to the dark side with this twisted series…

Keep Me Safe (Dark Nights, #0.5)

Trust in Me (Dark Nights, #1)

Don’t Let Go (Dark Nights, #2)

The Dystopia Series

Experience a world thrown into darkness and the men who find love in it…

Leased M/M Novella  

Caged M/M Novella  

Criminals & Captives

Prisoner w/ Annika Martin (Criminals & Captives, #1)

Hostage w/ Annika Martin (Criminals & Captives, #2)


It’s all about revenge and seduction in the game of love…

The Pawn (Endgame, #1)  

The Knight (Endgame, #2)

The Castle (Endgame, #3)

The Masterpiece Duet

Endgame Series Spin-Off (Damon Scott)

The Prince (the Masterpiece Duet, Prologue) (FREE DOWNLOAD)

The King (the Masterpiece Duet, #1)

The Queen (the Masterpiece Duet, #2)


Mating Theory

1001 Dark Nights (A Tanglewood Novella)

The Trust Fund Duet

Trust Fund (A Survival of the Richest Prologue)

Survival of the Richest (Trust Fund, #1)

The Evolution of Man  (Trust Fund, #2) 

The North Security Trilogy

Overture (North Security, #1)

Concerto (North Security, #2)

Sonata (North Security, #3)

Audition (Standalone Title)

1001 Dark Nights (Finale: A North Security Novella)

The Diamond Trilogy

Hidden Gem (Prequel)

Diamond in the Rough (Diamond Trilogy, #1)

Gold Mine (Diamond Trilogy, #2)

Silver Lining (Diamond Trilogy #3)

Rochester Trilogy

Private Property (Rochester Trilogy, Book #1)

Strict Confidence (Rochester Trilogy, Book #2)

Best Kept Secret (Rochester Trilogy, Book #3)

Standalone Dark + Dangerous Romance

These standalone books will hold you captive and leave you breathless…


On the Way Home

Hear Me


His for Christmas

Below the Belt

Sweetest Mistress

We Wish You A Naughty Christmas: A Christmas Collection (Anthology)

Heavy Equipment

Modern Fairy Tale

Dark Fairy Tales

Love and Danger

Tales of Darkness & Sin

Damage Control

Nightingale: An Anthology for Ukraine

The Crash

One for the Money

Two for the Show

**** Disclosure of Material: I received a final and/or advanced reader copy of this book from RBTL Book Promotions and the Author/Publisher with the hope that I will leave my Unbiased Opinion. I was not required to leave a review, positive or otherwise, and my opinions are just that… My Opinions. I am posting this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”. *****

June 25 Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts

Birthdays: George Orwell (1903), Elizabeth Jones (1910), P.H. Newby (1918), Dorothy Gilman (1923), Nicholas Mosley (1923), Peyo (1928), Eric Carle (1929), Charles Sheffield (1935), Bert Holldobler (1936), A.J. Quinnell (1940), Linda Spalding (1943), Anthony Bourdain (1956), Ricky Gervais (1961), Yann Martel (1963), Martha McPhee (1964)

George Orwell is best known for his books “Nineteen Eighty-four” and “Animal Farm”

Elizabeth Jones won the 1945 Caldecott Medal for “Prayer for a Child”

Peyo was a Belgian who created the Smurfs.

Bert Holldobler co-wrote the Pulitzer Prize book “The Ants” (with Edward O. Wilson)

Eric Carle was best known for his book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”

Yann Martel is best known for his book “Life of Pi”

Quote: “I write at any time of day in any place, so long as it’s quiet and I can set up my computer. I’m a slow writer, given to playing Spider Solitaire when stuck. Otherwise, my writing habits are blindingly boring. I just sit down at the computer and write.” – Yann Martel

Tip: Don’t overuse backstory, especially in the first chapter. Weave it in through the story, don’t “info dump” on the reader.

Jumpstart: Your character just found out she was adopted, and she never knew. What does she do? How does she feel?

Spotlight: Andrew Grey


Police officer Finnigan Pettaprin’s life is his job. He’s driven to be the best, always. Past relationships have largely been heartbreaking, so he keeps to himself. The last thing he expects is for a near-disastrous car chase through town to bring him in contact with Mark, the one who got away.

Mark Wallace hasn’t had the best luck in life. He managed to get out of Chicago with his freedom and his son, Lonnie, and needs help. Finn is the one friend he knows he can count on for a temporary place to stay, and possibly more. He’s hoping for a new start in a new town with a new job, but with his parents threatening to try to take his son, nothing is easy.

Finn takes Mark in and helps him get his life back on track. Along the way, the two men grow closer as they realize that what they both have always wanted is now in reach. But the intersection of Mark’s past and a string of local robberies threatens to upend the small family they are just starting to build and could give Mark’s parents the ammunition they need to destroy everything.

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Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.

Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing)  He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Author Links

Amazon Author Page

Barnes and Noble Page

DreamSpinner Press


Facebook Group All the Way with Andrew Grey


Twitter @andrewgreybooks


 Other Works by Andrew Grey

(Please Be Sure To Stop by His Website to See All of His Works)

**** Disclosure of Material: I received a final and/or advanced reader copy of this book from RBTL Book Promotions and the Author/Publisher with the hope that I will leave my Unbiased Opinion. I was not required to leave a review, positive or otherwise, and my opinions are just that… My Opinions. I am posting this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”. *****

June 23 Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts

Birthdays: Anna Akhmatova (1889), Alfred Kinsey (1894), Winifred Holtby (1898), Michael Shaara (1928), Richard Bach (1936), David Leavitt (1961), Hugh Howey (1975), Markus Zusak (1975),

Michael Shaara won the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for “The Killer Angels”

Richard Bach is best known for his book “Jonathan Livingston Seagull”

Quote: “If you want to earn a living as a writer, which I’m assuming the people asking for my advice are, you are going to have to be more than a writer. You will be an entrepreneur and a publicist. Or you won’t make it.” – Hugh Howey

Tip: In addition to not overusing modern slang, don’t use law language. A reader should be able to understand your work without resorting to looking ten-dollar words up in a dictionary.

Jumpstart: This is your main character’s wedding day. What could possibly go wrong? What happens?

June 22 Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts

Birthdays: Henry Rider Haggard (1856), Erich Maria Remarque (1898), Anne Morrow Lindbergh (1906), Octavia E. Butler (1947), Dan Brown (1964), Jason Goodwin (1964), James Forman Jr. (1967), Kambri Crews (1971), David Rees (1972)

James Forman Jr. won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction

Quote: “I don’t start writing until I have a very solid outline. Or else I’d get to the end and find out there is no ending, and that I just wasted three years of my life. The Da Vinci Code outline was a hundred pages.” – Dan Brown

Tip: Plot is what your story is about. There has to be something there for it to work.

Jumpstart: Your best friend has invented something that would change the world forever. What has s/he invented? Would it change the world for the better or the worse? What do you do?

June 21 Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts

Birthdays: Daniel Carter Beard (1850), Milward Kennedy (1894), Donald Peattie (1898), Jean-Paul Sartre (1905), Mary McCarthy (1912), Robert Kraus (1925), Francoise Sagan (1935), John Dower (1938), Henry Taylor (1942), Ian McEwan (1948), Berke Breathed (1957)

John W. Dower won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction for “Embracing Defeat”.

Henry S. Taylor won the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for “The Flying Change”

Berke Breathed is best known for his long-running comic strip “Bloom County”

Quote: “All bullies are cowards!”― Robert Kraus

“Words are loaded pistols.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

Tip: Make a check list of things/words you need to look at in your story when editing. This can include not only the earlier list you made of redundancies, but also things like timelines, consistencies (hair/eyes stayed the same color), research points (especially for historicals).

Jumpstart: In one minute, list all the items you can think of in a mini-mart. Now, write a scene using those items that does NOT take place in a mini-mart.