Friday, August 21, 2009


When my niece was twelve or thirteen she told me that she couldn't wait to grow up, be independent because she wouldn't have to follow any rules. She'd be able to do just want she wanted. I laughed, patted her hand affectionately and informed her that there will always be rules in life. As you grow older the reasons for the rules change, but rules continue no matter how old you get. The biggest difference is when you become an adult the rules relate to larger choices and situations.

Which introduces my blog topic perfectly - rules and guidelines for writers. As I told my niece, there will always be rules. For writers there are guidelines for most genre. Each line has specific requirements that writers must follow in order to get their books purchased and eventually published.

Like my niece, we all want to do our own thing. Enjoy life the way we see fit, but that's not always in the cards. As authors we want to tell our stories the way we choose, describe the events in the way we see them. Unfortunately, that's not always possible because most publishers have specific ways they want a manuscript written.

For example, romance novel must have a happy end. Mysteries need the murder resolved and the killer unmasked, and suspense and thriller must tie all the loose ends together with a nice ribbon.

If your goal is to get published, then learn the rules for the publishing house you're considering and request a copy of their guidelines. I suggest you treat them like a bible for getting published and adhere to the rules. There's no guarantee that your book will get published, but you will be closer to your goal.

If you have comments or suggestions, please feel free to e-mail me. I'm always interested in what you think. I can be reached at

Please don't be a stranger.


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Being Held Hostage By Fear

    My sister has been a displaced and unemployed autoworker for several years. Recently, she decided to take charge of her life and go back to school to pursue a certificate in a completely different field. I applaud her efforts, because I understand how difficult it must be for her. After all, it's been thirty years since she's graced the inside of a classroom.

As we talked about her future and what this decision would truly mean, it became clear to me that she was really worried about this new life and afraid of stepping into a new arena. I tend to be very direct and honest. Being me, I came right out and told her that she was afraid and added that it's fine to be worried. I went on to tell her, there were ways to work around her concerns by acknowledging them, examining them, and finally moving past them. I cautioned her against allowing the voice of fear to control and make decisions for her. After offering advice on ways to approach going back to school, courses to take to prepare her for this new venture, including making the most of her local library, my sister now possessed the ammunition to help her tackle the future with renewed enthusiasm.

Once we were done talking, I sat back and thought about how fear has the power to influence our lives. Like all emotions, fear has a unique and important role to play. It keeps us safe, alert, and cautious. Unfortunately, there's a down side to this emotion. Sometimes it paralyzes us and keeps us from our goals. It makes us question our abilities, who we are, and what we can accomplish. The spirit of fear has destroyed many an aspiration and promising career.

    My sister's dilemma made me think about writing and how easy it would be to allow my fears to keep me from doing something I truly enjoy. Like a mist that moves in and showers everything in its path, fear has the ability to seep into each and every part of our life and take over. My philosophy - fight it. Don't allow one emotion to win and keep you from the things that you desire or from living the best possible life. We all deserve a good, fulfilling, and rewarding life.

Whether your gift is writing, music, or simply going back to school after a long hiatus, don't allow fear to control and destroy your future. Step up, take charge, and embrace the life you worked for and continue to do what makes you happy. Keep this thought in mind, you only have one life and you owe it to yourself to give it your best.

    I always love to hear from writers and readers. Feel free to contact me on this topic and any other. You can reach me at

Remember, don't be a stranger.