Holiday Gift Guide for Writers

The holidays are here! Everyone is shopping like crazy buying gifts. I came up with a gift guide for writers, hope you enjoy and get some ideas. Tell me what’s on your wish list. Happy Holidays!

Coffee gift set– You can also do tea or hot cocoa. These are inexpensive and you can pick these up at target. I also found one on Amazon.

Massage gift certificate– Writers sit and crouch all the time. How about a nice massage to loosen up the shoulders and back? I know this is what I’d want.

Writer Mug– Cliche I know, but this one is currently on my Wish List. I think it’s funny.

Yoga or sweat pants– Who the hell types in jeans? Comfort all the way.

Some other websites with cool gifts. – For all those men in your life. They have good ideas. – This is also a place to get ideas.– The link attached is Gifts for Writers

Hope this gives you ideas, let me know what’s on your holiday wish list.



I’m a Nobody in the Writing World

Well, maybe I’m not a nobody, sometimes it feels that way. I don’t have one single work published as of now. So how do I keep my spirits high when trying to achieve a goal? Am I really a writer? Hell yes I am.

Here is what has helped me change that mindset.

I write everyday

Simple right? Not really. It takes time to sit down, open the computer and write a short story or novel. It takes more dedication than I ever thought.

I don’t just write, I read a lot

As Stephen King said, “If you want to be a writer you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”

I read while waiting to clock in at work or before bedtime. I read when a writing break is needed. It really does improve your vocabulary.

I treat it like a job

I carve out time everyday to get words on paper. It may seem silly, but it helps. Do I need to work on my novel before work? Or will I do it when I get home?

I’ve learned not to compare myself to others

Being a writer is tough. It’s faced with rejection and the fear of never being good enough. Being intimidated and jealousy won’t get you anywhere. Trust me, I know.

I hope this post helps anyone else out there dealing with rejection or not having good luck with writing. You’re not alone and everyone starts somewhere. I have bad writing days every week, but I’m learning to deal and grow from it. If you stop or give up, that’s the quickest way not to be a writer. Keep your head up and write on.




When a Short Story Becomes a Novel

By the title of this post, bet you can guess what it’s about. That’s right, one of my short stories is now going to be a novel. One of my short stories called It Watches got me thinking, what would happen if this went on? It’s all because one of my co-workers said he liked my short stories, but wanted to know more. He’s not a fan of cliff hangers.

I get that. There are certain cliff hangers that I hate.

The idea to adding more has been stewing for some time. I’ve jotted down a few ideas and figured there was enough to start a draft. So last week I started making it a novel and already have 7000 words to it, that’s much longer than the original story which was 50 words. So far it’s a fun write, let’s hope I can keep the ideas going.

I’ve mentioned that I enjoy writing short stories because they take less time and can improve your writing. I’m also going to use them as a gateway to more ideas.

I now have a Facebook Page. If you’d like to give it a like, I’ll buy you a drink someday. Joanna’s Story Facebook Page

Thanks to everyone for the support. I do appreciate the comments and feedback.





Writing What You Feel

A month ago, I started a new book, it’s about a woman getting over a terrible ordeal. It started off with a bang, the words were flowing, my word count was insane. Then it stopped. My ideas slowed down and soon I was staring at a blank screen. It’s a story that isn’t a very happy one, and it began to affect my mood.

I’ve discovered when it comes to working on certain projects, I have to feel it. Writing a happy books makes me elated, writing a deeper book can bring me down. I can’t write a book for the sake of writing it, I need to feel what the characters feel. I’m sure other writers feel the same.

So in the case of the deeper book, I work on it sparingly. When an idea strikes I’ll add it, or if I had a bad day that moodiness can help bring it to life. It sounds strange but it works.

I wonder how paid writers feel when they’re forced to write a book with a deadline. Does it make their craft suffer? Do they become a jerk to everyone around them?

In my personal experience, some of my best ideas stem from what I felt that day. Let me know if you feel the same.

Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!


This is a photo from a hike I did last year. Mt. Washington



Book I Love: Loch Ness Revenge by Hunter Shea

I love a good monster story and the new novella by Hunter Shea, Loch Ness Revenge had me hooked from the beginning.

I don’t want to give away spoilers, but the main character Natalie McQueen had me rooting for her the entire time. She’s witty and quick on her feet. I also thought her inner monologue was quite funny.

If you’re in search for a fun, monster read I’d check this one out. I’m a big fan of Shea’s work.


I will be doing more book reviews and the genres will vary. Let me know what books you’re reading and recommend!

Writing Tip – Using Story Beats

Today’s post comes from author and blogger B.L. Daniels. You can check out his blog here. He has great content and advice, so I encourage you to check his page out! You can also follow him on Twitter @aggrokragg

Authors tend to fall into two categories. “Plotters” and “Pansters”. Plotters attempt to formulate and outline their entire story or novel before they sit down to write, while pantsers “fly by the seat” and see where the process takes them, for better or worse. Many writers fall somewhere in between these two extremes, or would like to have a little more structure to avoid “writing themselves into a corner” without the perceived limitations that a strict outline can impose on their creative flow. Story beats can be a great solution to this.

If you’re not familiar with story beats, they have been around for a long time, but primarily in other creative arts. “Beats” have been around for decades in scriptwriting for plays, television and movies. At their core, they are a high-level outline. They chunk out the sequence of events based on the main points or “beats” of the story. Much like music is a fluid creative art that adheres to a set of rules, the beats keep your story on track without imposing a lot of restrictions. You might also be familiar with the use of story boards when outlining the action of a film.

Since I’m a plotter, I find that detailed outlines help immensely when working on projects like a novel. My brain needs a detailed document to keep many characters, settings, and plot lines organized. However, when I’m working on something like a short story, I don’t like putting that level of detail into outlining, since I don’t feel like the piece requires it. Plus, I tend to use short stories as a way to experiment, and I sometimes wildly veer off from my original ideas (with varying success). I love using beats for short stories, since I can create a basic structure for a 5-7000-word story, and then fill in all the details as I go along putting meat on the bones.

As an example, here’s some basic beats for a simple haunted house story:

Beat 1: Teenage friends on a fun rural road trip have car trouble

Beat 2: With no mechanic, and no cell phone service, they go looking to find help.

Beat 3: They run across an old run down house and go in to see if anyone is home.

Beat 4: Something lives there, but it’s not what they expect!

If you’re a beginning (or experienced) author who has been running into issues with dead end’s or writers block, but you just cannot bring yourself to create a full outline, then beats may be exactly what you’re looking for. They provide structure to guide you, while still allowing creative freedom to experiment with a great range of ideas as your story and characters come to life on the page.

Try them out!


Let your Characters Write the story

A book with compelling characters will force me to not put it down. It can be a story I’ve heard a thousand times, as long as the characters spike my interest, I’m hooked. Plot and setting matter but it’s the characters that bring everything alive, the rest doesn’t matter without a strong protagonist.

When writing my first book I didn’t really know my characters. It wasn’t until I wrote the second book where the stakes were raised that I felt they were growing and that I was starting to know them. Most writers will say the characters end up writing the story and I feel that’s what’s happened with mine. I find it easier to get in their mindset.

Sure, there are character charts that help with ideas, but I learn more when I write. When they’re acting in my head, that’s where they shine. It’s also how I learn their weaknesses and strengths. I like reading about someone who overcomes their boundaries and learn how they adapt.

There’s so much more I could talk about this topic with characterization and I plan to blog about those soon.

Does anyone else feel the same with their writing? Do you feel the characters write the story for you? I’d be interested to hear your opinions on this topic.

Hope everyone is having a great week! Thanks for stopping by!