Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Jobs in Publishing

I was honored to be invited to present at the local Career Day at Littleton High School, in Littleton, MA. As a resource, I promised the students some "read more" information. These are a few of my favorite resources about careers in publishing.

  1.   How to Get a Job in Book Publishing by Brian O’Connor
  2.   Getting a Job in Publishing by Bookends Literary
  3.   Careers in Publishing at YA Highway:
  4.   Ask the Agent: Jennifer Laughran

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Thank you and Deleted "First Kiss" Scene

I'm celebrating Any Way You Slice It being out for just over two months! I'm so happy that people are loving it--it was such a labor of love.

One of my favorite scenes had to be cut because it didn't really fit in with how Pen and Jake's relationship was progressing...but I'm happy to be able to share that scene as a thank you to newsletter subscribers.



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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

"Show" V. "Tell" in Fiction

I recently presented a workshop on the differences between “showing” in your writing vs. “telling” in your writing. I thought I’d share some of that workshop here, for you!


Have you ever been told that you “tell” too much in your writing; that you need to “show” more? What does that even mean?

“Show, don’t tell.”

When an agent or editor says this about your writing, they mean:
1. Don’t just tell me the story…show me, using your words.
2. Place the reader INTO the story. This is especially important in first person POV—but also equally important in close third.
3. Use the senses to bring the reader along for the ride. Sight, Sound, Touch, Taste, Smell.
4. Use specificity

For example…in my first draft of a YA contemporary romance, I might describe the love interest this way. This is Telling:

I watched John walk into the room. He was hot; maybe the best looking boy I’d ever seen.

My first draft is always messy. It's full of telling. That's okay. When you revise, you'll use more detail to make the story come alive. Rewriting the scene by using specificity and the senses, here’s my new introduction. This is Showing:

John didn’t walk into the cafeteria. He swaggered like the Mayor of Westfield High School, as he shook hands and slapped shoulders. If there had been a baby somewhere, he would have kissed it. Normally, that sort of attitude makes my stomach turn, but not today. I couldn’t take my eyes off him.  He even nodded at the lunch ladies. When he got to my table, our eyes met for the briefest of moments, and I felt like the only girl in the world.

You can add character detail, voice, and setting at the same time. This is showing. This is what they mean.

What’s the Difference?

When you “show,” use physical attributes, or active descriptions to convey emotion—without “telling” the reader what the character is feeling.

When you “show,” the reader should be able to infer emotion or character trait based on the language you’ve chosen.

You *do* need to be careful, you don’t need to show absolutely everything, especially if it’s not important to the forward motion of the plot. You risk the danger of being too lengthy or detailed if you’re not careful. NO three page descriptions of the woods.

When you “tell,” the narrative or character “tells” the reader the emotion or action.

“Telling” is often used to move the action along quickly or tell necessary backstory in a shorter word count.

You run the risk of “info dump” if you tell all the backstory this way.

Use a combination of the two to amp up your storytelling!


  1. Imagine a movie scene in your head—emotion is often conveyed with music. Write all the detail that you see. No “floating” heads of dialogue—be sure to describe where people are standing, what their hands are doing, noises in the room, where they are.
  2. Dr. Albert Mehrabian, author of Silent Messages, conducted several studies on nonverbal communication. He found that 7% of any message is conveyed through words, 38% through certain vocal elements, and 55% through nonverbal elements (facial expressions, gestures, posture, etc). convey nonverbal communication in your writing.
  3. Consider investing in the Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman to get a sense of how physical movement conveys emotion.
Try some Writing Examples

  1. Jarrod was sick
  • Brainstorm what the sick room looks like; surroundings, smells, sounds. What does Jarrod look like? Taste in mouth, sensations of being sick?
  • Write a paragraph “showing” us Jarrod.
Do the same for these two examples:

2.      The house was haunted.
3.     The pizza was delicious.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Memorial Day 2015: Women in World War I

We are all familiar with the story of Rosie the Riveter and how women jumped to action during World War II to keep the country moving forward. But did you know decades early, in 1917, the Navy officially enlisted the first women in the military when the United States entered World War I?

WWI Women Marines
Marines conduct a recruitment campaign in New York, NY, 1918.

Before women had the vote, Before women’s fashion allowed for wearing long pants or even skirts above the knee, Before television or radio—women were enlisted to support the war effort. Don’t get me wrong, women had been involved in war before—as spies or nurses or even as disguised soldiers during the Civil War. But never before as official enlisted personnel. 

WWI Hello Girls
US Army Signal Corps telephone operators or "Hello Girls," Tours, France, WWI. Elizabeth Anne Browne Collection, Gift of L.C. Jones. Women's Memorial Foundation Collection.
By the end of World War I in 1918, more than18,000 women had been enlisted in the Navy, Marines, Coast Guard to work in clerical jobs at bases all over the country. Thousands more women had worked in the Army Nurse Corps or as nurses, ambulance drivers, telephone operators, and general volunteers on or near the front line for the Army Signal Corps, Salvation Army, American Red Cross, YMCA, and YWCA among numerous other organizations.

In some instances, it took until 1977 for women to be recognized as veterans of the war and to receive military benefits. Most would not be alive to enjoy the recognition.

On this Memorial Day 2015, and because I’m working on a nonfiction project about women in World War I, I wanted to take a moment to recognize the contributions of these incredibly brave women. Not only did they contribute to the war effort, they also changed the way society viewed women and paved the way for future progress for women’s rights.

Pictures from: