Writing Memorable Characters: Hobbies

Has a movie or book ever inspired you to pick up a new hobby?

When I lived in South Africa, my mom sent me the 5th book in the Harry Potter series. Shortly after, I decided to take up crocheting, one step away from Hermione knitting socks for house elves. I worked on basic blankets and made my nieces pillows during that time. Continue reading

From Film to Novel: Pacing

This week’s focus of what writers can learn from film is PACING, which is undeniably tied to plot. I’m going to offer up a movie that could’ve been great (just look at the cast!), but failed to make an impression with romantic comedy audiences: How Do You Know (2010). Remember it’s as valuable to learn from misses as it is from hits. Here are a few examples how pacing and plot intertwined in the wrong ways. Continue reading

From Film to Novel: Atmosphere

Not long ago, I attended a conference in which there was an evening session. Over ice cream and in our pajamas, authors watched a series of romantic comedy film clips to reinforce the story arc essential in romance novels.

I came to realize just how much movies influence my story telling, and how much writers can learn from film. Yes, it is always important to read as well, but movies and shows can teach us just as much. Throughout the coming weeks of 2021, I’ll focus on a particular aspect of film that can translate to better writing.

This week’s focus, ATMOSPHERE. Continue reading

5 Facts: Jack Fortner

Because sometimes the Grinches of Christmas are misunderstood, here are 5 facts about Jack Fortner, the hero in Christmas Catch, that may melt your heart after all.

1. He is fiercely loyal.

It is one of the qualities highlighted in the Boy Scouts, and Jack is the epitome of loyalty. He will do whatever is necessary to defend and support his crew on Forrester,  the townsfolk of Cape Sunset, and his family. Even if his brother Chris gets on his nerves. Continue reading

5 Facts: Christmas Catch

In honor of November 1, the unofficial start of the Christmas season (don’t be hating my festive attitude), I thought it would be fun to reveal five facts about my small town sweet romance, Christmas Catch.

1. Cape Sunset was partially named after a place dear to my heart. Continue reading

How To: Book Signing Table on a Budget

I just returned from the New Jersey RWA’s Put Your Heart in a Book Conference. It was my first romance-related conference and I signed up to participate in the Book Fair. The problem was, all my branding was related to my Young Adult Fantasy release from a few years back. Did I really need to buy the custom table cover, bookmarks, business cards, and other swag again? Continue reading

Christmas Catch: A Twitter Pitch Success Story

Now that #PitchWars announcements have been made, I wanted to remind those who were not selected about another way to get the attention of agents and publishers. Sure, there is the traditional querying/slush pile approach, and many writers do get their agents that way. In fact, I had sent over 200 query letters covering three manuscripts, resulting in small press offers but no agent offers. I am not saying don’t take that route. I’m saying take as many routes as you can! Continue reading

Living in South Africa: I’ll take some electricity, please

During my tenure in Cape Town, I lived in two noteworthy apartments, known as ‘flats’ to the locals and anyone from Europe. I also dated a guy who owned a house. Renting a flat or owning a house isn’t that much different there than it is here stateside. Outside of the optional 50-year mortgage (yes, you are reading that correctly, FIFTY YEARS to pay off a house. I don’t even want to know the interest rate on that.), Continue reading

New YA Release:Curiosity and the Sentient’s Oblation

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet author Zachary Chopchinski and his beautiful wife Layla at UtopiaCon 2016. For more about our meeting, see here. I highly encourage you to check out his series!

2016-742 eBook Zash Chopchinski, Gabrielle B03-1

Book Synopsis:

The widowed wife of a North Carolina plantation owner, Gabrielle awakens in this life with a broken heart and a sharpened spirit. Living in one of the darkest times in American history, she finds herself running a safe house for the underground railroad during the American Civil War. In order to save a life, Gabrielle must make a sacrifice that could damn her host for eternity.

Everything’s different this time. The rules have changed, Morrigan has changed, and Arawn is more dangerous than ever. He has sent a hunter after Gabrielle and she has to use every ounce of her new powers if she is going to survive.


Author Bio:

Zach is a bow tie wearing, formal vest rocking, pocket watch using, sarcastic monster of a writer. Currently residing in Orlando, Florida, he spends his days working, writing and procrastinating.

Zach is the author of the Gabrielle series, a young adult fantasy with a paranormal-historical-time traveling twist (try saying that five times fast).

Zach has multiple college degrees, in the fields of criminal justice and criminology…because he wanted to catch ALL the bad guys. Now, coupled with being an author of young adult fiction he spends his days yelling at people for breaking regulatory laws.

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