February isn’t just for lovers. IT’S FOR WRITERS!!!!!

February is made for writing. Seriously.

The weather sometimes sucks (unless you live in Colorado, like most RMFW writers), leaving us with no excuse but to get some words on the page.

We’re also still in our honeymoon period with the hastily made New Year word count resolutions (by June it’s all over) we’ve made.

We can often use our Valentine’s Day gift goodwill with our partners to sneak off for an extra writing session or two without risking bodily harm (unlike in June).

It’s a short month, forcing us to push for more words daily so as not to throw off our monthly word count.

For how many of you is November your highest word count month?

Agents and editors are finally digging out from the holidays and New Year submitters. Which means they are all but begging for your beautiful words!

And then there’s President’s Day. A time to remember what words can mean for a country.

One more reason February rocks for writers is Groundhog Day. Not the rodent, though he’s super cute, but the movie. Fiction is just like that movie. We write, then edit, and rewrite, until we get the ending right!

What is your favorite writerly month? And why?

Welcome to 2018: The Very Best Year in Your Writerly Career

With 2018 already upon us, you’ve likely already sold three books to your favorite publisher, wrote five more, and single handily solved the fiction conflicts of 2017.

What? You haven’t? What’s wrong with you? Half of January is already in the books. Get moving!

This is one of my issues with January. It expects too dang much from me as a writer. Maybe, like me, you made a resolution to write daily or write a specific number of words a week, or whatever foolish endeavors writers think up to torture themselves.

While I don’t think it’s bad to have goals, in writing or life, I do find goals set because it’s a new year to be harder than just having a clearly defined and written goal because you want and expect to achieve it. Goal setting isn’t and shouldn’t be taken lightly. For when you don’t provide the goal with the gravitas it deserves, then it will be that much easier to break.

To set a clearly defined goal, decide on just what you want and why having a specific goal will aid you in achieving it.

Now that you have a defined goal – WRITE IT DOWN.

Goals that are written down are seventy percent more likely to be achieved. Yeah, statistics rule!

While typing that goal out, write down ways to achieve it too. For example, if you goal is to write a book by the end of the year, write down how many words you’ll need each week, including time for revision. Write down your plan for the book too. Having an anticipated result for the goal helps keep it firmly in place.

Now remember, it takes only six weeks for an action to become a regular habit. The pain is in training your brain to make writing daily or whatever your goal it into becoming a habit.

Congratulations on making your goal a successful one. I know you have it in you. Now I want to see it out of you, all over the paper or computer screen. And then later in a bookstore, surrounded by other famous books.


What are some goals you’re currently working on achieving? Share your pain!

Sharing is Caring this Holiday Season: SO SHARE WITH ME!

Since the blog will be going on vacation over the holidays, from Dec 23rd to Jan 8th, I’d like to use my post today to thank you all. Our RMFW blog readers are a special group. Along with those bloggers. You all are the BEST of what RMFW has to offer. Good friends who understand why I constantly mutter to myself, occasionally shouting: “EUREKA” (Since I’m not a 1800’s inventor, I don’t actually shout that, but something unprintable brought to you by the letter F).

That being said, I’d love to hear your good writing news over the last year. Did you finish a manuscript? Get an agent? Publish a book? Write something you’re proud of? Give me all of it.

My good writerly news list:

  • Finished 4 manuscripts (a personal record)
  • Wrote my first YA, as well as my first collaboration project
  • Sold a project written years ago

Now let’s hear yours. I want gory details too!

Take Two Advice, and Call Me in the Morning: GOLD EDITION

I’ll bet you came back from the RMFW Gold Conference, excited to dive into your current project, filling it with all those things you learned over the weekend. Right up until it came time to actually write. The post-conference blue/block is a very real thing. Trust me, I’m not a doctor.

And I don’t play one on TV either (*millennials, google that those last two sentences, it’s funny. Really).

Anyway, you, like me, might be sitting around in your pajamas (because, what else would you wear?) wondering about how to incorporate what you learned with your writing style and voice or promotional style and voice.

The thing about the advice provided at conference is, the facilitators aren’t looking to change you as a writer, but rather let you explore their ways and means of creating great books. The whole take some, leave some approach. Try things out, see what fits and what doesn’t with your own writing life.

There are no perfect fits when it comes to being an author. What works for one writer, might fail for another. My best advice, and you can take it or stick your tongue out at me, is don’t live your writerly journey in the shoes of another writer. For one thing, they pinch, but most importantly, wearing someone’s shoe is unsanitary. Trust me, I’m NOT a doctor.

What advice did you learn at the conference that you plan on implementing in your own style/journey?

12 Elements of Crime Fiction

Fresh, unique ideas sell books, right?

Not necessarily.

Even the freshest idea must follow specific ‘rules’ or elements of the genre.

Don’t believe me? Then why in almost every romance novel the main character has one or more dead parents and the poor orphan was often raised by a kindly/odd/distant aunt or uncle? Or better yet, why is it that in an urban fantasy, the female lead is always haunted by something, whether it’s a real ghost or the ghost of boyfriend past, or in some cases herself?

Crime fiction is perhaps the worst offender.

And that’s why I love it.

These elements and rules give crime fiction its grit and style.

Mind you, not every one of the elements I list below will be in every book. But I bet that if you pull a copy of any crime novel off your bookshelf, you’ll find at least one and likely many more inside.

  1. The hooker/thug with the heart of gold
  2. Substance use/abuse
  3. A dirty cop
  4. A bottle of booze hidden in a desk/cabinet/toilet tank
  5. A femme fatale
  6. The term “Doll face” or “Baby doll”, really just some reference to a doll
  7. A description of a woman’s legs, in vivid detail
  8. A lounge/bar/nightclub/strip club
  9. A guy named “Fast” something, usually Eddie
  10. A dead partner/lover and/or betrayal by a former partner/lover
  11. Pipe/cigarette smoking hero and/or villain
  12. A dead body in the first 10 pages

Got any more? What about the genre which you write, what are the 'rules' in it?



The More You Know…A Writerly PSA

When I first started publishing, I felt lost and often confused.

And no, that is not my normal state. How mean of you to think so…

When I started thinking about proposing workshops to conferences or teaching writing at Rec Centers, I felt like I didn’t know enough to teach anyone anything.

I was right, in that, my first workshop was a disaster. *I threw up in a trashcan*

But I lived through it.

And now, I can stand or really sit at my desk, and tell you this--You have more knowledge about writing, marketing, and publishing than you think. Even if you’ve never published a single word or even finished a novel.

Because you are here, reading my words, among the hundreds of other books, blogs, and other assorted writer-related texts you’ve poured over learning about craft, learning about publishing (indie and traditional), and about marketing.

It’s truly amazing the depth of knowledge our brains can hold and the ability we have to share that knowledge with others. Whether it’s at a workshop or at your local coffee shop with a group of writer friends.

Since I have zero friends, I tend to chat up whoever is around, often resulting in restraining orders, but that’s another post for another day.

Which brings me to my real point. Share your knowledge.

Whether they want it or not!

Okay, the last part, not so much.

That being said, impart your knowledge on me. What have you recently learned that you’re willing to share with the rest of us?



WOTY & iWOTY Guessing Game – Answers to All Your Burning Questions

Over the past few weeks, we’d provided five separate questions that our lovely WOTY & iWOTY finalists answered. Today is the day you learn all!

  • Shannon Baker - A
  • Colleen Oakes - B
  • Robin Owens - C
  • Bernadette Marie - D
  • Stephanie Reisner - E
  • Wendy Terrien - F

Ready? Here we go:

What is your favorite comfort food?

Doritos and Dr. Pepper - Stephanie Reisner

A perfectly made grilled cheese. I have spent a lot of time perfecting this creation and I can share it here: sourdough bread from the most expensive bakery in town, a combo of Tillamook Sharp Cheddar and Colby Jack, & Land o' Lakes Unsalted Butter. Perfection, I tell you. - Colleen Oaks

Mac and cheese (but the bad kind, with Velveeta) - Shannon Baker

I can’t pick favorites. The comfort-food-of-the-moment depends on what part of me needs comforting, time of year, how hungry I am, how much I feel like making something versus just opening something, how accessible certain foods are…you get the gist. - Wendy Terrien

Favorite comfort food, depends, right now it is creme brulee. Chocolate is always good. I suppose I shouldn't say bon bons because that smacks of [REDACTED] writer cliche, but, well, truffles. - Robin Owens

Chocolate! - Bernadette Marie


What was your oddest job?

Folding boxes for bulk packed tomatoes. (Dad owns a food warehouse) - Bernadette Marie

Either a busgirl at the Original Pancake House or a nanny at a house in NYC that was most definitely haunted.  - Colleen Oakes

Driving a fork lift.  - Shannon Baker

Must we? Trapeze artist. No, not kidding. - Robin Owens

Training and certifying people to drive buses. Especially because I hated driving those buses.  - Wendy Terrien

Guessing people's age and weight at an amusement park. - Stephanie Reisner


What was your childhood nickname?

Stink (which is actually the nickname of the ghost my sister made up, but if I gave you my real nickname, you'd know who I am) - Shannon Baker

Beanie. It was not my favorite thing. - Colleen Oakes

Rob. My family still calls me Rob. - Robin Owens

Berni (boring). - Bernadette Marie

Never really had one. Maybe someone reading this post can think up something fun for me. 🙂 - Wendy Terrien

Steph  (Kind of gives it away) - Stephanie Reisner


What’s your favorite book?

Can I Get There by Candlelight by Jean Slaughter Doty - Stephanie Reisner

Hard to tell, like many in RMFW, I've written since I was a child. Greek Mythology, Fairy Tales, learned to read on The Cat and the Hat. Andre Norton, as a youngster. Hmm. I don't know. - Robin Owens

Skinny Legs and All by Tom Robbins - Shannon Baker

This is like picking a favorite—seriously too hard for me. But I can tell you the majority of books I loved the most growing up were fantasy, so it seems there might be an influence… - Wendy Terrien

If Tomorrow Comes by Sidney Sheldon - Bernadette Marie

The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix - Colleen Oakes


What’s the best writerly advice you have for those wanting to someday win a WOTY or iWOTY?

Outer validation is a wonderful drug that you can't rely on to motivate you to write.  Inner validation is your strength:  You wrote the best book you could with the resources you had. - Robin Owens

It's a great life if you don't weaken. - Shannon Baker

If you think you can sit down and write an amazing book without spending years learning about craft you will most likely be wrong. - Colleen Oakes

Why not you? - Wendy Terrien

No matter how many times you fail, get up, dust yourself off, and try again - Stephanie Reisner

Puke out that story and don't go back to edit until you have it all out. - Bernadette Marie


Thank you to all our lovely contestants and to those who played along at home! It looks like Patricia Stoltey is our winner. Pat, we will be in touch with your awesome prize!


WOTY & iWOTY Guessing Game – Final Round

Below are answers to one question for today’s Guessing Game.

Read the question, and then in the comments, assign the correct answer to the correct finalist.

On June 21st, all answers will be revealed.

  • Shannon Baker - A
  • Colleen Oaks - B
  • Robin Owens - C
  • Bernadette Marie - D
  • Stephanie Reisner - E
  • Wendy Terrien - F

Sample answer: C, D, A, B, F, E in the comments.

Ready? Here we go:

What is your best one-sentence (or more) advice for writers?

Outer validation is a wonderful drug that you can't rely on to motivate you to write.  Inner validation is your strength:  You wrote the best book you could with the resources you had. ____

It's a great life if you don't weaken.. ____

If you think you can sit down and write an amazing book without spending years learning about craft you will most likely be wrong.____

Why not you? ____

No matter how many times you fail, get up, dust yourself off, and try again ____

Puke out that story and don't go back to edit until you have it all out.___


You are all fabulous! Thank you for playing along.

Remember to check the blog on June 21st for the answers!