Excerpt of The Italian Party, by Christina Lynch

by Marylee MacDonald in For Readers

2. Michael and Scottie stood out from the moment they strolled down the gangplank of the sleek ocean liner that carried them and their possessions to Italy. They seemed to have stepped right out of an advertisement for Betty Crocker, Wonder Bread or capitalism itself. He was twenty-four, handsome, […] Click here to view full […]

5-Star Review from the Redheaded Book Lover Blog

by Marylee MacDonald in For Writers Who Need Readers

What do writers value most? Connecting with readers. I’m thrilled about this review from the Redheaded Book Lover’s Blog because it sounds like she really “got” what these stories are all about. Thanks, Aimee Ann for reading my book and giving me such positive feedback. With her permission, I’m re-blogging her review. Also, for indie […]

Getting Your Book Into Bookstores

by Marylee MacDonald in Book promotion

What is the biggest frustration authors face? Getting into bookstores. Authors and independent publishers who produce print books through Amazon’s Createspace confront a nearly insurmountable hurdle. Even though the book has a great cover, bookstores still know the book has been produced by their sworn enemy–Amazon! How can they tell? Amazon places a bar code […]

Psychic Wounds Drive Characters to Make Misjudgments and That’s Good for the Plot

by Marylee MacDonald in Characters, For Writers Doing Revisions

Characters with psychic wounds engage our sympathies. In this post I’m going to talk about the benefits of loading your characters down with problems, including attitudes toward life caused by childhood psychic wounds. My purpose is not to play amateur psychologist. Save that for the self-help books. Instead, I’m going to show how psychic wounds […]

Talk Your Book: I’ll Show You How

by Marylee MacDonald in Apps & Software

Would it be easier to “talk your book” or to slave away for years trying to write it? A few months back my friend Gail Howard Gibson invited me to attend her book group. Although I was there to discuss my short story collection, Bond’s of Love & Blood, one thing led to another, and […]

Book Promotion on a Budget

by Marylee MacDonald in Book promotion

Book promotion is the biggest challenge all writers face. I face it. If you’ve published a book, you face it, too. Every writer I know confronts the stunning reality that fewer and fewer people are reading books, even though we writers are pouring our souls onto the page. Prior to publication, most of us have […]

Heighten Tension by Raising the Stakes

by Marylee MacDonald in For Writers Doing Revisions

If you heighten tension, you can transform a good book into a book readers can’t put down. That’s because we’re hardwired for danger. We register a threat when we see a shadow on a sidewalk. If a dog lunges toward a fence, we jump back. If our spouse tells us he’s having an affair, we […]

Literary Magazines: Insider Tips On Getting Published and Dealing With Rejectiion

by Marylee MacDonald in For Writers Ready to Publish

I’ve met many writers so focused on their novels that they’ve never explored the world of literary magazines. Did you know that some literary magazines accept novel chapters? Maybe you could convert one of your chapters into a story. When you’re bogged down in a longer work, seeing your name in print will definitely give […]

Tension: Two Easy Ways to Pack Tension in a Scene

by Marylee MacDonald in For Beginning Writers

Tension is a sensation in the body. Fish, reptiles, birds, and mammals are hardwired to be on the alert. Possums play possum. An elk herd circles the calves. Octopi retreat into grottoes. Gorillas pound their chests. And, as for humans, what signs of danger raise our hackles? When we see movement out of the corner […]

Writing Models: How Close Study of Top-Notch Writers Can Up Your Game

Writing models can help you turn a so-so draft into a work of art. In the old days, before bookcases filled with how-to books that made the act of writing seem simpler than it ever is, aspiring writers learned the craft by closely studying the work of other writers. In 1971, after the death of […]