Writers, Use Real Place Names or Not? Need Opinions!

  • July 14, 2019
  • Blog

question marks photo

I live in New York City. Many of the street names are well-known, and placing a character walking along Madison Avenue won’t create sudden visitors in real life tracking the route the characters have taken.

But my next novel is taking place in an area where the towns are miles apart and the population is small. I’m currently writing it with the real names of towns and streets and stores so that I know where everyone is. But in the end, should I fictionalize that part?

What do you do, and why? (And if you’re not a writer, I’d like your opinion too.)


Fairy Gardens Revisited

  • July 08, 2019
  • Blog

Fairy gardens are works of art. Designed to entice fairies to gather, they also show the creativity of the gardener-artist, offset by the weather and the mysterious (to me) part where flowers actually grow.

Bits and Pieces

  • June 30, 2019
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Last week had highs and lows.

Biggest high? Skyping with my group, The Penheads. They gave me valuable feedback on the first pages of the sequel to Magical Ties. There’s a long road ahead but it’s good to be back inside that universe.

And the low? Spending 6 1/2 hours in the dentist’s chair and not staying numb for the last hour. Not an experience I care to repeat.


For those who celebrate, have a safe and happy 4th of July!


  • June 23, 2019
  • Blog

Why am I so excited about sunny days? Because for months, we’ve been dealing with too many days like this:

And more rain is coming. But this weekend, there was sun. So I’m sharing those pics because hey, sun.




Father’s Day

  • June 16, 2019
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Repeating this post, with love:

My Dad and Writing

Writing for the Seasons

  • June 10, 2019
  • Blog

I hate to break it to you, but unless you’ve got a photographic memory, you won’t remember the details of winter if you’re writing about it in the summer. So here’s what you do.

As I said in an earlier post, take lots of pictures. But that’s not enough. Create folders for each season and begin gathering details as you live through them.

What kind of details? Everything and anything. For example:

  • What kind of clothes do your characters wear? Winter coats or shorts and tee shirts?
  • Are the trees blooming with pale green buds or full, darker leaves, or displaying a riot of color? Are they bare?
  • What kind of food is common during those times? In the summer, most people I know try to avoid cooking with their oven because it heats up the house. Street vendors carry ices, but in the fall, roasted chestnuts are sold instead.

I once read a book where a woman walked into a diner and ordered an iced tea in the middle of a snowstorm. In fact, I had to struggle to remember that it was winter in the story because the overall atmosphere made me think of the sultry hot days of the Deep South. Get your head on straight! If that perfect scene gets written but is out of place, either change the season or put the descriptions aside for a different story.

Look out your window. Open the door and breathe in the air. Listen to the sounds on the streets, near schools, and anywhere you think your story will live. Write it down, take photos or video, and keep those impressions to enrich your stories.


Using What You’ve Got

  • June 02, 2019
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writing photo

I have to admit, my brains feel a bit scrambled lately. I’ve been going to the dentist once a week for the past month and I’m not done yet. Each visit lasts anywhere from 2½ to 5-plus hours. Not fun. I’ve never felt less like writing.

But something happened during one of those visits. I’m not telling what it is but it’s a spark of an idea for a short story. (Incidentally, my dentist is great at getting me numb so no, it’s nothing mundane.)

What do you use? What do you see, experience, imagine?


The Sun is Coming!

  • May 27, 2019
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There’s been a lot of rain here for the past month. But the sun is coming today and I’m going to be out in it.

Have a good week!

Archery and Writing

  • May 20, 2019
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I got clipped by an arrow.

To be fair, I hadn’t been back to archery in over six months, had only taken two lessons, and was wearing a short arm guard.

Long arm guard in place, I resumed shooting. The instructor corrected my stance. Hips too far forward, shoulders needed to be down, chest open. I was tensing when it was time to release the arrow.

But there was that one time when I let myself breathe, focused on the target, and the arrow struck close to the center.

It made me think about writing. Are my shoulders down? Is my stance relaxed? Am I focused on the target? (Which would be the next sentence in a story.)

It takes repetition to get it right. And to walk away tired, with muscles pinging in areas I never considered, noting the hits and misses and determined to do better next time?

Yep. That’s writing.


Mother’s Day

  • May 12, 2019
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I’m repeating this post because, well, because.

My Mom and Writing


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