Happy Holidays Everyone!

I wish everyone a Happy Holiday Season and a Very Merry New Year!

Recent Events!

Since the release of Amarok I've been very busy with book signings, guest speaking, local school visits and library visits. I wanted to share with you a few fun pictures of recent events!


A book for all ages a mixture of ancient cultures, a evil shaman  and
 a love story starting with a young girl kidnapped and captivated by a wolf not understanding how she felt a connection and how he guarded her from danger and harm until she sees before her eyes a wolf transformed into a man and learns how the Shaman had killed his parents and had transformed him into a wolf  I enjoyed the book and am looking forward to the next book of series Amarok the Beginning...............I  wish her great success .  Alicia Munoz


One of my good friends and critique partner, Marie Martin, is celebrating the release of her new novel, Maternal Harbor with a free download on Amazon.

Check out this exciting read: Teagan O’Riley was pregnant and alone when she met three single mothers at an OB clinic. A few weeks later, two of them are dead and the third is close on Teagan’s heels, intent on a campaign of twisted murder and insanity. Teagan cannot risk entrusting the three infants to the police with her finger prints all over one crime scene and her foot print smeared into blood at another. She flees with the babies to a wilderness cabin belonging to her lost love’s grandmother, but is even this remote location safe?
Click here to get your FREE copy today :)  http://www.amazon.com/Maternal-Harbor-ebook/dp/B0096VTEVK

Description In Fiction Writing

For me, I feel it is essential to get the right amount of description in my manuscripts. Good description incorporates many elements such as setting, feel, character emotion, and more. To much description can hinder the pace.

Below is a fun post by my good friend Angela Ackerman--and its just in time for Holloween. Angela is the author of The Emotion Thesaurus. The Emotion Thesaurus is a valuable resource for writers filled with description tips on emotion, dialougue, characters and setting.
I love writing description in my novels. I enjoy bringing the reader into my world, seeing it as I do as I'm creating it.

Setting Description Entry: Haunted House (inside)

Dust, cobwebs, sheets on furniture, broken tables, chairs, windows, lamps, peeling wallpaper, gaps in the floorboards, holes in the walls, flickering lights (if there's electricity) chandelier with broken strings of crystals, broken glass on the floor, spiders, cockroaches, rust, mildew, ripped curtains, shadows, gloomy staircases, old portraits & paintings, cracked or dirty doors, moving shadows, apparitions, outlines of people, objects moving by themselves (doorknobs turning, doors opening, cups falling out of cupboards, cutlery clattering, chairs rocking or sliding across the floor), mice, rats, ectoplasm, glowing lights, fireplace suddenly starting up on its own, messages appearing and disappearing on the walls or on windows or mirrors in the fog, blood or other substance, dirt, grit, ripped up books, papers and debris lying about, rodent feces


footsteps on the stair, creaking doors, window shutters rattling on the outside, wind scattering/rustling paper through a broken window gap, words whispered in ear, screams, crying, wailing, laughter, glass smashing, the scrap of a chair moving, the scritch of tree branches scraping at the windows, rats squeaking, movement in the walls, a piano/radio/record player starting up all by itself, radio static, creaks, squeaks, thuds, bumps, scrapes, whistles, boots across the floor, locks clicking into place, creaky movement coming from the ceiling or floor above, howls, groans, cackles, cupboard doors flapping open and shut, doors slamming, creaky banisters, rustles, unidentified noises, breathing sounds, murmuring or muttering coming from other rooms, the sound of pacing


Phantom perfume or cologne, burning smells, pipe or cigarette smoke, mildew, rot, dank, rusty or metallic smells, wet wood and stone, rancid breath, yeasty beer smell, food, dust, dry rot, rat/mice feces, urine


Sour & dry mouth from fear, dust floating in the air and coating the tongue, salty tears


A phantom hand on the shoulder, the puff of breath on the earlobe or the back of the neck, the sensation of being grabbed on the arm, pushed, pulled, pinched, poked, slapped, burned, a feeling of light-headedness and nausea, hair rising on arms or the back of the neck, the body's reaction to a drop in temperature (chills, shivering, breath puffing out in clouds, running a finger through dust, pulling back a thick drape, fingers clutching at a banister as you go up or down the stairs, pulling on the light bulb chain in the basement, stairs giving underfoot, rattling a doorknob that has locked itself, pressing a face against the glass, trying to see out, touching objects inside the house out of curiosity: a candelabra dripping with spiderwebs at the dining room table, a man's hat hanging from a coat rack, pulling open drawers and cupboards, pushing doors open with the flat of the hand, clutching at a flashlight or object to use as a weapon, desperately punching in numbers of a cell phone, bumping into furniture or walls in the dark, slipping on throw rugs or mildew, clutching at own face or hair in desperation, hugging arms around shoulders or waist in fear, cringing, jumping, trembling, a hand clutching at the mouth to stop a scream, swallowing to try to slow breathing and heartbeat, hot tears running down cheeks, a sore throat from crying

Helpful hints:

--The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1:

I cringed at each creak on the old warped stairs, but it didn't sway my determination to make it to the bedroom on the second floor. Halfway up, a shadow flickered at the corner of my vision. I froze, and as I stood there, caught a woody scent lingering in the air. Tobacco smoke? A shiver curled through the hairs on the back of my neck then cascaded down my backbone. It was all I could do to not hurl myself back down the stairs toward the front door.

Example 2:

Gail stepped into the nursery, her throat tightening at the thick dust floating in the air. Sunlight slipped through the cracked boards covering the window, illuminating a child's wooden rocking horse sitting out on a tattered rug. The toy's wooden seat was worn smooth, coated in dirt, and cobwebs matted the corded mane and tail.

The air shimmered and a young boy flickered into view. Gail gasped, watching his pale hands grasp at the mane, pulling himself into the seat. Slowly the horse began to rock, much to the jubilation of its ghostly rider.

--Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile)

The moment I entered the master bedroom I felt it: warm, moist air brushing my ear like a stalker's breath.

Example 2: (Metaphor)

The dining room chair suddenly jolted back and tilted toward me, a gracious invitation by an invisible host.

Working With An In-House Editor

Having a professional in-house editor is such a gift. In my writing career I've been very lucky to have worked with some of the most amazing editors. Not only did they make my manuscripts stronger, they taught me how to improve my craft.

I think its really important to listen to your editor. Make the changes they suggest and then read over it. Don't just reject what they are telling you--unless you have a very strong reason.

Editors work very hard to make your manuscript stronger and to better market your project. Most in-house editors are experts in their craft. They know what sells, what is popular and what isn't.   

Consider what they are telling you. Try to keep an open mind. I'm so glad that I listened to the editors I've had the pleasure of working with.

Happy Writing!



I love all the cool promotional items I get from Spencer Hill Press! This week I recieved a bunch of fun Amarok Stickers--and its my own design!  How cool are these? Anyone wanting any fun Amarok Swag please contact me with your mailing address. Thanks Angie :)

Happy Friday Everyone!

Friday is here already! I can not wait until this weekend when I can find some time to sit down and to write.

One of my good friends and critique partner, Marie Martin, is celebrating the release of her new novel, Maternal Harbor. This was an exciting read that kept me on the edge of my seat. I just couldn't put down. The blurb on the back cover reads: Teagan O’Riley was pregnant and alone when she met three single mothers at an OB clinic. A few weeks later, two of them are dead and the third is close on Teagan’s heels, intent on a campaign of twisted murder and insanity. Teagan cannot risk entrusting the three infants to the police with her finger prints all over one crime scene and her foot print smeared into blood at another. She flees with the babies to a wilderness cabin belonging to her lost love’s grandmother, but is even this remote location safe?

A few fun questions I asked Marie...

1. What are your favorite books? The Bible, A Painted House by John Grisham and The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

2. Can you describe your novel in four words or less? Murder and Motherhood

3. Why did you choose to become an writer? Couldn't help myself. The words were there and they spilled out onto paper.

4. Were you a reader as a child? My mother was a librarian. We were raised with books and no tv.

5. How did you come up with the idea for your novel? Trying to figure out what I knew about so I could write about that. Well I knew about babies. I had four and 10 grandkids when I wrote this story.

6. Do you have any advice for struggling writers? Get to a place that is quiet, with a tablet and pencil. Let the words flow onto the paper without thinking of any thing else. later they can be put into your computer for refinement.

7. What is your favorite bird? A house finch. They have the prettiest sound.

Order Your Copy of Maternal Harbor at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0096VTEVK/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmb


Several months ago I started working on translating my book trailer into a professional film trailer to be previewed as an advertisement before the start of popular movies. Even though I am still in the production stages, I would like to share with you some of the steps we have taken in our journey.

First, I want to make it clear that I am not working alone. I am so blessed to have a lot of help from a professional crew of people from all areas of film, editing, directing and production experience. David Henderson is one of those talented professionals. David is a film and visionary genius from England who has had a lifetime of experience. At the start of the project David gave me some very good advice. “Think about movies that you love, consider what makes you love them. What makes them interesting? Is it the characters, the theme, the visuals? These are the elements you want to keep in mind as I’m filming the trailer. I want your input on this. ” This really started the wheels to turn. Suddenly I had many new ideas about what I wanted for each scene.

Next David and I were able to plan some of the camera angles, and draw out some of the scenes. Because trailers are visual, it was important to spend some time on the look and feel of it. I had to consider costume design. Films rely heavily on costumes to communicate character traits to the viewer. Another important design was the set. How did I want to capture the look of the film? A real location will offer more dimension while a built set can offer more control. I wanted a real location and so that is what we went for.

Lighting was another key factor to consider. Some movies feature soft, almost cloudy light that will give a dreamy effect, while a darker set will give a more ominous tone.

In the end, I hope everyone will enjoy my film trailer as much as I have enjoyed being part of such an exciting process.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone and happy writing! – -Angela Townsend-
This week I have a very special guest, Angela Ackerman. Angela is a good friend of mine and the creator of a fantastic website--The Bookshelf Muse. Angela and I not only share a first name--we also share a fabulous agent,Jill Corcoran!

Angela's amazing reference book--The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression is my all time favorite tool for writing.

Here is a list of Angela's top six books for writing

Angela at The Grand Canyon
I think we’ve all read craft books that really hit a note--ones that either bring about a single epiphany or open our eyes to how we can improve our writing on a large scale. I am thrilled to share the 6 books that really helped my writing. Each one is filled with highlighter marks, sticky notes and freehand underlining. If you are in the market for a good craft book, please read on.

Description (Monica Wood) People who know what The Bookshelf Muse is all about might be surprised to find out that at one point, description baffled me! I didn’t know how to pick out only the important details and then convey them in a compelling way. This difficulty led to the Setting Thesaurus, a sensory description guide for Fiction Settings. Description is a must-have for all writers. It focuses on different aspects of description at every level, and has lessons that both new and advanced writers can benefit from.

On Writing (Stephen King) This book came when I hit that Magical Moment...you know the one, right? The ‘I know enough about writing now to see... just how much...I DON’T know.’ Yes, that frozen, hollow moment when it feels like we’re trying to dig a hole to china with a teaspoon, and not even a good one. More like the plastic kind that come with takeout, sealed up with a napkin and the rest of the cutlery. If there’s ever a time a writer decides to throw in the towel, it’s here. So I turned to King, who is a master at so many things, but a real guy too, someone you could imagine sharing the hot dog cart’s umbrella with as you snarf down lunch in the rain. He came from the most humble of beginnings, and I very much wanted to know what he thought of the writing path. This book did not disappoint. Equally helpful and inspiring, On Writing was a beautifully autobiographical journey to author hood. Filled with smart advice, every writer should read it.

Writing The Breakout Novel (Donald Maass) Pumped up by King’s book that I could actually DO THIS WRITING THING, I started paying attention to critique partners more closely. They told me my conflict was good, but there needed to be more tension. Huh? Wha? Conflict, tension...weren’t they the same? I asked around and my brain latched onto the word, micro tension. Small tension? Didn’t I want bigger, better? Wasn’t that the problem, that I needed more tension, not bits of it? Undeterred, I got my hands on Breakout Novel and learned exactly what micro tension was, and the power it carried. Oh my, what an amazing book from someone who knows the craft. Do yourself a favor--if you don’t have this book, get it.

Self-Editing For Fiction Writers (Browne & King) Finally, I’d gotten the story on the page. WOOT! It was a good story too--I was happy with it and thought others would be too. Of course, written once (or even twice, three or five times) isn’t enough. If was time to rub off the rough edges, large and small, and bring out the beauty. Self-Editing is the single best book I’ve found on the subject, and to this day, is my revision bible.

Save The Cat (Blake Snyder) Even after securing an Agent and braving the submission waters, I still had more learning to do. (Truly, does the learning ever end? I hope not, because I love it!) I felt my plotting was solid, but something was still off. I didn’t have total confidence that the right things were happening a the right time. I kept hearing about this screenwriting book as a great structure tool, so I snagged a copy of Save The Cat. *cue light bulb* It was magic. Here, in the screenwriter’s world, I found a tool that could really help me with my fiction’s structure. This amazing book is helping to turn my plotting and pacing from good to great.

Writing Screenplays That Sell (Michael Hauge) On a total high from peeking inside the world of screenwriting, I bought a few more books on the subject. And oh, if light bulbs flashed for Save the Cat, angels sung during Writing Screenplays. Hauge and Snyder were speaking the same language, but while STC was more about dramatic story structure, Hauge was showing the character angle of motivation and arc. You know how every writer has an Achilles’ heel? That one craft weakness that supersedes all others? Mine happens to be characters. So this book was literally a godsend. I was lucky enough to take a workshop this past year from Hauge, and he’s just as dynamic and illuminating in person as in the book. Your turn! Which craft books came along at key moments on your writing journey, boosting your craft? Let me know in the comments! 
Angela Ackerman is one half of The Bookshelf Muse blogging duo, and co-author of The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide To Character Expression
Listing the body language, visceral reactions and thoughts associated with seventy-five different emotions, this brainstorming guide is a valuable tool for showing, not telling, emotion. She lives in Calgary, Alberta, in the shadow of the Rockies, with her crazy (and therefore awesome) family, dog and one slightly zombie-like fish.

My favorite part of the writing process has always been the research that goes into my novels. Majoring in Anthropology, I am fascinated by ancient cultures, art and lore. In my novel, Amarok, I wanted to incorporate characters and mythology from the Ice-Age period because I’ve always felt that the people from this ancient time period helped to shape the world we live in today. A time of development, learning and intense connection to the land. A time of great discovery, where people learned to forge their own tools and instruments.

I researched, in considerable depth, all aspects of life during this Paleolithic era. But, I spent most of my time studying early shelters. I wanted to know how people of that time incorporated their natural environment into dwellings. I found such creativity in the construction of these ancient shelters, whether it was a cave, an overhanging mossy rock slab or a tent made of bones, or hides.

In my investigations I have found caves to be the most interesting. I am fascinated that thousands of years can pass and we are still finding messages from early man in hidden in these stone recesses. History told in paintings--stories shared in brilliant brush strokes of ochre.

I hope readers will enjoy my novel, Amarok, as much as I enjoyed creating it.

I can not believe that in 99 days my novel, Amarok will hit the shelves!!!! it all still seems like a crazy dream.

Today I am busy mailing out  bookmarks and other cool swag. I'm constantly on the phone or answering email--the old cliche-- there are not enough hours in the day--is so true. I will be starting a fun blog tour soon and contests.

Stay tuned!

How to stay organized and write

One of the most important tools a writer has is a productive work space. Find an area in your home specifically for writing. Whether it’s in a corner of the living room, a desk in the laundry room or even in the garage. Make the area yours and yours alone. Make sure its a designated space for writing only and not a place for paying bills, or unrelated activities.
I keep colorful calenders, spreadsheets and computer print-offs near my desk. I go through them daily, recording important dates, websites and notes about marketing ideas to explore later. I am also a huge fan of colorful folders, highlighters and sticky notes. They are inexpensive, and they brighten my mind and manuscript.
Try to keep your workspace clean. If clutter gets out of control find an old dresser with deep drawers. These are handy for holding supplies such as extra pens, paper clips, reams of paper and ink cartridges. A tidy office is a productive office. Make sure all your supplies are sorted, and close at hand.
Whatever you’re passionate about try to incorporate into your writing sanctuary. I like to burn candles, listen to mood music and I always have coffee, or tea nearby. Fill your workspace with your favorite themes and visuals for a tailor-made space.
Happy creating!

Fundraising Project Turns into Rare Author Collection | Flathead Beacon###

I am excited to be a part of this wonderful event to preserve over 900 acres of Montana lands! Click on the link and check it out ;)

Fundraising Project Turns into Rare Author Collection | Flathead Beacon###
Hello! Happy Friday everyone. :)

I've been so busy this summer. It's like one giant whirlwind-- I'm currently working on three manuscripts, attempting to answer a million emails and working on a dreaded laundry pile the size of Mount Everest. Writing and being a mom has its challenges--but I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Tell me about your summer, your writing journey or other creative projects!

I am so excited to announce that Amarok ARCS (advanced reader copies) are headed my way!  The next few weeks I will be busy with a fun theater trailer. We will be filming in Glacier National Park and I couldn't be more happy with the natural beauty the environment will provide.