How to Brainstorm Your Novel into Existence

All the motivation and energy in the world will not produce a finished novel. We first need ideas. Focused brainstorming is one way to inspire them.

Destined to Write

Writing is an adventure with a destination. To write freely and creatively a writer needs to have a clear mind, inner joy, and a path to travel. Here are some steps to take on your trip.

Improve Your Focus: Try the Writer’s Magic Bowl

Bronze bowl with white glass beads next to my computer

Do you have trouble maintaining your focus while writing? Are you easily distracted by things around you? Try the habit-changing Magic Jar.

Why, How, and What Writers Should Read

books on shelf

~ Do you write? Are you a reader? ~ You have to read widely, constantly refining (and redefining) your own work as you do so. It’s hard for me to believe that people who read very little (or not at all in some cases) should presume to write and expect people to like what they … Continue reading Why, How, and What Writers Should Read

3 Steps to Renew Your Writing Life

Hand holding stone

~Renew Yourself~  Are you stuck in a rut? Do you sit down to write and do the same things every time? Turn on the computer? Open your draft? Stare at the page? Then pray the words come? I do. For the past month, I have thought long and hard about ways I can renew myself … Continue reading 3 Steps to Renew Your Writing Life

Books That Change the World

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes

~ Books and Change ~ The ability to change is essential for survival. Those who refuse to change become dull, boring, and left behind. One force for change is literature. Ever since people learned to write and read, books have had the power to change the reader, and if read by enough people, a community, … Continue reading Books That Change the World

Organize and De-Clutter Your Writing Zone

Clutter around you, clutters your mind

~ Make it Beautiful ! Organizing is something you do before you do something, so when you do it, it is not all mixed up. ~ A.A. Milne   Last month, while pondering my Big Word FOCUS, I learned that maintaining one’s focus on one’s writing is a challenge that requires you to become immersed in the … Continue reading Organize and De-Clutter Your Writing Zone

How I Learned to Focus


~ Becoming a Focused Writer ~ Being able to focus is always an issue for a creative writer. No one is telling you what story world to invent nor how to get yourself in the seat, start writing, and then keep at it. Somehow, you have to shut out the world around you and zero … Continue reading How I Learned to Focus

My 2019 New Year Resolutions

New year Resolution word art

~A Dozen Hopes for 2019 ~ Time to make those 2019 New Year Resolutions. I have a long tradition of making New Year’s Resolutions. I bet many of you do too. After all, we only get a chance to revisit our hopes and dreams every 365 days. Usually, I make a list and stuff it away. … Continue reading My 2019 New Year Resolutions

12 things I am Thankful for: A Writer’s List of Thankfuls

Zara West's Cat

~ What I am Thankful For ~ On this Thanksgiving Day, I thought I would make a list of all the things I am thankful for as a writer. Most of the things are simple. It doesn’t take much to make me happy as long as I can write. Time to write A computer to … Continue reading 12 things I am Thankful for: A Writer’s List of Thankfuls

Are you more likely to read a book that has won an award?

Close to the Skin by Zara West

~ Book Awards ~ This week my romantic suspense Close to the Skin is in a competition to win a Rone Award from InD’Tale Magazine– a beautiful and well-known e-magazine dedicated to romance writing. This award is one in which readers vote for their favorite book or author. This process is similar to a number of Reader Award contests for … Continue reading Are you more likely to read a book that has won an award?

Fifteen Minutes Writing – The Book Factory Method

Writing in Fifteen Minutes by Zara West

~ Life in Fifteen Minutes ~ Do you know how much time you spend on daily activities like reading e-mail and perusing Facebook? Do you struggle to reach your daily word count? I know that I do. A while back, I took a workshop with USA best-selling author Kerri Nelson, which she has recently published … Continue reading Fifteen Minutes Writing – The Book Factory Method

Writing Visionary Goals

Writing visionary goals by Zara WEst

~ Why I Start with Visionary Goals ~ In my last post, I talked about how I set up my writing journal. In this post I will explain how I set my visionary goals. Designing Visionary Goals When designing goals, there are three things we are advised that make a good goal. The first is … Continue reading Writing Visionary Goals

My Writing Journal – Tips and Tricks

The beginning of a new year is always a good time to review what one has accomplished and to look forward to what might be one’s goals for the new year. A journal is a great place to start.

Favorite Places to Read

Places to Read

Where do you like to read? I’m a compulsive reader so I enjoy reading anywhere. I have been known to read while stirring the stew and in the few seconds it takes to microwave my tea. One of the reasons I like to read paperback books as opposed to e-books is that it is actually … Continue reading Favorite Places to Read

Graffiti Art in Beneath the Skin

  "Traditionally artists have been considered soft and mellow people, a little bit kooky. Maybe we're a little bit more like pirates that way. We defend our territory, whatever space we steal to paint on, we defend it fiercely." Sandra "Lady Pink" Fabara in Chang, Jeff (2005). Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop … Continue reading Graffiti Art in Beneath the Skin

Food Moments in Fiction

Fornino Pizza

Characters have to eat too. Today is National Pizza Day so I thought I would give a plug for Fornino in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This is where my romantic suspense hero in Beneath the Skin likes to eat. Aristides Stavros might be a famous artist, but he's not much of a cook. It also proves a great place to escape … Continue reading Food Moments in Fiction

Let Them Wear Red: Ethical Clothing for My Characters

Today is National Wear Red Day in honor of women. So I thought that I would share some red outfits my characters might enjoy wearing on this day. Note: In keeping with my new awareness of ethically made clothing, all the gorgeous garments featured here are made in conscience to worker's rights and the environment or from … Continue reading Let Them Wear Red: Ethical Clothing for My Characters

When You Are a New Romantic Suspense Writer

Kiss from Romancing the Stone

Beneath the Skin is my first romantic suspense. This is a genre that I have always enjoyed reading. A romantic suspense has two interlocking plot lines. There is the love story which wends it way through the novel, pulling the protagonists together and apart until they meet their Happy Ever After or Happy for Now … Continue reading When You Are a New Romantic Suspense Writer

Coming soon…

graffiti artist spraying a wall

Williamsburg, Brooklyn - A curious anthropologist - A scarred Olympic wrestler - A kidnapped tattoo artist   A recipe for disaster