More Time Please

More timeSummer is coming to an end. Summer is a time when I am too busy with activities, vacation, writing, and work. I often find my attention sundered and stretched to its limit. What I wouldn’t give to have more time in the day, I’m sure everyone says or feels that at some point.

During my busiest time of year, I ended up writing another story, a sequel to Prophecy Ink. When a story must be written, for me, all other writing, reading, crafts, etc. take a backseat.  I’ve also been querying Prophecy Ink to agents and pitching in online contests like PitMad and SFFPit. I’m still undecided about entering PitchWars this year, I haven’t had time to participate in the online stuff or read all the mentor Bios. I’ll have to decide soon since the submission starts in six days.

As if I wasn’t busy enough through the summer, I also picked BiaAtlas back up and I’m working on fixing the start of the book and another round of editing and revisions. Once done that I hope to find new beta readers and a critique partner or two to go through it.

Re-visiting BiaAtlas is bittersweet, while I know what needs to be changed and fixed, I also know to requery I’ll likely have to change the title to query it again. That’s a maybe, I could perhaps keep BiaAtlas and add something to it or give it a subtitle, either way, to drop it into agent’s inboxes, I probably have to call it something else. You see, I queried it before it was ready, before I understood that finding quality beta readers and Critique partners were essential to polishing a story.

So in between Critiquing other author’s work, writing, reading and life, I’ll be reworking my baby—BiaAtlas-the first book I ever wrote. I am hoping to squeeze some time in for some blogging as well.

My advice: No matter how busy life is, take time out for yourself and for family—That time is most precious.



I’ve recently read a story that was littered with the word been.

While it is a useful verb, it can be tiresome to read it over and over to the point, it becomes aggravating.

The word, been, sprouts up in my past-tense writing a lot. After it annoyed me in someone else’s writing, I went to look again. I had 106 incidences of it in a 110k manuscript. Not bad, but not good. I looked back to see what it was from my first draft, and I had 214 incidences of BEEN.

That means it’s an overused word or crutch-word. Something I lean on too much, and I consider that to be lazy writing. I can do better.

Here are some examples from my writing of where I plunked the word been in and how I removed it. The final sentence used is shown in blue.

I’ve never been on a dock in my life.
I’ve never stepped foot on a dock in my life.

You’ve been betrayed.
You were betrayed.
They betrayed you.

It had been the first time I was allowed out past dark.
It was the first time I was allowed out past dark.
(Now I have two ‘was’ in the sentence.)
I was allowed out past dark for the first time.
(Sometimes a complete rewrite of the sentence is the solution.)

He had been his own lawyer.
He was his own lawyer.
He’d acted as his own lawyer. 

I’d been so upset. I sputtered my answer like an idiot.
I was so upset. I sputtered my answer like an idiot.
Upset, I sputtered my answer like an idiot.

“You could have been smarter about that.”
(Sometimes I’ll leave it in dialogue if it works for the character.)
“I’ve been driving for hours!”

While I do my best not to overuse BEEN, I don’t eliminate it completely. I’m happy with less than 50 incidences of the word in a 110k word document. Most had sprouted up in dialogue, the others felt necessary—to keep the tone of the situation/sentence intact.




Your Daily Word Prompt
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Other fun Prompts to check out:

Word of the day Challenge- DRIVE

Ragtag Daily Prompt- SPUTTER

Query Quandary

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Query Quandary

I think I’m ready to query. Now what?

Okay here is the checklist I use of what needs to be done before a query is attempted. (This list is a suggestion not a hard list of rules to follow.)

  1. Write a book within proper word range for genre and industry standard formatting
  2. Rest said book for minimum 3 weeks to freshen up your brain
  3. Edit, revise, rewrite and repeat with rests between
  4. Revise again
  5. Find reliable and interested beta readers (readers not critique partners)
  6. Revise with notes from beta readers
  7. Find one or two critique partners to go through with a critical eye.
    1. Make sure you make clear what you want them to look for
  8. Revise again with notes from critique partner/s
  9. Final grammar and format check
  10. Write a kick-ass query letter using industry standard formats.
  11. Write a boring, but perfect synopsis(yes this is the entire plot as it happens)
  12. Have your query letter and synopsis critiqued (You can get a professional editor for a query package critique as well. I did and it was worth every dollar)
  13. Research agents who represent your genre. Do not query agents who do not. It is a waste of time and often a no from one agent is a no from all within that agency.
  14. Follow all and EVERY rule by the agency and or agent you are querying. They are all different.
  15. Research the agent to personalize the query letter. Never send a query letter without at least addressing the agent you are querying.

Whew. Now once all that is done, it’s time to send out a query.

This is one of the hardest things to do. Sending a query to an agent is nervewracking. Will they request pages? Will they send a rejection? Or nothing at all?

Waiting for a response is hard. Rejections are harder. However, a rejection doesn’t mean you should give up. keep going and keep querying.

I did have a string of form rejections—a standardized generic email saying no thank you. As mentioned in my previous post, I pulled the manuscript and reevaluated.

Getting a block of rejections might be a sign that something is wrong with the manuscript. It could also be the query letter. Or it might just be that the agents are not interested. Don’t despair, seek alternate opinions or have a query package critique done by someone in the business. It is rare to get query feedback from agents. if you get some, it’s golden and don’t ignore it. If you don’t that’s okay too. Move on.

  • Never reply rudely to agents who send you a rejection(yes, people do this)
  • Always keep track of who you’ve queried either by spreadsheet or Query Tracker
  • Only send a nudge or reminder to the agent if their response time has passed and they don’t have a disclaimer stating “No response is a no.”

Agents are busy people and get hundreds and thousands of queries. I try to keep in mind they are probably reading your query on their phone while in line for coffee or at lunch.

Advice: The query process can be stressful, seek out friends and fellow authors in the query trenches for support and encouragement. Block. mute and ignore anyone who is negative, tells you to give up and go a different route or tell you that you’re never going to get there. The people trying to bring you down are only right if you let them be right.


“Write what you love, and others will love what you write.”

What’s The Query Hurry?
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What’s The Query Hurry?

What's The Query Hurry_.pngWhat’s The Query Hurry?

I’m getting close to jumping head first into the query trenches again. I had pulled Prophecy Ink when I got a bunch of form rejections. That was a sign that something wasn’t right.

But what? Was it the query letter? The Synopsis? Or the sample pages? Yes. Yes to all three.

I was in a hurry to query. Excited to get my baby out there. I had done everything I could think of to get it ready.

Except that I hadn’t.

I did revise, rewrite, and edit the heck out of it. I ran it through grammar programs and editing programs, and it was as polished as I could get it.

I had to swallow my excitement, disappointment, and pride and seek out honest opinions. I paid for a professional query package critique.

IT WAS AWESOME! I asked for brute honesty, not to hold back and it came back with (and I’m paraphrasing) “Nothing happens in the first chapter, the MC (the main character) does nothing and wanders about aimlessly. Make her have a purpose.” That comment and a whole lot of editing notes and I was floored. The query letter needed some adjustments and the synopsis some alterations, but they were in decent shape.

I had merged chapter one and two(after some feedback), and she was right. The merger caused the MC to lose purpose, and she wandered about for no reason. Damn.

Okay. Here’s the thing. I was ready for a hard truth. I got it, and I was thrilled! Now I know what’s wrong. I research how to fix what’s wrong, and I rewrite again. Tossing the chapter out and trying four different approaches until one screamed: “I’m perfect!”

So. I did some more research and decided I needed some random opinions. I reached out to my twitter tribe (people who I know are bound to be brutally honest and helpful), and I asked for help critiquing or beta reading my new chapter. Boom! So many wonderful Tweeps offered help. I didn’t agree to just anyone if I’d never interacted before, I said no thanks. It’s okay to do that, BTW. I got the feedback from them, and there was a unanimous response of positivity. Small issues easily addressed.

So now what?

I took my query letter to a workshop for querying, and I paid again to have my new chapter(10 pages) my revised query letter and synopsis re-critiqued. And the response was favorable. “Much better.”


But I didn’t jump back in. I had a few lovely people offer to critique the entire book. I was getting feedback on every chapter. Now some critique partners petered out and stopped sending feedback, this happens for various reasons. Busy schedules, lack of interest in the story, too much obligation, forgot, or even jealousy. Whatever the case, I didn’t sweat it, and I never harassed for feedback. It was kind of them to offer any at all, so I gladly took what I could get.

With the new feedback, I toned up my book and ironed out the wrinkles.

I’m on the last final revision, and then I’ll query again.

It’s taken months to get it back into shape. There is no hurry to query. I learned that rushing only gets rejections and I wouldn’t have learned how to not only recognize a problem, but I’d have missed how to fix it.

I’ll talk about what I’m doing to prepare for the actual queries next time.

My advice about hurrying to query: Don’t. Slow down, take your time. It’s a lengthy, extraneous process, and rushing will only end in disappointment and regret.


“Write what you love, and others will love what you write.”

June Daily 2019

Giving And Taking Trust

trust.pngGiving And Taking Trust

Trust can be tricky, and as a writer, I find my self relying on my instinct more and more. Instinct and advice. I’ve had some advice given to me lately and some that I’ve learned on my own regarding trust.

It can be a challenge knowing who to trust, whose advice to trust and when to trust others with your writing. Because sadly, there are people out there that will steal and or destroy confidences.

Always trust your gut and test the waters.

When it comes to finding a Critique Partner or finding a Beta Reader, you need to trust the person you hand your story over to. That said, don’t just hand it over to just anyone. Talk with them a bit first, start off with a short story, poem, query letter or something simple. I never hand my story or synopsis over to anyone I don’t trust. It’s not perfect but knowing will reduce the chance of someone posting your work online without permission.

The same thing goes for services like editing and paid critiques. If the person doesn’t have samples(and even if they do), you can ask for a sample of how they would edit your work by having the first page or two done before agreeing to work with them. This is key, there is nothing worse than paying for a service, technically getting what you paid for only to find out it’s not how you wanted the editing done.

What about advice? I dole out advice and my opinion all the time, I even get paid to do it. Does that make me a professional? Not really. Does it make me right all the time? Ha, no of course not. Nobody can be right all the time. All my advice and information I share is what I’ve learned along the way. Sure it changes and shifts, and I even find better advice, but I never claim to be the be-all-and-end-all of writing wisdom.

Writing advice, (Including publishing, editing, and revising) is all subjective. What works for some may not work for others. That said, never ignore advice, rules, tips, tricks, hints, or anything that others offer. Listen to it and use your instinct to determine if it works for you or not. Taking a poll online to credit or discredit advice given may help, but I see more often than not, it will bring out three types of people/answers.

• Yes! Brilliant advice. Do this, you’re a fool to do otherwise.

• No way! Do the exact opposite, you’re a fool to do otherwise.

• Do what works best for you. (probably suggest to research or read articles)

People are strongly opinionated(No matter the facts) and the majority vote might not even be right. Know your audience, who is giving the advice, find a source from reputable websites to find more information and most of all, trust your instinct.

When in doubt, seek the advice of an industry-specific individual. Peruse blogs of people with credentials and experience. I spend a lot of time researching topics and information for my story, and I wouldn’t cheat myself by taking fly-by-night advice without further researching on my own before(if ever) asking strangers on Facebook or Twitter.

I always do my best to present information with an unbiased approach, after researching and often after finding out the hard way. I’ll never lead anyone astray on purpose for some hidden jealousy-based agenda. Ask me a question, and I’ll answer to the best of my abilities, if I don’t know, I’ll probably research and offer up some articles. Why? Because that’s what I’d want. I want people who ask me questions to feel they can trust me to be as honest as I can.


“Write what you love, and others will love what you write.”

June Daily 2019




No matter how much luck you have –or don’t have– if you never give up, perseverance will win you the day.

Perseverance means to not give up. It’s effort, tenacity, and persistence to do something and keep doing it until the end, even if it’s super hard or feels impossible.

No matter what stage of writing I find myself in, there are always moments when doubt creeps in or it feels impossible to get through or continue. Those are the moments we dig deeper and push through.

Sometimes we face obstacles like writer’s block, plot corners, dead ends, self-doubt, imposter syndrome or even anticipatory anxiety for all the work that comes after the story is written. It would be easy to give up, but there is no reward in quitting. So we persevere, we pull up our socks and march on.

For me giving up isn’t an option. I want to publish my books, I want to find a Literary Agent and work with them to achieve my dream. So that is what I will do. That may not be everyone’s goal, there are different methods of getting a book published. It doesn’t matter which way you go as long as it is your way. It’s harder to quit if you are pursuing your dream the way you want to do it.

Other writers don’t need to follow your path and you don’t need to follow theirs.

That said, remember, someone else’s path may not mirror yours, that doesn’t make them wrong and you right, it doesn’t make you wrong and them right, it makes you both determined to get where you want to be. Focus on your journey, support others and they will support you, so when you find a writing roadblock in your path, you can help each other over or around it.


June Daily 2019



As writers, we dare to dream. We dream of ideas, stories, characters, and places that we bring to life on the page.

We dare to put ourselves out there, into the world, and we hope to share our work. Whether our journey takes us to self-publishing, press publishing or slogging into the query trenches to find a Literary agent to represent us for traditional publishing, we all want the same thing; to publish our writing. Writing that we have put our hearts and souls into, it sounds cliché, and maybe it is, but that is exactly what we do.

Countless hours writing, revising, rewriting, revising again, rewriting, editing, maybe rewriting again and then we choose the next path toward publishing.

I am on the path to traditional publishing and will begin querying my latest book, Prophecy Ink. After a few rounds with a query and only receiving form rejections, I pulled it from the trenches and took a closer look. Something was wrong.

The first chapter wasn’t working, nor was the second and even third. So out to beta readers and critique partners, it goes. I ended up rewriting and condensing, and the MC (Main Character) lost her way. She now wandered through the events without purpose, without reasons. That was not what I intended, but I was too close to see the problem properly. Once identified through beta’s CP’s and a paid query critique, I rewrote again. Then back out to more Beta readers and Critique Partners. The problem was corrected, and after more careful revisions, the story was ready again.

But what about the rest of the query? The query letter and Synopsis? Part of that query package was a close look at them too. Two rounds of professional editing later, I had a polished query and Synopsis. But was that enough?

Yes and no. I had already signed up for a “How to get published” query workshop, and I took that query letter along. There are some minor issues to tend to and some comparisons to nail down, but I’m happy to say, I’m very close to putting out queries again.

What writers are willing to do to get to their dream of becoming published is no small thing. There are tears, stress, good and bad moments of doubt and joy. There is sweat involved, we toil and worry over every aspect and yes, sometimes even blood. I’ve had several paper cuts while revising hard copies.

When it comes to honing our skills, reading and writing daily are imperative. So is reaching out to other writers, writing groups, critique groups, and taking classes or workshops on writing or other aspects of whichever publishing route you choose. Local workshops are a fantastic resource, and I highly recommend searching for any you can find. I found Brian Henry’s workshop and a local critique group on Google. Libraries are also a great place to look for workshops and courses for writing and even writing groups.

I am glad I was able to see that there were problems and even happier that I was able to recognize what the problem with my MS and query was. With more work and a lot of time, Prophecy Ink is almost ready for the query trenches again.


For fantastic writing advice and publishing resources, visit


Daily Word Prompt “Dream”
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Your Daily Word Prompt – Participate – April 15, 2019

Your Daily Word Prompt

April Daily 2019⇑Click the banner to visit April’s prompt Page ⇑

Daily Prompts – Words and Images

To participate in This Daily Prompt, all you have to do is publish a post on your own blog that responds to the prompt. It can be words, images anything that you like. Put the link (listed below) in your post to create the automatic pingback. You can leave a link to your post in the comments if you wish.

Today’s Word:       Participate

Please link to this prompt in your post by using this URL link in the text of your post or at the end of your post:

Make sure to check out the comment links and pingbacks to view other posts inspired by today’s prompt.

Thank you and happy blogging. 


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To report issues with the daily post please contact me directly.

⇓Click here to visit Sheryl’s blogHOSTED BY

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And The Winner Is…

Hey to all my American friends, check out the supreme generosity of K.E. Garvey. Visit her blog, and maybe win a cool writing resource.


Before I announce the winner, I have to say that this contest did not go as I had expected it to (as much in my life seems to work!) I truly thought the giveaway would garner a much bigger response than it did. I saw a lot of buzz about it on the major social networking sites, but only received ten entries. That blew my mind. But I’m sure those ten thank everyone else for boosting their chances.

I had said my grandson would be choosing the winner based solely on their gravatar. He is 5, and what I didn’t say was that if there was anyone out there using a Mario gravatar, they would have won, hands down.

But, no Marios.

The winner of the first edition of Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi’s The Emotion Thesaurus is Cheyenne Trumbo (Ava Rogers). He said the reason he chose her gravatar…

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Your Daily Word Prompt – Besmirch – March 19, 2019

Here is today’s daily prompt that I host on WordPress

Your Daily Word Prompt

March 2019 Daily⇑Click the banner to visit March’s prompt Page ⇑

Daily Prompts – Words and Images

To participate in This Daily Prompt, all you have to do is publish a post on your own blog that responds to the prompt. It can be words, images anything that you like. Put the link (listed below) in your post to create the automatic pingback. You can leave a link to your post in the comments if you wish.

Today’s Word:        Besmirch

Please link to this prompt in your post by using this URL link in the text of your post or at the end of your post:

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Make sure to check out the comment links and pingbacks to view other posts inspired by today’s prompt.

Thank you and happy blogging. 


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To report issues with the daily post please contact me directly.

⇓Click here to visit Sheryl’s blog

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