Monday, December 9, 2013

11 more Christmas Gift Ideas for Writers

Christmas Gift Ideas for Writers

#12 -23

See #1-11 at 

12.  Craft book. Writers love to have books at hand that give them ideas for different ways to show instead of tell.  
I have the Nook version but would love the print version for ease of flipping through.

13.  Cozy socks

Writers who feel cozy are inspired to write - or sleep - but hopefully write.

14.  Noise cancelling headphones
There are times when writers need to completely tune their families out. Their options, nag the family to not talk, go get a hotel room, or put on some earphones that shut out the rest of the world.

15.  Very seldom does a writer finish that fresh cup of coffee before it grows cold.  Our muse takes us away from the warm brew for hours at a time.  The fix - a mug warmer. 
16.  A splurge gift - A month of meals. Give the writer in your life a month of prepared meals.  You can prepare them, freeze them and bring them to her/him, or you can buy a membership to a meal program like social suppers.

17. Another splurge gift - A fancy smancy coffee brewer that makes one cup at a time. Babies have blankies and binkies that soothe them, writers have a warm mug of jave or cocoa or tea that soothe them. Give them the ability to whip up their soother with ease. 
18.  Writer's software.
Scrivner is a writer's tool that organizes the writing process and inspires creative play in a story line. 

19.  An on-line class.
Give the writer in your life a gift card and a note that says sign up for that writer's craft class you've been dying to take. 

20.  A book on tape.  
As Cara mentions on her blog, writer's need to get up and move around. Give them a book on tape, and they can listen to the book while they take a walk.  

21.  A wrist saver.  
  Typing is hard on the wrist of writers - help them maintain healthy wrists with a wrist saver.

22.  Wall art.
Glance through the walls on a writer's Pinterest page. They will have a page on writing.  Choose something from their writer's page and have it turned into a framed picture for their office. They'll love the thought you put into the gift.

If you enjoyed these ideas, please remember to visit Cara Bristol's page for gift ideas number 1-11. BUT first, if you're a writer, what is the best writer-related gift you ever received? If you're not a writer, did you see an idea here you're thinking about buying for a writer friend? 

Monday, December 2, 2013

PitchWars 2013 - Mentee Bio

Mentee Bio for PitchWars 2013

Lisa Wells

I like to think I'm the mentee who caught the snowball in her glove.
Probably...I'm the one with the snowball in the face.

It’s PITCH WARS 2013, and I am sending around a query and five sample pages to four would-be mentors in hope of enticing one of them to choose me as their creative-writing sculpting project.                                    Sculpt-me baby.

Here are 3 outrageously great reasons why you should choose me.

1.  I spend my days working with middle school students. I can handle anything you  throw my way and still jump with joy at the end of the day.

2.  My knowledge of the writing craft is planted in fertile ground and ready to bloom under your administrations. Maybe not straight up, but bloom it will. 
 3.  I have the best collection of crazy sunglasses, and I'm willing to share them with my mentor.
If you like my pitch - I'd love to hear from you. Imagine the geeky kid in the back of the classroom with their hand in the air, waving it frantically, on the verge of falling out of their chair...that's me. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Carly Phillips Chose Me

Official Blog Stop. Official Blog Stop.  

About a month ago, I filled out a questionnaire enticing Carly Phillips to choose my blog as one of her official tour stops for her new Dare Family Series. I often do impromptu things such as this - all the while thinking there's no way I will get chosen. The last time I did one of these, you'll-never-get-chosen-deeds, was when I sent Brad Pitt's brother an email with a business proposition that included him asking Angelina Jolie to review my book. He did reply to my business proposition with a polite no.

So imagine my thrill, when I filled out the questionnaire for the honor of hosting a blog stop for CARLY PHILLIPS, and she said YES. Virtual cartwheels were done.

Dare to Love - Blurb

In her newest sexy and emotional contemporary romance series, New York Times Bestselling Author Carly Phillips introduces you to the Dare family…siblings shaped by a father’s secrets and betrayal.

Since finding out his father had another family on the side, Ian Dare swore to be the upstanding, responsible man his cheating parent had never been. But after one glimpse of sensual Riley Taylor, with her feminine curves and beguiling eyes and Ian is entranced. He will do anything to possess her ... but does that include extending an olive branch to the half-brother who is a constant reminder of pain he’d rather forget?

Independent and always in control, Riley Taylor makes no apologies for choosing men carefully. Relationships have never been a priority, and she believes herself hardened to domineering men - until she meets charismatic Ian Dare. He manages to turn a simple kiss into an all out assault on her senses. Their affair heats up and they soon realize they complete each other in ways neither ever imagined. But Riley’s family includes a man Ian would rather live without ...

As part of being on the blog tour, I received an arc of Dare to Love so I could read it ahead of time. Let's just say Phillips knows how to write steamy love scenes. We're talking shed-ten-pounds-in-a-sauna steamy. Steam aside, the characters are entertaining, and the story line kept me guessing as to how she was going to manage a happy ever after for them.  

I give Dare to Love 5 stars, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series. 

I was able to ask Carly any question I wanted. The question I chose was a no brainer. I teach a series writing class, and so I'm always asking successful authors how they keep track of their series information. Here is her response:

I have the worst memory (Even eye color is hard for me to remember), so with the Serendipity series, I hired someone to help me keep track. I call it a series “Bible”.  It’s in word format.  For this new series, I had someone new do the work and it’s in Excel.  But I have also taken the information they’ve given me and made a whole series bible in Scrivener – complete with character photos (actors/actresses who look like my characters_. I love using it.  I haven’t put that together yet for Dare to Love but I plan to!

When I teach the series class, Scrivener is always a popular choice for the student's to use for their series bibles. 

Now to the huge give away that is held during the blog tour. 

Please leave a comment below on my blog letting Carly know you were here and then enter the contest here

First Place:

iPad Mini 16g - $299
Customized CP iPad Mini Case

Signed copies of:
Dare to Love
Perfect Fit
Perfect Fling
Perfect Together - no I don't have it yet
Cross My Heart
Sealed with a Kiss
Seduce Me

Carly Phillips Canvas Tote Bag
Dare to Love Mug
Carly Phillips T-shirt

2nd place:
Carly Phillips Canvas Tote Bag
Dare to Love Mug

Signed Copies:
Dare to Love
Perfect Partners
Solitary Man
The Right Choice
Midnight Angel

3rd place:
Carly Phillips Canvas Tote Bag

Signed copies:
Dare to Love
Lucky Charm
Lucky Streak
Lucky Break

4th place:

Signed copies:
Dare to Love
The  Bachelor
The Playboy
The Heartbreaker

5th place:

Signed copies:
Dare to Love
Kiss Me If You Can
Love Me If You Dare

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Top 20 Inspirational Quotes from Best Selling Authors

I am in the midst of participating in Savvy Authors Entangled Smack-down. The challenge - write 50,000 words in the month of November.  Each day, we're to share motivational quotes with our fellow participants. 

Through my research for quotes, I stumbled across this Writer's Digest blog published on November 29, 2011, titled: The 90 Top Secrets of Best Selling Authors.  

As I read the quotes, I realized I was reading the short ones and skimming the long ones. Thus, if I'm ever asked to give a quote about writing, I'll keep my quote short so others will read what I have to say.
 Here are my top 20 taken from Writer's Digest's Top 90. 


  • “Every idea is my last. I feel sure of it. So, I try to do the best with each as it comes and that’s where my responsibility ends. But I just don’t wait for ideas. I look for them. Constantly. And if I don’t use the ideas that I find, they’re going to quit showing up.”
—Peg Bracken

  • “My advice is not to wait to be struck by an idea. If you’re a writer, you sit down and damn well decide to have an idea. That’s the way to get an idea.”
—Andy Rooney
  • “As writers we live life twice, like a cow that eats its food once and then regurgitates it to chew and digest it again. We have a second chance at biting into our experience and examining it. … This is our life and it’s not going to last forever. There isn’t time to talk about someday writing that short story or poem or novel. Slow down now, touch what is around you, and out of care and compassion for each moment and detail, put pen to paper and begin to write.”
—Natalie Goldberg


  • “Two questions form the foundation of all novels: ‘What if?’ and ‘What next?’ (A third question, ‘What now?’, is one the author asks himself every 10 minutes or so; but it’s more a cry than a question.) Every novel begins with the speculative question, What if ‘X’ happened? That’s how you start.”
—Tom Clancy
  • “An outline is crucial. It saves so much time. When you write suspense, you have to know where you’re going because you have to drop little hints along the way. With the outline, I always know where the story is going. So before I ever write, I prepare an outline of 40 or 50 pages.”
—John Grisham
  • “Don’t quit. It’s very easy to quit during the first 10 years. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.”
—Andre Dubus


  • “What a writer has to do is write what hasn’t been written before or beat dead men at what they have done.”
—Ernest Hemingway
  • “You should really stay true to your own style. When I first started writing, everybody said to me, ‘Your style just isn’t right because you don’t use the really flowery language that romances have.’ My romances—compared to what’s out there—are very strange, very odd, very different. And I think that’s one of the reasons they’re selling.”
—Jude Deveraux


  • “You need that pride in yourself, as well as a sense, when you are sitting on Page 297 of a book, that the book is going to be read, that somebody is going to care. You can’t ever be sure about that, but you need the sense that it’s important, that it’s not typing; it’s writing.”
—Roger Kahn

  • “I’ve always had complete confidence in myself. When I was nothing, I had complete confidence. There were 10 guys in my writing class at Williams College who could write better than I. They didn’t have what I have, which is guts. I was dedicated to writing, and nothing could stop me.”
—John Toland


  • “A genuine creation should have character as well as be one; should have central heating, so to say, as well as exterior lighting.”
—James Hilton

  • “When you are dealing with the blackest side of the human soul, you have to have someone who has performed heroically to balance that out. You have to have a hero.”
—Ann Rule


  • “There is no finer form of fiction than the mystery. It has structure, a story line and a sense of place and pace. It is the one genre where the reader and the writer are pitted against each other. Readers don’t want to guess the ending, but they don’t want to be so baffled that it annoys them. … The research you do is crucial. In mystery fiction, you have to tell the truth. You can’t fool the reader and expect to get away with it.”
—Sue Grafton
  • “I make a very tight outline of everything I write before I write it. … By writing an outline you really are writing in a way, because you’re creating the structure of what you’re going to do. Once I really know what I’m going to write, I don’t find the actual writing takes all that long.”
—Tom Wolfe

  • “Transitions are critically important. I want the reader to turn the page without thinking she’s turning the page. It must flow seamlessly.”
—Janet Evanovich


  • “Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts.”
—Larry L. King

  • “I’ll tell you a thing that will shock you. It will certainly shock the readers of Writer’s Digest. What I often do nowadays when I have to, say, describe a room, is to take a page of a dictionary, any page at all, and see if with the words suggested by that one page in the dictionary I can build up a room, build up a scene. … I even did it in a novel I wrote called MF. There’s a description of a hotel vestibule whose properties are derived from Page 167 in R.J. Wilkinson’s Malay-English Dictionary. Nobody has noticed. … As most things in life are arbitrary anyway, you’re not doing anything naughty, you’re really normally doing what nature does, you’re just making an entity out of the elements. I do recommend it to young writers.”
—Anthony Burgess


  • “I’m a tremendous rewriter; I never think anything is good enough. I’m always rephrasing jokes, changing lines, and then I hate everything. The Girl Most Likely To was rewritten seven times, and the first time I saw it I literally went out and threw up! How’s that for liking yourself?”
—Joan Rivers


  • “I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.” 
—Harper Lee

  • “The most important thing is you can’t write what you wouldn’t read for pleasure. It’s a mistake to analyze the market thinking you can write whatever is hot. You can’t say you’re going to write romance when you don’t even like it. You need to write what you would read if you expect anybody else to read it.
  • And you have to be driven. You have to have the three D’s: drive, discipline and desire. If you’re missing any one of those three, you can have all the talent in the world, but it’s going to be really hard to get anything done.”
—Nora Roberts
  • “If you can teach people something, you’ve won half the battle. They want to keep on reading.”
—Dick Francis


  • “The critics can make fun of Barbara Cartland. I was quite amused by the critic who once called me ‘an animated meringue.’ But they can’t get away from the fact that I know what women want—and that’s to be flung across a man’s saddle, or into the long grass by a loving husband.”
—Barbara Cartland

  • “You better make them care about what you think. It had better be quirky or perverse or thoughtful enough so that you hit some chord in them. Otherwise it doesn’t work. I mean we’ve all read pieces where we thought, ‘Oh, who gives a damn.’ ”
—Nora Ephron


If you'd like to read the original post: WD 90 Top Secrets of Best Selling Authors

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Insanely Simple Secret to Blogging Success

Most of you know, I'm teaching a new class called BLOG BITES. This class teaches you how to write titles that get noticed. The post below, written by John Jantsch explains why this skill is so important to your blogging success.  If you're a skimmer, be sure and read the part I highlighted in  RED.


The Insanely Simple Secret to Copyblogger’s Success 

Please tell me you’re reading Copyblogger . If not you’re missing out and you’re in the minority.
Copyblogger, founded in 2006 by Brian Clark , is one of the best examples of how to build a community online and turn it into a tremendously profitable business that exists anywhere. The site receives enough traffic to rank in the top 1% and its daily blog posts are shared thousands of times each day throughout social media networks.
Clark and now team Copyblogger, a force that includes well known community builders in their own right Sonia Simone and Chris Garrett, built Copyblogger by focusing on producing great content that teaches people how to sell, write, attract links and traffic and increase profits. The site’s tagline is Internet Marketing for Smart People is a nod to Clark’s mastery of Internet Marketing devoid of the snake oil used to sell so much to, well, not so smart people looking to get rich quick.
Over the course of the last few years Copyblogger has evolved into a service platform offering its own brand of WordPress oriented products that compliment so much of what the organization preaches. Tools like the Genesis Theme Framework for WordPress, Premise landing page builder for WordPress and Scribe SEO tool for WordPress allow Copyblogger to support their community with tools while creating a growing revenue stream.
Obviously I’m a big fan, but that’s not the real reason for this post. While I could go on and on about the many things that would make Copyblogger a great case study for anyone trying to build a business online, the real point I want to make is about the secret weapon that Copyblogger has exploited to create such rapid growth.
The secret to Copyblogger’s success is that they write better headlines. That’s it, pretty simple, right? They write headlines (blog post titles) that are irresistible and can’t be skimmed in your RSS reader. Their titles feature words, phases and emotions that reach out and demand your attention.
Now, once you’ve been rudely interrupted by one of the promises made in a headline, they also deliver, but it’s the study of their headlines that will teach any blogger, marketer or copywriter how to up their game and in my view it’s the fact that Clark and company are so good at this element that has led to a great deal of their success.
Thus the power of headlines!
Here are few gems to get you started and my thoughts about why I must click them.
  • How the Explosion in Online Education can Revolutionize Your Business
Who can resist words like explosion and revolutionize?
  • A Ridiculously Simple Way to Get More Revenue and Build Your Audience
We all want more revenue and more audience, but what we really want is ridiculously simple
  • How to Discover Your Hidden Remarkable Benefit
I knew I was remarkable, but that it was hiding, and now I can discover it
  • 7 Links That’ll Make You a Better Writer and Online Marketer
Ooh, the pull of numbered link lists! – and the benefit of being better too
  • The 7 Bad Habits of Insanely Productive People
Another list with negative behavior, justification for my bad habits and insane drama – click, click
  • How to Increase Your Blog Subscription Rate by 254%
How to is always good, but specific numbers mean specific advice, right?
  • 5 Landing Page Mistakes that Crush Conversion Rates
Why are we so scared of making mistakes, beats me, but I’m sure not getting crushed
Study the Copyblogger success model, but learn how to write more captivating headlines and you’ll be on the fast track to success.

Sign up for Blog Bites -  

At $20, this class is a bargain. 

Monday, September 16, 2013


Your In-Box:

1.  Sifting Emails / Managing Spam
2.  Answering Customer/Fan Emails
3.  Social Duties - birthday cards, invite responses, etc.
4.  Calendar Maintenance - updates, engagements,
5.  Travel - details and reservations
6.  Reminder prompts

Rolodex, File Cabinet, Typing:

7.  Dropbox management
8.  Transcription - notes into word documents
9.  Preparation of Powerpoint presentations

Administrative & Blogging Tasks:

10.  Transcribe podcasts/videos into word documents for show notes
11.  Format e-books
12.  Organize book notes
13.  Online research
14.  Manage blog posts - add graphics, fancy fonts, unpload
15.  View/address blog comments
16.  Billing/Paying - accounts receivables and accounts payables
17.  Preparation of presentation materials (make copies, collate)

Social Media Management Tasks:

18.  Create Facebook Fan Page, Twitter Account, Linkedin Account, Pinterest Account
19.  Schedule posts for all social media accounts
20.  Promote on social media pages
21.  Increase traffic to social media accounts

More Stuff:

22.  Create email lists
23.  Manage lists - add and remove names
24.  Create Newsletters
25.  Editing tasks - proofreading

Do you have a virtual assistant?  Do you want one?  

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Girl Next Door Heroine....

This year my daughter is a senior in high school. Which means I'm busy doing the senior stuff and thinking things senior mom's think. Like, this is the last time we'll play softball against this team. Who am I going to laugh with when she's gone to college next year? How did she get nominated most sarcastic in her senior class when I've taught her all of her life be nice. :) Actually, I know the answer to that one. She has her daddy's warped sense of humor. Which I love in him, and I love in her.

Today, I got the CD that has all of her senior pictures. I'm going through the pictures and deciding which one's to have printed off to send out in Christmas cards, to give to Grandparents for their fireplace mantels, and to stick in my wallet for a daily pick-me-up when she's living in a dorm somewhere next year.

As I was studying them, the romance author in me kicked in. I started thinking, she'd make the perfect girl-next-door model for the new adult genre books. Of course, I'm biased, and she did get nominated most sarcastic, so maybe it's just my hopeful thinking that she has the girl-next-door heroine look to her.

This is my baby.

Pictures were taken by Radiant Photography by Sarai

My question to you - when you look at the covers of your favorite books, and they have real people, do you wonder who those people are? What they do when they are not posing for book covers?  My sassy romance book Dibs has some really great legs on the front cover. I'd like to know who those legs belong to and just who really is in those cowboy boots. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Writer Fifteen

The average college freshman gains ten pounds. Or that's the amount they quoted to us back when I was about to become a college freshman a few moons ago.  It's called the Freshman Ten.
The Freshman Ten
My question is:  Do writers experience the same phenomenon?  If so, how much weight does the average writer gain the first year they decide to seriously pursue their passion for writing?

Last year, I decided to place much more of my focus on writing. To do this, required a sacrifice of something. I work full-time and am a mother of a sports teenager. Neither of those were on the table for cutting.

My physical activity is what I ended up giving up. Thus my new phrase:  The Writer's Fifteen.

How many of you are sporting The Writer's Fifteen on your derriere?

The Writer's Fifteen

For me, this is not acceptable. I don't like myself when I'm sporting an extra fifteen. (Really I could stand to lose twenty-five). I'm cranky. It's not good for my family or my writing. But I don't want to give up my new focus on writing.

Thanks to my brilliant sister, MarVeena Meek,, I discovered my solution to the writer's fifteen. Podcasts.

You might be wondering how podcasts will solve my problem. Well wonder no more. When I say my focus is on writing, it's not just the act of typing words. It also includes the act of furthering my education about the craft and about how to market myself.

I can listen to podcasts about social media marketing while walking the dog or walking in place in front of my computer.  I can use podcasts to learn while getting my 10,000 steps a day. Everyone should get 10,000 steps a day. 10,000 steps is equivalent to about 5 miles a day.

There are a lot of podcasts available on social media marketing. My current favorite is: Social Media Marketing with Michael Stelzner. But, I haven't discovered any podcasts on the craft of writing.

So I've decided I'm going to create podcasts on the craft of writing. It will take time, but when I teach, I learn. It will not be wasted time. Plus, it will be my way of marketing myself. Gaining name recognition.

BUT I need your help. What should I call my Podcasts? The focus will be on writer's moving while learning.

I thought about:: Lunge and Learn. But I'm not entirely happy with that. Give me your best ideas.


Monday, August 12, 2013

What's In a Name?

This summer my husband and I bought a new car.  The dealer who sold us our new car could have sold ice to Old Man Winter. He was that personable. And he was clever. Very clever.

Within minutes of introducing himself, he told a short humorous story about the nickname his nephew gave him and why. As a result of that story, we had a way to remember his name. Plus, by sharing an inside family joke, he made us feel like family.

Part of me wanted to say, "I know what you just did." But I refrained from bursting his bubble. 

As a result of his sales tactics, I've been thinking about how I can introduce my name to readers in such a way they won't forget my name when they're at the bookstore. 

Lisa Wells. It's not a hard name to remember. But that doesn't matter. We live in a society where we're not asked to remember much. But I want readers to remember the name Lisa Wells when they enter a bookstore. I want them to walk to the W's and grab the book by Lisa Wells off the shelf. 

So - here is what I came up with. Imagine dinner bells are ringing, and it is time to go inside to eat your favorite pizza. 

Lisa rhymes with Pizza            Wells rhymes with Bells.

Pizza Bells / Lisa Wells
Pizza Bells / Lisa Wells
Pizza Bells / Lisa Wells

What is a way readers can remember your name?