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Welcome to my Writing blog. If you're interested in my comments about "My Favorite Things," my articles for, and Life in general, click here for a direct link to

Monday, September 28, 2015

Writing Spaces

Today I contributed to Josi S. Kilpack's post on Writing Spaces; i.e., where is the best place to write? The answer comes down to what works best for each individual. For me, I need quiet and comfort. Others write best when they're surrounded by noise--do I hear music, anyone? And still others write wherever they are and whenever they can possibly grab a moment to do so. Since Josi's post aptly applies to this blog, I thought I'd share the link here.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Chapter Blocks that Keep Readers Reading by Ronda Hinrichsen

Most writers know the protagonists of their novels must have an overall goal that propels the length of the novel. Without it, their story falls flat and readers stop reading. But what we authors sometimes forget is that the protagonist in each chapter/scene also needs to have a specific goal he wants to accomplish in that scene or chapter. Furthermore, that goal needs to be related to the character's main story goal, and the scene/chapter must have an obstacle to that goal. 

CHARACTER GOAL + OBSTACLE = CONFLICT and CONFLICT ENCOURAGES ACTION. Action is the cornerstone of great stories. 

Keep this formula in mind as you begin your chapter, Better yet, figure out each element before you write your chapter. A quick outline of the main points of the struggle between your protagonist and his opposition (it's often another person) can not only help you organize your story and keep your characters moving toward their goals, but it can also help you hasten your writing process. I've always found it much easier to write quickly when I know beforehand what I want to accomplish and/or write. Figuring it out as I go always leads to more rewrites.

Finally, according to Evan Marshall's The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing (and I've found it to be true), when you reach the end of your scene or chapter, make sure your character does one of these three things as it relates to his current goal:

1. He fails to accomplish his goal,
2. He fails to accomplish his goal and learns of a new, even larger obstacle.

3. He succeeds in accomplishing his goal, but he also learns of a new, even larger obstacle. 

Each of these endings will keep your reader wanting to know what will happen next. On the other hand, if your character only succeeds, your story ends, and your reader closes your book.

(This article was originally posted on September 10, 2015 on the Author's Think Tank blog.)

Monday, September 7, 2015

Betrayed is a Whitney Award Nominee!

Earlier this year--on April Fools Day no less--those in charge of the Whitney Awards notified me that Betrayed had been nominated for the 2015 Whitney Award. Betrayed will now move on to the highly competitive judging process. After that, the 5 finalists from each category will be announced early in 2016 and will then move on to the second and final judging process. I, of course, hope Betrayed makes it as a finalist, but no matter the result, I am truly grateful and humbled that it was nominated in the first place. Nominations come from readers, and a book must receive 5 separate nominations before it can be considered a nominee. Thank you so much to all those who've read and enjoyed Betrayed, and to those who went the extra mile and nominated it--THANK YOU.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

New Covers

From time to time, authors and publishers change the covers on their books, and I am now one of those authors  Here are the two new covers for the first two books of my Dalton & Dalton Paranormal Mysteries series. 

I absolutely love these covers because I feel they better reflect the stories' strong romantic elements. Enjoy!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Betrayed (the inspiration)

One question readers often ask is "Where do you get your ideas?" Now's your chance to find out!

Linda Weaver Clarke asked me that very thing when she interviewed me about Betrayed on her blog. Click here to learn the answer!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Interview with Linda Weaver Clarke on Writing the Amelia Moor Detective Series by Ronda Hinrichsen

I'm always working on my writing craft, and one of the ways I do that is studying how other authors do what I'm trying to do and then incorporating that skill into my writing. With that in mind, and knowing her experience can help other writers, I've interviewed author Linda Weaver Clarke about her newest novel, The Mysterious Doll, and especially about her writing process.
Me: Thank you for joining me on my blog today, Linda. I'm sure your experience and insight will be a great help to readers. Throughout my career, I've found that one of the first questions aspiring authors ask me is where I get my ideas, so why don't we begin with that? Please tell us a little about your new novel and where  your idea for this book came from.
Linda: The Amelia Moore Detective Series is a cozy mystery that involves missing persons. So I try to create a story around a missing person and make it intriguing at the same time. I’m not sure where I get my ideas. I just think about an area that I would like to set my next story and then try to come up with a story that would fit that area. In this story, Amelia and Rick end up at Estes Park, Colorado in the famous Stanley Hotel that is supposedly “haunted.” I stayed at this hotel once with my husband and daughter and it was such a fun experience. And no, I didn’t see any ghosts while I was there. But I did see the famous Stanley Steamer Automobile.

In The Mysterious Doll, Pauline Jones is confused why her boyfriend took off without telling a soul where he was going. But that isn’t all. Sam Whitaker is accused of stealing a valuable porcelain doll from the museum. His disappearance makes him look guilty, but Pauline is convinced he is innocent. When Amelia finds Sam, she realizes they need to prove his innocence. Where is the antique doll and who has taken it?

Me: How do you put your stories together? Do you plot first, or do you begin with a nugget of an idea and let the story take you where it will?

Linda: I usually plot first because with a mystery you have to know the ending and help your characters get there Lwithout the reader knowing the secret. Afterwards I’ll add fillers to my story as I write. So in a sense, I guess I also “let the story take me where it will.”

Me: That's exactly what I do too. Great minds think alike--grin. Now, I know there are a lot of elements you "do right" in your books, but you would you please tell us what  one writing skill you consider to be your best? Hpw did you develop it?

Linda: Description is my strength. When I first began writing, my editor would tell me to add more description so my reader would understand what my hero or heroine looked like. Also, what kind of mountains were they looking at in the distance as the couple strolled along the path? With this encouragement, I worked at it until it became second nature to me. I made my weakness become my strength. How do I know this is my strength? Because I’ve had many reviewers comment that they could actually feel as if they were in the area my story took place because of my descriptions. I try not to overdo it, though. Just enough to help my reader imagine they are there.

Me: Along with that, what characteristics do you strive to include in every book by Linda Weaver Clarke?

Linda: I try to include humor, some romance, and intrigue. Those are my favorite types of books to read, so I want to include it in my stories.
Me: Finally, I believe it's important for writers to know what they hope readers will get from their books. What do you hope readers will get from The Mysterious Doll?

Linda: Fun and entertainment. If a reader loves romantic cozy mysteries, then this book is right up their alley. What is a cozy mystery? It’s a G-rated story. Usually the sleuth is an intelligent woman who must solve the case.  Most mysteries are about solving a crime, but this new series involves missing persons. 
Me: Thank you so much for visiting with us today, Linda, and Congratulations on your new book. 
Click here to purchase The Mysterious Doll from Amazon.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Learning from Book Reviews by Ronda HInrichsen

Betrayed, my recently released novel, has been receiving some awesome, reader reviews, and I am so happy and grateful so many people have enjoyed it. I also love learning from those statements what I did right in my book and what I want to continue to include in my future stories. Praise and learning--the perfect combination. :)

However, sometimes we get reviews that mention elements about our book the reviewer didn't like, or worse, their comments are simply unkind; i.e., the reviewer hates everything about the book and is not opposed to sharing that opinion with the world. It's a given. No matter who the author is, they will receive such reviews. But I've found that if I look beyond the criticism and consider the review as a response to my work, just as I do when I'm reading it aloud to others, I can learn a great deal that will help me with my writing, and sometimes with my career as an author.

For instance, if a reviewer states she enjoyed elements of the book, like the lovely descriptions and the relationship I developed between the characters, but the story was slow and it took her a long time to get through the book (By the way, this is not one of my reviews.), I first try to understand what the reviewer is really saying, In this case, I'd see that while I met some of my goals, because I want my readers to enjoy the setting and the characters, I'd also notice I didn't meet another of my goals, which is I do not want readers to want to put my book down. So it might be that I need to increase my pacing and suspenseful elements. I then keep that information in mind as I read others' reviews and decide if the reviewer was right. If so, I have some writing work and learning to do.

As far as the hate-everything-reviewer goes, most of the time that reader is NOT YOUR READER anyway, and there's no point in spending a lot of time worrying about how to fix something to that reader's tastes.But, if the reviewer mentions an element in my book that mine didn't have or didn't do well but that he really want to be there, I consider whether or not his points are valid and whether or not I should work on what he said. After that, I move on.  Part of marketing work includes trying to find those readers who like what we write, so I try to hang on to the praisers I find and not worry about the rest.

Finally, most of the time it's not recommended that an author respond to a reader's review, but this "rule", like so many others, is one that needs to be followed or not followed according to the situation. In the following case, I thought I should respond to a question a reviewer had because my answer could also help those who read this blog. She mentioned this about my character, Tom:

"I thought his profession was interesting as well and I'm kind of curious to know how that was decided on for the story and the research the author did for it."  htp://

Answer: I came up with the initial idea for Tom's profession while I was watching a historical documentary about one of the World Wars. I don't remember which, probably WWII, but in either case, it talked about how a battle situation was won because they had a magician figure out how to deceive the enemy through an illusion. I loved that idea and ran with it. As far as the research goes, there are always small bits of information I have to look up as I write the story, but most of Tom's character and especially his tricks came from the book, Hiding the Elephant, by Jim Steinmeyer.