Adventure Books Fiction Science Fiction

Mercury in Retrograde by Merethe Walther (Full Review)

Mercury in Retrograde by Merethe Walther starts you on an interplanetary journey that will thrill you until the very last page.

writerwerx mrecury in retrograde by merethe walther

The Mercury in Retrograde Story

Mercury in Retrograde follows the story of Aralyn Solari a short while after she’s been released from a mega-prison called Tartarys. Having served her time for running (trafficking illegal goods), she finds herself offered an opportunity for one last job. The payout means she’ll never have to run again and can live out the rest of her life in peace. As an added bonus, she was given the job by Eladia, someone who saved Aralyn’s life while she was imprisoned, so it seems like a good way to repay that kindness. Do the job, get paid, live happily ever after. 

If only things were that simple for our heroine! 

  • The job goes all wrong, including her buyer not showing up as promised and sending someone to plant drugs on Aralyn so she’ll get arrested (again). 
  • She’s temporarily detained by her ex-boyfriend (now in a position to arrest her since he’s joined the outer space police force known as the UDA) who she hasn’t seen since they were both caught running contraband. She gets sent to prison, he gets a new job. Something’s not right here and it is KEY to untangling the nonsense that follows Aralyn all throughout the book. 
  • The object that Aralyn’s buyer was supposed to be purchasing from her is stolen after her ship is ransacked. 

All this makes for a great story by itself, but when you realize that you’ve covered all of these plot points and you haven’t even reached the third chapter, you know you’re in for a long, wild ride! 

What You’ll Love About This Book

There is plenty to unpack with Mercury in Retrograde, so anyone looking for a thick volume to sink their mental teeth into will be pleased. Everything that kick-started the story is embedded in the ending and makes the plot feel whole and mostly resolved. There are lots of moments that will make you cringe (descriptions of the daily traumas that take place at Tartarys), scream in frustration (characters doing idiotic things that make you want to shake their teeth out of their head), and laugh (from nerdy quips to comical circumstances). 

And through it all, the underlying story of Caden and Aralyn’s romantic relationship ebbs and flows. Will they rekindle their old bond, or will the betrayal and resentment Aralyn feels toward him be too much? Was Caden actually the one who sold her out, or is there more to the story? How couldn’t Caden be the one who betrayed her if he didn’t serve a day in prison and ended up on the other side of the law? 

Merethe Walther keeps the adventure spinning paragraph after paragraph to hold a reader’s attention across all 445 pages. 

What You’ll Struggle With

There were some noticeable problems with wording and grammar, almost as though the book hadn’t been (or had been poorly) line edited or copy edited. For the average reader, I’m not sure these things would make much of a difference. For those who do notice, the book is still worth the read, just brace yourself for some of what you’ll come across. For example, “standing to her feet” (as opposed to standing to her ankles or standing to her knees?) made an appearance more than once. As well as phrases such as “tens of hundreds” (thousands?) and “carrying a small suitcase of luggage behind him” (no, the suitcase was not filled with other suitcases, if that’s what you’re thinking). 

You’ll also run into a few places where the intelligence and resolve that it would have taken to survive a terror like Tartarys seems to just vanish from Aralyn’s persona. For instance, there is a scene in which Aralyn is in a Tartarys cell and has something CRITICAL hidden in her boot. Yet, when a prisoner she doesn’t trust sidles up to the cell, she remains in her position, the special boot toward him. So, even though the scene is written as though him stealing what’s in her boot is sudden or surprising, I knew exactly what was about to happen because she let him so close to her precious cargo. It would seem that, if she had spent so much time in Tartarys around a throng of highly untrustworthy people, she would have switched to a different position immediately after he came into view or put more distance between them.

Periodically, there are errors in logic that pop up as well. So, if this is some kind of pet peeve for you, be aware that they’re coming up. Using the same scene as an example, the thieving prisoner is somehow able to (1) reach into the cell, (2) grab Aralyn’s booted foot, (3) pry the boot off of Aralyn’s foot, and (4) pull the boot through to his side of the bars as the cell door automatically slams shut for the night, all before she can kick his hand away, fight him off, or pull her boot out of his grasp. This scene left me with a lot of little questions about the characters and the circumstances (Just how big is he? How light is Aralyn? Why would she lift her foot off of the ground to allow him the leverage he needed to get the boot off? Does the boot not have sufficient laces to the point that he could slide it off with no problem?), but don’t hinder your reading experience much. 


Overall, I give Mercury in Retrograde 4.5 stars. Be aware of the bumps in the copy, but don’t be deterred from starting this exhilarating series!

writerwerx book review rubric
Tenesha L. Curtis
Tenesha L. Curtis

Indie author and book editor at Volo Press Books.

Adventure Books Fiction Science Fiction

Mercury in Retrograde by Merethe Walther (Review Snippet)

Mercury in Retrograde by Merethe Walther starts you on an interplanetary journey that will thrill you until the very last page.

writerwerx mrecury in retrograde by merethe walther

The Mercury in Retrograde Story

Mercury in Retrograde follows the story of Aralyn Solari a short while after she’s been released from a mega-prison called Tartarys. Having served her time for running (trafficking illegal goods), she finds herself offered an opportunity for one last job. The payout means she’ll never have to run again and can live out the rest of her life in peace. As a bonus, she was given the job by Eladia, someone who saved Aralyn’s life while she was imprisoned, so it seems like a good way to repay that kindness. Do the job, get paid, live happily ever after. 

If only things were that simple for our heroine! 

  • The job goes all wrong, including her buyer not showing up as promised and sending someone to plant drugs on Aralyn so she’ll get arrested (again). 
  • She’s temporarily detained by her ex-boyfriend who she hasn’t seen since they were both caught running contraband. She gets sent to prison, he gets a new job. Something’s not right here and it is KEY to untangling the nonsense that follows Aralyn all throughout the book. 
  • The object that Aralyn’s buyer was supposed to be purchasing from her is stolen after her ship is ransacked. 

All this makes for a great story by itself, but when you realize that you’ve covered all of these plot points and you haven’t even reached the third chapter, you know you’re in for a long, wild ride! 


Overall, I give Mercury in Retrograde 4.5 stars. Be aware of the bumps in the copy, but don’t be deterred from starting this exhilarating series!

WRITERWERX MEMBERS: Read the full review here!

Tenesha L. Curtis
Tenesha L. Curtis

Indie author and book editor at Volo Press Books.

Fiction Nonfiction Writing

Your Magnetic Masterpiece

Melanie Jayne Ashford
Melanie Jayne Ashford

Melanie is a freelance writer from Wales, UK. She has studied Literature, Business and Media, and has a Professional Diploma in Copy Editing and Proofreading. Melanie is passionate about poetry and genre fiction.

Magnetic words might seem like the kind of things your kids play with, but they can be a priceless tool for your writing career too. Order a set for yourself on Amazon or grab a box from your local bookstore. These printed words with magnetized backs come in a variety of editions such as “expletives” and “zen.” Choose one that best fits your genre or idea. You can expand your choices with a new pack every so often. All you need are the words themselves and a magnetic surface, perhaps a small whiteboard or your refrigerator.

Magnetic Words for Poets

Many poets use magnetic words to develop their poems. You can get some great stanzas started by experimenting with word kits that match a theme you want to write about.

  • Pull out the words that catch your eye first. Depending on the idea you’re holding in your head, the mood you’re in at the time, and which words are facing upward, you can get a nice, random variety of starting language.
  • Group the words. Start putting your selected magnets together to create phrases of 2 -4 words. Don’t worry about the phrases making sense at the moment, just follow your gut.
  • Review and revise. Now that you have some phrases to work with, you can start putting your poem together to reflect your theme or express your sentiment. Start by free-writing about some of the word combinations you came up with.

Magnetic Words for Copy Writers

Using random words can help copy writers come up with powerful hooks for products, services, and events. Magnetic words can also help with finding variable ways to write about a specific product.

For instance, if you’re writing copy for a car website, find ‘car’ in your box of words, and start adding other words underneath it. It doesn’t matter if you go way off track. Sometimes you find your best, most relevant ideas a million miles away from what you would expect. So, you might get the idea to write a blog post on shades of red in the car industry from placing words like ‘tomato’, ‘blood’ or ‘angry’ under the word ‘car.’ 

Magnetic Words for Authors

When you’re brainstorming ideas, magnetic words aid your thinking, which is useful when you’re trying to find the perfect opening for your novel or self-help book. They can help you think in a more unbridled, abstract fashion, which breaks the norm and gets your creativity moving. As an author, you probably find yourself trying to follow a lot of rules and standards (grammar, tropes, etc.), and you end up going down the same paths repeatedly. These industry guidelines can encourage you to rely less on creativity and more on your templates or conventions. Using magnetic words can help get you out of the box you’re thinking in, and open your mind to fresh ideas.

If you’re finding yourself stuck in your poetic, fiction, or nonfiction writing, try picking up a set of magnetic words the next time you go shopping. These tiny tools are a fantastic way to nurture your creative mind, flush any mental blocks, and have fun with language!

Books Fiction

Burden of Solace by Richard L. Wright

Burden of Solace by Richard L. Wright

Burden of Solace by Richard L. Wright brings a refreshing depth, balanced with candid humor, to superhero fiction. A book that makes you feel anything beyond boredom is noteworthy, but Burden of Solace made me laugh as much as it made me reflect on how humans treat one another.

The Burden of Solace Story

Burden of Solace highlights the Emergence (activation of super powers) of Dr. Cassie Whalen, a trauma surgeon working in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia. She’s been living up to high expectations her entire life, even before the death of her saint-like parents (two doctors), and has developed a temper and brazenness that brings her toe-to-toe with invulnerable super-humans and government officials alike.

She Emerges when she’s attacked by a random woman while out for a jog. Her penchant for helping and healing others manifests itself as the ability to mend virtually any wound in a matter of seconds with a simple touch. She struggles with not wanting the abilities because she wants a normal life, and exohumans live anything but. They are monitored and regulated by the government. Some are locked away, others are allowed to be servants for the public, like Nate Gorman, also known as “Guardian 175.”

The plot revolves around four main issues:

•  Cassie’s internal struggle regarding not wanting her gift, wanting to help people, and not wanting to become a federal slave all at the same time.

•  An arrogant billionaire, Ballentine, who is trying to make sure the exohumans like the ones who killed his family are kept under tight control.

•  Nate falling in love with Cassie while he shields her from government detection, even as he disapproves of her attempts to get rid of her healing powers.

•  Legislative issues related to exohuman rights and freedoms.

Burden of Solace Highlights

I chuckled at the situations that Cassie got herself into as she learned more about her regenerative gifts. At one point healing the crotch of a man she kicked in the balls, at another finding herself floating in mid-air for the better part of a day because she couldn’t control her levitation.

Much of the narrative language was comical as well. A few examples include:

•   “…a timeless archetype meant to grab female psyches by their damp panties”

•  “whole-body butt-clench”

•  “His pancreas might be upside down.”

•  “…she could sense his disgust like a sour fart in the room.”

There are several moments throughout the book that characters share that are clever, heartwarming, and hilarious. For example, when Nate finds Cassie hovering aimlessly acres above the ground, he doesn’t mind taking in the view of this beautiful woman suspended in front of him in a “too-short” dress. It was amusing to experience the growing intimacy in the relationship between Cassie and Nate: from learning his real name, to trusting him with her dangerous secret, to letting him guide her superpower training, to partnering with him to defeat their common enemy.

In Burden of Solace, Wright has put a mirror up to society by reaching into the past (and, some would say, the present), when US citizens were put into internment camps, lynched, or denied their constitutional rights by a government and populace devoid of understanding and overwhelmed with anxiety. This socio-political issue is one that could be an example of what many people who have experienced any number of ‘isms’ have to deal with throughout their lives. Reading as Cassie and Nate navigated personal and bureaucratic mine fields together made it easy to become emotionally invested in the characters and what they were going through personally, professionally, and politically. Nate has a sense of duty that is impressive, even more so when we find out that this sense is not inflexible, but still strong. Cassie’s essence can be accurately expressed in one of my favorite lines in the book: “Big, strong soldiers are trained to combat a lot of things, but tiny, redheaded spitfires are not among them.”

Burden of Solace Shortcomings

Burden of Solace wasn’t as invulnerable as Nate Gorman. However, what flaws there were to be found did not take away from the plot. I’m sure that, should the author choose to refresh the content at some point in the future, these minor issues would be corrected. There were about eleven grammatical mistakes that I noticed as a casual reader (a misplaced comma here, a missing word there), and some repetition (the word ‘smile’ three times in two sentences), but nothing that kept me from enjoying the story. Unless you have raucous OCD about grammar, it shouldn’t be a major issue for your either.

Burden of Solace Grade: A

I’d give Burden of Solace a solid ‘A’ grade. Great story, engaging characters (especially Etienne!), and an ending the leaves the audience satisfied, hopeful, and intrigued simultaneously.

If you enjoy superhero tales even the tiniest bit, the romance, mystery, intrigue, and action in Burden of Solace will leave you as eager as I am for the next installment!

—Tenesha L. Curtis

Book Link:

Fiction Nonfiction Time Management Writing

Should I create a book outline?

Now that you’ve come up with your book premise (see our post on this topic, if you haven’t), you may be wondering if an outline is your next step. You have a lot of options when it comes to creating a book outline (including not creating one at all). Here’s a quick overview of what an outline does and why you may or may not want to use one.

Point One: Outlines Take Time To Create

One downside of using an outline is that it adds to your book creation time. If you’re on an insanely tight schedule for some reason, you may shy away from creating an outline, especially if you’ve never done it before. But outlines can be created in as little as ten minutes, depending upon how detailed you want them to be. With the amount of benefits outlines have to offer, you’re likely to find that this small inconvenienceis worth the “trouble.”

Point Two: Outlines Help You Create a Cleaner First Draft

You create your book outline by considering the setting, characters, and plot points you want included in the piece. Because you have done this in list form, it is easier to see when something doesn’t make sense. An outline gives you a bird’s eye view of the plot. This allows you to recognize everything from plot holes to character inconsistencies before you even start creating the narrative. That means these mistakes never make it into your first draft (which means they won’t need to be edited out later).

Point Three: Outlines Help You Finish Your Manuscript More Quickly

When you’ve already charted the course of your writing before you get started, it becomes nearly impossible to get lost, write yourself into a corner, or feel stuck. When you remove these time-consuming issues from writing, it becomes a faster, easier, less-frustrating task. The idea of shaving hours, if not weeks, off of your writing schedule is nothing to sneeze at. You’re likely excited about the prospect of having your published book in your (and other people’s) hands. So getting to that point in the process more quickly, while increasing the quality of your work, is a win-win!

Point Four: Outlines and Synopses are BFFs

If you have created an outline for your book, you have everything you need for a summary or synopsis. Summaries and synopses are used all throughout the book promotion process, whether you’re submitting a query letter or creating a description for your product page. Because you have essentially done this up front, once you’re done writing the book, the blurb, summary, and synopsis (with a few adjustments to the wording) are pretty much complete.

In Conclusion: Should I Create a Book Outline?

The answer is “maybe.” If you’ve been finishing and publishing manuscripts at a steady pace that you’re satisfied with, as well as a level of quality that your readers appreciate, creating a book outline isn’t something that’s strictly necessary for you. If you have struggled to complete a manuscript (for example, you’ve been working on the same one for more than a year with little or no progress), I would encourage you to at least give outlining a shot. Other than taking a little extra time to develop, there’s no heinous downside to creating a book outline, and the benefits may be just what you need to finally finish your manuscript.

Authorship Time Management Writing

How long does it take to write a book?

There are a lot of variables that go into figuring out how long is “too long” to take to write a book. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but understanding some of these considerations can help give you a better idea of how close you are to being finished (or how far behind you are).


When is your book manuscript complete? Some say the moment the first draft is completed. Others don’t count a book manuscript as being “finished” until it has been self-revised, developmentally edited, fact-checked (if applicable), line edited, and copy edited, with a title, query letter, synopsis, and author bio to match. Just about any definition is valid, you just need to choose what your personal finish line looks like. For most people, considering your manuscript finished once you’ve reached your goal word count for the first draft is an appropriate definition. 

Preventable Delays

There are people who take as little as a week to write a 40,000-word (novel-length) manuscript. There are people who have been working on the same manuscript for over a year. There are a lot of “justifiable” delays to completion, but most people run into issues with the easily preventable delays. So let’s go over those first.

Hating to write

I know it sounds bizarre (🤯) but there are people in the world who absolutely loathe writing. I have a couple of them in my own family (though I’m pretty sure I wasn’t adopted). If you hate to write, but are excited about the idea of writing and publishing a book, delays are bound to ensue. This is likely because every time you sit down to write, it feels like a huge burden. Therefore, you do it less often than you could and it takes longer to get finished.

Possible fixes include:

► Hiring a ghostwriter

► Speaking your manuscript into a voice recorder and sending it to a transcription service for typing.

Diddling (yes, diddling)

Going around in circles over one thing or another appears to be a common preventable delay for authors. Once you realize and accept the fact that there is no such thing as a perfect manuscript (and therefore no such thing as a perfect book) you can rest a little easier. Trying to get every aspect of your book to meet some random standard you’ve created for yourself is exhausting. The attempt itself is a great way to pass time without producing anything of value (a.k.a. diddling). And because perfection (and often simple satisfaction with what you’ve written) can never be achieved, you’re ALWAYS “writing a manuscript” and never “wrote a book.

Possible fixes include:

► Putting a finite limit on when you will move forward to the next step in the process (after two rounds of self-revisions, at 75,000 words, May 15th, etc.).

► Daily affirmations that your <<INSERT ISSUE HERE (plot, cover, characters, world-building, etc.)>> will be ready to move to the next step as soon as you hit whatever limit you set in the first bullet. “I’m sending it to the editor in two days because I’ve done all I can and it’s ready to move forward (as am I).” 
“I’m sending it to the editor tomorrow, no matter what.” “Developmental editing begins in 10,000 words and that’s a good thing that I’m excited about.”

Not making time to write

In The 12-Month Manuscript we outline how you can complete a first draft of your book within less than a year writing only five minutes each day. If you don’t have five minutes of down time on a daily basis, you have much bigger problems than not finishing a manuscript (and you should probably address those first). Otherwise, your issue is likely not that you don’t have time to write a manuscript, but that you haven’t put any effort into making time to write a manuscript. Even if it means taking a fake bathroom break at the same time every day and using those five minutes to type a couple of hundred words on your phone, that’s doable for nearly everyone who claims they want to be an author.

Possible fixes include:

► Setting up a designated writing time each day (five minutes or more).
► Scheduling a dedicated writing hour each week (on your least busy day).
► LAST RESORT: Hiring a ghostwriter.

Standard Delays

Depending upon the kind of book that you’re writing, it may be necessary to take what seems like a long time to write it. In situations like this, it’s most helpful to (1) understand and accept the idea that it will take however long it takes and (2) be as patient as you can.


Research can include investigating a crime, interviewing a series of celebrities, or even engaging in an experiment of some kind (think Supersize Me or Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead). Research can delay manuscript completion by months or even years because you have to wait to get the information you need so you can use it in the book. If you thought it was necessary to get this information in order to write the book, it will likely be worth the wait. Practice patience and know that it will all come together in the end to create your unique vision for the piece.

Legal Stuff

You may be writing a book that involves getting permission to use certain photographs, transcripts, likenesses, etc. Unfortunately, this can often mean submitting a request for something and waiting weeks or months to get a response. And if said response is negative, you must either rework your plan for the book, or appeal the decision if you can. Either way, it adds to the length of time it will take to finish your writing.

How long does it take to write a book? It depends.

The genre and scope of your book have a lot to do with how long it takes to finish. But it’s helpful to recognize which delays you have control over and which you don’t. Do all you can to prevent delays if possible. When you’re forced to sit back and wait, do that with the knowledge that the pause in progress will be worth it in the end.

Authorship Marketing Writing

How do I start an author website?

You can create a website dedicated to your authorship and books in less than 30 minutes in many cases (an hour if you’re not quite as tech savvy). Being a new author, we won’t bore you with the minutia of technical stuff like metadata and SEO. As a newbie, you’re first goal is simply to get something online that represents you as an author so that you’ll have your own space to promote your book once it’s finish. We encourage you to start your site ASAP (seriously, within the next week), whether you’ve started your manuscript or not. With the overwhelming number of free blog, site, and social media options available, getting set up is a snap! But here are some things to consider and steps to follow regarding starting your author website.


1. Dedicated Email Address and Social Media Profile

Building an author site is about as easy as getting a new social media page these days. But since this particular site is going to be all about the wonderful books that you write, the best first step is to open a dedicated author email account.

For example, you could open a new Gmail account such as or When you pass this email along to literary agents, publishers, or readers, it should be clear that it’s not your personal email address. If you want your email to have a more professional look, after you create the account, go purchase a custom domain name and then use your email service (Gmail, in this example), to create a custom email address such as or This is by no means essential, but it can help some people take you more seriously than an or account.

Once you have an email address, use it to create a dedicated social media profile (focus on one or two, don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to manage 10 different social media accounts). Remember to brand it as your author profile (@TeneshaLCurtisAuthor or @BooksByBob).

Having a dedicated email address and social media profile that you only provide to people for literary reasons also means you don’t lose important messages (such as those from editors, publishing houses, or libraries) when they get shuffled into your family, work, or other personal communications.

2. Pick a Site

There are hundreds of hosts to choose from when it comes to starting an author website. Some of the most popular are WordPress, Wix, and Weebly (alliteration, anyone?). They all have various features that you may find interesting, but if the general idea is that you need to have a website that people can go to so they can learn more about you as a person and writer, just about anything will do. Remember, you can also switch later if you’ve purchased a custom domain. It’s a simple matter of pointing to instead of No biggie! 

3. Open an Account and Start Writing!

You’ll find “start a site” or “start your blog” or some similar such button on whichever platform you choose. Once you’ve followed all of their instructions for registration, it’s time to start putting up some content. That’s where the remainder of these considerations come into play. Once you’ve read through all the following topics and made your stylistic decisions, put up at least one blog post and then go ahead and start sharing your new site with your (understandbly small, maybe even non-existent at the moment) social media audience.


Separate Personal and Author/Business

I know the idea of adding a second Facebook or blog to deal with may seem daunting, but it’s not as hard as you might think. And separating your fans and readers from your friends and family is critical for a couple of reasons. First, you will want to post different things for your personal profile than you will for your author profile. For example, your readers may not want to know about your latest power struggle at work with your supervisor. At the same time, your family may have no interest in reading your incestuous erotica (especially your siblings!).

The second benefit of separating these two worlds is that you don’t end up divulging personal information to your readers that you would normally only share with close family and friends. This might include things like a medical diagnoses or mental health issue.

Your Name

We know you know your own name (at least we hope you do), which is not the issue here. Consider your pen name (if you want to use any), consider your company name (if you decide to start one), and consider your blog name (if it’s different from your website name), as well as your website name. For example you could follow a pattern like this:


Company Name: Tenesha L. Curtis, LLC

Site Name: Tenesha L. Curtis

Pen Name: Tenesha L. Curtis

Blog Name: Tenesha L. Curtis

A lineup like this makes your job super simple. If you prefer to have different names or variants for these different aspects of your authorship, have at it. Just make sure that they make sense for helping people find you or your work and are easy for you to keep up with. For example:


Company Name: Curtis Enterprises, LLC

Site Name: The Burning Keys

Pen Name(s): Tenesha L. Curtis (Self-help and Historical), Noro Kusaki (Thrillers and Mysteries), Eden Tole (Romance)

Blog Name: The Burning Notions

Your Post Schedule

Some authors post multiple articles per day. Some through sheer will and discipline, others by paying a blogger to post things for them. Either way, it’s up to you to decide if a schedule such as three posts per day is workable for you. Generally speaking, the more you post (granted the content is of some value to your audience) the more engagement you’ll receive (shares, likes, and comments). However, most authors seem to do well with daily or weekly posts. Daily posts to a blog subscriber can seem annoying to some (us, we’re “some”), but other people love the constant influx of information. At the same time, if you work full-time and are raising three kids by yourself, it might be unrealistic to think that you can accomplish multiple quality blog posts on a daily basis.

Your Post Content

Now that you have figured out how much you’re going to post, consider what exactly you’re going to post. Don’t be afraid to mix it up. If you don’t think you have enough ideas to stay hyper-focused on a niche issue (the kinds of insects that help tea grow in Kentucky, for example) bring in some more tangential things. For instance, if your book is a work of fantasy that involves overthrowing a government, an interracial romance, and dreams affecting reality (and this is just ONE book, mind you), you could write way more than 52/53 posts (to cover the year). Here are some examples:

► Memes about people who want to overthrow the current government / president / prime minister.

► News articles or videos related to things like trends in fantasy book publishing, interracial marriage statistics, foods that increase vivid dreaming, etc.

► Triggers for increased dreaming (stress, diet, mental health issues, etc.).

► True stories / interviews with people who are in interracial relationships or marriages and had to overcome issues similar to what your characters faced.

► Features or lists of the stories of people who have survived civil wars and toppled governments.

Your Domain Name / URL

Don’t fret if your initial URL is something like or These are perfectly fine, especially if you’re on a tight budget and can’t afford to purchase a domain name (often under $20 for a year).

Generally speaking, you’re going to want the shortest, most memorable, yet SEO-friendly, URL you can come up with. As an author, don’t be afraid to add words like “writes,” “books,” “read,” or “author” to your domain name just to be clear that you’re the author Jodie Krane, not the plumber Jodie Krane or the lawyer Jodie Krane. This way, when someone types “Jodie Krane book” into a search engine, they’re more likely to find you and not the Jodie Krane travel agent (because they want to book a flight to Tahiti).


We encourage you to set up your author website or blog as soon as possible. Even if that means you’re up and running online before your book has been published (that’s actually the preferred order in which to do this—blog then publish). So, as you’re shopping around for places to set up virtually, consider how you plan on selling your books on the platform. Sites like Shopify and GoDaddy are built to help people sell items online (and include the price tag to match!). Meanwhile, you can get a free blog or website from, and similar sites. The catch with these free sites is often that you either cannot sell products directly to consumers from your site or you must upgrade your service (and pay a monthly fee) in order to do so.

If you’re starting out like many of us did with a seven-figure budget and all seven figures are zeros, you might want to consider looking for a platform that will allow you to sell your book online and simply take a SMALL (5% or less) fee from each sale. Examples include Square and, to an extent, PayPal (though they’re shopping and checkout is pretty clunky by comparison). Just as important as being able to sell items at all is being able to sell digital items. There is a lot of money to be made, at a high profit margin, by selling e-books and audio books on your site. Yet, some platforms don’t allow for digital downloads, or that capability comes at an extra cost. Be sure to research what functions are included on the account / package you plan on using for any website host you choose.

Be Ready to Move

As you gain more followers and sell more books on a consistent basis, you may find that your website needs change. You may need more robust services or more sophisticated capabilities. This is the beauty of getting a custom domain name. could be a Wix site one year, a WordPress site another year, and a GoDaddy site the year after that. However, the URL itself never changes. will always point to wherever it needs to. But if you stick with a site URL, then you’ll need to stick with Tumblr until you’re ready to alert everyone who normally visits that site that you’re changing sites. You can also set up a “We’ve moved” page that allows visitors to the old site to click through to the new one, or automatically be redirected to the new one.

There is a lot to think about when it comes to creating your author platform. However, there are plenty of resources available to help you get started all around the internet and here at

Authorship Marketing Writing

How do I start an author social media profile?

Growing your online presence and giving your fans a way to keep in contact with you as you write and publish is critical. In order to do so, having a dedicated author social media account is helpful.

Which authors need a social media profile?

All of us. There’s really no excuse not to have at least one.

How many author social media profiles should I create?

For a new author, we recommend at least one, but not more than three (guess what the sweet spot is? ^_^). Keeping up with a professional social media profile is quite a bit of work, even if you only have one. If you’re unsure about how many you want to start, get your feet wet with one. Whichever one your audience uses the most. If you can consistently post at least three times  per week for a month, then consider adding another. If you manage both consistently for a month, consider adding one more.

What should I post?

Just think about the things your favorite celebrities post on their social media profiles. Yes, they make sure to consistently (not constantly) plug their new movie, fragrance, clothing line, or album. But they also let you into their lives a little. You meet their family, you know what treats their pets like, you see what their favorite dish is at the bistro they love. You don’t necessarily need to give people every little detail of your life via social media. However, mixing up what you post helps keep them engaged enough so that when you do insert those shameless self-advertising links, they are excited about supporting you (and not annoyed at you talking about your new book for the thousandth time that week!).

Which social media sites should I be present on as an author?

The answer to this question has a lot to do with where your target audience resides. For example, if you’re writing for teens, you might want to invest your time in some of the newer social media sites like Instagram or Snapchat. If you write self-help books targeted at highly educated, upper middle-class women, Pinterest is going to be your best bet. Take a look at some of the demographic research related to social media usage to help make your profile decision.

Don’t over-complicate this process. Your author social media is meant for you connect with your fans and fellow writers by being your wonderful self!

Books Books Fiction Nonfiction

How to Write a Book Premise

A book premise serves you throughout the writing process and works for just about any genre (a notable exclusion might be poetry).

In a single sentence you can outline the core of your book. This helps you focus on your central plot in fiction and stick to your main content in nonfiction. The formula is a simple one that works for memoirs, mysteries, self-help, children’s books, screenplays, and more: 

[somebody] wants [something] but, in order to get it, they have to overcome [some obstacle(s)].

For example:

[Red] wants [to deliver food and medicine to her grandmother’s house on the other side of the village] but in order to do that, she has to overcome [a wild, hungry wolf].

In this sentence, we know who are central character is, what they’re major goal is, and what’s standing between where they are now and where they want to be. 

More examples:

I wanted to become a doctor, but I had to overcome poverty, low academic achievement, and cancer in order to do so. [memoir]

Evelyn wants to solve her husband’s murder, but she’ll have to fight a corrupt judicial system, a two-faced detective, and her own inner demons to get his justice. [mystery / thriller]

Busy people want to write a book, but they have to manage their time, reset how they think about authorship, and bounce back from set backs if they’re ever going to succeed [self-help (The 12-Month Manuscript in specific! 😉)]

Lana wants to go on the school field trip, but she has to figure out how to get her parents’ permission since she forgot her permission slip at home and the bus leaves in ten minutes! [children’s book].

Once you’ve come up with a general idea of what you want to write about, this is the next step in solidifying your concept so you can start your outline / manuscript.

Can my book / screenplay premise involve more than one character, goal, or obstacle?

Absolutely. Some pieces are hyper-complex, to the point that if you start reading more than five pages in you’ll be completely confused. However, keep in mind that the more variables you put into play for the story, the more variables you have to manage. Increasing the number of characters, goals, and obstacles also increases the likelihood that you’ll develop plot holes. In most cases, having one of each is just fine and will be less headache for you as an author.

Can my book premise 
*gasp* CHANGE?!?!

Of course. It’s yours, after all. As you come up with new ideas, write yourself into a corner, etc. you’re able to make changes to everything from who the main character is to the kinds of obstacles standing between them and their goals. The premise is a living “document” in a sense.

If you keep up with your premise and update it as you make changes, you’ll have a carefully prepared tagline for your book that you can use on the back cover, at the top of your book description, or (if going the commercial publishing route) in your query letter. 

Nonfiction Resume

100 Essential Writer Keywords

Sorting through hundreds of resumes isn’t easy for anyone trying to fill a position. When you find yourself struggling to get hired for the jobs that you want, it helps to make sure that your best qualities are easy to find on your resume. Here are 100 words that can offer you some alternative language that may increase your chances of getting 2nd, or even 1st, interviews for writing positions.

Remember that you don’t have to try to cram all of these into your resume. Just make sure the ones that are relevant to the industry you want to work in (or the company you want to be employed by) are included. For example, if you are trying to get a job at an online retailer, you may not have an urgent need to include “Scrivener” or “press release” on your resume, though you’ll want to include words like “CTR” and “advertising” in many cases.










































Google Docs










Lead Generation

Library of Congress







Microsoft Office

Microsoft Publisher

Microsoft Word














Press Release













Short Story

Social Media











Got some words you want to add to the list? Let us know in the comments!