Thursday, April 28, 2016

10 Formatting Tools You Can't Live Without

✔ Spelling – Always check your spelling! It is best to keep up on it as you write, but you can fall back on the auto spell check. Just remember that it won’t pick up on "its vs. it’s," "there vs. their" or "quiet vs. quit" and it will want to correct your made-up, unusual or unorthodox words.

✔ Line Spacing – Your options are single, 1.5 and double. Typically when you open up a new document the line spacing will be set to single. Make sure the document’s spacing correlates with what you are writing. For a poem, you might use single spacing. For novels and short stories, double spacing is standard.

✔ Font – Times and Times New Roman type are the easiest fonts to read. Most editors prefer this typeface. Use size 10 or 12 -- nothing bigger or smaller unless otherwise specified.

✔ Margins – Most documents will be pre-set with 1” margins, which is standard. Be sure that your margins are even top to bottom and left to right.

✔ Page Numbers - Add page numbers if needed. Depending on your preference, you can usually put them in your header or footer centered, right or left. Do not use page numbers on title pages, acknowledgment/quote pages or any other specialty page that might look funny with a number on it.

✔ Name / Title of Book – It is always a good idea to label each page of your work. One way that you can do this is by putting your first and last name in the upper left hand corner of your header, and the title of your book in the upper right hand. Note: the first and last words in a title are always capitalized.

✔ Title Page – For longer works, be sure to have a title page. This should include your title, name and contact information if necessary. Your title page should NOT have a page number.

✔ Table of Contents – Does your work have multiple chapters or sections? If it does, you need a table of contents listing the chapters and/or sections for use as a guide. Ensure the list of page numbers matches the content.

✔ Chapter / Section Spacing - Make sure that your chapters / sections are uniformly spaced throughout your document. Chapter titles should start about one-quarter to halfway down the page.

✔ Consistency - Above all it is important to have a clean, legible document that is consistent throughout. Make sure you do a few rounds of self-editing. Watch for repetitive words, overuse of adverbs, cliche statements and imbalanced use of dialogue and description.

Two of my favorite formatting resources are Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript by Chuck Sambuchino and The Chicago Manual of Style. These guidebooks cover everything from nitty gritty grammar to formatting every kind of writing you can imagine, including samples of what your work should look like. If you're serious about submitting your work I suggest getting a copy or two.

How do you format your work? I'd love to hear about it! :)

Friday, March 18, 2016

Why Mistakes are Good for Your Writing

There are always going to be mistakes when it comes to writing and publishing.

Your book is NEVER EVER going to be perfect... EVER. Not if your expensive, indie editor has combed through each and every dot, i and cross. Not if your entire writer's group have proofread word after word ad nauseam. Not even if you've been picked up by the top-recognized publishing house of the moment and your book has been passed through the entire company's editing staff.

Nope. It's not going to happen.

There will ALWAYS be a space where there shouldn't be one... a there instead of a their, a better word, a different font, a tighter layout -- you get the picture. It will never be perfect. There will always be something out of your control in the publishing process. In fact, you should expect mistakes. 

Perfection is a crippling ideal that can kill a writer's dreams and stifle progress. We are constantly striving for the creme de la creme in all facets of our writing, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. But when you're consistently scrutinized, criticized (constructively or otherwise), rejected and picked apart it's hard to feel any sense of confidence.

Sometimes we obsess over a book's structure or content so much that it never has the chance to develop into a finished product. And forget grammar! There are so many components to worry about that fear can keep us circling around in an insecure black void.

As a naive young author I believed that if my book was published it was perfect. I was wrong. The more books I publish, the more I realize that mistakes are a normal part of getting books into print. Even after ordering countless numbers of proofs, publishing live and having in-person book launches I've found mistakes or room for improvement. Have I lost a few night's sleep over it? Of course! It sucks to realize that after carefully scrutinizing for weeks cover to cover I still missed something. I finally had to accept defeat and embrace the fact that the world will not end if my book isn't 100% flawless.

Should you do everything to the best of your ability to create a professional, finished product that readers can understand and enjoy? Absolutely! But don't get so caught up in the details that you lose sight of your goals. Every piece of writing can be improved in some way. At some point you just have to let go and move on to the next project. Set your sights and go for it! Writing is not about perfection and publication is far from it.

Don't be afraid to be human. It's okay to make mistakes... even in writing. 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Giveaway + Interview with Free Book Friday!

This week I am featured on Free Book Friday - the website that gives away FREE books every Friday!

Check out my exclusive author interview on writing, my latest book and advice for up-and-coming authors.  I have included a teaser of the interview below.

You can also enter for a chance to win one of 5 free autographed copies of my latest novel, Love Again!

Here's a sneak peek of the interview and link to the giveaway.

Thanks so much for stopping by! Good luck with the contest. :)

Monday, February 1, 2016

Love Again Book Launch!!!

I am excited to announce the release of my latest novel entitled, Love Again! This book is available to the public and can now be purchased on!

I would love to have your support. Today is the day of my official launch and I am aiming to get as much exposure as possible. Your purchase can help make that happen!

Love Again is a contemporary love story full of adventurous characters, unexpected humor and a secret or two. Follow twenty-somethings Dillan and Landi as they try desperately not to fall back in love with one another. One thing is for sure -- a first love never dies!   

Find a detailed synopsis, book trailer and more here.  

Go to right now to order your copy. You can also buy personalized autographed copies directly from me via Paypal

I thank you in advance for your support and kindly ask that you spread the news to family, friends and colleagues. Feel free to share this email or the following links: 

If you are interested in doing a book review or author interview, please let me know. I would love to participate!

Thank you for being a part of my big day. I appreciate you!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Watch this!

The book trailer for my upcoming novel, Love Again, has just been released! I am thrilled to share this adorable visual montage with you. 

Love Again is a new adult love story full of drama, humor and colorful characters that will tickle your funny bone! See what it's all about...

In just six days this book will be released and available for purchase. Stay tuned for launch info and more goodies. 

You can find out more about Love Again at and

Please feel free to share this trailer with others who might be interested as well! :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016!

Happy 2016!!! I am sharing one of my favorite ways to end and begin a New Year with you. It's an exercise that gives closure to the following year, gratitude for the present and optimism for the future. All you have to do is write (or type) 3 lists. Start fresh, reflect and move on into the blank page of the New Year!

Step 1: Past – List of Accomplishments

Think of everything, big or small, you have accomplished in the past year and write it down. These should be things you feel really good about – efforts you are proud of, successes, goals met, unexpected or planned circumstances. List anything and everything that makes you feel good about yourself and what you have accomplished recently.

Step 2: Present – Gratitude List

List the things that you are thankful for in the present moment or as a whole. It could be as simple as, “I am grateful for the roof over my head, food to eat, etc.” You may have to start with the basics to warm up but I have found that it gets easier the more you write. Incorporating a gratitude list into your daily routine is a wonderful practice.

Step 3: Future – List of Goals / Dreams / Wishes

Write down the things you wish to accomplish in the New Year. Try to stay optimistic, realistic and flexible. Your list will most likely shift and change but it is nice to have some guidance and a visual reference.

Added bonus: Create a vision board of your goals, dreams and wishes. Find pictures, scenes or words that convey what is on your list and in your heart, then paste them onto posterboard. You can add to your vision board all year long.

Here's to a Happy, successful New Year full of love and laughter! I believe in you!