Sunday, September 30, 2012

Review: THE WEDDING WAGER by Regina Duke

  4 of 5 stars

What would you do to get out from under a crushing and massive debt? That's the dilemma facing Megan Mully who is finally released from the hospital after a horrific car accident. She's homeless and jobless and desperate--never a good combination. When she answers an ad for a companion, she meets millionaire Kevin Wake. He has a problem with a deadline and Megan is the perfect answer. Kevin agrees to help Megan with her debt and she agrees to Kevin's request to become his "temporary" wife.

This is a sweet marriage of convenience story. Megan is a saucy character with a mind of her own and how she handles Kevin's quirky family is quite unique. I loved Kevin's sister and how Megan interacted with her. The author definitely gave some thought to developing the secondary characters. They help flesh out an already enjoyable story. If you're looking for an romance with a few twists along the way, you'll definitely enjoy this one. It's a quick read, but will definitely put a smile on your face. It's a delightful way to spend a lazy afternoon. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

New Release: BLOOD WITCH by Thea Atkinson

Alaysha has the power to drain living things of their water--she just can't put it back.

Sarum is under siege and a recovering Alaysha finds herself at the heart of a covert war where even the enemy is unknown. Whether it's the father she has spent nineteen years killing for, the witch of flame who promises to teach her control, or the charismatic Yenic who claims to love her, she must ultimately decide who to trust. If only that trust didn't come at such a high price.

Blood Witch is book two in the Elemental Magic series, a new adult fantasy series for women of all ages, but recommended for those over seventeen. There's a good bit of intrigue, a smidgen of magic, and of course, some steamy romance.

Buy Links:


Amazon UK:

Forthcoming at: BN, Sony, and Itunes

Author Bio
Thea Atkinson is a writer of character driven fiction; call it what you will: she prefers to describe her work as something akin to the left of mainstream. Her characters often find themselves in the darker edges of their own spirits but ultimately manage to find the light they seek.

She has been an editor, a freelancer, and a teacher, but fiction is her passion. She now blogs and writes and twitters. Not necessarily in that order.

Please visit her blog for ramblings, guest posts, giveaways, and more

or follow her on twitter

or like her facebook page:

Check for my latest books at Amazon

See what I'm up to at wordpress

Friday, September 28, 2012

TRASHY NOVELS, REALLY? by Rebecca Forster

Okay, here’s the thing. I am a really easy-going person, but recently I got really ticked. I was speaking at a conference. During lunch one day, a very successful author turned to me and said:

"I wrote a trashy novel - like yours".

Well, gosh. I write legal thrillers. I thought they were pretty good. I research. My plots and subplots are intricate and well thought out. I work hard to make my characterization deep and true. Every once in a while I use multi-syllable words.  But this gentleman’s comment got me thinking: why does anyone use the word trashy to describe a book?

I began my search for enlightenment by seeking a definition for the word, trash. Here is what I found:

Trash is:

1.Anything worthless, useless, or discarded; rubbish.

2. Foolish or pointless ideas, talk, or writing; nonsense.

3. A worthless or disreputable person.

4. Such persons collectively.

5. Literary or artistic material of poor or inferior quality.

I get definition number two. Writing without thought or a concern for craft usually does not produce a good book. But number five stunned me. Who, I wondered, could possibly define literary inferiority (or for that matter, superiority)? To me appreciation of the written word is a matter of taste.

I love reading thrillers, but nod off over most ‘literary’ works. I prefer country music to a symphony. On the other hand, classic clothing is my preference to trendy fashion. I suppose the arbiters of taste would give me two check marks in the trashy column and one in the tasteful column.

But we’re talking about writing. II have most often heard the adjective ‘trashy’ used in reference to romance novels. I defend my colleagues when I hear that criticism. I started my career as a romance writer and am in awe of authors who can consistently write within the parameters of the genre. But my defense goes beyond simple admiration to critical thinking.  Why is steamy contemporary romance of any less valued than classic erotica like The Story of O? Why is Fifty Shades of Grey being celebrated as groundbreaking literature? Why is a category historical romance of less value than Gone With the Wind? Is my work less intriguing or professional than John Grisham or Scott Turow?  

Does length determine a level of trashiness? Is it subject matter or style that relegates a book to the garbage heap? And, if these are the criteria, why is commercial fiction so popular? Is it not commercial fiction – romance, fantasy, mystery, thrillers – that keep the publishing industry alive?

I was never really angry about the trashy comment. I think I was more annoyed. The good thing to come out of the other author’s comment was that it led to a wonderful discussion among the other authors and agents at the table. I will never forget the agent who sat next to me.  She had remained quiet until the end and then told us about an author who recently pitched her using the ‘trashy’ comment as a selling point.

“Why,” the agent asked, “would I want to represent a book whose author believed it had no value?”

The answer is, she wouldn’t. I think that sort of says it all.


Rebecca is giving away free books. Leave a comment at her website that you saw her post on Two Ends of the Pen and she'll send you a coupon for one of her books.

 Rebecca's website 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Blog Tour: Interview with C David Murphy

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book?
A Diary's House is based in the mountains of North Carolina just after the Civil War. It relates the life of a young boy (Landon Hampshire) growing up in his youth and trying to become a young man. The diary he discovers reveals the secrets of a world nearly forty years before. Through this diary he becomes more than a witness on the generations of life, the bounty of love, what true love really means, and the rekindling of lost love – but he finds himself living within its boundaries as his own life unfolds. The diary is of a young woman who lived during the times of the Trail of Tears, how she fell in love with a young Cherokee boy, the troubles and trials that this would present, and the endurance of love throughout all times. It turns into a sweeping romance that transcends time and place. It’s more than a boy's journey into manhood, but the mysteries of so many lives unknowingly intertwined, now brought together in a climatic ending; all from the engrossing world embedded in a forgotten diary; a diary of a woman.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
This novel has been through quite a journey. From its earliest inceptions nearly a decade ago tills, its final evolution and the eventual novel it has become. During my initial querying agents and publishers, I did receive interest from multiple sources. I decided to keep the story back for such a long time, making what I felt were necessary adjustments and waiting until I felt the right moment would come for me to enter it into the ‘Indie’ world. Which I believe the time is now…

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
I’ve been in a loose-fit of local groups from time to time here in Charlotte NC. But I have always felt like a writer’s journey can be quite an individualistic travel. The stories I write are unique unto themselves, diverse, with a narrative just as unique. If a reader finds the scope of the novel plausible, they will read on. If they enter into several chapters and discover the book viable, then the novel probably will get a full read. A Diary’s House is immersed in the complexity of its storylines, the diverse nature to its culture, the intricate backdrop; the times and nuances of that age, and the lore and legends which make this location such a special place. Being set in the mountains of NC was the perfect place for such a novel’s setting.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to Amazon?
The biggest factor is that there is now a concrete avenue for writers under the ‘Indie’ autonomy which gives the writers the necessary freedom to ‘test’ their works in the open market. Before you had to wait weeks, if not months for publishers to go through the ‘snail-process’ of accepting or rejecting your work. If, after you are successful in this venue, then you are looking at months, perhaps years before your work is exposed to the general public. There are also greater bounds for success in the ‘Indie’ process, though the arena might be convoluted with a vast array of entries for the readers to choose from. The reader now has the freedom to choose what they like and what they want to read.

What is your writing process?
I begin with a captive sentence; something that could appeal to the general reader. A Diary’s House started with the simple phrase of ‘a woman in the diary’. From there grew the antidote of the principal relations between a grandmother and her grandson. Their story only deepens the mood of this story; the ties are far-reaching, and the story will go in directions the reader will not suspect. But in the end, the relevance of its truth regarding ‘true, essential love’ will reward the reader with its unforgettable ending. The emotional impact, I feel, is riveting and profound to the reader.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you.
Both – sometimes one takes principal importance over the other. Character pre-development, storyline invention, scene sketching all form and weave the novel into the comprehensive story that it becomes. If I were to have a concrete methodology upfront, and all the development has to be established before writing a word, then I might find myself with an itch I can’t scratch. Many times the characters will dictate the tale and scope, and the ultimate direction the work will take. I have to be genuine to the lives I write about, and the reader has to know the sense and sensibility on the genuine nature of each character. It binds ‘viability’ to the story.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
The publisher and I bounced back and forth on the editing collaboration before the publication date.

What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?
There are more avenues for self-publishing than there used to be. Just a few years ago there was virtually nothing out there for the self-published works. Now there are so many to choose from, the writer should be cautious on who carries the ‘rights’ to their works. The biggest thing is to be realistic about your expectations (on your genre for the work and your writing skills), and to persevere through all obstacles which might present themselves during the process. It’s not enough to desire ‘self-fulfillment’ simply because you have written a work you have pride in. It’s important for each writer to learn the market place and to fully understand their rights as the creator of intellectual properties.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
A Diary’s House is on a multitude of sites. , , , Google Ebooks, Indigo, Abebooks, Alibris, Indiebound, Half, Audible, Ibookstore to name a few. I would suggest googling A Diary’s House.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
It’s funny… I’m not the most savvy when it comes to this. But I do have a twitter account ; ; my website  for more info about me, reviews, my ‘Language from the Heart’ blog series and also ‘Landon’s Journal’ series as well as my dedication to my son – Landon Murphy. Check back often as more will be posted on a very regular basis. I also post sample chapters of my works on ; ; .

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
My publisher Digital Publishing Expert has been very, very helpful. Marlene Diaz has been super through this whole process. I am greatly indebted to her. But still it takes time to write the blogs, keep up with postings, look at reviews and comments and responding in kind.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Be wise – quickly. Understand you can have the greatest novel ever written, but without adequate exposure as an unknown author, you are fighting an uphill battle. Being good in your craft doesn’t necessarily mean you will obtain the success you desire upfront. But knowing yourself and being dedicated to your passions for writing always gives you greater opportunities down the road. There is a certain aspect of catching ‘lightening in a bottle’, but also perseverance will increase your chances and then ‘destiny’ might well find you. My next novel fits just in this category. The reviews I have received for it have been extremely encouraging - all the way to the point that it is right in Oprah’s wheelhouse and that she should take a good hard read on it. But still it is an unknown work. You have to believe in what you write, but also have a discerning eye so that your writing skills progress and get better over time. 

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
I love the outdoors - and growing up in the mountains of NC means that it’s always in your blood. I love the beauty and majestic nature of this world and I find great adventure (as Landon Hampshire does) in exploring every nook and cranny I can discover. Sports, music, Church activities are all key to me.

What’s next for you?
Well, the next novel ‘When Tomorrow Never Comes’ is complete – just a few tweaks here and there. It is a family drama with real and viable circumstances. The compelling nature of this story tests the very will of the ‘James’ family in ways they could never have imagined before actually falling into a tragic world of survival. It’s an American family tale which should resonate with a large audience base. You discover how lives can change and alter in ways that are very, very unscripted. It’s based on a true story – a relationship novel with many layers.

Another novel now in its final edits ‘The Chronicles of Good and Evil – Dracula’s Lair/The Darkest Tower’ is the beginning of a series of books. It is the galactic struggle for humanity. A Christian fictional novel – its composition turns visionary and will provoke the debate on how humanity should travel and how the age-old war between good and evil is truly universal. Timing placed aside, it is a story which will resonate into today’s world – very much so. I wanted to create a form of Christian ‘superhero’s’, if you will, a legion of angels. I believe it is a provocative tale which delves into the real life and times of Dracula, the true battles of Satan and God, and how the attrition war for humanity still greatly affects us today. I am truly excited about this novel. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Interview with Annie Rachel Cole

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book?
In Guardian of Atlantis, sixteen-year-old Raven Weir has a somewhat normal life until she receives a mysterious necklace everyone is willing to kill her to get because it contains the key codes to Atlantis. Now she finds she’s the only one standing between Atlantis and those who want to use the power hidden there to take over the world. And Zeus is at the head of that line. On top of worrying about social acceptance at school, Raven has to get control of her growing powers before she harms someone, deal with the alpha Hellhound at school who is attracted to her while members of his pack are trying to kill her, and come to terms with the fact she’s adopted and her biological parents are Medusa and Poseidon.

I just put out a collection of short ghost stories, No Rest for the Spirit and Other Ghostly Tales.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
For years I’ve queried agents with little to no luck. I’ve gotten a few requests for partials and a full manuscript request once, but all were rejected.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
I don’t belong to a critique group, but I have several readers who give me feedback and suggestions.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to Amazon?
The numerous rejections are one of the things that pushed me toward self-publication. You can only hear “It’s a good story, but…” so many times.  A few months ago, I literally stumbled across Joe Konrath’s blog, A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing. As a result of these events, I made the decision to become an Indie Author and take control of my own writing career.

What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?
I’ve learned there are people who will cheer for you and then there are those who will try to cut you down. You have to have a tough skin and be optimistic. Book sells aren’t going to immediately happen. You have to build your audience base and that takes time and a lot of hard work.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
Guardian of Atlantis is available in ebook and paperback at Barnes and Noble and in paperback at the CreateSpace estore. My newest book, No Rest for the Spirit and Other Ghostly Tales is also available in ebook at Barnes and Noble and in paperback at the CreateSpace estore.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
Web Page:
I also have an author’s webpage at Amazon and am a member of Goodreads.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
I’m used to juggling my writing time with my day job as a public school teacher. Now that I’ve thrown in marketing, it will be an interesting mix. I know it will be a challenge to balance everything, but then things worth doing tend to be difficult. If it’s easy, why do it?

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Don’t give up on your dream. Study your craft. Start a blog and write to begin building an audience. And remember, as much as you enjoy the creative process of writing, publishing what you write is a job.

What’s next for you?
I’m writing the second novel in the Children of Atlantis series. The story picks up just a few weeks after Guardian of Atlantis ends. My goal is to have this book out around the beginning of the new year, and I have an idea for the third book. I’m also working on outlining a trilogy called Fire and Ice. The outline for the first book is almost complete. This trilogy is about a girl who discovers who and what she really is as she learns the truth about fairytales and the Fae. I also have an outline ready for a book about a boy and the problems he has with zombies when one of his ideas goes from bad to really bad.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Review: BECOMING CLEMENTINE by Jennifer Niven

5 of 5 stars

From the opening pages when 21-year-old Velma Jean Hart is piloting a B-17 bomber across the Atlantic Ocean, I was intrigued with this character. In 1944 she was only the second woman to have accomplished this feat. Velma is a member of the Women Air Force Pilots (WASP) and nothing is more challenging for her than flying a plane. When she volunteers to co-pilot an allied mission to drop agents in France, she has no idea that it will change her life forever. The plane is shot down in the French countryside and Velma must learn to survive while eluding capture by the Germans who are scouring the area for survivors. With the 5 agents who parachuted before the plane crashed, Velma makes her way to Paris where she takes up her alias as Clementine Roux. She works with the Resistance sabotaging German operations however she can.

This story is one of courage, commitment to doing the right thing and the will to survive despite overwhelming odds. Scene after scene will keep you glued to the story especially the chapters dealing with the brutal prison. Will Clementine crack under interrogation by the German commandant? Is she still trying to collect intel on the enigmatic spy known only as "Swan" who is also in German custody even when her own life is in jeopardy. The storyline is riveting, and though it is not a true story, it could very well be one. That's how realistic and compelling Velma/Clementine's story is. There were so many courageous and dedicated people trying to defeat the Germans during World War II. This is just one story, but an absolute must read.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Blog Tour Promo Blast: A Diary's House

A Diary's House: Where True Love Endures

A Diary’s House is about adventure, lost love, and the hope that dreams, even those in the final years of life, can at last prevail. It is of a young boy’s attempt to become a man, the once-lost secrets of a diary, a sweeping romance which transcends time and place. It is more than a boy’s journey into manhood, but the mysteries of so many lives unknowingly intertwined, now brought together in a climatic ending; all from the engrossing world embedded in a forgotten diary; a diary of a woman. Born in the vast and looming mountains of North Carolina during the 1870’s, Landon Hampshire always remembered the folklore and legendary tales his father told him during his early childhood; about the people of the Kituhwa (Cherokee) and the birth of this tribal nation – an enchanting story he could never forget.

Incorporating the aid of an eccentric old French trapper (old man Montague), Landon and his friends set out on an adventure, their initial intention is to discover treasure and become men. But what Landon will eventually come to discover is more than he ever bargained for. Landon didn't realize his boyhood adventure would yield the incredible journey he ultimately experiences - going down the mysterious and mystical Randola River. At the base of the river is an island even more mysterious than the Randola itself. The island releases many of its mysterious, yet even many more are created when Landon discovers, on the island, a diary of a young woman who lived forty years prior during the 1830’s (Trail of Tears).

The diary entries are hopeful, though haunting. It reveals, in intimate detail, the life and dreams of this very special young girl who is turning into a woman of beauty and adventure, her love for a Cherokee boy, and the trials she will ultimately face. Her story unfolds through the reading of her diary, and Landon suddenly finds himself caught up in a sweeping, empowering world of re-invention and ultimate redemption.

C. David Murphy I am a writer; first and foremost. Anyone who reads my works will instantly know this. I have found no greater joy on this earth than to be close to God and nature; exploring the serenity of landscapes, waterfalls, epic mountains, meadows and grasslands. To sit on those spots of earth and write to where my imagination will take me yields a tremendous amount of peace and serenity.. To create characters with true and genuine emotions, feel their heartbeat thru every word I write; their trails, their hopes and ambitions; to breathe life into their eyes and see their soul become one with me and the reader is absolutely amazing. I simply love to create on that venue and canvas; to affect change in the lives of others. It is my hope, when someone picks up my stories and reads the full weight of them, that somehow I have affected change in their lives, brought them to places they could never have imagined before, and moved them to believe in humanity again – to go out into the world and create ‘goodwill towards all’.

The Diary’s House is C David Murphy’s first digitally published novel. He is also the author of two Shakespearean-style genre plays In the Years of the Ages and Hildengrass. He is currently finalizing his next novel, When Tomorrow Never Comes and The Chronicles of Good and Evil – Dracula’s Lair / The Darkest Tower, both due out later this year. Also, the sequel to A Diary’s House is in the works – The Long Journey Home due out the first part of 2013.  

Follow Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads Buy Amazon /Barnes & Noble /Smashwords / Kobo

The author is having a contest for a KINDLE FIRE and 5 autographed copies of the book!! Fill out the form below to for a Chance to win. Ends October 31 Open US/ Can a Rafflecopter giveaway Follow the Tour

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Review: ANGELFALL by Susan Ee

5 of 5 stars

ANGELFALL is a YA post-apocalyptic story featuring Penryn, a 17-year-old girl, who finds herself the head of her own fractured family. Her mother is schizophrenic and her little sister is crippled. The world has been attacked by avenging angels and lies in ruins. Human gangs roam the streets claiming territory and food in this brutal dog-eat-dog  world. While trying to move her family to a safer location, Penryn finds herself in the middle of an angel battle and witnesses a brutal attack on the angel, Raffe. While she tries to help the injured angel, her sister is kidnapped by the rival angel. This sets Penryn on a path where she and Raffe become unwilling partners. Both want something and they can only achieve it if they work together.

I don't usually read YA books, but I read this book in 2 sittings and couldn't read it fast enough. The author does such a fantastic job of pulling the reader into Penryn's thoughts, her fears and her driving motivations. The cast of characters are nicely fleshed-out and a wonderful addition to this unique storyline.  I'll add my vote to the hundreds of other readers who thought this was one of the best books they're read in awhile. Highly Recommended.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Autumnal Equinox

The word equinox comes from the Latin words for "equal night." The fall and spring equinoxes are the only days of the year in which the Sun crosses the celestial equator.

An equinox occurs twice a year (around 20 March and 22 September), when the tilt of the Earth's axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun, the center of the Sun being in the same plane as the Earth's equator. The term equinox can also be used in a broader sense, meaning the date when such a passage happens. The name "equinox" is derived from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night), because around the equinox, the night and day have approximately equal length.

It is the date at which sunset and sunrise are exactly 12 hours apart (known as the equilux.) Because times of sunset and sunrise vary with an observer's geographic location (longitude and latitude), the equilux likewise depends on location and does not exist for locations sufficiently close to the Equator. The equinox, however, is a precise moment in time which is common to all observers on Earth.

Friday, September 21, 2012


Want to sink your teeth into a new vampire story? Why not give THE SILVER CROSS, Book 1 in the "Vampire Nightlife" series a try?

Book Blurb:
There are two things Boston detective Lacey Gardner knows about killing vampires. Slicing off a head or a hit directly to the heart are the only surefire ways to kill one. Silver is their Achilles heel. A vampire never wears silver.

When she meets bartender extraordinaire, Damon Harte, her heart does a quickstep for the dark hunky guy. She's learned the hard way that having a love interest in her line of work can be heart-wrenching. She's kept to herself for years, but something about Damon captivates her and draws her to him. When she learns Damon's devastating secret, she knows what she has to do: kill the man who has stolen her heart.

Buy links:

Coming soon to the ibookstore and Kobo books.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Spotlight: BENDING THE BOYNE by J.S. Dunn

A novel of ancient Ireland

Book Blurb:
Circa 2200 BCE: Changes rocking the Continent reach Eire with the dawning Bronze Age. Well before any Celts, marauders invade the island seeking copper and gold. The young astronomer Boann and the enigmatic Cian need all their wits and courage to save their people and their great Boyne mounds, when long bronze knives challenge the peaceful native starwatchers. Banished to far coasts, Cian discovers how to outwit the invaders at their own game. Tensions on Eire between new and old cultures and between Boann, Elcmar, and her son Aengus, ultimately explode. What emerges from the rubble of battle are the legends of Ireland’s beginnings in a totally new light.

Larger than myth, this tale echoes with medieval texts, and cult heroes modern and ancient. By the final temporal twist, factual prehistory is bending into images of leprechauns who guard Eire’s gold for eternity. As ever, the victors will spin the myths.

This story appeals to fans of solid historical fiction, myth and fantasy, archaeo-astronomy, and Bronze Age Europe.

Buy Links:

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Blog tour: CURSED HEROES by William D Ollivierre

Cursed Heroes, The Beginnings

Cursed by God himself theses poor souls must forever wonder the universe in bodies that are forever aging. However, they have turned their curse into their strength, as they fight against every power in this universe to protect those that cannot protect themselves. Fighting with everything they have, single handedly taking on vast armies, even if it means they will be beaten to a bloody wreck they will still stand and fight. They shake planets to their very cores, darken the stars, and moving entire star systems, all for the protection of the universe, they are The Brothers Will, and they never back down. Now come join the fight as you learn how it all began.

Purchase on Kindle / Paperback

Get the first in the series Cursed Heroes, The Ones Called Hackers (Volume 1)

Follow William D. Ollivierre Twitter / Facebook 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

3 Unexpected Places Writers Can Find Inspiration by Katheryn Rivas

Latching onto inspiration in an unexpected moment or place is an art of creative awareness. To begin drawing inspiration from your everyday experiences, you need only be armed with an instinct for storytelling and a pen and paper (or the technological equivalent).

Finding inspiration in the unexpected is often the exact opposite of what you may think of as exciting or surprising. It is an active search to overturn the boulders, stones and pebbles of your life; searching for the interesting tidbits that have been left in the shadows.

The Office

Even if your office is relatively drama-free, keep your eyes and ears open for any signs of conflict or romance. If there’s a lack of both, you can usually churn out some comedic dialogue or character sketches using your co-workers as a reference. Comic relief is an essential part of fiction that is very often overlooked by creative writing instructors.

Every office has a villain, but the heroes are often so much harder to identify. Consider how you respond to other people and what dynamics are in play. The political dynamics of an office can be rife with unspoken tension, fears, insecurities and agendas.

Delving into the facts of what’s actually happening in your office may prove dangerous, so proceed with caution. Use your imagination to fill in the blanks of your suspicions and take measures to transform real-life people into fictional characters. You don’t want to be sued for libel.

Idea: Write a poem about a mundane task you perform. Use hyperbolic and reverent language to make it as melodramatic as possible. Share it with your co-workers for a laugh.

Public Transportation / Public Places

When I travel, I find that my best writing comes from observing others in their day-to-day lives. There is something about public transportation that always lends the feeling of tourism, even on the subway ride home. For the writer, public transportation is a potential goldmine of inspiration. It illuminates the very essence of coincidence.

Imagine, in each subway car, individuals who are starkly alienated from one another come together in a brief moment of loose community. Where are they going? Where have they been? What small, barely perceptible dynamics are driving the social interaction? The same questions can be asked when observing people in public places.

Idea: Write a series of character sketches based on the strangers you encounter during your day.


One of my favorite “games” to play while at restaurants and cafes is to study the body language of the people around me.  Restaurants and cafes merge the intimate with the public, allowing complete strangers to observe relationships and overhear conversations. Here, couples and friends join together, making for a great opportunity to observe dialogue and mini-dramas of social interplay. Perhaps even more interesting is the study of a single individual. Loners are much more mysterious than groups, and the clues we gather from them are much more important.

Idea: Study a loner and develop a flash fiction piece based on his (or her) behavior. 
Author bio:
Katheryn Rivas is a freelance writer and resident blogger at, a site dedicated to distance higher education.  
During college, my professors drilled a single concept into my brain. “Write what you know,” they said.

Well, I knew a lot about literary theory and Russian and American literature – but I didn’t know it in my bones. I couldn’t write about it on instinct.

I realized I just simply wasn’t paying attention to my everyday life. Today, my world is filled with unexpected surprises. Some beneficial, some tragic – but the unexpected is almost always good material for a story.

She welcomes your comments at