December Webinar Schedule

November 28, 2018

My schedule for insurance CE webinars in December is now available. The topics include health insurance, homeowners insurance endorsements, disability income, cyber security, professional liability, Medicare, anti-money laundering, and Driving Into the Future (car rental, Uber, driverless cars, and drones). Hope to “see” you soon!  

Being Thankful

November 19, 2018

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I’ve always had Friday off from work and love spending the 4-day weekend at home, hunkering down and relaxing. Maybe it’s because those four days will be last opportunity to breathe and take it easy for a good six weeks. Maybe it’s because, as the seasons change and the year winds down, I find myself trying to figure out how to do and be better. Looking backward, I appreciate all the things that went right during the past year, and all the things that didn’t. I make plans and set goals … and sincerely hope…

What Kinds of Books Do I Read?

November 16, 2018

I read all kinds of stuff, in all kinds of formats. I own thousands of books: hardcover, paperback, and ebooks on my Kindle. I subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, and definitely receive a great value for my subscription. Here’s the thing. I received a credit from Amazon that linked me to a page with all kinds of books I could apply the credit to. How does a person decide what book to buy? I suspect I have a serious issue–okay, I know I have several of them, but I’m talking about the issue relating to my preference for some writers over…

New England Crime Bake 2018

November 12, 2018

I just spent a terrific weekend in Boston at the New England Crime Bake, a writers conference co-sponsored by the New England Chapters of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, organizations of which I am a member. All I can say is, Wow! Wonderful guest of honor: Walter Mosley. Excellent presenters and panelists, including Gayle Lynds. So much to process and share. Give me a few days to gather my thoughts and I’ll have more info and details for you. In the meantime, you can use #crimebake on Social Media to see photos and other good stuff posted…

The older I get, and the longer I write, the more convinced I become that writer’s groups are an essential component of a writer’s life, success, and mental well-being. Why? -1- Writer’s groups provide a sense of community, of belonging. Although my professional background has always been in sales and marketing, I have never felt comfortable in large crowds of people (unless I was teaching). Until I walked into my first writer’s meeting in Boston in the late 1980s. There’s nothing that compares to being in a roomful of other creative people. When I’m with other writers, even those I…

Call me a creature of the sunlight. Like a little kid, I wake up as soon as dawn chases the darkness away in the morning–regardless of what the clock says. Summer is mornings, freshness, new beginnings. The vivid colors of the trees, flowers, and sky paint pictures I remember once the winter turns them sodden and blurry. Sometimes I think to snap an actual photo. Usually, I don’t. I collect sea shells, herbs for drying, and long walks once life cools down in the evening. I love bare feet, shirts without sleeves, windows thrown open to the wind. To me,…

In this final of 4 blog posts with tips for keeping on track with your writing, I want to tell you about the many free database programs available to keep all your book files in a central location. Many businesses use these database and project management programs for team collaboration and monitoring the numerous projects they have going. Well, we freelancers can use many of these programs as well, even if we don’t employ other people. Some of us go solo during the writing process, but others of us have teams that consist of critique partners, agents, and fellow writers…

In this third of four posts about how to stay on track with your writing, I’ll be discussing Tip #3: Using Multiple Notebooks in Microsoft’s OneNote. I use OneNote to keep at my fingertips all those things I used to find myself flipping through pages of manuscript to find because I knew they were in there but just couldn’t find them. The best thing about OneNote is that it not only works like a regular notebook, with separate sections and pages, it also permits me to color code everything and insert photos and hyperlinks right from the Internet. I can…

In my last blog post, I talked about Tip # 1, Customer styles and themes in Microsoft Word. In this post, I’m sharing Tip #2: A Custom Chapter-by-Chapter template for outlining both what I plan to write in future chapters/scenes … and what I’ve actually written. I don’t know how it goes with you, but my plans always sound terrific. And some of them actually turn out that way. But quite often, I change plans in the middle of a story because I stumble over a flaw in my plot, I note an inconsistency in the character’s personality, or I…

I’m not a pantser. I don’t have to plot out every single scene before I write, either, but I like to have a framework within which to operate. After years of writing millions of pages of insurance textbooks, countless newspaper and magazine articles, and hundreds of book chapters I’ve settled on a process that keeps me organized. It also allows me more time to write without having to backtrack. Here are the ingredients to my recipe for keeping on track: Tip #1: Custom Styles and Themes in Microsoft Word Tip #2: Custom Chapter-by-Chapter template for outlining both what I plan…