What Writing Community Means to Me

No, I’m not drinking two beers. One was my sister’s (she’s the photographer) and, in fact, I was drinking a soda. The photo was taken during a writer’s conference where I learned exactly what Writing Community means to me. Conferences I love going to writers’ conferences. Ironically, the best ones I attended were in New York City with RWA the year one of my daughters turned 11 (she’s never forgiven me for going away). The other two were in New Orleans, one with RWA and one in connection with my award nomination for my first mystery, Second Time Around. (Second

How to Earn Customer Loyalty

Regardless of what business you’re in–whether you write and sell insurance or novels–customers are only going to buy you and your product if you earn their loyalty. No one is automatically entitled to trust. How can you earn trust and loyalty? Be authentic and sincere. If you’re a vegan selling Angus beef, that fundamental contradiction is apparent–if only in a funny feeling prospective customers sense. Be open and honest. The popular word these days is “transparent.” And it’s appropriate. You don’t want people to lie to you, be deceptive, or withhold important information. So, don’t lie to, deceive, or withhold

COVID, the Insurance Industry, and our Crystal Balls

This week, I ventured down a slightly different path on my podcast. I talked about COVID and insurance, but more about what I believe we need to consider for the future rather than about what is happening today. Take a listen and then share what YOU think might happen: https://episodes.castos.com/5e6ccb9ab4cf97-55025247/TMoI-Episode-12-MR.mp3

Independence or Community?

In America, we either brag about our independence or gripe because we feel we’re losing it. In reality, we don’t have it, never had it, and never will have it. You might think I’m full of baloney, but I’m not. Just read the dictionary. When you’re independent, you’re free from the control of others. You don’t rely on other people for help and assistance. You are truly autonomous. If we’re going to bandy about terminology, we need to understand the vocabulary we use. We can’t live independently without the assistance, advice, and assent of others unless we march into the

How Homeowners Insurance Works When You’re Working from Home

The homeowners policy was designed to insure personal risks, not business risks. For this reason, virtually all coverage for business property and liability is explicitly excluded in the homeowners policy. Very limited property coverage is included for business personal property. The limit usually ranges between $1,000 and $2,500 if the business property is at your house. The limit is much less for business property anywhere else–like in your car. Liability coverage for business activities is also severely limited. It only applies to incidents that occur on your property at home, and only for those that arise when: Your house is

Debra Bokur’s new Release: The Fire Thief

The first book in Debra Bokur’s mystery series, The Fire Thief, was released last month to rave reviews. The series is set in Hawaii and you can check it out on her website at https://www.debrabokur.com/. Debra visited with me on The Writer’s Voice this week, and we talked about how her career as a celebrated journalist and editor of magazines and literary journals did NOT prepare her for writing and publishing fiction. You can listen to the podcast episode here. A short video excerpt will appear on my YouTube channel on Friday, here. As most writers will agree, we tend

Sarah Osborne, author of the Ditie Brown Mystery Series

I recently sat down with Sarah Osborne to discuss cozy mysteries, pantsing versus plotting, and her take on writing the first draft so many writers dread. You can: Listen to the podcast episode here View an excerpt of the interview on YouTube here Visit Sarah online at: https://doctorosborne.com/ The most recent book in the series, Murder Most Southern, was released last month.

Elder Abuse: Be Silent No More

I’ve conducted a lot of research into the topic of elder abuse. I’ve also developed and written some insurance continuing education courses on the subject as well, as it pertains to financial fraud. Here is another person’s take on senior financial exploitation, a despicable form of elder abuse. This account was written by Connie Johnson Hambley.

Can You Walk a Mile in Another Person’s Shoes?

Until four years ago, I never watched the news on a regular basis. I never felt the need to follow politics closely or share my political beliefs. My reasons are a story for another day. Maybe it’s because I’m a writer, maybe it’s because I’m growing older, or maybe it’s because of something buried deeply in my unconscious, but I’ve found myself fascinated by all the drama playing out on the world stage during the past four years. People are ridiculously simple and complex … all at at the same time. They’re transparent and deceitful, generous and greedy, considerate and

Legal Liability and the Pandemic

People are talking about lawsuits these days, even more fervently than usual. Why? Because the big question is: What will happen if a person claims he or she contracted COVID-19 at a restaurant, or store, or at work … and then sues the business owner? Will the business’ insurance policy pay the claim? At the moment, it’s impossible to answer that question with any certainty because we have no precedent to follow. In other words, we’re in uncharted waters. One of the first things to remember about insurance claims (with or without associated lawsuits being filed) is that liability insurance