Guest Bloggers

The Power of Storytelling—Now Proven

Guest Blogger Frances Lefkowitz writes: The life of a freelance writer is full of the uncertain (“where will my next assignment come from?”) and the mundane (“did I spell that source’s name right?”), coupled with high deadline pressure and middling compensation. But every once in a while, I get to track down fascinating regular people and ask them to tell me stories. That’s what I did for a recent article for Good Housekeeping on the power of storytelling. The assignment was to write about the new evidence that storytelling has benefits for the health and wellness of individuals, families, and communities, and I had to read my fair share of academic research journals and talk to my fair share of M.D.s and Ph.Ds. But I also got to sit back, relax, and listen to tall tales. The best, most enduring stories, it turns out, are those that contain both hardship…

Book Reviews

Seal of My Heart by Sharon Hamilton

Seal of My Heart by Sharon Hamilton                                      Review by Tabitha I always love reading Sharon Hamilton’s Seal books. She never disappoints and this one is no exception. Kate and Tyler meet on a plane and it’s an immediate attraction and pull that neither of them ever thought existed. Their love happens a little fast, but hey, who am I to say how long it should take for someone to fall in love? This is definitely a whirlwind love. Tyler and Kate are super sweet together and I love the fact that even though Tyler is a tough and strong Seal, he is what some girls dream of. He is not just strong and protective, but loving and sweet and loves with his whole heart. I had a few issues with Kate’s character because she was engaged when she meets Tyler even though she wasn’t happily engaged. I think that…


Publishing is a journey, not a destination. — Jennifer Lynn Alvarez

Publishing is a journey, not a destination. — Jennifer Lynn Alvarez, author of The Pet Washer and Guardian Herd – Starfire. Jennifer was an amazing presenter at Writers Forum in Petaluma, summer of 2014.  If you have an opportunity to hear her speak, or attend her author’s event . . . go for it!  She’s warm, friendly and has a herd of information about publishing . .  .both traditional publishing and self-publishing. She has done both and has stories to tell!  She is welcome back at Writers Forum anytime! She’s a good writer, too!  

Places to submit

What do these writers have in common?

Bella Andre, David Corbett and Jordan Rosenfeld have all been Writers Forum of Petaluma presenters. Scroll down for details. The September 2014 issue of Writer’s Digest magazine is filled with practical, helpful and inspirational articles. Bella Andre is on the cover. Her story, “Romancing Big Publishers With E-book Success” might encourage you to go the indie route for publishing or try traditional. She also talks about why she uses a pen name. Do you wonder about “pacing and tension?” Jessica Page Morrell has written an article that explains it in easy-to-understand format. Donald Maass writes about “Building Microtension Into Every Scene” and makes it seem like an easy thing to do.   Writer’s Digest Contest #60 is one you can enter. “Write a short story of 750 words or fewer based on the prompt: A man opens his mailbox to find an envelope containing a set of instructions.” “You can…


Grow your characters. Prompt #48

Grow your characters. For the next three writing prompts, we’re going to build our repertoire, so that we’ll have characters, location and a problem leading us to write a scene. One step at a time. First step:  Write a brief description of character or characters.  If  you have a work in progress, use this time to discover something new about your characters. If writing memoir, same thing . . . find a new way to describe character.  Include flaw or flaws. Example:  Self-doubt, what would be challenging to character?  What does the character fear? What big events molded character? Character’s likes and dislikes.  What drives character? How does character react to pressure? Give your character a personality quirk, add internal conflict. These examples are from Sheldon Siegel’s 2011 talk at Writers Forum of Petaluma.  Sheldon Siegel is one of my favorite authors. Need more ideas? Fill in the blanks. Answer…