Award Winning Mystery Writer

If Walls Could Talk: Why You Should take on National Novel Writing Month

What is NaNoWriMo? It stands for National Novel Writing Month. Every November, writers across the world gather with their writing groups and attempt to write 50,000 words in 30 days. That adds up to 1,667 words written every day.

NaNoWriMo is very much a marathon, not a sprint.

If memory serves, this marks my tenth anniversary of doing it. To be honest, I have not won every year. In fact I think I’ve won less than half the years. And that’s okay, because you learn so much about writing and you

Horizon: Forbidden West Wins Big in 2022 Dutch Game Awards

During the Dutch Game Awards, Horizon: Forbidden West came home with four awards, including Best Game.

The team at Guerrilla also took home Best Art, Best Technology, and Best Audio.

Horizon: Forbidden West faced Lake by Gamious and Stacklands by Sokpop Collective in the main category.

The Dutch Game Awards aims to promote, highlight, and celebrate Dutch games. The Jury heaped praises on Horizon: Forbidden West.

It makes our Dutch hearts swell with pride that this console-selling masterpiece

If Walls Could Talk: A Slow but Steady Streak

At the beginning of my writing career, I had the mental stamina to sit at a computer for hours a night and write NaNoWriMo-levels of words every day (1,667 words for those not familiar with it). Granted, looking back, it was easy to write that amount of sub-par writing (I still have those files – which will never see the light of day).

I kept that streak up for over five years. And I would write every, single day.

I’m doing great if I can sit down long enough to write If Walls Could Talk. My a

If Walls Could Talk: A Whole New World – The Art of World-Building

One of my favorite things about video games is that they are able to immerse you into their world. You know, that feeling when you’re pulled into the story and they make it (and the people you meet along the way) so real.

Horizon Zero Dawn and its sequel are some of my favorite examples of world-building that I’ve ever seen. I can write (and talk) about these games all day.

Before I dig in, what exactly is world-building? I went to Merriam Webster curious as to how they defined it.

A key to a

If Walls Could Talk: Finding Clues in All the Wrong Places – Red Herrings

Can I confess something to y’all?

There’s something about leading a false trail only to reveal the proper path, to drop breadcrumbs for readers to follow, that eludes me as a writer. To me, it’s one of my biggest shortcomings as a mystery writer.

This week, I read a book that had not one but two Red Herrings. Both had me so focused on them, that when I found out what actually happened, it blew my mind.

But before I dive into how this book delivered some of the best Red Herrings I’ve ever seen

If Walls Could Talk: What to do When a Piece Doesn’t Work

When I write these weekly columns, I like to thank my tone is chill and informal. I’m writing to you all as if I’m chatting with friends. I’ve been fortunate that I can write in a fairly relaxed style for most of my writing career.

Even my fiction is less formal than I see other authors doing. It’s just my style and how I approach the craft.

Over the last week, I was presented with the challenge of writing a news piece, something I was a little rusty at.

I wrote an article and to my dismay (b

Boss Rush Banter: Who’s The Best Puppy Pokémon?

I get some grief about loving Puppy Pokemon. Last week, during the Pokémon Direct, we met Generation 9’s Puppy Pokémon, Fidough. As someone who’s played since the beginning of the series, I’m always fascinated by what they will reveal.

This is what we know about Fidough so far.

“This Pokémon has smooth, moist skin with elastic qualities. They intimidate their opponents by puffing up their bodies to appear bigger.”

Some of my favorite Pokémon have been the puppy ones. In honor of us meeting Fi

If Walls Could Talk: The Art of the To-Do List

I am the textbook definition of a scatterbrained artist. It’s one of my shortcomings. There are days where I would lose my head if it wasn’t attached to me. It’s not intentional, it’s just who I am.

An important part of writing is staying organized. As you might guess, it’s something I struggle with. I have to keep multiple to-do lists going to make sure that I stay on task. It’s also part of the reason why I outline a story multiple times. It organizes my thoughts.

By nature, I’m a hypercompe

How to *Finally* Finish Your Writing Project

Near the beginning of my writing career, I attended a writing group in college. A friend encouraged me to go with them when I mentioned I like to write. Keep in mind, I was still very much in the “writing is a hobby stage” at this point while they seemed to want to make a career of it.

I went, then continued going, and eventually ran the club myself (as equals with a few people I still talk to daily). We did more than work to make a community, we did our best to make sure everyone got the best

If Walls Could Talk: The Right Words – Editing

Everyone needs an editor. If someone is telling you they don’t, they’re either a brand new writer who is still figuring it out, or someone whose ego is so inflated that it’s become detrimental to their writing career.

Sorry if that seems blunt, but it’s what I’ve run into in my experience.

Editing is a fundamental part of any writing project. In fact, books may spend more time in editing than they do being actually written (depends on the writer – I know someone who cranks out their first draf

If Walls Could Talk: Unsung Heroes of Publishing

Take a look at a book on your shelf. Go on, I’ll wait.

At first glance, you see only the author’s name. Honestly, it’s deserved considering they spent weeks to months pouring over a document to make this book come together.

What you don’t see, until you look for it, are the names of people who helped get this book to the finish line. Some are credited on the back cover. Some are credited on the copyright page. Some might only be thanked in the acknowledgements. But all of them are important, a

If Walls Could Talk: Second Time’s the Charm

Confession Time: this was not the first article I wrote for this week. But the other one is going to need an overhaul. You may see it someday or it may languish away on the Google Doc. Time will tell on that one.

It’s not the first time I’ve found myself on a project and had to take serious course corrections.

Rewrites are a critical part of writing but it’s one that people often overlook. To me, it can take longer to do a rewrite than the initial draft.

But it’s vital to the process. Because

Always a Student, Never a Master: The Power of Beginner's Mind

When I wrote my first book, it was an adventure. Not only was it my first major project, it was the moment I realized just how little I knew about the craft of writing.

I was two years into my professional writing career when I shifted from short stories to my first book. Sure, I’d written “books” before. But trust me, those will NEVER see the light of day. That already made this one different. I was not writing it for fun or because writing is my passion (though both of those statements are tr

If Walls Could Talk: Microproductivity – My Key to Writing

Back when I first started writing, I would sit for hours doing late night writing sessions (after school, work, and homework were done). I could sit down for hours at a time and bust out a thousand words no problem.

The last couple of years, I haven’t been able to do that. There are few things that I can sit for hours and do these days.

Unknowingly, I embraced microproductivity before I fully knew what it was.

Essentially, microproductivity is breaking a large task into smaller ones. You then

If Walls Could Talk: Scriptwriting Life Support

Three years ago, I called something that happened on TV over the last few weeks. So let’s talk about production and screenwriting.

I am a television junkie. I watch an obscene amount of it and am currently sulking because Summer means that a lot of shows have gone on hiatus for months. Though it does give me an excuse to go and catch up on streaming shows I’ve missed. One of my dreams is to write for television, so it is a topic I care deeply about. I study it in many ways: watching most of wha

BLOG: Caring for Your Mental Health as a Writer

One of the most understated things about writing is how hard it can be on your Mental Health. Go ahead, Google “Writing and Mental Health.”

If you saw the same thing I saw, you’ll see that the entire first page is about journaling and its benefits to mental health. This is true. There’s a reason why therapists suggest people keep journals.

The fact is, non-writers do not understand the relationship between a writer and their writing. They don’t understand that we leave a piece of ourselves in

If Walls Could Talk: Getting into the Writing Mindset

I cannot begin to tell you how many times I will message James with some form of, “I need to write.”

But, sometimes, despite the miles long to-do list that I have in front of me, I can’t write.

Take yesterday for example. For the sake of reference, this week I cut it close to the wire. I finished this the night before publication. I meant to get it done even earlier (Monday, if not before), but it didn’t quite happen. Between a piece with with a tight deadline and some computer trouble I didn’

If Walls Could Talk: Saying No to Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome is all too common in writers. Either we think we aren’t good enough, or newbies think because they haven’t been published yet they aren’t writers.

To kick this off, let me say something super important.

If you write, you are a writer.

Now I want you to pause, take a deep breath, and say it with me.

Honestly, if there’s one thing newbie writers say that lights my fuse, it’s, “I want to be a writer someday.”

So I’ll repeat myself. If you write, you’re a writer.

Now, some pe

BLOG: How to Throw Out A Project And Start Fresh

It’s a fact of writing that projects need multiple drafts. But that’s not what I’m talking about in this article. Instead, sometimes you might need to completely take apart a project, throwing out every previous draft, and starting over.

It is. But it’s something I recently experienced.

To properly explain this, I have to give you some background on the project in question. I’ve been working on the sequel to my third book since 2017. At the time, I was ambitious that I would finish it sometime

If Walls Could Talk: Embracing the Sting of Rejection

Let me be blunt. As a writer, you will get rejected.

Sometimes in rather painful ways. As a woman who writes murder mysteries, I can honestly say I’ve gotten a rejection letter because I’m a woman (of course, they didn’t outright say that – but you could tell what their problem was).

In the current economy, you also become close friends with rejection letters. Last week, I probably got over 50 on that front alone.

One of those might have topped the aforementioned rejection letter. Like so…

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