Top 5 Resources for Writers

Top 5 Resources for Writers

Hello and welcome to this week’s Monday Musings. I’ll be discussing my Top 10 Resources for writers this week. Everything from computer programs to books to websites. I’m not listing them in any particular order, just my top five resources. I will also say that I am not affiliated in any way with these products or people and am just listing the products that I find helpful in my writing life and as such, want to share.

  1. Writers DigestWriter’s Digest I’ve had a subscription to this magazine on and off since I was about 10 years old. The things that I love most about WD is their articles and tips for writers. Even though they run the same type of issues every year, I constantly find myself learning something from them and their magazine. The magazine also has monthly contests for writers, and a helpful breaking in section in every magazine featuring new writers in every issue. Writers Digest also publishes a list of writers resources every year that I highly recommend purchasing even if you don’t have a subscription to the magazine.
  2. The Creative Penn Website & Podcast– The Creative Penn website/podcast run by author Joanna Penn is one of my favorite writing resources. She gives great writing advice about her own journey to self publishing and interviews many writers and industry professionals in the Indy publishing industry. Her website offers links to her books, courses, free information, videos, social media and more for writers to connect to.
  3. The Self Publishing PodcastSPP The self publishing podcast, hosted by Johhny B Truant, Sean Platt, and David Wright is published weekly and talks about trends in self publishing. Each week the three successful authors share their take on what’s going on and interview others in the industry. They also talk about how to be more productive as a writer, using tools to advance your writing, and systems to write faster.
  4. ScrivenerScrivener  A writing software that I use on my computer to write my novels. I am so glad that I invested in it. It has a feature that I love, called the binder where you can organize everything in one place and see it for your novel. Screen-Shot-2013-12-18-at-8.43.37-AM-e1387390545224.png                                         It allows for you to organize your scenes, move them around, even keep old drafts and restore them to see where your writing has been and how it’s changed so you can restore old changes to it. It is about $40, so it’s a bit of an investment but it does export directly to Kindle format so you can write and theorectically have a properly formatted book however, I have heard that there have been some problems with that function as of late. I don’t know if that will continue to be the case or if it has been fixed yet.
  5. HelpingWritersBecomeAuthors.comHelping Writers Become Authors K.M. Weiland runs this site and podcast. It is both a blog and a podcast that offers articles about everything from story structure to character building. Her podcast takes the articles on her blog and expounds upon them, giving deeper insight and information on them.

Top 5 Tips for Writing LGBT Characters

Top 5 Tips for Writing LGBT Characters

In the modern world there is an entire subset of book and publications for the LGBT community. As the topic grows in the public eye, more and more books and other forms of media are featuring LGBT characters. In order to avoid stiff, stereotypical characters it is vital for writers to know what they are doing when it comes to these characters. Being an active member of this community, I have insight into writing better LGBT characters than those used as a simple stereotype.

1. Most LGBT people feel the need to hide their LGBT identity. At least from some facets of their lives. There is still a large stigma around being a member of LGBT community and it is for our own safety that we hide our identity.

2. Just because someone is a gay or lesbian character does not mean that they have to follow all of the stereotypes of being gay or lesbian. Not every gay man is flamboyant, not every lesbian woman dresses like a man, not every bisexual person is greedy and going to cheat on you. No gay man is always super fabulous, has a nice house and wants to be your gay bff all the time.

3. DO NOT KILL OFF A LESBIAN OR GAY CHARACTER ONCE THEY REALIZE THEY ARE GAY/LESBIAN/BISEXUAL/TRANSGENDER. This has become way too common of a trope on TV shows like The 100.  (Spoiler Alert for Season 3). Right after Clark and Lexa consummate their relationship, Lexa dies. This trope is not only tired and old but a complete insult to those in the LGBT community.

4. Diversity! Not every gay or lesbian charactacter has to be a white character. Intersectionality, or having a character be say gay and Hispanic can prove an excellent way to add depth to them. No two peoples sittuations are the same.

5. Being gay is not going to be the entirety  of this persons story unless it is a coming out story. That is a specific kind of narrative, similar to a coming of age story and follows a similar structure to those. If the story is not about that, being an LGBT character is a part of an interesting character, but not their entire personality. 
So, these are my top five tips for writing LGBT characters. Let me know what you think. 


Day 4: “His wife was having tea with the King and he didn’t even know about it.”

Day 4: “His wife was having tea with the King and he didn’t even know about it.”

His wife was having tea with the King and he didn’t even know about it.


“Helen?” James called through his bedchamber, expecting his wife to answer, after all, she had nothing planned for the day and he needed her to arrange his breakfast and clothing for the day.

No answer. Why would his wife not answer him? She should be here in his chamber to make sure that he had what he needed to begin his day before she went to work with the other wives.

What was he supposed to do? He got up, opening the curtains of his bed and expecting to see his wife there. She was gone, but his clothes, washbasin, razor, and breakfast for the day were neatly laid out.

“At least she has the sense to leave me this.”  There will be hell to pay for this later. Leaving me without telling me where she is going. Who does she think she is, some noblewoman, able to leave her husband and go off while leaving him with no one to help get ready for the long day of share-cropping?

He dipped his razor into the basin and began to shave, still muttering as she wondered where his wife could be today.


Helen smoothed the creases in her dress. It was the finest one she owned, having only three patches in it. Why the King had requested to have tea with her she knew not, but she still wished to make a good impression on the young leader, after all, he was the King.

She waited as the courtier called her name, announcing that she was there for morning tea with the King.

“Helen McIntery for you, Your Highness.”

“Thank you, Sean, leave us.” The courtier bowed, ushering her into the room and left.

Helen entered, expecting an opulent room and was pleasantly surprised to see a normal living area, a small table with a tea set and some scone set upon it.

“Please sit.” The King was sitting on the opposite end of the table dressed in a simple shirt, not unlike the one she’d set out for her husband just hours ago.

“Y-Yes Your Highness.”

He laughed pleasantly. “None of that, just call me Edward.”

Helen sat, watching as the King poured her a cup of tea. She was struck by the odd nature of the scene.

“I-I couldn’t possibly. I mean you’re the King and I’m just a farmer’s wife.”

“Here, have some tea.” Helen took the tea, adding just a drop of honey, something she and James had never had much extra money for.

“May I ask why I was asked to have tea with the King?”

Edward smiled, taking a bite of one of the pastries. “Yes.”


“So, your wife was headed up to the castle this morning.”

James looked up. “What?”

“Yeah, one of the King’s coaches came an took her up there.” John continued to pick carrots from the field as he spoke.

“Why would she be going up there?” James stopped, looking at his friend as he spoke.

“Dunno. Maybe the King heard about your wife’s cooking?”


“So, you mean to say that you have need of a cook and you want to hire me as you’ve heard I’m a good cook?” Helen felt her heart beating out of her chest. This was almost too good to be true. The king was offering to move her and her husband into the castle as his personal cook.

“Well, I would have to try your cooking. And of course, that is if your husband approves.”

Helen smiled. “If you would allow me to ask him, I could go now and be back to prepare you supper.”


30 Day Flash Fiction Challenge Day 3

January Update 2

Hello Readers and Writers,

I wanted to apologize for not being able to update as much as I thought I would be able to. I have had a lot going on this month. Without going into too much detail, when I had my doctors appointment I was put on a different medication that has some side effects that take some getting used to. The main one of which is extreme lethargy and exhaustion. After about a week on that new medication I have finally figured out how to fight it and I’m back to being able to be awake and up. I was hardly able to stay awake during the day let alone write or even go to work. Let’s just say working when you can hardly stay awake is not something you want to do.

My last semester as an undergraduate college student starts on Monday so my days are going to get busier which means I’ll be having to find a way to squeeze this in to my work, which I hope will mean I can get it done more. I don’t know, but to me, it seems like when I’m busier I have an easier time of getting things done.

I’ve got my interview transcribed and I will have it up and on the blog by the 25th because I am starting the interview process for another job over the next few weeks and I have another few doctors appointments coming up. This month is turning into one of the busiest I have had in a long time.

I will be trying to get caught up on the writing prompts today, but I cannot promise more than one extra as I do have to get caught up on some housework before my family comes for a visit this weekend as well.

Day 12’s prompt is: A story entitled “The Fate of the Telegraph Operator”

–  Jessica

Day 11: “Winter was the only season we could be together”

Day 11: “Winter was the only season we could be together”

Winter was the only season we could be together. It wasn’t something crazy like Persephone and Hades, it was just practical. He was a professor and she was a rock star on tour except for winter.

“Jeff.” She walked through the small house, expecting him to be in the office, surprised when the lights were off. The house lacked the warmth it normally had this time of year. Usually there would be a candle on, the scent of apple pie or pumpkins wafting through the house as she dropped her bags and came home to their cosy abode.

Now there was silence and it smelled empty. Jeff wasn’t here. Lucy sighed. She knew it was getting harder for him to wait for her to be home in the winter, as it was getting harder for her to only be home in the winter.

She wanted to be home, to start a family, to stop being on tour all the time. But it was the only way to do it right now. If she could just keep this up for a year or two more, then she could have enough to ensure Jeff would never need to beg for funding for his research again during his career.

Lucy turned, walking back into the kitchen, intending to start cooking a dinner for herself. If Jeff wasn’t here, he’d be back on the campus working on his latest research project and he wouldn’t be home until 2 or 3 am.

She opened the fridge, looking for something to cook with.

“Damn it.”

There was nothing. Jeff was living like a bachelor again. Nothing in the fridge except some mustard, milk and ranch dressing. Couldn’t her husband ever eat something more than pizza while she was gone?

She didn’t want to call for takeout but a trip to the grocery store after flying from Copenhagen was out of the question was as well.

“Guess Chinese it is.”

Lucy picked up the phone, laying across her couch as she dialed the familiar number. The lock clicked and she paused.

“Hello Lucky Dragon Chinese-”

Jeff nudged the door open, his arms full with two heaping paper bags of groceries, a bouquet of flowers peaking out of the top of one of them.

“Oh. You’re home early.”

Lucy hung the phone up, letting it drop to the couch. “Jeff! I thought you were still at the University.”

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming

Hey all,

I did write the story for today, well part of it. I had some other things to do in preparation for a doctor’s visit I have tomorrow to a specialist for my migraines. Since I won’t be driving to this appointment (it’s an hour and half drive plus we’re staying overnight at a hotel) I’ll have time to finish today’s piece which is: The language of flowers, pyjamas, a secret passageway and write the Day 4 prompt: “His wife was having tea with the King and he didn’t even know about it.”


– Jessica

Day 3: The language of flowers, pyjamas, a secret passageway

Day 3: The language of flowers, pyjamas, a secret passageway

Flowers. Her porch was covered with the flowers. It looked as though a flower store had exploded over the Victorian porch.

I guess this is what happens when you’re famous and your hero boyfriend dies. Hannah looked around her living room, catching her reflection in the mirror. Oversized pajamas, crazy hair, and dark circles under her eyes. She certainly didn’t want to be caught by an overzealous paparazzi looking like this.

It was odd, the flowers. No one knew her mom’s address.

“Hey mom?” Hannah called out through the house as she walked around. She stepped into the kitchen, expecting to see her mother.

Nothing. No, no wait. A note.


Gone to the store. Who left the roses? They’re beautiful. 

– Mom 

“Guess that answers that.” Hannah crumbled the note, throwing it in the trash can as she peeled a banana.

It was odd, she thought, to be home. She hadn’t been back to Virginia in nearly five years, not since her TV show took off. And now she was back.

Because he was dead. Her boyfriend, her partner, the love of her life was dead. He’d died a hero. Raiding a terrorist cell with his SEAL unit.

This weekend was supposed to be their wedding, not Chris’ funeral.


She stepped out of the bathroom, toweling her hair and feeling more like herself. Now, the flowers. She padded through the house, headed to the porch. Hannah stopped short when she noticed it.

The flowers were inside. On her mom’s coffee table.

“Hey honey. I heard you in the shower so I thought I’d bring the flowers in. There was a note with them.”

“Oh, thanks mom. I didn’t realize you were back. I’d almost thought that someone had somehow gotten in with more.”

Hannah picked up the note, her stomach wiggling as the handwriting looked somewhat familiar. It reminded her of Chris’ but that was impossible.

The language of flowers is beautiful. I know you miss Chris but I hope these will remind you of your first date with him. 

“The language of flowers? What does that mean? Why would I want to be reminded of our first date right now?” She put the note down and looked at the flowers. Purple and pink hyacinths, primrose and azaleas.

An unusual combination to be sure. What flowers did people usually send for grief? Wasn’t it usually lillies?

But her first date with Chris. They’d gone just down the road, to the Underground Railroad passages in Gettysburg.


30 Day Flash Fiction Challenge Day 2 Day 4