How One Teacher-Turned-Author Overcame Her Fear of Publishing

Heather's pro pic
Cyana Scriptora

Hey everyone! So since becoming an indie author, I’ve met some other FABULOUS authors who I’d like you to meet. You might see some of them sprinkled here on my blog, as well as in my Readers Club e-newsletter.

Today, I’m dying to introduce you to Cyana Scriptora, who wrote this fascinating fantasy/historical book entitled Lady of Justice (girl power, anyone?) Here’s the cool thing, Cyana is a teacher whose students helped kick-start her into the world of writing and publishing!

Below, Cyana tells us how she found inspiration to write her novel and overcame her fears of publishing (and she’s looking for some additional reviewers, so if you want to read her book for free, COMMENT BELOW with your email address):

A Story of Make-Believe

By Cyana Scriptora

Lady of Justice came to me while I was playing make-believe in a play tent with my daughter. It popped into my head and a ravenous desire to put words to paper consumed me. I spent one month writing the plot line and several more months editing.

My students are my biggest supporters. I write stories for our class, so they can understand biology. They are all too familiar with my writing. After a few of them read it, they loved it so much, they encouraged me to self-publish.

With no formal education in writing other than the general English classes I took in college, I was terrified to publish, but I had this unexplained passion to share this world and these characters with readers.

I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be great to write a book that mothers and teenage daughters could enjoy together? A book that branches genres, utilizes perspectives from many characters (not just one), and uses flashbacks and dream sequences copiously to let the reader feel the emotions and become a participant in the experience?”

I’ve been told Lady of Justice has everything a reader could crave:

  • For my fantasy readers, it has immortals and magic.
  • For my mystery readers, a who-done- it? puzzle.
  • A little sci-fi.
  • Sword fights, evil empires, mysterious visions, immortal realms, and just enough romance to appeal to the fairy-tale lover.
  • Because it takes place in the present and past simultaneously, it reads like a contemporary too.

About Lady of Justice


heather book cover

Can you really fall in love with someone through their journals? Can you truly change the past? What if a powerful goddess is willing to help?

Anna can’t stop thinking about Prince Audax. She feels like she knows him in a way that no one else does. She spends way too much time staring at his portrait and she’s even read his most intimate thoughts.

No, Anna isn’t a creepy stalker.

She’s a historian and her future career depends on discovering the truth. Her best friend Liz is convinced that Anna has brought her obsession to an unhealthy level, but she refuses to give up. She is convinced that the answers to the mystery of Audax’s death are still out there, and the clues lie somewhere in that dusty room.

Anna is willing to do just about anything to understand what happened, but to solve this enigma, she will have to travel a lot further than just her university library. As she delves deeper into the past, the twisted plot is unraveled and it’s worse than anyone ever thought.

Readers are loving Lady of Justice, calling it “fantastically put together” …  “AMAZING! A wonderful read that I suggest to everyone” … and “could NOT put it down.” 

Grab your e-book or paperback copy today on Amazon!



(And remember to tell your friends!)

How Babies and Tablets Inspired this Dystopian Novel


Babies and tablets. The rise of propaganda. Rosh Hashanah dinner. These were a few of the factors that led to the inspiration behind my debut novel, The Apollo Illusion.

I love reading the story behind the story from favorite authors, like Margaret Atwood or Junot Diaz. So when Autumn of Fallen Over Book Reviews asked me to write a guest post on what inspired MY first book, I couldn’t resist. OK, I actually felt special. That’s allowed occasionally, right?

The Story Behind the Story
Everything began in September 2013, when I’d gone to my mom’s house with my boyfriend and sister for Rosh Hashanah dinner. In case that sounds like Elvish to you, Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, because our calendar goes by the moon (I know, we’re weirdly Twilight like that).

While munching on noodle pudding and roasted chicken, my mom started telling us about a news story regarding babies and tablets. Babies were learning the swiping motion of using tablets before they learned to talk.

Head over to Fallen Over Book Reviews to read the rest of the story! …

Pull My Finger: My Uncivilized Life with Boys

OK, so you HAVE to admit … wit on a woman is sexy. I mean, freakin’ hot.

Which is why I’ve embarked on my latest mission to find some hilarious chicas (and chicos, coming soon) on the blogosphere.

The first one is guest-posting for me today! And you know she’s funny, because Jenny Lawson (a.k.a. “The Bloggess”) reads her stuff. Heck, Jenny PROMOTES this animated momma on her blogroll … which is how I found her.

So meet Irene Barnett, who blogs over at Left of Plumb! When you’re done here, go check out her blog; you won’t be sorry.

Pull My Finger: My Uncivilized Life with Boys


Farting sign

I am not a girly girl.

I am the one my girlfriends come to when they want a male perspective on something.

My favorite roommates have always been men.

Males don’t have hidden agendas and neither do I.

They are simple, single-cell sort of organisms and I like that.

Anyway, just want to set the scene.

It was with a mix of ambivalence and horror that I approached the idea of having children. But, when I found out that my twins were going to be boys, I felt this made some sort of cosmic sense.

However, being outnumbered so drastically has taken its toll on me (even our pets – a dog, two African water frogs and one husband – are boys).

I firmly believe that my lowered estrogen level is actually not menopause, but some sort of environmental hormonal pollution that is sucking it right out of my ovaries like some bad sci-fi movie.

Here are just a few of the behaviors that I now realize I have low tolerance for:

  • Burping and farting are high art forms and if my children are the Rembrandts of both, then I am the Edvard Munch.

painting[For the love of God, light a freakin’ match!!]

  • The bathroom smells like a subway urinal … after a hobo convention … where they served asparagus and brussel sprouts.
  • They think their junk is fascinating and don’t understand why the rest of us don’t agree and want to view it every chance we can.
  • They can only do one thing at a time, and even that confuses them.
  • They are hygienically challenged. I’m not sure what half of the odors are that I smell or what part of the body they originate from, but I will probably go blind from it.
  • They are incapable of closing a kitchen cabinet door. If they could, the kitchen would just be shelves, hooks and an intricate pully system like something out of Wallace and Gromit.

Wallace and Gromit[OK, I take this one back as an annoyance. That would be SO cool!!]

The sole reason I don’t end up selling them on the black market is simply this: they are the only humans who understand that I am the absolute pinnacle of awesomeness. Somehow, despite their rather base behavior everywhere else, they are advanced enough to recognize this one truth.

And I’m not willing to give that up, no matter how bad that fart smells.


Irene BarnettIrene Barnett is a working co-parent of twin boys and a rescue dog. She currently makes the rent by assuming the identity of a high-powered executive for a software consulting firm that is based out of Seattle, while she actually tries to live the life of a writer in Santa Barbara, Calif. ( Irene loves paddleboarding, movies, sitting and staring, and shiny things. She hates chickens but has a soft spot for hobos.

Photo credits:

  1. ms_saggitarius89,
  2. rustybrick,
  3. patersor,

I’m Back, with Author Jessica McCann!

Hellooooo! It feels so good to be back from my blog hiatus (although I’m now posting every OTHER Thursday) … and I’m swinging into full gear with a special guest post today.

Jessica McCann is a new author who just launched her first historical fiction novel a year ago, All Different Kinds of Free. Personally, it’s on my bookshelf and I CAN’T WAIT to read it, as Jessica’s book has received raving reviews so far.

But today, she was kind enough to share some insights on reaching success as a writer and author. Not to mention, we live in the same city (Phoenix, Ariz.), so I was pumped to have Jessica write a post for Rogue Writer.

Is Your Writing Ready to Take on the World?


Writing is a lot like parenting. It’s hard to know when it’s time to let go. It doesn’t matter if the writing is a magazine article query or a novel manuscript, it can be difficult to send it out into the big, bad world alone.

How do know if you’ve done all you can? How do you know if it’s ready? The short answer is, you never know for sure. That unknown can be intimidating, and it holds many people back. It locks them into the “I want to be a writer” mindset rather than letting them move into the “I am a writer” mindset.

If you’ve provided your writing offspring with unconditional love, a balanced education, steady discipline and a chance to mature, then it’s time to stare down the fear and let it go.


It all begins with this, in my experience. You must love your writing, warts and all, if it is to ever thrive and be loved by others. Don’t hold back. Write your passions. Let your first drafts flow unbridled. Consider reading Wild Mind: Living The Writer’s Life by Natalie Goldberg, one of my favorite tomes on being a writer, for encouragement and inspiration.


Does your writing have a balanced education? Know your subject matter inside and out, whether it’s gardening, personal finance or the hometown of your fictional characters. Do your homework, and infuse your writing with facts. Authenticity shines in both fiction and nonfiction.


Make your writing behave through firm, consistent editing. Introduce it to William Strunk and E.B. White’s The Elements of Style. This slim book is loaded with writing and editing gems. Among my favorites? “Avoid qualifiers (rather, very, little). They are leeches that infest the pond of prose, sucking the blood of words.” Nice.


Give your writing a chance to mature. Once I’ve researched, composed and revised, I let my writing let sit for at least a day or two, longer when possible. I let it age. Coming back to it with fresh eyes helps me assess whether it’s ready to leave the nest.

Ok, so you’ve loved and nurtured your work. You’ve learned and grown and matured right along with it. Now it’s time to let go. Like parenting, it can be scary as hell sometimes, but you’ve got to have faith. No one can soar without taking a leap.

Are you ready to let go?

If not, what do you think is holding you back?

Jessica McCann, a professional freelance writer and novelist, lives with her family in Phoenix, Ariz. Her nonfiction work has been published in Business Week, The Writer and Phoenix magazines, among others. All Different Kinds of Free ( is her award-winning debut novel. She welcomes interaction with readers and writers at her website ( and on Twitter (@JMcCannWriter).

Watch the book trailer to All Different Kinds of Free

How to Get (Many) Comments on Your Blog

The first thing I noticed about Nina Badzin was her Twitter following, which eventually led me to her blog. It’s a GREAT read, by the way.

But something extraordinary caught my eye about Nina’s blog.

On a consistent basis, Nina generates dozens of comments—on EVERY post. Her ability to draw so many comments amazed me, and that’s why I invited her to guest post for Rogue Writer today. Besides running a fun blog, Nina is a published short story writer. So after you read her post today, take a moment and check out her site!

How to Get (Many) Comments on Your Blog 


Thank you, Shari, for inviting me to discuss the issue of getting and managing blog comments. I’ve found that comments are a touchy subject because many bloggers pretend they don’t care about receiving them.

I can hear the naysayers now. I truly don’t care if anyone reads my posts, they say. I just want to express myself.

I’m not buying it. Let’s face it, if we weren’t hoping for some kind of response to our posts, then we’d start each one with “Dear Diary” and hide the outcome from the world. The minute we press “publish,” we’re hoping to reach someone.

Why do comments matter anyway?

As Shari pointed out last week when discussing StumbleUpon, unless your blog is monetized, the number of views on a post matters very little and tells you even less. Are people reading the first two sentences and clicking away? Will the same readers come back? And who are these people checking you out in the first place?

And come on, what could be more thrilling for a writer than watching a discussion brew about something we wrote? Over time, we  hope people return, we hope new readers find us, and we hope a community forms. As our writing careers develop and grow, we bank on that community translating  into readers who will stay with us for years to come. Also, comments help us feel like we’re not just talking to ourselves. That’s worth something too.

So how does a blogger get people to take the extra two minutes to leave a comment?


#1. You have to leave comments on other blogs. Yes, you need original, insightful, and/or amusing content on your blog. “Content is king” and all that jazz. Still, it’s nearly impossible to build a community unless you’re part of other bloggers’ communities at the same time.

#2. You ought to leave thoughtful comments and get to know other bloggers. Don’t bother with “great post.” For sure don’t say, “I wrote about this too. Come see!” Make it clear you read the post. You’re trying meet other bloggers and writers so you can form real connections. Try to find bloggers you admire. Skip the posts and blogs that don’t interest you. This isn’t about leaving your URL all over town. Be discerning. Be genuine.

#3. Think out of the box when responding to comments. It’s unnecessary to respond to every comment on your blog, especially if there’s nothing new to add. If I’m pressed for time, I’ll visit the blogs of people who left comments for me instead of responding to what they had to say about my post. I’m willing to bet my readers appreciate my avatar in the comments section of their posts more than they care about seeing my face repeatedly pop up on my blog. That’s not to say I don’t respond to comments on my blog. I generally do. But I’m aware of my comments section being about me, whereas visiting another blogger’s latest post is about that person.


Yes. One day when we’re in the big league of bloggers and writers, nobody will expect to see us in the comments section of our blogs or their blogs. Until then, we get what we give.

Thanks again for having me, Shari!


Nina Badzin is a published short story writer. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and twice listed as a finalist by Glimmer Train Stories. “Always the bridesmaid,” she likes to say. When she’s not running after her four kids or tweeting (@NinaBadzin), she blogs at Nina Badzin’s Blog.


If you haven’t already, please check out how to share your funny story when you learned the “truth” about Santa! This will be for a special blog post running the week of Christmas, and it won’t work without YOUR contribution.

What Are You Willing to Sacrifice to Write?

I first met Lynette Benton on Twitter, and soon discovered what a great writing instructor she makes! That’s why I invited Lynette to write a guest post for Rogue Writer. Today she asks, what would YOU be willing to sacrifice to write? Read (and see) Lynette’s hilarious answer below …

What Are You Willing to Sacrifice to Write?


I left my full time job, partly so I’d have time to write.

I only attend every third or fourth birthday, graduation, baby shower, wedding, anniversary, and random celebration hosted by my husband’s huge family. (They’re very forgiving; or they just want me to finish this darn memoir they keep hearing about.)

I descended from my husband’s and my lofty culinary standards by occasionally substituting garlic powder for the freshly peeled deal.

I arranged to teach all my writing classes on only two days a week.

For the 25 years I’ve been with my husband, I’ve let him indulge his passions for vacuuming, doing laundry, and grocery shopping.

But, still, I felt too busy to make as much progress on my memoir rewrites as I wanted to. I had to get drastic.

Years ago …

… a friend with the kind of hair women swoon over, became a White House fellow. He told me that to succeed in this enviable new position, he was making some major changes. Then he waltzed into my apartment with his big, shiny curls cut short and slicked down.

“I’m wearing it like this for the duration,” he said.

Lynette before cutting her hair
Lynette before cutting her hair

Well, my hair is nice, but quite difficult to manage. So one day last spring, I had four inches trimmed from my footlong mane. Nice. But it still took a ton of time to wash, comb, and arrange.

At my wits’ end, I announced to my husband, “It’s either the memoir or the hair. One’s got to go.”

I crept into a hair salon where no one knew me, so they wouldn’t tell me my hair was too pretty to chop off. “Cut it down to an inch all over,” I ordered.

Even after three months of short, short hair, I still don’t look like myself to myself. But my memoir rewrite is moving along at a steady clip now.


You don’t need to be as drastic … 

Lynette after cutting her hair
Lynette after cutting her hair

… as I was to free up time and energy to write. Because that’s what we’re talking about here, isn’t it? It’s not just time that we writers need; we need energy—creative energy, physical energy. (Only non-writers think it doesn’t require a lot of energy to write for four or six hours a day.) So here are some actions you can take to give yourself more time (and energy) to write:

  • Marry someone with a small, unsocial family.
  • Slash your online memberships in half. Social media is great for writers. It’s critical for platform building, and it’s nice to connect with other writers and the rest of humanity after a day of writing in solitude. But, if you belong to 50 LinkedIn groups, as I did, you know it’s impossible to keep up with all of them. Cut your list to 25—as I did. Then see what other online communities you just don’t need to receive any more emails from.
  • One day a week, don’t venture farther than your porch, or if you don’t have one, your windows. Getting dressed and commuting anywhere use up time and energy.
  • Forget about nail polish, unless you’ve been invited to the White House or Buckingham Palace. (This one was really hard for me!)
  • Don’t iron anything. In fact, wear a uniform. I’m sure Steve Jobs’ success can be attributed partly to the fact that he never had to worry about what to wear.
  • My friend Lesley says to wear paper cuffs you can write on while waiting in the grocery store checkout line, if you’re not concerned about looking a little insane.
  • My husband wants me to add that it’s not necessary to change your clothes every day. But you might not want to try that at home.


Lynette Benton’s articles and essays have appeared in newspapers, Skirt, More Magazine online, and numerous other publications. She teaches and edits creative and business writing in the Greater Boston Area. Her memoir, My Mother’s Money, is in the revision stages. Visit Lynette’s blog, Tools & Tactics for Creative Writers. Contact her at, or on Twitter at @LynetteBenton.

On Writing: Why Reading Matters

Today, I’m SO EXCITED to introduce you to my friend and writer/university English professor, Renee Ronika Klug, who is guesting for Rogue Writer.

Renee Ronika Klug
Renee Ronika Klug

Renee and I met years ago, when she started a writer’s group in Phoenix (she currently resides in Colorado). Not to mention, her brother introduced me to my longtime boyfriend.

But onto the stuff you’re here for. After you’re done reading her post, check out Renee’s personal blog, Quiet Anthem, and through her bio below, learn about the writing community Renee founded. She’s currently seeking submissions (hint, hint).

So … please welcome Renee to Rogue Writer:


By Renee Ronika Klug 

“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.” – Samuel Johnson

Eleven years ago, I went to New York to earn an MFA in creative writing, to learn how to write, to develop craft, to find my calling. I found it on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, in a classroom where before me sat 25 composition students wondering how to react. We overcame the semester, in part, by reading.

During that semester I was also taking two literature courses—one on Russians, the other on Americans—and my only writing was in lesson plans, reaction papers, and final essays. I read at least a thousand pages a week.

The following semester, I sat down one afternoon—after having scolded myself for not writing fiction in over six months—and wrote a complete short story, sixteen pages, in one sitting. It’s the only story I’ve never had to revise. It was also the story that readers most responded to and resonated with.

I believe that by turning over libraries—from Chekhov to Twain to Carver—I received my greatest lesson from graduate school and for teaching: reading well makes us better writers.

It is from Chekhov that we are warned about the gun hanging on the wall in the first act: it must go off by the third; from Twain, we understand that a word can impact the reader either like lightning or like the lightning bug; from Carver, we discover that we are not our characters, but they are us.

Reading good literature—the kind we’d like to write—infuses us with a knowledge that goes beyond what we may learn from textbooks or lectures: good literature settles deep within us so, when we write, we can summon what we’ve received from our predecessors—to emulate, to build.

Think about the books you’ve admired, the ones that have stayed with you in dreams. You can still remember how you felt when you came to the final paragraph. Every idea, every character, every sentence, every word has instructed you on how to write. Now it’s your turn: be confident in your familiarity of craft, in your ability to revise later, in your library within, and write your next story or essay or novel or memoir, illuminating all that you know, all that you are, and all that you’ve been called to share.

MY QUESTION TO YOU: What authors/books have influenced your writing most? How has your writing evolved because of what you’ve gleaned from literature?


Renee Ronika Klug is a writer and English professor. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from Biola University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Long Island University. Her non-fiction, poetry, and fiction has been—or will be—published in Relief: A Christian Literary Expression, The Blackbird Press, The Penwood Review, and Burnside Writers Collective. In 2010, her short story “Fathers” received an Honorable Mention by Glimmer Train Press. The essays on her blog share what she has learned about overcoming—as a survivor of child abuse, a writer, an educator, a Christian, a wife, and a mother: She is the founding editor of The Anthem Exposition, an online writing community for women to share their stories of having overcome any of life’s adversities: Renee’s goal—in life and writing—is to see women healed and communities built. She lives with her husband, a composer and pianist, and their two young daughters. She is currently writing her spiritual memoir.

Nature as Creativity Booster

Ever since I met Melissa Crytzer Fry, I’ve been AMAZED how she draws parallels between the tiniest details in nature and the writing process. Today, I’m happy to introduce Melissa to you–as the third (and final) writer/blogger in my networking project.

Welcome to Rogue Writer, Melissa, and thanks for your guest blog (and photos) today!

Nature as Creativity Booster

Guest post and photography by Melissa Crytzer Fry

**All photos published on this post are property of Melissa Cryzter Fry, and cannot be copied, re-reprinted, or re-produced without proper permissions and consent from Melissa Cryzter Fry.**

I grew up among cornfields and cow pastures in northwestern Pennsylvania. Perhaps the long walks down to the beaver dam, strolls along the bullfrog-infested, green algae-blanketed pond behind my house, and salamander-owl-raccoon encounters account for my attraction to the outdoors.

I can’t be sure. But I do know, after living in downtown Phoenix for a decade and then moving to a rather remote part of southern Arizona, that I fell in love again with those wide-open spaces. 

But this time around, nature offered an entirely new gift: writing inspiration. Without fail, every jog or hike I take among my ranch’s saguaro-studded hills results in something new: engaging leads for magazine articles, plot solutions, and inspiration to keep writing – to be more creative overall.

So what, exactly, is it about nature that inspires creativity? The crisp air? The vastness of outdoor space? The departure from technology that lets the brain wander? Yes, yes, yes. But there’s also a scientific reason: Nature solves problems. Creatively. Biomimicry is at play. Bio-what? Biomimicry says that we can borrow creative solutions to just about any problem … from nature. All we have to do is pay attention to and study nature’s best ideas – its efficient designs, models, systems, processes.

Creativity guru Tamara Kleinberg asks, “If nature … has solved many problems we face today, why not go back to nature for inspiration? Why not engage with nature, understand how it works and then apply those lessons to life and work?” And to writing!

I agree with Kleinberg that nature is the ultimate innovation tool. In her blog post, she suggests some nature-related exercises to boost creativity:

  • Ask “What does it do?” With eyes closed and natural objects in hand – feathers, rocks, leaves – determine the function of each. Not what each is. What each does. Does the feather repel water, provide insulation, add to aerodynamics? Asking such questions may inspire new thoughts, ideas.
  • Fieldtrips. Go to a museum, visit an archaeological site, a city park. Pieces of nature – bones, animal skin, fossils, plants – “can take you to new places,” says Kleinberg.
  • Look & See: Step away from the computer and get outside. Really see your surroundings. Ask why nature works the way it does – how the insect is able to walk on the pond, how hummingbirds just seem to “know” where the flowers are, why water clings to grass blades. Doing so can conjure new ideas and provide answers for seemingly unrelated creative conundrums.

Take time out to interact with the outdoors, even if you live in the city. You may be surprised at the creative results.


Melissa Crytzer Fry is a fulltime freelance writer, author of the What I Saw creativity & writing blog and a writer/enthusiast of literary women’s fiction. You can also follow her on Twitter.

Perfecting the Chocolate Chip Cookie

I’m a foodie–with an unfortunate addiction to sweets. That’s why I clicked with Leah Singer, the second writer I’m introducing, who’s part of a special networking project (a few weeks ago, you met V.V. Denman).

Leah blogs at “Leah’s Thoughts,” and like me, she loves food, family and words. I’d like you to join me in welcoming Leah as a guest blogger today, where she draws a profound conclusion for writers, from chocolate chip cookies:

Perfecting the Chocolate Chip Cookie

By Guest Blogger Leah Singer

I’ve spent many years of my life obsessed with making (what I believe) is the perfect chocolate chip cookie. I had a picture in my mind of what this perfect cookie looked like – soft, chewy, puffy with texture (not flat!), sweet, but a little savory too. And I’d stop at nothing to get it that way.

I tried everything – changing the oven temperature; more baking powder; less baking soda; hundreds of recipes; Crisco instead of butter; semi-sweet chips; milk chocolate chips; refrigerating the dough; using vanilla pudding; you name it, I tried it. Yet still, nothing I baked came close to what I considered the perfect cookie.

Countless times I’d try a new recipe, pull the tray out of the oven, and … flat cookies – my nemesis. “But they taste great,” my husband would reassure me. But his words meant nothing to me. The cookies were a failure, and I could not fathom eating them.

Interestingly, I realized through this journey that the process of “perfecting” the perfect cookie was how I used to approach writing.

I was one of those people that drafted something and thought, This is it! Perfection. I seemed to be under the illusion that I could write something and it would be immediately perfect. And we writers know that is just simply not true. Rarely do we ever write something that’s perfect. There’s always editing or word-smithing that can be done.

I’ve considered myself a writer all my life. But one reason I never started a blog until somewhat recently was the fear that my posts wouldn’t be perfect. Once I realized and accepted that nothing is perfect – and that the imperfections are what makes thing special – my creative juices started flowing.

During my “day job,” I’m a speechwriter at a large university. I have learned so much about the process of writing in the short time I’ve had this job. I NEVER write a speech and it’s ready to go after the first draft. That’s just the beginning of the speech. I sometimes go through 5 – 10 versions of “perfecting” the remarks. And that’s okay. Because I know what I’ll finish with will be better than what I started with. And what I learn while “perfecting” the speech is exactly what makes the writing good.

For writers (and bakers), it’s not perfection one should strive for; it’s the process of perfecting. That’s where the magic happens, the ingredients come together, and the learning takes place. The perfecting is the beauty of the writing process.

With respect to the chocolate chip cookies, I’ve since eased up on myself and realized there is not the perfect cookie. (Or at least I’m not meant to bake it.) Each cookie I made had its strength and weakness; its perfections and imperfections. I accepted that fact and I’ve learned so much about baking along the way. And, oh yeah, I now bake cookie bars instead.


By day, Leah Singer is a freelance writer, as well as a speechwriter and communicationsprofessional for the largest university in San Diego, Calif. By night, Leah blogs about family, motherhood, traditions, cooking, her crazy animal family, and other such topics at Leah’s Thoughts. Blogging is a way for Leah to journal, share ideas, essays, musings, frustrations, recipes, funny stories, and – most importantly – exercise her lifelong passion for writing. Read more about Leah at:

I don’t care for the word ‘blog’

I recently began a networking project with three other professional writers. And let me tell you, these ladies have a LOT of great advice to offer.

Therefore, I’ve invited each one to write a guest post for “Shari Lopatin: Rogue Writer.” Throughout the next few weeks, I’ll introduce each one to you. I encourage you to visit their sites, maybe even follow their blogs.

Today, please welcome Texas writer, V.V. Denman–who first caught my attention with a hilarious post about book-throwing to get the attention of literary agents. I recommend visiting her site, as she has a lot more great content to share:

I don’t care for the word blog.

Personal preference, but it just sounds weird. And it’s not even appropriately descriptive.

It makes me think of blob, flog, blood, bog and flop.

File:Bleeding finger.jpg File:Flogger 02.JPG File:Soggy field - - 883524.jpg

All of those words conjure negative thoughts in my otherwise happy little head.

Blog rhymes with dog, frog, hog, sog and clog, all of which can be undesirable.

File:Frog eye closeup.jpg File:Military dog barking.JPG File:Guinea Hog Norfolk.jpg

Can’t we call this thing we do something that makes us sound better, not worse?

If I tell someone, “I’m a blogger.” It sounds like I’m a logger/booger mix.

In case you can’t get that visual image out of your head, I’ll give you this photograph of loggers, but spare you the one of the booger.

File:Loggers klaralven.jpg

What’s a nice normal noun we could use to describe ourselves?

The term writer would work, but that’s somewhat overused.

I checked the online thesaurus, but apparently it’s not comfortable with blogger either. The word isn’t listed. So we’re on our own.

How about internet information recorders? Or daily keyboard scribblers? Or online diary makers? Or just public ramblers?

What about you?

What would you like to be called?


V.V. Denman is a Christian writer from North Texas. When she’s not feverishly typing at her keyboard, she’s rolling her eyes at her husband’s corny jokes or laughing with her five children. Her two dreams in life are to raise said children to be responsible adults, then maybe, just maybe get a bit of her writing published. Visit her at
Photo Credits: Jabba the Hut – Sideshow Collectibles / Bloody finger – Wikimedia Crystl via Flickr / Flogger – Wikimedia Henna / Soggy Field – Wikimedia Alan Murray-Rust / Frog – Wikimedia renwest via Flicker / Drain Out –