InD’Scribe Tribe


Whew! I made it out of LA and landed home with a bag full of books, new connections and a whole lot of inspiration. As a first-time attendee at the 2017 InD’Scribe Author/Reader Con, I was apprehensive, curious and completely excited to be a finalist and participate in a live convention with other authors and readers.

So, did I win? Nope. But making it as a finalist was pretty darn thrilling nevertheless. I had a fantastic weekend, dressing up as a Renaissance princess, getting books signed by authors, and meeting countless industry professionals. What fun!

I enjoyed the workshops of course, learning plenty along the way. The evenings were a hoot, mingling with other costumed party-goers, and the red carpet? Oh. My. Splendid.

I plan to attend next year (hopefully as a finalist/winner) and re-connect with people I met and make new acquaintances.  To borrow InD’Scribe’s tagline, I really did ‘Fall into the World of Extraordinary’.

20 Fabulous Gifts For Writers



The month of December has arrived, along with the pressing need to purchase gifts. I hate gift shopping. A lot. But it’s something that must be done and I worry endlessly about giving a ‘meaningful’ gift. I try to avoid gifting friends and family with things they’re not going to use or things they may dislike. Writers, unless they have another passionate hobby on the side, can be difficult to buy for. So I came up with this list of 20 fabulous gifts for writers. Do you have a writer on your list? Check out these great gift ideas with literary appeal.

1. Word games. Did you know several classic board games feature editions specifically for book lovers?

Jenga and Scrabble both offer book lovers editions. Other fun word games for writers include Bananagrams and Boggle.


2. Leather journal notebook. Great for logging emails, websites, dates for book signings, or perhaps plot points for their next great masterpiece.

leather journal

3. Calligraphy set. The author on your list can practice his/her signature for their next book signing.

calligraphy pen

4. Humorous gifts. Writers have great humor. Literary toilet paper? Lettered bookends? Perhaps a literary umbrella might make them smile.

shakespeare umbrella






5. Book tote bag. Your writer friend can stash his/her favorite reads beside a desk or bed for easy access.

book tote bag

6. Travel gifts. It can be tedious and mundane for writers to find inspiration within the same four walls and so those lucky enough to travel for their research, consider gifting them with items that suit their travel needs. Luggage tags, travel guide books, and even a nice duffel or weekender bag would be a sure hit.

luggage tags


7. Literary flip-flops. Yes, there is such a thing! Bet they’ll be the only ones on the beach sporting these!


8. Books on writing. On Writing by Stephen King, poetry books, Writer’s Market, or Guide to Literary Agents, would definitely be appreciated. Writers love to read, especially about how to write.


9. Anthology collections or literary classic gift sets. Whether they’re into reading classic literature, or steamy Christmas romances, boxed gift sets or anthologies are a nice gift and will provide many hours of enjoyable reading.

SIZZLE IN THE SNOW_500x750 (2)classic romance

10. Elegant pen set. Yes, most writers save their documents on their laptop or tablet, but some prefer to record their notes in a journal. A nice pen to write with would be a thoughtful and useful gift idea.

elegant pens


11. Books,calendars and poetry games with inspirational quotes. Sometimes writers get the dreaded ‘writer’s block’. Or their creative juices dry up. A simple inspirational quote can bring a smile and get him/her writing again. This ‘happiness’ magnetic poetry game is a cute gift idea.

poetry kit

12. Thesaurus. While words of similarity and related meaning can be looked up online, sometimes  writers find themselves without internet connection, maybe while camping, or hiking or sitting on the beach. Think they’re not writing? Think again! Writers write everywhere and a thesaurus at the ready will be used. Guaranteed.

oxford writers thesaurus

13. Idea Paint. Now this is a cool idea that is sure to please the creative writer in your life.  Allow them a wall and the freedom to go crazy. I promise, they will. They’ll have the storyline, plot, chapters and character descriptions all laid out on the wall. Just make sure it’s a wall in an obscure place unless you don’t mind the scrawl!

idea paint

14. Vintage gifts. Old, time-worn notebooks, journals, key chains, mouse pads, anything that has a distinctly vintage look to it. How about an antique typewriter from an antique store? Writers will love this!

vintage typewriter

15. Items with literary quotes or images. Mugs, eyeglass cases or pencil cases, pillowcases, etc. The list is endless.

hemingway mug







16. Kindle reader. Writers like to read and get deals just like anyone else. A Kindle reader is a sure-fire way to delight your favorite author this Christmas.

kindle ebook device

17. Credit card chip reader. If your author friend is planning a book signing, this little gem is a life-saver. Instantly allow customers to scan and pay for their books using their credit cards. This device is easy to use and set up. It does not record or keep any personal data so people’s credit card numbers will be secure. Great gadget for those book signings and craft fairs when it’s time to sell those books!

credit card reader.jpg

18. Keyboard for tablet. This makes writing that great novel so much easier when not at home.

tablet keyboard

19. The Writer’s Tool Box. This is the perfect gift filled with ideas and games for those suffering from writer’s block!

writers toolbox

20. Book jewelry. From charms and pendants to earrings and bracelets, book jewelry is a popular item for writers and readers and anyone who loves books and jewelry. Whether you decide to purchase online, or craft something yourself, these items are delightful and whimsical and would make a great stocking stuffer.

book necklace

For these and other items, please visit the following websites:

Hands Full of Ashes – a novel inspired by my trip to Rwanda

After my trip to Rwanda in October 2012, I had a story brewing in my mind.  I kept putting it off, busy as I was living and working as a teacher.  But the story just wouldn’t go away.  So one day, a few months after returning home, I sat down to write.  I couldn’t believe how quickly the story unfolded.  The characters and the plots were not my initial intention.  They just grew and developed.  I wrote this novel, Hands Full of Ashes over a seven month period in 2013.  It is a romantic suspense/women’s fiction novel and is a love story layered with political intrigue, love, death, and hope and it all unfolds in the region of East Africa.

The initial writing, I would soon learn, was the easy part.  The fact that I knew next to nothing about High Commissioners, or militia groups didn’t faze me in the least.  I just wrote.  And wrote some more.  The easy part was imagining the love between the main character and her love interest and enjoying the development of their passion and love as it grew and deepened. The hard part was the next stage – the editing.  After revising my manuscript and paring it down (significantly), I hired an editor and had the manuscript revised yet again.  The process has thus far lasted just over a year, from the beginning of the writing to the completion of the editing.  I am now in the publishing stage – with queries polished and sent and interest and requests (partials and fulls) from several agents and publishers. But one thing I have learned, interest does not automatically translate into commitment. It is a long road.

Being a writer is an evolutionary job.  I thought I knew all there was to know about writing!  I certainly didn’t.  I began reading oodles of books about writing – books by famous authors, and by unknown authors.  I read Stephen King’s book “On Writing”, which was a little like reading a biography while reading about writing.  At least it was entertaining.

I learned to pare my writing down, even when it felt WRONG.  I chucked out as many adverbs as I could stomach, and made sure that my character arc was consistent.  I carefully determined my genre (women’s fiction/romantic suspense) and lingered over the word count (73,000 words) making sure it wasn’t too long.  I learned more about grammar than I wanted to. Then one evening not so long ago, I sat down and read my story once again.  It was better than I could have hoped.  Powerful, sad, shocking, inspiring.  I wanted to write a moving story that was fictional yet also realistic.  I think I succeeded.  Although the story is a work of fiction, and takes place in Canada, Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC, it was inspired by Rwanda nonetheless.