Category Archives: blogging


Six ways to fuel creativity

Ways to fuel creativity when you have no idea how to get started.

How on earth do I get started writing a book? I can hardly make it through writing a letter. Is there something special that I have to do to get the words in my head out on paper or on screen?


Here are six ways to fuel your creativity.

Create a morning routine.   Everyone who is an early morning person generally has a routine that they like to use. For myself, it is coffee first, then work out, then writing time. But I admit that is not perhaps the best method for anyone else. Maybe you don’t drink coffee, or maybe you don’t exercise. That’s totally fine. Just remember that writing is something that SHOULD be a part of your morning routine, and be sure to include it. And don’t forget the power of free-writing. Give fuel to your writing day by sitting down and tapping the keys. See what happens!

Exercise. For me, getting on the treadmill and going to the gym are both a part of my life. Regular exercise helps me to mentally escape from the world and get into the realm of my characters. I can write entire scenes while listening to quiet music and moving. The added energy it gives me helps to keep me in the writing chair longer, also. Exercise is the fuel that keeps a body in motion.

Don’t read.  I know it sounds counter-productive, but going on a reading diet really helps me to solidify story ideas. When I am actively involved in books (I read more than one at a time) I just do not feel like my ideas are there in full force the way they are when I am not engaged with someone else’s writing. I take a break from reading other people’s work in order to hear the voices in my head clearly and know they are not just a rehash of the book I am reading. Nothing fuels my writing life like hearing my characters telling me what to write!

Get really quiet.  I find a lot of inspiration in solitude. I can sit on a park bench and listen to the wind, the birds, and other nature sound, and create vividly.  Finding solitude and harnessing its power has been the backdrop for meditation lovers everywhere. No, it is not necessary. No, you can meditate anywhere. But it seems to help elevate the creative spirit inside when you can find a few moments to just breathe in and out and enjoy being alive and able to create. Writing fuel is stoked when we can relax and enjoy our art.

Find inspiration in others.  Every week I meet with other authors in a face-to-face setting. We discuss our writing trials and successes, our marketing efforts and what has worked or bombed, and we enjoy sharing ideas, supporting each other, and being with someone who understands this crazy writing life. I highly recommend meeting with other authors in a real world setting, not just online. My group, Linda, Kimberley, Kristi, Robin, and Angela, are some of the best writers I know, and just being allowed to be involved with them fuels my writing in a big way.

Never say no.  When you are cranking out your ideas, there is nothing that is taboo. You can write about anything you want to, even if it sounds a little crazy. To squelch your creative spirit in the beginning by saying no to an idea is just soul-crushing. Don’t do it. Nothing takes fuel OUT of my writing like saying no to an idea that comes up.

I know there are many more ways to get your writing fueled, but I hope these six ways will at least get you started!


WGP Episode 63: Rich Zahradnik, mystery

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Rich Zahradnik is the award-winning author of the critically acclaimed Coleridge Taylor Mystery series from Camel Press. Last Words is the first novel in the series and was published October 2014. Drop Dead Punk came out August 2015.

Drop Dead Punk won the gold medal for mystery/thriller ebook in the 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPYs). It was also named a finalist in the mystery category of the 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Last Words won honorable mention for mystery in Foreword Reviews’ IndieFab Book of the Year Awards and the bronze medal for mystery/thriller ebook in the 2015 IPPYs.

Zahradnik was a journalist for 30-plus years, working as a reporter and editor in all major news media, including online, newspaper, broadcast, magazine and wire services. He held editorial positions at CNN, Bloomberg News, Fox Business Network, AOL and The Hollywood Reporter, often writing news stories and analysis about the journalism business, broadcasting, film production, publishing and the online industry.

In January 2012, he was one of 20 writers selected for the inaugural class of the Crime Fiction Academy, a first-of-its-kind program run by New York’s Center for Fiction.

He has been a media entrepreneur throughout his career. He was founding executive producer of, a leading financial news website and a Webby winner; managing editor of, and a partner in the soccer-news website company Goal Networks. Zahradnik also co-founded the weekly newspaper The Peekskill Herald at the age of 25, leading it to seven state press association awards in its first three years.

Zahradnik was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, and received his B.A. in journalism and political science from George Washington University. He lives with his wife Sheri and son Patrick in Pelham, New York, where he writes fiction and teaches elementary school kids how to publish the online and print newspaper the Colonial Times.

To get any of Rich’s books simply click the cover!




In this episode we learn:

Show Notes

WGP Episode 62: Dana Faletti, YA and Women’s Fiction

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Dana Faletti is a Pittsburgh native who loves Broadway musicals and knows all the words to Les Miserables – the entire show. One of her favorite TV series is Sons of Anarchy, and her favorite movie is the Sound of Music. Don’t try to start a conversation with her in the morning until she’s had at least one cup of coffee – preferably Starbucks, but do come over for a glass of wine (red) and some good conversation at dinner time. Dana loves to cook and owned a successful catering business for a few years, before giving it up to focus on her family and write full-time. She shares her life with a Gemini husband who also knows every word to Les Mis, and three amazing daughters – an eleven-year-old theatre buff, a nine-year-old future mega-entrepreneur, and a curly-haired six-year-old who is the true CEO of the household.
Dana has been writing for what seems like forever. Her young adult trilogy, The Whisper Series, is a paranormal romance that’s rife with angels, demons and forbidden romance, as well as a message of love and acceptance that has touched readers nationwide. Her newest novel, Beautiful Secret, is a women’s fiction set in the scorched hills of Southern Italy, where Dana has spent much time traveling and visiting relatives. Beautiful Secret is set to be released this summer by Pandamoon Publishing. Dana has a love affair with all things Italian and is proud to be part of the loud, crazy, and wonderful Italian family that inspired her new book.

To get any of Dana’s books simply click the cover!

In this episode we learn:

Show Notes

  • The insider details of Dana Faletti’s journey as an author
  • Information about her YA trilogy, The Whisper Trilogy and her upcoming release, Beautiful Secret
  • We discuss her website and blog contents, be sure to see the links below this post!
  • We get the scoop on her publisher, Pandamoon Publishing
  • Inspiration from her on the three things she wants to accomplish as an author

AND SO MUCH MORE including her best advice for aspiring authors!

*with intro from hostess, Kim Smith*

You can find her online at:

Twitter: @danafaletti

Thanks for Listening to WGP (Writer Groupie Podcast)!
We appreciate your time!

Did you enjoy this episode with Dana Faletti?

If so, please do one (or all) of the following:

Leave a comment on this page or ask a question if you need us to elaborate on the topic.
Use the social media buttons to share this episode with your friends, family, and contacts.
Go over to iTunes or YouTube to leave a rating/review and to subscribe to the podcast.
We appreciate you taking the time to check out WGP! And we look forward to providing you with more content in the next episode!

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Brand building:become famous

Building a brand: ways to do it

Recently, someone told me that they noticed that every time they opened their browser, it seemed like, I was there. They wanted to know how on earth I got it all done, and became such a household name. I smiled and told them it was a secret. Well, being a brand is a different animal.


Well, it is. Because I don’t know HOW I got to be so popular! But I have a goodly list of ways  and things to try that might benefit you.

Keeping it real,  I never believed I would become popular in this space, especially with WGP– a podcast in the “how to write/writer life” niche, which as you probably know is terribly overdone.

A successful blog is not just a blog. Right enough, it’s the place where things get first notice. It’s where ability is considered and content is offered. But if you stick to just that one thing, you’ll be just that – and only that.

Your website and blog is your hub, your home base where people can go to find out more about who you are and what you do. It’s the starting point for people to find more about the great whole of your brand.

7 Ways to Build a Brand

  1. Be everywhere. This is hard, folks. I am not going to lie. You will spend as much time online as offline at least in the beginning. I have been on forums, social media, and writing sites for nearly ten years. But, it is paying off. You cannot say, “I do not have enough time for all that”. If you decide early on that you cannot do it, then you have already failed. TRY. JUST TRY.
  2. Keep it consistent. You need to have the same imagery on all those sites that you are on. Build a visual brand as well as a presence. People identify with images these days. They will remember bits of what you say, but always your iconic image.
  3. Step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Podcasting was not something that I just decided one day that I would be good at. It was something that I determined was a good way to capture a different audience. You have to be able to try new stuff and see what works. You may be the next big thing!
  4. It takes less than five minutes to set up social media accounts. Don’t be one of those people who says I don’t want to be on social media. It’s the best way to reach readers. If you decide you do not want to be on social media, you are going to have a very tough go at building your brand.
  5. Guest post! This is a fun and easy way to broaden your outreach. Find other people who are into what you are into and have a blog. Most every one wants new faces and blog posts, offer to be the one for a day on theirs.
  6. Give until it hurts. We are a society of consumers. We want everything we can get and we want it for free. It’s okay to give your audience a lot of stuff. And give it to them for free. Get known as the guy or gal who has so much knowledge and gives it out to readers for nothing. That also is a brand.
  7. Cultivate a fan base who will spread the word. When you over-give, you build a fan base of people who want to help you be a household name.  They will share your info, buy your books, and follow you around the net.

My name is linked to a few great sites and my podcast is growing. I would say that my evil plan is working but…you already know that.


WGP Interview: Kathleen Gerard

Recently, Writer Groupie Podcast had the privilege of interviewing Kathleen Gerard, author of In Transit and The Thing Is. Here is the interview and you can get links to her work below.

Kathleen Gerard
Photo credit: North Jersey Media Group, The Record

THE THING IS (a novel) by Kathleen Gerard

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Here’s a brief synopsis of THE THING IS:
Can a woman mired deep in the throes of grief have her heart and soul rallied by a therapy
dog named Prozac who has supernatural wisdom and a canine Mensa IQ?

Meredith Mancuso is depressed. Ever since the death of her fiancé, she has shrunk from the world. Even with her successful writing career, she’s not motivated to work. When her sister, Monica, begs for a favor, Meredith wants nothing more than to say no. But she’s ultimately roped into pet-sitting an orphaned Yorkshire terrier named Prozac.

Blessed with spiritual wisdom and a high IQ, Prozac is an active pet therapy dog. To heal brokenhearted Meredith, he rallies his fan club at Evergreen Gardens, an independent living facility, where he visits each week.
Prozac and the community of resilient older folks challenged by losses of their own propel Meredith, often against her will, back into the land of the living. Meredith learns that most people carry some sort of burden, but it’s still possible to find meaning, purpose, and joy—and sometimes, even love—along the way.

THE THING IS is a perfect read for fans of General Fiction, Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Romance, Romantic Comedy, and Dog and Pet Lovers!

Do you have a specific writing style?

All of the books I’ve published (so far) deal with strong women who are forced to overcome challenges of some kind. Humor and romance also play a part in the stories. My first novel, In Transit, is a suspenseful woman-in-jeopardy story about a female rookie NYPD cop who falls in love with the wrong man.

Cold Comfort is more of a heartwarming-style romance about a workaholic photojournalist who comes face-to-face with an old flame who broke her heart in college.

I experimented a bit with The Thing Is, telling that story from two, very distinct points-of-view—that of a blocked romance writer who has become entrenched in grief after her fiancé dies, and a crafty, sometimes very devious, “Spirit Guide Dog,” who believes his mission is to help the writer learn how to live and love again.

How did you come up with the title?

THE THING IS was inspired by the poem, “The Thing Is” by Ellen Bass. Bass’s poem speaks to how to go on living life when we feel completely heartbroken and riddled with despair. It was apropos to the themes of the story, and I decided to title the novel by the very same name.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

I wanted to be a photojournalist—and I pursued that passion throughout childhood, high school and college. I always hoped that one day I would work for the Associated Press (AP) and travel the world taking pictures, including photographing in war zones. But when I realized that my personality was much more methodical and analytical by nature, I reconsidered things. And that was when the writing bug suddenly bit me.

Who is your favorite character in your books and why?

I select all of my characters–even the “bad guys”–with care, so I like them all. However, writing from a clever dog’s point-of-view in THE THING IS was very fun—and liberating.

Who designed the cover?

My publisher, Red Adept Publishing, has a great staff on board for all facets of their books from editing to book covers to marketing. The very talented Jessica Anderegg worked with Streetlight Graphics (they’re wonderful!) to make a gem of a book cover for THE THING IS

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The hardest part about writing this book was staying the course and letting the story unravel on its own—without preconceiving the plot. Once I figured out who the characters were and their goals (I wrote and wrote and threw out a lot), the story evolved very organically. When I make a concerted effort to stick to and follow through with the writing of a book, I always try to keep my heart, soul and mind open to whatever crosses my path during the process. I’ve found that if I stay attuned and pay attention to things as they happen in my real life, then, more often than not, my writing life becomes the beneficiary of that attentiveness. For example, a friend (or even a stranger) may off-handedly make a remark, or I’ll read an article in the newspaper, or maybe even a postcard advertisement will arrive in the mail…the mundane can suddenly become an aha! moment—something that unexpectedly serves the story. But trusting that process–and being patient–is sometimes very difficult.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Read a lot. Write a lot. And stick to it!

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Read. Hang out with my dog. I like to cook and enjoy watching cooking shows on TV. And when I want to unwind, I like to watch indie films and romantic comedies.

What do you think makes a good story?

Strong characters. Conflict and transcendence.

Quick fire questions:
Favorite food: Pizza
Favorite music: Lately, music by Sara Bareillis
Favorite TV program: Cooking shows with Lidia Bastianich
Five things you like: My dog. Pizza. Red wine. Cooking (and eating). A good story.
Five things you dislike: Illness. Mean-spirited/cruel people. Phoniness/Gossip. Dieting. Traffic.
Five words that describe you: Sensitive. Spiritual. Loyal. Analytical. Tenacious.

Kathleen Gerard

Learn more about THE THING IS:

Learn more about IN TRANSIT
Learn more about COLD COMFORT

The Thing Is can be purchased at:
* Amazon –
* Barnes and Noble –
* BooksAMillion –
*Indiebound –
* Google Play:

THE THING IS (a novel) by Kathleen Gerard
Prices/Formats: $5.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Pages: 299
Release: March 9, 2016
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
ISBN: 9781940215587


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Stand out in the book market

While I am busily lining up guests for next month, I hope you enjoy this redux of a blog post from my author site. If you like it, part two is linked at the bottom. New podcasts are coming!

Most people are trying to figure out how to stand out in this really oversaturated book industry. Well, today I hope to help in that regard. In fact this may be a bit of a series of posts depending on how well I manage my time.

First off, in order to stand out in this aspect, you have to plan to work and work your plan.

Here are a few tips on how to accomplish this:

Call it a business. It is. You are now published-your time is no longer your own. You have to work this lifestyle. IT IS A BUSINESS. Get used to hearing that.

  • Do something daily for your writing business. Create a production schedule. Plan on when you are going to have books published. Put it into writing and make it a habit to follow the schedule. If you were sitting in a corporate office somewhere you would be looking at a schedule of work to be accomplished and you wouldn’t question whether you could do it or not, or wanted to do it or not, etc. For your business, even more so. Treat it as such.
  • Market. Go out into the wide world web and tell someone somewhere about your book. Do this every day. EVERY DAY. Note: this does not mean to spam people. Just try to tell three places your book is available once a day. Do SOMETHING in the way of marketing EVERY DAY.
  • Write more books. Spend the bulk of your free time writing something new. Even if you only put in a page or two a day. This is critical because in reality, the best way to stand out in this crowded marketplace is a numbers game. Those with a lot of books will be found easier than those with one or two.
  • Okay, I did run out of time. I will be back later with another tidbit on how to stand out/market your work. >>>>>>>>> GO TO PART TWO HERE <<<<<<<<<<

    Top 5 Marketing Tips For Your Book

    Self-published authors know that the biggest row to hoe ahead of them is marketing their book. The writing is hard, the editing is harder, but the marketing of that book is certainly the hardest of them all when it comes to this self-publishing journey. I know. I have been there. But I also have a few tips for you to maybe give you food for thought.
    First, some people might just want to know what marketing your book MEANS. In my honest opinion, it’s just telling folks about your book. It’s getting the word out.
    Secondly, some people want to know if it is a “have-to-do” item. YES! I mean a THOUSAND times yes. You must get out there and put that book in front of people. You cannot sit down and do nothing. Of course, when you DO sit down, you better be working the ropes.

    So what does a writer do to market their book?

    This list is not complete by any stretch, and is in no certain order other than what appeals to me. If you think of more things, please leave a comment.

    The Top 5 Marketing Tips For Your Book

  • Get it on radio shows such as Blogtalk Radio, or a podcast such as Writer Groupie. There are a lot of podcasts out there these days/
  • Strategize your book launch to make it work for you. There are a LOT of book bloggers out there who do nothing but host book tours. And of course, social media plays a role.
  • Meet other writers and network. Never scoff at the role that going to writer’s cons plays. You never know who you will meet at a con, be it agent, editor, cover artist, or another writer. They can and oftentimes do send you off on a new leg of the writing journey, and can be great places to get marketing tips.
  • The old standby is, of course, social media. There has been so much said about this subject that I am a little tired of hearing about it. Suffice it to say, you should be on Facebook. Twitter, and Pinterest. ‘Nuff said.
  • Along with writer’s cons are live book signing events. These are such fun and really make you feel like a published author. There is nothing like meeting readers face-to-face and telling them about your book. You might even get a chance to speak there in the capacity of a writing authority (yes, like me!) and so there are great opportunities at live events to market your book.
  • And just because I just thought of it … the last thing I can say about marketing a book is the easiest for a writer to do.


    It cannot be said enough that readers are pretty voracious these days. If you want to make that first book sell, then write another one. And another and … well, you get the picture.

    HELPFUL TIP: Please remember that this stuff takes time also, plan your book marketing strategy way in advance. Like months – weeks – but not days before your book comes out. The reason being most podcasts, book blogs, etc. are booked in advance.

    Readers, writers, books OH MY!

    To be fruitful as a writer, you have to read a lot of books. Today’s book industry is so definitive it creates certain expectations and if you don’t meet them, readers won’t buy. I am currently writing mysteries and I want to entertain my potential readers by giving them what they want in these types of books.

    Some of my favorite mystery writers include Cleo Coyle, Anne George, and the fast-paced and fun Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. My own novel, Disk of Death, is more like Speed meets Shrek. Just kidding.

    The things a reader might want in a mystery novel could be, a high-stakes plot, a great setting, and kick-ass characters. I love reading good fiction that takes me away from my norm. If you write a mystery that keeps me guessing all the way to the end, you will have me as a reader for life.

    What are some other things you like in a book? What else keeps you turning pages? What do you like to read?

    Writer Groupie will be back next Tuesday with an interview with Eliza Gale, interviewer of writers, artists, and actors. You don’t want to miss it!

    WGP Flyby-How to get books written while working

    So, you can’t quit your job just yet to pursue that writing career? You are just not ready to let go of that bit of security? Don’t worry, you are in good company. That’s why I am posting today. Well, aside from the fact that I am still hoarse!

    You don’t have to quit your job to start writing books and making money from them. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend it. You can do so many things these days, and keep the job at the same time. If you discover after an attempt at writing books that it isn’t for you (and it’s not for everyone!) then you can easily stop and go back to your normal routine with little or no setbacks.

    Over on my blog, Kim Smith, Author which you should read religiously, I share many of the same ideas. If you do your due diligence, make smart choices, and not get in a hurry – you will ultimately be much wealthier as an author. This is how I started selling books, all while I was still working 8 to 5.

    Where To Find the Extra Time

    You wake up early, go to work on time, and come home late. How the heck are you supposed to find time to write a book? If you’re single, maybe you can spare a couple hours each night to work on your manuscript, if your social life will wait. If you’re married or have children, finding even a glimmer of free time can be near unthinkable.

    Five ways to find time

    Notice Your Free Time.

    Even though you work long days, you do have some free time. There are times like your morning drive. Use that podcase or voice recorder on your phone to dictate the book and type it in later. On your morning break, or your lunch break, on your afternoon break, or on your drive home, your time at the gym, and some of the free time you have at home (after the kids are in bed), you might find an extra 2 to 4 hours in there to write. TRY IT!

    Compound your Activities.

    We often don’t realize how to best use our time. Make use of those moments when you are not able to type a book out by listening to educational podcasts. There are a bunch out there. They will help you to understand how to publish and market once the book is done. That will motivate you to DO the writing. This is what I do as I work my job.

    Stop Watching So Much Television.

    If you stopped watching television, you’d free an extra 750 hours a year! Imagine what you could do in 750 hours. Now, I’m not saying you should quit watching T.V. forever, but you have to admit, you probably watch a lot of television. I did. I tried really hard to cut down and I stuck with just my few favorite shows (The Big Bang Theory, I admit). I used my extra time to read, learn, and do. That’s why I have about 11 things published.

    DON’T Combine Your Day Job With Your Book Writing Life.

    If the rules at your 9 to 5 job include: don’t use the Internet for anything non-business related, know that your book writing efforts do not count as a business related item. If you can use your breaks to surf the net at your leisure, go ahead and use that time to do some research or read some articles – but don’t use any supplies or print anything related to your writing. IT can and often does monitor the network and yes, the boss is watching, and you will get caught. It could cost you your job, or a least a lot of explanation and time. Just be smart and use your common sense.

    DO Combine Your Day Job With Your Writing. Wait – what? Let me explain. What I mean here is to think about how writing a book can relate to your 9 to 5 job. Think about the things you do at work. Is there something that could be improved with your knowledge? Could you use your writing talents at your job?

    I am sure there are a bunch of other things…but I am out of time. We will have a wonderful podcast guest next week!

    writer groupie

    WGP- Flyby Episode – Fan, Follow, and Like Us

    Welcome to Writer Groupie Podcast! Also known as WGP.

    This is a quick flyby episode done in text, as I am still sort of froggy-throated, so I am not recording yet.
    I want to get more listeners for the podcast, though, so I am here to encourage you to share WGP with your friends.

    If you love to read, and want to know more about the authors who wrote the books you love, this is the right podcast for you. Did you know that authors, especially popular ones, get paid to do speaking gigs? They do! And when they arrive on a podcast like WGP you are getting to hear them for free. Pretty sweet!

    Now if you an author, or a writer who aspires to publish, this is the right podcast for you as well. WGP is filled with information and insider details you can use and you never have to leave the comfort of your treadmill, or easy chair to get it.

    Speaking of easy chairs and treadmills,

    WGP is available on iTunes

    – go out and subscribe to us –

    and also on Youtube – and we love ratings and reviews- so please go out and rate and review this show. These items help us grow the show. We will appear in different sections of sites when we get lots of ratings and reviews so more people can find us.


    So, think of it this way–with the blog post here at and the iTunes feed and the Youtube account, people get the content that they want in the way that they like to consume it. I try to feed it out to a variety of place as well, so if you are a Facebook fan, go to our Facebook page and like our page. We also have a Twitter account @wrtrgroupie and we tweet up all of our guest and blog info.

    If you like anything you see on the site, feel free to share it. We have a Google+ account, and you can also pin the shows and posts.

    Well, I guess that’s about it for today, I will be back soon with another great guest. Until then, fan, follow, and like Writer Groupie Podcast and share us with your friends!