Fall writing classes in the fine state of Montana!

Montana welcome sign

A busy fall for me, and I’m hoping to see some writers out and about at these gatherings…

The Flathead River Writer’s Conference – September 27th & 28th in Kalispell. For more information check out the Authors of the Flathead website  www.authorsoftheflathead.org

The Montana Romance Writer’s Conference - October 4th & 5th in Bozeman, MT. Montana RWA Conference

And I’m also teaching these courses through Flathead Valley Community College:

The Write Business (6 weeks)

Develop the business skills necessary to help your writing career succeed! Whether you aim to be an indie author, find or keep a traditional publisher, freelance, blog, serialize your non-fiction or fiction, or take Hollywood by storm, you are an entrepreneur. In addition to the creative work of writing, you need to track finances, prioritize key resources and activities, identify and utilize avenues to get to your readers, and build the support of an unofficial but highly effective board of directors.

Mondays Oct 6 – Nov 10 3 – 5:30 p.m. $249

BUS 9240A AT Bldg Rm 206

Editing Tips & Tricks(1 session)

No one wants to be responsible for a piece of writing riddled with errors, but we often read and re-read a document not sure what we’re even looking for. Armed with specific editing tools, you can sign off on more polished writing in less time. Leave with a checklist to shift your focus from merely reading to quickly and accurately spotting and fixing writing and grammatical errors.

Oct 7 BC Bldg Rm 118 COMM 9029A

Novel Challenge (5 weeks)

Celebrate National Novel Writing Month with fellow writers and take a big bite out of your novel in 30 days! First class meeting in October will be to strategize our attack. The weekly November classes will be to discuss the craft of writing and the challenges of keeping the words flowing for all thirty days of November. When we have reached our goal, we’ll spend the last evening celebrating and looking ahead to revising.

Mondays Oct 27-Nov 24 6-8:30 p.m. $74

ENGL 1107A AT Bldg Rm 205

For more information and to register, click on FVCC…

 fvcc 8

Happy reading & Happy learning!


Day 30 – Victory!

There’s only one thing like the joy of writing 50,000 words in 30 days…. Stopping!

It’s the same kind of relief I used to feel when I finished a run. The running felt pretty good some of the time, but the stopping felt really good all of the time. The same is true for writing.

In 30 days I’ve had ups and downs. I’ve written decent scenes and some that will never see the light of day.

I’ve worked hard and also procrastinated at an Olympic level.

But I’ve started. I’ve started what was only an idea and made it the first 50,000 words of The Rocker’s Mrs.

Nano winner 2013 2

What will happen to it (and me) now?

Well, it will be seriously ignored for a while. I mean that in the best possible way.

1. I need to do some laundry or buy more underwear. Just saying.

2. I need a break from the computer.

The chair doesn’t have my rear end imprint… my rear end is getting a chair imprint.

3. I have got to figure out what smells weird in my refrigerator.

4. It’s the holiday season, and I’ve got to do some book promotions for the four novels that are already out in the world.

5. It’s time to scout around and see if there’s a traditional publisher who would like to bring one of my novels out in print.

6. I’ve got to pick up the revision of the Montana Myth novel and finish it up.

7. Family? Well, hello!

8. It’s only 25 days until Christmas, right?! What could possibly need doing?

9. Sleep

10. The audio book for Hollywood Beginnings will need a good launching in December.

Happy Last Day of National Novel Writing Month!




Day 27 : Advice I Need to Take

Since I’m a teacher, I can be counted upon to stand at the front of the room, dispense my best advice, and sometimes fail to take it myself!

Interlake teaching photo

Here are bits ‘o wisdom I will try to follow (today, or really soon)

1. First drafts are awful. They’re supposed to be. Just keep writing to the end and know that you will fix it up later.

2. You don’t have to know everything. As you write, you will learn, and you’ve got to trust that.

3. Just write the next scene. You can doubt and fuss and meet a friend for coffee, but you must write the next scene.

4. Struggle is completely normal. It’s not a sign that the universe is telling you to stop. Keep going.


5. Be clear about your boundaries, and people will be more likely to respect them. It’s okay to say NO.

6. What are you waiting for?

7. Set a timer and limit yourself to that much internet/Facebook/TV/reading or whatever rabbit hole you prefer to fall into when it’s writing time.

8. Celebrate what you did get done. Treat yourself! Carrots are better motivators than sticks.

9. It’ll all work out.

10. You can do this!

Happy getting over the sticking points of a new project,




Day 25: NaNoWriMo class has taught me…

I’ve been leading a group of writers at Flathead Valley Community College through National Novel Writing Month.

fvcc 8

Tonight’s our last meeting, and we’re having a potluck.

I could write an entire blog post on the joys of potluck. I mean, when you get a chance to eat a dozen different things from a dozen different cooks, it’s awesome, right? Sometimes we even luck out and everyone brings dessert!

It’s been one of the most lively groups of writers I’ve had the pleasure to work with. I hope they’ve taken something away from the class. I know I have.

They’ve taught me:

* Enthusiasm is everything. It’s challenging to keep going when you’re slogging through a novel. If you can keep your inspiration up, you can do anything.

* Ask questions. Lots of questions. It makes us all better writers, and it makes a teacher a better teacher too!

* It takes guts to write. Maybe you’re not from a family of literary giants (who is?!). Maybe you aren’t even sure where you’re from, where you are, or where you’re going (anybody besides me?) but with a little courage, you can do it anyway.

* Laughter is what makes everything work better… your writing, your interactions with others, your life.

* Writers, whether we are beginning or mid-stride, are among the most interesting people I know.

Thank you and happy rest of the month,


Day 24: The novel stresses me out, but…

Tally, The Writing (and attack) Dog, makes me laugh!

Tally attacking 2

Happy whatever makes you happy!


Day 22: Let the weekend begin!

A bouquet of flowers for your Friday…

sunflowers in wall vaseHappy Weekend!


Day 21 – There’s a Direct Correlation Between…

There’s a direct correlation between how many words I write and…

How much laundry piles up.

clothing pile

How little exercise I get.

How much caffeine I require.

How spacey I am in conversations.

How crammed my email inbox is.

How empty the calories I consume.

And also… how satisfied I feel at the end of the day.

Happy… what was I saying?



Day 20: A Guest Post by Grace Dunnehoff

I always know it’s NaNoWriMo because my mom…

1. On occasion still isn’t showered or changed from her pyjamas when I get home at 3:30.

2. Has tonic water stocked in our fridge to cure her eye twitch that appears with stress.

tonic water

3. Dramatically sighs and stomps around about “not feeling it” and “I’ll do it later.”

Happy, Happy, Happy!

Grace Dunnehoff

Day 18: Things I Know about the Main Character of The Rocker’s Mrs.

1. Trish is a regular woman who fails to see what’s remarkable about what she does every single day.

2. She will get a haircut by a dog groomer (sometime this week :)

3. Her real problem with her ex-husband wasn’t that he was smarter than she was… it was that he was too dumb to see how great she is.

4. She never thought her 25th high school reunion would end with her saying, “I’m with the band.”

5. Someday soon her 12-year-old daughter will stop rolling her eyes at her. But it won’t be today.

6. She thinks she’s stepping into a love triangle, but it’s far more complicated than that.

7. Her best girlfriend will soon be a guy named Marvin.

8. And while I don’t normally use my life in my fiction, I plan to give Trish a dog soon. It will put the hours I’m losing to a new puppy to good use…

Tally on backTally, the Writing Dog.

Happy Monday!


Day 17 – 10 Things I’d Rather Do at Starbucks

10 things I’d rather do at Starbucks than write:

Starbucks with AlphaSmart

1. read something someone else wrote

2. show strangers photos of my new puppy

3. drink waaaaay too much caffeine

4. listen in on the conversations around me. Eavesdropping is an important skill set for a novelist

5. go on Facebook

6. go on Facebook

7. go on Facebook

8. be at Costco with my husband (who dropped me off to write) eating samples of everything from teriyaki chicken to chocolate covered raisins

9. nap (although this Starbucks does not have a couch)

10. Outline, take notes, make a character sketch, research on the internet and generally do all those other jobs that at any given moment seem more fun than diving in (which I am going to do right now!)

Happy diving in,


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