Writing Tips From Tip-Top Writers

richardDemand writers often ask me to recommend books they can use to hone their composition skills. I invariably suggest these five, each of which I read annually: Continue reading

My 2015 Literary Resolution

champagneDid you make a resolution for 2015? If not, might I suggest keeping things simple by announcing a reading/writing resolution? Because for me, I refuse to beat myself up by adhering to some sort of fad diet; nor am I going to hold myself to a ridiculous travel resolution that’ll break the wallet — “visit X number of states.” Rather, my approach to 2015 is more about acceptance. Acceptance of my habits, my choices, and my means. My resolution is to read one book a month. That’s it. By keeping my expectations low I can avoid failure (I hope.) Twelve months from now, when I look back on 2015 — after having watched the new Star Wars film — I’ll feel empowered, and proud that I accomplished my task. It’s the twelve months of books…starting now! Continue reading

Featured Contributor: Elizabeth Warner

Elizabeth Warner has been writing for more than 20 years. Her work has appeared in publications of the Nature Conservancy, the World Bank Group and other organizations, as well as a number of local and regional newspapers. Warner holds a Bachelor of Arts in biology from Colgate University.


Approved Sections: Pets (Writer) & Science (Writer, Content Evaluator and Topic Editor)

You listed “nature photography” under areas of expertise. Why don’t you show us one of your best nature photographs: I’m not sure it’s my ‘best’ photo, but it’s one I like. I do a lot of work (day job) with greater sage grouse – a species on many a birder’s bucket list. But running into this dusky grouse was a huge thrill. Like his male cousins, this guy was a shameless Lothario – more intent on seducing lady grouse than worrying about me. Continue reading

How to Get Your Book Published…in Only 14 Years

The year is 2000 — Y2K ended up being a bust, mad cow disease is currently sweeping through Europe and my manuscript is in the hands of the editor who published Bridget Jones’s Diary. Supposedly a deal is forthcoming; so I wait. And then…nothing. No Renee Zellweger. No “congratulations!” No celebratory bottle of champagne. But I promised myself I wouldn’t let it get to me. I knew it was time work every contact in order to get my book in front of other editors—the right fielder on my softball team knew a publicist at Penguin. A random woman on the street, who helped me carry a piece of drab furniture home, knew a guy who knows a guy who could potentially get it in the right hands.

It was exhausting, but in the end I spent more than a decade pounding the editorial pavement to sell my book. Here’s valuable advice on what I learned along the way: Continue reading

My 5 Favorite Books from 2014

2014As the year comes to a close, I’m looking back at my favorite reads from 2014 (note: these are books that I read in 2014, not books that necessarily published within the past year).

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

My mom has been urging me to read this for years, and I finally got around to it in February (I wanted to read this before starting on The Goldfinch). I’m glad I did – such a compelling read, if a bit long.

Continue reading

You’ve Got a Friend in Me


Edward Gorey and his ‘friends.’ | Photograph © 2004 Steve Marsel Studio Inc.

By: Teo Spengler

The writer travels deep into the private world of imagination to create, but not necessarily alone. Many poets and novelists relied on beloved animal friends for companionship — including tough guys like Ernest Hemingway and intellectuals like Virginia Woolf. Cuddly cats and faithful dogs may top the list, but that’s not all, folks. A writer’s best friend comes in many sizes and species. Continue reading

Become a Better Writer by Creating, Not Writing

Nick Adams StoriesI was a sophomore in college when one of my buddies handed me a copy of Ernest Hemingway’s Nick Adams Stories and told me to read “Big Two-Hearted River.” Nothing much happens in the story, which is about a young World War I veteran who returns to Michigan eager to hike into the wilderness to camp and fish. But as an avid fly fisherman, and someone who understood the soothing, regenerative power of nature, I was hooked. I wanted to connect with people the way Hemingway had connected with me, like he was sitting across a campfire, drinking whiskey and telling glorious lies. I changed my major to English Literature and decided I was going to be a writer.

After graduation, I was plugging along, still trying to be a writer while working the night shift at a newspaper in Maine, reporting on fires and town meetings. I’d finish work around 1 a.m., then go home and write until the sun came up. My work improved; I even published a couple of short stories. Thing is, I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. Just thinking about it felt like a struggle. I needed a break, but I still wanted to be creative. Continue reading

Featured Contributor: J.C. Lewis


School: The University of Bristol (UK)
Degree: BSc Politics
Approved Sections: Arts and Crafts, Food and Drink, Travel, Style, Home, Home Decor, Social Science.

michaelscottHold the phone — you have a 2010 DMS contributor of the year award? Do you have a lot of trophies at home?  No, I don’t have any trophies at home, so my DMS award is very lonely. I have a couple of medals from 5Ks I ran in last year, but it wasn’t for winning or anything close to it, they gave them to everyone. Continue reading

Set Your Writer Free

Getty Images

Sergey Nivens/iStock/Getty Images

I only used to write when an idea or a concept raced through my head —  I’d run to my computer (or my smartphone) in order to secure it, and then revisit my idea when inspiration hit me.

The idea of sitting down, with the clock ticking, and no inkling of what I want to say is scary—will anything come? What if there’s nothing but silence? Turns out, this scary act is somewhat magical. In writing what I don’t already know, I’ve discovered that images and words could unfold in new and unexpected ways. Continue reading

Featured Contributor: Lainie Petersen

tealady3(2)School: Dominican University, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.
Degree: Masters degrees in library science, divinity and theological studies.
Approved Sections: Career, Real Estate, Business, Education.

What was the last thing you Tweeted? Yikes, I mostly share other people’s content on Twitter, but my last exchange was about a great tea company and its wonderful products!

Oh that’s right, according to your bio you’re a tea expert. Explain yourself. I got into tea back in 2008. For awhile, I tweeted the teas I was drinking and people began to ask me to start a tea blog. So I started Lainie Sips, a blog focused on tea and tea reviews. Eventually I even got work doing consulting for tea shops, writing for other tea blogs, and eventually even got a job working in a tea shop. I love tea and am constantly amazed at the diversity of the online (and offline) tea community. Continue reading