The Third Roast ft. Tara Theresa Hill

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”

Marcus Tullius Cicero – source

No writer, no human being for that matter, can go at life alone. Somewhere along the way we all realize at some point that we need others to help us along, and vice versa. My own journey began nearly four years ago, and I’ve learned to take constructive criticism as objectively as I can. When you put words out for the world to see, you’ve got to expect scrutiny. If you don’t, you’re really looking at the world through rose colored glasses.

Welcome to a new collaborative blog series called Roast My Post. It’s a quest to not only get to know others in the writing community, but learn from their own experiences and share the wealth of their knowledge with you. For The Third Roast, I’ve invited author and brand new blogger Tara Theresa Hill to pick apart another early blog post titled “Books vs. E-Readers.” Grab a snack or beverage of choice – it’s gonna be a long one!


The Intellectual Question of the Century: Books or E-Readers? Hi, everyone.  My name is Tara Theresa Hill.  Leigh invited me to write a guest blog for her Roast My Post series.  This is my very first guest blog, so I am a little nervous about writing for someone else.  Since this blog piece highlights the differences between traditional books and e-readers, I’ll try to play the neutral party as much as possible in deciding which one is the winner.  Though I do have a personal favorite! (Wink, wink.) Okay, let’s get this debate going!  

I love the opening paragraph of the description of the bookstore!  The enticing smells of the pages of books and of coffee brewing make me want to run to the nearest bookshop right now.  I might add, however, that you forgot to mention one other thing that is usually sold in bookstores everywhere: chocolate!  Seriously, how could you possibly forget that? Are you not a fan of chocolate? (Sigh.) Whether you are or not, the combination of the delightful smells and atmosphere are a win, so score one for traditional books.


Books vs. E-Readers

  1. Delightful aromas and atmosphere wherever books are sold!


So, you’re a book sniffer, huh?  That’s alright. I’ve smelt a few before myself.  Although, it can be a bit hazardous if one has dust allergies or gets lightheaded from perfumes.  I like how you’re setting the scene for this blog. It’s like you’re telling me a story instead of just comparing and contrasting two different ways of delivering information.  Also, now I’m curious about what it would be like to work in a bookshop. Could I really read whatever I want, work at the same time, and get paid for that? Sounds like a dream job!  

I appreciate the mini history lesson about how e-readers came to be created.  I was not aware of this. To be honest, I wasn’t a big fan of e-readers when they came out either.  I still think it’s a good idea to have print books, so I guess I’m a little old-fashioned that way. Also, I love Star Trek, too! 😊    

I agree that it used to be hard to figure out what books to take along on a trip.  E-readers have definitely helped solve that problem for the most part. Not only that, but you can also always download more books from libraries and you never run out of space.  Of course, there is something that could displace the e-reader in this capacity and give traditional books a boost again. Imagine if they could create something like Hermione’s purse.  She was able to store entire stacks of books in that thing. Oh, well. I guess we’ll just have to make do with the e-reader for now since we don’t have enchanted purses yet. Score one for the electronic books!


Books vs. E-Readers

  1. Delightful aromas and atmosphere wherever books are sold!
  1. Infinite space to store books.

Hmm…It’s hard to roast something that I agree with.  You’re not making this easy on me, Leigh. E-readers do encourage people to read more.  I’m fond of reading on my phone. I try not to do it for long lengths of time because it can irritate my eyes.  Ah ha! Now, I’ve got you! You forgot about that. Traditional books aren’t as strenuous on the eyes as e-readers can be.  To keep things fair, I guess I’ll give each team a point. 


Books vs. E-Readers

  1. Delightful aromas and atmosphere wherever books are sold!
  2. Easier on the eyes.
  1. Infinite space to store books.
  2. Able to access books more easily.


I was hoping that you would bring up Reading Rainbow and you didn’t disappoint me!  I absolutely loved that program when I was a kid. I still have the theme song memorized.  (Hums…Butterfly in the sky…I can go twice as high!) And when we talk about Reading Rainbow, naturally you have to bring up Star Trek again because of Levar Burton playing Geordi LaForge.  You make a good point though! The technology of the e-reader has made it possible for a whole new generation to enjoy Reading Rainbow. Well, since Reading Rainbow encourages reading both traditional books and e-books, I’ll give each group another point. 


Books vs. E-Readers

  1. Delightful aromas and atmosphere wherever books are sold!
  2. Easier on the eyes.
  3. Reading Rainbow!
  1. Infinite space to store books.
  2. Able to access books more easily.
  3. Reading Rainbow!

Hmm…The score is tied so far.  I’m starting to wonder about the outcome of this competition.  The next paragraph is about libraries. I love going to the library.  It’s even better than the bookstore because everything there is free. What a marvelous institution!  I remember the day that I discovered that I could borrow books electronically from my library. I was at work and I couldn’t find something good to read on my break.  I mentioned this in passing to my coworker and she told me about the library app on my phone. I was so excited that you would have thought that I had won the lottery or something.  Since you can get books from the library or via the e-reader app on your phone, that’s another point for both teams.


Books vs. E-Readers

  1. Delightful aromas and atmosphere wherever books are sold!
  2. Easier on the eyes.
  3. Reading Rainbow!
  4. Free library books.
  1. Infinite space to store books.
  2. Able to access books more easily.
  3. Reading Rainbow!
  4. Free library books.


The final score is a tie!  When it comes down to it, you’ll enjoy a good book no matter what way it is presented.  Thanks to Leigh for inviting me to do a guest post on her blog, although I think this post ended up being more of a toast than a roast. 

Hey, I can’t help it if I agree with most of what she said. 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go Google clips of Reading Rainbow and make some hot chocolate.  


Since childhood, Tara Theresa Hill has been fascinated by ghosts, hauntings, and the afterlife.  Her writing explores what would happen if the barriers between the two worlds were taken away and humans and spirits were suddenly able to fully interact with each other.  These aren’t your typical hauntings. Unlike more traditional two-dimensional ghosts, the spirits in Tara’s stories are fully developed characters with their own distinct personalities and backstories.  They are trying to figure out the afterlife and like to help the living rather than hinder them.  

Tara also writes a fictional blog called The Haunted Writer which is about the friendship between a writer and her muse who just happens to be a ghost.  To read Tara’s blog or to find out more information about Tara and her writing, please check out her author website: https://www.hauntedwriter.com/

Tara’s Links

Two Introverts Walk Into a Conference

I am an introvert and creature of habit. Everything in my home has purpose and a place to go, a structured schedule gives me life, and I’m in my element when alone.

“I have to be alone very often. I’d be quite happy if I spent from Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That’s how I refuel.”

Audrey Hepburn – source

Let’s face it. The title of this blog post sounds like the opening of a pretty bad joke. However, that’s really what my mother and I are like among a crowd of people. I get my introversion from her. You wouldn’t believe it if you knew everything we’re involved in. Volunteering, working in retail, and coordinating projects are just a few examples. I’d call us “high functioning introverts.”

Two weeks ago mom mentioned she had to go to Delaware through a non-profit we both volunteer with and I went as her travel buddy. “I’ve never been to Delaware,” I said. “Let’s go!” The event was the Christian Product Expo, and my mom helps out with ordering and making connections for the non-profit.

Ironic, right?

I mainly wanted to go to interact with the publishers – Harper Collins, Barbour Publishing and DaySpring, just to name a few – and see what books they showcase at this kind of event. However, as soon as we stepped into that conference hall both our hearts dropped.

There were so. Many. People.

Okay, I may be exaggerating a bit here, but with five rows of vendors and publishers, we knew we needed to regroup and make a game plan for the day.

“I think a lot, but I don’t say much.”

Anne Frank – source

Mom and I manage to get through two rows before we’re mentally exhausted. Cue information overload. I can’t imagine traveling around with any conference or expo for a living. So we took a break and spent the rest of the afternoon chilling in the lobby. She went over booklets, contacts and the like while I worked on this blog post.

I must say that I’m proud of myself for gathering the courage to talk with the reps from the publishers that really interested me. I got just three business cards, but I discovered who carries the books of one of my favorite authors of fairy tale retellings – Melanie Dickerson! That made it easier to connect over books and hopefully opened the door for future contact. I’m getting ahead of myself here….

The Lessons Learned

Neither my mom nor I knew what to expect going into an event like this. That’s what daunted us the most about the experience. Here’s what I learned.

  1. Do Your Research – find out what publishers are looking for, who they represent, and read those books before going to an event. It’ll help conversation flow and show them you know the market. This is something I need to start working on!
  2. You Are Not Alone – you’re wrong if you think you’re the only introvert walking into that expo or conference. Don’t sell yourself short either – you’ve got props for just showing up! Yes, there are folks who’ve done things like this far longer, but most are extremely helpful.

Two introverts walked into a conference and came out feeling a bit more confident in themselves. “We did it!” Mom and I both said. We didn’t cover all the booths, but it was, overall, a really good learning experience. I don’t know if we’ll attend again in the future, but now I know at least some of the etiquette that comes along with it. Don’t pressure yourselves into thinking you must do it all and meet all the people.

Just let you shine through.

The Second Roast ft. Iseult Murphy

“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”

Frank Herbert – source

No writer, no human being for that matter, can go at life alone. Somewhere along the way we all realize at some point that we need others to help us along, and vice versa. My own journey began nearly four years ago, and I’ve learned to take constructive criticism as objectively as I can. When you put words out for the world to see, you’ve got to expect scrutiny. If you don’t, you’re really looking at the world through rose colored glasses.

Welcome to a new collaborative blog series called Roast My Post. It’s a quest to not only get to know others in the writing community, but learn from their own experiences and share the wealth of their knowledge with you. For The Second Roast, I’ve invited author Iseult Murphy to pick apart my second ever blog post titled “Pros and Cons of Writing.” Grab a snack or beverage of choice – it’s gonna be a long one!


I became aware of Leigh when she interviewed me last year. Publicizing ME is the kind of activity I like to encourage in other people, so when I saw she was looking for guests to Roast her Posts (thought it was something to do with food originally. Have to say, I’m disappointed), I graciously agreed. People may call me many things, and generous is always one of them.

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Let’s start at the very beginning. That’s a very good place to start, or so they say. However, Leigh obviously hasn’t heard this, or, if she has, she hasn’t taken this advice to heart. I commend her choice of blue, it is my favourite colour, so I approve, but I’m not sure about her blog subjects. I love books, so I get that, and she is posting about writing. Logging… okay, I suppose it links into books because of paper? Elieving I have never heard of, and I know every word in the English language, and some in other languages (there is a lot of crossover), so I think she has made this word up. What does ELIEVING mean, Leigh? If you are going to make up words, at least give us the meaning!

Anyway, on to the post. PROS AND CONS OF WRITING. I admire Leigh for broaching such a subject. I’ve heard of some writers who have done hard time, but I wasn’t aware of the eh, how do I put this delicately – escorts? – of the writing industry. Oh wait, wasn’t there that book by that one person…? Never mind, Leigh is going to enlighten me. * cracks knuckles * This is going to be one hell of a post!

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Now, Leigh, if you want to be taken seriously for your writing, you have to know how to punctuate things properly. I’ve put in the proper song quotes for you. No thanks necessary (although it’s appreciated). 

I think I’m getting a handle on your sense of humour. You certainly like making stuff up, anyway. The first line of the keyboard spells out WRITER. Haha, Leigh, good one.

I don’t think any writer thought they weren’t good enough either. I certainly never did. Good, strong, solid start, Leigh. Of course, you ruin it in the next sentence. You think Tolkien never wrote something that wasn’t published? His estate has been doing something wrong for the last fifty years in that case!

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I’m not sure where you are going with this, but I’ll play along until you dish the dirt about all those writers and their run ins with the law. 

I’m not sure it is nice to say loving history is a con. Aren’t you a historical novel writer, Leigh? Way to shoot yourself in the foot. Although, I suppose it might be a bit of a snooze fest if you have to hang around with all those librarians and knowledgeable folks. You should start writing fantasy, you get to MAKE IT ALL UP! It is great. As for jet setting around the world and writing it off as research – haha! Good one, Leigh. I’m on to you. “Research” indeed.

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Yes, I do love writing butt, how did you know? I can spell boobs with a calculator too, but that isn’t such a neat trick anymore (thanks to you, iphones). 

A little word on Mr A Hitler, who you so glibly reference in your ‘resolution’ paragraph. He didn’t become one of the most hated men in history until AFTER he published Mein Kampf. That’s something to think about, would be writers.

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What are these resources you speak of? I’m assuming they are the pumpkin cookies in the picture. How is this a pro, exactly, and how will it make my writing better? More importantly, where can I get some? If you are going to throw out advice like this, Leigh, please give more detail. I notice you don’t hold back about advocating arson in the next (next) paragraph, although what you have against bridges is unclear. I’ve always found them very helpful for crossing bodies of water (contrary to popular opinion, I am not a witch or a vampire).

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I think you must have got tired when you wrote this, because it is all over the place. You offer writing advice and you can’t even spell vocabulary? Tut tut. I agree that Will Forte is a con, but it seems a bit harsh to call him out publicly. 

Now, we’re getting to the good stuff. Anyone can write – yay! I’m so glad, because I wouldn’t have a chance otherwise, now would I? I like your shout out to John Donne, although the reference is a bit random. 

Leigh, you shouldn’t put yourself down like that. Of course, one person can know everything. As I stated at the start of this post, I know every word in the English language (and a few in other languages), so you really shouldn’t be selling yourself so short. Aim high, my friend! 

You started this resolution paragraph so upbeat, I’m disappointed that you ended on a downer. Go back to school? No thank you! However, I am interested in these Writer’s Blocks you mention. Are they like Lego? Do they come in sets?

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Here we are at the end of the post, and not one mention of prostitutes (I see now you meant professionals! I didn’t see that twist coming. Good one, Leigh) and conmen until the second last line. I’ve been waiting the whole post for this, but I have to give it to you, it is good advice. I’ll break it down for the less bright readers who mightn’t have got your message.

Find what kind of prose makes you happy (meaning another writer’s work that is hugely successful) and run with it (publish it as your own and run all the way to the bank!).

Thanks for that, Leigh, you got to the gold in the end.


Iseult Murphy writes horror, fantasy and science fiction, as she feels that the most difficult aspects of life can be best explored through the lens of speculative fiction. She is a member of the Horror Writers Association, and her writing has won several awards, including the RDS Young Science Writers competition and BBC Wildlife Poetry competition.

She currently resides on the east coast of Ireland with five dogs, two cats, a parrot and a couple of humans. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, art and spending time with her animals.

She posts book reviews and about writing on her website iseultmurphy.com, you can find her on twitter @AuthorIseult and buy her books on Amazon.

The First Roast ft. Rebecca Zornow

As an unpublished, nonprofessional writer working on my first novel, I nevertheless had access to extremely talented people who would help make my manuscript better, people who’ve made careers out of providing careful, constructive criticism to writers. I’m tremendously grateful to them

Chris Pavone – source

No writer, no human being for that matter, can go at life alone. Somewhere along the way we all realize at some point that we need others to help us along, and vice versa. My own journey began nearly four years ago, and I’ve learned to take constructive criticism as objectively as I can. When you put words out for the world to see, you’ve got to expect scrutiny. If you don’t, you’re really looking at the world through rose colored glasses.

Welcome to a new collaborative blog series called Roast My Post. It’s a quest to not only get to know others in the writing community, but learn from their own experiences and share the wealth of their knowledge with you. For The First Roast, I’ve invited scifi and fantasy writer Rebecca Zornow to pick apart my very first post titled “The Dream That Star Trek Gave Me.” Enjoy!


So I know this person named Leigh. Leigh A. Hartman. Not IRL, but on Twitter. And she’s always posting about making soups and how cold she is in the winter and Star Trek and the tiny piece of paper that was stuck under her space bar for half a year, but which she finally got out (yey).

Leigh’s a writer but she also blogs. As you know. Because you’re here on her blog.

I’m a blogger myself and let me tell you, it isn’t easy putting your thoughts on display for the world to see (and even harder when it’s only your mom reading—not that I’d know about that. Also, hi mom!). Leigh’s been doing a great thing for the writing community with her Five Question Interview series and blogging about her writing journey so that others can learn. 

So, as a fellow writer, science fiction nerd, and hater of tiny papers that get stuck in bad places, I was happy to offer to roast her first ever blog post. The one from four years ago. The one about Star Trek. Oh yeah, let’s get started.

“The Dream that Star Trek Gave Me”. Oh, dear, what a title. I’m just regular folk on the internet in 2016 and see this first ever blog post on some person’s blog and I’m supposed to stick around for this? Well, I do like Star Trek. So, ok, I guess so.

(Leigh here — I do hate titling things, but back to Rebecca!)

Ah, Leigh makes the classic blogger mistake of thinking we’re interested in what her life was like at age 10. Or around age 10. She’s not really sure and neither am I.

Whoa, now we’re getting into it. Leigh was a kid who preferred to read than to interact. You know, I think a lot of writers feel this way—that the same things they were made to feel bad for as kids are the very qualities that drive them to be successful writers now. Because of that, I’ll give Leigh a pass for baring these deep childhood memories before we even know what her blog’s about.

Ah ha! Leigh did not use the Oxford comma. *unfollow*

(It’s Leigh again. Not everyone uses that Oxford comma thingy [I said that just to annoy you wink wink]).

Ok, now this is all making sense. Leigh’s giving us the whole backstory of why she was driven to be a writer.

Here comes the “hope” talk. All Star Trek fans get like this—all optimistic and emotional. That’s why I’m more of a GalaxyQuest kinda girl. At least, I would be if I had seen it in the last decade.

Oh no. And now Leigh put “intellectual” in quotes. One of us just used quotes the right way. Guess who it was? Me! It was me!

(Leigh here. I’m just gonna put everything in quotations from now on *insert evil laughing gif* Kidding!)

Okay, okay, Leigh, I guess you have a point here.

(Leigh here again – Rebecca, I’m gonna need that on a mug!) Back to Rebecca….

I’m 31 right now! Don’t knock it! 

I really hope Leigh doesn’t end any of her other posts this way.

Like every blogger, it’s clear that Leigh wasn’t quite sure what she was going to write about once she got on the internet. Childhood troubles, grammatical errors, burning dreams. We’ll I’m glad she got it all out of her system so she could focus on building a blog that seeks to create a community for writers and help them on their journey.

Cheers, Leigh!


Rebecca Zornow writes science fiction and nonfiction and is a former magazine editor, voracious reader, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, English degree holder, and lover of cookies. You can get science fiction and fantasy booklists, news, author profiles, and more on her blog ConquerBooks.com. Check out her BookTube channel for reviews of the latest SFF books and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for kicks and giggles.

Rebecca’s Links

Confessions of a Chronic Underwriter

Be honest with me: How many of you thought I put the word “underwear” instead of “underwriter” in the title? I won’t blame you one bit! But the title is completely, utterly, unequivocally true. About two years ago my uncle, who’s a published children’s author, picked up on it when he read through one of my very early drafts for a shelved projected titled For One Night at the Winter Garden. “Your sentences are too long,” he said. “Does that detail really need to be in there?”

He didn’t use the words “you’re an underwriter,” but he recognized the signs that I was trying too hard.

When you try too hard, you put more detail (whether by choice or subconsciously) into a scene where it’s not needed. It often shows up in the form of sharing too much backstory or sharing, say, historical details out of context (if you’re writing historical fiction, that is!). Personally, it was overcompensation because I hadn’t fully developed any of my characters. For One Night was all scene and setting driven rather than main character centered.

I’m grateful for For One Night. Not only did it teach me when and where to include details, the project also showed me two years ago that I wasn’t ready to take on Project Firedamp. I needed to be patient with myself. So I blogged, researched my novel’s era and read UP on craft. My chronic underwriting is still there, but I’m more aware of the choices a writer’s mind needs to make because I focused on what needed to be fixed within myself.

WRITE TIP: Is there something keeping you from being the best writer you can be? What is it? Is it something your beta readers have pointed out in their notes for you? Don’t be afraid to take a hard look inside and the TIME to fix it. Life is a never ending learning journey. Be patient with yourself and don’t be tempted by shortcuts.

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.

John Quincy Adams

My Multiple MC Problem

Even though I’ve done a lot of writing since childhood, this is the first time I’ve attempted something as big as Project Firedamp. Not only are there a lot of moving parts, historical facts to keep straight, and cultural differences to look out for, things are in their early stages and I’ve got time to make changes.

When my idea for #ProjectFiredamp first came to fruition, I tossed around several sub genres of historical fiction before settling on historical adventure. The time period I chose (late Victorian) and the characters created (some real, some not) really give me wiggle room in the adventure realm.

However, since a few NPCs (if you do online gaming you’ll know this stands for non-player character) and my antagonist were, in fact, real people, I still have to play the “How far can I go into their historical facts without bogging down the reader?” game. (Thank you, Paulette, for getting “NPC” stuck in my head! I love our writerly DMs). Not only that, but since I decided to have two point of views instead of just one, the fear of under developing one of them is real.

Dare I add a third POV? I’m not sure I’m capable of juggling that many subplots just yet!

I asked a question similar to this on Twitter a few weeks ago and KM Weiland shared her method for developing characters. Not only does she have a full book called Creating Character Arcs and its corresponding workbook, she also has a list of interview questions I’ve started using myself. While my fear of under developing a main character is still ever present in the back of my mind, these resources have really helped keep some of that anxiety under control. Let’s face it – I’m a list lover. And you’ve surely deduced by now that I’m an outliner as well.

Method is something I never looked at as a kid. Heck, I grew up in the 90s. We didn’t have as many easily-accessible resources then as we do now. I promise this isn’t a sponsored post. Ms. Weiland will have no idea I’m writing this until I share it on Twitter. Everyone has their own way of helping them keep track of their characters. So far, keeping a running dialogue with them via a list of “interview” questions is helping my process. Maybe those lists will help keep that seed of multiple MC doubt from growing!

The Art of Oversharing

We humans have come to expect things instantly. Patience isn’t a word often used as much as it was in the past. “Patience is a virtue,” they said. “Good things come to those who wait,” they said. This is a lesson Veruca Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory learned the hard way, if she ever did!

Writers today have very instant opportunities to share any details they want about their writing. Some projects are automatically designed for this format, like flash fiction stories posted to their websites or detailed descriptions on characters they’re currently creating.

At what point, however, does it become “over-sharing?”

Late last year this happened with a very well known author. You may know of whom I speak, but I don’t want to name names and throw them under any knight bus (ohhhh look what I did!). What happened was they shared some very intimate details about characters we all know and love, and those “revelations” that were not all well received.

Last year I tried watching a show called Outlander. It intrigued me for two reasons. One, the story has two timelines which run parallel to one other, showing how events affect one character or another. And two, its adventure is based on real events, almost like my work in progress. However, I had to stop watching because its writers left nothing to the imagination. I never saw the “TV-MA” rating in the description, which I’m sure would’ve saved me a couple nights’ worth of nightmares had I heeded its warning. Outlander is not for me. Watch at your own risk.

While Outlander has fantastic writing, costuming and cinematography, it still made me wonder, “How much is too much?” Granted, it’s a TV show, not literature. Television writers still follow the same mantra as authors do: show, don’t tell. When an author tells they tend to overshare. That’s a rabbit hole I don’t want to fall down. Some things are better left unsaid, or to the reader’s imagination. Not everything needs to be shared online.

TIP: “Hover over send” the next time you go to post something on social media. Is it going to be something you may regret saying in the future? Or some story detail that shouldn’t be shared?

This blog post isn’t meant to discourage fellow writers from sharing ANYthing story related online. Certainly not. What’s more important? Getting that manuscript written or sharing details, which may not be concrete yet, before the story’s finished?

Roast My Post | An Invitation to Critique My Writing

Roasting. I’m not referring to roasting vegetables, which sounds amazing as it’s nearly dinner time. I’m talking about critiquing another writer’s blog posts. My blog posts. Since beginning this blog in 2016, there’s nearly a hundred posts to my name. Are they any good? Some, admittedly, are worse than others. I know my grammar is all over the place, and that’s where I need the help!

So, beginning in February, I’ll revisit old posts from 2016 and invite you, my fellow readers, authors, writers, editors and publishers, to Roast them. This Roast will push back my annual Five Question Interviews to Spring 2020. Both concepts are a lot of work but so rewarding in the end. At least, I hope you all roasting my posts will be rewarding! Of course we’re talking about constructive criticism – don’t worry, I can handle criticism. If I couldn’t, I wouldn’t be inviting you to do so.

Sunday, February 2nd will be the first one, so get ready to Roast My Posts!

Five Booktube Channels I Recommend

To be completely candid here, I’ve been less excited about books lately than in years past. Inspiration comes in many forms, and some bookish inspiration was needed. So I headed to YouTube and looked for a few channels to get started.

As a long time viewer of beauty community drama (it’s my guilty pleasure), it’s only logical to assume that other YouTube communities aren’t immune to the “spilling the tea” phenom. I don’t know anyone save for two channels mentioned in this post, so that gave me an unbiased look into this new realm.

It’s funny; during my time on Twitter I’ve stayed out of as much writing drama as possible, save for a few opinions and problematic accounts. It’s impossible to ignore bad advice when it’s given. Below are six booktube and authortube channels I recommend (in no particular order).

Natalia Leigh

Sub Count: 10.4 k
Links: Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Instagram | Website

From what I’ve seen so far, Natalia is a well grounded author who takes the time to look into what kind of writer and content creator she wants to be. My first video of hers was actually in reference to some Twitter drama that happened in early 2019, and I appreciate her kind of honesty. We may believe in different things, but writing is one of the things we’ve got in common. That transparency is why I recommend Natalia. It also doesn’t hurt that “Leigh’s” in her name as well!

bytheBrooke

Sub Count: 4.96 k
Links: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Website

New Adult author Brooke Passmore also hooked me with her honesty (you’ll find this to be a common thread with these channels). I’ll admit that my first video of hers also came on the heels of online writing drama (surprise surprise), but her demeanor is what kept me watching. As a thirty-four year old viewer of entertainment, I don’t need over-the-top personalities and crazy editing many 2019 content creators seemed so fond of. Simplicity is the best medicine, and, well, her background’s PURPLE! I love purple…

Peter Likes Books

Sub Count: 21.7 k
Links: Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram

I’ve known about this channel for quite a while due to Peter’s beauty community drama channel. His honesty on subjects other than books is what convinced me to give his booktube a chance, and why I am thinking about beginning a history themed booktube channel myself. If you’re looking for someone to tell you like it is, I’d give Peter’s videos a shot! Variety is the spice of life, and Peter certainly lives up to that 🙂

Kate Cavanaugh

Sub Count: 29.8 k
Links: Twitter | Instagram | Website | Patreon

Kate’s channel was one of the first I stumbled upon in my quest to find booktubes, and the first video of hers I viewed was “I Tried Writing Like JK Rowling for Two Days.” While entertaining, it really drove the point home that every writer needs to find their own methodology. What’ll work for one individual may not for the next. Take a look at some of Kate’s videos below!

Sara Lubratt

Sub Count: 95
Links: none

In YouTube talk, a small channel like Sara’s would be called a “micro channel” as she only has 95 subs. Even with little over a dozen videos to her name, I can see returning to this channel time and time again. We all have to start somewhere, right? Sara’s story is just beginning. As far as I can tell, she has no other social media links to share. And that’s okay!


One of my goals for this post was to find a group book lovers and authors at varying stages in their careers and ages. While I don’t know yet if watching booktube will become part of my daily writing routine, it’s good to engage with other writers and opinions. That’s what makes the book community such a rich one, and it’s vain to think you don’t need anyone else to accomplish your own goals. So no matter your routine, beliefs or demographic, I hope you’ll explore the channels above with an open mind and who knows, maybe you’ll find a kindred spirit or two!

Happy writing/reading, friends!

How Working in a Hardware Store Taught Me About Writing

I come from a family that loves to hone our do-it-yourself skills, analyze projects seen on HGTV shows, and critique how houses are built. Since childhood we often stopped by a local hardware store to gawk at some new lighting or the latest DeWalt gadget after dinner out. Asking if anyone needs anything from Home Depot is part of our daily vernacular.

For years I resisted partaking in those, “Well, it’d be better if they’d done this way” musings. My Libra nature doesn’t like hyper critical conversations. But when I started writing my novel, I realized I needed a mind like that. As a result, I’m slowly learning to look at my writing objectively, so I can set up any scene with the right details in mind.

Before 2019 I was a “pantser,” rarely finishing stories because they lacked plot and contained equally aimless scenes. There comes a time in a writer’s life when having too many ideas can completely ruin a story. Next time you’re in a hardware store, go down the nuts and bolts aisle. There’s 3/4 of this lock washer, or you can choose a 5/16ths lock washer. There’s flat screws, rounded screws, Phillips’ and everything else.

When the idea for THE FIREDAMP CHRONICLES was born, I had a few character names, a concept, and my chosen genre. I knew who my villain was, how he came to be, and what effect he’d have on the other main characters. Just like the nuts and bolts aisle. The problem was my research phase, and that continued until my concept became a jumbled mess of “what if’s” rather than a solid foundation for the rest of the story.

There comes a time in a writer’s life when having too many ideas can completely ruin a story.

There comes a time in a writer’s life when one good idea can help correct many bad ideas. After three years of research and “pantsing” through a shelved novella, I realized I had one too many screws. I had to let go of my original villain. I needed to embrace my hyper-critical Hartman genes and take a hard look at everything I’d researched and cut out what I knew truly wouldn’t work. Over-researching is a trap many historical fiction writers fall into, and to this day avoiding that rabbit hole is a full time job. Frustration made me want to give up many times, and that’s when I turned from “pantsing” to “plotting.” Having structure forces me to bring all those nuts and bolts and separate pieces together. It forces me to decide what truly works for plot advancement and what doesn’t.

#writetip: Take a look at your own work and start thinking how one step in the process affects the next, and even the next after that. Is there anything keeping you from writing a pivotal scene? Or some detail that just doesn’t fit a main character, but works perfectly with a secondary character? Don’t be afraid to play around with possibilities, so long as those new ideas add to, rather than detract from, your original concept.


I don’t think I’ll ever stop over-analyzing a contractor’s building choices – after all, I now work in a hardware store. Writers have multiple building blocks and tools at our fingertips, but it’s up to us to decide what we’re going to use and how we’re going to put the story together. You can choose to put a washer and a nut with a screw, or skip the washer and nut entirely. My point is, whether you’re a “pantser” or a “plotter,” whether you prefer a visual representation of your project or a detailed outline, all those nuts and bolts will eventually fall into place and you’ll have a story you can call your own.

Mine will come one day.

I just need some manpower to sort through it all!