Friday, December 26, 2014

Writers' Conferences & Book Festivals, 2015

by Jodie Renner, editor, author, speaker @JodieRennerEd

As I do a few times a year, I've compiled a list of writers' conferences and book festivals in North America. This one, of over 100 conferences and festivals, runs from January to December 2015. (For October 2015 and on, a lot of websites haven't posted their dates for 2015 yet, so I'll update them as I find out the dates.)

Please tell us about any conferences or book festivals I’ve missed by posting the info in the comments below, or email me at Info (at) JodieRenner (dot) com, and I’ll add them to the list. Be sure to give me the name of the conference, the date(s), location, and website URL. Thanks a lot!


Jan. 16-19, 2015 - 22nd Annual Winter Poetry and Prose Getaway, Seaview Resort, New Jersey Shore.

Jan. 17, 2015 - Troubleshooting Your Novel, Nashville, TN. Faculty: Steven James, Jodie Renner, & Eric Wilson.

Jan. 17-25, 2015: Writers in Paradise conference, St. Petersburg, Florida.

Jan. 23-25, 2015 – San Diego State University Writers’ Conference, San Diego Marriott, Mission Valley.

January 26-31, 2015 - 2015 Todos Santos Writers Workshop, Todos Santos, Baja Mexico.


Feb. 5-9, 2015 – Florida Romance Writers Cruise with Your Muse Fun in the Sun conference. 

Feb. 6-8, 2015 - Love Is Murder Mystery Conference, Chicago, IL.

Feb. 14, 2015 - MWA-U 2.0, Mystery Writers of America, Boston, Mass.

Feb. 11-15, 2015 - San Miguel Writers' Conference & Literary Festival.

Feb. 12-15, 2015 - San Francisco Writers Conference, San Francisco.

Feb. 12-15, 2015 – Savannah Book Festival, Savannah, GA. Free and open to the public.

Feb. 20-22, 2015 – Digital Authors 2.0 and Self-Publishing Conference, sponsored by West Coast Writers Conferences. Los Angeles Valley College, Van Nuys, California.

Feb. 26 - Mar. 1, 2015 - Sleuthfest - an annual conference for mystery, suspense, and thriller writers, Deerfield Beach, Florida.

Feb. 27-March 1, 2015 - Beachside Writers February 27-March 1, 2015. Yachats, OR.

Feb. 27, 2015 - Write On! Authors Conference and Book Fair, South Florida State College, Avon Park, FL. Email

MARCH 2015:

March 7, 2015 – The Augusta Literary Festival, Augusta, GA.

March 12-15, 2015 - Left Coast Crime annual mystery convention. This year it’s in Portland, Oregon.

March 14, 2015 - Unicorn Writer's Conference, Purchase, NY. 

March 14-15, 2015 – The Tucson Festival of Books, University of Arizona campus, Tucson, AZ. Free and excellent!

March 18-22, 2015 – Virginia Festival of the Book, Charlottesville, Virginia,

March 20-22, 2015 – Wordcrafters in Eugene Writers’ Conference, Eugene, Oregon. “The focus is on fiction.”

March 22-24, 2015 - The 2015 PubSense Summit, in Charleston, South Carolina.

March 25-29, 2015 - The Algonkian Novel Retreat, Sterling, Virginia, NW of Washington, D.C.

March 26-28, 2015 - The Write Stuff, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Mar. 27-28, 2015 - Northern Colorado Writers Conference, Fort Collins, CO. 

March 28-29, 2015 - The Dahlonega Book Festival, Dahlonega, Georgia

March 27-31, 2015 - The Mount Hermon Christian Writer's Conference,

[ See Jodie Renner's craft-of-writing blog posts on The Kill Zone blog alternate Mondays.]

APRIL 2015:

April 8-11, 2015: AWP Writers’ Conference & Bookfair, Minneapolis, Minn., Assoc. of Writers and Writing Programs.

April 10-11, 2015 – IBPA Publishing University, Austin, Texas. 

April 11, 2015 – Alabama Book Festival, Montgomery. Free.

April 16-18 - Indie ReCon, online conference for independent authors & publishers.

April 17-18, 2015 – Southern Kentucky Writers’ Conference and Bookfest 

April 23-25, 2015 - Las Vegas Writers Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada.

April 24-25, 2015 – NETWO (North East Texas Writers' Organization) writers conference, Sowing Seeds of Success, in Mt. Pleasant, Texas.

April 24-26, 2015, Tallahassee Writers Conference, Tallahassee, Florida.

April 24-26, 2015 - WisRWA (Wisconsin Romance Writers of America) Write Touch Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

April 24-26, 2015 – Pikes Peak Writers Conference, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

April 24-25, 2015 - Ontario Writers Conference, Ajax, Ontario, Canada.

April 23-26, 2015 - Arkansas Literary Festival. Little Rock, AR

MAY 2015:

May 1-3, 2015 - Malice Domestic, annual traditional mystery fan convention, in Bethesda, MD.

May 1-3, 2015 – Grub Street’s “Muse and the Marketplace” Conference, Boston, MA.

May 6-8, 2015 - Nonfiction Writers Conference, virtual.

May 8-9, 2015, Lakefly Writers Conference, Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

May 9, 2015 - 12th Annual Connecticut Authors and Publishers Assoc. University - Conference on Writing, Publishing & Marketing - Hartford, Connecticut

May 13-17, 2015 – Romantic Times Book Lovers’ Convention, Dallas, Texas

May 15-16, 2015 - LDStorymakers Writers Conference, Utah Valley Convention Center, Provo, Utah.

May 15-17, 2015 - Word on the Lake Writers Festival, Salmon Arm, BC, Canada.

May 15-17, 2015 – Pennwriters, Pittsburgh, PA.

May 15-17, 2015 - SC Book Festival, Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center in Columbia, South Carolina.

JUNE 2015:

June 6-7, 2015 – California Crime Writers Conference, Culver City, Cal. 

June 12-16, 2015 – Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference, Lands End Resort, Homer, Alaska.

June 19-23, 2015 - Southeastern Writers Workshop, St. Simons Island, Georgia.    

June 23-27, 2015 - Western Writers of America convention, Sacramento, Calif.

June 25-27, 2-15 - Jackson Hole Writers Conference, Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

June 24-28, 2015 – Romance Novel Convention, Las Vegas, Nevada.

JULY 2015:

July 7-11, 2015 – Master Craftfest, Craftfest, and THRILLERFEST – International Thriller Writers annual conference, New York, NY.

July 8-19, 2015 – Southampton Writers Conference, Southampton, NY.

July 16-19, 2015 - West Virginia Writers' Workshop, West Virginia.

July 22-25, 2015 – Romance Writers of America Annual Conference, New York City.

July 23-26, 2015 – Book Passage Mystery Writers Conference, Corte Madera, CA.

July 24-26, 2015 - Dallas - Fort WorthWriters Conference, Hurst Conference Center, DFW Metroplex, Texas. Twitter: @dfwcon. 

AUGUST 2015:

Aug. 6-9, 2015: Cape Cod Writers Center Conference, Hyannis, Mass. Cost varies depending on number of courses you register for.

Aug. 7-9, 2015, Willamette Writers Conference, Portland, Oregon.
Aug. 14-16, 2015 – When Words Collide, A Festival for Readers and Writers, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

August 20-23, 2015 – Writers’ Police Academy, Appleton, Wisconsin (new location).

Aug. 30-Sept. 1, 2014 – Decatur Book Festival, Decatur (Atlanta), Georgia.


September 11-13, 2015 – Imaginarinum Writing & Film Festival, Louisville, KY

Sept. 11-15, 2015 – Colorado Gold Writers Conference, hosted by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.

Sept 19-20, 2015 – Alaska Writer’s Guild Conference, Anchorage Alaska.

Sept. 17-20, 2015 – The American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) annual conference, Dallas, TX.

Sept. 20, 2014 - ORAcon2014 – Fiction Writers Conference, Springfield, Missouri.

Sept. 23-26, 2015 – WORD Vancouver: Inspiring Words, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Sept. 24-26, 2015 – Florida Heritage Book Festival and Writers’ Conference, St. Augustine, Florida.

Sept. 25-27, 2015 – Southern California Writers’ Conference, A Weekend for Words, Newport Beach, Calif.

Sept. 25-27, 2015 - SF: SE 2015, a Speculative Fiction Convention.

Sept. 30 - Oct. 4, 2015 - NINC Conference (Novelists, Inc.), St. Pete, FL.

[ Check out Jodie Renner's writing craft books and resources for writers at ]


Oct. 1-4, 2015 - Moonlight and Magnolias romance writers’ conference in Norcross, Georgia;

Oct. 2-4, 2015 – Write on the Sound Writers’ Conference, Edmonds, Washington.

Oct. 10, 2015 - Great Lakes Book Bash, Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Oct. 8-11, 2015 – Bouchercon Crime Fiction Convention, Raleigh, NC.

October 8-11, 2015 – Women Writing the West conference, Eagle Truest Resort, Redmond, OR.

October 9-11, 2015 - The Southern Festival of Books, Nashville TN.

October 15-18, 2015 – Florida Writers Annual Conference, Altamonte Springs, FL
Oct. 16-18, 2015 – Emerald City Writers’ Conference (Romance Writers of America), Bellevue, Washington.

Oct. 16-18, 2015 – Whistler Readers and Writers Festival, Whistler, BC.

Oct. 17-18, 2014 – Put Your Heart in a Book, New Jersey Romance Writers Conference, Iselin, N.J.

Oct. 17-19, 2014 – Genre-LA writers’ conference, Los Angeles Valley College, Van Nuys, CA.

Oct. 25, 2014 – Boston Book Festival.

Oct. 20-25, 2015 – The Vancouver Writers Fest, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Oct. 22-25, 2015 – The Midwestern Book Lovers Unite Convention for Readers and Authors, Minneapolis, MN.
October 24 - 26, 2014 - 13th Annual Florida Writers Conference, Lake Mary, FL. 
Oct. 23-25, 2015 – Surrey International Writers Conference, Surrey, BC, Canada.

Oct. 24-26, 2014 - Chicago Writers Conference, University Center, Chicago, Ill.

Oct. 24-26, 2014 - South Carolina Writers Workshop annual conference, Myrtle Beach, SC
Oct. 29 - Nov. 1, 2015 - Killer Nashville, Nashville, TN.
October 30 - Nov. 1, 2015, Magna cum Murder in association with Crimefest, Indianapolis IN

[ Jodie Renner's Editing Website: ]


November 1, 2014 - Louisiana Book Festival, Baton Rouge, LA

Nov. 6-8, 2015 – The La Jolla Writers Conference, Paradise Point Resort and Spa, San Diego, CA

Nov. 5-7, 2015 – Tony Hillerman Writers Conference, Santa Fe, NM.

Nov. 5-8, 2015 – Sanibel Island Writers Conference, Sanibel Island, Florida.

Nov. 7-8, 2014 - Charleston YA Book Festival – YallFest:

Nov. 6-8, 2015 – The New England Crime Bake Conference, Dedham, Mass. 

Nov. 15, 2014 - Seattle PubCamp, hosted by

Nov. 15, 2014 - Baltimore Writers' Conference, Towson, Md.

Nov. 15-22, 2015 - Miami Book Fair International, Miami, Florida. 


(Not usually any conferences in December)


May 22-28, 2016 - Salt Cay Writers’ Retreat, Salt Cay, Bahamas.

To sign up to receive Jodie Renner's sporadic (3-6 times per year) newsletter with links to top craft-of-writing articles and other resources for writers, please click HERE.

Jodie Renner is a sought-after freelance fiction editor and award-winning author of the multi-award-winning Fire up Your Fiction and Writing a Killer Thriller (and the upcoming Captivate Your Readers), as well as her handy, clickable e-resources, Quick Clicks: Spelling List – Commonly Misspelled Words at Your Fingertips and Quick Clicks: Word Usage – Precise Word Choices at Your Fingertips. Her blog posts appear alternate Mondays on the award-winning blog, The Kill Zone. Find Jodie on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to Jodie's sporadic (3-6 times a year) newsletter HERE.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Troubleshooting Your Novel Conference, by Steven James

Troubleshooting Your Novel
 One-day writing conference, by Steven James
Saturday, January 17, 2015
8:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Radisson Airport Hotel
Nashville, Tennessee 

This one-day conference will be filled with practical insights,
dozens of ways to fix plot flaws, time-tested writing secrets,
and easy-to-implement ideas that will help you improve
your novel right now, no matter how far along you are in writing it.
From the broad aspects of building the framework of your novel to the fine brush-strokes of line-by-line editing, this day will transform your writing forever.
Steven James: Critically-acclaimed novelist and nationally known conference speaker

Steven will teach five manuscript-transforming seminars
Eric Wilson: New York Times bestselling author
 and manuscript evaluation specialist
Eric will do manuscript evaluations and consultations
Jodie Renner: Award-winning craft-of-writing author,
speaker, and freelance editor 
Jodie will lead an editing workshop and do
manuscript evaluations and consultations
Jonathan Clements: Literary agent, the
Wheelhouse Agency
Jonathan will do one-on-one consulations
(agent and agency subject to change)

Friday, November 28, 2014


Just a quick note to let you know about two specials on my e-books, which you can read on any e-reader, tablet, smartphone, or computer.

First, my multi-award-winning FIRE UP YOUR FICTION - An Editor's Guide to Writing Compelling Stories, is ON SALE for 99 cents today and tomorrow only, Nov. 28 & 29, on

This writing guide has 92 reviews on, for an overall average of 4.8 out of 5 stars, and is perfect for guiding NaNoWriMo participants and other writers through the editing and revising of your novel or short story. Nonfiction writers find most of the information very useful, too.

This would be an excellent gift for any writers, aspiring authors, or even published novelists you know.

Note: This is a Kindle Countdown Deal, which I didn't realize doesn't work for Canadians, Aussies, and continental Europeans, so I'll be dropping the price again manually on Wed. & Thurs, Dec. 3 & 4, to allow people in those countries the opportunity to snag this award-winning guide at 99 cents, too - or the equivalent in your own currency.

Fire up Your Fiction on:  Amazon .com   Amazon .ca   Amazon

Also, I've recently published two handy, clickable e-resources for writers, editors, students, instructors, bloggers, journalists, and anyone else with a writing project on the go, QUICK CLICKS: SPELLING LIST - Commonly Misspelled Words at Your Fingertips, and QUICK CLICKS: WORD USAGE - Precise Word Choices at Your Fingertips. Both guides are meant to be kept up on your screen or within arm's reach while you're writing or editing, and will save you tons of time looking for the right word or the right spelling! With these, the right word is just a click away!

QUICK CLICKS: WORD USAGE will be FREE on ALL Amazon sites Monday only, Dec. 1, so grab it then!

Quick Clicks: Word Usage on: , , 

Quick Clicks: Spelling List on:

And you can also purchase the PDFs of these two guides directly from me, the author, at info (at) JodieRenner (dot) com, for $2.99 each, or $4.99 for both of them.

Sunday, November 16, 2014


I've been busy creating a new series of handy, clickable e-resources for writers, editors, students, teachers, instructors, journalists, bloggers, and anyone else with a writing project on the go. I just published the second one last Wednesday, and yesterday, I decided to play around with the titles to re-brand them a bit. (Until yesterday, they were called Grammar on the Go and Spelling on the Go.)

So far, two e-books in the series are out: Quick Clicks: Spelling List - Commonly Misspelled Words at Your Fingertips and Quick Clicks: Word Usage - Style and Usage Tips for Writers and Editors. And to introduce the second one, I've just put them both on sale for $0.99 each, tonight through Tuesday, Nov. 18. Click on the titles to go to the e-resources on I'll list the links below for and, where they're also on sale for the equivalent of 99 cents USD.

Why more spelling, word usage, and grammar resources? Because these are designed to be super quick and easy to use, so they'll save you a lot of time - and you can rest assured that the information presented is well-researched and accurate.

At the beginning of each guide is a bank of letters like this, only with live links to small groups of words or terms in the document that start with those 2 or 3 letters:

A  ad  af  al  am  an  ap  as   Ba  be  bi  bo  br  bu   Ca  ce  ch  ci  co  com  con  cr   Da  de  di  dr   Ea  ef  em  en  ev  etc.

You click on a pair of letters and you jump right to the words starting with those two (or three) letters. Then on every page is a link to get you back "Home" or to the "Key" to look for another word or term.
The idea is to have the e-resource on your computer, e-reader, tablet, or phone beside you, or the PDF up on your computer, behind or beside your WIP, and just click to the word or term, check it, then get back to your writing project within seconds.
You can buy the PDF for $2.99 ($1.50 during this sale) by contacting Jodie Renner at info (at) JodieRenner (dot) com. You'll need a PayPal account, but they're very easy to set up.
If you click on the links to Amazon, you can open the book and preview the first 10 pages or more to check them out.
Spread the word about this great sale, as it's only for two days!

Quick Clicks: Spelling List on  (0.77)

And suggestions welcome for more words and terms to include in updated editions! Please add any suggestions or comments below. Thanks!
 Besides publishing her popular craft-of-writing books under the series, An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction, the award-winning Fire up Your Fiction and Writing a Killer Thriller (and the upcoming Captivate Your Readers), as well as her handy, clickable e-resources, Quick Clicks: Spelling List – Commonly Misspelled Words at Your Fingertips and Quick Clicks: Word Usage – Style and Usage Tips for Busy Writers and Editors, Jodie Renner is a sought-after freelance fiction editor and author of numerous blog posts on writing captivating fiction. Jodie is also a former English (and French) teacher and has a master's degree in language and literature. Find Jodie on Facebook and Twitter.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

20 Excellent Books on Writing, Marketing, & Publishing, $0.99 each, Nov. 7!

Authors rejoice! For one day only, Friday, November 7, you'll be able to soak up a wealth of knowledge on writing, marketing and publishing written by some of the best authors in the business for just 99 cents each. Throughout the day, you can drop by and ask the authors your most pressing questions on writing craft, publicity, markets and more!

Here's a link to the event on Facebook:

Many of the authors will be dropping by throughout the event to answer your questions and will be offering all kinds of giveaways during the event on November 7.

The following 20 books will be offered for only 99 cents each during this one-day event. I know I'll be buying a bunch of them myself!

A huge note of thanks to Bryan Cohen for organizing this second 99-cents a-book event!

- Indie Author Power Pack by Joanna Penn, Johnny B. Truant, Sean Platt and David Gaughran

- How to Write & Sell Non-Fiction Books for Kindle by Nancy Hendrickson

- APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur - How to Publish a Book by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch

- Write Your Novel From The Middle by James Scott Bell

- Kindle Publishing Package by Steve Scott

- Writing a Killer Thriller by Jodie Renner

- Writing the Heart of Your Story by C.S. Lakin

- Supercharge Your Kindle Sales by Nick Stephenson

- Goodreads for Authors by Michelle Campbell-Scott 

- Write A F*$%'ing Book Already! by Jim Kukral

- 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts by Bryan Cohen

- Work Smarter by Nick Loper

- Mastering Showing and Telling in Your Fiction by Marcy Kennedy

- The Moonlighter's Guide To Online Writing For Immediate Income by Connie Brentford

- Book Cover Design Secrets You Can Use to Sell More Books by Derek Murphy

- How To Get Honest Reviews by Shelley Hitz and Heather Hart

- Write! Stop Waiting, Start Writing by Cathy Presland

- Formatting Your eBook by J. Thorn

- Writing Active Setting, Book 1 by Mary Buckham

- How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon (Book One and Two) by Penny Sansevieri

Don't miss this rare opportunity to grab, at only 99 cents each, 20 indispensable books to further your career and help you sell more books!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

SHORT IS THE NEW LONG - article by Anne R. Allen

Do you read or write short stories?

Author and highly respected blogger, Anne R. Allen, has published an excellent article on the re-emergence and growing popularity of short stories in the latest issue of Writer's Digest Magazine. Anne has given me permission to present the bare bones of her detailed article here. Be sure to check out the rest of this well-written, informative article in the November/December 2014 issue of Writer's Digest.

As Anne says, "Bite-sized fiction has moved mainstream, and today's readers are more eager than ever to 'read short.' Here's why writing little stories is paying off in a big way."

Anne goes on to mention "nine factors working in favor of a short story renaissance:"

1. Small, portable screens are changing the way we read.

"The single-serving quality of a short narrative is the perfect art form for the digital age... Stories are models of concision, can be read in one sitting and are infinitely downloadable and easily consumed on screens," Amber Dermot told The New York Times.

2. Anthologies are hot.

"Multi-author anthologies are a great sales tool, and they've been reborn in the e-book space, where they're inexpensive to put together and provide wide visibility."

3. Publication identifies you as a professional.

Publishing your short stories in anthologies and journals will show agents, publishers, and reviewers that you're serious about your craft and publishing. And they can also help get your name out there and start building a fan base.

4. Networking with short fiction editors can further your career.

"Editors at small magazines often have connections in the publishing world."

5. Filmmakers buy rights to short stories.

"Just as indies are re-invigorating publishing, they are also the lifeblood of the film industry."

6. Online retailers favor authors with more titles.

"The more titles you have in an online bookstore, the more visible you are." And it's easy to turn out several short stories per year.

7. Short fiction contests can build your bio.

"Contests are easy to find and enter in the Internet era. [...] A win or even honorable mention looks great in a query or bio."

8. Shorts keep fans engaged and draw new ones.

"Shorts keep fans interested while they're waiting for the next book, and a free story in between is a great marketing tool. Consider writing a couple of shorts about your main characters while you're working on a novel."

9. Today's short stories make money and hold their value.

"Per word, a story can make more money than a novel. Not only does it take less time to write, a Kindle Single often sells for the same price as a novel-length e-book, and can be repurposed many times."

And finally, writing short stories is a great way to learn to write tight and make every word count, which is a great carry-over for any other kinds of writing you may do.

Check out these excellent related articles by Anne R. Allen on her award-winning blog:

Here's Why You Should be Writing Short Stories

 10 Reasons Why Short Stories are Hot. 

 The New Golden Age of Short Fiction.

 And this one by Jodie Renner, over at The Kill Zone blog:  "25 Tips for Writing a Winning Short Story"

Besides publishing her popular craft-of-writing books under the series, An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction, the award-winning Fire up Your Fiction and Writing a Killer Thriller (and the upcoming Captivate Your Readers), as well as her handy, clickable e-resources, Spelling on the Go and Grammar on the Go, Jodie Renner is a sought-after freelance fiction editor and author of numerous blog posts on writing captivating fiction. Find Jodie on Facebook and Twitter, and check out her posts alternate Mondays on The Kill Zone blog. Subscribe to Jodie's sporadic (3-6 times a year) newsletter HERE.

Friday, October 3, 2014

SPELLING ON THE GO - Commonly Misspelled Words at Your Fingertips

 by Jodie Renner, editor and author

I've recently published a really handy, time-saving, clickable resource for writers, editors, students, and anyone who has any kind of writing project. called SPELLING ON THE GO - Commonly Misspelled Words at Your Fingertips. CLICK HERE to go check out the Kindle book on Amazon, where it already has 10 reviews, all 5-stars. It's also available as a PDF document to leave up on your screen, behind or beside your W.I.P. To purchase the PDF version for $2.99, please email info (at) JodieRenner (dot) com.

How will this e-resource make your life easier?

Whether you’re a journalist, fiction or nonfiction writer, student, blogger, editor, or anyone else on a busy schedule (aren’t we all these days?), this clickable spelling list will save you tons of time, no matter what you’re writing. Just keep this doc up on your screen or beside you on your Kindle, tablet, or smartphone, and if you’re unsure of a word, go to this, click on the first two letters, find the word quickly, check the spelling, and you’re back to your writing project within seconds. 

Words are listed here for various reasons. They might be challenging to spell, like “acquiescence” or “hemorrhage” or “abhorrent” or “zucchini” or “Caesar.” Or what about those everyday words we think we know how to spell, but just want to quickly verify, like “occurrence” or “embarrassed” or “occasion” or “recommend” or “separate” or “weird” or “vacuum”?

In many other cases, the words or terms are easy to spell but are just included because there is confusion as to whether they should be hyphenated, one word, or two words. For example, is it back seat, back-seat, or backseat? checkout, check-out, or check out? Is it under-achiever or underachiever? counter-clockwise or counterclockwise?

I’ve also included troublesome homonyms such as its and it’s; rein and reign; stationary and stationery; principal and principle; peek, peak, and pique; insure and ensure; complement and compliment; lightning and lightening, and many more.

For the sake of brevity and ease of use, definitions are rarely given in this resource, except in cases where the incorrect word is often mistakenly used.

So why wouldn’t you just rely on your word processor’s spell-checker? Because Word’s spell-checker is made up of words that users submit and in many cases is blatantly incorrect. 

All of the words in this list have all been verified as correct spelling or normal current usage. My main references are the two copyeditors’ and proofreaders’ “bibles,” Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary (M-W) and The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS); and for words that don’t appear in Merriam-Webster, I’ve chosen the spelling used in the majority of online dictionaries.

Click on the letters to go to words starting with those letters. To come back to the list, just click on “Home,” found on every page of this convenient resource.

Endorsements and Reviews for Spelling on the Go:

“One word or Two? Hyphen or no hyphen? I never can keep all that straight. This books clears the air. A must for every writer.”~ DP Lyle, award-winning author of the Samantha Cody and Dub Walker thriller series

“This is a great resource for word usage, with clickable links that make it easy. I see it becoming indispensable.”~ L.J. Sellers, author of the bestselling Detective Jackson and Agent Dallas series

“Must-have useful reference for editors and writers! The organization is brilliant.

“This time-saving reference is incredibly useful for writers and editors. It's a very well-organized book and the clickable links are absolutely one of the best features. I'm going to use this again and again!”
~ Eve Paludan, author & editor

“Indispensable tool for all writers, novice or seasoned. Once you start using this quick spelling resource, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it.”
~ Los Angeles Writer

“A useful time-saver! “Very easy to use. Convenient and slick.”
~ Mandrake 

“Lots of live links make it quick and easy to use!

“This guide to commonly misspelled words and phrases is a time-saver for any writer. Spelling on the Go is a quick reference guide you can keep in the background of your work in progress. If you are not sure how to spell a word, whether it's hyphenated or not, or which of several homonyms is the right one, like peak or peek, weather or whether, etc., you can find the answer with a few clicks and get back to work quickly. This is a must-have resource. I give Spelling on the Go a 5-star ranking as an indispensable writer's tool for spelling.”
~ John W. Kurtze

“To hyphenate or not to hyphenate . . . Is there an ‘e’ in there? this quick and easy to use guide helps with some of the most common spelling demons without me having to go to Google and sort through the results to get the best answer. Jodie is a great editor and this is the latest in her series of practical writing guides. You can keep it open on your Kindle or your computer-based Kindle app for easy reference during writing sessions. Grab it, you won't regret it.”
~ Patient Reader

A Superb Tool
“I haven’t owned Spelling on the Go for 24 hours yet and I’ve already used it four times. The layout is simple to use and can be navigated with ease. This is going to be one of those resources that people say ‘I can’t believe nobody thought of that before’ about.”
~ Brian Switzer

And look for the companion e-resource, Grammar on the Go, out soon!

Besides publishing her popular craft-of-writing books under the series, An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction, the award-winning Fire up Your Fiction and Writing a Killer Thriller  (and the upcoming Captivate Your Readers), Jodie Renner is a sought-after freelance fiction editor and author of numerous blog posts (alternate Mondays on The Kill Zone) on writing captivating fiction. Find Jodie on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Websites: ; Subscribe to Jodie’s sporadic (3-5 times a year) newsletter HERE.

Monday, September 1, 2014

FIRE UP YOUR FICTION Wins Another Award!

by Jodie Renner, editor & author

I'm pleased to announce that my editor's guide to writing compelling stories, FIRE UP YOUR FICTION, has won a third book award.

It just received another Silver Medal, this one in the Readers' Favorite Awards, in the category of Writing and Publishing.

Congratulations Jodie Renner!
Fire up Your Fiction
is a 2014 Readers' Favorite Silver Medal Winner in the Non-Fiction - Writing/Publishing category!

Here's the certificate I received from Readers' Favorite Book Awards:

And the 5-star review this book received on the Readers' Favorite website:

Reviewed By Bil Howard for Readers’ Favorite

"Jodie Renner has done fiction writers a huge favor by compiling her blogs into Fire Up Your Fiction: An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Stories. She covers subjects that can get a story moving and not only draw the reader in, but hold their attention and keep them turning pages.

"She covers the issues involved with creating and keeping conflict, tension, and action burning throughout your story and showing rather than telling. [...]

"Renner also discusses wordiness and the use of clich├ęs, as well as cutting down your word count in order to get to the action and keep it moving. She also gives excellent advice on how to make your dialogue sizzle; a problem for nearly every author. All in all, this volume is packed with plenty of digestible literary protein that will feed writers and make them eager for action. [...]

"Packed with information, accurate and inspiring, Fire Up Your Fiction: An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Stories will help you transform your fiction into a more marketable product." 

Fire up Your Fiction - An Editor's Guide to Writing Compelling Stories was also awarded a Silver Medal from the Florida Authors & Publishers President's Book Awards and an Honorable Mention from the Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards in 2013, and was a Finalist in Foreword Reviews' IndieFab Book Awards and National Indie Excellence Book Awards.

Comments on this book by bestselling "writing gurus": 

"This book is packed with good advice on how to spot and fix weaknesses in your fiction writing. It summarizes the combined wisdom of the last century or so of fiction teachers into one handy volume."
- Randy Ingermanson, bestselling author of Writing Fiction for Dummies

"A handy checklist and self-editing guide that will get any fiction writer to a stronger, well-told tale."
- James Scott Bell, bestselling author of Revision & Self-Editing, Plot & Structure, and Conflict & Suspense

Brief excerpts from other comments by judges:

"What a wonderful resource for writers at any stage of their career! I wish I had this book when I first started writing. ... I can't think of anything important that you haven't addressed succinctly and clearly. ... This should be on the booklist for Master's Programs in Writing for Publication. ... You must be a wonderful editor to be able to write such a readable, but comprehensive book."

- Judge, Writer's Digest Self-Published e-Book Awards, January 2014

“the Strunk & White for writers who want to be not just mere storytellers but master story-compellers.”

- Lucy Wang, reviewer for IndieReader

Amazon Reviews:

Fire up Your Fiction has received 85 reviews on to date, with an overall average of 4.8 out of 5 stars. Many writers and aspiring authors have emailed me to tell me how much this book and my other book, Writing a Killer Thriller, have helped them tighten up their writing and make it more compelling. If you have read either of my books and found them helpful for your writing, I'd love it if you could write a review on Amazon.

Click on the book title to go to Jodie Renner's eBooks on Amazon:

Fire up Your Fiction - An Editor's Guide to Writing Compelling Stories

Writing a Killer Thriller - An Editor's Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction

And look for Captivate Your Readers, out in late 2014, as well as two shorter resources, Grammar on the Go and Spelling on the Go.

Jodie Renner, editor & author

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Spark up Your Story - Adding Suspense, Tension & Intrigue – Handout

by Jodie Renner, editor & author, @JodieRennerEd  

This is the HANDOUT for my recent 50-minute workshop, "Spark up Your Story - Adding Tension, Suspense, & Intrigue" at When Words Collide conference in Calgary, Aug. 8-10, 2014.

All genres of fiction, not just thrillers, suspense novels, and action-adventures, need tension, suspense, and intrigue to keep readers eagerly turning the pages. And of course, you’ll need to ratchet up the tension and suspense a lot more if you’re writing a fast-paced, nail-biting page-turner. 

A. Some “big-picture” techniques for adding suspense, tension, and intrigue:

~ First, make your readers care about your protagonist by creating a likeable, appealing, strong, smart and resourceful but vulnerable character, with some inner conflict, regrets, and secrets. If readers haven’t bonded with your character, they won’t care what happens to him. 

~ Put your character in motion right away. Start right out in the head and body of your main character, in an active scene with others, with some discord and tension.

~ Get up close and personal. Use deep point of view (first-person or close third person) to get us into the head and body of your main character. This makes readers care about the character and worry about him. A worried reader is an engaged reader.

~ Challenge your protagonist. Now that your readers care about your main character, insert a major threat, challenge, or dilemma within the first chapter or two that won’t be resolved until the end. Create an over-riding sentence about this to keep in mind as you’re writing your story: 

“Will (name) survive/stop/find/overcome (ordeal/person/difficulty/threat) on time?” 

~ Create a cunning antagonist. Your villain needs to be as clever, determined and resourceful as your protagonist – or even more so. Make him or her a serious force to be reckoned with!

~ Create a mood of unease by showing the main character feeling apprehensive about something or someone or by showing some of the bad guy’s thoughts and intentions. For a thriller, establish a sense of urgency, a tense mood, and generally fast pacing.

~ Show, don’t tell. Show all your critical scenes in real time as they’re happening, with action, reaction, and dialogue. Show your main character’s inner feelings and physical and emotional reactions. Don’t have one character tell another about an important event or scene.

~ Use multiple viewpoints, especially that of the villain. For increased anxiety and suspense, get us into the head of your antagonist from time to time. This way the readers find out critical information the heroine doesn’t know, things we want to warn her about!

~ Keep the story momentum moving forward. Don’t get bogged down in backstory or exposition. Keep the action moving ahead, especially in the first chapter. Then work in background details and other info little by little, on an “as-needed” basis only, through dialogue or flashbacks – not as the author telling the readers. 

~ Every scene needs conflict and a change. There should be something unresolved in every scene. Your character enters the scene with an objective or goal (agenda), but she encounters obstacles in the scene, so she is thwarted in her efforts to reach her goal. But circumstances or the character have changed by the end of the scene.

~ Put tension on every page. Every page needs some tension, even if it's just disagreement, resentment, doubt, or questioning simmering below the surface.

~ Vary the tension. But of course, you can’t keep up tension nonstop, as it’s tiring for readers and will eventually numb them. It’s best to intersperse tense, nail-biting scenes with a few less tense ones.

~ Add in tough choices and moral dilemmas. Devise ongoing difficult decisions and inner conflict for your lead character. Besides making your plot more suspenseful, this will also make your protagonist more complex, vulnerable, and intriguing.

~ Withhold information. Don’t tell your readers too much too soon. Dole out critical information little by little, through dialogue, thoughts, and brief flashbacks, to tantalize readers and keep them wondering. 

~ Delay answers to critical plot questions. Look for places in your story where you’ve answered readers’ questions too soon, so have missed a prime spot to increase tension and suspense. Draw out the time before answering that question. In the meantime, hint at it from time to time to remind readers of its importance.

~ Use foreshadowing to incite curiosity. Tease the readers with innuendos. Drop subtle hints of troubles to come. Hint at the main character’s past secrets. What is the character worried about or afraid might happen? Capitalize on this.

~ Add in some revelations and epiphanies to put a twist on things and reward readers for their interest and involvement.

~ Use the setting to establish the mood and create suspense. This is the equivalent of ominous music, harsh lighting, strange camera angles, or nasty weather in a scary movie. 

~ Make use of compelling, vivid sensory imagery to take us right there, with the protagonist, vividly experiencing and reacting to whoever/whatever is challenging or threatening him. 

~ Use brief flashbacks at key moments to reveal your main character’s childhood traumas, unpleasant events, secrets, emotional baggage, hangups, dysfunctional family, etc. 

~ Keep hampering your hero or heroine throughout the novel to increase worry, tension, and suspense. Stir in some of these ingredients: a ticking clock, obstacles, chases, traps, restrictions, handicaps, injuries, bad luck, etc.

~ Keep raising the stakes. Keep asking yourself, “How can I make things worse for the protagonist?” As the challenges get more difficult and the obstacles more insurmountable, readers worry more and suspense grows.

~ Plan a few plot twists. Readers are surprised and delighted when the events take a turn they never expected. Don’t let your readers become complacent, thinking it’s easy to figure out the ending, or they may stop reading.

See Jodie’s book Writing a Killer Thriller for a lot more detail on each of the points mentioned above.

B. Revision stage:
Amp up, condense, or delete any scenes that lag, and tighten up your writing. Now go back and make sure every scene and paragraph drives the story forward. Make every chapter, scene, page, paragraph, sentence, and word count! 

 See Jodie's Fire up Your Fiction for lots of concrete tips with examples for tightening your writing
and revising your novel or short story to make it more compelling.

Do you have any good ideas to add for adding tension and intrigue to your stories? Please share in the comments below! Thanks.

Jodie Renner is a sought-after freelance fiction editor and award-winning author of the multi-award-winning Fire up Your Fiction and Writing a Killer Thriller (and the upcoming Captivate Your Readers), as well as her handy, clickable e-resources, Quick Clicks: Spelling List – Commonly Misspelled Words at Your Fingertips and Quick Clicks: Word Usage – Style and Usage Tips for Busy Writers and Editors. Her blog posts appear alternate Mondays on the award-winning blog, The Kill Zone. Find Jodie on Facebook and Twitter.
Subscribe to Jodie's sporadic (3-6 times a year) newsletter HERE.

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